Ubuntu & SUSE & CentOS, Oh My!

It's Halloween week, and the big names in Linux are determined not to disappoint the trick-or-treaters. No less than three mainline distributions have released new versions this week, led by perennially-loved-and-hated crowd favourite Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 14.10, better-known by its nom de womb "Utopic Unicorn", hit the streets last Thursday. It appears to be a mostly update release, with more of the release announcement's ink devoted to parent-company Canonical's "Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu Openstack" than to Utopic's "latest and greatest open source technologies". Among those, the v3.16 kernel has been included, as well as updated versions of GTK, Qt, Firefox, LibreOffice, Juju, Docker, MAAS, and of course, Unity. Full details can be found in the official release notes.

Not to be outdone, the chameleons at SUSE have released their first new version in five years, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. SUSE 12's grandest new features appear to be a universally-available full system rollback, and live kernel patching, the height of innovation...in 2009. The release also includes the — shall we say, "much discussed" — systemd daemon, a variety of system-specific improvements, and a new customer control centre for managing the proprietary bits of SUSE's system.

Speaking of proprietary bits, Tuesday also brought a new version of CentOS, the de-proprietarified version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Highlights of the CentOS 6.6 release include:

  • Enhanced SCSI unit attention handling to enable responding to certain unit commands.
  • The OpenvSwitch module is now available as a kernel module.
  • keepalived and haproxy are now fully supported.
  • Support added for the Intel Wildcat platform.
  • OpenJDK 8 has been added as technology preview.

According to CentOS developer Johnny Hughes, "There are many fundamental changes in this release, compared with the past CentOS-6 releases, and we highly recommend everyone study the upstream Release Notes as well as the upstream Technical Notes about the changes and how they might impact your installation."

And, not to ignore the smaller side of the distro world, this week saw the release of not one but three new versions of Puppy Linux. First out of the kennel was Quirky 6.2 "Unicorn", built from packages in the Ubuntu 14.10 repositories. Following that were Tahrpup 6.0 CE, built from Ubuntu 14.04, and Fatdog64 700, a 64-bit version of Puppy based on Linux From Scratch which uses Slackware-style packages. Woof!

Image courtesy of Luke Jones.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.