Linux on the PowerPC

Linux on the PowerPC

Summary: LinuxPPC finally ships its new, improved Linux OS for the Mac, LinuxPPC 1999.

LinuxPPC Inc. has released a new version of its Linux OS bundle of software and tools for PowerPC Macs. The new bundle, named LinuxPPC 1999, has an improved installer and a new interface and comes with software for networking, development and other uses, including Netscape Communication Corp.'s Communicator 4.6.

Originally named Release 5, LinuxPPC 1999 was expected to ship in January but was delayed while the company added improvements and new software to the bundle. "We had planned to ship LinuxPPC 1999 sooner but we wanted it to work well and added applications as they came out," said company President Jeff Carr.

LinuxPPC 1999 costs $32 and is available on the company's Web site and also via CD-ROM. A user guide is scheduled to be posted Wednesday on the company's Web site.

A slight bug at the start
LinuxPPC Marketing Director Jason Haas said Tuesday that the company found a AutoStart bug on the CD-ROM that some users received and that disc is no longer shipping, even though the bug cannot spread to users' systems. "We are producing another, clean disc with LinuxPPC 1999 on it and that disc will be available within 10 days," Haas said.

The new installer in LinuxPPC 1999 makes it easier for users to install the operating system, Carr said, and a built-in upgrade feature will lets users connect to LinuxPPC's Web server and download future versions. The company said the installer from Red Hat Inc. is also still available.

Various desktop systems and user interfaces are included with this version, which uses the Linux 2.2 kernel. Advanced graphical interface software in this version allow users to install and work with themes. Users can now make a Linux box look like a Mac and can make the windows look as if they are made from stone or wood, and the company said the user interface runs much faster that the one in LinuxPPC 4.

Lots of goodies
Carr said the company added additional software as it became final. LinuxPPC 1999 ships with window managers such as Carsten Haitzler's Enlightenment and Afterstep, part of Tenon Intersystems' XTen application, and The Gnome Project's Gnome 1.0, a desktop system with a file browser and a menu bar, among other features.

Other applications bundled with LinuxPPC 1999 include the Apache Project's HTTP Web server software, Apache 1.3; the Samba Group's Samba 2.0 for file services; and Netatalk 1.4 from the University of Michigan for AppleShare IP file services. A program for designing forms and The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Package), a painting application from Petter Mattis and Spencer Kimball, are also bundled.

Carr said the company plans to reduce the file size of LinuxPPC in future upgrades. "We made progress with the installer and now we will probably pull out some legacy things and slim down the size" of the OS, he said. The company periodically posts bug fixes and updates on its Web site, such as a patch released Tuesday that enables Java support on Communicator 4.6.

In addition to the base price of $32, the company offers a $99 subscription plan that includes every CD update for one year.

LinuxPPC Inc. of Hales Corners, Wis., can be reached at (414) 427-8555;

Topics: Linux, Hardware, Open Source, Operating Systems, Processors, Servers, Software

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