The next few days and weeks will be one of those interesting phases where a number of new Linux releases emerge over a short period. This gallery provides a brief overview of the ones I've been following:
- openSuSE 12.3
- Linux Mint Debian Edition 201303
- Debian 7.0 (Wheezy)
- Korora 18
- Mageia 3
- Ubuntu 13.04
I will be posting details about each of these when they are released — installation, configuration and contents. For now, here's a very brief look at what's on the way, and how the development cycle has been going.
I have been following the openSuSE 12.3 development since milestone 0, and it's been an interesting ride. It is currently available as RC2, with the final release scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Compared to the development of 12.2 it has been very smooth, with steady progress, no major crises or resets, and more or less on schedule. RC2 even includes UEFI boot (including Secure Boot) compatibility, which took me by surprise. I have this installed on all of my laptops and netbooks, and it's working extremely well on all of them. As is usual with openSuSE, there are KDE and Gnome Live ISO images as well as a massive (4.7GB) DVD installer.
A new 'rollup' release of Linux Mint Debian Edition with Update Pack 6 included will soon be available. It is currently available as a Release Candidate (RC), in Cinnamon and MATE desktop versions. No formal release date has been announced, but as the RC has been out since about 20 February, it probably won't be long now.
Debian seems like the epitome of the 'We will make no release before its time' distributions — the exact opposite of the Ubuntu 'new release every six months, come hell or high water' philosophy. The Release Candidate for the Debian 7.0 installer is currently available, which means it won't be too long until the final release. My personal opinion is that the development of Wheezy has been a bit smoother than the previous couple of releases, but that may only be due to the fact that I wasn't paying all that much attention as it went along.
Ubuntu. My, how perceptions have changed over the past couple of years. In my opinion it is now such a polarizing release — almost everyone I know has very strong feelings about it, one way or the other. Some are convinced that it will be the saviour of the Linux world, and some feel just as strongly that it's the worst thing happening to Linux today. But I don't know many who just say "Whatever. It's ok, I'm not bothered either way." The next release of Ubuntu — 13.04, known as Raring Ringtail — is due out on 25 April. The Beta release is due next week (14 March), but of course Daily Builds are available for those who are very anxious, very curious and/or very brave.
I think of Korora as being derived from Fedora in much the same way that Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu. They start from a very good distribution, and then they add all the things that I would put in myself, and they end up with a great distribution. The Beta release is currently available, but as far as I know no final release date has been set yet. At the same time, there has been a name change (dropping the second "a" from Kororaa) and a web page change (to www.kororaproject.com), so make sure you look in the right place for this one.
Mageia 3 has had a couple of significant bumps in the road during its development, resulting in a bit of a delay in the final release and at least one extra Beta release so far. However, it's looking good now. Beta 3 was released on Sunday 10 March, and I have already installed it on several systems with excellent results.