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By | Kelly Fiveash 20th May 2008 11:57

'Experimental' Linux distro Exherbo eyes serious developers

Whispering grass

A former Gentoo developer yesterday revealed that he has been working on a new hardcore Linux distribution, dubbed Exherbo.

Bryan Østergaard said on his blog that Exherbo was at the “experimental” stage and for that reason isn’t openly encouraging anyone to attempt to use it.

He said work on the Linux distro has been ongoing over the past few months, and that some elements of Exherbo have been based on ideas and experiences from Østergaard’s time at Gentoo.

Features in Exherbo include a new packaging format and several subprojects, such as a redesigned init system that he described as being “free of all the weird, useless legacy stuff and based on user needs in the 21st century.”

However, although the package tree has been made public, Østergaard strongly advises against anyone making serious use of the upcoming distribution while it remains in its infant stage.

He also took the opportunity to have a dig at his ex-employer, Gentoo, whose increasingly popular distribution is based on the Portage package management system.

“Exherbo is not, at the moment, a user-targeted distribution," he said. "It supports packages that the people involved find interesting or useful; it probably does not support your favourite desktop environment or applications.

“That kind of thing will come later — there are plenty of other options for users who want a distribution that does everything badly rather than a few things well. In other words, go and use Gentoo or Ubuntu please.”

Other plans for Exherbo include a new packaging system that will be “similar in idea to Gentoo’s ebuilds but... completely incompatible due to the many technical differences” and improved options handling.

In related Linux news, Ulteo yesterday unveiled its free Virtual Desktop, which runs on Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

Virtual Desktop uses a special Linux kernel patch called "coLinux" that Ulteo claimed improves overall performance.

Fanboys interested in running a virtualised Linux system on Windows will also be pleased to note that there's no need to reboot the system any more when switching from Windows to Linux. ®

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