While most of us were taking it easy this weekend, the Foresight Linux folks were pushing out the 2.5.0 release with a whole host of goodies — including updated KDE, Xfce, and GNOME.
The latest Foresight release comes nearly two years after 2.1.1 — which was released on May 15, 2009.
This release brings GNOME 2.32.1, KDE 4.6.1, and Xfce 4.8, as well as the 18.104.22.168 Linux kernel. In short, all the goodies most Linux users want. Firefox 4.0 is available as an update.
Speaking of updates, that’s what makes Foresight a bit different. While many distributions use RPM or Debian packages, the Foresight folks do things a wee bit differently. Specifically, Foresight is one of the distros that use the Conary package/system management toolkit and follows a “rolling release” scheme.
What’s a rolling release? Most Linux distros offer a snapshot of software as it is when the distribution is published, followed by modest updates as necessary for security problems and major bugfixes. For example, if you install Fedora 14, you’ll get Bash 4.1. When you run updates to Fedora 14 during its lifecycle, you’ll get updates as necessary to Bash 4.1 — but not Bash 4.2. Same for stuff like GNOME, Compiz, OpenOffice.org, Emacs, Vim, etc.
A rolling release will track the major releases. Some rolling release distributions may track development branches — so you might get unstable releases and ride the bleeding edge. Others, like Foresight, track the stable releases.
One benefit to the rolling release scheme is that you get major updates more quickly, and you simply upgrade in place. You can also upgrade in place with openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. — but then you get all the new stuff in one big update (assuming you’re following the stable releases).
If you’re interested in riding the leading edge of GNOME, Foresight should be a really good choice. When GNOME 3.0 is available, it should be available in Foresight fairly quickly. Note that the Foresight folks tend to ship GNOME and other packages configured very closely to the upstream release.
If Foresight sounds interesting, check out the 2.5.0 release grab the image that’s best for you and give it a spin. They have separate images for GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and for developers. The releases are available for 32-bit x86 or AMD64. Enjoy!