Three Linux distros get key updates, plus one fades away

Even as Fuduntu, Slackware, and Ubuntu march ahead, Brazilian Dreamlinux officially closes its doors.

With so many Linux distributions out there, it can be difficult to keep tabs on all the updates that come out over the course of an average week or month.

I've featured a few key arrivals over the past few months — including PCLinuxOS 2012.08, OpenSUSE 12.2, the Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 1, and Sabayon 10 — but several others have appeared in short order as well, making the challenge more difficult than ever.

In the interests of staying up-to-date, then, here's a quick look at a few of the latest arrivals. You may even find something you'd like to take for a test drive yourself.

1. Fuduntu 2012.4

This past Monday saw the release of Fuduntu 2012.4, a distribution "that earns its name by its ambition to fit somewhere in between Fedora and Ubuntu," as it explains on its DistroWatch page. Among the improvements in this fourth quarterly release for 2012 are a new default theme and wallpaper along with kernel 3.4.10, Chromium 21.0.1180.89, Thunderbird 15.0, LibreOffice 3.6.1.2, and GIMP 2.8.2. For new users, the software can be downloaded for free in 32- and 64-bit versions from the Fuduntu site.

2. Slackware Linux 14.0

Then there was the launch of Slackware Linux 14.0 at the end of September. Dating all the way back to 1993, Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distributions still in existence, and it aims to offer the most "Unix-like" experience possible. Now, culminating a full year of development, version 14.0 is based on the 3.2.29 kernel and offers enhancements including the Xfce 4.10.0 and KDE 4.8.5 desktops, among many other features. It can be downloaded from the project site.

3. Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2

Making steady progress towards its final release planned for 18 October, meanwhile, Canonical late last month also released the second beta version of Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal." Following hard on the heels of the first beta release earlier in the month, this final beta version released in late September is perhaps most notable for its addition of the highly controversial Amazon search integration to the Unity Dash. Unity has been updated to version 6.6, GNOME has been updated to version 3.5.92 for most components, and accessibility is turned on by default. This beta release can be downloaded for testing purposes from the Ubuntu site.

Plus: R.I.P. Dreamlinux

Finally, it's worth also mentioning the unfortunate demise of one more Linux distro. Specifically, Dreamlinux, a Brazil-based distribution, was officially discontinued this week.

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