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The History of Foresight Linux (a work in progress)


Ken VanDine created Foresight Linux in 2005 originally to build a distribution that featured GNOME, and could be used as a marketing tool to further increase GNOME's marketshare.  Ken was a member of the GNOME marketing team and wanted a way to showcase GNOME. A secondary reason for founding Foresight was to help Ken learn and familiarize himself with Conary, a revolutionary new package manager created by the original creators of RPM.  Another goal of creating Foresight was to include forward looking applications that could become the future of GNOME itself, many created using Mono such as Tomboy and F-Spot.  As of November 2007, Ken's vision has come true, as Tomboy is now a core GNOME module, and Foresight continues to ship Mono applications, including Banshee as the default music manager and F-spot as the default photo manager.

A year or two after creating Foresight using the Conary toolset, rPath would hire Ken, and Ken would have the opportunity to work with Conary on an everyday basis. 

With GNOME 2.18, released March 14th 2007, Foresight became the basis for GNOME's Live Media releases.  The GNOME Live Media offer users an opportunity to try out GNOME (and Foresight) without installing Linux on their hard drive.  Available images include a Live CD, VMWare image,  and a Parallels / QEMU image. 

The 1.x releases

Foresight Linux 1.0 was released in January, 2007.  Up until Foresight 1.4.1, adding packages and maintaining upgrades was done via the command line using Conary, or through the Foresight System Manager.  The 1.4.1 release saw the release of PackageKit, a new package manager originally developed by Richard Hughes.  Foresight was the first distribution to ship PackageKit as the default package manager.

2.0 and beyond

As of November, 2007 Foresight has released the first alpha of Foresight Linux 2.0.  The 2.0 release is a major update, including such things as:

  • GNOME, KDE and XFCE editions
  • Syslinux bootloader (replacing GRUB)
  • Updated toolchain, including GCC
  • New QA structure for adding and testing additional packages
  • x86_64 version in addition to the already existing 32 bit version
  • PackageKit