Vine Linux Magazine
Brief Introduction to Vine Linux for non-Japanese people

筆者: shaolin
発行日: 2011,06,17


This article was originally prepared and would have been released before the 3.11, but was forgotten somewhere in my harddrive for several months. Now on the day the first beta version of Vine Linux 6 was released, this humble document is finally here...
Jun. 17, 2011
Kohji 'Shaolin' Matsubayashi


It's been over eleven years since the first release of the Vine Linux (version 1.0) was out - over eleven years. Interestingly, there had been so many variations of Japanese GNU/Linux distributions so far - community-based, commercial products, or whatever. Many of them had been discontiuned after the sweet old "Linux Boom" was over in the last decade - and some "mainstreams" - Red Hat (and Fedora), Debian, Ubuntu, etc. - have survived.

Our distribution also had some ups and downs in its own history, but anyway we are still cruising gently the vast sea of the Open/Libre Source world. And now we are now working very hard on our next major release, version 6.0.

Our distribution, Vine Linux, has always been aimed for people who lives in Japan and for people who primarily use Japanese language on computers - mainly for desktop and small server purpose. As a matter of fact, almost all information on Vine Linux has been available only in Japanese language (except a small amount of brief introduction in English, such as on We once had English version of our website as well as Japanese version, but the contents sometimes tended to be a bit outdated, and recently have been not available since our site renewal this year.

So I think it better to have a brief introduction here in our own words, on our own website - wouldn't it be better than nothing?


Vine Linux is completely a community-based distribution, whose ancesor was a collection of “Japanese add-on” packages. Since its start, every developer has been also a daily Vine Linux user.

Our newest release is Vine Linux 5.2 (out in Nov. 2010), a bugfix and enhanced version of Vine Linux 5 (Aug. 2009) ...slow progress? Maybe.

Here's the matrix how we have stepped forward like a slow but steady snail:

Nov. 1998	The first announcement of Vine Linux development
Mar. 1999	Vine Linux 1.0 (i386)
Jun. 1999	Vine Linux 1.1 (i386)

Apr. 2000	Vine Linux 2.0 (i386)
Jul. 2000	Vine Linux 2.0 (ppc, for PowerPC Macs)
Nov. 2000	Vine Linux 2.1 (i386,ppc,sparc,alpha)
Mar. 2001	Vine Linux 2.1.5 (i386,ppc,sparc,alpha)

Apr. 2002	Vine Linux 2.5 (i386,ppc)
Nov. 2002	Vine Linux 2.6 (i386,ppc)

Aug. 2004	Vine Linux 3.0 (i386,ppc)
Nov. 2004	Vine Linux 3.1 (i386,ppc)
Sep. 2005	Vine Linux 3.2 (i386)

Nov. 2006	Vine Linux 4.0 (i386,ppc)
Feb. 2007	Vine Linux 4.1 (i386,ppc)
Dec. 2007	Vine Linux 4.2 (i386,ppc)

Aug. 2009	Vine Linux 5.0 (i386,x86_64,ppc)
Feb. 2010	Vine Linux 5.1 (i386,x86_64,ppc)
Nov. 2010	Vine Linux 5.2 (i386,x86_64,ppc)

Jul. 2011	Vine Linux 6.0 (scheduled, i686, x86_64)

Similar to popular versioning schemes in the computer software field, the first digit (before the decimal point) denotes the major version, while the digit after the decimal point stands for the minor version. We are working on the next major version, 6.0 (will be out hopefully next month), but we have only five major versions so far in the last eleven years.


This slow progress on the other hand shows one of our policies - keep our distribution stable, don't go too rapid, too cutting-edge.

The world of Open/Libre Source evolves so fast, year by year, day by day, time after time - GNU/Linux kernel itself, glibc (GNU C Library) and other core libraries, desktop environments, X Window System, applications, etc. - if we switched every component to a newer one very quickly, a compatibility problem would always arise. Basically, we could say we are not "too fast" technology geeks - I mean, we are not "cutting-edge" addicts - our distribution is always aimed for GNU/Linux users for daily basis - either at home, for SOHO purpose, or in educational/research institutes. We don't want to be too outdated, but stability (and maintainability) takes precedence over following the latest. However, we don't ignore fancy features on such latest versions - we try to "backport" the features onto stable versions when needed. It can be said as: "a well-balanced between stability and latest features."

Another policy we have on our distribution is, keep the core distribution compact, consisting of carefully screened packages. In other words, we include one specific "recommended" package for one purpose - Firefox for web browsing, Sylpheed for e-mail, Leafpad for text editing, Pidgin for instant messaging, etc. - so that every user don't need to get confused which application to use for a specific purpose. Vine Linux had been provided within the size that does not exceed that of CD-ROM (700MB), since our initial release 1.0. However, since the release of Vine Linux 5.0, both by popular demand and to accommodate enlarged filesize of every package, we also started providing the DVD edition (1GB) which includes more of our recommended packages.

Furthermore, we have always provided extra package collections under the name of "Vine Plus" - containing so many "well-maintained" packages that can be easily installed via such package managers as apt-get and synaptic.


Here is a preview of our new version 6 (will be out hopefully next month):

  • updated components
    • kernel-
    • glibc-2.11.1, gcc-4.4.5
    • X11R7.6+
    • rpm-4.8.1
    • upstart-1.2
    • GNOME-2.32.1
    • Fx 4.0.1 (Firefox 4.0.1 based) for web browsing
    • sylpheed 3.1.1 for e-mail
    • ptexlive-20100711 for enriched Japanese TeX environment
    • emacs-23.3
    • TuxOnIce-3.2 for system hybernation
  • other notable topics
    • ext4 as a default file system
    • optimized for the i686 (Pentium Pro or likes) archtecture and up
    • slick Plymouth boot splash screen to hide lengthy boot messages
    • updated VL Gothic (our original Japanese TrueType font)
    • Elementary-based GNOME Desktop default theme
    • Japanese Input: ibus + mozc replaces scim + anthy
    • self-build: a powerful framework to download, build and install programs that cannot be distributed in forms of rpm packages (due to license issue)
    • vine-app-install and install-assist: easy installation assistance
    • vbootstrap + vbuilder to support flexible Vine Linux development

You can grab and try the Vine Linux 6 beta 1 release (in DVD ISO image) at

The image is hybrid ISO, so if you write the image onto your USB flash drive (with such tools as dd, usb-imagewriter or Win32 Disk Imager), you can boot the installer from the flash drive, that will speed up your installation process.


There have been so many people who contributed improving Vine Linux. It's really grateful that we now have dozens of active developers and contributers. And I should name and pay homage to all contributors who did excellent contributions to our distribution in the past.

But in the meantime let me introduce some of the current core members of our Project here.

The Founder and the current President (representative) Daisuke Suzuki has been one of the earliest adopters of GNU/Linux since the Linux kernel version was even before 1.0 - he was one of the members of JE (Japanese Extension) and PJE (Project Japanese Extension), both of which were Japanese add-on package distributions for non-Japanese Linux distribution like ancient Slackware, Red Hat Linux etc. Then in 1998 Daisuke and other guys there started their own distribution which became the Vine Linux. He's still one of the important source of power to keep Vine Linux improved.

Munehiro Yamamoto, a mood-making guy with humors and puns, is one of the fresh members who joined the Project in February 2010 - he's been working very hard on TeX components (as he is a TeX professional) to make Vine Linux provide the most enriched TeX environment built-in. He also has been busy on publicity activities, heading the Project to participate various Linux/OpenSource-related events.

Diligent guy Yasumichi Akahoshi has been doing very earnest, patient and continus efforts on better Vine Linux documentations, as well as improving Japanese translations on various packages. His name can be found at GNOME Japanese Translation Team for example.

Satoshi Iwamoto and Katsumi Ikeda has been the vital force to keep the Vine Linux secure as it could. They have been watching security-related information on various sources, and making updated packages to be approved before the actual security errata releases are published on our web site.

Cool guy Kenta Nakamura, another fresh member since Feb. 2010, has worked very hard to develop and release the x86_64 version of Vine Linux 5.

Ryoichi Inagaki, yet another new member, has done excellent job to maintain toolchain, GNOME and KDE packages on Vine Linux.

And me, Kohji Matsubayashi, previously a Mac geek since 1986, joined the Project Vine in 2000, when the Vine Linux 2.0 for Power Macintosh (initially started as my personal project in 1999) was released. Now as a Vice President of the Project (and hopefully Daisuke's right-hand man), I've been always trying to keep in mind to manage the project fresh and ongoing from cool-headed standpoint.


I don't think there are so many non-Japanese people who gets interested in a distribution from the Far East that Japanese people are primarily targeted. But sometimes we've got surprised to get some feedbacks from people abroad. We will always gladly welcome you all over the world who wished to give us any feedbacks, make some contributions to our distribution (from translating our Japanese website/documentations to English, to maintaining specific packages for Vine Linux).

Again, you are always welcome.