Linux Weekly News

Bringing you the latest news from the Linux World.
Dedicated to keeping Linux users up-to-date, with concise news for all interests
Published April 23, 1998

Linux articles
Kernel news
Software Development
Free/Open-Source Software
Links of the week
Feedback and corrections

Other stuff:
The LWN Archives
Our Linux links page
Our Linux Events Calendar
and our new Daily Updates page

And our new Linux Events Calendar!

Leading items

Linus announced "Linus 3.0". According to the announcement all are doing well. Congratulations, Linus!

How do we deal with the "Microsoft Monopoly"? We'll put out a straightforward, though controversial, opinion: Ignore it. Make something better. Given the nature of the technological world, this monopoly is not going to persist. And the best way to usher it out is to put out a better alternative. Those of us in the Linux camp think we have this better alternative. It's just a matter of time, and a lot of work.

Given that point of view, it is a bit disturbing to see the approach being taking by some others. In particular, the emergence of "ProComp", the "Project to Promote Competition and Innovation in the Digital Age," seems misguided. This "project," sponsored by Netscape, Sun, Oracle, and many others, seeks to push aside Microsoft through the use of brute governmental force. Nothing makes this clearer than their choice of spokesmen/lobbyists: Bob Dole and Robert Bork. (See articles in the San Jose Mercury News and Wired News). Declan McCullagh sent around a transcript of a press conference with these two, if you're curious about what they had to say.

These guys know nothing about the subject. When they have spoken out in this area in the past, their opinions have been rather different than the ones they spout now. But they sure have a lot of cronies in the Capitol. If you want to push legislative and judicial action, they're your men.

Ignore for the moment that neither of these men has the greatest success record. Their presence and activities, and especially their sponsorship by much of the industry, just asks for the old "you can't beat their technology, so beat them with the law" criticism. It hands Microsoft the high moral ground on a silver platter. It's bad news.

We can beat them on legitimate battlefields; just look at some of the press below. Two months ago the standard press line was "free/open source software poses no threat to Microsoft." They are singing a different tune now. It's not the time to get distracted with failed politicians and Supreme Court candidates. It's time to push free software forward while the window is wide open.

And what better place exists to push free software than at Linux Expo? Linux Expo has announced the winners of the Geek scholarships! Plans for the Linux Expo are finalizing, so get your registration and plane tickets while you can ...

Comp.os.linux.development.apps has been discussing whether there are technical issues that might prevent an SAS port to Linux, specifically the lack of support for "very large" files, multi-GB. Karsten Self discussed the issue with Alan Cox and posted a good a good summary of what the issues are and how they can be handled. The upshot seems to be a wait for Linux 2.3/4.

Jim Dennis provided us with some notes from the BayLisa meeting with Jeremy Allison of Whistle Communications and a core member of the Samba project. Jeremy talked about the future of Samba, concerns about Microsoft's plans for Kerberos and the dangers of software patents.

Richard Stallman aired his gripes about the BSD software license this week.

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Linux in the news

Infoworld compares Microsoft in the 90's to DEC in the 80's and IBM in the 70's: heading for a fall. The threat on the horizon? "The biggest economic crisis facing Microsoft is the rise of a freeware software movement that is increasingly creating viable software solutions at a rapid pace." Read the full article for more.

There is a similar article in Inter@ctive Week, with a bit of free software history as well.

Feed Magazine asks Where do you want to go tomorrow? The article asks: if we want to go beyond the Microsoft monopoly, what do we really want to create in its place? It talks about structures more then technology, and one point comes through clear: open source.

Feed also uncovered some of the fake letters of support that Microsoft paid to have written. One from the Pope, even...:-)

Simson Garfinkel at the the Boston Globe wrote "Microsoft is not a monopoly. More than 7.5 million computer users around the world are running Linux on their personal computers." The 7.5M number is a bit higher than we've seen elsewhere, but what the heck? The bulk of the article talks about Red Hat, and is quite positive.

Unix and sex? This article at The Independent mixes the two in strange ways. "In short, the free systems mimic life more closely than the proprietary ones".

Freeware goes corporate according to Infoworld. Infoworld has become increasingly interested in open source issues; one hopes the trend continues. "The more established freeware has significantly better technical support than most support help lines".

The Gartner Group studies Unix and NT, and concludes that NT will not push aside Unix anytime soon. They also found Linux in 14% of the sites they surveyed.

More Gartner pronouncements can be found in TechWeb News. Here they predict which flavors of Unix will survive an upcoming shakeout; no free versions are on their list. We think they are missing something ...

Found in UnixWorld: a tutorial on the use of SQL databases for dynamic web pages on Linux systems.

We noticed a column by Dave Winer on scripting languages, open source, and so on. Open source is "another fake panacea". Free software projects are all headed by "white male Unix geeks." Oh, yeah, and he wants to get together with those geeks to make all of the scripting languages compatible with his.

We found another article about Andreessen's "world domination" talk, this one in the Netly News.

Paul Kimoto wrote in again to point out another New York Times article (this one on home networks) that mentions Linux, but leaves Linux out of the links at the end.

The April issue of Byte apparently has a couple of articles featuring Linux. They do not appear on Byte's web site, so I guess interested folks will have to read them on paper.

New Zealand InfoTech Weekly has an article describing the author's experience with a beta version of Windows 98. Pretty much usual stuff... "In the last week nothing has crashed...", " It all looks exactly the same". But toward the end he goes off in a different direction: "I've finally started doing some serious research on what has been one of the Web's best-kept secrets - the extraordinary growth and development of the free operating system Linux". Remember, this was an article about Windows 98...

The MSNBC article foretelling doom and despair as a result of the release of Netscape's source code hasn't convinced anyone. After all, the article states that Netscape's release of source code is ...also an outright challenge to Microsoft... as if that clinches the evidence that Netscape is wrong-headed.

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[Security] Red Hat and Slackware bind fixes have already been mentioned, but somehow we missed the Debian patches. Debian had bind fixes up on their site within a day. They have included them into the frozen Debian 2.0. For people using Debian 1.3.1, check any debian mirror for the bind_8.1.2-0.bo1.deb package under debian/bo-unstable/binary-i386. Many thanks to Joost Kooij, who posted this information to Slashdot today.

A new denial-of-service IP protocol attack has come out. Red Hat has announced a patch which should be applied; patches for the other distributions should be forthcoming as well.

We have received announcements for Red Hat fixes for the following problems; no word yet from the other distributions.

First of all is a fix to the IP fragment attack that actually works for 4.2 systems. The one that went out last Friday apparently wasn't quite ready for prime time. Then there is a glibc bug which allows for denial of service attacks; 5.0 users should probably apply this patch. Finally, there is also an lpr problem with unspecified (but "major") consequences. Note that followups to the lpr problem on bugtraq indicated that the lpr bug has been seen before and most distributions have either included fixes or released patches.

Another security patch from Red Hat; this one fixes a denial of service problem in procps, wherein local users can lock people out of the system. Redhat 4.2 users should also see the followup announcement with fixed paths before trying to get the RPMS.

The Network Security Solutions Conference has issue an announcement and a call for papers. The Conference will be held July 29th and 30th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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[Kernel] The current development kernel release is 2.1.97. Note that Linus, in his announcement says this one is "for brave people only." Reports on the net have been mixed; in many cases people wanting to use this kernel will have to get past some silly compile-time errors first. It's probably best to wait for .98, but we can't tell you when that might come out, since Linus is rather more distracted than usual.

On the 2.0.34 front: Alan Cox released several pre-patches, many of which had problems. If you want to give this one a try, get the "pre11b" patch (unless a newer one appears, of course) in Alan's FTP site. In any case, reading the the pre9 announcement is worthwhile, since it contains a (long!) list of things that are fixed by these patches.

Back to 2.1; stability still evades kmod. This week yet yet another new version was announced by Mikael Pettersson; this one addresses some faults that he saw in previous versions. Adam Richter, co-author of the existing kmod, was unconvinced by some of the changes, but seems to have come around. More talk ensued; it is not clear what is the "real" version of kmod that should go into the next 2.1 kernel at this point. [Kmod is the kernel module loader which replaces kerneld].

Work also continues with capabilities for the 2.1 kernel. Capabilities resemble the old VMS priveleges (for those of us who remember such things); some day they could completely replace the "superuser" idea with a more finely controlled set of abilities attached to processes and files. Thus, for example, a process could be given the ability to bind to a low-numbered port without being given the whole set of root priveleges. Some documentation can be found at this site. This stuff dates from the older "linux-privs" project, but should be mostly right in substance.

Linus has not committed on how much of the capabilities work may get into the 2.2 kernel. It is known that the ext2 file system work needed to attach capabilities to binaries will not happen before 2.3.

Richard Gooch has been busy this week. He released several version of his MTRR patch. This patch, currently at version 14, speeds up video operations on newer Pentium processors. He also got the devfs patch, which provides stable, predictable device naming even when the hardware changes, is up to version 27. The MTRR patch should go to Linus soon, and will probably make it into 2.2. We have seen no indications as to whether devfs will get in or not.

Miquel van Smoorenburg released his rawfs patch. Rawfs allows direct access to disk partitions as if they were large files. This one is clearly not for everyday users, but may have some specialized applications. His announcement is here.

There has been an increase in the number of people reporting kernel problems who are using egcs or gcc-2.8. Folks should remember that the kernel developers are currently quite unsympathetic toward these problems; the Linux kernel is only "supported" with gcc-2.7.2. Newer versions of the compiler will take time...

Since we're a weekly publication, chances are we'll be behind a rev or two on the kernel release by the time you read this page. Up-to-the-second information can always be found at LinuxHQ.
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People in the Debian community were pretty happy to see the Debian GNU/Linux website make the number one spot on the Mining Company "Focus on Linux" top ten.

Red Hat

Some griping has been going on about Red Hat's silently slipping updated RPM's into newer CD's with the same release number. It is nice that Red Hat puts in fixed packages when they cut a new run of CD's. On the other hand, it would be nicer if different versions of the system were marked differently. If I have two 5.0 CD's, which one is current? Red Hat refuses to use minor revision numbers (i.e. 5.0.2) for reasons which have not been made clear.

Red Hat also came out with an updated ypbind that works better with non-Linux NIS servers. 5.0 users with heterogeneous, NIS-managed networks will be pleased with this one.

For people wanting to search RedHat-"related" mailing lists, Fred Noltie pointed out that maintaings archives for 17 different Red Hat mailing lists and they are searchable. A slick feature is that they show the traffic levels for each list, so that potential subscribers know what they are signing themselves up for.

From what we hear, the Red Hat Contrib-Net (RHCN) web-based index may be available as early as next week.


A little bird tells us that the StarOffice-less-ness of S.u.S.E. will not remain forever ...
Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.
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A successful build of Mozilla on the Alpha has been reported at last. "Uncle George" put out his patches and a few people confirmed that they work. "Uncle" used the current development version of LessTif, saying that the released version does not work. There are also reports of successful builds of QtScape using the Uncle George patches. Nobody has put out any binary versions yet.


Jakub Jelinek has put out an updated UltraPenguin 1.0.9 distribution. This is considered a beta version, leading up to the 1.1 release; it's a Red Hat 5, glibc-based system. More information on UltraPenguin (Linux for Sparc Ultra machines) can be found at Jakub's web site.

For those of you who might have been trying to get 2.1 kernel snapshots from James Moody's FTP site: you may have noticed that it has been down for a couple of weeks. James just sent out an announcement saying that he's back on the air, and that a 2.1.95 snapshot is available.

A useful URL for information on Sun hardware was posted: there's lots of good info available at

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[Software Development]


Sergey Nikitin announced his release of JDK1.1.5, version 1.4, complete with 100% Red Hat 5.0 compliance, including the use of the latest version of Motif from Red Hat. The JDK for Linux on CD is still in negotiations. With luck, that will be seen coming out soon.

IBM has released a number of Java tools. These appear to be free to download and use. See their announcement for more info.

John Dockery put out pointers to some interviews of the authors of some up-coming Java books, "Java Cryptography" and "Java Security."

Tya 0.6 has been announced, containing no big speed-ups, but it does clear up some problems seen in tya 0.5 and includes an autoconfig.

The Runtime Plug-in for Linux (Activator) is now available.

Relay-JFC 0.40 has been announced, a beta-version of a free IRC chat client with a user-friendly and intuitive graphical user interface.

Sun's "JDC Tech Tips No. 9" has been released and covers using Java collections, and unpacking Zip files.


The Perl Study Forum is a new site designed to help newbies, as they struggle with the Perl texts, "Learning Perl", "Learning Perl on Win32 Systems", and "Perl Programming". It includes a Bulletin Board System and and an FAQ for each book.

Looking for Perl information, but your preferred language is French, not English? Check out Eric Audet's new mailing list.

Perl Scripts/Modules Announcements:


GUIPy has entered the Beta stage with the announcement of GUIPy 0.6b. GUIPy is a freeware Graphical User Interface module under development for the Python scripting language.

Michael McLay posted a nice note about the Linux Weekly News in comp.lang.python. In it, he happened to mention that we missed the announcement of the latest release of Mailman. Well, a mail message or two later, it seems the announcement didn't make it to a particularly wide forum! So, courtesy of Michael, we now bring you the announcement of mailman v1.0b2.0, a maillist management system with full web-based administration and membership interfaces. ... the first real, full-function beta-level release of V1.

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/ Tips / Announce / Feedback
[Free/Open-Source News]

Free/Open-Source Software News

Bash 2.02 has been publicly announced. This version promises greater POSIX.2 compliance and ksh compatibility. In addition, many memory leaks have been fixed.

The PenguinPlay site and mailing lists are back on-line, for game and multi-media developers interested in GSDK.


Netscape has released the source for Raptor (code name), Netscape's next generation layout engine.

The internationalization of mozilla continues, including projects for support of Bi-directional languages (Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew) and now Thai. Check out mozilla-general for more information.

Network Library documentation has been released. Judson Valeski reports, These docs should give you better insight in the ns/lib/libnet directory.

The internationalization library document is also available on-line. Check out Mozilla i18n & L10n Guidelines and

The Mozilla newsgroups are now available on the Usenet and several new newsgroups/mailing lists have been announced. They include groups for layout, internationalization and BeOS.


The full text of the WINE license is available at Wine Development HQ. There is no requirement regarding author attributions (as had been suggested in postings) and it is definitely not more restrictive than the GPL. A good set of guidelines on licensing issues was suggested in a posting from David Lee Lambert.
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[Articles] None this week, sorry. It's late...  
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Tips / Announce / Feedback  


Package Version Description
Altera 1.1 New SQL Server (Commercial)
angela! 1.24BETA graph editor
apache 1.3b6 Beta version of the world's web server
Bash 2.02 GNU Bourne-Again SHell
consoletools 1998.04.08 modification of Linux standard console utilities
consd 1.0 virtual console management daemon
Csound 3.48 Not sure, but I'm downloading it ...
dancing-linux a rendered 3D-Linux-animation / eyecatcher
fgen 0.3 makefile/dependencies generator for Fortran 77/90
FREEdraft 0.3 a 2D mechanical cad project
GAS/x86 n/a a patch against binutils for full 16 bit code support for GAS/x86
Image Magick 4.0.5 Image manipulation system
isl n/a ISL encapsulation support (kernelpatch)
KDE Beta 4 The K desktop environment
Krossword 0.5 Crossword solver/editor
Libretto 2.0 free C library of generic container types
LinuxCAD n/a a Computer Aided Drafting package (Commercial)
man 1.5c man, man2html, hman documentation utilities
man pages 1.19 over 700 man pages for Linux
Mesa/Vista (Commercial) Groupware project management system
NFR 1.6.2Network Flight Recorder (Commercial)
omix 0.23 mixer under xview
procps 1.2.7 fixes security hole
projector 1.0 a project scheduling tool (Commercial)
QtScapesecond release based on Netscape's 5.0 source code release
SmallCD 0.1beta Small text-mode CD player
tkcdlayout 0.2 to print CD jewel case inserts
Wget 1.5.0 GNU WWW file retrieval utility
ypbind-mt 1.2 NIS binding process (new implementation, multithreaded)
yp-tools 1.99.0 beta NIS (yellow pages) tools
ZMech n/a an interative state machine development tool


Our survey of the week: Karsten Self's SAS User Linux Interest Profile. Karsten is another campaigner for SAS for Linux (not yet available).

The Italian monthly magazine is inviting Italian Linux users to support their plans to increase the amount of space on their CD for Linux programs by letting them know what programs you would like to see.

Also in Italy: a new survey site trying to quantify the use of Linux in Italy. This announcement (in Italian) describes the "Osservatorio Linux" effort and points to their site.


The Free Software Union announced the release of the premiere issue of the 'Open Source Journal, the Magazine for Free Software'. The Journal is volunteer written and produced, and available free.

And to finish up our bits and pieces about paging, we have this indepth message from Jim Dennis, which covers (hopefully!) all the places to look for information about paging software, build paging software, etc. It covers QuickPage again, which we mentioned last week, but also much, much more ...

Web sites

The Woven Goods for Linux Site has refurbished their design. This site provides a large amount of information about Linux including documentation, search engines, etc., plus mirrors of the LinuxFocus and the Linux Gazette. (Note, this site was also in the Mining Co's top ten ...)

Jean-Claude Richard mentioned as a good French resource for sound apps, DSP theory, electronic music and similar matters ...

Another mailing list archive site has opened: The Mail Archive, storing, indexing, and keeping archives of internet mailing lists. Almost every aspect of the archive was done with Linux.

The "AltOS" (alternate operating systems) web site has moved. It can now be found at This is a site with a lot of potential, covering Linux and many other systems as well. is a small, not fancy, link site, updated frequently.

New user groups

The Virginia Tech Linux Users Group is having an organizational meeting (no date provided). Vtlug is a students organization that seeks to bring together Linux users at Virginia Tech.

The Kitsap Penninsula Linux Users Group serves all of Kitsap County Washington. The group is new and seeking new members.

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Linux links of the week

The CGI-resources site is a good source of software for web servers. They have a lot of stuff, though a bit of sifting is required: commercial, shareware, and free programs are freely intermixed.

For French-speaking folks: the "Les Nouvelles Neuves de Linux" page has moved to its own domain: The main site has become another Linux-links site (with an English version too); you'll have to go to their news page for their own Linux news contribution (in French).

Dave Finton has put together a amusing "commercial" for Linux.

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Feedback and Corrections

We mentioned the PC emulation product, Bochs, in the April 9, 1998 edition of LWN. Dave Winer also mentions it in his column. Jim Dennis wrote to point out that in both cases, Bochs was described as a way to run Linux under Windows 95.

A more accurate description (taken from the Bochs web site ) is a portable x86 PC emulation software package that emulates enough of the x86 CPU, related AT hardware, and BIOS to run DOS, Windows '95, Minix 2.0, and other OS's. This commercial product provides source code access under their licensing agreements. If you've been looking for software that will allow you to run Windows 95 under Linux, for example, Bochs might be what you've been looking for.

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