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 June 11, 1998

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

Other stuff:
LWN Archives
Linux Links
Linux Events Calendar
Daily Updates

Leading items

Over the past weeks, we've brought up the Unix98 standard for discussion a couple of times, first voicing our own pessimism about standards and the Unix community and last week introducing feedback from Eric Raymond, who had "walked away happy" from his contacts with the Open Group.

We have continued to receive feedback on this topic, which has ranged from Evan Leibovitch's comment that we were publishing a "conspiracy theory" about the Open Group's new overtures to Linux, to a contact from Ian Nandhra, the one person we've met so far who as actually taken Linux through a three-year standards certification project. As a result, we've invited Ian to introduce the rest of us to what was actually involved, the problems, pitfalls and other lessons he learned, in a small series of guest editorials. From Ian:

Linux Standards are not a new issue. Linux has already been certified to the FIPS151-2 and some utilities have been certified to POSIX2. The history of Linux is amazing, as are the parallels between the development of the Linux and Unix industries.

Over the next few issues, we will explore the world of Standards, UNIX and how the industry works. I hope that by learning from past experiences with Linux and the vast history of UNIX and Windows, we will not make the same mistakes again. I will also present the case that this is very much the Custers Last Stand of UNIX.

As one of the few people who has put Linux through any standardization process, I encourage you to read about my background.

And here is Ian's Editorial on Branding Linux to Unix98.

Please feel free to send comments back directly to Ian or to us.

Richard Stallman sent out an alert on June 3rd, which is still circulating, warning people that we have one last chance to alter this bill before its passage. We strongly urge you to voice your opinions! This is a real opportunity to introduce an alternate perspective. ...the Commerce committee is taking a fresh look at the subject and does not share the pro-publisher bias of the Intellectual Property committee.

In addition to Ralph Nader's letter to IBM suggesting that IBM release the source code to OS/2, (originally mentioned in Slashdot on June 8th), Ralph also sent a letter to Dell. In the letter, Ralph outlines the misinformation that Dell has given out. Dell has recently claimed that they will ship computers without operating systems or with alternative operating systems installed "when doing so is worthwhile to the customer", but when directly contacted by Nader's staff, a single computer cannot be purchased this way. It appears that only very large organizations are "customers." Keep it up, Ralph, it looks like you're starting to get them on the run.

As we warned a few weeks ago, we'll be taking a semi-break next week, so the June 18, 1998 edition will be very short, with most sections left out. Our first page will still be printed and Ian Nandhra's follow-up editorial will be published, along with any user feedback that needs to go in. Take care and we'll be back in trim on Thursday, June 25th!

Got some feedback, some news to publish, or something else you would like to tell us? is our address.

Or would you like to be notified when new editions of the Linux Weekly News are published? Click here and send a blank message.

Please see our contact page for other contact information.

Here is the permanent site for this page.

Need top-quality commercial Linux support? Please see our Linux support page.


Linux in the news

This week was a tremendous week for news of Linux in the more mainstream media.

From Infoworld, we saw three new Linux articles on Monday.

They've even organized a "Focus on FreeWare" page, with links to past articles, resources and more.

Sanford Langbart sent us a pointer to this article in Infoworld about Linux and the Titanic. So the more mainstream press is a little slow; it's still nice that they catch on eventually. "One need only look at the smashing success of the movie Titanic to know open source code is ready for prime time."

The C|Net folks have finished out their Project Heresy, wherein they went the month of May using only Linux. The results are available in RealAudio format. "Is a Linux PC for you? Depends on who you are. " Thanks to Benji Selano for pointing this one out to us.

The Linux Story - parts 1 & 2 was published by ZDnet. Linux is becoming a respected and relied upon operating system...

And their columnist John Dodge has a few words to say about Linux as well, none of them worth hearing, a fact he admits in the first few sentences of the article.

But our preferred ZDnet article this week was on Extreme Linux.

The Chicago Tribune reported Linux powers many area businesses. "With Linux, you get big bang for your effort," Valavanis explains. "It's the fastest OS in existence. They also asked, Can Linux threaten Windows? Their answer is yes, but only in specific niche markets.

One that we missed in last week's newsletter: Tiny Red Hat Linux Takes On Microsoft in Computer Reseller News. They also ran an article about Linus and his Linux Expo talk.

TechWeb put out a report on the Linux Expo, focusing on Linus. TechWeb has a brief article on the latest version of Apache.

The Chicago Tribune printed a standard introduction article to Linux today. Nothing new or exciting. Perhaps now that the topic has been introduced, we will see additional, more useful articles. Thanks to Herng-Jeng Jou for the pointer.

No mention of Linux here, but the words Skip NT 5.0 sound good anyway.

  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  
[Security] Chris Evans has started a project to coordinate an effort to audit core linux components, daemons, suid binaries, etc. They have formed a mailing list to facilitate the project, but they have promised to send all their findings to bugtraq and linux-security, so there is no need to sign onto the mailing list unless you want to get directly involved.

In addition, Chris has put together a page listing outstanding security problems with Red Hat 5.1, which is getting notice and bug fix reports from Red Hat.

Here is the Cisco Field Notice for the PIX private link key processing and cryptography. This should be of interest only to people currently using Cisco's PIX firewall.

Craig Rowland has written a paper on running BIND in a chroot() environment. The paper is largely based on Adam Shostack's work under Solaris. Craig has re-written the paper to cover Linux, though his experience running BIND chroot() under Linux is limited, so feedback has been solicited.

A /tmp security flaw has been reported in Accelerated X 4.1. Hopefully a fix for this will be available soon.

  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  
[Kernel] Linux 2.1.105 was announced on June 7th. Alan Cox's patches for 2.1.105 are up to ac4.

2.0.106-pre1 is already cropping up in conversations ...

Recent 2.1.x kernels have the MS_NODIRATIME kernel patch applied and some ad-hoc reports indicate that the performance improvements as a result are tremendous. A patched version of mount-2.7 is required to take advantage of this. A patch for 2.0.34 has been created.

For those concerned that 2.1.105 is not detecting your Cyrix CPUs correctly, a patch for this problem has been created by Rafael Reilova and posted to linux-kernel. This has not been tested or included in any kernel so far. [Our apologies ... the link to this patch was bad, so we removed it.] >

Kernel 2.0.34was released at last this week. Folks who want to upgrade should remember one thing: the 2.0 kernels really need to be compiled with gcc 2.7.2 or thereabouts. Using 2.8 or egcs is asking for trouble.

One confirmed bug already reported in 2.0.34 involves the handling of BSD type TCP KeepAlive probing. Alan Cox is looking at work-arounds to get back to the 2.0.33 behavior.

Martin Baulig has put up a Request-for-Comment on his proposal to add a new system call to the Linux Kernel that would fetch information from the /proc filesystem in a manner similar to the table() function of DEC OSF/1.

For those people looking for linux drivers on and being turned away, note that mirrors for the drivers are available, such as the VA Research mirror.

This may not be news to everyone, but we were glad to hear that Adaptec has changed their stance and will now be providing better information to the Linux community. The Red Hat hardware compatibility guide confirmed this and now places the Adaptec cards on their Tier-1 supported list.

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.
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  

The Apokalypse distribution, from Al Guerra Enterprises, is a preliminary release of a Linux distribution for PowerPC-based Macintoshes.


Caldera is currently asking for your Linux Success Story. A PalmPilot will go to the customer with the best story for the month ...


The Debian SPARC project received a boost with Kachina Technologies' announcement of support for the project, including plans to offer Debian/Sparc 2.0 on CD and as a pre-installed system, once available. Kachina has provided a variety of hardware and other support to the project, hosts Scientific Applications on Linux (SAL), and will provide developers or early users preloaded systems at below cost to show their support and appreciation.

Jim Pick is starting a project to port Debian to the new Corel NetWinder. More information can be found at the project web-site.

David Welton recently announced on debian-developer that the ircII code is being put under a license that conforms to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. The license will match the provisions of the BSD license without the advertising clause. Many thanks to David for his work!

Red Hat

Red Hat has announced their automated bug tracking system. Over 150 bugs are already in the database, though only one is listed as critical. Please note that bugs in the software in the Red Hat Contrib|Net repository have a separate bug report page. Bug reports will no longer be accepted via email.

Eric Kidd also sent in some impressions on the Red Hat 5.1 upgrade. His favourite part: linuxconf. Then he tried the upgrade on a laptop and a server. He's provided some good information to know in advance as a result.

The Red Hat Linux User's FAQ has been updated again. The new format has been improved to work better with both frame and non-frame clients and many new items have been added.

Yet another set of X11 holes has been found, and patches are coming out. See Red Hat's announcement for updated RPM's; we have not yet seen announcements from the other distributions. Note that these are longstanding holes; systems both new and old should be patched.

Robert Hart's article on Red Hat's Certification Program is available on his homepage.


The current S.u.S.E. release schedule now includes a 5.3, to ship in mid to late August. The beta version of 6.0 may be available in September with the stable 6.0 release in November.
Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  


Predictions are that Samsung will spin off a new subsidiary to market the Alpha chips while Compaq absorbs Digital's chip design team.


Progress is being made on audio, with another new snapshot from Derrick Brashear out. This is based on 2.0.

RedHat 5.1 updates for Sparc are starting to appear on the RedHat FTP site, but the actual 5.1 release is not here yet. "Hold your horses!" they say ... however, there still won't be audio support in 5.1.

  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  
[Software Development]


Karl Asha has put up a test of the jitterbug bug tracking system on We expect that will be put to good use, and quickly.

Tya 0.7 has been released.

The rumors from Slashdot are that Sun may be relaxing their Java license. It is all still in the rumor stage, but this would be a great move for Sun!

Sergey Nikitin has released his JDK 1.1.6v1.2 compiled with libc5.


Perl Scripts/Modules Announcements:

An official Call-For-Vote for comp.lang.perl.moderated has been posted, so we should hear soon whether or not the new group will be created. This is one moderator's job that this editor would not want to take on ...

Nathan Torkington provided his slant on why you should go to the Perl Conference 2.0. Sounds like fun to me ...


Dave Mitchell claims to have found the REAL Python Mascot. Guido says the mascot has put on weight ...
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free
/ Announce / Feedback
[Free/Open-Source News]

Free/Open-Source Software News

The Formal Announcement of Gimp 1.0 made it through c.o.l.a, and since we've been talking about it for so long, we needed to give it some fanfare. If you haven't tried the Gimp out yet, the time has come!

The announcement for Gnome 0.20 has been reposted, with corrections. It is now called a "pseudo" beta-release.

Apache 1.3.0 has been released. It should be the most stable version of Apache we've yet seen as well as faster. The primary enhancements include Dynamic Shared Object (DSO) support and reliable piped logs, both of which are welcome additions.


Some new cluster manager system tools are in final testing, but are also available for down-load as is.

Robert G. Brown posted his response to the recent PC Week article on Beowulf.


Other benefits from Open Source development that are now being reported include improved documentation (vastly needed!). Although only software documentation has come out so far, planned projects include better source-code documentation as well.

The latest Mozilla newsletter notes that the fourth tarball is out and plans are for a new tarball a month. Mail and News supposedly build but are not stable, Mozilla builds with GTK (barely), NGLayout builds on Unix and the CVS server will be getting some friends, much to many people's delight.

And the Jazilla group has started doing regular reports.


We've seen the first report of Word 97 loading up and staying up under Wine 980601! Well, only for a few seconds, but it is a definite step forward.
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  
        News/Press Releases]

Linux and the Commercial World

Drive Image is a commercial product for backups, repair and system assembly and it lists support for Linux partitions.

Press Releases:

  • Kachina Technologies has announced support of the Debian Sparc distribution.
  • O'Reilly has announced the new book "Protecting Networks with SATAN" by Martin Freiss
  • Compatible Systems has added Linux client software to IntraPort VPN Access Servers
  • MicroEdge, Inc.'sVisual SlickEdit(R)-Tornado Edition is supported on the Linux platform
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  

Software Releases over the past Week

Thank you for voting on the software announcements. The votes ran in favor of dropping this section, but not by a lot.

For those concerned that some announcements might slip through the cracks, we are now collaborating with Freshmeat, sending them announcements we find that they might have missed. In return, they have provided us with a list of all software released over the past week, which we have processed to resemble our normal format, though our brief, one-line descriptions are unfortunately missing.

No official poll this time, but please let us know what you think of this compromise.

Anxiety 1.0.0
Apache 1.3.0
Audio File Library 0.1.2
Bero Offline Mail 1.0.0pre1
Blender 1.34
CAMP 1.1.956
CCF: An Application Sharing and Collaboration Environment
Crystal Space 0.10
Doc Welder 0.5b9
Fetchmail 4.4.9
FileRunner 2.5
Free Security Solutions
FreeType 1.1
Freeciv 1.6.3
GIMP 1.0
GNOME 0.20
GXdesktop 0.2
GXedit 1.03
Gtk-- 0.9.5
INN 2.0
ImageMagick 4.0.7
KDat snapshot 19980609
KeyNote 0.1
Lesstif 0.85
Libc 5.4.45
Linux 2.0.34
Linux 2.1.105
Linux JDK 1.1.6v1
Linux LDAP Code
Lynx 2.8.1dev14
Mozilla Source Tarballs
NcFTP 3.0beta12
PCI Utilities 1.05
PHP 3.0 final
PRCS 1.2.8
PURP 0.3.0
Paai's Text Utilities
Slackware 3.5 Beta 2
Socket Script 1.14
Tk3play 2.0d
WN 2.0.0
Webalizer 1.12-07
Webmin 0.52
X-Mame 0.31.1 and 0.33b4.1
Xfstt 0.9.9
Xgfe 2.0
Xlab 0.8.2
Xplore 1.0a
Xqmixer 1.5
Xscreensaver 2.19
Xwhois 0.1.0
Xwrits 2.6
Zipper! 1.6.1
console-tools 1998.06.03
eMusic DR0.5
egcs snapshot 980608
icewm 0.9.5
kcmbind 0.2.0
linleech 2.1.0
procps 1.2.8
radiusContext 1.20
rpm2html 0.94
rpm2html/rpmfind 0.95


Pretty Secure Linux? PSL is the acronym for the yet-another potential new distribution. The announcement drew a bit of fire. No one disputes the goal (security plus speed on a minimized system), but they do dispute the need for a new distribution to meet that goal. However, since they are just beginning, only time will tell whether or not they have hit upon something useful.

A new group has formed to work on the Colaborative Computing Framework, a system supporting shared X applications.

The Free CASE development project has been announced for people working on Computer Aided Software Engineering.

For those who still take pride in being called a hacker, see the Hacker Anti-Defamation League.

We used to have a survey of the week ... well, so far for this week, we've found the Sunworld Online What does free software mean to you ? survey.


There is now a weekly email newsletter in French called Free end User.


Don't forget next week's Usenix Conference and the Unix vs. NT debate, in San Francisco on June 16th.

Web sites

Described as "The coolest Linux Page Ever", it's linuxwrld.

Open Source Geographical Information System (GIS) software is the topic for this new web page. The announcement of the site has prompted a few questions and comments regarding its relation to existing open-source software such as GRASS. No comments from the web-site author yet.

A new listing of 200 companies doing Linux business has been anounced.

If you need more help with Linux, see this new Linux Help Page.

New user groups

New Mailing Lists

There is now a mailing list for the Texinfo project.
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  

Linux links of the week

For those of you who missed Lars Wirzenius' presentation or paper entitled "Linux Anecdotes" at the Linux Expo, you can take a look at it on his web-site. It is a personal glimpse into the "early years" of Linus and definitely amusing!
  Top / News / Security / Kernel / Dists / Ports / Devel / Free / Announce / Feedback  

Feedback and Corrections

Alf Stockton sent us a link for Year 2000 information relative to Linux. This is a site dedicated to the Y2k problem and the development of free solutions.

David Fred sent us some additional notes from the Linux Expo.

Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! This page is produced by Eklektix, Inc.