[LWN Logo]

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

 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

Other stuff:
Contact us
Daily Updates

Here is the permanent site for this page.

Leading items

This issue of the Linux Weekly News is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan B. Postel. Mr. Postel, as most readers will know, died last week of complications from heart surgery. He will be much missed.

Jon Postel was one of the founding fathers of the Internet. His hand can be seen in many of the protocols we now depend on. He was, the keeper of the RFC (Request For Comments) series of documents which, in a very real sense, comprises the open source code of the net. He ran the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for its entire history. His dedication to openness and rational network engineering had much to do with the success that the net enjoys today.

And the net is important. It seems self evident that Linux, and all that goes with it, would never have been possible without the net. Without a medium to distribute the system, collect contributions, and work with developers all over the globe, Linux would have had a hard time getting off the ground. Our community requires the net.

Jon Postel was one of the builders of the net. We all owe him a "thank you" for what he did for us.

Many other testimonials to the life of Jon Postel have been posted, some by people who knew him well. Please have a look at these messages from Dave Crocker and Vint Cerf. You may also want to read this New York Times article about Postel, though you will have to register or use the "cypherpunks" dodge.

We got a note from Andy Partizio of CMP regarding whether Oracle will be supporting a version of Linux. Recall that last week's editorial was on this subject, following an article in Computing Magazine to this effect. The word that Andy got from Oracle is that Oracle does not plan to get into the Linux systems business. Thus last week's editorial addressed a fictional situation, but it still applies to the (likely) future, when some large corporation does venture into the Linux support arena. In retrospect, more investigation on our part would have been appropriate, however.

Along those lines, expect some changes to occur with the Linux Weekly News, driven by a number of forces. First of all, as the Linux world gets larger and more complicated, LWN gets harder and harder to write. The amount of time involved in the creation of an issue of LWN has increased to the point where it is hard to sustain. We do not regret a second of the effort it has taken to do this newsletter, but our families are getting grumpy. If LWN is to continue to grow and thrive, it needs to become more of a day job.

LWN consumes other resources as well. If you are reading this on Thursday, you will be well aware of the fact that LWN has long since grown beyond what our net connection can carry. We are working on this: more bandwidth is at hand. But we'll have to pay for that bandwidth.

Finally, the Linux online publishing world is starting to get more crowded. LinuxWorld went online this week, signalling the arrival of the mainstream trade press. There are stirrings of other new publications as well. If LWN is not to fade away under a storm of well-funded competition, we are going to have to become more professional in how we do things. Better researched stories, wider coverage of the Linux world, etc. No more editorials about situations we have not been able to check out.

So LWN is at a turning point. We could retire, let the trade press take over, and regain a lot of time in our lives. But we don't want to do that. We feel we have something to offer the Linux world. We want to be here next year.

What this all means is that LWN has to earn money, somehow. The web currently allows a couple of models for online publications: subscriptions and advertising. Subscriptions, with the baggage that come with them (i.e. restricted content that could not be redistributed) do not fit well into the free software philosophy. So it has to be ads. Some of the groundwork has already been laid; expect to see advertising on the LWN pages shortly. Initially, ads will be sold through an ad network, meaning they could have little relevance to the Linux world. We will change that as soon as possible. (Companies interested in advertising with LWN are encouraged to contact us at lwn@lwn.net).

We thank you for your support over this last year, and please stay with us as we try to improve.

Speaking of needed improvements, we forgot last week to mention that the nationwide Linux installfest in France was a rousing success. Stéfane Fermigier reports that things went very well despite the highly improvised nature of the event in many locations, and that many new user groups will be formed. Interested parties can read the reports (in French) from the many events spread out over the country.

Stephen Adler has put up a full report of his experiences at the Fall Internet World 98 conference. Quite a bit of fun to read (warning, it's long).

Keep an eye on our daily page this week for reports from the Atlanta Linux Showcase.

October 22, 1998



 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Security page.


Olaf Kirch reported that systems running libc5.3.X (libc5) may still be vulnerable to the mountd exploits, even after upgrading to recent NFS packages. This is due to a bug in the older libc which causes a 1 byte overrun, which is sufficient to allow a root compromise. Until an nfs-server update is available (Olaf will be releasing one soon) that checks for this potential problem, you will need libc-5.4 (glibc) or newer to be safe. Even this may not be sufficient if you use directory names greater than 40 characters, due to another bufferrun in the newer libc packages.

Olaf attached a patch for libc to his report for those that wish to close this immediately. The first set of repaired packages have been announced by S.u.S.E.. It specifically mentions both the nfsserver problems and the libc5 hole. Expect to see followups from the other distributions soon.

Dan Brumleve published the existence of yet another Netscape security problem, this one being an exploitable MIME type buffer overflow. It can be used to crash the browser and potentially compromise root, though the latter has not yet been demonstrated.

Fyodor published a list of operating system preferences at major security sites, which he garnered off the net using his latest version of nmap, a utility for port scanning large networks. Of course his choice of what is a major security site is presumably biased, but the results are fun in any case. No surprise to us, Linux was most popular, followed by other Unices. The version of nmap he used won't be released for a while yet.

Sandia Labs has announced what they call the world's smallest combination lock. The device uses microelectromechanical system (MEMS) and contains a series of tiny notched gears "so small that a microscope is required to see them" and is touted as much more reliable than software, since it is less subject to manipulations. (Pointer to the article was found in the ISN mailing list.)

The 1999 Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium will be held in February, in San Diego, CA. Tutorials are also offered, in addition to the primary program. See the web site for more information.

October 22, 1998


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is still 2.1.125, no new releases have come out in the last week. There is a 2.1.126 pre2 patch from October 17. On top of that, the adventurous can apply Alan Cox's 2.1.126pre2ac2 patch. This patch adds a lot of fixes and other goodies; see the 2.1.126pre2ac2 announcement for a list of what's there.

Alan Cox's 2.2 jobs list contains the list of things that still need to be fixed before 2.2 goes out.

Insufficient jiffies? This week's big debate was what to do about the "jiffies wraparound" bug. "Jiffies" is an internal kernel variable which is incremented each clock tick; it is used in a number of places to deal with short intervals of time. Given its resolution, it overflows and wraps back to zero after about 490 days of uptime. This problem has been around forever, but changes in the 2.1 kernel make the effects of the wraparound much more severe; in some cases, at least, the system dies.

The problem is widespread through the Linux kernel, and any fix requires changing a lot of code. That makes a fix for 2.2 unlikely, especially since Linus is not worried about the problem.

Alex Buell is looking for a wider audience for his Framebuffer HOWTO before moving its status to 1.0. If you are interested in reviewing his HOWTO and providing comments, check out the current draft and drop Alex a line.

A call went out to create a white paper on Linux kernel performance. The point here is to evaluate the performance characteristics of the current kernel, and to look at ways in which the design of the kernel can be improved for better performance and scalability. Participants are being recruited; see the announcement if you're interested.

An announcement has been made regarding the (perhaps unfortunately named) NADS (Network Architecture Discovery and Switching) project. This project seems to be trying to allow for networks to be served by multi-homed servers without the need to use subnetting. This is a school project, so something will actually likely be completed by their deadline.

Work on the NFS server continues, headed up by H.J. Lu. A milestone was reached this week when an obnoxious Solaris interoperability bug was tracked down and squashed. The rescue of NFS (version 2, UDP) for 2.2 is looking to be near completion.

A new version of the system and kernel log daemon is out. Version 1.3-27 fixes a number of problems and works with latter-day 2.1 kernels.

October 22, 1998

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.


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Distributions page.



For those who have been waiting for the Caldera update script that can upgrade from Caldera 1.1 directly to the new 1.3, the script is now available.


Apt 0.1.7 has been released. The announcement covers the changes in the new version, which seem to primarily include issues with the stdc++ library and fixes for a glitch in file URI handling.

The Spanish magazine "Linux Actual" is featuring three articles on Debian GNU/Linux. No on-line versions are currently available. For more information, see the Debian announcement.

Compaq has donated a nice Alpha system to the Debian Project. We're sure it will quickly be put to good use.

The Debian freeze took place on schedule. Sounds like the party was a lot of fun. You can find some "Favorite Quotes from the Party" at the same site that held the freeze countdown.


The latest news from Mandrake includes an update to the Linux-Mandrake website, the planned release of the Official Linux Mandrake Guide, a Russian edition, and much more. Perhaps most importantly, they will be quickly moving to found a commercial entity. They are still looking for more people who wish to participate. Check their news for more information.

Red Hat

The Red Hat Secure Web Server 2.0 just won the NetWorld+Interop Data Communications/LanTimes Network Applications Category of the Best of Show awards, according to our sources at Red Hat.

Alan Cox fans may want to check out his latest editorial for linux.org.uk.


S.u.S.E. will be running two booths at the Atlanta Linux Showcase starting today. They plan a fairly large presence and will be demonstrating both the base S.u.S.E. distribution and the Office Suite 99 package. They are hoping to have received the first set of Office Suite 99 CDs by our press time, but no confirmation has come in as of yet.

S.u.S.E. now has available packages for Qt-1.41 and KDE 1.0 linked against the new version of Qt.


Our attention was drawn this week to the "Dragon Linux" distribution. Dragon Linux's niche is that it is a very small (25MB) system which installs via UMSDOS on top of a running DOS system. The Dragon Linux page has all the information and downloads.

October 22, 1998

Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


The Blackdown Java-Linux JDK Porting Team for PowerPC has announced their version 1 port of Sun's JDK 1.1.7 for the MkLinux, Linux-PMac, and LinuxPPC platforms. They sent special thanks to the Blackdown x86 porting team, particularly to Juergen Kreileder for almost all of the work to get the 1.1.6 diffs to work on 1.1.7 with no regressions!

The latest JDC Tech Tips concentrates on improving I/O performance using buffers and Jar file manifests.


The first issue of the Python Journal is available. (Thanks to NNL.)

Also regarding Python: Eric Raymond now recommends Python as a first programming language in his Hacker HOWTO. "If you don't know any computer languages, I recommend starting with Python. It is cleanly designed, well documented, and relatively kind to beginners. Despite being a good first language, it is not just a toy; it is very powerful and flexible and well suited for large projects."

LLNLDistribution.tgz is a full source distribution for several LLNL-managed packages, including NumPy, CXX, Gist and others. The release notes for the distribution cover where to get it and specific changes in the latest version.

A brief weekly newsletter of interesting Python posts and announcements seems to have popped up. It is called "Python-URL," and you can read this week's issue to see what it's like, and to get subscription information.

Version 0.20 of xmlarch, an XML architectural forms processor, has been released.


Version 1.0 of TkApache was released Monday, October 19th. TkApache is a configuration tool built with Perl/Tk. It is currently in a development stage, but a feature freeze was called in order to get a stable product for ApacheCon. If you are interested in more information, check out the TkApache homepage.

October 22, 1998



Development projects

LinuxPower has published an interview with Rasterman, Mandrake, and Technoir concerning the Enlightenment window manager and its future.

Alan Robertson has started a web page for high-availability Linux. It is just a start and he is looking for comments/additions.


Geoff Hutchison of the ht://Dig project tells us that the 3.1.0b2 release should be out soon, with recent work on a nasty bug in the database code finally completed. He also mentioned that he's looking for programmers interested in improving the accuracy of searches as well as information on a GPL-compatible HTTP/1.1 implementation. If you are interested, contact Geoff directly.


Guile 1.3 was released on Tuesday. GUILE is the GNU extension language, which is planned to be linked into all GNU programs that call for extensibility. It is a library implementation of the Scheme language, with additional facilities. The abridged release notes indicate that the new version contains some bug fixes, improvements to the C API, easier compilation and linking for C code that uses Guile and more.

The Electric VLSI Design System is now available from the Free Software Foundation site.


This linuxconf FAQ page now allows people to add entries to the FAQ database. The author, Friedrich Lobenstock, welcomes comments. If you don't find the answer you want there, you may want to try Jeremie Wood's Linuxconf on Red Hat 5.1 FAQ. It is unofficial and does not have a search interface, but it appears to have some good information.

 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Computer Associates has announced an open beta period for its Ingres II database engine. The beta version can be obtained for free from CA's web site. Be warned, though, that it has a rather short fuse: the beta version expires on December 2, 1998. (Those interested can also read a short Sm@rt Reseller article about Ingres on Linux).

Andreas Sikkema wrote in to give us a pointer to a firewall for Linux now available from IONA Technologies. Their emphasis is Inter-ORB support. The arrival of the Inter-ORB Interoperability Protocol (IIOP) means that CORBA is now ready for the Internet. The availability of the Firewall for Linux can be confirmed on their availability page.

There is an article in Red Herring about how the Google search engine is being turned into a commercial endeavor. The article never mentions it, but Google runs on Linux.

A couple more Linux system VAR's have announced their presence this week. Sunset systems seems to specialize in low-cost systems ("Home of the $500 Linux computer"). Wheat Computers sells systems preinstalled with the Mandrake distribution and KDE.

Cobalt Networks (maker of cool, low-cost, Linux-based servers) has found a big-league investor in the form of France Telecom; see Cobalt's press release for more. (Found in NNL).

Press Releases:

  • Exide Electronics was selected as the official UPS provider for the Atlanta Linux Showcase
  • alphaWorks has put out a variety of new Java packages
  • IDG Web Publishing Inc., announcing the launch of LinuxWorld.
  • Arcnet, putting out a CD with some Linux drivers on it.
  • Check Point Software Technologies, IP address management system.
  • SciComp, Inc., "SciFinance" derivative pricing system. Prices start at $100,000.
  • Arm Holdings, new generation of ARM processors.
  • Oracle, "Internet seminars", try and buy Oracle for Linux on the web.
  • M-Systems single-chip flash disk.
  • Xi Graphics is shipping a limited quantity edition of a new product
  • LSL is shipping a CD with Red Hat's Rawhide
  • MathSoft and Red Hat are partnering to sell the S-Plus data analysis system.
  • Alteon, Gigabit ethernet for Linux.
  • Objectivity announces support for their object database on Linux.
  • Allaire has finally officially announced their much-rumored port of Cold Fusion to Linux.

October 22, 1998


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Linux in the news page.

Linux in the news

The character of the coverage of Linux in the press changed somewhat this week, perhaps due to a couple of factors. The Microsoft trial is dominating the technology headlines, with the result that many of the mentions of Linux were made in that context. Numerous articles made passing mention of Linux as an alternative to Windows; we have not listed those here. It may also be true that the wave of coverage resulting from Intel's investment in Red Hat is subsiding somewhat.

Anyway, here are the trial-related articles that are worth passing on:

  • Salon Magazine's coverage is thorough and well done, as usual. Linux comes in toward the end. "A frontal assault on Microsoft is always going to be a losing battle. But there are other approaches. Today, the one worth paying attention to arises from the Linux camp of free software/open source code advocates. They're the first Microsoft challengers who don't want to become 'the next Microsoft' -- and that gives them both a leg up in popular support and a strategic advantage." (Found in Linux Reviews).

  • This article in The Register discusses Microsoft's use of Linux as evidence that Windows is not a monopoly. " As regards the small matter of Microsoft's dominant position in the OS market, [Microsoft attorney] Warden pointed out that the company's position is by no means unassailable, and cited Linux as the evidence. 'As Linus Torvalds has shown, one person in Helsinki, Finland ... can quickly write the core of a sophisticated operating system now used by millions of people.'"

  • In response to the above claim, another article in The Register attempts to respond to Microsoft's claim that Linux was written by a single individual. The author estimates the true cost of Linux, thus far, to be approximately $4 billion. About another $200m is estimated as being necessary to be truly competitive with Windows. "But the point Microsoft's attorney was failing to make, and should have made, is that it can be seen to be possible, from the Linux experience, for a single individual to start a massive ball rolling, ultimately placing that individual's innovation in a position to challenge Microsoft.... The funny part, we reckon, is that Microsoft can't comprehend an explanation that doesn't involve just one person driving. "

  • Here is a long and reasonably interesting article about free software in Inter@ctive Week. The setting is the Microsoft trial, but they move past that quickly, making the point that the software world tends to change out from under companies quickly. "If this drive is true, it means the ability of one company to maintain a stranglehold over any key aspect of computing will draw to an end."

  • The Indian newspaper The Hindu has an article with most of the usual stuff. They finish up with: "In India, in recent weeks a few straws in the local ``hawa'' suggest that the ``poor person's UNIX'' - Linux - is gaining increasing popularity as a desktop medium, in this cost conscious market, precisely for the reasons Internet Explorer was first embraced - because it is free. If enough Indian software developers work to create Linux based utilities and Internet interfaces, this could yet create a new operating system option here, and make Microsoft's present troubles a non-issue."

There was a small run of introductory articles in the overseas (non-U.S.) press.

  • This one in the Indian magazine Computers Today is long and uniformly positive. They have an interesting and different take on some things: "Linux does not require a graphical user interface, while NT does. Graphics require incredible amounts of disk space and memory. The same holds true for sound files, so vital to Microsoft's operating systems. Overall, there is consensus among IT professionals, that Linux greatly outperforms NT." Thanks to Yogesh Wadadekar.

  • Thomas Tanner sent us a link to this story (in German) in IT-Sales. It's a general introductory article with emphasis on Intel's investment. (For those who don't read German, here is the Babelfish link, but it's only a slight improvement on the original).

  • The Financial Times has a fairly standard introductory article online. This is a registration-required site, but the usual "cypherpunks/cypherpunks" combination will get you in. (Found in LinuxToday).

  • ABC News also ran a long introductory article, focussing on Red Hat Software. "In the end, no matter who sells packaged versions, Linux will remain Linux. And it will still be available free." (Thanks to Mike Leddy).
Then, there was the negative press. Not much of it, but enough to get a good sign of what is likely to come.

  • Certainly one of the most striking media events of the week was this open letter (in French)from the new head of Microsoft France, in Multimédia. It includes, among other things, some pretty serious attacks on Linux. From the Babelfish translation: "Linus Torvald [sic] left the university last year to join a Californian company. The development of Linux since slowed down considerably. In the same way, the maintenance of each functionality of Linux depends on the mobilization of the teams. Thus, certain functionalities have not known updating for two years." There is rather more than just this.

    Those who want to read the whole thing can see a complete English translation pieced together from Babelfish output (and lightly edited) by Karsten Self. There was also a Slashdot article posted by Sengan which includes a translation of most of the interesting parts, an extensive refutation of the attacks on Linux, and, for the masochistic, well over 300 comments.

    The obvious conclusion is that Microsoft is beta-testing its FUD strategy in France, well away from the American antitrust circus. Expect to see more where this came from.(Thanks to Olivier Montanuy for pointing this one out).

  • Here is a dismissive piece in ComputerWorld entitled Looking for the Great Microsoft Alternative. It's one of these "there's no hope" columns. "It would be nice to believe that where shortsighted vendors have failed, individuals and the spirit of the community will triumph. It would be a bit like a scene from It's A Wonderful Life. But, although Linux and Apache Software are intriguing, the reality is that the tide is slowly going out on shareware, just as it is for the Internet standards bodies." Shareware??
There were actually a couple more technically oriented articles. These include:

  • TechWeb covered the upcoming 2.2 kernel release. The article is accurate so far as it goes, though it harps on the lack of USB support (a true shortcoming) and misses a number of 2.2 features, like greatly improved network performance, Coda file system, etc.

  • This article in The Register takes Linux to task for its lack of support for the USB and FireWire busses, and suggests that Intel might help address those deficiencies. (Thanks to Didier Legein).

  • Nicholas Petreley has discovered the Coda distributed filesystem. Coda, of course, is part of the 2.1 development kernel, and will thus be widely available with 2.2.

  • This article in Federal Computer Week talks about PC clusters in many forms, including the Beowulf variety. They discuss LANL's "Avalon" cluster (now up to 140 nodes) briefly.
Some articles about Linux in the commercial world:
  • WRAL TV (a Raleigh, NC TV station) has a feature on Red Hat Software. Portions are available via RealAudio. "Red Hat's success is attributed to its customer support and reliability. Young says the company may double in size soon and move into bigger quarters." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • Sergey Dmitriev pointed us to "New Media News", which has a couple of Linux-related features. Here is one about Linus, and another about Cobalt Networks. New Media News is actually a television thing, seemingly associated with KRON TV in the San Francisco Bay area. The above features were aired on this station; "RealMedia" versions are available on the web site (click on the little "video" thing near the top).

  • Computer Reseller News covered S.u.S.E.'s "Office Suite 99". "Sales of the suite could be a strong indication of the number of Linux desktop users, as opposed to server users, McNeil said. Since Linux is freely distributed and easily downloaded, it has been difficult to gauge precisely how many users the alternative operating system has."

  • EE Times ran an article about Avant! porting its electronic design automation (EDA) tools to Linux. "According to Gary Smith, principal EDA analyst at Dataquest Inc. (San Jose), the trouble with Linux is support. He told of one EDA vendor that sold four Linux products, all using different Linux versions, requiring four support people for four orders. The vendors who are now adopting Linux said times are changing. EDA on Linux has become considerably easier, they said, due to commercial support from Red Hat Software; availability of ancillary products, such as debuggers, under Linux; and the desire of some customers to plug PC hardware into existing Unix networks."

  • ZDNet reviews Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. "With Caldera OpenLinux 1.3, Caldera has dressed Linux up in a gray flannel suit and is sending it to work."

  • Compaq opens up to Linux in TechWeb explores Compaq's recent announcements. "So far, Compaq hasn't made major investments in Linux development, nor is it offering Linux with its computers. Instead, it will focus on ensuring that Linux works on its Intel and Alpha computers and publish device specifications so device drivers can be written for all of its hardware."
Here's a grab-bag of the other articles that came out this week:
  • Time ran a personality piece about Linus Torvalds which would have been better suited for a magazine like People. "Pale, fleshy groupies surround him on all sides, adoration in their eyes. Some are overwhelmed, speechless in his presence. Some ask for his autograph; some just want to thank him for all that he's done for them. Some call him a god and want to be among his disciples, helping spread the word." (Thanks to Dwight Johnson on the linux-biz list).

  • APC Magazine has published their Best of 1998 awards. The winner of the "Just plain cool award" is Red Hat 5.1, and the Gimp got the "Productivity software" award.

  • Also in the awards category: the Mining Company "Focus on Linux" has announced its "Best of the net" awards.

  • There is a brief mention in this Computer Currents editorial about the state of the computer industry. "Like sex in high school, everyone's talking about Linux, but is anyone doing it?"

  • Here is an interview with Linus in Finnish. (We're told this one really is in Finnish....) The title, evidently, is "King of the nerds," and Samuli Karkkainen, who sent it in to us, says it's one of the best he has ever read.

  • This Performance Computing "Unix Riot" column suggests (at the very end) that HP may support Linux on their PA-RISC architecture.

  • IBM's new release of Apache is the subject of this Sun World article. "The new additions include technology for increasing Apache's speed by up to three times, IBM SSL encryption technology running on top of Apache, and a version of Apache for IBM's AS/400 line of midrange servers."

October 22, 1998

``Like sex in high school, everyone's talking about Linux, but is anyone doing it?''
Computer Currents

``Add in the other software bundled with the typical Linux distribution and you have an approximately $4,000,000,000 investment contained on that one single CD-ROM.''
Eric Green, in The Register

``No, he's not the Dalai Lama or Deepak Chopra or even Mark McGwire. This god is a geek who wears socks with his sandals. His name is Linus Torvalds.''


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Clemmitt Sigler wrote in to tell us about his mini-HOWTO for installing and configuring the General Instrument SURFboard 1000 phone-return cable modem. He has also made an autoinstallation disk image available.

Eric Harlow is writing a book on Linux applications development, with an emphasis on GTK, PostgreSQL, CORBA, and other good things. The GTK chapters seem to be the most complete. They are available, but in the RTF format; he has a link to an RTF reader if you need one.

Ying Zhang has written a mini-HOWTO on setting up Samba on RedHat Linux.

The December Issue of the Linux Journal is scheduled to be shipped November 6th. The announcement contains a complete table of contents, for those who want a peek at what is coming.

AL DEV has released version 9.0 of the PostgreSQL Database HOWTO.


The Atlanta Linux Showcase is this week. A good time will certainly be had by all. Here is the Showcase home page for those who haven't seen it. ALS also issued a press release on the more than 60 companies that will be exhibiting there.

A new conference on free software has been announced. The Bazaar will be held in New York, March 13-15, 1999. They are expecting over 5,000 attendees.

The Call For Papers for the USENIX 1999 Annual Technical Conference has been posted. The conference will be in June, in Monterey, California, USA. They are looking for instructors for tutorials as well. It would be good to see an increased Linux presence at this well-known conference ...

UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) is giving away Red Hat 5.1 CD's as part of their "Latin American And Caribbean Unesco NetDays" celebration. Here's the info (in English) (Spanish, French, and Portugese available from the Net Days page). "We believe LINUX can play a very important role in Latin American and Caribbean modernisation, constructing networks to permit a great number of universities, colleges, schools and educational centers, to connect to Internet in order to use this fabulous tool to improve their scientific and cultural levels." (Thanks to Roger Dingledine for forwarding this on to us).

Web sites

The Free Software Bazaar is a site where people can list free software projects that they would like to see done, along with the amount of money they would be willing to contribute, to the author or to their favorite charity (seems to be a common thread) for a completed project. It is a good place to look for ideas for fun projects to work on. Although most of the money offered is very nominal, at least one of the projects does offer a full $1000 .. go see the list to find out which one!

There is also the compatriot page at the same site for giving away or lending that Linux CD, hardware or literature that you no longer need.

User Group News

B. 'Avatar' Avianto sent us this report on a recent Installfest held in Bandung, Indonesia, potentially the first in Indonesia. The Installfest included a presentation on Linux and the successful installation of Linux on 9 PCs and 1 laptop.

The first meeting of the El Segundo/LAX/South Bay Linux User's group has been announced for October 24th. Time to get in on the ground floor ...

A mailing list has been started to help people in the process of developing, growing and maintaining Linux User Groups. Check out the announcement for more details.

Help Wanted

Red Hat is hiring, as usual. This time they are after part time quality assurance people.

October 22, 1998



Software Announcements


Package Version Description
LEAP RDBMS 1.2.3 A free Relational Database Management System
Abacus 0.9.12 Spreadsheet for Linux/XWindows written in Tcl/Tk and C/C++
acmemail 1.8 acmemail is a single-user POP3 to Web gateway with full MIME support
AfterStep 1.5beta5 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
agm 1.4 single- and multi-word anagram generator
Amaya 1.3b Ttest-bed browser/authoring tool of the W3C
Amcl 0.5.1 A simple Mud CLient for X written in GTK libs.
ard 0.2 auto renice daemon
Balsa The official GNOME mail client, supports local mailboxes, POP3 and IMAP
bchunk 1.0.0 CD image format conversion from BIN/CUE to ISO/CDR tracks
BeroFTPD 1.1.15 FTP server program based on WU-FTPD
BGM 0.2 Background music player / music on-hold source daemon for PBX
Blackbox 0.40.11 WindowManager for X11 written in C++
BNC 2.4.6 IRC proxy server
BurnIT 1.0.5 Java front-end to cdrecord and mkisofs
Burt 2.4.1 Burt - Backup and Recovery Tool
C Masqdialer Server 0.0.9 Protocol compatible replacement for Masqdialer server written in C
cdr 0.3 CD ripper and encoder frontend
cdrecord 1.6.1 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
CLISP 1998-09-09 ANSI Commin List interpreter, compiler and debugger
Code Crusader complete code development environment, inspired by MetroWerks CodeWarrior
curl 4.9 Tiny command line client for getting data from a URL
dhcpcd 1.3.11 DHCP client daemon for Linux Kernels 2.1.x
Dictionary 0.1 English-Russian and Russian-English dictionary
Drall 0.7.0 Allows users to access their directories and files remotely via a web browser
ECLiPt-Mirror 2.0b5 Full-featured mirroring script
egcs snapshot 19981019 Experimental set of enhancements for the GNU tools
Ethereal 0.4.1 GUI network protocol analyzer
Exult 0.03 Ultima 7 world viewer
eznet 1.8.1 Very simple PPP setup
FAIM 0.0a An open source client for America Online's Instant Messenger service
Fetchmail 4.6.3 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
ffcall 1.4 Foreign function call interface library
FSDEXT2 0.16 Mounts your Linux ext2fs partitions on Windows 95
FTP4ALL 2.23 FTP server program for UNIX systems
Gaby 0.1.0 An address book written in GTK
Gamora 0.62.1 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
GChip8 0.9.0 An interpreter/emulator for the CHIP8 virtual machine.
getstatd 1.1 Statistics Daemon for Linux Systems
gIDE 0.0.9 gtk-based Integrated Development Environment for C
GIMP IFF plugin 0.8.8 An autoconf'd plug-in which adds support for IFF/ILBM pictures to the Gimp
glib 1.1.3 The GLib library of C routines
GNU Privacy Guard 0.4.2 GPLed PGP replacement tool
gpppkill 0.9.9 Ends idle ppp connections
Gpulse 0.5 CPU monitor like Pulse from BeOS
grepmail 3.3 Searches a normal or gzipped mailbox for a given regularexpression
GTK+ 1.1.2 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GtkICQ 0.56 GtkICQ is a clone of Mirabilis' ICQ program based on Gtk/GNOME
gtkmod 981018 Gtk mod/s3m/xm player
guile 1.3 GNU extension language, an embeddable library implementation of scheme
HSX 98/10/18 Hotline Server clone for Unix
HTMaiL 1.01 Perl5 mail to HTML utility, for mailing list archives, etc.
i8255 0.2 i8255 (digital I/O) kernel module
IceConf 0.1.6 A graphical configuration program for IceWM
identdtestd 1.1 Nice, small, fast, identd testing facility
ImageMagick 4.1.3 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
InfoPrism 0.0.4 A General Document Processing System
ipchains 1.3.6 Linux packet filter control utility (replaces ipfwadm for kernels 2.1.102+).
Javachat 0.99h Small chatserver written in Java 1.1.x
JPython 1.0.2 Java reimplementation of the Python programming language
Jultaf 0.0.6 Jumble Library for Tcl and Friends
JX C++ application framework and GUI widget library for X
Kalendar 0.4j simple, easy to use calendar and to-do list manager
Keg Tracker 0.4.2 GTK+-based MOD editor for linux.
KMySql 1.1.0 A MySql client for KDE.
KNewMail 2.3a KDE application designed to check multiple pop3 servers for email.
KPilot 3.1 beta 3 Hot sync software for Unix
KSiag 3.0.6Beta1 KDE version of the Siag Spreadsheet
LibVRML97/Lookat 0.7.8 Open VRML97 Toolkit and Browser
Linuxconf 1.13r2 Sophisticated administrative tool
LinuxInfo 1.0.3 Gives system information about your Linux system
Lynx 2.8 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
LyX 1.0.0 Advanced LaTeX-based typesetting and text-editing program for X11
MAM/VRS 2.1 MAM/VRS is an extensible graphics and visualization library
Melange Chat Server 0.90 Chat server written in C including a Java-client
midentd 1.0 identd with masquerading support
Mini-Commander 0.0.7 Configurable Application and URL launcher for Gnome
moodss 5.0 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Mount.App 1.0 Window Maker dock app for managing mount points
MpegTV Player A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MySQL 3.22.9 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
namd 2 Parallel molecular dynamics simulation program
NcFTPd 2.3.2 High-performance File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server for UNIXsystems
Nessus 981016 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
Net Lightning Release VI x-10 interface controller
Netscape Communicator 4.5 All-in-one browser and communicationssuite
oidentd 1.4 ident (rfc1413) daemon for linux that allows users to specify usernames
PCI Utilities 1.08 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
perlmoo 0.042 lambdamoo style moo written in perl
Petey 0.7 Fortune like application for story generation
PFlow 2.5.1 Fluid Dynamics Demonstration Program
pgp4pine 1.31 Interactive program for using PGP with email programs, specifically Pine
plucker 0.01alpha Web browser for Palm Pilot with Linux conduit
ProFTPD 1.2.0pre1 Advanced, incrediblyconfigurable and secure FTP daemon
Prometheus Truecolour (PTC) 2.0.10 A portable, lowlevel framebuffer access library with very fast on the fly conver
PURP 0.4.1 An ncurses-based RPM-manager
PyroTechnics 1.4 OpenGL firework simulator
Python/Tk Empire Interface (ptkei) 0.28alpha Cross Platform Empire GUI Client
Qt Masqdialer 0.0.12 Qt based client for Jeff Meininger's Masqdialer server
QtDragon 0.7.1 A tool to configure the telephone-related stuff of a DataBoxSpeed Dragon
RabbIT 1.3 Mutating, caching webproxy to speed up surfing over slow links
rmhatm 0.2 Advanced script to strip CR/LF from textfiles
rplay 3.3.1 a network audio system
Sailor Mars 0.5 Anime desktopmate
Samba 2.0.0 alpha 13 Allows clients toaccess to a server's filespace and printers via SMB
Secure Locate 1.3 Secure version of the GNU locate program
SGMLtools 2.0.0 Package made for technical/software documentation
SIDPLAY 1.36.29 C64 music player and SID sound chip emulator
sifi 0.1 Stateful TCP/IP packet filter for Linux.
snarf 2.0.3 Command-line URL retrieval tool with some unique features.
SNES9x 1.11d Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
SoundTracker 0.0.8 A music tracker for X / GTK+
Squid 2.1.PRE1 High performance Web proxy cache
ssh 2.0.10 Remote Login Program
STk 3.99.3 Scheme with TK bindings
suck 3.10.1 Grabs news from a remote NNTP news server
gsula 0.03c Programmable multiple-server IRC Client for X with Guile extension
Summary (Pro) 1.1.3b1 Web server log analyzer tool
Superficie 0.4b A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
svgalib Low-level graphics library that provides VGA and SVGA modes in a console
TFidentd 0.1 A very small ident server with a few neat features.
The Gimp 1.0.2 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Java Telnet Applet 23jul98 Fully featured telnet program for WWW-Browsers
TiK 0.07 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
tircproxy 0.4.0 Transparent IRC Proxy with DCC CHAT and DCC SEND support
TkApache 1.0a GUI Front-End+ for the Apache Web Server
tkArchive 0.1 modular GUI to unix archive utilities
TkMasqdialer 1.03 TCL/TK/Expect client for Jeff Meininger's Masqdialer daemon.
tkMOO-light 0.3.15 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
UDF 0.6 UDF filesystem kernel module
Undelete Utilities 1.0 Undelete Capabilities for the Extended-2 Filesystem
Unix Command Line Masqdialer Client 1.2 Access the Masqdialer Server via the command line
urlredir 1.2 URL redirector for use with the squid proxy server
UW Imap Server 4.5 Beta Univerity of Washington Imap server
VeloMeter 1.1 Java based http load tester and performance measurement tool.
WallP 0.59 Random desktop wallpaper changer
WebMail 0.1.4 Web frontend for Unix system mailboxes
Windows 95/NT Masqdialer Client 1.0.4 Win95/NT Client for Jeff Meininger's MasqDialer Server
Wine 981018 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
Worldengine 3.0 Java Search Engine Front End
X-Chat 0.2.2 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.34b5.1 The Un*x version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
xmp 1.1.6 An OpenSource module for UNIX
xrun 0.1.4 A Gtk+ based program to run commands with a history.
Xscreensaver 3.00 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
Xwhois 0.2.2 Small and fast GTK+ X11 client for the internet whois network services.
ZeusMail 0.9.2 A web front-end to pop3 and imap email accounts.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Everything Linux has been redesigned and is worth a look. Lots of good documention, pointers, and other stuff. It is, however, heavily frame-based.

Over the last few months, announcements from large, commercial database companies have gotten a lot of attention in the Linux community. It's time to remember that there is also a thriving project that is producing an industrial-strength object-relational database as free software. PostgreSQL has produced some impressive accomplishments, and they're not stopping yet. Release 6.4 is currently in beta, and should be out shortly. This is a good project, and certainly deserving of a look.

October 22, 1998



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to editor@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 14:14:49 +0200
From: Andi Kleen <ak@muc.de>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Comments on "impressive list of XEmacs advantages"


You posted a link to Rose Romildo Malaqui's list in the LWN Distributions 
page on why redhat should
include XEmacs.  But the funny thing is that most of the cited advantages
are not relevant to Linux at all and others are outdated.

Here are some:

* Binaries are available for many common operating systems. 
	- RedHat couldn't care less.

* Some internationalization support (including full MULE support, if
  compiled with it.) 
	- GNU Emacs 20.x has the same, partly even more MULE support
	(although RedHat ships it with these features disabled)

* ToolTalk support.
	- Only on Solaris, not on Linux.

* Better Motif compliance.
	- ... When compiled with Motif, which RedHat doesn't and can't.

Also in my experience (I got burned a few times) XEmacs is more buggy 
than GNU Emacs, rms might be rather conservative on accepting features
but he does a good job on release stable code (although I must admit
that 20.3 could have been better).

Also GNU Emacs redisplay engine is much faster then XEmacs', both on
ttys (it does sophisticated screen drawing optimization which got dropped
from XEmacs) and on X11 (the variable width fonts and inline image support
slows it down a lot). 

Generally I think RedHat should not get into the "Debian trap" of putting
so many packages into their distribution that a uniform quality control of
complete releases becomes impossible. 


Date: 19 Oct 98 05:27:11 PDT
From: Gopalakrishnan P <gopalji@netscape.net>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Linux and Oracle


Thanks for the excellent job, that you guys are doing at lwn.
Your recent editorial has prompted me to write this.

Of late Linux is getting more attention from all the corners,
and big companies like Oracle and IBM has jumped in to the
bandwagon with their products and support. But we shouldn't
mistake this for their love to Linux or open source software.
One common thing that all these companies share, is an anti
microsoft feeling at more or less different degrees. And the
increasing popularity of Linux has given them a nice opportunity
to use this platform for giving a lesson to microsoft.

While we need all the applications from Oracle and other major
companies to run on Linux, we should also see that Linux doesn't
become a tool in their hand to fullfill their ambitious goals alone.
There should be ample return to the Linux community, and to
the vast majority of users in terms of free software and
support for open source projects.

One more point. Now we have an industry strength open source
operating system. With GNOME showing excellent progress, and
KDE getting more and more fine tuned (apart from the Qt 
licensing problem) in the near future we will have a decent
GUI also in the open source way. This should satisfy the
needs of a small or medium business to run all their applications
based on Linux. But there is something missing. That is an
industry strength Data Base Management System. True that
from Oracle to Sybase everyone is supporting Linux today and
their products are excellent. But we do need to have a similar
product in the open source. In my opinion the one which can
become a candidate for this slot is Postgresql. It is already
has an object relational model. And of late, the implementation,
documentation etc. have improved a lot. Technically what is
lacking there is a scripting language (something similar to
Oracle's PL/SQL). Apart from that it needs a lot of support
from the open source and Linux community. Something like
GNOME or Apache project is enjoying today. With this Postgresql
can grow in to an industry strength DBMS and fill the
void felt in this area. Hope you guys at lwn can do
something about this!

Thanks for all the information that you bring up =

every week.

Wishing all of you at lwn the very best.

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 01:27:00 +1000 (EST)
From: Conrad Sanderson <conrad@hive.me.gu.edu.au>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Linux and Intel: dealing with a different devil

So Intel has invested in Red Hat, and "we are all happy that such a
high profile company is investing in Linux".  Not so quick brother.
I've never liked Intel - be it because of the mediocrity of their 
processors (right from the start), their alliance with Microsoft,
or their own monopolistic and bullying tendencies.
And now I have found this:


Every Linux user, particularly those guys at Red Hat, should have a look
at the above site, just so we know who we are dealing with.

Conrad Sanderson - Microelectronic Signal Processing Laboratory
Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
http://spl.me.gu.edu.au   [ under construction ]

Date: 16 Oct 1998 02:14:23 -0000
From: Eric Smith <eric@brouhaha.com>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Microsoft claims of not having a monopoly.

Microsoft claims not to have a monopoly, and cites Linux as an example,
further claiming that it was developed by one person.  You refuted the
one person claim in your 15-Oct-1998 issue, but you didn't carry it far

Although I certainly don't want to downplay Linus Torvald's role in
leading the development of the Linux kernel, not even the kernel was
developed by a single individual.  And for an apples-to-apples
comparison, it is not realistic to compare the Linux kernel (by itself)
to Microsoft Windows, since Windows (of any flavor) is much more than a
kernel.  The contents of a typical Linux distribution have taken more
resources to develop than *ANY* one corporation can muster, even

Citing Linux as evidence that "Market entry costs are very low and
profit opportunities vast in software platform technology" is thus
completely absurd.  There has not been (and will never be) an accounting
for the cost of development of Linux, but it has been astronomical.  The
fact that it was largely a volunteer effort does not in any way support
the notion that it was "low cost".  If anything, the Linux experience
demonstrates that even with thousands of engineers developing an
operating system, it still may not be possible to effectively compete
with Microsoft.

Of course, many of us in the Linux community would like to believe that
Linux will eventually offer effective competition for Microsoft, and we
are optimistic about it, but it will likely still take at least several
years for this to happen.

Eric Smith

From: dblake@phy.ucsf.EDU (David T. Blake)
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 08:05:30 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Oracle/MS/Linux
To: editor@lwn.net

	you seem to suggest a futuristic scenario in which 
Linux could become fragmented as part of a turf war in which
a major company decides to push its own Linux developemnt, and
fragments the developer team. 
	This, IMHO, is not a real possibility. Linux grew out
of freedom, and almost every developer values that. The amount of
labor it gets in exchange for this freedom is something that no
company, not even Microsoft, could compete with. 
	Besides, if Linus has established one thing, it is that
he has good intentions and is committed to doing what is in the 
best interests of Linux. And for that, he gets loyalty from
the other developers. I don't think anyone could buy the kernel
development away from Linus. 
	If anything could happen, it would be an outmarketing of 
something else compared to Linux. But Linux is spreading already
primarily by word of mouth - and the best marketing in the world
cannot compete with real world experience. 
	Linux should not, and in my opinion can not, be viewed as
something that could be used as someone's tool to be manipulated.
Linux will be linux. If that helps some company, it will help them.
If they like it, they can give back by funding kernel developers
(like Red Hat), or providing resources (like Cygnus for egcs), or
writing excellent drivers (like SuSE). 
	And even if the corporate world never embraces linux, it would
still be the best open source GPL kernel ever, and it would still be
the most stable full featured POSIX system ever, and it would still
be a great developer environment, and it would still run the world's
web servers.

Dave Blake

Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1998 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds