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Leading items

The Qt licensing change continues to make waves. Here are a few developments in this area that are worthy of note.
  • The front-page article in our November 19 issue drew a great number of responses, almost all of which were critical. Much of that criticism was aimed at our description of the effect of the Qt licensing change on the morale of the GNOME developers, which was overstated. Those of you who have not seen the followup posting that we put into the daily updates page may want to have a look. (Folks interested in GNOME may also want to check out this interview with Bob Young, Marc Ewing, and Michael Fulbright in LinuxToday and this article in the December Linux Gazette by Miguel de Icaza).

  • KDE developers, too, were unhappy with our article. In fact, nobody seems to have liked it. A small subset of the responses we got appear in the letters to the editor section this week.

  • GNOME may be continuing as always, but the Harmony project, which seeks to produce a free version of the Qt toolkit, has been torn apart. Some of the prominent developers of Harmony have decided not to continue with the project, preferring instead to concentrate on producing patches for Qt. They originally wanted to take the "Harmony" name with them, but, after some rather unharmonious discussion, they have agreed not to do that.

    Those who are leaving the Harmony project cite a number of reasons for doing so. These include the feeling that Harmony is now unnecessary given the new Qt licensing, which they see as being good enough; and the desire to not to show disrespect to Troll Tech, which, some feel, has bent quite a bit to answer the free software community concerns. There is also a fear of being sued by Troll Tech; this fear has led at least one of the departing developers to ask that the code he has contributed be removed from the Harmony code base. Harmony developer Joel Dillon has nicely written up his reasons for ceasing work on Harmony.

    The fear of lawsuits was not necessarily helped by this posting by the president of Troll Tech to the Harmony mailing list, wherein he says "...I cannot guarantee that we will never sue the Harmony project." (This, BTW, is just part of a longer message which tries to explain Troll Tech's history and motivations in general).

    Richard Stallman, meanwhile, has chimed in with a very brief note expressing his support for Harmony. See also his take on the new Qt license, which could be described as "grudging acceptance."

  • There is also a petition out there for those who would like to ask Troll Tech to change the QPL to address the outstanding concerns before the final version is released.

The conclusion that can be drawn from all this, unfortunately, is that the desktop wars are not yet over. Opinions remain strong on all sides, and compromise seems unlikely. One can only hope that this division settles into a healthy competition before too long.

Principia and Bobo become ... Zope

As we mentioned in a lead-in on our daily page, Digital Creations has moved ahead with their plans to open up the source code for Principia, an object-based web development platform, and integrate it with Bobo, a popular open source web toolkit also developed by Digital Creations. In fact, they've gone even further and dropped their Aqueduct relational database integration product in as well. The result is a new product, the Z Object Publishing Environment, to be known as "Zope" for short. Zope now has all the elements it needs to be positioned as the free, open source alternative to many popular commercial web development packages. You can find more out about Zope at the Zope website, which may or may not be on-line by the time we publish. In addition, the first beta release of Zope will be officially announced tomorrow, December 4th.

As we learned more about the process by which Digital Creations decided to take their primary products open source, we were intrigued by the impact of venture capital funds upon this decision. To find out more about that, check out this week's feature article, The Road to Open Source: Venture Capitalism? . We feel this story is an example as to why open source just makes good business sense.

Who owns "Open Source"?

The Linux world appears to have a bit of a mess on its hands, due to competing claims of ownership of "open source."

In one corner we have Eric Raymond, Bruce Perens, and others. They recently put out an announcement of the founding of the "Open Source Initiative" as a California non-profit corporation. OSI's charter includes the management and defense of the "open source" trademark.

In response, Software in the Public Interest(SPI) posted this message in which they assert their ownership of the trademark.

The positions seem to be strongly polarized, and the truth of the situation is not immediately evident. Certainly, according to this entry at the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office the (pending) Open Source trademark is owned by SPI. Bruce Perens claims that he, acting then as president of SPI, transferred the trademark to Eric Raymond on March 20, 1998. He says that the paperwork has been sent to the USPTO and the change will eventually show up in their database. Thus, Eric and OSI claim the legal right to the trademark and the ability to control how it is used. In response to a query, Eric sent us this messagereaffirming that point.

SPI's claim is that Bruce transferred the trademark without authorization from the SPI board of directors, and thus the transfer is not valid. (It is worth pointing out that the SPI board, at that time, was made up mostly of people who are now members of the OSI. One could conceivably conclude that the March 1998 board would have been in favor of this transfer. On the other hand, it appears that the USPTO was not notified of the transfer of the trademark while the current OSI members were on the SPI board).

SPI's position is that any moves regarding the trademark should only happen after extensive consultation with the Linux community. They have set up a mailbox at opensource-consult@spi-inc.org and are asking that people send their opinions on the matter. The response period is long - through the end of the calendar year. Note that responses will be made public unless the responder requests otherwise.

It would be unfortunate if this dispute were to end up in the courts. An ugly battle will not reflect well on free software in general. It could also permanently tarnish the image of the "open source" term; in the end the victor could find that they battled for something which no longer has value.

Wedding pictures! Nina Miller sent us a pointer to a page full of pictures of her and David's wedding. David Miller in a tux...

December 3, 1998



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See also: last week's Security page.


Debian has announced their fixes for the zgv buffer overrun and a possible security flaw in the fsp package.

Here is the Samba Team's official responseto the recently reported Samba problems in the Red Hat and Caldera operating systems. In addition, Caldera's Security Advisory for Samba is also out.

After much debate, it has been confirmed that Netscape 4.5 on all platforms can be used to read system files from a remote location. Georgi Guninski filed the original report on Bugtraq, which sparked a lively debate and a great deal of feedback. As a result, it appears that all versions of Netscape 4.X are vulnerable except 4.08. For those fans of Netscape 3.X, take heart; Netscape 3.04 was tested and found not to be vulnerable.

ZDnet reported a Linux Worm on November 30th. No confirmation for their claim was found and it was followed by more rational reportingfrom CNet and CERT. In short, a vulnerability in IMAP was found and fixed in June, but sites that have not upgraded their copy of IMAP are vulnerable to an attack. The attack is not a worm of any kind. As Jed Pickel of CERT said, "'It's something we see every single day,' added Jed Pickel, 'It's not anything out of the ordinary.

XFree86 3.3.3 contains several security fixes, for those that missed the announcement elsewhere. Aleph One posted a short list of the fixes to Bugtraq.

American Power Conversion Company (APCC) is beta-testing new firmware to fix the APC PowerNet SNMP Adapter Security Issues we've previously reported. Paul Mansfield, who contacted APCC about the vulnerabilities initially, posted a a followup report.

The November issue of the SANS Security Digest is available. Particularly for people supporting multiple operating systems, it is a good review of recent security reports, in case there are any applicable to you which you missed. This is a free service of the Systems and Network Security Institute, a "Cooperative Research and Education Institute".

December 3, 1998


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel version is 2.1.130. Linus announced this one as the basted turkey release; he claims it goes well with red wine. Among other things, this release is alleged to have a definitive fix to the "UP flu" and some other problems. For the adventurous, there is 2.1.131 prepatch 3 available at press time.

2.1.129, released just after the last issue of LWN went out, was presented by Linus as "perfect and bug free." That was meant in jest, of course, but the truth is that 2.2 is getting closer. We may yet get a new stable kernel in our Christmas stockings.

Simon Kenyon has announced a "history of the Linux operating system" project. He's looking to gather a lot of information, including interesting postings, information about contributors, anecdotes, etc. Please see the announcement and drop him a note if you have something to contribute.

As an offshoot of the history project, some folks have tried to put together a complete archive of released Linux kernels. Initially it seemed that there were a lot of missing kernels, which, of course, bothered those who want to collect the whole set. But Riley Williams has managed to put together an almost complete collection of historic Linux kernels. They are all available for download; people with time on their hands can boot 0.97 for old time's sake.

A proposal for the "Linux kernel compilation project" has been circulated. This project is trying to address the sorts of compilation problems that arise occasionally for subsets of users when a new kernel is released; the thesis is that these problems usually represent a bug in need of fixing somewhere. If a new kernel could be quickly and automatically built with a large set of configurations, many of these problems could be found and fixed sooner. The proposal and a followup posting have the details.

Problems with the international crypto patch for the Linux kernel? That question came up after this messagewas posted; the author had found some suspicious things in the crypto patch. In some cases, plain (unencrypted) text could possibly be leaked directly into the encrypted stream. The discovery prompted a series of updated crypto patches, initially one which fixed the plaintext leak. More followed; the current version of the international crypto patch is

As this work was being done, the difficulties of dealing with national crypto laws came up yet again. In particular, U.S. export laws make it virtually impossible for any sort of interesting crypto work to be done here; this seems to be the government's way of forcing an important industry offshore. To try to get around some of these hurdles, Oliver Xymoron has announced a new mailing list dedicated to the creation of tools which will facilitate cooperative international crypto development. These tools are likely to involve the use of "postal mail to email gateways", since U.S. allows the export of crypto code on paper (but not on a wire).

Some useful 2.1 networking documentation has been released. Andi Kleen has rewritten a number of networking man pages to reflect the new features available in the upcoming 2.2 kernel. He's looking for reviewers; see his note if you would like to have a look and send him your comments.

Horacio J. Peņa has put together a policy routing mini-HOWTO. This version is terse and not for the beginner, but it's a good first start at describing one of the useful new networking features.

It's clear that the world is changing when the mainstream trade press covers a development kernel release. In this case, TechWeb covered the 2.1.129 kernel release with an eye toward 2.2. "Torvalds plans to release a 'pre-2.2' kernel in another week, then take a vacation while others tinker with it. He'll add any last-minute fixes and officially release the 2.2 kernel before Christmas."

December 3, 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.


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



According to this PC Week article, Novell is investing in Caldera. In addition, they have plan to open up "portions of" the source for their NDS (Novell Directory Services) system. Details on what would be opened, and under what license, are lacking.

For those of you trying to get KDM working on a Caldera 1.3 system, you will want to check out this HOWTO on the subject. KDM is a KDE replacement for XDM.


On November 23rd, Ian Jackson posteda draft new Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) due to "loose wording" in the original that has led to many lengthy debates on whether or not a package met the guidelines. A change to the DFSG is very critical for Debian, since the document is used to determine what can be part of the core Debian installation and what must go into non-free. In particular, the exception allowing modifications to software to be required to be distributed in patch format is gone, which would make many popular programs no longer compliant with the DFSG. Dale Scheetz posted a note with some arguments against the modifications.

In turn, Ian provided his rationale for why the existing patch clause in the DFSG is harmful. The latest version of his suggested new guidelines is also available. He plans to propose a resolution on this issue before the end of the year, so it is important to review the possible modifications and voice your opinion soon.

Oliver Elphick followed up the new version with his own proposal which takes the current DFSG and adds a preamble and some exceptions. It met with a favorable response from the first several people posting followups.

The Alpha version of slink was frozen on November 29th. The port has come along so well that it is now slated to be a full, official release, rather than just a developer's snapshot. Note that it will take a while for the mirrors to catch up.

The Sparc32 version is just behind the Alpha version. It has been agreed that it will be frozen and tremendous effort is now going into fixing the last few release critical bugs and compiling all the required software to "catch up" to the i386 port. No official report of the actual freeze has been seen as of yet.


The December 1st edition of the Linux Mandrake News is out. The biggest news, of course, is that Linux-Mandrake 5.2 (Leeloo) is available for FTP Download. It contains the final 2.0.36 kernel, an enhanced version of KDE 1.0, and many Mandrake-specific enhancements, including an international installation procedure.

We talked with Gael Duval of Mandrake shortly after the announcement of the license change for Qt. The license change was seen as a dramatic win for Mandrake, since their distribution will be completely open source once Qt 2.0 comes out. Gael commented, "It will lead to a larger acceptance of Mandrake in the Linux community."

Red Hat

The shape of Red Hat's "enterprise support" program is beginning to emerge; see their Enterprise Computing Division page to see what they're up to. Included are a number of support programs (up to a $60,000/year "platinum" 24x7 program), training, and certification.


Bodo Bauer has posted a preliminary list of new features currently expected to be in the 6.0 release, which is still over two months away. glibc is the most obvious and well known feature, egcs 1.1 will be included and XFree86 3.3.3 is planned for inclusion as well. A large amount of new hardware is listed and the manual is apparently undergoing some major rewriting. He also mentioned the possibility that Extreme Linux will be included as well.

The list should be fairly accurate since the German version of S.u.S.E. appears to have already been announced. German-capable readers can see the 6.0 release page; the rest of us can read it via Babelfish.

December 3, 1998

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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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


This ZDnet article indicates that Sun is following up its win over Microsoft by drafting new licenses for Java, ones that are more open and potentially herald the release of Java as open source code.
"We think there are some interesting advantages to the open source model," said Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java software division, in Cupertino, Calif.
Don't expect Java to come out under the GPL, but a new, more open license and full access to source code could provide a means for Sun to achieve full promise of Java.

This article in Internet World reports that Linux with TowerJ is now the fastest Java virtual machine around. Linux has tended to get thrashed in this area, so this is a great step ahead.

The latest JDC Newsletter is out.

WebMacro 0.7, a Java server-side web template engine and servlet development framework, has been announced.


Here is this week's Python-URL!, full, as always, of useful pointers to Python happenings.
  • PySol, a Python solitaire game.
  • ASPy, a server-side scripting system.
  • PyGCS, a MUD-like chat server.
  • Interscript, a literate programming system.
  • Httpdapy, allows embedding Python within a web server.

December 3, 1998



Development projects

Simon Damberger has released the perl script that generates the MouseOver News siteunder the GPL v2. Here is his short announcement.

William Henning has added WinChip C6 results to his Linux Kernel compilation benchmarks article. Cyrix, AMD, Pentium and Celeron chips are already represented.

Reports on XFree86 3.3.3 are starting to come in. The good news appears to be that the S3V server is indeed working better, both supporting 24bpp and no longer locking upon exit. The bad news is that the SVGA server did not get the 24bpp fixes, so the S3V server, theoretically obsolete, is required.

In addition, there are reports of XFree86 3.3.3 running slower on some hardware and freezing on other cards.


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Corel has announced a deal with the KDE project wherein KDE will be shipped on the Netwinder. "Corel Computer intends to participate with the KDE Project to bring new skills and technology to this phenomenal desktop environment. Corel Computer has shipped a number of NetWinder DM, or development machines, to KDE developers who are helping to port the desktop environment." There is also a TechWeb article about this announcement.

Caldera will be getting into the "black box" (or "blue cube?") server market, according to this TechWeb article. The "Vertical Business Server" will be another low-cost, web-administered server, available early in 1999.

IBM's Transarc subsidiary has released its AFS "enterprise filesystem" for Linux. See their press release for more. This amounts to another high-level recognition of Linux's potential role in the corporate world, and another small step by IBM in the Linux direction.

Those of you using the Ingres II beta edition from CAI may have noticed that it expired on December 2. If you've been bitten by that expiration, head on over to the Ingres beta page and you can get a new copy (Thanks to Jussi Torhonen).

According to this TechWeb article, Microstate has released their Java application server as open source.

D. H. Brown and associates have released their latest ranking of server operating systems. The results: AIX tops the list, and NT sits at the bottom. Linux is not yet part of the study, but the word (from Newsbytes) is that they will include Linux as of the first quarter of 1999.

It's been a while since we covered the progress of UCC 2B, the (U.S.) proposed "shrink wrap software" law which would dramatically increase the rights and protections of software publishers. Here is a summary of the latest moves on this law, and what they mean. It's interesting, scary stuff.

Under (c), if the publisher places language in the fine print of a mass-market license (which you aren't allowed to see until after the sale), the publisher can place a restraint (such as by encrypting your files) that affirmatively prevents your access to your own information on your own computer. Under (d), the publisher is not liable to you for any losses caused by that restraint.
If this thing becomes law, it will have the interesting effect of making proprietary software that much more expensive, difficult, and risky to deal with. The hollowness of "who do you sue?" will become ever more apparent. One wonders if the people behind this bill aren't free software advocates in disguise?

Press Releases:

  • Adaptec, having made available the necessary information to write a driver for their Ultra2 cards.
  • nStor, the "CR8F" Fiber channel RAID controller.
  • Transend, 112k (over two phone lines) modem which works with Linux.
  • Macromedia, flash player available for Linux.
  • Active Concepts, FunnelWeb 2.5 web traffic analysis software.
  • Real Networks, Real Producer G2 "media creation" software.
  • Zero G, InstallAnywhere installation system.
  • Ingram Micro, will be distributing Red Hat products.
  • Informix, bragging about Linux Journal Editor's Choice award.
  • Applix, a version of ApplixWare for the Alpha.
  • Bluestone Software, Sapphire/Web application server.
  • Signiform, announcing the release of ThoughtTreasure 0.00021
  • O'Reilly, announcing the release of the source code for Java/Perl Lingo (JPL)

December 3, 1998


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

Linux in the news

Please pardon the length of this section this week; we got a little behind on the Linux articles since we did not publish last week. Over the last two weeks we got a lot of general and introductory articles, a fair amount of press about Linux products, as well as articles about the Microsoft trial and a trailing batch of columns about Comdex. We'll start with the general interest pieces:

  • P. Gopalakrishnan wrote in to point out that the December issue of Network Magazine features Linux on the cover, and a set of articles inside. Network Magazine requires registration, alas, but it's worth a look anyway. "...vendors jumping into the Linux fray also need to respect the traditions surrounding the technology. Once any technology becomes mainstream, it risks losing what made it special in the first place. One of the reasons Linux has become so popular is that no single vendor controls it, as is the case with Windows NT and several other Unix flavors."

    News.com is running a multipart article on "Microsoft's Crown Jewels" and the threats to said jewels; one of those parts deals with Linux. "The threat the Linux operating system poses to the long shadow that Microsoft casts across the software market is created primarily by the two undeniable traits at the heart of Linux's momentum: It is largely free and it is completely open for people to tinker with." (Thanks to Ramana Juvvadi).

  • Jon "Maddog" Hall's Performance Computing column, called "Penguin's Brew," has debuted. The first installment is an introductory piece, clearly not aimed at people who already work with Linux. It is, however, a high profile placement for Linux in a mainstream trade publication.

  • The folks at OS/2 Headquarters have put up an analysis of the Halloween memos from an OS/2 advocacy point of view. "...since MS FUD can now be expected to attack the OSS process and community, we in the OS/2 development, advocacy, and user community may be able to operate under the 'cover' of OSS. They will be taking a lot of flak, and it may be possible to position OS/2 as the 'best mix' of OSS-style innovation and rapid improvements, combined with the ultra-careful methodology of IBM as the custodian of the base OS. 'The thrill of OSS with the safety of IBM.' This is not to FUD anyone, but merely to clarify the similarities and the differences between the OS/2 community and its OSS comtemporaries." [OSS = "Open Source Software", of course]. (Thanks to Timur Tabi).

  • Here's one to show your boss: this article in CIO magazine is a lengthy and highly positive introductory article aimed at manager types. "Some CIOs have already considered Linux and decided not to wait. These early adopters have discovered the worst-kept secret on the Internet: a free operating system that rarely crashes, runs on hardware ranging from a 386-based PC to a Sparc-based Unix server, is easy to debug and modify, speaks IP fluently, looks like Unix in terms of how it's administered and keeps getting better and better thanks to a grass-roots development effort involving thousands of programmers worldwide." They do misreport the old LSA controversy, however.

  • Are you ready for choice in operating systems? PC Week asks that question as they look at a world where Linux is a real choice. Evidently having to think about what they deploy is going to be a real strain for some folks. "As IT managers surreptitiously deploy Linux applications, we're finally emerging from the wishful-thinking stage and into the real world, where ROI, uptime and performance rule. And in that real world, Linux seems to be doing quite nicely..."

  • The November issue of Troubleshooting Professional Magazine is dedicated to Linux. It includes a number of articles and a lengthy tutorial. As they say, Linux is "getting more corporationally correct." (Thanks to P. Gopalakrishnan).

  • EE Times has an article about how free software is finally making some inroads into the electronic design world. "Where GPL will make the most sense, said [SureFire's] McNamara, is for utilities that don't carry a high market value-such as his own Mac's Verilog Mode for Emacs software, available from SureFire's Web site under GPL for Unix, Linux and Windows. The site also offers a GPL-based Verilog preprocessing tool."

  • Computerworld Canada has started a monthly column on Linux, entitled "Free For All" and written by Evan Leibovitch. An archiveof the columns will be available and currently holds the first issue, entitled The freeware movement and the Microsoft effect.

  • Here is a negative editorial in Application Development Trends magazine. "Linux may some- day become a widespread corporate computing platform, but it won't happen for many years to come. In the meantime, remember the past. Promise doesn't usually become reality -- especially in this business." (Thanks to M. Leo Cooper).

  • Here's a lightweight introductory article in the Arizona Republic. "Recently, Linux seems to have been winning some champions among information technology folks around the country. And more applications are being written for it - nothing like what is available for Windows - but enough to make Linux interesting, especially for people who have wanted another choice of operating systems. It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for Bill Gates. But not quite."

  • The (Toronto) Globe and Mail has an article of an introductory nature, with an emphasis on Red Hat. "I asked Bob Young if he was hoping that - along with the recent endorsements from powerhouses such as Intel and Oracle - perhaps Big Blue might give a nod to little Red Hat. 'Since we are in discussions with IBM,' says Young, 'I can't comment on that.'" (Thanks to Neal Holtz).

  • A reasonable introductory article can be found in The Australian. "Essentially, Linux is a hacker's delight, and numerous Australians have already contributed to the code base." They also have a bit of amusing artwork.

    Also in The Australian is a brief article about an Australian textile printer shifting over to Linux. (Thanks to Mark Jeacocke for pointing out both articles).

  • Andover News Network columnist Robin Miller has run a couple of Linux-related columns recently. First is Linux rules for new users. Fairly introductory stuff, as one would expect, but sensible. "Fourth, don't install all the software that comes with the Linux distribution you selected. One problem with Linux, for a new user, is an embarrassment of riches. A lot of the 'packages' you see on any Linux distribution CD are utilities you don't need unless you're going to host big web sites, run a large network, or write your own software."

    His other column is about buying computers with Linux pre-installed. "But if you buy one computer with Linux pre-installed, and another with Windows pre-installed, I believe you'll find little usability difference between the two."

  • There is a series of letters to the editor in Windows Magazine responding to an anti-Linux article they ran in October.

  • Upside Magazine has published its Elite 100 list for 1998. As befits this particular magazine, their list includes most of Microsoft's upper management. However, you'll also find Linus Torvalds in the "visionaries" section. (Thanks to Jordi Torne).

  • The Guardian covers the Silicon Valley Tea Party. "And so 30 to 40 Linux users turned up at the appointed hour. But the Microsoft men had monitored their Web sites. Would Bill Gates turn out the redcoats and massacre the Linux users in the streets of Palo Alto?"

  • The December issue of PC Plus magazine has a number of Linux features, including an introductory What is Linux? article and a comparison of the Red Hat and S.u.S.E. distributions.

An increasing amount of the attention Linux gets from the press has to do with new products and corporate moves - almost as if Linux were a normal operating system. Here's a selection from the last two weeks.

  • This ComputerWorld article talks about IBM's port of DB2 and the AFS file system.

  • Also in ComputerWorld: this one is an interview with some folks who have use Linux in a commercial setting, including Daryll Strauss of Digital Domain.

  • News.com ran an article about IBM's AFS announcement.

  • The Ottawa Citizen has an article about Corel and the Netwinder. The article has a rather heavier dose of the "no support" FUD than usual, but is otherwise positive. (Found in LinuxToday).

  • PC Week also has an article about the Netwinder. "Although the new models will be 'thin' on price, starting at about $500, company officials said they will not be short on office applications or manageability features."

  • iX Magazine has run a review of Oracle 8.0.5 for Linux; it's available in German and English. They had some trouble getting it going, but conclude: "The unproblematic migration of existing Oracle applications and data to the new system renders Linux a cost-effective alternative database platform." (Thanks to Olaf Zimmermann).

  • Linux goes to China is a News.com article about Pacific HiTech's plans to sell in that country. "...on a more exotic note, Linux can't be held hostage to international trade squabbles or even more serious political disagreements..." (Thanks to Donald Braman and "llornkor").

  • Inter@ctive week briefly covers Pacific HiTech's move into China. "...some business issues still need to be resolved before it is known whether Linux can be distributed profitably in China."

  • Infoworld issued their review of Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. Overall, they were favorably impressed, particularly because of the KDE build. The install procedure, on the other hand, took some knocks. Paired with this review is Infoworld's review of Red Hat 5.2. They were very happy with Red Hat's new install procedure; the comments can only be described as glowing. "Red Hat's custom installation, which I recommend, is easier than any other Linux vendor's automatic setup." (Thanks to Didier Legein)

  • C't magazine has a review of Caldera OpenLinux 1.3, available in Englishand Germanversions. "By all accounts OpenLinux is a mature and usable distribution, and for Caldera users the update certainly is worthwhile. But if Caldera wants to gain marketshare from other Linux distributions, more changes are needed yet..."

  • Computer Reseller News has an article about IBM's DB2 and the fact that it will be downloadable for free. "'This seems to be the right thing to do,' said Jeff Jones, program manager for data management software at IBM..."

  • The Denver Business Journal has an article about Treeline Technologies and their new Linux-based server offering. "About the size of a stout daytimer, the Aspen Server lives up to its billing at first blush. It has only three cords, occupies little space and sets up quickly."

  • Here's an article in News.com about Red Hat's and S.u.S.E.'s new support offerings.

  • The (Raleigh, NC) "News and Observer" has an article about Red Hat's increasing need for space. "Red Hat squeezes about 75 workers into nearly 11,000 square feet in Research Commons.... By February, when it moves into the Meridian building, Red Hat expects to have 130 employees." They also mention that Red Hat is opening a Silicon Valley office. (Thanks to Robert Wagoner).

  • Web Review has an article about the Rebol language. They point out that it comes with Red Hat 5.2 (though they don't mention that it's on the applications CD).
Then there's the coverage of the Netscape/AOL/Sun deal and how it relates to Linux and free software in general.
  • TechWeb pondersthe effect of the deal on open source. "...analyst Martin Marshall of Zona Research, in Redwood City, Calif., said Netscape's Linux development would actually give Sun a chance to embrace and extend Linux, just as it is doing with Microsoft's Windows NT."

  • Here's The Red Herring's take on the deal. "Sun's involvement also throws into question the future of Netscape's support for Linux... It's not clear how much effort Sun's sales force will put behind selling Netscape software that runs on Linux, Windows NT, or other Solaris competitors."
Here's the final set of Comdex-inspired articles about Linux.
  • Computer Reseller News has a Comdex-inspired piece about Linux in business. "Ken Jacobs, vice president of server marketing at Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif., predicted Linux will become mainstream. 'It is faster than [Windows] NT, has better support and is cheaper,' he said."

  • ComputerWorld covers Linux at Comdex. "...given Linux's stability and reliability, vendors and users alike predict that Linux has a bright future. And more corporate IS managers are now considering Linux as an option." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • The Santa Rosa Press Democrat discovers Linux at Comdex. The result is a fairly standard and positive introductory article. "At the Linux pavilion, there were just 16 exhibitors, but a zealousness that was part technology and part cult."

  • A ZDTV reporter discoveredthe Corel Linux Computer at Comdex. This brief article characterizes the LC as "...about as funky-looking a desktop unit as we've seen."

  • News.com has put together their list of the top five trends from Comdex. Number one is alternative OS's, such as Linux and BeOS. (Found in Slashdot).
Gird your loins, it's time for this week's FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Some is just silly, and some rates a bit more concern. As always, if you respond to an article like these, try to be calm, polite, and rational, and to retain the high moral ground.
  • The scary one is this ZDNet article which claims that a "worm" is loose and attacking Linux systems. At the heart of the story is a vulnerability in the IMAP server which was found - and patched - last June. "Now, hackers are using the weakness to perpetuate the worm program. The program quietly takes over key components of the root, or central, program and uses the host computer to probe and attack other networks without the systeams administrator's knowledge."

    The bug is real, though old and long fixed, and there's no doubt that some systems out there are unpatched and being broken into. But no evidence of any sort of "worm" has been produced. This particular article appears to be the product of a confused journalist, rather than a deliberate attack. Nonetheless, the story has been picked up by EduPage, MSNBC, and others, and some damage has been done.

    For better coverage of this story, please see this news.com article.

  • The folks at "Selling Windows NT Solutions" have put out something of the laughable variety. You can wander over to the web page for their "Selling against Linux" article, but the text won't actually be there until March. Until then, it's necessary to read it on dead trees. A couple of excerpts, thanks to a reader not wanting credit:

    "The Linux open source licensing model mandates that applications developed for the platform using Linux components and services adhere to the same public domain model as the operating system. In other words, if you're a software developer and you develop an application for Linux you must forfeit all rights to the one asset that is of any value to your company -- the intellectual property embodied in the code you write."

    "Simply hammer home the high-quality nature of the Windows NT/BackOffice solution. Emphasize the importance of closed-source development to creating a secure, robust computing enviroment. And whereas Linux proponents will come and go, Microsoft has no choice but to support Windows NT."

  • And the "FUD of the week" award goes to... this ABC News article by Fred Moody. "...much of the discussion is serious and alarming. Linux, according to these users, has serious security problems and a tendency to break down."

A couple of pieces in the non-English press:

  • From Brazil, here is an introductory article in Portuguese (Babelfish translation available here). Included is a brief interview with Linus Torvalds. (Thanks to Nelson Waissman).

  • Jean-Hugues Roy pointed out this feature (in French) on Radio Canada about Linux and its users. English text may be had via Babelfish, but the meat of the thing is RealMedia, and thus not translatable.

  • This article in Jyllands-Posten (in Danish) apparently talks about companies that have chosen to go with Linux for stability and other reasons. (Thanks to Morten Welinder).

  • And readers of Polish may want to check out this article, which, we are told, is one of the more negative ones. (Thanks to Rafal Maszkowski).

One of Microsoft's lawyers hit on the idea of displaying a Red Hat box as evidence that there is no monopoly in operating systems. Here's a selection from the flurry of press that resulted from that move, and a couple of other Microsoft and Halloween pieces.

  • This ZDNet story is a straightforward piece about Red Hat as a trial exhibit. "Ironically, internal Microsoft documents dismissed Linux as a competitor to desktop operating systems only last summer, but did say they posed a serious threat to their server software efforts. The current trial deals only with desktop software."

    More on Red Hat in the Microsoft trial can be found in the Washington Post. "At the Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial, a lawyer for the software giant brandished a glossy box yesterday afternoon and spent almost 30 minutes touting the benefits of the product it held - a personal computer operating system. He gushed about the growing number of people who are using it. He noted that it comes with a popular word processor and an Internet 'browser.'" (Thanks to Chris Kagy).

  • A brief mention in a lengthy article about the Microsoft trial in the (U.K.) Observer. "This [trouble getting NT out the door] raises the question of whether different kinds of organisation - for example, co-operative computer networks that have produced the simpler Linux operating system which rivals Microsoft products - are needed to cope with this level of complex programming." (Thanks to Dave Shone).

  • The Christian Science Monitor ran an article about Linux, Halloween, and FUD. "Apache and Linux became the most popular Web server and Unix implementation. And, in a nice twist, IBM decided to bundle Apache as the Web server with some of its product line. Suddenly, the king of FUD was promoting open-source software."

  • This article in the Independent covers the Jay Jacobs deployment and the Halloween memos. "If I were an IT manager, I would be very worried indeed. The inflated costs of software we pay today to cover managers and their cars will go out of the window when clients realise that there is an alternative thanks to open source code." (Thanks to Jimmy Aitken).

  • A variant on the "Linux proves that Microsoft is not a monopoly" argument appears in this Denver Post article; the difference being that the author wrote the column on a Linux system. "Alas, I've just ended up supporting Microsoft's contention - that it really doesn't have a monopoly. That's disconcerting, but if the day ever dawns that Linux has 90 percent of the operating system market, then we can rejoice in the knowledge that Microsoft was actually telling the truth." (Found in Linux Reviews).

    This TechWeb article is another opinion piece about the Halloween memos and the trial. "But do we dare to hope that the public will embrace the open source software movement, with its decidedly un-sexy GUIs and lack of branding muscle? I wouldn't start celebrating just yet."

    One last bit of amusement: Microsoft has considered a yearly fee for Windows. One might surmise that this would be their way of accommodating $500 PC's without lowering their revenue... They also brought out the (now old) line that Linux provides competition for Windows, so they couldn't possibly be a monopoly.

December 3, 1998

``Having tasted Linux success, Nichols started knocking off his Windows NT servers one by one. Now, all but a few of the servers at WaveTop run Linux.''
Network Magazine

``...whereas Linux proponents will come and go, Microsoft has no choice but to support Windows NT''
Selling Windows NT Solutions

``If you've been listening to your I.S. staff gossip around the cappuccino machine, you've heard them boast that their departmental LAN is running on a near-perfect operating system called Linux. Pay attention; in three years you may be installing it on all your company's servers. ''
CIO Magazine

``sure people run production sites on linux. i know alot of these people. they dont get much sleep and have grown opaque from the lack of sunlight.''
Anonymous 'Linux Expert', ABC News


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



The folks over at Hardwire are looking for ways to better integrate Linux into their hardware testing procedures. They are actively looking for suggestions from Linux folks; head on over if you have any ideas and let them know. (Thanks to Chris Walton).

The new Linux-centric 32bitsonline is now, well, online.


The LinuxWorld Conference and Expo has announced its keynote speakers: Micheal Cowpland (Corel), Mark Jarvis (Oracle), and, of course, Linus Torvalds. They also state that they expect 8000 attendees. See the announcement for more.

Linuxbierwanderung, or the "Linux beer hike" will be happening next August in Bavaria, under the sponsorship of Electric Lichen, LLC. Participants will divide their time between Linux lessons, Bavarian hikes, and, of course, beer. This one just sounds like too much fun. Here's the Linuxbierwanderung web page for those who are interested.

On December 5th and and 6th, between between 11:30pm and 6:15am in Paderborn, Germany, an attempt will be made to build the world's greatest Linux cluster (codename CLOWN = CLuster Of Working Nodes). The project is sponsored by Linux User Groups in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands, in association with Linux-Magazin. Check out the project website for more details (also available in German).

The Linux/Unix Users' Group of Virginia Tech is holding an InstallFest on Saturday, December 5, 1998, on the campus of Virginia Tech. Here are more details.

Peter Toft wrote a short articleon a recipe for making your LUG the biggest in the world, based on his experience with SSLUG, (Skane Sjelland Linux User Group).

Linux Expo has put out a press release hyping next May's conference.

Web sites

The Brazilian site "Matrix" has set up a Linux area, those who read Portuguese may want to check it out. It includes news, introductory pages, documentation, and other good stuff. (Thanks to Augusto Cesar Campos).

Sunsite.unc.edu has been renamed. This venerable site, still the home of the Linux Documentation Project and much other good stuff, is now known as MetaLab.unc.edu.

User Group News

A LUG is forming on Long Island, NY. The LUG is sponsored by F.L.A.T. the State Univ. of NY FArmingdale Linux and Associated Technologies club.

Help Wanted

Progressive Systems, the "premier Linux Network Security product" company, has several job openings available in Columbus, Ohio.

December 3, 1998



Software Announcements

Here are last week's software announcements for those who didn't see them in the daily updates page.

Package Version Description
Acidblood 1.2.8 Full-featured IRC Bot
ADL 2.0 Assertion Definition Language
AleVT 1.1.0 Videotext/Teletext decoder and viewer
Alien 6.23 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
Artistic Style 1.0.2 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
Aspell .25 Intelligent Spell Checker
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
boust 0.1 A Tcl/Tk text reader for Linux that formats text in boustrophedon.
BurnIT 1.4pre5 Java front-end to cdrecord and mkisofs
C Masqdialer Server 0.1.0 Protocol compatible replacement for Masqdialer server written in C
cdrecord 1.8a13 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
Celebrat 0.9.3 Very simple non-interactive command-line calendar
Cheops 0.5 Network User Interface
Connect 1.1.7 Client-server to easily share (open/close) one ppp link among a small network
CSSC 0.09alpha.pl1 SCCS clone
curl 5.0 Tiny command line client for getting data from a URL
CVS 1.10 Concurrent Versions System
CX 0.01 A platform independant, interface independant, programming language independant,
DailyUpdate 4.5 Grabs dynamic information from the internet and integrates itinto your webpage
Dents 0.0.1 Well-designed nameserver which aims to be completely standards comformant
E*Reminders 0.1 Web-based reminder software
ECLiPt Roaster 1.0 beta 4 GTK Interface to MkIsoFs and CDRecord for writing CDs on the fly
egcs snapshot 19981130 Experimental set of enhancements for the GNU tools
Electric 5.4g4 CAD/EDA tool for multiple levels of design
Fake 1.0.2 Utility to switch in backup servers on a LAN
fb 1.4 Binary file viewer, editor, and manipulator.
Fetchmail 4.6.9 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
fplan 1.4.1 A flight planning tool for pilots
Gaby 0.2.3 An address book written in GTK
GannonChat 0.12 Web-Based Chat using PERL and MySQL
Genius 0.2.0 An arbitrary precision integer and multiple precision floatingpoint calculator
gentoo 0.9.15 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
GF1 0.99.3 Play GIPF against your computer
GJP 0.62 Visual Java Classfile Parser
Glade 0.3.8 GTK+ interface builder
glade-- 0.2.2 An extension to glade to create C++ sources
GlideControl 0.1 GTK-based interface for configuring 3Dfx voodoo cards
GLload 0.3.1 OpenGL(r) load meter
GNU Argument Analyser 0.9.8 Utility to manage the arguments of your programs
GNU m4 1.4 Standard Unix macro processor with extensions
Gomoku Apprentice 0.2 A gomoku player learning from its own mistakes
gPGPshell 0.02 A PGP shell for X Windows
GQmpeg 0.4.2 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
Groundhog 0.9 Logic game written with GTK
gRun 0.7.2 GTK based Run dialog
gsmbstatus 0.0.2 GTK based smb status display
gsyn 0.1.2 TB-303 software synthesizer
GTK MikMod .05b GTK interface to MikMod for Unix
Gtk-- 0.10.1 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
gtkcookie 0.03 edit your Netscape cookie file
gtkgo 0.0.1 Go game for GTK
Gwydion Dylan 2.1.2 Compiler for Dylan, an dynamic, efficient, object-oriented language
GXF86vidmode 19981126 Change your video mode when using a XFree86 X server
Hamilton 2.0.7 Open-Source Java-based Application Server
Hitchhiker 1.1 Beta 2 An astronomy program which shows the planets and their orbits
Hypermail 2.0 beta 9 Mail(box) to HTML converter with threads and MIME support.
IMP 1998-11-24 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
JCam 0.5 Java application for downloading images from many popular digital cameras
jEdit 1.2pre6 Powerful text editor
JThreads/C++ 1.0.4 Java like threads for C++
Kalendar 0.4k simple, easy to use calendar and to-do list manager
Kibble 0.7.0 A knowledge base program
KIshido 0.1 A KDE board game based on Ishido from an Atari LYNX
Kticker 0.2.4 News ticker widget that downloads news headlines and displays them periodically
KXicq 0.2.22 The KDE ICQ clone
LabVIEW 5.0.1 Full Development System which offers full-featured graphical programming
linleech 2.2.0 Program that automates the processof downloading USENET articles
LinPopup 0.9.5 Linux port of Winpopup, running over Samba.
Linux-Kontor Build 11 A free Commodities, Bookkeeping, Accountancy and Inventory Management software
Linuxconf 1.13r7 Sophisticated administrative tool
Mailcrypt 3.5.1 Provides a simple interface topublic key cryptography with PGP
make_news_site 0.03 A simple web news site creator
man-pages 1.22 The Linux manpages collection
MasterPlan 0.1.0 Time managementsoftware for Linux
mHockey 0.48 OpenGL based hockey game
MHonArc 2.3.3 Perl mail-to-HTML converter.
MikMod 3.1.0 Multi-platform open-source module player
mod_ssl 2.1.1-1.3.3 Apache Interface to SSLeay
Moneydance 2.0b4 Personal finance application written in java
moodss 5.3 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
MpegTV Player A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
Mpm4Linux 0.0.2 Upload tools for MpMan portable MP3 players
MultiMedia Panel 0.2 MultiMedia Player and Audio Mixer for linux consoles.
MySQL 3.22.11 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
naim 1998-11-23-1724 Console-mode AOL Instant Messenger client for Linux and compatible unices
Naken Chat 0.82 Chat Server ported from Javachat
NCSfck 1.2.0 Program to detected file changes.
Net Lightning Release VII x-10 device control server for Linux and OS/2
net-tools 1.48 Programs that form the base set of the NET-3 networking distribution
Netscape Flash Plugin 0.4.1 A Netscape plugin to view Macromedia-Shockwave-Flash files.
News Peruser 4.0 alpha 5 An offline newsreader for Linux and X11
NoName 0.0.4 Fantasy RPG using A-Life techniques.
OmniORB2 2.6.1 A robust, high-performance CORBA 2 ORB
ORBacus 3.1.1 CORBA 2.0 compliant ORB for C++ and Java
Petey 0.9 Fortune like application for story generation
pgp4pine 1.42 Interactive program for using PGP with email programs, specifically Pine
PIKT 1.0 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
pircd Alpha Six An IRC daemon, written in Perl.
playdough 2.00 BitchX/EPIC IRC script
PMan 0.1.4 FLTK-based Project Manager
PyGTK 0.5.6 A set of bindings for the GTK widget set
PySol 2.00 A Python-based Solitaire card game
quftp 0.88 Command line FTP client with queueing
RAPID 5.05 Commodity and stock graphing software for technical analysis.
rlpr 2.00 beta 7 Print from remote sites to your local printer w/o configuring remote site
rsync 2.2.1 File transfer program to keep remote files into sync
Secure-Linux Patch 0.6 Linux kernel patch to block most stack overflow exploits
Siag Office 3.1.0 Free office package for Unix
sitecopy 0.2.9 Maintain remote copies of locally stored web sites
slashes.pl 1.2 A Perl/GTK Slashdot news ticker
SMSLink 0.22b Client/server gateway to the SMS protocol
snarf 2.0.5 Command-line URL retrieval tool with some unique features.
ssystem 1.5 OpenGL Solar System Simulator
gsula 0.05.2 Programmable multiple-server IRC Client for X with Guile extension
Teaser and Firecat alpha-2 Copyleft replacement for the proprietary ICQ system
The looser corps 0.9.8 Great multiplayer game, with pretty good graphics
THUD 0.13 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
tkArchive 0.22 modular GUI to unix archive utilities
tkRunIt 0.80 A simple, but featureful run dialog box for executing commands without an xterm
tomsrtbt 1.7.42 Single floppy diskette linux distribution
traffic-vis 0.21 Network analysis tool
treeps 1.01 X/Motif graphical process tree visualizer
UDF 0.7 UDF filesystem kernel module
uusbd 19981117 USB Support for Linux
WebTheme 1.1.1 Web Theme Library
Wizard 0.9.4 Component to add a Windows 95-like Wizard to an application.
wmakerconf 1.4 GTK based configuration tool for WindowMaker window manager
X-CD-Roast 0.96e A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
XAmixer 0.2.0 An ALSA based mixer program written with GTK+
XawTV 2.32 TV application and a few utilities
Xcd-Fnord 0.3 GUI frontend to various mp3-rippers andmp3-compressors
XEmacs 21.2-beta4 Internationalized text editor
Xpdf 0.80 Viewer for Adobe PDF files
Xrun 0.2.0 A Gtk+ based program to run commands with a history.
Xwhois 0.2.5 Small and fast GTK+ X11 client for the internet whois network services.
Yolk 30/11/1998 A A perl script and set of modules to implement an eggdrop botnet bot


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

IBM's announcement of AFS for Linux is another nice bit of recognition. But anybody who is thinking about actually deploying AFS would do well to have a look at the Coda filesystem pagefirst. Coda is a descendent of the same CMU research project that produced AFS, is free (and included in the 2.1 kernel), and is potentially better.

Do you pine for the nice days of Linux 0.12, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on Linux? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program working? If so, the IOS (Improved Operating System) project may be just what you're looking for. They are trying to write their own free system from the beginning, and they're looking for volunteers. It's ambitious, but, at this point, we know it can be done... (Apologies to Linus Torvalds for playing with his words, and thanks to OS News for calling this project to our attention).

Our list of "links of the week" candidates is getting shorter; we could use some suggestions. If you know of a good web site that is of interest to the Linux community, please drop us the URL at lwn@lwn.net. Thanks!

December 3, 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.

Our mail was dominated by letters on the change in Qt licensing and our reporting on this change two weeks ago. Here's a selection. Please see also an editorial on the QPL sent to us by Paul Iadonisi, which is a bit too long to be included inline here.

From: Alan Cox <alan@cymru.net>
Subject: Two things
To: editor@lwn.net
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 19:19:31 +0000 (GMT)

One the Gnome hackers don't give a hoot about the Qpl. Its good that Troll
has taken a small step in the direction they have, and that the KDE folks
are talking about licensing changes to make all their licensing line up
clearly and cleanly

Gnome is based on a belief in doing things right, doing them effciently and
openly in a technical superior fashion. The fact Gnome is a true GPL/LGPL
project is actually perhaps of less importance - but major importance to

Contrary to rumour the gnome-hackers are busily at work as determinedly as
ever. None of the core people actually can work out what the person in the
random message you cited wrote if anything.

Even Martin Konold (the Linus of the KDE project so to speak) has said he
wants to see Gnome continue so there is choice.

Secondly: The 2.0.x series kernels have a long life yet. If we get 2.2 by
December then it will probably be out before 2.0.37. Free software isn't
driven by the same rules as the proprietary "make them upgrade" model. Look
at other industries, things do not become instantly obsolete. 

I get a lot of requests that 2.0.x continues long after 2.2 is out. Linux is
popular in ISP and high reliability environments. These are the kind of
people to whom "if it aint broke don't fix it" is a religion. Future Linux
2.0.x kernels like the 1.2.13lmp kernels before them are a commitment to
that community.

To: editor@lwn.net
From: "Michael K. Johnson" <johnsonm@redhat.com>
Subject: GNOME Morale
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:26:43 -0500

Contrary to your statement in LWN of November 19th, morale in
the GNOME camp has not dropped considerably since the QPL was
announced.  No one in the GNOME camp is quite sure precisely
what Greg S. Hayes is resigning from; he is certainly not a
core GNOME developer, and so far his resignation (from the
mailing list?) has been a stampede of one.

As you reported, the QPL's adherence to the OSD is questioned,
and it is quite clear that it is Troll Tech's intention not to
provide LGPL-like conditions for Qt.  One of GNOME's many
distinctives is LGPL (or similar) license conditions for its
libraries, allowing commercial software vendors as well as free
software authors to build GNOME software.  GNOME's raison d'etre
has not changed an iota.

Your kind and persuasive arguments that GNOME should continue are
gladly read; they are among the many that GNOME developers have
already come up with for continuing, regardless of the very slight
change in Qt's license conditions.


"Magazines all too frequently lead to books and should be regarded by the
 prudent as the heavy petting of literature."            -- Fran Lebowitz
 Linux Application Development       http://www.redhat.com/~johnsonm/lad/

From: Daniel Tasch <taschda@dmapub.dma.org>
Subject: your article on qt
To: editor@lwn.net
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 14:26:15 -0500 (EST)

I am writing in regard to the following that appeared in LWN:

"In other words, it is not the GPL, but it is probably good enough. It
does mean that linking KDE (which is GPL'd) with Qt is probably still
legally questionable, but that is something the KDE people can easily fix
if they want by tweaking their own license."

Unfortunately, you do not understand.  The can't change the license.  KDE
is GPL, and to change even one period in the license (GPL) they would have
to get the consent of every single KDE developer, and the consent of the
author of every GPL program from which they borrowed code.  This would be
virtually impossible to do.  So KDE remains GPL, and the licensing
problems remain.

Only one of two things will fix this problem, a GPL Qt, or a GPL Harmony.

Dan Tasch                    
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 17:26:46 +0100
From: Martin Cracauer <cracauer@hanse.de>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Your comments on KDE

One thing is missing from your pro/contra QPL discussion:

If the KDE folks would decide to switch their own code form GPL to
something compatible with the QPL, they couldn't integrate any GPL
from other source anymore, nor could they "KDE"ize GPL applications
without permission by the original authors. Especially the latter
would be a great loss since KDE isn't just a collection of programs,
it's a way these programs work together.

I also questions whether this is Troll's or the GPL's fault.

Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 18:09:39 +0100
From: Waldo Bastian <bastian@ens.ascom.ch>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Gnome and KDE

Hi People at LWN :)

As one of the many KDE developers I would like to make some remarks
about your editorial. You state:

> KDE, for all that it is clearly the best desktop that Linux has, 

Thank you very much.

> looks an awful lot like so many other systems out there. 

True. KDE tries to incorporate those UI features which have proven
themselves useful. It's neither a goal to look like MS-Windows or
to NOT look like MS-Windows (or whatever system). The goal is to 
look good and ergonomic.

> GNOME was founded with a vision of doing things differently: tighter
> integration of applications through the CORBA bus, a more artistic
> and experimental look, choice of window managers, no dependence on
> any one company, etc.

I am not that familair with GNOME that I can comment on their
vision. I would like to state however that some of the above is not
that different from the vision of KDE:

* CORBA integration has been planned for some time now in KDE. The
KOffice package makes extensive use of CORBA. After the release of KDE
1.1 the plan is to integrate CORBA in other components as well.

* Unlike popular believe, KDE is not a window manager. Part of KDE is
KWM, a window manager. It is not necassery to use KWM. Any other
window manager can be used with KDE as well. It does have some
advantages to use KWM, since some features of KDE are not possible
with non-KDE-aware window managers.  KWM, however, is not the only
KDE-aware window manager. I believe Window Maker is KDE-aware as well
and possibly others.

* People probably wildly disagree on the issue "what looks good?". KDE
currently has modest support for themes. Most widgets however, are
based on Qt-widgets which come in two flavours (Motif and MS-Windows
look I believe). I am told that the 2.0 release of Qt will support
themes for the widgets. By then KDE should be fully "theme-able". I
assume Gnome has this already.

The two biggest differences between KDE and GNOME in my opinion are
the fact that GNOME has chosen to use a fully free toolkit instead of
a commercial one and the fact that GNOME is largely C based in
contrast to KDE which is C++ based.

Both these choices have their own pro's and con's. 

> The fact that KDE will now sprout up on a lot more desktops does not
> change the value of that vision. The competition between the two
> desktop projects has also clearly helped to push both forward.

This is certainly true. Somewhat more cooperation between the two
projects would however be very welcome.

I would like to point out that KDE (probably quite like Gnome) is just
a bunch of people working on the same project. All those people have
an opinion of their own, the opinions in this message are my
opinions. I am sure there are KDE developers which have quite
different opinions.

Thank you for your attention,
Best regards,

Waldo Bastian
Patcher of the HTML Widget, Lord of the broken Tag.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 15:44:47 +0100
From: Avus <top249@g26.ethz.ch>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: QPL and OSS; Gnome facing a new situation

Dear LWN Editor,

I usually enjoy reading the LWN very much and want to congratulate you
to this publication.

This weeks editorial, however, makes me a bit unhappy. It downplays the
importance of Troll Tech's move to make their product Open Source; we're
talking about their key product, and not a peripheral one like Mozilla,
which Netscape couldn't sell anyway (they make their money with servers
and advertising). 

You write that "not everybody is happy with Troll's new license", which
is absolutely clear at the moment, given the very emotional discussions
in the recent past. The large majority, including the most prominent
Linux personalities, have approved of the license (RMS hasn't commented
yet). You also fail to mention that this is only a DRAFT, not the final
version. I'd rather propose some clarifications than condemning it

You say "it is not the GPL, but it is probably good enough". What means
'good enough'??? As a strong supporter of Open Source I think it is
BETTER than the GPL (in this case). This may sound provocative, but
don't forget the following:
- The GPL isn't compatible with (many) other OSS licenses
- The GPL is very long, and still very unclear, e.g. in the case of what
'part of the system' means. Therefor we have a lot of confusion wether
linking to certain libraries is legal or not.
- The GPL V.2 doesn't know about (Corba) objects: Is such an object
treated as a library or as a separate programme? In the former case a
commercial programme couldn't use a GPL'd object, while in the latter
this would be possible. Example: StarOffice/Worperfect wants to call a
GPL'd KDE/Gnome configuration object. Is this legal?

The main confusion that occurs is about the STATUS OF PATCHES.
This is what leads Khimenko Victor in one of the above letters to the
conclusion that the QPL is not OSD compatible. Bruce Perens has said
he'd clarify the patch clause in the OSD, but I suggest that "patch"
should also be defined in the QPL.

The OSD demands that "modifications and derived works" must be allowed.
But is also explicitly mentions that a "patch+pristine source"-only
distribution is possible (art. 4).
A patch does not contain any original code, so it is neither a
modification nor derived from it. A patch is "source code for the
purpose of modifying the program at build time" (OSD, art. 4) It can
therefor have a DIFFERENT license, in QPL's case a freer one.
However, after the patch is applied to Qt, the resulting work is
modified and has to be under the same license as before, the QPL.


I do agree with the editor that Gnome (and Harmony, BTW) should continue.
But they should really focus on what's technically important now. In the
past, I'd got the impression that they've sometimes hidden behind the
licensing issue.

Furthermore, I agree interoperability should now be of much greater
importance. Especially the Corba objects compatibility should be
rediscussed. The Gnome developers have to ask themselves if it was
really necessary to choose an incompatible object model with MS OLE2,
instead of working together with KDE on OpenParts. This looks a lot like
the Not Invented Here syndrome... But it's still not too late to change


B. Avus

p.s.: Just for fairness I'll comment on some of the misinformation
you've unfortunately spread:
a) You *do* have a choice of windowmanagers (use whatever you want).
b) KDE presented and used Corba objects first (KOM/OpenParts), the whole
KOffice is based on it. Gnome/Baboon(MS OLE2) came later.
c) KWM has sophisticated theming capabilities (see kde.themes.org).
Widget themes will come with Qt 2.0.
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 13:12:48 +0200
From: Leandro Guimaraens Faria Corcete Dutra <leandrod@amdocs.com>
To: freeqt@modeemi.cs.tut.fi
Subject: Editorial for LWN

I support the continuation of the Harmony project as it is, or better
still as GPL instead of LGPL.  Since the main reason for its existence
is that KDE and related software is GPL, I see no reason to choose the
weaker LGPL, which would encourage the release of even more proprietary

	I have no C programming skills, but would consider supporting the
project in a less technical role and would surely use Harmony instead of
Qt anytime.

	I agree with Carl E Thompson on the serious shortcomings and
one-sideness of the QPL.  I would also advance the idea that the patch
mechanism enforced by QPL is the same one which made Linus Torvalds quit
Minix in favor of his own kernel.

Leandro Guimaraens Faria Corcete Dutra
Amdocs Brasil Ltda
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: QPL and the gtk+ C++ wrappers
From: Guillaume Laurent <glaurent@worldnet.fr>
Date: 25 Nov 1998 19:50:26 +0100

(cc-ing the Gtk-- mailing-list)

Dear LWN Editors,

After the recent news from the Gnome and Harmony project which one can
read on LWN, I can't resist to report that it's business as usual over
here :-). Actually, this is the first message on the matter to ever
appear on our mailing list.

(actually business is not quite as usual, we have a feature-freeze in
mid december and are hoping to release Gtk-- 1.0 in sync with gtk+

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