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Leading items

Big business is showing increasing interest in Linux and free software. Consider, for a moment, Some of this week's events:
  • IBM released their "Jikes" Java compiler under an open source license. OK, it has a few hitches to overcome before it can be truly called "open source," but they seem to be working on fixing those. Jikes is a high-quality product, and a real win for the open source world. (See also: IBM's press release, the Jikes license, and the Jikes download page).

  • IBM also made the beta version of their DB2 database product available for free download. DB2 is certainly not an open source product, but its availability still shows that IBM sees a future in this platform. (See also: the DB2 announcement, and the DB2 download page).

  • Sun opened up the licensing terms on its Java implementation. They have some ground to cover before the term "open source" could be applied to this product (see, for example, the comments from O'Reilly), but it's a step in the right direction. (See also: Sun's press release, and David Miller's 14 UltraSparc processor bootup sequence).

  • Sun announced their support for Linux on the UltraSparc processor, and stated that they plan to add "Linux compatibility" to Solaris. In this case, what they really mean remains rather unclear. According to David Miller, the support from Sun comes in the form of "access to documentation, loaner systems, communication with Sun engineers, access to 64-processor Enterprise 10,000 systems for testing." The changes to Solaris remain undefined at this point. (We tried to get a clarification directly from Sun on both UltraLinux support and Solaris, but without success). That Sun is willing to recognize and encourage an alternative to Solaris on their hardware is significant.

  • Silicon Graphics has joined Linux International.

  • SGI also has announced official support for Samba on their servers. It starts shipping this month as an official product. (See also: SGI's Samba for IRIX page).

  • Last but not least: Ericsson has released a new version of the "Eddie" high availability cluster system and the "Erlang" language in which it's implemented under an open source license. Eddie does a lot to fill in some of the gaps in current Linux cluster implementations; this is an important contribution.

This is quite an array of announcements for one week. It is time to say that the industry has not only discovered Linux and free software, but it is beginning to actively embrace them.

Mitsubishi and Compaq have received an order for a 130-processor Beowulf cluster from the Japanese Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, according to this brief Nikkei Net article. That's 130 Alpha nodes, of course; this is going to be one fast machine. [Update: this article no longer claims that the machine in question will run Linux; it has been changed to Digital Unix instead. Oh well.]

An electronic petition is being "circulated" which requests that the U.S. government more strongly consider the use of open source software. In particular, the petition asks for "...evaluation of Open Source applications and operating systems by the Federal Government, and especially by the Federal Technology Service of the General Services Administration (GSA), whenever they are procuring or upgrading operating systems for personal computers, workstations, servers, microcomputers, or minicomputers..."

Linus Torvalds was a guest at the Finnish presidential palace for their Independence Day celebration. For some pictures, see this article (in Finnish), and (especially) this picture. Finally, this article (in Swedish) in Hufvudstadsbladet talks a bit about the Linux connection: "Everybody wanted to talk to Linus Torvalds. In the crowds, heat, and noice at this year's independence ball, our Finnish computer genius in Silicon Valley was one of the most popular persons." (Translation courtesy of Thomas Widman; this article, unfortunately, will probably go away after Monday, December 14).

Remember that you can receive email notification when LWN is published. It's certainly easier than polling the site for each week's news... The mailing list is used once a week to say that the new version is out there, and for no other purpose - no spam. See our contact page for subscription information.

December 10, 1998



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See also: last week's Security page.


According to this Wired News article, the Clinton administration has convinced the thirty three countries involved in the Wassenaar Arrangement to impose similar restrictions on cryptography as those adopted by the United States. Check out the website for the Wassenaar Arrangement for links to the various countries involved and their National Export Controls. Note that Finland, Australia and the Netherlands are part of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

John McDonald reported a remote vulnerability in bootpd . However, many operating systems are not affected by this problem, including tested versions of Linux and FreeBSD. Exploits have been written for OpenBSD and BSDI. OpenBSD released a patch for the problem on November 28th. Irwin Tillman noted that unpatched versions of CMU dhcpd 3.3.7 had the same problem, since it traces its origin to bootpd. Princeton patch 6 is reported to have fixed the problem.

Salvatore Sanfilippo has written hping, a tcp-based ping command for those of you that can find a use for such a tool. As with the original ping command, it is vulnerable to a sigalrm bomb attack, so it should not be setuid root. It is open source and GPL code.

Another source code offering, cheops, is a network "swiss army knife", offering a point and click interface to a network using a combination of several different network tools. The announcement also mentions ways to possibly tell if someone tries to use cheops as a scanning tool against your site.

On the distribution front, Debian has released a new version of fte to fix a problem where fte does not drop its root privileges correctly. This is a large security hole, allowing users to "read and write files with root priviliges, and execute all programs as root." Debian recommends upgrading the package immediately.

Chip Christian reported an interesting vulnerability in SecurID. It seems that if you have it configured to use NIS, but NIS is unavailable, SecurID will default to providing a root shell for logins. Note that the software he used is over three years old. Security Dynamics has been notified.

A Call for Papers for the Symposium "Architectures, Tools and Algorithms For Networks, Parallel and Distributed Systems" has been released. This will be held during the ISAS Conference, in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A from July 30th to August 3, 1999.

Robert M. Slade posted reviews of three cryptography books to the ISN mailing list. From the ISN archives, here are his reviews of The Information Systems Security Officer's Guide, the Cryptography and Network Security and Java Cryptography.

December 10, 1998


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.1.131. This version (announcement here) is likely to remain the current official release for a little while, since Linus is vacationing in Finland and hobnobbing with the President. Meanwhile, Alan Cox's "ac" patch series becomes the closest thing we have to an official development line. That series has been active, releasing versions 2.1.131ac2, ac3, ac4, ac5, and, as of press time, 2.1.131ac6. These patches, as always, are available from Alan's FTP site. (There was a hint of I2O support in ac5, but that support is not yet available; its presence as a configuration option was a mistake).

The next series of 2.0 prepatches has begin with the announcement of 2.0.37 prepatch 1. At this point, the prepatch consists mostly of driver patches.

What does it take to use 1GB or more of memory on Intel systems? The current kernel tops out at 960MB; older 2.0 versions can crash in nasty ways if an attempt to boot a system with more memory than that is made. In response, evidently, to some customer queries, Leonard Zubkoff made available a patch which raises the ceiling to 2GB. Due to addressing limits in the IA32 architecture, making this change requires that the maximum amount of virtual memory available to any individual process be reduced to just under 2GB. That, of course, will not cramp most people's style too much, but there's always somebody...

The first beta of the lm_sensors package has been released. This package (see the home page) provides an interface to hardware status sensors (temperature, fan speed, etc) that some newer machines provide. With a package like this, your remote server can tell you that its fan has died before the whole thing turns into a molten slag heap.

Speaking of hardware monitoring, a set of patches to allow monitoring of disk activity and throughput has been made available by Stephen Tweedie. Here's his note on the matter. These patches will not be integrated into the mainline kernel until the 2.3 series, since it's waiting for some data structure changes there.

December 10, 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.



Matthew Franz has composed a list of Development Goals for Trinux. This list is also available on the Trinux website.


In response to claims that his proposed changes to the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) are motivated by a desire to "spite Qt and KDE", Ian Jackson posted this note. In it, he states that he believes the new Qt license will be compatible with what he calls the DFSG2. This will be a hotly debated topic, but in our opinion, Ian is quite believable. He has not proposed these changes to spite anyone, but because he has a strong belief that the changes are the right thing to do. Not every one agrees with his belief, but he is certainly entitled to hold it.

Note that any actual change to the DFSG will come about only by a vote of the developers, not by Ian's personal decision, and it is clear that many developers prefer either to leave the DFSG alone or to modify it slightly rather than replace it. The outcome is definitely still open.

For more insight on Ian's motivations, you may want to check out his talk on `Why is software freedom useful, and what does it mean ?, available in postscript format.

On a related front, Troll's version 0.91 of their draft license for Qt 2.0 is now available. Reports in the Debian groups indicate that the new version is considered to be GPL compatible.

Eric Delaunay has provided new bootdisks for Debian Sparc. His announcement mentions that diskless support is now included, the 2.0.35 kernel is used and apt support is now in place. Initial reports are that the new bootdisks are excellent and work better than any prior disks. However, note that Jeffrey Ebert tried out the new bootdisk and reported a possible SILO problem with certain hardware/PROM combinations. Check out his note for information on how he got around this.


MkLinux 2.0.36 has been announced. The new version is still considered a development release.

Meanwhile, the support of MkLinux by the Open Group has ended. From their website, you can see their notice, which states " Status as of November 1998: This page is no longer being maintained, since The Open Group Research Institute is no longer active in MkLinux development." However, this note from David Gatwood indicates that development is progressing, nonetheless. The change does not appear to have made much impact on the mailing lists, though, of course, the loss of good developers is always a sad thing.

Elgin Lee reported that an overview paper that describes the original Linux/Mach design for MkLinux is available.


Mark Wielaard dropped us a note to report that we missed reporting the Beta Release of Linux PPC r5. The LinuxPPC website indicates that r5 will premier the week of January 4th, 1999, at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco.

Red Hat

Many people have been asking on the lists this week about where to find rpm files for XFree86 3.3.3. They are available on Red Hat's Contributor Network at this URL.

Robert Tennent reposted an article by Gene Czarcinski which contains the basis for mini-HOWTO on Installing/updating a new kernel on Red Hat Linux. It definitely has some useful tips in it.


The first beta of the English version of S.u.S.E. 6.0 is now available for download. No support is available, but for the brave, they will happily accept your bug reports.


The Stampede Linux distribution for the Alpha architecture is nearing readiness. Of course, no release date has been set at this point. However, if you would like to serve as a tester for this new distribution, please drop Dan Powell a note.

December 10, 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


As we mentioned on our primary page, IBM has released the "Jikes" Java compiler under an open source license. Pointers to more information can be found there.

Sun's JDK 1.2 is officially shipping. It has been renamed the Java 2 Platform.

In addition, Java 3D is finally out of beta; Java 3D 1.1 has been released.

In response to repeated requests for a rough time estimate of when the Linux version of JDK 1.2 would be available, Kevin Goode commented, "The Linux port of the Java 2 platform is being handled in conjuction with a 3rd party vendor, we will notify you as soon as we have an exact date for the release." No further information is currently available.


Makepatch 2.00 has been released. It contains "a pair of programs to assist in the generation and application of patch kits to synchronise source trees."


This week's Python-URL! is available.

Should Python 2.0 be written in C++? Here is an advocacy posting arguing strongly in the affirmative.

Gary Strangman announced the release of his stats.py module, containing basic statistical functions and some "not-so-basic" functions, such as non- parametric t-tests, various correlations, within/between-subject ANOVAs and more.


Extended Tcl (TclX) version 8.0.4 has been released. The announcement indicates that the new version provides compatibility with Tcl 8.0.4 plus assorted minor bug fixes.

Lindsay F. Marshall has released Frink 1.2p35, a new version of his tcl prettifier.

Tcl-URL!, the weekly guide to Tcl resources for December 7th is available. Mark Roseman reports an assortment of goodies, including news on the next Tcl/tk conference, AxTCL, and much more.

Tom Poindexter published announcements for Mpexpr-1.0 and Sybtcl-3.0b2.

December 10, 1998



Development projects

Emacspeak, support for the blind under Linux and other Unix operating systems has been chosen as a Smithsonian Institute Case Study, to be "preserved in the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology so that future generations may learn about the Information Age from the men and women who are creating this current day revolution." Hans Zoebelein dropped us dropped us a note about the honor and mentioned some interesting tidbits that will be forthcoming in the next New Scientist ...


Erlang is a programming language developed at the Ericsson Computer Science Laboratory. On December 8th, the source code to Erlang was released, along with the source code to Mnesia, a distributed Database Management System suited to telecommunications applications. The license for the software is a derivative of the Mozilla license that has been tweaked to fit the laws of Sweden.

Erlang is the primary language used to develop Eddie, a set of applications useful for building "robust and scalable server farms." This language is a bit different; check out this bit of the Eddie source for an example of how it looks. Erlang is based on a functional model.


A new mailing list for the "discussion of the internationalization and localization of GTK+ itself and of GTK+ applications". The list is called gtk-i18n-list@redhat.com and subscription information is available.

High Availability

The High Availability HOWTO has been updated.


Paul Everitt reports that the Beta 2 release of Zope will be out tomorrow, Friday, December 11th. It will contain pre-compiled binaries and some more examples and documentation. Information on zope can be found at the Zope website.

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

A very brief mention in the Nordic Business Report says that Linux may become the most popular operating system in Finland "some years after 2000".

A new company called Loki Software put out this press release stating their intent to start porting commercial games to the Linux environment. Details - such as exactly which games - are scarce at the moment, but they say they'll have their first release out in the first quarter of 1999.

Washington University has announced a deal wherein a company called Object Computing, Inc. will commercialize and distribute the software goodies created at the University - all under an open source license. The first thing to go out will be their "ACE" Object Request Broker (ORB). This is another attempt at funding open source software development; let's hope it goes well.

Troll Tech has put out a new version of the QPL (the new license for Qt). The biggest change in the new versionseems to be that people who distribute patches to Qt can distribute them under a license different from the QPL. The wording of the license is a bit ambiguous; one interpretation is that patches which are not released under the QPL themselves need not be available for Troll to incorporate into proprietary products. One could also read it to say that Troll has the right to ignore the license under which a patch is released in incorporate the patch regardless. Presumably the next version will clarify that point. In any case, if Troll does incorporate patches, they must then be released by Troll under the QPL.

Penguin Computing has announced a new associates program. Their press release explains how their program can earn members referral fees. Membership is not restricted in any way, but they hope the program will help fund "Linux User's Groups, Linux websites, and lots of Open Source developers and advocates."

Hitachi plans to start selling Linux-installed systems, according to this Nikkei Net article. These systems would start shipping sometime in 1999. (Thanks to Bruce Harada).

Press Releases:

  • VA Research, shipped a couple of machines with 2G RAM.
  • IBM, Jikes is open source.
  • Avant!, Polaris Verilog simulator available for Linux.
  • National Instruments, LabView available for Linux.
  • MathSoft, NUOPT analysis software available for Linux.
  • Sendmail, Inc., Sendmail Pro released.
  • VA Research, support for the Linux beer hike.
  • Star Division, Star Office 5.0 available.
  • TowerJ, version 3.0 of their Java system.
  • Netbeans, DeveloperX2 2.1 is supported on the new Java 2 Platform (JDK 1.2)
  • Netbeans, now a Cloudscape Certified Technology Partner

December 10, 1998


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

Linux in the news

OK....here's some of the recommended reads for this week:
  • This Mac Opinion column delves into the problems of operating system development, starting with The Mythical Man Month and heading forward from there. The conclusion: "The only way to deal with this problem is to follow the lead of Linus Torvalds and Linux.... he proved that only open source code, subject to the review of anyone, can produce an OS without shenanigans, backdoors, but with high a quality implementation of security and great stability."

  • Here is an Internet World column predicting many more gains for open source software. Some interesting things, including the idea that Microsoft will get out of its Java difficulties by adopting Kaffe. "Both IBM and Compaq's Digital division will contribute vast amounts of source code to the Linux project in 1999. Given that neither company really makes money on OS sales, each one has more to gain in hardware and consulting revenues from endorsing Linux and providing customers with the smoothest possible migration path."

  • The LA Times has a lengthy article about free software and Linux, and how they relate to the rest of the world. "What seems to be shaping up is a fascinating duel between two models of Net culture, both of them gaining strength in the last year: the commercial culture of big corporations and the 'gift economy' developing among thousands of computer programmers who are contributing to 'open source' software such as the operating system Linux." (Thanks to Eric Potter and Mark Brady).

  • Inter@ctive Week reports on the "delay" in shipping the 2.2 kernel. As if a release date had ever been given out....

  • When you've got some time, Tim O'Reilly's article in Release 1.0 about open source is worth a read.
Once again, much of this week's press was in the form of reviews of specific Linux distributions and products, almost as if Linux were a normal operating system.
  • ZDNet ran a lengthy comparison between BeOS and Linux. "The most important difference, though, is the potential that BeOS has to offer as a result of its 'fresh start' approach. Linux is awesome in many ways, but no matter how you slice it, it's still basically an evolved port of a 20+ year-old operating system, and with that age comes a certain amount of baggage."

  • PC Week reviewed S.u.S.E. Office Suite 99. "S.u.S.E. Inc.'s Linux Office Suite 99 comes up short in usability when compared with other Linux productivity packages, including Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect 7 for Linux and Star Division Corp.'s StarOffice."

    They also reviewed Red Hat 5.2, and weren't entirely happy with that either. "Red Hat's desktop interface looks like CDE (Common Desktop Environment) and Windows after a nasty car accident."

  • ZDNet UK has announced their Technical Innovation Awards for 1998. The winner of the editorial fellows' award was Red Hat 5.1, which also was a runner up for the "best operating system" and "best network operating system" categories. No other distributions seem to have been considered. (Thanks to Chris Lewis).

  • InfoWorld reviews Sybase ASE. "... this database manager is the real deal. Highly optimized, extraordinarily powerful, thoroughly documented, mature, and bulletproof. I expect this to be, in the server realm at least, Linux's killer application." (Thanks to Didier Legein).

  • Computer Reseller News put out a review of sorts of Caldera's OpenLinux.

    This Computer Currents article compares Red Hat's and Caldera's offerings. "Both products are similar, but Red Hat continues to focus on simplifying installation--a boon for new users. Caldera, though easy enough to set up, is really geared for Linux power users." (Thanks to Alex Shnitman).

There were a number of other articles about the business of Linux and free software:
  • This Wired News article discusses the new Java license and why not everybody is entirely thrilled with it. "But according to leaders of the open source movement -- most notably Eric Raymond's site, Opensource.org -- there's more to open source than just access to a particular source code." (Thanks to Stuart Ballard).

  • InfoWorld has an article on the Jay Jacobs Linux deployment. "Now the company is on the verge of implementing one of the most cutting-edge and cost-effective systems around: Linux as the operating system in the stores, running Apropos retail software with an Informix back-end database." (Found in Linux Reviews).

  • VARBusiness ran an article on how the Linux value added reseller (VAR) business is growing.

  • The (Raleigh, NC) News and Observer has a story about Red Hat and its commercial success. "The company has grown from 50 to 85 employees in just a few months. And Young expects sales -- projected to be $10 million in 1998 -- and employment to double annually in the coming years." (Thanks to John Thacker).

  • Here's a TechWeb story about Sendmail going commercial. "...questions remain that are unique to a company attempting to convert an OSS customer base to a commercial one."

    News.com also has an article about Sendmail, Inc..

    Wired News has an article about Star Division and the new Star Office offering. "...the company is profitable and revenues should exceed $100 million in 1999. An IPO is planned for the second or third quarter of next year."

    Novell is denying reports that they will release their NDS product under an open source license, according to this ComputerWorld article.

  • Here is the Computer Reseller News article about Sun's support of Linux on the UltraSparc processor. "Sun expects Linux support to be most critical for its entry-level Ultra 5 and 10 workstations, particularly in vertical markets such as education..."

    CRN also has an introductory article on the business of Linux, and the obligatory interview with Linus.

  • Internet Week talks about the increasing amounts of middleware available for Linux. Middleware applications, of course, are another crucial component for many types of corporate adoption of Linux. "A Linux port is on the to-do list of most of the major application server vendors, though few commitments exist so far."

  • ZDNet UK talks to some corporate Linux users about the system. "Frankly the Linux community has provided answers to my questions more readily than Novell or Microsoft ever have."
We found small number of articles in the non-English press:

  • Lenz Grimmer pointed out this article (in German) in Rheinische Post. It is evidently a positive article about Linux applications. Unfortunately Babelfishdoesn't seem to want to translate this one.

    This article in Computer Sweden (in Swedish, of course) is entitled "Linux will beat NT on Servers." It is accompanied by a brief article under the headline "Support for Linux is growing fast". That's about all we are able to say about them... (Thanks to Inge Wallin and Torbjörn Gard).

And here is a remaining mixture of introductory articles, etc.

  • Instrumentation and Control Systems Magazine ran an introductory column on our favorite system. "There also is a lack of drivers for the more esoteric printers, scanners, and other hardware, but this, too, is changing as more requests come in. For example, in the industrial market Opto 22 has taken the lead by releasing a set of PAMUX drivers for Linux. I asked Bob Sheffres, Opto?s vp of marketing, what led Opto to release these. He told me Opto had enough demand from customers to make it worthwhile. "

  • Open source gathering steam uncovers ZDNet. It also gathers another chunk of "no support" FUD in this article.

  • ZDTV broadcast a Linux installation, evidently a daunting thing for them to do: "We don't even know how long it will take. We had to clear out half the show to make room for this daring stunt. Install an operating system on live TV? We must be craaaazy!" See this Screen Savers page for more information. ZDTV has also put out an interview with Linus. Both are available in RealPlayer format. (Thanks to Jonathan Day).

  • Here's a ZDNet column about Linus: another personality piece. "That's why I say Torvalds ... is such an unlikely giant killer. There is a decided normalcy to his demeanor. He displays no aggressive instincts." (Grazie a Alberto Schiavon).

  • Nicholas Petreley looks at free software licenses. "There's no better way to ignite the flamethrowers than to discuss the relative merits of the GNU General Public License (GPL), the Berkeley-style license, or any variations of these two licenses. Why? I haven't a clue."

  • ZDNet covers the Linux beer hike that Electric Lichen is putting together for next August in Bavaria. (Thanks to John Villalovos).

  • Wired News covers the open source petition.

  • Lessons to be learned from Linux in Sm@rt Reseller tries to make some suggestions to Microsoft on how they could try to get Linux's good press. Included are things like "open up the NT source." Seems unlikely. "The open-source community is where the action is these days. The Linux hackers of today have the fervor sported by the Visual Basic developers of a decade ago. A little imitation could take Microsoft a long way. What's Microsoft got to lose, other than its perceived arrogance?"

  • Eric Raymond is featured on the front page of the Washington Post. "... Eric Raymond has evolved from a childhood pariah to a hacker cult figure to an unlikely industry player who is being consulted by some of Wall Street's biggest investors." (Thanks to Scott Crittenden and Chris Kagy).

December 10, 1998


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



A new version of the Linux/Alpha FAQ is available. Check it out on the AlphaLinux.org site.

A low-cost Red Hat 5.2 is now available in Australia. Check out this announcement for more details.


The Linux & Open Source Software Conference & Exposition will be held Wednesday, January 20th, 1999, at the Commonwealth Institute in London. For more information, check out their website. Also, this note from Eddie Bleasdale lists some of the highlights planned.

The Call for Papers for the 1999 USENIX Annual Technical Conference has been extended a final time, to December 15th, 1998. Here's your chance to provide more information to the Unix community about Linux and why they should care.

The folks organizing The Bazaar have put out a press release about the conference. The Bazaar, held in New York on March 13-15, 1999, is all about free software.

User Group News

Gulliver (Groupe des Utilisateurs de Linux et des Logiciels Libres en Ille et Vilaine et dans les environs de Rennes) has been formed, and is having its first meeting on December 12.

December 10, 1998



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AbiWord 0.3.0 Fully featured word processor
abs 0.4 Full featured spreadsheet for X11
AfterStep 1.5beta6 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
AleVT 1.2.0 Videotext/Teletext decoder and viewer
Alexandria for Linux 4.00.80 Complete, automated, client/server backup
Alien 6.25 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
AMaViS 0.2.0pre1 A Mail Virus Scanner, looks for viruses in e-mail attachments
Artistic Style 1.0.4 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
asapm 2.3 X11 application with AfterStep look for monitoring APM on laptops
asclock-itime 1.1 R11 A port of asclock to show the recently announced Internet Time format
astime 1.1 Analogue clock for X windows
autostatus 1.1 A fast, hierarchical network monitoring system
BeroFTPD 1.2.3 FTP server program based on WU-FTPD
Bicycle Ride Calorie Calculator 1.01 Calculates the number of calories expended on a bicycle ride
BigBrother Stats 0.13 Counter for websites that produces some statistics based on the info gathered
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
Blackbox 0.50.1 WindowManager for X11 written in C++
BurnIT 1.4pre6 Java front-end to cdrecord and mkisofs
Cabinet Library 0.10 Portable Cabinet Library and Utilities
Calamaris 2.16 Statistic tool for Squid and relatives
CBQ.init 0.1 Ethernet shaper init script based on CBQ
cdrecord 1.8a14 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
Celebrat 0.9.4 Very simple non-interactive command-line calendar
CGM Viewer Applet 0.4 Scriptable vector graphics viewer written in Java.
Cheops 0.56 Network User Interface
Comanche 981205 Multiplatform configuration manager for the Apache web server
CommuniGate Pro 2.8 Industry-standard internet messaging server
Compaq Smart-2 Driver 0.8 Linux Driver for Compaq Smart-2 PCI Disk Array Controllers
COSA 1.02 Linux driver and tools for the COSA and SRP synchronous serial boards
DailyUpdate 4.6 Grabs dynamic information from the internet and integrates itinto your webpage
DB2 5.2 Beta Universal Database for Linux
DDD 3.1.1 Common graphical user interface for GDB, DBX and XDB
Deception Toolkit 0.7 Gives defenders a couple of orders of magnitude advantage over attackers
DECnet for Linux 1.00 DECnet socket layer and applications
Desktop File Manager (DFM) 0.9.11 Filemanager like OS/2 WPS
DocWiz 0.59 A GUI tool for developing Javadoc documentation
DOSEmu 0.99.5 Application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs
doxygen 0.4 A documentation system for C and C++
egcs snapshot 19981206 Experimental set of enhancements for the GNU tools
ELKS 0.0.74 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Enscriptconfig 0.5 Standalone GUI to edit the GNU enscript configuration files
Erlang 4.7.3 Full-featured programming language developed at the Ericsson CS Laboratory
Exult 0.05 Ultima 7 world viewer
F 0.15 Lightweight file browser for GNOME.
FAIM 0.0c An open source client for America Online's Instant Messenger service
fltk beta 19981207 C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL
foxxess 19981202 Database management front-end for the fOX Project
FVWM 2.1.4 The classic highly configurable virtual window manager
gaim 19981207 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
Gamora 0.63.0 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
gentoo 0.9.17 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
gFTP 0.1 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
GGUI 0.1 An easy multi-purpose, multi-program GUI.
GHX 98/12/07 GTK clone of the Hotline software
Gifsicle 1.8 Command-line tool for creating, editing, and optimizing GIFs and animations
Glade 0.3.9 GTK+ interface builder
GlideControl 0.3 GTK-based interface for configuring 3Dfx voodoo cards
GLload 0.4.0 OpenGL(r) load meter
gnometool 0.4 Tiny perl program to manage Gnome CVS modules
GNU Argument Analyser 0.9.9 Utility to manage the arguments of your programs
gPhoto 0.0.1-2 GNU Digital Camera download software
gpppkill 0.9.13 Ends idle ppp connections
gppp_button 0.1.19981206 Button to make and break a pppd connection.
GQmpeg 0.4.3 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
GQview 0.5.1 X11 image viewer for the Linux operating system
grip 0.1 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
GTK MikMod .06b GTK interface to MikMod for Unix
Gtk See 0.2.1 An image viewer based on the X-Window system and GTK+
GtKali 0.1.2 Gtk+ interface to Kali using Jay Cotton's kalinix.lib
gtkmotd 0.5 Displays message of the day in an X window
GtkSamba 0.1.4 Gtk front end to configuring Samba
GXedit 1.18 Simple GPL'ed graphical editor using GTK
Homebrew Decompiler 0.0.1 Decompiles Java .class files to .java files.
HSX 98/12/03 Hotline Server clone for Unix
HTMLDOC 1.6 Converts HTML to indexed HTML, PostScript, and PDF
hunt 1.0 Tool for exploiting well-known weaknesses in the TCP/IP protocol suite
ImageMagick 4.1.6 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
IMP 1998-12-1 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
instmon 1.2 Monitors installations and detects the files that were added or modified
ivtools 0.7.1 Application frameworks for drawing editors and spatial data servers
JavaLog snapshot-r120298 A Prolog interpreter written in Java(tm)
JDK 1.2 Java Development Kit
jEdit 1.2pre8 Powerful text editor
Jikes 1.0 Java compiler that translates Java source into bytecoded instruction sets
John the Ripper 1.6 Password cracker to detect weak UNIX passwords
kaffe 1.0b3 Complete, PersonalJava 1.1 compliant Java environment
kcmbind 0.4.0 A KDE front-end to configure bind
Kibble 0.7.1 A knowledge base program
kicq 0.3.0 ICQ clone for KDE that looks like Mirabilis' ICQ client
klm 0.1.0 KDE frontend for the LM SENSORS linux kernel
kmpg 0.4.0 An mp3 player for the K Desktop Environment.
KXicq 0.2.24 The KDE ICQ clone
Leafnode 1.7 NNTP server for small leaf sites
lftp 1.2 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
Lilo 0.21 Linux boot loader
LilyPond 1.1.11 The GNU Project music typesetter
Linux joystick driver 1.2.13 Provides Linux support for joysticks
Linuxconf 1.13r8 Sophisticated administrative tool
lirc 0.5.3 Linux Infra-red Remote Control
lm_sensors 1.4.11 LM78 and LM75 drivers
Log Scanner 1.0 Real Time log watcher and notification program
Lout 3.12 Document formatting system
Lynx 2.8.2dev8 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
MajorCool 1.3.2 A Web interface to Majordomo
make_news_site 0.05 A simple web news site creator
MikMod 3.1.2 Multi-platform open-source module player
mkrdns 1.2 Program to automatically generate reverse DNS zone files (PTR records)
MM.MySQL 1.1d JDBC Drivers for MySQL
mod_dav 0.9.4-1.3.3 DAV protocol extensions for Apache
mod_ssl 2.1.3-1.3.3 Apache Interface to SSLeay
Mops 0.42a3 3D modeling environment written in C with Tcl/Tk.
MSWordView 0.5.1 Microsoft Word 8 document viewer
myed 0.1 Featureless, small editor
NcFTP 3.0 beta 16 UNIX application program implementing the File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
NED 0.3 Dyndns server and client package
netatalk1.4b2+asun2.1.1 A kernel-level implementation of the AppleTalk Protocol Suite
News Peruser 4.0 alpha 17 An offline newsreader for Linux and X11
NinjaRMI 1.2 Free implementation of Java Remote Method Invocation
NoName 0.0.5 Fantasy RPG using A-Life techniques.
olex alfa Flexible lexical analyzer parser generator for C++
OpenCD Alfa 5 Fast fuzzy-search directory changer.
OpenLDAP 1.0.3 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
OSS 3.9.1j Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
PentiumGCC 1.1.1 Pentium/PPro/P-II/K6/Cyrix/MMX optimising egcs clone
perlmoo 0.050 lambdamoo style moo written in perl
Petey 0.95 Fortune like application for story generation
phpMyAdmin 1.2.0 Handles the basic adminstration of MySQL over the WWW
pkgview 0.01 X based RPM package viewer
plucker 0.02alpha Web browser for Palm Pilot with Linux conduit
psntools 1.4 Administrative tools for large numbers of accounts
Python/XML 0.5 Python modules for XML processing.
Qt 1.42 GUI software toolkit
Queue 0.23p5 Innovative load-balancing/batch-processing system and rsh replacement
RAPID 5.06 Commodity and stock graphing software for technical analysis.
regutils 0.8 Windows 9x ini and registry tools for unix
RockHead 0.0.1 Plays rock paper scissors, and guesses your next move.
Samba 2.0.0 beta 3 Allows clients toaccess to a server's filespace and printers via SMB
SampLin 1.3 beta Scientific Data Acquisition, Visualization and Process Controlsoftware
SARA 1.0b1 A Multi-Agent Gaming Platform
Secure Remote Password Protocol 1.4.3 Zero-knowledge password-based authentication and key exchange protocol
SGMLtools 2.0.2 Package made fortechnical/software documentation
Socker 0.1 Turns any stdin/stdout based program into a TCP server process
SoundTracker 0.0.11 A music tracker for X / GTK+
Speak Freely for Unix 6.1e Allows you to talk (voice, speech, telephone) over a network
sula 0.05.3 Programmable multiple-server IRC Client for X with Guile extension
svgalib Low-level graphics library that provides VGA and SVGA modes in a console
t1utils 1.7 Tools for manipulating PostScript Type 1 fonts
Tcl/Tk 8.0.4 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
Teaser and Firecat alpha-iii Copyleft replacement for the proprietary ICQ system
The Kiwi Toolkit 1.1RC1 Java foundation class library that complements the JFC
Theatre Commander 0.3 Networked, multiplayer, military strategy game for GTK.
ThoughtTreasure 0.00021 Platform for natural language processing and commonsense reasoning
TiK 0.50 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
TinyGL 0.1 A small and fast subset of OpenGL
tircproxy 0.4.2 Transparent IRC Proxy with DCC CHAT and DCC SEND support
tkMOO-light 0.3.17-dev-05 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
TkNotepad 0.4.3 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
tkRunIt 0.85 A simple, but featureful run dialog box for executing commands without an xterm
TNT 1.7 Emacs Clients for the AOL Instant Messenger service
traffic-vis 0.22 Network analysis tool
TZO Internet Naming System 1.06 Dynamic DNS Software client
UgaUga 0.10 Complete graphics API for Java
Ultima Offline Experiment Ultima Online Server Emulator.
Ultima Online Client for Linux 1.0 Ultima Online Client for Linux
VelociGen for Perl (VEP) 1.1 High performance server programminglanguage
VelociGen for Tcl 1.1 High performance web server programming using Tcl
Videobase 0.10 Video / Movie database
WebTheme 1.2.0 Web Theme Library
Welcome2LXMAS Special Edition (b) Linux ANSI boot logo
Window Maker 0.20.3 X11 window manager with NEXTSTEP look and feel
X-Chat 0.4.0 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
XEmacs 21.2.5 Internationalized text editor
xflame 1.1 Graphic hack to draw a cool flickering flame
XfreeCD 0.7.8 GTK+ based cd player.
Xwrits 2.7 Reminds you to take wrist breaks
YAX Window System 0.1.0 A small window system for Unix.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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December 10, 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: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 18:34:58 -0600
From: "David M. Stoner" <dms@atlantis.utmb.edu>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Software Without Shenanigans?

A caveat needs to be added to John Martellaro's claim, in a 
"Mac Opinion" column, following Linus Torvalds, that only
open source software can produce "software without shenanigans".

Ken Thompson, one of the original creators of Unix, has shown
that even complete access to the source code cannot guarantee
the absence of shenanigans.  See http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95.
He demonstrated in some detail that a back door can exist which
is completely invisible in the source code.   His conclusion:
"You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself."

I agree that access to the source code does and should increase
our confidence in the system it generates, but it should not be
thought that it provides an absolute guarantee of trustworthiness.

David Stoner
From: "Kenneth Y.K. YOUNG" <kyoung@kyoung.net>
To: <lwn@lwn.net>
Subject: Eirik's (President of Troll Tech) post to the Harmony List
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 02:22:42 -0500

I haven't read any news item among the Qt hoopla that points 
out the following:

Eirik's (President of TT) unwillingness to guarantee not to 
sue Harmony involves several very deep opensource issues:
(1) He is wrong on one score: Harmony is LGPL'ed, and 
therefore can never be embraced-and-extended by any 
Redmond companies.
(2) There is a deep problem concerning Qt making money off 
Harmony patches, and/or loosing revenue due to a competitive
opensource clone.
(3) If TT one day does decide it is loosing revenue to a opensource
clone and sues, who is it suing and how can it sue?

I would like to see some concrete answers to these questions.


Quoting Eirik, President of Troll Tech, in his post to the Harmony list:

>We are not lawyers, we are developers, and we do not want 
>to sue people.  On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will 
>never sue the Harmony project. Who knows what will happen 
>in the future. If e.g. some Redmond based company starts
>pumping funding into Harmony to "embrace and extend"
>Qt we might consider suing."        

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 12:10:05 -0800 (PST)
From: James Ramsey <jjramsey_6x9eq42@yahoo.com>
Subject: Misuse of Troll Tech quote
To: editor@lwn.net

On the front page of LWN you excerpted the following quote from Troll
Tech's president:

"On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will never sue the Harmony

Although you provided a link to the full article, you made it appear
as if a suit by Troll Tech of Harmony was a looming threat. The quote
was way out of context.

The following is a more complete excerpt:

"We are not lawyers, we are developers, and we do not want to sue
people.  On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will never sue
the Harmony project. Who knows what will happen in the future. If
e.g. some Redmond based company starts pumping funding into Harmony to
"embrace and extend" Qt we might consider suing."

Now the "Redmond based company" is obviously an oblique reference to
Microsoft, and the likelihood of Harmony's developers accepting money
from Microsoft is pretty remote. The implication seems to be that it
would be unlikely that Troll Tech would sue, except under unusual
circumstances, such as some gross dirty trickery on the part of the
Harmony project of the sort mentioned above.

It doesn't sound to me like much of a threat at all.

----I am a fool for Christ. Mostly I am a fool.----

Date: 03 Dec 98 13:07:55 -0800
From: (anonymous)
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Comments on TrollTech QT, QPL

Dear Editor,

As you know, Linux has recently received high praise from press after
some heavy weight commercial companies have announced strong support
for it. For Linux to thrive and grow and become a household name,
support from commercial industry is vital. My main concern of making
QT to be a standard toolkit to base all free software is based on its
disregard for commercial software industry.

If QPL is perceived is an Open Source compatible and if almost all of
the free apps are written in QT, then most commercial companies would
also like to write their apps using QT so as to create common look and
feel and just to keep easier and greater compatibility with the other
free apps (like KDE desktop etc). However, this is a dangerous
situation.  What if sometime in future, some Microsoft buys TrollTech
and keeps the QT free license essentially same, but changes commercial
license drastically (let us say $50000 per developer per
year). Microsoft can further discourage others in using Linux (or even
Unix) by making the Windows version of QT essentially free for
commercial developer. Further, MS can allow QT at essetially throw
away price to commercial companies which agrees to get no less than
let us say 70 to 75 % revenue from Windows software. Note, that they
would least bit concerned, if developers frustrated by this license,
leaves Linux/Unix and starts using Windows.

The above scenario, however improbable, is definitely possible. This
would also almost kill commercial development of Linux-Unix software
and would be very harmful to those companies which invests heavily on
QT toolkit and helps it become a commercial standard.

Unless the QPL can take care of these concerns, it seems to me that
the commercial vendors would be better off using Motif. This will
create separation between commercial apps and free apps. I would
strongly advise the Linux community to take these concerns into
account before stopping their work on Harmony and GNOME projects.

In your previous article (http://www.lwn.net/1998/1203/a/jd-harmony.html)
Joel Dillon writes, "...if Trolltech were to go bust because of
Harmony then companies would see nothing to gain in cooperating with
the free software movement...". This is quite unlikely. Even after the
Linux has come in the market, we have not seen Sun going bust, neither
LessTif, has done harm to Motif, nor Wine has done any harm to MS.

Also in the same article Joel Dillon writes, "...at worst, if
Trolltech were to be bought out by Microsoft and raised their
commercial prices sky-high then some work would be involved in keeping
gtk or another toolkit 100% KDE-compatible...." This is simply
impossible.  What happens to the code already written in QT but
becomes incompatible with the the future libraries being
distributed. This would mean that either I as a developer renew my QT
license or ask my user to keep multiple version of QT lib on their

Couple of my own suggestions about QT: 
    * Make QT as a published standard. The free software community
strictly adhers to this published standard (once the published
standards are there, it would be difficult for TrollTech or any future
owner of QT to create any unreasonale distributions (e.g. Java).

    * Divide QT into QT Free ane QT Pro as two separate products and
QT Free to be released under QPL but with the exceptions that the
commercial vendors get the same right as the free software
developer. This would allow the commercial vendors to remain
compatible with the rest of the free software community without
getting locked into one company.

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