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Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 is out. This distribution, released this week with great fanfare at Comdex (press release here), has been drawing some serious attention. Nicholas Petreley raved about it in InfoWorld, saying that it brings the desktop battle to Windows "51 weeks ahead" of what he had expected.

And this looks to be an interesting release. Since when should Caldera, long known as the slowest and most conservative distribution in its adoption of new software, be the first to come out with the 2.2 kernel? The ability to start the installation under Windows and handle making room and repartitioning the disk for the user is a great touch. If it works as well as they say, Caldera has just addressed one of the more difficult aspects of getting into Linux - getting it installed in the first place. The "Linux is too difficult to install" attack is rapidly losing credibility.

On another front, Corel has announced that its distribution will be based on KDE and the Debian distribution (see Corel's press release for details). Going with Debian is an imaginative and somewhat brave move on Corel's part, and it shows the stature that Debian has been able to attain over the last year. Corel's distribution (due toward the Fall) is looking more interesting all the time.

In comparison to all this, Red Hat's upcoming 6.0 release, to be announced on Monday with a rumored May 10 delivery date, seems somewhat lackluster. Its main points thus far seem to be the 2.2 kernel (of course) and a higher price. Red Hat may yet have an ace or two up 6.0's sleeve, and, in any case, nobody need worry about Red Hat's immediate prospects. But recent developments look sure to remind the world that there is more to Linux than Red Hat, and that can only be a good thing.

(We have no complaint with Red Hat, incidentally. They make a quality distribution - the one that LWN runs on - and their support for Linux development has been substantial. But much of the world has not yet caught on that there is more to Linux than one company.)

The Mindcraft report. This report, which stirred up a lot of fuss last week, sure seems to have faded away in a hurry. Press coverage of the report has been minimal, and what little there has been has been almost entirely skeptical of the report. Microsoft, of course, is pushing the reportin an attempt to get their money's worth out of it, but people aren't buying it.

The Linux community should congratulate itself here. The response to the report was almost entirely calm, mature, and factual. The result is that this study got debunked before it even got off the ground. This is a real victory, and it shows how much respect Linux has earned.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

April 22, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Misconfiguration of Shopping Carts is the technical issue behind the news.com article entitled, "Privacy at risk in e-commerce rush. As a result of misconfiguration, client information, including names, addresses and even credit card information, is exposed to the Internet. Joe Harris reported the problem on Bugtraq as well, mentioning his frustration trying to get one commercial vendor to respond to the situation. "We did have a conversation with one (fairly large) commercial vendor (who shall remain nameless) and if the response we got from them was any indication, contacting the remaining vendors would have been futile. This particular vendor couldn't see the problem we had with the software that -they themselves- had installed on behalf of our mutual client. They couldn't understand why we told them to change their software or remove it from the server, even after a long and patient explanation of a little thing called 'liability'.

He posted a a later message, listing six shopping carts found to be misconfigured on a variety of sites. He emphasized that all of these systems could be used correctly and safely. However, many small to medium-sized businesses are not doing so.

Privacy issues involving the apprehension of the Melissa virus author came up at the Congressional hearing held to discuss the impact of the virus. In particular, the cooperation of AOL and a "a unique identifying number attached to Microsoft software" were questioned, but without receiving any useful answers, because the investigation is ongoing. This New York Times article provides more details. It is good to know that such issues aren't being overlooked in the wake of the hysteria about the Melissa virus.

On a separate note, later in the article, there is even a promising quote, indicating that someone involved understands that fixing the software bugs that are exploited by a virus is critical to resolving the problem. "If the only defense is to react to a problem as it occurs, we're always going to be behind". This tends to get overlooked, particularly by vendors that make large amounts of money peddling solutions to detect, rather than prevent, such viruses. This means that commercial vendors will need to respond to such problems in the same way the open source community does: by fixing the actual problem.

Security Reports

A potential problem with the Linux 2.0.X kernel series was discovered as a side effect of a Midnight Commander bug reported to Bugtraq. It seems that the 2.0.X kernels, at least through 2.0.36, do not prevent someone from creating a file with a negative size. The 2.2.X kernel series does not appear to be vulnerable. For more information and a patch, check out Chris Wilson's post, which he also forwarded to Alan Cox for inclusion in the next 2.0.X kernel.

IPFilter, a freely distributable TCP/IP packet filter, has a tmp race problem, as reported on Bugtraq by Nick Garath. Darren Reed, the author, followed up with more information and a patch.

Pointers to security updates from Red Hat for lpr, procmail, rsync and NFS are available on our Distributions page. Anyone running Red Hat should pull down and apply these updates immediately.


Debian has issued yet another procmail update. For details, check their announcement. If you have procmail installed, you should acquire the new package.


The latest version of CRYPTO-GRAM, a free newsletter about cryptography issues, is now available.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 22, 1999


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current kernel release is 2.2.6. Linus returned from his vacation, tossed out 2.2.6 without an announcement, then hit the road again for his midwestern speaking engagements. So not much else has happened in the area of official kernel releases. The number of complaints about 2.2.6 seems to be quite small, thus far.

The NFSv3 client has moved from alpha to beta test. See Trond Myklebust's announcement for the full story. Included with the release is a new version of mount which automatically uses NFSv3 if the server offers it. Trond's plan is to push for inclusion of the NFSv3 client in the 2.3 tree, once that begins; he does not plan to try to get it into the 2.2 series.

A Linux hardware test suite? Doug Ledford, master of Adaptec SCSI, among other things, sent out a message announcing a plan to gather together a set of kernel hardware compatibility test programs. The idea is to test all aspects of how the kernel works with a particular device. They are looking for existing test utilities that people might have sitting around. Please drop them a note if you have something to contribute.

Performance degration after a few hours of operation was a recent complaint. Turns out that the people involved were running Compaq systems; said systems have a power management system that will slow down the CPU after a few hours of operation. Disabling the power management in the BIOS fixed the problem...

Problems mounting SMB shares with smbfs have also been in the air. It appears that there are at least two different problems out there. One is that the "Windows 95 bug workaround" kernel compilation option creates difficulties if you are mounting shares from NT servers. If that is your situation, the bug workaround option should be turned off. There also appears to be an idle timeout problem that cropped up recently; that one is still outstanding.

A new software RAID release is out, this is version 1999.04.21. It applies to both 2.0.36 and 2.2.6, and is primarily a bug-fix release.

The capabilities discussion rages on. There is not a whole lot more to say about it here; folks really interested in the discussion should probably participate in it directly. It is worthwhile, however, to have a look at this summary of the discussionposted by Ted T'so, written in his usual clear manner. It sums up a few different views of capabilities, and argues that capability information has to be stored in the filesystem.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

April 22, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



As mentioned on the front page, OpenLinux 2.2 has started to ship. Michael Lineback, a beta tester, commented, "This release is the most professional install system I have EVER repeat EVER seen. Regardless of those who would bemoan the demise of the command line in the install, it is sweet."

News.com reported on Caldera's OpenLinux 2.2 as well, commenting, "The early response has been strong. High download traffic today took Caldera Systems' Web site down, and the company was working to get it back up and running..." Note that the website appears to have been back up and running within a few hours of when this article was published.

If you are planning to download OpenLinux 2.2, remember that it is available from ftp.calderasystems.com, not ftp.caldera.com, which has confused some people. The exact location of the files to download is ftp://ftp.calderasystems.com/pub/OpenLinux/2.2/OpenLinux/.


The Debian Weekly News for this week reported a growing number of references to postings on the Debian mailing lists by mainstream press. Needless to say, the postings weren't chosen to reflect positively on Debian. This editor strongly hopes, however, that Debian will not move from its current public development process as a result. The ability for anyone interested in Debian to get access to almost any information about it is one of Debian's major strengths. Press articles that want to portray negative information will always find some source. It is an interesting world, though, to find out how much we are all living in a fishbowl ...

Also reported this week was a Chinese translation project for Debian. The debian-chinese mailing list has been created and more web pages have been translated to that language.


Here's another new distribution for you: LinuxGT. It's claim to fame seems to be its graphical interface, which makes its appearance from the beginning of the installation process.

Red Hat

The Red Hat 6.0 release is the focus of this news.com articlewhich contains some information on new features and a warning of a price increase. "Another change in the new version will be a remote installation utility that lets people install or upgrade Linux on remote servers via the network..."

Security updates from Red Hat were actually posted to the Red Hat updates site on April 13th, two days before we published a mention that they were lagging behind. However, their errata pages had not been updated, nor had notices been sent to their mailing lists. They resolved that quickly, on Friday, April 16th. Four security-related updates are now available, including updates for rsync, procmail, lpr and NFS.


Gdb-4.18, glib-1.2.2, gtk+-1.2.2 and Qt 1.44 have been added to the current version. In addition, the kernel has been upgraded to 2.2.6.


The German version of SuSE 6.1 is indeed shipping, according to this note from Andre Fachat. Meanwhile, this press release pegs the ship date for the International version to May 3rd and contains information about the features of this latest update. The SuSE announcement contains more information, including news of their participation at Comdex and more.

RPM packages of the latest Gnome software are now officially supported by SuSE and can be found on their Web site. Alexander Stohr wrote in with some details, including a mention that the packages require SuSE 6.X and that use of one of the ftp mirror sites for the download is highly encouraged.


Another set up updates for UltraPenguin 1.1.9 (Linux for UltraSparc processors) has been announced. They're getting ever closer to that 1.2 release.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 22, 1999

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

Known Distributions:
Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


Joe Buck, a member of the egcs steering committee confirmed the rumors that egcs and gcc would be merging in this post to Slashdot. This is excellent news for the development community. Pgcc (pentium-optimized gcc) will continue as a separate variant. If you're interested in more comments and information, you can check out the entire slashdot thread.


The next stable version of Guile, version 1.3.2, is scheduled to be out near the end of this month, along with first real release of the Guile Object-Oriented Programming System (GOOPS), for which little information is currently available on the website. For those of you that haven't run into Guile before, it is the GNU Ubiquitous Intelligent Language for Extension, a library implementation of the Scheme language. You can find out more information on Guile at the Guile website.

For the most up-to-date information on Guile, check this automatically generated status page.


What are the chances that IBM's just released JVM for Win32 will be ported to Linux? That is the question asked by Shafiek Savahl on the java-linux mailing list. Reports are that it is 30% faster. He got a response to check the mailing list again in about a week ... so consider it an official rumor! We'll be checking up on this next week.


A new perl mailing list, perl-announce, has been created. It will carry only announcements of new stable versions of perl. For information on development versions, stable versions and other news, continue to watch Perl News.

Meanwhile, on comp.lang.perl.misc, Tom Christiansen has been posting entries from the Perl FAQ one at a time ... it is an interesting way of getting people to notice what they don't know yet and maybe take the time to learn just one thing, as opposed to putting off a full read of the FAQ for later. Sometimes the entries generate some discussion and sometimes they don't. It will be interesting to see if there is any measurable change in the postings to the newsgroup as a result.

Perl training courses in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin, Australia are being held by Netizen, with discounts to members of any local Linux User Groups.

Larry Wall can be found on the cover of this month's Linux Journal, which features a story on Larry which is not yet available on-line.

The Mod Perl Developer's Guide has been been updated.


Python 1.5.2, the final version, was announced on April 13th.

The preliminary Call-For-Papers for the Eighth International Python Conference, to be tentatively held December 1st through the 4th, 1999, in Washington, D.C., has been released.

Here's a press release from O'Reilly saying that the new Python book (for beginners) is available.

For kicks and grins, check out this controversial banner.

The program for "La Journee Python France", ("The First French Python Day"), an event scheduled for May 28th, 1999, is now available (in French and some English). Guido will present the introduction for the day and the program looks excellent, so if you have a chance to stop by, please do so! Members of the community are invited to present their projects as well.

The Python mailing lists are moving! If you are currently receiving or would like to receive the comp.lang.python.* groups via mail instead of newsgroup, check out this announcement.


A Request for Comments on the first draft specification of TkGS, the Tk Graphics System, was posted by Frederic BONNET. Here is the current TkGS specification.

The first beta of AGNI, a multi-threaded middleware for scripting distributed, event-oriented applications, has been announced.

Blitz.Tcl, a CGI script accelerator for ISAPI enabled web servers, was announced in its first beta form in this press release from /n software inc.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 22, 1999



Development projects


Miguel de Icaza posted a note exploring the need for a truly powerful mail client, one that can keep up with high-volume mailing lists, track important people, specific conversations, archival based on multiple criteria, handle MIME messages correctly and connect up with other tools such as address books and calendars. Discussion was (improperly) spawned on gnome-announce as a result, talking about all the features of the "perfect" mail client. Some interesting ideas were mentioned, such as eliminating folders and replacing them by indexed archives and search capabilities. Further discussion should be moving to gnome-mailer-list@nuclecu.unam.mx (this note included instructions for getting signed up).

The Gnome Bug Tracking system may have gone down temporarily due to a possible strike at the University hosting it, but plans were made to guarantee the downtime would be short.


The second issue of Brave GNU World is now on-line. Features this month include Electric, a circuit layout program from Steven Rubin and the Free Delphi project, a Hamburg-based group of free programmers which is creating a whole ensemble of business solutions under the GPL, among other topics.


KDE-1.1.1 beta is now available. Barring the discovery of any serious problems, KDE-1.1.1 should follow shortly.


Easier hardware configuration is the goal of the Lothar project, the open source project (GPL) sponsored by MandrakeSoft, the company behind the Mandrake distribution. To reach their goal, they are developing a graphical interface and automated hardware detection using the "detect" library. Ethernet and sound configuration modules are in progress and screen shots are available on the project web site. Linux kernel 2.2.X and GTK+ 1.2.X are required.

This announcement from Gael Duval provides pointers to the Lothar mailing list. They have room for lots of people to help out, so if this is the type of project that would interest you, be sure and check it out!


Mozilla M4 was released on April 15th. There are still a lot of bugs, as is to be expected with pre-release software, but the response to the latest beta appears to be favorable.

Documentation on building Mozilla has been completed, after weeks of hard labor. Instructions cover OS/2, Linux and Windows platforms and the fruits of their labor are now available.

The Instant Messaging Project was a new Mozilla project, announced on Monday, April 19th, and then quickly pulled from the Mozilla site per Netscape's request, who had contributed the Instant Messaging API document. As an indication that the media spotlight on Mozilla is not yet gone, news.com quickly followed up with an article on the action. Speculation runs the gamut from a political move by AOL to protect their position as leader in the Instant Messaging arena, to a result of negative feedback to the project as a potential distraction from the main goal of getting a working browser out the door. All of it remains speculation for now, until Netscape or someone within Mozilla chooses to speak more.

BusinessWeek ran a more positive article on the Mozilla project, having taken the time to talk to a number of people directly involved in the project. Chris Nelson, editor of MozillaZine, is heavily quoted.


This week's Zope Weekly News covers, as major news, the release of ZServer beta 1, followed immediately by a couple of bug fixes. ZServer "integrates Zope with the Medusa internet server framework, and allows Zope to speak multiple internet Protocols".

Also included are a number of pointers to spontaneous and elicited testimonials from people currently using Zope, including the implementation of the IDG Now! Brazilian website.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

HP is jumping into Linux in a big way. Perhaps most significant this week was their announcement of a 24x7 support offering for Linux. No longer is it true that there is no big company to call to try to get problems fixed. Significantly, HP's support is a multivendor offering: they List Caldera, Pacific HiTech, Red Hat, and SuSE.

HP also announced OpenMail 6.0, their competitor to Outlook which runs on Linux.

Another sub-$500 Linux system offering has been announced, this one from The Computer Underground. A reasonable-looking 64MB machine can be had for $494, making it, perhaps, the least expensive Linux-installed system on the market.

Logitech announces Linux support. Logitech has announced the availability of Linux drivers for all of its game port products. Source is also available via the Linux Joystick Driver page. See also brief articles in Next Generation and GameSpot. (Thanks to Damon Poole).

A popular, eight-headed penguin. Penguin Computing has proclaimedthat its eight-way server is a "surprise hit" at Internet World this week. "'We've been overwhelmed by the expressions of interest we've had in the Penguin Linux server,' said Penguin's founder and president, Sam Ockman. 'We have already received well over 500 serious inquiries from prospective buyers of the system.'"

An open source e-commerce project. A new company called RSDi.com has surface and proclaimedits intention to create a free E-Commerce server system. "This first product includes integration with Cybercash (www.cybercash.com) and PaymentNet (www.paymentnet.com) for credit card processing, shopping carts, rewards programs, coupons, online auctions, automatic XML catalog publishing, business to business XML transactions, a GUI Java applet for building stores and auctions over the Internet..." They have a minimal web site up, but there's not much there yet.

Press Releases:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

April 22, 1999


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

Linux in the news

This was a relatively busy week for Linux in the press, more so than the last few. The expected flurry of articles about the Mindcraft report did not materialize, but Linus' Comdex keynote was good for a few, and a lot of other topics popped up as well. An increasing amount of the press coverage has turned critical of Linux, but it's still treated quite well by any standard.

Here is this week's recommended reading:

  • CIO Magazine contemplates the future of the desktop computer. "The most likely move right now appears to be to Linux ... and dedicated hardware. Whether we are talking about single-use servers, specialized desktops or both, the opportunity for a hardware vendor to take Linux and create a unique and differentiable offering is stronger than ever before. We believe it likely that at least one vendor will deliver such a system within 12 months. If others follow, this could spell the beginning of Microsoft's decline and the emergence of a new desktop standard."

  • Forbes magazine ran an article about Open Source and big software business. "Moral: It may be that programmers will happily craft code for open software that doesn't belong to any one company-the Linux operating system or free Apache for Web servers-but they balk at helping the Netscapes of the world get richer."

  • Here's an article in Business Week about Mozilla. They are quite upbeat about it. "While Mozilla isn't as hot as Linux, it's hardly dead, either. In fact, it may soon make its own pretty big splash"

  • LinuxToday has put up an interview with Jon 'maddog' Hall.

  • Nicholas Petreley reviews Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 in LinuxWorld. He likes it. "Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 has success written all over it. It makes Linux as smooth as a Napoleon cognac, which is exactly what corporate IT and home users need. The result is downright intoxicating."

  • Here's a lengthy article in Salon on how Linux needs more help for low-tech users. "Forget about the fawning press accounts, the surging market-share numbers and the tide of Microsoft-hating corporations paying homage to this jewel in free software's crown. Linux is a morass of arcane text commands, bewildering options and incomprehensible Unix concepts. Linux sucks." (Thanks to Peter W).

Mindcraft was not entirely absent from the press; here's the articles we were able to turn up.

  • LinuxWorld has published an article by Jeremy Allison about the Mindcraft report, and about the Samba results in particular. "In fact, last week's paper marks a coming of age of Linux, as it is now obviously important enough to have serious Microsoft marketing dollars spent against it."

  • Here's an article in VAR Business about the Mindcraft report. "'[Microsoft] pretty much knew what it wanted to get,' says George Weiss, vice president and research director for Gartner Group Inc.'s Hardware and Operating Systems Group. 'Mindcraft was the front. It's getting a little too cozy.'"

  • For those of you who read Norwegian: here is an article in digi.no about the Mindcraft survey and its problems. (Thanks to Lars Gaarden).

  • Here's a brief article (in German) in Heise Online about the MindCraft survey. They don't buy it either. Babelfish translation available here. (Thanks to Johannes Gritsch).

    And this is the first article we found in the trade press about the Mindcraft report. This one is in Smart Reseller, and they don't buy it. "On single processor systems, Linux wins. On SMP/RAID systems, Linux is just now getting in the game. Even so, even at the high end of stress testing, Linux's numbers would have been much closer to NT, if not higher, had Linux been as well tuned as NT." (Thanks to Jeremy Allison).

Meanwhile, Linus was off talking at Comdex in Chicago:
  • The Detroit Free Press has an articleabout the Comdex keynote. "Torvalds could afford to play fast and loose with this crowd of programmers, analysts and industry folk. He has a regular programming day job that pays the bills."

  • ZDNet covers Linus' keynote. "About efforts to create standards for Linux, Torvalds said Linux development is somewhat standardized by default -- people keep adding to it, but they're writing to the most current kernel."

  • ...and here is InfoWorld's article about the Torvalds keynote. "...Torvalds only half jokingly predicts that Linux will achieve operating system world domination -- 'about next year.' That Microsoft and its Windows operating system are the inferior enemy was made abundantly clear."

  • Jesse Berst chimes in on Linus' Comdex keynote. "Do you suppose David taunted Goliath before he hurled that rock? That's the rough equivalent of what Linux creator Linus Torvalds did at Spring Comdex yesterday when he predicted his maverick operating system will crush Microsoft."

  • News.com covers Linus' Comdex keynote. "Although he did not have any specific time frame, Torvalds did say he expects Microsoft to jump on the Linux bandwagon with a port to its Office desktop suite. 'It will eventually happen because we will crush them,' he said." (Thanks to Conrad Sanderson).

  • Computer Reseller News reports on Linus Torvalds' keynote at Comdex/Spring. "Early in the presentation, when Torvalds was speaking about the ability of Linux to allow users to do whatever they want, he said there is a possibility that Linux could even control a nuclear power plant. At that moment, the lights went out in the room, which prompted several in the crowd to yell that the lights were probably run on Windows 2000, from Microsoft."

Staying on the subject of Comdex, Caldera chose that forum to make their announcement for OpenLinux 2.2. Red Hat and SuSE are also headed toward big releases, and there were a number of articles that reflected this.

  • ComputerWorld writes about easier-to-use versions of Linux. "...Ottawa-based Corel will likely marry the Windows-like K Desktop Environment graphical user interface with the well-respected, noncommercial Debian version of Linux and its closely associated applications."

  • Then, there is one about Red Hat 6.0. The main changes look like the 2.2 kernel and a price increase. "Another change in the new version will be a remote installation utility that lets people install or upgrade Linux on remote servers via the network..."

  • Here is a PC World article about Caldera's and Red Hat's new releases, and where Linux is going in general. "If you're glued to the latest accelerated 3D games, love to watch DVD movies on your PC, rely on a USB scanner, or can't avoid using Microsoft Word's revision marks feature, you'll need to keep a copy of Windows 98 around. But that doesn't mean you can't have a little Linux on the side. If the revolution is coming, it won't hurt to be prepared."

  • News.com reports on Caldera's OpenLinux 2.2. It's not clear that they are off to a good start, though... "The early response has been strong. High download traffic today took Caldera Systems' Web site down, and the company was working to get it back up and running..."

Similarly, HP's announcement drew a couple of articles:

  • Here's an InfoWorld article about HP's new support offering. "HP's interest and support of Linux is, not surprisingly, not as altruistic as the open source movement itself. The company feels that Linux levels the playing field in the development arena and can be used as a strategic advantage against arch rival Sun Microsystems."

  • There is also one about HP's Linux support announcement in News.com. "HP's Linux services are not unlimited, however. HP supports only 'qualified configurations' of the Unix-like operating system, and at this point the services are limited to fixing computers that aren't working right instead of more elaborate consulting options."

There were some introductory pieces this week:

  • Here is a lengthy introductory article in the (Australian) Business Review Weekly. "Rather than coming from one software company with particular methods of development and corporate culture, Linux is being developed by what some describe as the cream of the world's programmers. Even Microsoft employees are known to be going home at night, thinking of nothing more exhilarating than savoring the Linux buzz." They also have an article about the adoption of Linux by Corporate Express in Australia.

  • Here's an introductory article in the Chicago Tribune; it spends a lot of time talking about command line stuff. "A great many Linux users, probably a majority, are computer adepts who use rough-hewn typed commands to do all that most of us do pointing and clicking in Windows, Macintosh or IBM's OS/2..."

  • Here is a lengthy Fairfax IT column, which tries to size up Linux for various applications. "For basic server tasks such as e-mail or firewalls Linux is up to the task, if you can find support people. But when it comesto high-end business computing, GNU/Linux is no match yet for the likes of Sun Solaris. The real face-off will come with next year's launch of Microsoft Windows 2000."

  • Better look out, Microsoft, here comes free software says this highly introductory article in the Rocky Mountain News. "If I start using LyX ... sooner or later there will be some feature I want, and I'll write it and send it to them. Everybody does that, that's how it's supposed to work. And in five years, Microsoft will be saying, 'Word is a program with all the features of LyX.'" (Found in LinuxToday).

Here's a set of business-oriented articles:

  • Is AOL considering a Linux move? asks News.com. The article is largely speculative, going mostly on the fact that AOL picked up a chunk of Red Hat when they bought Netscape. "Like the Java-based devices envisioned in the AOL Anywhere dream, such cheap Linux computers could give AOL another route to lower the price consumers have to pay to get AOL's Internet services." (Thanks to Damon Poole).

  • This News.com article is about the new version of Apple's Open Source license. "Bruce Perens, an Open Source Initiative founder and one of the original detractors of the Apple license, was mollified. 'This version of the APSL looks much better,' Perens said..."

  • Here's an article in the Australian Financial Review which looks at Linux and SCO. "...SCO chief Mr Doug Michels said yesterday that rather than posing a threat to SCO, the Linux phenomenon was drawing attention to the fact that there were viable alternatives to Microsoft's Windows, which was having a positive impact on SCO's bottom line."

  • The German magazine Computerwoche has run an interview with Tim O'Reilly. Thanks to the generosity of the folks over there, we have the original English version of that interview available as well. "If the open-source community doesn't get it, they are going to end up fighting the old battle trying to win on the desktop. But you know, who cares about the desktop? The web is the platform. What you want to be is like 'Intel inside' - you want to be like 'open source inside' for the next generation."

  • Xappeal.org has put out a comparison between Linux and Mac OS X. "...Linux is only free if your time is worthless. It offers great stability, but OS X is ready to go NOW, and anyone who has used the MacOS or NeXTStep can probably set up a server using it in an afternoon." (Thanks to Curtis Snow).

  • Here's an article in Red Hat's hometown paper about their certification efforts. "By attaching its name to Linux certification, the local company is prompting comparisons with Microsoft"

  • Linux is becoming certifiable says this ZDNet article. This is an interesting one, however: they are not talking about certifying engineers, but about certifying the system itself. A Utah-based company called KeyLabs, which does "100% Pure Java" certification, is setting itself up to do Linux certification as well. This appears to be in direct competition with the Linux Standard Baseeffort. Apparently Caldera and IBM have already signed up. "Since Linux is open source, nothing precludes a company from offering non-certified products. However, IT managers are likely to choose only certified products, especially if major vendors like IBM require certification."

  • You take the high end, I'll take Linux is the title of a column in (UK) Computing Magazine. It looks at the D. H. Brown report, and concludes that the "low end" to which they have consigned Linux stretches up pretty high. "As a server OS, the question of definition is unanswered: how high is high end, and how low is low? Could a low-end server soon be running your organisation?" (Thanks to Dave Killick).

  • Is Linux Really Ready for the Big Leagues? asks Inter@ctive Week. Read their answer in their summary: "Linux can play in the enterprise today, and, like a maturing athlete, it's only going to get bigger, stronger and faster."

A few articles about specific projects:

  • Internet Week has an article about Linux in routers. They think it's not a bad idea. "Customers who want to can develop their own features more quickly and with less cost than if they are tied to a proprietary system. Custom applications could include billing (for carriers) or policy management capabilities (for enterprises or carriers)."

  • Finally, they cover the Free Expression Project, which is creating a set of free streaming audio tools. "...RealNetworks may have a legal bone to pick with the Free Expression Project if that group tries to reverse-engineer RealNetworks products."

  • LinuxPower has published a review of GNOME 1.0. "...the entire system shows such amazing amounts of potential, I am dumbstruck. Every application has a similar look and feel (although there are enough differences from app to app to confuse some newcomers, I expect) and that look and feel is considerably more modern than Motif."

  • Here's a Reuters article about Linux in clustered applications. "Just last week, the Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center, located on the University of New Mexico campus, turned on a workstation supercluster system it calls Roadrunner, which basically consists of stacks of personal computer technology running multiple Intel Corp. Pentium II processors and Linux."

  • Here's a Wired News article about the FreeS/Wan release. "A new, home-brewed cryptography project could make work a little trickier for spooks and spies."

  • Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine has published an article by Jeremy Allison about Samba. "As you know, Linux is generating a lot of interest lately. What you might find surprising, though, is that it's being adopted in great numbers even by IS organizations that have standardized on Windows NT"

And after all that, what's left is:

  • Fairfax IT has an article about free software licenses. "Some argue that to maintain compatibility and quality control, the proprietor of the licence needs to act as code censor. Some even say the modifier should forfeit intellectual property rights to have the code included freely. It is hard to see how these licences can succeed. No-one will work solely for the benefit of another. Not even a paid employee of a company is likely to stay and be productive unless he or she also gets some recognition."

  • Here's an interesting little article we stumbled across in the African National Congress Daily News Briefing. It seems that Corel's Michael Cowpland is in Johannesburg pushing Word Perfect and Linux. "I'd like to challenge the South African government to adopt our WordPerfect Linux for the education system and save a ton of money, as well as endorse a worldwide standard instead of endorsing a single company"

  • Here is an interview with Linus that appears in the Austin American Statesman. "The last six months have not been that surprising because I was already starting to see what was happening. It was obvious to me that there were a lot of companies that wanted Linux, but were held back by worries about its market acceptance."

  • Microsoft Internet Developer sounds off on free software. "While free distribution is a great marketing tool (think about all those samples you get in the mail), what does it say about the product itself? Frankly, it says that the product (or the effort that went into making the product) has no value." (Thanls to Atul Chitnis).

  • Windows NT Magazine has put out a press release to tell the world that they, too, have run an article that is critical of Linux. "An article in the April issue of Windows NT Magazine concludes that the popular Linux operating system is still not enterprise-ready, despite enhancements offered with the Linux 2.2 release." At the end they add that the purpose of the article "...is not to criticize the Linux OS but to encourage Linux developers to address the problems that still prevent the system from becoming a formidable competitor in enterprise environments."

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

April 22, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Bill Henning has added results for the K6-3 400 and Celeron 400A processors to his Linux kernel compilation benchmark at CPU Review. He has also reorganized things and added a chart of his results (up to 52 processors now).

The Linux Newbie Administrator Guide has been updated, with the contents increasing by a third. It also has a new location, having moved from http://www.magma.ca/~bklimas/ to http://sunsite.auc.dk/linux-newbie/.

Another administration guide recently announced is Linux Administration Made Easy ("LAME"); it aims to produce a comprehensive document on the administration of Linux systems.

A FreeDOS CDROM is now available from SuperAnt, a a Linux and Open Source technology provider and packager. For more information, check out their press release.

More jargon. Eric Raymond has announcedanother release of the Jargon File, incorporating comments brought out by the previous round.

"PC Upgrading and Maintenance" from Smart Computing is reviewed by Rob Slade this week.

Web sites

The home of the "Linux Powered" logo, of which we are very fond, has moved to http://www.ericson.net/linux-logo/, according to Matt Ericson.

Pinguim News is a new daily Linux news site in Portuguese.

User Group News

The first meeting of the Sao Paulo Linux Users Association (LinuxSP) will take place on April 24th. Here is their announcement and their website (in Portuguese).

April 22, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
Apache-SSL 1.3.6+1.3.4 Secure Webserver (using SSLeay)
APE 0.2.0 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
APRIL 4.2 Agent Process Interaction Language
apsfilter 5.0.1 Intelligent line printer input filter
Arrow 1.0.3 An elegant, powerful, graphical interface to electronic mail
Authen::Smb 0.8 Perl module to authenticate against NT domain servers from UNIX
BBHeadlines 0.0 Displays Web Headlines in the Blackbox Root menu.
Bero Offline Mail 1.0.0
Blender 1.60 Extremely fast and versatile 3D Rendering Package
bookmng 0.11 Turn netscape bookmarks into html files
BootLogo 0.3 A bootmessage generator for Lilo-colors
C-Forge IDE 1.2 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment
Catalog 0.5 Build, maintain and display Yahoo! like resources catalogs.
cdcd 0.4.5 A no-nonsense CLI CD player
cdrecord 1.8a21 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
chord2html 1.0 A Perl script to convert CHORD input files to HTML
ClanBomber 990417 Bomberman clone for ClanLib (X11 for now).
CMatrix 0.96 Ncurses eye-candy demo like
Code Crusader 2.0.0 complete code development environment, inspired by MetroWerks CodeWarrior
Code Medic 1.0 UNIX Debugging Environment
Collaborative Virtual Workspace 3.1 CVW takes virtual meetings one step further
ConferenceRoom 1.6.7 IRC server with web integration tools
curl 5.7 Tiny command line client for getting data from a URL
DataGate's Connector 1.3 DG Connector is a Web-based Instant Intranet solution.
dbMan 0.0.5b Tk database manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI, DBD (primary for Oracle and PgSQL)
Dead Link Check 0.1.2 Finds information on validity of HTTP references.
debauch 0.3 Memory debugging library that doesn't require recompiling executables
DejaSearch 1.2 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
demcd v1.1 CDPlayer for Linux
Dents 0.0.3 Well-designed nameserver which aims to be completely standards comformant
dexios.template 1.4 HTML templating system for Java servlets
dhcp-dns 0.1.5 Update DNS with data from DHCPD
Diald 0.99 Autodial Daemon
Disc-Cover 0.3 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
DLDialog 1.0.9 Displays dialog boxes in terminal and X11 mode to interact with scripts
dnet 0.0.1 A menu-driven frontend to Distributed.net Clients and Personal Proxies for Linux
dnsjava 0.9 Implementation of DNS in Java
Doc++ 3.3.11 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
dog 1.2 Buffering replacement for cat
Dr Geo 0.7.7 Interactive Geometry
dti-suche 0.1 A search script for the german dance music index
Dynip.expet 1.0 Expect script to update a web page with your IP address.
e-smith server and gateway 2.02 Open-source software that converts a PC into a Linux Internet server
ECLiPt Virtual Gallery Creator 1.0 Create nice WWW Image Galleries and index pages
Eddie 0.9.0b Robust, clustering, load balancing, redundant, queueing web server frontend.
Empg123 1.0 Allows you to place playlists and mp3's into your Enlightenment root menu
Energymech 2.5.31b9 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
Executor 2.1-pr0 Allows you to run your Macintosh applications on PCs
Exult 0.07 Ultima 7 world viewer
ez-ipupdate 1.0.1 utility for updating the dynamic DNS service offered at http://www.ez-ip.net
fake identd 1.1 Robust non-forking standalone fake ident daemon
fastjar 0.50.1 Fast jar file creator written in C
Fetchmail 5.0.1 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
Flying Windows 0.0 A spoof of Microsoft(tm)'s Flying Windows screensaver
Fnorb 1.0 Python CORBA 2.0 ORB
Freeciv 1.8.0 Implementation of Civilization II for UNIX/X released under the GPL
ftpgrab 0.0.4a FTP mirror utility
Galaxy PBW 1.0beta4 Closed-ended turn based multiplayer space strategy war game.
Ganymede 0.99 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
GEM/3 3.13 GUI desktop environment produced by Digital Research
Genius 0.3.1 An arbitrary precision integer and multiple precision floatingpoint calculator
getIt! redhog.1 Turns a server directory structure into a collapsable tree on a web-page.
ghttpd 1.0 A HTTP daemon, secure, fast, efficient with CGI support
gnlogin 1.0 A GTK interface to ncpmount.
Gnome Websearch Applet 0.4 An applet for the GNOME panel that can search the web.
GnomeICU 0.63 Formerly GtkICQ, now Gnome Internet Communication Utility
Grap 0.0 GRAphical Pipe, a dirt-simple graphical back-end
GREED 0.666 A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
grepmail 3.8 Searches a normal or gzipped mailbox for a given regularexpression
GtkSheet 7.1 A matrix/grid widget for Gtk+
GtkZip 0.5 A program for maintaining your Iomega Zip drive disks underLinux
Gtuner 0.2 A highly configurable gtk based radio tuner
gView 0.1.3 GTK/ImLib Image Viewer
health 0.01b A module for x86's that lets you see your CPU temp., voltages, etc. in real time
hftpd 0.3.0 alpha All singing, all dancing, ftpd from the great white north.
hotmole 0.8 Bash script to download and forward a user's Hotmail email as a batch job
HTML PLAIN 1.0.3 A revolutionary HTML precompiler
HTML Tidy 15th April 1999 Cleans up HTML source and formats it nicely.
HZIP 1.0 Parser/file stripper that compresses HTMLs by as much as 70%
IceDJ 0.9.2 MP3 streaming and radio station managment suite written in Perl
ICM 0.3 InterAgent Communications Model
icqtech 0.02 A Unix console daemon that assists technical support via ICQ
IDEntify 0.4.2 Extensible Integrated Development Environment
IglooFTP 0.6.1 Graphical and User Friendly FTP CLient
incant 1.3 Command Line and Tk dictionary client
International Kernel Patch Collection of internationally developed crypto for the Linux kernel
ippl 1.4.5 IP Protocols Logger
IPPS 1.0 TCP/IP Port Scanner
IPTraf 1.4.3 An ncurses-based IP LAN monitor
Java HTMLGenerator 1.0 Generate HTML using the Java(tm) programming language
Java Test Driver 1.0 Test driver for Java class libraries
JCheckLinks 0.3 HTML hyperlink validator, java, multithreaded
jEdit 1.6pre1 Powerful text editor
Jetty 2.1.5 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
jlclient 1.1 Utility for updating the dynamic DNS services at http://www.justlinux.com
jwhois 1.1 A collection of Perl programs for the whois service
JX 1.1.21 C++ application framework and GUI widget library for X
KDE 1.1.1pre1 Powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations.
kexplorer 0.2 A highly configurable file system Win95-like explorer with many features
KJukeBox 0.1.11 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
kldap 0.3 kldap is a LDAP client (browser) for the KDE
klogic 0.922 Digital circuit simulation in KDE GUI
kmc_utils 0.2.4 Control and grab images from a Kodak Motion Corder high speed camera.
kmpg 0.5.0a A mp3 player for the K Desktop Environment.
kpsql 0.01 A SQL GUI client for PostgreSQL/K Desktop
KTimeMon 0.3a Yet another system usage monitor for KDE, with nifty features.
kwave 0.29.5 A simple digital sound signal editor for KDE
kwintv 0.7.0 Watch TV in a window on your PC screen
LAGII 0.0.4 Linux AGI Interpreter
Lesstif 0.88.1 LGPL'd re-implementation of Motif
libwww 5.2.8 General-purpose client side Web API written in C for Unix and Windows (Win32)
Licq 0.70a Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Light Speed! 1.1 An interactive relativistic simulator
LinCity 1.11 City simulation game for SVGALib/X.
LinGate for Linux 0.0.1 Network gateway software with many facilities.
Linux Virtual Server 0.8 Linux Load Balancing and NAT
Linux-Sna 1.0.7 SNA for Linux
Linuxconf 1.14r4 Sophisticated administrative tool
LinuxGT 1.0 Formerly OpenShare Linux - LinuxGT Features a GUI Installation
LinuxInfo 1.1.0 Gives system information about your Linux system
Listar 0.122a Modular Mailing list management software
Lothar project 0.0.1 Tools for hardware configuration
lpe 1.1.9 Small, fast console mode programming editor
Lua-PSQL 0.5 PostgreSQL Database Driver for Lua-Linux
Lycadican FRPG 0.5 Lycadican Pen and Paper Open Content FRPG Game. A CRPG game is being designed.
MARS 1.3pre4 Java-based network services status monitor
mdmpoold 0.2 simulates linux serial devices on a windows box as serial port
mgstep 0.8.9 An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
mg^2 0.1.10 3D modeller for X11 using Gtk, Glib, Imlib, Gtk glarea, andMesa/OpenGL
mirrordir 0.10.38 Provides mirroring, backup, ftp, secure shell, secure file tranfer
MM 1.0.1 Shared Memory Library
mmusic 0.8.6 Database Frontend to handle large music collections
moodss 6.6 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Mozilla M4 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
mp3blaster 2.0b8 Provides interactive playing of mp3 files on a text console
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MRTd 1.5.2 Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
mtr 0.37 Network diagnostic tool
Muddleftpd 1.0 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
muLinux 5.0r5 A tiny implementation of Linux, which can reside on a single floppy
musplay 1.0 Allows you to play music on any Xterminal.
ncp 0.1 Copy files quickly inside your LAN
NetSaint 0.0.2p1 A relatively simple active network monitor
News Peruser 4.0beta12 An offline newsreader for Linux and X11
NFTP 1.53 Powerful, full-featured FTP client
Ninja IRC 1.0.8 Yet another ircII based client.
NTP 4.0.92g A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
nullidentd 1.0 Minimal lying identd daemon
nwmail 1.1 Checks pegasus mail, and spools it to local mail
OpenLDAP 1.2.1 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
OpenXML 1.0.6 Pure Java, commercial-grade, fully featured framework for XML-based applications
Oracle Session Manager 0.8 X11 program that can be used to monitor user sessions your Oracle Database
Oracle TableBrowser 0.5 An Oracle Table and Index Browser for X11
OSS 3.9.2i Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
OWSKiller 3.0.0 Replacement for Oracle Web Server based on Java Servlets
pavuk 0.9pl9 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
PC/SC Resource Manager 0.101 PC/SC smartcard Resource Manager, applications and drivers
PCI Utilities 1.99.5 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
PEQ Quote Library 041699 The quotation library for Portable Easy Quote (PEQ).
Perlfect Search 2.0 Web site indexer and search engine.
PHPGen 0.4 Small PHP-script for generating PHP frontends to MySQL Databases
PIKT 1.3.0 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
pinfo 0.5.0 Hypertext info file viewer
Pingus 0.12 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pk 0.8.11 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
Postilion 0.9.2 A mail user agent based upon the popular TkRat program
PyGCS 1.3.1 A very stripped down MUD-like chat-server written entirely in Python.
pyrpg 0.0.2 The Python Role Playing Game Engine
PySol 2.12 A Python-based Solitaire card game
Python/XML 0.5.1 Python modules for XML processing.
Q2Java 0.9.3 Allows Quake2 games to be written in Java
Q2sdb 0.3 Quake 2 Server Database with client/server query mechanism.
qps 1.6.8 Displays processes in an X11 window
qrend 0.1 Minimalist raytracer
QuakeLaunch 0.06 Console application to grab Quake servers from master servers
Quick-Tk 0.2 Quick/Visual interface to Tk 4.1 script development
QuickList 0.4.0 MS Works like database application
Rasca 1.2.0 Extended MP3 Player.
Realmlifes 0.02 A fantasy world simulation game with AI
recover 0.1 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
Rosenet Community Calendar 1999.04.01 Interactive Community Calendar for PHP3 and MySQL
SANE 1.0.1 Provides standardized access to anyraster image scanner hardware
Sarien Play Sierra AGI version 2 and version 3 games like Kings Quest and Space Quest.
sdts++ 1.0 C++ toolkit for reading and writing Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) files
SetIP 0.02 A shell script to make it easy to connect to a Dynamic IP computer.
setiview 0.1.5 ncurses frontend for setiathome
sig_rotate.pl 1.0 A perl script that rotates signature files for you.
Simple Sockets Library Simple C programming interface to sockets
Sing-Along Disc Player for X11 1.3.0 A CD player for Linux X11 with spectrum analyser, mixer and more.
SiteMap 1.7 Creates an HTML SiteMap of your *.*htm* files
SKIRCD 0.4.25 IRC deamon
Slackware 4.0beta2 The Slackware distribution
SMDI 0.0.1 SMDI serial and TCP session protocol as APE library
snarfnews 0.5 Downloads stories from various news sites and converts to text or Pilot format.
Snort 0.99rc6 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
SPITE DR0.1 GTK based utility that helps Eterm users write themes
Squid 2.2.STABLE2 High performance Web proxy cache
squid_redirect 3.0 Filter out animated ad banners from your pages
STAMOS 0.3 Gathers several information about the computer and generates an HTML file
stunnel 3.0 Universal SSL tunnel
syslog-ng 1.1.8 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
tcpflow 0.12 TCP flow recorder
tgif 4.1.8 Vector-based draw tool
The Linux Console Data 1999.04.15 Data files for the Linux Console Tools
The Linux Console Tools 0.2.0 Allows you to set-up and manipulate theLinux console
think 0.1.2 Outliner and project organizer
TiMidity++ 2.0.0 Experimental MIDI to WAVE converter
TNT Packet Radio Terminal 1.8 A curses-based Packet Radio Terminal for Linux, Solaris, NetBSD.
todo list 0.09 a set of CGI scripts that create a web-based to-do list
tree.pl 1.09 Simple script to generate a html sitemap
Unix Desktop Environment 0.2.0 A new GUI for Unix with a completely new look'n'feel
UPX 0.71 powerful executable packer
VelociGen for Perl 1.1.3 High performance server programminglanguage
VelociGen for Tcl 1.1.3 High performance web server programming using Tcl
vines 2.0 Draw vines on your X or SunView screen
vpnd 1.0.4 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
vtun 1.3 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
w3mir 1.0.7 HTTP copying and mirroring program
wcd 2.2.5
Web Secretary 1.31 Web page monitoring software
WebEvent 3.1b6 WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
WebMacro Servlet Framework o.85.1 Java server-side web template engine and servletdevelopment framework
WebMail 0.5 Web frontend for Unix system mailboxes
Websphere Application Server IBM Websphere Java Application Server Beta 2.02 Websphere Java Application Server
WIDD 1.0.3c Front-end application to manage databases through an X11interface
WMAmpMenu 0.25 A simple utility that inserts MP3 playlists in your WM root menu.
wmmixer-alsa 0.5 A hack of wmmixer to make it use ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture)
wmpinboard 0.8.3 Window Maker pinboard dock-app
WTEST 1.1 Web application testing tool
X-10 Heyu 1.25 Home automation with Linux
x11amp-alsa 0.3 ALSA output plugin for x11amp
xhippo 0.8 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
xinetd Powerful inetd replacement
XMovie 1.0.0 Play Quicktime movies in stereo
xmp 2.0.0dev43 A multi-format module player for UNIX
Xringd 1.20 Linux remote control via telephone
XShipWars 0.87 Space-themed universe engine for Internet gaming.
xskijump 3.1 Skijumping game for X
Xtend 1.1 X-10 daemon, homeautomation at your fingertips
xterm Patch #96 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
ya-wipe 0.58.4 Secure file wiper

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

Linuxnewbie.org is a site dedicated to helping those who are transitioning to Linux from proprietary systems. Look to this site for an increasing collection of newbie-oriented information.

Notes on libre software is an extensive and growing document on all aspects of free software. It is available in both English and Spanish.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

April 22, 1999



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:	Thu, 15 Apr 1999 11:32:41 -0600
To:	rowan@shandwick.ca
From:	Maurice Hilarius <maurice@harddata.com>
Subject: An article:Linux won't have its day yet 

In a recent article at:
You (Mr. Geoffrey Rowan of Shandwick Canada) wrote some comments 
that we felt demanded a response:

Hello sir.
We recently read your article with great interest.

We do, however, wish to respond to some of the comments contained
therein.  Such as:

"In fact, there are very few true anarchists on the Linux
bandwagon. You'd have to classify most of the fervent supporters of
the new operating system as hopeful opportunists. These are people who
see a pyramid scam-like possibility and want to get in quickly, make
some money and get out before everyone else realizes that the Linux
base will never expand broadly enough to support the kind of market it
needs to become something other than a niche technology."

We feel a need to respond to this comment:

We have built and supported Linux based computers for a wide variety
of clients for over 4 years.  These clients include organisations in
Canada such as the University of Alberta, University of Toronto,
Queens University, University of Western Ontario, Telecommunications
Research Labs, the Alberta Government - Dept.  of the Environment, the
Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and so on. In the private
sector we sell to various corporations, including San Francisco stores
( 113 stores Canada-wide) and CN Rail.

 In the U.S. we supply the U.S. Navy, the Department of Commerce, the
NOAA/ATDD weather satellite organisation, The National Institute of
Standards and Technology, Stanford, MIT, and others.

 The list is FAR more extensive than this, but we feel that this small
selection demonstrates the scope and quality of our client base. We
believe that our clients are competent, and not likely to be "taken
in" by some sham. They have bought Linux systems from us for years,
and continue to do so now, in ever-increasing numbers.

  We do not "foist this off" on them, they come to us and ASK for
these products.

Simply put the concept you have stated in your article is untrue,
unfair, and verging on slanderous.

We look forward to your response, and hope that a retraction and
correction may be forthcoming, in at least as public a forum as the
original article.

Best regards,

  Maurice W. Hilarius             NEW!  Telephone: 01-780-456-9771
  Hard Data Ltd.                  NEW!  FAX:       01-780-456-9772
  11060 - 166 Avenue                    email:maurice@harddata.com
  Edmonton, AB, Canada  - T5X 1Y3       http://www.harddata.com

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 12:01:24 -0400
From: Jeff Hecker <Jeff_Hecker@dpc.senate.gov>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Some more comments on NT vs. linux


I just finished reading Hajo Smulders' <hajo@mindspring.com> comments in
LWN.  I've heard similar comments from others.  I'd like to suggest that
these comments indicate a basic misunderstanding as to what an operating
is supposed to do -- at least in my opinion.

Hajo says, "I get a Blue Screen Of Death about twice a week; but that is
usually because of my own stupid programming."  Unless Hajo is writing
kernel modules or device drivers,  what kind of stupid programming
crashes an enterprise-class, high-end operating system?

One of the main functions of an operating system is to separate various
programs from interfering with each other and with the OS.  Hajo's
program might crash,  but it should't take the entire system with it.

I have similar experiences with NT.  Our office runs some software which
is (so far) only available on NT.  On a good week, the system only
crashes once.  The "fault" is with the application which has a runaway
memory allocation error in certain circumstances.  The "responsibility"
is with Microsoft Windows NT to keep that application error from
crashing everything else running on the system.

The all-too-common workaround to this problem is that people don't run
more than one application on an NT box -- and justifiably so.  Microsoft
sales staff even use its unreliability as a sales tool -- "If NT isn't
reliable enough to run your two programs at once,  then buy two!"  And
people do.

I run both NT and Linux servers at two locations.  The server I
mentioned above sometimes runs for days without dying.   Other lightly
loaded NT servers running only file and print service sometimes run for
weeks at a time before failing. The Linux systems, which run everything
under the sun,  run for months without interruption, and then its
usually a power failure.  The current uptime on the Linux machines is
about 260 days.  And the las restart was for a disk installation.

Microsoft's products might be be more colorful and have more sound
effects, and have more lemming sales staff pushing it,  but when it
comes to reliability,  there is no comparison.

Jeff Hecker
Washington, DC

From: Craig Goodrich <craig@ljl.com>
To: sales@varesearch.com
Subject: NT vs Linux on Insanely Fast Hardware
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:13:13 -0500


OK, there's been an awful lot of flaming (inevitable
and regrettable on the 'net) and serious discussion
of Mindcraft's Linux/NT benchmarks.  The consensus
seems to be that Mindcraft was reasonably honest 
and fair but that tuning parameters for Linux and its
associated software on such high-end equipment is
hard to come by.

I read about you guys showing off at some Linux
trade fair your cybernetic Godzilla that built the 2.2
kernel in something like 45 seconds, with memory
and FWSCSI that started in Santa Clara and stretched
to somewhere around Albuquerque, and quad Xeons 
whose heat output could handle a small Minneapolis
suburb in February.  So I'd assume that if anyone 
knows all there is to know about tuning enormous 
Linux servers, it's you.

How about getting together with Mindcraft (or some
NT-oriented OEM) and rerunning the benchmark,
so at least both the Linux and NT communities would
have some more realistic numbers on which to base
their advocacy, flames, and (oh, yes, I almost forgot)
actual purchasing decisions?

And, incidentally, how about having some documentation
guy pick the brains of your best engineers to come up 
with a central source for Linux server tuning information?


Craig Goodrich


Freeing software is a good start.  Now how about people?

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 15:11:49 -0300
From: Leandro =?iso-8859-1?Q?Guimar=E3es?= Faria Corcete Dutra 
To: flux@microsoft.com, editor@lwn.net
Subject: Free Software. Is it Worth the Cost? 

	I understand Douglas Boling is writing for Micro$oft, who does
not love free software.  But that gives no right to him to write such

	"If intellectual property isn't property, then just what is
property?  Why not just give away cars, houses, and everything else?"

	Intellectual property was never property in the sense of
goods.  It is a concession in form of patent or copyright to explore
something you created for a limited time, so that you would have some
incentive to continue creating.

	The difference between goods property and intellectual
property is that ideas (or software) carry negligible copying costs.
There is no logical reason to create scarcity where naturally there's

	"If they actually succeed in making software free, no one will
be willing to employ them to create a product with no value."

	In fact, most money in the software industry is made in
support.  This won't disappear with free software.

	"If software is free, why does it matter who takes credit for

	This is for fairness, a greater value in any ethical system
than success.

	Also, it is for the practical purpose of highlighting the role
the GNU Project has in the success of GNU/Linux in particular and free
software in general.

	"I'm not saying that Stallman is anticapitalist, I'm saying
the whole free software movement is."

	That is a lie without fundament.  I'm part of it, and I'm
"capitalism-agnostic".  Capitalism was never a value in itself, it is
just a natural social system that happens to foster (to some degree)
freedom and prosperity.  And nothing in the free software goes
squarely against neither capitalism nor its founding values freedom
and prosperity.

	"I just want the folks who write that software to be
paid—and paid handsomely—for writing it."

	This is obvious.  Even Richard Stallman gets paid for writing
software, as well as many others in the free sofware movement, and
they write only free software.

	If you are still using your logical capacities after so much
richness ambitions brainwashing, you will see that free software will
kill at most 20% of the revenues of the software industry, while
creating great value for everyone else, improving the availability of
technology to poor people and countries, and providing a much better
-- and open -- foundation for the software maintenance and service
industry, as well as for the content industry which depends on
reliable, useful software!

Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
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