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Mindcraft III. The folks at Mindcraft, in an attempt to polish up their reputation after the release their much-criticised comparison of server performance between Linux and Windows NT, have now announced an open Linux/NT benchmark. This will be their third try - the results from the second were never released after Mindcraft was criticised for not allowing anybody with Linux expertise near the test lab.

The third time around looks better. Their announcement proclaims:

"We call on Linus Torvalds to invite anyone he chooses to tune Linux, Samba, and Apache. We also invite Red Hat to send anyone they choose to participate in the benchmarking as a Linux Expert. In addition, we invite Microsoft to tune Windows NT Server. The Linux Experts, Microsoft, and Mindcraft will witness all tests."
They also offer to conduct the test at "any mutually agreeable location." Interestingly, they volunteer the lab where the previous tests were run - this lab, of course, was hosted at Microsoft. So much for independence.

The test as specified should produce more realistic results than what Mindcraft published before. Not everybody is happy yet, however. Jeremy Allison, Samba developer extraordinaire, dropped us a copy of his note to Mindcraft stating his insistence that Windows NT clients also be included in the test. The current plan is to use only Windows 95/98 systems, as was done in the original benchmark. As it happens, the use of Windows 9x clients tends to favor a Windows NT server, while the use of Windows NT clients will favor Samba.

Jeremy's point is that, if the new benchmark is to be truly open, all sides should have a say in the design of the test as well. Not including Windows NT clients in the test gives a distorted picture. He is threatening to refuse to participate in a highly public manner if NT clients are not included.

Hopefully a way to accommodate Jeremy's requirements will be found, so that he can participate in the new test. With or without, however, we should see a much more rational result. Note that NT might just still come out on top here - this test aims at a particular set of not entirely real-world conditions that will favor that system somewhat. Such is the way of benchmarks. But, even if NT comes out on top, it can be expected to be by a fairly small margin.

For another view on the Mindcraft study have a look at Dan Kegel's essay, which looks at the Apache results in particular. According to Dan, Apache really does have problems when very high numbers of connections are being served.

Red Hat 6.0 has been available for over a week now, which means that LWN's famous test laboratories have had a chance to do some installations and run it through some paces. Check out our review of this release. The executive summary? There are a few glitches to be found, but it is, overall, a stable and well-done distribution.

Something for the boss. OS Opinion has published The Practical Manager's Guide to Linux by Ganesh Prasad. It is an extensive discussion of our favorite operating system from a business point of view. A good thing to hand to the boss, though it may prove rather long for a boss's attention span...

The address for letters to the editor has changed. The old "editor@lwn.net" address created a certain amount of confusion, with people sending things there that they did not intend to have published. So now messages intended for the "letters to the editor" column should be sent to letters@lwn.net. We have seen a bit of a slowdown in letters traffic recently - if you have something to say, please send it our way! We generally publish more than half the letters we get.

We also occasionally remind our readers that we have a mailing list for people who would like to be notified when a new edition of LWN is available. This list is used for announcements of new editions, and for no other purpose. To subscribe, simply send a blank note to lwn-notify-subscribe@eklektix.com.

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May 6, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



DejaNews is the focus of a privacy concern, according to this ZDnet article. Of course, in this case, DejaNews does not actually use any of the information it collects, but the existence of their data leaves them open to court subpoenas and more that can elicit information out of the databases that DejaNews has created. "Peter Neumann, moderator of the RISKS forum, which Smith first told of the problem, said the DejaNews story is a classic. "It's benign neglect, basically," he said."

One of the author's of the RSA encryption technique, Adi Shamir, has put together a description of a machine that can reletively easily break the RSA code. For more information, check out this New York Times article. Of course, RSA with shorter (i.e. 512 bit) keys has been considered relatively insecure for a while, so this is not particularly surprising.

SecurityPortal.com has a cover story this week on The Buffer Overflow Problem. It is a good introduction to what buffer flows are, how they happen, the potential consequences, etc. They also talk about the StackGuard product and provide links to articles from AlephOne on stack smashing and more.

Security Reports

More wu-ftpd exploits are being published. Bugtraq contains a thread about the latest report, affecting wuftp2.4.2academbeta12-18. In the thread, Gregory Newby posted an excellent note, which talks about ways to configure your ftpaccess file to foil many of these exploits. Chad Price also reminded people that the VR patches to the wuftp academic version

A serious security problem with Oracle 8.0.5 can crop up if you have installed and configured the Intelligent Agent option. If you do so, it will install the oratclsh binary setuid with an ownership of root, making it very easy for anyone with a knowledge of tcl to execute commands on your system with root privileges. From this Bugtraq thread, this problem has been confirmed with 8.0.5 on Linux, Solaris, and Digital Unix.

Oracle has been updated and the problem will be fixed in 8.0.5. There are mixed reports on whether or not it was fixed with Meanwhile, anyone using oracle should check for the oratclsh binary and make sure it is owned by the oracle install process and not setuid.


A recently reported bug in ICQ-WebServer (see this note was repaired with build 1701, according to this update.


Ethereal version 0.61 has been released. Ethereal is a network packet analyzer, essentially a GUI that can either read information from a live network stream or from a captured tcpdump. For more information, check out the Ethereal website.

Netxmon is a new, X-based, session sniffer. The announcement gives a bit of background on why it was written. Note that ttywatcher, a well-known tool that performs a similar function, also has an X interface.

Anonymizing Unix Systems is the title of this new article from the The Hacker's Choice. It provides useful instructions for people with a very strong interest in privacy.

NSORG is a new security-related website for which a request-for-comment was posted to the comp.security.unix mailing list this week.


Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 6, 1999


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current kernel release remains 2.2.7. It has been a relatively quiet week for kernel development. Linus kept a pretty low profile and Alan Cox has been off wandering around in Portugal, so not much has happened. Such is life in these stable kernel days.

One of the more interesting things that did happen was the release of an alpha NFSv3 server for the 2.2 kernel series. This release fills in a longstanding gap in Linux's NFS capabilities, and will be highly welcome to a lot of users. Now all that remains is to get people testing the patch and get the inevitable problems ironed out. Even if it does not become an official part of the 2.2 series, there will eventually be a full NFSv3 implementation that can be used with the 2.2 kernel. Congratulations are due to G. Allen Morris and all the others who have worked on this code. See the announcement for a pointer to the patch.

Sound drivers were a subject of conversation this week, spurred by Creative Laboratories' release of a beta driver for their SB Live! card. The presence of a driver is a nice thing, but it is currently a binary-only release, with all of the problems that can bring. There is currently no statement in place as to whether source will eventually be available. The driver can be found on the Creative Linux page.

In response to requests for suggestions on a good Linux sound card, a few people suggested the use of Trident 4DWave-based cards. The word is that these are economical, capable cards with full support via the ALSA sound system.

And, speaking of ALSA (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), the project has a new domain. ALSA's web pages (and other resources) are now available at www.alsa-project.org.

There are now two separate sites dedicated to Linux performance tuning information. One has its own domain at tunelinux.com, the other is hosted out of nl.linux.org. Neither is all that long on information at this point. It seems like these folks should get together and make a single, coordinated site.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) support. Last week we mentioned the Linux USB web page as the source for information on USB development for Linux. Two things ganged up on us with this one...

  • This project shut down at the end of last week. In the announcement of the closure, Iñaky Pérez González (the project's founder) cited being tired of USB, wanting to play with other parts of the kernel, and also...

  • Linus slipped a separate USB implementation into the 2.2.7 release. He acknowledges Iñaky's work in the credits in the source, but this is a separate effort. Given its source, this appears to be the "real" USB implementation that will become part of the kernel.
The new USB stack has very little in the way of documentation; the best thing for interested people to do is to head into the source and check it out.

There is a new site devoted to Linux support for token ring networking at www.linuxtr.net. They have started things off with a new alpha driver for IBM PCI token ring cards.

Various patches that came out this week:

  • Vojtech Pavlik announced a first testing release of the "Linux generic input device layer." It is supposed to handle input devices (keyboards, mice, joysticks, ...) in more general way than is done now, and includes some support for USB devices.

  • Pavel Machek released an alpha capabilities patch. For those who have been following the capabilities discussion here, this patch supports the "capabilities in the ELF header" model. There has been no word from Linus as to which approach to capabilities he supports, still.

  • Andre Hedrick released a massive patch to the IDE subsystem which tries to unify IDE access across the various architectures supported by Linux. This is a far-reaching patch, and Andre would like a lot of people to test it.

  • Version 98 of the devfs patch was announced by Richard Gooch. He also updated the Model-Specific Registers (MSR) patch.

A couple of critical articles in the press stirred up discussion this week. For those who have not seen them:

  • Linux and the enterprise in Windows NT Magazine levies some specific attacks on the design of the Linux scheduler and I/O mechanisms. The kernel developers tend not to agree...

  • Ken Thompson, co-inventor of Unix and all-around highly-respected guy, came out with a strange attack in this interview in IEEE Computer. "My experience and some of my friends' experience is that Linux is quite unreliable. Microsoft is really unreliable but Linux is worse." It is not clear just where all this was coming from.
As is often the case, Ted Ts'o summed things up best with this note wherein he says that it's not worthwhile to spend time getting upset with or arguing about these articles. Effort is better directed toward making Linux better...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 6, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



A security problem with rsync is fixed by an upgrade to rsync-2.3.1, according to this Caldera security advisory.


This week's Debian Weekly News is now available.

Debian packages for Xfree86-1 have been uploaded to master.

From the Debian Alpha folks, a recommendation comes to install and use apt if you want to upgrade your Alpha to glibc2.1 without breaking your machine. In addition, reports are that egcs will produce invalid code when compiled with -O2.

From the Debian Sparc folks, new bootdisks will be released soon.

Definite Linux

Definite Linux 6.0has been released. This distribution, only available in the U.K. due to export restrictions, is based on Red Hat Linux 6.0 but with the addition of cryptography based applications such as SSH, Apache-SSL, SSLeay, OpenSSL and more. For more information, check out this note from Jason Clifford.


New for LinuxGT fans come a discussion forum and a LinuxGT FAQ.

Red Hat

Sparc users are reporting X crashes with the 6.0 release, there is evidently some sort of deep problem with the X server for Sparcs. The word is that people are working day and night on the problem. If you have a Sparc system, you may want to hold off until a new X package has been released before upgrading. (Sparc users are reporting that the rest of the release works great).

Development on Rawhide will take a breather, now that Red Hat 6.0 is out, notes Matt Wilson in this message.

Only a few problem reports with Red Hat 6.0 were seen on the general lists, certainly a first for a "major" release from Red Hat.


The new Slackware Forum is now on-line from Slackware.com. David Cantrell comments in his announcement, "The new PHP3+SQL forum is in place and seems to be running fine. I hope the improvements are liked by all. The new system will automatically keep the page to a resonable [sic] size. We also have some nice archival features and search capabilities. I am currently working on merging all 8500+ messages from the old forum to the new database. Should take a few days to complete that. "


SuSE 6.1 is now shipping in the English-speaking world. It includes the 2.2 kernel, of course, as well as both KDE and GNOME.

Information on SuSE's new VAR and ISV program is available here.


For the very brave Alpha user, an experimental Alpha version of Trinux is available.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 6, 1999

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

Known Distributions:
Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
Linux Router Project
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat
Yellow Dog Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


An updated Java 1.2 Status Page is now available at http://www.blackdown.org/java-linux/jdk1.2-status/. The new page is "a one-stop collection of all of the information about what's going on with the Blackdown Java 2 ports." Spartan in nature, more updates are promised. Links from the new page include one to a list of known bugs and workarounds.

The JCK Status page shows no new information on the x86 port, but clear progress is being reported for the PowerPC and 68K ports. In addition, the page has been extended to report on progress working with or without the JIT and with green or native threads, presumably in preparation for updating us on those areas as success is reported.

The Blackdown team has been licensed to have access to the Java Advanged Imaging source code according to the Java Advanced Imaging Port Status, but they have not yet received the source code.


The Perl Journal on-line, available at http://www.tpj.com, is now controlled by EarthWeb, a company that calls itself the "business-to-business IT hub of the IT industry". A press release to explain the site transition was promised for this week but has not yet been seen. Meanwhile, the new site provides access articles from the Perl Journal only to subscribers. Other information previously available from the site, such as back issues, the jobs board, contributor information, and sample code, are, at least currently, not available.

A comment on the closure of the Perl Institute has come from Brian D. Foy, representing the Perl Mongers, to whom the Perl Institute has left their legacy of projects and the perl.org domain. No major changes are planned in the near future and comments and concerns are being requested. The posting drew little comment on comp.lang.perl.misc, other than this note from Uri Guttman, which encourages the Perl Mongers to make the perl.org site a dynamic portal for the Perl community.

The Perl-XML FAQ version 1.1 contains information on using and manipulating XML with Perl and is available at this address.

The Perl Index Project seeks to provide a place where someone can look up a language construct or concept and get references linked to many different resources across the Internet. This announcement provides a large amount of detailed information and a link to the Perl Index homepage.


The JPython Website has been redesigned and is now located at http://www.jpython.org, using the newly registered domain name. Here is the official announcement for the new domain and page. It also contains a collection of other tidbits about JPython.

From this new page, we also heard about JPython's new license, which they believe is Open Source Definition compliant, though it is not officially certified as such. There are actually two new JPython distributions, one of which is released under the above-mentioned free license, and the other, containing a proprietary regular expression library, under a restricted license.


Tcl 8.1 has been released. The announcement mentions three key new features in 8.1: full unicode support and a message catalog for internationalization, thread-safety for Tcl and Tk and a new regular expression package from Henry Spencer.

This week's Tcl-URL! is now available. This is the first edition from their new team member, Matt Newman. It looks like an excellent start!

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 6, 1999



Development projects

Qt, Harmony or wxWindows? If you've been debating the relative merits of these cross-platform development libraries, you might want to take a gander at this analysis from Matt Heck. He provides insight on the process his company went through as they looked first at Qt, then Harmony and finally wxWindows, on which they've happily settled. "The reality is that if you are choosing between Qt and wxWindows, I don't see how you can make a bad choice if you don't care about the license and you're only working under Linux. They're both wonderful libraries with hundreds-- maybe thousands-- of enthusiastic supporters. If you have the time, you should try looking at some of the sample applications of both. wxWindows probably has a steeper learning curve than Qt, but it's pretty short once you get used to the event system. Both of them will get you a professional looking application on at least two platforms. With wxWindows, though, I always know exactly what I can do: whatever I want to." (Thanks to Alexander V. Voinov).


AbiSource is developing an open-source office suite called AbiSuite, which will run on Linux systems, as well as Windows and other platforms.


Libtool 1.3 has been released (at long last). The Libtool team announced the new version on Thursday, April 29th.


Version 3.1.2 of ht://Dig was released last week. It apparently fixes a number of bugs and is highly recommended for production servers.


The KDE folks have put out a press release announcing their 1.1.1 release.

Navindra Umanee kindly provided us with the following KDE development reports:

An exciting development this week came when Preston Brown reinitiateddiscussions on standardizing desktop entry files between the KDE and GNOME projects. A preliminary draft of the proposed standard is available.

Now that KDE 1.1.1 has been released, many discussions are under way for what's in store for KDE 2.0. Waldo Bastian has drafted a new KDE roadmap and release schedule, whilst others are busy discussing current flaws and future improvements. Many core applications such as KWM, KFM and kpanel are being redesigned and rewritten based on the experience gained from the previous versions.

Kurt Granroth pointed out that KDE is not multiple-session friendly for a single user and proposed a solution. Preston Brown announcedhis future plans for the next generation of KOrganizer and includes a call for developers. Preston also voiced concern on memory consumption in KDE 2.0 with the ensuing discussion leading to many ideas for improvements. Another thread concerning which mp3 player to include in kde-multimedia has lead to discussions of more generic ways of handling multimedia such as better use of kmedia and multimedia APIs.


The Wine HOWTO has been updated to version 0.7. It contains information on the new dll loading structure, changes to the wine.conf file and some more installation hints and tips.


The x86emu project has been revived. Leadership of the project has changed hands, according to Kendall Bennett, the new project leader. David Mosberger-Tang, the former project leader, will continue to be involved. The x86emu project is developing a GPL'ed x86 real mode emulator that can be compiled and used with the Linux MILO loader for DEC Alpha systems.


A preview release of Zope-1.11 has been announced. Lots of new features have been added to the Zope platform, including WebDAV support, a new class extension structure, and the bundling of ZServer.

The Zope Weekly News contains additional links to information about the new release.

In addition, it points out a mention of Zope in an InfoWorld article about WebDAV.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Red Hat goes upmarket. This TechWeb articlemakes an interesting point: Red Hat is alone in raising the price of its distribution. While Red Hat 6.0 costs more than its predecessors, the new releases from Caldera and SuSE have gotten cheaper. Red Hat seemingly sees its future market in the corporate arena, where an extra $20 or so makes little difference. It will be interesting to see if this move costs them the more cost-sensitive buyers - students and such - that have apparently made up much of their market thus far.

Red Hat's Bob Young has written a book. According to this press release, Under The Radar: How the Open Source Sneak Attack is Transforming the Technology War will come out this September. "In a manner similar to the Pulitzer prize winner 'Soul of a New Machine' Under The Radar takes you inside the fascinating adventure behind the Open Source Movement."

Linux hardware with attitude. Hardware Canada Computing, the company that bought the Netwinder division from Corel, has announced that it is changing its name to Rebel.com, having paid $5 million for the privilege of using that domain name. "Rebel.com is a distinctive brand identity that will allow our customers to clearly understand who we are, what we do and how we conduct our business."

Small business accounting product for Linux. The folks at Proven Software, Inc. have announced the "small business edition" of their "Proven dk" accounting package. At $99, it is priced in line with small business needs, and may well be worth a look.

Clustering product announced. Active Tools has announced a beta release of their "Clustor 2.0" product. This product is aimed at making it easy to develop and run parallel applications in clustered environments. It is available for free download.

KeyLabs hardware testing program. KeyLabs has announced its Linux compatibility testing program. This is a hardware testing offering: they will be certifying hardware as being compatible with the Linux system. They have posted a set of requirements and tests on their web site; it all looks reasonably straightforward.

Tape certification. A Tape Certification Program for Linux has been announced by EST, developers of the BRU backup software for Linux. This press release indicates that Hewlett Packard, Exabyte Corporation, Seagate, OnStream Technologies, Tecmar Technologies, Ecrix Corporation, and Aiwa Corporation have all committed to the program. "EST will work closely with the drive manufacturers and the Linux developer community to ensure that any modifications required for device compatibility are implemented successfully. Any resulting changes or new device drivers will be provided back to the Linux community under an Open Source License, such as the GPL. "

The e-smith distribution. Another company has popped up with a new distribution: e-smith, inc. has announced its new "e-smith server and gateway distribution," which is aimed at routing and network services applications. Support packages are offered as well.

It's official - egcs is the new gcc. Cygnus Solutions has put out a press release stating that the EGCS Steering Committee, hosted by Cygnus Solutions at http://egcs.cygnus.com, is now the official maintainer of the gcc compiler.

Press Releases:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

May 6, 1999


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

Linux in the news

This week's news coverage of Linux was all over the map - it defies classification. Nonetheless, we'll try, starting with this week's recommended reading:
  • Doctor Dobb's Journal has awarded its "Excellence in Programming Awards" to Guido van Rossum and Donald Becker. Guido, of course, is the creator of the Python programming language (used much internally here at LWN); Donald is the author of a great number of Linux networking device drivers. Congratulations to both, who deserve far more recognition than this. (Found in Slashdot).

  • Switzerland's ComputerWorld has run an article (in German) about the use of Linux at CERN. The article suggests that CERN is highly enough respected that its use of Linux may be sufficient to cause the barriers to fall elsewhere in that "overcautious" country. An English translation is available via Babelfish, with the usual amusing results. On the Mindcraft report: "While the NT Testanlage an intensive Tuning experienced by Microsoft specialists, at the Linux version one did not screw." (Thanks to Germán Cancio).

  • Forbes Magazine writes about VA Research. "Augustin and his six-year-old startup, VA Research, want to eat Dell and Sun for lunch. And he wants to do it soon."

  • Evan Liebovitch writes in ZDNet about viruses and why Linux systems tend not to have problems with them. "...it's very safe to say that Linux is more immune to virii than Windows. People who've had their disks wiped out by Chernobyl or something else might consider taking the opportunity to load Linux instead. They may find it was just what the doctor ordered."

A few articles came out about specific products, usually Red Hat 6.0:

  • The South China Morning Post ran an article about Corel's moves. "Corel believes Linux could pose a real threat to Microsoft's dominance of operating systems. The Canadian company is throwing attention - and resources - into this rebel OS."

  • Here is a closer look at the Cobalt Qube in Web Review. The author seems to mostly wish for more documentation, and a better way to justify the purchase to his wife. "The Qube is meant for the masses-the small-office, small-school, small-is-beautiful crowd like myself. Yet it still requires knowledge of Unix, the Internet, and routing to do many of the basic administration tasks, even with such a nice interface."

  • ZDNet covers the Red Hat 6.0 release and other associated vendor announcements. "Linux's well-documented momentum shows no signs of slowing; indeed, it appears to have entered a cyclical phase, where vendors announce support for the open source platform, which brings more large enterprise administrators to investigate the technology, which in turn attracts more vendor support."

  • The (New Zealand) Press has an articleabout the Red Hat 6.0 release. It also talks about Linux-related businesses in Christchurch. "Linux advocates swear by the system's simplicity, technical purity, robustness, and speed. They also see it as their best opportunity in years to be freed from the shackles of Microsoft. Opponents say fanatics are being caught up in the excitement of a new technology. Strip away the hype, they say, and Linux (and its followers) still has a lot of growing-up to do before it can become a serious system for mainstream use."

  • C|Net's Game Center ran a brief article about the release of the Quake III test demo for Linux. "Who would have thought that Linux would become the OS of choice for a Quake player?"

  • Open Source IT reviews VMWare for Linux. "All things considered, VMware is an unbelievable product. When it was first announced, my colleagues debated whether such an application is even possible. With its near-native performance and excellent stability, VMware is indeed a must-have product for Linux users who occasionally need to use Windows."

Other business-related articles:

  • Performance Computing's Unix Riot column talks about Dell and Linux. "Given Dell's worldwide presence and excellent brand recognition, it's possible the company will become the biggest UNIX and Linux systems distributor before the end of 2000."

  • This lengthy Internet Week article talks about applications as the key to Linux's future success in the commercial world. "What's clear is that-technical merits aside-Linux is in the hands of application developers and IT managers, who must decide if the upstart OS is worth the risk. With such a strong price/performance case and business apps on the way, the question of what's next for Linux will be interesting for some time."

  • Here's an article in the Ottawa Citizen. It's mainly about the Puffin Group, but goes into a lot of introductory material as well. "To some extent, the Linux community is uncomfortable with its newfound fame. The prospect of $50-billion corporations climbing aboard a bus that has been held together with chewing gum and string is prompting worries the new heavyweight passengers will nudge the whole thing off course."

  • Here's a ComputerWorld story about Beowulf clusters in the oil industry. "Saddled with low oil prices and a need to cut costs, global oil giant Amerada Hess Corp. is saving millions of dollars by replacing a costly IBM supercomputer with high-end parallel clusters running Linux..."

  • Venture Capital firm Kleiner Perkins has invested in LinuxCare, according to this News.com article. "We've made a strategic investment in Linuxcare because of its central position in the Linux market and clear focus on enabling the adoption of Linux in the enterprise."

  • New Media News has a general piece about Linux, and about VA Research and LinuxCare in particular. A video clip is included. "VA Research's growth curve is stunning. Revenues increasing 45 percent every quarter and 1999 sales will be ten times what they were in 1998. And these people dream of someday taking on industry giants like Dell." (Found in NNL).

  • Maury Wright, a journalist for EDN, a magazine for electronic design engineers and managers, wrote an article last year predicting that Linux would have no place within the future of electronic design. Response to his article drew out a list of people who disagreed with him, including electronic design engineers who were already using Linux, preferred Linux and would love to have tools for EDA on Linux. He's back this year with an extremely long article, describing his efforts to get Linux installed and give it a fuller review. His article contains new praise for Linux, "Strictly from an OS perspective, the possibility exists that Linux could replace both Unix and Windows NT on engineering desktops." However, he still strikes a note of caution about its future within the EDA community. "The companies are clearly reluctant to spend more money on a support infrastructure when most haven't recouped the money they've invested in NT."

  • News.com reports on the VA Research/VA Linux acquisitions and reorganization. "VA acquired the companies chiefly for the personnel, Augustin said."

  • Jumping on the Linux Bandwagon is the title of a positive article on Linux by Chrystie Terry . "The numbers indicate that Linux is most certainly gaining ground. Shipments of Linux for use on servers jumped an estimated 212 percent in 1998, the fastest growth for any operating system, according to International Data Corp." (Thanks to Benji Selano).

There were a couple of negative pieces out there (beyond those mentioned in the kernel section):

  • Daemon News has run a harsh criticisim of the GNU General Public License. "It is my opinion that the General Public License is not so much about ``keeping free software free'' as it is about forcing us to accept the extreme Communistic political philosophy of Richard Stallman and others at the Free Software Foundation. The very spirit of the GPL is to attack the very concept of Capitalism and individualism." Please, if you respond to the author, do so in a polite and coherent manner. Flaming doesn't help... (Thanks to Joe Orton).

  • Jesse Berst says that open source strategies could backfire, and uses Mozilla as an example. "Don't get me wrong. There's much to be gained from the open-source movement. Better products first and foremost. But using an open-source strategy to usurp Microsoft's powerful grip is a long shot. You put your company at risk if you assume this latest fad approach will work better than all the others."

There were also a few introductory pieces this week:

  • Linux: your next OS? asks Internet Week. Pretty standard "Linux is up and coming" fare. "While the prospect of buying a relatively inexpensive Intel server and slapping a free operating system on it beats shelling out $10,000 for a proprietary Unix server, Linux still isn't ready to support critical applications."

  • Here's an introductory article in the Christian Science Monitor. "If Hollywood ever made a movie about software, even the most gifted scriptwriter wouldn't dream up the real-world battle now taking place behind your computer screen."

  • And here's a highly introductory article which appeared in the Computer Shopper. "...it's the commercial deals like those spearheaded by Red Hat that have done so much to elevate Linux's profile and make it a viable alternative to OSs like Windows NT. That may go against the free-spirited nature of Linux, but it does make a cool technology available to more people."

Linus's talk in Berkeley drew a couple of articles:

  • Linus Torvalds gave a talk at the University of California Berkeley campus; it was coveredin the local student paper. "On Campus, Linus Torvalds Predicts Future of Artisan Couch Potatoes" (Thanks to Michael J. Miller).

  • Here's a News.com story about remarks made by Linus at a conference in California. "Linux has been successful because it's the product of programmers looking for entertainment and society rather than money, Linux founder Linus Torvalds said today." (Thanks to Damon Poole).

And here's the rest of what we were able to come up with:

  • The Dallas Morning News interviews Jon Hall. "Most people think Windows is easy to install because they've never installed it. Or if they have installed it, it has come with all the device drivers that exactly fit their system because somebody ... has gone through and actually made sure that it would work." (Found in NNL).

  • ComputerWorld ran four letters to the editor (first, second, third, and fourth) about whether Linux "is here to stay."

  • Bill Cory pointed out this column on Jerry Pournelle's site which contains a bunch of Linux commentary and hints from Moshe Bar.

    See also Linux in your family network by Mr. Bar in the May issue of Byte. It is a lengthy diary documenting the process of setting up a household network around a Linux server.

  • The May issue of Troubleshooting Professional is dedicated to the "heros" that built the computing world we know now. A number of familiar names (Linus, Richard, Larry, Guido) appear in the list. "...next time time you're at your Linux User Group meeting, look around the room. That guy sitting next to you just might be the next hero. Or maybe the next hero is even closer. Think about that the next time you look in the mirror." (Thanks to Wari Wahab).

  • Heise Online has put out a brief article (in German) about some performance testing done with SAP's R/3 under Linux. Performance was "comparable to another operating system supported by R/3." English translation available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Christian Ide).

  • Several Linux articles appear in Digi.no, the Norwegian daily general news site (In Norwegian). (Thanks to Arno Mong Daastol).

  • The Danish morning newspaper "Politiken" has a series of articles on Linux, including an interview with Linus, an installation review and more (in Danish). (Thanks to Esben Nielsen).

  • ABC News picked up the Mindcraft story. There isn't a whole lot new here, except there are some details on Mindcraft's plans to re-run the benchmarks. From the comments, it looks like they've set up conditions so that they will be able to claim that "unimpeccable Linux experts" tuned the machine, but still produce similar results to the first benchmark. 'But Torvalds has his doubts that the second go-round will go any better. "I still don't think that another test will make this right," he says. "We helped them out, gave them a few more things to tune, but they wouldn't let us in the lab, and they wouldn't answer our follow-up questions. It became so opaque for us, there wasn't much we felt we could do."' (Thanks to Damon Poole).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 6, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



A new version of the CD Writing HOWTO is available and contains major changes. Unfortunately, the version on Metalab (and thus many mirrors) is out of date, and getting that changed seems to be a problem. Meanwhile, head over to this site for the latest in CD burning wisdom.

The Linux Administrator's Security Guide has been released. The author has chosen to put it out in PDF format only, under a restrictive (no modifications) license. Head over to his site to get a copy.


Alan Cox in Ottawa. The Ottawa Linux Symposium will be held July 22-24 in (surprisingly) Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Keynote speakers include Alan Cox and Jes Sorensen.

ZD gets into open source. Ziff-Davis has put out an announcement for its upcoming "Open Source Forum," to be held in Austin, TX on June 30 and July 1, 1999. Speakers include Eric Raymond, Ransom Love, Tim O'Reilly, and Matthew Szulik. As one might expect, this will be a very business-oriented event.

Results from Open Networks 99 Peter Toft sent us a summary of events at the Open Networks 99 gathering held in Copenhagen - a joint production of the Dansk Unix User Group and the Skåne Sjælland Linux User Group. RealVideo clips are available for many of the presentations, several of them are in English (the rest in Swedish or Danish).

There is also a set of photos from Open Networks 99 available at gphoto.org. It looks like a good time was had by all.

Web sites

The Free Software Job Page is exactly that - a page dedicated to listings of jobs working on free software. It is hosted on the GNU project web site.

User Group News

The Virtual Linux Users Group has no physical location. Instead they "meet" via IRC at 8:00 PM CST (GMT - 6) on Wednesdays and Sundays.

May 6, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AbiWord 0.5.5 Fully featured word processor
Acidblood 1.2.9 b1 Full-featured IRC Bot
ACS 0.1.2 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
Aegis 3.15 Transaction-based software configuration management system
afbackup pre3.2beta4 Client-server backup system
aKtion! 0.3.5 KDE video player based on xanim
Alfalinux 0.1.0 Slackware Linux on two floppy disks
Alien 6.34 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
Apache JServ 1.0b4 Java servlet engine
Argo/UML 0.7 Argo/UML -- Providing Cognitive Support for Object-Oriented Design
ascpu 1.5 A CPU load monitor.
aumix 1.18.3 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Avataria 0.19990502-1 Graphical avatar chat environment
AVFS 0.4 C library add-on, which enables all programs to look insidecompressed files
Berkeley DB 2.7.5 Provides embedded database support for traditional and client/server application
Big Brother 1.2a Highly efficient network monitor
Biglook 0.1 A graphical Toolkit for Bigloo
bnc4all 0.1c full featured FTP protocol bouncer/bouncenetwork
Bugzilla 2.4 mozilla.org's bugtracking system
Bullucks 1.0 alpha Experimental chess program
C-Forge IDE 1.2-3 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment
Calamaris 2.24 Statistic tool for Squid, NetCache and relatives
Camden 1.0.0 PHP/MySQL based customer feedback system with real-time chat
CHC 1.0 Columbia House Play Club Catalog Browser
Clustor 2.0 beta Clustor - software for high performance computing
CMatrix 0.98c Ncurses eye-candy demo like
cthugha 1.4 An oscilliscope on acid, displays patterns in sync with music.
curl 5.8 Command line tool for getting data from a URL
cvsd 0.5 cvsd is a chroot/suid wrapper for running a cvs pserver more securely.
Data::Locations 5.0 A virtual file manager which allows to read/write data to and from virtual files
dcd 0.70 Simple command-line CD player
DECnet for Linux 1.91 DECnet socket layer and applications
dhcpcd 1.3.17.pl5 DHCP client daemon for Linux Kernels 2.1.x
Disc-Cover 0.5 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
Display Ghostscript DGS 0.5.6 The Display Ghostscript System for GNUstep.
DND 0.4.0 GUI of Molecular Dynamics
DOSEmu 0.98.6 Application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs
ECLiPt Mirroring Tool 2.1 pre 9 Full-featured mirroring script
Eddie 1.0.0 Robust, clustering, load balancing, redundant, queueing web server frontend.
efingerd 0.9 Another finger daemon for linux
efs 1.0 Extent File System support (read-only)
egrep-finger 1.25 patch Extended finger program using extended regular expressions
Emacspeak 10.0 A full-fledged speech output interface to Emacs
Epop 2.9 Erlang POP3 client/server package
epssplit 1.0.1 A program to split encapsulated postscript files
erikyyyphone 0.99.0 Internet audio conferencing application
Etherboot 4.2.0 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.6.0 GUI network protocol analyzer
Extreme Wave 0.2.1 A libre 3d modeler being developed for Linux.
ezbounce 0.85 A very configurable IRC Proxy
fb 1.5 Binary file viewer, editor, and manipulator.
Fetchmail 5.0.3 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
FreeMarker 1.4.5 HTML templating system for Java servlets
ftpgrab 0.0.6a FTP mirror utility
gaim 0.8.0 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
GAP Project Announcement A new approach to distributed administration
Geheimnis 0.52 A KDE shell for GPG/PGP2/PGP5
Genius 0.4.0 An arbitrary precision integer and multiple precision floatingpoint calculator
Genpage 1.0b4 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
getIt! redhog.2 Turns a server directory structure into a collapsable tree on a web-page.
gfcc 0.6 GTK+ firewall (ipchains)
gicqd 0.0.90b GNU ICQ-compatible Server
GlobeCom Jukebox 3.0 pre 14 Music jukebox with integrated CDDB aware ripping and groupware functionality
GMagic 0.01 Realtime property database for UIs
Gmenu2Kmenu 1.1 Script to convert a Gnome panel structure to a KDE panel structure
GNOME Disk Catalog 0.09 Keeps your ZIP disks, floppy disks and CD-ROMs in order
GnomeHack 1.0.2 Nethack for Gnome
GNU Go 2.0 An attempt to distribute a free program to play Go
GNU Prolog 1.1.0 Free Prolog compiler with constraint solving over finite domains
Gqcam 0.1 GTK based QuickPict clone
GREED 0.777 A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
Green Box 0.01b Next-generation drum machine
GTimer 1.1.3 Scheduler for your personal activities
gView 0.1.4 GTK/ImLib Image Viewer
GXAnim 0.30 GTK+ front end for Xanim movie player
gxsnmp 0.0.11 snmp managment frontend
Hamster Font Manager 1.01 Easy GUI to manage fonts for X11/GS/TeX
hotmole 0.93 Bash script to download and forward a user's Hotmail email as a batch job
HTML PLAIN 1.0.4 A revolutionary HTML precompiler
HuggieTag 0.8.4 Tagline and signature adder for email and news
hwclock 2.7 Read and set the Hardware Clock
Hypermail 2 alpha 20 Mail(box) to HTML converter with threads and MIME support.
IceDJ 0.9.7 MP3 streaming and radio station managment suite written in Perl
IcePref 0.7 A graphical configuration tool for Ice WM written with PyGTK
icewm 0.9.38 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
IDS POP 0.9.3 A small, fast, and efficient POP3 server.
ip_masq_icq 0.54 ICQ masquerading module for Linux
ircbase 0.7.2 Advanced scriptable detachable GUI-controllable irc client
JChemPaint 0.1 A 2D molecular structure editor written in Java
jed 0.99.4 Powerful editor, terminal and X11 interface
jEdit 1.6pre5 Powerful text editor
jukebox 0.8 Jukebox for mp3-files with html-interface and playerdaemon
kdem 1.0.1 OpenGL Digital Elevation Model (DEM) viewer for the KDE.
Keyes 1.1 Xeyes in the kpanel
KGoodStuff 0.6.2 KDE button-bar like FvwmButtons or tkGoodStuff
Kife 0.1 Frontend for Kinstall data base
Kim The Kim is interactive process manager for OS Linux.
KNewMail 3.1 KDE application designed to check multiple pop3 servers for email.
koffle 0.0.3 wwwoffle cache-browser
KreateCD 0.2.2 Frontend for CD writers using KDE
KRunning 0.1.6 A database manager for your private running events
KSendFax 0.3.2 KDE interface to FAX-packages
Kuninstaller 0.3 Program for uninstalling KDE applications.
KWvDial 0.3 Graphical Re-Implementation of WvDial PPP Dialer Command Line Interface
LAGII 0.1.2 Linux AGI Interpreter
Lazarus 0.0.5 Lazarus Object Pascal IDE
ld.so 1.9.11 ELF dynamic linkers, dynamic linker library and utilities
libcsc 0.1 General Programming Library
Libtool 1.3 GNU libtool is a generic library support script
Licq 0.70c Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Limo 0.1.2 Configurable replacement for ls
Linux Virtual Server 0.9 Linux Load Balancing and NAT
Linuxconf 1.15r2 Sophisticated administrative tool
LinuxInfo 1.1.1 Gives system information about your Linux system
LinuxTaRT 2.28 Feature-rich email signature generator
lm_sensors 2.3.1 LM78 and LM75 drivers
LyX 1.0.2 Advanced LaTeX-based typesetting and text-editing program for X11
MailMan 1.0rc1 Mailing list manager with built in web access
MARS 1.4pre1 Java-based network services status monitor
mcrypt 2.1.18 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
MGA 0.3 Masquerading Gateway Administation script
Minimalist 1.3.4 Minimalist Mailing List Manager
mmake 1.31 mmake will generate a Makefile for your Java programs.
mmusic 0.9.0 Database Frontend to handle large music collections
Moneydance 2.0 Personal finance application written in java
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MRTd 1.6.0A Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
msend 3.0 An implementation of the message send protocol (RFC1312).
MSWordView 0.5.10 Microsoft Word 8 document viewer
MyAdmin 0.4 Fully administer a mysql database from the web
MySQL 3.22.22 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
naim 0.9.5 Console-mode AOL Instant Messenger client for Linux and compatible unices
netscape-icons 19990504 Netscape Communicator icon set
Netscape.ad 19990504 Hot Key and Navigation enhancement for Netscape Communicator
News Peruser 4.0beta19 An offline newsreader for Linux and X11
Nicq 0.0.5 A different and new kind of icq clone
nmap 2.2-BETA3 Full featured, robust port scanner
ntop 1.1 Network usage monitor
OBM 0.2 Intranet application to help manage a company or a contact database.
Octave 2.0.14
OpenMap 3.2.3 JavaBeans tool kit for building applications/applets with maps
pavuk 0.9pl12 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
PEQ Quote Library 050499 The quotation library for Portable Easy Quote (PEQ).
PerlHoo 1.1 Yahoo-like Web Directory
pi-address V0.3.1 X11 based Address Manager for Palm Pilot Address DB
pinfo 0.5.2 Hypertext info file viewer
PoPToP 0.8.0 PPTP Server for Linux
Portable Easy Quote 0.7.3 A fortune like random quote displayer
Printing HOWTO database interface 24-Apr-1999 Perl code for driving a printer config tool from the HOWTO's printer database
Pynche 1.0 Color Editor
pyrpg 0.1.1 The Python Role Playing Game Engine
Q2sdb 0.5 Quake 2 Server Database with client/server query mechanism.
Qstat 2.3b A command-line program that displays the status of Internet Quake servers
Quake3: Arena test 1.03 The test version of Quake3: Arena
QVocab 0.20.3 A program to learn the vocabulary of a foreign language
radiusContext 1.52 A RADIUS accounting log analysis package
rdbm 0.9 Reliable database library
recover 0.4 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
Remembrance Agent 2.02 Remembrance Agents are an augmented, associative memory.
Reservation System 0.02 Java Reservation System
riolist 1.1 Builds random play lists for Diamond RIO
ripit 1.3 Front-end for Ripping/Encoding/Tagging MP3s
rlpr 2.01 Print from remote sites to your local printer w/o configuring remote site
rxtx 1.3-3 rxtx is a native serial library for linux supporting CommAPI
sblive 0.1b Linux Driver for SoundBlaster Live! and Live! Value.
Scintilla 0.91 Source code editing component and tiny IDE for Win32 and GTK+.
sdts++ 1.0.2 C++ toolkit for reading and writing Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) files
Services 4.2.4 Provides nick/channel/memo services for IRC networks
setiherder 0.1b GTK interface to monitor and control multiple SETI@home clients.
sh-utils 1.16h GNU shell programming utilities
Shout plugins 0.3 Netscape helper scripts to listen to Shoutcast in mpg123 or x11amp
shtool 1.2.2 Shell Script Collection
Siag Office 3.1.13 Free office package for Unix
sitecopy 0.6.0 Maintain remote copies of locally stored web sites
SkySOUND v0.48.000 Free demo or game oriented MP3 Library
slang 1.3.5 A powerful interpreted language
Slinux Kernel 1.2 Security Enhanced Linux Kernel
SMake 1.3.0 Skeleton Make - Makefile Generator
SmallEiffel -0.78Beta#5 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
sn 0.2.5 Hassle-free usenet news system for small sites
SNES9x 1.19 Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
Snort 1.0 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
SoundTracker 0.1.2 A music tracker for X / GTK+
SpaceThing Internet space life simulator
sudo 1.5.9p1 Provides limited super user priviledges to specific users
SWI-Prolog 3.2.6 Cross-Platform Prolog Compiler and Library
syslog-ng 1.1.12 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
Tac 0.12 An AOL Instant Messenger client in pure TCL
Tcl/Tk 8.1 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
The Gimp 1.1.5 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Linux Image Montage Project pre-1014 Linux Image Montage Project Preview Release
Tiny Fugue 4.0s1 MUD client
tkMOO-light 0.3.19-dev-05 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
TkSETI 1.24 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
TkTag 1.0 MP3 tag editor
tn5250 0.13.2 5250 Terminal emulator for Linux, Unix and Win32
Town 1.0.3 Java database API with quick and easy access
treeps 1.1.0 X/Motif graphical process tree visualizer
TrueReality 1999050200 N64 Emulator
Universe 0.11.2 Space Strategy game
utftpd 0.2.0 tftpd daemon with finer grained access control
util-linux 2.9q Miscellaneous system utilities
V-NUT : VRML-Nintendo Utility Toolkit 1.1.1.alpha Tools to help in amateur N64 (Nintendo 64 video game console) development
VK Tools 0.3 MPEG Stream Analyzer
vMac Emulates a Motorola 68000 based Apple Macintosh Plus
VSound 0.1 Allows you to record the audio stream of most sound applications
vtun 1.5 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
WaveLAN/IEEE driver 0.2.6 Kernel network device driver for WaveLAN/IEEE wireless network card
WebEvent 3.1b9 WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
WebFetch 0.06 Perl5 module infrastructure to export and retrieve news for web display
webgrep 1.6 HTML check and search utilities
WebMacro Servlet Framework 0.89.1 Java server-side web template engine and servletdevelopment framework
Welcome2L 3.01 Linux ANSI boot logo
whichcap 0.11 Allows Linux capabilities to be used via sudo
Work report 0.1pre Keeps track of your hours of work
wxHTML 0.2 HTML (and richtext viewer) widget for wxWindows 2
wxWindows/GTK 2.1 beta 3 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-Chat 0.9.5 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.35b12.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
X-SETI 0.3.2 Tk/Expect frontend for the SETI@home UNIX client
XawTV 2.43 TV application and a few utilities
xcallerid 2.2.1 callerID program that pops up incomingphone numbers in an X-window
Xmahjongg 3.0b10 Colorful X solitaire Mah Jongg game
Xref-Speller 0.93.3 C and Java Source Browsing and Advanced Editing for (X)Emacs. X2html conv.
xterm patch #100 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
XTrkCad 2.2.0 Model Railroad CAD program for Linux
yarec 0.65 Console based sample recorder/player
Zebra 0.63 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
ZNibbles 0.0.6 Networked multiplayer nibbles/snake game for X11/Motif

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

Craig Knudsen's Linux Net News site has been recently revamped, updates are happening regularly again, and the whole thing looks sharper than ever. A good source for pointers to stories in the press.

See also Les Nouvelles Neuves de Linux, run by Stéfane Fermigier and others in France. The site itself is in French, surprisingly enough, but the right-hand side bar contains interesting news links that point mostly to English-language sources.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 6, 1999



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@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, 05 May 1999 17:46:13 -0400
From: Joe Drew <hoserhead@bigfoot.com>
To: drwho@xnet.com, editor@lwn.net
Subject: Re: "Restrictively Unrestrictive: The GPL License in Software"

I disagree strongly with your opinions, but they are your opinions and
you're entitled to them. However, I have some nitpicks:

1) Your political views come through very strongly when you explain
various parts of the GPL. If you were going to revise this document,
one fo the first things you should do is make the entire document,
excepting "My opinions" completely non-partisan - notably words such
as 'infected', etc.

2) Communism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive, and neither is
'right' or 'proper' any more than their suitability for a given

3) Nowhere does the Free Software Foundation gain any rights to your
code that others do not receive - your assertation that 'you are not
the real owner of your code, the Free Software Foundation is' is
completely false. You are the holder of copyright, and as such you can
sublicense your code under any license you want. Just like most other
licenses, though, you can't revoke rights already granted to other
uses (ie, the rights given under the GPL.)

4) RMS does not wish GNU/Linux to be called GNU/Linux because its
contents are, by and large, GPL'd - he wishes it to be called
GNU/Linux because distributions of Linux - particularly Debian - are,
for the most part, the finished product of the GNU project, using the
Linux kernel.

Now, my opinion:

- The GPL protects your code from becoming proprietary. If you don't
care about that, you wouldn't be using the GPL.

- Nothing is inherently Communistic about the GPL. You're not required
to give out your code or changes, but you ARE required to license any
of those changes under the GPL if you do distribute them.

- The GPL has, and continues to, protect Free Software; it has never,
and will never be, concerned with political extremism. It's the reason
most new Free Software exists.

I hope that you take the time to try to understand why the GPL is so
popular, and also that you will revise your document to remove your
personal opinion from the section meant to simply explain the
differences between the BSD license and the GPL.  --

Joe Drew

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother 
Nature cannot be fooled.
      -- R.P. Feynman
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 11:57:05 +0100
From: Aaron.Trevena@msasglobal.com
Subject: benchmark - not flame
To: bruce@mindcraft.com, editor@lwn.net 

     I would like to add some comments to your open benchmark project.
     - Apache server is not designed to be fast - its designed to be
     versatile and reliable. There is a wide choice of web servers
     designed for speed, flexibility, etc for Unix, Linux and
     *BSD. You should include at least one alternative known for its
     - NT is used as a client system in enterprise environments
     because, frankly, win 9x doesn't do the job. Therefore an pure 9x
     base is unrealistic because you wouldn't have a quad xeon server
     just for secretaries, who are the only staff with win9x on their
     - your hardware is known to be designed to work with NT - it is
     advertised Dell policy, this weighs the benchmark heavily in NT's
     favour regardless of any tuning.
     - the hardware being tested is unlikely to be used in a Linux
     environment because it is uneconomical - several mid-range
     servers clustered or loadshared would be more appropriate
     providing better performance and increased reliability,
     scalability and accessability.  just because NT can't cluster (2
     isn't a cluster, its a joke) doesn't mean that other system can't
     make better use of hardware.
     - the web serving environment is unrealistic, it bears no
     resemblance to a real world serving environment - be it internet
     or external. A machine with a fraction of the power used in your
     benchmarks would rapidly saturate even multinational companies
     networks, the only need for such hardware would be if there was
     heavy use of dynamic content or web applications.
     I hope you can address these problems, or at least make it clear
     in published results that the benchmark is in an unrealistic and
     contrived environment.
     Aaron Trevena, Intra/Internet Developer & Administrator. 
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 11:58:50 +0200
From: Hubert Tonneau <hubert.tonneau@easynet.fr>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Refer to history to get the truth

> Now, of course, there are reasons for this behavior. One could
> say, for example, that these companies are simply trying to
> prevent the publication of something like the Mindcraft report
> that has drawn so much scorn over the last couple of weeks.
> There's probably some truth to that. Much bad behavior comes
> as the result of good intentions. But, in the end, freedom is more
> important.

The sentence "There's probably some truth to that" is completely
false: I have never seen any benchmark of both Oracle and SQL server
in any review during the last years. Some reviews have been very
serious, with tests run in relation with various database publishers.
The true reason is that they have a powerfull and well organised
marketing division and they prefer to rely on it to get the product
Your sentence is what they like to hear because the doubt about their
true reasons is good for closed company, better than the crude
reality. So please refer to history: facts are there.

Hubert Tonneau
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 04:41:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Walther <krooger@debian.org>
To: mhegarty@mit.edu
Subject: freedom for ITS source?

Dear Mr Hegarty,

I have cc'd this message to Alan Bawden and Richard Stallman, who may
have some comments of their own afterward, and I am sure, will correct
me where I am wrong on historical details.

What it is: ITS is an operating system, in the same way that
GNU/Linux, VMS, and Windows NT are.  More specifically, it is an
operating system developed more than 20 years ago that ran on special
hardware specific to MIT which no longer exists and which has not, to
my knowledge, ever been used for commercial purposes.

ITS has no license, and without one, cannot legally be redistributed
in source or other form.  In your role as the person in charge of
source licensing in MIT's Technology Licensing department, we would
like to ask that you continue the fine forward looking tradition of
MIT in the field of computer science by licensing ITS under the GPL.

From available facts, the GPL would be most appropriate.  ITS was
developed in response to some proprietary drivers which came without
source, but didn't do what the AI lab researchers needed.  Having an
operating system with its source code open to all meant many
researchers improved it, enhancing the computing experience.  The
whole source code of the operating system was completely open.  It was
this openness, and the culture that came with it, that inspired the
GPL, the GNU system, and laid the foundation that vaulted Linux to

It's nice to be able to look at ones roots.  ITS has never had a
license: it never needed one.  Its been available to whoever knew
someone with the source code who was willing to give it to you.  It
would be a shame to make it any less open than its successors.

If for some legal reasons we are not aware of, it is necessary to
release the code under a more restricted license, I will still be
interested in corresponding.

This jargon file entry contains some detail on ITS:

Yours truly,

Jonathan Walther

Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds