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LinuxHQ has been yanked off the net by the domain's original owner. This move has come as a complete surprise to Jim Pick, who has maintained LinuxHQ for the last two years as a free service to the Linux community. This move is a poor way to treat somebody who has provided such a valuable site for so long. We hope that things work out and that LinuxHQ is restored, with a full explanation, in the very near future.

Meanwhile Jim has set up a new domain for the site formerly known as LinuxHQ at kernelnotes.org.

Open source exchanges. Simultaneously, two independent services which aim to connect software developers with people and organizations which wish to pay to get a development job done. Both seem to work on a variant of the web auction model, where projects are posted and interested parties can post bids to complete the job. Both will collect money for the completion of the project, take a cut, and pass the rest on to the developer. And both will insist that the results of any work contracted through their services be released under an open source license. But there are also some differences.

  • The SourceXchange is a cooperative project between O'Reilly and Hewlett-Packard; it will start, initially, with only HP offering projects. The SourceXchange has built into it an extensive peer-review mechanism - all projects will go through a review phase before being opened up to proposals. (And, almost necessarily, the peer reviewers will be paid for their efforts). Proposals and finished work will also go through a review step. There will also be a mechanism by which evaluations of the final product will be posted on the site - but only if all parties agree.

  • Cosource.com, operated by Veriteam, Inc., relies less heavily on peer review, and seems more oriented toward smaller jobs and sponsors. An interesting feature of Cosource is that it allows several independent buyers to pool their resources in order to get a job done.

In both cases, it will be interesting to see how well things work out. A bit of a leap of faith will be required on both sides. Organizations with work to be done will want some assurance that it will happen on a suitable schedule, and at a high level of quality. Developers need to know that they will be paid fairly and promptly for their efforts. Both concerns will require time and experience to settle out.

If these exchanges work, the end result could be a very positive benefit for free software in general. We wish them luck.

The ghost of Mindcraft. Microsoft has put up this challenge to the Linux community, asking for a rerun of the Mindcraft benchmarks. They claim to have addressed the concerns of the Linux community (and it seems they have, for the most part). Also included is a lengthy comparison of Windows NT and Linux, which is, not surprisingly, to the detriment of Linux. It is also not entirely factual.

The Linux community, in one form or another, probably should respond to this thing in one way or another. It sure looks like a trap, but it is at least partially one of our own making. To not respond at all would look bad. (Then again, see Nicholas Petreley's LinuxWorld column, in which he recommends that the Linux community have no more to do with it whatsoever).

And for those who wonder why Microsoft linked to us (second footnote, having to do with comparing Windows NT and Linux security), all we can say is: we have no idea...

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

May 20, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



A new version of ssh 1.X has been released. The new version, ssh 1.2.27, has replaced the OSF1/C2 security support with the more complete SIA (Security Integration Architecture). In addition, a host of other fixes provided by a variety of sources have been included. This releases bodes fair to be more stable and secure as a result. For more information, check out the BugTraq announcement. RPM packages for the new version do not appear to have hit the usual sites as of yet.

Spying on the Spies is the title of this Wired News article, which talks about growing concern in Europe about the US National Security Agency activities. It even mentions that commercial software products, such as Lotus Notes and others, may contain backdoors "through which the NSA can gain access to an individual's personal information." True or not, it illustrates why governments should be concerned about the use of closed-source software, where such backdoors cannot not be found or corrected. Separately, as mentioned at the end of the article, it will be interesting to see if Europe's concerns about the NSA will generate a comparable interest internal to the U.S., where reports about NSA privacy violations and other activities have met with little concern over the past years.

Security Reports

Early versions of ssh 2.0 hace a security vulnerability which can allow someone to bruteforce a login/password without any ip logging of the effort. This problem is fixed in versions 2.0.12 and newer, so if you are running ssh 2.0, make sure you have upgraded to the latest version. Most people are still running 1.2.X versions and are therefore not impacted. Check this website for more details [From BugTraq].

Although no official announcement was seen, Red Hat has updated their errata for Red Hat Linux 6.0 to include a fix for a problem with xscreensaver.

A security problem involving Netscape bookmarks has been reported.


nidsbench is a network intrusion detection system test suite that has been released under a BSD license by Anzen Computing, in order to encourage the introduction of a more precise testing methology into intrusion detection.

SuperAnt has put out a Linux Security CD-ROM, containing tools and more to help you secure your system. Check out their announcement for more details.


A Call for Participation has gone out for RAID'99, scheduled for September 7th through the 9th in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. RAID'99 is jointly sponsored by the SANS Institute, the IBM Business Recovery Services and the Emergency Response Service. [From ISN]

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 20, 1999


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.3. This is likely to be the last official release for a few days, since Linus has headed off to Finland for a quick visit there.

2.3 development thus far has concentrated mostly on internal changes thus far, such as tweaking the way that wait queues are handled. One user-visible change has been the addition of EFS - the Extent File System, used by SGI in older versions of Irix and on their software distribution CD's. More on the Linux EFS implementation can be found at the Linux EFS web site.

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.9, which was put out in a bit of a hurry after some ill-advised buffering changes made 2.2.8 into a rather dangerous thing to run. Quite a few users have complained about extensive file system corruption caused by 2.2.8. Anybody who is still running a 2.2.8 kernel should quickly revert back to an older one or upgrade to 2.2.9, which has the offending changes removed.

There have also been some complaints that recent 2.2 releases have worse memory behavior. One user did some testing and concluded that 2.2.7 introduced the problem, which shows up as excessive swapping. Just how extensive this problem is is still not clear.

BitKeeper is coming out at Linux Expo. There will be a BOF to introduce the system, as well as a booth where interested people can check out a version of the system with a repository containing the entire kernel development history. Larry McVoy has put the slides for his presentation up on the web as well. If all goes according to plan, the core kernel developers will start using BitKeeper before too long.

Linus has finally chimed in on capabilities. The debate, remember, was between those who want capability (privilege) information stored in the file system and those who would rather put it into the header of the ELF executable file. Linus seems to lean toward the file system solution, even though it looks harder in the long run. His reasoning was a bit new: his main concern with the ELF header solution is that it only works with ELF executables. If you want to associate capabilities with scripts (which could serve to reduce privilege as well as increase it), the ELF approach will not work. Here's a brief note giving some examples of what he's thinking about.

Since things generally go the way Linus wants them to in the kernel realm, it is likely that the ELF header approach may not proceed much farther.

A USB success story. Interested folks may want to check out this posting from Ben Pfaff, who got his USB mouse working on a 2.2.8 system. Included is some information on what he did. We're pretty much at the point where Linux can no longer be criticised for lack of USB support.

A NetWare file system for Linux has been made available under the GPL by the Timponogas Research Group. See their press release for details. In a separate posting on the kernel list, the Timpanogas person in charge of the release suggested that a full Novell Directory System (NDS) implementation may be the next thing they release.

Other interesting software and patch releases this week:

  • The third release of the input patches from Vojtech Pavlik is out. These patches include USB support and other good stuff.

  • H.J. Lu has released knfsd 1.3.1. This updates his kernel NFS patches for recent 2.2 releases.

  • PPSkit 0.7-pre3 by Ulrich Windl is out. This patch adds nanosecond time keeping and NTP tweaks; with this release he has also put in an implementation of the PPS API, a draft standard for high resolution event timing.

  • DIPC 1.1c is out. The Distributed Inter-Process Communication package aids in the building of clustered applications, with transparent implementations of semaphores, message queues, and shared memory.

  • Richard Gooch's eternal devfs patch is up to version 102.

  • Andrea Arcangeli posted an extensive set of buffer management patches which fixes and improves a lot of little things.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 20, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



Caldera announced that it is supporting the Linux Professional Institute in its development of a certification mechanism for Linux engineers.

Conectiva Linux

Now in its third edition, Conectiva Linux is a Brazilian-based distribution apparently derived from Red Hat 5.2. The latest edition ("Guarani") was announced this week. (Thanks to César A. K. Grossmann).


Paulo Henrique reported to us that the Debian potato (Debian 2.2-to-be) has the same problem with Star Office that Red Hat Linux 6.0 has. Brad Jorsch posted a mini-HOWTO on getting Star Office and glibc2.1 to work together under Debian.

Linuxconf and Debian are closer to co-habitation according to this posting from maintainer Stefan Gybas. There is still quite a bit of work left to do, particularly to get network configuration working properly.

The Debian Weekly News for this week is available, with more details, a mention of Debian developers at the Linux Expo and some brief Sparc and Alpha updates.

Definite Linux

Jason Clifford dropped us a note to point out that Definite Linux 6.0 has been remastered to include the recent Red Hat updates for xscreensaver, pump and apmd, as well as the more recent version of ssh.


DragonLinux is an entrant into the world of tiny Linuxes. This distribution is only 20MB in size, fully installed. It is UMSDOS-based and can coexist with your Windows installation on the same partition. Don't expect KDE or GNOME, of course, but you'll get a fully-functional set of basic, non-GUI tools.

Linux MLD

Linux Media Lab Distribution is another Japanese-based distribution, for anyone looking for an alternative to TurboLinux or the new Japanese version of Debian. (Thanks to Neil Matthews).


The LinuxPPC Developers Reference Release version 1.0 has been announced. This is a distribution for PowerPC systems, derived from Red Hat 6.0, which is intended to be used as a base in the creation of other PPC distributions.

LinuxPPC R5 has more definite ship date, at least according to the LinuxPPC R5 page. "Expect an announcement within two weeks. " The release has been delayed by the sheer enormity of the changes in the new release.

Red Hat

The Red Hat Errata for 6.0 now contain a listing of all known binaries that fail to run under Red Hat Linux 6.0. It contains no new information on the availability of a version of Star Office, other than the one available on the Red Hat Applications CD.

Other packages for which there are problems include the JRE/JDK, Motif, CDE, RealPlayer and Oracle. Workarounds are provided, if available.

Additional Red Hat 6.0 errata changes include fixes for apmd and pump. From the BugTraq mailing list, there were also reports that the ftp site for Red Hat Linux 6.0 now includes updated floppy images for i386, although there is no mention of them in the Red Hat errata. Take a look in ftp://updates.redhat.com/6.0/, particularly if you are having any problems with a 6.0 install.

The folks at Linux in Brazil have put together a guide to Red Hat 6.0 network installations (in Portuguese). And, of course, here is the Babelfish link for an English translation. (Thanks to Augusto Campos).


SuSE Inc. is expected to arrive at the Linux Expo (May 18 - 22, Raleigh, N.C.) with a new release of its Linux distribution as well as its Partner Program for VARs and ISVs. The 6.1 release includes the Linux 2.2.5 kernel, providing advanced support for Symmetric Multi Processors (SMP systems) and multimedia devices.

Current plans for SuSE possibly include support for linuxconf, according to this posting from Lenz Grimmer. Support for COAS has not been determined.

YellowDog Linux

To encourage iMac/PPC Linux development and contributions, iMacLinux and YellowDog Linux have joined together to sponsor a competition with prizes to the best development projects or contributions to Linux on the iMac platform. (Thanks to John Buswell).

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 20, 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
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Linux MLD (Japanese)
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


The JDK 1.1.8 for Linux is, indeed, in development. Juergen Kreileder dropped us a note to let us know that it is scheduled to be released in the next couple of weeks. Excellent news!

The Java BOF at the Linux Expo will be held tonight, May 20th, at 6:30pm in room E3. Here's the informal agenda.

A pre-release of Java 3D for Java 2 has been uploaded. Here is Steve Byrne's note for more details.


An interview with Jon Orwant, publisher of The Perl Journal, discusses the creation and demise of The Perl Institute. It was published April 26th, on www.perl.com, but we missed it, so you had to wait to hear about it until we found it referenced in the Perl Institute News.

A more up-to-date version of Tom Christiansen's web design principles, entitled Diversity Compliance in Web Design, is now available. It incorporates some suggestions he picked up from Charles R. Thompson.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

May 20, 1999



Development projects

Evan Leibovitch, well known in many circles, and currently Executive Director of the Linux Professional Institute, mentioned on the Caldera mailing list that his company has been instrumental, and succesful, in advocating for the "freeing" of the source code for 'sar', a popular System V performance-monitoring suite. Check out his posting for more details. The free version was announced on Freshmeat on May 18th. Evan also confirmed that Stephen Tweedie has been aware of this possible development and that support for 'osar' in the Linux kernel should be present.


AbiWord Preview Release 0.7 is now available, via CD or the Internet, according to this press release from AbiSource. This is the first release to provide pre-compiled binaries, to aid non-developers in trying out the software. Both rpm and deb packages are available. Paul Rohr at AbiSuite mentioned that they've seen over 16,000 downloads of AbiWord since its initial announcement, to more than 9,000 unique sites.


Currently primarily of interest only to Danish programmers, a new open source project, CashCow, has been launched to support a library for clearing credit card transfers with the Danish credit card clearing authority, "Danish Payment Systems" (PBS).

There is interest in expanding CashCow to work with other credit card authorities, but actual progress will depend on the involvement of new developers. If you've been planning to create something like this, here's a good opportunity to survey the project to see if working with them will help you achieve your goals more quickly and painlessly. For more information, check out this note from Troels Arvin.


The GNOME Workshop Project was announced this week. The purpose of this project is to bring order, consistency, and integration to the numerous productivity applications that are emerging from the GNOME project. It looks like an important next step.

Gnumeric 0.26 is now out. The announcement promises a lot of advances, plus bug fixes and better translations.


The latest edition of the Brave GNU World newsletter is now available. An announcement list has been created as well, for those that wish to be notified immediately of new editions.

High Availability

The MOSIX system has been released under the GPL. MOSIX is a package for building clusters; its primary claim to fame seems to be a process migration facility that makes load balancing across clusters much easier. The GPL release ends a long series of complaints and gripes about MOSIX's previous license. Good news. (Thanks to Rahul Dave).

Heart 0.12 beta is now available for download.

The Linux/HA BOF at the Linux Expo will be held tonight, May 20th, at 6:30 pm in room A.

The ExtremeLinux track at the Linux Expo this week should be the best source of the latest information on high availability projects for Linux. We look forward to hearing some reports on how it goes. The program has been posted and the featured speaker is Jon Hall.


KDE Art. This week, the artist currently known as Torsten Rahn providedus with a second screenshot of the new high-colour icons that the KDE artist team is currently working on. Torsten also expressedintentions of dropping the 40-colour icon sets in favour of dithering the high-colour ones as necessary; it is also likely that they will switch from the XPM format to PNG. Artists interested in joining the the KDE artist team to help with icons, logos, rendering, backgrounds, tiles and such should contact torsten@kde.org.

KPanel. There's been a lot of discussionon the matter of applets, docking and swallowing in KDE. The thread started with this message from Matthias Ettrich and diverged somewhat into menubar/toolbar issues including this descriptionof a menubar/toolbar consolidation from Glen Parker. It turns out that Sirtaj Singh Kang has already laid out the foundationfor an implementation of this idea. Matthis finished up with an explanationof the problems associated with tear-off menus.

KConfig. Preston Brown raisedthe issue of switching from INI-style config and desktop files to XML, possibly in coorperation with the GNOME folks. Cristian Tibirna summed up some of the issues involved; there appears to be little consensus on whether XML would be a worthwhile improvement or not.

KDE Quickies. Also this week, David Sweet announceda new mini-HOWTO for KDE developers, and David Faure released a temporary patchfor the infamous FTP upload problemthat was introduced in KDE 1.1.1.

(Many thanks to Navindra Umanee for gathering the KDE information reported here).


Netscape 4.6 was announced on Sunday, May 16th. It is available for download from the ftp.netscape.com site.

The Mozilla M5 tarball became available for download on May 12th, so the project continues roughly on schedule, with four more milestones before the official beta.


Samba 2.0.4 has been announced. This is a stable release, and is the recommended version for production servers.


The official announcement for Zope 2.0.0 alpha 1 is now out. There are currently compatibility problems between Zope 2 and earlier versions, but these are expected to be fixed soon.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

The Linux Professional Institute has sent out a newsletter describing the current status of their Linux engineer certification efforts. Among other things, they will be holding a BOF at Linux Expo to present their work thus far. This initiative seems to be picking up a lot of steam.

Cygnus has put out a pile of press releases. They have announced a new version of their eCos embedded operating system, that they are working to optimize their GNU Pro toolkit for Alpha processorsin conjunction with Alpha Processor Inc., and the availability of the GNU Pro toolkit for Red Hat's and SuSE's distributions.

SuperNova, providers of software solutions for enterprise application development and integration, announced a partnership with RABA Technologies, providers of advanced IT professional services. Together they plan on providing a complete enterprise application integration solution to SuperNova customers, focusing on Linux system integration.

Loki Entertainment Software announced contracts to port three more games to Linux. Look for "Myth II: Soulblighter"(TM) by Bungie Software, "Railroad Tycoon II"(TM) bundled with "Railroad Tycoon II: The Second Century"(TM) by PopTop Software, and "Eric's Ultimate Solitaire"(TM) by Delta Tao Software to be available for Linux sometime in 1999.

ParaSoft announced a new, lite version of Insure++, an automatic runtime error detection tool. The lite version is available on the Red Hat Linux 6.0 Application CD.

Aplio, Inc., an Internet Telephony appliance technology firm, announced that it has selected Linux as the operating system for its future Internet appliances and embedded technology

The Timpanogas Research Group announced its intent to release its FENRIS Netware file system under an open source license. The code will go out under the GPL.

Here is the announcement from SGI about their increased support for Linux. They also put out another one saying that "...SGI will announce a significant contribution to the open source community that will bolster Linux as an enterprise-ready operating system." at Linux Expo.

A company called Zenguin announced an application installer for Linux. One wouldn't think that Linux needs such a thing, but their take on the problem is that they allow distribution-independent installation.

Here is the announcement from Progress that they, too, will be porting their database system to Linux.

The Open Group announced that their X Window System activities will be split off into a separate organization called "X.Org." The new organization takes over the role of standard and code maintenance, as well as promotion.

Tangram announced that its asset tracking system will now be able to keep track of your Linux systems as well...

The Gartner Group, Inc. will survey users, Internet service providers, independent software vendors, platform vendors and Linux distributors on Linux directions. Their goal is to help vendors understand the role Linux will play in the future.

The folks behind the Babylon translation system are running a survey to determine whether there is sufficient demand to justify a port to Linux (and other systems) or not. If you would use such a product, you might want to let them know. (Thanks to August Hoerandl).

TheLinuxStore announcedthey will be showing off their systems at Linux Expo, including a new line of Linux-based laptops.

Another example of how we are seeing more industry-specific software showing up under Linux: MSBI Management announced Mortgage Builder, a program for the origination of mortgages.

Press Releases:

  • Acer Inc. has been certified for Red Hat Linux 6.0 on Acer Altos 1100 servers.
  • Applix, Inc announced that the company has joined the IBM Netfinity(R) ServerProven(tm) program, certifing that Applixware for Linux and Anyware for Linux have been tested for compatibility on IBM's Intel-based Netfinity servers.
  • Blueridge Technologies has completed a full port of its OPTIXElectronic Document Management System to the Linux operating system.
  • Check Point Software announced their Meta IP address management solution is now available for Unix and will be available for Linux later this quarter.
  • Computer Associates International, Inc.teams up with Pacific HiTech to broaden the acceptance of Linux and Linux-based applications by corporate users across the Pacific Rim and worldwide.
  • Corel Corporation announced the arrival of CorelDRAW 9 to North American retail outlets. This should be available in a Linux version.
  • The Enator Group will resell SmartGate VPN to customers in Northern and Central Europe.
  • Ganymede Software teams with Cobalt Network's RaQ Servers to test and monitor end-to-end service performance. Cobalt's RaQ Servers come pre-configured with the Apache web server, sendmail, and Linux operating system.
  • Halcyon Software announced the introduction of Instant ASP (iASP) which lets developers deploy Active Server Pages (ASP) or JavaServer Pages (JSP) on all leading Java-enabled operating system platforms, Web servers, and application servers.
  • IBM announced a new version of DB2 Universal Database for UNIX, Linux, Windows NT and OS/2.
  • Linuxcare, Inc. announced the launch of Linuxcare Labs, a comprehensive program for independently certifying hardware and software for use with the Linux operating system.
  • Live Software Inc. announced the release of CF_Anywhere, a new product for developing sophisticated web applications.
  • MyDesktop launches the Linux help site LinuxPlanet.com to help users jump ship from Windows.
  • O'Reilly & Associates announced that they are making the entire new book, "OpenSources: Voices From the Open Source Revolution" freely available on their web site.
  • Power Center Software announced the Power Center Enterprise System Management Suite for the Linux OS.
  • Quantified Web Systems, Inc. announced the availability of Urchin ASAP 2.0, web statistics software, free of charge, from their web site: www.urchin.com
  • Resonate, Inc. announced that its traffic management solution, Resonate Central Dispatch(TM), will run on Red Hat Linux 6.0.
  • UniTree Software, Inc. announced the release of its High Performance UniTree Virtual Disk Manager (UVDM) product, and promises a Linux version will be available this year.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

May 20, 1999


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Linux in the news

Linux installation reports appear to be popular. This report, from Josh Quittner, also appears in this week's print edition of Time Magazine. He ended up trying out the new telephone support that comes with the most expensive version of Red Hat Linux 6.0. "Installing Linux was not exactly a walk through hell, but there was no way I could have done it without help -- another reason to pay for something you can get free ... with Thor on the phone calling the shots, I was able to install Red Hat in about 90 minutes." (Thanks to Dr. Glenn Butcher).

Here's one of those 'Linux is hard to install' stories, this one in ComputerWorld. "Ultimately, giving Linux the time of day is worthwhile. It's up and coming, and it's better to wrestle it down to the ground now than to be overwhelmed by it later if it becomes an imperative you're not prepared for."

Computer Currents covers the creation of Zenguin out of the core of the old SuSE U.S. operation, and talks about Zenguin's "installer" product. "[Zenguin President] McNeil predicts Zenguin's cross-distribution installer will dramatically increase the number of Linux end-user applications."

ComputerWorld ran a survey and uncovered that interest in Linux is increasing. "Although most information technology managers remain aloof to Linux, the free, Unix-like operating system is rapidly gaining enough credibility to merit a look from users at major companies, according to a Computerworld tracking survey. Since February, the number that report either using or at least considering Linux has grown by 72%."

Network World Fusion put out a Linux vs. NT article. "NT's ability to host Microsoft's electronic commerce wares and transaction integrity products, such as Transaction Server and Message Queue Server, (which to date have no counterparts in the Linux world), make NT the clear choice for enterprise use." (NW Fusion is a registration-required site. The "cypherpunks" account works as usual).

InfoWorld compares Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 and Red Hat Linux 6.0. "Although both releases are second-generation products, despite their improvements, neither Red Hat nor Caldera is completely ready for the enterprise or the corporate desktop."

Here's an InfoWorld story about Novell's unveiling of NDS for Linux. "NDS for Linux, which is based on the recently released NDS 8, enables management of Linux workstations and servers, and integration of Linux resources with NetWare, Windows NT, and Sunsoft Solaris systems..."

EE Times ran an article about Compaq's new Alpha-based servers. "The server underscores Compaq's new commitment to Linux, offering support for Red-Hat Linux as well as versions from Germany's S.u.S.E. GmbH and the New York-based Debian Project."

A group called the "Linux Liste" is running for seats in the Austrian national student council. They appear to be pushing a pretty hard-line open source policy. More can be had at their web site (in German). An English translation of sorts can be found at Babelfish. (Thanks to Alexander List).

The Saint Louis Business Journal ran an introductory article with an emphasis on Linux use in Saint Louis. "After serving a few printers at the Edwardsville headquarters of Cassens Transport Co., Linux now runs on more than 40 computers there, at a savings of at least $242,000."

News.com reports on SGI's increased support for Linux. "SGI executives have said in the past that releasing technology to the open-source community isn't like giving away the crown jewels. Instead, the company hopes it will lead people to develop computer systems more like SGI's, helping popularize technology where SGI has expertise and a competitive advantage."

Bob Metcalfe, inventer of ethernet, predicts that open source will fail. "He said the open source movement will fizzle because it is 'idealistic,' by which he said he meant counter to capitalism, intellectual property, and other things 'that work.'" Of course, this is the guy who predicted the widespread collapse of the Internet a couple of years ago...

Computer Magazine ran a followup to the critical 'Open Source Acid Test' article of a few months ago. This one is a bit more aware, but still comes from a critical viewpoint. "I will always bet on 650 well-paid Microsoft engineers (with stock options at risk) over 1,200 part-time volunteers, whether or not they are working on the kernel or the whole shooting match."

Here's a brief InfoWorld story about Progress's announcement that it will be porting its database system to Linux. "Progress ISV and corporate developers have a combined total of 5,000 applications that could be ported over to Linux. The company's ISVs deploy about $1.5 billion per year in Progress-based applications, according to company officials." (Thanks to Richard Storey).

Here's a TechWeek story about training, certification, and other Linux issues. "Linux has made great strides in penetrating the corporate market. But a big stumbling block is the lack of training and certification programs for Linux professionals, especially for system and network administrators." (Thanks to Dan York).

CPU Review reviews Red Hat 6.0. The review is lengthy, detailed, and almost entirely positive.

Here's an article (in Spanish) in El Pais about the continued success of Linux. "Linux does not seem to be one of the ephemeral fashions that periodically cross the world of computer science." English translation available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Jordi Torn ).

32BitsOnline interviews LinuxCare's David Sifry. "The potential for Linux to become as ubiquitous as TCP/IP is a really groundshaking notion, when you start to think about all the implications involved."

Here's another Linux vs NT comparison. This one is in Wired's Webmonkey, and consists mostly of quotes from people running web sites on one system or the other. "NT owners were notably less enthusiastic about its reliability but pointed out that on a larger site, a load balancing device such as Cisco LocalDirector can hide downtime by sending traffic to other servers while one reboots. Several managers said the more frequent reboots were an acceptable cost compared to, say, hiring pricey Unix admins." (Found in NNL).

InfoWorld ran a quick performance test of Caldera OpenLinux and Windows NT, looking at file and print sharing. "Unlike artificial workloads, our benchmark uses real applications running realistic user activities to measure the overall performance of the network system... Based on our observation of the server, NT would have been more comparable to Red Hat if it did not have to handle printing duties in addition to file serving. Where Red Hat swallowed print jobs as fast as they came, the queue grew longer and longer under NT during the course of the test, distracting the server from file sharing." (Found in NNL).

There is a lengthy story about Red Hat in the Spectator Online. It has some factual problems, such as repeated references to Linux as "shareware." "Known affectionately as 'penguin heads,' Linux users now number 10 million..." (Found in NNL).

Linux 2.2 Gives NT a Run for Its Money--for Free is the title of a lengthy, detailed article in PC Magazine. It's quite positive, for the most part. Some of the criticisms come in somewhat surprising areas - they say that PCMCIA support is "poor," for example. "We'll start with a look at the major enhancements to the new kernel (that is, the core OS components). Then we'll examine the Internet and networking features in 2.2, along with a related discussion of file system changes and additions. A brief comparison with Windows NT runs throughout the sections, to show you how the two systems stack up." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Government Computer News interviews Red Hat's Bob Young. "When I first got into Linux in 1992, I was convinced it was going to make the Unix balkanization look like a big, happy family. In fact, the reverse has happened." (Thanks to RC Pavlicek).

Developers for the Sony Playstation will work under Linux, according to this Wired News story. "Sony will begin shipping the development workstation in September, said Phil Harrison, Sony's vice president of research and development. The machine, to be priced under US$20,000, will be based on the same chipset as the PlayStation II, including the 128-bit 'Emotion Engine' and graphic chips." (Thanks to Richard Storey).

The Guardian reports briefly on Sir Clive Sinclair's thinking about creating a Linux computer. "A generation of games programmers cut their teeth on the Sinclair Spectrum. If he doesn't go for Linux, others will. Indeed, why doesn't the internet community devise its own specifications for such a computer just as it has for Linux?"

Sm@rt Reseller writes about a number of upcoming commercial announcements. "Also next week, the Linux.com enterprise portal site, led by systems vendor VA Research Inc., will open, said officials of the Lake Tahoe, Calif., company. VA will make the announcement at LinuxWorld [sic - they meant Linux Expo], in Raleigh, N.C." Actually, Linux Expo will likely produce quite the flood of announcements. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).

Networking companies aren't much interested in supporting Linux, according to this TechWeb story. "Networking vendor managers said, however, that there is a lot of interest in Linux, particularly by the investment community. In fact, if Red Hat Software Inc. announces its much anticipated initial public offering, a few of the managers at the Nortel booth said they'd love to get their hands on the stock."

MSNBC is carrying this Wall Street Journal article about SGI's (and others') embrace of Linux. "[SGI] is expected to say Linux will be its single Unix-like offering for all future machines based on Intel Corp. microprocessors. Silicon Graphics had planned on providing its proprietary version of Unix, known as Irix, on its growing Intel line. To the extent that Irix has features that are still lacking in Linux, the company is expected to work to add them to Linux." (Thanks to Steven Filling, who originally pointed out this article).

Here's a brief article in Norwegian in Aftenposten about HP and SGI getting into Linux. (Thanks to Pal G. Larsson, who also reports that an ad for an IBM server with Linux installed appeared on the front page of the paper version of Aftenposten on the same day).

Dave Winer has given up his Linux virginity. So now he is so enthused that he has created his own "Linux Newbies" mailing list to further discuss his experiences. "[Linux is] rapidly becoming the serverside of the worldwide web, my middle-aged love. I believe Linux is key to building network apps that can scale to millions of users."

Linux: smooth operator in small-office environment says the (Canadian) Globe and Mail. "Much of the media buzz touts that Linux may be what finally breaks the stranglehold that Microsoft has on the desktop with its Windows 95/98 operating systems. That may or may not be the case. But having just installed Caldera OpenLinux 2.2, I am stunned by the degree of user-friendliness in the program."

Test & Measurement World has run an introductory article from an engineering perspective. "Some of the very things engineers perceive as assets, managers see as liabilities; for example, accountability and support. After all, if the software is free, who takes responsibility for it? And then there's the customizing issue-how can an IT manager track maverick Linux users?" (Thanks to August Hoerandl).

News.com reports on Sun's support for Linux binaries. "The move illustrates the upheaval that Linux, a Unix-like operating system, is causing as it grows from a hobbyists' project to a force that major server makers are reckoning with."

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 20, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



The Open Source Who's Who site, a great reference for finding out who is associated with what project and to commemorate people who have given their time and resources to enrich the Open Source community, is approaching its 1000th listing (over 900 are in the database now). A prize will be awarded to the person submitting the 1000th valid submission. Check out their site for more details.

A variety of Linux training class are now being offered in Central Ohio by LANshark Systems, Inc. Check their training page for more information.


Linus Torvalds will be granted a Doctor of Honors from the School of Mathematics and Science, Stockholm University, according to this press release from the University itself (in Swedish). Tim Lundstrom was kind enough to point out the announcement, as well as to provide a rough translation. The press release mentions that Linus is one of the youngest people ever to receive this recognition and that Linux, for which he is responsible, is praised by scientists around the world.

Dana Diederich has put up a transcript of a session held at Networld+Interop earlier this month. The speakers were Tim O'Reilly, Greg Olson, and David Beckemeyer, talking, of course, about open source software and business. It's an interesting session, worth a read.

Here is a report from the second NetProject Linux conference, held last week in London. Thanks to Alain Williams for writing it up and sending it our way.

Web sites

A website for "Everything about games on Linux", called the Dutch Linuxgames website is available (and in Dutch). English translations of the pages are expected at some point. The site contains reviews, news, how-tos and more and has been updated over the past week. Gerrit Holl, the site author, would very much like to find some Dutch-speaking people who can help him keep the site up-to-date.

User Group News

The Central Ohio LUG will be holding a "Mr. Fixit" session at their upcoming meeting.

May 20, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AccuRev 1.0.5 Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
ACPLT/KS 1.0.5 Open and free communication system for Process Control (Engineering)
ACS 0.2.0 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
afbackup 3.2 Client-server backup system
aKtion! 0.3.6 KDE video player based on xanim
Alien 6.37 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
AMC 0.0.3 Answering Machine Checker
asDrinks 1.7 News headlines from nerd/UNIX type sites in your AfterStep startmenu
aspbm 0.9 AfterStep Phone bill monitor
autorun 1.3 CDROM mounter for beginners and lazy users
bag 0.2.3 bag is used to buffer data
bgcheck 0.4 A process monitor used to limit the amount of background processes
bibtool 1.3 Simple tool to help BibTeX users maintain bibliography files
bigtwo 0.50 Dai-di (Big two) internet card game
Blackjack 0.1 Simple blackjack game for the console
Caitoo 0.6.3 KDE app to get files from the internet
Cashcow 1.0 Library for clearing credit card payments with the Danish PBS system
Catalog 0.10 Build, maintain and display Yahoo! like resources catalogs.
cdar 0.0.1 CD ARchiving utility for backing up to multisession CDRs and CDRWs
CDR-Toaster 0.95 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
Cervisia 0.0.1 KDE CVS frontend
CGI++ 0.4 C++ macro-preprocessor for writing CGI/Database applications
CGI::WeT 0.6.4 A set of Perl scripts to allow Web Themeing.
chbg 0.2 Desktop background changer and manager
Cheops 0.60pre2 Network User Interface
ClanBomber 0.8 Bomberman clone for ClanLib (X11 for now).
CMatrix 1.0a Ncurses eye-candy demo like
Coconut Webmail Pro 1.0 Fully featured web based email system
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0b1 Internet Printing System for UNIX
Cooledit 3.10.0 Full featured text editor for the X Window System
Copy Quota 1.0 Utility to copy a user quota to several users
cstream 1.4 dd(1)-like tool, precise bandwidth limiting/reporting, fifo support
CVS 1.10.6 Concurrent Versions System
Dante 1.0.0-pre1 Free socks v4/5 implementation
Darxite 0.2 Controllable daemon that downloads via FTP in the background
DBE 0.97 Easily insert, delete, and update records in a database table.
dbMan 0.0.7pre3 Tk database manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI, DBD (primary for Oracle and PgSQL)
Demi-FTPd 1.2 FTP server with Web conf/admin/monitor and plugins
Disc-Cover 0.6.1 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
DLDialog 1.1.2 Displays dialog boxes in terminal and X11 mode to interact with scripts
DocWiz 0.63 A GUI tool for developing Javadoc documentation
dopewars 1.4.2 Drug dealing game set in New York
DoxPrint Gateway Windows to Netware using Linux Middleware--no client software needed
EasyGTK 0.20 Wrapper library for GTK
egrep-finger 1.26 Extended finger program using extended regular expressions
EiC 4.0 A bytecode C interpreter/compiler
EPIngle 0.4 GTK Builder
EPIwm 0.4 window manager
Etherboot 4.2.1 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.6.2 GUI network protocol analyzer
Exim 3.00 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
Fake 1.1.2 Utility to switch in backup servers on a LAN
FakeBO 0.4.0 Fakes trojan server responses and logs incoming requests
Faq-O- Matic 2.702 Automatic maintenance of a FAQ
FFTW 2.1.2 The Fastest Fourier Transform in the West
fhttpd 0.4.2 FTP/HTTP server with modules support
Flog 0.50 ftpd log analyzer
flwm 0.24 The Fast Light Window Manager
Fnorb 1.01 Python CORBA 2.0 ORB
Fortify 1.4.2 Provides full strength, 128-bit encryption facilities to Netscape browsers
ftpgrab 0.1.0 FTP mirror utility
G-BOOK DeLUXE 1.1 PERL Based guestbook CGI
Gaby 1.9.4 An address book written in GTK
Gallery Maker 1.1.2 A tool to make HTML galleries from images and thumbnails
Gamora 0.67.0 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
GATOS 0.0.3 ATI-TV software for Linux.
gdbm 1.8.0 GNU database library for C
gentoo 0.11.6 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
gFTP 2.0.1 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
GIMP Imagemap plug-in 0.9 GIMP plug-in for creation of clickable imagemaps.
gist 1.0.0 An object-oriented web application platform
GIZMO 0.9 GIZMO 3D Scene Graph Toolkit
Glide 2.60 Glide 2.60 for Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo 3
Glilo 0.3 GTK+ based lilo frontend
GlobeCom Jukebox 3.0pre15 Music jukebox with integrated CDDB aware ripping and groupware functionality
Gmurf 0.3.1 A wave audio processor for Linux to mix and edit waves.
Gnofin 0.5.3 A simple GNOME checkbook application
GNU C library 2.1.1pre3 The GNU C library is used as the C library in the GNU system
GNU Oleo 1.99.3 Free spreadsheet application
gpm-dict 1.1 The universal dictionary for Linux
gpppkill 0.9.18 Ends idle ppp connections
GQ 0.2.1 GTK LDAP client
GQmpeg 0.5.99 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
Graphic Counter Language 2.20.3.D Programming language for the development of web counters
Graphtool 0.04 Create graphs from Gnumeric files
GREED .8+ BETA2 A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
Green Frog Linux 0.2a (Keoppi) A small fully featured 2.2.x+devfs/glibc 2.1 based Linux distro.
GTKeyboard 0.4 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
gtkgo 0.0.10 Go game for Linux and Windows
GtkSheet 7.4 A matrix/grid widget for Gtk+
GTKYahoo 0.14 GTK based Yahoo! Pager client
Half-life Server for Linux Half-Life Server for Linux Half-life Dedicated Server for Linux
Heart 0.12 Redundant, distributed cluster technology - part of HA systems
htmlcrunch 0.1 a simple HTML-compressor
IceDJ 0.9.9 MP3 streaming and radio station managment suite written in Perl
icewm 0.9.39 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
ICI 2.1.2 A dynamic, interpretive language with C-like syntax
Image::Grab 0.9.3 Perl Module to grab images with dynamic URLs from the Internet
ImageMagick 4.2.5 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
imgvtopgm 2.0 PNM to Palm Pilot Image Viewer converter
installwatch 0.5.5 Installwatch logs created and modified files during the installation of a progra
IPAD 0.9.00 Intelligent vector drawing package
ipfwadm- wrapper 1.1.2 ipfwadm replacement for 2.2 kernels: translates to ipchains
ITK 0.0.14-pre1 Basic self-contained no-frills toolkit for Xlib.
J'Express Professional 3.1.1 Lets you create multilingual installers and auto-updaters
jed 0.99-5 Powerful editor, terminal and X11 interface
jEdit 1.6pre7 Powerful text editor
JEL 0.8.1 A compiler for one-line expressions into java bytecode.
kexpress 0.2.2 kexpress is a newsreader for KDE. Easy to use, with offline reading.
KisoCD 0.3pre4 KDE frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
KJukeBox 0.1.14 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
KLyX 0.10.0 A modern approach of writing documents with a computer
kmplot 0.1.0 Mathematical function plotter for the kde-desktop
KMySQL 1.1.2 A MySql client for KDE.
knetmon 0.99pre5 KDE-aware X frontend for many network tools, especially samba
LAGII 0.1.4 Linux AGI Interpreter
lando 0.1 command execution server for UNIX
LibGGI 2.0 Beta 2.1 Generic graphics library running on top of many graphics subsystems
libsmb 19990514 Enables access to SMB shares in any C++ program under Unix
Limo 0.1.3 Configurable replacement for ls
LinGate for Linux 0.0.4 Network gateway software with many facilities.
Linuxconf 1.15r3.1 Sophisticated administrative tool
LinuxGT Server Edition 1.0S Streamlined (textual install) Linux for use as a robust Server
LOOP L O O P 16.843 PC Linux demo, 1st place at Spring Break 1999
lsh 1999-05-11 GPL'd implementation of SSH.
Lynx 2.8.2pre4 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
maildrop 0.64 maildrop mail filter/mail delivery agent
MARS 1.4pre7 Java-based network services status monitor
mcrypt 2.2.0pre5 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
memwatch 2.59 Memory leak/corruption detection, ANSI-C source code with test program.
mgeupsd 0.5 MGE Pulsar UPS monitor
mgstep An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
midentd 1.6 identd with masquerading support
MM 1.0.3 Shared Memory Library
mmusic 0.9.1 Database Frontend to handle large music collections
MSWordView 0.5.13 Microsoft Word 8 document viewer
Nano-X 0.4 Tiny X replacement for Linux based palmtops and POS units
NetLED 1.2 Monitor connections using your keyboard LEDs.
Netscape Communicator 4.6 All-in-one browser and communications suite
netscape- wrapper 2.1.0 Netscape Communicator 'launching' feature enhancment
Netscape.ad 19990514 Hot Key and Navigation enhancement for Netscape Communicator
Nicq 0.1.0 A different and new kind of icq clone
Nilo 19990517 Network boot Image LOader
NumPres 0.0.3 Caller ID program
OpenBSD 2.5 OpenBSD - Proactively Secure Multiplatform OS. 
OpenCA 0.108a Open Certification Authority Package
Oracletool 0.89 A web based tool for Oracle DBA's written in Perl.
osar Free implementation of 'sar' system reporting suite
OSS 3.9.2l Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
Paloma 0.81g Relational music/mp3 database system
Panorama 0.11.2 Framework for creating, rendering, and processingthree-dimensional images
pavuk 0.9pl13 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
PCI Utilities 2.0 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
PEQ Quote Library 051499 The quotation library for Portable Easy Quote (PEQ).
PIKT 1.4.0 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
Pilot-PPP 0.1 Connects your palm pilot to your linux box with PPP
pinfo 0.5.3 Hypertext info file viewer
Popchecker 1.2 Tool for removing large mails on pop servers without downloading
PoPToP v0.8.5 PPTP Server for Linux
PortSentry 0.90 Detects and responds to port scans against a target host inreal-time.
ppmtofb 0.22 Display graphics on universal framebuffer devices.
ppp 2.3.8
PRCS 1.2.14 Provides a way to deal with setsof files and directories as an entity
procinfo 17
Project Ballantain 1.0.0 Yet another single floppy router, dialup<->ethernet+IP masq+dhcpd+diald
PySol 2.13 A Python-based Solitaire card game
Q2Java 0.9.4 Allows Quake2 games to be written in Java
Qstat 2.3d A command-line program that displays the status of Internet Quake servers
QuIRC 0.9.75 X IRC client written in C++ with full Tcl/Tk scripting.
re2c 0.9.1 Fast and flexible lexer generator
RealPlayer G2 alpha Plays streaming audio and video over the Internet
REBOL/Core Messaging Language 2.0 Network-based messaging language
rglclock 1.3.1 Rotating 3D clock
Rio & Mpman 4 Linux v1.06 Upload tools for MpMan portable MP3 players
ripperX 0.96 A graphical interface to cdparanoia and 8hz-mp3
rmcore 1.0 Shell script to list/remove core files
Robot Race 49 An Excellent 90% completed Robo Rally server needing an equivalent client.
Samba 2.0.4a Allows clients toaccess to a server's filespace and printers via SMB
Scintilla 1.0 Source code editing component and tiny IDE for Win32 and GTK+.
ScryMUD 1.9.1 Original MUD Server and Java Client
sfspatch 2.3.2 The Steganographic File System Kernel Patch
sh-utils 1.16j GNU shell programming utilities
shtool 1.2.6 Shell Script Collection
Siag Office 3.1.14 Free office package for Unix
Sketch 0.6.0 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
SkySOUND 0.52.000 Free demo or game oriented MP3 Library
slang 1.3.6 A powerful interpreted language
slap 2.2.4 SmartLabel printing for UNIX
Slashdot Reader 1.18 Slashdot article and comments reader.
SLRN An NNTP based newsreader for Unix, VMS, and OS/2 systems
SMake 1.3.2 Skeleton Make - Makefile Generator
SmallEiffel -0.78Beta#6 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
snarfnews 0.8 Downloads stories from various news sites and converts to text or Pilot format.
Snort 1.0.1 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
Snoweb 0.3 hypertext literate programming mode for xemacs
SpeedyCGI 1.7 Speeds up Perl CGI scripts by running them persistently
SplitFire 1.05 Complete IRC script for IRCII-EPIC.
Sportslog 1.0 Gtk+ application for tracking athletic events such as running and cycling
Spruce 0.3.9 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
ssh 2.0.13 Remote Login Program
Superficie 0.5 A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
Sympa 2.2.5 An efficient multilingual Mailing List Manager.
tavrasm 1.06 Assembler for the Atmel AVR series of micro-controllers
Tcl-GDBI 990517 Tcl extention for accessing mysql database.
textutils 1.22l GNU text file processing utilities
The Cool Zippi Tool 1.2 X-Forms based compression frontend
The Entity Project 990517 An advanced adventure game engine written in Java.
The Linux Image Montage Project pre-1120 Linux Image Montage Project Preview Release
thor.pl 1.0 Thor, the System Monitor
TiK 0.70 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
tin 1.4-19990517 Curses based threaded NNTP and spool based UseNet newsreader
TkSETI 1.30 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
TWIG 0.3.2a A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
UConvert 1.01-p1 A units conversion program with thousdands of possible conversions.
unarj 2.43 arj un-archiver
uparrow 0.6 tcl command loop
VICE 1.0 Versatile Commodore Emulator
ViperDB 0.7 A smaller and faster option to Tripwire
Visual GTK BETA 1.1 A simple IDE to create GTK programs.
VMWare 1.0 Allows you to run multiple OSs at the same time
vpnd 1.0.5 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
Web-4M 2.5 Comprehensive collaboration/groupware environment
WebDiary/ ViewMaker 1.4 http://dante.urbanet.ch/~patrick/programm/viewMaker/
WebEvent 3.1 WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
WebKNotes 0.3137 Web based knowledge notes database written in Perl.
which 2.5 Show full path of commands
Wisio 0.15 An experimental project for a graphical windowing system
wmGrav 1.3 Simulates several objects acting under gravity.
wmpinboard 0.8.4 Window Maker pinboard dock-app
wmsensors 1.0.3 wmsensors draws graphs of data from your sensor chips
Work report 0.1 Keeps track of your hours of work
WWWOFFLE 2.4d Simple proxy server with special features for use with dial-up internet links
WWWThreads 3.41 WWW based discussion forums
X-Chat 0.9.6 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-SETI 0.5 Tk/Expect frontend for the SETI@home UNIX client
X11Spy 0.06 X11Spy is a GTK based Quake3 server browser
XGGI 1.6.1 X server which uses LibGGI to do hardware independent graphics and input
Xplanet 0.1 An Xearth wannabe
XQF QuakeWorld/Quake2 server browser and launcher for Linux/X11
XScreenSaver 3.12 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
XTC 0.1.7 An XTree Clone for Linux and other UNIXes
xterm Patch #103 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
Yacas 1.0 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Zebra 0.65 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
Zigzag 0.70 A unique hyperstructure kit for Linux
Zombie 0.70 Library and server for developing networked apps/games.

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

This is the week that VA Research's new linux.com site went live. You can check out this press release for the hype, but the site actually does look quite nice. They've done a good job of it.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

May 20, 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: Mon, 17 May 1999 11:44:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: Roland Dreier <droland@mail.math.okstate.edu>
To: kbahey@ab2.com, editor@lwn.net, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Voice over IP for Linux


I saw the letter to the editor in this week's LWN asking about "internet
telephone" programs for Linux.  I have actually been working on a program
I call gphone (short for gnome-o-phone) that does exactly that.  I've been
meaning to get gphone into shape to release, but my life has been very
hectic and I haven't gotten around to it.  The program definitely works
right now: it supports full duplex and uses GSM voice compression so
talking over a modem connection should be possible.  It has a rudimentary
GTK interface and I'm planning on adding GNOME support.  The license is

However, the code is best described as pre-alpha.  There's a lot of stuff
that I know needs to be done.  But I'd be delighted to share what I have
with anyone who's willing to work with code in development.  And I'll let
you know when I have a release that's ready for users (ie that only
requires a ./configure && make install).

Roland Dreier

To: letters@lwn.net, Piotr Mitros <pmitros@MIT.EDU>
Subject: RedHat & xv
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 09:20:07 -0700
From: "Zow" Terry Brugger <zow@torii.bruggerink.com>

Hash: SHA1

	Quick response to M. Mitros's note on the exclusion of xv from
RH6. While his point is well taken, I think it has more to do with the
inclusion of ee (Electric Eyes), which has all the same functionality as xv
(although it does have a few flaws that I haven't had time to
investigate). ee is written by Mr.  Enlightenment and RH Labs developer,
RasterMan. It appears that the non-free status was what prompted the
original development of ee, hence leading to its eventual extinction from
RH6.  Disclaimer: I'm only an end-user and this info's just gleaned from
what I've seen on the web.

- -- 
"Zow" Terry Brugger
zow@acm.org                 http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/bruggest
	"Information is easy; Tapping at my PC, that is the 
		frame of the game." - PetShopBoys

Version: PGPfreeware 5.0i for non-commercial use
Charset: noconv


Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 21:26:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Morris <jmorris@odin.beau.lib.la.us>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: The Bake-Off idea

I liked the basic idea, but the proposal lacked one thing; leveraging
Linux's most important advantage.  We need to put price into the equation.
How about this:

Have an independent group list a set of jobs to be done and budgets for
each.  Get a major Linux friendly vendor (Dell would be a good candidate
right now) to donate use of their equipment.  Each team picks a server or
servers from that vendor's line, loads and equips it and then ensures it
meets the performance requirements.

Suggested jobs would be things on the order of, Build a fileserver capable
of servicing 500 users.  This will be tested by running the X benchmark on
N clients to simulate the load of 500 typical users.  Or build a webserver
capable of soaking a T-3 using static pages.  Now soak a T-3 with a
Slashdot type dynamic site. Make the tests pass/fail, either it delivers
the specified load handling or it doesn't.  Of course the real benchmark
becomes how far under budget each side brings in their project.  This sort
of benchmark would have real interest among the bean counters.

On the other hand the idea of handing each team an identical box with a
virgin hard drive and seeing which team can cook up a ready to deploy
solution in a fixed time is also appealing.  However even there the cost
factor should be hammered home by making both sides total up the cost of
the software used to build the solution and guesstimate the labor costs by
counting the number of manhours both sides use.

John M.      http://www.dtx.net/~jmorris         This post is 100% M$ Free!
Geek code 3.0:GCS C+++ UL++++$ P++ L+++ W+ N++ w--- Y+ 5+++ R tv- b++ e* r%
#!/bin/perl -sp0777i<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<j]dsj|RSA in Perl
$/=unpack('H*',$_);$_=`echo 16dio\U$k"SK$/SM$n\EsN0p[lN*1|Using this sig is
lK[d2%Sa2/d0$^Ixp"|dc`;s/\W//g;$_=pack('H*',/((..)*)$/)  |a federal crime!

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 15:46:03 +0100
From: Aaron.Trevena@msasglobal.com
Subject: Byte to host L/Apache NT/IIS benchmark
To: pschind@cmp.com 

     I have been reading Byte since I was in College, and enjoyed it while 
     it focused on design and solutions rather than towards the end of its 
     hard copy life where it became just another glossy marketing tool.
     The core section helped with my coursework, the programming provided 
     ideas, I was chuffed when I began to understand how technology was 
     used in business, I even had Byte articles as references on CORBA when 
     study distributed processing.
     Unfortunately most of the IT press now with the exception of Dr Dobbs, 
     and hopefully Byte in its new format (Haven't seen enough to judge) 
     will continue to provide a reliable independent source of information 
     for academics and professionals. With the dumbing down brought by the 
     skills crises, and lowering of bar to be able to produce 
     (unfortunately usually poor) products Independent and Professional 
     publications become even more valuable.
     With this in mind I ask that Byte be the venue for the benchmark 
     Microsoft/Mindcraft (same office, same apparent marketing budget, same 
     labs) are pushing.
     ZiffDavis although recently becoming independent of MS have suddenly 
     fallen back into line. Although I trust they wouldn't rig or foul up 
     benchmarking in the way mindcraft did, they would be happy to show NT 
     in good light and brush problems under the carpet in small side notes.
     I trust Byte to independent and objective enough, I know it is 
     respected by most of the Open source community. It would also be good 
     for the industry if the boundaries of the benchmark such as the 
     hardware, and the competitors were set by Byte rather than MS as they 
     currently are so as to provide a fair and more importantly USEFUL 
     result. FreeBSD, BSDI, Solaris and Zeus, thttp should be included.
     If a fair and useful test were done then I personally would benefit by 
     being able to know when to deploy which platform and server. Open 
     Source developers would benefit by knowing where realworld (or as 
     close as benchmarks get) problems occur rather than trying to fix 
     problems that only occur in benchmarks or in contrived settings.
     I have cc:ed this to Linux Weekly News. Who I am sure would agree, 
     along with most of the Linux press that such a test would be very 
     useful to all concerned.
     Obviously it would be less exciting to do it well and properly than to 
     have a hyped shoot out but obviously there would be many people very 
     interested to see it done properly, not least Sun, HP, Oracle, and IBM 
     who have put their money where there mouths are.
     Aaron Trevena. Inter/Intranet Developer & Administrator.
     MSAS Global Logistics, Group IT.
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 17:27:26 +0000
From: Yoni Elhanani <biggo@netvision.net.il>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Mindcraft is only one kind of test....

Dear editor,

We all know that the benchmarks that test very specific conditions are
We know that many linux servers are not run on quad xeons, nor serve so
many clients.

I'd like to suggest my own kind of test to battle against Mindcraft.
Ofcourse everyone knows there are several kinds of races,
The one i where time is constant and performance is tested (eg pie
eating contest), such as these benchmarks,
the other is where a task is the constant and time is tested (eg horse
I'd like to propose the other test.
I think an uptime test would show the power of linux.

Another kind of test is a peak test (ie spitting contest), which in our
case would be scalability test.
I want to see NT running on a 486.

And there are feature tests, such as syncronized swimming.
Now we'll see all the features apache and php has to offer!

Let's see NT trying to outperform Linux in these fields... :-)



The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck,
is probably the day they start making vacuum cleaners...
From: schwarzma@healthpartners.com (Michael Schwarz)
Subject: RSA keys and PGP
To: Jens.Ritter@weh.rwth-aachen.de
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 16:52:53 -0500 (CDT)


This is in response to Jens Ritter's letter to LWN
about PGP and RSA:

It is a minor point, but...

What you say about RSA is true, however you must
remember that in PGP a 1024-bit RSA key is used to
encrypt a 128-bit IDEA session symmetric key.  Anyone
attempting to crack a PGP message will not bother
trying to recover the 1024-bit RSA key used to encrypt
the IDEA session key, they will instead concentrate
on cracking the 128-bit key.  Fortunately, cracking
128-bit keys will be take decades, even with Dr. Shamir's
TWINKLE machine...

Mike Schwarz
IAM mschwarz AT sherbtel DOT net
(anti spammed e-mail address)

Version: 2.6.3a
Charset: noconv

From: Leandro Dutra <Leandro.dutra@globaltelecom.com.br>
To: "'drwho@xnet.com'" <drwho@xnet.com>
Subject: Restrictively Unrestrictive
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 11:59:26 -0300

	Re: your article at http://www.daemonnews.org/199905/gpl.html
	I won't try to refute any little point in your article first, but
your general, US "culture" conditioned, strictly "capitalist" viewpoint.

	It is easy, but not very honest, to call RMS a communist.  It shows
you no nothing about Communism, and little about RMS intentions.

	First of all, let me define a word you from US misuse: Liberalism.
Liberalism is an European concept about freedom to live under the laws,
freedom to enterprise, and keeping the state interference in private and
economical issues at a minimum.  What you from US call "Liberalism" is
called Leftism all over the world.

	Communism has two faces: one is the ideal, unrealistic goal of
communality, the idea that everything should belong to everyone.  You can
subscribe to this desire while still believing  Liberalism better for
practical reasons.  It's only if you think Leftism it the true way that you
are being a Communist proper, believing everyone should refrain from gain
and share all their goods and money.

	There is no evidence that RMS is a Communist, nor does GNU GPL favor
Communism in any way.  It is just a defense against software hoarders, which
almost ruined BSD if you remember History.  GNU GPL is to free software what
an Army is to a pacific country: only a way to make sure the country stays
free and peaceful and independent, not an end in itself.

	When you say things such as "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. There is no concept
of intellectual property under the terms of the GPL. Your hard work is no
more your property than everyone else's.", you get to misunderstood
everything.  This phrase I want to refute point by point.

	First, it is easy to call someone Communistic.  I've shown you they
aren't.  Political?  Yes, you are also.  It is just that your politics is
mainstream, our is marginal.  This shouldn't be a term of abuse.  Extreme?
This carries no meaning, unless you really meant "radical".  Radical yes,
because GNU goes to the root of the problem ensuring the continuation of
freedom.  In this sense, BSD is lukewarm, because it counts on the good will
of everyone to keep freedom against hoarding.

	Second, no one is forcing no one.  You can do it all by yourself
with BSD software, with GNU software, or with proprietary.  Just do not
hoard GNU software.  If you want to keep others away from the freedom of
having source, you won't be able to use GNU software, why is that such a
problem?  It's like some kinds of virus, if you do not want to be sick do
not go near the source of the virus!

	Third, what do you understand by Capitalism and individualism?  Do
you know that Capitalism is a term of abuse invented by Karl Marx?  The
bigger values in Western society shouldn't be capital, richness, but freedom
and justice.  It is freedom and justice that ensured the conditions to
capital accumulation and richness.  But to put richness before freedom and
justice can kill the chicken of the golden eggs.

	Also, individualism is not a value, it was created as just the idea
that the individual should have defense against the state or any other
collective power.  In this original sense the GNU GPL could be considered
very individualist, as it protects the individual free software developer
and user against corporate or government software hoarding.

	About intellectual property, it is just a concession in the former
of copyright or patent so as to encourage invention, it isn't a fundamental
concept of law or ethics, and it can certainly be abused.  I find the
concept to be widely misunderstood.  It is astonishing to see that just now
that richness in the Western world is so great, that the periods for
copyright and patent proctection are being enlarged.  That is hoarding for
sure, as the original idea of intellectual property should call for a
shortening of the proctection periods as richness grows, for public benefit.

	Finally, your work belongs to you and there is nothing in GNU GPL
against your owning it.  It just ensures you that if you create a program
for free use, it will remain free.  It is still your code, so that if
someone wants to use it in a proprietary way he will have to license it
directly from you, and then you can set your price for that alternate,
proprietary licensing.

	It is this possibility of dual licensing that shows how your idea of
Capitalism and Communism is weak.  In fact the GNU GPL does more to protect
the gains of the programmer than BSD.

	Please be more careful, read more, think more.

Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
Amdocs (Brasil) Ltda
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:51:15 +0800 (CST)
From: Hung(2) Chao(2)-Kuei(4) <ckhung@cyut.edu.tw>
To: drwho@xnet.com
Subject: BSD Licence vs GPL

Dear Mr. Maxwell,

I found your article
    "Restrictively Unrestrictive: The GPL License in Software Development"
misleading and likely to do harm rather than service to the open source

To understand GPL, one has to understand the "political opinion" from
GPL which you omitted in your article.

Yes, Richard Stallman is against software intellectual property. I bet Mr.
Stallman would be happy if one day he wakes up to a world where software
copyright laws -- something GPL's enforcement depends on -- does not exist.
Whether you agree with his opinion (and the opinion of many people in the
open source community) or not, let us understand his point: software
should not be copyrighted.

So why did he (cooperatively?) created GPL that seems so much more
restrictive than the FreeBSD style license, and seems so much more
dependent on the copyright law?

I bet you heard "proof by contradiction" in mathematics. (OK, I know
there is a Latin phrase for it but I don't remember.) You don't agree
with a statement X. You _assume_ that X were true. You base your
arguments on X, and come to a contradictory conclusion. Your arguments
are all fine and logical. The only explanation left is that the
statement X was indeed absurd to begin with.

Now if someone jumps into the middle of the proof without understanding
the absurdity of X, he is bound to view the statements in the proof
as totally incomprehensible or at best "confusing". He is bound to see,
of course, absurd intermediate statements. It would not be wise to
claim that the flow of proof is incorrect when in fact it is X that is

I see the open source software movement as a time-consuming proof of
the absurdity of software intellectual property, initiated by FSF's
GPL by way of contradiction. Please understand that, and you will see
the mathematical beauty in GPL. By the way, I would use the term
"recursive" instead where you used "infective". I personally see
GPL as a piece of work to be appreciated by the mathematically-minded.

Of course, you may not agree with Mr. Stallman's opinion that software
copyright should not exist. Whether Stallman is correct is not the
topic of this article. I am just trying to explain how the "proof
mechanism" works.

On the other hand, I don't see how anti-software-copyright implies
anti-competitiveness and anti-capitalism. You seemed to jump into
unrelated and far-fetched conclusions that seriously begs explanation.


Chao-Kuei Hung

Information Management Department
Chaoyang University of Technology

#include <std.disclaimer>

Date: 17 May 99 12:25:01 PDT
From: Drew Davis <drew3@netscape.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: "Red Hat goes upscale"??

Your May 6, 1999 "Commerce" page leads with an article "Red Hat goes
upmarket" claiming that RedHat has increased the price of their
distribution.  That same assertion shows up in:


whose author acts like the price of RedHat 6.0 is $100.

Reading www.redhat.com's info, it looks to me that the $99.95
option is for a box that has Red Hat 6.0 Linux, plus a bunch of
other CD's, including their "Linux Power Tools" product and a
CD full of a ton of Linux documentation.

I believe the software is still free if you're willing to take the
time to download it.  That is, I think you can download, already
compiled and ready to install, all the Red Hat 6.0 software.
(And source code too, if you like).  But I know I don't have the
patience for doing that much downloading.

$39.95 gets you the 2 CD's of Red Hat 6.0, but no boot-floppy and no
support.  I'm told that it is easy to make a boot-floppy if you have
an already working PC.

$79.95 gets you the 2 CD's of Red Hat 6.0, and 30 days telephone
support.  (I assume this edition includes the boot-floppy too).

Seems like a fair spectrum of choices to me, and with a choice of
buying a bundle that includes telephone support, or getting RedHat 6.0
for less money than I paid for RedHat 5.2 (which was $50)..

I don't work for Red Hat, but I think there's a different story here
than a "price increase".  "RedHat broadens product line" would be a
more accurate description of what they apparently are doing.

R. Drew Davis

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