[LWN Logo]

Bringing you the latest news from the Linux World.
Dedicated to keeping Linux users up-to-date, with concise news for all interests

 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

Other stuff:
Contact us
Daily Updates

Recent features:
- Linux Expo '99
Review: Red Hat 6.0
- The Mindcraft Report
- BitKeeper - not quite open source
- Alan Cox interview
- 1998 Timeline

Here is the permanent site for this page.

Leading items

The return of UCC-2b. LWN has followed the progress of the new "Uniform Commercial Code" and its impact on software licensing for a while. Now, see this InfoWorld article to see how things have progressed. The new proposed Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) contains the worst of the old UCC2b and more - restrictions on publication of reviews, remote disabling of software, non-transferability of licenses, etc. all become codified into law if this thing passes.

This is, of course, the sound of the proprietary software business trying to hasten its demise. Free software looks good now; just imagine how good it will look when the alternatives contain all this extra obnoxiousness, backed by the force of law. (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann for the pointer).

Eric Raymond interviewed in Japan. ChangeLog, a Japanese Linux news site which carries translated LWN content, has made available to us an interview with Eric S. Raymond which happened in Kyoto on May 28. Topics include Eric's new paper, the future of proprietary software, and aikido.

On Red Hat's pricing. We have recently taken a fair amount of grief from readers who disagree with the assertions made (or reported) here that Red Hat 6.0 represents a price increase on Red Hat's part. Not everybody agrees with this point of view, and the situation as a whole is somewhat interesting for what it tells us about the future of the Linux software business. It is worth a closer look.

Previous versions of the "official" Red Hat distribution carried a $50 price tag, with a street price closer to $40. Included in this distribution was the CD, a boot diskette, an installation manual, the applications CD, and a month of installation support via email.

Red Hat 6.0 has a price of $80, with street prices running closer to $70 (buy.com has it for just under $60). You get exactly the same things that you got with previous versions except: (1) there is now a separate, thin, "getting started" manual, and (2) 90 days of installation support via email. There is also 30 days worth of phone support, but one has to dig fairly far into Red Hat's web pages to find it - the installation manual says electronic mail only.

The support will indeed be useful to some users, if it works better than it did in the 5.x days (some reports we have heard indicates that it does). Most users, though, are unlikely to find much added value in the newer, more expensive distribution. For them, the new price represents an increase.

What about "Red Hat Core"? This version of the distribution omits the boot diskette, the applications CD, the "getting started" manual, and the support. Red Hat's page shows how they are positioning this product:

You have been writing code for years and can recompile the kernel in your sleep....You know what you're doing and you know how it all works. In fact, you're one of the "gurus" who is most likely helping all your friends get into Linux. You don't need a floppy; you don't need help in getting started, and you don't need support.
Clearly they do not intend for the masses to buy this version of the product. It lists for $40. Interestingly, there is no street price - Red Hat is not allowing its resellers to carry this product. You can only buy it directly from Red Hat.

The end result is that consumers of the system will not be all that put out. Even $80 is not a huge price to pay for a quality operating system. Those who know where to look can get the cheaper version from Red Hat, buy one of the (far cheaper yet) knockoffs available from a number of sources, or simply FTP the distribution from the net.

Resellers of Linux, however, have more to worry about. Companies like the Linux Mall, Linux System Labs and others, which certainly played a role in making Red Hat the successful company that it is, are now finding themselves squeezed on Red Hat's expensive distribution. Evidently Red Hat's reseller price is so high that a number of these companies are selling it at a loss. Simultaneously they are finding themselves undercut by Red Hat itself, which is offering a cheaper version that they can not sell.

Unfortunately, this is probably a sign of the future. As Linux goes mainstream, the small resellers that helped make the whole thing happen risk getting pushed aside as the big distributors move in. The largest distribution(s), feeling their strength, seem inclined to help this process along. The disappearance of the Linux resellers, in turn, would raise the barriers to entry for any aspiring new firm wishing to make a living selling Linux-related software. Choices would shrink as the market consolidates. If the Linux resellers go, we will miss them.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

June 3, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Security page.



A security problem in the Linux 2.2.X kernel series was reported on Bugtraq on Tuesday, June 1st. The vulnerability caused a system panic when a large number of specific ICMP packets were sent. Within the same day, Alan Cox responded. He had confirmed the problem, found the cause and issued a patch for people who wanted an immediate fix. A day later, Red Hat had new kernel packages available containing the fix.

It is interesting to note that Alan actually apologized for how long it took him to get a patch out. That's pretty amazing, considering that the turn-around for a fix took a fraction of the time an equivalent fix might have come from a proprietary company. This type of responsiveness is what we've claimed the Linux community can and will provide. Many thanks to Alan, and to Red Hat, for proving us right.

SecurityPortal.com has an article this week on Better Network Security through Peer Pressure, which takes a look at active efforts to combat two common problems on the Internet: Smurf Amplifier Attacks and Third Party Mail Relay. They talk about sites that are dedicated to searching, reporting and publishing information about affected Internet sites and provide some tips for cleaning up your own systems.


The securelinux project that we mentioned last week is going like gang-busters. Rik van Riel sent a note indicating that his company's plan to build the distribution have solidified and they are looking for other people interested in helping with the project. Check out the secure Linux web page for more details. A new mailing list has also been announced.

In fact, traffic on the new mailing list is relatively heavy. Some good postings that have come up so far include a preliminary list of goals and a website where you can vote for a preferred name for the new project.

Attention has also been paid to the Khaos distribution, an existing distribution with similar goals. This note from Ernst Jan Plugge mentions concerns that the closed development model apparently being used with Khaos may not mesh well with the securelinux project. However, sharing resources to avoid duplication of effort was still considered important.


The Linux Administrators Security Guide has been officially announced. It is available for free for non-commercial use in PDF format. There is also an FAQ available, which answers questions like why the license is lightly restrictive ("Because I don't want modified versions running (i.e. I want to maintain some revision sanity) around that may be incorrect") and why it is only available in PDF format ("PDF is the only language that allows me to format it nicely, and have it readable under as many OS's as possible.").

Setting up Sendmail on a Firewall is the title of this article by Carole Fennelly, the third of her series of articles on sendmail.


The Call-For-Papers for Computer Security 99 (DISC 99) has been issued. The event itself will be held October 4th through the 8th alongside Mexico's general computer congress, Computo.99@mx.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 3, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.4. The patch for this release is huge, almost 3MB. The larger changes are with the PowerPC architecture and the ISDN drivers, as well as the addition of the DECnet protocol. Interestingly, the fix for the ICMP denial-of-service attack appears to not have been included.

The current stable release remains 2.2.9. A new release with the denial of service patch should be forthcoming shortly, but was not available as of this writing. (There is a 2.2.10 prepatch available in the testing directory).

Naming of USB devices remains a hot topic. Linus has pretty much entrenched himself behind a scheme wherein a USB configuration event (attachment or removal of a device) causes a complete rescan of the bus and, perhaps, the renaming of devices which were already present on the bus and in use. This sort of renaming could cause some surprises, to say the least - what happens to your printcap file if the printers change names? But Linus maintains that this is the only means by which any sort of rational, consistent behavior can be obtained. See this posting for details on why he feels this way.

Linus may well be right. But one real implication of this whole discussion is that true USB support may be more distant than we think. A fair amount of user-space code is going to be required to deal properly with USB devices so that users do not have to contend with all of the ugliness that is otherwise exposed. This problem also extends beyond USB devices; other busses like Firewire and the new removable PCI bus will present the same sorts of challenges. The hardware situation on modern systems is getting much more dynamic, and Linux will have to adapt to that change.

The FENRIS Netware file system for Linux will be available for downloading on June 4 from www.timpanogas.com. It appears that the code is being released under the GPL.

Some of the patches and updates that were released this week:

  • Richard Gooch is up to devfs v106. He has also released devfs v99.1 which is a backport of v106 for the 2.2.9 kernel.

  • IBM has released (in beta form) a driver for their ServRAID family of controllers.

  • H.J. Lu has released knfsd 1.3.3.

  • Mikael Pettersson released a patch allowing the system to access the performance monitoring counters in modern x86 processors.

  • Donald Becker put out a new version of the 3c59x ethernet driver. This version is a 1.0 release candidate, if all goes well...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 3, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Distributions page.



Another micro Linux, CCLinux fits on a single floppy and is already up and running the latest version of the Linux kernel, 2.2.9. This is a bare bones distribution, using GNU tools, for people that don't want or need a lot of hand-holding.


Connectiva Linux, a Brazilian distribution based on Red Hat, will be launching a Spanish-language version at the upcoming Comdex show in Argentina. [Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann].


SPI has achieved non-profit status. Software in the Public Interest (SPI) is the legal organization that holds money and assets in trust for the Debian developers. The new legal status means that gifts and monies given to SPI for the support and development of Debian are tax-deductible, at least on US income tax reports. That can only mean good news for Debian fund raising efforts.

The Debian Weekly News for this week is available. It contains comments about Debian's presence at the Linux Expo, developments in configuration management and more and more packages, both for Debian and Debian JP (the Japanese version).

Definite Linux

New updates now part of Definite Linux include the wu-ftpd security updates from Red Hat and the latest releases of pgp4pine, gnupg and samba. Check out the Definite Linux website for more details.

Kha0s Linux

Self-described as still in fetal-development, Kha0s Linux is a distribution intended to focus on creating the most secure Linux environment possible. [Thanks to Bill Cory].


Mandrake 6.0 has been announced, self-dubbed ""The User-Friendly Linux Distribution", which makes fairly clear how they plan on differentiating themselves from Red Hat. Mandrake has also been optimized for Pentium processors, claiming 5-30% speed improvements as a result. The version of KDE 1.1.1 included has Mandrake-specific customizations, providing a pre-configured desktop for new Linux users.

Red Hat

Red Hat has released a new set of install images which fix a number of problems that people have encountered with the 6.0 distribution.

They have also put out a new Sparc kernel package which fixes a number of the stability problems users have been seeing on that platform.

IBM DB2 UDB V6.1, announced last week, works on Red Hat Linux 6.0, resolving the problem we previously reported with IBM DB2 UDB 5.2. [Thanks to Knut Stolze]

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 3, 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
Kha0s Linux
Linux MLD (Japanese)
Linux Router Project
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat
Yellow Dog Linux


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


Sun has made available a pre-release of the JDK 1.2.2. You can check out the release notes or the nice list of bug fixes. (Registration is required to access both of these pages).

The Beta 2 version of the J/View3D toolkit has been announced and is available from the J-Extreme.int web site.


Microsoft has moved into Perl development with the announcement of a three-year agreement with ActiveState for a "Perl Open Source development and support contract." The announcement mentions that "A significant amount of the development effort will be released as Open Source code under the Artistic License". It will be very important to watch this first move of Microsoft into the open source development world. Have they chosen a product under the Artistic license because they believe it will allow some way to "embrace and extend" the perl product, as they attempted to do with Java and have done successfully with other projects? We're going to get a chance to find out as this agreement unfolds.

An interview with Larry Wall shows up as the cover article for the May Linux Journal. "In terms of biographical beginnings, my father was a pastor, as were both my grandfathers, and many of my ancestors before that. My wife likes to say that preachers are bred for intelligence (though I suppose she might be saying that just to flatter me). Be that as it may, I did receive a fairly decent set of brain construction genes. Beyond that, I also received a rich heritage of ideas and skills, some of which found their way into Perl culture. For instance, the notion that you can change the world. The idea that other people are important. The love of communication and an understanding of rhetoric, not to mention linguistics. The appreciation of the importance of text. The desire to relate everything to everything else. The passion to build up rather than tear down. And, of course, the dead certainty that true wealth is measured not by what you accumulate, but by what you pass on to others. "


Franco-philes can rejoice in the the creation of a Python newsgroup in French. For more information, check out their announcement.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 3, 1999



Development projects

New Projects

The Free Electronic Commerce Software project has started up, and is seeking additional developers to help them get going.

In response to a mention of his Voice over IP code in a Letter to the Editor, Roland Dreier has made the source code for his internet telephone program available, along with a mailing list for the discussion of the development.


Rasterman hits the road. Carsten "Rasterman" Haitzler has left the Red Hat Labs, evidently with a certain amount of bad feeling. See his announcement as posted on Slashdot. He says it will be a good thing for him and for the Enlightenment window manager. (Thanks to David T. Blake).


Ganymede, a Java-based network directory system, has now released version 0.99.1. The announcement contains details on the changes in the latest version, which appears to be getting closer to useability in production environements.


More in-depth news on Gnome development came our way this week from Havoc Pennington's GNOME Summary for May 24th through the 31st. From it, we learned of the Gnome 'White Papers' web site, containing short documents that describe key pieces of Gnome technology, which just came up this past week.

On the site, you'll find Dave Mason's document describing the entire Gnome application development framework.

The summary mentioned above contains a lot of other interesting items, including a new commercial company planned to support Gnome and write custom Gnome software, a Gnome Workshop logo, Debian packages, Gnome PPP and more. Many thanks to Havoc for sharing this information with all of us.


Updates on the development of ht://Dig are now available, starting with a lengthy State of the Code sent to the developer's list. A more user-level State of the Project covers what has changed in the past six months and what can be expected to change in the next six months. Progress is steady and response to the idea of an ht://Dig conference was enthusiastic, so the conference is a go. You can sign up now. It will be held August 19th and 20th in The Hague, Netherlands.


KDE Development News from Navindra Umanee is available again this week. KDE afiocionados will want to peruse it to get the full details, including pointers to the beginning of the release process for KDE 1.1.2. This upcoming release will feature the KDE Theme Manager, a selection of themes, and more. The release process is expected to take approximately 9 weeks.

Also in this week's News comes more word of cooperation between the KDE and Gimp development teams and, on the opposite front, an alliance with the ImageMagick team, an interesting development.

Debian users will want to check out a list of pointers in the News to debian packages for KDE.


Henri Bergius' latest report on the Midgard Project is now available. Development on this web application development platform seems to be going strong, with a new roadmap in place, plans for a new site, and work to make Midgard interoperable with other web development tools.


The folks at VMWare have donated licenses to the Samba team, to support their development efforts. This donation should help to speed development - now compatibility with other operating systems can be tested without dual-booting or using extra systems. See the brief news item on the Samba site. (Thanks to Sean Summers).


A calm week in Zope-land has been reported by this week's Zope News from Amos Latteier. Work on the beta of the Portal kit is moving forward furiously, Brian Lloyd is busy smashing bugs and press on Zope this week has been good, including the following: If you want to join in the fun, check out this job posting, looking for a contract Zope programmer.

Some other humorous links lie in the report itself, so you probably want to check it out ...

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Linux Laptops Ltd. opens. Linux Laptops Ltd., a reseller dedicated to selling only laptop systems with Linux installed, has announced its opening. Their angle is that, by specializing in laptop systems, they can do them better than anybody else. As a result, they have systems (such as Sony Vaio's) that have been hard to find (with Linux installed) elsewhere.

Sun will be releasing its high-performance cluster tools under their "community source license." See Sun's press release for details. The tools to be made available include an implementation of the MPI interprocess communication library (already available under Linux), the Prism graphical debugger (much needed), the Sun Scientific Library, their Parallel File System, and Cluster Runtime Environment (load balancing and such). This code, once available and working on Linux, should make a lot of high-end number crunchers happy.

800Linux goes into retail. The folks at 800Linux.com are branching out from their initial support offerings into sales of Linux-installed systems. See their Linux computers pagefor more.

The Linus Torvalds Community Award returns. International Data Group (IDG), announced they will give away the "IDG/Linus Torvalds Community Award", a $25,000 scholarship, at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, August 9-12, 1999 at the San Jose Convention Center.

Bundled e-commerce software. Opensales.com has announced that its e-commerce tools will be bundled with VA Linux Systems' computers starting in the third quarter. Opensales is an effort to create a source-available (license unspecified) e-commerce package. It's not yet entirely clear just what the package will do.

Printed circuit design for Linux. Cadsoft has released its Eagle printed circuit design system for Linux. Evidently there is a freely-downloadable version which can handle small boards; for bigger stuff, they want your money first. (Thanks to Uwe Bonnes).

Indybox lowers prices. The folks at Indybox have announced a lowering of prices on some of their linux-installed systems.

The Internet Engineering Task Force has announced ratification of the Service Location Protocol (SLP), v2. As part of an undergraduate research project at Utah Valley State College, student Matthew Peterson has written an open source SLPv2 DA for the Linux operating system. Documentation, source code, and binaries related to the project are available under a BSD-style software license, which allows for free commercial and non-commercial application. Additional information can be obtained from the project web site

Press Releases:

  • Dell Computer Corporation announced several initiatives to broaden the availability of products and information for the Linux operating system for Dell customers.
  • LinuxIT announced they will be the UK reseller for Enhanced Software technologies, BRU and Quickstart Data Rescue System Replicator Software.
  • NovaStor announced NovaXchange v2.0 tape handling and data interchange software will be available for beta testing, in a Linux version, later this summer.
  • OpenLink, Virtuoso virtual database system.
  • Vovida Networks Inc. and Equivalence Pty Limited, announced their strategic alliance and the expected summer availability of the Annex F voice component of a free, open source, H.323 stack based upon the Linux operating system and Win32.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

June 3, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

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

Linux in the news

This week's recommended reading:

  • Forbes Magazine has an article about Red Hat Software. "But not much of a future lies in selling $49 software. In February Red Hat began offering costly support contracts. Young figures this could be big; so far he's found few takers. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. in Burlington, N.J. is spending $1 million or so to buy 1,250 Linux-equipped PCs from Dell, but it won't pay Red Hat a dime for support, says Michael Prince, chief information officer. 'I suppose Red Hat's business model makes sense to somebody, but it makes no sense to us,' he says." (Thanks to Marty Leisner).

  • What if Microsoft opens the source to Windows? asks the Industry Standard. "So don't save all your money for the rumored RedHat IPO that's supposedly coming later this year. Freely available source code will go a long way toward satisfying Microsoft's legal and regulatory adversaries. And the contributions from a broader group of programmers will make Windows stronger, as security holes are identified and plugged and optimized code makes programs run faster and more logically." Amusingly, the discussion of Apache links to a stock chart for Apache Corporation - an oil and gas exploration firm.

  • FatBrain interviews Linus Torvalds. "I get about 200 a day. I read all my e-mail. Well, I read the first five lines of e-mail. If there is nothing interesting, then I just delete it. And I can see who sent it. I get e-mail from friends and family occasionally, but mainly, they send e-mail to my wife. She's my social manager."

  • Also on FatBrain: The growing Linux divide by Robin Miller. "In a very crass sense, these new Linux users represent income opportunity for Linux manipulators. Just as Windows users are in the habit of paying Windows manipulators to solve computer problems for them, users who chose Linux for its stability and flexibility, rather than because it's a neat tech-toy, will need lots of hand-holding, and most of them will be happy to pay for it." (Both found in NNL).

The hot topic for this week is Open Source:

  • It's The World of Open Source by (GNU C++ creator and Cygnus founder) Michael Tiemann on ZDTV. "In 10 years, open source will be broadly applied. To give a geopolitical analogy: The adoption rate of open software is a lot like the adoption rate of democracy. It's not yet 100 percent, but it's compelling, it's rewarding, and it's the best way to do it."

  • CNN covers Bob Young's Linux Expo Keynote. "...the content of his address seemed to say that the introduction of a viable open source model to the business world has already spelled victory for the open source movement."

  • The Denver Post has an article about Red Hat Software. "Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, points out that Red Hat can never dominate the way Microsoft does because if it angers the community, nobody will cooperate with the company or buy its products." See also the second part of the article which, inexplicably, is not linked from the first part.

  • Computing Canada has run an article about businesses getting into open source software. "More and more companies, for example, are providing their source code - either including it as part of the package they sell or by making it available to anyone on the Internet - as a way to expand the market for their products or services and to allow others to build on it." Zope is used as an example.

  • Mac World discovers Apple's open source moves. "'It's as if we had hired a huge bunch of programmers for free,' asserts Ernie Prabhakar, Apple's product manager for Mac OS X Server. 'We'll have a final product with better performance and new features.'"

  • qui profite le logiciel libre? (Who profits from free software?) asks TechWeb France. The answer, of course, is Red Hat Software. The article attributes a lot of Red Hat's success to the RPM package manager; it also touches on the Mandrake distribution. English translation available via Babelfish. (Found in NNL).

Linux and business:

  • News.com speculates on Linux IPO possibilities. "One factor to consider as VA ponders going public is compensating the myriad programmers who have contributed to Linux over the years... If a company such as VA or Red Hat went public and made a lot of money off Linux, 'What does that mean for all those people who've done a lot of work and don't necessarily' make money out of it? Will they still want to contribute to Linux? 'That's one of the issues we're struggling with,' Augustin said."

  • ZDNet compares Red Hat's and Caldera's distributions. "In testing these releases, PC Week Labs found that Caldera Open Linux 2.2 (released in April for $49.95) is the more polished of the two but that Red Hat Linux 6.0 (released in May for $79.95), with its GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) interface and Web-based linuxconf administration tool, has greater potential to make life easier for network managers. Client licenses for both operating systems continue to be free." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

  • Techweb talks about the two companies (KeyLabs and LinuxCare) which are competing to do Linux compatibility certification for hardware. "KeyLabs already offers certification and benchmarking for other operating systems, including Windows NT, Unix and NetWare. KeyLabs also is responsible for Sun's 100 percent Pure Java Certification program. But Art Tyde, executive vice president at Linuxcare, which provides Linux support to vendors and IT organizations, said it has more expertise in the open-source platform than KeyLabs."

  • Here's a News.com article about Dell's latest moves. "Also today, Dell lopped off the $20 difference that used to make its Linux systems somewhat more expensive than its computers running Microsoft Windows, a spokesman said."

  • ZDNet marvels at the lack of a Linux backlash. The article is mostly about recent commercial events. "The amoeboid spread of Linux continues, as vendors scramble to line up partners, certify hardware and integrate applications with the open-source software system, which they believe offers a stable, modifiable platform at low cost to the enterprise." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

  • E-Commerce Times reports on IBM's Linux moves. "IBM (NYSE: IBM) this week disclosed, in a barrage of announcements, collaboration with several key players in the increasingly popular Linux market, taking the open-source operating system (OS) another step towards broader acceptance."

  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle looks at Realm Information Technologies and its thin server products. "Founded in 1996, Realm initially was selling into a basically unknown market. This forced it to look for a less expensive but highly functional and stable operating system on which to base its software. Realm turned to Linux early and is now a member of the board of Linux International."

  • Here's a ZDNet article about e-smith and their new distribution. "The company's E-smith server and gateway converts PCI-based PCs into Linux communication servers. The product is based on Red Hat Software Inc.'s Red Hat 5.2. E-smith is pursuing the small and medium business market, and is cultivating relationships with resellers."

  • Lotus will release a Linux version of Domino by the end of the year, but nothing for Netware according to this TechWeb story. "The simple answer is that, under the circumstances of relative market share and projections we see for enterprise deployments of NetWare, we're not planning to resurrect Domino for NetWare."

  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes about Microsoft's new anti-Linux team. "In the past, Microsoft has publicly scoffed at the notion that Linux, the upstart operating system that has attracted huge media coverage and technological acclaim, poses any threat to its Windows-based hegemony. Not anymore."

  • Here's a whole set of articles by Charles Babcock in Inter@ctive Week:
    • IBM Turns True Blue For Linux is, not surprisingly, about the IBM/TurboLinux deal. "Executives at alphaWorks, IBM's Silicon Valley center for emerging technologies, declined to comment on what IBM might do next to buttress Linux. But John Wolpert, a director of emerging technology development, said 'huge' announcements regarding Linux are still to come."

    • Linux App Vendors Challenged talks about the potential difficulties of selling applications in this market. "...as Linux application vendors allocate resources to beef up their products, they face the possibility that open source code developers may bring out free software packages, and that Microsoft may enter the Linux applications market."

    • And this one talks about competing office suite projects. "KOffice and the Gnome Workshop are not necessarily producing large, distinct applications per the example of Microsoft Office so much as components that will be able to work when summoned or be embedded in a variety of applications, according to developer statements on the two respective Web sites."

  • CPU Review looks at Caldera OpenLinux 2.2. The review is quite positive, with a few caveats. "I would caution corporate users to familiarize themselves with the OpenLinux license agreement; due to Lisa and some other proprietary tools you are not allowed to install OpenLinux on more than one PC (unless you ftp and install the 'lite' version from Caldera's site)"

  • Here's another article on 'is Linux ready for business?'. In a poll conducted by silicon.com the answer was 71% yes.

and finally:

  • Here's an introductory article in the Washington Post. "Linux is ... another way to drive your computer -- an operating system like Windows 98 or the Mac OS, but cheaper, faster, harder to use and a little bit cooler. Think of it as the stick shift of computing platforms."

  • Here's a New York Times article about Linux winning the Prix Ars Electronica. "In a statement on the contest's Web site, jurors explained that their decision was meant to show that 'the .net category is not a prize for the most beautiful or most interesting home page on the World Wide Web... It is also intended to spark a discussion about whether a source code itself can be an artwork." (Thanks to Peter Link and Conrad Sanderson).

  • Fast Company has published the diaries kept by the participants in Red Hat's "GeekWorld" publicity thing. "Ummm...9 a.m.???? Dudes, most of us were up half the night coding, putting out fires and bug fixing for stuff back home. The rest were intently watching 'Austin Powers,' making the RealVideo encoder work or conquering FreeCiv."

  • An LA Weekly writer gets slashdotted, and does not appreciate the experience. "...mostly, the thread of discussion on Slashdot could be best described as Orwellian. I was shocked. Could these Linux fascists be related to the freethinking, friendly Linux community I met years ago on the Internet Relay Chat, where once a helpful soul stayed up half the night walking me through the setup for Slackware?" The article comes with a bizarre illustration of a crucified penguin.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

June 3, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Those of you who have been asking us for a Palm Pilot version of the Linux Weekly News may want to check out snarfnews, a package which pulls down and packages news sites for the Pilot. They have a "site file" for LWN, as well as for LinuxToday, Kernel Traffic, and NTK (which is where we found it) as well as a number of other sites.


Linux Expo in France. The French Linux Expo, to be held in Paris on June 17 and 18, has put up the conference schedule. Lots of familiar names are to be found on the list: Stallman, de Icaza, Augustin, Young, Allison, ...

And, a little further ahead, is Linux World France, to be held in Paris on January 11-13, 2000 (yes, simultaneously with the U.S. LinuxWorld event being held in Washington). See the web pages for details.

Back in the U.S., PC EXPO has announcedthat there will be a Linux pavillion, sponsored by Red Hat Software, at their upcoming June 22-24 event in New York.

Ziff-Davis has announcedsome of the speakers that will be appearing at their Open Source Forum at the end of June. The names include Jon "Maddog" Hall and Mike Prince (from the Burlington Coat Factory).

More Linux Expo coverage: Craig Burley, creator of GNU Fortran, has put up an excellent summary of his experience at the show.

Red Hat on the road. Red Hat has announcedits latest road show. They start in Los Angeles on June 4, and pass through a dozen U.S. cities.

June 3, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AddressBook 0.3 Portable Personal Information Manager written in perl
ALE Clone 1.15pre5 Clone of WarCraft II
arla 0.25 A free AFS client and server for Linux, *BSD and others.
asapm 2.7 X11 application with AfterStep look for monitoring APM on laptops
aumix 1.19 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
AutoConvert 0.1p1 Chinese GB/HZ/BIG5 encoding auto convert
AutoRPM 1.8.1 RPM Auto-Installer and/or FTP Mirrorer
Avataria 0.19990526.1 Graphical avatar chat environment
BFS Filesystem for Linux 19990528 read-only BFS modules for Linux
bigtwo 0.51 Dai-di (Big two) internet card game
Blackbox 0.50.5 WindowManager for X11 written in C++
Blender 1.63 Extremely fast and versatile 3D Rendering Package
Bridge Filter patch 0.1 Filtering capability for linux bridge.
C-Forge IDE 1.2-5 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment
CADC 0.3 device driver for cheap serial 8 Channel DAC
Cajun 3.0-4 Car Audio Jukebox mp3 player for your car/home
cdctl 0.12 Controls your CD-ROM drive under linux.
CDJ 0.0.0 CD player for DJs
cdplayer.app 0.3 CD player with CDDB support.
CDR-Toaster 0.97 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
CGI++ 0.6 C++ macro-preprocessor for writing CGI/Database applications
chbg 0.4 Desktop background changer and manager
Chebyshev 0.02 Engine for forwarding email service (w/spam filtering)
Clean_Mail 2.06 Scripts to help maintain mail spool files on a large system
confcollect 0.1d A small utility that posts the systems configuration to an adminostrator through
Cook 2.9 A tool for constructing files, and maintainingreferential integrity between fil
Cut The Crap 0.1.0 Ad-blocking proxy-like python-based software.
Dante 1.0.0 Free socks v4/5 implementation
DB2 Beta 6.0 Universal Database for Linux
dbMan 0.0.8pre1 DB manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI (about 20 DBMS incl. PgSQL, Oracle, MySQL ...)
DDD 3.1.5 Common graphical user interface for GDB, DBX and XDB
demcd 1.2 CDPlayer for Linux
devfs patch 106 Device FileSystem for Linux kernel
Diary.py 0.1 Diary is a simple journal program to record daily events, etc.
DigitalDJ 0.3 DigitalDJ is an SQL-based mp3
Display Ghostscript 0.5.7 The Display Ghostscript System for GNUstep.
djpim 1.0 Web-based to-do list manager in PHP3/MySQL.
dmcat 1.1 Digital Music CATalog
Doc Toolkit 1.1.0 E-text tools for Palm Computing platform users
DOSEmu 0.99.12 Application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs
Downloader for X 0.96 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
dtfs 990509 A Log-Structured Filesystem For Linux
dvorak7min 1.4 ncurses-based typing tutor for the Dvorak layout
EasyGTK 0.95 Wrapper library for GTK
EiC 4.0.1 A bytecode C interpreter/compiler
elfnote 0.0.2 A program to manipulate the NOTE sections in ELF binaries.
Energymech 2.6.0 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
Envy 2.33 Shell-independent environment variable management
EPIC 4pre2.004-19990528 ANSI capable textmode IRC Client
erpcd-talker 1.0 A simple set of utilities to talk to an erpcd (Annex manager software)
eThreads 0.9 Highly customizable database driven forum software
Exim 3.01 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
failoverd 1.7 Provide rudimentary failover capability for Linux
Flight Gear 0.6.0 Flight simulator
FORUM 1.1b1 Another PHP3/Mysql forum with some nifty features
FramerD/FDScript 1.0 Beta Distributed knowledge/object repository and scripting language
freemed 19990528 Free medical management software in a web browser
FTP4ALL 2.26a FTP server program for UNIX systems
Gaby 1.9.6 An address book written in GTK
Gamora 0.69.0 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
Ganymede 0.99.1 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
GCD 2.0 A cd-player with a gtk+ interface
gcombust 0.1.14 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
Genius 0.4.3 An arbitrary precision integer and multiple precision floatingpoint calculator
Genpage 1.01 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
gensig 2.2 Random signature/tagline generator
gentoo 0.11.7 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
GeoStats 1.1.0 IRC Statistical Services
GFingerPoken 0.10 BlackBox-type GTK-based game
GHX 2.95 GTK clone of the Hotline software
gIDE 1.1 Gtk-based Integrated Development Environment for C
GIMP Imagemap plug-in 1.0 GIMP plug-in for creation of clickable imagemaps.
GIncoming v 0.12 A GTK app to monitor a directory for new files, like an incoming FTP directory.
Giram 0.0.17 Giram is a modeller, written in GTK+
gLaptop 0.2 Laptop utility for GNOME
gmessage 0.2 xmessage clone written in gtk+
gMOO 0.4.1 GTK+ based MOO (and MUD) client
Gmurf 0.3.3 A wave audio processor for Linux to mix and edit waves.
Gnofin 0.5.6 A simple GNOME checkbook application
GNOME Portfolio Manager 0.0.11 GNOME equivilent of the Yahoo! (C) Java Portfolio Manager
GNU cfengine 1.5.0-beta5 A tool for administering Networks of Diverse Machines
Gomoku Apprentice 0.5 A gomoku player learning from its own mistakes
Goose 0.0.9 Statistical library.
gPalmDoc 0.5 GUI web page to AportisDoc converter.
gPhoto (CVS) GNU Digital Camera download software
GPLAboutDialog.java 1.1 Generic Java About Dialog generator for GPL'd programs
gpppkill 1.0.0 Ends idle ppp connections
GQ 0.2.2 GTK LDAP client
GQmpeg 0.6.1 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
GQview 0.6.1 X11 image viewer for the Linux operating system
Graphic Counter Language 2.30 Programming language for the development of web counters
GREED 0.8+ BETA4r2 A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
Green Box 0.2 Next-generation drum machine
Grip 2.1 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
gRMA 0.01a A graphical tool for rate monotonic analysis of real time systems
GSokoban 0.10 A GNOME implementation of the Sokoban game.
GSpot 2.0 A control panel for cDc's Back Orifice
gsynth 0.4.8 gtk+ modular synthesizer/buzz clone
GtkAda 1.2.2 Ada95 binding of Gtk+
GtkPlot 1.1 2D Scientific plots widget for Gtk+
GtkSheet 7.5 A matrix/grid widget for Gtk+
Guppi 0.8.0 GNOME application for plotting and analyzing data
gView 0.1.6 GTK/ImLib Image Viewer
GXAnim 0.35 GTK+ front end for Xanim movie player
HTML::Template 0.02 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
htmlwrap 0.1 PHP3 html wrapper
IBM Visualization Data Explorer 4.0 An application for data visualization.
IceDJ 0.9.13 MP3 streaming and radio station managment suite written in Perl
id3ed 1.5 ID3 tag editor for mp3 files. Interactive and command line modes.
ImageMagick 4.2.7 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
IMHO 0.96 IMAP4 Mail Host for Roxen
indent 1.10.0 GNU indenting program
industrialMUD 0.2.0 MUD Telnet Server for Linux,
Install-Sendmail 4.3 install-sendmail will configure sendmail and fetchmail for you.
install-ssh 1.0.1 Downloads, Patches, Compiles, and Installs SSH in RPM format
Install-Webserver 0.1 Install Apache, PHP and MySQL by running one script.
ipac 1.04 Linux IP accounting package
ipchains 1.3.9 Linux packet filter control utility (replaces ipfwadm for kernels 2.1.102+).
jBase 3.2.3 Application Development and Database Independent Management System
jEdit 1.7pre1 Powerful text editor
Jik-Dice pre-alpha 3 AD&D IRC game play bot
jmake 1.00 jmake is a tool for software developers that like to write code, not makefiles.
jonama 1.1.2 SSL proxy
KBootSelector 0.3 KDE Boot option selector
kdesu 0.9 A KDE front end to the UNIX su(1) command.
KDiskCat 0.1 The KDE Disk Catalog software.
kexpress 0.8.0 kexpress is a newsreader for KDE. Easy to use, with offline reading.
kfirewall 2.0 GUI for ipchains or ipfwadm
KJukeBox 0.3 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
klavg 1.1 Small KDE applet showing load average graph on the panel.
KMonop current The Monopoly(tm) boardgame for KDE.
kmuser 0.9.2 User-Administration-Tool for the KDE-Desktop
KPackage 1.3 GUI interface to the RPM and the Debianpackage manager
KPriMa 0.1 A KDE Print Manager, a GUI to the ps utilities and your print command
LAGII 0.1.5 Linux AGI Interpreter
lando 0.1.2 command execution server for UNIX
libfax 0.0.1 Library for C programs to easily send faxes using external programs.
LibGTop 1.0.2 A library that fetches information about the running system such as cpu ...
libmmoss 1.4 Provides Java sound in Linux version of Netscape Communicator
libodbc++ 0.2beta2 A class library for accessing databases from c++
Libsigc++ 0.7.1 Callback framework for C++
Libtool 1.3.2 GNU libtool is a generic library support script
libxml-perl 0.03 A collection of Perl modules and documents for working with XML.
Limo 0.1.4 Configurable replacement for ls
LinKT 0.6.0 Packet-Radio terminal for radio amateurs
Linux Administrators Security Guide 0.1.0 A 130+ page PDF on Linux Security
Linux Router Project 2.9.4 A networking centric mini-distribution of Linux
LinuxInfo 1.1.3 Gives system information about your Linux system
Lookout 0.1 Populate and manage LDAP directory
lsh 0.1 GPL'd implementation of SSH.
lxTimeClock 0.7-pre1 A great Timecard program for businesses
Lynx 2.8.2pre11 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
Majik 3D 0.00 Online multiuser 3D role-playing world
maketool 0.2 GTK front end for GNU make
mcrypt 2.2.0pre10 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
mdate 1.0.0beta3 A freely-available mayan date program
Mesa 3.1 beta 2 3-D graphics library which uses the OpenGL API
Midgard 1.0.2 Application Server Suite - Web building with web-based tools
Midnight Commander 4.5.33 Unix file manager and shell
Minimalist 1.3.5 Minimalist Mailing List Manager
mktclapp 3.0 Mix C/C++ with Tcl/Tk to build a standalone program
MM 1.0.5 Shared Memory Library
Mobitex Radio Modem Driver 2.1 Network driver for Ericsson Mobidems and other MASC-speaking modems
mod_ssl 2.3.1-1.3.6 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Mozilla M6 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
mpstat 0.0.3 Helps monitoring SMP machines
MRTd 1.6.1a Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
mSQL 2.0.10 Mini SQL implementation
MyNews 0.9 A news displayer
Nemesis 1.0 Linux Video Security System
NEStra 0.62 Dynamic-Recompiling NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) emulator
netcomics 0.7 A perl script that downloads today's comics from the Web
NetLED 2.0 Monitor connections using your keyboard LEDs.
NewsForum 1.0 NewsForum - Put your news on the web
NIL 0.1b A simple Netbus client with a clean interface.
NNTP for Gamora 0.0 NNTP services for Gamora applications
NotifyMe 1.2 Program which displays message if a specific user just logged in
npasswd 2.05 Replacement for the passwd command
NPS 0.9.13 Non-Preemtive Thread Scheduling Library
oidentd 1.6.2 ident (rfc1413) daemon for linux that allows users to specify usernames
OpenSSL 0.9.3a The Open Source toolkit for Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security
pam_cucipop 1.31-3 Patch to use PAM with cucuipop
Panorama 0.12 Framework for creating, rendering, and processingthree-dimensional images
PCI40A/FastDAC Linux driver 1.01 Device driver for PCI40 Industry pack carrier board and FastDAC
pcmcia-cs 3.0.11 Card Services for Linux is a complete PCMCIA or ``PC Card'' support package.
PCP 1.24 Stubborn upload/download program
PCRE 2.05 A library that implements Perl 5-style regular expressions.
perdition 0.0.0 POP3 Proxy
pftp 1.0.5 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
pgp4pine 1.56 Interactive program for using PGP with email programs, specifically Pine
pgpgpg 0.12 wrapper around GnuPG which takes PGP 2.6 command line options
PHP Cyrus-Tools 1.0.0 Webtools for the cyrus imapd written in PHP3
pidentd+fm patch 1.1 Patch for pidentd to add fake userid query, IP masquerade and relay
Pike 0.6.131 Interpreted, object-oriented programming language with a syntax similar to C
Pingus 0.0.15 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pk 0.8.12 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
playdough 2.01 BitchX/EPIC IRC script
Poorcount 1.4 CGI scripts to enable counters in home pages for Web servers
PoPToP 0.8.7 PPTP Server for Linux
povfront 0.9-2 GTK+ graphical interface for povray
prips 0.9a Print IP addresses in a given range
pyKDE v0.8 Python bindings for QT 1.42 and KDE1.1 Code your KDE applications in python.
Pyrite 0.7.1 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
PySol 2.14 A Python-based Solitaire card game
QALE 1.0 A revolutionary approach to Qt dialog layout
QGraphi 0.2.1 Solves graph problems in a wysiwyg way
Qpopper 3.0b18 POP3 server
QtDragon 0.7.5 A tool to configure the telephone-related stuff of a DataBoxSpeed Dragon
Quadra 1.0.0 A shareware, TCP/IP multiplayer T*tris-like game.
RadioActive 0.3 Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
Random TagLine 0.1 Pick a random line from a text file and output it to a HTML page
recover 0.5 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
ReqNG 1.3.9 Request tracking system
rglclock 1.3.2 Rotating 3D clock
Robot Race 52 An Excellent 90% completed Robo Rally server needing an equivalent client.
Roxen Challenger 1.3.111 Platform independent webserver featuring strong encryption and SSL3
rpl 1.0.1 Multi-file recursive string replacement
RPM 3.0.1 Red Hat's package management system
rrlms 0.4.1 RoadRunner login client
RXP 1.0.7 Validating XML parser in C
Sched-Gen 1.0 HTML weekly schedule generator
sci 0.2.5. A data entry screen builder which works from ASCII templates
ScryMUD 1.9.4 Original MUD Server and Java Client
SDF 2.001 The Author-Friendly Markup Language
Secure Locate 1.6 Secure version of the GNU locate program
shtool 1.2.9 Shell Script Collection
Siag Office 3.1.16 Free office package for Unix
SIDPLAY 1.36.34-OSS C64 music player and SID sound chip emulator
Slice 1.3.3 Extract out pre-defined slices of an ASCII file
SOMLib 0.3 The Simple Object Model for C++
Sprite32/X 0.5 2D sprite-based animation for X11
Spruce 0.4.0 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
sredird 1.0.0 RFC 2217 compliant serial port redirector
strobe-classb 1.7 Compact network scanner, Linux-specific, for scanning large networks.
sudo 1.6b3 Provides limited super user priviledges to specific users
sugarplum 0.8 Automated, secure perl spambot poisoner with many features
syslog-ng 1.1.20 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
Tcl/Tk 8.1.1 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
The XPA Messaging System 2.0 Easy to use messaging (commands and library) or Unix, X11, Tcl/Tk
THUD 0.14 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
tinyProg 0.1 Tinyprog is a project for programming PIC controllers under Linux
tinyproxy 1.2.5 A small, lightweight, easy-to-configure HTTP proxy.
TkSETI 1.32 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
TkZip 1.0.10 X front end to standard archiving/compression programs
top 3.5b9 A Top-CPU usage display
TWIG 0.3.7 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
UCS Checker 1.0 A simple network service checker
VFU File Manager 1.51 Extensivelyl featured console (text-mode) file manager.
vRouter 0.01 vRouter is an experimental open-source IP-network simulator
VSound 0.2 Allows you to record the audio stream of most sound applications
w3mir 1.0.8 HTTP copying and mirroring program
Wacom Driver for XFree86 alpha 4 Wacom driver for XFree86
Web User Interface 1.1 Builds a list of all available personal homepages.
Webmin 0.72 Web-based interface for system administration for Unix
Welcome2L 3.02 Linux ANSI boot logo
wmflame 0.2 A windowmaker dock applet that draws flames.
WMGlobe 1.0 The whole Earth spinning on your desktop
wmsound 0.9.5 Sound server package for WindowMaker
World Engine 3.1c Java Search Engine Front End
WPeople 0.10 Contact Manager written in WINGs
wu-ftpd 2.5.0 FTP Daemon for UNIX systems
X-SETI 0.7.3 Tk/Expect frontend for the SETI@home UNIX client
x11amp-midi 0.01 Midi file player plug-in for x11amp
XawTV 2.45 TV application and a few utilities
xcallerid 2.2.3 callerID program that pops up incomingphone numbers in an X-window
xhippo 0.85 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
Xlockmore 4.13.1 screen saver / locker for the X Window System
XScreenSaver 3.13 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
Yacas 1.0.1 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Zebra 0.67 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
zpdb 0.6 Quake 2 Server Database with client/server query mechanism.

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

Linux Dev.Net is a new Linux portal site aimed at developers. It has the usual mix of news and links along with a jobs page, classified ads, and a planned future "Linux knowledge base."

The Database of Orphaned Open Source Softwareseeks to be a clearinghouse for packages in need of maintainers. They are just getting going and looking for help, currently. If you have anything to contribute, consider helping them out.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 3, 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: Fri, 28 May 1999 17:40:08 +0100
From: Hans Schou <chlor@inet.uni2.dk>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Oracle/Linux for Enterprise

Greg Shiply wrote that "Linux is not powering Oracle databases yet."
Well, I got one. It has been running since 10 October 1998
with a pre-production and now with a "production"

It is the one and only Oracle server we have at the office
which is the headoffice for $ 3 billion company. We use it for
a lot things but currently it mostly for consolidation. We more
90 companies in 32 countries with nearly 200.000 employees
world wide. It is not transactions but it is our main financial

As we are in the beginning with using Oracle I guess we will 
only see 100 simultanious users this year but it will grow.

Oracle has our main data - this is not for fun.

We don't use an old pc which we found in the basement. It's
a Dell 6300 server with 512MB RAM, 40G disk and dual 400 MHz.

It has been taking down sometimes during these months for service
but we have never seen a breakdown. I think it has been running
at least for two months without been taking down for service.

How I convinced my boss? Easy. I told him that NT 4 sp3 would
not run stable with Oracle so while we are waiting for Windows 
2000 we are running on Linux.
Ofcource we will switch over to Windows 2000. It will run
faster and more stable than Linux, I've been told...

Except for one other server all pc's in the house runs Windows NT.

BTW a lot of people has Linux for DNS. If you don't call
DNS "mission-critical" then try switch the thing off.

best regards
! Hans Schou,      Hamletsgade 4-201,     DK-2200 Kbh N !
! Fax : +45 3391 5310             Phone : +45 3586 1266 !
! mailto:chlor@schou.dk             http://www.schou.dk !
   One Day - One World - One Operating System - Linux
      12 September 1999 - http://www.linuxdemo.org
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 12:23:40 -0400
From: Walt Smith <waltech@bcpl.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: forbes article

hi all,

It was pleasant reading the Forbes piece.  It was
one of the most objective short marketing pieces I've seen,
with some real numbers and focus.  The author makes  a case
more from the POV of a spreadsheet than knowledge of the
market potentials. This is refreshing since so much is written
only from wishful fantasies or bad interpretation of numbers.
A compromise perspective between the two is best.

This is why I object to the statement about $49 software.

How much is DOS? How much is Win31?  (yes, it's still sold).
Does Win95, at $90 come with a real technical person to talk to
if there's a problem?  And a real installation manual?  and a C
and...   What is the real cost to improve and package the RH product?
Does the author imply that if RH raised the Linux price to $90 it
will result in increased profits.  Has the author looked over the
selection and prices on shelves at CompUSA lately?

If the real (though still unproven) market profit is in the support of

this unique product, then doesn't selling inexpensive product as
a lead-in make sense?  It does to me - especially if the lead-in
is actually making money!


Walt Smith, Baltimore

To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: KDE Wars
From: Nathan Myers <ncm@nospam.cantrip.org>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 01:12:13 -0700

Discussion of KDE usually involves confused analyses of political 
and licensing issues.  I'd like to bring out a more fundamental 
issue, which deserves attention mainly because it can still be fixed.

The KDE system is constructed on top of Troll Tech's Qt library.  
The Qt library incorporates a fundamental flaw which will haunt 
all development which uses it until the flaw is fixed.

The flaw is this: the Qt libraries depend on the use of non-syntactic
macros with the names "signals", "slots", and "emits".  Any other 
library which uses one of these names in any capacity -- function 
argument, local variable, struct member, or function name -- may be 
disrupted if used in a program which includes the Qt headers.  

In effect, Troll Tech and KDE have elected to create their own private 
dialect of C++, claiming three extra keywords.  The Qt and KDE team 
members could (and can) rescind this choice any time by renaming these 
macros to something like Qt_SIGNALS, etc., but they have elected not 
to do so (yet).  The more software that is written on top of the Qt
library as it is, the more disruptive fixing it will be, so it is 
important that it be fixed quickly.

The solution remaining for the rest of us is to assert our right to 
these names by using them freely, in header files of other libraries, 
as formal argument names, struct member names, member-function names, 
and as local variables in inline functions:

  inline int do_stuff(int signals) { int slots; ...

We can also insert "#undef signals", etc., directives.  Eventually, 
as they find it increasingly difficult to build programs that rely on
useful non-KDE libraries, the KDE developers will be forced to give up 
their claimed monopoly on those names, and begin to act as responsible 
members of the cooperative software development community.

The alternative is to yield these new keywords, and carefully avoid 
using them in any code we write which someone might someday want to 
link into a KDE program.

Because competently-written C++ code has an order of magnitude fewer 
bugs than C code written with the same competence, the KDE project has 
a chance at a proud accomplishment.  I hope they do not squander that 
chance by arrogantly insisting on trying to add new keywords to the 
language, as this could only poison their product's future.

Nathan Myers
ncm@nospam.cantrip.org  http://www.cantrip.org/

Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 15:53:45 -0400
From: Joseph J Klemmer <klemmerj@webtrek.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: On Window Managers and Desktop Envirenments

	I don't know about anyone else out there but I'm getting a
little tired of the GNONE/KDE "debate".  They are both what they are
and they both have their strengths and weaknesses.  In my personal
opinion, and I stress that this is MY personal opinion, they both are
neat things to play with but they are poor work environments.  Oh,
they probably do well with the people coming over from the dark side
but they have to many bells and whistles and junk that just weighs
them down.

	For anyone else out there who might want to use their system
rather than just spend hours configuring it they might want to look at
the XFce/XFwm window manager and desktop.  It's a CDE-like desktop
with some outstanding features (D'n'D, total GUI configuration, very
small and fast, etc.) that doesn't get in the way of getting the work
done.  You can find it at http://www.xfce.org.

	FWIW, I think if all the effort and work that's gone into
GNOME and KDE were spent on something more productive Linux would
already have kicked the dark side off of the corporate desktop.  But
what the hell do I know anyway.

Thank you for the time,
Joe "No, I *don't* have anything better to do!" Klemmer

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
                -- Isaac Asimov
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 14:07:42 +0200 (MET DST)
From: David Kastrup <dak@neuroinformatik.ruhr-uni-bochum.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Qt freeness

There have been numerous complaints that Miguel de Icaza has
misrepresented the status of Qt, and there has been repeatedly stated
that KDE/Qt has been declared as "free" from the OSI and others.

To this the following comments apply:

It is still technically correct that no version of Qt has yet been
released under the new QPL license under discussion.  No proper
release of Qt up to now satisfies the Open Source Definition.  Qt 2.0
probably will do so, but it has been announced for more than half a
year already and still is not released, if I am not mistaken.

But this does not even border on the problems people see with KDE.
The problem with KDE is not that its license is non-free (being GPL
and LGPL is very much ok for free software), but that its license is
conflicting with the license of Qt, making redistribution of the
KDE/Qt combination a doubtful enterprise.  While the new license of Qt
will in all probability be Open Source compatible (what it was not
before), the main problem is that KDE's license will probably still
not be Qt-compatible after the change.

The current proliferation of "Open Source" licenses like QPL and MPL
and others has the disadvantage of effectively crippling free software
development, as the resulting products cannot be easily combined to
mutual advantage.  The continuing KDE/Qt controversy even after
announcement of the plan to use the new QPL for future Qt products is
just one sad example.  I would strongly suggest to people planning to
license their software as Open Source and feel the necessity of
cooking up their own license for this, that they consider at least
double-licensing the software with a choice of GPL.

David Kastrup                                     Phone: +49-234-700-5570
Email: dak@neuroinformatik.ruhr-uni-bochum.de       Fax: +49-234-709-4209
Institut für Neuroinformatik, Universitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany
From: "Matt.Wilkie" <Matt.Wilkie@gov.yk.ca>
To: Press@ActiveState.com
Subject: MS and Perl
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:13:59 -0700 


I sincerely hope ActiveState will work very diligently and with great
integrity to insure that all work on the Win32 port of Perl will remain
true to it's *nix heritage. This means a lot of open source code, no
"embrace and extend" (we do *not* need another Java/html/browser
 war) -- true and complete cross-platform compatibility and openness.

I freely admit I possess doubts about any organization's ability to
maintain integrity when it's pockets are being lined by MS (or any other
single organization of similar stature). Please do not merely categorize
this as "paranoia" and "ms-bashing". There are many precedents which
give foundation to this nervousness.

While I intend to continue to learn and utilise Perl on both Windows 
and linux, I will be staying away from ActivePerl until the test of time
can prove my fears groundless or justified. I won't be alone on the
watch. I entreat ActiveState to remember that while your coffers are
being filled with a wave of new Windows users, there are many of
us who are reserving judgement.

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