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SuSE has announced its financial results through March 31, 1999. See their press release for the details. These results are more interesting than one might think: for the year ending in March, SuSE's revenues were just under $10 million; they have 130 employees. Remember the numbers from Red Hat's SEC filing: just under $11 million and 127 employees. The common perception is that Red Hat is by far the biggest and most successful distributor; these numbers show that SuSE is just as big.

SuSE is no longer just a European distribution either: much of their growth is attributed to increases in U.S. sales.

The clear conclusion from this release is that the Linux distribution business is not as one-sided as it sometimes seems. Competition is alive and well, and there more than one big player - even before companies like Corel move in. This is, of course, a good thing. A diversity of distributions is one of Linux's biggest strengths; it is encouraging to see that this diversity is alive and well.

Report from Linux Expo Paris. Thomas Clouet has sent us a summary of Linux Expo Paris, held on June 17-18. By this account the event was a great success, with over 5,000 attendees. There are also a dozen photos from the event.

The latest draft of a license for postfix has been distributed by the author, Wietse Venema. The original clause to which many people objected has been replaced. From our perspective, it looks much better. These comments from Henning Makholm on debian-legal indicates that he agrees. If there are no dissenters, Debian, at least, will acknowledge the license as compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), which are equivalent (at least currently) to the OSI Guideslines for Open Source software.

Eric Raymond spoke at Microsoft this week. Summaries of the event can be found on the Linux Mall and Linux Resources. As might have been expected, the talk appears to have been a somewhat contentious event.

The art of war. Matt Michie sent in an editorial titled "Microsoft and the Art of War." It's all about how Microsoft may respond to Linux and free software in general. "I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that instead of slapping together a Linux distribution they could just as easily put out MS BSD. Think about the advantages for one moment. No so called 'GPL Virus' to contaminate any of Microsoft's crown jewels, a strong developers base, binary compatibility with Linux, superior networking, and it can be modified internally without having to release any source code back."

Ten European industry leaders raise concerns about software patents is the title of this communiqué issued last week. Linus Torvalds is on the list of those worried about European software patents. " According to pioneers of the software industry, the use of patents to protect software may actually lead to less innovation, less competition and eventually job cuts in the European Software Industry instead of generating new businesses and stimulating innovation as it is often believed."

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June 24, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Proposed security updates to the POSIX standard which languished in committee and were eventually discarded have been made available for public download in their unfinished form from Winfried Truemper's site, through his effort, with assistance from Mary Shepherd (IEEE) and Casey Schaufler (SGI), the former technical editor of the standard. Redistribution is not allowed, but now the ideas that were included for process capabilities, audit and information labeling are available for review and hopefully development, where appropriate. Open source implementations may provide a base for an unofficial standard, since the official process was unsuccessful. IEEE is to be applauded for their decision to release these materials.

Winfried's comments on why the standards remained unfinished and were eventually dropped are very polite. If you are interested in a more complete comment, check out Jason Zions' comments as well.

The Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Act has made it out of the House sub-committee, further than it got last year. ComputerWorld commented on the bill's passage and on the amendments that were slapped onto it before it made it out the door. The most potentially dangerous one they mentioned, "One of the amendments grants the Secretary of Commerce the authority to deny the export of any "custom-made" encryption products designed for "use in harming national security, use in the sexual exploitation of children [or] use by organized crime." The actual bill text we found did not include the text of this amendment, which will be critical to determine whether or not it can be used to restrict products produced for other purposes that could possibly be misused for one of these categories.

The LOMAC Loadable Kernel Module (Low Water-Mark Mandatory Access Control) version 0.1 is now available. This is a security enhancement to protect the integrity of processes and data and includes a partially functional prototype for non-SMP Linux 2.0.X systems. For more information, source code and documentation (all available under the GPL), check out ftp://ftp.tislabs.com/pub/lomac.

Security Reports

Tcpdump was the subject of a bug report on Bugtraq which pointed out that tcpdump would go into an infinite loop upon receipt of a specific mal-formed package. This is not considered to be a large problem, since routers generally drop malformed packets, but it leaves tcpdump vulnerable to packets on a local network. A patch for the problem has been provided.

A serious security problem with sdr, the session directory tool for the MBONE, was discovered and reported to the sdr developers by Olaf Kirch. They confirmed the problem and are working on a fix. Until one is available, they recommend that you do not use sdr.


Red Hat has put out three security-related updates in the past week, including updates for XFree86, PHP and KDE. All of these updates replace packages that had exploitable security problems, so they are essential upgrades for anyone using them.

Debian released an updated mailman package to fix a problem in the current package that could be used to forge authentication cookies and get unauthorized access to administration webpages. For more information on the vulnerability, check out this information from the mailman developers. This is a recommended upgrade for anyone using the mailman package.


GNU autoconf test macros to test for functions from older systems that may emulate secure functions without providing the improved security have been created and made available by Duncan Simpson. For more information, check out his Bugtraq posting.

Securing your File System in Linux is the title of this article from Jim Reavis at Security.com. It is a good introduction to people new to the topic and serves as a well-organized review for the more experienced.

The Linux Security Audit Project now has a website on which members of the audit project can record what software packages they have found and the result of their audits. For more information, check out the announcement. Note that the website has been created, but there are no entries in the database as of yet.

The ISN mailing list, whose archives we list as a resource, appears to have ceased abruptly on June 10th, according to both our records and the archive. Mail to the mailing list address fails with "user unknown". If anyone knows the status of this list, or why it terminated, we would be interested to hear.


June 28th is the deadline for papers for the SANS 1999 Workshop On Securing Linux coming up in December in San Francisco.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 24, 1999

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.8 (announcement here). This is still a "be sure you have good backups" release. Many of the worst bugs in the new I/O system have been shaken out in this release, but some still remain. This is a release to be careful with.

So what are the massive changes here? Essentially, the filesystem code has been changed to eliminate the use of the buffer cache for write operations. File blocks that had been written to used to be copied first into the buffer cache, then into the page cache, then to disk. Removing the buffer cache step eliminates one copy of the data and reduces memory usage, resulting in faster operations.

Access to the page cache has also been threaded, which can lead to much faster I/O on multiprocessor systems. Finally, the file read code has been optimized somewhat. These are all massive changes, so it's not surprising that some glitches remain. Shaking out the remaining problems may take a little while yet - that is what development kernels are for.

The actual, observed results from these changes seem to be mixed thus far, with some people reporting impressive speedups and others seeing slight slowdowns. Expect the end result, when all is ironed out, to be a big performance win.

It was asked whether this work would be backported to 2.2. The answer seems to be a very strong "no." It's too much of a change to go into the 2.2 series, and the Powers That Be are still claiming that 2.4 will be out sometime in the fall.

The credit for this work goes to Linus Torvalds, Ingo Molnar, and David Miller. See this message from Linus for a bit more information on what was done.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.10, unchanged from last week. Alan Cox has released 2.2.10ac3, which contains a substantial set of fixes and updates.

There have been consistent reports of file corruption errors in 2.2.9 and beyond. This is a strange problem - it affects relatively few people, and has proved to be very hard to nail down. It was initially thought to be hardware-related, but enough evidence has come in to strongly indicate the existence of a kernel bug.

Alan Cox is hot on the trail of this problem - see his first and secondsummaries of what he has turned up so far. It may well be that the problem will have been nailed down by the time you read this; if so, information can be found in the LWN daily updates page.

Is khttpd a good idea? Khttpd, as mentioned in previous LWN kernel pages, is a kernel-based web server which is meant to provide high-speed response to queries for static pages. It can answer simple queries, and has the ability to pass off everything else to a user-space process, such as Apache.

There has been a lot of debate over whether khttpd is a good idea or not. Detractors claim that khttpd represents kernel bloat, that it is insufficiently general, and that some userspace servers (phhttpd, for example) can get better performance anyway. Proponents see khttpd as a way to beat Microsoft at the benchmark game, point out that nobody is forced to use it, and dispute the performance claims. Resolution of the debate seems distant, to say the least. Interested people may want to see the comments of Arjan van de Ven (the author of khttpd) on the subject.

The status of IEEE-1394 ("firewire") development. The developers of two competing firewire implementations - Emanuel Pirker and Andreas Bombe - would appear to have resolved their differences. This note from Emanuel describes the way forward: Andreas's code, being generally better, will replace much of the earlier code put out by Emanuel. The best parts of Emanuel's system will be merged in, and firewire development will continue with a single implementation and code base.

The future of Linux architecture and development became a topic of discussion after Eric Raymond posted this noteextolling the virtues of the Erosexperimental operating system. Expressed (over) simply, Eros provides (1) an integrated, persistent object store instead of a filesystem, and (2) a full capability-based model. Eric suggests that Linux developers may want to consider a similar model for the long term.

This suggestion was controversial, to say the least. Prominent kernel developers seem to feel that a lot of the capabilities provided by Eros - garbage collection, persistent object store, etc. - are best provided in user space. Whether you are operating in an object store model or in a more conventional mode, the capabilities needed are about the same: memory allocation and protection. Best to provide only those underlying capabilities and layer the rest in user space.

See also Hans Reiser's posting on how current filesystems are inadequate for the future. He proposes bringing in a number of the capabilities provided by database (and other) systems into the filesystem level.

Patches and updates posted this week include:

  • A new APM (power management) patch by Stephen Rothwell. This patch improves the APM implementation in a number of ways.

  • Dan Adkins posted libvtimer 0.1, which provides high-resolution timekeeping services to applications.

  • The FENRIS (NetWare file system) code for 2.0 kernels has finally been released by the Timpanogas Research Group. This release was delayed by legal problems with Novell - something that TRG has had many of over the last year.

  • The usual knfsd patch was released by H.J. Lu. This patch is up to version 1.4.1. The patch has been simplified somewhat from previous revisions, and includes a number of new fixes. Anybody doing serious NFS service with the 2.2 kernels should probably apply this patch.

  • Speakup 0.07 was released by Kirk Reiser. Speakup provides voice output of screen contents, making Linux systems more accessible to blind users.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 24, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


Differences between distributions, or at least between some of the major distributions, are starting to be documented as part of the development work going on at the Linux Professional Institute, in preparation for developing their certification exams. Check out the Distribution Differences Project to find the beginning of information on the Caldera, Debian, Red Hat, SuSE, Slackware, and TurboLinux distributions. If you work with these distributions, or better than that, multiple distributions so that you have some familiarity with some "unique" characteristics, contributing to this project would definitely provide a service to the community.

My credit last week to people who sent me notes about missing distributions triggered a windfall of new information this week as well! First, in the mini-linux category, Thomas Lundquist sent me a note about his distribution, floppyfw, which is also a single floppy firewall/router.

Then Florian La Roche wrote in to point out that Jurix was also missing from our lists. Jurix has been around since 1993 and, in fact, is the distribution that SuSE was originally based on. Florian still maintains Jurix, as well as now being one of SuSE's core developers.

Joining the rank of Linuces with specific language-support, KSI-Linux is aimed at supporting "Russina and Ukrainian' users requirements". KSI-Linux was developed by Global Ukraine, a large Ukrainian ISP that has been working with Linux for over five years. Their comments on why they chose to work with Linux and what they try to provide with their distribution are very interesting as well. [Thanks to Khimenko Victor].

A lawyer told me once that he felt publishing companies were the one industry guaranteed to make money from Linux, even if no one else managed to do so. It seems that MacMillan Software is a publishing company that agrees with him. In addition to announcing new titles for "Quake" and "Civilization: Call to Power", they have now joined the distribution business, with The Complete Linux Operating System 6.0. They've also traced new ground by basing the distribution on Mandrake, which is in turn based on Red Hat. We know a bit about how Mandrake differentiates itself from Red Hat. It would be curious to know whether there is a real difference between Mandrake and Complete Linux, or whether this is a case of just repackaging the original product for greater market appeal. [Thanks to Damon Poole]

Additional new distributions are included under their specific title below, along with appropriate thanks.

The prize for this week, though, (well, there is no prize, which reminds us that the Linux Weekly News T-shirts haven't been designed or created yet ...), goes to Matthias Kranz, who found a total of 22 distributions that we were not yet listing! That pretty much astounded us, since we listed forty distributions last week and thought we were finally on our way towards a comprehensive list. He mentioned that he found most of them at Woven Goods for Linux, where Lutz Henckel has been maintaining a long list of Linux distributions, along with good basic links for each distribution, including manufacturer, download site and more. Rather than flood this week's edition with good descriptions of these new distributions, we've just added them to the list and we'll introduce a subset of them each week for the next few weeks.


The OpenLinux Tour 1999 is a free seminar from Caldera, IBM and Oracle for value-added resellers, systems integrators and independent software vendors. It will be touring a total of 15 cities from June 3rd through August 9th. Each seminar is a half-day session and appears to be aimed at people who have not yet added Linux to their portfolio of offerings for clients. See the tour page for itinerary and other details.


Updates from the Debian world comes again this week from the Debian Weekly News. From it, we got to learn about Dale Scheetz' message to debian-private (made publicly available with his permission) in regard to problems with official Debian CDs, which are still getting published without being guaranteed not to be broken. Hopefully his message and suggestions will generate some specific actions to improve the situation.

A new version of Apt, version 0.37, has been released. It contains many bug-fixes, should now support the downloading of any package and will happily retrieve source, extract and build the binaries for you.

NoMad Linux

For scientists, engineers and geeks who know what they want and don't want anything additional, NoMad Linux was created. It is not a mini-Linux, in that it isn't designed to be booted from a floppy, but it weighs in on the light stage, with 10.5MB for the primary distribution plus 26MB+ for X Windows. It has been around since the summer of 1997 and uses the encap package management system. [Rudolf Jaksa]

Red Hat

A Signing RPMS HOWTO, or at least a draft version of one, was posted to the redhat.rpm.general by Dan Anderson, who has filed a bug report about the inaccuracies he sees in Red Hat's 6.0 Documentation for RPM 2.0. While we're waiting for a bug fix from Red Hat, he thought he'd pass on his hard-earned knowledge.

Rock Linux

A "Pure Server" Linux intended for Linux/Unix experts, Rock Linux is based on a different concept than most distributions. Instead of providing pre-built binaries, it manages the source code for all packages and compiles them for the target platform. Obviously, this is intended to give an automatic performance win. For a bit more information, this note from the Rock Linux maintainer Clifford Wolf mentions that Rock Linux is currently based on glibc 2.1.1, kernel 2.2.10, and may be the only disribution currently using Richard Gooch's devfs patches. [Rudolf Jaksa]


No updates since May 17th, 1999.


The rumor is that SuSE will no longer split upcoming releases into multiple revision, e.g., German versus International, etc. This is an obvious good business decision, given the work that supporting multiple revisions probably is at the current time, plus the disadvantage of having a lag between the initial release and the later "revisions". The difficulty will be to guarantee that the release is stable and dependable in all situations.

We also heard that SuSE 6.2 will be glibc 2.1 based, according to this note posted by Thorsten Kukuk. It will use glibc 2.1.1 unless glibc 2.1.2 makes it out in time.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 24, 1999

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

Known Distributions:
Bastille Linux
Caldera OpenLinux
Complete Linux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
Green Frog Linux
Kha0s Linux
KSI-Linux (Ukrainian/Russian)
Linux-Kheops (French)
Linux MLD (Japanese)
LinuxPPP (Mexican)
Linux Pro Plus
Linux Router Project
NoMad Linux
Open Kernel (Russian)
Project Ballantain
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat
Rock Linux
Small Linux
Yellow Dog Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


GNU COBOL is now under development, as a result of Rildo Pragana's decision to release the source code for a COBOL compiler he created for MSDOS years ago. Alan Cox has apparently thrown in some patches, as has Rildo, and now it actually produces GNU assembler (gas). Of course, the goal is actually to get it to produce C code. That would definitely help a lot of old COBOL projects move in the right direction ... [Thanks to David S de Lis]


TYA 1.4 has been released. Albrecht Kleine posted the download location and some excepts from the README file in this posting to java-linux.

No updates to the JDK 1.2 status have been posted in the last couple of weeks.


Yet Another Perl Conference (yapc 99) starts today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The folks at the Perl News Site have promised good updates from the conference, so keep checking ..

Mark-Jason Dominus has made available his Very Very Short Tutorial on Modules for perl.

EarthWeb, which recently purchased The Perl Journal (TPJ), posted a letter to TPJ readers. It sounds like they'll try to address some of the complaints they've received, but others, such as the amount of advertising on the on-line site, will not be resolved. "Advertising. We definitely plan to offer advertising on the Perl Journal site. Just as in print, ad revenues keep subscription prices lower than they would otherwise be. We will try to keep the site from being too busy, but we can't restrict ads to Perl-only products. As always, you have the right to not read or click on ads that don't interest you. "


For those waiting for Oliver Andrich's Python distribution on recent distributions (Red Hat 6.0, Mandrake 6.0, SuSE 6.1): he's working on it. According to this note that he posted, he hopes to have an interim distribution available by the beginning of July. Apparently it's a lot of work to pull everything together, and he's running a little behind.

Jpython 1.2 beta 2 is out, it's another bug fix release. See the announcement for details.

Stackless Python 0.2 is available for those who feel like experimenting with an especially twisted piece of code. Details in the announcement.

XML-RPC 0.9.8 is available. This module allows for communication with other processes with Userland's XML-RPC protocol. With Userland's move to Linux (more information in the Commerce section), Zope, too, will soon speak this protocol. More information in the announcement.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 24, 1999



Development projects


Ganymede 0.99.2 is here. This is a bug-fix release, according to the announcement. Ganymede is a network directory management system.


The latest Gnome news is available in this week's Gnome summary from Havoc Pennington. This week has several items are of particular interest. First, he reports back from the Corel Linux Advisory Council, with lots of good news about coordination and cooperation with Christian Tiberna from KDE. Expect to see the gnome-kde-list@gnome.org start to warm up, hopefully just with creative energy, no flames.

Next, he mentions that his request for Visual Basic help was answered by over 30 people ... he got everything he needs and is just now waiting for review from his lawyer before he digs into the Excel IDL.

The Gnome Multimedia Framework is now available for review. Havoc comments that, yes, Gnome is moving outside the strict desktop arena and into other areas where development can "make the free Unix clones a nice platform for desktop use".

Help closing bug reports has also been requested in this week's summary. If you've reported a bug and notice that it has been fixed, you can help them out by making sure the bug has actually been closed. Sometimes the developers have difficulty verifying that, especially if the bug is difficult to reproduce.

And last, Gnome for Kids may be a new project developing, to produce an interface for the computer for kids four years old or younger. If you have an interest in this area, check it out. It is just starting out and, as always, all volunteer.

High Availability

Alan Robertson has released an updated version of his heartbeat code, including the PPP/UDP bidirectional ring code that has been recently discussed on the linux-ha list.


As usual, Navindra Umanee has sent us an excellent KDE weekly summary.


MagicPoint is an open-source, text-based presentation tool that has been around for a couple of years. Development on the tool, which has some strengths and some notable weaknesses, has been slow over the past year, so the announcement of magicpoint 1.05a is of more interest than the average alpha release. The latest release contains a "forwarding cache" to improve display performance.


Here is this week's Midgard report, thanks to Henri Bergius.


Development news for Wine is covered in this week's Weekly News from the Wine project, from Ove Kaaven. He reports that some improvements have gone into exception handling, threading and wine server efficiency.

In addition, the Micro-Windows project came to their attention. It might make a good base for a WineCE project. Patrik Stridvall is now working with Micro-Windows author Greg Haerr on a possible merge of Micro-Windows with Wine.

For more Wine development news, check out the Wine Kernel Cousin, which summarizes several threads from the wine-devel list.


Zope 1.10.2 RPMs for Red Hat are available, thanks to Jeff Rush. See his announcements for details and download information.

A new ZClasses tutorial is available, thanks to Amos Latteier. The tutorialdescribes Zope 2.0, and comes with a warning that it's not quite ready for prime time yet.

ZScript 0.5 is available. ZScript is a DTML preprocessor aimed at those (like your editor) who get awfully tired of typing things like:

	<!--#var foo-->
See the announcement for details. (Note that Zope 2.0 will also have a more typist-friendly DTML syntax).

And, speaking of 2.0, Zope 2.0 alpha 3 has been released, some information can be found on the Zope 2.0 download page.

Folks trying to mix Zope and LDAP may want to look at the Zope LDAP connection object announced by Scott Robertson.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

New HP Linux workstations. Hewlett-Packard has announced a couple of new workstations - with Linux installed. They are relatively high-end systems, apparently aimed at electronic design and similar applications. (Thanks to Christof Damian).

New Linux administration course offered Eklektix, Inc., producer of the Linux Weekly News, is proud to announce a new addition to its line of Linux professional training courses. Linux System Administration for Unix Administrators is intended for students who already know how to work with Unix systems. By assuming familiarity with the basic material, this course is able to delve deeply into the issues which are truly Linux-specific in just two days. This course will be taught in Boulder, CO in September; it is also available on site.

Userland Frontier moves to Linux - sort of. For the time being, Frontier will continue to run only on proprietary systems, but it is now possible to host Frontier-managed sites on Linux. Their Linux-side code is being released in source form, and the underlying platform will be Zope. See Linux.userland.com for the official story of the beginning of Frontier's move to Linux, and their adoption of Zope. "And Zope is open source, which made it easier to invest. After all, we own it just as much as anyone else does. So we asked the Zope people if they would include our code in the standard Zope distribution and they said yes. Excellent! This is more proof that collaboration is possible, not only across operating systems, but across economic systems."

VA supports Linux Demo Day. VA Linux Systems announced a corporate sponsorship of Linux Demo Day, a volunteer oriented project in collaboration with local Linux user groups (LUGs) and corporate sponsors. The goal of the project is to hold an international demonstration of Linux which coincides with the anniversary of Linux, from September 12-18, 1999.

Training materials released. Something that slipped through the cracks and didn't get into this week's newsletter: the folks at GBdirect in the UK have announced that they have released some of their Linux training materials under an open license. The materials released thus far make up the first part of a "how to use Linux" course.

800Linux.com announces Linux training. 800Linux has announced a pair of Linux training classes which are aimed at Windows users. Details on the courses may be found on their training page.

Open source XML application server released. Planet7 Technologies has announced the release of its XML application server under an open source license. They present the server as a valuable tool in the creation of e-commerce (and other) sites using XML technology.

Steve Ballmer on Linux Here's a transcript of Microsoft president Steve Ballmer's speech delivered to the Washington Software Assocition a couple of weeks ago. "I mean, it sounds dumb, but, you know, guys like Sun always missed the boat. They can?t beat us if they don?t ride on the PC platform, because the volume economics are on the side of the PC platform. And I don't know why nobody figured that out, but Linux is -- and SCO did a little bit, but Linux is the first sort of unit that always thought about itself as PC-based and as trying to be kind of -- and has gotten to a critical -- some kind of critical mass of share." (Toward the bottom, in the Q&A). There are also some scary comments about security and other things - an illuminating, if rambling and incoherent, read. (Thanks to Alexander Voinov).

PLOC announced its existence this week. PLOC (per-line-of-code) is another attempt to arrange payment for developers of free software. The twist here is that they have set up a scheme (evidently intresting enough to have a patent applied for) wherein each contributor to an open source project will be paid according to how many lines of code they write. There are currently no active projects listed on the PLOC web page.

It will be interesting to see if this works at all. The link between lines of code written and the true value of a programming effort is tenuous at best. It is very often the case that higher-quality code is more compact. Creating an incentive for programmers to inflate their line counts does not seem like the way to create quality software. And how should a patch which removes code - and improves the program - be compensated?

Press Releases:

  • 32bitsonline announced a merger with Bleeding Edge magazine.
  • Acute Technologies, Inc. announced it will manufacture, market and sell worldwide the new ThinCast(TM) product family, a new class of low-cost computing solutions referred to as Lite PCs. Lite PCs will come with a choice of operating systems, including Linux.
  • Alpha Processor, Inc. announced the UP2000, a high performance solution for scientific computing and Linux applications as a clustered server or workstation.
  • Atipa has become a supporter of the ZD Open Source Forum, to be held next week.
  • Compaq received nine awards at AIM Technology's Summer '99 Hot Iron Awards Ceremony for Linux based workstations and servers.
  • Cygnus Solutions unveiled Cygnus Code Fusion(TM) for Linux, a complete Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Linux developers. Code Fusion IDE makes it possible for developers familiar with programming on Windows platforms to quickly become productive in developing for Linux.
  • Ecrix announced a partnership with Penguin Computing; Penguin will be featuring Exrix's drives on their systmes.
  • eSoft Inc. announced it has entered into a software licensing agreement with Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), paring eSoft's Linux software with HP's Linux systems.
  • Franklin Telecom announced the development of the Linux based Typhoon(R) Data Voice Gateway.
  • Hewlett-Packard Company announced the porting of its WebQoS product to Windows NT(R) and Linux.
  • IBM Classes for Unicode is open source code that enables applications to work in different languages and countries. Linux is among the supported platforms.
  • The board of directors of LinuxForce Inc. named Charles B. (Buck) Fleming of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania as president of the recently organized company, which develops Linux operating system solutions for complex commercial and industrial computing requirements.
  • Macmillan Computer Publishing USA announced the release of a family of Linux(TM) products. The core product is "The Complete Linux Operating System 6.0" and features Linux-Mandrake.
  • MontaVista Software, Inc. announced it is working with Force Computers to provide a "Hard Hat Linux" in embedded and real-time computer applications.
  • National Computing Centre's IT User survey 1999 highlighted widespread acceptance of Linux when it was evaluated, but a reluctance on the part of many companies to evaluate it at all.
  • Open Market, Inc. announced ShopSite(TM) TX for the Linux platform. This is the third release of ShopSite for Linux and this release has new features not included in previous versions.
  • PROLIFIC, Inc. announced the release of its ProGenesis tool suite for design automation. It is currently available for most Unix and Linux platforms.
  • RSDi.com announced that it is providing consulting for all Open Source Java E-Commerce web sites.
  • Tech Data Corporation signed an agreement with Red Hat Inc. to distribute the Red Hat's full line of Linux-based solutions.
  • TurboLinux announced a global software partnership with Sendmail, Inc., the dominant provider of standards-based messaging solutions.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

June 24, 1999


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Linux in the news

This week's recommended reading:
  • Here's an article in the National Post about a new attempt to encourage competition in the operating system market. "The Canada Europe Round Table, launched yesterday, wants governments to take the lead in using operating systems such as Linux instead of Microsoft's proprietary Windows. The group of 28 companies -- which includes Bombardier Inc., Nortel Networks Corp., Corel Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG and Ericsson AG of Sweden -- suggests 'competitive systems' such as Linux should be endorsed at the next round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks." (Thanks to Richard Lamothe).

  • The Economist covers Linux IPOs in one of the best articles on the subject (even if it is titled "Venture Communism"). "Hackers are naturally suspicious of business. Accusing Red Hat of trying to make its version of the program a standard, some Linux buffs are already scolding the firm for behaving 'like Microsoft'-a hackers' curse. To discourage such attacks, VA Linux Systems' board includes Eric Raymond, who is the unofficial spokesman of the open-source movement. He saved the company some embarrassment by vetoing the name 'Linux.com'..."

  • According to Information Week, Tivoli Systems is not only considering supporting Linux, they are thinking about making it the only platform for part of their "Enterprise" product line. "Enterprise consists of three tiers: endpoints, gateways, and management servers. Tivoli is considering packaging the gateways, which do the job of collating data from agents at the endpoints, as Linux-based systems management appliances."

  • Jesse Berst declares Windows 2000 to be a failure. "Those environments that demand high reliability and high availability -- financial applications, big Web sites and so on -- must still turn to Sun, Linux and other Unix variants, or even to mainframes." (Thanks to Marc Davis).

  • Bob Metcalfe predicts the death of Linux in this insultingly disdainful InfoWorld column. "The Open Sores Movement asks us to ignore three decades of innovation. It's just a notch above Luddism. At least they're not bombing Redmond. Not yet anyway."

Linus in the News:

  • PC World interviews Linus Torvalds. "There's never really been a road map. In the sense that the Linux user base has been changing fairly rapidly, making a five-year plan just would not work."

  • Linux Expected To Steal Show At Lotus DevCon '99 says Computer Reseller News. "A special guest appearance by Linus Torvalds at Lotus Development Corp.'s Developer's Conference'99 in San Francisco next week marks an about face in the vendor's platform support strategy."

  • TechWeb has yet another article about Linus's BALUG talk. "Torvalds said that he will continue to be heavily involved in Linux for at least eight and a half more years, making reference to the fact that he created Linux eight and a half years ago."


  • News.com reports on Eric Raymond's upcoming talk at Microsoft. "Windows NT, the industrial-strength operating system for corporate networks, can't handle heavy, constant computing loads without crashing because of poor design, Raymond said. A fundamental flaw is that Microsoft keeps its computer source code closed to outside developers, unlike Linux, which is openly available."

  • Dave Winer has some advice for Microsoft. "Find out what developers want to do with Linux, then provide tools that make that easy. Create bridges from Microsoft desktop apps to servers running on Linux. Invest in WINE so Windows developers have a clear path to Linux without creating new source code bases. I can hear Bill Gates now saying 'Never!' But until he embraces the Internet, in its latest incarnation (Linux), without trying to own it, he'll keep losing."

  • Wired News discusses the new version of Kaffe. "Microsoft is now indirectly supporting open-source software, and for a very interesting reason: Java. Redmond has taken the unusual step of funding an open-source software company that is writing Java code similar to that which landed the company in court with Sun."

  • Here's an introductory piece in SunWorld. "As for Microsoft ... It appears that you're just going to have to coexist with Linux and the open source developers. Forecasts show that even though it has been making inroads, Linux is still not anywhere near ready to put you out of business." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Business news:

  • Onsale will start offering Linux-installed computers on their site, according to this press release. The systems, which come from Ebiz, will be targetting the low end.

  • EE Times reports on HP's new Linux systems. "Capitalizing on the cult following of Linux, Hewlett-Packard Co. is rolling out a line of workstations this week that are configured with the popular open operating system and targeted at design engineers."

  • Here's a News.com article about MontaVista Software, which is putting together a version of Linux for handheld systems. "Part of the appeal of Linux in this space is that it's a good way to avoid paying royalties to a company that developed an operating system, an important consideration in the device market where systems can sell for just a few hundred dollars." (Thanks to Mike Gerdts and Damon Poole).

  • Next Generation interviews Scott Draeker of Loki Entertainment Software. "I believe Linux is the wave of the future. 2 years ago I came across the KDE and GNOME projects and RedHat Linux for sale on retail shelves. Together, these observations convinced me that Linux would be a viable consumer desktop OS in the near future. But no one was doing games." (Thanks to Damon Poole).

  • Here is a story in InfoWorld about Groupe Bull's Linux announcements. "The Paris-based IT company is setting up new units designed to meet the specific needs of Linux users. These units will offer services such as consulting, applications support, and technology integration for hardware and software, as well as a Linux hotline, Bull said in a statement."

  • Here's an article about Lotus in News.com. "Among the big players in the enterprise groupware market, Lotus is the only one making noise so far about porting their products to Linux. Microsoft, which sells Windows, has no plans to support the open source operating system."

  • SGI is getting increasingly serious about Linux, according to this News.com article. "Beau Vrolyk, senior vice president for SGI's computer systems business unit, believes that in 10 years there will be only three operating systems in servers: Linux, Microsoft's Windows NT, and Monterey, a joint Unix project of IBM, Sequent, and Santa Cruz Operation." (Thanks to Anand Rangarajan).

  • News.com has a report on $25 million in investments going into VA Linux Systems from SGI, Intel, Sumitomo, Lehman Brothers, and "others." "VA isn't the only company in the Linux hardware business, but it does boast a more serious software and hardware research lab than most other Linux computer manufacturers--not to mention the notable investments."

    See also: VA's press release on the financing.

  • Cygnus will be shipping Code Fusion for Linux, according to VAR Business. "Cygnus' Code Fusion integrates the C, C++ and Java programming languages and is optimized for Intel Corp.'s Pentium II and Xeon processors, the company says. It will ship in mid-July and sell for $299 a seat, says the company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif."

  • Inter@ctive Week ran this article about the release of Cygnus's "Code Fusion" for Linux. "Analysts said the new integrated development environments will help put Linux on a par with the more mature operating systems."

  • VAR Business reports on the increasing acceptance of Linux. "Linux is no longer a hacker's OS. Most of today's Linux users are meeting real needs in their enterprises, rather than experimenting with a free OS."

  • Here's a Forbes article on Corel's strategy. "Chief Executive Officer Michael Cowpland thinks he's finally found a way to turn Corel into a software power capable of making Bill Gates sit up and take notice. In fact, he thinks he's found two ways--by getting his company's software bundled with cheap PCs and by developing products for Linux."

  • Dell is considering pushing Unix and Linux more strongly when 64-bit systems (presumably Merced-based) come out, according to this News.com article. "Speaking in an interview yesterday, [Michael] Dell praised Linux and said the newly popular operating system matches the PC maker's high-volume sales model." (Thanks to Mike Gerdts and Damon Poole).

  • Home Depot (a large US hardware/building materials chain) is considering putting Linux into its stores, according to this ComputerWorld story. "[Vice President] Anderson said Linux, or possibly Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE, would allow the company to run a leaner, more manageable operating system on the clients. But an argument for choosing Linux over Windows CE is that the company's store client applications are written in Java, he said." (Thanks to Jerel Crosland).

  • Corporate users consider Linux says TechWeb. "It may be just a question of advertising said Joseph Sterner, a consultant with XI Consultants. 'Do you see Linux ads on TV? No,' he said. 'When you ask somebody how they like Linux, they say: 'They make good air conditioners.'"

  • Can Linux pass the CIO test? asks Intraware. The answer seems to be "yes." "As each day goes by, Linux is becoming more and more acceptable as an alternative network and desktop computer operating system." (Thanks to Benji Selano).

  • Computer Reseller News ran a poll to find out if resellers thought Linux was going anywhere. The results were positive but mixed. "Nearly half of the respondents cited office productivity applications, while 28 percent said Web applications were crucial to Linux's acceptance in the business workplace, and 26 percent cited antivirus applications."

  • Computer Currents reports on recent Linux developments. "...distributors are making Linux easier to install, bundling more application software, and slapping graphical interfaces atop the roiling, churning Unix code. They're even providing some semblance of technical support. Could this really be the dawning of a new age?"

  • Is Red Hat's stock worth buying? asks the Triangle Business Journal. "...Linux has failed to make serious inroads into the corporate market. Moreover, the system lacks the applications - graphics, word processing capabilities, databases - to compete with Microsoft's personal computer business."

and finally:

  • Salon Magazine has put up a page with all of their Linux-related stories. It's a good overview of what their coverage has been over the last year or so.

  • PC Week has an article about the Mindcraft benchmark rematch, which is being held in the PC Week labs. The article gives the impression that the tests are being substantially changed to address some of the complaints from the Linux side. "One of the modifications was to reduce the number of processors used in the test server from four to one, which will show how these operating systems operate on lower-end hardware. For this test, we also reduced the server's memory from 1GB to 256MB."

  • Passer a Linux is a lengthy series of articles (in French) in Vnu|Net France that starts with the advantages of Linux, passes through choosing distributions and installation, and even gets into a bit of system management. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in NNL).

  • Here's a set of letters to the editor in the San Francisco Chronicle; they are in response to an "installation difficulties" story that they ran. "...I will admit that Linux is still not really ready for the beginner to install. But then, if you look at any other OS (even Windows), there's nothing on a PC platform that is." (Thanks to Michael Wittman).

  • The Fort Worth Star Telegram asks: is Linux right for you? The result is an introductory article of sorts. "Yet OS/2 is all but gone from general consumer computing, proof that something better doesn't necessarily mean marketing success. So why should Linux fare any better than an OS/2? It's not even owned by a big-name company . . . And that may prove to be its salvation."

  • PC World has run a long, detailed article on the Red Hat installation process. "...if you arrive at a question you can't answer, press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot, load Windows, hunt for the information you need in Device Manager or on the Web, and then start the installation process all over again."

  • This article in the (Louisville, KY) Courier-Journal is a combination introductory and "installation nightmare" piece. "Taking my business card and handing me a CD-ROM of his company's -- Caldera -- Linux package, the fellow smiled and said, 'I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.' He was half-right. I was indeed surprised . . . that I didn't take a sledgehammer to my computer after squandering two days trying to get the point-and-click Windows-like desktop to show up on my monitor." (Thanks to Chris Short).

  • Here's a confusing article about open source politics in Internet Week. "The most recent suggestion is to create something like a 'GNU Inside' logo to be issued with every Linux (or other Unix variant operating system) that makes use of GNU software. I don't mean to belittle the issue, but I can't imagine it could seriously undermine Linux's momentum if the GNU name was left out (sorry, Richard)."

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 24, 1999


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



Informazioni relative a linux e domande ricorrenti. In other words, a new version of the Italian Linux FAQ is available. It includes not only "howto" information, but also has a section on getting Linux into companies.

Linux in Business - Case Studies is a new page put up by Bynari Systems. It is quite an impressive list.


Atlanta Linux Showcase deadline approaching. The folks from the Atlanta Linux Showcase have sent us a reminder that paper submissions for this October's event are due on July 1. Interested people still have time to pull something together; see the call for papers for details.

Pictures of Linux. Marc Merlin has put up a page about Linus's BALUG talk in his usual fashion: lots of information and lots of pictures. Worth a look.

Ziff-Davis's Open Source Forum is next week - it is being held on June 30 and July 1 in Austin, TX. Details on their web page.

Web sites

FreeLinuxSpace announced its existence this week. Their hook is that anybody can get 25mb of free storage there in exchange, presumably, for being advertised at. The connection to Linux is not entirely clear...

User Group News

An installfest will be held in Brussels on July 8. It is hosted by two Brussels LUGs. See the announcement for details.

June 24, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
9libs 1.0 Libraries to emulate the Plan 9 programming environment on Unix and X11
aGNeS Remote News Forum BBS 4 Remote fully featured BBS allowing virtually any layout for each board.
Alkaline UNIX/NT Search Engine 1.2 Web site and intranet search engine and spider, ala Altavista or Excite.
AlsaPlayer 0.99.16 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
analog 3.31 WWW logfile analysis program
ANVLOGIN 1.0.0 Easy menu for telnet sessions.
Appindex browser 0.1 Simple ncurses-based Freshmeat appindex.txt browser
Arrow 1.0.4 An elegant, powerful, graphical interface to electronic mail
asmail 0.54 Asmail is a
asmail 0.53 X-Biff clone for Afterstep
asmon 0.51 Afterstep or Window Maker CPU/Load/Mem/etc Meter
asmutils 0.02 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
asNews 0.2.6 Simple news retrieving software which shows the news on your desktop
atsar 1.4 system activity report
aumix 1.22.1 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
AutoLink 2.20 Provides functions to the user for transfering dynamic MPI
AutoMap 2.20 Create Message Passing Interface (MPI) data-types out of user data-types
autostatus 1.1.4 A fast, hierarchical network monitoring system
Bang 1.1 beta1 Open Source multi-user 3D browser
Basilisk II 0.6 An attempt at creating a free, portable 68k Mac emulator.
BetaFTPD 0.0.5 Single-threaded, small FTP daemon
binarifier 0.1 Useless command line utilities to convert strings to binary and back
Bind 8.2.1 Berkeley Internet Name Domain
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
C-Forge IDE 1.2-6 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment
Cacheability Engine 1.1 CGI/command line script to check Web page cacheability
Cajun 3.0-6 Car Audio Jukebox mp3 player for your car/home
CapsiChat 0.18 Multi-user Internet chatbox/haven
Cd Backup 0.3A Backups files onto multipule CDs.
cd2mp3 1.0 Records CD audio tracks directly to mp3 format.
cdar 0.1.0 CD ARchiving utility for backing up to multisession CDRs and CDRWs
cdcd 0.4.6 A no-nonsense CLI CD player
CDlib 0.6 Graphical tool to search for files in your CD-ROMs
cdplayer.app 0.5 CD player with CDDB support.
CINQ 0.1.3 Portable BASIC Compiler
CIPE 1.3.0 Crypto IP Encapsulation. An encrypted IP tunnel over UDP.
Coconut Webmail Pro 1.1.1 Fully featured web based email system
Code Medic 1.0.1 UNIX Debugging Environment
cole 1.0.0 A free C OLE library
cops.gcl 1.0 A web counter for police sites
CrashMail II 0.42 Fidonet tosser for *.msg and JAM
Curses::Widgets v0.8 Widgets for Curses and Perl
Custodian 0.1 Squid redirector with crypted blocklist
dbMan 0.0.8 DB manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI (about 20 DBMS incl. PgSQL, Oracle, MySQL ...)
DejaSearch 1.52 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
demcd 2.0-devel CDPlayer for Linux
DGen/SDL 1.13 DGen Sega Genesis emulator, ported to SDL
Diald 0.99.1 Autodial Daemon
Diary.py 0.6 Diary is a simple journal program to record daily events, etc.
dnsjava 1.0 Implementation of DNS in Java
Doc++ 3.3.13 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
Double Choco Latte 19990621 Software Configuration Management/Bug/Enhancement Tracking Software
Downloader for X 0.98 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
EasyGTK 1.1.1 Wrapper library for GTK
Edcom 990620 An easy to administer, multiuser, story posting system, written in perl5.
ELKS 0.0.77 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
EO 0.8.5 Templates-based, ANSI-C++ compliant evolutionary computation library
EPIC 4pre2.004-19990618 ANSI capable textmode IRC Client
Etherboot 4.2.3 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
eThreads 1.0.1 Highly customizable database driven forum software
Extreme Wave 0.4.0 A libre 3d modeler being developed for Linux.
Festival 1.4.0 General multi-lingual speech synthesis system
Firewall Manager 1.3 PRO Graphical interface for Firewalls
Flight Gear 0.6.1 Flight simulator
Fortify 1.4.3 Provides full strength, 128-bit encryption facilities to Netscape browsers
freemed 19990619 Free medical management software in a web browser
fryit 0.2.2 Graphical frontend for cdrecord.
Galway 0.3.2 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
Ganymede 0.99.2 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
GCD 2.4 A cd-player with a gtk+ interface
gcombust 0.1.15 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
gd 1.4 A library used to create GIF images
Geheimnis 0.59 A KDE shell for GPG/PGP2/PGP5
Genpage 1.0.3 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
gfract 0.2 GTK-based fractal program
gIDE 0.1.2 Gtk-based Integrated Development Environment for C
Glade 0.5.0 GTK+ interface builder
glFtpD 1.16.5 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
Gmurf 0.5 A wave audio processor for Linux to mix and edit waves.
GMyNews 1.1.1 MyNews Admin utility for GNOME.
Gnofin 0.5.8 A simple GNOME checkbook application
Gnoghurt 0.1 video filter pipeline editor
GnoMail 0.0.1 GnoMail is a yet another GNOME email client.
GnomePM 0.1.1 GNOME equivilent of the Yahoo! (C) Java Portfolio Manager
GNU cfengine 1.5.0 A tool for administering Networks of Diverse Machines
GNU Maverik 5.1 Free Virtual Reality system for GNU/Linux PCs and Silicon Graphics workstations
GNU xhippo 1.00 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
gPhoto 0.3.2 GNU Digital Camera download software
Gqcam 0.2 GTK based QuickPict clone
GRadio 1.0.0 GTK-based interface to RadioTrack/RadioReveal cards
Graphic Counter Language 3.0 Programming language for the development of web counters
Grip 2.4 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
GSokoban 0.30 A GNOME implementation of the Sokoban game.
GTK+XFce 3.0.0 Pre-release 2 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
Gtk::Dialog Beta 1 (version 0.4-2) Simple Perl interface to create dialog boxes with Gtk
GTKeyboard 0.85 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GtkJoy 0.2 Sample Gtk+ App for Linux Joystick Driver
gtkmmind 1.0.0 Master Mind game
GtkSheet 7.6 A matrix/grid widget for Gtk+
Gtuner 0.4.0 A highly configurable gtk based radio tuner
gView 0.1.7 GTK/ImLib Image Viewer
HTML::Template 0.04 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
htnews 0.6.5 Email robot for adding news items to a webpage.
HybServ 1.4.6 Services for the Hybrid IRCD server
Hyperplay 1.3.1 Multimedia authoring engine
IBM International Classes for Unicode for C/C++ 1.2.1 6/15/1999 IBM Classes for Unicode (ICU) enable you to write fully cross-platform programs
IDEntify 0.4.9 Extensible Integrated Development Environment
Install-Sendmail 4.5 install-sendmail will configure sendmail and fetchmail for you.
interstar 0.83 Browser based/javascript game
ippl 1.4.6 IP Protocols Logger
ISC DHCP 2.0 Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Client and Server implementation
JCCSP 0.0.2 A JSP (JavaServerPages) source translator (and soon engine)
jDBA 0.2 Java Database Administration tool
jmake 1.02 jmake is a tool for software developers that like to write code, not makefiles.
jpilot 0.90a Palm pilot desktop software for Linux
JPython 1.1beta2 Java reimplementation of the Python programming language
k12admin-client 0.3.5 A web-based server administration tool for K-12 school systems (client package).
k12admin-server 0.3.7 A web-based server administration tool for K-12 school systems (server package).
kdbg 0.3.1 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
kfirewall 0.4.1 GUI for ipchains or ipfwadm
Kinstall 0.3 Program installator from source
KJukeBox 0.3.1 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
Krabber 0.4.1 KDE audio cd grabber and mp3 encoder front-end
Kvirus 0.5.2 A board/puzzle game for the KDE Environment.
LexiMUD 0.2 C++ MUD Codebase for Sci-fi MUDs, based on CircleMUD
libdatablk 0.99.0 A MOO-like flat type library for C
libglade 0.2 XML-based runtime user interface loader for GNOME
libsmb 1.0pre Enables access to SMB shares in any C++ program under Unix
libsndfile 0.0.12 A library for reading and writing sound files.
Licq 0.70f Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
LineFeed 0.1.0 DOS to UNIX text files converter
LinkScan 5.4 checks links, validates HTML and creates SiteMaps
Linux Administrators Security Guide 0.1.2 A 160+ page PDF on Linux Security
Linux Logo 3.01 Displays an ANSI or ASCII Linux penguin, along with some sytem information
Linux Scorched Terrareth Alpha 0.006 A Sc*rch*d E*rth clone for Linux
lm_sensors 2.3.4 LM78 and LM75 drivers
lold 0.1.11 The LameOver Linux Demo Project
LoST 0.92 The LOst Space Tracker
lpe 1.2.1 Small, fast console mode programming editor
LynkStation 1.5 Drive Thousands Of Visitors To Your Website, Automatically
Lynx 2.8.3.dev2 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
meminfo 1999.06.18 report memory and swap information
mGSTEP 0.132 An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
MM 1.0.7 Shared Memory Library
Mobitex Radio Modem Driver 2.4 Network driver for Ericsson Mobidems and other MASC-speaking modems
mod_auth_smb 0.02d Authenticate users against smb servers (like windows nt and samba)
mod_ssl 2.3.5-1.3.6 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Moonshine 0.1.1 An application development environment for Linux.
Mops 0.42b 3D modeling environment written in C with Tcl/Tk.
Mozilla M7 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
mpstat 0.0.7 Helps monitoring SMP machines
muLinux 6.3 A tiny implementation of Linux, which can reside on a single floppy
MyGuestbook 0.6.3 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
NAMG 0.0.2 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
NDir 0.8.1 Console tool to display directory's contents
Net::RawIP 0.07 Perl module for easy manipulation of raw IP packets directly from Perl
NetFerret 0.1b2 Net Ferret is a web search tool with a self-updating search engine list.
Newton XChange 0.1 Newton PDA to Linux transfer utility
nget 0.5 auto-resuming command line nntp file grabber
Nightfall 0.14 Eclipsing binary star program
nmsms 0.03 Newmail to sms announcer
NPS 0.9.19 Non-Preemtive Thread Scheduling Library
ODARS ISP Server Lets you easily host and manage Win clients' Web databases.
OpenCA 0.109a Open Certification Authority Package
OpenScrabble v05 Free, open source implementation of Scrabble(tm)
Oracle Session Monitor 1.0 X11 program that can be used to monitor user sessions your Oracle Database
Oracle TableBrowser 1.0 An Oracle Table and Index Browser for GTK
pavuk 0.9pl15 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
Perl 5.005.57 High-level, general-purpose programming language
PHPGem 0.75 A generator of PHP-scripts for working with tables on SQL-servers.
PIKT 1.5.0a An innovative new systems administration paradigm
pinfo 0.5.4 Hypertext info file viewer
pk 0.8.14 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
pop3check 0.50 simple program checks a pop3 server to see if you have new mail
Portslave 1.2.0pre8
POV-Ray 3.1g High-quality, no-charge (not open source) tool for creating stunning 3D graphics
Pre_Html 0.4.2 A very simple HTML preprocessor
privtool 0.90 Beta GT006 Sun mailtool replacement with PGP support
psiconv 0.2.3 Psion 5 file conversion utilities and file format documentation
pvmpov 3.1e.1 POV-Ray raytracing in a parallel environment
pwcheck_pgsql 0.1 pwcheck_pgsql is a an authentication module for the Cyrus IMAP server.
Pyrite 0.7.4 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
PySol 2.91 A Python-based Solitaire card game
Q3Tool 1.0.0 Command-line Quake 3 (Arena/Test) Tools
Qt 2.00beta3 GUI software toolkit
quftp 0.93.3 Command line FTP client with queueing
radkill 1.2 BASH script for ISP's that wish to guarantee no busy signals
RioRand 0.5 Perl script to create random lists of mp3s for your Rio.
RPGBoard 2.01 A WWWBoard-style message board script.
RTSP/RTP Proxy stable The RTSP proxy is an application-specific proxy for RTP streams
sam 4.3 Rob Pike's sam editor for Unix, using 9libs for Plan 9 support.
Sambaconfig 0.7.4 Edit your smb.conf file with you web browser. CGI scripts & C++ source code.
ScryMUD 1.9.7 Original MUD Server and Java Client
Secure 2.0.37 Kernel Mod 1.0 Secure 2.0.37 Kernel mod is a patch that adds tons of security features.
SetiStats 0.1.2 Connects to Seti@Home´s stats page and displays current user count, etc.
Settlers 1.1 2-4 player TCP/IP strategy game of expansion and trading
Siag Office 3.1.17 Free office package for Unix
Sketch 0.7.0 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
Snort 1.1 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
SplitFire 1.06 Complete IRC script for IRCII-EPIC.
SplitImage 0.5 Tool for splitting up a shared web images directory
Spruce 0.4.7b Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
sqlbind8 0.4.2 SQL backend to Bind 8
stunnel 3.3 Universal SSL tunnel
swatch: The Simple WATCHdog 3.0b1 The Simple WATCHdog: syslog monitoring utility/daemon.
Swift Generator 0.9 Dynamic Flash content generator.
Sympa 2.2.7 A powerful multilingual List Manager- LDAP and SQL features.
tclHTML .002 An HTML editor coded in Tcl/TK.
TeleJava 990617 Transparent remote execution of Java applications
Terraform 0.3.3 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Casbah Project 0.1.1 A web application framework.
The Finger Server 0.81 Web based, pseudo unix finger server
The Linux Image Montage Project (LIMP) pre-1114-juggle Linux Image Montage Project Preview Release
TiK 0.73 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
TkDVI 0.2 A TeX DVI previewer based on Tcl/Tk
tkpcr 0.1a1 A tk (GUI) frontend to pcrd by Carl Walker for control of the ICOM IC-PCR1000
tkxanim .43 Tcl/Tk front end to xanim
Trinux 0.61 2-disk distribution that includes network security tools and runs in RAM
TSambaClass .50 Cross platform C++ class library for accessing smb.conf file.
ubiqx library 4.0.1 Base-level utility modules from undergrad CS books.
userv 0.64.1 Security boundary tool
util-linux 2.9s Miscellaneous system utilities
V-Server 1.1e V-Server calculates/manages the internetcosts/-link
Virtual X68000 0.34.19990621 X68000 emulator
w-agora 3.0b4 Web-based forum and publishing software
Wacom Driver for XFree86 Wacom driver for XFree86
WBI (Web Intermediaries) Developer Kit for Java 4.1 A programmable proxy for developing and running intermediary web apps.
Webalizer 1.29-07 Web server log analysis program
WebGuys Instant Message Service 0.9 Instant Messaging solution for small team environments
WebMaker 0.8.5 HTML editor for Unix
webmart 007 java servlet environment for eCommerce
WebX10 1.3 Web Based GUI to control X10 Devices
wings mp3.app 0.4 MP3 player
WiredX 1.0RC1 pure Java X Window System server
wmflame 0.4 A windowmaker dock applet that draws flames.
WSoundPrefs 1.0.2 WMSound Server Configuration Utility
X-Chat 0.9.9 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.35rc1.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
xarman 1.0.0 SVGAlib 2 player minesweeper-like action game with sound support
XawTV 2.46 TV application and a few utilities
xcallerid 2.2.4 callerID program that pops up incomingphone numbers in an X-window
xcin 2.5.0 An X Input Method Server for Chinese
xfsft 1.1.6 X11 font server with TrueType support and Internationalization
XKeyCaps 2.45 A graphical front-end to xmodmap.
XML Application Server 0.9.150 Allows you to buld collaborative XML-based applications
Xmms 0.9.1 X MultiMedia System
xmms-alsa 0.4 ALSA output plugin for xmms
XPortShot RT 0.02 A GTK based oscilloscope simulator
xps 3.12 X/Motif dynamic display the Unix processes tree/forest
XQF QuakeWorld/Quake2 server browser and launcher for Linux/X11
XRacer 0.12 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XRoads v0.4 A 2D maze/shoot-em-up game for X
XScreenSaver 3.16 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
xterm Patch #108 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
Xterminal 0.6.9 Object Oriented User Interface with a client-serverarchitecture
YAP Prolog System 4.2.0 Prolog Compiler
Zebra 0.69 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
Zope 2.0.0a2 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.

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

Folks on the move may want to check out the Dynamics HUT mobile IP project. They have put together a set of software facilitating connectivity to mobile systems via a number of media.

C|Net's Download.com has set up a Linux area. They offer downloads of various distributions as well as other interesting packages. (Thanks to Benji Selano).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 24, 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.
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: antivirus software for linux...
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 09:07:48 +0100
From: kevin lyda <kevin@suberic.net>

a recent poll in comp. reseller news said that 26% of vars cited
a lack of antivirus software was hurting linux.  ok.  here's
version 1.0 of antivirusd for linux:

    /* antivirusd.c - virus checker for linux.  copyright kevin lyda *
     * licensed under the gpl.  see some link at www.gnu.org         */
    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <limits.h>

    main(int argc, char *argv[])
	close(0); close(1); close(2);
	if (fork()) {
	for (;;) {


Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 20:57:22 +1000 (EST)
From: Conrad Sanderson <conrad@hive.me.gu.edu.au>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Mindcraft Times Three Microsoft

The first Mindcraft report was muddled in execution, and we were
lucky that there was so much negative press about it, mostly for
a good reason.  But it also showed that Apache and Linux both
have performance weaknesses which need to be addressed.
In effect we got the benefit from the benchmark without the 
bad publicity.  Microsoft is pissed off because of this.
Mindcraft wants this as well, because their reputation got
hurt badly the first time around.

It is fairly evident that Mindcraft (or should I say Microsoft)
wants to force the Linux Community's hand into a benchmark,
from where Microsoft will make Many Press Releases (tm) about      
NT vs Linux.  Using their standard marketing and FUD tactics
they will take lots of liberty in the interpretation of
the results and ignore others - eg. non-SMP performance
of Linux and NT, where Linux wins right now.

MS smells blood and is willing to follow this Mindcraft benchmark
up to the end.  In version 3 of this benchmark, all the previous      
"publicity" and PR bugs have been fixed - we now have a
involvement of Linux people (two from Red Hat and one from
Penguin Computing),  and the place of testing is apparently

We know that we will lose this benchmark, so why on earth did
Red Hat get involved ???  We could have refused participation
until the kernel and the web server had performance enhancements.
Refusing participation is nowhere near as bad as hard benchmark  
data, which is going to stick around for years.  Microsoft can 
and will use all the mileage it can get out of it, and then some.

It is our right to do refuse participation until we are ready
- after all, one of the main strengths of OSS is that stuff  
isn't released until it's ready.  But instead, we are playing
directly into Microsoft's hands.

Related sites for performance enhancements in Linux:
kernel based web server: http://www.fenrus.demon.nl/
Mindcraft Redux: http://www.kegel.com/mindcraft_redux.html

Conrad Sanderson - Microelectronic Signal Processing Laboratory
Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 11:52:03 +0200 (MDT)
From: Maurizio de Cecco <Maurizio.de.Cecco@ircam.fr>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Trademarks ?

Talking about "Open Source" or "OSI Certified" trademark,
i think you this time miss completely the point.

The power behind the "Open Source" term never came from being a
trademark (that never was); the power came from having a community
reconizing the value of the concepts behind the term, and actively
controlling its usage.

Having a single organization, any single organization, certifing
the membership of a project to the open source/free software community
is a non sense, exactly because we are speacking of a community, not a
closed club, with undefined borders; the only thing the community can
gain from this is an infinite series of conflicts and division.


Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 07:23:33 +0100 (BST)
From: Richard Corfield <Richard-Web@littondale.freeserve.co.uk>
To: Alessandro Muzzetta <Muzzetta@geocities.com>
Subject: Re: Your letter on Linux Weekly News about patents

Lack of awareness, at least of the issues, does seem a problem. I read the
computing section of a newspaper over here and they appear to be afraid to
mention anything more complex than the latest MS Word features.

In coverage of the Explore.Zip virus for example its has been stated that
it erases "Word and Excel files and some others" as if mentioning of the
words "source code" would be too much. Whenever the words "Operating
System" are mentioned an explanation is generally given as to what an
operating system is so explaining Unix, even though it still runs most of
the 'net, may just go too far. 

Given this, coverage of Linux in the mainstream press is limited or not at
all. It seemed strange to me to see an article about competition to
Microsoft that only talked about the Mac. A non technical friend of mine
thought that the book "Open Sources" looked "heavy going". 

If you want to get the issues of software patents in Europe widely known
you'd be best getting into the mainstream press. The hurdle would seem to
be justifying to them the relevance of open source to their audiences and
the relevance of patents to open source - sufficiently to be worth having
to explain the concepts to their target audiences.  Otherwise it would
just be like the many other EU rules that come out and are ignored.

Maybe they should read "Open Sources" first.

 - Richard.

   _/_/_/  _/_/_/  _/_/_/ Richard Corfield 
  _/  _/    _/    _/      Web Page:       http://www.littondale.freeserve.co.uk
 _/_/      _/    _/       Dance (Ballroom, RnR), Hiking, SJA, Linux, ... [ENfP]
_/  _/  _/_/    _/_/_/    PGP2.6 Key ID: 0x0FB084B1     PGP5 Key ID: 0xFA139DA7

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 12:12:44 +0100
To: letters@lwn.net
From: dps@io.stargate.co.uk
Subject: 2.3.6 misinformation

Claiming that 2.3.6 features the boredom of code that works is
misinfomation, at least given some libraries. It features a nasty mmap
bug (at least) that produces problems like the inability to load
dynamic libraries even with arbitary amounts of free memory. I was
hoping a 2.2.x and 2.3.x bug that seems to stuff processes that seg
fault into permanent disc wait status (exploits include the current
gcc-2.95 pre-release and at least one of the things in the testsuite).

I was hoping 2.3.7 might be a version without this particular
feature... and the (locking methinks) permanent disk wait status
bug). I am not the only one affected by the mm/mmap.c bug
either. Getting a relaibel boot from 2.3.6 still eludes me after I
fixed that particular bug. I suppose 2.3.6 does feature the boredom of
code that does not trash your file system, prefering merely to hit
lethal problems it the boot process.

I was proposing to take a look at changing the sheduling code to use a
heap for faster reschedules.

Duncan (-:

To: jp@ncfocus.com
From: sharkey@superk.physics.sunysb.edu
Subject: Re: Look Before You Leap Into Linux Adoption
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 02:23:48 +0900

Mr. Morgenthal,

This message is regarding your article at:

With a title like "Look Before You Leap Into Linux Adoption" I was
expecting a well written article debating the advantages and
disadvantages of adopting Linux.  Linux has many pitfalls associated
with it and I expected you to mention a few of them.  However, I was
greatly disappointed to read your article and find criticisms which
ranged from misleading to just plain wrong.

Let's go through some of the points you bring up.

> Linux is an open-source project; therefore, all changes to the
> kernel are subject to review and approval by a small team that
> controls this portion of the operating system.

True, but misleading.  Any company may make any changes it wishes, it
may distribute those changes, it may even call their modified version
"Linux".  Only those copies of the code which are distributed by Linus
Torvalds need to have code approved by Linus Torvalds.  Every user is
on equal footing.  If Toshiba Corporation wants to distribute a custom
Toshiba Linux, they are free to do so.  (Of course, I am using Toshiba
as a generic example.  It works equally well with any company.)

> Companies that add features they need, but that are not accepted
> into the core distribution, may find themselves in a redevelopment
> and retesting cycle every time a new version of Linux is released.

This would only happen if said company wishes to included new
developments of Linus Torvald's Linux into their own version.  If
their code is working well without those developments, such testing is
not needed.  There is no need to upgrade, just for the sake of

But more to the point, how is this any better than other operating
systems, where the kernels are closed?  Your statement in this
paragraph amounts to: "If you change the kernel, you may need to
maintain those changes."  Is an operating system where you are
prohibited from making the choice of whether or not to modify the
kernel really better?

Finally, this core group of programmers you refer to (which ultimately
means just Linus Torvalds himself), is generally considered to be a
rather intelligent group of people.  When a feature is rejected, it is
done so with explicit reasoning which is publicly announced.  If a
company's modification is truly a good thing, then it will be

Can you provide a single example of a company which has been put in
the position of maintaining a Linux kernel fork?

> Windows supporters still outnumber Linux supporters because
> Microsoft provides a better value proposition.

Perhaps, for some individuals, this is true.  Linux still lags behind
in multimedia and entertainment software, and for the home market,
where such applications are essential, Linux may not provide the best
value proposition for all users.  Given this, I was very surprised to
read your supporting arguments to this statement:

> Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition ships with a full complement of
> Internet services, including Web, proxy, index, messaging, database,
> transaction and firewall services.  With Linux, these services will
> soon be available as a multivendor product.

The first statement is true, you can get all that from Microsoft (for
a *very* hefty price tag for unlimited clients), but such services are
also included with any fully fledged Linux distribution.

For example, Debian Linux 2.1 (released in March '99) includes:

Web: Apache, Boa, Cern, dhttpd, and Roxen Challenger Proxy: socks
(generic ip proxy), squid, and transproxy (www), plus other
       specialized applications for particular protocols index:
swish++, and others messaging: Zephyr, and many others database: msql,
mysql, postgresql, others firewall: support built-in to kernel

Everything you need is included right there, from a single source, all
in one box, with no hefty licensing fees.  Now, it's true that these
various pieces of software were developed by different individuals,
but the same is true of the Microsoft code.  There are different
departments inside Microsoft corporation devoted to these pieces of
software.  They are not coded by a single individual.

Furthermore, this is not a new development.  Linux has been a strong
performer in the internet server market for several years now.  The
assertion that these services will "soon be available" is laughable.

> Linux is just beginning to be retrofitted for symmetric
> multiprocessing.

Now, this is just plain wrong.  The first officially released SMP code
I know of was included with Linux 1.3.26, released September 13, 1995,
almost four years ago.  At that time, Linux was "just beginning to be
retrofitted for symmetric multiprocessing".  In June of 1996, over
three years ago, Linux 2.0.0 was released which contained full, stable
support for SMP systems.  The release of 2.2.0 at the beginning of
this year provided significant SMP performance and reliability
improvements.  I purchased four dual processor Pentium Pro servers in
December of 1997 and they have been running Linux quite satisfactorily
since day one.

ale% uptime
  1:18pm up 124 days, 36 min, 13 users, load average: 1.95, 1.91, 1.84

I can live with that. :)

> Without robust SMP, Linux servers can support only small companies
> and single applications.

Again, I can't seem to make any sense out of this statement

Very few companies *need* the kind of SMP support provided by NT or
Linux.  Having two or four processors in a box is nice, but it's not
going to give you the edge that will make or break your business.  If
your business really needs heavy parallel computing, then you'll buy
some 32 or 64 processor system from Sun and run Solaris, and do the
job right, but for most companies, that's overkill.  Using cheap PC
hardware, today's dual processor machine will be outperformed by
tomorrow's uniprocessor system under any OS.

This statement also seems to imply that without SMP support, an
operating system is incapable of multi-tasking.  That can't be more
wrong.  Linux has been multitasking since it's inception in 1991.

> If you're managing multiple servers for increased scalability,
> you're better off using multiple NT servers all participating within
> the same domain.

Are you not familiar with Cplant? (Currently 129 on the top 500 list):


Or Avalon? (160):


These testaments to the scalability of Linux speak for themselves.  I
don't see the need to belabor this point any further.

> Also, remember that Linux is still Unix. One of the reasons for
> Windows' growth has been the complexity of configuring and
> maintaining Unix operating systems. Simply because a low-cost
> version of Unix is now available, it does not automatically generate
> more people capable of managing and configuring these systems.

This is your best point so far, but I think the ease-of-use issue has
been overstated by the press.  At the current time, Linux is still
difficult for beginners to use, but when you think about it, this is
true of all operating system.  If you're used to one operating system,
(or not used to any) it takes some time to learn another.  But
seriously, I think it's important to keep in mind that many high
school students can manage to install and run Linux on their home
computers just fine.  How hard can it be for an experienced computer

If you're in the position to be worrying about databases, firewalls,
proxy servers, and distributed processing, then you better have enough
basic knowledge of computing to be able to flip through Linux for
Dummies and have a server up and running in 24 hours.  It's just not
that hard.

I find the continued portrayal of Unix as an impossibly difficult
system to master as condescending the "Math is hard." Barbie doll.
It's a self- fulfilling prophecy.

> Linux is a college student's project gone astray.

This is just a low jab, with no meaningful content.  Lots of projects
began as something small and grew to something much larger.  Remember
Netscape?  Hell, the whole internet itself grew out of the original
ARPANET project to link three universities, and SRI.

> The version that will be supported by Sun Microsystems and IBM on
> its hardware will fall far short of each of these company's own Unix
> operating systems in features and capabilities.

In general, the feature sets of any two operating systems will not
overlap completely.  One will almost always contain a feature the
other lacks.  So, I'm sure you could find a case where you could say
"Solaris can do THIS, while Linux cannot.", but as a regular user of
both Solaris on Sun hardware and Linux on Intel, I'll pick Linux on
Intel 9 times out of 10.  It suits my needs better.

One striking difference between my Solaris boxes and my Linux boxes is
the contents of /usr/local.  My Solaris boxes all have /usr/local full
to the brim with GNU and other third party utilities which make the
operating system easier to use.  GNU utilities tend to have more
options, features, and command line switches than their commercial
counterparts.  Under Linux, /usr/local is almost barren.  The
operating system comes with almost everything I need.

In summary, I feel you had a valid point to make.  We should all take
a look before we leap.  I just have a hard time figuring out what it
was you were looking at when you wrote that article.

Eric Sharkey

Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:40:00 -0400
From: Anand Srivastava <anand@nmi.stpn.soft.net>
To: metcalfe@idg.net, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Linux's '60s technology, open-sores ideology won't beat W2K, but what 


Thanks for the ethernet, my world wouldn't have been anything like this
without it.

With due respect I want to disagree with you on your thoughts about Open
Source and Linux. Saying that Unix has turned senile due to old age, is
like telling that Wine gets bad when it gets old. Its like ethernet
although its no match for newer technologies like ATM etc. But still it
exists because its simple. The others are complicated, and they will
take a long time to become stable enough. And Ethernet can take
advantage of any technical advancements, as fast or maybe faster than
the more complicated technologies.

Unix is similar, its simple. And I don't see anything yet that is
better. May be Plan9 or BeOS would be better, but how do they compete,
with MS. Linux can compete because it is free, the rules of the business
doesn't apply to it. Also its Unix, ie its simple, it will be adapted
faster and better with the newest technologies (BeOS and Plan9 are
anyway dead because they don't have the resources, I am just talking
about the rest of the OSs out there). Linux would not win because its
better or anything, it will win because it will always be optimized for
the most common tasks and it is free. As people using GUIs become more
common on Linux, its GUI will keep on increasing. You must know how many
bad technologies have won because they were open and cheaper. Linux in
not that bad, its open and its free. It is bound to win.

If the Unix that you see is senile, all the kudos should go to the Unix
Vendors, who conceded defeat before the war had begun. They just kept on
fighting for the ever smaller Unix server space, because that gave them
huge profit margins. If MS is a bully, they are fools.

Have you ever wondered what drives Open Source developers? It is
egotism. Ever read Ayn Rand, that is the character she associated with
capitalism. At least as far as she is concerned, Open Source Developers
are capitalistic. The only difference is that they don't deal in money,
they deal in intellectual thoughts and peer respect.

Why does one want to earn lots of money? If it was only for living
comfortably and with peace, I don't think you need all that money. There
are many reasons you would want to earn more money, to show the world,
to gain respect, to gain power. Some are plain misers, they want to
amass the money. Some others don't care about the money but they would
not let others get the fruits of their labour, which they do because
they enjoy it.

Open Source developers also want to do the same things, but they don't
care about everybody. They just care about people who are like them.
They want to show them, they want to gain their respect, they want to
gain some power over them. There are others who just want to hog all the
limelight. And their are those who want to just program they don't care
whether anybody likes thier programs or not, but they would not let
anybody earn money from their labour. Hence the GPL.

So effectively Open Source is really Capitalism, without the money ;-).
Communism also involves force. You won't find any force in Open Source.
They don't use anymore force than software companies use. They just use
GPL to preserve their right to give their software to anybody who would
not try to benefit from them in an unethical way.

Open Source would win, but that doesn't mean proprietory software would
be extinct, it would just be relegated to niches, just like Open
Hardware (with open interfaces) (intel PCs) relegated the proprietory
hardware (Sun, SGI, HP, etc) to a niche market. MS is acually killing
the goose, by closing their interfaces, with everybody. They prospered
once, because they were a lot open. But now they are trying to do too
many things and using their proprietory interfaces to support their

I hope you would think about it.

thanks again for the ethernet :-).

Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 15:09:55 +0000
From: Dave Finton <dfinton@leonine.com>
To: metcalfe@idg.net, letters@infoworld.com, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Response to Metcalfe's recent article regarding "Open Sores"

I've just recently read your article entitled "Linux's '60s
technology, open-sores ideology won't beat W2K, but what will?"  I
have a few issues with this article, and would like to point out a few
items that you've brought up.

> Why do I think Linux won't kill Windows? Two reasons. The Open
> Source Movement's ideology is utopian balderdash. And Linux is
> 30-year-old technology.  >

This argument has been thrown around before, and it was shown to be
hogwash.  Linux, as you know, is based off of Unix, which was
originally developed 30 years ago.  Unix was designed from the very
beginning to handle things that the original inventors could not
envision.  Therefore, the Unix framework is very bare-bones.  But it
was also designed to be extensible.  The fact that Unix is being used
today for a wide variety of purposes only serves to prove my point.
Did AT&T actually think that one day Unix would be used for desktop
applications like modern-day word-processors like Word Perfect or
(soon-to-be) Lotus Notes?  Heck I don't think they thought Unix could
handle having a GUI.  But today it has those things, and LOTS more.

And to your assertion about Open Source.  Open Source is NOT utopian
balderdash.  It is the highest form of pragmatism a computer
programmer can think of.  No secret little API's, no hidden
"features".  If I want to know if something works, I look at it.  If
it's broken, I fix it and then get my work done.  No more spending
hours (or days even!) finding workarounds or wondering why my
application won't work as advertised.  In this light, it is the "black
box" model of thinking that most software companies today subscribe to
that is utopian balderdash.  Why do I care that Microsoft considers
its API's and the underlying code its private property?  That's MS's
problem, not mine.  I'll stick to something that won't try to hide
from me the important details of a toolkit just because some
multi-billion dollar corporation thinks I don't "need to know" those
vitally important details.

> The Open Source Movement reminds me of communism

Funny, the Open Source Movement reminds me of capitalism.  No one has
some sort of proprietary lock on the market, and the rules of
competition decide who wins.  Hey, isn't that how a free market is
supposed to work?

I'll make another analogy: The closed-source model reminds me of a
dictatorship, with one ruling class (Microsoft) reigning with an iron
fist over subjects friends, and foes.  *This* is the system you like
to work under?  Yeesh!

> Stallman's EMACS was brilliant in the 1970s, but today we demand
> more, specifically Microsoft Word, which can't be written over a
> weekend, no matter how much Coke you drink.  >

You're comparing apples with oranges.  I wouldn't dare use Word for
application development.  Why use Emacs for writing business
documents?  Your analogy fails here, too.

And, BTW, Emacs is *still* a fine piece of work.  I use it.  Daily.
Beats the hell out of any other IDE I've ever used (including
Borland's IDE, among others).

> Unix and the Internet turn 30 this summer. Both are senile,
> according to journalist Peter Salus, who like me is old enough, but
> not too old, to remember. The Open Sores Movement asks us to ignore
> three decades of innovation. It's just a notch above Luddism. At
> least they're not bombing Redmond. Not yet anyway.  >

The Open Source movement asks us to use the last three decades of
innovation that have been put into Unix and related technology, and
extend it even further.  It's Microsoft that asks us to throw away all
that hard work.  And for what?  A cheap knock-off?  Don't get me
started over NT.  It only *wishes* it were Unix.

And this "senile" internet you speak of... um, yeah right.  The
greatest engineering feat in decades that allows people across the
world to communicate transparently without any hassle (and without
long-distance phone charges).  This senile old internet has done more
for this civilization than anything else since the industrial

So what you ask?  What about the next-generation (not-so-senile)
internet?  Last time I checked, Microsoft *still* doesn't have good
support for IPv6, and it was damned expensive too.  Linux has it.  If
I actually had a connection to this new network, I could connect to it
using the utilities I already have on my hard drive.  So much for

> All Unixes make up 17 percent, and Linux is a small fraction of

Nope, Linux is in it's own category.  That 17 percent are Unix OS's
*other* than Linux.  Linux market share went up 212% last year.  NT
and Netware share went *down*.

I'll make this prediction: Sure W2K will go up in market share,
temporarily.  But its price tag (concerning support, hardware, and
licensing costs) will keep it from destroying Linux.  Quite the
opposite in fact.  NT is going to have a struggle ahead of it just to
survive.  So much for that.

In a departing note, I'll ask this question.  Remember IBM, or DEC,
The unstoppable juggernauts of Christmas past?  IBM barely made it
into the 90's with the shirt on its back, and DEC is now a subsidiary
of Compaq.  Oops, looks like those juggernauts weren't so invincible
after all.  ;^)

                - Dave
                Unix Systems and Applications Consultant

Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 14:45:21 -0700
From: Ariel Faigon <ariel@cthulhu.engr.sgi.com>
To: metcalfe@idg.net
Subject: Re: your column: linux reality check

[Response to Bob Metcalfe's linux column, Cc'ing letters@lwn.net and

Dear Bob,

As a pretty practical person watching the computer industry who is
nevertheless, a strong believer in linux, I have to say your column
was so far off and detached from reality that I'm not sure where to

To start: seems like you've misquoted the IDC report on server
operating systems.  All commercial Unix'es combined, *not* including
linux were 17.4%, while linux is an *additional* 17.2%, up 17% from
nowhere five years ago and almost tripling from 6.8% a year ago
(please go and reread those IDC numbers.)  In the same report,
Microsoft NT remained at a stable 36%, not 60% as you write.
Unfortunately, your column doesn't mention the source for the numbers,
this is hardly responsible journalism.

Here's one possible source for the numbers I'm quoting:

Your assessment of the amount of talent applied to linux is just as
wrong.  At my company alone there is a large number of people paid
full time to work on linux.  They may not be on your radar screen yet,
but as some linux companies go public in the next few months this
trend will become clearer.  In the meantime, you may search the linux
kernel mailing list or sources, for some big company names.

I recently checked the netcraft web-servers survey at
www.netcraft.com.  Updated monthly, it is the only fully automated,
unbiased survey of web servers on the open Internet, and noted that
Microsoft IIS has slipped in market share for the third month in a row
(after rising for over two years), while web servers running on Linux
continue their steady rise (see note on the new CnG server who took
1.45% away from Apache).  While all the web servers behind firewalls
aren't represented, this is the best I can rely on.  Serious readers
should keep checking this site for a cue on linux market share, rather
than relying on anyone's opinionated columns.

Linux is winning not because of the ideals (yes, some of its
proponents are extreme idealists, more power to them, so what?).  It
is winning market share because it is a very practical, flexible, and
cost efficient solution for many computing needs.  One example is
network file-serving to Microsoft clients which Samba does better and
much more cheaply than Microsoft's own NT server.  [Cc'ig Jeremy
Allison of the Samba team who is a full-time employee of SGI]

To anyone who have witnessed the greatest boost to capitalism (read
Internet commerce and services) ushered by free software like TCP/IP,
HTTP, BIND, perl, Apache, etc. the reasons should be obvious: linux
commoditizes the OS layer.  This is unlike your perception, capitalism
at its best.  And this is not an anti-MS statement.  MS is an
extremely clever company.  Expect MS to jump on the Linux bandwagon
(shifting its point of "lock and control" up to the API) just as it
standardized on TCP/IP when it realized LAN-Manager cannot win. If and
when this happens, it'll be great for consumers.

If you have any question about Linux and free software, with regards
to business models, commercial potential etc. please don't hesitate to
email me.  I may have the answers for you.

Could this be another "I'm eating my column as promised" column in the
making ? :-)

Peace, Ariel

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