[LWN Logo]

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

 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

Other stuff:
Contact us
Daily Updates

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

Here is the permanent site for this page.

Leading items

[Touchphone] The Linux-powered telephone. Our latest feature article looks at the Touchphone - an intelligent telephone product which runs Linux internally. It is an interesting piece of technology, and an even more interesting look into a possible future of Linux: the system of choice for embedded consumer applications.

Eric Raymond has released a new paper: The Magic Cauldron. It's the third in the series that started with "The Cathedral and the Bazaar." According to Eric: "This paper focuses on economics and the `How do I make money at this?' question."

The Mindcraft rerun. The results are in; as expected, NT still beat Linux strongly, though not so strongly as before. For this particular set of tests, NT just performs better. For details, see the PC Week article that first made the results available.

There are a few things to note about these results. First, perhaps, is that much of the Linux community (including this publication) reacted a little too strongly to the initial results. Certainly there were numerous problems with how the first test was done, and it was right to bring those to light. But, in the end, fixing the problems did not change the ultimate results of the test.

More recent criticism points out that the benchmark has little to do with any sort of real world situation. Doug Ledford of Red Hat was quoted widely as saying "The tests do not accurately represent how and what our customers are using Red Hat for." Penguin Computing put out a strongly worded press release arguing the irrelevance of the benchmark. See also Chris Lansdown's article on the sort of network connectivity it would take to actually sustain the number of hits per second tested in these benchmarks. A separate set of tests documented in this c't article show that, under more "realistic" conditions, Linux performs much better.

All that is true - the connection with the benchmarks and reality is weak at best. But complaints along those lines just sound like sour grapes at this point. They make Linux look bad, and are not worth the trouble.

A few problems with Linux have been found as a result of these benchmarks. There is a bottleneck in the networking code that appears to be the cause of the plateau in Apache's performance, for example. Work is already well underway to fix those problems. See Dan Kegel's page for a detailed discussion of what is happening in this area.

And that, really, is the best result out of these benchmarks. There is no deep design problem within Linux that causes performance problems in these conditions. There are, instead, specific implementation problems that have been found, and will soon be fixed. It may not be long before Linux starts winning these benchmarks. The end result will be to show how quickly Linux can adapt and deal with problems. In the long run, these benchmarks will probably look like a good thing for Linux, from both the technical and public relations point of view.

Slashdot has been acquired by Andover.net. If it works out as planned, the deal should be a good thing for Slashdot - they will get money to pay for help and redundant servers, and absolute creative control is written into their contract. Details can be found in Slashdot's announcement and Andover.net's press release.

The Free Practice Management Project has been launched. FreePM seeks to create an open source system to handle most of the information system needs of medical offices and clinics: appointment scheduling, medical records management, insurance claims, etc. If it is successful, this project could well be the biggest one of its kind: a deeply domain-specific system for the needs of a particular industry. For details, see the FreePM announcement.

Whether the project will be successful remains to be seen, however. This project appears to have broken one if the cardinal rules of free software endeavors by starting out with no code base whatsoever. Getting their desired "100 to 1000" volunteers could be hard given that there is very little for them to start hacking on.

We wish FreePM luck. It is, in any case, likely to be the first of many such projects. As free software gains "respectibility," players in many industries will see the advantages of having an industry-specific base of free code. It is certainly a question of "when," and not "if" free software will move into this realm.

Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond are fighting again. Stallman posted some comments via Slashdot about how he wants no part of "open source." Raymond responded with a piece called Shut up and show them the code claiming that open source tactics have a lot to do with the current success of Linux and related software, while FSF tactics have been ineffective. Ho hum...

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

July 1, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Security page.



The folks from Bugtraq, the full-disclosure security mailing list which is widely recognized as one of the best resources for up-to-date security information currently available, are moving to their own website, SecurityFocus.com. Next Monday, July 5th, the Bugtraq list will actually move to the new site (subscriber information will not be impacted) and mail to bugtraq will need to be directed to bugtraq@securityfocus.com. The mailing list archives from Geek-Girl.com, which we have used as a resource for so long, will be moving to the new site, along with the Geek-Girl herself!

In fact, it seems that the staff at Security Focus are mostly built from long-time supporters of Bugtraq and members of that community. That promises much for the quality of the resources that they plan on providing. The SecurityFocus.com site is already up and running, with a newsfeed of security-related articles, recently published vulnerabilities, products and a library.

Aleph One's announcement also outlines additional planned resources. A mailing list just for incident reports (which are not currently allowed on Bugtraq) is being created, along with Bugtraq lists for non-English speakers, whose moderators will be responsible for translating postings as required to make sure that the same topics and information are accessible to all the mailing lists.

We wish them luck in their new venture. It is good news for the Linux community to see this community flourish and grow as well.

Meanwhile, here is a a SecurityPortal piece which says Linux needs to worry about viruses too. "As Linux is increasingly adopted in corporate environments, it must not act as 'Typhoid Mary' during a virus outbreak, obliviously storing and passing along a virus."

It also mentions one open source project that provides a solution for this problem. AMaViS - A Mail Virus Scanner is licensed under the GPL and sits on top of commercial virus scanners such as McAfee, Dr. Solomon, AntiVir/X and Sophos. It currently only supports sendmail.

Performance Computing looks at Linux security tools. "It's wise to view all open-source software downloaded from public domain sites with suspicion. It is important to ensure that the downloaded software is the intended product. After all, what good does it do to download tainted security software?"

Security Reports

A security problem with klock was found by 7-year old boy trying to get control of his father's session, according to his Dad's posting to Bugtraq. A patch was quickly put together by Martin Jones. Caldera has released an advisory and upgraded packages (kdebase-1.1.1-3, kdebase-opengl-1.1.1-5) in response.

VMWare for Linux 1.0.1 and earlier contains an exploitable buffer overrun which can result in unauthorized root access. VMWare 1.0.2 has been released with an update to fix this problem. For the updated version and more information on the problem, check out VMware's advisory.

Patches for Xi Graphics, Inc.'s Accelerated-X Server 4.x, 5.x have been released to address problems due to insufficient bounds checking on command-line parameters, which leave it vulnerable to buffer overruns. If you are using this server, installing the patches is highly recommended.


Mandrake has issued a set of security fixes for the 6.0 distribution; affected packages are printtool (upgraded to printtool-3.40-5), kdenetwork (upgraded to kdenetwork-1.1.1final-4), kdebase (upgraded to kdebase-1.1.1final-11), and net-tools (upgraded to net-tools-1.52-6). Note that the printtool update does not appear to be security related, so if you do not need the new printers that have been added to that package, you should not need to upgrade. The other three are security-related and upgrading is recommended.

Red Hat has also issued an advisory for nettools (upgrade to net-tools-1.52-2) under Red Hat 6.0. In addition, a "potential" problem has been turned up in the NFS server used with Red Hat 5.2. If you're running NFS under 5.2 (or earlier), take a look at the notice and apply the updates (nfs-server-2.2beta44 and nfs-server-clients2.2beta44). The 6.0 release uses a different NFS server, and should not be vulnerable.

Red Hat has also issued new RPMS for kde, which upgrade the packages to KDE 1.1.1-1. These new packages close a few security holes in addition to other bugfixes.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 1, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
Secure Linux

Security List Archives
Bugtraq Archive
Firewall Wizards Archive
ISN Archive

Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
Debian Alerts
Red Hat Errata
SuSE Announcements

Miscellaneous Resources
Linux Security Audit Project
Security Focus


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release remains 2.3.8. Further releases have been held back while some more problems with the new page cache code get ironed out. One of the big ones was turned up on June 30; that should clear the way for 2.3.9 (for which there is already a prepatch in its eighth iteration) to come out soon.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.10. Alan Cox has a 2.2.10ac5 out there with a lot of good stuff. 2.2.11 is likely to come out shortly after the filesystem corruption problem is found, but...

The 2.2 filesystem corruption problem remains unsolved despite quite a bit of effort that has gone into tracking it down. There appear to be weak correlations between the problem and (1) overclocked systems, and (2) Adaptec controllers. However, neither is particularly strong, and a solution does not appear to be readily at hand. This is a difficult one, and certainly not much fun to have in a stable kernel.

The albods are coming. There is a continuing debate over whether Linux should provide a filesystem which provides a richer view of files. The discussion grew out of the idea of implementing "forked" files like the Macintosh does , or "streams" in files along the lines of Windows 2000. Last week we mentioned Hans Reiser's posting on the subject which claims that current filesystems are inadequate. According to Hans, any time that an application developer has to implement some sort of namespace, the file system has failed that developer.

Ted Ts'o responded with a strawman design for "application logical bundles of data" (or "albods") implemented entirely in user space. These "albods" had the advantages of working with any filesystem (even on a DOS diskette), of being transferable over FTP, and of requiring no kernel changes. His point was simply that such an approach is possible, so it is too soon to be thinking about hacking advanced namespace features into the kernel.

Transferability, via NFS, DOS diskettes, HTTP, or FTP, is a contentious issue. Many people are understandably nervous about changes that break all of those modes of moving files around. Hans replies that such people prove Bill Gates right: only Microsoft has the kind of centralized control that allows large, system-wide changes to be made.

The issue of implementing things in user space is also important. There is the (always contentious) issue of whether some desired feature belongs in the kernel - the Linux kernel is growing fast enough as it is. But another point is that a Linux kernel solution is probably a Linux-only solution. Application writers (such as those writing GNOME and KDE office suites) are much less likely to use a feature that is not portable across multiple systems.

This issue is far from any sort of resolution. Hans has stated his intention to hire somebody to implement his ideas, at which point there would at least be some code to argue about. (See also: Hans's Reiserfs web page that details a lot of what he is about).

A side discussion came up on the handling of filesystem flags. Alexander Viro proposed a new set of system calls for handling the specific attributes that would come with extended types of files. Stephen Tweedie pointed out that he had implemented a similar interface some time ago. And Linus chimed in on how it would work; his message indicates a certain amount of sympathy to the "albod" idea.

Various patches and updates released this week:

  • The usual knfsd patch from H.J. Lu is out. He also threw in a set of init scripts that fix a problem with Red Hat 6.0.

  • Devfs 112 from Richard Gooch, accompanied by devfsd 1.2.3.

  • Michael Warfield announced a device driver for the Computone Intelliport II multiport serial card family.

  • Willy Tarreau announced kmsgdump, a patch which causes kernel messages to be dumped out to a diskette. This patch may well be appreciated by those who have had the joyous experience of writing down an "oops" message by hand off the screen of a dead system.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 1, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Distributions page.


Another site with a long-standing, long list of distributions is Kernelnotes.org (formerly LinuxHQ). As of last count, it has over 116 different distributions listed. In addition, their list is already categorized by type of distribution and contains a description of the distributions. While we have continued to add distributions that people have sent to us, it may be that the number of existing distributions is simply too large for us to use as a list of links on this weekly report. We'll be taking a look at some of our options in the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, here's some brief descriptions of distributions that people pointed out to us over the past week.

Mastodon is a Slackware-derived distribution pointed out to us by Navindra Umanee. It uses the older libc 4.8.0 (a.out) library, but has moved to the /etc/rc.d structure of startup files. He is also building his own collection of scripts to administer the system without "getting his fingers dirty" directly editing files. This is a work-in-progress, for those that are interested.

Black Cat Linux is another Ukrainian/Russian distribution that Andrey Kolov told us about. We don't have many more details because the website itself is (understandably) not in English (or any other language for which we have local experts).

Continuing in the area of specific language support, Best Linux is a distribution localized for Finnish and Swedish. [Thanks to Jan Ekholm] And Vincent Renardias pointed out eXecutive Linux, based on Red Hat Linux 6.0 under the French language. Next, Bruce Harada gave us pointers to three separate Japanese distributions, Vine Linux (RedHat 5.1-based), Plamo Linux (Slackware-based), and Stataboware, a set of Alpha-only tarballs. For those Italian-speakers among us, Bad Penguin Linux has been dubbed "La distribuzione Linux italiana".

Back in the area of mini-Linux distributions, a couple of different people pointed out Floppix, a subset of Debian that fits on two floppies, developed by Professor Linda MacEwan, Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario, Canada. In addition, covering two separate categories, nanoLinux II is both small enough to fit on three floppies and supported primarily in Italian. [Ottavio G. Rizz]


Caldera Systems has announced its new "OpenLinux Developer Network." This network seems to be set up mostly as an information channel for people developing applications on OpenLinux, with the opportunity to buy discounted products as well.


Another vendor has chosen Debian on which to base its products. Linux Laptops, Ltd has announced its choice of Debian as the only distribution that they pre-install on their line of Laptops.

French-speaking? You may be interested in this brief interview (in French) with Christophe Lebars, who is responsible for the project to translate Debian into French.

Check out the Debian Weekly News for additional Debian topics. It includes news of a draft of Debian policy 3.0.0, a major update to Debian policy.

Hard Hat Linux

Just announced this week, Hard Hat Linux is a distribution specifically aimed at embedded systems, particularly embedded and applied computing applications in telecommunications, Internet and industrial control. Here is the press release that describes the new distribution.


Our friends up at Tummy.com have announced the KRUD (Kevin's Red Hat Uber Distribution) distribution. KRUD is the latest Red Hat with all of the latest errata (currently well over 100mb) applied and a set of extra packages added. KRUD can be bought on a monthly subscription, making it easy to keep up with the updates.


The LinuxPPC User Guide has been updated. In addition, the list of ftp mirror site has been expanded and the LinuxPPC port of the SheepShaver MacOS runtime environment has gone beta.


The Linux-Mandrake development version is now being made available in real-time. Check out their announcement for more details.


Larry Kollar sent us a news update for MkLinux, with a report on their status regarding their upcoming release.

Additional MkLinux news can be found in this article at Linux am Mac.

Red Hat

New PHP packages are available from Red Hat. Their advisory indicates that the original version of PHP shipped with Red Hat Linux 6.0 (mod_php3-*-3.0.7) had problems with glibc2.1. The packages released previously to fix these problems in turn had a problem with postgresql. The latest packages should fix both of these problems (mod_php3-*-3.0.9-1).

Red Hat has also released a new talk package (talk-0.11-2) which works with ytalk and apparently allowed them to close out several bug reports. See their errata for more information.

We mentioned Dan Anderson's RPM 3.0 Signing HOWTO last week. Dan has put together an updated version this week. RPM 3.0 (as present in Red Hat 6.0) includes a number of incompatible and undocumented changes; this HOWTO is Dan's attempt to fill in the information gap.


In last week's Distributions Summary, we mentioned a rumor that SuSE was planning to stop "splitting releases into multiple versions". This "rumor" came from a misreading of a message posted to their mailing list. We have now exchanged mail with Lenz Grimmer and can give a more accurate story.

SuSE will continue to have separate German and International versions, due to the standard legal issues with ssh, SSL and other cryptographic software. However, they will no longer be issuing a second version of a release. Previously, they've issued second versions as an opportunity to include bug and security fixes, as well as newer versions of some packages. From now on, they will only re-release the original master, making security and serious bug fixes available as separate packages only.

This policy has been changed by request of their resellers (who don't want software already on the shelf to become obsolete before they have a chance to sell it) and customers, presumably because of the confusion as to what package is or is not part of a specific release. It is not an uncommon situation. Similar issues have been discussed for Debian, Red Hat and other distributions as well.


TurboLinux has announced "TurboLinux Workstation 3.6." This release runs on the 2.2.9 kernel, offers both KDE and GNOME, and has WordPerfect bundled in as well.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 1, 1999

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

Our Distribution List:
Bad Penguin Linux
Bastille Linux
Best Linux (Finnish/Swedish)
Black Cat Linux (Ukrainian/Russian)
Caldera OpenLinux
Complete Linux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
eXecutive Linux
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
Green Frog Linux
Hard Hat Linux
Kha0s Linux
Linux-Kheops (French)
Linux MLD (Japanese)
LinuxPPP (Mexican)
Linux Pro Plus
Linux Router Project
nanoLinux II
NoMad Linux
Open Kernel (Russian)
Plamo Linux
Project Ballantain
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat
Rock Linux
Small Linux
Vine Linux
Yellow Dog Linux

Other Lists:
Woven Goods


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


Many people wrote in to very kindly point out errors in our Cobol coverage last week. For example, Pat Eyler mentioned that GNU Cobol has been under development for some time and the Cobol2C compiler has been available since 1997. He also mentioned the work being done to produce an ANSI 85 Cobol Compiler using the Sable Research Group's Compiler Compiler. More information on that product is available at http://acm.cs.umr.edu/~gnu-cobol/maillist/threads.html.

You'll also see some letters to the editor that correct the inference in my last report that the only hope for Cobol was to translate the language into C. They do a better job than I of explaining why that inference is incorrect, so I'll encourage you to follow the postings there.


The JDK 1.2.1 changes have been integrated into the primary code base, according to the JDK 1.2 status page. A release and corresponding diff files are expected out "in the near future".

Humanoid 0.3.0 is an arcade game written entirely in Java and distributed as free software.

An alternative desktop written in Java is something that Cliff Baeseman has started writing. It generated some interest on the java-linux list, along with this this followup with pointers to related projects.


A nice long report on yapc (Yet Another Perl Conference) is available at Perl News.

Perl Poetry takes on a new meaning in Tom Christiansen's latest work, In Mountain View did Larry Wall. Thanks for brightening up this editor's late night work.


The Friendly Snake is the title of this article (in Hungarian).


Two week's of TCL-URL! are available. Here is last week's edition and this week's edition.

News about the forthcoming Tcl 8.2 release was posted by Paul Gardiner. The main thrust of the new release will be bug fixes, but it will contain several new major features (outlined in the posting).

This year's Open Source Software Convention will be held in Monterey, California, from August 21st through 24th, with a specific Tcl/tk conference (along with Linux, Perl, Apache, Python and sendmail). Check this announcement for more details.

A contest for the 1999 Open Source Convention Tcl Conference has been announced. They are looking for your best Tcl Tips and Tricks.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 1, 1999



Development projects

The Open Source Writer's Group is calling for submissions for a mascot or logo to represent the project. Time for all you gimp gurus to fire up your systems and come up with something good.

If that logo project doesn't inspire you, you can consider one for the Linux Counter project instead. They are also sponsoring a logo contest.


The Apache group has formed a corporation, called the "Apache Software Foundation," whose purpose is to "...provide organizational, legal, and financial support for the Apache open-source software projects." Details may be found in their press release.


Here is this week's GNOME summaryby Havoc Pennington.

We're also pleased to report that Havoc Pennington has just announced the forthcoming publication of his book GTK+/Gnome Application Development. The book, to be published by New Riders, will be available under a free license that allows redistribution. Availability is set for around the beginning of September.

Also reported this week, The Gnome Developer's Site is up and running.


According to the KDE news page, movement towards the release of KDE 1.1.2 is on schedule, with the libraries and core applications frozen as of June 27th.

Michael Wilkinson at osOpinion.com has written an editorial on KDE and its graphical interface, which breaks down computer users into "Circles, Rectangles and Squares". From his descriptions, it is doubtful that any of the appellations will be appealing to the people so-named. Take a look, though; clearly he is trying to handle the issues in an even-handed manner.

And for the rest of the KDE news, we turn you over to Navindra Umanee's KDE Development News for this week.


Will Netscape/Mozilla stay open source? It appears from this article that Sun is considering other possibilities. This is an issue to watch, particularly to see how licenses like the NPL and MPL really do at protecting the openness of developed source code compared to the GPL.


Development snapshot 19990627 of postfix has been announced. Note that this release is planned to become the next official release of postfix, depending on how well it works for people.


Qt 2.0 was announced on June 25th. This is the long-promised version, with the Qt Free Edition released under the QPL Open Source license. It also includes over a year of development, many new features and substantial improvements. The document "Porting from Qt 1.x to Qt 2.0" in the Online Reference Documentation contains information on how to port an existing Qt 1.x-based program to Qt 2.0.


Here's this week's Zope summary from Amos Latteier. The big news this week, of course, was the release of ZCatalog, which provides a long-awaited and powerful searching capability to Zope sites.

Those of you waiting for the Zope folks to get their "Portal Toolkit" out of the vaporware realm might want to check out the Zope Portal Toolkit Roadmap. It gives estimates as to when the various components will be released, with the last release happening sometime in the third quarter of the year.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Cyclic drops out of the CVS support business. Cyclic Software has announced that it will stop selling support contracts for CVS - the version control system used in many, many projects. This move seems to have a lot more to do with the owner's personal goals than with problems with the business itself - this page at Cyclic claims that Cyclic was a profitable and growing business. The page also points out areas in which the business could have been improved. There may well be an opportunity there for somebody interested in picking up this line of work.

Enterprise Java Beans from Groupe Bull. Groupe Bull has released its "Enterprise Java Beans" package - a set of Java classes for large enterprise resource management tasks. Their press release states that the software will be released under an open source license; if you go to the Enterprise Java Beans web site you will find, instead, a license which is most certainly not open source. One assumes that they haven't gotten around to changing it yet...

Some information can also be found in slides from Bull's announcement presentation at the Europe-Japan Conference on Linux and Free Software.

Insight debugger source release. Cygnus will be releasing the source to their "Insight" debugger (aka "GDBtk") according to this press release. Actual availability will be some time in July.

New systems - big. Alta Technology has announced a new set of Pentium III-based cluster systems. These boxes have eight complete nodes (single or dual processor) in a single case. High-speed interconnects are available, and the boxes are "stackable" to produce larger clusters. Definitely a nice number cruncher.

New systems - small. At the other end of the scale, The Computer Underground has announced a $499 system which includes networking, sound, and speakers. "Limit two per customer."

A Linux endowed chair? Vovida Networks, Inc. is sponsoring a corporate seat for the Linux community on the International Softswitch Consortium. Linux developers can find additional information about the position and register for the seat at the Vovida Networks website. An election will be held in conjunction with the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo (San Jose) for the seat.

IBM signs another deal. Caldera Systems, Inc. and IBM have announced a joint development, marketing and support agreement to promote the Linux operating system.

Press Releases:

  • Alpha Processor, Inc. and Atipa Linux Solutions, a manufacturer of Linux workstations, servers and clusters, announced a partnership to provide more powerful, affordable and reliable Linux solutions to the enterprise marketplace.
  • BeOpen.com, the cross-platform Open Source applications company, announced the release of its fourth-generation enterprise software development and information management tools as Open Source Software.
  • EBIZ Enterprises, Inc. announced plans to introduce the first true Linux-based Personal Internet Appliance.
  • The Industry Standard published its inaugural selection of "The NET 21". Most Important Software Developer - Runner-Up: Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux.
  • IndyBox Systems, a new dual Xeon processor system.
  • Microworkz.com has a $199.00 computer with a custom-built interface based on BeOS.
  • PC Week announced the 1999 Winners' Circle awards. The Compaq Computer Corp.'s AlphaServer DS10 Linux Cluster was a finalist for Best Infrastructure Hardware and Software
  • Red Hat, Inc. announced the availability of on-site professional services.
  • Sandstorm Enterprises Inc. released the first version of TCP.demux, a TCP/IP session reconstruction utility. It runs on a wide variety of platforms, including RedHat Linux 5.1.
  • Seagate Technology, Inc. announced that its entire line of tape backup drives has been certified with Linux.
  • Silicon Graphics Inc. announced that PC users running Linux can utilize the Silicon Graphics 1600SW flat panel monitor as their display system. Linux support is now available for owners of the Digital Flat Panel Solution Pack bundle of the Silicon Graphics 1600SW monitor and the Number Nine Revolution IV-FP graphics accelerator.
  • Star Division announced the shipment of the Professional, Business, and Enterprise Editions of the StarOffice 5.1 premium office productivity suite. StarOffice 5.1 Personal Edition has been available for free to non-commercial individual users via internet download. Star Office is supported under Linux.
  • SuSE and Metrowerks team up to bring development tools to SuSE Linux.
  • Versant Corporation is offering a Linux version of its object-oriented database management system.
  • Vovida Networks, Inc. announced the first free commercial release of an MGCP (Media Gateway Control Protocol) and RTP (Real Time Transport Protocol) source code running on the Linux operating system.
  • VServers announced it will offer the Linux-based VServer RAQ2 to its product offerings using Cobalt Networks' RaQ 2 server appliances.
  • XIOtech Corp., manufacturer of the centralized storage system MAGNITUDE, announced that the MAGNITUDE now supports the Linux operating system.
  • Ziatech Corp. announced an agreement with MontaVista Software Inc. that provides an embedded version of the Linux operating system on Ziatech's CompactPCI development systems and single board computers.
  • Ziff-Davis announced that the Open Source Forum is attracting leading IT executives as evidenced by those already pre-registered.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

July 1, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

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

Linux in the news

This week's recommended reading:
  • Nicholas Petreley promises to eat his column if Bob Metcalfe does not change his mind on Linux. "Linux will continue to erode Windows momentum for the same reason that Windows stole the limelight from Unix. And this is the same reason Unix stole momentum from minicomputers and mainframes: cold, hard cash."

  • Here's a "state of Linux" article in Tech Week. "Just the fact that Raymond was invited to speak at Microsoft illustrates that the Linux movement is gaining momentum in the corporate world."

Open Source Business:

  • Here's an article in Sm@rt Reseller which looks at Eric Raymond's new paper from a reseller's point of view. "Will these paths work for you? Read Raymond's article and think about it. If nothing else, his entertainingly written piece will give you food for thought, and those thoughts may just turn into actions that will lead to profitability."

  • PC Week asks: is open source losing its innocence?. "But just as quickly as open source ascended, it may now be coming to an end. With the recent rapid success of open source generally--and Linux in particular--corporate interests have begun to loom over the movement, influencing standards, twisting licensing plans and generally co-opting many of the key principles of open source."

  • This Internet Week article talks about the economics of free software, then wanders into support service. "I remain firm in the belief that altruism does not scale very effectively and that, in time, the market will discover mechanisms whereby producers and consumers can trade value for value using money as the medium of exchange. Once these mechanisms are discovered, only hard-core ideologues will resist the siren song, after which we will look back at the quaint beginnings of the open-source software movement as we do on the noncommercial origins of the Internet."

  • The (Canadian) Globe and Mail reports on e-smith and their Linux distribution. "Although risky, there are many advantages to being an open-source company, not the least of which is that a truly mom-and-pop operation can get access to technical material and a sophisticated distribution system for free."

  • From Source Magazine: this editorial on the future of free software. "The next wave of free software needs to be not about the programmer or the power user, but the average desktop user. It's that final mile that puts commercial software companies at a distinct advantage..." (Thanks to Alexander Voinov).

The Sale of Slashdot:

  • News.com reports on the Slashdot acquisition. "The acquisition is another demonstration of the transformation in recent months of the upstart Linux operating system and of open source software from a serious hobby to a serious business proposition."

  • Wired News interviews Rob Malda about the Slashdot sale. "We want to run a Web site, so we decided to find people, and we looked around and got contacted by a lot of people to basically offload that part of our responsibility and free us up to do things we cared about."

  • Slashdot sells out says Salon Magazine. "Is Slashdot moving toward the lucrative realm of IPOs and stock options? If so, it would be surprising, considering Slashdot's fiercely independent voices and for-the-people community."

  • Here's the Industry Standard's take on the Slashdot sale. "Everynerd's favorite Web site is no longer independent. Slashdot.org, a clearinghouse of daily news, views, rants and raves about practically everything that makes techies passionate, has been bought by Andover.net, a more buttoned-down collection of news, software downloads, Web-site tools and tips."

Mindcraft Benchmark Reruns:

  • In Why Linux Will Win Dave Winer comes down on the Mindcraft benchmark rerun, and predicts a bright future for Linux. "If PC WEEK wanted to help its readers they'd design dream systems for each operating system. With a budget of $5,000, and a full-featured site to run, figure out what configuration of each system would make such a site run beautifully on today's hardware. That would be far more positive than declaring one system a winner and the other a loser."

  • PC Week has published the results of the Mindcraft benchmark rematch. As expected, NT still won decisively. The article, however, is very positive toward Linux. "...Windows NT 4.0 still beat Linux using the Apache Web server and Samba in every performance category, although the margin of victory was smaller than in Mindcraft's tests. But far more interesting is that, in all the areas in which the Linux community cried foul, its assumptions were wrong. Where kernel problems were found, fixes are already under way."

  • Penguin Computing has put out a press release challenging the Mindcraft benchmark rerun. "Imagine, for instance, that there was a test that proved that a Ford could corner better than a Chevy at 120 m.p.h. The result of such a study, while technically accurate, would not be relevant to many customers. That is just the sort of study that we have seen this week."

  • Salon Magazone reports on the Mindcraft rerun. "Torvalds ... noted that in the past, Linux developers hadn't been motivated to hack Linux specifically in order to do well on benchmark tests. But now that Microsoft is directly engaging Linux, said Torvalds, they have become extremely motivated. NT may have won this round, but the fight looks far from over." (Found in NNL).

  • Here's a ZDNet story about the Mindcraft rematch. This article focuses more on the complaints from the Linux participants, and less on fixing things for the future. (Thanks to John Hughes).

  • Several people have written in telling us that c't magazine ran a set of Linux vs. NT benchmarks of their own. But Fred Mobach wins the prize for being the first one with an actual URL, and for the article in English as well. Their results match those of Mindcraft for multiple CPU's and network adaptors, but show Linux well ahead when tested in more "real world" situations.

    A Japanese translation of this article is also available thanks to ChangeLog.net.

  • Here's another Linux vs. NT comparison; this one takes the form of an opinion piece in Information Week. "Linux/Unix has the architecturally sophisticated feature of being viewable (and manipulable) from any monitor on the network. In contrast, NT is hard-wired to a specific piece of glass. That 17-inch SVGA monitor is the one and only place from which the system can be accessed."

Business news:

  • Performance Computing's Unix Riot column checks out Linux at PC Expo. "Linux system vendors also made an appearance. Rebel.com, a new company that has licensed the image of James Dean to match its PCExpo motto, 'rebel with a cause,' showed its Netwinder 275 Internet server appliance..." (Thanks to Alberto Schiavon).

  • VAR Business has a brief article on Caldera's road tour. "IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp. are joining Caldera in the 15-city tour, which began this month, demonstrating such solutions as Oracle 8i and IBM DB2, running under Linux on IBM Netfinity servers."

  • Inter@ctive Week has an article about the new funding received by VA Linux Systems. "The added capital will help the rapidly expanding VA Linux Systems 'to meet the expectations of the growing market for Linux-based solutions,' said Larry Augustin, VA Linux Systems president."

  • InfoWorld reports on the deal between TurboLinux and Sendmail, Inc. "Besides buttressing their respective open-source initiatives, Sendmail officials think the deal helps both companies furthers the reach of their existing distribution channels in the United States and overseas."

  • Business Week interviews Robert F. Young, the chief executive of Red Hat Software Inc., in an article titled 'The Linux Missionary Who's Taking on Microsoft'. "Given Microsoft's virtual lock on the operating system market, Young felt Red Hat had no choice but to break the mold. "You have to change the rules under which the game is played," he says. And, he argues, the Internet may help Red Hat make inroads against Microsoft just as the interstate highway system enabled truckers to overtake the railroad companies."

  • Can Red Hat stay red hot? asks Business Week. They aren't convinced. "For now, all this market share isn't producing much in the way of revenue. Indeed, that may be because Linux' biggest selling point--its reliability--leads corporate users to believe they can run it without paying for support. Red Hat's largest corporate user, Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. (BCF), bought 1,250 Linux-based PCs for its 250 retail stores but didn't buy tech support." (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer).

  • Linux-related IPO's are the subject of this USA Today article. "Analyst Bob Austrian of Banc of America Securities cautions investors about rushing into Linux-related stocks. 'It is difficult to ferret out the difference between a great technology and a great investment,' says Austrian, who would not comment on any specific Linux-related companies."

  • Here's a Reuters article on Linux IPO's. "One of the risks these companies face in going public is the potential impact that an IPO boom could have on the Linux community, which is a group of eccentric developers, some of whom work on Linux in their spare time, for free."

  • Denver joins Linux bandwagon discovers the Denver Business Journal. The article is mostly about ESoft and Ecrix, to the exclusion of a number of other Linux-oriented businesses in the Denver area. "Esoft is just one of many high-tech firms in the metro area aligning themselves with Linux technology and the company believes it's a strategy that will soon pay off as this operating system is fast approaching a critical mass."

  • Sm@rt Reseller ran an article on how IBM sees Linux. "Even as IBM promises to support every major version of Linux, the vendor downplays the possibility of Linux becoming a true alternative to Windows." For some reason, they thought this article was so important they even put out a press release announcing its existence.

  • The E-Commerce Times reports on possible Microsoft plans to battle Linux. "Suppose that instead of fighting Linux, Microsoft decides to embrace it? What if Microsoft suddenly develops its own free brand of Linux and distributes it throughout its monster network? What if Bill Gates and company also decide to develop Linux desktop applications and flood the market with Microsoft-branded Linux software?"

and finally:

  • Alexander Voinov pointed out this table on Deja.com summarizing the results of their recent network operating system poll. Few people will be surprised to see which system came out on top (or which came out on the bottom, for that matter). Alexander also pointed out that, interestingly, the GNU HURD fared reasonably well, beating systems like Digital Unix and MacOS.

  • Free software really is communistic, claims this osOpinion article. "It should not be assumed that because governmental communism failed to effectively compete with capitalism while allowing the freedom of workers as envisioned by Marx, that it could not be created in the new digital economy in spite of government."

  • Performance Computing looks at Linux security tools. "It's wise to view all open-source software downloaded from public domain sites with suspicion. It is important to ensure that the downloaded software is the intended product. After all, what good does it do to download tainted security software?"

  • Robin Miller's Andover News Network Column contemplates how the operating system tends to disappear behind the applications it is running. "So, aside from the fact that StarOffice is free for personal use and Microsoft Office 2000 costs a bundle, does it really make any difference which operating system or which software package I use? Of course not. And a whole lot of people are starting to figure this out."

  • Here's an introductory article in Source Magazine. "A third benefit is stability. Linux machines typically stay up for months before needing to be rebooted, and application failures almost never crash the entire system. General Protection Faults become a thing of the past on Linux; it sure is nice not having to babysit a server!"

  • Wired News trashes Linus's talk at the Lotus Developers Conference. "Following a rapturous reception, people were soon staring at the floor, looking at their watches, and closing their eyes. In an otherwise silent auditorium, the sounds of coughing, fidgeting, stifled yawns, and whispered conversations were disproportionately amplified. Instead of a string of clever wisecracks and laughs at the expense of Microsoft, as most expected, the audience was subjected to 40 minutes of platitudes."

  • The Detroit Free Press has concluded that Linux is too hard to install and doesn't have enough applications. "But I'm not going to be hard on myself, or Linux. No one buys a PC today without an operating system already installed. Putting Windows or the Mac OS onto a blank PC would probably be just about as difficult as installing Linux."

  • We normally avoid Microsoft trial articles - they aren't Linux, after all. But this InfoWorld article about difficulties between Microsoft and Intel has a fun Bill Gates quote: "In our world, software has to be small, has to be debugged, has to ship as part of a major initiative, has to avoid compatibility problems, has to avoid end user calls."

  • Here's a strange Byte column allegedly about the culture of Linux. "There are at least six distributions of Linux worth getting excited about. This doesn't bifurcate the market for Linux; rather, it's a great deal like boxers, briefs, thongs, and assorted foundationware."

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 1, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Audio LinuxToday. LinuxToday is getting into the audio broadcast realm; they are looking for beta testers. Check it out.

Apache under attack. Conrad Sanderson's The Anatomy of a Frontal Assault on Apache describes the strategy he thinks Microsoft will take to bring about the end of the Apache web server. It is certainly a plausible scenario, worth a look.

RPM signing HOWTO updated. Dan Anderson has put together an updated version of his RPM 3.0 Signing HOWTO. RPM 3.0 (as present in Red Hat 6.0) includes a number of incompatible and undocumented changes; this HOW is Dan's attempt to fill in the information gap.


Wizards of OS. The Wizards of OS Conference on Open Source and Free Software has settled into its final form. The event will happen on July 16 and 17 in Berlin; notable participants include Richard Stallman, Tim O'Reilly, Kalle Dalheimer, and many others. Much of the event will be held in the German language.

Personal Computing Strategies Workshop. Netproject, the organizer of a couple of successful open source conferences in the UK, has organized a conference on personal computing strategies and technologies for July 15 in London. It includes a segment on Linux on the desktop.

LinuxTag 1999 summary. Here is a summary release from the organizers of LinuxTag 1999, held on June 26 and 27. The event appears to have been a success, with 7000 attendees.

Web sites

The Linux Consultants Support and Resource Center is meant to help Linux consultants learn more and do their job.

User Group News

The LUG of Jackson (MS) has announced their first Linux installfest, to be held on July 10.

July 1, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
ac3dec 0.5.0 A free Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoder for unix
AddressBook 0.4-19990626 Portable Personal Information Manager written in perl
Aegis 3.17 Transaction-based software configuration management system
aliasman.pl 0.1 A Perl program for majordomo-like management of /etc/aliases.
Alien 6.41 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
ALSA driver 0.3.2 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AlsaPlayer 0.99.20 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
Amaya 2.1 Ttest-bed browser/authoring tool of the W3C
APE 0.9 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
aperts 0.0.2 The APE class framework for Real Time Streaming
apt-find 0.6.5b2 AptFind is an ncurses interface for finding and installing packages using APT.
Arrow 1.0.5 An elegant, powerful, graphical interface to electronic mail
AS TOOL .00001 An AfterStep Configurator
asmon 0.60 Afterstep or Window Maker CPU/Load/Mem/etc Meter
asNews 0.3.3 Simple news retrieving software which shows the news on your desktop
Autonice 1.0 Automatic renice of cpu-intensive user processes
autorun 2.2 CDROM mounter for beginners and lazy users
Banner Ad Rotation Program 1.01 Sell out and manage banner ads with Perl and SSI
BetaFTPD 0.0.7 Single-threaded, small FTP daemon
binarifier 0.2 Useless command line utilities to convert strings to binary and back
bindmon 0.3 Server health monitoring + DNS failover for Linux, other Unix.
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
BladeEnc 0.80 Freeware MP3 Encoder
blink 0.4 a perl script that downloads random jpegs and draws them on your X11 display
Bluefish 0.3.1 Gtk based HTML editor
bpowerd 3.0b1 UPS line monitor daemon for Best Patriot power supplies
Buzzer Electronic Notebook 0.5 A note and to-do list program for X.
Cashcow 1.0.7 Library for clearing credit card payments with the Danish PBS system
cdplayer.app 0.7b CD player with CDDB support.
CGILua 3.2 CGILua is a tool for developing dynamic Web pages.
Clean_Mail 2.07 Scripts to help maintain mail spool files on a large system
CLPQ 0.2 Console Printer Queue Program
coda 5.2.7 Full featured network filesystem
Code Crusader 2.1.1 complete code development environment, inspired by MetroWerks CodeWarrior
Code Medic 1.5.0 UNIX Debugging Environment
cole 1.0.1 A free C OLE library
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0b4 Internet Printing System for UNIX
Cooledit 3.11.4 Full featured text editor for the X Window System
crocodiles 0.01 An ISP packet accounting management package
dbMan 0.0.9pre1 DB manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI (about 20 DBMS incl. PgSQL, Oracle, MySQL ...)
Dejafilter 0.01 Content-filtering CGI-based proxy script for Deja.com queries
DejaSearch 1.6 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
dfm 0.99.3 Filemanager like OS/2 WPS
DGen/SDL 1.15 DGen Sega Genesis emulator, ported to SDL
dhcpxd 1.0.0 An endlessly customizable DHCP client daemon
DigitalDJ 0.5 DigitalDJ is an SQL-based mp3
DirML 1.0 Directory markup language parser/interpreter
Disc-Cover 0.8 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
dopewars 1.4.3 Drug dealing game set in New York
Double Choco Latte 19990625 Software Configuration Management/Bug/Enhancement Tracking Software
DreamIrcd 3.2.2 Advanced irc server daemon with lots of enhancements
durep 0.8 Disk Usage Reporter
Edcom 990626 An easy to administer, multiuser, story posting system, written in perl5.
Eddie 1.1.0 Robust, clustering, load balancing, redundant, queueing web server frontend.
EHD 0.4 patch to util-linux-2.9r to create/use encrypted home directories
EiC 4.1.0 A bytecode C interpreter/compiler
Encrypted Home Directory 0.5 Patch to to login/losetup to create/use BLOWFISH-encrypted home directories
Ethereal 0.6.3 GUI network protocol analyzer
f/Calc 1.00 Calculate several different photographic formulae.
FastTemplate.php3 0.8 A PHP class for managing ASCII (HTML) templates.
fbsound 990623 Framebuffer waveform viewer and frequency analyzer like X11Amp
Fetchmail 5.0.5 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
FOP 0.7.2 An XSL formatter written in Java that outputs PDF
Free Pascal Compiler 0.99.12a Turbo Pascal 7.0 and Delphi II compatible 32bit Pascal Compiler
FreeMarker 1.4.8 HTML templating system for Java servlets
FreeTDS 0.45 Open Source implementation of the TDS database protocol
frequency 0.2 stylostatistical analysis tool
Ftwalk 1.5.2 General purpose high level script programming language
g3dav 0.0.3 GNU 3D Anaglyphc Viewer (need Red-Cyan glasses)
Galway 0.5.1 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
GameStalker Linux 1.03 Quake II/Quake3A Server Browser
Ganymede 0.99.3 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
gbuild 0.6 build tool to automate cvs update, compilation, and packaging
gcombust 0.1.18 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
gd 1.5 A library used to create GIF images
Generic Information Server Toolkit 1.0.1 GIST is a free tool kit for the development of interactive web sites
gengetopt 1.1.0 Easy generate a C `main' function that uses `getopt_long' to parse given options
Genpage 1.0.4 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
gentoo 0.11.8 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
gfcc 0.7.0 GTK+ firewall (ipchains)
gFTP 2.0.2 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
ghttpd 1.4 A HTTP daemon, secure, fast, efficient with CGI support
GIMP Imagemap plug-in 1.1.1 GIMP plug-in for creation of clickable imagemaps.
glFtpD 1.16.6 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
GlobeCom Jukebox 3.0final2 Music jukebox with integrated CDDB aware ripping and groupware functionality
Glove 1.0.1 Data acquisition, manipulation, and analysis program for X-Windows
GMailWatch 1.01 Mail monitor applet for GNOME Panel which displays summary of incoming mail
Gnofin 0.5.9 A simple GNOME checkbook application
GnoMail 0.0.1 GnoMail is a yet another GNOME email client.
Gnome Toaster 06-24-1999 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
gnome-core 1.0.7 GNU Network Object Model Environment
GnomePGP 0.4 Gnome frontend for PGP
GNU awk 3.0.4 a pattern scanning and processing language
GNU Privacy Guard 0.9.8 GPLed PGP replacement tool
GNU shtool 1.3.2 Shell Script Collection
Gnumeric 0.27 Spreadsheet, a new foundation for spreadsheet development, part of GNOME
good-dog 1.3 better than cat
GPeriodic 1.0.6 Periodic Table Reference and Browser
gPhoto 0.3.3 GNU Digital Camera download software
GTK MikMod 0.10c GTK interface to MikMod for Unix
Gtk::Dialog 0.5-1 (Beta 2) Simple Perl interface to create dialog boxes with Gtk
GtkPlot 2.0 2D Scientific plots widget for Gtk+
GTKtrue 0.1 The long awaited GUI to /bin/true
GTKWave 1.1.32 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
Homer Applet 0.0.3 Animated Homer for the GNOME panel
HTMLPerlSETI 0.1 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
htmlwrap 0.2 PHP3 html wrapper
hwinfo2html 0.1 Benchmark Outputs To Html File
ics.el 0.3.7alpha Emacs mode for internet chess server interactions
ija 0.1 Interactive command-line client for Deja
iODBC Driver Manager and SDK 2.50.3 Cross Platform ODBC Driver Manager
IPTraf 2.0.0 An ncurses-based IP LAN monitor
IRMP3 0.2.4 Console mp3 jukebox controllable by an IR remote control
jack 1.3.3 A console cd-ripper written in python
JChemPaint 0.3 A 2D molecular structure editor written in Java
JX 1.5.0 C++ application framework and GUI widget library for X
KBiff 2.3.9 New mail notification utility for KDE
KFibs 0.9.4 KFibs is a KDE client for FIBS.
kfstab Easy editing of /etc/fstab via KDE
khylafax 0.3.1 KDE utility to set up a Fax server with hylafax.
KJukeBox 0.3.2 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
klavg 1.1 Small KDE applet showing load average graph on the panel.
kmp_msql 0.1.0 KMySql plugin to connect to mSQL databases
KMsgModem 0.1.1 A tool to read the memory of an USR Message Modem
KMySQL 1.1.3 A MySql client for KDE.
KPackage 1.3.3 GUI interface to the RPM and the Debianpackage manager
kspaceduel 0.3.2 KSpaceduel is a two player arcade space game for KDE
ktranslator 0.5 A graphical utility that helps translating po files for GPL projects.
Kugel 2.0 Board Game - moving objects on the board and putting them into rows
K_TAG 0.2.1 An easy to use KDE based TAG editor for MP3 files.
Lexmark 2070 B/W Linux Driver 0.6 B/W 300dpi printer driver (filter) for the Lexmark 2070 inkjet printer
lftp 2.0.1 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libmcrypt 2.2.1 A library to access various encryption algorithms
libmikmod 3.1.7 Full-featured sound library
libradio 0.3.3 A simple, easy to use C library to control FM Tuner cards
LinuxGT Server Edition 1.02S FINAL Streamlined (textual install) Linux for use as a robust Server
LinuxInfo 1.1.4 Gives system information about your Linux system
Logresolve.pl 0.1 Replaces the standard logresolve application that comes bundled with Apache
lsof 4.44 List open files
LUCGI 1.2.0 CGi Library for C++
Mahogany 0.23a Powerful, user-friendly, scriptable mail/news client
mcrypt 2.2.2 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
Midnight 0.9.2 Midi/Karaoke player and C++ midi library
MigrationTools 3.19 Perl scripts for populating LDAP directories
MiniMate Administration tool for MiniVend
MM 1.0.8 Shared Memory Library
Mmucl 1.2.0 Mud client written in Tcl
mon 0.38.13 Highly configurable service monitoring daemon
moodss 7.1 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Moonshine 0.1.2 An application development environment for Linux.
Mp32SQL 0.1 Searches for mp3 files and adds them to an SQL database
MP3c 0.16 Audio-CD to MP3-Converter, with use of CDDB. Included GUI and cmdline-support
mp3tree v1.0 prints a formated dir tree showing playtime and size of all MP3s in each dir
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MSWordView 0.5.17 Microsoft Word 8 document viewer
MultiMail 0.27 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
mwhcounter 0.7 Simple web-counter written in perl
MyGuestbook 0.6.5 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
NAMG 0.0.3 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
NetInfo 1.15 Distributed directory service, includes nsswitch module
NetLeds applet 0.8.1 A gnome applet that displays lights (RX, TX and COL) from a network device.
nettest 1.2 Notifies you if your network connection goes down audibly or through email
NewsPilot 0.1 News converter for Palm* platforms, which uses the multi-page feature of iSilo
ngrep 1.31 network grep
nn 0.2 A scriptable, back-propagation neural network
NPS 1.0b1 Non-Preemtive Thread Scheduling Library
nss_ldap 2.77 LDAP Nameservice Switch Module
ODBC-ODBC Bridge Provides ODBC access from Linux to remote data sources
OpenLink Virtuoso 1.0 Virtual Database Engine enabing Heterogeneous Data Access
OpenMap 3.3.2 JavaBeans tool kit for building applications/applets with maps
pam_ldap 36 LDAP Pluggable Authentication Module
PaNtS 1.0 Allows an individual to connect an internal LAN to the Internet.
pavuk 0.9pl16 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
Perceps 3.5.0 Themable documentation generator for C++
pftp 1.0.13 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
PHP HTML-embedded scripting language
PHPGem 0.8 A generator of PHP-scripts for working with tables on SQL-servers.
PIKT 990626 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
pircd Alpha Eleven An IRC daemon, written in Perl.
PLUG 0.1 A HTML-based frontend to /var/log/messages
pppParse 0.2 pppd usage statistics log file generator
Printer Port Programming Tool 0.4 Printer Port Programming Tool
Privacy Guard Glue 19990628 A library written in C to add GnuPG support to applications.
proxyarp 0.7.3 A proxyarp daemon for linux.
pyWeather 0.1b pyWeather gets local weather info and mails it out to any given email address
QGraphi 0.3.0 Solves graph problems in a wysiwyg way
QmailAdmin 0.20 Web based interface for Qmail Administration
Qt 2.0 GUI software toolkit
quftp 0.93.4 Command line FTP client with queueing
Radius 2.1 Remote Authentication Dial In User Service
RearSite 0.75 Tool for updating personal www pages
Record Management 0.4 Program to manage large sound carrier archives (LPs, CDs, MP3s, singles, ...).
reiserfs A filesystem which stores the files themselves in a B*-tree, gaining speed.
Remote Microscope 1.0a3 Client/server system for controlling an optical microscope over the Internet
Ripenc 0.7 Bourne shell script frontend to Cdparanoia, and Bladeenc.
robomod 0.4.1 Perl sripts(s) to moderate newsgruops; multiple moderators support
RPGBoard 2.02 A WWWBoard-style message board script.
sci 0.4.6 A data entry screen builder which works from ASCII templates
Sclinet 1.0 ShoutCast Internet Radio Server Monitor
ScryMUD 1.9.9 Original MUD Server and Java Client
SDL 0.9.13 SDL is a library that allows you portable low level access for graphics/sound
Settlers 1.1 Update 2-4 player TCP/IP strategy game of expansion and trading
ShareTheNet 2.1.2 Linux router on a floppy with a Windows based setup.
Siag Office 3.1.18 Free office package for Unix
SIDPLAY 1.36.35 C64 music player and SID sound chip emulator
sitescooper 1.1 Downloads stories from various news sites and converts to text or Pilot format.
SMPEG 0.2.4 SDL MPEG player with sound
Spruce 0.4.8 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
Starmap 0.2 View a 3-D starmap from astronomical data.
stk-mysql 1.0 STk interface to MySQL databases.
Strip 0.2 Secure password and account manager for Palm Pilots.
swapd 0.3 Swapspace management daemon
swc 1.1 Simple Webpage Counter
SysWatch 1.2 Web based system watch utility
tclHTML 0.003 An HTML editor coded in Tcl/TK.
The Linux Console Tools 0.3.0 Allows you to set-up and manipulate theLinux console
The SCOOBS Context Based Search Engine A Java Based XML Search Engine that allows searching with context.
tkFTP 1.0.1 tkFTP is an FTP client completely written with the Tcl/Tk scripting language.
TkSETI 1.36 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
tksmtp 0.3 A simple SMTP client ONLY, no POP3 or IMAP, written in TCL and TK
tk_Brief 3.0 GUI for writing letters with LaTeX
TWIG 1.0.0 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
UdmSearch 2.1 Fast WWW search engine for your site
Vacation 1.0b2 A mail auto-responder
VCDKutter 0.3 Split VideoCD dat file.
VMWare 1.0.2 Allows you to run multiple OSs at the same time
Wacom Driver for XFree86 alpha 7 Wacom driver for XFree86
Webalizer 1.29-14 Web server log analysis program
WebMail 0.5.3 Web frontend for Unix system mailboxes
Welcome2L 3.04 Linux ANSI boot logo
wxPython 2.1b1 Python extension module for wxWindows
wxWindows/GTK 2.1 snapshot 7 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-Chat 1.0.0 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
xDiary 0.1.4 a program for writing a diary
Xing MP3 Encoder 1.5 MP3 encoder
Xlockmore 4.14 screen saver / locker for the X Window System
xmms-alsa 0.4.1 ALSA output plugin for xmms
xmms-midi 0.02 Midi file player plug-in for x11amp
XMMS-Solaris 0.1.2 Output plugin for XMMS to play on Solaris audio
XRacer 0.26 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XRoads v0.5 A 2D maze/shoot-em-up game for X
ypldapd 1.0FCS LDAP to NIS gateway
Zgv 3.3 graphic file viewer for VGA and SVGA displays
Zircon 1.18.217 An IRC client written in tcl/tk
Zope 1.10.3 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.
zpdb 0.8 Quake 2 Server Database with client/server query mechanism.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

It's The Linux Portaloo, courtesy of Alan Cox. It's "a one-day hack" which provides a nice, concise view of news from several sites.

Spanish-speaking readers may want to have a look at Proyecto Lucas, which claims to be the largest repository of Spanish-language Linux documentation out there.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 1, 1999



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 20:56:07 +0200
From: Toon Moene <toon@moene.indiv.nluug.nl>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: GNU Cobol

I read with some amusement the following blurb in LWN of the 24th of

> 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]

A casual reader might interpret the last sentence as meaning that the
only way to save old Cobol projects is to translate the Cobol code into

I think this a somewhat naive view on the reasons why code is
maintainable or not.

Cobol has its strengths in dealing with the processing of business
oriented data:  It supports a declarative syntax to enable complex
conversions between machine and human readable data.

Converting Cobol to C would do nothing to improve the control flow of
the programs, while making its data handling completely unreadable.

Unless the only human resource one has available is C programmers, I
would strongly discourage such a conversion.

What the world needs is a free Cobol compiler - if this is the way to
get one, even if it is not within the framework of the GNU Compiler
Collection (which would make it retargetable to other architectures than
the Intel ia32 model, among other benefits), then so be it.

Toon Moene (toon@moene.indiv.nluug.nl)
Saturnushof 14, 3738 XG  Maartensdijk, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 346 214290; Fax: +31 346 214286
GNU Fortran: http://world.std.com/~burley/g77.html
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 12:48:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: <kend@cisco.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Mindcraft Mk. II.

Well, the results are in, and we didn't win.  What do we do now?

Firstly, it's obvious that these benchmarks have shown portions of
Linux that need attention.  I am, therefore, hopeful that these failings
can be addressed quickly -- I know that several solutions are already
being bandied about.  But that still doesn't change the fact that we
actually *learned* stuff from the Mindcraft fiasco.

1) People *do* listen to the Open Source community.  The mere fact that we
were able to make them recognize how unbalanced the first test was, really
says something.

2) More interestingly, IMHO, is the fact that we learned Linux's own
weaknesses -- things we really hadn't been aware of before, or at least
_as_ aware of.

I therefore suggest that the Linux community, on its own dime, run some
sort of annual benchmark between, say, Solaris X86 or SCO (which nobody
uses, but would be good yardsticks), NT, and Linux.  The results, 
regardless of which way they lean, would be made public -- failings would
be able to be addressed, and triumphs could be crowed about.  But
regardless of the way it went, we'd *know* more.

Perhaps, even, PC Labs would be willing to run the test; I could see them
enjoying a certain amount of prestige from being the moderators, and I'm
pretty sure they have no editorial bias.  Lord knows they'd have more to
lose from biased results than Mindcraft.

We've learned a lot from the recent test -- instead of trying to ignore
it, or think of it as a single data point, let's take advantage of it, in
a way that "closed source", simply put, can't.


Ken D'Ambrosio
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 09:17:38 -0700 (MST)
From: "M. Leo Cooper" <thegrendel@theriver.com>
To: Linux Weekly News <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: MS Linux?

Amidst all the speculation and rumors about Microsoft coming out with
their own proprietary Linux distribution, it seems that no one has
considered a much more likely scenario. When the Red Hat IPO hits the
market, MS could buy up virtually all the offered stock for $100,000,000
or so (Bill could take it out of petty cash) and thus acquire a name
brand Linux, not to mention the services of the Red Hat sales and service
staff and their engineers and developers.

The question is whether MS would actually gain from this. MS had long
practiced the strategy of buying out competing proprietary products and either
incorporating them into their line or just letting them die. Liquidating a
single Linux distributor, even if it is the largest and most well-known one,
would have little long term effect on the Linux community. But, ah, the
perception of the corporate IT world, that's a different matter.


             They said, "You have a blue guitar,
             You do not play things as they are."
             The man replied, "Things as they are
             Are changed upon the blue guitar."
                  ---Wallace Stevens
        + http://personal.riverusers.com/~thegrendel/ +

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 22:12:45 -0700
From: Matt Ettus <matt@ettus.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: EE CAD on Linux story

The folks at intusoft (www.intusoft.com) are trying to gauge interest in
a Linux port of their software, which is like spice, but with schematic
capture and more features.

They already have a solaris port, and said that 200 indications of
interest would cause them to do the port.

This would be a huge help to those of us EE's trying to get our
companies converted over to Linux.

You can send mail to info@intusoft.com or see their web page,
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds