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Leading items

Security web site Packet Storm was taken off-line by Harvard University on July 1st. Packet Storm was described by SecurityPortal.com as, " gigabytes of open source and free security software, categorized in a well thought out manner. We could find nearly all the tools we needed there, from network analyzers and intrusion detection utilities, to firewalls and encryption solutions. " They covered the incident in this article, focusing on the need to share responsibility for protecting important software archives, such as Packet Storm.

A mainstream media view of the incident came from this ZDnet article, which focused on how Harvard was caught in the cross-fire between Packet Storm creator and maintainer Ken Williams and Anti-Online's John P. Vranasevich. More partisan views can be found at hackernews.com or Slashdot.

From our perspective, the good story that came out was how quickly people were able to work together to retrieve the thought-to-be-lost data from Packet Storm. Rik van Riel started a movement to find pieces of the site downloaded by various people and piece together the original site, with relatively quick success.

Harvard has now returned Ken's data, but the effort to find a new primary home for the site continues. Downloads from Packet Storm were estimated to run over 8GB per day, so the development of a good mirror system is essential and up to 50 mirrors may be required to spread the load of support for Packet Storm across the world. If you would be interested in becoming a mirror for Packet Storm, consider joining one of the packetstorm mailing lists, described here, and inform people on the list of your willingness to help.

Linux for mission-critical applications is the topic of this PCWeek article by Anne Chen. It contains two major case studies where Linux was chosen for a mission-critical application. The first was by Cendant, looking for a cost-effective way to implement an efficient hotel reservation system for its franchisees, including Ramada and Days Inn. In the second case study, oil-giant Amerada Hess saved millions of dollars by replacing an IBM SP2 system with a "parallel multiprocessor Linux solution" (can you say Beowulf?). That decision was recommended by the company geophysicists; management listened.

These are some fabulous examples of Linux moving out of the realm of web servers and ISPs, into situations where its cost-effectiveness and reliability can reap great rewards.

It seems Lotus will only come kicking and screaming into the fold after all. This article takes a look at Lotus' plan to release a Linux version of their Domino product in late 1999. However, it ends with the comment, "What Lotus won't be doing, however, is bringing the Lotus Notes client or SmartSuite Millennium Edition 9.5 office suite to Linux. Users looking to using Lotus applications on their KDE or Gnome desktops can forget about seeing Linux ports of these--at least for the immediate future. Of course, we don't know what portability or technical issues may be responsible for this lackluster response to demand for such products. If there are no such barriers, it is hard to understand why Lotus would not welcome an opportunity to bring office desktop applications to a new platform on which Microsoft applications are not yet available.

In his column from yesterday, entitled "Linux Don't Blink, Dave Winer had some encouraging words for the Linux community and some good advice for Microsoft. Actually, the advice is so good, that we hope (and expect) that Microsoft won't follow it! To sum it up, he tells them to first match our price (or at least get in the ballpark), keep their hands off the Linux community (it will only backfire) and market to developers based on their intelligence. That's powerfully good advice.

Last week, we mentioned the Free Practice Management Project, the first open source project in the Medical field for which we'd received a press release. As is not unusual, a few of our readers wrote in to point out other projects in this field that have been around longer, but received little press, including the Freemed Project, which is reported to be only a month away from a stable, usable release. Also out there in this field are LinuDent, for dental offices, and Tk_familypractice, which runs on both Linux and Windows95 and has modules for prescription management, progress notes and more.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

July 8, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Police and intelligence agencies in Britain gained new power with the passage of legislation that will allow them to require the disclosure of encryption keys or other information needed to get access to encrypted material. Although the controversial topic of key escrow did not make it into this legislation, Hong Kong police are definitely calling for the introduction of key escrow policies.

Dan Farmer and Wietse Venema will be giving a one-day seminar entitled "Dan & Wietse's Computer Forensics Analysis Class", on August 6th in Yorktown Heights, NY, USA. This free class will focus on a series of case studies and examine the information left in the wake of a security incident, on disk, memory and elsewhere. They state, "This class will be given only once. It will not be repeated, and no recordings will be made." If you are anywhere near Yorktown Heights on August 6th, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. We wish we could be there as well.

Security Reports

Chris Leishman reported a security problem with LPRng in this note. Patrick Powell responded with information on how to configure the security options in LPRng and a warning that running LPRng and any other print server SUID root is inherently insecure, due to the unreliability of the protocol used for authentication. If you are running LPRng, you will want to take a look at these posts.

Salvatore Sanfilippo reported a problem with cfingerd 1.3.2, for which Larry W. Cashdollar responded quickly with a patch, though deprecating the use of finger in general. Andreas Bogk agreed and recommend that people who insist on using finger take a look at dfingerd from David Lichteblau.

Netscape has acknowledge an SSL handshake bug in Netscape Enterprise Server that can be used to crash the server. They have made patches available.


No updates for Red Hat, SuSE, Slackware, Debian or Caldera have been posted since July 1st.


Computer Security News Dailyis a nicely organized source of links to today's security-related press articles.

Pgp 6.5.1 has been announced.

A Beta 1 version of SecureCRT 3.0 has been released.


Computer Security 99 has issued their Call-for-Participation for their event, scheduled for October 4th through the 8th, 1999, in Mexico City, Mexico.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 8, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
Secure Linux

Security List Archives
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Distribution-specific links
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel on the mirror sites is 2.3.9, though from Alan Cox's diary, it appears that 2.3.10 has been released and prepatches for 2.3.11 are already out there, apparently containing enough of Alan's patches that he didn't consider it necessary to release any ac patches for 2.3.10.

The current stable version remains at 2.2.10. Alan Cox's patches for this kernel are up to ac9. There were a lot of active reports of oopsen with the 2.2.10 kernel in the last week, but not a lot of clarity as to whether the specific causes were from hardware issues or from the kernel itself. Presumably the fact that 2.2.10 has not yet been released is an indication that no one is confident the file corruption problems have been found and resolved.

Alan enable "slab poisoning" in his patches for the 2.2.10 kernel series with his ac7 patch. To quote Alan, "The slab poisoner puts 5a5a5a5a through memory to try and trip up code that doesn't clear memory properly or uses memory that has been freed." So far, this has caught bugs in several drivers, including the ide-tape, AMD scsi and ALSA drivers. None of them were serious, but well worth squashing, nonetheless.

Discussion of albods raged on unabated this week, but no new milestones seem to have been reached.

A second topic, hotly discussed but without particular issue, was how to improve oops reporting for Linux. We mentioned last week the availability of the kmsgdump patch, to allow kernel messages to be dumped to a floppy disk. Discussion started there and moved to the question of why such dumps could not go directly to a hard disk, or more creatively, why they could not be broadcast via a network card. All of these methods seemed preferable to many to the default method of writing an oops out by hand or hooking up a serial cable. However, the concensus seemed to be that writing to a hard disk was too dangerous given the PC architecture. The ethernet option was intriguing to some people and Henning P. Schmiedeh did mention he might take a crack at the code needed to do this.

Hans Reiser asked for some documentation on the new wait.h that came with 2.3.8. Ingo Molnar responded with a list of four major changes/goals introduced into the waitqueues.

Linux access control has been a hot topic lately. One site with relevant information is http://research-cistw.saic.com/cace/, which contains descriptions of and comparisons of the different means of access control. It also has links to access control projects, such as the Domain and Type Enforcement Project. [Thanks to "Don"]

Improving large memory support was the reason for this DMA patch from H.J. Lu. Douglas Gilbert then pointed out that Jaroslav Kysela has already posted a patch for the same problem, and suggested that the two should talk.

Various patches and updates released this week:

  • H.J. Lu's knfsd patch is up to version 1.4.4 and he has also released an updated spec file for it, per request.

  • devfs 113 from Richard Gooch is out, along with a backport of the patch to the 2.2.X kernel series, provided by Zoltan Balaton.

  • A patch to add hw_addr to /proc/net, was posted by Martin Neumann.

  • DVD read-write support for the Panasonic DVD-RAM was enabled by this patch from Nathan Laredo.

  • A patch to put old-style F_EXLCK locking back into the 2.2.X kernel series was released by David Parsons, for those still working with a.out programs.

  • Matthias Welwarsky announced he had rewritten AX.25 support for the 2.3.9 kernel.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 8, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


We mentioned the Hard Hat Linux distribution for embedded systems from Montevista Software, Inc., last week. Unfortunately, it seems there is a conflict over the use of the name. Hard Data Ltd, a Canadian company, has been distributing a version of Linux called "Hard Hat Linux" for its customers for nearly two years. It is unfortunate to see community members become at loggerheads over such issues. Perhaps they could consider splitting the name between "Hard Hat Linux" and "Hard Hat Embedded Linux", with links between the two sites to redirect people coming to the wrong site. We did contact Montevista for their side of the story, but did not receive a response.

The Laetos Project aims to develop an end-user-friendly distribution based on GNU/Debian Linux. More information is available on their website.

Stormix Technologies sent us this press release about their new distribution, Storm Linux, for which they've made available a pre-release (alpha) version. No URLs for Storm Linux were provided, though we've contacted them and hope to get more information in the near future.


This week's Debian Weekly News is now available. It covers the impact of the perl 5.005 package on Debian, the new mailing list, debian-release, a summary against the proposed move of non-free and contrib and pointers to a long discussion about the relationship between Debian maintainers and their upstream developers.


Enoch 0.6 has just been released. Enoch is geared towards high performance, providing pgcc-optimized builds for Intel Pentium, Pentium Pro/II/III and AMD K6 series processors.


The Linux Mandrake team has happily announced the availability of a Mandrake download site with all strong encryption in Sweden. This is the beginning of their plans to develop more mirrors (outside the US) in the near future.

Yellow Dog Linux

YDL Champion Server 1.1 will be debuted at this month's MacWorld NY. Yellow Dog Linux is a PowerPC-specific Linux distribution. This latest release extends hardware support from Apple PowerPCs, through the new PowerBook G3s to some IBM RS/6000s. It will run the 2.2.6 kernel, and up-to-date packages for KDE, Gnome and more.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 8, 1999

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

Lists of Distributions
Woven Goods
Known Distributions:
Bad Penguin Linux
Bastille Linux
Best Linux (Finnish/Swedish)
Black Cat Linux (Ukrainian/Russian)
Caldera OpenLinux
Chinese Linux Extension
Complete Linux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
eXecutive Linux
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
Storm Linux
Vine Linux
Yellow Dog Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools

Breaking the arbitrary boundaries normally imposed on items for this section, Minotaur 0.1 has been announced. It is a generalized extension that allows you to run Python scripts from Tcl, Tcl scripts from Perl, Perl scripts from Python, etc. "Minotaur works by loading the appropriate shared library into another script language's context. So, for example, running Tcl from Python means that the Python main program imports the Minotaur extension, which in turn loads the Tcl libraries - thus Tcl becomes "embedded" into the Python runtime environment (which is similar to embedding Tcl in a normal C program). As involved as that sounds, performance is already surprisingly good, and the capability is turning out to be quite useful. This is an alpha release and should be treated as such.


Version 0.3.2 of the Java-based game, humanoid, has been released.


Guy Kawasaki (formerly of Apple) and Sun's Bill Joy will be keynote speakers at The Perl Conference in August (part of the O'Reilly Open Source Conference. More information, including talk titles, is available at the Perl News for July 7th, 1999.

Welcome to CPAST, Comprehensive Perl Arcana Society Tapestry states the new perl history site. The primary resource on the site so far (besides poetry) is the Perl Timeline.


Updated Python documentation for Python 1.5.2 has been announced and is available at http://www.python.org/doc/.


SmallInterfaces brings the idea of interfaces explicitly into Smalltalk.


Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 8, 1999



Development projects

Front Page

Front Page for Linux? Wouter Liefting pointed out that a Linux version of Front Page 4.0 appears to be available.


This week's Gimp Kernel Cousin reports on the Gimp Help Browser, which has just been committed to the CVS for inclusion in upcoming Gimp releases, a problem with menu thumbnails and a patch for a new bell-and-whistle: drag and open.


Havoc Pennington's Gnome Summary for June 28 - July 4 is now available. It includes pointers to Gnome buttons from Ville Ptsi, a list of new features in the file manager, a new pager applet called Desk Guide and more.

LinuxPower now has out a new Bi-Weekly Report on Gnome.

LinuxToday has an audio interview with Miguel de Icaza available.

High Availability

Version 0.4.1 of Alan Robertson's Heartbeat code is out. It contains code from Volker Wiegand for monitoring and controlling heartbeat via /proc. He mentions that the new code is not yet stable or recommended for any but the brave.


An update to magic point 1.05a has been released, containing performance enhancements and some memory leak fixes that caused crashes under Linux.


Several new developments are highlighted in this week's Midgard Weekly Summary and it appears that Midgard 1.1 may make it out later this week. For more information on the Midgard web development platform, check the homepage for Midgard.


Here's this week's Zope summary from Amos Latteier. There are plans to make Zope work better with the Python Imaging Library and OpenGL. Martijn Pieters posted a patch to allow customizing tree tag decoration.

You can also read a press release posted by Paul Everitt detailing how Digital Creations and UserLand are making Zope and Frontier play nicely together.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Last week we ran a press release about EBIZ Enterprises' Linux-based Personal Internet Appliance (Pia). This press release is about their plans to market the $199 device through Internet service providers. Prodigy has already signed up to promote the Pia. (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

EBIZ Enterprises, Inc. and Onsale, Inc. announced the launch of The Linux Brand Store, demonstrating the growing acceptance of and demand for the Linux operating system. TheLinuxStore is located on Onsale's atAuction web site.

Actiontec Electronics now supports Linux across an entire line of modems and PC card readers. Actiontec will provide comprehensive, broad-based support of Linux throughout its entire range of modems and desktop computer PC Card readers. See the press release for more information.

Olicom Inc. announced broad support for the free Linux operating system across its entire line of Token Ring, Ethernet and ATM network interface cards.

Penguin Computing announced Quad Xeon systems utilizing Intel 550 Mhz Processors. The Quad Xeons, like all Penguin Computers, run only Linux and are now the fastest Quad Xeon systems available.

Penguin Computing also announced 2U Rackmount Systems with four hot-swappable hard drives. These systems run only with the ultra-reliable Linux operating system.

Here is a press release about the Microcontroller Linux Project. The uClinux (pronounced you see Linux) provides Embedded Linux for almost any device. Just as Linus Torvalds predicted, Linux targeted for embedded systems is now a reality.

CAD-UL now offers an embedded-centric C/C++ toolkit for Linux development on PC hosts. See the press release for more information.

Linux and GNU Certification is now available. See this press release for more details on Certification by Sair through Sylvan Prometric facilities worldwide.

Toshiba now offers Linux support service in Japan. The support is similar to that offered by NEC and Hitachi, but with some additions aimed at developers. Here is the service's web site (in English). (Thanks to Maya Tamiya)

Press Releases:

  • Apple announced the latest update to its QuickTime Streaming Server, version 1.0.1, which doubles performance to 2,000 concurrent streams and adds localized versions in French, German and Japanese. The Apple Open Source Streaming Server code has been updated to support Linux on Intel-based systems.
  • Honeywell, a leader in access control security systems, and Unify Corporation, a provider of Internet application server solutions, announced that Unify VISION and Unify DataServer for Linux have been selected to develop the next generation WSE NexSentry Command Center product.
  • Photodex Corporation released the first public beta of its CompuPic Digital Content Manager for Linux. It also announced availability of the first of a range of open source shell utilities for the Linux community.
  • Here is a press release on the sale of Slashdot.
  • Spatial Inc. announced version 5.2 of ACIS 3D Toolkit with support for Red Hat Linux.
  • TurboLinux is offering a workstation version of Linux designed for ease of installation and office productivity.
  • Vitech America, Inc. and ITC.net announced completion of a co-marketed installation of wireless Internet device. The website cache administration is on Linux.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

July 8, 1999


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

Linux in the news

This week's recommended reading includes articles with differing points of view:
  • Bob Metcalfe apologizes for fanning flames with comments about the 'Open Sores Inititive', but he writes W2K will still beat Linux. "Nicholas Petreley routinely defends underdog OSes. He responded to my Linux/OSI attack last week. Petreley trusts me to change my mind about Linux if facts warrant. He knows that deep down, I'm rooting for Linux, or any OSnic group that gives Microsoft a run for its money, especially after next year's antitrust breakup."

  • Then there's another point of view. "The Unix vs. NT war is getting old!", says this OS Opinion article. "The NT rage is just that, a fad for eager-beaver CIO's and others with purchasing power to flaunt their obvious lack of knowledge. 'Gee, Dick over in ABCD, Inc. has migrated from Unix to NT and has no regrets, so I guess I should, too. After all, I run this show, not the serf SYSADMINs down in the basement.'"

  • A comparison of Linux and BSD systems from Daemon News provides a well-balanced look, from the BSD perspective, as to how Linux and BSD systems support and interact with each other. "The symbiotic relationship between Linux and the BSDs is one that is not acknowledged or discussed often enough." [Thanks to Joe Orton]

  • An opinion piece published by LinuxToday comments on the relationship between the Linux community and the Linux industry. "What is necessary is that the Linux community grow the Linux industry in an organic form, like a vine producing leaves and berries."

More Linux - Microsoft comparisons and more differing viewpoints:

  • Yet another group has stepped into the NT vs Linux testing circle. Mary Jo Foley from Smart Reseller reports that a third-party testing lab run by Neal Nelson & Associates is planning a suite of tests for September. Although this benchmark, as well, is open for participation from Microsoft and the open-source community, opinion appears to be mixed on whether or not Microsoft will be willing to participate in these tests. "A Microsoft spokesman, meanwhile, claimed the company has no plans to participate on the panel or the benchmarking tests itself." [Brigitta Shore]

  • And speaking of the Mindcraft benchmarks that have already been done, Segfault has an amusing, is slightly vituperous response. "Finally, you declare victory. You have conclusively shown that NT is the vastly superior platform for doing nothing of consequence at absolutely obscene prices. With the all good conscience, you can now send out a Press Release to the world that proudly states: NT Does Nothing Better Than Linux".

  • More Benchmarks? This ZDnet article doesn't think they're needed. " ..some open source companies say they are gun-shy to be part of yet another benchmark--or, as some call it, benchmarketing--exercise."

  • Does Intel walk a tightrope between Microsoft and Linux? That's the focus of this E-Commerce Times article. "Anand Chandrasekher, Intel's workstation products division general manager, told the Associated Press Tuesday that Intel's continued commitment to Microsoft doesn't undermine Intel's relationship with Linux users."

  • This osOpinion editorial compares Windows and Linux from a programmers perspective. "If [I had] to choose an OS for an airplane, I'd program in Linux. If I had to write a program for a clueless user, I would choose Windows."

Business news:

  • The Internet nurtures Linux proclaims CNN in this article reporting back from the Open Source Forum in Texas. "'We want to manage the cost of desktop operations and increase stability,' says Gene Dickamore, business systems manager for Arup Labs, a medical reference laboratory. 'I'm seeing major changes in how you develop software, and this open-source OS may be real.'"

    In this older CNN article, Competition keeps Linux lean, which we seemed to have missed when it first came out, author Joe Barr talks about the positive side of the "bickering" some people see in the Linux community: competition and the advantages that competition brings. "Name a topic and it's up for debate. That's just the way it is. Linux people have opinions of their own and they aren't known for being shy about expressing themselves. Which can get a little disheartening if you worry, as many do, about not presenting a united front against the forces of the Windows juggernaut.

    But it's only disheartening until you understand that the noise you're hearing in these debates is the victory bell, the secret sauce, the very reason Linux is gaining on (and in some cases, overtaking) that once invincible, still heavily entrenched, but now no longer cool OS from Redmond. It's called competition. [for both articles, thanks to John Caulfeild]

  • "Linux is at least getting a second look", according to this PC World article. "The need to increase Internet operations is making Linux attractive to some companies because of its low cost, stability, and easy modification, says Ransom Love, president and chief executive officer of Caldera Systems, which distributes Linux."

  • Red Herring did not give Red Hat Software an award for best private company. "Finally, we balked. Our top private company must be more than the leading representative of an important trend. It must also have a business model that could make its investors rich."

  • More companies offer support for Linux applications, says this CNN article. "While HP and IBM are promising to support their Linux-compatible offerings, other companies are making support a key piece of their products. Linux distribution companies including Red Hat Software, SuSE, and Caldera, package, install, and support Linux. Meanwhile, others, like Linuxcare, avoid distribution and concentrate solely on providing service and support to Linux users."

and finally:

  • CNN has an introductory article about setting up secure Linux systems. "While advanced security can be difficult to implement, a great deal can be achieved by taking the simple steps of knowing what you're running and disabling services you aren't sure about. Even small sites and single Linux systems can take steps to reduce the risk and harden their security protection."

  • This story from The Register looks at an MS press piece on ZDNet and wonders if it's for real. Not because of what it says, but rather because of the comments it generated. "... humorously, down in the Talkback discussion section at the bottom of the ZD story, waves of apparently ordinary users are denouncing Microsoft; you have to get quite a way down the list before you get to a plaintive suggestion that maybe the story is on the receiving end of a coordinated attack by Linux hit-teams."
    (Thanks to Ted Ede)

  • Darren Remington has a new web site called Darren's Penguin Habitat. The site will contain articles about Linux. The first offering is introductory, meant for people who don't know much more about Linux than the name. "Is Linux relevant? Unless you have been a techno-ostrich with your head in the cybersand, you have probably heard the term Linux (rhymes with cynics.)"

  • PC World calls Linux the 'Most promising software newcomer'.

  • An introductory article on Linux appeared in Germany's Econy magazine (in German). [Lenz Grimmer]

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

July 8, 1999


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



The Why you shouldn't use Microsoft Products website is looking for a new maintainer. Check out this note from the current maintainer for more details.


Open Source/Open Science. Brookhaven National Laboratory is organizing a one day conference on the use of open source software in scientific research. Here's a pre-announcement. A full announcement/conference web page will follow shortly.

Job Openings

A Senior Linux Research and Development Engineer is being sought by Inprise, to work on their Delphi for Linux project.

July 8, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
ac3dec 0.5.2 A free Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoder for unix
acmemail 2.0 acmemail is a single-user POP3 to Web gateway with full MIME support
active 1.20 news, events and projects on the web
Adventure++ 1.0.0 A text-based game creator.
AlsaPlayer 0.99.21 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
ansi2gif 0.9.9 convert BBS ansi into gif files. Animations and Blinking supported.
APC Log Analyser 1.01 Generates HTML output of power disturbances from APCUPSD logs.
APE 0.9.1 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
aperts 0.1.1 The APE class framework for Real Time Streaming
asmutils 0.03 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
asNews 0.3.5 Simple news retrieving software which shows the news on your desktop
asp2php 0.70a Converts Active Server Pages (ASP) to PHP3 scripts
ASV Bible Viewer V0.1 V0.1 Text of ASV Bible and viewer program.
Babelj 0.1 Language server for Java. Also a bridge between PHP3 and Java.
bison 1.28 GNU Project parser generator (yacc replacement)
BladeEnc 0.81 Freeware MP3 Encoder
BlueLava v0.1 A CGI-based x10 interface for home automation, etc
boclient 1.3.0 BackOrifice and NetBus remote administration client
Bookmark Daemon v0.5 Bookmark server.
BottleRocket 0.03a command-line X10 FireCracker control software for Linux
Caitoo 0.6.4 KDE app to get files from the internet
Catalog 1.00 Build, maintain and display Yahoo! like resources catalogs.
cdplayer.app 0.9 CD player with CDDB support.
CDR-Toaster 1.00 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
CGI-NoFlood 0.01 Perl CGI massive calls detector
Coin alpha 3D graphics library with Open Inventor API
CompuPic 4.6 build 999 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
Cooledit 3.11.4 Full featured text editor for the X Window System
CrashMail II 0.5 Fidonet tosser for *.msg and JAM
crocodiles 0.01-patch2 An ISP packet accounting management package
curnel 1.0 Download latest stable/beta Linux kernel without knowing the version
CybOrg 0.1 Web-based backoffice application suite
CYCAS 1.93 CYCAS 1.93 Preview
dagrab 0.3.1 Extracts digital audio from CD and stores it in WAV files (incl CDDB)
Dante 1.1.0-pre1 Free socks v4/5 implementation
DejaSearch 1.62 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
Delay 1.3 Delay is like sleep, but with a count of time left.
demcd 2.0.2 CDPlayer for Linux
Diary.py 0.7 Diary is a simple journal program to record daily events, etc.
Disc-Cover 0.8.1 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
discoverb 0.1 helps you to learn foreign words and definitions
dnsutl 1.5 DNS administration utilities
Downtime 2.1.0 Network monitor, watches your connection, and logs downtime.
DrDevil/ircd 1.0 Modification of ircd to give opers limitless power
EasyGTK 1.1.2 Wrapper library for GTK
Edcom Pre1.2 An easy to administer, multiuser, story posting system, written in perl5.
eEMU 2.3 Enterprise Event Management and Monitoring Utility
Enhydra 2.1 An open Source Application Server
Enoch 0.6 An Advanced, Highly-Optimized GNU/Linux
erwin 0.10 GTK html editor
F-CULT 1.0.0b File Collector's Universal Listing Tool
ffingerd 1.22 Secure finger daemon for Unix
Firewall Manager 2.0 Graphical interface for Firewalls
FOP 0.8.0 An XSL formatter written in Java that outputs PDF
FORGE JCE Provider 1.22 A free JCE 1.2 crypto provider that gives RSA key services
FORUM 1.1 pre1 Another PHP3/Mysql forum with some nifty features
fphdb 0.0.5 Printing Business Job, Ordering, and Inventory Management Application
FTP Logger 1.2.2 Beta Perl(CGI) WU-FTPD log analyzer for WEB
Galway 0.7.1 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
Gamora 0.71.0 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
GATOS 0.0.4 ATI-TV software for Linux.
gauntlet-0.1.1 0.1.1 A system security configuration and inventory tool
GazOS 990629 Protected mode OS kernel with source code, all drivers built in.
gcombust 0.1.18 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
gd 1.5 A library used to create GIF images
gEdit 0.5.4 GTK+ based text editor
GeneWeb 2.04 A combo web interface and genealogy program combined on steroids
Genius 0.4.4 An arbitrary precision integer and multiple precision floatingpoint calculator
gfontview 0.3.0 Font Viewer
gFTP 2.0.3pre1 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
gIDE 0.1.3 Gtk-based Integrated Development Environment for C
gimp-python 0.4 A package that allows you to write gimp plugins in python
gmysql 0.3.3 A GTK+ front-end to MySQL databases
Gnofin 0.5.10 A simple GNOME checkbook application
GnomeICU 0.65 Formerly GtkICQ, now Gnome Internet Communication Utility
GnomePM 0.1.2 GNOME equivilent of the Yahoo! (C) Java Portfolio Manager
gntedit 0.0.1 GTK+ NES Tile Editor
GNU pth 1.0b3 GNU Portable Threads
GNU shtool 1.4.1 Shell Script Collection
GNUBar 0.2.2 Bar code generator
good-dog 1.4 better than cat
GPeriodic 1.1.1 Periodic Table Reference and Browser
gPhoto 0.3.4 GNU Digital Camera download software
GQmpeg 0.6.3 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
GQview 0.7.0 X11 image viewer for the Linux operating system
Grip 2.5 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
gsysinfo 0.8 a system monitor for the gnome panel
gtaskman 0.03 A process manager for X using GTK+
GTExplorer 0.2 A game theory visualization tool
Gtk::Dialogs 0.6-1 (Beta 3) Simple Perl interface to create dialog boxes with Gtk
GtKali 0.9.0 Gtk+ interface to Kali.
gtkctrlaltdel 0.2 GTK+ frontend to CTRL ALT DEL key kombination
GTKeyboard 0.9 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
gtkfind 1.0 GTK+ version of find(1)
GTKWave 1.1.36 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
GTKYahoo 0.16 GTK based Yahoo! Pager client
gtml 3.31 An HTML pre-processor specially designed for maintaining web sites.
gView 0.1.8 GTK/ImLib Image Viewer
Hacked GTK engines 0.5 hacked gtk-engines is a replacement for the pixmap engine
HTML::DynamicTemplate 0.94 Flexible and dynamic HTML template class
HTMLPerlSETI 0.2 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
HtmlXtract redhog.0 Extracts parts from, removes parts from and replaces parts in HTML documents.
hwinfo2html 0.2-pre2 Benchmark Outputs To Html File
IBTK 0.0.14-pre2 Basic self-contained no-frills toolkit for Xlib.
id3ed 1.9 ID3 tag editor for mp3 files. Interactive and command line modes.
Ija 0.2 Interactive command-line client for Deja
ImageMagick 4.2.8 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
IPPS 1.0 TCP/IP Port Scanner
irssi 0.7.12 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
ISC DHCP 3.0b1pl0 Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Client and Server implementation
isp-watcher 1.05 A perl script which monitors lines at an ISP for disconnects.
Jetty 2.2.0 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
jivesyslog 1.3.31 A silly version of syslog.
Jmol 0.5 Java/Swing-based molecular dynamics viewer
jpilot 0.91 Palm pilot desktop software for Linux
kdcpi 0.0.3 Program to download pictures from a Kodak DC200/DC210 Digital Camera
KeyKit 6.5a A MIDI language with GUI and customizable tools written in the language itself
KFibs 0.9.5 KFibs is a KDE client for FIBS.
KHexEdit 0.8.0 Versatile binary file editor for KDE
Kife 0.2 Frontend for Kinstall data base
Kinstall 0.3.1 Program installator from source
KMySQL 1.1.4 A MySql client for KDE.
KPackage 1.3.4 GUI interface to the RPM and the Debianpackage manager
KuickShow 0.6.5 A fast, comfortable and easy-to-use image viewer/browser
KVEC 2.47 A tool that can vectorize images using several graphic formats
LAME 3.13 open source MP3 encoder and graphical frame analyzer
latencytest 0.41 benchmarks scheduling latencies (of audio apps) during high system load
libmmoss 2.1 Provides Java sound in Linux version of Netscape Communicator
libRPG 0.1.0 A library for making RPG/Adventure games.
Libsigc++ 0.8.2 Callback framework for C++
Libtool 1.3b GNU libtool is a generic library support script
LiCe4 4.0.3 Fully functional script for EPIC4, with excellent userlist functions.
Linux Backup 0.1 A small utility to backup files
Linux Memory Technology Device project 990108 Support for Flash and RAM devices under Linux
Linux-HA 0.4.1 Heartbeat subsystem for High-Availability Linux project
Listar 0.124a Modular Mailing list management software
Logresolve.pl 0.2 Replaces the standard logresolve application that comes bundled with Apache
lpe 1.2.2 Small, fast console mode programming editor
mGSTEP 0.138 An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
mg^2 0.1.11 Truespace work/look alike 3D modeler using Gtk and OpenGL
Midnight Commander 4.5.35 Unix file manager and shell
MikMod 3.1.6 Multi-platform open-source module player
MM 1.0.9 Shared Memory Library
MM.MySQL 1.2b JDBC Drivers for MySQL
Modulef 99 Modular finite element library
mod_auth_ldap 0.5 LDAP authentication module for Apache web server (http://www.apache.org/).
mod_perl 1.21 Brings together the fullpower of Perl and the Apache HTTP server
Moonshine 0.1.3 An application development environment for Linux.
MP3 Requester 0.8 php / mysql requesting front end to shout ( icecast )
MP3c 0.16 Audio-CD to MP3-Converter, with use of CDDB. Included GUI and cmdline-support
MP3SQL v1.0.0.1 Indexes your MP3 with MP3tags into an SQL database
mpstat 0.0.8 Helps monitoring SMP machines
Muddleftpd 1.1 alpha1 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
MyGuestbook 0.6.6 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
MySQL 3.22.24 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
Naken Chat 1.06 Chat Server ported from Javachat
NAMG 0.0.4 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
nbench 2.1.0 Byte CPU benchmark
ne 1.17 A free editor easy to use for the beginner, but powerful for the wizard
neshdr 1 Writes NES headers in iNES format
NetLeds applet 0.8.1 A gnome applet that displays lights (RX, TX and COL) from a network device.
NetPipe 1.0.0 (Beta) Tool to broadcast data within a network
nget 0.6 auto-resuming command line nntp file grabber
nis-utils and pam_keylogin 1.0b NIS+ client and server programs
Oracletool 0.90 A web based tool for Oracle DBA's written in Perl.
ORBit 0.4.91 Thin/fast CORBA ORB
Pagecast 1.0.1 Automates submitting lists of URL's to various Internet search engines.
Panorama 0.13.1 Framework for creating, rendering, and processingthree-dimensional images
pavuk 0.9pl17 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
pcmcia-cs 3.0.13 Card Services for Linux is a complete PCMCIA or ``PC Card'' support package.
PDAddUser .01 Tool for adding large amounts of users easily from simple text lists
pgppipe 1.0 Allows encrypting a stream with IDEA.
PHP Cyrus-Tools 1.0.1 Webtools for the cyrus imapd written in PHP3
PHPGem 1.0 A generator of PHP-scripts for working with tables on SQL-servers.
PHPGen 0.6 Small PHP-script for generating PHP frontends to MySQL Databases
phpMyAdmin 2.0.2 Handles the basic adminstration of MySQL over the WWW
PIKT 990704 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
Pingus 0.1.1 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pk 0.8.15 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
pmail 1.0R Perl mail program/scripts
Pop Notifier 1.0 Small C program to notify a user when mail arrives
Powertweak-Linux 0.1.0 System performance enhancer.
pppParse 0.3 pppd usage statistics log file generator
privtool 0.90 Beta GT008 Sun mailtool replacement with PGP support
pstack 0.5.2 Dump call stacks of active processes
Public Bookmark Generator 0.3.1 Generate a public bookmark (selected items) out of your bookmarks
Q10 0.1 A basic Qt GUI for manipulating X10's Firecracker devices
QtEZ 0.79.3 Qt based rapid application development environment
quftp 1.0 Command line FTP client with queueing
QuIRC 0.9.78 X IRC client written in C++ with full Tcl/Tk scripting.
Qvwm 1.0.2 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
R 0.64.2 A language and environment for statistical computing.
RadioActive 0.6 Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
Random line selector 1.0 Selects random line from STDIN
REalizer 0.1 Python regular expression tester
RearSite 0.80 Tool for updating personal www pages
reiserfs A filesystem which stores the files themselves in a B*-tree, gaining speed.
Reverse Pimpage Revision 2 Gives access to boxes behind firewalls from outside the firewall
ripperX 0.97 A graphical interface to cdparanoia and 8hz-mp3
rotfl 0.5.8 simple text formatting language
RPGBoard 2.03 A WWWBoard-style message board script.
RPM Builder 0.5-2 Visual RPM Packager
SampLin 1.4 beta Scientific Data Acquisition, Visualization and Process Controlsoftware
sci 0.5.1 A data entry screen builder which works from ASCII templates
SClient 0.7.0 Mud Client for X windows
SDL 0.9.13 SDL is a library that allows you portable low level access for graphics/sound
Secure Locate 2.0 Secure version of the GNU locate program
Siag Office 3.1.20 Free office package for Unix
SMDI 0.0.2 SMDI serial and TCP session protocol as APE library
snes9express 1.19-2 Gtk GUI front-end for snes9x
SNiFF+ 3.1 An open, extensible and scalable cross-platform programming environment
SoundTracker 0.1.7 A music tracker for X / GTK+
spec-gen 0.0.5 simple spec file generator
spoon 0.1 Parallel execution of command batches for SMP machines
Starmap 0.3 View a 3-D starmap from astronomical data.
Sula Primerix II 0.07.13pre4 Extensible multi-server IRC Client for X
susi - the simplified user interface 0.1 An easy user-interface management
svgalib 1.4.0-pre-19990705 Low-level graphics library that provides VGA and SVGA modes in a console
SysWatch 1.3 Web based system watch utility
TAON 0.6 Fancy sound editor for x86 linux, supports plugins
Terraform 0.3.4 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Comic Book Database for Linux 0.7.2 Comics helps you keep track of almost every facet of you comic book collection.
The Witty CD Player 0.0.2 CD Player with oversampling
TIC 1.01 Lossless document image compression
TiK 0.74 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
tkchooser 0.62pre1
TkFM 1.0.1 Tcl/Tk File Manager
tkMOO-light 0.3.20 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
tk_Brief GazOS 990629 GUI for writing letters with LaTeX
TOAD 0.42.19 C++ GUI library
Toolbox 0.4.3 a gtk-based graphical configuration utility for the blackbox window manager.
TWiki 01 Jul 1999 Web based collaboration tool
UAE 0.8.9 Software emulation of the hardware of theCommodore Amiga 500/1000/2000
URBAN 1.5.2 A nice shoot-'em-up game for Linux and DOS, lots of blood and gore.
User Tools Suite 1.0 Local User Admin. Tools that simplify user management.
util-linux 2.9t Miscellaneous system utilities
VCDKutter 0.4 Split VideoCD dat file.
vpnd 1.0.7 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
vRouter 0.02 vRouter is an experimental open-source IP-network simulator
wdm 1.16 xdm replacement
Web Photo Album 0.1 Automatic web photo album.
WebAlbum 0.3 A perl script which produces html photo albums.
Webalizer 1.30-02 Web server log analysis program
WebFetch 0.07 Perl5 module infrastructure to export and retrieve news for web display
whatsnew 0.1 CGI/cron combo to check for updates on sites. full web interface.
Window Maker Theme Install 0.21 Window Maker theme installation program written in Gtk
Wine 990704 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wmciv 0.2 A small dockapp to launch Freeciv games.
wmlan 1.1 3Com LanModem (tm) Status Monitor for Window Maker
WMmhcheck 0.07 Window Maker applet to display number of messages in your mailboxes
Worm Zone 1.33 Worm Zone is a multi-player worm game with Linux, win32 and DOS ports available.
WSoundPrefs 1.1.0 WMSound Server Configuration Utility
WSoundServer 0.1.0 Sound Server for Window Maker
X-Chat 1.1.1 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-ISP 2.6-pre11 X11 and XForms based visual interfaceto pppd and chat
xdisa64 0.1 A nintendo 64 rom file disassembler
XEBOT 0.4.02 Visual GUI application builder and self contained execution environment
XMMS-Solaris 0.1.4 Output plugin for XMMS to play on Solaris audio
XNotesPlus 3.2.2 Sticky notes with PalmPilot interface, envelope printer, projects, etc.
XRacer 0.38 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
Xref-Speller 1.0.0 Source browsing and advanced editing packege for C and Java, Emacs and XEmacs.
XSIDPLAY 1.3.8 C64 music player and SID sound chip emulator
zdisk 1.35 Create floppy boot/rescue system with kernel of choice.
ZMech 1.0.02 State machine development tool

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

Information on a project to create a generic Linux subsystem for memory devices, especially Flash devices, now has its own website. They've also got information on M-Systems' Disk-On-Chip 2000 which has some serious problems with its current driver, including a possible GPL violation.

Over a year ago, in February of 1998, we mentioned the SANE project as one of our first "Links of the Week". SANE, or Scanner Access Now Easy is still an essential resource for anyone wanting to use a scanner with Linux. They are up to version 1.01 and are due major kudos for the service they've done for the community.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 8, 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.
From: Brett Viren <bviren@superk.physics.sunysb.edu>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 18:13:06 +0900 (JST)
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Difficulty of installation.

LWN mentions a Detroit Free Press article.  I requote your excerpt:

   "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."

This got me thinking.  In my experience it is quite trivial to install
Linux on a blank PC (especially with our modern day distributions'
install methods).  What is the most challenging part is actually
installing Linux on what was previously a Windows only machine such
that Windows is kept around.

It is ironic that one of Linux's largest criticisms is due to trying
to play nice with one of Linux's largest competition (using that word

It would be nice if the folks in Microsoft would give as much
consideration to Linux and create an OS which doesn't, for example,
heavy handedly overwrite the MBR (LILO's usual resting spot) in order
to install.

From: nride@us.ibm.com
To: letters@lwn.net
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 10:52:00 -0600
Subject: Assorted Benchmarks

In the midst of all the howling about the assorted benchmarks from Mindcraft and
PC Labs, I think people have missed something rather important. The benchmarks
are highlighting several areas where Linux could be better. We're getting a lot
of excellent information on how to make this OS faster and better. I propose
that we need more benchmarks, not less. We don't want benchmarks because we're
playing Microsoft's game. We want benchmarks to highlight potential kernel and
server issues. Issues that, once they come to light, will be fixed in a matter
of hours.

I propose also that we need to implement different types of benchmarks for
things that aren't normally measured today. Things like stability. We don't want
increases in speed if the trade off is a decrease in stability. So we need some
good stability benchmarks. Say, beat on the servers over the network and see if
they can survive. That sort of thing.

Bruce Ide


Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 13:54:41 -0700
From: Tim Hanson <tjhanson@tscnet.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Mindcraft

I take exception to your paragraph on the Microsoft / Mindcraft fiasco. 
Your introspection is admirable I suppose, but it brings to mind the
finding of purpose and meaning and important lessons to be learned after an
attack by a Great White.

Why do you suppose Microsoft advertizes for people who know Linux to lead
Linux strike teams, to make the best gosh darn products with which to
compete?  I don't think so.  It wouldn't surprise me that M$ knew all along
how Linux would do best case, with the guys from Red Hat doing the tuning,
and staged the whole thing, including the first tests to get us making
noise for them.  We just followed their script.

Maybe Linux advocates aren't up to dealing with one of this century's most
egregious commercial predators, the product of an individual agnostic to
any principle except maintaining his personal power over our society, Bill
Gates.  The Linux community, as it gets more under the skin of Gates and
those he promoted to positions of power, can expect to be baited like this
over and over again.  

Don't expect M$ to cooperate with any other benchmarks; Gates will never
use a deck he hasn't stacked.  All this discussion by Linux advocates about
the unfairness of the tests and the call for more balanced measures is
irrelevant.  Gates got to the audience he wanted; leaving us talking to
ourselves is no concern.  And that's where we're left.  Talking to
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1999 14:03:59 -0600
From: Scott Marlowe <smarlowe@uswest.net>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: lead page

I would have to take an exception to the statement made on your opening
page about the Mindcraft results.  You say:


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.


In fact, the results changed drastically in one regard: stability under
load.  While http accesses per second is a fairly worthless number to
grade a web server by, stability under load is a very important metric.
Apache/Linux as a web server was shown in the original test to be very
unstable under load, and worse yet, it did not recover after the load
was removed, it stayed in a crippled state and had the httpd server had
to be restarted to fix the problem.

The reason for this is simple, they compiled apache with the -O4 option,
when it is known to be unstable with any optimization over O2.  To this
day, Mindcraft has NOT retracted their statement in the initial survey
that showed Apache / Linux to be unstable.

I still hear from people who think Linux / Apache is unstable because of
this test, and your saying that the ultimate results did not change does
not help things.  We, the Linux / Apache community need to address the
issues raised by Mindcraft about performance, yes, but the issues of
stability have been almost totally ignored, when in fact, they are a
much more important point.  Linux / Apache is stable under heavy load,
even if a bit slow on a multi-NIC machine.

Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 15:32:49 -0400 (EDT)
From: Kristofer <kris@melon.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: GNU Cobol

> 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.

Converting Cobol to C, while not improving the control flow, wouldn't hurt
it either, and the major advantage of C that justifies such a project is
that C already has a free optimising compiler for several different
architectures. If you don't want the C code, you can still do all your
work in Cobol, and forget about the time it spends as C code the same way
we all forget about how our C code spends time as assembly code when we
compile it. Instead of wasting our time reinventing the wheel, we should
be solving the real problem, which is giving the compiled software proper
debugging symbols that can be recognized by gdb as Cobol symbols, and
making sure the C layer is as transparent as the assembly layer.

Kris Coward,
Math Student/RA, SysAdmin
Univ. of Toronto

Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 15:41:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: Kristofer <kris@melon.org>
To: 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.

IIRC the shares of Red Hat being issued for sale will constitute only a
small ortion of the total wonershil of Red Hat.. certainly not enough for
MS to push any sort of agenda it may have.. of course, this doesn't rule
out their buying a whole lot of shares, they own a whole lot of Apple
after all.

Kris Coward
Math Student/RA, SysAdmin
Univ. of Toronto

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