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Red Hat stock for Linux hackers. Red Hat has sent around a mailing to a selected list of Linux contributors offering them the ability to buy Red Hat stock at the IPO price. The value of this offering is clear - if Red Hat's IPO follows the pattern of many others, the price of the stock will rise greatly immediately once public trading begins. Somebody who is able to buy at the IPO price (normally a very difficult thing to do) can often sell for a tidy profit on the same day. Those who want in for the long term get a nice starting point as well.

Some have complained that Red Hat's mailing constitutes spam, or that it is an attempt to drive up demand for their stock. Neither of these criticisms seems valid. If Red Hat really wants to build demand for their offering, they are much better going after large institutional investors. It seems instead that Red Hat is really trying to do the right thing here - giving Linux hackers a chance to own a piece of the success that they have helped to create.

It has often been asked whether people working on free software will be willing to continue doing so when they see corporations profiting from their work. It thus makes a lot of sense for companies in that position to try to keep the developers happy. Compensating such a large, distributed, and dynamic group is a very hard thing to do. Letting them in at the beginning of an IPO is one relatively easy way to spread a little bit of success around.

It also can not hurt Red Hat if developers have a personal stake in the success of the company. They thus become motivated to help the company continue to prosper. Red Hat may well find that these developers are more responsive to the needs of the company.

Some folks who, like this author, have not received one of these offers are likely to be feeling a little left out. There is probably no way to avoid that problem. The Linux community is too large for anybody to be able to find - much less offer stock purchases to. The only way to avoid this sort of hurt feelings would be to not make the offer to anybody.

There are, of course, no guarantees here. Red Hat's stock could fall through the floor on the IPO day, leaving its developers (and founders) rather poorer. But the odds seem to be against that outcome. Red Hat is doing the right thing by letting some developers in early; we hope it proves lucrative for all who choose to participate.

Dan York from LinuxCare was kind enough to serve as our ad-hoc reporter for Linux at Comdex Canada. Here are his excellent and amusing reports from the events, complete with pictures from Day 2 and Day 3.

  • Day 1, the Linux Pavilion
  • Day 2, "Excuse me, are you in line?"
  • Day 3, "Does it run on Linux?"

Christmas in July. We recently picked up a new Linux-installed system from Penguin Computing and put it through a few paces. Check out our review of the system for our take on Penguin's product. The executive summary: it is a very nice box, but we have some reservations about how they handle the software side of things.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

July 22, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



A long thread on Bugtraq this week concentrated on the potential Denial-of-Service vulnerabilities associated with shared memory. Under Linux and a variety of BSD-based systems, the operating system does not check to make sure you don't try to share more memory than actually exists. In some circumstances, it also does not clean up allocated shared memory after a process is killed.

The consequences of this behavior varies widely depending on the operating system and even on the distribution of Linux. All Linux distributions that support PAM can use resource limitations to control the potential impact of this problem, as Mike Perry, the gentleman who started the discussion, pointed out. Additional discussion focused on recent versions of the Linux shadow suite, which also provide support for resource limitations.

It was interesting that the focus moved to resource limits without examining the issue of whether or not this behavior, under Linux, is acceptable. SGI Irix, for example, also uses shared memory but is not vulnerable in this way. The fact that allocated shared memory is not physically in memory until a page fault is triggered is intended to be a feature, not a bug. The question is, can this be controlled in such a way as to protect the system, not only from malicious actions, but as well from programmers who fail to build safe practices into their code, without disabling this feature? This question was not asked or answered in this thread.

An in-depth review of the nmap port scanner is available from SecurityPortal.com. "Nmap is the premier open source port scanning tool, and provides several powerful methods to analyze weaknesses in a TCP/IP network. As its history shows, it might be too powerful for some people to use, and should be used only after educating yourself with its usage and the many subtleties of IP scanning."

Denial of Service attacks can show up anywhere, as demonstrated by this report of a Denial-of-Service vulnerability with AT&T PCS phones. Yet another industry to educate to the need for swift response to security issues ...

For those following the politics of encryption in the United States, news.com provided an update. It appears the House Armed Services Committee has gutted the export relief in the bill, in response to Janet Reno's appeal, but that does not mean their version of the bill is the one that the House will vote on.

Security Reports

From Security Focus's new incidents mailing list, comes a report of security problems with the default mail setup provided with Red Hat 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2. People using Red Hat 6.0, or sendmail 8.9.x on any distribution, should not experience any problem. The default configuration may allow a spammer to use your system as a relay. An unofficial patch to fix the problem is available. Bryan Andregg at Red Hat confirmed the problem and is working on an official solution.

We have received confirmed reports of this vulnerability being exploited. Neither qmail or postfix are impacted.

A security problem with the AMaViS incoming-mail virus scanning utility for Linux can be exploited to allow a non-privileged user to execute an arbitrary command with root privileges, according to this report on Bugtraq. Christian Bricart responded by releasing AMaViS 0.2.0-pre5, with a fix for the problem. If you are using AMaViS, you should upgrade immediately.

Another IRC bug has been reported, this time in ircu based servers, such as lulea-r, ann-arbor, plano, Gothenburq, and toronto, which can allow a user to trigger a segmentation violation on the server. A fix is already available.


No security-related updates for Caldera, Debian, Red Hat or SuSE in the past week.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 22, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.11, which came out just before LWN went to "press." There is no announcement for this release yet. It contains a number of architecture-specific changes, the new resource manager, a bunch of USB tweaks, and lots of little fixes.

The current stable kernel is still 2.2.10. There are tremendous numbers of patches stacked up for the stable series at this point; see the 2.2.10ac12 announcement for the rather impressive list. A subset of those have been packaged together into 2.2.11-pre2 - there was simply too much to try to put into one release and hope that it would all work well. Linus is said to have already agreed to the 2.2.11 prepatch, so, barring major problems, this one may go out sometime soon.

The new resource management code generated some discussion this week. This code handles allocation of hardware resources (such as I/O ports); it was completely rewritten by Linus last week. There is general satisfaction with the new scheme, which cleans up handling of resources considerably. Not everybody is entirely happy, however.

David Hinds, creator of the PCMCIA subsystem, has been working on better support for dynamic hardware - such as PCMCIA cards. This support is intended to extend to other, newer "hot-plug" architectures, such as the upcoming "hot plug PCI" and USB. David's work had involved making changes to the older resource manager to facilitate the tracking of hardware separately from the resources used by that hardware. Things were beginning to come together on that front.

Linus's new resource manager then appeared out of the blue, without any (public, at least) advance discussion. Changes from Linus tend to show up in this sort of fait accompli mode. David's changes are gone, and his hardware tracking no longer works.

David has asked for some small changes so that he can make things work again; Linus, so far, has been reluctant to go along. There appears to be a fairly strong disagreement on how things should be done, and it could well end up retarding the development of some needed capabilities. One can only hope that some sort of solution gets worked out shortly.

The Linux Storage Management Workshop will be held in Darmstadt, Germany, on September 6 and 7, 1999. It thus adjoins the sixth Linux-Kongress, being held in Augsburg on the 8th through the 10th. The workshop will look at the current status of Linux development in journaled file systems, logical volume managers, RAID, backup and restore, etc. Their hope is to attract many of the hackers working in that area, along with companies which are interested in storage management. It looks most interesting. See the announcement for more information.

Various patches and updates released this week:

  • The latest RAID patches for both 2.2 and 2.0 kernels have been announced. These should probably be applied by anybody wanting to do serious Linux RAID work. With luck, they will make it into the 2.2.12 kernel.

  • A new version of the IEEE 194 (FireWire) patch has been announced by Emanuel Pirker. At this point the two competing FireWire initiatives seems to have been thoroughly merged, and development is proceeding at a higher pace. Some ground has yet to be covered, however, before it is ready for real use.

  • As usual, H.J. Lu has a knfsd patch out. These patches are still required for serious NFS servers running on the 2.2 kernel - especially in heterogeneous environments. They are not going to make it into 2.2.11 (too much other stuff in an already huge patch), but will likely be given serious attention for 2.2.12.

  • It wouldn't be a week of kernel development without a devfs patch from Richard Gooch.

  • Logical Volume Manager 0.7 has been released by Heinz Mauelshagen.

  • A TCP Vegas patch for both 2.2.10 and 2.3.10 has been announced by Neal Cardwell. Vegas is a congestion avoidance algorithm which is meant to make TCP play better (and perform better) in situations with a lot of traffic - i.e. on the Internet.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 22, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


When is a distribution a distribution? This question came up recently, when MacMillan repackaged Mandrake under the title The Complete Linux Operating System. This week, the announcement of Eridani Star System, which is not just based on Red Hat but is actually the Red Hat 6.0 GPL version with all updates applied, reopened the question. Can a new distribution be said to have been created if its creators/maintainers have added no new material to the distribution? We would be hard put to say yes to this.

Following up on that theme, Nicholas Petreley asked the question, "If Mandrake qualifies for an award, shouldn't Red Hat share some of the credit?" in his article on the LinuxWorld Penguin's Choice Awards.

Now Mandrake does modify and add to its Red Hat base, so it is considered a separate distribution, but the question is a good one to ask. How many hours of work did Red Hat put into the base distribution upon which Mandrake is based? Compared to how many hours from the Mandrake team? How much are the differences between Mandrake and Red Hat responsible for the award? After all, Red Hat is an older, better known distribution, so presumably there must be something strikingly different about Mandrake if it manages to win in a competition of which Red Hat is a part.

Well, Mandrake hasn't won any competition yet, so the issue might be considered moot. Of course, the Linux Mall Top 40 list places Mandrake just below Red Hat for total number of CDs shipped. The question in this case would then be, does the credit for Mandrake's sales go to the work they've done to differentiate their distribution from Red Hat's? Or does it reflect that Red Hat is so popular that Mandrake's compatibility with Red Hat is responsible for the number of people who are willing to give it a try as opposed to trying out Caldera, SuSE and Slackware, which come in only a bit further down the list? We don't currently have a way to answer this question as of yet.

Historically, Caldera was originally based on Red Hat. All of these questions probably outline most boldly why they chose to break away from Red Hat. They wanted to differentiate what they offered as much as possible to guarantee that they would receive credit for it.


LinuxWorld featured an interview with Bruce Perens, who mentioned Debian a bit and seems to be planning to resume his place among the Debian developers. "After getting frustrated with the other distribution I tried, I've switched my main server to Debian's 2.2 prerelease, and it's really solid. Some of my old Debian packages need a maintainer, and I'll probably take them up again."

The design specification for version 2 of dpkg is out for review and apparently will include support for multiple package formats. " Since the free software community is at a crossroads at this point, this project will also aim to tackle the diverse package formats that have been developed over time. This is not to say that there will ever be only one format, but there should be a central way to access all the formats available as well as allow new ones to be incorporated easily, irregardless of the underlying system (or distribution)."

The Debian Weekly News for July 20th is available, with more Debian news. In addition, Joey Hess' latest summary from the debian-policy list is also worth a peek.


Another distribution passed on to us a few weeks ago, the link we were given for Linux-Kheops dates back to September of 1997. It indicates that Linux-Kheops, a French distribution, was based on Slackware 3.3. There are no links that we could find to a permanent, maintenance location. If anyone has up-to-date information on the maintainers of Kheops, please let us know. Otherwise, we'll plan on moving our link to this distribution to an inactive state.


A set of cryptographic packages has been released by MandrakeSoft. These are packages that cannot be distributed or redistributed from the US and several other countries. The Mandrake packages are all housed on unrestricted servers and include packages for lynx_ssl, mod_ssl for Apache, openssl, ssh and pgp.

Also check out our development summary for information on a new project sponsored by Mandrake, the DiskDrake disk partitioning tool.


After a hiatus since May, the ChangeLogs for the current, stable version of Slackware (4.0) again show activity. Some minor changes related to updatedb and kde were made.

Storm Linux

The test release of Storm Linux has been officially announced. As we've mentioned in the past, it is based on Debian GNU/Linux and aimed at both the server and desktop markets. They are actively looking for testers, investors and strategic alliances.

If you want to take a closer look at the Storm Administrative System (SAS), you can start with the SAS Development pages. Sparse, but information on downloading and building SAS apps is included.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 22, 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


Guile-hobbit, the Scheme to C compiler, has a new release, version 1.3.3.


No updates on the JDK 1.2 development have been posted in the past week.


SlashDot linked to the Perl.com interview with Gurusamy Sarathy, discussing upcoming features for perl 5.6. Because Gurugamy works for ActiveState Tools Corp. which has accepted a large sum of money from Microsoft to "improve" Perl under Windows, the concern that Perl would become bloated or otherwise "Microsoft-ized" resurfaced.

Tom Christiansen was one of the responders, pointing people to the FAQ from ActiveState, addressing explicitly what they will do for Microsoft and how it will be handled. "The interfaces and implementation of all parts of the work that have a chance of being generally useful will be discussed amidst the Perl development community (perl5-porters@perl.org, archived at www.deja.com) for inclusion in Perl. " Meaning, presumably, that the work they do for Microsoft will be included in the base perl distribution only if the perl development community agrees.


A Mailing list for Australian Python Users has been created. It will be a forum for "Python issues uniquely of interest to Aussie Python users". For subscription information, go to http://starship.python.net/mailman/listinfo/python-au.

A Call for Panelists for moderated panels coming up at the O'Reilly Python Conference has gone out. Panels will include "Python Success Stories" and "Joys and Pains of Building an Open-Source Community".


Tcl/Tk 8.2b1 was announced last week, yet managed to miss our development summary. The number of bug reports on the list for this release seemed to be rather high. You may want to review the comp.lang.tcl archives before deciding whether or not to upgrade.

README: Tcl-URL! for July 19th has been released.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 22, 1999



Development projects

MandrakeSoft has released a new disk partitioning program called DiskDrake. It provides a graphical interface, and is able to resize FAT partitions without losing data. Diskdrake has been released under the GPL.

Open Source Media Art gained a new project. esc to begin is "an experimental research group developing applications and hardware for interactive media art" which plans to place all of its work under the GPL. They will be presenting their project status in September at the second Wizards of OS conference.

The Linux Memory Management Page is looking for people interested in becoming part of a team responsible for maintaining it. Rik van Riel sent in this note explaining why he is no longer able to serve as maintainer and why he feels a team of maintainers is the best way to resolve the problem. If you've been looking for a place to help out, this should be a good opportunity.

IRCAM has released its jMax system under the GPL. jMax is an environment for music performance and real time digital audio processing; it has been available (under a different license) since late last year.


Havoc Pennington's Gnome Summary for July 11th through the 18th mentioned that an archive of the Gnome Summaries is now available at http://developer.gnome.org/news/summary/index.html.

News for this week mentions that a Bonobo interface has been added to the Gimp, so that editable Gimp images can now be embedded in other applications. An API FAQ is now available.

LinuxWorld reported back on Gnome at the Open Source Forum, which indicates that the author was very favorably impressed with Miguel's talk at that event. "Bill Gates used to work his troops up into a frenzy by talking about the kid who was "out there coding in his garage," writing a Windows-killer. Mister Gates, meet Miguel de Icaza. He may be the bogeyman who's been giving you those nightmares."


The KDE Development News for July 7th through July 13th has been released. It seems that KOffice has picked up an OLE-stream decoder, which is good news for people working on MSOffice import filters. The document format for KOffice seems to be standardizing on a tar-gzip type file, with XML for the readable text and embedded binaries in their native format. They are looking for someone to help update and maintain the KOffice website. Additional development news is also included.


The Midgard Weekly Summary for July 21streports the release of Midgard 1.1.1. In addition, Midgard will be using the iODBC library from OpenLink Software for their database connectivity. This library has recently been released to the public under the GPL. This will allow them to expand their database support from MySQL, which has some licensing problems, to the full range of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, etc.

Additional news included the upcoming availability of RPM packages for Midgard, thanks to Emile Heyns, and a mailing list archive, thanks to Progressive Computing Concepts, Inc.


A new release of Samba, version 2.0.5, has been released. This is a bug-fix release, but it is highly recommended for production servers. Fixes for three security-related problems are included.


The Zope Weekly News for July 21st is available. Zope 2.0 beta is very close, but not quite out and a new alpha-version XML Zope product will be announced in the next couple of days.

Zope-announce is a new mailing list for those of you wishing to follow Zope more closely without subscribing to any of their high-volume lists.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Red Hat has revealed more IPO information; see this NewsTraders story for details. The offering is typical for "Internet" companies in that a very small piece of the company - 9% - is being sold. Selling a thin slice in this manner minimizes the loss of control and helps to increase the price by keeping shares scarce. Six million shares will be offered, with a planned offering price of $10-12 per share.

It is also becoming increasingly clear that Red Hat is taking its web portal plans seriously. They have hired some 20 people from Atomic Vision - the company that did their current site. Their plans seemingly include setting up their own Linux news service - along with tutorials and other Linux information. Their ambitions seem to go far beyond what is available on the site currently.

Oracle has released Oracle8i for Linux, and is proclaiming the success of their Linux strategy in general. From their press release: "Outside the development community, Oracle has also seen overwhelming customer adoption with an excess of 800 paying customers today-over half of these orders from enterprise accounts and the remainder from small to mid-sized businesses and organizations." All of the database vendors seem to be reporting the same thing: they are getting surprising amounts of interest from large corporate accounts.

TurboLinux announced the promotion of John Terpstra, formerly managing director for Australia and New Zealand operations at the company, to vice president-development and has named SGI veteran Dave McAllister director of strategic technologies. These changes are part of TurboLinux' aggressive plans for ramping up U.S. based operations.

Sair Inc., provider of Linux and GNU Certification, hosted a week-long "train-the-trainer" session to assist in the international launch of its Sair Linux and GNU Certification program. The Sair Linux and GNU Certification tests have been available through Sylvan Prometric testing facilities since June.

This ZD Net story provides a few extra details on Red Hat's IPO filing. "Many Linux users are raring to buy stock. Some are voicing concern as they discover how unlikely it is that small investors will be able to get onboard at the IPO price. Regular market players have yet to venture much in the way of an opinion."

Red Hat plans to create a full-fledged Linux news service as part of its effort to increase market appeal and potential profitability.

Red Hat unveiled Red Hat Europe. Two new offices in the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany will deliver the company's Red Hat Linux software and support to enterprise users in Europe and the surrounding regions.

Austin's BridgePoint Technical Manufacturing Inc. was launched into the unexpected realm of e-commerce using Red Hat Linux on the older computers stored in warehouse.

Ziatech joins the free software community with this announcement that they will be releasing its multiprocessing CompactPCI source code drivers for the Linux operating system under the GPL. "Our customers have asked us to provide open-source code and we are doing so. We anticipate this trend toward open source software to swell, and we want to be on the forefront". They are especially to be congratulated for choosing to use the GPL, rather than building yet another open source license.

Caldera Thin Clients will become Lineo. Lineo is working on an embedded version of Linux called Embedix, based on OpenLinux, a version of the software sold by Lineo's independent sister company, Caldera Systems.

Giganet will offer a standards-based, commercial-strength clustering technology for Linux with a new version of its cLAN clustering software.

The Software Group Limited announced two Linux Wide-Area Network connectivity products. Based on the Wanware line of Unix products, Wanware/Linux connects computers directly to wide-area networks using the X.25, Frame Relay, ISDN Basic Rate (BRI) or PPP protocols.

Linux Games on the PowerPC will be here faster and more frequently as a result of this alliance between Loki Entertainment Software and Terra Soft Solutions. Loki is probably best known for Civilization: A Call to Power for Linux, while Terra Soft is also the producer of the Yellow Dog Linux distribution for the PowerPC platform.

Linux Mall's Top 40 list is out, so you can now check out what Linux products are selling the best. For volume by number of units, Red Hat made number one with Mandrake as a surprise number 2.

This overview of SuSE showcases their recent partnerships and some of their plans for the future.

Computer Associates and Caldera have teamed up to promote Linux within corporations. "The CA move is the latest by a large IT vendor to offer Linux based products as the open source code operating system continues to gain users among normally conservative corporations."
(Thanks to Jimmy Aitken)

Linuxcare, Inc. announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with Densa Techno Tokyo K.K., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Electronics Services Co., Ltd., to provide Linux service and support in the Japanese market.

Dataquest did a study and predicts that Linux will account for about a quarter of worldwide server appliance sales by 2003. See also this press release.

Press Releases:

  • DataMirror Corporation announced the availability of a new version of its Transformation Server enterprise data integration software for Oracle databases on Linux.

  • Hewlett-Packard Company announced that the SureStore E Disk Array XP256 now supports Linux.

  • IndyBox Systems announced they would be introducing the option of Debian GNU/Linux in all of their systems.

  • Jones Business Systems Inc., a national Value Add Distributor and White Box OEM announced a distribution alliance with Red Hat Inc., a leading developer and provider of open source operating system solutions.

  • Kaspersky Lab reports the release of beta-version of world's first memory resident virus interceptor for Linux - AVP Monitor.

  • Linux Consultants' Support and Resource Center is reorganizing. They announced that they will seek official non-profit status from the State of Texas and register the Center under Section 501-C3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Center also has a new domain: lcsrc.org.

  • Penguin Computing announced that it will offer a full line of servers, the Adelie Penguin series, running on AMD processors.

  • Prima Tech announced that its new Red Hat Linux book is now available in bookstores nationwide.

  • The Software Group Limited announced two Linux Wide-Area Network connectivity products. Wanware/Linux, which connects computers directly to wide-area networks, and Wanware/ISDN for Linux.

  • Visionics Corporation, developer of face recognition technology, announced that it is making available versions of its FaceIt engine for a range of new operating platforms. These include the Visionics Face Recognition Datablade for Informix databases on SGI UNIX and C++ libraries for LINUX operating systems.

  • Wick Hill is shipping WRQ's latest NT and UNIX integration package with support for Linux systems.

  • Xi Graphics, Inc. is packaging their GUI, or graphical user interface with Linux. The GUI includes Motif and CDE built on the Accelerated-X Display Server.

  • Ziatech will showcase the new CompactPCI Linux Development Platform at LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

July 22, 1999


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

Linux in the news

Lead stories:

Jon Hall's August "Penguin's Brew" column in Performance Computing is about the D.H. Brown and Mindcraft reports. "I thought of the D.H. Brown report as a suggested project list for Linux. Let's take a look at what the commercial community needs, and then provide them with it at Linux speed."

PBS's Robert Cringely describes Apple's open source releases as a cleverly veiled attack on Microsoft. "By embracing open source and throwing Darwin to all-comers, Apple will effectively defeat Microsoft's investment plan. In the media space Jobs covets (he is, after all, a movie mogul), he will even steal support from Linux. But the main target is clearly Microsoft..." (Found in OS News).

More comments back from Comdex Canada, this time in the Andover News Network. [Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann]

Red Hat:

ECommerce Times ran an article about Red Hat's new European offices. "The new European organization, functioning as a wholly owned Red Hat subsidiary, will expand upon the company's current distribution, engineering and service partnerships in Europe."

Wired News covers Red Hat's IPO and the set-aside of stock for Linux developers. "Longtime open source contributor Kirk McKusick said Red Hat's move is political, and in keeping with the community's tradition."

The (Canadian) Globe & Mail reports on Red Hat's IPO. "The high-tech community will be watching Red Hat's IPO with great interest because it will be one of the first Linux sellers to go public and will likely set the stage for other firms to follow."

From Salon Magazine is this story about Red Hat and a web design firm called Atomic Vision. "... Red Hat's mass employment of Atomic Vision designers suggests the company is quite serious about expanding its portal possibilities."

This Salon Magazine article asks, "Is Red Hat becoming Linux's Microsoft?" A close look is taken at the growth of Linux, and a few of the different companies offering variants of Linux. "Many Linux experts argue that Linux is in no danger of fragmenting, and suggest that the recurrent surfacing of the issue is just more FUD -- "fear, uncertainty and doubt" -- spread by Linux's competitors."

Robert Young of Red Hat Software talks about a variety of topics, including the LinuxCare poster and the Linux Standards Base in this interview from the Linux Journal. On pursuing venture captital he says, "... even if Red Hat doubled in size or even became ten times bigger, we would still be way too small for an MIS director at Ford Motor Company to trust our technology. So we realized the only way around that problem was to get the endorsement of the industry leading players."

Business News:

Forbes has run an article on "The E-Gang" - a group of people who are "reinventing the rules of business." One of those people is Linus Torvalds. "Open-source isn't a solution for everything; it didn't turn around the flagging fortunes of Netscape's Web browser. 'If you want the benefits of open-source, you've got to be willing to let go, to give up the code,' [Linus] says. 'Otherwise people don't feel like they're in a position to make big decisions and have fun.'" (Thanks to Larry Mills-Gahl and Didier Legein).

"Linux is doing well in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market.", begins this article. "Hurdles aside, Linux has given the computing industry a viable choice in operating systems. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. Most enterprises already have a heterogeneous environment and they will likely find a place for Linux too." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

Mark Hall at Performance Computing talks about why the big Unix gang isn't heavily promoting Linux yet. "Sure, they'll take the service revenue from IT companies that are installing Linux, but you won't see any 2-for-1 sales on Linux servers anytime soon. Part of the problem is that the Linux advocates inside systems companies (who are as dedicated as any open-source people in the business) are way down the corporate food chain for scarce marketing and development resources."

Conversely, he goes on to why this attitude will have to change, and the Chief Financial Officers, with an eye on bottom-line revenue, will be the ones to do it. "They'll have to, just to keep market share, especially if the members of the UNIX Systems Gang intend to grow their businesses outside the United States, Europe, and Japan, which is where most of the serious growth in the computer industry will take place in the coming years."

IT-Director looks at Microsoft's latest profit figures. "...we believe that time is now running short for Microsoft as the price it now charges for the Windows license is excessive compared to all the other components of a PC. The immediate effect is that it profits substantially and accidentally from the dramatic growth of the Internet. In the medium term PC and internet device vendors are going to Linux for their next generation products, because the price that Microsoft charges is prohibitive."

Computer Reseller News reports on Windows 2000. "[Microsoft's] Windows 2000 server lineup ... will be met with new competition both from Unix vendors out to protect their transactional turf and from Linux vendors out to exploit the emergence of E-commerce applications and Web hosting..."

MicroSoft uses Apache? Yes they do, at least for some functions. This CNET story gives more details. "The use of non-Microsoft software is interesting in light of the issues that high-tech companies face as they try to persuade others to buy their products. Some customers, for instance, may be left scratching their heads if a software behemoth with many products begins using outside methods to get the job done." (Thanks to Damon Poole)

This story begins with detailed background about the modern printing industry, then gives even more detail about merging Linux servers into a multi-OS environment. "When I reveal that SuSE Linux 6.0 with kernel 2.2.5 and Helios EtherShare was the top performer, I hope the readers of this article will realize the significance of this announcement. Eric Morris, one of the network engineers in my Linux Users Group (http://www.lugoj.org/), and I expected Solaris 7 to beat Linux--but it did not." [Linux Journal]

Here's a TechWeb article on Linux-based routers. "If the question is, 'How can I compete against a Cisco or a Lucent?,' one way is to take advantage of all the brains out there developing applications for Linux so that we can be more competitive with special features."

and another TechWeb article about how Computer Associates is making their Unicenter TNG product available to Linux users for free (though the purchase of a service contract appears to be necessary). "CA has been particularly surprised by the adoption rate of Linux in large accounts, [CA VP] Gupta said. The open source operating system also is making significant inroads in the small- and medium-business market, he said."

This ECommerce Times story predits that Linux use will rise in developing countries. "Nick Thompson, Penguin's director of marketing and the author of a book comparing development in Ghana and Thailand, said Linux makes economic sense in countries where the per-capita income is less than $5,000 a year."

There are a number of editorials from OS Opinion:

First come a series of editorials by author Scott Billings:

  • Scott takes a well-reasoned look at the competition between MicroSoft and Linux in this article.

  • Scott also gives us his views on Linux Hardware Support.

  • Where's the creativity? he asks in this article.

  • and finally this one on free software versus open source.

And by various other authors:

  • This one on the future of Microsoft.

  • This one looks at how various operating systems will fit the needs of PC users in the year 2000.

  • This one is about the lack of commercial security tools for Linux.

  • Here's one on the need (or lack thereof) for a uniform GUI.

  • and finally this one on Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt - FUD.


Salon Magazine has a listing of all the Linux related stories they have run recently. It's called 'The Free Software Story'.

Open Source IT has a new weekly email newsletter, free for subscribers. If you are interested, sign up here.

This review of the Unix/Linux Printing HOWTO Support Database website praises the efforts of the site's maintainer. "What that site provides is an easy way to quickly figure out how to install a color or black and white inkjet, LED or laser printer on a Unix, Linux or FreeBSD machine."

A wildly enthusiastic (and extremely long) article introducing Linux to current Windows users comes from Al Fasoldt, a long-time computer columnist who recently discovered Linux. "Linux is outstanding in dozens of ways that Windows is not. Linux is powerful and stable and forgiving. Linux can't possibly run low on "resources" -- the single biggest Dumb Thing in Windows -- and it doesn't use DOS in any way at all." [Thanks to kosmo]

The San Francisco Chronicle has a paragraph about Linux in this column. "LINUX UPDATE: Judging from the e-mail I've gotten this week, it's clear that fans of Linux are every bit as rabid as Apple fanatics. They love their technology, hate Microsoft and have skin about as thin as the underbelly of an armadillo."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

July 22, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Joffer's old Linux RIVA128 Xconfigurator Guide has been updated and is back on-line, with a new name: the Linux SVGA Guide.


Ziff-Davis events announced LINUX Business Expo, the company's first Linux-dedicated conference and exposition set to run November 15-19, 1999, in the Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, and co-located with COMDEX/Fall '99.

The Call-For-Papers for the Freenix Track at the Usenix 2000 conference (June 2000) has been released. Submissions are due by November 29th. "FREENIX is the showcase for the latest developments and interesting applications in freely redistributable software. The FREENIX forum includes Apache, FreeBSD, GNOME, GNU, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Samba, and more. "

Web sites

DeployLinux.Net is a Linux OS site dedicated to practical application of open-source technology in the enterprise. Here's an announcement.

User Group News

The Central Ohio Linux Users Group (COLUG) July meeting is scheduled be held SATURDAY, 31 July 1999 13:00-15:00 -- It will be an INSTALLFEST, at the LanShark facility -- see: linux.lanshark.com/. For more details see this announcement.

Folks interested in the Linux Standard Base may wish to mark their calanders. The July 24 meeting of the Suncoast Linux Users Group will feature Stuart Anderson of MetroLink. Stuart Anderson is the Technical Subcommittee Lead of the Linux Standard Base project and will talk about the LSB and other assorted goodies. [Thanks to Paul Braman]

July 22, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AbiWord 0.7.3 Fully featured word processor
aewm 0.9.2 A minimalistic window manager for X
Aldona 0.6.0 Lithuanian keymap utility for the Window Maker dock
AMaViS 0.2.0-pre5 A Mail Virus Scanner, looks for viruses in e-mail attachments
Apache-SSL 1.3.6+1.3.5 Secure Webserver (using SSLeay)
apmd 3.0beta8 Set of tools for managing notebook power consumption
Artistic Style 1.10.1 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
August 0.37 A free html editor for Linux/Unix.
bfs 0.1 UnixWare Boot Filesystem for Linux
boclient 1.3.1 BackOrifice and NetBus remote administration client
Bulli 1.0 Parquet Deformation Toolkit
CD Jukebox 0.5 Multi-drive console CD player
CDlib 0.7 Graphical tool to search for files in your CD-ROMs
cdrecord 1.8a23 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
Chaperon memory access checker 1.2.3 Checks memory accesses for bad behavior
ClanBomber 0.95 Bomberman clone for ClanLib (X11 for now).
Compaq Smart-2 Driver 1.0.5 Linux Driver for Compaq Smart-2 PCI Disk Array Controllers
Cookiecutter 0.1.1 Utility for removing unwanted cookies from Netscape cookie files
Data::Address::Standardize Perl Module 0.001 A Perl module for standardizing U.S. postal addresses
DECnet for Linux 2.00 DECnet socket layer and applications
Diary.py 0.9 Diary is a simple journal program to record daily events, etc.
divine 0.4 automatic IP configuration detection for laptops
DynDNS 0.35 Dynamic DNS server
Efsane 0.6.0 Turkish Window Manager for X
ELKS 0.0.78 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Emacs 20.4 The extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time displayeditor
EO Snapshot 160799 Templates-based, ANSI-C++ compliant evolutionary computation library
EPIC 4pre2.004-19990718 ANSI capable textmode IRC Client
eXtace 1.1.8 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
FOP 0.8.1 An XSL formatter written in Java that outputs PDF
FREEdraft 0.37 2D mechanical cad project
freemed 19990714 Free medical management software in a web browser
freerdist 0.90 Free remote distribution application
fryit 0.3.0 Graphical frontend for cdrecord.
g3d 0.0.2 3D polygonal modeler built with Gtk+
GAG 1.3 A graphical boot manager, with a lot of interesting features.
Galway 0.10.0 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
Gamora 0.72 Java based server construction, hosting, and adminstration architecture.
gchbkgrd 0.9.1 Program to constantly change the desktop's background
gd 1.6.1 A library used to create GIF images
ghost_edit 0.1 A fast and simple GTK-based host table editor
gisdn 0.1 GTK-port of imon/imontty
Glacier 0.0.1 Another e-mail client for Gnome.
GNOME Weather 0.05-4 Gnome weather monitor
GnomePM 0.1.3 GNOME equivilent of the Yahoo! (C) Java Portfolio Manager
GnoRPM 0.9 A graphical front end to the Redhat package managementsystem
GNU Oleo 1.99.5 Free spreadsheet application
GNU Pth 1.0.0 GNU Portable Threads
GNU shtool 1.4.4 Shell Script Collection
GPeriodic 1.2.1 Periodic Table Reference and Browser
GProc 0.0.2 Managing process from the Gnome panel
gpsd 0.99 Listens to a GPS and provides clients with the data.
GSLgen code generator 1.2 Universal XML template-based code generator
gtaskman 0.06 A process manager for X using GTK+
GTC 0.2 Game Programming Library
GTK xset 0.2 GTK xset is a graphical frontend to xset(1), based on GTK+
GTK+XFce 3.0.2 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkAda 1.2.3 Ada95 binding of Gtk+
GTKeyboard 0.97 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
gtkpool 0.3 Simple GTK+ pool game
GTKstep 1.6 Improves the default look and feel of the GTK+ widget set
gtml 3.3.6 An HTML pre-processor specially designed for maintaining web sites.
hindent 1.1.0 HTML indentation (pretty printing) utility
HTML::Mason 0.6 A component-based perl web development environment
HTMLPerlSETI 0.5 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
Ilib 1.1.2 Image manipulation library for reading and writing images
ImView 0.1 Image viewer for scripts
indent 2.1.1 GNU indenting program
infobot 0.44.1 Pseudo-AI IRC bot written in Perl
IPTraf 2.0.1 An ncurses-based IP LAN monitor
ircd-hybrid 5.3p7 Internet Relay Chat daemon
ircII 4.4J
J'Express Professional 3.1.5 Lets you create multilingual installers and auto-updaters
jack 2.0.1 A console cd-ripper written in python
jdresolve 0.4 Resolves IP addresses into hostnames. Supports Apache logs and recursion.
jdrinfo 0.2 Implements a hypothetical machine-information retreival protocol
Jetty 2.2.1 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
KFibs 1.0.1 KFibs is a KDE client for FIBS.
King of the Hill (KOTH) 0.5 Full client/server multiplayer artillery game in the scorched earth tradition
Kingpin 1.09 Beta Kingpin Full Linux Client Port
Kmp3 kmp3 1.0-pre A KDE MP3 Player
KMySQL 1.1.5 A MySql client for KDE.
kpsql 0.9 A SQL GUI client for PostgreSQL/K Desktop
Leafnode 1.9.4 NNTP server for small leaf sites
Lemon 1.0 Modern parser generator
Libero 2.32 Generates code in many languages from state diagrams.
Lynx 2.8.3.dev4 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
makeheaders 0.0unknown Automatically generates headers from C/C++ source
Market Analysis System (MAS) 1.0 market data analysis software
memwatch 2.61 Memory leak/corruption detection, ANSI-C source code with test program.
Midgard 1.1.1 A PHP Application Server Suite - Web building with Web-based tools
mlvwm 0.90 Window manager for X11 designed to look and feel like the Macintosh environment
mod_ssl 2.3.6 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
moodss 7.99 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Mozilla M8 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
MP3c 0.18 Audio-CD to MP3-Converter, with use of CDDB. Included GUI and cmdline-support
MP3info 0.4 A small program to set MP3s' ID3
mpstat 0.1.0 Helps monitoring SMP machines
mxODBC 1.1.1 Python DatabaseAPI compliant interface to ODBC 2.0
NAMG 0.0.9 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
NcFTPd 2.5.0 High-performance File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server for UNIXsystems
ngrep 1.33 network grep
ojstools 0.4 Tools to simplify JavaScript programming
pasu 1.1.2 Probability and Statistics Utilities
Paw 0.46 Perl ASCII Widgets
PCCS NRM 08e Network Resource Manager (PC, NW Printers, and Software)
PDAddUser 1.2 Tool for administering large amounts of users easily from simple text lists
pdksh 5.2.14 Public domain version of the Korn Shell , POSIX sh
Penguineyes 0.8 Linux-ified version of Xeyes written with GTK+ and Imlib
PerlSETI 0.4.5 GUI front end for the SETI@home client, programmed in Perl. Many Statistics.
pftp 1.0.15 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
PHP 4.0 Beta 1 HTML-embedded scripting language
PHPGen 0.7 Small PHP-script for generating PHP frontends to MySQL Databases
pop3check 0.90.1 simple program checks a pop3 server to see if you have new mail
Powertweak-Linux v0.1.1 System performance enhancer.
ppower 0.1.2 Software for listening to and controlling x10 home automation devices.
proxy 2.0 Simple Proxy Server
Public Bookmark Generator 0.4 Generate a public bookmark (selected items) out of your bookmarks
pvmsync 0.35 extends POSIX-like synchronization mechanisms to a Linux Beowulf cluster
Pyrite 0.7.5 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
Q10 0.30 A basic Qt GUI for manipulating X10's Firecracker devices
QmailAdmin 0.23 Web based interface for Qmail Administration
QScheme 0.2 Really fast, small and easy to interface Scheme interpreter
QuickList 0.6.1 MS Works like database application
Quicktime for Linux 1.1.0 Low level Quicktime library for *NIX
radkill 1.21 BASH script for ISP's that wish to guarantee no busy signals
REalizer 0.5 Python regular expression tester
RealTimeBattle 0.9.8 RealTimeBattle, a robot programming game for Unix
Remembrance Agent 2.05 Remembrance Agents are an augmented, associative memory.
rglclock 1.3.3 Rotating 3D clock
RRDtool 1.0.0 time-series data logging and graphing
Saint 1.4beta3 Security Administrator's Integrated Network Tool
sci 0.5.5 A data entry screen builder which works from ASCII templates
ScryMUD 1.9.12 Original MUD Server and Java Client
Sentinel 1.0.2c Fast system file scanner
Setedit 0.4.29 An editor for C/C++ programmers with a nice text interface.
SETI@Home Client 1.3 Distributed SETI data-analysis client
si 0.2 /proc system information viewer
Sketch 0.7.1 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
SLRN An NNTP based newsreader for Unix, VMS, and OS/2 systems
SMPEG 0.2.5 SDL MPEG player with sound
SMS Client 2.0.8i Command line based utility which allows you to send SMS messages
Sox 12.16 Sound Processing Tool
strobe-classb 1.8 Compact network scanner, Linux-specific, for scanning large networks.
Sula Primerix II 0.09.1c Extensible multi-server IRC Client for X
svgalib 1.4.0 Low-level graphics library that provides VGA and SVGA modes in a console
sws 0.1 A Star Wars style scroller using GLUT
tar 1.13.3 utility used to store, backup, and transport files.
Tcl/Tk 8.2b1 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
Terraform 0.3.5 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Bomb's black jack 0.1 A console Black Jack game.
The Comic Book Database for Linux 0.8.0 Comics helps you keep track of almost every facet of you comic book collection.
The Gimp 1.1.7 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Linux Console Tools 0.2.1 Allows you to set-up and manipulate theLinux console
the PHP Snurk 0.01 Search-engine friendly URLs for dynamic content in PHP.
The Virtual Society 0.0.1 A non interactive simulation of a society.
tixlpq 0.3.8p1 Nice GUI for printmanagement
tkload 1.2.1 TkPerl tool for monitoring load on remote servers using SNMP
tkvnc 0.4 Button pallette for AT&T's VNC remote control software
twonz 0.1 secure hash calculator for password management
txt2pdf 2.2 A very flexible and powerful PERL5 converter from text files to PDF
typespeed 0.3.4 Type speed testing program, gives your fingers' CPS
Unix Desktop Environment 0.2.4-BETA A new GUI for Unix with a completely new look'n'feel
Vacation 1.0 A mail auto-responder
Venezia 1.0 C++/GTK++ based client for the c-mserver (masqdialing)
VenGaboyTK 1.00 Gameboy Emulator using GTK
Virtual X68000 0.36.19990714 X68000 emulator
WaveForge 0.0.3 A Sound Forge Wave Editor Clone for Linux.
web-FTP 0.05 A lightweight Perl/CGI FTP client
webbase 5.2 Internet crawler C library and program
WebEvent 3.2 Beta WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
Window Maker Theme Install 0.31 Window Maker theme installation program written in Gtk
wmfire 0.0.1p1 fire in a window maker dock applet
wmRecord 1.0.0 wmRecord is a general purpose audio recording utility
wmx10 0.02 A WindowMaker/Afterstep applet to control X10's Firecracker kit
WPAM 0.0-alpha-19071999 A simple set of routines to handle login/session managment for web applications.
WSoundServer 0.1.1 Sound Server for Window Maker
X-Chat 1.1.3 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Tract Build 202 XML Script processor
Xcd-Fnord 0.5 GUI frontend to various mp3-rippers and mp3-compressors
XGlobe 0.3 A toy that displays a globe on your X desktop
xinetd Powerful inetd replacement
XML-Template 1.0 A flexible templating system using XML markup
XRacer 0.65 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XRoads v0.6 A 2D maze/shoot-em-up game for X
XSane 0.29 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
XScreenSaver 3.17 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
xterm Patch #112 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
Yacas 1.0.3 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Zebra 0.73 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
Zope 2.0.0a4 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

LinuxBridge is a project which aims to "work to identify and eliminate the technical and educational barriers that prevent mainstream computer users from using Linux." They intend to work mostly with developers in the hope of creating a friendlier, more desktop-suitable system. They are taking an interesting approach; we wish them success. (Thanks to Ariel Faigon).

Even hard-core Linux users often end up booting up that other operating system when it comes time to manage their finances. The GnuCash project is working on changing that. They recently put out a new release, and the feature set appears to be getting to the point where it is a truly useable system. Yet another longstanding Linux software gap is closing.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 22, 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: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 15:22:29 -0700
From: Anand Srivastava <anand@nmi.stpn.soft.net>
To: aerogems@netins.net, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: Where's The Creativity? 


I don't get it why does everybody think that point and click or rather
storm in a room and open a drawer and search into files for a particular
program is faster than just typing the name of the program to run, and
let the system find the file for you. I don't say roaming into a room
won't be cool. It will be but it will be only that, cool. It won't be
efficient. Everything is good in moderation, over do it and you loose
the benefits. Similarly. GUIs are cool, immersive VR is great, but the
command line is necessary. Enlightenment is cool, but it doesn't take
away your freedom to use the command line.

If you want immersive VR, you will have to wait, till the time
developers have machines that can do those things and there are 3D
libraries that are comprehensive enough to do these development fast
enough and they are free. I guess that will take anywhere from 2 to 5
years. Incidently I don't even know a use for this kind of a UI. Care to
enlighten me on some probable uses where the other ones won't be faster.

In the meantime you can just use E.

You have some problems thinking of finding new ideas in Linux Community.
If you say linux community, you have already put yourself into a small
spectrum which tries to be compatible with POSIX. Why not ask for the
Open Source community, you will find many new ideas. Why, the internet
was an open source idea. Unix was also an open source idea, in that it
wasn't sponsored by any company, and was developed by the developers for
their personal itch. Heard of HURD that is also an open source idea.
There are many more, ever used Emacs.

You know what I think is the perfect UI. It will be one when the
computer would know what I am talking about. It will listen to my spoken
words, and do things accordingly. If I say, "I want to buy a PC.", It
will know that I mean a personal computer. And then it will ask me what
brand, it will already know my priorities. But it will ask me if I want
anything special. It will not assume what is good for me but allow me to
give it directions and also cross check if necessary. It won't do
everything itself, it will connect to the net and go to a site that
contains information about all kinds of computers, or it may do a search
on one of the search engines. Then using these information it will find
the best PC for me and tell me about it. It will do all this within
seconds. Then I can approve of it. If I don't like its idea of what is
good it will allow me to take the matters into my own hands, and it will
provide me a browser, with which I can go to the sites and do the search
myself. I will use the intelligent interface if it is correct most of
the time, otherwise there is no use. I want efficiency, not cool UIs. I
would much prefer my voice operated computer which will be also my watch
which, but that will only be useful if it is correct most of the time. I
don't want an MS OS which gets broken and then you have to reboot and
hope that it executes the correctly the next time and you need to lug
the whole crate of RAM with it. This thing will take time but it will be
the ultimate.


Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 18:33:16 -0600
From: Jeffery Cann <jccann@home.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: All is well in Linux Land...

I remember a month or two ago when Metrowerks announce a partnership
with Red Hat (NASDAQ:RHAT).  There was significant outcry from the

It was great to see the following announcement on this week's LWN:

	Metrowerks, Inc. and SuSE, Inc. announced their partnership to provide
	CodeWarrior software development tools for the SuSE Linux operating

I guess RHAT really won't take over the world quite yet!  (BTW - I am a
Slackware user).

Food for thought...

Jeffery Cann
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 18:03:48 -0400
From: Derek Glidden <dglidden@illusionary.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: Lotus Notes on Linux

In the 7/15 edition of LWN, there's a letter from Tom Adeltstein about
Notes client on Linux in which he mentions regarding the Notes client
running on Linux, "... One of our consultants has a Lotus Notes client
running on Linux and we'll post the how-to very soon. ... Also, several
references within IBM internal forums exist discussing Lotus Notes
running on Linux desktops ..."

Well, that's all very well and good for the people with the know-how to
Do It Yourself, but unless Lotus changes their stance, they are not
going to be _offering for sale_, nor are they going to be _officially
supporting_ Lotus Notes running as a client on Linux platforms and there
is an important distinction between "being able to" and "supported" in
the world that Lotus Notes lives in.

Lotus Notes is not GNOME.  (No offense to the GNOME guys...)  Big
companies run Lotus Notes; big multinational companies with big IT
departments filled with corporately-trained MIS people who don't want to
have to dig around on the 'net to find HOWTOs and install new versions
of system libraries and modify startup scripts.  Even if installation of
Notes-client-on-Linux is no more difficult than downloading a file and
clicking an icon, the first time the IT department gets an "I'm sorry,
we don't support that" response, guess what's going to happen?  That
Notes-client-on-Linux install is going to get wiped out and replaced
with Notes-client-on-Windows because that's a supported platform that
won't get an "I'm sorry, we don't support that" from the Lotus call

In the Big Giant Corporate World, "Corporate Standard" is the only way
to go, and unless you can show official support so the IT department has
someone to call when your workstation craps out, your platform has a
Snowball's Chance in Hell of getting into the list of "Corporate
Standard" platforms.

Sure, you'll find a few smart cookies who have their own little Linux
desktop going and have bothered to read the HOWTOs off the 'Net and get
Notes installed in client-mode on their desktop and if it breaks,
they'll fix it themselves, but that's a very far cry from Lotus selling
it as a shrinkwrap package and offering official support for it.

Take as a case study Oracle's support for Linux.  For years before
Oracle announced official support for their database server running
natively on Linux, it was possible (although quite a chore) to get the
SCO UNIX version of Oracle to run on Linux through the iBCS emulation
layer, but you just really didn't hear of too many people doing it and
you certainly didn't hear of Big Business doing it.  When Oracle
announced the availability of Oracle 8 natively built for Linux, the
10,000 Beta CDs they offered were claimed in a matter of hours and,
while it didn't exactly take the corporate world by storm, you did hear
a lot of press about larger companies willing to try it out.  It's not
that it couldn't be made to work before the official offering, but if
you're running an "Enterprise" class application like Oracle or Notes,
the money guys want to be able to buy a support contract and the money
guys usually have the final word in the sorts of environments that run
Oracle or Notes.

With Microsoft products, failure is not           Derek Glidden
an option - it's a standard component.      http://3dlinux.org/
Choose your life.  Choose your            http://www.tbcpc.org/
future.  Choose Linux.              http://www.illusionary.com/
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds