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Here comes SGI. The company formerly known as Silicon Graphics has made a number of interesting announcements over the last week or so. It is worthwhile to have a look at their moves all together:
  • As had been expected, SGI announced a new server product: the 1400L. It takes up to four Xeon processors and comes, of course, with Linux preloaded. While SGI made its name in graphics, the truth is that they have been a strong performer in the server arena for a long time. The 1400L looks to be a well-designed, high-end Intel-based server system. And it runs Linux.

    There is, of course, an NT-based version available as well. Interestingly, it costs $1000 more than the Linux version.

  • What happened to IRIX? SGI has let it slip that they have pretty much dropped the idea of porting IRIX to the Intel architecture - they will go with Linux instead. Thus, there will probably be no IRIX for the IA-64 ("Merced") processor either. According to Hank Shiffman, a "strategy technologist" at SGI, "Given the resources we have, we have to focus on just one [operating system] and that one is Linux." (Quoted in PC Week UK).

    LWN has been predicting for a while (along with many, many others) that Linux would end up displacing the proprietary Unix systems. There is little economic sense in a hardware company producing its own operating system when there is such a high-quality alternative that they can use for free. It is beginning to look like IRIX is the first of the proprietary systems to fall; it will not be the last.

    Partly as a result of SGI's announcements, the trade press is actually beginning to believe that Linux will have a large presence in a computing future that, apparently, will be dominated by IA-64 systems. Most still seem to think, however, that the strongest Unix on IA-64 will be "Monterey," a system being developed by IBM, SCO, and others. But by the time Monterey is both real and stable, who will still be interested?

  • Something that should not be missed: while many computer companies are adopting Linux to some extent, most of them are contenting themselves with installing it on some systems, and maybe providing some support options. SGI is going beyond that by throwing in development resources and contributing back to Linux.

    The biggest example, of course, is the contribution of their XFS filesystem. Progress on XFS is slow, as had been predicted; it will not show up in a stable kernel anytime this year. SGI's contributions go well beyond XFS, however; a perusal of their pages turns up a list of kernel patches contributed by SGI to help with immediate performance problems. There is also code for 4GB memory support, a kernel debugger, storage management, and a number of other things. Finally, SGI has been a supporter of the Samba project for some time now. All of these projects are going out as open source.

While a number of companies are getting into Linux seemingly just to get on the bandwagon and keep their bases covered, SGI appears to be one that really "gets it." A company that is an active contributor to the system almost has to get better results from it. With luck, SGI will realize the benefits of being an active part of the Linux community; if so, we are seeing a piece of the computing industry's future in SGI's actions.

(See also: SGI's open source page, their projects page, the SGI Linux page, this this News.com article with some good quotes on why SGI is attracted to Linux, the 1000 series press release, and this release about their partnership with Red Hat). Thanks to Ariel Faigon for pointing us to some of the information above.

Can the bazaar be original? Here's a brief essay from Eric Raymond, intended to be a new section for "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," which addresses the question of whether bazaar-style development can come up with original ideas. Eric, of course, believes that it can.

Eric has also made a new version of The Cathedral and the Bazaar available - the first in over a year. Eric evidently has a deal in place with O'Reilly to package up his papers into a cloth-bound book aimed at business readers.

The second LinuxWorld Expo is next week. LWN editors Elizabeth Coolbaugh and Jonathan Corbet will be present at the Expo, keep an eye out for us! (We will also be teaching a tutorial on Linux systems administration in large network environments on Monday, August 9).

Look to the Linux Weekly News (and the daily updates page) for our coverage of this event.

The Great Linux Giveaway. Eklektix, Inc., publisher of the Linux Weekly News, will be joining ASL Workstations, Inc.in their "Great Linux Giveaway" promotion. Somebody will be winning a AS-LT300 laptop and a seat in our Linux administration for Unix administrators class. It is a great combination of prizes; please see ASL events page for more information.

Red Hat's IPO is also scheduled to happen sometime next week. A lot of Linux folks can be expected to be watching the stock quote services if all goes according to plan....

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

August 5, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Domain Name Piracy? A Senate bill has been introduced to address problems with domain name abuse, reports this CNN article. The primary focus seems to be on the registration of sites with the specific intent to capitalize on someone else's trademark or reputation, such as "attphonecards.net". However, the article mentioned the more general abuse of registering domains specifically for the purpose of reselling them as well.
"The legislation was sponsored by a bipartisan group that included Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, who strongly criticized the practice of registering names in hopes of selling them.
It is hard to see how such speculation can be stopped by legislation though. This bill apparently seeks to provide some exemption from liability for domain registries if they refuse to register a domain due to concerns about trademark infringement and to open the door to allow trademark owners to recover damages. Perhaps that will discourage some abusers, but it seems likely that speculation in namespaces will continue, mostly unabated. [From Computer Security News Daily]

Covering privacy-related legislation, but not specific to security issues, CNN also put together an overall report on Internet-related legislation, which is worth a look.

From Britain comes more concerns about the proposed Electronic Communications Bill. Apparently not only could failure to reveal your encryption keys result in a jail sentence, but complaining about it in public could as well. "Even discussing an investigation in public, such as complaining about alleged abuses of law enforcement to the media, may also be punishable by imprisonment, said Bowden.

Security Reports

CERT has issued an advisory regarding a security problem on Cobalt RaQ servers. If you are running one of these (Linux-based) systems, you probably want to pick up and install the update.

Netscape Enterprise Server's JHTML was the topic of this Bugtraq posting, examining possible problems with the built-in search engine, operational by default.


Red Hat has announced an update for Squidwhich fixes the problem with the cachemgr.cgi script, mentioned in last week's Security Summary.

Debian has announced updated Samba packages, following recent mentions of Samba security problems.

Red Hat also updated their Samba announcement, mentioned last week. The new version includes notes about the post-uninstall script. Special install procedures for the updates are recommended.


Mason, the interactive firewall builder is preparing for the release of a new version. Testers are needed, particularly people working on distributions other than Red Hat 5.2/6.0 and architectures other than i386.

IP defragmentation, TCP stream assembly and TCP port scan detection are provided functions of the Libnids shared library. Source, sample applications and documentation are available for download.

AntiSniff Beta 2 has been announced. [From Security Focus]

SARA, the Security Auditor's Research Assistant has announced version 2.0.6. It is based on SAINT and licensed under the GPL. Simultaneously, TARA, the Tiger Analytical Research Assistant version 2.2.6 was also announced. TARA is an upgrade to TAMU's 'tiger' program and scans a system for vulnerabilities. It has been tested on Red Hat 5.2, as well as other systems.


Wietse and Dan's Free Forensics class filled up within hours of its original announcement. This note from Wietse promises, though, that handouts from the class will be made available on the Web and beta versions of their tools will be made available both to attendees and to people who were unable to get into the class. More information on the class is available at http://www.porcupine.org/class1999/.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 5, 1999

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.12. There is a 2.3.13 pre-patch available. In this patch, Linus has changed the way driver initialization is done, eliminating the need for the big pile of ugly #ifdef's in init/main.c. This is a far-reaching change, requiring tweaks in lots of drivers. There is nothing complicated about these tweaks, but there are a lot of them, so it could be a little while before this change works it way through all the code. See Linus's announcement for a bit more information.

Linus has also proclaimed that a 2.3 feature freeze will probably happen in about two weeks. He is clearly serious about trying to get a 2.4 out in the fall. While there is little disagreement that 2.2 was too long in coming, one could well wonder if 2.4 isn't being a little rushed. By some accounts, 2.2 hasn't really stabilized yet (though it works great for most people); by the time it does, it may already be obsolete.

Looking forward to 2.4, Joseph Pranevich has put out the first version of The Wonderful World of Linux 2.4, which describes the changes that will appear in that release.

The current stable release remains 2.2.10. Alan Cox has been passing around a set of 2.2.11 pre-patches, but Alan has been somewhat scarce in recent weeks and progress on that front has been slow.

If there are any Sparc users who are considering trying 2.3, our advice is to wait. Some of the memory management changes in 2.3 broke badly on the Sparc, with the result that the 2.3 kernels do not build. Work is underway to fix that, but it's going to take a little while yet. Unless you're willing to help out with the work, the best thing to do is to hold off for a few more releases.

Your backup is unsafe, but don't worry too much, it's just a Windows partition. So starts this note from Robert de Bath. Here's the problem: those who have dealt with the Windows "VFAT" file system know that there can actually be two names for a file. The file system supports long file names almost like a real operating system, but, underneath it all, there is a DOS 8.3 ("short") filename that really identifies the file. Thus "Program Files" becomes "Progra~1".

The Linux VFAT file system only makes the long file name visible to the user, on the reasonable assumption that it is the one they want to see. Usually all works just fine. But imagine that you back up this file system, then restore it at some future time. All of the long file names will go back the way they were before, but Linux has to generate new 8.3 names to go with them. Those 8.3 names will usually be the same ones that were there before, but not always.

Changing 8.3 names would not necessarily be a problem, if it weren't for certain programs (i.e. Office) which actually depend on them. Long and short file names also tend to get mixed up in the Windows registry, leading to serious havoc if they do not continue to match up together. Since there is no reason why a rational person would use VFAT if they were not working with windows software, this is a real issue.

Solutions to this one will not come easily. The Unix worldview is just not prepared to deal with two weirdly linked names for the same file in this manner. The most common idea was to turn the long file name into a link (either hard or soft) to the 8.3 file name, and present both in a directory listing. Since VFAT does not support links, this usage would be unambiguous, and seems like an easy way out.

But only until one really thinks about the problem. The short and long names are tied much more tightly than Unix links; who expects that, when you rename one link to a file, that the other would change too? Since directories, too, have long names, the use of hard links is out of the question; hard links to directories are a quick path to trouble in almost any Unix-like system. Even with symbolic links, trying to make everything actually work right would be slightly less fun than, say, being tied over an anthill.

So it's not clear that this problem will get solved. And one could indeed ask how important that is; it seems that almost all backup programs that run under Windows have the same problem. VFAT, in the end, is a piece of ugliness that is exceptional even in the Windows context; there is only so much that can be done to make it work right.

A few notes on SCHED_IDLE, the proposed new scheduler class (discussed in last week's issue) which would run low-priority cranker jobs only when nothing else wants to run:

  • Rik van Riel noted that the patch has progressed since the version we published last week; see his kernel patches page for the current version.

  • Artur Skawina posted a competing implementation which, according to him, works much better and imposes no costs on the normal (non-SCHED_IDLE) case.

  • Victor Yodaiken, who fears the numerous deadlock and performance problems that SCHED_IDLE can bring, posted this note on alternative ways to deal with the problem. It is simultaneously humorous and convincing, worth a read.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Jens Axboe has set up a web page for Linux CD and DVD development. Information on CD-RW and DVD developments can be found there, and the current patches can be downloaded.

  • Yann Droneaud posted a version of the boot code that has been rewritten for the gas assembler. Nobody much likes the as86 assembler currently used for this code, but there is not a whole lot of sentiment in favor of gas either. There is a third assembler (nasm) which seems to have more appeal; if as86 goes away, it may be nasm that takes over. (See also: the posting and, for the really curious, the new boot code).

  • Etienne Lorrain posted an announcement for a new bootloader, which competes with programs like LILO. This one is different, however, in that it does not (yet) work...

  • Rolf Fokkens posted a patch allowing the user some control over the mapping between SCSI devices and their names in /dev. Currently, adding or removing a device on a SCSI chain can cause all of the others to be renamed, leading to much tearing of hair among the system administration staff. This patch seems like a simple solution to the problem for admins who know that they will be making hardware changes.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

August 5, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


The growing ranks of Linux distributions attracted the attention of Christian Schaller at LinuxPower who wrote this article in response, asking whether the new distributions were a "Force for Good or Evil". "It seems that every week we are greeted by a new distribution popping up."

The timing was amusing, coming as this editor was finishing up a talk on "Linux Distributions: Well-known through Unknown" for the Front Range Unix Users Group in Boulder, CO which addresses the same question. Clearly the topic seems to be of current interest. Please note that an updated and expanded version of this talk will be given at the Atlanta Linux Showcase in October, so comments, corrections and feedback on the slides will be welcome.

A comparison of major distributions was published this week by CPUReview.com. It is a followup to their reviews of the various individual distributions and compares RedHat 6.0, OpenLinux 2.2, SuSE 6.1, Mandrake 6.0 and Slackware 4.0.

MozillaZine's poll for the week covers the Distribution you use most. They took some flack for Red Hat-centric choices. A scan of alternatives mentioned in their forum that were not on the primary list showed up an unexpected (to this editor) number of LinuxPPC users, with Mandrake, mklinux and stampede being additional examples. The most used distributions from the actual list started with Red Hat, Debian, SuSE and Slackware, in that order.

Eridani Systems responded to our use of their distribution in our July 22nd Distribution Summary as an example of a distribution that did not appear to be adding value to the base Red Hat distribution. They give a list of 20 or so additional packages that have been added to the base distribution, including the FTP version of Corel's Wordperfect for Linux. Our apologies ... we formed a mistaken impression based on the original announcement.


The latest information on Debian's perl upgrade was posted on July 29th. It seems the perl upgrade is nearing completion with only a few packages left to be converted.

The /usr/doc vs /usr/share/doc issue apparently continues to rage unabated in debian-policy, according to this note from Joey Hess. As a result, developers are urged to wait before modifying their packages to use /usr/share/doc.

The Debian Weekly News for August 3rd is available and covers the past two weeks, since no issue was released last week.


Enoch Version 0.7 has been announced. This is their first non-beta release and includes improved initscripts. Five pgcc-optimized builds are provided for the Pentium, Pentium Pro/II/III and AMD K6.


Mandrake has announced support for the KOffice project, specifically by financing David Faure, one of the KDE core-developers, to work on the KOffice and KDE projects. More details are described in this week's Linux-Mandrake News.

Red Hat

Red Hat has announced their new FTP server setup, which greatly increases the available bandwidth for downloads. Even better, the new setup is directly connected to two distinct networks and will soon, they claim, be connected to three different networks, which should greatly reduce inaccessibility of the site due to Internet backbone problems.

Non-security related updates from Red Hat over the past week will require quite a bit of disk space. Over 31 packages are included in their GNOME, gnumeric and enlightenment updates. There is also a linuxconf update. Atul Chitnis pointed out that they have now released updates for over 30% of the original 6.0 release. Please note that security-related updates will be mentioned on our Security Summary.


Slackware stable has been upgraded to use GNU libtool-1.3, according to the changelogs.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 5, 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
Eridani Star System
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


A new stable release of the GNU Gcc compiler has been announced. "This is the first release of GCC since the April 1999 GCC/EGCS reunification and includes nearly a year's worth of new development and bugfixes."

A program to help find Y2K-related problems in C programs has been released. Version 1.0 of Carillon was announced on August 1st.


The GNU runtime library for Java, libgcj, has been updated. Version 2.95 works with the recently released gcc 2.95, but is also the first actual release of libgcj outside of anonymous cvs and cvs snapshots.

Cryptix, a clean-room implementation of Sun's Java Cryptography Extentions (JCD) has released version 3.1.0 and now runs on both the JDK 1.1 and 1.2.

Following up mentions of Java Interactive Development Environments in last week's Development Summary, Peter Moulder pointed out that calling AnyJ free software was incorrect, because the software is free for use under Linux, but is not redistributable.

In addition, our list of available IDEs did not include the beta of IBM's Visual Age for Linux, noted by Tom Janofsky, which was ported to Linux in response to "937 Linux developers who signed Scott Stanchfield's petition requesting that VisualAge for Java be ported to Linux." Ivar Vasara capped that by pointed out that blackdown.org has a much more complete list of Java IDEs.


The Perl Bug Database is now on-line, thanks to Richard Foley, the perlbug administrator.

Development releases for perl are coming out in rapid order, with three releases in the past week in preparation of an expected beta release around August 19th, in time for the O'Reilly Perl Conference. Check perl.org for information on these development releases.

Perl CD Bookshelf is a CD from O'Reilly containing six popular Perl books, now available to provide easy lookup and cross-referencing.

The list of Perl refereed papers for the upcoming O'Reilly Perl Conference has been made available.


Deeply embedded Python was announcedthis week. This is a version of the Python virtual machine which is aimed at resource-constrained, embedded environments. Thus, it is set up to be configured with the absolute minimum set of functions needed for any particular environment. Even things like floating point numbers and file types can be left out. See the Deeply Embedded Python page for more information and downloading.

1500 threads in a Python program? That is evidently a reasonable thing to attempt if you are running with the Python microthreads patch. The author, Will Ware, appears to have set up an efficient user-mode threads implemention within the Python interpreter. He warns that the code is new and probably buggy.


Tcl-URL! for August 2nd encourages people to submit papers for the Tcl2K conference. For more information, check out the Call-For-Papers.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 5, 1999



Development projects

A new, more stable version of magicpoint, version 1.06a, has been announced.

Version 2.5 of Ted, an "easy to run and easy to install Rich Text Processor for Linux/Unix released under the Gnu Public License", has been announced.

CoffeeCup 4.0, an HTML editor has been released for Linux for the first time.

phpAds 1.0.0 was announced on August 1st. This is a banner management package, released under the GPL. More information can be found on the phpAds homepage.


Here is this week's GNOME summary from Havoc Pennington. It includes information on the new GNOME usability initiative, the planned 1.0.50 release, and other good stuff.


KDevelop 1.0 beta 1 has been announced. KDevelop seeks to provide "a good, stable and useful environment that can compete with modern graphical software development tools." They report that their team has grown from the initial three members to seven, plus a translation team ...


The Midgard Weekly Summary for August 4th is now available. Progress is happening in the documentation arena and an ODBC-enabled version of Midgard is ready to be tested. Midgard is a PHP-based web development and publishing platform.


Jeremy Allaire, of Cold Fusion, was reported to say that Netscape and the Mozilla project were dead. On mozillazine.org, you can get some context on his comments, as well as a response from Jeremy himself. The quotes apparently date back to Jamie Zawinski's resignation from Netscape and were primarily aimed at Netscape rather than the Mozilla project.
"... this comment says nothing about Allaire or Allaire's committment to working with Mozilla in our products. In fact, HomeSite now uses Gecko as an internal browsing engine for previewing content, and we are hopeful that the editing working group makes enough progress with their editing control, built on NGLayout, so that we can use it for semi-WYSIWYG design.

Even further, the visual tools team at Allaire is extremely excited about Mozilla and it is their expectation that they will over time become contributors to the project, based on work we do in HomeSite. "


Our XFree86 news got stale over the past month. We managed to miss both the announcement of XFree86 3.3.4 and the first development snapshot for the 4.0 series, announced on the XFree86 homepage. The latter is a development snapshot only and not for active use. More information on their release plans is available.


The Wine Weekly News for August 4th has been released. It mentions the latest Wine release, 990731, and success stories for it that include Lotus Notes and Free Agent. Also included is an editorial on the "Cooperative Funding of Open Source Projects".


The Zope Weekly News for August 4th is out. Scott Robertson has released a credit card processing product for Zope and CVS activity for Zope continues at a high rate in preparation for Zope 2.0 beta 2. Zope is a free, Open Source application server and portal toolkit used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

The FSF wins one. IDG has announced the winner of the "IDG/Linus Torvalds Community Award" ahead of the LinuxWorld conference this time around. The winner: the Free Software Foundation. They will get a check for $25,000, and recognition at a ceremony after Linus Torvalds' keynote on August 10.

It is a good thing that IDG/LinuxWorld is recognizing the FSF in this way. Let us hope that the rest of the conference will treat the FSF with respect as well. Last March's event left them somewhat marginalized, trying to be heard among the glitz, smoke, and lasers. Without the FSF, the LinuxWorld conference would not be happening; they deserve both this recognition and a high-profile presence at the event.

VA Linux Systems is on a roll They have announced that sales for the second quarter of this year were up 220% over the previous quarter, exceeding the 212% growth rate for Linux published by industry analyst firm International Data Corporation. They have also announced the opening of ten new sales offices, spread throughout the U.S.

It also appears, from the rumors going around, that their IPO filing will be happening in short order. The initial filing could happen, perhaps, by the end of this month.

IBM plans a large set of announcements at LinuxWorld, according to a number of sources. This was expected; there have been rumblings coming out of IBM for some time. The announcements should include a new Linux-based Netfinity server, the "official" announcement that DB2 is generally available, and a partnership with SAP to bring their high-end "R/3" ERP package to Linux. IBM seems to be truly interested in our favorite system; it is going to be interesting to watch where they try to go with it.

HP is not standing still either. It has announced that its OpenMail messaging system will run on Linux. A freely-downloadable beta version is available now; the full product is expected to be released in September. OpenMail is a big-deal product, used by millions of people in many large corporations. The availability of OpenMail provides another opportunity for Linux systems in "enterprise" environments.

Linux and the European server market. IDC has issued a release containing some of their predictions for the server market in Europe. They had some nice things to say. "Linux is expected to become a viable alternative to current operating systems in many user environments. Even if it is not yet fully standardized and represents only a small proportion of server sales, its positioning as a free source code product heralds a whole new business model for the server market."

Hardware Products:

The first software modem for Linux. PC-TEL has announced the availability of its software modem for Linux. Software modems work by shifting most of the signal processing work to the host system CPU. While such an arrangement is not suitable for a lot of systems, there can be advantages to this mode of operation. Companies building low-end Linux systems, for example, will certainly be pleased to have a less expensive modem available. Having that sort of signal processing capability available can, in the longer term, lead to any of a number of interesting telephony applications; whether that will happen with this particular modem depends on how open PC-TEL is with their driver software. There is, unfortunately, no indication in their press release that source will be made available.

Alpha Processor, Inc. and The Linux Store announced an agreement to offer API's next-generation motherboards based on Alpha processors through The Linux Store's e-commerce storefront.

Perhaps to make room for all those fast, new Alpha systems, The Linux Store is "giving away" the last of their huge pile of 166 MHz Multia systems. $29.50 for shipping will get you one. These are "bare bones" systems, so expect to have to invest more, in both time and money, before you have something that actually works...

A new Linux systems VAR. Cumetrix Data Systems Corp. announced that it is selling consumer and business computers that are pre-configured with the Red Hat Linux operating system. They are aiming at the low end, with their cheapest system starting at $399.

Software Products:

Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc., the developer of the BRU Backup & Restore Utility for Linux systems, announced the release of BRU 15.1. The most significant enhancement to BRU 15.1 is the release of CRU (Crash Recovery Utility) for Linux under an open source license.

Game maker Epic announced that the Linux port of Unreal Tournament is complete and in working condition. It's expected that Epic will include this free with UT upon it's release, on a second CD. Linux is the most popular operating system for game server administrators, and with both a Linux client and server port for Unreal Tournament, it's poised to become a major player in the online gaming community.

Press Releases:

  • Andover.Net announced the launch of a new e-Tool, HTMLWorks.

  • Excalibur Technologies Corporation announced Excalibur RetrievalWare 6.7, which, for the first time, supports Linux.

  • Fischer International announced the release of its new TAO Internet Messaging server.

  • InternetWeek, announced the debut of its InternetWeek Online Resource Centers, one of which is for Linux.

  • LINMOR Technologies announced version 5.5 of its web-based performance management system, NEBULA Performance Monitor (PM). The Data Collector portion of NEBULA PM 5.5 is available on the Linux platform.

  • The MathWorks, Inc. announced a new Student Version of MATLAB which is available on Linux.

  • Netcop Software announced the introduction of @Netcop.com, a secure web-based email service which runs on Linux.

  • ParaSoft announced that they will be exhibiting at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose.

  • Penguin Computing announced that it will become the first Linux company to offer a full line of computers backed up by the new Ecrix VXA-1 tape drives.

  • Penguin Computing has joined the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES).

  • Red Hat, Inc. named Thomas V. Butta Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

  • Siemens Computer Systems has extended its commitment to the Linux operating system by porting two of its enterprise software management products - openUTM and openFT - to Linux.

  • SSH Communications Security, Inc. announced the additions of Rodney Thayer, director of technology and Anne Carasik, consulting engineer. They also announced the release of Carasik's new book on network security, "Using Secure Shell," published by McGraw-Hill.

  • VERITAS Software Corporation announced a "backup support initiative" for Linux.

  • Vovida Networks announced the availability of another free commercial release of source code running on the Linux operating system - H.323 Annex F.

  • Workfire.com, Inc. announced a demo of its Genetic Caching technology, which will be available for Linux.

  • X.Org announced the successful completion of an arrangement with Metro Link, Inc., of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., as the official X.Org development partner. As part of this arrangement, Metro Link, Inc., will provide specific services to the X.Org member companies, and the general public as a whole.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

August 5, 1999


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

Linux in the news

Some of the news stories this week were about Red Hat's IPO offers to developers and the problems some of them had with E*Trade.

Salon Magazine ran an article about all the folks who have found themselves "ineligible" for the Red Hat IPO. "We coders had been abruptly disenfranchised, after having had silver carrots waved in front of our noses. I'd opened my first money-market account just now, in order to take part in the commercial future of something I believed in -- and the door had been slammed in my face." (Thanks to Doug Everitt).

The San Jose Mercury News has another story on Linux developer's reactions to Red Hat's IPO offerings. "Many of the developers were unaware of the fine print, which cautioned recipients of the offer that E*Trade could reject applicants not able to meet its IPO investment criteria. When the programmers tried to acquire their shares on E*Trade, they were indeed rejected. Venting their anger in Web discussion groups, some blamed Red Hat while others sounded off against E*Trade, which was caught in the middle of the dispute."

Obviously this is only part of the story. This story in Wired News provides a bit more balance.

Kevin Lyda complains in osOpinion about the reporting in LWN (and elsewhere) on Red Hat's community stock offering. "All of us are the 'Linux media,' and our community will grow better if we make reasoned contributions to it. It is not helpful to flame journalists, nor is it helpful to incorrectly (or incompletely) report facts."

Also in osOpinion: this response to Keven Lyda's piece. Other lead stories:

The Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman says the U.S. Congress threatens to establish a new kind of monopoly in this article in LinuxToday. "Companies that want monopoly powers to control public use of the information we get from data bases are trying to pass a law this year in the U.S. -- creating, for the first time, a private monopoly over repeating publicly known information. They are using the "good bill, bad bill" method; the "bad" bill is HR 354; the "good" bill is HR 1858."

This InfoWorld story is not really about Linux, but it will be of interest to software developers. [found in LinuxToday]

"A U.S. group that works to unify state laws on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a controversial proposal to adopt common licensing rules for software and other information technology transactions that critics contend would hold IT companies hostage to the whims of software vendors.
The UCITA deregulates product licensing and covers software, multimedia interactive products, data and databases, and the Internet and online information. It further allows vendors to disable software remotely as a means for repossessing products; makes shrinkwrap licensing terms more enforceable; prevents license transfers from one party to another without vendor approval; outlaws reverse engineering; and lets vendors disclaim warranties.

The UCITA was a leading item in the June 3 edition of LWN.

InfoWorld's Bob O'Donnell uses his final column on a set of predictions. "...the open-source movement will implode as its community-based approach is crushed under the weight of the movement's popularity. Egos will weigh in and the result will be splintering into multiple factions, which will greatly reduce the movement's effectiveness."

SGI, VA Linux and IBM:

Here is an InfoWorld story about 'Lintel', a Linux variant for Intel's IA-64 chip. "The "Lintel" effort, known as the Trillian Project and funded by Intel, is currently being cobbled together by a consortium led by Linux developer V.A. Linux Systems. It includes Hewlett-Packard, SGI, Intel, and Cygnus, and will soon include IBM. The first open-source code should be available early next year, or about the time Intel's IA-64 chip -- Merced -- is ready."

Performance Computing's "Unix Riot" column looks at SGI's moves. "The 1400 L will come with Linux and cost about $8,000; the M will ship with Windows NT and run you near $9,000. The price difference, one SGI source said, is due to the 'tax' Microsoft imposes for its OS."

Here's an InfoWorld article about the effort to port Linux to the IA-64 "Merced" processor. "HP, for example, is contributing operating system kernel expertise to the project, and SGI is pitching in with operating system and compiler technologies designed to extend the robustness of the operating system. If Linux is to compete on an enterprise level with the other offerings that will be available, such as IBM's Project Monterey, that robustness could be key."

News.com comments on SGI's plans to emphasize Linux on their Intel-based server computers. "Windows NT just won't be ready in time for what SGI has in mind. The company needs an operating system that can run on machines with dozens of processors, said Jan Silverman, SGI's new vice president of marketing for computer systems. "

Network World Fusion ran this article about SGI's new Linux-based server. "The release of the SGI 1400L shows the company's commitment to providing Linux solutions, and SGI intends to add more value to the Linux system by providing it with more support..." (NW Fusion is a registration-required site).

For those who do not want to register, it turns out that ComputerWorld has the same article available.

TechWeb looks at SGI's plans to offer multiprocessor systems with Linux installed. Quoting an analyst: "They are making it easier for their customers to do more business with them. They are really looking at Linux as their long-term operating system of choice"

Here's a Forbes article about VA Linux Systems. "Larry Augustin, the chief executive of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based VA Linux Systems (VA) wants to build a billion dollar company selling Linux-based computers. And this past quarter, he got one step closer to that target."

Computer Reseller News has an article about VA Linux Systems' plans. "VA Linux Systems plans to unroll a formal channel program soon and also is considering an initial public offering in the near future..."

VA Linux Systems will be opening ten new offices across the U.S., according to this brief News.com article. (Thanks to Richard Myers).

IBM is looking more and more like a big blue penguin proclaims this PC Week article about IBM's upcoming LinuxWorld announcements. "IBM's Linux leader, Mike Riegel, said the company is ahead of projections in Linux sales and sees no tapering of interest on the part of users." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

This ZDNet article gives a good overview of the many ways IBM is supporting Linux. "Among the major server vendors, IBM is emerging with a clear story of end-to-end support for Linux that can't help but give the operating system a boost in the eyes of corporate information technology managers."

News.com ran this article about the release of IBM's DB2 for Linux. "...the introduction of a Linux version of one of Big Blue's most prestigious software products is another sign of the gradually increasing respect given to the upstart Unix clone."

Other Business:

The Triangle Business Journal reports on Red Hat's IPO and how Linus Torvalds feels about it. "Analysts are predicting that Red Hat, which has priced its shares between $10 and $12, will spike up to as much as $60 to $100 in its first few days and stay there for a while. With more than 67 million shares outstanding after the offering, Red Hat's market cap could top $5 billion after the first day of trading."

PC Week reports on Motorola's entry into the Linux world. "Motorola... will target embedded devices, a market that not many have addressed. That would bring Linux to the appliance market within and beyond the traditional IT infrastructure..."

Wherehouse (a U.S. music chain) will be deploying a system in its stores that allows consumers to listen to sample tracks from any CD in the store, according to this ComputerWorld article. The system? An IBM Netfinity server running Linux. "The cost of the bandwidth and the servers will be offset by the lower cost of Linux compared with other systems, such as SCO Unix. Beyond the lower cost, Wherehouse preferred to use Linux because it's an open standard with substantial support from a vast, albeit loosely affiliated, online community of developers..."

This Doctor Dobbs Journal article worries about Linux fragmenting under pressure from large corporations. "What if [Microsoft] tried to do to Linux what it did to Java: introduce a free version that was missing some important components, and had some other, custom parts, added?" (Found in Slashdot).

Linux vs. Microsoft:

This LinuxToday opinion piece talks about the war between Linux and Microsoft. "Like it or not, we are at war. Wake up and smell the Kaffe. Sound the alarm, but do it with a clear head. And don't be lulled by kind words about us all "just getting along". I'd like to see it someday, but judging from past experience, it's going to be quite a while, if ever, if it involves Microsoft."

Will Linux Replace NT? asks Seybold Publications. It's a very positive report, but it sees, like many others, a stronger role for Linux in the server role. "It is important to keep in mind that open source involves a cultural phenomenon as much as a technology. It's advocates revel in the process of developing, sharing and updating programs that are equal to or better than their commercial counterparts." (Found in NNL).

Worth Magazine ran this introductory article by Robert X. Cringely. "But the most threatening part for Microsoft is that Linux debunks parts of the Microsoft story that makes the company worth so much: that only Bill Gates can make a good product and that it takes thousands of programmers and billions of dollars to do the job. Linux redefines, by placing it in a different context, the very idea of software quality. And Microsoft comes out on the losing end of most quality comparisons." (Thanks to Alexander V. Voinov).

News.com has an article about improvements to Linux which will make it more appealing to desktop markets. "Linux is derived from Unix, which got its start in servers. As such, it competes with Unix, Novell Netware, and Windows NT. However, Linux has a growing popularity in desktop machines, where it competes with Windows, MacOS, and other operating systems aimed at average consumers."


ZDNet writes about Time's "Person of the century" poll. "Microsoft CEO Bill Gates currently is No. 16 in Time's poll. That fact alone might inspire Linux participants. What Linux supporters wouldn't be pleased to see their man ranked above Mr. Windows?" (Linus is currently at number 15). (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Evan Liebovitch writes about the "post-FUD era" in the context of Bob Metcalfe's recent anti-Linux articles. "This new stuff is a very different animal. Incapable of confronting Linux based on what it actually is and does, this new generation of Linux-bashing hauls out various piles of suspect and irrelevant minutiae, and chooses to attack the creators rather than the creation."

LinuxPower interviews Hakon Wium Lie, the leader of the project to port the Opera web browser to Linux. "Personally, I'm a fan of the Mozilla project. I know some very smart people working on it, and they have understood the need to fully support standards. The new layout engine has great support for CSS, and the Opera programmers will have to work hard to make a better product. But we work very hard :-)"

The Atlantic Monthly has an article detailing the author's experiences with Linux. "But it is clear that living with Linux, which I have been doing for a while now, is not at all like spending time with Windows or Mac OS. Whereas Windows and Mac OS are intended in part to shield users from their machines, Linux forces people to grapple with their relationship to technology -- an experience that was for me both salutary and disquieting. "

The article also includes a sidebar comparing KDE and GNOME.

This Performance Computing column checks out recent Linux releases - especially GNOME and Enlightenment - and is most pleased. "The troika of GNOME, GTK+, and Enlightenment creates a wholly engaging graphical environment that looses the bonds of tradition." There is also a review of Windows NT 2000 beta 3 for comparison.

Found in LinuxToday is this article about Mandrake 6.0 and a program called Lnx4win.exe. "Hidden away, however, is a program called Lnx4win.exe. I'm certain the Linux purists among us will recoil in revulsion, but the idea behind Lnx4win is very good. Many current MS- Windows owners have powerful computers with plenty of hard drive space, but are understandably confused about the repartitioning involved to install Linux on an ext2 partition. Next to ppp issues, partitioning seems to be the source of much frustration from new-to-Linux users. "

CPU Review has run a review of WordPerfect 8 for Linux. "...I was pleased that WordPerfect's import capabilities did not extend to Word virii..."

Linux is just an ordinary program says an article (in French) in Le Monde Informatique. The author claims that Linux is well adapted to the market economy, even if its development model seems strange to some. English translation (of a sort) available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Fabian Rodes).

Here's an article in Hindu Online about clusters which mentions Linux briefly. "He put together 140 standard computers running on 533-MHz Alpha 21164A processors, on an ethernet; loaded the system with the ``rogue'' operating system Linux, added 35 GB of memory and ended up with a system that gave him 48.5 giga flops." (Thanks to Radha Krishna).

Here's a pessimistic editorial along the "Linux will fragment" lines. "To stabilize Linux, corporations should weigh in now, emphatically pushing for vendor-neutral standardization and application support. If they hit roadblocks, they should avoid Linux vendors and their add-ons altogether and opt only for entirely open-source Linux distributions." (Thanks to Dylan Griffiths).

Here's an introductory article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. "With the stamp of approval of the major computer vendors in place, Linux's budget price and reputation for reliability are starting to catch the attention of large corporations." (Thanks to Chris Fearnley).

Linux, Linux: Enough Already says ENT Magazine. "I have something close to an ethical problem here: These enthusiastic Linux developers seem in some ways exploited, in that someone else is deriving the economic value produced by their work." (Thanks to Ron O'Rourke).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

August 5, 1999


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



The Bay Area GNU Picnic will be held on August 14 at Lake Temescal in Oakland, CA. It should be a good opportunity for people who are still in the area after LinuxWorld to decompress and enjoy some fun with the GNU folks. See the announcement for details; they are looking for somebody to bring a dragon to grill the food, though there will evidently be charcoal around as a backup. An Alpha Linux users BOF will be held at LinuxWorld next week, even though it does not appear on the schedule. It's Wednesday, August 11, 5:30-7:30 in room J1.

Linux Standard Base update. On July 24, Stuart Anderson gave a presentation to the Suncoast Linux Users Group about the Linux Standard Base. SLUG has now put up a detailed transcript of the talk, which contains a lot of information on what the LSB is trying to do. Worth a read.

The tenth Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy will be held in Toronto on April 4-7, 2000. They have issued a call for participation for that event, with the deadline being October 15, 1999.

User Group News

Long Island Linux Users Group will be having a Webserver Festival in Lupton Hall at SUNY Farmingdale at 8 pm on Tuesday August 10. Come to learn about configuring Apache or Roxen. For more information see lilug.org/meetings.html

August 5, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
4inarow 0.24 ascii art four in a row game via tcp/ip
68HC11 Target for gcc-2.8.1 19990803 Patch to add 68HC11 target to gcc-2.8.1 compiler
AbiWord 0.7.4 Fully featured word processor
ac3dec 0.5.4 A free Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoder for unix
aewm 0.9.3 A minimalistic window manager for X
AfterStep 1.7.126 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
alarm applet 0.5 Simple alarm for the GNOME panel
Amy 0.4.4 Multi-language, multi-platform Integrated Development Environment
Appindex browser 0.4 Simple ncurses-based Freshmeat appindex.txt browser
arcem 0.50 An Acorn Archimedes emulator for Un*x
aRts 0.3.2 Analog realtime synthesizer
ascpu 1.7 A CPU load monitor.
asDrinks 1.8 News headlines from nerd/UNIX type sites in your AfterStep startmenu
asmutils 0.04 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
Aspell .28.1 Intelligent Spell Checker
BeOpen.com Hyperbole 4.18 hypertextual information manager
BeOpen.com InfoDock 4.0.8 An Integrated Development Environment & Info Manager
Blackened 1.7.0 irc client with many features
BladeEnc 0.82 Freeware MP3 Encoder
Bnetd Emulates a StarCraft Battle.net server
bzip2 0.9.5b Very high-quality data compression program
Calcium 2.1 powerful & flexible interactive web-based Calendar
CapsiChat 0.19++ Multi-user Internet chatbox/haven
Carillon 1.0 system for finding Y2K errors in C programs
CDPlayer.app 1.3b CD player with CDDB support.
CDRDAO 1.1.2 Disk-At-Once Recording of Audio CD-Rs
centerICQ 0.01 a textmode-based ICQ clone for Linux
CGI::WeT 0.70 A set of Perl scripts to allow Web Themeing.
chbg 0.6pl1 Desktop background changer and manager
CLISP 1999-07-22 ANSI Common Lisp interpreter, compiler and debugger
Clustor 2.0 Clustor - software for high performance computing
code2html 0.7.0 Converts a program's source code to syntax highlighted HTML
CoffeeCup HTML Editor for Linux 4.0 Powerful GTK HTML Editor
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0b6 Internet Printing System for UNIX
CompuPic 4.6 build 1010 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
Cryptix 3.1.0 Strong cryptography for Java
curl 5.9.1 Command line tool for getting data from a URL
CVS 1.10.7 Concurrent Versions System
cvs2cl.pl 1.114 Generates ChangeLog for any CVS working copy
CxIV 0.60b Fully threaded discussion system with many features written in C
dbMetrix 0.1.8 GUI Database Tool
ddial 1 text based pppd launcher and dialer script
dea 1.3 Encryption library and utility
demcd 2.0.5 CDPlayer for Linux
Disc-Cover 0.8.3 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
divine 0.4.3 automatic IP configuration detection for laptops
DizzyICQ 0.14b ICQ clone for console text, ncurses/icqlib based.
dmcat 1.2 Digital Music CATalog
dnsjava 1.0.2 Implementation of DNS in Java
Easy-Sniffer 0.0.3 Easy dynamic sniffer
Easysoft JDBC-ODBC Bridge Beta 2.0 Provides JDBC Access for Java Applets/Applications to ODBC Data Sources
Edcom Pre1.3 An easy to administer, multiuser, story posting system, written in perl5.
EiC 4.2.0 A bytecode C interpreter/compiler
Energymech Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
Enoch 0.7 An Advanced, Highly-Optimized GNU/Linux
Epeios 19990801 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
Etherboot 4.2.5 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.7.0 GUI network protocol analyzer
Euphoria 2.01 pre alpha 4 A great fast extensible language
Exim 3.03 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
ext2resize 1.0.4 Resizes ext2 filesystems
eXtace 1.1.12 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
Fetchmail 5.0.6 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
flip 0.1 Page-flipper for previewing TIFF sequence animations.
flow 0.2 Particle animation software with GL preview and Renderman output.
FOP 0.9.1 An XSL formatter written in Java that outputs PDF
FreeAmp 1.3.0 Open Source MP3 player
Freebirth 0.3.1 Integrated bass synthesizer/step sequencer/sample player
freemed 19990802 Free medical management software in a web browser
FreeWorld BBS 0.2.2 BBS Software for Linux
frequency 0.3 stylostatistical analysis tool
fryit 0.3.2 Graphical frontend for cdrecord.
FSViewer 0.2.2 File Viewer lookalike for Window Maker.
FTP Logger 1.4b Perl(CGI) WU-FTPD log analyzer for WEB
gaddr 1.1.1 A simple GTK+ Addressbook
gaim 0.9.6 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
Galway 0.17 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
GameStalker Linux 1.04 Quake II/Quake3A Server Browser
Ganymede 0.99.5 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
Gaspell .28.2 A Gnome Frontend to Aspell
gbeta 0.8 Advanced OO language
gcc 2.95
gcombust 0.1.19 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
gd 1.6.2 A library used to create GIF images
Geek Code Generator 1.0 Generates a Geek Code using a series of qeustions
Genpage 1.0.6 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
genvarsizes.sh 1 Fixed defines (typedefs) for 8/16/32 bit variables in C programs
Getleft 0.5.3 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GIFgraph::Map 1.01 Generate HTNL map text
Gifsicle 1.14 Command-line tool for creating, editing, and optimizing GIFs and animations
GIMPressionist 0.99.3 Impressionistic plug-in for the GIMP
GISM 0.5.4 GISM Implements Stacked Monitors in a single process.
Glade 0.5.1 GTK+ interface builder
glFtpD 1.16.9 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
GMagic 0.14.1 Realtime property database for UIs
gnomba 0.3.1 Gnome Samba Browser
GNotes! 1.64 A nifty GNOME Panel applet that allows you to create notes on your desktop.
GNU C library 2.1.2pre2 The GNU C library is used as the C library in the GNU system
GNU make 3.77.92 Controls the generation of executables and other non-source files
GNU pop3d 0.9.7 A small, fast, and efficient POP3 server.
GNU Pth 1.0.4 GNU Portable Threads
GNU xhippo 1.1 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
Gnumeric 0.31 Spreadsheet, a new foundation for spreadsheet development, part of GNOME
GPeriodic 1.2.5 Periodic Table Reference and Browser
GProc Managing process from the Gnome panel
gPS 0.2.1 GTK-based process status reporting like ps, top and task manager
Gqcam 0.4 GTK based QuickPict clone
GRE 0.2 Bi-Di languages text editor
grep-dctrl 1.1 grep Debian control files
gsmlib 0.1 GSM mobile phone control library
GSnes9x 1.0 GNOME front end for the Snes9X SNES emulator
GSokoban 0.60 A GNOME implementation of the Sokoban game.
GTK+ MAGIC 0.14.1 Realtime Configuration Environment for GTK+
Gtk-- 1.0.2 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
GtkShadow 0.1.1 web-oriented graphic tool
GTKtalog 0.04 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface with powerfull file research module
GTKWave 1.2.0 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
GyrosCoPe 1.0 GTK colour picker for HTML documents
Gzilla 0.2.1 Free web browser written in the GTK+ framework
HTML Tidy 26-jul99 Cleans up HTML source and formats it nicely.
HTMLPerlSETI 0.7 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
htnews 0.6.6 Email robot for adding news items to a webpage.
HuggieTag 0.8.6 Tagline and signature adder for email and news
ibs 0.3.3 The intelligent backup system for Debian GNU/Linux.
ide-smart 3.1 IDE SMART test and query tool
IMP 2.0.10 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
Install-Sendmail 5.0+lang install-sendmail will configure sendmail and fetchmail for you.
IR Remote Control driver for FlyVideo98 0.1 driver for the IR remote control in the FlyVideo'98 TV card
IRMP3 0.4.1 Multimedia Audio (mp3) Jukebox; optional IR remote control, LCDisplay, keypad
ISIC 0.03 Sends controlled, semi-random packets to test IP Stacks and Firewalls
ivtools 0.7.9 Application frameworks for drawing editors and spatial data servers
JAMS 0.15 A fully functioning SMTP mail server written in Java
JChemPaint 0.4 A 2D molecular structure editor written in Java
jEdit 1.7pre7 Powerful text editor
JergoBlatz! 2.0.1 Play-by-email game mailing list server
Jetty 2.2.4 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
Juggernaut Application Server 1.0 beta 2 Java-based Web Application Server
kAPM 0.1.2 An APM-BIOS monitor for the KDE desktop.
KBiff 2.3.10 New mail notification utility for KDE
kdbg 1.0beta1 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
KDevelop 1.0 Beta1 KDevelop is a new C++ development environment for Unix/X11.
KHexEdit 0.8.2 Versatile binary file editor for KDE
King of the Hill 0.7.2 Full client/server multiplayer artillery game in the scorched earth tradition
Krabber 0.4.2 Pre 6 KDE audio cd grabber and mp3 encoder front-end
KWebDev 0.04 Web Development Environment
libcdaudio 0.99.0-pre1.0.0 A versatile multiplatform CD player library supporing CDDB and CD Index
libgcj 2.95 Runtime library for gcc's Java front end
Libgraph 0.0.1 A library to build graphs in gif format.
libmd 0.2 MD2, MD4 and MD5 library
Libra 0.1.0 Ada '95 Data Structures and Networking Library
libsndfile 0.0.15 A library for reading and writing sound files.
Licq 0.70g Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Linux trustees 1.3 Linux ACL
Linuxconf 1.16r2 Sophisticated administrative tool
Listar 0.126a Modular Mailing list management software
Lithium 0.3.1 Suite of Network/System Admin Tools with a GTK+ GUI
logcoloriser 1.0.2 Ssyslog log colourising PERL script
lsof 4.45 List open files
Lynx 2.8.3.dev5 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
mail2sms 0.31 Convert a mail to a short message
Mailman 1.0 Mailing list manager with built in web access
Math 1.02 Automates mathematic operations
miniCHESS 0.6 chess dock app
mkdep.perl 1 makedepend that does not include system header files.
Modeline 0.5.1 A small utility to make XFree86/svgalib/framebuffer modelines.
mod_frontpage 1.3.6- FrontPage server extensions patch
mod_ssl 2.3.11-1.3.6 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
mod_throttle 2.06 Virtual server throttling for Apache 1.3.x
Moonshine 0.1.5 An application development environment for Linux.
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MSWordView 0.5.14-bw3 Microsoft Word 8 document viewer
Multi-vendor UPS Monitoring Project 0.41.3 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software
MultiMail 0.28 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
MyGuestbook 0.8.1 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
MySQLShopper 0.03d PERL / MySQL Shopping Cart ( E-Commerce ) Script
NAMG 0.1.0 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
nep 1.1.0 An interactive plot program base on BLT
netcomics 0.9 A perl script that downloads today's comics from the Web
netfilter 0.1.4 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
NetMatrix 0.1a PHP based graphical network monitor for Cisco Router networks
NetSaint 0.0.4b2 A relatively simple active network monitor
Nightfall 0.15 Eclipsing binary star program
nunu 0.3 A scriptable, back-propagation neural network
ocs-base 1.0-28 Base system for Linux intranet applications
ocsadmin 1.0-28 ocsadmin is a web admin tool to maintain user accounts
ocscal 1.0-28pre1 An intranet calendar system featuring shared appointments
ocsemail 1.0-28 Electronic web email system for you intranet
ojstools 0.5 Tools to simplify JavaScript programming
OpenMail 6.0 Business Messaging for Linux
Oracle Procedit 1.0 X11 Oracle Procedure and Function Editor
Pan 0.4.3 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
Papadef 1.1.2 Client for the ParaCHAT system
parseargs 0.5.0 Extended replacement for getopt or getopts
PCCS NRM 08f Network Resource Manager (PC, NW Printers, and Software)
Perl Shell 0.001 Simple interactive Perl shell
PerlSETI 0.5p2 GUI front end for the SETI@home client, programmed in Perl. Many Statistics.
pftp 1.0.16 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
PHP 3.0.12 HTML-embedded scripting language
PHP ircd 0.4 IRC server written in PHP
phpAds 1.0.0 Banner management and tracking system written in PHP
poll Script for automating Fidonet polls
PoPToP 0.9.10 PPTP Server for Linux
PortSentry 0.99.1 Detects and responds to port scans against a target host inreal-time.
PowerPak 990801 An attempt at a high-level game SDK
ppower 0.1.3 Software for listening to and controlling x10 home automation devices.
privtool 0.90 Beta GT010 Sun mailtool replacement with PGP support
pvmsync 0.41 (lib-1.1.41) extends POSIX-like synchronization mechanisms to a Linux Beowulf cluster
Pybliographer 0.5 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
qps 1.8 Displays processes in an X11 window
Qvwm 1.1 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
Rael's Binary Grabber 1.2.1 Automated tool for downloading binaries from UseNet newsgroups.
Rasca 1.2.2 Extended MP3 Player.
Realmlifes 0.05 A fantasy world simulation game with AI
ripit 1.5 Front-end for Ripping/Encoding/Tagging MP3s
RocketJSP 0.9b JSP 1.0 Engine
rplay 3.3.2 a network audio system
RRDtool 1.0.3 time-series data logging and graphing
Rush ircd 2.5 an amazing ircd. With a ton of new features
SARA 2.0.6 SATAN/SAINT like security auditing tool - takes advantage of nmap if present
sarep 0.32 Command-line search and replace tool written in Perl.
sash 3.3 Stand-alone shell for system recovery
sawmill 0.1 Extensible window manager
Screen Under X 0.1 Shell scripts for running screen
ScryMUD 2.0.0 Original MUD Server and Java Client
Sentinel 1.1.7c Fast system file scanner
setistats.pl 1.1 Shows collected data from a running SETI-client in a nice HTML-page.
sfspatch 2.2.10 The Steganographic File System Kernel Patch
sh-utils 1.22l GNU shell programming utilities
si 0.3 /proc system information viewer
sig_rotate.pl 1.2 A perl script that rotates signature files for you.
Simple Web Server 0.1.0 Simple web-server
Sing Along Disc Player 2.0.2 CD player with spectrum analyser, oscillator, mixer and remote DB support
Snort 1.2 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
SoundTracker 0.1.10 A music tracker for X / GTK+
Space Racer 0.1 An OpenGL Car Game
spec-gen 0.0.7 simple spec file generator
speechd v0.23 Implements /dev/speech device (all plaintext written to it will be spoken aloud)
Sporum 1.0 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.4.9 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
Spy 3.1.21 LAN Protocol Analyzer
Sula Primerix II 0.09.2b Extensible multi-server IRC Client for X
susi pre-072999 An easy user-interface management
syncopt 1.0 A Flexible and Simple Approach to Package Install
t1utils 1.13 Tools for manipulating PostScript Type 1 fonts
Tac 0.15 An AOL Instant Messenger client in pure TCL
TARA (Tiger Analytical Research Assistant) TARA 2.2.6 Local Security checking scripts
TclBot 0.1.1 A 100% Tcl IRC Bot
TCNE 0.1 News site administration perl script
Ted 2.5 Ted, an easy rich text processor for Linux.
Terraform 0.3.6 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
textutils 1.22p GNU text file processing utilities
The BeOpen.com OO-Browser 4.06 A fast, multi-language, multi-platform object-oriented code browser
The Gimp 1.1.8 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Harbour Project Alpha Release 29 An open source, cross platform xbase compiler
The N.U.E. Order 0.0.4 Highly integrated Order Processing system for Online commerce.
THUD 0.17 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
TiMidity++ 2.3.0 Experimental MIDI to WAVE converter
tinyproxy 1.2.7 A small, lightweight, easy-to-configure HTTP proxy.
tkchooser 0.62
TkNotepad 0.5.5 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
TOAD 0.42.20 C++ GUI library
ToyPlaneFDTD 0.2 In the vein of ToyFDTD, this is a 2D heavily commented FDTD code
tpctl 0.6.1 a ThinkPad configuration tool for Linux
TSambaClass 1.0a Cross platform C++ class library for accessing smb.conf file.
TT-News 0.2.4 A headline-news ticker for the TT news agency (Swedish)
turner 0.9.0 C/C++/Java source code HTML colorizer written in C.
TWIG 1.0.3 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
TwinTRIS .55 Multiplayer tetris clone for all Unix boxes
typespeed 0.3.5 Type speed testing program, gives your fingers' CPS
units 1.55 converts between different systems of units
unixODBC 1.6 Provides ODBC 3 connectivity for Unix
UPX 0.81 powerful executable packer
User Scan 0.0.1 User monitoring tool
vchkpw 3.4.5 qmail addon package for virtual domain email
VM 6.74 Emacs-based mail reader
vpnd 1.0.8 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
vsa 0.9 Visual Sound Analyzer
wcII-grab 0.1.1 Image Grabber for Creative WebCam II
WebAlbum 0.32 A perl script which produces html photo albums.
WebCal 1.12 A simple browser based calendar program.
WebFetch 0.08 Perl5 module infrastructure to export and retrieve news for web display
WebKNotes 0.500 Web based knowledge notes database written in Perl.
WebTTS 3.0 WWW-based Trouble Ticketing System for ISP's
WinMGM 2.0 Molecular graphism, construction/optimisation and analysis program/library.
WvDial 1.40 Intelligent Internet Dialer
X-Chat 1.1.6 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.36b1.2 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
X-Tract Build 244 XML Script processor
xcheckers 1.2 Play at draughts
Xclasses 0.40.2 pre 4 C++ layout library for the X Window System
XCmail 1.0.0 MIME and POP3 capable mailtool for X11
Xenon 0.6.3 A simple X-based text editor
XML::RSS Perl module for maintaining RSS files
Xpdf 0.90 Viewer for Adobe PDF files
XQF 0.9.0 QuakeWorld/Quake2 server browser and launcher for Linux/X11
XRacer 0.82 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
xrio a0.02 perl/tk frontend for the sba rio utility
XSane 0.31 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
Yacas 1.0.7 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
yafc 0.4.6 Yet Another FTP Client
ypserv 1.3.7 Simple network lookupservice consisting of databases and processes
ZAngband 2.2.5e Rogue-like roleplaying game
Zebra 0.76 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
zip08x 0.9.4 library to extract stored/deflated files in a zip archive
ZMailer 2.99.51
zpdb 0.9 Quake 2 Server Database with client/server query mechanism.
Zsh 3.1.6 Powerful UNIX shell

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

This week's theme is telephony, inspired by the release of the first software modem for Linux this week.

Why be interested in software modems? Have a look at Russ Nelson's linmodems.org site. Russ is working on developing Linux support for the various software "winmodems" out there, and includes a list of reasons as to why that might be a good thing to have.

If, instead, you would like to talk with your Linux system, have a look at LinuxTelephony. This one is a Linux news site with a strong emphasis on telephony and communications issues.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

August 5, 1999



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 14:41:24 +0200
From: Andrew McGill <andrewm@datrix.co.za>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Software announcements (quirk issues)

Walt Smith make an excellent point about software announcements not
explaining products.  lwn.net has been eulogising zope for quite a
while.  Despite having visited the zope site and having read how good it
is, I still don't know WHAT it is.  Anybody care to explain? (in one
line or less).  &:-)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 17:39:01 +0200
From: Ul f Dambacher <ulf.dambacher@mach.uni-karlsruhe.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: LWN990727: Blue Screen of Death

Dear lwn authors, dear linux users, dear linux fanatics

Following linux competing against windows in nearly every situation, I here
raise the question if we shall do compete on this seriously interesting
topic, too.

On the M$ sites you see a highly configurable BSOD filling the whole screen
and giving useful information at infrequent time intervals, on linux you
only get a kernel panic message filling only one single line of the screen,
colored in black and white and only on few occasions.

Where is the kernel hacker writing a patch to configure the kernel panic
messages to show up on timed basis (or depending on system load or user
interaction frequency), giving a little picture and some debug
information (maybe the last two tasks running) and some useful words of
advice what to do next.

Naturally one should be able to configure color and picture and text
contents (I suggest via the proc-filesystem, as modules are not suitable
in this special task).

I welcome any serious aproach,
yours faithfully
    Ulf Dambacher

Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 11:39:44 -0400
From: "Jay R. Ashworth" <jra@baylink.com>
To: editor@lwn.net
Cc: kevin@suberic.net
Subject: Kevin Lyda piece in OSO

In his piece in OSOpinion, Kevin Lyda takes the Linux reporting
community -- comprising such sites as Linux Weekly News, Slashdot, and
Linux Today -- to task based on his perception of their reporting as

Now, leaving out for the moment the fact that Slashdot isn't really a
_news_ site to begin with, its name notwithstanding, let us first speak
to his primary complaint.

E*Trade, he says "has reportedly changed it's policy with this share
offer since that time."  He links to a posting at Slashdot... which, as
far as I can see, says nothing of the sort.

The problem here, for those who weren't following the matter, is that
RedHat attempted to make a 'Friends and Family' stock offering to a
small group of notable Linux developers.  Apparently, as far as anyone
can tell, E*Trade failed to properly understand that this was the
posture RedHat wanted them to adopt with respect to this group of
people, and E*Trade instead treated them as normal investors --
subjecting them to an "eligibility profile", which, if the
"E(star)Trouble" site is to be believed, the vast majority failed.

This site, at http://www.concentric.net/~mrsam/etrouble/ and linked
earlier this weekend from LWN, is the saga of one such developer, who
with a $120K income and $60K liquid cash, did _not_ pass their test.

The whole point, of course, is that given RH's desire to make this an
F&F offer, no eligibility guidelines are really applicable; the people
climbing on board for this are _not_ general investors in the vast majority
of cases.

The worst part is that RH is in a very bad position to even apologize
for it, because of the SEC's 'quiet period' regulations.

But, coming back to the thesis of this note, Mr. Lyda's assertions that
the reportage on the matter was inaccurate "because E*Trade has changed
their mind" appears to be itself inaccurate: I can find no evidence
that E*Trade has reversed itself on the eligibility issue (except for
implying that potential participants should lie), nor that they've
restructured the offer in the Friends and Family fashion RedHat

So, Mr. Lyda; how was this reportage inaccurate again?

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra@baylink.com
Member of the Technical Staff     Buy copies of The New Hackers Dictionary.
The Suncoast Freenet            Give them to all your friends.
Tampa Bay, Florida     http://www.ccil.org/jargon/             +1 813 790 7592
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 01:36:08 -0400
From: Joe Drew <hoserhead@bigfoot.com>
To: metcalfe@idg.net, letters@lwn.net
Subject: FSF freeloaders?

In response to your July 26 column (
http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayNew.pl?/metcalfe/990726bm.htm ):

Ok, it's increasingly obvious you're hostile to Linux. I don't
particularly understand why, but that's not the point of this e-mail.
What I really want to know - and I really, truly want to know this - is
how you can possibly call the FSF a gang of freeloaders. Saying
something like that puts the whole fiasco into perspective: you truly
have no idea about that which you're writing.

In case you weren't aware, and it's highly possible you weren't, Richard
Stallman created the GNU project when he was finally fed up with the
proprietary nature of most software, with one goal: to create the first
fully Free (in both senses of the word; market-types might call it Open
Source) operating system, GNU. Shortly aftewards, in 1985 or so, he
created the Free Software Foundation, whose stated goal was to create
GNU. They would pay people to write it. It's from the FSF that such
works as GNU Emacs, gcc, and lesser-known projects like gzip, make,
autoconf, and the myriad of other tools which make up the basis of a
GNU/Linux system. The Free Software Foundation is the reason most
distributions exist; if anything, everyone else should be called a
freeloader off of /their/ hard work.

I truly would like to know how you can justify calling the FSF
freeloaders. If it was a mistake, correct it - because the Free Software
Foundation, along with all the programmers who wrote code for it, are
the reason Linux is in the limelight today.


Joe Drew

Don't watch your back - you'll never see me coming anyways.
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 00:16:11 +0400 (MSD)
From: Khimenko Victor <khim@sch57.msk.ru>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Linux fragmentation ? It WILL happen :-/

So far I was optimistic on subject of Linux fragmentation. Since source is
open and all changes can be incorporated in mainstream version without big
effort then what's the need for proprietary branches ? Except of cases where
maintainers of mainstream version are constantly reject much-demanded patches,
of course...

Recently I downloaded libgcj and now I' MUCH less optimistic. Reason ? Ok,
libgcj uses Boehm's GC. Version from http://reality.sgi.com/boehm/gc.html was
not "good enough" for them and so version from libgcj is different. Just how
different ? Well, comparing with gc 4.14 there are one two simple functions
added (GC_debug_object_start and GC_debug_generic_malloc), support for Linux
Alpha & Linux Sparc, support for QUICK_THREADS, autoconf and shared libraries
support but there are no support for for Linux/M68K, no support for Watcom C,
no support for SMALL_CONFIG and no new revision of gc_alloc for SGI STL
versions > 3.0... Nothing spectacular in both versions and merge can be done in
day or so (without full testing of course): I was able to use SGI's version
with libgcj after less then hour of tweaking since I'm not need suppot for
neither Alpha nor Sparc nor M68K. But still we have two INCOMPATIBLE branches
of Boehm's GC. One from Cygnus (even if it's internal version for libgcj 
users of Linux/M68K will suffer, for example) and one from SGI. BOTH companies
are very supportive in regard of Linux (Cygnus -- for long time, SGI -- vocally
only recently) but still we have one small (yet sophisticated enough) library
fragmented for no justified reason. And branch was created by company with
LONG relation with free software community (Cygnus) what makes situation even
worse :-/

If we can not keep ONE SMALL LIBRARY from fragmentation then how we can even
hope to keep full linux suite from fragmentation ? As we can see there are
MUCH LESS incentive to keep unfragmented codebase when corporations are

And I'm not sure now if Linux community we'll be able to keep Linux
unfragmented under pressure from "big boys" in corporations :-(( Not at all.

P.S. If you have some idea about why it's not common trend but rare exception
I'll be happy. So far I can not find such reason...

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 12:17:05 -0700
From: Anand Srivastva <anand@nmi.stpn.soft.net>
To: bob_o'donnell@infoworld.com, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Bob O'Donnell makes a few startling -- and final -- predictions


I don't agree with you on the fate that you have prescribed for linux. I
don't know why people forget how MS became big in the first place. Why
IBM could do nothing against MS, even though MS wasn't bigger than a fly
compared to them. They are still bigger in the revenue sense than MS.
Why could MS win. It won because of two things, IBM-PC was open, and
PC-DOS was also open. Anybody could make a compatible, and write
software for it. The compatibles drove down the prices, and lots of
developers created software for DOS. That's how Lotus, Borland came

But now MS is in the wrong position. Other hardware vendors are becoming
open, Alpha and SGI and IBM. Linux is as open as anything could ever be.
MS can't compete because it is a huge behemoth, gone are the days when
it could move fast. People talk about the turn around in its internet
strategies, but they forget that it has not made even a little money on
that front. It has only made IE free, which is money down the drain,
because there is a deadlock with Netscape. It could only succeed as
compared to Netscape till the time that Netscape was not free. But now
their IE investment is gone. MSN is also not working.

People should start understanding that Internet is a very different
beast, Open Source is a revolution. These two things are actually
different faces of the same coin. And they are akin to the discovery of
the printing press. Open Source movement has been at the center of an
explosion. And it will keep on growing at the same exponential rate as
it has been growing till it covers the whole world, for the next ten
years. The factor which is letting them become this big is the same
openness which had allowed MS to win over IBM twenty years ago.

The reason why Open Source will not splinter is GPL. Some people think
that it is a bad thing to restrict open source with GPL, but it is the
shield that protects all open source software from splintering. If you
look at the history of open source software which are covered by GPL,
you will find that very few have splintered, and those have they have a
very definite reasons, and many like the GCC have also had their
splinters get merged back.

GPL avoids splintering by removing the money motive. You cannot make
money on a GPL software other than providing some added value. And you
cannot make money more than the value that you have added. It also makes
life difficult for a splinter group because it has to improve faster
than the central group, otherwise they lose the value add that is being
provided. This makes it easier to just provide patches to the main code
base, than maintain a splinter base. It is still difficult, but is
easier. The best way is to open the code and let it go in the main code
base. The code released is properly integrated when in the main code
base, so that the vendor has to just add their improvements.

I am predicting that rather than split, open source will force all the
proprietory general purpose OSs out of the market. You are already
seeing a couple of them happening now as I am writing. You are seeing
that the Amiga OS is now becoming just a shell over Linux. You are
seeing that SGI is willing to abandon IRIX in favour of Linux. These
things will become more pronounced as maintaining an OS will become
non-profitable, and without any benefits. You can expect Apple to go
this way in the near future and even IBM to do something like this for
OS/2. This is just the beginning. The two companies which will come to
the fold last are MS and Sun. They are very very closely tied to their
OSs, which will make it very difficult for them to come to terms with

This forcing out of proprietory software will not be just for OSs. It
will slowly encompass all software that is in general use, or is
interesting enough, or is mission critical enough. There are a few
office suites, there are a few graphics tools, and there are a few
database software. These will keep on getting better and better, till
eventually they will get better than every proprietory software. The
open source software has another property of improving overtime with

I am not saying that all software will become opensource, but mostly the
above three types. Software that is not above three will require some
company to do it, and that will be proprietory.


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