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Leading items

The second LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is happening as this is typed. It has been an interesting week, thus far. Here are a few of our observations:
  • Attendance seems to be down somewhat this time, though we have seen no official figures. The tutorials were much more sparsely attended, and there seem to be fewer people around in general. Many possible reasons for this exist. SIGGraph is also happening this week, and has probably drawn some people away. Others will be attending the O'Reilly conferences later this month instead. And, after all, this is the second LinuxWorld in the same place in six months, maybe people have seen enough.

  • Another reason may be that the technical program is much weaker this time than it was last Spring. There are fewer big names on the program this time around. Many of the people who were here last Spring are instead going to Monterey for the O'Reilly show. Thus, this time, LinuxWorld is more of a pure trade show.

  • The exhibit floor is much bigger, but there are not necessarily a lot more exhibitors here. There are certainly more large booths, the companies have spread out somewhat. Some new folks this time around include the huge Dell booth, and a presence by Motorola, Lineo, Slackware, FreeBSD, and others. Sun has two booths this time: one of them is dedicated to recruiting.

  • The ".ORG Pavillion" has replaced "the ghetto" from last time around. In general, the noncommercial groups seem to be treated a little better this time around.
There are some nice facilities this time, such as the "laptop garden" with ethernet connections at which this text is being typed.

Please see our LinuxWorld page for our coverage of the event, pictures and more.

A full wrapup of what has happened here will take some time, and will be present in next week's issue. For now, it's all a blur. At the same time, it is amazing what one can get used to. The first LinuxWorld was striking in that it made it clear how much money was going into Linux. This time around is just as glitzy, but that's just the way the world is now. Linux is obscure no longer.

Speaking of money, Red Hat's IPO launched on Wednesday as scheduled. Prices immediately shot up to over $50 per share, and closed at $52, despite a market that has been hostile to IPO's recently. Red Hat's ability to overcome the direction of the market shows just how much interest there is in Linux businesses. Almost 18 million shares were traded - meaning that each share changed hands three times over the course of the day. Truly a busy day.

Given Red Hat's success, expect many more Linux-related IPO's in the near future.

In another sign of the times, Andover acquired Freshmeat.net, adding it to their Linux site portfolio alongside the recently-acquired Slashdot. There is quite a bit of consolidation beginning to happen in the Linux world, expect to see much more of it.

The problem of viruses. Will you be cracked next? asks Eric Raymond. This short piece looks at a number of security problems - such as viruses - and points the finger directly at Microsoft. It's a good piece that will, with luck, bring a little enlightenment to the mainstream press.

Given that most of the LWN staff is at LinuxWorld, parts of this week's newsletter will be a little thin. We should be back up to full coverage again next week.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

August 12, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Microsoft's security challenge, in which they put a Windows 2000 system on the net and asked people to try to take it down, turned out to be a bit of an embarrassment for them. The system went down several times in the first day, and Microsoft's explanations of the problem didn't hold a whole lot of water.

Meanwhile, the LinuxPPC folks set up a security challenge of their own, with an offer to give the LinuxPPC box to anybody who was able to compromise it. As of this writing, the prize remains unclaimed. This is certainly a testament to Linux security. It also helps, though, that the box in question was running a PowerPC processor. Most easy buffer overrun attacks are harder to do, since the exploits were developed for Intel systems....

Security Reports

Another problem with Gnumeric was reported by Miguel de Icaza. It seems that the Guile plugin would allow the execution of arbitrary commands, meaning that nastiness could be embedded into a spreadsheet. Thus far, there is not much exchange of Gnumeric sheets going on, and relatively few developers of malware using that medium. However, people using Gnumeric might want to look at the postingand upgrade.


A new version of cfingerd, the configurable finger daemon, has been announced. It allows extensive control over the information returned by finger, and contains a number of security fixes.

FCheck v2.07.37 has been released. FCheck is a perl system which performs system integrity checking and intrusion detection on a number of different platforms. See the announcement for details.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 12, 1999

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

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.13, which came out on Monday. It is a very large patch with a lot of driver updates, USB changes, PPP changes, and a lot of other small tweaks.

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.11, released after a long wait. For details on what is in this release, see the 2.2.11 release notes posted by Alan Cox. With this release, the stable kernel has been completely "handed off" to Alan; Linus will be looking only at the development series.

Those of you who were watching the pre-2.2 release cycle may remember the troubles getting the ISDN subsystem up to date in the mainline kernel. Unfortunately, as we head into 2.4, it looks like it's going to happen again. Once Linus indicated that a feature freeze is happening soon, people started asking where the ISDN updates were.

Linus had never seen any ISDN updates. He sent out some very strongly worded messages about how the ISDN people go off by themselves and expect to just dump a big set of changes in at the last minute. That is not the way Linus wants to see kernel development done.

A number of possible reasons for this mode of operation were proposed, including some rather severe regulations on what can be attached to the phone system in some European countries. In some places, at least part of the ISDN implementation must go through a certification process. Some people feel that a more open development mode would make this certification harder.

Most people aren't buying that, however. One can still freeze and certify a particular release if need be. That doesn't explain why the ISDN development lists work in a closed, developers-only manner (though it has been said that non-developers can get in if they "ask nicely.") And it doesn't seem necessary for all of the code to show up in one big patch - which Linus hates - right at feature freeze time. The peer review process does not have much time in which to operate when that happens.

It may be that Linus's tirade has shaken up the ISDN team a bit this time around. The ISDN patch made it into 2.2.11, and will get into 2.4 as well, and, according to what Linus said at his keynote, the ISDN code should be updated much more frequently in the future.

Asked on the mailing list: will SGI's XFS file system get into 2.4? The answer is an easy "no way." Nobody has seen the XFS code yet; it's not even ready for pre-alpha testing, much less a stable kernel release. XFS will happen sometime next year. (More information about XFS can be found on SGI's XFS page, including the nice bit of information that it will be released under the GPL).

It seems that the FreeS/WAN IPSEC implementation has problems with large packets in the 2.2 kernels. Results can include crashed systems. While communications in this mode are probably untappable, it also makes it difficult for legitimate users to get at their data. For those who are interested, here is a long explanation of what is going on, with discussion of some approaches toward fixing the problem. It is not a simple one.

The final Fenris (Netware filesystem) release is in the works, and may be available by the time you read this note. See the announcement for details. Included are some notes on how the performance still is not what they want it to be, and some strange text on how many of the accompanying utilities will be released only if Fenris gets accepted into the core Linux tree.

Version 0.6 of the USB HOWTO has been posted. There is now also a web-based version of the HOWTO available.

Some other patches and updates released this week:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

August 12, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


Check out the LinuxWorld Editor's Choice Awards. Nicholas Petreley covers all the results.

Red Flag Linux has been announced in China. This Computerworld article (in Chinese) covers the announcement. Gang Wang was kind enough to send us an unofficial translation. From it, we hear that Red Flag was developed by the Software Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Peking University Founders Group. It is a complete Chinese environment, with the YanHuang Chinese platform pre-installed and using TrueType fonts developed by the Founders Group. It supports both Intel and Alpha platforms and Compaq has joined as a partner to offer support of Red Flag on Alpha machines.

Caldera is making a splash in the embedded market this week, with the announcement of Embedix, their embedded Linux distribution based on Caldera's OpenLinux. Embedix is a product of Lineo (formerly Caldera Thin Clients), which has been supporting DR-DOS in the embedded market for the last year and a half. As we mention on our commerce page, Motorola Computer Group (MCG) has announced a partnership with Caldera and Lineo, choosing Embedix for the platform for their products and OEMs with the intent of making this the premier embedded Linux distribution. They also mentioned that they would like to see an effort for embedded Linux distributions like the LSB, to keep the distributions interoperating with each other.


Runner-up for Product of the Year! According to Nicholas' comments, that makes it pretty much as good as the product of the year, Mandrake 6.0, since the choice was hard to make. They also won the award for best Distribution in the Client category.


Debian was the runner-up for an amazing number of categories in LinuxWorld's Editor's Choice Awards, including best Distribution in the Server category, Mail Server and Web Server. We also hear it was chosen as a Show favorite in the "Distribution/Client Product". "While Debian can be one of the most difficult distributions to install, a properly maintained Debian server is remarkably easy to administer."

The freeze date for the next version of Debian has been set. November 1st is the date announced by Richard Braakman, conditional on the necessary projects being ready.

Debian-jp has released their news summary, as they generally do every week.

Definite Linux

Definite Linux 6.1 was released Monday, according to the announcement we received. The new version is based around kernel 2.2.10 and adds support for more RAID hardware, SMP and XFree86 3.3.4. Check the Definite Linux website for more details.


Mandrake won Product of the Year!. In addition, it won the award for "Distribution/Server". Congratulations!


Speaking to the guys at the Slackware booth at LinuxWorld, we got a bit of insight into the current Slackware development process. Patrick Volkerding is working hard on the next release of Slackware, which will use glibc2. However, he does not have a current version that is in condition to be downloaded and tested, so a new -current tree has not been created. Keep an ear out and expect to see more news in the near future.



TurboLinux made several announcements this week. Here is a summary of some of them, including their high-availability clustering software, TurboCluster Server. TurboCluster Server runs on both Intel and Alpha platforms. "Unlike Beowulf clustering systems that are designed for highly specialized scientific computing applications, TurboCluster Server delivers clustering technology for Linux servers running mission-critical web applications in the enterprise.

TurboLinux and Enlightenment also announced a strategic partnership under which TurboLinux will bundle a full multi-platform working version of EnlightenDSM administration and event management software on its entire product line.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 12, 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
Eridani Star System
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
eXecutive Linux
Green Frog Linux
Hard Hat Linux
Kha0s Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux-Kheops (French)
Linux MLD (Japanese)
LinuxPPP (Mexican)
Linux Pro Plus
Linux Router Project
nanoLinux II
NoMad Linux
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 page for Java/Linux press releases has been set up on blackdown.org. It's intended to be a useful place to watch for corporate moves around Java on the Linux platform.


The eighth International Python Conference will be held in Washington, DC, in January 2000 (the exact dates are still being worked on). They have a call for papers out now, with a deadline of September 30.

Das Python Tutorium - a German translation of Guido's Python Tutorial 1.5.2 - has been made available in a "public review release." See the announcement for details.

Version 1.0 of the Python Imaging Library has been announced.

A new type of snake. A request for comments has been posted regarding "Viper" - a proposed new implementation of the Python language. Viper plans to retain as much Python compatibility as possible while extending the language somewhat and making a number of performance enhancements.


New Tcl/Tk releases: Scriptics has announced Tcl/Tk 8.2b2 and TclPro 1.3b4. These are both beta releases, but claimed to be highly stable. There is a bug-finding contest ongoing for TclPro; here's your chance to win a T-shirt or a TclPro user license.

And here is this week's Tcl-URL!

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

August 12, 1999



Development projects


The Gnome Summary for August 1st through August 8th is out. It contains pointers to the current discussion on a Gnome window manager, a plea for people to check the rules before committing to CVS, a mention of the Gnome booth at LinuxWorld and more.


The Midgard Weekly Summary for August 11th has been published. Midgard is a freely-available Web application development and publishing platform based on the popular PHP scripting language. Midgard release 1.2 beta 2 was announced on 6th of August and they are looking for artists for both their web and print artists due to the loss of their graphics designer Janne Puonti.

Real-time Linux

A new beta real-time Linux patch is out, see the announcement for the download location. Victor Yodaiken has also put out a design document describing what is being done with the RTLinux V2 API and why.


Here is this week's Zope news, thanks to Amos Latteier.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

SGI will be unloading its NT business, and concentrating on Linux on the Intel platform. They see this as one of the important steps toward their recovery as a profitable company. The NT systems will be put into a separate "business unit," and, apparently, sold off.

It's not that long ago that SGI and almost all of the other major computer vendors were seeing NT as their future and running headlong in that direction. NT was truly the Unix killer. Isn't it funny how times can change. The NT market doesn't look as good as it once did, and Unix - led by Linux - is experiencing a major resurgence. These are interesting times we live in.

Motorola has jumped into Linux in a big way, with announcements of an "aggressive" Linux strategy, a set of server platforms, and a network appliance product. They are teaming up with Caldera Systems and Lineo (formerly Caldera Thin Clients) on the Linux software side. The word here on the LinuxWorld floor is that they are moving quickly away from their OEM agreements with other system vendors. Wayne Sennett, MCG corporate vice president and general manager attended the LinuxWorld show in person to make their announcement. In talking to us afterwards, he commented that he was simply amazed by the energy in Linux. "Where did all this energy come from?" he asked.

For Motorola this looks to be a good move for all the right reasons: they get a quality system at the right price. For the sorts of embedded systems that are being put together here, there is no latitude for problems or support calls - the margins just do not support that. So things have to work right the first time, and keep on working. So Linux is a great fit.

For the two branches of Caldera, it is also a good deal. They have just opened up a channel that extends through Motorola's extensive OEM market; this should help them to move a lot of units. While they are at it, they have not lost track of the notion that thousands or millions of embedded web browsers can be shipped configured to point to their web site. There were some real smiling faces on the Caldera side this week.

Linux has been expected to move into the embedded world for a while; here we are seeing the first actual motion in that direction. It has started with a big step.

Just a reminder of some of the announcements made at LinuxWorld:

SGI had this press release on their planned LinuxWorld activities. Along with their new server on display, they also showed off their "Open Source Portal".

LinuxCare had free tutorials offered in the exhibit area.

Applix offered free training on their products.

OMNIS Software had announced that they developed the Linux based information kiosks used at the event.


Inter@ctive Week has put out this press release saying that next week's issue will contain a story claiming that Dell will start selling desktop systems with Linux installed. Dell has, thus far, limited itself to the server arena. "The Internet newspaper's senior technology writer, Charles Babcock, learned that the PC hardware vendor's popular Dimension desktops, priced from less than $900 to $2,200, will be available with Linux by October. This was confirmed by a Dell spokesman who said the company also will offer Linux as an option on its Inspiron notebook line by the end of the year."

It's the iGeek, a new, colorful system from Be Computing. Which operating system does it run? "Debian or RedHat Linux pre-installed with optional BeOS."

Software: Another "enterprise software" piece has arrived: UniTree Software has announced the availability of its hierarchical storage management (HSM) product for Linux. HSM systems transparently move files between disk and secondary storage (such as tape), thus providing a large "virtual" disk farm.

Sun claims to have given away 100,000 copies of Solaris over the last nine months, with the majority of them going to "Windows and Linux developers."

Press Releases:

  • Alta Technology launched the Extreme ALTAtude Campaign for High Performance Linux Cluster Solutions.

  • Compatible Systems Corporation announced they are a founding member of The Virtual Private Network Consortium (VPNC), a newly formed industry trade association to promote VPNs.

  • HELIOS Software GmbH announced a new 5-user version of EtherShare to retail at just $1,490 USD.

  • Intel Corporation announced it has extended the Intel LANDesk Management Suite to provide support for Linux-based systems.

  • Linuxcare, Red Hat and VA Linux Systems jointly announced the "Linux--So What?" e-seminar series to inform and educate CEOs and CIOs about the benefits and value of installing the Linux operating system.

  • Linuxcare University announced new courses.

  • LinuxForce Inc. announced that the first deliveries of the LinuxForce Keystone line of servers are taking place now.

  • Rave Systems announced a successful demonstration of their RackMount-2UAXi bundled with Red Hat Linux 6.0 and Apache web server.

  • Stalker Software, Inc. announced version 3.1 of their hi-end CommuniGate Pro messaging system.

  • Tivoli Systems Inc. announced details of its plan to provide framework and application support for Linux.

  • TurboLinux has several announcements.

  • Vovida Networks has agreed to sponsor a person to represent Open-Source considerations on the International Softswitch Consortium, and it's time to elect that representative.

  • WholeLinux, Inc. announced the release of WholeLinux Automatic Installer Version 0.9-Beta, which will automatically install RedHat 6.0 Linux and a custom KDE desktop in less than eight minutes.

  • Ziatech introduced a LinuxPCI development system for applied computing applications.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

August 12, 1999


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

Linux in the news

Lead Stories:

Recommended reading: this Salon article about an attempt to create an open source system for anesthesia control. It is a good look at the advantages - and problems - of using an open source mode in life-critical software. "It is one thing to distribute Linux to several thousand people running WWW servers -- in the worst case several thousand WWW servers crash. It is quite another thing to distribute a new version of medical software, and suddenly several thousand balloon pumps stop working, resulting in death in hundreds of patients."

Here's Jesse Berst's latest on Linux. "For years, I've warned you to be cautious about Linux. To wait for pioneers to blaze the trails and settle the hostile territories. To wait until it was safe, in other words. That time has arrived." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann and Pal G. Larsson).

Here's a Petreley column republished on CNN about missing enterprise features in Linux. "I don't care what the conventional wisdom dictates, Linux is already a killer desktop OS. Since I got Caldera OpenLinux 2.2, I haven't booted up Windows 98 at all except to play games. And as a result I've practically forgotten what crashes are like."

LinuxWorld was in the news this week, and products announced at LinuxWorld:

Here's a lengthy rundown of expected LinuxWorld announcements in News.com. "Caldera also plans to announce a version of its OpenLinux software to run on Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc chips--the company's first foray off Intel chips."

Dan Gillmor writes about the Linux boom in this pre-LinuxWorld San Jose Mercury News column. "A few months ago it seemed that the buzz surrounding GNU/Linux operating system -- better known as just plain Linux -- could not last, even though Linux and related technologies would continue to grow. In this brave new era of rapid change and short attention spans, Linux surely couldn't stay in the foreground of people's thinking much longer. Reality has chosen otherwise."

ComputerWorld ran a brief article about IBM's upcoming Linux announcements. "...the British insurer Hill House Hammond will roll out 290 Netfinity servers running Linux to its branch offices and headquarters."

Here's a ZDNet Australia story about IBM's Linux-powered Netfinity server. "What makes it attractive is that the first 90 days of support are free. Better still, it starts with the first call rather than when a reseller picks the Netfinity off the loading dock. Take that, add in support for Caldera, Red Hat, Suse, and TurboLinux--the major reseller Linux distributions--and IBM has support that's worth shouting about."

PC World looks forward to next week's product announcements. "...Corel on Tuesday will provide the first peek at a beta version of its desktop Linux release that it hopes to release commercially by the end of the year."

Also from PC World is this article about Corel's new distribution. "With its new distribution, Corel may have simplified the installation and setup of Linux--but its challenge will be to reach the coveted Windows user without discouraging Linux fans with a reduction in user control."

Linux locomotive keeps on gaining steam says Computer Reseller News. "The Linux movement shows no signs of slowing as industry heavyweights plan to up their support at LinuxWorld Expo this week."

Here's a Reuters article about the LinuxWorld conference. "About 20,000 people are expected to attend, up from the 12,000 who came to the San Jose, Calif. show in March. But so much has happened in the past five months that it is causing some confusion over how long it has been since the last show."

This News.com story is about Linus's keynote.

and Infoworld covers Intel's keynote.

Also the Red Hat IPO:

The Boston Globe covers the Red Hat IPO and the "eligibility" problems encountered by some people. "We rang up [Richard] Stallman this week to ask him about the Red Hat IPO. He didn't know anything about it and made it clear to us he didn't much care.?"

This Associated Press article about Red Hat's IPO ran in numerous newspapers today. "Even at the current price range, the sale would give Red Hat a market value of about $800 million - though its annual revenues were just $10.8 million last year - lifting Red Hat to the sort of phenomenal valuation that investors have bestowed upon many newly public Internet companies."

This a brief AP article is about those who were blocked out of the Red Hat IPO. "``I am deeply offended by this behavior,'' said Eric Raymond, a Linux programmer and consultant who was turned down for the IPO for an unknown reason. ``I'm an adult and they're treating me as if I don't know what I'm doing.''"

Here's an MSNBC article about Red Hat's IPO. "When devotees of the Linux operating system gather for another big trade show this week, the IPO of the biggest company in this quirky community, Red Hat Software Inc., is sure to be the biggest buzz of the show."

Worldlyinvestor.com has this article about Red Hat's IPO. "Yes, corporate IT departments and enthusiasts love Linux, and yes, Red Hat has every endorsement under the sun and brand recognition, but investors should not be blinded by the risks. There is a market out there for Linux, but be aware that Red Hat is not the beginning and end of the sweeping change occurring in the software industry."

News.com has this story about the IPO.

And finally this LA Times story about the IPO. "And there's another danger to the Linux community waiting in the wings. If Linux companies go public at high valuations, they will be under pressure to perform. Analysts worry that this could destroy the cooperative mood that has been a feature of the Linux community and a key reason for its success."

More Business:

News.com looks at Beowulf clusters in business. "...though Compaq is still focusing its Beowulf efforts on the scientific and technical community, the company sees commercial possibilities, such as converting the vast amounts of data in company databases into useful information."

This News.com story talks about VA Linux's new offerings, and contains an interview with Larry Augustin, the chief executive of VA Linux. "The company has a vested interest in the improvement of Linux, the open-source operating system that comes with VA computers, and has hired several key programmers from the Linux community to ensure continued development. But VA can't be too controlling, or else the open source community that's the heart of Linux development will turn against VA, chief executive Larry Augustin says." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

Here's a TechWeb story about VA's upcoming server announcements, and about the role of Linux in commerce applications in general. "Evangelists of the open-source operating system have a lot to prove if they are to persuade IT managers to extend their use of Linux from departmental applications to mission-critical e-business."

Inter@ctive Week has this story on Dell's Dimension and Inspiron computers which will be available with Linux by October. "To ready itself for the move, Dell may be preparing its online configurator-advising a buyer which components belong together in a PC - to recognize and configure Dimension and Inspiron hardware for Linux. Such a configuration system removes one of the obstacles potential Linux users face - they don't know which components work with it, [a spokesman for Dell] said." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

This AP article is about Dell's and Motorola's announcements. "The moves represent the first significant show of faith in Linux from vendors who serve the consumer market..."

News.com has this story about Lotus posting a preview of Domino for Linux on their site.

Also in News.com: this article claiming that Oracle is creating a separate "strategic business unit" to develop for Linux. "The move to support Linux is another attempt by the database giant to attack Microsoft's dominance in the operating system market."

Sm@rt Reseller has a piece about Corel's upcoming distribution. "If Corel is able to pull off its ambitious plans, it might have a market. With Microsoft Corp. telling users to expect three possible desktop upgrades in 2000...customers may prefer to look at another alternative: the Corel Linux one."

ZD Net has this story about embedded systems, another front line in the war between Linux and Microsoft. (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

Here's a News.com article about IBM joining the "Trillian" project to port Linux to the IA-64 (Merced) architecture. "Trillian also is working with leading sellers of Linux to make sure their products are ready in time for the first IA-64 chip, Merced, sources said. And to help other software writers prepare for the chip's arrival, Trillian results should be available to the open source community in February or so." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).


Microsoft's and LinuxPPC's "hack this box" challenges are the topic of this Albuquerque Journal article. "In an impromptu computer security competition this week, a free system developed by a New Mexico graduate student [LinuxPPC] continued running under repeated attacks from Internet intruders, while a Microsoft computer suffered repeated software failures." (Thanks to Hale Landis).

Computer Currents reviews TurboLinux Workstation 3.6. "I don't think TurboLinux Work station 3.6 will completely replace Windows 98 or NT Workstation just yet. But if you're not committed to the Windows way, TurboLinux is a good bet for large and small companies that want to reduce their computing costs."

CNN reports on the Linux Beer Hike, which starts shortly. "One user summed up the attitude by posting a message to the mailing list on the event's Web site, saying that the basic attitude was going to be more mellow. 'Oh, that tree reminds me of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), let's sit under it and talk about GIMP,' he said, preferring that to setting meetings at 9 a.m. to discuss a certain issue."

Making movies with Linux, Part 4 is now up on LinuxPower.

Dan Parks explains the hype behind Linux in this OS Opinion article. "So what has Open Source enabled Linux to do, exactly? Well, Linux has some very interesting projects going on right now that will dramatically increase its ease of use, as well as increase it's capabilities. The Gnome and KDE projects are two separate attempts to make an easy to use GUI for the Linux environment. The previously mentioned XFS port by Silicon Graphics is another important project. Yet another project is moving the kernel to version 2.4. Taken together, these projects will provide Linux with the ability to compete on both the enterprise level and the consumer level."

Raleigh, we have a problem. Here is a most unflattering CNN article about Red Hat's technical support. "You can't charge money for tech support and then ignore your customers. You can't simply go silent when you don't have a ready answer. And you can't reset the clock on a promised response based on a technicality. It makes you look bad. Real bad."

Just for fun, see the 10 Myths about Linux.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

August 12, 1999


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



The High performance cluster computing page was put up by Rajkumar Buyya in support of his books by the same name. There is a lot of information there for anybody looking for information on clustered systems or applications.

Here's a brief note from Eric S. Raymond about the new release of `Homesteading the Noosphere' a followup paper to ``The Cathedral and the Bazaar''.


Ted T'So will speak at the New York Linux Users Group meeting on August 18. Ted is a core kernel hacker, and a good speaker as well; this one is worth seeing if you're in the area. Details in the announcement.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory will hold a one-day conference, titled "Open Source/Open Science", on Saturday, Oct 2, 1999, on the Laboratory campus which is located on Long Island NY. They now have a web site online ready to take abstract submissions and registrations. For details see this announcement.

August 12, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AccuRev 1.0.7c Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
ACE 5.0 Object-oriented C++ class library and framework
acl 0.4.0 Colorizes log files using advanced parsing capabilities.
adns 0.4 An advanced alternative, asynchronous resolver
adzapper 0.1.25 HTTP proxy that filters ads
Aegis 3.19 Transaction-based software configuration management system
aewm 0.9.4 A minimalistic window manager for X
AML 1.5 AML -- an implementation of a basic register machine with support for ASM.
APE 0.9.2 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
Applix SHELF 2.1 An embedable fully featured programming language for Linux
Applixware 4.4.2 Integrated suite of desktop productivity tools.
Array-util 0.8 Util to monitor Compaq Smartarray controllers
asNews 0.4.1 Simple news retrieving software which shows the news on your desktop
August 0.40 A free html editor for Linux/Unix.
Aurora redhog.4 Graphical init controller for Linux
barboot 1.2 Fancy boot loader
BeOpen.com InfoDock 4.08u2 An Integrated Development Environment & Info Manager
Birthday 1.0 Birthday reminder
bzip2 0.9.5c Very high-quality data compression program
CDDBP Proxy 1.4 CDDBP to HTTP proxy.
CDPlayer.app 1.3c CD player with CDDB support.
cfingerd 1.4.0 The Configurable Finger Daemon
ClanBomber 0.97 Bomberman clone for ClanLib (X11 for now).
CompuPic 4.6 build 1012 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
costd 0.12 log phone costs
CrashMail II 0.52 Fidonet tosser for *.msg and JAM
cst-calendar 1.2 Web based, php3/mysql powered organisational calendar
Cyrus IMAP server 1.5.19
Dallas DS-1820 Temperature Sensor Monitor 0.1.0 Application and library for talking to Dallas Semi 1-wire devices
Dancer 4.15 beta 2 IRC defense bot, protects your channel and your users
DejaSearch 1.64 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
DeleGate 5.9.3 Multi-purpose application level gateway (proxy)
DGen/SDL 1.18 DGen Sega Genesis emulator, ported to SDL
dhcpxd 1.0.2 An endlessly customizable DHCP client daemon
Digital Media System (DMS) 0.0.2 A streaming floating point audio architecture.
DizzyICQ 0.15 ICQ clone for console text, ncurses/icqlib based.
dNotes 0.2g Java based notes collector
Doc++ 3.3.14 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
docbook2X 0.5 Convert DocBook documents to man and Texinfo formats
Dynamics - HUT Mobile IP 0.5 Dynamic, scalable, hierarchical Mobile IP system with localized location updates
EasyGTK 1.1.4 Wrapper library for GTK
Eddie 1.2.0 Robust, clustering, load balancing, high availability, web server tool.
efingerd 1.1 Another finger daemon for linux
eggdrop 1.3.28 IRC bot, written in C
Env::Array 1.001 Perl module for treating environment variables as arrays
Epeios 19990809 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
Ethereal 0.7.2 GUI network protocol analyzer
EveryChat 3.6 Minimalist Perl CGI Chat Program
eXtace 1.1.14 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
FCheck 2.07.37 Policy Enforcement and Intrusion Detection
fmscore 0.9 freshmeat daily newsletter parser (Mail::Freshmeat) and scorer
FORUM 2.0.2 Another PHP3/Mysql forum with some nifty features
FREEdraft 0.38 2D mechanical cad project
freemed 19990804 Free medical management software in a web browser
freesweep 0.87 Curses-based minesweeper
fryit 0.3.3 Graphical frontend for cdrecord.
gaddr 1.1.2 A simple GTK+ Addressbook
gaim 0.9.7 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
Galway 0.18 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
GeneWeb 2.05 A combo web interface and genealogy program combined on steroids
GeomPrm 0.1.0 Linear Geometric Library- Solutions to generic linear geometric needs
Get Slashdot News 1.0 Grabs the Slashdot headlines. Great for putting into pages etc.
Getleft 0.5.4 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GIMPressionist 0.99.4b Impressionistic plug-in for the GIMP
GIntMon 0.0.2 GNOME Panel Interrupt Monitor
GKrellM 0.6.0-2 System monitor package
glTron 0.40 tron-like game with a 3D view
gman 0.0.2 A user-friendly graphical front end for the man page system
GMasqdialer 0.99.5 Gnome Client for the Masqdialer System
GNU GRUB 0.5.92 GRand Unified Bootloader
GNU Privacy Guard 0.9.10 GPLed PGP replacement tool
GNU Pth 1.1b3 GNU Portable Threads
GnuCash 1.2.3 A program to keep track of your finances
GNUware 1.1 A low cost CD containing over 1000 free Linux and UNIX programs.
GOB 0.0.2 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
GPM 1.17.9 A mouse server for the console and xterm.
gPS 0.2.2 GTK-based process status reporting like ps, top and task manager
Grany-3 0.9 The cellular automaton simulator.
Grec 0.1.1 A file manager to X similar to Midnight Commander
GSnes9x 1.2 GNOME front end for the Snes9X SNES emulator
GTK+XFce 3.0.3 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkComboButton 0.3.5 A Combobutton for GTK+
GTKeyboard 0.97.1 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GtkGraph 0.3.0 Graphing calculator for X
GTKtalog 0.05 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface with powerfull file research module
Hex 0.0.2 Puzzle Bobble clone in GTK.
HTMLPerlSETI 0.8 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
htnews 0.6.6a Email robot for adding news items to a webpage.
icewm 0.9.44 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
Intelligent TETRIS 1.5.3 A tetris clone for SVGAlib or X11
ipfa 1.1.0 IP firewall and accouting
IPSC 0.3.0 IP subnet calculator (GNOME/CLI)
jdfetch 0.1 A set of tools to fetch and format news boxes
jdtracker 0.11 CGI/Javascript combo to gather remote sites statistics
jdwhatsnew 0.21 CGI/cron combo to check for updates on sites. full web interface.
JetSpeed 0.02 An OpenSource GroupWare/Portal
Jigsaw 2.0.3 W3C's leading-edge Web server platform
KAPM 0.2.2 An APM-BIOS monitor for the KDE desktop.
KFibs 1.0.3 KFibs is a KDE client for FIBS.
Kmap 0.3 Nmap port-scanner frontend for QT/KDE
kmp_psql 0.1.0 KMySQL plugin providing access to PostGres databases
KMySQL 1.1.6 A MySql client for KDE.
KReglo 1.0 KReglo displays a ruler with a magnifier on the screen.
libglade 0.3 XML-based runtime user interface loader for GNOME
Licq 0.70h Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Linux Memory Technology Device project 19990809 Support for Flash and RAM devices under Linux
Linux Palm Desktop 1.0 A program to integrate your Palm Pilot with Linux
Linux trustees 1.4 Linux ACL
Linuxconf 1.16r2.1 Sophisticated administrative tool
logcoloriser 1.0.3 Ssyslog log colourising PERL script
mathutils 0.1 Collection of math shell utilities like average, normalize, etc.
mGSTEP 0.168 An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
mg^2 0.1.14 Truespace work/look alike 3D modeler using Gtk and OpenGL
MHonArc 2.4.1 Perl mail-to-HTML converter.
MindTerm 99pre1 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
miniCHESS 0.8 chess dock app
moodss 8.1 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
MOSIX 0.93.0 for Linux 2.2.10 Single-system-image Clustering Software for Linux
MP3SQL Indexes your MP3 with MP3tags into an SQL database
MUD Board Plugin 1.0 Plugin for M* servers
MUD Plugin Package 1.0 Extends the usefulness of your M* server.
Muddleftpd 1.1alpha2 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
MyGuestbook 0.8.2 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
MySQL 3.23.2-alpha SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
NAMG 0.1.1 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
Ncurses Hexedit 0.9.7 Ncurses file hex editor - edit/insert/delete/search
netcomics 0.9.1 A perl script that downloads today's comics from the Web
NetSaint 0.0.4b3 A relatively simple active network monitor
neuralnets 0.8 An extendable Neural Network
NmapFE 0.7 GTK+ front end for Nmap.
NoNEdit 0.1 Makes noweb literate programming easier with NEdit.
OBAS 0.9beta Web-based bibliography maintainer
OfflineMailer 0.3 Offline mail handler
OpenClassroom - distribution for Education. Pre-alpha. Linux distribution for the Educational market.
OpenSSL 0.9.4 The Open Source toolkit for Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security
Oracletool 0.91 A web based tool for Oracle DBA's written in Perl.
PDAddUser 1.2p Tool for administering large amounts of users easily from simple text lists
Perl Fantasy Football League 0.1 Perl scripts to maintain a fantasy football league
PFinger 0.7.2 Highly configurable replacement for GNU Finger
PhatLINUX 3.0 PhatLINUX v3.0 is a full Linux distribution that runs on an MS-DOS partition.
PHP 4.0 beta2 HTML-embedded scripting language
Pingus 0.2.0 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pk 0.8.16 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
PLUG 0.2 A HTML-based frontend to /var/log/messages
pop3gwd 1.2 POP3 proxy server
Portaloo Alpha-19990808 Web Portal Engine
PowerPak 990809 An attempt at a high-level game SDK
PURP 0.9.2 An ncurses-based RPM-manager
pvmsync 0.43 extends POSIX-like synchronization mechanisms to a Linux Beowulf cluster
PyGCS 1.3.4 A very stripped down MUD-like chat-server written entirely in Python.
Pyrite 0.7.7 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
qc-net 0.04 A streaming daemon & clients for the B&W Connectix QuickCam.
QDMerge 0.2 A utility to generate documents from a template and data files.
Quick-Tk 0.5 Quick/Visual interface to Tk 4.1 script development
QuickList 0.6.3 MS Works like database application
Qutar 0.98 rev 2 QT interface for tar
recover 0.6 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
RegExplorer 0.1.2 Regular Expression Explorer
RePop 0.1 A pop3 daemon that seamlessly glues together a list of pop3 mailboxes.
ROCK Linux 1.0b14 Linux Distribution for high skilled Linux User and Admins
rotfl 0.6.1 simple text formatting language
Ruby 1.3.7 An object-oriented language for quick and easy programming
rxvt 2.7.0 A VT102 emulator for the X window system
Saint 1.4 beta 4 Security Administrator's Integrated Network Tool
Sapphire 0.11.4 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
Sarah Tracker 0.4 Program to create music with samples
SCREEM 0.1.1 Site CReating & Editing EnvironMent
ScryMUD 2.0.1 Original MUD Server and Java Client
Send Packet 1.0 Network administration tool
sh-utils 1.16m GNU shell programming utilities
si 0.5 /proc system information viewer
Sketch 0.6.1 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
SMSLink 0.41b Client/server gateway to the SMS protocol
SNES9x 1.21 Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
Snort 1.2.1 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
Socks5 1.0r10 SOCKS is a network firewall, and more
SoundTracker 0.1.11 A music tracker for X / GTK+
Space Racer 0.012 An OpenGL Car Game
speechd 0.50 Implements /dev/speech device (all plaintext written to it will be spoken aloud)
Sporum 1.1b1 A better web-based dicussion board software
Squid 2.3-DEVEL2 High performance Web proxy cache
Sula Primerix II 0.09.3 Extensible multi-server IRC Client for X
Superficie 0.6.5 A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
Synaesthesia 2.0 Program to reperesent music from CD or MP3 graphically.
Synapse DR1/a 3d Graphical User Interface
Tcl/Tk 8.2b2 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
Tempest-AM 0.8 AM Radio Signal Transmitter
Terraform 0.3.7 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
Test Environment Toolkit 3.2g A toolkit for test development and management
textutils 2.0 GNU text file processing utilities
The BeOpen.com OO-Browser 4.07 A fast, multi-language, multi-platform object-oriented code browser
The Innerworld Project 0.1.1 A system for building an online world/RPG
tin pre-1.4-19990805 Curses based threaded NNTP and spool based UseNet newsreader
tinyproxy 1.2.8 A small, lightweight, easy-to-configure HTTP proxy.
TkDiff 3.04 Graphical 2-way diff/merge
TkSETI 1.42 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
TkZip 1.0.13 X front end to standard archiving/compression programs
Todokeru 05 FTP Daemon implemented in Perl.
Tragic Release I Peer to Peer chat and ftp user lookup network
UnrealIRCd 2.1.5 Advanced IRC daemon based off EliteIRCd with numerous of new features
urmcore 0.1.1 Quickly finds, verifies, and removes old core files with minimum system load.
User Scan 0.0.3 User monitoring tool
WebRun 1.9 Simple Java application distribution tool
WHAMp 0.4.1 An mpg123 frontend using the gtk-toolkit
which 2.8 Show full path of commands
Wine 990731 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wmmmnn 0.0b wm-mail-mon-net-netselect combined in one compact app.
wmpinboard 0.9 Window Maker pinboard dock-app
wmy2k 2.0beta3 Countdown to y2k for your Window Maker dock
wsmake 0.5.6 Website make tool written in C++
wxPython 2.1b2 Python extension module for wxWindows
wxWindows/GTK 2.1 beta 8 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-Chat 1.1.7 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Tract 262 XML Script processor
XGlobe 0.3.1 A toy that displays a globe on your X desktop
XRN 9.02-beta-3
Xterminal 0.6.10 Object Oriented User Interface with a client-serverarchitecture
Xtheater 0.1.0 GTK-based MPEG-1 video & video/audio player
xusertool 0.2 GUI based account management.
Xwhois 0.3.8 Small and fast GTK+ X11 client for the internet whois network services.
Xwrits 2.8 Reminds you to take wrist breaks

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

Looking to learn more about Linux? Dan York's linuxtraining.org site contains a comprehensive lists of companies providing training, courseware, and more.

Maybe instead you want to take your Linux with you. The folks at linuxce.org are working to get Linux working on handheld computers and PDA systems. It looks like they have set themselves an ambitious task...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

August 12, 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: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 23:24:45 -0500
From: Robert Lipe <robertlipe@usa.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Monterey "vaporware"?

Ahem.  You folks generally do a really even-handed job at balancing
things.  This statement missed the boat:

        Most still seem to think, however, that the strongest Unix on
        IA-64 will be "Monterey," a vaporware system being developed by
        IBM, SCO, and others. But by the time Monterey is both real and
        stable, who will still be interested?

Monterey is as real as an OS for an unreleased chip can be.  SCO stated
at SCO Forum in 199_7_ that they had their UNIX ported, booted, and
running on Merced simulators.

We know, too, that VA and Intel are working on Linux for IA64.  Is that
any less vapourware?  I haven't seen any announcements of the public
availability of it, either.

Please don't FUD others while getting so annoyed when Linux is FUD'ed.

To: letters@lwn.net
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 1999 12:18:41 -0700
From: "   " <lkollar@my-Deja.com>
Subject: Who's afraid of fragmentation?

Not me!

Everyone's Linux setup is a little different, sometimes in ways you
would notice if you sat down at someone else's machine. If I wanted to
be silly, I could make the case that there are 20 million different
versions of Linux, one for each system.

Diversity is good. Each distribution can focus on a particular
strength. Let's take the BSDs for example: FreeBSD optimizes their
distribution for '86/Pentium systems, NetBSD aims to run on
everything, and OpenBSD has great security out of the box. But most
applications written for one of them will run on any of them (perhaps
after recompiling).

This holds true for Linux as well. There are floppy-based
distributions for limited hardware or specific uses, there are
distributions that cater to PowerPC-based computers, and so on. But if
you write an application on your Pentium-based RedHat system, and I
compile and run it on my PPC-based MkLinux system, where's the penalty
for fragmentation?

	Larry Kollar (lkollar@my-deja.com)

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.
From: Mike Henderson <Mike.Henderson@powerco.co.nz>
To: "'letters@lwn.net'" <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: "Your backup is unsafe, but don't worry too much, it's just a Win
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 12:24:28 +1200 

The problem that Robert de Bath refers to and you cover at some length is
actually also a Windows NT "feature"!

I remember reading a article some months ago that commented on exactly this
difficulty in respect of using MS-Backup to restore software on an NT box.
Basically, you can't.  If something bad happens to your "Program Files"
directory, you have to re-install the software that got munged, not restore
it from backup.  I think it was because there are "8.3" file name links in
the Registry which get broken by the restore process, as Robert points out.
Of course, re-installing e.g. Office after such a problem will probably
trash your Registry anyway, so you're back to "re-install Windows".

Perhaps the Linux VFAT coders should claim that this is a "works as designed
'feature'" because it accurately reflects the way a Microsoft system works!


To: editor@lwn.net
From: Nathan Myers <ncm@nospam.cantrip.org>
Subject: KDE coming around?

My previous note to LWN may be bearing unanticipated fruit.  
In last week's Gnomish Bi-weekly News report NO#3
Christian Schaller reported:

  Newsitem 5: Even more code sharing between GNOME and KDE?

  There has been some discussion on the GNOME-KDE list lately
  where Karl Nelson, one of the Gtk-- coders, offered KDE the
  use of his libsigc++ Signal framework, originally developed
  for Gtk--, but now having been rewritten to be of use to a
  wider audience. He got positive feedback from Kurth Granroth
  amongst others, but the KDE people needed more time to discuss
  and think it over because of the extra work switching to this
  framework from QT's it would give them and the implications of
  having a KDE version of QT that works differently than Troll

Replacing the Qt signaling method in KDE with that in libsigc++ might 
eliminate the nasty Qt macros I reported on earlier.  If true, this 
would very good news, because it would put KDE on much firmer technical 
footing.  KDE would become far less susceptible to accidental breakage 
whenever any important kernel or library header file changed, and make 
it more portable to non-Linux systems as well.

I will find out more about this and report in more detail.  Stay tuned!

Date:	Thu, 5 Aug 1999 15:17:42 +0200 (CEST)
From:	Rik van Riel <rik@reseau.nl>
To:	david@chappelassoc.com.campus-party.org
Subject: Re: "Linux, Linux: Enough Already"

[This is an open letter to David Chappell in reaction to:

Hi David,

I have read your piece "Linux, Linux: Enough Already" and -
being one of the Linux developers - am rather surprised at
what you have said in your article.

You wrote:
   "I don't doubt the dedication or talent of those volunteers. What I
   do ... doubt is their sanity. ... they're just giving it away.  ... 
   somebody, somewhere, is absorbing the value that's being created. 
   These enthousiastic Linux developers seem in some ways exploited.

As one of those Linux developers (currently in Spain to give a
lecture - yay!) I don't feel I am losing something by sharing the
code I write. In fact, I only feel enriched by the free flow of
(sometimes very good) ideas that's possible in the Open Source

And about the economic value: most companies have started putting
things like "mindshare", "goodwill" and other intrinsics on their
list of valuables - to be carefully protected an enhanced.

And indeed, when you look at the Linux developers, it'll be pretty
hard to find someone who hasn't got an interesting job, lots of
freedom and all the other things valued by the hacker culture. We
didn't get it by coincident, it is largely a result of the mindshare
we receive as a side effect of our Linux hobby.

Further on, you write:
   "These developers, like lots and lots of other people, hate 

Of course, I can't speak for the others, but I know that I
don't. In fact, I don't really care about them at all - even
if they manage to push Linux "out of the market" nothing's
lost. I can maintain the system myself and am not at all
dependant on what's happening in Redmond. Although I can't
read their minds, I suspect that this holds true for quite
a number of Linux developers.

And also:
   "[technical superiority is irrelevant], as long as two technologies
   are each good enough to solve the relevant business problems"
   "Who wins depends on support, marketing, availability of applications
   and various other characteristics"

I can accept the point about technical superiority (we could
argue about NT4 not being good enough, but W2K is around the
corner and I really don't know enough about that to make much
sense). Marketing also is a point where Microsoft is winning
hands-down - at the moment -, but that might well change now
that SGI, IBM, HP and various other large companies are supporting

And that brings us to support and the availability of business
solutions -- if there's anybody who seriously believes that
IBM, SGI and HP couldn't do that just as well as Microsoft,
could (s)he please raise his/her hand?  In fact, because of a
working market mechanism in the Linux world, support and other
added values will probably be _better_ than with Windows.

Good advice(?):
   "My advice is to use Linux where it makes sense, in places
   where a cheap Unix box is a good fit. ... [organizations]
   should already be Unix-friendly"

Well, obviously you should only use it where it makes sense, but
that's the case for any tool. What I don't necessarily agree with
is that Linux is only suitable for simple and cheap tasks.

Just take a look at the 1400L from SGI - $8000 just for the entry
model in this line of machines, not what I'd call "cheap"...
And the users are already asking for bigger Linux machines than
the ones that are shipping right now, or - like Fermilab - they
are using a huge number of fairly large Linux machines in a cluster,
achieving TOP500 supercomputer performance, not what I'd call "small".

As for the need for competent administrators, you need them for
_any_ system. And of course, the admin in question should be
familiar with the system (s)he is maintaining. If the task isn't
very extreme, just ask the admin which system (s)he's the most
competent with and go with that.

And finally:
   "every installed Linux box is more likely to be a lost sale for
   Sun, HP or IBM than for Microsoft"

I wonder why you didn't include SGI in the list. Or actually, I
have a pretty good idea why you didn't include it...

The above companies are _hardware_ vendors who have no interest in
building and supporting their own Operating System. After all, any
commercial OS is expensive and only adds to the cost of the machine
(driving customers away). By sharing the development expenses with
the Linux community the cost of all high-end servers can come down
quite a bit - attracting customers from the high end _PC_ market
and not from each other!

Let's consider the situation where an organization is running a
service on Intel hardware, but the system demands are simply
outgrowing the hardware capabilities of the architecture.

Now an NT user will be stuck, with nowhere to go. The Linux users,
on the other hand, can simply buy one of the bigger boxes from Sun,
SGI or whomever and continue using Linux. And since Linux always is
Linux, a simple recompile of the server software is enough.

Of course, if the software itself is commercial you won't be able
to do the recompile yourself, but there's no reason to assume that
software companies will refuse to serve a market that's just one
compile away. Looking at the famous "We just typed make" document
from Oracle should be enough to convice you of that.

Personally, I believe Linux will be a big threat to NT. Not
because of personal reasons, but simply because I think that
customers are tired of the "one size fits all" solution
Microsoft has been trying to push upon us.

Users want choice, and with the current "we come in all sizes,
shapes and flavours" situation that the Linux community has
to offer, we can give just that -- and the best part, we don't
even have to sacrifice compatability...


Rik van Riel.

Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
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