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Red Hat and LASER5 part ways in Japan. LASER5, owned by the Itsutsubashi Research Company of Japan, was until recently the group that was producing a Japanese version of Red Hat's distribution for sale in that country. They were adding Japanese input, translating the documentation, and doing all of the usual work required for a localized version of the distribution. The result was to be an official product called "Japanese Red Hat Linux 6.0."

On August 24, however, Red Hat informed Itsutsubashi that the deal was over. Red Hat plans to greatly expand its activities in Japan, and will be opening up its own offices there. Thus, they have no further need of their association with LASER5/Itsutsubashi, and have shut it down. Itsutsubashi is on its own.

Itsutsubashi is not taking this lying down. Their press release on the subject is to the point: they are not entirely pleased with the way Red Hat does business, and they feel they are better off on their own. They have some choice words about Red Hat's management, and claim that Red Hat's new status as a public company has cost it its competitiveness.

The product that was to be "Japanese Red Hat Linux 6.0" is now, thanks to the wonders of the GPL, instantly renamed "LASER5 Linux 6.0." They will finish out the work they have been doing, and the product hits the shelves on September 17. They even already have an agreement with LinuxCare so that LinuxCare will provide support for the new distribution. Essentially, LASER5 wants to follow in the footsteps of Linux-Mandrake and cash in on a value-added version of Red Hat's distribution.

They clearly see the local, value-added approach as the future of Linux distributions; the press release describes Red Hat as "a local brand in the US only." They point to Linux-Mandrake, Connectiva, and SuSE as examples. Notably absent from their list is TurboLinux, which just might give them a little competition on their home ground.

Is Red Hat truly a "local brand"? Certainly companies have a certain home turf advantage in their own country. Their understanding of the language, culture, and distribution channels is better. And people in many countries prefer to buy local products when they can. Local companies can take advantage of Red Hat's investment in the base distribution, allowing them to concentrate their energy on the localization efforts. Maybe they really do have an edge.

But one would be ill-advised to forget that Red Hat now has a nice, big pot of money. Some of that money is earmarked for its international expansion efforts. With sufficient funds, local help should be readily available. It seems unlikely that Red Hat will allow itself to be relegated to "local brand" status without a substantial and well-funded fight. It should be interesting to watch.

Sun's purchase of StarDivision was made official this week. As expected, they are taking the StarOffice suite and making it part of their [Bad Gimp artwork] product line. They even have the obligatory agreement with LinuxCare so that the support base is covered. StarOffice - including on the Linux platform - is now a proper Sun product.

Perhaps more surprising were Sun's other decisions: the source for StarOffice will be made available under Sun's "Community Source License," and Sun will be heavily pushing "StarPortal," a Java-based version of StarOffice intended to be run via a web browser. See Sun's announcement for details.

The availability of source will be nice. Your editor, having coped with too many StarOffice bugs over the last year, may well dive in and try to fix some things himself. Source is almost always good; the quality of the software should benefit from this release.

But Sun's Community Source License remains problematic. Many blame it for the delays in getting the latest Java Development Kit out for Linux. It will be hard, if not impossible, for useful pieces of StarOffice to be reused in other open source office suite projects. And, as pointed out by Derek Glidden in this week's letters column, if Sun ever decides to drop StarOffice (i.e. if its strategy fails), there is no ability to continue the development of StarOffice independently. Betting your business on StarOffice as an open source product could be risky.

And what about StarPortal? Exporting an office suite to browsers via Java is not exactly a new idea. The people at Corel must be smiling to themselves, glad they don't have to go through that one again. Customers thus far simply have not gone for that mode of operation, despite a number of advantages. It is slow, and web browsers tend not to be the most stable platform on which to run mission-critical applications.

While Sun's move puts the company more firmly in the Linux world, it is not really a Linux-oriented manouver. It appears, instead, to be all about creating work for high-end servers in the future. Sun's success is far from assured, and, if it fails, it could drag down StarOffice in the process. It bears careful watching.

Red Hat and trademarks. The following is the best we have been able to piece together from a number of communications over the last few hours. Verification is hard, unfortunately. [Update: after publication we received this message from Bob Young at Red Hat stating their position on the issue, and clearing up some of the facts involved. Recommended reading].

Apparently (we have not been able to confirm this) Amazon.com was given a verbal "cease and desist" order by David Shumannfang, Red Hat's attorney, requiring them to stop selling products with the term "Red Hat" in the title. Numerous vendors apparently sell "Red Hat GPL" knock-offs via the Amazon auctions, and these had drawn Red Hat's attention. Amazon turned around and told a number of its auction vendorsto stop using "Red Hat" in their products. We have had more than one vendor confirm this for us.

One of these vendors, Robb Sands, after pursuing the issue for a while, sent out this note in an attempt to publicise the situation. Mr. Sands claims to have discussed the problem with Red Hat's legal department; Red Hat has denied, in a communication to LWN, that this discussion took place. However, Mr. Sands is quite specific with regard to exactly who he talked to and when. It seems probable that some sort of conversation happened.

Amazon has apparently stopped telling vendors to avoid the "Red Hat" term, pending some sort of written notification from Red Hat. That may not happen anytime soon, since David Shumannfang is apparently now on vacation and unavailable. In Mr. Shumannfang's absence, a coherent response from Red Hat seems to be hard to come by. They will not confirm that they are cracking down on trademark usage.

Whether or not such a crackdown is happening now, it seems realistic to expect it to happen at some point. Red Hat does have a brand name to protect, and a risk of losing its brand if it fails. Additionally, it would only take one "Red Hat Linux" disk with a trojan horse or other nastiness to create massive trouble for Red Hat and its customers both. Facing the risks of having its brand declared to be in the public domain, or of simply seeing its value destroyed, Red Hat will almost certainly be forced to act sooner or later.

The ideal thing might be for Red Hat to suggest a suitable name for copies of its distribution. In the absence of such a suggestion, the community should come up with a well-recognized name of its own. We suggest "Pink Shorts" in the hopes that somebody else will come up with something better. If you have an idea, please send it to lwn-names@lwn.net; we'll publish the best. (Please tell us if you do not want your name published with your suggestion).

A word from our sponsor: just a few seats remain in the Linux System Administration course being offered September 13-17 by (LWN producer) Eklektix, Inc. in Boulder, CO. Here is your chance to learn all about how to make Linux systems run in the Rocky Mountains during one of the nicest times of the year.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

September 2, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



Lots of security problems turned up this week, just in case anybody had thought that all the worst buffer overflows had been found. Details can be found below. But there is one aspect of this week's problems that is deserving of a closer look.

When the cron problem was announced, notes were posted from both Caldera and Debianclaiming that they had found and fixed the problem "years ago." Why did other distributions, like Red Hat, remain vulnerable for so long? How could it be that they were surprised by such an old bug?

It turns out that there is no maintainer for the vixie-cron package used by most distributions. Cron is an old, boring package which has not really needed to change for years. So nobody looks after it. The distributions are usually more than diligent about reporting fixes - especially security fixes - to the ultimate maintainer of a program. But if said maintainer does not exist, there is nobody to send patches to.

There are certainly other parts of the Linux core which are similarly unmaintained. Some of them must contain security problems. Perhaps known problems that some distributions have fixed, and others have never heard of. There is a bit of a time bomb here. How long until some clever cracker attempts a form of patch arbitrage by comparing source from different distributions looking for this sort of problem?

It is probably in the interest of the Linux distributors to work toward common maintenance of the core utilities that currently lack maintainers. Perhaps they could fund this maintenance via the SourceXchange or Cosource? Funding this maintenance certainly would have to be cheaper than dealing with the packages in-house and duplicating effort, which is what is happening now.

Security Reports

The cron vulnerability is worse than had been originally thought; it seems that a clever user can also convince sendmail to run commands (as root). Note that all distributions - even those which claimed invulnerability to the original cron problem - are vulnerable to this one. (One exception is Slackware, which uses a different cron daemon). Details and the patch can be found in this postingfrom Martin Schulze.

Linux kernel 2.0.38 was released, much to the surprise of many, who had not been expecting another 2.0 release soon, if ever. It turns out that there is a complicated, difficult to exploit bug in the TCP stack that needed fixing. There are currently no known exploits out there, and the bug may be impossible to exploit without local (or near-local) network access. 2.2 and later kernels are not vulnerable. See the announcement for more.

Commercial software vulnerabilities: ISS has issued advisories detailing vulnerabilities in Oracle8 (see also this additional Oracle advisory), Netscape's Enterprise and FastTrack Web servers, and Lotus Notes Domino Server 4.6.

INN 2.2 and earlier have a buffer overflow problem as well. INN 2.2.1 has been released as a result; upgrades are advised. Details in the announcement.


Updates for the cron vulnerability are available from:

Various FTP daemon updates are available:

The AMD automounter has a problem which is being "actively exploited" on the net. Available updates include:

An update for epic4 has been released by Debian; details in the announcement.

A buffer overflow in man was fixed by this update from Caldera.

SuSE's security updates page lags. In last week's Security Summary, we mentioned that no security updates had come out from SuSE since June 30th. This was based on the information on their Security Announcements page. Unfortunately, apparently this page is again not being updated regularly. Martin Treusch von Buttlar pointed out that the SuSE Linux 6.2: Patches, Updates, Bugfixes page lists six security-related updates to 6.2 that are already available, released since August 10th. Updates for nkitb, termcap, xmonisdn, and trn are included.

Solar Designer has put out a 2.2.12 security patch which fixes some worrisome things and includes his other goodies. There is a test version available now, with a final release sometime next week. See the announcement for details.

Second try for Slackware elflibs update. For those of you who applied the original Slackware "elflibs" update to fix the termcap vulnerability: that update did not work, and your systems are still vulnerable. A new version of the elflibs package has been announced which truly fixes the problem.


The Internet Security Conference will be held in Boston, MA on October 11-15. More information can be found on the web site, or in their announcement.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 2, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
Secure Linux

Security List Archives
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Firewall Wizards Archive
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Distribution-specific links
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Miscellaneous Resources
Comp Sec News Daily
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.16. This is another big patch, weighing in at over 4MB and touching over 1200 files. The bulk of the changes are in architecture-specific code and device drivers; there are some new RAID drivers in the system and Ted T'so's new serial driver has been integrated as well.

We have seen rumors that the 2.3 feature freeze will happen on Friday, September 3. Whether it hits on that exact day or not, it is clearly close. Then all that's left is the long slog toward a stable 2.4 release...

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.12, finally. Release notes for this version can be found on Alan Cox's web site. There is already a 2.2.13 pre patchout there with the next set of fixes to go in. It appears that 2.2.12 contains an unpleasant kernel memory leak bug that could accelerate the release of the next version as well.

Reiserfs is getting closer. Reiserfs is a longstanding project by Hans Reiser to produce a much more efficient filesystem for Linux, especially where small files are involved. Other nice features, like journaling, are also part of the plan. They claim better performance than ext2 - at least for some tasks.

Reiserfs came up this week when the development team stumbled across the (extensive) changes in the virtual file system layer in 2.3 - some things broke badly. They have been working through the difficulties, and expect to have something ready to integrate into 2.3 shortly.

For more information, a look at the Reiserfs web pages is worthwhile. There is a great deal of discussion of the motivation behind the project. And, of course, the ability to download the code.

A petition to get LVM into the kernel is being "circulated" at this web site. It currently boasts almost 200 signatures. The Logical Volume Manager, of course, is a management layer for disk subsystems which eases a lot of space management concerns.

An expression of opinion is, of course, a good thing. But Linus is just as likely, when presented with this sort of pressure, to dig in his heels as to include the code. The conditions for inclusion have always been a good implementation (as defined by Linus) and a clear need to have the code in the kernel. Attempting to replace those criteria with "special interest group" pressure is not the way to get a better kernel. Hopefully those wanting LVM in the kernel can discuss the matter with Linus and find out what, if anything, is blocking that inclusion.

Other updates and patches released this week include:

  • A new PLIP driver was submitted by Nimrod Zimerman. It includes a number if enhancements, and uses the generic parallel port API that was adopted in the 2.1 series.

  • Release 0.5 of the performance monitoring counters patch was posted by Mikael Pettersson. This patch allows for detailed OS and application tuning by accessing the counters provided on various x86 processors.

  • Trond Myklebust posted an update on the status of his NFSv3 implementation. This work seems to be stabilizing quickly, and will be a welcome addition to Linux.

  • Devfs v119 has been released by Richard Gooch.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

September 2, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


 Main page
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See also: last week's Distributions page.


Please note that all distributions have issued a number of security updates in the last week. Details can be found in the security section.


Where is OpenLinux 2.3? Anticipation is rising as the evident release date approaches. The "beta testing" period (done under nondisclosure with selected users) is said to be finished, and 2.3 is showing up in more catalogs. About the most substantive comment we have seen about the new version is "not a drastic change, but very nice." Watch this space for updates.

Nobody in the Caldera user community seems to question the practice of beta testing new releases under nondisclosure. Other distributions (Debian, Linux-Mandrake, Red Hat) develop their new releases out in the open, and actively seek the input of the community as a whole. Caldera, instead, takes a very secretive approach. One wonders what they really gain by doing things this way. The legality of providing a disk full of GPL software under nondisclosure is also an interesting question...


A new Debian security policy was proposed by Martin Schulze this week. It tries to establish the process by which Debian responds to security incidents - no doubt spurred on by the large number of such incidents over the last week. It codifies the usual Debian standards of fast response and full disclosure.

Martin is also working on a Debian 2.1r3 release which would contain only security-related and other highly important updates; details in the announcement.

Debian has announced its new logo, see the announcement for more. The timing of the new announcement is a little curious, seeing as the choice was made back in June and covered in the June 10 LWN...


A pre-release of Linux-Mandrake 6.1. Linux-Mandrake 6.1pre is available for download. This is a pre-release, obviously intended to help them shake out the remaining bugs before the real 6.1 version goes out. They are ambitious, however: 6.1 is supposed to be released next week...

Red Hat

Red Hat's SEC-mandated quiet period ends September 6. It would not be surprising to see a number of new announcements and initiatives come out shortly after that time.

Red Hat and group ID's over 100 were the topic of a brief note last week. In response, we got this note from Preston Brown at Red Hat explaining their view of the situation. Essentially, Red Hat's scheme has been to not create user accounts with a group (or user) ID of less than 500 for some time. That all works well, of course, in an environment where Red Hat's tools are being used to create the accounts. In larger networks, where a Linux box is not the center of the world, Red Hat's policies do not necessarily hold much sway. Of course, in such an environment, there will be no safe way to "allocate" new user or group ID's when they are needed.

ROCK Linux

Version 1.3.0 of ROCK Linux - a distribution aimed at experienced users that explicitly excludes configuration tools - has been announced. As if to show how serious they are about the "experienced" part, they have based it on the 2.3.15 kernel...


A glibc-based Slackware is coming at last. A new FTP directory has appeared with a warning not to install the packages found therein on current Slackware systems. No word as yet on when a real release will happen.

Slackware has also set up some new mailing lists - the (long needed) slackware-announce and slackware-security lists. Subscription information can be found on the slackware.com site. (Thanks to Joe Orton).


Impressions of SuSE 6.2 are rolling in. So far, it's not clear how much real work is being done...the first comments are more about peripheral items. Those who had expected the new, reworked manual in 6.2 have been disappointed; it hasn't really changed yet. The other comment has to do with the new cardboard CD packages - some hate them others (the majority, seemingly) prefer them...

Wanting to run SuSE on the new AMD Athlon processor? It can be done, but you need a new boot disk to make it happen. Pick up a copy on SuSE's FTP site.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 2, 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
Peanut 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


Larry Wall on chemistry. The text (and pictures) from Larry Wall's "State of the Onion" talk at the O'Reilly conferences is now available on the web. It's a suitably weird talk, certainly worth a read.

Upgrading a Perl installation can be a bit of a pain, since it's hard to know when some obscure script somewhere will break. In an attempt to make things easier, David Muir Sharnoff has announced the "find_used_modules" script. Find_used_modules will search out Perl scripts on the system to be upgraded, and make a list of all the modules used by those scripts. The output is a program which can check over a new installation and make sure that the needed modules will still be available.


Here is this week's Python-URL, including some "highly biased highlights" from the O'Reilly conferences.


Jacl and Tcl Blend 1.2.4 has been announced. Jacl is an implementation of Tcl 8 in Java, and Tcl Blend is a Tcl extension which allows access to the Java virtual machine from Tcl programs.

Here is this week's Tcl-URL.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 2, 1999



Development projects


Version 0.99.6 of the Ganymede network directory management system has been released. This is a mostly bugfix release as they head toward 1.0. Ganymede is written in Java, and is available under the GPL.


Here is This week's GNOME summary by Havoc Pennington.


SGI has released Jessie, a graphical development environment, under the "Jessie Public License". Details and screenshots can be found on the Jessie web site. Jessie, written in Java, currently provides a graphical debugger and performance analysis tool. They also claim support for multi-threaded applications. A big point for them is Jessie's support for work on very large programs - "scalability." It has the look of a very nice tool.

They make it very clear that Jessie is not named after Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota...


Heading toward the KDE 1.1.2 release...things have been delayed for another week as the KDE team waits for the new set of icons to be done. Details in this announcement. They now expect to get the source out on September 6, with binaries to follow a week later.

Navindra Umanee's KDE report will not be appearing this week; look for a double report next week.


Here is this week's Midgard news, thanks to Henri Bergius. It looks like a busy time for the Midgard web application server: a new stable release is imminent, a Midgard workshop is in the works, and Linux-Mandrake will be shipping Midgard (and Midgard's customized PHP module) with their 6.1 release.


What is Thor? Thor is a new development project announced by the Timpanogas Research Group - the folks who donated the "Fenris" Netware filesystem earlier this year. Now they are out to create a free implementation of Novell's Network Directory Service (NDS), and they expect to have it done sometime in the first quarter of 2000. If they are successful, they will have added another "enterprise tool" to Linux's kit that many will find worthwhile.


Zope 2.0 has been released at last. A quick list of new features can be found in the announcement. Congratulations to the Zope folks for getting this big release out the door.

ZCommerce! The ZCommerce mailing list has been created for those who want to use Zope in electronic commerce situations. See the announcement for signup information.

The new Storm Linux web site is Zope powered, check it out at www.stormlinux.com.

Here is this week's Zope news; this week's author is Christopher Petrilli.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Linux stocks on a roll. Sometime around the end of last week, investors went out looking for Linux stocks beyond Red Hat. They settled quickly on companies like Applix and Corel. Shares in Applix more than doubled over the course of two days; on Friday almost 27 million shares changed hands. That is a pretty impressive total considering that there are less than 9 million shares total on the market.

Both Applix and Corel have since dropped back down somewhat, as reality began to set in. Both remain well above their previous values, though. Interestingly, some of the press coverage pointed at Sun's acquisition of StarDivision as the reason for the retreat. If that is true, it undermines the whole notion of efficient markets - Sun's plans have been known for some time. It seems much more likely that people began to think that things had gone too far and it was time to take some profits.

Expect to see more of this kind of activity, at least as long as the stock markets remain "exuberant" and Linux continues to grow. The masses have discovered Linux, and the consequences are just beginning to unfold.

Watch the game on LWN's Linux Stocks Page, which has just been upgraded to the beta test version. Sun has been added to the list, and a couple other stocks have been bumped up into the first tier. The Linux Stock Index has been reworked to use a better algorithm. The index is also now available via a "back end" interface for those who would like to display it on their own web pages.

We are still looking for feedback on how to improve this page; please have a look and let us know how we can make it better.

Version 1.0 of the Uniform Driver Interface (UDI) has been announced. UDI, remember, is the standard that is supposed to make it possible to write device drivers which are portable across a wide range of systems. The backers of UDI have, in the past, expressed hopes that the Linux community would produce a pile of UDI drivers which would then work on other systems as well. Enthusiasm among Linux developers has been relatively low, strangely enough. It will be interesting to see if they renew the push now that they have their full specification out there.

New e-smith release. e-smith has announced Version 3.0 of their e-smith server and gateway software product/distribution. Now based on Red Hat Linux 6.0, they've added support for DHCP, Dynamic DNS, LDAP and a new feature they call "Information bays" or "Ibays". "Ibays are easy-to-create, distinct sites on the e-smith hard disk that allow your e-smith server and gateway to host such things as an intranet, customer-specific web site, file download site or company shared file directory."

Press Releases:

  • Advanced Management Solutions announced the availability of its "AMS Realtime" project management software for Linux.

  • Andover.net announced its new site Techmailings.com, which is a large directory of mailing lists related to Linux (and more).

  • Applied Information Systems announced that it has begun the general release of XESS 4.1, a spreadsheet and related development tools that works on Linux systems.

  • Business Logic Corporation announced Version 4.2 of the (commercial) Xess spreadsheet for Linux.

  • Covalent Technologies, Inc. announced the release of their SDI-2000 web encryption server appliance.

  • Cygnus announced version 2.0 of its GNUPro Dev Kit toolkit for Linux.

  • CynApps announced it is making Cynlib, its C++ hardware description library, freely available through an open-source licensing program.

  • EBIZ Enterprises, Inc. obtained financing to facilitate growth of their operation, particularly the Linux based manufacturing division.

  • HELIOS Software GmbH announced the update of their EtherShare OPI, PDF Handshake, and Print Preview products.

  • Hewlett-Packard Company announced the Linux based HP Entria thin-client appliance family.

  • HICOMP Software Systems Inc. announced that its HIBACK backup software is now available for Linux.

  • IDG World Expo announced a new, comprehensive Web site at www.idgworldexpo.com. Events profiled on the site include the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo.

  • Innovative Electronics, Inc. has been awarded a contract by The Dunlap Company to provide them with the Red Hat Linux-based StoreComm2000 Retail Store Management System.

  • Intel Corp. announced it is now shipping engineering samples of it's Merced chip to computer makers for testing.

  • Michael Kofler announced that version 2 of his book, "Linux -- Installation, Configuration, Use", published by Addison Wesley, is now available.

  • LINMOR Inc. announced increased first quarter revenues. One of their new product achievements was the release of NEBULA for Linux.

  • LinuxForce Inc. announced that they have installed a Linux Web server at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

  • LinuxOne announced a deal with MandrakeSoft to open a development center in Bejing. LinuxOne will be on working on things like a Chinese version of the Linux-Mandrake distribution.

  • LivePage Corporation introduced Version 3.0 of LivePage Enterprise. Linux Versions of LivePage ContentServer LivePage Enterprise 3.0 will enable deployment of the LivePage ContentServer on Linux.

  • Luminex Software Inc. announced that it has added Linux support to its CD and DVD Library management and recording software.

  • Maxoptix Corporation announced the addition of a new series of multifunction Magneto-Optical (MO) jukeboxes. Linux support is included.

  • Microworkz.com, manufacturers of the Linux based iToaster, announced that new management will take over by November 1, 1999.

  • Motorola will be using a cluster system built by Atipa Linux Solutions in developing next generation semiconductor devices.

  • Mylex Corporation announced that SGI has incorporated Mylex's AcceleRAID 250 controller into its servers.

  • Network Engines, Inc. announced they will supply technology to IBM's Netfinity server line.

  • Nathan Casey of Halton City, Texas won a Penquin Computer in a giveaway sponsered by Penguin Computing and Linux Online.

  • PolyServe announced Understudy, a high-availability server clustering software suite for e-business.

  • Rave Computer Association, Inc. announced the Rave Systems AXi family will be demonstrated at the upcoming Embedded Systems Conference.

  • Tripp Lite, a manufacturer of power protection products, announced it will soon make the source code of its PowerAlert Universal UPS Management Software available to Linux developers.

  • UniBar, Inc. announced BARCODE 2000 Version 4/JAVA, server-based label printing software for applications running under UNIX, LINUX, and Windows NT systems.

  • Vovida Networks announced the free commercial release of Session Initiation Protocol source code running on the Linux operating system.

  • Wave Technologies International, Inc. announced record first quarter revenues. The launch of Linux training solutions is listed as one of their key growth initatives.

  • Coletta and Craig Witherspoon have a new book, "Red Hat Linux 6 fast & easy", published by Prima Tech.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

September 2, 1999


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

Linux in the news

Recommending reading:

Here's a lengthy profile of Linus Torvalds in the San Jose Mercury News. "Linus seems less like a reindeer caught in the global headlights than a delightful alien dropped down from another planet--possibly to show us all the madness of our ways. Nobody has ever accused Silicon Valley of having a conscience, but it looks as if this bespectacled Finn might be the closest thing."

Is Linux falling apart? asks Sm@rt Reseller. The answer is an emphatic negative - nice to see in the mainstream press. "Don't get me wrong; there will be nasty wars between the Linux vendors. With money talking, the warm 'we brave band of brothers' feeling of the early days of Linux is going to erode. But, the cold legal facts of Linux's foundations will keep Linux from ever shattering into incompatible versions that made Unix application reselling such a pain in the neck."

Sun's acquisition of Star Division (in roughly chronological order):

OSO kicks in with a favorable view of Sun's purchase of Star Division, to balance out other reactions. "All successful platforms are defined by their applications. The desktop is defined by office products and convenient Internet access. The JavaStation, coupled with Star Office, delivers both in a zero (or near zero) administrative bonus. "

Here's a Reuters article on Sun's plans with Star Division and StarPortal. "'When I am on the road, I access my corporate desktop from a Web browser,' Sun Chairman and Chief Executive Scott McNealy told Reuters in a telephone interview. 'I don't like to carry my laptop around ... I want everything I have residing somewhere on the network on a server, as opposed to something bundled in a personal mainframe under my arm.'"

See also: this News.com article on the acquisition. "Tomorrow, when Sun officially announces the Star Division acquisition in New York, the company will demonstrate the use of StarPortal on a Java-enabled PalmPilot, which is connected to a server."

The LA Times had this rticle about it. "Star has about 4 million users, Sun said, including 30% of those who use the Linux operating system instead of Windows."

Computer Reseller News ran this article about Sun's StarDivision purchase. "Sun made no bones about using Star suite as an aggerssive play in the Linux market. Among those at the New York briefing today was Roland Dyroff, chief executive of Suse Linux, AG.. who said his company has already bundled 500,000 copies of the suite with its' Linux operating system."

Here's another Reuters article about Sun and StarOffice. "Analysts said Sun's move could trigger a sea change in the software industry, with more applications and data being based on the Internet, and managed by Internet service providers, or ISPs -- much like electronic mail is now handled."

TechWeb also has its take on Sun and StarDivision. "The acquisition gives Sun an office suite deployable across diverse clients, with the current release running on Windows, OS/2, Solaris, and Linux, in addition to a network computer-oriented Java release and the technology to build a portal-based productivity application service."

The Red Herring covers Sun's acquisition of StarDivision. "Tom Dwyer, the Aberdeen Group's research director for enterprise Java, says that StarOffice's availability on Linux is a key factor in this new initiative. The combination of the office suite with Linux may prove an attractive front-end alternative to the Windows/Microsoft Office combination, he said."

Resulting fluctuations in the stock of other "Linux" firms:

This News.com article says that Sun's acquisition of StarDivision caused the fall in Corel's and Applix's stock prices. "Sun Microsystems' adoption of a new office software suite might be a good thing for Linux users, but it hasn't been so good for the makers of competing products."

Business Week looks at Corel's stock price. "Investors will need to figure if Linux could a bigger plus for Corel than Sun's StarOffice/StarPortal could be a negative. If the latter scenario prevails, the rocket that was lit under Corel's stock recently could just as quickly burn out."

Here's an August 31st look from Reuters on Corel's stock price. "The Linux updraft that carried Corel Corp. to gains of 44 percent over the last two days of trade was stilled on Tuesday."

The Ottawa Citizen reports on Corel's stock price. "Indeed, in the past three months Corel has enjoyed the unusual distinction of making the Toronto Stock Exchange's weekly list of performance stocks five times --three times on the weekly list of five top gainers and twice on the list of five worst losers."

Here's an article in the Arizona Republic about the increase in Corel's and Applix's share prices. "Investor enthusiasm for Linux-related companies has increased since the initial sale of shares by software maker Red Hat Inc., which has surged more than fivefold in two weeks."

Other stock articles include this one in CBS Marketwatch ("Trading was extremely heavy with more than 26.8 million shares changing hands in the session. Applix has only 8.8 million shares available for trading.") and this one in The Red Herring ("With no real support from Wall Street's analytic community, the question becomes, What is the source of the wind in this company's sails? Perhaps the answer is cyberspace scuttlebutt in chat rooms, where messages about the company have increased since the Red Hat initial public offering on August 11.").

News.com reports on the rise in Corel's and Applix's stock prices. "Two software companies with fledgling initiatives for the open-source operating system saw their shares soar today for a second day in a row, despite little in the way of shipping products." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

CBS Marketwatch looks at the runup in Applix's share price. "'Investors took a look at Red Hat with a $5 billion market cap and us at $100 million and saw a compelling value,' Chief Financial Officer Ed Terino said in an interview."

Here's a Reuters article about Corel's stock price, which has also started to climb as people begin to recognize it as a "Linux stock." "Corel stock had languished for many sessions following Red Hat's debut but found new life last week after investors woke up."

Here's a brief Reuters article about Applix's stock price - which has doubled since late last week. Seems that people suddenly think it's a Linux stock...

Operating Systems and other Software:

Byte's Jon Udell has a look at Zope. "Last, but not least, is the fascinating story of how Zope came to be an open source project. As Jeffrey reported in our newsgroups last year, it was Digital Creations' venture capitalist who convinced the company this would be a smart move. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

CPU Review has a look at Debian 2.1. "The documentation, while somewhat terse, is actually pretty good. The biggest mistake they made was not to include a piece of paper (or print on the CD) a single line, which said 'See install/index.html for documentation on how to install Debian.'"

Compaq will be contributing to the development of Red Flag Linux - a Chinese distribution - according to this Computer Currents article. "Compaq China has contributed its Linux knowledge and an AlphaServer DS20 system to the partnership..."

Here's a San Jose Mercury article about Tribeworks - which is developing an open source multimedia development platform. "We're stealing a play from the Linux world. It's been amazing to us that the graphics industry has not embraced the community-based model. The advantages are the same as they are for Linux."

A review of AbiWord is now available at LinuxPower.org. "Overall, AbiWord shows a lot of promise. Though currently in a pre-release form, I feel that it could be used for minor projects as long as you do not need spell checking or very extensive layout capabilities. "

Nicholas Petreley reports on what he saw at LinuxWorld in this InfoWorld column. "But the news from LinuxWorld that will most likely have a significant impact is the imminent release of Hewlett-Packard's OpenMail for Linux."

This Detroit News article speculates that Windows 2000 may be adopted more quickly than a lot of people think, and stresses heavily the competition between that system and Linux. "'If they (Microsoft) don't ship a stable, reliable operating system by the end of this year, they're going to see Windows servers eroded by Linux,' said Peter Auditore, vice president of World Research Inc."

IT-Director.com has a look at the confusion of Windows 2000 versions - they predict nine different versions in the first year. "...the Linux community which quite rightly sees Microsoft as its obstacle to world domination will probably be pleased with the news. Linux is Linux is Linux. It comes in two basic versions 32 bit and 64 bit and after that you can specialise if you need to. The core is more coherent than that of Windows." (Found in NNL).


E-Commerce Times looks at E-Smith's new Linux-based server system. "Simplifying the process of adopting the Linux operating system (OS) is central to the e-smith corporate mission, as well as making it accessible for small and mid-sized businesses. According to the company, the product -- which combines e-mail, file sharing, routing and security capabilities -- can even convert a retired 60Mhz Pentium computer into an Internet server for a sizable office."

Compaq's dump of NT on Alpha may help Linux says InfoWorld. "Companies that have invested in the future of the Alpha platform -- such as Alpha Processor, in Concord, Mass. -- have quickly changed their tune and are now whistling Linux."

The Boston Globe reports on the future of the Alpha processor now that Windows NT will not be part of it. "[Alpha Processor VP] Borkowski figures that about 300,000 Linux servers will be sold worldwide next year. He says that if Alpha Processor can get a quarter of that - 75,000 servers - they'll do fine."

Open Source IT looks at Beowulf clusters. "The Boeing Co.'s Applied Research and Technology group, in Seattle, for example, is experimenting with a 16-cpu Beowulf cluster for designing new airplanes. Pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb has been running a 20-node cluster since February 1999. Proctor & Gamble has a 32-node system running in a research facility near Cincinnati." (Found in NNL).

This News.com article is about HP's new Linux-powered thin client system.

The Dual Millenium from Future Power offers two Celeron processors and promises to "match similar, single processor Pentium III machines in performance." The high-tower model comes with Linux installed by default for a very nice price. Controversy follows, though, since Future Power is being sued by Apple Computer, Ltd., for alleged infringements upon the iMac design. In addition, Intel has been quick to state that use of multiple Celerons on a single board, or overclocking of the processor, will void the warranty.


Here's an E-Commerce Times article about the Linux-based network testing setup created by Neal Nelson and Associates. "A joint statement disclosed that Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS), Xylan an Alcatel Company (NYSE: ALA) and FORE Systems are utilizing Nelson's test labs to 'evaluate new products using the most extreme, real-world network traffic patterns.'" (Thanks to Sean O'Riordain).

Sm@rt Reseller ran this article about SCO's getting into the Linux consulting business. "SCO claims it has the largest staff of open-source experts of any commercial software vendor. The company's newly formed Linux and Open Source Professional Services team will span about 40 core staffers, and will provide Linux audit- and deployment-planning services."

E-Commerce Times ran this article about the investment in MandrakeSoft by AXA Placement Innovation. "Commenting on 'the post-IPO Red Hat period,' Francis Gaskins of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive noted that there are some '30 of Red Hat's competitors that should be of considerable interest to both investors and technologists.' With a host of accolades pouring in, MandrakeSoft appears to be working its way to the top of the list."

Here's a News.com article about Benchmark Capital's decision to invest in the SourceXchange. "While much skepticism exists about the business opportunity from software that must be available for free under the terms of its license, i.e open-source software, Benchmark is a convert."

The Red Herring ran this article about Red Hat's Bob Young and Marc Ewing - who were named to Red Herring's "Top Ten Entrepreneurs for 1999" list. "Under their stewardship, the company's principal product, a software operating system called Red Hat Linux, is now so attractive to corporate America that it poses a formidable threat to Microsoft's operating system monopoly."

New Scientist looks at the Red Hat community offering. "Sadly, having thrown their egalitarian principles to the wind and raided their piggybanks for the initial $1000, many were turned away. They were deemed ineligible by E*TRADE's online questionnaire, which was not tailored for postgraduates with little to invest and no experience of buying shares."

This Reuters article looks at how the Red Hat IPO has spawned more interest in Linux. "Venture capitalists intrigued by the red hot stock market debut of Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. are placing bets on new start-up open source companies built around software that is given away."

Red Herring looks at SGI's reinvention of itself. "Current efforts to move the Linux operating system to SGI, [Greg Weiss, an analyst at D.H. Brown Associates] believes, could pay off in the long run."

News.com reports on the Linux Fund credit card which was first unveiled at LinuxWorld. "If [Linux fund founder Benjamin Cox] can sign up 100,000 people, that would provide an estimated $2 million a year to fund development projects and scholarships, he said."

Also in News.com: this article about the possible sale of the linux.org web site.

Other items:

Time Magazine's Josh Quittner says that Linux still isn't for the masses. "Linux and the open-source movement that spawned it are among the most exciting and important things going on in the software world today. But the setup is just too complex for the average person."

Is the Linux revolution over? asks PC Week. It seems that Linus Torvalds is getting harder to reach directly, and this reporter was disappointed. "...maybe it's a good thing that Linus doesn't answer his phone anymore. Still, we'll miss the candor and self-deprecation of Torvalds, which came across so genuinely to reporters used to burning their throats on the dry, pressurized airplane air marketing being blown by most companies."

Dave Winer has put up an "installation nightmare" story - fairly normal, except that it's a Windows NT box that he bought preinstalled. "I have some advice for Microsoft. Every executive should buy a machine for themselves, from one of the clone vendors, and struggle thru the process their customers have to go thru. They're horribly vulnerable. Compared to this process, setting up Linux was a breeze." (Thanks to Bernhard Reiter).

NTKnow covers the O'Reilly conferences in classic form. "...who invited Dave Winer? Proprietary Dave set upon the free software like Carlos the Jackal at a World Trade Organisation shin-dig."

"In the grand tradition of the numerous pro-Linux, sarcastically anti-MS pieces circulating around the Web", OSO presents an article that is sarcastically anti-Linux instead: Top 10 Reasons Why Linux Will Become a Smash Desktop Success. Taken in the spirit of pure amusement, it can be enjoyed anyway. After all, we've always said that a sense of humor is a critical, innate part of the Linux community ...

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

September 2, 1999


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



Version 1.6 of the Linux Laptop HOWTO is available, though the latest version is not currently on the LDP pages. See the announcement for information and location.

Recovering a deleted mail spool is the subject of this column on LinuxCare's site. Have a look, and hope you never find yourself in the same situation...

A Linux and C programming mailing list has been created, see the announcement for details. It is intended to be a forum for people seeking (or providing!) help around C programming on Linux systems.

Gimp book reviewed. There is a review of the book "The Artists' Guide to the Gimp" by Michael J. Hammel at AboutLinux.

A new email book. O'Reilly has announced "Programming Internet Email," by David Wood.


The Bazaar, now scheduled for December 14-16, 1999 in New York, has issued a Call For Participation. The submission deadline is September 17.

The call for papers for the 2000 Usenix technical conference has gone out; submissions are due by November 19.

Incorporating Linux into your business strategy is a two-day conference consisting of "Compelling Case-Studies Demonstrating Why Linux Should be on Your Radar Screen." It will be held in Washington, DC on November 1 and 2. See the announcement for more.

Web sites

The GNOME-es (Spanish GNOME document translation) project web pages have moved, check them out at the new site.

September 2, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
acl 0.5.0 Colorizes log files using advanced parsing capabilities.
acmemail 2.1.5 acmemail is a single-user POP3 to Web gateway with full MIME support
Adaptive Server Enterprise Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, (formerly Sybase SQL Server)
adzapper 0.1.27 HTTP proxy that filters ads
AfterStep 1.7.142 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
alarm applet 0.8.7 Simple alarm for the GNOME panel
ALSA driver 0.4.1 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
Anachronism 0.3 RTS strategy
angif 1.0.0beta1 LZW-free GIF code to output animation and/or true-color
Appletalk Configurator 1.0 GTK+ GUI for Netatalk package
arla 0.27 A free AFS client and server for Linux, *BSD and others.
ArmedLINUX 1.1b Final Beta A Linux Distro Aimed at windows Users
aRts 0.3.3 Analog realtime synthesizer
AsciiArtWidget 0.3 TCL/TK Ascii Art Widget
Aspell .28.2.1 Intelligent Spell Checker
Authenticated User Community for Education 0.5.1 CGI-based intranet system intended for K-12 settings
BibleTime 0.1 A bible study program for KDE
bibtool 1.5 Simple tool to help BibTeX users maintain bibliography files
bidwatcher 0.9.9-3 tool for eBay users - track and snipe auctions
Blackbox 0.51.1 WindowManager for X11 written in C++
boxes 1.0 Draws any kind of box around some given text
BP6mon 1.3 GTK app displaying temperatures, voltages and fans speed of an Abit BP6.
Bugzilla 2.6 mozilla.org's bugtracking system
Cacheability Engine 1.20 CGI/command line script to check Web page cacheability
Caliban Instant Messaging 0.12 Implementation of OpenPGP-secured Instant Messaging System
cdctl 0.14 Controls your CD-ROM drive under linux.
cdr 2.0 CD ripper and encoder frontend
cdrecord 1.8a25 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
centerICQ 1.3.3 a textmode-based ICQ clone for Linux
Cervisia 0.2.1 KDE CVS frontend
cfingerd 1.4.1 The Configurable Finger Daemon
CircleMUD 3.0 beta patchlevel 16 Multi User Dungeon for Linux
Clarrhmos 2.2 Description language and simulator for models of heart electrophysiology.
code2html 0.8.2 Converts a program's source code to syntax highlighted HTML
ColdStore 990830 gigabyte-scale persistent object store
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0b8 Internet Printing System for UNIX
CompuPic 4.6 build 1018 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
CorbaScript 1.3.1 CORBA Scripting Language
Crystal Space 0.14 A free and portable 3D engine based on portals
curl 5.11 Command line tool for getting data from a URL
CYCAS 1.93a CAD Software for Linux
Cyrus IMAP server 1.6.13 Full featured IMAP server
Datalink library 08.25.1999 Send data to the Timex DataLink watches
DataManager pre0.2 Shared memory ringbuffers client-server library
Date::Pcalc 1.0 All-Perl module for date calculations, based on Date::Calc
demcd 2.0.7 CDPlayer for Linux
DHCP with Dynamic DNS 0.51 Dynamically update DNS from dhcpd.leases file
dhcp-dns 0.2.1 Update DNS with data from DHCPD
DHS.ORG Auto Updater 0.05 DHS.ORG (Domain Host Services) Dynamic Domain Updater
Disc-Cover 0.9.1 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
divine 0.5 automatic IP configuration detection for laptops
DNSTools Software 0.9b1 A web-based and command-line tool to administer DNS
Downloader for X 1.0 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
ds3 0.3.2-1 Modem/ISDN sharing tool for linux
dtheatre.php3 1.0 Retrieves the latest 'digital theatre' news for a webpage.
e-smith server and gateway 3.0 Open-source software that converts a PC into a Linux Internet server
eBison 0 Parser generator for Elisp and Javascript compiler for Elisp
eEMU 2.32 Enterprise Event Management and Monitoring Utility
Epeios 19990828 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
Ethereal 0.7.3 GUI network protocol analyzer
eXtace 1.1.16 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
FreeAmp 1.3.1 Open Source MP3 player
freecolor 0.6.1 Colorized free command with graphs
freemed 19990830 Free medical management software in a web browser
FTP Logger 1.4 Perl(CGI) WU-FTPD log analyzer for WEB
FTP4ALL 3.004 FTP server program for UNIX systems
gaddr 1.1.3 A simple GTK+ Addressbook
Ganymede 0.99.6 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
gEDA 19990829 gEDA is an collection of tools which are used to make electrical circuit design,
Geek Code Generator 1.3 Generates a Geek Code using a series of qeustions
Getleft 0.6.2 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GHX 3.05 GTK clone of the Hotline software
Gifsicle 1.16 Command-line tool for creating, editing, and optimizing GIFs and animations
GIMP Imagemap plug-in 1.2 GIMP plug-in for creation of clickable imagemaps.
GKrellM 0.6.6 System monitor package
GLib 1.2.4 The GLib library of C routines
GlobeCom Jukebox 3.1final2 Music jukebox with integrated CDDB aware ripping and groupware functionality
gnomba 0.4.2 Gnome Samba Browser
Gnome Toaster 08-30-1999 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
GnomePM 0.6.0 GNOME equivilent of the Yahoo! (C) Java Portfolio Manager
GNU make 3.77.94 Controls the generation of executables and other non-source files
GNU Pth 1.1.4 GNU Portable Threads
GOB 0.90.0 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
Gone 19990822 Newsreader for the Gnome Desktop Environment
GProc 0.2.7 Managing process from the Gnome panel
gPS 0.3.2 GTK-based process status reporting like ps, top and task manager
Grany-3 0.9.1 The cellular automaton simulator.
Grip 2.6 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
GTC 0.3 Game Programming Library
GTK+ 1.2.4 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GTKeyboard 0.97.3 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GTKWave 1.2.9 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
Gzilla 0.2.2 Free web browser written in the GTK+ framework
HB 1.7.15 Simple language to create dynamic web content
HSX 3.0 Hotline Server clone for Unix
HybServ 1.5.0 Services for the Hybrid IRCD server
IglooFTP PRO 0.9.2 Powerfull and User Friendly FTP client
ImageMagick 4.2.9 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
inn 2.2.1 Complete and full-featured Usenet System
IntraSite 1.0.1 Intranet Website with news, search, etc.
irssi 0.7.15-2 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
Jacl 1.2.4 Tcl shell implemented in Java, a perfect way to add scripting to a Java app.
Java Test Driver 1.1 Test driver for Java class libraries
JavaORB 2.0.1 A free Java implementation of CORBA 2.2
jdresolve 0.5.2 Resolves IP addresses into hostnames. Supports Apache logs and recursion.
jEdit 2.0final Powerful text editor
jpilot 0.94 Palm pilot desktop software for Linux
Kazlib 1.10 Robust ANSI C data structure library.
kdesu 0.97 A KDE front end to the UNIX su(1) command.
KDiskCat 0.3.1 The KDE Disk Catalog software.
KDynUpdate 0.1 Program to update your dyndns.org dns.
Kmap 0.5.5 Nmap port-scanner frontend for QT/KDE
kmp_msql 0.1.1 KMySql plugin to connect to mSQL databases
kmp_psql 0.1.1 KMySQL plugin providing access to PostGres databases
KMySQL 1.1.8 A MySql client for KDE.
knetload 1.0 A network speed monitor for kpanel
knowledgebase 0.05 Knowledgebase tool based on PHP
KPackage 1.3.8 GUI interface to the RPM and the Debianpackage manager
Krabber 0.4.3 KDE audio cd grabber and mp3 encoder front-end
KShell 0.1 Wrapper to shell that restricts hosts, ttys, multiple logins and more.
ksysv 1.0.0pre2 Editor for System V Init configurations
Kticker 1.0.0beta2 News ticker widget that downloads news headlines and displays them periodically
KTsp 0.2.0 TSP optimizer for KDE
kWall 0.1 A GUI to ipfwadm to help new users to make a firewall.
KWebSearch 0.3 KDE Web Search Engine Frontend
kwintv 0.7.3 Watch TV in a window on your PC screen
KWvDial 0.4 Graphical Re-Implementation of WvDial PPP Dialer Command Line Interface
LCDproc 0.4-pre8 Displays system statistics on an external LCD display
LCL 19990830 The LinuxClassLibrary
leaguetable 0.1.0 Little program/library generating league tables
Linux Administrators Security Guide 0.1.7 A 160+ page PDF on Linux Security
Linux trustees 1.5 An advanced file permission system for Linux
Linuxconf 1.16r3 Sophisticated administrative tool
Lynx 2.8.3.dev8 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
macfork 1.0 Macintosh resource fork reader and extracter
Mail Man 3.0.16 A web-based application which allows the user to send and receive mails
Majik 3D 0.0/M3 An online role-playing world
mcl 0.52.00 MUD client for Linux
Metaverse 0.1 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
mfm 0.4 A graphical frontend for mtools
mgetty 1.1.21 Intelligent getty and fax support
MM 1.0.10 Shared Memory Library
mod_ssl 2.4.1-1.3.9 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Moonshine 0.1.8 An application development environment for Linux.
MOSIX 0.93.3 Single-system-image Clustering Software for Linux
Mozilla M9 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
Mp3Maker.app 1.0-pre-2 Window Maker enhanced cdda grabber and mp3 encoder frontend
MPage 0.5 Send a mobilecomm text pager a page from the command line.
Muddleftpd 1.1.beta3 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
Multiverse 0.1.3 A system for building an online world/RPG
Mutt 1.0pre2 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
Nacho Chaesebot 0.00 Interactive chatbot IRC interface (ala Eliza)
Naken Chat 1.09 Chat Server ported from Javachat
ncp 0.3 Copy files quickly inside your LAN
net-tools 1.53 Programs that form the base set of the NET-3 networking distribution
NetBSD 1.4.1 The world's most portable Operating System.
netfilter 0.1.5 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
nmap 2.3BETA4 Full featured, robust port scanner
NmapFE 0.9.5 GTK+ front end for Nmap.
NTP 4.0.97d A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
OBAS O.93b Web-based bibliography maintainer
omega 0.6.4 Implementation and extension of the M-Technology (MUMPS) standards
Open GRiD 0.1.2 A project to create Open Global Ranking Search Engine and Directory (Open GRiD)
Open Track 4.0.1 Flexible Unix based client/server issue tracking tool, customizeable via tcl
Oracle Procedit 1.1 X11 Oracle Procedure and Function Editor
Oracle SQLWork 2.1 An SQL Worksheet-like querying tool for Oracle
ORBacus 3.2 CORBA 2.0 compliant ORB for C++ and Java
P'mail 0.5 Interface between PalmOS (TM) Mail application and Unix mailbox files
Pagecast 1.1.1 Automates submitting lists of URL's to various Internet search engines.
Paloma 0.83b Relational music/mp3 database system
passwdd 0.07 Password synchronization server/client
perlbot 1.1.7 An IRC bot in Perl written with simplicity in mind
perldap 1.4 Perl C and OO interface to LDAP
PerlSETI 0.6 GUI front end for the SETI@home client, programmed in Perl. Many Statistics.
PgAccess 0.98 TCL/TK frontend for PostgreSQL
PHPezmlmAdmin 0.02 Browser based ezmlm-idx mailing list administrator
PoPToP 0.9.14 PPTP Server for Linux
PowerChute plus 4.5 APC's usual UPS interface for Linux.
PowerPak 990828 An attempt at a high-level game SDK
print_filter 0.5.2 Simple print filter which allows printing of different filetypes with lpr.
ProFTPD 1.2.0pre4 Advanced, incrediblyconfigurable and secure FTP daemon
pstill 1.21b
PulseTLM 0.1 A full featured 3D Transmission Line Matrix (TLM) simulator
Pybliographer 0.9 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
pydf 0.4 colourised df(1)-clone
Pygmy Linux 0.6 UMSDOS based, internet ready minilinux.
QDMerge 0.21 A utility to generate documents from a template and data files.
QDu netPONG .2 Network playable pong.
QScheme 0.2.2 Really fast, small and easy to interface Scheme interpreter
Quake3: Arena test 1.08 The test version of Quake3: Arena
QuickPage 3.3 Client/server package for sending alphanumeric pages via SNPP
randtype 1.4 Displays text at random intervals.
RawSnif 0.8 Easily configurable Perl based network sniffer written using Net::RawIP modules.
rbison 0.0.4 parser generator for ruby
RealTimeBattle 0.9.11 RealTimeBattle, a robot programming game for Unix
Record Management 0.6 Program to manage large sound carrier archives (LPs, CDs, MP3s, singles, ...).
ROBODoc 3.1 Documentation tool for many programming languages
ROCK Linux 1.3.0 Linux Distribution for high skilled Linux User and Admins
RocketJSP 0.9c JSP 1.0 Engine
rrlogind 2.32 Login client for Time Warner Cable and Media One cable modem services
Sapphire 0.12.8 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
sarep 0.5 Command-line search and replace tool written in Perl.
sdts++ C++ toolkit for reading and writing Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) files
SENSE 1.0.5 Distributed Shared Memory system
Shadow 19990827 Shadow password file utilities
shredder 1.00 Punishes users who have too many processes running
sifi 0.1.3 Stateful TCP/IP packet filter for Linux.
sitecopy 0.8.0 Maintain remote copies of locally stored web sites
slashes.pl 1.5 A Perl/GTK Slashdot news ticker
SmallEiffel -0.77Beta#2 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
SmartHTML 1.3 HTML preprocessor
SmartWorker 0.81 Web Application Development / Deployment Framework
snes9express 1.21 Gtk GUI front-end for snes9x
SoundTracker 0.3.1 A music tracker for X / GTK+
Soupermail 1.0.5 Generic form to email handler
speechd 0.52 Implements /dev/speech device (all plaintext written to it will be spoken aloud)
SplitFire 1.17 Complete IRC script for IRCII-EPIC.
Sporum 1.1 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.4.9f Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
statfs 0.1 Command line wrapper for statfs(2) call
syslog-ng 1.1.32 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
TABLA 0.2 HTML table generator
tal 1.9 Aligns common trailing characters
tar 1.13.9 utility used to store, backup, and transport files.
TarCust 0.7.1 A tar post-processor to ease rolling tarballs
TBTM 0.5 Pre-processor system designed to simplify web site development and maintenance
Tcl Blend 1.2.4 Tcl Blend is a Tcl extension that provides access to Java inside Tcl.
TeamWave Workplace 4.3b1 Shared Internet places for any-time collaboration
Terraform 0.4.0 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Calculator 2.0 A four function calculator for UNIX and Linux
The Linux Console Data 1999.08.29 Data files for the Linux Console Tools
The Linux Console Tools 0.2.2 Allows you to set-up and manipulate theLinux console
Timesheet.php 1.0 PHP application to keep track of hours worked on a project.
tk_Brief 3.2 GUI for writing letters with LaTeX
tomsrtbt 1.7.140 Single floppy diskette linux distribution
TSambaClass 1.1 Cross platform C++ class library for accessing smb.conf file.
TT-News 0.2.5 A headline-news ticker for various news-sources.
TVListing.sh 1 Fetches today's TV listings and emails them to you.
TwinTRIS 0.080 Multiplayer tetris clone for all Unix boxes
Tya 1.4 JIT-compiler
Type decomposition library 0.3 C++ library for discovering compile-time type information.
urmcore 0.2.2 Quickly finds, verifies, and removes old core files with minimum system load.
Vacation 1.0.2 A mail auto-responder
vidbg 0.9.2 Curses based front end to command line debuggers.
Virtual GameBoy 1.6 Free Gameboy Emulator for Linux
WaveLAN/IEEE driver 1.0.1 Kernel network device driver for WaveLAN/IEEE wireless network card
WebAlbum 0.33 A perl script which produces html photo albums.
WebMail 0.5.4 Web frontend for Unix system mailboxes
wmbp6 1.5 DockApp monitoring sensors for temperatures and fans speed.
wmessage 0.8 WINGs based message viewer
wmG 0.14.8 A small, lightweight, GNOME-compliant window manager for X.
wmGrabImage 0.70 Displays a thumbnail version of an image from the www.
wmjulia 0.4 Window Maker dock applet that draws animated julia sets.
wmMand 1.0 A mandelbrot set explorer.
wmseti 0.2.0 Windowmaker dockapp for your SETI@home statistics
wmSMPmon 1.2 CPU monitoring applet SMP systems running Window Maker
wmSpaceWeather 1.04 Shows environmental conditions in space.
wmSun 1.03 Shows Rise/Set times for the Sun.
wmWeather 1.31 Displays your current local weather conditions.
wxWindows/GTK 2.1 snapshot 9 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X ARCHON 0.2 A clone of the classic ARCHON game
X-Chat 1.1.9 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.36b3.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
XFMail 1.3.1 Email client for X11 based on XForms
xoscope 1.5 Digital Oscilloscope via Sound Card and/or ProbeScope
XRacer 0.90 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XShipWars 1.14 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
Xskat 3.1 Skatordnung card game, playable against humans or the computer
xtell 1.3 Simple messaging client and server, kind of networked write
ZAngband 2.2.6c Rogue-like roleplaying game
Zebra 0.78 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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Looking for a Linux presentation? LinuxSlides.com contains pointers to all of the online presentations about Linux they are able to find. Talks are available in both English and French (with one each in Spanish and Japanese as well).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

September 2, 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, 1 Sep 1999 12:33:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Derek Glidden <dglidden@illusionary.com>
To: <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: "Star Office Portal" is a bad idea

At first I was worried that Sun's acquisition of StarOffice would be a
bad thing for the Linux community.  Sun doesn't have the best track
record at being supportive of Linux.  (Witness the difficulties the
Blackdown team have had dealing with the JDK port, at least partially
because of the restrictiveness of Sun's "Community Source License"; the
announcement that the previously forthcoming support for Linux for
Netscape servers was no more.)  The fact that Sun has decided to release
the source for StarOffice via the SCSL alleviates some of my fears, but
only some, and raised new ones because I think their "Star Office
Portal" idea is a huge mistake that may cost the application entirely.

Let's face it, Larry Ellison has been predicting the imminent death of
the PC and the rise and domination of server-driven "Network Computers"
and "Internet Terminal" devices for years, and it just hasn't happened. 
Java is proving itself in behind-the-scenes server-side application
progarmming, but it's still slow for full-function interactive user
applications.  People still for the most part have 28.8K, 33.6K or 56K
modems at home and are not going to want to have to wait for their
computer to connect to their ISP and then still have to wait for a
couple megs of Java code to come down the pipe just so they can type a
letter to Mom.  

There are all sorts of technical *and* social problems trying to work
with a system that keeps your important personal documents on someone
else's server and not on your local workstation where you have instant,
easy access to them.  (The recent Hotmail security fiasco is probably
going to only highlight these problems.) 

And probably the most important reason (IMO) that this "Star Office
Portal" is a bad idea is because it's not Microsoft Office.  "Everyone
uses Office" is still the way the world works and as long as it works
that way, it will be a constant uphill battle just to _keep up_ with the
changes Microsoft make in the way Office files are saved so you can read
those documents from work.

In a recent online article about the "Star Office Portal" idea, [can't
find the URL anymore...] Sun's Scott McNealy's made the comment that, no
matter where he goes, he never brings his desktop software with him --
it always stays conveniently on some server someplace where it can be
easily accessed through his browser.  I think this just shows how out of
touch with the real world he is.  That may work for Scott, but the vast
majority of the "real" computer world have no idea what he's talking
about.  All they know is they click this icon and their word processor
pops up and now they can load that file from the floppy disk where
they've saved it.  Keeping Scott connected to the internet is probably
not a problem, but as a consultant, I need to be very mobile and I still
encounter meeting rooms, offices and cubicles that are not wired, or use
a different networking topology than I have or are stuck behind a
firewall, any of which problems, if I were relying on my ISP or a server
back at my office for access to my word processor and documents, would
cut me off at the knees and leave me non-functional.

Technically, the idea of a platform-independent, run-anywhere,
works-the-same-anywhere, follow-me-around-the-world desktop complete
with applications is a good idea.  Practically, we've seen the industry
attempt it half a dozen times and fail.  (Anyone remember Netscape's
"Atlas" universal desktop?)  It's hard to get people to change a
fundamental mode of working such as moving from a locally-stored
application/data model to a server-stored application/data model.  (It's
even harder to get Microsoft to "allow" the industry to move in that
direction.)  There are people who argue this is just a return to
mainframe life, only with smarter dumb terminals.  I don't think it
matters what the change is to or from, people just plain don't like
changing the way they work.

So, how does this relate to Linux, and not just leaving Sun and Scott
with egg on their faces?  Well, it sounds like Sun is putting a *lot* of
resources into trying to make this "star Office Portal" thing work, and
if it fails, as I think it will, that's going to make the whole Star
Division acquisition look pretty bad and Sun is a commercial operation
out to make money.  

Currently, StarOffice is only one of a small handful of complete office
suites available for Linux and is only one of two or three with any sort
of version history on the platform.  If Sun decides that it's a bigger
drain on their resources than it is worth and dumps the whole thing,
Linux could lose it.  Because of the restrictions of the SCSL, this
doesn't mean some other group can pick up the code and fork it into
their own version the way the GPL or a BSD license would allow - it
means if Sun says bye-bye, it's gone.  

Sure, there are other office suites under development (KOffice, Corel
Office for Linux, to name just a couple) that could conceivably replace
it, but losing Star Office on Linux would make the Linux and Open Source
community look bad ("See, another 'open source' project that failed,
just like Mozilla!" is what you'll hear.) and, personally, I would
rather rely on the software I have now, that works now, than have to bet
my productivity on something that may be available and functional "in a
few months."

Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1999 23:56:27 -0400
From: "Jay R. Ashworth" <use-reply-to-address@gte.net>
To: ewt@redhat.com
CC: letters@lwn.net
Subject: A rock and a hard place

Just another penguin head, weighing in...

I gather there's a fuss over the trademark.  Lawyers can be such a pain,
can't they?

My opinion (backed by that of Mark McCormick, see
_What_They_Didn't_Teach_Me_at_Yale_Law_School) is that you need to be
very cautious of letting the lawyers run the company.  It's not their

Yes, you have a duty to protect your trademarks.

Waiting to act until you have had time to make sure that your reaction
will not impair your _primary reason_ for your current market cap --
that is: the goodwill of the community -- would _not_ have killed you.

Legally, I mean.

Next time, ask the lawyer who's rousing the rabble what, exactly, he
thinks it _is_ that makes RHAT worth 5.3 _billion_ dollars.  And see if
he read the parable about golden eggs when he was a kid.

_If_ he was a kid.  :-)

Tread lightly, guys; we love you, and there hasn't ever been a company
whose 'goodwill' item carried more weight on the balance sheet.

-- jra
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 10:14:43 +0900 (JST)
From: David Moles <deivu@tomigaya.shibuya.tokyo.jp>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: LASER5's divorce from RedHat

One of the reasons cited in LASER5's press release is the high cost of
license fees paid to RedHat. I wonder if that means that now they'll be
charging a more reasonable price for their distribution? I was in a shop
in Akihabara (Tokyo's main hardware, software, and electronic goodies
area) and saw that LASER5's "RedHat Linux v6.0J Server" priced at about
45,000 yen -- which is to say about $400. (Yes, you read that right.) 
As far as I could tell the only thing it offered to distinguish itself
from their stock version (8100 yen, or about $70) was SSH.

I'm not really sure what's up with these Japanese distributions --
TurboLinux "Pro" was going for 24,000 yen (about $200), while the non-
pro edition was about the same as the stock LASER5. It's not support --
LASER5's $400 gets you just three incidents, within the first 180 days.
I suppose they might be paying license fees for commercial Japanese
input methods -- certainly the free ones out there are kind of lame,
though I don't expect that to last -- but if so, why is it the server
edition that needs the fancy input?

But then again, as a friend of mine pointed out, this is a country where
people will pay $15 to see a movie, and then come out saying they would
have paid $30 if they had to. :)

To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Emacs vulnerability to macro viruses.
From: Alan Shutko <ashutko@itms.com>
Date: 26 Aug 1999 10:39:33 -0400

Although Emacs can evaluate arbitrary lisp code upon loading a file,
there are significant differences between MS Word's and Emacs'
openness to viruses.

* Only variable setting is enabled by default.  By default, attempting
  to evaluate lisp causes Emacs to query you whether to evaluate the
  given lisp.  Word, OTOH, defaults to vulnerability.

* Emacs lisp is human-readable.  When Emacs asks whether to evaluate
  embedded lisp, it will show the lisp to you, so that the user can
  decide whether it's safe.  MS Word will simply ask whether you want
  to run unspecified macros.  MS considers it a feature that embedded
  code can be non-readable.

* Embedded Emacs lisp is visible.  You can see it at the bottom of the
  file, so it is less likely that a virus could exist unseen.

So, while Emacs _could_ be vulnerable to viruses, it would take
conscious effort on the part of a user to make it so.

Alan Shutko <ashutko@itms.com>

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