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Leading items and editorials


Linux and recalcitrant laptop modems. First, a correction: numerous readers wrote in (see the letters to the editor section) regarding last week's article on the "Red Hat compatible" certification of IBM's Thinkpad 600E. We stated that the Thinkpad contains a "WinModem," it turns out that (1) "WinModem" is a trademarked term, and (2) the Thinkpad does not have one. The Thinkpad modem, instead, is based on Lucent's DSP chipset, which has a reasonably well understood interface.

Thus, it is an encouraging development that a partial driver for Lucent-based modems now exists. This driver, announced by Pavel Machek, also contains a lot of work by Jamie Lokier and "Richard". The driver, thus far, is able to open the modem, dial it, and send and received sounds. In other words, it is, at this point, a sound card with a telephone interface.

What is left is the implementation of a v34 stack to turn the sound card into a modem. This is not a trivial exercise. It is, however, in the works: see Fabrice Bellard's soft modem page for more information. Having a free software modem implementation will make another class of hardware available on Linux systems. But it also will raise some other intriguing possibilities: for example, why not tweak the protocol to allow for higher-bandwidth connections between Linux systems?

The "LinModem" drivers will be an outstanding contribution to Linux, once they are ready. Getting there has been a long process, fighting against undocumented interfaces, proprietary standards, and difficult protocols. This development has been a long, tedious and thankless task, but it is beginning to bear some fruit. The developers of the LinModem code are to be congratulated for their persistence and skills; this is the sort of quality work that our free operating system was built on. Thanks are also due to SuSE, which has been supporting some of this work.

(See also: the LinModems.org page and the SuSE LinModem development page).

More new distributions ... but with a difference. A year ago, there were a lot of Linux distributions. However, only a few of them were actually commercial. They now form the list of some of the best known distributions: Red Hat Linux, Caldera OpenLinux, and SuSE Linux. There were plenty of other distributions out there, with Slackware Linux and Debian GNU/Linux being extremely popular as well. The majority of these, however, were not commercial. Some of them could be called "hobby" distributions, essentially built and maintained by one or two people, for their own purposes, and distributed without cost or revenue via the web.

The landscape has been changing for a while. With the advent of distributions such as Linux-Mandrake, TurboLinux and Conectiva Linux, it has been shown that new companies can make a mark in the industry with their own distribution. Now we are seeing that precedent grown into another explosion of distribution announcements, but the announcements are looking different these days.

This week saw the release of at least three new distributions. We heard about these distributions through slick press releases, not through word of mouth or notes from our readers. EMJ-Linux is an embedded Linux distribution, joining the pack that includes Caldera/Lineo, Hard Hat Linux and LEM. In this case, the release of a Linux distribution seems to be a way to mark yourself as a contender in the field, demonstrating the technical abilities of your staff and your expertise through the release of a Linux distribution.

Also released this week was WinLinux 2000, "The first Linux for Windows users." This editor had to scan the website carefully to make sure that this wasn't another humorous poke at Microsoft Windows, like the April Fools' jokes we've seen in previous years. No, it is a real distribution and they clearly want to capitalize on the name similarity to encourage current Microsoft Windows customers to choose them when they want to try Linux out. The software installs without any disk partitioning and shows up as an installed software package under Windows.

Last, we have LinuxOne OS from LinuxOne. Read through this web site and you'll see the list of officers that put this company together. They've got lots of experience with company startups, but no mention of any history working with Linux prior to their formation. They are ambitious, too: "We are committed to be your OneStop on-line supplier for all of your Linux needs."

How will they distinguish themselves from other distributions? "The Company's extensions to the Linux software kernel will rapidly distinguish its products from all other available Linux software. " What do they mean by that? Here's a bit more detail: "A key feature of LinuxOpen is its ability to run on the most advanced PC workstations with devices that increase communication bandwidth, such as ADSL and cable modem. LinuxOne will support these new technologies with its sophisticated proprietary device drivers (software that provides an interface between an operating environment and its associated hardware)." In other words, proprietary software is part of their approach to the Linux market.

Note that LinuxOne filed for IPO on Thursday, planning to raise an estimated $ 24 million US dollars. More on this IPO filing can be found on the LWN commerce page.

Commercial, commercial, commercial. New distributions appear to be flying out thick and furious. This fulfills predictions we've made, but while we expected to see more localized distributions as Linux moved in all over the world, all three of these distributions are starting in the United States, in English. Apparently many people feel there is a lot of money to be made and they are willing to give it a try.

Now for our mini-editorial: As new distributions flourish, one danger is the fragmentation they can cause to the Linux community. Our safeguards against fragmentation are free software and the Linux Standard Base. When you go to choose a new distribution, make sure it supports the Linux Standard Base, to secure a future where applications can work on any Linux system. Beware of proprietary software, including hardware drivers. Hardware drivers tend to break with the release of new versions of the kernel, leaving you at the mercy of a company's release cycle to get your drivers working again. Proprietary software in general can lead to fragmentation. Recognize and reward the efforts of commercial distributions that have chosen to release the source code for their internal developments under open source licenses. Recent example include Caldera's release of their Lizardinstaller, MandrakeSoft's release of their disk partitioner, DiskDrake and many others.

Linux on embedded systems will be an undercurrent at next week's Embedded Systems Conference being held in San Jose, California. LWN's Liz Coolbaugh will be there for the last two days of the conference to provide some personal reports, so stay tuned.

Linux hardware certification was discussed last week. We have since been informed that we left out a couple of other hardware certification efforts:

  • Linuxcare Labs runs a hardware certification program which is intended to be vendor-neutral. You can see the list of hardware thus far certified on this page.

  • SuSE, too, certifies hardware for use with their distribution; see their partner page (in German) for a list of currently-certified hardware.

  • Then, there is the certification effort at OpenHardware.org. So far their certification is limited to a small number of peripheral devices. (Thanks to David Zelinsky for reminding us of this resource).
It is also worth mentioning that KeyLabs, the certification group mentioned last week, is owned by the same holding company as Caldera Systems. See the Canopy Group's web page.

Loki Hack '99: Loki Entertainment Software, in conjunction with the Atlanta Linux Showcase, will be picking 30 developers to turn loose on the Civilization: Call To Power source for two days - they can add whatever features they want. See Loki's press release and articles in Next Generation and GameSpot.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security:the ProFTPD saga continues, plus a multitude of updates
  • Kernel: journaling filesystems arrive; the kernel hacking HOWTO.
  • Distributions: furor over Corel's beta test.
  • Development: Perl News gets a face lift; reports from many development projects.
  • Commerce: a detailed look at Andover.net's IPO filing; LinuxOne's interesting IPO filing; a look at the LinuxBerg software CD.
  • Back page: Linux links of the week (anti-Linux sites), letters to the editor.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:


September 23, 1999

   

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See also: last week's Security page.

Security


News and editorials

Recommended reading: Bruce Schneier's Crypto-gram newsletter for September 15th. It contains a lengthy essay on why open source is critical for secure systems.
"Comparing the security of Linux with that of Microsoft Windows is not very instructive. Microsoft has done such a terrible job with security that it is not really a fair comparison. But comparing Linux with Solaris, for example, is more instructive. People are finding security problems with Linux faster and they are being fixed more quickly. The result is an operating system that, even though it has only been out a few years, is much more robust than Solaris was at the same age."
(Thanks to Karl Vogel, Wright-Patterson AFB).

USA Today has run an article about how the U.S. government is waking up to free software.

"Security -- a perennial concern at government installations -- suddenly becomes manageable. Organizations with special needs will hire programmers to make small tweaks to existing packages, saving thousands of dollars that would otherwise have been spent on custom programming. Military bases finally have a way to get at the heart of their computer-security problems instead of relying on suppliers to fix their problems for them."

Linux-Mandrake has announced the creation of a new mailing list for security updates.

Additions to our security links in the right-hand column were made this week for both Yellow Dog Linux and Linux-Mandrake. We thank both of them for their commitment to security and for helping us share the most up-to-date information on their distributions with our readers.

Security Reports

Zope 2.0.1 has been released. It contains fixes for an unpleasant vulnerability, so if you are running Zope 2.0, you will want to apply this upgrade immediately.

The problems with ProFTPD continue. Even as we announced ProFTPD 1.2.0pre6, an exploit for the new version came out. As a result, at least one Linux distribution, SuSE Linux, put out an advisory recommending that ProFTPD be deinstalled, or at least deactivated, and anon-ftpd, or the Open BSD-based ftpd that they ship with SuSE, be used instead. LinuxPPC did release an update for pre6, but most of the other distributions have been quiet, perhaps adopting a wait-and-see attitude. A patch for pre6 has been made available and a new version is expected out shortly.

ASUS mother boards have a function, Wake-On-Lan, which allows them to remotely trigger a power-on for a system if a packet is received via a network or modem port. Is this a security problem, asked R.S. Heuman on the Bugtraq lists? It could be, if you set it to wake on any packet. Apparently it can be set to trigger only on "special" packets and is meant to be a feature, allowing your system to conserve power when it is not actively receiving mail or being used. Of more concern, commented Alan Cox, are machines that can be remotely shutdown via your network. Apparently some of them use a password scheme, but use unencrypted passwords.

Lynx versions 2.8.2 and earlier pass information unchecked to external programs, such as telnet, allowing command-line parameters to be passed and used maliciously. Updates for this problem are listed below.

A buffer overflow in cfingerd 1.4.2 and earlier was announced on BugTraq today, along with an exploit. If you use cfingerd, you may want to disable it until a patch or update is available. Note that the vulnerability is a local, not remote, vulnerability.

Updates

Updates for mars_nwe reported so far:

Lynx updates reported so far:

An update to pb and pg:

An update to sccw:

XFree86 3.3.5 updates:

Resources

An English translation of Michael Schmidt's long and detailed artcle on FreeS/WAN ("Free Secure WAN") is now available. FreeS/WAN still has some limitations, but it is developing very well and already much improved over the originally released version. "FreeS/WAN's goal is the protection of a growing segment of the Internet community against passive eavesdropping by private, but even more by government-related organizations, with inexpensive retail PCs." Michael Schmidt also sent thanks to Kai Martius, for assisting with the translation.

Bifrost is a Linux-based Firewall project, geared for flash disks around 35-45MB in size. Bifrost can be used as an edge router and/or a firewall. Bifrost distributions load directly onto the flash disk and support both the 2.0 and 2.2 kernel series. (Thanks to Karl-Koenig Koenigsson)

Events

The Internet Security Conference will be held October 11th through the 15th at the Boston World Trade Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. For more information, check out their website.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


September 23, 1999


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development


Linus remains on vacation this week and thus no mainline kernel releases have happened. Development activity remains strong, however, with Alan Cox pulling everything together.

On the development side, 2.3.18ac8 is out. This patch continues to be a (large) collection of bug fixes, as is appropriate given the current feature freeze. Progress is being made toward that ultra-stable 2.4 release.

On the stable side, the patch is up to 2.2.13pre9. As before, the purpose with this patch is to create a tremendously stable 2.2.13, so that some more disruptive changes (like the knfsd fixes) can go into 2.2.14.

The Kernel Hacking HOWTO has been written and released by Paul Rusty Russell. It is intended to be a first-level primer on how to write code that is meant to be part of the Linux kernel. Rusty says: "Please understand that I never wanted to write this document, being grossly underqualified, but I always wanted to read it, and this was the only way. I simply explain best practices, and aim to cover the most common 80% of what you will need to know to start hacking on the kernel." This document, which primarily describes the 2.3 kernel, is a welcome contribution.

Ext3 support is getting closer. Stephen Tweedie's first shot at an ext3 patch has been available from his FTP site for a couple of weeks. The first release only works with the 2.2.2 kernel, and has some known difficulties. A new release (0.0.2) has been promised for "real soon now," and should have 2.2.12 support as well.

Why is journaling useful? The short answer is "so you don't have to wait for fsck after a system crash." The longer answer requires a bit of background. File systems are complicated data structures on the disk. Even simple-seeming operations can cause changes to happen in several places on the disk. For example, adding some data to the end of a file requires, clearly, that the new data be written to disk. It may also require the allocation of a new disk block, and thus updates to the file's block pointers, its inode, the free block list, and perhaps to the disk quota database as well.

In a well-debugged filesystem, all this activity happens without the user knowing about it. When said user also demonstrates his ignorance of the location of the power cord and brings the whole system down, though, problems can arise. If the new block has been allocated, but the file's block pointers have not been updated, the disk block falls on the floor forevermore. If the change to the free list did not get written, the block could get allocated mistakenly to a second file later on. Essentially, unless all of the changes required for an operation have been written to disk, a crash will leave an inconsistent mess.

The classic Unix answer to this problem is a friendly little program called fsck. Fsck's job is to go digging through the filesystem, find any sort of data structure inconsistencies, and try, somehow, to fix them all up. Linux fsck does a pretty good job of this, but (1) it's no fun watching all those scary messages go by, and (2) it takes a very long time, as anybody who has ever had to fsck a large RAID volume can attest. Thus, even assuming that fsck can fix everything perfectly, it would be nicer to avoid the need to do so.

Journaling can eliminate that need. With journaling, an area of the disk (the "journal file") is set aside for the filesystem's use. When a change is made to the filesystem, every change to be made is written to the journal file and committed to disk; thereafter, a special "commit record" goes in to mark that everything has been written. Only once the change has been fully committed to the journal file is the regular filesystem structure touched.

Now, if the user confuses the floppy "eject" button and the power switch, recovery is easy. Every operation which appears in the journal file with a commit record is copied into the filesystem structure itself. All the rest are simply dropped. The integrity of the filesystem is guaranteed to be preserved, and no fsck is necessary. The system is up and running quickly.

Stephen's journaling patches have been done in a very clever way. The regular ext2 filesystem structure has not been changed at all - under normal conditions, an ext3 filesystem can be mounted as ext2 with no problems. The journal file is exactly that - just another file in the filesystem. Thus there is no need for conversion utilities, no need to worry about going back to ext2 if ext3 does not work out. It is a well-done piece of work that will be a much-appreciated addition to Linux once it stabilizes.

The status of the merged PCMCIA drivers in the 2.3 kernel was clarified by David Hinds this week. In short, the recommendation is still to ignore the built-in PCMCIA code and use the standalone package, unless you really want to dig in and fix problems. The 2.3.18 "ac" patches have been fixing a lot of problems, but a lot of work remains to be done.

It is also worth pointing out that there will always - at least for the forseeable future - need to be a separate PCMCIA package. Like many other capabilities in the kernel, PCMCIA needs user-space help. So a package containing the 'cardmgr' daemon will continue to be necessary, even with PCMCIA now in the kernel itself.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • DIPC 2.0, the Distributed InterProcess Communication package. DIPC lets you do lots of cluster-oriented things easily, including distributed shared memory.

  • A bleeding-edge SMP patch was released by Ingo Molnar. It is meant to clean up much of the SMP and interrupt code; Ingo is looking for people to help shake it out.

  • Kmsgdump is a handy utility released by Willy Tarreau; its purpose is to recover from kernel crashes and dump out the messages buffer onto a diskette. People trying to track down problems should be pleased with this one.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet


September 23, 1999

For other kernel news, see:

   

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

Distributions


Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.

News and editorials

Corel Linux is now available in beta test, see this press release for details. Unfortunately, the beta itself has been overshadowed by their gaffe in releasing the beta along with an obnoxious non-disclosure agreement. Corel is not the only distributor to use non-disclosure agreements with its beta tests - both Red Hat and Caldera do the same - but when you apply an NDA to something based on the Debian distribution you take on an especially vocal group of people.

Corel clearly regrets this whole affair. Like other distributors using NDAs for beta testing, they have no wish to violate the licenses which apply to the software they are releasing. They just want to have people beat on their release before it gets widely distributed. The end result is a higher-quality distribution which is released in full compliance with the licenses of its components.

In any case, according to this message we received from Judith O'Brien, Corel's Communications Manager, the NDA terms were only meant to apply to the code actually developed by Corel. This code, which has not (yet) been released under a free software license, can certainly be released under a more restrictive agreement for now. Given this interpretation of Corel's NDA, they are being rather less restrictive than some other distributors.

Corel may have slipped up here, but the amount of grief they have taken appears to be excessive. There is no evident malice in their actions. The problems that exist in their licensing are, thanks to constructive efforts by the people at Corel and others (such as Bruce Perens), being taken care of. This is not the last glitch we will see as big companies move into free software. The real issue is how these episodes are resolved.

(See also: this Slashdot topicand LinuxWorld's coverage).

A developer's release of OpenClassroom is now available. OpenClassroom is described as a "fully integrated digital toolset geared towards the educational sector", all composed of open source/free software. Digging into the site a bit, OpenClassroom calls Zope the "heart" of the toolset, which contains a full distribution (currently Red Hat 6.0), ActiveGuardian, PostgreSQL, Gradebook and other software specifically chosen for its usefulness to educators. This project has been around for a while and would welcome additional developers. It is a great step forward to see their first product come out and we wish them luck.

Caldera

CPU Review took a look at Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 this week. Their reaction seems to be positive: "I liked the new kernel module manager, which showed you what modules are loaded, and allows you to load/unload other available modules. Well done!"

Corel Linux

Corel announced partnerships with several companies this week, including Phillips, GraphOn, eFax, Loki Entertainment Software, and Webb Interactive, to add more goodies to the system. Phillips, for example, will be adding speech recognition, and Loki is porting games.

Corel's stock seems to have responded accordingly, jumping to a new high (and then coming back down a bit). You can track the reaction on the LWN Linux Stocks Page.

TechWeb covered the shipment of Corel's Linux beta. "With a Windows-like interface at nearly half the price, Corel's OS and office suite for Linux could offer a serious alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Office on the desktop. But [Corel CEO] Cowpland said the company does not want to exaggerate the potential of Linux to compete with Windows. 'We don't see Linux replacing Windows,' Cowpland said, adding that the two would exist in a parallel market."

Debian

France Telecom will be using Debian as part of a project to rebuild their network infrastructure, according to this Debian press release. You can also check out the Slashdot commentary and the original press release (in French).

Debian has released their Debconf configuration management tool. It allows packages to ask questions at install time and will support non-interactive package installs. For more information, check out the official announcement.

Want to sponsor a Debian conference? The idea of a Debian conference has been passed around, with the idea of bringing Debian developers physically together. Response is positive, but finding the money to do it and a "central" location for such a diverse organization would be challenging.

Check out the Debian Weekly News for September 21st for more Debian tidbits. For those of you who want more details, check out this week's Debian policy summary.

Hard Hat Linux

A demonstration of Hard Hat Linux will be made at next week's Embedded Systems Conference, according to this press release from Monte Vista Software.

Linux-Mandrake

Linux-Mandrake 6.1 is available for download, MandrakeSoft finally announced this week. Among other things, it includes a 2.2.13pre4 kernel and both the current and GPL versions of MySQL. (Thanks to Anand Rangarajan).

MandrakeSoft has also launched a new web site: MandrakeUser.org. As might be expected, it's intended to be a "knowledge base" and community site for Linux-Mandrake users.

Red Hat

Red Hat and Oracle have announced a partnership. The first outcome will be the certification of Oracle 8i for Red Hat's distribution; evidently more is to come.

SuSE

SuSE has been busy with security updates this week. Check out our Security Summary for more details.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


September 23, 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
Kernelnotes
Woven Goods
Known Distributions:
Apokalypse
Armed Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Bastille Linux
Best Linux (Finnish/Swedish)
Bifrost
Black Cat Linux (Ukrainian/Russian)
Caldera OpenLinux
CCLinux
Chinese Linux Extension
Complete Linux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
DemoLinux
DLD
DLite
DLX
DragonLinux
easyLinux
EMJ-Linux
Enoch
Eridani Star System
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
eXecutive Linux
floppyfw
Floppix
Green Frog Linux
hal91
Hard Hat Linux
Independence
Jurix
Kha0s Linux
KRUD
KSI-Linux
Laetos
LEM
Linux Cyrillic Edition
LinuxGT
Linux-Kheops (French)
Linux MLD (Japanese)
LinuxOne OS
LinuxPPC
LinuxPPP (Mexican)
Linux Pro Plus
Linux Router Project
LOAF
LSD
Mandrake
Mastodon
MicroLinux
MkLinux
muLinux
nanoLinux II
NoMad Linux
OpenClassroom
Peanut Linux
Plamo Linux
PLD
Project Ballantain
PROSA
QuadLinux
Red Hat
Rock Linux
RunOnCD
ShareTheNet
Skygate
Slackware
Small Linux
Stampede
Stataboware
Storm Linux
SuSE
Tomsrtbt
Trinux
TurboLinux
uClinux
Vine Linux
WinLinux 2000
Xdenu
XTeamLinux
Yellow Dog Linux

   

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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


Java

A large update to the JCK status page indicates that progress has been made with both green and native threads with the JIT turned on. That is continuing good news for the project.

Even better, a real release of 1.2 is getting close, according to Blackdown Team member Juergen Kreileder. He also mentioned that the progress they've made with threads under 1.2 will be of use to the team doing the JDK 1.1.8. Optimism seems to be high, which is great!

Perl

Perl News has undergone a facelift. This FAQ covers the changes at the Perl News site, including the ability to redistribute the content on not-for-profit sites or list the headlines on any site. Better searching has been implemented and the source code has been made available.

The Fall Perl Journal is now on-line, though a subscription is required to access it.

The Perl Developer Kit 1.2.2 has been released by ActiveState.

Python

Guido van Rossum sent out this reminder: papers for the upcoming International Python Conference are due on September 30.

It's time for this week's Python-URL from David Ascher. Highlights this week include the announcement of Biopython.org, a project dedicated to "facilitating and promoting the use of Python in bioinformatics" and version 2 of pyfort, a tool for interfacing python and Fortran.

JPython 1.1beta3 was released on September 22nd. Check for it on the JPython site. A summary of changes is available on the JPython news page.

Tcl/tk

README: Tcl-URL! for September 20th covers proposed changes to octal support in Tcl, the LinuxWorld article discussing Tcl and AOLServer and various other threads and announcements for the week.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


September 23, 1999

   

 

Development projects


Visio has spun off its IntelliCAD software to an "independent organization called the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC)" in order to promote its future development in open collaboration with other vendors. See their press release for more details. Of course, this news was followed by rumors that Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Visio, which might explain the spin-off of IntelliCAD, if the inclusion of that software might make the purchase more difficult. Note that the consortium will provide a free license for non-commercial use and for modification of the source code. This model seems to resemble the X Consortium, of course, and does not at all guarantee that the source code will be released under a free/open source license. (Thanks to Lee Guigar and John K. Morgan)

SGI has finally gotten around to announcing the release of its promising "Jessie" interactive development environment. You can take a look at a screenshot and learn more about Jessie from SGI's Open Source Repository.

Gnome

Havoc Pennington has sent us a special-edition two-week version of the GNOME summary. Reports are that development for the Gnome 1.0.50 release is winding down, so a release date may not be too far in the future.

There appears to be a lot of excitement about Glade and libglade. Glade is a GUI developer that saves files in XML format; it is still in pre-release state, but the latest release, 0.5.3, is apparently both stable and useable. Python bindings are available for libglade, which is allowing some impressively fast development.

High Availability

Heartbeat 0.4.3 was announced this week. This version is compliant with the File System Hierarchy (FHS) from the Linux Standard Base and is now largely Debian-compliant.

The heartbeat message format documentation has been updated.

KDE

Here is this week's KDE development news thanks to Navindra Umanee.

Midgard

The Midgard Weekly Summary for September 22nd indicates that work on this web development platform is going strong. The Midgard function reference promises to be done "soon" and will be the first part of the Midgard Manual. The latest version of the manual will live here.

The first Midgard Workshop will be held Wednesday, October 13th, in Helsinki, Finland. Check the workshop website for more details. There is still room for one or two more participants.

Mozilla

Internationalization news is good according to this comment on MozillaZine.org. New features include the ability to display messages simultaneously with different character sets and the ability to sort message lists containing messages with different character sets.

OpenLDAP

OpenLDAP 1.2.7 was announced this week. The OpenLDAP Project is building a suite of open source LDAP applications and development tools. This latest release primarily contains new components and bug fixes, including plugs for some memory leaks.

PHP

How many people use PHP now? Check out these figures from Netcraft. The news looks good ...

Wine

The Wine Weekly News for September 20th covers continuing discussion of the Winsock implementation, the future of the window manager and everyone's favorite issue, fonts!

Zope

The Zope Weekly News for September 22nd has been released. It mentions that growing pains on the Zope.org site revealed a security problem that resulted in the release of Zope 2.0.1.

Commercial support and training for Zope are also available now. The next Zope class will be in Colorado Springs, CO, October 18th through the 20th. See the Zope news posting for details.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

 
Project Links
Gnome
High Availability
ht://Dig
KDE
MagicPoint
Midgard
Mozilla
OpenLDAP
PHP
Wine
Zope

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business


This week it was Andover.net's turn to file for an IPO. Andover, of course, is the firm that recently bought Slashdot and Freshmeat. They are very much trying to position themselves as a Linux IPO, in the hopes of getting the same sort of rewards that Red Hat has received. Andover, however, is a very different sort of company, and their ability to convince investors is yet to be seen.

As always, there is a wealth of information to be found in their S-1 filing. Here are some highlights:

  • They claim: "Andover.Net is the leading Linux/Open Source destination on the Internet." Not bad for a company that only occasionally mentioned Linux before their acquisition of Slashdot this summer. Their claims extend to having "over 50% the visits to Linux resource sites on the World Wide Web."

  • Nonetheless, they want, surprisingly enough, to expand their market share further. Acquisition of other sites is listed as one way in which they will achieve that goal. They also want to make more money from e-commerce.

  • They plan to sell 4 million shares, just over 25% of the 15 million shares that will be outstanding at that time. A 25% piece is relatively large for "Internet" offerings - Red Hat sold closer to 10% of the company. Their stock symbol will be ANDN. They expect to bring in just under $50 million from this offering.

  • The usual sort of list of scary risk factors is listed, including: they are new at the Internet business; they plan in incur losses for some time; their quarterly results fluctuate a lot; they rely on the growth of Linux, and will suffer if Linux falters; negative reaction in the open source community could hurt them; their ad revenues come from a small number of advertisers; competition on the Internet is intense; they are vulnerable to Internet disruptions; they could be sued for what they publish;

  • A fair amount of information on the Slashdot acquisition is presented. Outright they paid $1.5 million in cash and $2.0 million in stock for the site. Those numbers will bump up to a maximum of $3.5 million cash and $5 million stock if the Slashdot principles remain employed there and meet "performance milestones."

  • Rob Malda has a three-year contract with Andover. Andover can terminate this agreement for "continued, uncured insubordination." How this clause fits with his claim of "total editorial control" is not spelled out in this filing. Rob can quit and take a year's salary with him for a number of "good reasons," including "the requirement by Andover.Net that Mr. Malda perform his duties from any specific location for a prolonged period of time."

  • Freshmeat was bought for $367,000 and $111,111 in stock, heading up to $667,000 and $333,333 in stock over the next two years.

  • Their e-commerce plans include the sales of computers, books, and CD's, as well as consulting services.

  • The majority of Andover stock is held by its management team, with a large chunk also in the hands of a handful of venture capital firms.

Andover sees much of its future role in helping people "transition" to free software from their current systems. Beyond that (and the e-commerce), much of their vision seems to consist of "do more stuff better."

Andover's IPO will not be handled in the typical Wall Street fashion - instead, the shares will be sold via a "dutch auction" process through the OpenIPO network. Essentially, this means that any interested party can put in a bid for the IPO shares. The highest bids will be selected until all of the shares are accounted for; the shares will then all be sold for the lowest of the selected bids. People interested in participating may want to look into getting an account with an OpenIPO-enabled broker in the near future.

LinuxOne also filed for an IPO this week. This company, with ten employees, plans to bring in $24 million from its stock offering; they want to trade under the symbol "LINX". Some of you may not have heard of LinuxOne before; some more information about the company can be found on its web site.

LinuxOne has its own distribution, called LinuxOne; it has only been available since September 9. Despite its newness, LinuxOne has high goals: "we believe it will become one of the more popular Linux-based operating systems in the world." LinuxOne is also apparently working with MandrakeSoft on the opening of MandrakeSoft's Beijing office.

Like Red Hat, LinuxOne plans to make its web site into a major attraction, "to create one of the definitive online destinations for the open source community." It is interesting to note, though, that if you telnet to their web server, you get a Red Hat prompt. As of this writing, they are not running their web server on their own distribution. A traceroute shows that their web server, the future major attraction, currently lives at the far end of a Pac Bell ADSL line.

They also plan to make money through the provision of professional services and support.

The company has been incorporated since last March, and has lost $17,000 since then. They have had zero earnings thus far. Nonetheless, they currently have almost $150,000 in the bank. This money seems to have come from private sales of stock; since the resulting owners have less than 5% of the company, however, there is no information on who bought it. About a third of the company is currently held by Wun C. Chiou, the president; another third belongs to the "Global Village Foundation," a nonprofit corporation where Mr. Chiou serves as a director.

There is an interesting quote regarding the offering price: "The offering price of the Shares was arbitrarily established by us in order for us to raise a gross amount of approximately $23,000,000 in this offering. The offering price bears no relationship whatsoever to our assets, earnings, book value, or other criteria of value."

Overall this is an interesting filing. There are numerous established companies which have not yet gone public; it is a bit surprising to see another one come out of the blue like this. It will be interesting to see how far they get. (See also: this Slashdot topic for more strongly-worded thoughts on this IPO).

LinuxBerg CD cover The Tucows Linux Software Archive. The folks at LinuxBerg were kind enough to send us a copy of their "Tucows Linux Software Archive" CD Set. It is a nicely-packaged box with four CD's inside. The contents: essentially the entire LinuxBerg site, including downloadable software.

In normal use, one selects a disk from the set, mounts it, and points a web browser at the "index.html" file on the CD. The result is a display that looks very much like the LinuxBerg site itself. One can select software categories, read the reviews, and "download" the software itself through the web browser. It's the full LinuxBerg experience, with over 2100 packages, but without the network delays.

On the downside, the packaging format for the software varies. A disk like this is most useful for browsing through the various software alternatives and trying things out. Most people will then likely want to download the current version of their selected software from the net. This mode of exploration would be much facilitated by providing all of the software in the package formats used by the major distributions. Trying to clean up after tarball-packaged software is a pain.

The ratings are also not the most helpful. Almost everything is four or five penguins, and there is little information on how the ratings were done. More information on the ups and downs of each package would be helpful.

Nonetheless, this is a useful set of disks. It is probably the best collection of free software out there, with the possible exception of the Debian distribution. Interested people can find this disk on LinuxCentral's site.

Freedom to innovate.

  • Eric Raymond takes on Microsoft's "Freedom to Innovate Network". "Microsoft's call for 'freedom to innovate' would be a lot more credible if they published full interoperability documentation for things like the Word file format, the SMB file-sharing service, NTLM, and the Exchange wire protocol. These proprietary, closed so-called 'standards' are the weapons with which Microsoft maintains its stifling monopoly on the PC software market."

    Press Releases:

      Hardware:

    • Brooktrout Technology announced support for the Linux operating system on their TR114 Series intelligent fax and voice boards.

    • CAD-UL announced that a recent research study conducted by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) concludes that CAD-UL was the primary revenue generating provider of x86/Pentium embedded development tools during 1998. CAD-UL products are available for Linux.

    • Cobalt Networks announced the availability of a set of clustering solutions for its server appliance systems.

    • Lexmark International, Inc. announced MarkVision for Intranets, Unix version, now supports Red Hat Linux 6.0, SuSE Linux 6.1, and TurboLinux Workstation 3.6.

    • MontaVista Software announced that "Hard Hat Linux" will be demonstrated at next week's Embedded Systems Conference.

    • Philips Digital Video Systems Company offers the Philips PC-DVB card in a Linux version, integrated in a Satellite Router developed with Helius Inc., of Orem, Utah.

      Software:

    • CynApps introduced CynApps Suite with its open-source Cynlib class library that facilitates hardware description and simulation in C++. The CynApps Suite is available for Linux.

    • Loki Entertainment Software has come up with an interesting promotional activity for the Atlanta Linux Showcase: they will pick 30 people to turn loose on the Civilization: Call To Power source for two days - they can add whatever features they want. See Loki's press release and articles in Next Generation and GameSpot.

    • Magic Software announced the release of "Magic Enterprise Server v8.3." It runs on Red Hat, and "...enables developers working on other platforms to quickly and seamlessly port existing e-commerce and other business solutions to the operating system."

    • Merlin Software Technologies Inc. announced PerfectBACKUP+ 6.0, a Linux-based back-up utility and system crash recovery tool.

    • MessagingDirect announced the release of Execmail ("the #1 Extranet email client in the world") for Linux (Red Hat only).

    • MSC.Software Corp. announced MSC.NASTRAN, simulation software, for Linux.

    • NeoCore, LLC announced the release of its PacketEyes software development kit (SDK). The SDK supports several platforms: Visual C++, Metaware, GNU, Solaris, Windows 95/97/NT4, Linux, and others.

    • Objectivity, Inc. announced Objectivity/DB Hot Failover, a new option that provides support for the types of redundant processors, which are common in telecommunications applications.

    • PLX Technology, Inc. announced the release of WinDriver for PLX I/O Devices, a software package helping developers write drivers for the PLX IOP 480 PowerPC I/O Processor (IOP). This software package also supports development of IOP 480 drivers for Linux.

    • ProSyst Software GmbH is offering a free, unlimited usage developer version of its EnterpriseBeans Server for Linux over the Internet.

    • SGI announced it has released to the open source community Jessie, a next-generation Integrated Development Environment (IDE) framework that will simplify and accelerate the creation of Linux applications.

    • Tivoli Systems Inc. announced Tivoli Storage Manager, successor to the IBM and Tivoli ADSM storage management software product set.

    • Veritas announced a new version of its file server system. Previously limited to NFS service, Veritas can now also serve files via the SMB protocol, thanks to the incorporation of Samba.

    • Xi Graphics, Inc. announced graphics system software support for laptops that use the newest graphics chip from ATI. Besides Linux, the new software also is available for laptops running Solaris x86 and FreeBSD operating systems.

    • XMLSolutions Corporation announced the general availability of the ExeterXML Server release 1.0. Linux versions are available.

    • XMLSolutions Corporation also announced XMLZip for Linux.

    • Ziatech Corporation announced a continuing series of one-day seminars focusing on real-time operating system solutions for applied computing applications.

      Other:

    • Here's an editorial on GBDirect's web site outlining what they see as Microsoft's possible strategies regarding Linux. The editorial essentially assumes that Linux wins. "[Microsoft is] unlikely to turn around and adopt Linux: it would look like an admission of failure and in any case it's too far outside their control to fit their culture. They desperately need a Unix product and the fastest route is through acquisition rather than development. Buying SCO would seem the obvious choice and would, oddly, be a form of repatriation since SCO took over Microsoft's own Unix product (Xenix) years ago."

    • Alcove, a French consulting company, announced (in French) a project to convert all of France Telecom's intranet sites over to the Linux platform. The new sites will be based on Debian, using Apache, PHP, and PosgreSQL. They also mention ProFTPd; one wonders if they will reconsider that one in light of recent problems. English translation of the release available via Babelfish.

    • Caldera Systems announced a deal with Tech Data which sets them up as the first major Caldera distributor.

    • Leo Cooper has sent us a translation of Channel One's press release, which explains why they registered the "Linux" tradmark in Germany.

    • Compaq Computer Corporation announced the Compaq Solutions Alliance (CSA) New Technologies Test Drive program, at http://www.testdrive.compaq.com. The New Technologies Test Drive website allows people to "test drive" not only Compaq's new hardware, but also various flavors of Linux.

    • DataDirect Networks Inc. provider of interoperable Storage Area Networks (SAN) and SAN-enabling technologies to the distributed computing community, has announced its intention to integrate Linux support throughout the company's SAN-enabling architectures, SAN infrastructures and SAN solutions.

    • The I2O Special Interest Group (I2O SIG) announced that it has provided a new web site for system developers who use I2O technology in their products. I2O technology runs on Linux and other platforms.

    • The Linux Cabal, a non-profit organization providing meeting space to Open Source groups in the Bay Area, has gotten into the web hosting business in order to pay its expenses.

    • Linux Korea Inc. announced the receipt of a venture investment from Korea IT Venture Investment.

    • MandrakeSoft announced the July sales for LinuxMandrake - twice those of Red Hat's distribution.

    • Macmillan's (Mandrake-based) Linux distribution was the best selling Linux product in July, according to this press release. "PC Data's July figures show 10,445 retail sales for Macmillan's 'Complete Operating System 6.0' compared to 4,802 sales for the Red Hat distribution. In all, five of the top-sellers were Macmillan products. These included the 'Deluxe Linux O/S 6.0,' the 'Secure Server Edition Linux O/S 6.0' and Macmillan's Linux Complete Starter Kit.'"

    • MTI Technology Corp. announced the MTI DataServices strategy, using Vivant hardware.

    • O'Reilly put out a press release regarding their upcoming book by Eric Raymond (which is a reworking of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and its sequels). There is also an entry for the book in their online catalog.

    • O'Reilly announced the publication of the first UserFriendly comic book.

    • Red Hat announced its second-quarter numbers. Revenue is up to $4.4 million; they managed to lose over $3 million anyway.

    • Romac IT Services and Aranea Training Institute have announced the availability of a three-day class on "Linux in a network environment," taught in the Netherlands. Please see their announcement for more information.

    • Siemens announced the results of a benchmarking exercise with R/3 running under Linux on a Siemens server. The results: 243 simultaneous users - the highest number ever on a four-way Intel server.

    • Ziff-Davis and MediaMap join to provide exhibitors with a list of editorial opportunities associated with COMDEX/Fall '99 and LINUX Business Expo.

    Section Editor: Jon Corbet.


  • September 23, 1999

       

    Sections:
     Main page
     Security
     Kernel
     Distributions
     Development
     Commerce
     Linux in the news
     Announcements
     Back page

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

    Linux in the news


    Recommended Reading:

    Here's a ZDNet article about Andover.net's IPO filing. "The famous open-source site is going public, via parent Andover.net's IPO. Will CmdrTaco be able to handle the fame and fortune?"

    Salon Magazine looks at Andover.net's IPO. "...Andover.net is now styling itself the "the leading Linux/Open Source destination on the Internet." This is quick work for a network of Web sites that did not include any sites devoted solely to Linux or open-source software until the purchase of Slashdot last June."

    Evan Liebovitch explains why Sun's purchase of StarDivision is bad news in this ZDNet column. "I don't believe Sun wants to help the Linux community at all, except to help fend off Windows while Solaris makes its move to eclipse both Windows and Linux."

    Corel:

    Here's a Reuters article about Corel's third-quarter results (they actually made money) and the corresponding increase in their share price. "Corel has attracted significant market interest with development of software and services for Linux, an open source operating system that is seen as a contender to Microsoft's Windows NT. Corel said it will launch a new easy-to-use version of the operating system in beta form on Tuesday, with a final version expected ready for November."

    See also Corel's press release regarding their financial results.

    Reuters looks at Corel's stock price. "Fueled by surprisingly strong results and advances in the red-hot Linux sector, shares in software developer Corel Corp. roared higher on Tuesday, but analysts were asking how long the rally could last."

    From Motley Fool: "Still, exactly how companies are going to turn Linux into bottom-line profits is a pretty speculative issue -- particularly in Corel's case as the company is counting on desktop acceptance of the system in a space dominated by Rule Maker Microsoft. As such, investors serious about finding a jewel in Corel should watch its core software operations closely."

    PC Plus looks at Corel Linux. "With Linux distributions as thick on the ground as penguins on an iceberg, you'd be forgiven for shrugging off the latest entry: But what we saw impressed us." (Found in Linux Net News).

    The Ottawa Citizen covers the Corel flap. "While stock markets sent Corel Corp. to new heights this week, another influential group was giving the company the raspberry."

    Here's a LinuxWorld article by Nicholas Petreley about the Corel beta test furor. "From our point of view, we are doing the best that we can to balance the needs of the Corel company and the open source community. We have responsibilities to our customers, to provide the best products that we can; to our shareholders, to provide the best value; and we have a responsibility to the open source community, to return our code when it is ready. And we want them to understand that we are not trying to co-opt this stuff and make it proprietary."

    From Wired News comes this article. "Developers may also have misunderstood some of the language in the agreement, [Corel communications manager Judith] O'Brien said. The clause in question was designed to prevent the distribution of Corel's proprietary code, which had been added to the already available Linux code."

    Multimedium ran this article (in French) about the Corel beta test blowup. Text in something resembling English is also available via Babelfish. "The webillard Slashdot, always dedicated to the cause of the software with source code opened, exposed the pot to the pinks." (Found in NNL).

    ZDNet ran an article about the furor over Corel's licensing terms for their Linux beta test. "As Corel is discovering, making the jump from traditional commercial software practices and licenses to an open source model is harder to make then they might have thought. It's a lesson all companies moving to open source would be wise to heed."

    Found on LinuxWorld:

    Here's an an interview with Marc Ewing by Nicholas Petreley. "We are working on high-availability clustering technologies. Not Beowulf stuff, the kind you see running Web server farms, FTP server farms. We are still working on the failover technology and balancing technology, and you'll see that in an upcoming release."

    See also: this look at the GPL by Stig Hackvan, and an article in getting sendmail to scale by Derek Balling.

    Reviews and Technical Articles:

    LinuxPlanet looks at different Linux install methods, including network installs and direct disk copying. "As Linux moves mainstream, though, another modus operandi will become more common. This is similar machines operating together on a LAN or other network. The users of such machines will be customizing their user interfaces, but the real work of setting them up will become a task for computer professionals. Linux has the tools already in place for installing quickly and efficiently on such clusters and this article is aimed at system administrators and other IT professionals who will need to install Linux distributions en masse." (Thanks to James Andrews).

    osOpinion compares several Linux distributions. "I don't think there is much difference between Mandrake and RedHat other than some enhancements. One more thing is that Mandrake has most of the latest utilities and kernel also. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of Linux, this might be a choice."

    Newmedia.com looks at Linux as a graphics platform. "As a bonus, GIMP is freely available open-source software. Every major Linux distribution includes GIMP and installs it automatically with Linux. Imagine purchasing an operating system that included Adobe PhotoShop free of charge!" (Thanks to Dan York).

    InfoWorld covers IBM's "Red Hat Certified" laptop. "The certification of the ThinkPad 600 is the first in a series of steps the company will take to ensure that users can easily install, configure and manage Red Hat Linux on many systems in its portable line, according to IBM officials."

    Fairfax IT ran this article about Linux in an embedded role. "Recognising the platform's stability and expandability, however, a number of hardware and software vendors are taking Linux into a new sphere as they integrate it into a broad range of new products." (Found in NNL).

    News.com looks at the latest plans for the Amiga, which appear to involve becoming an Internet appliance company. "Software for inexpensive TV set-top boxes and Internet appliances, including projects based around the Linux operating system, will soon start to emerge from Amiga..."

    This InfoWorld column predicts a big middleware role for Linux. "If you think about it, selecting Linux-based solutions on the midtier makes a lot of sense. As more application services leave clients and host systems and take up residence on midtier servers, the costs associated with supporting midtier services are increasing substantially. Using Linux and either open-source or commercial products on the midtier can provide significant cost savings over other approaches. Linux also has a good track record for reliability -- a definite requirement for midtier servers."

    A French-language article can be found in Vnu|net France. This lengthy article looks at the use of Linux in network roles, and contains a set of case studies. A Babelfish translation can be had over here. (Found in NNL).

    Here's a moderately technical article in Performance Computing on the optimization of the gcc compiler for the Pentium architecture. "In this example, we see that if we take the Pentium II pipeline into account, we can issue instructions so as to maximize the superscalar issue rate of the Pentium II processor. The scheduler indicates success in doing this with the message 'PPRO packet' and lists the instructions that form the 4-1-1 pattern."

    John Dvorak says that Linux will never get very far in a server role in this ZDNet article. "Ask Linux advocates exactly why no IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server runs Linux. One of my networking gurus said that he has never seen any Linux system on the IRC-probably the roughest networking environment on earth-hold up to the strain."

    Other:

    PC Week has set up a "crack this host" competition, but this one involves two hosts: one running Windows NT and the other Red Hat 6.0. Here is to hoping that they have installed all the Red Hat updates...

    The Linux Journal has opened up their 1999 Readers Choice Award poll. Feel free to vote for us for your favorite web page! :-)

    USA Today ran this article on how federal employees have been bringing Linux in through the back door. "Since they can't get what they want on the market, Fermi scientists there have simply taken Linux and made their own custom modifications so they can do what they need to do."

    Feds can no longer ignore Linux says Federal Computer Week. "If federal IT buyers are serious about reducing total cost of ownership and choosing systems based on best value, they should begin to consider Linux as part of the equation. Having such alternatives can only help to create competition that pushes IT costs lower and in turn improves operating systems - something federal procurement reformers have hoped would happen."

    ZDNet attended the first Bay Area LinuxChix meeting. "Eventually, LinuxChix hopes to launch a speaker series, community outreach programs to introduce young girls to Linux, and even hold install fests aimed at women who want to load the Linux operating system on their machines." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

    Upside Magazine profiles Sleepycat Software. "As its name suggests, Sleepycat isn't the kind of company you'd expect to see running with the big dogs of the software industry. Founded by the husband and wife team of Margo Seltzer and Keith Bostic, the company basically serves as a commercial vehicle for a single product, the open source Berkeley Database [Berkeley DB] embedded database system."

    The LA Times looks at Linux in the home. "Intuit, which makes the popular Quicken home finance program, said that out of its 11 million customers, it has received, at best, a few hundred requests for a Linux version of Quicken. 'To be honest, it's nowhere near enough,' said Kevin Reeth, Inuit's product manager for Quicken. 'Out of tens of thousands of requests we get for new features, Linux barely shows up.'"

    The flap over the registration of the "Linux" trademark in Germany has made it into CNN. "Roy Boldt yesterday confirmed that his systems integration company, Channel One GmbH, has put in a patent claim for the name of the open-source operating system, but said his intentions were good."

    Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol


    September 23, 1999

       

    Sections:
     Main page
     Security
     Kernel
     Distributions
     Development
     Commerce
     Linux in the news
     Announcements
     Back page

    See also: last week's Announcements page.

    Announcements


    Resources

    The second draft of the Linux Ecology HOWTO is out. Have a look for a collection of tips on how to reduce the impact of your Linux system on our planet.

    Brazilian Linux poll results released. The folks at Linux in Brazil ran a poll asking their readers what they wanted to see in upcoming distributions. The results have now been released in English. Included in the results is a strong desire for better documentation, and quite low level of interest in bundled proprietary software.

    Events

    The Linux Counter logo vote ends October 1. If you have not already voted on your favorite logo, head on over to the voting page and let them know what you think. (Thanks to Denis Havlik).

    Linux-Kongress pictures posted. Pictures from the sixth Linux-Kongress have been posted by Joerg Lehmann.

    Cape Town Computer Faire. Here is a bulletin from the Cape Town (South Africa) LUG concerning their highly successful presence at the Cape Computer Faire; included is a link to pictures from the event.

    Web sites

    Themes.org relaunch. Themes.org has announced its relaunch; the big news seems to be that you can now customize the web site with themes as well...

    Sir Linux. NTKnow points out (via Netcraft) that the British Monarchy web site is now running on a Linux server...


    September 23, 1999

       

     

    Software Announcements


    Package Version Description
    ac3dec 0.5.5 A free Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoder for unix
    ACPLT/KS 1.1.3 Open and free communication system for Process Control (Engineering)
    active 1.30 news, events and projects on the web
    Alkaline UNIX/NT Search Engine 1.3 Web site and intranet search engine and spider, ala Altavista or Excite.
    Apache-SSL 1.3.9+ssl_1.37 Secure Webserver (using SSLeay)
    Apache::Session 1.03 Session manager for web applications
    Apache::SetWWWTheme 1.0.2 Apache perl module to create nav tools and give a common look/feel to a site
    Appletalk Configurator 1.1 GTK+ GUI for Netatalk package
    arc 1.0 arc produces Java classes from ASN.1 source code
    Artistic Style 1.11.4 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
    asmutils 0.05 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
    Aurora redhog.b Graphical init controller for Linux
    Autoclose 0.4 This utility automatically closes one app when another is finished
    bcalc 0.0.2 Desk calculator
    Berkeley MPEG Tools 1.5b A set of tools for playing, encoding MPEG layer 1 video files
    Berlin 0.1.1 distributed windowing system
    bidwatcher 0.9.10 tool for eBay users - track and snipe auctions
    BNC 2.6.4 IRC proxy server
    Bond Distributed Object System 2.0 beta 3 Distributed object system, agent framework
    cdrecord 1.8a29 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
    centerICQ 1.7.6 a textmode-based ICQ clone for Linux
    CluClo 1.0.0 Cluster Cloner, system to create clone one system
    CMC 0.03 Chaos Mail Checker
    convergence 0.0 sorting program that works from both ends of a list
    CSCMail 1.2b Gtk E-Mail Client written in Perl
    Cut The Crap 0.3.0 Ad-blocking proxy-like python-based software.
    CxIV 0.70b Fully threaded discussion system with many features written in C
    Daydream 2.07 Daydream BBS version 2.07
    DejaSearch 1.66 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
    dirIcn 0.3 A little view plugin for Zfm.
    Disc Backup pre-1.1 Backups files onto multipule CDs.
    dnsjava 1.1 Implementation of DNS in Java
    Doc++ 3.3.15 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
    dopewars 1.4.4 Drug dealing game set in New York
    Double Choco Latte 19990916 Software Configuration Management/Bug/Enhancement Tracking Software
    ds3 0.3.3 Modem/ISDN sharing tool for linux
    DWUN 0.2c Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
    Ecology-HOWTO 0.3 Linux as a mean to protect our environment.
    Endeavour ppower 0.1.4 Linux/X File and Image Browser
    enprt.csh 0.1 Entitled Printing from Netscape Navigator under UNIX-like OSes
    EO 210999 snapshot Templates-based, ANSI-C++ compliant evolutionary computation library
    Epeios 19990922 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
    EPIpage3 0.3 page3.com women download perl script
    EPIWEB 0.0.2 A GPL'ed web server wich will support HTTP/1.1. Fully configurable.
    EPIwm 0.5-2 window manager
    epsprint 0.1 Epson-compatible dot matrix printer filter
    ESM 0.02 A system monitoring tool.
    Expect 5.30.1
    eXtace 1.2.2 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
    FastGL 1.43 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
    FCheck 2.07.40 Intrusion Detection & Policy Enforcement
    Flash 0.9.1 Secure menuing shell for restricting local unix users
    flexbackup 0.9.2 Flexible backup script
    Fm 0.2 Gtk+ lightweight file manager
    fookb 0.8 Xkb state indicator
    FOP 0.10.0 An XSL formatter written in Java that outputs PDF
    FreeBSD 3.3-RELEASE A stable secure open source operating system.
    freemed 19990922 Free medical management software in a web browser
    FTP4ALL 3.005 FTP server program for UNIX systems
    Funbot 1.1.0 Modular Perl bot for IRC
    Fwctl 0.20 High level configuration tool for Linux 2.2 packet filters firewall
    Gaby 1.9.11 A small personal databases manager using GTK+
    gAlan 0.2.1 Modular OSS/Win32 synth/sequencer/drum-machine/fx
    Galway 0.25 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
    gbe 0.0.21 gbe is a gameboy emulator for X and SVGAlib
    gcombust 0.1.23 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
    GConf 0.1 Configuration storage library, like libproplist or the Windows Registry
    GdkMagick 0.3 Image conversion and communication library for the ImageMagick and GDK toolkits
    gEDA 19990919 gEDA is an collection of tools which are used to make electrical circuit design,
    Geek Code Generator 1.5 Generates a Geek Code using a series of qeustions
    geektalkd 1.13 Simple, yet extendable chat server
    Getleft 0.6.5 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
    gif2png 0.7 converts GIF image files to PNG format
    GIFgraph::Map 1.02 Generate HTNL map text
    gmail 0.4.3 Gmail is an experiment in an sql vfolder-based email system.
    GNU cfengine 1.5.2 A tool for administering Networks of Diverse Machines
    GNU Go 2.4 An attempt to distribute a free program to play Go
    GNU parted 0.0.1 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
    GNU Pth 1.2b5 GNU Portable Threads
    GnuPG.pm 0.02 Perl interface to the Gnu Privacy Guard
    GNUware 1.3 A low cost CD containing over 1000 free Linux and UNIX programs.
    gomenu 0.02 Menu script (bash/ksh) allows dynamic menu and help editing.
    GProc 0.3.4 Managing process from the Gnome panel
    Gsnhood 0.0.2a SMB share browse utility
    GtKali 0.9.2 Gtk+ interface to Kali.
    gtkfind 1.0.1 GTK+ version of find(1)
    GtkShadow 0.2 web-oriented graphic tool
    guiftp 0.0.1 A simple FTP client using the GTK+ toolkit
    HDE-WUI 1.0.0b (rev. 19990916_1600) Web-based Administration Tool for Linux Servers
    HOWTO Search 1.3 Easy to search HOWTO database with over 200 HOWTOs.
    HTML::Template 0.06 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
    htnews 0.6.7 Email robot for adding news items to a webpage.
    Hyperplay 1.3.3 Multimedia authoring engine
    hypersrc 0.6 freeware GUI (GTK+) program for browsing source code
    icmpmonitor 1.1 Multiple host monitoring tool
    IglooFTP PRO 0.9.3 Powerfull and User Friendly FTP client
    InfraRed-HOWTO 2.9 How to use the software provided by the Linux/IrDA project.
    install-ssh 1.5.1 Downloads, Patches, Compiles, and Installs SSH in RPM format
    Intelligent TETRIS 1.6.0 A tetris clone for SVGAlib or X11
    International Kernel Patch 2.2.12.2 Collection of internationally developed crypto for the Linux kernel
    ipchains-firewall 1.6.1 Rules-based ipchains firewall/masquerading script suite
    ipfwadm Dotfile module 1.00 GUI ipfwadm wrapper, simplifies firewall and masquerade setup
    iroffer 0.1b33 Standalone, compiled fileserver for IRC
    ivtools 0.7.10 Application frameworks for drawing editors and spatial data servers
    J'Express Professional JExpress Professional 4.0 Lets you create multilingual installers and auto-updaters
    jdbtool 0.2 GPL Java Graphical Debugger
    Jetty 2.3.0A HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
    Jikes 1.04 Java compiler that translates Java source into bytecoded instruction sets
    KHexEdit 0.8.4 Versatile binary file editor for KDE
    KpcWizard 0.1 KDE Printer Configuration Wizard
    kruiser 19990916 Win95-like file manager for KDE with many features
    KRunning 0.2.3 A database manager for your private running events
    Kticker 1.0.0beta3 News ticker widget that downloads news headlines and displays them periodically
    LANdb 0.64 Provides network managers with a means of cataloging network connections.
    LAuRA 0.6.1 Little Audiogram Recorder/Archiver
    lcccd14 0.1.0 Kernel module for astronomical CCD camera LcCCD14
    libglade 0.6 XML-based runtime user interface loader for GNOME
    libptb 0.0.5 Library to develop apps with user customizable toolbars and menus
    Linux JVM 1.1.8 IBM incredibly fast JDK for the Linux platform.
    Linux-HA 0.4.4 Heartbeat subsystem for High-Availability Linux project
    logicMind 1.0 color guessing game
    mail2news-easy 2.3 Converts mail to news and news to mail.
    Mangle 1.30 C/C++ Source de-formatter/de-commentor
    mcrypt 2.2.3pre1 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
    mdate 1.0.1 A freely-available mayan date program
    MHonArc 2.4.3 Perl mail-to-HTML converter.
    MICO 2.3.0 MICO Is COrba
    moodss 8.2 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
    Mops 0.42c 3D modeling environment written in C with Tcl/Tk.
    MP3 encode scripts 0.01 Example scripts for batch encoding and converting an entire CD to MP3 files
    MP3c 0.22 Audio-CD to MP3-Converter, with use of CDDB. Included GUI and cmdline-support
    mp3db 0.3.1 Recursively scans a directory for mp3s and uploads them to a database or file.
    multiforum 0.2 Multiforum version of forum, a php & mysql based web forum
    MyGuestbook 0.9.0 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
    n2m 0.0.5 News to unix mailbox fetcher
    NAMG 0.1.6 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
    NCC Headlines Browser 1.0 Headline browser for the popular spanish Linux news site NCC
    Nessus 0.98.2 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
    NEStra 0.64 Dynamic-Recompiling NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) emulator
    netfilter 0.1.8 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
    nstreams 0.99.1 Network streams analyzer
    ntop 1.2a6 Network usage monitor
    ODBC-ODBC Bridge 0.4.0.0 Provides ODBC access from Unix to remote ODBC data sources
    OpenClassroom Alpha 01 (Server) Linux distribution for the Educational market.
    OpenLDAP 1.2.7 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
    OpenMail 6.0-1 Business Messaging for Linux
    Oracle TableBrowser 2.0pre10 An Oracle Table and Index Browser/Modifier for Linux/GTK
    Orgasm 0.04 Machine code assembler for 6502 microprocessors
    Pan 0.5.2 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
    Paralogger 0.86 Script to ease the process of setting up a root tail window
    pcmcia-cs 3.1.0 Card Services for Linux is a complete PCMCIA or ``PC Card'' support package.
    Perl WebStats v1.0 Perl Apache log analyzer/report generator
    pgpenvelope 2.6.3 GPG/PGP5 filter for Pine
    phPERL 0.0.1 Preprocessor for embedding perl in html files
    pngcrush 1.1.6 Optimizer for PNG files that can also delete specified chunks
    PNGgraph.pm 1.11 Chart-plotting perl module
    pnmtopng 2.37.3 PBMplus/NetPBM converters to/from PNG image format
    PostgreSQL 6.5.2 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
    PostgreSQL JDBC Driver 6.5.2 JDBC driver for the PostgreSQL DBS
    ppower 0.1.4 Software for listening to and controlling x10 home automation devices.
    pppcosts 0.66 A small utility that calculates and displays online cost and time
    pppd 2.3.10
    PVM 3.4.2 A portable message-passingprogramming system
    pyChing 0.9.2 Cast and interpret I Ching hexagrams
    pypvm 0.8.5 Provides an interface to the Parallel Virtual Machine to Python
    QScheme 0.3.0 Really fast, small and easy to interface Scheme interpreter
    Quadra 1.1.0 A shareware, TCP/IP multiplayer T*tris-like game.
    Quick Image Viewer 1.2-pre2 A very small and pretty fast GDK/Imlibimage viewer
    RadioActive 0.7 Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
    Rael's Binary Grabber 1.2.3 Automated tool for downloading binaries from UseNet newsgroups.
    rc-pppd 0.1 rc scripts for starting/ending pppd sessions.
    RC5 Auto Launch 0.1 RC5 Client auto launcher script.
    RearSite 0.91 Tool for updating personal www pages
    retepGraph 0.5 A map generation suite for Java
    Revize 2.2 Web site content management server
    RhythmLab 0.3 Displays and sounds polyrhythms
    ROCK Linux 1.3.3 Linux Distribution for high skilled Linux User and Admins
    routemon 1.0 Default route monitor for ISDN and PPP links
    Rpc_Gotcha 1.1 Intrusion detection tool to detect and log rpc based attacks
    RPLD 1.2 Server for IBM style RPL/RIPL boot proms
    rpng/rpng2/wpng 1.01 demo PNG viewers (2) and PPM-to-PNG converter for Unix, Win32
    Ruby 1.4.2 An object-oriented language for quick and easy programming
    S3 Trio64 frame buffer driver for Linux/x86 0.1 Linux framebuffer driver for S3 Trio64-based cards on Intel
    sawmill 0.8 Extensible window manager
    Screen-Shooter 0.7 Gnome applet for taking screenshots
    sfront 0.42 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
    si 0.8 /proc system information viewer
    SiteMgrYAP 0.1.1 HTML-application for managing web sites.
    Sketch 0.6.2 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
    slap 2.2.6 SmartLabel printing for UNIX
    SML/NJ 110.22 Compiler, development environment, and libraries for Standard ML
    SMM++ 3.4 MUD client with mapping functionality and lots of other features
    SNA for Linux 0.0 Provides the SNA protocol stack for the Linux OS.
    SnapViewer 0.01a Picture/photograph viewer
    SNES9x 1.25 Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
    Swift Generator 0.11.1 Dynamic Flash content generator.
    Tarpd 1.6 Proxy arp daemon for Linux.
    tclreadline 1.0.0 GNU readline for the tcl scripting language
    The Global File System 19990921 A Shared Disk File System for Linux
    The Java SSH/Telnet Application/Applet 2.0 Fully featured telnet program for WWW-Browsers
    THUD 0.18 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
    Tiff2png 0.7 converts TIFF image files to PNG format
    TkNotePad 0.6.6 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
    TkRat 2.0b3 A graphical Mail User Agent (MUA) which handles MIME
    tk_Brief 3.3 GUI for writing letters with LaTeX
    tn3270 5.2.1 3270 emulator for Unix
    ToyFDTDningodwaaswi 0.1.2 3D FDTD written in Delphi PASCAL with a Windows GUI
    TT-News 0.3.0 A headline-news ticker for various news-sources.
    TwinTRIS 0.93 Multiplayer tetris clone for all Unix boxes
    TZO Internet Naming System 1.09-1 Dynamic DNS Software client
    ubiqx library 4.0.2 Base-level utility modules from undergrad CS books.
    UdmSearch 2.1.3 Fast WWW search engine for your site
    UPX 0.83 powerful executable packer
    View Designer X 1.2.1 User Interface Management System to create UIs with OSF/Motif widgets
    volumed 1.0 Networked remote volume control
    w3m 990902 pager/text-based WWW browser
    WebAlbum 0.40 A perl script which produces html photo albums.
    WebRun 1.5 Simple Java application distribution tool
    Window Maker 0.61.0 X11 window manager with NEXTSTEP look and feel
    wmseti 0.2.2 Windowmaker dockapp for your SETI@home statistics
    wmtuneup 1.0 Put the latest tuneup tips on your WindowMaker menu
    Worker 1.3.2 Highly configurable graphical Filemanager for X
    WSoundServer 0.2.0 Sound Server for Window Maker
    wu-ftpd 2.6.0pre3 FTP Daemon for UNIX systems
    wui-mod_postgresql 0.51 PostgreSQL administration module for HDE-WUI
    wvDecrypt 1.2.0 microsoft word 97 password validator and *almost* decrypter
    WWWOFFLE 2.5 Simple proxy server with special features for use with dial-up internet links
    X-Chat 1.2.1 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
    xcut 0.2 Put standard input into X11 cut and paste buffer.
    XDBM 19990921 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
    XGlobe 0.4 A toy that displays a globe on your X desktop
    xpuyopuyo 0.2.0 Tetris-like puzzle game with AI
    Xref-Speller 1.1.0 Source browsing package for C and Java, Emacs and XEmacs inspired by ctags.
    XShipWars 1.16 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
    Xterminal 0.6.11 Object Oriented User Interface with a client-serverarchitecture
    xterminals 0.1 Manage X-Terminals as Netscape kiosks
    ZAngband 2.3.0 Rogue-like roleplaying game
    Zfm 18sept99 A new, very extensive and portable filemanager
    Zircon 1.18.224 An IRC client written in tcl/tk
    Zope 2.0.1 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.
     

    Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat

       

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

    Linux links of the week


    Appwatch.com has just entered its "beta" stage. Appwatch is another database of free software; their angle is that they list only free software, and they keep a watch on their database and clean out entries for dead projects. Appwatch is built on Zope and PostgreSQL.

    Learn how the other side thinks. Here's an anti-Linux page that may be worth a look - successful advocacy depends on an ability to counter the opposition's arguments. See also the Sawman's Consortium, complete with its "Linux Lies" document. (Please do not flame the maintainers of these sites, that will not do any good for anybody).

    Section Editor: Jon Corbet


    September 23, 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, 15 Sep 1999 22:35:17 -0700
    From: Raph Levien <raph@acm.org>
    To: editor@lwn.net, raph@acm.org
    Subject: Some clarifications on the tp600
    
    Hi lwn'ers,
    
       Very nice writeup of the tp600 compatibility issue. As a tp600 Linux
    user and maintainer of a tp600 page (http://www.levien.com/tp600.html),
    I have been tracking the modem issue quite carefully, and have had some
    interesting conversations recently with people about what it means to be
    "compatible" with Linux.
    
       First, a small factual clarification. The modem in the tp600 may be
    considered a WinModem, but the processing is done by an on-board DSP
    chip (the MWave), not by the host processor. Further, your statement
    that the lack of interface specs is what's holding back WinModem
    compatiblity is also not true. All important specs on the MWave are in
    fact public (Linux driver writers have worked with a lot less). What's
    missing is the important software and/or firmware that makes a modem a
    _modem_, rather than just a pile of telephone interface circuitry, A/D
    and D/A converters, and digital logic. The free software community has
    not yet come up with such a piece of software. If it had, the WinModem
    issue would be moot. Incidentally, Russ Nelson's
    http://www.linmodems.org page is an interesting step in this direction.
    
       From what I can tell, it would be fairly easy for IBM to make the
    modem work under Linux. This is based on both familiarity with the
    technical issues and some informal conversations with IBM'ers. The
    software is already written and ships with Windows 9x. If IBM were
    unwilling to release it as free software, I don't think anyone would
    fault them for releasing it as binary-only. Indeed, one other vendor of
    WinModems already has:
    http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-1999-08/lw-08-linmodem.html
    
       So what I think galls me about this is that IBM is reaping the
    publicity goodies of being the first certified Linux Compatible laptop
    without having actually _done_ anything. For what surely must be less
    than the marketing expenses associated with the certification, they
    could have made the modem work.
    
       That said, "Linux compatibility" is a fuzzy concept (a friend pointed
    out to me that Linux itself is a fuzzy concept, when you get down to
    it). On any given computer, you'll find that some things work perfectly
    right out of the box, other things work pretty well with little hassle,
    still other things can be made to work if you have infinite patience
    (currently, IrDA and USB seem to fall into this category), and lastly
    you've got the things that just flat out don't work at all. Hopefully,
    all the really important stuff falls into the first two categories. But
    beyond that, where exactly do you draw the line on what's considered
    compatible and what's not. If the TP600 were sold with an epoxy plug
    over the RJ11, would it be more compatible? What about those servers
    with neat new features for diagnostics and failover that are not
    supported by Linux yet? As with most things in reality, it's
    complicated. A blanket certification of the TP600 as "Linux Compatible"
    conveys very little real information to me. If you really want to know
    how well a laptop runs Linux, the best resource by far is the Linux
    laptop page: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/kharker/linux-laptop/
    
       Thanks again for a good article.
    
    Raph
    
       
    From: Nathan Myers <ncm@linuxlaptops.com>
    To: letters@lwn.net
    Subject: Winmodems and Thinkpads
    
    In the Sept. 16 edition of LWN, you wrote:
    
      [The IBM Thinkpad's built-in modem] is a "WinModem" - a modem that
      requires most of the signal processing to be done by the central
      processor. There is no reason why such modems shouldn't work under
      Linux, except one: the interface information for these modems has 
      not been made available by their manufacturers. This information 
      is all protected under non-disclosure agreements; thus, no Linux 
      driver can be written.
    
    First, "WinModem" is a trademark of 3Com, Inc.  A "winmodem", generically, 
    is one that can only be used in Windows, either because the manufacturer 
    won't release the specs, or because no self-respecting Linux hacker would 
    bother to write code for it.  However, not all non-traditional modems 
    should be called "winmodems", and not all winmodems lack signal-processing 
    oomph.
    
    The quoted paragraph conflates two very different devices.  A dumb 
    winmodem is little more than a mono sound card with a phone jack.  It 
    is the driver, in a sense, that _is_ the modem.  Given a fast CPU and 
    a real-time kernel, a sophisticated driver could, in principle, perform 
    well; in effect, your whole computer would become a modem that can do 
    other things too.  In practice, Linux is not a real-time kernel (neither 
    is Windows), and sophisticated drivers for these devices are, on any OS,
    rare -- perhaps nonexistent.
    
    A DSP winmodem has its own CPU, and is almost the same as a traditional 
    modem, but lacks ROM.  It depends on the driver to download its program 
    to it, just as some very popular SCSI controllers need to be initialized 
    with a program image provided by the vendor.  (We don't call these 
    "winSCSIs" because vendors do provide the program image.)  Normally, as 
    with ISDN modems, the driver fields the "AT" commands itself and talks to
    the DSP program at a lower level.
    
    The program needed to make a raw DSP device act as a reliable modem 
    is easily as large and complicated as an IP stack, and as subject to 
    improvements and bugs.  IP Networking has a tradition of Free "reference 
    code", yet it has taken many years and several rewrites to get Linux's 
    network stack into a respectable state.  I know of no reference V.90
    implementations.  Much of the value of 3Com's modem division is in its 
    ownership of its modem code.  
    
    While the PCTel modem that is common in laptops is a dumb winmodem, 
    devices based on Lucent's product, like the Thinkpad's built-in modem, 
    have true DSP capabilities, and lack only a driver to operate them.  In 
    fact, the specs for the Lucent device are already in developers' hands.  
    
    Is the Lucent device really a winmodem?  No driver is available, but the 
    specs are not secret.  No one has taken on the job of writing a driver yet. 
    Probably none will exist until an enlightened company manages to Free up
    its private implementation, according to some yet-undiscovered business
    plan.  (Still, see http://www.linmodem.org/.)
    
    IBM's Thinkpad presents a more complicated case: most of the devices in 
    the machine, including parallel, serial, and sound, are operated by the 
    same DSP coprocessor that "does" the modem.  Programming it and interfacing 
    with it are correspondingly messier -- indeed, most problems with Linux on 
    Thinkpads involve the DSP device.  (Curiously, the same problems manifest
    in Windows.  IBM calls these bugs "Considerations".)  IBM has shown some 
    desire to get their modem supported on Linux, but (if I understand 
    correctly) they seem to be having a hard time finding somebody for their 
    lawyers to talk to.
    
    Generally, though, built-in modems are not such a big problem as is often 
    suggested.  Excellent PC-Card (PCMCIA) modems are available, and a good 
    PC-Card modem may work far better than the built-in one ever can.  A much 
    bigger problem for laptop users is the continuing instability in sound, 
    USB, and IrDA hardware, because those can't be bypassed the way a built-in 
    modem can.  
    
    Nathan Myers
    ncm@linuxlaptops.com   http://www.linuxlaptops.com
    
    
       
    Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 11:36:34 +0200
    From: Rodolphe Ortalo <Rodolphe.Ortalo@cert.fr>
    To: lwn@lwn.net
    Subject: A comment on DRM (LWN, Sep. 16)
    
    Hello,
    
    in Sep 16 issue of the LWN, under the 'Kernel development'
    section, concerning the new Direct Renderimg Manager,
    you say that:
    "... The result should be secure access to low-level hardware
    and screamingly fast 3D graphics. More information on DRM can
    be found on the DRM design document;..."
    
    In fact this is a little inaccurate. The DRI should provide
    something that is (only) as secure as the X server. (Even the
    DRM design document acknowledges this, as I understood it.)
    Unfortunately, X11 servers security is still extremely poor. (I
    hope I do not need to explain this statement... Ask if you want
    but I'd rather keep that email short.:-)
    
    Non-withstanding security issues, safety issues are no more
    adressed. The DRM does not provide any arbitration or access
    control with respect to broken hardware etc. For example,
    some good old S3 cards simply lock the PCI bus when a MMIO
    access is done while the graphic accelerator is running.
    This is a hardware bug of course. But the DRM does not protect
    the machine against this. Neither does the X server (which only
    mean of control would be to deny to applications the access to
    DRM-related features - thus denying DRM interest on these
    cards). Graphic hardware dependability is currently improving,
    but it has a long way to go...
    
    Well, anyway, I simply think that security or safety is not
    among the design objectives of a thing like the DRI. (If it
    were they would not simply assert the fact that the X server
    needs root privileges as a security features...:-)
    The objective was/is "screamingly fast 3D graphics".
    
    IMHO, this is a perfectly respectable objective. :-)
    But suggesting that this kind of architecture can bring also
    security or safety improvement is, in my opinion, a giving
    a false impression.
    
    Anyway, that's just a personal comments...
    
    Regards,
    
    Rodolphe Ortalo
    
       
    From: "Michael Callahan" <michael@ask.com>
    To: <lwn@lwn.net>
    Subject: direct rendering explanation in 9/16 LWN
    Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 15:44:10 -0700
    
    Hi,
    
    Thanks again for the wonderful Linux Weekly News!
    
    In last week's issue, in the Kernel Development section, the following
    explanation appears:
    
    >The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) has also been put into the kernel.
    >DRM is the kernel-level support needed for the Direct Rendering
    >Infrastructure (DRI), which will be part of XFree86 4.0. Essentially,
    >DRI pushes the handling of three-dimensional rendering into the X
    >server. The server, in turn, can take advantage of the rendering
    >capabilities provided by the video hardware. The result should be
    >secure access to low-level hardware and screamingly fast 3D graphics.
    
    In fact, direct rendering is basically the opposite of what is described
    here.  When the X server does 3d rendering, that's called indirect
    rendering--because the 3d data passes from the application, through the X
    server, and into the 3d video card.
    
    Direct rendering allows applications themselves to send their data directly
    to the video card.  For 3d graphics, where there can be very high volume
    streams of data, this can be vital.
    
    Michael
    
    
       
    Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 08:31:26 +0200 (CEST)
    From: chimbis@skjoldebrand.org
    Subject: A couple thing off my chest
    To: letters@lwn.net
    
    Just got to get a couple of things off my chest, so to speak.
    
    1/ Standards. Linux badly needs standards. Not perhaps strictly to
    satisfy a real need within the community but to better it's reputation.
    I recently saw (I think it was) an add for Veritas Backup Exec for
    Linux, which is available for Red Hat, SuSE, and Open Linux with a
    version for TurboLinux soon to follow. Another product was available
    for Red Hat with other distros to follow soon.
    
    This is ridiculous, considering that there isn't really a compatibility
    issue to talk about. People are just stuffing files in different places
    which in fact is making it hard for companies in porting software that
    will work across all Linuxes. This is stupid.
    
    2/ One wonders what impact on Linux badly tested, originally Windows
    software is going to have on our favourite OS. I have in mind a piece
    of ported software that is quite buggy and even crashes at irregular
    instances. It is however, quite feature rich so many people would
    probably like to try to use it. These software packages could damage
    Linuxes reputation for quality. Just a thought.
    
    Cheers,
    
    Martin S.
    -- 
    Martin SkjŲldebrand, Chimbis Design
    Sys admin, web design
    Hungry? Visit The Olde Cookery Book at
    http://www.bahnhof.se/~chimbis/tocb/
    
    
       
    Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 12:42:37 +0530
    From: ANAND <anand@nmi.stpn.soft.net>
    To: dvorak@zdnet.com
    CC: letters@lwn.net
    Subject: The Linux Myth
    
    Hi,
    
    I find your contention, that Linux will not make it in the server arena
    because it is not very stable, laughable. How is it that NT that can't
    stand on it feets for more than a week is still considered as a strong
    contender in the server arena if stability and reliability were that
    important. Linux is obviously much better in these respects. Linux may
    not be the most stable OS, but there are some other things that make it
    ideal for the server arena, lack of licensing restrictions. Its also
    probably the most efficient of all OSs. The only two places were linux
    lacks is in scalability, and User Interfaces, but there too not by much.
    Low scalability will prevent it from entering the arena of the super
    large systems, which cannot be handled by a single Quad Processor
    system. But then NT also lacks those things. UI problems are more of a
    perception problem, and as you say won't matter for the ultra cheap
    systems. I would like to point you to the latest SAP R/3 benchmarks for
    Linux, which claimed that they were the best reported for any Quad
    Processor systems. That would definitely include NT.
    
    Anyway the biggest thing that you forgot was that Linux has the biggest
    developers resource. No Company can compete on that ground, and anything
    proprietory, will become less and less competitive will Linux as time
    progresses, because as internet expands, Linux's talent pool will keep
    on increasing.
    
    -anand
    
       
    Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
    Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds