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Leading items and editorials

There was much activity around Linux in embedded systems this week, as a result of the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose. This conference looks to be a bit of a watershed event - the occasion where Linux takes the embedded systems stage. And this is a big stage - some 68,000 people are attending. It is time to see if all the rosy predictions for Linux in the embedded area start to come true.

So, what happened this week?

  • Cygnus Solutions announced the EL/IX embedded Linux API. The stated goal of EL/IX is to "pre-empt the fragmentation of embedded Linux," a threat that has not been the source of a great deal of concern in most circles.

    EL/IX sets out to achieve this goal by providing a standard applications programming interface based on the POSIX real time Unix standards. Since Linux already implements almost all of this interface, EL/IX's implementation will not be too difficult. However, EL/IX will also provide the same API on Cygnus' eCos - an open source system specifically designed for deeply embedded systems.

    Thus Cygnus' strategy is reasonably apparent - they want to make it easy for developers to make their code work under Linux, then deploy on eCos. It is a worthy goal, which should certainly help to increase the penetration of open source software into embedded systems. It should also help Cygnus maintain its strong position in the embedded market. (See also: this press release from Cygnus about eCos - 15,000 downloads so far).

  • Lineo (formerly Caldera Thin Clients) put out its embedded systems road map. Their plan is centered around "Embedix," a derivative of OpenLinux which is intended for embedded applications. Embedix contains a lot of changes aimed at the constraints found in embedded situations; among other things, it will be able to run out of flash ROM. Embedix initially will run on Intel processors, with MIPS and StrongARM to follow.

    Lineo is also working on "Embrowser," an embedded web browser which is intended for applications like set-top boxes, kiosks, etc. The first deployment has already been announced: MeterNet is building a set-top box using Embedix and Embrowser.

    Lineo is aiming at becoming the standard platform for high-end embedded systems. They have no "lightweight" system like eCos to push for "deeply embedded" applications (unless you count DR-DOS, which appears to be heading toward the end of its life). Instead, they are pushing Linux all the way. Does their approach encourage the fragmentation that Cygnus warns about? Perhaps, but remember that Embedix remains an open source system.

  • Force Computing announced a demonstration of its "Centellis 8730" system running Hard Hat Linux. Their approach is a combined hardware and software system which can be used in embedded applications.

  • emWare announced the availability of its "EMIT emGateway" software for the Linux platform (Red Hat only, initially). EMIT is a lightweight networking protocol for embedded devices which are not able to run a full TCP/IP stack; emGateway allows a Linux system to talk to such devices. That puts Linux in a controller position - talking to many embedded devices, making their services available, and managing them remotely.
It is an impressive set of announcements, which shows the degree of interest in Linux in this environment.

LWN's Liz Coolbaugh is at the Embedded Systems Conference this week. As of press time, we have her first report from the floor there. It appears to be an exciting time for Linux in the embedded systems arena.

Web 100, Linux, and high-performance networking. How can we get our systems to make better use of the high-bandwidth links used in the modern Internet? A project called "Web 100," currently in the early stages, is looking at making some TCP changes to allow systems to get the most out of the Internet - and they plan to do their work on Linux. Here is an LWN feature article about Web 100, what it is trying to achieve, and how it might help to keep Linux in the forefront of networking development.

What kind of modem does the IBM Thinkpad 600E really have? We have gotten a wide variety of opinions, but the definitive word appears to be that it has a modem based on the IBM Mwave DSP. It does not run the Lucent DSP, though some of the other Thinkpad models do. Hopefully this is our last word on the subject...

Red Hat's web site will cease carrying LWN in October. We have enjoyed working with Red Hat, and wish them the best of luck with their web site efforts. Meanwhile, we encourage all of you who may have been reading our content via redhat.com to come to the source at lwn.net.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: a look at the PC Week cracker challenge.
  • Kernel: do device drivers belong in the kernel source tree?
  • Distributions: Caldera's mailing lists return, Conectiva Linux road show
  • Development: Piranha bites heartbeat, introducing Yams.
  • Commerce: Corel starts making connections
  • Back page: Linux links of the week, letters to the editor.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

September 30, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

The "Hack PC Week" Linux server was compromised, much to the delight of anti-Linux activists everywhere. But before one takes this episode as a condemnation of Linux security in general, it is worthwhile to have a look at how the system was broken into. The following information was posted by the crackers on the PC Week forums; it got split up so one needs to read the first and second parts separately.

The crack happened in two distinct steps. The first was getting to where an arbitrary program could be run on the server. The cracker (identified as "jfs") achieved this by expoiting a vulnerability in the "photoads" CGI script which was being used by PC Week to run advertisements on the target site. Nothing inherent in Linux or Apache was exploited to get in; the door was opened by a third-party, commercial package.

Once able to run programs on the target system, the cracker needed root access. It turns out that the (Red Hat) system being used in the challenge was lacking a number of security updates. In particular, the update to cron, issued by Red Hat on August 25, had not been applied. Jfs simply needed to run a canned exploit program from the net, and root access was his. End of story.

One clear conclusion is that the Linux system used in this challenge was not properly secured. A system being put on the front lines of a security challenge should at least have the security updates installed. And the inclusion of vulnerable, third-party software should only have been done with a great amount of thought.

It might also be said that Linux systems are too hard to secure. If nothing else, Red Hat 6.0 is overdue for an update. The official updates to that release now make up a substantial portion of the whole distribution, far more than most users will want to dig through. Updates will always go unapplied; it is better to eliminate the need.

Security Reports

Linux TCP stack problem found A bug in the 2.2 (and 2.3) kernel TCP stack has been found and posted. A suitably clever attacker could use it to bypass a number of address-based access control mechanisms. The bug has been tracked down and a fix exists; chances are a new 2.2 stable kernel will be released shortly.

Certicom challenge cracked. A group led by INRIA in France has announced the cracking of the code put forward in Certicom's "ECC Challenge." $4000 of their prize money will be going to the Free Software Foundation. (Thanks to Stéfane Fermigier).

A denial of service problem in ssh 1.2.27 has been announced. It's another /tmp link problem that allows a bad guy to make life obnoxious for local users.


Here are the security updates we have seen this week:
  • The Debian Project has released an update to the amd automounter which fixes a nasty security problem. A timely upgrade is recommended.

  • LinuxPPC also has a patch out for amd, as well as updates for proftpd, wu-ftpd, telnet, libtermcap, cron, and lynx. See their security page for details.

  • Linux-Mandrake has issued an update to the GNOME version of nethack which fixes a buffer overflow problem there. They also advise users to simply remove the program if they are not actually using it.

  • Yellow Dog Linux has announced updates to the proftpd and beroftpd FTP servers.


The Linux Administrator's Security Guide has moved to a new location on SecurityPortal.com.


TooRcon 2000, a security-oriented conference, has been announced; it will be happening September 1-3, 2000 in San Diego, California.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 30, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
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Distribution-specific links
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Debian Alerts
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Red Hat Errata
SuSE Announcements
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Miscellaneous Resources
Comp Sec News Daily
Linux Security Audit Project
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

Linus remains out of sight as of this writing; thus, no official kernel releases have been made in some time. Alan Cox continues to accumulate patches in both the stable and development trees.

On the stable side, he is up to 2.2.13pre14. This patch contains an impressive number of patches at this point, and was considered to be a release candidate. Now, however, the kernel hackers have to figure out how they are going to fix the SMP IDE hanging bug that they recently tracked down first.

On the development side, the patches are up to 2.3.18ac10.

Should device drivers be part of the kernel source tree? This longstanding debate flared up as the result of a seemingly innocent query this week. Most device driver developers try to get their code distributed as part of the mainline kernel, but there are those who think that drivers should be kept - and distributed - separately. Arguments for this point of view include:

  • There is an unbelievable number of devices out there, and more every day. Putting all those drivers into the kernel tree leads to source bloat and a huge, unmaintainable mess.

  • The lifecycle of modern hardware can be shorter than the kernel development cycle. Separately-maintained drivers can be updated at any time; drivers in the kernel have to wait for a stable release.

  • Hardware should come with a driver diskette for Linux, just like the ever-present Windows diskette. Users should be able to simply insert a vendor-supplied diskette and not have to worry about things like kernel rebuilds.

  • Every driver in the kernel increases the patch-processing load on Linus. Linus is not an infinite resource.
On the other hand, the "keep drivers in the kernel camp" puts forward points like:
  • If drivers come with the kernel, users will simply have them. Having to go out on the web and track down a driver, perhaps choose between multiple variants, then integrate it into a kernel is beyond what most users will want to do.

  • Kernel updates are much easier if the updated drivers come with the new kernel.

  • Drivers that live with the kernel will better track changes in the kernel. People notice right away when a kernel change breaks something. There is also the view that drivers that are part of the kernel are less likely to be broken by kernel changes in the first place - developers will tend to see where particular features are used and try to avoid causing problems. There is no such feedback when the driver source is somewhere else.

  • Device drivers in the kernel provide an important set of examples for kernel developers. Moving this development activity elsewhere would make the "code exploration" activity harder. Code that is in the kernel tree will encounter more eyeballs in general, and is more likely to be improved by people other than the maintainer.

  • Drivers provided on vendor-supplied diskettes are all to likely to support only one distribution or packaging format. Until better standards are in place, having drivers in the kernel is the best way to insure they work with all distributions.
This is the sort of discussion that can go on for a very long time; no serious changes in how drivers are handled are imminent.

What does the kernel need in the way of a project management system? Here is the second version of a specification for a project management system for the kernel, which would handle source code management, bug tracking, and so on. It is an ambitious proposal, and calls for a lot of infrastructure which seems unlikely to ever get built. The kernel hackers, it seems, would rather be off hacking.

The first version, for what it's worth, suggested the use of Aegis in this role. That touched off a small but intense flame war between Aegis supporters and those of BitKeeper, which is actually supposed to be the kernel source management system one of these days, real soon now. (It is evidently already being used by the Merced porting project). The details are not of much interest; until BitKeeper is released for general use there will be no resolution to this sort of battle.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Knfsd 1.5.1 was released by H.J. Lu. For the time being, it is still necessary to apply H.J.'s patches to get a properly functioning NFS server under 2.2.

    H.J. has also announced a new mailing list (hosted by VA Linux Systems) for discussion on NFS development issues. It appears that VA wants to throw some (more) serious effort in this direction, in the hopes that Linux really will have an enterprise-class NFS implementation sometime soon.

  • Ingo Molnar put out smp-2.3.18-H3. This patch is a rework of the x86 SMP and interrupt processing code which needs all the shaking down it can get before heading off to Linus.

  • David Mentré has issued an updated SMP FAQ/HOWTO, the first in some time.

  • Netfilter 0.1.9 has been released by Paul Rusty Russell. Netfilter is the new firewalling/masquerading system.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

September 30, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


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

Caldera OpenLinux

Caldera's mailing lists are back in action as of September 25. Caldera switched the lists over to ezmlm as they were fixing their problems, and it appears that not all subscribers from the old lists got set up on the new ones. If you were a subscriber to a Caldera mailing list, and you are still not getting anything, it's time to head over to the "User to User Forums" page and resubscribe.

Macmillan and Caldera Systems have teamed up to form "Caldera Press." This new publishing operation will concentrate on business-oriented titles.

Conectiva Linux

The Conectiva Road Show started off on September 23rd, in Caracas, Venezuela with the announcement of the release of the Spanish version of their CL-4.0 and CL- Server Edition packages. The road show will hit the US, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. Conectiva Linux is a Red Hat-derived and compatible distribution. "Sandro Henrique, Conectiva's commercial director, believes that the interest for Linux by Latin American countries denotes similar motives as the Brazilian consumers: 'Low purchase power, anti-fraud laws, and a strong desire to improve the platform, which is causing companies and users to migrate.' "

Debian GNU/Linux

Where are Debian developers? All over, according to the Debian developers location map. There are still many developers who remain unrepresented, however; if you hack on Debian you may want to consider adding your location to the list.


Linuxcare and Macmillan have announced a deal wherein Linuxcare will provide support for Macmillan's (Mandrake-based) Linux distribution.

Mandrake's internationalization efforts continue as demonstrated by this announcement of support for Lithuanian and Estonian...

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat 6.1 will be released on Monday, October 4, if this TechWeb article is to be believed. "Red Hat Linux 6.1... will feature a streamlined installation, online software updates, and enhancements for managing distributed computing architectures..."

Red Hat certification in the UK. Red Hat has announced the establishment of a London training facility which is able to administer the Red Hat Certified Engineer exam. Courses begin in October.

Slackware Linux

Joe Orton points out that the current Slackware change logs show a new addition - the whole set of GNOME libraries and utilities.

SuSE Linux

SuSE has reworked its web sites on both www.suse.de and www.suse.com. The old world map is gone... Some pages have moved, so if you have a site with links into SuSE's pages, you may want to give them a quick check.

Along those lines, the SuSE partner page has moved, and no longer can be found at the location we published in last week's LWN.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 30, 1999

Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.

Lists of Distributions
Woven Goods
Known Distributions:
Armed Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Bastille Linux
Best Linux (Finnish/Swedish)
Black Cat Linux (Ukrainian/Russian)
Caldera OpenLinux
Chinese Linux Extension
Complete Linux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
Eridani Star System
Eonova Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Eurielec Linux (Spanish)
eXecutive Linux
Green Frog Linux
Hard Hat Linux
Kha0s Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux-Kheops (French)
Linux MLD (Japanese)
LinuxOne OS
LinuxPPP (Mexican)
Linux Pro Plus
Linux Router Project
nanoLinux II
NoMad Linux
Peanut Linux
Plamo Linux
Project Ballantain
Red Hat
Rock Linux
Small Linux
Storm Linux
Vine Linux
WinLinux 2000
Yellow Dog Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


TYA 1.5 has been released, read the announcement for details. TYA is a just-in-time compiler meant to be added on to the Blackdown Java port.

A preview release of JBuilder, Inprise's just-in-time compiler, has also been announced. This compiler is not free software, but is available for free download.


More Python books are on the way. Guido ran a quick search on Amazon.com and came up with a surprisingly long list of books coming out over the next few months.

The Python Snippets web site has moved to a new location. This site, maintained by Hans Nowak, contains little bits of working Python code for specific tasks.

O'Reilly's "Learning Python" was reviewed by 32bitsonline in this article. The review is very strongly positive - even after the initial paragraph on lay-flat bindings.

Here's this week's Python-URL by David Ascher.


Here's this week's Tcl-URL posted by Matt Newman.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 30, 1999



Development projects

New internationalization site unveiled. The folks at Linux-Mandrake have set up a new site at linuxi18n.org which is intended to be a central focus point for the various Linux internationalization projects. There is also a mailing list.

Dump and restore have a maintainer at last. The long-neglected backup and restore programs have been adopted by Stelian Pop; he has made a new release available with a number of patches integrated.


GNOME 1.0.40, a beta version leading up to the next major release, has been announced.

The first public release of Bonobo, the GNOME component / compound document system, has been announced. It is still considered an alpha release, but Miguel wants to get more people playing with the code at this point.

And here is this week's GNOME summary by Havoc Pennington.

High Availability

Red Hat has announced Piranha, its answer to the "Linux virtual server" problem. Details can be found in Red Hat's announcement of the product. It contains a set of utilities for heartbeat monitoring, load sharing, and failure management; it can currently handle a two-node server setup.

This announcement came as a bit of a surprise to some members of the high availability community, who had been expecting the Linux-HA code developed by Alan Robertson and company to be used instead. Indeed, the Linux-HA folks had been working away trying to address issues at Red Hat's request; they had not been told that a replacement project was under way.

Red Hat's Mike Wangsmo tells us that the decision was made mostly in order to meet development deadlines. He states that the existing code is too complex and not sufficiently integrated for Red Hat's immediate needs. Evidently it was easier to simply start over than to address the difficulties.

Whatever the reasons, the end result is that a development project with well over a year of work and testing behind it has been pushed aside, and there are now two high-availability projects going. It is hard to believe that is a good result for anybody involved. The Piranha work is being released under the GPL, as is all Red Hat code; hopefully at some point these efforts can be brought back together.

ZDNet UK breaks the news on the "Linux Cluster Cabal," a group which wants to make 1000-node high-availability clusters a reality. "The project's team -- including Larry McVoy... Stephen Tweedie... and Peter Braam ... -- first met in secret in August to devise a clustering architecture that satisfies both commercial data processing and HPC (high performance computing) requirements." With names like that involved, interesting things can be expected to happen.


The KDE Development News for September 6th through September 19th covers the announcement of KDE 1.1.2, as well as the upcoming release process for Krash, also known as KDE 1.89, the current developers release.

KDE-Two, the Second KDE Developer Meeting has been scheduled for 7th to 10th of October 1999 at the University of Erlangen, Germany. Both SuSE and Caldera are sponsorsing this workshop, which is expected to bring together around 50 of the KDE developers. For more information, check out the KDE-Two website.


Version 1.2.3 of the Midgard web application server has been released.

Here, also, is the Midgard Weekly Summary from Henri Bergius.


The Mozilla jargon file has been posted by Dawn Endico. YAMS logo


Yams (Yet Another Merchant System) 0.50 has been released. Yams is a GPL-licensed electronic commerce system with a lot of nice features, including persistent shopping carts, credit card authorization, inventory control, sales tax calculation, and more. It is all done with Perl and MySql. Details and downloads can be found on the Yams web page.


Here's the Wine Weekly News for this week. Among other things, it talks about Wine release 990923.


The Zope weekly news for this week was provided, as usual, by Amos Latteier.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

Project Links
High Availability

More Information

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Corel starts linking up. In the modern world, it is no longer sufficient just to have a distribution for sale - you also need agreements with other companies to help develop, promote, and distribute the system. Corel made a number of strides in that direction this week with announcements like:
  • Ebiz (operating as TheLinuxStore.com) will be selling computers with Corel Linux preinstalled. This would appear to be the first such arrangement that Corel has; expect them to pursue more of them. Corel looks like it may come out with the easiest installation yet, but the truth is that most people do not want to install their own systems. Having hardware companies sell preinstalled systems is important. (Announcement).

  • A joint development and distribution agreement with Inprise was announced. The partnership will work on the development of both Corel's and Inprise's tools under Linux, and will also include joint marketing.

  • Another partnership was announced with Webb Interactive Services; this one will result in an instant messaging service that becomes part of the Corel Linux desktop.
All together, it looks like an aggressive strategy of linking up to position Corel Linux as strongly as possible. Corel appears to be serious.

IBM's DeveloperWorks launches. IBM has moved its DeveloperWorks page out of beta. The new, improved site includes an "Open Source Zone" where Jikes and other goodies live, and a Linux Zone with tutorial information on subjects like the GNOME libraries and Python.

Magic software penguins fired. Magic Software has belatedly responded to complaints about their use of live penguins at LinuxWorld. It seems they will no longer use live penguins, and are making a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Society as well. "[The penguins] are, in fact, trained actors used to appearing before hot lights and cameras. Some of their commercial credits include Batman (the movie), as well as several frozen food ads. However, it would now appear that their career as the Magic penguin (nicknamed 'MeL' by the Company) is at an end."

Microsoft's investment in Akamai drew some interest in Linux circles. The reason, of course, is that Akamai's distributed web server network is based on Linux. Might Microsoft's presence bring about a change in technology? The truth of the matter is that Microsoft's share of the company will only be 1%, meaning that its influence will not be that great. Chances are that it will be business as usual at Akamai.

Press Releases:

    Inprise Corporation:

  • Inprise has announced a new developer news site which will contain Linux-related (and other) articles.

  • and the JBuilder Just-In-Time compiler (JIT) for the Linux operating system.

  • and a high performance Linux application development environment.


  • Apropos Retail Management Systems and St. John Knits announced that Apropos has been selected to install new Retail Management systems in all St. John Knits store locations in the United States and Germany. The Apropos system will be deployed on the Linux operating system at St. John Knits.

  • Idealab! unveiled its first Linux venture, OpenSales, Inc., to offer an Open Source e-commerce software solution called OpenMerchant in October 1999.

  • Innovative Electronics, Inc. introduced a new product for the retail loss prevention sector, Interactive-EasC. Linux versions are available.

  • OpenSales announced that "OpenMerchant," an open source e-commerce system, will be released in October.

  • Red Hat, Inc. announced that its on-site consulting services worked with iCelebrate.com to integrate Red Hat Linux to power a new holiday and seasonal e-commerce Web site.

  • www.i-gift.com puts shopping centers on the internet. The i-gift engine is driven by a suite of i-commerce technology: Linux, Java, Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) from Sybase, and the Zope web publishing server from Digital Creations.


  • Quantum3D announced that leading coin-op amusement game manufacturer Smart Industries has selected Quantum3D's Quicksilver II systems to power their new Hollywood Photo line of photo booths. Available with Linux.

  • CoolKeyboards Corporation announced that LinuxMall will become the 'Worldwide Distribution Channel' for both their current and future products.

  • Motorola Computer Group announced that its CompactPCI-based telecommunications platforms have been selected as the foundation for an IP gatekeeper solution from French IP telephony company NetCentrex.

  • M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. announced the extension of its DiskOnChip 2000 flash disk product line with new capacities now up to 288MB. DiskOnChip support is available with all major operating system environments including Linux.

  • Siemens announced the Pocket Reader, a portable digital highlighter. Software for Linux can be downloaded from the Pocket Reader Web site at www.pocketreader.com.

  • Ziatech Corp. announced it is combining its CompactNET multiprocessing technology with the recently announced LinuxPCI 1000 Development System, speeding the implementation of Linux-based, multiprocessing CompactPCI systems.


  • Applix, Inc. announced the free availability of the Beta test version of Applix WebInsight. WebInsight operates with the Apache web server on Linux systems. The Beta-test version can be downloaded from www.SmartBeak.com.

  • Associated Compiler Experts released its "CoSy" compiler development system for Linux. Pricing starts at $250,000.

  • BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc. announced the 2.2 release of Internet Quick-Connect (IQ2) for Linux.

  • CoCreate Software Inc. announced ME10 software for 2-D CAD work running on the Red Hat Linux operating system.

  • emWare, Inc. announced that its EMIT emGateway software will be commercially available on the Linux platform in the 1st quarter of 2000.

  • FourFront announces V2.0 of Accounting Software with tools for handling EMU, file auditing and Linux support.

  • Innovative Routines International announced the availability of its flagship CoSORT 7 release for Linux and Solaris 2.7, for both SPARC and Intel platforms.

  • InstaPass.com, Inc. announced that its Web-based graphics optimization application, GIF Wizard ( http://www.gifwizard.com ), is offering a low-cost alternative to obtaining a license from Unisys to use their LZW technology for GIF graphic display and creation.

  • IntraACTIVE, Inc. announced the beta release of their Banter MultiNetwork Instant Messenger. The Java-based Banter MultiNetwork works with Windows, Macintosh, Unix, and Linux platforms, and it will soon support six languages. IntraACTIVE, Inc. is beta testing Banter MultiNetwork this week at http://www.bantu.com.

  • ParaSoft Corp. announced the release of CodeWizard for C++ v. 3.0, the newest version of their automatic coding standards enforcement tool.

  • Spatial Inc. announced the availability of version 5.3 of ACIS 3D Toolkit. They list Red Hat Linux 5.2 among the supported operating systems.

  • Vovida Networks announced its expanded suite of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software products.


  • Caldera Systems and Macmillan teamed up to form "Caldera Press." This new publishing operation will concentrate on business-oriented titles.

  • Caldera Systems also made a deal with Fujitsu. Fujitsu will be installing OpenLinux on its servers; the effort seems to be aimed at the Japanese market in the short term.

  • GraphOn Corporation announced the expansion of its international sales and engineering operations with the opening of its European headquarters in Reading, UK. GraphOn software allows remote use of Linux applications over a network.

  • KeyLabs Inc. announced that Motorola Computer Group's (MCG's) SLX2020 network appliance has passed KeyLabs' network server compatibility tests in support of major Linux operating system distributions.

  • Linuxcare and Macmillan announced a deal wherein Linuxcare provides support for Macmillan's (Mandrake-based) Linux distribution.

  • LinuxForce Inc. has been selected by INTECH to provide service and support for their entire network of Debian GNU/Linux based servers including a 16 node Beowulf Super Computer and their Internet gateway.

  • Linux Professional Institute sent us the news for September 22.

  • Mission Critical Linux LLC announced its existance. They plan to specialize in placing Linux in critical enterprise applications.

  • Here is a press release regarding the new, $15 million Beowulf cluster system being bought by the Forecast Systems Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • RHI Consulting announced the results of a survey: 57% of the chief information officers they polled see an increase in the use of Linux in their organizations.

  • Sun is offering a "cyber seminar" in France on "Sun and Linux." The event is aimed at France, and the page is in French (Babelfish translation available here), but the actual event will evidently be in English. (Thanks to Olivier Montanuy).

  • VA Linux Systems announced the formation of a professional services (consulting) group.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

September 30, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

The Fall issue of Crossroads, ACM's student magazine is out. The subject is Linux; there are articles on topics like parallel computing, the Linux DSP shell, and an interview with Victor Yodaiken.

Salon Magazine compares Apple and free software. "Today Apple is a niche player making a successful comeback. The free-software hackers have taken Apple's place -- they are the new brash guerrilla warriors lining up to swing their sledgehammers into the icon of the new Big Brother, now played by Microsoft." (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).

Red Hat:

Red Hat 6.1 will be released on Monday, according to this TechWeb article. "Red Hat Linux 6.1... will feature a streamlined installation, online software updates, and enhancements for managing distributed computing architectures..."

Information Week looks at Red Hat's second quarter results. "Red Hat Inc. reported sharply higher second-quarter revenue, but still reported a loss as its cost of sales kept pace with growth."

More IPOs:

TechWeb ran this article about Caldera's IPO plans. "Caldera Systems likely will file for an initial public offering after Jan. 1, 2000, rather than next month as originally planned..."

News.com looks at the Andover.net IPO. "Using the OpenIPO method is another twist on the sometimes awkward interactions between the largely volunteer open-source programming movement and the companies who hope to profit from it. The OpenIPO process, by including more than just big-name investors, lets Andover.net avoid being perceived as a parasite that doesn't give anything back to the community."

Also in News.com: this uncritical article about LinuxOne's IPO filing. "With almost 9.2 million shares to be outstanding after a planned IPO, the company would sell about a 33 percent stake and have a market value of $73.3 million if shares sell for $8 each."


The Montreal Gazette looks at Corel. "Some computer experts are calling Linux the single most serious threat to Microsoft's hegemony over the server software market. Corel is counting on getting a share of the market. Some analysts said Corel's decision to develop software that runs on Linux offers the best chance to get the stock back on track."

Here's a fairly nasty article in the National Post about Corel. "With Corel's share price now rebounding, you might think things are on the mend at the edge-of-disaster software company. They're not. Instead, Ottawa-based Corel is up to its usual tricks, with chairman Mike Cowpland bobbing, weaving and generally doing whatever he can to convince shareholders that the moribund software company is anything but. And he has found new fools to separate from their money at Slashdot." The article also describes Linus Torvalds as "a pompous Finn."

This CBS MarketWatch article has a few paragraphs on Corel, and their partnership with Ebiz. "Ebiz plans to pre-load Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux Personal Edition onto some of its desktop computers and hand-held Internet access machines."


E-Commerce Times ran this article about the new set-top box by Lineo and MeterNet. "The Lineo product was chosen, according to MeterNet, because it will lend OEM customers a greater degree of flexibility over other platform-based solutions. The first Linux-based devices -- which will utilize a Cyrix processor and broadband Ethernet connection for access via cable, DSL or satellite -- is set to ship in the first quarter of 2000."

Andover News ran a Newsbytes story about the Lineo/MeterNet set-top box. "The non-proprietary, open standard Linux operating system (OS) is destined for America's homes." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

EE Times looks at Cygnus Software's EL/IX release. "A veteran company of the open-source movement will unveil this week what it hopes will become a unifying application programming interface for using the GNU-Linux operating system in the embedded world."

InfoWorld covers Inprise's announcements of upcoming development tools for Linux. "The full embrace of Linux by Inprise across its tools and middleware offerings shows a strategic shift based on the assumption that Linux will ultimately become a major enterprise platform. Linux will also grow quickly as a preferred workstation development platform, Inprise officials said."

Computer Currents tells how to build an intranet for less. "...developers love Linux because it's flexible, which makes it easily scalable. NT may provide a friendlier environment for adding users and devices, but Linux isn't as picky about things such as configuration and drivers. Nor will Linux give up when it encounters roadblocks while trying to serve certain users, as NT has been known to do."

Here's an E-Commerce Times story about the release of OpenMerchant. "Free 'out of the box' OpenMerchant features include management modules for content, customer service, inventory, and merchandise along with a search terms manager. 'The days of creating closed and proprietary systems are over,' commented Michelle Kraus, president and CEO of OpenSales."

Upside has this article about BeOpen.com, another open source portal site attempt. "'The way I see it, the nucleus has finally come together,' says [BeOpen founder] Weiner, pointing to both the Linux operating system and the Internet infrastructure that shaped it. 'All that's missing is a way to take the remaining porridge of open source technologies, just like that porridge of organic material that originally covered the earth and shape them into some sort of living entity.'"

IT-Director.com looks at the future of software pricing. "Fair to say, then, that the cost of certain kinds of software will plummet. However, do not be taken in by vendor ploys: even likeable Linus has a vested interest. Vendors don't do anything without a reason, for example, they hope to damage their competition or attract you to other elements of their product line. Make the most of the opportunities as they present themselves, then, but remember TANSTAAFL: there ain't no such thing as a free license." (Found in NNL).

Here's an Internet Week article that says Sun won't go very far with StarOffice. "Like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. There may be plenty of users who will take advantage of a free office suite. But serious users who rely on these tools for business are far less likely to consider StarOffice a viable alternative."

Nicholas Petreley looks at Microsoft's purchase of Softway Systems and other topics in this InfoWorld column. "...some ... speculate that Microsoft bought Softway in order to deliver Linux for Windows, as a way to derail the increasing popularity of Linux. I can't adequately describe my first reaction to this notion. I simply don't know how to represent uncontrollable laughter in text. The idea of Linux for Windows sounded too much like the last resort of a company that can't find any other way to get Linux applications to crash."

Dave Winer calls on Microsoft to port its applications to Linux. "The smart thing to do, IMHO, is to fully embrace Linux. Let's work together to make Windows apps run beautifully on Linux. It'll be good for Microsoft. The only other choice is to be at odds with developers because the pull to Linux is economic and inexorable."

The Economist looks at the prospects for Windows 2000. "The wild card is Linux, the fast-growing (and free) Unix-based operating system. According to IDC, a research firm, Linux is taking about 17% of the server market and growing at the expense of both NT and other Unix systems. It may lack the features of Windows 2000, but because its source code is open it can be easily fixed or modified. And free is free."

Is Linux a legitimate network OS? asks ZDNet. "You might want to think twice, however, with applications that demand the best performance or the best reliability; Linux offers no clustering support and has immature SMP support and limited file-system support and RAID functionality." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Here's a PC Magazine article about Linux's continuing progress. "In response to the growing popularity of Unix and Linux, computer companies are scrambling to provide more Linux and Unix systems while software companies are promising more applications and customer support."

Information Week ran this look at Linux on the desktop. "Critics of Linux come in all shapes and sizes, but proponents seem to be a remarkably homogeneous group. Companies that have embraced Linux are typically either those that have been Unix shops for some time or those that employ IT staffers who champion the operating system."


Reuters talks with Linus. "Computer software prices will crash when the need for constant upgrades disappears, and this is only a matter of time, leading computer and software expert Linus Torvalds said on Thursday."

Linus Torvalds himself wouldn't have told us, but now we see what he's up to on his vacation: according to this article (in Swedish) in Aftonbladet, he is getting an honorary doctorate at the University of Stockholm. Sven Wallman, who pointed this out, translates a quote from Linus: "I dont want to be called a rebel. I'm not against anything and rebel sounds a bit negative. I've had my own view of how I want to work with computers. And genius? I've been successful and that is because I'm competent, but I've also had lots of luck"

Here's a brief Reuters article saying that Transmeta may start talking about what they are doing this November at Comdex. And it's Linus who let that information slip...


The Linux server in PC Week's hack this box contest appears to have been broken into. More details are available on the security page.

Channel One's attempt to trademark "Linux" in Germany is being withdrawn, according to this CNN article. "Hamburg-based Channel One GmbH is in the process of having its claim to the name Linux in Germany deleted, according to Achim Cloer, the chairman of Germany's Linux Association, a user group."

The Seattle Times looks at the Linux Journal. "But while Linux Journal is laced with the vocabulary of class struggle, its mission also is to help foster the success of the Linux operating system in a capitalist world."

This OS Opinion article looks at the GNU GPL and how copyleft applies to non-software information. "The GNU GPL originated for the specific goal of sharing software among computer programmers. However, looking closely at the GPL, it appears that the same License can be easily applied to non-software information."

The latest installation nightmare story comes from CNN. This time the author has a hard time with Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. No explanation of why they had to install such an old version of the distribution... "My daylong effort to install Caldera's Linux 1.3 on a PC gave me chilling flashbacks to my bewilderment in certain physics classes. I was told I had succeeded but I wasn't sure at what. For now, I'm glad I have my 'real' PC with Windows to rely on rather than the Linux PC."

A while back we got a few pointers to the Jesux distribution page, but chose not to run them. But now, MSNBC has run an article which appears to take "the distribution that will not lead you into temptation" seriously. "No one who knows Unix and the sensibilities of some Christians will be surprised to see that Jesux Developers is seriously considering replacing such common Unix names as 'kill,' 'abort,' and 'daemon.'"

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

September 30, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Linux kiosks. Chris Martin has written a document on how he put together a Linux-based kiosk for the Sheffield University Library.

The October 1999 Linux Gazette is out.


The first internal Real Time Linux Workshop will be held in December, 1999, in Vienna, Austria. There is currently a call for contributions out there. The possiblity of sponsorship exists for speakers who are unable to fund a trip to Vienna themselves.

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Cluster Computing will be held in Beijing on May 14-17, 2000. They, too, have a call for papers outstanding, with a deadline of October 25.

European seminar series. Linux@Work is a one-day traveling road show currently making its way through Europe; it's aimed at informing management types about just what Linux can do for them. Stops include Frankfurt, Zurich, London, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Amsterdam.

Bob Young talk writeup. Stephen Adler has posted a lengthy writeup (with pictures) of Bob Young's talk to the New York Linux users group.

Web sites

User Group News

Installation in Boston: the Boston Linux Installfest will be happening on October 9. See the web page for details.

A new user group in Ticino, Switzerland has been announced.

Linux seminars in Cleveland. The Case Western Reserve University Linux User's Group has launched a seminar series covering a number of topics of interest to Linux users. All interested parties are invited to attend.

Help wanted

The folks at MandrakeSoft have a number of jobs open, including a kernel hacker position based in either California or France.

September 30, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
Ants Alarm 1.0 Reminds you of your appointments
AOL IP Tunnel client for Unix 0.5 Access the Internet via AOL on your Unix box
Apache-OWA 0.5 Runs Oracle PL/SQL Web Toolkit applications.
App 1.0 Algebraic Typing and Pattern Matching Preprocessor for C++
Arrow 1.0.7 An elegant, powerful, graphical interface to electronic mail
Artistic Style 1.11.5 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
aRts 0.3.4 Analog realtime synthesizer
asDrinks 1.9.3 News headlines from nerd/UNIX type sites in your AfterStep startmenu
AutoGen 4.5.8 Templatized program/text generation system
AutoTrace 0.13 Converts bitmap to vector graphics
auto_ftp.pl 0.1 FTP client demon that watches a folder and transfers all files and folders.
bbtuneup 1.0 Perl script to put the latest linux.com tuneup tips on your blackbox menu
bcalc 0.0.3 Desk calculator
BET 1.0 Encrypted network talk program
bigFORTH/MINOS 26sep1999 Forth with GUI library and RAD tool
Black Cat Linux 6.02 Custom RedHat-based Ukrainian/Russian Linux distribution
Brass Monkey 0.0.4 PHP scripts that let you maintain an online journal
Buzzer Electronic Notebook 1.0 A note and to-do list program for X.
bzip2 0.9.5d Very high-quality data compression program
CD-ROM Control for Linux CD-Rom Control for Linux 1.5 CD-Rom control panel
chbg 0.7 Desktop background changer and manager
checkmails 0.2 Very simple pop3 mail biff with GUI setup
ckmame 0.4 MAME rom set checker and fixer
coda 5.3.1 Full featured network filesystem
Code Crusader 2.1.4 complete code development environment, inspired by MetroWerks CodeWarrior
Code Medic 1.0.4 UNIX Debugging Environment
ColdStore 990919 gigabyte-scale persistent object store
cole 2.0.1 A free C OLE library
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0b10 Internet Printing System for UNIX
CompuPic 4.6 build 1019 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
console othello 0.01 The Classic Othello Board Game
CSCMail 1.3.3 Gtk E-Mail Client written in Perl
Cut The Crap 0.3.1 Ad-blocking proxy-like python-based software.
Dante 1.1.0 Free socks v4/5 implementation
DBIx::CGI 0.04 Easy to Use DBI Interface for CGI Scripts
dbXML 0.1 (09/24/1999) Structure Document DBMS
Dinotrace 9.0d X Waveform viewer for Verilog
Disc Backup 1.2.1 Backups files onto multipule CDs.
Display Ghostscript 0.5.8 The Display Ghostscript System for GNUstep.
Downloader for X 1.05-BETA Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
DPS-FTP 0.5.2 Bulletproof-like ftp client
Dump/Restore 0.4b5 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
EasyNet 1.1 Lightweight C++ TCP/IP stream class library
Eddie 1.3.0 Robust, clustering, load balancing, high availability, web server tool.
elknews 0.1.3 Usenet Newsreader
Enlightenment 0.16.devel.8 Fast, flexible and very extensible Window Manager
Epeios 19990928 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
ESM 0.03 A system monitoring tool.
ETest 0.9.1 Regression Test Framework for Eiffel Programs
Etherboot 4.2.8 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.7.5 GUI network protocol analyzer
eud2mbox 1.0 Eudora Mailbox (.mbx) to standard mbox converter
ExeterXML Server 1.0 Web Server that applies server-side style sheets to XML
Eye of Gnome 0.1 The GNOME image viewing and cataloging program
Fake 1.1.3 Utility to switch in backup servers on a LAN
Fast Webpage Exchanger 1.7.2 Easy and fast FTP client for updating webpages
fetchmail 5.1.0 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
finddups 1.2 Find duplicate files by way of MD5 signatures irregardless of file renames.
FireMail 1.1 Tool sorting the incoming mail and removing spam
flexbackup 0.9.5 Flexible backup script
flshutdown 1.0b1 graphical shutdown application
FLTK 1.0.6 C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL
Fm 0.21 Gtk+ lightweight file manager
fookb 2.1 Xkb state indicator
FORGE JCE Provider 1.3 A free JCE 1.2 crypto provider that gives RSA key services
FORUM 2.0.7 Another PHP3/Mysql forum with some nifty features
Free Standard Game Server 0.7b10 Battle.net-compatible game server
freemed 19990928 Free medical management software in a web browser
FreeWorld BBS 0.3.0 BBS Software for Linux
gAlan 0.2.2 Modular OSS/Win32 synth/sequencer/drum-machine/fx
Galway 0.27 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
Gaspell .28.5 A Gnome Frontend to Aspell
gcombust 0.1.24 gtk+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
gd 1.7.0 A library used to create PNG images
getarticle 1.02 A batch NNTP retriever companion program for use with Knews
Getleft 0.7.0 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
gFTP 2.0.5 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
GIP 0.4 Make installation/uninstallation easier
GLib 1.2.5 The GLib library of C routines
glTron 0.45 tron-like game with a 3D view
Gnome Display Manager 2.0beta3 Gnome version of the X Display Manager (xdm)
Gnome Toaster 09-26-99 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
GNU indent 2.2.2 GNU indenting program
GNU make 3.78.1 Controls the generation of executables and other non-source files
GNU parted 0.0.3 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU pop3d 0.9.8 A small, fast, and efficient POP3 server.
GNU Pth 1.2b6 GNU Portable Threads
GNU Stow 1.3.2 Manages the installation of software packages.
gPhoto 0.3.9 GNU Digital Camera download software
GProc 0.3.6 Managing process from the Gnome panel
Gsnhood 0.0.4 SMB share browse utility
GTK+ 1.2.5 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GTK+XFce 3.1.1 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
gtk-engines-extra 0.5.1 Extra themes and engines for GTK toolkit
GTKdiff 0.9.9 GTK+ diff frontend
guile 1.3.4 GNU extension language, an embeddable library implementation of scheme
gvnd 0.0.3-15.3 Graphical Unix information/network environment
hc-cron 0.13 A modified version of Paul Vixie's widely used cron daemon
HDBENCH clone 0.13.1 A graphical benchmark software
Hoard 1.0 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
ht://Dig 3.1.3 Complete world wide web indexing and searching system
HTML::EP 0.20_00 PHP-like system based on Perl
HTML::EP::Glimpse 0.02 Simple search engine based on Glimpse
HTML::Template 0.91 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
httpmanage 0.2 PHP3 tool that provides functions to manage two versions of HTML files
ICRadius 0.9 Powerful cross platform radius server
IDproxy 0.01 Daemon for integrating an IDenticard access card system into Unix environment
IglooFTP-PRO 0.9.4 Powerfull and User Friendly FTP client
InterfaceLED 0.3 Interface monitor program
interpcom 2.0.3 Command interpreter Library
Introduction to Linux 1.20 Introduction to Linux Training Manual
IPLimit 0.9 Avoid denial of service on internet daemons with per-host limits.
jPOS 1.1 dev 100% java ISO-8583/ANSI X9.2 implementation
JSF 1.0.1 GUI Front end to SpeakFreely audio conferencing tool.
Just Another Tetris Just another Tetris 0.4 Small and simple Tetris clone
jwhois 2.1 A collection of Perl programs for the whois service
kdbg 1.0beta3 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
KDevelop 1.0 Beta3 KDevelop is a new C++ development environment for Unix/X11.
kernel configurator 0.2 Tool to help building Linux kernel
Kmp3 1.0 pre2 A KDE MP3 Player
Kmud 0.1 KDE mud client
Knetdump 0.7.1 Network sniffing/analyzing tool
KNode 0.1.1 Online-newsreader for KDE
KPlot3d 0.51 Tool for ploting 3d function z = f(x,y) for KDE
kplotw 0.0.4 A user-friendly 2D plotting widget for KDE
kpsql 1.0 A SQL GUI client for PostgreSQL/K Desktop
ksysv 1.0.0pre3 Editor for System V Init configurations
LANdb 0.65 Provides network managers with a means of cataloging network connections.
Laptop-HOWTO 1.7 How to make the best of Linux features with laptops.
LDAP Explorer 1.11 PHP3 Application
LEAP RDBMS A free Relational Database Management System
lftp 2.1.0 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libtiff 3.5.2 Library for manipulation of TIFF (Tag Image File Format) images.
libxml 1.7.1 The libXML library.
Linuxconf 1.16r3.2 Sophisticated administrative tool
lm_sensors 2.4.1 LM78 and LM75 drivers
Lokkit 1.0pre1 End User Firewall Configuration Tool
Lout 3.17 Document formatting system
LTSP 1.0 Linux Terminal Server Project
MagiCapture 0.3.3 Screen capture and preview utility for the X Window System
MAM 0.1.0 A mod_auth_mysql user/group manager (mod_perl safe)
Mangle 2.1 C/C++ Source de-formatter/de-commentor
masqidentd 1.1.2 Ident daemon for Linux systems that use IP Masquerade
MasqMail 0.0.2 Offline Mail Transfer Agent
mbi 1.0.0 Tool for generating and manipulating huge mandelbrot sets (fractals)
Mesa 3.1 beta 3 3-D graphics library which uses the OpenGL API
Metaverse Visual Chat 0.4-1 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
Midgard 1.2.3 A PHP Application Server Suite - Web building with Web-based tools
Midnight Commander 4.5.39 Unix file manager and shell
MindTerm 1.0.1 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
MM 1.0.12 Shared Memory Library
mod_ssl 2.4.4-1.3.9 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
MOIS 0.18 My Own IRC Script for ircII
MultiSeti 0.1 Seti@Home Utility to manage multiple seti@home packets
Mutt 1.0pre3 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
MyNews-1.0 MyNews 1.0 php script which updates/maintains news on a web site
MySQL 3.23.4-alpha SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
MySQL driver for AOLserver 1.0.0 Enables you to use MySQL database server with the AOLserver web server
Myth II: Soulblighter for Linux patch 1.3b Patch for the battle-strategy game from Loki
NAMG 0.1.7 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
Neslie 2.2.1 FTN Type2+ packet/message viewer
netfilter 0.1.9 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
Netscape Communicator 4.7 All-in-one browser and communications suite
NetSpades 4.2.0 Four player networked spades game
NetWoorms 1.6 Multiplayer, networked game, similar to 'nibbles' that runs on the console
Nibbles for NCurses 0.0.4 Nibbles/Snake clone for ncurses
nmap 2.3BETA6 Full featured, robust port scanner
nullmailer 0.37 A simple to configure relay-only MTA.
nwsh 0.1.0 Low-RAM shell with modules support
omega 0.6.8 Implementation and extension of the M-Technology (MUMPS) standards
OpenNaken 0.30 Tcl/Tk client for Naken Chat
opensched 0.0.5-A13 A project scheduling system for Unix systems, with LaTeX and EPS output.
Oracle TableBrowser 2.0 An Oracle Table and Index Browser/Modifier for Linux/GTK
Orgasm 0.09 Machine code assembler for 6502 microprocessors
pam_cryptocard 0.1 PAM module for cryptographic challenge-response authentication
pasdoc 0.6.8 Pascal documentation generator
pavuk 0.9pl20 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
Perl WebStats 1.1 Perl Apache log analyzer/report generator
pftp 1.0.17 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
Phorum 3.0.6 Phorum is a web based discussion software written in PHP
phpAds 1.2.0 Banner management and tracking system written in PHP
pk 0.9.0 An Open-Source POSIX Threads embedded real-time kernel
Pollera 1.2.01 A www poll system meant to be run via CGI.
PoPToP 1.0.0 PPTP Server for Linux
POSIX ACLs for Linux 0.5.2 (alpha) Kernel patches for ACLs, Ext2 file system implementation, and user utilities
Postfix Beta 19990906 Patchlevel 05 The Postfix MTA
pppoe 0.2 PPP-over-Ethernet redirector for Linux
procps 2.0.4 A package of utilities which report on the state of the system
ProFTPD 1.2.0pre7 Advanced, incrediblyconfigurable and secure FTP daemon
PTlink Services 1.2.0 IRC Registration Services
pvmsync 0.45 patches Extends POSIX-like synchronization mechanisms to a Linux Beowulf cluster
Pybliographer 0.9.3 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
pyCA 0.5.5 A project to create Certification Authority in Python
QextMDI 0.1 (alpha) cross-platform GUI library extending Qt with MDI functionality
QtEZ 0.82.1 Qt based rapid application development environment
Quick Image Viewer 1.2 A very small and pretty fast GDK/Imlibimage viewer
RadioActive 0.7 patch Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
radiusd-sql 980618 RADIUS server modified to store accounting in a MySQL database
RearSite 0.93 Tool for updating personal www pages
Rm_old.pl 0.1 Lists all files older than a specified date, create shell scripts to remove them
robomod 0.4.3 Perl sripts(s) to moderate newsgruops; multiple moderators support
sawmill 0.9 Extensible window manager
Scintilla 1.01 Source code editing component and tiny IDE for Win32 and GTK+.
Screen-Shooter 0.9.7 Gnome applet for taking screenshots
ScryMUD 2.0.4 Original MUD Server and Java Client
SCWM 0.99.3 Scheme Constraints Window Manager
secret-share 0.0.0 Cryptographically split a file into multiple pieces
SharedArray 1.0 A templated C++ class representing an array in Linux IPC shared memory
Sims Computing Test Bed 0.13 Tool for writing unit tests for your Java code
Slice 1.3.4 Extract out pre-defined slices of an ASCII file
Small Arms Ballistics 1.1 Basic small arms ballistics calculator
SMS Client 2.0.8r Command line based utility which allows you to send SMS messages
Snort 1.3 Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
SoundTracker 0.3.4 A music tracker for X / GTK+
spod-magic 1.1.2 Produces desired output from no input.
Sporum 1.2b1 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.4 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
Squaroid 0.50 Make points by creating squares on a 8x8 fields board
Squid 2.2.STABLE5 High performance Web proxy cache
star trek ency reader 0.7.0 Reads the star trek encyclopedia under linux
StegFS 1.0 Steganographic File System
SWISH++ 4.0b1 File indexing and searching engine (typically used for web servers).
Sympa 2.3.2 A powerful multilingual List Manager- LDAP and SQL features.
T.U.T. 1.0 A simple UDP and TCP tunneler
TclBot 0.2.0 A 100% Tcl IRC Bot
tcpproxy 1.0 Light-Wieght TCP Proxy
Test Environment Toolkit 3.3b A toolkit for test development and management
tetris 0.0.13 NCurses-based tetris game.
tgif 4.1.21 Vector-based draw tool
The Finger Server 0.82 Web based, pseudo unix finger server
The Guild 0.1.88 A fully 3d-rendered/raytraced first-person interactive adventure
The Linux Console Tools 0.3.3 Allows you to set-up and manipulate theLinux console
THUD 0.19 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
TiMidity++ 2.6.0 Experimental MIDI to WAVE converter
TkBible 0.03 GUI front-end for BRS bible study software.
TkNotePad 0.6.8 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
tkRender final Wrapper for PovRay command line
tk_Brief 4.0 GUI for writing letters with LaTeX
TmCde broker 0.3.0 Timecode calculator (broker part)
TmCde JAVA frontend 0.3.0 Timecode calculator (JAVA frontend part)
TmCde WEB frontend 0.1.0 Timecode calculator (WEB frontend part)
Toby 1.0a3 Improved version of LOGO programming langauge.
tozwgc 0.1 Image to Zephyr message converter
Tsinvest 0.7 Quantitative financial analysis of equities.
Tya 1.5 JIT-compiler
udpproxy 1.1 Light-Weight UDP Proxy
Unreal Tournament demo 338 Unreal Tournament demo (client/server)
UnrealIRCd 2.1.6-tCx3 Advanced IRC daemon based off EliteIRCd with numerous of new features
util-linux 2.9y Miscellaneous system utilities
VICE 1.1 Versatile Commodore Emulator
ViHP 0.13 A streaming webcam server written in perl
Vim 5.5 Popular vi clone that features syntax highlighting and an X11 interface
ViPEC 1.09 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
vpopmail 3.4.9 qmail addon package for virtual domain email
vtun 2.0b Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
WebInsight Beta 1 Gather and analyze information about activity on your website
WebMail 0.6.0 Web frontend for Unix system mailboxes
whatpix 0.1 Duplicate file finder.
Window Maker Theme Install 0.6 Window Maker theme installation program written in Gtk
Wine 990923 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wu-ftpd 2.6.0pre4 FTP Daemon for UNIX systems
X ARCHON 0.31 A clone of the classic ARCHON game
X-Chat 1.3.3 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
XDBM Beta 3 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XEmacs 21.1.7 Internationalized text editor
xfigchart.pl 0.4 Bar chart generator for XFig
xlHtml 0.1.8 XLS to HTML converter
XML::Parser 2.27 XML Parser module for perl based on James Clark's expat lib
Xmms X MultiMedia System
xpuyopuyo 0.2.3 Tetris-like puzzle game with AI
XSane 0.36 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
XShipWars 1.17 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
xttitle 1.0 Utility for changing the title of xterm windows
ya-wipe 1.0.0 Secure file wiper
Yams 0.5.0 An e-commerce package written in Perl and utilizing a MySQL database.
yplot 1.0.2 A Yorick interface to PLPlot

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Linux-driver.com aims to be a complete resource for people trying to get Linux running on particular hardware. There's the usual collection of HOWTOs and such; they are also aiming to get a collection of actual drivers together.

If you are looking for commercial Linux software, consider having a look at the Linux Product Guide. They have put together a nice database of commercial alternatives, including pricing information.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

September 30, 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.

A number of this week's letters refer to this unpleasant article in the National Post.

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 12:45:10 -0700
From: Pascal Martin <pascal.martin@iname.com>
To: letters@lwn.net, wchiou@linuxone.net
Subject: About LinuxOne

I have been through the LinuxOne web site. A very interesting walk !

LinuxOne is founded and managed by a military industry and NASA
executive veteran, a venture capital representative acting as CFO,
a physicist & philosopher with MBAs in marketing and "high technology
management", and a salesperson. The marketing VP is listed as the one
with technology insight. The LinuxOne CEO expects to "rival Microsoft
in its formative years", based on his own business plan.

There seems to be no VP of engineering; the web site never talk about
software developers, except in the "employment" page. They announce a
"strategic relationship" with MandrakeSoft, to open a development center
in China and release a Chinese version of Mandrake. It might be possible
that their developers are in China. Why don't they talk about them ?

They announce they will "place carefully selected software modules in
the public domain [...] to encourage other companies to port their
applications [...]", maybe confusing free software with public domain.
They announce on September 9 that a beta release will be available for
free download. Well.. "download" is either UPS or FedEx 8-}, and free
is down to $9.95, from a listed standard price of $29.95. Could one be
more excited with free software than that ?

LinuxOne "plans to distribute the Apache server software to its
customers", adding that the "Apache Group has [...] captured a
significant portion of the server market". Sounds like they believe
Apache is a commercial product, which will be ported to Linux and help
them differentiate their products ?

They announce high quality support, but there is no support
organization to be found. They announce seminars, but there is no
speaker's name listed.  They will offer consulting services from
"recognized experts in the Linux arena", but their employment page
don't list any consultant position.

They intend to develop and port application software. This may be a
way to get out of the Linux distribution traffic jam. Which
applications ?  None of the managers claims to have experience in the
application software arena. They seems to be interested with high
availability, which make me think they are looking for big account
business, a fit for their corporate background.

This is a very Corporate America startup. Make me feel good about Red


Pascal F. Martin.
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 19:19:25 -0700
To: lwn@lwn.net
From: jeff@alum.mit.edu
Subject: mail-archive.com

I implemented and run The Mail Archive (http://www.mail-archive.com)
and want to share my experiences. The service was originally started
to fulfill a personal need ("I waste too much time sorting my mail")
about two years ago, and then evolved into a Internet service.
Mail-archive.com runs on Linux and makes use of lots and lots of free
software. The best engineering aspect was not having to re-invent the
wheel. Because *nix software is programmer friendly, it was quite
easy to tie things together. (And there were a lot of things! htdig,
MHonArc, nmh, the system logging daemon, apache, cron, make, rpm, the
GNU file utilities, and maybe more that I'm forgetting.) I was able to
concentrate on the unique aspects of the service and not have to
re-invent every little (or big) thing. Keeping the work simple and
small was an enormous win.

Also, the underlying software proved robust at all levels. I ended up
putting millions of files on an ext2 partition, and processing an
enormous number of emails (with varying degrees of compliance to IETF
standards) through MHonArc. Everything has held up great, and I've
seen my feedback incorporated into several pieces of software. Things
run automatically and don't crash.

In summary, it was possible to produce a quality service, on a
hobbyist sized budget, with a hobbyist amount of development time. It
wasn't dead trivial -- I have had to learn, from necessity, some
things about performance tuning and system security. But I'm very
happy to have avoided the all too common morass of complexity,
expense, time, and poor reliability (I could easily see this service
implemented with some expensive proprietary database and going
downhill from there!)

Thus far the service has supported hundreds of free software projects,
including some that are well known. Blackdown's java-linux project,
xmame, and the Linux-Mandrake distribution use our service for primary
list archives. Both the arabic-linux and the linux-il mailing lists
use the service; while it may be a bit much to expect peace in the
Middle East through Linux, I take it as a good sign.

Anyone involved with a free software project is welcome to help
themselves to the archiving service. Also, anyone interested in
creating similar services (like a quality online bug tracking service,
hint, hint), consider yourself encouraged.


Jeff Breidenbach
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 22:32:38 +0200
From: Bernd Paysan <bernd.paysan@gmx.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: GPL and "internal projects" (Corel beta)

Lawyers should be able to read the GPL. It says especially in point 6

"6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
these terms and conditions.  You may not impose any further
restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

This also covers "internal projects", which usually restrict rights of
recipients of informations by NDAs or other contracts. These contracts
are null and void if the information given to them is a GPL'd program -
or the license to use the GPL'd program terminates immediately. Note
that the GPL is an individual license (it talks about "the recipient"),
thus the program isn't licensed to a company, but to persons. Moving a
disk from cubicle 318 to cubicle 319 is a distribution in the terms of
the license, and henceforth any restriction or limitations are null and
void *and* cause the license to terminate.

In other words: IMHO the current treatment of "internal projects" with
modified GPL'd software are based on the goodwill of the participants,
as nothing prevents them to redistribute the software they get under
GPL. More so for less internal projects like a public beta test, where
nobody risks getting fired.

Note that there's a sort of "death penalty" in the GPL, point 4:

"4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
except as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is
void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License."

This means if you don't comply to the GPL, you don't have the right to
use/modify/distribute any other GPL'd program. The attempt is
sufficient, it doesn't need to be successful. I'm not for drastic
measures, but Corel's lawyers should know that they did sort of "chop
their own head off" by violating the GPL.

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 11:21:13 -0700
To: editor@lwn.net, raph@acm.org
From: Seth Cohn <sethcohn@yahoo.com>
Subject: Mwave nonsense

Corrections from a former MWave user...

>    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.

In fact, IBM has refused to release specs for quite a while, except under NDAs,
and Linux being what is it, developers refused to play that game, since it
was a very proprietary system.  Under Windows, Mwave caused nothing but 
problems, and was poorly supported by IBM and IBM licensees (most of who 
blamed IBM for the problems)

> All important specs on the MWave are in
> fact public (Linux driver writers have worked with a lot less).

Untrue.  Untrue for Windows drivers, Untrue for Linux.

Raph's web site points to http://watson.mbb.sfu.ca/ as an Mwave
site.  This site's been down for a year or more, and it was always
unofficial, but still much better support than anyone else ever gave.
IBM refusal to release drivers was talked about in the Mwave support
lists, over and over.  56K drivers existed, but weren't released for ages
and ages (if ever)

>    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.

Agreed.  They have the Mwave specs.  They have the source.

> If IBM were
> unwilling to release it as free software, I don't think anyone would
> fault them for releasing it as binary-only.

Yes, we would.  Binaries would suck, just as they did under Windows.

Mwave was a good idea, and if you bought one early, you could upgrade
from a 14.4 modem, all the way to a 33.6 or even 56K modem, just thru
software.  Voice features, Faxing, and other stuff was just a software
package away.  But IBM didn't understand Open Source yet, and they cut
the throat of Mwave, even to the point where the _authors_ of the code
couldn't send us copies of working code, because of fear someone 'higher'
at IBM would discover they'd 'leaked' it, even though IBM never intended
to distribute it at all.

Searching for 'Mwave' and 'Linux', you'll find lots of warnings to stay away
from Mwave.  The only answers were workarounds like loading dos drivers for 
soundblaster clone usage, then warm rebooting into Linux.

Seth Cohn

From: "Bermingham, Charles E." <berminghamc@ada.org>
To: "'letters@lwn.net'" <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: National Post article
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 09:45:56 -0500

I just read the National Post article you pointed me at in your "daily"
section.  I have two comments:

(1) Does this guy hold stock in Microsoft?  Or is he simply a conservative
business-man who has taken on the notion that the whole Linux world is a
Communist plot?  Ehter way, I found his commentary insulting and arrogant.
Since it would not be effective or appropriate to respond to his commentary
with this opinion, I'm just venting.  I have no idea how one would even
attempt to get anything across to a boor like this.

(2) If the above isn't true, this guy is an eminently superb troll.  And if
that's the case, a pox on him.

I guess I could make one more comment:  I remember that in the early 1970's,
a lot of conservative business-types and artist-types thought Woodstock was
the funniest and stupidest thing imaginable, in public.  Sometimes I wonder
if, in private, these same people were making deals for the residuals in the
back rooms?  And if *that* is the type of person this is, I can only say:
rats are shrewd, but people get tired of rats.  That's why we create rat
traps like anti-trust laws.
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 21:29:09 +0100
From: "Dirk A. Niggemann" <dirk.niggemann@peri.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Anti-Corel Article in National Post


I think I've noticed a disturbing tendency in editorials in some of the
online computing press- I would like to hear what the editors of this
publication think.

One of your major roles, like many 'linux in the news' sites is to
provide links to articles that may be of interest to the linux
community. Unfortunately, I feel that this practice reveals of the great
weakness of 'news portal' sites (Slashdot, I think being even more
vuilnerable, due to the 'informal' nature of the reader population, and
the fact that its links are largely reader-submitted.) - The slashdot
effect can be very easily exploited by online publishers seeking to up
their hitcount. 

I think that some online publications are placing an overly great
emphasis on 'hit-count' as a measure of the 'success' of articles, and
journalists and editors are exploiting the tendency of the linux
community to keep a close eye on its representation in the media by
publishing the equivalent of usenet 'trolls'. I think the authors of
some articles are hoping to draw hits simply by publishing an
inflammatory 'hey lets bash Linux/Unix/Free Software/Macs/etc....' 
article because they know:
a) There is a core of linux advocates and fans who spend a lot of time
looking through online news sites for linux articles, who will react
strongly to any anti-linux article.
b)  These people will provide these llnks to linux-specific news sites. 
c) The linux news site will quickly publish the link, making it widely
visible to the community. 
d) This will cause a 'slashdot effect' like stampede to their article,
upping the hitcount before the article has even been read (and
potentially discarded as time-wasting by the more astute of the
e) Reader talkback will first be dominated by the 'L1NuX R00lZ' style of
f) Any intelligent critiques of the of the article will be drowned out
in the stream of random invective, effectively relieving the article's
writer of posting and intelligent riposte/repy. 
g) The hitcount and amount of mail regarding the article make the
article's writer look good witb their editor, independently of the
article's quality.
I think the National Post article you linked to, containing a bitter
(and not very fact-filled) critique of Corel, with a few rather sharp
digs aimed at Slashdot, Linus Torvalds, the Open Source Movement, and
Mac users (Mac Users? hmmm.. this appears to be getting rather-
scattergun) has all the needed characteristics of such a troll article-
It is short on facts, long on biased opinions, and written in a tone
precisely tuned to incite foam at the mouth of the less calm members of
the linux community. 

I can easily accept that there are many people with strong opinions on
this subject either way, but I do find it deplorable that some online
publications are exploiting this to increase their visibility.
Admittedly, the community is somewhat gullible on this, but it is a
natural vulenrability that publishers are learning to exploit
(increasing their 'ratings'- think banner ads here). 

 I cannot suggest realistically that you should not publish links to
such articles- (since they are a valuable source of 'how not to do PR
for Linux') but at the same time I wish someone would take a closer look
at this phenomenon (link-trolling?). Would the responsible publishers
release their 
hit stats under some circumstances?. Are there 'pay-per-hit' or
'clickthrough-indpendent advertising-revenue' deals with publishers out
there? How could you find out? I also suggest categorising certain
articles as 'flamebait'. 

The main issue here is not with, say, the equivalent of the Mindcraft
report or some of the critical 'installation nightmare' articles. I am
looking more at the editorial side of the spectrum (such as Metcalfe's
'Open Sores' article) where there is a good chance the article's author
is presenting their opininons to deliberately incite people (and atract
them as a consequence).

It seems, in cyberspace, you need to insult your audience to get good
ratings. Scary.

(The really odd thing is- the article actually mentions the slashdot
effect. It's as if the author is _daring_ somebody to realize they're


Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 13:38:21 +1000
From: Matt Atterbury <matterbury@qantas.com.au>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Anti-Linux pages

Hi backpagers,

I couldn't reach the anti-linux page
(typo) maybe, but I could reach http://come.to/consortium.

I really wouldn't know how to counter the arguments of Sawman, as there are
no arguments, just a bunch of rabid anti-linux claims. If this is strongest
"argument" s/he can put, I don't think pro-linux'ers have to worry about
this person. Basically, this site is not even worth visiting to check out
what s/he has to say (IMO), but that will probably only make you do just
that! :-)

matt@qbd.com.au                                         "klaatu barada
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