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Leading items and editorials

Software patents strike again. Last year, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a patent for a simple technique called "windowing" which is used almost universally for converting two-digit dates into y2k-compliant four-digit dates. It is a ridiculous patent, and deserves to die in court. Meanwhile, however, we have a problem: the Linux kernel contains code which implements the patented algorithm. Please see our feature article on the subject for more information on the latest threat posed to free software by software patents.

Speaking of software patents: Are you ready for Burn All GIFs Day? asks Eric Raymond. The target date is November 5 to get all GIF files off of web sites to protest Unisys's obnoxious patent actions.

Corel signs another deal. This time around, Corel has announced an arrangement with PC Chips wherein copies of Corel Linux and Word Perfect will be shipped with every motherboard that PC Chips sells. PC Chips turns over a fair number of motherboards: 15 million in 1998. They estimate that 20 million motherboards with the Corel "white box" distribution will ship in 2000. That translates into a tremendous number of copies of Corel Linux out there - Corel disks may become even more ubiquitous than those from AOL.

This arrangement has an obvious value for Corel, in that it puts Corel Linux into the hands of millions of potential users. Some of them will certainly throw it on and give it a spin. That means more Corel Linux users.

But the real value lies elsewhere. A growing part of the PC market is in the area of very cheap systems. PC's costing less than $500 have already created pressure on vendors to abandon Windows in favor of something cheaper; often Linux. Now these vendors - at least those using PC Chips motherboards - find themselves handed a slick Linux distribution as part of the hardware they build systems from. One might guess that these vendors will be very likely to install Corel's distribution on their Linux systems. The result should be Corel Linux appearing on a lot of preinstalled systems.

As the commercial competition between the distributions heats up, we should expect to see more of this sort of deal. And it is in the making of these deals that the weight of bigger, established players in the computing market may be felt. Consider, for a moment, a comparison of two publicly traded Linux distributors, taken from their August quarterly reports (except for market capitalization, which is from November 2):

CompanyMarket cap
Red Hat6000 1914.4
Corel412 145671.0

If you look past the market capitalization of the two companies, Corel looks to be an order of magnitude larger than Red Hat. The muscle that comes with that size, along with the contacts made over many years in the software business, will give companies like Corel (and those much larger than Corel) an edge when it comes to negotiating deals like the one with PC Chips. As a result, Corel now looks likely to ship far more copies of Linux - even counting knockoffs and downloads - than Red Hat in 2000. Such things are subject to change, of course, but it is an interesting sign of how the Linux distribution business could go.

The Linux Business Expo is happening November 15-19, alongside the fall Comdex in Las Vegas. LWN will be present at this event; we'll even have a booth on the expo floor. Those who are planning at attending the LBE should be sure to drop by and say "hi."

Expect quite a few announcements to come out of this event. Corel is planning to launch its distribution at that time, and Caldera evidently has a number of announcements up its sleeve as well. As a Linux technical event the LBE has little to offer; as a business event it should be a very busy place.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: The DVD hack
  • Kernel: Using 64GB of memory on IA-32 systems; Bogus Bogomips
  • Distributions: Slackware 7.0 is announced
  • Development: Mozilla gets reconsidered
  • Commerce: Creative Labs releases GPL SB Live driver; LinuxOne has a product
  • Back page: Linux links of the week, letters to the editor.
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

November 4, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

The DVD crack. To get support from major motion picture studios and other producers of video output, the creators of the DVD standard built into the DVD format encryption protections. Now it turns out that those encryption protections were pretty weak. NTKnow noted and followed the results when the source code for DeCSS, a package that can be used for copying DVD content to a harddrive, was made publicly available. This opened the encryption algorithm to public scrutiny, which resulted in it being quickly broken. The keys of over 170 DVD licensees were quickly extracted. NTKnow commented:
"The CSS decryption system sucks. It works by storing a whole bunch of keys on each DVD. Industry overseers, the DVD Forum, hand out one matching decryption key to each manufacturer: if any of these company's equipment got cracked, future DVD disc's were to be pressed without this key, making the crack (and that company's hardware) unusable with new movies. Quite whether the Forum would ever dare to carry out this threat against its own licensees is unclear."

The impact of this is yet to be seen. Will the Motion Picture Association withdraw its support for the technology? Will it just resort in more legal action to try and discourage piracy? No official comments out of the DVD community are available yet.

Meanwhile, of course, the issue of keeping encryption algorithms secret has been raised again. Some will argue that the algorithm would not have been broken if it were not exposed. The rest of us will argue that a public-review process would have prevented the use of a weak algorithm and therefore prevented this fiasco for the DVD industry.

IPsec, a rising star? Netscape/CMPNet appear to think so. This past week, they issued two feature articles focusing on IPsec. The first argues that IPsec's time as finally arrived.

It has been a long time coming. But IPSec, which languished in the IETF standards process during a bitter battle over control of its encryption-key architecture a couple of years ago, is finally showing some star quality. During the past year, this protocol for securing business-to-business IP traffic has shown up in popular VPN gateways, firewalls, switches and routers.
How to address the impact of IPsec on network bottlenecks was the focus of the second article
As the demand for Internet bandwidth continues to surge, one aspect of the networking landscape has been largely ignored: the need for security processing to be omnipresent. People tend to forget that although routers and switches approach the terabit range in capability, the ability to perform inline encryption and authentication typically remains restricted to 100 Mbits/second or lower. If one considers the additional overhead imposed by Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) processing (packet construction and deconstruction), then the task of supporting high-bandwidth data transmission becomes quite daunting.

Security Reports

uum and canuum. A recent posting to BugTraq reported several different vulnerabilities. Two of the vulnerabilities reported were Linux-related, dealing with two packages, umm and canuum, which are included with some Linux distributions for Japanese support. The vulnerabilities were specfically reported under TurboLinux, but may impact other distributions as well. No workaround is provided currently, so you may want to consider disabling or removing these packages until updates are provided. Both packages can be exploited to gain root privileges.


am-utils. Remotely exploitable buffer overflows.

lpd: File permission problems with lpr and lpd can allow a user to print a file which they are not allowed to read.

ypserv: ypserv prior to 1.3.9 had a variety of security problems. An upgrade to 1.3.9 is recommended.


Stack Shield 0.6. A new beta release of Stack Shield is now out. Stack Shield is a tool that can be used to recompile code to protect against potentially exploitable buffer overflows. This release includes a new protection against "function pointer" attacks.


Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 4, 1999

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

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.25. As usual, this release came with no announcement; a look at the patch reveals a fair number of architecture-specific and driver changes. There has also been a reorganization of the procfs code, which has created some residual problems elsewhere in the kernel - especially with external add-on patches like netfilter or IPSEC. These problems are being ironed out quickly.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.13. Alan Cox has been releasing 2.2.14 pre-patches, with the latest one being 2.2.14pre3. This patch contains a great many changes, including (at last) an updated Tulip ethernet driver and a lot of fixes. Knfsd 0.4.7 from H.J. Lu remains in this patch, and that looks like the version (with a fix or two) which will go into 2.2.14; the later knfsd patches are still a little too development quality for a stable kernel release.

64GB physical memory support on IA-32 is now a reality. Remember just a few months ago when the limit was 1GB? Things have progressed since then.

The 64GB support was written by Ingo Molnar, and slipped into 2.3.23 (despite the current feature freeze). It expands page table entries to 64 bits using a special addressing mode supported on Pentium Pro (and beyond) CPUs. With 64 bits you can support an unbelievable amount of memory; the 64GB limit is there now because that is all the current processors can handle.

The amount of virtual memory that any individual process can access remains 4GB; that will likely never change on 32-bit processors.

Some challenges remain. Before anything else, there are still some residual problems left over from the page table changes; a number of people (including Christoph Roland from SAP) have been fixing those up. To effectively make use of large amounts of memory, the kernel page cache must be able to take advantage of high memory. Ingo claims to have that working now. Getting the device drivers to handle 64-bit DMA operations will require some effort as well.

This is a crucial piece of work - a rather embarrassing Linux limit has now been completely removed. Congratulations are in order for Ingo and the others who have been doing this work. (For more information, please see Ingo's description of the 64GB work - that is the source of almost all of the above information).

Bogus Bogomips? Anybody who has watched a Linux system boot has seen the "bogomips" calculation which happens toward the beginning of the process. Bogomips are a simplistic calculation of the speed of the processor; the bogomips value is used to calculate the length of short, busy-wait delay loops.

Some people have noted that the bogomips calculation has a fundamental flaw: it assumes that the speed of the processor does not change. Variable-speed processors do exist, however, and are becoming more common. Perhaps the most obvious application for such processors is in laptop computers; when the battery runs low, the processor can be slowed down to save power. Some systems will also slow the processor when its temperature gets too high.

When the processor speed changes, the bogomips value used by the kernel should also change. Otherwise delays will be too long or too short. In the former case, the system simply slows down, but in the latter the consequences could be more severe. There is a fair amount of hardware out there which, unfortunately, requires delays to operate correctly. If the system does not wait as long as is needed, the hardware could malfunction, crash the system, corrupt data, or invest your life savings in LinuxOne stock. These are not desirable outcomes.

What to do? That is a good question. Recalculating bogomips on the fly is an expensive, time-consuming operation, and not all systems bother to inform the operating system when the clock speed changes. The hardware realtime clock is an accurate timebase at any clock speed, but lacks the resolution needed for short delays. There does not appear to be a good solution waiting in the wings at the moment.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Initial debugging support for streaming SIMD instructions was announced by Jim Blandy. This work is being done by Cygnus and supported by Intel.

  • PPSkit 0.8.1 (nanosecond timekeeping) was released by Ulrich Windl.

  • Version 0.10, of a driver for sound cards using the ESS Maestro chips was released by Zach Brown.

  • Creative has released a GPL driver for its SB Live card - more information on this week's Commerce page.

  • The devfs patch from Richard Gooch is up to version 133. It is accompanied by devfsd 1.2.8 and devfs v99.6 which is intended for 2.2 kernels.

  • Borislav Deianov announced a "pre-alpha" implementation of a hierarchical fair scheduler for SMP systems.

  • Version 1.6 of the SMP HOWTO has been released by David Mentré.

  • Netfilter 0.1.11 (the new firewalling and masquerading system) has been released by Paul Rusty Russell and others.

  • Version 0.8 of the USB HOWTO has been released by Brad Hards.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

November 4, 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.

ET-Linux 1.1.0 released. Prosa srl has announced the release of ET-Linux 1.1.0. ET-Linux is a very small distribution aimed at embedded systems.

The LibraNet Linux Desktop. LibraNet is a Debian-based distribution that focuses on providing "a first class Linux Desktop". It was created and is supported by Libra Computer Systems Ltd. out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was also mentioned on Wednesday, November 3rd, on Slashdot, for people interested in general comments on the distribution.

Best Linux

Best Linux beta programme. SOT has announced a beta programme for Best Linux, a distribution out of Finland that is now being made available for English-speakers as well. "We have the most popular Linux distribution in Finland and Sweden. Now it's time to share it with the international Linux community. Releasing a free-of-charge beta CD-ROM for international developers enables us to establish useful connections and get immediate feedback before releasing the final version."

Caldera OpenLinux

[New Caldera logo] Web site revamp. The Caldera Systems web page has been totally revamped, as has the corporate logo. It looks nice and certainly the site update has been long overdue.

LinuxWorld interviews Ransom Love. Nicholas Petreley interviews Caldera Systems CEO Ransom Love in this LinuxWorld article. "Linux isn't going to replace Windows, necessarily; the PC didn't replace the mainframe. But in this new paradigm, where the services are placed across the Internet, why pay exorbitant amounts of money on something that doesn't work?"

Evaluating OpenLinux 2.3 (Performance Computing). Performance Computing reviews OpenLinux 2.3. "If you are looking for an OS that is sturdy, easy to use, and easy to support, then Caldera's OpenLinux is an excellent choice. And if you are looking for an OS that offers the simplest installation and administration of all of them, then look no further. This version of OpenLinux is simple enough for a child to configure and robust enough to be used as a Web server."

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News. This week's Debian Weekly News reports that the freeze of the distribution, in preparation for the next release, has been postponed until November 7th. Such postponements are not uncommon in the Debian release cycle. Meanwhile, 75 release-critical bugs were squashed at the bug-squashing party this past weekend.

License concerns with Corel continue. The DWN mentions that, although the problem with lib-apt has been resolved, there are other examples of Corel combining Qt code and GPL code. Ian Jackson pointed out a possible violation involving dpkg and is contacting Corel to discuss the issue. To keep the issue murky, not everyone agrees with Ian that this specific case is actually a violation, as witnessed by this note from Bruce Perens.

Corel has also had an opportunity to respond in the form of this note from Erich Forler, Product Development Manager for Corel Linux. "Richard Stallman has had some communication with one of our engineers and I've started a document outlining some of the areas that Corel's legal department was concerned with."

Green Frog Linux

Green Frog Linux 0.4a has been announced. It is a small Linux distribution intended as a good starting point for people who want to "roll their own" distribution. The new release has been restructured and new packages have been added.


MandrakeSoft at the Linux Business Expo. The Linux-Mandrake folks have announced that they will have a booth at the Linux Business Expo, being held alongside Comdex in Las Vegas, November 15-19.

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat to expand support offerings (ZDNet). Red Hat will be announcing commercial support for sendmail and apache, according to this ZDNet article. "The announcement will serve as a launching point as well. Eventually Red Hat intends to support all applications that are committed to the open-source development model."

Slackware Linux

Slackware 7.0 has been released. You can check out the news about it either via their official announcement or by going directly to the Slackware.com site.
Slackware Linux 7.0 is out of beta and ready to roll! Now based on glibc-2.1.2 and the 2.2.13 (final) kernel, 7.0 is another impressive upgrade. The new features include (but are not limited to) XFree86 3.3.5, KDE 1.1.2, October Gnome, and a ton of new setup coolness.

Curious about the jump from version 4.0 to 7.0? Patrick Volkerding contributed his comments on version number inflation. "I think it's clear that some other distributions inflated their version numbers for marketing purposes, and I've had to field (way too many times) the question "why isn't yours 6.x" or worse "when will you upgrade to Linux 6.0" which really drives home the effectiveness of this simple trick. " He did promise not to do it again as long as the other distributions avoided this tactic as well.

The main Slackware site has also had an overhaul:

www.slackware.com has just received its first official overhaul and reconstruction. Painstakingly handcrafted from authentic slack by webmasters trained in the art of PHP-fu at a Secret Ninja Training Room deep below the Slackware East Coast Headquarters, the new www.slackware.com now sports:
  • A FAQ database of doom
  • A stylin' new Forum
  • A site search feature
  • ...and new colors! (now black on white!)

SuSE Linux

SuSE Linux on DVD. SuSE announces that SuSE 6.3, "expected in late November," will be available on DVD as well as CDROM.

Linux Day in Bremen, Germany. Lenz Grimmer dropped us a note to mention that the local LUG in Bremen, Germany was sponsoring a Linux Day on November 28th. Alan Cox will be attending, Lenz (who was born there) will be giving an introduction to Samba and (of course) demonstrating the installation of SuSE 6.3 and there will be parallel tracks of talks as well. Sounds like fun!

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 4, 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:
Alzza Linux
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
Phat 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 projects

Embedded Linux

New Embedded Linux Portal. LinuxDevices.com, a new portal for the embedded Linux community, has been announced. It was also the focus of this EETimes article. "The startup was founded by Rick Lehrbaum, known in embedded computing circles as a founder of Ampro Computers Inc., an embedded computing specialist that originated both the EBX motherboard form factor and the PC/104 and PC/104+ buses. Developers who've attended a PC/104 tutorial at a conference have likely seen Lehrbaum as the presenter. "

Michael Tiemann from Cygnus submitted the inaugural article to LinuxDevices.com, talking about EL/IX and its role in the emerging embedded Linux field. "By meeting the technical requirements of the embedded developer, using internationally accepted standards, with an open-source implementation, Cygnus intends to make the adoption of EL/IX a "no-brainer". ... But the impact of adopting EL/IX in the embedded community will be profound: flexibility and freedom will prevail over fragmentation. "


Feature articles have been added to the Gnome developer web site. This week's article is by Federico Mena Quintero and takes a look at "GdkPixbuf as a Replacement for Imlib".

No Gnome Development Summary this week. Havoc Pennington spent the week in Tokyo instead, but promises to make it up with an extra exciting issue next week.


KDbg 1.0 released. Version 1.0 of KDbg, the KDE graphical front end to the gdb debugger, has been released.


Midgard help now available. A group of volunteers is being organized to help people get through the process of correctly installing the Midgard web development suite. "This message is both a call for volunteers who have succesfully installed Midgard before and want to help others to get there, and an announcement that the installation help is now available."


Mozilla Status Update. The Mozilla Development Status report was updated this weekend and contains nitty gritty details about the current development progress. Meanwhile, on a less technical note, the Mozilla web site contains information on posting Mozilla-related job announcements, a contest to find design patterns in Mozilla and a mention that Mozilla's Bugzilla will now allow you to vote on the bug you find most annoying.

ComputerWorld revisits Mozilla. ComputerWorld has published a partial retraction of its recent critical article about Mozilla. "The jury is still out, but the future looks brighter for Mozilla and open source than I had thought, although I remain skeptical regarding how much and when Netscape Navigator will benefit." (Thanks to David Brownell).

Repeating a common theme, Joe Barr at LinuxWorld eats some of his former words about Mozilla in this week's Version Control. Page past the rants against AOL to find his current evaluation of Mozilla's M10 release. "I happily find myself in the position of bringing you good news followed by more good news. The first is that Mozilla is maturing nicely and looks like it will be a dandy when it's finally here. The second is that there is growing competition to be your Linux browser. Ain't it grand to be a Linux user these days?"


Wine Weekly News. The Wine Weekly News for November 1st reports "Wine 19991031 is out. Shall this version be dubbed Hallowine ? ", along with other Wine-related news.


WorldForge celebrates first birthday. The WorldForge project, which is developing "massively multiplayer online role playing games," is celebrating its first birthday today. Here's a wish for many more and a wave of the +3 two-handed sword from LWN.


The Zope Weekly News. This week's edition comments, among other reports, that "Many folks who have submitted Zope bug reports will be happy to see lots of fixes appearing in CVS. These fixes mark early preparations for a Zope 2.1 release".

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 4, 1999

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools

Progress for Ada on Linux. Ada 3.12p was released this week, promising better Linux support, Gtk bindings and more.


Linux JDK releases in mid-November. From the Blackdown site, we've found the first date for a possible JDK1.2.2 and JDK 1.1.8 release. "We've made significant progress with the problems plaguing the native threads implementation. Some core parts of the native threads library have been reimplemented to better utilize Linux threads. There is still one known problem with SMP systems but I hope we can do a 1.2.2 (and a 1.1.8) release in the second half of November. "

This is extremely good news, that people have been waiting to hear for a long time. Of course, such initial date estimates should be taken with a grain of salt, but they are a clear indication that the releases should be happening in the relatively near future.

Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell is a new O'Reilly book by David Flanagan that was announced this week as a followup to his previous work, "Java In a Nutshell".


Perl goodies at Perl.com. From the Perl News, we garnered that Perl.com released several new goodies this week, including:


Dr. Dobbs' Python-URL!. We received two Python-URL! issues in one week this time around. October 29th's edition announced two new Python books, the release of JPython 1.1b4 and more.

It was quickly followed by the November 2nd issue, with announcements of the upcoming Zope book and the Python Consortium, plus the usual links to interesting posts from the past week.

For more information on the JPython release, check the JPython News.

The Quick Python Book, by Daryl D. Harms, Kenneth McDonald, has been published. It is aimed at people already familiar with programming in other languages and delves immediately into Python's core features.


Tcl Blend and Jacl 1.2.5. New versions of Tcl Blend and Jacl have been announced.

Tcl + Java = A match made for scripting is the title of an article in Sunworld by Moses DeJong and Cameron Laird. It takes a look at how the latest releases of Tcl Blend and Jacl can be used to support Java development.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Creative Labs has released a driver for the SB Live card, and, even better, it is licensed under the GPL. SB Live users have been a long-suffering group; Creative initially did not want to support Linux at all, then released a buggy, binary-only driver that was not updated for a long time. So it is nice to see that they have now come around and made source code available. Even if the new driver works no better than the old one did, fixes should be available in a short period of time.

Alan Cox has already looked over the driver and sent back suggestions for improvements. He has also indicated that it will go off to Linus shortly for inclusion in the mainline kernel source.

With luck, Creative will see the just results from releasing this driver: now that SB Live cards will be properly supported under Linux, Linux users will start buying them. Creative is a hardware company, it has everything to gain by having its hardware be properly supported under Linux. Congratulations and thanks are due to Creative - better late than never. (See Creative's open source page for (a little) more information and downloads).

The Cobalt Networks initial public offering should happen on Friday, November 5. This IPO will be the first indication of how well the "Linux mania" carries over into the more hardware-oriented side of the business. Here's a press release about it.

LinuxOne has a product, which was actually released ahead of LinuxOne's intended IPO. Here is the press release for "LinuxOne Lite," a UMSDOS-based distribution which runs under Windows. It is presented as an easy way for Windows users to try out and experiment with Linux without having to go through a full installation.

LinuxOne Lite thus competes with other products, like WinLinux. It remains to be seen, however, whether there is really much of a market for "Linux over Windows" products. Meanwhile, this version of the operating system has certain limitations - such as the fact that it can not access the Internet - which will probably obstruct its widespread acceptance. It is not yet clear that LinuxOne has a compelling product to justify its IPO ambitions.

Those wishing to try out the product can find it on this slow FTP site. One wonders if it is really necessary, however, to download a 60MB swap file...

The Red Hat Center for Open Source. Red Hat has announced the creation of the "Red Hat Center for Open Source," a non-profit organization that "...will sponsor, support, promote and engage in a wide range of scientific and educational projects intended to advance the social principles of open source for the greater good of the general public." Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the announcement was the naming of John Seely Brown, a respected researcher and Xerox Chief Scientist, to the board of directors. Mr. Brown should bring an interesting voice to this center as it figures out what it is really doing.

Press Releases:

    Products for Linux:

  • Applix, Inc. announced that Applixware Office for Linux 4.4.2 has won a Linux Magazine Cool Product Award.

  • AutoGraph International is demonstrating its commitment to the Linux community through their EasyCopy suite of products.

  • CoolKeyboards Corporation announced that the 'Linux Cool Keyboard' is available from Atipa Linux Solutions.

  • Essential Communications announced the availability of a Linux driver for its PCI host bus adapter based on the High Performance Parallel Interface (HIPPI 800) standard.

  • Fujitsu Siemens Computers presented RMS (Reliant Monitor Software) for Linux.

  • Model Technology Inc. announced that ModelSim EE and SE will be available for the Linux operating system in VHDL, Verilog, and mixed HDL configurations.

  • MSC.NASTRAN is now now available for Linux. "To cater to a growing Linux-using customer base, MSC.Software recently introduced a Linux version of the world's most widely used finite element analysis (FEA) program -- MSC.Nastran."

  • On Channel has announced another embedded Linux distribution: OS2000. They make some interesting claims about it, too: "ON Channel's OS2000 is the only commercially available embedded Linux OS currently shipping to OEMs and VARs."

  • O'Reilly & Associates published "Learning Debian/GNU Linux" by Bill McCarty.

  • TheLinuxStore.com, a division of EBIZ Enterprises, Inc., announced a strategic re-design and re-launch of their Internet web site www.TheLinuxStore.com.

  • White Pine Software, Inc. announced availability for its MeetingPoint conference server for Linux in December of this year.

  • Xi Graphics, Inc. announced support for the dual-monitor feature of the Matrox Millenium G400 DualHead Display graphics card. The support is available for use with Xi Graphics' Multi-head Accelerted-X Display Server. Xi Graphics has also announced a 33% price reduction of the Multi-head Server Version 5.


  • EarthWeb announced that IBM has become a platinum sponsor and cornerstone partner of The Bazaar, a three day Open Source Software conference and exhibition in New York City beginning on December 14, 1999. GNU/Linux and Apache are featured topics.

  • The Linux-Mandrake folks have announced that they will have a booth at the Linux Business Expo, being held alongside Comdex in Las Vegas, November 15-19.

  • LinuxStart.Com will be giving away free T-Shirts at Comdex. There's also a couple of computer giveaways. Details

  • Here's a press release from Ziff Davis about COMDEX and the Linux Business Expo.

  • Ziff-Davis and Kaplan Career Services will host a Kaplan Hiring Fair at COMDEX/Fall '99.

    Red Hat Linux Related Releases:

  • Digi International, Inc. announced that it has joined with Red Hat in its Developer Partnership Program.

  • Enlighten Software Solutions, Inc. announced EnlightenDSM version 3.4 will be available to support Red Hat Linux version 6.0 and version 6.1.

  • Intel Corporation will bundle the Red Hat Linux operating system with the server platforms it markets through its recently created Internet Service Provider programme.

  • KeyStone Learning Systems introduced a new 16-hour training course for Red Hat Linux, available on video and CD-ROM.

  • Photodex Corporation and Red Hat, Inc. announced their partnership to provide CompuPic Digital Content Manager software for the Red Hat Linux operating system.

  • As predicted, Red Hat has announced commercial support for apache and sendmail, and for the postfix mailer as well.

  • VERITAS Software Corporation and Red Hat, Inc. announced that the Companies are collaborating to accelerate the availability of enterprise-class VERITAS Software application storage management solutions on Red Hat Linux.

  • WaveTech Networks Inc. chooses Red Hat Linux 6.1 for their OS needs.

    Products that also come in Linux:

  • Agilent Technologies, Inc. announced three new Fibre Channel connectivity products that eclipse the 2 gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) performance level.

  • Ancor Communications Inc. introduced its new SANbox series of Fibre Channel switches.

  • Bitstream Inc. announced it is shipping Font Fusion, the company's most advanced font rasterizing engine.

  • Centura Software Corporation announced the release of Raima Database Manager (RDM) version 5.0. Source code is available.

  • DataDirect Networks offered access to select SAN products through its Web site at www.datadirectnet.com.

  • Norpath, Inc. introduced Norpath Elements, the professional's interactive authoring solution for creating powerful web-based diagrams, animations, and simulations.

  • NVIDIA Corporation announced the Quadro workstation GPU, the newest member of the company's family of graphics processors.

  • Object UK announced Together/J Version 3 is now available.

  • Perle Specialix announced the Speed4 and Speed4+, two 4-port PCI host cards.

  • Scriptics announced the availability of Tcl Blend and Jacl 1.2.5.

  • Sybase, Inc. announced the availability of SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups.

  • Synergetic Data Systems, Inc. announced the release of UnForm v4.0.

  • Zero G Software announced the availability of InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Cobalt Networks, Inc. announced that Allegiance Telecom, Inc. has selected the Cobalt RaQ 2 server appliance to provide dedicated Web hosting services to Allegiance Telecom customers. The Cobalt RaQ 2 comes with Linux pre-installed.

  • Ebiz Enterprises (which runs TheLinuxStore.com) has announced the acquisition of JustLinux.com.

  • Enlighten Software Solutions, Inc. announced that it has executed a strategic Software Development and License Agreement with a provider of systems management software. Pursuant to the agreement, Enlighten will license technology to provide management for leading Linux platforms (Red Hat, Caldera, TurboLinux).

  • GraphOn Corporation announced a deal with Minmetals Townlord Information Technology, Inc. to distribute its "Bridges" software in China. Bridges is intended to allow running (server-based) Linux applications on old Windows PC's, of which China has many.

    More Companies Announce Third Quarter Reports:

  • Ariel Corp.

  • Enlighten Software Solutions, Inc.

  • Insignia Solutions

  • Navarre Corporation


  • API announced it has contributed Alpha-based systems to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for the Pants Application Node Transparency System (PANTS) in support of on-going Alpha Linux development.

  • MandrakeSoft has put out a press release naming some of the high-profile commercial users of Linux-Mandrake.

  • OpenDesk.com sent in a description of the Virtual Workspace they are providing for people at their new site. "Organizations of any size - from local hockey teams to franchise stores - can use this space to collaborate on projects, coordinate schedules and build relationships. Even organizations whose members are distributed across the globe can come together in this secure virtual workspace."

  • Oracle plans to re-enter the network computing market by creating a new company that will sell an alternative to the desktop PC. The device will contain an Intel processor, run the Linux operating system, and use the Netscape Communications Web browser.

  • ProSyst Software GmbH has joined the Open Service Gateway Initiative (OSGI).

  • The QuestionExchange announced a "name your price" support scheme, wherein people with open source questions and answers can find each other and work out a mutually acceptable payment for the services.

  • TrustWorks Systems announced that it is offering components of its Trusted Security Suite as open source code.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

November 4, 1999


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Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

It must be that time of year again ... Eric Raymond has released Halloween VI, taking a look at the universe one year after his first round of Halloween documents and more recent Microsoft fiascos in the form of the Mindcraft and Gartner reports. "...Microsoft has been trying to sandbag Linux with supposedly `objective' studies by third parties that turn out to have been bought and paid for by the boys in Redmond. Fortunately, these tactics have been pursued with the same slap-happy level of incompetence that made Sheriff Ed's antics so amusing."


InfoWorld ran a brief article on the Corel/PC Chips deal. "In an ongoing efforts [sic] to break into the top tier of Linux distributors, Corel has signed an OEM deal with hardware maker PC Chips, which will bundle Corel Linux with all of its motherboards."

E-Commerce Times covers Corel's deal with PC Chips. "The Corel LINUX distribution is seen by some industry analysts as a serious challenge to mainstream Linux vendors. Based upon the Debian GNU distribution that has gained universal respect, Corel's OS package will carry some 1,440 open-source software programs and the collective creative support of an army of international volunteer developers that make up the Debian Project."

PC World covers the Corel/PC Chips deal. "Corel's deal with PC Chips is also important because it gives PC manufacturers that buy the motherboards an easy, cost-efficient alternative to more expensive operating systems..."

The Irish Times reviews the Corel Linux beta. "If the ease of use shown in this beta can be extended to the full release then Corel will have made Linux much more accessible to users."

One we missed last week: this Forbes article about Corel's upcoming Linux launch. "But Corel's initiative in the Linux market is built on more than just hype. The company is poised to build a solid niche position in the desktop PC market by bundling its productivity software--some of which, like its WordPerfect 8 word processor, has already been tailored to Linux--with the operating system to pedal a complete solution."

Linux Vendors (Distributions and Hardware):

News.com ran this article about the steps the Linux distributors are taking to differentiate their products. "The changes come during a critical time for Linux, a product on which many companies have staked their businesses. The operating system has gained a foothold in the product lines in many of the world's biggest computing companies, several of which have taken equity investments in Linux companies. Meanwhile, Red Hat has gone public, and others likely will follow, bringing the advantage of funding to finance growth but also the pressure of expectant stockholders."

ZDNet reports on the Linux thin server market. "There are only a handful of companies making Linux server appliances, but analysts believe this sort of device has the potential to become an entry-level Internet access, e-mail and file server for millions of small businesses -- that is, if the companies can remove some of the complexity of working with Linux..."

Inter@ctive Week ran this article about low-cost, Linux-based server appliance systems. "Cobalt Networks carved out the segment two years ago and has gathered a faithful following among Internet service providers (ISPs). Now, other companies are marching into the thin Linux server space, including the just-launched Netmachines and another start-up, Network Engines."

Open Source:

News.com covers the forming of Red Hat's Center for Open Source. "The effort won't compete with other open-source efforts such as those from Linux International, the Free Software Foundation, or the Open Source Institute, because those groups are focused primarily on just software issues..."

ZDNet looks at the study of open source developers released by the UNC Open Source Research Team. "...the vast majority of Linux developers only work on one or two programs. There are only four developers with more than 20 contributions and only 13 have more than 10. In other words, open-source development is broad based."

How-To and Review:

LinuxPower has put up a tutorial article on setting up IP masquerading.

Here's a couple of reviews from Network Computing. The first reviews PHP4 beta 2. "...to me, the most important addition is the object-overloading support, which puts PHP4 on a par with Active Server Pages (ASP) and Java Server Pages (JSP), if not way ahead of them."

The second reviews Rebel.com's NetWinder OfficeServer. "The rest of the setup was handled through the Web browser. I set up DNS, PPP dialup, routing, firewall and other services. I changed the server's IP address and name without having to reboot the server. The Windows NT system managers in my office were watching with their mouths hanging open."

A bit more upbeat word on Red Hat 6.1 in this review over at open source IT. "The release's integration of RAID in the installer promises significant progress in targeting the professional workstation and server market. This is one of the last frontiers for Linux in the competition with the big Unix vendors."

Statmarket reviews the numbers on Linux usage and asks what the fuss is all about. Then they focus on the numbers just in the commercial server market and pull out the reason: "According to IDC, Linux owns 17.2% of the commercial server OS market, up from 6.8% the year before. Microsoft NT, meanwhile, maintained approximately a 36% market share for both 1997 and 1998." (Thanks to Mark O 'Sullivan)


Linux at the BBC is an article that takes a look at how the BBC is using Linux and why. They mention several applications and many reasons, but one that they point out fairly succintly is one that businesses are just beginning to realize. "It uses standards. When you are working with broadcast media you must always have an eye for standards. The material we send out has to be received by millions of people so it has to be compatible with whatever equipment those people have. Because this is part of our core business we have a respect for standards in other areas and the transparency they bring to understanding the internal workings of the complex systems we run."

The Boulder County Business Report ran this introductory article which includes conversations with people from eSoft and Eklektix. "eSoft is so high on Linux that early this year President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Finn made the decision to only use Linux for the entire eSoft product line."

AsiaBizTech looks at Linux business activity in Japan. "Fujitsu has adopted an aggressive strategy. It announced that it will offer customers a guarantee, limited to two of its low-end PC server models, that promises Linux will run without problems. Fujitsu's definition of 'guarantee' doesn't just mean that it will offer user support when customers encounter problems with their Linux systems. It also means that it will take full responsibility for its products and be proactive in solving problems."

This article in E-Commerce Times notes that a number of industry players - AOL, Compaq, and Dell, are all working toward the creation of Windows-free systems that can be sold cheaply. The author does not speculate on which operating system might be used instead, but LWN readers can certainly come up with a possiblity or two. "...I predict that e-commerce -- along with the strategic moves of Microsoft's competitors -- will soon catapult us into a Windows-less world."

EE Times ran this brief article about the availability of Model Technologies' simulator systems on Linux. "The Linux port resulted from a strong user demand, said John Lenyo, director of marketing at Model Technology. 'To gauge general demand, we mentioned it casually in our quarterly newsletter,' he said. 'You would have thought we were giving away free money. About two days after that newsletter went out we were bombarded with requests from customers.'"

Here's an Ottawa Citizen article about a company called Newlix, which plans to get into the server appliance market. "...they offer an interesting departure from the tactics of competitors like Rebel.com and Cobalt Networks Inc. of Mountain View, California, which recently filed for an $86 million U.S. initial public offering. Newlix has decided to focus on developing the software, then bundling it with hardware from partners such as IPC Direct. Rebel.com and Cobalt Networks have each opted to build products that include software and hardware in an integrated package."

Here's a News.com article about SGI's possible deployment of a Linux-based cluster for Los Alamos National Laboratory. "If Linux gets the job, it will be a key component in the effort to keep U.S. nuclear weapons working as designed, the main function of this new supercomputer."

ComputerWorld writes about the TurboLinux cluster solution with a heavy emphasis on the fact that TurboLinux wrote some of its own code. "Joel Sloan, a systems administrator at Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. in Torrance, Calif., said TurboLinux has dim prospects. 'I would hesitate to jump on board the TurboLinux bandwagon, since we know that (Red Hat Software Inc.) will have the same sort of clustering solution in a few months' time and the community at large will gravitate toward the more open, more mainstream solution.'"

The Electronic Telegraph ran this introductory article. "None of that makes Linux a real threat to Microsoft; everyone agrees it's harder to install, and that the documentation is typically written by geeks for the edification of other geeks. But everyone also agrees that it's more reliable, and, because it's a lot cheaper, Linux is finding a niche in small businesses, particularly those that rely on Net connections." (Thanks to Jimmy Aitken).


LinuxPower ran an article about the release of the GRASS Geographical Information System under the GPL. "With its release under the GPL, GRASS will surely benefit from the pace and size of the Linux community as well as the momentum of Linux in general. And it gives you yet another reason to choose Linux."


This article mentioned that Microsoft Austria borrowed mailing addresses from the databases at the Linux Counter and used them to spam people with questionnaires. "This was in breach of the Linux Counter's copyright and terms of use, which specifically bar use of the data for mass mailings. It's also, as the Linux Counter is hosted in Norway, a crime under Norwegian privacy legislation. The execs from Microsoft Austria don't seem to have been extradited by vengeful nordics, but after an outcry they were forced to destroy the data they'd gathered. " It also garnered them an Austrian Big Brother Award. (Thanks to Sven Wallman.)

Here's an Irish Times article about the upcoming Linux Awareness in Ireland Day, happening November 6 in Cork. "Aimed at anyone with an interest in Linux, it will feature beginners' sessions, talks on business issues surrounding Linux, technical discussions and a keynote talk by Linux developer Alan Cox. Participants will see this radical computing environment take one more step into the mainstream."

Linux Planet looks at Linux and the year 2000 problem. "The good news is that by and large, Linux and all other members of the Unix family tree are immune to the Y2K problem..."

Performance Computing has announced its 1999 "Outstanding Product Awards" - two months before the end of the year. The "Editor's Award" (scroll to the bottom) goes to "the legion of Linux contributors." "With Richard, Linus, and others leading the charge, Linux contributors have made the movement appear more like a Hollywood epic, at a scale not equalled since Ben Hur."

Network Computing ran an opinion piece on open source software. "Sun, Netscape, Apple, Microsoft: Forget about opening up your source code. No one gives a damn about seeing how your applications were built. You won't even offer any assurances that modifications made to any particular version or source code will even be possible in the next version, so why bother? Instead, take the time to talk to the people who love Open Source and figure out why they do."

Upside prints a bunch of comments about the Sun Community Source License (SCSL). "Sun's license is unacceptable simply because it places a tax on the infrastructure. The size of the tax is not the issue. Any tax is detrimental to the entire business process. They can mince words any way they want, but their actions prove they are just trying to place themselves into a position where everyone must pay them in order to enter the game. We should throw their software into the Boston harbor."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

November 4, 1999


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



November LinuxFoxus released. The November issue of Linux Focus is now out, with a couple of graphics-related articles, part II of a perl tutorial, a summary of the state of gaming under Linux, a review of FreeCiv and more.

Linux Gazette #47 available. Issue #47, the latest issue of the Linux Gazette, is now available.

Linux writers and publishers list Dan York and LinuxCare have set up a mailing list for people writing or publishing in the Linux community.

Tutorial: routing NetBIOS on a Linux box. Matt Clements at LinuxPlanet has written a tutorial on how to route NetBIOS traffic with your Linux box, so your NT/95 Workstations can see the Network Neighborhood across different Masqueraded TCP Networks.

A new Linux magazine in the UK. Linux Answers has published its first issue in the UK. This issue looks at UK Linux user groups, Corel Linux, and has the obligatory Linus interview.


IBM sponsors The Bazaar. EarthWeb announces that IBM has become a "platinum sponsor" of The Bazaar, happening in December. The addition of Ralph Nader as a keynote speaker was also announced.

Linux day in Bremen. Lenz Grimmer dropped us a note to mention that the local LUG in Bremen, Germany was sponsoring a Linux Day on November 28th. Alan Cox will be attending, Lenz (who was born there) will be giving an introduction to Samba, and (of course) demonstrating the installation of SuSE 6.3. There will be parallel tracks of talks as well.

SGI Linux University Road Tour. Jason G. Fleming forwarded a copy of DevEdge, the monthly e-newsletter from the SGI Developer Program which talks about SGI's current Linux University Road Tour. "Following the tremendous success of the Linux University recently held at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington D.C. We are extending the Linux University campus to nine cities across the nation."

Report from Open Source/Open Science 1999. Stephen Adler posted posted a report from the Open Source/Open Science 1999 conference, held on October 2nd, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth)

O'Reilly Java Enterprise Computing Conference. O'Reilly has announced the Java Conference 2000, to be held March 27th through the 30th, 2000 in Santa Clara, CA, USA.

Pictures from the Linux Pavilion at Bangalore IT.COM. The Linux India site is providing coverage of the Linux Pavilion at Bangalore IT.COM. Pictures are available, so you can see it being built, literally, from the ground up.

Web sites

FreeGIS web site. Intevation GmbH, a new free software company in Germany, has announced a FreeGIS website (German version) to "promote free GIS software and data". GIS, of course, stands for Geographical Information Systems.

User Group News

Joseph Arruda at UCLALUG Joseph Arruda of VA Linux Systems will be speaking on November 6, 1999 at an event jointly sponsored by UCLALUG and CSUA. Check the UCLALUG website for more details.

Linux.com LUG Database Updated. The Linux.com LUG Database has been updated, according to this note from Kara Pritchard at Linux.com. "No more spam email farming!" The updated site is automated to allow people to add, edit and update their LUG entries.

November 4, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
ACS 0.3.0 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
Adora 0.0.4 Cross-Platform Email Client for Linux and Windows
AtDot 2.90.0 Web based e-mail system
aumix 1.25.1 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Automatic Todo List 1.2.1 To-do list program for bash
auto_ftp.pl 0.3 FTP client demon that watches a folder and transfers all files and folders.
BET 1.1 Encrypted network talk program
Big Ben 0.15 Spiffy themed clock
Bynari TradeMail Release 1 Enteprise email, information management for Linux
C2HTML 2.0 Makes HTML files that show the souce code of a program
calc 2.11.0t8.10 C-style arbitrary precision calculator
Calculator 0.9.2B Simple Command Line Calculator
camserv Streaming webcam server for Video4Linux with filters.
CapsiChat 0.20 Multi-user Internet chatbox/haven
CDRDAO 1.1.3 Disk-At-Once Recording of Audio CD-Rs
cftp 0.9.3 A termcap-based FTP client.
cgvg 1.6.0 Tools for command-line source browsing.
CONFIG:: 0.99.07 Cached and Pre-parsed file reading.
Configure-it 1.2 Perl script to configure bash aliases
Connect 1.2.0 Client-server to easily share (open/close) one ppp link among a small network
Courier-IMAP 0.15 IMAP server for maildirs
cowsay 3.01 An easy way to add speaking and thinking cows to anything.
cpuburn 1.0 CPU maximum load (heat) stability test
cthumb 2.1.2 Automatic creation of a picture album in HTML w/ thumbnails
Cyrus IMAP server 1.6.19 Full featured IMAP server
DeuTex 4.1.0 Doom wad composer/decomposer
Dia 0.81 gtk based diagram drawing program. Much like Visio.
DizzyICQ 0.17 ICQ clone for console text, ncurses/icqlib based.
DNRD 2.4 Proxy DNS server for home networks with multiple ISPs
Downloader for X 1.07 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
Edcom Pre1.5 An easy to administer, multiuser, story posting system, written in perl5.
egrep-finger 1.28-1 Extended finger program using extended regular expressions
elknews 0.1.8 Usenet Newsreader
ELKS 0.0.80 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Enlightenment 0.16.1 Fast, flexible and very extensible Window Manager
esky 0.1.1 Userspace job freezing (checkpoint/resume) system
Ethereal 0.7.7 GUI network protocol analyzer
Ethernet TAP driver 0.1a Ethernet TAP driver for FreeBSD
Europa 1-29 multi-player realtime strategic action war game
Everybuddy 0.0.4 Universal Instant Messaging Client
FastGL 1.55 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
Flash Web Server 0.1 A fast, portable web server that performs aggressive caching
fmPager 0.7 Freshmeat Pager
FOX 0.99.82 C++-Based Library for Graphical User Interface Development
FreeMarker 1.5.2 HTML templating system for Java servlets
Fujitsu Lifebook B112/B142 Touch panel driver Fujitsu Lifebook B112 Touch panel driver 0.1 Gpm and XFree86 touch panel driver for the Fujitsu Lifebook B112
FXPy 0.99.79 Python interface to the FOX GUI library
G-BOOK DeLUXE 1.6 PERL Based guestbook CGI
gaim 0.9.9 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
Galway 0.29 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
GCO 0.1.2 A database for keeping track of your comic collection.
GdkMagick 0.5.1 Image conversion and communication library for the ImageMagick and GDK toolkits
Gem Drop X 0.6 A fast-paced puzzle game
Generic Colouriser 0.3 Colourises any files or outputs of commands.
gentoo 0.11.10 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
Get Slashdot News 1.5 Grabs the Slashdot headlines. Great for putting into pages etc.
Getleft 0.7.3 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GFXIndex 0.2 A program for creating indices of your pictures by making thumbnails and HTMLs.
gIDE 0.1.5 GTK-based Integrated Development Environment for C
gif2png 2.0.1 converts GIF image files to PNG format
GKrellM 0.7.2 System monitor package
GMatH 0.0.5 Computer Algebra Environment
Gnome Toaster 1999-11-02 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
GNOME-DB 0.0.27 GNOME Database Access
GnomeHack 1.04 Nethack for Gnome
GNU Ada 3.12p Ada95 Compiler frontend based on gcc and Tools.
GNU parted 1.0.0-pre1 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Pth 1.2.0 GNU Portable Threads
GNU Trueprint 5.1 A program for printing source code in a variety of languages to ps printers
GNU xhippo 2.0 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
GOGO 2.20 Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
gpppwrap 0.4 A Gtk based graphical user interface to run ppp-scripts
GProc 0.5.0-pre3 Managing process from the Gnome panel
Green Frog Linux 0.4a (Kaeru) A small fully featured 2.2.x+devfs/glibc 2.1 based Linux distro.
GS(SBNI) tty driver 1.6 Serial tty driver for SBNI-12x
Gseq 0.3.1 Gnome based, plugin extensible music sequencer
GStreamer 0.0.9 Streaming-media framework
GtkAda 1.2.4 Ada95 binding of Gtk+
GtkLevel 0.1 Addon widget to Gtk
Hallo 0.1 Finds words with a character string
HB 1.9.5 Simple language to create dynamic web content
Hoard 1.2 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
HTML Tidy 22oct99 Cleans up HTML source and formats it nicely.
html2c 0.1 HTML - CGI-BIN C development tool
HTML::Template 1.0 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
Hugs 98-September 1999 Haskell 98 intepreter
ICEMail 2.8.2 Java email client based on JavaMail API with SMIME support.
id3tool 1.1b Command Line tool for editing ID3 tags on MP3s.
Impulse Tracker 3 0.2 Music tracker.
intel2gas 1.3 A converter between the NASM and GAS asm format (Intel/AT&T)
ipac 1.05 Linux IP accounting package
iroffer 1.1b1 Standalone, compiled fileserver for IRC
Jabber 0.7pre3 Instant Messaging Platform
jEdit 2.2pre2 Powerful text editor
Jooky 0.93 MP3 controller with a foreground curses client, or background client/server.
Katy 0.2 Text editor inspired by UltraEdit
kautorun 0.1 a KDE panel-docking CDROM automounter
Kazlib 1.13 Robust ANSI C data structure library.
KCron 0.5 KDE Task Scheduler
kdbg 1.0.0 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
kdc2tiff 0.1 Convert from Kodak .kdc file to .tiff or .jpg
KDEStudio 0.0.3 IDE for Linux
KDevelop 1.0Beta4.1 KDevelop is a new C++ development environment for Unix/X11.
KEasyISDN 0.1 Frontend to isdnctrl and onlinecounter.
kgrep 1.2 Find lines on either side of a matching pattern.
kmikmod 2.05pre2 Multithreaded module player for KDE
KMySQL 1.2.0 A MySql client for KDE.
KPlot3d 0.69 Tool for ploting 3d function z = f(x,y) for KDE
KPooka 0.2.5 Logic game for KDE
Ky 0.1 yes for KDE
l0g monitor 0.15 Log monitor for X Window
LAME 3.50 open source MP3 encoder and graphical frame analyzer
Laptop-HOWTO 2.1 How to make the best of Linux features with laptops.
libasset 0.1.1 A library for managing game assets
Lightflow Rendering Tools 1.1 Advanced photorealistic 3d rendering tools.
LinPopup 1.1.1 Linux port of Winpopup, running over Samba.
Linux Intrusion Detection System Linux Intrusion Detect System 0.3 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
LinuxInfo 1.1.5 Gives system information about your Linux system
LPRng 3.6.12 The Next Generation of LPR
lukemftp 1.0 the enhanced ftp client in NetBSD
Mad Bomber 0.0 An SDL-based clone of Activision's 2600 game,
MagicPoint Gallery 1.0 A gallery of MagicPoint presentation templates
Mexx 1.0.4 Shoot'em up for Linux/Win32/BeOS
MindTerm 1.1.2 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
mktclapp 3.8 Mix C/C++ with Tcl/Tk to build a standalone program
mMosaic 3.4.4 Web browser for X11
Mmucl 1.3.0 Mud client written in Tcl
ModSQL 0.10 Modular JDBC SQL Engine
mod_auth_kerb 4.6 kerberos v5/v4 authentication module for apache
mod_dtcl 0.6.3 Apache server-parsed Tcl module, inspired by PHP
mod_perl Calendar System 1.2 Web-based calendaring system in mod_perl
mod_ssl 2.4.7-1.3.9 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Moonshine 0.9.2 An application development environment for Linux.
Mp3 Commander 0.5 A tool to search and play mp3 collections and generate playlists
MultiMail 0.32 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
MultiSeti 0.2 Seti@Home Utility to manage multiple seti@home packets
multisort 1.1 small, fast C program that merges httpd logs and orders by date
namegen 0.5 Tool and library for randomly generating strings of a specified format.
NAMG 0.2.0 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
ncurses 5.0
Nessus 0.98.4 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
netfilter 0.1.11 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
NetMon 1.0 LAN-wide process monitor
NetteBook 0.4.0 Web-based PIM
nitfol 0.5 Z-machine interpreter and debugger
nmh 1.0.2 Enhanced version of the MH electronic mail system.
nscache 0.2 Simple manager and browser for Netscape(tm) cache directories.
NTP 4.0.98b A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
OBM 0.2.3a Intranet application to help manage a company or a contact database.
oneline calculator 19991102 perl oneliner in an alias statement that makes a calculator
Open Source Audio Library Project 0.1 C++ Audio class library
OpenNaken 0.70 Tcl/Tk client for Naken Chat
OpenSSH Linux Port 1.2pre5 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
OpenVerse Visual Chat 0.7-1 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
Oregano 0.0.1 Schematic capture and circuit simulation application
Pan 0.6.2 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
parsecfg 3.0.3 a library for parsing a configuration file
pasmon 0.5 A Graphical Passive Network Monitor
PCI Utilities 2.1 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
pcwd 1.22 Berkshire Products PC Watchdog Card Linux Kernel Driver
Perl Shell 0.00204 Simple interactive Perl shell
phpop 0.3.0 Simple PHP Web based POP e-mail reader
pinfo 0.5.9 Hypertext info file viewer
plextor-tool 0.4.0 tool for querying and setting options of Plextor CD-ROM drives
PMFirewall 1.1.1 An Ipchains Firewall and Masquerading Configuration Utility.
PopApp 0.5d GNOME Applet to check multiple pop3 accounts.
PowerPak 991031 An attempt at a high-level game SDK
Powertweak-Linux 0.1.5 System performance enhancer.
Prometheus-Library 0.50 Object-oriented PHP API
PyGCS 1.3.7 A very stripped down MUD-like chat-server written entirely in Python.
Pyrite 0.7.8 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
QBrew 0.0.7 A homebrewer's recipe calculator
qmp3 0.2 Quick MPG123 frontend to support m3u playlists
qpasswd 1.1 POP3 password changing utility for qmail+poppasswd
Qvwm 1.1.3 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
radkill 02111999 BASH script for ISP's that wish to guarantee no busy signals
rbison 0.0.5 parser generator for ruby
RBoot 3.0.1 A remote boot facility for PC operating systems.
RCode 1.2.5 Tool for encoding/decoding files
Recall 0.2 Framework for replicated fault-tolerant storage servers.
RED-Linux 0.6 A real-time extension of the Linux kernel
ResCafé 1.1 Mac Resource Fork reader written in Swing Java
rglclock 1.3.5 Rotating 3D clock
rlpr 2.03 Print from remote sites to your local printer w/o configuring remote site
Root-Portal 0.3.6 Background Desktop System Logger
rpcobol 991028 compiler for cobol74
rshaper 1.05 RSHAPER - shape incoming traffic
SambaLink/Q .49 Qt version of smb.conf file editor
sawmill 0.15 Extensible window manager
SCREEM 0.1.92 Site CReating & Editing EnvironMent
Secure-Linux Patch 2.2.13 version 1 Linux kernel patch to block most stack overflow exploits
SeeR 0.94 C/C++ scripting engine
Self Serve FAQ 0.1 PHP scripts for Web-based FAQs
setup.sh 0.1.1 Package management aware source code installation script
sfront 0.44 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
signature 0.01 a dynamic signature generator for e-mail and news
sinus 0.1.3 A program that generates interesting sine waves
sitecopy 0.8.4 Maintain remote copies of locally stored web sites
SkyVIDEO 0.99.954 Portable drawing library for dos, win32 and linux
Slackware 7.0 The Slackware distribution
slashem 0.0.5e5 variant of the Rogue-like console game Nethack
SleezeBall 0.2 Make Squid replace known banners with a 1x1 pixel transparent GIF
SMiaB System Manager in a Box () 1.0 System Manager in a Box (SMiaB)
SML/NJ 110.24 Compiler, development environment, and libraries for Standard ML
spamstop 0.0.1 Semi-intelligent spam-sorter
speyes 1.0.0 South Park-inspired xeyes dockapp for WindowMaker.
Splitter 0.02 File splitter
Sporum 1.2b5 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.7 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
STAMOS 0.4 Gathers several information about the computer and generates an HTML file
stock-simulator 0.61 A stock-trading simulator and game
Sulawesi 0.3.5 Multimodal wearable/ubiquitous agent development environment
Sympa 2.3.4 A powerful multilingual List Manager- LDAP and SQL features.
sysstat 2.1 The sar and iostat commands for Linux
TAPIIR 0.2.4 Multi-tap-delay audio effect processor
Terraform 0.4.5 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
tgif 4.1.23 Vector-based draw tool
The Gimp 1.1.11 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
think 0.1.3 Outliner and project organizer
TkBox 0.49alpha MPEG remote access control client/server architecture
tkMOO-light 0.3.22 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
TkPGP 1.11 UNIX GUI shell for PGP and GnuPG
tksqlbind 0.2 tksqlbind is a perl script that will edit sqlbind zones
TroubleTickets v0.3 HelpDesk Trouble Ticket Web Application
Tsinvest 0.9 Quantitative financial analysis of equities.
TT-News 0.9.0 A headline-news ticker for various news-sources.
TWIG 2.0.1 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
ucppkit 0.3.1 A tiny C++ toolkit for Linux
unalog 0.2 A lightweight, universal logging model for human-machine events.
uptimer 1.0.3-rc1 Adds the current uptime to your .sig file
User Tools Suite Local User Admin. Tools that simplify user management.
Vacation 1.0.4 A mail auto-responder
ViPEC 2.0 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
VTun 2.0b5 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
WebCal 2.01 A simple browser based calendar program.
WebEvent 3.2 WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
Webmon 1.0 Web-based Packet Loss reporter
WebNNTP 0.2 Web-based news reader
WHAMp 0.5.1 An mpg123 frontend using the gtk-toolkit
whatpix 0.2 Duplicate file finder.
whois 4.3.1 A modern whois client
Whois2 1.0 Recursive whois client
Wine 991031 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wmappl 0.2 Window Maker Application Launcher
wmmp3 0.09 mpg123 front end for Window Maker
Wolfshade mud 1.63.8 Wolfshade Mud: an original MUD code base written in C++
X-Chat 1.3.6 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
x10ephem 0.20 Computes sunrise/sunset times and modifies crontab entries
xmemo 1.01 X Windows desktop memo.
XScreenSaver 3.19 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
xsheep System Manager in a Box (SMiaB) 1.0 X toy, clone of Windows Esheep.
xspeakfree 0.8.1 TCL/TK frontend for Speak Freely
xtell 1.8 Simple messaging client and server, kind of networked write
XTerminator 0.9 Robots implementation for X in Ada95
XZip 1.8.1 A Z-machine (Infocom games) interpreter for Unix / X windows
Yacas 1.0.11 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Zebra 0.81 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
Zfm 0.1.1 A new, very extensive and portable filemanager
ZIM 0.3.0 A perl/tk instant-messenger client wrapper for the Zephyr Notification Service

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

The LinSpin Pages are "an amateur effort at providing market analysis and spin doctoring for the Linux OS" Have a look and you will find a number of essays looking at how Linux works with the marketplace in several areas.

The FUD Counter site is a work in progress which is intended to be a definitive resource for those wishing to debunk groundless attacks against Linux. There is already a well-developed FUD FAQ in place, and a lively mailing list to support the effort.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

November 4, 1999



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 09:36:12 +0200
From: Marko Samastur <markos@elite.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Proliferation of licenses


There seems to be an ongoing argument, that increasing number of
licenses is somehow bad. The arguments for this are basically that it
makes harder to understand the interactions between different licenses
when a product is build on top of existing ones.

I disagree with you on this one. I don't think that proliferation of
licenses in itself is a good thing, but it is important to keep in view
what a license really is.

It's an agreement between two parties, the producer of the product and
the customer (or licensee). This agreement explains conditions on which
the producer is willing to sell, give etc. its product to the customer
and rights that are granted to the customer with it. It should also
describe things like how (usually where) conflicts should be resolved
and other similar things that to most are just legal babble. In terms,
it defines the relationship between them.

From this, at least to me, follow at least two conclusions. As with any
other agreement (legal or not) and relationships, all involving parties
should treat computer licenses seriously. That means you should read it
and understand what you are about to agree to. If you don't, don't agree
to it. There's enough software out there that you should be able to find
something that meets your needs and is given on enough liberal terms for
you. If it doesn't, then I guess you have to weigh what's more important
to you, the benefits of particular software or particular license.

The other point is the view of the producer. Just as a customer should
have the right to choose, so should the producer and this reflects
(among other things) also in license which it chooses. Why should it use
a different license, which doesn't meet all its needs, just to support
unforgivable laziness of the other party?

We (well, most of us do) live in countries which are regulated by laws.
This should be reason enough to pay more attention to legal things in
our lives. A call "don't roll your own", which might have a positive
effect of not complicating things more than they should be, also might
have a side effect of giving further support to the general ignorance.
After all, how many people have read at least one of the licenses you've
mentioned? I'd be willing to bet most haven't.

Reading license agreements might not be the most fun thing to do, but if
you intend to seriously use or rely on something, being a software,
hardware or mortgage for a house, you should do it. It's time well

Best regards,


P.S: I'm not a lawyer & I don't like reading legal texts. But I do it
Date: 3 Nov 1999 06:14:21 -0000
From: kenengel <kenengel@linuxstart.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: The Experts say...

I have read about Linux almost every day for over two years now -
hundreds of news items articles, anecdotes and reports about its
flexibility, reliability, and even usability. So nowadays, whenever I
read some pundit spewing FUD, or simply advising caution - "Linux is
not ready for the enterprise or the home user's desktop, but they're
working on it; it might be ready in 2 or 3 or 50 years..." - I think
of the movie "Airplane!" Long after Striker has brought the plane
safely to a dead halt, and all passengers are on safe ground, the air
traffic control officer McCroskey is still advising, supporting and
guiding, steadily, steadily, through grave danger and stormy
conditions to an empty cockpit.

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 12:55:36 +0100 (MET)
From: Bernd Paysan <bernd.paysan@gmx.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Bogus patents

IMHO the biggest problem of the US PTO isn't that they approve bogus
patents (even the most careful examiner can oversee previous art), but that they
don't have a period of public review of the patent. The only way to let such
a patent die is in court, and we all know that's not cheap; and you can do
so only defensive (when asked for money).

The German patent law allows public caveats in the first 6 months after
approval and publication of a patent. It costs nothing but the stamp on the
letter you write to the German PTO (e-mail not yet).

If you write to the US PTO or to your senator, don't request that they
should prohibit bogus patents - bogus patents are already prohibited. Tell them
that a public review is the only way to find out in a timely and efficient
way whether a patent is bogus or not. And it is much cheaper than hiring
competent examiners.

BTW Linux time.c code: I suggest removing that code, in two months. We can
keep it around as example for previous art, but we won't need it any more
(same with the same sort of code that should be in date).

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"

Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 12:46:18 +0000
From: James Durie <jdurie@anvil.co.uk>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: "windowing" patent

I just read your article about the windowing patent and thought you
might like to knoe about this page here.
It is part of the Open groups recommendations about unix and the Year
2000 problem.

They recommend doing windowing with a year border of 69.  I wonder how
many companies have followed their recommendations, I know my company
has and although we are not directly affected by this in Europe, we do
have clients in North America.


James Durie               Phone:  +44 171 749 7908
Anvil Software Limited    Fax:    +44 171 749 7916
46-48 Rivington Street    e-mail: jdurie@anvil.co.uk
London EC2A 3QP
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 05:16:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Kristofer Coward <kris@melon.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: McDonnell Douglas patent nonsense

You mention in your article that "McDonnell Douglas is actively trying to
shake down companies using the windowing technique" Is there any mention
of which companies anywhere, and has anyone tried to present the Linux
prior art to these companies before MD goes after a linux company? If the
free software community can tip the off to the prior art, and possibly
co-ordinate some funding for legal aid, it would provide yet another chunk
of good open source publicity.

Kris Coward

From: "Bermingham, Charles E." <berminghamc@ada.org>
To: "'letters@lwn.net'" <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: Software patents: Idiotic and greedy
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 10:04:32 -0600 

The windowing-technique patent mantioned in this week's Linux Weekly News is
a good example of how people have learned to use ignorance and greed to
achieve their objective, maybe even to "earn" a living.

I saw code like this in COBOL prgrams at Chicago's Cook County Hospital as
early as 1980.  I saw some when I was working on a COBOL project in 1984 or
1985 here at my current job.  These were examples of windowing to fix
century problems in the opposite direction:


etc.  This kind of thing goes on and on in code all over the place.

I don't suppose any government official will ever ask me, but if they did, I
would tell them that software patenting is ultimately doomed.  If not
because of the philosophical problems involved, then at least because such
exclusivism is an insult to programmers everywhere.  I must admit, I
reluctantly applaud those companies which use patenting *against itself* by
patenting simple ideas and then not charging any royalties.  I'd be happier
if those organizations would help nail the coffin.

I don't even know if such comments would do any good; it's been long since
I've lost any trust of politicians.

Remeber the "AT" patent that Hayes got for their modems?  When that company
went out of business, I laughed and laughed.  They deserved what they got.
They made things unnessarily miserable for not only their competitors, but
for thousands upon thousands of system administrators all over the world.
On top of that, most of us programmers knew that the use of a timing
algorithm to make  control decisions was just another basic principle of

And for those of you who support software patents, it comes down to this:
when you take ideas that others are willing to share with you and use them
as your "property", and then you try to shake people down for their
hard-earned living, you are the lowest of the low.  Alexander Bell's
followers did this very thing with A T & T, to garner control of telephone
service the world over; because of this, and since the U.S. government broke
up their monopoly, I am now hard-pressed to choose AT&T for *anything*, no
matter how hard they compete.

I hope those of you who are in Europe watch this situation carefully, and do
whatever you can to remove this scourge from your continent.  No widows or
orphans are going to go hungry if you do.  If you don't, some very greedy
people are going to be hated instead.
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds