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Leading items and editorials

A new Red Hat/Oracle distribution was announced this week. The two companies plan to put together an enhanced version of Red Hat's distribution aimed at high availability and e-commerce applications. Their shopping list contains a number of recurring themes: large memory, large files, raw I/O, etc. Much of this work has been underway for some time - quite a bit of it under Red Hat's sponsorship.

Interestingly, the release also mentions the integration of Motif 2.1. Integrating Motif is a step backward for Red Hat in a couple of ways. A distribution containing Motif is no longer the 100% free distribution that Red Hat has been bragging about for the last couple of years. Bringing in Motif also calls into question Red Hat's committment to GNOME, which was supposed to be the Linux desktop package.

The more concerned members of the community will probably interpret this announcement as Red Hat corrupting its (formerly all-free) distribution to meet the needs of expectant stockholders. Others will say that Red Hat is just trying to make available a version of the distribution which can run Motif-based applications for those who need it. In either case, it may well prove popular with large companies, which care little about such issues.

Microsoft is a monopoly, or so claims the findings of fact released by the US District Court. Reactions to the findings have been mixed, though few were much surprised by them. Shares in publicly-traded Linux firms went through the roof (then subsided somewhat thereafter). But what impact will the ruling really have on Linux?

One aspect of that question is easily answered: there will be no direct legal impact for quite some time. Assuming that the court goes on to find Microsoft guilty of antitrust violations, and assuming that penalties are then assessed, it will still be years before anything happens. There are two levels of appellate courts to go through (though the first can apparently be shorted out in some cases), and both the US Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are expected to be more favorable to Microsoft. Even if they are not, the process will take years.

What if Microsoft is broken up into a set of "Baby Bills"? An applications-only Microsoft fragment - if it is truly independent - could be expected to aggressively port its applications to Linux. Many would applaud the availability of Office under Linux. But there is also the risk of Microsoft dominating commercial Linux applications in the same way it dominates Macintosh applications. Microsoft may eventually start porting to Linux anyway, but a breakup would likely accelerate things.

Does Linux need federal help to achieve world domination? According to the findings of fact, the answer is "yes." Linux is discussed in section 50, under "Fringe operating systems," and is not given much hope. A couple of quotes illustrate the view taken:

The experience of the Linux operating system, a version of which runs on Intel-compatible PCs, similarly fails to refute the existence of an applications barrier to entry.... By itself, Linux's open-source development model shows no signs of liberating that operating system from the cycle of consumer preferences and developer incentives that, when fueled by Windows' enormous reservoir of applications, prevents non-Microsoft operating systems from competing....

Fortunately for Microsoft, however, there are only so many developers in the world willing to devote their talents to writing, testing, and debugging software pro bono publico.... It is unlikely ... that a sufficient number of open-source developers will commit to developing and continually updating the large variety of applications that an operating system would need to attract in order to present a significant number of users with a viable alternative to Windows. In practice, then, the open-source model of applications development may increase the base of applications that run on non-Microsoft PC operating systems, but it cannot dissolve the barrier that prevents such operating systems from challenging Windows.

LWN respectfully begs to differ. The growth curve of Linux shows that competition is indeed possible. The pace of development on desktop-oriented software - KDE and GNOME, for example - brings Linux ever closer to Windows in both ease of use and availability of applications.

Also, importantly, the characterization of open source developers as "pro bono" volunteers is increasingly inaccurate. Volunteers remain the backbone of much open source development, but, increasingly, free software developers are finding themselves being well paid by companies that see a solid business benefit in free software. Open source has more developers than Microsoft - and this has been true for years.

Free software is an inherently superior product. It has long since reached the critical mass needed to assure its continued growth and success. That critical mass was achieved not via governmental action, but through the dedication and persistence of people like Richard Stallman, and through the efforts of thousands of free software developers worldwide.

Microsoft has spent years building the rope with which it is hanging itself. Linux does not need the federal courts to assure its success; that success is coming about as a result of the system's merits and the tremendous quality of the work put in by so many great developers. A breakup of Microsoft would only taint free software's victory; in any case, by the time any such action makes it through the courts it will likely be moot.

Announcing the LWN book reviews page. LWN inaugurates its new book reviews page this week. Over time, this page will develop into a comprehensive guide to the large (and increasing) pile of books available on Linux and Open Source topics. Our first review is for a book that is literally hot off the presses: Python Essential Reference by David M. Beazley.

How to help somebody use a computer is a document written by the prolific Phil Agre, master of the Red Rock Eater News Service. In How to help somebody use a computer, Mr. Agre gives some commonsense advice on enabling people to get past and solve their own problems. As more and more people come into the Linux community, it's worthwhile for all of us to think about how we can best welcome them and get them going. Recommended reading.

The windowing patent. Last week's feature article on the "windowing" patent generated a great deal of feedback. Many readers wrote in to point out other examples of prior art - far too many to list here. From a different angle, James Heald wrote in to claim that the kernel code does not violate the windowing patent at all.

The issue of whether the kernel code violates the patent is moot, since the code predates the patent filing. The important point is that software patents are a growing problem; someday somebody in the free software world is going to get badly bitten.

A Palm Pilot friendly version of LWN is occasionally requested by our readers. For those of you trying to read us on tiny screens, we recommend having a look at Sitescooper. This package is all set up to snarf a copy of LWN and reformat it properly. (You can read about Sitescooper in NTK as well, even if they do call us "girlish" and "lavender-smelling"...).

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

November 11, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

"Silently fixed" security bugs considered harmful. From Bugtraq: some complaints about the practice of fixing security problems without telling the world about them. Software maintainers will often do this, especially if the security problem is one that they have found themselves, with no known exploits in the outside world. It is nicer to not have to announce a security problem, and nobody is at risk anyway, right?

The problem, of course, is that thousands of users are running code with a security problem and do not know it. In the absence of a pressing need, the buggy code will not be upgraded, and the system remains vulnerable. When somebody eventually digs up the problem in older versions, people who thought they had tight systems find themselves in trouble.

This problem was pointed out by Michal Zalewski, who notes that a few problems have been "silently fixed" in sendmail. Sendmail 8.8.x has some vulnerabilities which have not been announced; users who have not upgraded to 8.9.3 may think they are secure but in fact are not.

The lesson seems clear: it is better to come clean about security problems (at least to the point of saying that they exist) so that people know to upgrade to a fixed version.

Linux trashed by British security consultant. British security consultant Stan Dormer has been advising companies to avoid Linux, according to this ZDNet article. "Dormer criticised the portrayal of Linux in the media as a practical alternative to Windows variants claiming that for the average user, Linux is not a secure option. His conclusions are based on research carried out by his company over a number of weeks."

Security Reports

A vulnerability in StackGuard has been found which could allow attacks to get past its buffer overflow protections in certain circumstances. No known exploits exist at this time, but all users of StackGuard (and the ImmuniX distribution) are recommended to upgrade. See the alert for details on the problem.

Bugs in bind. The Internet Software Consortium has put up a page describing several known vulnerabilities in the bind nameserver. They recommend that all sites should upgrade to version 8.2.2-P3 at first opportunity. As of this writing, we have not yet seen any updates from the Linux distributors; look for updates in the LWN daily page as we receive them.

A new version of dump and restore has been released, see the announcement for further information. There is a security fix to restore in this release that, according to the author, all users should apply. Given that the Linux distributors, thus far, seem not to be in much of a hurry to get new dump packages out there, it may be worthwhile to upgrade dump from the source distribution.

A security problem with Cobalt RaQ2 servers was posted by Chris Adams. Essentially, if a RaQ server runs multiple, independent sites, and administrators of the sites can, if so inclined, interfere with each others operations. The vulnerability lies with the "cgiwrap" program, but was apparently introducted in Cobalt's modifications; cgiwrap on other systems is not vulnerable. Cobalt has issued this advisory which tells how to fix the problem.

A denial of service problem exists with sendmail according to this posting from Michal Zalewski. Sendmail allows any user to rebuild the alias database, which may seem harmless. However, the database is rebuilt in place, meaning that if the process is killed before the rebuild completes, the alias database will be left corrupted and unusable. That essentially shuts down mail on the system.

Problems with Hylafax have been noted. Brock Tellier posted a report on a specific problem with faxalter; subsequent discussion indicated that there are other problems with the package as well. Fixes are not currently available; if you are running Hylafax on your system you may want to stay alert for updates once they come out.


Red Hat initscripts update. Red Hat has issued a security advisory for the initscripts package on version 6.1 of the distribution. There exists a race condition which could open up all sorts of holes; applying the update is recommended for all sites. Versions prior to 6.1 do not appear to be vulnerable.

MandrakeSoft updates kvirc MandrakeSoft has issued an update to kvirc which fixes a vulnerability in that package. Linux-Mandrake IRC users should upgrade at first opportunity.


Replay.com is no more. The folks at Replay have changed their name to "Zedz Consultants," and their web site - including the definitive Red Hat crypto archive - is now at www.zedz.net.

CaclMgr is available for download, see the announcement for details. CaclMgr appears to be a replacement for sudo with some added features.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 11, 1999

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel is 2.3.26. Work is already well advanced on 2.3.27 - five pre-patches have been released so far. 2.3.27 may well be out by the time you read this.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.13. The indications are that this kernel is indeed stable, there have been few complaints out there. Nonetheless there are several fixes out there; these are currently available as 2.2.14pre4, which will eventually become the next stable release. Alan Cox has put out a separate set of patches as 2.2.13ac3; this is a more developmental patch which contains some features (i.e. RAID 0.90, Raw I/O) which will not make it into 2.2 soon, if ever.

Kernel crash dump analyzer released. SGI has finally released its Linux kernel crash dump analyzer. It's not a tool that most Linux users should have to use, but those of us working on kernel and driver development may find it invaluable. SGI has done the developer community a service by creating and releasing this code.

ext3 0.0.2c has been released by Stephen Tweedie; details in the announcement. Ext3, of course, provides journaling to the standard ext2 filesystem. This release fixes some difficulties and features improved documentation.

Journaling for ReiserFS has been released, some details can be found in this press release. Linux now has two journaling filesystems that can be downloaded and used now (though perhaps with a bit of caution still), and another one (XFS) coming someday.

But what is this ReiserFS? This filesystem is the result of a persistent effort by Hans Reiser and his company Namesys; more details than many would ever want can be found on the Namesys web page. Mr. Reiser has a short-term goal, being a higher-performance filesystem, and a longer-term one: completely changing the way operating systems, data structures, and name spaces are handled.

The short-term performance goals are mostly being pursued through the use of balanced tree data structures. Most current filesystems maintain directories as linear lists of file entries, perhaps with some hashing to speed lookups. ReiserFS uses a tree structure instead not just for directory information, but for the files themselves as well. In some situations, especially those where thousands of small files exist, the performance improvements can be large.

(There is also a tree implementation for the standard ext2 filesystem being worked on by Ted Ts'o, but no code is currently available).

Hans Reiser's long-term vision is more ambitious. He sees a couple of sources of evil in the way current systems are designed: the compartmentalization of namespaces and the imposition of structure on data. Unix (and Linux) systems use the filesystem as a wide-ranging namespace, but it is far from the only one. Network devices have their own space; each separate relational database or structured file is also its own namespace.

Mr. Reiser's central point is that the utility of a system is not determined by the number of components it has, but by the number of possible interconnections between those components. Distinct namespaces keep components from talking to each other, and thus greatly reduce the capabilities of the system as a whole. If everything could be pulled together into a single namespace (the filesystem), the result should be a vastly more powerful operating system.

Despite the presence of a great many words on the web site, getting a firm grasp on how the ultimate ReiserFS-based system would look is not an easy thing. The system would look something like a single, large, amorphous object database with keyword addressing. Things like relational databases or dbm files would no longer exist; instead each individual item would live directly in the filesystem, which would provide powerful indexing and searching mechanisms so that they could be found.

Thus the emphasis on performance with small files. This vision of the operating system could easily result in millions of tiny entities being poured into the filesystem. It had better be fast. Numerous other features to support this mode of operation are envisioned as well: powerful searching mechanisms, inheritance of attributes (and data) between files, etc.

The result is expected to be a system with a much greater expressive power - if users can understand and learn how to make use of it.

This discussion oversimplifies things to the point that people who actually understand the long term ReiserFS vision are probably pretty upset. Those interested in the full picture should really just set aside a substantial block of time and wander through the Namesys web pages.

Meanwhile, developing even the current ReiserFS is a lot of work. Mr. Reiser intends to fund this work through commercial consulting and support fees. The ReiserFS license has drawn a bit of criticism which appears to be unjustified: all it really says is that (1) ReiserFS is under the GPL and can only be distributed with GPL kernels, and (2) if you don't like that other licensing terms are available for a fee. Currently SuSE appears to have engaged their services, and will be shipping ReiserFS with its 6.3 release.

TiVo's kernel mods available. TiVo, which sells a Linux-based "digital VCR" box, has made its modifications to the Linux PPC kernelavailable on the web.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

November 11, 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.

The LPI wants help with its distribution-specific certification exams. If you would like to spend a few minutes sharing your expertise in one or more Linux distributions, consider heading over to the LPI's test question page and putting in a few tough ones...

Interesting distribution of the week: nmrcOS is another in the line of "highly secure" distributions. It is based on a severely pared-down version of Slackware, with a number of crypto goodies and secure kernel patches applied. The developers foresee an interesting application for their distribution: as a piece of a disposable pirate radio transmitter which could be used for subversive purposes in oppressive countries. Of course, more straightforward applications that need secure systems are also envisioned... (Thanks to Martin Skjoldebrand).

Caldera OpenLinux

Erik Ratcliffe passes the baton... but it's not as bad as it sounds. Erik posted this note, which scared a few folks who feared that Erik would withdraw from Caldera-users, thus depriving the list of one of its best sources of help and information. But, in fact, Erik is only pulling out of the management of the OpenLinux contrib area. If you upload contributed packages for OpenLinux, please read Erik's notes for a new set of procedures.

Is your 2.3 system feeling sluggish? It seems that the 2.3 installer has a bug wherein it sometimes fails to set up the swap file properly. The result is poor performance and a new FAQ for the mailing list. A simple /etc/fstab change makes the problem go away; see this page on Caldera's site for details.

Debian GNU/Linux

The potato freeze has been rescheduled. And not just by a little bit: the freeze has been pushed back until January 15, 2000. See the announcement for the full text of the bad news. The primary reason for the delay is that the boot floppy code is not ready, and will not be for some time. There are general problems, and the added difficulty that nobody even seems to be working on the Alpha floppies at this time.

Needless to say, this delay is not popular with a lot of developers. There seems to be a general sense that 2.1 ("slink") is far too old, and that an update is urgently needed. There is also the difficult issue that slink contains a number of known year-2000 problems. It had been expected that Potato would fix those problems, but users are likely to be distinctly unhappy with the prospect of getting their y2k fixes in February.

One solution could be Joey Hess's "slink and a half" update which contains a new kernel, y2k and security fixes, and little else. The Debian Project ended up not releasing this version a while back, amid fears that such a release would distract attention away from Potato development. But this version exists, and is, in fact, the version used in the upcoming Debian boxed set. With Potato delayed into next year, a general release of this version seems almost inevitable.

In general, Debian seems to be having a few management difficulties as a result of its growth. Debian should probably have more stable "point releases" between the major versions; the alternative is to have a distribution which is a year out of date. But intermediate stable releases require effort which has been hard to come by.

The Linux kernel went through some similar difficulties before Alan Cox took on the maintenance of the current stable kernel. Debian could maybe benefit from a person willing to take on a similar role, keeping the stable version fixed and current while the bulk of the developers work on the next big release. Then maybe Debian would not have known y2k problems in the middle of November.

See also the Debian Weekly News by Joey Hess for coverage of these issues and others.

eBay's wireless access server uses Debian, see this announcement from the Debian project for more. eBay's wireless access (for Palm VII organizers) was put together by the folks at Workspot. It consists of an eBay proxy server which "translates" between eBay and the Palm; this server is made out of three Debian boxes running the Linux Virtual Server code. Much of the application-specific code is done in Perl.


Version 0.8 of DragonLinux (a small, UMSDOS-based distribution which installs under Windows) has been released.

Kondara MNU/Linux

Kondara MNU/Linux 1.0 has been released. That is about all we can say, though...the Kondara web site is in Japanese... (Thanks to Stephen Snyder).


Jason Haas of LinuxPPC wrote in to say that there was no LinuxPPC news of note this week. He also let slip that he got married on November 1; we think that those news items are not unrelated...

Red Hat Linux

Developer deals were the theme of the week...
  • Informix has announced another deal with Red Hat. "This agreement provides Informix with access to top of the line development support, and allows Red Hat to distribute Informix Dynamic Server(TM), Linux Edition v7.3, as well as Informix Client Software Developer Kit (SDK) v2.3, on their latest product distribution, Red Hat Linux 6.1."

  • Another "Red Hat developer partner" announcement was this one from eSoft. "Through Red Hat's Developer Partner Program, eSoft will be able to collaborate with Red Hat engineers to ensure that all eSoft products are compatible with Red Hat Linux. In addition, eSoft will gain access to the Red Hat development community, beta participation in upcoming Red Hat software releases and additional marketing exposure through the Red Hat Web site."

  • Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc., the developer of BRU Backup & Restore Utility, also announced that it is engaged in a development partnership with Red Hat.

Storm Linux

Stormix Technologies has announced that Applixware Office (the demo version) will be bundled with Storm Linux 2000.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 11, 1999

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

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Historical (Non-active)
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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects


GNOME is looking for packaging help. If you would like to help out GNOME, but don't feel up to hard-core hacking, helping out with the packaging may be the way to go. See Miguel's call for help for details. Essentially, they want a crew of people to create packages for as many systems and architectures as they can get, so that installing GNOME is easy for everybody.

Here is this week's GNOME summary, thanks to Havoc Pennington. It's a hefty summary, making up for last week's absence. Included is discussion of the MemProf memory leak detection tool: "Commercial tools to do this cost on the order of $1000 per seat; Owen wrote this in a couple weeks. Go figure."

High Availability

DRBD made its debut this week. DRBD is a disk-style block device which mirrors a disk over the network to a remote node. Thus it is, as stated in the announcement, a sort of networked RAID1 implementation. It has some shortcomings at this point - in particular, it makes no attempt to deal with cluster partitioning problems (where the network fails and inconsistent copies of the device develop on the partitioned nodes). It may still be a useful implementation for some applications.


Here is the latest KDE development report, courtesy of Navindra Umanee.


Midgard 1.2.5 (the "Mad King" release) has been announced. Included in this release is the beginnings of internationalization support.


Dave Whitinger has sent us an article on the importance of the Mozilla project. "If we come together and push all of our might toward a Free Web Browser for Linux, we have a good chance of winning this battle. If we fail, we will lose the war. This is the issue that Microsoft wants us to overlook." Worth a read.


The slides from Jim Winstead's ALS talk on PHP are available on the PHP web site.


PostgreSQL 6.5.3 has been released. According to the release announcement, this is a bugfix-only release.

Bruce Momjian is writing a book about PostgreSQL, apparently to be published by Addison-Wesley. This book is available online from the PostgreSQL.org web site. It is currently very much a work in progress, but much of the beginning material is in place.


Here is the Wine Weekly News from November 8. Included therein is a great deal of information on Wine development, and a mention of a Quicken success report.


Do you wonder what Zope really is? Perhaps the best one-page description of Zope we have seen is this posting by Evan Simpson in comp.lang.python. Recommended reading for anybody who is curious about what makes Zope work.

Zope 2.1.0 beta 1 has been released. This is primarily a bugfix and performance release, but it does also include some internationalization support and ZCatalog enhancements.

And here is this week's Zope news from Amos Latteier.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

November 11, 1999

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


For all you Lisp hackers out there, Marc Mertins has released Lisp Debug 0.9, a graphical source debugger for a number of Lisp variants.


PerlMonth #6 has been released. (Thanks to Baiju Thakkar).


Here is this week's Python-URL, written by Gordon McMillan.

A call for demos and posters at IPC8 has been posted. If you have a project that you would like to present at the eighth International Python Conference, now is the time to put in your abstract.

And, speaking of ICP8, Registration for the International Python Conference is now open. The deadline is January 3, 2000 for "early bird" rates. See the announcement for more.

Mailman 1.1 has been released. This release was driven by the goal of removing all GIF files from the distribution; it also includes some performance improvements.


Tcl/Tk 8.2.2 has been released, details in the announcement. It is primarily a bugfix release.

And here is this week's Tcl-URL by Jeffrey Hobbs, full of good Tcl/Tk pointers and information.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Cobalt Networks went public this week. The stock, which had been repriced up to $22 per share, began public trading at $130. In terms of percentage increase, this IPO was the third biggest ever on NASDAQ. The price has since settled to around $120, leaving Cobalt with a market capitalization of about $3.3 billion. It seems there was some demand there.

These events bode well, of course, for the other companies which are putting together their public offerings. As long as this current market persists, it seems there is money to be made in taking Linux companies public. Expect to see a lot of activity in this area over the coming year.

Cobalt Networks (stock symbol COBT) will join the LWN Linux Stock Index on Thursday, November 11.

SAP benchmark results posted Dan Kegel has collected and posted a collection of SAP "sales and distribution" benchmark results on both NT and Linux. This appears to be the first time that nearly identical benchmarks (i.e. with the same version of SAP) have been pulled together in this way. The results are nearly identical for both systems, even on eight-processor hosts.

SGI position paper on open source SGI has published a position paper entitled SGI and Linux/Open Source Market-like Computational Ecologies on its web site. This paper sets out to establish that SGI has been an open source supporter for a long time, and discusses the (many) projects the company has going now in the Linux/open source realm. "SGI's engineers have been contributing to the realization and implementation of the Open Source philosophy and community since at least 1992. As of August 1999 the SGI/Open Source relationship is solid, productive, and accelerating." It's an interesting read. (Thanks to Alberto Schiavon).

Rumor: Red Hat is buying Cygnus? The rumor is widespread and, as yet, unconfirmed. So all of the following is hypothetical, and should be treated as such.

Why would Red Hat buy Cygnus? Red Hat, of course, has a big wad of IPO cash burning a hole in its pocket - and a pile of high-priced shares as well. These resources need to be turned into revenue before the stockholders start to get nervous. Cygnus is a successful free software company which can bring some nice, positive cash flow.

Then there is the matter of the C compiler. Cygnus does not own gcc, of course, but much of the development on the compiler has been centered there for some time. Owning Cygnus would give Red Hat control over a crucial piece of its infrastructure, and would allow Red Hat to perhaps direct more effort toward making it work better with Linux.

Perhaps most important, however, is Cygnus' large role in embedded systems. The consensus appears to be that Linux will be a large force in the embedded arena, and a number of companies (Lineo, Montavista, Prosa) have been developing and pushing embedded Linux distributions. Red Hat, thus far, has not been active in embedded systems. What better way to leapfrog everybody than to buy the dominant open source embedded systems business?

Remember that the above is guesswork at this time; watch the LWN daily updates page for current information.

New antenna designed with a Beowulf cluster. Endgate Corporation has announced a new "customer premises antenna." The press release is mostly about the Linux cluster that was used to design the antenna, however. "The company's Beowulf system, which was developed using off-the-shelf components purchased from a local electronics store, uses 20 Intel Pentium III processors to provide performance equivalent to a nine GHz. computer.... By processing a large number of antenna parameter scenarios in parallel, the Beowulf computer was able to reduce the optimization time for the Toshiba antenna from two months to two days."

Press Releases:

    Products for Linux:

  • Alta Technology announced a new Linux-based cluster system based on rack-mount modules. The systems are available with Intel, AMD, or Compaq (Alpha) processors.

  • Bynari Inc. announced the release of its helpdesk software under the GPL.

  • Central Command and Kaspersky Lab announced AntiViral ToolKit Pro for Linux, a complete virus protection suite.

  • Centura Software Corporation announced its Raima Database Manager 5.0 and upcoming versions of Velocis Database Server (Velocis) will be available for Red Hat Linux.

  • Datalux unveiled a network-computing device for the healthcare industry, which runs on Linux.

  • Eicon Technology announced the certification of its DIVA 2.01 PCI ISDN adapter running on Linux.

  • Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc. announced BRU 15.1, with support for Hewlett-Packard's One-Button Disaster Recovery (OBDR) tape drive capability.

  • Merlin Software Technologies Inc. announced PerfectBACKUP+ 6.1 will be released later this week.

  • PegaSoft announced the release of System Manager in a Box (SMiaB) v1.0, a multipurpose system administration tool.

  • Penguin Computing announced the "Blackfoot 2500," a new rackmount server system.

  • PlugSys International announced Max for Linux, a new product for compiling and running Xbase code on Linux-based computers.

  • Tridia Corporation announced the release of DoubleVision for Linux, remote control software.

  • VA Linux Systems announced a new rackmount server system "optimized for Linux server applications ranging from Apache Web serving to Beowulf clustering."

    New Books:

  • Coriolis announced the publication of its "Exam Cram" book for the Red Hat Certified Engineer examination.

  • OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, has designated O'Reillys "DocBook: the Definitive Guide", as the official documentation of the DocBook DTD.

  • O'Reilly and Associates announced the release of "Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell", by David Flanagan.

    Also Comes in Linux:

  • Control Data Systems, Inc. announced the "InterHost Server," a mail and related server for large organizations. And they do mean large: "InterHost is $0.96 per seat starting at 100,000 users; per user pricing drops as numbers of users increase." CDC does not make a big deal out of it, but InterHost is available for Linux.

  • Extensibility Inc. announced XML Authority 1.1.

  • Inovie Software, Inc. announced the availability of TeamCenter 3.0, an Enterprise Team Portal for Internet-based work teams.

  • LinuxOne, Inc. announced the release of LinuxMac, a software application that enables the reading and writing of Apple Macintosh format disks and CDs.

  • Novell, Inc. announced the worldwide release of the public beta of NetWare 5.1.

  • ParaSoft Corporation released SiteRuler 1.1, an Internet tool that finds and fixes errors in corporate Web sites.

  • Smith Micro Software, Inc. announced the release of WebCatalog for UNIX.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • BeOpen.com announced that it has acquired LinuxDev.Net, a Linux developer and Open Source website.

  • Linuxcare announced a deal with IBM Global Services to provide support for IBM's Linux customers.

  • Oracle Corp. and Red Hat unveiled a new version of the Red Hat Linux OS which will be optimized to meet the increasing high availability, clustering and Java support demands of today's emerging e-businesses.

  • Penguin Computing has announced an "exclusive" deal to sell its advertising posters through the Linux Mall.

  • Quantified Systems, Inc. and Nettaxi, Inc. announced the successful deployment of Urchin Enterprise across the entire Nettaxi network.


  • eSoft Inc., developer and marketer of Linux software, announced its Easy Pay leasing program which will offer eSoft resellers the ability to extend lease terms to their customers.

  • FreeCheck is a free-to-use e-mail Internet service that runs on a Linux PC.

  • LinuxToday.com will be broadcasting live radio from the floor of the Linux Business Expo/Comdex '99.

  • MontaVista Software, Inc., maker of Hard Hat Linux, named Kevin Morgan as vice president of engineering and Brian Grega as vice president of sales and marketing.

  • Red Hat, Inc. announced that all the streaming activities of NetAid, the largest streaming video event in Web history, were powered by Red Hat Linux solutions and support.

  • Sun claims that more than one million copies of StarOffice have been downloaded in the last two months.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

November 11, 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:

One of the best writeups we have seen on the Microsoft ruling is this article in The Times. "With free operating systems and productivity software now readily available to fulfil all of the critical functions of Windows and Office, PC manufacturers would long since have started offering cheap Microsoft-free computers, if only they could feel safe from retaliatory action of the kind detailed in Judge Jackson's findings." (Thanks to Guy Kirkwood).

Microsoft Loses - Linux Gains:

This article in CNNfn reports on the results of the Microsoft case: Microsoft is a monopoly. "...Microsoft's customers lack a commercially viable alternative to Windows." In other words, the judge found the "Linux defense" unconvincing. It will be interesting to see what the next step is... (Thanks to Dave Whitinger).

Here's a Red Herring article about Linux and the Microsoft ruling. "Despite the judicial branch's declaration that Microsoft is a monopoly, Linux firms must continue to innovate without isolating potential customers, says Lonn Johnston, North American operations vice president of Turbolinux, a Linux distributor based in Brisbane, California. 'You don't want to pick on Microsoft, because all your customers are running Microsoft,' he says."

This Reuters article looks at the general rise in Linux-related stocks in response to the Microsoft ruling. "'There's a huge interest in Linux. It's come out of nowhere to be white hot. Everybody's interested. Government agencies are interested in switching over. Whole countries are interested in switching over,' Corel Chief Executive Michael Cowpland told Reuters." See also the LWN Linux Stocks Page for a view of how stocks reacted today. (Thanks to Dave Whitinger).

Here's a News.com article about Monday's rise in Linux stocks. "But in the event that Microsoft is split up into two or more units, Applix and Corel might not see things in such a rosy light. Splitting off Microsoft Office software into a separate company raises the possibility that the new company could port its software to Linux since that company no longer would have chief loyalty to Windows."

The Ottawa Citizen looks at Corel's stock price surge. "But Tera Capital Corp. analyst Duncan Stewart said that even if Microsoft is eventually forced to divest itself of parts of its business, it will still be a potent competitor. 'If anything, Microsoft may have been holding back something against competitors while it awaited this decision,' said Mr. Stewart. 'If Microsoft brings out a Linux product (against Corel's soon-to-be-released product), it should sell very well.'"

This Salt Lake Tribune article looks at how the Microsoft ruling could affect Caldera Systems. "The ruling in the antitrust case could prevent Microsoft from pressuring companies not to make devices with Linux software sold by Caldera and other companies."

Salon Magazine writes about the Microsoft finding and Linux. "So -- should the government force Microsoft to release its source code? [Tim] O'Reilly shrugs: 'I think that's a terrible remedy -- no one would want it.'"

This article (in French) in Le Monde examines Linux in the light of the Microsoft ruling. It also looks at StarOffice. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in Da Linux French Page).

ZDNet covers the Slashdot discussion on the finding that Microsoft is a monopoly. "Eventually these discussions degraded to 'flamebait' or a war of words."

This ComputerBits article is about Linux on the desktop. "Although Microsoft would like to have the judge in its antitrust trial believe that Linux poses a significant challenge to its desktop hegemony, that's nothing but posturing. Linux might compete (and successfully at that) with NT Server, but Linux and Windows 95/98 have so far staked out completely different turfs: Windows on the desktop, Linux in the server room."

Cobalt IPO:

News.com reports on the repricing of Cobalt Networks' IPO. "Increasing the price of IPO shares indicates strong demand by institutional investors, who make up the bulk of purchasers in first-time stock sales."

Also from News.com. "The shares, which were priced yesterday at $22, closed today at 128.13, a gain of 482 percent. Volume was heavy with nearly 11 million shares changing hands. The shares opened at 139, giving the company a market value of $3.79 billion--about 205 times its annualized sales this year."

Here's a Reuters article. "They've got all the magic words between appliances and Linux, but there is also some meat behind this. It's not just smoke and mirrors; it's a real business. We're seeing more and more of these companies moving away from ephermal dot.com businesses and getting into real businesses."

The Red Herring covers the Cobalt IPO. "In the latest chapter of the commercialization of the Linux operating system, the blue-hot arc of the Cobalt Networks (Nasdaq: COBT) initial public offering fried the first-day performance of rival Red Hat's (Nasdaq: RHAT) August IPO."

ZDNet gives this report. "Investors were bullish on Cobalt''s prospects given its ties to Linux and opportunity in the growing server appliance market."

The Motley Fool takes this look. "Despite its early success -- and this is not to say it isn't a great company -- Cobalt is a virtual start-up, and it's trying to grow in a new industry. It will have to generate some serious future cash flows to justify trading at these levels."

TheStreet.com ran this article and, in particular, looks at why Gateway chose not to exercise an option to buy a large pile of shares at the IPO price. "Could it be that the SEC viewed the Cobalt investment to be unseemly, seeing as Gateway was cut in just weeks before what obviously was becoming a hot IPO and just weeks after signing a reputation-enhancing supply deal with Cobalt?"

DVD Hack:

ComputerWorld talks to John Gilmore about the DVD hack. "Gilmore noted that until now, movies on DVD couldn't be played on Linux because the DVD Forum wouldn't release specifications for how to do it. He said that now, or in the near future, Linux users will be able to play DVDs, which he believes is entirely appropriate."

Wired News looks at the DVD crack. "It all happened because DVD playback software for Linux doesn't exist. There are numerous DVD playback utilities for Windows --WinDVD, ATI DVD, Compaq DVD, XingDVD -- but nothing, nada, zip for Linux players. And if there's one thing about Linux users, they're do-ers, not whiners."

Red Hat:

InfoWorld looks at Red Hat's expanded support offerings. "The new initiative, aimed at larger corporate accounts, will include several more open-source products. Eventually, company officials hope to support the applications of all those developers thoroughly committed to the open-source model."

Here's a Computer Reseller News article about Bob Young and Red Hat. "Through his efforts and evangelism, Young has brought his company in a short number of years from a small catalog operation to a well-known entity with a successful initial public offering."

Red Hat's Bob Young was briefly interviewed on this CNN Moneyline segment about the Microsoft ruling. Scroll about 1/3 down (or search) to find it. "...Judge Jackson's ruling is very useful to us. It creates opportunities for us in the market that, without a policeman in this marketplace, would not be available to us." (Thanks to Didier Legein).

The (Denver) Rocky Mountain News reports on eSoft's partnership with Red Hat. "'We believe Red Hat has established themselves as the dominant Linux provider in North America,' [eSoft CEO Jeff] Finn said."


E-Commerce Times reports on new Linux sites on the web. "In the wake of the landmark ruling that branded Microsoft a monopoly, information and developer resource Web sites are moving into the market space for Linux-based solutions."

A new magazine called Enterprise Linux has popped up; it has started out with an interview of Jon 'maddog' Hall. (Thanks to Robert K. Nelson).

Business Week looks at Slashdot and founder Rob Malda. "With the sale of Slashdot to Andover.net, Slashdot has gone from being a hobby for Malda to being a business -- supported by online advertising. But Malda doesn't feel that he sold out. It's important to him that the company isn't aligned with any of the versions of Linux."


AboutLinux compares the performance of the Red Hat and Linux-Mandrake distributions on an AMD Athlon processor. "On some of the tests it was possible to see a slight performance advantage with Mandrake 6.1 (and a slight disadvantage in a couple of cases!) - but there were no 'earth shaking' performance differences between RedHat 6.0 and Mandrake 6.1."

PC World reviews the Corel Linux beta. "Unlike competing versions--and despite its unfinished state--the beta version of Corel Linux installs nearly hands-free. And if the features Corel promises for the final product (due in mid-November) come true, this new flavor of Linux may be nearly as easy to install and configure as Windows 98."

CPU Review has put up a new multi-distribution comparison, currently featuring OpenLinux 2.3, SuSE 6.2, and Linux-Mandrake 6.1. "The Mandrake desktop beat out SuSE and OpenLinux by a hair; mostly because Mandrake came with more window managers."

Other Business:

Computer Reseller News looks at the upcoming Cold Fusion release. "Allaire Corp. told more than 1,200 developers at its first user conference, held here, that it will ship ColdFusion 4.5 in December, with first-time support for Linux."

News.com reports on e-speak, which HP is releasing under the GPL. "E-speak is designed to find services and negotiate deals over the Internet. For example, e-speak on a cell phone could automatically search for the best rate to make a call and then handle payment..."

Network Computing finally caught up to the Cisco print system. "Aside from the obvious economics, Cisco's Ivereigh likes the flexibility of the open source code in Linux. It helped him and his team configure an integrated directory among the now-130 Linux print servers the company has spread around the globe, so every print server knows about every printer."

Here's an E-Commerce Times article about EBIZ's recent moves. "EBIZ recently established a non-profit group, The Linux Store Fund, Inc., which will allocate grants to support open-source development projects. Working with an initial $10,000 seed grant from EBIZ, the company will donate $1 from each online purchase toward the organization's fund."

Upside ran this article about Linux in embedded applications. "Never mind the fact that Linux, a cruiserweight in the PC class, looks more like a corpulent blob compared when lined up against the current crop of embedded operating systems. Many Linux developers are already shipping embedded versions of the operating system and they like their chances."

Linuxdevices.com has run an advocacy piece describing in detail the benefits of Linux in embedded applications. "Linux is a versatile and cost effective operating system for embedded systems It can be embedded in a surprisingly small system to handle simple tasks and scaled up to handle more complex tasks." (Thanks to Jacob Lehrbaum).

Sm@rt Reseller reports on Caldera's plans. "One of its new offerings will be a Linux-based, thin-server software offering, eServer, which can be used either on conventional servers or in network appliances. This, and more full-featured e-commerce-oriented packages on tap from the company, will use Java and Java Database Connector for e-commerce. That makes Caldera the first Linux company to make a major commitment to Java."

Doctor Dobb's Journal ran this rather technical article about interprocess communications in real-time Linux. "When dealing with real-time systems, the overhead of interprocess communications (IPC) becomes important. The formalized structures that are used in Linux for IPC can carry with them a significant amount of overhead. This can create timing problems for your applications."

News.com looks at the Apache XML project. "The xml.apache.org project is open to every developer or company, but Microsoft -- which has its own XML tools -- has not joined the effort."

Here's a News.com article about the new Linuxcare support deal with IBM. "The contract is a step ahead for Linuxcare, which is locked in a battle with Linux seller Red Hat and others to try to win a place as the preferred provider of Linux services for companies wishing to use or even customize the Unix-like operating system."

Computer Currents looks at Linux support plans. "I assumed a few alternate identities and tried Linuxcare's per incident service and purchased a support package for my fake business. In all cases, Linuxcare personnel responded in the time they promised. More important, they correctly resolved every simple and complex problem I threw at them."

Here's an article in Civic.com about how government shops are considering Linux. "With more and more hardware and software vendors coming out to support it, observers say Linux is worth considering, even for government agencies that have shied away from it in the past."

The Wall Street Journal reports on how Linux firms plan to make money. "Mindful of how the wind is blowing on Wall Street, Linux companies recently have been sidestepping the free-software problem by pitching themselves less as software companies and more as 'dot-coms.'"

TheStreet.com looks at upcoming Linux IPOs. "But just because a prospectus mentions Linux doesn't automatically make for a red-hot offering.... Inevitably, some of the companies could see their shares sink."

Wired News looks at the LinuxOne IPO filing. "...Red Hat software officials said they didn't see LinuxOne as a threat to their business or stock market cache [sic]."

News.com has run another look at the "windowing" patent issue. "Gartner Group analyst Dale Vecchio, who has been following the issue, said there appears to be plenty of instances where windowing has been mentioned or even used by companies. 'We believe there is overwhelming prior art,' Vecchio said. 'We have discovered prior art with IBM, who referred to the technique in pamphlets as far back as 1991.'" (See also LWN's feature article on this patent and the Linux kernel).


Multimedium reports (in French) on Richard Stallman's talk at the Alternative Linux Conference in Montreal. Topics include "GNU/Linux," GNOME, KDE, and Amazon.com. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in NNL).

Upside covers "burn all GIFs day". "'This is the first mass protest in history over a math algorithm,' boasted event organizer Doug [sic] Marti, who delivered the deadpan comment in front of an assembled group of five protesters, two reporters and two Unisys representatives."

LinuxPower has put up a tutorial article on how to download, build, and install a new kernel.

Technology Review has named the TR 100, "100 young innovators who exemplify the spirit of innovation in science, technology, and the arts." Included in the list are Miguel de Icaza and Linus Torvalds.

Linux In Brazil covers (in Portuguese) the year 2000 bug and Linux. English text is available via Babelfish.

This osOpinion article looks at the issue of software quality. "I'm certainly not saying that open-source is the only way to go, but what it has shown is that by giving programmers more breathing room, they'll want to create better software."

The open source community should be paying more attention to Apple, according to this osOpinion piece. "One day it hit me like a brick on the forehead. Apple isn't (in ANY way) the closed company it once was. As a matter of fact it's the most open platform on the market today short of Linux, and this only due to the GUI restrictions Apple put upon its OS."

Yahoo UK has this article which claims that GraphOn has managed to get Linux designated the "official OS of China." "GraphOn concedes however that the Chinese government is probably enthused by its server technology because it provides a simple way of keeping an eye on users' computer activity. 'It is all about control but it's not an ugly or a bad control, it's not a big brother sort of thing,' says [GraphOn VP] Ford." (Thanks to Peter Link). This appears to be only a rumor at this time. LWN has not been able to confirm this announcement yet.

ZDNet looks at FUD on both sides. "I'm getting a little tired of all of this. Let's get this straight: Microsoft tries to unfairly influence people all the time. Heck, here at Sm@rt Reseller we caught them red-handed stuffing our online survey ballot box on directory preferences with votes for Active Directory a few weeks ago. But, Linux advocates aren't exactly immune to shading the truth either."

Channel2000.com ran this installation nightmare story. In this one, however, the writer never seemingly got to install Linux. "As you can probably tell, my installation didn't go well. In fact, it hasn't been completed yet. I can't blame the problems on software or documentation. The only suggestion I have is for a new label on the software -- 'Warning: The most dangerous thing about this software is the idiot holding the box.'"

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

November 11, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Version 2.1 of the Linux Laptop HOWTO has been released.

O'Reilly and Associates will publish a book on Zope, the open source web application server.


LinuxWorld Expo, happening in New York in February, is trying to stir up attention with this press release; they claim that 30% of the registrants are financial and IT managers, and 40% are software developers. "Bringing LinuxWorld Conference & Expo to the financial capital of the world provides investors with an opportunity to take a closer look at this booming industry. The strong presence of software developers and IT management supports the trend of companies adopting Linux as their operating system of choice."

Another new Linux event has been announced. LinuxCanada will be held alonside NewMedia2000 in Toronto on May 15-18, 2000. Bob Young will be giving the keynote.

Chris DiBona has put up a survey asking which conference(s) people like best as a gathering point for Linux developers.

November 11, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
ACS 0.4.0 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
AdaCGI 1.4 Ada 95 interface to CGI for creating Web applications
AliantIRCD 1.0-Eagle An ircd based on DAL4.6.7B.DREAMFORGE.
Allen Bradley Ethernet utils 0.0.1 Simple utilities for Allen Bradley Ethernet PLCs
ALSA driver 0.4.1e An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AlsaPlayer 0.99.29 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
angif 1.0.0beta2 LZW-free GIF code to output animation and/or true-color
aumix 1.26 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
authlocal 1.0.1 Automatic authentication of connections from localhost
Averist 0.2.0 Authentication layer to any web based application
AWE32ControlPanel 0.7 SBAWE32 Control Panel
becrweb 0.1 (very primitive) backend for association of files with comments.
Bind 8.2.2-P3 Berkeley Internet Name Domain
Bochs 991107c Portable x86 PC emulation software package
bttvgrab 0.15.5 Provides high-quality grabbing suitable for video recording
bug-buddy 0.2 graphical bug-reporting utility for GNOME
BusyBox 0.32 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
bvi 1.2.0 Editor for binary files using common vi commands
Caitoo 0.6.5 KDE app to get files from the internet
Calculator 0.9.9b Simple Command Line Calculator
cd-copy shell 0.0.4 CDROM copying/creation tool.
cdrecord 1.8a31 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
CGI++ 0.8 C++ macro-preprocessor for writing CGI/Database applications
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0.2 Internet Printing System for UNIX
Cook 2.11 A tool for constructing files, and maintainingreferential integrity between fil
cowsay 3.02 An easy way to add speaking and thinking cows to anything.
cvsweb 1.79 A visual (www) interface to explore a CVS repository
Defkon 17 019991104 Realtime Strategy game
DeleGate 5.9.6 Multi-purpose application level gateway (proxy)
dep.pl 1.05 Check dependencies of multiple files.
DiaCanvas 0.40.0 A full featuring widget for diagram drawing (from the drawing tool DIA)
DigitalDJ 0.6 DigitalDJ is an SQL-based mp3
divine 0.5.3 automatic IP configuration detection for laptops
DNRD 2.5 Proxy DNS server for home networks with multiple ISPs
Doom Sysadmin .70 Remote Windows System Administration Tool with Doom Front End.
DragonLinux v0.80 Run a small version of Linux ported to Windows!
Drall 0.16.0 Allows users to access their directories and files remotely via a web browser
DSM 0.0.2 Distributed Site Management
Dump/Restore 0.4b9 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
dynahtml.pl 0.3 HTML-editing Perl script
DynAPI 19991024 development library for DHTML web applications, games, and animations
E-SETImon 0.2.2 SETI@home progress monitor epplet
eggdrop 1.4.0 IRC bot, written in C
elknews 0.1.9 Usenet Newsreader
ELKS 0.0.81 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Elvis 2.1_4 A clone of vi/ex, the standard UNIX editor.
emelFM 0.6.1 Two-Window File Manager
Empg123 1.2 Allows you to place playlists and mp3's into your Enlightenment root menu
ENIP 0.7 Pure java email client
Enlightenment 0.16.2 Fast, flexible and very extensible Window Manager
EPIwm 0.5-3 window manager
Epplet Library 0.4 Library and example epplets for Enlightenment 0.16
Eterm 0.8.10 An X11 VT102 emulator with Enlightenment features
Ethernet TAP driver 0.2 Ethernet TAP driver for FreeBSD
eud2mbox 1.1a (build 1.23) Eudora Mailbox (.mbx) to standard mbox converter
eXtace 1.2.11 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
Fast Webpage Exchanger 2.0.2 A non-interactive FTP client for updating Web pages
FFTW 2.1.3 The Fastest Fourier Transform in the West
firesoft 1.0 Tools for viewing ipchains firewall logs and snort logs.
FORGE JCE Provider 1.31 A free JCE 1.2 crypto provider that gives RSA key services
freeCGI++ 2.4.02 C++ hierarchy for developing object-oriented CGI applications
freemed 19991105 Free medical management software in a web browser
Fujitsu Lifebook B112/B142 Touch panel driver Fujitsu Lifebook B112/B142 Touch Panel driver 0.2 Gpm and XFree86 touch panel driver for the Fujitsu Lifebook B112
gaim 0.9.10 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
gbox_applet 0.2.3 mbox watcher
GCD 2.8 A cd-player with a gtk+ interface
gdcd 0.0.3 GTK CD player with Cover Art Index and CDDB support
GeneWeb 3.00 A combo web interface and genealogy program combined on steroids
Gentry 0.1.4 GTK application for data entry into a MySQL database
gfocustimer 0.4 Tracking of X input focus for time charging
gif2png 2.1.3 converts GIF image files to PNG format
GLE 2.3 GLE Tubing and Extrusion drawing Library
GMasqdialer 0.99.7 Gnome Client for the Masqdialer System
GNATS 3.113 A problem-tracking system written to report bugs.
gnomba 0.5.1 Gnome Samba Browser
Gnome Chess 0.2.4 GNOME Chess Client
gnome-o-phone 0.3 Internet telephone with a gtk interface
gnomeching 0.1a GNOME I-Ching hexagram interpreter
GnuDIP 2.1.1 Dynamic DNS package. Includes everything to run your own ml.org equivalent.
GNUware 1.4 A low cost CD containing over 1000 free Linux and UNIX programs.
GOGO 2.22 Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
GProc 0.5.0-pre4 Managing process from the Gnome panel
gred 0.6.1 A small, easy to use terminal-based text editor for Unix.
grepmail 4.1 Searches a normal or gzipped mailbox for a given regularexpression
Grip 2.8 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
Gtk-- 1.1.3 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
GtkExText 0.0.11
GTKstep 1.10 Improves the default look and feel of the GTK+ widget set
GTKtalog 0.09 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface.
GtkTiLink 0.31_1.85_stable A TI calculators <-> PC communication program using a GTK interface
GtkX10 0.1.2 GTK app for controlling X10 devices from a Firecracker device
HB 1.9.6 Simple language to create dynamic web content
hcemd5 0.1 port of the Crypt::HCE_MD5 perl module to php3
HCP 0.5.0 A protocol for every form of human communication over networks
HHexen 1.2 A hacked version of linux Hexen
HTML::Embperl 1.2b11 Embed Perl into HTML Pages with a lot of features especialy for dynamic webpage
HTML::Template 1.1 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
htsserver 0.5.2 Server application of the multiplayer trading game Holsham Traders
http_load 09sep99 multiprocessing HTTP test client
IA 1.06 A little AI program.
imc 4.0 The Image Compiler
Intelligent TETRIS 1.6.1 A tetris clone for SVGAlib or X11
iplog 2.0 (alpha 11071999) tcp, udp, and icmp logging utilities for Linux.
irssi GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
Jacl 1.2.5 Tcl shell implemented in Java, a perfect way to add scripting to a Java app.
jake 0.2.2 Facilitates management of and linking between eresources for librarians.
jEdit 2.2pre3 Powerful text editor
jftpgw 0.0.3 small ftp proxy
jpilot 0.96 Palm pilot desktop software for Linux
JPython 1.1beta4 Java reimplementation of the Python programming language
KBML 2.0 JavaBeans serialization using XML
Kdict 0.2 KDE client program for the DICT server (dict.org).
KEGS 0.56 An Apple //gs emulator for HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, and OS/2
Kmap 0.6.1 Nmap port-scanner frontend for QT/KDE
KMLOFax 0.4.1 Facsimile utility for the ELSA MicroLink(tm) Office
knc 0.2 A KDE based filemanger
KPooka 0.2.6 Logic game for KDE
Krabber 0.4.3a KDE audio cd grabber and mp3 encoder front-end
KSnes9x 1.0 KDE frontend for Snes9x
ksysv 1.0.0pre4 Editor for System V Init configurations
LANdb 0.73 Provides network managers with a means of cataloging network connections.
Laptop Tracker 0.1.0 Client for SaveTheLaptop
LBU 1.20gc Linux Backup Utility with minor enhancements.
le editor 1.5.5 Text editor with powerful block operations, similar to NE.
Lesstif 0.89.4 LGPL'd re-implementation of Motif
libunicode 0.3 Library of unicode string functions and charset converters
libwmf 0.1.16 A library to convert microsoft's wmf file format to something useful
LinkChecker 0.9.3 LinkChecker is a URL link checker
Linux FreeS/WAN 1.1 Build secure VPN's with Linux FreeS/WAN's IPSEC and IKE implementation
Linuxconf 1.16r6 Sophisticated administrative tool
Listar 0.127a Modular Mailing list management software
log-proxy 1.0 A proxy server that creates easily viewed logs of all data going in or out
Logwatch v0.1 Beta Monitor logfiles on networked machines
Mailman 1.1 Mailing list manager with built in web access
Majik 3D client Majik 3D Client 0.3.1 An online role-playing world
makeHTML 0.05 Script for generating HTML code
maketool 0.5 GTK front end for GNU make
Matt's MP3 Selector 0.89a Ncurses based mpg123 frontend
Max for Linux (Xbase / Clipper compiler) Max for Linux 1.0 Preview Xbase compiler similar to Clipper
mg^2 0.1.16 Truespace work/look alike 3D modeler using Gtk and OpenGL
mifluz 0.8 Full text indexing C++ library
Minimalist 2.0.2 Easy-but-powerful Mailing List Manager
mod_dtcl 0.6.4 Apache server-parsed Tcl module, inspired by PHP
mod_ssl 2.4.8-1.3.9 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Molden 3.6 Molden is a package for displaying Molecular Density from the Ab Initio packages
Momoko 0.2.1 Multi-user development environment
moodss 8.5 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Moonshine 0.9.3 An application development environment for Linux.
Morphon XMLEditor version 1 beta 3 Editor for XML files
moRT 19991104 tail for XWindow
move_imap_users 1.1 move users on cyrus imap server and load balancing
MP3 Server Box 0.3 MP3 Player that can be controlled over network
mrtg 2.8.9 Multi Router Traffic Grapher
Muddleftpd 1.1.1 beta 2 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
Muffin 0.9.1 Filtering proxy server for the World Wide Web written entirely in Java
muLinux 7.0 A tiny implementation of Linux, which can reside on a single floppy
Mup 3.5 Music Publisher
Naken Chat 1.11 Chat Server ported from Javachat
NCatalog 0.02 The GTKtalog databse ncurses browser and searcher.
ncp 0.5 Copy files quickly inside your LAN
netfilter 0.1.12 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
Network UPS Tools 0.42 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software
Newsrunner 1.3e Fetches pictures from newsgroups, with a neat X-interface.
note 0.1 commandline note tool
nss 1.5 Netscape Startup Script. Script to handle Netscape launches.
omniORB 3.0-pre1 A robust, high-performance CORBA 2 ORB
oo2c 1.4.7 Optimizing Oberon2 to C Compiler
OpenMap 3.3.5 JavaBeans tool kit for building applications/applets with maps
Oscar 3.1 Public Key Infrastructure Toolkit
OutGuess 0.13b Universal steganographic program.
passwdd 0.09 Password synchronization server/client
perdition 0.1.1 POP3 Proxy
Perl Shell 0.00205 Simple interactive Perl shell
perlbot 1.1.9 An IRC bot in Perl written with simplicity in mind
Perro 1.0.1 This is a set of daemons that log TCP/UDP/ICMP packets.
PHeadlines 0.1 A news headline grabber written in PHP
Pingus 0.2.4 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pircd Alpha Twelve An IRC daemon, written in Perl.
plugger 3.2 Streaming multimedia plugin for UNIX netscape
PMFirewall 1.1.2 An Ipchains Firewall and Masquerading Configuration Utility.
Postfix 19990906-pl06 The Postfix MTA
PostgreSQL 6.5.3 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
PRCS 1.2.15 Provides a way to deal with setsof files and directories as an entity
Primax GUI 0.99 Tcl/Tk Frontend GUI for Primax D600 Scanner
procps 2.0.6 A package of utilities which report on the state of the system
Prometheus-Library 0.51 Object-oriented PHP API
ptf 0.45 A TCP forwarder written in Python
PTlink ircd 3.4.0 New featured ircd with a great services integration
pyCDAudio 0.1.2 Python wrapperes for libcdaudio
PySol 3.00 A Python-based Solitaire card game
PySol-Cardsets 3.00 A collection of free cardsets for use with PySol
Python/Tk Empire Interface 1.12 Cross Platform Empire GUI Client
QconsoleD BETA 0.8 Quake console server
QextMDI 0.3 (alpha) cross-platform GUI library extending Qt with MDI functionality
QmailAdmin 0.25 Web based interface for Qmail Administration
QtCD 0.4 Qt-based cd player with CDDB support
QtEZ 0.83 Qt based rapid application development environment
QuickList 0.8.4 MS Works like database application
Qvwm 1.1.4 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
RC EJB 0.8 Free implementation of the Enterprise Java Beans specification
reap 0.2 Disassembler for x86 architecture, and assembly code editor
recover 0.8 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
replace 2.00 Replace ASCII or hex strings in text or binary files
Resin 1.1.b2 JSP (Javaserver Pages) engine
rio-utils 1.0 Diamond Rio support utilities
ROBODoc 3.1b Documentation tool for many programming languages
RPGBoard 2.10a A WWWBoard-style message board script.
RPM 3.0.3 Red Hat's package management system
sawmill 0.16 Extensible window manager
Scintilla 1.1 Source code editing component and tiny IDE for Win32 and GTK+.
setup.sh 0.1.2 Package management aware source code installation script
Shadowlands Forum 1.9.2 Low-resource, robust, friendly telnet chat server with authentication
shViewer 0.1 GTK+/Imlib image viewer
signature 0.02 a dynamic signature generator for e-mail and news
Sims Computing Test Bed 0.15 Tool for writing unit tests for your Java code
SkySOUND 0.60 Free demo or game oriented MP3 Library
SleezeBall 0.4 Make Squid replace known banners with a 1x1 pixel transparent GIF
SmartHTML 1.7 HTML preprocessor
SMPEG 0.3.1 SDL MPEG player with sound
Smurf Sound Font Editor 0.45 Sound Font editor
Soupermail 1.0.6 Generic form to email handler
SparsePy 0.1 General purspose sparse-array matrix support for Python
speyes 1.2.0 South Park-inspired xeyes dockapp for WindowMaker.
SPINdex 3.8.1 Perl-based Web site-searching suite
SplitFire 1.25a Complete IRC script for IRCII-EPIC.
Sporum 1.2 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.8 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
star trek ency reader 0.7.2 Reads the star trek encyclopedia under linux
Superficie 0.6.6 A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
SuSE Proxy-Suite 1.7 Application-level gateway
susi pre-110499 An easy user-interface management
Synapse 0.3 3d Graphical User Interface
Tcl Blend 1.2.5 Tcl Blend is a Tcl extension that provides access to Java inside Tcl.
TeEncontreX 1.0 Help system for TeX/LaTeX.
terra 2.2.2 A feature-packed IRC daemon based on dreamforge
Test Environment Toolkit 3.3d A toolkit for test development and management
Tetradraw beta3 Full featured linux ansi editor
tin pre-1.4-19990927 Curses based threaded NNTP and spool based UseNet newsreader
tkBallistic 1.1 Small arms ballistics calculator
TkBox 0.58 MPEG remote access control client/server architecture
TkFileman 0.5.3 A Simple file manager written in Tcl/Tk
TkNotePad 0.7.1 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
tksqlbind 0.3 tksqlbind is a perl script that will edit sqlbind zones
tn5250 0.14.0 5250 Terminal emulator for Linux, Unix and Win32
Trf 2.0 Filtering channels for Tcl, MAC, Encryption, Error correction, various encodings
Trfcrypt 2.0 Add-on to Trf with various encryption algorithms.
Troll-FTPd 1.25 A free, small, and secure virtual FTP server
TWIG 2.0.2 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
typespeed 0.4.0 Type speed testing program, gives your fingers' CPS
ucppkit 0.4 A tiny C++ toolkit for Linux
UdmSearch 2.1.6 Fast WWW search engine for your site
Universal TUN/TAP device driver 0.3 Universal TUN/TAP device driver
uptimer 1.0.3 Adds the current uptime to your .sig file
urmcore 0.2.3 Quickly finds, verifies, and removes old core files with minimum system load.
VCHE 1.7.2 A hex editor which lets you see all 256 characters .
VH Graph PHP3/PHP4 plotting package.
Visual Oberon 990808 GUI library written in Oberon2
VTun 2.0b6 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
vux Highly configurable logging system. (CGI)
wchat 1.1 Fully extensible TCP/IP-based Chat Server.
Webliographer 0.96.1 Mini URL search engine/database
Webmon 2.0 Web-based Packet Loss reporter
WebRun 2.0 Simple Java application distribution tool
Websuite 0.98.5 Suite of CGI applications in C
weedlog 1.0.0 A packet logger to help debug network connections.
WeirdX 1.0.0 A pure Java X Window System server
wmdl 1.4.0 Load/cpu/anything-meter using ID's Doom face or Tux.
wmseti 0.2.6 Windowmaker dockapp for your SETI@home statistics
WolfGL 0.9 3D first-person shooter
WWWOFFLE 2.5b Simple proxy server with special features for use with dial-up internet links
wxWindows/GTK 2.1.11 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-Chat 1.3.7 GTK+ based IRC client, similar to AmIRC (Amiga).
XawTV 3.0 TV application and a few utilities
XBlast 2.6.1 Multiplayer bombing game inspired by Dynablaster and Bomberman.
XCircuit 1.7 program for drawing electrical circuit schematic diagrams and related figure
XDBM 0.9 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
Xenon 0.6.5 A simple X-based text editor
XEphem 3.2.3 XEphem is a free interactive astronomy program for UNIX systems with X & Motif
xipdump 1.5.0 displays ip packets using the X Window System.
xlHtml 0.2.2 XLS to HTML converter
Xlockmore 4.15 screen saver / locker for the X Window System
XSane 0.43 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
XShipWars 1.21 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
Xtheater 0.1.1 GTK-based MPEG-1 video & video/audio player
Yacas 1.0.12 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
yafc 0.4.9 Yet Another FTP Client
YAPM 0.0.5 Tool to publish historic pings and traceroute over the WWW
YIFF Sound Server 2.02 Sound server with multi-client and network-transparent io library.
Zebedee 1.1.0 Encrypting, compressing TCP/IP tunnel

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

Red Hat's new news site has launched: see Wide Open News to see what can be done through the application of large amounts of money.

The Open Source Remote Sensing Effort is a new page which has been set up to support free software in remote sensing and GIS applications. The site seems mostly oriented toward news items at the moment, but they are also working toward building a remote sensing code base. And they are seeking volunteers, of course...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

November 11, 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: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 18:40:05 +1030 (CST)
From: Michael.Davies@iagu.net
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: DVD encryption

>From Security:News and Editorials:The DVD Crack, lwn Nov 4, 1999:
> 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. 

It's interesting that hidden algorithms are still touted as great for 
security.  This crack would've occured eventually - the publishing of 
DeCSS only sped up the process!

Open source encourages good security by public scrutiny.  Viva Open Source!

I think Schneier says it best in "Applied Cryptography.  2nd Ed.", where 
he says in the preface:

"If I take a letter, lock it in a safe, hide the safe somewhere in New
 York, then tell you to read the letter, that's not security.  That's
 obscurity.  On the other hand, if I take a letter and lock it in a safe,
 and then give you the safe along with the design specifications of the
 safe and a hundred identical safes with their combinations so that you and
 the world's best safecrackers can study the locking mechanism - and you
 still can't open the safe and read the letter - that's security."


Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 23:13:41 +0900 (JST)
From: David Moles <deivu@tomigaya.shibuya.tokyo.jp>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Cobalt IPO

The coverage of the Cobalt Networks IPO seems to be focusing on the
fact that Cobalt opened at more than five times its IPO price ($140
vs.  $22), whereas by comparison RedHat opened at less than three
times its IPO price ($46 vs. $14). Cobalt's IPO is therefore being
heralded as the more successful. And as far as Cobalt and its original
investors are concerned, I suppose it was -- after all, the purpose of
an IPO is to raise money for those folks.

But what about the poor saps that bought Cobalt after the IPO? Cobalt
finished the day at $128, and never went lower than $120. Sure, that's
still nearly five times the IPO price -- but if you didn't get in at
$22, chances are you lost money. Compare RedHat, which finished a
respectable $6 over its opening price and is still trading at nearly
twice that opening price (after briefly hitting nearly three times the
opening price a few weeks ago). Does anyone think that Cobalt will be
trading at $250 in three months?

-- David Moles
To: mailroomuk@zd.com
Subject: Re: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/43/ns-11241.html
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 21:04:23 -0500
From: Tom Culliton <culliton@clark.net>

I found one of the bullet points in the article about Stan Dormer's
take on Linux security uterly mind boggling.

"Freeware may contain bugs and is not as widely available as
commercial software"

A bit of thought about this paired assertion should be enough in and
of itself to undermine his credibility.

"Freeware may contain bugs" - and commercial software doesn't?  Anyone
who has ever read a shrink wrap license should burst into incredulous
laughter at the mere thought.  A basic tennet of the industry is that
no software is perfect.  You can get many '9's but never 100%.

The critical difference is that at least with OSS you have a chance,
and a very good one at that, of getting the problem fixed.  After
nearly two decades in the systems business and seeing lots of bugs in
"commercial software", I can still count the number of times a vendor
has ever provided a timely fix on one hand, and that only in a case
where we had a very big stick indeed to wave at them.  Most folks
wouldn't need a single finger to count the positive responses.  I've
also seen cases where nasty bugs, that have been widely reported, in
multiple versions of a commercial package, are never fixed.

On the other hand the Free or OSS software world has fixed things in
hours on more occasions than I can begin to count.  This does NOT mean
that I've seen a higher defect rate in OSS, rather that I use OSS by
preference, and my preference is strongly tied to the high percentage
of "positive resolutions" I've seen.  There is common false perception
of "look at all those fixes, there sure must be a lot of bugs in OSS"
when the real case is that you're seeing things fixed and released as
fast as they're found, which would linger in commercial packages for
months or even years, possibly fixed in the next release many months
down the line, possibly not, but they're not saying.

Of course the real gem is, "and (free software) is not as widely
available as commercial software".  This is like saying that milk is
less widely available than it used to be, because the milkman doesn't
deliver it to your door any more.  By it's very nature OSS is self
service, get on the net, find it (which isn't much harder than finding
the dairy aisle in the store these days), pick out what you need, and
take it home.  Oh and don't bother to stop at the counter and pay,
it's on the house.  Even if Mr. Dormer wants to claim that he meant
something else like, "there's no free software equivalent of XYZ",
he's probably wrong, and even if there isn't, there's probably someone
working on it.

As a long time, second generation (used "green bar" was my coloring
paper), software/systems professional I'd claim that OSS is what
software should be in terms of quality, availability, reliability,
maintainability (I'm sure someone will point out why you wouldn't buy
a car with the hood welded shut), and last of all price.
From: DaiCorry@aol.com
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 12:56:41 EST
Subject: Re "Windowing"
To: letters@lwn.net

Dear Sirs:

  I have read with interest your articles on the
McDonnell-Douglas "windowing" patent. 

  A personal note: I came up with this technique 
independently in 1983, and implemented it in an
unreleased version of a database programming
language called The Sensible Solution (long since
defunct, and I doubt that any source survives). 
"Sensible" stored dates internally as Julian integers, 
but allowed entry in either YY or YYYY format.

  I called it "pivoting" (the trigger year being 
the "pivot" for a century-wide "see-saw"). My version 
also allowed you to pre-configure or programmatically
set the base century as well: we had a customer who 
was tracking Civil War grave sites.

  I say this neither to brag nor to claim priority.
I remember thinking that someone else MUST have
thought of it already. At the time I thought it an 
elegant solution to a problem, but no more than that: 
just the sort of routine invention that every competent 
programmer does every day. 

  It would never have occurred to me to patent it, 
and if the suggestion had been made I would have 
dismissed it as ludicrous.

  I still would.

                          Davidson Corry
From: Bruno Haible <haible@ilog.fr>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 22:09:51 +0100 (MET)
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: "windowing" patent

If you look up the patent's text [1], you see that it is about dates
"stored in a database". As a consequence, the Linux kernel source is not
violating that patent. And on the other hand, neither the Linux 1.2.13
kernel source nor the ANSI Common Lisp standard issued in 1994 [3] are
prior art.


[1] http://www.patents.ibm.com/details?pn=US05806063__
[2] http://www.harlequin.com/education/books/HyperSpec/Body/sec_25-1-4-1.html

ObDisclaimer: When Gregor Samsa woke up that morning, he found himself
in his bed transformed into a lawyer.
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 1999 21:17:38 -0500
From: Terry Poston <tposton@ezonline.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: McDonnell Douglas Windowing Patent

Another example of prior art is the Pick Operating system. This database
stores its dates as an integer value representing the number of days
after December 31, 1967. It also has a windowing mechanism that allows
the system to decide whether a date is in the next millenium. This has
been in place for as long as I've known about Pick, about 17 years.

To make things even more interesting, McDonnell Douglas at one time had
a licence to redistribute the Pick OS, which they did under the name

Maybe that's where they got the idea....

Terry Poston (tposton@ezonline.com)

Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 07:14:07 -0700
From: Alan Robertson <alanr@bell-labs.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Windowing Patent

Dear LWN:

The earliest code which implements the "windowing patent" that I'm familiar with
was released in special versions of DOS for AT&T's PC6300 computers
(pre-Windows) in the early-mid 80's.

These computers predated the PC/AT BIOS code, and had a 3 or 4-bit date in their
hardware clocks, so they had the rollover problem every few years, and they used
a similar technique for determining which year it was.

In order to teach myself programming the "hot new PC environment", I had written
a DOS program in Turbo C which called up NIST in Boulder and set the hardware
clock from NIST time.  Who knows, I *might* even be able to find it somewhere

	-- Alan Robertson
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1999 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds