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Leading items and editorials

Rumors of acquisitions were everywhere this last week. A look at this week's LWN press page will give a good summary of how much attention these rumors received. People are watching.

Among other things, it has been suggested that Red Hat wants to acquire Corel, that Red Hat is after Applix, and perhaps just about everything else that moves as well. SCO and Sun are said to be shopping for Caldera Systems and/or TurboLinux. Almost all of these rumors would appear to be false - Corel, Caldera, and TurboLinux all say they aren't selling. Even so, they give a good preview of some of the forces that will be moving through the Linux business world.

Red Hat may not be after any of the companies listed above, but there is no doubt that it is going shopping with a powerful credit card (its strong stock price). Red Hat will not be for long the only Linux company that is so equipped - as more companies go public, the number of power shoppers can only increase. Each will be out to justify its high stock prices, and will seek to do so partly through acquisition.

In the other corner, we have a list of established companies, including Sun, SCO, and many others. As Linux continues to grow, they are certain to want a larger piece of it. How better to get such a piece than to buy an established Linux company - preferably a distributor? Said distributors seem to feel, with some reason, that they are doing just fine on their own for now. But it would not be a great surprise to see one of them get an offer it can't refuse sooner or later.

The end result looks reasonably clear: in the future the Linux market will be quite a bit larger, and will be characterized by a smaller number of larger companies. It will likely be quite a bit more competitive. The current cooperative nature of the Linux community will be tested by these changes, to say the least. It should prove strong enough, however, to survive the upcoming consolidation in better form than ever.

The XFree86 project has joined X.org as an "honorary member." XFree86, of course, has spent years building a top-quality X Window System implementation for Linux, while X.org is the standards body which oversees X in general.

For many years, the X Consortium (now X.org) was one of the most successful free software projects in existence. Under corporate sponsorship, the X window system grew to be the standard Unix window system - and it was all released as free software. As Unix started to take off, however, the corporate sponsors (mostly proprietary Unix vendors) moved toward developing proprietary window system implementations, and support for the X "sample implementation" was greatly reduced. As a result, Unix window systems fragmented, and development slowed.

XFree86 brought the free software dynamic (and much energy) back to X. It is now, to a great extent, the true center of X development. Not only has XFree86 implemented a great many new features and support for an unbelievable variety of video boards, but it was instrumental in convincing X.org to back off of an attempt to take close the X source last year.

So the move on X.org's part to recognize XFree86 is surprising only in that it took so long. XFree86 is a shining example of what free software projects can do; it deserves all the recognition it gets ane more.

(See also: home pages for XFree86 and X.org, and the press release on XFree86 joining X.org.)

Book review: Linux Core Kernel Commentary. LWN has added a review of the Linux Core Kernel Commentary by Scott Maxwell to the LWN Book Reviews page. The Linux Core Kernel Commentary will likely become a useful reference for those interested in the Linux kernel, but organizational problems cause it to be not as useful as it could be. See the review for more.

The Linux Documentation Project has a new logo, a new web page, more [New LDP logo] documents, and the ability to accept documents in DocBook format. There is also CVS access in the works. In other words, there is a lot of energy and activity in this project. Certainly nobody doubts the need for more and better Linux documentation - especially free documentation. Here's wishing the LDP luck as they continue their good work. Head over to the LDP home page to see what they have been up to.

A (French) legal analysis of the GPL. An analysis (in French) of the GNU General Public License according to French law has been posted on the web; it is the work of Melanie Clement-Fountain at the University of Montpellier. It is a lengthy and detailed document, not suitable for a quick read. It constitutes what is probably the most thorough legal look at the GPL so far, however, and is worth a look. Unfortunately, Babelfish does strange things with this document - about the only way to get English text is to feed the document in one paragraph at a time.

The conclusion, for those who don't want to plow through the whole thing, appears to be that the GPL is legal and enforceable under French contract law. (Thanks to GaŽl Duval).

So much for that... The LWN server was all set to turn over a year of straight uptime on December 2. We had the party all planned, beer purchased, etc. It seemed like a sure bet - nothing had been been able to bring down that server.

We hadn't counted on the raccoon.

Some of you may have noticed that we went off the net on the evening of November 29. Evidence found at the scene includes: a block-wide power failure, signs of extensive chewing in a power distribution panel, and several pieces of fried critter distributed over a wide area. The conclusion: while raccoons are not known for listening to reason (or anything else), this particular one gnawed its way into a message it couldn't ignore.

The moral: Linux systems can handle almost anything, but we still shouldn't laugh at Mother Nature....

Thanks for bearing with us as we took the Thanksgiving holiday off last week.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Buffer overflows, Cryptogram and lots and lots of updates.
  • Kernel: Capabilities in 2.2, Linux Trace Toolkit, death of the QNX filesystem.
  • Distributions: Kondara MNU/Linux, Spiro Linux and EtLinux.
  • Development: Lucent "linmodem" drivers, database comparisons, many project reports.
  • Commerce: VA's IPO looms, Lynx jumps into the embedded market
  • 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:

December 2, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

November Crypto-Gram Newsletter. The November issue of Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram newsletter is out, and definitely worth a look. Covered topics include computer security (he doesn't think it will get any better), the DVD crack, and a delightful look at Windows CE security: "Microsoft encrypts your Windows NT password when stored on a Windows CE device. But if you look carefully at their encryption algorithm, they simply XOR the password with 'susageP', Pegasus spelled backwards. Pegasus is the code name of Windows CE. This is so pathetic it's staggering."

CNet takes a look at the buffer overflow in this commentary by Paul Fest. "Buffer overflows have been the most common form of security vulnerability for the past 10 years," according to a new paper published by the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology (OGI) and funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). "Because these kinds of attacks enable anyone to take total control of a host, they represent one of the most serious classes of security threats."

Crispin Cowan was the lead author for the OGI paper and will be presenting it next year at DARPA's Information Survivability Expo and at SANS 2000. It is good to see buffer overflows get wider media coverage, since new programmers clearly are not being taught how to properly develop and test their code. "'We're not learning the lessons of the past,' said Matt Bishop, associate professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis and author of an upcoming book on computer security. 'We knew how to handle buffer overflows in the 1960s and '70s. '"

Crispin dropped a note to BugTraq with feedback on questions he asked of that community while putting the paper together and included a link to a pdf version of the paper. However, that link did not appear to be working when we tried it.

More comments on ssh-1.2.27 exploitable hole. In last week's Security Summary, we mentioned an exploitable hole in ssh-1.2.27 which shows up if the package is compiled with "RSAREF" defined. We mentioned that FreeBSD contained packages that were known to be exploitable, while Debian GNU/Linux and the international rpm packages were not. Please note that the non-international rpms may indeed be vulnerable. You can check your ssh installation by typing:

% ssh -V
which, if the packages are vulnerable, will report:
Compiled with RSAREF.
If your packages report that you are vulnerable, you should consider acquiring packages that are not vulnerable and reinstalling, pulling down the source code and compiling it yourself or taking a look at OpenSSH instead.

Security Reports

qpopper. The Qualcomm 3.X versions of qpopper contain an exploitable buffer overflow. The 2.X versions of qpopper do not appear to be vulnerable. For more information, check out the Security Focus vulnerability entry. Qualcomm has fixed the problem with qpopper3.0b22, which is now available.


Slackware has announcements of security updates for Slackware 7.0 and Slackware 4.0, including bind, nfs-server, pine, syslog and more.

inn. A buffer overflow in inn 2.2.1 and prior makes this service vulnerable to a remote denial-of-service attack.

pine: When handling email containing HTML, pine expands URLs containing environment variables defined on the local machine. Several attacks are made possible as a result, including remote execution of arbitrary commands. [SecurityFocus description].

proftpd: Version 1.2.0pre9 of proftpd has produced enough confidence to result in updated packages, the first package updates for proftpd we've seen since late September. (Old)

sendmail: Any user can run sendmail with the -bi option to rebuild the aliases database, which opens a window during which the aliases database can be left in an unusable state, causing a Denial-of-Service. Versions of sendmail through 8.9.3 are impacted. ssh from Definite Linux safe. The folks at Definite Linux dropped us a note to let us know that the release of ssh shipped with Definite Linux is not vulnerable to the recent security flaw caused by the inclusion of the RSAREF libraries.

syslog: Denial-of-service problem triggered by the creation of too many processes to handle client/server communications. [ SecurityFocus description].

Note that the method being used to fix the syslog Denial-of-Service attack in recent updates is not preferred by everyone. Balazs Scheidler posted this note to Bugtraq describing his concerns with the method being used and an alternate method that will be used by syslog-ng in an upcoming release.


SuSE announces security tools. SuSE announced the availability of open source security tools developed by SuSE, including the SuSE FTP Proxy, SuSE Firewall, Harden Suse, which is a script to harden a SuSE Linux system, as well as several others. It is good to see more and more distributions get serious about security, especially since the Secure Linux projects have been very quiet as of late.

Bruce v1.0 Early Access 1. Bruce is "a flexible, Java-based infrastructure that permits centralized security management of small, medium and large-sized intranets." It is from Sun and released under the Sun community source license. It is only supported for Solaris, however Linux is listed among the target platforms for the final release version. It is likely to remain source-code available (but not "free" software) and free for use for non-commercial entities, plus possible internal company use.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

December 2, 1999

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
Secure Linux

Security List Archives
Bugtraq Archive
Firewall Wizards Archive
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Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
Conectiva Updates
Debian Alerts
LinuxPPC Security Updates
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Comp Sec News Daily
Linux Security Audit Project
Security Focus


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel is 2.3.29. For those wanting to live on the bleeding edge, there is a 2.3.30 pre-patch in the testing directory; it seems to consist mostly of Alpha and PowerPC changes, a new driver for ZR36120/ZR36125 based frame grabber/overlay boards, more IPC updates, and a new i386 semaphore implementation.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.13. Progress toward 2.2.14 continues with 2.2.14pre9.

Fun with the capability bounding set. Capabilities were added to the Linux kernel in the 2.1 development series; they are a form of relatively fine-grained access control. They can represent, for example, the ability to send signals to processes you do not own, to bypass file permissions, or to bind to network ports less than 1024. The whole idea behind capabilities is to dole out special powers in a manner that is a bit more discriminating than the standard Unix "all or nothing" approach. Those of us who remember systems like VMS (and will admit to it) can just think "privilege" instead of "capability" and have a good understanding of what is going on.

While the 2.2 kernel understands capabilities, they have not yet really found their way out to the system administration and user levels. There are many issues that need to be resolved before strongly capability-based systems will start to appear; see the LWN kernel section from April 8 and April 15 1999 for coverage of some of those issues.

Meanwhile, with little fanfare, the 2.2.11 patch slipped in a little goodie which begins to make capabilities available for system administration tasks. This version added the idea of a capability bounding set: a list of capabilities that are allowed to be held by any process on the system. If a capability does not appear in the bounding set, it may not be exercised by any process, no matter how privileged.

The bounding set is exported via sysctl, so it can be seen in /proc/sys/kernel/cap-bound. The default value has all bits set (all capabilities enabled), so looking at the contents of cap-bound will yield -1.

The bounding set can be modified by writing a new value into the cap-bound pseudo-file. But there is a twist: capabilities may be removed from the set by root, but only one process (init) is allowed to add capabilities. For all practical purposes, once a capability is taken out of the bounding set, it is gone until the next reboot.

How would one use this feature? Imagine that you run a secure system, and are worried about loadable modules. You do not, however, want to remove modules from the kernel altogether - it is too useful to be able to piece the system together at boot time. Or perhaps you have a driver that only works as a module. Wouldn't it be nice if the system could load modules to initialize itself, then disable module loading forevermore?

It turns out that one capability, CAP_SYS_MODULE, is required to load or unload kernel modules. If you remove CAP_SYS_MODULE from the bounding set, no more modules can ever be loaded - just what the doctor ordered.

CAP_SYS_MODULE is capability number 16 (here is the full list). The bounding set is expressed as a bitmask; we simply need to write a value that has bit 16 cleared. Thus a command like this:

    echo 0xFFFEFFFF ?> /proc/sys/kernel/cap-bound
will do the trick.

Needless to say, be very careful when making changes to the bounding set. It is trivially easy to render your system useless by writing the wrong value there. But, with care, use of cap-bound can be put to good use in the creation of more secure systems.

Linux Trace Toolkit 0.9.0 has been announced. This toolkit allows the instrumentation of a Linux system such that all events which occur over a given time period can be recorded and examined. As such, it should prove to be a useful debugging tool for no end of system development tasks. The package includes a graphical front end for viewing of event traces and such. There is a lot to it - see the LTT home page for more information.

QNX filesystem on the way out? Here's a recent note to linux-kernel from Alexander Viro, who has done a lot of Linux filesystem work. Evidently the QNX filesystem is hopelessly broken in 2.3, and appears to be unmaintained. Unless something changes, QNX will not likely survive into 2.4. Thus, if you care about this filesystem, it's probably time to be thinking about how maybe you could help...

Other patches and updates released this week include:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

December 2, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


 Main page
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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.

Report on Kondara MNU/Linux.

Kondara MNU/Linux is a Japanese distribution based on Raw Hide. The Kondara team, lead by Toru Hoshina (aka Tohohoru) and his companies, had been providing Japanese add-on SRPM packages until they decided to release their distribution in cooperation with Digital Factory Japan co, Ltd. "MNU" is an expression of a sound made when you touch a penguin (phonetic symbols available here), and also stands for "Mount is Not Umount". The word "Kondara" is not a proper Japanese but a wordplay from an old Japanese TV animation, and indicates their resolution to devote to this distribution.

As you may have guessed, they love jokes and their web site is filled with tons of jokes (in Japanese) :-). They do a very good job and we consider it one of the most promising Japanese distributions. In fact, they were the ones who first provided the Japanized Netscape 4.7, and some say that theirs is the most stable one.

Kondara has also put up some of their page in English.

[From our correspondents at ChangeLog.net.]

EtLinux 1.2 Announced. An alpha version of PROSA's EtLinux Version 1.2 for embedded systems has been announced and is available for download. "EtLinux is a complete Linux system designed to run on small industrial computers. It has a development kit that let you recompile the distribution with the software and options that you need. For example, you can have a real-time version with corba support, leaving out the webserver. The result is available as both a compressed tar of the whole system and as an image ready to be dumped on an 8MB M-Systems DiskOnChip (/dev/fla)."

Spiro Linux. Spiro Linux has been around for a while, but just made it onto our list this week. Their target audience appears to be Corporate MIS departments. "We're currently looking at a couple of different outside support providers to add to our support team. This will make SPIRO an even MORE viable option for Corperate [sic] MIS departments." (Thanks to Chris Brandstetter.)

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News. The November 23rd edition of the Debian Weekly News indicates that the boot floppies for the next release are on schedule and should be feature complete by early December.

Discussion of a FreeBSD-kernel-based version of Debian got more heated last week.

"It seems that since this idea was first conceived in February, a few people have been working on the port. The status of their work can be read about here. Basically, they are using the FreeBSD kernel and libc, and recompiling Debian packages to work on that system.

Reactions varied. John Goerzen worries that a version of Debian based on a BSD copyrighted kernel would open the door to third parties taking our work and making it proprietary, and also that "we are essentially giving first aid to software that is dying (and rightfully so) because of its license". Many others disagree with him and have no problems with the BSD license. Others wonder if it wouldn't be technically better, and easier in the long run, to port glibc to FreeBSD, and allow Debian packages to be used unchanged with that kernel and library combination."

Debian Weekly News, November 30th. The latest edition of the DWN mentions yet again another licensing dispute with Corel, this time because they restrict minors from downloading the Debian distribution, particularly offensive since some Debian developers are minors. People seems to be getting fed up with the continuing license problems with Corel, even though their previous responses were eventually acceptable. Educating a commercial entity as large and bureaucratic as Corel seems to be an up-hill battle.

Definite Linux

Definite Linux supports ATI cards. Definite Linux has announced their support of ATI Rage 128 graphics cards with the release of Definite Linux 7.0.

Continuing its bid to move beyond the status of a British version of Red Hat with a few additional packages, Definite Linux has also announced new support for Intel's i810 graphics chipset, which you will find featured in many integrated graphics controllers. "Note that this is an Intel supplied binary which should work with Definite Linux, Red Hat Linux 6.x and Mandrake Linux 6.x. This RPM should also work with SuSE Linux, Caldera Linux and other distributions."

Eridani Linux

Eridani Linux 6.1A released. Eridani Star System has released Eridani Linux 6.1A. Eridani Linux is an enhanced version of the Red Hat distribution; they have thrown in all the updates and a few extras of their own, including Icewm.

e-smith server and gateway

e-smith server and gateway 3.1. Version 3.1 of the e-smith server and gateway has been announced. "This interim release includes bug fixes, minor enhancements, and security improvements."

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat 6.1 reviewed (CPU Review). CPU Review looks at Red Hat 6.1. "I am quite certain that an experienced Windows user would have no problems whatsoever using a pre-configured RedHat 6.1 system as a regular user. As root, they would undoubtedly get themselves into trouble."

Slackware Linux

Security-related updates for Slackware 4.0 and Slackware 7.0 are discussed the Security Summary.

Slackware mirrors available. A handful of mirror sites that contain the full Slackware 7.0 release have been added to the Get Slack download page.

Storm Linux

Storm Linux 2000 to ship with new game. Stormix has announced that Storm Linux 2000 will ship with a demo version of "Krilo, a new puzzle-strategy game developed by BlackHoleSun."

Storm Linux ships BRU. Storm Linux 2000 will also be shipping with BRU, according to their latest press release.

SuSE Linux

Just a reminder that SuSE 6.3 is supposed to start shipping this week. We're starting to hear some good comments about this release, particularly the inclusion of their new security tools.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

December 2, 1999

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

Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat

Also well-known
Best Linux
Conectiva Linux

Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
Red Escolar

General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
BluePoint Linux
BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
Cafe Linux
ChainSaw Linux
Circle MUDLinux
Complete Linux
Console Linux
Corel Linux
Darkstar Linux
Elfstone Linux
ESware Linux
Eurielec Linux
eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
HA Linux
Halloween Linux
ix86 Linux
Lanthan Linux
Linpus Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux MLD
LinuxOne OS
Linux Pro Plus
LNX System
Lute Linux

NoMad Linux
Omoikane GNU/Linux
PingOO Linux
Plamo Linux
Project Ballantain
Rabid Squirrel
Root Linux
Serial Terminal
TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
Virtual Linux
WinLinux 2000

GNU/Linux Ututo
Definite Linux
Red Flag
Linux Esware
Kaiwal Linux
Thai Linux Extension

Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

Historical (Non-active)
MCC Interim Linux
Storm Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

"Linmodem" drivers for Lucent-based modems. Lucent has released a working Linux driver for PCI modems ("winmodems") which are based on the Lucent chipset. This driver is being released in binary form only - and that appears unlikely to change in the near future. Since it's a kernel module, it carries all of the problems normally found with binary-only modules - i.e. it may well not work on your system (it's compiled for Red Hat 6.1). Nonetheless it may get some people by until the LinModems project is able to release an open source alternative. The driver may be downloaded from the LinModems site. (Thanks to Jason Clifford)

Almost simultaneously, Richard Close has announced version 0.9.2 of LTModem - a free software implementation for Lucent-based modems. Richard shows some discouragement as a result of the Lucent announcement - he says "the recent release of a Linux binary from Lucent has now made most of it irrelevant now." Hopefully he will be corrected on this point shortly - a binary-only release certainly will not make a free version "irrelevant." Free software "linmodem" implementations are needed as much now as ever, and we are fortunate to have one that is progressing well.

gPhoto for digital cameras. The first official release of gPhoto, the GNU digital camera application, is now available. "gPhoto 0.4.1 ships with 16 different camera libraries and supports 90+ different digital still camera models, from Agfa, Apple, Canon, Casio, Chinon, Epson, Fuji, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Konica, Minolta, Mustek, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Philips, Polaroid, Ricoh, Sanyo, and Sony. "

New beta release of dump/restore. Stelian Pop has released 0.4b10 of the dump/restore utilities. Although these are labeled early beta, the dump/restore utilities are critical tools that many sites have depended on from early Unix days and which many sites are actively using, so continued work on these tools is good to see. The new version can dump an active ext3 partition and contains some libc5 compile fixes, and a few more additional features.

GPLTrans. The alpha release of GPLTrans, a new, open source, machine-translator designed for language translation, has been announced. It is in a useable state for short documents being translated from English to Spanish or Spanish to English. It also has support in place for French, German and Portuguese, but they need people knowledgeable in the those languages to submit corrections or word translations in order to build the capabilities to a useable level.

Nonetheless, the response to the announcement of GPLTrans on Slashdot was tremendous, temporarily causing a site outage this week and eventually a move of the site to its current location.

The source code has been made available, but there is not a tremendous amount there. Remember, this is an alpha version of the product! So please don't expect too much. Bruce Perens commented on the press release along these lines. "The author should have identified this as a toy program in search of people to help fill it out. This doesn't mean that it's a bad project or a bad goal. In fact, I think lots of people should join the project and help them out. But it will take a lot more work and some significant linguistic smarts before GPLTrans will be able to compete with babelfish."

Comparison of four Linux databases. People interested in relational databases on Linux may want to have a look at this detailed posting on the PostgreSQL mailing list. It compares MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Informix from a primarily feature-oriented point of view. It is a good collection of information. (Found in NNL).

Localising Linux in Indian Languages. The Indian Institute of Information Technology, and FreeOS.com are looking for volunteers to help with localising Linux in Indian languages. "The goal of this Indianisation project is to ensure that the benefits of Information Technology percolate down to the Indian masses. We want to make technology accessible to the "other 90 percent" of India that does not speak English."

Ganymede 0.99.8 released. Version 0.99.8 of the (GPL) Ganymede network directory management system has been released. "New features include object cloning, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux-compatible MD5 password support, and a big rework of the object database logic to improve concurrency when it comes to making asymmetric object links."

Embedded Linux

Real-Time Linux 2.0 released. It has been downloadable for a while, but here, finally, is an announcement for the release of Real-Time Linux 2.0. "The significantly enhanced functionality of Version 2.0 is expected to extend RTLinux into a wider range of applications. Version 2.0 RTLinux is also redesigned to make ports to other processor architectures simpler. FSMLabs plans to release Version 3.0, with support for PowerPC as well as x86, within the next two months."

Real Time Controls Laboratory, also known as RTiC-Lab, has been released. RTiC-Lab is a fast implementation platform for real-time control systems; it requires RTLinux 2.0.


Gnome-Summary, November 17-23. Here is last week's GNOME Summary by Havoc Pennington. It highlights news on XFCE's ability to interoperate with the GNOME development framework as well as status reports back from GnomePixmap, gEdit and GTK.

Gnome-Summary, November 23 - December 1. This week's Gnome Summarymentions the creation of a Widget Repository, themes for Sawmill, new diaries (a la Alan Cox) from Miguel, Ettore Perazzoli and Nat Friedman, new employees of Helix Code (formerly International GNOME Support) and a request-for-assistance with new GNOME Office web pages. It appears that "GNOME Workshop" has been renamed to "GNOME Office" to make sure all the media could figure out that Gnome actually has an office suite ...

High Availability

News from High Availability Linux. Alan Robertson sent in his most recent report from the High Availability Linux community. The report mentions that Volker Wiegand of SuSE is now working full-time on the project, along with Marcelo Tosatti of Conectiva Linux and others. "David Jules is ensuring we work properly on Mandrake Linux. David Martinez is working on a cool GUI configuration tool. Matt Soffen is making good progress on his FreeBSD port."


ht://Dig News. After a long period of little news, Geoff Hutchison of the ht://Dig project finally wrote in with another update. He reports that a feature-freeze has been in effect for a few weeks to speed up the release of a 3.2.0b1 package, feature-incomplete but with sufficient major features (including phrase searching) that users would have the ability to provide performance feedback to the developers. It is moving into the testing/bug-fixing stage.

Meanwhile, a group of interested developers are beginning to look at how ht://Dig could use an SQL backend as an option for those who do not wish to use the Berkeley DB. Anyone interested in this or other projects should mail the developer mailing list at htdig3-dev@htdig.org. Additionally, there's a request on Cosource.com for a developer to add support for a SQL backend , and Geoff has made a request of his own for a web-based admin interface for ht://Dig .

A new stable release, version 3.1.4, is nearing completion to take care of a few bugs and small feature enhancements.


KDE 2.0 in Action. KDE develop mosfet has put together a web page with screenshots of KDE2.0 in action. "This version is not just 1.0 with some new features, but a complete update from the ground up." [From Slashdot]


Midgard weekly summary. Here's last week's Midgard summary by Henri Bergius. Henri also announced a new Midgard demo site, where interested parties can experiment with the Midgard web application server in a safe environment.

This week's Midgard summary provides access to the IRC log from the first Midgard developer meeting, a note to expect a compilable version (alpha) of the Midgard 2 code tree within the next week or two, and some discussion of content management.


Mozilla Status Report. This week's Mozilla Status Report documents continuing updates and fixes to various Mozilla projects, including MailNews, Developer Info, UI, Javascript, XPConnect and more. "MathML is continuing its torture of the lizard, and so far the lizard is enduring everything. I landed a prototype work for the rendering of stretchy characters. This is one of the distinctive features of mathematical typesetting. It reflects the ability of some characters to "auto-grow" depending on their surrounding context."

Criteria for a Mozilla Alpha Release. The folks at Mozilla have written up a description of the criteria required for a Mozilla Alpha Release. An alpha release precedes a beta release. According to their criteria, a beta release must be feature-complete or nearly so. An alpha release must be usable, architecturally complete (or nearly so) and of a high quality. Users are also allowed to vote for bugs they feel should be fixed before an Alpha release. M12 will be a candidate for an alpha release, though it may not yet make all the criteria.

MozillaZine in French. A French translation of MozillaZine has been made available. Francophone readers who want to keep up on what Mozilla is doing are now able to do so in their own language. (Found in NNL).


Wine Weekly News. The Wine Weekly News for November 22nd reports that Kingdoms, and Visual Basic 6 are now working with Wine, some Portuguese support has been added and, as usual, many additional fixes have been made.

Also mentioned this week was an article on yet another patent issue. It seems that GraphOn has acquired a patent describing how to display Windows applications remotely on UNIX and Linxu boxes using the X protocol. "Even if everybody agrees this is again a ridiculous patent, it may impair Wine, as well as other programs like VNC which all use X as the display protocol between server and client to display Windows' applications (Wine also displays Windows application through the X protocol, even if X client and server sit on the same machine)."

The November 29th edition is also available.


The Chopping Block: more Worldforge news. The next issue of the Chopping Block includes a comprehensive look at the WorldForge gaming system, tips on quality testing techniques, a lesson in 3D modeling and some of the legends of Cambria.


Zope Weekly News. The Zope Weekly News for November 24th announces new and updated products, patches, HOW-TOs and mini-reviews along with pointers to some interesting discussions on the Zope lists. ""Milt" wants to move a Zope server from a Windows machine to a Linux one. He solicited advice for accomplishing this. Solution: copy var/Data.fs from one machine to the other. It is platform-independent."

Zope Weekly News for December 1st. This week's Zope Weekly News, written by Mike Pelletier, mentions the creation of Zope France, "a place for Francophone Zope users to meet", along with the usual product announcements, updates, and other Zope news.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

December 2, 1999

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


Sun gets cold feet over standards for Java. This Infoworld article describes Sun's recent decision to withhold turning over key documents to the European Computer Manufacturers' Association (ECMA), as had been agreed to in a deal struck in June. "During last month's TC 41 meeting in Menlo Park, Calif., at which portions of the Sun submission were displayed, a discussion of ECMA's handling of copyright issues apparently gave Sun's representatives cold feet, causing them to withhold the 8400-page document. ... The 11th-hour move came as a surprise, because ECMA's treatment of copyright issues is well-established, and the deal to standardize Java through the group was struck in June, according to van den Beld. "

This is not the first time that Sun has tried to work with a standards organization only to fall out over issues of control. Their efforts to work ISO apparently unravelled under similar pressure.

Xavier Basora editorialized on Sun's recent actions. "Sun's removal of JAVA from consideration amply demonstrates that the company just doesn't understand Open standards let alone Open source. If Sun truly understood Open standards, the company would've realized that it gained more by opening than by owning the software code. Further, if Sun also understood Open source, it would've released JAVA under the GPL the moment that Microsoft began to add its own proprietary extensions."


Perl and Enlightenment. A perl interface to Enlightenment, dubbed "pesh", has been announced . A Russian-speaking Perl e-zine. Pref News is "a Russian-speaking e-zine about Perl, UNIX and database programming which has just gotten started, according to their note to us. "It is currently maintained by two people only, we post links to useful tutorials and articles and publish interesting code snippets found in newsgroups. We hope to involve more authors and extend the covered themes later."


Dr. Dobbs' Python-URL!" We have two weeks worth of Python news available this time around. First, the November 23rd editionof Dr. Dobb's Python-URL!, with the usual features.

Next, the November 30th edition of Dr. Dobbs' Python-URL! indicates that it has been a good week for the announcement of new packages, including pyCA-0.6.2, "a set of scripts and CGI-BIN programs written in Python for setting up and running a certificate authority using OpenSSL" and sockserv, "a SMTP/NNTP/POP- like server module that makes it easy to create command / response type servers". Also included are the usual pointers to interesting discussions on the python lists this week.


Here is the November 30th edition of Dr. Dobs' Tcl-URL!.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

VA Linux Systems' IPO is coming soon, perhaps as soon as December 10, according to the Reuters IPO diary. Expect it to be spectacular - VA is a solid company operating in a hot area. One might expect the stock to go up a bit.

VA has put together its own version of a stock offering for the Linux community. In the VA deal, developers who get "the letter" are eligible to buy exactly 100 shares of stock at the IPO price. Those who have gotten this letter should note that they have until December 3 to get their applications back in - one assumes that they mean it when they say that late applications will not be accepted.

Remember also that a lot of participants in the Red Hat offering had difficulty with the reconfirmation process while at the LinuxWorld conference. A very similar thing could happen to those going to The Bazaar in New York. Plan to be reachable.

VA, meanwhile, may be in its silent period, but that doesn't mean it is standing still. The company has recently announced the expansion of its Professional Services Division, which includes hiring key Samba hacker Jeremy Allison. Another announcement describes a deal with Loki Entertainment Software for the retail distribution of the commercial Debian box set. VA is on the move, expect to see a lot more coming from that direction in the future.

Lynx jumps into the embedded Linux world. Lynx, which has been doing embedded systems via its "LynxOS" for some time, has announced its entry into the embedded Linux market. They will be creating yet another embeddable distribution, called Blue Cat Linux; it will be based on the Red Hat 6.1 distribution. They are also adding Linux binary compatibility to LynxOS, releasing a Red Hat-based development environment, and providing technical support and training services. They claim endorsements from companies like Hewlett-Packard and Parasoft.

Thus, one could conclude that they are jumping into embedded Linux in a big way. This field starts to look like it is getting crowded, even if it is expected to be large. It remains to be seen how many versions of embedded Linux can really be supported by the market.

Linux training in Germany. We've seen two different announcements of training availability in Germany:

  • Red Hat has made its "Red Hat Certified Engineer" training programs available in Germany. Courses are taught in Stuttgart. (English version available via Babelfish, note that "Red Hat" gets translated as "Talk").

  • The Service Network GmbH, official training partner of SuSE, announced the availability of Linux and Samba training in Goettingen, Germany starting November 1st. "The new location has everything a participant would expect: Experienced trainers, perfectly reachable via car and train. Several hotel alternatives direcly nearby. The training center is near the city for recreation after the course."

Speaking of Germany...SuSE has received equity investments from Intel and Apax Partners. The best place to look for information (which is scarce) is this page on SuSE's site. "SuSE will use the investments to set up new sales and support offices worldwide. The main functions of these subsidiaries will be to sell SuSE Linux and commercial Linux products and to establish and support a comprehensive network of SuSE Business Partners."

Here, also, is SuSE's press release on the investments.

Novell is cooking up something. A new license, entitled the Novell Cooperative License, has been posted in draft form on Bruce Perens' Technocrat.net site. This is currently a license without products; presumably there are announcements waiting in the wings. The license has a very GPL-like feel to it.

Red Hat scores another big support contract. Red Hat has announced that it will be providing support services to AutoZone, which is apparently setting up a Linux-based network. "Red Hat's services organization will provide consulting and support services for a network of approximately 3,000 Linux-based Intranet terminals in AutoZone's store locations throughout the United States." This announcement has gotten quite a bit of attention, and is partially credited for the big rise in Red Hat's stock price over the last week.

'Using Samba' released, adopted by Samba team. O'Reilly announces the release of the new book Using Samba, which has been adopted as an official Samba reference by the Samba team. It is being released under an open content license.

CA Enterprise Linux Advisory Council. Computer Associates has announced the creation of the "CA Enterprise Linux Advisory Council," "a comprehensive business initiative that will focus on identifying and defining new projects and products that will address the unique and specific needs of Enterprise Linux users"

Corel Linux is the number one Linux download at CNET. Corel announces that Corel Linux is currently the most popular Linux item being downloaded from CNET's download site; the announcement also mentions recognitions of Corel Linux at the Linux Business Expo.

Linuxfool.com announced LinuxFool.com, a Linux discussion forum site (and October 14 LWN link of the week), has announced its existence. "...ultimately the site will provide a single point of communication for all Linux users"

SAIR opens Raleigh office. Sair, Inc., a commercial provider of Linux professional certification (also discussed in the November 18 LWN), has announced the opening of an office in Raleigh, NC "to direct east coast operations in response to the growing worldwide administration of Sair's Linux and GNU training and certification program." For details, see their press release (formatting and Microsoft characters as we received them).

Press Releases:

    Products For Linux:

  • AlphaTrade.com announced that all of the E-Gate financial applications are now fully configured for the Linux operating systems.

  • Bittco Solutions announced the release for Linux of a commercial software tool for searching and visualizing the Web, called NetReality.

  • Bristol Technology Inc. released its Wind/U cross-platform development tools on Linux.

  • Cambridge Interactive offered free unlimited use of its "Power Steering" groupware development application to open source projects. They claim to be able to greatly help developer collaboration with their application.

  • Chase Research announced support for Linux across their entire product line. "Linux support for kernel version 2.2 has been comprehensively tested with the many distributions of Linux including Red Hat, Caldera, SuSe, and others. " (Thanks to Philippe De Muyter.)

  • Cygnus has announced version 4.5 of its Source Navigator product. It's interesting to note that the press release explicitly mentions support for several Linux distributions; here's hoping that practice continues in the future.

  • Fujitsu Software Corporation announced that its TeamWARE Office 5.3 will now support the Linux platform.

  • Kaspersky Lab announced the public release of the first commercial version of AVP for Linux/FreeBSD Unix.

  • MultiGen-Paradigm, Inc. announced that the company is porting Vega, its industry-standard software environment for realtime visual simulation, virtual reality and visualization applications, to Linux.

  • Rogue Wave Software announced Threads.h++ and Tools.h++ Professional for Linux.

  • SGI announced IRIS Performer 2.3 for Linux, a real-time rendering toolkit for Intel processor-based systems running Linux.

  • Synergex International announced the availability of Synergy/DE 7.1 for Red Hat 6.

  • V-ONE Corporation announced SmartGate for Linux, a VPN product with both client and server support for Linux.

  • VXE, Virtual eXecuting Environment, announced software that protects servers from intruders, hacker attacks.

    Products Using Linux:

  • Alpha Processor, Inc. announced the API PowerRAC Chassis 320, a high-density packaging option for its UP2000 motherboard.

  • Cybernet Systems Corporation announced agreements with several large distributors for the company's Linux based NetMAX thin server series.

  • Global Media launched the Globalmedia.com Community, a Linux-based broadcast network.

  • IndyBox Systems announced they would be lowering the price of all their systems from 10% to 25%.

  • Interland, Inc. announced a dedicated hosting offering featuring Linux-based Cobalt RaQ server appliances from Cobalt Networks, Inc.

  • LinuxOne, Inc. announced the availability of the LinuxOne "Ready Drive," a hard drive with the LinuxOne OS pre-loaded.

  • National Semiconductor Corporation announced that Infomatec AG will port its custom Linux-based basic platform Java Network Technology (JNT) operating system to the National Geode WebPAD platform.

  • Network Concierge announced the beta release of its V2 Linux Server Appliance Software.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • EarthWeb announced that it has completed an exclusive license agreement that will expand ITKnowledge (www.itknowledge.com) with over two-hundred new titles from the Coriolis Group, LLC, including its Linux/Open Source books.

  • EBIZ has cancelled its acquisition of JustLinux.com. Evidently they had announced it a bit too soon - in the end, the two parties were unable to agree on the terms...

  • Ecrix Corporation announced completion of its third round of financing with $5 million from August Capital.

  • Extended Systems announced plans to partner with Hewlett-Packard Company to provide businesses with the tools they need to digitally send and receive paper documents via the Internet. The ExtendNet 4000 Internet appliance server uses Linux.

  • GoAhead Software and Motorola Computer Group (MCG) announced an agreement to integrate and distribute GoAhead HighAvailability software for MCG's CompactPCI telecom platforms.

  • GraphOn Corp. announced that its "Bridges" product, which eases Linux and Windows integration, will be bundled into Corel Linux.

  • Magic Software Enterprises announced that it has merged Canada's Open Sesame Systems ("OSS") with its U.S. operations.

  • MacMillan announced the release of two books tracking information for the Linux Professional Institute Certified (LPIC) Linux Level 1-Test 1a, the first of several certification tests from The Linux Professional Institute (LPI).

  • Senternet Technologies Inc. announced that it has acquired 100% of Linux Corp.


  • Cygnus Solutions announced that its Code Fusion Integrated Development Environment and Integrated Computer Solutions' Builder Xcessory PRO have both been awarded the Linux Journal's 1999 Editors' Choice Award for the "Best New Application - Software Development."

  • NBase-Xyplex announced that it has won Corporate IT Australia Best of Show at the NetWorld + Interop 1999 show in Sydney, Australia for its Open Linux architecture.

  • O'Reilly announced that Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution was awarded the Linux Journal 1999 Editors Choice Award "Best New Book of 1999".

  • Red Hat issued this press release crowing about recent awards it has won. "These distinctions highlight the value, performance and support superiority of the Red Hat Linux operating system."


  • Magic Software Enterprises announced that its board of directors has approved, subject to shareholder approval, a three-for-one split of the company's common stock.

  • SLMsoft.com Inc. announced its results for the nine months ending September 30, 1999.

    New Hires/Personnel Changes:

  • eSoft Inc. announced the appointment of Scott Hickman as vice president of sales.

  • Magic Software Enterprises announced the appointment of corporate insider Israel Teiblum as president.

  • MontaVista Software Inc. maker of the Hard Hat Linux operating system for embedded computers, named Bill Weinberg director of marketing.


  • ChartCare, Inc. announced its subsidiary BridgeComm Corporation was created in February 1999. BridgeComm focuses on Internet and Linux solutions in the network, Firewall and Open Source consulting, development and evaluation arenas.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. put out a press release on their participation in the Linux Business Expo.

  • Evans Marketing Services announced the availability of a report on Open Source Software by analyst Eugene Kim.

  • Gordon Haverland wrote in to mention that he had been looking for Linux-friendly banks in Canada and finally found one, ING Direct, who responded with this email:
    Thank you for your interest in ING DIRECT. The Linux operating system is compatible with the ING DIRECT website. If you experience any difficulties when accessing the site located at www.ingdirect.ca please contact us immediately via email or call toll-free 1(888)464-3232 or locally at (416)756-2424.

    We hope you enjoy the site.

  • Linux CTI will be one of the sponsers for the Technology Marketing Corporation's 6 technology-focused Learning Centers on the exhibit floor at CTI EXPO Fall '99, December 8-9, 1999 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

  • LinuxForce Inc. announced the opening of an office in Irvine California.

  • Linux Professional Institute LPI Weekly News for November 19 provides a link to the LPI Incorporation document and reports that funding looks good and the first Linux certification exam, T1a, is on track.

  • Linux Professional Institute LPI Weekly News for November 23 announced the release of their first exam, T1a. "The first LPI exam, designated "T1a", covers distribution-neutral topics regarding basic Linux administration tasks. It is the first of a series of exams that LPI is producing as part of its Level One certification."

    It also mentions that SGI has signed on as a platinum sponsor.

  • New Planet Software is a new company, recently announced, formed by the developers of the open source tools, Code Crusader and Code Medic. They are also supporting a C++ development library, JX, or the "JX Application Framework", source code freely available, but licensing required for commercial or government use. Check out their license for more details. "New Planet Software business plans involve roles as a support seller and commercial licensor of the JX Application FrameworkTM Professional License. This approach allows New Planet Software to keep JX Application Framework, Code CrusaderTM and Code MedicTM open source."

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

December 2, 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:

Salon writes about John Lions, author of the Lions' Commentary on Unix (Amazon.com link). "Before there was an Open Source Initiative, before the Free Software Foundation was even a twinkle in St. iGNUcius' eye, Unix hackers were fighting lawyers and commercial interests for the right to copy and distribute source code. The fight began, in part, due to the beliefs of an avuncular Australian professor named John Lions, who thought that by making source code available and using it as a teaching tool, he could encourage the highest possible standards in programming."

This Upside article is about Red Hat, and the continuing guesses as to its acquisition plans. "Despite Red Hat's growing influence, however, [IDC analyst Dan] Kusnetzky said open source developers who see the Windows logo within the expanding Red Hat inkblot should learn to channel their paranoid impulses elsewhere. So far, Kusnetzky says, Red Hat has been able to walk the fine line between browbeating developers and using its reputation and influence to guide Linux development in a more enterprise-friendly direction."

The Motley Fool looks at Linux as competition for Microsoft - and sees a lot there. "Linux has also had success with embedded systems, and has virtually driven Windows CE from the field. Microsoft may have unlimited funds with which to develop their products, but Open Source products simply cannot be starved for cash. Their development is funded with their users' time and effort, not with revenues from any sale. Use value again, not sale value." (Found in NNL).

This Online Investor article looks at Red Hat and embedded systems. "Cygnus brings to the marriage with Red Hat its real-time embedded operating system called eCOS, as well as the expertise behind its development. That combines with Red Hat's respected brand name and commanding market lead in Linux software distribution, not to mention services and support, and suddenly Red Hat has a chance to grow into the 600-pound gorilla of embedded systems."

Acquisition Rumors:

Inter@ctive Week looks at Red Hat's possible acquisitions. "A chief quarry in that hunt is believed to be Linuxcare, the Linux services and technical support company."

According to ZDNet, both Sun and SCO are looking to buy a Linux distributor, probably either Caldera or TurboLinux. "While details are sketchy, neither Caldera nor TurboLinux appears to want to sell out. Caldera CEO Ransom Love says he is firm in his commitment to bring his company to a successful IPO. TurboLinux, with its firm financial foundation in Asia, is equally adamant that it's not for sale, says a source at the company."

IT-Director.com considers what would happen if Red Hat were to acquire Corel. "The only viable way of ensuring a future for WordPerfect and the rest of Corel's office products is to pursue an aggressive development schedule to maintain its functional superiority. At the present time it would seem something of a contradiction for Red Hat to commit to that sort of development budget for a product that is primarily deployed on a competitive operating system."

Reuters has run another 'Red Hat stock price' article. "Shares of Red Hat Inc. surged another 18 percent on Monday after it signed a computer services deal with auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc. , and a magazine report fueled speculation that Red Hat could be preparing to make new acquisitions."

News.com looks at the rise in Corel's stock price. "Rumors swirled that North Carolina-based Linux firm Red Hat is looking at Corel as a possible acquisition target, traders said."

Xavier Basora discusses Red Hat's current spending spree. Earlier, ZDnet mentioned Linuxcare as a potential prime target. This article provides a "confirmed rumour" that Corel was approached, but speculates that Applixware is a more likely target. "My own speculation is that Applixware is the real company. Why? Well, businesses still write documents, create presentations and crunch numbers; a browser can't do that. Furthermore, the most effective way to introduce LINUX in business is to offer a suite that's pretty much compatible with MS Office file formats and isn't a traumatic change for the employees. "

This osOpinion piece suggests that Red Hat should buy O'Reilly. "As an added bonus, they get access to O'Reilly's market channels. And as a bonus to the Linux community, we'll get a publisher who is truly committed to free software." (Not that we at LWN have seen any indication that O'Reilly is for sale...)


VA Linux Systems has announced a partnership with Loki Entertainment Software to coordinate the direct sales of the new commercial Debian box set.

Forbes Magazine interprets the Debian box set as a direct challenge to Red Hat. "On Dec. 2, Linux-only computer hardware maker VA Linux Systems will likely announce a partnership with Tustin, Calif.-based Loki Entertainment for direct sales and distribution of Debian, an alternative Linux OS that competes with Windows and the Red Hat version of Linux.... This is the first time Sunnyvale, Calif.-based VA Linux Systems, the other Linux heavyweight, has challenged Red Hat's dominance."

ZDNet looks at Red Hat's desktop plans, which are alleged to include support for the Mozilla and Sendmail projects. "The Linux provider plans a major investment in Mozilla-which was created and funded by Netscape Communications Corp.-possibly as early as next month to accelerate future browser development, said sources close to Red Hat."

Computer Reseller News looks at Corel Linux. "Corel executives were careful to delineate their client-side focus. Analysts said Linux adoption has been hampered by a lack of mainstream applications such as spreadsheets and word processors. On the server side, Corel expects to continue to work with such powers as Red Hat and Caldera Corp., said Derik Belair, product manager of emerging technologies for Corel."

osOpinion ran this review of Corel Linux. "This may be the Linux distribution that finally gets Windows off my computer. I may even pay money for it."

TurboLinux is introducing a new version of its distribution in Japan, according to this AsiaBizTech article. "Two packages will be made available. They are the Japanese TurboLinux Server 6.0, the basic OS package, and the Japanese TurboLinux Server 6.0 SOHO Edition, which will include a Web browser tool for server administration."

PC World reports on LinuxOne's plan to sell disk drives preloaded with Linux. This idea is far from original, of course, but they are going for it anyway. "It would seem that those who are not comfortable installing Linux might not be too crazy about setting up a hard drive either."

ZDNet Australia looks at Linux in electronic business applications. "...the driving force behind any main-streaming of Linux, traditionally weak in the desktop market, will be the system's server reliability. In a recent ZD-Net 10-month trial that compared Caldera OpenLinux, Red Hat Linux and Windows NT, the NT system crashed every six weeks taking an average of half an hour to get back up again. Neither Linux system crashed."

Not really a distribution, but it seems to fit here. This indepth review of all web browsers currently available for Linux has been translated into English and made available for the International community. This is an original article by Ricardo Y. Igarashi, published by Linux in Brazil. 21 different web browsers are covered, many with screenshots. "In my opinion Kfm, StarOffice and Chimera, along with Netscape, can already be used without much hassle on everyday's conditions. The other graphical browsers have problems that interfere with their usability, but most of them are works in progress, and they will probably get better." (Thanks to Augusto Campos.)


Here's a VAR Business article on how Dynamic Results got into the diskless (Linux) workstation business. "Binson's Hospital Supply needed to deploying 230 PCs, an order that--with licenses--would have cost it approximately $310,500. But the Linux solution dropped the cost to $115,000--a savings of $195,500."

Wired Magazine takes a look at Linux-based clusters in this article on the Cplant Cluster at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "Because the off-the-shelf cluster supercomputers are cheaper to use, they could open up the use of supercomputers to more researchers and smaller companies. " (Thanks to John Villalovos.)

Inter@ctive Week looks at Argonne's new Beowulf cluster. "Dubbed Chiba City for the futuristic city described in William Gibson's novel Neuromancer, the cluster will be open for use by researchers at other national labs, universities and even U.S. industry. Each node in the cluster is to be a dual processor server from VA Linux Systems, giving the cluster a total of 512 central processing units."

Oracle in Japan will be making an active push to move NT users over to Linux, according to this AsiaBizTech article. "To achieve that goal, Oracle will increase the number of its partner companies, which will provide services to help users adopt the Linux environment, to 10 to 20 by May 2000. This will be done under a plan to establish a support system to cover all of Japan."

Here's a TechWeb article looking at Kenwood's adoption of a Linux-based ERP system. "'We're not on Linux because we're gung ho for it or because we're revolutionaries,' said Gary Calvin, systems integration specialist at Kenwood. 'We chose it because it suits our business.'"

Distance learning...powered by Linux talks about why the Manchester Institute for Information Delivery (MIID), part of Manchester Metropolitan University, switched from NT to Linux to support their program. "The benefits to MIID of making the switch have been clear - it has been able to re-deploy one full-time member of staff since introducing the more reliable Linux-based solution, Pincher says. At the same time, it is able to provide students with a more reliable service. " (Thanks to Alan J. Wylie.)

This Computer Reseller News article covers SGI's Linux plans. "'We do see an opportunity to stake a top position in [the Linux] market,' said Geoff Stedman, director of marketing for SGI. SGI has been working for at least several months on developing 3-D graphics drivers for Linux, Stedman said. They will be available and shipping during the first half of next year, he added."

This InfoWorld article talks about IBM's plans to build up its "Solution Partnership Centers," which provide technical support to customers trying to make applications work on IBM's Linux-based servers. "Until recently many IBM users have seen Linux as mostly suited for departmental computing chores such as filing, printing, and perhaps some Web serving. But increasingly, users have been more interested in using the open-source platform for hosting weightier applications." (Thanks to Michael J. Miller).

Here's an article in SunWorld which says that Solaris may eventually be released under a true open source license. "[Sun marketing director Jeff Bernard] argued that looking at Sun as either being open or completely closed -- in terms of its attitude toward the open-source development model -- is the wrong way to think about what the company is trying to do. 'We're somewhere along the path to open source,' Bernard said. 'We will increasingly get there.'" (Thanks to Lance Jones).

32BitsOnline ran this article looking at corporate messaging services and Microsoft's attempts to dominate there. "Now, Linux has the opportunity to test whether corporations who have made questionable or inferior technological decisions in the past can make better technological decisions in the future."

Here's a Channel 2000 article looking at the increasing popularity of Linux. "I think it's going to be a tough year for Microsoft."

According to this article (in German) in Heise Online, Intel has made an investment in SuSE. Details are scarce. English text available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Pieter Hollants).

CNN (in a reprinted article from IDG) looks at Red Hat's purchase of Cygnus. "One of the key products that Red Hat will develop and offer in the embedded and handheld operating system market is Cygnus' Embedded Cygnus Operating System (eCos), which is an embedded Linux-like operating system suitable for small devices such as handheld computers and cellular phones."

This Salon article worries about the fate of gcc now that Red Hat owns Cygnus. "Even if most individual free-software developers appear unconcerned with the implications of the Red Hat-Cygnus merger, corporate competitors to Red Hat might have reason to be nervous."

Jesse Berst says that Red Hat is becoming more like Microsoft. "Also pay attention if a deep-pocket company like Sun buys another Linux company and sets up competition. In which case Linux vendors would be shooting at each other -- instead of aiming at Microsoft."

osOpinion compares Red Hat and Microsoft. "Many of the same forces in the media that have been trumping the end of the Microsoft era, promptly suggested that Redhat might be guilty of emulating Microsoft. Redhat's uncharacteristically pathetic release of 6.1, and recent IPO has flamed the fears that Redhat has gone over to the Dark Side of the Force. Unfortunately for Redhat, even if they were to strike a deal with the devil, they couldn't win."

The Financial Times looks at the rise in Corel's stock price. "Shares of Corel, the Canadian software group, surged yesterday amid growing investor enthusiasm for the Linux computer operating system, a free alternative to Microsoft's Windows software." (Thanks to David Williams).

The Ottawa Citizen looks at the increase in Corel's stock price. "Corel got a lift from a $698-million U.S. deal by Red Hat Inc. of South Carolina for Cygnus Solutions of Sunnyvale, California, which could help spread acceptance of the Linux open-source operating system."

Also from the Ottawa Citizen this look at Corel, its CEO, and Linux. "...lest there be any doubt, the business of Corel these days is not Draw, or WordPerfect. It's Linux. Linux is the reason Corel is hotter than a pistol; the reason the company's stock is higher than it's been in almost four years. Linux is also the engine Corel is counting on to drive its stock -- and maybe even its revenues -- forward."

ZDNet's Inter@ctive Investor ran this article about the runup in Linux stock prices, and Corel in particular. "[Corel] Shares have been building since September when the beta version of the company's Wordperfect for Linux started getting a lot of downloads."

Reuters has an article out there as well. "Ottawa-based Corel, which launched a desktop version of the Linux operating system at the massive Comdex computer show in Las Vegas Nov. 15, appears to be riding the coattails of red-hot Linux firm Red Hat Inc..."

Reuters also ran a brief article on Red Hat's AutoZone deal and, of course, the stock price surge.

(See the LWN Linux Stocks Page for the current Linux stock situation).

The Motley Fool looks at Red Hat's stock. "Priced at $236 a share, it better become a contender."

Forbes looks at Cobalt Networks. "Interestingly, Cobalt has sold only 17,000 appliances for about $2,000 in its three-year life. The stock market, however, is putting a value of $236,000 on each device it has sold so far despite the fact that this remains a very crowded marketplace."

The Consulting Times looks at how consultants should work with Linux. "Don't expect to take your UNIX admins and hit the floor running on Linux projects." (Thanks to Bruce Ide).

CNN looks at recent Linux business moves. "In recent weeks, commercial Linux vendors have unveiled easy-to-install desktop operating systems, rolled out an operating system tuned for server environments and engaged in mergers that should help add muscle to the Linux movement."

The Deseret News takes a dim view of Linux's prospects. "Perhaps what the majority of us don't realize is that the battlefield is still just Microsoft. Sure, Linux has come a long ways; in the past three years it has made great strides. But the truth of the matter is will all the large companies in Utah now switch to a different desktop OS? In my opinion, no."

ZDNet reports on Linux applications from the Sun-Netscape alliance (iPlanet) - or the lack thereof. "While iPlanet has been shipping Netscape Directory Server on Linux for several months, it has not delivered its promised messaging server for Linux, despite announcing its beta availability nearly nine months ago."

Comdex/Linux Business Expo:

PC World ran one of the most pro-Linux Comdex articles we have seen yet. "Want high-tech paradigm shifts spelled out for you? Come to Comdex/Fall '99 in Las Vegas. Nowhere is the changing of the guard more obvious."

The Red Herring attended the Linux Business Expo. "It's funny how companies run by open-source programmers, the mavericks of the computer industry, pay huge sums of money per square foot for show booths at one of the nation's largest commercial trade shows. I guess the appeal of Linux as a force in the computing industry is undeniable."

PRNewswire commented on the "worldwide" impact of the LBE. "The worldwide impact of Linux was felt in Las Vegas this week at the record-breaking debut of the LINUX Business Expo. The event, co-located with COMDEX at the Las Vegas Hilton, included over 68 companies and attracted well over 38,000 business-to-business buyers."

Byte.com awarded the "Linux Pavilion" Best of Show. "Excitement you can feel. The Linux Pavilion was larger than the first Windows Pavilion years ago. Think about that."

And the Washington Post added "Linux, the first operating system to become a true competitor to Microsoft's Windows, barely existed at Comdex two years ago. This year the Linux Business Expo received nearly equal billing to the Comdex floor show itself."

More praise for Linux coming out of its strong position at the Linux Business Expo this week. ""At this point, the perception is that Linux is viable (only) for servers," said Dan Kusnetzky, a program director at International Data Corp., a research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts.

But at Comdex this week, announcements and demonstrations from the show floor might change that perception."

Computer Reseller News reports from Comdex. "It is interesting to me that while the crowds at Torvalds' speech may not have equalled the Gates crowd in size, Torvalds' event was much more energetic and vociferous. If passion is an indicator, there may be something to this Linux thing."

Also from Computer Reseller News: this article about Linux at Comdex. "Microsoft Corp.'s competitors were falling out of the sky last week, literally, and landing right smack on the software developer's old stomping ground."

CNN looks at the Linux presence at Comdex and prospects for the system in general. "If Linux is increasingly seen as easier to use and the number of Linux apps increase, the operating system could make real inroads into the corporate market."

This Comdex article, after the usual comments on Linux at the show, took a poke at the proliferation of Net appliances. "By now you may have heard the most compelling thing about Comdex was the sheer number of non-PC devices being ogled at booths. Market research firm IDC predicts that by 2001 the number of Net appliances shipped will surpass the number of PCs shipped. ... However, the majority of booths I visited had little more going for them than a well-organized marketing pitch. Their product isn't shipping, they don't know when it will, and they're not sure what it'll cost if it ever fights its way out of marketing concept. They'd love to get your name and address so they can put you on a mailing list for more information. It's like telemarketing, except that I wasn't eating dinner when they pitched me."

Here's CBS Marketwatch's take on Linux at Comdex. It concentrates heavily on the "free beer" aspect of Linux, and thus misses a lot. "Is Linux for real? Ask the 30,000-plus guests who visited the Linux Business Expo, part of Comdex, the nation's largest technology trade show. To be sure, there's a buzz about Linux, and it stems from the fact that the guts of it are available for free."

This Indiatimes.com article calls Linux the focal point of the recent BangaloreIT conference in India. In addition, within the Linux Pavilion, they comment on the Linux India stall. "Moreover, the crown jewel of the pavilion is the stall put up by Linux users group and PC Quest. Underlining the motto that ``seeing is believing'', the stall is busy doing concept selling. It demonstrates Linux running on a variety of platforms, running an assortment of software packages -- including office suites, networking and systems administration, Internet access, multimedia and graphics applications."

This followup article speaks with Gopi Krishna Garge, another leading member of the Bangalore Linux User Group. "He reveals that Linux has reached a fair amount of awareness in the enterprise sector (Internet service providers in India, for instance, have adopted Linux) which is enough to trigger a boom but the same has not yet happening at the individual desktop."

Here's a Jerusalem Post article about the Israeli version of Comdex. They have a few things to learn still, though...: "Linux International, the new and free operating system developed by Linus Torvald, was clearly the star of the show at the Comdex exhibition which opened for the first time in Israel yesterday."


Byte has run this moderately technical article about the Linux process module - apparently it is the first in a series of kernel-oriented pieces. "Unixes have a fundamental building block, the process (and with it nowadays, the thread and lightweight processes). Under Linux, the process model has evolved considerably with each new version. Therefore, we shall look at the three most important versions of Linux: the kernels of versions 2.0.x, 2.2.x, and finally, 2.4 (at the moment still 2.3.x)."

LinuxPower looks at Linux on the desktop. "The issue is, how's the desktop doing. Well, I think 'the desktop' is made up of more than just those fun little windows we like to dress up with themes. Instead, I look at it as the total functionality of the needs of the users and the ease at which those needs are fulfilled."

The November issue of Domino Power Magazine (a Lotus Notes and Domino thing) is the "special Linux issue." Included are articles on installing Domino on Linux and on using Samba. (Thanks to Pieter Hollants).

AboutLinux reviews CompuPic 4.6 for Linux, an image organization and manipulation tool. "CompuPic is a great tool for organizing your images; just try to remove it from my tool box! Two thumbs up."

According to this LinuxPower article Linux would suffer without a big enemy to fight. "The lesson is, be careful what you wish for. The end of our great nemesis may be the end of our drive to beat it, and the very end of our struggle to show we were right."

TJ Miller, Jr., talks about the phenomenon of Linux' rise in the press, then addresses the potential danger of being the darling of the media. "Most of the folks gushing over Linux these days (especially those in the mainstream press) wouldn't know ipchains from tire chains, but they're all fired up about Linux. This leads to one huge challenge for the GNU/Linux community: We had better be damned ready to stand and deliver - the press is already making a flurry of rosy promises that are starting to look pretty tough to fulfill."

The International Herald Tribune interviews Linus Torvalds. "What is the point of having Linux in the first place? The point of having Linux in the first place even in that kind of market is because you want to avoid the kind of excesses that Microsoft has gone to. If the technology is solid, the user is going to be enjoying the experience a lot more."

LinuxPower comes to the defense of the Free Software Foundation. "So instead of attacking Stallman and others when they advocate the use of the term GNU/Linux, you should instead, as I do, take it as a reminder of the significant part GNU has played in getting us where we are today and the important part they play in getting us where we want to go."

Here's a review of Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar book which appears on the Mantex web site. "This is a crusading text, and anyone concerned with the sharp end of software development and the battles of operating systems will be fascinated by his arguments."

The Irish Times interviews Eric Raymond. "At Atlanta Linux showcase, last month, for the first and I hope the last time in my life I was actually mobbed by screaming groupies. This is an experience everyone should have once - exactly once."

Following up on other recent articles they've run, ABC News answers some basic questions for people new to Linux. "Q U E S T I O N: Is Linux available for my personal computer? Will Linux interface with my friends who use Microsoft? Will it interface with my local Internet Web provider? What's the cost?"

John F. Scipione, in this article, makes another call for standards for Linux in order to prevent fragmentation. However, he doesn't seem to be aware of the existence of the Linux Standard Base. "To insure Linux remain a free and open OS, not controlled by any single source, but one that does not repeat the past mistakes of other UNIX variants, I propose a non-profit vendor independent organization be established to direct the standards on which developers and corporations may base their Linux programs."

This not-particularly-accurate story on Linux in India talks with Atul Chitnis, coordinator of Linux India, the organization of Linux LUGS in India, and also mentions the success of the recent Linux Pavilion at BangaloreIT. "This pavilion was one of the most talked about exhibits and it drew hordes of people who ranged from the peripherally curious to the completely committed."

Here's a bit of amusement from ZDNet. The topic is a tool to automatically reboot systems; one can imagine it's not for Linux: "My golden rule of computing is reboot your system every morning. But do you think I could get the team to follow this one teeny-tiny rule? Of course not. They act like rebellious grade schoolers."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

December 2, 1999


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



FAQ: Linux in science and engineering. The Science and Engineering SIG of the Vancouver Linux Users Group has put together a FAQ about Linux in scientific and engineering endeavors.

"favicon.ico" is something that shows up in the error logs of many Linux-oriented web sites. Internet Explorer looks for an icon by that name when a reader bookmarks a site - it shows up in the bookmark list later. These icons need to be in a Windows format - not something that comes readily to hand for a lot of Linux folks. Now, however, one can go to Bruce Stephens' favicon page and get icons - including a nice little Tux - to keep your IE-based readers happy.

Linux Gazette #48. Issue number 48 of the Linux Gazette has been released.

Linux Today co-founder announces 'LinSight'. Dave Whitinger, co-founder of Linux Today, has announced that he is working on a site called "LinSight." "LinSight will be an information resource for the community, targeting a wide variety of user-bases, but specifically entering the mainstream market of users who are only now entering the community."


Pervasive Computing 2000 has been announced for January 25 and 26 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It looks at mobile and embedded systems - areas where Linux should have a major role. Speakers include Bill Joy.

Eric Raymond will be speaking Friday, December 3rd, at the University of Southern California (USC) and again on Saturday, December 4th, at Caltech, according to this note from Dan Kegel. "Topics will include: Linux and Open Source as Social Revolutions, Open Source Business Opportunities in LA, and The Future of Open Source Operating Systems."

Report from SC99. Since none of the LWN.net staff were able to attend this year's SuperComputing '99 (SC99) conference, Susan Spring at Aspen Systems was kind enough to send in a report and some pictures from the events.

Several reports from Comdex have been put up on the web. Here's a few:

  • Marc Merlin has put up a page with his coverage of Comdex. As usual, it is full of pictures and explanations in scrapbook style - worth a look.

  • Bruce Perens posted over 71 photos from Comdex, including this one of Jon and Rebecca Sobol, our assistant editor.

  • AboutLinux.com has posted a Mini-Tour of the Linux Business Expo, which contains pictures from Bill Henning's visit to the event.

User Group News

A new LUG in Clarksville, TN has been announced.

SlugFest in Vermont. The Small Linux Users Group of Vermont (SLUG-VT) will be holding its second Installfest (or SlugFest!) on Saturday, December 11th in Colchester, VT, USA. Please see the main information page for more details and directions. Please contact William Stearns if you're interested in attending.

A new LUG in Portland, Maine is being established by the Maine LUG. The first meeting is on December 9.

December 2, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AccuRev 1.2 Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
ACS 0.5.0 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
ALE Clone pre1.16 #2 Clone of WarCraft II
ALife 0.0.1-011299 Artificial Life for Linux
ALINKA LCM 1.1.3 Tool for the management and configuration of Linux Beowulf clusters.
ALINKA RAISIN 1.1.3 Web based tool to build and administrate beowulf type clusters
Alkaline UNIX/NT Search Engine 1.3_26-Nov-1999 Web site and intranet search engine and spider, ala Altavista or Excite.
ALSA driver 0.4.1f An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
APE 0.9.6 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
aproxy 0.81 A forwarding TCP-proxy.
arla 0.28 A free AFS client and server for Linux, *BSD and others.
asapm 2.9 X11 application with AfterStep look for monitoring APM on laptops
August 0.50 A free html editor for Linux/Unix.
aumix 1.29 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
AutoSig 1.0 A Signature/Plan file generator.
Bastille Linux 0.90 beta A comprehensive hardening program for Redhat Linux 6.0.
BBPic 0.2 Online image archive management
bcnu 1.18 Powerful Web-based client-server system monitoring
Beavis 0.4.1 Mail poller for Enlightenment
becrweb 0.02.03 (very primitive) backend for association of files with comments.
Behemot Graphics Editor 0.9.0 3d graphics editor and renderer
BibleTime 0.2 A bible study program for KDE
Black Penguin 0.2 Arcade style jump-on-cubes game
BLADE 0.5.1 Broad Language Aided Document Environment
bug-buddy 0.5 graphical bug-reporting utility for GNOME
cardwords 0.0.8 Form crosswords on the cardtable with cards showing characters.
cd-console 2.3 curses-based cd-player program
CGIPing .01 A Python CGI script to ping a list of systems and return HTML.
Citadel/UX BBS Software 5.60 Advanced client/server BBS program
CoCo Linux Utilities 0.1 Utility collection to handle Tandy Color Computer files
Coin alpha 19991130 3D graphics library with Open Inventor API
CoreLinux++ 0.1.0 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Coyote Linux 1.01 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
Cross-CGI 0.91 A portable and complete CGI libtool library in C.
crypt_l 1.1 A simple, small, fast cryptographic utility.
csvdump 1.2 Dump, process, and mail a MySQL table.
Darkbot 5f11 IRC Help Robot
dbXML 0.1 Nov 99 Structure Document DBMS
DB_Browser 1.30 Web-based utility to browse and modify a postgres database
Defendguin 0.0.0 (alpha) A Linux-themed Defender clone.
DeleGate 6.0.3 alpha Multi-purpose application level gateway (proxy)
dep.pl 1.12 Check dependencies of multiple files.
dfm 0.99.6 Filemanager like OS/2 WPS
Disc-Cover 0.9.4 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
doIRC 1.0 Complete JAVA GUI IRC Client. Supports multiple Channels, Queries, DCC Chat/File
Dozer 0.01a Share files with others without the need for a server.
DPS-FTP 0.6.0 Bulletproof-like ftp client
DWUN 0.5d Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
DynamicJava 1.1 Java source interpreter
editek 0.4.2 Colorizer for /etc/issue, /etc/issue.net and /etc/motd
egrep-finger 1.28-2 Extended finger program using extended regular expressions
ELSA 1_0b-017 RTSP/RTP Streaming Media Server
Emacspeak 11.0 A full-fledged speech output interface to Emacs
emelFM 0.6.3 Two-Window File Manager
Erlang OTP-R6B Full-featured programming language developed at the Ericsson CS Laboratory
Etherboot 4.2.11 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.7.9 GUI network protocol analyzer
Eucalyptus 0.1.3 Advanced MIME email program
Euphoria Programming Language 2.2 Simple, flexible, powerful programming language for Linux, DOS and Windows
Exim 3.11 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
Explore2fs 1.00pre2 A win32 explorer for Linux ext2 partitions.
farsh 1.2.0 Find and Run shell
Fast Webpage Exchanger 2.0.7 A non-interactive FTP client for updating Web pages
FastGL 1.70 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
fetchmail 5.2.0 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility
Filesystems HOWTO 0.7.2 HOWTO about filesystems and accessing filesystems from several OSes.
Fire Gnome 19991128 A GNOME tool for an ipchains firewall configuration.
fpted 4 Easy to use Text Editor (small but powefull)
freemed 19991129 Free medical management software in a web browser
FreeWorld BBS 0.3.1 BBS Software for Linux
Freshmeat Headline Grabber 2.01 Perl-based headline grabber
Fworld IRC Operator Services 2.0.0 IRC Operator Service with features to rival that of Undernet's.
G2LogAnalyzer 0.1r1 Logging analyzer for the G2 realaudio server.
GameStats 1.3 An integrated tool to monitor game servers using QStat and MRTG.
gEdit 0.6.1 GTK+ based text editor
getIt! redhog.5 Turns a server directory structure into a collapsable tree on a web-page.
gfind 0.1 GUI front-end to GNU find utility
ggitv 0.0.11 TV-application on ggi
gif2png 2.2.4 converts GIF image files to PNG format.
GiNaC 0.4.0 A C++ library for symbolic calculations.
Giram 0.1.3 Giram is a modeller, written in GTK+
GKrellM 0.7.4 System monitor package
GMatH 0.0.8 Computer Algebra Environment
Gnome Toaster 991130 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
GnomeHosts 0.6 Edits /etc/hosts.
GnomeSensors 0.2.0 GNOME Panel hardware sensors display applet
GNU Keyring 0.4.0 Securely store digital secret keys on your Palm handheld computer.
GOB 0.90.5 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
GOGO 2.23 Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
GSwitchIt 0.2 Xkb state indicator for the GNOME panel
GTC 0.4 Game Programming Library
GTK MikMod 0.12 pre 21 An advanced multi-threaded module player.
Gtk Undo Library 0.3 A multilevel undo/redo facility for GTK.
GTK+XFce 3.2.1 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkShadow 0.4 web-oriented graphic tool
gtktetcolor 0.2 A small Tetris clone for X.
GtkTiLink 0.35_1.92 A TI calculators <-> PC communication program using a GTK interface
Guava 1.0 C-like preprocessing for HTML
HB 1.9.8 Simple language to create dynamic web content
hd2u 0.5.0 Hany's DOS to UNIX converter.
Heretic for Linux 1.0.2 Port of Heretic to Linux
Hermes 1.2.6-2 An optimized pixel format conversion library with other tricks
HP OfficeJet Linux Driver 0.3 Linux support for the HP Officejet All-In-One series
HTML Tidy 24nov99 Cleans up HTML source and formats it nicely.
Html2PHax 0.0.3a Webclient to Hylafax for a PHP enabled Apache webserver
HTMLPerlSETI 0.9 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
I-Spy 2.0b1 A remote FTP and Web site content-spy.
Ilib 1.1.6 Image manipulation library for reading and writing images
ImageMagick 5.1.0 Beta Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
ipchains-firewall 1.6.2 Rules-based ipchains firewall/masquerading script suite
iplog 2.0.0 tcp, udp, and icmp logging utilities for Linux.
IPWatch 0.01b9 Restores network connectivity when there is a loss or change of IP.
ip_masq_icq 0.55 ICQ masquerading module for Linux
irssi GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
isreal 1.3 Tells if an image is real, computer generated, or not real.
Jabber 0.7 Instant Messaging Platform
JEsd 0.0.1 A re-implementation of EsounD in pure Java.
Johnson Keyboard 0.1 Hacker's keyboard layout for X11
Journal 0.4 A text-based journal/diary.
jwhois 2.3.1 A collection of Perl programs for the whois service
karma 0.9.0 Oracle Database Monitor
Kazlib 1.16 Robust ANSI C data structure library.
KBlade 0.0.9 KBlade is a frontend to BladeEnc (mp3 encoder) for KDE
KBshare 0.3.1 Web based knowledge manager
kdbg 1.0.1 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
Kgutenbook 0.1 KDE port of the perl app gutenbook, to download, and read etexts from Gutenburg
kmp_sybase 0.0.2 KMySql plugin for Sybase.
Kmud 0.2 KDE mud client
KNode 0.1.10 Online-newsreader for KDE
kruiser 0.4pre2 Win95-like file manager for KDE with many features
l2tpd 0.61 Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP) user space implementation
Laptop-HOWTO 2.2 How to make the best of Linux features with laptops.
libGLobs 0.5.0 A set of C++ OpenGL object manipulation classes
libmcal 0.5 Modular Calendar Library
libmcrypt 2.3.0pre2 A library to access various encryption algorithms
Lift Off Java Installer 0.0 An installer for Java applications.
LingoTeach 0.14 A very simple language-teaching program.
LinkChecker 0.9.8 LinkChecker is a URL link checker
Links 0.80 Lynx-like text WWW browser
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.4.1 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux JDK 1.2.2-RC2 Provides a full port of Sun's JDK (Solaris version) to Linux
Linux Napster Client 0.7 beta Application that locates and downloads MP3s.
Linuxconf 1.16r9 Sophisticated administrative tool
loopy 0.1.1 Utility for creation and mounting of encrypted loopback device filesystems.
LxA 0.0.1 Linux appliance construction set.
LZO 1.06 Data compression library with very fast (de-)compression
Mace 991130 A free Macintosh compatibility layer, implemented similar to Wine.
Magick++ 0.8.9 Object-oriented C++ API to the ImageMagick image-processing library.
makeself 1.5 Script to create self-extractable gzipped tar archives
Math Literature 0.0.1 Learn to calculate with positive numbers.
MBSE Bulletin Board System (BBS) MBSE Bulletin Board System 0.33 Gamma-5 Fidonet-capable ANSI BBS.
mcal-drivers 0.5 Calendar drivers for libmcal
mcrypt 2.3.0pre4 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
mepl 0.43 Software to control the self-employed mode of 3COM/USRobotics Messagemodems.
Mexx 1.0.5 Shoot'em up for Linux/Win32/BeOS
MICO 2.3.0-multithreading MICO Is COrba
MindTerm 1.1.3 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
MiniVend 4.0 alpha Powerful freely redistributable shopping cart package
mminstance 1.6 Makes single-master PostScript fonts from multiple master fonts
modutils 2.3.7 Linux module utilities
mod_litbook 1.0.8 Experimental design in referencing www documents.
moodss 8.6 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Moonshine 0.9.5 An application development environment for Linux.
Mp3Maker.app 1.0 Window Maker enhanced CDDA grabber and MP3 encoder frontend
MpegTV Player (mtv) A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MRPC 0.9.1 A very open and modular remote procedure call system.
MRTd 2.1.0 Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
Muddleftpd 1.1.1 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
MuTATE! 35 Networked board game with chatrooms. Touch pieces to gain them.
NetBiff 0.9 A more featureful version of the traditional biff.
netcomics 0.11 A perl script that downloads today's comics from the Web
nmpg 1.1.1 Command driven frontend for mpg123
note 0.2 commandline note tool
NTP 4.0.98f A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
objdump-beautifier 0.2 An objdump beautifier.
OCaml 2.04 Objective Caml is the latest implementation of the Caml dialect of ML
OpenNaken 0.90 Tcl/Tk client for Naken Chat
OpenScheme 1.3.2 OpenScheme programming environment
OSS 3.9.2y Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
pam_cucipop 1.31-5 Patch to use PAM with cucuipop
Pan 0.6.5 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
perl-cfd 1.0.0 High-stability cfengine server daemon.
PMFirewall 1.1.3 An Ipchains Firewall and Masquerading Configuration Utility.
PngEncoder 1.2 A Java class to convert Java images to a byte-array in PNG format
portfwd 0.0 Forwards incoming TCP connections and UDP packets.
Primax GUI 0.99-5 Tcl/Tk Frontend GUI for Primax D600 Scanner
profit alpha Low-level Open Flight support library
Prometheus-Library 1.0 Object-oriented PHP API
pxtools 0.0.3 Collection of tools to convert a Paradox-database
Pyrite 0.7.9 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
qdologs 1.1 Archive and process qmail logs.
Qpopper 3.0b21 POP3 server
Quesa 0.0.9 An Open Source implementation of QuickDraw 3D.
Quosack 0.1 Remote service checker with pager notification.
RabbIT 2.0.1 Mutating, caching webproxy to speed up surfing over slow links
reap 0.4A Disassembler for x86 architecture, and assembly code editor
renameit 0.0.2b bash/sed scripts for standardizing MP3 filenames.
Request Tracker 1.0.1 Web, command-line and email based trouble ticketing and bugtracking package
RIMPS 0.02 Web-based MP3 server.
rmligs 0.81 Ligature corrector for German LaTeX documents.
ROX-Filer 0.1.5 Drag-and-drop based filemanager.
RRDtool 1.0.8 time-series data logging and graphing
rt 2.0 An n-dimensional raytracer.
RTLinux 2.0
rzMail 7cf.b.1a-00 A wxPython-based e-mail client.
sawmill 0.17 Extensible window manager
seatris 0.0.14 ncurses-based tetris game.
sickday.pl 0.0.1 Gives you an occasional day off from work.
sinus 0.9.1 A program that generates interesting sine waves
Sketch 0.6.3 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
Slashdot Headline Grabber 2.01 A Perl-based Slashdot headline-grabber
SLiRP 1.1.0pre1 SLIP/PPP emulator over shell/telnet/ssh/etc.
smtm 0.5.0 A Perl/Tk stock ticker.
SNiFF+ Penguin IDE 3.2 Free professional IDE for Linux C/C++ developers
SPAST 1.5 Simple Procmail Anti-Spam Template
Spice Opus 1.2 A circuit simulator based on Berkeley's SPICE 3f4, with optimization utilities.
SPIRO Linux 1.0 A Linux distribution that is easy to install and use
Sportal 1.9 A file watcher with a GTK frontend.
star trek ency reader 0.7.3 Reads the star trek encyclopedia under linux
start 0.8.2 General purpose home page for an intranet
strace 4.1 System call tracing utility (like trace, truss, etc)
sudo 1.6.0 Provides limited super user priviledges to specific users
supersniffer 1.3 A portable enhanced super-sniffer with many modifications.
survey 0.95 Lists all your config files and installed packages.
SyncDet 4.0 Clone detection program for IRC admins
System Pantheon 1.0 IRC RPG Game System
TermBaum 0.1 Java Library for function parsing, calculation, and derivation.
Terraform 0.4.7 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Dammit Patch 0.0.0 Adds the long option --dammit to ln, mv, and rm.
The Gimp 1.1.13 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The GOTE converter 0.3 Automatic GTK Objects To Eiffel converter.
TickMail Preview Release Fast, efficient, attractive and friendly X11 e-mail program.
TinyMARE 1.0.7101 TinyMARE (Multi-user Adventure Roleplaying Epic) MUD Server
TkBox 0.65 MPEG remote access control client/server architecture
tkchooser 0.64
TkDiff 3.05 Graphical 2-way diff/merge
tkspong 0.1 Perl/Tk frontend for spong
TNT 1.8 Emacs Clients for the AOL Instant Messenger service
tree.pl 1.13 Simple script to generate a html sitemap
tsbiff 1.3 Tsbiff will oversee your mailbox and notify you when new messages appears
Tsinvest 1.1 Quantitative financial analysis of equities.
UCDP 0.1 A console-based Linux CD-player with a nice interface.
UdmSearch 2.2.1 Fast WWW search engine for your site
umodunpack.pl 0.2beta Unpack umod files for Unreal Tournament.
UnLockPRO 2.0.0 ZZT world lock manipulator
UnrealIRCd 2.1.7 Advanced IRC daemon based off EliteIRCd with numerous of new features
UPX 0.93 powerful executable packer
uri 2.4 URI manipulation library
urmcore 0.2.5 Quickly finds, verifies, and removes old core files with minimum system load.
VMWare 1.1.2 Allows you to run multiple OSs at the same time
vobTools 1.0 manipulation tools for MPEG2 VOB files
vpnd 1.1.0 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
vpopmail 3.4.10 qmail addon package for virtual domain email
vsa 0.9.2 Visual Sound Analyzer
waspchat 0.0.3 Human to computer chat prog
wb0 30.11.1999 A quick SVGAlib-based Web browser
wcd 2.2.8
webbase 5.3 Internet crawler C library and program
webget 0.3 A CGI frontend and backend to wget written in Perl.
WebRAT 0.5 Remote Administration Tool
Winie 1.0.3 HTTP/1.1 Put Tool
wmbiff 0.2 A new mail notifier for WindowMaker.
wmG 0.15.0 A small, lightweight, GNOME-compliant window manager for X.
WMpop 0.43 WidowMaker DockApp for monitoring a POP3 mailbox
WPC 0.1b web password security checker
WPP 2.11 Small perl5 script that allows preprocessing of HTML files
X-CD-Roast 0.98alpha1 A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
x2vnc 1.0 A dual-screen hack for VNC.
Xcdda2wav 1.0.1 An X frontend for cdda2wav.
XDaliClock 2.17 Digital clock for the X Window System
XDBM 0.9.3 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XSane 0.46 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
xtell 1.9 Simple messaging client and server, kind of networked write
XVoice 0.6 Enables speech to text for many X applications
Xxl 2.1.2 Simple, easy to use and user friendly graphical spreadsheet
Yacas 1.0.17 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Yadex 1.2.0 Doom/Doom II/Heretic level (wad) editor for X
ZAngband 2.3.3 Rogue-like roleplaying game
Zircon 1.18.230 An IRC client written in tcl/tk
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See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

LinuxDevices.com intends to be "the embedded Linux portal." It is full of embedded Linux goodies, including news, jobs, links to other resources, and so on. Worth a look.

Rob Kennedy's Linux-howto.com site has a new look, and a new URL at howto.tucows.com. All of the useful documentation material remains, and he has added other features, such as recent kernel patches and more. Worth a look.

In the same reorganization, the Tucows "Linuxberg" site has been moved to linux.tucows.com.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

December 2, 1999



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 11:20:47 -0700
From: Greg Woods <woods@ucar.edu>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Kicking the Heathens

[In reference to http://www.osopinion.com/Opinions/TJMiller/TJMiller1.html]

I have to say I agreed with this article 100%. In fact, I have to tell
my Libertarian friends this all the time: you don't win many converts by
insulting people. "If you don't see things the way I do than you must
really be a dumb ass" doesn't help people to see the light. It is one
thing to disagree with someone and argue your case, and another to
insult somebody's intelligence. I've even had religious zealots
criticize me because my systems are all dual boot. I run both Windows
and Linux, because there are many things Linux does better (such as
anything having to do with networking or the Internet) but there are
some apps (yes, sometimes including the kewl games) that I want to run
that, for various reasons, I can't run on Linux. And I don't want to be
called a traitor to the cause for it. I don't care much for religious
zealots. I run Linux because in many cases it is a better value than
Windows (how can it not be when it's free) and not because of any
religious convictions about open source. If the open source software
does what I want, I will use it. If Windows does what I want, I will use

Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 23:32:26 -0500
From: Ambrose Li <acli@acli.interlog.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: certification stuff

"Is Linux professional certification really necessary?" Actually, is
professional certification really necessary? This is being asked not
only in the Linux circle, but also in the general sysadmin (USENIX) and
software development (IEEE/ACM) communities. (In fact, the same seems
to be happening elsewhere, in graphic design.) "Certainly not everyone
is sold on this point." Yes (and I'm only half-sold on this point, like
most poeple I suppose), but it seems that certification is coming.

I wonder how many Microsoft certified engineers can legally call
themselves engineers though (i.e., have a P.E. license); I'm sure we
can sue most of them and win in court :-)

Ambrose Li                   <ai337@freenet.toronto.on.ca>
                    "A good style should show no sign of effort;
what is written should seem a happy accident." -- Somerset Maugham.
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 19:03:58 -0500
From: "Jay R. Ashworth" <use-reply-to-address@gte.net>
To: editor@lwn.net, cameron@camworld.com, wesf@cs.utexas.edu,
Subject: RANT: The great merger mania...

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who's tired of every company thinking that they have
to own every other company on earth?  This is why I've come to hate the
public stock market...

We're likely to see this, in the specific case of RedHat, and I hope Bob
and Marc have the balls to stand firm.  Yes, it is the responsibility of
the management to manage the company to the benefit of the board, and
thereby the stockholders.

But who defines what's "the benefit"?

In today's market, that seems to be being defined by the unwashed masses
who own the stock.  And we don't buy stock to help a company anymore, or
even to be able to say we own it -- we buy it to make money.  It is my
view that it is the job of the board of directors of any public company,
having been made confident that the long term plans of the management
will work, to _insulate_ the management from the slings and arrows of
outrageous stockholders.

Greed, in a word, is bad.

I just hope some prominent public companies start recognizing this, and
acting _very publically_ in accord with the corollaries thereto...
before the entire house of cards comes down around us.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth

Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 17:56:41 -0600
From: Scotty Orr <scottyo@tenbits.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: World Domination in Sight

Whenever I go to a store that sells computer software,
I always go check to see how the "Linux section" is
stacking up (don't you?).  CompUSA has the largest
Linux section of the stores I check.  It makes me feel good.

Now, Wal-Mart is not my favorite place to shop,
but whenever I *must* go there  for some reason,  I
(like many of you other closet Wal-Mart shoppers) always
go back to the electronics department to see  what they
might have, AND to see if  Linux has been "mainstreamed"
yet.  I know it's a strange yardstick, but I always thought that
if Linux could ever make it to Wal Mart, well.....

Well, it has happened.  A boxed version of Linux has
appeared on the shelves at Wal-Mart in Sedalia, MO.
And much to my surprise, it was a very current version.
Macmillans Linux 6.5 (which is Mandrake 6.1 with PM,
XFree86 3.3.5 AND Linux kernel 2.2.13!) was right there
on a shelf at eye level (for $29.95).

This may seem  trivial to you, but in my mind, it is a huge
milestone!  I mean....think of it....You can now buy Linux
even at Wal-Mart in Sedalia, Missouri!!  WOW!

Scotty Orr

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