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Leading items and editorials

The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act continues to attract opposition. This act, if adopted as law by the U.S. states, would give new teeth to "shrink-wrap" licenses. This article by Cem Kaner gives a good summary of the problems with this act, and is worth a read. The list of opponents to the act is impressive by itself:
"...the Attorneys-General of 24 states, the Bureaus of Competition, Consumer Protection, and Policy Planning of the United States Federal Trade Commission, the leading software developers' professional societies (such as the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Society for Quality, Software Division), software trade groups representing small developers (the Independent Computer Consultants Association, the Free software Foundation), the five main library associations, leading intellectual property experts (including the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Committee of Copyright and Literary Property of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and fifty intellectual property law professors), other copyright industry associations (such as the Motion Picture Association of America, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Newspaper Association of America), and every consumer advocacy group that has looked at the bill."

UCITA would legalize a number of unpleasant things. Often-cited examples include "shutdown code" which can be triggered remotely by the software vendor, "inside the box" contracts which can not be read before purchase, and restrictions on transferrability of software licenses - meaning that a company that acquires another must buy a whole new set of licenses for the new acquisition.

Free software advocates may be yawning about now, since they have no intention of buying software with this type of restrictions. However, another aspect of UCITA is worrisome for the open source world as well - restrictions on reverse engineering. Clear legal restrictions on reverse engineering will make it much harder to write many useful free programs. One needs look no further than the current DVD case for a graphic example of what could happen here. The DeCSS code was not written to make illegal copies of DVDs (it's not needed for that); it was written so that people could play DVDs on Linux systems. UCITA would criminalize this sort of activity.

Of course, UCITA, even when adopted by all states, would not apply beyond the borders of the U.S. Other countries more strongly defend the ability to reverse-engineer products. But remember that DeCSS came from such a country; the DVDCCA is on the attack anyway.

It is possible, on the other hand, that the future will see the passage of UCITA as the beginning of the end for proprietary software. UCITA greatly increases the risks associated with non-free programs; that, in turn, will likely lead to an increased willingness to try (and support) free alternatives. The proprietary software industry may yet regret its efforts to push this act through.

Michael Tiemann is now Red Hat's Chief Technical Officer, replacing Marc Ewing, who has held that position since the founding of the company. Marc will devote his time to the Red Hat Center for Open Source, and remains on Red Hat's board of directors. At the time that Cygnus was acquired, there were rumors (that LWN declined to publish at the time) that a member of Red Hat's management would be leaving; this looks like the move the rumors were talking about.

Mr. Tiemann looks well suited to the new position; he took Cygnus from a startup to a company that sold for almost $1 billion. He knows how to make money with free software. Further in the past, he is also the person who initially created the GNU C++ compiler. Cygnus has long been a trusted center of development for much of the code that is central to the Linux system. In his new job, Mr. Tiemann should do well at keeping Red Hat honest and in a good technical position.

It is interesting to note, though, that Red Hat is now mostly out of the hands of its founders. Bob Young stepped down from most of his management duties a while back, leaving them to Matthew Szulik. Now Marc Ewing has stepped back as well. This sort of thing tends to happen to companies as they grow, and especially as they go public. All of the bright Linux entrepreneurs out there now may well make their fortunes, but they may lose their jobs in the process.

Other Red Hat news includes the completion of its stock split. Those who were not prepared were a little surprised by the sudden apparent decline in the price of the stock... Red Hat and IEntertainment also announced a deal to launch a co-branded web site on Linux gaming. Finally, Red Hat has announced the completion of the acquisitions of Cygnus Solutions and Hell's Kitchen Software. "The acquisitions make Red Hat, Inc. the largest company in the world dedicated to providing open source technology, information and services..."

IBM moves toward Linux. IBM's plans to place more emphasis on Linux drew a lot of attention this week, but there is still not a whole lot of substance to them. Evidently IBM plans to "Linux-enable" most or all of its product line, and port more software to the system as well. Beyond that, there is not a whole lot that is known at this point. IBM has made big Linux news splashes in the past (see this LWN from last February), but the end result has proved to be less noteworthy. Time will tell if things are different this time around.

More free documentation. Last week's item on free documentation omitted one other freely-available book which came out last year: DocBook: The Definitive Guide. It is ironic that the item on free documentation neglected to list the free book on one of the more important free documentation tools... (Thanks to Christian Kirsch for setting us straight).

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: U.S. Cryptography Regulation: the kernel hackers' response.
  • Kernel: 32-bit UID support, block driver changes stress feature freeze, /proc and /proc/sys.
  • Distributions: World Politics enter into the Linux vs Windows debate.
  • Development: Samba for HP? Another marketing lesson for a large company.
  • Commerce: Caldera Systems' IPO filing, Wave Technologies acquires Sair
  • Back page: Linux links and letters to the editor
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

January 13, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

U.S. Cryptography Regulation: the kernel hackers' response. In December, we talked in detail about the second draft of the next round of updates to the US cryptography regulations. This week, it appears that at least some of the Linux kernel hackers have read, absorbed and reacted to them as well. "The US government is about to relax the crypto export regulations, in ways we could not have anticipated 6 months ago, vis-a-vis open source and publicly available cryptography. The first draft of the regulations were, unexpectedly, promising but held some ambiguities for the open-source community. The second draft can only be considered a Christmas present with the open source regs being reduced to little more than 'tell us where it is and then do it'", commented Michael Warfield in a note to the linux-kernel mailing list.

Since the new regulations are due to become official on January 14th, Michael went on to propose that security-related patches, here-to-fore carefully excluded from the primary kernel tree, should be expedited into the kernel before the Linux 2.4 feature-freeze firms up (it has been announced, but appears to still be "squishy"). IPSEC support, ppdd, and KLIPS were examples of new features this would bring us. The final goal would be to enable distributions suppliers to start bundling hardened cryptography with all Linux systems as quickly as possible.

We can only say, yes, please! This will allow us to take a massive step to eliminating one key weakness of Linux, its security right-out-of-the-box, without requiring knowledgeable tuning.

Business to Business Commerce: B2B fever. SecurityFocus takes a look at the security issues of business to business commerce (B2B), another catch-phrase that has caught the eye of Wallstreet. "B2B will both push for better technology to secure transactions & infrastructure and at the same time race ahead of security best practices as companies seek to carve out market share in a B2B e-commerce industry predicted to reach $2.8 trillion by 2003."

Security Reports

Corel Linux Security Vulnerability. The Corel Update program contains coding flaws that make it trivally easy to break root. Corel Linux has not yet responded with a fix. Until they do, you may want to disable Corel Update on your system.

Serious MySQL security bug. This posting to BugTraq describes a serious bug in mysql with how it handles the GRANT privilege and provides both a temporary solution and a patch from TCX. "Anyone with access to a running MySQL and GRANT privilege for any database or table in it, can change any MySQL-password he wishes, including the MySQL superuser's".

Bind vulnerabilities. This message, posted by D. J. Bernstein, describes additional vulnerabilities in bind that can allow temporary denial-of-service attacks when a domain name changes, but its record in the cache have not been timed out. Of course, most Unix systems administrators have learned of this, not as a security issue, but an implementation issue, long ago. Various arcane rules are used, such as changing the time-outs on your DNS records in advance of a name change, to prevent accidental denial-of-service.


Debian security update for nvi. The Debian Project has released a security update to nvi which fixes a local attack problem. A quick upgrade is recommended.

Debian security update for lpr. The Debian Project has released a security update to lpr, fixing problems with potential IP spoofing and the ability to specify an alternate configuration file (which could allow a remote root exploit). Upgrading to lpr_0.48-0 is highly recommended.

Red Hat security update for lpr. Here's Red Hat's update to the lpr package, which fixes the two security problems found there.


SRS (Secure Remote Streaming), a "secure Unix syslog", has been released with source code. We'll let the announcement describe the history of this product itself, since the issues are complex.

Port Lookup Resource. For people investigating their firewall logs for security purposes, a resource for identifying port numbers was posted to the Incidents list recently by Keith Owens.

PalmCrack. Now you can test the security of your passwords by running a cracker right on your PalmPilot ... check the announcement for more details.

Stack Shield 0.7 beta has been released. It contains bug fixes, optimization support and a new protection method. "The new Stack Shield also defends from frame pointer overwrite attacks described in Phrack Magazine 55-08 by klog. To Enable the protection the Ret Range Check method must be used (-r or -g flags)".

When strace may lie ... check with ltt, comments Karim Yaghmour, describing his tool, the Linux Trace Toolkit.


Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 13, 2000

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

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.39. It was a busy week in terms of kernel releases - three have come out since last week's LWN.
  • 2.3.37 included the relocation of a bunch of USB documentation, PCI changes, block device changes (see below), and an "inet peer" mechanism for keeping persistent information about remote systems on the net.

  • 2.3.38 added support for SMC ISA token ring adapters, the addition of a sound driver for Via motherboards, more block device changes, IRDA changes, continued SCSI tweaks, lots of USB changes, new network scheduling options, and a change of contact address for Jay Schulist, who appears to have gone to TurboLinux.

  • 2.3.39 includes the long-awaited beginning of 32-bit UID support, a number of PowerPC tweaks, i2o updates, USB updates, IPC tweaks, lots of DECnet changes, and a lot of little fixes.
Finally, there is currently a 2.3.40 prepatch available; it contains yet more USB changes, more PCI changes, and updates to the new "cramfs" compressed ROM filesystem.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.14. Evidently a few small glitches have turned up with this release; as a result, 2.2.15 will probably come out fairly soon, and will contain nothing but bug fixes. The first prepatch, 2.2.15pre1, is available now. Larger changes, such as new device drivers, will be held back to 2.2.16 at the earliest.

The current ancient kernel release remains 2.0.38, but work is in progress to produce a 2.0.39. Alan Cox has announced the release of the first 2.0.39 prepatch. The actual work for this release is being done by David Weinehall; he hsa sent out an announcement of his own, which lists the changes in this release. New 2.0 releases will only contain serious bug fixes, 2.0 users should not be expecting a whole lot of new features.

Changes to the block (disk) device interface were one of the bigger surprises this week. Alexander Viro sent out this note describing the new interface; it includes the creation of a new block_device structure. The new structure replaces the standard file_operations structure in a number of contexts; a couple of file_operations methods (revalidate and check_media_change) are disappearing from that structure altogether. The result, it is hoped, will be a cleaner and more capable interface to block devices.

Needless to say, this announcement got some reactions. Almost all device drivers, and certainly all block drivers, will be affected by this change. Some device writers have gotten a bit grumpy about yet another kernel API change that they will have to deal with. The kernel developers, however, strongly defend their right to change the API in development releases; the alternative is to slowly build up a crushing load of compatibility cruft. The right to change things creates ongoing pain for driver maintainers, but helps to maintain the quality of the Linux kernel code in the long term.

It is surprising, however, to see a major core API change come in this late in the development cycle. In theory, the kernel is in a feature freeze, and the interfaces should remain stable. The fact that this sort of change continues to make it into the 2.3 series reinforces the fact that the 2.4 release is still distant.

The 32-bit UID changes are also significant - they touch many parts of the kernel. An overview of the issues involved can be found in the highuid.txt file included in the Documentation directory. Among other things, disk quotas could have problems as a result of their use of the UID to index into the quota file, the accounting file format uses 16-bit UIDs, all the filesystems need to be checked over, the core dump format only supports 16-bit UIDs, and more. Cleaning up everything and making sure it all works is not going to be a small job. Nonetheless, this is a much-requested feature, and quite a few users will be happy to see it get into 2.4.

/proc and /proc/sys. Linus stirred up a bit of a storm by proclaiming that the sysctl interface (and, by extension, /proc/sys) is deprecated. Sysctl, of course, provides controlled access to internal kernel variables; for example, the file

can be queried to see whether packet forwarding is enabled on the system, and writing a new value to that file will change that status. The sysctl() system call interface also provides access to sysctl variables.

Linus wants to move away from sysctl, and toward putting everything in /proc. His reasoning is essentially that sysctl is an inappropriate interface for the type of access needed. There is resistance to that approach, however, stemming from the fact that a number of people do not really like /proc. There appear to be two objections:

  • /proc makes all of its information available in ascii text form. As a result, applications need to get into text parsing to access the information. There are also very few standards for the formatting of this information; files in /proc tend to each have their own format. They also have been subject to changes that break applications.

  • There are a number of applications, such as embedded systems, where the overhead of /proc (about 70-80KB, according to Alan Cox) is not welcome.

The likely outcome appears to be "more of the same," with /proc and sysctl continuing to coexist.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Jeff Garzik announced his new Via sound driver (which is now in the 2.3 series), along with a web site and mailing list.

  • Jeff Becker posted a kernel version of Pavel Machek's network block device server.

  • A new eepro100 driver was announced by Andrey Savochkin.

  • Those wishing that power-down on halt worked with SMP systems may want to have a look at this patch provided by Stephen Rothwell.

  • Keith Owens announced version 2.3 of the ksymoops utility.

  • Christoph Rohland announced a new implementation of SYSV shared memory using a pseudo filesystem. It brings a number of benefits, including the ability to clean up leftover shared memory segments with rm instead of ipcrm - a feature that many who have worked with SYSV shared memory will appreciate.

  • Saadia Khan of SGI announced a new NFSv3 and NLM4 (NFS Lock Manager) implementation. This announcement raised concerns that multiple NFS efforts were taking place in parallel, and that 2.4 would go out with (again) a second-rate NFS implementation. It appears, however, that the many parties working on NFS (including a couple of folks at VA Linux) are talking to each other and trying to work together toward the best possible release.

  • Paul Rusty Russell (and others) released netfilter 0.1.15, followed quickly by version 0.1.16 after version 0.1.15 showed an unwanted tendency toward crashing the system if less than 64MB of memory was available.

  • Thomas Sailer posted a devices file implementation for the Universal Serial Bus, leading to charges that he was trying to slip the controversial devfs system in via the back door. Thomas does not agree with the charge, he feels he's just providing a needed capability for the USB.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

January 13, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


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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.

World Politics enter into the Linux vs Windows debate. As long predicted by pundits such as Jon "Maddog" Hall and this editor, at least one foreign government has taken a look at the issue of using an operating system whose source code is closed to you and come down, with heavy-hands, on the side of using Linux, particularly a version of it whose development is in the hands of your own Nationals.

According to several articles this week, China may have issued an official statement that Windows 2000 will be banned from use in the Chinese government, in favor of Red Flag Linux, a Chinese-based distribution that we discussed a bit in our August 12th, 1999 Distributions Summary. We still don't have a download site for this distribution, nor an internal contact, but if you want to follow the current furor, you've got your choice of:

Most of the above, though, just recast the original Reuters report.

It appears that both Microsoft and some Chinese officials are denying these reports, according to this article entitled Microsoft Under New Media Attack in China. Nonetheless, while the original article was likely overstated, this article still outlines reasons why a more moderate reality may be true. "The official with the Ministry of Information Industry said a ban on Microsoft was not very likely in the near term. ``But the government is advocating that users buy domestic software,'' he added."

It finishes with comments on concerns that Windows might have a backdoor in it. Microsoft has categorically denied this, but it is an accusation that a proprietary, closed-source solution can never perfectly defend itself against. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth and Jussi Torhonen).

People have asked if Red Flag Linux is real, and if so, what distribution is it based upon? We have no true answer to either of those, but remember, the XLinux distribution we mentioned last week is a real project, with real code, the "Chinese Linux Extension" is a well-known, volunteer project that has been around for a while. In other words, "domestic software" based on Linux does exist in China and people using it within the Chinese government are likely receiving at least lukewarm support to do so.

So what about comments and concerns posted on Slashdot that a distribution within China could fork, choose not to regard the GPL and refuse to contribute back to the community? It could happen. If they do so, however, they will eventually pay the penalty of being cut off from the prosperity that active involvement in a free software project brings, the ability to benefit from changes made by other people, to educate your developers through interaction with their peers, etc. Free software will survive and, eventually, the benefits of free software will be understood there as well. We have no time schedule on World Domination.

Lunar Penguin. Jo A new distribution project has been started. The Lunar Penguin Project is looking to produce an RPM-based distribution geared specifically for "ISP's, powerusers and e-business concerns". No beta is currently available, but development is ongoing both on the Lunar Installer and on modifying Red Hat packages to fully conform to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.

The future of this project is currently unknown; it could introduce a distribution solely for the developers current use and education or a commercial distribution. Certainly, their work on the RPM conversions is work that Red Hat may also be (or at least should be) working on.

Caldera OpenLinux

Il Team Caldera Systems Italia. Two Italian Companies, Wnet s.r.l. and Wizard s.r.l., have announced (in Italian) the formation of "Il Team Caldera Systems Italia" - seemingly the official Caldera Systems presence in Italy. They offer the usual set of services, ranging from OpenLinux-installed systems through to training and consulting. More information on www.caldera.it.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News. This week's edition indicates that the Debian freeze is just a few days off (knock on wood). Another minor release of Debian may come out to cover security issues and a few small Y2K bugs, while the process of moving from the freeze to a real release takes place.

Kerberos support. Bear Giles, who is working on a security-enhanced version of Debian GNU/Linux, dubbed "Coyote Linux" (and easily confused with the "Coyote Linux" floppy-based distribution, based on the the Linux Router Project), dropped us a note to mention that he is making progress working with the Kerberos Domain Controller, with most of the critical bugs found and fixed. He has also released Kerberos and S/Key packages for Debian GNU/Linux (and S/Key packages for the PalmOS).

Red Hat Linux

i686-optimised Red Hat. A new project has formed to produce a version of Red Hat optimized for the i686 platform. They tell us that they've got 80% of the packages recompiled already, with optimisations. They are available for public comment, etc., at RevHat (name currently under consideration due to legal concerns). This is a volunteer project, not sponsored by Red Hat, and all developments from the project are intended to be released under the GPL.

Spiro Linux

Spiro Linux RC2 review (GeekNews). GeekNews reviews SPIRO Linux. "You will see a couple of very different things at this stage of the install that help establish the uniqueness of SPIRO Linux. Firstly, you may notice that they have the option to install a Zope Server. As I touched on previously, this is a rather novel option that I have not seen in any other distributions..."

Pre-registration has been announced for the upcoming official release of Spiro Linux.

SuSE Linux

Production problems with the French version of SuSE Linux 6.3. The French SuSE webpage contains a notice at the bottom warning people of the existence of some packages with faulty CDs in them, in some cases just CD2, in other cases, CDs 2, 3 and 5. We confirmed with SuSE that these problems only impacted the French version, not the German or International versions. If you find you have a bad CD or CDs, contact SuSE for replacements.

SuSE announces reiserfs availability. On a more positive note, SuSE has announced that it is providing the ReiserFS filesystem - which provides journaling, among other things - for the 6.3 distribution. This is a welcome addition, particularly for sites with strong needs for stability and fast recovery.

SuSE ISO images now available. Lenz Grimmer has informed us that ISO images of SuSE have been made available: "We now have ISO images of the SuSE Linux 6.3 evaluation CD on ftp.suse.com. In addition to that, there are ISO-Images of the 6.2 and 6.3 live filesystem CDs and an ISO image of our current PPC Beta release."

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (MacAddict.com). MacAddict.com celebrates the SuSE PowerPC distribution (announced last week). "...this is very good news indeed, as it helps make the Mac seem like a more legitimate platform from a businesswise standpoint. In turn, it also helps make the Mac a more viable option for Linux-positive administrators who are considering new server hardware."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 13, 2000

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
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Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
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General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
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BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
Cafe Linux
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Circle MUDLinux
Complete Linux
Console Linux
Corel Linux
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Eurielec Linux
eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
HA Linux
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ix86 Linux
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Linux MLD
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NoMad Linux
Omoikane GNU/Linux
PingOO Linux
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Project Ballantain
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Root Linux
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TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
Virtual Linux
WinLinux 2000

GNU/Linux Ututo
Definite Linux
Red Flag
Linux Esware
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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

Samba for HP? CIFS/9000 is a new product from HP that promises "Your Windows/UNIX interoperability problems are virtually solved". The product information page mentions several times that this interoperability is made possible also by Microsoft's Common Internet File System, but fails to mention that the server side of CIFS/9000 is essentially Samba for HP/UX.

Dig into the Questions and Answers section and it confirms that the server side of CIFS/9000 is based on "Open Source Samba" and "HP is committed to submitting CIFS/9000 enhancements back to the Open Source community". Samba team member Jeremy Allison commented that this is the first he has heard of it, but it is, nonetheless, good news. HP's marketing group, on the other hand, needs to learn to give equal credit to the open source developers as they do to Microsoft.

Free at last... sort of (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet column looking at a piece of code 20 years old. "The program is Kermit, possibly Columbia University's best-known contribution to the computer world. Its latest release, introduced New Year's Day, has a new license that will finally allow Kermit to take its rightful place among the pillars of free software."

Kermit (or C-Kermit, as the early C implementation of Kermit was called) was an early free software success story. However, when the service demands of a large community grew too much, a lightly restrictive license was chosen in order to generate revenue for support costs. That choice moved C-Kermit out of the larger free software community.

The new license may not go far enough. It comments, "The intention is to allow C-Kermit to be distributed with "free" operating systems such as GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, The Hurd, etc.", but restricts modifications to the code on much the same basis as the controvial Qmail license. As a result, C-Kermit is not likely to meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines anytime soon. Fortunately, they've also introduced the lightweight G-Kermit under the GPL.

Bulletin Boards

The developers of the Citadel/UX open source BBS package have announced the release of version 2.11 of WebCit, the web-based front end to Citadel. WebCit contains its own HTTP engine and is easy to install. This is a maintenance release which works around some of the bugs in Internet Explorer 5. For more information, visit the Citadel/UX web site.


Linux Knowledge Base weekly update. Here is the fourth weekly update from the Linux Knowledge Base project. They are working flat out to be ready for their February 1 launch. It also notes that the First LinuxKB Developers Conference will be held this Sunday, December 16th, in York, Pennsylvania, for any of you that live out that direction and want to stop by.


SEUL/edu Linux in education report. The latest SEUL/edu Linux in education report is available. This week's report focuses in on efforts to support Linux in education in France, including Compil'Edux and Le Projet SLIS (both sites in French, obviously). In addition, work progresses on improving information on Freshmeat, to build a good set of links to existing educational software there and to keep it up-to-date. The report closes with coverage of some additional educational software that is already available and a brief introduction to the OpenClassroom Community.

Linux Professional Institute Weekly News. The January 11th, 2000 edition of the LPI Weekly News reports on the launch of their first exam and their upcoming plans for the LinuxWorld Expo in February. For more information, see the press releasefor their first certification exam.

Certification exam interest is high. We heard from the folks over at LPI that over 300 people signed up for free IDs within the first 48 hours of the announcement of the first exam. They are excited, particularly since other testing projects were launched at the same time and by far the most interest has been shown in the LPI exams. Congratulations, guys!


The Gimp kernel-cousin. The Kernel Cousin gimp-devel is back, after a hiatus for a few months. Alex Harford is the new editor and we are very happy to see him revive this effort. Two new issues, January 1st, 2000 and January 7th, 200, are now available.


GNOME Developers Conference. The first GUADEC ("GNOME Users And Developers European Conference") will be held March 16-18, in Paris, France. Sponsors of the conference include AFUL, ENST Paris, MandrakeSoft, Red Hat, and SuSE. Details may be found on the GUADEC web site.

Gnome Summary, January 3rd-12th. This week's Gnome Summary headlines the announcement of GUADEC, mentioned above. They promise that almost all of the Gnome developers will be present.

In addition, GTK-- has entered feature-freeze, a new site contains an archive of "images to enhance your GNOME desktop" and the first development report on Evolution, the new mail client/calendar application, comes in.


Thoughts on the free software scene. Matthias Ettrich has written this article (in German) for IX magazine on how free software projects function, using the KDE development project as an example. Here is the Babelfish translation of the first half. The KDE team is looking for people willing to translate the article from German to English and French.


Mozilla Developer Status. This week's Mozilla Status Report mentions progress on the HP/AIX port and in the Mail/News area.

Mike Shaver leaves Netscape but not the Mozilla project, though he'll no longer be working on it full-time. Mike has been an instrumental "mover and shaker" in the process up until this point. Read more over at Mozilla.org. "Though Mozilla will no longer be my full-time job, I will continue to participate in the community as much as possible, and my new employer is very supportive of that. "


Wine 20000109. That looks a bit peculiar, doesn't it? Nonetheless, the latest development snapshot is out, dubbed "2k0109" by those that don't like pronouncing zeros.

Developer discussions this week, chronicled in the Wine Weekly News, focused on better support for Cyrillic fonts, the Odin project's possible license changes (Odin is a project working provide on OS/2 an execution environment for Windows applications), and improvements to Wine's loader.


XFree86-3.3.6 has been released. This is a new full release, with support for ATI Rage128 and ATI Rage Mobility, SiS 540/630 and SiS 300, Silicon Motion Lynx chipsets, Savage2000, NVIDIA GeForce and Intel i810 (with some caveats). Expect to see the new release quickly bundled into upcoming distributions to provide better stability and hardware support. Check the XFree86 homepage or the XFree86-3.3.6 documentation and release notes for more details.


Zope Weekly News. This week's edition announces the release of version 0.05 of the Oedipus package, an updated review of Zope by Linux Planet and several new products and updates.

Zope at the Linux World Expo. Hadar Pedhazur forwarded an announcement to us of their plans for the Linux World Expo, coming up in two weeks in New York City. They are pleased to announce that they will be joining Tucows.com, Inc. in their booth. "Tucows.com wants to showcase innovative businesses and business models in the Linux world and provide an opportunity for greater communication between Linux developers and users. Digital Creations is honored to have been selected. Come to NYC and participate with us in our post Python Conference coming out party!

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 13, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


The Blackdown Team FAQ updated. An updated version of the "java-linux@java.blackdown.org FAQ" has been made available.

JLinux.org. JLinux.org is a new site, put together by Christopher Smith, to collect various bits of info about running Java on Linux.

Java Programming on Linux!, a new book out by Nathan Meyers, received an unsolicited plug from Weiqi Gao. "Browsed through it and found it packed with information that a Java-Linux developer would want/need/find indespensable. Not a textbook/tutorial. Lots of hints, tools, de-hype-ifications, whys, and coverage. The spirit of Linux shines through throughout."


PerlMonth issue 8 is out. Issue #8 of PerlMonth has been released. Articles include an overview of Perl documentation, mod_perl coding, and six others.

The P5P Disgest, which closely tracked the Perl 5.X development process, appears to have gone on hiatus, with no new digests since early December.


This week's Python-URL. Here is this week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL, by Fredrik Lundh. Activity was light this month, but links include a pointer to the Software Development 2000 conference coming up in March, a new Python-based application installer, a job for Greenpeace International in Amsterdam, and several more technical discussions.


Dr. Dobbs' Tcl-URL! for January 10th reminds people of the upcoming Usenix Tcl conference in February, encourages people to bring a poster of their work and makes a call for paper for the Tcl/Tk track at this summer's O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Caldera Systems filed for its initial public offering this week. Caldera thus leads off in the expected stampede of Linux companies going public this year. The more masochistic among us can pick up tons of details from Caldera's S-1 filing, but be warned that it's about 1.4MB of solid legalese. If we weren't gluttons for punishment, we would not have published LWN for the last couple of years; thus we are well qualified to slog through this document. Here's our impressions.

Caldera Systems comes in as a relatively small company. In 1999, it lost $9 million on $3 million in revenue. Red Hat, instead, filed with a loss of $0.1 million on $11 million in revenue; VA Linux lost $14.5 million on $17.7 million. Caldera has grown from just over $1 million in 1997 and 1998, but it still lags behind the other companies that have gone public so far.

The strategy outlined in the filing is "Linux for eBusiness." This is a relatively new approach, having been adopted less than a year ago, when they evidently gave up trying for business desktops. As part of this strategy, Caldera seems to be betting heavily on its "eBuilder" product, which should come out before June. eBuilder is a Java-based component framework for business applications - and it is at least partly proprietary. Interestingly, one of the "risk factors" listed in the S-1 is that they could lose their license to distribute the parts of eBuilder that come from Evergreen Internet. In other words, Caldera's use of proprietary software poses an explicit risk to the business as a whole. (Of course, dependency on free software is listed as a risk factor as well, as is the case with all Linux IPOs).

Caldera has also paid $1.3 million to Sun for the use of Java, and will likely pay substantially more than that in the future.

The plan for the IPO is to raise $57.5 million. Unless "Linux fever" recedes somewhat over the next couple of months, that number is likely to go up. There is currently no projected share price, which is typical for an initial S-1 filing; that information will get filled in later on. Caldera plans to trade under the symbol "CALD".

Here's a few other bits and pieces from the filing:

  • In December, they bought 2% of Troll Tech for 106,356 shares of Caldera stock. Thus, Caldera can be expected to stay committed to KDE. They have also bought 4% of Evergreen Internet and 17% of sister company Lineo.

  • They give the usual list of risk factors. First among them is that they changed their strategy in the last year (the "eBusiness" focus). Also: "we have never been profitable."

  • The fact that they do not employ any "significant" kernel hackers is also a risk factor.

  • Yet another risk factor: the Linux community may not accept their hybrid open source/proprietary approach. That one could be real, Caldera has certainly taken a steady low-level stream of criticism for its use of proprietary software. Bob Young has criticized Caldera for this as well.

  • They tried to trademark "OpenLinux" and "Linux for Business," but the application was rejected.

  • Through 1998, 100% of Caldera's revenue came from software sales. In 1999, that dropped to 90.9%, with the rest coming from services.

  • At the end of 1999, Caldera had 108 employees: 31 in software engineering, 30 in sales and marketing, 20 in customer service and technical support, 7 in operations, 11 in finance and administration and 9 assigned to development of their electronic channel.

  • Ray Noorda "beneficially" owns 83.8% of Caldera, by way of the Canopy Group and MTI Technology Corporation. CEO Ransom Love owns 1.6%. The venture capital investments announced on the same day as the IPO filing do not seem to be included in this table. Mr Noorda's large stake was also listed as a risk factor; he can hand pick the board of directors and do just about anything else he wants with the company.
Caldera seems to be betting everything on the "Linux for eBusiness" approach. There is little mention of unrelated things, like web portals. Straight sales of software, along with an increasing services and training business, is where they plan to get their money.

LWN asked whether Caldera planned a community stock offering, but they claimed they were unable to answer the question at this time.

Other announcements from Caldera include a $30 million round of venture capital funding from Sun, Citrix, Novell, SCO, Chicago Venture Partners, and Egan-Managed Capital; and the settlement of the Microsoft lawsuit. Terms on the settlement are not being disclosed, but the information available suggests that the amount involved is around $150 million.

Netizen releases training materials. Netizen has announced the release, under an open publications license, its materials for its Unix and Perl training classes.

IBM 'RedBook' project for remote administration. IBM apparently intends to develop a project which allows for remote administration of Windows and Linux systems. According to this RedBook description, "IBM intends to introduce a product that will allow customers to centrally manage desktops and applications for Windows 98, NT and Linux. Users can utilize any system in the domain, and they can access their customized desktop with the applications defined for them by the adminstrator. The administrator can centrally manage and distribute machine definitions, user assignments to applications, and controlled desktop environments." (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer).

Wave Technologies acquires Sair. Wave Technologies, a training concern, has announced the acquisition of Sair Inc., one of the competing Linux professional certification organizations. They aim to create a larger organization offering a full range of training and certification services. This move further differentiates Sair from the Linux Professional Institute, which has an explicit policy of not getting into the training arena.

Wave's stock, of course, went through the roof on the announcement.

Atipa announces new offices. Atipa Linux Solutions has announced the opening of new offices in New York, San Francisco and Austin. Evidently more are to come in the future.

GraphOn Bridges to be integrated into Corel Linux. Press releases have come out from both GraphOn and Corel announcing that GraphOn's "Bridges" product will be bundled into Corel Linux. Bridges allows Linux users to connect to a Windows PC and run applications there.

Linux wannabe press release of the week. NetCurrents has put out this press release just to make sure the world knows that it uses Linux. "In order to continue to improve the functionality of NetCurrents' proprietary technology and support the expanded range of services being offered to its clients, the Company will continue to expand its use of the Linux operating system." The company is presumably hoping for a boost in the price of its stock (currently at $2 1/2) as a result...

Speaking of wannabes, here's the latest PR from LinuxOne. "The Agreement grants Supercom a non-exclusive, worldwide right to use, sell, reproduce and distribute 'LinuxOne OS', LinuxOne's premier software product." Given that the GPL (and other licenses applying to LinuxOne's copy of Red Hat's distribution) grant all of those rights to anybody, one would hope that Supercom didn't pay a whole lot for this agreement...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • Inprise Corporation announced that it plans to jump to the forefront of the Linux database market by open-sourcing InterBase 6, the new version of its cross-platform SQL database.

  • Quicknet Technologies, Inc. announced the open source release of their Linux device drivers for the company's Internet PhoneJACK, Internet LineJACK, and Internet PhoneCARD Telephone Cards. The device driver code is released under the GNU Public License (GPL) and has been accepted for inclusion in the latest Linux kernel distribution.

  • ScreamingMedia announced that ScreamingMedia's SiteWare is included on the Red Hat Linux 6.1 application CD.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • CorVu announced the availability of its "Enterprise Business Performance Management, Balanced Scorecard and Business Intelligence applications" for Linux.

  • Earthweb announced the publication of a set of Linux courseware, available for purchase at the end of the month.

  • The Linux Professional Institute has announced the availability of its first Linux professional certification exam.

  • Merlin Software announced the availability of an alpha version of "HotWire Fax" - a facsimile system - for Linux. It's available for free download, but does not appear to be free software.

  • Multi-User Solutions announced a porting service for companies that want help moving their software to Linux.

  • New Mexico Software announced that it will begin shipping its Internet infrastructure technology with Red Hat Linux, beginning February 2, 2000.

  • Perle Systems announced its intention to provide comprehensive Linux support across its complete range of serial connectivity and RAS products.

  • Proginet Corporation announced the release of its CyberFusion Internet information movement software product for the Linux operating system.

  • Vertel announced the availability of its "e*ORB" system, "the first commercially available Object Request Broker (ORB) optimized specifically for the telecommunications industry."

    Products Using Linux:

  • IChargeit announced that it is now selling low-end Linux-installed systems, starting at $399.

    Java Products:

  • Access Co. Ltd. announced an agreement with Sun Microsystems to establish Access as a provider of an authorized Java compatible Virtual Machine.

  • Espial, a provider of embedded Java technology for Internet appliances and Tao Group, a provider of Java virtual machine technologies, announced they will collaborate to offer a complete Java-based solution for the multimedia and interactive entertainment content.

  • Servertec announced a new release of iServer, a small, fast, scalable and easy to administer platform independent Application/Web Server written entirely in JavaTM.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • BulletProof Corporation released a beta version of JDesignerPro 4.0 with support for building wireless enterprise applications.

  • CyberStar Computer Corporation announced that they have chosen Intel to supply the main component platform of their new Rack mount server for Internet Service Providers.

  • Dot Hill Systems Corp. announced that it has shipped over 100 units of its SANnet product. SANnet is the company's carrier-class storage solution.

  • Fujitsu Siemens Computers launched a new version of its WebTransaction middleware software to allow organizations to web-enable their complex mainframe applications, and integrate their existing host data with HTML, XML and Java technologies. A Linux version should be available soon.

  • KL Group Inc. announced the release of XRT/gauge, a comprehensive collection of widgets, comprising seven dials and gauges.

  • Optio Software Inc. announced the availability of OptioDCS for Red Hat Linux.

  • Rainbow Technologies announced that the company has integrated support for Linux throughout the company's CryptoSwift eCommerce acceleration solutions and Rainbow's SentinelLM software license management products.

  • REALAX AG announced that all its software products for Virtual Reality and 3D visualization will soon be available on Linux.

  • Systar announced its plans for a new version of OmniVision for Red Hat Linux scheduled for release in mid-2000.

  • White Pine Software, Inc. announced that it is shipping a new version of the MeetingPoint conference server with support for Red Hat Linux v6.1.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • 1mage Software, Inc. announced the sale of its Linux-based imaging system to Plastic Dress-Up Co. (PDU). PDU's installation of 1MAGE will run on Red Hat Linux.

  • Allaire Corporation and MERANT announced a strategic agreement to integrate MERANT's DataDirect technology with the new Linux versions of ColdFusion.

  • Applix announced a partnership with LinuxIT, one of Europe's largest Linux software resellers and distributors. LinuxIT will be the distributor of the Applixware office automation software for Linux.

  • Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Automated Learning and Discovery (CALD) received a $560,000 gift of equipment from IBM Corp. DB2 on Linux is included among data management software packages.

  • Corel announced the acquisition of a 30% stake in Newlix, an Ottawa-based company that produces Linux-based server software.

  • Flame Petro-Minerals Corp. acquired LinuxWizardry, Inc. LinuxWizardry, Inc. has commenced building a Linux-based, low-cost router that provides a simple drag-and-drop JAVA user interface for configuration protocol routing called the "LinuxWizardry Router."

  • The Hartcourt Companies Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement with Swartz Private Equity, LLC of Atlanta, for an additional $10 million equity line funding, thus increasing the total funding from Swartz to $35 million. The reason for the increase was the planned acquisition of a Linux Internet operation in China.

  • iEntertainment Network announced it will launch a co-branded gaming site with Red Hat, Inc.

  • Infomatec AG has formed a strategic alliance with the UK software and IT services company, Pericom Plc. The new agreement enables the Augsburg Software Group to offer terminal-emulation for IBM 3270E and 5250E terminals for its Linux-based platform Java Network Technology.

  • Liberate Technologies and TiVo, Inc. announced that they have signed a definitive licensing agreement to incorporate Liberate's TV Navigator on future versions of TiVo's Linux-based Personal TV reference platform.

  • Linuxcare, Inc. and VMware, Inc. announced a partnership to share their technical and marketing expertise.

  • Microtest Inc. and Micro Design International Inc. announced a long-term integrator partnership. The initial products to be integrated will include Microtest's Linux-based products: DiscZerver, an integration-ready, optical storage imaging appliance, and LinuxZerver, a customizable, high-performance, network-attached application delivery platform.

  • MODCOMP Inc. announced the award of a contract with UCAR International to upgrade their industrial process control computer system. MODCOMP will use it's Linux version of ScadaBase.

  • Rare Ventures announced it has invested in Quicknet Technologies, Inc. Quicknet's products include the Internet PhoneJACK and Internet PhoneCARD hardware and the Internet SwitchBoard software for Windows and Linux PCs.

  • RSA Security Inc. announced that Macmillan USA, Inc. has signed an agreement to license RSA Security software for use in a Linux-based secure Web server the publisher plans to include in several of its upcoming Linux software products.


  • Andover.Net announced the expansion of its products and promotions for ThinkGeek, the site for Linux/Open Source-related products.

  • Applix, Inc. announces the launch of a new web site, www.SmartBeak.com, designed to bring together the support and collaboration needs of Open Source Software developers and users.

  • CMP Media, Inc. announced that its upcoming Computer Telephony Expo Spring 2000 (March 7 - 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center), will feature a three-day IP Telephony for the Enterprise conference. Topics include the future impact of Linux in IP telephony.

  • CNET announced the launch of its CNET Linux Center, "the ultimate Linux destination." Thus far it looks like a repackaging of their (considerable) Linux news content.

  • Cygnus Solutions - now owned by Red Hat, has announced a software development environment for the Nintendo "GameBoy Advance."

  • EBIZ Enterprises, Inc. announced that Jeffrey Rassas, CEO and founder of EBIZ Enterprises, is currently featured on Wall Street NewsCast (click on "new interviews"). Mr. Rassas discusses the evolution and future of the Linux operating system and TheLinuxStore.com.

  • GraphOn Corporation reported record revenues for 1999.

  • Maxspeed Corporation, a provider of Linux desktop devices, announced the appointment of John I. ("Jack") Anderson as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Anderson joins Maxspeed from VA Linux Systems.

  • Red Hat Europe announced the "Red Hat Certified Reseller Programme." As far as can be told from the press release, membership in this program means that the reseller has at least one "Red Hat Certified Engineer" on its staff.

  • TurboLinux claims to be the number one operating system platform in China for the past four months.

  • TurboLinux announced the availability in China of nationwide TurboLinux Certified Engineer training courses. The curriculum, three initial courses designed to prepare students to meet Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certification standards, will be offered in China's 10 largest cities through a network of 15 authorized TurboLinux instructors.

  • UC Berkeley Extension will offer two short courses in programming for the "real" world: "Real-Time Programming for Embedded Systems" and "32-Bit Real-Time Operating Systems with an Emphasis on Linux."

  • UKLINUX.NET, claiming to be "the UK's first ISP specifically aimed at users of Linux and other Open Source/Free Software," has announced its existence. All profits will be put back into the free software community.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

January 13, 2000


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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

Business Week has put up an article about LinuxOne. "If word gets around quickly enough, this IPO might not make it out of the starting gate, because investors will be aware of its sketchy business model and will turn away when the stock is offered to them by a cold-calling broker. Then again, with the frenzy of today's IPO market and with many investors trying desperately to get in on the next hot IPO, maybe LinuxOne will find enough customers to buy the only product it has: Its share certificates."


To find out more on what Dave Whitinger, one of the original creators of Linux Today, is up to now, check out this interview with Dave over at Linux.com.

Here's a CNET article about (Linux Today cofounder) Dave Whitinger's new venture Linsight. "'If it's Linux information, we'll have it covered,' [Dave] said. Having useful information, not just lots of it, will be critical in keeping Linsight alive amid so much competition."

News.com talks with VA Linux CEO Larry Augustin. "Augustin admits there's increasing competition for Linux computers, with newer companies such as Penguin Computing joining established giants such as IBM, Dell Computer, Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard. But VA Linux doesn't want to conquer the entire market, Augustin said, just the back-end part of things. 'We will dominate the Internet infrastructure market,' he said."

ZDNet's Inter@ctive Investor interviews Larry Augustin. "I turned to Linus and said, 'Did you expect six or seven years ago that we'd be here with CNBC devoting the day to Linux?' and of course, his humorous comment was, 'Oh, of course. World domination.'"

LinuxPower has put up an interview with kernel hacker Ingo Molnar. "Linus does not pressure anyone to work on particular features. He does pressure people (directly or indirectly) to finish up and maintain code which is in the mainstream kernel, and that is more than understandable. No, I do not feel any direct outside pressure, apart from common sense. The list of things to be done in Linux are fairly obvious and technical once you started doing it, and the list just never appears to end :)"

The Red Herring talks with Bruce Twickler, president and CEO of Andover.net. "And how does Mr. Twickler think Linux will fare in the next year? 'When you consider the number of companies dedicated to Linux and how many public companies existed six months ago compared with how many will be around six months from now, it's going to be huge,' he said. 'There is just going to be such a large amount of capital applied to making Linux commercially viable.'"

The Linux Journal interviews Inprise President and CEO Dale Fuller. "We are setting up a separate company to manage [open-sourcing InterBase]. We'll try to follow the paths already beaten by Red Hat, VA Linux, TurboLinux and others. We want to consolidate a core development team, make our money on service and support and adjunct products, do the compatibility testing, and work with the community to make sure there is one source that doesn't fork."

Caldera Systems:

The Register ran this article on Caldera's IPO and settlement with Microsoft. "Although we can be certain that there is no connection between the settlement with Microsoft and the IPO because of the lead time in preparing for the latter, it is interesting to speculate as to what prompted it at this time." (Thanks to Dejan Ilic).

News.com reports on Caldera's IPO filing. "...like other successful Linux companies, Caldera Systems has relatively small revenues and continues to report losses."

Here's another News.com article on Caldera's latest investments. "The cash infusion will help Orem, Utah-based Caldera keep its head above water in the frothing Linux market. Several Linux-related companies have received tens of millions of dollars from their initial public offerings in recent months, and Caldera is considering an IPO of its own."

News.com also ran this article on the settlement of the Microsoft/Caldera lawsuit. "As a result, Microsoft said it will record a one-time charge against earnings for the quarter ending March 31, which will cut earnings per share by about three cents. This could mean that the settlement will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million, based on one analyst's estimate. Microsoft's earnings per share for the quarter have been estimated to be 38 cents." (Thanks to Michael Gerdts).


Reuters reports that IBM will be setting up a new Linux-oriented business unit, and will work toward having Linux run across its entire product line. "International Business Machines Corp. on Monday will announce new steps to make Linux a centerpiece of its computer hardware strategy, in what amounts to the biggest embrace of the alternative operating system by a major computer maker to date."

Upside looks at IBM's Linux moves. "So why aren't the little guys worried about getting squished? VA Linux CEO Larry Augustin tells Upside Today it's because he's built a company that can do more than simply put Linux on a Pentium box."

Here's ZDNet's take on IBM's Linux announcements. "IBM will 'Linux-enable' all of its hardware platforms as well as port applications and middleware to Linux. In addition, it will work closely with the open-source community to develop and promote standards and make certain of its technologies available as open source. The Linux group will be staffed with hundreds of workers and have labs in Texas, New York, New Jersey and India..."

The BBC reports on IBM's moves. "IBM is also to donate key programming code developed for its mainstay computer systems to Linux, in order to boost its reliability." Interestingly, the article is headed up by a big VA Linux Systems banner.

News.com reports on IBM's latest pro-Linux moves. "Despite IBM's sensitivity toward Linux companies, the company acknowledges it will compete with smaller players such as Red Hat and Linuxcare, both of which want to make money by charging for services such as installing, supporting, or tuning Linux systems."

The New York Times reports on IBM's upcoming Linux announcement. "In addition, according to one company executive, IBM will probably set up a Linux software operation in India, which has become a hotbed of Linux development, and hire a Linux marketing executive from outside IBM by the end of the month." The Times is a registration-required site. (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).


Internet Week looks at Lotus Domino for Linux. "Lotus has upped the ante for groupware/messaging systems by releasing Domino for Linux. While you still have to purchase Domino, Linux greatly reduces the overall cost by doing away with the costs associated with the operating system and any client licenses. Best of all, by going with Linux, you are not sacrificing any bells and whistles that are on the other platforms. Quite the contrary, you gain a stable, low maintenance platform on which to build your system."

CNN ran this article (reprinted from Federal Computer Week) on a company called GTSI, which is about to announce a partnership with Red Hat to pursue government enterprise sales. "Even without a contract in place, GTSI's Linux sales surpassed $2 million last September..." (Thanks to John Caul).

Jesse Berst talks about Java in this brief ZDNet column. "Sun could revive the Java dream by making it an open source product. Unhappily, asking Sun CEO Scott McNealy to take that route is like asking Saddam Hussein to fix Serbia. Doing the right thing just won't occur to the man." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Here's a SunWorld article about the Python language. "Since its origins as a species of educational experiment, Python activity has been dominated by academic motivations. Pythoneers delight in constructing metaobjects, modeling arcane physics or human behaviors, and refining their language toward ideals of purity and rigor. However, along with the usual density of technical achievements -- including stackless Python, Python inside Java, three-dimensional Python, tuning Python for type safety, and more -- Python displays a number of symptoms of growing business respectability." (Found in NNL).

This TechWeek article looks at the possibilities for world domination. "But Linux has achieved fame mainly for its stellar performance on servers. Can it seriously challenge Windows on the desktop in the year 2000? 'Possibly-my bet is on early 2001, when we start seeing serious defections from the desktop PC integrators, but it could happen sooner,' says open-source evangelist Eric S. Raymond."

The E-Commerce Times talks about the latest Forrester Research report. "Nonetheless, the report predicts that Linux firms with 'defensible assets' such as Cobalt Networks and TurboLinux will continue to thrive in the upcoming year. 'Cobalt Networks has built person-years of engineering into its innovative appliance servers that run Linux,' the report notes. 'TurboLinux is developing a proprietary clustering product that links Linux servers together to handle massive jobs.'" (Thanks to Robert Nelson).

Upside ran this article about Linux in China. Much of it is about the "official OS of China" and Windows 2000 ban rumors. "Still, the fact that Linux has entered so easily into the political realm carries ominous overtones, especially as the interests of U.S. corporations and the U.S. government get increasingly intertwined in the eyes of some foreign governments. While the economic side of the so-called 'Linux story' may sell well in cash-strapped Third World nations and ex-Soviet bloc economies, the political side seems to be equally persuasive, even in regions with a strong technology infrastructure, such as Western Europe."

USA Today ran this study on Linux, including the rumor that the Chinese have banned Windows 2000 in favor of 'Red Flag Linux'. "On our own shores, companies that are already using open source operating systems say they plan to use it on almost 23% of their desktop machines by January 2002, more than twice the 10% share open source has now. Open source software, moreover, will run more than 34% of those companies' servers by 2002, those surveyed said. Only 18.7% of servers use the software today." (Thanks to Richard Storey)

In this ZD Net article Intel's general manager of its home-products division, Claude Leglise, talks about some new Linux devices. "The Intel products will attach to the phone and appear to be phonelike in appearance and use, Leglise said. Like other so-called information appliances, they will emphasize low cost, ease of use and quick access to the Internet." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)

Here's a ZD Net UK article about the Opera browser. "The alpha -- an incomplete version of the software, aimed at testers -- may come with fairly minimal support for the latest Internet technologies, but it does offer Linux users another choice for browsing the Internet and keeps the pressure on Microsoft and Netscape, the two main players in the Web browser wars."

Here's an Ottawa Citizen article about Corel's bundling of GraphOn's "Bridges," and the effects on Corel's stock price. "Corel stock will continue its roller coaster ride, rising on the days when the markets are hot on Linux and falling when the focus shifts to Windows."

This article from ZD Net UK is about the integration of GraphOn Bridges into Corel Linux. "This may help to convert more Windows users to Corel's version of the Linux operating system as well as Corel's competing office software, however, it is not exactly revolutionary. A number of companies, including GraphOn, have been offering server-side Windows application interoperability for years. A development project called WINE already enables Windows to be directly implemented on a Unix machine without the help of a remote server. "

News.com reports on the Salon/Red Hat deal. "The companies offered no details about the number of visitors Red Hat's Web site receives or how Salon will benefit from the deal. Salon's revenues come from advertising on its Web sites... The lack of details didn't deter investors from buying Salon shares, which rose 2.75, or 52 percent, to 7.94. The shares reached 10 at one point during the day."

The Red Herring looks at another example of the Linux stock frenzy. "The latest unsolved Linux mystery is brought to you by the long-suffering iEntertainment Network (Nasdaq: IENT), an online video-game vendor whose stock leaped 89 percent Friday to close at $4.12 per share. The huge uptick apparently resulted from news that iEntertainment plans a link to the Web site of Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT), the Linux vendor that lost $5.3 million on $7.2 million in revenue over its last reported six-month period."

Wired News ran this article on the Linux stock frenzy. "'We don't have 1 percent of Microsoft's market yet, and I think we should get a few more percent,' [Bruce] Perens said. 'Big IPOs and the stock market are necessary to make that happen.'"

This AboutLinux article details moving the authors scientific work from traditional SGI/IBM machines to Linux. "One thing I have discovered with Linux from an early time is always specify all the hardware and make sure it is compatible."

News.com reports on CyberNet systems, which has IPO plans. "CyberNet, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., sells packages of software that turn an inexpensive Intel-based PC into a server that can deliver Web pages to browsers across the Internet, store and print files on a company's internal network or be used as a protective 'firewall' to keep out network intruders, the company said. The software comes with Red Hat's Linux, which may be freely distributed by other companies."

E-Commerce Times looks at Intel's new web appliance systems. "Intel Corp. will unveil its own line of non-PC Internet appliances, as well as an ultra-high speed digital subscriber line (DSL) modem that will work with some of the new appliances. Interestingly, these new appliances will use the Linux operating system rather than an operating system from Microsoft. Intel's PCs have been closely linked with Microsoft operating systems since the early 1980s." (Thanks to Andrew Kornak).

The Motley Fool, too, has caught on to LinuxOne. "LinuxOne is not just a case of the emperor not having any clothes, or even the emperor not actually being royalty. As far as anybody can tell with LinuxOne, what is sitting on the throne is a dime store mannequin. But you can't tell this from LinuxOne's press releases."


If you are an Eric Raymond fan (or a Linux fan, for that matter), grab a beer before heading into this lengthy attack on The Cathedral and the Bazaar, published in First Monday. "If the source is ugly (and as Ken Thompson pointed out, some parts of Linux are) additional bugs could be easily introduced by fixing an existing one. Rewriting, not fixing, is a more viable option here. The open source model, with its over-reliance on debugging, could be at a disadvantage." The article is annoying at times, but is nonetheless worth a read. (Found in NNL).

Here's an article on software patents which appears on the Advogato site. "Should free software developers apply for patents? According to anti-patent zealots, the answer would clearly be 'no,' but I believe there are times when it is appropriate. The present day patent system does retain vestiges of the original goals of rewarding inventors, and additional sources of funding for doing free software are always interesting..."

Feed Magazine looks at the Quake cheat problem. "If Quake, with its enormous audience of tech-savvy players and its history of benefitting from user modifications, can't make the transition from closed source to open source easily, then companies with a less loyal user base might think twice about opening their products, so id's example is going to be watched very closely. The Quake release marks a watershed -- if the people currently hard at work on the Quake cheating problem find a solution, it will be another Open Source triumph, but if they fail, the Quake release might be remembered as the moment that cheating robbed the Open Source movement of its aura of continuous progress." (Thanks to Phil Austin).

Here's an osOpinion piece talking about deadlines - or the desirable lack thereof - in the open source world. "What worries me is to hear chief Linux hackers making promises about future Linux to PHBs. In here lies great danger. A promise means humiliation if it's not kept, compromise if it is. And I'm not talking about vague, general promises like USB support; I'm talking about temporal, fixed-date promises."

This osOpinion column is a set of predictions for the future. "Mar 1, 2000: Red Hat buys Be, Inc. Bob Young says, 'What the heck, Linux can always use another window manager.'"

Humorix reports on some of the stranger kernel releases that have come out recently. "A surprising development in the linux-kernel mailing list surfaced when Alan Cox announced the release of a 2.2 Linux kernel existing both as an official stable kernel and as a prepatch kernel. This immediately spurred the creation of two different realities (and hence two different Alan Coxes), where a kernel would not settle down to one or the other state until someone looked at it."

For your amusement, here's the full text of an entry from the (Denver) Rocky Mountain News Colorado's top 100 web sites feature:

www.eklektix.com -- Everything Linux, including training courses and the Linux Weekly News, by a group of Boulder open-source proponents who aren't zillionaires -- yet.
...but we can always dream...:)

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

January 13, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



The Resource center for Free Operating Systems. The website name pretty much says it all.

HelpDex is a new, Linux-oriented cartoon strip, published on the web.

Here's a new gaming ISP Netgames UK. They have 10 servers running on Debian GNU Linux. They are all Duel PIII 500's, on kernel 2.2.14. They offer all the usual games people might wish to play online, such as Quake 3 Arena, Half Life, KingPin, Unreal Tournament etc.


Patrice Ossona de Mendez sent us an email announcing the first Annual Symposium on Pliant Implementation and Concepts (ASPIC '2000) dedicated to the language Pliant (under GPL, see pliant.cams.ehess.fr) that will be held in Paris the 3rd of April, 2000 (see www.ehess.fr/centres/cams/person/pom/aspic.html for details)

LinuxExpo.net is looking for writers and photographers to assist in covering the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York next month. They are offering a full conference pass in return.

LinuxFest2000, happening in Kansas City June 20-24, has announced that Eric Raymond will be the opening keynote speaker. They have also announced a "Geeks With Guns" session.

Web sites

Tux Games has opened its first community action site.
Click here to sign petitions stating your desire to see games be ported to Linux. It is hoped that with enough signatures, games companies will begin to ship for Linux as standard, instead of just as an alternative.

User Group News

UCLALUG is hosting a guest speaker: Manish Singh, lead developer of the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The talk is on Monday, January 17 at 6:00 p.m. in Boelter Hall room 3811 at UCLA. Manish will be discussing GTK application development. See the UCLALUG web site for more info.

The Linux Users Group of Davis (California) will meet Tuesday, January 18, 2000 at 6:30pm. Details can be found here. Carsten "Rasterman" Haitzler will speak on the Enlightenment Window Manager.

GLLUG (Greater London Linux User group) will have it's next meeting on Saturday 22.01.2000 in London E14.

Help Wanted

Joseph F. Maceira has started a group that is producing role-playing games (RPGs). They are all volunteering their time to this free project and need some Linux programmers of all flavors. Until they get a proper web site, all interested should send email to Mr. Maceira at insania@mindspring.com.

Denver job opportunity. BizBlast is looking for a network/server admin. The position requires you to have experience with all the standard hosting services as well as knowledge for the setup and maintenance of an internal network with firewalled access to the Internet. Strong security knowledge and a background in development are big plusses. Some scripting and CGI knowledge is required. Knowledge of network topologies and the lower levels of TCP/IP and routing protocols is also a big plus. Most of the work will be with Linux and other UNIX variants, but interoperability with Windows is required (we have marketing folks.) There may be an opportunity to do some open source work as well. A member of our board of advisors is about as high up in the Linux world as you get, and I'm personally a member of the ECSL (a note to all Bruces.) Send email to Eric Princen if you have questions or would like to apply.

Englewood, Colorado Job Opening. Echostar Technologies is looking to hire a full-time engineer to assist in the deployment of Mozilla on a Linux-based set-top box. Qualified applicants must be able to work within the Mozilla source tree in order to modify it to run in an embedded set-top environment. Applicants must have mastery of Linux, C, C++, GTK, Web based standards, and the Mozilla source tree. The position includes full benefits and is located in Englewood CO ( near the Denver Tech Center )
Send resumes to James.Buzbee@echostar.com

January 13, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
3DSE patch for XMMS 3 3DSE support for XMMS
4DOM 0.9.1 A CORBA-aware implementation of the W3C's Document Object Model in Python
4XSLT 0.8.1 Python XSLT processor.
abcde 1.0 A better CD encoder.
acl 0.7.0 Colorizes log files using advanced parsing capabilities.
acmemail 2.1.8 A multiuser POP3/IMAP to Web gateway with MIME and mod_perl support
ACS 0.5.2 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
adaMikMod 0.9alpha1 Ada95 bindings against libmikmod.
adduser-qmail 1.3 Adds mailusers for use with the qmail daemon and virtualdomains.
adjtimex 1.9 Command line manipulation of the kernel time-keeping variables.
AfterStep 1.7.164 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
Anteater 0.3 A Sendmail log analyzer.
AntiSpam 0.9 Mail Relay authentication via POP-3
Apprentice 0.3 An HTTP daemon written in Perl.
apsfilter 5.1.4 Intelligent line printer input filter
ArsDigita Community System 3.0 DBMS backed Web collaboration tool
Asterisk 0.1.2 An Open Source PBX for Linux.
August 0.52 A free html editor for Linux/Unix.
Autoclose 0.6 This utility automatically closes one app when another is finished
autotelnet 1.0 A simple program to handle automatic useradd from telnet.
BabyTrans 0.3.4 GTK front-end for Windows Babylon Translator
Bahamut 1.2.2 An advanced IRC daemon.
BetaFTPD 0.0.8pre10 Single-threaded, small FTP daemon
bk2site 1.0.0 Transforms Netscape bookmark file into yahoo-like website.
BLADE 0.14.0 Broad Language Aided Document Environment
Blur Scope MAX 1.1.1 A visualization plug-in for XMMS.
Boa Lightweight and High Performance WebServer
bridged 0.0.1 User-level bridge daemon for Linux.
Broadcast2000 Final Non linear audio and video editor
BTW Calculator 0.0.2 beta 1 A program that adds taxes to a price.
BusyBox 0.40 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
BW whois 2.0 A whois in perl that works with the newly mangled whois system as of 1 Dec 1999.
Bynari TradeMail 0.1.4 Enteprise email, information management for Linux
C-Forge IDE 1.5-1 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment.
C-Kermit 7.0 Multi-platform network/serial communications package
cadaver 0.10.0 command-line WebDAV tool
CAFire 0.0.8 A burning mouse pointer toy.
CBB 0.8.1 Personal check book balancing utility for Unix/X
CD-Tux 0.3-2B An ncurses-based CD-writing frontend.
CDfs 0.3 A filesystem that exports all tracks on a CD as normal files.
CDR-Toaster 1.04pre3 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
cdrecord 1.8a39 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
CGISOCK.pm 0.4 Perl interface for mod_cgisock
Checksums 1.0 An MD5 checksum checker to detect changes in system files.
clig 1.9.3 Command line interpreter generator.
code2html 0.8.8 Converts a program's source code to syntax highlighted HTML
Collaborative Virtual Workspace 3.2.0 CVW takes virtual meetings one step further
CompuPic 5.0.1033 CompuPic Graphical Digital Content and File Manager for Linux
Conglomerate 0.1.1 XML document system.
Connect 1.2.2 Client-server to easily share (open/close) one ppp link among a small network
Contact Book 0.3.1 Alternative Contact Book.
Cooledit 3.12.1 Full featured text editor for the X Window System
CoreLinux++ 0.4.1 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Courier-IMAP 0.24 IMAP server for maildirs
Coyote Linux 1.04 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
Cross-CGI 0.92 A portable and complete CGI libtool library in C.
Cyrus IMAP server 1.6.22 Full featured IMAP server
Date::Calc 4.3 Package for all kinds of date calculations based on the Gregorian calendar
DateTime 2000/01/08 A GNOME-panel applet featuring date/time display and email notification.
dcc 0.3.4 A DialControl Client.
dep.pl 1.25.1 Check dependencies of multiple files.
DialControl 2.5.1 Remote control for Internet/WAN connections of a masquerading server.
Dieresis Newsboy 1.1.5 Web-Based News and Announcements Publishing Perl Script
DigiTemp 2.0 Digital thermometer for Linux, DOS, win95 using DS1820 sensors
Disc-Cover 0.9.6 Generate covers for audio cds non-interactively using cddb
DiSi-Poll 0.8.0 An easy-to-configure php3 voting script.
Display Ghostscript 0.5.9 The Display Ghostscript System for GNUstep.
dot.conf 0.3 A simple, powerful configuration-file parser.
Downtime 3.1.2 Network monitor, watches your connection, and logs downtime.
dproxy 0.3 Caching DNS proxy
DPS-FTP 0.6.1 Bulletproof-like ftp client
dsniff 1.2 Sniffing utilities for network security testing.
Dump/Restore 0.4b12 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
dusk 8.0 irc script that ports BitchX commands and documentation to portuguese
DwbJ 1.1 A Sybase data editor.
E-buttons 0.2 A button launcher epplet for Enlightenment.
E-cpu 1.0 Enlightenment CPU monitor epplet.
E-Dial 0.8 Front-end for dialup programs, with an Epplet interface
E-FancyLauncher 0.1 Enlightenment button launcher epplet.
E-kbd 1.0 Enlightenment keyboard switcher epplet.
E-xmms 1.0 An XMMS Enlightenment epplet.
ECLiPt Mirroring Tool 2.1 pre 11 Full-featured mirroring script
ECLiPt SSH Shell 0.1 Simple graphical SSH frontend.
ECLiPt Virtual Gallery Creator 1.2 Create nice WWW Image Galleries and index pages
EdcomLib 1.0 Alpha 4 A dynamic multiuser Web application development.
elbow 0.1 A simple multiplayer boardgame.
ELKS 0.0.82 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Email Security through Procmail 1.97 Email filter to remove remote security exploits of email clients
epkg 1.0.1 Installed Source Package Manager
erikyyyphone 1.0.0 Internet audio conferencing application
Etherboot 4.4.0 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.8.1 GUI network protocol analyzer
Ethernet TAP driver 0.2a-stable Ethernet TAP driver for FreeBSD
Executor 2.1pr6 Allows you to run your Macintosh applications on PCs
Exim-qpopper-mysql 0.8.3 Patches to qpopper and exim to run a full mail system of MySQL.
Fast Webpage Exchanger 2.3.0 A non-interactive FTP client for updating Web pages
Fastresolve 2.3 Fast log file IP address resolver and utilities
Fax2Send 1.1 Fax Client Server for Linux.
fdupes 1.11 Tool to list duplicate files.
fetchmail 5.2.3 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility
fidelio 0.8.9 A GTK+ Hotline client for GNOME.
Figlet-CGI 0.1 A CGI gateway to the figlet ASCII-art program.
fileblasphemy 0.1 An advanced filename modifer.
FileIT 0.0.1 A filemanager with FTP capabilities.
FindHosts 2.1 A CGI-based dhcpd log parser.
floppyfw 1.0.1 A Linux firewall on a single floppy.
Fork Bomb Defuser 0.6 Detect, disable, and log fork() bombs to prevent crashes.
fortune-mod-opensources 1.0 An Open Sources fortune file.
fortune-mod-peq 1.0 Data for fortune-mod from the peq program.
fortune-mod-petey 1.0 Some very offensive fortunes.
FreeVSD 1.3.1 A virtual server daemon for Linux.
freq 0.4.7-final A lastlog analyzer.
FTP Logger 1.5 Perl(CGI) WU-FTPD log analyzer for WEB
FTP4ALL 3.009 FTP server program for UNIX systems
G-Kermit 1.0 A file transfer program.
GAG 3.1 A graphical boot manager, with a lot of interesting features.
GameTrakker 2.1 An integrated tool to monitor game servers using QStat and MRTG.
Garp 0.7.2 Check for unused IP addresses and automatically assign them.
gASQL 0.4 A frontend to administer a Postgres database.
gcombust 0.1.27 A GTK+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord.
gdcd 0.2.1 GTK CD player with Cover Art Index and CDDB support
gecco 0.4.1 GNOME-based application using plugins for system/network/app configuration.
Getleft 0.7.8 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
getmail 0.99 A fetchmail replacement with reliable Maildir delivery, written in Python.
getpg 0.52 PostgreSQL-aware replacements for the getpwnam() and getpwuid() functions.
getpg / UW-IMAP 0.53 A patch for UW-IMAP to authenticate users against a PostgreSQL database.
ghtsclient 0.1 GTK-based Holsham Trasders client application.
gif2png 2.3.0 converts GIF image files to PNG format.
gjiten 0.3 GTK-based Japanese dictionary
glFtpD 1.18 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
Glotski 0.2 Sliding block puzzle game.
glTron 0.53 tron-like game with a 3D view
GNet 0.1.3 A simple network library.
GNOME Transcript 0.1.2 SQL Database Client with plugin system to support multiple database servers.
GnomeICU 0.90 Formerly GtkICQ, now Gnome Internet Communication Utility
GNU m4 1.4o Standard Unix macro processor with extensions
GNU parted 1.0.4 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Pth 1.2.2 GNU Portable Threads
GOB 0.92.1 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
Gold IRCd 6.0.9+Beta An IRCd Based on DF467.
GPM 1.18.1 A mouse server for the console and xterm.
GPPP-Dialer 0.1.1 Very simple Gnome PPP Dialer.
gps3d 1.7 A GPS 3D visualization utility.
gpsd 1.0 Listens to a GPS and provides clients with the data.
Groundhog 1.2 Logic game written with GTK
grunch 1.3 Merge partial scans into a larger image
GS(SBNI) tty driver 1.0.1a-current Serial tty driver for SBNI-12x
gShield 1.3 Godot's Modular Firewall
Gtk-- 1.1.7 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
Gwatch 0.0.3 A graphical mail spool monitor.
hardmon 0.6b X11 hardware monitor
hc-cron 0.83 A modified version of Paul Vixie's widely used cron daemon
Hissim 1.0 A history generator for WorldForge.
Hoard 1.4 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
HTML::Embperl 1.2.1 Embed Perl into HTML Pages with a lot of features especialy for dynamic webpage
HTML::Template 1.4 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
htsserver 0.5.5 Server application of the multiplayer trading game Holsham Traders
httptunnel 3.0 Creates a two-way data tunnel through an HTTP proxy
httptype 1.2.0 Identifies which HTTP server is running on a given host.
hup 1.02 A client for the Uptimes Project.
Hurricane 0.3.3 A highly extensible IRC daemon.
IA 2.02 A little AI program.
IcePref 1.1 A graphical configuration tool for Ice WM written with PyGTK
id3tool 1.1d Command Line tool for editing ID3 tags on MP3s.
Inflex 0.1.3 In/Outbound email virus/file/text scanner.
ipacct 1.07 Collects IP accounting information for metered usage
ipaudit 0.91 Summarizes ip traffic bytes/packets broken down by host/port pairs and protocol.
IpLogLed 0.0.1 An IP logger via keyboard LEDs.
ip_relay 0.7 A bandwidth shaper.
Java CML Filter Library 0.1 A Chemical Markup Language Filter for Java.
Java Napster 0.6 Java GUI clone of the Napster client for downloading MP3s.
java2html 1.4 a simple program that converts Java source to syntax-highlighted HTML
javashout 0.2.2 A shoutcast shouter written in java
jftpgw 0.0.6 small ftp proxy
JFwadmin 0.71 Java high level GUI for ipchains.
JSFindy 0.1 JavaScript site search engine.
jwhois 2.4 A collection of Perl programs for the whois service
KBabel 0.3 Easy-to-use PO-file editor with many features.
KBiff 2.3.12 New mail notification utility for KDE
KDE Simple Programming Tutorial 1.0.2 A tutorial for developing a KDE application.
Kdevmon 0.2.1 A little tool that displays the load of a network device.
KGateway 1.0 A frontend for gateway configuration.
KGL 0.1 OpenGL call-trace library.
Kmap 0.7.1 Nmap port-scanner frontend for QT/KDE
knapster 0.3 KDE napster client.
KNode 0.1.12 Online-newsreader for KDE
Koala Complete MUD Server 0.0.4a A complete MUD server.
KTimeMon 0.3b Yet another system usage monitor for KDE, with nifty features.
KXicq 01112000 snapshot The KDE ICQ clone
Laptop-HOWTO 2.3 How to make the best of Linux features with laptops.
lavaps 1.9 A lava lamp of currently running processes
LCD::MatrixOrbital 0.93 A Perl module for writing to Matrix Orbital LCDs.
LCDd.pm 0.02 A program to handle communication with an LCDproc v0.4 server.
ldif2pine 0.3 A program to convert an ldif address book to a pine address book.
Leafnode 1.9.9 NNTP server for small leaf sites
lftp 2.1.5 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libbase64 0.6 A C++ library for base64 encoding and decoding.
libbgrab & webcam 1.8 bttv framegrabber library + webcam application
libirc 0.3 A C-library for the IRC protocol.
libraw1394 0.4 Library providing API to access IEEE 1394 bus (FireWire, iLink)
LiCe4 4.1.9 Fully functional script for EPIC4, with excellent userlist functions.
LifeLines 3.0.3-opensource Genealogy/Family history research tool
Linux Logo 3.03 Displays an ANSI or ASCII Linux penguin, along with some sytem information
Linux Vacation 1.2.1 An automatic mail-answering program for Linux.
Linuxconf 1.17r2 Sophisticated administrative tool
logger 1.0 tcl/tk job timer and logger.
lrr 1.01 A wrapper to run logresolve on Apache logs.
lsh 0.2.1 GPL'd implementation of SSH.
lxrun 0.9.5pre2 Lxrun is a user-space program that allows users of SCO(r) OpenServer(tm), UnixWa
maildrop 0.76 maildrop mail filter/mail delivery agent
MAPis 0.1a A script that will install MySQL, Apache, and PHP.
MCDL 0.0.1 A program that catalogs audio CDs via CDDB and MySQL.
MCheck 0.0 A memory/malloc bug finder.
Melys 0.1.16 A MIDI sequencer for ALSA.
Metapixel 0.5 A photomosaic generator.
MGAG-SVGATextMode 0.01 A patch for SVGATextMode for Matrox G100/G200/G400 series.
Midi2C25 0.2.0 A MIDI file to Siemens C25 cell phone ring tone converter.
MIT Photonic-Bands 0.9.1 Software for computing photonic band structures.
mkrdns 1.5 Program to automatically generate reverse DNS zone files (PTR records)
Mmucl 1.3.1 Mud client written in Tcl
mod_pcgi2 0.4.0 An Apache module for Zope/PCGI.
mod_ssl 2.4.10-1.3.9 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Moe Music 0.3.1 Web Juke Box for mpg123 and mySQL
mol 0.9.32 Mac-on-Linux: Run the MacOS from inside Linux!
Moonlight 3D Atelier 0.9.1 A 3D modeling and rendering application
Moonshine 0.9.8 An application development environment for Linux.
Morphon XMLEditor 1.0 beta 4.1 Editor for XML files
MOSIX 0.97.0 Single-system-image Clustering Software for Linux
Mozilla M12 Webbrowser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator
Mp3Make 0.4 Automates ripping and encoding of mp3's, using cddb to name them.
mreport 0.8 Maillog Report Generation Utility
mtv A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
Multimeter 0.0.3 read measurements from digital multimeters
MultUnil 0.4 A script for Multilingual documentation support.
MusE 0.0.1 A Linux MIDI editor & sequencer.
mwForum 0.9.2 Web-based discussion forum
NAMG 0.2.2 Downloads mail from a NetAddress account and forwards it locally
nano 0.7.4 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
netfilter 0.1.16 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
NetSaint 0.0.5b2 A relatively simple active network monitor
Netscape Flash Plugin 0.4.9 A Netscape plugin to view Macromedia-Shockwave-Flash files.
NetTraf 1.1 Network traffic monitor
Network UPS Tools 0.42.1 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software.
Newsrunner 1.4 Fetches pictures from newsgroups, with a neat X-interface.
NFTP 1.61 Powerful, full-featured FTP client
nist 2.1.11 Update system time from NIST time server
note 0.3 commandline note tool
notify 1.0.3 Notify (website) visitors of changes to your site.
nRip 1.45 Frontend to CDDA rippers and MP3 encoders.
nss_pgsql 0.00 A PostgreSQL backend for the Linux Name Service Switch.
NStoPine 1.0 Converts Netscape address books into Pine address books.
NTP 4.0.98m A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
NumExp 0.2 Numeric methods implementation for Linux
OBM 0.2.4 Intranet application to help manage a company or a contact database.
Octave 2.0.15
Oedipus 0.05 Code for maintaining dmoz.org or Yahoo-like collections of Web links.
oidentd-for-netfilter 1.6.3 A patch to make oidentd compatible with netfilter.
Omnipede 0.2.1 A simple worm(6)-like game.
oops 1.2e An HTTP/FTP proxy.
Open Source Audio Library Project 0.2 C++ Audio class library
OpenCCVS 0.3.0 Open Credit Card Verification System
OpenH323 1.0alpha2 H.323 protocol stack
OpenSSH Unix Port 1.2.1pre24 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
OpenVerse Visual Chat 0.7-7 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
Opera for Linux 4.0a A lightweight X11-based Web browser.
Oregano 0.0.4 Schematic capture and circuit simulation application
OSS 3.9.3c Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
ourl 1.2 URL completion utility.
PaintLib 0.2.2 A graphic library for Qt.
pam_cucipop 1.31-7 Patch to use PAM with cucuipop
pam_pgsql 0.00 A Postgres backend for Linux PAM.
Pan 0.7.0 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
pardiff 0.9.2 A program to display diff output in a parallel (side-by-side) format.
perl-cfd 1.0.1 High-stability cfengine server daemon.
PHP 3.0.14 HTML-embedded scripting language
phpIRC 1.1 PHP IRC layer (IRC client for PHP)
phpTopsites 1.1 A Topsites script written in PHP for MySQL.
pixelize 0.9.1 Uses many scaled-down images to try to duplicate another image.
PLWM 1.0 A modularised window manager written in Python.
POP3-Checker 0.1 A POP3-email WWW-interface.
PoPToP 1.1.1 PPTP Server for Linux
PrensaLibre 1.0.0 A Web magazine automatic publication tool.
ptkfonted 0.2 Perl/Tk BDF Font Editor
PTlink ircd 3.5.3 New featured ircd with a great services integration
PTlink Services 1.7.1 IRC Registration Services
PVM Gmake 0.5 Distributed gmake
pxml 0.1 A parser for XML files that displays them according to a template file.
pydf 0.9 colourised df(1)-clone
pyFLTK / plFLTK 20000111_133528 Python and Perl wrappers for the cross-platform Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK).
Q3ServerKit 1.0 A Quake3 server administration tool.
QHacc 0.2 A personal finance application.
qpopper-mysql-basic-auth 1.0 A patch to add a decent set of MySQL capabilities to qpopper 2.53
QuickDraw 0.5 A simple drawing tool.
quotenotifier 0.13 Track single/multiple stocks and see if they go over/below a certain value.
RealTimeBattle 1.0.0 RealTimeBattle, a robot programming game for Unix
Roadrunner 0.8.6 A single-user, POSIX threads, protected-memory operating system.
rp-pppoe 1.0 A user-mode PPPoE client.
RPGD 1.0-7b A multi-user, medieval-fantasy role-playing game
RPM Explorer 0.0.4 Explore your computer through the RPM database.
rpmlint 0.8 rpm error checker.
runleveleditor 0.2 A program to help manage SysV-like init scripts.
saCASH 0.4.0 A Web-based financial package.
Saferun 0.5 Runs a program with limits applied to it.
sawmill 0.21 Extensible window manager
Schedulist 1.0 Makes HTML-table-format schedules from XML source files.
scrawlpaper R3 Perl script to randomly change your desktop image.
SDPGTK 0.1 C++ wrappers for GTK+ and XML-based user interfaces.
Seahorse 0.3.0 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
Secure FTP 0.6 FTP replacement over ssh/rsh
senv 0.2pre1 Runs a program with specified environment
silly Poker 0.11 A simple yet comprehensive console poker game.
Simpla 0.01 A concept language for child education.
SimpleFont 1.0.2 A small program similar to banner but better in some ways.
simscomputing.Enterprise Tool Kit 0.12 Tools for writing Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications.
Site Studio - Installation Fix Online template-based Web site creation tool.
Sketch 0.6.4 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
Skill Literature 0.0.2 Learn to work with shapes.
SmartLayout 1.01 Java layout manager that allows powerful, flexible user interfaces.
SMB User 0.1 A simple Samba administration script.
smtm 0.8.3 A Perl/Tk ticker for global stock markets.
Socksd 0.1 SOCKS(4|5) daemon
SpaceWatcher 1.1 Keeps an eye on free disk space and alerts you if there is a problem.
spliff 0.3 A GUI mail watcher inspired by TkRat's Watcher utility.
SplitFire 1.30 Complete IRC script for IRCII-EPIC.
Spong 2.6a Simple System/Network Monitoring
Sporum 1.5.1 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.11 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
Squid 2.3.STABLE1 High performance Web proxy cache
Squidtaild 2.1a5 Squid Ipchains monitoring program that is unique in its sort.
SquirrelMail 0.2.1 A PHP4 Web-based email reader.
Str 0.9.1 A generic string library.
swim 0.3.2 Package administration and research tool for Debian
Ted 2.7 Ted, an easy rich text processor for Linux.
Terraform 0.5.1 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
ThumbsUp! 0.90 A Web-based picture thumbnailing utility.
TimeIsMoney 0.10 An ncurses-based timesheet.
TinyLogin 0.76 A suite of tiny Unix utilities for handling passwords and logins.
TinyMAZE 2.2b An online game server.
TIP 0.7.3 Pico editor clone with enhancements
TkHeadlines 0.82 Headline grabber for about 20 sites
tkIRC-hack 0.4.2 Change the max-topic length in tkIRC.
TkSETI 1.50 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
tocmake.pl 0.1 A Perl script that creates a CDRDAO .toc file for burning audio CDs.
Toolbase 0.8.0 A system to maintain download archives.
touch_newsgroups 0.3 Prevents leafnode unsubscribing low-traffic newsgroups
ToutDoux 1.1.6 A project manager.
tpctl 0.8.1 ThinkPad configuration tools for Linux.
TrueReality 19991214 N64 Emulator
uClinux/ARM 2.0.38-alpha-1 Linux kernel for MMU-less ARM based microntrollers.
Uptime Client 4.08 Keep track of your uptime and compare it with other hosts.
vcfsync 1.0 Merges GNOME Calendar (vCalendar, .vcf) files.
VeteScan 01-12-2000 Bulk Vulnerability Scanner
VetesTCL vetes.bx 01-12-2000 Vulnerability scanners for eggdrop
ViewCVS 0.2 Tool for viewing CVS repositories using a Web browser
Virtfs 0.20 A utility to help create and configure virtual services and domains.
VMD 1.4 Visual Molecular Dynamics
Watchfile 0.9 A program that displays a list of files and their stats on a terminal.
webfs 0.9 Lightweight HTTP server for static content
Webmin 0.76 Web-based interface for system administration for Unix
weedlog 1.0.1pl1 A packet logger to help debug network connections.
WeirdX 1.0.3 A pure Java X Window System server
Wine 20000109 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wmessage 0.9 WINGs based message viewer
wmisdn 0.1 Window Maker-dockable ISDN monitor.
WMRotoZoom 0.10 A dock app that grabs the area around your cursor and draws a warped copy of it.
wmSMPmon 1.5 CPU monitoring applet SMP systems running Window Maker
wmsvencd 1.0.0pre1 A dockable CD player with local CDDB support, for Window Maker or Afterstep
wxWindows/GTK 2.1.12 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-CD-Roast 0.96ex2 A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
XawTV 3.06 TV application and a few utilities
XDBM 1.0.2 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XFree86 3.3.6 Freely redistributable implementation of the X Window System
Xmame/xmess 0.36b13.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
XML for C++ 3.0.1 An XML parser for C++ with Linux compatibility.
xnetload 1.7.2 Displays packet traffic and uptime in an X window
xplanets 0.3.3 A simple solar system simulator.
xppp-go 0.6 xppp-go is an X11-based frontend for ppp-go.
XShipWars 1.31 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
Xsteak 1.7 A dictionary for Unix Systems.
ya-wipe 1.2.0 Secure file wiper
Yacas 1.0.26 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
YConsole 2.05 A graphical console for controlling Y Sound Servers.
Yet another Mp3 Tool YAMT - 0.2 A GTK program to manage your MP3s.
YIFF Sound Server 2.05 Sound server with multi-client and network-transparent io library.
zimg 2.3.0 zimg - Display 2-D data of arbitrary format

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Workspot is definitely worth a look. By way of some Java cleverness, they make it possible to operate a complete (Debian) Linux desktop within a web browser. They are giving away accounts, making Workspot an excellent way for people who don't have a Linux system around to try it out. Response is a bit slow, and putting confidential files on the system is probably a poor idea, but it's still fun to play with. (Thanks to Tres Hofmeister).

The L4 -kernel is an experimental microkernel system which runs on Intel processors. One interesting application of this system is the Linux on L4 project, which has gotten the Linux kernel running on top of the L4 microkernel.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

January 13, 2000



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.
From: "pat eyler" <p_eyler@hotmail.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: open documentation
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 10:25:30 EST

Liz, et al.,

I appreciated your link to the Open Documentation discussion on
O'Reilly.  I think that this is an area that needs to get more
visibility.  Documentation is only going to become more important as
the Free Software community grows to include more end-users.

I think you guys missed a big opportunity though.  During the last
week, there was a column on osOpinion about the need to keep package
documentation freely available but not open.  O'Reilly has created
a link to this saying

     "Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote a convincing rebuttal to
     Richard Stallman's recent statement that
     software documentation doesn't have or
     need artistic protections."

Both Rusty and O'Reilly seem to have missed the point.  When
documentation is written for a Free Software package, and the end
lacks the ability to update it to reflect the changes that he/she
made to the software (under rights legally granted by the software
license), the community suffers from incorrect documentation.

It certainly makes sense that books (technical or artistic) can and should 
have the artist's voice protected.  That point can not be argued.  But 
documentation packaged with software really needs to provide the end-user 
the same rights to modify and redistribute that
the software itself does.


From: Greg Owen <gowen@SoftLock.com>
To: "'letters@lwn.net'" <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: Network Solutions and PGP 
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 10:42:44 -0500 

	A small modification to your "DNS Insecurity" item: According to
Network Solutions, PGP protection for DNS records is no longer an option.
In August/September 1999 one of our domains was the victim of an email
spoofing attack, and we asked about moving to PGP security and were told NSI
was phasing it out because it didn't work right.

	A survey of the new domain vendors shows that none of them are much
better on security; I haven't seen any scheme yet that can't be sniffed.
(In one case, when attempting to try using https for the web login, their
site redirected me back to http.  Thanks.)

	gowen -- Greg Owen -- gowen@SoftLock.com
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 16:54:25 -0500 (EST)
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: UCITA
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)

You write:
> If UCITA goes through, the future may well regard it as the beginning
> of the end for proprietary software. Even the most conservative CIO
> will have to think hard about the business risks involved (built-in
> shutdown features, non-transferability, etc.) with this sort of
> licensing.

UCITA poses little threat to companies big enough to afford CIOs; I
think they have the negotiating oomph to keep their suppliers from
forcing them to accept criminal licensing terms like those UCITA
legalizes.  It poses a threat mostly to individuals who buy things
governed by UCITA.

But more importantly, it poses a major threat to free software
development.  Software and hardware sold under UCITA will likely be
immune to legal reverse-engineering or decompilation, due to
aforementioned legalization of criminal licensing terms.

Of course, it can only pose such a threat in locations where UCITA or
something similar is enacted.  My fear is that, if much of the USA
enacts it, other countries will be under pressure to follow suit.

This is one step closer to the dystopian world described in "The Right
To Read":


Let's not let that world happen.

<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
The Internet stock bubble didn't burst on 1999-11-08.  Hurrah!
The power didn't go out on 2000-01-01 either.  :)

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 13:22:20 GMT
To: letters@lwn.net
From: dps@io.stargate.co.uk
Subject: Shrin-wrap licences in the EU

You might like to know that under UK law, accoridng to various
genuine lawyers, all the "by openning this envelope oyu
agree to the licence" stuff is illegal and therefore void. I suspect
the sales of goods and services act (and similar legislation elsewhere)
makes many of the disclamimers illegal as well. The EU gives me an
inalienable right to reverse-engineer for any purpose other than cloning
a product, which would make a successful procession for this hard work
(can you *prove* I was intending to cloen your product?).

It would be interesting to know how much of these contracts is actually
valid under various different juristictions. The UCITA is something
that is unlikely to apply anyware outside the US (and would contravene
EU law even if anyone was sufficiently bribed to propose it).

Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 10:56:59 -0500
From: Andrew Pimlott <andrew@pimlott.ne.mediaone.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: How free software licences differ

You article on "The DVD case as a test of shrink-wrap licensing" poses
the issue,

    It will be interesting to consider how free software licenses differ
    legally - if at all - from the commercial shrink-wrap variety.

The difference is simple.  Under copyright law, you are granted a set of
rights with respect to any piece of copyrighted material you receive.
Commercial shrink-wrap licenses attempt to restrict you to fewer rights,
while free software licenses grant you (strictly) more rights.  That is
why the GNU General Public License may openly state,

    You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
    signed it.

If you don't accept the license, you may keep and use the material, you
just get fewer rigths (the default set).

Commercial software vendors, on the other hand, resort to tricking
people into "accepting" their licenses.  Stopping this would be an
unmitigated blessing to free software.

Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 10:32:01 +0800
From: Leon Brooks <leon@brooks.smileys.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Y2.038k solution

LWN> That 32-bit
LWN> Pentium doorstop in the corner of the machine room may still be
LWN> doing something important when the rollover happens.

Speaking as one who uses a Cyrix 486SLC40 as an Internet gateway, I
don't think we have a serious problem here.

The oldest piece of hardware in my gateway was made in 1993, 16 or 17
years ago. This machine would be ancient by most standards now, and the
power supply running it is the sole survivor from an original collection
of four. Except for the fact that it's hanging in midair, so shape
doesn't matter, I'd be in trouble trying to buy a similar power supply
today. If it had used a CPU fan, I could almost guarantee that two or
three of them would have filled up with dust and died since manufacture.
In point of fact, I added a fan to it (even though it runs cooler under
Linux than it ever did under Windows) and had to hacksaw down an
existing heatsink to fit. It takes 30-pin SIMMs, which can only be had
for love, since money is insufficient.

The point I'm working towards is that over more than double the lifespan
of this machine, there are going to be vanishingly few survivors,
especially since newer machines (like newer cars) are being made with
tinfoil-like flimsiness. The only working 486es will be curiosities in
museums, sharing space with Eniac, and likely also today's mightiest
Athlon will rest alongside.

Forty years ago, in 1960, the very first useful integrated circuits
(LM309 5-volt regulators, for example), were on the horizon, valve
computers were in active use, and many computers were built out of
individual transistors. Computers of 40 years hence (presuming we're
still here) will use molecules or better; the idea of a mere silicon
chip in your computer, with a clock cycle of millions of femtoseconds
and a buss-width that fits into just two digits, will sound even sillier
than building a new machine out of valves would sound today.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee. When in trouble,
when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. The two great secrets
of success are: don't tell anyone everything that you know.
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 05:06:49 -0600 (CST)
From: Dave Finton <surazal@nerp.net>
To: Stephen Forte <stevef@auroradev.com>
Subject: RE: Comment on your white paper

I hope that the response wasn't too zealotous (is that a real word?)... I
was rushed in posting it and was away from my e-mail for a few days so I
couldn't respond right away.

In re-reading my response to your paper I realized that while my response
was technically accurate I failed to take into account that your
experiences might have differed to mine as far as Linux in the workplace
goes.  There are a lot of places moving towards Linux (my school and a few
businesses in the area), but there are probably a few moving towards
NT.  However, the point I wanted to stress the most is that most
businesses are moving towards *both*.  Thanks in part to software for
Linux (Samba, WINE, etc.), Linux makes an excellent compliment to an
Windows shop due to its cheap price and ability to run on cheap
hardware.  Linux also is excellent by itself (I have been using Linux as
my personal environment exclusively for 3 years now), but in the real
world out there most networks exist in heterogenous envoronment.  Linux
has found its home in those environments for a variety of purposes.

My response regarding desktop Linux is true, however.  This is due to
recent business developments (Red Hat and VA Linux IPO's) increasing
mindshare in the general populace.  I was afraid that Linux wasn't really
ready for people used to Windows but what some people are telling me
indicates that experiences regarding Linux have been generally
positive.  Last year I had a friend of mine try out Linux with the K
Desktop Environment and he was hooked.  This guy is a business
major.  I've also talked to business professors who've expressed
enthusiasm for Linux (one of them installed Red Hat on his machine and
said he was impressed by its stability and some of its features).  In the
past few months quite a few Linux converts have popped up out of the
wordwork in increasing numbers.  I remember a time when I had to walk a
few of my friends through Linux installations; this is no longer the
case.  Granted, there's still some milage to cover, but the past year or
so has been astounding as far as ease-of-use goes... I can't wait to see
what the next year will bring.

Often, too many pundits think of "archane command line" when they think of
Linux.  Nobody ever brings up the modern desktop environments that have
cropped up in the past few years.  In fact Linux (and other Unix
environments) have managed to accomplish in the past 3 years what took
Microsoft nearly a decade.  The reason why it took so long for Unix to
start catching up in the first place was that Unix systems were very
expensive (and therefore not suitably priced for desktop usage).  Linux
(and the BSD variants of Unix) have changed that tremendously.

NT (and W2K) are here to stay.  But Linux isn't going to go away anytime
soon.  Sure, the hype will fade just as it did for the internet, but that
won't stop it.  If anything, it will mean the further entrenchment of an
excellent operating environment whose time really has come.

                          - Dave Finton

| If an infinite number of monkeys typed randomly at    |
|   an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite   |
|   amount of time, they would eventually type out      |
|   this sentencdfjg sd84wUUlksaWQE~kd ::.              |
| ----------------------------------------------------- |
|      Name:      Dave Finton                           |
|      E-mail:    surazal@nerp.net                      |
|      Web Page:  http://surazal.nerp.net/              |

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