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Leading items and editorials

Fun with trademarks. It all started when a domain name scalper (er - "reseller") announced that it was putting on sale a "huge and rare portfolio of Linux domain names." The folks at SeriousDomains probably figured that their fortunes were made; after all, who could resist the opportunity to spend big bucks and buy "LinuxOnSteriods.com" or "ScreaminLinux.com"? Truly such an opportunity comes but once in a lifetime.

Alas, it was not to be. A few days later, visitors to the SeriousDomains site were greeted with this sad message:

The auction for the pick of 250 corporate consulting type Linux® domain names has been discontinued at the request of attorneys for Linus Torvalds, trademark owner of Linux®. Our understanding of their position is that we cannot have an outright auction of domain names that contain the word Linux, and that those legitimate Linux consultancies or programming shops that are interested in any of our domain names that incorporate Linux® must approach Mr. Torvalds et al to make sure that the domain name is worthy to be granted a license, with a customary "nominal fee."
For those who are truly disappointed, the site still offers "OpenSourceProgramming.com" for sale. Since the "Open Source" trademark application was denied, they will probably get away with that one.

Few people are overly concerned about the damage to SeriousDomains' business plan. But there is an important issue here. The ownership of the Linux trademark has just been used to stop a business from making use of the name. The world is full of businesses wanting to use "Linux" in one context or another. Need they fear being shut down by Linus and his roving squad of ruthless trademark lawyers? That could poke a big hole in those IPO plans.

Linus Torvalds attempted to answer some of these concerns with this posting to the linux-kernel list. It's worth a read. The essential summary is that Linus will not attempt to shut down a use of the term "Linux" if its use is somehow Linux related. "George's Linux consulting and auto body shop" is not problematic - assuming that George really does Linux consulting. Trying to grab "LeapinLinux.com" as a domain name play is another story.

It is worth remembering that trademarks must be defended to remain in force. So it should not be surprising when this sort of action happens again in the future. Linus is almost as free with his trademark as he is with his software. He deserves support when he asks for a halt in use of it that he believes is inappropriate.

Linuxcare has filed for its initial public offering of stock. As always, the S-1 filing is a wealth of information on how the company works and what it is trying to do. For those who do not wish to plow through that document themselves, LWN has posted its summary as a feature article. Have a look to see what Linuxcare is up to, how much money it makes, who owns it, and so on. As a pure services company, Linuxcare comes across differently - and with a weaker revenue picture - than the other IPO filings we have seen recently.

The Gartner Group on Linux positioning. Here is the Gartner Group's latest proclamation on Linux. Gartner has traditionally been quite hostile to Linux; it is interesting that they are starting to get a little bit more supportive now. Here's some of Gartner's predictions:

  • For the next four years, 90% of all Linux server deployments will be on the IA-32 architecture. They do not expect to see Linux take off on the Itanium ("IA-64", "Merced") processor.

  • Linux is seen mostly as an OS for the bottom end of the server range. Gartner expects proprietary Unix systems to hold out in the more expensive applications.

  • Proprietary Unix will die on the 32-bit Intel architecture. That includes SCO and Solaris x86.

  • "Linux will not displace Unix wholesale from the high-end market in the next three to five years because: Unix is well-entrenched legacy technology, Linux is not easily portable to RISC architectures and would represent the same kind of fragmentation that Unix has, Linux would complicate existing OS heterogeneity problems, and Linux currently lacks a fast-track process to achieve mission-critical enhancements equivalent to those offered by Unix vendors."

    This claim looks almost entirely indefensible. Linux has been nicely ported to RISC architectures (Sparc, Alpha), has not fragmented in the process, and has been known for "fast-track" enhancements.

Gartner's bottom line is: "Enterprises should accept Linux as a low-to-midrange Unix substitute with a feature/function set similar enough to Unix's to warrant its widespread deployment, but only once vendors have integrated Linux seamlessly into their hardware and OS strategies." Reliability is briefly mentioned, but Gartner otherwise still sees no advantages to Linux beyond pricing. Still, this is probably the most positive Linux piece ever to come out of that organization.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: NSA code will be GPL'd.
  • Kernel: FireWire, cryptographic code, and 32-bit PIDs
  • Distributions: Enoch == Gentoo, Debian freezes.
  • Development: Sun-Netscape release source code to Mozilla.org.
  • Commerce: Transmeta comes out; Corel's latest announcements; Caldera's directed share program
  • 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 20, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

NSA Linux?. Here's a press release from Secure Computing Corporation stating that it has been awarded a contract from the National Security Agency to develop "a robust and secure Linux platform." Many people speculated that the results would not be openly released, given the nature of the NSA. However, this post from Mike Beede at Secure Computing indicates that the results will be released under the GPL.

More details are promised in the near future. Mike closed with the comment, "Having a secure operating system available to the community will also benefit us, by giving us a non-proprietary platform for our security products."

Linux vs Microsoft: Who solves security problems faster?. Security Portal has taken a look at response times to bug fixes, in an effort to determine whether the response time for open source software is truly shorter. The results: "Red Hat had the best score, with 348 recess days on 31 advisories, for an average of 11.23 days from bug to patch. Microsoft had 982 recess days on 61 advisories, averaging 16.10 days from bug to patch. Sun proved itself to be very slow, although having only 8 advisories it accumulated 716 recess days, a whopping three months to fix each bug on average."

The results turned out well enough, this time, but given that patches for most open source security problems come out almost simultaneous to initial announcements, or within only a few days, it is unfortunate that an average of 11 days occurred before Red Hat updates followed. If the same tests were done on all Linux distributors, some might fare slightly better, but most would fare worse. The time is coming where more attention needs to be paid to getting security updates out in a timely manner for all Linux distributions.

Responses flow in to new cryptographic rules. For good news, check out the Cracking DES book from the EFF, which has been put back online. A lot of press articles took a look at the issue as well:

  • Wired News looks at the posting of the PGP source by John Young. "Young's seemingly innocuous act might violate new US government regulations that restrict placing privacy-protecting crypto programs on the Web. Therein lies the uncertainty. The rules are much less onerous than the previous version, but they still apply. And they're so labyrinthine and convoluted that even lawyers who specialize in the area declined to guess whether or not Young has run afoul of President Clinton's executive order and Commerce Department regulations."

  • Canoe News looks at opposition to the new rules within the administration. "The new rules, disclosed Wednesday, had encountered strong opposition inside the administration. Top law enforcement and defence officials argued that relaxing the export requirements would allow criminals and terrorists to more easily transmit scrambled electronic messages the government could not decipher."

  • Countering the concerns mentioned above, the The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) still say the new regulations don't go far enough. " The new regulations, like the old ones, impose special requirements on Internet speech, contrary to the Supreme Court's 1997 ruling in Reno v. ACLU. The regulations require that the government be notified of any electronic "export" of publicly available encryption source code, and prohibit electronic "export" to certain countries. Yet people may freely send the same information anywhere on paper."

  • Reuters. "The new rules, which take effect after being published in the Federal Register on Friday, fulfill a White House promise from September to dramatically relax the previously restrictive encryption export rules."

No privacy protection for e-mail or chat sessions. This New York Times article describes the decision in a recent case in Washington state, where the judge chose to allow as evidence e-mail and recordings of chat sessions. "After all, the judge said, Townsend chose to 'communicate via e-mail and/or ICQ . . . with the knowledge that the computer itself is a transmission and recording device.'" Others believe the judge has taken a first step down a slippery slope.

Security Reports

MySQL. In last week's Security Page, we mentioned a security problem in MySQL. MySQL version 3.22.30 has been released and contains a fix for this problem. An upgrade is highly recommended.

Yams 0.5.7 - Security Fix Release. Yams 0.5.7 has been released. It fixes a problem where the customer id was being stored as a hidden field in some of the order pages. It would have been possible for users to modify this id.

sendmail concerns. Back in December, Michal Zalewski posted a list of procmail/sendmail bugs, at least one of which included a concern about a security issue with sendmail. Gregory Neil Shapiro posted an official reply this week. "We have run through the possible scenarios we could find and do not believe this to a threat."


lpr/lprold: problems with potential IP spoofing and the ability to specify an alternate configuration file.


Bruce Schneier's CRYPTO-GRAM. The January 15th edition of CRYPTO-GRAM describes "publicity attacks". "I call this kind of thing a publicity attack. It's a blatant attempt by nCipher to get some free publicity for the hardware encryption accelerators, and to scare e-commerce vendors into purchasing them. And people fall for this, again and again." It also contains Bruce's comments on the new cryptography regulations and a great deal of fun links.

ssh-proxy. Magosanyi Arpad has released the code to a partially-developed ssh-proxy. "A serious programmer does not give out such a code. I wouldn't either, but I have to abort this project of mine here and I hope someone will find it interesting enough to keep on."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 20, 2000

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

Kernel development

The current development kernel release remains 2.3.39. The 2.3.40 pre-patch is at its sixth revision, so a new official release is likely before too long. The prepatch contains a number of documentation tweaks, many architecture-specific small changes, drivers for the amd7409 and cmd64x IDE chipsets, continuing block driver changes, PCMCIA work, PCI work, the addition of USB serial port support, and other USB work.

Perhaps the biggest change in this prepatch, however, is the addition of IEEE 1394 ("firewire") support. The new driver is marked "experimental," of course, and may remain that way when 2.4 comes out. But, it is no longer true that Linux does not support firewire. More information on Linux IEEE 1394 development can be found on the project web page.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.14. The prepatch series for 2.2.15 continues; it is currently up to 2.2.15pre3.

The 2.4 kernel appears to be getting more distant. In theory kernel development is in a feature freeze, and Linus had said back in December that he wanted to get the pre-2.4 series going before the end of the year. 2.4.0 was supposed to happen in the first quarter of 2000.

Since then much has happened. The block (disk) device layer has been strongly reworked, to the point that the driver API has changed and both Alan Cox and Linus have said that the expanding scope of the work is making them nervous. The PCMCIA code has been thrashed, Linus and PCMCIA developer David Hinds are getting grumpy with each other, and a lot of things never have worked in that subsystem.

All of the work that is being done makes sense - but it is very late in the development cycle to be making fundamental changes. By the time all of the changes are completed and properly tested, it will be too late for a "Q1 2000" release. That particular time frame does not matter a whole lot, but this kernel does need to go out at some point.

Cryptographic code in the kernel is coming - maybe. The advantages of including code for secure authentication and communications in the kernel have been known for years - but regulation of such code in several countries has blocked its inclusion. Now that the U.S. has evidently decriminalized the export of open source crypto code, the last roadblock appears to have been removed. People are starting to talk about what to put in.

In particular, H. Peter Anvin is currently in the process of getting legal advice on the matter. If the lawyers say he can get away with it, the kernel.org site (and its mirror system) will begin to carry cryptographic code. Kernel.org, of course, is the home of the official kernel; once this site can carry cryptographic code, Linus seems inclined to start including it.

The issue is not entirely resolved, however. Of particular concern is that the new U.S. law allows the export of open-source crypto source, but not binaries. As a result, the Linux distributions (which are the source of almost everybody's kernels) are still in a bit of a bind. One obvious solution would be to package up the crypto code in source form, then compile it as part of the installation process. Such silliness is not that hard to arrange, but the real point is that traps still abound. A more secure Linux (and Internet) may now be possible, but it will have to be approached with care.

Now that we have 32-bit user ID values, how about 32-bit process ID's as well? Unix systems have limited PID values to 15 bits for a long time, but there is nothing magic about that size. Larger PIDs would allow for some nice things, starting with the ability to have a great many processes active on a single system. There is also a (very small) security advantage in having a large PID space, and thus avoiding the reuse of PID values. Finally, people working with clusters have wanted for a while to be able to make PIDs unique across an entire cluster; this could be accomplished by reserving part of the PID space for a host number.

Given the advantages of larger PIDs, why not go ahead and increase the size of the PID field while the user ID field is being changed? Interestingly, it has already been done. According to Linus, the size of a PID has not only been 32 bits since Linux 0.01, but Linux for some time actually used all of those bits as well. It was a bug in bash that caused Linus to drop back to only using 15 bits, but it has always been stored in a 32-bit space.

Thus, Linux could switch over to 32-bit PIDs tomorrow with very little pain. There's just a few things to be worked out. One is that SYSV IPC uses 16-bit PID values for a user-visible structure. Glibc as a whole uses 32-bit values, but the IPC interface would have to change in a way that would break existing programs (this change appears to already be in the works, at least at the kernel level). Then there is the issue of /proc, which could turn into a very large, crowded directory with that many PIDs active. And, finally, nobody has yet worked out how the wider space should really be used. Should the new bits just become more bits in the PID, or should some of them be set aside for some sort of host ID?

Until these questions are worked out, Linus plans to leave PID values as they are: 15-bit quantities in a 32-bit space.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Version 2.0 of the Netware file system has been announced by the Timpanogas Group. It is currently only available in binary form. Source is evidently forthcoming, but has been delayed due to some weirdness that is best read directly from the announcement.

  • Jeremy Fitzhardinge announced a rework of the autofs automounter to support "tree mounts."

  • Modutils 2.3.9 was announced by Keith Owens.

  • Lennert Buytenhek has made available a complete rewrite of the ethernet bridging code.

  • Mike Sullivan posted an IBM PCI token ring Lanstreamer driver.

  • Mikhail Moreyra has posted a driver for Cirrus Logic CL-MD5620DT modems.

  • Randy Dunlap posted a priority list for USB development up to the 2.4 kernel. There is a lot to do still...

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

January 20, 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.

Gentoo Linux (formerly Enoch). Enoch Linux, a distribution that we've mentioned a couple of times in the past two years, has changed its name to "Gentoo Linux" and moved to a new location: http://proteinpak.com. (Thanks to F.Odenkirchen.)

Loop Linux 4. A minor update to this small Linux distribution has been announced. Loop Linux can be installed and run from a Dos/Win95/98 system.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian 2.2 code freeze. The code freeze in preparation for the release of Debian 2.2 has been officially announced. It is expected to be about two months between the freeze and the release of Debian 2.2. A new "unstable" tree has also been started, code name "woody", to contain new software that won't make it into Debian 2.2. "Debian releases are code-named after characters from the movie Toy Story. Woody is the main character, the cowboy action figure."

Bugfix procedures. Richard Braakman outlined the procedures for getting bugfixes into the source code now that the freeze is in place.

Debian Leader Elections. Now that the holidays are over, nominations are being taken for the position of Debian Leader. Note, you can only nominate yourself and are duly warned that it is a "thankless position".

Release-critical Bugreport. It appears that 199 release-critical bugs remain, according to the latest Bug Report.

Debian Weekly News. This week's Debian Weekly News should be available by the time this edition goes to press, or shortly afterwards.

Easy Linux

easyLinux translation project. The easyLinux translation project is looking for volunteers.


Linux-Mandrake 7.0 released. Linux-Mandrake 7.0 has been announced. This looks like a very nice release of this distribution.

Some of its new features: DrakConf, a new desktop configuration panel for easily configuring hardware devices such as video cards, keyboard, mouse (including USB keyboards and mice), support for over 50 languages, preconfigured security levels and MandrakeUpdate, a tool for automatically applying updates.

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat 6.1 for Alpha shipping. Red Hat has announced that the Alpha (processor) version of its 6.1 distribution is now shipping.


ShareTheNet 2.1 is now available. For those who don't remember this distribution, it is aimed primarily at Windows users, to provide a reasonably secure gateway system without requiring any knowledge of Linux. The new version also supports web, ftp, and mail services and an improved administrative interface.

SuSE Linux

SuSE Linux - a vendor gets security conscious (Security Portal). SecurityPortal ran this article about SuSE's security features. "SuSE also has an advantage over American Linux vendors; in the US the export of strong crypto is heavily restricted (i.e. a Linux vendor would be out of luck currently), and the RSA algorithm is patented, making use of it difficult. SuSE is based in Germany, which is an increasingly crypto friendly country..."

SuSE: Alpha version now available for download. The Alpha version (processor) of SuSE 6.3 is now available for download.

XFree86 3.3.6 is now available for SuSE.

Stale Distribution Links

The following distribution links no longer appear to point to valid pages and will be removed from our distribution list, unless someone can provide us with updated links or information on the distribution.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 20, 2000

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

Caldera OpenLinux
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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

Software Carpentry design competition. The Software Carpentry Project has announced its software design competition. They are looking to bring about the creation of a set of software tools (replacements for make, autoconf, and bugzilla, and a regression testing system), and have a substantial chunk of money to help that cause along. Details in the announcement.

Yes, this is the same project we mentioned earlier this week; this time they have their new web site in place and are truly ready. "All of the project's work will be Open Source; all tools will be written in, or scriptable with, Python, and will be required to run on both Linux and Microsoft Windows NT."

SourceForge code released. SourceForge has released the code for its operation. The code is available under the GPL.

Ganymede 0.99.9 released. Version 0.99.9 of the Ganymede network directory system has been released.


Seul-EDU Linux in Education report. Here is the latest "Linux in Education" report from the Seul-EDU project.

Linux Knowledge Base Weekly News. This week's Linux Knowledge Base Newsmentions that the project will be heading to LinuxWorld in February, courtesy of Mandrake.

Request-for-Comment: an OpenSource style Image Database for Education. Mark Dalton sent us a copy of his RFC for the creation of an image database for education along the lines of Matthias Warkus' project for Gnome Icons.


Open Game Source looks at Freeciv. Open Game Source takes a look at Freeciv, "a turn based strategy game designed after the Civilization games", in this new article. "The current stable version is playable and includes 'an AI which gives most people a run for their money.'"


The Gimp Kernel-Cousin. Issue #9 of the Gimp Kernel-Cousin was released on January 14th. It covers the announcement of a new gimp plug-in, though the discussion quickly diverted to talking about how to prove the date your work is created, in case of "prior art" or patent issues.

On the Desktop

This week's GNOME summary. Here's this week's GNOME summary, by Havoc Pennington. Among other things, this issue inaugurates a new "project of the week" feature. A "project of the week" (or POW) is a project small enough to be done in a week or less and is chosen because "it would be cool to have someone working on". A small Sawmill project and a Gnome System Administrator Guide (or at least the beginning of one) are listed as the first two projects.

Using KDE in Japanese. Takumi Asaki posted a list of tips for people wanting to use KDE2-current with Japanese.

KDE news from mosfet.org. Items covered over at mosfet.org this past week include a reference to Linux.com's look at KDE, the release of the PerlQt version 2.100 perl bindings and progress moving towards Unicode support.

Web Browsers

Mozilla M13 tree is closed. Mozillazine reports that the M13 tree has been closed, priming expectations for an M13 build and release.

Jazilla release 2. The second "stable" release of Jazilla, the 100% pure Java web browser, has been announced.

Key developer leaves Mozilla (ZDNet). ZDNet UK covers the departure of Mozilla hacker Mike Shaver. "Shaver is quick to quash any speculation that his leaving Netscape/AOL has anything to do with the company's recent mega-merger with Time Warner and its transformation into an all-powerful corporate media titan."

More information on Mike's departure can also be found on Mozillazine.

Public Key Infrastructure released to Mozilla.org. PKI Library source code associated with Netscape Security Services (NSS) and Personal Security Manager (PSM) has been contributed to Mozilla.org by the Sun-Netscape Alliance. For more information, check out the Mozillazine coverage, which includes links to the original press release, plus additional updates.

Linux Web Browsers. WebReview has taken a look at some Linux web browsers, including Netscape, Moilla, Opera, Amaya and Lynx. "Once Opera and Mozilla reach production level, I suspect Netscape will be left for either (or both) of these browsers. Mozilla is looking particularly exciting, although it has a foot-print that may be simply too large for some users." (Thanks to Robert Taylor).

Web Development

Midgard Weekly Summary. This week's Midgard Weekly Summary covers the release plans for version 1.2.26 of this web application development platform, as well as other news items.


Wine Weekly News. The Wine Weekly News for January 17th speaks of continuing problems on the Wine servers, more Odin license news and read-only PCI board support.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 20, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


Jim Blandy has stepped down as guile maintainer and will now be focusing on gdb while working for Cygnus. Maciej Stachowiak has stepped in as the new maintainer.


Java, threads, and scheduling in Linux. Ray Bryant and Bill Hartner have put out a white paper (and patches) discussing how to patch the Linux kernel scheduler for better Java performance. "While the VolanoMark benchmark studied here is an example of a specific workload that places high demands on the scheduler of the underlying operating system kernel, we believe that the effects described here can be present to some extent in other important workloads as well. We look forward to working with the members of Linux community to design, develop, and measure prototypes of Linux code to support the changes described above".

Tritonus: the Linux JavaSound implementation. Peter Pilgrim dropped us a note mentioning that he is working on the beta version of Tritonus with Matthias Pfisterer, porting Tritonus to the JDK 1.1.7. Good progress is being made: "At home I got Tritonus to work and play wave files with Enlightment Sound Daemon and Blackdown 's JDK 1.1.7 v1a release." For others that would like to play as well, Tritonus 0.1.82 is now available.


PerlMonth: Bonus Article. PerlMonth has added a bonus article this month, "Installing Modules into ActivePerl", by Jenda Krynicky. "When you install ActivePerl you get a lot of modules. But sooner or later you'll find out you need some more."


PHP DevCon Meeting. The PHP Core Development team is meetingfor the first time from January 20 to January 24, in Tel Aviv at the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel. The focus of the meeting will be to organize the team effort for developing and generating interest in the popular PHP scripting language.


This week's Python-URL. Here is this week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL, written by Fredrik Lundh.


This week's Tcl-URL. Here is this week's Dr. Dobbs' Tcl-URL!. It mentions the second beta release for Tcl 8.3, a new version of Snack (support for file-based and stream audio) and the the first Silicon Valley Tcl Users Group meeting.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Transmeta comes out. As planned, Transmeta broke its long silence this week, and told the world what it has been up to. Details can be found in Transmeta's press release. In summary, Transmeta's product line consists of two processor chips:
  • The TM3120 costs less than $100, and is available immediately. It is intended for mobile Linux systems.

  • The TM5400 will be available mid-year, and is aimed at more traditional laptop systems.
One of the nicer features of both chips is their low power consumption - one watt when operating at full power.

Transmeta sees a future where small, mobile computers take over. A lot of these will run Linux; evidently at least part of Linus Torvalds' job there has been to put together a special version of the system that will run well on the new chips. More details about this version of the system - and the products (which are said to be already in the pipeline) that will make use of it.

Caldera directed share program. In last week's LWN we stated that we were unable to get an answer from Caldera on whether they were doing a community stock offering as part of their IPO. A sharp-eyed reader has pointed out to us that the information we needed is in the S-1 filing; we had simply missed it. "Up to" 10% of the shared will be reserved for the "directed share program." Of those shares, about half will go to Caldera directors, employees, etc. The other half will be offered to "... open source software developers and other persons that we believe have contributed to the success of the open source software community and to the growth of Caldera Systems."

The offering will be handled through Wit Capital, and it appears that opening an account there will be necessary.

Lineo's Embeddix in hotel set-top boxes. Lineo has announced an agreement with Elitegroup Computing and Bast to build a line of set-top boxes using Embeddix (Lineo's embedded version of OpenLinux). The boxes are aimed at hotel and apartment building use.

TurboLinux Completes $57 Million Funding Round. TurboLinux announced it has closed $57 million in a second round of funding, which included a significant investment by Dell, Compaq, Intel and others.

Danish government to use Linux? Here is an article (in Danish) in the Danish newspaper Politiken. Therein, a politician from the Socialist People's Party is quoted as saying: "We want to secure a European knowledge- and network society based on open technology, which will create a more fruitful milieu for technological development, including the possibility that the many smaller Danish and European software companies will be able to develop products for the Linux operating system, without constantly having to fight against Microsoft and their lawyers." The Socialist People's Party is not currently in the governing coalition, but is the fourth biggest party overall and evidently is relatively influential. (Thanks to Anders S. Buch for pointer and translation).

Linux portals on the move. Just in case there weren't enough Linux portal sites out there...M & A West has announced its "Links2Linux" site, which will be launched during LinuxWorld.

Meanwhile, the Global Reaction Network has announced the acquisition of the LinuxFool.com portal site.

NVIDIA, SGI and VA Linux announce OpenGL initiative NVIDIA, SGI and VA Linux have announced a joint initiative to produce "the industry's first professional-level OpenGL(R) graphics sub-system for workstations running Linux."

Corel is looking for beta testers for CorelDraw. Details can be found on Corel's beta program page. A lot of people are looking forward to the availability of this particular utility; it is still Corel's flagship product, in some ways. Corel expects to get a lot of beta applications.

Corel also published its fourth quarter numbers. Here's the press release from Corel with the results. Contrary to last month's predictions, Corel actually shows a profit - by virtue of a one-time tax accounting move. Also: "Corel enjoyed strong inaugural sales of the new Corel(r) LINUX(r) OS, totaling $3.2 million for the quarter." $3.2 million is not a bad start, considering that the distribution hit the market at the end of November.

And to finish with Corel: Corel continues to buy into Linux firms. This time it has announced the acquisition of a minority stake in OE/ONE.com, a maker of Linux-based "internet appliance" systems

Linux on Royal DaVinci PDAs? PDA Buzz is carrying a brief story saying that Royal is developing a version of its DaVinci organizer that runs Linux; it should hit the shelves by summertime. (Thanks to Gordy Perkins).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • GUI Works announced the release of E-Grail 2.0, a commercial Open Source software application for Web site content management.

  • Linux ONA announced a new version of 'Get Acquainted with Linux Security and Optimization System'

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • Compaq Computer Corporation announced a line of "ActiveAnswers" server products that feature Lotus Domino running on Linux.

  • Cyber Digital, Inc. unveiled a "vast array" of Linux based Internet Products that it has developed and that are being deployed in Boston area.

  • Cybernet Systems Corporation announced a way to turn any PC into an Internet appliance with the NetMAX 2.2 update, a series of Linux-based thin servers supporting Linux Kernel 2.2.13.

  • Dialtone Internet announced that it is offering dedicated cluster hosting services for those needing high performance and availability.

  • eOn Communications Corporation announced two new products in its family of Linux-based communications servers. The eQueue 4000 contact center communications server, and the eNterprise 2000, a private communications exchange (PCX) platform.

  • Hummingbird Communications Ltd. announced the immediate availability of the Hummingbird Enterprise Information Portal.

  • Integrated Business Systems & Services, Inc. announced it has certified Synapse Manufacturing and Synapse EAI+ for Linux.

  • ISG International Software Group, Ltd. announced that ISG Navigator, ISG's comprehensive Enterprise Information Infrastructure (EII) solution, will be available for Linux systems this quarter.

  • JNI Corporation announced the debut of its software driver for Red Hat Linux running on JNI's Emerald-based FibreStar PCI bus HBA cards.

  • KRFTech announced the availability of its WinDriver product for Linux. WinDriver claims to allow the development of cross-platform device drivers that run in user space.

  • Linux Press announced a new line of "How to install Linux" books, starting with "How to Install Linux for Red Hat Linux".

  • Metatec Internet Products Group announced Web Transporter 3.0, the newest release of the company's Web-based software and document distribution system designed for Extranet business operations.

  • SAP announced that its R/3 ERP product is not only available for Linux, but has already been shipped to over 100 customers.

  • SCO announced that it will introduce a portfolio of server products for the Linux market at LinuxWorld Expo.

  • Secure Computing Corporation announced the availability of its "SafeWord" secure authentication system for Linux.

  • Soberbia.com launched its new web site. The new Soberbia.com website provides original T-shirts for geeks. The T-shirts themes are not just about mainstream subjects but everything that is considered relevant to the geeks world.

  • The Sun-Netscape Alliance announced iPlanet Web Server, Enterprise Edition 4.1 and the new FastTrack Edition 4.1 software, both of which now include support for the Linux operating system and the latest Java technologies.

  • TeamWARE announced its latest product offering, TeamWARE 5.3 for Linux, which will be available in the first quarter of Year 2000.

  • Ten Bits LLC announced the immediate availability of it's famous line of tuxed(0) t-shirts (the only t-shirt with a man page).

  • Wizard Software announced the release of a light version of its clustering software, Watchdog in Linux version.

  • Young Minds announced Linux support for its CD-R and DVD-R product line.

    Products Using Linux:

  • Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc. announced that customers will be able to purchase tape drives, optimized for Linux users, from Hewlett-Packard Company through EST's Web site.

  • Hall-Mark Global Solutions announced it will distribute two new bundles: Red Hat Linux Developers Platform and the Red Hat Apache Web Server with Compaq's industry standard server, Proliant, as well as the Compaq Alpha DS10 and DS20(e).

  • USA Video Interactive, Eagle Wireless, and Urbana.ca are working on a Linux-Wavelet set-top box which should be announced by the Spring of 2000.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • Anyware Technology announced EverLink Suite 2.0, a software solution designed to safeguard network travel of corporate data and information.

  • Citrix Systems, Inc. unveiled its plan to provide enterprise and application service provider users access to UNIX and Java-based applications, from a single application portal.

  • DataDirect Networks Inc. announced the release of their SAN DataDirector to selected beta sites worldwide.

  • DataViews Corporation announced that its high-end HMI software tool, DataViews, now supports Linux.

  • Hughes Software Systems Ltd. and Comuniq, Inc. announced an intent to collaborate to deliver HSS's ProtoQuick SS7 and VoIP suite of software solutions on Comuniq's family of Streaming Media Application Server (SMAS) products.

  • Infonet Services Corp. announced that its Messenger Server, part of the Messenger WorkPlace family of productivity solutions, now runs on the Linux operating system.

  • Iwill USA Corp. announced the arrival of the DU3160, the dual-channel Ultra 160 SCSI adapter.

  • Knox Software announced that Arkeia 4.2 has earned IBM Netfinity ServerProven Solution validation.

  • LSI Logic Corporation announced low-profile PCI ULTRA2 SCSI and PCI ULTRA160 host adapter boards.

  • MyFreeDesk.com announced the beta launch of a free office suite of personal computer applications that can be accessed over the Internet from any location in the world.

  • NEC Computers Inc. announced the Express5800/120Ld and Express5800/120Mc2, two new Intel-based, dual-processor servers. They are Red Hat certified.

  • NetServerDirect announced the "Maximum RAID" server. Choice of preinstalled operating system includes Red Hat Linux.

  • Network Associates, Inc. announced the McAfee VirusScan 4.5 product.

  • Rational Software announced that it will work with Intel to port its e-development solution to Linux64 (Trillian), and other members of the IA-64 family of processors.

  • Robocom Systems International announced the immediate availability of its flagship RIMS product on Red Hat Linux.

  • RPK Security, Inc. announced RPK SecureMedia V2.0 for the RealNetworks RealSystem G2 media delivery system.

  • Secure Computing Corporation announced a technology alliance that will provide next-generation Sidewinder and SafeWord security products optimized for the upcoming Intel Itanium processor.

  • SSH Communications Security announced the SSH IPSEC Appliance Toolkit, an Internet security toolkit geared for the Internet appliance market.

  • Tripwire, Inc. announced the availability of Tripwire 2.2.1, a File Integrity Assessment software tool.

  • VeriSign, Inc. announced the availability of VeriSign's 128-bit Global Server IDs for Covalent's RavenT SSL product.

  • Vital, Inc. reports an increase in the number of downloads for the Linux version of its CRiSP editor.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Applix announced that it is a participant in TurboLinux's latest round of financing.

  • Beyond.com announced that it has been selected by Red Hat as a value-added reseller for Red Hat Linux software and services. Beyond.com will be the first Red Hat certified reseller to the U.S. government.

  • CALC/Canterbury Corp. announced that it has signed an agreement to provide Linuxcare University Certified Training Classes to information technology professionals, systems engineers and software and Internet developers.

  • Derlan Industries Limited announced it now has a 10 per cent Common Share interest in SpellCaster in addition to its holding of Preferred Shares. SpellCaster is a privately held company that provides digital telecommunication solutions for Linux-based systems.

  • Digi International announced an agreement with Red Hat Inc. to join in marketing programs that will enable distributors, resellers and integrators to offer Linux-based communications servers designed specifically to suit the needs of small- to medium-sized businesses.

  • eSoft Inc., developer of the TEAM Internet Linux software suite, announced a distribution agreement with Raidar Distribution Australia.

  • Government Technology Services, Inc. announced Red Hat Inc. and GTSI are in the final stages of negotiating a formal relationship, permitting GTSI to sell Red Hat Linux to the federal government.

  • GraphOn Corporation signed a strategic partnership agreement with Scandinavian software publishing specialist, SoftwareRun, to use GraphOn's server-based software to web-enable its selection of online Linux and UNIX software demos.

  • Hewlett-Packard Company and VMware, Inc. released this joint announcement about the availability of VMware for Linux on HP VISUALIZE PL450 and XL550 Personal Workstations. The software is available for free download through the month of January.

  • Inprise announced the creation of a $60 million venture fund. Among other things, it will invest in Linux startups.

  • M&A West, Inc. announced that it has joined the LinuxMall.com Referral Program.

  • NETmachines, Inc. announced that a significant investment from Wired & Wireless Global Communication Corporation has enabled NETmachines to expand operations into the European market.

  • SuSE and Minolta have announced a partnership to improve the printer support in SuSE's distribution.


  • Antarctic Support Associates, the Denver, Colorado-based company contracted by the National Science Foundation to build and maintain the South Pole's communications systems, is installing Cybernet System's NetMAX for Linux as their gateway to the rest of the world.

  • Cobalt Networks, Inc. reported record results for the quarter ending December 31, 1999.

  • Forlink Software Corporation Inc. announced its now in Phase I of its Development Plan. Phase I includes expanded validation and marketing of its software and internet Tool-Suites, increased integration of its products into Linux server environments, strategic alliances in the field of embedded software and tool-suites, PDAs and wireless delivery with China's leading companies.

  • Here is the Gartner Group's latest proclamation on Linux. "Linux will not displace Unix wholesale from the high-end market in the next three to five years because: Unix is well-entrenched legacy technology, Linux is not easily portable to RISC architectures and would represent the same kind of fragmentation that Unix has, Linux would complicate existing OS heterogeneity problems, and Linux currently lacks a fast-track process to achieve mission-critical enhancements equivalent to those offered by Unix vendors."

  • Guru Labs announced a new Linux Training Center.

  • IntraNet Solutions, Inc. announced that "it is the first Web content management vendor to support the Red Hat Linux operating system and Apache Webserver".

  • Linuxcare announced the appointment of Bob Walters as vice president of business development.

  • The Linux Professional Institute announced that Kara Pritchard has joined its Exam Development Department as Assistant Director for Program.

  • Linux Stock News, a new web site providing Linux investment information, has announced its existence.

  • Medullas Publishing Company, Inc. announced the release of Penguin Applications.

  • MontaVista Software Inc., developer of the Hard Hat Linux operating system for embedded computers, announced that as part of its investment in support and services infrastructure the company has hired Kristin Anderson as director of support.

  • MSC.Software Corp. announced the creation the MSC.Linux division supporting Linux products and services.

  • Rankstreet.com, Inc. announced they will be using the Linux platform for their software and server operations.

  • Red Hat announced the resignation of Frank Batten from its board of directors.

  • Silicon Valley Research, Inc. says that sales of its new Linux products are at least partly responsible for the companies first profitable quarter in over 2 years.

  • SuSE Linux AG announced the opening of a new support center in Bremen, Germany.

  • SuSE Linux is growing. This appointment of a larger board of directors sets the course for further expansion.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

January 20, 2000


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

Linux in the news


The Red Herring reports on the Transmeta announcement. "The 3120 chip will power Linux-based web pads and devices that are expected to sell between $500 and $1000..."

Here's a Reuters article about Transmeta and the soon to be unveiled Crusoe chip. "'Everything will be revealed on January 19 both at the product announcement and on the Web site,' said Ditzel, adding that he cannot comment on any of the rumors or speculation. Still in stealth mode, Ditzel will not even disclose the number of employees at Transmeta, which one semiconductor industry executive said is close to 200. "

Linux and the Stock Market:

News.com looks at Linux from an investor's point of view. "But can investors take a movement seriously that claims a portly penguin as its mascot? They should. For one, Linux as an operating system is growing faster than are any of its competitors. It is also is an ideal operating system for appliance computing, a high-growth segment that I've commented on the past. Most impressive is that Linux systems are the operating infrastructure behind an astounding 31 percent of all Internet servers--giving it the No. 1 unit market share for this important segment"

Computer Reseller News takes this look at Linux companies and Wall Street. "Like the little engine that could, Linux is speeding ahead as a locomotive force on Wall Street. But it is still huffing and puffing up a steep hill to reach resellers and corporations."

Red Hat, along with some of its inside shareholders, will sell 4 million shares according to this Reuters article. Bob Young and Matthew Szulik were listed as selling part of their stakes.

CBS Marketwatch took this look at the VA Linux IPO. "Notable: VA Linux Systems made history as the highest first-day gain of all IPOs with a run-up of 733 percent to 250 over its $30 offering price."


TurboLinux has received $50 million in investments, according to this News.com article. Investors include Dell, Compaq, BEA Systems, and others. "The reason for the investments are simple, said D.H. Brown Associates analyst Tony Iams. Established hardware and software companies see a new market opening up with the arrival of Linux, and they want to ensure themselves a foothold, he said."

News.com looks at TurboLinux's latest funding round. "Historically, there has been a delay between corporate rounds of investment and an IPO. Linux seller Caldera Systems broke that pattern last week by filing to go public on the same day it announced $30 million in corporate investments."


After telling the world last month that it would be losing money, Corel has come out with a small profit after all, according to this Reuters article. "The Ottawa-based firm, which recently added hot Linux technology to its stable of CorelDraw and WordPerfect software, said it was able to recognize the tax value of some losses and use tax credits that had been deferred pending a Revenue Canada review of Corel's 1993 to 1995 taxation years."

The Ottawa Citizen reports on Corel's investment in Newlix. "For Corel, the cash-and-services holding is the latest of several investments in new Linux technology that has lifted its stock despite weak sales of traditional Corel products. And for Newlix, founded only a year ago, the investment lets it quickly ramp up expansion plans."

News.com also covers Corel's investment in Newlix. "Newlix makes networking server software dubbed Omega, based on Linux, designed for small to medium-sized businesses. It can connect up to 50 PCs and 'handles Internet connections and email, sends files to printers and personal computers and can incorporate a security firewall,' according to the Ottawa-based company."

Red Herring looks at Corel's recent Linux related investments. "What kind of organization Corel is, is up for debate. In recent months, Corel has come under fire for chasing Linux as a fad. After all, skeptics say, Corel's Windows products are where it makes most of its money, yet the company seems to spend more effort publicizing its Linux-related efforts."


News.com covers Tripwire's plans. "Linux is another growth opportunity for Tripwire, [Tripwire CEO Wyatt Starnes] said. Sellers of Linux software are sensitive about the perception that Linux is a good target for computer intrusions. 'There is a fear that the perception of this vulnerability could impede their marketplace.'"

E-Commerce Times looks at Allaire's deal with MERANT. "Under the terms of the agreement, Allaire will add MERANT's DataDirect technology to versions of ColdFusion for Linux. According to MERANT, the deal will bring scalable, transaction-based connectivity between ColdFusion and databases such as Microsoft SQL, Oracle and Sybase to developers who work with Allaire e-commerce solutions."

Here's an article in the Industry Standard about Red Hat's future. "If 1999 was the year of Red Hat's honeymoon, then watch for flying pots and pans in 2000. Led by the ever-grinning visage of Chairman Bob Young, Linux distributor Red Hat had a yearlong free ride in the press, and investors responded in kind."

Here's a News.com article about Michael Tiemann's appointment as Red Hat's CTO. "The shuffle can be seen as a positive sign for Cygnus as it gets integrated into Red Hat. Because Linux is such a technology-focused product, chief technology officers at Linux companies typically wield a great deal of influence over product direction and strategy."

Forbes looks at Be's plans to give away its operating system for personal use. "Be seems to be trying to emulate Linux, the open source operating system that has taken the computing world and Wall Street by storm, as evidenced by the overwhelming success of recent IPOs like Red Hat and VA Linux Systems. But Linux may have benefited from being at the right place at the right time."

ZDNet UK reports on the adoption of Linux by some "local authority" in the U.K. "The government authority, which cannot be named yet, is currently testing out Linux for a broader rollout once evaluation of the OS, and native applications running on it, are complete."

Arne W. Flones takes a look at efforts to take ownership of the Internet through the use of proprietary protocols. "The major players in the greedy grab are Microsoft, AOL, Real Networks, and Apple. None of their protocols are open and none of them are fully supported by any operating systems other than Windows and possibly Apple Mac. If you have another OS, like UNIX or OS/2, too bad, so sad. "

This Upside column says that Microsoft should forget about the operating system market. "Once Linux's graphical user interface matures and stabilizes, it will become exponentially more attractive to users. If Microsoft is smart, it will have Linux-enabled copies of Office on hand to sell..."


ZDNet ran this article on on Deepok Saxena's Linux Demo Day Y2K page. "'We're not trying to say Microsoft/Bad; Linux/Good,' says Saxena. 'This is more about showing that there's an alternative. Especially for small businesses -- we want to show them they have a choice. Many people have heard about Linux but haven't seen it in action.'"

Le Monde features (in French) the web site of AFUL ("l'Association francophone des utilisateurs de Linux et des logiciels libres" - "The French association of Linux and free software users") in a story about French doctors fighting for the right to use Linux in their practice. There is evidently a security system in place that only works with Windows... Here is the Babelfish link, but Babelfish seems increasingly unreliable these days. (Found in Portalux News).

CNN talks with Jon 'maddog' Hall about Linux in China. "As for security, he said military and intelligence agencies around the world have adopted Linux for sensitive systems. 'The fact that they don't have to tell some U.S. company what they're doing is reason enough for them to use Linux,' Hall said."

AboutLinux ran this article on the DVD fight. "I am really curious why they did not name the major search engines as codefendants; after all, by doing a search for them you can get a plethora of links to DeCSS code..."

Linux in Brazil interviews Panasync, the developer of the BitchX IRC client. "I'm a big fan of free software/free source. I enjoy browsing other's well-written code. I also believe in the concept of shareware. I have thought about making BitchX shareware with source. But, it's based on others work, so I don't feel it's fair."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

January 20, 2000


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



The Linux Certification FAQ has been posted by Anne Martinez. It covers all aspects of Linux professional certification, from the "whys" to the "hows." Evidently much of it is excerpted from her book on Linux certification (Amazon link) published by McGraw Hill.

Linuxcare's "Dear Lina" column looks at masquerading. "What you do need is a private network, but a way to invisibly transform the private addresses to an allowed external address whenever they try to reach outside. That, my dears, is called IP masquerading, and it is very, very popular these days."

Rob Slade, master of tech book reviews, has sent us a review of 'Running Linux', by Matt Welsh, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, and Lar Kaufman. "You don't have to be an MS-DOS wizard or a technical support guru to follow this book. If you've installed a few programs and ever added any hardware to your computer, that is probably background enough."

Thestuff.net is a loose confederation of volunteers, dedicated to promoting Linux, specifically, and espousing open source ideals, generally. Currently on the lookout for new volunteers, we desperately need like-minded enthusiasts to assist the development of our web site! If you have talent or interest in the following skills: Writing, Editing, Programming, Graphic Art, please contact, jobs@thestuff.net, or visit http://www.thestuff.net/about.


The Netproject folks have announced a workshop entitled Linux, Open Source & E-Business - Management Briefing. It will be held in London on February 24; admission is 460 pounds Plus VAT. See the announcement for a detailed agenda.

[CLIQ logo] The Colorado Linux Info Quest (CLIQ) is the first Linux conference and exhibition to be held along the Colorado front range. It will be happening on April 1, 2000 at the Denver Tech Center Marriott. Details can be found in the announcement; LWN is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

LinuxTag 2000 will be held on June 29 through July 2, 2000 in Stuttgart, Germany. Some details can be found in the announcement, or, for those who don't read German, via Babelfish. New this year will be the "Businesskongress," which will add a more commercial orientation to the event.

Web sites

LinuxLinks announced some new features, including a featured site of the day and a Java chatroom.

User Group News

The Central Ohio Linux Users Group will meet Wed., 26 January 2000, 19:00 to 21:00 local. Ed Helwig will detail his effort down the learning curve, from a MS Visual Basic environment, to a TK/TCL replacement.

This article looks at the reasons for (and the ways to) create special interest groups within a Linux Users Group. "Just a few years ago, it was common to find several people within an existing Users Group, such as a Unix Users Group, who were interested in Linux and thus started a special interest group (SIG) within the group to discuss Linux. Today, Linux Users Groups have grown to become their own Users Groups focusing entirely on Linux. Has Linux become popular enough to start spawning SIGs of their own? Yes. I say they have."

January 20, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
abcde 1.0.1 A better CD encoder.
abook 0.3.1 An addressbook program.
acalc 2000 A console calculator.
ACPLTea 0.25 Java-based com system ACPLT/KS for process control engineering
ACS 0.5.2 GPL licensed multi-line voice response telephony platform
ADSM Client 3.1.7 ADSM backup client for linux boxes.
Akkord 0.3 Advanced KDE Commander
Allen Bradley Ethernet utils 0.1.1 Simple utilities for Allen Bradley Ethernet PLCs
ALSA driver 0.5pre3 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AlsaPlayer 0.99.31 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
Amaya 2.4 Ttest-bed browser/authoring tool of the W3C
Anteater 0.3.1 A Sendmail log analyzer.
AntiSpam 0.9.1 Mail Relay authentication via POP-3
AOLserver 3.0 beta5 A multithreaded, Tcl-enabled, dynamic Web server.
Apache JServ 1.1 Java servlet engine
aps 0.13 Text-based network analysis tool which displays many protocol details.
Arrow 1.0.8 An elegant, powerful, graphical interface to electronic mail
Artec As6e Scanner Driver 0.1.1 A driver for the Artec As6e parallel port scanner.
asp2php 0.73.4 Converts Active Server Pages (ASP) to PHP3 scripts
Austin 0.2 ANSI C morphing ordered container library.
Authenticated User Community 0.6.1 CGI-based intranet system intended for K-12 settings
AutoRPM RPM Auto-Installer and/or FTP Mirrorer
awhois 1.60 A smart wrapper for whois.
bcnu 1.20 Powerful Web-based client-server system monitoring
BibleReader 0.2 Bible browsing program using Gtk
BioMail 0.42 A program to send new references from a Medline database to its users.
bkmrkconv 1.05 A Netscape bookmarks converter.
BLADE 0.15.0 Broad Language Aided Document Environment
blighty whois 0.2 A configurable commandline whois client.
Bluefish 0.3.5 Gtk based HTML editor
BlueJ 1.01 Java Development Environment aimed at teaching
bookmarker 2.0.1 WWW based bookmark manager
bsosc 0.5 An oscilloscope for the Bitscope data capture device.
buildkde2 0.0 A shell script to ease building KDE 2.
BusyBox 0.41 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
CAFire 0.0.9 A burning mouse pointer toy.
CapsiChat 0.22 Multi-user Internet chatbox/haven
cdenc 0.9.2 A Perl script for MP3 compression of whole audio CDs.
CDject 1.0 A CDROM eject/close program.
cdrecord 1.8a40 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
Celebrat 1.0 Very simple non-interactive command-line calendar
cfe 0.5 Console font editor.
cgibitch 1.0.2 A TCL extension for fast CGI processing
chbg 0.9 Desktop background changer and manager
CoreLinux++ 0.4.3 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
crUD 01.12.2000 A MUD built from the ground up, with emphasis on stability.
CSCMail 1.4.1 Gtk E-Mail Client written in Perl
curl 6.4 Command line tool for getting data from a URL
Curses::Widgets 1.0 Widgets for Curses and Perl
Cyphesis 0.0.8 Fantasy RPG using A-Life techniques.
Cyrus SASL 1.5.15 generic client/server library for SASL authentication
D2X 0.0.6 A port of Descent 2 to Linux.
DAR 0.1.6 MySQL-based maintenance of your MP3 archive.
DarcNES 20000115 An X/SVGALib multi-system emulator.
Degenerate 0.0.2 An HTML preprocessor.
Denemo 0.1.1 A GTK+ musical score editor.
dep.pl 1.27.0 Check dependencies of multiple files.
dfax2ps 0.1 A script that will convert faxes to ps and print them.
DialControl 2.5.5 Remote control for Internet/WAN connections of a masquerading server.
domaincheck 1.0 InterNIC Whois domain scanner.
dopewars 1.4.7 Drug dealing game set in New York
dot.conf 0.5 A simple, powerful configuration-file parser.
Downloader for X 1.1 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
Downtime 3.1.3 Network monitor, watches your connection, and logs downtime.
Dual Protocol File Server 2.0beta3 Hybrid FTP/HTTP file server
DWUN 0.6e Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
E-FancyLauncher 0.2 Enlightenment button launcher epplet.
ECLiPt SSH Shell 0.2 Simple graphical SSH frontend.
egcs-jvm 0.0 An egcs backend for the Java Virtual Machine.
elm 2.5.3 One of the most common mail readers for unix.
Email Security through Procmail 1.99 Email filter to remove remote security exploits of email clients
Endeavour 1.11 Linux/X File and Image Browser
EnergyMech 2.7.2 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
EPM 2.0 A software packaging tool.
Etherboot 4.4.1 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Exim 3.13 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
FastGL 1.80pre1 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
FavNuts 0.1 Converts (and sorts) IE favorite files to a Netscape bookmark file.
FCE Ultra 0.19 A portable NES/Famicon emulator.
fetchmail 5.2.4 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility
fidelio 0.9.0 A GTK+ Hotline client for GNOME.
Flash 0.9.3 Secure menuing shell for restricting local unix users
Free Physics 0.1.0 An educational physics simulator.
Free Standard Game Server 0.7b65 Battle.net-compatible game server
FreeAmp 2.0 Open Source MP3 player
Freebirth 0.3.2 Integrated bass synthesizer/step sequencer/sample player
Freetype 1.3.1 A free and portable TrueType font rendering engine
G-Kermit 1.0 A file transfer program.
GameTrakker 2.2 An integrated tool to monitor game servers using QStat and MRTG.
gbasm 0.0.6 gameboy assembler
GeneWeb 3.02 A combo web interface and genealogy program combined on steroids
GetCue 1.0 A program that grabs the Shout cue info and makes a nifty Web page.
Getleft 0.7.9 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GKrellM 0.8.0 System monitor package
glbiff 0.3.1 An OpenGL/Mesa mailbox monitor.
GMatH 0.2-pre1 Computer Algebra Environment
GNetSwitch 0.9 A quick network selector for GNOME.
gnlogin 1.2.1 A GTK interface to ncpmount.
GNU Maverik 5.3 Free Virtual Reality system for GNU/Linux PCs and Silicon Graphics workstations
GNU parted 1.0.6 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Pth 1.3a5 GNU Portable Threads
gomenu 0.03a Menu script (bash/ksh) allows dynamic menu and help editing.
gps3d 1.8 A GPS 3D visualization utility.
GREED .8+ A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
gri 2.4.0 An extensible plotting language for science.
gsmlib 1.0 GSM mobile phone control library using AT command set
GTKdiff 1.0.2 GTK+ diff frontend
GtkGraph 0.6.1 Graphing calculator for X
GtkTiLink 0.54_2.07 A TI calculators <-> PC communication program using a GTK interface
GTS 0.1.0 Functions for 3D surfaces meshed with interconnected triangles
guess 0.1.6 A simple console game.
hc-cron 0.84 A modified version of Paul Vixie's widely used cron daemon
HeightField Lab 0.91B A HeightField generation program for 3d modelling and POV-Ray
help2man 1.020 A program to generate simple manual pages
Hoard 1.4.2 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
HPTalx 1.0.1 HP48/HP49 calculator to PC comm program.
HTML Tidy 13jan00 Cleans up HTML source and formats it nicely.
htmsysinfo 1.2 Writes information about your system to an HTML document.
httptype 1.3.0 Identifies which HTTP server is running on a given host.
Hu-Go! 1.07 A PC engine emulator.
I-Spy 2.0b3 A remote FTP and Web site content-spy.
icewm 1.0.1 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
icqmail 2.0a1 ICQ->Email gateway
IglooFTP-PRO 1.0.0pre1 Powerfull and User Friendly FTP client
imaptool 0.9 Tool for creating clientside imagemaps
Inflex 0.1.4 In/Outbound email virus/file/text scanner.
iNGENIO ScripT 1.2 An IRC script for Kvirc.
ipch-select 1.6 An ipchains log entry filter.
iplog 2.1.0 tcp, udp, and icmp logging utilities for Linux.
IpLogLed 0.0.1 An IP logger via keyboard LEDs.
IPWatch 1.0 Restores network connectivity when there is a loss or change of IP.
irssi 0.7.22 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
isreal 2.0 Tells if an image is real, computer generated, or not real.
ivtools 0.8 Application frameworks for drawing editors and spatial data servers
jac 0.12 Command line CD Player
JEsd 0.0.3 A re-implementation of EsounD in pure Java.
joyd 0.0.3 Execute programs via joystick.
JSQLVis 0.2.0 Simple visualisation app for SQL data.
kchangeres 0.1 A KDE/Kpanel X video mode changer.
kdc2tiff 0.30 Convert from Kodak .kdc file to .tiff or .jpg
KDevelop 1.1Beta1 KDevelop is a new C++ development environment for Unix/X11.
Kdevmon 0.2.2 A little tool that displays the load of a network device.
KEasyISDN 0.3 Frontend to isdnctrl and onlinecounter.
khrono 1.1.1 A watch/timer/countdown utility for KDE.
kicemenu 0.1 A window manager menu editing tool.
KMOTD 0.1 A nice KDE program that displays /etc/motd.
knapster 0.4 KDE napster client.
Koala Complete MUD Server 0.0.5a A complete MUD server.
krunseti 0.1 A program that starts SETI@home and displays its status.
ku 1.1BETA5 A utmp based shell admin utility for maintaining shell logins.
Lago 0.2 A portable, multi-threaded database.
LANdb 0.81 Provides network managers with a means of cataloging network connections.
Lesstif 0.89.9 LGPL'd re-implementation of Motif
lftp 2.1.6 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
Libcfg 0.0.3 A simple configuration management library.
liblcd 1.0.2 Library to control the functions of serial LCD displays
Libsigc++ 0.8.6 Callback framework for C++
libunicode 0.5 Library of unicode string functions and charset converters
Licq 0.75 Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.8pre1 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux Logo 3.04 Displays an ANSI or ASCII Linux penguin, along with some sytem information
Linux Memory Technology Device project 20000119 Support for Flash and RAM devices under Linux
Linux-Mandrake 7.0 A Linux distribution based on RedHat but with many added features.
linuxfreak.pl 0.1a A Perl script that puts LinuxFreak news headlines on your site.
LISC 1.0 A lightweight Scheme interpreter in Java, with useful extensions.
lkpatch 0.2 The Linux kernel patcher.
lm_sensors 2.4.5 LM78 and LM75 drivers
log4j 0.7.3 Fast and flexible logging tool written in Java.
LoopLinux 4 Small linux distribution that can be installed on a existing Dos/Win95/98 system
Lothar project 0.5.3 Tools for hardware configuration
lp0p 2.4.6 A simple email client.
maildrop 0.76 maildrop mail filter/mail delivery agent
Make Clean 0.1 Automagically remove unused files, docs, libraries, and duplicates.
MCheck 0.1 A memory/malloc bug finder.
mcountd 0.3 A text-based countdown clock.
MEC4 Streaming Server 1.4.3 A video-on-demand system.
Media Forte SF16-FMD2 V4L device driver 0.9 A patch for Linux kernel driver for V4L
memtest86 2.1 Find bad RAM chips
Metabase 2000.01.18 A DBMS-independent package to access and manage databases with PHP.
Metapixel 0.6 A photomosaic generator.
mfm 1.3 A graphical frontend for mtools
MGAclock 1.01 A Matrox G400 clock-setting utility.
miffmixr .08 A Web-based MP3 jukebox.
MiniVend 4.0alpha10 Powerful freely redistributable shopping cart package
MIT Scheme 7.5pre2 A programming environment for Scheme.
mod_backhand 1.0.7 Local-area, heterogeneous web cluster load balancing module for Apache.
mod_pcgi2 1.0.0 An Apache module for Zope/PCGI.
MP3 Server Box 20000117 MP3 Player that can be controlled over network
mp3blaster 2.0b17 Provides interactive playing of mp3 files on a text console
Mp3Make 0.4 Automates ripping and encoding of mp3's, using cddb to name them.
MPAC 0.2.2 The Microstrip Patch Antenna Calculator.
MRTd 2.2.0a Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
MUSIC 0.0.2 A MUD-like text-based virtual reality server.
Mutt 1.1.2 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
muttzilla 0.31 Use your favorite e-mail client under Netscape
mwForum 0.9.3 Web-based discussion forum
MySQL 3.22.30 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
Mysql Clustering Toolkit 1.0 A way to cluster a set of MySQL servers.
Naken Chat 1.15 Chat Server ported from Javachat
nano 0.7.6 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
neepHttpd 0.91 A small, simple, and efficient HTTP server for basic usage.
Nessus 0.99.4 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NetSaint 0.0.5b3 A relatively simple active network monitor
NewsReader On-Line 0.6 A Web-based newsreader written in PHP.
nmap 2.3BETA13 Full featured, robust port scanner
note 0.4.1 commandline note tool
NTP 4.0.99a A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
oidentd 1.6.4 ident (rfc1413) daemon for linux that allows users to specify usernames
opennap 0.08 An open source Napster server.
OpenVerse Visual Chat 0.7-10 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
Oracletool 0.98 A web based tool for Oracle DBA's written in Perl.
Oregano 0.10 Schematic capture and circuit simulation application
Osiris 1.0.0 An executable file integrity verifier.
over5 0.711 A c64/vic20 <-> Amiga/PC/UNIX transferring program.
Pagecast 2.0 beta 1 Automates submitting lists of URL's to various Internet search engines.
palmamp for XMMS 1.0 An XMMS plugin to allow a PalmPilot to control it.
Pan 0.7.1 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
pat2pdf 0.7 Fetch patents from the USPTO in PDF format.
pausemaker 0.1.4 A replacement for pauseme.
PCI Utilities 2.1.3 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
pdq 2.1.2 Printing system
Peeps 1.1 A simple contact database/address book using PHP and Postgres.
PeeWeeLinux 0.18 A small linux distribution for embedded applications.
pftp 1.1.3 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
php3guest 1.0.1 A Web guestbook written in PHP3 with a MySQL backend.
phpChat 1.0b A PHP chat application, based on IRC.
PicMonger 0.7 Scans Usenet newsgroups for UU- or MIME-encoded binaries and decodes them.
pidentd 3.0.10 Daemon implementing the IDENT (RFC1413) protocol
pngcrush 1.3.4 An optimizer for PNG files that can also insert or delete specified chunks.
PointerLite 3.0 An easy-to-use optimization framework.
PowerShell 0.1b A GTK-based terminal emulator with support for many terms in one window.
PRepS 1.2.1 The Problem Reporting and Tracking System.
Privacy Guard Glue 20000116 A library written in C to add GnuPG support to applications.
ProFTPD 1.2.0pre10 Advanced, incredibly configurable and secure FTP daemon
Prometheus-Library 1.50 Object-oriented PHP API
psftp 0.21 An FTP client that uses ssh 1.x.
PTlink Services 1.8.0 IRC Registration Services
pyblade 0.10.0 Python BLADE bindings.
pydf 0.9.1 colourised df(1)-clone
pyle 0.1.6 A WikiClone.
pylice 0.5.0 Pylice is a link checker written in Python.
PySol 3.20 A Python-based Solitaire card game
PySol-Cardsets 3.20 A collection of free cardsets for use with PySol
QGEO 0.0.2 A National Geographic Interactive CD viewer for Linux.
QHacc 0.2.5 A personal finance application.
Qpopper 3.0b29 POP3 server
Qstat 2.3f A command-line program that displays the status of Internet Quake servers
Quakeworld Forever 0.01 An attempt at cheat-free Quakeworld.
quiz 0.1 A little program to practice multiple choice questions.
Raceway 0.8 Embedded interface for ZENamp
Rapid Audio Tracker 0.3.1 A rapid audio tracker similar to Fast Tracker, but in real time.
RearSite 1.3 Tool for updating personal www pages
recover 0.9 A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
RegExplorer 0.1.4 Regular Expression Explorer
ripperX 2.0 GTK program to rip and encode mp3 files
ROX-Filer 0.1.12 Drag-and-drop based filemanager.
RPGD 1.1 A multi-user, medieval-fantasy role-playing game
rtmk A real-time micro-kernel.
runleveleditor 0.3 A program to help manage SysV-like init scripts.
SafeTP 19991214 Transparent Secure FTP Software.
Sapphire 0.13.2 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
sawmill 0.22 Extensible window manager
SClient 0.7.2 Mud Client for X windows
SDL 1.1.0 SDL is a library that allows you portable low level access for graphics/sound
SDL Hexen 0.2.3 A port of Raven Software's popular Hexen 3D shooter game
Seahorse A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
sfront 0.53 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
silly Poker 0.15 A simple yet comprehensive console poker game.
SimpleFont 1.0.3 A small program similar to banner but better in some ways.
Site Studio RC-2 Online template-based Web site creation tool.
site-dater.pl 1.0.2 Generates a table of web links within a local hierarchy sorted by date.
sitescooper 2.1.1 Downloads stories from various news sites and converts to text or Pilot format.
smbmessage 0.1 A small PHP3 script that lets you send mesages to SMB clients.
Snack 1.6.5 Cross-platform sound extension for Tcl
snarf 2.0.9 Command-line URL retrieval tool with some unique features.
Sodipodi 0.17 A vector-drawing application.
Solfege 0.5.2 GPL'ed eartraining for Gnome
Solid POP3 0.13 an implementation of a POP3 server.
solveit 1.0 A program that solves an accounting version of the bin-packing problem.
SoundTracker 0.3.9 A music tracker for X / GTK+
SourceForge 1.0.3 An online Open Source hosting Web application.
Sporum 1.5.2 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.12 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
srecord 1.4 A collection of powerful tools for manipulating EPROM load files
star trek ency reader 0.7.6 Reads the star trek encyclopedia under linux
StatistX 0.2.0 Small GTK-based statistics program.
SVC DTD 0.9.1 An XML language for management of small or medium software development projects.
swim 0.3.3 Package administration and research tool for Debian
syslog-ng 1.3.13 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
tDOM 0.4 beta Fast XML/DOM/XPath implementation for Tcl in C
tdsdump 0.1 Allows capture and printing of EPS output from Tek TDS2x0 oscilloscopes.
teapop 0.22 A POP3-server with thoughts for virtual domains
terra 2.2.4 A feature-packed IRC daemon based on dreamforge
Terraform 0.5.2 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
The Gimp 1.1.15 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Urgent Decision 0.9.7 An action strategy game.
thttpd 2.13 A simple, small, portable, fast, and secure HTTP server.
TimeIsMoney 0.20 An ncurses-based timesheet.
TINS 0.91 A tool for creating user-friendly installations.
TinyMAZE 2.3a An online game server.
tkFTP 1.1.1 tkFTP is an FTP client completely written with the Tcl/Tk scripting language.
TkSmb 0.8.8 TclTk X11 shell for smbclient
TkUsr 0.40 A Tcl/Tk app for managing the Self-mode of a USR/3COM MessagePlus modem
TodoMgr 1.56 Manages Todo Tasks graphically in several folders with descriptions.
ttfm 0.9 TrueType Font Manager.
Tube 0.9 A Hotline client written in Java.
TWIG 2.1.1 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
Twinlib 0.2.3 A graphic library for Qt.
UdmSearch 3.0.0 Fast WWW search engine for your site
uri 2.7 URI manipulation library
Vacation 1.1.0b1 A mail auto-responder
VaS V0.5a Vote and Survey scripts
VetesTCL 01-12-2000 Vulnerability scanners for eggdrop
videod 0.3.1 Apple's QuickTime streaming server with Linux enhancements
vigor 0.009 vi with a helpful assistant.
Virtfs 0.30.2 A utility to help create and configure virtual services and domains.
VoidPOP3 0.1.3 Another POP3 server.
vpnstarter 0.2.0 (build 55) A light-weight VPN suite with keep-alive utilities using free software.
w3m 0.1.4 pager/text-based WWW browser
wcd 2.2.9
webbase 5.7 Internet crawler C library and program
WebCalendar 0.9.4 A multi-user PHP/MySQL-based calendar.
webget 0.4 A CGI frontend and backend to wget written in Perl.
webgrep 2.3 HTML check and search utilities
WeirdX 1.0.4 A pure Java X Window System server
Whoisip b-1 Determines which ISP owns an IP address.
Wireless Network Tools 0.1 Wireless network management via Web-enabled phones.
WMKeyboard 0.2 A keyboard map manager.
WMRotoZoom 0.10 A dock app that grabs the area around your cursor and draws a warped copy of it.
WMScript 1.0 A system monitoring dock app for Window Maker.
wmSMPmon 2.0 CPU monitoring applet SMP systems running Window Maker
X Interface Monitor 1.6 Monitor any network interface, and view traffic, load, and statistics.
X Northern Captain 4.2.0 Filemanager for X Windows
X-CD-Roast 0.98alpha3 A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
XawTV 3.07 TV application and a few utilities
XCruise 0.22 A 3D filesystem viewer for X.
XDBM 1.0.3 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XEmacs 21.2.27 Internationalized text editor
XLassie 1.5 A small, fast, full-featured mailcheck applet.
Xmame/xmess 0.36b14.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
xmnt 1.0 A simple graphical way of mounting and umounting your CDROM and floppy.
xplanets 0.3.4 A simple solar system simulator.
xppp-go 0.9 An X11-based frontend for Internet dialup scripts.
XRacer 0.95.21 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XRally 0.5 An X11 clone of the Rally X arcade game.
xrcon v0.2 Quake2 server admin tool.
XSane 0.50 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
XShipWars 1.32 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
Xtradius 1.0beta Cistron based Radius Daemon that allows user auth and acct via external scripts
xxdiff 1.1 A graphical file comparator and merge tool.
Yacas 1.0.27 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
Yadex 1.3.2 Doom/Doom II/Heretic level (wad) editor for X
Yams 0.5.7 An e-commerce package written in Perl and utilizing a MySQL database.
YaRET 0.4.0 Yet another Ripper-Encoder-Tagger.
Yoke Linux Kernel Driver 0.3.6 A kernel device driver for transparant mirroring.
Zebra 0.84 Route Server and Route Reflector daemon
ZENamp 1.13 Embedded MP3 audio engine
ZZplayer 0.4 An MPEG-I video player.

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

PenguinApps is a Linux download site put together by the 32bitsonline folks. It looks an awful lot like an attempt to recreate what Tucows has done - complete with penguin ratings.

Creative Linux is a site aimed at those wishing to create multimedia content with Linux. Applications like the Gimp are obviously of interest to these folks, but they look at a lot more obscure stuff as well.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

January 20, 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.
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 06:10:55 -0600
From: Paul Hawkins <paul.hawkins@tivoli.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: IBM moves toward Linux

I work for a company owned by IBM (so I work for IBM), and I have been
to seminars by IBM on Linux, and read their internal Web pages on Linux.

IBM is a big company, so they move slow.

Also,  everyone involved in Linux at IBM is making the point that the
OSS movement is different than anything IBM is use to.  And that IBM
needs to move slowly to ensure we work with the community, and not
appear as if we are giving it a big Blue bear hug.

IBM would like nothing better then to make the OS a commodity.  IBM has
earned more on its services then its' hardware & OS for awhile now. 
Linux will only help them.  This is a good thing for all.

These opinions are my own, and not IBM's.

Paul Hawkins - Software Engineer - Tivoli Systems, Inc.
email: paul.hawkins@tivoli.com 
"Chase the dream, not the competition"
From: davep@uk.ibm.com
To: lwn@lwn.net
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 11:03:10 +0000
Subject: IBMs presence in the Linux community.

Hi all,

Just a few comments...

Since IBMs big announcement of getting more behind Linux, they have been
slated as touting/talking more than actually doing, indeed your article
dated 13/01/2000 had a slight negative tone regarding substance from IBM.

I feel this is unfair, IBM released DB2 for Linux long ago, and numerous
other projects.  Most recently of course, they have ported Linux to the
S/390 mainframe! How many other companies can claim that they have "single
handedly" (for want of a better expression) ported the kernel to a major
piece of hardware, and then released it OSS/GPL back to the community?

The community needs to back off from slating IBM, and appreciate what they
have done.

Dave Peacock - davep@uk.ibm.com

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 10:12:35 GMT
From: kevinmcd@linuxsolutions.demon.co.uk
Subject: Shrink Wrap Licenses 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)

This is not true, the genuine Lawyers you have consulted obviously haven't
read their case law...

The Case of Beta Computers vs. Adobe Systems, proved very interesting,
rightly or wrongly, the Sheriff has ruled the the Shrink Wrap license is
enforceable, curiously in this case, the benefit was in favour of the
defendant, since under the provision of the license the software was

An interesting view of this is presented

This applies to Scots Law, a very different animal to English Law, and of
course obviously quite different to the mythical UK Law that our learned
correspondent quotes.

This case is a very interesting read...

Kevin McDermott

From: David Woodhouse <dwmw2@infradead.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: UCITA
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 10:28:56 +0000

I was quite surprised at your claim on the front page of this week's LWN:

> 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. 

I think you partly miss the point. The DVD code was reverse-engineered in the
Free World, not in the United States. The situation in the USA was already too
bad for residents to risk persecution.

Cryptography code, and the DVD code, was written outside the USA because the 
USA _already_ has insane laws on such matters.

I agree that UCITA would make matters even worse, but it wouldn't have made 
the DVD reverse-engineering illegal, because the DVD reverse-engineering 
wasn't done under US jurisdiction.


Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 03:42:50 -0800 (PST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?J=E9r=F4me_Loisel?= <jloisel@excite.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Nikolai Bezroukov's "papers"

Dear LWN editors,

I have a rather long comment on Nikolai Bezroukov and his articles which I
would like to share with you. But first, some (related) personal thoughts.

Many of us do not have the chance to encounter true intellectuals. By
intellectuals, I do not mean "highly intelligent people," -- as the word is
often used --, but "highly cultured, aware and articulate people," which is
a competing, IMHO preferable definition.

I have personnally met very few in person, and certainly do not claim to be
one. (Much as most coder do not claim to be a Richard Stallman.) But I now
tend to know one when I read one's texts... More than that, I think I have
grown to recognize the arrogant and untalented wannabes. And it is my belief
that Mr. Bezroukov is one such.

I have tried to read Mr. Bezroukov's texts... But they are not
mind-expanding, simply mind-numbing. The man believes that peppering his
text with quotes from George Orwell, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein will
make him look intelligent, whether or not the quotes have any relevance
(most of them don't). The most painful part is the fact he uses the most
oft-heard ones, those very ones we are all deathly tired of reading in sigs.

Nikolai Bezroukov also cannot understand plain English. He quotes Eric
Raymond as having written: "[...] if Brooks's Law were the whole picture,
Linux would be impossible," yet his *first* *main* point resumes itself to:
"One of the most indefensible ideas of CatB is that Brooks' Law is
non-applicable in the Internet-based distributed development environment
[...]" Can't he see that this precisely the opposite of what Raymond is
contending? One would think that the word "truism" would give him a clue. In
the end, Mr. Bezroukov simply does not have the elementary finesse to
understand the distinction between "is true but is only one of many
factors," (which Raymond is saying) and "is false in such case" (which he is
certainly not in the quote!).
His "paper" (hey, at least he did not call it a "research paper") is
chock-full of inane comments that he does not even try to establish on firm
factual or logical ground. A few gems: "To be fair, 'the average quality of
software' for the Windows community [...] is also exceptionally high despite
weaknesses of the underlying OS." Of course! Whenever I am forced to use a
Windows machine, I am thrilled as well by the overall quality of the
applications. "Even superficial analysis of the Bugtrack archive confirms
that most developers prefer making their own bugs, not fixing bugs of
others." Whatever that means... But he goes on: "For accidental
contributions to the kernel, the situation can be even worse." Yes... don't
you just hate it when people accidentally contributes to the kernel?

Some flaws which I will not elaborate further on: the only facts appearing
in this "paper" belong to the "anecdotal evidence" category; Mr. Bezroukov
demonstrates very little respect for standard practices such as providing
references for quotes; large portions of his "paper" simply elaborate on his
opinions (as though we deeply care) without attempting to establish
anything; and finally, my dog writes better prose. Proving all of those
statements is left as an exercice for the extremely bored reader.

What can I say? Arrogance from the untalented and uninsightful drives me
nuts. Link to him if you must, but please do not try to be more
complimentary than needed: that text is bottom-of-the-barrel quality,
intellectually speaking, and deserves no praise.

Jerome Loisel

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 14:04:01 -0600
From: "Chris Browne" <Chris_Browne@amrcorp.com>
To: <letters@lwn.net>
Subject:  Kermit

The January 13th issue indicates the "freer Kermit license," and
comments that due to it not going quite far enough, "As a result,
C-Kermit is not likely to meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines
anytime soon."

It is true that the license may not qualify C-Kermit to be considered
"free" software by Debian rules.  Nonetheless, the licensing changes permit
its inclusion in things like the Debian nonfree tree, which was previously

The license changes permit Kermit's inclusion with Linux distributions in
general, which was previously forbidden by the documentation inclusion
requirements.  (In brief, in order to redistribute Kermit, you used to
be required to include the full Kermit book.)

This is extremely encouraging; Kermit has a long history of being
an exceptionally good data transfer system.  It used to be the one of
the best interoperability systems to transfer data between UNIX, DOS,
VMS, and mainframe systems.  The popularity of TCP/IP and decline of
widespread mainframe use has diminished the value somewhat (who uses
non-TCP/IP networking anymore?), but I'm pleased to see it able to be
used with Linux.
"It is the user who should parameterize procedures, not their
creators." -- Alan Perlis
cbbrowne@hex.net - <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>

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