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Leading items and editorials

Sun misses the bus? This week got off to an interesting start with independent press releases from Caldera Systems, Red Hat, and TurboLinux, all saying that they would be shipping IBM's Java implementation with their distributions. (Red Hat gets special points for claiming to be "the first distributor" with IBM's software, despite the fact that Caldera looks like it will ship first). IBM is apparently licensing the software for free, in the hopes of getting it distributed widely. A deal with SuSE is said to be in the works as well. A high-quality Java implementation will now be a standard feature of most commercial Linux distributions.

IBM's Java implementation may not be truly free, but it looks like it may now be free enough to become the de facto Java implementation for Linux systems. Sun could have taken this position at least a year ago, had it taken a more enlightened approach to licensing of its software. Now that IBM has moved into that space, Sun may find itself frozen out of a part of the Linux world.

Sun looks like it may not care, at the moment. It has finally announced the availability of "free" Solaris 8 - including source code. "Free" has a purely "free beer" meaning in this context; Solaris is far from being free software. The source can not even be downloaded; it is necessary to fill out a registration form, pay $75, and get a CD. The license is quite restrictive, disallowing redistribution of any kind. A separate license is required even "to run a modified binary version of the Solaris software in your own organization." More information can be found on Sun's "Free Solaris" page.

Along with this release have come some fairly defiant words from Sun - Sun will "never adopt Linux," and instead is putting everything into Solaris. Such an absolute position might have made sense two years ago. But in today's world Linux is already moving into Solaris's turf, and will likely continue to do so. Solaris may be the strongest of the proprietary Unix systems, and it certainly still outdoes Linux on a number of fronts. But we predict that (truly) free software will beat it in the end, and a number of Sun's competitors seem to think so as well.

Interviews with Dirk Hohndel and Jeremy Allison The "Linux Conference '99" was held recently in Yokohama, Japan. At this conference, Maya Tamiya of our partner site ChangeLog was able to get interviews with SuSE VP and XFree86 developer Dirk Hohndel, and Samba team member Jeremy Allison. The interviews covered a wide range of topics, from business issues through to free software development. We are pleased to be able to offer the English version of these interviews, and thank ChangeLog for sending them our way.

SGI has released OpenGL under an open source license; some details may be found in the press release. This release is another important step in the preparation of Linux for high-end graphics applications. It is a generous donation to the community; it should also help to preserve OpenGL as the standard interface for 3D graphics.

OpenGL comes out under yet another free software license. This license is interesting to look at. It seems that SGI has a number of software patents that cover code in the OpenGL implementation. The license is thus also a patent license; without that, the code would not be usable in most situations. SGI has explicitly withheld licensing for hardware implementations: "SGI will vigorously defend our IP against any IHVs who make use of these patents in their hardware without executing a patent license with SGI."

The license also does not allow API changes, and does not allow use of the OpenGL trademark. To actually use the term "OpenGL" with a program built with this software, it is necessary to buy a commercial license.

Thus, it is not the freest of software licenses, but it does allow for the normal use, modification, and redistribution cases. It's probably "good enough" for most, though the patent issue is cause for some worry.

The DVD case took an ugly turn with the arrest of Jon Johansen, the 16-year-old Norwegian hacker who first posted the DeCSS code. It seems that programming really can be a crime - even in Norway, where reverse engineering is supposed to be legal. If this attack on basic rights is ultimately successful, expect to see a lot more like it. Those who want to read more about the basic freedom issues here may want to have a look at the Global Internet Liberty Campaign Member Statement on this case.

Meanwhile, an interesting turn in the case may be seen in this News.com article. It seems that the DVDCCA included the DeCSS code as part of the open court records, and left it that way for two weeks. In other words, they have now publicly posted their own alleged trade secret - the very act they are suing others for. It remains to be seen whether they have seriously compromised their case, but the possibility apparently exists.

The LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is next week, in New York City. The usual speakers and exhibitors will be there; the exhibit floor promises to be the largest one yet. LWN will be there - without a booth - and hopefully able to turn in some interesting reports from the event.

Also next week is Linux Expo Paris. Speakers include Richard Stallman, Dirk Hohndel, Michael Cowpland, Bernard Lang, Peter Braam, Jeremy Allison, Miguel de Icaza, and others.

LWN turns two. The very first LWN weekly summary came out on January 22, 1998. That makes us two years old. A lot has happened in that time - and we're looking forward to all that is yet to come. Thanks for two great years; nobody could ever ask for a better community of readers.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Needed Improvements to the Linux security model.
  • Kernel: Scheduler performance under high loads
  • Distributions: Red Flag Linux website, ThinLinux, Embedix 1.0.
  • Development: Mozilla M13, a new license for Wine, weekly reports.
  • Commerce: Journal of Linux Technology, Collab.Net hosts e-speak, Linux wannabe of the week
  • 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 27, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

Improving the Linux security model. Theo de Raadt, a member of the OpenBSD team, had some comments on the effectiveness of the "open source" security model, when not coupled with dedicated staff actually responsible for producing fixes for security problems in a timely manner.
Tom Reed:

Now don't get me wrong, I believe that OpenBSD is about as secure as they get, and I realize that open software can (theoretically) be made more secure because of the distributed effort which goes into it.

Theo de Raadt:

I don't believe that -- it's not the distruted [sic] effort that matters. Rather, _applied_ effort makes the difference.

In our case, it was the applied effort of about 10-15 developers. The various failed Linux and FreeBSD "security-auditing" mailing lists are living, er, I mean dead, proof that the distributed nature of `open source' isn't enough of an assist.

This quote was not reproduced in order to cause bad feelings. It is unfair to the work that has been produced by some of the security projects we've followed. Yet, they have failed to resolve the larger problem. For example, Theo goes on to point out that the problems fixed in that Red Hat's recent update to lpd were originally reported in this advisory, dated ... October of 1997? Ouch.

This does not change the point that having source code available is a critical and necessary part of the process. However, it is not sufficient to guarantee good security, not unless people consistently track down, update and repair problems. This is a problem with security that we've seen for a long time. Busy people have good intentions, can do the right thing even most of the time, but with security, being lax even in one instance can leave you vulnerable, making the effort you did put into security go to waste.

In this particular area, relying on unpaid volunteers to handle the problem is irresponsible. Yes, many people, both paid and unpaid, will work together to find security problems, but the companies that are making money from putting their name on the operating systems we use have a responsibility to see that work to get the problems fixed, in a timely manner, happens. It also needs to happen consistently across all Linux distributions. OpenBSD is acknowledged to be doing a better job; what can we learn from that and apply to Linux?

To demonstrate how important this is, Microsoft has announced a serious commitment to clean up their act in regards to security.

"Microsoft recognizes that security is a matter of great concern to users of its products and services and to the public at large. Therefore Microsoft is committed to pursuing an aggressive program of research and development aimed at continuous improvement in the security of its products and services. Microsoft will also establish an outside advisory board to guide the evolution of its policies, processes, and technology in matters of security and privacy. From time to time, Microsoft will provide the public with reports of its results and progress in improving the security of its products and services."
The response from the Linux community must be no less. LWN promises our commitment to look for, help develop and promote solutions to this problem. (Thanks to Ben De Rydt.)

Security Reports

qpopper. [BugTraq ID, January 26th, 2000]. A remotely exploitable buffer overflow in qpopper 3.X has been reported. A temporary patch has been available, but no official update has yet been posted.

BSD /proc vulnerability. [BugTraq ID, January 21st, 2000]. Local users can get access to root. Patches have been made available for FreeBSD and OpenBSD.

vpopmail (vchkpw). [BugTraq ID, January 21st, 2000]. vpopmail (vchkpw) versions prior to 3.4.11e are vulnerable to a remote buffer overflow attack in the password authentication of vpopmail. The problem has been fixed in the latest version, available from Inter7. Note that this problem was originally, erroneously, labeled a "qmail-pop" vulnerability.

DNS hijacking. [BugTraq ID, January 23rd, 2000]. The insecurity of the current DNS system again comes under discussion, this time illustrated by this posting by Dan Bernstein. As summarized in the BugTraq vulnerability entry, "DNS is built upon levels of trust, and by exploiting single points of failure in this trust system ... By consecutively performing these cache attacks, it could be possible for an attacker to entirely take over name service for any given domain." No solution for this problem is currently available.

VMware. [BugTraq ID, January 21, 2000. A /tmp symlink vulnerability has been identified. No vendor-supplied fix has been reported, but the software does allow the use of an alternate directory for temporary files. Using that feature, along with a directory with restricted write privileges, is highly recommended.


Red Hat security update to majordomo. Red Hat has issued an update to majordomo (which appears in the "Powertools" product). For information on the problems that have been fixed, see BugTraq ID 902 (December 28th, 1999) and BugTraq ID 903 (December 29th, 1999). The updated RPMs provided by Red Hat upgrade the package to 1.94-5. An upgrade is recommended.

Also check out this note which outlines steps to protect the directory in which the majordomo code lives which should be taken if you are using majordomo.


connlogd. Alec Kosky's TCP & UDP connection logger, connlogd, is now available via ftp.


New Security Paradigms Workshop 2000. The Call-For-Papers for the New Security Paradigms Workshop, scheduled for September 19 - 21, 2000, Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland, has been released. Note that the workshop is limited to authors of accepted papers and the conference organizers. "The New Security Paradigms Workshop is highly interactive in nature. Authors are encouraged to present ideas that might be considered risky in some other forum. All participants are charged with providing feedback in a constructive manner. The resulting brainstorming environment has proven to be an excellent medium for furthering the development of these ideas. The proceedings, published after the workshop, have consistently benefited from the inclusion of workshop feedback."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 27, 2000

Secure Linux Projects
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Security List Archives
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Comp Sec News Daily
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.40. The changes in this release are as described last week, with the addition of drivers for Moxa serial cards.

There is a 2.3.41 prepatch available (in its third revision as of this writing). It contains a bunch of Sparc fixes, a driver for 3ware storage controllers, some SCSI code reorganization, an IBM USB camera driver (and many other USB changes), and a large number of networking tweaks.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.14. The 2.2.15 prepatch is up to 2.2.15pre4.

Messing with the scheduler has been a topic of discussion as a result of the now-famous IBM paper on the scheduling of Java threads in Linux. The authors of the paper had found that, when large number of threads are contending for the CPU, the Linux kernel spends a great deal of time (up to 20%) in the scheduler.

Two reasons were found for the problem. The first has to do with the ordering of the fields in the task_struct structure, which describes processes in the kernel. By rearranging the fields in this (large) structure, the IBM folks were able to obtain improved cache behavior in the scheduler, and thus improve its performance. This patch is relatively straightforward, and was incorporated into kernel 2.3.39.

The other problem is that the scheduler, at every switch, goes through the entire queue of runnable processes and calculates a "goodness" value for each one. The "goodest" process then gets to run. When the run queue is short (as is usually the case), the cost of this calculation is small. When the queue is long, however, it gets to be significant.

Leading the "fix the scheduler" charge is Davide Libenzi, who has posted a patch which keeps processes in the run queue clustered by their "goodness" value. When the run queue is organized in this way, it is no longer necessary to pass through the entire queue to pick the next process to run. The result is better performance under high loads.

There is, however, very little consensus on whether this optimization is necessary or desirable. The fear that most people have is that, by optimizing the scheduler for high loads, the patch will make life worse in the low-load case. Since low loads are the usual condition for most systems out there, most users would end up being worse off.

Even the question of whether the high-load case is worth optimizing for is controversial. Numerous people make the point that large numbers of threads lead to poor cache usage and poor performance in general. No amount of scheduler tweaking can make up for bad cache behavior. The claim has been made that it is always much better to rewrite the application in a non-threaded mode; the best performance will be achieved in this way, and there is no need to mess with the scheduler.

The real point here is just how expensive cache misses really are. A single cache miss can stall the processor for dozens of clock cycles. That cost is so high that it can easily outweigh any advantages gained through additional parallelism in a multi-threaded application - even on multiprocessor systems. As long as memory speeds lag processor speeds, improving performance by splitting tasks across threads will be hard to do.

The challenge has been thrown to proponents of highly-threaded applications to recode their programs in a single-threaded mode. The challengers believe that the recoded version will perform better; if not, it will be time to revisit the scheduler question. Until such a time, it's unlikely that any scheduler changes will get into the kernel.

Another file_operations change? Abramo Bagnara of the ALSA Project has posted a proposal for an interface change which would add "readv" and "writev" methods to the file_operations structure. Since this structure is central to the Linux device driver interface, such a change can have widespread implications. The block device changes have already changed file_operations once in this time of alleged feature freeze; is it really appropriate to change the kernel API again at this late date?

The answer might just be "yes." The readv and writev system calls are used for "scatter/gather" I/O, where the data moves from or to multiple distinct areas of memory. The Linux kernel, thus far, simply turns each segment of a readv or writev operation into a separate read or write for the underlying device driver or file system (except for sockets, which can already handle readv and writev).

It turns out that some devices - sound cards, in particular - do not work well this way. The I/O requirements of some of these devices can be quite complicated, and problems can arise when I/O operations are split apart before the driver sees them. If, instead, readv and writev are passed straight through to the driver, reliable, low-latency audio becomes much easier to implement.

The change is not difficult, and can be done in a way that does not require changes in any other drivers. Only those which can make use of the new operations would need to be modified, and that can happen whenever the driver maintainer gets around to it. Given the benefits and relatively low risk, this change might go in even this late in the development cycle.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • The folks at Mission Critical Linux have announced an in-memory core dump facility for Alpha systems; they are working on porting it to other architectures.

  • A patch to eliminate the old __SMP__ preprocessor symbol (in favor of CONFIG_SMP) has been posted by Niels Kristian Bech Jensen.

  • Bakonyi Ferenc posted a framebuffer driver for Hercules graphic adapters.

  • Jeremy Fitzhardinge has updated his autofs patches; the current release is v4.0.0-pre1.

  • PPSkit 0.9.1 was posted by Ulrich Windl.

  • Linux/a386 2.3.40 (the Linux kernel running in a Unix process) has been released.

  • The Timpanogas Group has released an updated version of its Netware filesystem; the previous release had a serious bug.

  • Trond Myklebust posted an updated version of his NFSv3 client implementation.

  • Netfilter 0.1.17 has been released.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

January 27, 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.

Distribution Link updates: thanks to our readers!. In response to our request last week, we received updated links for several distributions for which our own links had grown stale. That includes Eurielec Linux, now to be found at http://www.eurielec.etsit.upm.es/linux/ (thanks to Fernando Herrera de las Heras and Jesus Ortega). Linux Pro Plus, actually one of the older distributions out there, can still be found at http://www.LinuxPro.com and is still for sale over at the Linux Mall, though its long-term future is apparently uncertain.

No updates were received for CCLinux, Eonova, Linux-Kheops or nanoLinux II, so they have been removed from our list.

Red Flag Linux: Web site now available. [RedFlag logo] In response to the question in some people's minds as to whether the Red Flag Linux distribution in China that we mentioned again last week actually existed, Dominic Beecher was kind enough to point out that the website http://www.redflag-linux.com/ is up and running as of January 18th. It is, of course, in Chinese, so our personal knowledge of the distribution has not greatly increased.

"There's quite a detailed page about version 1.0 (apparently based on Red Hat Linux version 6.0), and a shorter page with information about changes and improvements made in version 1.1 which is coming soon. There are also links to a downloads page (which I haven't tried, so can't guarantee that it'll work)," commented Dominic.

New Distribution of the Week: ThinLinux. Jack van den Akker wrote to inform us of a new Linux Distribution from the FirePlug Consulting Group. ThinLinux is a "ThinLinux is a general toolset which can be used to do almost anything. Packages which will install and run under the ThinLinux system might include things such as stand alone firewalls, dedicated camera servers, MP3 players, X-10 controllers, to custom device facilities for any number of interesting applications." Jack was also kind enough to respond to a number of our questions about ThinLinux in this quasi-interview.

Embedix 1.0 ships. Lineo has announced that version 1.0 of Embedix - its version of OpenLinux aimed at embedded systems - has begun shipping. Also announced was "Embedix PDA," a compatibility layer on top of Embedix which facilitates the porting of Windows CE code.

Note that Embedix is a "licensed" version of Linux, meaning that it contains proprietary software which requires a license to be purchased in order to be used. The non-proprietary portions of Embedix are available for download. For more information, see the LinuxDevices.com interview with Lineo CEO, Brian Sparks.

The LNX System. The LNX System is another new distribution in development; it aims "to be a well-engineered and well-documented system, which attempts to draw from the best practices of other systems, and develop better practices where only poor ones exist." Like any such project, it's looking for developers to help out; see the announcement for details on what they are up to.

Corel Linux

Corel Linux a Hit. Corel Linux is a hit worldwide according to this press release from Corel Corporation.

Corel Linux: for your desktop (MSNBC). MSNBC reviews Corel Linux. "COREL LINUX is terrific. Not perfect, but terrific. If you've been waiting to try Linux on your home computer, you've now run out of excuses. You put in the CD and reboot your machine and Corel does the rest."

Debian GNU/Linux

No nominations received. Currently, no nominations have been received for the post of Debian Project Leader for the next year. The nomination period will extend for a little over one more week. This is one difficulty with a system where people must nominate themselves ... and have a clear idea of the consequence of doing so!

VA.debian.org will no longer be mirroring the Debian ftp archive, due to space constraints, according to this note. If you are using that mirror, you will want to redirect your system to some alternative.


Mastodon INST0050 has been announced. This distribution, supported by David Parsons, strives to assure that a.out lives on.
You may be asking ... So, just what ARE you talking about here? Mastodon is Yet Another Linux Distribution, but it's not like any of the others. Mastodon offers:
  • Linux kernel 2.0.28
  • Libc 4.8.0 (all a.out, all the time)
  • As much OpenBSD and FreeBSD userland as possible.
  • A completely different /etc/rc.d setup that's almost documented.
  • An ascii menu-driven installer
  • A little more paranoia via using tcp wrappers for every internet service.
  • Some point and drool administration, all woefully undocumented.
  • Everything compiled for the 386 instruction set, so you can run this on the old 386sx you've got rotting away in the closet.
  • ... and more undiscovered bugs that you can shake a stick at.

Spiro Linux

SPIRO-Linux WETMINtS is a Web-Enabled Telephone Administration System for Linux, released under the GPL, that has been announced. "Using WETMINtS you can configure DNS, Samba, NFS, local/remote filesystems and more using your Web- Enabled cellular phone. WETMINtS is simple web enabled cellular phone software, and consists of a number of CGI programs which directly update system files. WETMINtS supports all SPIRO-Linux and other linux operating systems." They are also looking for volunteers to help with the WETMINtS project.

SuSE Linux

SuSE 6.3 vs. Redhat 6.1 (EmuTech2000). EmuTech2000 has put up a comparative review of Red Hat 6.1 and SuSE Linux 6.3. "The SuSE Linux 6.3 Package came with a 480+ page manual, 6 CD's, 2 boot-disks and 2 lovely 'Powered by SuSE Linux' Stickers:) The Redhat Linux 6.1 Package came with 3 manuals, which when combined are over 900 pages long, 4 CD's, 1 boot-disk, 6 lovely 'Powered by Redhat Linux' stickers and 1 large www.redhat.com sticker, which was not so lovely:)" Final score: 7 to 6, in favor of SuSE (on a scale of 10). Clearly, though, areas for improvement were found in both ...

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 27, 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
Conectiva Linux

Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
Red Escolar

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

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

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

Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

Historical (Non-active)
MCC Interim Linux
Storm Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects


Article on Mozilla. WebMonkey has a really nice article about Communicator 5, Mozilla, and the importance of standards. "Communicator 5 (aka Mozilla) is one of the most highly anticipated releases in browser history. Yes, there's been much hoopla about its open-source development and Gecko, its powerful layout engine. But the real kicker is that it promises to be the most standards-compliant major browser ever. "

Mozilla M13 has been released. M13 was announced yesterday, January 26th, 2000. The release notes don't really make it clear what exactly has been improved in M13. It is early days yet, but it doesn't look like M13 is necessarily better than M12 in all ways ... the less brave may want to wait for M14.


SEUL-EDU Linux in education report #4. The fourth SEUL-EDU Linux in Education report is now available. Covered topics include Dr. Genius and the Free Physics Project.

Linux Knowledge Base weekly report. Here is the latest weekly report from the Linux Knowledge Base project. They are scrambling over there as they go for their February 1 release.

LinuxForKids. This week, LinuxForKids points people toward Lincity, recent Slashdot discussions about games and the advantages of the latest versions of The Gimp.


Shadowbane for Linux petition. We got in this note about an electronic petition asking that Wolfpack Studios make its "Shadowbane" multiplayer game available for Linux. Evidently Wolfpack is thinking about it, but doesn't see enough interest from the Linux community. If you would like to see this product made available for Linux, it's time to express that interest.

High Availability

Linux-HA website updates. Links to a new Apache module for high-available and the netsaint network monitoring software have been added to the Linux-HA website.

Office Tools

Gimp 1.1.15. The latest version of The Gimp has been released. This is an unstable, developer-only release. The Gimp Kernel-Cousin. This week's Gimp Kernel-Cousin was published January 21st, 2000.

On the Desktop

The State of GNOME Address. Miguel's latest comments on the status of Gnome and its future, along with user comments, was released January 21st, 2000. It is an excellent overview and covers a lot of ground, including the priorities that will be used to focus effort. "As Maddog likes to say, lets not think about the little percentage of people who have chosen an operating system so far. Lets think about the rest of the population that has never used a computer: we need to make GNOME accessible to them, and make it their desktop of choice."

This week's Gnome Summary. Havoc Pennington's Gnome Summary for January 18th through the 26th indicates that a new stable release of Gnome is planned for this spring, and talks in detail about their planned policy for new major releases. It will be interesting to see how well it works, to contrast with problems experienced by other large, free software projects, such as Debian.

Gnome Projects of the Week. Three new projects of the week have been suggested, including one marked "unofficial". gnome-applets, gnumeric and gPhoto are the packages involved. They look quite inviting, for someone wishing to get their "feet wet" in Gnome development ...

KDE's KUML. KUML is a Virtual Unified Modeling Language Designer for KDE being developed by the KUML team, led by Darius Stachow. Still under development, the website contains information on the features that have been implemented so far.

Website Development

Midgard Weekly Summary. Easier access to updated versions of the Midgard manual, news on the port of Midgard to Windows and RPMs for SuSE are covered in this week's Midgard Weekly Summary, covering news for this web application development and publishing platform.

A Zope Primer (Byte). Byte's Jon Udell looks at the Zope calendar tag. "Like a lot of object-oriented systems, notably Smalltalk, Zope can give you tremendous leverage once you figure out how it's put together, but getting to that point can be a real challenge. I hope this example will help someone else get there a bit quicker than I did."


Wine Weekly News The Wine Weekly News for January 24th, 2000, indicates that a firm decision has been made to move Wine to using the MIT X11 license instead of the original Wine license. All Wine authors are asked to send email to Alexandre Julliard to indicate acceptance of the new license.

Address space separation. The WWN also indicated that work has begun on creating a separate address space for each process that runs under Wine, both for security and for issues of running DLLs that do not have relocation records.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

January 27, 2000

Project Links
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More Information



Development tools


Blackdown Java-Linux FAQ. An updated version of the java-linux@java.blackdown.org FAQ has been posted.

Blackdown JCK Status. The status of the JCK testing progress for the JDK 1.2.2 has been updated this week. It looks like considerable progress has been made, but a few problems remain for the x86 port and others.

1.2.2-RC4 will be released this week! is a comment posted to the Blackdown 1.2.2 Port Status Page on January 24th, 2000.


Book Review: Elements of Programming with Perl. David H. Adler has written this review of Elements of Programming with Perl, by Andrew Johnson. "It seems quite clear that Johnson's is the first book that you would want to actually recommend to those people who say 'I've heard about this \"pearl\" thing, where can I learn more' without worrying that they'll have to be entirely retrained afterwards. "


PHP developers conference report. Here is a report from the first PHP Developers Conference. It includes the establishment of milestones for the long-awaited PHP 4.0 release, a decision to bundle the MySQL library with PHP 4.0, and ideas for future PHP developments.


This week's Python-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for January 24. It mentions the beginning of the 8th International Python Conference, and lots of other Python development topics.

Jpython 1.1 final has been released. Check the JPython News page for more details.


Dr. Dobbs' Tcl-URL!. This week's Tcl-URL! covers the release of WaveSurfer 9.9, the most efficient way to count the number of like elements in a list, manipulating URLs in AOLServer and a TclXML tutorial. Jeffrey Hobbs is this week's editor.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

[JOLT cover] The Journal of Linux Technology. O'Reilly and VA Linux Systems have announced a new publication, the "Journal of Linux Technology" (which inevitably is shortened to "JOLT"). The Journal looks to be a highly technical publication, most certainly not aimed at the newbie crowd. The four articles in the first issue, which concentrates on clustering and will be available at LinuxWorld, are:
  • Network Monitoring for Clusters (San Mehat)
  • Managing Beowulf Clusters (David Spector)
  • Parametric Perspectives (Karlo Copp)
  • Distributed Supercomputing for the Grid (Paul Messina)
Some more information can be found on the JOLT site, hosted on Linux.com. At this point, there is no information for prospective authors. Subscription information also appears to not yet be in place.

VA has also announced its new "Linux Without Limits" branding campaign, and a partnership with HP to develop printing solutions that run under Linux.

Red Hat to bundle Computer Associates' software. Red Hat and Computer Associates have announced a deal wherein Red Hat will bundle Computer Associates' "enterprise management" software in the Red Hat Enterprise Edition. Red Hat's Enterprise Edition is getting to be a fairly large product; other items like IBM's Java implementation and the CCVS credit card processing system are ending up there. This edition - which is getting pretty far from the "pure open source" roots - is clearly intended to enable Red Hat to raise the price of the distribution. It makes sense; many corporate customers are willing to pay well above $40 for an operating system, especially if they get some nice added goodies with it.

Collab.Net to build e-speak site. Collab.Net has announced that it has an agreement with HP to build and operate the open source development infrastructure for HP's e-speak system. The infrastructure includes a lot of the usual stuff: a CVS repository, BugZilla, mailing lists, etc. In other words, it looks an awful lot like Collab.Net is setting itself up as a sort of SourceForge for larger, paying customers. They will likely do well; as corporations get into open source development, they will need a lot of help setting up and managing the process.

Collab.Net has also announced the hiring of a few new managers - including Frank Hecker as "Systems Engineering Manager." SuSE announces new US management team. SuSE has announced a restructuring of its management team in the US, following the departure of Marc Torres.

Linsight appoints co-director. Dave Whitinger's Linsight effort has announced the appointment of E.J. Wells as co-director.

(Legal) DVD playback for Linux will soon be available, according to this announcement from Sigma Designs. Sigma is evidently about to introduce the new "NetStream 2000" card which will include a (closed source) Linux driver. No word on just when... There is a newsgroup (REALmagic.linux) on news.sigmadesigns.com for those who want to follow the topic. (Thanks to David Decotigny).

eLinux.com to debut. Creative Computers has announced the upcoming launch of its eLinux.com site, which "will provide the Linux community with a single source for products, news, discussion groups, services, support and information."

Wave Technologies announces Linux exams. Wave Technologies has announced a set of Linux professional certification exams. These are, of course, the exams inherited from Wave's recent acquisition of SAIR.

MyHelpDesk.com announces Linux help directories MyHelpDesk.com has announced a set of Linux help directories covering 20 distributions.

Linux wannabe press release of the week. This week's Linux wannabe press release comes from Vitamins.com. We now know that "Vitamins.com has further distinguished itself in the competitive Internet health industry race by being one of the first to integrate the Linux Operating System, produced by Red Hat, the leading developer and provider of open source software solutions." They also inform the world that "All software except Oracle is Freeware" and "Language is written in Perl, and Java applets." Are we impressed yet?

It is interesting that a number of these releases not only name Red Hat, but identify it as "the leading developer and provider of open source software solutions." The chances of Vitamins.com deciding by itself to include such a phrase in a press release seem fairly small...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • iEntertainment has announced its intent to develop a new multiplayer role-playing game - called "The Eternal City 3D" - "using an open-source game engine."

  • Linuxcare has announced that it will announce a "new open source model" at LinuxWorld.

  • SpellCaster Telecommunications Inc. announced it is releasing the source code for its Babylon software. Babylon provides point-to-point remote access to and from Linux systems using PPP(ii).

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • ALICOM announced the Linux Enterprise Messaging Server.

  • Bidhit.com Inc., an online auctioneer, announced the initiation of its Linux Development Program.

  • DICA Technologies, Inc. announced the availability of DICAMail 5000, a modular technology that secures e-mail communications between multiple sites.

  • Hummingbird has announced its "Enterprise Information Portal" product for Linux. It's not another web site; it's "a single point of access to all business-critical information and resources including structured and unstructured enterprise data." Pricing starts at $100,000.

  • JetForm Corporation introduced JetForm Central for Linux, an electronic document output solution.

  • Linux Stock News has announced that over 1,000 people have signed up for the service.

  • Magic Software Enterprises announced its new Magic Enterprise Edition V.8 development environment for Linux.

  • Qarbon.com announced the immediate availability of Viewlets.

  • STS International announced that its new distribution, IntraLinux, was launched on January 22. IntraLinux is aimed specifically at network server applications. Pricing is not mentioned, but, given that the price includes training for the customer's staff, it's probably not $39.

  • Tux Games announced pre-release prices for four upcoming Loki titles.

    Products Using Linux:

  • K2 Design, Inc. announced that it would support site and application development using the Linux operating system.

  • LAND-5 Corp. announced the Linux-based iCEbox StoragePod, a network attached solution offering up to 4.5TB of instant network RAID storage.

  • RACER announced the introduction of the new RacerLX Series of desktops and servers based on the Linux Operating System.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • Asante Technologies, Inc. announced a comprehensive technical support system.

  • BiTMICRO NETWORKS, Inc. announced the ATI35 E-Disk, an IDE/ATA solid state flash disk.

  • Celo Communications announced the latest version of CeloCom Enterprise.

  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. announced Check Point 2000, a new edition of its integrated software for comprehensive Internet security.

  • Cognos announced its intention to port its software to the Linux operating system.

  • Dell Computer Corporation announced the Dell PowerEdge 2450 server. It is slated to support Red Hat Linux 6.1 as of mid-February, 2000.

  • Dell Computer Corporation announced the Dell PowerEdge 4400 server. It is slated to support Red Hat Linux 6.1 as of mid-February, 2000.

  • HICOMP Software Systems GmbH announced the immediate availability of full support for Linux as a system platform for SAP R/3.

  • Interwoven Inc. announced its intention to offer OpenDeploy, its Web content replication software, for the Linux operating system.

  • Lantronix announced the availability of its free RTEL software utility with support for the Linux operating system.

  • Manchester Equipment Co., Inc. entered its 28th year in business by announcing support for the Linux operating system.

  • MERANT announced Egility Enterprise Extension solution for Red Hat Linux now has the MERANT Micro Focus Object COBOL Developer Suite (OCDS) for Linux.

  • This related press release announced that RIMS has successfully ported to the Linux platform using the MERANT Micro Focus OCDS for Linux.

  • MetaCard Corporation announced MetaCard 2.3 for application development or multimedia authoring.

  • Natural MicroSystems Corporation announced broad support for the Linux operating system.

  • Network Engines, Inc. announced Network Engines' Internet Appliance Architecture, which allows any company to deploy and manage an affordable, scalable platform capable of handling large volumes of Web content reliably and efficiently.

  • NUWAVE Technologies, Inc. announced the development of its imaging enhancement software for Linux.

  • Phobos Corporation introduced its Xpress line of networking appliances, designed to improve the performance and availability of Web sites and e-commerce servers.

  • Phoenix Technologies Ltd. announced that PhoenixBIOS will be used in Transmeta Caruso processor reference designs for a new category of Mobile Internet Computers.

  • Rave Computer Association, Inc. announced the UltraAXmp. Although it is primarily built for Sun Solaris, it is also offered with Red Hat Linux 6.1.

  • RiverSoft announced i3philOSophy, a network management operating system.

  • Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced StarOffice NOW, a program designed for partners and other third parties interested in providing StarOffice software, to their subscribers, customers or other end users.

  • Telamon Inc. announced that it has released Version 5.0 for TelAlert, the company's solution for critical message delivery to and from the field.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Alpha Processor, Inc. announced the addition of 6 new members to its strategic partner program. Dirig Software, Inc., Linuxcare, Inc., Covalent, MandrakeSoft, Inc., PolyServe, Inc. and Stalker Software, Inc.

  • ALPNET has announced that it has localized Red Hat Linux for the German, French, and Japanese markets.

  • ApplianceWare Inc. announced a co-marketing alliance with Maxspeed Corporation to combine ApplianceWare's Linux-based network-attached storage server appliances with Maxspeed's best-in-class Linux desktop devices.

  • Cobalt Networks and INTERSHOP Communications, Inc. announced a joint partnership to offer Intershop RaQ, the first Intershop e-commerce appliance on the Linux operating system.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. announced that they have entered into an agreement with CNET that allows TheLinuxStore.com to market its Linux-based products and services through the Auctions, Store and Shopper sections of the recently launched CNET Linux Center.

  • eSoft Inc. announced an agreement with Bell Micro - Future Tech International to offer full support and distribution of the TEAM Internet product line throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

  • Government Technology Services, Inc. and Red Hat announced that they have finalized an agreement permitting GTSI to market and sell Red Hat Linux operating system to the federal government. In addition to the operating system, GTSI also intends to offer the government a full range of Red Hat support services.

  • internet.com announced that it has acquired JustLinux.com, a portal dedicated to Linux and open source development.

  • KeyLink Systems and IBM announced new, full-service business partner solution offerings featuring the Red Hat Linux operating system.

  • Linuxcare announced an agreement with Compaq Computer Corporation to provide end-to-end support, professional services, and courseware to Compaq Solution Alliance partners worldwide.

  • NETmachines, Inc. announced a strategic alliance with Cybernet Systems Corporation.

  • Planet Intra announced that it has joined the IBM Netfinity ServerProven program.

  • Red Hat, Inc. announced that Amerada Hess has chosen Red Hat Linux to run a supercomputing cluster in its Exploration Department.

  • S3 Inc. announced that it has partnered with Transmeta Corporation on the design and production of forthcoming Internet devices powered by Transmeta's Crusoe processor.

  • Service911.com announced the acquisition of Learnlots.com. Learnlots.com is the creator of "how-to" computing tutorials, including "Managing Your Linux System".

  • VA Linux Systems has announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to develop printing solutions that run under Linux.

    Financial Results:

  • Applix, Inc. reported increased revenues and it is exploring strategic growth options for its Linux Division.

  • Computer Associates International, Inc. reported record financial results for its third fiscal quarter.

  • eSoft Inc. reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 1999.

  • internet.com reported results for the quarter ended December 31, 1999.

  • Pervasive Software Inc. reported that revenues for the second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 1999 increased 15%.

  • TiVo, Inc. announced financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 1999.


  • Eagle Wireless announced that it has received a purchase order for set-top box units, totaling $12.5 million from Urbana.ca Enterprises. The set-top boxes incorporate both the Linux operating system and Wavelet technology.

  • IBM exec Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger will deliver his first Linux-industry keynote presentation at LinuxWorld.

  • Here's a look at the companies that will be at LinuxWorld next week.

  • OMNIS Technology Corporation announced that the company has applied for a listing on the NASDAQ SmallCap Market. They cite their recent move into the Linux open source market as one reason why they are ready for this move.

  • ParaSoft announced their Director of Technology, Dr. Michael Aivazis, will be a speaker at LinuxWorld. His topic: "Configuring the Software Development Process on Linux."

  • The nominees for Slashdot's 'beanie' awards have been announced. It's a long list, since several awards are being given out.

  • TUCOWS.com Inc. announced that in three months the company has registered over 600 Registration Service Providers to its OpenSRS Domain Registration System.

  • VERITAS Software Corporation disclosed its Linux Strategy and Roadmap, and open-source strategy.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

January 27, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

The Red Herring ran this article about the upcoming Solaris 8 release. "In a move aimed at Linux, Sun said it will announce Wednesday that it is making the source code for its new Solaris 8 operating system 'open.' Webster's has lots of definitions for the word, including 'not sealed, fastened, or locked.' But when you dig into the details of Sun's announcement, you'll find that what it is offering doesn't come close to meeting the dictionary's definition, let alone that of the open-source movement."


Upside looks at why Transmeta employs Linus Torvalds. "Now that Torvalds' true role at Transmeta has been revealed -- he is co-architect for Crusoe's embedded 'code morphing' software technology and chief developer of the 'mobile Linux' default operating system for the low cost TM 3120 chip -- it's a bit easier to identify the Transmeta-Linux connection."

Here's a News.com article about Transmeta and its Linux plans. "Torvalds and other Transmeta programmers have been working on several improvements to Linux for small devices, rather than competing in the growing market for server-based products. 'We're not competing against Red Hat or anything,' said chief executive Dave Ditzel, referring to the leading seller of Linux. 'We're helping people craft and put it together.'"

CNN covers Transmeta's announcement. "'Transmeta has all the technical pieces to enable computer manufacturers to very quickly bring entire products to market,' [Transmeta CEO] Ditzel said. Those pieces include modified versions of a mobile version of the Linux operating system, he said." (Thanks to Jonathan Day)

PC Week ran this article on how Transmeta's "Mobile Linux" is not ready yet. "If Mobile Linux had been ready to launch last week, there may have been less hype around Transmeta Corp.'s Crusoe processor and more excitement about the operating system that will run on it."

Salon has posted perhaps the best article on Transmeta's unveiling that we have seen yet. "One of the possible Crusoe-incorporating products demoed at the Transmeta press conference was a sample 'Web pad,' a flat slate about the size of an 8-by-11 sheet of paper. Essentially a portable Web browser running on a very compact version of the Linux-based operating system, the Web pad looked less like a computer than a really high-powered Etch-a-Sketch. But it was hard to imagine not wanting one."

The Register points out that few people thought to ask which distribution was used to create the "Mobile Linux" that runs on Transmeta's new chip. According to them, Transmeta used Debian for this application. "Not only is this a vote of confidence in Debian - it's as near to being sanctified as a distro can get - but it might close the gap between the high technical regard in which Debian is held, and the general punters' ignorance of its existence."

Here's an osOpinion piece which speculates that the Transmeta CPU could be used to create a computer capable of running encrypted code. "Even if you have the hardware resources to tap into the CPU cache and extract the true program code you cannot do much with the results as you have to re-encrypt the code for each new PC it has to run on but you can't re-create the original digital signature!"

Solaris 8:

News.com ran this article about the upcoming release of Solaris 8; it talks as much about Linux as about Solaris. "Among the debut's highlights will be Sun's adoption of some Linux principles, according to people familiar with the company's plans. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer maker will eliminate licensing fees and make its 'source code,' or underlying programming instructions, available to customers, these people said."

Here's ZDNet's take on the Solaris 8 release. "Microsoft's not Sun's only worry. Sun must fend off growing encroachments by Linux, which not only is free but also is becoming more robust with help from Sun competitors IBM, Intel and Hewlett-Packard. Sun President Ed Zander told financial analysts last week that Sun will never adopt Linux as its operating system but will instead 'put every ounce of R&D we have into Solaris.'"

Internet Week covers the Solaris source release. "Because of the difference between community source and open source, the change to community source is likely to have little impact, said George Weiss, an analyst with GartnerGroup. 'I don't expect that Sun will get the benefit of the open source community,' Weiss said. 'It's a psychological counter-offensive to the Linux or open source philosophy.'"


The Red Herring looks at IBM's recent moves as a direct attack on Sun. "In aggressively chasing Sun in the Unix market, IBM also plans to milk the open source phenomenon. 'We'll have Linux running across all our server platforms by the end of this year,' Mr. [IBM VP] Palmisano promised the crowd."

Sm@rt Reseller reports on IBM's Java licensing deals. "The wheeling and dealing isn't done yet. Sources close to IBM say IBM is likely to sign a Java deal with SuSE, the last of the four major Linux server distributors, shortly."

Bloomberg looks at IBM's deal with Red Hat, TurboLinux, and Caldera. "IBM is licensing the software to the distributors for free. The company hopes the agreements will pay off by making Linux even easier to use for Internet sites. IBM can then sell computers, software and services for these sites." (Found in Portalux News).


Arne W. Flones shares his his experience with his Netwinder and his first experiement with booting a system diskless. "I set up the server and pointed the NetWinder's BIOS towards the new NetWinder kernel and disk image stored on my PII. I told it to reboot.

It was amazing. The network adapter lights were flashing like crazy and the familiar, and very comforting, kernel messages were again flashing across the display. I was very soon looking at a Linux login prompt."

CPU Review plays with a 1GHz Athlon system. "The kernel was built in 2 minutes and 23.64 seconds!"

Network World Fusion compares several network operating systems. "We found the latest release of Red Hat's commercial Linux bundle led the list for flexibility because its modular design lets you pare down the operating system to suit the task at hand. Additionally, you can create scripts out of multiple Linux commands to automate tasks across a distributed environment." (Thanks to M. Leo Cooper).

This osOpinion piece looks at the good and bad parts of a few different operating systems. "Documentation in the Linux world is atrocious. It's not a simple case of RTFM (Read-The-Flaming-Manual), but tracking down sometimes half-a-dozen man (short for manual) pages full of incredibly terse, obtuse, programmer-speak (and which often say things like 'This man page is no longer maintained, check the info pages instead')."


LinuxDevices.com has interviewed Brian Sparks regarding Lineo's recent decision to release their Embedix Linux distribution under a per-system license scheme. "Sparks: Of course, the GPL portions of Embedix Linux can be reproduced freely by anyone. However, our Embedix Linux distribution also includes a number of proprietary non-GPL software modules from both Lineo and 3rd parties . These are what we are licensing."

CPU Review talks with nVidia about its collaboration with SGI and VA Linux to produce an OpenGL implementation for Linux. "Since the future product is a result of the collaboration, we have not yet determined an Open Source strategy. We will let you know the details at a future time."


News.com reports on the release of Embedix 1.0. "Lineo hopes to make money by selling not only its Embedix product, for which the company will charge royalties, but also from higher-level software such as a Web browser and a software development kit to make it easier to create programs running on Embedix. Embedix also is available on CD-ROM for $30. While Embedix is available as a free download, the software may not be resold, Lineo said."

Here's an M2PR article about Red Hat's "6.1 Professional Package." "Developed in Germany, the new Professional package is the first commercial version available internationally outside of the US and is not restricted by US encryption laws."

The E-Commerce Times reports on Caldera's eServer announcement. "The Caldera OpenLinux-based eServer 2.3 is set to officially debut next week at the LinuxWorld Expo in New York City. It will include IBM's VisualAge for Java and the WebSphere Application Server Standard Edition for Linux, helping the product to streamline the process of creating an online presence."

Inter@ctive Investor ponders SGI's Linux plans. "Linux isn't likely to dress up SGI shares, but that doesn't mean the operating system won't be a big part of SGI's future. The company recently announced it is working on bringing Linux to its high-end graphics customers. SGI also owns a nice chunk of VA Linux (Nasdaq: LNUX), which was worth $268 million as of Dec. 31."

Individual Investor is not entirely impressed with Corel's latest result. There are some bright spots, though: "Some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that Corel's Linux revenue currently accounts for roughly 5% of the total revenue. Cowpland?s five-year goal is for Linux to account for 50% of Corel's revenue. With the Linux OS doing $3.2 million in just three weeks, we think this target is well within reason."

Here's an article in Sm@rt Reseller about Linuxcare's IPO filing. "While stock prices have yet to be set, sources close to the company indicate they expect a price in the $19 to $21 range. It is expected that, following the lead of the first true Linux IPOs--Red Hat and VALinux--LinuxCare will issue stock options to significant open-source developers."

News.com covers Linuxcare's IPO filing. "The announcement may indicate a change of philosophy at Linuxcare, which earlier indicated that it didn't expect to go public any time soon. But its competitors have increasing amounts of money to spend on expansion, and some analysts have said the current Wall Street fondness for Linux may not last."

The Fox Market Wire looks at Linux IPOs. "While companies like Caldera and Red Hat are marketing their own versions of Linux operating systems, Linuxcare, Inc., is gambling that the future of the industry is not in selling boxed versions of the software. After all, the source code is free to whoever wants it. Rather, the future will be in helping those who must learn how it works."

Here's a Reuters article about upcoming Linux IPOs. "However, one upcoming IPO has raised many questions in the Linux community, with the filing from LinuxOne of Mountain View, Calif., which initially filed without an underwriter."


ZDNet UK ran this article about free application servers. "...surprisingly both Zope and Midgard were spawned by commercial projects, rather than the academic or utilitarian efforts that gave rise to Linux and Apache." (Thanks to Henri Bergius).

News.com looks at the latest developments in the DVD case. "The judge did not go as far as banning sites from linking to other sites that contain the [DeCSS] program or information about it, however."

Here is a long article in the Linux Journal about the release of Kevin Mitnick, and about Linux and crackers in general. "Everyone knows the press is stupid and intentionally misunderstands things for the sake of a more palatable story. However, Linux hackers, open source advocates, free software enthusiasts and, I'll say it at the risk of offending a whole lot of people, hackers across the board, would do well to understand each other, and stop laughing when tragedy befalls people like Kevin." (Thanks to Dave Finton).

The latest 'Dear Lina' column on Linuxcare's site looks at managing upgrades and the role of the lost+found directory. "So, if you ever see anything in your lost+found directories, you should check what it is right away! It could be those four hours of work that you were pretty sure had been saved, when your dog decided to get all lovey-dovey with the power cord and yanked it. Oopsie!"

The results from LinuxDevices' latest survey, describing people's plans for upcoming products using Linux, are worth checking out. For example, "Question 3: What hardware platform do you expect to use? -- interestingly, there was a two-way tie between "PC/104 or EBX" and "custom non-PC architecture" for first place (at 26% each); next, came "custom PC architecture" (at 22%); fourth place was occupied by standard desktop-PC motherboards (at 15%)," might come as a surprise to some.

ZDNet UK reports on the warnings of Eugene Kaspersky. Mr. Kaspersky says that a wave of Linux viruses is on its way from China. "According to Kaspersky, Linux poses a new challenge for virus-fighters because its open source-code will put viruses-writers at a distinct advantage." Oh, yes, Mr. Kaspersky is in the anti-virus business.

Information Week ran this column questioning the enterprise-readiness of Linux. "...looking at the near-term benefits of deploying Linux as a strategic initiative as opposed to the relative dearth of important management applications and the potential for a stunting of Linux's growth, I wouldn't bet the farm on Linux quite yet."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

January 27, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Rob Slade sent us this reveiw of "UNIX System Security Tools", by Seth Ross.

Here is an issue of Gregory Aharonian's PATNEWS newsletter which describes a novel approach to dealing with software patents - and bogus patents in general. He has figured out an amusing way to turn patent-busting into a profit-making venture, worth a read. (Thanks to St fane Fermigier).


Michael Hammel has sent out a reminder notice about the Linux Writers and Publishers BOF session which will be held at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo next week. Quite a few writers and publishers both will be there (LWN included); it looks like a an especially good place for those interested in writing about Linux and looking for a publisher. A one-day Beowulf computing meeting will be held on February 10, in London. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required.

Here's an announcement for the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Spring,
February 28 - March 2 at Chicago's McCormick Place South.

AUUG2K will be held in Canberra, Australia on June 28-30, 2000. There is currently a call for papers out; the theme is "enterprise security; enterprise Linux." The deadline for submissions is April 14.

Web sites

EBIZ Enterprises Inc. announced the launch of Linux Lab, providing technical support to Linux users.

User Group News

The Roanoke Valley and Virginia Tech Linux User's Groups announced the Southwest VA Linux Day 2000 on February 19th.

On March 18th, 2000 the Simi Conejo Linux Users Group will hold its second annual LUGFest in Simi Valley, CA. Information regarding this event is available at our web page, http://lugfest.sclug.org.

January 27, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
3dfile 0.1.5 OpenGL-based file browser
AccuRev 1.3 Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
AfterStep 1.7.167 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
ALE Clone 1.16 Clone of WarCraft II
AlgART HTML Packer 1.1 Compresses HTML or JavaScript to a smaller, self-unpacking form.
Alien 6.56 Converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, andslackware tgz file formats
Allen Bradley Ethernet utils 0.1.3 Simple utilities for Allen Bradley Ethernet PLCs
ALSA driver 0.5.1 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
ANTLR 2.7.0 An advanced, easy-to-use parser and translator generator
ANVLOGIN 1.9 Easy menu for telnet sessions.
Apache 1.3.11 High performance, UNIX based HTTP server
App 2.0 Algebraic Typing and Pattern Matching Preprocessor for C++
asfatm 0.80b Hardware monitoring wharf/dock app
asp2php 0.73.5 Converts Active Server Pages (ASP) to PHP3 scripts
AtisWiki 0.42 A WikiClone.
aumix 20000123 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Autofs 3.1.4 Kernel based automounter for linux
AutoTrace 0.20 Converts bitmap to vector graphics
auto_ftp.pl v0.4 FTP client demon that watches a folder and transfers all files and folders.
Avataria 0.20000124.1 Graphical avatar chat environment
Averist 0.2.2 Authentication layer to any web based application
AxY FTP 0.5.0 FTP client for X with nice and intuitive GTK+ and Motif GUI
Babylon 1.4 Remote access PPP software for Linux.
BASHISH DR5 A modular Bourne-shell theme engine.
Bastille Linux 1.0.2 A comprehensive hardening program for Redhat Linux 6.0.
bbkeys 0.2.6 A key-grabbing tool for Blackbox 0.6x.0.
Berlin 0.1.4 distributed windowing system
BHTML 1.00B Embed Perl in HTML.
bidwatcher 1.0.3b tool for eBay users - track and snipe auctions
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
BioMail 0.43 A program to send new references from a Medline database to its users.
BLADE 0.17.0 Broad Language Aided Document Environment
Blade-- 0.2.0 Object Oriented C++ Wrapper for BLADE
Bluetail Ticket Tracker 1.2 A workflow management tool.
Blur Scope MAX 1.2 A visualization plug-in for XMMS.
Boa 0.94.0 Lightweight and High Performance WebServer
bookmarker 2.0.2 WWW based bookmark manager
Bronc 0.51 alpha An extensible front-end to RRDtool.
buildkde2 0.1 A shell script to ease building KDE 2.
buttonbar 0.1 Configurable lightweight toolbar
cdinfo.sh 1.0 Bourne shell script to infer a title for a CD image.
cdp 0.4pre A console-mode CD player for Linux.
cfe 0.6 Console font editor.
cgi sysinfo 1.2 A CGI system information generator.
CGIBitch 1.0.3b A TCL extension for fast CGI processing
chcase 1.0 Renames files to either all upper- or all lower-case letters.
Cistron Radius Server 1.6.2 Free Radius Server with many features
Clone Graphic Project 0.12 Graphics for use with ALE Clone.
ColdSync 1.0.0 PalmPilot synchronization tool
Comicq 0.1.0 A commandline-based ICQ messaging tool.
command history 1.0 A program to show the commands run by users of a server.
Contact Book 0.3.2 Alternative Contact Book.
CoreLinux++ 0.4.5 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Coyote Linux 1.05 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
cpipe 1.0.0 Copy stdin to stdout while reporting progress.
crUD 01.21.2000 A MUD built from the ground up, with emphasis on stability.
CryptoPadSplicer 0.4 A Palm CryptoPad conduit.
CVS Manual Translation Project 0.2 An effort to translate the CVS Manual into other languages.
cyrus-imapd-configfiles 1.0 A patch for cyrus IMAPd 1.6.20 to support multiple config files.
D2X 0.0.7 A port of Descent 2 to Linux.
DBIx::AnyDBD 0.95 DBD Abstraction Layer
DDUP Applet 0.4.0 DynDns.org UPdate Applet for the Gnome panel
DECO 0.13 Convert DC++ to C++.
DeleGate 5.9.13 Multi-purpose application level gateway (proxy)
dfaij 0.01 Data flow architecture in Java.
DialControl 2.5.6 Remote control for Internet/WAN connections of a masquerading server.
Diald 0.99.3 Autodial Daemon
DistroLib 0.3 Library for distributed processes.
dkeeper 0.0.1 A simple utility to keep info about your data media.
dnscache 0.76 Domain Name System tools.
dot.conf 0.5.2 A simple, powerful configuration-file parser.
dproxy 0.4 Caching DNS proxy
dsniff 1.3 Sniffing utilities for network security testing.
Dump/Restore 0.4b13 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
Dunce 0.2 A simple chatterbot and chatterbot language.
DWUN 0.6f Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
DynDNS 0.5.3 Dynamic DNS server
E-FancyLauncher 0.3 Enlightenment button launcher epplet.
E-notes 0.1 A sticky-notes manager epplet for Enlightenment.
ECLiPt Roaster 1.99 GTK Interface to MkIsoFs and CDRecord for writing CDs on the fly
ECLiPt SSH Shell 0.4 Simple graphical SSH frontend.
EnergyMech 2.7.3 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
EPIwm 0.5-4 window manager
epoxy 0.1 A small HTTP proxy for backgrounded downloads.
Ethereal 0.8.2 GUI network protocol analyzer
Expert Guide 1.00 The Norton Guide reader for GNU/Linux.
eyep-updater.sh 0.1 A shell script that updates your IP for eyep.net dynamic DNS.
Falcon Firewall Project Falcon 0.1 An open firewall project.
FastGL 1.80 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
FClock 0.1.0 A small digital clock for X-windows that counts online time.
fcmp 1.0.1 safer floating-point comparison
fetchnews.pl 0.1 Perl script to download news articles.
ffingerd 1.26 Secure finger daemon for Unix
for2html 1.2 A FORTRAN-to-HTML translator and cross-references generator.
fortune-mod-extras 1.0-4 Offensive aphorisms for the popular fortune program.
fortune-mod-goodies 1.0-1 Fortune-mod quotes from the Goodies.
fortune-mod-weird-bands 1.0-1 List of weird band names for fortune-mod.
FreeAmp 2.0.1 Open Source MP3 player
FreeVSD 1.3.2 A virtual server daemon for Linux.
FROGS 1.0.3 An event-driven simulator.
ftctl 1.0.2 An ELV FS 10 PC/FS 10 FT control program.
FTP LogView v 2.0 Web based xferlog viewer
ftpd-BSD 0.3.0 Linux port of OpenBSD's ftp server
Fwctl 0.24 High level configuration tool for Linux 2.2 packet filters firewall
Fworld IRC Operator Services 2.2.0-fix IRC Operator Service with features rivalling Undernet's.
g2100config 0.3 Configure HP LaserJet 2100 Series printers under Linux.
Gaby 1.9.17 A small personal databases manager using GTK+
gAcc 0.6.0 A personal accounts manager.
Ganymede 0.99.9 GPL'ed Network Directory Management System
geg 1.0.2 Simple GTK+ 2D-function plotting program
Generator 0.11 A Sega Genesis (MegaDrive) emulator.
Getleft 0.7.10 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
getmail 1.00 A fetchmail replacement with reliable Maildir or mbox delivery, in Python.
GF1 1.02 Play GIPF against your computer
GKrellM 0.8.1 System monitor package
Glide 2.x/3.x Voodoo3/Banshee drivers for X-Free 3.3.x 2.60/3.10 Glide 2.x/3.x Voodoo3/Banshee drivers for X-Free 3.3.x
gMGAclock 0.4.1 A GNOME application for Matrox G400 overclocking.
GNet 0.1.7 A simple network library.
gnlogin 1.3 A GTK interface to ncpmount.
Gnofin 0.7.1 A simple GNOME checkbook application
Gnome Toaster 0.3 01-25-00 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
Gnome Transcript 0.1.4 SQL Database Client with plugin system to support multiple database servers.
GNOME-Iconedit 1.0.0 A GNOME icon editor.
GNU parted 1.0.7 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Pth 1.3b1 GNU Portable Threads
gnutran 0.5.0 An EMACS front-end for translation engines.
GOB 0.92.2 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
GOGO 2.24c Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
goMP ! 1.0 A highly interactive Web frontend to mpg123.
GPLAboutDialog.java 1.2 Generic Java About Dialog generator for GPL'd programs
gPPPnb 0.95 GUI for PPP on notebooks with a pcmcia modem
GProc 0.5.2 Easy-to-use process managment tool
Gqcam 0.6 GTK based QuickPict clone
GREED .81+ A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
grepmail 4.11 Searches a normal or gzipped mailbox for a given regularexpression
GTK+XFce 3.2.5 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkShadow 0.5 web-oriented graphic tool
GtkTiLink 0.99c A TI calculators <-> PC communication program using a GTK interface
Guppi 0.33.1 GNOME application for plotting and analyzing data
HTML::EP 0.2007 PHP-like system based on Perl
HTML::Pager 0.02 Perl module to handle CGI HTML paging of arbitary data
HTMLPerlSETI 0.11 Display SETI@home client statistics in an HTML table.
httptype 1.3.1 Identifies which HTTP server is running on a given host.
Hu-Go! 1.08 A PC engine emulator.
ICRADIUS 0.11 Powerful cross platform radius server
iManager 0.3b An image viewer and manager.
IMP 2.2.0-pre9 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
imsptool 0.9 A command line program to communicate with an IMSP server.
Intro to Bash Programming HOWTO 0.01 Bash programming tutorial.
ipac 1.06 Linux IP accounting package
ipaudit 0.91.1 Summarizes ip traffic bytes/packets broken down by host/port pairs and protocol.
IRManager 0.1.9 Provides advanced control over your machine using an IRMan infrared receiver.
irssi 0.7.23 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
isp-connect 0.1 Generic PPP connect scripts.
Jakarta - Tomcat 3.1 Milestone 1 Open-source, community-developed commercial-quality Java server solutions.
Java 2 Software Development Kit 2.2RC2 A Java development platform.
Jetty 2.3.4 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
Jigsaw 2.0.4 W3C's leading-edge Web server platform
jmake 1.05 jmake is a tool for software developers that like to write code, not makefiles.
jnap 1.0 A pure Java clone of the Napster client.
Jsee 0.5 Java based image viewer
kconfigure 0.3 A program for compiling programs using a graphical interface.
Kdevmon 0.3.0 A little tool that displays the load of a network device.
kicemenu 0.1.1 A window manager menu editing tool.
KisoCD 0.5.3 KDE frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
KMLOCfg 0.1.0 A utility to configure the ELSA MicroLink Office modem.
Kmonster 0.9 A program to search monster.com and place the results into KDE's disknavigator.
knapster 0.5 KDE napster client.
knc 0.3 A KDE based filemanger
KTamaga 0.4a The KDE-Tamagotchi-emulator
KUPS 0.3.1 KUPS is a CUPS administrator for KDE.
KVolume 0.1 A KDE-panel volume control
Lago 0.3 A portable, multi-threaded database.
LCDPlayer 0.1.1 A CD player with LCD screen and spectrum analyzer.
LDAP Explorer 1.12 PHP3 Application
Licq 0.75.3 Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
LingoTeach 0.1.6 A very simple language-teaching program.
Links 0.82 Lynx-like text WWW browser
LinuDent 0.1.7 A Dental Practice Management Software program
Linux ethernet bridge rewrite 20000122 A rewrite of the Linux ethernet bridging code.
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.8pre4 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
LISC 1.1.1 A lightweight Scheme interpreter in Java, with useful extensions.
log4j 0.7.4 Fast and flexible logging tool written in Java.
loopy 0.1.2 Utility for creation and mounting of encrypted loopback device filesystems.
lrnkana.pl 1.0 A Japanese kana drill.
Magick 2.0-a1 IRC services.
mail2sms 0.36 Convert a mail to a short message
Majordomo 1.94.5
makefaq 0.3 Script to generate an HTML FAQ page from a text file.
mantidy 0.5 A perl script to tidy up man page directories.
mbox-extract 0.1 Extract UU/Mime-encoded files from mail messages in MBox files.
MEC4 Streaming Server 1.4.3-1 A video-on-demand system.
Message of the Day 0.1 A new quote everytime you reload a page.
Metapixel 0.7 A photomosaic generator.
MH-sync 0.2 Tools for reading MH mail offline using ssh and rsync.
Mino 0.6.2 An XML parser.
MIT Scheme 7.5.0 A programming environment for Scheme.
ModSQL 0.20 Modular JDBC SQL Engine
mod_cgisock 0.4.2 A CGI interface over a Unix Domain socket
mod_frontpage 1.3.11-3.0.43-4.0 FrontPage server extensions patch
mod_ssl 2.5.0-1.3.11 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
mol 0.9.38 Mac-on-Linux: Run the MacOS from inside Linux!
Moonshine 1.0beta1 An application development environment for Linux.
Moreton Bay DHCP Server (dhcpd) 0.8.25 A lightweight DHCP server.
MP3 Report Generator 0.99.2 Generates a templated HTML page with MP3s, playing times, and statistics.
MP3info 0.6.1 A simple utility to read and write MP3-TAG info.
mreport 0.9 Maillog Report Generation Utility
mrtg 2.8.11 Multi Router Traffic Grapher
mseti 0.3.1 An addon for a SETI@home client for dialup users.
Muddleftpd 1.3.0 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
Muffin 0.9.2 Filtering proxy server for the World Wide Web written entirely in Java
muLinux 7.8b A tiny implementation of Linux, which can reside on a single floppy
Multimeter 0.0.4 read measurements from digital multimeters
MultUnil 0.4.2 A script for Multilingual documentation support.
MusE 0.0.4 A Linux MIDI editor & sequencer.
MUSIC 0.0.3 A MUD-like text-based virtual reality server.
Mutt 1.0.1 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
MyThreads-Links v0.5.1 Yahoo like links manager writen in PHP/MySQL
nano 0.8.0 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
ncps 0.471 ncurses based process killer
neepHttpd 0.92 A small, simple, and efficient HTTP server for basic usage.
NetBSD/luna68k -current Port of NetBSD to Luna68k workstations.
netfilter 0.1.17 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
nettimer 1.00 Calculate time and money spent using the Internet.
Network UPS Tools 0.42.2 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software.
note 0.5 commandline note tool
NovaBot 1.0 An IRC bot backended to a PostgreSQL database.
nscache 0.2pl2 Simple manager and browser for Netscape(tm) cache directories.
nss 1.6 Netscape Startup Script. Script to handle Netscape launches.
NTP 4.0.99b A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
oMail 0.2 A PHP/Perl-based qmail+vmailmgrd maildomain administration Web interface.
oops 1.2f An HTTP/FTP proxy.
OpenLDAP 1.2.9 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
OpenMerchant 0.7pre5 E-commerce Internet application based on Perl.
opennap 0.09 An open source Napster server.
Opera for Linux 4.0a preview 2 A lightweight X11-based Web browser.
OtlkToNs v2000023-ALPHA A mail converter from OutLook Express to NS Communicator.
PACT 0.1 SNMP accounting tool.
PalmImage 0.9 A Java GUI/CLI to convert GIF and JPEG to ViewerIII PDB.
Pan 0.7.2 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
pat2pdf 0.9 Fetch patents from the USPTO in PDF format.
PCCS MySQLDatabase Admin Tool 1.2.1 A Web hosting and MySQL administator tool.
PCI Utilities 2.1.4 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
PeeWeeLinux 0.19 A small linux distribution for embedded applications.
Perro 1.0.2 This is a set of daemons that log TCP/UDP/ICMP packets.
phhttpd 0.0.4 A scalable HTTP accelerator.
Photoseek 0.1.1 A Web-based image cataloging and management system.
PHPChains 2.0 A PHP3 interface for ipchains.
phpGermanDate 0.1 Use German date in PHP
phpMetaCreator 0.1 Build Meta-Tags using a PHP-Form.
pi-address 0.3.4 X11 based Address Manager for Palm Pilot Address DB
pircd Alpha Thirteen An IRC daemon, written in Perl.
plan 1.8.3 Networked calendar and day planner
polyalphabetic substitution 0.0.1 A polyalphabetic substitution program.
PowerShell 0.63 A GTK-based terminal emulator with support for many terms in one window.
ProcMan 1.0 An automatic process manager.
Prometheus-Library 1.52 Object-oriented PHP API
pscal 1.8 shell script to create PostScript calendars
PSPG 1.0.2 Pretty simple password generator
PSXDEV 1.0 release 5 A development environment for the PlayStation.
ptkRun 0.31 A command executor for X.
PTlink ircd 3.5.4 New featured ircd with a great services integration
Pump scriptability patch 0.7.2gm1 A patch to /sbin/pump to allow flexible scripting.
pvmsync 1.2.4pre Extends POSIX-like synchronization mechanisms to a Linux Beowulf cluster
pylice 0.6.0 Pylice is a link checker written in Python.
PyQt 0.10.1 Python bindings for the Qt GUI toolkit
PySol 3.30 A Python-based Solitaire card game
QHacc 0.2.6a A personal finance application.
Qpopper 3.0b30 POP3 server
qps 1.9.5 Displays processes in an X11 window
Quake 3 ServerKit 1.5 A Quake3 server administration tool.
Quick Draw PL QuickDraw 0.9 A simple drawing tool.
Quick Password 1.0 A pronounceable-password generator.
Qvwm 1.1.5 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
randtype 1.7 Displays text at random intervals.
RealTimeBattle 1.0.1 RealTimeBattle, a robot programming game for Unix
Regexx 0.91 A complete regular expressions C++ solution.
Relay-JFC 0.8 Open Source IRC chat program with a graphical user interface similar to mIRC
Remote Microscope 1.0a4 Client/server system for controlling an optical microscope over the Internet
Resin 1.1.b5 JSP (Javaserver Pages) engine
RIMPS 0.05 Web-based MP3 server.
RPGD 1.1b A multi-user, medieval-fantasy role-playing game
rtmk A real-time micro-kernel.
Saint 1.5 beta2 Security Administrator's Integrated Network Tool
SANE 20000123 Provides standardized access to anyraster image scanner hardware
Sapphire 0.13.6 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
Scintilla 1.2 Source code editing component and tiny IDE for Win32 and GTK+.
SDL 1.0.3 SDL is a library that allows you portable low level access for graphics/sound
Seahorse 0.3.2 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
Secure FTP 0.7 FTP replacement over ssh/rsh
sendmail-tls 0.22 SSL/TLS Wrapper for sendmail (and other MTAs)
Sensor Sweep Applet 0.11.0 A GNOME panel applet that monitors system health through the lm_sensors modules.
SETI@Home Client 2.0 Distributed SETI data-analysis client
setilog 1.2 Setiathome resultfile logging
SHACC 0.6 YACC alternative that can parse more ambiguous grammars.
silly Poker 0.20pre5 A simple yet comprehensive console poker game.
SimpleFont 1.1.0 A small program similar to banner but better in some ways.
Simplemail 2.0b A simple mail filter.
simscomputing.Test Bed 0.17 Tool for writing unit tests for your Java code
Sketch 0.7.5 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
Skill Literature 0.0.3 Learn to work with shapes.
slash 0.90 A database-driven news and message board, using mod_perl and MySQL.
SmallEiffel -0.77Beta#6 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
smb_auth 0.0.5 Authenticate proxy users against an SMB server like Windows NT or Samba
SMPEG 0.3.3 SDL MPEG player with sound
SMT 1.05 A service monitoring tool.
smtm 0.9.0 A Perl/Tk ticker for global stock markets.
Snes9x 1.29 Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
Snoopy 0.1e Snoopy is a PHP class that implements web client functionality.
SOLO 0.99 An x86 boot loader for ShagOS, Linux, Plan9, Inferno, etc.
Soma 0.76 A Multithreaded HTTP/1.1 webserver written in Java.
splitfmnews 0.2.2 Splits the freshmeat newsletter digest into individual messages.
Spmail 1.1b1 A Web-based email client.
Spong 2.6b Simple System/Network Monitoring
Sportslog 1.2 Gtk+ application for tracking athletic events such as running and cycling
Spruce 0.5.13 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
starfish 1.0.b1 An automatic wallpaper generator.
storemp3 0.1 Store mp3 tags in a database and query them.
sudo 1.6.2 Provides limited super user priviledges to specific users
swim 0.3.4 Package administration and research tool for Debian
tcpdump2ascii 1.01 Perl program which decodes tcpdump hex output to ASCII
Tesla 20000103 A TOM compiler (written in TOM).
tgif 4.1.26 Vector-based draw tool
The Comic Book Database for Linux 0.8.1 Comics helps you keep track of almost every facet of you comic book collection.
The Java SSH/Telnet Application/Applet 2.0 RC1 Fully featured telnet program for WWW-Browsers
Tidings 1.0.3 An online project news and information system.
tin 1.4.2 Curses based threaded NNTP and spool based UseNet newsreader
TinyLogin 0.77 A suite of tiny UNIX utilities for handling passwords and logins.
TinyMAZE 2.4b An online game server.
TkSETI 2.02 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
TreeNotes 1.0 A Java XML editor.
Tripwall 0.10 An intrusion detection integrity checker for the Linux Router Project.
TRONtium v0.6 A clone of the classic TRON light-cycles game.
txt2pdf 3.1 A very flexible and powerful PERL5 converter from text files to PDF
TZOlinuxperl 1.1 A tool for using TZO's Dynamic-DNS service.
UDF 0.9.0 UDF filesystem kernel module
UdmSearch 3.0.1 Fast WWW search engine for your site
Universal TUN/TAP device driver 0.4 Universal TUN/TAP device driver
URBAN 1.5.3 A nice shoot-'em-up game for Linux and DOS, lots of blood and gore.
Vim 5.6 Popular vi clone that features syntax highlighting and an X11 interface.
vpopd 0.1 A virtual POP3 daemon.
vpopmail 3.4.11 qmail addon package for virtual domain email
VxTools 0.4 A set of command-line tools for accessing the Veritas Filesystem.
w3m 0.1.6 pager/text-based WWW browser
webget 0.41 A CGI frontend and backend to wget written in Perl.
WeirdX 1.0.5 A pure Java X Window System server
WGBuilder 0.9 A graphical X11 development tool.
Wireless Network Tools 0.2 Wireless network management via Web-enabled phones.
wmakerconf 2.5 GTK based configuration tool for WindowMaker window manager
WMFstatus 0.4 General purpose LCD monitor dockapp for WindowMaker.
wmx10 0.03 A WindowMaker/Afterstep applet to control X10's Firecracker kit
Wolfshade mud 1.66.5 Wolfshade Mud: an original MUD code base written in C++
Worker 1.3.3 Highly configurable graphical Filemanager for X
WorldWide Web Performance Monitoring 0.9.1 Web performance monitoring tool.
Wroonian 0.6.2 A script which will help you create and maintain knowledge, information and FAQs
wxWindows/GTK 2.1.13 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-CD-Roast 0.98alpha4 A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
X-Chat 1.3.12 GTK+ based IRC client, similar to AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Tract 1.1 beta 740 XML Script processor
x-wvdial 0.11 An X11-based frontend for wvdial.
XBasic 6.0001 Cross Platform BASIC programming language.
xcolorgrab 0.0.1 A pixel color information utility for X.
XDBM 1.0.6 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XInvaders 3D 1.1 A 3D Space Invaders clone for X11.
XMail 0.14 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
xmailer 1.1 An MDA (Mail Delivery Agent) for use with Sendmail and MySQL.
XML::XPath 0.10 An XPath parser and evaluator.
XML::XSLT 0.17 First Perl XSL-T Parser.
xmnt 1.01 A simple graphical way of mounting and umounting your CDROM and floppy.
XMovie 1.2 Play Quicktime movies in stereo
xplanets 0.3.5 A simple solar system simulator.
XQF 0.9.3 QuakeWorld/Quake2 server browser and launcher for Linux/X11
XRolyPoly 1.0 A GTK+ addressbook.
XShipWars 1.33 Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
XShipWars AI Client 0.2 An AI Client system for the XShipWars game written in Java.
xSMBrowser 2.2.9 Tcl/Tk Samba GUI that emulates Network Neighborhood
xtctl 0.1415927 A Bourne shell script to send control codes to XTerms.
Xtheater 0.2.0 GTK-based MPEG-1 video & video/audio player
Xwhois 0.4.1 Small and fast GTK+ X11 client for the internet whois network services.
xxdiff 1.2 A graphical file comparator and merge tool.
x|front 0.1 A C++ class library interface to X11R5.
Yet another Mp3 Tool 0.3 A GTK program to manage your MP3s.
YIFF Sound Server 2.06 Sound server with multi-client and network-transparent io library.
ZAngband 2.3.4c Rogue-like roleplaying game
Zebedee 1.3.0 Encrypting, compressing TCP/IP tunnel
Zen 0.0.2 A Web browser with dynamically linked interfaces.
Zope 2.1.3 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.
zshist 0.1 A script to read .zsh_history and display timestamps in human-readable form.

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

GeoCrawler bills itself as "The Knowledge Archive." What it really is is an extensive archive of mailing lists oriented around free software. It lacks a nice threaded browsing interface, but it can be useful when searching for something specific.

How about another distribution? GeekLinux is a new distribution seemingly aimed at relatively technical users. They plan to offer the biggest selection of packages, be security oriented, and so on. They are trying for a release by LinuxWorld (next week).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

January 27, 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, 20 Jan 2000 01:22:14 -0600 (CST)
From: Dave Finton <surazal@nerp.net>
To: Chris_Browne@amrcorp.com
Subject: Thoughts on Kermit

I read your letter in LWN's weekly news.  It's a good read, but I thought
I'd clarify a matter or two with one statement you made:

> 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.

Think:  cell phones, pagers, automated phone servicing (hypothetically).

I worked for a company that used a little C script that called a kermit
script that would page the network admin in case any of the servers went
down.  The page would go out with the IP address of the server in
question.  It worked beautifully (except when it would page us when we'd
rather not fix broken machines, like over breakfast :^).

The whole world isn't TCP/IP.  In fact there is enough
"obsolete" networking out there (i.e. the phone system) where the
inclusion of KERMIT can help Linux launch itself into more than a few key
markets.  Now that it is more-or-less free (and there's a free version
besides) I might take a look into it a bit more to see if I can do any
neat stuff with it.  :^P

                          - 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/              |

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 09:15:18 -0800
From: Pascal Martin <pascal.martin@iname.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Transmeta conspiracy

I don't know if you noticed, but the Transmeta's story is more
and more looking like a scenario for the X-Files serie:

1- A highly secretive company, with seemingly unlimited funds,
   hire the best brains of Silicon Valley (beside Linus..) and
   work for years on unidentified projects.

2- Obscure forces in the stock markets organize a Linux stock
   hype, hitting the billion dollars level, with no identified
   profit to talk about.

3- At the hypest moment, Transmeta takes the market by storm in
   a highly publicized show, boasting "PC hardware for Linux".

Sounds like Hollywood has been outdone here :-).

Beside that, I want a Transmeta-powered laptop. Vendor, anyone ?

Pascal F. Martin.
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:37:14 -0500
From: Tom Kreutz <kreutz@Princeton.EDU>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Jerome Loisel's vituperation


  I believe that you do yourself a dis-service by posting the letter
from Jerome Loisel, which trashes Nikolai Bezroukov's critique of "The
Cathedral and the Bazaar".  I thought that the latter was pretty well
reasoned and highlighted some of the weaker points in Eric Raymond's
excellent treatise.  On the other hand, Jerome Loisel's rant seemed
pretty pointless.

  By the way, thanks for running a fabulous site!  I read it eagerly
each week.

Tom Kreutz

Dr. Thomas G. Kreutz
Center for Energy and Environmental Studies
Princeton University
H-111 Engineering Quadrangle
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 258-5691     FAX: (609) 258-3661
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:13:59 -0700
From: Bruce Ide <nride@us.ibm.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Why do you Bother With the Gartner Group?

In the 1/20 edition we get some more predictions from the Gartner group.

I'd like to note that in matters relating to Linux, you're as likely to
get correct answers from the Psychic Talk hotline or a monkey with a
dart board. I've watched with amusement as prediction after prediction
about Linux from the Gartner Group has turned out to be completely
wrong. Not just a little wrong, mind you. Embarassingly, "God we can't
believe we said that," wrong. Very much like almost everything coming
out of the Ziff Davis conglomerate, come to think of it. At least ZD's
writers are starting to see the writing on the wall and jump on the

And yet they persist, and We (And by We, I mean You) continue to quote
them. I assume because you want to give us all a good laugh. Well it's
working. I get a nice big belly laugh out of just about every statement
that comes out of that group. I really don't understand why people pay
so much money for their reports. Maybe the industry really is stuck in
1980's technology. Come on, guys, it's the 0?'s (Uh-Oh's?) now and we
on them all. And it ain't Windows. Which will apparently continue to
make you deal with 16 bit bletcherisms (At least at the workstation
level) for the foreseeable future since the game manufacturers want
direct access which you're not going to do a very good job of getting
with the NT kernel.

You want my own predictions, huh? These aren't based on any knowledge
proprietary to IBM by the way, they're based on watching the web, the
news and the open source community for the past 5 years.

I predict that the proprietary Unices will start to merge with Linux.
Most of the companies with their own versions of UNIX only use that UNIX
to sell hardware. Gone are the days when you can screw a customer out of
$1500 for a !#%! C compiler (Sorry, pet peeve.) So Linux makes sense to
most of those people, except SCO. Why maintain your own UNIX when
there's a whole community out there that's willing to do it for free?
We're already starting to see this trend now.

The wholesale embracing of the open source community by the proprietary
UNIX vendors will cause UNIX to defragment back into a unified whole.
Security will be global -- when you fix a hole, you will be fixing it
for all platforms. Support will be interchangable since everyone will
have the source to a unified OS. Competition among support companies
will encourage said companies to provide high quality support. As far as
I can tell, this will be a first in the industry.

I'm expecting the Merced to be a flop. It wouldn't surpise me if AMD
doesn't step up to the plate within plus-or-minus a few weeks of the
Merced release with an ultra-fast 64 bit chip of their own. First one to
dump 32 bit legacy support wins. I don't expect Compaq to stand still
with the Alpha or Sun to stand still with the Sparc chips either. Note
that both those chips are 64 bit TODAY, as are the MIPS chips but we
don't see many of those anymore AFAIK. It also wouldn't surprise me to
see some sort of alliance between AMD and Compaq for Alpha technology.
And of course someone's gotta be working on a 64 bit PowerPC. It
wouldn't make sense not to.

As people start buying hardware for Linux support, hardware
manufacturers will increasingly realize that they have to open their
specs or go out of business (Or at the very least provide binary
drivers.) We're starting to see a trend there as well. Expect more
patents and less trade secrets in the hardare arena.

Expect to see substantial gains for Linux in server and desktop systems
in the next 3 years. Since Linux scales so well, if you need a bigger
web server, you can buy some big blue iron. I'd like to see Mindcraft
put a Linux-running apache-serving S/390 in their crack pipe and smoke
it. You think your pathetic little quad Xeon will stand up to that?
Despite Wintel protestations to the contrary, PC's are still toys
compared to the big blue iron.

Against a unified UNIX (Linux,) high quality desktop interfaces and open
Internet standards, Microsoft and Apple have quite a race ahead of them.
I think they realize it to, or are starting to realize it.

Finally, I predict that RedHat or VA Linux will buy the Gartner Group
within in the next few years and fire everyone. Well, maybe not, but I
can dream, right?

All opinions mine and not my employer's.

Bruce Ide
Silly Rabbit! CICS are for Trids!
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:58:15 GMT
From: Superuser (Duncan Simpson) <root@io.stargate.co.uk>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: 32 bit PIDs may have a down side

32 bit PIDs are not a win in every direction. In particular with the
present size check ps (http://checkps.alcom.co.uk) can sensibly build
a PID list by asking kill(2) about all the possible UIDs. This detects
all the current root kits that work by not mentioning things in /proc
and "fixing" this is not something script kiddies can cope with.

With 32 bit UIDs this strategy would be useless of course, which would
make checkps a less formidable torjan detector. Most current crackers
are not looking for it right now and it will presumably contiune to be
effective until eveyrone starts using it :-)

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 18:12:47 -0600
From: mike <mdf@enteract.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: roving squad of ruthless trademark lawyers?

Let me tell you about my experience with Linus's "ruthless trademark

I started a Linux training company last month. I originally wanted to
call it Migrate To Linux, Inc. My lawyer advised against this since
I may choose to use the corporation for something else one day and I'd
be stuck with explaining what Migrate To Linux is all about. So we
settled on Migrate, Inc., and the deal was done.

Before we abbreviated the name to "Migrate", my lawyer went about
looking for permission from Linus to use the word "Linux". He eventually
found the attorney (singular) who helped him establish the trademark.

In trademark law, a trademark needs to be defended by the entity that
owns it. If a trademark isn't enforced, there is the risk of it becoming
a "naked trademark" which means it can be used by other entities without
the owner's permission since it was never contested in the past. If
Linus (or his attorneys) never bothers to enforce his trademark, he can
lose it.

Linus's attorney was trying to get him to recognize this issue and set
up some kind of formal process by which entities could use "Linux" for a
small fee. This way, if a software company from Redmond, Washington came
along and tried to bring a product to market called Linux for Windows,
Linus has legal remedy since there would be an established pattern of
enforcement. Otherwise, a judge could rule that he never bothered to
defend his trademark in the past, so the trademark essentially means

What happened to Serious Domains was a good thing. If Linus let it go,
he could have put the trademark in serious jeopardy.

Mike Frost

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 14:58:35 -0600
From: Garrett Goebel <garrett@scriptpro.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Editorial Proposal: Red Hot! Get 'yer Civil Liberties!

Well, as of today, I've finally put my money behind my ethics and joined
the Electronic Frontier Foundation. To my
knowledge, there is no single organization that better represents the
interests of electronic civil liberties than the EFF. For those vocal and
lurking around the DeCSS issue, isn't it time to join the ranks?

What is the EFF doing? They are representing defendants in the DVD-CCA case in
California and are involved in a similar case in New York. They are making
relevant information accessible
and available on the internet. This is nothing new. The EFF has a history of protecting
online civil liberties in the United States since 1990.

On a personal note, I don't own a single DVD title. However, I'll defend
with my EFF membership dues your "fair use" to do with your property as you
please. Our readers outside the USA may be asking themselves what any of
this means to them. Answer: The U.S. government's legal stance on
electronic civil liberties translates into the building blocks and
infrastructure of the technology and products you buy today, and what you
will buy tomorrow. -Regardless of whether you are buying a product
manufactured in America and sold in Japan, or something manufactured in
Botswana and sold in the USA.

There are some parties who believe that free speech is less important
than poorly designed "protection" schemes which are geared more towards a
tight coupling of product and means of utilizing it, than protecting the
consumers ability to make "fair use" of the copyrighted materials they've
purchased. Indeed one could venture to guess that circumventing the "fair
use" of copyrighted materials is the very right they hold more dear than
free speech.

If you do decide to join the EFF, when you do so, send a note stating
why you joined to membership@eff.org to let them know why you

[Disclaimer: I don't work for, represent, or receive any compensation
from the EFF. -As of today, they represent me!]

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