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Leading items and editorials

Linux is the number-two server operating system, according to the latest IDC report. The report itself is not publicly available, so the information most people have comes from articles like this one in News.com.

According to the report, server operating system sales in 1999 broke down as follows:

Windows NT38

The folks at IDC had predicted that Linux would get up to the number two position - in 2002 or 2003. So the revolution would appear to be well ahead of schedule.

A lot of the standard objections can be brought to these figures, of course. IDC is only counting Linux sales. Downloads do not figure into their results, and multiple installations from a single CD are also left out. It is hard, after all, to get a handle on those numbers, while sales are easily quantified. So one might think that the Linux figures are understated, but it is hard to say by how much.

Also interesting: Linux has 4% of the desktop market, according to this study. Linux is frequently criticized as not being a desktop operating system, but that result puts it just one percentage point behind MacOS (at 5%), which most certainly is considered to be a desktop system. Linux on the desktop may be closer than a lot of people think.

More surveys: The latest Netcraft report is out. This survey turned up over 11 million sites - and 58% of them are now running apache.

After the gold rush. Here, for your reading pleasure, is an essay on the state of the programming field by Gary Chapman, which was posted to the excellent Red Rock Eater News Service mailing list. Chapman, quoting extensively from a book by IEEE Software editor in chief Steve McConnell, makes the point that all of the money in the software business has pushed companies and engineers into a "code first, design later" mode. Code is bashed out, then debugged to a "good enough to ship" state. But the software is fundamentally flawed, and sooner or later collapses under its own weight.

The development of the Netscape browser is cited as an example of where this model can lead. The programmers involved were pushed to the point of exhaustion, and the quality of the final product, well, speaks for itself.

Solutions mentioned in the article include certification of engineers and a return to traditional design practices. Good design is crucial, of course, but LWN would like to suggest that this article has missed an important path toward quality software: open source. Think about it:

  • Open source projects have, to a great extent, managed to avoid the ridiculous deadlines that characterize so many proprietary software development projects. Free software ships when it is ready, not before.

  • Open source projects stress good design - at least, many of them do. Consider Netscape as an example again: one of the reasons Mozilla has been so slow to come out is that the developers realized they needed to step back and start over with a better thought out approach. The result is the Gecko engine and a number of other modules that are starting to generate some real excitement.

    Much of the competition between GNOME and KDE, once you get past licensing battles, has been based on design. And the Linux kernel is a classic example of a project stressing design and long-term maintainability over immediate features.

  • The openness of the open source development process brings out problems early - hopefully before they ship. Open source developers are not lacking in willingness to speak their minds. Or to walk away, for that matter. A free software project that is obviously flawed will either get fixed, or will lose developers to better-run endeavors.
None of the above points are being made for the first time. But they are worth repeating. Much of the software development world has still not noticed that there is a better way of doing things.

UCITA looks set to become law in Virginia. UCITA, remember, is the "shrink wrap license law" that promises to outlaw reverse engineering and to enable a lot of other unpleasant things. The sad thing is not just that this malevolent law got through the Virginia legislature, but that it happened with a unanimous vote. Getting a more acceptable result in the other 49 states does not look like an easy thing.

Our U.S. readers need to start thinking about how to educate their state governments. The Virginia legislature evidently didn't know that there are serious problems with UCITA. Legislators in the other states should not be allowed the bliss of that particular ignorance. It's time to start making phone calls and writing letters. It should be possible to stop this thing.

EFF seeks nominations for Pioneer Awards. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put out a call for nominationsfor the 9th annual Pioneer Awards. Nominations are due by March 15. While Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds have already received Pioneer Awards (in 1998), there are many other free software figures that may be deserving of one. Jon Johansen, poster of the DeCSS code, comes to mind...

Eric Raymond responds to editorial. Eric Raymond has sent us a response to Scotty Orr's editorial on VA's purchase of Andover.Net that ran in LWN. "I think the community instinctively understands that we can't afford to mess with Slashdot; it would be suicide to try. That's a brute fact. Your editorial is all hypotheticals, second-order stuff, what might happen to this perception if that perception changes. Your concern is, IMO, understandable but way too fine-spun."

Review: DocBook: The Definitive Guide. After a long hiatus, LWN has added a new entry to its Book Review Page with this look at O'Reilly's DocBook: The Definitive Guide. We conclude that this book, which is under an open content license and is also available from the net, is a high-quality reference, but that beginning DocBook authors will struggle with it. The world still needs an introductory book for this important documentation standard.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: ISPs and DDOS attacks, security-related kernel patches.
  • Kernel: Softnet and devfs join 2.3, Scheduled Transfer Protocol, Capabilities in ext2.
  • Distributions: Linbox Network Architecture, Debian Bug Horizon.
  • Development: Openflow, new weekly reports from AbiWord and Lyx.
  • Commerce: Inprise and TurboLinux do a deal; a whole set of Linux-embedded consumer products.
  • 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:

February 17, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

Are ISPs responsible for the current DDOS attacks? One discussion thread on BugTraq this week suggested that ISPs are ultimately responsible for the distributed denial-of-service attacks that have garnered so much attention as of late. The question is whether such attacks would be possible if ISPs had implemented network ingress and egress filtering to prevent spoofed packets from proliferating on the Internet. The answer is not clear. Filtering would definitely mitigate the impact of DDOS attacks, as mentioned in Elias Levy's summary of DDOS mitigation techniques. Bruce Schneier commented in this month's CRYPTOGRAM that "Large-scale filtering at the ISPs can help, but that requires a lot of effort and will reduce network bandwidth noticeably."

Implementing network filtering would impact performance as well, or at least require expenditure of funds on new routing equipment to handle the performance loads. Some smaller ISPs might find it too costly; some educational institutions might not be willing to spend such money. If filtering is determined to be truly effective in limiting or mitigating the impact of DDOS attacks, it will likely still not happen unless the courts choose to hold ISPs liable for attacks enabled through their equipment.

Meanwhile, one recent response to the problem has been the development of Linux kernel patches to improve filtering and auditing of network packets. Jens Hektor has backported features from the Linux v2.3 ipfilter package to augment the capabilities of the Linux v2.2 kernel. In addition, Dragos Ruiu has made available a klog patch to provide "a quick and dirty forensic logger to track down or follow the path to the origin of attacks". Last, a patch implementing Mandatory Access Control was released. It divides a Linux system up into multiple "compartments," each of which behaves like a separate virtual machine and does not see the others.

Medusa DS9. The Medusa DS9 security system extends the Linux architecture to provide additional security while maintaining backwards compatibility. It uses a kernel patch and a user-space security daemon called "Constable". "Before execution of the certain operations, the kernel asks the authorization server for the confirmation. Authorization server then permits or forbids the operation. Authorization server can also affect the way operation is executed in some cases, which are described later. This method allows to implement almost any security architecture." Medusa is the product of the Slovak Linux User Group.

Securing Linux (Information Security). Information Security Magazine has put up a lengthy article about Linux security. "What makes Linux security a special case is that never before has such a powerful, adaptable and potentially dangerous operating system been made available to such a large population of novice users." Worth a read. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).

Security Reports

SNMP communities. Many devices with SNMP support have "communities" defined that are world-writable and may allow an attacker to manipulate route tables, corrupt arp caches and, as a result, allow further compromises. [ BugTraq ID 986, BugTraq posting.] It is recommended that you check the posting and database for your network device, to see if you are vulnerable. The list of affected devices is quite long.

nameserver configuration-based vulnerability. Improperly configured nameservers (named) are vulnerable to a traffic amplication denial-of-service attack. [BugTraq ID.] In addition, one vulnerable nameserver on a network can cause correctly configured nameservers to also be impacted.


Please note, any users of Caldera OpenLinux, it appears that security advisories for Caldera are not getting posted to the caldera-announce list. You'll need to either check the Caldera security page or watch this summary.

Debian's security procedures seem to have broken down slightly as well. The Debian Weekly News reported four security-related updates this week, none of which were posted to the debian-security-announce list or to the Debian security page.

MySQL 3.22.32 released. The latest version of MySQL contains fixes for the remote access vulnerability, discussed in the February 10 LWN security page. Distribution updates for MySQL have been released from:

mount/umount. A buffer overflow problem has been found in the mount command. Distribution updates:

majordomo. Two vulnerabilities in majordomo were previously reported in our January 6th Security Summary. Caldera has also issued an update for this problem.

GNU make. GNU make versions 3.77-44 and earlier contain a /tmp vulnerability. Here are the distribution-specific updates:

Additional Debian updates. Debian also issued security-related updates for the following packages:


Linux FreeS/wan 1.3. A new version of Linux FreeS/wan has been announced.

T.Rex "open source" firewall announced. T.Rex is an open source firewall announced by Freemont Avenue Software. The firewall is being released under the "LPL" license, a copy of the QPL license with a name change and venue (state of Texas).

spidermap-0.1. Spidermap is "a collection of perl scripts which enable you to launch precisely tuned network scans".


Black Hat Briefings. The Black Hat Briefings Singapore (April 4th-5th, 2000) has been announced and the Call-for-Papers for the Black Hat Briefings USA (July 26th & 27th, Las Vegas) has been released.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 17, 2000

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
Secure Linux

Security List Archives
Bugtraq Archive
Firewall Wizards Archive
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Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
Conectiva Updates
Debian Alerts
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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 is 2.3.46. This version includes support for "UHCI high bandwidth" in the USB subsystem, Sparc tweaks, a major ISDN update, a large Tulip ethernet driver update, lots of networking tweaks in general, PCMCIA updates, and the usual set of miscellaneous fixes.

Also in 2.3.46: devfs. The story of devfs is one of impressive determination and persistence on the part of Richard Gooch. Richard's devfs replaces /dev with a virtual directory structure created at run time. It makes device handling much more flexible, deals with a number of annoyances (like the business of adding one SCSI disk renaming all the others), and replaces the typical cluttered /dev directory with something much cleaner, and which contains only entries that actually correspond to hardware on the system.

Almost since the beginning, devfs has come under attack from a large and vocal group that sees it as unnecessary kernel bloat. The lack of consensus on devfs was almost certainly one of the reasons why it did not make it into the 2.2 kernel. Undaunted, Richard kept on advocating devfs, developing the code, and releasing patches (the current, and perhaps last, is version 157. As of 2.3.46, he has achieved his goal of getting it into the mainline kernel.

For now, devfs is marked "experimental," and could remain that way into 2.4. But it has been out there and extensively used for some time, and should be stable. Those interested in playing with it should probably start with Richard's devfs README file, which explains how it works in detail.

One reason for the shakiness of recent kernels is the integration of the softnet patches. Softnet is a reworking of the core networking subsystem to make it fully multithreaded and more cleanly done in general; the work is being headed up by Linux networking master Alexey Kuznetsov, with lots of contributions from many other people. Those wanting a terse, technical history of softnet development in "changelog" form can take a look at Alexey's README.softnet file.

Softnet will make for better Linux networking, but in the short term it requires quite a bit of thrashing of the code. See, for example, this note from Dave Miller on changes in the network driver interface. These changes require changing every network driver in the system - it is a fundamental API change. Again, the end results will be good, but it leads to some instability in the short term. 2.4.0 is still somewhat distant. (Those needing to update drivers can also look at the softnet drivers HOWTO).

The integration of the new RAID code is also a prominent feature of recent kernels. RAID integration is still a work in progress; see Ingo Molnar's message for details. Current 2.3.x RAID should not, shall we say, be used on production systems. But for those who have waited a long time for the new RAID to go into the mainstream kernel, this is good news.

Scheduled Transfer Protocol for Linux. SGI this week announced the release of a Scheduled Transfer Protocol (STP) implementation for Linux. It's an alpha-level release, in the form of a patch to the 2.3.16 kernel, so it won't be showing up in the mainline kernel release for a while yet. But it's a good start.

STP is a relatively new networking protocol which is aimed at very high bandwidth and low latency. It works by setting up transfers in advance, and preallocating the necessary buffers. Thus data can go directly from the wire to its resting place in the system. It functions almost like a DMA transfer over a network cable.

STP can be used to carry higher-level protocols. For example, one can layer SCSI on top of STP, and use the result to implement a new, faster line of network-attached disk drives. Larry McVoy stirred things up a bit with a related suggestion: add a processor to each disk drive so that the drive itself runs Linux. Each drive becomes an autonomous system plugged directly into the network, able to serve up data via STP.

The idea has some appeal. Processors and memory are cheap enough to do this. Massive servers are getting harder to scale; distributed networks (think "disk farm cluster") can get better performance cheaper. Drives running Linux are easy to set up and customize to particular needs. And drive manufacturers are desperate for anything that can increase the value of their products and give them a margin they can actually survive on.

Larry may be a bit ahead of his time. But things could conceivably go that way, and SGI's latest contribution to Linux could be a step in that direction.

Storing capability bits in the filesystem has come up again. The question of how to represent capabilities (or "privileges" for the old VMS folks out there) has been an active topic of discussion for over a year. Capabilities describe the actions a given program is allowed to perform, and must be associated with the program's executable file somehow. Those who want to store capability bits in the filesystem itself would appear to have won over those who wanted to put them in the ELF executable header; the current discussion is about implementation of the filesystem option.

The problem is this: there is room in the ext2 inode structure now to hold 32 bits worth of capabilities. Linux currently has 28 capabilities defined, but everybody expects that list to grow. If it grows beyond 32 (considered likely), a more elaborate method of storing them will need to be devised.

Given that other sorts of file permissions metadata (such as access control lists) also need to be stored, it would seem that a definitive answer to the problem should be implemented now. Otherwise things will just have to be done over again in the near future.

There is, however, a point of view (championed by Ted Ts'o) that more capability bits are not necessarily a good thing. Managing of capabilities looks like it could be one of the truly big system administration challenges of the future. Given the amount of trouble people (and distributors) have with the existing permission bits, how will they cope with dozens of capability bits that must be correctly set on every file? Capabilities, poorly handled, could become a major security problem instead of the solution they were intended to be.

The human factors side of capabilities has really not been addressed so far. Without some attention in that area, there could be some real problems waiting in the near future.

Future projects for the ext2 filesystem were brainstormed at an "ext2 puffinfest" attended by Ted TS'o, Ben LaHaise, Phil Schwan, Alexander Viro, and Matthew Wilcox. The result was this list of interesting things that could be done with the Linux filesystem. It may take a while to work through the whole thing...

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Netfilter 0.90 has been released. Netfilter is getting close to the point of being merged into the 2.3 tree, and needs testers now.

  • Jens Axboe released a module for "packet writing" of CD-RW drives. Writing in this mode allows for transparent access to the device, without the need for a separate recorder program.

  • Timpanogas has released a "NetWare Volume Imager," which looks a lot like a NetWare backup and restore system. There's a GPL version, and a commercial variant that adds extra functionality.

  • Dave Higgen has posted a merge of the latest NFS fixes for the 2.2.14 kernel. Those who are running 2.2.14 and still having NFS problems (a number of people, seemingly) might want to give this a try.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

February 17, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


 Main page
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See also: last week's Distributions page.


Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.

SuSE, Mandrake, and Linbox to distribute networking code. SuSE, MandrakeSoft, and Linbox have announced that they are joining forces to incorporate Linbox's cool network computing technologies into the SuSE and Linux-Mandrake distributions. The Linbox Network Architecture (LNA) supports diskless computers and provides a facile way to allow end-users running Linux boxes to access legacy Mac or Windows applications.

This partnership will publish the LNA specification under an open source license, with continued development centered in the Linbox R&D center in the Lorraine region, France.

One Disk Linux. One Disk Linux is a Spanish mini-distribution that fits onto a single floppy disk. It was designed for a university environment where the available computers may not have Linux installed. It allows a computer to be rebooted off the floppy and to give basic Linux functionality with networking without touching the computer's hard drive. (Thanks to Hap.)

Best Linux

English version of Best Linux to debut at CeBIT. SOT has announced that it will release an English version of its Best Linux distribution at CeBIT. Best Linux is is a popular distribution out of Finland.

Coyote Linux

Version 1.11 announced. Coyote Linux version 1.11 has been announced. This is a bug fix update of this single-floppy distribution which adds a VPN server and a more reliable DHCP server as well.

Debian GNU/Linux

Bug Horizon. In an effort to improve the mechanism converging Debian towards the "zero-release-critical-bugs" horizon, Richard Braakman has announced a new approach. A new snapshot will be taken on the 28th of February and named the Bug Horizon. After that date, every package in potato that still has a release-critical bug will be removed. "I may make exceptions for essential packages like libc6... perhaps :) Assume I'm the Mad Release Manager, though." The upshot: check the list. If there is a package you care about that has a release-critical bug, jump in and fix it or be prepared to have your package disappear from the final release.

Leadership Debate Opening Speeches. The opening speeches from this week's debate have been made available, along with the nominees platforms and more information about the debate.

Debian Awards. Here is the BROKEN LINK Debian press release covering their recently-received awards, Slashdot's Free Software distribution the "Most Deserving of a $2000 award" and GeekCast.Com network's "The Linux Show" Editor's and Listener's Award for "Best Linux Distribution of the Last Millenium".

Debian Weekly News. For more Debian information, check out this week's Debian Weekly News.


DragonLinux updated URL. In last week's Distributions Summary, we mentioned that our URL for the UMSDOS-based DragonLinux distribution no longer appeared to be working. We've received notes from a couple of people pointing to a working address for DragonLinux: http://www.c-cubedinc.com/dragon/. (Thanks to Brian Barlow and Ed Centanni.)


LEM (Linux Embedded) 0.6 released. Version 0.6 of LEM, an embedded distribution based on Linux-Mandrake 6.1, has been released.


Linux-Mandrake documentation on-line. Linux-Mandrake has announced new Mandrake 7.0 documentation, including a general Installation Guide and a User Guide and Reference Manual, with support for four languages, English, German, French and Spanish.


LinuxPPC 2000 announcement. Here's the announcement for the next LinuxPPC release - LinuxPPC 2000. Check it out for "the Seven Wonders of LinuxPPC 2000": an improved graphical installer and disk partitioning utility, the ability to go straight into Linux without having MacOS around, new GNOME desktop software "direct from Helix Code," a Mac runtime environment, and more.

Storm Linux

Review of Storm Linux 1.0 (LinuxPower). LinuxPower has reviewed Storm Linux 1.0. "As mentioned Storm Linux is based upon the Debian Slink distribution which means that it is glibc 2.0 based. Releasing a glibc 2.0 distribution today is something I think is a major negative point about a distribution, and something which in itself makes me skeptical about using it."

However, they did have some nice comments to make as well: "My conclusion here is that Storm Linux addresses many important points to needs to be addressed in order to bring Linux further onto the desktop, their boot loader and GUI installer is top of the crop. "

SuSE Linux

SuSEfirewall beta. Here is some information on the current beta release of the SuSEfirewall.


TurboLinux mailing lists. Bodo Bauer sent around a noteannouncing three new mailing lists for TurboLinux, a security announcement list, a general security list and a general forum for TurboLinux users. People on the SuSE list will remember Bodo Bauer; if he is participating in these new lists, they will be an extremely valuable resource.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 17, 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

OpenFlow 0.2 released. OpenFlow is an ambitious project which is intended to handle all aspects of document management; its initial target user is the Italian government, but it could clearly be more widely used than that. Document management in its full glory involves a lot of separate tasks, from simple storage through to process management, authentication, digital signatures, etc. OpenFlow intends to handle all of that, but this release concentrates on getting the process repository going.

OpenFlow is basing its work on Zope, and it is all free software. More information can be found on the SourceForge project page, and, in Italian, the OpenFlow home page. An English-language page is under construction here, but is still missing most of the information.

Open source development study. A team at the University of Kiel (Germany) is conducting a research project on the open source development process. "The goal of our study is to scientifically analyze the processes involved in Linux development from a social science perspective. This includes, but is not limited to, the investigation of the motivation of contributors (e.g. fun, cognitive challenge, using worldwide resources for problem solving, development of new skills, etc.) and success factors of the project (e.g. mutual trust, norms in the cooperation, feedback processes, organization of the projects, decision procedures, etc.)."

They have put up a questionnaire, with the hopes that open source users and developers will provide them with some information. They have some goodies from SuSE to give away, and all of their results will be publicly available. If you've got a moment, please consider giving these folks a hand.

The Universal Source Package (Freshmeat). Here's a Freshmeat editorial claiming that current package managers are inadequate and proposing a way to fix things up. "The solution to the problem seems to be to extend the autoconf approach to package systems. This requires providing the necessary tools, standards, and guidelines to software and/or package authors to enable a single source package to produce a wide variety of binary packages for the various platforms and packaging systems."

Software Carpentry design competition news. Here's the latest news from the Software Carpentry design competition. Among other things, the winners of the competition will be invited to speak at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey this summer, more prizes have been donated, and the web site has been reworked.


Mozilla Dreams (Salon). Here's an article in Salon that looks forward - with excitement - to the upcoming Mozilla releases. "The buzz about the increasing applicability of the Mozilla modules may also be one reason why, according to Mozilla staffers, a rising tide of outside developers is beginning to contribute significantly to the project."

Mozilla Status. Here is this week's Mozilla Status.


InterBase proves its mettle (ZDNet). ZDNet compares InterBase and PostreSQL. "...PostgreSQL's shared cache-something InterBase lacks in its Linux version-really paid off for it in tests where we had a high number of concurrent users, as is common in client/server environments. In this test, PostgreSQL's maximum throughput was almost three times faster than InterBase's."


SEUL/edu Linux in Education report. The SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report for this week is out. It includes discussion of the Consolidated Gradebook Project and "Debian Jr." - an effort to make a child-friendly version of the Debian distribution.

Linux For Kids. A review of the Gutenberg Project was posted this week, along with a link to Bill Kendrick's CircusLinux game.

Office Applications

AbiWord Weekly News. This week's edition of the AbiWord Weekly News has a new editor, Sam TH. This new, more formal edition covers the latest development news, burgeoning mailling lists and a new Project of the Week.

Lyx Development News. Lyx Development News came in for the first time this week. Lyx is an advanced open-source document processor based on LaTex. "It is called a "document processor" because, unlike standard word processors, LyX encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents not their appearance." The news this week indicates that they are in the process of changing their development model and plan on releasing frequent, stable releases in the future, rather than maintaining a separate development and stable tree.

On the Desktop

GNOME Summary for February 2-10. Here is Havoc Pennington's GNOME Summary for February 2-10. It looks like both Pango and Nautilus are making great progress. Pango provides an infrastructure for "dealing with and displaying the full range of languages supported by Unicode". Nautilus is the new graphical shell and file manager under development.

Gnome Users And Developers Conference (GUADEC). We have been sent some information about the upcoming Gnome Users And Developers Conference (GUADEC), March 16, 17, 18 in Paris, France.

KDE Component Model demonstation. Mosfet has posted a picture of Kword being used to display a document within Konqueror, the KDE2 browser, as an example of the functionality of the portions of KDE that have been ported to the new component model system.

Website Development

Zope Weekly News (Feb 16th). This week's edition of the Zope Weekly Newsis out. Top items this week include a new Zope tutorial in Portuguese plus a variety of new products and HOW-TOs.

Midgard Weekly Summary (Feb. 16th). This week's Midgard Weekly Summarytracks the progress of the latest beta release and discusses the need to add a good calendaring system to Midgard.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 17, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools

IBM DeveloperWorks on Ruby. IBM's DeveloperWorks site has put up a lengthy article about the Ruby programming language, which compares it with Python and Perl. There is also an interview with Ruby's creator. "Ruby has been gaining popularity over the past few years, especially in Japan, where it was born and conceived. Its features, like Perl's, are designed to process text files and complete systems management tasks. Ruby is highly portable and easily customized, but primarily draws users because of its purity and readability." (Thanks to Dave Finton).

A Perl Hacker in the Land of Python (Byte). Here is a lengthy article by Byte's Jon Udell comparing Perl and Python. As such comparisons go, this one seems relatively fair and complete - recommended reading. "For Perl, OOP was a bolt-on, not a built-in. Objects didn't arrive until the fifth incarnation of Perl. By contrast, OOP was built in to Python, not bolted on. That said, I'm not inclined to make as much of this point as some people do. Perl's object-orientation, though it has more of a blue-collar feel to it than Python's, can certainly get the job done." (Found in Portalux News).


Java 2 SDK production release from Sun. The "production release" of the Java 2 SDK for Linux has been released by Sun. It is freely downloadable, but not redistributable or in any other way "free." Sun has at least gotten one thing right this time around: "Significant contributions were made to J2SE for Linux by the Blackdown Java-Linux porting team. The Blackdown Java-Linux porting team is a non-profit group of enthusiastic Java technology and Linux developers who have led the efforts to port various JDKs and J2SE releases to Linux. Sun continues to support the efforts of the Blackdown team."

The page also notes that Caldera Systems will be distributing this product with the OpenLinux distribution.

"Javascript Event Handlers" is the title of an article on event handlers are and how to utilize them.


Perlbugtron gets a facelift. The Perl bug database has been updated and improved by Richard Foley, and the source code for it has been made available.

Perlmonth #9 available. The ninth issue of Perlmonth is now available, with six articles on a range of Perl programming topics.

Perl survey by O'Reilly. Apparently, someone declared this survey week and didn't tell us. Here's a link to O'Reilly's perl survey.


Proceedings. Proceedings from the January Python Conference are now available.

This week's Python-URL. Here is this week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL. It contains pointers to more coverage of last month's Python conference, and a lot of other good stuff.

PySol 3.4. A new version of PySol, a collection of over 163 solitaire card games, has been announced.

IDLE 0.5 released. Version 0.5 of Guido's IDLE Python development environment has been released. This is the first release in some months, and it contains a number of interesting new features.


Tcl-URL!. This week's Tcl-URL! announces Tcl/Tk 8.3.0 and the debut of the Tcl Developer Xchange, providing read access to several of the bug databases.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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

Linux and business

Inprise and TurboLinux announce a deal. Inprise and TurboLinux have announced a partnership. Their plans are stated as:

"Working together, Inprise/Borland and TurboLinux expect to identify performance and feature enhancements, incorporate and distribute their technologies worldwide, and develop educational programs to increase the global awareness of the Linux OS. TurboLinux, which boasts a market dominance in various channels throughout the world, will help facilitate Inprise/Borland's penetration into the Global Linux market. Together, the companies will be able to provide the service, support and training for Linux products worldwide."

There is no discussion of how Corel ties into all this. Since Inprise and Corel are merging, one would think that Corel would have a role to play in this arrangement. This silence could be fodder for no end of fact-free speculation. Corel has stated that it's planning to acquire more Linux companies, and that it has a $250M war chest for that purpose. Corel Linux and TurboLinux are aimed at different markets, and thus do not really compete with each other. Together, they could cover a much wider part of the Linux market. Hmm...

The electronic Linux book. [Everybook] Here's a brief article (in French) in Transfert describing the Everybook, an electronic book running Lineo's Embedix distribution. Linux was adopted, they say, because it is the best operating system on the market, and to increase the speed and capability of the device. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in Portalux News).

More information on the Everybook can be found in this press release from Lineo. It seems that 55,000 licenses for Embedix and the Embrowser embedded web browser have been purchased for the initial run of everybooks, which will hit the market this summer. The document format used is PDF, so getting material into the Everybook should not be hard.

This is exactly the sort of application that comes to mind when people say that Linux will do well in the embedded systems space. The Everybook people had to do relatively little - after all, creating a Linux-based PDF viewer is not particularly difficult. They could concentrate on the packaging and other aspects that make their product special, and simply fall back on an OS that works. Millions more people will be running Linux in the near future, but many of them will not know it.

Sigma Designs demonstrates Linux-based digital set-top box. For another example of embedded Linux: Sigma Designs has announced its new Linux-based set-top box. "The set-top box can be used as a combination DVD player, web browser, and e-mail client. By adding an adapter for broadband communications, cable companies, telecommunications companies, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can also offer movies on demand. Service providers can also add an MPEG encoder to provide time-shifted recording capability."

The Linux-based Internet car radio. And here's yet another embedded application: the Internet car radio. Evidently this radio, being put together by PenguinRadio, Inc. and Ineva.com, will be able to receive any Internet radio station (of which there are thousands) by way of a satellite service. As long as you don't try to tune while you drive, it sounds like a pretty nice setup.

Salon.com to launch 'Free Software Project'. Salon has announced the launch of a new web site entitled "The Free Software Project." The intent appears to be to showcase a book being written by Salon author Andrew Leonard; it will be released to the site one chapter at a time and subject to review much like Eric Raymond's The Art of Unix Programming. Leonard has written some truly excellent columns in Salon, so there is reason to hope that this exercise will come out well.

Eazel's web site is up. www.eazel.com is now online. Eazel is the company working on Nautilus - the file manager/graphical shell for GNOME 2.0. The main item of interest on the site at this point, however, is likely to be the list of Linux job openings. (Thanks to Pat Eyler and "foggy").

SourceXchange update. Here's an update from the sourceXchange. They have a new set of Requests for Proposals out there, and five projects currently under development. Things would appear to be picking up over there.

Connectix teams with Red Hat for Linux on Macintosh. Connectix has announced that it will be shipping a new version of its "Virtual PC" package (which allows running PC applications on a Mac) that includes the Red Hat distribution. Thus Mac users can run PC Linux... Of course, they can also run one of the Macintosh Linux distributions directly, but this product may make it easier for Mac users to try things out.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • Inprise has announced the creation of a new company (called InterBase) to handle the open-sourcing of the InterBase code.

  • Red Hat, Inc. announced the immediate public availability of GNUPro tools for IA-64.

  • SGI has announced the demonstration of its Itanium compilers - and its intent to release the compilers as open source.

  • VA Linux Systems, Inc. announced the public beta release of VACM 2.0, the VA Cluster Manager, which enables remote management of large numbers of Linux servers.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • AmbiCom, Inc. announced that Linux support is available for its entire PC Card product line.

  • DataFlux Corporation announced the availability of a Linux version of its software development kit product, dfSDK.

  • e-solutions Software, Inc. announced the availability of its flagship product, e-volve for the Linux open source operating system.

  • easyPress, the publishing division of easyLinux.com, announced the following titles: "Linux and Windows", and "EasyOffice and EasyMoney". Both books inlude a CD ROM full version of easyLinux and additional software.

  • Joydesk.com announced plans to release Joydesk 2.1, a Web-based groupware suite for the Cobalt Qube and RaQ server appliances.

  • Knox Software sent us a note to remind people that the individual version of its Arkeia Software is available for free.

  • MoJo Designs announced that the company has ported Eyelet GUI to Linux. Eyelet is a small embedded GUI.

  • Oracle has announced the latest version of Oracle8i for Linux. It will be up for download "within 30 days."

  • Rogue Wave Software announced the availability of Nouveau 2.0 for Linux.

  • Silicon Motion announced that it supports Linux, with drivers that enable GUI acceleration and power management, for the entire Lynx product family.

  • Stonesoft Corporation announced worldwide support for Red Hat distribution of the Linux operating system to its StoneBeat FullCluster for Check Point Firewall-1.

  • SuperAnt, a retailer of Linux software, is offering Diskless Linux, a CD with tools, documentation and resource links for diskless, headless and terminal systems under Linux.

  • WatchGuard has announced the availability of its LiveSecurity software for Linux. LiveSecurity allows for the management of its (Linux-based) firewall boxes from a remote system.

    Products Using Linux:

  • NamePlanet.com has put out this press release hyping its web email service ("Up to a billion people can now get their own personal e-mail address of the type firstname@lastname through the service of NamePlanet.com."). The bulk of the PR, however, talks about how they use ReiserFS to implement the service. (ReiserFS was discussed in the November 11 LWN kernel page).

    Java Products:

  • Espial announced the availability of Escape 4.0 Professional edition, an embedded device browser.

  • O'Reilly reported that their "Java in a Nutshell", by David Flanagan, is in the lead for the Java Developer's Journal 2000 Readers' Choice Awards - Best Book.

  • Random Eye Technologies Inc. introduced Random Eye images, intelligent software for conceptualizing and creating images.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • Auto-trol Technology announced the expansion of its Denver Corporate Education curriculum to include Linux, Java, and UNIX courses.

  • BiTMICRO NETWORKS, Inc. announced an EIDE solid state flash disk, E-Disk ATE35.

  • Cambex Corporation announced that its FibreQuik PC1000 and MC1000 Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBA) and FibreQuik HB2000 digital Fibre Channel hub successfully completed SANMark interoperability testing.

  • Cell Computing, Inc. announced the addition of a high-end, 0.18 micron Intel mobile Pentium III 400 MHz model to its Plug-N-Run System-On-A-Module product line.

  • CoCreate Software Inc. announced ME10 2000, the latest version of its 2-D CAD software.

  • Computer Associates International, Inc. announced the immediate availability of updates to its eTrust Intrusion Detection and eTrust AntiVirus. The software offers immediate detection for the four major tools employed by hackers in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

  • Concurrent Computer Corporation announced a Linux version of its NightStar Development Tools and its C/C++, FORTRAN, and Ada compilers.

  • CyPay, Inc. announced the availability of their high-performance eCommerce module for the Apache Web Server.

  • DataMirror Corporation announced that it is extending its Transformation Server technology to support IBM's NUMA-Q server platform for large-scale business intelligence.

  • ECCS, Inc. introduced the Synchronix 2500, a fault-tolerant, scalable RAID storage system offering data transfer rates of 160MB per second.

  • Exent unveiled the EXEtender, which allows executable files to be delivered securely over the Web.

  • Freshwater Software, Inc. announced the release of the next generation of SiteScope, the company's Web performance monitoring tool.

  • Hitachi Data Systems announced new capabilities for its flagship storage subsystem - the Hitachi Freedom Storage 7700E.

  • IEA Software introduced RadiusX 3.0 for Linux, for billing, customer care, and user authentication solutions for Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other distributed networks.

  • ILOG announced it intends to support the Intel IA-64 architecture.

  • Integrated Research announced the commercial availability of PROGNOSIS UNIX (Linux), part of a family of systems management solutions.

  • Interface Systems announced that it has added support for the Linux operating system within Cleo 3780Plus, its e-Commerce communications software.

  • MAPICS, Inc. announced they will offer Thru-Put, a leading Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solution, as an expansion of the current MAPICS product family.

  • McAfee announced an update for VirusScan. The updated version will detect the "Zombie" code responsible for launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

  • MODCOMP, Inc. announced the release of WAP66 Portal Server.

  • Motorola Computer Group introduced the PATX5000 motherboard, a dual processor design that supports the Pentium III processors, and the CPV5400 Pentium III processor card.

  • Network Engines will OEM Giganet's 30-port cLAN5300 cluster switch for its family of scalable Internet appliances.

  • Novell, Inc. announced the availability of Novell eGuide.

  • Open Market, Inc. announced the localization of its browser-based online store building product, ShopSite, into German, French and Italian.

  • S3 Incorporated announced the Diamond Fire GL1 professional graphics accelerator. S3's professional graphics division has released new drivers, included one with Linux support.

  • SCO announced that it is readying its Tarantella web-enabling software for the Monterey/64 and 64-bit Linux platforms utilizing an Intel Itanium processor-based server prototype.

  • Sigma Designs, Inc. announced that it is adding new features to its REALmagic NetStream 2000 card to shorten the evaluation cycle typically experienced by systems integrators.

  • SoftBase Systems, Inc. announced the release of NetLert 2.0, the latest version of its instant messaging software for corporations and call centers.

  • Southernview Technologies, Inc. announced that on February 21, 2000 its Atlanta-based training center, Southernview University, will officially open for business. Some Linux classes will be offered.

  • sTupidPC, Inc. has setup a new division to offer connectivity services to small, medium and large businesses in Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC.

  • Synopsys, Inc. announced plans to support the Intel Itanium processor with its high performance VCS Verilog simulator.

  • Teknor Applicom Inc. introduced the PCI-P3D840 and the PCI-P3S840, two new single board computers.

  • VisioWave S.A. announced new building blocks for its digital video networking and editing solutions using Wavelets compression.

  • WebTrends Corporation announced the release of a new version of its WebTrends Security Analyzer product, which includes detection of Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack agents.

  • Ziatech Corporation introduced a new peripheral master CPU board for CompactPCI, the ZT 5541 Peripheral CPU Board with Pentium III Processor.

  • Ziatech Corporation also introduced a new System Master CPU board for CompactPCI, the ZT 5522 CPU Board with Single/Dual Pentium III Processor.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • The Adrenaline Group announced that they landed a multimillion-dollar contract with Linuxcare Inc. Adrenaline will design and build an advanced Linux-based business-to-business application, in support of Linuxcare's recently announced custom solutions service.

  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) announced it is exploring a new Linux+ certification and has entered into discussion with Wave Technologies International, Inc. about its Sair Linux and GNU Level I Certification.

  • Enlighten Software Solutions, Inc. announced EnlightenDSM will be available at TheLinuxStore.

  • eOn Communications Corporation welcomed Picazo Communications, Inc. as the latest company to announce plans for a Linux-based telephony server.

  • IDG Books, publishers of Linux for Dummies, has announced a partnership with SuSE to create "SuSE Press," a new line of books about the SuSE distribution.

  • Information Architects announced that it has joined the Red Hat Independent Software Vendor Partner Program, to deliver Linux-based solutions for driving eBusiness across the Net.

  • Informix Software and JBSi (Jones Business Systems Inc.) announced new software packages that combine Informix's Foundation.2000 software and the Linux operating system.

  • Lineo has announced a deal with six Taiwan OEMs; those companies will now be shipping Embedix with their internet appliance systems.

  • Linuxcare, Inc. and Windward Consulting Group, Inc. announced the formation of an alliance to deliver Linux-based solutions to Internet, application and telecommunication service providers.

  • The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) and the founders of DigitalMetrics announced the final terms of the merger of the two Linux certification efforts.

  • Macromedia, Inc. and Corel Corporation announced they have entered into a licensing agreement that will bring Macromedia Flash technology to Corel LINUX and CorelDRAW 9.

  • Maxspeed Corporation announced that the company has joined the ASP Consortium, a group formed to promote the application service provider industry.

  • Radstone Technology and Lynx Real-Time Systems have announced a deal wherein they will deliver PPC-based single-board computers with Lynx's BlueCat Linux installed.

  • Samco Software, Inc., in conjunction with RealWorld, offers the Samco Power Accounting product line. Linux versions are available.

  • Stormix Technologies announced Frank Kasper and Associates, Inc. will carry Storm Linux 2000 Standard Edition to major retailers.

  • Total Impact announced that it has entered into a partnership with LinuxPPC, Inc. to co-develop a Linux software version for Total Impact's new mPOWER line of systems, upgrades and servers.

  • XETA Technologies announced a strategic partnership with Darwin Networks to offer high-speed Internet access to its customers in the lodging industry. The XETA/Darwin offering will include XETA's Linux-based Virtual XL call accounting system integrated with Darwin's Linux-based high- speed DSL Internet access system.

  • YARC Systems Corp. is preparing a revised offer to buy the controlling interest in Autologic. YARC's turnaround plan revolves around the injection of YARC's Linux server technology into Autologic's product range.


  • Last July Borland/Inprise ran a survey on Linux development. Now they are running a new study for 2000. The 2000 survey is a more overall Linux market study and less developer focused than last year's survey so the results should be of greater use to a wider audience. Results will be posted later this month at the end of the study period.

  • Computer I/O Corporation announced that they received the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo Show Favorites Award in the Server category for its Easy I/O client-server technology and products.

  • Diamond Technology Partners looks at the benefits of the Open Source model.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. announced financial results for the fiscal quarter ending on December 31, 1999.

  • eSoft Inc., the company that develops and markets the TEAM Internet Linux software suite for small businesses, announced aggressive expansion plans for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • Government Technology Services, Inc. announced that they have added Red Hat products and services to its GSA IT Schedule.

  • Neoware Systems, Inc. announced that it has appointed Michael Kantrowitz President and Chief Executive Officer. The Company said that the appointment of Mr. Kantrowitz was motivated by Neoware's strategy to extend its market focus to Linux and Windows-based information appliances.

  • Netizen announced Perl training in Brisbane, Australia.

  • O'Reilly released Charles Spurgeon's "Ethernet: The Definitive Guide".

  • Red Hat has announced the opening of new offices in France and Italy.

  • Software Development Magazine has announced the finalists for its annual "Jolt awards." Most of them are proprietary packages, but included in the list one will find Python (Languages), Red Hat Linux, and even "The Open Source Revolution" (Special/Other).

  • This edition of the Sangoma News contains info about Sangoma products, including WANPIPE for Linux.

  • StarBase Corp. announced three strategic corporate initiatives designed to provide comprehensive support for the open source and Linux movements.

  • Terra Soft Solutions, Inc., developer of Yellow Dog Linux and Black Lab Linux for PowerPCs, announced their year 2000 Board of Directors.

  • TUCOWS.com Inc. announced the appointment of Josh Elliott as director of TLD (Top Level Domain) Operations for the Assigned Names Division (AND), the domain name registration service arm of TUCOWS.com Inc.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

February 17, 2000


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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

Here's an interesting Inter@ctive Week article on how the world has changed while Windows 2000 was being developed. "All of which shows how much the ground is shifting beneath Microsoft's feet as it approaches the launch of its most ambitious OS to date. As Unix continues to form a difficult-to-penetrate layer above it, Windows is also under siege from below, not just from Linux on Internet servers, but from a new generation of essentially stripped-down computers popping out below the traditional turf of desktop computers and corporate servers."


Wide Open News covers the progress of UCITA in Virginia, where it has apparently passed both the House and the Senate. "To become law, the bill must first be approved by Governor James Gilmore. The Virginia Republican, who has expressed support for the bill, is expected to approve it shortly."

According to this InfoWorld story, the Virginia House has passed the UCITA bill. If it also gets past the Senate, Virginia could become the first state to turn UCITA into real law. "Opponents also do not like a provision that says users who do not uphold software licensing agreements could have their software 'repossessed' by the manufacturer. They assert that the bill would give the manufacturer the right to reach into the user's computer and disable the software." (Thanks to Gary Shears).

The Washington Post looks at attempts to pass UCITA in Maryland and Virginia. This is the beginning of the next phase of the battle over UCITA, which would give proprietary software vendors much more power over their consumers. "And once UCITA is passed in one state, softwaremakers potentially could exercise the right to have disputes over license agreements resolved there--effectively setting a national standard." (Thanks to Scotty Orr).


ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch writes about the Corel/Inprise merger. "Inprise/Borland tools may not be as well-known to the Linux community as, say, those from Cygnus, but they are familiar to Windows programmers, not all of whom may have been aware of the company's big Linux push this past year. As it should be, the target of the new merged company is not to take people away from existing Linux distributions, but to offer a comfortable point of entry to those who have never touched Linux before."

The New York Times looks at the Corel/Inprise merger. "Can two losers from the Windows world marry and find happiness -- or at least better sales -- in the Linux world?" (The New York Times is a registration-required site).

The Globe and Mail looks at Corel's acquisition plans. "Mr. Cowpland [Corel's CEO] said no deals are imminent but Corel has a war chest of at least $250-million and expects to spend a good chunk of it to bolster its Linux portfolio. He wouldn't want to spend the money all on one company, Mr. Cowpland added, but wouldn't be shy about a price that topped $100-million."

Distribution and Development News:

LinuxPower interviews David Hinds, the guy behind the PCMCIA subsystem. "...I don't have final editorial control over what goes into the kernel PCMCIA subsystem. Linus generally takes my patches as-is, but we have not always agreed on where PCMCIA development should be headed, and when we don't agree, you can guess who gets the last word."

The E-Commerce Times ran this article about SourceForge. "KDE and CMU Sphinx will join more than 1,750 other open-source projects that have access to SourceForge's 10,500 registered users and testers. The developer Web site also offers access to resources for development, such as communication and distribution, project management and bug-tracking tools, mailing lists and discussion groups, and Web, FTP and archival server space."

Information Security Magazine has put up a lengthy article about Linux security. "What makes Linux security a special case is that never before has such a powerful, adaptable and potentially dangerous operating system been made available to such a large population of novice users." Worth a read. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).

TheNewOS has put up a detailed look at the Crusoe processor. "The easiest definition to understand code morphing software is x86 instructions done through software rather then hardware."

Bob Metcalfe rides again with a column trashing Transmeta for not releasing its chip designs. "Linus Torvalds gave the keynote speech at LinuxWorld Expo last month, right after announcing Transmeta Corp. Am I the only one to see that Torvalds and other open-source software revolutionaries are acting out the finale of George Orwell's Animal Farm? Orwell's farmhouse is full of open-source pigs, which are now almost indistinguishable from the proprietary humans they recently overthrew." (Thanks to Scotty Orr).

IBM's Developer site has put up a detailed article looking at Linux, with an emphasis on distributions and history. "One of the misconceptions about Linux is that it was started out of a desire to create a competitor to Microsoft[tm] operating systems. This could not be further from the truth. Like many open source projects, Linux grew out of dissatisfaction. In the case of Linux, it was Linus Torvalds' dissatisfaction with the operating systems available for the PC."

Nicholas Petreley says that multiple distributions are good in this InfoWorld column. "It occurred to me as I walked the aisles of LinuxWorld Expo in New York that the multitude of distributions is one very important reason Linux will flourish after Windows has faded into the land of legacy operating systems."

This osOpinion column claims that Mozilla and Wine are leading open source in the wrong direction. "The new mutants of Mozilla and Wine are unfortunately a peek of the perverted future we face. AOL's announcement of releasing Netscape 6.0 and Corel's release of Wordperfect 2000 for Linux this spring are clear examples of the philosophical rift that exists between two different species."

The Linux Show has run this wild rant against LinuxOne, which results from the author's discovery that "LinuxOne Lite" is a repackaged version of Phat Linux. "It is one thing to rip off a billion dollar corporation. It is another thing to rip off a 16 year old kid. It may not be illegal, but MAN THIS SUCKS!!!!! Linux One is nothing, it is a hollow shell of a company, and I have proof." It seems that LinuxOne didn't bother (or know) to clean up the bash history file for the root account...

Internet Week trots out the old fragmentation fear. "...the multitude of different Linux distributions have their own installation programs, management tools, user interfaces and add-ons such as clustering technology. Moreover, without a single authority to enforce APIs, there is nothing to prevent a vendor from coming out with a distribution of Linux that breaks compatibility with other vendors' versions of the operating system, critics said."


ZDNet UK reports on Nokia's home networking plans. "Telecoms giant Nokia has attacked Sky and other digital content providers, claiming their use of proprietary technology is holding up the market for converged digital TV and Internet services. The solution says Nokia, is in open source, which will drive the uptake of networks in the home. Putting its money where its mouth is, Nokia announced its home networking product strategy Thursday, with its prototype digital Media Terminal -- much like a set top box -- running Linux and the Mozilla browser."

The Arizona Republic looks at VA Linux Systems in this article (reprinted from the New York Times). "So far, VA Linux's major customers are all Web start-ups themselves, companies like Akamai Technologies and eToys, and most are less than 2 years old. But Augustin, whose buttoned-down shirts, neatly creased khakis and well-trimmed hair may qualify as the height of formality among Linux users, has positioned himself as the person to take the Linux message to corporate America."

La Tribune reports (in French) on the French Ministry of Culture, which is deploying a Linux-based server network. They eventually expect to have some 6500 Linux systems installed. Babelfish doesn't like this article, but the new beta version does - you'll need to feed it the URL yourself, however. (Found in Portalux News).

Linux.com ran this editorial about the Andover.Net acquisition - and about how it won't affect things. "How can we make such a sweeping statement about VA policy when we, as volunteers, obviously have little to no knowledge about what happens behind their doors? It's rather simple, really. VA didn't get where they are by being stupid. They have to know that the community backlash against them for such actions would be far worse than any fallout they could suffer based on a little article."


The latest "Dear Lina" column from Linuxcare looks at time synchronization and X server access control. "Finally, darling, I assume you've already passed your ssh key along to your other self, so ssh won't ask silly questions of its own while you're merging X access data around."

The BBC's "The Money Program" ran a 20-minute segment on Linux as a competitive threat to Microsoft. A summary of the piece can be found here, and it's possible to see the program via RealPlayer as well. (Thanks to James Heald).

Computer Weekly looks at the future of Windows and its competitors. "Microsoft's Windows 2000 Professional product marketing manager, David Weeks, says one of the biggest problems for Linux is the variety of versions that have appeared from companies such as Red Hat and Caldera. 'There isn't one standard thing, like Windows, which is tried and tested,' he says." (Thanks to Alan J. Wylie, who warns that Computer Weekly stories can crash Netscape 4.7 on Linux, though your editor did not experience that).

Here's an Upside article commenting on the lack of response to the Windows 2000 release from the Linux community. "Do the Linux companies that once sponsored and participated in media events such as 'Windows Refund Day' see the bout as already decided or do they simply think their time could be better spent elsewhere? [IDC analyst Dan] Kusnetzky, an admitted Linux community outsider, assumes the latter explanation is more realistic. 'My sense is that the members of the Linux community are too busy doing what they're doing to worry about Microsoft products.'"

News.com has chimed in with a "life is not all roses for Windows 2000" article. "Linux, for instance, has altered the assumption that Microsoft operating systems will be the de facto choice for low-end servers. At the same time, Sun Microsystems has strengthened its position in the market as the dominant choice for servers to power corporate sites."

The Ottawa Citizen has run this introductory article. "For many people, Linux represents a return to the good old days, when someone would disappear into their garage for a month and come out with a really cool new way of doing things. The community could embrace the idea, and the individual who created it didn't need to have a strategy in place to deal with Microsoft -- and a ready bank of lawyers."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

February 17, 2000


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



The Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts have started The Linux Investments Email Discussion Forum, a mailing list to allow members of the community to discuss stock trading in Linux-related companies.

One year of Brave Gnu World. The "Brave Gnu World" column has hit its first anniversary. Congratulations to author Georg Greve, and we hope you see many more!


A special panel on the use of open source software in embedded systems has been announced; it will be held during the Embedded Systems Conference (Feb. 28 to March 2, Chicago). Panelists include Jim Ready, Michael Tiemann, and others.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put out a call for nominations for the 9th annual Pioneer Awards. Nominations are due by March 15. While Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds have already received Pioneer Awards (in 1998), there are many other free software figures that may be deserving of one. Jon Johansen, author of the DeCSS code, comes to mind...

The Internet Security Conference TISC will be held April 24 - 28 in San Jose, CA.

Advanstar Communications has announced a deal with the Linux Journal to create a set of Linux events. The first will be "Linux Canada," May 15-20, 2000 in Toronto; the usual keynote speakers (Ransom Love, Bob Young, Linus Torvalds) are included.

Michael Hammel has posted a pair of reports from the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. The first one is a general report from the show, while the second concentrates on graphics issues. Both contain a fair number of pictures.

Web sites

USA Digital, Inc. announced that it has launched a new web site www.linuxresource.org.

LinuxLinks.com sent us an announcement. They have more links, a Java chat room and other new features.

Linux Stock News has announced enhancements to its web site.


Applix has engineering development positions open, for those looking to work with a company in the Linux arena. Check out their job descriptions for working with Presentations, graphics and Java.

User Group News

In honor of the expected release of Windows 2000 on February 17, 2000, this day is now Linux Demo Day. LUGs throughout the world are expected to have some sort of demonstration. We mentioned some in last week's LWN and here are some more. The Maldivian Linux Users Group, Linux Users' Group of Davis and Central Linux Enthusiasts And Newbies (CLEAN).

There will be a meeting of the local Linux User Group in Assen, the Netherlands on Wednesday February 23, and every 4th Wednesday of the month. Meetings are open to all.

February 17, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
3dfile 0.1.6 OpenGL-based file browser
abcde 1.0.3 A better CD encoder.
abook 0.4.1 An addressbook program.
acmemail 2.1.10 A multiuser POP3/IMAP to Web gateway with MIME and mod_perl support
ActivePerl 5.6 beta1 ActiveState's distribution of Perl 5.5.650.
Adobe FrameMaker 5.5.6b257 X11 desktop publishing software.
AeroMail 1.10 PHP based e-mail client
AfterStep 1.8.0 Window manager for the X/Windows environment with NeXT look and feel
AIA Archive Interface 0.2b A shell-type frontend to file archives, made for dialup or telnet.
Alfalinux 0.3.1 Slackware Linux on two floppy disks
Allen Bradley Ethernet utils 0.1.5 Simple utilities for Allen Bradley Ethernet PLCs
ampd 1.5.0 A MP3 playlist daemon.
Anteater 0.3.2 A Sendmail log analyzer.
Apache::Mtml 1.0 Apache module for site templating.
ARCaMP 0.6 Allows control of MP3 playing via an AST Remote Control.
Artec As6e Scanner Driver 0.3 A driver for the Artec As6e parallel port scanner.
asmutils 0.07 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
Autofs 4.0.0pre6 Kernel based automounter for linux
autoresponder 0.4 An autoresponder creator and configurator.
autorun 2.6 CDROM mounter for beginners and lazy users
BASHISH DR5.1 A modular Bourne-shell theme engine.
Beam-it 1.0 Instantly add your CD collection to My.MP3.com.
BioMail 0.50pre1 A program to send new references from a Medline database to its users.
Birdstep DBMS/Birdstep DBMS XML Interface 1.1.0/1.0.0 A database manager for unstructured data with XML support.
Blender 1.72 Extremely fast and versatile 3D Rendering Package
BLT 2.4o A 2D plotting extension to TCL/Tk.
Boa 0.94.5 Lightweight and High Performance WebServer
BusyBox 0.42 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
b_pam 0.0.1 Authenticates users via PAM or lets them change change their password
CableTV 1.0 A CableCrypt decoder for Linux.
cadaver 0.11.0 command-line WebDAV tool
camserv 0.42 Streaming webcam server for Video4Linux with filters.
ccirc 0.97 An irc client written in shell scripts and telnet.
CDR-Toaster 1.05 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
CD_Aud 0.1 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
centerICQ 2.3.3 a textmode-based ICQ clone for Linux
cgi 0.4 A C library for creating CGI programs.
Circus Linux! 0.0.1 A clone of the Atari 2600 game.
CodeCommander 0.2.3 Multi language programming IDE.
comics.pl 1.6 A Perl script to download all of today's online comics.
command history 1.1 A program to show the commands run by users of a server.
Commerce.cgi 2.0 Shopping cart script with Store Manager
Common C++ Libraries CVS Update Common C++ libraries for solving small scale standard problems.
ConfigDig 1.0 An admin interface for the ht://Dig site indexing system.
Contact Book 0.3.4 Alternative Contact Book.
CoreLinux++ 0.4.8 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Courier-IMAP 0.27pre1 IMAP server for maildirs
Coyote Linux 1.11 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
Cubix 0.1.4 Lightweight, fast, cross-platform BASIC interpreter engine.
cups_filters 0.2.5 Printer filters to use with CUPS
Curses::Forms 0.1 High-level interface design & control based on Curses and Curses::Widgets.
CVS Manual Translation Project 0.2.2 An effort to translate the CVS Manual into other languages.
DarcNES dn9a0212 An X/SVGALib multi-system emulator.
Dark Lands 0.19 ANSI based RPG game.
DDD 3.2.1 Common graphical user interface for GDB, DBX and XDB
Deadman's Redirect 1.1 A feature-added PHP redirect script.
Debian BIND Zone Creator 1.0 A command-line tool for adding zones to BIND on Debian systems.
DEEPSubmit Professional 1.03 A Perl script for submitting multiple URLs to search engines.
dep.pl 1.32.0 Check dependencies of multiple files.
DistroLib 0.7 Library for distributed processes.
doIRC 1.1 Complete JAVA GUI IRC Client. Supports multiple Channels, Queries, DCC Chat/File
dot.conf 0.6.2 A simple, powerful configuration-file parser.
Downloader for X 1.12 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
doxygen 1.1.0 A documentation system for C and C++
dribble 0.0.1-alpha A simplistic workflow library.
Dump/Restore 0.4b14 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
dvd_decoder 2000-02-15 Module for accessing a MPEG2 decoder from a DVD Navigator.
dvd_disc 2000-02-15 Module to access DVD Video in DVD-ROM drives.
E-PrtSel 1.0 Enlightenment epplet/button - sends the current mouse selection to print
easynasm 1.0 Simplified assembly & linking tool for students.
ECLiPt SSH Shell 0.8 Simple graphical SSH frontend.
eglade 0.3.2 An Eiffel code generator that parses XML files produced by Glade.
ELE 0.1 Realtime audio effects and sample looping.
Email Security through Procmail 1.101 Email filter to remove remote security exploits of email clients
EnergyMech 2.7.5 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
Entropy Chat 0.2 Web/HTML-based chat server.
Etherboot 4.4.3 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethernet TAP driver 0.2 Ethernet TAP driver for FreeBSD
Eureka 0.1.1 Data mining tool for HTTP logs
Everybuddy 0.1.1 Universal Instant Messaging Client
expiredir 1.00 A Perl script to expire and remove files in a directory structure.
eXtace 1.2.17 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
Exult 0.10 Ultima 7 world viewer.
ezweb 1.0 A Web interface for administering ezmlm mailing lists.
Faq-O-Matic 2.709 Automatic maintenance of a FAQ
FCB 0.5 A file comparer/browser.
fdupes 1.20 Tool to list duplicate files.
fetchmail 5.2.8 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility
fidelio 0.9.1 A GTK+ Hotline client for GNOME.
FireMail 2.0a1 Tool sorting the incoming mail and removing spam
Flux 0.4.1 A generic library for protocols, file formats, and program structuring.
FlyStats 0.9-7 IRC statistics server.
fortune-mod-bofh-excuses 0.1b 444 BOFH excuses in Fortune-mod form.
Freeciv 1.9.4 Implementation of Civilization II for UNIX/X released under the GPL
FsckTV (Cable Descrambler) 021200 NTSC (North American and others) Cable Descrambler
FSGSChat 0.0.1 A chat program for FSGS servers.
FTP Mirror Tracker 0.9.6 FTP mirror-handling software.
Fujitsu Lifebook B112/B142 Touch panel driver 0.9 Gpm and XFree86 touch panel driver for the Fujitsu Lifebook B112
Future Composer Reference Player 0.0.1 An AMIGA Future Composer music player.
gAcc 0.6.6 A personal accounts manager.
GDancer 0.9 A dancing Space Ghost XMMS plugin.
gecco 0.4.3 GNOME-based application using plugins for system/network/app configuration.
Geek Code Generator 1.6 Generates a Geek Code using a series of questions.
gefax 0.03.1 Frontend for efax
Generator 0.13 A Sega Genesis (MegaDrive) emulator.
Generic NQS 3.50.8 The Leading OpenSource Batch Processing System For UNIX
getmail 1.07 A fetchmail replacement with reliable Maildir or mbox delivery, in Python.
gfortune 1.0.0 Enhanced fortune cookie program
GFXIndex 0.4 A program for creating indices of your pictures by making thumbnails and HTMLs.
GHX 3.53 GTK clone of the Hotline software
Giram 0.1.5 Giram is a modeller, written in GTK+
GMailWatch 1.1 Mail monitor applet for GNOME Panel which displays summary of incoming mail
gMGAclock 0.4.7 A GNOME application for Matrox G400 overclocking.
GMonsters 0.0.1 (Release 2) A little monster-breeding game for GNOME.
Gnapster 1.3.5 GNOME Napster client
GNet 0.1.9 A simple network library.
gno3dtet 1.0.0 3-dimensional Tetris game for GNOME
Gnofin 0.7.7 A simple GNOME checkbook application
gnofract 0.2 A fractal generator and browser.
Gnome Plotter 0.21 Plots Fortran expressions graphically
Gnome UPS Monitor 0.3b2 A GNOME client for the Network UPS Tools.
gnome-applets 1.1.3 A collection of applets for the GNOME panel.
gnome-core 1.1.3 GNU Network Object Model Environment
gnome-ihop 0.2 takes a zip code and returns a map to the nearest IHOP.
gnome-napster 0.5.0 A GNOME napster client for MP3-sharing.
gnomeCCodes 1.0.2 A GNOME ISO country code application.
Gnomoku 0.2 Gomoku game for X and GTK
GNU parted 1.1.0 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Pth 1.3b3 GNU Portable Threads
Grouse Grep 2.00 Very fast grep program for Linux.
gsi 0.8.8 A network audio system.
GtkAda 1.2.6 Ada95 binding of Gtk+
GTKML 0.1.1 A proposed XML markup language for describing GTK user interfaces
GtkSC 0.15 Utility for listing and playing SHOUTcast streams
GtkSimpleFont 0.1.2 A GTK interface for SimpleFont.
GTKtalog 0.0.12 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface.
GtkTiLink 1.03_2.10 A TI calculators <-> PC communication program using a GTK interface
GTKWave 1.2.72 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
gtv 0.05 program for looking up German television shows
Gutenbook 0.1.3 The original Perl/GTK+ application for reading Project Gutenberg Etexts.
gViewConfig 0.7 GTK system information program
haiku 1.2 Java package of database and misc utility classes
HiSecure SurfProtector 3.0.855 A powerful SSL surf protection tool.
HSX 3.30 Hotline Server clone for Unix
ht://Dig 3.2.0b1 Complete world wide web indexing and searching system
HTML::Embperl 1.3b2 Embed Perl into HTML Pages with a lot of features especialy for dynamic webpage
htmsysinfo 1.5 Writes information about your system to an HTML document.
ID2 Daemon 0.1b Daemon for remote queries of the ID2 utility.
iManager 1.1.5-5 An image viewer and manager.
iroffer 1.1 Standalone, compiled fileserver for IRC
isdn2h323 0.1a5 VoIP (H.323)-to-ISDN gateway.
j 0.1.0 A programmer's editor written in Java.
JacORB 1.0 Beta15 Object request broker written in Java
jake 0.3.3 Facilitates management of and linking between eresources for librarians.
jargon.pl 0.1 Create a fortune file from The Jargon File.
Java FTP Proxy Server 1.0.3 FTP proxy for use through firewalls
JavaNCSS 7.21 JavaNCSS is a source measurement suite for Java.
Jccodes 1.0.1 A Java program for translating and mapping out ISO country codes.
JEL 0.9.0 A compiler for one-line expressions into java bytecode.
Jellybean 0.02 A Perl Object Web server.
Jicra 1.0.0 Java IRC chat room applet.
JIM 1.7 JIM is a Personal Information Manager written in Java.
joyd 0.0.4 Execute programs via joystick.
JUnitCreator 1.07 Tools to extend VisualAge to automate creation of JUnit-based tests.
Kannel 0.5 An Open Source WAP & SMS gateway.
KBabel 0.4 Easy-to-use PO-file editor with many features.
kchmod 0.1 A GUI tool to change file permissions.
KDEStudio 13.Feb.2000 IDE for Linux
KDiskCat 0.5 The KDE Disk Catalog software.
Keep in touch 0.0.5 A secure instant messaging client/server.
knapster 0.6 KDE napster client.
KQuick 0.1 A single-click translator.
KRN 0.6.11 A newsreader for KDE with offline functionality.
KStella 0.2 A KDE frontend to the Atari 2600 emulator, Stella.
KUPS 0.5.5 KUPS is a CUPS administrator for KDE.
KWebGet 0.3 Download and Mirror-Utility for the KDE-Project
Lago 0.4 A portable, multi-threaded database.
LAM/MPI 6.3.1 An implementation of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) parallel standard.
lavaps 1.10 A lava lamp of currently running processes
LEM V0.6 A small Linux/X11 distribution for embedding apps.
Leon 0.1.0 Curve plotter.
Libcfg 0.0.4 A simple configuration management library.
libGLobs 0.5.1 A set of C++ OpenGL object manipulation classes
libmcrypt 2.3.0 A library to access various encryption algorithms
libmikmod 3.1.9 Full-featured sound library
LibMPEG2 1.1.5 Add MP3, MP2, AC3, and DVD decoding to your programs.
libsmi 0.2 SMI Management Information library and tools.
libsnarf 0.0.2-000212 A library for doing socks/http/ftp/gopher/proxy file transfer.
libxml 1.8.6 The libXML library.
Licht 1.0 An X11 client/server DMX lighting application.
LingoTeach 0.2.0 A very simple language-teaching program.
Linux FreeS/WAN 1.3 Build secure VPN's with Linux FreeS/WAN's IPSEC and IKE implementation
Linux Kernel Spinlock Metering 1.1.3 A kernel patch to incorporate metering of spinlock-usage.
LISC 1.1.4 A lightweight Scheme interpreter in Java, with useful extensions.
LiSP2TeX 2000Jan10
Litestream 1.0b1 An MP3 streaming system.
lkpatch 0.2.1 The Linux kernel patcher.
localscan 2.1e A Perl-based frontend for filtering and automating nmap scans.
logi.crypto 1.1.0 Pure Java Strong Encryption Package
Lothar project 0.6.1 Tools for hardware configuration
lrnkana.pl 1.0.1 A Japanese kana drill.
lsof 4.48 List open files
LxScope 0.1 An oscilloscope device for Linux.
Magpie 0.1 Package documentation tool.
mailshift 1.00 Utility to transfer UNIX mailboxes to a Windows POP3 server
Majik 3D 0.4.0 An online role-playing world
makefaq 0.3.1 Script to generate an HTML FAQ page from a text file.
mdate 1.0.4 A freely-available mayan date program
Medicine-HOWTO 0.1 Pointers to Linux software (mostly GPLed) for medical science.
Medusa DS9 0.7.9 A security improvement package.
memtester 2.89 Userspace memory-testing application for Linux/Unix.
Mercury 0.9.1 A new logic/functional programming language
MIM (MIM isn't MTV) 1.0.6 A viewer for mpeg multicast streams on Linux/UNIX.
MindTerm 1.2pre3 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
MiniBloquiHeader 1.0 Boxed fancyhdr TeX maker.
MIT Photonic-Bands 0.11 Software for computing photonic band structures.
MLTree 1.0 A Python module to handle reading/writing trees of data to an XML-type file.
mod_access_referer 1.0.1 An Apache module for access control.
mod_auth_tds 1.0 Authenticate users against TDS Databases (Like MS SQL and SYBASE).
mod_dav 0.9.15-1.3.6 DAV protocol extensions for Apache
mod_dynvhost 0.8 Apache Module for dynamic virtual hosting.
mod_layout 0.7 Layout module for Apache.
mod_pcgi2 1.0.1 An Apache module for Zope/PCGI.
MOffy 0.1.0 A WAP-based email client, scheduler, and contact list.
Mozart 0.0f Browser-based contact and case/project manager
mpegOrion 0.4 Free mpeg player for linux
Mptn 0.1 Regexp-like pattern matching library
mrtg-mica-probe 0.0.2 A Telebit MicaBlazer modem usage probe.
mrtg-misc-probe 0.1.1 A miscellaneous system parameter monitor probe for mrtg.
mtv A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MultUnil 0.4.3 A script for Multilingual documentation support.
Mutt 1.1.4 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
myPHPCalendar 02152000-1 A Web-based PHP calendar.
MySQL 3.22.32 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
MyThreads-Links v0.5.4 Yahoo like links manager writen in PHP/MySQL
MZFriends 1.2 beta 3 A very simple, generic database program.
nano 0.8.4 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
nbfc 0.1 New brainfuck compiler.
ncps 0.48 ncurses based process killer
NeoMail 0.51 A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
netfilter 0.1.18 New NAT/packet-filtering infrastructure for Linux 2.3.5
NetWoorms 1.7 Multiplayer, networked game, similar to 'nibbles' that runs on the console
Network UPS Tools 0.43.0 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software.
newq 0.4.2 Snarfs realtime quotes from datek to display on the console.
ngrep 1.37 network grep
nist 2.1.12 Update system time from NIST time server
NS WebMail 0.3 A POP3 Web mail client.
Object-Oriented Widgets 1.5 A radical new widget package for fast Swing-based apps.
OpenGUI 2.10 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
Oracletool 1.00 A web based tool for Oracle DBA's written in Perl.
PACT 0.5 SNMP accounting tool.
pam_pmotd 0.0.1 Displays a (p)motd before the new-mail message on PAM-enabled systems.
Pan 0.7.5 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
parsecfg 3.2.0 a library for parsing a configuration file
pavuk 0.9pl24 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
PCI Utilities 2.1.5 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
PCRE 3.1 A library that implements Perl 5-style regular expressions.
Performance Co-Pilot 2.1.4 performance monitoring toolkit and API
Perl Shell 0.007 Simple interactive Perl shell
Perl webmail 2.1.9 A Perl-based Web-mail script.
PerlSETI 2.0 GUI front end for the SETI@home client, programmed in Perl. Many Statistics.
pgp4pine by Marcin Marszalek 3.4 Bash script that allows using PGP under PINE
Photoseek 0.1.5 A Web-based image cataloging and management system.
phpGiftList 0.1 A Web-based gift list/gift registry.
phpLanParty 0.27 Lan Party registration application
phpShop 0.1A E-Commerce System based on PHP and PHPLIB.
pkgusage 1.0.2 Finds out how long ago you used every package (RPM) you have installed.
playmp3list 0.9 color mp3 playlist player
PLIB 1.1.11 A portable game-writing library.
PoolMan 1.3.2 JDBC database connection pooling and query-caching Java utility
PowerShell 0.7 A GTK-based terminal emulator with support for many terms in one window.
ppovit 0.1 Creates a script for generating molecular model images using the POV ray-tracer.
PPR 1.40b2
ppstats-ogr 7.1 Distributed.Net Personal Proxy Statistics for Project OGR.
PrensaLibre 1.0.1 A Web magazine automatic publication tool.
PresTiMeL 0.3 A tool to create HTML presentations.
printCode 0.1.2 A Perl frontend to a2ps for prettyprinting source code.
prtsel 1.0 Prints current mouse selection to standard output.
PVM Gmake 0.6 Distributed gmake
PyAsync 0.1.0 An asynchronous TCP client/server Python module.
pyChing 0.9.3 Cast and interpret I Ching hexagrams
pylice 0.8.0 Pylice is a link checker written in Python.
Pylon 0.82 a foundation library for writing portable Eiffel software
PySol 3.40 A Python-based Solitaire card game
PySol-Cardsets 3.40 A collection of free cardsets for use with PySol
QDMerge 0.52 A utility to generate documents from a template and data files.
QHacc 0.2.8 A personal finance application.
Qpopper 3.0b34 POP3 server
Quake 3 ServerKit 2.0 A Quake3 server administration tool.
Quanta+ 0.80 HTML editor for KDE
Querytool 0.004 BETA An interactive tool for PostgreSQL.
quftp 1.0.2 Command line FTP client with queueing
RabbIT 2.0.3 Mutating, caching webproxy to speed up surfing over slow links
radd 1.0 modular RADIUS server
RadioActive 0.10 Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
Rael's Binary Grabber 1.3 Automated tool for downloading binaries from UseNet newsgroups.
rand 1.7 random pipe
randtype 1.8 Displays text at random intervals.
Rasteroids 0.1 A free Asteroids clone.
recycle-logs 1.0 A log file recycling/rotation manager.
Referendum 0.3.0 Tools for Group Understanding and Empowerment.
Replicator 1.3 Automatic replication of a Debian GNU/Linux installation.
rhup 0.9.4 Make updates of Red Hat systems easier.
Rkdet 0.51 rootkit detector
router.sh 1.0 Router monitoring script.
ROX-Filer 0.1.15 Drag-and-drop based filemanager.
rpmdep 0.01 A Perl-script to find dependencies for a set of RPMs.
rpmlint 0.9 rpm error checker.
rpmsearch 1.0 RPM search software.
Rppp 1.3b Visual ppp application
Rubicon Tracker 2.0 Beta 6.99.9 Web-based trouble tracking system.
Russian Anywhere 0.1 A Russian character converter with automatic conversion capabilities.
Salomon 0.0.6a A MySQL Client for end users.
SANE 20000213 Provides standardized access to anyraster image scanner hardware
Sapphire 0.14.0 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
Sarien 0.5.1 Play Sierra AGI version 2 and version 3 games like Kings Quest and Space Quest.
sawmill 0.24 Extensible window manager
Scoop 0.3.4 A weblog management system
SDL_image 1.0.4 SDL image loading library
SDL_mixer 1.0.4 A sample audio mixer implementation using SDL
Secure FTP 0.8 FTP replacement over ssh/rsh
Sendmail Relay Daemon 1.3-6 Dynamic updates to the sendmail access.db file.
SETI@Home Client 2.02 Distributed SETI data-analysis client
sfront 0.55 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
Shellex 0.1 Automatic shell chooser
Siag Office 3.2.0 Free office package for Unix
signature 0.11 a dynamic signature generator for e-mail and news
SimpleFont 1.1.2 A small program similar to banner but better in some ways.
sitecopy 0.9.5 Maintain remote copies of locally stored web sites
Sketch 0.6.5 Vector drawing program, implemented in python
SkinLF 0.1 A skin "Look And Feel" for Java Swing
slider 0.3 Slide show generator.
Smail Electronic mail transport system
SmallEiffel -0.77 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
Snoopy 0.9 Snoopy is a PHP class that implements web client functionality.
Soma 0.77 A Multithreaded HTTP/1.1 webserver written in Java.
Sort MP3 0.1 A Perl script to organize MP3s.
SpiderMap 0.1 Fine-Tuned Network Reconnaisance Toolkit
SPINdex 4.0.45 Perl-based Web site-searching suite
Spmail 1.1b2 A Web-based email client.
Sporum 1.8b2 A better web-based dicussion board software
Spruce 0.5.16 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
star trek ency reader 0.7.7 Reads the star trek encyclopedia under linux
Stax 1.0 A collection of puzzle games similar to Tetris Attack.
Stereograph 0.12 A powerful truecolor stereogram generator.
stunnel 3.7 Universal SSL tunnel
SWTerm 0.2 ETI (Curses) based ShipWars Client
Symcrypt 0.5.0 An arbitrary length XOR encryption perl script thingie.
Sympa 2.5 A powerful multilingual List Manager- LDAP and SQL features.
Syslinux 1.48 SYSLINUX is a boot loader for the Linux operating system.
syslog-ng 1.3.15 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
Sysmon 0.82.3 Accurate and high performance network monitoring tool.
Tallyman 2.0b5 Open source ecommerce site management software.
Tcl/Tk 8.3.0 A portable scripting environment for Unix, Windows, andMacintosh
terminatorX 3.55 Realtime Audio Synthesizer (DJ Scratching)
Terraform 0.6.2 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
TeXmacs 0.2.4a (beta) W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. technical text editor
Textmode Quake 0.4.2 A text mode implementation for Quake.
The Gimp 1.1.17 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Penguin Machine 0.0.6 A puzzle game based on The Incredible Machine.
threads 2.0 A C++ library for working with threads under Linux.
thumbelizer 0.8 Thumbnail creation software
TimeIsMoney 0.21 An ncurses-based timesheet.
tinc 0.3.3 Virtual private network daemon
tinyproxy 1.3.2 A small, lightweight, easy-to-configure HTTP proxy.
tkchooser 0.65.2
TkCommander 0.6.3 Yet another Norton Commander clone, written in Tcl/Tk.
TkRat 2.0b8 A graphical Mail User Agent (MUA) which handles MIME
tkwget 0.3 Graphical front-end to wget written in tcl/tk
ToutDoux 1.1.8 A project manager.
Tube 0.9.1 A Hotline client written in Java.
Tunez 0.3 An MP3 Web jukebox with voting.
tux_aqfh 1.0.10 Tux the Penguin - A Quest for Herring. An OpenSource 3D game.
TypeE .8 A KDE MIME-type editor.
UdmSearch 3.0.3 Fast WWW search engine for your site
Unpoison.pl 0.2 Squid redirector plugin to disable location poisoning.
unumx 0.0.2 simple program to extract mods from Unreal and Unreal Tournament .umx files
Uptime Client 4.09 Keep track of your uptime and compare it with other hosts.
urpmi 1.0 An RPM wrapper that handles dependencies and makes installs easier.
Vacation 1.1.0 A mail auto-responder.
VAMP Flexible PHP-based Web mail.
ViewCVS 0.3 Tool for viewing CVS repositories using a Web browser
Virtfs 0.35.0 A utility to help create and configure virtual services and domains.
Virtual Package Installer 1.01.0 Copies whole packages to a virtual host.
volcheck / voleject 1.2 Easily mount/unmount/eject removable media.
VP Toolkit 0.1.1 An Internet client/server C++ library.
W3Mail 0.9.2 Web gateway to POP3 eMail.
Wacom Driver for XFree86 alpha 17 Wacom driver for XFree86
WebCalendar 0.9.5 A multi-user PHP/MySQL-based calendar.
WebNews 0.06b A Web page news PHP script with users-capabilities.
Websuite 1.0.0 Suite of CGI applications in C
Webtasker 2.0.1 A Web-based task manager.
Whiplash 1.3.3e A free streaming CGI IRC client.
Whizzer 1 Automates daily web browsing and program execution.
WMint 0.9 Dockable interrupt monitor for x86 Linux boxes
wmsvt 1.02 WM Dockapp that shows what's currently on TV.
wmtheme 0.4.7 A window manager theme utility.
wmusic 1.2.1 a remote-control DockApp for xmms
WorldWide Web Performance Monitoring 0.9.6 Web performance monitoring tool.
WTEST 3.0 Web application testing tool
X-collector 2.0 Fetches pictures from newsgroups, with a neat X-interface.
XawTV 3.08 TV application and a few utilities
Xcdda2wav 20000214 An X frontend for cdda2wav.
Xenon 0.6.7 A simple X-based text editor
xIrc 2.3.1
XMail 0.20 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
XML::XPath 0.11 An XPath parser and evaluator.
XML::XSLT 0.19 First Perl XSL-T Parser.
XMMS-Solaris 0.4.1 Output plugin for XMMS to play on Solaris audio
XMPI 2.2 A run/debug GUI for MPI.
XMPS 0.0.1 A fully skinnable Gtk Video MPEG-1 player with playlist support.
xmtomid 0.1 A Fastracker module to MIDI converter.
xplain2sql 0.6.1 An Xplain to SQL conversion tool.
XRally 0.8 An X11 clone of the Rally X arcade game.
XSane 0.55 A GTK-based X11 frontend for SANE, also a GIMP plugin
XShipWars 1.33b Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
xtell 2.0 Simple messaging client and server, kind of networked write
xxdiff 1.3 A graphical file comparator and merge tool.
Yacas 1.0.28 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
yank 0.1.2 Yet another notekeeper.
Yet another MP3 Tool 0.4 A GTK program to manage your MP3s.
YumfK 0.3 An mpg123/MySQL frontend.
ZJukebox 0.1 A Zope version of the Jukebox by Roland Steinbach.
Zope 2.1.4 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Take a break and laugh along with GNU. Here you'll find the Emacs Song, learn about the pasta theory of software, and meet the VAXorcist:
SYSMGR: Maybe it's hibernating.

VAXORCIST: Unlikely. It's probably trying to lure us into a false sense of security.

SYSMGR: Sounds like VMS alright. (VAXORCIST gives him a dirty look)

The Wireless LAN resources for Linux page is a comprehensive collection of information on how to be on the net and unplugged at the same time.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

February 17, 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, 10 Feb 2000 21:18:19 +0100
From: Laurent Guerby <guerby@acm.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
CC: guerby@acm.org
Subject: SourceForge


There is an easy way for the SourceForge people to clear the air and
to be catastrophe-proof: encourage mirroring of SourceForge
content. If there is a copy of major static data (CVS, mailing list
archives, HTML pages) done every week on at least one remote (non-VA)
computer (FSF, universities, other Free Software Companies or
Organisations), there is no risk of anything bad happening.  If it's
too big, the mirroring organisations could split the projects between
themselves. Cheap CDs could be sold.

I don't know what VA reaction would be to this idea (and I didn't
check their legal stuff about it as IANAL), or if there are any takers
of the mirroring burden, but that's at least one solution if some
people in the free software community are paranoid about putting all
our eggs in the same bag.

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 23:37:45 -0800
From: kenengel <kenengel@linuxstart.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: Inclusion of JFS into kernel 2.4

I strongly discourage rushing the 2.4 kernel or IBM's JFS "out the door",
even independently, much less together. The kernel development cycle does 
not operate by conventional commercial standards or shareholders'
expectations. It would be foolish to start now.

W2K is no longer an issue. The snowball is rolling *downhill* now.
It's over, Johnny.

Ken Engel
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Subversion has always been our best tactic. It leaves the competition
confused, and they don't know what to shoot at anymore."
	John Ludwig, Microsoft's vice president of Java development

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 17:00:25 -0800
From: Padraig O Mahony <Padraig.OMahony@sv.sc.philips.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: RE: Real-time Linux is patented.

If anyone wants prior art, I did a very similar thing for Minix on my
final year project way back in 1992.  I remember looking at RT linux and
thinking "wow my idea wasn't so bad after all!"  I think I've the PS
file somewhere and of course all the records are with the university...

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 14:56:26 -0500
From: Jay R Ashworth <use-reply-to@gte.net>
To: editor@lwn.net, editor@computerworld.com, letters@cw.com,
CC: nanog@merit.edu, cam@camworld.com, wesf@cs.utexas.edu, jacobs@genehack.org,
Subject: Denial of Service attacks - a one step solution

[ all editors: for pub.  NANOGers: informational carbon.  webloggers: this 
copy isn't on my log yet, in favor of the executive summary version.  Look for 
it later today.  Jerry: here's a rant, for mail.  

10 pounds of frustration in a 5 pound bag, ask any network guy... ]

Subject: Denial of Service attacks - a one step solution

The problem, of course, is that the one step has to be undertaken by 
thousaands of people.  Perhaps this week's events will solve the problem. 

As I wrote in a rant on my weblog (linked below) on Thursday, just before 
reading this week's Linux Weekly News, the problem here is that engineering, 
who _know_ how to stop these problems -- and have since _well_ before they 
started becoming _big_ problems -- can not get the support of management to 
spend the time and money necessary to solve the problem.  Perhaps that will 
change now.

The largest component of the problem is that _the sources of the attack cannot 
be traced_.  Never mind the perp, you can't even find the compromised sites 
actually sending the packets.  Why?  Because their source addresses are 

In this day and age, and indeed, for a couple of years now, routers and dialup 
terminal servers have had the facility (we call it a knob in the router biz) 
to drop incoming packets that have impossible source addresses in their 

All you have to do is turn it on.

Had this been done before now, on every router and terminal server where an 
untrusted machine is connected, last week's events very likely would not have 
happened at all.  It's that simple.

Yes, there are a lot of unprotected systems that need to get tightened up, 
quickly, but...

With valid source addresses, target routers could have been quickly filtered 
to drop incoing trach packets while the source was traced, and _that_ router's 
operator notified to find and quash the source.

But that knob was never turned.

I have archived mail on a major network operations mailing list going back 
_two years_ on this topic.  But _everyone_ has to do it.  If your downstreams 
won't take this precautionary measure, *YOU HAVE TO CUT THEM OFF UNTIL THEY 
DO*.  That's the only thing that will fix this.

But no one has the balls.  "There's too much money involved to shut them down 
for something this trivial", the suits say.



Ask eBay.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra@baylink.com
Ashworth & Associates
An Interdiscplinary Consultancy in Advanced Technology
+1 727 804 5015                                       http://baylink.pitas.com

Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 22:18:04 +0000
From: Richard Kay <rich@driveout.demon.co.uk>
To: metcalfe@idg.net, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Open Source: ideology or sound engineering ?

It would seem, based on the above question Bob, that you're the one who
just "isn't getting it". Never heard about the loss leader or give away the
recipe and open a restraunt, or even give away the program and sell the
book ?  Even Microsoft plays at getting proofreading done for free in
exchange for review copies. All of these strategies can make sound business
sense given the right circumstances.

If Open Source versus proprietary licensing were an ideological Cold War
with only 2 irreconcilably opposed polarisations your recent column
criticizing Linus and his employer for selling intellectual property might
begin to make an ounce of sense. Is this really the position you're coming
from ?

As far as I, and just about everyone I know who is actually involved in
writing code rather than writing about those who write code, OS is
primarily about software engineering. Have you never heard of software
re-use ? How are supposed to avoid rewriting software for the Nth time if
it's always tied up with arbitrary restrictions ? And why should we advise
our employers or clients to put their trust in the quality of something,
the inner workings of which is not subject to peer review ? Do you really
think there are enough of us to do all the wheel reinventing that failure
to share code results in ?

Have you actually read a shrink wrap license recently ? I'm a practical
engineer Bob, and many of us are too busy writing and teaching software to
have a lot of time for stuff that locks us into unproductive and
restrictive obligations when there are better alternatives.

As far as your personal attack on Linus is concerned this was particularly
irrelevant given that he has never made (as far as I am aware) any
ideologically based pronouncements against the general concept of
intellectual property. His one comment on this which I recall is that "the
person who writes the code gets to choose the license".  Consequently your
attack is out of order.

Might I suggest your journalistic talents would be better employed in the
field of politics, which you clearly seem to understand somewhat better
than that of information technology in general and software engineering in
particular ?

Richard Kay
Faculty of Engineering
University of Central England

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 15:21:58 +0100 (MET)
From: Bernd Paysan <bernd.paysan@gmx.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Why Transmeta is Evil

Bob Metcalf is right: Transmeta is evil. What do they produce? They produce
a closed-source solution to run a closed-source OS. Windows. You don't need
Crusoe to run Linux on a portable device (see for example Samsung's
recently announced StrongARM-based Linux PDA -
http://www.sem.samsung.co.kr/eng/product/digital/pda/index.htm). Heck,
Microsoft was almost dead in the portable device area below notebooks;
their WinCE is a flop. And SA-1110 is a much more integrated device with
power consumption between 150 and 450 mW; that's significantly below

I also don't think they wanted to create their own Linux distribution when
they hired Linus. It's a customer-driven decision, they freely admit it; it
just happend. Most of the points to have IA32 (x86) compatibility are moot
when you create a Linux/Mozilla-based web-pad. Mozilla's plug-in interface
AFAIK is designed around JVM.

If ESR is right, Transmeta's business strategy doesn't make sense. Their
processor is 2/3 software. They sell hardware. The only point to keep the
software secret is "competitive advantage". HP has to do their own x86
translation software for McKinley, and already did one for PA-RISC on
Merced. There is no competitive advantage if you fight against other
companies with highly qualified engineers, it's just duplicated effort.

Transmeta even has patents on their translating technology, ignoring that
binary translation to emulate outdated/"standard" architectures has been
used for decades. One of their patents looks like a textbook definition of
the transaction log in claim 1. If there are bad bad patents (as Linus puts
it), Transmeta's are among them.

There's nothing wrong with companies being evil. That's how it works.
Companies need to be evil to satisfy stock holders and investors. It's just
wrong to call them "good" when they aren't. You accept some sort of
wickedness if it pays your bill. I work for an evil company with hidden
sources, too; I'm corrupt, yes.

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"

Sent through Global Message Exchange - http://www.gmx.net

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 09:04:54 -0500
From: Pat Eyler <p_eyler@hotmail.com>
To: linux@zd.com, edit@compcurr.com, letters@lwn.net
Subject: http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/stories/linux/news/0,6423,2436770,00.html

Dear sirs,
I find it unfortunate that you have decided to run this[0] story.  Last
week, 'Computer Currents' fell prey to a related story (which also
featured mis-information from MyCIO.com), and were embarassed to have to
pull the article due to 'flagrant inaccuracies' (this terminology from
the web page they replaced the story with).  Please contact them[1] to
verify this if you desire.  Or see their retraction at

The particular point I find most problematic is that Solaris and Linux
are singled out as having security flaws which allowed the DDoS attacks
to succeed.  In fact, any network connected computer is capable of
carrying out such attacks, windows based computers would have the added
vulnerablity that it would be harder for the user to detect or defend
against virii or trojan horses carrying the code that would allow
someone to carry out such attacks (e.g., a module for Back Orifice)[2].

To me, it seems that MyCIO.com is using the computer news media as a
dupe in order to accomplish two ends:  spreading pro-Microsoft FUD
(attacking linux and solaris), and driving business for themselves.

I would hope that you place a retraction of your articles (as Computer
Currents has done), and take more care in your article selection in the

Pat Eyler,
Network and Systems Administrator

ps.  Huzzah to Computer Currents and  Robert Luhn for having the decency
and courage to post the retraction that they did.

[0] "German university pulls down 'zombie' server"

Robert Luhn
Computer Currents
Web Page: http://www.computercurrents.com

[2] please see
for more information

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 11:49:52 -0600
From: Michael Gerdts <gerdts@cae.wisc.edu>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Linux has put Sun on the treadmill

Competition is good.

For years Unix vendors have charged for their OS's on a per-user or a
per-cpu basis.  At the same time they have made specific efforts to
differentiate their products making them incompatible with each other.
At the risk of sounding amazingly pro-Sun, I have sent the following
analysis of a recent product announcement from Sun.  My intention is to
highlight how the Open Source movement has had a tremendous effect on Sun's
software strategy.  

This product release from Sun indicates to me that Linux has forced them to
begin to change their ways.  I say this for the following reasons:

 *  Inclusion of various freeware products in the base Solaris (perl,
    apache, tcsh, bash, zsh, gzip, bzip, less) and in the companion CD
    (autoconf, gcc, ghostscript, samba, etc.) contributes quite a bit to
    the value of a Solaris installation.  I have for a long time been
    annoyed by the fact that a Solaris installation is so "old-unixish" (or
    not like Linux) to be quite annoying.  After installing Solaris I have
    typically been in a bad mood until I had gzip, bash, less, and gcc

 *  With Solaris 7 they started adding functionality between product
    releases through patches.  This seems to be a response of the increased
    functionality that comes with updated kernels and other packages that
    happen between releases of Red Hat, SUSE, etc.

 *  iPlanet.  Seems as though they are concerned by the combination of
    Apache, openLDAP, IP Chains, Zope, etc. that are becoming standard
    parts of Linux distributions.  

 *  SPARC hardware is too expensive to attract Linux users.  AMD, Intel,
    and (I think) Alpha and PowerPC solutions offer much better price to
    performance ratios.  SPARC hardware is much more attractive to those
    that have an incentive to run Solaris.

 *  If Sun adopts Linux, they admit that they were wrong.  If they continue
    enhance SunOS (the kernel and other very base OS stuff) and make the
    Solaris operating enviroment (X, apache, perl, iPlanet, etc) look just
    like Linux, for a large part they gain the advantages of open source
    without admitting that it is the right way to go.  Since Sun cannot
    continue to make money without giving people a strong incentive to buy
    SPARC hardware, they cannot admit that open source has a strong
    advantage over closed source.

 *  Even if someone buys a SPARC box to run Linux on it, RedHat, Linux
    Care, or some similar company gets any support revenue.

 *  Solaris 8 is a free (as in beer) product for all workstations and
    servers with up to 8 processors.  A combination of a free (as in beer)
    core with significant enhancements brings Sun closer to being Linux.
    Sure they still have their own kernel and proprietary enhancements, but
    when most people say how great Linux is, they do not consider whether
    it is Linux (the kernel) or the rest (largley GNU utilities) that they
    are bragging about.

The overriding theme in all of this is that Sun makes money from the
following sources (I think that this is the right order):


They are at the point of starting to sacrifice software revenues to protect
their hardware and service revenue streams.


Mike Gerdts
UNIX Systems Administrator
Computer-Aided Engineering Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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