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Leading items and editorials

LWN Feature Article. The Story of an Implementation covers the deployment of Linux in Jan III Sobieski Hotel - one of the biggest, most luxurious and prestigious hotel facilities in Poland. We were pleased with the oportunity to run this translation of an article originally from Polish Linux Magazine - Linux Plus 02/2000 because it not only gives a great example of the strengths of Linux, but also of the issues faced by people working with software and operating systems outside the United States and Western Europe -- issues of language support, for example, and more. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The Linux Desktop: The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades. This particular week brought a couple of announcements that, together, have given us a new-level of optimism for the future of Linux on the desktop.

The first of the two announcements that caught our eye was the formation of LUIGUI, the Linux/UNIX Independent Group for Usability Information, discussed in more detail in this Linux Journal article. They plan on evaluating the growing variety of user-interface options currently available for Linux and applying methods used by human-computer interaction professionals and computer interface design specialists to combine them to form the ``ideal'' standard interface for Linux and then advocate it to the Linux community.

The second announcement caught the attention of the press all over. After all, it made for good headlines and interesting copy to talk about "an old team of Macintosh programmers" coming over to Linux to show us how to make a truly friendly desktop. Digging in a little bit deeper, though, and there really is some substance behind the hype.

Eazel, Inc is bringing Michael Boich, Andy Hertzfeld and Bud Tribble, all of whom were part of the original Apple Macintosh team, to work on making Linux accessible to mainstream desktop users. However, they aren't just walking in and starting yet another new project. Instead, they've come into this inspired by the work they already saw being planned and implemented by the Gnome team and wanting to be a part of it. "'We have gathered a uniquely qualified group of software architects, Linux experts and industry veterans to tackle the issue of Linux usability on the desktop,' said Michael Boich, president and CEO of Eazel. 'Our goal isn't to recreate what we did 15 years ago. It's to combine a next generation desktop with Internet-based services to deliver a superior user experience.'"

From this week's Gnome Summary, we hear that they've actually been working on the Nautilus file manager for several months without an announcement. The Gnome team is excited to have them, as well. It is a story of youthful enthusiasm (and expertise) meeting experience (and hopefully wisdom :-) and bringing the potential of a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

Of course, these aren't the only two projects out there trying to address issues so that Linux can truly become an operating system for everyone, instead of just for the technically elite. However, they have opened a vision, not just of a Linux desktop that is useable for the end-user, but very possibly the ultimate and best desktop that the end-user has ever had available.

More coverage on the Eazel announcement can be found in:

Report from Bangalore IT.COM 99. A much delayed, lengthy and fun report from the November Bangalore IT.COM 99 conference is now available. It is a great way to learn a bit about the excitement that Linux is creating in other countries. "The fourth day was the day of the triumph of the Linux India stall. Everyday the crowds had been increasing. Well, on the fourth day all hell broke loose. We truly had completely unmanageable crowds. People kept streaming in an unending queue. As another sidelight, that day our pavilion had the largest queue in the entire exhibition. "

IEEE Opposes UCITA. The IEEE has published a "Position paper" opposing states' adoption of UCITA. It provides a nice, concise summary of the problems with this bill. Into the existing and evolving legal and business situation, UCITA would inject an ironclad statutory framework that is very easy to abuse to the serious detriment of consumers, large business users, and small business users of computer software, software developers, computer consultants and the general public. (Found through Red Rock Eater News Service.)

Speakers for Colorado Linux Info Quest announced. The Colorado Linux Info Quest, happening in Denver on April 1, 2000, has announced its first two speakers: Jon 'maddog' Hall and Dave Whitinger. LWN is one of the sponsors of this event and Liz Coolbaugh is the Board member responsible for speakers, so you can be confident that we'll keep you apprised as the event approaches. Jon and Dave are only the first two of what is shaping up to be an impressive line-up of speakers for a one-day show.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: White House Internet Security Summit.
  • Kernel: The logical volume manager (LVM) patch gets into the tree.
  • Distributions: Embedded systems: what distributions are being used/will be used, four new distributions.
  • Development: Linux support for people with disabilities, key Mozilla feature.
  • Commerce: Partnerships, Alliances and Deals, oh my ...
  • 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 24, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

The last thing we wanted to do this week was to focus again on Distributed Denial of Service attacks. However, it remains true that the top security-related stories this week seem to be focusing in this area. So we'll attempt to give you access to a variety of the more interesting ones.

White House Internet Security Summit. President Clinton took 90 minutes out of his schedule on February 15th to attend this summit. Gene Spafford, from Purdue, was one of two academics invited to attend and nicely sent out this detailed report. A nice look at the political process in action, for once with people relatively behaving themselves. He outlined 7 points made in the summit that no one seemed to dispute:

  1. The Internet is international in scope, and most of the companies present have international operations. Thus, we must continue to think globally. US laws and policies won't be enough to address all our problems.

  2. Privacy is a big concern for individuals and companies alike. Security concerns should not result in new rules or mechanisms that result in significant losses of privacy.

  3. Good administration and security hygiene are critical. The problems of the previous week were caused by many sites (including, allegedly, some government sites) being compromised because they were not maintained and monitored. This, more than any perceived weakness in the Internet, led to the denial of service.

  4. There is a great deal of research that yet needs to be done.

  5. There are not enough trained personnel to deal with all our security needs.

  6. Government needs to set a good example for everyone else, by using good security, employing standard security tools, installing patches, and otherwise practicing good infosec.

  7. Rather than new structure or regulation, broadly-based cooperation and information sharing is the near-term approach best suited to solving these kinds of problems.

Wayne Madsen calls it media hype and planned Pentagon disinformation in this editorial. Note that Madsen considers himself an insider in the "spook" community, having served in the Navy, and worked in the National Security Agency, State Department, Computer Sciences Corporation, RCA, and more. "The hype associated with the recent Internet flooding is outrageous and serves the agendas of the military and intelligence communities regarding new vistas for bloated Pentagon and espionage budgets."

He makes some interesting points, but primarily serves to fuel the same media hype that he disparages so heavily. Oh, yes, the President's attendance at the above summit was another item that offended him horribly.

Cyber Vigilantes. The NUA KNOWLEDGE NEWS published this editorial in their free weekly email newsletter. Again, a bit inflammatory, but the point is interesting and might explain why the culprits in the recent DDOS cases have been so hard to track down. "Without government the choice is chaos or vigilantism. The current search for the hackers behind the major spate of website attacks is a mix of both. Scores of security firms are out looking for the culprits. Their driving objective has nothing to do with law and justice and everything to do with the hoped for PR announcement that their firm caught the nasty hacker. Members of these firms are posing as suspects and friends of suspects in online chat rooms and other areas, to the extent that 'suspects' are turning up all over the place at the same time confusing everybody."

Security Reports

This week's open source-related security reports primarily came from the *BSD community, as luck would have it. They included:


Debian update for GNU make. Here is the Debian advisory to go with the update to the GNU make package to which we already provided a pointer in this week's Security Summary. An immediate upgrade is recommended.


LinuxSecurity.com debuts. LinuxSecurity.com has been announced. "Guardian Digital, Inc., an upstart Open Source security company and primary sponsor of LinuxSecurity.com, provides consulting, installation & support and computer security services to businesses looking to use the Linux Open Source operating system. LinuxSecurity.com is intended as a pro-Linux and Open Source site that strives to provide objective and helpful information for the general Linux and Open Source community."

ITS4. John Viega has announced the release of a source code security scanner, ITS4, under an open source license. "I've put together a command-line tool for statically scanning C and C++ source code for security vulnerabilities. The tool is called ITS4. ITS4 scans through source code for potentially dangerous function calls that are stored in a database. Anything that is in the database gets flagged. ITS4 tries to automate a lot of the grepping usually done by hand when performing security audits."

John is looking for assistance improving the database that ITS4 uses.

ISIC 0.05 (IP Stack Integrity Check). Mike Frantzen released a tool to stress test IP stacks, firewall rulesets, firewall resilience and IDS implementations. ISIC "crafts random packets and launches them. You can specify the percentage of packets to fragment, to have IP options, to have bad IP versions.... Just about every field can be automagically twiddled."

Lokkit, simple firewall generator. Lokkit is a new tool from Alan Cox that sets up a simple firewall for a dialup machine in response to answers to a simple set of questions. From the look of the screen shots, lokkits might be intended as part of the Red Hat install process at some point in the future.


1st International Hackers Conference in Israel. The 1st International Hackers Conference in Israel will be held March 28th-March 30th, 2000. "But in Israel, where hi-tech security startups mix up with lo-tech hackers community, where a new middle east is trying to emerge from many small anarchic pieces, this is the 1st International Hackers Convention."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 24, 2000

Secure Linux Projects
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Distribution-specific links
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.47. This release contains a new SysKonnect FDDI driver, firewire updates, an update to the PCI-2220I SCSI driver, the incorporation of the NLM4 network file locking protocol, and a major rework of the ethernet bridge code.

Also in 2.3.47: the logical volume manager (LVM) patch has been included, thus satisfying yet another long-time wishlist item. LVM works by putting a new layer between the kernel's block (disk) device interface and the actual physical devices on the system. New logical "devices" can be created using parts of one or more physical devices. Simple applications include combining multiple partitions (or whole drives) into single, larger logical drives.

The real attraction of LVM, however, is that it also allows the size of logical volumes to be changed on the fly. Any system administrator who has been through the "that partition is too small, now what?" problem (i.e. most of them) will appreciate the ability to say "make that one bigger" and have it happen. A whole class of problems thus goes away; instead of having to bring down the system, back up everything, repartition, then restore everything, it is now possible to simply issue an "lvextend" command.

There is one piece missing, however: LVM can change the size of a logical "partition," but it knows nothing about the filesystem resident therein. With the ext2 filesystem, a few options exist for on-the-fly resizing; see this page on the LVM site for more information on ext2 resizing.

Information on LVM in general can be found on the LVM web site. There is, among other things, an LVM HOWTO, but it could use a bit of work, seeing as it is full of phrases like: "If for example the capacity of a LV gets too small and your VG containing this LV is full, you could add another PV to that VG and simply extend the LV afterwards. If you reduce or delete a LV you can use the freed capacity for different LVs in the same VG." As LVM gets more prime-time attention, one can expect some improvements in this area.

Those wanting to play with LVM should note that the version merged into 2.3.47 does not build properly; see this note for information on how to make it work.

The current stable kernel release is still 2.2.14. Prepatch 2.2.15pre8 was released, followed almost immediately by 2.2.15pre9 after a problem turned up in pre8.

Those wanting to play with devfs should heed one simple warning: do not do anything with devfs, including building it into a kernel, until you have (1) read the documentation, and (2) installed devfsd. With many new kernel options, you can configure them into the kernel, then reboot and play with them at your leisure. If devfs is built in, your system comes up with it mounted on /dev whether you are ready for it or not. And that probably means that many of your devices will no longer exist, your fstab file will be wrong, and so on. You may, for example, see the initial fsck fail with one of those chilling "unable to read superblock" messages that are usually the harbinger of a late night with the backup tapes.

The moral: read the documentation and be prepared before you turn on this one. Your editor, of course, did his homework and would never, ever, have ever actually experienced any of the above troubles...

Delays with host name lookups have been reported by a number of users who have tried out the 2.3.4x kernels. As it turns out, a change in the networking code has created this problem, which may well persist into the 2.4 stable kernel release and require configuration changes on a large number of systems. As one might imagine, not everybody is happy with this state of affairs.

The problem that the kernel developers are trying to fix is a problem built into the UDP protocol. A UDP message sent to a non-existent port yields an ICMP error packet in return. However, if the process sending the initial message has since gone away, it is entirely possible that a new process, which got the same port number, will get the error response intended for the first process. The result can be described, charitably, as "confusion." As servers get bigger and busier, this sort of confusion happens more often.

The approach taken by the kernel folks is to simply not deliver ICMP error responses, since there is no way to know if they are intended for the process currently owning the port or not. The source of confusion is removed, and processes doing UDP communications have to be prepared to time out failed conversations anyway. A (more complicated) mechanism has been put in place whereby processes that really want to see error responses can get them.

So why do things break? A number of Linux distributions are shipped with a configuration (in /etc/nsswitch.conf) that tries to look up hostnames (and other things) via the Network Information Service (NIS) and NIS+ as well. NIS lookups involve UDP communications; previously these would fail immediately with an error, now they must time out instead.

Of course, the administrators of these systems should have taken the NIS entries out of nsswitch.conf a long time ago. But it is an easy thing to overlook - everything "just works" with the default configuration. Unless some sort of workaround is found, expect to see this question asked many, many times once people start using 2.4. David Miller has made it clear that the old behavior is not likely to come back. The end result may be better in the long term, but the short-term headaches will not be pleasant.

What would your development project do if somebody gave it $10,000? The Linux-USB project has been trying to figure that out for a few weeks now, since Andover.Net picked it out for one of its "Beanie Awards." The answer, as laid out in this note, seems to be to split the money up into two equal chunks. One will be used to buy USB equipment for developers; the other will be split among those who have made "obvious significant contributions" to the Linux-USB project.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • The folks at Axis Communications have announced the release of their port of Linux to the Etrax-100 CPU; it's intended for embedded uses. The port includes a couple of interesting things, including a Bluetooth stack for Linux and a Journaling flash filesystem. The Bluetooth work, in particular, is sure to get some attention; if Linux is to do well in mobile situations it will need a solid Bluetooth implementation. Until now, it lacked one altogether, so things are clearly headed in the right direction. (Information on Bluetooth can be found at bluetooth.com).

  • RTLinux V2.2 has been released.

  • Netfilter 0.90.2 is out, and in need of testers before it gets put into the mainline kernel.

  • Version 1.0 if the Linux USB Guide is out.

  • Secrm by Martin Mevald is a patch which can insure secure removal of specially-marked files.

  • Just because devfs is in the kernel now doesn't mean an end to the regular series of patches; Richard Gooch is now up to version 160.

  • Jeff Garzik has released a new version of his RTL8139 driver.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

February 24, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


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

Embedded Systems: which distribution will you use?. LinuxDevices has announced the results from their survey, Which Linux distribution(s) will you use?. A large split showed up between the distributions that have been used for embedded systems up until now and the ones that people expect to use in the future. Currently, most embedded systems applications have apparently been built with Red Hat, Debian, Caldera or SuSE, with a three-way tie among Slackware, Mandrake, and RTLinux for fifth place. However, those same group of people gave a different mix for future applications: Red Hat (15%), Lineo Embedix (13%), PROSA ETLinux (10%), and Debian (9%), with Lynx BlueCat Linux and Caldera tied for fifth place (6%). That puts specialized embedded-systems versions of Linux at 29% of future applications, a large increase, particularly since most of these distributions have been announced within the past six months.

It appears that specialized distributions for embedded systems are being fairly warmly embraced. The embedded systems market has always been highly fragmented, with many, many different vendors competing with proprietary systems. Such a marketplace is probably also more easily willing to take on a less well-known vendor for a Linux distribution, particularly since the differences between Linux distributions is much smaller than between proprietary systems.

Caldera should be happy. Remembering that Lineo is derived from Caldera OpenLinux, the above figures show an actual overall win for Caldera.

Gentus, a new distribution from ABIT. ABIT Computer Corporation, a hardware manufacturer and retailer of "mainboards and video cards", has released its own distribution, Gentus (please note, this URL may crash Netscape -- it works with lynx or kfm). More information on the distribution can be found in this press release. The Gentus distribution is, as could be guessed, customized for ABIT's hardware. (Thanks to Marcus Lauer.)

More distributions out of China. We've previously listed and spoken of Red Flag Linux and XteamLinux, two Linux distributions out of China. Now, thanks to Pierre Goad, we have another two distributions to list: Tom Linux and BluePoint Linux.

Quoting from the website, "Tomlinux 1.0, oriented for the students and computer fans, debuts in its Chinese educational version now with brand-new Chinese KDE desktop. Besides bountiful network software and multimedia software attached, Tomlinux incorporates white-hot games, VCD player, C/C++ and Fortran compilers, word processor Kedit, and bilingual support. "

Since the BluePoint Linux website is only available in Chinese, Ambrose Li was kind enough to take a look and provide us an unofficial translation. Many thanks, Ambrose. "BluePoint Linux 1.0 runs on the Intel x86 platform. In addition to features found in other fine Linux distributions, BluePoint features extensive localization and internationalization features, especially those adapted to actual needs in the Chinese market."

Elfstone Linux. A company called Elfstone Software has turned up with a new distribution - Elfstone Linux, currently available in beta form. It claims to be "the most Unix-like of all commercial Linux distributions," and features a Motif-based GUI.

Bastille Linux

Bastille Linux 1.03. An updated version of Bastille has been announced. Bastille is really less a distribution than a hardening script for Red Hat Linux. The latest version has been updated to support Red Hat 6.1.

Corel Linux

Review of Corel Linux 1.0 (LinuxPower). LinuxPower has put up a review of Corel Linux 1.0. "I must also say that releasing a Glibc2.0 based distribution at this point in time is almost in itself enough to give the distribution thumbs down. It was okay at the time Debian made the release of their distribution, but it is not okay now."

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News. This week's edition highlights packages in danger of being removed from the upcoming Debian release, including such mainstream packages as apache, fetchmail, gpm, and samba. February 28th is the deadline for their repair. Meanwhile, the Debian Leader elections have commenced and will close in two weeks.

Debian at CeBIT. Debian has put out a press release covering their planned activities at CeBIT. They have a major presence going, with four booths staffed with Debian people and several talks.

Debian-hurd kernel cousin. The February 16th edition of the debian-hurd kernel cousin mentions new regular IRC meetings, man, dpkg and a topic for the next Hurd user group.

Empire Linux

Empire Linux is a tiny Linux distribution that runs on a single floppy. It is based on LOAF (Linux on a Floppy) and is still in early development. Version 0.2 has just been announced.

Green Frog Linux

Green Frog Linux is a slightly larger Linux distribution, disk-based, intended for use by people who want to "roll their own distribution". The latest version, 0.5a (Pyonkichi), moves from exim to postfix for its default mailer, integrates the 2.2.13 kernel, and has a new installer.

Also from the same author, Pocket Linux is a "a branch of Green Frog Linux that is intended to be used on a NEC Mobile Gear (the i486 one) PDA" which is in alpha and recommended only for the very brave.


New version of Linux by Libranet. Libra Computer Systems announced the release of version 1.2 of the 'Linux By Libranet' distribution. LibraNet is a Debian-based distribution. The new version has updated kernel, Gnome and KDE packages, so is presumably based on the not-yet-released potato tree. An updated installer is included with the new version.

Linux Router Project

PCWeek Reviews Linux Router Project. PCWeek has published this review of the Linux Router Project. "The Linux Router Project code "is another, very slimmed-down distribution of Linux that is less than 2MB so that it will fit on one floppy disk," Berger said. As a result, it can function as a router or firewall when running just from a PC's floppy drive."


muLinux 7r12b has been released. This is a minor update to the development branch. "muLinux (LLLLLinux, really) is a full-configured, minimalistic, almost complete, application-centric tiny distribution of Linux (2.0.36 modular kernel) made in Italy. muLinux resides on a single 1722K floppy. Works on PC 386-4M + swap space, and installs in RAM, UMSDOS, EXT2 & LOOP-EXT2. "

Red Hat Linux

Preview of Red Hat 6.2. A preview of Red Hat 6.2 has been provided by TheNewOS.com. "Ultimately 6.2beta's improvements over 6.1 seem largely to be in the form of bells and whistles."

Storm Linux

Storm Linux makes its debut at CeBIT 2000 this week.

SuSE Linux

CNET review: SuSE 6.3. CNET has put out a review of SuSE Linux 6.3. "The bottom line: The new YaST2 installer makes 6.3 better than SuSE 6.2, but it needs more polish to make it a good choice for new users. It's still a solid choice for enterprise users".

William Henning reviews SuSE 6.3. AboutLinux.com has a detailed review by reviewer extroadinaire, William Henning. He gives it an "Overall Grade: A Recommended". And the bottom line: "I would not hesitate to recommend SuSE 6.3 for people who are technically inclined. As long as you can follow the documentation you should not have any problems installing SuSE 6.3."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 24, 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

Linux support for people with disabilities. Making sure that Linux is accessible to people with disabilities is as important to world-wide domination as multiple language support. Both are about empowering people, allowing them to have an operating system that truly fits their needs and goals. The linux-access mailing lists and website are a part of this effort and have been for several years. Now Marc E. Christensen, the current maintainer, has announced the need to find a new home and maintainer for both the mailing lists and website. He acknowledges that traffic on the lists has been light recently and that a merger with one of the other projects in this arena, such as the blinux mailing list, might also be appropriate. We strongly encourage the efforts of both of these projects and others in this important field.


Discussion: key Mozilla feature. Mozillazine sponsored a weekend discussion about what single key feature people would like to see working in Mozilla before its release. The volume of responses shows a high level of interest in the topic, though not all of the suggestions have even been implemented in Mozilla. "I'd like to see a built-in validator for (1) HTML 4.0 + CSS 1/2 and (2) XUL+CSS+DTD(+JS?) (chrome)."

Alphanumerica support for Mozilla. Alphanumerica has committed in-house developers to the Mozilla effort, according to this press release. "The Mozilla development team at Alphanumerica is working to implement refinements to XUL (rhymes with "cool" and stands for XML-based User Interface Language). Mozilla's XUL technology will enable users to customize both the user interface as well as the functionality of the application."

Netscape 4.72 has been released. Netscape 4.72 isn't exciting anyone, but at least one person reported it running more smoothly, at least initially,


LinuxForKids report. New games covered this past week include car racing games (Xrally, Race and SpaceRacer). Version 0.4.0 of ClanLib, an SDK for Linux and Windows games, has been released. Last, age ratings are slowly being integrated into their information.

Authenticated User Community 0.6.2. AUC (Authenticated User Community) for Education provides a uniform, web-based interface to discussion forums, e-mail, file management, and user information. It was designed for use in a K-12 setting. The latest version adds support for e-mail attachments, UI improvements and more.

Linux in Education Report #8. This week's Linux in Education Report discussions include multilingual word bases, HICCUP, "a programming language designed to be processed by groups of children rather than by a computer (not open source), and a planned new distribution from Mandrakesoft. "Since our last report when we mentioned the beginnings of the Debian Jr. project we've learned that Mandrake is working on a Linux distribution for the French State Educational Minister intended for children ten or more years old. " Linux Knowledge Base Weekly News. Here is this week's LKB Weekly News.

Linux Knowledge Base Project report. Here's the Linux Knowledge Base weekly report for February 17. It is mostly concerned with the status of their alpha rollout.


Linux and all things Quake. The Linux Game Modification Center is on-line and holding game modifications for Half-Life, Kingpin, Quake 2 and Quake 3 Arena. [Found in the Boulder LUG list.]

Trollbridge. Open Game Source feature of the month: Trollbridge, a "mostly-GPL"-licensed adventure in the style of the original Legend of Zelda. "The game is still under development. Although it can be played, the game balance needs tweaking to make it enjoyable."

Crystal Space (beta). Crystal Space is an LGPL'd 3D SDK that has released its first beta (version 0.15r002). For more information, screen shots, etc., check the Crystal Space website.

High Availability

Alan Robertson joins SuSE Labs. Alan Robertson, maintainer of the heartbeat code and the Linux HA Web Site and HOWTO, has joined SuSE Labs to work full-time on high-availability issues.

Office Applications

Linux Word Processors Reviewed. Slashdot has published the first in a series of reviews covering productivity apps for Linux. In this first, ApplixWords and Kword (from Applixware 5.0 M1 and KOffice pre-beta) are compared. Conclusions?

Kword: "Overall, I'd say this program is well designed and relatively stable, especially impressive given its current alpha status. It's simple to use (after a half-hour of retraining yourself), intuitive, feels responsive and has most of the features that I'd need to write a great technical report."

ApplixWords:"Applix Words is neither free as in speech or in beer, but is worth the price if you're looking to spend money on a solid-looking word processor."

Gimp Kernel Cousin (2/18). The February 18th edition of the Gimp Kernel Cousin takes a look at CMYK support in the Gimp, errors produced when EPS files are loaded and a couple of new patches.

On the Desktop

KDE hosted by SuSE at CeBIT. KDE's plans for CeBIT are hosted by SuSE this year and include KDE 1.1.2 demonstrations and a preview of the upcoming KDE 2.0 release, including KOffice the KDE Office Suite.

KDE news for the week. Here are the KDE development highlights for the week, courtesy of the Mosfet.org Development News:

Mosfet has put out Pixie, a new image viewer for KDE2.0. *** KDE popularity on the Tucows sites has hit a new high, commented Arthur H. Johnson II. "I received the hit statistics for my site yesturday and I must say Thanks to all of you KDE users out there who visit our site. The hits reveal that my KDE section is alot more successful than the GNOME and Enlightenment sections." *** A new development version of KDbg has been released. KDbg is a graphical debugger interface. *** A revamped version of the KDE2 I/O library, KIO, with an API cleanup and rather massive speed improvements for all protocols, has been included in the in the CVS kdelibs module. "KIO is what allows KDE applications to be so easily made internet transparent..."

Gnome Summary (Feb 10-21). This week's Gnome Summary covers the recent announcement of Eazel, in addition to more regular topics. "Eazel's participation is a truly exciting development for GNOME; they've been hacking on GNOME for quite some time, but the company hasn't been publically announced before this past week or so. Their Nautilus project promises to be _the_ central feature of the GNOME 2.0 desktop."


Samba Kernel Cousin (2/17). The February 17th edition of the Samba Kernel Cousin touches on several controversial topics, including the rise and fall of a crypto proposal, VMWare shipping Samba (good news) but with a minor GPL violation that should be fixed and more. An excellent job by editor Peter Samuelson.

Website Development

WorldPilot 1.0 released. WorldPilot 1.0 has been released. WorldPilot is a free personal information management system based on Zope.

Zope Weekly News (Feb 23). This week's edition of the Zope Weekly Newsis now available, full of product announcements, updates and documentation links.


Wine Weekly News (Feb 14th). The Wine Weekly News for February 14th contains a nice summary of recent news coverage of Wine, plus development discussions about FormatMessage and message tables and Dialog and property sheets.

Wine Weekly News (Feb 21). This week's Wine Weekly News covers the problems on the Wine HQ webserver that prevented us from covering Wine in last week's edition. Calling conventions and the etiquette of working on an open source project both as a volunteer and as a paid employee were also covered this week.


XFree86 3.9.18 announced. XFree86 3.9.18 has been released. Check the release notes for a list of new features added since 3.9.17.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

February 24, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


Sun's coverage on Java has been increasing lately, and they are doing a correspondingly better job of making the Blackdown contributions more visible, as show in the following articles:

Lisc 1.2.0. Lisc, the "Lightweight Scheme interpreter on Caffeine", is a Java-based scheme interpreter for Linux. "The new version features code improvements for math functions and an optimized evaluation pipeline. "


O'Reilly hires Perl author/editor as CTO. O'Reilly has announced their choice of Jon Orwant as CTO. Jon Orwant is co-author of Mastering Algorithms with Perl and editor of The Perl Journal.


Patch Level 1 available for PHP 4.0 Beta 4. "Unfortunately, a last-minute buglet crept into Beta 4, which prevented PHP from working properly if the 'magic quotes' feature was turned off. This has been fixed, and Beta 4 was repackaged (as Beta 4 patch level 1). The new release is available as both new packages, and as a diff file against the original Beta 4. " Check http://www.php.net/ for download information.


Fast, Free Prototyping in Python (Software Development). Software Development Magazine has run this article comparing Python with Visual Basic. "Clearly, Visual Basic is unbeatable when it comes to developing graphical user interfaces and taking advantage of COM objects; Visual Basic was designed for this. But Python, with its COM extensions, proved to be a great tool for prototyping, even if it was not written to work with COM. Its interactive nature allowed me to experiment and receive immediate feedback, incrementally building the classes and methods that eventually made their way into the final script. Plus, the elegance and power of the core language allowed me to write a clean, compact and readable piece of code."

Python-URL (Feb 21). This week's Python-URL introduces a daily URL service, Daily Python-URL, for those that can't wait a week for their URL fix. This week's issue has links to a lot of interesting articles; best to check it out.


Tcl-URL (Feb 22). This week's Tcl-URL is available, with the usual pointers to announcements and discussions of interest on comp.lang.tcl.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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

Linux and business

Linux companies continue to make new partnerships, form alliances, and make deals to get their products better known and more available.

Red Hat, Inc. announced several deals aimed to improve their Red Hat Linux Enterprise Edition product line. Computer Associates, Oracle, and SAP R/3 have already signed on, with more to follow. This Red Hat deal with RealNetworks was announced in seperate press release. We also continue to see announcements of this sort, telling us who uses Red Hat's software and service. In this case it's Kenwood Americas.

Lineo, Inc. announced deals with DaiShin Information & Communications Co., LTD and Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co, Ltd. to use Lineo's Embedix products in their Internet appliance products. Lineo also announced that it will acquire Rt-Control Inc., founders and maintainers of the uClinux operating system, and the Lineo Embedix Browser for x86 is immediately available to OEM developers.

TurboLinux issued press releases about a partnership with Akopia and this one about three new European offices in Germany, the United Kingdom and Slovenia, and also this one telling us that Miralab, one of Asia's leading Internet incubator companies, has selected TurboCluster Server software for their business needs.

TheLinuxStore.com announced that they are carrying several new products, including a new version of its "PIA" product, Kingston products such as ValueRAM, and Merlin Software's PerfectBACKUP+ 6.2.

Merlin Software also announced an agreement with LinuxLand, which also includes packaging PerfectBACKUP+ with LinuxMandrake.

See the Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions section of the press releases (below) for more examples.

CeBIT 2000, held in Hannover, Germany from February 24 to March 1, has been generating lots of press releases this week. There should be even more next week, when it actually gets going.

It sounds like they are going to have fun out there ... Illiad from User Friendly will be there. "Thanks to the fine folks over at SuSE Linux, I'll be attending CeBIT, quite possibly the largest technology show in the entire world." SuSE will be there in force, and they are hosting a few others including KDE.

MSC.Software announced they will demonstrate MSC.Patran running on Linux and Mission Critical Linux put out this press release on their participation.

Other notable items:

Copyleft has donated $10,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to aid the legal defense being mounted by the EFF in response to lawsuits by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA). "The lawsuits, directed at open source developers and web sites around the world, aim to suppress the source code that would allow DVD movies to be played on the Linux operating system."

Rob Kennedy, original founder of both the Linux documentation site Linux-Howto.com and the online Linux magazine Ext2.org, has joined Linsight. "'Working on the Linsight project is something I couldn't pass up,' said Rob Kennedy. 'Once I learned of their plans for the future, I realized that this was an exciting project that would be extremely rewarding to me.'"

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • ATI announced further support for Linux by producing a software development kit for graphics accelerated video playback on its Rage 128 and Rage 128 Pro family of cards.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • Agranat Systems Inc. announced the release of EmWeb/SSL integration software.

  • HELIOS Software GmbH announced its PDF Internet Printing, an innovative feature of its PDF Handshake 2.0 to ship 2Q.

  • Inside Out Networks announced the release of Linux driver support for its Edgeport Series of USB-to-serial converter products.

  • McAfee announced the release of the VIPER software development toolkit for Linux that will allow 3rd parties to embed McAfee's virus scanning engine into programs.

  • The latest version of the license-restricted SSH Secure Shell, version 2.1, has been announced. People who want to stick with free software should look at OpenSSH instead.

  • Unigraphics Solutions Inc. announced that its kernel solid modeling product, Parasolid, is now available on the Linux operating system.

    Products Using Linux:

  • Atmel Corporation announced the launch of its AT75C310 Smart Internet Appliance Processor IC, with an Embedded Linux operating system.

  • SSE Telecom, Inc. announced that it has shipped additional beta systems of its new iP3 broadband satellite Internet gateway platform.

    Java Products:

  • Imperial Software Technology announced that Visaj, its visual application builder for Java, now supports integration with Sun's Forte for Java, Community Edition integrated development environment (formerly known as NetBeans).

  • ProSyst Software AG presented it's "EmBedded Server" product for controlling a diverse array of devices in home appliance business networks.

    Linux Training:

  • Linuxcare, Inc. announced the expansion of its Linuxcare University authorized training partner program, with additional training centers throughout the United States and Canada.

  • The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is promising a chance at various goodies for the first 300 people to take the first LPI exam.

  • Netizen announced the creation of a new series of IT training courses: the "Fundamentals" series.

  • ProsoftTraining.com announced the launch of Version 4 of its Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) certification and course curriculum, which has increased emphasis on e-commerce and Linux throughout.

  • Symatrix Technology announced a partnership with Linuxcare to be the West Coast coordinator for the newly announced authorized training centers.

  • Global Knowledge Network will launch a series of live web seminars beginning March 1. The first seminar is called 'Installing Red Hat Linux...Without Losing Windows'.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • AC&NC introduced the JetStor II-FC RAID, desktop sized SCSI/Fiber Channel disk array system.

  • Ardent Software, Inc. announced a Linux port for their Ardent DataStage Suite.

  • Butler International, Inc. announced that its Butler Technology Solutions Division (BTS) upgraded its application testing facility to support Linux based testing for applications.

  • eFax.com announced that its paid subscribers can now use any Internet-connected computer to send faxes and attachments to traditional fax machines.

  • HELIOS Software GmbH celebrated its first full year supporting Mac OS X Server and Linux with high-performance network server software.

  • HK Systems, Inc. announced Stockmaster/Express, a Warehouse Management Solution.

  • HostPro, the Web and application hosting arm of Micron Electronics, Inc., announced that it is now offering its customers more scalable and robust Web hosting packages providing increased server space, traffic and e-mail account aliases.

  • Hummingbird Communications Ltd. announced the release of Exceed Web Version 2.1, a fully portal-integrated, Web-based Thin X solution.

  • LegacyJ Corp. announced availability of PERCobol Enterprise Version 2.4.

  • Maxtor Corporation announced the MaxAttach NAS 4000 rack mount server appliance, the newest member of Maxtor's family of network attached storage (NAS) appliances.

  • NovaStor Corp. announced that the latest release of its network backup software, NovaNET 8, supports the Benchmark DLT1 tape drive and DLT7 autoloader.

  • ParaSoft, provider of software error prevention and error detection solutions, announced the availability of their software tools for embedded development.

  • Riverbed Technologies announced a beta version of ScoutSync 3.5 for Linux/Unix.

  • SM&A Corporation unveiled System Blocks, an integrated suite of software tools for mission-critical environments that require continuous, around-the-clock operation.

  • Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced a new board product, PCI-based SPARCengine Ultra AXe motherboard.

  • Tech Soft America announced the release of the free ParaHOOPS 3D Part Viewer built around TSA's powerful ParaHOOPS 3D Application Framework (3dAF) and Parasolid v11.1, Unigraphics Solutions' geometric modeling kernel.

  • Ultera Systems Inc. announced its entry into the DVD-Recordable market with its new DVD-R MultiMaster array controller.

  • UniBar, Inc. announced e-BARZ, an e-commerce version of the UniBar bar code printing software.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • American Power Conversion and Cobalt Networks, Inc. have a partnership agreement. Cobalt will recommend APC's rack-mount Smart-UPS uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), MasterSwitch Plus power distribution units (PDU), and Web/SNMP Management Card with the Cobalt RaQ server appliances.

  • Aplio, Inc. in partnership with Atmel Corporation, announced the distribution of the Aplio/TRIO Chip by ATMEL, under the name AT75C310. The AT75C310, features an Embedded Linux operating system, VoIP and Audio application software.

  • Atipa announced that it has received $30 million in investments from Soros Private Equity Partners LLC, TA Associates, and WR Hambrecht + Co.

  • Corel Corporation announced an expanded partnership with ASAP Software.

  • Dialtone Internet, Inc. announced the selection of the Cobalt RaQ 3 from Cobalt Networks, Inc.

  • eSoft Inc. announced that Gateway has committed to make a $25 million investment in the company. eSoft also announced a redphish software licensing and services agreement in which Gateway will provide turnkey Internet access solutions to small businesses.

  • internet.com announced the acquisition of PHPBuilder.com and LinuxProgramming.com.

  • LinuxWizardry, Inc. announced that a partnership agreement has been completed with Information Highway.com, Inc. to distribute and market their Linux-based Apprentice.

  • Perle Systems Limited announced its acquisition of Chase Research Limited, a leading supplier of serial connectivity products to the Unix/Linux and NT marketplaces.

  • SCO and SuSE Linux AG announced an agreement to offer SCO Professional Services to SuSE customers, worldwide.

  • Screen Media A/S and Opera Software A/S announced a technology and marketing alliance in which the companies will work together to embed Opera Software's Opera for Linux-NanoX browser in Screen Media's FreePad Web Terminal.

  • Showstar Online.com, Inc. announced that it has entered into a exclusive business agreement with Compucon Computers to market and support Showstar's Linux-based Internet software solutions.

  • Silicon Motion, Inc. announced that Transmeta has selected its Lynx EM+ graphics solution for its Crusoe reference design.

  • Sumisho Datacom and Internet Pro Corporation (IPC) have chosen RAS (Remote Access Server) products from Digi International Inc. to help build Linux-based Internet point-of-presence (POP) servers for Japan's community of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

  • Trend Micro, Inc. announced its agreement to acquire a majority ownership interest in Nippon Unisoft Corporation. This will give Trend Micro access to Unisoft's Linux technology.

  • VA Linux Systems, Inc. announced that HomePage.com has selected VA Linux to provide Linux servers and installation services for its Internet infrastructure.

  • WAPHead! has signed a collaboration agreement with IBM, to provide WAPicq service. Based on IBM's latest DB2 on Linux, WebSphere and clustering technology, WAPHead! aims to provide a non-stop instant messaging solution.


  • ClickHouse.com Online Inc. restated its commitment to privacy protection through the non-invasive nature of its advertising systems.

  • Hummingbird Communications Ltd. reported an increase in sales for the quarter ended December 31, 1999. A partnership with SuSE and the introduction of several products for Linux have helped to make that possible.

  • Kenwood Americas Corporation uses Red Hat Linux to run business-critical applications in its headquarters.

  • Maxspeed Corp., maker of Linux desktop devices, announced the appointment of David W. McAllister as the company's chief technology officer.

  • RON's Datacom, Beijing, announced that Mr Hong Feng has been chosen as its new Executive Director. In his previous position, Mr. Hong Feng was Chief Editor of O'Reilly Beijing, and he has been one of the strongest promoters of the Open Sources philosophy in China.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

February 24, 2000


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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

Nickolas Petreley has resigned as Editorial Director for LinuxWorld, though he will continue to write a column for them. He explains this decision in the introduction of this article on InfoWorld. "Last week I resigned as Editorial Director of LinuxWorld to focus my time on Linux Standard Base. Caldera Systems is generously sponsoring an "artist in residence" position to make this possible." The article itself focuses on the money to be made in supporting open source.

ZDNet has published this article by Evan Leibovitch about Sun and Microsoft's recent marketing attempts. "Given the choice between getting bullied and being finessed, consumers will look at the brutal candor of the free software movement -- where what you see is what you get -- and find that it makes more sense than ever."


Freshmeat has published an editorial on UCITA by Skip Lockwood, the director of 4CITE.org. "UCITA unnecessarily reverses hard-won developments in consumer protection law that we now take for granted. It also tilts the playing field in favor of large software vendors and publishers."

We got some notes about the passage of UCITA in Virginia from Ran Cabell:

  • This reader claims that UCITA was driven through by AOL, which is headquartered in that state.

  • The implementation of UCITA is delayed until July 1, 2001; a committee has been formed to look more closely at UCITA and report by the end of this year.

  • Some amendments were made to (partially) fix UCITA before passage. Those with more time than our editor can read the entire amended bill here.

Salon reports on the DeCSS Decoy that was recently posted to throw a smokescreen up against lawyers looking for the real thing. "Still, not everyone thinks the prank is such a great idea. In fact, the cascading style sheet stripper called DeCSS will probably divert attention from more serious arguments about the original DeCSS -- such as whether or not software code can be protected by the same laws that guarantee free speech". [Found in LinuxWorld.]


LinuxPlanet takes a look at Linux on the IBM S/390 mainframe. Turns out, it is here and it is looking good. "It took only a few minutes to convince me that this was no 'lab queen' toy. The kernel level was 2.2.13--not absolutely the latest, but near enough to be interesting. (I understand that 2.2.15 is out now.) All the standard filesystems were there and (after we extracted a post-installation tarball) populated. The bash shell works just as you would expect it to. Instead of a 3270 screen-at-a-time terminal mode, you can telnet directly to Linux and enjoy the keystroke-level responsiveness of any other Linux version." (Thanks to R McGuinness.)

News.com covers the release of gcc for IA-64, along with a mention of SGI's separate compiler release. "The SGI and Red Hat [gcc] compilers will be released as open source, meaning that anyone may modify the workings of the software. Both packages will be released under the Gnu General Public License, which means theoretically that the two compilers could be merged."


Here's an article on IBM DeveloperWorks on Linux-based thin client systems. "If you are considering thin client technology for your organization, it is important to understand your options. If you really want to save money, and do what you can to ensure success, then you should avoid proprietary versions of the technology, and look for a truly open solution, based on commodity hardware and Open Source software."

LinuxPower speaks up on why and how to encourage responsible Linux businesses. "Linux is not just about the cool technology. Make an effort to find out more about the movement behind it that brings you so much power, flexibility, savings, and freedom. And when you are evaluating a Linux product or a service, be sure to find out about that business' contribution to Linux." Hear, hear ... though we might also extend the "contribution to Linux" out to "contribution to free software".

BusinessWeek Online takes a look at "the rocket ride of VA Linux Systems and its CEO, Larry Augustin". "Augustin devised a hybrid of the strategies of two very successful companies, Sun Microsystems and Dell Computer. Like Dell, VA Linux builds computers to order and can do it very efficiently. And like Sun, his company integrates software with the hardware."

Transmeta claims the new Crusoe chips are doing well in Taiwan, so far. "Jim Chapman, Transmeta vice president of marketing, told a news briefing in London that Taiwan, which makes many of the world's PCs, had rushed to adopt the company's low-power Crusoe chips using the Mobile Linux operating system."

News.com reports on Red Hat's new enterprise editions which were recently announced. "Offering packages of software tuned to work together is nothing new for the computer industry. Such packages, often termed 'solutions,' have long been a staple of sales to corporate customers who have high demands for reliability and no desire to spend lots of time testing and configuring products. 'But ultimately its attractive price is what will keep Red Hat ahead of competitors such as Santa Cruz Operation, Microsoft or Sun Microsystems,' McNamara said."

Here's ZDNet's take on Red Hat's recent announcement for the release of Enterprise Edition Linux, which will include CA, Oracle and SAP R/3 sofware. "All of these customized changes are making some open-source advocates wonder if Red Hat is wandering into building proprietary additions to Linux. To this charge, a Red Hat representative replies 'that [Red Hat] will continue to freely share all modifications to the Linux OS with the open-source community under public licenses.'"

This MacNN article interviews LinuxPPC's Jeff Carr at MacWorld Expo in Tokyo. "Jeff Carr, the primary developer and promoter of LinuxPPC, is a rather busy man at this year's Macworld Expo in Tokyo. LinuxPPC 2000 arrived at the Expo and admittedly Carr does have some impressive features to show off. He isn't, however, much of a fan of what Steve Jobs has been showing off with Mac OS X."

John Zedlewski comments on theCorel/Inprise Merger. "But, as much as I love these companies separately, I don't see how they could possibly fit together".

This article in CNEWS says that Linux is going into embedded systems because it can't make it on the desktop. "If you look at desktop computers, Linux is about as threatening as a blind gerbil. It's used by less than 10 per cent of IBM-compatible PC users and since it can't run Microsoft Windows software, that number won't be changing anytime soon."

ZDnet asked whether ISPs are doing enough to protect their customers security, citing the threatened net boycott of the @HOME domain and the recent Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Unfortunately, one bright idea brought up seems more about how to make money from the situation than how to solve the security issues. "We are in discussion with several ISPs that are thinking about rolling out a security service," he [Greg Gilliom, CEO of Network Ice] said. "They can charge the end user $3 to $5. "

Open Windows?:

Linuxcare has challenged Microsoft to deliver its Windows code to the Open-Source community. Arthur Tyde, executive vice president and co-founder of Linuxcare said, "We recognize that it would be a massive undertaking to wade through 35 million lines of code, but we are up to the challenge if Microsoft decides to take its chairman's comments seriously."

This Sm@rt Reseller columnist won't be changing over to Windows 2000 anytime soon... "It doesn't help that all 63,000 known problems, and the tens of thousands yet to reveal themselves, are hidden away. One thing that open source really does well is let everyone know what's wrong and what's being done to correct that. For example, if you want to know even the minutest details of what's wrong and what's being fixed in the next version of Linux, you go to Alan Cox's checklist for Linux 2.4."

There are a couple of stories out there saying that Bill Gates has offered to open up the source to Windows to settle the antitrust trial:

  • News.com offers this Bloomberg article on the subject. "Opening the source code would allow competitors to modify and sell competing versions of Windows, which run about 95 percent of the world's personal computers."

  • Wired News has this Reuters article instead.
Microsoft has since denied the reports. (Thanks to Damon Poole and an anonymous reader).

It-Analysis published a piece about the rumored opening of Windows code. They seem to get it only partly right. "It is a fact that Linux is being chosen as an embedded operating system for a wide variety of devices, from video recorders to the aforementioned WebPads, because it does not incur software licensing costs. Microsoft knows that it can only really establish itself in the device-driven market if it cuts its licensing fee structure to the bone, or if it drops it altogether." They did miss the idea that other issues besides price might be driving people to use Linux.

The Associated Press looks at what happened while the world was waiting for Windows 2000. "Windows 2000, the successor to NT, will be launched Thursday, a year late. Meanwhile, companies large and small - tired of waiting for its promised new features and bug fixes - have turned to Linux to run their computer systems."

ZDNet claims to have seen a Microsoft memo stating that Windows for the IA-64 processor won't be out for some time - leaving Linux as possibly the only operating system that will work on it at its launch. "Sun and Microsoft aren't the only major OSes working feverishly to deliver 64-bit offerings simultaneously with Intel's Itanium. But of all these offerings, only 64-bit Linux is at the beta testing stage at this point. The others are in alpha or pre-alpha."

Liberation covers (in French) the launch of Windows 2000, but devotes more space to Linux than Windows. There is also a story about MandrakeSoft and its business model. English text is available via Babelfish, but it quits partway through. (Thanks to Stefane Fermigier).

AboutLinux.com reports on the fact that Microsoft is about to own 4% of Corel. "Some people are bound to get upset at Microsoft owning a piece of a Linux distributor. My message to them is chill out."

LinuxMall.com has put out a press release to tell the world it's not worried about Windows 2000. "We feel confident that a substantial number of Windows NT users will be upgrading to Linux rather than migrating to Windows 2000."

A nice headline grabber, this press release is entitled "New Survey Reveals Continued Dominance of Enterprise Computing by Microsoft Windows through 2001 Despite Linux Challenge". Reading through it, other, equally applicable, titles come to mind, based on quotes within the press release, like "... open-source UNIX (OSU), especially Linux, will make astonishing gains over the next two years -- between 100% and 700% gain in server share -- on eight major enterprise server applications ...".

This TechWeb article mentions opposing viewpoints of what the result on innovation has been so far and what it will be if Judge Jackson finds in favor of Justice on the anti-trust issue.

"Simply litigating the case has allowed competitors space to move and invest in new entrants such as Linux, said Mike Pettit, executive director of the Project to Promote Competition and Innovation, or ProComp, which supports Justice's charges.

'I think the case itself has spawned a degree of freedom. That movement was going to occur to some degree anyway. They were going to commercialize some of the open source software. But I think the case may have had some impact in accelerating that,' he said."


The O'Reilly Network has posted an interview with Eric Raymond and Tim O'Reilly. "I like Gilmore's quote about the Internet interpreting censorship as damage and routing around it. These days I like to generalize it to: The Internet interprets attempts at proprietary control as damage and routes around it."

The O'Reilly Network has an interview with Mendel Rosenblum, VMWare's co-founder and chief scientist. "If you have Windows 98 running right next door on the same machine, you can just switch to it and run Office on it and read it that way. So, what you can see here is people are running an operating system and they want to run applications that may not, have not been ported to that operating system..."

The Far Eastern Economic Review has a couple of nice articles up today, an article on China Joins the Linux Bandwagon and an interview with Linus Torvalds. "At first glance, closed, uptight, communist China and open, free, libertarian Linux make a strange pair. But Linux computer-operating software is gaining favour in China and could ease the country's fears of foreign domination and what it sees as security risks--specifically with Microsoft Windows. In addition, the new kid on the software block could speed the entry of China's fledgling computer industry into the global software market."


The Albuquerque Journal attended a Linux users group meeting. "Microsoft argues that its products are easy to use. It banks on its already widespread acceptance, the fact that it's almost become a de-facto standard for computing, to ensure its continued success. That doesn't impress Linux users, who brag about their operating system's technical prowess. It's fast, efficient and almost never crashes, they say. But more than that, the Penguinistas talk about taking control of their computing lives."

Linuxcare has put out the next stage in the story of Kristine, A rose is a rose is a rose, which takes a look at the recent LinuxWorld conference in New York City. "Kristine has attended many trade shows, but this was her first computer show. She is an above-average computer user and understands how Linux fits into the scheme of things. So her perspective on the events were of interest to me."

TheNewOS has posted a review of Heretic 2 for Linux. "Unfortunately, the Linux version is also one of the most bug-ridden programs I've ever encountered. You can count on the software crashing at least once per game, and occasionally spawning a system consuming run-away process. In some areas of the game, you can expect it to crash regularly, making certain sequences frustrating to get through."

Morning Edition on NPR had this story about high-tech education in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. (RealAudio player required. 3min. 16sec.)

Salon's Thomas Scoville reviews Jon Katz' book, 'Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho'. "In arranging his investigation as he has, Katz finds himself a victim of induction; inferring the great truths of the geek nation from a sample size of two may not have been the best plan of attack".

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

February 24, 2000


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



Want to embed Linux into a Mobile Robot? This paper from Jeanne Dietsch, William Kennedy, and John Belanger takes a look at doing just that. "Embedded systems frequently incorporate highly customized microcomputers, but our company's goal was to build a robot from commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded components. We felt that this approach would maximize the R&D capabilities of our own team and minimize the cost of our product."

Whitepaper: Using Linux in Embedded and Real-time Apps "explores the requirements of a wide range of embedded systems -- from factory automation to handheld internet appliances -- and points the way to Linux based solutions."

Cobalt Networks announced its first Developer Network. This network is an "introductory developer program that offers technical and co-marketing support for developers of Linux solutions. The program offers sample code, technical notes, software tools, an on-line discussion group, and co-marketing programs designed to support the development of Linux server appliances."

EBIZ, owner of TheLinuxStore.com and LinuxWired.net, has issued this press release launching their Virtual Knowledge Exchange (VKE). VKE is touted as a place that "allows visitors to share files and whiteboards, participate in audio and visual conferencing, provides access to internal mail and mailing lists, and has an online helpdesk".

LinuxMall.com has launched the first in a series of 13 weekly radio programs aimed at the emerging Linux market. The first broadcast will feature an interview with Linux Professional Institute's Dan York.

The Linux Portal Linux Lizard offers Linux news, a discussion forum, free web services like a Linux URL or a Linux Email address and more.

LinuxStart.com announced a Swedish language site. This site joins existing resources in English, French, German, Korean, and seven other languages. LinuxStart is now in eleven languages and will add Traditional Chinese very shortly.

The StarOffice for Linux Bible has been recently published. Jacek Artymiak, one of the co-authors, assures us the book is worth-while: "Is this a good book? Yes, and I don't just say that because I happen to be one of its authors, but because I know it is a result of collaboration of many people seriously interested in giving their best, in delivering the best possible book, the most accurate information and most useful contents".


Bang!inux is a Linux conference that will be held on February 26th and 27th in Bangalore, India. The speaker line-up includes Michael Burghart, Nat Friedman, Richard Stallman and Rasmus Lerdorf. "This is a bash for Linux users, developers, sys-ads and those who just want to know what Linux is all about and how Linux can change their perspective on computing."
Linux India will also be back at the event, with another Linux Pavilion.

A draft agenda for an Embedded Linux Consortium organization meeting is now available. The meeting is scheduled for March 1st, 2000, during the upcoming Embedded Systems Conference.

LinuxForum 2000 is a Linux and BSD conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 4th 2000. The conference is arranged by Skane Sjaelland Linux User Group SSLUG and the Danish UNIX User Group DKUUG.

SANE 2000, the 2nd International SANE Conference, has been announced. The conference will be May 22-25, 2000 in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Early registration deadline is April 7, 2000. Register early for the tutorials: they tend to fill up fast!

The 15th Mannheim Supercomputer Conference will be held June 8th through the 10th, 2000, at the Congress Center Mannheim, Rosengarten. Eric Raymond will be giving one of the keynote talks and Anas Nashif, from SuSE GmbH, will be speaking as well, according to the pre-announcement.

Claimed to be the first "Business-to-Business Linux Conference in Europe", this Linux Conference will be held June 27th and 28th, 2000, in Zurich, Switzerland. Sponsors include Compaq, IMB, HP, Transtec, Intel, Corel, Oracle, and Dell.


BLADE is currently looking for programmers or writers to contribute in several ways. BLADE is a Web-based environment similar in nature to Zope, Mason, and Midgard.

Web sites

MSC.Software is building a new web site at MSC.Linux for the Linux Community. They would like some input from the community. So let them know what you would like to see.

LinuxLinks.com announced the launch of a free web based email service targeted specifically for the Linux community. This service allows users to send and receive email on any computer that offers a web browser.

User Group News

The Central Ohio Linux Users Group will meet Saturday, Feb 26th. Phil Hunter, and Jim Wildman will give a presentation on autorpm and rpm. Jim will be bringing in a RH5.0/5.2 server which will be updated to the latest packages during the presentation.

Eric Raymond (ESR), hacker, writer and open-source proponent, will be at Lehigh University on February 28th to give a lecture on the open-source movement. Sponsered by Lehigh University Free OS Group (luFOG).


People told us when it first came out, but now the Foxtrot comic strip featuring Linux is finally available on-line, where you can get an instant look, in case you missed it in the newspapers. Highly recommended. (Thanks to Xombi and others.)

Spam isn't funny, but this "interview" at sendmail.net is. [Found through LinuxPower.]

Okay, we're breaking our own rule about not publishing items that are primarily about commercial operating systems rather than about Linux or free software, but this little item was too much fun to pass up (and Jon's in Italy, so he can't stop me!). Linux-connection? It was inspired by previous comparison papers between Windows NT and Linux ... "These results show that in every comparison category that CP/M is at least as good as Windows-NT and frequently outperform [sic] the Microsoft operating system". (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth.)

February 24, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
abcde 1.0.4 A better CD encoder.
abs 0.7 Full featured spreadsheet for X11
acm 1.02 The Administrators Control Module.
ACPLTea 0.30 Java-based com system ACPLT/KS for process control engineering
Addns.pl 0.54 Perl Frontend to DDUP, a dyndns updater
Adonthell 0.2 CGI role-playing game
after 1.0 Easy-to-use cron replacement for special Unix distributions.
AIA Archive Interface 0.4b A shell-type frontend to file archives, made for dialup or telnet.
aKtion! 0.4.0 KDE video player based on xanim
Allen Bradley Ethernet utils 0.1.6 Simple utilities for Allen Bradley Ethernet PLCs
ALSA driver 0.5.3 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
am-utils 6.0.4s2 A filesystem automounter.
ampd 1.6.0 A MP3 playlist daemon.
Anfy Team 0.91 A set of 40 Java applets for use in Web pages.
Apache Compile Kit 5.0 A compilation kit for Apache with PHP and other modules.
apachedb 0.01 Logs Apache transfers into a mysql database.
ARCaMP 0.7 Allows control of MP3 playing via an AST Remote Control.
Artstream 2.0b11-1 Vector illustration and page layout program with OpenGL acceleration.
ascii codes viewer 1.1 A tool to view all 256 ASCII characters with their integer codes.
asmail 0.55 Asmail is a
Aspell .29.1 Intelligent Spell Checker
aswmtheme 0.1 Convert Window Maker themes for AfterStep.
Authenticated User Community 0.6.2 CGI-based intranet system intended for K-12 settings
AutoDNS 0.0.3 An easy way to enable configuration of secondary DNS via email.
Autofs CD Changer 0.1 CD Changer patch for autofs.
AWAG 0 A simple dial and voice-put program.
BAIM 0.4a A BitchX AOL Instant Messenger plugin/module.
beam-back 1.7 Beam your streaming MP3s back to your harddisk.
beam-rip 0.02 Simple program that downloads all files in a my.mp3.com playlist.
biew 5.0 Binary/Hex/Disasm viewer/editor
BioMail 0.50pre2 A program to send new references from a Medline database to its users.
BLADE 0.20.0 Broad Language Aided Document Environment
bmp2html 0.1 Convert bitmaps (.bmp) to HTML.
BookMarkUp 0.1.1 An online bookmark management system.
Bots 1.04
buildkde 1.4 A shell script to ease building KDE 2.
Car World 0.190 An OpenGL driving simulator.
ccdecoder 0.9.1 v4l closed caption decoder
cdr 2.1.2 CD ripper and encoder frontend
CD_Aud 0.11 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
Cervisia 0.5.0 KDE CVS frontend
CGI 0.5 A C library for creating CGI programs.
Checkbook 0.1.4 a graphical checkbook register written in Perl/Gtk
cish 0.4-0 A network configuration shell similar to IOS.
ClanLib 0.4.0 The platform-independent game SDK.
Cloned XUnzip 0.93.2 A decompression program for GNOME.
CodeCommander 0.3.1 Multi language programming IDE.
Cohesion 1.01 Java-based Plugable Application Framework, including Modelling Plugin and others
Common UNIX Printing System 1.0.5 Internet Printing System for UNIX
ConfigDig 1.01 An admin interface for the ht://Dig site indexing system.
Conlog 0.0.1 A TCP syn logger.
Courier-IMAP 0.27pre2 IMAP server for maildirs
Crystal Space 0.15r002 A free and portable 3D engine based on portals
CSCMail 1.5.2 Gtk E-Mail Client written in Perl
Cubix 0.1.5 Lightweight, fast, cross-platform BASIC interpreter engine.
Curses::Widgets v1.1 Widgets for Curses and Perl
CVoiceControl 0.9alpha Simple speech recognizer
cyrprint 1.0 Cyrillic converter for PS files
cyrus-imapd-sql 1.6.20-10 An IMAPd with SQL authencation, virtual domains support, and CGI administration.
dagrab 0.3.5 Extracts digital audio from CD and stores it in WAV files (incl CDDB)
DarcNES dn9a0219 An X/SVGALib multi-system emulator.
dave's mp3tree 1.8 A simple C program to generate an index of MP3s in text or HTML.
Deadman's Redirect 1.2 A feature-added PHP redirect script.
Debian BIND Zone Creator 1.0.1 A command-line tool for adding zones to BIND on Debian systems.
DeCSS 0.05 A script to remove Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) from HTML pages.
Deltree 2.2.0 A Windows Recycled.bin-like program under UNIX.
Demolization 0.3.0 A cross between Civilization and Risk.
dkeeper 0.1 A simple utility to keep info about your data media.
DLDialog 1.3.4 Displays dialog boxes in terminal and X11 mode to interact with scripts
dnscache 0.85 Domain Name System tools.
Download Area 2.1 Pack of CGI scripts that makes specific
Drawtool 3.2.1 Vector graphics through pipes, outputting bitmaps, SVG and PostScript
dsniff 1.5 Sniffing utilities for network security testing.
dwun 0.7b Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
DynFw for ipchains 0.2 Automatically respond to violations of firewall rules.
E-cpu 1.1 Enlightenment CPU monitor epplet.
e16keyedit 0.1 Keybindings Editor for Enlightenment 0.16
EasyGTK 1.2 Wrapper library for GTK
eEL 0.1.3 The eiffel Error Library.
eev.el 2000feb12 embed hyperlinks and shell/Tcl/TeX/Perl/etc code in plain text files
EiC 4.2.1 A bytecode C interpreter/compiler
EiffelFox 0.6.1 An Eiffel language wrapper for the FOX C++ GUI library.
Electric Fence 2.2.2 malloc() buffer-overrun debugger that uses the VM hardware.
Emma 0.7-4 An easy money management program for GNOME/GTK+.
Empire Linux 0.2 A simple Linux mini-distribution.
EnergyMech 2.7.6 Bot for irc with eggdrop like features to manage a channel
English - Slovak dictionary 1.0 console and GTK interface to an English/Slovak dictionary
eSockets PreBeta-2 Networking classes and applications for Eiffel.
Ethereal Realms 1.0.0 A Web-based chat server.
Ethernet Firewall 0.1 An Ethernet Firewall for FreeBSD.
EVDS 1.0 Beta 1 Categorize URLs like Yahoo!
exphack 0.95 Wrapper script for nethack to find a
Exult 0.11 Ultima 7 world viewer.
ezweb 1.2 A Web interface for administering ezmlm mailing lists.
FaxDB for HylaFax 0.01 Store incoming faxes in a Sybase ASE table.
FireMail 2.0a2 Tool sorting the incoming mail and removing spam
firewall-config 0.7 A configuration tool for IP firewalls and masquerading
Flight Gear 0.7.2 Flight simulator
FOX 0.99.112 C++-Based Library for Graphical User Interface Development
FreeAmp 2.0.3 Open Source MP3 player
Freeciv 1.10.0 Implementation of Civilization II for UNIX/X released under the GPL
fscktris 1.18-0.1 A Tetris clone integrated into fsck.
FtpLocate 2.01 FTP sites search engine
ftpsearch 1.0 An FTP crawler
Fwctl 0.25 High level configuration tool for Linux 2.2 packet filters firewall
fwdumpd 1.0 Daemon that logs firewall packets in a tcpdump capture file
gAcc 0.6.7 A personal accounts manager.
GameTrakker 2.3 An integrated tool to monitor game servers using QStat and MRTG.
Garble 1.0 Garmin GPS receiver data transfer utility
GCC translation framework 1.0 translation framework for pre-processed GCC written with ANTLR
gcolor 0.4 A simple color selector.
gcombust 0.1.29 A GTK+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord.
gCVS 1.0 ALPHA A GTK-based CVS client.
GDancer 0.1.11 A dancing Space Ghost XMMS plugin.
gEDA 20000220 gEDA is an collection of tools which are used to make electrical circuit design,
Geek Code Generator 1.7 Generates a Geek Code using a series of questions.
gefax 0.04.1 Frontend for efax
gendns 0.3 A tool for centralized management of DNS files.
Genpage 1.0.7 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
getmail 1.07.01 A fetchmail replacement with reliable Maildir or mbox delivery, in Python.
GKrellM 0.9.1 System monitor package
GLAME 0.025 A generic and easily extensible audio processing tool and sound editor.
Glide 2.x/3.x Voodoo3/Banshee libraries for X-Free 3.3.x 2.60-14 Glide 2.x/3.x Voodoo3/Banshee drivers for X-Free 3.3.x
Glide Voodoo2 drivers 2.53-5 Glide 2.53 for Voodoo 2
Gnofin 0.7.9 A simple GNOME checkbook application
Gnofract 4D 1.2 A fractal-drawing program.
Gnome Chinese Checkers 0.6.0 A Chinese Checkers game using Gnome.
gnome-applets 1.1.4 A collection of applets for the GNOME panel.
gnome-core 1.1.4 GNU Network Object Model Environment
gnome-python 1.0.51 Python interfaces to gnome-libs
gnome_dialup 0.4.3 A graphical replacement for the pon/poff scripts.
gnotepad+ 1.2.0pre5 An easy-to-use, yet fairly feature-rich, simple text editor
GNU Go 2.6 An attempt to distribute a free program to play Go
GNU Pth 1.3.1 GNU Portable Threads
GNU Trueprint 5.2.1 A program for printing source code in a variety of languages to ps printers
GOGO 2.25 Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
gpsim 0.18.0 A software simulator of Microchip's PIC microcontrollers
Graphtool 0.09 Create graphs from Gnumeric files
Green Frog Linux 0.5a (Pyonkichi) A small fully featured 2.2.x+devfs/glibc 2.1 based Linux distro.
GROUP.lounge 0.31b A tool for collaborations over the WWW.
gShield 1.5.1 Godot's Modular Firewall
gstring Class 1.0 good c++ string class
GTK+ 1.2.7 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GTKdiff 1.3.0 GTK+ diff frontend
GTKeyboard 0.98.5 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GtkGLArea 1.2.2 An OpenGL widget for GTK+.
gtkmail 0.9.0 gtk-- mail client
GTKML 0.1.2 A proposed XML markup language for describing GTK user interfaces
GtkSimpleFont 0.2 A GTK interface for SimpleFont.
GTKtalog 0.0.14 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface.
gtraffic 0.11 A sliding block puzzle for GNOME
Guppi 0.34.1 GNOME application for plotting and analyzing data
Gutenbook 0.1.4 The original Perl/GTK+ application for reading Project Gutenberg Etexts.
gwx 1.0 GTK+ wx200d Weather Client
harvest 1.7.0 A Web-based document search system.
Hoard 1.5 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
HTML::Template 1.5 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
HTMLArchive 0.61 An HTML preprocessor for archiving Web pages.
HTMLo 3.2 An HTML optimizer.
htmlPARSER 1.0 htmlPARSER is a set of python classes which parse HTML templates
Hu-Go! 1.10 A PC engine emulator.
i-no Chart 0.11 Dynamic chart generation for AOLServer.
icewm 1.0.2 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
icqsend 0.02 send ICQ messages to users
ICRADIUS 0.12 Powerful cross platform radius server
id3ed 1.10 ID3 tag editor for mp3 files. Interactive and command line modes.
idled 1.16 A daemon to logoff idle users.
iglue 0.1 HTML code generation from templates.
iManager 2.0 An image viewer and manager.
Information Manager 1.0.3 Web outlining software.
Internet Relay Chat Extensions 1.0.0 IRCD Server in C++.
ipacct 1.08 Collects IP accounting information for metered usage
IPC::SharedCache 1.0 A Perl module to manage a cache in SysV IPC shared memory.
iplog 2.1.1 tcp, udp, and icmp logging utilities for Linux.
IRMP3 0.4.2-pre6 Multimedia Audio (mp3) Jukebox; optional IR remote control, LCDisplay, keypad
irssi 0.7.24 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
isdn-config 0.6-5 An ISDN configuration tool.
isp-connect 0.2 Generic PPP connect scripts.
ITS4 1.0 C/C++ software security scanner
j6502 0 A Motorola 6502 emulator core in Java.
jargon.pl 0.2 Create a fortune file from The Jargon File.
Java-IrDA socket API 0.9 Allow Java apps to access the Linux-IrDA stack.
JRio500 1.2 Java 2 frontend to Rio500 tools for Linux.
KCharMap 0.5 KDE Character Map (font browser with clipboard).
kdbg 1.1.0 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
KDEStudio 20.Feb.2000 IDE for Linux
KEasyISDN 0.4-2 Frontend to isdnctrl and onlinecounter.
kftp 0.3.3 A KDE FTP client.
kissme 0.04 Free Java Virtual Machine.
Kleandisk 1.0.1 Utility to remove unneeded files from the harddisk.
Klogininfo 0.1 An app to display information for the user at login-time.
Koala Complete MUD Server 0.2.2a A complete MUD server.
Koch 0.5 A Koch curve generator.
KQuick 0.2 A single-click translator.
KRunning 0.3.1 A database manager for your private running events
Ksetiwatch 0.4.0 SETI@home monitor and work unit manager
KTamaga 0.5 The KDE-Tamagotchi-emulator
KUPS 0.6.0 KUPS is a CUPS administrator for KDE.
KXicq 02202000 snapshot The KDE ICQ clone
L.A.M.P. Three cvs02212000 A personal MP3 jukebox geared towards managing full albums.
Lago 0.4.1 A portable, multi-threaded database.
leafwa 0.0.1 Web-based administration for Leafnode
libical 0.15a Library for iCal protocols: iCAL core, iTIP, iMIP, iRIP, CAP
LibPEM 0.1.0 Pluggable Encryption Manager library (including some plugins) for un*x
librhttpr 0.5.1 HTTP request library
Licq 0.76 Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
Lift Off Java Installer 0.1.2 An installer for Java applications.
LinNeighborhood 0.4.3 Linux Port of Windows Network Neighborhood
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.8.1pre1 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux kernel patch: Secure deletion 0.5 secure file deletion in the Linux kernel.
Linux Letters and Numbers 0.1.9 Educational Childrens Game for Linux
LISC 1.2.0 A lightweight Scheme interpreter in Java, with useful extensions.
Litestream 1.0 beta 1 revision 1 An MP3 streaming system.
Little John 0.2 An NES emulator
log4j 0.8.1 Fast and flexible logging tool written in Java.
lsh 0.9 GPL'd implementation of SSH.
LxDoom 1.4.2 Enhanced Linux port of the classic fps Doom
Magpie 0.4 Package documentation tool.
makefaq 0.4 Script to generate an HTML FAQ page from a text file.
mcam Software for the Video Blaster II Webcam, using the Vision CPIA chip.
Metabase 2000.02.22 A DBMS-independent package to access and manage databases with PHP.
mifluz 0.13.0 Full text indexing C++ library
miniWeb 0.1 A Web application server intended to run CGIs as root.
MisterHouse 2.1 Home Automation with Perl
Mixer.app 1.5.0 Mixer.app is a mixer utility for Linux/FreeBSD systems. It is designed to be doc
mkplaylist.pl 1.0 An MP3 playlist creation utility.
MMC 0.1 A GNOME email client.
mMosaic 3.4.7 Web browser for X11
Mobitex Radio Modem Driver 2.6 Network driver for Ericsson Mobidems and other MASC-speaking modems
mod_atrack 1.0.0 An advanced user tracking module for Apache.
mod_color 0.1 Apache syntax coloring module
mod_dynvhost 0.9 Apache Module for dynamic virtual hosting.
MOffy 0.1.2 A WAP-based email client, scheduler, and contact list.
Moonlight 3D Atelier 0.9.2 A 3D modeling and rendering application
morse2led 0.2 translate text to morse code displayed on keyboard leds
mp3shell 0.24 frontend to mpg123
Mptn 0.2 Regexp-like pattern matching library
mrDBC 1.01 python database classes for easy creation of database applications
muLinux 7r12b A tiny implementation of Linux, which can reside on a single floppy
MuX2d 0.1.2 WYSIWYM editor for MusiXTeX.
MyGuestbook 0.9.5 A simple Guestbook using PHP3 and MySQL, several languages supported
mymp3s 1.0 beta2 An MP3 collection manager.
myPHPCalendar 02212000 Build 1 A Web-based PHP calendar.
MySQL 3.23.11 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
MySQLMailer 1.0a A local delivery agent with MySQL lookup.
nano 0.8.5 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
NeoMail 0.56 A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
NeoStats 2.0 Beta 1 IRC Statistical Services
Nessus 0.99.5 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NetSaint 0.0.5b4 A relatively simple active network monitor
Netscape Communicator 4.72 All-in-one browser and communications suite
new 0.9.19 A simple template system.
neXtaw 0.8 Xaw replacement with N*XTSTEP look and feel.
nmpg 1.1.4 Command driven frontend for mpg123
NNTPcache 2.4.0b3 Caching proxy for NNTP servers
NQC 2.1 r1 Alternate development language for Lego Mindstorms
NS WebMail 0.4 A POP3 Web mail client.
nsListen 1.2.0 Clicking on a shoutcast or icecast server link starts the streaming mp3 playing
NTLogon 0.5 A Samba logon script generator.
OpenH323 1.1alpha1 H.323 protocol stack
opennap 0.12 An open source Napster server.
PACT 0.6 SNMP accounting tool.
PAddress 0.0.4 A simple address book application.
Pan 0.7.6 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
parrot 0.2.4 A text-based GUI builder.
pasdoc 0.6.10 Pascal documentation generator
pcapmerge 1.0 Program to merge or extract part of binary capture files
pcmcia-cs 3.1.11 A complete PCMCIA or 'PC Card' support package for Linux.
Perl Mail Sorter 1.0 A mail sorter written in Perl; a simpler alternative to procmail.
Perlfect Search 3.05 Web site indexer and search engine.
PG 0.1 A SmallEiffel interface to PostgreSQL relational database.
PHP 4.0 Beta 4 Patch Level 1 HTML-embedded scripting language
PHP Mini Auth 0.01 A PHP Web + MySQL authentication system.
PHPGem 1.5 A generator of PHP-scripts for working with tables on SQL-servers.
phpMNews 1 A PHP news system.
phpop 1.0.0 Simple PHP Web based POP e-mail reader
phpShop 0.1 E-Commerce System based on PHP and PHPLIB.
pimp3 0.5.2 The i(ntelligent)mp3 player
Pingus 0.3.1 Lemmings clone with penguins.
playmp3list 0.91 color mp3 playlist player
pngcheck 1.99.2 A PNG integrity tester and dumper/debugger.
Poor Man's Zope (PMZ) Poor Man's Zope 0.22 An HTML-embedded scripting language.
PPR 1.40
Prometheus-Library 2.0 Object-oriented PHP API
pyChing 0.9.10 Cast and interpret I Ching hexagrams
PyGTK 0.6.4 A set of bindings for the GTK widget set
QHacc 0.3 A personal finance application.
QmailAdmin 0.26d Web based interface for Qmail Administration
Qstat 2.3g A command-line program that displays the status of Internet Quake servers
Quadrant Draw 1.0 Object based drawing program
Quake3: Arena and Demo 1.16j beta The test version of Quake3: Arena
Quanta+ 0.92 HTML editor for KDE
quote 0.01 A command-line stock quote display.
Qvwm 1.1.6 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
RabbIT 2.0.4 Mutating, caching webproxy to speed up surfing over slow links
rfcindex 1.2 An HTML indexer of RFC documents.
rgetty 1.0 Remote getty.
rhup 0.9.5 Make updates of Red Hat systems easier.
ripple 0.4 Water Ripple X Eyecandy
RJ's Perl Obfuscator 1.7 Make Perl programs smaller and more difficult to edit.
routemon 1.0a Default route monitor for ISDN and PPP links
rp-pppoe 1.4 A user-mode PPPoE client.
rpmlint 0.9.1 rpm error checker.
Ruby/Gtk 0.23 Ruby extension library to use GTK+
SANE 20000221 Provides standardized access to anyraster image scanner hardware
Sapphire 0.14.1 A new window manager for the X Windows System.
SDPGTK C++ wrappers for GTK+ and XML-based user interfaces.
Seahorse 0.3.5 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
searchbox 0.4 A Perl script to add a search box to a Web page.
sek 1.3 A console-based sequence viewer.
sendfaKs 0.1 A wrapper for sendfax
SFS 0.5 A secure, global file system with decentralized control.
Sharity 2.3 Unix client for the Windows network file system
simscomputing.Enterprise Tool Kit 0.21 Tools for writing Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications.
slang 1.4.0 A powerful interpreted language
slipwire.pl 1.3 Creates a DBM of paths/files and MD5 hashes.
Smail Electronic mail transport system
Small-FCGI 0.1 SmallEiffel Bindings for Fast CGI
snake 0.3 A little game for the console.
Snoopy 0.91 Snoopy is a PHP class that implements web client functionality.
Solfege 0.7.2 GPL'ed eartraining for Gnome
Spong 2.6d Simple System/Network Monitoring
Str 0.9.3 A generic string library.
Sunshine Commander 0.0.6 Crossplatform, consolebased FileManager
supermount 0.1.4 Kernel patch for the supermount filesystem.
Sympa 2.5.1 A powerful multilingual List Manager- LDAP and SQL features.
syslog-ng 1.4.0rc2 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
sysstat 3.1 The sar and iostat commands for Linux
taTelnet 1.0.2 A cross-platform telnet program utilizing wxWindows.
tcpxd 0.4 A general purpose TCP/IP relay proxy.
Tetradraw beta4 Full featured linux ansi editor
The Dotfile Generator 2.4.1 Configures programs dotfiles using a GUI
The Finger Server 0.83 Web based, pseudo unix finger server
The Penguin Machine 0.0.7 A puzzle game based on The Incredible Machine.
THUD 0.22 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
TinyMAZE 2.5b An online game server.
tixinfo 0.6.5p1 Get some information about your system.
TkCommander 0.6.4 Yet another Norton Commander clone, written in Tcl/Tk.
TkHeadlines 0.86-5 Headline grabber for about 20 sites
TOAD 0.42.21 C++ GUI library
TreeNotes 1.3 A Java XML editor.
Tunez 0.4 An MP3 Web jukebox with voting.
txt2pdf 3.2 A very flexible and powerful PERL5 converter from text files to PDF
UCD-SNMP 4.1.1 Various tools relating to the Simple Network Managemnet Protocol
UdmSearch 3.0.6 Fast WWW search engine for your site
UnixAdmin 1.0b Alpha 1 Web-based general UNIX administration.
unixODBC 1.8.6 Provides ODBC 3 connectivity for Unix
Unpoison.pl 0.3 Squid redirector plugin to disable location poisoning.
User-mode Linux 0.6-2.3.46 User-mode port of the Linux kernel
ViperDB 0.9.1 A smaller and faster option to Tripwire
wchat 1.2.1 Fully extensible TCP/IP-based Chat Server.
Web Testing Framework 1.1 A framework for automated web testing
web2ldap 0.7.0 A Python LDAP-client running as a CGI-BIN.
Webalizer 1.31-06 Web server log analysis program
webbase 5.9.0 Internet crawler C library and program
WebCal 3.01 A simple browser based calendar program.
WebCalendar 0.9.6 A multi-user PHP/MySQL-based calendar.
webCheck 0.13 Information retrieval utility for Web pages.
WebRAT 1.0 Remote Administration Tool
WeirdX 1.0.7 A pure Java X Window System server
Wireless Tools/Howto 20 Generic tools to setup some Wireless LAN drivers + exhaustive web ressources
WMgMon 0.1.0 Window Maker (and AfterStep) generic monitor applet.
wmpalm 0.11b A Window Maker applet for syncing and installing with 3Com's Palm.
wmtheme 0.4.8 A window manager theme utility.
worldpilot 1.0.1 A Web-based personal organizer system with email.
WreckedNet IRC Services 1.1.3 Channel, nick, memo, and oper services for IRC Networks
wwsympa 0.6b A mailling list Web interface.
wx200d 1.0 Client/server weather data collector for WX200/WM918
x-wvdial 0.14 An X11-based frontend for wvdial.
XawTV 3.09 TV application and a few utilities
Xcdda2wav 20000217 An X frontend for cdda2wav.
XCruise 0.24 A 3D filesystem viewer for X.
XFree86 3.9.18 Freely redistributable implementation of the X Window System
XMail 0.23 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
Xmcd 2.6 Full-featured CD Player utility package
XML for SCRIPT 0.1 A simple, fast, non-validating XML parser, written in JavaScript.
XML::Twig 1.9 A Perl module used to tree-process XML documents of all sizes.
XML::XPath 0.13 An XPath parser and evaluator.
xmlBlaster 0.73 An Open Source project for MOM (message oriented middleware).
xpuyopuyo 0.3.3 Tetris-like puzzle game with AI
XRacer 0.96.0 Clone of Psygnosis WipeOut
XShipWars 1.33c Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
xxdiff 1.3.7 A graphical file comparator and merge tool.
ya-wipe 1.2.1 Secure file wiper
YASC 0.01 Yet another SETI@Home controller.
YAWMPPP 1.0.0 Yet Another Window Maker PPP dock applet
yawta 0.0.1 Web based exam application
Yet Another Mail Manager 0.7.4 A Java email client.
YumfK 0.4 A libmikmod/mpg123/MySQL frontend.
ZIALOT 0.0.1 A messageboard system for schools.
zimg 2.4.0 zimg - Display 2-D data of arbitrary format

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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Linux links of the week

This week, we will feature a pair of Liz's favourite links. We've mentioned them before, they've been around as long as LWN has, but they are still two sites she loves to go back and read on a regular basis. Note, they are best read as a pair:

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

February 24, 2000



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
From: Collins_Paul@emc.com
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: capability bits
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 08:31:10 -0500

Dear Editor:

From this week's LWN, Kernel Development section:

> 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? 

If capability bits (CBs) in the filesystem were implemented like this, then
we would have a problem.

The Right Way is as follows:

You would set the standard system-wide capabilities on /; they would then
flow down to the rest of the filesystem.  If you needed to augment/restrict
capabilities, you would do so on the specific file or directory that needed
it, in a fashion similar to the Inherited Rights Filter in Netware.

Both NetWare's filesystem and NDS operate like this; permissions are
dynamic, based on the location of an object/file/directory.  Active
Directory uses a static arrangement, where the rights are placed with each
object individually.

Issues that would need to be resolved:

1) Do capabilities flow across mount points?  (Mount-time option?)

2) What impact will looking up capabilities have on filesystem performance,
given the dynamic configuration outlined above?  (Caching would absorb much
of the overhead.)

3) Would there be user/group/other capabilities?  (Extension: Access Control


Paul Collins

Please note that I speak on behalf of no-one but myself.
From: Andrew Kenneth Milton <akm@mail.theinternet.com.au>
Subject: Re: [Zope] Press Release: WorldPilot 1.0 released
To: Jens Vagelpohl <Jens@digicool.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 10:22:31 +1000 (EST)
CC: "'chris@linuxdev.net'" <chris@linuxdev.net>,

+----[ Jens Vagelpohl ]---------------------------------------------
| WorldPilot will run on any platform supported by Zope, so far it has
| been tested on Linux, Windows and Solaris.

And FreeBSD! d8)

Totally Holistic Enterprises Internet|  P:+61 7 3870 0066   | Andrew Milton
The Internet (Aust) Pty Ltd          |  F:+61 7 3870 4477   | 
ACN: 082 081 472                     |  M:+61 416 022 411   | Carpe Daemon
PO Box 837 Indooroopilly QLD 4068    |akm@theinternet.com.au| 
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 12:40:23 -0800
From: kenengel <kenengel@linuxstart.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: UCITA in its full glory

Let's assume the worst possible outcome becomes reality and UCITA passes in
all states, is ratified into law, even perhaps amended to the U.S. Consti-
tution. We agree it is a soberingly radical and cynical proposition. Then I
propose we resort to a radical and cynical counteraction. I'm advocating 
nothing less than widespread civil disobedience.

I propose everyone who opposes UCITA disregard it at every turn - only when
it's appropriate. That is, if you discover you are being manipulated by
your vendor, either with ludicrous licensing terms or litigation or just 
poor quality product, then engage in counter-offensive tactics.

        Make as many copies of proprietary license-per-copy software, or
    other "protected" information like databases, as you need. Distribute

        Hack a work-around on software that expires or is remotely
    disabled. Hack the software so that it doesn't violate your privacy by,
    for example, collecting confidential information or scanning your hard
        I suspect such methods will be published by L0pht, 2600, Cult of
    the Dead Cow, et. al. I hope they do, and I would encourage anyone to
    use them.

        Publish candid reviews and critiques of such licensed software.

        Reverse-engineer it to your heart's content, for whatever purpose,
    whether to fix interoperability or just to see how it works. Break it
    apart and use the useful bits in your own programs.

        And simply ignore any other contractual terms you find

Sure, it's easier said than done. But it will be necessary when we face the
reality that there is no other recourse. Just as people have died to estab-
lish and protect Freedom of Speech, some companies and individuals will
suffer violations to freedom, not only court injunctions and legal costs,
as the ugly consequences are brought to light. It is likely, if UCITA truly
becomes the Law of the Land, it will take a judge, or a panel of judges,
with real integrity to strike it down, as one did to CDA, in order to
restore fairness and sanity.

Do you do Linux? :) 
Get your FREE @linuxstart.com email address at: http://www.linuxstart.com
From: "Stuart Herbert" <S.Herbert@sheffield.ac.uk>
To: <letters@lwn.net>
Cc: <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>
Subject: LWN Letter: VA's Aquisition of Slashdot
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 01:02:02 -0000

Hi there,

I've been reading with interest all of the concern about VA's purchase of
Andover.net, and what it might mean for the future direction of Slashdot.

Why should we care?

Slashdot may be a community resource, but I'm not sure what particular
community that might be.  It certainly isn't the OpenSource / Free Software
area many of us have worked to build over the years.  If you're not involved
with one of the "headline" packages, *you* try getting anything published on

These days, sites like Alan Cox's www.linux.org.uk provide a far better
range (and quality!) of articles (and in a more timely manner too!) than
Slashdot ever has.

Slashdot is fast aquiring a reputation as a place for wannabes, not as a
place where the real work gets done.  If VA were to close it down tomorrow,
those of us at the coal face probably wouldn't even notice.  If ESR and VA
want to provide the community with real resources (as they have already with
SourceForge), then concentrate on making Freshmeat the premier site instead.

I've never met those behind Slashdot, and I wish them well for the future.

Best regards,
Stuart Herbert                               S.Herbert@sheffield.ac.uk
Generic NQS Maintainer                            http://www.gnqs.org/

To: letters@lwn.net
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 06:49:05 -0800
From: "Jonathan Day" <jd9812@my-Deja.com>
Subject: SGI's STP


SGI's Scheduled Transfer Protocol looks an
ingenious piece of code, and I look forward to
seeing what people actually do with it. (Code
isn't meant to be used for the purpose for which
it's written. With suitable application of
hammers, saws and an editor, code can be applied
to problems the original coders never envisaged.)

As for Larry McVoy's suggestion, see: Commodore
PET, IEEE 488, and the 4040 floppy disk drive.
Back in the 1970's, Commodore had this crazy
idea of building computers into the printers and
disk drives, so that the main processor could do
useful work, rather than be tied up. If you were
copying a file from one drive to another, for
example, using the main computer as a buffer was
considered daft. You could even attach two
drives to each other hand have them copy files,
without having a main computer connected at all.

I see this new protocol as allowing an extension
of this 70's technology and also meeting Larry's
idea of having a uniform network bus. Ethernet
devices are now faster than most PCs, and
certainly faster than most "traditional"
parallel busses. The benefits of parallel
transmission cease to be relevent if you can't
keep up with a serial stream. In fact, there is
absolutely no need to stick to hard disks with
this. Printers can already be networked, but
this might make life a lot easier for them.

Also, why stick to peripherals? ISA, EISA, MCA,
PCI, VME, etc, are all fancy ways of connecting
what are really "external" devices to the
computer. You've then got all sorts of
electronic wizardry to handle local busses, etc.
All this is very expensive, as you've got to lay
expensive, high-precision parallel tracks to
each expensive, high-precision connector. And
the faster the bus, the higher the precision and
the higher the cost of the bus. That's one of
the reasons the original PC had only 20 address
lines. The difference in cost was worth it.

If you put -everything- on one gigantic, very
high-speed serial ethernet connection, you don't
have the high-precision to worry about.
A bunch of gigabit ethernet adaptors, and some
ethernet cable is orders of magnitude cheaper
than a high-precision VME rack. (The rack alone
can cost $3000.) This would put every device and
every card on a completely uniform bus. Cards to
other devices would be reduced to simple 2-way
or 3-way hubs with maybe some processing.

Lastly, as this e-mail is getting long, if
everything's on ethernet, you can use all of the
tricks that have been developed for it. Want to
find the nearest idle disk drive? Do an anycast.
Want to do software RAID 5, without overhead?
Multicast, where the drives to be used are all
in a common group.

Jonathan Day

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 18:10:19 -0500
From: Zygo Blaxell <zblaxell@genki.hungrycats.org>
To: metcalfe@infoworld.com, letters@lwn.net
Subject: "From the Ether", Friday Feb 11, 2000

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

I can't speak as a representative of the "open source community", but
it's statistically likely that other people coincidentally share the=20
following views:

CPU's have traditionally been closed-source.  Certainly, Transmeta is
doing nothing particularly new by releasing a chip without also releasing
the complete specifications required to manufacture a clone on that home
chip foundry set you have in your basement.  They're also not particularly
doing anything new by not releasing the full source code for their
proprietary application software (for that is really all that it is)
that emulates an x86 virtual machine.

While this isn't a step forward, it's not a step backward either.
We already have proprietary code in Linux device drivers (they're
a constant pain to use, they're buggy, they can't be distributed
with the kernel...but they still exist anyway).  We already have
proprietary virtual x86 emulators for Linux (VMware for x86-on-x86 and
Digital's thingy for x86-on-Alpha).  Of course, if we actually had usable
open-source x86 virtual machines and CPU's whose chip mask specifications
could be copied off the Internet from Transmeta's competitors, then we
could fairly hold Transmeta up to higher standards.

I think Linux's single greatest feature is its ability to embrace
fragmentation.  I don't think there can be such a thing as bad

What killed the Unix market wasn't fragmentation.  Fragmentation is
the scapegoat.  Fragmentation is the scary word that Microsoft says to
make you want to buy Windows.  What killed the Unix market was
the conflict of interest between Unix vendors and Unix customers.
This conflict will kill Microsoft too, eventually, although nothing is
going to kill a ~$300 billion dollar company very quickly.

Most customers choose the vendor that does well the one thing that
they want done, and resist paying for anything else, so they search for
products that meet their requirements at the lowest cost.  Most vendors
want to maximize their profit per transaction and minimize their
engineering costs, so they figure out what 90% of the market wants,
prioritize the mutually exclusive goals, compromise until the cost is
low enough to be feasible, and build many copies of a single box that
tries to do all of those things at the same time.

Old-style Unix vendors succeeded as well as they did because they picked
customers who all wanted the same thing.  That means their boxes did one
thing well, and they formed a niche or vertical market around that thing.
IBM dominated the business data processing market.  SGI made frighteningly
cool I/O and graphics subsystems.  Sun got its start making really
cheap Unix hardware.  HP made computer systems that were built like
scientific instruments.  SCO targeted the vertical applications market.
Digital made (and Compaq is still making) CPU's with floating point
performance that is still unmatched today.  They all ran Unix (and usually
at least one other OS as well), and they collectively decimated those
vendors who were building complete software and hardware solutions that
didn't or couldn't run Unix.

During the 1980's, dozens of small-workstation (not to say "personal
computer") vendors tried to sell a lot of complete packages that would--by
themselves, using only a single vendor's components--attempt to be and
do everything one could want in a personal computer.  Few could really
understand what, exactly, everything one could want in a personal computer
was--and those who did understand knew that the cost was prohibitive
and compromised their designs in order to stay on budget.  As a result,
everyone who tried, failed.

In the absence of a real technological leader, the market drifted along
with the company that happened to have the cheapest, most accessible,
and most extensible hardware.  Small hardware vendors could focus on
doing their one thing well, then put it on a card that fits into a PC.
So if one wanted a cool PC, one would buy a box full of cards from
different vendors, each of which does its thing well, and collectively
it does a better job for the customer than the competition's box which
does everything but nothing very well.  Collectively, the PC vendors
decimated their competition as well, by focusing on keeping the one
component of a PC that they manufactured as small, fast, and cheap as

Apple boldly rushed into the marketplace as a total PC solution from a
single vendor.  Their major problem was that they refused to compromise
on the technical quality of their equipment or software, so every Mac was
saddled with a totally untested OS design, expensive SCSI disk drives and
Sony Trinitron monitors--components that few users needed and even fewer
were willing to pay for--while PC vendors were shipping a 20-year-old
OS design with crappy IDE disk drives with retrofitted 13" TV sets on
top for just under the same price.  We all know who was ultimately more
successful in the marketplace--very few users will actually notice even
a 50% difference in disk speed, since most "desktop" users use their
disks less than 1% of the time anyway.

We are seeing the same effects beginning to affect software.  Sun's
attempt to force Java, unfragmented, into the marketplace has almost
completely fallen apart.  Those who actually want or need Java are willing
to accept it--if "just a few" modifications are made here and there, and
if it worked with this or that system a little better, and if it supported
this set of application-specific extensions, and if any corporation other
than Sun Microsystems had stewardship over it.  Java by itself can only
deliver its value proposition if Java is the totally dominant run-time
environment out of of all candidates in existence, so Java is only
successful in places where it has no viable alternatives to begin with.

Microsoft is beginning to realize its mistake when it tried to make
Windows do everything, and is now launching a variety of slightly
different versions of Windows in an attempt to specialize its products
more, hoping that if one or two fail then the others may still be
viable.  So far, every attempt by Microsoft so far to expand Windows and
Windows-related products into areas outside of what they are good at has
failed miserably.  Microsoft would do better to spend its resources on
protecting what advantage it does have--consumer-level desktop operating
systems--than taking huge risks to try to force their products to do
additional things that dozens of others are already doing very well,
thank you.

Meanwhile, Linux is being tweaked by thousands of people to do thousands
of different things well.  Collectively, Linux will decimate the OS
software market because every vendor is focusing on making Linux do=20
their one thing well.

Fragmentation is what made the PC into the dominant desktop hardware
platform.  With only minimal central control over the system design--a PC
hardware vendor can get away with anything, as long as they don't violate
too many patents and the machine still does something--anything--well
enough for someone to want to buy it--the PC exploded into thousands of
different variations with designs optimized for everything from low cost
to low power to high performance to hostile environments.  If you want a
custom PC that just _looks_ cool, you can even find someone, somewhere,
who manufactures hardware with esthetically pleasing form factors.  If you
want a standard PC that works well with everyone else's stuff but doesn't
do anything spectacular on its own, you can get one of those too.  Every
customer can find a product that fits their needs.

Fragmentation is what will make Linux into the dominant operating
system platform.  With only minimal central control over the system
implementation--a Linux distribution vendor can get away with anything,
as long as they don't violate any licenses and the software still
does something--anything--well enough for someone to want to buy
it--Linux will explode into thousands of different variations with
implementations optimized for everything from low cost to low setup time
to high performance to high availablity.  If you want a custom OS that
just _looks_ cool, you can even find someone, somewhere, who writes
esthetically pleasing KDE or GNOME themes and pre-installs them with
the OS.  If you want a standard Linux that works well with everyone's
software but doesn't do anything spectacular on its own, you can get one
of those too.  Every customer can find a product that fits their needs.

Opinions expressed are my own, I don't speak for my employer, and all that.
Encrypted email preferred.  Go ahead, you know you want to.  ;-)
OpenPGP at work: 3528 A66A A62D 7ACE 7258 E561 E665 AA6F 263D 2C3D

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Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 22:12:50 -0800
From: Jim Dennis <jimd@starshine.org>
To: rick@linuxdevices.com
CC: editor@lwn.net
Subject: KU Real-Time Linux (KURT)

In your recent white paper I think you missed making reference

to the Kansas University real-time Linux project:


Here's an excerpt from their old web pages (since
their new web pages presents most of the docs in
large PDF and PostScript files, their link to the
"old" pages is preferable for the white paper and
executive audiences).

``A purely binary distinction between hard and
soft real-time is clearly not acceptable for all
applications. Many applications have requirements
spanning a continuum between the two. To service a
wider range of requirements, we have developed a
firm real-time Linux. We call this system "KURT"
Linux for KU Real-Time Linux.

KURT Linux allows for explicit scheduling of any
real-time events rather than just processes. This
provides a more generic framework onto which
normal real-time process scheduling is
mapped. Since event scheduling is handled by the
system, addition of new events such as periodic
sampling data acquisition cards (video, lab
equipment, etc.) is highly simplified.

KURT introduces two modes of operation - the
normal mode and the real-time mode. In normal
mode, the system acts as a generic Linux
system. When the kernel is running in real-time
mode, it only executes real-time processes. While
in real-time mode, the system can no longer be
used as a generic workstation, as all of its
resources are dedicated to executing its real-time
responsibilities as accurately as possible.

A simple system call allows the kernel to be
toggled between real-time and normal mode. During
the setup phase, the schedule of events to be
executed in real-time mode is specified and the
various processes that are to be executed in
real-time mode are marked. The kernel is then
switched to real-time mode. When all of the
real-time tasks finish execution, the kernel can
be switched back to the normal mode.

Presently, this system is available only for the
i386 architecture. Porting KURT to other
architectures requires only minimal additions. If
you are interested in porting KURT to other
architectures, please send mail to
kurt@ittc.ukans.edu.  ''

You can find more of this sort of info at:


I found your white paper linked from Linux Weekly News: Daily.

I've heard that someone was working on unifying
the RTLinux, RTAI, and KURT work into one set of
patches which would allow users and kernel
developers to build kernels with soft and/or hard
real-time extensions enabled.  I don't know the
details, though the principles at Zentropix
probably do.

Jim Dennis                                             jdennis@linuxcare.com
Linuxcare: Linux Corporate Support Team:            http://www.linuxcare.com

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