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Leading items and editorials

Free documentation updates. Last week's LWN talked briefly about the need for free documentation. This week, we're happy to report a couple of positive developments in this area:

  • [Book cover] Grokking the Gimp is available online. Some of you may have seen New Riders' new book Grokking the Gimp (by Carey Bunks), which recently hit the shelves in the bookstores. This book, happily, is also available online. Worth a bookmark, even if you head down to the store to get your own copy. Look for a review on our book reviews page eventually.

  • An updated version of Using Samba is online. Jay Ts has set up a web site with a version of Using Samba by Robert Eckstein, David Collier-Brown, and Peter Kelly that has been repackaged for easier download, has better internal linking, and has a number of errors fixed.

    Products like this show the real value of open content licensing. With most books, what the publisher puts out is all that is available. Fixes and improvements happen when the publisher gets around to it, if ever. Using Samba readers need not wait for an improved version - it's already there.

Free documentation is currently in a state similar to that of free software in the 1980's. There is not much around, but what's there is already showing its strengths. The coming explosion of free documentation is going to be fun to watch.

Salon's Free Software Project launched this week. It's another online book, but with a difference. This book is being authored by Salon writer Andrew Leonard, who has been responsible for much high-quality coverage of the free software world over the last year or so. It's a work in progress, with only the first chapter being currently available. The idea is to develop the book interactively, taking and incorporating feedback from readers as things progress. The process, thus, looks very much like that adopted by Eric Raymond for his The Art Of Unix Programming, which also remains at chapter 1.

The full outline for the Free Software Project is available now, though the site warns that everything is subject to change. The book starts with an introduction; drops back to the early Berkeley days (free speech and free software both); passes through GNU, Perl, and then Eric Raymond; then finally gets into Linux in chapter 6. Subsequent chapters look at the motivation of hackers, "Death to Microsoft," freedom issues (i.e. DVD), free software worldwide, and the new economy.

The site lacks any information on licensing for the Free Software Project, leading to the conclusion that it will remain proprietary, at least through its development. Either way, it's likely to be a strong contribution to the history of our community.

Caldera Systems is scheduled to go public on March 16 or 17. As such, it will be the first in the next round of Linux IPOs, and many will be watching to see how it goes. The market has not been so friendly to Linux [Caldera] stocks in recent times - see the LWN Linux Stocks Page for details. It may well be that the peak of "Linux Mania" has passed, and a more rational view is now being taken of these securities. If so, those hoping for another VA-style runup in prices may be disappointed this time around.

Caldera's "directed share program" was quietly rolled out last week. Selected people who have been through the steps will have the opportunity to buy up to 500 shares at the IPO price. We have received a few complaints from people outside the U.S. who feel that the Caldera program overly emphasizes U.S. developers over those in the rest of the world. Caldera has, however, made a substantial effort to include developers worldwide, as is appropriate. People who feel they were unfairly overlooked or who have other issues are encouraged to contact Nancy Pomeroy, nancy@calderasystems.com. Bank of America, which is handling international participation, can be contacted at 415 627 3115, 600 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA. Account forms are due to them via fax (415 913 5530) no later than Friday, March 10th, so move quickly if you have this opportunity. There is still time to get the paperwork in for those who hurry.

[Note that the above paragraph has been corrected from the original, which included some incorrect information. LWN regrets the error.]

In general, the inclusion of non-U.S. developers is a problem that needs to be solved. Linux is a worldwide phenomenon - nobody could ever stamp "made in the USA" on it. Code written outside the US is just as important, and its developers are just as deserving to participate in these directed share programs. The problem, of course, is that securities laws are complicated, twisted, extremely unforgiving, and different in every country. Doing a worldwide directed share program is a difficult undertaking. Many of the smaller companies going public can not easily invest the effort needed to make such a program work.

There is a real market opportunity here for a suitably enlightened securities firm. Assuming that open source continues to grow, there will be more and more companies going public that will owe part of their success to open source software. One would think they would welcome assistance from a company that could make a directed share program work smoothly on a global scale. Here is hoping that somebody tries.

Those wishing to monitor news on upcoming IPOs can find some useful information on Ostman's Alert-IPO site (thanks to Rick Richardson). Information pages on upcoming IPOs include:

  • Caldera Systems
  • Linuxcare (which was scheduled for the week of March 20, but is now listed as "-TBD-").
  • LinuxOne - it's still around, and scheduled for "April."
Finally, we apologize for reporting last week that the Caldera IPO was expected in April. Oops.

Amazon.com patents, continued... Tim O'Reilly had a phone conversation about patents with Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. His writeup of the talk is interesting and worth a read. "To cut the suspense short, while I don't think that we're all the way to a happy ending, we had an extremely productive conversation. We each made some important points that resonated with the other, and while our central disagreement remains unresolved, I think that we've laid out the issues in a way that will lead to fruitful further discussion."

It is good that they are talking, though it appears that a solution is not currently in sight. Meanwhile, LWN's decision to withdraw from the Amazon.com affiliate program has drawn a substantial amount of positive feedback from our readers. We have sent a message off to Amazon explaining our reasons for our withdrawal, but have gotten no response back. If they tell us anything interesting, we'll let you know.

CLIQ registration begins. The Colorado Linux Info Quest has announced the beginning of online registration for the (April 1) event.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Duplicate PGP keys.
  • Kernel: Out-of-memory performance, the kernel configuration system
  • Distributions: Think Blue, HA Linux and WholeLinux debut.
  • Development: OpenAL 3D-Audio library, OpenNMS.org.
  • Commerce: Bluepoint Linux hits the stock market
  • 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:

March 9, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

Duplicate key IDs for PGP-signed mail. Povl H. Pedersen posted a note to BugTraq describing the discovery of a duplicate key ID when a friend of his was verifying a PGP-signed email address. "The problem is, that the PGP servers expects all key IDs to be unique numbers, and does not expect 2 users to have the same keyID. And with the current amount of users, we are starting to get multiple users with the same keyID."

This issue will need to be dealt with, and quickly. The existence of a duplicate key ID could allow falsified mail. If a duplicate key ID can be generated by accident, presumably it can also be generated on purpose, as well. Network Associates was not directly informed of the problem, which was posted today, so no response from them is yet available.

ARIP: Association of Responsible Internet Providers. One result from the long weeks of discussion of distributed denial-of-service attacks on BugTraq has been the creation of a mailing list to discuss potentially creating an organization to promote and recognize responsible behavior on the part of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). David Nesting posted a note summarizing responses to his suggestion that such an organization be created. It contains a pointer to the mailing list, as well as to other organizations that are dealing with this issue, including NANOG (The North American Network Operators' Group) and ISPF (Internet Service Providers' Forum).

Security and Apache: An Essential Primer (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet has a tutorial on securing a Linux/Apache system. "Chances are that your Web site has at least a few pages that you really don't want published to the Internet at large. How do you keep the Black Hats from seeing them, whilst not impeding the access of the White Hats who need the pages?"

New site on Linux security (Upside). Upside ran this article on the launch of LinuxSecurity.com. "Last month's denial of service uproar has intensified attention to Internet security. Coincidentally -- or perhaps not, depending on your viewpoint -- last month also saw the debut of LinuxSecurity.com, a new website completely dedicated to Linux operating system security issues."

Security Reports

dump/restore. A new version of the Linux dump/restore package with a fix for the potentially exploitable buffer overflows in dump/restore has been made available. Note also that comments on BugTraq indicate that NetBSD and OpenBSD versions of dump/restore are not impacted by this problem. However, there was one report that the FreeBSD version of dump is vulnerable.

Remote vulnerability in nmh. Versions of nmh prior to 1.0.3 can be made to execute arbitrary commands via the mhshow command. Check this note for more details. (First reported March 2nd, 2000.)

dosemu problem in Corel Linux. Corel Linux contains an improperly configured dosemu package, which can allow local users to execute commands as root. Check BugTraq ID 1030 for more details. No other Linux distributions have been reported to be vulnerable.

Fixes for this can be found on the DOSemu site.

mtr-0.42. A new version of mtr, a program that does a full-screen combination of ping and traceroute at a higher speed than traceroute, has been announced, in reaction to problems with management of root privileges. An upgrade is recommended, if you are using this tool.

Oracle installer for Linux. The Oracle installer for Linux improperly uses a file in /tmp, leaving it vulnerable to symlink issues, reported Keyser Soze. For more information, check BugTraq ID 1035.


OpenSSH 1.1.2p1 for Linux. A new version of the Linux port of OpenBSD's OpenSSH program has been announced. An upgrade is recommended due to the inclusion of an important RSA key generation fix.

GNU userv 1.0.0. userv is a program for invoking an executable in situations of limited trust.

How to Write Secure Code. the shmoo group has made available a set of links to information on how to write secure code, an updated version of a list posted on BugTraq a while back.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

March 9, 2000

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.50. This version includes a reworked Cirrus Logic ethernet driver, a new bttv driver, much SuperH processor work, an Appletalk reorganization, a parallel port driver update, a large sound driver update, and a Hercules frame buffer driver.

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.14. The 2.2.15 prepatch is up to 2.2.15pre13; there will probably be at least one more prepatch iteration before the real 2.2.15 release comes out.

Out-of-memory behavior is one of the remaining issues with 2.2.15. The Linux kernel will, in high-load (or low-memory) situations, promise more memory to processes than it can deliver. If too many processes try to cash in those promises, the system reaches a point where something has to give. The 2.2 series has been criticized for a while for its behavior in out of memory (OOM) situations; there are now a couple of hackers working on making things better for 2.2.15.

Why does the kernel overcommit memory? Overcommiting is done because processes often ask for memory that they will never use. The most common case of this is the fork() system call. A process that forks could, in theory, require two copies of all its writable memory (read-only memory, such as program code, can be shared). But the kernel only makes those copies on a page-by-page basis, when something is actually changed. And, in most cases, the process which forked quickly goes on to exec() a different program, and all that memory is discarded without ever having been touched.

Consider a typical large process - emacs, say. If an emacs user runs a "compile" command, emacs will fork, then run make to do the compile. All that emacs memory - which can be substantial - is never needed in the forked copy of the process. If Linux had to actually provide for all that memory, the capability of the system would be much reduced.

Thus overcommitting is necessary, and works almost all of the time. Occasionally, however, Linux will come up short, and will not have memory to give a process that needs it. One obvious response is to simply put the process to sleep, and not wake it until memory becomes available again. Unfortunately, that road can lead very quickly to most of the interesting processes on the system in uninterruptible sleeps. At that point, they can not even be killed to recover their memory, and the system locks up.

An alternative, being pursued by Rik van Riel and Andrea Arcangeli, is to conclude that the system simply can not carry the current load of processes, and kill one or more of them off. It is not an ideal situation, but hopefully it will leave the system in a running state with most of its processes intact.

But...which process do you kill? The answer turns out to be far from easy. The naive approach might be to kill the biggest process, with the idea that it's the one causing the problem. But the big processes tend to be things like the X window server, the aforementioned emacs editor, or some sort of specialized cranker that is the reason for the system's existence in the first place. Killing those processes can lead to lost work and highly irate users.

Killing processes at random also does not work. If init goes away, there will not be much of the system left to save. A process that is directly manipulating hardware (such as the X server again) may leave that hardware in an unusable state. And so on.

Current attempts at proper OOM behavior try to pick out processes which (1) have run for a relatively short time, (2) are not running as root, and (3) are not doing privileged I/O operations. An OOM killer using those guidelines went into 2.2.15pre12, but was removed from pre13 after some complaints. With luck the kernel hackers will be able to get something more robust together for pre14 which will survive wider testing and give Linux 2.2 decent OOM behavior.

Expect a new kernel configuration system in 2.5. As more options get added to the kernel, the process of configuring them gets more complicated. One of the unsung heroes of kernel development is Michael Elizabeth Chastain, who has maintained the configuration system for a long time. He has been struggling to keep up with all of the new features in the kernel, thus far with success. But the end is in sight.

Anybody who has ever configured a kernel build knows that there is a tremendous number of options to decide on. A quick look in Configure.help for 2.3.50 turns up 1226 options. Simply plowing through all of those can be a chore, but the real problem is with dependencies. Many options only make sense if other options have been selected. Some dependencies are relatively simple - you're only concerned with SCSI drivers if SCSI support has been compiled in. Enforcing such dependencies is not terribly hard.

But dependencies increasingly reach across different parts of the kernel. Enabling PCMCIA SCSI cards only makes sense if both PCMCIA and SCSI have been enabled. The current configuration system has a hard time dealing with dependencies - like the above - that do not follow a nice tree structure.

An additional problem is that with tools like menuconfig and xconfig, there is nothing requiring a kernel builder to pass through the options sequentially. On the other hand, very few people have the endurance to go through a full "make config" anymore. As a result, enforcing dependencies - especially in a way that makes sense from a human factors point of view - is even more difficult.

Configuration options need to be presented in a way that makes the dependencies clear. It's not really a kernel hacking problem - it's a user interface problem. It will be interesting to see what solution comes out.

An ARM Linux kernel developer is being sought. If you are interested in this sort of job, check out the announcement.

PerlOS - the horrible, horrible dream. Have a look at this posting about the upcoming Perl Linux kernel and shudder. "There were also the usual angry messages from new Perl users who had stumbled across the list and were demanding to know why upgrading from Perl 5.005 (the intepreter) to Perl 6.001 (the OS) had replaced Windows."

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Paul Rusty Russell has written the Linux Kernel Locking HOWTO, which should be required reading for anybody wanting to get into kernel hacking. Why did he write it? "...my pet hamster dressed up in a penguin suit, and appeared to me in a dream, telling me to write documentation for random stuff, and include lots of obscenities."

  • Fairsched 0.15, a hierarchical fair CPU scheduler, has been released by Borislav Deianov.

  • IBM has released version 0.0.2 of its journaling file system for Linux. It's still far from ready for prime time, but progress is being made.

  • A new beta version (0.02) of the InterMezzo high-availability, distributed filesystem has been announced by Peter Braam. It has a lot of cool features, inspired by the Coda filesystem, and is under active development.

  • Werner Almesberger has released the seventh version of his "bootimg" patch, which allows the booting of arbitrary kernel images (without the intervention of LILO or other such loaders). Those who want to play with this should note the warning in the README file: "This is experimental code, which may screw up your kernel such that the first thing it does is to corrupt your hard disk beyond repair. Exercise due caution."

  • Along these lines, a new version of LILO has been posted which is able to get past the 1024-cylinder boot limit that has plagued PC systems for years.

  • SUBTERFUGUE 0.1.1 is out. It is "a framework for observing and playing with the reality of software; it's a foundation for building tools to do tracing, sandboxing, and many other things. You could think of it as 'strace meets expect.'"

  • RTLinux 3.0 pre-release 4 is available.

  • The "comedi" suite of data acquisition drivers is now up to version 0.7.40.

  • Trond Myklebust has released version 0.20.0 of his NFSv3 client implementation.

  • Linmodem-0.2.5, the PCI modem driver, has been released. This version "is close to being usable as a real modem for low speeds (V21/V23), and the V34 code has greatly improved (although it is not usable yet)."

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

March 9, 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.

Think Blue Linux. You've read about it, now you can get access to it ... a Linux distribution for the IBM S/390. Think Blue Linux is a distribution from Thinking Objects Software, GmbH. The website itself claims to be running on Linux for S/390, which is based on Red Hat 6.1. Both rpms and srpms for the distribution are currently available. (Thanks to Fred Mobach.)

Motorola Computer Group launches high-availability distribution. Motorola Computer Group has announced the release of its HA Linux distribution. This distribution is aimed at telecommunications applications that require very high amounts of uptime; it includes hot-swap capability, and is available for the I386 and PowerPC architectures.

The announcement stimulated a lot of interest in the media this week:

News.com: News.com covers Motorola's new high-availability distribution. "Telecommunications companies, disdainful of computers that crash, would be a powerful new segment of customers for Linux." (Thanks to John Kleint).

ComputerWorld: ComputerWorld writes about Motorola's high-availability distribution. "Motorola said it intends to offer its kernel modifications for hot-swap Peripheral Component Interconnect support, also part of its high availability features, to the open source community. The company said it hopes to see its modifications included in a future version of the Linux kernel."

WholeLinux introduces SuperAuk DSL MultiServer. WholeLinux introduced SuperAuk DSL MultiServer software, a complete shrink-wrapped package that turns an inexpensive PC into a DSL server. WholeLinux is entirely a software product, essentially a Red Hat 6.1-based distribution with an automatic, web-based installer designed to tailor a PC into a DSL network appliance within a few minutes. Along with the e-smith gateway and server, this WholeLinux product demonstrates the blurring between the distribution of an operating system with applications and the creation of a generic product.

LinuxWars: Distribution War III (AboutLinux). AboutLinux has put up the latest in its 'Distribution Wars' series, comparing Caldera OpenLinux 2.3, Mandrake Linux 6.1, RedHat 6.1 Deluxe, and SuSE 6.3. "I hope the other distributions adopt Linuxconf; having a consistent GUI system administration tool would be very beneficial to new users."

Linuxcare Bootable Business Card. The Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, a Debian-based distribution tailored as a rescue disk, is finally available for download. Now you won't have to rush to the Linuxcare booth at every Linux show looking for your freebie ... though that still may be the most fun way to get one!

For those of you with older versions of this card, you might want to note that it has now been improved, allowing installation of Debian GNU/Linux directly from the card and also the use of the X Windows system (depending on hardware). [From the Debian Weekly News.]

PeeWee Linux. Another embedded Linux distribution, PeeWee Linux announced version 0.20 this week on Freshmeat. It is based on Red Hat 6.1.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News. The March 7th edition of the Debian Weekly News covers the past two weeks. The first Release-Critical Bug Horizon was met and has been declared a success, with 20 packages slated for removal. Project leader elections close soon, so vote now if you haven't already!


DrakX: Mandrake's GUI installer (AboutLinux). AboutLinux.com reviews the Linux-Mandrake graphical installer. "DrakX has a definite tendency to ask for permission too often; why wouldn't you want DrakX to try to find PCI devices?"

Linux-Mandrake 7.0 PowerPack available. MandrakeSoft has announced that its 7.0 release, PowerPack edition, is now available in the U.S.

Linux-Mandrake consultants list. The folks at MandrakeSoft have put up a list of Linux-Mandrake consultants. It currently contains 135 entries in over 20 countries.

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux Now Optimized for Oracle8i. Red Hat, Inc. announced the availability of the Red Hat Linux Enterprise Edition product line that has been optimized for Oracle8i.

Slackware Linux

The absence of updates and information to the Slackware.com site has been explained and is over. Apparently, the entire Slackware Core team has moved to California. Meanwhile, the -current tree for Slackware has been updated with the 2.2.14 kernel, XFree86 3.3.6, and some minor bug fixes.

SuSE Linux

A couple of press related items for SuSE this week:

Linux still not ready for desktop, says SuSE (InfoWorld). InfoWorld talks with SuSE CEO Roland Dyroff. "The Linux distributor's next update to its flavor of Linux, Version 6.4, will be released next month, Dyroff said. The new distribution will feature an improved graphical installation interface and a different desktop design. SuSE is also readying for release a new manual for beginning users of the operating system in German and English to coincide with the launch of the new version."

SuSE will zur globalen Linux-Company werden (Yahoo). Yahoo has put up an interview (in German) with SuSE CEO Roland Dyroff. English text may be had via Babelfish.

SuSE says the desktop is in sight (ZDNet). ZDNet UK talks with SuSE's Dirk Hohndel about Linux on the desktop. "So will Linux ever make any sort of dent into Microsoft's formidable 90 percent market share on the desktop? Hondel [sic] reckons the current trend toward the open source model has only one conclusion: that Linux will become as prevalent as Windows on the desktop within the next two to three years."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

March 9, 2000

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

Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat

Also well-known
Best Linux
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Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
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CAEN Linux
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ix86 Linux
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NoMad Linux
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Root Linux
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TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
Virtual Linux
WinLinux 2000

GNU/Linux Ututo
Definite Linux
Red Flag
Linux Esware
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

Loki announces OpenAL. Loki Entertainment Software has announced a multi-company project to create and distribute OpenAL, an open-source, cross-platform 3D-Audio library, licensed under the LGPL. "Until now, games running on Linux have not had access to the advanced 3D-Audio features available on other platforms. OpenAL provides those advanced features with an open-source, nonproprietary implementation which is available not just for Linux, but for Windows and MacOS games as well. What SGI's OpenGL has done for 3D-Video, OpenAL will do for 3D-Audio."

The press release also notes that Creative Technology plans to release Linux drivers that will work with OpenAL and is evaluating MacOS and Windows implementations of the OpenAL standard.

Bluebird/OpenNMS.org. Network management tools are an area that we have taken an occasional look at over the years. Tools such as HP's OpenView and others have always appeared promising, but, working in academia, the cost of such commercial systems prevented us from using them. In addition, we never found them widely implemented even in commercial organizations. Here is a humorous look at why this might be true. "Customer: I would like to buy a car Salesman: Great! Here you go. Customer: Wait, this is just a big box of parts! Where is the car? Salesman: This is not just a car! This is a "best-in-class" transportation solution! "

Well, now we're going to get a chance to see if applying open source development principles to the problem can turn this situation around. OpenNMS.org has announced Bluebird, an ambitious project that seeks to build a fully distributed network management platform licensed under the GPL.

OpenNMS.org currently has 9 full time people working on it, 7 developers and 150 community members. Nonetheless, the project is still in its early stages, their latest release being 0.1a. We've browsed through the site and through the email archives (not too hard -- only two months worth available). Bluebird has some real promise, though some user comments mention a lack of white papers or other high-level design notes for the project. They are, like everyone, very much interested in the involvement of additional developers, testers, etc. If you are currently using or building "home grown" tools in your own environment, you may want to take a look at Bluebird to see if you could implement the same functionality within this framework, taking advantage of the work of others and contributing your own.

Now, before everyone sends us a note, yes, we are aware of other open source or free software projects in the network management area. GxSNMP is a project dedicated to creating a GPL based full featured network management application for the GNOME project, for example. They have released several alpha versions of their product, the last, version 0.0.15, back in October of 1999. Projects such as WBEM, CIM, JMAPI, and scotty/tkined were also mentioned by people in the Bluebird mailing list archive. This is a field of work that is going to be very difficult to do well; it is good that we have multiple projects working on it. Hopefully, they can also learn from and contribute to each other. In the end, what matters is that we end up with a truly useable, free network management package (or more than one!).

Application of the week: xcruise 0.24 (Linuxcare). xcruise 0.24 is Linuxcare's application of the week. "xcruise is obviously not a productivity application, but rather an entertaining diversion. Linux: now hiring interplanetary spaceship commanders."


Mozilla and Linux, the Road Ahead (LinuxPower). LinuxPower interviews Christopher Blizzard. "Actually, the reason that I joined the Labs was to work on Mozilla full time. So, to answer your question, yes. Red Hat considers Mozilla an important enough project to put full time resources on it."

Mozilla is having another party. In honor of the second anniversary of the release of the Mozilla source code, mozilla dot party three dot oh is being held April 6th, 2000. If San Francisco is too far to go for a free party (drinks not included), check out the party FAQ for long-distance enjoyment.


Interview with Michael "Monty" Widenius of MySQL. Zend Technologies has published a nice interview with Monty Widenius, discussing MySQL and its movement towards an open source license. "Widenius and MySQL CEO David Axmark pushed very hard within the company to convince the management to go with the open source model. The license is 'almost' open source, Widenius explains. 'Other companies refer to this kind of license as Open Sourceware.'"


YAMS 0.6.0 released. YAMS (Yet Another Merchant System) has released version 0.6.0, including the addition of the concept of session ids, and various bug fixes.

OpenSales enters untamed territory (Upside). This Upside article is about OpenSales - the folks behind the OpenMerchant e-commerce suite. "OpenSales is attempting to jump start its own open source project in situ, rather than latching onto a pre-existing volunteer-driven project as companies in the Linux and Apache fields have done."


Linux in Education report. The ninth SEUL-EDU Linux in Education Report somehow managed to evade last week's LWN. Therein you'll find discussion of the consolidated gradebook system, Bruno Vernier's collection of Debian packages for education-related Zope products, and more.

For this week's news, check out the SEUL-EDU Linux in Education Report for March 6. For a highlight of the report, note that both the Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia and the Beacon School in New York City have made major commitments to Linux. Check the report for more details.


Oz Deathmatch for Linux. The initial version of Oz Deathmatch to be available for Linux, version 1.7, has been announced.


Samba Kernel-Cousin. Check into the latest discussions on the samba development lists in this week's Samba Kernel-Cousin. VMWare, LDAP and Windows95 support were all topics this week.

Wine Weekly News. This week's Wine Weekly News talks about SCSI support, builtin DLLs vs. real files and an unexpectedly ascerbic exchange regarding the installation issues for Wine as it approaches an alpha release.

DOSEmu 1.0.0. The first stable release of DOSEmu has been announced. Of course, this DOS emulator has been around for quite a while and even the beta releases are widely distributed in many Linux distributions.

Office Applications

The Gimp kernel-cousin. This week's Gimp Kernel-cousin is available. A couple of discussions of interest this week include running the Gimp on 64-bit systems and testing of the new i18n code.

Check out the Gimp News for more tidbits, including the release of the Gimp 1.1.8 this past Saturday.

On the Desktop

First preview of Helix GNOME desktop released. The first preview version ("McKinley") of the Helix GNOME desktop has been released. As they say: "The purpose of this distribution is to simplify the task of installing a fully featured, up-to-date version of GNOME on your favorite GNU/Linux distribution. You can now experience all the joy and all the excitement that goes into the wonderful world of GNOME without agonizing through long, arduous build processes."

The Return of the KDE Development News! We're very pleased to report that the KDE Development News is back. The original editor, Navindra Umanee, was unfortunately unable to continue his excellent work due to other commitments. Bill Soudan and Prasanth Kumar have picked up this task and are welcoming other contributors. This week's edition starts with some CeBIT coverage, KDevelop news and some good word in the area of KDE-Gnome Collaboration, then finishes with other KDE news tidbits.

For more KDE news, check out Mosfet's site. He has a link to an interview of him done by LinuxUK, miscellaneous development notes and a pointer to the Body Talk project, a project to control KDE with hand gestures. Apparently they have KPresenter, the KOffice presentation package, so that you can control it by moving your body around.


The R statistical analysis environment. Statistical analysis environment "R" version 1.0.0 was released on February 29th. Also known as "GNU S", R implements a dialect of the statistical analysis language S.

Server Support

New version of dump/restore. A new version of the Linux dump/restore package has been announced. Although labeled 0.4b15, an upgrade to this version is highly recommended, in order to fix potentially exploitable buffer overflows and an error in the restore compare code.

Sendmail 8.10.0. A new version of sendmail, 8.10.0, was announced this week. Highlights include more spam control, improved ipv6 and LDAP support and "SMTP Authentication, allowing users to use cryptographic authentication in SMTP to gain additional privileges, such as ability to relay. "

Website Development

Midgard Weekly Summary. The Midgard Weekly Summary is back after a brief hiatus. They have announced a new request tracking system, a resolution to recent mail problems, and a version number change for the coming version of Midgard, plus a new addition to the permissions system, "sitegroups".

Zope Weekly News. This week's Zope Weekly News is now available, with the usual assortment of announcements, new products and documentation links.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

March 9, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


From LUGs to JUGs. The Triangle Java Users Group (TJUG) is the focus of this article from IBM DeveloperWorks. "The future is simple. You won't see Java! I'll give you an example. Do you notice plastics today? No. Look around you right now. There's a LOT of plastic! In the 70s, plastic items used to be noticed because they were novel, often broke, and no one wanted them. Nowadays, you don't notice plastic because it's everywhere, in everything, and it works great."


A kindler, gentler mailing list. Chip Salzenberg has started a new perl mailing list in which verbal abuse will not be tolerated.


Zend.com launches as PHP community site. Zend Technologies has announced the launching of its web site, which is intended to be a "home for the PHP community."


Why I Promote Python (O'Reilly). This column on O'Reilly's site talks about why the author likes Python. "I do not consider Perl decent for reasons that will become clear, and I do hope that Python takes most of its popularity. I refuse to become proficient in 'indecent' languages. That means that much of the software out there in the 'open-source' world is in fact closed to me. In an emergency, I could hold my nose and dive in, but I would not do so to scratch the proverbial itch."

This week's Python-URL. Here is this week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL. As usual, it contains an extensive list of happenings in the Python development world over the last week.

Python 101 cheat sheet. Evelyn Mitchell has made available a Python 101 cheat sheet, a quick reference document for newcomers to the language.


Dr. Dobbs' Tcl-URL. This week's issue of Tcl-URL covers traffic on comp.lang.tcl, which is apparently burgeoning.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

Language Links
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
Daily Python-URL

 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Bluepoint Linux is a publicly-traded company; the beginning of trading was announced by the company this week. Bluepoint is trading on the over-the-counter [Bluepoint] market under the symbol BLPT; volume, thus far, is light. For a lot of people who watch the Linux business community Bluepoint came, well, out of the blue. What is this company, and how did it manage to go public so quietly?

Bluepoint is a vendor of Chinese-localized Linux distributions, based in the city of Shenzen. The "Bluepoint Linux 1.0" product is available now, and can be downloaded from their site. It has the look of a Red Hat-derived distribution. Bluepoint claims to have bundling agreements with the three largest Chinese PC vendors, giving it "80% of the Chinese Linux bundling market." Bluepoint's web site also talks about a future embedded distribution and consulting services.

Two web sites are operated by the company, both in Chinese. bluepoint.com.cn is the regular corporate site; they also own openunix.org, which is claimed to be "the most influential Linux site in China." For those of us who don't read Chinese, they also have a few pages in English available.

One of the things Bluepoint claims is support for the Chinese character set at the kernel level. So we pulled down their kernel source package and checked things out. Bluepoint's kernel is a fairly vanilla 2.2.13 one, with the addition of a pair of new codepages and support for a Chinese console. There appears to have been a fair amount of work done to make the console work right - a significant chunk of code has been added. No word on whether it has ever been submitted for inclusion into the standard kernel. Bluepoint has also included an updated set of USB drivers.

Bluepoint also claims a localized version of the X window system. Their X work, however, is explicitly proprietary.

How Bluepoint came to be public is an interesting story. If you dig through Bluepoint's SEC filings, you'll come across this information statement describing a change in ownership of the corporation. It seems that, in February, something called Shenzhen Sinx Software Company was acquired by "MAS Acquisition XI Corp," which promptly changed its name to "Bluepoint Linux Software Company."

MAS Acquisition XI Corp. was owned by a certain Aaron Tsai. It registered its stock with the SEC last year; some interesting things can be found in the registration statement. MAS Acquisition XI went public as a company with no revenue, operations, or even business plan. From the statement:

The Company's purpose is to seek, investigate and, if such investigation warrants, acquire an interest in business opportunities presented to it by persons or firms who or which desire to seek the perceived advantages of an Exchange Act registered corporation. The Company will not restrict its search to any specific business, industry, or geographical location and the Company may participate in a business venture of virtually any kind or nature.
In other words, this company is a "blank check" firm that was created for the sole purpose of providing a "back door" path for another company to go public. Bluepoint took the opportunity; it now has a pain-free public listing, and Mr. Tsai has a few hundred thousand shares for his pains. He seems to be doing well in general - "MAS Acquisition XI" is not the only company of this type he has created - numbers I through X also exist.

The current market capitalization of the company is on the order of $3-400 million - not bad for a company that few have heard of. That puts them in the same scale as eOn Communications, Applix, and GraphOn. Bluepoint has higher ambitions, though. From the press release: "Management believes Bluepoint Linux in China is similar to Red Hat Linux (Nasdaq:RHAT) in the United States, with a $13 billion market cap, and comparable to VA Linux Systems (Nasdaq:LNUX)."

There is no doubt that the principals of Bluepoint would like to be working with the same sort of market capitalization. That's probably wishful thinking for now - it is hard to get the respect of investors by coming in through the back door. But Bluepoint does appear to be a real company doing some real work, and the Chinese market should eventually be huge. They may eventually get somewhere.

(See also: this announcement from Bluepoint that Bluepoint Linux won a performance test carried out by PC World China Weekly).

Corel news: Corel has been in the news for a few reasons this week, including:

  • The resignation of Robert Coates from Inprise's board of directors in protest of the merger with Corel. Mr. Coates does not seem to disagree with the merger itself; it mostly seems to be an issue of how much compensation Inprise stockholders (he is a big one) get out of the deal. The recent decline in Corel's stock price certainly has not improved his outlook on the situation.

    According to this Reuters article, Corel intends to go forward with the merger anyway, without increasing its offer.

  • Corel has announced a tour to unveil and promote WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux. Stops include New York, Washington, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tampa, Houston, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa; see the schedule for details.

  • Corel also put out this press release hyping its accomplishments ahead of the upcoming stockholders' meeting. Not much new there, but it shows where the company thinks it's heading. Linux remains a central part of their strategy.

O'Reilly releases 'MP3: The Definitive Guide. O'Reilly and Associates has announced the release of the MP3: The Definitive Guide. This book "introduces the power-user to all aspects of MP3 technology. It delves into detail on obtaining, recording, and optimizing MP3 files using both commercial and Open Source methods, and covering four platforms..."

LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates complete merger LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates have announced the completion of their merger. The new company (which remains LinuxMall.com) will now handle both retail and wholesale distribution of Linux products, giving it a large portion of the Linux marketplace.

LinuxMall.com has also put out this press release presenting itself as a direct challenge to Microsoft. "Recent acquisitions and mergers, including a strategic merger with Frank Kasper & Associates to solidify distribution channels, have poised LinuxMall.com to assume the role of the world's largest 'arms dealer' in the Linux revolution."

German Chameleon Inks Deal with Canadian Dust Puppy SuSE has announced a deal with UserFriendly.org. It seems to involve SuSE using the UserFriendly characters on its web site and marketing materials.

BSDi and Walnut Creek are merging into a new company to be called "BSD Inc." This merger brings together a large vendor of a closed-source BSD variant and a big supporter of FreeBSD, a free BSD variant. They evidently plan to merge the two systems with the final result being still called "FreeBSD," and being primarily an open source product. It's an interesting development - the first big consolidation in the free BSD world. For more information, see this Daemon News article, where we learned everything we know...

Zend PHP Optimizer for free download. Zend Technologies has announced the release of their Zend Optimizer, available for free download. This is a commercial product. "The Zend Optimizer uses multi-pass code optimizations to double the running speed of PHP 4.0 applications. "

New Sendmail Switch product line now available Sendmail Inc. has announced the availability of its new "Sendmail Switch" product line, with prices up peoplebot to $4500. As a sort of "by the way," they also mention that regular sendmail 8.10 is available for download.

Meet the PeopleBot ActivMedia has announced the availability of the PeopleBot, a (relatively) low-cost robot which is programmable under Linux.

It looks like a fun toy, but with a face only a robotic mother could love. Prices start at $6,000.

TurboLinux and Linksys sign bundling deal. TurboLinux and Linksys have announced a deal wherein the TurboLinux distribution will be bundled with Linksys ethernet adapters. There will be 1.2 million copies distributed in this manner.

MontaVista receives $9 million investment. MontaVista Software, the company behind the "Hard Hat Linux" real-time and embedded distribution, has announced that it has received $9 million in investments.

internet.com acquires LinuxApps.com Internet.com has announced the acquisition of LinuxApps.com.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • OpenDocs, LLC announced the book Developing Applications for Linux: KDE Edition is now available.

  • STFB Inc. plans to change the open source market for Windows application software by offering open source licensing on all of its current and on all of its future accounting and ERP products. These products include Integral Accounting for VB, Integral Accounting for SQL, Integral Accounting for Java and Integral Accounting for Linux.

  • VA Linux Systems has formally announced the SourceForge CompileFarm - a set of systems running different distributions allowing packages to be built for all.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • ABACUS2000 announced LinuxVideos.com, which offers a variety of Linux-related videos.

  • Adaptec, Inc. announced that its Ultra160 SCSI product line will support the Itanium processor, the first in Intel's IA-64 processor line. Adaptec's 64-bit drivers are already embedded in the IA-64 Linux kernel.

  • Looking for the perfect gift for the Linux geek in your life? Check out this press release about Elfstone Software's Attic Treasures. This disc contains tools, applications and utilities, and much more.

  • eOn Communications Corporation introduced the eOn Web Center Software Suite, an application for routing, tracking and responding to e-mail and Internet-based communications in real time.

  • PowerCerv Corporation announced that its enterprise application software solutions are certified and functional on IBM Netfinity servers with Caldera OpenLinux eServer 2.3.

  • Prolific Inc. introduced ProGenesis 2000, the latest version of its Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software.

  • Quadratec Software announced that its backup and restore application, Time Navigator, has added support for VXA-1 tape drives from Ecrix Corporation.

  • Three Axis has announced that it will be porting Nanosaur, a Macintosh game, to Linux.

  • VirtualSellers.com Inc. announced that its TAME software has been selected for inclusion on the Red Hat Linux Application Library CD (LAL), which will be included with the next version of Red Hat Linux.

  • YARC Systems Corporation announced the release of version 1.50 of its Postscript 3 Raster Image Processor software. This release implements full 6 color ICC capability.

    Products Using Linux:

  • eConnect announced that the eConnect/RGTecq Linux Transaction server successfully sent a full Internet ATM card with PIN message format to eFunds, which will be the United States Host processor for eCashPad Internet originated transactions.

  • eConnect announced its initial global network will consist of host systems in the United States, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia and the Dominican Republic, driving the eConnect eCashPad transactions which are being routed to the eConnect Hosts by the eConnect/RGTecq Linux servers.

  • Framfab has a speaking clock that uses a PC-based server equipped with Linux.

  • eDivision.net LLC announced the Linux-based Pop & Server and autoSTUFFER, tools to integrate virtual stores with on-site office computer systems across the fire wall.

  • Gateway introduced its first server appliance, the Gateway Micro Server, a 7.3-inch cube that supports up to 100 users with shared applications such as Internet services and e-mail.

  • Showstar Online.com, Inc. announced the introduction of its first portal development product Showstar Webmail, which uses Linux servers and SSL encryption.

    Java Products:

  • Lutris Technologies has announced that it will be distributing the Enhydra application server on CD at ApacheCon.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • BiTMICRO NETWORKS unveiled "the world's fastest" EIDE solid state flash disk, the ATX35 E-Disk.

  • Brooktrout Technology announced that it has doubled the density of the TR1000 high density messaging development platform, which now supports up to 60 channels of voice and 8 channels of intelligent fax on a single card.

  • Computational Engineering International released EnSight 7, a major new release featuring a totally revamped graphical user interface (GUI) and the ability to simultaneously visualize multiple models.

  • Computron Software, Inc. announced Linux support on Computron's e-Cellerator technology-based product lines.

  • CyberStar Computer Corporation announced that they have launched EnetPC v1.0 B2B configurator software with Personal Computer Services, Inc. (PCSI), which allows people to configure the systems they want online.

  • Dialogic, a subsidiary of Intel, announced its availability of the DS-3 high-end network interface card.

  • Dot Hill Systems Corp. announced the SANnet 3200 and 4200 series of storage systems

  • Eizo Nanao Technologies announced FlexScan L661 and L680 18.1" viewable-image flat-panel monitors.

  • Eizo Nanao Corporation announced the FlexScan F930, a 21 inch (55 cm) CRT monitor for business, CAD/CAM, graphic design and desktop publishing applications.

  • GENROCO, Inc. announced TURBOstorR Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) to Fibre Channel (FC) bridging and routing switch with software drivers for many platforms, including Linux.

  • InnoMediaLogic Inc. announced the availability of its HYPER-T3 DS-3/STS-1 adapter for packet voice networks.

  • LSI Logic introduced the single chip SYMFC929 dual channel PCI to Fibre Channel protocol controller for 32/64-bit 33/66MHz PCI systems.

  • Lugaru Software announced the release of version 10 of the Epsilon Programmer's Editor, a customizable and extensible editor featuring EMACS and Brief key bindings.

  • NEON Systems, Inc. announced that its Diplomat product now supports the Linux platform.

  • Paramount Technologies, Inc. announced the release of B2B-WorkPlace 7.0, a Web-based procurement service.

  • Performance Technologies, Inc. announced the CPC376, the latest product for T1/E1 telecom network connectivity.

  • RadiSys Corp. launched the EPC-3306 system controller, a CompactPCI (cPCI)-based single board computer.

  • Reliable Software announced a joint collaboration with Swedish-based Klaralvdalens Datakonsult AB to port Code Co-op, a full-featured version control system, to the Linux platform.

  • SafeTPay announced a new service that allows consumers to purchase goods and pay bills over the Internet using their existing ATM-card with PIN (Personal Identification Number).

  • Spatial Inc. announced 3DShare Enterprise (3DS-e), its Intranet-based, CAD file translation and repair solution.

  • Veritools, Inc. announced a Verilog lint checker, HDL Lint v5.0.

  • Veritools announced the release of two new products, Ut_batch and the SuperC-SystemC Simulator, for HDL 2000.

  • VMware, Inc. announced the production release of VMware 2.0 for Linux now available for immediate download.

  • Xenos Group announced the availability of Documorph 2.1, now with Linux support.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Andover.Net and T.C.X. DataKonsult AB of Stockholm, Sweden, publisher of the MySQL relational database, announced a joint development program to implement database replication in MySQL.

  • Berkeley Systems Design, Inc., better known as BSDI, and Walnut Creek CDROM, the primary backer of FreeBSD, are merging.

  • Brocker Technology Group Ltd. announced that their subsidiary Sealcorp Computer Products will be the sole distributor of SGI products in New Zealand.

  • eOn Communications Corporation announced an agreement with Progressive Telecommunications Corporation for the purchase and installation of eOn's eQueue 4000 communications server.

  • GoAhead Software and Ziatech Corporation announced a strategic partnership to integrate GoAhead's cross-platform high availability software with selected Ziatech CompactPCI solutions. The end result should be available in a Linux version.

  • GraphOn Corporation and Tianjin Development Holdings Ltd., announced they have launched a joint venture called GraphOn China Ltd.

  • Lynx Real-Time Systems, Inc. announced delivery of Hewlett-Packard Company's ChaiVM, embedded virtual-machine technology on Lynx' BlueCat Linux operating system.

  • Merlin Software Technologies announced the signing of an agreement with G.T. Enterprises, India's largest Linux distributor.

  • NaviSite, Inc. announced it had entered an alliance agreement with Angstrom Microsystems. As part of the agreement, Angstrom Microsystems will join NaviSite's list of premier development partners, allowing NaviSite to work with Angstrom Microsystems to offer a complete, end-to-end Linux-based e-business system, including hardware, operating system, software and support.

  • Qarbon.com and SuSE have announced the "Linux Viewlet Project." "The project is designed to provide millions of Linux developers and users with a database of free Viewlets addressing the widest possible range of Linux questions."

  • Quantum Corporation announced that IBM's Netfinity Servers can be equipped with Quantum's new Super DLTtape technology.

  • Savoir Technology Group, Inc. became an authorized distributor of SCO's Tarantella Enterprise II Web-enabling software. A Linux version of Tarantella is due out in April.

  • TCI Business Innovations and Smart World Technologies announced a new partnership to extend free 56k Internet dialup service to the North American Linux community.

  • Tech Data Corp., in conjunction with Caldera Systems Inc., is launching an Authorized Linux Education Center for IT resellers.

    Financial Results:

  • Ariel Corp. reported net sales for the year ended December 31, 1999. Ariel's products run on Linux systems.

  • EMJ Data Systems Ltd., developer of White Dwarf Linux, announced its second quarter results for the six months ended January 31, 2000.

  • eOn Communications Corporation announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2000. They make Linux-based communications server products.

  • Wave Technologies reports improved 3rd quarter results. A strong demand for Linux certification is cited.


  • Tom Adelstein, Founder and CIO of Bynari Inc. announced the appointment of E. Scott Crist, Chief Executive Officer of Telscape International, Inc. to their the Board of Directors.

  • Caldera Systems Inc. announced that it has named Richard Wiltbank director of sales for Caldera Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

  • Inprise Corporation announced that C. Robert Coates, CEO of Management Insights, Inc., has resigned from the Board of Directors.

  • LAND-5 Corporation announced that Alton G. Keel, Jr. has been named Chairman and CEO.

  • Red Hat has announced the appointment of Harold Covert, Adobe's ex-CFO, as Chief Financial Officer. No word on what happened to Manoj George, the previous CFO...

  • Tripwire, Inc. announced the appointment of Denise Hayman, successful sales and management professional, as its new vice president of worldwide sales.


  • Dialogic, a subsidiary of Intel, announced that it has expanded its operating system platform coverage with the addition of support for Linux.

  • eLinux.com has announced an affiliate program. They present it as being "in support of the Linux community" ...

  • Group 1 Software announced that effective March 15, 2000, the company will add Red Hat Linux 6.1 to its list of supported operating systems and platforms.

  • The launch of MaximumLinux.com has been announced. The site comes out ahead of the Maximum Linux print magazine, due on the stands next month.

  • TurboLinux has announced the opening of a new Australian office (in Sydney).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

March 9, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading:

PBS's Robert X. Cringely has written a column looking at the resurgence of Java. He thinks that the "universal language" aspect of Java is finally heading toward reality. The article finishes with a look at operating systems: "If Java is the universal language, Linux is emerging as the universal operating system. IBM has Linux running on practically every computer technology it makes, including its largest mainframes... Everyone who sells a UNIX operating system is considering the option of ditching their UNIX OS and going with Linux. Why? Because Linux is good, it's cheap, and it has name recognition with everyone right up to the CEO." (Thanks to James Cownie).


Here's an Information Week article about open source software and security. "For those who are truly after total security, the ability to grab an application or operating system's source code and modify it to meet their own requirements can have an amazing impact on system security. Again, however, this ability is a double-edged sword. Those who don't have the time or skill to modify an application to suit themselves are left at the mercy of whatever the open-source designer built into the program."

Information Week also looks at Linux training and certification. "While [LPI chair Dan] York acknowledges that adoption by businesses is the primary goal of any Linux certification process, he says there's a slew of other reasons also dictating the need for a vendor-neutral training process."

The latest Linuxcare 'Dear Lina' column looks at problems with diskette drives and Samba performance. "Try using ftp for the same content. Windows boxes come with a minimal ftp client and if it is just as slow, then hon, maybe your hard disk needs a new drummer."

The first issue of LinuxMonth, a new monthly e-magazine, has been released. It includes articles on setup and networking, an interview with UserFriendly author Illiad, and a discussion of "the real issue with LinuxOne."

Here's a "tongue-firmly-in-cheek" Freshmeat piece on "how to" make submissions to the site. "You might be thinking that you are now ready to hack some code and submit it to Freshmeat, but golly gee, whatever should you work on? You could perhaps find a lacking feature in Linux and implement it, or find a radical new concept and make it a reality. But until you've been in this business as long as Stallman, you probably want to take it easy and hone your hacker skills. Clearly, the best way to do this is to reinvent the wheel."


An interview with Richard Stallman has been posted on the olinux.com.br site. "Our community has grown much the way many third-world cities have grown: too fast, and without incorporating the newcomers into civic affairs. Today the Open Source Movement attracts many users to the GNU/Linux system, citing only practical advantages such as power, reliability, and inexpensiveness. That movement studiously avoids mentioning idealistic concepts such as freedom and community, and as a result most of the newcomers have no idea that you can think of free software in those terms."

Byte interviews kernel hacker Andrea Archangeli. "In fact, in the Linux kernel there is one goto for about 80 lines of code. Although all OS kernels have to use gotos for the sake of efficiency, Linux has by far the biggest share of gotos in the source code. As long as geniuses like Andrea understand it, it's OK." (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer).

The Wall Street Transcript interviews Kenton Chow, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Cobalt Networks. "All of our products are Linux-based. Linux is currently the dominant open source operating system platform because of its reliability for Internet-oriented applications. We have been developing Linux systems since 1997, long before the current wave of interest in Linux. However, our commitment is to focus on open source."

Yahoo has put up an interview (in German) with SuSE CEO Roland Dyroff. English text may be had via Babelfish.


Here's a Forbes article about the future of SGI. "The thinking at this point is that the most likely buyer would be a company like VA Linux, the maker of Linux-based workstations. Acquiring SGI would give that young company established engineering skills, plus entry into businesses that already use SGI systems."

The Australian Financial Review ran this brief article ahead of the upcoming Linux Open Source Expo. "Companies could no longer afford to dismiss Linux as a marginal operating system, industry analyst IDC Australia said yesterday ahead of a major conference in Sydney today and tomorrow."

Here's a News.com article about Linuxcare's IPO. "Of the roughly $56 million it expects to raise, Linuxcare plans to spend $32 million on sales and marketing and $19 million on information technology in 2000, the company said."

ComputerWorld took this look at the upcoming Linux IPOs. "The consensus from the analysts: LinuxCare Inc. (Nasdaq:LXCR proposed) looks promising, but be careful with Caldera Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CALD proposed) and stay away from LinuxOne Inc. (Nasdaq:LINX proposed)."

PC Magazin has run a brief article (in German) about the "LiBex" at linux-investor.de. Thanks to Alexander Stohr for a translated version: "Stock brokers listen! After the comet alike rise of the Linux values on stocks today the SmartHouse Media has brought the first Linux Stock Index into live. Labeled bye the name LiBex (Linux Business Indes) all Linux values that are currently dealt with on market places are covered. Aside to others there are included RedHat, VA Linux, Cobalt Networks and Inprise." Of course, LWN might dispute the claim that the "LiBex" is the first such index...

Dan Gillmor looks at expanding intellectual property rights in this San Jose Mercury column. "When they wrote the Constitution, the nation's founders didn't figure on digital technology's impact. But I'm convinced they would have been appalled by the way greed has overcome the public interest when it comes to intellectual property. The entertainment and information industries are leading the charge. They make no secret of their ultimate goal -- a system where consumers pay each time we read, view or listen to anything. Today, sadly, the forces of greed have the law on their side." (Thanks to Gary Shears).

Here's a Salon article about Amazon.com's affiliate program patent. "But that's precisely why patent experts don't see much of a threat in the Amazon patent. In the time it takes to receive a patent -- typically two-to-three years -- Internet companies are made, merged and dismantled. In an age full of overnight millionaires, patent protection is about as useful as a Commodore 64."

ZDNet looks at O'Reilly's criticism of Amazon's patent behavior. "On Monday, the outspoken book chief published the column and added a petition to Amazon.com requesting it to clarify its intentions. At the same time, O'Reilly asked customers to sign their John Hancocks to the petition. Less than 24 hours later, almost 3,000 people had added their names and comments to the piece."

Upside reports on Linux-based Internet radios. "Nevertheless, in an age when your typical commercial radio advertising break lasts about as long as a Los Angeles car chase, you have to admit there's something slightly rebellious about listening to your favorite Swedish hip-hop station while sitting in Silicon Valley traffic. Maybe that's why it shouldn't be too surprising that Linux, the operating system that lives to give CFOs heartburn, is suddenly popping up as a key building block in the emerging Internet radio market."

Here's a PC World article on the "Yopy" Linux-based PDA. "Featuring a 4-inch full-color display, the diminutive device will come fully loaded with an embedded Web browser and e-mail client. It will also have personal productivity applications and software for playing back MP3 music or MPEG video files."

PC World looks at Linux and Microsoft. "Clearly, if Microsoft loses its stronghold with consumer operating systems, porting its software to the newcomer is the way to stay afloat. But the same corporate Darwinism that helped Microsoft achieve an OS stronghold may also prevent it from acting in its own best interest"

Here's an article (in Norwegian) in Klassekampen which, we're told, claims that the Norwegian government is considering replacing Windows with Linux on at least some government computers. (Thanks to Tom Grydeland).

The Red Herring compares Eazel to a rock band comeback tour. "Now, what remains to be seen is if some software virtuosos can leverage that creativity to add to their list of greatest hits. From the early looks of it, they'll at least have fun trying, even if they're closer to getting their AARP discounts than being the techno-twentysomethings who brought the Macintosh to life."


Here is a lengthy introductory article that ran in the Washington Monthly. It is mostly accurate, and it also explores the possible applications of open development processes beyond software. "A real-life example of another possible opportunity for open source comes from Harvard where law Professors Larry Lessig and Charles Nesson have started the Open Law Project, an attempt to try cases using the open-source model. Interested people sign into the Website, read what other contributors have written, and help to develop arguments and briefs." (Thanks to Willard Hall).

This osOpinion column criticises SCO's presence at the Bang!Linux conference in Bangalore. "If you're going to walk into the lion's den, the first thing you should remember is to be careful not to tread on the lion's toes. And when the opening keynote by Tony Baines of SCO appeared dedicated to telling a gathering of Linux users why SCO UNIX was more suitable for server applications than Linux, five hundred lions began to lick their lips."

Here's a brief article in the San Jose Mercury about Linus Torvalds' problems getting a green card. "As he told a congressional hearing on Friday, ``I can only say that I'm happy I'm considered a sure case, because based on my experience with the INS, I'd really hate to be in a category that is considered problematic.''"

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

March 9, 2000


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



A new version of the GNUware CD has been announced. This is a source code CD, for people who prefer that, containing Apache, KDE, Window Maker, GNOME, MySQL and GNU programs.

The multi-lingual LinuxFocus March 2000 edition is now available. This edition contains articles on Linux RT, NEdit, SNiFF+ for Linux, and more.

Here's a review of 'Using Samba', by Robert Eckstein, David Collier-Brown, and Peter Kelly. "The book is aimed at experienced UNIX administrators. The explanations of how Windows works will definitely be of help to these people. However, it is a bit of a pity that slightly more information wasn't included about UNIX for those not familiar with the system."

The second phase of Linsight has launched; it includes Linsider, an investment-oriented page with stock information and such.


Web sites

This Linux PR press release is about 70South, a 100% Open Source WAP-based Antarctic News and Views site.

Linux Stock News put out this press release announcing its latest content coverage including a feature article on Linux in a Wireless World (Part One) and Linux on the Desktop.

LinuxLinks.com announced a metacrawler service to complement its existing search facilities.

User Group News

The local Linux User Group in Groningen, the Netherlands is meeting on March 15, 2000.

The Greater Lansing Linux Users Group (GLLUG) of Lansing, Michigan, would like to invite the public to attend our Installfest on Saturday, March 18, from 12:00 noon to 5:00pm. It will be held at the Michigan Library Consortium (6810 S. Cedar Ave., Suite 8, Lansing, MI). For more information or directions to the event, please visit them at www.gllug.org, or email installfest@gllug.org.

The Greater London Linux User group GLLUG will meet March 25, 2000 in London, England.

March 9, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
abook 0.4.2 An addressbook program.
AccuRev 1.3.8 Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
ACPLTea 0.35 Java-based com system ACPLT/KS for process control engineering
ACS/pg 3.1.0b1 The ArsDigita Community System, ported to PostgreSQL.
adns 0.7 An advanced alternative, asynchronous resolver
AFD 1.1.5 A file distribution system.
Alexandria 0.0.1 A Java source code/CVS manager.
ALSA driver 0.5.5 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AML 2.0 An implementation of a basic register machine with support for ASM.
ampd 1.7.5 A MP3 playlist daemon.
APE 1.2.0 APE Portable Environment for C++ Threads, Sockets, etc.
APRIL 4.3.1h Agent Process Interaction Language
apsfilter 5.1.5 Intelligent line printer input filter
asmutils 0.08 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
aumix 2.2 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Aureal Vortex PCI sound chip Driver 1.0.5 Linux drivers for Aureal's Vortex PCI sound chip products.
auto-header.el 1.0 File and function headers in (X)Emacs.
Bandmin 0.85 A package that monitors and logs IP-accounting data.
BASHISH DR5.2 A modular Bourne-shell theme engine.
biew 5.0.1 Binary/Hex/Disasm viewer/editor
bk2site 1.1.2 Transforms Netscape bookmark file into yahoo-like website.
botnet 1.20 Communication package for making IRC bots (or even clients)
Brix 0.2 A session managment engine with embedded Perl support.
BsdScan 0.5 Simple port-scanning utility
BTW Calculator 0.0.2 A program that adds taxes to a price.
b_pam 0.0.2 Authenticates users via PAM or lets them change change their password
cache2hints 1.0 Converts BIND cache dumps to hints usable by BIND.
Calculate 1.0 A little calculator for the console.
ccmath 2.0.1 A comprehensive mathematics library in C.
cddump 0.1 A CD-R and CD-RW backup utility similar to dump/ufsdump.
cdr 2.1.4 CD ripper and encoder frontend
CD_Aud 0.80 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
centerICQ 2.7.4 a textmode-based ICQ clone for Linux
ClanLib 0.4.1 The platform-independent game SDK.
Classman 0.0.1 A tool for managing your classpath.
clig 1.9.6 Command line interpreter generator.
code2ref .05 A reference generator for C/C++ header files.
Come Back 64/UNIX Alpha 2 Freeware Commodore 64 emulator
CoreLinux++ 0.4.10 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Corewars 0.9.3 A simulation game.
CrushFTP 1.0b21 A Java FTP server with many features.
ctheme 0.8.2 A console palette tool for themes and effects.
cups-drivers 0.3.6 Printer filters to use with CUPS
Cyrus SML ACAP 0.3 A standardized remote preferences storage.
d1x 1.42 Cross-platform version of Descent 1 with many bugfixes/enhancements
DarcNES dn9a0305 An X/SVGALib multi-system emulator.
DejaSearch 1.8.4 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
DialControl 2.6.0 Remote control for Internet/WAN connections of a masquerading server.
DINO 0.8.0 Visualization for Structural Biology
dkeeper 0.2 A simple utility to keep info about your data media.
DNSTools 1.0.8 A web-based and command-line tool to administer DNS
Doc++ 3.4.2 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
DOME 5.3 CASE toolkit for building domain models
DOSEmu 1.0.0 Application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs
dot.conf 0.7.0 A simple, powerful configuration-file parser.
Downloader for X 1.13 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
Drall Allows users to access their directories and files remotely via a web browser
dribble 0.0.2 alpha A simplistic workflow library.
DSD 1.0 An XML schema language.
Dump/Restore 0.4b15 Utilities to dump and restore an ext2 partition
dvgrab 0.5 A utility to save video data from a Mini-DV Video Camcorder.
dwun 0.7d Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
dyndns_s ALPHA 1 A daemon/client combo for updating named records with dynamic IPs.
ELE 0.3 Realtime audio effects and sample looping.
ELKS 0.0.83 A subset of the Linux kernel that runs in 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode
Ellipsis 0.2.0 A C++ library for parsing VRML.
EnRus dictionary tools 1.0-000304snap Tcl/Tk scripts for manipulating textual (plain or gzipped) dictionary base.
envelope 0.52 Envelope Printer
Envy 2.46 Shell-independent environment variable management
Epeios 20000308 Collection of general purposes C++ libraries working under UNIX and Windows.
EPIC 4pre2.505 ANSI capable textmode IRC Client
etherape 0.2.2 etherman cloneto graph net activity in real time.
Ethereal 0.8.4 GUI network protocol analyzer
F 0.2.0 Lightweight file browser for GNOME.
FaxMail 0.02 efax utility to forward the faxes as jpeg images to your e-mail.
FClock 0.1.1 A small digital clock for X-windows that counts online time.
fcmp 1.1 safer floating-point comparison
fetchmail 5.3.1 A free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility.
firewall-config 0.82 A configuration tool for IP firewalls and masquerading
fixDos 1.1.0 Fix DOS type problems with files (filename case, CR/LFs, TABs).
fixid3 1.0 Automated ID3 tag correction script for MP3 files
foodock 1.1 A library for creating dockable WindowMaker applications with GTK.
Fortify 1.4.6 Provides full strength, 128-bit encryption facilities to Netscape browsers
Freecell Solver 0.2 Program to solve Freecell games
Freeside 1.2.3 Billing and administration for ISPs
Frost 0.4.0 C++ multi-method support.
fspanel 0.2 A tiny windowlist panel.
Gaby 1.9.18 A small personal databases manager using GTK+
Gantt Chart Generator 1.0 Tool for creating Gantt (project timeline) charts using Web forms.
gASQL 0.5.0 A frontend to administer a Postgres database.
gbiff 0.3 An xpbiff replacement program.
gbox_applet 0.5.0 mbox watcher
gentoo 0.11.12 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
George 0.2 An mp3 file organizer and CD creator
GHX 3.55 GTK clone of the Hotline software
gimp-print 3.1.1 Print plug-in for the GIMP and GhostScript driver for Epson printers.
GKrellM 0.9.5 System monitor package
glaglaxian 0.2 A space-ship "shoot 'em up" game.
Glide Voodoo3/Banshee drivers for DRI 3.10-6 Glide 2.60 for Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo 3
gMGAclock 0.4.8 A GNOME application for Matrox G400 overclocking.
GNet 1.0.1 A simple network library.
Gnome Plotter 0.30 Plots Fortran expressions graphically
gnome seti_applet 0.1.3 Gnome applet which displays the state of a seti@home process.
Gnome Transcript 0.2.0 SQL Database Client with plugin system to support multiple database servers.
gnome2blackbox.sh 0.2 A gnome-menus to blackbox menu converter script.
gnotepad+ 1.2.0 An easy-to-use, yet fairly feature-rich, simple text editor
GNU parted 1.1.2 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU xhippo 2.1 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
GnuCash 1.3.1 A program to keep track of your finances
Gnuws alp20000307 WAP server, gateway, and development platform.
go-moku 0.2 Console based Networked GO-MOKU aka Five in row game.
GOGO 2.26a Fast, open source MP3 encoder based on LAME
Gox 0.5 A learning Naughts-and-Crosses game.
gPhoto 0.4.3 GNU Digital Camera download software
gpsd 1.0.1 Listens to a GPS and provides clients with the data.
grep 2.4.1 GNU grep, egrep and fgrep.
Grip 2.92 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
gruftistats 0.2.0 IRC web stats generating program
gtapecalc 0.3.8 A calculator utility.
gtk+licq 0.37 Gtk+ plugin for Licq
GTK+XFce 3.3.1 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkExText 0.0.20
GTKeyboard 0.99 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GtkICQ 0.62 GtkICQ is a clone of Mirabilis' ICQ program based on Gtk/GNOME
GTKWave 1.2.77 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
GTransferManager 0.4.4 GNOME frontend and more for wget
GTulpas 1.0.0 A 3D pool game.
GuitarTex 1.0.3 Create songbooks or sheets for guitarists.
Gxrio 0.02 A graphical Rio utility.
Half-life Admin MOD 0.61 A plugin mod to Half-Life.
HB 1.9.15 Simple language to create dynamic web content
HexView 0.2 A hew viewer for files larger than available memory.
HiM 0.2.5 Hierarchical marshalling library.
hl 0.31 A syntax highlighting less-like terminal application with HTML export.
HSX 3.33 Hotline Server clone for Unix
HTML::Template 1.6 A simple and fast HTML Template module for Perl
HTMLDOC 1.8.5 Converts HTML to indexed HTML, PostScript, and PDF
httpmanage 0.4.1 PHP3 tool that provides functions to manage two versions of HTML files
HTTrack 2.01 An offline browsing utility.
Hu-Go! 1.11 A PC engine emulator.
Hurricane 0.3.5 A highly extensible IRC daemon.
HybServ 1.6.0beta3 Services for the Hybrid IRCD server
ICM 0.3.4a InterAgent Communications Model
ICRADIUS 0.13-pre1 Powerful cross platform radius server
idanish 1.3.2000.03.04 A Danish ispell dictionary.
Ija 0.4 Interactive command-line client for Deja
iManager 2.0 Final An image viewer and manager.
imapbiff 0.9.1 New mail notifier for IMAP accounts
Improved mod_frontpage 1.3.1 Improved replacement for the M$ version.
Information Manager 1.0.4 Web outlining software.
IPC::SharedCache 1.2 A Perl module to manage a cache in SysV IPC shared memory.
ipchains-firewall 1.7.0-beta Rules-based ipchains firewall/masquerading script suite
isdn-config 0.6-9 An ISDN configuration tool.
j 0.2.0 A programmer's editor written in Java.
JAD 1.5.7d Fast Java decompiler.
Jakarta - Tomcat 3.1 beta 1 Open-source, community-developed commercial-quality Java server solutions.
jake 0.5 Facilitates management of and linking between eresources for librarians.
Jellybean 0.03 A Perl Object Web server.
Jigsaw 2.1.1 W3C's leading-edge Web server platform
Jikes 1.11 Java compiler that translates Java source into bytecoded instruction sets
jingle 0.6 Jukebox in ncurses.
JPass 1.1 A simple but effective JavaScript password generator.
jpilot 0.98 Palm pilot desktop software for Linux
jPOS 1.2 100% java ISO-8583/ANSI X9.2 implementation
juice 0.02b User friendly dialog-based frontend for mpg123 and other players.
jukebox-control 0.2 Complete automation for Sony A/V components featuring S-Link (CD, DVD, MD, etc).
k 0.7 A friendly wrapper script for kfmclient.
kcd 4.14.0 Directory change utility.
Kcheat 0.9.0 An automatic cheating system.
kchmod 0.2 A GUI tool to change file permissions.
kdc2tiff 0.31 Convert from Kodak .kdc file to .tiff or .jpg
KDuMon 0.6 The K Disk Usage Monitor.
kftp 0.5.0 A KDE FTP client.
Kgutenbook 0.5.3 KDE port of the perl app gutenbook, to download, and read etexts from Gutenburg
kishidoo 1.0.2 A little puzzle game for the KDE.
KLILO 0.2.3 GUI to configure the lilo bootmanager
klos 0.4.0 Shows two verses from Bible, changing every day (the 'Watchwords').
kmplot 0.2.0 Mathematical function plotter for the kde-desktop
knapster 0.8 KDE napster client.
kNetmon 0.99.3 KDE-aware X frontend for many network tools, especially samba
KNode 0.1.13 Online-newsreader for KDE
Koala Complete MUD Server 0.2.3a A complete MUD server.
kpftp 1.0.3 A KDE/Qt frontend for pftp.
KSoundrecord 0.5 Frontend to record and encode wav files
KTamaga 0.5a The KDE-Tamagotchi-emulator
KTimeclock 0.0.5 Task based timeclock for KDE.
KUPS 0.6.5 KUPS is a CUPS administrator for KDE.
L.A.M.P. Three 0.9 A personal MP3 jukebox geared towards managing full albums.
Label Nation 1.7 A command-line label-printing program.
Lago 0.5 A portable, multi-threaded database.
LANdb 0.90 Your entire network in a Web-based database application.
leafwa 0.1.0 Web-based administration for Leafnode
LEGO::RCX.pm 0.9 A Perl module to communicate with a Lego MindStorms RCX.
Lexmark 1100 driver for Linux 1.0 Converts raw ppm files to the Lexmark 1100 printer protocol.
lftp 2.1.9 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libbgrab & webcam 2.0 bttv framegrabber library + webcam application
libmcrypt 2.3.3 A library to access various encryption algorithms
libvrmldb 0.0.1 A VRML generator for databases.
Lift Off Java Installer 0.2.1 An installer for Java applications.
LinCVS 0.2.5 A graphical frontend for the CVS-client.
LinkChecker 1.1.0 LinkChecker is a URL link checker
Linuxconf 1.17r5 Sophisticated administrative tool
linuxfreak.php3 2.0.4 PHP script to put LinuxFreak.org headlines on a Web site.
LISC 1.2.1 A lightweight Scheme interpreter in Java, with useful extensions.
loginshell 3.0 perl script as an interface for shell account users
Lothar project 0.6.2 Tools for hardware configuration
lq-text 1.16 A command-line oriented text retrieval package for Unix
Lucky Dice 1.22 A cards and tiles game.
LxA 0.0.6 Linux appliance construction set.
ma2ze 0.1.0 A 3D maze written in matlab.
MAD 0.9.6b A fixed-point MPEG audio decoder.
MadHouse Forum Manager 1.05.0 A flexible forum manager.
ManStyle 2.2.0 A tool for creating HTML manuals.
MasqMail 0.0.11 Offline Mail Transfer Agent
Mavric 0.8.0 A python module for interactively manipulating phylogenetic trees
mcrypt 2.5.0 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
MDB Tools 0.002 Tools for reading Microsoft Access MDB files
memtest86 2.2 Find bad RAM chips
mhash 0.7.0 Provides an easy to use C interface for several hashalgorithms
Milo 2.2-15 The Alpha-Linux bootloader.
MindTerm 1.2pre4 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
MiniVend 4.0.1 Powerful freely redistributable shopping cart package
MIT Scheme 7.5.4 A programming environment for Scheme.
mkautosmb 0.8.5 A script that makes the local SMB network browsable.
MMC 0.2 A GNOME email client.
mMosaic 3.4.11 Web browser for X11
mod_color 0.3 Apache syntax coloring module
mod_cypay E-Commerce engine for the Apache Web Server.
mod_dav 0.9.16-1.3.6 DAV protocol extensions for Apache
mod_layout 1.0 Layout module for Apache.
mod_pcgi2 1.0.2 An Apache module for Zope/PCGI.
mod_ssl 2.6.2-1.3.12 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
mod_text 0.1 An Apache module that converts legacy text to limited HTML.
mon 0.38.18 Highly configurable service monitoring daemon
Mops 0.42d 3D modeling environment written in C with Tcl/Tk.
Mordor MUD 5.05 Multi-user text based Internet Game Server
Mozilla M14 A Web browser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator.
MP3 Player Upload/Download utilities 0.0.3 Upload tools for MpMan portable MP3 players
Mp3Jukebox 0.3.5 Internet/Web-based Mp3Jukebox
Mptn 0.2.1 Regexp-like pattern matching library
MRTA 0.14 Multi-router traffic accounting.
mseti 0.5.1 An addon for a SETI@home client for dialup users.
mSQL Mini SQL implementation
mtr 0.42 Network diagnostic tool
MTXL 1.4.3 A media changer control program for SCSI tape changers, jukeboxes, etc.
Muddleftpd 1.3.1 A small, fast configurable ftp server that can run without root.
MultiMail 0.33 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
MultiNet 2.1 An easy IP-address switcher.
multiple 0.2 A tool for finding equal /superflous files.
Mustajuuri 0.0.1 Real-time audio signal processing application.
MuX2d 0.2 WYSIWYM editor for MusiXTeX.
myipsitestatus 0.0.1 X-based site status for dynamic DNS service provided by myip.org.
MyMan 2000.03.04 A text-terminal game (like Pac-Man).
myPHP usenet 0.9 Inserts posts from the usenet in a MySQL database, and provides a PHP3 backend.
MySQL 3.23.12c SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
MySQLMailer 1.0b A local delivery agent with MySQL lookup.
MyTCL 0.8 A TCL API for MySQL.
nano 0.8.7 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
NeoMail 0.65pre4 A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
Nessus 0.99.7 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NewsFleX 1.1.4 An offline newsreader with a 'Free Agent'-like GUI.
newslog 1.3.0 Yet another Web page news generator.
nmap 2.3BETA15 Full featured, robust port scanner
Nomad 0.1.0 A network mapping and monitoring program.
Novelty Application Server 1.3.8 An XML Application Server.
NTP 4.0.99g A time synchronization daemon which keeps your system time accurate.
opennap 0.20 An open source Napster server.
OpenSSH Unix Port 1.2.2p1 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
Oregano 0.13 Schematic capture and circuit simulation application
OutMan 1.0 Manages output from command line tools.
Oz Deathmatch for Linux 1.7 Oz Deathmatch for Half-Life.
P'mail 0.5.5 Interface between PalmOS (TM) Mail application and Unix mailbox files
passwdgen.php3 1.0 password generation
Peanut Linux 7.5 A preconfigured distribution for Linux newbies.
peep A network-file-stdio connectivity utility.
PeeWeeLinux 0.20 A small linux distribution for embedded applications.
Pengy 0.5.0pre4 Another IRC knowledgebot.
Perl WebStats 1.3pre Perl Apache log analyzer/report generator
PerlODP 1.3 An RDF-to-HTML parser for the Open Directory Project.
pftp 1.1.5 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
pgpenvelope 2.7.4 GPG/PGP5 filter for Pine
phpSched 0.2.1b Schedule creation and maintenance for shift based departments
Planet-Intra 2.3 Instant intranet portal
playlist 1.3.1 Generates lists in plaintext and HTML for a directory tree of music files
playmp3list 0.92 A console-based MP3 player frontend for mpg123.
PMail 0.4 GNOME/GTK/Python email client
pmc 0.2 A Perl/GTK mail client.
PMS 1.0.0 A mail sorter written in Perl; a simpler alternative to procmail.
PowerForms 1.3 A javascript based client-side input validation tool tool.
PowerShell 0.8 A GTK-based terminal emulator with support for many terms in one window.
Powertweak-Linux 0.1.9 System performance enhancer.
PPP Remote Control 0.5 A Perl CGI to control pppd operation from a Web browser.
pppdropper 0.0.2 A line-usage-based PPP connection dropper.
PPPOEd 0.46 PPP over Ethernet
PRepS 1.2.4 The Problem Reporting and Tracking System.
PresTiMeL 0.4 A tool to create HTML presentations.
printerdb-utils 1.0-1 Editing functions for RedHat's printerdb configuration file.
procbox 0.0.1 A simple replacement for procmail that doesn't require sendmail
Prometheus-Library 2.5 Object-oriented PHP API
PTlink ircd 4.1.2 New featured ircd with a great services integration
PTlink Services 2.1.2 IRC Registration Services
pyChing 0.9.65 Cast and interpret I Ching hexagrams
pycmail 0.0.4 An incoming mail sorter written in Python.
Python Remote Procedure Calls Phyton Remote Procedure Calls 1.0 Python classes for easy client/server programming based on SocketServer.
Qpopper 3.0b35 POP3 server
qscalc 0.0.1 A command-line calculator.
QScheme 0.3.1 Really fast, small and easy to interface Scheme interpreter
Quake3: Arena and Demo 1.16m beta3 The test version of Quake3: Arena
Quanta+ 0.97 HTML editor for KDE
Querytool 0.005 BETA An interactive tool for PostgreSQL.
random 0.75 A random number generator.
random.php3 1.0 A php3 script that outputs random text.
Remembrance Agent 2.08 Remembrance Agents are an augmented, associative memory.
Report Magic for Analog 1.3 Create tabular reports and graphs from Analog web statistics.
Restaurant Guide Restaraunt Guide 1.1 A PHP/MySQL eatery ranking system.
rglclock Rotating 3D clock
rhup 0.9.6b Make updates of Red Hat systems easier.
RJ's Perl Obfuscator 1.9 Make Perl programs smaller and more difficult to edit.
Robust Hyperlinks 0.1 Makes URLs robust against 404 Page Not Found errors.
rp-pppoe 1.6 A user-mode PPPoE client.
rprint.perl 0.03 A remote printing tool.
rstatus 1.2 A rebuilt-from-scratch rstatus (rwho, ruptime, rwhod).
Rubicon Tracker 2.0 Beta 6.99.13 Web-based trouble tracking system.
runwig 1.2 Session-based Web service runtime system used in bigwig.
SableCC 2.13 An object-oriented compiler framework.
Saint 2.0 beta 2 Security Administrator's Integrated Network Tool
samhain 0.6 A distributed host integrity monitoring system.
SANE 1.0.2 Provides standardized access to anyraster image scanner hardware
SARA 2.1.8a SATAN/SAINT like security auditing tool - takes advantage of nmap if present
sawmill.el 1.15 Emacs mode for editing sawmill code and interacting with sawmill
scanSquidLog 1.1 Quickly scan Squid log files for URLs.
Scoop 0.4 A weblog management system
scribe 0.2.2 A C prototype-generator.
ScriptWriter 0.2.0 A package for developing TV and movie scripts.
SDL 1.1.1 SDL is a library that allows you portable low level access for graphics/sound
SDL_mixer 1.0.5 A sample audio mixer implementation using SDL
Seahorse 0.3.6 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
Secure Remote Password Protocol 1.5.1 Zero-knowledge password-based authentication and key exchange protocol
sendfaKs 0.31 A wrapper for sendfax
Sendmail 8.10.0 Powerful and flexible Mail Transport Agent
Shadowlands Forum 1.9.4-devel13 Low-resource, robust, friendly telnet chat server with authentication
sidtools 0.9.0 A collection of small tools to be used with sids.
Simple Temperature Converter 0.1 A simple temperature conversion Perl script.
SimpleFont 1.2 A small program similar to banner but better in some ways.
siteupdate 0.2 Perl scripts to ease site synchronisation
sixpack 0.99 A graphic and command line bibliograhy database manager.
slipwire.pl 1.4 Creates a DBM of paths/files and MD5 hashes.
Slots 1.1 A console slots-game based on ncurses.
Smash 0.4 SMS server for sending text messages to mobile phones.
SMJPEG 0.2.1 The SDL Motion JPEG Library.
SMPEG 0.3.4 SDL MPEG player with sound
SNTS 1.0 Simple Network Time Sync.
SpeedX 0.1.1c An X11 racing game.
SPINdex 4.1.5 Perl-based Web site-searching suite
Spruce 0.5.17 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
Squid 2.4.devel2 High performance Web proxy cache
ssh 2.1.0 public beta 1 Remote Login Program
statnet 3.7 Summary of protocols currently being used on LAN.
stats.cgi 3a Perl script for web site statistics
SUBTERFUGUE 0.1.0 Framework for building tools that observe and play with the reality of programs.
Survey2k 1.0.0 A Web survey creator and results tracker.
syslog-ng 1.4.0 A portable syslogd replacement with enhanced, flexible configuration scheme.
SysWatch 1.4.1 Web based system watch utility
Tallyman 2.0.6 Open source ecommerce site management software.
TaskGuide Viewer 1.2.17 An XML-based tool for creating wizards.
TCPDUMP Filter 1.0a A program to filter the output from tcpdump and display it as ASCII.
Terraform 0.6.4 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
Test Environment Toolkit 3.3f A toolkit for test development and management
teTeX 1.0.7 Best TeXdistribution for UNIX
tgif 4.1.28 Vector-based draw tool
The Finger Server 0.84 Web based, pseudo unix finger server
The Gimp 1.1.18 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Penguin Machine 0.0.8 A puzzle game based on The Incredible Machine.
Things 1.0 A tiny database with a Web interface to keep your notes.
timofometro 0.20 Control your telephone expenses.
tiny cobol 20000302 Cobol'74 compiler
TkCommander 0.6.5 Yet another Norton Commander clone, written in Tcl/Tk.
tkMOO-light 0.3.24 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
TkSETI 2.10 A GUI for automated control of the SETI@Home client for UNIX.
tocmake.pl 0.2 A Perl script that creates a CDRDAO .toc file for burning audio CDs.
TodoMgr 1.66 Manages Todo Tasks graphically in several folders with descriptions.
tomukas 0.1 A Linux mini-distribution with small disk and memory footprint.
tpctl 0.8.5 ThinkPad configuration tools for Linux.
Tux Racer 0.11.1 An OpenGL racing game featuring Tux.
TWIG 2.2.1 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
UAE 0.8.12 Software emulation of the hardware of theCommodore Amiga 500/1000/2000
UDE 0.2.7-BETA A new GUI for Unix with a completely new look'n'feel
UDF 0.9.1 UDF filesystem kernel module
UdmSearch 2.2.1c Fast WWW search engine for your site
UltraMaster Juno-6 1.0.1 Software reproduction of the Roland Juno6 polyphonic synthesizer.
Unpoison.pl 0.4 Squid redirector plugin to disable location poisoning.
UPX 0.99.3 powerful executable packer
User-mode Linux 0.8-2.3.48 User-mode port of the Linux kernel
userv 1.0.0 Security boundary tool
UW Imap Server Univerity of Washington Imap server
VICE 1.3 Versatile Commodore Emulator
ViPEC 2.0.1 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
Virtfs 0.35.5 A utility to help create and configure virtual services and domains.
Virtual X68000 X68000 emulator
VMWare 2.0 Allows you to run multiple x86 OSes at the same time.
Voxel Engine 0.9.3 A C++ voxel landscape renderer for Linux/SDL and Win/DirectX.
vsound-patch 1 A patch for vsound, a 'virtual audio loopback program.'
W3Mail 0.9.3 A Web gateway to POP3 eMail.
wakeup 0.0.1 An interactive MP3 alarm.
Warship Battle 0.3 A battleship game with many extensions.
watchfm 0.0.2 Monitor freshmeat applications for changes.
Web Designer 0.1.0 An HTML editor built in C with GTK
Webalizer 2.00-4 Web server log analysis program
webCDwriter 1.0pre1 Network CD writing.
WebMonitor 1.1.1 A Web-monitoring tool.
WeirdX 1.0.8 A pure Java X Window System server
Wipe 0.16 Secure deletion of files from magnetic media.
WMgMon 0.3.0 Window Maker (and AfterStep) generic monitor applet.
wmScoreBoard 0.10 Shows sports scores on the WindowMaker Dock.
WMSysMon 0.5.1 System monitor dock app for WindowMaker/AfterStep
wordtrain 0.3.0 Vocabulary trainer
WorldWide Web Performance Monitoring 1.00 Web performance monitoring tool.
WreckedNet IRC Services 1.1.4 Channel, nick, memo, and oper services for IRC Networks
X WinCommander 0.92-1 File Manager for X11
X-collector 2.0b Fetches pictures from newsgroups, with a neat X-interface.
XDC 0.4.2 X Client for DialControl
XFinger 1.2 beta 2 An X11 version of finger.
Xfstt 1.1 X11 Font Server for TT fonts
XMail 0.31 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
Xmame/xmess 0.36b16.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
XML for C++ 3.1.0 An XML parser for C++ with Linux compatibility.
XML::XPath 0.18 An XPath parser and evaluator.
XMMS-Solaris 0.4.2 Output plugin for XMMS to play on Solaris audio
xoscope 1.6 Digital Oscilloscope via Sound Card and/or ProbeScope
xplain2sql 0.7.0 An Xplain to SQL conversion tool.
XRally 0.8.pre2 An X11 clone of the Rally X arcade game.
xrate 0.0.3 A transfer-rate measurement utility.
XShipWars 1.33d Space oriented highly graphical network game system.
Xterminal 1.0.2 Object Oriented User Interface with a client-serverarchitecture
XTL 1.3 A C++ template library for object externalization.
ya-wipe 1.2.2 Secure file wiper
YAMP 1.15 Mp3 player written with GTK+
Yams 0.6.0 An e-commerce package written in Perl and utilizing a MySQL database.
YAWM 0.0.1-a2 A clean, intuitive window manager.
YAWMPPP 1.1.0 Yet Another Window Maker PPP dock applet

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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

Linux links of the week

Conglomerate is a project to create a graphical editor for structured text documents. It's still in an early stage, but the screenshots look pretty slick and they seem to have some good ideas.

The OpenBIOS project is working toward the development of a free BIOS system. Thus far, all i386-based Linux users are still dependant on proprietary BIOS code to get their systems going. The OpenBIOS folks are getting close - the kernel "almost" boots.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

March 9, 2000



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000 04:16:40 -0500
From: Ron <rongage@att.net>
To: letters@lwn.net, malda@slashdot.net
Subject: The slashdot effect again damages our name.


On Tuesday, Feb 29 2000, Slashdot published a small news item entitled
"USB Forum Becomes Too Greedy".  The gist of this article was about the
decision of the USB standard committee (or whatever they are called) to
charge for the information regarding the upcoming, not yet released USB
v2.0 spec.  The charge is listed as $2500 - in other words, become a
member of the standards committee.

The crowd at Slashdot decided collectively to "DeCSS" this thing.  A
couple of people "broke" into the protected section of the USB.ORG
website and mirrored out the entire documents section.

Granted, the security in the protected section was allegedly weak
(username == password, username == manufacturer_id), but that does not
make for an excuse.  Breaking in is still Breaking in.

What we have done in the eyes of the "members" of the USB committee is
turned into a band of thieves simply because a few people did not agree
with their decision.  As near as I could tell, there wasn't even a
single attempt to contact the USB committee regarding this matter.

This is an example of the mob mentality that can sometimes overtake us
in the support of our favorite Operating System.  We have seriously hurt
what we may have had for a good name with these people - I will be VERY
surprised to see "legal" USB 2.0 support anytime in the near future. all
thanks to a few over-zealous individuals.

I fear that we have just handed ourselves our own defeat on this one.
We all need to step back and make sure we don't screw ourselves like
this on ANYTHING else in the future.  We *had* ally's on the USB
committee (Intel, Compaq, etc...), now, who knows where we stand, if at

To the folks who were part of the break-ins, just a few words.  Please,
while your enthusiasm for Linux is applaudable, THINK before you do
something like this again.  In the real world (where we all must
eventually live), actions like this do NOT work and can lead to SERIOUS
repercussions for EVERYONE.  Just because you got your hands on the USB
2.0 draft documents, do you think they are going to be useful?  Do you
think we will be able to LEGALLY use these ill-gotten drafts?  You folks
were absolutely correct, you will be DeCSSing this thing - you are going
to get everyone and their brother sued for, among other things, theft,
copyright infringment, and who knows what else.  Thanks guys, just what
we all needed, another reason to funnel money into lawyer's hands.

Ron Gage - Saginaw, Michigan

Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000 19:42:39 +0000
From: jb <jb@yperite.demon.co.uk>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: tech IPOs


Regarding your recent excerpt from news.com about high tech IPOs any
potential investor would do well to remember just how far recent IPOs
have "tanked" (as the Thomson analyst Richard Peterson put it). 

A survey of "E-Commerce" in the latest edition of The Economist
(February 26th) quantifies it a bit further: "It is notable that nearly
three-quarters of e-commerce-related IPOs since mid-1995 are now trading
below their issue price."

Invest in good businesses, not the fad of the moment.
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: open source vs free software
From: Laurent Martelli <martelli@iie.cnam.fr>
Date: 02 Mar 2000 11:14:46 +0100

> Clearly RST chose to release the source code for ITS4 in order to
> show their confidence in their own code, to facilitate bug fixes
> and maybe even to accept improvements from others, but not in
> order to help produce a world where all software is free. This is
> their right. However, they should be strongly encouraged to call
> their software "source-code-provided", not "open source", or the
> value of that term will be diluted.

I think that the term "open source" is already diluted. Or at least,
it does not mean to most people what you think it should mean. "open
source" only refers to the availability of the sources. So RST is
right to used that term in that context. The use of "free software"
would be a lie, but "open source" is pretty accurate I think.


Laurent Martelli
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