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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

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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

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