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Leading items and editorials


The subversive power of free software. Many in the Linux community are attracted to the system because they want control over what they do with their computers. The freedom of free software allows us to know what goes into our systems, and to fix, improve, and change it as we see fit. To many, such freedom seems so fundamental that it is not even thought about all that much.

Free software is increasingly running afoul of those who wish to exercise control not just over our ability to access source, but over what we can know and do. And, in the process, free software is proving itself to be an agent of freedom beyond just the keyboard. As a result, there may be a confrontation brewing in our future. Not everybody will like the subversive power of free software.

This confrontation can be seen in the ongoing DVD and "cphack" affairs. But perhaps the first real demonstration of what free software can do was the release of PGP by Phil Zimmerman, years ago. The U.S. Government's desire to prevent the spread of cryptographic knowledge and code was frustrated forevermore. It was an exquisite act of subversion, and one for which Mr. Zimmermann paid with years under the shadow of a federal investigation.

21st century subversives are busily building an infrastructure to help let future cats out of the bag, and to keep them out. The FreeNet project is a classic example, but the real tool of the future may be the newly revitalized Gnutella project. Gnutella may look like a Napster clone to some, but it's much more interesting than that. Gnutella will be able to distribute any kind of file in an anonymous fashion, and in a way that is inherently difficult to shut down. If Gnutella works as planned, it will soon be a simple task to get a copy of DeCSS, cphack, or tomorrow's hot hack from the distributed network.

Free software is a great way to codify (and improve) many types of information. The Internet already makes it easy to spread such information widely; with a suitably-designed decentralized distribution infrastructure built on top of it, the net will move further toward being the uncontrollable space that many have made it out to be.

It would be foolish to expect that those who have something to lose in such a world will not fight back. The DVDCCA, the MPAA, and Mattel have already demonstrated that nicely. The responses we have seen so far, however, have mostly been of a panic-stricken, "throw lawyers at it" variety. Sooner or later, corporations and governments may start seeing free software itself as a threat. The nature of their reaction at that point is impossible to predict, but is guaranteed to be interesting. It's going to be a wild time.

(Acknowledgements: very little of the above is original. The What is Gnutella? page gives a good overview of what they are about. See Upside's talk with Eben Moglen, the FSF's lawyer, for his view on the subversive side of free software. Anybody interested in these topics should certainly have a look at Lawrence Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace as well. See also Jungle Monkey for another approach to distributed file sharing.)

The Maryland General Assembly has passed UCITA. Maryland thus becomes the second state to adopt this law, which has a number of unfortunate implications for users of licensed software. The lawmakers in Maryland have, however, marked up UCITA considerably (detracting from the "Uniform" aspect of the legislation). Among the changes they made are restrictions on remote disabling of software, some "fair use" protections, and requiring licenses to adhere to Maryland's "fair competition" law - a change which is alleged to protect reverse engineering, at least in some cases.

Those who want to see what passed can go to the House Bill 19 page and download it in RTF format. (Thanks to Bob Kopp).

No joy at Linuxcare. Back toward the beginning of the year, when [Running the CEO out of town] Linux stocks were still flying high, Linuxcare was often named as the company most likely to produce the next spectacular IPO. They duly filed in January, but the actual offering never quite seemed to happen. People were starting to wonder what was going on.

Now it appears that the offering will not happen for some time. On Friday, April 9, the company confirmed the rumors that had been circulating with this press release. The release, which still contains most of what is really known about this affair, stated the following:

  • President and CEO Fernand Sarrat is leaving the company.

  • A new "office of the CEO" has been created; it is headed up by former VP Pat Lambs, and also includes founder Art Tyde, Kleiner Perkins partner Ted Schlein, and venture capitalist Paul Vais.

  • The IPO has been put on hold indefinitely.
There is, of course, no end of speculation on what is really going on here. LWN declines to repeat most of it; head on over to Slashdot for the full dose. One can certainly say, however, that the departure of the CEO just before the beginning of an IPO road show is rarely seen as a desirable outcome by anybody involved. Something has gone seriously wrong at Linuxcare.

Linuxcare may well recover. There are many good people working there, and their business plan may yet yield strong rewards. Assuming that there are not more surprises in store, the company should be able to regroup and move forward. We wish them luck.

Minix is free software. After many years, Andy Tanenbaum has finally released the Minix operating system under the BSD license. Had Minix used this license from the beginning, Linux may have never come to exist. As it is, Minix certainly provided some of the inspiration for the creation of a free, Unix-like operating system for PC-class computers. It is an important part of Linux history, and it is good that it is free at last.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: B1 sample source from SGI, TrustedBSD
  • Kernel: 2.3.99-pre4 and brown paper bags, bad block recovery
  • Distributions: New Kha0s project leader; IBM's support deals
  • Development: First Linux Documentation Project report, Python garbage collection
  • Commerce: An ultra-quick review of WordPerfect Office 2000, the InterBase license.
  • 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:


April 13, 2000

   

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See also: last week's Security page.

Security


News and editorials

B1 sample source code from SGI. SGI has released source from a number of modules in its "Trusted IRIX" system as open source; it can all be found on the SGI open source site. The released code implements useful features like mandatory access control, capabilities, access control lists, audit trails, and more.

Note that nobody should expect to plug this code in and turn a Linux box into a B1-secure system. The code has been released, but has not been ported to Linux - as the web site says, "the code that comprises this release will not work, it wont even compile. It is provided soley [sic] as a reference base for interested parties to investigate." Some of the code duplicates work that is already in the Linux kernel (capabilities), or which is well developed outside of the kernel (access control lists). It should, nonetheless, be most useful for those working on highly secure systems. (Thanks to Jose Nazario).

The first release of Sentinel is out, see the announcement for details. Sentinel attempts to find hosts on a network which might be running password sniffers by using some clever techniques to find ethernet interfaces which are running in promiscuous mode. Most of these techniques involve sending packets with legitimate IP addresses, but with bogus ethernet MAC addresses; systems running in promiscuous mode will often respond to those packets. It looks like a worthwhile tool.

The TrustedBSD project has been launched. As detailed in the announcement, this project is starting with the FreeBSD code base and adding a number of new features. The list includes a fancy authorization framework, capabilities, access control lists, and much more. The work, once complete, is intended to be merged back into FreeBSD.

New Linux security site. SecurityFocus.com has set up a new Linux focus area with information of interest to Linux users. It starts off with an editorial from Bruce Perens.

Security Reports

A vulnerability in Linux trustees has been reported. The Linux Trustees patch appears to implement a simple, access control list-like permissions model that allows different access permissions to be defined for different groups on the same files. It turns out that, through the use of very long paths, certain denial of service problems can be created, and the possibility of more sinister problems exists. Those using Trustees should upgrade to version 1.6.

GNU locate in Caldera OpenLinux 2.4 eDesktop is run automatically out of cron as root, and allows any user to get a listing of any directory, regardless of permissions. The short-term fix is to disable locate in cron, while waiting for Caldera to come out with an update.

Updates

FreeBSD security updates. The FreeBSD project has issued a security update for a root compromise problem in healthd, as well as a fix for the ircii vulnerability.

Resources

Intel to Open-Source CDSA. Intel Corporation announced it will release the code for its Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA) software. A specific open-source license has not been mentioned.

Intel getting inside open source (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Intel's Common Data Security Architecture, which will be released as open source in May. "[CDSA] is essentially middleware with capabilities that can be called on or used by applications, such as e-mail or e-business software, to provide a level of security. It can, in other words, be used to encrypt e-mail or secure electronic transactions." (Thanks to Bertrand Fremont).

Web-based firewall rule generation is available from the Linux Firewall Design Tool, put together by Robert Ziegler. Answer some questions, and it will generate a set of rules, in any of the ipfwadm, ipchains, or iptables formats. Note that the site requires Javascript to be enabled in your browser to function.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


April 13, 2000


Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
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Secure Linux

Security List Archives
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Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
Conectiva Updates
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LinuxPPC Security Updates
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munitions
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Sections:
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development


The current development kernel release is 2.3.99-pre5. The pre4 release came out finally on April 11; it contained the changes that have been mentioned in the last couple of LWN kernel pages: a lot of additions to the configuration help file, a number of architecture-specific updates, a new CPiA video camera driver (which relocates and adds to the existing USB support for this device), many changes to the eepro100 ethernet driver, a number of USB serial changes, a StrongARM 1100 LCD frame buffer driver, a major DMA Sound driver rework, extensive NFS updates, and some networking fixes.

Unfortunately, 2.3.99-pre4 also contained a "brown paper bag" problem in the filesystem code which caused it to crash on boot. Most users tend to dislike that sort of behavior, even in a development kernel, so 2.3.99-pre5 was rolled out within a few hours. Along with the filesystem fix, pre5 contained a bunch of changes to the code that handles routing of PCI interrupts.

There is a 2.3.99-pre6 prepatch out there; it contains SMP and IO APIC tweaks, and large updates to the I2O subsystem and a number of sound drivers.

The current stable kernel release is still 2.2.14. Alan Cox has evidently sent a final version of 2.2.15 to Linus, but the official kernel had not been released as of this writing.

Dealing with bad blocks. The ext2 filesystem does not currently deal automatically with bad blocks that develop on a disk. It does maintain a list of such blocks (by making them part of a special file), but it can not add a new block to the list on the fly. A number of people have asked why that is, and whether it might be changed sometime soon.

Coping with bad blocks on the fly is hard. By the time the kernel gets around to trying to write a block, the contextual information (such as what file the block belongs to) may be long gone. So, even in the case of a simple file block, finding the file itself to relocate the block could involve a scan of the entire disk. If the block contains filesystem metadata, the job gets harder, since a fair amount of filesystem structure may need to be changed to move the block.

Much of this work can be done with e2fsck, but that requires the filesystem to be unmounted first. The amount of code involved makes it unlikely that the e2fsck code will move into the kernel, however.

Of course, by the time that a bad block has been detected, it's often too late to save the data it contains. Modern disks contain a feature called SMART, which can, in some cases, detect a failing block before it actually goes bad. When this happens, it would be very nice to be able to cope with the problem quickly, so that the data can be saved.

To this end, Andre Hedrick is frantically hacking away trying to get a SMART implementation ready for possible inclusion into 2.4. It's an uphill battle, but, as he puts it, he hasn't yet reached the "half lethal dose" of two tins of caffeinated Penguin Mints within 24 hours... Andre has set a big goal for himself, and it's not clear that a change of this magnitude to the fundamental disk subsystem can be shown to be sufficiently stable by the time 2.4 comes out.

Some also question whether bad block recovery is worth the effort. In these days of cheap drives, it may be better to just back up a drive with known problems and swap it out. Dealing with a serious disk failure is far more expensive, in terms of downtime and people time both, than a new drive. The best bad block recovery scheme may well be to use RAID and a small stash of spares.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Red Hat 6.2 users wanting to play with the ext3 filesystem may want to avail themselves of the ext3 kernel RPMs posted by the folks at Red Hat.

  • A small replacement for /proc which makes ps work in embedded systems was posted by Borislav Deianov.

  • SGI has released version 0.2 alpha of its Scheduled Transfer Protocol driver for Linux.

  • BadRAM was posted by Rick van Rein. This patch makes the kernel deal gracefully with defective memory modules by mapping out the parts that do not work.

  • Ksymoops 2.3.5 has been released by Keith Owens.

  • Ulrich Windl has released PPSkit 0.9.2.

  • A snapshot of Real-time Linux 3 has been made available.

  • Version 1.0.6 of the Linux USB Guide has been announced by Brad Hards.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet


April 13, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:

   

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

Distributions


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

Red Hat 6.2 vs. Caldera 2.4 eDesktop. Here is a detailed, combined review of Red Hat 6.2 and Caldera 2.4 eDesktop by Eric Lee Green. "It is rare that Linux distributions rev on almost the same day, but that's what happened with Red Hat 6.2 and Caldera 2.4. Both are tasty, but in different ways. Having tired of reading shallow distribution reviews by people who have no idea of the enterprise environment, I decided to remedy that situation. In this article I attempt to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of each one, and which one you might want to use in various situations."

Debian GNU/Linux

Wichert Akkerman released doc-central this week. doc-central is a new system for browsing Debian's documentation easily with a web browser; he wrote it out of frustration with the current documentation tools and as a project to learn Python. More information can be found in Wichert's announcement.

IBM and Alcve partner to support Debian GNU/Linux Alcve has announced (in French) that it is partnering with IBM to provide support for the Debian distribution in several parts of the world, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Middle East, and Africa. The service seems to consist primarily of phone support, and appears to be limited to IBM hardware. English text is also available. (Found in Portalux News).

Debian Weekly News. This week's Debian Weekly News by Joey Hess looks at the problem of insuring the integrity of Debian packages on mirror sites and a few other short subjects.

Hard Hat Linux

MontaVista Software ports to IBM PowerPC 405GP. MontaVista Software has announced a port of its Hard Hat Linux distribution to IBM's PowerPC 405GP processor.

Hard Hat Linux for ARM. Applied Data Systems (ADS) has launched a new commercially-available Linux, the Intel StrongARM SA-1110 platform. The ADS Virtual Linux Development Team is supplying the ARM port to Monta Vista, who will then deliver Hard Hat Linux for ARM.

Kha0s Linux

Kha0s Linux gets a new project leader. The Kha0s project ("better living through extreme paranoia") has set itself a goal of developing "an ultra-secure, Linux-based operating system that will appeal to security minded systems administrators." The project got off to a good start under leader Scott Fallin; their early releases were downloaded by people at NASA, the FBI, and the NSA, among others. In recent times development has slowed somewhat; Mr. Fallin has also taken on new "real job" responsibilities and has not been able to devote much time to the project.

Thus the announcement that Mr. Fallin is stepping down as the leader of Kha0s, to be replaced by Moshe Bar. Mr. Bar's name may be familiar to many who have seen his articles in places like the Linux Journal, Linux Magazine, and Byte, but writing is not his profession. Instead, he works as an OS researcher for clients worldwide - a job that has him dealing with security issues frequently.

Mr. Bar is also one of the initial developers that started work on Kha0s, and the author of its crypto layer. As one of the people who have shaped Kha0s thus far, he was an obvious choice to be the new project leader. In that role, he hopes to revitalize the project and, helped by a somewhat reduced set of objectives, to get a working alpha version out by September. He is, of course, looking for more developers to help move things along...

Linux-Mandrake

Perfect...except for the documentation... LinuxPlanet reviews Linux-Mandrake 7.0. "Linux-Mandrake comes this close to being the perfect Linux distribution.... So why aren't we jumping up and down, proclaiming that Linux-Mandrake 7.0 is the best Linux distribution ever? For one reason: the poor quality of the documentation in the shrink-wrap version. Much of what's great in Linux-Mandrake 7.0 is simply undocumented or misdocumented..."

IBM to support Linux-Mandrake in France. MandrakeSoft has announced (in French) that IBM's Global Services will be offering support for the Linux-Mandrake distribution in France. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in Da Linux French Page).

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Edition. Red Hat has announced its "Enterprise Edition," which prominently features the "ARCserveIT" storage management package from Computer Associates.

Large-scale Red Hat deployment. Red Hat has announced that epicRealm, an Internet service provider, will be deploying 1,000 servers running Red Hat Linux.

Slackware Linux

Installing Slackware manually is fun. For those of you who are not impressed with four-click installation procedures, here is a lengthy document describing how to install Slackware 7 manually. Expect it to take a while... As an added challenge for some of us, the document is in French; a partial translation is available via Babelfish. (Found in Da Linux French Page).

SuSE Linux

SuSE 6.4 reviewed. Pro-Linux.de has put up a review (in German) of the SuSE 6.4 distribution. A partial translation (the article is long) is available via Babelfish.

Trustix

The 1.0 version of Trustix Secure Linux has been released. Trustix is working at building a secure, server-oriented distribution. There is little information about what they are up to on their web site; a quick look at the download site shows the familiar signs of a Red Hat-derived product, however.

TurboLinux

A TurboLinux discussion forum has been established for those who would like to gather and talk about their experiences with the distribution.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


April 13, 2000

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


Leading
Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Linux-Mandrake
Red Hat
Slackware
SuSE
TurboLinux

Also well-known
ASPLinux
Best Linux
Conectiva Linux
e-smith

Progeny
Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
easyLinux
Icepack Linux
Independence
LibraNet
Redmond Linux
WinSlack

Education
Boston University
kmLinux
LinuxFromScratch
OpenClassroom
Red Escolar

General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
BearOps
Black Cat Linux
BluePoint Linux
BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
Cafe Linux
ChainSaw Linux
Circle MUDLinux
cLIeNUX
Complete Linux
Console Linux
Corel Linux
CRUX
Darkstar Linux
DLite
easyLinux
Elfstone Linux
ESware Linux
Eurielec Linux
eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
FTOSX
FullPliant
Gentoo
Go!Linux
HA Linux
Halloween Linux
HispaFuentes
IceLinux
Ivrix
ix86 Linux
J-LINUX
JBLinux
Jurix
KRUD
KSI-Linux
Lanthan Linux
Laonux
LASER5
Leetnux
Linpus Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux MLD
LinuxOne OS
LinuxPPP
Linux Pro Plus
Linux-SIS
LNX System
LoopLinux
LSD
Lute Linux
MageNet
Mastodon
MaxOS
minilinux
MSC.Linux

NoMad Linux
Omoikane GNU/Linux
PingOO Linux
Plamo Linux
PLD
Project Ballantain
PROSA
Rabid Squirrel
Repairlix
Root Linux
Scrudgeware
Serial Terminal
Sorcerer
spyLinux
Stampede
Stataboware
TechLinux
TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
Trinux
Turkuaz
Ute-Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
Virtual Linux
WholeLinux
WinLinux 2000
XTeamLinux
ZipSpeak

Country-specific
Argentina
GNU/Linux Ututo
Britain
Definite Linux
Eridani
China
COSIX
Red Flag
France
Linux/MNIS
Italy
LinuxEspresso
Madeinlinux
Vedova
Spain
Linux Esware
Thailand
Kaiwal Linux
Thai Linux Extension

Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

Historical (Non-active)
Dualix
Gentus
Giotto
MCC Interim Linux
OS2000
Storm Linux


   

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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects


Browsers

Mozilla on SourceForge. VA Linux Systems, Inc. announced that mozilla.org will be making its browser source code available on SourceForge.

A report from the Mozilla developers' meeting is available on Slashdot.

Documentation

The Linux Documentation Project has submitted the following report, hopefully the first of many, by Stein Gjoen:

The LDP has now started work on creating a higher profile, including this semi-regular section in LWN and posting to comp.os.linux.announce. The LDP web site has been reworked and welcomes all Linux users. The goal is to produce and provide all sorts of quality Linux documentation in a number of languages.

A large number of new and updated documents has been uploaded so if your collection is more than 6 months old you are recommended to look for updates. The LDP has over 250 worldwide mirrors. Selecting a site from the list of available mirrors will help to provide you with fast, efficient access to the available content - regardless of where you are located.

Feedback is welcome and there is information on how to contribute as well as mailing lists and archives. The LDP also accepts submissions to the links and resources area.

Regular postings of HOWTOs to comp.os.linux.answers will also commence shortly and a number of other projects are planned which together with your feedback will make sure the LDP will serve the Linux community as a one stop source of documentation.

Linux Knowledge Base. After a long break, the Linux Knowledge Base weekly status report has resumed. Much is happening in the LKB realm as they aim for a beta release in mid-May.

Education

The April 10 SEUL/edu Linux in education report is out. It includes a discussion of the collaboration between the OpenClassroom project and Maxspeed, and covers a number of other topics as well.

High Availability

A new mailing list for piranha has been announced. It thus appears that piranha discussion will be moving out of the high-availability list and into its own domain.

Office Applications

AbiWord Weekly News. This week's AbiWord Weekly News describes a relatively slow week in AbiWord development.

On the Desktop

Version 1.1 of the KDE tutorial is available. This tutorial is aimed at developers wanting to create KDE applications, rather than at users.

KDE2 alpha binaries are available for those who want to try life on the bleeding edge. Have a look at Christopher Molnar's posting for details on where to pick them up.

Gnucash will have a booth at Comdex/Chicago, thanks to the folks at LinuxMall.com. A number of the gnucash developers plan to be there.

The GNOME UI Summary has resumed. Things had been suspended for a while - the current issue covers the time period between January 5 and April 10.

Science

The third SEUL/sci Linux in science report is out, with a survey of useful tools for scientific users.

Website Development

Geoff Hutchison writes in again with a ht://Dig development update. Most importantly, version 3.2.0b2 was just released on Tuesday after clearing a few last-minute showstopper bugs. This version moves another large step towards a 3.2.0 release. Recent discussion on the developer list has been on cleanups in the search and configuration code and improving the performance of the new database format. Geoff also notes that he will be at COMDEX/Spring, and is organizing a last-minute BOF session during the show. Anyone interested should contact him at ghutchis@wso.williams.edu.

Zope Weekly News. This week's Zope Weekly News (by Mike Pelletier) covers a new low-cost Zope hosting service, some new Zope products, and more.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


April 13, 2000


Project Links
Gnome
High Availability
ht://Dig
KDE
MagicPoint
Midgard
Mozilla
YAMS
Wine
Worldforge
Zope

More Information
AppWatch
Freshmeat
LinuxDev

   

 

Development tools


Java

Blackdown Java 2 Compatibility Kit (JCK) MIPS status. The Blackdown Java 2 JCK Status page is now set up to start tracking the JCK status for Java 2 on the MIPS platform. No test reports have been published as of yet.

Tritonus 0.2.0 is out. Tritonus is an implementation of the Java Sound 1.0 API; it currently runs on Intel Linux systems. Licensing is GPL. More information can be found in the announcement.

Perl

Processing XML with Perl is an article on XML.com on how to use the Perl XML modules.

Python

Garbage collection for Python. Python has, since the beginning, used a reference counting mechanism for memory management. Every object in a Python program has a reference count with it. The object will continue to exist as long as that reference count is greater than zero; when the last reference goes away, the object is deleted. This technique has the advantage of being quick, and of (usually) realizing immediately when an object may be recovered.

The problem with reference counts is that they fail whenever circular references to objects are created. These references can be easy to create; once they exist, they can keep the reference count for the objects involved from ever going to zero. The result is lost memory which, in some situations, can be a serious problem.

Enter the garbage collection for Pythonpatch. Garbage collection replaces reference counting with an occasional scan which identifies all memory which is no longer reachable. Such memory is "garbage" and can be reused. The author, Neil Schemenauer, claims that the overhead of his patch is minimal, and that it solves most of the problems associated with reference counting.

Interestingly, this patch does not replace reference counting. Instead, it relies on the existing reference counts to free most objects, and concentrates only on finding circular references. In this way, the patch is much smaller, and the algorithm implemented much more specialized. It may well be worth a look for applications where circular references are a problem.

Python 1.6 alpha 2 is out. See the announcement for details. This is very much an alpha release, and not to be used for production work. Nonetheless, Guido is asking for as many people as possible to help test it out as he tries to put together a highly robust 1.6 release by the beginning of June.

Tcl/tk

Tcllib 0.3 has been released. Tcllib is a collection of useful utilities, put together by Eric Melski, "the other Tcl guy" at Scriptics. This version is considered a "pre-1.0 alpha release." More information in the announcement.

This week's Tcl-URL has been posted. It is a "time warp" issue, covering back into late March.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

 
Language Links
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Haskell
Blackdown.org
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
PHP
Daily Python-URL
Python.org
JPython
Smalltalk
   

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business


We got a copy of WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux from Corel, so your editor decided to give it a quick try. This product is, after all, a large part of Corel's plan to find success in the Linux world; one would hope that it came out well.

The sad truth appears to be otherwise. WPO2000 has much the same feel as one of last year's Mozilla milestone releases. It's a beta-quality product at best. Here's just a few examples:

  • The recommended installation takes 312 MB of disk space - before you even load up the second disk (which is full of clipart, pictures, and fonts). The install procedure insists on putting it in /usr/lib/corel, whether you want it there or not.

  • The manual tells how to install the software, but not how to run it. The installer doubtless creates a beautiful KDE menu (it instructs you to log out and back in to pick it up), but your editor is not a KDE user.

  • Fortunately, a quick look in /usr/bin clears things up. There, one will find links to programs like wordperfect (the word processor), quattropro (the spreadsheet), presentations (the drawing and presentation package), and paradox (the database package). Running them produces the expected result.

  • Running WordPerfect turns up a number of glitches in the windows API emulation provided by Wine. The editor window has a very obnoxious habit of both raising and lowering itself - something only the window manager should do. It can even raise itself above its own dialogs if you put the mouse in the wrong place. Pulldown menus sometimes highlight entries above the pointer. Exposures are not always handled well, leaving junk behind in parts of the window.

  • The system is also sluggish and slow to respond. The hardware being used was a dual-processor Pentium 450 with 128MB of memory - certainly not the state of the art, but it really should suffice for running a word processor.

  • Recent events have left us with a great many MS Word files sitting around. Feeding them to WordPerfect generally worked pretty well - its conversion is visibly better than StarOffice or Applix. WordPerfect refused, however, to read any file owned by others, even though the permissions allowed reading.

  • Reading in Word files also brought about the first of many crashes experienced in this test. Even in normal operation, WPO2000 issues a constant stream of debug and error messages - something you're presumably not supposed to see if you start it from a window manager menu. A WPO2000 crash produces a bunch of output that strongly resemble a kernel oops message - lots of nifty hex numbers and such. At least it doesn't leave core files lying around.

  • The Quattro spreadsheet looks very much like a spreadsheet. Every attempt to read an Excel file, however, led to another verbose crash.

  • The presentation package is standard stuff. When running slides, however, it is very slow in updating the screen. Even a beast like StarOffice outruns it.

  • A quick attempt with Paradox led to a blank, unresponsive, full-screen window.
The sad thing is that WPO2000 looks very much like a full-featured, capable productivity suite. Its handling of fonts in the word processor, for example, makes choosing typefaces a breeze. A lot of what is needed is there, it just needs to be more stable. Linux users expect software that actually works. If Corel wants to build a strong position in the Linux community, it is going to have to meet that expectation.

CorelDRAW for Linux ships early. Corel has sent out this press release stating that CorelDRAW for Linux will be shipping two months earlier than expected. Betas have evidently been delivered already; the full product will go out in July.

In the same announcement Corel also says that VENTURA Publisher will be made available for Linux by the end of the year.

The InterBase license. Version 1.0 of the InterBase Public License - the license that will be used for the InterBase source - has been released. At a first glance, it looks strongly derived from the Mozilla license. It allows distribution of binaries under any license, but requires that source be made available under the InterBase license. All changes to the source must be documented in a separate file - the form of the documentation is not specified, a simple CVS log would probably suffice. There is also the "patent poison pill," which terminates the license for anybody who brings a patent suit against a contributor to the source.

People with more experience will make the final judgement, but this does indeed look like an open source license. What it probably is not is compatible with either the GPL or BSD licenses. It will thus be hard for code from InterBase to migrate into other projects, unless those projects, too, use the InterBase license. As more code becomes free, this sort of licensing mismatch is going to increasingly frustrate attempts to combine and reuse existing code in new projects.

IDC declares Linux is red hot in the server market. Here's a press release from IDC on its latest report on the server market. Server shipments grew 166% between the fourth quarters of 1998 and 1999. "In a recent IDC survey of 200 Linux users ... the majority of participants estimated that their Linux servers offered at least 4 9s in availability, which translates to less than one hour of unexpected downtime per year."

Option source? Merlin Software Technologies has announced the creation of the "option source" program. Option source seeks to reward free software developers through payments in cash and/or Merlin stock. Although the resulting software is supposed to be open source, there is a line in the web site about how Merlin might be the "sole commercial product distributor" for some projects for some time.

Lynx Real-Time Systems gets investments from TurboLinux, Motorola. Lynx Real-Time systems has announced the receipt of investments from TurboLinux and Motorola. Amounts of the investments have not been revealed.

CSP Inc. introduces Linux cluster system. CSP Inc. has announced a new Linux cluster product. This one is based on PowerPC processors, and runs Terra Soft's Black Lab Linux.

BigStorage Inc. sponsors ReiserFS journaling filesystem. BigStorage Inc has announced that it is sponsoring the development of the ReiserFS filesystem.

Compaq is #1 Vendor in Linux Server Market. Compaq has issued a press release citing the IDC "server tracker," which places Compaq as the top supplier of Linux servers. The following places are taken by IBM, Dell, and HP; companies like VA Linux Systems are not even mentioned.

Computer Associates unveils Linux service offerings. Computer Associates has announced a line of Linux service offerings aimed at high-end enterprise clients: it includes 24x7 support and remote monitoring and administration services.

Caldera Systems announces new channel program. Caldera Systems has announced a number of changes to its channel program, including a name change (to "eCommerce Solutions Provider program") and the "alliance" partner level which offers a higher level of support.

Linux Powered Voting Booth. Dallas Semiconductor supplied the Internet components. iButtons, computer chips in stainless steel cans, provided registered, private ballots. The Tiny InterNet Interface (TINI) will relay real-time voting results over a live network. What's interesting about this press release is one line about half-way down. "Further demonstrating the flexibility of the iButton/TINI technology, the "central server" in this election is nothing more than a laptop running Linux."

Coollogic to begin shipping Coollinux. Coollogic has announced that it will begin shipping its "Coollinux" distribution this week. Coollinux is aimed at embedded tasks, and seems to be intended for set-top boxes and other "Internet access devices" in particular. They claim that their kernel can fit in less than 355 KB, then talk about their inclusion of things like Netscape 4.7, which would seem a little contradictory. More information can be found on Coollogic's web site (which is running IIS 4.0 on Windows...hmm...)

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products

  • Enhanced Software Technologies has released its CRU for Linux (Crash Recovery Utility) under the QPL open source license.

  • Protectix has announced a Linux-based firewalling product, which it claims is the first such system based entirely on open source code.

    Commercial Products for Linux

  • Aladdin Systems has announced that its "Expander" utility is now available for Linux in a test mode. Now Linux users too can work with "StuffIt" files...

  • CopperZ, Inc. (PASO ROBLES, Calif.) introduced a new line of Linux servers that feature dual Intel processors and an extensive preloaded library of Open Source software.

  • Easy Information Technology announced the release of easySamba version 1.0, a Samba configuration tool.

  • IBM has made a beta version of its TopPage HTML editor available for free download.

  • InfoValue Computing Inc. (LAS VEGAS) unveiled the QuickVideo Player for Linux, a complete, end-to-end video streaming solution for Linux workstations.

  • Optibase (HERZLIYA, Israel) announced Linux support to the VideoPlex XPress, its streaming media endpoint platform.

  • Prima Tech (NDIANAPOLIS) launched its Linux series. Books "designed to meet the specific requirements of all Linux users".

  • QueryObject Systems has announced the availability of its "QueryObject" data analysis software for Linux.

  • Rogue Wave Software (BOULDER, Colo.) announced the release of a collection of C++ components for Linux.

  • SilverStream Software, Inc. (WASHINGTON) introduced the beta version of the SilverStream Application Server for Linux. It is initially supported on RedHat Linux, version 6.1, running with the latest Java 2-ready Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

  • The Software Group Limited (BARRIE, Ontario) announced that it began shipping an update to Wanware Linux, the high-speed synchronous communications subsystem for Linux systems.

  • StarNet Communications Corp. (MONTREAL) announced its X-Win32 PC X server Version 5.0 will ship with the Storm Linux 2000 operating system.

  • Trend Micro Inc. (BOSTON) announced InterScan VirusWall for ISP, its Internet gateway virus scanning software solution designed for Internet Service Providers, Application Service Providers, and telco environments.

  • UniComp has announced the availability of UNIBOL400, which enables porting of IBM AS/400 applications, on Linux.

  • VirtualSellers.com Inc. (CHICAGO) announced that its TAME software has been included on the Red Hat Linux 6.2 Application Library CD.

  • Xi Graphics Inc. (DENVER) has released OpenGL 1.1.1 compliant 3D Linux graphics drivers supporting the Voodoo3 3D graphics cards from 3dfx.

    Products Using Linux

  • DISC, Inc. (MILPITAS, Calif.) announced the COMET nas server, a line of fully scaleable Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers.

  • Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES, Calif.) unveiled the Linux-based SLinux 1/4U High Density Cluster Server Array.

  • LAND-5 Corporation (SAN DIEGO) introduced the iCEbox InstaNAS, a 1U thin server and software. The OS is based on enhanced Linux software.

  • Merinta, Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) supplied iBrow, an embedded Linux solution used in Internet Appliance Network's WebPlayer.

  • VA Linux Systems has announced the availability of a new, low-end Linux system.

    Products with Linux Versions

  • arcadiaOne, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced arcadiaOne Online, an ASP-style online service.

  • The Bulldog Group Inc. (TORONTO) announced the next version of Bulldog Two.Six, their content management software.

  • Compaq Computer Corporation (HOUSTON) announced major enhancements to its high availability AlphaServer systems.

  • Corporate Software and Technologies (BOSTON) announced the release of CorporateTime Server 5.0 with support for Red Hat Linux.

  • Dell Computer Corporation (NEW YORK) announced the PowerApp appliance server, focusing on Web hosting and Internet caching. The PowerApp servers are available with Red Hat Linux.

  • Equator Technologies (CAMPBELL, Calif.) introduced the iMMediaC Software Toolkit, V5.0, an Interactive Multimedia C compiler for Equator's MAP1000 Media Accelerated Processor platform.

  • Hyperion (VIENNA) announced its Essbase OLAP Server technology will ship with every copy of IBM's DB2 Universal Database Version 7.

  • IBM (VIENNA, Austria) introduced DB2 Universal Database Version 7.

  • Integrix, Inc. (NEWBURY PARK, Calif.) announced the RS480 UltraSPARC rackmount server for the Ultra AXmp+ motherboard. Red Hat Linux 6.1 is available as an optional operating system.

  • Maxoptix Corp. (FREMONT, Calif.) announced the new MaxRAID series of 5.25-inch MO RAID products.

  • Metamail Inc. (BOSTON) announced its virtual e-mail system.

  • nStor Technologies, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced a new family of SAN storage solutions.

  • Performance Technologies, Inc. (ROCHESTER, N.Y) announced its adoption of the OpenTelecom.org H.110 Application Programming Interface (API) for its CPC380 Quad T1/E1 access interface product.

  • PowerQuest Corp. (OREM, Utah) announced Drive Image 3.0 with support for Linux Ext2 and Linux SWAP file systems.

  • Progressive Systems, Inc. (COLUMBUS, Ohio) announced it has implemented its Phoenix Adaptive Firewall onto Cobalt Network's RaQ3i platform.

  • Quantum3D (THE HAGUE, The Netherlands) announced support for large area terrain database paging in the newest version of its realtime 3D scene management software, OpenGVS.

  • Quest Software, Inc. (IRVINE, Calif.) announced the release of Foglight 2.7, its software solution for management of multi-tier e-business and enterprise computing applications and systems.

  • Rational Software (LEXINGTON, Mass) announced the availability of Rational ClearCase 4.0, a software configuration management solution, is now available for Red Hat Linux.

  • Sendmail, Inc. (EMERYVILLE, Calif.) and ActiveState will provide streamlined Mail Content Processing with Perl.

  • XOR Inc. (BOULDER, Colo.) chief technical officer Trent R. Hein has co-authored the 3rd edition of UNIX System Administration Handbook, due out in June, which will now include coverage of the Linux platform.

  • Young Minds, Inc. (Redlands, California) introduced its new DVD Studio DVD-Recording solution.

  • webMethods, Inc. (FAIRFAX, Va.) announced webMethods B2B for RosettaNet, an out-of-the-box solution that enables real-time B2B e-commerce.

    Partnerships

  • 2netFX (Fremont, Calif/Mountain View, Calif) announced an alliance with Zapex Technologies. The new systems from the two companies will include Zapex's new ZL-330 Linux-based encoder with Dolby audio and multi-channel video, which will be combined with 2netFX's Streamrider client and Thundercast server streaming software.

  • Adaptec and Network Engines (MILPITAS, Calif. and RANDOLPH, Mass.) announced Network Engines will incorporate Adaptec's Ultra160 SCSI into its WebEngine Viper appliances. The resulting product comes in a Linux version.

  • ALPNET, Inc. (SALT LAKE CITY) has been selected by Applix, Inc. to localize Applixware 5.0 Linux for the Chinese market.

  • Applied Microsystems Corp. (MONTREAL) and MontaVista Software Inc. are working together to better serve embedded systems developers.

  • EarthWeb (ATLANTA) announced that it has completed a license agreement with McGraw-Hill. New titles such as 'Red Hat Linux Reference' and 'Linux Certification' will be added to EarthWeb's Knowledge Products.

  • Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES) announced a technology agreement with Elitegroup Computer Systems Inc., in which Einux will supply technology to Elitegroup's motherboards and server products and Elitegroup will manufacture Einux's server line.

  • LinuxMall.com (DENVER) announced that orders from its web site are being filled through Frank Kasper & Associates' Minneapolis, Minn. warehouse. The fulfillment operation is a key component of the recently announced merger between LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates.

  • Merlin Software Technologies Inc. (ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FLORIDA) announced an agreement with Shrewsbury, NJ-based Programmer's Paradise, to sell Merlin's PerfectBACKUP+ Linux backup and crash recovery software to its retail channel.

  • MSC.Software Corporation (LOS ANGELES/COSTA MESA, Calif.) announced that NEC Corporation (Japan) will support MSC's manufacturing industry applications for Linux on NEC's IA-64 based server family.

  • NARUS, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced availability of wire speed NARUS Analyzer capability for Optical Networks at OC-12 (1.2 Gbps) data rates using the Intel's GigaBlade accelerator. The two companies have completed tests at each of their facilities, demonstrating NARUS Analyzers, using the Intel GigaBlade accelerators on Intel server architecture using the Linux operating system collecting usage data at speeds exceeding 1.2 Gbps with no packet loss.

  • NEC has announced that the Linux 2.3 kernel has been ported (with VioSoft's help) to NEC's 64-bit RISC chips.

  • Neoware Systems, Inc. (KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) announced that it has become a sustaining sponsor of LinuxDevices.com, a web portal targeted at the embedded Linux developer community.

  • Rebel.com Inc. (OTTAWA, ONTARIO) announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with EMJ Data Systems to distribute Rebel.com's NetWinder product line to resellers throughout Canada.

    Investments and Acquisitions

  • International Capri Resources Ltd. (VANCOUVER, British Columbia) announced that it has entered into agreements to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of CSV Technologies Inc. and all of the assets of Cyber Station Ltd.. This will give them all rights to Cyber Station's EZ Linux Products and Macropedia.

  • Internet Appliance Inc. (FREMONT, Calif.) has recently secured funding from three separate parties, for a $15 million total. Internet Appliance's INTERNETpro SES is a Linux-based VPN appliance.

  • SteelEye Technology Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced that it has received funding from the Intel 64 Fund to port LifeKeeper to Intel's IA64 product family.

  • Tucows.com has put out a press release on its acquisition of LWN.net.

  • TurboLinux, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO and HONG KONG) announced it has received an investment from Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited.

    Linux at Work

  • BakBone Software, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that NEC Soft, Ltd. has selected BakBone's NetVault for its Linux Enterprise Oracle Server Solution.

  • BigStorage, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that it has selected the LAND-5 iCEbox family of network attached storage (NAS) products for its enterprise-level solution.

  • ezlogin.com (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) announced that it has selected 2U and 7U servers from VA Linux Systems for hosting its suite of Internet infrastructure tools.

  • Unibol (MARIETTA, Ga.) announced a contract with RoTech Medical Corporation (Orlando, Florida) for custom software development and associated licenses that will enable RoTech to use Linux-based web servers to access corporate applications and data.

    Personnel

  • Linux NetworX (SANDY, UTAH) named Stephen Hill vice president of business development. Hill acted as one of the lead councils for Caldera Systems, Inc. in its antitrust lawsuit win over Microsoft Corp.

  • SCO (SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) announced that it has appointed Randall I. (Randy) Bresee as its Chief Financial Officer.

    Other

  • SuSE Linux AG (Oakland and Westlake Village, California) announced that a free distribution CD of the soon to be released SuSE Linux for the Apple PowerPC will be included in the June 2000 issue of MacTech Magazine.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.


April 13, 2000

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Back page

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

Linux in the news


Recommended Reading

The Economist has run a lengthy article on patents and how they fit poorly into the current economy. "The Internet's early communalist enthusiasm for open-source software-which is free, unpatented and uncopyrighted-has now given way to a land-grab. Internet companies are rushing to patent their ideas. Ownership of a patent (or, since getting a patent takes a couple of years, a provisional patent application, which gives some rights) is a big help in raising finance."

Salon has put up a high-quality story about the troubles at Linuxcare. "...it is, instead, a warning signal of the weaknesses inherent in applying venture capital insta-company strategy to the world of free software. Just because you have the billions necessary to hire name-brand executives and PR firms and throw huge parties doesn't necessarily mean you know what Linux is all about. And from that perspective, the news that [founder Art] Tyde has been named a member of Linuxcare's new four-headed 'office of the CEO' monster is encouraging, because Tyde does understand Linux and the value of the open-source approach to software."

Tucows Acquires LWN

The Rocky Mountain News covers the acquisition of LWN by Tucows.com. "If consolidation signals an industry's arrival, an example of Linux's mainstream coming-of-age can be found in Boulder County."

Internet.com ran a brief article about the acquisition of LWN. "The acquisition firmly positions TUCOWS.com as a major industry resource and authority for Linux content to the open-source marketplace."

The Register ran this article about Tucows' acquisition of LWN. "Tucows has been knocking around for years as a destination site for free and paid-for downloads. The advent of Linux, and all the various distros, suits its business down to the ground - right now, Tucows it is probably the closest competitor to Freshmeat, the soon-to-be VA Linux-owned download site."

Events

LinuxMall.com reports from the Colorado Linux Info Quest, held in Denver on April 1. "[Jon 'Maddog'] Hall highlighted Linux applications in such areas as medicine, business, education, and supercomputing, giving a detailed history his own experienced and humorous perspective. His recurring theme? Whenever entering a new environment in an effort to support Linux, he was repeatedly told, 'there's no Linux here'--only to find that an almost underground group of users did, in fact, always exist."

Here's a Linux Advocate column by Scott Dowdle about his visit to the Colorado Linux Info Quest on April 1. "First off, I love Larry [McVoy]. He is cool. He is funny. He is blunt. He is honest. Did I mention he is funny? Ok, anyway... Mr. McVoy gave a speech (like the PHP guy) on what you would think would be a very dry topic... how to scale Linux to the Enterprise. Larry reminds me of Norm McDonald. Do you know who Norm McDonald is? If not, he was the 'Fake News Guy' on Saturday Night Live for a couple of years before he got fired and got his own sitcom."

This Reuters article looks at some of the announcements made at the Linux Expo in Montreal. "Canada's first Linux exhibit, follows on similar shows in New York and Paris, and has attracted a modest crowd of about 100 companies."

Here's another Reuters article about the Linux Expo event in Montreal. "A string of Linux heavyweights -- including Corel Corp., Red Hat Inc. and VA Linux Systems Inc. -- will highlight their achievements at Linux Expo 2000, which opens on Monday, wishing, no doubt, that Microsoft's pain will mean a gain for companies that sell Linux open-source software or services."

Legal/Political

This Linuxcare column makes the point that the free software community has to start taking more responsibility for preventing the creation of bad technology law. "It's time to stop reacting and become proactive. Our community is strong and united when things go astray, but we seemingly don't have the wherewithal to anticipate social and political entanglements until it's too late. We can design the best technological solutions on the planet, but we don't seem to be able to unite in the political sphere."

Here's a column in Scientific American about the DVD case. "Although it makes sense to prosecute wholesale piracy, it makes no sense whatsoever to refuse to produce software to allow people to play legally acquired discs on devices they own and then prosecute them if they write their own software. It makes even less sense to prosecute people for doing what the Web was built for: posting and linking to useful information."

UCITA has gotten past another state legislature: this time it's Maryland. In case anybody wonders whether further education on this bill is necessary, consider this coverage in the Baltimore Sun: "Maryland lawmakers stepped bravely into the digital age yesterday, adopting pioneering legislation that will govern the sales and licensing of computer software in stores and over the Internet." (Thanks to Bob Kopp).

Gnutella

Multimedium reports (in French) on the resurrection of Gnutella. It's a concise and informative article, touching on the importance of the "unstoppable" nature of the Gnutella design and its open source nature. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in Da Linux French Page).

News.com looks at the life-after-death of gnutella and other open source Napster clones. "Whatever the outcome of the Napster lawsuit, the open-source Gnutella movement may well prove to be the more dangerous branch of the file-swapping technology trend. Because Napster runs through only a few central servers, it is an easy target for lawyers seeking to shut down the service or for those looking for individuals swapping files through the Napster software. Gnutella has no central location. It's modeled after the way the Internet itself is connected:"

Netpliance

News.com has posted an article about Netpliance's change in terms for its "iOpener" appliance. "The Austin, Texas-based Internet appliance company.... said it now requires customers to sign up for at least 90 days of Internet service at $21.95 a month. Customers can return the unit within 30 days if dissatisfied but otherwise face a $499 cancellation fee if they drop service within the 90-day period."

Wired News also has an article about this change, which is aimed at preventing people from buying the system and converting it over to Linux. (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).

Freshmeat.net took a long look at the Netpliance i-opener. "It's not so simple. Netpliance received enormous amounts of free publicity from the whole affair, and many of the people who bought the i-opener with the intention of modifying it were so impressed with the device that they also bought second boxes as gifts for their friends and relatives to use as originally intended. That's saying nothing of the potential benefits of Open Source development. "

Resources

Here's a 'Duke of URL' review of the AOpen AX64 Pro motherboard. This review includes Linux benchmarks, happily.

LinuxMall.com has posted this look at XFree86 4.0. "The default window manager for XFree86 is twm. Unless you're pushing 20 years of UNIX usage with a penchant for the genuinely arcane, nobody likes this window manager. I actually found it disappointing that they are still shipping twm with Xfree86 at all."

The April issue of Troubleshooting Professional contains a report from ApacheCon and a lengthy tutorial on PHP and PostgreSQL.

LinuxPapers has put up a basic tutorial on the use of users and groups in Linux. "Managing users with different permissions that are able to access the system at the same time, is one of biggest advantages of Unix systems. The flexibility of the management system is made even better by the ability to have user groups."

The O'Reilly Network ran this How-To article on the new Netscape 6. It includes some install tips, like how to keep your old bookmarks. "The Mozilla project, on which Netscape 6 is based, has been an important test case for the Open Source methodology. While taking longer than some expected to produce a browser for the average desktop user, the Mozilla team should be proud of their accomplishment."

Linuxcare's latest 'Dear Lina' column looks at IPv6. "IPv6 is a next generation Internet Protocol that aims to correct the 'oops' of the Internet's popularity. IPv6 will give us loads and loads more IP addresses--you know, those things that look like 192.168.1.1 today but will look like 1080::8:800:200C:417A in the future."

C't ran this article comparing web server downtimes. "The most interesting test results were achieved when evaluating the downtime per operating system. Here, NT servers were clearly second to their Unix competitors. During our 32 days, servers running Microsoft's operating system were down for an average of nearly 15 hours, which is equivalent to about 1.9 percent of the overall time. For Linux, the average downtime per server was 4 hours, which is 0.5 percent. Solaris servers did even better and displayed an average of 2.5 hours, which equals a downtime of 0.3 percent." (Thanks to "Danny").

Linuxcare

CBS Marketwatch reports on events at Linuxcare. "Linuxcare said it will work with its IPO underwriters CS First Boston, Chase H&Q and Fleet Boston Robertson Stephens to weigh market conditions and decide when to move ahead with its stock offering."

Here's News.com's take on the events at Linuxcare. "'We are confident that Linuxcare's business plan, management strength, technology infrastructure, employee base and technical expertise will enable us to work through this event and pursue our path toward an initial public offering and a long-term leading position in the Linux industry,' [new CEO Pat] Lambs said in a statement."

Corel

Here's a News.com article about Corel's push to bring more applications to Linux. "Corel believes its effort to bring mature software to Linux will help quickly boost the operating system to become a viable competitor to Windows, a situation that would let Corel compete more effectively against Microsoft. Despite the efforts by Corel and others, though, that vision is still a ways off."

Here's an Ottawa Citizen article looking at how Corel might benefit from Microsoft's problems. "[Microsoft] cannot, for example, refuse to deal with Corel because Corel is putting out Linux products. There's a honeymoon period for competitors where they'll be able to feel free of Microsoft retaliation, and that's beneficial to Canadian firms."

Business

Here's an Upside article about the sad state of Linux stocks. "Now, a couple of bad months erases neither the huge returns Linux stocks have run up since their IPOs in 1999, nor the operating system's genuine technological merit. But Linux's winter of discontent may serve as a reminder that its market power is finite."

News.com reports on Atipa's acquisition of DCG Computer Group. "The Alpha connection distinguishes Atipa from VA, which doesn't currently offer Alpha chip support."

Newsweek looks at the use of Linux in Europe. "Sometimes it pays to be late. Corporate Europe switched from mainframes to PC-based networks only in the mid-1990s. When Americans made that leap half a decade earlier, there weren't any alternatives to Microsoft. But by 1995, Linux was ready to compete with Windows. As a result, companies like Siemens, Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank have been using Linux for years."

This ZDNet article looks at the new Amiga. "Amiga claims it has more than 117 applications -- many of them games -- from a variety of partners that are ready to roll out in conjunction with new Amiga systems. [Amiga CEO]McEwen said the first Amiga-on-Linux developer platforms will be available soon, but declined to say when commercial systems might become available from OEMs. Sources said the new Amiga systems could hit the streets as early as this summer." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

TechRepublic has put up an article on the latest move from AOL and Gateway. "In what could be the biggest challenge yet to Microsoft's domination of the home computing market, America Online and PC maker Gateway unveiled a trio of sub-$500 Internet-access devices Wednesday based on the Linux operating system instead of Windows." Note that TechRepublic requires registration. (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Here's a News.com article about the equity investments taken in Lynx Realtime Systems by Motorola and TurboLinux. "The TurboLinux investment is curious in light of TurboLinux's own embedded Linux research, a small programming team in China. TurboLinux vice president Lonn Johnston declined to offer specifics beyond saying Lynx's work won't overlap with TurboLinux's efforts."

Interviews

The E-Commerce Times interviews TurboLinux president Cliff Miller. "We put something on there that people will pay for, not necessarily because they have to, but because they want these things and they're willing to pay for them. And it's anything from bundling and integrating third-party software, to developing our own software that goes beyond the infrastructure and it really gives certain features that users are looking for and willing to pay for. But they may not necessarily need them to be open-source software."

Olinux.com.br interviews Miguel de Icaza. "Evolution is a pretty ambitious project for providing a uniform, and powerful interface to the information a user has to handle. The idea is to provide ways for users to find, and keep track of all their information sources: mail, contacts, chats, instant messaging, paging services and more. With a pluggable architecture based on Bonobo, the system can be extended to handle all sorts of information that needs to be managed."

Finally

ZDNet posts an interesting observation about Apple supporters. "A thought though, have you ever seen a Linux fan in the same room at the same time as a Macintosh fan? No you haven't have you, that's cos they are the same people."

TechMailings reviews the linux-msdos mailing list. "Honestly, who would create a list like this and expect anything less than full-time fire? With the adamant militancy of most Linux enthusiasts, a peaceful co-existence between the open source upstart and the monopolistic giant is about as likely as snowfall at the equator." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol


April 13, 2000

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.

Announcements


Resources

New LinuxUser magazine. LinuxUser is a new magazine for IT professionals in the UK who use Linux, or are thinking about using Linux. Register before April 21st and get the first copy free.

The Alinka Linux Clustering Letter. Alinka has announced the creation of the "Alinka Linux Clustering Letter." It's a weekly newsletter on clustering topics; the first edition is included with the announcement.

Events

Get LPI certified at LBE The Linux Professional Institute has announced that a certification center will be set up at the Linux Business Expo in Chicago on April 18-20. The first 200 people to register will be able to take the exams for free, thanks to sponsorship from Linux International.

Netproject presents Linux/Open-Source workshops The Netproject folks have announced a series of workshops in the U.K. on Linux and open source. These workshops are being presented in cooperation with a long list of organizations with an interest in this area; they are scheduled from mid-May to mid-June.

IDG LinuxWorld Conference IDG World Expo has announced that the fourth LinuxWorld conference will be held August 14-17 in San Jose. Keynote speakers include Michael Dell, Ransom Love, and HP Chief Scientist Joel Birnbaum.

Web sites

Acrylis launched WhatifLinux.com Acrylis Inc. announced WhatifLinux.com, a Web-based service that helps Linux Administrators monitor and manage open-source software assets.

April 13, 2000

   

 

Software Announcements


Package Version Description
abook 0.4.4 An addressbook program.
AccuRev 1.4.1 Cross Platform Configuration Management for Distributed Development
AfSoek 0.2.1 Afrikaans computer term search tool
Aglaophone 040800 System for real-time audio processing and analysis
AirTraffic 0.1b An air traffic controller game.
ALSA driver 0.5.7 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AlteredSaver 1.96 3D screensaver
Angband 2.9.0 A rogue-like roleplaying game.
AOLserver 3.0rc2 A multithreaded, Tcl-enabled, dynamic Web server.
APSEND 1.57 TCP/IP packet sender
apsfilter 5.3.3 Intelligent line printer input filter
Arabeske 1.0 An arabesque-like pattern design tool, suitable for creating tileable images.
arianne rpg 0.3.5 A Role Playing Game project.
ArsDigita MTA Monitor 1.0 A Web-based, database-backed SMTP mail transport agent monitor.
asmutils 0.09 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
Audiogalaxy Satellite 0.512 real-time auto resume linux file transfer agent
aumix 2.6 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
avlmap 0.9.10 An AVL tree-based key:data mapping (associative array) library for C.
bbdir 0.1 Converts a directory tree into blackbox menu format.
bbkeys 0.3.2 A key-grabbing tool for Blackbox 0.6x.0.
bibtool 1.7 Simple tool to help BibTeX users maintain bibliography files
Biglook 0.4 A graphical Toolkit for Bigloo
Binary Grabber 1.3.5 Automated tool for downloading binaries from UseNet newsgroups.
BlackBook 2 GTK+ Address Book Applet
Blur Scope MAX 1.3 A visualization plug-in for XMMS.
bmap 1.0.16 Use block-list knowledge to perform special operations on files.
Bug Squish 0.0.1 Squish bugs before they suck all the blood out of your arm.
BW whois 2.5 A whois in perl that works with the newly mangled whois system as of 1 Dec 1999.
Cannon Smash 0.3.4 3D tabletennis game
Castor 0.8.1 Java to XML binding, Java Data Objects (O/R) and DSML.
CGIProxy 1.3 Anonymizing, filter-bypassing HTTP proxy in a CGI script (in Perl)
Circus Linux! 0.0.3 A clone of the Atari 2600 game.
CMatrix 1.1b Ncurses eye-candy demo like
CodeCommander 0.4.0 Multi language programming IDE.
cog 0.07 A themeable and modularized homepage for an intranet.
ColdSync 1.1.5 PalmPilot synchronization tool
Comanche 2.0b5 Multiplatform configuration manager for the Apache web server
Corewars 0.9.11 A simulation game.
Courier-IMAP 0.31 IMAP server for maildirs
Coyote Linux 1.20pre1 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
crossword 0.1.0 Try to solve crossword puzzles
CrossWords For Linux 0.0.11 Games in Javascript for learning concepts and definitions.
crUD 04.11.2000 A MUD built from the ground up, with emphasis on stability.
cursel 0.0.6 An interpreter for a character GUI.
Darkbot 5f19 An IRC help robot.
DB2 6.1 Universal Database for Linux
DCDB 1.0 A single-user database engine.
Deadman's Redirect 2.0pre2 A feature-added PHP redirect script.
deborphan 0.1.0 A Debian orphaned library finder.
DemoLinux 1.9 A Linux OS demonstration CD.
Device3Dfx 2.3-5 3dfx device driver
Digicam 1.20 A command-line utility to control Kodak DC21x cameras.
djpim 1.02 Web-based to-do list manager in PHP3/MySQL.
Dnsmasq 0.4 A DNS forwarder for small networks using IP masquerading.
doxygen 1.1.2 A documentation system for C and C++
Drall 1.0.0.2 Allows users to access their directories and files remotely via a web browser
dsniff 1.8 Sniffing utilities for network security testing.
dvgrab 0.6 A utility to save video data from a Mini-DV Video Camcorder.
dwun 0.8-pre1 Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
Easy Socket Library 0.1 Functions to simplify socket usage.
ECD 0.1 Encrypt/decrypt CD-ROMS.
ECLiPt Mirroring Tool 2.1-pre15 Full-featured mirroring script
eForum 1.01b A Java-based discussion forum component.
Emenu 1.0b Menu Configuration Editor for Enlightenment WM
Enlightenment 0.16.4 Fast, flexible and very extensible Window Manager
Ensemble 0.70 A toolkit for constructing reliable distributed applications.
epsmerge 2.0.0 A Perl program for handling encapsulated postscript images
eSearch 1.01b Java-based search engine
etherape 0.4.5 etherman cloneto graph net activity in real time.
Etherboot 4.5.7 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.8.6 GUI network protocol analyzer
eXtace 1.2.21 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
EyePee .007.1 A Perl-based client for eyep.net.
EZ Phone Directory 0.1 A PHP3/PostgreSQL phonebook.
Fax2Send 1.1-9 Fax Client Server for Linux.
FCheck 2.07.51 Baseline filesystem and administration policy monitor.
file 3.30 File type identification utility
FilterProxy 0.16 A filtering proxy server.
Finance::Quote 0.17 Perl module to fetch stock quotes from American, European and Australian markets
Fluid Streaming Server RC1 An mp3 streaming audio server for Internet written in Java
freemed 0.1.2 Free medical management software in a web browser
Freemed-YiRC Beta0.05 A PHP-based Youth in Residential Care package.
Freenet 0.1beta A distributed decentralised information storage and retrieval system.
ftpd-BSD 0.3.1 Linux port of OpenBSD's ftp server
Fusion GS V1.34 Telnet BBS-like system.
FVWM Themes 0.2.6 The official FVWM Themes framework.
fvwm-themer 0.3.1 fvwm 2.x theme engine
gAcc 0.7.0 A personal accounts manager.
Geheimnis 1.01 A KDE shell for GPG/PGP2/PGP5
Genpak 0.15 Utilities for manipulating DNA/RNA/protein sequences.
GetHTTP 1.11 A small script for debugging Web applications.
GEXml 0.05 A graphical XML editor.
Ghemical 0.0.99 A molecular modelling package with GUI and 3D-visualization tools.
Ghetto Edit 0.3 A ghetto map editor for use with the TileLib game library.
GLAME 0.2.0-pre2 A generic and easily extensible audio processing tool and sound editor.
glbiff 0.3.3 An OpenGL/Mesa mailbox monitor.
gLife 0.2.0 An artificial life simulator that tries to emulate an artificial society.
GLOBAL 3.55 A common source code tag system for C and Yacc.
gnome seti_applet 0.2.1 Gnome applet which displays the state of a seti@home process.
gnomerar 0.2.1 A GUI frontend to rar.
GnomeTV 0.2 TV & Teletext viewer for GNOME.
Gnotella 0.1 Gnutella client for Unix.
GNU parted 1.0.13 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
gnut 0.3.14 Console-based Gnutella clone.
Gox 0.9 A learning Naughts-and-Crosses game.
GQview 0.8.0 X11 image viewer for the Linux operating system
GRadio 1.0.1 GTK-based interface to RadioTrack/RadioReveal cards
Grecord 0.3.1 Simple sound player and recorder
grepmail 4.23 Searches a normal or gzipped mailbox for a given regularexpression
Grip 2.93 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
Groundwork 0.4 C++ class library for writing web-based applications.
gRustibus 0.40 A GNOME M.A.M.E frontend.
gSwissKnife 0.0.5 floppy disks management tool
GtkExtra 0.99.4 A widget set for GTK+.
GTKtalog 0.0.17 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface.
GTKWave 1.2.82 Wave viewer for Verilog simulation
gtlevel PVM 3.4.3 A level generator for the game Rush Hour.
gvplay 0.0.2 Video player.
Hawkeye 1.3.5-4 A complete Internet/Intranet server suite on top of a MySQL database server.
Hearts 0.0.7 A hearts cardgame for KDE.
Hoard 2.0.2 A fast, scalable, and memory-efficient SMP memory allocator
ht://Dig 3.2.0b2 Complete world wide web indexing and searching system
HtmlHeadLine.sh 1.2 Script that automatically fetches news headlines.
httptype 1.3.3 Identifies which HTTP server is running on a given host.
HylaFax 4.1 beta 2 A telecommunication system for UNIX systems
ICRADIUS 0.14 Powerful cross platform radius server
ident2 1.01_FINAL Multi-faceted identity/authentication server w/ ip masquerade support
Install Disks for Compaq Proliant Install disks for Compaq Proliant 0.50 Disks to help with a Redhat install on a Compaq Proliant.
irclog2html.pl 1.0 IRC log file colouriser.
ircu 2.10.10 Undernet's IRC daemon
IRTK 0.1 MP3 live encoding and streaming with playlist support.
IT-MAME 0.1.5 Tcl/tk Front End for xMAME
JacORB 1.1 Object request broker written in Java
jake 0.5.1 Facilitates management of and linking between eresources for librarians.
JAZZ++ 4 An audio-capable MIDI sequencer.
JBinHex 0.5 A Java library and command-line tool to decode BinHex 4.0.
JFS for Linux 0.0.5 The IBM JFS source code.
journal-mode 1.0 An Emacs mode to easily maintain a journal.
joyd 0.0.6 Execute programs via joystick.
Jungle Monkey 0.1.4 A distributed file-sharing program.
K&R EZ Web Tracker 0.4 PHP3/PostgreSQL Web Tracking System
KDE Simple Programming Tutorial 1.1 A tutorial for developing a KDE application.
Kdict 0.3 KDE dictionary program (client for the DICT server).
Kernelconfig 2.0 program to configure and compile the Linux kernel
kftp 0.5.1 A KDE FTP client.
killns 1.1 A utility to kill Netscape processes.
KInsectizid 0.1 A KDE 2D shooter game.
KisoCD 0.5.7 KDE frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
knapster 0.9 KDE napster client.
KreateCD 0.3.8b Frontend for CD writers using KDE
Kwirk 0.0.14 A Clanlib-based roleplaying game.
Lago 0.5.1 A portable, multi-threaded database.
LAME 3.70 open source MP3 encoder and graphical frame analyzer
Larbin 1.0.0 A fast Web-crawler.
libcda 0.4 A simple, cross-platform CD audio playing library
libical 0.16 Library for iCal protocols: iCAL core, iTIP, iMIP, iRIP, CAP
libmcal 0.6 Modular Calendar Library
libmcrypt 2.4.2 A library to access various encryption algorithms
libmdate 0.0.3 Mayan date library
libslaktool 0.0.2 A Slackware package library.
LibStroke 0.4 Stroke and gesture recognition library
LinkChecker 1.2.1 LinkChecker is a URL link checker
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.9pre3 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux Logical Volume Management HOWTO 0.0.2 A HOWTO describing Linux Logical Volume Management.
Linux MP3-HOWTO 1.4 How to to encode, play, and stream MP3 under Linux.
Linux trustees 1.6 for linux 2.2.14 An advanced file permission system for Linux
Linux Vacation 1.2.2 An automatic mail-answering program for Linux.
Linuxconf 1.17r10 Sophisticated administrative tool
LoserJabber 0.2 livejournal.com online journal client.
Lout 3.20 Document formatting system
lpe 1.2.4 Small, fast console mode programming editor
LsdlDoom 1.4.4.2 A portable SDL-based version of Doom with network support.
lvm-viewer 0.1 Graphical viewer for Linux Logical Volume Management
MAL 0.7 Mobile Application Link
MAM/VRS 2.2 Alpha MAM/VRS is an extensible graphics and visualization library
MAPis 0.4 A script that will install MySQL, Apache, and PHP.
Mathfun.py 1.0 A Python math library.
mcal-drivers 0.8 Calendar drivers for libmcal
mdate 1.2.0 A freely-available mayan date program
MemoPanel 3.9 A tiny memo applet on the GNOME panel.
Merchant Empires .02 A Web-based game of combat, strategy, and role-playing.
Merlin 0.9 alpha Merlin is a Linux-based librarian for the Rocket eBook.
METAGRAF 1.1.2 A graphical editor for MetaPost.
Metronome 0.1.1 A midi-based metronome in GTK+.
Mike's Classifieds 0.3b A simple Perl CGI implementation of online classifieds.
Mike's Survey CGI .3b A simple Perl script for taking surveys on Web pages.
MindsEye 0.5.36 3D modelling program for Linux
MindTerm 1.2 SSH-client in pure Java, includes stand-alone ssh- and terminal(vt100)-packages
MisterHouse 2.13 Home Automation with Perl
MMC 0.32 A GNOME email client.
modplug-xmms 1.1.1 A ModPlug player plugin for XMMS.
mod_relocate 0.5 An Apache module for logging click-through trails.
mondo rescue 0.916 Generates bootable rescue CD ISOs.
moodss 8.15 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Moreton Bay DHCP Server 0.8.29 A lightweight DHCP server.
MP3 Report Generator 1.0.2 Generates a templated HTML page with MP3s, playing times, and statistics.
mp3maintenance 0.01 Rename and set ID tags for MP3 albums.
mp3pvm 0.5 Convert CD-ROMS to MP3 format in < real-time using clusters
mp3stat 0.9 informational program for all Mp3s
MP3VoiceControl 0.3.0-BETA Speech recognition-enabled mp3 player and jukebox.
mpatrol 1.1.4 A library for controlling and tracing dynamic memory allocations.
MRAT 0.63 Multi Router Automated Telnet.
mtv 1.1.1.0 A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MySQL 3.23.14 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
MySQLMailer 1.0b5 A local delivery agent with MySQL lookup.
mysqlphpbak 0.1.1 A MySQL database backup utility written in PHP.
nail 9.03 A MIME-capable version of the Berkeley Mail user agent.
nano 0.9.0 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
NanoXML 1.1 A very small XML parser for Java.
Nautix 0.2.0 A 3D realtime strategy game.
Nessus 1.0.0pre1 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NetPBM 8.4 The classic image manipulation/conversion utils
NetSaint 0.0.5b6 A relatively simple active network monitor
Network Utilities Module for Webmin 0.79.1 Common Network tools with Webmin look and feel.
nget 0.8 auto-resuming command line nntp file grabber
NickBot 1.0.12 An IRC bot framework in Perl.
NJAMD 0.6.0 Not Just Another Malloc Debugger.
nmap 2.30BETA20 Full featured, robust port scanner
NotLame MP3 encoder 3.70 A high quality MP3 encoder based on the LAME patch.
NSBD 1.3 patchlevel 2000/04/03 Not-So-Bad Distribution (automated free software distribution)
Oberon V4 for Linux 1.5 An enhanced implementation of 'The Oberon System' by N. Wirth and J. Gutknecht.
OggSquish 0.0.1 An enhanced encoder for the Vorbis music compression format
opennap 0.24 An open source Napster server.
OpenVerse Visual Chat 0.8-2 Free Multiplatform Visual Chat software written in Tcl/TK
otarie 2.2.1 An IRC bot with C plugin capabilities.
Overflow - The Game 1.0.1 A board game about chain reactions.
Pan 0.8.0 beta 4 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
pasdoc 0.6.17 Pascal documentation generator
pcl-cvs 2.9.8 emacs frontend to CVS
Peacock 0.1 An HTML Editor for GTK+/GNOME.
peep 0.5.2 A network-file-stdio connectivity utility.
Perlfect Search 3.08 Web site indexer and search engine.
PFE 0.28.15 PoPortable implementation of ANS Forth
Phonebook.php3 1.0 A sleek company phonebook written in PHP3.
PHP4+Japanese GD support patch PHP4RC1+Japanese GD support patch 0.3 A Japanese patch for PHP4+libgd to enable use of Japanese characters in images.
PIC 16C84 Disassembler 0.3 A multi-pass disassembler for PIC 16C84 binaries.
PicMonger 0.9.4 Scans Usenet newsgroups for UU- or MIME-encoded binaries and decodes them.
Pike 7.0.36 Interpreted, object-oriented programming language with a syntax similar to C
playlist 2.2 Generates lists in plaintext and HTML for a directory tree of music files
Plex86 20000213 Provides virtual computing for Linux.
Pliant 36 Efficient and extendable programming language
pmc 0.7 A Perl/GTK mail client.
pngcrush 1.4.1 An optimizer for PNG files that can also insert or delete specified chunks.
PngEncoder 1.3.1 A Java class to convert Java images to a byte-array in PNG format
Pong 3D 0.8.5 An OpenGL Pong clone.
PostgreSQL 7.0beta5 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
Powertweak-Linux 0.1.12 System performance enhancer.
pport1 0.9 Intelogis PassPort drivers for Linux kernel 2.0.x.
PPP/NT HOWTO 2.1 HOWTO make a PPP link between a Linux client and a Windows NT server.
PPPOEd 0.47 PPP over Ethernet
PRepS 1.3.2 The Problem Reporting and Tracking System.
proconfig 0.8.3 A Linux kernel patch to produce compile info in /proc/config.
Project5::Account 0.3 Automated useraccount creation.
PTL++ 0.0.1 STL::Iterator and STL::Container wrappers for common C libraries.
PTlink ircd 3.8.0 New featured ircd with a great services integration
PTlink Services 2.5.0 IRC Registration Services
PVM 3.4.3 A portable message-passingprogramming system
Pybliographer 0.9.9 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
PySDL 0.0.3 A Python SDL module.
QHacc 0.5 A personal finance application.
Qpopper 3.0fc2 POP3 server
Quanta+ 1.0beta8 HTML editor for KDE
Quotable Homer quotes .9 Homer Simpson quotes for `fortune`
qwen 3.03b Energy levels and wave functions of semiconductor quantum wells.
RACE Remote Administration Framework
Rahga's MagicBG 1.0 X11 Screen Hack
Reptor 0.97 An analysis and reporting tool for Axent/Raptor firewall logfiles.
Resin 1.1.0 JSP (Javaserver Pages) engine
Restaurant Guide 1.4 A PHP/MySQL eatery ranking system.
Rhyming Dictionary 0.1 A rhyming dictionary.
Roadrunner 0.8.7 A single-user, POSIX threads, protected-memory operating system.
rsync 2.4.3 File transfer program to keep remote files into sync
RunQ 1.2 A performance management utility.
sawmill 0.26 Extensible window manager
ScanDoc 0.12 Themable documentation generator similar to Javadoc or KDoc
ScrudgeWare 0.1 A GNOME-centric GNU/Linux distribution built from scratch.
Sdx11 0.4 chosse your windowmanager form the console
Seahorse 0.4.0 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
Sendmail 8.10.1 Powerful and flexible Mail Transport Agent
sentinel- 0.09beta A libnet-based remote promiscuous detection.
SF16-FMR driver for Linux 2.2.14 A Video4Linux driver for the Typhoon/MediaForte SF16-FMR radio card.
sgalaSMS 0.3fix1 Send messages to GSM via SMS.
Shepherd 1.0 A graphical network traffic measurement system.
Siag Office 3.3.3 Free office package for Unix
silly Poker 0.25 A simple yet comprehensive console poker game.
Simple Simon 0.02.1 An inventory/Point-of-Sale system.
Sing Along Disc Player 3.1.0a CD player with spectrum analyser, oscillator, mixer and remote DB support
sips 0.2.0 A PHP-based Weblog system with no need for a database server.
SiteMgrYAP 0.2.0 HTML-application for managing web sites.
SkinLF 0.2.1 A skin "Look And Feel" for Java Swing
slap 2.3.2 SmartLabel printing for UNIX
SldapA 0.036 Simple LDAP Administration
slen 2.02a Kronig-Penney calculation for semiconductor superlattices.
slmon 0.2.3 A system performance monitor using the S-Lang library.
Smart BootManager 3.0-3 A OS Independed easy to use Boot Manager.
SMPEG 0.3.5 SDL MPEG player with sound
SMSLink 0.46b Client/server gateway to the SMS protocol
smtm 1.0.2 A flexible Perl/Tk stock ticker and portfolio tool.
snmpup 0.5.1 An SNMP-enabled client for the Uptimes Project.
Socket_poll 0.9.0 A library to make using poll() fast and easy.
SocksCleaner 0.2 Socks cleaner for irc servers
SparkEdit 0.04.3 A 3D scene editor.
Spice Opus 2.0 A mixed-mode SPICE 2/3 and XSPICE-compatible simulator with optimization tools.
ssh 2.1 Remote Login Program
StarOffice 5.2 beta Office Package.
statist v0.16 A small, handy, terminal-based statistics program.
Stellar Duel 0.1.0 SVGA space action game.
Stereograph 0.15 A powerful truecolor stereogram generator.
Sunbot 0.1 Yet another bot similar to Kevin Lenzo's infobot.
supermount 0.3.1 Kernel patch for the supermount filesystem.
surf 1.0.0 Visualization of algebraic geometry.
Surf-Around 0.5.0 A Web site redirection program.
SWISH++ 4.3 File indexing and searching engine (typically used for web servers).
TarCust 0.8.0 A tar post-processor to ease rolling tarballs
Ted 2.8 Ted, an easy rich text processor for Linux.
Terminality 1.0 (build 10) A cross-platform terminal manipulation library.
terminatorX 3.60 Realtime Audio Synthesizer (DJ Scratching)
Terraform 0.6.6 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
ThatPHPware 0.1.6 A PHP/MySQL news backend.
The Harbour Project Alpha Release 33 An open source, cross platform xbase compiler
The View: Tag Library 1.0 A taglibrary for JSP to convert its contents to CDATA.
threads 2.1 A C++ library for working with threads under Linux.
TiK 0.83 Tcl/Tk version of AOL Instant Messenger
TileLib 0.3 Allegro graphics library for tile based games.
TINY 1.0 Small Linux distribution for reusing old computers
TinyMAZE 2.6b An online game server.
TkNapster 0.3.18 A barebones Napster client written entirely in TCL/Tk.
TkPasMan 1.1 Personal Password Manager, easily store and paste usernames and passwords
TmCde WEB frontend 0.2.3 Timecode calculator (WEB frontend part)
tmetric 0.1 A tool useful for determining the available bandwidth in a route to a host.
TORCS 0.0.18 A 3D open racing car simulator.
Tragic Release V A peer-to-peer chat and FTP user-lookup network.
Traq 0.1.0 Tracks and reports a person's location based on their diary.
tt 0.2 A command line tool for project time tracking.
TT-News 1.0.1 A headline-news ticker for various news-sources.
Tumbling Dice! 2.9 Tumbling Dice! is a dice game written in JAVA
Tux Racer 0.12 An OpenGL racing game featuring Tux.
TuxCards 0.5.1 Tool for managing notes within a hierarchical tree.
Twocan james-2000-04-11 A chat server in the style of ewtoo.
UDB 0.1.0 An IP user database.
uinetd 0.2 UDP packet forwarder.
Ultimate Basketball Challenge Snapshot 4-5-2000 5 on 5 basketball game for linux
UPX 1.01 powerful executable packer
User-mode Linux 0.19-2.3.99-pre4 User-mode port of the Linux kernel
VenomBoard 1.0 Another PHP/MySQL forum implementation.
ViPEC 2.1.0 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
Visual REGEXP 2.0 A Visual representation of regular expressions.
vmail-sql 0.1 Virtual domain email setup using gnu-pop3d, MySQL and Exim.
vmailmgr 0.96.4 Powerful qmail addon package for virtual domain email
vmdisk-mbr 0.2 A VMWare disk MBR modification tool.
VTun 2.1b4 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
w3m 0.1.8 pager/text-based WWW browser
wakeup 0.0.3 An interactive MP3 alarm.
Web Designer 0.1.3 An HTML editor built in C with GTK
Web Filemanager 1.1 A PHP Web-based file manager.
web2ldap 0.7.5 A Python LDAP-client running as a CGI-BIN.
Webalizer 2.00-11 Web server log analysis program
WebCharts 7.7 Stock charting Java applet for brokers or banks.
WebEvent Calendar 3.3b6 WebEvent is web calendar software for your web site.
webfs 1.0 Lightweight HTTP server for static content
WiredView 0.0.2 An OpenGL network traffic monitor.
wmNetscapeKiller 0.2 A WindowMaker dockapp to Netscape when it freezes.
wmtheme 0.6.4 A window manager theme utility.
WreckedNet IRC Services 1.1.5a Channel, nick, memo, and oper services for IRC Networks
WWWOFFLE 2.5e Simple proxy server with special features for use with dial-up internet links
X-Chat 1.4.2 GTK+ based IRC client, similar to AmIRC (Amiga).
XAmixer 0.3.1 An ALSA based mixer program written with GTK+
XFinger 1.2.0 An X11 version of finger.
xiangqi 0.43 chinese chess game
xIrc 2.3.3
Xmame/xmess 0.37b1.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
XML::RSS 0.8 Perl module for maintaining RSS files
xmms-fc 0.2 A Future Composer plugin for XMMS.
XOSL 1.1.0 An Extended Operating System Loader.
xscorch 0.0.1 Annihilate enemy tanks using overpowered guns.
Yacas 1.0.31 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
YAWMPPP 1.2.1 Yet Another Window Maker PPP dock applet
Yet Another Mail Manager 0.7.6 A Java email client.
ZClock 0.3 A highly configurable GNOME clock applet.
 

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat

   

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

Linux links of the week


BustPatents.com is a central information point for those trying to deal with the patent problem. It includes a great deal of information on how the patent process works, as well as information which can be used to fight inappropriate patents.

WhatWeNeed is a site trying to put together a list of desired enhancements to Linux; readers can then vote on what they would most like to see. Of course, it has some ground to cover still, given that "add bluescreens" is currently the most popular idea...

Section Editor: Jon Corbet


April 13, 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, 6 Apr 2000 11:15:01 -0400
From: "John F. Gibson" <gibson@mae.cornell.edu>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: LWN's position on DOJ vs MS

>From http://lwn.net/2000/0406/

>In the end, it is not at all clear that free software will benefit
>from government action against Microsoft. Free software is on the
>rise because it is better economically - freedom almost always is. 
>A large, distributed network of free software developers are doing 
>far more to change the way we deal with software than the U.S. 
>government will. 

This is a common opinion in the software world, but it's
fundamentally misguided. There would be no competitive economic
environment without the regulation of law specifically crafted 
to promote and sustain it! Lawrence Lessig makes a similar point 
in a recent issue of the American Prospect, pointing out that,
at its root, the GPL is a copyright agreement, relying on the
regulation of copyright law for its effectiveness. 
(http://www.prospect.org/archives/V11-10/lessig-l.html)

Crafting the correct laws to support specific goals is a long, 
detailed process that relies on the court system and lawsuits
for exploration and feedback. The DoJ vs. Microsoft suit is a 
necessary step for exploring the application of anti-trust law
to monopolistic practices in the field of software. It needs to 
happen, so that the emerging body of software law moves towards
openness and competitiveness.

Another example is the recent finding that computer programs are
protected by the First Amendment. This is good news, right?
Or does anyone think we'd be better off without the regulation
implied by First Amendment protection?

John 

--
John F. Gibson     gibson@mae.cornell.edu     (grad student + sysadmin)/2   
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Computational Fluid Dynamics Lab
288 Upson Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14853-7501
Tel:    (607) 255 0360        Fax:    (607) 255 1222





   
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 16:39:51 -0500
From: Dub Dublin <dub.dublin@tivoli.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: de Icaza Speaking Ad?

Now, folks, I admire Miguel de Icaza and what he has done, and having
met him, know that it's impossible to stay low-key in any conversation
with him, but really folks, I don't think a puff-piece press release
from his booking agent qualifies in any way as news worthy of inclusion
in LWN.

Journalistic integrity should trump the cult of personality.  Along the
same lines, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the past several months
to take strong advocacy positions on issues even when there is
legitimate dissension on the "other" side.  (For instance, there are
many of us who think that a) resolving silly patent claims is a job for
the courts, not advocacy (that *is* what the law says), and b) weakening
the patent system by eliminating software patents, etc. will in the long
run only strengthen the grip that very large companies have on
technology.  I personally feel that in the oh-so-PC rush to villify
Amazon et al, we ultimately run the risk of squashing garage shop
inventors by eliminating their ability to protect and therefore profit
from their inventions.)  You'd do your readers a better service if you
backed off on the opinion (or moved it to a separate section) and
concentrated on the detailed "just the facts" approach that made you
successful and useful.

I'm not proposing that you drop opinion or advocacy altogether, but
rather to put it in it's proper place, which is NOT infused in
everything.

Dub

   
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 12:30:55 -0500
From: Bob Kopp <r-kopp@uchicago.edu>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: UCITA Coverage

Dear Editor:

In Linux Daily News brief this week, you write:

> UCITA has gotten past another state legislature: this time it's Maryland. In
> case anybody wonders whether further education on this bill is necessary,
> consider this coverage in the Baltimore Sun: "Maryland lawmakers stepped
> bravely into the digital age yesterday, adopting pioneering legislation that
> will govern the sales and licensing of computer software in stores and over
> the Internet." (Thanks to Bob Kopp). 

While I agree that the Baltimore Sun is guilty of hyperbole, your brief
makes it seem as though the bill the Maryland legislature approved is the
same as the horrid bill that was originally opposed.  Nothing is further
from the truth, as any one who reads the amendments at the General Assembly
web page (http://mlis.state.md.us/2000rs/billfile/hb0019.htm) can see.
Maryland's version of UCITA may still have some flaws; but it is grossly
unfair to the members of the committees that spent two months revising the
bill to suggest that its passage is a product of the legislators' ignorance.

Nobody defends this bill better than Del. Kumar Barve, chairman of the House
committee that examined it:

> As I am sure you know, the House of Delegates approved a heavily amended
> UCITA bill.  There seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding this
> amended version.
>
> The House Subcommittee on Science and Technology held ten open public work
> session attended by both opponents and proponents of the bill.  Many
> suggestions which came from these work sessions were incorporated into our
> final version.
>
> Currently, there is no current federal or Maryland statute that specifically
> applies to computer software licensing.  However, twelve court cases have
> upheld shrinkwrap licenses and there have been no court cases to the contrary
> since 1993.  By passing UCITA, consumers will now be allowed to get their
> money back if the product does not work as advertised or was purchased in
> error even after having loaded on their computer.  Our amended version of
> UCITA also makes it clear that Maryland consumer laws apply to consumer
> computer transactions.  Specifically, the Maryland version of UCITA prohibits
> software licensors from modifying or disclaiming implied warranties of
> merchantability.
>
> Current law allows a company to disable software in home or business
> computers.  Under UCITA, this practice is outlawed on home computers by our
> consumer protection laws and is heavily restricted in the commercial market.
> 
> Many of those concerned about the bill believe it gives software vendors
> control over your files and data.  Under our version of UCITA, your data is
> your property.
>
> The provisions do not change the law with respect to copyrighting and reverse
> engineering.  UCITA explicitly states that all aspects of federal copyright
> law govern computer information transactions.  The legislation also makes it
> clear that state trade secret laws and unfair competition laws are in full
> force and not overridden by UCITA.

It is likely that many states will examine some form of UCITA over the next
several years.  Rather than blindingly opposing the bill, it makes more
sense for free software advocates to spend their time ensuring the
legislators examine UCITA in the calm and careful manner of their Maryland
counterparts rather than hastily approving such significant legislation, as
Virginia did.

Sincerely,

Bob Kopp
---
Bob Kopp <r-kopp@uchicago.edu>
http://home.uchicago.edu/~rekopp
   
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 21:06:22 -0700
From: Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>
To: letters@lwn.net
Cc: ralsina@unl.edu.ar, cp-legal@lists.lemuria.org
Subject: Re: Selling rights

In the current issue of LWN, Roberto Alsina writes:

> In both cases, signing copyright to the FSF makes no sense. Why should I
> trust the GPL more than I trust myself? That's nonsense.

In the Cyber Patrol case, which is the context of the article in which
Professor Moglen urged software authors to assign copyright to the FSF,
Mattel sued the authors of some controversial software.

As part of their settlement in that case, the defendants assigned the
copyright in their software to Mattel.

Not all of the software was meants to be under the GPL in the first place;
however, retaining copyright in the controversial software turned out to be
a bad idea, from the point of view of the goal of achieving wide
distribution.  (Maybe it was a good idea, from the point of view of having
something to bargain with in order to settle the anticipated lawsuit.)

Why?  Because, now that Mattel owns the copyright, it can claim that the
previous permission to distribute and mirror the software was a non-binding
"gratuitous promise", without exchange of consideration, and that it, as
the new copyright holder, is entitled to revoke that permission and halt
distribution of the software.

The legal issues here are many and thorny, but obviously Mattel's position
would be weaker if the copyright had already been abandoned or else
assigned to some other entity.  Instead, because it was retained by the
authors, Mattel was able to acquire it, which may make life harder for
anybody else who hopes to distribute the software.

If the FSF (or SPI, or other organization) accepts a copyright assignment
for some controversial software, it can try to use its resources (money,
legal counsel, supporters, communications channels) to protect the public's
ability to redistribute the software if it comes under legal attack.  If
there is, for instance, some question of the validity of the GPL, the
FSF might be able to do a better job of litigating the issue than you or I
could.  And, in that case, it might have more incentive to fight in court.

This is not a general rule -- it's just a particular circumstance in which
the FSF is a more "reliable" copyright holder than you or I.  That is, if
you trust in its ability to handle lawsuits effectively, something which
has also never been tested.

-- 
Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5
   
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 15:01:02 +0530
From: Anand Srivastava <anand@aplion.stpn.soft.net>
To: ralsina@unl.edu.ar, letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: Selling Rights

In response to Mr Roberto Alsina's question, why should FSF be trusted
any more to keep a GPL software GPLed.

Hi Roberto,

I agree with you that you should only trust in yourself. But free
software projects tend to be co-operative in nature. People who are
co-operating with you on the project may not feel to trust you in the
same way you don't trust the FSF. Also like in the current Mattel case,
the project might infringe on somebody's Patents. In which case you may
not have any option but to handover the license, due to lack of money,
time, etc. While the FSF may be able to fight in case.

thanx,
-anand

   
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