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Leading items and editorials

A quick report from the Linux Business Expo. Your editor managed to make a pass through the Linux Business Expo in Chicago on Wednesday. This LBE is somewhat smaller than the Las Vegas version, which is not entirely surprising: the Comdex event in general is quite a bit smaller. A number of fairly high-profile Linux companies (i.e. Red Hat, VA Linux) were not to be found on the exhibit floor. Nonetheless there was a good turnout, and the LBE floor was busy enough to make walking difficult. Doubtless it was helped by being physically located on the same floor as the rest of Comdex, rather than in a separate building.

A few notes from the show:

  • The Linux Professional Institute was doing a good business administering its certification examinations. The fact that the exams were free will have been helpful in that regard. Your editor took both of the level 1 exams, and found them to be reasonably challenging. Since the exams are still in their beta period, scores are not yet available...so don't ask...

  • Gnucash had a well-staffed booth, and is looking good. Recent versions have added a wealth of new features, including better report generation, lots of customization, and check printing. Much more is planned for the future, including online banking. The gnucash folks weren't really talking about it, but somebody has invested in them and is funding the development of the program. Prediction: Linux systems will be routinely used for personal finance by the end of this year.

  • Speaking of investment and funding, there was a huge BSD booth on the LBE floor. It came complete with handouts, loud videos, and a photo setup so you could get a picture of yourself with one of the (in)famous BSD daemons. It is interesting that somebody has coughed up enough money to promote BSD in this way, and that the booth was not specific to any particular flavor of BSD. The BSD folks are pushing hard.

  • One would have expected to see some long faces in the Linuxcare booth, but the opposite was the case. Talks with several Linuxcare employees turned up a strong consensus that the recent changes there (including the recently-announced departure of CIO Doug Nassaur, incredibly described as being "completely unrelated" to the sudden departure of CEO Fernand Serrat two weeks ago) were a much-needed housecleaning, and that Linuxcare's future is much brighter than it was a month ago. The Linuxcare people are a pleased and optimistic bunch.

Once one got bored with Linux, the first booth one stumbled across was pushing wrist rests with a built-in telephone - something many of us were not aware of needing...

Microsoft's FrontPage back door. Most LWN readers will by now have seen the news that Microsoft's FrontPage server software, shipped with a number of versions of Windows, contains a back door deliberately inserted by a Microsoft engineer. This hole is amazing not only in its simple existence, but also in that it has been there for years. It says a lot about the security of closed-source systems; see Eric Raymond's take on the issue for one view.

Nobody would say that free software is immune from security problems. And some fear that the availability of source makes some sorts of problems easier for crackers to find. But it really is true that open source makes this sort of deliberate back door difficult to get away with. And it is almost inconceivable that a back door would remain undetected for years. (Do see, however, this week's LWN Security page for a chilling example of a deliberate back door in source-available code. And yes, Ken Thompson's paper demonstrates that there are no guarantees, no need to send the URL to us again).

Lest we laugh too much at Microsoft's expense, it is worth reflecting on the fact that Linux has vulnerabilities of its own. Open source is great, but very few people build their systems from source. Does that RPM or .deb file really contain a binary built from the source in the source package? Only your trust in the package builder can determine how you feel about that. One might assume that an engineer building packages for a Linux distributor is more strongly motivated to do the right thing than a Microsoft engineer, but that is never guaranteed. Sooner or later, somebody will probably get burned by a bad binary package. It can happen to us too.

Update on Corel Word Perfect Office 2000. Last week's mini-review of Corel's recently released Word Perfect Office 2000 product drew a fair amount of attention, and a small amount of criticism. It also got us the attention of some engineers at Corel, who were most interested in tracking down the problems that we reported.

One result of that conversation is that we owe Corel an apology for saying that Word Perfect did not show up in the GNOME menus. The reviewer simply did not look in the right place. Corel's preferred environment is KDE, of course, but they have worked hard at supporting GNOME as well. Installing WPO 2000 does, in fact, fix up the GNOME applications menu in the proper way.

Corel recognizes some residual problems with interactions with the Enlightenment window manager. The file opening problem we reported was confirmed, though it (surprisingly) has to do with files served via NFS, rather than ownership issues. Sample files have been sent back to Corel to enable them to reproduce the QuattroPro crashes.

They were unable to provide a date for a new release with fixes for the problems we (and others) have experienced. But Corel's engineers were clearly responsive, interested, and wanting to make things better. Even if the first release turns out to be a little rocky for some people (not everybody has reported problems), the indications are good that subsequent releases will be more stable.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Another back door, emacs, XFree86, imapd, xfs bugs and more.
  • Kernel: The return of devfs flames.
  • Distributions: Nuclinux, a new floppy-based distribution.
  • Development: FHS 2.1, Cscope becomes free, important GNU Pth update.
  • Commerce: The end of the Linux stock party; lots of Linux deals.
  • 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 20, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and editorials

Reputations Won and Lost. This week, a less-media-hyped issue than the Windows backdoor also surfaced. A commercial, perl-based shopping cart, the Dansie Shopping Cart, was reported to contain a backdoor, one that automatically sent mail to the author of the software as well as allowing the author to execute commands on the machine on which the software is installed. The Bugtraq discussion (see previous link) seems to indicate that the backdoor was created by the author in an attempt to allow him to check for unauthorized usage and/or automatically disable the software if he found it to be installed illegally. Unfortunately, acquiring the "key" from the code is reasonably easy to do and allows much more illicit actions to be taken by an unauthorized person.

Whatever the original author's intentions, the revelation of his particular programming choices has both broken the faith of people who might use the product (it is very apparent in the code that the existence of the backdoor was meant to be hidden from a quick source code scan) and laid open his knowledge of security and programming techniques to severe criticism. In actions intended to better secure his revenue from the software, he has created a publicity roadblock to its adoption. Do note, however, that an updated version of the software without the backdoor is claimed to now be available.

QNX password encryption broken. Here's a brief article on Advogato on the breaking of the password encryption scheme for QNX - which is used in the Netpliance iOpener and a lot of other systems. Evidently the QNX folks decided to roll their own, closed-source, unreviewed encryption, with the usual results.

Encryption Matters, part 2. Inoshiro has posted part 2 of his series of articles on the importance of encryption.

Security Reports

Three security problems with GNU Emacs 20. RUS-CERT has issued an advisory outlining three security problems with all versions of GNU Emacs 20, up to and including emacs 20.6. The severity of the problems vary, but are high on multi-user systems. A patch is provided against emacs 20.6, though it requires glibc 2.1.

XFree86 server overflow. Michal Zalewski posted a report of a buffer overflow in XFree86 which he is confident can be exploited. The followup messages to this posting, however, did not confirm the problem, either with vanilla XFree86 3.3.6, 4.0.0 or the XFree86 package as shipped with Red Hat 6.2. We'll post additional information as it becomes available.

imapd. Debates are nothing new in the security arena. This week, an overflow in imapd 4.7 was reported. This can be used to gain access to the mail account of an imapd user - a problem if a mail client is not supposed to have interactive access to the server. The usual discussions and workarounds are posted, but then followed later by a debate on whether or not the problem really needed to be fixed, since it did not allow unprivileged access. In that space, we would have to weigh in that it is a problem -- anytime a program has unexpected side effects or unintended capabilities, it should be either documented to warn people or fixed. In this case, it is to be hoped that the problem will be repaired, not just documented.

xfs. A denial of service vulnerability in the X font server under Red Hat 6.X has been reported. Later, Chris Evans posted a followup, pointing out that this is just one of many security problems in xfs that have been around for over a year without any fixes being produced.

Star Office 5.1. Michal Zalewski posted a note about the multitude of ways in which Star Office 5.1 could be made to overflow and crash. It seems that Star Office is mimicking Microsoft products right now to the bug level ...

nmh-1.0.4 released. Security problems were formerly reported in nmh-1.0.2. Unfortunately, the fixes to these problems in version 1.0.3 introduced other errors. Version 1.0.4 resolves the new errors and the original security problems, as well as introducing a list of new features and non-security fixes.


gpm-root improper permissions handling. Improper permissions handling in gpm was discussed in the March 30th LWN Security Summary.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

pam and usermode. See discussion in the January 6th, 2000 LWN Security Summary.

imwheel. For more information, check the BugTraq vulnerability database entry. This vulnerability was first reported on March 13th, 2000.


Final Call for extended abstracts, RAID 2000. The final call for extended abstracts for the RAID 2000 conference, scheduled for October 2nd through the 4th, 2000, in Toulouse, France, has been issued. Note also that the online proceedings for RAID 1998 and RAID 1999 are now available.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 20, 2000

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is still 2.3.99-pre5. This release has drawn a steady stream of complaints about substandard performance and poor memory handling. The kernel developers are still trying to get a handle on where the problems came from.

A prepatch for 2.3.99 is available, and in its third iteration as of this writing. It contains more i386 interrupt handling work, a number of small Sparc tweaks, some large I2O updates, an ISDN update, some sound driver updates, and some ATM networking updates.

Here's Alan Cox's latest 2.3.99 jobs list(from April 16) showing what remains to be done before 2.4 can come out.

The current stable kernel release is forever 2.2.14. The 2.2.15 prepatch got up to its 19th version when, according to Alan Cox's diary, a memory corruption bug was found in the tty drivers. Even though the bug does not appear to be creating troubles for anybody at the moment, the developers still want to get it fixed before putting out the next stable release. Hopefully it won't be long, since 2.2.15 also fixes the recently-found masquerading vulnerability. (Evidently Linus is moving into a new house, which is not helping to get kernel releases out quickly).

So you thought the devfs flamewars would end just because it got into the 2.3 kernel? No such luck, alas... the flames burn as brightly as ever, though in a bit of a different mode.

The hot issue at the moment is how to deal with hot-plug devices, such as PCMCIA, USB, or hot-plug PCI peripherals. In particular, how should these devices be named? This is not a new topic, but it still seems to resist any sort of resolution.

When a new device shows up on the system, the kernel reacts by simply picking the next available device name for it. This behavior is not new either: plugging a new SCSI device into a Linux system has been able to cause a renaming all other SCSI devices on the system for years. There appear to be two types of Linux users out there; the first type finds it really annoying when devices change names, and the second does not seem to care much. One of the purposes behind devfs was to address the frustrations of the first group - it can provide stable names for SCSI devices.

Items on a SCSI bus can be uniquely identified by their bus and SCSI target numbers (OK, unit numbers too, on rare occasion). Devices plugged into a USB hub, however, lack that characteristic. These devices can come and go, and the system can not really track their state in between. So how do you name them in a way that keeps administrators and users sane?

Some think that devfs can help. Some USB devices can provide serial numbers which can be used to create stable names. Disk partitions can have "UUID" identification numbers in their filesystems which can make life easier as well. But if you have two mice and want one to always be /dev/mouse0, life will be difficult. The hardware side of the equation is getting more dynamic, and the software side is finding it harder to simulate stability.

Devfs could maybe provide some of that stability. But users are running into one of the perennial devfs problems: the persistent storage of attributes, such as file ownership and permissions. Devfs can be set up, via devfsd or by simply using tar, to set attributes correctly on stable devices. But that scheme tends to fall down when devices come and go. So people criticize devfs, but better solutions have been somewhat scarce thus far.

Richard Gooch has said, however, that he will be implementing "tunneling" so that devfs can make visible device entries in the underlying /dev filesystem. That change will make persistence somewhat easier, and will also, incidentally, fix the "I configured in devfs and now the system won't boot" trap that is currently so easy to step into. Richard has not given a time frame for this work, but one would assume that he is aiming for the 2.4 kernel. (Richard has, meanwhile, released devfs v162 and devfsd v1.3.5).

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Powertweak 0.1.12, a program for digging around in your system's hardware, was released by Dave Jones.

  • For those of you wanting to play with a bleeding-edge PPP driver, Paul Mackerras has released a beta version which includes multilink support.

  • Borislav Deianov has updated his atomicps patch, which provides process information without /proc for memory-limited systems.

  • There is a new reiserfs beta (3.6.4) out there.

  • Mission Critical Linux has released version 3.0 of its kernel core dump facility.

  • Olaf Titz has posted a small patch which makes the kernel's compilation parameters easily available for people compiling modules outside of the kernel source tree. This patch, if adopted, should make life much easier for module developers.

  • Benno Senoner has released the "hdrbench" utility, which benchmarks systems operating as a multitrack recording and playback system.

  • Autofs 4.0 pre7 has been released by Jeremy Fitzhardinge.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

April 20, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.


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

Nuclinux - a new single-floppy distribution. The initial announcement for Nuclinux went out on April 18th, 2000. This distribution appears to be primarily for acquiring internet access on a networked machine, complete with programs for web browsing, accessing mail and remote machine access (telnet only, no ssh).

Bastille Linux

A patched version of Bastille Linux 1.0.4 has been announced, Bastille 1.0.4p1, to fix a confusing step in the installation process that was causing problems for some people.

Caldera OpenLinux

Caldera Systems has put out a set of press releases, including this announcement that OpenLinux eBuilder is now available. It includes the IBM WebSphere application server and the "ECential Open Commerce Framework" from Evergreen. There is this announcement that they will be offering training at the Linux Business Expo. And finally there is an announcement that SolutionBank has signed up as Caldera's first "eSolutions Provider."


German, French and Dutch support. Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. has announced the first version of Corel Linux with German, French and Dutch support. The press release incorrectly calls this the "First Multilingual Linux O.S.", a claim that is, shall we say, questionable, given the number of distributions with multiple language support, many of them with much broader support than just four European languages.

Can Corel Rope Linux Desktops? (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Corel's future in this lengthy article. "But the bigger question, especially among investors and analysts, is whether the company can successfully pull off its move into the Linux market."

Coyote Linux

A new prepatch for Coyote Linux has been released, Coyote Linux 1.20pre2.

Debian GNU/Linux

This week's Debian Weekly News announces the first new Debian developer in a long time: Brendan O'Dea. Hopefully Brendan will soon be joined by other people who've been waiting in the queue for approval. The first test cycle for the next release of Debian is scheduled to begin on May 2nd and will last two weeks, with an evaluation afterwards as to whether additional test cycles are needed. Other topics this week included dpkg progress, documentation registration, installation from floppies and fixing package priorities.


A beta version of DemoLinux 2.0, dubbed DemoLinux 1.9, has been released. It includes the StarOffice suite, which is apparently causing some problems, since they have applied for a license from Sun and have not yet received one. DemoLinux 1.9 is based on Debian Linux.


MaxOS beta to be released in May. The MaxOS folks have put up a product page describing the upcoming MaxOS distribution and indicating that the first beta release will happen in May. (MaxOS was profiled in this LWN feature back in March).

Red Hat Linux

Ad agency doffs Red Hat (Raleigh/Durham BusinessJournal). The Raleigh/Durham Business Journal has run this article on how Red Hat got dumped by its advertising agency. "Red Hat Software's advertising agency dropped the account only six months after winning the business, complaining that the Linux distributor doesn't have its marketing act together."

ROCK Linux

The latest snapshot of ROCK Linux contains support for the base features of ROCK Router Linux and also ROCK Telnet Terminal. The former is a version of ROCK Linux tailored for routers and the latter is a floppy-based version that "can auto-detect it's IP-Address using bootp or rarp and open some telnet sessions to a hardcoded server ip".

Slackware Linux

Updates to slackware-current over the past week include sc-7.2, jove-4.16, elm-2.5.3, gpm-1.19.1 and sendmail-8.10.1. The gpm update closes a security hole, see the security page for more details.

SuSE Linux

SuSE: Netscape package updates. SuSE has released updated Netscape packagesfor SuSE Linux 6.4 after reports of instability with the Netscape 4.72 originally shipped. The problem was tracked down to a compiler bug that affected the X11 libraries. An upgrade is recommended for anyone using Netscape with SuSE Linux 6.4.

Linux is suited for Boris Becker (Yahoo Germany). Strong praise for Linux comes in this Yahoo Germany article, which takes a look at SuSE Linux 6.4 (Babelfish translation). The author praises the ease of installation, the support for USB mice, keyboards and printers, clean automatic support for sound and continuing improvements in DVD support. The Reiser file system is mentioned as well.


TurboLinux Clustering (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the high-availability clustering offering from TurboLinux. "We also tested automatic fail-over by the time-honored technique of killing the power to the system that wasn't running TurboCluster's Advanced Traffic Manager (ATM). We don't recommend you try this at home. While the system performance took an immediate nosedive, within a minute the remaining server was automatically shouldering the whole load." (Thanks to C?sar A. K. Grossmann).

Oracle takes equity stake in TurboLinux. Here's a very brief Reuters article stating that Oracle has taken an (unspecified) equity investment in TurboLinux.

Vine Linux

Vine Linux 2.0. A new version of Vine Linux, Vine Linux 2.0, was announced on April 14th. Vine Linux is a Japanese Linux distribution. Vine Linux 1.X was based on Red Hat 5.1. We do not have any details on version 2.0 as of yet (oh, for a babelfish that understood Asian languages ...).

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 20, 2000

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

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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

Filesystem Hierarchy Standard 2.1 released. The Linux Standard Base project has announced the release of version 2.1 of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard - the important piece of the LSB that says where all the files are supposed to go. It is important to note that the FHS is not solely a Linux project. Members of other Unix operating systems (particularly the BSD-based groups) have also contributed strongly. This is good for two reasons. First, Unix contributors have been able to share their experience with potential pitfalls they've experienced over the years ... particularly with large, networked environments that share software across heterogeneous hardware. Second, this also means that the file system hierarchy used by Linux distributions will make sense to administrators migrating from supporting Unix systems. Although not the primary goal of the LSB, it is a worthwhile side effect, potentially saving much frustration and energy.

Linux Standard Base (Linux.com). Nicholas Petreley has written an article on the Linux Standard Base for Linux.com. "The least credible argument has been that Linux will fragment because UNIX did. This completely ignores the market dynamics that caused UNIX to fragment, and consequently why these dynamics do not apply to Linux. UNIX was a means to an end, and the end was to sell unique hardware solutions. Linux is the means to a completely different end: a free (as in free speech), reliable, scalable open source solution." (Thanks to Scott McNeil).

Cscope released under the BSD license. Cscope is a developer's tool for browsing source code. Although not specifically ported to Linux, we're told that it compiles cleanly on Linux. SCO's decision to release Cscope under an open source license is tremendously welcome. A bit of history: "Cscope began its origins in the early eighties at AT&T. The earliest change log entry is circa 1986, but cscope existed before then. Cscope was then passed onto UNIX Systems Laboratories (USL), which was acquired by Novell and then by Santa Cruz Operation (SCO)".

GNU Pth 1.3.5. A new version of the GNU Portable Threads library has been released. Note that the importance of the release is marked high, due to a nasty bug that was introduced in version 1.3.4.

First round Software Carpentry entries online. The first round entries in the Software Carpentry design competition are now online.


Mozilla M15 released. A new milestone for Mozilla, Mozilla M15, has been released. From the talkback response, M15 appears to be a clear improvement on M14. However, the nightly builds, which are even newer than the latest milestone, are apparently even more stable. One downside: the TCP/IP memory leak is still present in M15.


PostgreSQL 7.0RC1. The first release candidate for PostgreSQL 7.0 is now available for download. (From dotcomma.)

Product comparison: relational database management systems. Linuxcare has put up a page comparing relational database systems (both free and commercial) for Linux. Readers may also enter their own reviews of the various systems.


SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The latest SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report is now available.

Embedded Linux

RTAI 1.3 has been announced. This is the latest version of the Real Time Application Interface. RTAI is available under the LGPL. "RTAI now includes dynamic memory allocation, a /proc interface, an enhanced LXRT-Informed (LinuX RT) module and PERL bindings for soft real-time task development."


Hexen (Open Game Source). The latest Open Game Source is now available. "This month focuses on the SDL port of Hexen. It includes a patch to convert the minotaur into the classic Eliza program." Hexen is one of two fantasy games from Raven software based on the original DOOM source code. (Thanks to Dennis Payne.)


Kernel-Cousin Samba. Last week's Kernel-Cousin Samba reports problems with the recently-integrated UTMP patch, the joys of short file-name mangling, reasons for using a different Netbios and Workgroup name for your server and much, much more.

Wine News. Wine Headquarters has a nice new look-and-feel. The April 17th edition of the Wine Weekly News is also out, reporting that Canvas 7's port to Linux is happily using Winelib and that CorelDraw 9 for Linux is ahead of schedule, due to Wine's "sterling progress".


OpenNMS Update v1.4. The latest weekly update from the OpenNMS network management project reports significant development progress and a number of companies and other organizations that also want to be involved.

Office Applications

AbiWord Weekly News. This week's edition mentions some significant bug fixes and a first step towards cooperation with the KWord project.

gPhoto 0.4.3: A Sneak Peek (AboutLinux). AboutLinux reviews gPhoto 0.4.3. "gPhoto shows immense promise; according to its home page it can now download from over 100 different digital cameras. Even though gPhoto is quite far from the magic 1.0 release version it is certainly usable for downloading images from your digital cameras."

Top 20 Influential People, Products and Companies in the Linux Graphics Marketplace. Michael J. Hammel looks at the top 20 players in the Linux graphics market. "Unlike most of the other open source projects I've seen, Gimp actually thrives without central authority. It is the first project I've seen where development by committee actually seems to work."

On the Desktop

An Interview with Ettore Perazzoli (LinuxPapers). LinuxPapers has published an interview with Ettore Perazzoli, one of the Gnome developers. He provides a less rosy opinion on the development of two Linux desktops, KDE and Gnome. "This "desktop war", as you call it, has been unhealthy from a practical viewpoint. We have incompatible libraries, incompatible object/component models, and porting between these platforms is a pain. For this reason, one of the main purposes of free software, which is the sharing of source code, is defeated in the desktop field, and this is sad."

Last week's GNOME summary. Here is last week's GNOME Summary, by Havoc Pennington. It covers the integration of Mozilla and Nautilus, and many other topics.

Mosfet's desktop. Mosfet has put up an updated version of his desktop, showcasing the new KDE2 look and feel. Other news this week from mosfet.org includes the merge of KDE developer Matthias Elter's changes to Kicker, the new KDE2 panel, more updates to pixie and the introduction of application lauch notification, courtesy of KDE developer Rik Hemsley.


Linux in Science Report #4. This week's Linux in Science Report takes a look at a couple of existing roadblocks to the adoption of Linux in some scientific arenas, along with the usual reports on a selection of useful scientific software for Linux.

Website Development

Keeping Up with Apache's Bleeding Edge (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet has a tutorial on Apache. "...suppose you want to keep up with the latest and greatest Apache developments (and bugs), without having to wait for a release? How would you do it? That's what this article is all about."

Midgard Weekly Summary #35. This week's Midgard Weekly Summary is "rather populated with major announcements", including the release of Midgard 1.4-beta3 and the creation of the nonprofit organization to promote and support Midgard development and usage, "The Midgard Project Ry".

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

April 20, 2000

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Development tools

Qt 2.1 released. Trolltech announced the release of Qt 2.1 on April 15th. Here is a list of the changes in the latest version of this cross-platform C++ toolkit (on which KDE is based). (From dotcomma.)


SAX2/Java final pre-release. David Megginson announced the availability of the final pre-release of SAX2/Java, along with a feature freeze. Barring unforeseen problems, the final version will be released on Friday, May 5th. "SAX2 is a new Java-based release of SAX, the Simple API for XML. A C++ version (at least) is planned as well. SAX2 introduces configurable features and properties and adds support for XML Namespaces; it includes adapters so that SAX1 parsers and applications can interoperate with SAX2." (From xmlhack.)

Jakarta - Tomcat 3.1. Version 3.1 of Tomcat, an implementation of the Java Servlet 2.2 and JavaServer Pages 1.1 Specifications, has been released, promising substantially improved documentation as well as a variety of bugfixes and new features.

Sun Ships Forte for Java (InternetNews). Sun started shipping Forte for Java this week, according to this InternetNews article. "The Forte for Java product family is Sun's attempt to deliver a complete set of development and integration tools for creating dot-com applications, from the simplest to the most complex."


What's New in Perl 5.6.0? (Perl.com). Simon Cozens takes a look at the new features in Perl 5.6.0. "If, like me, you remember the day that the combined might of Malcolm and Sarathy produced the last major release of Perl, you might be wondering what's happened since then. Allow me, then, to present to you the wonderful world of 5.6.0."

Processing XML with Perl (XML.com). Michel Rodriguez takes a look at processing XML with Perl.


Last week's Python-URL. Last week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL came out a bit late for the LWN weekly edition. It covers the usual array of topics in the Python development world.

Meanwhile, this week's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL reports on the great Starship Python disaster and other developments from the Python world.

PySol 4.10. Two versions of PySol have been announced in the past week, version 4.00 and now 4.10. Note that the number of solitaire variants supported jumped from 173 to 273 in a single week! We thought that might have been an error in one of the announcements, so we checked. The numbers are correct; they added support for 100 Mahjongg variants ...

O'Reilly announces Python Dev. O'Reilly announced their new Python Dev portal on April 14th.


Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

Language Links
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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

The end of the party for Linux stocks? The decline in the prices of Linux stocks is not a new story - it has been a steady process for most of the year to date. A new milestone was reached, however, in last week's ugly market: shares of Caldera Systems, VA Linux Systems, Andover.Net, and Eon Communications all fell below their IPO prices. Linux stocks are no longer an instant fountain of wealth.

As LWN has said before, this return to earth is not an entirely bad thing. The stock values we were seeing back in December made very little sense. Was VA Linux really worth more than, say, United Airlines? Irrational valuations will, in the end, right themselves. Better sooner than later.

Having that amount of money flying around also distorts the Linux community in a number of ways. When cash seems to be raining from the sky, it's hard to concentrate on the code. A great deal of effort was going into press releases, acquisitions, and the all-important IPO. None of that will go away now, but perhaps we have at least seen the end of the idea that instant riches are a natural right of Linux companies.

It is also true, though, that a difficult market will make life harder for Linux businesses. Businesses need to raise cash to grow, and that has gotten harder to do. It remains to be seen whether all of the companies that are planning IPOs this year will be successful in going public; if not, some of them could find themselves hurting.

Linux, however, remains as strong as ever. Free software is a better way of doing things, regardless of what is going on in the stock market.

Linux deal-making proceeds, heedless of the movements of the markets. Here's some of what came out this week:

  • Corel has announced the taking of a 10% equity stake in Simply.com, which will be bringing its videoconferencing tools to Linux.

  • Oracle and TurboLinux have announced an agreement.. Oracle will take an equity position in TurboLinux and TurboLinux will make a version of its operating system optimized for Oracle8i.

  • LinuxMall.com has announced a cooperative marketing agreement with UserFriendly.org. Expect to see dust puppies on the LinuxMall site shortly.

  • Lineo has announced two separate acquisitions. The first announcement concerns INUP, a French company that deals with fault-tolerant, clustered embedded systems. Then, they have picked up FirePlug, the Vancouver-based providers of the ThinLinux embedded distribution.

  • VA Linux Systems has announced the completion of its acquisitions of TruSolutions and NetAttach.

  • LinuxMall.com and TheLinuxStore.com have announced a deal. The essence of it seems to be that TheLinuxStore gets the Linux-installed computers turf, while LinuxMall stays with the retail software, books, penguins, and dust puppies.

  • ZDNet announced the acquisition of LinuxDevices.com.

  • Red Hat acquired BlueCurve, a provider of Internet performance management services.

  • Atipa announced the appointment of Jeffrey Keenan as President. Mr. Keenan has a long resume; this looks like a classic pre-IPO appointment of a high-profile manager.
The business of Linux is still clearly on the move.

Expanded LPI certification exam incentive program. The Linux Professional Institute has announced an expanded incentive program designed to get people to take its second certification exam. A 50% discount will be offered until May 12; people who have already taken the first exam will be able to take this one for free. Those who pass both exams qualify for the LPI's level 1 certification.

Online PhotoLab launches. The Online PhotoLab has announced its existence.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products

  • Lineo announced the completion of its first project with Cosource.com: an integration of htDig with Kdevelop.

  • PySol 4.0 is a collection of 173 solitaire card games, freely distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL.

    Commercial Products for Linux

  • Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced that it will offer its verification software tools on Linux-based platforms.

  • The "Canvas7" graphics design package has been ported for Linux and appears to be available for download in beta form.

  • Continuus Software Corporation (IRVINE, Calif.) announced that it has begun shipping Continuus Change Management (CCM 5.0) supporting Red Hat Linux.

  • CopperZ has announced a line of rackmount Linux server systems with a large selection of preloaded software.

  • Csoft International and Neoware Systems (CHICAGO) will soon unveil an e-Commerce-based Linux point-of-sale solution, using Neoware's Eon information appliances running NeoLinux, an embedded version of Red Hat Linux, hosting Csoft iPos.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. (SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) announced the launch of the Linux Internet Service Provider, LinuxWired.net.

  • eOn Communications Corporation (MEMPHIS, Tenn.) announced that Computer Telephony magazine selected eOn's Web Center software suite "Best of Show" at the recent CT Expo 2000 in Los Angeles.

  • eSoft Inc. (BROOMFIELD, Colo.) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce has granted them permission to export stronger versions of its firewall and virtual private network (VPN) technology to international markets.

  • HancomLinux, Inc. (Korea) has completed development of an English/Chinese/Japanese Version Linux Word Processor.

  • Inprise/Borland (SEBASTOPOL, Calif.) announced plans to release Delphi for Linux (code-named Kylix).

  • KANGAROOT (Belgium, Antwerp) has opened a one-stop shopping point for all European linux -afficionados.

  • The Linux Business Expo has announced that it has "lead retrieval" software for the Linux system. This is a little package which allows exhibitors to capture information by swiping attendees' badges at the booths. It's been a long time coming for Linux, even though it doesn't seem like it should be that hard. The actual coding was evidently done by Linuxcare; no word on licensing...

  • Lynx Real-Time Systems, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced that the driver for the M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. DiskOnChip is being freely distributed with LynxOS real-time operating systems (RTOS).

  • Neoware Systems, Inc. (KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) announced Neoware's Eon information appliance platform and NeoLinux embedded operating system are now available for online purchase via Red Hat's new site at www.redhat.com/marketplace.

  • Rt-Control (MONTREAL) announced the release of the latest uClinux system builder kit, version pre 5.

  • Speedware (MONTREAL) announced that it will provide its North American customers with Visual Speedware V2.00, its enterprise client-server development technology, for free.

  • Sphera Corporation (NEW YORK) announced Sphera HostingDirector 2.0, a software solution offering Web hosting providers a platform for deploying new services and applications.

  • Tripp Lite (CHICAGO) announced its PowerAlert UPS Management Software has been tested and approved by Red Hat to install and run on Red Hat Linux.

  • Vividata, Inc. (Berkeley, CA) announced new reduced prices for Personal and Not-for-profit users of its OCR Shop, ScanShop and PostShop software.


  • O'Reilly (Sebastopol, CA) announced the follow-up to the first collection of User Friendly comic strips, "Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell".

  • No Starch Press (San Francisco, CA) announced LINUX MUSIC & SOUND, an in-depth look at recording, storing, playing, and editing music and sound under Linux.

    Products Using Linux

  • Apropos Retail Management Systems and Informix Corporation (CHICAGO) announced the release of the Apropos E-Comm suite of products,

    Now Available At TheLinuxStore.com

  • Acrylis Inc. (Chicago) recently announced its Web-based WhatifLinux.com service that helps Linux Administrators monitor and manage open-source software assets helping them to increase service levels and system uptime.

  • 3ware, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif) announced a 3ware's high performance ATA RAID controllers will be available through TheLinuxStore.com.

    Java Products

  • Sun Microsystems, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced that it is shipping its Forte for Java, Community Edition 1.0 integrated development environment (IDE) for the Java 2 Platform.


  • AXENT Technologies, Inc. (ROCKVILLE, Md.) announced "Everything you Need to Know About Installing a Secure Linux Environment", the latest in a series of free Webcast seminars.

  • SkillsVillage.com (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) announced that it is working with three leading professional services companies to deliver its online IT Education and Training Center.

    Products with Linux Versions

  • Advanced Digital Information Corporation (REDMOND, Wash.) announced the introduction of StorNext, a family of innovative network attached storage (NAS) appliances.

  • Century Software, Inc. (CHICAGO) introduced HostML and ViewML, its new XML-based host access and rendering technologies.

  • Dell Computer Corporation (ROUND ROCK, Texas) announced immediate availability of Dell PowerEdge 6400 and Dell PowerEdge 6450 servers. Red Hat 6.2 versions are available.

  • IBM (RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.) announced new Netfinity thin servers designed to deliver the highest computing power per square foot on Intel based platforms.

  • ICL (CHICAGO) announced WebSTORE, a browser-based solution for retailers designed to integrate their in-store management, e-Business and Customer Relationship Management systems.

  • MathSoft, Inc. (SEATTLE) announced a promotion to offer free copies of S-PLUS for Linux to customers buying new UNIX licenses.

  • Novas Software, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced nLint, a new design rule checker for Verilog and VHDL.

  • Pervasive Software Inc. (TOKYO) announced that it has localized Tango 2000 for the Japanese market.

  • Pervasive Software Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) announced that it will post its Tango Objects for Dreamweaver 3 on the new Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver site.

  • Smith-Gardner (DELRAY BEACH, Fla.) announced the release of Ecometry, an e-business application suite that offers customer relationship management applications fully integrated with back-office e-fulfillment functions.

  • Sundog Technologies Inc. (SALT LAKE CITY) announced Universal Update 1.6, a non-intrusive, data detection and distribution product that performs scheduled data replication across disparate database systems.

  • Toshiba (IRVINE, Calif.) announced the Magnia 3030 workgroup server.

  • Tripwire, Inc. (PORTLAND, Ore.) announced it is now shipping the Tripwire HQ Manager, a scalable, enterprise management product.

  • Verplex (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced Version 2.0 of Tuxedo-LEC, a high performance equivalence checker.


  • Bristol Technology Inc. and SuSE Linux AG (DANBURY, Conn./HANOVER, Germany) announced a partnership to jointly promote Bristol's Wind/U for Linux cross-platform development software and Bristol's Linux Porting Center for SuSE Linux.

  • Corel announced four separate OEM deals, designed to get Corel Linux and Wordperfect Office for Linux onto many desktops. One with Conducent, Inc., another with Computer Technology Link Corporation, a third with Maxspeed Corporation, and the fourth with Polywell Company Inc..

  • Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. (WALTHAM, Mass.) announced that it has delivered the first version of Corel Linux for German, French and Dutch.

  • Synergy Microsystem, Inc. (LOVELAND, Colorado) announced that support for its boards is now included in Terra Soft Solutions' recently released Yellow Dog Linux Champion Server 1.2.

    Investments and Acquisitions

  • ADVA International Inc. announced signing a Letter of Intent to acquire all of the shares of Global Information Group USA, Inc. (GIG). GIG develops and markets applications software for the LINUX Operating System.

  • Eazel, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced that it has received $11 million from Accel Partners in first round funding.

  • Tricord Systems, Inc. (MINNEAPOLIS) announced that it has closed a $26 million capital investment in the company. The investment will be used to launch a new line of server appliances, and the initial products will be focused on Linux-based Network-Attached Storage (NAS).

    Linux At Work

  • Dunn Computer Corporation (DULLES, Va.) announced it received its first significant order for its fibre channel storage subsystem. The customer will use the products to run a Linux-based mapping system with large data and bandwidth requirements.

  • LinuxMall.com has chosen custom hardware manufacturer Workstation 2000 as one of several key vendors that will supply its Linux computing needs.

  • NetPort Hospitality Systems in Sydney, Australia hopes to connect hotel rooms and airport terminals to the Internet, according to this brief Newsbytes article. "Instant links to the Net at up to 100MHz are claimed, using Cisco switches and Linux servers."


  • Corel Corporation (OTTAWA, CANADA) announced the appointment of John Blaine, C. A., as executive vice-president and chief financial officer.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. (SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) announced that Victoria Welch has joined its management team as Director of Investor Relations/Public Relations.

  • LinuxMall.com has put out a press release showcasing its management team.

  • Mission Critical Linux LLC (LOWELL, Mass.) announced the appointment of Bill Arvidson as the Company's Director of Customer Care.

  • OnCore Systems Corporation (HALF MOON BAY, Calif.), an embedded Linux company, announced the appointment of Phillip Parker to the post of Vice President of Marketing.


  • Applix, Inc. (WESTBORO, Mass.) announced its results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2000 with revenues of $12.4 million.

  • Bluepoint Linux Software Corp. (LOS ANGELES) announced that Hao Lee, one of the architects of the Chinese economic reform, visited Bluepoint Linux headquarters in support of the company.

  • IBM (CUPERTINO, Calif.) announced that its developerWorks has won the 10th Annual Jolt Productivity Award at Software Development West in San Jose.

  • Last week's commerce page mentioned a press release from IDC saying that Compaq was the #1 Vendor in Linux Server Market. We mentioned that companies like VA Linux Systems were not even on the list. This week IDC announced that VA Linux is a "brand-name" vendor after all, and has been ranked as the #5 Vendor in Linux Server Market.

  • The Linux Capital Group, Inc. (Albany, CA) filed this corporate profile. They are a business incubator, venture capital firm for businesses that deal with Linux and open source software.

  • The folks at LinuxMall.com have announced that they are sponsoring all four community hubs at the Linux Business Expo.

  • Magic Software Enterprises sent the winner of its "Magic for Linux Really Cool Contest" to Antarctica. This press release reads more like a travel log (with pictures). "When the World Discoverer docked, the passengers climbed into Zodiacs, the virtually unsinkable 12-passenger crafts designed by Jacques Cousteau, to investigate uninhabited islands and to travel up winding tributaries and get a closer look at marine life. One encounter was almost a little too close for comfort."

  • Mission Critical Linux (LOWELL, Mass.) announced that it has launched its presence in Eastern Europe and expanded its U.S. operations with a full-service operations center in California.

  • Motorola (MANSFIELD, Mass.) unveiled plans to expand its product line through DSL and Linux-based solutions that will support broadband communications and other platforms.

  • Penguin Computing Inc. (CHICAGO) announced President and CEO Sam Ockman's speaking engagements at the Spring COMDEX LINUX Business Expo at McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill.

  • The Server Software Division of SCO announced that it has ramped up its Open Source efforts with the release of key technologies, contributions, and initiatives to the Open Source Community.

  • Trend Micro Inc. (CUPERTINO, Calif.) announced that its Internet gateway and email groupware antivirus products, InterScan VirusWall for Linux and ScanMail for Lotus Notes, have been chosen as finalists for the Best of Show Awards at FOSE 2000 in the Workgroup/Departmental Software category.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

April 20, 2000


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

Linux in the news


Tech Review has run an article by Richard Stallman on familiar issues. "In a democracy, a law that prohibits a popular, natural and useful activity is usually soon relaxed. But the powerful publishers' lobby was determined to prevent the public from taking advantage of the power of their computers, and found copyright a suitable weapon. Under their influence, rather than relaxing copyright to suit the new circumstances, governments made it stricter than ever, imposing harsh penalties on readers caught sharing."


LinuxMall reports from Comdex in Chicago. "The Linux presence here is strong-eyeballing the expo floor map, at least a quarter of the exhibition hall's floor space is designated for Linux exhibitors-and a separate track of Linux speakers runs counter to other talks going on throughout the conference. Jon "maddog" Hall, Executive Director of Linux International, and Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Helix Code are among Wednesday's featured speakers. "

ABCNews has picked up this Reuters article on the Linux Expo in Montreal. "Students make up much of the crowd at Linux Expo 2000, although [Jon "maddog"] Hall points out that gray hair has crept in as Linux moves into the business mainstream.
There are other signs that Linux is extending its reach.

Internet.com reports from the Montreal Linux Expo. "While the crowd was large, it wasn't necessarily the corporate crowd organizers were hoping for: 'This feels more like the McGill student union than a real trade show,' said one vendor who asked for anonymity."

MSNBC covers the Montreal Linux Expo with this Reuters piece. "A corporate forecast of the Linux market evolution may not mesh with the views of developers. But the two groups do find common ground in praising the promise offered by the technology's freedom."

Here's the Ottawa Citizen's report from the Montreal Linux Expo. "The crown princes of the fading kingdom of Linux were a study in contrasts at the LinuxExpo show yesterday."


Linsider picked a difficult week to start its weekly Linux stocks summary column. "Looking at strict Linux plays, Red Hat lost 7.75 points and was down 24% for the week. Despite the dire sound of this, it wasn't the big loser. VA Linux lost just over 17 points and 37%, while Corel and Cobalt logged 34% and 38% losses. The big loser in the pure plays was Andover, which lost 42% of its value over the course of the week. Ouch."

Evan Leibovich takes a look at the post-Rush world of Linux. "So there are some -- and I'd list myself among them -- who believe that the return to earth is a Good Thing. There's nothing wrong with making a buck, but Linux doesn't benefit from being elevated beyond reality on a shaky foundation."

Here's a News.com story on how Linux companies are still interesting to investors. "After generally spectacular initial public offerings, Linux stocks have slipped downhill. Stock in three Linux companies traded last week below IPO prices, dragged down by the stock market descent. But wheeling and dealing hasn't tapered off. In addition to several IPOs in the works, Linux companies have been attracting investments from established computing companies."

Nicholas Petreley looks at Corel and VA Linux Systems in this InfoWorld column. "My advice to Corel is to fish or cut bait on its commitment to Linux. Corel stands to benefit more in the long run if it raises a family of native Linux applications rather than persisting with Windows half-breeds."

Here's a Forbes article on the state of Linux stocks. "Larry Augustin, chief executive of VA Linux, which makes Linux-based computers, has seen his personal wealth plummet from a post-IPO $2 billion to just over $200 million. That doesn't even get you a table near the kitchen in Silicon Valley."

Newsbytes reports on OnLinePhotoLab - Gimp creator Spencer Kimball's latest venture. "The Gimp is touted by the open-source Linux community as being in the same league as professional image-editing software - like an Adobe Photoshop, but coded with a sense of humor. The Gimp's amusingly named scripting capability - Script-Fu, as in Kung-Fu - is what makes Online PhotoLab possible."

ZDNet looks at Linux on the IBM S/390. "Linux on a mainframe isn't a joke. IBM thinks that by bringing Linux to a mainframe, customers will be able to run the Apache Web server, the Samba file/print servers and other popular Linux-based services on System/390s."

Michael Hammel starts a series of weekly articles summarizing activities by Linux companies that have a strong interest in the graphics market. "Mozilla steps up to SVG, Corel sets up for an early CorelDraw release, and Precision Insight wraps up early development for Voodoo 3 drivers."

This Linuxcare column makes the point that people are the most important resource in the Linux "revolution." "Thankfully, the open source revolution has momentum. We are increasingly gathering the cream of the crop into our fold. Free software is ubiquitous at universities all over the world. The best and brightest will inevitably gravitate to our working model."

Information Week looks at Home Depot's Linux deployment from a support point of view. "But the company wanted to make sure it could get help developing Linux device drivers for key pieces of retail hardware such as credit-card readers and signature-capture pads. To ensure this, Home Depot has a high-level support arrangement with Red Hat. This includes round-the-clock support, plus a dedicated point of contact to make sure it gets speedy access to programming expertise during the development process"

The Raleigh/Durham Business Journal has run this article on how Red Hat got dumped by its advertising agency. "Red Hat Software's advertising agency dropped the account only six months after winning the business, complaining that the Linux distributor doesn't have its marketing act together."

Michael J. Hammel's first Linsight column looks at technology acceptance cycles and Linux. "Linux won't take 30 years to be adopted for several reasons. The first is that Linux is not a new technology. Its the inevitable extension to the PC technology that itself has to evolve to reach its final acceptance."


Upside looks at post-Sarrat Linuxcare and at Linux stocks in general. "[Art] Tyde has based his entire business vision for Linuxcare on the notion that Linux could evolve toward a de facto standard for Internet-device operating systems. The recent swoon is merely a reminder to him that once you take away the novelty and the semi-radical social undertones, Linux quickly becomes about as sexy as asphalt, copper plumbing or any one of a dozen or so technologies we all use but rarely notice."

G2News is reporting that the anticipated ouster of Linuxcare CIO Doug Nassaur has taken place.

The Linux Mall has put up this article about events at Linuxcare. "Linuxcare may well remain in a position to 'Support the Revolution,' but critics are wondering: Whose revolution is it? Tight-lipped executives, scandalous rumors, denial and angry investors may well be critical parts of the rough and tumble world of venture capitalism and public offerings, but for many in the Linux Community, those sorts of dealings fly in the face of much of what the Open Source movement stands for."


LinuxPlanet has a tutorial on Apache. "...suppose you want to keep up with the latest and greatest Apache developments (and bugs), without having to wait for a release? How would you do it? That's what this article is all about."

Linuxcare brings us Tales From The Tech Support Pit. This edition documents one man's 'Quest for a Leaner and Meaner Kernel'. "Not all calls to Linuxcare Technical Support are from distraught customers experiencing imminent technical meltdown. Sometimes calls come from customers who simply wish to leverage the power that only an open source operating system can provide. Paul was one such customer. He had the technical know-how, but still wanted to ask a few careful questions and verify that any customizations he performed would not be irreversible."

Test & Measurement World looks at Linux device drivers. "On the other hand, writing kernel-space drivers calls for advanced C programming skills. To write them properly requires knowledge of arcane issues such as kernel headers, kernel-dependent version control, memory management, and resource control. And if your kernel-space driver doesn't work properly, it can crash your system-requiring a reboot." (Thanks to T.O. Lee).

This week's Linuxcare 'Dear Lina' column deals with color ls. "The next number is the color, in this case 34 is blue. This tells ls to paint directories in beautiful bold blue--an obvious choice for me, love!"

The Linuxcare Application of the Week is grepmail. "grepmail version 4.23, an application licensed under the GNU GPL, is a program that searches /bin/mail-style mailboxes and returns all emails containing the search string. "

Reviews and Interviews

Michael Cheek reviews the Dell laptop preinstalled with Red Hat 6.1 in this article entitled It's a bumpy ride, but Dell takes Linux on the road. The laptop only gets a C+ rating, primarily due to a lack of tuning for the hardware. For example, Michael complains of the lack of a battery monitor, something that is available, but generally must be added to the default desktop. "Dell did not include any special documentation for the Linux version of the notebook. It's needed." (Thanks to Alan S. Petrillo and Jay R. Ashworth.)

LinuxPower reviews Webdownloader for X. "Downloader for X is a neat little application for those of us who download lots of stuff from the net (meaning most Linux fans :). It rids us of many of the frustrations that the old netscape/ftp combo gave and replaces it with an easy to use and powerfull helper application."

LinuxPlanet reviews Omnis Studio for Linux. "We like the way Omnis Software's Omnis Studio brings multiplatform, database application development and delivery to Linux. Omnis has a long track record on Windows and Macintosh with its rapid application deployment (RAD) tools. Omnis provides matching development and delivery tools on all platforms, and applications created on one platform can run on the others, assuming platform-specific features are not used." (Thanks to R. McGuinness).

Here is a followup article to Nicholas Petreley's look at Word Perfect Office 2000. "I still owe Corel an apology for assuming that its stability problems were related to its decision to adapt Wine for its suite. (Wine is the open source project that brings most of the Win32 API to Linux.) I remain unconvinced that Wine was the best way to go, but Corel may yet make a convert out of me." (Thanks to "TJ").

Here's a San Francisco Chronicle article about Salon writer Andrew Leonard. "What would it mean to write in the way open source developers code? Open source code is produced collaboratively, by an international community. When hackers want to contribute to Apache, an open source server project, they literally write chunks of code (called 'patches') that are added to the server software. Can a book really be like Apache or Linux?" (Thanks to Michael Miller).

Olinux.com.br interviews Trae McCombs of Themes.org and Linux.com fame. "I started using Linux for one plain and simple reason. It was a better looking desktop than anything you could have for Windows at the time. That was Sept 96."

LinuxMall interviews Dave McAllister, the new CTO of Maxspeed. "McAllister wants to provide some of that direction from his post at Maxspeed. Maxspeed is an 11 year old company, originally founded in Santa Cruz, Calif., whose products have been largely UNIX based. At the moment, they are running their servers on Linux and their business clients are using Star Office, although they are also evaluating Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000."

CBS Marketwatch interviews Caldera CEO Ransom Love. "I would disagree (with the notion that) we're a classic IPO that popped and dropped. We came out at a very reasonable valuation, and then the market itself went through a major correction. You can't attribute that to a lack of confidence in our company."


La Bastille is the world's largest fully-functional Tetris game. It transforms Brown University's fourteen-story Sciences Library into a giant video display. CNet commented, "The game--in which a player tries to fit shapes snugly together as they drop down the screen--runs on a Linux computer connected to a network of 10,000 light bulbs, according to project architect Soren Spies." (Thanks to Michael Gerdts.)

Linux is at work at the Human Brain Project in this LinuxMall article. "Linux is surfing the curls of the human brain. In a project designed to study cerebral cortex topography as part of the Human Brain Project being carried out at the Massachusetts General Hospital Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Research Center, Linux is being used to assimilate massive amounts of data--and bring the project in under budget. "

Here's an osOpinion piece about the Linux Standard Base. "Corel, Stormlinux, Debian and the other Debian based distributions are set to immediately adopt the LSB, but what happens to those distributions which depend on the RPM's and the Redhat filesystem structure? Mandrake, Suse, etc., why would they switch, how would they switch if Redhat won't? I don't want to see market leadership become an obstacle to compatibility."

To call this Fox News article an "installation nightmare" story is perhaps a bit strong - it's more like an "unpleasant installation dream" piece. "My impressions of Corel Linux at half-time are mixed. To be fair, much of the difficulty I've had so far can be attributed to a lack of knowledge of Linux's basic procedures and directory structure. And I won't soon forget the severe pain it was installing Microsoft Windows Second Edition - caused by bugs and more bugs on the installation CD." (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

April 20, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Linux@work Europe   LogOn has announced "Linux@work", a series of free one-day conference and exhibition on Linux for business in Europe in May.

The Embedded Systems Conference Summer   ESC Summer runs from July 10-12, 2000 in Boston. Linux is covered in the technical program, and should be abundant on the show floor.

Ottawa Linux Symposium   The second Ottawa Linux Symposium has been announced for July 19-22, 2000. The keynote speaker is kernel hacker David Miller, and Alan Cox will be there as well.

Report from the Linux Business Expo   William Stearns is out at the Linux Business Expo and called Baiju Thakkar at LinuxMonth to pass on some brief notes. "First thing he noted was the security. "Security is extremely high here." At first he thought Linus was there and the secuirty was for him. After all the Windows Expo is also going on at the COMDEX. And you never know :) ... But the security is for President Clinton himself. Apparently he is giving some kind of talk at COMDEX. He is not sure if President has walked through the Linux Expo yet or plans to".

Linux Talks at CA World   The line-up of Linux talks at last week's CA World is quite lengthy, with speakers from Caldera, Conectiva, Red Hat, SuSE and Turbo Linux, as well as others. Slides from the various talks are supposed to show up soon on that site as well, though one correspondent tells us that convincing CA that the talks were not going to be given with PowerPoint was not easy ...

Journal to Oslo   From the Linux Portaloo: comes this article about a trip to a Linux event in Oslo, Norway. "This was a commercial sort of conference where people had paid to hear the talks, I believe. Lots of business types. We arrived, Alan talked about Linux 2.4, (again -- what he'll talk about when it's released, I have no idea..), and by then it was lunchtime. (We spent quite a while pushing cars, yes. But it was fun.) After that, Michael did his talk, and we headed to the trade show."

Linux Expo Montreal a Success   The Sky Events Group has released this announcement calling the Linux Expo in Montreal a success. The announcement also looks at plans for next year, and other events.

Web sites

MoblieLINUX.com   Axalia Inc. announced the "soft launch" of the www.mobilelinux.com website.

The redhat.com Marketplace   Red Hat, Inc. announced the redhat.com Marketplace. The new website "provides technology professionals with the perfect starting point for accurate, up-to-date information and purchasing options for Internet infrastructure solutions that are based on or support Red Hat Linux and other open source technologies."

User Group News

Central Ohio Linux Users Group (COLUG)   COLUG will meet Saturday, April 29, 2000 at 1pm CDT.

April 20, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
602html 0.1 A T602-to-HTML converter.
About Me 0.21 A system for recording and sharing preferences, questionnaire answers, etc.
ABYSS 0.3 A fast, small, and portable HTTP/1.1-compliant Web server.
acmemail 2.2.2 A multiuser POP3/IMAP to Web gateway with MIME and mod_perl support
ACS/pg 3.2.2b3 The ArsDigita Community System, ported to PostgreSQL.
Albert Fong Device 1.81 A secure message board.
Aldona 0.99.1 Lithuanian keymap utility for the Window Maker dock
Alkaline UNIX/NT Search Engine 1.3 13-Apr-2000 Web site and intranet search engine and spider, ala Altavista or Excite.
AlsaPlayer 0.99.32 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
Anteater 0.3.3 A Sendmail log analyzer.
AnyJ Java IDE 2.0 beta 1 A Java IDE and browsing tool.
AOLserver 3.0 A multithreaded, Tcl-enabled, dynamic Web server.
Apache-OWA 0.7 Runs Oracle PL/SQL Web Toolkit applications.
Appindex browser 0.7 Simple ncurses-based Freshmeat appindex.txt browser
aps 0.14 Text-based network analysis tool which displays many protocol details.
arianne rpg 0.3.6 A Role Playing Game project.
asmail 0.56 Asmail is a
Audiogalaxy Satellite 0.514 real-time auto resume linux file transfer agent
avlmap 0.9.11 An AVL tree-based key:data mapping (associative array) library for C.
Bastille Linux 1.0.4p1 A comprehensive hardening program for Redhat Linux 6.0.
bidwatcher 1.1.4 tool for eBay users - track and snipe auctions
biew 5.0.4 Binary/Hex/Disasm viewer/editor
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
BioMail 0.52 A program to send new references from a Medline database to its users.
BlackBook 3 GTK+ Address Book Applet
Blender 1.74a Extremely fast and versatile 3D Rendering Package
bmap 1.0.17 Use block-list knowledge to perform special operations on files.
BMRT RenderMan compliant renderer
bookmarker 2.2.0 WWW based bookmark manager
BootRoot 0.4 Create a separate boot and root Linux system.
brag 0.9.3 Download and assemble multipart binaries from newsgroups.
breplibrary 1.0 A 3D solid boundary representation library.
Bubbling Load Monitor Applet 0.9.2 Displays system load as a bubbling liquid.
BusyBox 0.43 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
Buz/Linux driver 1.0.1 Hardware driver for Iomega Buz video hardware
C->Haskell 0.7.6 C-library interface generator for Haskell.
Cannon Smash 0.3.5 3D tabletennis game
Canvas 7.0b1.2 Technical Illustration, Bitmap editing, web design, and publishing app!
CCalc ccalc 0.1.0 A formula-parsing calculator for the command-line.
ccostring 17042000 A utility to compare formatted lines from different files.
cdbackup 0.5.2 cd-r(w) backup utility
cdrecord 1.8.1a07 Allows the creation of both audio and data CDs
CD_Aud 1.2 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
Cervisia 0.6.0 KDE CVS frontend
Chimmy's Yahoo client 0.14 A Yahoo Messenger client for the Linux console.
chkwww 0.1 Tool for checking what Web server a site is running.
Cistron Radius Server 1.6.3 Free Radius Server with many features
citysaver 1.2 A 3D game similar to
CodeCommander 0.4.4 Multi language programming IDE.
Colors.cgi 1.01 A tool to assist Web and graphics designers in picking colors.
Common C++ 0.9.6 A portable environment for C++ threads, sockets, etc.
CoreLinux++ 0.4.15 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Coyote Linux 1.20pre2 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
CR 0.1.2 German C reference.
CRT Terminal Library 0.5 A simple conio.h-style terminal library.
CrushFTP 1.0 A Java FTP server with many features.
CSCMail 1.6.0-Pre Gtk E-Mail Client written in Perl
cscope 13.0 A text screen-based source browser.
cwmtx 0.2.0 C++ Library for matrix, vector and quaternion math
dc1000 0.4 A control program for the Panasonic dc1000 series of digital cameras.
DCL 0.3.4 Dynamic Compression Routines
Deadman's Redirect 2.0pre3 A feature-added PHP redirect script.
deborphan 0.1.2 A Debian orphaned library finder.
DejaSearch 1.8.6 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
DelMail Beta 1 An Expect script to delete multiple messages from a POP server at once.
DLC 0.3 small library for loading C++ classes at runtime
Drall Allows users to access their directories and files remotely via a web browser
dribble 0.0.4 beta A simplistic workflow library.
dwun 0.8 Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
E-nskiller 0.3 An Enlightenment epplet to kill and restart buggy Netscape processes.
Ecology-HOWTO 0.7 Linux as a mean to protect our environment.
eForum 1.02b A Java-based discussion forum component.
eggdrop 1.4.3 IRC bot, written in C
Epsilon 10.0 A multi-platform programmers editor.
EtherApe etherape 0.5.0 An etherman clone that graphs net activity in real time.
Etherboot 4.5.8 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Ethereal 0.8.7 GUI network protocol analyzer
Exim 3.14 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
Expresso Framework 1.04 A library of extensible Java components for building Web applications.
EyePee .007.2 A Perl-based client for eyep.net.
EZ NotePad 1.0 A simple notebook/scratch-pad created in PHP3/PostgreSQL.
EZ Phone Directory 1.0 A PHP3/PostgreSQL phonebook.
Fast Webpage Exchanger 2.5.3 A non-interactive FTP client for updating Web pages
Figaro's Password Manager 0.23 A GNOME app to securely store and encrypt passwords.
File::Cache 0.08 A Perl module that enables the sharing of object data between processes.
FlashCount 3.0 A phone cost counter.
FLTK 2.0 CVS snapshots C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL.
freemed 0.1.3pre20000418 Free medical management software in a web browser
Freemed-YiRC Beta0.06 A PHP-based Youth in Residential Care package.
Freewebfone 3.1 Combines Web video phone, voice mail, and video mail into one program.
FutureSQL Web Database Administration Tool 1.2 A web database administration tool.
FXT 2000.04.09 C++ library of FFT algorithms
GamesNET Services 0.1pre2 IRC Services.
gcrontab 0.6.6 gtk crontab editor.
gedit 0.7.0 A GNOME text editor.
gendns 0.3.1 A tool for centralized management of DNS files.
gentoo 0.11.14 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
Getleft 0.8.2 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
getstockquote 1.01 An embeddable Perl script for easily fetching a variety of stock data.
Ggradebook 0.91 A fully-featured GNU gradebook.
gheadlines 0.3 Web site news in your GNOME panel.
Ghemical 0.0.995 A molecular modelling package with GUI and 3D-visualization tools.
GLAME 0.2.0 A generic and easily extensible audio processing tool and sound editor.
glFtpD 1.20 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
gmessage+ 0.6 An xmessage clone.
GMP 3.0 A free arbitrary-precision math library.
GNet 1.0.3 A simple network library.
gno3dtet 1.2.0 3-dimensional Tetris game for GNOME
GNOME Breakout 0.4 The classic arcade game Breakout for GNOME.
Gnome Toaster 0.3-2000-04-17 create CDRs the easy way with Gnome/Gtk
gnomerar 0.2.4 A GUI frontend to rar.
Gnospam 0.0.2 A GNOME frontend for Slaktool.
gnotepad+ 1.3.0pre3 An easy-to-use, yet fairly feature-rich, simple text editor
GNU fontutils 0.7 Package to create fonts for use with Ghostscript or TeX.
GNU parted 1.0.14 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Prolog Free Prolog compiler with constraint solving over finite domains
GNU Pth 1.3.5 GNU Portable Threads
GNU shtool 1.4.9 Shell Script Collection
Gnubile 0.20 Gnutella client for Unix.
Gnumeric 0.52 Spreadsheet, a new foundation for spreadsheet development, part of GNOME
gnut 0.3.22 Console-based Gnutella clone.
GOB 0.93.3 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
GProc 0.5.4 Easy-to-use process managment tool
gPS 0.8.1 GTK-based process status reporting like ps, top and task manager
Grecord 0.3.3 Simple sound player and recorder
Grip 2.94 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
gSculpt 0.2 3D modeller
Gtk-- 1.2.0 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
gtk-gnutella 0.1 A GTK+ Gnutella clone.
GtKali 0.9.5 Gtk+ interface to Kali.
GtkEditor 0.1.5 Source code editor widget for GTK.
GtkExText 0.0.21
GtkExtra 0.99.5 A widget set for GTK+.
GtkExtra-- 0.6.0 C++ wrappers for GtkExtra, for use with Gtk--.
GTKeyboard 1.0 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
gtyping 0.4 GTK+/GNOME typing program
Guppi 0.34.4 GNOME application for plotting and analyzing data
Gwydion Dylan 2.3.3 Compiler for Dylan, an dynamic, efficient, object-oriented language
Half-life Admin MOD 0.80 A plugin mod to Half-Life.
hdrbench 0.1 A tool to measure real-world audio multitrack HD recording.
Heck Hex Editor 1 The greatest hex-editor in the world.
HiM 0.3.0 Hierarchical marshalling library.
Hollywood Plus/DXR3 Linux Drivers Hollywood Plus/DXR3 Linux Driver 0.2 Linux drivers for the Hollywood Plus and DXR3 DVD decoder boards.
Holometabolous 0.0.1 A Java/XML/SQL Web application suite.
hOpla 1.0.2 A link beetween XML savefiles and postgreSQL databases.
hsftp 1.5 A lightweight FTP emulator for ssh1.
i4lctrl 0.6 An isdn4linux monitor and config tool for Webmin.
id3lib 3.7.0 An ID3v1/ID3v2 tagging library.
id3v2 0.1.1 An ID3v2 tagger.
ImageMagick 5.2 Beta Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
infested/x 0.95a2 A script for x-chat.
InfoWatcher 1.11 A system and log monitoring program.
IRMP3 0.4.3-pre1 Multimedia Audio (mp3) Jukebox; optional IR remote control, LCDisplay, keypad
j 0.2.3 A programmer's editor written in Java.
J.O.O.D.A. 0.3.17.Rf Java-IDE with nice features
Jakarta - Tomcat 3.1 Open-source, community-developed commercial-quality Java server solutions.
Jasper Servlet Engine 0.3.1 Java Servlet Engine.
Java CML Filter Library 1.2.2 A chemical markup language filter for Java.
jClimber's Diary 0.9 A Java app for storing climbing routes.
jdbm 0.081 GDBM-style persistence for Java.
jEdit 2.4pre7 Powerful text editor
Jetty 3.0.A7 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
joyd 0.0.7 Execute programs via joystick.
JReference 0.0.1 A reference manager for DocBook References.
Jungle Monkey 0.1.5 A distributed file-sharing program.
K&R EZ Web Tracker 1.0 PHP3/PostgreSQL Web Tracking System
Kannel 0.7.1 An Open Source WAP & SMS gateway.
kaweth 0.2 Linux Driver for KL5KUSB101 based USB->Ethernet bridges
kdbg 1.1.2 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
KDiskCat 0.5.2 The KDE Disk Catalog software.
KernelWAP 0.1 A linux kernel module for WAP/WTP protocol.
kimwitu++ 1.2.1 A term processor, a generic tree tool.
Kit Client 1.0b5 KDE-based client for the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service.
KMLOFax 0.5.1 Facsimile utility for the ELSA MicroLink(tm) Office
Ks 1.0 A general input/output GUI tool.
Ksetiwatch 0.4.3 SETI@home monitor and work unit manager
Kumera 0.1 A Web-based HTML content management system.
KWav2CD 0.1 A CDRDao frontend to create audio CDs from .wav files.
Kwirk v0.0.16 A Clanlib-based roleplaying game.
LaDa 0.3pre A darts player's helping tool.
lagoodbc 0.2 An ODBC driver for the lago database.
latd 0.0.5 A LAT terminal server daemon.
LDasm 0.01.32 An x86 disassembler and GUI.
leafwa 0.3.1 Web-based administration for Leafnode
Ledcontrol 0.3.0 Shows info on your keyboard's LEDs.
Lesstif 0.90.0 LGPL'd re-implementation of Motif
libdv 0.1 A software decoder for DV format video.
Libsigc++ 1.0.0 Callback framework for C++
libslaktool 0.0.3 A Slackware package library.
LineControl Server 0.8.0 A remotecontrol for internet connections.
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.9pre4 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux-SRT 3.0.4 A real-time system for Linux.
lispreader 0.2 A library for reading and matching expressions in Lisp syntax.
Listar 0.129a Modular Mailing list management software
log4j 0.8.3 Fast and flexible logging tool written in Java.
LoserJabber 0.3 livejournal.com online journal client.
M2Crypto 0.04 OpenSSL tools for Python use.
mail2news-easy 2.5 Converts mail to news and news to mail.
MainActor 3.51 A multimedia processing package.
mcrypt 2.5.3 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
md5cat 0.9 Some Perl scripts to store/compare md5 checksums/mtime in a csv file.
Merchant Empires .05 A Web-based game of combat, strategy, and role-playing.
mhash 0.8.1 Provides an easy to use C interface for several hashalgorithms
Midgard 1.4-beta3 A PHP Application Server Suite - Web building with Web-based tools
MiniGUI 0.2.30 A mini-GUI support library on the Linux console for embedded systems.
MiniVend 4.04 Powerful freely redistributable shopping cart package.
Missile Command 0.99.6 Save your city from nuclear doom.
mkrdns 1.6pre1 Program to automatically generate reverse DNS zone files (PTR records)
modplug-xmms 1.2 A ModPlug player plugin for XMMS.
mod_cgi_debug 0.7 Apache module to help debug CGIs.
mod_ssl 2.6.3-1.3.12 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
mondo rescue 0.919 Generates bootable rescue CD ISOs.
Mono 0.1.0 A real-time monophonic synth with a GUI.
moodss 8.16 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Mozilla M15 A Web browser for X11 derived from Netscape Communicator.
MP3-Database 0.2 A tool to manage your MP3 files.
MP3html 1.3.8 Make configurable listings of MP3s based on their ID3v1 tags
MP3Shell 1.2.2 A simple, functional Tcl/Tk GUI for the mpg123 MP3 player.
MP3VoiceControl 0.9.2 Speech recognition-enabled mp3 player and jukebox.
mp3_check 1.4 A utility which analyzes MP3 files for errors and standards conformance.
mscompress 0.3 A (de)compression utility for files compressed by Microsoft compress.exe.
MTX 1.2.3 program for controlling the robotic mechanism of DDS autoloaders
MultiMail 0.35 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
MVIP 1.00 Shared VRML Virtual Worlds with audio proximity.
MyFreshmeat 1.25 CGI Script for parsing Freshmeat announcements.
MySQL PHP Shopping Cart 1.02 A MySQL-PHP shopping cart/store.
MySQLMailer 1.0 A local delivery agent with MySQL lookup.
nail 9.04 A MIME-capable version of the Berkeley Mail user agent.
nano 0.9.2 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
NanoXML 1.2 A very small XML parser for Java.
Neslie 2.2.2 FTN Type2+ packet/message viewer
Nessus 1.0.0pre2 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NetAMP 0.1 A personal MP3 Web server using Apache/PHP/MySQL.
netstatpl 1.0 A Web-based netstat utility.
nget 0.10 auto-resuming command line nntp file grabber
Nineword 15 April 2000 A GTK anagram word puzzle.
nmh 1.0.4 Enhanced version of the MH electronic mail system.
nsmerge 1.3 A script that merges two Netscape bookmark.html files.
ntop 1.3a0 Network usage monitor
Nucleus XFonts 0.77 A fixed width font package for X
Nuclinux 0.87 A single-floppy Internet Linux system.
Oedipus 0.08 Code for maintaining dmoz.org or Yahoo-like collections of Web links.
OpenGUI 2.17 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
OpenMuscat 0.1.2 High performance probabalistic search engine library.
opennap 0.25 An open source Napster server.
Oracle Object Manager 1.1.1 An all-in-one object manager for Oracle.
PagePoker 1.2 A Perl HTTP client for monitoring and load-testing.
pam_krb5_migrate 0.0.1 A PAM module to ease migration to Kerberos 5.
Pan 0.8.0 beta 5 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
Paw 0.52 Perl ASCII Widgets
Pbotty 1.1D Pbotty - Perl/PostgreSQL/PHP3 IRC Bot
PCI Utilities 2.1.6 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
PDFindex 2.0 Tool to create a PDF index from your PDF archive.
pdid3 1.1.0 MP3 ID3 tag editor for GNOME.
perdition 0.1.4 POP3 Proxy
Perle dialout 0.10 A tool to dialout from a Linux workstation through a Perle 833.
pgp4pine 1.75 An interactive program for using PGP with Pine.
pgp4pine by Marcin Marszalek 3.7 Bash script that allows using PGP under PINE
Photo Collection 0.2 A web-based picture organizer.
PHP firewall generator 0.95 An ipchains firewall generator in PHP.
PHP-x10 0.2 A PHP interface to the X10 firecracker module.
phpMyChat 0.10.0 chat system based on PHP and MySQL
phpMyCoCo 0.0.2 Count and comment your Web pages using PHP and MySQL.
phpMyGb 0.01 A PHP/MySQL based guest book.
phpNewsCenter 0.5.1 A news admin tool.
phpop 1.2.0 Simple PHP Web based POP e-mail reader
phpShop 0.2 E-Commerce System based on PHP and PHPLIB.
PicMonger 0.9.5 Scans Usenet newsgroups for UU- or MIME-encoded binaries and decodes them.
PIKT 1.10.0pre3 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
PIMP 2.21 A Web mail client.
Pliant 37 Efficient and extendable programming language
pngcrush 1.4.2 An optimizer for PNG files that can also insert or delete specified chunks.
PostgreSQL 7.0RC1 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
Powertweak-Linux 0.1.13 System performance enhancer.
pppctl 0.0.4 A suite of simple programs of use for controlling a ppp connection.
PresTiMeL 0.9 A tool to create HTML presentations.
Project5::Account 0.3.1 Automated useraccount creation.
Prometheus-Library 2.8 Object-oriented PHP API
Promisance 2.20 A web-based strategy game.
Prototype Makefiles 1.5 A makefile collection/generator for fast setup of C/C++ projects using gcc/g++.
PTK4L 1.0 PIC ToolKit for Linux. Assembler and programer for PICs.
PTL++ 0.0.2 STL::Iterator and STL::Container wrappers for common C libraries.
PTlink Services 2.5.1 IRC Registration Services
Pybliographer 0.9.10 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
PySol 4.10 A Python-based Solitaire card game
Python VFS 0.6.0 A memory file system for Python.
QDMerge 0.55 A utility to generate documents from a template and data files.
Qpopper 3.0 POP3 server
Qt 2.1.0 GUI software toolkit
QuakeWorld Forever 0.03 alpha An attempt at cheat-free Quakeworld.
R 1.0.1 A language and environment for statistical computing.
randomsig 1.0 A program that picks a random line from one or more files for use as signatures.
rCalc 0.2.1 Fast and light symbolic calculator for GNOME.
recover 1.0a A utility which automates some steps to undelete a file.
Remote 1.0 A tool for executing commands on a computer that's within a firewall.
Restaurant Guide 1.5 A PHP/MySQL eatery ranking system.
reverse release-1 A C++-based backup suite for Linux.
Rhyming Dictionary 0.2 A rhyming dictionary.
RMC 0.53 A MUD client for X.
ROX-Filer 0.1.20 Drag-and-drop based filemanager.
rpmlint 0.14 rpm error checker.
Ruby 1.4.4 An object-oriented language for quick and easy programming
run 0.9.0 Maintain a single running process of a program.
rxvt 2.6.2 A VT102 emulator for the X window system
Samba 2.0.7pre4 Allows clients to access to a server's filespace and printers via SMB
sbot.pl 3.9 A GameBot (scramble) for IRC, using Perl 5.
SCAIN 2.0a1 A simple crypto algorithm.
ScanDoc 0.13 Themable documentation generator similar to Javadoc or KDoc
score_time 0.0.1 An app to display a time schedule based on time spans.
Secure FTP 0.9 FTP replacement over ssh/rsh
sersniff 0.0.3 Program for tunnelling/sniffing for between 2 serial ports.
sgmltools-lite 3.0.0 A Python-based frontend for DocBook/SGML processing with Jade.
signature 0.12 a dynamic signature generator for e-mail and news
silly Poker 0.25.4 A simple yet comprehensive console poker game.
sips 0.2.2 A PHP-based Weblog system with no need for a database server.
Sjeng 7.0 A chess- and chess variants-playing program.
slackjaw 3.6 Bot for FirstClass server chat rooms
Slashdot Quickies 0.1 A program to download Slashdot Quickies.
slmon 0.2.4 A system performance monitor using the S-Lang library.
Sloppy 0.0.1 Deliberately slow proxy to get that dial-up experience
smartlog 3.6 A logfile maintenance utility.
SML/NJ 110.27 Compiler, development environment, and libraries for Standard ML
Spaceball 3000 0.1 A TCL top-down networked game.
SpaceWatcher 1.2 Keeps an eye on free disk space and alerts you if there is a problem.
SpeedX 0.1.2c An X11 racing game.
Stereograph 0.19 A powerful truecolor stereogram generator.
streamripper 0.6.4 Records Shoutcast streams with metadata to create separate files for each track.
Sunbot 0.2 Yet another bot similar to Kevin Lenzo's infobot.
Sunshine Commander 0.2.0pre1 Crossplatform, consolebased FileManager
TCM 1.98 A collection of graphical editors for different software specification methods.
Temperature.app 0.2 A Window Maker applet that will display the local temperature.
TeXmacs 0.2.4f-bis W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. technical text editor
Text Image .65 Gimp Script-fu script to make images out of text.
The Glasgow Haskell Compiler 4.0.6 A compiler for Haskell 98
The Urgent Decision 0.9.18 An action strategy game.
The Witty CD Player 0.0.5 CD Player with oversampling
ThoughtTracker 0.5.5 Knowledge base application storing arbitrarily linked notes.
TkNap 0.4.10 A barebones Napster client written in Tcl/Tk.
Toaster 0.8.6 C program testing tool for working with gdb.
toolame 0.2f Optimized MPEG 1/2 Layer II audio encoder
ToutDoux 1.2.0 A project manager.
TreeDoc 0.3 PHP functions for opening and closing links inside the same page.
TSE3 0.0.1 TSE3 is a powerful open source sequencer engine written in C++.
twin 0.2.7 A text-mode window manager and terminal emulator.
Two Kernel Monte 0.2.0 Linux loading Linux on x86.
txtfmt 0.1 ASCII text formatting utility.
UDB 0.1.2 An IP user database.
UdmSearch 3.0.11 Fast WWW search engine for your site
UltiPost.pl 0.9 A Usenet newsgroup binary file autoposter.
unarc 0.1 Unpack archives into their own directory.
UniCount 1.3.4 Text or Image SSI counter
Units-Filter 0.93 A tool to check student's answers, correctly handling different units.
Unix Amiga Delitracker Emulator 0.01c Plays old Amiga tunes by emulating Delitracker players with UAE.
UnZip 5.41 Unpacks .zip files such as those made by pkzip under DOS
upd 2.02 Makes hiscores of your best five uptimes, ready for when showing off!
usbmgr 0.1.6 Load Linux USB kernel modules automatically.
VAMP 1.9.8 Flexible PHP-based Web mail.
vcdtools 0.2 Tools for making VCDs (Video CDs) under Linux.
ViPEC 2.1.4 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
vmailmgr 0.96.5 Powerful qmail addon package for virtual domain email
Vorbize 0.0.5 An enhanced encoder for the Vorbis music compression format
VTun 2.1 Virtual Tunnels over TCP/IP networks.
W3Mail 0.9.4 A Web gateway to POP3 eMail.
Watchlink 0.1 Implementation of the Timex Datalink protocol.
Webber 1.1.0-build15 A web content development framework.
webCDwriter 1.0pre2 Network CD writing.
WebKNotes 0.7.1 Web-based knowledge notes database written in Perl.
WMAnsiEd 0.2 An ANSI/ASCII editor.
WMbad 0.3.0 Dockapp for launching (long) shell commands.
wmclock A Window Maker clock applet.
wmDownload 0.1.1 A dockapp that monitors how much you've downloaded.
wmpinboard 1.0 Window Maker pinboard dock-app
wmstradio 0.1.2 Radio-like dockapp for streaming audio connections.
WN/SSL 2.0-1 SSL add-on for WN 2.0.x Webserver
WTEST 4.0b Web application testing tool
Xalf 0.2 A utility to provide feedback when starting X11 applications.
xcdplay 0.8 A quick and dirty GUI front-end for dave's cdplayer.
xcyr-fonts 2.3 Extended Cyrillic bitmap fonts (KOI8-C) for X.
XDBM 1.1.5 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
Xdialog 1.2.0 An X11 version of cdialog.
XEBOT 0.8.00 Visual GUI application builder and self contained execution environment
xinetd Powerful inetd replacement
Xmame/xmess 0.37b1.2 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
xmms-fc 0.3 A Future Composer plugin for XMMS.
XOSL 1.1.2 An Extended Operating System Loader.
XPK 0.1.4 An interfacing standard between application programs and packer libraries.
XPovray Frontend 1.2 Cool X-Povray front-end written in X-Forms.
xscorch 0.0.2 Annihilate enemy tanks using overpowered guns.
xtune 0.5 A simple GUI program to tune your guitar in Linux.
xwpe-alpha 1.5.23a A programming environment for UNIX systems
xxdiff 1.4.7 A graphical file comparator and merge tool.
Yet Another Mail Manager 0.7.7 A Java email client.
ZClock 0.5 A highly configurable GNOME clock applet.
Zed 1.0.5 A simple, powerful, and configurable text editor.
ZenToe.cgi 0.-1.20000418D A Slashdot-like WebChat using only Perl.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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

Linux links of the week

Dan Kegel has put together an SSL Acceleration page which contains everything he could find on how to make secure socket layer-enabled web sites perform better. Dan's looking for input from anybody who has additions or corrections for the page.

The GNU/Linux Audio Mechanics (or GLAME) project has set itself the task of producing a top-quality sound editor for Linux systems.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

April 20, 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, 13 Apr 2000 01:17:39 -0400
From: <esr@golux.thyrsus.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: John Gibson's letter on the DOJ vs. MS

John Gibson claims "There would be no competitive economic environment
without the regulation of law specifically crafted to promote and
sustain it!"  He is deeply in error.  Economic competition is not a
fragile hothouse flower requiring the constant protection of
governments, but a robust and ubiquitous phenomenon that flourishes
whenever human beings need to solve scarcity problems and are not
forcibly prevented from trading with each other to do it.

There are any number of counterexamples to the silly claim that
government-made law is essential to economic competition.  Customary
law maintained by the self-interest of economic actors is quite
sufficient (the economist David Friedman has written extensively on
this topic).  For especially pure cases, interested readers should
investigate the history of dumb-show trading on the coasts of Africa,
or of the Nevada silver-mining camps in the 1840s.

He is even more fundamentally confused when he writes:

>Or does anyone think we'd be better off without the regulation
>implied by First Amendment protection?

What "First Amendment protection" does is not regulate speech but
rather *prevent* regulation of speech.  Despite himself, however,
Mr. Gibson has chosen a useful parallel.  Just as the quality and
vigor of public speech is improved when government is forbidden from
regulating it, the quality of economic competition is improved when
governments refrain from attempting to improve on it.
		<a href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr">Eric S. Raymond</a>

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good.
	-- Mohandas Gandhi
From: "Wolf N. Paul" <wnp@crossnet.at>
Subject: Andy Tanenbaum & Minix
To: letters@lwn.net
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 09:59:53 +0200 (CEST)


I would like to correct the impression given by your item about the
license change for MINIX. 

When MINIX was first released it was part of a book published by Prentice-Hall,
and like the text of the book was covered by P-H's copyright. 
Andy Tanenbaum went to great lengths to get P-H to agree to personal copying,
etc; and in his note announcing the change to the BSD license says that
now, with Linux, Free Software  and Open Source being well-known bywords,
it took two years to get P-H to agree to this change.

While I deplore Andy's initial attitude towards Linux and its creator, 
I also deplore the implication that he is somehow to be blamed for the fact 
that MINIX simply predated the Open Source movement and was therefore 
published under a different license.


Wolf Paul
Crossnet.AT Technical Manager
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 11:20:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: Christopher Laprise <cprise@yahoo.com>
Subject: WordPerfect "review"
To: lwn@lwn.net

I was surprised by this review, which read like so much flamebait.

I've used WP Office on Corel and Red Hat Linux, and it works well (not
having crashed even once). I find it very usable on a Cyrix PR200, although
Wine has a tendancy to scan (and time-out on) every empty CD-ROM drive in
the system; With CDs inserted, the apps start up in reasonable time.

If WordPerfect doesn't work with his/her pet flavor of Linux, too bad.
Linux distros are missing *SO* many services that mature apps rely on, and
Corel is not going to sit around waiting for a standards group to set
things straight.  Corel is adding necessary functionality to Linux as they
go (witness their involment in extending Linux printer support), but they
can't write code to retrofit every distro.

Most Linux distros are hideous, sprawling, inconsistent masses.  And every
major player who lumps in a new technology thinks they have bettered Linux.
But thank goodness they're wrong; Linux consists of the kernel and nothing
more until standards for various levels of functionality are set.  These
emperors are wearing no clothes.  When people try to intimidate users with
the implication they're running "crippled" Linux unless they have at least
4 or 5 scripting languages installed, at least I know better.

Think of all the people who lumped their pet tools into Linux distros just
to support their quick-and-dirty, user-unfriendly contributions.  Why
should Corel be lambasted for making their own additions and making their
own apps dependant on them?  Those OS additions are available to the
community just like the other pet technolgies (which are often less usable

IMO, the opinions offered in the LWN article are entirely incredible.  The
reviewer was not honest enough to describe the distro in use (Corel only
supports a finite number, you know) or the modifications it contains, *or*
to admit they were working from a particular brand of Linux
conventional-wisdom.  He/she also didn't acknowledge X-Windows'
shortcomings as a source of GUI problems (lack of support for modal windows
and dialogs, for instance).  This is why the LinuxWorld review, in
contrast, was much more fair and ultimately more positive toward WP Office.
They stated the distros and mods being used, and gave Corel credit for
extending Linux up to the task of serving a mature application.

To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: [Correction] linux-msdos review just wrong....
From: ebiederm+eric@ccr.net (Eric W. Biederman)
Date: 15 Apr 2000 11:36:29 -0500

This thursday you publish a link to a review of the
linux-msdos@vger.rugters.edu mailing list.  This appears to be
a cascade of lack of knowledge.  This is the mailing list
for discussing running msdos on linux.  In particular dosemu.

The review appears to have been wholly gennerated from the title,
without any thought.  If you are going to link to flames about 
a public mailing list could they at least be correct flames???

From: Dub_Dublin@tivoli.com
To: letters@lwn.net
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 13:03:52 -0500
Subject: Re: de Icaza Speaking Ad?

I gotten several challenges to my assertion about patents as a desirable thing
(mostly asking for examples of small inventors that actually did profit from
patents) so here's my quick response, FWIW:

Anyone saying patents don't do immense public good, and provide worthwhile,
needed, and *effective* protection of small inventors against large corporations
is simply ignorant of the history of even quite recent technology.  Many
inventors started small, but because of patent protection were indeed able to
profit greatly from their inventions.

>From the "gararge-shop" POV, well, just off the top of my head, there are the
examples everyone is familiar with: Bill Hewlett and David Packard (HP,
instruments), Steves Jobs and Wozniak (Apple, home computer), and outside the
computer industry, folks like Edwin Land (Polaroid, polarized materials and
instant camera), Chester Carlson (Xerox, xerography), Henry Ford (Ford,
affordable automobiles), Thomas Edison (GE, light bulb, motion pictures,
phonograph...), and Alexander Graham Bell (AT&T, telephone), all of whom
profited greatly from their patented works.  (One could argue for the inclusion
of Jeff Bezos in that list, although around here, that's a bit like whacking a
hornet's nest with a stick...)

But the classic twentieth century example of patents providing exactly the kind
of protection I'm talking about is probably that of Philo T. Farnsworth, whom
you may never have heard of, although you likely use his invention (electronic
television) every day.  Farnsworth was the prototypical individualist inventor
who persevered against all odds and eventually defeated David Sarnoff and
Vladimir Zworykin of the immensly powerful RCA.  RCA was truly the Microsoft of
its day in terms of control of the market and underlying technologies through
acquisition - often under severe economic and other pressure.  RCA had a policy
of never paying royalties for any technology - a policy they managed to uphold
until they met Philo Farnsworth, who just wouldn't give up.

Farnsworth fought virtually alone against  all of RCA's power for seven years
before the final court rulings that his patents had clear validity and
precedence over Zworykin's, forcing a tearful RCA lawyer to sign a royalty
payment agreement to Farnsworth.  (Farnsworth publicly displayed television
*five years* before Sarnoff unveiled RCA's infringing version to the world
amidst great fanfare at the 1939 World's Fair, leading many to believe Sarnoff
and RCA were the inventors of television - sound like anyone today?)

Farnsworth's experience is, if anything, a case study for the need to
*strengthen* patents and either streamline patent appeals or extend the length
of patents when thier commercial utility is impacted by unsuccessful challenges.
(World War II intervened, and the government outlawed television for the
duration of the war (the technology was needed for radar, night vision and other
inventions Farnsworth then worked on), and so Farnsworth's patents expired
before he could profit from them.

Do you still think patents are a bad idea?  I'd argue experience shows that
patents should be strengthened and perhaps that the duration of Farnsworth's
patent should have been extended, due to RCA's clear abuse of the patent system
and the courts.  (I also think the government should have been upright enough to
grant extensions in the name of fair play to all inventors whose inventions were
commandeered for the war effort, but that's another issue entirely.)

History clearly shows that often patents are all that stands between real
progress and innovation and the acquisition by force so typical of a Sarnoff or
Gates.  Strong patent law is the *only* effective defense against large
companies stealing technology from small inventors.  (What RCA tried to do could
be accurately portrayed as theft.)  I'm amazed more people don't get this, but
they tend to avoid history, and fail to recognize that our American forefathers
were wiser than we are in pretty much every way.

Although it's not perfect, there are very good reasons the patent system is the
way it is, and we meddle with it at our peril.  It would be nice to see a
balanced discussion of this issue rather than the knee-jerk reactions that are
more common in the open source/free software community.


P.S.:  I recommend spending some time browsing through some of the links below
to see how many of the great inventors of recent history were independent - the
protection provided by the patent system allowed them to develop and in many
cases profit handsomely from their inventions.  You might be surprised at the
diversity and "ordinariness" of many of these inventors of important
breakthroughs - they're not such an elite group as you might imagine (the list
is somewhat US-centric - our culture celebrates invention, and so links for US
inventors are much easier to find):

National Inventor's Hall of Fame:   http://www.invent.org/book/index.html
MIT's Invention Dimension Archive:   http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/archive.html
Good Internet Public Library list of links to Inventor information:

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 15:49:55 -0400
From: Derek Glidden <dglidden@illusionary.com>
To: letters@lwn.net, sales@xig.com
Subject: What is XiG's problem?

I noticed in the April 13 edition of LWN a note about Xi Graphics
releasing accelerated, OpenGL-compliant drivers for 3DFX Voodoo3 cards
and was intrigued, being an owner of such a card.  However, after just
skimming over the press release and their website, I had run across such
appealing quotes as:

"Xi Graphics Engineering Manager Jon Trulson said that all Linux
distributions have freeware graphics software because it's free, not
because it's good."  (Yeah, like all that other crappy, free software
that comes with your Linux distro.)

"In fact, if you have Mesa installed on your system, it should be
removed when you install an LGD. Mesa is a freeware "knockoff" of
libGL..." and mentions Mesa may cause conflicts with XiG's GL libraries
and that without removing it,  "things go to hell in a handbasket, and
our code get [sic] a bad rap!"  (Mesa is a "knockoff" of OpenGL the way
XFree86 is a "knockoff" of X11R6 and Linux is a "knockoff" of UNIX I

"Then one notices that the system runs, and runs, and runs.  Those
annoying crashes and lockups you experience with the freeware drivers
are gone."  (I'm not familiar with those...)

"On the other hand, some users seemingly will put up with about
anything, so long as the software is free. We see our fair share of
these folk, and needless to say, they are not our target customer." 
(They're really winning me over now with their honesty.)

Then I recalled seeing a story on Slashdot at one time: "XiG Ad Campaign
Slamming Xfree?" (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/10/14/1420204)
that covered a full-page ad run by XiG with the statement:  

"If you're still using that 'free' X server that came with your Linux
distribution, well, hazardous conditions lie ahead"  (one wonders why
they felt the need to put "free" in quotes.  I can think of few licenses
more "free" than the X11 license under which XFree86 is distributed) 

and follows up with the completely false claim that:

"When the X server 'falls over' - crashes - the entire operating system
goes down."

So XiG's advertising strategy appears to be one of slamming their free
counterparts whenever the opportunity arises with claims of bad
performance and instability.  (Strangely, I don't notice them attacking
Precision Insight or MetroLink, although I probablyl just overlooked
it.)  In light of this, I find some of the other quotes on their Voodoo3
driver page even more interesting:

"Please be advised that the LGDs are not yet up to the performance level
that can be obtained on other systems ... Direct Graphics Hardware
Access is not yet implemented, and some speed optimizations are yet to
be done."  (You mean to bring them up to the level of functionality and
performance of the freeware drivers?)

"... we expect frequent updates for bug fixing and to increase
performance, which is much slower than we like. The updates will be
available free to owners, since their Key can be used to unlock the
newest (faster, less buggy) demo version of the LGD."  (Bugs?  Increase

One has to wonder what the marketing department is thinking at XiG to
believe that this kind of smear advertising is going to win over the
loyalty of the "demanding Linux user" they mention so frequently on
their site.  Yeah, we demand performance and stability, and we like
"free" but we also demand a bit of common sense and fair play.  This
kind of attitude is NOT going to score XiG brownie points with the
average Linux user, much less the "demanding Linux user."  Oh, but maybe
we aren't their target customer...

A couple of quotes from the DRI mailing list (you know, that freeware
graphics driver project) make the point just as well:

"Mesa and XFree86 have pretty good reputations in the Linux community. I
think Xi's only hurting themselves by printing such nonsense."

"We've certainly put off buying their $300 product primarily because of
their poor attitude."


With Microsoft products, failure is not           Derek Glidden
an option - it's a standard component.      http://3dlinux.org/
Choose your life.  Choose your            http://www.tbcpc.org/
future.  Choose Linux.              http://www.illusionary.com/
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 2000 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
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