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Leading items and editorials

Free software and embedded systems. "Free," as in "liberty," is an important aspect of free software, as Richard Stallman and others often remind us. In a world where our lives are increasingly shaped by the code we use, it is important to have access to that code. Our security, freedom to do what we want with our computers, as well as simple convenience depend on this access.

In that light, it is interesting to consider this quote from the same Richard Stallman, from this GnuLinux.com interview:

I'm less concerned with what happens with embedded systems than I am with real computers. The real reason for this is the moral issues about software freedom are much more significant for computers that users see as a computer. And so I'm not really concerned with what's running inside my microwave oven.

"Real computers" are clearly a more interesting topic at the moment, but it is worth thinking a bit more about embedded systems. All of the pundits tell us that "real computers" will slowly be marginalized in favor of "appliance" systems which serve specific purposes. Consider the new, Linux-based "household appliance" system announced by Gateway as a step in that direction. The Linux-powered TiVo box is another.

If we accept that, in the future, we are going to be surrounded by more of these boxes, it may be time to worry about our access to what goes inside them. There is no end of freedom-related issues which can come up in the embedded context:

  • Security and privacy. That TiVo box may be a very nice way to watch TV. But do you know what it's telling others about your viewing habits? Is that Internet notepad built into your refrigerator sharing your shopping list - either by design or by error? Do we really want to enter into a world of set-top box viruses?

  • Freedom of use. Wouldn't it be nice if that DVD player were an open source system? A number of problems would cease to exist. The whole DVD "region code" system is an abuse of copyright protections, and we can expect to see much more of that kind of thing in the future. Freedom to program our devices can protect us, at least to an extent, from this sort of obnoxiousness.

  • New capabilities. An open device can be programmed to do things not envisioned by its creators. In this regard, the folks at Axis Communications are to be commended for keeping their network camera device open (see feature article, below). The best tools are those which can be used for new and interesting purposes; why should we accept being limited to what somebody else was able to imagine? There may even be reasons to teach a microwave oven new tricks.

So freedom is an issue with embedded systems. Not only should source be available for the devices that shape our lives, but there needs to be a way to make "derived products" download new code as well. The alternative is to grant a lot of power to the manufacturers of these devices (and to groups like the DVDCCA which control the manufacturers through licensing contracts).

[Axis camera] The Linux-powered network camera. Speaking of Linux-powered devices, the folks at Axis Communications lent us one of their Axis 2100 network cameras. The 2100 is a webcam-like device with an interesting twist - it's running Linux inside. In this LWN feature article we describe our experiences with the camera, and discuss a bit what's to be found inside the box. It's an interesting application of embedded Linux, not to mention a fun toy.

Language wars. Free software developers are rarely accused of lacking opinions or the willingness to express them. The heat that is generated on development lists can be truly amazing at times - especially when you consider that the people involved manage to remain friends and work well together. At least most of the time.

It's surprising, then, that there have not been more language-related battles in the Linux world. Languages can be a religious issue for many, and others are more than happy to jump in for the sake of a good fight. Part of the reason may be that there simply have not been that many languages that have been seen as interesting for Linux development. C remains the language of choice for many, if not most, projects. When developers move beyond C, they usually take the relatively short step of going to C++. Very few large projects have been done in any other language.

Things are starting to change, however. C is unparalleled for the degree of control and performance that it gives programmers, and will not be displaced soon. But C also brings with it a legacy of memory leaks, buffer overruns, and lack of expressive power. Increasingly, programmers are looking to other languages which make things easier. And, increasingly, there is not another default language to move to, setting the stage for some serious disagreements. Consider these two developments:

  • Eric Raymond has coded a new kernel configuration system in Python, as was covered in last week's LWN Kernel page. Replacing the configuration system is absolutely uncontroversial, but the use of Python has upset a number of people. Several kernel hackers are upset, even though they, in all likelihood, will never have to even look at the Python code that implements CML2. One kernel developer has stated his intent to recode Eric's work in C, rather than install Python on his system.

  • Digital Creations will add Perl scripting to Zope, in cooperation with ActiveState as described in this announcement. The reaction from the Zope community has been somewhat negative, to say the least. Python programmers tend to like their language; many of them see Zope as a vehicle which is helping Python to get the attention that it deserves. They fear that admitting Perl into Zope will have the effect of crowding out Python, and messing up the purity of the system as a whole. They fear a future where they have to use Perl to work with Zope.

    The folks at Digital Creations are taking a pretty strong position that there is nothing to worry about. Zope is to be inclusive, and to support as many languages as possible. Better to welcome everybody than to attempt to be exclusive. But they also make the point that Python will remain the core language of Zope. (See remarks posted by Paul Everitt and Hadar Pedhazur for their reasoning).

As developers look around for the best tools for the job, we are likely to see more of this sort of fight. Debate over tools can be healthy, but so is a diversity of tools. We are better off if we can work together and promote our favorite tools in their merits, rather than opposing and trying to exclude others.

LWN info. We are experimenting with a new "this week in history" section on the LWN back page this week. Drawing on over two years of LWN archives, we look back in the past at events which still have significance today. If people like it, we'll keep on doing it in the future.

It's also past time for our occasional reminder of our LWN notification mailing list. We send out a brief note each week once the weekly issue of LWN is published. See our Contact page for details if you would like to sign up.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Netscape and the Personal Security Manager, massive numbers of updates.
  • Kernel: No NFS update in 2.2.16; the trouble with timers, 2.4.0-test1
  • Distributions: Three new distributions, reports from Conectiva and Rock Linux.
  • Development: Xcircuit, BeOpen PythonLabs, weekly development reports.
  • Commerce: AOL/Gateway's new appliance; Corel's struggle
  • Back page: Linux links, this week in Linux history, and letters to the editor
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

June 1, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.


News and Editorials

Netscape SSL authentication vulnerability (again). The possibility that an attacker could use a previously authenticated SSL certificate to fool your Netscape session into accepting transactions from a redirected site was first reported in the May 18th LWN Security Summary. Last week, we heard that the problem was fixed in Netscape 4.73. This week, the report is that Netscape 4.73 is still vulnerableto a similar problem, if a user ignores a received warning message, unless the iPlanet Personal Security Manager (PSM) has also been installed. CERT has also issued an updated advisory for the problem.

From the paragraph above, the options for person using Netscape seem simple: install the Personal Security Manager. Well, the issue is not quite so simple. If you go to the download site listed above and check their installation instructions for "Unix", it states, "Before you install Personal Security Manager on Unix, you must be logged in as the same Unix user you will be logged in as when you run Communicator. For the Unix installation to succeed, you must have write privileges for both the directory where the Netscape executable resides and the directory where the installation script creates the directory containing the Personal Security Manager files."

For an average system, the only user that owns the directory in which the Netscape executable resides is "root". We stepped through the installation and verified that only Netscape running as "root" has access to the Personal Security Manager after its installation. In fact, any attempt to click on the "dead-bolt" security icon by a user other than root will lock Netscape 4.73.

This means that you will have to install a private copy of Netscape for each non-root user on your system, and then install a matching copy of the Personal Security Manager. That would be a pretty tall order for a University system with, say, several thousand accounts. Even for a non-technical user with their own PC, this is an unexpected burden. PSM is essentially a broken product within a multi-user Unix environment and needs to be fixed.

Security Reports

Majordomo wrapper vulnerability. A problem has been reported with majordomo, in which the majordomo wrapper script can be used to gain access to and run commands under the uid and gid of the login id that owns the majordomo binary. A patch for majordomo is included.

xlockmore overflow. COVERT Labs has reported an overflow in xlockmore which can allow an attacker access to password hashes for other users. An upgrade to xlockmore-4.16.1 will fix the problem. Information on updates from Debian, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, SCO and TurboLinux is included in the advisory.

IP Filter 3.3.15 vulnerability. IP Filter, a TCP/IP packet filter shipped with FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, has been reported to contain a weakness which, via a flawed configuration, can allow a firewall penetration. Patch/workaround and vendor information for the three BSD platforms are included in the advisory.

FreeBSD and OpenBSD: incorrectly exported system call. FreeBSD has issued an advisory reporting an undocumented system call that is incorrectly exported. As a result, an unprivileged user can block all processes from exiting properly. New stable versions of FreeBSD dated after May 1st are no longer vulnerable. NetBSD and OpenBSD are impacted, but only in rare cases and with less severe symptoms. Recent OpenBSD 2.7-beta snapshots and the upcoming OpenBSD 2.7 release have been fixed. NetBSD has put out an update as well.

NetBSD security updates. NetBSD issued two additional security advisories this week for problems specific to NetBSD:

Cobalt FrontPage. As we mentioned in last week's Security Summary, the installation of FrontPage on the Cobalt RaQ2/RaQ3 contains a permissions problem that could allow files on the system to be improperly changed, overwritten or deleted. Cobalt has issued an advisory confirming the problem and making available updated packages to resolve the problem.

Commercial products. The following commercial products were reported to contain vulnerabilities:


dump. Security-related buffer overflows in dump were reported originally in the March 2nd, 2000 LWN Security Summary. For more details, check BugTraq ID 1020.

fdmount. An exploitable buffer overflow was reported in fdmount. For more information, check last week's Security Summary.

gdm. A buffer overflow vulnerability was reported in gdm, the Gnome display manager. An upgrade to gdm 2.0beta4-25 is recommended.

kdm. In a related item, kdm, the KDE display manager, also contains a buffer overflow (though not the same one). It has not been demonstrated that this overflow is actually exploitable, but an upgrade is still recommended.

gnapster/knapster. For more information, check out the security report in the May 18th LWN Security Summary.

gpm improper permissions handling. Improper permissions handling in gpm, the virtual console cut and paste utility and mouse server, was discussed in the March 30th LWN Security Summary.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

kscd. kscd, the CD player provided with the KDE multimedia package, can be easily exploited to gain root privileges, if it is installed setgid to "disk". Removal of the setgid bit should fix the problem. This was first mentioned in the May 18th Security Summary.

kdesud. A DISPLAY environment variable overflow can give an attacker access to gid 0. Check BugTraq ID 1274 for more details.

Kerberos. Check last week's Security Summary for details.

lynx. After a series of reported security problems with the lynx text-based web browser dating back to September of 1999, the code has at last undergone a thorough audit. The latest version, lynx-2.8.3pre.5, is believed to close all major holes. (From last week's Security Summary).

mailman. Additional details about the mailman mailing list manager security problems we reported in last week's Security Summary can be found in this Debian bug report log. An upgrade to mailman-2.0beta2 is recommended to close these holes.

openldap tmplink vulnerability. A tmplink vulnerability was reported in openldap. Check the April 27th LWN Security Summary or Red Hat Bugzilla ID 10714 for more details.

This week's reports:

Previous reports:

Qpopper. Check last week's Security Summary for more details. Qpopper 3.0.2 or later should fix this problem.

xemacs. Check last week's Security Summary for details.


June/July security events.

June 12-14, 2000. NetSec 2000, San Francisco, California, USA.

June 19-23, 2000. 12th Annual Canadian Information Technology Security Symposium, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

June 25-30, 2000. 12th Annual First Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

June 26-28, 2000. SSS2000 Strategic Security Summit, Helsinki, Finland.

June 27-28, 2000. CSCoRE 2000, "Computer Security in a Collaborative Research Environment", Long Island, New York, USA.

July 3-5, 2000. 13th IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop, Cambridge, England.

July 10-12, 2000. Fifth Australasian Conference on Information Security and Privacy (ACISP 2000), Brisbane, Australia.

July 14-16, 2000. H2K / HOPE 2000, New York, New York, USA.

July 26-27, 2000. The Black Hat Briefings, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

July 28-30, 2000. DEF CON VIII, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 1, 2000

Secure Linux Projects
Bastille Linux
Khaos Linux
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Security List Archives
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Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
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Debian Alerts
LinuxPPC Security Updates
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Security Software Archives
ZedZ.net (formerly replay.com)

Miscellaneous Resources
Comp Sec News Daily
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.4.0-test1. Prior to taking a three-week break, Linus announced the release of a new development kernel series: 2.4.0-test1. This kernel is essentially 2.3.99-pre10 with a couple of additional tweaks; see last week's LWN kernel page for a description of the new features.

Now that Linus is gone for a while, there won't be any official development kernel releases. So Alan Cox has taken up the mantle and has started putting out "ac" releases with no end of new stuff. The current version, as of this writing, is 2.4.0-test1-ac7. This release isn't really meant for general consumption; there are several problems that the kernel hackers are trying to track down.

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.15. The 2.2.16 prepatch is up to 2.2.16pre7, which is a release candidate version.

No NFS update in 2.2.16? The 2.2.16 prepatch contains a number of worthwhile fixes, but is missing any sort of NFS update. The 2.2.15 kernel is running an older version of NFS with a number of problems; it's not doing anything to help Linux's reputation for having a second-rate NFS implementation. Some kernel developers have expressed disappointment that the NFS updates have not gotten into 2.2.16.

The story seems to be this: the NFS fixes appear to be stable and well tested. But there are a few remaining questions, including whether their inclusion would require users to upgrade their userland utilities. Meanwhile there is pressure to get 2.2.16 out quickly - 2.2.15 has a number of problems, especially the memory management issues that have been discussed in this space over the last few weeks. So 2.2.16 ships without NFS updates. Maybe in 2.2.17...

ReiserFS in 2.4? Hans Reiser has submitted the ReiserFS filesystem for inclusion into 2.4, finally. Of course, he did so just as Linus left town, so no decisions are going to get made on that for a while. But the ReiserFS developers think they are ready, which is a step in the right direction.

Trouble with timers. Programming SMP systems can be a tricky business. See, for example, this posting from Andrew Morton regarding kernel timer races. Here is a bit of unpleasantness that, thankfully, was found before 2.4.0 came out. Fixing it is going to require some core API changes, though - not something one wants to do while trying to stabilize a new major release.

Kernel timers are simple in concept. When some part of the kernel wants to have something done at a specific point in the future, it sets up a timer. Once the timer expires, a handler function is called to take care of whatever needed to be done. There are all kinds of uses for timers - handling the timing aspects of network protocols, making sure a driver does not hang if a device fails to respond, etc. The <linux/timer.h> include file is invoked by over 400 source files in recent kernels.

The real purpose of a kernel timer, much of the time, is to put a bound on the time that the kernel will spend waiting for a specific event. Normally, that event happens before the timer expires; at that point the timer is no longer needed and can be deleted. And that's where the problem comes in: what if the timer expires - and the handler function is called - just before it is deleted?

When that happens, there is a timer function running that the main thread of control does not expect to be there. That thread and the timer function may well then conflict with each other. In the best case, this sort of race condition could produce erratic device behavior; in the worst it can corrupt and crash the kernel. The result is an obscure, "once in a million times" bug that is extremely difficult to track down.

The simple fix would seem to be to have the function which deletes kernel timers - del_timer() - simply wait until there are no handlers running for that timer. In fact, that's how things worked in the 2.1 days. But this "synchronous" behavior has its own problem: it can easily lead to kernel deadlocks if the routine deleting the timer holds locks that the handler needs. This problem was severe enough that the synchronous behavior was removed before 2.2.0 came out.

The real solution is going to require some changes to timer semantics and a detailed auditing of the almost 700 del_timer() calls. Mr. Morton has put together a plan and a patch which gets the process going. In the end, the del_timer() function will go away, having been replaced by a synchronous version (to be called only when deadlocks can't happen) and an asynchronous version (which requires that other arrangements be made to avoid race conditions). The work, hopefully, will be done by 2.4.0, though some residual problems may well remain in the more obscure drivers.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Eric Raymond has released a number of new versions of his CML2 kernel configuration system. Linux-kernel has also seen an extended flamewar related to use use of Python for CML2; the masochistic are invited to check out a linux-kernel archive site if they really want to plow through it all.

  • John Boboval has released an update to the kernel profiler.

  • Gerd Knorr has posted a new version of the BTTV frame grabber driver.

  • A new virtual memory patch was posted by Rik van Riel.

  • Jeff Garzik has announced a set of updates to the via82cxxx_audio, tulip, and 8139too drivers.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

June 1, 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.

News and Editorials

Linux for the Timid, Part 2 (Linux Journal). Linux Journal takes a look at DragonLinux, one of the Linux distributions that can be installed under Windows without requiring disk repartitioning. "Tell me how this sounds. A full-featured, no-commitment Linux OS with networking, K Desktop Environment (KDE), 2.2.6 kernel (so you've got great support for modern hardware), a bevy of tools, network applications (e-mail, PPP), games, you name it, weighing in at a mere 150MB (44MB download size). No need to create a new Windows partition, and perfectly easy to remove if you decide this was a bad idea (you won't). " [From Linux Power].

New Distributions

ASP-Linux, Inc. announces a distribution. A company called ASPLinux has announced its plans to launch a new distribution - said to be the first created in Singapore - at the end of June. The list of advanced features it will provide is "true 32 bit processing, multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, proper memory management and TCP/IP networking" - these folks are on the bleeding edge. The distribution is apparently aimed at application service providers, and will also include some clustering options.

Build Your Linux Disk 1.0alpha1. The alpha release of BYLD (Build Your Linux Disk), a package to help you build your own Linux floppy-based distribution, has been announced. CDROM and even EEPROM support is talked of in the future.

spyLinux 1.0.15. spyLinux, an acronym for "(s)mall (py)thon (Linux)", is a single-floppy-based distribution that supports basic utilities, networking and a Python interpreter. The initial release of spyLinux was announced Tuesday, May 30th.

The author, Jeff Clement, explains his reasons for creating spyLinux on his web-site: "I create spyLinux because I have a pile of old 486 machines and to make them do something useful. I don't have any extra HDDs so that's out. I figured a machine with a Python interpreter can be almost anything. I can offload scripts to be run onto the machines, I can run web servers, chat servers, network monitoring, etc. This is why I created spyLinux to have a single disk distro which I could use for almost anything."

Caldera OpenLinux

Caldera - New FAQs. Caldera has released a list of new FAQs made available in the past week. 14 new FAQs were announced, with subjects including video-related problems, printcaps, Webadmin, burning cdroms and more.


Review: Conectiva Linux 5.0 (Linux in Brazil). Linux in Brazil reviews (in Portuguese) Conectiva Linux 5.0. They like it - especially for beginning users. English text is available via Babelfish.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Weekly News (May 30th). This week's Debian Weekly News indicates that the second Debian test cycle has begun. At this point, the attitude toward the remaining 80 or so release critical bugs is getting fairly pragmatic. Richard Braakman commented, "I hope that we can simply ignore most of them. At this point I don't mind releasing potato with a handful of broken packages, if they are not overly popular ones. The test period will show which of the bugs are truly critical."

Although security fixes for Debian continue to go in at a rapid pace, information on packages that have been fixed is hard to find; it is certainly missing from the Debian Security Page. Joey Hess talks about the cause of the problem in this week's DWN. They need more help on their security team, but new members need to be people that are already well-known and trusted.

Debian GNU/Hurd

Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd (May 24). For those of you interested in tracking the on-going development of the Debian GNU/Hurd project, another Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd is available.


Linux-Mandrake 7.1beta (The Duke of URL). Patrick Mullen has put out an in-depth review of Linux-Mandrake 7.1beta, the latest version of Linux-Mandrake which he comments is just about ready to roll out the door. "The product in the limelight here is XFree86 4.0. XFree86 4.0 implements something Windows users have been enjoying for years. Direct hardware access. This will no doubt help the push for more 3D drivers, as we have seen at least nVidia step forward and pump out XF86-4.0 compatible drivers almost immediately after its release."


LinuxPPC. If you're interesting in playing MPEG movies on your LinuxPPC machine, you'll want to check out the new instructions for doing just that.

Rock Linux

Rock Linux BOF at SANE. The Rock Linux BOF at SANE 2000 in Maastricht, The Netherlands apparently took the prize for longest BOF, running from 4 PM Wednesday to noon on Thursday. It sounds like Rock was pretty popular:

Rock Linux is a very exciting Linux distribution. It targets system administrators, adheres to the latest standards and includes the most recent kernel and other packages. Rock Linux was the first to include OpenSSH, devfs and much more. Also it fetches the latest tar balls from ftp sites and or Rock mirrors from packages like Apache, MySQL etc.

Slackware Linux

This week's updates. Not a lot of changes went into the current tree this week. A security fix for fdmount was put out; check the Security Summary for details. A new xlock package was created. It includes xlockmore-4.16.1 without calling it a security fix, but older versions of xlockmore do contain an exploitable buffer overflow, so upgrading to this newer version is recommended.

TimeSys Linux/RT

TimeSys has put out a press release highlighting the real-time features in their TimeSys Linux/RT distribution.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 1, 2000

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

Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
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Also well-known
Best Linux
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Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
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General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
BluePoint Linux
BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
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Complete Linux
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Corel Linux
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eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
HA Linux
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TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
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GNU/Linux Ututo
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Red Flag
Linux Esware
Kaiwal Linux
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Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

Historical (Non-active)
MCC Interim Linux
Storm Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

Feature: a look at xcircuit. Xcircuit is a handy program for drawing electronic schematics. It is also useful for creating diagrams that are built from sets of graphical symbols. LWN's Forrest Cook has spent some time playing with this application and has written up a feature article on how it works. Have a look for an introduction to circuit design and hardware hacking with Linux.

Python development moves to BeOpen. Guido van Rossum has posted a letter to the Python community describing his move from CNRI to BeOpen.com. "What will change, and what will stay the same? First of all, Python will remain Open Source. In fact, everything we produce at PythonLabs will be released with an Open Source license. And we'll continue to maintain www.python.org. What changes is how much time we have for Python. Previously, Python was a hobby or side project, which had to compete with our day jobs; at BeOpen.com we will be focused full time on Python development!"

And, as if Guido hadn't stirred things up enough yet: "Oh, and to top it all off, I'm going on vacation. I'm getting married and will be relaxing on my honeymoon." Congratulations to Guido on all counts!

Guido isn't the only one moving to BeOpen.com. BeOpen PythonLabs will be staffed by Guido, Tim Peters, Barry Warsaw, Fred Drake and Jeremy Hylton, according to the Team page, a hefty list of Python hard-hitters. And they are still looking to hire more! We wish them the best of luck in this new collaboration between free software and free enterprise.


Mozilla Status Update (May 25). A new Mozilla Status Update is now available, with reports from all the various Mozilla development groups. It includes the first status report from the newly formed Architecture group.

Chatzilla Report. From MozillaZine, we hear that Chatzilla, which adds IRC chat to the Mozilla Tasks menu, has been pre-installed in Mozilla as of the 2000052508 build and appears to be working quite well.

Browser Wars: The Future Belongs to the Dinosaurs (ZDNet). This ZDNet column predicts victory for Mozilla. "So far, the GPL and other xPLs have been more social than legal contracts, but if it comes down to it Netscape's parent (AOL/Time Warner) probably has better copyright lawyers than anyone. That should keep people honest and put Mozilla on a path to perfection."


New Linux Game. Burn Baby Burn is a new Linux game that takes a look at the post-apocalyptic world (post-Microsoft court case, to be precise). No licensing information is attached, but the source code is freely provided. It is based on GTK/GDK and requires Glade builder.

Quake III arena editor for Linux. Loki has announced the release of the Quake III Arena editor for Linux. It's an "early test" beta version, available for free download.


Corel to host WineHQ. WineHQ, the information point for people interested in Wine, will soon be hosted by Corel.

Wine 20000526 released. A new version of Wine has been released. This release includes lots of bug fixes, a new C pre-preprocessor for the resource compiler, and OpenGL support.

Network Management

OpenNMS Update 1.10. This week's Open Network Management System information updatehas been released.

Office Applications

Gnucash heads toward a stable release. The gnucash team has announced a plan to release gnucash-1.4, the first GNOME-based stable release of this financial management package. The schedule they have adopted is aggressive, with a feature freeze happening on June 4 and the actual 1.4 release coming out on June 18. Gnucash is coming along nicely, and this release heralds the beginning of its widespread adoption.

AbiWord Weekly News (May 25). This week's AbiWord Weekly News is now available. Check it out to find out who won this week's $299 Patch Prize.

The Gimp version 1.1.23 has been released. A new version of the Gimp has been released. This is a bug-fix release that is a step towards the next stable version (1.2) of the program.

On the Desktop

GNOME 1.2 released. GNOME 1.2 ("Bongo GNOME") has been released - check out the press release for details. In addition, LinuxPower took a look at what's new in GNOME 1.2.

Developing GNOME Applications with Gnome-Python (LinuxDev.Net). LinuxDev.Net has run a tutorial article on writing GNOME applications in Python.

KDE's Konqueror (LinuxPlanet). This article on "Konquering the Web" discusses the KDE2 Konqueror web browser. Konqueror performs efficiently as a web browser, an FTP client, a file manager, and an application launcher. "It's so powerful that it would be a thick book that documented it fully--but nobody would need the book, because controlling it is so obvious."

Keystone VNC system for KDE. Keystone is a KDE tool that acts as a VNC client for remote access to various cross-platform VNC servers. This allows you to control a remote machine as if you were on the local console.

GTK+ and GLib 1.2.8 Released. Version 1.2.8 of GTK+ and GLib have been announced. The updates primarily include improved documentation and bug fixes.

Web-site Development

Perl to be supported in Zope. Digital Creations has sent around a pre-announcement that they will be working with ActiveState to support Perl scripting in the Zope system. Code is expected to be released at the O'Reilly conference in July. For commentary on this announcement, check this week's Front Page.

If you'd like some more detailed information on this decision, you might be interested in checking out this IRC chat session, including Digital Creation's Jim Fulton and Paul Everitt answering questions about Perl, methods and other miscellaneous items. PHP, for example, was also mentioned briefly...

A condensed version of the IRC chat is also available on the Zope.org site, for those who don't want to plow through the whole thing. There is evidently some interest at Digital Creations in making these chats into a semi-regular event.

This week's Midgard summary. Here is the Midgard Weekly Summary for May 31. It includes a article on how the French business Aurora has expressed interest in contributing to the Midgard project and more.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 1, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


Latest Version of Open-Source Cynlib. CynApps.com has announced a new release of its open-source cynlib C++ EDA hardware design class library. "This version contains a number of enhancements that make it richer, easier to use, and easier to integrate with other EDA tools."

SourceForge provides access to Itanium systems. SourceForge has announced that it is providing access to prototype Itanium systems for developers to port their code. They have also set up a IA-64 development portal to go along with the prototype systems.


JavaOne.Computer Reseller News reports on Sun Microsystems Inc's hosting of it's fifth annual JavaOne conference in San Francisco, CA. "'Java will play an important role in smaller and smaller devices,' said Reed Hornberger, senior director of horizontal technologies market development for computer systems at Sun, based here. 'While Sun still derives revenue from selling its Java developer tools, it also is working to embrace the open-source community', he said."

Websprocket Offers Open-Source Java. A new Java language implementation, JEMINI, is being offered by Websprocket for use on embedded systems. "JEMINI includes a vast array of foundation libraries found in commercial Java distribution. JEMINI also includes a host of libraries suitable for device drivers, embedded file systems, embedded system design, and embedded system design automation."


This week on perl5-porters (22--28 May 2000). The latest report from the perl5-porters mailing list has a heavy section on regex engine enhancements, containing some good background material on the topic.

Perl Whirl reports. Reports from Perl Whirl 2000, the Alaska cruise full of Perl geeks, are being made available on use Perl;. So far, no technical tidbits ... don't tell us the scenery really made them speechless!

use Perl;. Speaking of which use Perl; is a new companion site to Perl News based on the Slash code. Check their announcement for more details.


Are You Being Served? An Introduction to PHP (ZDNet). Here's an introduction to PHP in ZDNet. We think they liked it.

When I started writing this article, I promised myself I wouldn't editorialize or evangelize the usage of PHP. Instead, I'd just write a nice little article about this cool server-side scripting language that's currently used on over 1.4 million web servers. I wasn't going to go on about the blazingly fast parsing engine in PHP4, or its database connectivity functions. I wasn't going to discuss the XML support, Java servlet support, native session handling and IMAP functions. Most of all, I wasn't planning to enter into the 'open source vs. commercial software' debate, and tell you about the hard-working group of developers working day and night to add functionality and upgrades, based purely on user responses and requests.


This week's Python-URL. Here is this week's Python-URL. It covers a number of Python-related items, but appears to have come out a bit early to catch Guido's move to BeOpen.com.

Introduction to Python (Geeks404.com). If you are interested in learning python, check out this article for a quick introduction to the language. The article provides basic information on the language and is a good starting point for those already familiar with programming.

Qt 2.x and Python 1.6 bind together well (SunWorld). Here's a SunWorld tutorial on using the Qt GUI toolkit with Python 1.6. "Most GUI toolkits for Unix are presented through their C programming interfaces or, occasionally, with Java. But the number of toolkits available to Python programmers is remarkable, which is one of the reasons we believe Python is a far better vehicle for exposition and most development. One of the most interesting of these toolkits, PyQt, has just become even more interesting."

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

Language Links
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
Daily Python-URL

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Gateway, AOL, and Transmeta collaborate on Internet Appliances. Gateway and America OnLine (AOL) have teamed up to bring a family of new Internet Appliances (IA) to market. This announcement, dated May 30, says the new appliances will be powered by Transmeta's Crusoe Processor running Mobile Linux. Mobile Linux is one of the projects that have been keeping Linus Torvalds busy at the formerly-oh-so-secretive Transmeta.

There are three different devices in the works, which will all use the Netscape Gecko browser, described in this press release dated April 5, 2000. "These next-generation appliances will utilize the Netscape Gecko browser technology. Gecko, Netscape's smaller, faster and more potent browser engine technology, is a key component of the AOL Anywhere strategy and is designed to power Internet devices across a range of platforms and enable Web developers to create more compelling Internet-based content and applications. All of these devices will utilize the LINUX operating system."

No mention is made of Transmeta or the Crusoe processor in the April 5 announcement, but, later in April, Gateway and AOL are separately listed among several investors who collectively poured $88 million into Transmeta Corporation.

The three designs vary in size and functionality, from a wireless Web pad to a countertop appliance, and up to a desktop appliance. The latter will be both smaller and cheaper than a PC, but it will have keyboard, mouse and screen. Users will be able to get to AOL and the Internet and send and receive e-mail. The wireless Web pad connects (wirelessly) to a base station to offer portability with a limited range. It can be used with either a touch pad screen, or a wireless keyboard. Naturally all of these devices come with AOL Internet service.

Corel is still in the news. As discussed in the May 18th edition of LWN, Corel is reeling from the cancellation of its deal with Inprise/Borland. It probably didn't help much that shortly after that two senior managers resigned from the company. However, Corel has been working hard to stay in the game.

Newsalert carried the initial press release announcing a "bought deal" between Corel and Canaccord Capital Corporation, involving between $15 million to $30 million Canadian. Some additional details are present in this Reuters article.

Both press releases heavily emphasize the next step, which will be implementing a "cost-savings plan". While we might expect reports of heavy lay-offs next, what we have seen this week are some alliances designed to keep Corel Linux and Linux products around.

Other initiatives announced by Corel this week include:

  • There's a deal with Rebel.com wherein Corel will license Rebel.com's "OfficeServer" software and build it into an "enterprise edition" of Corel Linux.

  • A strategic alliance with Linux Technology Ltd. will bundle Corel's Word Perfect into Linux Tech.'s Linux-based Internet appliance systems.

  • Also Corel has signed a letter of intent with Spinway, Inc., to offer Corel customers free Internet access on Linux, Windows or Macintosh platforms. Corel LINUX OS will include a CD of the free ISP service, specifically designed for Corel LINUX OS.

Announcements from Red Hat. Red Hat has filed its 2000 annual report. Check it out for a complete description of where the company is at. They are up to 435 employees now.

Announcements such as this one from Gothic Corp. which says they will sell 269,511 shares of Red Hat stock have not seemed to have fazed Red Hat very much. Red Hat went on to announce the completion of its acquisition of Bluecurve, Inc., and there's this announcement telling us that the Google search engine runs on Red Hat. "Google, one of the fastest growing search engines on the Web, operates its search engine and all of its computing functions on a cluster of more than 4,000 PCs running Red Hat."

SourceXchange, FreeAgent.com to join up. Opus360 and Collab.Net have announced a deal where Collab.Net will be sponsoring an open source development section on Opus360's FreeAgent.com site.

IBM S/390 RedBook. IBM has posted a "RedBook" for Linux on the S/390. RedBooks are detailed documents aimed at IBM's serious customers - this one is 424 pages long. (Thanks to Alexandre Dulaunoy).

Network Appliance, Oracle, VA Linux build NetLedger Data Center. Network Appliance has announced that it is working with Oracle and VA Linux Systems to build the data center for NetLedger; this center involves "several hundred VA Linux servers."

Linuxcare joins the IA-64 Linux project. Linuxcare has announced that it has joined the IA-64 Linux (don't call it "Trillian" anymore) project.

Press Releases:

    Open Source Products
    License will be mentioned if known.

  • CynApps Inc. (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) made Cynlib 1.2, the latest version of its open-source EDA C++ hardware-design class library, available for downloading at (www.cynapps.com).

  • Lutris Technologies, Inc. (SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) announced Lutris Enhydra Professional 3.0, the latest version of this open source application server.

  • The OpenSource Documentation Fund will be driven by sales from OpenDocs Books is being implemented to help invigorate the Open Source Documentation Community.

    Commercial Products for Linux

  • 101Communications has announced the launch of Enterprise Linux Magazine, starting with the August issue.

  • theKompany.com announced the release of PowerPlant, a powerful suite of developer tools and software for producing integrated Linux software.

    Products Using Linux

  • Get2Chip.com, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) will demonstrate VOLARE system-on-chip technology, developed under the Linux operating system with a Java front-end.

    Products with Linux Versions

  • 4thpass (AUSTIN, Tex) announced the immediate availability of KBrowser for Palm VII.

  • Cambex Corporation introduced the Centurion 2000 FF, a "full-Fibre" Channel disk storage system.

  • ClioSoft, Inc. (FREMONT, Calif.) announced a new version of SOS, its design data management system.

  • CoffeeCup Software, Inc. announced the planned launch of the CoffeeCup HTML Editor SE.

  • DataCore Software Corporation (FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) announced the immediate availability of its SANsymphony storage domain server software.

  • DataMirror Corporation (TORONTO, CANADA) announced the introduction of its new XtremeCache technology for its clustering and high availability Solutions.

  • Hypercosm (SAN JOSE, Calif.) now has a Linux version of Hypercosm Studio, for interactive 3D graphics.

  • OnShare, LLC (ITHACA, N.Y.) launched its redesigned site. OnShare technology, similar to Napster, allows anyone with access to the Internet to share files with other users.

  • Rainfinity (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced the release of Rainwall 1.5. Rainwall software solutions are designed to ensure high availability of mission-critical Internet firewalls and VPN gateways.

  • SynTest Technologies, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced that the company has added support for the Linux platform for all of its DFT, BIST and ATPG tools.

  • Vatical Entertainment (LATHAM, NY) announced the creation of a new publishing arm. The new division, Alter Ego Studios, will target a more mature gaming audience, while games appropriate for all family members will continue to be published under the Vatical logo.

  • Zero G (SAN FRANCISCO) announced the introduction of PowerUpdate, an Internet-based updating service for software applications and data.

    Java Products

  • Cleo Software Development (PHOENIX, AZ) released Site Mapper 2000. This software is a Java application that makes interactive maps of websites. A Linux version is expected soon.

  • Epic Data International Inc. (VANCOUVER, B.C.) and Symbol Technologies, Inc. announced an agreement to jointly launch Epic Data's eXpresso application development toolkit for Symbol handheld computers at the Symbol Software Developers Conference.

  • IBM (SOMERS, N.Y.) announced WebSphere Application Server Standard Edition for OS/390, a Java-based Web application server environment.

  • O'Reilly & Associates (Sebastopol, CA) announced the release of a significant remake of the popular book "Exploring Java", now titled "Learning Java", by Patrick Niemeyer & Jonathan Knudsen.

  • ParaSoft (MONROVIA, Calif.) will exhibit WebKing 2.0 at JavaOne from June 6-9, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.


  • OmniLinux has announced " Linux 1-2-3 Fundamentals", a CD containing a computer-based tutorial for Linux.

  • SAP is now offering Linux and technology courses. (Thanks to Sivaraj D)


  • Bluepoint Linux has announced an agreement with Beijing Guoyan Information Technology Company (Guoyan), a company owned by the China State Council and Beijing Telecom. Bluepoint Linux will be providing its server edition, plus configuration, optimization and design expertise, telephone and on-site support and training.

  • eLance.com announced the launch of the eLance Marketplace Network, which among other things will incorporat eLance's projects and service providers into the redhat.com Marketplace.

  • Elfstone Software, LLC and MSC.Software (ROYAL OAK, Mich.) announced that Elfstone RTX has been chosen as core graphical interface technology to bring MSC.Patran, engineering modeling and simulation analysis software, to Linux platforms.

  • Group 1 Software (LANHAM, Md.) announced that it has entered into an agreement with IBM to provide IBM's WebSphere Application Server as a component of Group 1's enterprise software solutions.

  • Integrated Software & Devices Corporation (SAN JOSE, Calif.) provider of embedded Linux, announced it has signed a strategic agreement with ARM. ISDCorp will provide Royal Linux for ARM partners.

  • Knox Software (Carlsbad, CA) announced that it has expanded its relationship with SuSE Inc. SuSE resells and supports Arkeia backup software.

  • Network Appliance, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) and Sendmail, Inc. announced they are offering a combined Internet mail solution.

  • SuSE Linux has formed a partnership with Mailbox Internet, Linux internet service provider in the UK, to co-promote desktop penetration of Linux throughout Europe.

  • VistaSource, Inc. (WESTBORO, Mass.) announced that it will join forces with Red Hat, Inc. to offer customers a substantial rebate on the purchase of VistaSource and Red Hat Linux products.

  • Zapex Technologies (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced the formation of strategic alliances with Daikin of Singapore and VideoPropulsion of Slinger, Wisconsin, for the marketing of its Linux-based MPEG-2 compression products.

    Investments and Acquisitions

  • ArsDigita (CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) announced it has completed the acquisition of iAggregate. iAggregate software will be integrated with the ArsDigita Community System (ACS), a suite of open-source, enterprise-class applications.

  • Omnis Technology Corp. (SAN CARLOS, Calif.) announced the acquisition of Metamorph, a Rapid Application Development (RAD) standardization tool. Metamorph will be available later this year, after the launch of Omnis Studio 3.0, and will incorporate all the functionality of the new release, and it will be available in a Linux version.


  • 101communications LLC (LOS ANGELES) announced that Gene Pritchard has been named group publisher of HP Professional and Enterprise Linux magazines.

  • Rebel.com Inc. announced the addition of Chris Biber to the executive management team as vice president of marketing.

  • theKompany.com (RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.) beefed up its core development team by adding two open source programmers from existing development projects, Phil Thompson, developer of PyQt and PyKDE, a package for using the Python programming language with Qt and KDE development; and Max Judin, developer of KDE Studio, an IDE tool for developing KDE applications for Linux.

    Linux At Work

  • Partners in Commerce, Inc. (BOSTON, MA) introduced ClubSelling.com and CorpSelling.com. Linux-based e-commerce solutions built using Magic Enterprise Edition V.8.3 for Linux.

  • XOR Inc. (BOULDER, Colo.) announced the signing of a multi-million dollar, multi-year agreement to manage eBusiness for HealthCentral.com, including a Linux-Oracle platform.


  • Merlin Software Technologies International Inc. (ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla.) announced the opening of a sales office in Phoenix, Arizona and the establishment of a telemarketing group.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

June 1, 2000


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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading.

Multimedium has run this lengthy article (in French) arguing for the use of Linux in Quebec schools. It argues several points, from the purely financial to the issue of getting control of school computers out of the hands of private companies. English text is available via Babelfish. (Found in Portalux News).

Gateway Internet Appliance.

ZDNet ran this column on how the new Gateway "home appliance" shows that Transmeta is a threat to Microsoft. "Pay attention: This is the first time that a Top 5 PC maker has stepped out like this, flipping a middle finger in Redmond's direction. (Note that Gateway and AOL, among others, were part of the group providing Transmeta with about $88 million in funding.)"

The New York Times ran this AP article on the new Linux-based "home appliance" system from Gateway. "A Transmeta-Linux combination offers consumers an alternative to the combination of computers with Intel processors running on Microsoft's Windows operating system, analysts said." Note that the New York Times is a registration-required site. (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).

Reuters looks at the Gateway home appliance. "Analyst Gwennap added that: 'It may be a little bit harder for Microsoft than Intel because Linux definitely has some attractive features. First of all, it's free and, second, the vendors can access the source code and make whatever alterations they need to suit their needs.'"

According to this Reuters article, Gateway and AOL will be announcing an "Internet home appliance" system that will be based on the Transmeta Crusoe processor and Linux.


Federal Computer Week looks at WordPerfect for Linux. "WordPerfect Office for Linux represents a significant milestone for the Linux desktop movement in that it is the first commercially established productivity suite to be ported to Linux. As such it brings the same level of functionality and features that have come to be expected from most Windows-based products."

This ZDNet column laments the failure of the Corel/Inprise merger. "A Corel/Inprise pairing might have given desktop and personal Linux systems the same synergy that worked so well for Windows. We might have seen Corel's consumer-friendly platform (at least compared with many other Linux distributions) with the company's capable suite of mass-market applications, augmented by the robust Borland tools for writers of more exotic software: tools that could have been sold on a break-even basis, or even as loss leaders, instead of needing to pay their own way."

CNet was quick to follow up on Corel's announcement of a deal with Canaccord with their own article, but provided few additional details from the press release. "Corel did not disclose its cash reserves because it is in a quiet period in advance of its quarter closing on May 31, but insisted it can meet its financial obligations."

The Ottawa Citizen reports on Corel's falling stock. "The stock fell more than twice as far as anticipated after Corel announced it will sell up to $30 million in stock through Cannacord Capital. "

News.com reports on morale at Corel. "Morale took another hit last week when Corel employees traveling for trade shows were forced to pay hotel bills with their own credit cards after learning the company's credit cards had been cancelled."

Red Hat.

ZDNet interviews Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann. "In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the paradoxes presented is that if people had proof of God, their belief would be fact-based instead of faith-based, and the loss of faith would cause God to cease to exist. The way Linux standards work, you've got to believe. If people believe, then standards are widely accepted. If people don't believe, then everyone's off doing their own thing. In the LSB, there's kind of a schizophrenia."

Internet Week reports on Google's use of Linux. "Support was another factor in choosing Linux, Google said. The company has Linux expertise in-house, and values the ability to look at the source code to correct problems, rather than having to rely on a vendor. And where the in-house expertise fails, Google has found the Linux community responsive with fixes."


The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the history of BSD. "The group evolved formal procedures for incorporating improvements made by others into the core system, and thousands of programmers worldwide eventually made contributions to the effort. In effect, the BSD project defined the model later followed -- with variations -- by other open-source development projects, most notably Linux."

Also in the Chronicle: this article about FreeBSD in particular. "On the other hand, by next fall, the companies Infonetics surveyed expect to have Linux on 18 percent of their servers and Solaris on 47 percent; FreeBSD's share is projected to drop to 13 percent."


UpsideToday takes a look at how and why IBM has been so fast to pick up and deploy Linux. "'We learned a lot from the Internet,' says Frye. 'Most importantly, we learned about the value of open standards, how you can make a lot of money owning a piece of an open standard as opposed to a little bit of money owning the entire thing.'"

Tom Nadeau speculates on IBM's possible plans for OS/2 Warp, in a world where they continue, slowly, to move towards using open source in more areas of their business. "IBM has rewritten the Warp 4 kernel in the latest Fixpack 13 as well as the upcoming Convenience Packs. What if the cumulative rewrites over the past four years have finally eliminated the co-owned code? Then Microsoft would have to keep its mouth shut and watch IBM open a "second front" in the war on Windows."

Computer Reseller takes a look at IBM's new hardware and their plans for Linux. "While IBM's server lines currently support Linux, the company plans to utilize some of the NUMA-Q capabilities to push the upstart operating system into the enterprise, said Fry. 'Linux is typically deployed in smaller machines,' Fry said. 'Our goal is to drive Linux to mission-critical applications.'"

Other Companies.

Computer Reseller News reports that Compaq may open-source parts of Tru64. "During a news conference on the company's new AlphaServers, Compaq Chief Executive Michael Capellas was hesitant when asked if the company had a place for Linux in its high-end hardware offerings. Capellas said he saw Linux as an operating system that could reach 'edge of network' solutions such as Web servers or departmental servers, leaving Tru64 and proprietary Unix to deliver where high-octane computing was needed."

ActiveState uses Mozilla in its new IDE, code-named "Komodo". This Upside article takes a look. "No, it isn't the latest Japanese monster film remake. On Wednesday, Activestate, a Vancouver, Canada, company specializing in Perl-based software development, announced that it will use the open source Mozilla browser as a framework for building its new Perl- and Python-integrated development environment, or IDE. "

This News.com article looks at the merger of LinuxMall.com and EBIZ. "Though unfavorable market conditions contributed to LinuxMall's decision to derail the IPO, that consideration was secondary in the merger, [LinuxMall CEO Dave] Shaw said."

Here's an Interactive Week column about Scriptic's name change. "The company produces a Tcl Pro toolkit as well as continues development of the open source code Tcl scripting language, Ousterhout said. "

News.com covers the release of AllCommerce by OpenSales. "OpenSales, a 45-person company based in San Mateo, Calif., filled out its management roster and won $10 million in venture capital earlier this month. With its e-commerce software, the company hopes to reproduce the success of open-source software such as Linux, Sendmail and Apache, which have established solid followings against competition from companies such as Sun Microsystems and Microsoft."

LinuxMall.com takes a look at QNX, a company working with embedded systems in an "Open-Source like" development model. "Paul Leroux of QNX's corporate communications division discussed QNX's partially Open Source developmental model. 'A very small percentage of developers would understand the microkernel well enough anyway,' he stated. 'It is not of benefit to provide that code.'"

News.com has posted this article about the VA Linux Itanium compile farm. "To get access to the system, people must sign a nondisclosure agreement that requires them not to release information about how fast the systems perform..."

Other Business.

Evan Leibovitch's latest editorial speculates on potential Linux mergers that could produce some strong competition for the Linux market, now that the IPO route is seen as less dependable. "So... how might things shape up? Here are some match-ups that could be interesting, if they ever were to happen:"

A brief, introductory article on Beowulf comments, "Linux clustering means cheap supercomputing". To be more specific, "...a large Beowulf cluster should cost from one-third to one-tenth the price of a commercial parallel supercomputer. Even so, this really is a technology for organizations, not home hobbyists."

News.com looks at the new budget Beowulf cluster in Kentucky. "AMD's 3DNow technology was designed to improve the 3D graphics of games. But the feature can also be used to speed up mathematical calculations, said Hank Dietz, a professor at the University of Kentucky and the architect of a new 64-processor Linux supercomputer built out of 700-MHz AMD Athlon microprocessors."

Here's a ZDNet article on the decline of Linux stocks. The author thinks things have maybe gone too far. "We're not going to tell you it's time to buy Linux stocks, but there's a serious disconnect between Linux reality and Wall Street."

Amongst a list of computer tidbits, ComputerUser comments on the Linux growth curve. "Evans Marketing Services claims that the number of large corporations running Linux increased by 95 percent in the last half of 1999. That's a big jump, and it shows the continued trend toward Linux growth. Evans Marketing's survey also showed that the number of companies running Linux on more than 25 percent of their servers jumped from less than 2 percent in May 1999 to nearly 13 percent in December 1999. Running Linux on more than one-fourth of their servers is a big commitment for companies to make, and this shows quite startling growth in just six months."

Here's an article in The Times (London) blaming proprietary software for the recent virus problems. It gets perhaps a bit ahead of the truth, however, in looking at the alternatives. "PCs must be secure and immune to the threat from unauthorised programs. Their reliability has to be improved to that of all other products that have embedded software, such as televisions, mobile phones and cars. In this respect Linux is now ready for deployment on the desktop. Software exists that enables all existing Windows applications to run on Linux without any changes, allowing compatibility to be maintained and ensuring that user skills are not made obsolete."

The View, a BeOpen commentary, looks for Open Source Winners. "The potential winners of a MSFT break-up may not be the Operating System vendors, but rather the Open Source Application developers, most of which are still private."

Open-source becomes a model for e-governance in this article from The Hindu. "The Panchayat Level Information Network Project progressing in three grama panchayats -- Asamannur, Chottanikkara and Kunnathunad -- is using Linux as the basic operating system (OS). Linux has already attracted notice worldwide from the way it has made even Microsoft look up."

Based on the experience of deploying Linux in a Guatemalan Hospital, LinuxMedNews takes a look at the performance of Linux and Windows under pressure. "The central question: How did it [Linux] fare against Windows? Two thumbs up, it worked very well. But the reality is that it has to work with Windows for now. Even in Guatemala they had two Windows machines already in place and running, although not networked."

ZDNet has run this lengthy article on running a business without Microsoft products. "Although Linuxcare as a company uses Linux on every desktop, [CTO Dave] Sifry conceded, 'We have not been able to run a 100 percent Microsoft-free environment yet. Any company that is 100 percent Microsoft-free is either too small or not facing up to certain issues.'" (Thanks to David Emile Lamy).

Business Week proposes a remedy for the Microsoft antitrust case. "While Judge Jackson probably won't take this advice, here's another way -- and the best way -- to rein in Microsoft: Just "open-source" the Windows code. If done right, this simple move would foster competition, reduce prices for consumers, and increase the quality of the software. It might also be the smartest move Microsoft could make to ensure its future survival."


Interactive Week talks with VA Linux CEO Larry Augustin. "We're the people that want to work on Linux and open source, we're where they want to work, ok? We've had a great time going out and finding those people who are really Linux and open source developers, and being able to offer them positions here at VA, and essentially do what they love."

BeOpen interviews VA Linux CEO Larry Augustin and Samba's Jeremy Allison. "As a native of Sheffield, England -- a traditional hotbed of left-leaning UK politics -- Jeremy Allison has understandable reservations when it comes to wearing the "benevolent dictator" mantle so-often applied to open source software project leaders."

Feed Magazine interviews Martin Garbus, the EFF's lawyer in the DVD case. "Take the matter of operating systems -- there's another and very separate issue that you have with the Linux operating system. One of the reasons that there's so much interest in the DeCSS is that DVDs are not yet licensed to play on the Linux operating system. Now, to bring us back to the Betamax case, is Linux like a VCR? Can the motion-picture industry control distribution from the very beginning to the very end?"


This Andover.Net article points out that Bill Gates and Richard Stallman will both be visiting South Korea on the same day. "Though Gates and Stallman have no plans to meet, both are slated to hold talks with government officials here during their visit and may run into each other." (Thanks to Cesar Augusto Kant Grossmann).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

June 1, 2000


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



Linux Gazette. Linux Gazette issue #54, June 2000, is out.


Tulipomania DotCom. For a different view of the "Internet Economy," which seems to include Linux these days, consider attending Tulipomania DotCom, which will be held, fittingly, in Amsterdam on June 2 and 3 (and in Frankfurt the following day). "The aim of the conference is to raise the level of economic competence of the cultural and social sector, and simultaneously inject economic analysis with a sensitivity to on- and offline cultures, as well as a hands-on understanding of the new communication spaces."

Linux@Work: Full Report, Photos and more. A full report, complete with photos, is available from the series of Linux@Work seminars held across Europe this past month. As a result of the success of these seminars, three additional ones have been scheduled in November, to be held in Vienna, Rome and Madrid.

User Group News

The Linux Users' Group of Davis. LUGOD will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2000 at 6:30pm. The topic will be on "OpenMerchant," presented by Rob Ferber, founder of Open Sales, Inc.

CLUE holds Mad Skillz Day. CLUE (Colorado Linux Users and Enthusiasts) is having a Mad Skillz Day on June 17th from 11 AM to 4 PM


Three Axis Interactive in Colorado Springs. Three Axis Interactive in Colorado Springs, CO needs two programmers.

June 1, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
aargh 1.1 A procmail auto-response generator.
abook 0.4.7 An addressbook program.
adduser-qmail 1.6 Adds mailusers for use with the qmail daemon and virtualdomains.
adept 0.1 Webbased learning system
AFD 1.1.7 A file distribution system.
Althea 0.3.2 An IMAP email client for X.
am-utils 6.0.3 A filesystem automounter.
amSerialManager 1.1 Serial manager for paid software.
Ape Ache 20000530 An Apache access_log file processor.
App 2.2 Algebraic Typing and Pattern Matching Preprocessor for C++
apt-method-ssh 1.02.02 SSH/SCP method for debian apt installer
Aquarium Web Application Framework 0.5.1 A Web application framework written in Python.
Ariadne 2.0b5 Web Application Framework in PHP
Armagetron 0.1.3 A Tron lightcycle game in 3D.
avlmap 0.9.15 An AVL tree-based key:data mapping (associative array) library for C.
AxKit 0.90 The Apache XML delivery toolkit.
bayonne 0.1 Bayonne is the telephony server of the GNU project
bbackup 0.48 sophisticated backup script
benback 0.9 randomized background rotator
bftpd 1.0.5 An inetd-based Linux FTP server.
BLT 2.4s A 2D plotting extension to TCL/Tk.
Boehm garbage collector 5.0 Conservative garbage collector for C and C++
bras 0.99.5 rule based command execution with Tcl
Build Your Linux Disk 1.0alpha1 Package that helps you to build a floppy Linux distribution.
BusyBox 0.44 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
BWap 1.3 A console Napster client.
Calamaris 2.31 Statistic tool for Squid, NetCache and relatives
calender 1.1 A PHP3-based calender for posting dates.
Cannon Smash 0.3.10 3D tabletennis game
ccscript 1.0.0 Embedded C++ class based state-event scripting engine
cd-2-mp3 0.1 A text-based frontend to the dagrab CD ripper and bladeenc MP3 encoder.
cgiLicenseKey 1.0 Serial number-based authorization to run CGI scripts
chbg 1.0 Desktop background changer and manager
Chemtool 1.2 X11/GTK-based chemical formula drawing program.
cheops-ng 0.1.1 A network management tool.
ChilliSkinner 1.0 3DStudio Util for 'skinning' game models.
Circus Linux! 1.0.0 A clone of the Atari 2600 game.
Citadel/UX BBS Software 5.72 Advanced client/server BBS program
citysaver 1.3 A 3D game similar to
ClanMecha 0.1.3 A 2D multi-player mecha-genre platform game using ClanLib.
CompTest 1.03b A test and verification suite for the TCL compiler.
Courier-IMAP 0.33 IMAP server for maildirs
cowsay 3.0.3 An easy way to add speaking and thinking cows to anything.
CPM Cyberlot Password Manager 1.5BETA Web based password management system
crocodiles 0.03 An ISP packet accounting management package
ctTracker.php 0.0.1 (Click-Thru Tracker) Easily track clicks to href tags.
currencies Currencies 0.1 Currency converter.
Cyrus IMAP server 2.0.3 Full featured IMAP server
Dante 1.1.2-pre1 Free socks v4/5 implementation
Defendguin 0.0.3 A Linux-themed Defender clone.
DHCPCD Keep Alive 1.1 Makes sure DHCPCD stays up.
DHSD 0.01 Dynamic DNS update daemon
Dia 0.85 gtk based diagram drawing program. Much like Visio.
Diablo 2.1 Fast and efficient NNTP newsfeeder software
ding 1.1 Dictionary Lookup program with a German-English dictionary
dircproxy A detachable IRC proxy with logging support.
DMAT DIP 0.25 Detachable irc-proxy
DNews 5.4d1 Advanced news server software NNTP Software
Dnsmasq 0.5 A DNS forwarder for small networks using IP masquerading.
dwun 0.8c Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
E-SETImon 0.2.4 SETI@home progress monitor epplet
e3 0.5 A very compact editor.
ecawave 0.2.2r2 audio file editor
eev.el 2000may27 embed hyperlinks and shell/Tcl/TeX/Perl/etc code in plain text files
efone 20000423 Distributed internet phone system.
EiffelUnit 1.0 Regression Test Framework for Eiffel Programs
elfvector 0.3 transfer vector for app<->.so linkage on Linux/x86
ENBD 2.2.23 An enhanced network block device for Linux 2.2.
Epona 1.1.0 Nick, chan, memo, and bot IRC services.
Etherboot 4.6.2 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes.
Event Calendar 1.1.1 PHP/PostgreSQL-based online event calendar
Executor 2.1pr11 Allows you to run your Macintosh applications on PCs
Expresso Framework 1.06ea A library of extensible Java components for building Web applications.
ezweb 1.6 A Web interface for administering ezmlm mailing lists.
FastHuitre 0.2.3 Fast file sharing system.
FaxRouter 0.05 Efax utility to email incoming faxes as jpegs.
fbsd-apt 0.1 Package manager for freebsd that is based on the apt approach.
fireparse 1.5 ipchains log analysis with HTML e-mail reporting
FireStarter 0.2.2 Firewall creation/monitoring tool
FLTK 1.0.8 C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL.
FreD 0.0.2B Address book software.
FreeMarket 0.01 Technical analysis software for Linux.
Freemed-YiRC Beta0.09 A PHP-based Youth in Residential Care package.
Frood 1.0 Gtk/Perl LDAP Client
fsync 2.46 file synchronization program written in Perl
FTX 1.2b3 A text editor for Url Encoded Text.
G27 gigs 0.2.5 A PHP Web application for promoting local musicians and bands.
GADSL 0.1 ADSL connection tool for Linux
Garble 1.0.1 Garmin GPS receiver data transfer utility
gbox_applet 0.6.1 mbox watcher
gcombust 0.1.33 A GTK+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord.
Generic Colouriser 0.7 Colourises any files or outputs of commands.
Generic Information Server Toolkit 1.0.5 GIST is a free tool kit for the development of interactive web sites
Ghemical 0.2.0 A molecular modelling package with GUI and 3D-visualization tools.
GLib 1.2.8 The GLib library of C routines
Gnapfetch 0.1 Fetches opennap servers for gnapster.
Gnapster 1.3.10 A GNOME Napster client.
gnokii 0.3.2 Preliminary release of tool set for Nokia mobile phones.
GNOME-DB 0.0.95 GNOME Database Access
gnomerar 0.3.8 A GUI frontend to rar.
GNU Nana 2.5 Improved support for assertion checking and logging in C and C++.
GNU Parted 1.0.16 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU Phantom.Home Beta0.70 Home Automation
gnu.hylafax 0.0.3 HylaFAX client protocol implemented in pure Java.
go-moku 0.7 Console based Networked GO-MOKU aka Five in row game.
GOB 1.0.0 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
GooseEgg 0.0.26 An OpenGL 3D modeler for various game models.
GProc 0.5.5 Easy-to-use process managment tool
GProc-Applet 0.5.5 GNOME process manager
Grin 0.1.2 A news and email client for GNOME.
GTK Bookmark Editor 0.08 A Netscape bookmark organizer written in GTK.
GTK Comic 0.1.3 An application for managing your comic book collection.
GTK+ 1.2.8 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GTKeyboard 1.1.1 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
GtkHx 0.4.1 A GTK+ Hotline client.
GTKstereograph 0.12a A GTK user interface for stereograph 0.19 and above.
guspatch-tools 0.1 GUS patch builder.
Heroes 0.1 Nibbles-like game, just better.
hl 0.32 A syntax highlighting less-like terminal application with HTML export.
HoMaC 0.2 A tool to manage hundred of hosting sites with a Web browser.
HTML Forms generation and validation 2000.05.29 PHP class to dynamically generate and validate HTML forms.
html2db 0.1 A partial HTML-to-SGML converter.
HtmlHeadLine.sh 3.9 Script that automatically fetches news headlines.
hunt 1.5 Tool for exploiting well-known weaknesses in the TCP/IP protocol suite
hwclock 2.9 Read and set the Hardware Clock
i4lctrl 0.6.5 An isdn4linux monitor and config tool for Webmin.
IceMe 0.4.0 A graphical menu editor for IceWM written in Python and GTK+.
icqsend 0.04 send ICQ messages to users
id3lib 3.7.9 An ID3v1/ID3v2 tagging library.
Ide.php 1.0 A web-based editor for PHP.
Image::Grab 1.1 Perl Module to grab images with dynamic URLs from the Internet
IMP 2.2.0-pre12 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
IO::BLOB::Pg 0.9 Access Large Objects in a PgSQL via IO methods in Perl
ippl 1.99.5 IP Protocols Logger
ip_relay 0.71 A bandwidth shaper.
Ishmail 1.9.9 Very powerful GUI e-mail tool
Jabber 1.0 Instant Messaging Platform
jClimber's Diary 1.1 A Java app for storing climbing routes.
jed 0.99.11 Powerful editor, terminal and X11 interface
Jedi hash for ReiserFS 3.6.6 An alternative hash for ReiserFS.
jEdit 2.5pre4 Powerful text editor
joyd 0.2.1 Execute programs via joystick.
jslice 0.1.2 A JPEG-to-HTML table slicer.
ka.pl 0.0.1 Perl based script to kill processes based on a search string
Kalcul 0.3 A math game for children aged 8 to 15.
Kccc 0.90 A KDE frontend for the CD Cover Creator.
kdbg 1.1.3 A graphical KDE front end to the GDB debugger. Also used by kdevelop.
KEasyISDN 0.6 Frontend to isdnctrl and onlinecounter.
kinput2control 0.1 A KPanel applet to control kinput2.
KisoCD 0.6.2 KDE frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord
kissme 0.06 Free Java Virtual Machine.
KOffle 0.7.0 wwwoffle cache-browser
Komba 0.2.7 Samba share browser
kShowmail 0.4 Watch and delete mail on POP3 servers.
KSnuffle 0.7 A packet sniffer for KDE.
KVIrc 2.0.0 Enhanced visual IRC client for X11/KDE
LaDa 0.3pre2 A darts player's helping tool.
LAME 3.84beta open source MP3 encoder and graphical frame analyzer
latd 0.6 A LAT terminal server daemon.
lavacgi.lib 0.3.3 A Perl library with many functions/subroutines for CGI-related programming.
LCLint 2.5m LCLint is an improved tool for checking C program syntax
LFP Console Fonts 0.80 Console fonts.
libraw1394 0.6 Library providing API to access IEEE 1394 bus (FireWire, iLink)
Libtool 1.3.5 GNU libtool is a generic library support script
LiMpOo 1.0 Linux Multimedia Player
LinCVS 0.3alpha1 A graphical frontend for the CVS-client.
LineControl Server 2.0.0 pre 1 A remotecontrol for internet connections.
LinNeighborhood 0.4.4 Linux Port of Windows Network Neighborhood
Linux 2.4 Routing & Traffic Control HOWTO 0.1 Linux 2.4 Routing HOWTO concerning iproute2, traffic control, and CBQ.
Linux Driver for DMX512 Light Controller 0.0.7 A driver for the Soundlight DMX 512 PC-cards 1512B, 1512C, and 1512B-LC.
Linux FreeS/WAN 1.4 Build secure VPN's with Linux FreeS/WAN's IPSEC and IKE implementation
Linux IEEE 1394 Subsystem 0.6 Kernel subsystem and applications providing IEEE1394 (FireWire, iLink) support
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.9.5 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
LinuxInfo 1.1.6 Gives system information about your Linux system
log2mail 0.90 Watches logfiles for a pattern and alerts a user via email.
M3X 0.1.4 An all purpose music-media catalogizer.
maccount 0.03 A MAC addresses logger.
Mad Bomber 0.1.7 An SDL-based clone of Activision's 2600 game,
Maja_Objects 0.0.2 A Java-like C++ framework for server applications.
Market 0.4.0 A stock market simulation PBeM game server.
MasqMail 0.1.0 Offline Mail Transfer Agent
mbcount 0.05b A Web page counter CGI.
Meeting Room Booking System 0.6 Multiple site meeting room bookings.
MegaZeux 2.7.0M1 A game creation system with ascii graphics and a scripting language
memtime 1.1 A resource measurement tool.
Merlot XML Editor 1.0b1 pluggable Java XML editor application
MisterHouse 2.20 Home Automation with Perl
MLChat 0.2 A simple, Web-based chat interface.
mondo rescue 0.963 Generates bootable rescue CD ISOs.
moodss 8.18 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Morphon XMLEditor 1.0 beta 6 Editor for XML files
motion 0.2 A motion detector for video4linux devices.
Mount Linux Olympus 0.3 An advanced graphical administration system.
musicTree 0.01 Allows you to view collections of MP3's in a tree.
mzxlib 0.2.0 Utility library for MZX-related programs
N.I.C.O.L.E. 0.0.2 Nearly Intelligent Computer Operated Language Examiner
nail 9.13 A MIME-capable version of the Berkeley Mail user agent.
Nautilus 1.7b Voice over IP application.
NeoMail 0.99b A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
net-check 1.4 Internet connection monitor and redialer
newnewsgroups 0.1 Get new newsgroup list from news server.
nmap 2.54BETA1 A full-featured, robust port scanner.
nstomcat 1.0.6 AOLServer module for the reference servlet engine Tomcat
nVidia XFree86_40 Drivers 0.9-2 nVidia XFree86 4.0 Drivers.
ODBC-ODBC Bridge Provides ODBC access from Unix to remote ODBC data sources
OpaL Mirror Tool 0.1.6 Web mirror tool
OpaL Repository Maintainer 0.0.4 A repository maintainence tool.
OpenGUI 2.22 A very wonderfull C/C++ graphics library
OpenMotif 2.1.30pl2 The traditional X11 GUI Toolkit for Unix.
opennap 0.30 An open source Napster server.
Package Yzone 0.1 Modular GUI cross-platform C-libraries
PackRat RPM Manager 1.0b Console RPM management app written in Java.
PartyTime Photo Community 0.5.2 An interactive digital picture sharing system.
PatentMailer 24 May 2000 Scripts for Retrieving and E-mailing Patents in PDF Format (CGI)
Perl App Server 0.1.14 Object Oriented Application Server written in Perl
Perl-RPM 0.2 Perl bindings for the rpm 3.0.X API.
Perlnecklace 0.3 Perl wrapper to increase security.
pgpenvelope 2.8.6 GPG/PGP5 filter for Pine
PHP firewall generator 1.0 An ipchains firewall generator in PHP.
PHP MailStats 0.5.6 Sendmail statistics application in PHP.
phpDoc 0.1.2 A multilingual system for PHP class documentation.
PHPGen 0.92 Small PHP-script for generating PHP frontends to MySQL Databases
phpLinks 1.01 Simple search engine script written in PHP for use with MySQL.
Phpmode 0.5 A mode for editing PHP files in jed.
phpMyChat 0.11.2 chat system based on PHP and MySQL
phpPhotoAlbum 0.9.3 Dynamic PHP photo album.
phpWebLog 0.2.3 A weblog/news site framework written in PHP.
PHPwebmail 1.2 PHP3 based IMAP Webmail Client
php_pam 0.3 PAM bindings for PHP.
Phynd 2.0B5 web searchable index of all publicly accessible shares on a CIFS network
PIKT 1.10.0pre10 An innovative new systems administration paradigm
PIMP 2.75 A Web mail client.
Plotter 0.1.0 GTK+ mathematical graph plotting application.
pm2imap.pl 0.0.1 Convert Pegasus Mail folders to IMAP folders
pmc 0.8 A Perl/GTK mail client.
Point 20000530 A very simple PIM.
poppy.pl 1.0.0 Perl script to query, retrieve and delete mail from a POP3 server.
PoPy 1.0beta A Postgresql driver for Python.
Postfix 19991231-pl08 The Postfix MTA
PPCForth 0.42b A version of FORTH for embedded PowerPC systems.
PPP Keepalive 1.0 Maintains Dialup Connection
PPPStatus 0.3.5 console-based PPP status monitor
PRepS 1.4.0 The Problem Reporting and Tracking System.
PresTiMeL 20000531 A tool to create HTML presentations.
Project Management System 0.5 A Web interface for Website management and creation
Prometheus-Library 3.1 Object-oriented PHP API
Promisance 2.23 A web-based strategy game.
psDooM 2000.05.03.a A process monitor and manager for *nix systems.
py-bsddb3 2.0.7 A Python interface to BerkeleyDB 3.0.55.
Pybliographer 1.0.1 tool for bibliographic databases manipulation
pycmail 0.1 An incoming mail sorter written in Python.
PySDL 0.0.5 A Python SDL module.
PySol 4.40 A Python-based Solitaire card game
pytris 0.8 A two-player networked console Tetris clone.
q3ctrl 1.0 Quake 3 Arena server management script
qmail-smtpd-auth 0.24 SMTP auth support for the qmail SMTP server.
qnxflash 1.02 BIOS flasher for i-opener network appliance
Qt 2.1.1 GUI software toolkit
QUB 0.3.0 A front-end for playing any boardgame on your computer.
quizzy 0.90 A simple multiple-choice quizzing program.
Qvwm 1.1.8 Windows 95 like window manager for the X Window System
rawhide.php 1.0.1 A PHP3 script for distributed.net raw stats retrieval.
RDSet 0.0.3 RDSet is designed to set the time/date on your PC.
RearSite 1.7 Tool for updating personal www pages
Reed v2.1 An autoscrolling etext reader.
reiserfs 3.5.21 A filesystem which stores the files themselves in a B*-tree, gaining speed.
Remote Microscope 1.0a5 Client/server system for controlling an optical microscope over the Internet
remotehost_applet 0.1.1 A configurable panel icon for remote host sessions.
ResCafť 1.2 Mac Resource Fork reader written in Swing Java
root-tail 0.0.6 Allows printing of text directly to the X11 rootwindow
Scan4Virus 0.50 Qmail-specific virus scanner wrapper (MacAfee, Trend and Sophos)
SciGraphica 0.3 Scientific graphics and data manipulation.
Servor 1.3.1 Java TFTP+HTTP server, with HTML widgets toolkit
sfront 0.61 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
sgalaSMS 0.4 Send messages to GSM via SMS.
Shadowlands Forum 1.9.4-devel30 Low-resource, robust, friendly telnet chat server with authentication
Shelf SHELF 2.2 An embedable fully featured programming language for Linux
Siag Office 3.3.8 Free office package for Unix
SkinLF 0.2.3RC1 A skin "Look And Feel" for Java Swing
SKYRIX 3.5 GroupWare, Contact & Projectmanagement
SLab 4.0 Free, professional HDD audio recording system for Linux
Smart BootManager 3.1-2 A OS Independant boot manager.
SMSweb.de 0.4 SMS-sending tool for freemail.web.de
Socket_poll 0.9.1 A library to make using poll() fast and easy.
spam.pl 0.18 Perl script for sending automatic complaints on spam
spgen-j 0.0.1 A Stored Procedure tool for Oracle/JDBC.
Sportal 1.4 A file watcher with a GTK frontend.
spyLinux 1.0.15 A mini-single disk distro of Linux running Python.
Squid-Graph 1.2.2 Squid logfile analyzer to generate ASCII graphs
Stereograph 0.23 A powerful truecolor stereogram generator.
SUNrand 0.3 /dev/(u)random for SUN Solaris
surf 1.0.1 Visualization of algebraic geometry.
tarotserveur 0.1 Server for the Tarot card game.
tclPov 0.4 PR2 POVRay frontend for rendering POVRay scenes.
TEG 0.2.0 Yet another RISK clone.
Text::iPerl 0.53 Bring any document to life by embedding Perl.
the Anomy mail sanitizer 1.18 An efficient filter for sanitizing email messages.
The Bookexchange 0.5 A book exchange for the Web.
The Gimp 1.1.23 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Rise Of The Damned 0.3 Text-based RPG-like game.
The Simple Dynamic Finger Daemon 1.1 Simple finger daemon that allows for dynamic .plan files
Thorn 0.1.a3 UML Modeling Application
tixlpq 0.3.10 Nice GUI for printmanagement
Tk-DVD 0.1 A tcl/tk frontend to the dxr2 dvdplay
tkH3O 1.0.0 A simple Python/Tk news ticker for H3O.net headlines.
TkUsr 0.60 A Tcl/Tk app for managing the Self-mode of a USR/3COM MessagePlus modem
Toaster 0.8.10 C program testing tool for working with gdb.
Tornado 1.0pre4 A clone of the original C64 game.
ToutDoux 1.2.1 A project manager.
trio 0.19 very portable *printf() clones and generic string functions
ucpp 0.2 An ANSI-C preprocessor and integrated lexer.
UdmSearch 3.0.17 Fast WWW search engine for your site
User-mode Linux 0.24-2.3.99-pre9 User-mode port of the Linux kernel
util-linux 2.10m Miscellaneous system utilities
VA SystemImager 1.1 Linux replication and synchronization software.
vbs 0.9.5 Make mail attachments unexecutable.
VFS 0.1 Virtual File System in PHP.
ViPEC 2.1.17 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
VMD 1.5 beta 1 Visual Molecular Dynamics
VNC Hextile Acceleration 0.1 A VNC bandwidth reducer.
vp7wkp 0.3.1 GTK application which simulates the decay of radioactive nuclei.
w9wm 0.1 A window manager based on 9wm with virtual screens.
wcd 2.3.1
WebCalendar 0.9.12 A multi-user PHP/MySQL-based calendar.
webCDwriter 1.0pre3 Network CD writing.
WebNap - PHP Napster Client v0.2 A web-based Napster client, written entirely in PHP.
WeirdX 1.0.11 A pure Java X Window System server
WeSQL 0.25 An HTML extension for SQL.
WHiMp 0.0.8 A GTK+ filemanager.
Wine 20000526 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
wmbinclock 1.01 Binary clock dockapp for WindowMaker.
WMHeadlines 2.0 Put web-news headlines in your Window Maker root menu.
WN 2.2.9 A simple, robust Webserver whose design emphasizes security
Workspace.pm 1.6 Perl library for embedded text editors.
WorldForge::Atlas-C++ 0.3.8 A C++ implementation of the network protocol Atlas used by WorldForge.
wsproxy 0.4a A Web proxy written in Perl.
X-Chat 1.5.2 GTK+ based IRC client, similar to AmIRC (Amiga).
xdb 1.2.0 An xBase-compatible C++ class library.
XDBM 1.1.10 Database Manager designed specifically to hold XML data
XEmacs/GTK 21.1.9/GTK beta-2 A version of XEmacs that uses the GTK widget set
XESS 4.1.1 X11 spreadsheet
XFMail 1.4.6 Email client for X11 based on XForms
XMail 0.46 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
XML::XPath 0.52 An XPath parser and evaluator.
xmmsctrl 1.0 xmms remote control program.
xPine 0.0.13 An X11 interface to Pine.
xscorch 0.1.3 Annihilate enemy tanks using overpowered guns.
xsu 0.0.3 Replacement for su -c in gnome
Xtend 1..2 beta 4 + patch X-10 daemon, homeautomation at your fingertips
XZX 2.9.3 Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K/128K/+3 emulator
YAPNS 0.12 Yet Another PHP News Script.
YAWM 0.0.1-a5 A clean, intuitive window manager.
Yet Another News Fetcher 0.3 News fetcher.
ZAngband 2.5.0 Rogue-like roleplaying game
Zdisk 1.62 Rescue floppy with any kernel.
ZPoPyDA 0.1 Postgresql database adapter for Zope

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
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 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Linux and Me is the title of a book in progress by Barry Kauler. It's an introductory work, with current chapters covering installation, X server setup, and the Linux command line. More is to come.

Alpha users may want to have a look at AlphaNews.net, which covers current happenings with the Alpha processor.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 1, 2000



This week in history

Two years ago this week, as covered in the May 28 LWN, LWN got its own domain at LWN.net. A proposal went out for a thing called the "Linux Standard Base;" it was signed by numerous Linux luminaries. Two years later the LSB has made progress, but many of its goals remain unfulfilled.

ZDNet chimed in this week with a delightful piece:

But Linux is a communist operating system in a capitalist society. Its popularity is going to lead toward its fragmentation. [...]

The big problem with Linux is that it has no apparent direction. It's in the right place at the right time, but its 15 minutes are nearly up.

The above was written by a guy named John Taschek, who apparently hasn't learned a whole lot since...

The development kernel release was 2.1.103; work was in progress toward the 2.0.34 stable release. Red Hat 5.1 was unleashed upon the world, as was Debian 1.3.1 r8.

One year ago (the May 27 LWN), the Linux world was dealing with the first Mindcraft report. Pacific HiTech changed its name to TurboLinux. The development kernel was 2.3.3; the stable release was 2.2.9. Kernel hacker Ted Ts'o announced his move to VA Linux Systems. SGI announced that its XFS journaling filesystem would be released for Linux. Slackware 4.0 was released. Linuxcare got slapped down by Red Hat for its "Simply Supported" poster.

Also, this week in 1998 and 1999 both were marked by the Linux Expo, held in North Carolina. Linux Expo isn't happening this year, it's a victim of the Linux trade show glut. It is missed. See our coverage from 1998 and 1999 to get an idea of what went on.



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, 25 May 2000 10:30:58 -0500
From: Andy Johnson <ajohnson@stens.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Apache != GPL

I take issue with the following statement from the front page of the
Linux Weekly News May 25, 2000 edition:

>Lineo goes on to state that it does not see a number of types of code -
such as kernel or Apache modules -
>as "derivative works" that are covered under the GPL.

Apache is not distributed under the GNU GPL or any other Free Software
Foundation license.  The Apache license is much more permissive; Lineo
has every right to make "derivative works" of Apache and resell them as
long as the comply with Apache's license.  The Apache license is mainly
concerned with keeping Apache's copyrights intact, and making sure the
customer knows Apache technology was used to create the product.
Several companies have used Apache and its liberal licensing terms to
create successful business models, and there is no reason Lineo should
not be able to, either.

Of course, several third-party Apache modules have been released under
the terms of the GNU GPL, and Lineo could have licensing issues with
them.  However, Apache itself is not licensed under the GNU GPL.
Whether this statement originated with Linux Weekly News or Lineo, I
felt it needed to be pointed out.

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 10:39:42 +0100
To: letters@lwn.net
From: Nick Huxley <bootsy@liverpool.ac.uk>
Subject: Debian not including KDE

In response to the letter in the LWN edition on 25th May on Debian not
including KDE officially and for that matter the letter regarding the
"opening up" of motif,  efforts are being made to deal with both these
problems they are the Harmony/FreeQT project and lesstif project.

Yes Harmony is still going and to my knowledge it is the only place where
you can get LGPLed template datatypes like Arrays, Lists etc. The project
has completed a sizable amount of work and still needs more help so if
anyone feels strongly about it then help us code.

A site exists on http://www.yggdrasil.com/~harmony/source.html 
with the latest version of the code.



Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 12:19:05 +0200
From: J.H.M. Dassen (Ray) <jdassen@cistron.nl>
To: "Alan W. Irwin" <irwin@beluga.phys.uvic.ca>
Cc: letters@lwn.net, debian-legal@lists.debian.org
Subject: Re: When will KDE and Debian get together?

In a letter to LWN you write:
>As far as I know this is the only major open-source package that is not
>officially supported by Debian.  I suspect this bad situation is a leftover
>from the old flame wars that used to erupt between GNOME and KDE
>supporters. It was alleged at the time of those flamewares that although
>KDE itself was GPLed, the package could not really be considered free since
>it depended on the Qt-1 library which was not.

This is a common misunderstanding. "Debian's stance on KDE copyright and
licensing issues" (http://www.debian.org/News/1998/19981008) gives an
extensive analysis of the KDE issue. The issue is /not/ KDE's dependence on
a non-free library, but the incompatibility between KDE's licensing terms
and the licensing terms on the Qt library it depends on.

>What is ironic about the exclustion of KDE from Debian now, is that the
>Qt-1 library is actually officially supported by Debian!

It is not. The "non-free" section of Debian mirrors (from which qt1 .debs
are available) is /not/ an official part of Debian GNU/Linux and is e.g. not
included on the official Debian CD images (http://cdimage.debian.org).

>I personally think this whole situation is rather petty, but I was willing
>to give Debian some slack so they could gracefully back down from their
>impossible position especially now that both Qt-2 and KDE-2 are coming out
>under free licenses.

While Qt2 is under a free license (after a drafing process in which Debian's
Joseph Carter provided extensive feedback), this license, the QPL, is
unfortunately not compatible with the GPL. This has been pointed out to
Troll Tech, but has not resulted in changes in the QPL.

>But in the interests of fairness, I don't see why this official Debian
>discrimination against KDE continues.

Because there have been no fundamental changes in the situation. After
analysis of KDE's and Qt's licensing terms (both the non-free Qt1 licensing
terms and the free QPL), the Debian project has concluded it cannot legally
distribute KDE binaries.

For the Debian project to be able to legally distribute KDE binaries, KDE's
and Qt's licensing terms would have to be made compatible. This could be
done in many ways, the most relevant of which are:
- license KDE under the GPL plus an explicit exception granting the right to
  (re)distribute binaries linked against Qt
- license KDE under a different free license like the Artistic License
- release Qt under a BSD-style license; see

Many people within Debian have lobbied with both the KDE project and Troll
Tech for one of these changes to be made. Regrettably, so far this has not
resulted in a change that would allow the Debian project to legally
distribute KDE binaries.

Pinky, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?
I think so, Brain, but "Snowball for Windows"? 
	Pinky and the Brain in "Snowball"
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 09:31:54 -0500
From: Mike Renfro <renfro@tntech.edu>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: When will KDE and Debian get together?

Note: I don't speak for Debian, my employer, or anyone else.

> As far as I know this is the only major open-source package that is
> not officially supported by Debian.  I suspect this bad situation is
> a leftover from the old flame wars that used to erupt between GNOME
> and KDE supporters.  It was alleged at the time of those flamewares
> that although KDE itself was GPLed, the package could not really be
> considered free since it depended on the Qt-1 library which was not.

Unless you consider the conslusions reached by several people who have
extensively read both the GPL and the QPL invalid, this is more than a
mere allegation -- it's a fact.

> What is ironic about the exclustion of KDE from Debian now, is that
> the Qt-1 library is actually officially supported by Debian!

The qt1g package is in the non-free area, which is where all software
packaged for use on a Debian system, but *not* conforming to the
Debian Free Software Guidelines is held. licq, an otherwise free
program with strong, if not unbreakable ties to the Qt toolkit, is
held in the contrib area.

The licensing difficulties with GPL'd programs using Qt1 (and maybe
even Qt2) can be seen at:


What it boils down to is that programs released under an unmodified
GPL cannot be linked against non-free libraries, *except* when those
libraries are distributed as a standard part of the system. And that
exception applies primarily, and perhaps exclusively to proprietary
operating systems. GPL'd programs could be linked against Solaris'
libc, Motif, or ncurses, or to Microsoft's MFC. But the odds of Qt
falling into that category is minimal.

My understanding is that if the KDE people add a clause in their
licensing that explicitly allows linking with Qt and QPL-licensed
programs, that everything is cleared up. As not every application in
KDE is solely authored by KDE developers (KDE interfaces wrapped
around other GPL'd programs, for example), this might become difficult
to achieve on every program.

Point 5 of the Debian Social Contract
(http://www.debian.org/social_contract) gives more detail on the
situation of contrib and non-free software packages in Debian. Point 4
somewhat explains why the software is packaged and archived (top
priority is the needs of the users) but why they're relegated to a
separate area (the goal of providing am integrated system of 100% free
software, with no restrictions preventing value-added development or
commercial software running on Debian).

> I personally think this whole situation is rather petty, but I was
> willing to give Debian some slack so they could gracefully back down
> from their impossible position especially now that both Qt-2 and
> KDE-2 are coming out under free licenses.  Thus, I was very
> disappointed by the interview with Martin Schulze pointed to in your
> 18 May issue which in Babelfish translation seemed to indicate that
> KDE-2 would not be officially supported under potato, but it might
> be under woody.  The reasons might be legitimate ones but they were
> obscured in translation.  I would appreciate LWN looking further
> into this mess to see if reason will prevail.

Potato went into code freeze in mid-January
(http://www.debian.org/News/2000/20000116). Qt2 was available at that
time, and is currently included in the main (DFSG-compliant) area of
the potato archives. KDE2 is *still* not released; if it is released
before woody goes into code freeze, and if it is free enough to
distribute in the main archive area, then I can only assume it will go
in. KDE2's exclusion from potato is therefore a completely technical
issue, not a licensing issue.

Links to recent threads exhaustively discussing this issue include:




Mike Renfro  / Instructor, Basic Engineering Program
931 372-3601 / renfro@tntech.edu
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 05:10:38 -0700
From: Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>
To: jhm@cistron.nl
Cc: "Alan W. Irwin" <irwin@beluga.phys.uvic.ca>, letters@lwn.net,
Subject: Re: When will KDE and Debian get together?

On Thu, May 25, 2000 at 12:19:05PM +0200, J . H . M . Dassen wrote:
> While Qt2 is under a free license (after a drafing process in which Debian's
> Joseph Carter provided extensive feedback), this license, the QPL, is
> unfortunately not compatible with the GPL. This has been pointed out to
> Troll Tech, but has not resulted in changes in the QPL.

Much of it ignored.  Or at least, tentatively agreement and acceptance
with last-minute rewriting.

Bottom line: There's an underlying problem with KDE.  GPL software and Qt
(any version released so far) have incompatible licenses.  KDE knows this,
but they don't wish to be burdoned by the touchy legal situation admitting
this problem would create for them, so they openly attack the GPL or
outright ignore the problem.

Troll Tech is in an ideal position to solve this problem, but isn't really
willing to do so out of spite for the GPL, for Richard Stallman, and for
the "Free Software community" (or much more accurately, the Slashdot
community, most of whom are just trolls and bandwagon-hoppers) who flamed
them for encouraging people to violate the GPL by claiming it was legal to
use Qt with GPL'd applications.

All that is required by a GPL'd application to be linked with Qt is a
specific exemption for Qt from being considered part of the software.  A
few authors are unwilling to provide that (I'm not, but so far none of my
code is used within KDE to my knowledge..) but the vast majority of people
I've talked to say they would if asked.

The KDE people seem to believe that those who object will find out their
code is being used and make sure to tell them to stop using it.
Forgiveness is easier to get than permission it seems.  There are a few
people out there genuinely hostile to KDE because of their clear belief
they can do what they want because it's not like anyone is going to sue
them for it.

Nobody really wants to talk about this sort of problem in KDE.  Companies
such as Red Hat simply ask their lawyers if using KDE will get them sued
and their lawyers answer that nobody is going to sue them over KDE, so it
gets included.

Someone needs to talk about it.  Allowing this to continue jepardizes the
GPL, setting clear precedent for how this untested license will be
interpretted if ever people wind up going to court with it - I've already
been witness to projects which have openly defied the GPL.

The QuakeLives project, a project based on Id Software's QuakeWorld source
code released under the GPL last summer, is a prime example.  First they
tried to release source code for most of their QuakeWorld-based project,
but leaving out a few key files necessary to compile or use it.  Then they
released a new version under the GPL's terms lacking the features they
left code out of their last release for.

That point on, they have refused to provide ANY source for ANY release,
attempting such things as "closed" beta testing (if you got the client and
asked for source, you weren't an official beta tester and therefore your
GPL'd binary was "warez" so they didn't have to give you anything) to
binary patches for their precompiled binary to moving all of their code
into a DLL without which the binary would not run to a click-through
agreement in which you "gave up your right" to source to be allowed access
to binaries!

Their excuses in all these cases are very similar to the excuses KDE has
given people about their own legalities.  Which is exactly the point:  KDE
is actively working to tear down the GPL simply so they can do something
they know (and many of them even admit) they shouldn't be doing because
it's too late to change now.  It's not like they'll be sued for it, right?

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>               GnuPG key 1024D/DCF9DAB3
Debian GNU/Linux (http://www.debian.org/)         20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC
The QuakeForge Project (http://quakeforge.net/)   44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3

<JHM> Being overloaded is the sign of a true Debian maintainer.

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