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Leading items and editorials

Qt is to be released under the GPL. Trolltech has thrown in the towel and announced that the Qt toolkit, as of the upcoming 2.2 release, will carry a dual license. For those who prefer it, the QPL may still be used. But for the rest, Qt 2.2 may be used under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

This move will bring an end to more than two years of controversy centered around the Qt license. Qt's initial license was in no way free, and caused much concern among free software users. Trolltech eventually responded with the QPL which was, grudgingly, acknowledged to be a free license. The QPL remained incompatible with the GPL, however, leading many to conclude that linking the (GPL licensed) KDE code with Qt was not legal. For this reason, the Debian distribution still does not include KDE.

Now that everything is covered under the GPL, this trouble should go away (but see the next article, below). KDE is indisputably free software.

Will this change bring about the end of the "KDE vs. GNOME" rivalry? Most certainly not. But GNOME has lost whatever high moral ground it may once have had. The competition will continue, but it will, hopefully, be in a much more interesting vein. The two projects, deprived of the licensing issue, will have to compete on two factors:

  • Technical merit. GNOME and KDE have taken different approaches to a number of technical issues. As LWN has stated in the past, it is going to be very interesting to see how these choices work out. There will be much to learn from watching how the two projects go.

  • Human factors. In the end, the real question is the extent to which KDE and GNOME produce software that people want to use. Creating that software is going to require a great deal of attention not only to the features that people want, but also to usability. Getting the human factors side of things right is seriously hard, and both projects could probably make good use of some more effort directed specifically toward usability issues.

The end result seems reasonably predictable, really. It's already common to see systems with both KDE and GNOME installed. Users may "run" either KDE or GNOME, but they will pick and choose their applications individually, depending on which they like best. In the end, letting users decide what is best for them is what Linux is all about.

(See also: KDE's response to Richard Stallman's editorial, and this additional response from some KDE developers).

Must KDE ask forgiveness for its sins? One would hope that the KDE licensing wars would be truly over. This note from Richard Stallman, however, makes it clear that the hangover may be with us for a little bit yet. Those who violate the GPL lose the right to use the code covered by that license; according to the letter of the law, people who linked GPL code with Qt can no longer use that code without forgiveness from its copyright holders. Nobody has ever been held to that standard before, but RMS seems to think that things should be done differently this time.

Mr. Stallman claims that KDE has made use of (unspecified) GPL-licensed code from other projects. One could conceivably create trouble with this charge - assuming that specifics of the alleged improprieties were to be made public. But what is the point?

RMS has generously offered forgiveness for all software under the FSF copyright, and has called on others to do the same. If one absolutely must make an issue of alleged past violations, this is the only way to do it. KDE's only crime is to try to make the best free Linux desktop it could; to tell them they need to beg forgiveness is insulting at best. It's time to put the whole KDE licensing issue behind us and move on.

:CluelessCat? Thanks to a (previously) little-known company called "Digital Convergence," we now have our latest attack on the right to program.

Digital Convergence came up with an interesting idea. They give away a cheap barcode reader (called the ":CueCat") and some (Windows) software. People plug the reader into their computer, then use it to read a special code printed with advertisements and such. The browser running on the computer will then be directed to a specific web page just waiting to take a credit card number. For added fun, the device can also pick up coded audio signals from a television.

If you put an interesting device out there, some Linux hacker somewhere will try to make it work. If the device is free, and relatively simple as well, quite a few hackers will jump in. And, sure enough, :CueCat drivers started appearing on the net.

Digital Convergence, as it turns out, didn't like that; it called in its lawyers and set about shutting down sites hosting :CueCat drivers. It seems that such a driver violates the company's "intellectual property," though exactly what that property is has not yet been specified. See, for example, copies of the lawyer letter posted on the FBM Terrorist Conspiracy From Hell, Inc page. The case appears weak, but the company has managed to get the :CueCat drivers pulled down - for now.

Why would Digital Convergence do such a thing? While many Linux users may not use their readers to go to advertisers' web pages, some certainly will. So companies that are paying Digital Convergence for the :CueCat referrals should be happy; happy customers are generally good for business.

One part of the answer can, perhaps, be found in this issue of Lauren Weinstein's Privacy Digest. Use of the :CueCat, it seems, requires sending in some personal information, along with the serial number of the device. Every code you scan gets tied together with your information, building a nice little profile. According to the Privacy Digest, Digital Convergence is aware of and responsive to privacy issues, which is encouraging. But the commercial value of the data collected by the :CueCat system is obvious.

And that is why Digital Convergence doesn't like the Linux driver, and why it is so important that the driver exist. When source is available, users of the device who are concerned about their privacy can do something about it. They need not depend on the promises of a company whose commercial interests clearly lie in the collection and sale of personal information.

This is a classic example of what the "free" in free software really means. If we can not write software to work with the things we own, we have lost an important freedom. This case is important, even for those who lack the desire for quicker access to commercial web pages facilitated by a feline-shaped scanner device.

(See also: this Slashdot topic with an unhelpful response from Digital Convergence and 901 (as of this writing) comments).

One last word on Geeks With Guns. Our publication of the Geeks With Guns report has inspired a fair amount of mail. Not everyone is pleased that we ran the article; others feel that we did not run it prominently enough. We covered it as an event involving Linux personalities at a Linux conference, and still feel it was appropriate.

On the other hand, the letters to the editor on the subject have been squelched with a firm hand. Our thanks to all of you who wrote to us - pro or con - but the discussion is heading rapidly into areas beyond LWN's scope.

As always, letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net.

Minor change to the software announcements. Thanks to changes put in by Scoop over at Freshmeat, the software announcements this week have been broken apart by major category, to make them easier to scan. Several people have asked for this; we expect it to be popular. We will probably also make an alternate version of the software announcements available next week, one that breaks up the announcements by license type instead of by category. Your feedback to these changes is always appreciated.

We've also left in place a minor change which causes an individual software announcement to pop up in an external window if you click on it. This is against our normal policy (we generally hate popup windows) and it can certainly be argued that it should be removed, allowing you to choose to drag and drop a link if you want to see it in an external window. What we want to know is your preference. Please send your comments to lwn@lwn.net.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Vendor coordination, glibc vulnerabilities, lots of updates.
  • Kernel: TUX kernel-based web-server, zero-copy TCP, no Open-Source NDS for Linux.
  • Distributions: FTOSX, MageNet and Scrudgeware join the distributions list, Linux-Mandrake 7.2 beta released.
  • Development:FreeGIS, new Erlang, Perl, and Python.
  • Commerce: iRobot, IBM Asia Pacific Linux Initiative, RSA patent release, M-Systems and LynuxWorks.
  • 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:

September 7, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.

News and Editorials

Fast response versus vendor coordination. Leading the new security reports section, you'll see a complex report on glibc problems and updates this week and last. One of the problems in glibc that was reported and fixed was a format string vulnerability in locale. This was demonstrably locally exploitable to gain root access. From a Linux-centric perspective, the process for fixing this moved forward in a fast and straightforward manner. However, there was another side to the story.

Simultaneous to the glibc locale discovery, CORE SDI discovered and reported a format string vulnerability in the Unix locale subsystem. They reported the discovery to SecurityFocus' vulnhelp forum, a forum set up to provide access to expert assistance in both verifying problems and in contacting vendors in advance, so that fixes for the problem could be readied. Particularly in this case, the problem affected so many different Unix and Linux operating systems, and no good workaround was available, so it was felt to be essential to work with the vendors. CORE SDI and SecurityFocus contacted a long list of vendors, including the many various Linux distributions. They were surprised, and strongly displeased, when several of the distributions did not respond to them, yet chose to publish the vulnerability, with updates, even though other vendors had not had the opportunity to develop fixes for the problem.

This issue is not new. CERT has long been known for the effort it puts into coordinating with vendors before releasing advisories. Correspondingly, they are also famous for advisories that come out months after the initial report of a problem, frequently after the problem has been widely exploited. Some vendors, for some problems, will be able to get fixes out very quickly. Other vendors, or other problems, may be more difficult to get out. Experience has shown that nothing irritates a vendor more, or motivates them more, than publicity, particularly publicity showing faster response from another vendor. Contacting other vendors that are potentially impacted before publication is a "good thing". Deciding how long to wait, if at all, before publishing your own fixes is a tougher decision.

Were the Linux distribution vendors at fault in their release of their updates? There will never be a unified opinion on that. Obviously, CORE SDI and SecurityFocus feel that they should have held their updates back. If they had done so, though, they would certainly have come under fire from others for slow response to a known, potentially severe security vulnerability. After beating on Linux distributors to get fixes out in a timely manner many times in this forum, for example, we are hard put to say that they made the wrong choice.

However, by operating in a very Linux-centric manner, and particularly by not communicating back with CORE SDI and SecurityFocus in a timely manner, they were certainly impolite. Such impoliteness can undermine potential future cooperation and should definitely be avoided. Even if they chose to go ahead with their advisories and updates, working with and notifying other interested parties in advance is a worthwhile choice.

In some respects, we may be viewing the effects of a lingering Unix vs Linux split. Many people in the Linux felt (and were) ignored by the Unix community in the early years of Linux (1993-1998). As a result, a habit of non-communication has grown up. If this is indeed part of the root of the problem, its eradication will come from the efforts of individuals on both sides to become more aware of the concerns and work of their counterparts. Where security is concerned, we all have the same goals, Linux, *BSD and commercial Unix vendors and users alike. Working together, wherever possible, is the right choice to make.

Falling Apart at the Seams (SecurityFocus). Here's an article on SecurityFocus which looks at complex security problems and their avoidance. "This new class of holes is different: a programmer doesn't understand what somebody else was thinking or expecting, and fails to make a smooth transition between the two pieces of code. Sometimes the transition appears smooth, but the underlying complexity scuttles system security in the end.The key to solving this problem is the open source movement, and its propensity for keeping code development simple and ego-free."

Open Sources: Wild ICAT adventure (cont.) (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on the ICAT project. "The idea: to make it possible to search for specific security vulnerabilities in computer systems and locate appropriate databases, fixes and patches". Via the offices of Alan Paler (SANS Institute), it appears that the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) may pick up the tab for an expanded ICAT program in the future.

Security Reports

glibc vulnerabilities. This week has been full of advisories from various Linux distributions regarding two severe problems with glibc. Confusing the issue, more than one vulnerability is involved and they were reported at different times. That means that some of the updates only fixed the first reported problem, while others fixed both problems. We'll try to sort out the confusion.

ld.so environment variable vulnerability. Advisories for this problem showed up last week before we even found this report on BugTraq, from Solar Designer, about the problem. The following updates, which came out last week, address just this problem:
format string vulnerability in locale. The locale subsystem in glibc is used to provide internationalization support. A format string vulnerability in locale can be locally exploited to gain root access (or in some cases, remotely exploited). Note that this problem is not specific to Linux; it has also been reported to affect several Unix operating systems, though FreeBSD and OpenBSD are apparently not impacted. The following updates address both the environment variable vulnerability and the locale vulnerability:

PHP upload vulnerability. A PHP vulnerability was reported based on the manner in which PHP handles file uploads. Rasmus Lerdorf acknowledged the problem, provided a patch and indicated that the PHP CVS archives now also include this patch. Also of interest may be this post from Signal 11, which includes a user code snippet for detecting and preventing an exploit based on this vulnerability.

Star Office phones home. Last week, there was a large hullabaloo about the discovery that the Microsoft Office file formats allowed embedded HTML to be executed by a user without their knowledge. This was referenced as a document format being able to "phone home". Although the capability is potentially useful, there was strong agreement that an application should warn the user first, to prevent this capability from being exploited for malicious or anti-privacy purposes.

This week, Kurt Seifried pointed out that Star Office also 'phones home'. He verified that StarWriter, StarCalc and StarImpress all use file formats in which embedded HTML text is automatically executed, without any warning to the user. No response from Sun about this problem has been seen as of yet.

Helix go-gnome script. In addition to their binary installer, Helix Gnome also offers an installation script, "go-gnome". Another BugTraq posting has reported that this script suffers from the same problems previously reported in their binary Installer. The vulnerability can be used to overwrite any file on the system

Both a workaround and a patch for go-gnome are provided in the original report. In addition, Helix Gnome has issued an official update to go-gnome.

Helix continues to take criticism for their responsiveness to security problems, since the initial posting was sent a week before to Helix without receiving a response. In addition, the original bug report and this followup both pointed out additional security issues to which Helix has not responded. Further postings indicate that the problem has been reported, in multiple forums for over a month and a half.

screen setuid root vulnerability. A vulnerability in screen 3.9.5 and earlier that can be exploited by a local user to gain root was recently reported. Note that screen must be installed setuid root in order to be exploited.

Remotely exploitable mopd vulnerabilities. FreeBSD issued an advisory warning of several vulnerabilities in mopd that are remotely exploitable. No specific details are provided, but people using MOPD (an older protocol used for booting older DEC machines such as VAXen and DECstations across the network) are encouraged to either remove the mopd port or upgrade their mopd packages.

FreeBSD's Linux binary compatibility mode. A potential kernel stack overflow in FreeBSD's Linux binary compatibility mode can lead to a system compromise, reports FreeBSD. An upgrade to the latest FreeBSD 3.5-STABLE, 4.1-STABLE or 5.0-CURRENT should fix the problem. This problem should be limited to FreeBSD.

FreeBSD ELF lockup. Also specific to FreeBSD, a system lockup can be triggered by a problem with the ELF binary format. This leaves the system vulnerable to a local denial-of-service attack, since a 15 minute hang can be triggered by an unprivileged user. A kernel patch is provided, or the system can be upgraded.

brouted gid kmem vulnerability. FreeBSD issue an advisory warning that the brouted dynamic routing daemon is erroneously installed setgid kmem. As a result, it can be locally exploited to gain root access. Removing the setgid bit should fix the problem. Updated packages have also been made available. This vulnerability could impact other operating systems that include the brouted daemon.

GNOME esound file permissions problem. FreeBSD has reported a file permissions problem in esound, the GNOME desktop component responsible for multiplexing access to audio devices. esound uses a world-writable directory in /tmp for the storage of a Unix domain socket. A race condition allows this to be exploited to compromise the esound user's account (or root, if root runs esound). FreeBSD has made updated packages available and contacted other vendors about the problem.

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


PGP ADK-related security problem. In last week's Security Summary, we mentioned that the information available was unclear as to whether the freeware version of PGP for Unix/Linux was affected. Greg Louis dropped us a note to point out that the available information was updated soon after publication. On this website, a clear statement is made that the freeware version of PGP for Unix/Linux version 6.0-6.5.2 are vulnerable. An upgrade to PGP 6.5.8 is recommended. Happily, that version is now available for download.

Zope 'mutable object' vulnerability. Check the August 24th Security Summary for details. Two fixes have been released for this problem; only the most recent one fixes all issues. The updates below are ones that contain the second fix. Check the August 17th Security Summary for additional distribution updates that include the first fix only.

This week's updates:

Older updates:
  • Red Hat (Zope is part of the PowerTools product) (August 24th).
  • Debian (August 24th)
  • Conectiva (August 24th)

mgetty temporary link vulnerability. Check last week's Security Summary for details. An upgrade to mgetty 1.2.22 should fix the problem.

This week's updates:

Older updates:

Netscape 'Brown Orifice' vulnerability.Check the August 10th Security Summary for more details.

This week's updates:

Older updates:

perl/mailx. Check the August 10th Security Summary for details.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

xlockmore. Check the August 24th Security Summary for details. An update to xlockmore 4.17.1 is recommended.

This week's updates:

Older updates:

xchat URL handler bug. Versions of xchat from 1.3.9 through and including 1.4.2 can allow commands to be passed from IRC to a shell. Check BugTraq ID 1601 for more details.

This week's updates:

Older updates:


Portable OpenSSH 2.2.0p1. Version 2.2.0p1 of portable OpenSSH was announced this week. The new version now includes DSA key support, Random Early Drop connection rate limiting, and improved interoperability with SSH.COM's ssh 2.3.0.

ICMP Usage In Scanning v2.0 - Research Paper. Ofir Arkin has issued an updated version of his research paper on the use of ICMP in scanning the Internet for host detection, operating system fingerprinting and more.

Jukka Lahtinen minicom. Check last week's Security Summary for details. No official updates have been seen as of yet. Unofficial reports indicate that Red Hat 6.1 and 6.2 and Slackware 7.0 are vulnerable and that SuSE, Linux-Mandrake, FreeBSD, Debian and (reported this week) Conectiva are not vulnerable.


September/October security events.
Date Event Location
September 1-3, 2000. ToorCon Computer Security Expo San Diego, California, USA.
September 11-14, 2000. InfowarCon 2000 Washington, DC, USA.
September 13-14, 2000. The Biometric Consortium 2000 Gaithersburg, MD, USA.
September 19-21, 2000. New Security Paradigms Workshop 2000 Cork, Ireland.
September 26-28, 2000. CERT Conference 2000 Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
October 2-4, 2000. Third International Workshop on the Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID 2000) Toulouse, France.
October 4-6, 2000. 6th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2000) Toulouse, France.
October 4-6, 2000. Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC 2000) University of Essen, Essen, Germany.
October 11, 2000. The Internet Security Forum Edinburgh, Scotland.
October 14-21, 2000. Sans Network Security 2000 Montery, CA, USA.
October 16-19, 2000. 23rd National Information Systems Security Conference Baltimore, MD, USA.
For additional security-related events, included training courses (which we don't list above) and events further in the future, check out Security Focus' calendar, one of the primary resources we use for building the above list. To submit an event directly to us, please send a plain-text message to lwn@lwn.net.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 7, 2000

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release remains 2.4.0-test7. No new development kernel has come out since August 23. In the testing area, however, things are active with the latest prepatch being 2.4.0-test8-pre6.

Those wanting to try the testing releases should approach with caution, however; the releases through -pre5 have had some serious file corruption problems. The debugging effort took some time, and was not helped by the simultaneous emergence of a corruption bug in the pine mailer which was, ironically, triggered by a particular message on the BUGTRAQ list.

The bug (the kernel bug, that is) turns out to have been introduced in 2.3.7, over a year ago. Recent changes have brought it out, however. Once it was found, a couple of fixes of the "brown paper bag" variety went in, until Linus finally tracked it down. As he put it:

Thanks, and THIS time it really is fixed. I mean, how many times can we get it wrong? At some point, we just have to run out of really bad ideas..

As always with development kernels, be careful out there... especially given that the -pre6 patch announcement from Linus expresses a rather lower level of confidence.

Meanwhile, Daniel Stone has been working on a press release for the 2.4 kernel, whenever it should come out. (The release is optimistically dated September...)

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.17 - finally. The 2.2.17 release was officially blessed and announced on September 4. Work on 2.2.18 had actually begun before 2.2.17 came out; the latest announced prepatch is 2.2.18pre2; there is actually an unannounced "pre3" patch out there as well. The 2.2.18 series has started off with a number of "higher risk" updates - things which Alan Cox did not want to put into 2.2.17. Perhaps most significantly, the USB backport from 2.4 is there; most vendors were already shipping kernels with 2.4 USB anyway, so putting it into the official version won't change much.

The ritual call to see the updated NFS code in 2.2.18 has gone out. Alan is, so far, resisting. The new NFS code fixes a lot of problems (and adds NFSv3), but it's still a big change for a stable kernel series.

The current ancient kernel prepatch is 2.0.39pre7, which was announced on September 2. Unless something changes, this will be the last of a very long-running prepatch series, and the 2.0.39 stable kernel release will happen at some point relatively soon.

TUX is loose. Ingo Molnar got the Linux world's attention last June, when his "TUX" subsystem established the world SPECweb record for web page serving. Since then, however, things have been quiet on the TUX front; in particular, no source has been forthcoming. That changed on September 1 when Ingo announced the first Alpha source code release. TUX is now loose.

Of course, this code is not something you would want to put on your main corporate server at this point. It was bleeding edge when it ran the SPECweb test, and has seen a fair amount of development since then. There are no guarantees with this release, except that, as stated in the announcement, "if it breaks you get to keep both pieces."

It is, nonetheless, interesting to see what has been done to create such nice results. TUX is, as stated, a kernel-based HTTP server which is oriented toward static content. Even highly dynamic sites can have a lot of static content - images, for example. TUX gets that content out quickly by avoiding a lot of the overhead involved in a user-space web server. In addition, a number of tricks can be employed when you are running within the kernel. For example, TUX not only caches the busiest files, it also caches the computed TCP checksums to avoid having to do that work over and over again. TUX can also work with high-performance network cards to avoid copying file data within the kernel.

Also part of TUX is an exported hook which can facilitate the caching of dynamic content. Often dynamically-produced pages are always the same for the same URL "input," and the work of generating them can be avoided through proper caching. Making use of this capability requires changes to the (user space) code which generates the dynamic content.

TUX will never be able to handle the entire job for many sites, however. Thus, it relies on a user space web server daemon; whenever TUX encounters something it can't deal with, it just passes it on to the (presumably smarter) user space server.

The TUX developers are aiming at a stable release of the code sometime in September. Thereafter, don't be surprised if it starts showing up on web sites worldwide. (For more information, see the TUX README file that comes with the distribution).

Is zero-copy TCP worthwhile? A certain Jeff Merkey of the Timpanogas Research Group spent quite a bit of time criticizing the Linux kernel for copying network data too many times. After all, says Jeff, both NetWare and his own MANOS (NetWare replacement) system do zero-copy TCP, and thus must be better. Is Linux really that poorly implemented?

The answer turns out to be "no", for a couple of independent reasons. On the purely technical side, the standard output path for TCP data only copies that data once - and that happens as part of moving the data into kernel space and computing the TCP checksum. So it would prove hard to improve much on that code.

The other interesting point of view, however, came from Linus, who points out that zero copy is often not the performance win that people think it is. By the time you have done all the overhead required to do a zero-copy operation (pinning the user page in memory, setting up the scatter/gather DMA operation, etc., and cleaning up afterward), you might as well just have copied the data. Zero copy is a nice idea that often is not so practical in the real world.

That notwithstanding, Ingo Molnar pointed out that the TUX webserver implementation includes a zero-copy scheme.

No NDS for Linux - to spite Microsoft?. The Timpanogas Research Group, headed up by Jeff Merkey, has announced the withdrawal of its promise to provide an open source Network Directory Services (NDS) implementation for Linux. Instead, TRG will concentrate its efforts on its own (open source) "MANOS" operating system. The press release included this interesting comment:

It is not our desire at this time to hand Microsoft or anyone else an open source 'scythe' they can use to harvest the NetWare(TM) installed base until a competitive Open Source NetWare NOS is available for Novell's customers to consider.

It is an interesting view - somehow providing an open source implementation will allow Microsoft to snap up all the Novell users who are, presumably, looking for a new vendor. Mr. Merkey reiterates this claim in another post where he states: "If we post it, Microsoft will grab it and it will be in NT within 48 hours of them downloading it from our site."

This sort of thing, of course, is what the GPL is for. It is a sad world indeed if contributions to Linux are pulled out of fear that Microsoft might use them. If Microsoft picks up some Linux code and uses it in accord with the terms of the GPL, then there is nothing for anybody to complain about. After all, one of the criteria for free software is that it cannot discriminate against users. If the GPL is not respected, it's time to call out the lawyers. Fear of Microsoft is no reason to withdraw kernel contributions; one suspects that a more complicated agenda is at work here.

Why is there no Linux kernel debugger? A certain Jeff Merkey posted a message to linux-kernel giving a different reason for the withdrawal of the Linux NDS effort. It seems that the real problem is that the kernel debugging facilities for Linux are inadequate.

The lack of a Kernel Debugger and other basic kernel level facilities on Linux make TRG's job about 20 times harder on Linux and take almost 10 times as long as is possible on NT, NetWare, or MANOS to develop software as a result of this.

Mr. Merkey has found himself to be rather less alone with this one - numerous people wonder just why a kernel debugger is not part of the mainline kernel itself. See, for example, this poston the absence of kdb.

The reason there is no debugger in the Linux kernel is, of course, because Linus does not want it there. This time, though, it was David Miller who came to the defense of this policy. The basic idea, which mirrors things Linus has said over the years, is that having an interactive debugger causes developers to focus on symptoms, rather than on what is really going on. According to David, some elbow grease invested in tracking down problems the hard way pays off in both a higher quality fix and a deeper understanding of how the kernel actually works.

The whole debate is long (and ongoing). For those interested in the soundbite version:

"Hard work now leads to less work later."
   -- David Miller

"Hard work now leads to less work full stop."
   -- Alan Cox

Linus's views on the subject are well known, and he has the last word on such topics. So there will be no debugger distributed with the kernel source. A number of such tools do exist, of course; they just have to be downloaded separately.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Miles Lott posted a read-only implementation of the BeOS filesystem for the 2.2 kernel.

  • Mikael Pettersson released version 1.5 of his x86 performance counters driver.

  • Christoph Hellwig posted his patch to make the Logical Volume Manager work with devfs.

  • The September 2000 release of the CITI NFSv4 implementation for Linux has been announced.

  • H.J. Lu has released version 0.2 of the nfs-utils package.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

September 7, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Distributions page.

Lists of Distributions
Woven Goods

Embedded Distributions:

BluePoint Embedded
Compact Linux
Embedded Debian
Hard Hat Linux
OnCore Systems
RedBlue Linux
Royal Linux
White Dwarf Linux

Familiar (iPAQ)
Intimate (iPAQ)
Linux DA

Special Purpose/Mini
2-Disk Xwindow System
Mindi Linux

Coyote Linux
Fd Linux
Fli4l (Floppy ISDN/DSL)
Linux in a Pillbox (LIAP)
Linux Router Project
Small Linux

BBLCD Toolkit
Crash Recovery Kit
innominate Bootable Business Card
Linuxcare Bootable Business Card
Sentry Firewall
Timo's Rescue CD
Virtual Linux

Zip disk-based

Small Disk
--> Peanut Linux
Relax Linux

Bambi Linux
Flying Linux

ARM Linux
Scyld Beowulf
Think Blue Linux
(Oracle's NIC)
NIC Linux
Black Lab Linux
Yellow Dog
(Older Intel)
Monkey Linux

DOS/Windows install
Armed Linux
Phat Linux

Diskless Terminal
GNU/Linux TerminalServer for Schools


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

News and Editorials

Red Hat claims huge Linux lead, rivals growing (News.com). News.com reports on the latest IDC study which shows Red Hat having the bulk of the Linux market. "Linux companies argue there is more competition between Linux and other operating systems than there is among versions of Linux itself. But Red Hat's aggressive push to have its brand name associated as closely as possible with Linux reflects the land grab under way as companies seek to establish as much dominance as possible of the up-and-coming operating system."

Distribution Reviews

Slackware Linux 7.1 (Duke of URL). The Duke of URL has put out a review of Slackware Linux 7.1. "Slackware is one of the best distributions around in the currency of its applications. In fact, I've never seen a more current distribution in all my years of using Linux. They're really raised the bar with KDE 1.91 and XFree86 4.0, and kernel 2.2.16, and proves that Slackware has more priorities than just staying close to UNIX. Thanks to Slackware, Linux never looked so good."

New Distributions

FTOSX. FTOSX is a new distribution from Future Technologies. They promise support for all the latest Linux technologies. Interestingly enough, this not only includes the Linux 2.4 kernel, but also the Linux 3.0 kernel ... which, of course, does not yet even have a development tree.

They also plan to have their own desktop environment, FTKDE, based on KDE 2.0 and FTX, which is called "a [sic] X Window porting based on 4.0". Their primary filesytem will apparently be ReiserFS. All of this is just a plan, though. The first FTOSX beta is not due out until October sometime. "We promise something new and more easy than actual Linux distributions.". [Thanks to Nicolas Verite].

MageNet Linux Server. The MageNet Linux Server distribution is based on Red Hat, but tailored to add or replace services according to their own preferences. For example, they have chosen to replace wu-ftpd with proftpd, ircII 4.x with ircII EPIC, and more. Their goal is a distribution with better security and more features than Red Hat 6.2. [From Freshmeat].

Scrudgeware. "A totally free operating system" is the goal of Scrudgeware. To that end, they have pledged to include only "GNU/GNOME/GPL" software. They are also designing the sytem to eliminate redundancies, so rather than include, for example, both KDE and GNOME, they have chosen to focus on GNOME and provide that exclusively. Of course, the licensing issues that might have influenced their decision originally have changed with his week's announcement that Trolltech is also licensing the latest Qt library under the GPL. However, we'll hazard a guess that they won't change their choice as a result. [From Freshmeat].

General Purpose Distributions

Linux-Mandrake News. Ulysses, Linux-Mandrake's first beta for their 7.2 release, has been announced. It includes KDE2 beta 4, enhanced installation and administration tools, XFree86 4.01, and CUPS as the default print system, among many other changes. "Please keep in mind that Ulysses is an experimental Operating System, it's not for daily use! The goal of beta testing is to help debug it and Ulysses is sure to contain things that are broken. Use with care!"

Joining a number of other distributors, MandrakeSoft has announced that it is publishing an enterprise version of its distribution. Linux-Mandrake Corporate Server 1.0 will include things like ReiserFS, an automated installation tool, and something referred to as "the amelioration of multiprocessor treatments." It will be available in Intel and Sparc versions.

MandrakeSoft also announced that, according to PC Data, Linux-Mandrake sold the most units of any distribution in the U.S., with 31.5% of the market. They are also pleased to have received the "Editor's Choice" award from Linux Magazine.

SOT launches BestLinux developer site. SOT has announced the launch of its BestLinux.org developers' site. SOT is based in Finland and their Best Linux distribution supports Finnish, Swedish and English.

Debian GNU/Hurd. A new issue of the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd is available. If it is accurate, then there were only been two posts to the debian-hurd mailing list during the last two weeks of August -- possibly a sign of the start of the new college semester.

Slackware News. A new development tree for Slackware was made available this past week. The "current" tree already includes Netscape 4.75, XFree86 4.0.1, inn-2.3.0 and several glibc security fixes (check the Security Summary for more details).

Embedded Distributions

PeeWeeLinux 0.5.1. A new, minor update to PeeWeeLinux has been announced, PeeWeeLinux 0.5.1. "A command-line driven interactive script to load target devices has been added. Supported devices are any hard drive, including Compact Flash devices and floppy disks." The new script is called rd_dialog and loading of compressed RAMdisks for FAT and ext2 partitions is supported, among others.

Special Purpose/Mini Distributions

BYLD 1.0. The first stable release of Build Your Linux Disk (BYLD) was announced with minimal fanfare. Changes from the previous beta release are minor. BYLD is a mini-distribution primarily intended as starting place for people who want to "roll their own" distribution. It installs onto a single floppy disk and is sometimes used to build rescue disks or portable network clients.

Redmond Linux Beta1 Refresh. Redmond Linux is a relatively new distribution that caters to the non-technical end-user. It is based on Caldera OpenLinux. Their beta1 refresh version was announced last week and includes the 2.4.0-test3 kernel, KDE2 beta 4, an updated installer, and more.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

September 7, 2000

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

Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat

Also well-known
Best Linux
Conectiva Linux

Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
Red Escolar

General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
BluePoint Linux
BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
Cafe Linux
ChainSaw Linux
Circle MUDLinux
Complete Linux
Console Linux
Corel Linux
Darkstar Linux
Elfstone Linux
ESware Linux
Eurielec Linux
eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
HA Linux
Halloween Linux
ix86 Linux
Lanthan Linux
Linpus Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux MLD
LinuxOne OS
Linux Pro Plus
LNX System
Lute Linux

NoMad Linux
Omoikane GNU/Linux
PingOO Linux
Plamo Linux
Project Ballantain
Rabid Squirrel
Root Linux
Serial Terminal
TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
VA-enhanced Red Hat
Vine Linux
Virtual Linux
WinLinux 2000

GNU/Linux Ututo
Definite Linux
Red Flag
Linux Esware
Kaiwal Linux
Thai Linux Extension

Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

Historical (Non-active)
MCC Interim Linux
Storm Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects


Mozilla-Europe 2000. The Mozilla-Europe 2000 meeting has been announced. The conference will be held near Frankfurt Germany on September 23 and 24, 2000.


Installing & Using WINE (LinuxNewbie.org). LinuxNewbie.org has put up a help file on installing and using WINE. "...the best way to find out if a program will run under WINE, is to just try it. Sometimes compatible programs won't run, sometimes programs thought not to be compatible, will run. Just try it. You won't break anything. :)"

Wine Weekly News for September 4, 2000. The Wine Weekly News #59 for September 4, 2000 has been published. Take a look for the latest Wine development news.

Network Management

OpenNMS update. Here's the OpenNMS update for September 5, covering the latest happenings in the quest to create an open network management system. Among other things, the project is looking to hire developers...

Moodss-11.10 announced. Version 11.10 of moodss has been announced. Moodss, the Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet is a tool that is used for dynamically monitoring changing system information with a graphical or tabular display.

Office Applications

AbiWord Weekly News. The AbiWord Weekly News for August 31, which actually covers two weeks, is out.

Eye of Gnome 0.5 released. The Eye of Gnome version 0.5 image viewer has been released. This is the last release of EOG before some major reworking commences.

On the Desktop

KDE 2.0 release schedule. A new KDE 2.0 release schedule has been posted. It calls for the first release candidate on Thursday, September 14, and the official 2.0 release on October 16.

Qt 2.2 and Qt Designer released. Trolltech has announced the release of Qt 2.2. Many new features are included, including the new "Qt Designer" GUI builder. The announcement does not mention it, but this is the version which is covered by the GPL.

KDE Licensing Information. Rik Hemsley and Matthias Elter have put together an extensive list that details all of the licenses that are used in the base KDE source code tree.

GNOMEnclature: Handling multiple documents (DeveloperWorks). IBM's DeveloperWorks site has put up a lengthy, technical article on using the GNOME MDI class. "In this installment, George Lebl turns away from widgets to look at GnomeMDI, the Multiple Documents Interface from gnome-libs. GnomeMDI makes it easier to handle a variety of different documents at the same time in one program."


FreeGIS CD v1.0.4 available. The latest packaging of the FreeGIS tools has been announced. An update on FreeGIS in general can also be found in the announcement - it looks like the pace of this project, which is putting together a collection of free Geographical Information System tools, is picking up.

Open Source Medical Project. Linux Med News has updated its Open Source Medical Project list recently. Numerous new additions have been added to bring the total to 29 applications.

Web-site Development

Midgard Weekly Summary. Here is the Midgard Weekly Summary for August 31. It covers the release of Midgard 1.4b5, and various other topics.

Zope Weekly News for September 6. The September 6 edition of the Zope weekly news is out. News includes a zope.org mirror site, a new Zope security document, and skins for Zope.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

September 7, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Programming Languages


Erlang 5.0 beta released. A new beta release of Erlang 5.0, known as release R7A has been announced. See the R7A release highlights for a preview of the changes and new features.


Perl 5.7.0 released (use Perl). Use Perl has posted this announcement about the release of Perl 5.7.0. "As promised when 5.6.0 came out, Perl 5 has now been clearly separated into stable maintenance releases and unstable development releases. Releases with even version numbers (6, 8) will be maintenance releases and odd version numbers (7) will be development releases."

Review of Programming Perl, Third Edition (DeveloperWorks). IBM's Developer Works has run a review of the third edition of the book Programming Perl. "The third edition of Programming Perl is impressive from the start. It has almost double the page count of the second edition. The cover is the same, except for the discreet banner in the top right corner, the TMTOWTDI ("There's More Than One Way To Do It") slogan at the top, and the list of authors. The similarity is only skin deep, however, as a look at the table of contents will quickly dispel any illusions that this book is only a revision."

Perldoc website announced. A new web site, perldoc.com, has been announced. This site is being maintained by Carlos Ramirez and offers a searchable html version of the Perl 5.6 documentation. A useful entry for the perl programmer's bookmarks file. The site also contains an archive of CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network.

German Perl Workshop 3.0. The third German Perl Workshop is being held February 28 through March 2, 2001 near Bonn, Germany. Abstract submissions should be sent in until October 23, 2000.

University of Perl 2000 (O'Reilly). O'Reilly has announced the University of Perl 2000, a traveling Perl boot camp to be held in Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York City during October.

FreeWRL 0.26 released. A new release of FreeWRL has been announced. FreeWRL is a Perl based open source VRML browser for Linux. FreeWRL is licensed under the GPL license.


Python releases. Python 1.6, the last in the 1.* series, has been released. Meanwhile, for the more bleeding-edge oriented, the first beta of Python 2.0 has also been released. (Thanks to Kalle Svensson). Also see the announcements for Python 1.6 and Python 2.0b1 from Guido van Rossum.

Linux.com interviews Guido van Rossum. Linux.com has interviewed Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python language. "2.0 will have several syntax extensions over 1.6, e.g. augmented assignment, list comprehensions, and an extension to the print statement. It will also have lots of XML support (mostly integrating the good work done by the XML-sig) and a new garbage collection feature, which will collect cyclical garbage for the first time in Python's life."

Python-dev summary for August 16-31. Here is A.M. Kuchling's Python-dev summary for August 16 to 31. It covers the "any day now" first beta release of Python 2.0 and many other topics in the Python development arena.

This week's Python-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for September 5 with the latest in Python development news.

XML Processing With Python(Themestream). Themestream has run this article by Steven Vore on processing XML with Python. "This is not a normal book review. In fact, I'm leery of calling it a review at all. In reality, these are my notes taken while reading & working through examples in XML Processing With Python By Sean McGrath."


This week's Tcl-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for September 4 with the latest in Tcl development news.

Software Development Tools

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

Language Links
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
Daily Python-URL
Tcl Developer Xchange

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and Business

Time for a fun Linux toy. A company called "iRobot" has put out an announcement for its new product: the "iRobot-LE." It's a [I, Robot] Linux-powered robot aimed at household use; it can be monitored and controlled from anywhere on the net via a web browser. It can climb stairs, and has sonar and infrared systems for avoiding obstacles. Suggested uses include monitoring the babysitter, home security, and even communication with people in the house - though the legacy "telephone" technology still tends to work well in application as well. All for a mere $4,995.

iRobot's technical specifications page talks a bit about what's inside; it's running a 450 MHz AMD K6 processor, 64MB memory, and a 6GB disk. It has USB and wireless ethernet connections, a video camera, and a temperature sensor. They don't say whose distribution it is running, but the reference to "Linux 6.2" on the FAQ page gives a clue. It's running a version of Apache with SSL enabled.

An obvious concern with a system of this type is going to be security. After all, some care should be taken before placing a web-controllable, mobile device with audio and video capabilities at large on one's house. iRobot's security seems to be based mainly on SSL security and passwords; as long as you keep a handle on your password, the thing should be reasonably safe. That assumes, of course, that nobody turns up a bad Apache bug, that there are no Apache configuration mistakes on the device, and that the robot is not running any other services which could be compromised. Experience says that the software on this system is likely to need an update sooner or later; one hopes that the iRobot folks have a mechanism in place to deal with the likely trouble.

A related issue of concern: a device with a name like "iRobot" should certainly come with a statement of compliance with the Three Laws of Robotics, but none such appears on the web pages...

The IBM Asia Pacific Linux Initiative. IBM's Linux support moves into the Asia Pacific region with its Asia Pacific Linux Initiative. According to this announcement IBM will be spending more than $200 million over the next 4 years. The company already has "Solution Partnership Centres" in Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul and Bangalore. These provide a single point of contact for Linux developers to access the systems, software and technical skills of the online IBM resources. In addition, several "Linux Competency Centers" will be funded throughout the area, setting up alliances, deploying consultants, and more. The DeveloperWorks site will appear in Japanese and Chinese versions. IBM is partnering with TurboLinux for some of this work.

RSA patent released into public domain. RSA Security Inc. has announced that the RSA public key encryption patent has been released into the public domain. The act would have been rather more generous a few years ago - this patent is, after all, set to expire in two weeks. It is still something to celebrate, however; one of the fundamental cryptographic algorithms is finally free.

M-Systems and LynuxWorks announce DiskOnChip support for BlueCat Linux. M-Systems has announced that LynuxWorks will be including DiskOnChip flash memory support in BlueCat Linux.

Press Releases:

Open Source Products.
Unless specified, license is unverified.

  • AMIRIX Systems Inc. (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA) announced the release of an open source configuration tool for embedded Linux systems. Amirix is a sponsor of the non-commercial 'Embedded Debian Project' whose goal is to create a completely open, multi-vendor embedded Linux software resource based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Commercial Products for Linux.

  • 3R Soft (SAN JOSE, Calif.) unveiled MailStudio@MESSAGE, a web-based e-mail server program.

  • Dialtone Internet, Inc. (FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.) announced that all its Linux Servers and Linux Cluster Servers are being updated to deliver web content to wireless devices.

  • Loki Software announced that SimCity 3000 Unlimited for Linux is now in production. The first copies will roll off the assembly lines late next week for shipment to our online store and other distributors.

Products with Linux Versions.

  • Citrix Systems, Inc. (FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) announced the introduction of Citrix Extranet, its new Virtual Private Network (VPN) software solution.

  • easyDNS Technologies Inc. (TORONTO) announced support for dynamic DNS updates for domain names subscribed to their DNS service.

  • Hewlett-Packard Company (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced its family of HP e-utilica solutions, which enable service providers and carriers to instantly launch or augment pay-per-use application hosting and compute capacity services.

  • LegacyJ Corp. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced PERCobol Enterprise Version 2.5, a COBOL compiler that bridges to Java.

  • Media Excel, Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) introduced SoftStream, a real-time software encoding solution written in C language.

  • Metagon Technologies, LLC (Charlotte, NC) announced that its flagship product, DQbroker will be available for free evaluation on September 11. DQbroker is a peer-to-peer distributed processing solution.

  • Merlin Software Technologies International Inc. (BURNABY, British Columbia) announced it will provide support for Sun's Solaris operating system, IBM AIX and RedHat SPARC in the upcoming release of PerfectBACKUP+ v7.0.

  • Pixami, Inc. (SAN RAMON, CA), a B2B infrastructure company formed to provide digital imaging technology to the online photo industry, announced it will now begin offering its complete suite of online photo enhancement technologies on the Linux operating system.

  • Rational Software (PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) announced Rational SiteLoad, a Web-based load testing product designed to help e-businesses avoid costly and highly visible Web site failures.

  • RSA Security Inc. (BEDFORD, Mass.) introduced the latest version of its RSA BSAFE Crypto-C security software.

  • Sensiva, Inc. (Mountain View, California) unveiled a line of Internet navigational software that provides a consistent interface across different applications, different platforms and different languages.

  • Zero G (SAN FRANCISCO) announced the immediate availability of version 3.5 of the InstallAnywhere product line, a multi-platform software deployment system.

Java Products.

  • Inprise/Borland (SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif.) announced Borland JBuilder 4, the latest version of its pure Java cross-platform development environment.

  • Vertel Corporation (WOODLAND HILLS, Calif.) announced the e*ORB Java Edition, mediation software, tested on Linux.

Books & Training.

  • IDG Books Worldwide (FOSTER CITY, Calif.) announced a rebirth of its Visual(TM) brand (formerly the 3-D Visual(R) series). Some Linux related titles are included in the series.

  • O'Reilly (Sebastopol, CA) just released the second edition of "Java Network Programming".


  • Corel Corporation (MILPITAS, Calif.) announced it will partner with PCTEL, Inc. to support a Linux-compatible software modem.

  • EdgeMatrix (HONG KONG) has clinched a deal with Brighton Technologies to WAP-enable mobile shares trading in China. EdgeMatrix software run on Linux.

  • Embarcadero Technologies, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO) and Red Hat, Inc. announced the immediate availability of Embarcadero's ER/Studio, Rapid SQL and DBArtisan database management solutions for Red Hat Linux.

  • Loki Software Inc. (TUSTIN, Calif.) and Trolltech announced a strategic alliance to provide business and end-user programs for Linux.

  • Merlin Software Technologies International Inc. (BURNABY, British Columbia) announced an agreement with Servicios Humanos Especializados en Computo, S.A. under which S.H.E.C will distribute PerfectBACKUP+ throughout Mexico.

  • Minerva Networks (SANTA CLARA, CA) announced a partnership with SGI. Minerva has integrated its IP Television service management software with Linux-based SGI 1200 and SGI1450 servers.

  • NeTraverse Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) and RedFlag Software Co., Ltd. announced a strategic partnership and alliance. RedFlag will standardize the NeTraverse Win4Lin Desktop and Server products to run Windows applications on RedFlag Linux.

  • RadiSys Corp. (HILLSBORO, Ore.) has signed a partnership agreement with MontaVista Software Inc. to promote the Linux operating system on RadiSys' embedded solutions.


  • Baymountain, Inc. (RICHMOND, Va.), a provider of Linux-based ASP services announced that Barry Bryant has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer.

  • Lineo, Inc. (LINDON, Utah) named Bob Waldie, formerly of Moreton Bay, as Chief Operations Officer.

  • LinuxOne (Mountain View, CA) announced the resignation of Richard Kraus, CEO and President.

Linux At Work.

  • SurfControl plc (LONDON) announced a contract with Concert, the AT&T/BT global communications venture, to supply Concert with the new Linux-compatible version of its Internet filtering software.


  • Bluepoint Linux Software Corp. (LOS ANGELES) announced that it received two awards on " 'Yesky Cup' 2000 Computer Week Reader Survey Award Banquet" held on August 31 in Beijing, China.

  • A new magazine called Genome Technology will publish its first issue this month. Included is a feature story on one of the world's largest production Linux installations at Incyte Genomics in Palo Alto.

  • InfoWorld magazine (REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.) awarded Oracle8i Release 2 on Linux the highest overall Test Center rating of "excellent."

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (NEW YORK) announced the opening of four new offices located in New York City; Round Rock, TX; St. Louis, MO; and Phoenix, AZ. The Round Rock office will serve as the home base for TCS' Linux Research and Development activities.

  • TechMetrix Research (BOSTON) announced the availability of its newest study, Open Source and Free Software Report.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

September 7, 2000


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Linux in the News

KDE, Qt, and GNOME

Good news for KDE:Trolltech adds GPL option to Qt (ZDNet). A report on the Qt licensing change. "One happy beneficiary of Qt's new GPL license is KDE, the most popular Linux desktop environment, which is currently vying with GNOME to be the preferred environment for mainstream Linux developments. KDE, an open source project itself, has occasionally been shunned by open source advocates due to its dependence on the non-GPL Qt."

Barrier lowered between Linux interfaces (News.com). Another report on the Qt license change: "The change means the KDE user interface, which is based on Trolltech's Qt, will now compete on a more equal technical basis with the Gnome user interface, which is based on the GTK+ library. In a series of flame wars in recent years, debaters have often focused on the legal underpinnings of the two user interfaces."

.comment: Peace in Our Time? (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet talks with Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza about the Qt license change. "I don't think it changes things, because people who actually care about licenses are a minority of the software world. That's why KDE got so much popularity independent of whether it had license problems or not. But it's going to help a lot of people who finally can have a free desktop, and that's good."

It's the apps, stupid (ZDNet). Here's a column on GNOME and KDE. "To their credit open source developers, by and large, have ignored the battle analyses and just kept coding -- and that's good news for all of us. For as Linux gets better, as GNOME and KDE keep pushing each other, as open source desktops continue to increase in popularity and attract more applications, we all win and nobody loses."


Open Source NetWare Thorn To Novell? (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the Timpanogas Research Group and its plan to produce an open source NetWare clone. "Now, TRG is free of a two-year court order preventing it from writing any code, according to Merkey, the company's CEO. TRG expects to deliver its open source Metropolitan Area Network Operating System in the second half of 2001. The OS will run a 'NetWare-like SMP kernel' and will support NetWare directory, file and print protocols, Merkey says. In addition, MANOS will be able to run Linux applications, and will be released under the Gnu Public License, which lets users freely distribute, copy and modify the source code."

Transmeta's Stock Offering May Buck a Cooling Trend (NY Times). The New York Times covers Transmeta's IPO filing. "Despite Mr. Torvalds's presence, Transmeta is not a company whose business is based around the Linux operating system; it is a semiconductor company that plans to use Linux in conjunction with some of its chip designs. Nonetheless, some analysts and money managers raise the specter of slumping Linux-related stocks when talking about Transmeta."


Conoco hopes to hit oil with slick supercomputer (News.com). News.com looks at Conoco's new cluster. "The computer uses dozens of single- and dual-processor Intel-based computers connected by a 10-mbps network, 10 terabytes of hard disk storage and a tape library. The company declined to provide further details on the hardware."

Four industry giants back new lab for Linux R&D (Computerworld). Here's an article about the Open Source Development Lab. "Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass., agreed, saying that the only way Linux will be ported to large-scale hardware will be through the creation of such a lab, where independent developers will have hands-on access to leading-edge machines."

Will Linux Group Burn Sun? (ZDNet). Here's an article that sees the Open Source Development Lab as a potential anti-Sun conspiracy. "Publicly, the new Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) hopes to promote Linux in the enterprise. But privately, the OSDL-funded by HP, IBM, Intel and NEC USA-may be plotting against Sun Microsystems."

Sun helps Linux go global (News.com). News.com has put up this article on Sun's release of its internationalization software. "The software is a layer that makes it easier to write software onto which any number of languages can be grafted. A program written to use the layer can be more easily shifted so Japanese as well as French people can use a program. Currently, Linux software is typically rewritten for each new language." (Thanks to César A. K. Grossmann).


LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter. The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for August 31 is out. As always, it contains a comprehensive summary of happenings in the embedded Linux world.

MP3 on Linux HOWTO (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl site has put up an article on working with the MP3 audio format with Linux systems. "In fact, odds are if you have a Linux machine, you already have all the tools you'll need to create and MP3, you just might need some command-line advice."

Linux Hardware Support Survey Part 1: Motherboards (Signal Ground. This article takes a look at how well various motherboard manufacturers support Linux. The research was done by looking at each manufacturer's web site and looking for Linux references. "What we found surprised us and even made us laugh out loud at times. Sadly, the hardware world is still overwhelmingly Windows-centric. But there were some glimmers of enlightenment in this sea of companies, and we'll recommend companies to deal with if you're a penguin at heart."

Poll: most important software tools (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com is running a poll of embedded Linux developers in an attempt to find out which are the most important software tools in that arena. If you have opinions on the matter, you might want to head on over and share them.

Linux Buyer's Guide IV (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl has released its latest Linux Buyer's Guide. "AMD is back in the lead and with authority. Once again, I do not choose an SMP setup here because many applications are just not multi-threaded yet. Our goal here is to put together a realistic dream machine, not a wasteful one."


From Old PC To Powerful Server (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews Cybernet's NetMAX Professional Suite. "Installation isn't pretty during the first section, consisting of bewildering Linux text messages scrolling up the screen. Linux-phobes aren't asked to do anything even resembling a command, however; the program just answers a few quick questions and continues to the browser-based installation screens, which are clean and attractive." (Thanks to Louie L. Lindenmayer III).


Interview: Quentin Cregan (O Linux). O Linux interviews SourceForge developer Quentin Cregan. "SourceForge's role in Open Source appears to be becoming (hopefully) the base carrier of content. Geocities for Open Source, if you like =) We think it's great that so many developers can come to one place, and find so much freely downloadable and modifiable software."


A lab of one's own (Upside). This column covers the Open Source Development Lab, the upcoming MacOS X release, and a sighting from LinuxWorld: "Recent attendees of the LinuxWorld Convention and Expo may have spotted the offending T-shirt: A cartoon image of the BSD 'daemon' mascot and Tux, the Linux penguin mascot, er, re-enacting the famous love scene from 'Deliverance.' The caption: 'Plugging Linux Security Holes since 1994.'"

Hypocrisy: An Open Source Closed Community (LinuxPower). Here's a column from somebody who had a bad day at LinuxWorld. "The slashdot camp expects to be treated like kings, with the open source community as their court. Perhaps they have forgotten that one of the wonderful things about the open source community is that we're all equals." (Thanks to Charles Chapman).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

September 7, 2000


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See also: last week's Announcements page.


Free Software Job Website. Lolix.org is a job site for the Free Software community. Employers may post job descriptions and potential employees may post resumes. The original site is for France, a United States version is being beta tested.


Top Ten Tips for Linux. O'Reilly presents some useful tips for Linux users. "These tips may seem simple, but I've found it's often the simple tricks that are the most useful in day-to-day work."

Linux Gazette #57 released. The September 2000 issue of the Linux Gazette is out.

LinuxFocus for September. LinuxFocus Magazine has released the September 2000 issue.


Panel on the Open Source Movement at ESC. This year's Embedded Systems Conference will feature a debate on the topic: "The Open-Source Movement: Boon or Bane for Embedded Systems Developers?". The debate is scheduled for Monday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m.

September events.
Date Event Location
September 20 - September 22, 2000. 7th International Linux Kongress Erlangen, Germany.
September 24 - September 28, 2000. Embedded Systems Conference 2000 San Jose, CA.
September 25 - September 28, 2000. LINUX Business Expo Atlanta, Georgia.
September 27 - September 30, 2000. Linux Asia 2000 - email: Zaid Karim Shaari Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Additional events can be found in the LWN Event Calendar. Event submissions should be sent to lwn@lwn.net.

Web sites

Open Source Website. Planet Source Code has announced that its authors have made over a million lines of Open Source code available on the site to the computer programming public.

The launch of Linux2order.com. Linux2order.com, a Web-based company, announced the launch of its website, offering software applications and utilities for the Linux operating system,

User Group News

LUG Events: September 7 - September 21, 2000.
Date Event Location
September 9, 2000. Linux Users of Victoria InstallFest Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
September 11, 2000. Southeastern Indiana Linux Users Group Meeting Madison/Jefferson County Public Library, Madison, IN.
September 17, 2000. Omaha Linux User Group Meeting Omaha, Nebraska.
September 17, 2000. Beachside Linux User Group Meeting Conway, SC.
September 18, 2000. Linux Users' Group of Davis Meeting Z-World, Davis, CA
September 19, 2000. Free Software & GNU/Linux Club at Utah State University Forum Logan, Utah
September 19, 2000. Bay Area Linux Users Group Meeting Four Seas Restaurant, Chinatown, San Francisco, CA
September 20, 2000. Linux User Group of Groningen Meeting Groningen, Netherlands

Additional events can be found in the LWN Event Calendar. Event submissions should be sent to lwn@lwn.net.

September 7, 2000



Software Announcements

· Console ·
0verkill0.10 A bloody action 2D deathmatch game in ASCII art.
A Helpful TTY0.3.12 An automatic helper for command prompts and shells.
absortr1 A sorting algorithm.
Accutron 20001.0 A small, simple, unobtrusive IRC bot.
ALSA driver0.5.9c An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
Ari's Yahoo Client1.8 A text-based Yahoo! Messenger client.
asmutils0.10 A set of miscellaneous utilities written in assembly language.
AutoConvert0.3.6 Chinese GB/HZ/BIG5 encoding auto convert
autolame1.8 Automatic encoding of .wav files.
Automated Password Generator1.0.4 Set of tools for password generation.
BAIM0.8a A BitchX AOL Instant Messenger plugin/module.
Bananux0.13 Bananaloto console-mode client.
BashCat0.0.1 Accepts raw input from a :Cue:Cat and opens a browser to the associated page.
BIRD1.0.3 A daemon for dynamic routing of IP and IPv6
Bookmark file merger0.2 A script to merge Netscape bookmark files.
buffer0.91 A large-scale command-line general-purpose data buffer.
Build Your Linux Disk1.0 Package that helps you to build a floppy Linux distribution.
Calamaris2.34 Statistics for Squid, NetCache, Oops, Inktomi Traffic Server, Compaq Tasksmart
catscan1.1 Simple perl script to decode Digital Convergence CueCat barcode scanner output
cddump0.5 A CD-R and CD-RW backup utility similar to dump/ufsdump.
CDRDAO1.1.4 Disk-At-Once Recording of Audio CD-Rs
CDSA3.11 Security infrastructure middleware.
CueCat Driver0.0.6 Linux kernel driver for the :Cue:Cat barcode reader.
CuentaSaltos0.3 A PPP connection timer for console users.
curl7.2.1 Command line tool for getting data from a URL
datedif0.9.1-3 Calculates the difference in days between two dates.
Dial2Net0.1.2 A ppp menu for selecting an ISP from a list.
Eggdrop Commander0.1 Eggdrop IRC Bot Configuration file generator.
EgroupArchiver0.1 An egroups mailing list archiver.
Elf Info0.1 A tool that shows detailed information about ELF files.
Elizatalk for Licq0.3 Artificial intelligent talkback program using Eliza.
Enigma1.03 Curses-based falling-blocks puzzle game.
EPM2.1 A software packaging tool.
Etherboot4.6.6 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes.
Ethernet Frames Diverter0.31 Ethernet Frames Diverter for Transparent WWW proxying bridge
fb-slideshow.sh0.1.0-alpha Script to play sets of images with fbi.
FDS Downloader1.6.2.6 Automate downloads from FreeDiskSpace.com and MySpace.com with file resuming.
Fire-Waller1.1 Creates a nice HTML version of your firewall logs.
FireWall Log Spawn1.0.5 A firewall log reformatter.
ftpcopy0.3.2 FTP mirror software
Gibraltar Firewall0.90 A Debian-based router/firewall distribution runnable from a bootable, live CD-RO
Gnapfetch0.4 Fetches opennap servers for gnapster.
GNUSearch0.0.7 A Perl search engine.
GQKat1.00 :Cue:Cat barcode reader and decoder.
hagelslag0.10 A Gnutella clone.
hodie1.3 Classic latin replacement of date(1).
JFS for Linux0.0.11 The IBM JFS source code.
joinpic1.1 Attaches split images together.
Kexis0.2.0 A lossless WAV file compressor.
Laptop-Guide3.2 How to make the best of Linux features with laptops.
LCDproc-Client for SETI@home0.1 LCDproc client for displaying SETI@home status data.
LFSMake20000904 Automated Installation of Linux from scratch.
linib0.5b A text-based Nibbles game for Linux.
Linux Intrusion Detection Systemlids 0.9.8 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux Napster Client1.4.3 Application that locates and downloads MP3s.
Linuxconf1.21 Sophisticated administrative tool
lsof4.51 List open files
Magic Mounter0.8 User-space auto-mounter.
Magic Square1.0.0 A C implementation of magic squares solving algorithms.
MakeKernel1.2 Lazy man's kernel compiler and installer.
mboxgrep0.4.0 A mailbox searching utility.
ModLogAn0.5.3 A modular logfile analyzer.
mon0.38.20 Highly configurable service monitoring daemon
mondo rescue0.976 Generates bootable rescue CD ISOs.
moodss8.25 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
motion1.99 A motion detector for video4linux devices.
mp3rename2.2 A Perl script to rename and organize MP3 files and get rid of nasty characters.
mrtg-misc-probe0.2.0 A miscellaneous system parameter monitor probe for mrtg.
mrtg-ntap-probe0.3.2 A Probe for Network Appliance NetCache server and Network Appliance Filer
MTX1.2.9 program for controlling the robotic mechanism of DDS autoloaders
MyQuote1.11 A Perl program to display real-time quotes on the console.
NAMD2.2b1 Parallel molecular dynamics simulation program
namefix.pl1.00 mp3 name formatting tool.
nano0.9.17 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
Napsack0.01 A utility for launching cross-server Napster queries.
ncp1.2 Copy files (and URLs) quickly inside your LAN.
nget0.13 auto-resuming command line nntp file grabber
Nmap2.54beta4 A full-featured, robust port scanner.
NTLogon0.6 A Samba logon script generator.
nvi1.81.1 vi with an experimental GTK front end.
OpenLDAP2.0.1 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
OpenSSH Challenge/Response patch1.0 A patch to make OpenSSH support Challenge/Response authentication
Pam-Mysql0.4.6 Pam module for MySQL
pam_cryptocard1.1 PAM module for cryptographic challenge-response authentication
pavuk0.9pl26 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
Pbotty1.1e Pbotty - Perl/PostgreSQL/PHP3 IRC Bot
pcmcia-cs3.1.20 A complete PCMCIA support package for Linux.
pdump0.779 Perl packet sniffer that dumps, monitors, and modifies traffic on a network.
PeeWeeLinux0.51 A small linux distribution for embedded applications.
pemail: perl email1.0 pemail is a command line mail user agent written in Perl.
PerlMxbeta 1 A Perl mail filter engine that operates under sendmail.
PIKT1.11.0 An innovative new systems administration paradigm.
playlist2.3 Generates lists in plaintext and HTML for a directory tree of music files
pngcheck1.99.3 A PNG integrity tester and dumper/debugger.
Portable OpenSSH2.2.0p1 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
PPP Keepalive1.2 Maintains Dialup Connection
ptgnlfsr2.4 An EPROM programming table generator & BILBO signature generator.
pup1.1 Printer Utility Program.
Python Documentation1.6 Official documentation for the Python programming language.
QBookCollector0.1 Software to use the CueCat to maintain book collections with MySQL.
randomsig1.9 A program that picks a random line from one or more files for use as signatures.
rc.firewall4.0 Firewall script with support for numerous services.
RedHat-HighPoint Install Disk6.2-1 RedHat Install disk With HighPoint ATA/66 controller support.
Redmond Linux OSbeta 1 refresh A Linux distribution geared for newbies.
reiserfs3.6.14 A filesystem which stores the files themselves in a B*-tree, gaining speed.
rmdirr1.0 Recursively remove empty directories.
Samsung ML-85G Printer driver0.1.0 Driver for the Samsung GDI printer, ML-85G.
Shadow20000902 Shadow password file utilities
Shorten Utilities0.02 shnutils is a collection of Perl scripts developed to assist using shorten.
sifi0.1.6 Stateful TCP/IP packet filter for Linux.
Smart BootManager3.6-pre4 A OS Independant boot manager.
Smart Rename1.0beta2 Mass renamer script written in Perl.
SmsSend1.6 Sends SMS to any GSM using scripts.
sneakemail command line client1.0 A simple perl script for using sneakemail from the command line
streamcast0.6 Icecast and shoutcast file streamer with request queue support
svgalib Cellular Automata Program1.1 Cellular automata program.
SVGATextMode1.10 An SVGA textmode manipulation/enhancement utility.
SWARM0.34 Simulation of an ARM processor in C++.
T.E.A.R.0.2 Console-based CD to MP3 encoding tool.
taptunnel0.31 Ethernet-tunnel over TCP/IP using the new Linux-2.2-ethertap-device
tcshrc0.3 A well-organised set of tcsh configuration files.
Tetradraw2.0.1 Full featured linux ansi editor
The Battle.net r0wbot1.1.15 A Battle.net chat client for the Linux console.
timbot2.1 A modular factoid-storing IRCbot in common lisp.
UniquE RAR File Library0.3 Tiny static library to decompress RAR archives.
Universal Line Printer Client0.5.0 Universal Line Printer Client.
UnixTree2.2.5 XTree-like console mode file manager.
UserIPAcct0.9b Per User IP Accounting for the Linux Kernel
VCDpad0.8 Pad VCD MPEGs to be usable with vcdtools.
Woody0.1.4 Tree editor, outliner, TODO list, and project management tool.
yafc0.6 Yet Another FTP Client
Zebedee2.1.0 beta 2 Encrypting, compressing TCP and UDP tunnel.
· Daemons ·
AIME0.57 An Object Oriented (C++) MUD engine.
Antivore0.93 An email server that manages encryption server-side.
AOLserver3.1 A multithreaded, Tcl-enabled, dynamic Web server.
bayonne0.4.4 Bayonne is the telephony server of the GNU project
bbs1001.1.4 A BBS for chat and messaging accessable via telnet.
Cistron Radius Server1.6.4 Free Radius Server with many features
dircproxy0.7.0 A detachable IRC proxy with logging support.
dkimap2.22 IMAP4 daemon
gendns0.3.3 A tool for centralized management of DNS files.
ISC DHCP3.0b2pl2 Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Client and Server implementation
Kannel0.11 An Open Source WAP & SMS gateway.
Leafnode1.9.17 NNTP server for small leaf sites
MasqMail0.1.3 Offline Mail Transfer Agent
Mckoi SQL Database0.84 Java relational database management system.
mod_backhand1.1.0 Local-area, heterogeneous web cluster load balancing module for Apache.
MySQL3.23.23 An SQL (Structured Query Language) database server.
PyGCS1.5.2 A very stripped down MUD-like chat-server written entirely in Python.
Qpopper3.1b10 A POP3 server.
RPGD1.4 A multi-user, medieval-fantasy role-playing game
SocksCleaner0.4 Socks cleaner for irc servers
UniBg Patch for Hybrid IRCDrc4 Hybrid IRCD patch that adds several new features.
UW Imap Serverrelease-candidate 6 Univerity of Washington Imap server
VoidPOP30.1.5 Another POP3 server.
XMail0.59 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
· Development ·
ActivePerlbuild 617, based on perl 5.6.0 ActiveState's distribution of Perl.
ActivePythonbuild 100 Free binary Python distribution for Linux, Solaris, and Windows.
Averist0.8.0 Authentication layer for any CGI-based application.
AVL C Library0.1 ANSI C Library for maintainance of AVL Balanced Trees.
Boa Constructor0.0.4 RAD GUI-building IDE for wxPython.
CDDB.py1.2 Audio CD track title access in Python via CDDB
CML2+OS0.7.6-0.5 Embedded Linux system (kernel+OS) configurator and generator.
Common C++1.2.1 A portable environment for C++ threads, sockets, etc.
CoreLinux++0.4.27 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
CoreLinux++ Framework0.1.0 Abstract frameworks library for CoreLinux++.
cvsd0.8b2 cvsd is a chroot/suid wrapper for running a cvs pserver more securely.
DBIx::Easy0.07 Easy-to-use DBI Interface.
detect library0.9.72 A hardware detection library.
diet libc0.2 A library for creating small, statically-linked binaries.
Double Choco Latte20000905 Software Configuration Management/Bug/Enhancement Tracking Software
Easysoft Interbase ODBC Driver0.1.5 ODBC Driver for Interbase 6
ENBD2.4.11 An enhanced network block device for Linux 2.2.
Escher0.1.5 Java X11 library
Extensys1.0.1 Platform for developing communications/telecommunications applications.
Gbuilder.pm0.90 A Perl module for aiding CVS module builds.
Gen proto0.1 A small lex program that creates prototypes for C files
Generic PHP Framework2000-09-05 Library of reusable objects for PHP4.
gladepyc0.5 Generates low-level pygtk/Python code from Glade XML files.
Gnome-GCJ0.13.0 GTK+ and GNOME bindings for Java.
HyperQbs3.0 alpha Server-side component-ware for presentation logic, successor of Servlets and JSP
inilib1.0.4 A C++ preferences file storage library.
JE44.0a8 Java API for developing Elvin clients
JIGS0.4.2 GNUstep Java Interface.
jQKat1.001 Java QueCat Decoder
JRTPLIB2.4 Free RTP library written in C++.
Kazlib1.18p1 Robust ANSI C data structure library.
Lesstif0.91.8 LGPL'd re-implementation of Motif
libstocks0.5.0 A library for fetching stock quotes.
Magick++5.2.3 Object-oriented C++ API to the ImageMagick image-processing library.
motor1.7.12 A text mode IDE for Linux.
mysqlcppapi1.7.2 A C++ API for MySQL, forked off from MySQL++.
mysqldiff0.24 Utility for comparing MySQL database structures.
NanoXML1.6.3 A very small XML parser for Java.
OCI C++ Library0.3.0 A very simple library to communicate with Oracle 8.x through OCI.
OpaL Repository Maintainer0.0.26 A repository maintainence tool.
PaulA0.3 Administration system for Linux.
Perforce2000.1 Fast, reliable, multi-platform software configuration management.
perle44.0a11 Perl binding for the Elvin 4 publish-subscribe notification/messaging service
PHPWidgets!0.92 Build dynamic webpages from HTML and PHP code snippets.
Polymorphic XML Parser1.0 Validating XML parser for Objective Caml.
pypvm0.91 Provides an interface to the Parallel Virtual Machine to Python
Python2.0b1 High-level scripting language.
rdf2html0.0.4 This class file produces a news ticker from a given Netscape channel file.
RegExplorer0.1.5 Regular Expression Explorer
Remote Tea0.85.1 ONC/RPC for Java.
SableVM0.1.5 A Java virtual machine in C for GNU/Linux.
SashXB for Linux1.0 Create Network Weblications with embedded [HTML, JavaScript, and XML].
Silly::Werder0.03 Meaningless gibberish generator
Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator1.3a4 A scripting interface generator for C/C++ code.
String850.1.0 Converts z80 bin to 85s-format.
Terminality1.4 A cross-platform terminal manipulation library.
Twinlib0.3.1 A graphic library for Qt.
UConio1.0.0 Video handling C library.
Video4linux loopback0.5 A video4linux driver providing video pipes.
ZNet1.0 Transparent compression network layer for Java applications.
ZThread1.0.4 Advanced object-oriented, platform-independant threading library.
Bakery0.3.0 C++ Framework for creating GNOME applications using Gnome-- and Gtk--.
Balsa0.9.4 A GNOME mail client with support for local mailboxes, POP3, and IMAP.
BitNotes0.9 Network connected note-taking Gnome applet
DeadFTP0.0.8 A Graphical FTP Client
eXtace1.3.3 ESD FFT visual plugin, eye-candy
Eye of Gnome0.5 The GNOME image viewing and cataloging program
Gaby1.9.23 A small personal databases manager using GTK+
Galeon0.7.4 A GNOME Web browser.
gmanedit0.3.1 A GNOME/GTK man page editor.
Gnobog0.4.0 GNOME bookmarks organizer.
GnoMAME1.00b1 A GNOME xmame frontend.
GnoZip0.1.1 A WinZip-like compression utilities frontend for GNOME.
GTelnet2.1 A fancy GNOME telnet client.
GTKdiff1.6.0 GTK+ diff frontend
Oregano0.18 Schematic capture and circuit simulation application
YASlash0.1.0 Yet another app that fetches slashdot headlines.
· KDE ·
Guarddog0.9.2 User friendly firewall generation/management utility for KDE.
kab2psion0.1 Converts KDE addressbook (kab) files into csv files for Psion5.
kastrolog 5.41.1 An astrology program
KEasyISDN0.7 Frontend to isdnctrl and onlinecounter.
KRouletteSim0.3.2 Numerical Roulette simulation.
KTimeWarp0.2 A small application to display time in different time zones.
KWebGet0.7 Download and Mirror-Utility for the KDE-Project
The KFilter Program0.3.3 A tool to design acoustic loudspeakers.
· Web ·
APG1.30 A Java app that generates Web photo galleries.
asp2php0.75.6 Converts Active Server Pages (ASP) to PHP3 scripts
chpasswd2.0 change user password by WWW
ct2600-code4.0pre1 A PHP and MySQL Web site RAD.
CyberScheduler template1.0.3 A CyberScheduler Web-based client/server groupware suite with Palm support.
do-sql0.1.0 PHP tool for MySQL queries.
dotBanner0.95 A complete banner management system for small to large Web sites.
DVDdb0.3 Web based DVD database
eSearch1.02b Java-based search engine
Eteria IRC Client20000830 An RFC-1459-compliant IRC chat client written in Java.
fBuilder Lite2.0.2 fBuilder is a Web-based utility for building and configuring a Linux firewall.
findcontent1.0 Finds content on webservers with different data but the same hierarchy.
Free-Vote1.0.1 A Web-based electronic voting system.
Freemed-YiRCbeta0.14 A PHP-based Youth in Residential Care package.
gcdb1.0 A PHP graphical frontend to a MySQL database.
GeekLog1.0.2 A PHP and MySQL weblog.
GIST KM Theme1. 0 Generalised knowledge management Web theme.
Greenstone2.25 Digital library creation, management, and distribution.
Harvey1.00 Publishing groupware for schools (discussions, webpages, photos).
HTAdmin1.0b Basic and simple htaccess/htpasswd/htgroup management.
inoize1.10 MP3 sharing software with encrypted streaming to prevent copyright violation.
Insert Slashdot News Macromedia Generator Objectv .95 Insert Slashdot News into Macromedia Generator Template.
Internet Imperialists0.12 A Web-based game.
ISPMan0.4 An ISP manager.
Jack's FormMail.php2.0 A PHP version of the popular FormMail.pl.
knowledgebase0.20 Knowledgebase tool based on PHP
LaNewsFactory0.4.0 A Web news site in PHP.
LDAP Class for PHP1.1 PHP class for accessing an LDAP directory like a filesystem.
leafwa0.3.1 Web-based administration package for Leafnode.
LiveWebStats0.126 Generates live Web statistics in html from Apache logs.
mail2php0.4 Read and send mail with PHP.
MailStudio @MESSAGE5.0 Web-based Messaging Server
Martin's Photo Frame2.0 A PHP script for publishing photos on the web
Meditux1.0 Medical information system for an intensive care unit.
Mod Snake0.4.1 Apache 1.3 and 2.0 module for Python modules, CGIs, and embedding.
Monolithapplication framework 0.1 An application framework for writing monolithic CGI programs.
MP3 Database Browser0.1.1 PHP-based MP3 database browser.
mp4h1.1.1 A macro processor for HTML documents.
mymusic1.0pre1 web-based music database and daemon
panFora1.3 Web-based discussion forum with efficient navigation and easy installation.
PgMarket0.99 An e-commerce solution based on PHP4 and PostgreSQL.
Phorum3.2.0 Phorum is a web based discussion software written in PHP
PHP interface to ht://Dig2000.09.03 ht://Dig indexing and searching Web pages engine interface from PHP.
PHP Link Tracker.php link creator 0.1 PHP Link Creator lists all of your links in slashboxes ordered by click throughs
PHP Weather1.17 Shows the current weather conditions on your Web page.
php3guest1.6.1 A Web guestbook written in PHP3 with a MySQL backend.
phpESP1.1-beta1 Design/create/use/report surveys online.
phpftp1.6 A Web-based FTP client.
PHPMailApp0.05 Online Mail Sending/Retrieving Application
phpMBS1.2 PHP-based multi-user bookmark system.
PhpMyExplorer1.1.4 HTML site update without FTP access.
phpPhotoAlbum0.9.9 Dynamic PHP photo album.
phpShop0.6.0 A simple and powerful PHP E-Commerce solution for B2C and B2B.
phpSysInfo1.0 phpSysInfo will display things like Uptime, CPU, Memory, etc.
PoolMan1.4 JDBC database connection pooling and query-caching Java utility
PPP Remote Control0.7 A Perl CGI to control pppd operation from a Web browser.
Quicken Open Financial Exchange Server0.80b Response/request parser for the Quicken client.
Radius Authentication Manager3 An SQL-based radius authentication system.
ruboard2.3b Configurable, database-backed Web discussion board.
SDSC/GT Secure FTP1.0 A Java-based secure FTP client.
Sensors Server09.01.00 Streams sensor data across a network for client applications to process.
slides.sh0.17 A shell script based text to HTML presentation translator
SquirrelMail0.5pre2 A PHP4 Web-based email reader.
Surveyor - Online Survey Application2 Online Survey Application
Tapestry0.1.3 Java component object model for developing highly interactive Web applications.
The Java SSH/Telnet Application/Applet2.0-20000904-1356 Fully featured telnet program for WWW-Browsers
Tobedone0.1.3 Web/Java-based project management tool.
ToDoList.php0.9.4 PHP-based todo management system.
Toolbase0.8.3 A system to maintain download archives.
TUTOS20000902 Support teams with calendar, project management, addressbook , and bugtracking.
UdmSearch3.0.22 Fast WWW search engine for your site
UdmSearch-php3.1.1.0 PHP frontend for UdmSearch Web search engine
UniCount1.3.7 Text or Image SSI counter
VAMP Webmail1.9.9-4 Flexible PHP-based Web mail.
W3Mail1.0 A Web gateway to POP3 eMail.
W3Perl2.73 WWW logfile analysis program
WebMake0.3 A simple, offline Web site management system.
Website META Language2.0.3 Webdesign HTML-generation toolkit
xlHtml0.2.7.2 XLS to HTML converter
Zope2.2.1 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.
· X11 ·
2D Spatialization of Sound1.0 Two Dimensional Spatialization of Sound X11 port.
aewm0.9.16 A minimalistic window manager for X
Aleph One/SDL0.10.3 3D first-person action game, based on Bungie's Marathon series.
Asteroids3D0.1.149 A 3D, first-person game of blowing up asteroids.
AutoZen1.0 A tool to alter your state of consciousness.
BORG0.2.90 Distributes BMRT render jobs among a network.
CAFire0.0.12 A burning mouse pointer toy.
Chromium B.S.U.0.9.5 Arcade-style, top-scrolling space shooter game.
Chuchunco City 20000.2.0 A cross-platform 2D fighting game.
CYCAS2.08 CAD Software for Linux
dfm0.99.8 A filemanager like OS/2 WPS
EasyTAG0.9.7 A utility for tagging MP3 files.
Everybuddy0.1.4-2 Universal Instant Messaging Client
flounder0.1a 4D data visualization package.
FoKS0.3 KiSS paper doll viewer
foXcontrol0.1.3 Control center for foXdesktop.
foXcontrol-desktop0.0.10 Allows you to change FOX application settings easily.
foXman0.1.2 A foXdesktop man page viewer.
FreeAmp2.1 beta 8 Open Source MP3 player
FreeWRL0.26 Free VRML browser for Linux
gBootRoot1.2.2 Tool to create a separate boot and root Linux system.
GDancer0.3.1 A dancing Space Ghost XMMS plugin.
gedit0.9.1pre1 A GNOME text editor.
gimp-print4.0a3 Print plug-in for the GIMP and GhostScript driver for Epson printers.
grdb0.2.4 Applies gtk theme colors to Xt/Motif/Tk apps
gShieldConf0.31 A tool for editing gShield configuration files.
gtkmail1.0.4 gtk-- mail client
GTKtalog0.3.0 Fast Disk Catalog using a friendly interface.
GuidePost0.1 GuideML editor for X11.
Gyach0.4 GTK based Yahoo! Chat client.
HardDrake project0.9.3 Tools for hardware configuration
Heroes0.6 Nibbles-like game, just better.
IBM OpenDX4.1.0 An application for data visualization.
ImageMagick5.2.3 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
isdn-configadsl-config 0.2-1 An ISDN configuration tool.
jEdit2.6pre5 Powerful text editor
larswm5.8 A tiling window manager built on 9wm.
libfoXcontrol0.1.2 libfoXcontrol is a library for writing foXcontrol components.
libfoXdesktop0.1.1 foXdesktop's core library.
LinNeighborhood0.6.1 Linux Port of Windows Network Neighborhood
Linux Commander0.3.1 A file manager for X11 using GTK+.
mrtg2.9.0pre24 Multi Router Traffic Grapher
MuX2d0.2.4a WYSIWYM editor for MusiXTeX.
poEdit1.0.1 gettext translation catalog editor.
Port Scanner1.1 Tool to check for open ports.
PyChess0.1.1 Cross-platform two-player chess game written in Python.
pyDict0.2.4 English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary
qtisdnlinux0.5 A frontend to isdn4k-utils.
Rasca1.3.2 Extended MP3 Player.
Remote nmap0.4-beta Client and server software to remotely do nmap port scans.
ROX-Filer0.1.27 Drag-and-drop based filemanager.
Skipstone0.2 Gtk+ Web browser based on Mozilla.
Smile Cluster Management System1.2.2 Extensible management tool for Beowulf clusters including realtime monitoring.
SpiralSynth0.1.5 A software synthesizer.
Spruce0.7.5 A simple email client coded for X with the GTK widget set.
StarCraft Start2.0 Bash script to start Starcraft in Linux.
sunclock3.00 A fancy clock that shows both time and geographical data.
tgif4.1.39 Vector-based draw tool
Volume Normalizer0.2 Volume normalizing plugin for XMMS.
wApua0.04 alpha A WAP WML browser written in Perl/Tk.
WiredView0.0.3 OpenGL network traffic monitor
wmmon-setip1 A patch to adjust the loadmeter to ignore niced applications.
XawTV3.19 A TV viewing application and a few TV utilities.
xdvplay0.4 Displays Digital Video AVI files.
XEmacs/GTK21.1.12 A version of XEmacs that uses the GTK+ widget set.
xmms-avi0.5 xmms plugin
xmms-shn1.2 XMMS input plugin to play shorten (.shn) files.
Xsqlmenu2.10 Easy-to-use GUI client for MySQL and mSQL.
Yet Another MP3 Player1.16 MP3 player based on GTK and XAudio.
¶napster0.70 alpha A Napster clone entirely written in Java.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux Links of the Week

The OpenAL project has set itself the task of creating a new library for handling high-quality sound; it sees itself as the analog of the OpenGL graphics library. The effort is supported by Loki and other vendors.

Doc Searls' weblog is usually a source of something interesting - and often even Linux-related as well.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

September 7, 2000



This week in history

Two years ago (September 10, 1998 LWN): industry journalists complained in a big way about being flamed by Linux Zealots - something that has changed little since.

Prediction of the week:

Linux will never go mainstream. But it will have a powerful influence nonetheless.
-- Jesse Berst, ZDNet.

Perhaps it depends on your definition of "mainstream"...

The development kernel was 2.1.121. A fair amount of controversy surrounded the addition of the QNX filesystem, since the kernel was alleged to be in a feature freeze at the time.

Oracle announced its first set of marketing partnerships, with Red Hat, VA Research (now VA Linux), Pacific HiTech (now TurboLinux) and S.u.S.E. (now SuSE).

Dell, it was revealed, had been selling Linux-installed systems to a few big customers for a year, despite its public denials that there was even interest in such systems.

An interesting press release came out. Here's a quote from LWN's coverage:

Seems that the "Timpanogas Research Group, Inc." is looking for investors so that they can "complete development and product launch for its VNDI (Virtual Network Disk Interface) Technology," which will be available under Linux. They had $2M in initial capital, but blew $1.4M of it in litigation against Novell. All is not bad, however: "On the positive side, due to the litigation costs, TRG posted a tax credit of $1.6 million dollars for FY97 returns that the company can carry forward and credit against future sales of its products." They're looking for another $2M...

A look at this week's kernel page will show where TRG has gotten in the intervening two years...

One year ago (September 9, 1999 LWN): Licensing problems turned up with some of the code distributed with Bind 8.2, a crucial piece of network infrastructure. In the end, all was worked out, but it showed the kind of difficulties that licensing conflicts can cause.

SCO distributed a brochure in northern Europe:

Linux at this moment can be considered more a play thing for IT students rather than a serious operating system in which to place the functioning, security and future of a business. Because Linux is basically a free-for-all it means that no individual person/company is accountable should anything go wrong, plus there is no way to predict which way Linux will evolve

They certainly failed to predict how things would evolve...

Quote of the week:

Any time you're sort of slacking off or saying you're thinking of taking a day off our president says, 'You know, I'll bet Bill Gates is working today.'
Marc Ewing on Red Hat's relaxed corporate culture.

The latest, greatest NFS patches were withheld from the 2.2.12 (and later) stable kernel release, due to fears that they would destabilize things.

Caldera 2.3 was launched this week. MandrakeSoft announced the opening of its Chinese offices, in cooperation with a little-known company called LinuxOne. Red Hat, meanwhile, announced "Lorax", the beta version of its 6.1 release.



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.
From: Robert Graham Merkel <rgmerk@mira.net>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 17:01:45 +1100
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Re: "Let's move towards easier software installations"

In LWN 31/8/2000, Larry Kollar wrote a letter his experiences
installing GnuCash on LinuxPPC.  

It's unfortunate that he found installing gnucash tedious.  The
GnuCash developers (of whom I am one) are trying to make the
installation from source easier, even though, as Mr Kollar pointed
out, installing from the binary RPM would have been much easier.

However, the statement ". . .that an important user app like Gnucash
should be WM-agnostic anyway" suffers under the misconception that
GNOME (and KDE, for that matter) is a  window manager. While
GNOME works best with window managers that support its extensions,
GNOME is far, far more than the set of panel applets and file manager
most people associate with it.

In GnuCash, the GNOME canvas is used to render the account register.
The new gtkhtml widget is used to display (and print) reports.
gnome-print is used directly to print checks.  Preferences dialogs
could not be effectively presented without the extra widgets that the
gnome libraries provide.  Using the gnome libraries gave us all of
those capabilities with far less programming effort than they would
have taken otherwise.  Indeed, I personally expect that as time goes
on GnuCash's user interface will take more and more advantage of the
gnome libraries, and I am convinced that this is an entirely sensible

Installing the gnome libraries does *not* require users to stop using
KDE, or any other window manager they choose to use.  GnuCash will run
fine on any Linux desktop, and we fully intend things to stay that
way.  Installing the libraries is just a matter of running rpm or
dselect, or even using Helix's excellent gnome installer.  The amount
of disc space used is negligible.  About the only problem is that
running gnome apps and KDE apps at the same time might chew up RAM,
but these days video cards come with 1000 times the memory than my
first computer ever had.

Of course, anybody who really wants to write a GNOME-free GnuCash (or
any other example of the new generation of applications dependent on
GNOME or KDE) is more than welcome to try.  See you in a couple of
years when you end up reimplementing a large proportion of the
libraries you were trying to remove in the first place . . .

Robert Merkel	                           rgmerk@mira.net

Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 16:04:21 +0200
From: Martin Cracauer <cracauer@BIK-GmbH.DE>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Your GPL comments

I think that LWN has an overly narrow view on the license problems
mentioned at the beginning of issue August 31, 2000.

The GPL is the only major license that narrows linking with other
licenses.  Your text implies that mixing licenses in general is bad;
this is not the case, i.e. shipping BSD kernel with AFS would be no

I don't say that each clause in the "custom" licenses is good or
acceptable, but that has to be decided by the individual
user/binary-builder for the individual purpose.  The real problem - as
LWN rightly points out - is that linking may not be allowed even when
all licenses of the parts are acceptable.  However, this is just the
GPL's fault.

The GPL tries to eleminate all software that is not GPLed or can be
made so.  That is a problem for people like me who use much software
under different licenses where none of the clauses is a problem for
me (i.e. the formerly BSD advertising clause and many university

Martin Cracauer <cracauer@bik-gmbh.de> http://www.bik-gmbh.de/~cracauer/
BIK - Aschpurwis + Behrens GmbH, Hamburg/Germany
Tel.: +49 40 414787 -12, Fax. +49 40 414787 -15
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 13:40:02 +0200
From: Davide Barbieri <paci@linuxcare.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: No open source company profitable?


I read your comment about LINEO S1-filing and found
a phrase that states:

The combined  open source/proprietary software business  model is
unproven.  "We know  of no  company  that has  built a  profitable
business based on open source software."

I can give you a very little  example. In 1998 me and some friends
founded Prosa, an  italian company, which were forced  to base its
business only  on open-source  software (which means  use, modify,
develop, sell, etc. only free software).

After one year  of activity, Prosa has been  acquired by Linuxcare
Inc.. However,  in its  year of  activity Prosa  had a  revenue of
about 200.000US$, with a profit of about 10.000US$, after we payed
taxes and our little salaries.

These are not big numbers, but  they were pretty good for a little
company in its first year,  which grew without any investment from
VCs. And moreover,  proved that a *pure* open  source company, can
be profitable.

Davide Barbieri, Direttore Generale, Linuxcare Italia, SpA.
+ tel, + fax
paci@linuxcare.com, http://www.linuxcare.com/
Linuxcare. Support for the revolution.
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