Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Distributions page.
Lists of Distributions
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
ASPLinux.The name ASPLinux is derived from "Application Service Provider", a popular buzzword in commercial circles. ASPLinux is produced by SWsoft, a "multinational software development company with headquarters in Singapore and offices in the USA and Europe". Language support includes Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Russian and others.
ASPLinux is derived from Red Hat and promises to be 100% Red Hat-compatible. It is apparently aimed at current Windows sites for, though it does require repartitioning, it provides download and installation capabilities that are usable directly from Internet Explorer and your favorite Microsoft operating system.
They also offer ASPcomplete, which includes add-ons expected to be of interest to Application Service Providers. This includes the user beancounter patch to the Linux kernel (jointly developed by Alan Cox and Andrey Savochkin), which provides per-user resource limitations (rather than the per-process limitations provided by setrlimit). It is fairly easy to see why Application Service Providers would be interested in this, since it can help prevent the actions or activities of one user from using up all of a critical resource and thereby impacting other users.
ASPLinux is still in a snapshot development mode, meaning they have not yet released their first stable product. Till then, there is a great deal of information (and a few screenshots) available from their website.
kmLinux - a new German Linux distribution for schools. Fred Mobach, with the laudable intent of making sure we didn't neglect happenings in Germany due to the language barrier, sent us his take on kmLinux, derived from the kmLinux website. To summarize, kmLinux is a SuSE-derived distribution intended for use in schools.
It comes in two flavors, both aimed at desktop customers. KmLinux installs directly under Windows, for ease of introduction to Linux newcomers. KmLinux-S installs in its own Linux partition, though it can co-exist with additional operating systems as well. Both are bundled with applications for text processing, mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, astronomy, Internet, graphics and games. Both use the Reiser filesystem, so that teachers/students that abruptly turn off their systems without going through a normal shutdown process will have their files protected.
KmLinux is being developed by the Landesbildungsserver Schleswig-Holstein, a German government organization, in close cooperation with the VereinFreie Software und Bildung (Union for Free Software and Education) and SuSE.
Many thanks, Fred! We greatly appreciate this type of assistance from our readers.
News and Editorials
Best Linux For Business (ZDNet). ZDNet gives us a brief introduction to Linux distributions. "A critical factor in choosing a Linux distro is your company's level of in-house expertise with computers in general and with Unix-like operating systems in particular. If you have resident Linux or Unix gurus, you have many more options."
Interview: Frank Smith of the Embedded Debian Project (GeekNews.org). GeekNews.org interviews Frank Smith of the Embedded Debian Project. "The current focus is on CML2+OS, a system for the configuration and generation of both a Linux kernel and an operating system (i.e. root filesystem). Its purpose is to assist embedded Linux developers in configuring and generating small (1 to 10Mb) Linux target systems."
Linux in Brazil Reviews Conectiva Linux 5.1. From Linux in Brazil comes the review (in Portuguese) of Conectiva Linux 5.1. Here's a Babelfish translation. They appear to be pleased, particularly with the security, since its non-US location allows it to include security software and features that have been avoided, to date, by the larger US-based distributions.
TechLinux, a new Brazilian distribution based on Mandrake. Also from Linux in Brazil comes a review of TechLinux 1.0a (in Portuguese), the alpha release of a new Brazilian Linux distribution based on Linux-Mandrake. The review just covers the packaging and documentation; a fuller piece is promised once they have time to install and use the system. Here is the Babelfish translation.
Debian Weekly News. The Debian Weekly News for September 19 is out. It covers the move to replace Debian's installer (described as "aging"), new features in apt, and the end of security fixes for Debian 2.1.
Kernel Cousin Debian. Via this week's Debian Weekly News, we learned that a new Kernel Cousin began publishing last week. Kernel Cousins are regular discussion reports based on a specific mailing list. The original Kernel Cousin reported on the linux-kernel mailing list. Others now report on Wine and the Hurd. The newest Kernel Cousin is the Kernel Cousin Debian, which will be focusing on the debian-devel mailing list. This will be a good source of additional information for Debian followers.
Here are links to the first two Kernel Cousin Debian releases:
Note that the Kernel Cousin Debian is breaking ground with a new "group-authored" development, modeled, of course, on the successful Debian development method. Any number of authors can volunteer to help out. Each author "claims" a thread, follows it and summarizes it as soon as no new posts to that thread have been seen for three days in a row. If you follow debian-devel, this may be a new way to help out the cause. Additional authors are definitely needed.
Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd. Debian GNU/Hurd development is still currently very light, with the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd #59 For 13 Sep reporting 75 posts and only one complete discussion thread, on 'pmake' and 'ash' advancements.
Slackware Development News. The development version of Slackware now uses a statically-compiled version of GCL, due to problems using the dynamically-compiled version on multiple machines. An upgrade to Tcl/Tk 8.3.2 has been completed and LILO 21.5.1 is now being used. Check the security section for a link to the Slackware security update for klogd/sysklogd.
The Architecture and Development of Etlinux. LinuxDevices.com has posted this white paper on the design of Etlinux, an embedded version of Linux. In particular, their use of the Tcl interpreter in order to reduce the overhead associated with normal ELF binaries, was discussed.
"Consider, for example, that for a
program such as the classic "Hello World",
which has several hundred bytes of code, the
smallest executable obtainable with gcc
occupies about 2.5 KB, for an overhead of about
2.4 KB, or more, in real-world programs.
Hence the fundamental idea behind Etlinux: to
use an interpreted language as a "motor"; it is
possible in this way to globalize basic
functionality in the executable of the
interpreter, making it available as primitives
of the language, and using scripts as
applications. For Etlinux, the choice of the
language fell to Tcl, a scripting language
developed by John Ousterhout (see reference,
below), which is exceptionally easy to learn,
and easily extensible through it's C API.
Hence the fundamental idea behind Etlinux: to use an interpreted language as a "motor"; it is possible in this way to globalize basic functionality in the executable of the interpreter, making it available as primitives of the language, and using scripts as applications. For Etlinux, the choice of the language fell to Tcl, a scripting language developed by John Ousterhout (see reference, below), which is exceptionally easy to learn, and easily extensible through it's C API."
TimeSys announces pre-emptive kernel support. TimeSys has announced the availability of its own pre-emptable kernel in its TimeSys Linux/RT distribution.
They also issued this position statement, joining the crowd of companies disputing MontaVista's "first hard real-time Linux" claim.
Coollogic introduces Coollinux AE. Coollogic has announced the availability of its "Coollinux Appliance Edition" distribution, aimed at original equipment manufacturers.
Mini/Special Purpose Distributions
BYLD 1.1beta1 with CDROM support. The latest beta version of BYLD (Build Your Linux Disk) can now write to a CDROM. BYLD is a single-floppy-disk-based distribution meant to be a base from which to build your own rescue disk, net client, etc.
Linux Router Project (LRP) 2.9.8 announced. Linux Router Project 2.9.8 was announced Wednesday, September 13th. The new version supports either the Linux 2.0 or 2.2 kernel. In addition, a package merging system that supports the creation of dynamically extended packages will be of interest to the LRP development community. "Persons using the development snapshot can use this system to make customized packages that dynamically build against the current release".
Vector Linux 1.5. Vector Linux is a small distribution designed to be a very basic Linux distribution from which to build or "homebrew" your own. It supports installation of both rpm-based and debian dpkg-based packages. The latest version, Vector Linux 1.5, contains support for international keyboards, laptop PCMCIA support, the Linux 2.2.17 kernel and a new console look-and-feel, among other improvements. Some additional information is available in the Changelogs.
SmoothWall Linux 0.9.4. SmoothWall Linux, introduced to our distributions list in last week's LWN Distributions Page, has released a new, minor update which includes some streamlining of the method the installer uses to autoprobe for ethernet cards, DHCP and Apache, among other changes.
Fd Linux 1.1-1 introduces minor fixes. A fix for an ssh bug and a minor filesystem image bug led to the release of a minor update for this floppy-based mini-distribution.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
September 21, 2000