[LWN Logo]
[LWN.net]

Bringing you the latest news from the Linux World.
Dedicated to keeping Linux users up-to-date, with concise news for all interests


Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

Other LWN stuff:
 Daily Updates
 Calendar
 Linux Stocks Page
 Book reviews
 Penguin Gallery

 Archives/search
 Use LWN headlines
 Advertise here
 Contact us

Recent features:
- RMS Interview
- 2001 Timeline
- O'Reilly Open Source Conference
- OLS 2001
- Gal Duval
- Kernel Summit
- Singapore Linux Conference
- djbdns

Here is the permanent site for this page.

See also: last week's LWN.

Leading items and editorials


A response to the challenge. Last week LWN called for a free software response to Microsoft's .NET and HailStorm initiatives that went beyond mere copying of Microsoft's design. In response to our challenge, the community has rallied and announced two initiatives in this area. The Free Software Foundation has put out a press release announcing its support for both projects. We are gratified that our challenge was received in this way.

What...? You say all that was happening anyway? And, besides, nobody made it through our editorial? OK, maybe so...

Anyway, as stated, there are two independent projects which have announced their existence over the last week, plus one other which has not put out any formal announcements so far. They differ significantly in their scope and goals; we'll have a look at all three.

Ximian's Mono project came out with an announcement of its existence on July 9. Of the two projects, Mono is less ambitious at the design level - it has set itself the task of reproducing a number of Microsoft-designed components that facilitate the development of .NET applications. In particular, Mono plans to produce:

  • A compiler for the C# language which produces "Common Language Runtime" (CLR) bytecodes. Interestingly, this compiler will not be based on the gcc backend.

  • A reimplementation of the Microsoft class libraries that work with the CLR.

  • A "Common Language Infrastructure" virtual machine which will make the whole thing work.
All of the resulting code, of course, will be free software. Ximian hopes that, with enough outside participation, it can crank out most of the above software over the course of a year.

This project probably needs to happen, but there are a couple of immediate concerns that come up. One is that Microsoft is being allowed to set the agenda; Mono is playing the "catch up" game creating free implementations of systems designed by others. It helps that Microsoft has submitted the relevant specifications for standards approval, but, in the end, it would not be surprising to see the company "embrace and extend" its own standards.

The other concern is the "shared source" release of some of the .NET code. Those who hack on Mono are going to have to be tremendously careful to avoid any sort of exposure to the .NET code, or the whole project could find itself open to lawsuits. As Eric Raymond put it a week ago, the shared source license is the truly viral one - a look at Microsoft's code can contaminate everything a programmer produces.

Playing the game with Microsoft brings exposure to those sorts of hazards, but somebody probably has to do it. The .NET infrastructure is likely to prove hard to avoid. And, it is said, it even has some nice features. So we wish Ximian luck in its project. (See also: the Mono Project home page).

Then, there's DotGNU. At first, the DotGNU Project looks quite similar to Mono. There is a difference, though: while Mono is concentrating on the low-level plumbing for developers, DotGNU is looking hard at the services that will be implemented on top of that plumbing. Mono, for example, is not concerned with the HailStorm authentication services (other than providing a platform on which they can run); DotGNU, instead, describes HailStorm as "dangerous stuff" and has plans for the implementation of a freer alternative.

DotGNU is not ignoring plumbing, though. Three of the project's highest priorities are:

  • The "DotGNU Core Platform," which is essentially a bytecode specification for a new virtual execution environment. Rather than go with the "Common Language" scheme, DotGNU wants to start over.

  • The "DotGNU Secure Execution Environment," a virtual machine which runs the core platform bytecodes.

  • The "DotGNU Distributed Execution Environment" takes the execution environment into a wide area clustered mode.

This would all be cool stuff to have, but one must question the wisdom of creating yet another virtual machine definition. It seems like substantial amounts of effort could be saved by, for example, starting with the Java virtual machine - for which multiple free implementations already exist. The reason for this decision, according to DotGNU designer Norbert Bollow, is to support the needs of the distributed execution environment. The end result may look much like the Java platform, but some enhancements will be necessary.

Also on DotGNU's list is:

  • "DotGNU Virtual Identities," the project's answer to HailStorm. The Virtual Identities scheme will not involve central servers or any single source of personal information;

This is an area where DotGNU could, perhaps, make a real difference. A proper set of open, distributed personal information protocols could, simultaneously, make life easier for users of network services and address the concerns that surround HailStorm and its "Passport" system.

DotGNU faces an uphill battle. The project is new, with no code to show. It's sponsoring organization, FreeDevelopers.net, is a distributed company with utopian ideals but little cash and no track record. And the project is ambitious, to say the least. DotGNU may well get to where it wants to be, but chances are that it will have to find some partners and/or backers first. It will also need to define a revenue model, since FreeDevelopers.net really is supposed to generate paychecks for its developers at some point.

Finally, DotGNU and Mono would be well advised to find effective ways of working together. There is no room for misunderstandings and duplication of effort on a project of this scale. Given the different emphasis that each project has, it should be possible for the two to complement each other, with much better chances of success in the end.

The Island of Project Nareau? A third contender for the next generation of Internet services exists, but, while its architecture and design process is well advanced, it has not yet started issuing press releases. The Nareau Project has set out to develop "an open, user centric, cross platform, Internet3.0 platform," based on standard, existing components. If all goes well, the project will have code to show next month.

Nareau developers do not see the need to create an entire new framework, as is being done by both Mono and DotGNU in their respective ways. Instead, Nareau plans to make use of the many tools and protocols that already exist. Thus, the project will be built on top of components like:

  • Server software: Apache, parts of Zope, Jabber, Jakarta
  • Client software: Mozilla, Komodo
  • Protocols: SOAP, Kerberos
And so on.

The Nareau vision sees a net with a great many "nodes," which can be anything from a cellular phone to a large server. These nodes communicate [Nareau architecture] directly with each other, generally without the need for central servers, using Jabber to send messages back and forth. These messages will be interpreted by objects living on the recipient systems, possibly intermediated by a set of rules implemented in a middle layer.

A crucial component of Nareau will be the "CloudServer," which handles messaging and object publishing, but which does not concern itself with user interface issues. The Nareau rules system will be implemented in the CloudServer, as will authentication and access in general. It is thus the security gateway for a Nareau node; it is also hoped that it will make rule scripting easy to the point that most users will take advantage of the capability.

The authentication aspect of Nareau is handled through a protocol called Sunshine; it is Nareau's answer to HailStorm. It is, of course, a decentralized system, meaning that no single company can position itself as the sole arbiter of access to network services. Any reasonable system has to be that way, but that does leave each participant on the net with the problem of deciding which identity services it trusts. Finding a secure and simple solution to this problem will be a major and unavoidable challenge for any future identity service.

Implementation of Sunshine is one of Nareau's first priorities.

The interface to Nareau seen by most users will be a separate component called a "SpaceStation." The SpaceStation uses Mozilla to provide a user interface to the net. Since, like any proper, modern system, Nareau is designed around peer-to-peer principles, every SpaceStation will include a CloudServer as well. Thus, the SpaceStation will not only allow users to "browse" the net and control their experience there; it will also allow them to participate and publish their own objects.

The Nareau developers hope to have a first release (implementing a calendaring system) available for release at JabberCon in August, with a more complete release sometime around the end of the year. Until then, the project appears to be operating in a cathedral mode, with no downloads or public mailing lists available.

The Nareau developers are hoping, eventually, to make money from the project, through the sales of consulting services, and, perhaps, proprietary components (though the base system will be released under the GPL). There may also be an "enterprise version" of the CloudServer subsystem. Even there, the project is talking about a "source available commercial license" - just don't call it "shared source."

Inside this LWN.net weekly edition:

  • Security: NAI gets DARPA funding, bugs in dip, OpenSSL, OpenSSH, lmail, tetex, tripwire, xdm, xloadimage, Oracle8i.
  • Kernel: Piggyback tarballs; the challenge of 64-bit DMA.
  • Distributions: Red Hat DMA issue, PowerPC options.
  • On the Desktop: Windows on Linux, units clarification and KDE 2.2Beta1
  • Development: BlueBox distributed computing, BusyBox 0.52, Samba 2.2.1, TMDA anti-spam for qmail, GNU Medical Record Project
  • Commerce: BRU and TOLIS group; Mitel Networks acquires e-smith; device driver book updated.
  • History: KDE/GNOME flamewars, gaming platforms.
  • Letters: LSB and Debian; .NET; IPFilter license.
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:


July 12, 2001

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Security page.

Security


News and Editorials

NAI Labs Announces DARPA-Funded FreeBSD Security Initiative. NAI Labs has received a $1.2 Million contract from the DARPA to develop security extension to FreeBSD. The military, it seems, has decided that it is dependent enough on free software to put some effort into improving its security. This particular effort, which is expected to take 18 months, should bring a number of improvements to FreeBSD. Linux security developers may want to have a look at what is going on as well.

The Community-Based Open Source Security project is the recipient of this grant. It's made up of a number of high-profile names, including Robert Watson, Kirk McKusick, and Eivind Eklund. The aim of the project is to target some of the "low-hanging fruit" in the security area, including:

  • "Transfer of existing security knowledge." The purpose here is to develop a FreeBSD security architecture document and to enhance the FreeBSD man pages with security information.

  • Incorporation of existing security technology into FreeBSD. This includes extended filesystem attributes, mandatory access control, hardening of the network stack, incorporation of pluggable authentication modules (PAM), filesystem and swap encryption, and, someday, transfer of some goodies from the NSA's Security-Enhanced Linux project.

  • The development of a framework for the incorporation of new security mechanisms into the FreeBSD kernel, much like the Linux security module work that is happening now.

  • The hardening of security-critical applications through the use of a "privilege management toolkit."

Some of the work is simply trying to catch up with capabilities Linux has had for years (i.e. PAM, TCP SYN cookies), but some of it is interesting and new. The results bear watching.

Linux advocates should also, perhaps, be paying more attention to the possibility of government funding for some development work. The money is out there, and, often, it's looking for something interesting to do. Given the difficulty of finding venture capital these days, sharp people with good ideas might just want to consider taking the grant approach instead.

Snort 1.8 is released. Version 1.8 of the Snort intrusion detection system is out. New features include a "stateful inspection and TCP stream reassembly module," host tagging, detection of ARP spoofing, defeats for a number of evasion techniques, and much more. This may be the last big release for a little bit, since the author, Martin Roesch, is about to become a father.

Security Reports

dip 3.3.7p overflow. An overflow condition has been discovered in dip on SuSE 7.0 X86 and Slackware. This is an old bug that has resurfaced.

lmail local root exploit. Lmail is susceptible to a local root exploit that can allow attackers to overwrite and create files.

OpenSSL Pseudo-random number generator weakness. A weakness has been discovered in the OpenSSL Pseudo random number generator that can allow an attacker to discover the PNRG's state and predict future values.

This week's updates:

Caldera security update to OpenSSH. Caldera International has released a security update to OpenSSH fixing an interesting problem: an attacker can remove any file on the system, as long as it's called "cookies"...

Immunix update for tetex. Immunix has posted a security update for tetex to address temporary file handling problems that can lead to privilege elevation.

Tripwire temporary files. A temporary file insecurity problem has been discovered in Tripwire which make it possible for a local user to overwrite files with root permissions.

Xdm cookies advisory. If xdm is compiled with the wrong options the cookie file can be guessed and a denial of service attack can be performed using the X server.

Red Hat advisory for xloadimage. Red Hat has issued an advisory for the xloadimage package to address buffer overflow issues. The problem is mostly limited to remote exploits if xloadimage is called by Netscape (by 'plugger', for example).

Proprietary products. The following proprietary products were reported to contain vulnerabilities:

  • Systems running Oracle 8i are vulnerable to remote attacks that can allow intruders to control the database server.

Updates

fetchmail buffer overflow. Check the June 21st LWN Security Summary for the original report. This is remotely exploitable and could lead to root access if fetchmail is run by root. An upgrade to fetchmail 5.8.6 will resolve the problem.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Webmin environment variable inheritance vulnerability. Check the May 31st LWN Security Summary for the original report.

This week's updates:

  • Caldera (update now available for OpenLinux 3.1).
Previous updates:
  • Linux-Mandrake.
  • Caldera, disabling Webmin recommended, no updated packages available yet. (May 31st)
  • Caldera, updated packages now available (June 7th)

xinetd buffer overflow. Check the June 14th LWN Security Summary for the initial report. The buffer overflow is in the ident logging portion of xinetd, so one workaround to the problem is to disable ident logging. Since then, more extensive problems have been found in string handling in xinetd, and the current round of updates addresses them.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Resources

Security BOF report updated. Emily Ratliff's report from the USENIX security module BOF has seen some minor updates from the author; an updated version is now available.

Security Alerts: PHP Weaknesses? (O'Reilly). Noel Davis looks at some security vulnerabilities in PHP and discusses other current security issues in an O'Reilly article.

A rogue's gallery of denial of service attacks (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at a few tools that can be used to thwart denial of service (DOS) attacks.

Small TCP packets == very large overhead. Darren Reed discusses how small TCP packets can be used maliciously to bog down a server. The minimum size for the maximum segment size field is too small for many operating systems and the value is defined by the caller.

LinuxSecurity.com newsletter. The weekly LinuxSecurity.com newsletter has been published. Advisories for Samba, xinetd, Zope, Scotty, and webmin are presented.

Events

Upcoming Security Events.
Date Event Location
July 12, 2001Black Hat Briefings USA '01Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
July 17, 2001The Open Group Security Forum briefingAustin, Texas
August 6 - 10, 2001CERT Conference 2001Omaha, NE, USA.
August 7, 2001CIBC World Markets First Annual Security & Privacy ConferenceNew York, NY, USA.
August 13 - 17, 200110th USENIX Security Symposium 2001 ConferenceWashington, D.C.
August 13 - 17, 2001HAL2001Enschede, The Netherlands
September 11 - 13, 2001New Security Paradigms Workshop 2001(NSPW)Cloudcroft, New Mexico, 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: Forrest Cook


July 12, 2001

LWN Resources


Secured Distributions:
Astaro Security
Castle
Engarde Secure Linux
Immunix
Kaladix Linux
NSA Security Enhanced
Openwall GNU/Linux
Trustix

Security Projects
Bastille
Linux Security Audit Project
Linux Security Module
OpenSSH

Security List Archives
Bugtraq Archive
Firewall Wizards Archive
ISN Archive

Distribution-specific links
Caldera Advisories
Conectiva Updates
Debian Alerts
Kondara Advisories
Esware Alerts
LinuxPPC Security Updates
Mandrake Updates
Red Hat Errata
SuSE Announcements
Turbolinux
Yellow Dog Errata

BSD-specific links
BSDi
FreeBSD
NetBSD
OpenBSD

Security mailing lists
Caldera
Cobalt
Conectiva
Debian
Esware
FreeBSD
Kondara
LASER5
Linux From Scratch
Linux-Mandrake
NetBSD
OpenBSD
Red Hat
Slackware
Stampede
SuSE
Trustix
turboLinux
Yellow Dog

Security Software Archives
munitions
ZedZ.net (formerly replay.com)

Miscellaneous Resources
CERT
CIAC
Comp Sec News Daily
Crypto-GRAM
LinuxLock.org
LinuxSecurity.com
Security Focus
SecurityPortal

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development


The current kernel release is still 2.4.6. The latest 2.4.7 prepatch from Linus is 2.4.7pre6, which contains another set of fixes and updates.

Alan Cox's 2.4.6ac2 was released on July 7; it contains, as usual, a rather longer list of fixes. Andrea Arcangeli also has a prepatch (2.4.7pre5aa1) out with a set of fixes, mostly to the core kernel code.

On the 2.2 front, the current prepatch is 2.2.20pre7, released on July 4.

Building the initial root filesystem into the kernel image. One often-heard theme in the ACPI discussion (covered last week) was that it would be nice to move much of the ACPI setup into user space. That way, perhaps, it would not be necessary to bloat the kernel memory footprint with a few hundred kilobytes of ACPI code. But, with current kernels, doing boot-time stuff in user space involves using the "initrd" (initial RAMdisk) functionality, which not everybody likes. Even Linus dislikes it.

But there are advantages to having an initial root filesystem handy; it's the clunkiness of the initrd interface that people object to. So, Linus has another idea: why not just append a root filesystem, in tar format, to the kernel executable image? That way, it can be set up in an entirely automatic way, and everything the kernel needs will be right at hand. Linus likes this idea enough that he would likely make it a mandatory part of the boot process.

Once you have the initial root as part of the kernel image, you can move a lot of stuff over. For example, the whole process of finding the real, permanent root, and finding and running the init process could live there. That would remove a bunch of code from the kernel itself, and make it far easier to customize for specific situations. It would no longer be necessary to have a DHCP implementation in the kernel for diskless systems. And one could even put the kernel configuration file there, satisfying a perennial request.

Given that, with a proper implementation, most users would not even have to know that this "piggyback" filesystem is present, its implementation in the 2.5 series seems likely.

How to do 64-bit PCI DMA? In past weeks we have looked at efforts to make it possible to perform DMA I/O operations from anywhere in the first 4GB of memory on the system. That would be a significant improvement over the current situation, but it still leaves out an important case. Large server systems, anymore, can contain well over 4GB of memory, and there do exist PCI cards which can perform DMA with 64-bit physical addresses. For such systems, wouldn't it be nice to take advantage of the 64-bit mode and eliminate the hassles of memory zones and bounce buffers entirely?

The folks working on the IA-64 port decided this would be a good idea. Accordingly, they turned dma_addr_t (an internal "cookie" type used by the DMA support routines) into a 64-bit quantity, and changed the semantics of pci_set_dma_mask() to allow drivers to specify that their hardware can do 64-bit DMA. This interface works for the immediate needs the IA-64 porters had, but David Miller, who "owns" the PCI DMA interface, has made it clear that he opposes moving it to the other architectures. Instead, he wants to see a more comprehensive 64-bit DMA interface designed and implemented in the 2.5 development series. (Those interested in the current interface, incidentally, can see the excellent DMA-mapping.txt file found in the kernel source documentation directory).

Some people are unhappy with that position; after all, anything deferred to 2.5 might not see a stable release for another two years. But David's objections make some sense, and they give an interesting view into the issues you have to take into account when designing this sort of interface. The discussion may look like a complaint session, but it is really the initial design work for a high-performance DMA interface.

Some of the issues with the simple extension used by IA-64 are:

  • There is little desire to expand dma_addr_t to 64 bits when the vast majority of its users will never perform 64-bit DMA. An extra 32 bits of temporary space may seem small compared to the cost of performing an I/O operation, but every bit counts. So a more likely solution is a new type (dma64_addr_t, perhaps) and a separate interface to go with it.

  • On some systems and peripherals, 64-bit DMA is significantly slower than the standard, single-cycle 32-bit version. On such systems, 32-bit DMA may be preferable even if it involves things like bounce buffers in the CPU.

  • Reasonable hardware (quite a bit of hardware isn't) includes an I/O memory management unit (IOMMU) which provides a type of virtual memory for peripherals. The IOMMU can cause all operations to occur within the 32-bit range. It also has the nice feature of making scattered pages look physically contiguous. On such systems, you normally do not want to bother with 64-bit operations...

  • ...except in cases where you will be performing very large transfers. In the worst case, huge operations can take up most or all of the IOMMU mapping registers, choking I/O in the rest of the system. Devices with this sort of I/O pattern are better off using 64-bit I/O even if it is slower. A 64-bit DMA interface must allow a driver to make this sort of decision.

  • The IA-64 scheme will not work well on 32-bit systems (which can still have 64-bit physical addresses) because it relies on the existence of kernel virtual addresses for the DMA buffers. 32-bit systems with large amounts of memory do not have kernel-space mappings for much of that memory. A truly portable interface must use struct page pointers rather than virtual addresses.

Chances are good that some sort of 64-bit DMA API which addresses the above issues will find its way into 2.5. Thereafter, it may even be backported to 2.4, at which point it will be widely available.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Marcelo Tosatti has a patch which provides improved virtual memory statistics from the kernel.

  • Eric Raymond has posted a State of CML2 message on where the new configuration system is. ("The dungeon walls in CML2 adventure now occasionally feature entertaining grafitti. Spot all the in-jokes and collect a valuable no-prize.")

  • Alexander Viro is looking for testers for his patch to the Minix filesystem that moves directories into the page cache.

  • Andrew Morton has a new ext3 patch for 2.4 kernels. This patch is not just a port, though; he has included a number of fixes and has also reworked things to minimize the number of changes required to the core kernel.

  • Davide Libenzi has posted a new /dev/poll implementation which, he claims, provides the most efficient notification interface for busy network servers.

  • The latest security module patch was posted on July 6.

  • Harald Welte will be giving presentations on netfilter at several upcoming Linux events.

  • Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted an updated Compaq/Intel PCI hotplug driver.

  • devfs v182 was released by Richard Gooch.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet


July 12, 2001

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Distributions page.

Lists of Distributions
distrowatch
ibiblio
Kernelnotes
Linux.com
LinuxLinks
Woven Goods

Embedded Distributions:
3ilinux
Bifrost

BluePoint Embedded
Compact Linux
Coollinux
DSPLinux
ELinOS
ELKS
Embedded Debian
Embedix
Etlinux
FlightLinux
Hard Hat Linux
Jailbait
Linux/Coldfire
LEM
Midori
NeoLinux
OnCore Systems
PeeWeeLinux
RedBlue Linux
RedIce-Linux
Royal Linux
RTLinux
Tynux
uClinux
White Dwarf Linux

Handhelds/PDAs
Agenda-VR
Familiar (iPAQ)
Intimate (iPAQ)
Linux DA
PocketLinux
PsiLinux

Secured Distributions:
Astaro Security
Castle
Engarde Secure Linux
Immunix
Kaladix Linux
NSA Security Enhanced
Openwall GNU/Linux
Trustix

Special Purpose/Mini
2-Disk Xwindow System
Mindi Linux
SmoothWall

Floppy-based
Brutalware
BYLD
Coyote Linux
DLX
Fd Linux
Fli4l (Floppy ISDN/DSL)
floppyfw
Floppix
FREESCO
Linux in a Pillbox (LIAP)
Linux Router Project
LOAF
muLinux
Nuclinux
Proxyfloppy
ShareTheNet
Small Linux
Tomsrtbt
Viralinux_II

CD-based
BasicLinux
BBLCD Toolkit
CDLinux
Crash Recovery Kit
DemoLinux
Devil-Linux
Finnix
Gibraltar
innominate Bootable Business Card
Linuxcare Bootable Business Card
LNX-BBC
MkCDrec
RunOnCD
Sentry Firewall
SuperRescue
Timo's Rescue CD
Ututo
Virtual Linux

Zip disk-based
NBROK
ZipSlack

Small Disk
hal91
MicroLinux
--> Peanut Linux
PKLinux
Relax Linux
TA-Linux
Tomukas
ttylinux
VectorLinux

Wireless
Bambi Linux
Flying Linux

Hardware-specific
(ARM)
ARM Linux
(Beowulf)
Scyld Beowulf
(IBM)
Think Blue Linux
(Oracle's NIC)
NIC Linux
(PA-RISC)
PA-RISC Linux
(Playstation)
Runix
(PowerPC)
Black Lab Linux
LinuxPPC
MkLinux
Yellow Dog
(Sparc)
Splack
UltraLinux
(Older Intel)
ClarkConnect
Monkey Linux
TINY

DOS/Windows install
Armed Linux
DragonLinux
Phat Linux

Diskless Terminal
GNU/Linux TerminalServer for Schools
K12LTSP
LTSP
Pygmy
Xdenu

Distributions


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

News and Editorials

The DMA Issue in Red Hat Linux 7.1 (Exocore). The Exocore Linux FAQ has added a section addressing the DMA Issue in Red Hat Linux 7.1.

Red Hat Linux 7.1 enables DMA by default to improve performance, but this may cause problems with some equipment. If you are having problems such as slow and unreliable installs, CRC errors, file corruptions or even random system lockups, DMA could be the culprit. The Exocore article will step you through the process of identifying and fixing DMA problems.

If you do need to turn off DMA to install Red Hat 7.1, Red Hat wants to know about it. Many models of incompatible hardware have been identified by Red Hat, and DMA is turned off automatically when known incompatibilities are found. Reporting your incompatible hardware to Red Hat can save you and others future headaches.

New OS options galore (ZDNet). Here's a story about getting Unix for a PowerPC. The article begins with the old A/UX for Apple OS and moves on to Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD and OS X offerings for the PowerPC. "But Apple never brought A/UX to the PowerPC. Fortunately, that didn't deter either the MkLinux or LinuxPPC projects from bringing the then fledgling GNU-licensed OS to Power Macs, but it was a struggle. Externally available hardware specs for Apple hardware are notoriously nonexistent, so the sheer tenacity of these early pioneers provided the underpinnings for all the Unix-y goodness to come."

Comparison of Linux Distributions. A Comparison of Linux Distributions page was found through the Mandrakeforum. Twelve distributions are compared in a table format.

New Distributions

The FullPliant operating system. The FullPliant operating system is very different from other Linux distributions. It doesn't use System V or BSD init scripts or even a shell. Basically, it is not Unix like. Instead all the basic services are provided through a set of highly integrated Pliant applications and scripts, and all the configuration details are stored in a database.

The OS has three layers; a Linux kernel, the FullPliant server, and a Debian based embedded computer. More details are available at the Pliant web site.

Distribution News

Debian news. Several new architectures are planned for woody -- hppa, ia64, mips and mipsel. So a bugsquash party is in the works from Friday, July 13th to Sunday, the 15th to fix the problems they're having across a wide range of packages.

The July 7th edition of the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd discusses its expansion to 3 CDs, emacs20 problems, debconf's dependencies, a repackaging of util-linux, ssh, Jeff Bailey's Autobuilder results, and lilo.

Mondo 1.0 and Mindi 0.27. Mondo 1.0 has been released. Mondo was the first program to offer 'free' CD-based full disaster recovery facilities to Linux and Lin/Win boxes. The latest version works with ext2, ext3, ReiserFS, JFS, XFS and VFAT.

While Mindi 0.27 is mentioned in the previous announcement, there is actually a Mindi 0.28 available on Freshmeat. Mindi-Linux uses a skeleton ramdisk and your kernel, modules, and tools to build a boot/root disk set.

Red Hat News. Red Hat announced the availability of Red Hat Linux 7.1 for Itanium. The release is available from: ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/7.1/en/os/ia64 and mirror sites.

Redmond Linux announces no per-seat licenses or pay-per-download. Redmond Linux, Corp. is taking a firm stand on the issue of pay-per-download and per-seat licensing - they are against it. They vow, "You will always be able to download the ISO images of Redmond Linux; you will always be able to get support from the mailing lists."

Minor Distribution updates

innominate Bootable CD. The link to innominate Bootable CD was recently changed. The correct link is now www.innominate.de/enterprise/products/rescuecd/. (Thanks to Heike Scharfe)

Owl 0.1-stable. The OpenWall Linux Distribution (Owl) has a new stable branch, which is intended to be production-ready, even if it's not yet up to a 1.0 release. Also, Owl has a new changelog policy where security fixes are clearly marked, but minor fixes are not called out in separate advisories or Bugtraq postings. See Solar Designer's announcement for details.

Distribution Reviews

SuSE Linux 7.2 Professional Review (LinuxLookup). LinuxLookup.com reviews SuSE Linux 7.2 Professional. "... what has always bothered me, and other novice users, was the learning curve necessary to get a fully operational GNU/Linux system up and running with minimal effort. That complication has been overcome with the release of the 7.2 version SuSE's popular distribution. I received a copy of the boxed version of the Professional distribution and can state quite categorically that this is the easiest install I've run to date."

Mandrake Single Network Firewall Reviewed. A security consultant reviews the Mandrake Single Network Firewall. Found on Mandrakeforum.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol


July 12, 2001

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


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

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

Progeny
Rock Linux

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

Education
Boston University
kmLinux
LinuxFromScratch
OpenClassroom
Red Escolar

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

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

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

Related Projects
Chinese Linux Extension

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


   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's On the Desktop page.


Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a proprietary product, (w) denotes WINE based tools.

Office Suites
Ability (*)(w)
Anywhere Desktop (*)
(formerly "Applixware")
GNOME Office
HancomOffice
KOffice
StarOffice / OpenOffice
Siag Office
WordPerfect Office 2000 (*)(w)

Java / Web Office Suites
ThinkFree Office (*)
Teamware Office (*)
Cybozu Office (*)

Desktop Publishing
AbiWord
iceSculptor (*)
Impress
Maxwell Word Processor
Mediascape Artstream (*)
Scribus

Web Browsers
Mozilla
Netscape (*)
Opera (*)
Konqueror
Galeon

Handheld Tools
KPilot
JPilot
Palm Pilot Resources
Pilot Link
SynCal

On The Desktop


Windows on Linux.  
Win4Lin installation
The Linux desktop has come a long way in a relatively short time, but still the question remains: Where are the applications? While many applications are being ported or written from scratch, off the shelf applications remain a thing of the future. It's not just about writing these applications, it's about distribution and marketing. Users have to know about the applications and have a way to easily acquire them. Places like Fry's Electronics and CompUSA make their living filling that need.

So while the open source world continues its steady march to get native applications to the masses, users still need stopgap solutions today. They want to run their old applications, their old Windows-based applications. Fortunately, there are a couple of options. The most publicized in the Linux world is WINE, a set of open source libraries that translates Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 (or, more technically, Windows 3.x and Win32) function calls into Linux calls. This is what allows applications like CorelDRAW to work on Linux systems. WINE provides both a porting library and a program loader so Windows applications can simply run right out of the box. WINE's primary advantage over other Windows-on-Linux solutions is that is doesn't require the Windows operating system. It is a replacement for Windows. WINE's limitation is that it isn't completely stable with all applications and with commercial packages such as CorelDRAW you often get a version of WINE specific to that application just to be sure it works.

One alternative to WINE is to provide virtual environments in which users can run the Windows OS of their choice directly on Linux. VMWare is one such solution. VMWare offers the ability to run Windows on Linux or to run Windows and Linux side by side without dual booting. VMWare's advantage is that it runs all Windows offerings from Windows 3.1 to Windows95/98/NT to Windows 2000. In fact, it can run Windows on Linux or Linux on Windows. VMWare is a proprietary product which retails for $299/$329 for the electronic or packaged distributions, respectively, of the side by side solution (referred to as the "Workstation" product) or $79/$99 for the Windows on Linux version (known as the "Express" product).

Installing Lotus Notes
under Win4Lin
Win4Lin.   Another product in this category is called Win4Lin, from Netraverse. This product provides a window under X in which the Windows operating system and its applications will run. Win4Lin lets the Windows OS see your Linux partitions as though they were Windows file systems without having to repartition your hard drive. And applications share memory space with Linux applications. In essence, it makes Windows think it's on its own hardware while running it as an application under Linux.

The downside to Win4Lin is that it currently only supports Windows 95 and 98. The package retails for $79 for the downloadable version, $89 for the boxed set and can be purchased through online retailers such as LinuxCentral or LinuxMall.com, or through brick and mortar locations of such retailers as Fry's, MicroCenter, and CompUSA.

Reviewing Win4Lin.   In a strange case of dj vu, LWN.net editor Michael J. Hammel stumbled upon Win4Lin when a press release noted the product's long forgotten history as Merge, a DOS emulator packaged with Dell's SVR4 Unix from many years back. Interested in finding if this product had evolved into something useful (which it really wasn't back then), we decided to sample Win4Lin here at LWN.net.

We contacted Netraverse and they provided a boxed set of the package in very short order. Installation starts by having the graphical installer, win4lin-installer, check for an updated installer at their web site. A new version was found, downloaded (though you can skip this step if you want), and started. Next, the updated installer checks for an updated Win4Lin runtime package and an updated, Win4Lin-enabled Linux kernel. Since the existing kernel was not modified (Red Hat 6.1) the installer was able to easily recognize the standard kernel and add the new Win4Lin-enabled kernel to the Lilo configuration. The new kernel became an optional boot kernel:

   $ lilo
   Added linux *
   Added win4lin
After installing the Win4Lin-enabled kernel, the Linux system required a reboot. Lilo had been updated properly but the original kernel was left as the default boot kernel, so the new kernel had to be manually selected from the Lilo prompt at boot time.

Once back into the X session, the installer was manually restarted. It correctly identified that the Win4Lin installation was not complete and prompted for the install of the Windows98 operating system. Note that if you accidently run the installer as a normal user at this point it will catch this and ask you to rerun it as root to complete the installation.

The installer copies all of your Windows installation CD and boot floppy files to your hard disk and then ask you to restart the installer (/usr/bin/win4lin-install) as a normal (non-root) user. This final step installs the Windows for use by that user by opening a Win4Lin window which emulates the Windows environment and runs the usual Windows98 installation process. This goes amazingly well - except, of course, that the Windows98 install requires 4 reboots. Fortunately these are virtual reboots (not real hardware reboots) that Win4Lin handles without a problem. The Win98 install completes the Netraverse install. After you exit the installer it automatically boots a Win98 session.

The mouse works as you expect - in the Linux windows it does what you want under Linux. In the Win4Lin window it works in the Windows environment, opening menus and moving Win98 windows around within the Win4Lin window. Internet services work right out of the box. The default of using winsock (instead of VNET) worked fine with our cable-modem connected network. The box on which Win4Lin was installed also happened to be the gateway box, so we weren't able to test how things might work on a box behind the firewall. That said, the first time we booted there was no network configuration necessary under Windows in order to get the IE browser to cruise the Internet. The only other issue we ran into, which may be specific to the Red Hat 6.1 distribution we were running, is that in order to use the cdrom you need to set the permissions on the device (/dev/cdrom or whatever that may be linked to) to 555. The default directory mapped as your C: drive is $HOME/win, which is shown under Windows as "~/win".

Win4Lin and Windows Applications.   We only tested a few applications because we simply don't have many Windows applications available. But the applications we did try seemed to work just fine.

SimCity 2000.   This game Installed and ran just fine. It doesn't require DirectX so there was no problem on that end. The game ran a little sluggishly when the Win4Lin window did not have focus or was hidden behind other X windows. Sound worked out of the box again, using the existing sound set up from Linux and with no additional Win98 sound system configuration required.

Lotus Notes R5.   Again, the Windows installation went smoothly. We had a few problems accessing email and calendar databases but that may have been from an improper installation of the application. All other functions seemed to work as expected.

Microsoft Encarta97.   This is one of the few packages we might find useful, with its dictionary and research papers available. The installation process for Encarta even reported that MIDI sound support was not available, which it wasn't under Linux. Even so, all images, sound and video worked perfectly under Win4Lin.

You Don't Know Jack.   An interesting game to say the least, this one worked nearly perfectly. No problems with installation (which was very quick) and the game and all animations and sound played without problems. The only minor issue we noticed was that the sound volume control under the game didn't seem to affect actual sound volume. For what it was worth, sound on the test machine was run through the ESD sound daemon.

Win4Lin suggests turning on backing store in your X server, something you can do after installation. Backing store is normally turned off in XFree86 and can slow performance if turned on. We tested with Xi Graphics' server without backing store turned on and there were no problems, even when bouncing around desktops under FVWM2 or overlaying XV and GIMP windows. If you experience problems with screen refreshes (the Win4Lin window doesn't get updated if you change desktops for example) you may want to turn on backing store for your X server. The manual explains how to do this using the XFree86 X server which comes standard with all desktop Linux distributions.

Another issue we noticed was that there didn't appear to be an option for specifying where files for win4lin or Windows98 would be installed. By default they all get installed under /opt (the Win4Lin files) or the users $HOME directory (the Windows OS files).

The only serious bug we encountered was being forced into capslock mode at one point during installation of a Windows application. This problem, which forced us to completely exit our X session in order to reset to non-capslock mode, only occurred once and we aren't sure exactly how we managed to get there.

There are various gotchas with the Win4Lin package - like the install time listed when installing an application under Windows may be incorrect. However, the manual seems to do a good job describing them and how to deal with each one as it arises. None of these would have been considered a major problem, just something worth keeping an eye out for. Read the manual for each step before proceeding to be prepared for them as they arise. More troublesome is that Win4Lin does not support DirectX or DirectDraw, which means many games won't work. RealPlayer is also reported not to work. Cut and paste between Win4Lin and Linux is not supported yet, something that does work with tools like WINE.

Even though many games may not be supported, the majority of applications seem to work fine under Win4Lin as long as they are Windows 95 or Windows 98 applications. This in itself opens up Linux users to a wide range of available applications. While you may find that running too many native applications (especially resource hungry applications like Web browsers) at the same time as Win4Lin may bog down your system, in general this is a very useful and easy to use product. If you've already made the investment in Windows and accompanying applications, but truly prefer to run them on the Linux platform, you would do well to make the additional investment for Netraverse's Win4Lin.

Lesser tools of the trade.   Another set of Microsoft related tools that deserve mentioning before we move on are the Mtools, a collection of DOS floppy disk utilities. Each utility program carries the usual DOS command name prefixed with an "m", such as "mdir" and "mdel". This very useful set of tools is maintained by David Niemi and Alain Knaff, with the latest release, Mtools-3.9.8, having been released May 27th, 2001. There is even a GTK+ based front end to these tools called MtoolsFM, which is a sort of file manager for floppy disk files.

Spelling update.   Last week we missed a rather interesting - and easy to use - programming interface for spell checking in GtkText widgets: GtkSpell. This LGPL library attaches to the GtkText widget and allows the programmer to provide simple spell checking facilities to any GtkText based application. The only question, of course, is will this library be updated to work with the more complex text widget of GTK+ 2.0?

Units update.   Last week's note on units, the swiss army knife for unit conversions, included an obvious (to everyone but the editor) bug. Or so it appeared.

In this example, the conversion from degrees Farehnheit to degrees Celsius was noted as being wrong:

  You have: 79 degF
  You want: degC
        79 degF = 43.888889 degC
        79 degF = (1 / 0.02278481) degC
One reader wrote in to say that the root of the problem was found to be related to a missing value of 32 in the C/F conversion. The version of units used was 1.55. The GNU FTP site for units shows a version of 1.74 is now available, though the previous release provided is 1.55.

According to units current maintainer, Adrian Mariano, version 1.55 is the most stable release. And the results shown last week were actually correct - the problem was that the question was interpreted incorrectly. What units shows isn't the conversion between 79 degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius but the equivalent change in degrees Celsius for a change of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Whew! This problem is actually explained in the man page:

The `units' program converts quantities expressed in various scales to their equivalents in other scales. The `units' program can only handle multiplicative scale changes. For example, it cannot convert Celsius to Fahrenheit but it can convert temperature differences between those temperature scales.

And as the author puts it:

I ask...: What should be the result of the conversion
     17 joules degF^3 / kg m 
to
     calories kelvin degC degF / lb ft
The problem is more complex apparently than meets the eye of the casual user. The author also noted that version 1.77, which does support conversion between temperature scales (and not just temperature changes) is a radically new version that is in early development. The 1.74 version on GNU's site was news to him - he wasn't aware anyone had put a copy there.

KIllustrator update.   The status of KIllustrator remains unclear this week. Last week's report of a lawsuit filed against the author of the web site for the package and the University he attends was not completely accurate. As it turns out, German law permits law firms and even consumer organizations to file what are known as Abmahnungs ("Warnings" in english) on behalf of companies if the firm or organization notes a possible trademark violation. The accused party can pay a fee (part of which goes to the lawyer and part to the trademark holder) and stop the abuse or risk being taken to court. Such warnings could, of course, be easily abused by less than honorable lawyers. We're not quite clear on whether Adobe was actually involved in this case or not.

Additionally, we noted that guilt by association was hardly a basis upon which this case could rest its merit. One reader replied that guilt by association is apparently enough, at least by German standards. We think this topic should rest a bit while those with actual experience in German trademark law examine it more thoroughly.

Desktop Environments

KDE 2.2beta1: Ready to Roll. The first official beta release of KDE 2.2 has been announced by the KDE Project. KDE 2.2 offers many new features and improvements over 2.1, including (but not limited to):

  • A plugin-based printing framework
  • CUPS support for printing
  • PDF, PostScript, and sound files previews in Konqueror
  • IMAP, SSL, TSL, SASL, and APOP support for KMail
  • A Control Center modules that can show connected USB devices as well as configured CSS Style Sheets, CD ripping tools, and window manager decorations.
Improvements include:
  • Improved HTML and JavaScript in Konqueror
  • Improved KPilot address book synchronization
  • Improved application startup
  • An improved XML-based help system

Kernel Cousin KDE #16. This week's Kernel Cousin KDE #16 includes discussions on gluing DCOP to SOAP, integration of the new printer management with the Konqueror browser and lots of talk about the possibilities of a Windows version of KDE.

GNOME Summary for June 24 - July 08, 2001. Here's this week's GNOME Summary featuring the new release of the Nautilus file manager.

Nautilus 1.0.4. A new release of Nautilus has been announced to the GNOME Announce mailing list. This minor release includes numerous speed enhancements and lots of bug fixes.

GNUstep Core/GUI 0.7.0 Release. A new release of GNUstep Core/GUI library, version 0.7.0, was announced this week.

Office Applications

Konqueror Gets Activ(eX)ated (KDE Dot News). Two developers have announced that they have added ActiveX controls to Konqueror. The new feature, called reaktivate, is based on the ActiveX features of WINE.

AbiWord Weekly News. The AbiWord Weekly News noted that GNOME printing integration has been fixed, numbered headings have been added and the license to ispell which caused some discussions on the mailing list has prompted Geoff Kuenning (ispell maintainer) to promise to change the license.

Desktop Applications

GnuCash 1.6.1 is released. GnuCash 1.6.1 has been released. It contains updated user documentation, updated French, German, Japanese,and Portuguese translations, improved startup time, and many bug fixes.

And in other news...

Slashdot talks with GnuCash developer Robert Merkel. The responses to questions submitted by Slashdot readers are actually a collection from the GnuCash team. "If your bank provides downloadable QIF files, as many do, you can import them into GnuCash easily right now. We are working on the ability to use GnuCash's built-in web browser to log on to the bank with SSL and download the QIF directly into GnuCash without having to save to a file."

Section Editor: Michael J. Hammel


July 12, 2001


Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a proprietary product, (w) denotes WINE based tools.

Desktop Environments
GNOME
GNUstep
KDE
XFce

Window Managers (WM's)
Afterstep
Enlightenment
FVMW2
IceWM
Sawfish
WindowMaker

Minimalist Environments
Blackbox

Widget Sets
GTK+
Qt

Desktop Graphics
CorelDRAW (*)(w)
GIMP
Kontour
Photogenics (*)
Sketch

Windows on Linux
WINE
Win4Lin
VMWare

Kids S/W
Linux For Kids

Send link submissions to lwn@lwn.net

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects


News and Editorials

The BlueBox browser and peer-to-peer programming.

A company known as dLoo, Inc has announced the release of an architecture for an extensible open-source peer-to-peer programming language that works in conjunction with its BlueBox browser.

BlueBox uses the concept of language structures called words which programmers can post on the net in a manner that is similar to posting web pages. BlueBox can compile the words that it receives from network sites into various languages such as C++, Perl, and Python. The plan is to have the words written for various problem domains such as mathematics, graphics, and art to name a few possibilities. People using the BlueBox browser can then tie various words together to build larger programs.

The BlueBox introduction documentation describes the goals of the system:

Most programming languages are statically defined when they are compiled. C++, Perl, Python, and other languages cannot become richer over time after their compilers or interpreters are compiled.

This model of building programming languages is pre-Internet, mirroring how books, magazines, and journals were published before the appearance of Web pages, dynamic content, and hyperlinking.

Instead of this model, however, imagine a programming language that was defined on the Internet and more importantly, became richer over time as more programmers added to it. This is the idea behind BlueBox, a browser that runs a scalable peer-to-peer programming language that we are releasing today.

BlueBox and the underlying words seem like a novel idea with many possible uses. The notions of tying multiple languages together across platforms and linking software together like web pages are fairly unique.

To get a better picture of some BlueBox issues, LWN asked Nile from the BlueBox project a few questions.

The BlueBox site claims that all of the advertised features are already functional. BlueBox is an open-source project that is being released under the GPL license.

Clusters

The Do-It-Yourself Supercomputer (Scientific American). Written by the people who created the Beowulf clustering software, this article explains how the Oak Ridge National Laboratory built a supercomputer out of discarded PCs and Linux. "We knew that obsolete PCs at the U.S. Department of Energy complex at Oak Ridge were frequently replaced with newer models. The old PCs were advertised on an internal Web site and auctioned off as surplus equipment. A quick check revealed hundreds of outdated computers waiting to be discarded this way. Perhaps we could build our Beowulf cluster from machines that we could collect and recycle free of charge. We commandeered a room at ORNL that had previously housed an ancient mainframe computer. Then we began collecting surplus PCs to create the Stone SouperComputer."

CORBA

Web services architect, Part 3: Is Web services the reincarnation of CORBA? (IBM developerWorks). Dan Gisolfi compares CORBA to web services in an IBM developerWorks article. "Even during these early stages of the evangelism of Web services, customers have already begun to ask how this technology differs from CORBA. Isn't it just another form of distributed computing? In this installment of the Web services architect, Dan Gisolfi offers a brief overview of the differences between SOAP, DCOM, and CORBA and suggests a value proposition for Web services within the distributed computing realm."

Documentation

Linux Documentation Project updates. The Linux Kernel and PHP HOWTOs have been updated at the Linux Documentation project, along with a a few others and the addition of the new Chroot-BIND HOWTO.

Education

SEUL/EDU Report for July 9, 2001. The July 9, 2001 edition of the SEUL Linux in Education report is out. Topics include the use of Linux for teaching English, Linux in Columbian schools. Reviewed software includes the Liebnitz calculator and a Perl/Tk based searchable book database.

Electronics

New Icarus Verilog and ACS packages from gEDA. The gEDA project has announced new versions of the Icarus Verilog simulator and ACS, Al's Circuit Simulator.

Embedded Systems

Embedded Linux Newsletter for July 5, 2001 (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com has posted its weekly summary of the embedded Linux marketplace. This week's stories include a look at the CerfCube, a hand powered Web server running uClinux and the results of the ELC board of directors election.

BusyBox 0.52 released. Version 0.52 of the BusyBox cluster of common Unix utilities for embedded systems has been released. This version contains many "bug fixes, optimizations, and cleanups" and is reportedly very stable. New features include several cpio utilities and a few new shells. see the changelog file for all of the details.

Graphics

Sketch 0.6.12 released. Bernard Herzog has announced Sketch version 0.6.12. Sketch is a vector drawing program and this version fixes several bugs.

Interoperability

Samba 2.2.1. The Samba team has released Samba version 2.2.1. This is a stable source-only release, binary packages for major platforms are to be released soon.

Easy Steps to Samba: Linux Orbit HOWTO (LinuxOrbit). This quick reference piece aims to help new users get acquainted with Samba. "It should be noted that if you intend to share network devices on your Linux machine from Windows, you'll need to configure your Windows machine for "Client for Microsoft Networks" in your Network Neighborhood properties. This is not the default setting for many consumer Windows systems."

Mail Software

TMDA 0.22 Python anti-spam filter for qmail. Jason Mastaler has announced TMDA 0.22, a Python package for removing spam on systems using qmail. This version adds support for site-wide installations using qmail-relay rewriting, wild card pattern matching, and new installation options.

Printing Systems

KDEPrint slides from LinuxTag. Michael Goffioul, author of the new KDEPrint subsystem, has posted the slides from his presentation on this feature at the recent LinuxTag conference. The slides are available for download only at this time (no online viewing is available) in KPresenter format.

CUPS v1.1.9 released. A new release of the CUPS printing system has been announced. The CUPS v1.1.9 release notes list a number of new features such as a revamped configuration script, AIX support, performance improvements and bug fixes.

Omni Printer Driver version 0.3.2 released. Version 0.3.2 of the Omni printer driver has been announced. The main change with this release is a fix for a compatibility bug with the 5.50 release of Ghostscript.

Science

GNU Medical Record Project. Linux Med News talks about the GNU Medical Record System that is being developed by Dr. O'Kane. The system is based on Mumps and PostgreSQL. The system includes a data entry system and a medical record browser application among other things.

Web-site Development

Zope Developer's Guide and new beta release. A new release of the Zope Developer's Guide is out. This is "the first polished draft of the guide," and it covers the upcoming 2.4.0 release.

Speaking of 2.4.0, the third beta release of Zope 2.4.0 is now available.

Zope Weekly News for July 6, 2001. The July 6, 2001 edition of the Zope Weekly News is out. Topics include CVS update news, the release of Zope 2.4 beta 3, CMF in intranets, and interoperability with other CMF systems.

Midgard Weekly Summary. The latest Midgard Weekly Summary has been published. Topics include the Midgard booth at Linuxtag, a server move, and notes from a Repligard class.

MnoGoSearch-php-3.1.3.5. A new release of the MnoGoSearch-php frontend has been announced. This version fixes a bug in the categories section.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook


July 12, 2001


Application Links
GIMP
Mozilla
Galeon
High Availability
ht://Dig
mnoGoSearch
MagicPoint
Wine
Worldforge
Zope

Open Source Code Collections
Berlios
Freshmeat
OpenSourceDirectory
Savannah
Le Serveur Libre
SourceForge
Sweetcode

   

 

Programming Languages


Caml

Caml Weekly News for July 10, 2001. The July 10, 2001 issue of the Caml Weekly News is out. Topics this week include PXP, the polymorphic XML parser, E packaging O'Caml libraries in RPM format, a new O'Caml runtime environment, and a library for dealing with Java class files.

Java

Java 2 SE v1.3.1. The Blackdown team has released the Java 2 S v1.3.1-FCS package. No formal announcement is available, but the code can be downloaded from a Blackdown mirror site.

Magic with Merlin: Swing's new Spinner component (IBM developerWorks). John Zukowski explores new features from the Java 2 Standard Edition, version 1.4 SDK. in an IBM developerWorks article. "The most recent release of the Java 2 SDK, the 1.4 beta, adds two powerful new components to the JFC/Swing component set. One of them, JSpinner, allows a user to easily select a date, number, or choice from a pick list. (The other is JFormattedTextField for formatted input support.)"

If the shoe fits... (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices is running a white paper by David Tannenbaum about using Java technology with embedded Linux. "The vast array of disparate hardware and software architectures present throughout the embedded market begs for a common language and platform with which to develop applications. It was to address this issue that Sun initially developed the Java technology platform."

Ten JSP technology books compared (IBM developerWorks). IBM developerWorks takes a look at ten JSP technology books in an article by John Zukowski.

Lisp

cCLan News for July 4, 2001. Issue number 2 of the cCLan News is out. Topics include building Debian packages, new Lisp packages, and a proposal for inline documentation.

Perl

Perl 5 Porters for July 7, 2001. The July 7, 2001 edition of the Perl 5 Porters digest is out. Topics include the upcoming Perl 5.7.2 release, a bug in grok_number, using asynchronous callbacks, and more.

PHP

PHP Weekly Summary for July 9, 2001. The July 9, 2001 edition of the PHP Weekly Summary is out. Topics include more on the autocasting bug, PHP documentation in Arabic, a SAP R/3 extension, a YATS extension, and more.

Advantages of PHP Over Java (Zend). Dan Orzech and the Zend Staff offer some advantages in using PHP over Java in an article on the Zend site.

Python

Python Development Summary. The bi-weekly summary of the python development list has been posted. This issue includes the discussion on a draft of PEP 261 for wide Unicode characters, the "psyco" Python specializing compiler, IPv6 support, and more.

Dr. Dobb's Python-URL! for July 3, 2001. Here is Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for July 3. It includes, among other things, some interesting coverage of the rising concerns among Python developers that the language may be developing too many new features.

Dr. Dobb's Python-URL! for July 9, 2001. The July 9, 2001 Python-URL! is also available and includes talk of a sequence to CSV tool, discussions on installing modules, quibbles on standard libraries and the spectacular ways exec and eval can break.

PyWebLib: yet another web programming framework for Python. Michael Ströder has released version 1.0.2 of PyWebLib, a web programming framework for Python.

Ruby

Ruby Garden. The Ruby Garden site features a discussion of BlueBox, Ruby documentation in Portugese, and translation of a bowling score program from Java to Ruby.

Tcl/Tk

Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL! for July 10th. Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL! for this week includes discussion on the side effects of the byte code compiler, creating new widgets, and a tip-fest.

XML

Java and XML Week (O'Reilly). The O'Reilly onJava.com site features several articles on using Java and XML.

Namespace Nuances (O'Reilly). John E. Simpson answers several common XML Namespace Questions in an O'Reilly xml.com article.

Against the Grain (O'Reilly). Leigh Dodds discusses some recent threads on XML-DEV concerning XML and databases.

Miscellaneous

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

 
Language Links
Caml
Caml Hump
Tiny COBOL
Erlang
g95 Fortran
Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC)
Gnu Compiler for the Java Language (GCJ)
Guile
Haskell
IBM Java Zone
Jython
Free the X3J Thirteen (Lisp)
Use Perl
O'Reilly's perl.com
Dr. Dobbs' Perl
PHP
PHP Weekly Summary
Daily Python-URL
Python.org
Python.faqts
Python Eggs
Ruby
Ruby Garden
MIT Scheme
Schemers
Squeak
Smalltalk
Why Smalltalk
Tcl Developer Xchange
Tcl-tk.net
O'Reilly's XML.com
Regular Expressions
   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and Business


BRU ends up at the TOLIS group. Back in May, we covered the shutdown of Enhanced Software Technologies and the uncertain future of the BRU backup system. BRU, as it turns out, has found a new home at The TOLIS Group, a company made up of former EST employees. So BRU users will be able to count on updates and BRU support for the foreseeable future.

Mitel Networks Acquires e-smith. Mitel Networks has announced the acquisition of e-smith, the creators of the Linux-based "server and gateway" product. Dan York, Director of Training at e-smith writes:

From a development perspective, nothing really has changed. We still have the same technical team. We are still creating an open source server product with an open architecture that you all can enhance and customize. The difference is that we are now part of a larger organization with more resources and capabilities.

For more information, see the acquisition FAQ on the e-smith site.

"Linux Device Drivers" updated for Linux 2.4. O'Reilly has posted a press release for the updated Linux Device Drivers text, 2nd edition, co-authored by LWN.net Executive Editor Jonathan Corbet.

SnapGear offers VPN Router Internet appliances. SnapGear, Inc. has launched the SnapGear product line of VPN Internet appliances. The SnapGear VPN Internet appliance is based on the Lineo SecureEdge platform and will be sold for less than $300 directly through the reseller market. SnapGear, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lineo, Inc.

Great Bridge releases Great Bridge PostgreSQL 7.1 . Great Bridge announced Great Bridge PostgreSQL 7.1, which includes a graphical installer, documentation and an installation and configuration support package.

European Union supports OSS projects. The EU's Information Society Technologies continues to fund open source projects. In the June 28, 2001 commerce page we mentioned that three projects had been funded in May and June. Since then two more open source projects have received funding. Tobias Hvekamp has been tracking EU project funding at http://www.vt.ilw.agrl.ethz.ch/~hoevekam/open-world/ist-projects.html You can also find out more by searching for "open source" (include the quotes) on the EU Projects database.

UK Gov't request for comments. The UK Government has opened discussions on the future of its net portals, asking how they should be designed and reogranized. Open source advocates are encouraged to speak their minds to avoid future problems similar to the one that prevented Linux users from accessing the site.

Linux NetworX Secures $5 Million Investment. Linux NetworX, which provides Linux cluster solutions, has secured $5 million in investment capital from an unamed private investor group.

Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards Begin. Specialized Systems Consultants (SSC), publisher of Linux Journal and its sister publication, Embedded Linux Journal, announced the opening of the polls in Linux Journal's seventh annual Readers' Choice Awards.

Linux Stock Index for July 05 to July 11, 2001.

LSI at closing on July 05, 2001 ... 29.33
LSI at closing on July 11, 2001 ... 27.41

The high for the week was 29.33
The low for the week was 27.41

Press Releases:

Proprietary Products for Linux

Products and Services Using Linux

Products With Linux Versions

Training

Partnerships

Personnel & New Offices

Other

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.


July 12, 2001

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

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

Linux in the news


Recommended Reading

GNOME's Miguel de Icaza on .NET (O'Reilly). Ximian's Miguel de Icaza is interviewed by O'Reilly and says that .Net is a new development environment for the next 20 years. He feels that the design goals behind .NET and Bonobo were very similar, but he thinks the .NET component model is better. "One problem is that Bonobo has a lot more overhead than .NET. .NET is pretty slim when it comes to the size of the components and things that you can expose." A companion technical article on Mono has also been published by O'Reilly.

Open-source fans to emulate .Net (ZDNet). ZDNet looks closer at the offerings and meanings behind the new Mono and DotGNU offerings proposed by Ximian and the Free Software Foundation. "The Mono software project, hosted by Ximian, is designed to reproduce on Linux the ability to execute programs written in the C#...DotGNU is designed to sidestep Microsoft's Passport."

Why it pays to embrace and extend .NET - de Icaza (Register). Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Ximian, tells the Register that .NET actually solves problems GNOME has been trying to address for some time. "Once an API is exposed - every time we add a new Gnome API, we have to wrap it in Python and Perl and Pascal and Objective C. So one problem that .NET solves is that we have to define class libraries once." Garbage collection is another, he says. The Unix API has grown messy, and .NET provides a clean interface: "It's basically starting from a clean slate."

Mono to open source .NET by mid 2002 (Register). A more detailed look at the Mono project has been posted by The Register. "Although Ximian's announcement refers to Linux throughout, and specifically mentions a Win32 (on x86) versions, since it's open source, it'll run on any GNOME- (or glibc)-friendly platform: which these days includes the free BSDs and almost every Unix too. So Sun Microsystems, which is committed to making GNOME the default UI for Solaris, will find itself hosting a Microsoft production platform for the first time."

Ximian To Release Open Source Version of .NET. Here are two more stories about Ximian's Mono project. This one from TechWeb, and this one from Wired.

State of the server operating system wars (ZDNet). Even with an improved middleware layer that supports distributed messaging, the .NET framework for Web services, a revamped infrastructure for serving dynamic Web applications, and a common language runtime environment, Microsoft's renamed Whistler still doesn't spell the end of Linux, according to this ZDNet story. "The whole concept of Web services is immature. Even though some of the underlying technologies are established standards, such as XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Service Description Language)...With few exceptions (such as Microsoft and a handful of partners), nobody's deploying Web services. There's plenty of time for the Linux/Java community to catch up."

How About A Pedal-Powered Pentium? (TechWeb). A Lineo employee has hooked a hand crank to a microcontroller for about 2 minutes of power. "Coupard says his invention has limited applications because it produces so little electricity, but it's ideal for data-collection devices, which are usually turned on once or twice a day, run for a minute, and shut off."

Building the 'uCdynamo' -- a hand-powered webserver (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com profiles a hand-powered Linux system, complete with pictures. "One nice thing about the uCdimm (apart from its low power consumption, of course) is that it boots into Linux quickly -- which is crucial because the dynamo only provide a little over 2 minutes of power with 60 cranks, so every second spent booting up the board is a second lost that can't be used to browse."

A Victory for the Software Industry (LinuxDevices). Matthew Harris, a former litigator in the Caldera antitrust case against Microsoft and now Lineo's Chief Operating Officer, writes this guest editorial on LinuxDevices.com about why the Federal Appeals Court's recent Microsoft decision is a victory for the software industry. "As for Microsoft's recent comments about the GPL being a cancer, I can't help but be reminded of the tobacco companies in the 50s and early 60s claiming that cigarettes were good for your health ("No wonder so many doctors now smoke and recommend King Size Viceroys")."

Modified game consoles to narrow digital divide (CNN). Talk at the World Economic Forum has included the use of Sony PlayStations running Linux with an external hard drive to reach the masses of poor citizens of the world. "The elite WEF group is crafting a model for the rollout of the PlayStations. Gage said he has discussed the plan with the chairman of Sony and the president of the World Bank and decided that at least 100,000 modified consoles should be installed in schools and people's homes in poor country's such as Uganda and Mali."

China's Linux coders not sharing, says Red Hat (CNN). CNN says that Red Hat doesn't think Linux developers in China are sharing their code as they should. "Hong Kong's Sun Wah Linux says Red Hat's comments are rooted only in frustration as the company fails to win a market dominated by domestic players."

Operating without Microsoft (Denver Post). This not quite so technical author at the Denver Post installed and experimented with Linux recently, and sums up Linux in the simplest - and possibly most profound - way yet. "The hacking and experimenting reminded me of learning to do these things on an Osborne in 1986, back when computers were fun, rather than appliances. And it was refreshing to be getting the computer to do what I wanted it to do, rather than trying to figure out how Windows wanted it done."

Companies

Atipa absorbed back into newly formed Oculan (The News & Observer). Atipa, which once focused on hardware in a manner similar to VA Linux Systems, has closed its doors and its employees have been absorbed back into a company Atipa purchased last year: PlatformWorks (now known as Oculan). "In a move known as a downstream merger, Atipa ceased to exist last week, and remaining employees are moving to the Triangle where they will report to Oculan chief executive and OpenNMS founder Steve Giles."

Tempest in a Caldera (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch says that Caldera's new licensing scheme, though not well received by the community, just might work. "Rather than booing the company, the Linux community should cheer the fact that the Linux spectrum allows such diversity. At one end we have distributions such as Debian, which closely track current releases and don't consider any non-free code as part of the collection. At the other, Caldera not only allows but welcomes proprietary programs as integral parts of what it calls the OS."

The Perl Journal to be published by CMP. The Perl Journal has been picked up by CMP, the company which publishes Dr. Dobb's Journal, C/C++ Users Journal, and Sys Admin Magazine.

IBM says Microsoft arrogant on open source (News.com). At LinuxExpo in London, IBM executives said that Microsoft can't stop the coming open source tide. "Andy Hoiles, IBM's Linux business manager for IBM's European Enterprise Systems Group, believes Microsoft's anti-open source, pro-.Net strategy is the arrogance of a company that has succeeded in conquering markets more often than it has failed."

The Appeals Court Ruling: What's in it for Linux? (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal examines the Microsoft appeals court ruling from a Linux point of view. "Of course, the tale isn't fully told yet; the case could go to the Federal Appeal's Court. Even if the appeals court ruling stands, Microsoft could simply choose to ignore the rules and try to squash Linux by whatever means necessary."

Red Hat rival shifts pricing plan (News.com). C|Net reports on Great Bridge's reaction to Red Hat's plans for support of PostgreSQL.

Red Hat Eyes Indian Govt Sector . Red Hat India, the Indian unit of Linux software developer Red Hat Inc., has entered into an alliance with the Electronics Research & Development Centre of India (ER&DCI) aimed at promoting the Linux operating system in the government sector.

Microsoft to Change Licensing Pacts (AP/Yahoo). Microsoft has changed licensing restrictions on computer manufacturers that would allow them to replace Microsoft products with alternatives. According to the story on AP/Yahoo, this move is not related to settlement discussions with the Department of Justice. " ``We recognize that some provisions in our existing Windows licenses have been ruled improper by the court, so we are providing computer manufacturers greater flexibility,'' Ballmer said."

Microsoft Gives Blessing To Open-Source .NET, But Analyst Smells A Rat (TechWeb). One analyst thinks that Microsoft's blessing of Mono is the same tactics that company has used before in putting competitors out of business. "Instead of satisfying their own customers' demand, competitors are busy catching up with Microsoft," Kusnetzky said. "It looks like they've gotten someone in the open source community to play the game of following Microsoft around and trying to do what they do."

The 3000-pound gorilla is not amused (I.T.). The Australian I.T. site looks at Microsoft's recent responses to Linux. "Now, 'viral' is a term with some fairly ugly connotations in the digital world. The use of the term might be mere window dressing (boom, tish), but it speaks volumes about the antagonism felt towards Linux. It also opens up some pretty interesting possibilities for all lawyers drafting licences. One might routinely define the other party as 'the dolts', for instance." (Thanks to Con Zymaris).

MontaVista signs Linux deals, cuts staff (News.com). This C|Net article covers embedded Linux provider MontaVista and looks briefly at its competitors. "But times have been tough for embedded Linux companies, as the economic malaise has curtailed customer and manufacturer interest in embedded product categories such as handheld computers and telecommunications equipment. Lineo withdrew its initial public offering plan in January, and LynuxWorks followed suit in June. Red Hat has said customers in the embedded market are delaying orders."

SGI loses president amid sales slowdown (News.com). SGI's CFO and President Hal Covert, formerly with Red Hat before joining SGI, has resigned according to this C|Net newsbrief.

Stratus preps high availability Linux port (Register). The Register reports on efforts underway to port Linux to fault tolerant servers from Status. "Stratus is best known as a niche supplier of fault-tolerant systems based on PA RISC chips, and running either HP-UX or its own proprietary VOS operating system. The firm uses redundant hardware components and approved software to offer high reliability servers to telcos and financial services firms."

The Interactive Week Fast 50 (ZDNet). VA Linux inexplicably managed to hold on to #25 in Interactive Week's top 50 fast-growing Internet companies. "VA Linux Systems grew its business almost 290 percent last year, but 2001 has been a different story. Fiscal third-quarter revenue of $20.3 million compares with $34.6 million a year ago. Amdahl veteran Ali Jenab has been brought in as president and chief operating officer to stem the decline." You'd think they would have noted the slight change in direction the company took recently.

Business

Linux prepares for battle (ZDNet). Reporting from the UK Linux Expo this ZDNet UK story looks at the growth of Linux as a mature OS. "Linux has made rapid progress in the server market, where it continues to grow despite the dot-com crash. A recent study estimated that Linux now runs 30 percent of Web servers, and companies buying Linux say that it has now conquered many of its early shortcomings, such as lack of applications and its restriction to lower-end machines."

Easy season for open source (ZDNet). It's all quiet on the Linux trading front, but the wheels keep turning from the open source community, according to this story from ZDNet. "I'm still cautiously optimistic about Linux on the desktop. While it may never become the dominant desktop, it need only offer a credible and stable alternative to succeed. One could argue, based on that criterion, that the Linux desktop has already succeeded, at least to Ford Europe and others. But I see things getting even better as the quantity and quality of open source applications increases."

Resources

Promise FastTrak on Red Hat 7.1 HowTo (Duke Of URL). This article discusses using the Promise FastTrak RAID controllers under Linux. "If you're looking for open-source drivers, you're in luck. Someone in Red Hat is working on GPL'd drivers, which will be integrated into future versions of Red Hat Linux. These drivers are currently available in all "ac" (Alan Cox) kernels from 2.4.5 on."

Interviews

Pragmatism, ethics and beautiful code (SiliconValley.com). SiliconValley.com talks with Linus Torvalds. "There are a few rules when you are a scientist, and they are not actually written down. It's not like a copyright statement, like Linux has, but they are even more [sic] ingrained than that. If you do science, it has to be repeatable, which means that when you do something and you claim that you can do it, you have to tell the world how you did it. And other people will be able to repeat the thing, and do the same thing as you." (Thanks to Richard Storey)

Interview with Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany. Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany which focuses on KDE applications, talks about the Linux desktop, GNOME competition, EULA's, and the GPL. When asked why theKompany is important to KDE, Gordon responded (in part): "Here is a current reality check for people. GNOME has a single voice with Miquel and Ximian, it's an entity that people like HP and Sun can talk to and contract with. There isn't anyone like that for KDE, which is why you have things like the KDE League now, but I don't know if that will be enough. Windows and Intel won the war against Motorola and the various OS's of the time, not because they were better. There are a lot of KDE developers working for companies like SuSE, Trolltech, Mandrake, etc., well if GNOME wins the war and KDE is not of interest to people, then those people are no longer going to get paid to work on KDE."

Miscellaneous

Group opens new open-source channels to Mac OS X (ZDNet). The FreeBSD ports system has been ported to Darwin, apparently making open source applications readily accessible to Darwin based OS systems, including Mac OS X. "This is similar to the "apt-get" feature in the Debian distribution of Linux and relies on the fact that BSD-based OSes such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD and others use a "package" system for registering compiled applications and libraries in a centralized database; in addition, Linux distributions use their own package delivery systems."

OS X flaws draw hackers' eyes (ZDNet). Apple learns to deal with network vulnerabilities with the FreeBSD based OS X, something they never really had to worry about in the past. "Apple seems to be aware of its potentially precarious situation. While the company's Web site doesn't have extensive security resources, the company has formed a team to combat security vulnerabilities."

Linux Programming Standards (IT-Director). IT-Director looks at the brief history of the Free Standards Group and the Linux Standard Base. "So, the question is whether all of this will make any difference? The Free Standards Group has the backing of most of the leading Linux players, such as Caldera, Red Hat, SUSE and Turbolinux, as well as IBM and Intel. However, announcements of support don?t actually amount to much unless they are supported by action, so until we see LSB and LDPS compliant products from the majority of these vendors we will not be in a position to conclude that these efforts at standardisation have proved successful."

Section Editor: Forrest Cook


July 12, 2001

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Announcements page.

Announcements


Resources

Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!. Are you still trying to convince your boss or co-workers to accept Linux and other OSS/FS? Try pointing them to this paper by David A. Wheeler, which emphasizes _quantitative_ evidence for the value of open source software / free software.

WIDI - Who Is Doing It?. The WIDI project seeks to gather empirical data about Open Source / Free Software developers. The project is run by a research group at the Technical University of Berlin which has developed a questionaire aimed at Open Source / Free Software developers to gather data about their social, cultural and professional environment. Anybody who has been involved in Open Source / Free Software development is kindly asked to donate five minutes of their precious time for filling it out. More than 5000 developers already have.

Tip Of The Week: That's Some od Data You Have. LinuxLookup.com shows how to use the od command for a flexible way to look at binary data.

A review of the Abit Siluro MX400 (Duke of URL). The Duke of URL takes a look at Abit's Siluro MX400 with NVIDIA's drivers on both Linux and Windows drivers. Benchmarks are included.

Events

Summaries of past events, LinuxTag, Linux Expo UK, LSM, Debian Conference. Aschwin Marsman has provided a view of LinuxTag including a number of pictures.

This report from Linux Expo in London shows that the grassroots events are still quite popular. Also includes lots of pictures.

James Bromberger has posted a large set of pictures from the first Debian Conference, held in Bordeaux, France.

Here's another view of the Debian Conference.

There's also a brief report from Libre Software Meeting and a set of photos from LSM too.

LSNet Hosts Third Annual Linuxfest. The third annual LSNet Linuxfest takes place July 14, 2001 in Galax, Virginia. Sounds like quite a party with live music and dancing.

Open Country Announces Open Innovation. Open Country announced Open Innovation, a conference to be held at the Santa Clara Marriott on July 31 and August 1, 2001.

LinuxWorld San Francisco to Showcase Embedded Linux Solutions. IDG World Expo announced that the upcoming LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, to be held August 26 - 30, 2001 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, will feature an Embedded Linux Pavilion sponsored by the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC).

Call for submissions: XFree86 Technical Conference needs KDE talks. Keith Packard has put out a call for talks to the KDE community to be given at the XFree86 Technical Conference scheduled to be held in conjunction with ALS in Oakland later this year.

Events: July 12 - September 6, 2001.
Date Event Location
July 12, 2001Embedded Systems Conference(Navy Pier Festival Hall)Chicago, Ill.
July 12 - 13, 2001SAGE - AU 2001(Grosvenor Vista Hotel)South Australia
July 12 - 13, 2001European Zope Conference & BBQBerlin, Germany
July 14 - 15, 2001
August 4 - 5, 2001
LinuxCertified Linux System Administration BootCampCupertino, California
July 14, 2001LinuxfestGalax, Virginia
July 16 - 21, 2001The Open Group Quarterly ConferenceAustin, Texas
July 16 - 20, 2001The Open Group Real-time and Embedded Systems ForumAustin, Texas
July 16 - 21, 2001The IEEE PASC (POSIX) System Services Working Group meetingAustin, Texas
July 19 - 25, 2001Networking Event 2000(ne2000)Nuenen, the Netherlands, South
July 23 - 27, 2001O'Reilly Open Source Software ConventionSan Diego, California
July 25 - 28, 2001The Ottawa Linux Symposium 
July 28 - 29, 2001Rocky Mountain Software Symposium 2001(RMSS 2001)(FourPoints Sheraton in Cherry Creek)Denver, Colorado
July 31 - August 1, 2001Open InnovationSanta Clara, California
August 2 - 4, 2001Yet Another Perl Conference Europe 2001(YAPC)(Hogeschool Holland)Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 13 - 18, 2001IPsec Interoperability Workshop (Bakeoff)Espoo, Finland
August 14 - 16, 2001Embedded Internet Conference 2001Santa Clara, CA
August 14 - 16, 2001LinuxWorld ChinaBeijing, China
August 20 - 24, 2001HP World 2001(McCormick Place)Chicago, IL, USA.
August 20 - 21, 2001JabberCon 2001Keystone, Colorado
August 23 - 25, 2001LinuxWorld Hong KongHong Kong
August 26 - 30, 2001LinuxWorld Conference & ExpoSan Francisco
September 2, 2001Erlang Workshop - FirenzeItaly
September 4 - 7, 2001Embedded Systems Conference(Hynes Convention Center)Boston, MA
September 6 - 7, 2001Open Source Health Care Alliance(OSHCA)(The Posthouse Hotel Kensington)London, UK

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

Web sites

UNESCO open source information. Apparently, UNESCO is very interested in open source. They have added a free software portal of important open source links which includes a a brief history of open source, types of licenses and a collection of useful developer texts.

ES.TOOLINUX.com announces new partnerships. ES.TOOLINUX.com, the Spanish language portal, announced new partnerships with Planeta Linux Argentina and Lunix, an Argentinian enterprise from Santa F.

User Group News

Linux Enthusiasts And Professionals of Central Florida. LEAP-CF will hold its regular meeting on July 19, 2001, at DeVry Institute in Orlando, FL. Steve Litt of will present a talk on Regular Expressions.

New Hampshire LUG activities. MELBA, the Nashua chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux Users Group, announced it's July meeting at Martha's Exchange on July 27, 2001.

LUG Events: July 12 - July 26, 2001.
Date Event Location
July 12, 2001Boulder Linux Users Group(BLUG)(Martin Park) Boulder, CO
July 12, 2001Phoenix Linux Users Group(PLUG)(Sequoia Charter School)Mesa, AZ.
July 12, 2001Kernel-Panic Linux User Group(KPLUG)San Diego, CA
July 14, 2001Consortium of All Bay Area Linux(CABAL)Menlo Park, CA
July 14, 2001Route 66 LUGLa Verne, CA
July 14, 2001GalLUG Installfest(Connecting Point Computers)Gallup, New Mexico
July 14, 2001KPLUG Installfest(National City Adult Center)San Diego, CA
July 15, 2001Beachside LUGConway, South Carolina
July 15, 2001Mesilla Valley Linux User Group(MVLUG)(Village Inn on El Paseo Rd.)Las Cruces, New Mexico
July 16, 2001Linux User Group of Davis(LUGOD)(Z-World)Davis, CA
July 16, 2001Haifa Linux Club(Technion CS dept. bldg.)Haifa, Israel
July 17, 2001Bay Area Linux User Group(BALUG)(Four Seas Restaurant, Chinatown)San Francisco, CA
July 17, 2001Kansas City LUG Demoday(KCLUG)(Kansas City Public Library)KC, Missouri
July 17, 2001Linux Stammtisch(Bandersnatch Brew Pub)Tempe, AZ
July 17, 2001
July 24, 2001
Kalamazoo Linux Users Group(KLUG)(Western Michigan University)Kalamazoo, Michigan
July 18, 2001Central Iowa Linux Users Group(CIALUG)West Des Moines, IA
July 18, 2001Arizona State University LUG(ASULUG)Tempe, AZ
July 18, 2001Washington D.C. Linux User Group(DCLUG)(National Institute of Health)Bethesda, Maryland
July 19, 2001St. Louis LUG(SLLUG)(St. Louis County Library, Indian Trails Branch)St. Louis, MO.
July 19, 2001Omaha Linux User Group(OLUG)Omaha, Nebraska
July 19, 2001Linux User Support Team, Taegu(LUST-T)Taegu, Korea
July 19, 2001South Mississippi LUG(SMLUG)(Barnes & Noble)Gulfport, Mississippi
July 19, 2001Gallup Linux Users Group(GalLUG)(Coyote Bookstore)Gallup, New Mexico
July 19, 2001SSLUG: Hyggemde p Niels Bohr InstituteDenmark
July 19, 2001Belfast Linux Users Group(BLUG)Belfast, Northern Ireland
July 19, 2001Linux Enthusiasts And Professionals of Central Florida(LEAP-CF)(DeVry Institute)Orlando, FL.
July 20, 2001Rock River LUG(RRLUG)(Rockford College)Rockford, Illinois
July 21, 2001SVLUG InstallfestSilicon Valley, CA
July 21, 2001LUGOD Linux DemoDavis, CA
July 21, 2001North Texas Linux Users Group(NTLUG)(Nokia Centre)Irving, Texas
July 24, 2001Hazelwood Linux User Group(HLUG)(Prairie Commons Branch Library)Hazelwood, Missouri

Additional events can be found in the LWN Event Calendar. Event submissions should be sent to lwn-lug@lwn.net in a plain text format.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.


July 12, 2001

   

 

Software Announcements


Here are this week's Freshmeat software announcements. Freshmeat now offers the announcements sorted in two different ways:

The Alphabetical List and Sorted by license

 

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Linux History page.

This week in Linux history


Four years ago the classic Scientific Applications on Linux site announced its existence. Four years later, it remains unrivaled in its niche.

David Miller released UltraPenguin 1.0, a version of Linux for UltraSparc processors.

Meanwhile, an obscure guy named Rob Malda was trying to get into the Linux T-Shirt business. He's since found better things to do.

Three years ago (July 16, 1998 LWN): The KDE/GNOME flamewars were at a peak. For those who have somehow managed to miss out, the debate revolved around KDE's use of Qt libraries, a Troll Tech product with a "less-than-free" license. Bruce Perens on Slashdot:

Because it is 100% Open Source, because it is technically quite good, and because of the wisdom of its development team, GNOME will become the standard GUI for Linux. A large portion of the free software community will simply not accept KDE because of the Qt license.

The screaming notwithstanding, KDE 1.0 was released that week. Meanwhile, three years later, the flamewars have dulled to the distant rumble of thunder.

These days ZDNet columns are mostly favorable to Linux / open source. This was less true back then. Here's a quote from a pro-MS column.

Lots of mail came from the Linux and the "put your source code up on the Web" camp. Many were the reasons why Linux or the Apache Web server or some variant was better than anything Microsoft could code together. But in the end my favorite came from a manager at a VVBC (very, very big company). He runs both systems and favors Linux, but he wisely notes that his VVBC "would never put their accounting system on an OS from somebody that they cannot sue--and get something." Microsoft wins at his shop not because it is better, but because it is good enough. So much for the free crowd.

"Who do you sue?" still comes up occasionally, but most critics seem to have gotten over that one.

The Debian 2.0 release was in its third beta, with only 39 release critical bugs left to be fixed. Transvirtual released Kaffe 1.0. And Netscape was proclaiming the success of the Mozilla project, with a Communicator 5.0 release expected by the end of the year. Of course, that one didn't turn out quite that way...

Two years ago (July 15, 1999 LWN): It was a relatively slow time in the Linux world. The development kernel was at 2.3.10. The allegedly stable kernel was 2.2.10, but the kernel hackers were working hard to be sure that a file corruption bug was truly stamped out before releasing 2.2.11.

The Debian project, meanwhile, pondered freezing the 2.2 "potato" version, with talk of a possible release in September (of 1999!). In fact the potato branch was not actually frozen until January 2000.

The annual DefCon hacker convention became a mainstream media focus, though in years past it was an obscure event ignored in more "professional" circles.. This Wired article perhaps provides an explanation for the event's obscurity, covering the friction between the hacker community and the mainstream media.

ABCNews.com's Michael Martinez presented a talk on the persistent rift between hackers and the press on Saturday. He provided a forum for hackers to confront a member of the tech media with questions like, "Since all these reporters want to learn to be hackers, why don't they just hire hackers to be reporters?"

A slightly different sort of endorsement for Linux was sent to LWN this week:

Once I explain what Linux is, I am certain you will understand why it is important for the Christian community of computer users to embrace it. More Internet sites use Linux on their servers than any other OS. Linux is revolutionizing the information technology (IT) universe just like the early Church changed the Roman Empire in the first century AD.

-- Darren Remington, Christian Computing.

One year ago (July 13, 2000 LWN): Oracle released the Linux-based "New Internet Computer" (NIC).

SSH 1.2.30 was released, with a new restrictive license. Fortunately the OpenSSH project provided open source software supporting this valuable protocol.

The current development kernel release was 2.4.0-test3. This was a large patch containing a great many architecture-specific updates. The current stable kernel release was still 2.2.16.

IceLinux announced its existence. Self-dubbed, "The Linux Gaming Platform of the future", this distribution was so new it was only in the planning stages. Now IceLinux's lead developer writes:

OK... Well, after a lot of spare time spent trying to keep up with the latest developments in the linux community and re-building IceLinux from sources more times than I'd like to admit, I've realised something; Building a user-friendly gaming system from scratch and sources is not something to be taken on without a lot of time and resources!

Now the plan is to start with an existing platform, Red Hat 7.1, and build from there.

Speaking of gaming -- LinuxDevices reviewed the Indrema entertainment system (IES). After reading this review many of the LWN staff wanted an IES of our very own. Alas, the IES was never finished and Indrema is no longer in business.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.


July 12, 2001

LWN Linux Timelines
1998 In Review
1999 In Review
2000 In Review
2001 In Review

   

Sections:
 Main page
 Security
 Kernel
 Distributions
 On the Desktop
 Development
 Commerce
 Linux in the news
 Announcements
 Linux History
 Letters

See also: last week's Letters page.

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.

July 12, 2001

   
From:	 Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: lsb, debian, &etc
Date:	 Wed, 4 Jul 2001 12:07:06 -0400

First, a minor correction: The LSB does specify the locaton of init
scripts -- they must go in /etc/init.d/:

	An init.d file is installed by copying it into /etc/init.d
	(which may be a symlink to another location).

It's rather disappointing that you characterize Debian's response to the
LSB as mere "grumbling". Yes, there has been some grumbling (some of it
from Debian developers who tried to participate in the LSB in the past
and feel their contributions were rebuffed and ignored).

But we have also pointed out several holes in the LSB's specification of
the rpm subset the LSB specifies. Some of these holes, unless closed,
could well make alien _not_ be sufficient to fully support LSB packages
on Debian. We've pointed out other problems in the LSB that are
unrelated to the whole RPM issue. I am hopeful that the LSB recognizes
the value of constrictive criticism, even though LWN chooses to
characterize it as "late and unfounded", and that the LSB will resolve
these problems now that we have brought them to their attention.

In the meantime, without a clear spec, I can't modify alien to support
LSB packages, and it seems that Debian cannot commit to supporting the
LSB in the near term.

-- 
see shy jo, speaking as the author of alien, and a Debian developer, but
            not speaking for Debian as a whole
   
From:	 Jan <jandersen@striva.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: The challenge
Date:	 Wed, 04 Jul 2001 11:43:55 +0100

In the article 'A challenge for the free software community' it is stated
that the freeware community isn't innovative and that we need to prove
ourselves. Well, perhaps. I'm not so sure about that - what is more likely
to prevail is reliability, durability, credibility etc etc. Hasn't it been
shallow 'innovations' that have ridden Windows like a nightmare all these
years?

The true innovation in Linux and freeware lies in the revolutionary concept
of doing something properly and for free. True innovation doesn't just
happen because we try hard; in fact it happens more often because we DON'T
try, in the process of finding a good solution to a real problem.

As for the passport thing - whose problem is it that is being solved here?
Yours and mine? Do people really want this? I don't say that it couldn't be
useful or that it won't become popular, but what would people really want,
if they could have it entirely their way? MS Password hasn't been made to
help users - it is a device similar to the many 'loyalty cards' and
whatever, that you get in most superstores. The intention with these
concepts is not so much to hold on to the customers, but to analyse their
spending habits, so that the shops are better able to manipulate people
with 'targeted marketing'. Because, as I think everybody knows, traditional
marketing isn't efficient enough - but that's another point altogether.

If we need to innovate, then let's innovate deeply. Freeware has always
been 'of the people, for the people' - so let's introduce something that
really solves actual problems for people rather than the big businesses.

How about starting with our basic values: like free sharing of knowledge
and sustainability. I think everybody knows that although the big,
predatory, 'growth oriented' businesses seem spectacular, there's only room
for a limited number of them; the real backbone of any society is the
working people and the businesses, mostly small, that are satisfied with
earning a good enough living.

In my opinion freeware isn't really about writing software and distributing
it under a certain type of license - it is a new attitude or mindset.  What
we are doing is a revolution, not violently, but simply by presenting the
world with something that is obviously right. So you could say that this is
political as much as, or even more than anything else; and this mindset of
ours has an overwhelming strength, simply because it is 'good' or 'true' or
whichever word you want to use. That is why Microsoft fear the freeware
movement more than anything else; because in the end they simply can't win,
there's just no way.

/jan
   
From:	 dps@io.stargate.co.uk (Duncan Simpson)
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: Is .NET as threat?
Date:	 Sat, 14 Jul 2001 20:35:20 +0100

Does anyone know what .NET is yet? AFAIK nobody has any technical information,
except perhaps that everyone is expected to pay M$ on a regular basis,
including developers. If we, the free software community, can create a model
where people get the same results without this tax then that could be
compelling. I do not think we need .gnu or anything similar to .NET to do
this: instead  a sufficient set of, probably a reletvively small number of
reletively simple bits of software, should suffice.

M$ needs something like .NET for long term revenue and the fact that their
business model requires people to regualr pay for software. IF this is not
part of your business model then you do not need most of the obvious bits of
.NET. As for the secure communiaction software much of it exists alreadu
in particular their is ssh, openssl, etc. Free software not requiring a
permanent network connection could be compelling in places where people pay
quite a lot per minute for network connectivity (which only does 56k in and
33.6k out).

Duncan (-:

   
From:	 "Matthew B. Kennedy" <matthewbk@yahoo.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: A challenge for the free software community
Date:	 Fri, 6 Jul 2001 14:37:11 -0700 (PDT)

I'm always surprised to read about the need to build an Open Source or Free
Software equivalent .NET. I thought the free software community already had
dozens of such contenders? .NET is blatant catch-up technology meant to compete
with (J2EE) Java Enterprise technologies (a set of open specifications Sun
developed -- http://java.sun.com/j2ee).

There are many Free Software or Open Source implementations of the J2EE
standards. There are several J2EE application servers -- JBoss
(http://www.jboss.org) is a __truly_marvellous__ GPL'd EJB server/container.
Several JSP/Servlet servers: Jetty (http://jetty.mortbay.com) and Tomcat
(http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat) are both Open Source. You can't poke a stick
at the number of excellent XML tools for Java. 

There are many more I can't mention here.

These tools all measure up to what .NET essentially provides. How about the
additional points from that article? Well:

   *  The community needs to design a framework which handles tasks like
      authentication and transactions

^^^ This is core to J2EE

   *  The full set of protocols which implement this framework must be
      open, with an open development and extension process.

^^^ Provided by the open set of J2EE specs.

   *  No one company or institution should be indispensable to the
      operation of the framework. No company or institution should be
      able to dictate the terms under which anybody may participate in
      life on the net.

^^^ None of the plethora of commercial J2EE vendors have twisted the specs yet
- and it wouldn't be in their best interest to do so.

   *  Security and privacy must be central to the framework's design.
      All security protocols must be open and heavily reviewed.

^^^ Such is already the case on the J2EE platform.

   *  The framework must bring the net toward its potential as the
      ultimate communication channel between people worldwide, and it
      must allow the creation of amazing new services and resources that
      we can not yet imagine

^^^ I am sure this is possible on the J2EE platform :-)

So you see, it really is puzzling to me why we need to create a .GNU when we
already have an impressive and (I think) superior Free Software and Open Source arsenal.

   
From:	 "Jonathan Day" <jd9812@my-deja.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: .NET, Passport and Bugbears, oh my!
Date:	 Thu, 5 Jul 2001 05:21:14 -0700

Dear editors,

  Let's start with examining what these programs do. As you say, they
provide mechanisms for authentication and secure(-ish) transactions.

  The question is not "how do we do these things under Linux", as many of
us already do. If it were simply a matter of replicating Passport and .NET,
the battle would already be won. Kerberos 5.2, OpenSSH, OpenCA, the
International Patch and FreeS/WAN's IPSec provide all these tools, and much
more, besides.

  (Kerberos gives you your authentication, at the user level. OpenSSH then
gives you strong encryption for transactions. The International Patch, plus
IPSec, allows you to safely authenticate a machine. Finally, OpenCA gives
you a means to roll certificates that contain any additional authentication
you may want, beyond that which you already have.)

  The problem is, Joe Average doesn't have time to decrypt the manuals for
these, let alone plough through obscure command-line interfaces to actually
get anything done. Besides, once they -have- got something done, can you
name any servers which accept Kerberos tickets from remote Kerberos systems
for authentication?

  The solution seems simple enough. The bricks exist, the cement exists,
and there are plenty of sample GUI interfaces which can serve as
architects. This just leaves the builder. There doesn't seem to be one with
an itch strong enough.

  In summary: The "Free Software" and "Open Source" communities already
have software that can blow the socks off Passport and .NET. It's proven,
reliable, and well-tested. It's just not used. Fix that, and you've fixed
the .NET for good.

Jonathan
   
From:	 "Robert A. Knop Jr." <rknop@pobox.com>
To:	 <letters@lwn.net>
Subject: What I want to know about DotGNU and GNU Mono
Date:	 Mon, 9 Jul 2001 07:22:10 -0700 (PDT)

All of this noise about Free Software replacements to .NET is, with some
hesitation, encouraging.

I hesitate because I've only read the public annoucements out of Ximian
and the FSF.  From those, it sure looks like what we've got here is a
last-ditch catch-up response to Microsoft's .NET initiative-- not the bold
grabbing of the reins and taking the lead that LWN.net suggested was
necessary a week or two ago.  The very name is suggestive... "DotGNU".
Maybe it's necessary for people to realize what this is, but (a) it makes
the Free Software community look like it's trying to provide a (doubtless
to be perceived as poor) substitute, and (b) it probably opens up the
whole project to the sort of "trademark infringement" attack that the
vector drawing program in KOffice was subject to.

If .NET is going to come, and we're going to have to deal with it, I for
one sure do want there to be a Free Software solution that lets us deal
with it without being dependent at all on Microsoft.  For this reason, I
will support the projects (and might even, given time, see if I can
contribute to them).  I currently live in fear that the great world we
have today (where Linux *is* a viable alternative) is going to be gone in
a few years, thanks to Microsoft's takeover of the internet under the
guise of .NET.  Anything to stop that is good.

We are, however, seeing a fundamental change of balance.  The internet was
built on open standards;  Microsoft got to the game late, tried to take
over as it took over the desktop maket, and at first simply didn't
succeed.  Nobody was interested in eschewing the Internet for MSN.
Later, Microsoft's servers couldn't push the Unix (and eventually Linux)
servers out of the market, despite Microsoft's dominance on the desktop...
and for this reason, Microsoft had to continue to conform to the open
standards of the internet.  Microsoft was playing catch-up.  But Microsoft
has finally realized that the age old adage applies: "If you can't beat
'em, take 'em over."  No longer, does it seem, that the internet will be
built on open standards which require commercial companies to adapt.  No,
now Microsoft is specifying how the new parts of the internet will work,
and the Free Software community will have to struggle to provide
non-Microsoft implementions of this Microsoft-specified internet.  This to
me is extremely and fundamentally sad.  What is the purpose of all the
inroads Linux has made on desktop functionality, if now all of a sudden in
the internet and (consequently) server domains Linux (and by extention the
rest of the open source community, or for that matter the whole rest of
the non-Microsoft-serf computer industry) is going to have to start
playing the same sort of follow-the-leader game that Linux has played on
the desktop?

The other (related) question I have is: why C#?  Again, I've never
seriously looked into C# other than the most publicly available of public
announcements, but so far as I can tell, C# is Microsoft's answer to Java.
It is supposed to be able to do what Java can do, only Microsoft gets to
control it and doesn't have to kowtow to anybody else.  Does C# have any
technical benefits in the specification of the language that Java does not
have?  Or could Java do everything that needs to be done, and is C#'s
*only* purpose to allow Microsoft to have something it made itself?

And, finally, the real question:  why are the Free Software solutions
going to be supporting C#?  Maybe there is a good reason: I hope to know
it.  But I suspect that this is going to turn out to be foolish.  Even if
C# specifications have been submitted to standards bodies by Microsoft, do
we *really* believe that the Microsoft implementation is going to continue
fully conform to these "open" specifications?  And if not, of course it's
going to be the Microsoft implementation's funcationality that forms the
"killer ap" for .NET.  Given all of this, I can't help but wonder if it
might be better for the Free Software community to build something with
all the functionaltiy and supposed benefits of whatever .NET is going to
be, but build it on top of Java, Python, or some other language, rather
than chasing after Microsoft's only pet standard.  That way, the community
will have the power to build the best possible system on tools which it
understands and has full access to.  Otherwise, the Free Software
community will forever be commiting itself to playing catchup with
Microsoft, and reverse engineering Microsoft's latest incompatable change
to some only-in-name "open" standard.

-Rob


   
From:	 Paul Winkler <slinkp23@yahoo.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: Mailing list for linux audio developers
Date:	 Sat, 07 Jul 2001 14:08:52 -0400

In the July 4 edition of LWN, I read this with interest:

"Developers of other languages should also consider the idea of this type of
cross-pollination effort. The idea could also be tried with other open-source
projects that involve parallel work on similar  projects. Areas that seem likely
to gain from such a collaboration include ... audio editor packages ..."

There is an existing mailing list that serves precisely this purpose for
developers of audio editors and other audio applications. The linux-audio-dev
list was started in 1998, and became quite lively in mid-1999. For subscription
info, archives, and other useful resources, see: http://www.linuxaudiodev.org

Current contributors include developers of some of most important (IMHO) audio
apps and frameworks on Linux today: alsa, Snd, Ecasound, GLAME, aRts, LADSPA,
Ardour, SoundTracker, sfront, csound, Sweep, GNU Octal, MusE, and probably many
others I've forgotten.

I think it is safe to say that linux-audio-dev participants have found the list
very helpful. It was on this list that LADSPA (the Linux Audio Development
Simple Plugin API) was conceived, debated, created, and finally became the de
facto standard for writing re-usable DSP code on Linux. LADSPA Previously, every
application either used its own plugin API or (more likely) none at all.  We are
now starting to see LADSPA support added to a number of existing apps that
formerly provided their own incompatible plugin APIs.

The hot topic at the moment is inter-application cooperation in a low-latency
realtime context. An API tentatively called LAAGA (Linux Audio Application Glue
Architecture) has been proposed, debated at great length, and now (thanks to
Paul Davis) is being tested in a reference implementation.

I suspect this message won't get posted on lwn.net until too late, but anyone at
LinuxTag in Stuttgart should be sure to stop by and check out the
linux-audio-dev demo booth! A number of list regulars will be on-hand all
weekend. Look for a blue-and-yellow logo with the initials LAD... or just follow
the interesting noises.


-- 
...................    paul winkler   ....................
custom calendars & printing: http://www.calendargalaxy.com
       A member of ARMS:   http://www.reacharms.com
            home page:  http://www.slinkp.com
   
From:	 "K.Hayen" <K.Hayen@digitec.de>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: ipfilter license
Date:	 Wed, 4 Jul 2001 15:04:57 +0200

I'd have expected more coverage on the issue of the license change. What is
attempted seems to be an attempt to protect a BSD project from GPL forks.
 
This is a valid interest. The license as is seems pointless, since GPL is
only a name and the new license doesn't address what GPL does.
 
I perfectly understand that's a unwishful situation to lead a BSD project
and see a fork happen that is still Free Software, but doesn't allow you to
merge back code into your own project, although the fork is just as well
publicly developed and thereby a direct competitor.
 
Maybe we will see a another license that is Free Software, but will forbid
sharing under other terms, but the ones given?
 
The GPL did that. And i love it for that. I don't see much of a problem in
BSD licenses, as well, FreeBSD ought to be GNU/FreeBSD, or not? And I don't
think it will gain more momentum than the GPL.
 
General purpose software will be almost 100% GPL some day. Just because it
makes sense money-wise for the users.
 
Yours, Kay

   
From:	 Rob Landley <landley@webofficenow.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: New IPFilter license.
Date:	 Fri, 6 Jul 2001 09:14:08 -0400

Your "security" section blurb on the new ipfilter license says:

>It resembles the BSD license, with one exception: it explicitly disallows 
>placing the code under the GPL. 

What it doesn't mention is that this "one exception" is something you can 
drive a mac truck through.  Here's the text of the "exception".

>The contents of this package may not be placed under the GPL or any
>other licence which requires requires [sic] you to give up your rights.

Any other license includes any proprietary license, which makes you give up 
the right to redistribute and modify which the license mentions earlier, so 
this code cannot be included in proprietary code.  In theory, any license 
that places additional restrictions on what you can do would be taboo, and 
since additional obligations are effectively restrictions (you can't do 
thing-one unless you do thing-two first), this basically prevents it from 
being relicensed at all except in the most superficial and cosmetic way.

It's interesting that the author of the license is incensed about the GPL's 
"restrictive" clauses preventing anyone from taking away the rights it 
guarantees, yet in objecting to it he created a license that does exactly the 
same thing on a practical level.  (Except that his license allows the 
distribution of binary-only versions, so the freedoms he aims to protect are 
not guarded in any practical way.)

In fact, his license is in a very real sense MORE restrictive than the GPL, 
because it bars code it covers from being integrated with a far greater 
amount of existing code (explicitly the existing installed base of GPL code, 
and implicitly anything under the MPL, artistic license, IBM's open source 
licenses, and countless others).

I'm not suprised he hates legalese.  He's not very good at it.

Rob
   
From:	 "Jay R. Ashworth" <jra@baylink.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: KDE v. Gnome
Date:	 Wed, 11 Jul 2001 01:17:34 -0400

[ Just a quick note, by comparison to some of my long diatribes :-) ]

I see that there's another wave of the "Gnome's better, KDE will
eventually die" nonsense coming in to shore this week.

I feel the need to remind all involved of one very important fact, which
seems to repeat itself all throughout history... and no one ever gets it:

	If you don't have an 'enemy', you don't get nearly as much
	accomplished, usually by at least one order of magnitude, if
	not two or more.

This hits hardest on US Military managers trying to get funded for mere
operations -- much less R&D -- in the wake of the "winning" of the Cold War,
but more productive advancement happened to SCO Unix since Linux hit the
radar screen than ever had before then, and the list of IT pertinent
examples is longer than I promised I'd write.  :-)

So, even if you think Gnome is the cat's ass, please remember that while
KDE may be merely toilet paper, the stuff *does* have its uses.  Ok?

Cheers,
- jra
-- 
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra@baylink.com
Member of the Technical Staff     Baylink
The Suncoast Freenet         The Things I Think
Tampa Bay, Florida        http://baylink.pitas.com             +1 727 804 5015

   OS X: Because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows
   
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 2001 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds