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Leading items and editorials

Intellectual property issues never go away. While we're sure that our readers would much rather see a page full of press release hype from LinuxWorld, we're going to start by inflicting a bunch of legal stuff on them instead.

The new draft W3C patent policy is out. This policy was, of course, the subject of a great fuss back in September when it turned out that it allowed patented technology to be included in W3C standards as long as it could be licensed under "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND) terms. Quite a few people felt that the web had flourished as a direct result of having been built on open standards, and they did not welcome the change. The W3C responded by backing off and promising to reconsider the policy.

The result can be seen in the Current Patent Practice note published on January 24. The core of the new policy can be seen at the beginning:

This current practice has evolved in order to satisfy the goal held by a number of W3C Members and significant parts of the larger Web community: that W3C Recommendations should be, as far as possible, implementable on a Royalty-Free basis.

In fact, the policy does not, directly, allow for standards to contain anything but royalty-free technology. Should an "essential" technology arise which is governed by patents, and for which royalty-free licensing is not a possibility, the issue will be sent off to pasture in a "patent advisory group" (PAG). The PAG will have 90 days to figure out how to resolve the issue. One of the possible resolutions is RAND licensing, but the policy cautions:

Note that there is neither clear support amongst the Membership for producing RAND specifications nor a process for doing so. Therefore if a PAG makes a recommendation to proceed on RAND terms, Advisory Committee review and Director's decision will be required.

In other words, those who wish to push RAND-licensed technology into a W3C standard have to wander into uncharted territory, marked only "here be dragons." If there were any further doubt that the W3C would like to be done with this issue, the standard also says that "*It is also possible that a the PAG could recommend that the work be taken to another organization."

To summarize: it looks like we won. Let it not be said that this sort of obnoxiousness can not be overcome by speaking up. Congratulations are due to all of the (many!) people who let the W3C know what they thought when this issue first came up. (For those who have more to say, there is another comment period that will be opened up before the policy is submitted for its final review).

Patents and real-time Linux. Version 24.1.8 of the Real-Time Application Interface (RTAI) was released this week. This release includes a number of interesting new features, including a MIPS port and the latest Linux Trace Toolkit support. Many people, however, may be most interested in the note from FSF attorney Eben Moglen at the end of the announcement. Mr. Moglen addresses the question of whether RTAI users need to be worried about the real-time Linux patent held by Victor Yodaiken (covered in LWN last year).

With regard to RTAI itself, Mr. Moglen states that there is no difficulty in using it within the RTLinux patent license:

The new patent license allows the teaching of the patent to be practiced without any additional obligations in any program released under GPL. If RTAI is released under GPL, as it can and should be, it is fully protected against any infringement claim by the license we negotiated.

Note that the validity of the patent (and associated license) are not being questioned. As long as RTAI fits within the terms of the license, there is no need to look further. To ensure that RTAI is in compliance, the developers have, with this release, relicensed the core code from the LGPL to the full GPL.

Then, there is the question of whether proprietary applications running on top of RTAI infringe the patent. Mr. Moglen refers to the patent claims:

These eleven claims, like all claims in all patents, are written as broadly as possible, so as to bring as much behavior as possible within the scope of the patent. But none of the teachings of the patent, as specified in its claims, is practiced by any applications program running under any OS kernel. No application in a running RTLinux or RTAI system does any of the things the patent claims.

Meaning that:

No applications program is therefore potentially infringing, and no applications program is covered, or needs to be covered, by the license.

Victor Yodaiken's patent, then, should not be an issue for any RTAI users, as long as they comply with the GPL licensing requirements of the RTAI core. This will be good news for these users. This situation is a reminder, however, of the sort of traps that software patents can set for the unwary. The next patent may be more difficult to work around.

When the GPL is not the right license. Ximian announced on January 28 that the license for the Mono class libraries would be changed from the GPL to the X11 license. This license is, perhaps, the simplest free software license available; it says, essentially, "do as you will with this code; just preserve the copyright and don't hold us responsible." There are no restrictions on distribution of proprietary derived products, and no requirement to disclose source for any changes.

This change makes it easier for corporations contributing code to Mono (i.e. Intel and HP) and their customers to distribute proprietary versions of the class libraries. It will, says Ximian, "have the effect of expanding the pool of potential contributors to the project, further speeding its already impressive progress." This statement almost has to be true; it is easy to imagine (though impossible to confirm) that one or more of the corporate contributors insisted on this license change.

The momentum of the GPL is sometimes unstoppable. A look at this week's software announcements shows that the vast majority of projects use the GPL. So, when a project moves in the opposite direction, it attracts attention.

The immediate conclusion that can be drawn is an obvious one: there is no "one size fits all" free software license, and there probably never will be. When developers apply a license to a body of code, they are making a statement on how they want that code to be used. The choice of the GPL indicates a desire to see all versions of the code be free, and to block anybody who wishes to use the code in a proprietary manner. Those who chose a looser license, such as the X11 or BSD licenses, are making a choice to work with proprietary vendors.

That choice is mostly to be made when the resellers are seen as supporters of the code, rather than competitors who would like a proprietary advantage. In the Mono case, Ximian has concluded that the developer base will be increased by the adoption of the X11 license. Those who would sell proprietary products that include the Mono class libraries are not competing with Mono itself; it is in their interest to see Mono thrive.

A similar reasoning was behind last year's Ogg Vorbis licensing change. Allowing the Ogg Vorbis libraries to be used in proprietary products (and things like portable sound file players are likely to stay proprietary) should increase the chances of the Vorbis standard being widely adopted. And that can only help with the development of the code.

As free software works its way deeper into the software economy, it will not be surprising to see more thought given to the choice of licenses. To an extent, this can be a good thing; the right license can help a free software project to thrive. We can only hope, however, that we will not see a resurgence of custom corporate and "half free" licenses, which proliferated a few years ago.

The Linux Standard Base is complete. As LWN went to "press," the Free Standards Group was expected to announce the availability of the Linux Standard Base, version 1.1, for the IA-32 architecture. With this release, the LSB is essentially complete. The specification is in shape, the test suite is available, and there is a sample implementation and cross-development environment. A long development process has come to a conclusion.

As if that weren't enough, the 1.0 release of the "Li18nux" internationalization standard is also about to be released. Here, too, there is a specification, test suite, and sample implementation available.

At this point, these standards lack only one thing: a list of compliant distributions. It is time for that to change. These long-awaited Linux standards will help simplify the management of Linux systems, and they are crucial for independent software vendors who wish to support more than one Linux distribution. Their adoption can only help increase the user and development base for Linux and free software in general. We need LSB- and L18nux-compliant distributions.

The time has come for the Linux distributors to either announce their plans for standards compliance, or to explain why they feel this compliance is no longer necessary. The time for waiting is over.

LWN.net becomes independent once again. In April, 2000, we were pleased to announce that LWN.net had been acquired by Tucows, Inc. It was an optimistic time, and there appeared to be a great many ways in which Tucows and LWN could complement each other.

The times, of course, have changed. Tucows has found other lines of business which are serving the company well, but which have little to do with Linux and free software. Tucows has also found it difficult to earn money from LWN's operation. In these times, it is difficult for a company to carry a loss-making group for any time. For its own future, Tucows must concentrate in the areas where it can bring in revenue - and that's not LWN.

As a result, as of the beginning of February, LWN will operate, once again, as an independent publication of Eklektix, Inc., which will be owned by the current LWN staff. All of our financial issues remain, and they have only gotten more pressing over time, but we will have more freedom in how we try to address those issues. LWN's future is far from guaranteed, but we intend to try our hardest to continue to be a part of the Linux community.

We would like to take this opportunity to offer a whole-hearted "thanks" to the people at Tucows. They have treated us with great courtesy and respect throughout, they have always respected our editorial independence, and, not least of all, they have financed LWN for almost two years. We have no regrets for our decision to join with them. We will miss working with Tucows, but we look forward to watching that company thrive in the coming years.

Meanwhile, expect more announcements in the near future as we work out how we will turn LWN into a sustainable, profitable company. It is the beginning of a new and challenging period, but we intend to meet those challeges and be here for a long time.

There is no history page this week, and probably not again for the forseeable future. We know that some of our readers really enjoyed the "this week in Linux history" feature, but most people didn't manage to get that far. By putting the History page on hold for now, we can better concentrate on the pages that most of our readers enjoy. We do hope to be able to resume this page sometime in the future.

Inside this LWN.net weekly edition:

  • Security: Distributor response to security problems; lots of updates.
  • Kernel: Patch penguins; rmap, fork, and COW.
  • Distributions: Distribution list progress report; New releases from Caldera and Monta Vista.
  • Development: Eclipse C/C++ IDE, MySQL 3.23 stable, FreeWRL 0.30 3D browser, KDE 3.0 release plan, Open Motif 2.2, gphoto2-2.0beta4, TinyCobol 0.56.
  • Commerce: LinuxWorld press releases from HP, LPI and many more.
  • Letters: LWN's birthday; printer drivers.
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

January 31, 2002


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Security page.


News and Editorials

How are distributors doing with security updates? Below you'll find the writeup of the rsync vulnerability, along with a large number of distributor updates which fix the problem. The rsync vulnerability is severe; relatively few sites run globally available rsync servers, but those which do are open to a remote root exploit. So it is good to see that most distributors are responding quickly to the problem.

A look at the list of updates reveals, however, that a couple of the major distributors have not issued updates. This delay, if it continues much longer, will be hard to justify. The fix is known and available; why would a distributor want to leave its customers open to a vulnerability of this magnitude?

One of the missing distributors is Turbolinux. We are pleased to note that the company did come out with a few security updates this week (but not for rsync). We are less pleased to note that these updates were (according to The Turbolinux security page) the first from Turbolinux since June, 2001. It will be a nice day when a distributor need not issue a single security update for six months, but that is not where we are at now.

Distributors have a responsibility to fix known security problems in their distributions. Anybody who is trying to choose between distributions for an important application would do well to consider how well the candidate distributors are living up to that responsibility. Security response is a very direct indication of how much importance a distributor places on security, and on the integrity of its customers' systems.

(For more information, see the distributor's security pages, linked in the right-hand column of this page, or the LWN Security Alert Archive).

Security Reports

A remotely exploitable hole in rsync. A vulnerability has been found in the rsync server: it seems that the server did not pay enough attention to the sign of numbers it reads from the client connection. This oversight allows an attacker to write bytes containing zero almost anywhere in the stack, with results similar to those caused by buffer overflows. Sites running rsync in its daemon mode are thus vulnerable to remote root compromises. Versions of rsync prior to 2.5.2 are vulnerable.

Here are the vendor updates we have seen so far:

Trouble with OpenLDAP object protection rules. OpenLDAP (and, specifically, slapd prior to 2.0.20) has a vulnerability which allows an attacker to delete attributes from the database.

Updates seen so far:

Temporary file handling vulnerability in sane. Yellow Dog Linux has a security update to its sane-backends package fixing a temporary file vulnerability.

web scripts. The following web scripts were reported to contain vulnerabilities:

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


Heap corruption vulnerability in at. The at command has a potentially exploitable heap corruption bug. (First LWN report:  January 17th).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Denial of service vulnerability in CIPE. The CIPE VPN package has a vulnerability which can cause the hosting system to crash. (First LWN report: January 17, 2002).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Temporary file handling bug in enscript Enscript has a temporary file handling bug. (First LWN report: January 24, 2002).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Format string vulnerability in groff. A format string problem exists in groff; apparently it could be remotely exploited when it is configured to be used with the lpd printing system. (First LWN report: August 16, 2001).

The stable release of Debian is not vulnerable.

New updates:

Previous updates:

Buffer overflow in groff. The groff package has a buffer overflow vulnerability; if it is used with the print system, it is conceivably exploitable remotely.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Remotely exploitable security problem in mutt. Most of the major distributions have provided updates for this buffer overflow vulnerabilty which was fixed in mutt versions and 1.3.25.

This is a remotely exploitable hole; applying the update is a very good idea. It was first mentioned in  the January 3rd LWN security page.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

OpenSSH UseLogin vulnerability. This obscure vulnerability is not of concern to most sites. This problem first appeared in  the December 6th LWN security page.

This week's updates:

Previous updates: Remotely exploitable vulnerability in pine. Pine has an unpleasant vulnerability in URL handling vulnerability which can lead to command execution by remote attackers. (First LWN report:  January 17th).

This vulnerability is remotely exploitable; updating is a good idea.

Note: If an update isn't yet available for your distribution, setting enable-msg-view-urls to "off" in pine's setup will avoid the vulnerability. (Thanks to Greg Herlein).

This week's updates:

Previous updates: Denial of service vulnerability in squid-2.4STABLE1. The squid server can be out of service for a few seconds when it reloads after a crash caused by a burst of certain FTP requests. See the September 18th bug report for details.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Nasty security hole in sudo. The sudo package, used to provide limited administrator access to systems, has an unpleasant vulnerability which makes it relatively easy for a local attacker to obtain root access. If you have sudo on a system with untrusted users, you probably want to disable it until you can get a fix installed. (First LWN report:  January 17th).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Remote command execution vulnerability in uucp. The uuxqt utility in the uucp package does not properly check its options, allowing an attacker to run arbitrary commands. (First LWN report: January 24, 2002).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

wu-ftpd buffer overflow. The wu-ftpd FTP server contains a remotely exploitable buffer overflow vulnerability; anybody running this package should already have upgraded. Versions up through 2.6.1 are vulnerable, as are 2.7.0 testing snapshots. (First LWN report: November 29).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

XChat session hijacking vulnerability. The XChat IRC client has a vulnerabilty that allows an attacker to take over the users IRC session. (First LWN report:  January 17th).

This week's updates:

Previous updates: Security audit of xinetd and resulting fixes. Solar Designer has performed an extensive audit of xinetd, looking for certain types of security vulnerabilities. So many problems were found in the code that the resulting patch weighed in at over 100KB. This patch was only fully merged as of xinetd 2.3.3. See the September 6, 2001 LWN security page for the initial report.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:


White paper on SQL injection. SPI Labs has released a white paper (in PDF format) on SQL injection attacks.


Upcoming Security Events.
Date Event Location
January 31 - February 2, 2002Second Annual Privacy and Data Protection SummitWashington D.C., USA
February 15 - 17, 2002CODECON 2002San Francisco, California, USA
February 18 - 22, 2002RSA Conference 2002San Jose, CA., USA
March 11 - 14, 2002Financial Cryptography 2002Sothhampton, Bermuda
March 18 - 21, 2002Sixth Annual Distributed Objects and Components Security Workshop(Pier 5 Hotel at the Inner Harbor)Baltimore, Maryland, 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: Jonathan Corbet

January 31, 2002

LWN Resources

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

Security Projects
Linux Security Audit Project
Linux Security Module

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
Yellow Dog Errata

BSD-specific links

Security mailing lists
Linux From Scratch
Red Hat
Yellow Dog

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

Miscellaneous Resources
Comp Sec News Daily
Security Focus


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.5.3, which was released on January 30 (changelog). The biggest change in the more recent prepatches has been the split of the massive (> 1MB) Configure.help file into multiple, smaller files spread out over the source tree. This change will make those files easier to maintain (it is hoped); in the mean time, however, it has broken a number of the configuration tools. Other changes include a large ReiserFS update and the inclusion of Nathan Scott's extended attribute patch, which paves the way for access control lists and other useful stuff in the future.

Dave Jones's latest is 2.5.2-dj7, which is caught up to 2.5.3-pre6 and 2.4.18-pre7. It adds a number of small fixes, and, of course, the input layer changes (which require some configuration changes - see last week's LWN kernel page).

Guillaume Boissiere's 2.5 status summary has been updated to reflect the current and near-future state of affairs.

The current stable kernel release is still 2.4.17; Marcelo has not released any new prepatches over the last week. Alan Cox has released 2.4.18-pre7-ac1, which he describes as "a standing still release;" it mostly just catches up to the -pre7 prepatch.

For those with more modest hardware, SnapGear has announced the release of a new uClinux kernel based on 2.4.17. Your processor may not have a memory management unit, but now you can run things like ext3 anyway.

Alternate kernel tree of the week: Marcus Grando has announced 2.4.18-pre7-mg1, which adds the reverse mapping VM patch and some netfilter fixes to the 2.4.18 prepatch.

ACPI followup. Andy Grover, Linux ACPI developer, took exception with the discussion of ACPI, and its problems, in last week's LWN kernel page. His note challenges the complaints that have been made against ACPI, and states:

My hope is, the more people gain familiarity of Linux's ACPI code by testing and helping in its development, the more we all can accept it on its merits, and start improving Linux's PnP and power management by using the improved functionality ACPI provides.

His note is worth a read. The simple fact is that ACPI is in our future, whether we like it or not, and we will have to deal with it. The concerns remain, however, and those will have to be dealt with too.

The patch penguin debate. This discussion has been covered widely, from News.com to Slashdot, so we'll try to go over the main points without getting too far into the depths of it.

It all started, of course, with Rob Landley's 'modest proposal' calling for a "patch penguin" to help Linus manage patches from developers.

Okay everybody, this is getting rediculous. Patches FROM MAINTAINERS are getting dropped on the floor on a regular basis. This is burning out maintainers and is increasing the number of different kernel trees (not yet a major fork, but a lot of cracks and fragmentation are showing under the stress). Linus needs an integration lieutenant, and he needs one NOW.

Rob points out that there have been unofficial "patch penguins" in the past. Alan Cox filled that role through much of the 2.3 and 2.4 series, and Dave Jones is doing it in 2.5. In general, the "ac" or "dj" trees have indeed served as a useful staging area for patches on their way to Linus; Rob claims that there should be one such tree with some sort of official blessing from Linus.

The complaints are echoed by a number of developers who feel that their patches have been ignored for too long. Alan Cox goes far enough to suggest that Linus could find himself replaced: "Think gcc, think egcs. History is merely beginning to repeat itself."

Linus, for his part, feels that there is no real problem in how kernel development works. Adding a patch penguin would not help, since said penguin would scale no better than Linus does. The solution to dropped patches is to route them through the appropriate maintainers:

In short: don't try to come up with a "patch penguin". Instead try to help existing maintainers, or maybe help grow new ones. THAT is the way to scalability.

A number of high-profile kernel developers seem to agree with Linus that the system still works.

That is the core of the dispute. The more interesting part, perhaps, is what changes might result from the discussion. It appears that there might actually be a few:

  • Part of the problem seems to be a misunderstanding of Linus's view of a "maintainer." Linus sees "maintainers" as the 10-20 people he trusts to send him good patches - far short of the full list in the kernel maintainers file. He has, however, never spelled out just who the trusted people are, so there is confusion about where patches should really be sent. Linus did post a partial list of developers with "good taste," but it seems incomplete.

    One necessary result, if the existing system is to continue to work, will be a clearer definition of the protocol for getting patches to Linus. The "trusted" people, and their areas of expertise, need to be made explicit.

  • The issue of small patches was recognized, even by Linus, as a problem. Linus tends to lack the time to look over the large number of "one-liner" fixes that get sent in. But these fixes tend to be important, and should not get dropped. So Linus agrees that there may be a place for a "small stuff" patch penguin. Again, Alan Cox has served in that capacity in the past, and Dave Jones is doing it now.

    The addition of a bug-tracking system, and somebody to keep up with it, could only help as well.

  • Linus may actually start using a system to help with patch management - most likely BitKeeper. BitKeeper and its possible use in kernel development was first covered in LWN back in 1999; its adoption has been hindered by a lack of time on Linus's part, and its not-quite-free license. BitKeeper has some seriously nice features, though, and a number of kernel developers are using it for their own work. There are reasons to believe that it could be quite helpful in the management of kernel patches.

    Linus has never taken the time to get good at BitKeeper, but that may change. In one message he promised "to use bk exclusively for two months" if he gets one more feature added.

  • There is a resurgence in interest in online systems ("patchbots") that will help with the submission of patches. Two new development efforts have sprung up to try to develop such systems; the nascent projects can be found here and here.

Much of the coverage of this discussion has portrayed it as a major rift among kernel developers, with ominous overtones of an impending "fork" of the kernel project. The truth of the matter is that no large, collaborative project can continue to function without occasionally taking a look at how its processes work. Kernel development is certainly not without its challenges; with luck, this discussion will help bring about changes that will keep the kernel project sustainable into the future.

rmap, fork, and COW. Last week's discussion of the reverse mapping VM patch omitted a couple of important things that are worth a mention. First and easiest is the fact that the hashed page wait queues discussed as part of the rmap patch were actually implemented by William Lee Irwin. Credit where credit is due.

The discussion of the costs of the rmap patch concentrated on memory use, but (as Daniel Phillips pointed out) we overlooked one other important factor. When a child process is created with the fork() system call, one task that must be performed is the copying of the parent's page tables. When the rmap patch is applied, fork() must also copy all of the reverse mapping entries. The computational cost of this copying is not small; with rmap, the time required for a fork increases by a factor between 10% (for small applications) up to 400% for something large. A fast fork() implementation is important for overall system performance; a 400% increase is likely to be seen as unacceptible.

There is a fix in the works, however, as described by Daniel Phillips: copy-on-write page tables. The COW idea has the potential to speed up fork() with or without rmap; it can also lead the way to other interesting page table optimizations in the future.

Under the COW scheme, a call to fork() does not result in the copying of the parent process's page tables. Instead, the tables are marked read-only, and their reference count is increased. Both processes then go off and execute with the (now shared) page tables. When either process makes a write access, it will be trapped with a page fault. At that point, the kernel copies the relevant page table (as well as the page being written to) and decreases its reference count. The process, which now has its own page table, is then allowed to continue with its write operation.

Forks become very fast, since page tables are no longer copied at that time. If a process eventually accesses much of its memory, those copies will happen, but they will be more evenly spread out over the life of the process. The usual pattern, however, is for a fork() call to be quickly followed by an exec() call, which wipes out the page tables entirely. In this case, the overhead of copying most of the page tables is avoided altogether.

So COW page tables are a win even in the absence of the rmap patch, and a bigger win when reverse mapping is used. The patch (which has not yet been released) is perhaps even more significant, however, in that it creates the first structure in the Linux kernel for the sharing of page tables. Linux processes can share mappings of memory or files (i.e. shared libraries), but they each have their own page tables for that shared memory. Private page tables are easier to manage, but there are some inefficiencies that result.

Example: most Linux processes have a shared mapping of the C library which occupies just over 1MB of address space (on the author's Debian 'sid' system). This mapping requires almost 300 page table entries (on an i386 system) for every process - and all of them live in unswappable kernel memory. KDE and GNOME applications tend to have many such library mappings, many of which are substantially larger. There would be a real performance advantage in being able to share the page tables for these mappings. The initial COW patch will probably not include support for sharing page tables in this manner, but it is a step in the right direction.

Much of this is speculative, however, until the COW page table patch is posted and benchmarked. If it works as expected, and frees the rmap patch of its fork() penalty, the whole mess may well make its way into the 2.5 series. As Linus told Rik van Riel:

You may not believe me when I say so, but I personally _really_ hope your rmap patches will work out. I may not have believed in your patches in a 2.4.x kind of timeframe, but for 2.6.x I'm more optimistic.

If we're really lucky, the 2.6 (or, perhaps, 3.0?) kernel will have a top-quality VM implementation before it's released.

Asynchronous I/O patch writup. Writing up Ben LaHaise's asynchronous I/O patch has been on the "todo" list for this page for some time. It is an interesting patch; it provides capabilities that some users seem to really need, but it also makes some fundamental changes to the I/O subsystem. We may still take a shot at the AIO patch, but, for now, Suparna Bhattacharya has beat us to it. Have a look for a thorough, detailed look at the patch and the reasons for it existence.

Other patches and updates. This section has gotten steadily longer over the years; we're experimenting a bit with its formatting in an attempt to make it more readable.

Core kernel code:

  • The latest preemptive kernel patch is available from Robert Love.

  • A new software suspend patch for 2.4.17 was posted by Pavel Machek.

  • Rusty Russell has updated his per-cpu data patch for 2.5.3-pre6.

  • William Lee Irwin's hashed page waitqueue patch has been ported to 2.5.3-pre6 by Christoph Hellwig.

  • Momchil Velikov has posted a version of his radix tree page cache patch for inclusion into 2.5.3.

Development tools:

  • Karim Yaghmour has released version 0.9.5pre5 of the Linux Trace Toolkit.

  • Jim Houston has posted a patch which adds a kernel trace mechanism to the kdb debugger.

Device drivers

  • Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a driverfs implementation for the USB core code. Greg has also updated the USB 2.5 TODO list.

  • Andrew Morton has released a patch which enables DMA transfers of audio data from CDROM drives. (Here's the latest version for those who want to apply the patch).

  • Richard Gooch has posted a new version of his patch which enables a 2.4.18-pre system to handle up to 2080 SCSI disks.

  • Also from Richard are devfs-v199.9 (for 2.4.18-pre7) and devfs-v208 (for 2.5.3-pre6).

  • Jaroslav Kysela has released a set of documentation for the ALSA library API.


  • LVM 1.0.2 was announced by Heinz J. Mauelshagen.

  • For the more daring, there is a complete reimplementation of LVM (called "device mapper") available from Sistina. This is the beta device mapper release, and the developers are looking for feedback.

  • UVFS 0.2, a user-space filesystem kit, was announced by Britt Park.

  • Steve Best has announced version 1.0.13 of the JFS journaling filesystem.

  • Christoph Hellwig has announced version 0.0.92 of the OpenGFS filesystem.

Kernel building:

  • Justin Piszcz has sent us a detailed description of his "Install Kernel" utility, which helps with kernel builds and installation.

  • Anuradha Ratnaweera has released version 0.1.2 of the kernelconf utility. "Don't use it unless you are really adventurous."

  • CML2 2.2.0 is available from Eric Raymond.

  • Eric W. Biederman has posted a patch which enables the building of a bootable, ELF-formatted kernel. Such a kernel is useful for booting directly from Linux, for network booting, or for use with LinuxBIOS.



Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

January 31, 2002

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Distributions page.

Note: The list of Linux distributions has moved to its own page.


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

News and Editorials

Distribution list progress report. The LWN distribution list, v0.5 is available here. This is not the final version. Two or three dozen distributions have yet be to added. The categories are still in a state of flux. There are over 200 distributions on our list. Not all are active. Some may just be websites for projects that never really ever got off the ground. Over all, there's a lot of information there, which we hope will be useful.

Distribution News

Caldera releases OpenLinux 3.1.1. Here is the press release on OpenLinux 3.1.1, now available from Caldera. It features a 2.4.13 kernel, substantial internationalization support, and a $249 price tag for the server version.

Debian News. Here's The Debian Weekly News for January 23, with looks at the upcoming Debian mini-conference in Brisbane, whether people uploading non-free packages should get sponsors, progress on the Woody freeze, a VAX distibution, and more.

Debian Woody bug hunting season. Anthony Towns has sent an announcement to the Debian Project on how to get the Woody distribution into shape for release. The problem, it seems, is that bug fixes are simply not getting into the distribution; this leads to a bit of a change in policy. "The reason we've been so poor at this, is that for some reason it's become taboo for anyone except the package's maintainer to make uploads. There is no good reason for this, and there are many reasons against it. As of now this is no longer the case. Non-maintainer uploads of packages are *okay*. If you're not uploading new versions of your package when improvements become available in a timely manner, don't act surprised if someone else does."

Mandrake Linux. The Mandrake Linux Community Newsletter for January 29 is available. The primary topic is the release of the first beta of Mandrake Linux 8.2.

The first beta of Mandrake Linux 8.2 has escaped. Become a beta tester, and help tame the wild beast. Here's an article about getting involved and reporting bugs.

Ximian Desktop is now available for Mandrake 8.1.

SME Server V5. Mitel Networks announced the immediate availability of version 5.1 of the SME Server V5. This version of the SME Server has several new features, including Windows 2000 and XP domain logons, User quotas, USB printer support, and more.

MontaVista Linux 2.1. MontaVista has announced the forthcoming availability of MontaVista Linux 2.1. MontaVista Linux is the new name for what used to be called "Hard Hat Linux." Features in the new distribution (available in March) include a 2.4.17 kernel, support for six architectures, and cross-development tools for several Linux distributions (and even Windows NT).

Red Hat Enhancement Advisories. Red Hat has released an enhancement advisory covering XFree86 4.1.0, Mesa 3.4.2, Xconfigurator, and xinitrc. These packages are available for Red Hat Linux 7.1, and 7.2. Another advisory for vim 6.0 is available for RH 7.2.

Slackware Linux. The primary Slackware FTP site ftp.slackware.com has moved to a new machine (533MHz/512MB). Even though its bigger and faster, there's still a bandwidth crunch on the new server, so they have begun the task of compiling an updated mirrors list. If you're running a Slackware mirror site, please write to mirrors@slackware.com to get on the new list.

There are new glibc and XFree86 packages are available in slackware-current. See the changelog for details. If you are running Slackware-stable, make sure you get the latest security fixes. Here's the changelog for the stable version.

Trustix Secure Linux. Trustix Secure Linux has issued bugfix advisories for samba (to include winbind in TSL 1.5), freeswan (applying the x509 patch in TSL 1.5), and e2fsprogs (including a number of bug fixes for TSL 1.5).

Yellow Dog Linux. Yellow Dog Linux has issued a bugfix announcements for freetype and tmpwatch.

Minor Distribution updates

ROOT Linux. Root Linux released 1.3pre1 stable. This release contains many updates and bugfixes. This release uses CUPS for the printing system and PureFTPD for the default FTP daemon. The installation has been improved, and ext3 support was added. This release contains Linux 2.4.17, glibc 2.2.5, KDE 2.2.2, and XFree86 4.2.0.

ttylinux. ttylinux released 1.18 with minor feature enhancements.

Xitnalta Alindis. Xitnalta Alindis released version 0.0.2 with major feature enhancements.

Distribution Reviews

The Sorcerer GNU Linux Distribution (DistroWatch). DistroWatch reviews Sorcerer Linux. "Just think about this for minute - since the vast majority of Linux software comes with source code, why is it necessary to download binary files that somebody compiled on a particular hardware platform and included all sorts of options to run it on thousands of different hardware configurations? Would it not be more logical to compile everything on your own machine, ensuring that the code is optimised for exactly your hardware?"

CRUX Linux 0.9.2 review (Linuxdot.org). Linuxdot.org reviews CRUX 0.9.2. "On the software side of things, CRUX receives some welcome updates, like the latest stable kernel, 2.4.17, the latest stable WindowMaker, 0.80.0, the latest XMMS, 1.2.6, and libogg and libvorbis, 1.0rc3. Effectively everything has been updated to the lastest stable version, giving CRUX that nice cutting-edge feel."

LindowsOS sneak preview -- it's not vaporware after all (NewsForge). NewsForge reviews the LindowsOS sneak preview. "Since LindowsOS is based on Xandros, which in turn is based on Debian, I was able to use apt-get to install a few useful Linux apps like Netscape and The Gimp. Don't try to download and compile sources from the get-go because gcc and other requisite items don't come installed with LindowsOS."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

January 31, 2002

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


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

News and Editorials

Eclipse.org releases a free C/C++ development environment.

Eclipse.org has announced the release of a beta version of its Eclipse C/C++ IDE at the LinuxWorld conference. Initial versions of Eclipse supported only Java, the C/C++ support is provided by an add-on tool project.

The project is being sponsored by Red Hat and IBM, both companies are founding members of eclipse.org. The Eclipse.org board of directors include Borland, Merant, QNX Software Systems, Rational Software, SuSE, TogetherSoft, and WebGain.

The Eclipse Platform runs on Red Hat Linux 7.1 and SuSE 7.1, Motif is required. Eclipse also runs under Solaris 8 and various versions of Windows.

According to the Eclipse Project FAQ, the project is divided into three sub-projects, the Eclipse Platform, which is an open-ended IDE framework, the Java Development Tools, which provides Java language support, and the Plug-in Development Environment, which provides support for extensions such as the C/C++ environment.

Typical IDE functionality is included, it is possible to edit, compile, debug, and run software projects in Eclipse. CVS support is also included. Support for user defined plug-in extensions is also included. See the Eclipse Tools Project for examples.

Tools include a graphical source editor ("with advanced code browsing and navigation features like code assist, syntax based color highlighting and integrated help facilities").

The Eclipse Project software is licensed under the Common Public License, and third party components are licensed under their own licenses as detailed in the Eclipse.org Software User Agreement.


PostgreSQL 7.2rc2 available. The PostgreSQL Global Development Group has released PostgreSQL 7.2rc2. This is a documentation and updated packaging release with a few bug fixes thrown in for good measure.

SAP DB version Version of the SAP DB database software is available. This version features a number of bug fixes.


LDP Weekly News. This week's LDP Weekly News lists a new LDP WikiText Editing HOWTO, a new Linux MIDI HOWTO, and lots of updated documents.

Embedded Systems

Lineo contributes MIPS port To RTAI. Lineo has announced that it has contributed a MIPS processor port to the Linux Real Time Application Interface (RTAI) project.

RTAI 24.1.8 released. Version 24.1.8 of the Real Time Application Interface (RTAI) has been announced. The announcement also includes a letter from FSF attorney Eben Moglen stating that no user of RTAI need fear the RTLinux patent. (Thanks to Karim Yaghmour).

Embedded Linux Newsletter (LinuxDevices). The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Newsletter for January 24 is out with the latest from the Embedded Linux community.

Mail Software

This week on Milter.org. This week's articles on milter.org look at several sendmail filtering issues and the use of SpamAssassin for splitting suspected spam into a seperate mail stream.

Printing Software

LPRng 3.8.5 available. A new version of the LPRng printing system is available. Version 3.8.5 features a minor fix that allows the lpq command to check all of the queues.

New on LinuxPrinting.org. The LinuxPrinting.org site mentions new versions of the CUPS frontend XPP and Gimp Print's GPR.


Developer Release of ResMedicinae (LinuxMedNews). LinuxMedNews looks at an open-source medical practice management system known as Res Medicinae.

Web-site Development

Zope Corporation Releases Zope 2.5. Zope Corporation has announced the release of Zope 2.5. There are a number of new features in this release; see the announcement for details.

Zope Members' News. This week, the Zope Members' News site looks at FunctionalTests 0.1 for Zope, Zope 2.4.4 beta 1, and MetaPublisher 1.2.8.

Python 2.1.2 upgrade fixes Zope 2.4.x crashes. A ZopeNewbies posting suggests that people who are having crashing problems with Zope 2.4.x should upgrade to Python 2.1.2.

Take control of your JSP pages with custom tags (IBM developerWorks). Jeff K. Wilson covers JSP tags on IBM's developerWorks. "Using the techniques he details in this article, you can add more complex logic to your JSPs, take firmer control of data display, and share data among tags -- all without having to teach your front-end Web developers how to write Java code."

Finding CGI Scripts (O'Reilly). Dave Cross suggests some criteria for selecting Perl CGI programs and lists some pitfalls to avoid when doing so.


GNU.FREE 1.9 released. A new version of the GNU.FREE Java based electronic voting system has been released. Version 1.9 features XML configuration files, and bug fixes.

January 31, 2002

Application Links
High Availability

Open Source Code Collections
Le Serveur Libre



Desktop Development

Audio Applications

The latest from LINUXMUSIC. This week, the LINUXMUSIC site looks at a new version of LAoE, the Layer-based AudiO Editor, SooperLooper, a looping sampler, and the new MIDI-HOWTO.

Web Browsers

FreeWRL 0.30 released. For those of you who are finding your browsing experience to be a little flat: FreeWRL 0.30, a VRML and X3D browser, has been released. This is a beta release, and the developers are looking for some feedback.

Desktop Environments

Ximian switches Mono to X11 license. Here's a press release from Ximian stating that, henceforth, code from the Mono project will be covered by the X11 license. This change (from the GPL) means, of course, that Mono code can be linked into proprietary programs.

See also this ZDNet article on the change. "The change was made to accommodate Intel, which wanted to contribute to class library work but chafed at the GPL's requirement that software remain open-source only, said Ximian co-founder Miguel de Icaza."

New KDE 3.0 release plan. A new KDE 3.0 release plan has been posted. The plan calls for the first release candidate on January 28, with a final release on March 18.

Kernel Cousin KDE #31 Is Out. Issue #31 of Kernel Cousin KDE is available. "This week's summary includes talk about chemistry application Kalzium (1, 2) as a candidate for kdeedu, KDE artists' discussions (have a peak at the new tear-offs on text icons), word wrapping in dialogs, KDirAdm - an LDAP administration tool, animated icon support in KDE 3.0, and more."

KDE Icon Chatter. KDE.NEWS features a discussion about the philosophy behind the KDE icons and some new approaches that are being taken in KDE 3.1.

People of KDE: Chris Howells. This week's People of KDE features Chris Howells, maintainer of various KDE web sites.


WorldForge Game Project Status. The WorldForge Status Report is out for January 2002. "The project's core focus right now is development of the game Mason, and many of the development areas revolve around that central effort. Mason is the second phase in the WorldForge Bootstrapping Plan (WF-BSP), which began with the completion and release of the game 'Acorn'"

The latest PyGame projects. This week's PyGame Projects include new versions of Samepygame, Bombers, Gigglebubble, and Opengeneral.

GUI Packages

Announcing Open Motif 2.2!. OpenMotif 2.2, the latest version of the venerable, not-quite-free GUI toolkit, has been announced. This release features ten new widgets. Red Hat Linux 7.x RPMs are available. A version 2.2.1 is also available, it fixes a few build problems.


KDE/aRts Video Roadmap Meeting Results. The results are in from the recent KDE/aRts video development strategy meeting. The IRC discussion resulted in two approaches being seriously looked at, development will occur in parallel.

Office Applications

Kernel Cousin GNUe #13. Issue #13 of Kernel Cousin GNUe is out. This week looks at a Car Dealer Management System, RPMS and Ximian, an HTML Client for GNUe forms, GNUe Tools version 0.1.1, database support for GNUe, and more.

AbiWord Weekly News #80. Issue #80 of the AbiWord Weekly News is available. The hunt continues for bugs that should be fixed prior to the 1.0 release.


gphoto2-2.0beta4 released!. Version 2-2.0beta4 of gphoto, the GNOME digital camera download program, has been released. This version features support for more cameras and a few bug fixes. Try it out and report any bugs back to the development team.

Desktop Environments

Window Managers

Widget Sets


Programming Languages


Caml Weekly News for January 29, 2002. Here's the latest Caml Weekly News, topics include OCaml and games, OCaml in the kernel, floats and the OCaml C interface, Mp3tag 1.1, and more.


TinyCobol 0.56. TinyCobol 0.56 has been released. "This release contains mainly bugs fixes, and some enhancements. It includes updates to the main compiler, run-time, the regression test suite. (Thanks to Rildo Pragana)


Saucon Technologies Changes Web Application Development Landscape With a New Open-Source Project Called Japple. Saucon Technologies has announced that it is making its Japple Web-based Java development platform available as open-source. Japple is being released under the LGPL license.

AspectJ brings AOP to the Java language (IBM developerWorks). Nicholas Lesiecki introduces Aspect-Oriented Programming and AspectJ from Xerox PARC. "Aspect-oriented programming (AOP) is a new programming technique that allows programmers to modularize crosscutting concerns (behavior that cuts across the typical divisions of responsibility, such as logging). AOP introduces aspects, which encapsulate behaviors that affect multiple classes into reusable modules. With the recent release of AspectJ by Xerox PARC, Java developers can now take advantage of the modularization AOP can provide." AspectJ features the Open Source Mozilla Public License.

The Debate Over Java Data Objects (O'Reilly). Dion Almaer talks about Java Data Objects (JDO) on O'Reilly's ONJava site. "Since becoming a JSR, however, JDO hasn't met with a universally warm reception. Some people love the idea of standardizing on persistent objects, and some like to criticize."


New Lisp Software. This week's new Lisp tools include OpenMCL 0.10, with newly added MacOS support, and Steel Bank Common Lisp 0.7.1 with a few bug fixes.


Perl 6 Porters Digest. The January 23, 2002 edition of the Perl 6 Porters Digest is out. Topics include Apocalypse 4, Parrot Strings, and more.


PHP-GTK 0.5.0 is released. PHP-GTK 0.5.0 has been released. "It has some major enhancements and bugfixes. The version has been bumped from 0.1.1 to indicate that the extension is now mature, stable, and can be used for a variety of applications."

PHP Weekly Summary for January 29, 2002. The January 29, 2002 PHP Weekly Summary is out. Topics this week include manual translation, a new SQLanywhere extension, an IPC extension, bug fixes, and more.

Making the PostgreSQL and PHP Connection (O'Reilly). Joshua D. Drake discusses PostgreSQL and PHP integration on O'Reilly's ONLamp site. "PHP is the most widely used Apache module available and provides a strong platform for Web application development. However, most people who use PHP with open source databases use PHP with MySQL. As an invitation to using PostgreSQL, I have written the following article on using PHP and PostgreSQL."


This week's Python-URL. Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for January 28 is out, with the usual collection of interesting stuff from the Python development community.

The Daily Python URL. This week's new entries on the Daily Python URL include pointers to articles on a Python font editor, open-source PDF programming, Python and XML, the SCXX, Python/C++ API, and more.


The Ruby Weekly News. The January 28, 2002 issue of The Ruby Weekly News features a pre-release of the BotFrenzy game, a Ruby XML publishing framework, TaskMaster for running task objects on multiple machines, and more.


This week's Tcl-URL. Here's Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for January 30. "Let's be philosophical: tcl is a nice, powerful language, that gets the job done. But it ain't sexy, it don't get no press, it don't get no respect. As such, should it be quietly buried in favour of the flash and style of, say, Java?"


XML for Data: Modeling many-to-many relationships (IBM developerWorks). Kevin Williams looks at XML and many-to-many relationships. "Relational databases are, by their nature, more flexible than hierarchical data storage structures such as XML. Many relationships that are simple to model in relational databases (such as the relationship between invoices and parts in a shipping system) turn out to be fairly difficult to model in XML. In this column, I'll take a look at a typical many-to-many modeling challenge, and go through some options you have when creating an XML model for that information."


Source Code Scanners for Better Code (Linux Journal). Here's a Linux Journal article on automated source code auditing tools. "Flawfinder also shows some intelligence when it comes to scanning for vulnerabilities. For example, in tests using intentionally insecure code, Flawfinder was able to distinguish between strcpy() from a constant sized string and variable length strings and tell the difference between vulnerabilities and false hits."

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

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

 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and Business

HP's LinuxWorld Press Release. Here is HP's press release on what it is announcing at LinuxWorld. Included is a new set of migration, management, and security services, a "pay per use" pricing program for Linux (which, one suspects, applies more to hardware than the OS), a pair of "carrier-grade" servers for telecommunications applications, and the "Opencall SS7 Linux Development Platform" for the development of telecom applications.

HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Linux ready for breakout year. For those who missed it: here's a press release from HP all about CEO Carly Fiorina's keynote talk at LinuxWorld. "Fiorina praised the open source community for enabling Linux to stay true to the spirit of its revolutionary roots while developing into a solution that can meet the needs of big business."

Linux Professional Institute announcements. Here's a press release from the Linux Professional Institute on the announcements they will be making at LinuxWorld. Included is a process for the development of "LPI Approved" training materials, an international affiliate program, a wider exam delivery network, and the opportunity to "upgrade" from other Linux certification programs.

HP and MandrakeSoft team up. HP and MandrakeSoft have announced an alliance which will allow HP to offer and support the Mandrake distribution.

HP, DreamWorks announce strategic alliance. HP and DreamWorks have announced an alliance "aimed at revolutionizing animation production." It includes heavy use of Linux systems, of course.

IBM and SuSE announce new partnership. Here's a press release from IBM and SuSE on the evolution of their partnership. "As a consequence of this agreement, SuSE Linux and IBM will closely cooperate to tune SuSE's SLES operating system exactly to the technical requirements of IBM's eServer line."

Open Source Development Lab creates 'Carrier Grade Linux' working group. The Open Source Development Lab is expanding its focus through the creation of a working group on "carrier grade Linux" for the telecommunications market. Five new members (Alcatel, Cisco, MontaVista, Nokia, and Toshiba) have signed up as part of this initiative.

See also: this LinuxDevices.com story for more information and a carrier grade Linux architecture diagram.

Sun and Lineo to support Embedix UltraSPARC platforms. Sun and Lineo have announced a deal to "adapt and support" Lineo's Embedix distribution on the UltraSPARC platform.

Cobalt Qube 3 announced. Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance. It's still a cute little blue box, and it still runs Linux (though the press release does not mention that).

Red Hat's new network services. Red Hat has announced its new "Red Hat Network Workgroup Service." It adds a number of features to the Red Hat Network, including "system grouping," (the ability to manage multiple systems under a single configuration) and the ability to work with multiple administrators.

Caldera Volution Manager 1.1 to ship in February. Caldera International announces that Volution Manager 1.1 will begin shipping in February. "Volution Manager 1.1 is the secure, Web-based management and administration solution that now supports the latest versions of all major Linux distributions as well as Caldera OpenServer and Open Unix products."

Zope Corporation Releases Zope 2.5. Zope Corporation has announced the release of Zope 2.5. There are a number of new features in this release; see the announcement for details.

NuSphere releases PHPEd for Linux. NuSphere has announced the release of a Linux version of PHPEd, an integrated development environment for PHP applications.

Appgen MyBooks for Linux. Appgen has announced that the MyBooks 6.0 accounting package is available for Linux.

Sony signs up Linux for PlayStation 2 (ZDNet). Reuters reports (via ZDNet) that Sony will shortly start selling its Linux kit for the Playstation 2. "The kits will cost $188.30 in Japan, $199 in the United States and $215 in Europe."

Update: more information can be found in Sony's press release. The kit includes a 40GB disk, a network adaptor, the 2.2.1 kernel (so they say!), a USB keyboard and mouse, and a distribution on two DVDs.

The FSF's Tunney Act statement. The Free Software Foundation has sent out a press release on its response to the proposed Microsoft settlement. "[Eben] Moglen reiterated today: 'The language of the Proposed Judgment should be amended to require Microsoft to release timely and accurate API information to all parties seeking to interoperate programs with Microsoft Windows and applications written to work with Microsoft Windows.'"

Linux Stock Index for January 24 to January 30, 2002.
LSI at closing on January 24, 2002 ... 30.54
LSI at closing on January 30, 2002 ... 29.84

The high for the week was 31.14
The low for the week was 29.84

Press Releases:

Open Source Products

LinuxWorld Announcements

Proprietary Products for Linux

Linux PC Hardware

Products and Services Using Linux

Products With Linux Versions

Linux At Work

Java Products

Books & Documentation

Training and Certification


Financial Results

Personnel & New Offices


Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

January 31, 2002


 Main page
 Linux in the news

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

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading

Time to rewrite the DMCA (News.com). News.com is carrying a column by U.S. Representative Rick Boucher on why the DMCA should be rewritten. "In the three years since the law was enacted, we have not seen the promised new digital content. Instead, we have seen a rash of lawsuits; the imprisonment by U.S. authorities of a Russian computer programmer who had come to the United States to give a technical talk; and, more recently, the release of compact discs into the market that cannot be played in computers or even some CD players, and thus cannot be used to create custom compilations of consumers' favorite songs." Worth a read.

Torvalds, developers at odds over Linux (News.com). News.com covers the Linux kernel 'patch penguin' debate. "Eric Raymond, a well-known open-source evangelist and maintainer of the Linux Help system, said that he had to submit six patches to the system a total of 33 times to get them included. Each time the kernel changed without the inclusion of his changes, he faced extra work to make sure that his software fixes worked with the latest version of the kernel."

BBC backs MP3 alternative (vnunet). vnunet reports on the BBC's experimentation with Ogg Vorbis. "Ogg is an open source audio compression codec set to rival the popular MP3 format. Its development has drummed up enormous interest in the media industry largely because it's free; the current licence for the MP3 codec works out at about £5.30 per device."

Moscow firm seeks dismissal of U.S. suit (News.com). News.com reports on the next step in the ElcomSoft trial: a motion to dismiss charges. "But defense attorney Joseph Burton of lawfirm Duane Morris in San Francisco said ElcomSoft makes software that allows people with lawful rights to copyrighted material to use the material in reasonable ways for personal use. 'If you have lawful access to the copyrighted material you can circumvent controls in order to exercise a fair use right,' he said."

Can WINE Ferment Move to Linux? (Wired). Wired looks at the Wine project. "[CodeWeavers CEO Jeremy] White and other Linux gurus are quick to clear up the misconception that WINE is merely an emulator program, which attempts to duplicate the environment of a particular operating system. WINE is a layer of software that acts as a sort of mediator, translating instructions between Unix and Windows applications."

Flashing Blue Lights Appear in Microsoft's Mirrors (IT-Director). IT-Director reports on the UK police and their study of Linux. "Over the last year or so, developments in open source software tools have continued apace, a record that has surprised many observers and illustrating the resilience and commitment of the whole community over an extended period of time. Indeed such has been the progress made that more and more organisations have already launched projects to investigate the potential of the tools currently available to satisfy many of their office application requirements in 'real world' settings."

Teaching Robot Dogs New Tricks (Scientific American). Scientific American has an article about the Sony Aibo, those who would reprogram it, and the DMCA. "Still the world may not be a safe place for teaching robot dogs new tricks. The DMCA remains the law of the land and what AiboPet does breaks it. Sony retains its right to crack down on AiboPet and others like him, but chooses not to exercise it, for now."

Net patent tax - W3C publishes revised draft (Register). The Register follows up on the 23C RAND licensing issue, finding a compromise that is pretty hostile to the RAND concept. "So RAND remains on the table, for bidders wishing to risk the flak, which won't please GPL developers one bit. On the other hand, even if a RAND specification reaches the end of the procedural assault course, and gets the directors blessing as a W3C standard, it may be so poisonous that no one (apart from IBM), would want to touch it."


Embedded Linux alive and kicking (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet article about MontaVista Software. "Customers include Ericsson, Sony, IBM Microelectronics and Nokia. IBM hired the company to bring Linux to its PowerPC chips and their cousins for network equipment. Nokia is using MontaVista software on networking equipment for carrying both voice and data traffic using the Internet's communication standard."

IBM: Linux investment nearly recouped (News.com). According to this News.com article, IBM claims to have made back nearly all of the money it has invested in Linux. "IBM has lured some prestigious customers along the way. E*Trade is moving to a Linux-only operation, starting with IBM Intel servers that replace Sun Microsystems systems, [IBM manager Bill] Zeitler said. Digital-animation studio Pixar is replacing the SGI machines used to animate 'Toy Story 2' and 'Monsters, Inc.,' with IBM Linux workstations, Zeitler said."

IBM to sell Linux-only mainframe (News.com). Here's a News.com article on the new IBM mainframe system, which only runs Linux. " Because the Linux-only system doesn't need to support all the features that a regular mainframe needs, its hardware and software is simpler and its price is dramatically lower--not to say it's actually inexpensive. A system with one of its four processors activated costs about $400,000..."

IBM to push cheaper 'Linux-only' zSeries, iSeries (Register). Here's The Register's take on the new IBM mainframes. "Calling the new machines Linux-only is a bit of a stretch, of course, since the zSeries 'Raptor' mainframes and the iSeries Model 820 servers will have z/VM and OS/400 installed on them (respectively) to act as partition managers."

Solaris on Intel out? Does that mean Linux is in? (Register). Here's an article in The Register on Sun's ending development on Solaris for the Intel platform. "Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera, thinks that Sun's move away from keeping Solaris on Intel up to date does represent an opportunity, but not for Linux, but instead for Caldera's Open Unix, its cross between UnixWare and Linux."

Linux on the Finnish Line (Open Magazine). Open Magazine looks at Finnish telecom company Sonera Entrum and its new computing structure. "The solution has turned out to be one IBM eServer zSeries - IBM's mainframe line formerly known as the S/390 - running Linux together with an IBM Enterprise Storage Server ('Shark'). This mainframe will be partitioned into 500 virtual servers each running its own copy of Linux."

Red Hat to offer high-end Linux version (News.com). News.com reports on Red Hat's new distribution, to be announced at LinuxWorld. "Red Hat Advanced Server, in beta testing now, includes features designed for more powerful servers, such as faster communications, load balancing to share jobs efficiently among several servers and 'clustering' that can let one computer take over for a crashed comrade..."


Where Is All the Linux Going? (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal wants to know who is actually buying Linux systems. "The bottom line: Linux is going into a lot of vertical applications, and it's being adopted by a lot of big, old companies with customers who are not sexy enough to show up on the what's-hip radar but who move a huge part of the economy."

Linux World: Penguins unite (ZDNet). ZDNet looks forward to LinuxWorld. "The mainframe push dovetails with a shift under way at the twice-annual Linux show, which has gradually acquired a businesslike tone and moved away from nerd-oriented features such as a protracted question-and-answer sessions with Torvalds. Two years ago, 10 percent to 12 percent of attendees were from companies with more than 1,000 employees, said Rob Schescherareg, vice president of sales, marketing and product development with show organizer IDG World Expo, but this winter it's up to more than 33 percent. Next year, he expects the figure to rise to 45 percent."

Store chain is sold on Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on Boscov's, an American department store chain. "Boscov's, with 36 locations in six states in the mid-Atlantic region, scrapped its client/server architecture and is in the process of consolidating 70 IBM NetFinity 8500 and 500 servers running Windows NT 4.0, on a recently purchased IBM zSeries 900 mainframe running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7 as a virtual machine. Boscov's is moving its invoice processing, gift registry, and an assortment of other file and database services from the NetFinity servers to Linux. Down the road, Boscov's hopes to move additional applications, including PeopleSoft and a suite of e-commerce products."


Raising the Red Flag (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal looks at Red Flag Linux. "So Microsoft doesn't only have a 'piracy' problem in China, it has a transparency problem, as well as a determined foe on the part of the government's own Linux distro. It was a rather smooth chess move by the Chinese government to avoid copyright infringement and 'software piracy' issues by simply promoting an operating system that obviates the issues."

Ximian's Evolution 1.0 Revolutionalizes the Open-Source Desktop (TechWeb). Network Computing reviews Evolution 1.0. "Evolution 1.0 looks and feels a lot like Outlook with one glaring exception: It isn't vulnerable to the virus-of-the-week problems that have been afflicting Outlook over the past few months. While this 'immunity' isn't on Evolution's feature list, it should be."

Linux and Telematics: Building a Passenger Heatstroke Warning (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices looks at the EarthLink Simple Plug-and-Play Automotive Research Kit. "A vehicle-based embedded Linux system with nationwide wireless networking and GPS is a big task, right? Make it approachable by starting with the Earthlink SPARK system."

Tool of the Month: TWiki (Unix Review). Unix Review looks at TWiki. "Note that getting TWiki set up and functioning is not quite the same thing as getting TWiki ready to use. Once TWiki is set up, you'll just have the default TWiki and topics -- nothing too exciting. Regardless of what you're using TWiki for, you'll likely want to customize TWiki and add topics. Becoming adept at adding topics and Webs and writing in 'GoodStyle' will take more time than the actual TWiki setup."


Two more FOSDEM weekly interviews. This week's FOSDEM interviews feature Bruno Marchal on Quantum Computing, and Matthias Brossard on the IDX-PKI Free Public Key Infrastructure.


The Linux-AMD AGP bug - who's to blame? (Register). The Register tries to explain the Athlon bug. "With our limited knowledge of PC hardware architecture - and we trust Register readers can explain this one for us - we can't quite see how that relates to the 4k/4MB page size option. Why can't a simple flush clear the cache, we wonder? Let us know." (See also last week's LWN kernel page).

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

January 31, 2002


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Announcements page.



First issue of Free Software Magazine available. The first issue of Free Software Magazine is now available. It contains a number of articles on a wide variety of free software topics, and a lead editorial from Richard Stallman. "Today the free software community is large. Our movement has had substantial success, and we hope to have more. But success for free software does not mean 'world domination', as boosters of the kernel, Linux, like to put it. Success for free software is world liberation!"

Revolution OS, the Movie. A new movie that chronicles the development of Linux is in print. " REVOLUTION OS features Linus Torvalds - the creator of Linux, and Richard Stallman - the ideological godfather of the movement, and contains interviews with high-tech luminaries like Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda."

Embedded Linux 'Cool Devices' Quick Reference Guide. LinuxDevices.com has released a new version of the Embedded Linux 'Cool Devices' Quick Reference Guide.

No Starch Press announces game contest winners. No Starch Press has announced the winners of its SDL Game Development Contest. "Michael Speck won first place with 'LBreakout 2,' an Arkanoid-genre game. Andreas Roever came in second place with 'Tower Toppler,' a tower climbing game. And Bill Kendrick won third place with 'Vectoroids,' an incarnation of Asteroids."

LPI certification 101 exam prep (IBM developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks has two more LPI preparation tutorials available, Part 2: Basic administration, and Part 3: Intermediate administration. Registration is required.


Linux Expo/Linux World Paris. Linux Expo/Linux World Paris Will be held from January 28 through February 1, 2002 in Paris, France. (Thanks to Jeff Mesnil)

YAPC::America::North 2002 Location Decided (use Perl). Use Perl has posted an early announcement for the upcoming YAPC::America::North 2002 Perl conference in St. Louis, MO on June 26-28, 2002.

Also, a call for participation is available for YAPC::Europe::2002, to be held in Munich, Germany on September 18-20, 2002.

Latest GUADEC 3 news. There are 69 more days until the upcoming GUADEC 3 conference. The latest news on the conference includes travel info, venu photos, submission dates, and available tutorials.

The O'Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference. The web site for the ongoing O'Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference lists all of the latest developments from that event.

LinuxTag 2002 Call For Papers. The LinuxTag 2002 conference to be held June 6-9, 2002 in Germany, has issued a call for papers.

Two new Mozilla developer events. Mozilla.org has planned two developer events, the first is at FOSDEM in Brussels on February 16 and 17, 2002. The second is at Carnegie Mellon University on March 1 and 2, 2002.

Events: January 31 - March 28, 2002.
Date Event Location
January 31 - February 1, 2002LinuxWorldNew York, NY
January 31 - February 1, 2002Linux Expo/Linux World ParisParis, France
February 1 - 3, 2002Linux Event 2002Livorno, Italy
February 3 - 6, 2002Embedded Executive Summit(Ritz-Carlton)Half Moon Bay, California
February 4 - 7, 200210th International Python Conference(Hilton Alexandria Mark Center)Alexandria, Virginia
February 5, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Amsterdam
February 6, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Brussels
February 6 - 9, 2002linux.conf.auBrisbane, Australia
February 7, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Paris
February 8, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Madrid
February 13 - 15, 20021st CfP German Perl Workshop(Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Sankt Augustin)Bonn, Germany
February 16 - 17, 2002Free Software and Open Source Developer's Meeting(FOSDEM 2002)(Brussels, Belgium)Brussels, Belgium
February 18, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Milan
February 19, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Zurich
February 20, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Munich
February 21, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Vienna
February 22, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Budapest
February 25, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Prague
March 4 - 6, 2002International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies(ISART 2002)(Dept. of Commerce, 325 Broadway)Boulder, CO
March 5, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Helsinki
March 6, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Stockholm
March 7, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Oslo
March 8, 2002OMG Information Days Europe 2002Copenhagen
March 12 - 16, 2002Embedded Systems Conference(Moscone Center)San Francisco, California
March 21 - 22, 2002Annual Conference of Open Source Content Management Systems(OSCMSC)(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH))Zurich, Switzerland

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

New website for Linux Applications. The BankHacker site features over 300 GNU/Linux applications with an emphasis on gaming, multimedia, and educational software. The original site is in Spanish, an English version has recently been added.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook.

January 31, 2002



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


 Main page
 Linux in the news

This week in Linux history

Three years ago

Two years ago

One year ago

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

January 31, 2002

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


 Main page
 Linux in the news

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.

January 31, 2002

From:	 tres <class5@pacbell.net>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: Happy Birthday
Date:	 Thu, 24 Jan 2002 04:02:26 -0700

Linux Weekly news, known to me as Linux Daily/Hourly/Whenever news, is 
one of my favorite sites for Linux and Open Source/Free Software news. 
 I probably refresh http://lwn.net/daily 2-3 times per day; just to see 
'What's up'.  

I really like the fact that the legal and political issues are given 
equal weight with the technical and business issues as they are all 
equally critical to the ongoing success of all free and open projects. 
 As distasteful and uncomfortable as this side of the revolution is at 
times we must all, at the very least, remain aware of the issues.  If 
possible write a letter or call your elected representative and express 
your views.  Free and open projects are disruptive technologies and big 
business knows this.  They will use all the means at their disposal, 
including lobbying Congress, to stifle this change in thinking. 
 Although we don't have the financial resources that these 
Mega-Corporations have, we have something that they don't: numbers.  It 
is time that we started to wield that weapon more often.

If we can't get the attention of the politicians as a few people that 
'think outside the box' then we should try to get the attention of the 
media.  Perhaps if we can get their attention then they can get that of 
the politicians.  Most of them have web sites and email addresses.  If 
enough people ask the question then it might get asked on the 6:00 news!


Sorry about that.  The real reason of this letter is to say to LWN: 
Thanks and Happy Birthday.  GREAT SITE!!!


From:	 <bodvar@atlanta.is>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: LWN turns four -- thanks
Date:	 Fri, 25 Jan 2002 09:30:15 -0000

In your Editorial, Jan. 24, you say:
"Meanwhile, we would like to say "thank you" to all of our readers who have
kept us going for so long. Writing for this audience is a great pleasure."

IMHO, great thanks should go to the founder, manager, teacher, mentor and
principal of the free "Basic Linux Training" course, Mr. Henry White
(http://www.basiclinux.net), who has from the beginning made this e-mag a
weekly feature and thus inspired many to visit the site.

Also my thanks to you for holding out such a fine publication. I feel that
some of the best things you are doing, besides writing fine articles, is
giving references to articles of other publications. I can always rely on
LWN to give me the essence of what is going on in the Linux community and
its surroundings.

Thursdays are now, with or without Mr. White's postings, the day of visiting

Bodvar Bjorgvinsson
From:	 John McKown <joarmc@swbell.net>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Subject: DeCSS and "fast cars"
Date:	 Thu, 24 Jan 2002 14:13:19 -0600 (CST)

From what I just read, Jon Johansen is being detained for "contributory
copyright infringement." I guess this is because he is associated with
DeCSS and the MPAA insists that this can be used to "pirate" DVDs. First,
is there any evidence that it has been used in this way?

And another thing, why doesn't somebody make law enforcement go after all
the car designers and manufacturers? I know very well that they
deliberately and with intent design and manufacture vehicles which can
exceed even the highest speed limit in the US. These people must be
stopped from doing this. Even their ads on TV suggest this as
possible. Have you seen many car ads where the driver is driving
safely? No, they look like they'r in the Baja rally, but on a normal
street. Why should I, as the user of a "fast car" be the only one
responsible for my actions in its use? I think that the next time I get a
speeding ticket, I will have my lawyer supoena Mazda as a co-defendant
since the manufactured and sold a car which was capable of being used to
break the law.

John McKown

From:	 Grant Taylor <gtaylor@picante.com>
To:	 letters@lwn.net
Date:	 Thu, 24 Jan 2002 16:57:10 -0500

> HP Recently released its hpijs inkjet printer driver under a BSD
> license, making it the first free printer driver to come from a
> printer manufacturer.

It's not the first free driver at all!  HP, Samsung, and undoubtedly
other vendors have provided free drivers for various printers before.

HP's driver is interesting because it covers almost all of their
current inkjet line.  This is an order of magnitude better than
previous one-printer drivers, and immeasurably better than the
one-printer binary-only nonfree drivers from other vendors.

With this work HP has also provided the germ of a new Ghostscript
driver interface which will make driver installation substantially
easier in the future; this "hidden" accomplishment is worth pointing
out, too.

Grant Taylor - http://www.picante.com/~gtaylor/
Linux Printing Website and HOWTO:  http://www.linuxprinting.org/
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