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Leading items and editorials

The European Union's Sixth Framework Program is a proposed program for the funding of scientific research and development across Europe. It has many goals, including:

...enabling the Union, within the next ten years, to become the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy.

A budget of over EUR 16 billion is proposed for this activity, which will last through 2006. Of that, about EUR 3.6 billion is to be set aside for "information society" projects. That, of course, is a substantial chunk of change, with the potential to bring about some truly interesting developments.

It is not surprising that the European branch of the Free Software Foundation has something to say about what kind of software should be developed with these funds. FSF Europe sees a possible escape from an undesirable situation:

As a result of the proprietary software model, we are currently in a situation where almost the whole European information technologies industry is dependent on an oligopoly of U.S. software companies. Viewed from the European perspective, such a situation is highly unstable and unfavorable

The solution to this problem, of course, is to fund the development of a European free software industry. The potential, they say, is great:

Free Software is clearly a model of the future and Europe already has an increasingly vibrant Free Software scene unrivaled anywhere in the world. This gives Europe a very unique chance to capitalize on the benefits of Free Software and get a head-start into the knowledge economy.

FSF Europe is asking that at least 50% of the "information society" budget go to free software and documentation, and that free software be preferred in all the program's funding decisions. In some areas (fundamental science and "eEurope"), they would like to see 100% free software.

For the most part, one would expect these recommendations to be uncontroversial - at least, outside of a Microsoft boardroom. Software developed with public money should, in general, be available to the people who paid for it. There may be, however, a bit more disagreement over one other recommendation from the FSF:

Additional positive scores in the evaluation process should be granted to projects employing ``Copylefted'' Free Software and projects taking steps to ensure the enduring availability and legal maintainability of the Free Software created through copyright assignments to appropriate institutions.

LWN has often pointed out the benefits of the GPL. But this sort of attempt to create governmental preferences for a specific software license could well be self-defeating. Reasonable people - all of whom support free software - can and often do disagree over software licenses. This recommendation looks like an attempt by one group to grab preferential treatment over the others. Is it not enough that the resulting software be free?

(See also: the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme page).

OpenOffice 1.0 released. The announcement went out on May 1: OpenOffice 1.0 is now available. OpenOffice has been covered on this page before, so we'll say little about it here. Suffice to say that OpenOffice is the most comprehensive, feature-complete free office suite available for Linux today.

The OpenOffice team started with a large pile of corporate code, complete with proprietary bits cut out and comments in German. The better part of two years of work has turned it into a highly capable package with many of the worst features (i.e. the StarOffice desktop) removed, an open, XML-based file format, and, of course, a 100% free code base. It is a great achievement; congratulations are due to the OpenOffice.org developers.

Catching up with Linux companies. A few Linux and free software companies came out with news this week, so here's a combined article to catch up. Some of these companies, we might say, are doing better than others.

Remember EBIZ Enterprises? The company once ran TheLinuxStore.com and, through a high-profile merger with LinuxMall.com, was trying to set itself up as one of the primary Linux retail outlets. EBIZ also announced an agreement in March, 2001 to acquire Linux NetworX. Things didn't go so well, of course; the Linux NetworX acquisition was called off, and EBIZ went into bankruptcy last September.

EBIZ has now made an SEC filing describing its plan for emerging from bankruptcy; it's a grim document. The big, secured creditors (The Canopy Group, Caldera, Ingram) will get their money back in full - over several years, if the company lasts that long. The Canopy Group will, if it exercises its options to exchange some of the debt for equity, emerge with a controlling share of the company, along with the right to name three directors.

The other creditors are not so lucky; they get 7% of what they are owed (over two years) and a chunk of stock in the post-bankruptcy company. The worst treatment, however, is reserved for the stockholders: their shares will simply be "canceled" and replaced with a 60-day "right" to buy new shares at $0.65 each. Essentially, this company is being taken from its owners and handed over to management and the large creditors.

The reformed company still plans to make its living through sales of Linux-oriented products to consumers and VARs. EBIZ also plans, it seems, to run a Linux news site, a bad business idea if there ever was one...

It may have happened more quietly, but Lineo appears to have gone through a similar process. Since Lineo is a private company, there is less information available on what went on; the best coverage of the company's "recapitalization" seems to be in these articles on LinuxDevices.com and NewsForge. Lineo went through some sort of legal routine that involved foreclosing on the old company, but transferring most of its assets to "Lineo 2." More money got pumped into Lineo, with the end result that the company is controlled by, once again, the Canopy Group. Lineo is claiming that it will reach a profitable status any minute now; if those words are true then the company should soon be past its problems.

Some better news can be found in this press release from MySQL AB. This company claims "unprecedented growth," with first quarter sales being "53 percent over projections." According to the PR, the dual-licensing scheme, wherein companies incorporating MySQL into their products pay for a proprietary license if they do not wish to be bound by the GPL, is working out well. MySQL has also received a new round of venture financing.

The "dual license" approach may yet prove to be a workable business model - at least, for bits of software infrastructure that other companies wish to use in their products. There are problems, of course: not all potential contributors will be willing to allow their code to be sold as a proprietary product. In some areas, however, it may be possible to put together a reasonable development community behind a free product and still sell GPL "indulgements" to companies willing to pay.

Samba and the CIFS Specification. The Samba Team has released a statement regarding the Microsoft CIFS specification license and its effect on Samba. This specification, remember, prohibits use of the described technology in GPL-licensed code. The Samba developers, however, are not worried:

The Samba Team wishes to reassure the Samba community that this document will not have any impact on the use or further development of Samba.

Essentially, the Samba Team is saying (1) they have no need for Microsoft's documentation, since the relevant information has already been published elsewhere; (2) Microsoft's CIFS patents do not apply to the Samba code, and (3) the Team does not accept Microsoft's criticism of the GPL:

While Microsoft labels the GPL as "Intellectual Property Impairing" in their license document, it has in fact proved to be a very successful vehicle for encouraging the development of a high quality CIFS/SMB implementation. Far from "impairing" intellectual property the Samba Team believes that the distribution terms of the GNU GPL has provided an environment which has encouraged a high degree of industry collaboration to the benefit of both Samba users and the many successful companies that have built a wide range of products on top of Samba technology.

In other words, it's business as usual for a development group which has been producing high-quality, seriously useful free software for many years.

Inside this LWN.net weekly edition:

  • Security: Mozilla flaw; sudo root exploit; another DNS based vulnerability
  • Kernel: Block driver work; kbuild is ready; kernel books.
  • Distributions: More about RunOnCD, EvilEntity Linux, Server optimized Linux.
  • Development: The future of omniORB; OpenNMS 1.0, ghostscript, etc.
  • Commerce: D. H. Brown Linux Study; Dell and Oracle will deliver database solutions with Linux.
  • Letters: BitKeeper, OpenCD.
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

May 2, 2002


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Security page.


News and Editorials

Netscape flaw exposes hard drives (ZDNet). ZDNet is covering the XMLHttpRequest security bug in Mozilla-based browsers. " The bug is found in versions of Mozilla from 0.9.7 to 0.9.9 on various operating system platforms, and in Netscape versions 6.1 and higher. The flaw doesn't affect Mozilla 1.0 release candidate 1 because XMLHttpRequest appears to be broken in that release, according to Mozilla developers." (Thanks to Manfred Scheible)

John Villalovos wrote to tell us that the fix for this bug will be in the next Mozilla release.

A world without secrets (ZDNet). ZDNet takes a look at Richard Hunter and his book "World Without Secrets: Business, Crime and Privacy in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing". "His poster child for the evil network army is the infamous Al Qaeda, and the good exemplified by the Open Source movement."

Security Reports

sudo local root exploit. Sudo 1.6.5p2 and earlier can be tricked into allocating less memory than it should when used with the password prompt parameter (-p). A local attacker may use the flaw to gain root privileges. The problem is fixed in sudo 1.6.6.

Updates are available from:

Revised OpenSSH security advisory. The OpenSSH advisory reported last week has been revised. "Buffer overflow in OpenSSH's sshd if AFS has been configured on the system or if KerberosTgtPassing or AFSTokenPassing has been enabled in the sshd_config file. Ticket and token passing is not enabled by default."

Trustix issued what appears to be the first openssh update from a distributor that fixes the problem.

Squid DNS answer message vulnerabilty. Squid-2.X releases up to and including 2.4.STABLE4 do not check some error and boundary conditions when handling compressed DNS answer messages in the internal DNS. A malicous DNS server could craft a DNS reply that causes Squid to exit with a SIGSEGV.

Updates which fix the problem were released this week by:

Ethereal packet handling vulnerabilities. Ethereal 0.9.3 fixed three packet handling vulnerabilities present in 0.9.2 when it was released by the ethereal team on March 30th. The PROTOS test suite found some flaws in SNMP and LDAP protocols support. Malformed packets could also crash ethereal 0.9.2 due to a ASN.1 zero-length g_malloc problem. The zlib "double free" vulnerability was addressed by the updates for that bug from many distributors.

Conectiva has issued a ethereal security update that addresses the ASN.1 zero_length g_malloc and SNMP and LDAP protocols support vulnerabilities. The zlib "double free" vulnerability was addressed by an earlier zlib update from Connectiva.

Multiple vulnerabilities in icecast. Icecast is a streaming audio broadcasting system. Version 1.3.12 was released on April 10th. "This release is a security update and all users are highly encouraged to upgrade immediately or apply the relevant patches to their own versions. Remember, never run icecast as a priveledged user, especially not as root."

Security updates to icecast 1.3.12 have been released by:

Red Hat advisory for docbook. Here is a Red Hat security update for the docbook package.

Caldera Security advisory - fileutils. A race condition in various utilities from the GNU fileutils package may cause a root user to delete the whole filesystem.

PHProjekt multiple vulnerabilities. PHProjekt is an open source groupware suite. Ulf Harnhammar has reported multiple vulnerabilities in PHProjekt organized into five categories.

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

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


Two denial of service vulnerabilities in Cistron RADIUS versions 1.6.5 and prior are described in this CERT advisory for RADIUS. "They are remotely exploitable, and on most systems result in a denial of service." (First LWN report:  March 7th, 2002).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Problem loading untrusted images in imlib. Versions of imlib prior to 1.9.13 used the NetPBM package in ways which "make it possible for attackers to create image files such that when loaded via software which uses Imlib, could crash the program or potentially allow arbitrary code to be executed." (First LWN report: March 28).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Both PHP3 and PHP4 have vulnerabilities in their file upload code which can lead to remote command execution. This one could be ugly; sites using PHP should apply updates at the first opportunity. If an update isn't available for your distribution, users of PHP 4.0.3 and later are encouraged to consider disabling file upload support by adding this directive to php.ini:

	file_uploads = Off

CERT has issued this advisory on the problem. This article in the Register also talks about the vulnerability. (First LWN report: March 7).

Developers using the 4.2.0 branch, are not vulnerable because because file upload support was completely rewritten for that branch.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

Update: Despite some concern expressed in an earlier report by LWN, these updates do, in fact, fix the problem. The original update from the php team fixes the security hole but introduces a "rare segfault condition" that is not a security problem.

Webalizer DNS server based attach vulnerability. The cause is a buffer overflow bug. This one sounds nasty. If reverse DNS lookups are enabled in webalizer, "an attacker with control over the victims DNS may spoof responses thus triggering a buffer overflow, potentially leading to a root compromise." Webalizer 2.01-10 "fixes this and a few other buglets that have been discovered in the last month or so". (First LWN report:  April 18th, 2002).

This week's updates:

Previous updates:


Building a secure kiosk with Embedded Linux. LinuxDevices features an article on building a Linux based information kiosk. "In this informative and entertaining technical article, embedded developer Patrick Glennon relates his experiences in creating a small Linux-based system for a client that required robust, easy-to-use, low-cost kiosks for conducting surveys at hotels."

Linux security week. The publication from LinuxSecurity.com is available.


Upcoming Security Events.
Date Event Location
May 2 - 3, 2002cansecwest/core02Vancouver, Canada
May 4 - 5, 2002DallasConDallas, TX., USA
May 9, 2002Stanford's Center for Internet and Society Conference on Computer Security Vulnerability Disclosure(Stanford Law School)Stanford, CA, USA
May 12 - 15, 20022002 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy(The Claremont Resort)Oakland, California, USA
May 13 - 14, 20023rd International Common Criteria Conference(ICCC)Ottawa, Ont., Canada
May 13 - 17, 200214th Annual Canadian Information Technology Security Symposium(CITSS)(Ottawa Congress Centre)Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
May 27 - 31, 20023rd International SANE Conference(SANE 2002)Maastricht, The Netherlands
May 29 - 30, 2002RSA Conference 2002 Japan(Akasaka Prince Hotel)Tokyo, Japan
May 31 - June 1, 2002SummerCon 2002(Renaissance Hotel)Washington D.C., USA
June 17 - 19, 2002NetSec 2002San Fransisco, California, USA
June 24 - 28, 200214th Annual Computer Security Incident Handling Conference(Hilton Waikoloa Village)Hawaii
June 24 - 26, 200215th IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop(Keltic Lodge, Cape Breton)Nova Scotia, Canada

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: Dennis Tenney

May 2, 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 is 2.5.12, which was released on May 1. This release contains more IDE work and numerous janitorial patches, but the bulk of it is made up of Andrew Morton's buffer management work (including extensive readahead and writeback changes). Note that this kernel seems to have more compilation problems than many.

2.5.11 came out on April 29. The big changes included the incorporation of the new NTFS driver, another big set of IDE updates (which, among other things, removes the tagged command queueing support for now - see below), a number of block driver changes, a big ALSA update, a new Microgate SyncLink driver, a bunch of merges from the "dj" series, and many other fixes and updates.

The latest prepatch from Dave Jones is 2.5.12-dj1, which adds a number of fixes.

Dave has posted a note summarizing where he stands with regard to merging code into the mainline tree. There is a long list of changes waiting to be sent to Linus.

Guillaume Boissiere's latest 2.5 Status Summary is dated May 1.

The current stable kernel release is still 2.4.18. There have been no 2.4.19 prepatches from Marcelo since April 16.

Alan Cox released 2.4.19-pre7-ac3 on April 29, but he has not posted a changelog.

Block layer changes continue in the 2.5 series - lest anybody think that this particular job was done. A number of unrelated changes have gone in over the last week, including:

  • Anybody who has looked into the venerable <linux/blk.h> include file has seen quite a bit of ancient Linux block driver history. Some of that history is now, well, history; the old DEVICE_ON and DEVICE_OFF macros have been removed. Their purpose was to allow the generic request handling code to spin up the drive at need. It turns out that only the floppy driver uses that feature, so that logic has been moved into the driver itself. The DEVICE_REQUEST macro has also been removed.

  • Alexander Viro is pursuing his goal of eliminating use of the old kdev_t device type in the block layer. Much of the block code which used that type (i.e. the ioctl implementations) now take a struct block_device instead.

  • The IDE tagged command queueing (TCQ) support was removed in Martin Dalecki's IDE 41 patch, which was merged into 2.5.11. TCQ has been reborn, however, in the form of a new patch from Jens Axboe. Jens has taken a different approach this time around: much of the TCQ support has been moved out of the IDE layer and into a set of generic, block layer functions. Since the tracking of outstanding requests and their associated tags is a generic task, this move makes sense. Eventually, one assumes, the SCSI layer will also make use of the generic TCQ code as well.

Add in the continuing series of IDE patches, and one sees a block layer that is still much in flux. But, then, that's what development kernels are for.

Time to merge the new kbuild? Keith Owens has released release 2.3 of kbuild 2.5, his new kernel building subsystem. At the same time, he has put out a call for inclusion into the 2.5 mainline. Says Keith:

It is faster, better documented, easier to write build rules in, has better install facilities, allows separate source and object trees, can do concurrent builds from the same source tree and is significantly more accurate than the existing kernel build system.

Those might well be enough reasons for most people.

Keith is trying to get the new kbuild into the kernel for the simple reason that it is difficult to maintain externally. Many other kernel changes also require build system changes, so tracking the mainline is a constant task. Linus has not yet answered Keith's request for inclusion - at least, not publicly.

The other aspect of the new build system, of course, is Eric Raymond's CML2 work. Eric appears to have abandoned that project, however; no new CML2 patches have come out since February. Aunt Tillie, it seems, will have to wait a while yet before being able to configure her own kernels.

[ia64 cover] A couple of book notes. Your editor recently received a copy of IA-64 Linux Kernel: Design and Implementation, by David Mosberger and Stéphane Eranian, from the folks at Prentice Hall PTR. People who are uninterested in the IA-64 architecture might be inclined to overlook this book, but that could be a mistake. IA-64 Linux Kernel does indeed explain that architecture, but for the most part it is a detailed, comprehensive overview of the Linux kernel in general. This book is a high-quality addition to the available kernel documentation; it is recommended for anybody looking for a deep understanding of how the kernel works.

Meanwhile, the second edition of Linux Device Drivers, by Alessandro Rubini and your humble editor, is now available in German as Linux-Gerätetreiber, 2.Auflage. The translation was done by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer. The online, FDL-licensed version of the translation is not yet available, but should be within a month or so. (French-speaking readers may have noticed that Pilotes de périphériques sous Linux has been available since around the beginning of the year).

Other patches and updates released this week include:

Kernel trees:

Core kernel code:

Development tools:

Device drivers


  • Robert Read: Intermezzo + Intersync 0.9.3.

  • Pete Zaitcev: a patch enabling "unholy numbers" of NFS mounts. If this patch is valuable to you, now is probably a good time to tell him so.

Kernel building:




Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

May 2, 2002

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Distributions page.


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

News and Editorials

More about RunOnCD. Last week we asked our readers to help us out with a Korean distribution called RunOnCD. Thanks to Seunghun T. Lee and Yun Song we now know that an English download page is still available for RunOnCD 2.1, dated December 7, 2001. You can also find English language site for RunOnCD here, with a ReadMe file in English. Naturally the entry in the LWN List has been appropriately updated. You will find RunOnCD in the 'CD-based' section. (Thanks to Seunghun T. Lee, Yun Song and Norwood Sisson)

OEone 1.0 Review, Part II. Here is part 2 of Joe Klemmer's review of the OEone Linux distribution. "As is always the case, a few hours after the publishing [of part 1] I was able to contact the tech support for OEone. With there help I have been able to install and try HomeBase Linux. Here is my take on this product."

New Distributions

EvilEntity Linux. Some say the Linux desktop is dead. Undead Linux seeks to counter that opinion by offering EvilEntity Linux, an easy to install, easy to use, i686 "Windows replacement" Linux desktop for the home computer. EvilE comes with the Enlightenment Window Manager and lots of toolkits like EVAS, FLTK, GTK, QT, Xforms, and others. It uses the Emelfm File Manager, with support for Mime types, and a full application suite. The initial release, EvilE DR-0.2.4d, showed up on Freshmeat on April 26, 2002.

Server optimized Linux. SoL (Server optimized Linux) was built from the original source packages and is optimized for heavy-duty server work. It contains all common server applications, and features XML boot and script technology that makes it easy to configure and make the server work. SoL 13.37 was released April 22, 2002.

Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux. The Debian Weekly News for April 24 is available. It looks at the new GNU/FreeBSD base tarball, XFree86 4.2 and Woody, the HURD ABI update ("no effort has been made to make this an easy transition"), the fate of Debian 2.2 after the Woody release, and more.

This month, The Debian Project will be participating in 3 events: in Brazil, Mexico and Germany.

This woody release status update says woody is mostly ready to go. Just a few technical details need to be worked out before the official release.

Mandrake Linux. The Mandrake Linux Community Newsletter for April 24, 2002 contains information on Mandrake 8.2 PPC, and how to get packaged Mandrake 8.2; Linux printing; using GnuPG; and much more.

MandrakeSoft has released various bug fixes for ML 8.2.

Red Hat Linux. Red Hat has updated ppp packages available for Red Hat Linux 7.2. These updates fix a bug which hampered interoperability with other PPP implementations.

Slackware Linux. The Slackware-current changelog continues to grow at a rapid pace. We missed several changelog notices last week, due to some internal miscommunication. We do apologize for that. This week, the list of changes just for May 1 is quite long.

See this week's security section for sudo updates to Slackware-stable.

SuSE Ships SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7 for 64-bit IBM eServer zSeries. SuSE Linux announced the shipment of the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7 for 64-bit IBM eServer zSeries.

Minor Distribution updates

2-Disk Xwindow System. The 2-Disk Xwindow System has released 1.4rc10 with minor bug fixes.

Astaro Security Linux. Astaro Security Linux has released v3.050 (beta) with major feature enhancements followed by v3.051 (beta) with minor bug fixes.

The Familiar Project. The Familiar Project has released v0.5.2 with minor feature enhancements.

Gentoo Linux. Gentoo Linux now has a version for PPC processors.

Gibraltar Firewall. Gibraltar has released v0.99.4 with minor feature enhancements.

LEAF. LEAF (the Linux Embedded Appliance Firewall) has released Bering 1.0-rc2 with major feature enhancements including support for Freeswan 1.97 IPSec and PPTP tunneling, and it comes with the latest Shorewall 1.2.12 firewall and Iptables 1.2.6a.

Netstation Linux. Netstation Linux has released development version 0.7 with major feature enhancements including a svgalib version of vncviewer, new Xfree86 4.x support (experimental), support for telnet sessions, and more.

Sentry Firewall. Sentry Firewall has released Sentry Firewall CD-ROM 1.2.1 with minor bug fixes.

ttylinux. ttylinux has released v2.1 with minor bug fixes.

Distribution Reviews

SuSE touts user-friendly v8.0 (Register). This review of SuSE 8.0 focuses on the distribution's friendliness toward desktop users. "Version 8.0 is based on version 2.4.18 of the Linux kernel and includes an improved desktop interface, KDE 3.0, which is closer to the Windows desktop environment most users are familiar with."

SuSE 8.0 arrives without StarOffice (ZDNet). ZDNet notices that StarOffice is not included with SuSE 8.0. "Another key change to SuSE Linux 8.0, officially released on Friday in Professional and Personal editions, is the inclusion of KDE 3.0, the latest version of the popular graphical user environment. The new KDE is base on a new set of developer tools called Qt 3."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

May 2, 2002

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

Distribution Lists:
LWN List
LDP English-language GNU/Linux distributions on CD-ROM
Woven Goods


 Main page
 Linux in the news

See also: last week's Development page.

Development projects

News and Editorials

The future of omniORB. omniORB is a CORBA 2.1-compliant object request broker which was developed at the AT&T Cambridge Laboratory. It has a reputation as being one of the better free ORBs available, and it has a significant user base. AT&T, of course, has decided to close down the Cambridge Laboratory; this closure has cause some understandable curiosity about the future of free software projects that were run out of that lab.

In the case of omniORB, the news looks reasonably good. omniORB hacker Duncan Grisby is taking the project independent, with a site on SourceForge. Interestingly, this project will become much more open to community contributions than it previously was:

In the past, we always discouraged contributions of anything except bug fixes and ports to new platforms. That was largely to make sure AT&T kept the copyright to all the code, so we had the flexibility to relicense it if we wanted to, and to protect AT&T from copyright claims. Obviously, that reason is no longer an issue

Mr. Grisby tells us that the previous policy did not impair omniORB development; indeed, he claims, a robust, high-performance system is best developed by a small, tight group. Even so, AT&T's firm grip on the code shows how many companies, while they are increasingly supportive of free software, are still reluctant to really turn the process loose.

On the other hand, omniORB development could yet become a little too loose, given that AT&T's support for its development has been terminated. Mr. Grisby has plans for both the short term (omniORB 4.0 and omnORBpy 2.0 releases) and the long (asynchronous methods, passing objects by value), but the financial support for that work is no longer. So Mr. Grisby is seeking support for continued omniORB work; it looks like time for those who benefit from omniORB - or who would benefit from future enhancements - to step up and help ensure that development continues.

For those who are curious, a web site dedicated to tracking ex-Cambridge projects and people has been set up at xorl.org.

Audio Projects

AlsaPlayer 0.99.60 has been released. This release consists mostly of bug fixes and infrastructure work; see the changelog for details.

WaveSurfer 1.3.1 has also been released. The changes appear to be mostly related to documentation; details in the changelog.


SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The April 29 Linux in Education Report is available from SEUL/edu. It looks at difficulties with Linux gradebook development, Microsoft's guide on donating computers to schools, and numerous other topics.

Thai Tales: Taking Computers to Schools (Linux Journal). Linux Journal looks into the use of Linux in Thailand's SchoolNet project. "'Initially we used Windows NT on a straightforward PC. Then we developed the Linux schools internet server. We now have our own software, running GNU/Linux, which is managed via the Web, using the Thai language. That means, to run it the user hardly need to know anything of UNIX. This runs on just a PC. Compared to it, we could not afford a Sun Microsystem box and router for each school, for example,' says Koanantakool."

Embedded Systems

SnapGear Ports uClinux to Motorola ColdFire MCF5249. Here's a press release from SnapGear. "SnapGear engineer, Greg Ungerer, has recently completed uClinux support for the new Motorola MCF5249 ColdFire(R) CPU, specifically for M5249C3 development board. Patches have been made available for 2.0.x and 2.4.x versions of uClinux kernels."

Building a secure kiosk with Embedded Linux. LinuxDevices features an article on building a Linux based information kiosk. "In this informative and entertaining technical article, embedded developer Patrick Glennon relates his experiences in creating a small Linux-based system for a client that required robust, easy-to-use, low-cost kiosks for conducting surveys at hotels."

BusyBox 0.60.3. BusyBox 0.60.3 has been released; see the changelog for details. BusyBox may be designed to fit into limited space, but the developers have still somehow found room, alas, for color "ls". BusyBox may be downloaded from the project web site.

Network Management

OpenNMS 1.0 has been released. OpenNMS has announced the release of version 1.0 of its enterprise grade network management platform.

Printing Software

GNU Ghostscript 7.05 released. The release of GNU Ghostscript 7.05 has been announced. This is the first GPL release of Ghostscript 7.x - though this code has been available under the AFPL for almost a year. New features include better Asian language support, improved PDF handling, and more.

Also available is ESP Ghostscript 7.05.1, which adds fancier configuration, the CUPS raster drivers, and a number of other things.

Web-site Development

Puffin 0.8.8. Puffin is a regression testing framework for web-based applications; it is written in Python. The announcement for this release claims a number of advancements, including greater ease of use, better response analyzers, etc.

The Python Web Frameworks Overview has been announced by Paul Boddie. The Overview is a set of documents describing the (numerous) web development frameworks available for development in Python, and the ups and downs of each. It is still much in development (there are not yet entries for all frameworks), but the initial contents look promising.

Nemein releases NemeinAuthentication library. Nemein has announced the release of its NemeinAuthentication library, session-based authentication library for Midgard. The library has been released under the LGPL license. (Thanks to Henri Bergius.)


LPI News April 2002. The April, 2002 publication of the LPI Newsletter is available. Table of Contents:

  1. LPI-Europe and LinuxTag - Karlsruhe, Germany
  2. Discounted Exams in California
  3. Linux World Japan - http://www.idg.co.jp/expo/lw/ May 29th - 31st
  4. LPI alumni conference in Toronto, Canada
  5. Volunteer of the month - Brian Beck of Bradford Learning.com
  6. Over 10,000 LPI exams taken !
  7. Waiting for your LPI certificate to arrive ?
  8. New sponsors; http://www.lpi.org/a-sponsors.html
  9. LPI T-shirts.
  10. New LPI supporters - Gavin Buckley and Chloe York

The LPI also has a press release out on the giving of its 10,000th test.


LDP Weekly News, April 30th. This week's edition of the Linux Documentation Project's news it available. Besides several new and updated documents, most of this week's newsletter is devoted to the announcement of Lampadas, their brand new documentation management system.

May 2, 2002

Application Links
High Availability

Open Source Code Collections
Le Serveur Libre



Desktop Development

Desktop Environments

KDE Application Of The Month: KTouch (dot.kde.org). Here is this month's KDE favorite. "As part of the May 2002 issue of "Application of the month" series on KDE.de, Klaus Stärk has interviewed Håvard Frøiland, author of KTouch. KTouch is part of the KDE Edutainment Project and provides a quick and fun way to learn the useful and impressive skill of touch typing."

Desktop Elegance (mosfet.org). An editorial at Mosfet.org defends KDE against Eazel cofounder Bart Decrem's attacks.

KDE Stats: KDE Is Brought To You Today By.... KDE.News looks at the berliOS project's KDE CVS statistics. "Have you ever wondered who contributes what to KDE? The berliOS project attempts to answer this question with KDE CVS statistics, a site tallying every developer's contributions"

GNOME 2.0 Desktop Beta 4: 'Thank You' (Gnotices). The Gnotices site is carrying an announcement for the new GNOME 2.0 beta 4 release, code named "Thank You".


Civil 0.70 released. Civil is "a cross-platform, turn-based, networked strategy game" based on the U.S. Civil War. Version 0.70 has been released; it includes no end of improvements and new features.

GUI Packages

GNUstep Weekly Editorial. The GNUstep Weekly Editorial for April 26 is available with the latest from the GNUstep development community.


TheOpenCD: Free Software on proprietary operating systems. Here's the announcement of a new project that wants to make programs like AbiWord, the Gimp, and OpenOffice available on Windows and MacOS. "The key, as I see it, is to encourage people to use the high-quality Free Software now becoming available in the OS they are already using."

Kernel Cousin Wine #120. The 120th issue of Kernel Cousin Wine is available, with coverage of events through April 18, including the "ReWind" fork.

Also available is Issue 121, with coverage through April 25. Covered topics include incorporating the ALSA sound system and many others.

Office Applications

Gnumeric 1.1.3 available. The development version of gnumeric 1.1.3 is now available. "This is a DEVELOPMENT RELEASE it is not supposed to be stable..."

AbiWord Weekly News published. The AbiWord Weekly News issue #89 is now available. "This week there have been some really long threads on the future development of AbiWord, primarily about the backend enhancements necessary for tables and improved rendering/i18n. Plans for the near term seem to be in place, and I suspect people have already started hacking."

OpenOffice Native Language additions. Italian and Dutch have been added to the OpenOffice Native Language Development project, bringing the project's tally to four languages. German and French are the other supported languages.

KOffice 1.2beta1 Ready for Testing, More Developers. The KDE Project announced the release of KOffice 1.2beta1. Open For Business has this report on the new beta. "The most notable improvement in KOffice 1.2 Beta 1 is the new WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display in KWord and KPresenter. This insures that these applications will finally show documents on screen like they will appear once printed."

Kernel Cousin GNUe. Kernel Cousin GNUe #26 includes a summary of the status of the GNU Enterprise project, the beginnings of the GNUe Application Server 2, and more.

Desktop Environments

Window Managers

Widget Sets


Programming Languages


Caml Weekly News. Here's the Caml Weekly News for April 30, with coverage of the "PhoX" proof assistant, interfacing with Matlab, and more.


Second Call for YAPC::NA Papers (use Perl). The second call for papers is out for YAPC::NA. Deadlines are 1 May for papers and 5 June for lightning talks.

Lightweight Perl Blogging Tools (use Perl). UsePerl links to several web logging tools, Movable Type, Bloxsom, and Blagg.

mod_perl Developer's Cookbook reviewed (Perl.com). Simon Cozens has reviewed the mod_perl Developer's Cookbook.

Don't be afraid of Perl 6. Here's an article in System Administration Magazine on what is really changing in Perl 6. The conclusion is that most Perl code will still work, that there is no need to fear the changes. "The same dangerous misfocus occurs every time Larry releases another Perl 6 design document. Our brains instinctively skip over the majority of familiar, unchanged Perl landmarks and, instead, zero in on the comparatively few features of the language that are actually changing."


PHP Weekly Summary for April 30. The April 30 PHP Weekly Summary is available; it looks at the 4.2.0 release and several other topics.

PHP.net: A Tourists's Guide. Those trying to find their way around the PHP.net site may well want to take a quick look at PHP.net: A Tourist's Guide. "Everyone knows the www.php.net site. All of us went there sooner or later, and will keep going back there. This is the central reference point for PHP users, and it has a wealth of informations there. All of it isn't that obvious. Come with me, I'll show you."

'Programming PHP' Released by O'Reilly. O'Reilly has released "Programming PHP" by Rasmus Lerdorf, creator and lead developer of PHP, and Kevin Tatroe.


Stackless Python in Limbo? Christian Tismer, author of the stackless Python patch, has announced a bit of a change in direction. Stackless Python will start to look more like the Limbo language used in the Inferno operating system. Limbo defines a "tasklet" mechanism which makes it easy to write concurrent, multi-threaded applications; the tasklets communicate through "channels" which also handle synchronization issues.

This week's Python-URL. Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for April 30 is available with the usual roundup of interesting happenings in the Python community.


Ruby Weekly News. The April 29 Ruby Weekly News looks at Ruby/Google 0.3.0, the first release of the Practical Ruby IDE, and more.

Review: Ruby Developer's Guide. Slashdot has posted a review of the Ruby Developer's Guide, written by Robert Feldt, Lyle Johnson, and Michael Neuman. "Directed towards programmers with a working knowledge of Ruby, the text is a quick read even with working through the examples. It effortlessly introduces the basic concepts of each package worked through and then gives locations where more in-depth information can be gathered."


GDB 5.2 has been released; details in the announcement. There are a few new commands and supported architectures, but seemingly no radical changes.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

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

D. H. Brown Associates, Inc. Releases Linux Server Vendor Strategy Study. D.H. Brown has announced the release of a new research report on the strategies being used by Linux server vendors. It costs serious money, of course; an 11-page executive summary may be obtained from the D.H. Brown web site. "Linux offers these suppliers an additional opportunity to drive Intel-based server technology into mainstream enterprise IT application environments. For example, early adopters of these technologies are already building significant SAP R/3 and Oracle deployments on Linux."

The report seems to say only good things about each vendor; we already have press releases from HP and IBM bragging about their coverage.

Dell and Oracle will deliver database solutions with Linux. Dell and Oracle announce their partnership and discuss the latest D.H. Brown report about Linux. "Dell and Oracle today extended their relationship to deliver high-performance database solutions on Linux, with specific plans to build Oracle's next generation database software for Linux using Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell/EMC storage. [...] This follows a recent report by industry analyst firm D.H. Brown Associates Inc. that shows the evolution and maturity of the open-source operating system proceeding at a rapid pace."

Penguin Computing Announces AMD Clustering System. Penguin Computing has added a new 1U server to its line, developed to be used in cluster computing.

E1525 Launches Data Mobility Platform for MySQL. A company called E1525, Inc. has released a tool, Bind 1 1.05M, which migrates data from major relational database applications into a MySQL database application.

Caldera Announces Services for Red Hat and Other Linux Distributions. Caldera has sent out a press release about their support of non-Caldera distributions.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Selects Red Hat for Groundbreaking Digital Production. Red Hat, Inc. announced that Jim Henson's Creature Shop is using the Red Hat Linux operating system to power its Henson Digital Performance Studio and other digital design projects. "'Red Hat has provided the Creature Shop with a highly functional, easy-to-use operating system that also happens to be the production industry's de facto standard,' said Steve Rosenbluth, control systems designer at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. 'In addition, we had no idea how much time we could save on management until we began using Red Hat Network. Now we spend our time getting work done rather than trying to get our systems and applications to work.'"

Win4Lin 4 released. NeTraverse has announced the release of Win4Lin 4.0. Win4Lin is a product allowing Linux workstation users to run Windows applications in a well-behaved Linux process. Version 4.0 adds support for Windows ME and increased application support, and lots of other goodies.

Open For Business takes a brief look at this release.

SOT issues SOT Office 2002. SOT has announced the release of SOT Office 2002, which is based on code from Openoffice and other open source products. Included in the suite is a word processor, spreadsheet calculator, presentation program, and drawing package.

Lindows.com 'Family License' competes with Microsoft Scheme. LindowsOS introduces the 'Family License', designed to save families money when compared to Microsoft licensing schemes.

MandrakeSoft Financials. MandrakeSoft has released its financial results for the second quarter of the company's fiscal year. A significant rise in sales is reported for the quarter. MandrakeClub seems to be successful in generating revenue. Overall the company seems to be in good shape.

April 2002 Netcraft Web Server Survey is out. Here are the results of the April 2002 Netcraft Web Server Survey. Apache gained 2.62% while Microsoft lost 2.06%.

Linux Stock Index for April 26 to May 01, 2002.
LSI at closing on April 26, 2002 ... 23.17
LSI at closing on May 01, 2002 ... 23.09

The high for the week was 23.17
The low for the week was 23.02

Press Releases: