Linux Weekly News

Bringing you the latest news from the Linux World.
Dedicated to keeping Linux users up-to-date, with concise news for all interests
Published July 23, 1998

Linux articles
Kernel news
Software Development
Free/Open-Source Software
Commercial/Press Releases
Links of the week
Feedback and corrections

Other stuff:
LWN Archives
Linux Links
Linux Events Calendar
Daily Updates

Leading items

Welcome to LWN Lite. This week's issue has been put together by one person far from home working over a slow and flaky phone line on an ancient laptop (that at least runs Linux...). Thus, as we warned last week, we're lighter than usual on content this time around. Please bear with us, we should be back to our usual selves next week.

Oracle has announced its support for Linux. Computer Associates (Ingres) did so a while ago; Informix has made their announcement as well. It's happening. The lack of commercial applications that has characterized Linux (or almost any non-Microsoft system, really) is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

It is interesting to read Oracle's press release. "The availability of Oracle8 and Oracle Applications on Linux will enable current Linux users to deploy enterprise-class applications with unparalleled performance at the lowest possible cost." Intel has a strong positive comment in there is well. These people are catching on that there is an interesting future here.

The important part now, of course, is that the market for these products has to prove itself. These vendors won't hang around if the customers aren't there. There should not be a whole lot of difficulties here; there are more Linux folks out there every day, and high-profile announcements like this one will only serve to increase our number. The Linux user community has reached the point where the serious network effects start to kick in. It is a positive feedback loop, at least for a while. This wave is just beginning; hold on, it is going to be an interesting ride.

The folks at O'Reilly have put together an "Open Source Town Meeting" for August 21. Lots of familiar names: Wall, Raymond, Stallman, Ousterhout, etc. See their announcement for more info.

The Linux Journal has opened voting for their 1998 readers choice awards. It is worth noting that they have revamped the ballot; those who were disappointed (or worse) by their first try might want to look again. And feel free to write in LWN as the best website...:-)

The GNU folks have a contest of their own going. They are looking for nominations for their first "Free Software Award." If you have a possible recipient in mind, they would like to hear from you soon. See their announcement for more.

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Linux in the news

Articles about Linux database announcements: An article in ZDNet UK talks about Ingres, and mentions that another one of CA's products, Jasmine, may get a Linux port if Ingres proves popular (thanks to Andy Thomas). "Linux gaining respect" in c|net, an article in PC Week, a very similar article in Sm@rt Reseller, and articles in Infoworld on the Informix and Oracle announcements. Also: an article in TechWeb ("'It's rock solid [and] has the best support going,' said Steve Lambright, senior manager for server product marketing for Informix"), another in Internet Week (which says also that IBM has a test version of DB2 ported to Linux), and one in Computer Reseller News.

Articles about the July 14 "pep rally": Greg Roelofs has a comprehenseive report available; there is a good article in EE Times, and another in TechWeb. There was also coverage on CNN's web site, and in InfoWorld. And, of course, the coverage in SVLUG's pages.

Word is that Linus appears on the cover of this month's issue of EE Times... Also, from a note sent to us by Craig Weigert: "...Linux made a brief appearance in the most recent Newsweek, in an article discussing 'buzz' versus 'hype'. 'Hype' is defined to be gossip/talk/whatever about a product, generated by the PR people at some company. 'Buzz' is more grass-roots, genuine, word-of-mouth excitement. In their buzz vs. hype list, Windows 98 is listed as hype, while Linux is buzz."

Excite's news service has a Linux Article, mostly moaning about installation difficulties.

Fiat Linux in the UNESCO Courier is another sort of "What is Linux" article; it is quite favorable. (It's also available in French; originally found in NNL). Also in French (from NNL): Logiciel libre : la subversion s'etend is a lengthy article about Linux and open source in general.

Scandinavian folks may be interested in this introductory article in Swedish. (Thanks to Fredrik Wahlberg).

If you're at all interested in the EFF's cracking of a DES encryption key, see their letter published in ZDNet News. "The PC that controls the machine originally ran Windows 95, but we replaced that with Linux..."

"Is Linux the Business? asks ZDNet UK in an article from last month that we missed until now. It's a favorable article of the "Linux may challenge NT" variety, though with an interesting statement or two... "As a rule, most Linux boxes require a reboot about once every six to eight weeks."

Even ComputerWorld has an article on Eric Raymond and open source.

Eric Howe wrote in to tell us that Ellen Ullman's Salon articles on "The Dumbing Down of Programming," which mention Linux favorably, (and which LWN readers saw a while back) have been printed in this month's issue of Harper's Magazine.

Milan Hodoscek pointed out this article in Government Computer News. It doesn't mention Linux explicitly, but does talk graphically about the things that can happen when you drop your Unix systems for NT. Having to tow a battleship back to port is pretty serious; I'll not complain about needing to run fsck again for a while...

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[Security] Kurt Seifried asked that we publish the new location of his Red Hat security book; it is now located at:

New nasties have been turned up in all versions of imapd. If you are running it, get an updated version. If you think you are not running it, check and be sure; some distributions enable imapd by default.

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[Kernel] The current development kernel release is 2.1.110. This kernel contains further memory-management tweaks for small-memory machines, and a number of other changes. There are reports that smaller machines started working better with 2.1.109, though it's not clear that the improvement holds after the system has been running for a while. Things are moving in the right direction.

The discussion of support for older, slower machines has been intense. On one end of the debate, some think that Linux should still fully support 386 boxes with 4mb of memory. Others think that it is time to move on. Linus has made his position clear: 4mb systems are out of the question, 8mb will work, but not necessarily as well as with 2.0. The real emphasis is on newer, faster machines.

This is a hard question that all operating systems must face. Supporting older hardware can be an immense burden that drags the whole system down. At some point, if you want to make progress, you have to leave the boat anchors behind. This must be balanced, however, with the need to not obsolete systems which can still be useful. As Alan Cox has been pointing out, much of the developing world has old hardware. That is a region that can be expected to adopt Linux in a big way, but only if it works on their systems.

Jon Pranevich has sent us a new version of his "changes in the 2.2 kernel" document. He intends one more draft before releasing a final copy. Interested folks should check out the new version and let him know if anything is still missing.

If you are curious about what remains to be done before the 2.2 kernel is released, a look at Alan Cox's jobs list can be instructive. The list is not "official," but it's unlikely that a new stable kernel would be released while these problems remain.

Eric Troan has released a new version of raidtools. Have a good look at the announcement if you use RAID; there are some incompatibilities with the new tools.

Stefan Reinauer has released a new version of his /dev/bios patch. /dev/bios makes it possible to read and write the flash ROM bios on your system. This is not a feature to install lightly...

Alan Cox has released a Z85230 driver for the 2.0 kernel. Synchronous communications are now possible. See his announcement for more.

An updated version of the new linux-kernel FAQ has been posted. Check it out and give them your comments.

Version 1.0.3 of Rule Set Based Access Control (RSBAC) for Linux has been released. RSBAC provides strong and configurable security to the (2.0) Linux kernel; they have a "some day" goal of achieving B1-level security.

Since we're a weekly publication, chances are we'll be behind a rev or two on the kernel release by the time you read this page. Up-to-the-second information can always be found at LinuxHQ.
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We just got a note that version 0.1.3 of APT has been released.
Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.
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What happened to Red Hat's ContribNet project? One user out there noted that the Debian 2.0 distribution for the Alpha has a far larger list of packages than Red Hat's distribution. Mike Wangsmo responded that ContribNet was a bit slow in getting going, but was still alive. Mike also made the claim that Red Hat ships a rich and complete operating system, and that further additions are not required. Some cool tools will always be outside the core distribution.

The conversation wandered into whether KDE should be part of the distribution; we'll not get into that. It then headed into complaints about the quality of the recent distributions for the Alpha. Mike agreed with some of the criticism, and stated that, in the future, the Alpha and Sparc distributions would receive the same level of quality-assurance work as the Intel distribution. To this end, he has put a call for beta testers for the Alpha and Sparc platforms. This is a good move on Red Hat's part; quality distributions for non-Intel platforms will be crucial to the success of Linux on those platforms.

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[Software Development]


The release of perl 5.005 is imminent; they are looking for beta testers. See the announcement if you want to help them out, or if you're curious about what's coming.
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/ Commercial / Announce / Links / Feedback
[Free/Open-Source News]

Free/Open-Source Software News

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        News/Press Releases]

Linux and the Commercial World

Press Releases:

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Package Version Description
AMANDA 2.4.1b1 Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver
Apache 1.3.1 High performance, UNIX based HTTP server
Audio File Library 0.1.4 Implementation of SGI's Audio File Library
aumix 1.9.3 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Backup Copy 1.06b Copy program designed to quickly and efficiently store data.
Batalla Naval 0.59.40 Networked BattleShip game
BeroFTPD 1.0.8 FTP server program based on WU-FTPD
biffview 0.0.5 MS BIFF file viewer
Doc Welder 0.6.4 Tool for assembling documents from Templates and Symbols.
egcs 19980715 Experimental set of enhancements for the GNU tools
Eggdrop 1.3.18 IRC bot, written in C
eMusic DR0.6 CD, mp3, mod and wav player for Linux
Enlightenment DR 0.14 Fast, flexible and very extensible Window Manager
Fetchmail 4.5.3 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
fltk 0.99 C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL
FreeWRL 0.13 Free VRML browser for Linux
GGlyph 0.1.2 Font previewer and installer for X11
gIDE 0.0.3 gtk-based Integrated Development Environment for C
got_it 0.31 Simple URL grabber
Gtk-- 0.9.11 C++ interface for the popular GUI library gtk.
hexedit 0.9.2 View and edit files in hexadecimal or in ASCII
icewm 0.9.9 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
imlib 1.7 Advanced replacement library for libraries like libXpm
Jikes Debugger 1.11 multi-paneled graphical debugger for remotely executing Java programs
JPython 1.0.0 Java reimplementation of the Python programming language
KBiff 1.0 New mail notification utility for KDE
KDat beta-19980719 tar based tape archiver
keirc 0.3.0 Keirc is a powerful Internet Relay Chat client program written for KDE.
Licq 0.40pr1 ICQ clone for linux with most of the functionality of the official Java version
linleech 2.1.1 Program that automates the process of downloading USENET articles
Listar 0.109a Mailing list management software
Matrona 1.02 C++ matrix algebra library
Mmucl 1.1.1 Mud client written in Tcl
moodss 4.1 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Mutt 0.93.1 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
MySQL 3.21.33 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
NeoMagic X Server 1.1.0 Binary-only X server for Neomagic graphic chips
OSS 3.9g Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
Aim-c unknown Open-source reimplementation of the AOL Instant Messenger protocol.
pavuk 0.8pl4 Webgrabber with an optional Xt or GTK GUI
PCI Utilities 1.07 Utilities for diagnostics and cofiguration of PCI devices
perldbgui DR-1 A GUI for the Perl debugger.
PHP 3.0.2 HTML-embedded scripting language
Pine 4.02 Tool for reading,sending, and managing electronic messages
ProFTPD 1.1.5pl1 Advanced, incrediblyconfigurable and secure FTP daemon
Qpopper 2.53 POP3 server
Roids 0.9 Scrolling asteroids game using (mostly) simple X11 polygons
rpm2html/rpmfind 0.97 Utilities to create HTML pages and solve dependancy problems of RPM packages
sdragon 0.91 configuration utility for Hagenuk's DataBox Speed Dragon
SmallEiffel 0.80 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
Sniffit 0.3.7 Full-featured packet sniffer
Socks5 1.0r6 SOCKS is a network firewall, and more
SOLID Desktop 2.3 True plug-and-play database server for mission critical applications
SplitJoin 1.0 Recreates files from split parts
Superficie 0.2 A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
svgamandel 0.2 Mandelbrot program which uses svgalib, zooms and lets you save images.
TkMasqdialer 1.02 TCL/TK/Expect client for Jeff Meininger's Masqdialer daemon.
TkZip 1.0.8 X front end to standard archiving/compression programs
Trinux: A Linux Security Toolkit 0.2 2-disk distribution that includes network security tools and runs in RAM
trn 4.0-test67 Text-based newsreader with threading
UW Imap Server 4.2 Univerity of Washington Imap server
WindowMaker 0.17.3 X11 window manager with NEXTSTEP look and feel
wmakerconf 0.5 GTK based configuration tool for WindowMaker window manager
wmsound 0.6.0 Sound server package for WindowMaker
WWWOFFLE 2.2c Simple proxy server with special features for use with dial-up internet links
WWWThreads 2.7.2 WWW based discussion forums
Xwatch 0.1.0 Tool to monitor several files (especially syslogs)
XwwChooser 0.3 Switches X11 Window Managers
Xxl 2.0.3 Simple, easy to use and user friendly graphical spreadsheet


A list of Italian Linux mailing lists has been posted.
Our software announcements are provided courtesy of Freshmeat.
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Linux links of the week

Tasty Bits from the Technology Front is always an interesting newsletter. This week's issue includes coverage of the Silicon Valley pep rally. Check it out.
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Feedback and Corrections

One final note on the spamming of it.comp.linux posters by a vendor selling the S.u.S.E. distribution: S.u.S.E.'s outreach director wrote in to express the company's regret. It is nice to hear their position, but it is clear that this incident involved them only peripherally; it was the reseller who was at fault.
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