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Red Hat, Inc. filed for its initial public stock offering on June 4. Interested parties can read the official press release on the move, but said release is extremely short on any sort of substantial information. About all that can be obtained from that document is that Red Hat did, indeed, file for an IPO.

What this really means, of course, is that, if all goes well, the principals of Red Hat will get rich. The company itself also gets a major infusion of money to fuel its further growth. On the first point, certainly there is nothing to complain about. The folks who created Red Hat have truly created a valuable company, and have done a lot for Linux in general. Certainly a lot of work, and a lot of committment was required to get that far. They deserve some rewards.

It will be interesting, though, to see what Red Hat does with their new pile of cash. If they get what they are after - just under $100 million - their war chest will far exceed that of any other Linux distributor. It would be naive to expect them to do anything other than attempt to further entrench themselves as the leading Linux distribution. Red Hat is a business, after all, and should be expected to act like a business. The application of that kind of money could change the Linux business picture dramatically. It will be interesting to watch.

Readers with a hunger for details may want to look directly at Red Hat's filing on EDGAR (thanks to Mike Renfro for the link). However, at almost 350K of straight legalese text, it can be a bit of a long slog. For those without that kind of free time, we have prepared a list of highlights of the IPO filing. There are some interesting things to be found there, including the current ownership of the company, and a list of "risk factors" that could bring them down. Plus, their future plans seem to have little to do with selling boxes of software.

LinuxHQ update. LinuxHQ is back online, under new management. Meanwhile, the site formerly known as LinuxHQ, now at kernelnotes.org has dropped the LinuxHQ name and is calling itself Kernelnotes. Mixed into all this are rumors that the owner of the LinuxHQ domain name is really out looking for a deal to sell the site. It's kind of a mess. However, it is worth remembering that Jim Pick is the guy who has run LinuxHQ so well over the last few years, and he's still at it with Kernelnotes. It's the people, not the domains, that matter in the end.

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June 10, 1999


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See also: last week's Security page.



A wealth of secure distribution projects. Last week we reported on the Secure Linux project, and mentioned Kha0s as well. With another addition this week, there are now three different efforts underway to create a secure Linux distribution. They are (stealing from Rik van Riel's descriptions here):
  • Secure Linux aims at the creation of a highly secure distribution for server systems. Strong cryptography will be an important component of the distribution. This project has not yet decided which distribution, if any, it will use as a base, though there seems to be a certain leaning toward Debian.

  • Kha0s is starting from scratch to create a minimal secure distribution. Kha0s is the oldest of the projects, and actually has some code available.

  • Bastille Linux, which was just announced last week, will be starting with Red Hat 6.0 and creating a distribution which is intended for desktop systems. They plan to have their 1.0 release out by October.
Diversity is good and all that, but one wonders if there might not be a substantial amount of duplication of effort between these projects. Partly to address those concerns, Rik van Riel has created the secure distributions mailing list which is intended to be a means of communication between the projects.

Security Reports

ipopd problems. The ipopd POP daemon distributed with Debian 2.1 turns out to have a problem that can, if properly exploited, allow access to remote persons. The Debian project has issued an updated package which fixes the problem; installing this fix is probably a good idea.


Fixes for the 2.2 denial of service problem have trickled in from some of the distributions. Here are announcements from Debian, Mandrake, Caldera, SuSE, and Red Hat.

Caldera has issued security updates for the kdebase and dump packages for OpenLinux 2.2 (the dump one also applies to 1.3). Upgrades are, as always, recommended.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 10, 1999


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.3.5, released (without announcement) on June 2. There is a 2.3.6 prepatch in the testing directory, so, presumably, a real 2.3.6 release will happen shortly.

The current stable kernel release remains 2.2.9, as it has been for some time. There is still no official stable kernel out there with the ICMP denial of service attack fix, unhappily (though most distributions have long since put out updated packages). Alan Cox's patches are up to 2.2.9ac4 This patch is rather smaller than previous versions - much of the more advanced stuff, which is going into 2.3, has been removed from the 2.2 patch.

A new FireWire (IEEE 1394) development effort was announced by Andreas Bombe. He actually has some working code, though it is still pretty far from prime time. Details may be found in his announcement.

Should the PCMCIA drivers be part of the standard kernel? This is not a new question, but it came up with a new force recently, due to some rather strongly worded messages from Linus. He is, evidently, not very happy with the current state of PCMCIA support (he said it "sucks"), and made some threats to start a new PCMCIA development from the beginning, much like he did with USB. David Hinds, the person who made PCMCIA happen on Linux was, not surprisingly, a little taken aback by these remarks.

Some discussion followed on the advantages of integrating PCMCIA into the standard kernel (better tracking of kernel changes, no separate package to install) versus those of keeping it separate (ability to support new cards on all kernel versions, support for non-Linux operating systems). But the real problem came out after a bit: it seems that Linus had a tremendously difficult time installing Linux on his shiny new Sony Vaio laptop. Linus has this notion that if he has a hard time with a Linux install, at least a few other users might find it a bit daunting, and he didn't like that idea.

Once the real problem was unearthed, a more solid, technical discussion followed. David Hinds outlined his understanding of the problem in this posting. The core of the solution seems not to be a full inclusion of PCMCIA into the kernel. Instead, if the kernel had enough of a minimal understanding of PCMCIA to be able to make use of devices which, at boot time, have already been initialized and set up by the system's BIOS, most of the problems would go away. A solution along these lines seems likely somewhere in the 2.3 series. (For a start, one might look at this note from Werner Almesberger, who has already implemented some of this functionality).

PCMCIA shares a problem that is coming up in a number of contexts: dealing properly with hot-pluggable devices. USB, FireWire, and the new hot-pluggable PCI bus also raise such issues. The Linux kernel still, for the most part, does not deal well with this sort of dynamic environment; among other things, see the discussions on naming issues covered in the last couple of issues of LWN.

Martin Mares has chimed in with a proposal of his own. He describes a device driver architecture that allows each driver to easily describe the devices it handles, thus making it easy for the kernel to choose the proper driver when a device is inserted. The ideas are currently in an early form; expect a more refined version later on.

Making Linux do better on web serving benchmarks. Mindcraft will be rerunning their "Linux vs NT" benchmark on June 14, see their 'open benchmark' pagefor details. There are said to be "Linux experts" involved, though it is not clear who they are at this point. Meanwhile, Juergen Schmidt published some benchmark results of his own. In his tests, Linux and Apache beat NT in many situations, but NT wins greatly in the multiple-interface case that looks most like the Mindcraft benchmark. Some problems remain in that area.

Some responses to Juergen's results include:

  • The test should be run with a 2.3 kernel which has "wake one" semantics and some other tweaks. The point of the matter is, though, that these are changes in development, and still not ready for prime time.

  • Many feel that Mindcraft-style benchmarks have little to do with the real world, and little to do with the reasons why people use Linux and Apache systems as web servers (and little to do with real-world web servers in general). Apache is used because it works and provides the needed functionality. These points are valid, but it is still desirable to make Apache perform better in this mode.

  • How about serving static web pages directly out of the kernel? Arjan van de Ven posted an announcement of the kHTTPd kernel module. This module handles requests on the HTTP port, serves static pages (or images) directly, and passes everything else off to a user space daemon (such as Apache). The result is a striking performance increase over Apache when these sorts of requests are being serviced.
Linus actually likes the kHTTPd idea, despite a strong bias against doing this sort of work in the kernel.

The end result seems to be that nobody expects much fun at the Mindcraft rematch, but that there is not a whole lot of concern about it either. In the longer term (six months, say), Linux and Apache will probably be a vastly faster web serving engine as several independent efforts to improve performance (including work by the Apache folks, of course) come together.

Interesting patches and updates this week included:

  • Alex Buell has announced version 1.0 of his framebuffer HOWTO document.

  • Hard-core performance tweakers may want to check out the performance monitoring counters patch by Mikael Pettersson, now at release 0.2.

  • Version 0.1.0 ("the first really usable version") of the Linux Input Driver Suite was announced by Vojtech Pavlik. This patch reworks the keyboard and mouse drivers, simplifying things and adding a number of new features.

  • Knfsd-1.3.3b by H.J. Lu. People using the 2.2 kernel NFS implementation should probably continue to track these patches as they come out.

  • A new version of the power management patch by Stephen Rothwell.

  • Devfs version 107 and version 99.2 (for 2.2 kernels) by Richard Gooch.

  • Swsusp v6 by Gabor Kuti. This patch makes the "suspend to disk" capability often found on laptops available on all systems.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 10, 1999

For other kernel news, see:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



Corel has put out an FAQ page answering some questions about their upcoming distribution. Among other things, the due date is now the end of the year, and they have no plans to open-source their big applications.


[New Debian logo] Debian has a new logo, which may be seen (in its "open use" form) to the right. Expect to see it popping up on web sites everywhere shortly.

The Debian Policy Weekly Summary has been posted by Joey Hess. There's a number of policy changes in the works, see the summary for the status of each. One change from the posting: the adoption of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) is marked as "stalled" when, as it was decided later, there actually appears to be a consensus in favor of that change.

And, speaking of Mr. Hess, Joey Hess has gotten a job at VA Linux Systems. His duties, outlined in this announcement all involve continued work with the Debian distribution and making it work better with VA's systems.

Debian developers social in Paris. There is a move afoot to set up a Debian developers social meeting in Paris to concide with the Linux Expo taking place there at that time. Contact the organizer if you will be there and would like to take part.

Red Hat

Do not use the stock Red Hat 6.0 kernels with smbfs if you are mounting shares from Windows NT, 98, or 2000 servers. This message from Michael Warfield explains why: the stock kernel has been built with a compile option that causes smbfs to only work with Windows 95 servers. All others will see corruption in the file timestamps. If you are running Red Hat 6.0 on a network with Windows servers, you will probably need to build and install your own kernel.

Red Hat's FTP sites had some problems this last week. If you were attempting to obtain security updates or other good stuff and found an empty directory, give it another try. Things seem to be working again now.


Who posts to the SuSE list, and what are they talking about? Here is a set of statistics on list traffic posted by David Jeffers. It turns out that quite a few of the top talkers on the list are actually from SuSE...


Trinux users who are tired of waiting for a new official release may want to have a look at the proposed 0.51 release put up by Antonio Garcia. It includes a number of new features and enhancements, all done independently of the official development process.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 10, 1999

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

Known Distributions:
Caldera OpenLinux
Conectiva Linux (Brazilian)
Debian GNU/Linux
Definite Linux
e-smith server and gateway
Kha0s Linux
Linux MLD (Japanese)
Linux Router Project
PROSA Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat
Yellow Dog Linux


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


Fun with Perl is the name of a new mailing list announced this week. It appears to be intended primarily as a way of sending around interesting bits of Perl code, including bad, humorous, or obfuscated ways of doing things (as well as good stuff, of course).


Computer programming for everybody. Guido van Rossum, along with a few other collaborators, sent in a proposal to DARPA (the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) entitled "Computer Programming for Everybody." The purpose is to make programming accessible to a much larger portion of the population through the creation of an appropriate set of tools and training materials. "We compare mass ability to write and modify software with mass literacy, and expect that equally fundamental changes to society may ensue." The language of choice, of course, will be Python. This looks to be an interesting project.

The Python Way. In response to a request, Tim Peters posted an off-the-cuff set of rules of thumb that make up "the Python way." For those who are interested, they are:

  1. Beautiful is better than ugly.
  2. Explicit is better than implicit.
  3. Simple is better than complex.
  4. Complex is better than complicated.
  5. Flat is better than nested.
  6. Sparse is better than dense.
  7. Readability counts.
  8. Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
  9. Although practicality beats purity.
  10. Errors should never pass silently.
  11. Unless explicitly silenced.
  12. In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
  13. There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
  14. Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
  15. Now is better than never.
  16. Although never is often better than *right* now.
  17. If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
  18. If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
  19. Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those! (The full posting is here for those who are interested).

    JPython 1.1 beta 1 has been released. JPython is, of course, the "100% Pure Java" implementation of the Python language. Lots of fixes and improvements have been added; see the announcementfor details.

    French Python Day. The first Journée Python France was held in Paris on May 28. Pictures from the event, courtesy of Dinu Gherman, may be found on this starship page. A summary of the event (in French) may be found on Linux-center. Unfortunately, Babelfish does not want to translate that page.

    Mailing lists. A French language Python mailing list was created at the Journée Python France. A new Spanish-language list has also been announced.

    Mark Lutz in Boulder. Folks in the Boulder/Denver area, who are reading this on Thursday, June 10 might want to head to the Boulder Linux Users Group meeting, where Mark Lutz, author of the O'Reilly books on Python, will be talking to the group about the language. Details may be found in the meeting announcement.


    Here's the latest Tcl-URL.

    Tcl/Tk at the O'Reilly Open Source Conferences. A part of the big O'Reilly conference will be the O'Reilly Tcl/Tk conference. A list of events for that conference has been posted; it consists of a large set of tutorials and invited talks. Mark out August 21-24 on your calendars.

    Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

June 10, 1999



Development projects


Here is this week's GNOME summary courtesy of Havoc Pennington.


The Ht://Dig conference mentioned last week has been cancelled, unfortunately. There was a lot of interest in attending the show, but they were unable to get a sufficient number of developers together. They will try again in the future, perhaps in the context of some other gathering.


Once again, we have the weekly KDE summary, thanks to Navindra Umanee.


Here's this week's Midgard update from Henri Bergius.


The Mozilla project has put out their Milestone 6 release; see the release notes for details on how to get and install the software, as well as a summary of where they stand. Progress continues with Mozilla. There are some hopes for an official "branded" release sometime this summer, though a number of the developers seem to think that is overly ambitious.

Postfix/Secure Mailer

Wietse Venema has posted an update on the status of the Secure Mailer project. The executive summary: Postfix is seeing a fair amount of serious, real-world use, but its licensing is keeping wider acceptance from happening.


The PostgreSQL team has announced the 6.5 beta release. This release "marks the development team's final mastery of the source code" they inherited from Berkeley. Included is better concurrency control, more SQL constructs, and a lot more; see the full list of changes to see all that has happened.


VTad is a new performance monitoring tool recently announced by Michael Blakeley. VTad is a rule-based system which watches the operation of a Linux computer, seeks out performance problems, and makes recommendations on how to fix them. It is being released under the Artistic License.


Ove Kaaven has posted a summary of Wine development events for the last week. There is some talk among the Wine developers of creating this sort of summary on a regular basis; stay tuned.

Ove has also put together a Wine Who's Who page describing all of the currently active Wine developers.


Zope Portal Toolkit demon online. The folks at Digital Creations have put up their Zope Portal Toolkit demo on the Zope site. Note that the toolkit itself isn't yet available - they expect to put out a beta later this month. Meanwhile the demo may be interesting to those who didn't see it at Linux Expo.

For the rest of the news from the Zope community, please see the weekly Zope summary put together, as usual, by Amos Latteier.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh


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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

Linux Professional Institute gains sponsors. The Linux Professional Institute, which is developing a certification program for Linux system administrators, has announced a corporate sponsorship program. Initial sponsors include Caldera, SuSE, LinuxCare, Starnix, and Digital Creations; some of them are in for significant amounts of money. The LPI has, at this point, gained a lot of momentum; they seem to be well on the way toward achieving their goals.

Draft SourceXchange developer agreement available. The SourceXchange has put up the first draft of its developer agreement. It is pages of legalese describing how developers will work in the SourceXchange program. They are looking for comments...

A new SuSE program. SuSE has announceda new "business partner" program. "The Business Partner Program includes priority support, training, a moderated private online forum, and access to a knowledge base, among other features. Qualified Partners are those who seek to offer Linux services and want to benefefit from association with the SuSE brand."

Linux Mall gets into the hardware business. The Linux Mall is now selling Linux-installed computers, in partnership with Workstation 2000. See the announcement for details.

The race to the bottom continues; it is now possible to buy a $398 computer with Linux from S.A. Computer.

ImageStream has announced a set of Linux-based routers. "ImageStream routers include the 'Enterprise Linux(TM)' distribution which enables network administrators to quickly and easily install and deploy high-speed LAN and WAN connections." (Thanks to Jim Ernsberger).

A commercial site for open source projects. A site called XNOT has announced its existence. They intend to provide resources for open source projects: web space, mailing lists, etc. There will be a charge to the projects for this. They also intend to run banner ads, and return a portion of the revenue from the project pages back to the projects. It will be interesting to see if this works.

Press Releases:

  • Actiontec Electronics, Inc. announced broad-based support of Linux throughout its entire range of modems and desktop computer PC Card readers.
  • Apropos Retail Management Systems Inc., a software provider, announced an agreement with Intrawest Corp., a destination resort operator, to create a Resort Rental add-on module for the Apropos System. One of the first deployments of the new system will be Intrawest's newly-acquired Breeze/Max chain of rental shops based in Denver, Colorado. The Breeze/Max stores will be installed with the Linux operating system.
  • AvTel Communications Inc. announced that its Internet Services Group will begin providing technical support to their Linux customers.
  • Cygnus Solutions nnounced the availability of Sourceware(TM) CD, a subscription program for the open-source software projects hosted by Cygnus at http://sourceware.cygnus.com.
  • eSoft Inc. announced redphish(TM), a program that enables third parties to license eSoft's Linux Internet server engine and professional engineering services.
  • Live Software Inc. announced that their internet development and deployment platform, JRun, will be included with the Red Hat Linux 6.0 distribution on the Linux Applications CD.
  • Magic Software Enterprises ramps up Linux support by joining the board of directors of Linux International, porting their eMerchant software to Linux, and they introduced "The Magic for Linux Really Cool Contest".
  • Mercury Interactive Corporation introduced a Linux version of their load testing tool, LoadRunner.
  • Miller Freeman Inc. announced the availability of "The Commercialization of Linux," a market research report which examines how and when Linux will be brought into corporate IT infrastructures.
  • NBase-Xyplex announced the implementation of Multiprocessing Border Gateway Protocol (BGP-4) software in the company's OSR8040 Open System Linux switch router.
  • PC World announced the winners of the publication's 17th annual World Class Awards. Linux received the "Most Promising Software Newcomer" award.
  • Penguin Computing Inc. teamed up with Ecrix Corporation, offering the Ecrix VXA-1(TM) tape drive on all of its Linux servers.
  • Penguin Computing Inc. teamed up with Linux Online to promote the Linux Operating System. They have devised a giveaway that they expect will attract thousands of new visitors to the Linux Online site.
  • PFU America, Inc. introduced its new "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite", a compact size keyboard equipped with the UNIX key layout.
  • SolidWorks Corporation announced that the SolidWorks Java(tm) Viewer is fully compatible with the Linux(tm) kernel 2.0x operating system available from Red Hat Software,(R) Inc. in version 5.2.
  • Spatial Inc. and Tech Soft America announced the availability of ACIS(R)-enabled HOOPS(R)/AFC from TSA. This is a 3-D modeling program with a Linux version.
  • TheLinuxStore.com redesigns web site and lowers prices.
  • Vovida Networks, Inc. announced an IP (Internet Protocol) telephone call using an MGCP (Media Gateway Control Protocol) stack running on the Linux operating system, and the expected end-of-the-month free commercial release of the source code for the stack.
  • White Pine Software, Inc., announced plans to support the Linux operating system for its MeetingPoint conference server.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

June 10, 1999


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

Linux in the news

It was a busy week for Linux articles. Red Hat, predictably, drew a lot of press, but there were other things going on as well. We'll start with this week's recommended reading:
  • Salon Looks at Red Hat's SEC filing. "But the mere fact that there is now an official SEC document that includes the text of the GPL serves as fairly astonishing proof that the rules of the software business really are being rewritten."

  • Why did Linux succeed? asks ZDNet's Charles Babcock. "Torvalds didn't gnash his teeth and complain publicly about Microsoft as he tried to get people to use his system, the way other Unix vendors did. And now obscurity is in short supply for both Torvalds and many others who once labored so fruitfully in its confines."

  • GamaSutra has a post-mortem of Raven's Heretic II launch. The number one mistake? "...not commissioning a Linux Server version of Heretic II to be released at the same time as retail. Half-Life demonstrated the wisdom of having Linux code available at launch time; witness the number of servers around on launch day. Heretic II never caught up on this, not even to this day." (Thanks to Khalid Zuberi).

  • Here is an interesting New York Times article about Neal Stephenson and his campaign against the putting of GUI's on everything. "In leaving the Macintosh world, Stephenson went back to what he calls 'the oral tradition' of the Unix-Linux operating world. Linux may one day rival Windows and the Mac for ease of use, but that is not an era he would look forward to." (The New York Times is a registration-required site). (Thanks to Marty Leisner).

There were a few introductory articles out there. Included among them were an up and coming new category of Linux articles - the "installation nightmare" story, where we get the gory details of some reporter's installation problems.

  • This introductory article is in TechWeb. "The social design paradigm behind the creation of Linux is a compelling example of how the Internet enables a community-based business model in which thousands of contributors, each acting independently in their own self-interest, create a highly integrated 'good' that provides value to themselves and others."

  • Here's an introductory article in the Capitol District Business Review. "Whatever happens, Linux is worth watching. The world cannot be seen through one 'window.' The possibilities are endless; the answers, however, are only one Torvalds away."

  • Here's A Windows-Free World as seen by PC Computing. "Windows drives you nuts, but do you really have an alternative? It's still Unix, but Linux is free and it works (sort of)." Despite that lead-in, this lengthy article is mostly quite positive and accurate.

  • There was also an introductory article (in French) on the Swiss site Webdo. It gives a GNU-centric (and accurate) history and heads into the current commercial situation. English text available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Erik Rossen and Thomas Junier).

  • In the San Francisco Chronicle: this installation nightmare story. "My adventures with Red Hat 6.0 were even more unpleasant. This distribution includes not one but two partition utilities. But both turned out to be beyond me -- they kept asking me to do things like ``enter a mount point'' -- a concept the manual acknowledges is likely to be unfamiliar, but never effectively explains. Suffice it to say that my many attempts to figure out what they're after have so far been in vain."

  • Here's another one of those installation nightmare articles in the (Fort Worth, TX) Star Telegram. "Then it asked which partition I wanted to use and how large it should be. I thought, 'What if I didn't already know what a partition was?' I typed 'Maximum' size and almost immediately hit 'Error 708.' That wasn't explained in the manual." Despite all this, it is a reasonably positive article.

OK, time for the Red Hat stories:

  • Life will be tough for Red Hat says Business week. "The reason there's such a tiny pot of gold at the end of Red Hat's rainbow is obvious. Linux is a free, open-source operating system, meaning that anyone with a Web server and the inclination can start distributing it, as long as any changes they make to the code remain publicly available."

  • Red Hat and Compaq will be working together to improve compatibility between Linux and Tru64, according to News.com. "Compaq also said that it is making available additional Linux-ready systems including certain Compaq Deskpro models and XP Professional workstations."

  • ComputerWorld reports on the Compaq/Red Hat deal. "Analysts said the announcement is important because it gives Linux additional credibility as a ``standard'' platform. But, they said, it continues in the prevailing vein of positioning Linux as one more alternative in an existing arsenal, rather than as a new tactical direction for a major vendor."

  • News.com has an article on Red Hat's investors, some of which are closely tied to Microsoft. "Corporate investors, unlike venture capital firms that mainly focus on bringing the greatest return to their investors, tend to concentrate on taking stakes in companies where there is a strategic benefit to the arrangement. And in some cases, it means taking a stake in a competitor, as well."

  • USA Today covers Red Hat's IPO plans. "Of all of the technology companies -- like IBM, Netscape, Oracle and SAP -- that have made highly publicized investments in Red Hat, only Intel was identified as a significant owner of the company, with a 5% stake."

  • Here's a brief Reuters article on Red Hat's IPO filing. "Software firm Red Hat Inc. said Friday it would raise $96.6 million through the sale of its common stock in its first-ever sale to the public."

  • Here's a News.com article on Red Hat's IPO announcement. "Red Hat intends to use the funds for working capital and other purposes, such as 'geographic expansion' and could be used for the acquiring 'businesses, products, and technologies that are complementary to our own,' although the company noted that there are no agreements or commitments already in place to make any such moves."

Other business-oriented articles include:

  • News.com ran this article on Corel's "Linux advisory council." "The council's purpose is to deal with the growing pains of Linux as well as attempt to 'provide a unified commercial voice in association with open-source partners,' Corel said in a statement."

  • And there's more: this article about how Caldera might go for an IPO of its own shortly. "[Caldera VP] Tanang declined to describe Caldera Systems' profits or losses but did say the company exceeded its goals in recent quarters. In addition, he said revenue for the first fiscal quarter of 1999 increased 224 percent over the same quarter the year before."

  • Finally, News.com also ran this article about ever cheaper Linux systems. "...the Linux Store will begin selling a $399 stripped-down machine Monday as part of an exclusive deal with an as-yet-undisclosed Internet retailer..."

  • IBM will be selling a thin server product (called "Pizzazz") soon, according to this News.com article. "The Pizzazz computers will become the lowest-priced of the RS/6000 server line, which use Power architecture chips and which run IBM's AIX version of the Unix operating system. IBM is working with LinuxPPC to make sure the computers can use the Linux operating system as well."

  • VAR Business has a brief article about the Office 2000 announcement. "But the real news from today's product unveiling was the company's carefully worded insistence that it will not port the popular-selling office suite to the competing Linux operating system anytime soon."

  • InfoWorld notices SuSE 6.1. "'We introduced SuSe Linux 6.1 this week with no advertising and little fanfare and were surprised by the demand that existed,' said Gary Bale, vice president of merchandising, software, and accessories at CompUSA, in Dallas. 'Strong word of mouth had made it one of our more successful Linux launches ever.'"

  • Wyse is no longer planning to ship Java-based diskless terminals; instead, they will run Linux, according to this Wired News article. "The first Linux box from Wyse will store the operating system on 32 MB of flash RAM and can connect to Windows NT, Unix, or Linux servers."

  • The Microsoft trial is back; here's the latest from PC World. "In its antitrust trial, Microsoft has repeatedly raised the specter of the Linux operating system as a major threat to its operating system dominance. But in court Thursday, Microsoft's latest attempt to paint Linux as a potent desktop foe drew laughs from spectators and trial Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson."

  • The Washington Post also has an article about the "Linux defense."

  • The San Francisco Chronicle looks at Linux's recent successes. "Linux already has won the hearts of techies the world over, and lately, the free operating system has carved out a place on corporate servers. Could the typical office worker's desktop be the next stop?"

  • News.com covers BellSouth's refusal to provide DSL service to Linux users. "Several other online Linux users said they were able to run the alternative operating system even with BellSouth's DSL by initially using a Windows system, and then switching over to Linux after the service had been installed." (Thanks to Mike Gerdts).

There were a few "product review" articles:

  • Network Computing reviews OpenLinux 2.2. "...OpenLinux's simplified setup and administration tools make it a snap to get started, no matter what your level of familiarity with Unix. Its updated Linux 2.2 kernel and new KDE 1.1 desktop further add to OpenLinux's enterprise appeal; it shines as both a server OS and a development platform."

  • CPU Review has put up a review of SuSE 6.1. "SuSE 6.1 quite simply has the largest collection of software packages ready to install on from CD; far more than I've seen from ANY other distribution. Extreme Linux (clustering software), Blender (3D rendering / scene editing package), and just about every database server under the sun is included."

  • Intraware has put up articles about a couple of new commercial products that run on Linux: WebTrends Enterprise Reporting Server and Informix Dynamic Server. "It is becoming standard procedure for companies producing software for interaction with web servers to either release a version for Linux, or at least have one on the roadmap. So much for predictions of a certain company in the great Northwest that thought Linux would quickly fade into the operating system horizon." (Thanks to Benji Selano).

And here's all the rest:

  • Here's a scary PC World article about the proposed new UCITA ("shrink wrap software") law currently in the works in the U.S. It mentions a lot of the same problems that have come up before: ability to disable software remotely, non-transferability of licenses, no liability for bugs. Those of us who use free software can look on most of this with amusement, but there is a potential problem here: the law would also forbid reverse engineering. That could make life much harder, if not impossible, for products like Samba and Wine.

  • Evan Liebovitch writes about Linux Expo in this ZDNet column. "I've spoken to some people who hope that Linux Expo will give up trying to out-tradeshow the big guys, and concentrate on what it does best -- running the finest conference in the Linux universe. Here's hoping that these people get their way and make the 2000 Linux Expo less like Comdex and more like Usenix. We already have enough Comdex-type shows." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

  • Evan also wrote an article about the famous LinuxCare "simply supported" poster.

  • Bill Gates is interviewed in MIT's Technology Review. "Open-source software's strength is massive customization but this works against consistency. Consumers don't know what to expect when they load the software; corporate customers find it hard to stay current as each version is customized; developers don't get a volume market because there are multiple flavors of the same product." (Thanks to Senthil Kumar Narayanasamy).

  • Salon speculatesthat the Linux kernel source may be banned from the web under Australia's new censorship law. "Using grep -- the powerful Unix search command -- to go through a recent version of Linux, I came up with some comment lines and error messages that were clearly intended as the sort of coarse humor engineers of all sorts engage in."

  • How should you size a Linux server? asks this lengthy Byte article. "It is ... imperative to give to your Linux server ample RAM to avoid the inefficient page scanner."

  • Here's a somewhat whiny column in Byte. The author thinks that people should be looking at BeOS rather than Linux, and clearly does not get some things. "...what percentage of Linux users are taking advantage of their access to source code? How many Linux users are actually digging in and re-writing OS components? A tiny fraction, I'd wager. BeOS users aren't allowed to hack the kernel ... but guess what? 99 percent of them couldn't care less. In exchange for being barred from access to system source code, they benefit by being able to use a system developed under one roof, under a single, consistent vision, and that never requires hours of rooting around and tweaking to figure out how to get ApplicationQ to run properly."

  • FreeBSD 'Zine discusses FreeBSD Advocacy in a Linux-centric Environment. "Hold 'equal opportunity events.' If your group holds an Installfest, or a similar event, make sure that the BSD's are represented just as prominently as Linux. Sure, most new folks wanting an install are going to ask for Redhat. But by lining Linux and BSD up side-by-side, you're showing that Linux isn't the only path to choose." (Thanks to Anthony J. Gabrielson).

  • Here is an article (in Danish) in ComputerWorld Denmark that says, apparently, that Oracle will begin selling Linux support in Denmark. (Thanks to Troels Arvin).

  • Those of you who can read Swedish may want to check out this article in Aftonbladet about the politics of Linux. (Thanks to Martin Skjöldebrand).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 10, 1999


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



The Australian Open Source Symposiumis being held on June 16 in Melbourne. See the web page for the speaker schedule; looks like fun.

Also in Melbourne: the Conference of Australian Linux Users will be held on July 9-11 at Monash University. They have put together an impressive list of speakers for this event.

John Swinbank called our attention to the UKUUG Linux '99 Conference being held on June 25 and 26 in Birmingham, UK. Speakers include Ian Jackson and Stephen Tweedie.

Thanks to Herbert Melgar we know about the first Philippine Linux conference entitled Linux '99. It is currently being held at the Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City, Philippines.

Web sites

LinuxStart, another contender in the "Linux Portal" race, has gotten into the multilingual world with their new French-language site fr.linuxstart.com.

User Group News

The Roanoke Valley GNU/Linux User Group will be holding an an installfest on in Salem, VA on Saturday, June 12.

June 10, 1999



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
A3Com 0.2.3 SNMP managment tools for 3Com switches
AleVT 1.4.8 Videotext/Teletext decoder and viewer
ALSA driver 0.3.1 An alternative implementation of Kernel sound support
AlsaPlayer 0.99.13 PCM (audio) player for Linux/ALSA
AOLserver 2.3.3 America Online's own web application development platform
aRts 0.3.1 Analog realtime synthesizer
asmem 1.2 Memory utilization monitor for X.
asmutils 0.01 A set of different utilities for Linux/i386 written in assembly language
aumix 1.21 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Authen::Smb 0.9 Perl module to authenticate against NT domain servers from UNIX
Bang 1.1alpha (build0.071) Open Source multi-user 3D browser
BattleChat 0.8 Chat interface for Blizzard's Battle.Net
bidwatcher 0.9.4-5 tool for eBay users - track and snipe auctions
Bind 8.2.1 T3B Berkeley Internet Name Domain
bk2site 0.6.12 Transforms Netscape bookmark file into yahoo-like website.
BottleRocket 0.01 command-line X10 FireCracker control software for Linux
Calamaris 2.27 Statistic tool for Squid, NetCache and relatives
CARUI 1.0 CARUI is a Java to serial port interface for controlling devices over the net.
cdctl 0.13 Controls your CD-ROM drive under linux.
CDDBP Proxy 1.0 CDDBP to HTTP proxy.
CDlib 0.5 Graphical tool to search for files in your CD-ROMs
CDR-Toaster 0.98 Tk frontend for cd-burning. Uses mkisofs and cdrecord
cdrom_speed 1alpha Small program to select cdrom drive speed
Cervisia 0.0.2 KDE CVS frontend
CGI::XMLForm 0.09 Structured XML Generator from HTML Forms
Chaperon memory access checker 1.1.0 Checks memory accesses for bad behavior
Cheops 0.60pre4 Network User Interface
CMatrix 1.0b Ncurses eye-candy demo like
Cooledit 3.11.2 Full featured text editor for the X Window System
CrashMail II 0.4 Fidonet tosser for *.msg and JAM
Cut The Crap 0.2.4 Ad-blocking proxy-like python-based software.
Dante 1.0.1 Free socks v4/5 implementation
dbMan 0.0.8pre2 DB manager based on Perl, Tk, DBI (about 20 DBMS incl. PgSQL, Oracle, MySQL ...)
DejaSearch 1.3 DejaSearch is a frontend to DejaNews, the leading Usenet archive
demcd 1.2.2 CDPlayer for Linux
Demi-FTPd 1.3 FTP server with Web conf/admin/monitor and plugins
Diary.py 0.4 Diary is a simple journal program to record daily events, etc.
dirtypgp 0.02 workslate for PGP based crypto manipulations
DOSEmu 0.98.7 Application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs
Double Choco Latte 19990607 Software Configuration Management/Bug/Enhancement Tracking Software
Downloader for X 0.96 Downloads files from the Internet via both FTP and HTTP
Dr Geo 0.7.9 Interactive Geometry
durep 0.6 Disk Usage Reporter
dvipdfm 0.10.5 Dvipdfm is a DVI to PDF translator.
Eagle 3.55 final Eagle EDA Software for Linux
EasyGTK 1.0 Wrapper library for GTK
Efsane 0.5.11 Turkish Window Manager for X
EHeadlines 1.3.1 Root Menu news system.
EO 0.8.4 Templates-based, ANSI-C++ compliant evolutionary computation library
EPIconf 0.1 A GTK+ based configuration tool for EPIwm.
EPIngle 0.4.1 GTK Builder
erpcd-talker 1.0 A simple set of utilities to talk to an erpcd (Annex manager software)
Etherboot 4.2.2 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
eThreads 1.0 Highly customizable database driven forum software
Exult 0.08 Ultima 7 world viewer
ezbounce 0.85.2 A very configurable IRC Proxy
failoverd 1.7.1 Provide rudimentary failover capability for Linux
FakeBO 0.4.1 Fakes trojan server responses and logs incoming requests
FORUM 1.1b2 Another PHP3/Mysql forum with some nifty features
FOX 0.99.36 C++-Based Library for Graphical User Interface Development
FoxPilot 0.02b Visual Development tool for the FOX widget set.(GUI Builder)
FPSE Clone 0.00 Microsoft Frontpage Server Extensions CLONE (non MS)
FramerD/FDScript 1.0 Beta2 Distributed knowledge/object repository and scripting language
fryit 0.2.0 Graphical frontend for cdrecord.
FTP4ALL 2.26a FTP server program for UNIX systems
FVWM 2.3.4 The classic highly configurable virtual window manager
g3d 0.0.1 3D polygonal modeler built with Gtk+
Galway 0.1.5 Guile-gtk HTML Editor
GeneWeb 2.03 A combo web interface and genealogy program combined on steroids
Genpage 1.0.2 Provides framework for separating content management from layout design
GF1 1.0 Play GIPF against your computer
gfcc 0.6.4 GTK+ firewall (ipchains)
GGUI 0.4.1 An easy multi-purpose, multi-program GUI.
GMyNews 0.0.1 MyNews Admin utility for GNOME.
gnome-core GNOME 1.0.6 GNU Network Object Model Environment
GNUJSP 0.9.10 A free Java Server Pages implementation
GPeriodic 1.0.1 Periodic Table Reference and Browser
GQmpeg 0.6.2 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
GREED 0.8 BETA4r3 A utility that can get and resume files from a web site.
Green Box 0.2 Next-generation drum machine
Grip 2.2 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
grpn 1.1.0 An RPN calculator for the X Window system
GSokoban 0.20 A GNOME implementation of the Sokoban game.
GTC 0.0 Game Programming Library
GTKeyboard 0.7 Graphical Keyboard for the physically disabled
gtkfind 0.10 GTK+ version of find(1)
GtkSQL 0.3 Interactive query tool for PostgreSQL
GVoice 0.0.2 Voice control for Gtk/GNOME applications
Gwydion Dylan 2.3.1 Compiler for Dylan, an dynamic, efficient, object-oriented language
HelpStudio 1.0 IDE for authoring online help for Java applications
HTML::Mason 0.5 A component-based perl web development environment
HybServ 1.4.5 Services for the Hybrid IRCD server
id3ed 1.6 ID3 tag editor for mp3 files. Interactive and command line modes.
iHash 1.4 June 8 Java class files optimizer
ImageMagick 4.2.7 Package for display and interactivemanipulation of images for X11
IMP 2.0.5 IMAP and PHP3 based webmail system
Install-Sendmail 4.4 install-sendmail will configure sendmail and fetchmail for you.
install-ssh 1.0.2 Downloads, Patches, Compiles, and Installs SSH in RPM format
IPAD 0.9.01 Intelligent vector drawing package
IRCo 2.52 An advanced IRCd based on Undernets IRCu
irssi 0.7.11 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
ISDK 2.0.0beta3 Information System Development Kit
jed 0.99-6 Powerful editor, terminal and X11 interface
jEdit 1.7pre2 Powerful text editor
jonama 1.1.3 SSL proxy
K12Admin 0.1 A web-based server administration tool for K-12 school systems.
kfirewall 3.0 GUI for ipchains or ipfwadm
KJukeBox 0.3 KJukeBox is an MP3 Player which can handle big MP3 archives
KLicq 0.61-2 A patched version of Licq with support for the KDE desktop.
KNewMail 3.1.1 KDE application designed to check multiple pop3 servers for email.
KPriMa 0.1 A KDE Print Manager, a GUI to the ps utilities and your print command
Launcher 0.85 One-stop filetype/application mapping solution
libfax 0.3.2 Library for C programs to easily send faxes using external programs.
libodbc++ 0.2.0 A class library for accessing databases from c++
Libsigc++ 0.8.0 Callback framework for C++
Limo 0.2 Configurable replacement for ls
LinuDent 0.0.1 A Dental Practice Management Software program
Linux JDK 1.2-pre-v2 Provides a full port of Sun's JDK (Solaris version) to Linux
Linux trustees 1.1 Linux ACL
Linux VPN Masquerade 1.0 Masquerade support for IPSec and PPTP VPN traffic
lm_sensors 2.3.3 LM78 and LM75 drivers
lold 0.1.4 The LameOver Linux Demo Project
Lynx 2.8.2 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
LyX 1.0.3 Advanced LaTeX-based typesetting and text-editing program for X11
MARS 1.4 Java-based network services status monitor
mcrypt 2.2.0 A replacement for the old unix crypt(1). Uses several block algorithms.
Memchan 1.9 In-Memory channels for Tcl
MetaKit for Tcl 1.1 Cross-platform, highly dynamic database extension for Tcl
mgstep 0.125 An attempt at creating a small lite derivative of GNUstep
minicom 1.82.2beta Serial communication program
MiniMate Administration tool for MiniVend
MiniVend 3.14 Powerful freely redistributable shopping cart package
mkrdns 1.4 Program to automatically generate reverse DNS zone files (PTR records)
MM 1.0.6 Shared Memory Library
Mobitex Radio Modem Driver 1.8 Network driver for Ericsson Mobidems and other MASC-speaking modems
mod_ssl 2.3.2-1.3.6 Apache Interface to OpenSSL
Molasses 1.0.3 Sticky notes app
most 4.9.0 Browse or page through a text file
mpstat 0.0.4 Helps monitoring SMP machines
MRTd 1.6.1a Routing protocol daemon (BGP, RIP, OSPF) and tools
MultiMail 0.26 Offline Mail Reader (QWK)
Mutt 0.95.6 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
MyNews 0.93 A news displayer
MySQL 3.22.23b SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
nasm 0.98 80x86 assembler designed for portability and modularity
netcomics 0.7 A perl script that downloads today's comics from the Web
NetReality 0.0.1 NetReality reads, understands, organizes, and presents Web content in VR
NewsForum 1.2 NewsForum - Put your news on the web
NPS 0.9.15 Non-Preemtive Thread Scheduling Library
NumPres 0.2.0 Caller ID program
Open GRiD 0.1.0 A project to create Open Global Ranking Search Engine and Directory (Open GRiD)
OpenLDAP 1.2.3 LDAP suite of applications and development tools
Oracle Session Monitor 1.0pre1 X11 program that can be used to monitor user sessions your Oracle Database
Oracle TableBrowser 1.0pre1 An Oracle Table and Index Browser for GTK
pam_cucipop 1.31-4 Patch to use PAM with cucuipop
Panorama 0.12 Framework for creating, rendering, and processingthree-dimensional images
passwdd 0.02-patch1 Password synchronization server/client
pcmcia-cs 3.0.12 Card Services for Linux is a complete PCMCIA or ``PC Card'' support package.
Penguineyes 0.7.1 Linux-ified version of Xeyes written with GTK+ and Imlib
PerlSETI 0.2 GUI front end for the SETI@home client, programmed in Perl. Many Statistics.
pgpgpg 0.13 wrapper around GnuPG which takes PGP 2.6 command line options
Pharmacy 0.2.0 GNOME frontend to CVS
PHP 3.0.9 HTML-embedded scripting language
phpPolls 1.0.1 PHP Voting Booth
pidentd+fm patch 1.1 Patch for pidentd to add fake userid query, IP masquerade and relay
Poorcount 1.5 CGI scripts to enable counters in home pages for Web servers
PoPToP 0.8.9 PPTP Server for Linux
Postfix 19990601 The Postfix MTA
PostgreSQL 6.5beta2 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
Pre_Html 0.4.1 A very simple HTML preprocessor
prips 0.9a Print IP addresses in a given range
Pyrite 0.7.2 Palm Computing platform communication kit for Python
PySol-Cardsets 2.14 A collection of free cardsets for use with PySol
Q2Java 0.9.5 Allows Quake2 games to be written in Java
QtDragon 0.7.5b A tool to configure the telephone-related stuff of a DataBoxSpeed Dragon
Quadra 1.0.1 A shareware, TCP/IP multiplayer T*tris-like game.
quftp 0.93.2 Command line FTP client with queueing
RadioActive 0.4 Radio tuner for X11 and Video4Linux
Robot Race 52 An Excellent 90% completed Robo Rally server needing an equivalent client.
Roxen Challenger 1.3.111 Platform independent webserver featuring strong encryption and SSL3
rxvt 2.6.0 A VT102 emulator for the X window system
Saint 1.4 beta1 Security Administrator's Integrated Network Tool
sci 0.2.7 A data entry screen builder which works from ASCII templates
scp-wrapper 1.0.0 A wrapper for scp and cp, with non controlling tty supprot.
scrnsavd 0.7 Screensaver daemon for textmode
ScryMUD 1.9.5 Original MUD Server and Java Client
SETI@Home Client 1.2 Distributed SETI data-analysis client
shtool 1.2.9 Shell Script Collection
Siag Office 3.1.16 Free office package for Unix
slang 1.3.7 A powerful interpreted language
Sleuth 1.0 A utility for checking DNS zones for bugs
slush 0.1.2 SSL remote shell
SmallEiffel -0.78 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
SOMLib 0.4 The Simple Object Model for C++
SoundTracker 0.1.5 A music tracker for X / GTK+
SpeedyCGI 1.8.1 Speeds up Perl CGI scripts by running them persistently
Sprite32/X 0.5 2D sprite-based animation for X11
Spruce 0.4.5 Simple email client coded for X with the Gtk widget set
squidGuard 1.0.0 Fast and flexible redirector, filter and access controller plugin for squid
sredird 1.0.0 RFC 2217 compliant serial port redirector
strobe-classb 1.7 Compact network scanner, Linux-specific, for scanning large networks.
Superficie 0.6 A program for basic 3D surfaces viewing and manipulation.
Swift Generator 0.8.2 Dynamic Flash content generator.
SysWatch 1.0 Web based system watch utility
terminatorX 3.1 Realtime Audio Synthesizer (DJ Scratching)
Terraform 0.3.2 Interactive digital terrain (height field) editor/viewer
teTeX 1.0 Best TeXdistribution for UNIX
tgif 4.1.15 Vector-based draw tool
The Comic Book Database for Linux 0.7.0 Comics helps you keep track of almost every facet of you comic book collection.
The Finger Server 0.80 Web based, pseudo unix finger server
The Gimp 1.1.6 The GNU Image Manipulation Program
The Igor Project 0.1.0 A Java library that can be used to transform DB records into XML.
THUD 0.15 Cycle-based Scheme-HDL register-transfer level simulator
Tick-A-Stat 0.2.1 Displays various warnings and events in a ticker type style
tinyproxy 1.2.6 A small, lightweight, easy-to-configure HTTP proxy.
TkDiff 3.03 Graphical 2-way diff/merge
TkNotepad 0.5.0 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
tkWorld 1.20 Wes's Own Really Lazy Desktop
tkxanim 0.40 Tcl/Tk front end to xanim
TkZip 1.0.10 X front end to standard archiving/compression programs
TOAD 0.42.19-pre6 C++ GUI library
TOM 1.0 The TOM compiler, tools, and basic libraries
Trf 1.7 Filtering channels for Tcl, MAC, Encryption, Error correction, various encodings
Trfcrypt 1.2 Add-On to Trf, various encryption algorithms
tsbiff 1.2 Tsbiff will oversee your mailbox and notify you when new messages appears
TT-News 0.1 A headline-news ticker for the TT news agency (Swedish)
TWIG 0.3.9 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
U2NT 1.3 Unix to NT porting library
UCS Checker 1.0 A simple network service checker
VFU File Manager 1.51 Extensivelyl featured console (text-mode) file manager.
Viewmol 2.2.1 Molecule builder/editor and visualizer for molecular modeling programs
ViPEC 1.08 Network analyzer for high frequency electrical networks
vpnd 1.0.6 Virtual Private Network Daemon - encrypted TCP/IP.
Website META Language 1.7.1 Webdesign HTML-generation toolkit
Welcome2L 3.03 Linux ANSI boot logo
Window Maker 0.60.0 X11 window manager with NEXTSTEP look and feel
WMLmMon 2.0 Lm78/75 monitor applet for WindowMaker
WMMon+SMP 1.0 WMMon modified to work on Dual-Processor systems
WordNet 1.6 on-line lexical reference system
Work report 0.2pre2 Keeps track of your hours of work
WSoundPrefs 1.0.0 WMSound Server Configuration Utility
X-Chat 0.9.7 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
XawTV 2.45 TV application and a few utilities
XChangeTitle 1.0 Change title of X-titlebars
XFce 3.0 Pre-release 1 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
XNotesPlus 3.2 Sticky notes with PalmPilot interface, envelope printer, projects, etc.
xterm Patch #105 A terminal emulator for the X Window System
Xwhois 0.3.6 Small and fast GTK+ X11 client for the internet whois network services.
yafc 0.4.1 Yet Another FTP Client

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

OpenSec is a directory of free security software. Lots of good stuff there, it's worth a look. They also have an announcement mailing list for security-related software.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

June 10, 1999



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.
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999 22:41:49 -0400
From: William Hoffman <whoffman@erols.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: This is the lynchpin

in your enumeration of the challenges facing the RedHat IPO and the
Linux community as a whole:

"The GNU General Public License (GPL) might not be enforceable. This
concern arises mostly because the GPL has never been tested in court."

It's a coin-flip which way a conservative Supreme Court would go on the
GPL. On the one hand, numerous powerful vested interests (MS only the
first and most visible among them) would like to be freed from this
turbulent priest. On the other hand, capital thrives on innovation that
leads to lower costs and higher profits, and big software users are
jazzed about Linux's MCI potential against Microsoft's obnoxious Ma Bell
status. Either way, though, the game will be decided only partly in the
marketplace. It may take years to settle the issue. But it is the
Supreme Court, I believe, that will deal the last card.

Linux supporters are not helpless in this. The more hardware and
software vendors who actively (i.e., $$$) support GPL alternatives, the
harder it will be for the court to uproot them. All protestations of
obiesance to constitutional principle and the beauties of equal justice
aside, when the day of decision arrives the Supreme Court almost always
decides in favor of _net profit_. The longer GPL proponents can stall
that day, the better the odds are in their favor. Yet I fear that in the
rush to recruit corporate sponsors and formulate standards that will
allow newbies like me to play Half Life on their laptops, the importance
of this somewhat abstract yet absolutely crucial legal underpinning may
be lost. And we will have to wait another generation before a similarly
promising new model of collaborative property relations develops to
challenge the hitherto dominant form, which appears increasingly likely
ultimately to lead only to monopoly, ruin and decay.

William Hoffman

Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 09:07:54 +0200 (CEST)
From: Helge Kreutzmann <kreutzm@itp.uni-hannover.de>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: RH 6.0 pricing

Dear Editor !

One point you missed in your editorial of the June 3rd issue regarding
RH's pricing are the international customers. Until 5.2 RH was priced
simmilar to e.g. SuSE, making it an alternative choice. Since online
time is expensive (at least here in Germany) many bought the CD set as
downloading is not a real option.

RH's new strategy hinders its market acceptance: The $80 set has no
extra value, as long distance calles into the US are too expensive as
well (and would have to be done in inconvenient times as were are
several hours off US time zones); having to order directly from RH the
$40 set is also inconvenient (because of the exchange, you probably
need a credit card etc.).

The conclusion can only be for non-US-customers: reconsider using RH.
While Alpha users (like me) now have serveral choices I do feel sorry
for the sparc users.

My $0.02 worth


       Helge Kreutzmann

            Vote against spam: http://www.politik-digital.de/spam/

Is your penguin 64 bit ?  -->   http://www.stud.uni-hannover.de/~helgek

Date: Sat, 05 Jun 1999 07:17:32 -0600
From: Jeffery Cann <jccann@home.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: The future of Red Hat?

Read on Lwn in 1999:

   The end result is that consumers of the system will not be all that
   put out. Even $80 is not a huge price to pay for a quality
   operating system.

Read on Lwn in 2000:

   The end result is that consumers of the system will not be all that
   put out. Even $160 is not a huge price to pay for a quality
   operating system.

Read on Lwn in 2001:

   The end result is that consumers of the system will not be all that
   put out. Even $320 is not a huge price to pay for a quality 
   operating system.

Read on Lwn in 2002:

   The end result is that consumers of the system will not be all that
   put out. Even $640 is not a huge price to pay for a quality
   operating system.

I find it interesting that the opinion is that "... consumers of the
system will not be all that put out."  I'm put out.  I'll pay $80 for
Red Hat's (buggy) distribution when hell freezes over.

Jeffery Cann
From: Decklin Foster <decklin@home.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 18:06:12 -0400
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Red Hat Core is still GPLed

> Resellers of Linux, however, have more to worry about. Companies
> like the Linux Mall, Linux System Labs and others, which certainly
> played a role in making Red Hat the successful company that it is,
> are now finding themselves squeezed on Red Hat's expensive
> distribution. Evidently Red Hat's reseller price is so high that a
> number of these companies are selling it at a loss.  Simultaneously
> they are finding themselves undercut by Red Hat itself, which is
> offering a cheaper version that they can not sell.

What's the point? Red Hat is GPLed, as it always has been -- there's
no way that Red Hat can keep people from copying/selling their
distribution unless they make everything they contributed proprietary
(not likely). A cursory scan of LSL's site shows that they are still
selling the GPL cd (I switched to FTPing Debian over my cable modem a
while ago, so I haven't really been keeping up) -- and the pre-order
is $0.00.

While I don't use Red Hat myself, I don't like to see people feeding
the big fear that they're going to be the new Microsoft or something
(I have never worried about this, and anyone who does out to try out
Debian for a minute on a spare machine.) Please try to be a little
more objective.
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 10:51:57 +0300 (GMT)
From: Roberto Alsina <ralsina@unl.edu.ar>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Re: KDE wars

I just can't believe that Nathan Myers is suggesting that the solution
for a theoretical problem (namespace pollution by Qt's signal/slot/emits)
is to make it a practical problem.

I mean: currently there is no problem with that, since it does not
collide with anything, and he proposes to actually *make* it collide.

He is proposing to make the possible problems happen!

That's so weird I can't even start to understand it.

 ("\''/").__..-''"`-. .         Roberto Alsina
 `9_ 9  )   `-. (    ).`-._.`)  ralsina@unl.edu.ar
 (_Y_.)' ._   ) `._`.  " -.-'   Centro de Telematica
  _..`-'_..-_/ /-'_.'           Universidad Nacional del Litoral
(l)-'' ((i).' ((!.'             Santa Fe - Argentina
                                KDE Developer (MFCH)
An opinion you can't give reasons for is not an opinion worth having (I)

Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 10:58:26 +0100
From: Derek <derek at fortstar dot demon dot co dot uk>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: KDE Wars

I was more than a little surprised by the attitude taken by Nathan
Myers in his letter to last week's LWN where he criticises Troll Tech
for it's use of non standard directives in it's C++ Qt library.

Firstly, this is a Troll Tech/Qt issue, not a KDE one. The KDE team
are users of Troll Tech's product, and while they have an indirect say
in what goes into it, they are not really in a position to start
redefining Troll Tech's macros in the KDE source. Such action is bound
to break things in both existing and future releases of code. Pointing
the finger at the KDE developers and crying "arrogance" is unfair.

While I agree that Troll Tech could have chosen less contentious names
for their macros, anybody who writes library or header code is, by
definition, claiming a part of the namespace. Troll Tech's claim to
the 'emit' macro is no less valid than, as a random example,
'GTK_TOOLBAR_TEXT'. If I want to use that string in one of my
programs, I can't, but that's hardly a major problem. Besides that,
Troll Tech aren't claiming to have extended C++. The 'emit' macro, for
example, is defined as empty. It's just a cue for the person reading
the program, or, in some cases, the Meta Object Compiler which Qt uses
as a compilation tool.

My real problem with Nathan's argument is his assertion that other
software developers should deliberately attempt to use these macro's
names in other contexts in order to hobble the ability of users to use
KDE and other Qt related software. What sort of attitude is that to
adopt in the free software community? Flame wars about which products
are better, and which is the way forward are all very well, but this
sort of thing is just plain nasty.

One thing which the KDE/GNOME war has shown is that the open source
community can be an ungrateful lot. Troll Tech have donated a huge
amount of work to us, but because they are trying to make a living out
of their product as well, they get massive amounts of grief from those
in ivory towers.

Qt-2.0 is due out soon, and since a lot of work is being done on
rewriting Qt based software for it, this might be a good opportunity
in order to rename those macros to something a little less
contentious.  Anyone who feels strongly enough about the issue should
make their feelings felt to Troll Tech, who might be responsive if
their header files are causing genuine problems.

In the meantime, deliberately trying to sabotage any software which
depends on the Qt library is the sort of action which takes open
source software backwards in leaps and bounds.

Derek Fountain
Southampton, England
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 23:55:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bill Soudan <wes0472@osfmail.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: A new KDE war?
To: editor@lwn.net, ncm@cantrip.org

I read Nathan Myers's short note on "KDE Wars" as appeared in the June
3, 1999 edition of Linux Weekly News.  Normally I am fairly laid back
about the KDE vs. GNOME situation, however, this article in particular
caught my eye right away.  Is the author trying to start a new war

>From his note:

> The solution remaining for the rest of us is to assert our right to
> these names by using them freely, in header files of other
> libraries, as formal argument names, struct member names,
> member-function names, and as local variables in inline functions:

>  inline int do_stuff(int signals) { int slots; ...

> We can also insert "#undef signals", etc., directives.  Eventually,
> as they find it increasingly difficult to build programs that rely
> on useful non-KDE libraries, the KDE developers will be forced to
> give up their claimed monopoly on those names, and begin to act as
> responsible members of the cooperative software development
> community.

While the author may have a valid point, deliberately writing code
with the pointed purpose of breaking Qt and KDE seems to be the wrong
way to go about this issue.  As a Qt programmer myself, I would gladly
argue Qt's signal/slot mechanism is so well integrated into the
language that it is worth losing three relatively obscure keywords.
Futhermore, there are many other toolkits and applications that claim
more than three generic macro keywords.  When was the last time the
author browsed /usr/X11R6/include/X.h?  Would he code a library with
the express purpose of breaking X applications by including:

   inline int DoStuff(bool Above) { int CurrentTime; ...

I would think not, if he desired his library to be useful.

Finally, would you really think of yourself as a "responsible member
of the cooperative software development community" writing this type
of code?  If yes, please take on the other problem toolkits in
addition to Qt.

Bill Soudan

Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 13:33:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nathan Myers <ncm@best.com>
To: wes0472@osfmail.isc.rit.edu
Subject: Re: A new KDE war?

Bill Soudan <wes0472@rit.edu> wrote:
> I read Nathan Myers's short note on "KDE Wars" as appeared in the
> June 3, 1999 edition of Linux Weekly News. ... Is the author trying
> to start a new war here?

No.  I would like nothing better than for Qt or KDE to fix their
broken headers.
> ... When was the last time the author browsed /usr/X11R6/include/X.h? 

The macros defined in X.h are a problem, but they are an old and
well-known problem.  The presence of old problems does not excuse
introducing new ones.  Rather, we should know better, given the

The correct solution, as for all problems of this nature, is to rename
the macros according to the industry-wide convention: all upper-case,
and scoped by a library-identifying prefix.  If this has been done in
the first place, as it is done routinely in well-behaved libraries,
this exchange would not be necessary.  If Troll Tech and KDE refuse to
fix their own problems, they can expect continuing conflict.

Using the names "emits", "signals", and "slots" in other libraries
(e.g. the Linux kernel headers!) helps preserve our right to use those
names, just as exercising our constitutional rights helps to preserve
our freedom.

Nathan Myers

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