Some discussion on the best motherboards and processors for SMP
systems. There seems to be a bit of dissatisfaction with Intel's
current offerings; it seems that the Pentium II onboard cache only
runs at half the CPU speed, which greatly reduces its usefulness in
the multiprocessing environment (which is even more memory bound
than uniprocessors, often).
The best bet for folks looking for multiprocessor screamer systems is to wait until Spring or so when the "deschutes" (400 MHz Pentium II) comes out; it will have a full-speed cache. It will also have a new slot type (again) so don't expect to upgrade to it with your existing motherboards.
A "road map" of Intel's upcoming offerings can be found at
Questions arose in c.o.l.d.system regarding rescanning the SCSI bus to pick up a new peripheral (i.e. a tape drive that had just been turned on). 2.1.* can do this, just drop some information into /proc/scsi/scsi (assuming you have the sysctl option turned on). Check out drivers/scsi/scsi.c for details. Everybody warns, though, that SCSI busses were not designed for hot plugging of devices, so one needs to use this capability with care...
Gcc 2.8 was released by the FSF. Unfortunately, it does not seem able to compile working kernels, so the recommendation seems to be to avoid it for now.
Initial debate focused on whether devfs was needed or not. The consensus seems to be that it is a useful addition, though a few strong dissenters exist. A much longer discussion tried to work out just what the devfs entries should look like, with emphasis on SCSI devices. Nobody likes that SCSI disks get renumbered when hardware changes happen; everybody agrees that encoding the bus, target, and unit numbers into the devfs entries would solve the problem. Given that much agreement, one would think the rest would be easy, but it was not to be.
The consensus ended up being something like:
/dev/sd/c0b0t0d0s0where the zeroes are replaced by the numbers of the controller, bus, target, unit, and partition. There is, however, a multi- directory variant still in contention.
There is also a strong set of voices asking for dev entries to be named after the partition's mount point (i.e. /dev/usr). There are difficulties posed by this scheme, and the general sense seems to be that it should be a user-mode add on.
Problems remain regarding what the permissions should be on the (dynamic) device entries.
Linus has been silent through this whole discussion, so it's not really clear whether he likes the idea or not. In any case, the 2.1 kernel is supposed to be in a code freeze, meaning that devfs would not appear in 2.2 unless an exception is made.
Some complaints this week about difficulties with the PAM (pluggable authentication modules) system. Not that these are Alpha-specific, but that's where the gripes went. Some people think PAM isn't quite ready for prime time yet. Maybe not, but it's a nice approach to the authentication problem anyway, and it seems to be getting there fast.
Some alpha folks are pleased with the publicity regarding linux/alpha's use in the creation of the film 'Titanic.' See http://www.linuxjournal.com/issue46/2494.html. One wag commented on the fact that they evidently had some difficulties with floating point exceptions -- he claims the same could be said for the Titanic as well...
Questions were asked about whether netscape 4.04 can be made to run on an alpha system. Answers were mixed, but the consensus seems to be 'yes'. Of course, you need a (properly licensed, of course) copy of the DEC unix libraries for this to work. Maybe someday Netscape will put out a native linux/alpha port.
Some folks have reported problems with programs compiled with gcc under optimization. The suggestion: use -O0 (oh zero) if you're seeing weirdness, or maybe even before you see weirdness.
Some questions were raised about whether multiple monitors can be used under linux-PPC. The answer is that it is a work in progress; interested folks are referred to
Here you'll find descriptions, Sun part numbers, and, in a lot of cases, the actual boot rom images, ready for downloading into your very own eeprom...
Caldera has issued two recent security advisories, dated December 31, 1997 and January 9, 1998. The first reports a vulnerability with identd which can allow denial-of-service attacks. The second reports a weakness in metamail (version 2.7-5 and earlier) in which a faked mime enclosure can be used to write or overwrite a user's file.
These security advisories, and older Caldera advisories, can be found on Caldera's Security page.
Rumors of release requirements and an upcoming code freeze float on the airways. New packages have been released for sparc, alpha, m68K and i386 platforms, though only the last two fix any urgent problems.
Some users have had unco problems with using dselect to remove packages under Debian. Reasons for this are currently unclear and begin debated, but one workaround is to use dpkg directly for package removal instead.
Can a corporation and the free software community truly work together? Red Hat is betting on it with the formation of a new division - Red Hat Advanced Development Labs. Plans are to work with the Free software development community to develop a highly accessible graphical computing environment on Linux. Check out RHAD's Web page at http://www.labs.redhat.com.
One of the FAQs of the week has to do with the newer versions of Apache, which no longer recognize files ending in '.htm' as HTML files. As a result, your viewers see the straight HTML, which is probably not what you had in mind. The solution is to add a line like:
AddType text/html .htm
to httpd.conf, or, alternatively:
text/html html htm
A call has been made on java-linux for coordinating the JAVA-Linux effort. A site is needed as well as a coordinator. Contact Mark Swanson firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a good link to the net that is not likely to disappear over the next few years and are interested.
|Awethor||A java-based graphics authoring tool (commercial).|
|BD4||5.05||A Boulderdash game for X.|
|bibprep||Bibliography preprocessor for HTML files.|
|cdlabel||1.1||Generate inserts for CD cases.|
|ChemApp||Computational thermochemistry tool|
|clig||1.0.1||Command line interpreter generator.|
|Gmemusage||0.2||Graphically monitor system memory usage.|
|HT-MIME||0.80||A MIME mode enhancement for emacs rmail.|
|kdrill||5.5||A program to teach (and drill) Kanji.|
|Kpilot||(first)||KDE-based "hot sync" manager for Palm Pilots.|
|ksermon||0.2||Serial port monitor (see signals, transfer rates). KDE-enabled.|
|LLNL XDIR||2.1b1||Motif-based graphical FTP client.|
|multitrack||2.0||Record multitrack sound to disk.|
|mxApps||1.09||Motif-based email and FTP clients.|
|paudio||0.1||Save outgoing audio data to a file.|
|Quickscript||A postscript text formatting and typesetting program.|
|ras||Redundant archive system - adds redundant information to a set of files such that partial losses can be recovered.|
|SSLtcl||0.42||Add secure socket layer capability to TCL.|
|texi2html||Convert TeXinfo files to HTML|
|Un*x attack||16-player tank attack game.|
|urlmon||2.3||Monitor web sites for changes.|
|varkon||1.15C||Development tool for parametric CAD and engineering applications.|
|vold||1.1||Automatically mount CDROMs.|
|Webalizer||Web server logfile analysis|
|xab||An X11-based address book.|
|xdnd||An X11 drag and drop protocol.|
|Xenmenu||0.7a||Generate text-based menus.|
|xirc||2.2||X11-based IRC client.|
|XSuSE||X servers with support for the Trident Cyber 9397 (Thinkpad 770) chipset and for Riva128-based cards.|