Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
IBM's announcement of AFS for Linux is another nice bit of recognition. But anybody who is thinking about actually deploying AFS would do well to have a look at the Coda filesystem pagefirst. Coda is a descendent of the same CMU research project that produced AFS, is free (and included in the 2.1 kernel), and is potentially better.
Do you pine for the nice days of Linux 0.12, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on Linux? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program working? If so, the IOS (Improved Operating System) project may be just what you're looking for. They are trying to write their own free system from the beginning, and they're looking for volunteers. It's ambitious, but, at this point, we know it can be done... (Apologies to Linus Torvalds for playing with his words, and thanks to OS News for calling this project to our attention).
Our list of "links of the week" candidates is getting shorter; we could use some suggestions. If you know of a good web site that is of interest to the Linux community, please drop us the URL at email@example.com. Thanks!
December 3, 1998
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Our mail was dominated by letters on the change in Qt licensing and our reporting on this change two weeks ago. Here's a selection. Please see also an editorial on the QPL sent to us by Paul Iadonisi, which is a bit too long to be included inline here.
From: Alan Cox <email@example.com> Subject: Two things To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 19:19:31 +0000 (GMT) One the Gnome hackers don't give a hoot about the Qpl. Its good that Troll has taken a small step in the direction they have, and that the KDE folks are talking about licensing changes to make all their licensing line up clearly and cleanly Gnome is based on a belief in doing things right, doing them effciently and openly in a technical superior fashion. The fact Gnome is a true GPL/LGPL project is actually perhaps of less importance - but major importance to some. Contrary to rumour the gnome-hackers are busily at work as determinedly as ever. None of the core people actually can work out what the person in the random message you cited wrote if anything. Even Martin Konold (the Linus of the KDE project so to speak) has said he wants to see Gnome continue so there is choice. Secondly: The 2.0.x series kernels have a long life yet. If we get 2.2 by December then it will probably be out before 2.0.37. Free software isn't driven by the same rules as the proprietary "make them upgrade" model. Look at other industries, things do not become instantly obsolete. I get a lot of requests that 2.0.x continues long after 2.2 is out. Linux is popular in ISP and high reliability environments. These are the kind of people to whom "if it aint broke don't fix it" is a religion. Future Linux 2.0.x kernels like the 1.2.13lmp kernels before them are a commitment to that community. Alan
To: email@example.com From: "Michael K. Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: GNOME Morale Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:26:43 -0500 Contrary to your statement in LWN of November 19th, morale in the GNOME camp has not dropped considerably since the QPL was announced. No one in the GNOME camp is quite sure precisely what Greg S. Hayes is resigning from; he is certainly not a core GNOME developer, and so far his resignation (from the mailing list?) has been a stampede of one. As you reported, the QPL's adherence to the OSD is questioned, and it is quite clear that it is Troll Tech's intention not to provide LGPL-like conditions for Qt. One of GNOME's many distinctives is LGPL (or similar) license conditions for its libraries, allowing commercial software vendors as well as free software authors to build GNOME software. GNOME's raison d'etre has not changed an iota. Your kind and persuasive arguments that GNOME should continue are gladly read; they are among the many that GNOME developers have already come up with for continuing, regardless of the very slight change in Qt's license conditions. michaelkjohnson "Magazines all too frequently lead to books and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature." -- Fran Lebowitz Linux Application Development http://www.redhat.com/~johnsonm/lad/
From: Daniel Tasch <email@example.com> Subject: your article on qt To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 14:26:15 -0500 (EST) I am writing in regard to the following that appeared in LWN: "In other words, it is not the GPL, but it is probably good enough. It does mean that linking KDE (which is GPL'd) with Qt is probably still legally questionable, but that is something the KDE people can easily fix if they want by tweaking their own license." Unfortunately, you do not understand. The can't change the license. KDE is GPL, and to change even one period in the license (GPL) they would have to get the consent of every single KDE developer, and the consent of the author of every GPL program from which they borrowed code. This would be virtually impossible to do. So KDE remains GPL, and the licensing problems remain. Only one of two things will fix this problem, a GPL Qt, or a GPL Harmony. Period. -- Dan Tasch email@example.com
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 17:26:46 +0100 From: Martin Cracauer <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Your comments on KDE One thing is missing from your pro/contra QPL discussion: If the KDE folks would decide to switch their own code form GPL to something compatible with the QPL, they couldn't integrate any GPL from other source anymore, nor could they "KDE"ize GPL applications without permission by the original authors. Especially the latter would be a great loss since KDE isn't just a collection of programs, it's a way these programs work together. I also questions whether this is Troll's or the GPL's fault.
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 18:09:39 +0100 From: Waldo Bastian <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Gnome and KDE Hi People at LWN :) As one of the many KDE developers I would like to make some remarks about your editorial. You state: > KDE, for all that it is clearly the best desktop that Linux has, Thank you very much. > looks an awful lot like so many other systems out there. True. KDE tries to incorporate those UI features which have proven themselves useful. It's neither a goal to look like MS-Windows or to NOT look like MS-Windows (or whatever system). The goal is to look good and ergonomic. > GNOME was founded with a vision of doing things differently: tighter > integration of applications through the CORBA bus, a more artistic > and experimental look, choice of window managers, no dependence on > any one company, etc. I am not that familair with GNOME that I can comment on their vision. I would like to state however that some of the above is not that different from the vision of KDE: * CORBA integration has been planned for some time now in KDE. The KOffice package makes extensive use of CORBA. After the release of KDE 1.1 the plan is to integrate CORBA in other components as well. * Unlike popular believe, KDE is not a window manager. Part of KDE is KWM, a window manager. It is not necassery to use KWM. Any other window manager can be used with KDE as well. It does have some advantages to use KWM, since some features of KDE are not possible with non-KDE-aware window managers. KWM, however, is not the only KDE-aware window manager. I believe Window Maker is KDE-aware as well and possibly others. * People probably wildly disagree on the issue "what looks good?". KDE currently has modest support for themes. Most widgets however, are based on Qt-widgets which come in two flavours (Motif and MS-Windows look I believe). I am told that the 2.0 release of Qt will support themes for the widgets. By then KDE should be fully "theme-able". I assume Gnome has this already. The two biggest differences between KDE and GNOME in my opinion are the fact that GNOME has chosen to use a fully free toolkit instead of a commercial one and the fact that GNOME is largely C based in contrast to KDE which is C++ based. Both these choices have their own pro's and con's. > The fact that KDE will now sprout up on a lot more desktops does not > change the value of that vision. The competition between the two > desktop projects has also clearly helped to push both forward. This is certainly true. Somewhat more cooperation between the two projects would however be very welcome. I would like to point out that KDE (probably quite like Gnome) is just a bunch of people working on the same project. All those people have an opinion of their own, the opinions in this message are my opinions. I am sure there are KDE developers which have quite different opinions. Thank you for your attention, Best regards, Waldo Bastian firstname.lastname@example.org -- Patcher of the HTML Widget, Lord of the broken Tag.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 15:44:47 +0100 From: Avus <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: QPL and OSS; Gnome facing a new situation Dear LWN Editor, I usually enjoy reading the LWN very much and want to congratulate you to this publication. This weeks editorial, however, makes me a bit unhappy. It downplays the importance of Troll Tech's move to make their product Open Source; we're talking about their key product, and not a peripheral one like Mozilla, which Netscape couldn't sell anyway (they make their money with servers and advertising). You write that "not everybody is happy with Troll's new license", which is absolutely clear at the moment, given the very emotional discussions in the recent past. The large majority, including the most prominent Linux personalities, have approved of the license (RMS hasn't commented yet). You also fail to mention that this is only a DRAFT, not the final version. I'd rather propose some clarifications than condemning it aforehand. You say "it is not the GPL, but it is probably good enough". What means 'good enough'??? As a strong supporter of Open Source I think it is BETTER than the GPL (in this case). This may sound provocative, but don't forget the following: - The GPL isn't compatible with (many) other OSS licenses - The GPL is very long, and still very unclear, e.g. in the case of what 'part of the system' means. Therefor we have a lot of confusion wether linking to certain libraries is legal or not. - The GPL V.2 doesn't know about (Corba) objects: Is such an object treated as a library or as a separate programme? In the former case a commercial programme couldn't use a GPL'd object, while in the latter this would be possible. Example: StarOffice/Worperfect wants to call a GPL'd KDE/Gnome configuration object. Is this legal? The main confusion that occurs is about the STATUS OF PATCHES. This is what leads Khimenko Victor in one of the above letters to the conclusion that the QPL is not OSD compatible. Bruce Perens has said he'd clarify the patch clause in the OSD, but I suggest that "patch" should also be defined in the QPL. QPL IS OPEN SOURCE: The OSD demands that "modifications and derived works" must be allowed. But is also explicitly mentions that a "patch+pristine source"-only distribution is possible (art. 4). A patch does not contain any original code, so it is neither a modification nor derived from it. A patch is "source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time" (OSD, art. 4) It can therefor have a DIFFERENT license, in QPL's case a freer one. However, after the patch is applied to Qt, the resulting work is modified and has to be under the same license as before, the QPL. GNOME and the new SITUATION I do agree with the editor that Gnome (and Harmony, BTW) should continue. But they should really focus on what's technically important now. In the past, I'd got the impression that they've sometimes hidden behind the licensing issue. Furthermore, I agree interoperability should now be of much greater importance. Especially the Corba objects compatibility should be rediscussed. The Gnome developers have to ask themselves if it was really necessary to choose an incompatible object model with MS OLE2, instead of working together with KDE on OpenParts. This looks a lot like the Not Invented Here syndrome... But it's still not too late to change that. Regards B. Avus p.s.: Just for fairness I'll comment on some of the misinformation you've unfortunately spread: a) You *do* have a choice of windowmanagers (use whatever you want). b) KDE presented and used Corba objects first (KOM/OpenParts), the whole KOffice is based on it. Gnome/Baboon(MS OLE2) came later. c) KWM has sophisticated theming capabilities (see kde.themes.org). Widget themes will come with Qt 2.0.
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 13:12:48 +0200 From: Leandro Guimaraens Faria Corcete Dutra <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Editorial for LWN I support the continuation of the Harmony project as it is, or better still as GPL instead of LGPL. Since the main reason for its existence is that KDE and related software is GPL, I see no reason to choose the weaker LGPL, which would encourage the release of even more proprietary software. I have no C programming skills, but would consider supporting the project in a less technical role and would surely use Harmony instead of Qt anytime. I agree with Carl E Thompson on the serious shortcomings and one-sideness of the QPL. I would also advance the idea that the patch mechanism enforced by QPL is the same one which made Linus Torvalds quit Minix in favor of his own kernel. -- Leandro Guimaraens Faria Corcete Dutra Amdocs Brasil Ltda
To: email@example.com Subject: QPL and the gtk+ C++ wrappers From: Guillaume Laurent <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 25 Nov 1998 19:50:26 +0100 (cc-ing the Gtk-- mailing-list) Dear LWN Editors, After the recent news from the Gnome and Harmony project which one can read on LWN, I can't resist to report that it's business as usual over here :-). Actually, this is the first message on the matter to ever appear on our mailing list. (actually business is not quite as usual, we have a feature-freeze in mid december and are hoping to release Gtk-- 1.0 in sync with gtk+ 1.2). -- Guillaume. http://www.worldnet.fr/~glaurent