Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Kernel page.
The current development kernel version is 2.1.130. Linus announced this one as the basted turkey release; he claims it goes well with red wine. Among other things, this release is alleged to have a definitive fix to the "UP flu" and some other problems. For the adventurous, there is 2.1.131 prepatch 3 available at press time.
2.1.129, released just after the last issue of LWN went out, was presented by Linus as "perfect and bug free." That was meant in jest, of course, but the truth is that 2.2 is getting closer. We may yet get a new stable kernel in our Christmas stockings.
Simon Kenyon has announced a "history of the Linux operating system" project. He's looking to gather a lot of information, including interesting postings, information about contributors, anecdotes, etc. Please see the announcement and drop him a note if you have something to contribute.
As an offshoot of the history project, some folks have tried to put together a complete archive of released Linux kernels. Initially it seemed that there were a lot of missing kernels, which, of course, bothered those who want to collect the whole set. But Riley Williams has managed to put together an almost complete collection of historic Linux kernels. They are all available for download; people with time on their hands can boot 0.97 for old time's sake.
A proposal for the "Linux kernel compilation project" has been circulated. This project is trying to address the sorts of compilation problems that arise occasionally for subsets of users when a new kernel is released; the thesis is that these problems usually represent a bug in need of fixing somewhere. If a new kernel could be quickly and automatically built with a large set of configurations, many of these problems could be found and fixed sooner. The proposal and a followup posting have the details.
Problems with the international crypto patch for the Linux kernel? That question came up after this messagewas posted; the author had found some suspicious things in the crypto patch. In some cases, plain (unencrypted) text could possibly be leaked directly into the encrypted stream. The discovery prompted a series of updated crypto patches, initially one which fixed the plaintext leak. More followed; the current version of the international crypto patch is 126.96.36.199.
As this work was being done, the difficulties of dealing with national crypto laws came up yet again. In particular, U.S. export laws make it virtually impossible for any sort of interesting crypto work to be done here; this seems to be the government's way of forcing an important industry offshore. To try to get around some of these hurdles, Oliver Xymoron has announced a new mailing list dedicated to the creation of tools which will facilitate cooperative international crypto development. These tools are likely to involve the use of "postal mail to email gateways", since U.S. allows the export of crypto code on paper (but not on a wire).
Some useful 2.1 networking documentation has been released. Andi Kleen has rewritten a number of networking man pages to reflect the new features available in the upcoming 2.2 kernel. He's looking for reviewers; see his note if you would like to have a look and send him your comments.
Horacio J. Peņa has put together a policy routing mini-HOWTO. This version is terse and not for the beginner, but it's a good first start at describing one of the useful new networking features.
It's clear that the world is changing when the mainstream trade press covers a development kernel release. In this case, TechWeb covered the 2.1.129 kernel release with an eye toward 2.2. "Torvalds plans to release a 'pre-2.2' kernel in another week, then take a vacation while others tinker with it. He'll add any last-minute fixes and officially release the 2.2 kernel before Christmas."
December 3, 1998