Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
This is the week that VA Research's new linux.com site went live. You can check out this press release for the hype, but the site actually does look quite nice. They've done a good job of it.
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
May 20, 1999
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.
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 11:44:14 -0500 (CDT) From: Roland Dreier <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Voice over IP for Linux Hi, I saw the letter to the editor in this week's LWN asking about "internet telephone" programs for Linux. I have actually been working on a program I call gphone (short for gnome-o-phone) that does exactly that. I've been meaning to get gphone into shape to release, but my life has been very hectic and I haven't gotten around to it. The program definitely works right now: it supports full duplex and uses GSM voice compression so talking over a modem connection should be possible. It has a rudimentary GTK interface and I'm planning on adding GNOME support. The license is GPL. However, the code is best described as pre-alpha. There's a lot of stuff that I know needs to be done. But I'd be delighted to share what I have with anyone who's willing to work with code in development. And I'll let you know when I have a release that's ready for users (ie that only requires a ./configure && make install). Best, Roland Dreier email@example.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, Piotr Mitros <pmitros@MIT.EDU> Subject: RedHat & xv Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 09:20:07 -0700 From: "Zow" Terry Brugger <email@example.com> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Quick response to M. Mitros's note on the exclusion of xv from RH6. While his point is well taken, I think it has more to do with the inclusion of ee (Electric Eyes), which has all the same functionality as xv (although it does have a few flaws that I haven't had time to investigate). ee is written by Mr. Enlightenment and RH Labs developer, RasterMan. It appears that the non-free status was what prompted the original development of ee, hence leading to its eventual extinction from RH6. Disclaimer: I'm only an end-user and this info's just gleaned from what I've seen on the web. - -- "Zow" Terry Brugger firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/bruggest "Information is easy; Tapping at my PC, that is the frame of the game." - PetShopBoys -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: PGPfreeware 5.0i for non-commercial use Charset: noconv iQA/AwUBNz7iJ6fuGVwXgOQkEQLpwQCgtSPezOHuPbczk+P2W9B+Y1XKvjEAoNdE yCFXPf3ALOcEMbOUaijFI8f8 =x/pP -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 21:26:05 -0500 (CDT) From: John Morris <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The Bake-Off idea I liked the basic idea, but the proposal lacked one thing; leveraging Linux's most important advantage. We need to put price into the equation. How about this: Have an independent group list a set of jobs to be done and budgets for each. Get a major Linux friendly vendor (Dell would be a good candidate right now) to donate use of their equipment. Each team picks a server or servers from that vendor's line, loads and equips it and then ensures it meets the performance requirements. Suggested jobs would be things on the order of, Build a fileserver capable of servicing 500 users. This will be tested by running the X benchmark on N clients to simulate the load of 500 typical users. Or build a webserver capable of soaking a T-3 using static pages. Now soak a T-3 with a Slashdot type dynamic site. Make the tests pass/fail, either it delivers the specified load handling or it doesn't. Of course the real benchmark becomes how far under budget each side brings in their project. This sort of benchmark would have real interest among the bean counters. On the other hand the idea of handing each team an identical box with a virgin hard drive and seeing which team can cook up a ready to deploy solution in a fixed time is also appealing. However even there the cost factor should be hammered home by making both sides total up the cost of the software used to build the solution and guesstimate the labor costs by counting the number of manhours both sides use. John M. http://www.dtx.net/~jmorris This post is 100% M$ Free! Geek code 3.0:GCS C+++ UL++++$ P++ L+++ W+ N++ w--- Y+ 5+++ R tv- b++ e* r% =========================================================+================= #!/bin/perl -sp0777i<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<j]dsj|RSA in Perl $/=unpack('H*',$_);$_=`echo 16dio\U$k"SK$/SM$n\EsN0p[lN*1|Using this sig is lK[d2%Sa2/d0$^Ixp"|dc`;s/\W//g;$_=pack('H*',/((..)*)$/) |a federal crime!
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 15:46:03 +0100 From: Aaron.Trevena@msasglobal.com Subject: Byte to host L/Apache NT/IIS benchmark To: email@example.com Paul, I have been reading Byte since I was in College, and enjoyed it while it focused on design and solutions rather than towards the end of its hard copy life where it became just another glossy marketing tool. The core section helped with my coursework, the programming provided ideas, I was chuffed when I began to understand how technology was used in business, I even had Byte articles as references on CORBA when study distributed processing. Unfortunately most of the IT press now with the exception of Dr Dobbs, and hopefully Byte in its new format (Haven't seen enough to judge) will continue to provide a reliable independent source of information for academics and professionals. With the dumbing down brought by the skills crises, and lowering of bar to be able to produce (unfortunately usually poor) products Independent and Professional publications become even more valuable. With this in mind I ask that Byte be the venue for the benchmark Microsoft/Mindcraft (same office, same apparent marketing budget, same labs) are pushing. ZiffDavis although recently becoming independent of MS have suddenly fallen back into line. Although I trust they wouldn't rig or foul up benchmarking in the way mindcraft did, they would be happy to show NT in good light and brush problems under the carpet in small side notes. I trust Byte to independent and objective enough, I know it is respected by most of the Open source community. It would also be good for the industry if the boundaries of the benchmark such as the hardware, and the competitors were set by Byte rather than MS as they currently are so as to provide a fair and more importantly USEFUL result. FreeBSD, BSDI, Solaris and Zeus, thttp should be included. If a fair and useful test were done then I personally would benefit by being able to know when to deploy which platform and server. Open Source developers would benefit by knowing where realworld (or as close as benchmarks get) problems occur rather than trying to fix problems that only occur in benchmarks or in contrived settings. I have cc:ed this to Linux Weekly News. Who I am sure would agree, along with most of the Linux press that such a test would be very useful to all concerned. Obviously it would be less exciting to do it well and properly than to have a hyped shoot out but obviously there would be many people very interested to see it done properly, not least Sun, HP, Oracle, and IBM who have put their money where there mouths are. Regards, Aaron Trevena. Inter/Intranet Developer & Administrator. MSAS Global Logistics, Group IT.
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 17:27:26 +0000 From: Yoni Elhanani <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Mindcraft is only one kind of test.... Dear editor, We all know that the benchmarks that test very specific conditions are useless. We know that many linux servers are not run on quad xeons, nor serve so many clients. I'd like to suggest my own kind of test to battle against Mindcraft. Ofcourse everyone knows there are several kinds of races, The one i where time is constant and performance is tested (eg pie eating contest), such as these benchmarks, the other is where a task is the constant and time is tested (eg horse racing). I'd like to propose the other test. I think an uptime test would show the power of linux. Another kind of test is a peak test (ie spitting contest), which in our case would be scalability test. I want to see NT running on a 486. And there are feature tests, such as syncronized swimming. Now we'll see all the features apache and php has to offer! Let's see NT trying to outperform Linux in these fields... :-) Cheers, Yoni. -- The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck, is probably the day they start making vacuum cleaners...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Schwarz) Subject: RSA keys and PGP To: Jens.Ritter@weh.rwth-aachen.de Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 16:52:53 -0500 (CDT) -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- This is in response to Jens Ritter's letter to LWN about PGP and RSA: It is a minor point, but... What you say about RSA is true, however you must remember that in PGP a 1024-bit RSA key is used to encrypt a 128-bit IDEA session symmetric key. Anyone attempting to crack a PGP message will not bother trying to recover the 1024-bit RSA key used to encrypt the IDEA session key, they will instead concentrate on cracking the 128-bit key. Fortunately, cracking 128-bit keys will be take decades, even with Dr. Shamir's TWINKLE machine... Mike Schwarz IAM mschwarz AT sherbtel DOT net (anti spammed e-mail address) -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.3a Charset: noconv iQCVAwUBNztJpElby0f+F8BNAQG+lwP/fpNWF2qt7JwmaoHk1pCg4cQ4wX5RQZO+ VXGjFpIDfX8HXAMaf3c/t9TfvcYu5vgCzyu4V1pJaqDaANpyovtL8mFbx/DH1vWc UfMizcVySfTyQtVJxGaSBfKswm7Eg0/U0CwJ3pihUvHYpAyl30EtVbtpgMLdihyx gUQOBbXJJ3I= =PQjr -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
From: Leandro Dutra <Leandro.email@example.com> To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com> Subject: Restrictively Unrestrictive Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 11:59:26 -0300 Re: your article at http://www.daemonnews.org/199905/gpl.html I won't try to refute any little point in your article first, but your general, US "culture" conditioned, strictly "capitalist" viewpoint. It is easy, but not very honest, to call RMS a communist. It shows you no nothing about Communism, and little about RMS intentions. First of all, let me define a word you from US misuse: Liberalism. Liberalism is an European concept about freedom to live under the laws, freedom to enterprise, and keeping the state interference in private and economical issues at a minimum. What you from US call "Liberalism" is called Leftism all over the world. Communism has two faces: one is the ideal, unrealistic goal of communality, the idea that everything should belong to everyone. You can subscribe to this desire while still believing Liberalism better for practical reasons. It's only if you think Leftism it the true way that you are being a Communist proper, believing everyone should refrain from gain and share all their goods and money. There is no evidence that RMS is a Communist, nor does GNU GPL favor Communism in any way. It is just a defense against software hoarders, which almost ruined BSD if you remember History. GNU GPL is to free software what an Army is to a pacific country: only a way to make sure the country stays free and peaceful and independent, not an end in itself. When you say things such as "the General Public License is not so much about ``keeping free software free'' as it is about forcing us to accept the extreme Communistic political philosophy of Richard Stallman and others at the Free Software Foundation. The very spirit of the GPL is to attack the very concept of Capitalism and individualism. There is no concept of intellectual property under the terms of the GPL. Your hard work is no more your property than everyone else's.", you get to misunderstood everything. This phrase I want to refute point by point. First, it is easy to call someone Communistic. I've shown you they aren't. Political? Yes, you are also. It is just that your politics is mainstream, our is marginal. This shouldn't be a term of abuse. Extreme? This carries no meaning, unless you really meant "radical". Radical yes, because GNU goes to the root of the problem ensuring the continuation of freedom. In this sense, BSD is lukewarm, because it counts on the good will of everyone to keep freedom against hoarding. Second, no one is forcing no one. You can do it all by yourself with BSD software, with GNU software, or with proprietary. Just do not hoard GNU software. If you want to keep others away from the freedom of having source, you won't be able to use GNU software, why is that such a problem? It's like some kinds of virus, if you do not want to be sick do not go near the source of the virus! Third, what do you understand by Capitalism and individualism? Do you know that Capitalism is a term of abuse invented by Karl Marx? The bigger values in Western society shouldn't be capital, richness, but freedom and justice. It is freedom and justice that ensured the conditions to capital accumulation and richness. But to put richness before freedom and justice can kill the chicken of the golden eggs. Also, individualism is not a value, it was created as just the idea that the individual should have defense against the state or any other collective power. In this original sense the GNU GPL could be considered very individualist, as it protects the individual free software developer and user against corporate or government software hoarding. About intellectual property, it is just a concession in the former of copyright or patent so as to encourage invention, it isn't a fundamental concept of law or ethics, and it can certainly be abused. I find the concept to be widely misunderstood. It is astonishing to see that just now that richness in the Western world is so great, that the periods for copyright and patent proctection are being enlarged. That is hoarding for sure, as the original idea of intellectual property should call for a shortening of the proctection periods as richness grows, for public benefit. Finally, your work belongs to you and there is nothing in GNU GPL against your owning it. It just ensures you that if you create a program for free use, it will remain free. It is still your code, so that if someone wants to use it in a proprietary way he will have to license it directly from you, and then you can set your price for that alternate, proprietary licensing. It is this possibility of dual licensing that shows how your idea of Capitalism and Communism is weak. In fact the GNU GPL does more to protect the gains of the programmer than BSD. Please be more careful, read more, think more. Leandro Guimar„es Faria Corcete Dutra Amdocs (Brasil) Ltda
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:51:15 +0800 (CST) From: Hung(2) Chao(2)-Kuei(4) <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: BSD Licence vs GPL Dear Mr. Maxwell, I found your article http://www.daemonnews.org/199905/gpl.html "Restrictively Unrestrictive: The GPL License in Software Development" misleading and likely to do harm rather than service to the open source community. To understand GPL, one has to understand the "political opinion" from GPL which you omitted in your article. Yes, Richard Stallman is against software intellectual property. I bet Mr. Stallman would be happy if one day he wakes up to a world where software copyright laws -- something GPL's enforcement depends on -- does not exist. Whether you agree with his opinion (and the opinion of many people in the open source community) or not, let us understand his point: software should not be copyrighted. So why did he (cooperatively?) created GPL that seems so much more restrictive than the FreeBSD style license, and seems so much more dependent on the copyright law? I bet you heard "proof by contradiction" in mathematics. (OK, I know there is a Latin phrase for it but I don't remember.) You don't agree with a statement X. You _assume_ that X were true. You base your arguments on X, and come to a contradictory conclusion. Your arguments are all fine and logical. The only explanation left is that the statement X was indeed absurd to begin with. Now if someone jumps into the middle of the proof without understanding the absurdity of X, he is bound to view the statements in the proof as totally incomprehensible or at best "confusing". He is bound to see, of course, absurd intermediate statements. It would not be wise to claim that the flow of proof is incorrect when in fact it is X that is absurd. I see the open source software movement as a time-consuming proof of the absurdity of software intellectual property, initiated by FSF's GPL by way of contradiction. Please understand that, and you will see the mathematical beauty in GPL. By the way, I would use the term "recursive" instead where you used "infective". I personally see GPL as a piece of work to be appreciated by the mathematically-minded. Of course, you may not agree with Mr. Stallman's opinion that software copyright should not exist. Whether Stallman is correct is not the topic of this article. I am just trying to explain how the "proof mechanism" works. On the other hand, I don't see how anti-software-copyright implies anti-competitiveness and anti-capitalism. You seemed to jump into unrelated and far-fetched conclusions that seriously begs explanation. Sincerely, Chao-Kuei Hung http://www.cyut.edu.tw/~ckhung/ Information Management Department Chaoyang University of Technology #include <std.disclaimer>
Date: 17 May 99 12:25:01 PDT From: Drew Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: "Red Hat goes upscale"?? Your May 6, 1999 "Commerce" page leads with an article "Red Hat goes upmarket" claiming that RedHat has increased the price of their distribution. That same assertion shows up in: http://computers.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa042699.htm whose author acts like the price of RedHat 6.0 is $100. Reading www.redhat.com's info, it looks to me that the $99.95 option is for a box that has Red Hat 6.0 Linux, plus a bunch of other CD's, including their "Linux Power Tools" product and a CD full of a ton of Linux documentation. I believe the software is still free if you're willing to take the time to download it. That is, I think you can download, already compiled and ready to install, all the Red Hat 6.0 software. (And source code too, if you like). But I know I don't have the patience for doing that much downloading. $39.95 gets you the 2 CD's of Red Hat 6.0, but no boot-floppy and no support. I'm told that it is easy to make a boot-floppy if you have an already working PC. $79.95 gets you the 2 CD's of Red Hat 6.0, and 30 days telephone support. (I assume this edition includes the boot-floppy too). Seems like a fair spectrum of choices to me, and with a choice of buying a bundle that includes telephone support, or getting RedHat 6.0 for less money than I paid for RedHat 5.2 (which was $50).. I don't work for Red Hat, but I think there's a different story here than a "price increase". "RedHat broadens product line" would be a more accurate description of what they apparently are doing. R. Drew Davis firstname.lastname@example.org ____________________________________________________________________ Get your own FREE, personal Netscape WebMail account today at http://webm= ail.netscape.com.