Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Distributions page.
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
The LPI wants help with its distribution-specific certification exams. If you would like to spend a few minutes sharing your expertise in one or more Linux distributions, consider heading over to the LPI's test question page and putting in a few tough ones...
Interesting distribution of the week: nmrcOS is another in the line of "highly secure" distributions. It is based on a severely pared-down version of Slackware, with a number of crypto goodies and secure kernel patches applied. The developers foresee an interesting application for their distribution: as a piece of a disposable pirate radio transmitter which could be used for subversive purposes in oppressive countries. Of course, more straightforward applications that need secure systems are also envisioned... (Thanks to Martin Skjoldebrand).
Caldera OpenLinuxErik Ratcliffe passes the baton... but it's not as bad as it sounds. Erik posted this note, which scared a few folks who feared that Erik would withdraw from Caldera-users, thus depriving the list of one of its best sources of help and information. But, in fact, Erik is only pulling out of the management of the OpenLinux contrib area. If you upload contributed packages for OpenLinux, please read Erik's notes for a new set of procedures.
Is your 2.3 system feeling sluggish? It seems that the 2.3 installer has a bug wherein it sometimes fails to set up the swap file properly. The result is poor performance and a new FAQ for the mailing list. A simple /etc/fstab change makes the problem go away; see this page on Caldera's site for details.
Debian GNU/LinuxThe potato freeze has been rescheduled. And not just by a little bit: the freeze has been pushed back until January 15, 2000. See the announcement for the full text of the bad news. The primary reason for the delay is that the boot floppy code is not ready, and will not be for some time. There are general problems, and the added difficulty that nobody even seems to be working on the Alpha floppies at this time.
Needless to say, this delay is not popular with a lot of developers. There seems to be a general sense that 2.1 ("slink") is far too old, and that an update is urgently needed. There is also the difficult issue that slink contains a number of known year-2000 problems. It had been expected that Potato would fix those problems, but users are likely to be distinctly unhappy with the prospect of getting their y2k fixes in February.
One solution could be Joey Hess's "slink and a half" update which contains a new kernel, y2k and security fixes, and little else. The Debian Project ended up not releasing this version a while back, amid fears that such a release would distract attention away from Potato development. But this version exists, and is, in fact, the version used in the upcoming Debian boxed set. With Potato delayed into next year, a general release of this version seems almost inevitable.
In general, Debian seems to be having a few management difficulties as a result of its growth. Debian should probably have more stable "point releases" between the major versions; the alternative is to have a distribution which is a year out of date. But intermediate stable releases require effort which has been hard to come by.
The Linux kernel went through some similar difficulties before Alan Cox took on the maintenance of the current stable kernel. Debian could maybe benefit from a person willing to take on a similar role, keeping the stable version fixed and current while the bulk of the developers work on the next big release. Then maybe Debian would not have known y2k problems in the middle of November.
See also the Debian Weekly News by Joey Hess for coverage of these issues and others.
eBay's wireless access server uses Debian, see this announcement from the Debian project for more. eBay's wireless access (for Palm VII organizers) was put together by the folks at Workspot. It consists of an eBay proxy server which "translates" between eBay and the Palm; this server is made out of three Debian boxes running the Linux Virtual Server code. Much of the application-specific code is done in Perl.
DragonLinuxVersion 0.8 of DragonLinux (a small, UMSDOS-based distribution which installs under Windows) has been released.
Kondara MNU/LinuxKondara MNU/Linux 1.0 has been released. That is about all we can say, though...the Kondara web site is in Japanese... (Thanks to Stephen Snyder).
LinuxPPCJason Haas of LinuxPPC wrote in to say that there was no LinuxPPC news of note this week. He also let slip that he got married on November 1; we think that those news items are not unrelated...
Red Hat LinuxDeveloper deals were the theme of the week...
Storm LinuxStormix Technologies has announced that Applixware Office (the demo version) will be bundled with Storm Linux 2000.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
November 11, 1999