Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
Slashroot.org is another Linux news site which appears to be making a go at it with locally-written, feature content. The site is young; it will be interesting to see where it goes.
Linux Headquarters is, instead, oriented toward tutorial content. There are HOWTO-type documents on a number of topics, including an example-laden introduction to GTK+ programming.
Back to news sites, internet.com has finally launched Enterprise Linux Today, an offshoot of LinuxToday aimed at corporate readers.
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
June 22, 2000
Two years ago (June 25, 1998 LWN), the Beowulf web site at NASA was temporarily shut down due to export control fears. The project started looking for non-US mirror sites... Alan Cox sounded off on U.S. patent laws:
Anyway its up to the US citizens to kick their government in the right direction. "Representation of the people" usually only works when the representative is made firmly aware that there is a horde of the represented right behind him who are going to do serious damage if said representative doesnt do some representing of the people for a change.
IBM made its plans to to bundle Apache public, having finally satisfied its lawyers that the whole thing would work. ZDNet's Jesse Berst looked at the prospects for Linux:
Would you like to see the rug pulled out from under Microsoft? Here's how it could happen. IBM ships and supports Linux. Oracle does Linux versions of all its products. A consortium of top vendors picks a standard Linux interface and creates a compatibility logo.
Offhand, it looks like we have gone a long way toward satisfying his list.
Meanwhile, the development kernel was at 2.1.106ac4; there was an initial 2.0.35 prepatch out there on the stable side. Debian 2.0 beta was released. Adaptec saw the light and began to help Linux support its SCSI controllers.
One year ago (June 24, 1999 LWN), SuSE surprised the world by releasing its financial results - despite Red Hat's claim to bigness, SuSE was not at all far behind. Over 5000 people attended Linux Expo Paris. Eric Raymond spoke at Microsoft:
It was kind of amusing, really, fielding brickbats from testosterone-pumped twentysomethings for whom money and Microsoft's survival are so central that they have trouble grokking that anyone can truly think outside that box. On some subjects, their brains just shut down -- the style reminded me a lot of the anonymous cowards on Slashdot. (From the Linux Journal).
Ten European industrial leaders, including Linus Torvalds, worried about software patents. Bob Metcalfe predicted the death of the "Open Sores Movement."
The development kernel was 2.3.8 - it was a scary one to run, since massive changes to the I/O system occasionally corrupted file systems. The stable release was 2.2.10. Eric Raymond suggested that the EROS operating system should be the guide for Linux's future. HP announced a line of Linux workstations.
Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com. 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: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 16:32:17 -0400 (EDT) From: Joe Klemmer <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Easier floppy access In the 6/15 issue of LWN there is a commentary about easy floppy disk access. I would like to point out a very nice little utility that comes with the XFce desktop <http://www.xfce.org> called "xfdevmount". This utility allows one to mount and open a file manager on the content of a floppy or CD with one click. There are other little gems like this in XFce, too. It's a very good desktop/window manager, too. --- Sweater, n.: A garment worn by a child when its mother feels chilly.
From: Troy Baer <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 09:38:13 -0400 (EDT) To: Richard Stallman <email@example.com> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Floppy handling Seen on http://lwn.net/2000/0615/a/rms-floppy.php3: > Is there any possibility of making Linux handle file systems on > floppies like MSDOS, so that there is no need to explicitly mount and > unmount a floppy drive in order to access floppies through the file > system? This can be done with virtually any removable disk media with the Linux autofs kernel-level auto-mounter; basically you need to set the automounter up to unmount the drives after a very short period of inactivity (~1-5 seconds). I've got an example of how to configure autofs to handle floppies, CDROMs, and Zip disks at http://home.columbus.rr.com/tbaer/linux/autofs/. It's not 100% perfect (things like SAMBA will keep drives from unmounting), but it's a start. Hope this helps, --Troy -- Troy Baer, MS(AAE) "My life's work has been to prompt email@example.com others... and be forgotten." http://home.columbus.rr.com/tbaer/ --Cyrano de Bergerac
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 01:25:03 -0600 (MDT) From: Richard Stallman <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com CC: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Floppy handling This can be done with virtually any removable disk media with the Linux autofs kernel-level auto-mounter; basically you need to set the automounter up to unmount the drives after a very short period of inactivity (~1-5 seconds). The goal job is to make the system continue in a reasonable way if the user removes a floppy at any time and later inserts another one. Whether the automounter does the job depends on the precise definition of "inactivity" used by the automounter. I fear that its definition is based on the absence of any descriptors pointing to the floppy. If so, it would do the job some of the time, but won't do it reliably. This feature is important enough for non-hacker users that it ought to be done in a solid and reliable way. If some processes have descriptors pointing to the floppy at the time it is removed, they probably have to lose somehow; the best way for them to lose is by getting errors when they try to do any further I/O. But the damage should go no further than that! I think it is best to eliminate caching on floppies, and prohibit mmap on floppies, so as to make floppies more reliable for their most common use--file transfer and archiving.
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 16:04:26 +0530 (IST) From: Atul Chitnis <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RedHat's Update policy To put it mildly - I am appalled at RedHat's lack of seriousness when it comes to updating critical components. By now, everyone and his uncle has heard about the pre 2.2.16 kernel bug. And every distro under the sun has issued kernel updates. Every distro, that is, except RedHat. Instead, there are minor bug fixes and even a couple of security fixes for emacs, but people who have paid good money for RedHat's boxed sets are left out there in the cold - insecure as hell because they cannot update their kernel. Sure, the average Joe Tux will scream "so roll your own kernel", but in the corporate world (that redHat addresses) things don;t always work that way. When is RedHat going to wake up? After the first publicised break-in into a server? I mean, how difficult can it be for RedHat to quietly build kernel RPMs based on 2.2.16 and ship them? Bah! Boo! Hiss! Atul Chitnis -------------------------------------------------------- Atul Chitnis | email@example.com (PGP:6011BCB8) Exocore Consulting | http://www.exocore.com Bangalore, India | +91(80)3440397 Fax +91(80)3341137 --------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 17:22:16 +0100 From: Steve Emms <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Who controls the Linux Media ? I run LinuxLinks.com (http://www.linuxlinks.com) - a linux portal and recently we added a personalised calendar service to our web site. We submitted an article to LinuxToday (owned by internet.com) and it was published only to be pulled almost immediately. The reason given was that website enhancements are no longer news. However a similar service offered by another website was published. And who owns that website ? Why internet.com of course. OK, this calendar isn't state of the art - but it is a free service and it does complement the existing facilities on the site. And sure, it is up to LinuxToday what they think is newsworthy and so post. But wait a minute, this sort of thing has made the news before - linuxstart announced a similar calendar service - take a look at http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=1999-07-13-015-10-PR What's the difference ? Well, Linuxstart are owned by internet.com This opens up a number of questions about how we judge the news we read. Linux is becoming big business and there are vested interests. Web sites are merging and being taken over by large conglomerates. Who determines the impartiality of the news we read ? Who determines what is news and what is advertising ? LinuxToday is one of the major daily linux newsites and they determine that enhancements to major Linux websites like LinuxLinks is not important. But LinuxLinks is independent - it isn't owned by internet.com and it isn't owned by VA Linux. Is it and sites like it being penalised because they don't have a monopoly in the Linux media ? And is this really in the spirit of the Linux movement ? Steve Emms LinuxLinks.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Pointless Invective (Re: BSD license (Re: letter from Anand Srivastava)) From: Ray Jones <email@example.com> Date: 19 Jun 2000 13:16:13 -0400 I'm not sure how the recent letter from John Adelsberger made it past LWN's editorial filters. It's true that BSD and GPL both have faults when viewed from the other point of view. It's useful to remember this, and be reminded that each is based on different goals. Healthy discussions of the differences can serve to enlighten and help people to choose the license that best matches their personal beliefs and goals. Unfortunately, Mr. Adelsberger's letter failed to add constructively to the dialogue. Attributing to the FSF (via the GPL) the goal of "enslaving programmers everywhere" goes a bit beyond the pale. This is obviously not even remotely true. Mr. Adelsberger also makes a spurious leap of logic, equating the products of programmers' efforts with their time, and therefore their lives, which under the GPL would be free for the taking. The fallacy here is easily seen by replacing "programmers" with "mathematicians," and "products" with "theorems." I find it interesting to consider a mathematician trying to keep others from publishing work based on his or her prior papers, and claiming that others were stealing his or her "life." Admittedly, the mathematician/theorem analogy is only that, and shouldn't be strained too far. I do feel, however, that the comparison of theorems and programs is not too far off. Certainly if you take them as similar, then the ideas espoused by the FSF and contained in the GPL become more natural. If programs (and other forms of information) are more similar to theorems than, for example, loaves of bread, then the idea of a "propertyless information age" is far less odd than the idea of an "information-as-property based age." Just because we've elevated information to a concrete form of property via national and international legislation does not necessarily mean that that this philosophy is fundamentally correct. The FSF actively opposes this trend (in my view), while the BSD seems more agnostic towards it. I heartily support discussions (even angry ones) of the relative merits and reasons for using GPL versus BSD licenses. To keep such discussions from devolving into shrill and contentless flaming, however, we should avoid the sort of baseless accusations and mischaracterizations that Mr. Adelsberger employs. Full disclosure: I tend to prefer the GPL. I've tried to write the above from a license-independent standpoint. Thouis Jones