On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Distributions page.
Lists of Distributions
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
News and Editorials
Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1. Caldera announced its release of Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1 this week, approximately 14 months after Caldera OpenLinux eDeskTop 2.4 began shipping last year. This bucks the trend of many commercial Linux distributions, with most releasing new versions between two to three times a year.
Are the two products comparable? OpenLinux eDeskTop was aimed at the basic desktop user. OpenLinux Workstation clearly has a target audience among developers, specifically commercial applications developers. In addition, there is some indication that a non-targeted version, Caldera OpenLinux, will still be supported, though version 3.1 has not yet been released.
What is included in Workstation 3.1? Caldera's description starts with the inclusion of Borland's Jbuilder Foundation and Sun Microsystems' Forte Java development environments. Existing Linux developers may be less interested in these tools, but application developers using them on non-Linux platforms will presumably be happy to see them.
As is common with Caldera's products, don't expect to see the latest version of packages included. Both XFree86-3.3.6 and XFree86-4.0.2 are included, but the new 4.0.3 and 4.1.0 versions are not. Apache 1.3.19 is included (Apache 1.3.20 was released May 19th). Sendmail 8.11.1 is included (sendmail 8.11.4 is the current default, released May 28th).
KDE 2.1 is the base for the system (KDE 2.1.1 was released March 28th). For the first time, a version of Gnome is reported to be included, not by default but available on the 'Skunkware' contrib CD that is bundled with Workstation 3.1. Note, the terminology 'Skunkware' has apparently migrated from SCO to Caldera, and refers to unsupported software.
The kernel in use is linux-2.4.2. Note, however, that Caldera has likely applied many patches to this kernel, to close known bugs, while choosing not to upgrade to a later kernel in case of the introduction of new bugs.
The use of older versions of the software is in keeping with Caldera's emphasis on stability. As with the kernel, the older versions may include security fixes or bugfixes that have been backported from newer versions.
What is the user reaction so far? The released product appears to be pretty much what was seen in the beta, so no big surprises. As is discussed on this week's front page, licensing issues are causing many people to discuss moving to an alternate Linux distribution. SuSE, Linux-Mandrake and Linux From Scratch were discussed quite a bit.
On the other hand, not everyone was upset with the decision to charge a per seat license. Those that weren't, though, were unhappy that no upgrade price was provided, meaning that people who have been buying box sets for each of their machines in the past will still pay the same price as new Caldera users. In addition, the lack of a discounted price for multiple seats caused a lot of complaints from people who maintain 10 to a 1000 machines rather than just one or two.
One point made by several users was that the quality of support on the caldera-users mailing list was their reason for preferring Caldera, rather than the product itself or the support available directly from Caldera. These people were very concerned that the licensing changes would drive away many of the technical people that they had been counting on for free support.
Meanwhile, some of the caldera-users members are apparently migrating over to email@example.com, a mailing list that is not specific to any particular Linux distribution, but was created and supported in part by Caldera users looking for a new home.
New distribution: LNX-BBC. The LNX-BBC project has announced its existence. LNX-BBC is taking the cool Linuxcare bootable business card distribution and continuing its development and support outside the company (which appears to no longer have the resources to work on it). All of the original BBC developers are working on LNX-BBC now. They have some ambitious plans; see the announcement for details.
This new distribution is having a logo contest. The deadline is August 1.
Red Hat News. An updated version of gcc-2.96-RH, Red Hat's tailored GNU gcc 2.96, has been made available for Red Hat 7.0 and 7.l. "This update fixes several Internal Compiler Errors on invalid input as well as some on valid input. It also fixes a number of cases where code was miscompiled". Note that they recommend all previously released patches be applied before applying this update.
Also in the bug-fix vein, Red Hat users running the Linux 2.4.3 kernel or higher may be interested in their recent update to SysVinit, which fixes problems receiving input from a serial console.
Red Hat announced this week the availability of Red Hat Deluxe for Compaq's AlphaServer systems.
Unrelated to that, Red Hat recently replaced the original ISOs for Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Alpha due to a packaging problem. Although the applications were fine, the dependency lists were inconsistent, causing a problem when Red Hat Network was used to update packages. The new ISOs should resolve this problem.
For those of you wanting to do some IPv6 testing, Pekka Savola has made available ISOs for an IPv6-enabled Linux host/router based on Red Hat Linux 7.1.
Meanwhile, on the embedded side, Red Hat announced support for the Hitachi SuperH processors for both their embedded version of Red Hat and for eCos.
Debian News. The process of creating a Debian package is covered in part 2 of this series from Linux Journal. They also cover the creation of "fake" debian packages, when and why you may want to use them.
The Debian project has posted the June 25th edition of the Debian Weekly News. Bleeding edge KDE 2.2 packages have been made available by Ivan E. Moore II, the location of traceroute became the topic of debate, Debian-friendly laptops were discussed and Debian's master ftp server crashed, causing testing to disappear for a day.
Three new packages have been put up for adoption this past week: apt-zip, diskless and rarpd. Also included is the current list of orphaned packages and packages that have been available for adoption for some time.
This past week was a difficult one for those people tracking debian-unstable. Sam Hartman put out an apology after uploading a new PAM package to unstable that broke all logins. He's got a fixed version out there now and has promised to revamp his testing procedures before the next upload.
The June 27th edition of the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd discusses the desirability of using the GNU autotools for busybox, so that the autobuilding system could be used for GNU/Hurd instead of just for GNU/Linux. The exim and ae packages have been ported to the Hurd, along with bsd-games. "Now that we have games, we are a real OS, right?", commented Neil Walfield.
Linux-Mandrake. The latest community newsletter from Linux-Mandrake is now available. This issue includes discussions on the new MandrakeFreq release, the PPC beta status, and the business case of the week: Viata Online, an application service provider in Hawaii. "Viata Online, an application service provider based in Hawaii, develops business to-business solutions for the travel industry. All of their 50+ workstations run Mandrake Linux instead of Windows, as well as 10+ servers".
Slackware News. Ogg Vorbis libraries were upgraded to provide the last bit of 1.0 functionality. In reaction to reports of segfaults with util-linux-2.11f, current has been switched back to the mount/umount from util-linux-2.11b. The rest of the package is still version 2.11f. The segfaulting versions are available as mount-2.11f and umount-2.11f.
Although Slackware is not vulnerable to the recently reported remote root Samba vulnerability in its default configuration, current was upgraded to Samba 2.2.0 just in case.
Various patches went in to expand support for the vfat and reiserfs file systems. Most of the kernels have been recompiled to remove SMP support by default. 2fsprogs was upgraded yet again to version 1.22, with yet more bugfixes.
Other upgrades include python-2.0.1, gnome-utils-220.127.116.11, gnome-media-1.2.3, ibsafe-2.0-2, SDL-1.2.1, and parted-1.4.14. Meanwhile, new ZipSlack.zip and fourmeg.zip files have been created.
Rock Linux News. Rock Linux returns to LinuxTag this year with the generous support of Compaq Germany. Rock Linux representatives will be present to demonstrate Rock Linux running on a Compaq Alphaserver DS20. Free CDs will also be made available.
MaxOS/BearOps News. MaxOS Linux is apparently on the way to becoming "BearOps Solutions". As part of that, a beta version of their next operating systems release, BearOps-Beta-1 is available for download in ISO format. Feedback and bugs should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
e-smith News. e-smith has put out a Documentation Update. It includes a number of user-contributed documents on a variety of topics ("How to set up Windows NT/2000 machines for Domain Logon to e-smith", "How to install an IDE tape drive on e-smith 4.1.x", ...). Staff effort has been focused on improving documentation in preparation for the next version of e-smith server.
Kondara MNU/Linux News. Maya Tamiya reports from Japan on Kondara MNU/Linux. "Kondara MNU/Linux put out a very short announcement which said "At last, our work's paid off!" (and no more than that) recently. According to some sources , this announcement implies that they are happy because PS2 Linux Kit is, apparently, based on Kondara MNU/Linux".
Minor Distribution updates
Software review: Engarde Secure Linux (NewsForge). NewsForge reviews Engarde Secure Linux. "With minimal system access allowed and every precaution taken, Engarde Secure Linux just might be the best distribution for Web/mail servers yet. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other distributions or operating systems, but it would seem that, unlike other companies that market server OSes, Guardian Digital does not think Pinball is an appropriate application for a server."
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
June 28, 2001