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[issue 97 cover image] The May issue of Linux Journal is on newsstands now. This issue focuses on kernel internals. Click here to view the table of contents, or here to subscribe.

All articles through December 2001 are available for public reading at Recent articles are available on-line for subscribers only at

Legislation and More Legislation


The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published the results of their "Alphabet Soup Contest" to find more meaningful interpretations of acronyms like CBDTPA. Among the winners was Steven Cherry with the insightful translation: "Consume, But Don't Try Programming Anything" which very succinctly sums up what many would see as the spirit behind this legislation. Unsurprisingly, initiatives like the CBDTPA and groupings such as the BPDG [EFF link] (Broadcast Protection Discussion Group) have met with substantial popular opposition. reported Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devin as saying that not one email in support of the bill had been received. This would seem to indicate that the only people who can benefit from the bill are those who helped draw it up. Additionally, a number of websites (such as EFF and have served as rallying points for those opposed to the introduction of these laws, and it is very difficult to find any pro-CBDTPA online presence outside of corporate webpages. A recent article by Catherine Olanich Raymond provides a reasoned and legally informed analysis of the principles behind this broad opposition.


Although the DMCA is very detrimental to consumers, it should not be forgotten that it poses serious risks to scientific research also. This was seen clearly in the case of Edward Felten vs the RIAA. A reminder was provided by the IEEE's decision to require researchers submitting journal papers to guarantee that the work did not violate the DMCA. As New Scientist later reported, this decision was reversed due to popular opposition. However, as pointed out on Slashdot, it is regrettable that the reversal was based on complaints rather than on legal arguments or rights. This is a positive development, but hardly a vindication of scientific freedoms.

 MS Government XP

The Seattle Times reported that the US federal government is considering the use of Microsoft's Passport technology to verify the online identity of American citizens. This would allow citizens to authenticate themselves at government websites where they might deal with such business as paying taxes or learning about their entitlements. This would obviously be an incredible coup for Microsoft, who The Register reports, have been pushing hard for popular adoption of Passport technology. It also forms part of a broad plan to persuade governments to base their IT infrastructure around Microsoft products. This has had significant success in the United Kingdom.

Linux Links

Linux Focus
The following articles are in the May/June issue of the E-zine LinuxFocus:

An interview at Linux Journal about the Linux movement and Linux Users Groups in India.

Also at Linux Journal, Linux WiFi Router brings in Subscribers for Ghana's Largest ISP.

Slashdot links:

  • Does Senator Hollings have his good side after all? Early reports of his net privacy bill seemed to suggest so, but a later Salon article thinks it's just business as usual: make a bil that pretends to safeguard people's privacy, but actually gives it to the marketers on a platter. Not your "sensitive" information (medical history, race, religion, political affiliation, etc), but your "nonsensitive" information--which includes your name, address, and anything you buy over the Internet. Fortunately for the marketers, this "nonsensitive" information is precisely what they want. Unfortunately for individual privacy, one can make a fairly good guess what your medical history, race, religion and political affiliation is just by analyzing what you buy and which web pages you read. So, is there anything good about this bill after all? At press time, it's too early to say.
  • Microsoft FUD notwithstanding, the SAMBA team is not affected by a recent MS licence on a technical document related to the CIFS protocol (the license forbids the information from being used in GPL code) and two patents related to the CIFS protocol, because SAMBA doesn't use that implementation anyway.
  • Microsoft lawyer says Linux "is not piracy" during a European conference on software piray. Slashdot contributor dipfan notes the article "it quotes Microsoft's top in-house lawyer Brad Smith as saying: 'Linux is a way of developing software whereas piracy is copying.'" IBM developerWorks article on sharing computers, comparing SSH, remote X, VNC, and other technologies as ways of remotely running applications.

    A couple of links which might be of use when considering new hardware purchases are's hardware list and The Linux Hardware Database. Slashdot also recently ran a story on hardware manufacturers that actively support Linux.

    Some links from Linux Weekly News

    Some links from Slashdot:

    Some links from the O'Reilly stable of websites:

    Some interesting stories from the The Register:

    Linux Today have highlighted several interesting links over the past month:

    Upcoming conferences and events

    Listings courtesy Linux Journal. See LJ's Events page for the latest goings-on.

    Networld + Interop (Key3Media)
    May 7-9, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV

    IBM developerWorks Live!

    May 7-10, 2002
    San Francisco, CA

    Strictly e-Business Solutions Expo (Cygnus Expositions)
    May 8-9, 2002
    Minneapolis, MN

    O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (O'Reilly)
    May 13-16, 2002
    Santa Clara, CA

    Embedded Systems Conference (CMP)
    June 3-6, 2002
    Chicago, IL

    USENIX Annual (USENIX)
    June 9-14, 2002
    Monterey, CA

    PC Expo (CMP)
    June 25-27, 2002
    New York, NY

    O'Reilly Open Source Convention (O'Reilly)
    July 22-26, 2002
    San Diego, CA

    USENIX Securty Symposium (USENIX)
    August 5-9, 2002
    San Francisco, CA

    LinuxWorld Conference & Expo (IDG)
    August 12-15, 2002
    San Francisco, CA

    LinuxWorld Conference & Expo Australia (IDG)
    August 14 - 16, 2002

    Communications Design Conference (CMP)
    September 23-26, 2002
    San Jose, California

    Software Development Conference & Expo, East (CMP)
    November 18-22, 2002
    Boston, MA

    News in General

     Lindows Controversy

    Lindows is not only in legal wrangles with Microsoft, but has now run foul of the Free Software Foundation. It would appear that Lindows has been somewhat casual about distributing source code for their products. Bruce Perens has written an open letter to Michael Robertson (Lindows CEO) calling on the company to be honest partners in the free software endeavor. Mono Linux has published a report and analysis of Lindows, available in two parts ( one and two).

     New version of the IP Masquerade HOWTO is available

    David Ranch has announced the release of the IP Masquerade HOWTO.

    Recent changes include:

     $20m Compaq Linux Win

    Compaq Computer Corporation have announced a three-year, $20 million agreement with RackShack, the hosting services arm of of Everyones Internet. Compaq will equip RackShack's IT data centers with industry-standard Compaq ProLiant servers for a tier one, Linux-based Web hosting solution.

    Distro News


    Bdale Garbee, an Engineer/Scientist in the Linux Systems Operation group for Hewlett-Packard, has been elected Debian project leader.

    Debian Weekly News recently reported that Nathan Hawkins has announced a new base tarball for those who would like to see Debian GNU/FreeBSD live. The status of this port is available here.


    Linux Planet have recently reviewed Gentoo Linux, a source based distribution aimed at people comfortable with software development (among others).

    Gentoo can also be installed on the PPC platform, and has been reviewed by iMacLinux (link courtesy Linux Today).


    Linux and Main have an interview with Bart Decrem, co-founder of Eazel (producers of the Nautilus graphical shell for GNOME) and vice president of Hancom Linux. Decrem discusses software in Korea, why companies and governments outside the US don't want to become too dependent on Microsoft, and more. Also featured on Slashdot. While on the subject of Hancom Linux, Linux and Main also reported that Hancom Linux is shipping what is believed to be the first Arab-language Linux distribution. As reported by OSNews, Hancom have now completely focused on the Linux platform for their Hancom Office productivity suite.

     SOT Linux

    Linux Today have the story that SOT, publisher of Best Linux, has announced a change of name for its Linux distribution to coincide with the release of a new version of the distro. In future it will be known as SOT Linux.


    SuSE Linux and IBM have announced a broad services alliance that will enable both companies to jointly provide Linux support and services to corporate customers around the world. In the agreement, IBM Global Services and SuSE will collaborate on support and professional services. IBM will package and support turnkey implementations of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, backed by SuSE's expert development, maintenance, and support teams. In addition to this complete services offering, the two organizations will also collaborate on customer engagements and supplement each other's skills to provide a formidable Linux services delivery capability for corporate customers.

    Slashdot ran the story that SuSE 8.0 has shipped, and now includes KDE 3.0, kernel 2.4.18, and various other upgrades/enhancements.

    Software and Product News

     Mammoth PostgreSQL Released

    Mammoth PostgreSQL from Command Prompt, Inc. is an SQL-compatible Object Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS). It is designed to give small to medium size businesses the power, performance, and open-standard support they desire. 100% compatible with the PostgreSQL 7.2.1 release, Mammoth PostgreSQL provides a commercially-supported PostgreSQL distribution for Solaris, MacOS X and Red Hat Linux x86 platforms. Mammoth PostgreSQL ships with built-in support for SSL connectivity (Native and ODBC), as well as programming APIs for C/C++, Perl, and Python. There are one-time and subscription-based licensing models available for immediate purchase.

    Command Prompt, Inc., provides support, custom programming, and services for PostgreSQL. Service contracts, as well as time and materials support are available, allowing for single-point accountability for a customer's database solution.

     Linux Growth Spurs Tool Sales for Etnus

    Etnus, a supplier of debuggers for complex code, have announced record-breaking sales of its TotalView debugger on Intel Linux platforms, linking the sales to increased development of complex and mission critical codes on Linux systems. Both sales volume and number of licenses sold for the Etnus TotalView debugger on Intel Linux platforms doubled over first quarter 2001 and, for the first time, Etnus reported that Linux was the top-selling platform. Etnus TotalView is a cross-platform, state of the art debugger supporting C/C++ and Fortran.

    Etnus believes Linux will continue to be a leader among the many platforms they support and will continue to expand functionality there. The next release of TotalView will add support for GCC 3.X and the Intel compilers for Linux.


    CylantSecure is an intrusion detection system for Linux and other Unix variants that stops attacks before they occur by monitoring the behavior of the operating system. It has been developed and produced by Cylant, a division of Software Systems International. By adding instrumentation to the kernel, Cylant is enabled to benchmark server behavior patterns and detect changes in those patterns during operation. If an abnormal behavior occurs, it can be stopped in real time, preventing attacks before they are executed.

    This technique is based on the principle that most attacks change the behavior of the software being exploited in a measurable way. CylantSecure uses sensors to monitor the behavior of the software, along with a statistical analysis engine to identify any abnormalities in the behavior. Through continuous behavioral monitoring, CylantSecure can send administrators early warning of attacks, so appropriate measures can be taken. Such measures might include shutting down the program, shunning traffic from the attacking IP or performing system state analysis.

    Get more information on the Cylant website.

     Opera 6.0 for Linux Beta 2 Released

    Opera Software ASA have released Opera 6.0 for Linux Beta 2 with improved features and looks to increase the speed and enjoyment of Linux users worldwide. The earlier version of Opera for Linux, Opera 5, has reached a milestone of one million successful downloads and installations.

    For a complete changelog of Opera 6.0 for Linux Beta 2, please visit

     McObject's eXtremeDB 2.0

    McObject has released version 2.0 of its eXtremeDB small footprint, main memory database on Linux, with new features to improve developer flexibility and enhance the run-time capabilities of applications based on eXtremeDB. McObject built eXtremeDB from scratch to meet the CPU and RAM constraints of intelligent, connected devices while offering dramatic performance improvements over traditional disk-based database systems. Enhancements in version 2.0 include:

    An evaluation version of eXtremeDB 2.0 is available from for free download.


    Mozilla 1.0 release candidate 1 has been released. This is a trial run for the upcoming 1.0 release, and is a good indicator of how close that day is. Indeed, Mozilla even managed to attract the attention of Time Magazine, which reported on the possibility that a Mozilla release could break the browser war armistice.

     Arkeia Releases A New Version 5 Beta

    Arkeia Corporation has released a new Arkeia 5 Beta version. Arkeia Version 5 will be the successor of Version 4.x, a high performance, multiple-platform backup software with 90,000 worldwide users. Arkeia 5, will feature a completely rewritten program architecture and will include an assortment of new features requested by users.

     Other software

    Apache 2.0 is now, officially, stable.

    Galeon 1.2.1 has been released

    AbiWord 1.0 is out

    The new version of Mailman, (version 2.0.10) is now available.

    Copyright © 2002, Michael Conry and the Editors of Linux Gazette.
    Copying license
    Published in Issue 78 of Linux Gazette, May 2002
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