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...making Linux just a little more fun!
News Bytes
By Michael Conry

News Bytes


Selected and formatted by Michael Conry

Submitters, send your News Bytes items in PLAIN TEXT format. Other formats may be rejected without reading. You have been warned! A one- or two-paragraph summary plus URL gets you a better announcement than an entire press release. Submit items to gazette@ssc.com

 June 2003 Linux Journal

[issue 110 cover image] The June issue of Linux Journal is on newsstands now. This issue focuses on Program Development. Click here to view the table of contents, or here to subscribe.

All articles older than three months are available for public reading at http://www.linuxjournal.com/magazine.php. Recent articles are available on-line for subscribers only at http://interactive.linuxjournal.com/.

Legislation and More Legislation

 OpenForum and Software Patents

Bruce Perens drew attention to the position being taken by OpenForum Europe on the possible introduction of software patents. Seeing that their representative had signed a letter in support of the revisions proposed by Arlene McCarthy relating to software patents, Perens wrote:
A false or misled 'open source representative' has signed an industry resolution calling for the EU to allow software patenting, which has been sent to members of the European Parliament...
In an open letter, Graham Taylor, director of OpenForum Europe, rejected Perens' interpretation. Taylor made the point that OpenForum Europe only had a brief to represent its members, largely composed of businesses and corporations, and did not seek or claim to represent the wider Free Software or Open Source communities. It is questionable whether this distinction was equally clear to other readers of the initial letter.


As readers are surely aware, SCO (the software company formerly known as Caldera) has launched a hostile legal attack against IBM in particular, and indeed against the GNU/Linux community as a whole. Although the details will remain somewhat obscured until the case is thrashed out in court, it appears that SCO is alleging that IBM took code it had licensed from SCO (for AIX) and showed it to Linux kernel developers. It was access to this code that allowed GNU/Linux to become the stable and powerful operating system it is today... or so the story goes. The entire suit can be read at SCO's website.

This has lead to some bizarre situations, such as SCO threatening to sue it's partners in the UnitedLinux project, and the suspension of its own GNU/Linux related activities. One can only guess at how this plays with SCO's GNU/Linux customers who have now been marooned in a dubious legal situation. Perhaps they could sue SCO, since SCO was illegally selling intellectual property SCO owned (or something!).

To try and make some sense of this situation, it is useful to read Eric Raymond's OSI position paper on the topic. This document is a fine read, and gives an interesting overview of Unix history as related to the legal case. It would appear that there are one or two inconsistencies, inaccuracies and perhaps outright lies and deceptions in SCO's claims. Some of this madness is further highlighted in Linux Weekly News's account of SCO's refusal to come clean with details of what code infringes on their intellectual property (at least without signing a nondisclosure agreement). SCO CEO Darl McBride is quoted as saying:

"The Linux community would have me publish it now, (so they can have it) laundered by the time we can get to a court hearing. That's not the way we're going to go."
But as LWN points out
"The Linux community, of course, would be incapable of "laundering" the code, since it is, according to SCO, incapable of implementing (or reimplementing) anything so advanced without stealing it.
Such a series of events would not change SCO's case in any way, however. If IBM truly misappropriated SCO's code, that act remains. And it is an act that cannot be hidden; the evidence is distributed, beyond recall, all over the Internet. And all over the physical world as well.
One has to wonder who was responsible for stealing the "intellectual" part of SCO's intellectual property.

How this will all pan out is anybody's guess. It is certain that the story has some way to run yet. Further spice was added to the mix by Microsoft's decision to license SCO software leading to suspicions that they were attempting to bankroll SCO's legal adventures and help to undermine confidence in Free and Open Source software. Reports that SCO has destroyed archives of the Caldera-Microsoft antitrust lawsuit documentation have fuelled such speculation. Novell weighing in and claiming ownership of the contested code has further confused matters. An interesting development is the granting by German courts of an injunction preventing SCO from saying (in Germany) that Linux contains illegally obtained SCO intellectual property.

Probably the best course of action is that proposed by Ray Dessen on the Debian Project lists and reported by Debian Weekly News

"the issue so far consists of allegations and rumors from a company that is far along the way to obsolescence. They have yet to produce anything that could be remotely considered evidence, while there have been concrete indications of SCO itself violating the GPL by the inclusion of GPLed filesystem code from the Linux kernel into its proprietary (Unixware?) kernel."
This "wait and see" approach is also the one taken by Linux Torvalds. If you want to be more active, you could start shouting "Hey SCO, Sue Me" or answer Eric Raymond's request for information

Linux Links

Some interesting articles from the O'Reilly stable of websites:

Random Hacks of Kindness.

IBM Developerworks overview on the Linux /proc filesystem.

>From The Register:

Open Source Digest introduction to SkunkWeb (continues in part 2

>From Linux Journal:

Some interesting links found via Linux Today:

And some links from NewsForge:

Upcoming conferences and events

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

CeBIT America
June 18-20, 2003
New York, NY

ClusterWorld Conference and Expo
June 24-26, 2003
San Jose, CA

O'Reilly Open Source Convention
July 7-11, 2003
Portland, OR

12th USENIX Security Symposium
August 4-8, 2003
Washington, DC

HP World
August 11-15, 2003
Atlanta, GA

LinuxWorld UK
September 3-4, 2003
Birmingham, United Kingdom

Linux Lunacy September 13-20, 2003
Alaska's Inside Passage

Software Development Conference & Expo
September 15-19, 2003
Boston, MA

PC Expo
September 16-18, 2003
New York, NY

September 16-18, 2003
Toronto, Ontario

IDUG 2003 - Europe
October 7-10, 2003
Nice, France

LISA (17th USENIX Systems Administration Conference)
October 26-30, 2003
San Diego, CA

HiverCon 2003
November 6-7, 2003
Dublin, Ireland

November 17-21, 2003
Las Vegas, NV

News in General

 IBM Announces New Grid Offerings, Partners to form Grid EcosysteM

IBM has announced new offerings to further expand Grid computing into commercial enterprises, including the introduction of new solutions for four industries - petroleum, electronics, higher education and agricultural chemicals. In addition IBM announced that more than 35 companies, including networking giant Cisco Systems, will join IBM to form the foundation of a Grid ecosystem that is designed to foster Grid computing for businesses.

IBM is working with Royal Dutch Shell to speed up the processing of seismic data. The solution, based on IBM eServer xSeries running Globus and GNU/Linux, cuts the processing time of seismic data while improving the quality of the data. IBM also announced RBC Insurance and Kansai Electric Power as new Grid customers.

 Geek fair

Free Geek is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon, that recycles used technology to provide computers, education and access to the internet to those in need in exchange for community service.

They are organizing a GEEK FAIR (version 3.0) which will take place Sunday, June 29th Noon to 6pm at 1731 SE 10th Avenue Portland, Oregon. The free community block party will include Hard Drive Shuffleboard, Live Music, Square Dancing, Food, Sidewalk Sale, Funny Hats.

Obviously most readers (worldwide) will have geographical problems attending this particular event, but maybe it will give people ideas to organise something similar more locally.

 GELATO Federation

Overwhelming interest in running GNU/Linux on Itanium processors has helped to double membership in the Gelato Federation to 20 institutions. Gelato is a worldwide collaborative research community of universities, national laboratories and industry sponsors that is dedicated to providing scalable, open-source tools, utilities, libraries and applications to accelerate the adoption of GNU/Linux on Itanium systems.

Gelato's technical foci are determined by the members and sponsors, and collaborative work is conducted through the Gelato portal. Portal activity has tripled in the past two quarters, reflecting the momentum in membership growth. Recent member software made available through the Gelato portal includes two contributions from CERN: GEANT4, a toolkit for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter; and CLHEP, a class library for high-energy physics; and one from Gelato Member NCAR: the Spectral Toolkit, a library of multithreaded spectral transforms.

Distro News

 College Linux

Tux goes to college. Russell Pavlicek of NewsForge reports on College Linux, which has been developed in Robert Kennedy College, Switzerland. The distro has quite an important place in the operation of the college as some students study entirely via the internet.


Debian Weekly News reported that The miniwoody CD, which offers a stripped down variant of Debian woody, has been renamed to Bonzai Linux.


SuSE Linux has announced market availability for its Carrier-Grade Linux (CGL) edition of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, Powered by UnitedLinux. Developed in conjunction with HP, IBM and Intel Corporation, and targeted initially for Intel-based hardware platforms, SuSE Linux CGL Edition provides wide scalability, from real-time systems to back-end processing - enabling customers to use a single platform. For current applications - such as operating and business support systems, gateway, signalling and management servers, and next generation voice, data and wireless solutions - CGL will enable customers to more cost-efficiently deploy dependable, advanced applications while they endeavour to adhere to rigorous standards and demands for performance, reliability and availability.

The SuSE Linux CGL Edition is available at no charge as a Service Pack to SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 customers. CGL incorporates technologies defined by the OSDL's Carrier Grade Linux Working Group, an initiative whose members include SuSE, HP, IBM, Intel and leading Telecom and Network Equipment providers.


UnitedLinux has announced that its four founding partner companies will offer special support programs and discounts to ISV participants in the Oracle's Unbreakable Linux Partner Initiative. Oracle's Unbreakable Linux Partner Initiative provides financial and technical incentives to ISVs delivering solutions on Oracle's Unbreakable Linux software infrastructure. The Oracle Unbreakable Linux Partner Initiative complements Oracle's partnerships with strategically selected Linux platform providers and with hardware companies.

Software and Product News

 Mammoth PostgreSQL 7.3.2 released

Mammoth PostgreSQL 7.3.2 from Command Prompt, Inc. has been released. Mammoth PostgreSQL is a robust, reliable, 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 7.3.2 release, Mammoth PostgreSQL provides a commercially-supported and optimized PostgreSQL distribution for Win32, MacOSX and Red Hat Linux x86 platforms.

Also released is Mammoth pgManage 1.0, a platform independent PostgreSQL administrator available for GNU/Linux and Windows.

 Majesty, from Linux Game Publishing

Linux Game Publishing's long awaited new game Majesty, is now in stock. A Demo is available, and the game is available for shipment immediately.

 Appligent AppendPDF Pro 3.0

Appligent, Inc., a provider of Portable Document Format (PDF)-related software solutions, has announced the release of AppendPDF Pro 3.0, which enables businesses and organizations to dynamically assemble sections from PDF documents to build a completely new version with a choice of personalized features, such as a cover page and table of contents. This allows any PDF file to be automatically built and customized to the needs of each individual requesting specific information. AppendPDF Pro 3.0 is available for Windows NT/2000/XP, Solaris, Red Hat Linux, AIX and HP-UX, as well as Mac OS X.

AppendPDF Pro is available for purchase at www.appligent.com, as well as through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Advantage Web site.

 Opera 7 now available on Linux

Opera Software has released Opera 7 for Linux. The new version includes new feature changes from Opera 6 for Linux as well as a built-in e-mail client, not previously available in Opera for Linux. Download Opera 7.11 for Linux from www.opera.com/download

 Other software

The LyX team have announced the release of LyX 1.3.2
Copyright © 2003, Michael Conry. Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.com/copying.html
Published in Issue 91 of Linux Gazette, June 2003

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