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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 bytes@lists.linuxgazette.net

Legislation and More Legislation


Patents are a recurring theme here, and there is a lot of good commentary on the net related to this topic. A recent development that has stirred some further debate is the release of a report by Open Source Risk Management outlining their reading of the patent issues surrounding Free and Open Source Software. OSRM has a business model built around selling legal support and indemnification to clients in the Open Source community. Some criticism of the report has focused on the potential it has to create feelings of uncertainty among businesses operating in this arena. While this is a valid concern, it is not a reason to avoid discussion of these matters. Indeed, as pointed out in Linux Weekly News, these matters of patents and possible infringements affect proprietary software developers just as much as open source software developers. A useful article at O'Reilly's linux devcenter gives a good overview of some of the issues raised by the report, and also includes responses from OSRM's Dan Ravicher to some of the criticisms and queries prompted by his work.

One way or another, discussion and debate around this issue is a good thing.


LinuxWorld.com.au has reported on the fortunes of Free software in the implementation of Australian e-voting. Encouragingly, the initial system implemented was released under the GPL, however Software Improvements, the company behind the software, has decided to release future versions under a more restrictive licence that will only allow officials to view the code. This is particularly disheartening since the Australian Capital Territory Electoral commission had ordered that the software be open source. To see the deal reneged on (in spirit if not in the legal sense) is a setback for open source software, and for e-voting in general.

Linux Links

How to Build a Low Cost Linux Desktop Computer

Getting going with Subversion

GNU/Linux as a data-recovery tool

Getting online with Bluetooth and GPRS

French supermarket (hypermarket?) giant Carrefour is piloting a line of PCs equipped with Mandrake Linux in its stores.

Hacking the Linux-based Linksys NSLU2

Summer vacations, bringing Linux to Nicaragua.

Two Degrees of Freedom, George and Freeman Dyson at OSCON 2004. Discussion includes biotechnology, physics, the fate of the universe, and the value of physical tinkering.

Custom Email Queries for handling the diverse data and file-types that turn up in your inbox.

O'Reilly book, AI for Game Developers.

Applying technical know-how to get the 9/11 Commission report to the widest audience.

News in General

 TheOpenCD Software Freedom Day Edition

The OpenCD project has announced the availability of TheOpenCD v1.4.1, a special edition for Software Freedom Day 2004 (August 28th). TheOpenCD is a collection of Free and Open Source software for Windows, and it is a good way to introduce Windows users to the world of Free software. As well as TheOpenCD, the Software Freedom Pack to be distributed on SFD will include a remastered Knoppix live CD aimed at a non-Linux using audience.

Distro News


Kanotix is a live GNU/Linux CD based on Knoppix and Debian, and using mostly pure Debian/sid. Since it's a live CD, it is easy to try out without risk. Linux.com has recently reviewed the distribution.


SuSE has announced the launch of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9, based on the new Linux 2.6 kernel.

Software and Product News


Linux 2.6.8 has been released with various changes and updates. This was quickly followed by a small bugfix release, bringing the current stable version up to


SpamAssassin Version 3.0 has been released.


The Helix Player Project has announced the release of RealPlayer 10 for Linux and the underlying 100% open source Helix Player 1.0

Basic Features of the players:

Real Player 10 for Linux adds the following features:


The Linux Terminal Server Project has announced the release of LTSP 4.1. It includes the following:


The Mozilla project has released new versions of its flagship programs. This means that Mozilla Suite (1.7.3), Mozilla Firefox (1.0 Pre-Release) and Mozilla Thunderbird (0.8) are now available for download. Since earlier releases have suffered from some quite recently discovered security bugs, upgrads are advisable. Since earlier releases have suffered from some quite recently discovered security bugs, upgrades are advisable.


Mick is LG's News Bytes Editor.

[Picture] Originally hailing from Ireland, Michael is currently living in Baden, Switzerland. There he works with ABB Corporate Research as a Marie-Curie fellow, developing software for the simulation and design of electrical power-systems equipment.

Before this, Michael worked as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College Dublin; the same institution that awarded him his PhD. The topic of this PhD research was the use of Lamb waves in nondestructive testing. GNU/Linux has been very useful in his past work, and Michael has a strong interest in applying free software solutions to other problems in engineering.

Copyright © 2004, Michael Conry. Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 107 of Linux Gazette, October 2004

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