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News Bytes


Selected and formatted by Michael Conry and Mike Orr

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.

Distro News


Debian Potato users out there itching to get their hands on the new 2.4 kernels may be interested in these links. Linux Weekly News have posted the Debian-News message of Apr 16, which has advice on getting kernel 2.4 working on you 2.2 potato install. The instructions should be read carefully before upgrading.
In other Debian news, The third revision of Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (nickname `potato') has been released. This point release, version 2.2r3, mostly includes security updates, along with a few corrections to important bugs in the stable distribution. The details are online.


Linux-Mandrake 8.0 has been released. New features can be studied in detail on their website. Highlights include KDE 2.1.1, GNOME 1.4, Kernel 2.4.3, Xfree86 4.0.3, and Anti-aliasing. If you would like to donate to the project, go to


Progeny Debian is out now. The download edition is already available, and the box set will be on sale from April 23. Ian Murdock, Progeny CEO and President, has said that Progeny Debian is not trying to be another distribution of Linux. "In fact, we don't see Progeny Debian as a separate distribution. It is an enhanced version of Debian for the commercial market. All of our development efforts are being contributed back to the Debian community, and we hope that our work can help make Debian better for all users", he comments.

 Red Hat

Red Hat have announced Red Hat Linux 7.1 with 2.4 kernel. The Red Hat website has a complete list of the new features.


Linux Weekly News have a story on Slackware's difficulties. Apparently, Wind River have laid off the Slackware development staff. Patrick Volkerding, who is also laid off, says that he has sufficient funds to publish the next edition of Slackware, but not enough to pay developers for their input. This was a big topic of conversation on the Slackware forum (might break Netscape).

If you want to see Slackware continue, you can donate to the project via their PayPal account. Donate to


SuSE Linux have announced the release of SuSE Linux 7.1 for the Sparc architecture of Sun Microsystems. SuSE Linux 7.1 for Sparc comes with the proven Linux Kernel 2.2.18 as well as the latest Kernel 2.4.2 as a special bonus for technophile users. SuSE Linux 7.1 is based on the program library glibc 2.2. The popular SBUS graphics cards are supported by XFree86 4.0.2. Application support for LFS (Large File Support) and IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) has grown.

SuSE Linux 7.1 for Sparc (Item No. 99985-21SPC) is supplied on five CD-ROMs with online documentation. It can be obtained exclusively directly from SuSE at the price of EUR 159 plus VAT. SuSE Linux 7.1 for Sparc is also available for download from

News in General

 Upcoming conferences and events

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

Linux for Industrial Applications
3rd Braunschweiger Linux-Tage
May 4-6, 2001
Braunschweig, Germany

Linux@Work Europe 2001
May 8 - June 15, 2001
Various Locations

Linux Expo, São Paulo
May 9-10, 2001
São Paulo, Brazil

SANS 2001
May 13-20, 2001
Baltimore, MD

7th Annual Applied Computing Conference
May 14-17, 2001
Santa Clara, CA

Linux Expo, China
May 15-18, 2001
Shanghai, China

SITI International Information Technologies Week
OpenWorld Expo 2001
May 22-25, 2001
Montréal, Canada

Strictly e-Business Solutions Expo
May 23-24, 2001
Minneapolis, MN

Linux Expo, Milan
June 6-7, 2001
Milan, Italy

Linux Expo Montréal
June 13-14, 2001
Montréal, Canada

Open Source Handhelds Summit
June 18-19, 2001
Austin, TX

USENIX Annual Technical Conference
June 25-30, 2001
Boston, MA

PC Expo
June 26-29, 2001
New York, NY

Internet World Summer
July 10-12, 2001
Chicago, IL

O'Reilly Open Source Convention
July 23-27, 2001
San Diego, CA

10th USENIX Security Symposium
August 13-17, 2001
Washington, D.C.

HunTEC Technology Expo & Conference
Hosted by Hunstville IEEE
August 17-18, 2001
Huntsville, AL
URL unkown at present

August 25-26, 2001
Dayton, OH

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo
August 27-30, 2001
San Francisco, CA

The O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference
September 17-20, 2001
Washington, DC

Linux Lunacy
Co-Produced by Linux Journal and Geek Cruises

Send a Friend LJ and Enter to Win a Cruise!
October 21-28, 2001
Eastern Caribbean

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo
October 30 - November 1, 2001
Frankfurt, Germany

5th Annual Linux Showcase & Conference
November 6-10, 2001
Oakland, CA

Strictly e-Business Solutions Expo
November 7-8, 2001
Houston, TX

LINUX Business Expo
Co-located with COMDEX
November 12-16, 2001
Las Vegas, NV

15th Systems Administration Conference/LISA 2001
December 2-7, 2001
San Diego, CA

 Newlix ServerWare

Newlix Corporation has developed an intelligent and customisable administration solution for Linux based server appliances. Newlix ServerWare contains an intelligent administration engine so intuitive that it creators say "it can be seen as having an entire IT team sucked right into the server appliance!" This technology is intended to improve the functionality and ease of use of server appliances. Full details are available on the Newlix website.

 eCluster Internet Server Clustering

eCluster from XGforce is a scalable, Intelligent load-balance cluster system, which can be scaled up to 1024 Internet cluster groups and each contains 1024 cluster nodes(1024X1024). With round trip time load balance algorithm, one can cluster any OSes on any CPUs, such as NT, Novell, UNIXes (SUN SPARC, OS2000 BSD, Linux), etc. The support of load balance or fail safe mode, ensured non-stoppable and fast business transactions for SQL Database Servers, such as Oracle, MS SQL, Informix, MySQL, Postgress, etc.

A load balance algorithm is used which includes CPU load, weighted load, vm usage, round trip time, CPU usage, etc. Other features include Network Traffic Distribution, Network Failsafe, CFS(tm), and Large Network Management for both Internet and Intranet. Ports for LINUX, SUN, FreeBSD, and NT are available and free support is provided. For more information, consult the XGforce website.

 ActiveState Launches ASPN Initiative

ActiveState has launched a new initiative to enable programming with open source technologies. The ActiveState Programmer Network (ASPN) includes quality assured binary distributions of Perl, Python and Tcl; multi-language and platform IDEs; technical references, sample code, recipes and more. For additional details or go to the ASPN website.

 OTG Software

OTG Software has announced its acquisition of Smart Storage, a privately held provider of standards based DVD and CD storage management software. OTG expects Smart Storage's CD/DVD technology to speed its entry into the rich media market, to boost its international momentum, and to enable it to offer more solutions for storing and accessing data on the UNIX and Linux platforms.

OTG, has also announced its participation and strategic partnership in BMC Software's Application-Centric Storage Management Consortium ( ACSM), a partner program that provides a competitive edge and additional avenues to members for market development, customer services and market expansion.

 Linux Fortran

Many of us involved in scientific computing make considerable use of Fortran, either for writing our own code, or for the many libraries which have been written in the language. Dr. Bronson Messer of the University of Tennessee has recommended as a good source of information relating to Linux and Fortran. It has comparisons of various compilers, news, tips, etc.

 Linux Focus

Here are the May-June articles for the ezine Linux Focus.

 Linux Links

There is a vulnerability in kernel 2.4.x IPTables which you should patch if you use Linux 2.4 for firewalling. Quoting from the SANS Institute's alert: "A vulnerability in the ip_conntrack_ftp module, which is responsible for tracking incoming FTP connections, has been found. This vulnerability could be used to bypass IPTables firewall rules if IPTables is configured to allow RELATED connections to pass unhindered, which is a standard configuration used with FTP servers. An attacker can trick the ip_conntrack_ftp module into creating RELATED connections, thus allowing various outbound connections to the network of the firewall itself." A patch is available.

The Duke of URL has the following links to tempt you:

Since the point of FAQ's is to get newbies up to speed, let's take this opportunity to direct attention to The linux-kernel mailing list FAQ. Then when you have digested that, you can see what's happening on-list.

SlashDot has offered the following links in the past month:

Suresh Ramasubramanian mailed a link to an article he has prepared, providing a HOWTO on configuring a linux box dialup connection, complete with configuring email services (using sendmail, exim and postfix as the MTA and mutt as the MUA) on the box. You might find this useful.

Bryan Pfaffenberger writes about Why Open Content Matters in his Linux Journal web column " Currents".

And please, some paper-clip sized sympathy for The Microsoft Office help clip who became the latest (and most welcome ;-) redundancy in the tech-sector recently.

Finally, not strictly Linux, but have announced a free on-line internet access service to their ConteXt database server. Includes 30Mb space, Unix shell command line, and some GUI treats focused on DataBase building.

Software Announcements


Open SSH have announced the release of version 2.5.2 of their software. The Open SSH suite includes the ssh program which replaces rlogin and telnet, scp which replaces rcp, and sftp which replaces ftp. Also included is sshd which is the server side of the package, and the other basic utilities like ssh-add, ssh-agent, ssh-keygen and sftp-server. OpenSSH supports SSH protocol versions 1.3, 1.5, and 2.0. You cannot afford to ignore security!

 PostgreSQL 7.1 version announced

The PostgreSQL open source database core development community have announced the official release of the PostgreSQL 7.1 version. Check their news page for more information. PostgreSQL 7.1 will feature several upgrades and improvement from the previous version, including: PostgreSQL version 7.1 includes contributions from more than 120 members of the PostgreSQL open source development community.


Python 2.1 has been released. Find out what's new, and read the full release notes.

 Cylant IDS for Linux: prevents unknown attacks too

Cylant Technology have released CylantSecure for Linux, an intrusion detection system that protects against both known and previously unknown forms of attack. It uses a modified kernel in conjunction with custom kernel modules to provide system protection -- and becomes part of the running kernel. Unlike other IDS products, CylantSecure does not use rules or patterns for identifying attacks, eliminating the need to rely on a database of known attack signatures. Instead, it focuses on actual software behaviour and builds a statistical model of nominal system behaviour. It enables a computer to distinguish between normal and abnormal behaviour, and then uses that information to stop malicious attacks before any damage can occur. Details on the software are in an online press release.

 ICS Integrates Themes Into Open Motif

Integrated Computer Solutions has announced the Developer's Release of its initiative to add themes to Open Motif. Themes is a capability supplied with Linux desktop environments that provides users with the ability to personalise the overall look of the user interface of their desktop. The Developer Release of Themes for Open Motif works with GTK themes created for Gnome. Currently, themes are converted by hand into a format that Open Motif can process. As the Open Motif Themes capability evolves, no conversion will be necessary and Open Motif based applications will automatically adopt the theme set by the end user. The objective of the initiative is to support both the Gnome and KDE desktop environments. ICS is actively looking to recruit other Open Source developers to help with this project. Further details can be found at the ICS forum website.

 Internet Exchange Messaging Server 5

Messaging software developer International Messaging Associates have launched the beta version of its latest product, Internet Exchange Messaging Server 5 (IEMS 5). IEMS 5 supports distributed computing environments and is said to run well on mixed Linux and Windows platforms. "Currently, we are working on providing support for several Linux distributions," said Tim Kehres, IMA Managing Director. These Linux distributions include RedHat, SuSE, VALinux, Turbo Linux, Caldera, Mandrake, among others. This product enables users to access their mailboxes via POP3 or IMAP4-capable clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Netscape Navigator, Eudora Mail, as well as the Internet Exchange Web Mail Client.

You can get a copy of IEMS 5 at The product overview can, also be downloaded. Beta participants of the Linux-Windows-based Internet Exchange Messaging Server (IEMS) 5 shall get a US$300 price reduction (about 30% off) if they purchase the messaging solution now than wait for its forthcoming official release.

 Other software

Better Access Networking in Leuven is Teamware's new reselling partner for Teamware Office 5.3 for Linux in Belgium. Teamware Office for Linux completes Better Access' product offering by bringing e-mail, calendar and document management functionalities to Linux. Teamware have also made a partner agreement with Coresys AB in Sweden. For latest news, check out the Teamware newsletter.

The new version of Mailman, 2.0.4, compatible with Python 2.1, is out. LWN have the story.

Insignia sponsored a technical interest forum at the recent Embedded Systems Conference. The subsequent detailed press release is wide-ranging and available online.

Copyright © 2001, Michael Conry and the Editors of Linux Gazette.
Copying license
Published in Issue 66 of Linux Gazette, May 2001
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