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Bringing you the latest news from the Linux World. Dedicated to keeping Linux users up-to-date, with concise news for all interests. Leading items and editorials A new proposed Microsoft remedy. Unhappy with the Department of Justice's remedy, nine holdout states have put forward a proposal of their own in the Microsoft case.
The full proposal is available to those who are interested in PDF format. Here we'll look at a few aspects of this proposal that are of interest to the free software community. One, of course, is the requirement that Internet Explorer actually, "all browser products and browser functionality" be released under an open source license. The license to be used is not specified, but it includes "a royalty-free, non-exclusive perpetual right on a non-discriminatory basis to make, use, modify, and distribute without limitation products implementing or derived from Microsoft's source code.
One can imagine a belated release of code, missing many important parts which, while necessary to build IE, are not, according to Microsoft, "browser functionality. It's not clear how much it would help on free systems, where numerous free, capable browsers are finally becoming available. More to the point, perhaps, it is hard to see how an open source Internet Explorer will help mitigate Microsoft's monopoly power in the future.
The proposal requires Microsoft to distribute Java for the next ten years. No doubt enough little glitches could be caused to remain in the Java virtual machine that the "debug everywhere" nature of the language would persist.
Do we really want the government to start regulating which languages should be present on our systems? Then there's the porting of Office. The proposal requires Microsoft to auction licenses for ports of Office to three other operating systems. Nothing in the proposal requires a port to Linux.
How useful would such a port be, if it were to happen? The availability of Office might help drive a few corporate desktop deployments. But, then, if people really want to run Office, there is probably little reason for them not to run it on Windows.
If the port included a separate library for the reading and writing of Office file formats, other Linux applications could have an easier time with proprietary files. Except, of course, those licensed under the GPL, which could not be linked with that sort of closed source library. Section 4 of the proposal requires "disclosure of APIs, communications interfaces, and technical information. The proposal does not require disclosure to the free software community, however, or to the public as a whole.
It's not at all clear that the information so disclosed could be incorporated into free software products. Free software developers are not given the sort of access to information that is mandated for proprietary vendors.
And, of course, this proposal does little to prevent a future Microsoft monopoly based on. The best course of action remains as before: Free software continues to make great strides, even in the current economic climate. Rather than counting on the government to hobble the strongest proprietary competition, let's work on keeping free software strong and making that competition obsolete. Cringely's take on the proposal, which includes information on how to submit comments, and Dan Kegel's proposed modifications to the proposal.
The OpenOffice project seems to be keeping a deliberately low profile. OpenOffice developers, perhaps, are fearful of the criticism that Mozilla has taken over the years; they, too, have taken on a hefty chunk of newly freed corporate code, and are working to turn it into a proper free application. Rather than risk disappointing the community, OpenOffice is keeping relatively quiet about what it is up to.
No press releases, no weekly summaries. It is, however, time that the world began to notice OpenOffice. The project has, quietly, produced a capable and fully functional office productivity suite.
Recent builds of OpenOffice are very similar to the StarOffice 6. All the important features are there. Not long ago, there was no free office suite for Linux, and the proprietary ones left users disappointed as well.
Now we are blessed with a number of free alternatives. An MS Office power user would likely find reasons to complain about all of them, but most others should find all the capabilities they need. The widespread deployment of Linux on desktops may be closer than we think.
What the insiders are up to. One fun bit of information available on the Yahoo site is data on insider stock trades. This trading information can give an insight into what people are up to. Here's a couple of examples: When the company now known as Caldera International and the company now known as Lineo split apart, each maintained a substantial holding in the other.
One could say that Lineo is showing a lack of faith in its sister company's future, but the truth is probably more straightforward: Lineo has been financing its operation by selling its Caldera stock. A pattern stands out immediately in Red Hat's data: Proceeds will be in the millions of dollars. Either Bob is looking to buy a house in co-founder Marc Ewing's neighborhood, or he has some other scheme in the works Holders of stock in VA Software, instead, are standing pat ; there are very few insider trades on record.
Memory pools; bigger device numbers; dueling schedulers. Bochs x86 emulator, Quanta 2. This Week's LWN was brought to you by: Government Technology has an article on how security conscious governments are looking at Linux. When vulnerabilities are found, programmers can fix them by tinkering with the code and publishing the results. Business Week considers Guardent's firewall box and whether companies will trust it.
All of this might sound familiar to those who have watched Red Hat's struggle to create a workable model, one in which software is free and service revenues generate the profit. Guardent announces security appliance. Guardent has announced the availability of its "Security Defense Appliance," which is built on Linux. Along with the appliance customers are expected to buy a range of security monitoring and response services. OpenSSH restricted command vulnerability clarification. In fact, Immunix issued an alert in October and Debian fixed the vunerabilty in unstable on November 30th Debian stable is not vulnerable.
Thanks to Seth Arnold and Matt Zimmerman. Conectiva security update to mailman. Conectiva has issued a security update to mailman which fixes the cross-site scripting problem in that package.
Debian security update to wmtv. The Debian Project has issued a security update to wmtv fixing a really silly local root compromise vulnerability in that package. The following web scripts were reported to contain vulnerabilities: Postfix session log memory exhaustion. Postfix , and some earlier verions, have a denial of service vulnerability.
The SMTP session log could grow to an unreasonable size. Debian December 12, Previous updates: Mandrake February 28, Previous updates: Conectiva December 11, Red Hat November 29, 7. Versions of Apache prior to version 1. HP January 5, Previous updates: The AES specifies a cryptographic algorithm that can be used to protect electronic data by encrypting enciphering and decrypting deciphering information.
Those who would like to participate have until January 1st to answer the call for presentations. To submit an event directly to us, please send a plain-text message to lwn lwn. Kernel development The current development kernel release is still 2.
On the surface, little has changed over the last week; most of the changelog entries seem to be some variant of "Jens Axboe: Also included in this prepatch is a Super-H architecture update, some network driver work, an NTFS update, USB fixes, memory pools see below , and the inevitable superblock cleanup patches from Al Viro. The current stable kernel release is 2. Marcelo's prepatches are up to 2.
Marcelo's stated plan is to have the final release be the same as the last release candidate; the hope is to be done with surprises caused by last-minute patches. Memory pools are a new addition to the kernel as of 2. The idea behind "mempools," which were implemented by Ingo Molnar, is to provide a memory allocation function that is guaranteed to work, even when memory is tight. Some places in the kernel can not afford to have memory allocations fail. For example, memory pressure can force the system to swap pages out, but that swap operation will require memory to be executed.
If the memory to set up the swap is not available, the system comes to a halt. Memory pools work by simply preallocating a bunch of memory and keeping it aside until it's needed.
The actual allocation and freeing of memory is handled by somebody else the idea seems to be for mempools to be layered over the slab allocator ; all mempools do is stock up ahead of time. Their use will thus increase the kernel's memory consumption by the amount of memory that is set aside. For certain critical paths, though, they should help to improve the stability of the system under heavy load. One of the long-stated plans for 2.