Cliff’s List Filter – Aug 10-16


Author: Ian Palmer

Welcome to the weekly installment of highlights from the Open Source developers lists. This week’s samplings of news include: more headway made in the battle against Linux latencies; the release of Linux (yes, that’s an extra .1, don’t fear, the usual x.y.z numbering scheme will be around for a while, yet); patches to improve Balsa and Gnumeric operation; yet another patch to make KOffice and Gnumeric play well together; tons of new GNOME software; and the usual assortment of other tips and tricks for your favorite pieces of open source software.

Linux Kernel

  • In the ongoing fight against kernel latency issues, Ingo Molnar releases the latest version of his voluntary preempt patch for x86-based processors which, among improvements to his previous work on latencies, adds improved latency tracing functions. This patch appeals mostly to users who deal with Linux’s audio subsystem (either in the creation of music or the development of audio drivers), however any help in tracking down the remaining high latency portions of the Linux kernel will be welcomed.

  • Risk takers and bleeding edge dwellers may be interested in these recent IDE changes from Alan Cox. Included in the patch is an experimental driver for IT8212 RAID controller cards, not to mention the beginnings of a large scale clean-up of the IDE-subsystem in general. Please note that this patch, being extremely experimental, may remove some features and IDE quirks you may have gotten used to, particularly when it comes to /proc settings. Also available for those wanting a sneak preview for upcoming Linux features is an update for the Wireless Extension features for Linux.

  • Writing code that uses the fork() and exec() routines can be difficult enough, but such code can run into complex problems, especially when run on two versions of Linux. Take this fork/exec problem for example. Unless one is familiar with the intricacies of how Linux processes invocation, the need of a proper signal handler may not be obvious and without it, code that works under Linux 2.4 will fail under Linux 2.6.

  • Peter Williams released an updated version of his Single Priority Array Scheduler Evaluation patchsets on August 12. These patches (and included software tools) are designed to facilitate the adjustment and the evaluation of the various flavors of the new O(1) scheduler introduced in Linux 2.6.

  • Jeff Garzik introduced the SATA RAID FAQ on August 12. This handy resource should provide a valuable tool in combating the most common of SATA problems.

  • For a basic primer on generating hotplug events in drivers, the tips in this Linux-Kernel thread are worth mentioning.

  • Linus releases the final version of Linux 2.6.8 on August 14, however due to a bug in the NFS code, A fix was immediately pushed out, resulting in the release of the oddly named Linux If a completely working build tree is important to you, then another small set of corrections for x86-64 is necessary as well.

  • News that should appeal to hackers working on the Linux Kernel: a new version of Bitkeeper, v3.2.3, was released on August 15.



  • Three security advisories were issued for KDE on August 11 dealing with unsafe temporary files and directories, and a Konqueror vulnerability. Please note that patches were made available when the vulnerabilities were reported, so if you haven’t patched or upgrades your KDE installations yet, please take the time to do so at your soonest convenience.
  • KDar v1.2.0 is released on August 14. KDar a Disk Archiver for the KDE desktop. As the name would imply, its analogous to the Unix “tar” command, but is flexible enough to handle not only backups to tape, but to CD-R, DVD, Jazz, Zip and other media as well.
  • G-System 0.3.0 is released on August 16. G-System is an ambitious program that’s designed to do one thing: make you the master and creator of your own virtual universe.
  • Those of you using KOffice v1.3.2 who have need to switch their data between KOffice and Gnumeric may have noticed an issue with Gnumeric not accepting KOffice data. This problem has now been addressed and the fix is a simple one line correction in the proper file. Happy exporting!


  • Thunderbird users will be pleased to know that there is an extension available that will allow you to detach attachments from stored mail and will place those attachments into a repository (for ease of deletion, for example). Readers interested in the development history of this particular extension can find useful information in its home thread on mozillaZine.

  • New executables of Mozilla Sunbird, the calendaring standalone app, was released on August 16.
  • While such features may be snubbed by many, it turns out that there is a Mozilla plugin available that allows access to ActiveX controls in Mozilla. Please note that the ports listed in the message are required for both Mozilla and the plugin to operate. If your extremely security conscious, then use such plugins with care.

  • Lose access to the “Tabs” menu in FireFox? Alvaro Vicario provides a clever workaround URL that should solve the problem.