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Alan Cox: Linux 2.2.21-rc1

Author: JT Smith

The recent changelog is below.

o Add farsync driver (Bob Dunlop)
o Fix x86 cpu type reporting in some cases (Barry Nathan)
o Fix module_license tag compatibility macro (Keith Owens)
o Update MAINTAINERS entry (Mark McClelland)
o Fix fb.h comment error (Krzysiek Taraszka)
o Zlib fix (Arjan van de Ven)
o Back out problem mce change

o Fix FAT breakage in pre3 (Dmitry Levin)
o Add S/390 LCS driver (IBM opensourced it now) (DJ Barrow,
Frank Pavlic)
o Update COPYING file to match FSF update (Dan Quinlann)
| basically swap 19xx example for this century..
o Fix a file name comment (William Stearns)
o Add realtek phy support to 2.2 sis900 driver (Allan Jacobsen)
o Fix MCE address reporting order, fix oops with (Dave Jones)
newer gcc due to bad asm constraints
o Starfire update (Ion Badulescu)
o Always victimise the dcache a little when
short of memory (John Lash, me)


  • Linux

Benchmark of 58-node Linux Cluster

Author: JT Smith

Frank writes, “This white paper from IBM (PDF) presents the results of the test conducted on a 58-node Cluster 1300 system, simultaneously running eight instances of e-Business Trade 2 benchmark tests on Redhat Linux. This all-IBM solution mounted in only three racks supported 800,000 users, serving an unprecedented 12,547 requests/sec with an average response time of 0.27 sec/request.”

Linux data hiding and recovery

Author: JT Smith

From LinuxSecurity Contributors: “Just when you thought your data was removed forever, Anton Chuvakin shows us how to recover
data and even how data can surruptitiously be hidden within space on the filesystem.”
http://www.linuxsecurity.com/feature_stories/data- hiding-forensics.html


  • Security

Tonight live on the Linux Show: Sputnik launches, and we’re mad as hell about other issues

Author: JT Smith

Jeff Gerhardt writes: Tuesday, March 12th, 2002 from the home of Wayne’s World, Aurora IL
Tonight LIVE on
at 6pm pt, 7pm mt, 8pm ct, and 9pm et, Kevin Hill, Jeff Gerhardt, PJ
Hyett, Doc Searls (Linux Journal), Arne Flones and Russ Pavlicek have
another great show lined up tonight on The Linux Show!!

In Segment One – Hot News: We will be covering the hot Linux news of
the last few weeks. In particular we will a series of stories/events that
continue to embattle the technology development community. It has come to a
point where TLS is shifting its editorial posture to a more aggresive tone.
We are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” So, tonight we
introduce a new theme of political confrontation.

In Segment Two- Sputnik “launches” into Orbit

Well at least to an 802.11 network near you. It is very sad when you see
people you admire have a difficult time. But, it is really cool when you
see those same people stick together as a team, and launch a new busines.
Tonight we will be joined by Art Tyde, Dave Sifry and Dave LaDuke. These
should be very familiar names as these were the guys who founded the one time high flying Linux Services organization Linuxcare.

Because of an ill timed attempt at an IPO, Linuxcare sort of stumbled, and had to reorganize. In April 2001, the intrepid Trio (Art, Dave and Dave) left Linuxcare and formed a new company that they basically put under wraps. Last month did they launch the Web site to inform the world of their plans. To this point (almost a year later)there has been no marketing or advertising of the (uhhh) Product (no its a service I think).

The secrecy was to “under-promise and over-deliver,” as Sifry put it. What it does is very cool. It is an Open Source 802.11b wireless gateway designed to allow wireless access providers to authenticate users while sharing their bandwidth. This is based on the explosion of wireless mesh networks that are poping up across the world. It allows service providers, and even users to build their own Sputnik Node. Bandwidth Providers will share in the revenue, once the commercial side of the service goes live. At present over 100 service providers have signed up to provide access points.

Please join us on the show, check our IRC Chat(irc.thelinuxshow.com

Remember tune in at 6pm pt, 7pm mt, 8pm ct, and 9pm et.

Catch the Linux show at www.thelinuxshow.com

Would you pay $5 to rescue Mandrake?

Author: JT Smith

The Register distills Mandrake’s request for more subscribers. “Claiming a short-term cash crunch, Linux distributor Mandrake is asking individual users to join a ‘club’ for $5 per month and up, and business users to join one for $2,500 per year and up.”

Locking up your rights with the DMCA

Author: JT Smith

MSNBC has a Newsweek article questioning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The article asks: “Can it be illegal to give people the tools to break into their own property? The U.S. government thinks so.”

EFF condemns copyright abuse in awsuit threat against Open Source gamer community

Author: JT Smith

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
today chided media conglomerate Vivendi Universal
Publishing for threatening gamers who created their own
multiplayer gaming community.

On behalf of its Blizzard Entertainment division, Vivendi
sent a “cease and desist” letter to Internet Gateway Inc.,
the Internet Service Provider (ISP) host of a free software
project called “bnetd” that emulates Blizzard’s Battle.net
gaming service. Blizzard game purchasers can meet online
or on a local area network to chat, find competition, and
start multiplayer games using the bnetd software.

Vivendi demanded that the ISP disable the website hosting
the bnetd software, claiming it violates copyright law and
the anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA).

EFF responded to Vivendi’s letter, explaining that its
claims were unfounded and stating that the bnetd software,
which was removed upon receipt of the demand, would be
reposted in 10 days.

“A group of volunteers decided to write a server for
Blizzard games because the Blizzard servers were
undependable and we wanted increased functionality,”
explained Tim Jung, owner of Internet Gateway, based in St.
Louis. “Vivendi claims that the server violates the law
because it does not implement checking the game’s CD-KEY,
designed to prevent the use of illegal copies of their
games. We asked them to give us the information we needed
to do the checking, but they refused.”

“This is yet another example of misuse of the DMCA and
copyright law,” noted EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “Bnetd
developers engaged in legal reverse engineering without
circumvention or any illegal activity.”

The DMCA has no requirement that one must include every
feature of a program or system like CD-KEYS; in fact, the
DMCA’s “no mandate” provision states that developers of
interoperable programs do not have to respond to CD-KEYS
and similar technology.

“Corporations have wielded the DMCA to censor magazines,
academic researchers, and competitors,” said EFF Senior
Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. “Now
Vivendi is using the DMCA to threaten customers who simply
want to improve the gaming environment for a product
they’ve purchased legitimately.”

Cease and desist letter sent by Vivendi Universal:

EFF reply to cease and desist letter:

For this release:

Bnetd website:

Blizzard’s explanation:

Media coverage and websites related to the case:

A Penny Arcade comic about the case:

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
statement, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the world at

About Internet Gateway:

Founded in 1995, Missouri-based Internet Gateway provides
Internet and networking solutions, as well as consulting
services, to businesses and end users across the country.
Internet Gateway provides Internet access, consulting and
support to other ISPs as well as to its own customers. In
addition to nationwide consulting and support, Internet
Gateway currently provides Internet access to five cities
including the St. Louis metro area, Cape Girardeau,
Sikeston, Perryville and the St. Charles/St. Peters metro
area. The company website can be found at

About bnetd Project:

The bnetd project is a collaboration focusing on
development of a server that attempts to emulate Blizzard’s
Battle.net gaming server. The bnetd project is run by
volunteers and is neither supported by nor affiliated with
Blizzard Entertainment. The project website is at

NetBSD on the desktop? Is there a point?

Author: JT Smith

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

For the basics of Wasabi Systems’ NetBSD 1.5.2, you can see
Russell Pavlicek’s “A Linux guy looks at NetBSD.” Today’s question: whether NetBSD 1.5.2, as Wasabi claims in a press release, is an off-the-shelf, easy-to-use NetBSD desktop operating environment.

First things first. Although the Package Release, five-CD, shrink-wrapped $64.95 box (a less expensive version, with only two CDs, is also available for $24.95) was released in late January 2002 at LinuxWorld, the contents reflect the state of the NetBSD operating system and programs circa September 2001.

That’s a significant five months. Current NetBSD
includes its Python port
and an improved pkgsrc, which is a program installer roughly the equivalent of Linux’s RPM. While NetBSD is usable out of the box, you should be ready to do a lot of ftping and package updating before you have a state-of-the-art system.

As promised, though, the package comes with binaries that will run on just about every computer architecture known to desktop-using man, including Intel-based PCs, 680×0 and PowerPC Macs, and Amigas. It also runs on some architectures, like MIPS-based Cobalt Qube systems, that few people are likely to consider for desktop use.

The installations, on a generic Pentium 700MHz system, a NEC 9734 Pentium 200Mhz and an Apple Performa 6220CD powered by a 75 MHz PowerPC 603, went smoothly for someone who first installed Unix on a PDP off seven-track tape.

Unless Mom and Dad are computer pros, this is one installation they don’t
want to do. Think of a Linux installation circa 1997, and you’ve pretty much got it.

On the plus side, once installed, NetBSD ran like a champ even on the 1995 vintage Macintosh. If you’ve gotten tired of standard Linux installations that can rival Windows XP for disk and memory requirements, Wasabi’s NetBSD is a pleasant blast from the past. If you want a Unix system with a modern KDE or Gnome interface that will run on an old, slow machine, NetBSD is for you.

This is also, to the best of my knowledge, the first commercially packaged BSD marketed for ordinary desktop users. Others, like the Walnut Creek FreeBSD packages, were really for Unix addicts only or like Wind River’s BSD/OS, which is a server OS.

Once you’re past the installation, Wasabi NetBSD actually is about as ordinary-user-friendly as any BSD or Linux this side of MacOS X. It comes with games, StarOffice, and all the other trimmings that one might expect from a fully packed Linux distribution like SuSE’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink packages.

Performance was good on the trio of test systems. In particular, network throughput was a tad faster than when the same boxes had Windows 2000, Corel Linux, and MacOS 7.5.5 on them. It was nothing to write home about it, but they ran a bit more sprightly.

Still, Wasabi NetBSD is not better than any commercial Linux desktop. While a Solaris-on-Intel orphaned user might like it better than Linux, it’s hard to conceive of any established Linux desktop user, much less a Windows or Mac user, finding any compelling reason to switch. The best reason to switch to NetBSD is for those who believe the BSD license is a better one than the GPL. Frankly,
that’s not an issue that matters much to Joe Desktop User.

Make no mistake — it’s a fine Unix desktop system, but it’s not compelling enough to win any news users to a NetBSD desktop. Wasabi really wants embedded system developers, not desktop users.

In a DesktopLinux interview, Wasabi founder and CEO Perry Metzger said that winning the desktop market is “not our primary business strategy — we’re actually mainly targeting the embedded market.” Why do it then? He answered, “Making NetBSD friendlier for people on the desktop supports that strategy, because the more people who use NetBSD, the higher Wasabi’s profile
becomes, and the more we’ll see engineers designing us into embedded applications.”

Agree with his logic or not, if you want to give NetBSD a spin, or if you’re an embedded system developer, Wasabi NetBSD is worth trying. It may not replace your desktop, but it is an excellent introduction to the BSD operating system family.


  • Unix

GNU Fileutils Race condition security advisory

Author: JT Smith

From Net-security.org: “Race condition in various utilities from fileutils GNU package may cause root user to delete the whole filesystem.”


  • Security

White paper examines IP routers’ growing data managment demands

Author: JT Smith

Ted Kenney writes: “Core Internet bandwidth grows at triple the rate of CPU power, but the promise of high-value applications can only be realized by managing much more data traffic at the network’s edge. This requires rapid evolution of the fundamental edge infrastructure device, the IP router. To keep pace, routing table management (RTM) software within routers must respond quickly to changing protocol and provisioning requirements. But as demands increase, proprietary routing table implementations encounter limitations in scalability, extensibility, and ease of maintenance. McObject’s new white paper “The Role of In-Memory Database Systems in Routing Table Management” examines using in-memory database systems (IMDS) within RTM software to overcome these barriers. Performance examples on Linux confirm IMDSs can meet RTM lookup and update requirements. In addition to greater development flexibility, IMDS technology provides built-in data integrity and fault tolerance. The IMDS solution improves infrastructure vendors’ competitive position by cutting the time-to-market and development costs of next-generation IP router technology.

Download the white paper at McObject’s Web site.”