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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@linuxgazette.net

Legislation and More Legislation


The subject of software patents has been a frequent topic of discussion in this and other organs of the Free/Open-Source community. An indication of the problems that lie ahead if these issues are not satisfactorily resolved is provided by the current discussions surrounding Munich's migration from Windows to GNU/Linux. In spite of much campaigning by Microsoft, including visits by Steve Ballmer, the Munich authorities have been pursuing an Open Source IT strategy. However, one pro-Open-Source Munich alderman has pointed out that ongoing doubts about the current and future status of software patents could wreck the plans. Though his concerns are largely precautionary, Jens Muehlhaus is not the only party to see the importance of patents. Microsoft, for one, certainly believes that patents are a crucial tool with which to control the market. To this end, over the past years the company has trebled the number of patents it files annually. Equally, there is a growing awareness among the Free/Open-Source community of the issue, and of possible ways to confront the problem. While the American situation seems very hard to change (with defensive patenting being one of the more rational coping strategies) the European scenario is still quite malleable, which hopefully will encourage some constructive engagement in this very political process.

 French Licence - CeCILL

Three French public bodies, the ECA, the INRIA, and the CNRS, have published a new free/open-source software licence: CeCILL [ English translation]. The new licence aims to address some specific points of French law that the writers of CeCILL believe cause difficulties in the application of the GPL.

Linux Links

Project AMOS aims to automate reuse of open source code (a European project aimed at creating a searchable database to automate the reuse of free/open source software code).

Command line tips and trick

E-Voting, a challenge to the Open Source community

Mozilla and the future of the web

Creating games with Pygame

Sun moves away from Linux

Analysing network attacks by sorting through packets from your IDS.

Why to learn assembly language

Behind DragonFly BSD, a look at the new fork of FreeBSD 4.

Who writes Linux

Four alternative Linux window managers, Newsforge takes a look at life beyond KDE and Gnome: AfterStep, Enlightenment, IceWM and FVWM.

Video production with Linux, Part II

Real world Linux migration stories

DES to retire

News in General

 Mandrake Storms French Government, Catalonia's Homage to CATix

The French Ministry of Equipment has chosen Mandrakelinux Corporate Server to replace 1,500 Microsoft Windows NT servers in a national scale deployment.

In a similar trend, Barcelona city authorities have announced a plan to phase out current Windows NT installations in favour of CATix, a GNU/Linux localisation in Catalan.

Distro News


Conectiva Linux has released version 10.0 of their GNU/Linux distribution.


Debian Weekly News reports that Debian is increasing it's market share. Netcraft has reported data indicating that Debian shows market share gains among GNU/Linux distributions (Gentoo currently has the fastest percentage growth rate). Debian GNU/Linux is now running on more than 1 million web-facing hostnames.


Feather Linux is a Knoppix-derived Linux distribution. It can run completely off a CD or a USB memory-key and uses less than 64Mb of space. It provides a selection of desktop-focused software. LinuxQuestions.org has recently added an officially recognized forum for the distribution


A (largely positive) review of Mepis Linux


Progeny Debian 2.0, Developer Edition Beta 1 has been released and is available for download. This release represents a sample implementation of Componentized Linux.

 Red Hat

Red Hat is reported to be preparing to sell a subscription service supporting an open-source Java application server.


Flexbeta has reviewed Turbo Linux 10f, the multi-media geared variant of Turbo Linux 10.


Vidalinux has released Vidalinux Desktop OS beta2, which is based on the 2.6.7-gentoo-r11 kernel.

Software and Product News


Linux vendor Linspire has released PhoneGaim, a free software program that adds voice-over-IP functionality to the Linux-based Gaim instant messaging client.


Maguma Workbench is a cross-platform source-level editor, also known as an IDE (Integrated Development Environment). The product contains a debugger, internal and external previews, adjustable themes, class browser, new flexible layout, and more. As well as Linux, the product is available for Windows and Mac OSX.

 Motorola's Linux Smart Phone

LinuxDevices reports that US mobile phone customers will soon have the opportunity to by a Linux-based handset later this year, when operators begin offering a Motorola Linux/Java smartphone aimed at business professionals. The A780 will roll out globally in early Q4, reaching select US regions before 2005, according to Motorola.


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 105 of Linux Gazette, August 2004

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