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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

 European Software Patents

The subject of European software patents has returned to the news in the past few weeks. As was reported some months ago, when the European Parliament last looked at the question of software patents it included several amendments to the original proposals. These amendments were seen by many in the small-medium-enterprise and open-source communities as representing a welcome move away from unfettered and universal patenting of software. Now, however, the European Council of Ministers has reversed many of the Parliament-introduced changes, to the anger of many MEPs.

For a while, it looked like hard lobbying by members of the public and representatives of the Free and Open Source communities might succeed in luring the Council away from its new plan. However the final Council vote stuck with the proposals with just some minor alterations.

This latest twist in the European patent saga is far from being the end of the story. The common position agreed by the Council of Ministers must now pass the law before parliament again for a second reading, and only when both bodies agree on it can it be passed and become law. If any European readers have specific views on this issue, it is a very opportune time to raise it with your MEP, and with the other candidates running for MEP in your constituency (European Parliament elections are on June 11th 2004).


The Age has published an interesting article by Leon Brooks discussing the "independence" of various policy think-tanks. For most GNU/Linux users and enthusiasts, these bodies only become visible when they issue pronouncements on the undesirability of Free and Open Source Software. Brooks makes insightful, and useful, comparisons between these organisations' opinions on Free Software, and on other issues of economic and social freedom. The facts behind the rhetoric indicate that though the terms free trade and free market are often invoked, the underlying ideology is one of protectionism and the support of vested interests.

 I Am A Lawyer

Slashdot published a very interesting interview with attorney, Mike Goodwin. It covers a lot of themes related to what one might call "Cyberlaw".

Linux Links

Chain of trust to help avoid intellectual property claims against Linux kernel.

Chrooting Apache.

Introduction to Cfengine.


Novell will start shipping Novell Open Enterprise Server, which combines both NetWare and Linux kernels by the end of this year.

Ulterior motives behind industry computer recycling (rather than re-use) initiatives.

What does "Linux forking" mean?

Behind the scenes at an embedded systems conference.

Disaster and disaster recovery

Are IT Textbooks for MBA students a bit light on Linux?

Mail Server Filtering:

On the subject of which, you could always try installing Linux on a dead badger (from /.)

Linux gaining traction in industrial automation and control.

Getting a job in open source software, and how to reflect your experience in your resumé. Or you could be a muffler man (or woman).

A look at Linux on the Nintendo GameCube.

An overview of email filtering strategies at O'Reilly.

News in General


Connexions is a Content Commons of free, open-licensed educational materials in fields such as music, electrical engineering and psychology. Mostly college level, but some content for younger students too. a place for communities of authors and instructors to create, find, and share content.


The X.org foundation has issued their first release of the X Window System since the formation of the Foundation in January of this year. The new X.Org release, called X Window System Version 11 Release 6.7 (X11R6.7), builds on the work of the X.Org X11R6.6 and XFree86TM Project Inc. V4.4RC2 releases to combine many of the latest developments from a large number of the participants and companies working with the X Window community.

To assure consistency with industry and community requirements and practices, it was developed from the X.Org X11R6.6 code base and the XFree86 V4.4RC2 code base, with the addition of bug fixes and enhancements. These enhancements include: new IPv6 functionality, Freetype V2.1.7, fontconfig V2.2.2, Xft V2.1.6, Xcursor V1.1.2, and Xrender V0.8.4, with corresponding changes in documentation and notices. Additional source and binary releases are anticipated during 2004.

Distro News


Nice overview of Debian, from Serverwatch.

Debian From Scratch is a rescue/installer CD that can be used to do a Gentoo-like installation of i386-wood/sarge/sid and amd64-sid. (From Debian Weekly News)

As an alternative to the normal Debian CD downloading procedure, you can now use the wonder of Bittorrent to get Debian goodness onto your system.


The Gentoo Linux Release Engineering team has proudly announced the release of Gentoo Linux 2004.1. You can download the new release from mirrors or purchase it in the online store.

OSNews has published a rapid Gentoo installation guide.

Slashdot compiled a selection of links on recent Gentoo goings on, including the departure of Daniel Robbins, and the possibility of a major push into the enterprise sector.

 Linux From Scratch

The Linux From Scratch community has proudly announced the release of LFS-5.1. This patch release contains many bug fixes and package upgrades since LFS-5.0. In particular, this release features the Linux kernel 2.4.26, GNU C Library (glibc) 2.3.3 and the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc) 3.3.3. The book's layout has also been improved, leading to enhanced readability and improved clarity.

 Red Hat

Red Hat appears to have reversed its decision to abandon the Linux desktop market. Customer demand has led to a company U-turn which will result in a Red Hat desktop offering being made available in the coming summer.


SuSE has announced the release of SuSE Linux version 9.1.

Software News


vnc2swf is a screen recording tool for X-Window (X11), Windows and Mac OS Desktop. Vnc2swf captures the live motion of a screen through VNC protocol and converts it a Macromedia Flash(TM) movie (.swf).


Mozilla 1.7 is to become the new stable branch, replacing 1.4 in this role.


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 103 of Linux Gazette, June 2004

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