Linux Newsletter <--> Issue #10 <--> Date: August 21, 1997


Table of Contents
  1. From the Editor: Are you Liable?
  2. The importance of Linux: Java & Linux, good together
  3. Hot News: The latest Linux related News
    -- Linux Trademark suit settled!
    -- An Apple a decade keeps Microsoft healthy?
    -- Web mischief!
    -- Global Positioning System for Linux!
    -- First Linux Related company to go Public?
    -- Real time Collaboration!
    -- Linux in the Trade Press
  4. Useful tips
    -- FREE X-Server for Win/95 and Mac clients
    -- Typing Tutor program
  5. Upcoming Linux Events
    -- Comdex/Fall, November 17-21, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  6. User Success Stories
    -- Long term Linux usage
    -- Linux Pro lover
    -- Loooong Uptime
    -- Lockup Free
  7. Reader Feedback
    -- What Linux Needs to succeed
    -- The best software is FREE
    -- Caldera Rocks ... Linux more stable than NT
    -- How many Linux users? Is Linux difficult?
  8. Top 10: Linux Best Sellers
  9. FREE Linux items
  10. New Products & Specials at the Linux Mall
  11. Linux Newsletter Subscription & Policy statement
Reader submissions for any portion of this newsletter will be paid for if we use them. The Linux Newsletter is a *FREE* publication for all that desire to receive it. See Section 11 for subscription and submission details. For more information about the Linux Newsletter visit /announce/lxnann.html

All items prefixes by Ed: are Editor's comments.



1. From the Editor: Are you liable?


There are a lot of programmers and engineers working on making Linux the best it possibly can be. There are a lot of independent consultants and employees going out on a limb to install Linux for their customers and employers. It is a worthwhile goal, and Linux is often the best solution there is for very many situations. But I have a question. As Linux is used in more and more companies for mission critical applications, is it possible that occasionally something will go wrong, and some of us may get sued? People and companies who feel they have been hurt in some way by members of the Linux Community may well start thrashing at us! What then? If you get sued you must respond, or the aggressor wins by default!

Yes, we all know that the license agreements included with the software specifically state that there is no warranty included or implied. Is this enough? Will this stop a potential suit? It certainly will not keep a suit from being filed, and the plaintiff may even win unjustly.

Did you know that in most US states, all it takes to start a suit is to file a form and pay a fee - generally much less than $100? This can happen at any time and for any reason. They do not even have to have an attorney. Often they are hoping for a default win - which they get if you do not respond with a defense.

If suing is this easy, it is only a matter of time till some of us get sued. If not for our code, or our well-intentioned work, then maybe for what we say in a public forum. Maybe the suit will have nothing to do with Linux. Did you know that in case of a fatal accident, your auto insurance company won't help you defend yourself against a wrongful death suit? And how do you ensure justice in a child custody situation, or a case where someone owes you money?

The need for a solution became painfully obvious to me the day a certified letter came in the mail threatening to sue us for our use of the "Linux Trademark" (See Hot News item #1 below for great news) It was a shocker. Anyone can make up any story they want!

What is the solution? Stop living? Stop contributing? A THOUSAND TIMES NO! I refuse to live in fear, how about you? But how? Unfortunately in the USA it is not *if* you are going to be sued by someone, but a matter of *when*. And when it happens you immediately need the best attorney available, at the best possible price.

Do you believe the saying "You get only as much justice as you can afford"? I have sure found it to be true! How many situations do you know of where, if it were only affordable, a letter or call from an attorney on your behalf might have resolved or defused the issue? What if this attorney were top-rated, and did not charge an hourly rate for the service? What if these services were equally available in your home state and in another state where you were traveling? What if this attorney were at your beck and call to go to traffic court for you, often getting tickets dismissed; to review any contracts you might sign before trouble can start; or to handle ANY legal question or hassle that comes up?

The Linux Mall knew that there had to be an answer to the dilemma of how to afford legal help, and we just located it! Several Linux Mall employees already have made good use of this solution in their lives. We are so excited about it that we arranged to make the solution available to you too. For more information see the new product offers and announcements below.

Hope to meet all of you somewhere down the line. Enjoy!

Mark Bolzern, Editor

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



2. Why Linux: A regular column about why Linux is so valuable.
Java & Linux, good together

From: Oleg Dulin - dulino@polaris.clarkson.edu

A short article by Adam Moss in the last issue of the Linux Newsletter inspired me to write about my personal experience in writing Java software under Linux. In my opinion, there is a perception that Linux lacks high quality integrated development environments, which is very untrue. With Java emerging as the de facto executable standard, the importance of Linux as Java development platform is becoming more and more important. Java software written under Linux ensures that your software passes "100% Pure Java" Certification. As Adam Moss said in his article, Java Developer's Kit for Linux is under constant development and public review, which means the bugs are fixed as soon as they are found. Open nature of Java is very closely related to the openness of Linux and GNU system. Read the full story in "Knights of the System Table" /knights/issue6/oleg2.html

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3. Hot News: The latest Linux related News.
3.1 Hot News Item #1: Linux Trademark suit settled!

Linus Torvalds is now officially the owner of the Linux Trademark!

WorkGroup Solutions, and the Linux Mall are proud to have played a pivotal role in this becoming the case. We were the first company approached to pay royalties for use of the Linux Trademark. We then retained an attorney (Gerry Davis) and the rest is history ... which can be found at:

/announce/lxtm.001.html

Gerry Davis did an incredible job for the Linux community, and I hope that we will all remember this, and send him more work. Did everyone know that Gerry was the original attorney for Digital Research? Does anyone remember who they were? Digital Research was once the king of microcomputer operating systems. My how things change. Thanks Gerry!


3.2 Hot News Item #2: An Apple a decade keeps Microsoft healthy?

Microsoft just bought 150 Million dollars worth of Apple Computer's shares. Apple devotees did not take it well. There was a lot of booing when Steve Jobs introduced Bill Gates as a special guest at the announcement.

Meanwhile, Red Hat Software's brand new web site proudly proclaims "Welcome Apple Refugees". This is actually a fairly well written article worth looking at. http://www.redhat.com/news/news-details.phtml?id=23

In addition, August 4, 1997 issue of Network World on page 14 reports that Microsoft, when cornered, finally admitted that Internet Explorer 4.0's Java support is not in fact 100% JDK compliant as they had been saying it was. The article maintains that Microsoft purposely misleads people into its products with misrepresentation so that Microsoft can push its own "standards" to the detriment of "open standards". It would be much better if Microsoft would just accept open standards as is, and then help to enhance them. Sooner or later the buying public will become tired of being railroaded into spending more money to fix the next thing that does not work.

Speaking of Microsoft, here is an article entitled: IDC says NT not ready for prime time. IDC (International Data Corp) is one of the major authorities in the Computer Industry regarding technology trends.

http://www.sun.com/sunworldonline/swol-07-1997/swol-07-eyeoncomp.html#2


3.3 Hot News Item #3: Web mischief!

At http://www.news.com/Rumormill/Archives/rum8_4_97.html we found this:

"Speaking of Web mischief, it turns out that Mike O'Connor, the same dude who registered the television.com domain last year and refused to part with it, despite amorous advances from CNET execs and others, has also plucked corp.com and company.com. Microsoft supposedly used those domains as generic placeholders in recent documentation for Windows NT and Web server software. But--snicker snicker!--what MS thought were dummy URLs turn out to be live, and Mr. O'Connor has used the opportunity to give those who wander into his domains an anti-Microsoft earful, or redirect them automatically to trashy Web sites."

Ed: So, check out http://company.com


3.4 Hot News Item #4: Global Positioning System for Linux!

From: Remco Treffkorn - remco@rvt.com

A new Beta of mayko xmap is now available

Mayko xmap is a map viewer for Linux which interfaces to your GPS (Gobal Positioning System) via the gpsd daemon. Source for this daemon is on sunsite. Since Mayko xmap and the daemon communicate via sockets, they can run on the same, or different computers. You can track vehicles remotely, as long as they have Internet connectivity!

You can use scanned files or the included maps. The program also supports vector maps. A low detail map of North America is included.

Visit http://www.mayko.com/xmap/ for more information or to download your free copy.

Ed: Global positioning in the vehicle AND remotely. Just image how Fed-Ex, taxi companies or anyone with delivery vehicles will love this!


3.5 Hot News Item #5: First Linux Related company to go Public?

Since Linux is under the GPL (General Public License) we at the Linux Mall feel it is important that a major distribution and sales mechanism for Linux related products also be publically owned.

This has been our intention from the beginning, and due to this:

The Linux Mall is seeking a General Manager / Qualified Investor who wishes to take an equity position in the company preparatory to potentially taking the Linux Mall public and issuing stock.

If you are interested, and have both the skills and the resources necessary, then send your resume to Mark Bolzern, the current president. Mark seeks to return to a more technical role in the company. For more information, the company's web site can be found at


3.6 Hot News Item #6: Real time Collaboration!

Real Time Collaboration across the net, Internet or local.

VisualTek software products for workgroup collaboration represent the latest innovations in Internet/Intranet technologies.

Rendezvous is a real-time collaboration software that integrates a full-featured whiteboard and text-based communications over the Internet/Intranet. It allows you to collaborate with friends and colleagues anywhere in the world via the Internet/Intranet. While you chat, you can draw simultaneously on a common canvas, and exchange files and screen snapshots with participants.

Rendezvous Linux clients and servers are available for evaluation at

http://rendezvous.visualtek.com/

We include "tar.gz" for any Linux, and ".rpm" for Linux Pro, Red Hat Linux and Caldera OpenLinux.

Rendezvous is also available as Java applet/application and as client and server for other platforms.

Ed: Chat with a vengeance... Maybe even get some work done.


3.7 Hot News Item #7: Linux in the Trade Press

Many interesting Linux Related articles from various CMP publications show how Linux is catching on, and can be found at the following URL. Just fill in the word Linux in the data entry box, and hit the Find button.

http://www.cmpnet.com/search

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4. Useful tips: Information that all Linux fans will want to know about.
4.1 Tip #1 FREE X-Server for Win/95 and Mac clients

From: Oleg Dulin - dulino@polaris.clarkson.edu

Here is something that I think might be an aggressive tool in promoting Linux. I went to Sun's Web site last night, just to see what they have on Java. I found that besides promoting Solaris, they promote Windows clients to use along with Solaris. For example, they advertise their Windows-based X-servers, network drivers, etc. So, I thought about Linux, and as far as I know all Linux vendors want to promote Linux as a server platform, besides desktop. In order to sell Linux as a server, you have to sell clients as well. Also, we have to admit that there are a lot of people used to Windows '95 and it would be hard for them to switch directly to Linux. However, here is a URL that provides a FREE client side X server for Windows 95 and Mac! If interested look at:

http://tnt.microimages.com/www/html/freestuf/mix.htm

Just think about this: adding client side software and manuals to every Linux CD sold, puts Linux in direct competition with NT and Solaris!

Heard of "embrace and extend" technique? Lets embrace Windows, thus making it a client to Linux servers and eventually going down the line to replace Windows with Linux as people get used to client-server things. Client components are important pieces of puzzle for Linux.

Ed: There is an upside and downside to what you propose.

It is great to have PC/Win/Mac X Server available as a tool... *if* this X Server performs well, does cut and paste from Win/Mac applications to Linux apps and back, and handles font issues well. I personally have been wanting a tool that does this for a long, LONG time. An X-Server on Window or Mac allows even easier network configuration and more complete and natural integration of Linux Server AND clients with existing MS-Windows, Mac or Network systems. Having this tool in one's arsenal is great for deployment at a client site. Super for consultants, dealers and end users.

The downside is that Linux apps still are not simple and obvious enough to get people away from Windows apps, ergo Windows apps stay in use. StarOffice and Applixware are close... but one still cannot go to any software store and expect to get a version of any product for Linux. Yes, Wabi can be used for emulation (of Windows 3.1 NOT Win95), but this makes it easier for manufacturers to say "I'll just write software for MS-Windows, and it will run on Linux too," so the pressure to do a Linux version is drastically reduced. What we want is for all software companies to develop on Linux for all platforms as most Unix software vendors ALREADY do.

As Linus told me (and this is a paraphrase): Just shooting to be a server, is shooting oneself in the foot. What people see is the Face, The Window, the PC. They forget about the server. We need applications, great applications, and lots of them.

Java, if implemented well on Linux, may yet save the day for us. It is of absolute importance that Linux become in every way the very best operating system on which to run Java applications, and do Java development. Other tools such as the GNU Win-32 cross development system discussed in an earlier newsletter, cross-platform tools such as Eiffel & FlagShip and more also have a role to play.

There is another thing that is not yet available for Linux that Linux needs very badly. Not having it restricts what can be done when configuring Linux solutions, especially scalability. What is it? A decent network locking daemon, to work with both Samba and NFS. A transaction logging file system would be nice too... but the network daemon is even more important.


4.2 Tip #2: Typing Tutor program

From: belcherr@VNET.IBM.COM - Ronald G. Belcher

You asked for info on free packages we know about that others might be interested in, too. Here is one which I recently found and which is a great candidate for others.

It is a typing practice program for beginners or intermediates who want to pick up their typing speed. It comes in source. I built it on my AIX system and it went together with no trouble whatsoever, and executed immediately.

I recommend it. It is called typist and is to be found at

ftp://ftp.math.orst.edu/pub/typist.tar.Z

Ed: You have hit one of my pet peeves. We constantly have very qualified people apply for jobs at our company that we have to turn down for lack of typing skills. Why would we do this? In the computer business how fast you are able to interact with your computer is a large part of how much you get done. How much you get done dictates what a company can afford to pay you. An example: Our company lives or dies according to how many invoices we do, how many emails we answer, and how fast we can do it.

If you cannot type *well* and *must* work with a computer then you are effectively handicapped. Why? Your interface to the computer is broken.

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



5. Linux Event Calendar
5.1 Comdex/Fall, November 17-21, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

This year's Fall Comdex is right around the corner. With 2,000 vendors and over 200,000 attendees, Fall Comdex is an industry show not to be missed. The show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada through November 17 - 21, 1997. More information at: http://www.Comdex.com

Each year, Linux vendors get together and form a Linux Pavilion at Fall Comdex. This year's pavilion is lining up to be the largest Linux Pavilion at any Comdex yet. Don't miss out!

If you are a Linux vendor who would like to exhibit within this year's Linux Pavilion, please e-mail li-show@ssc.com immediately so that your company can be included in pre-promotional materials.

If you are a member of the Linux community and would like to volunteer some of your time during the show, please also mailto:li-show@ssc.com. We appreciate any help!

If you would like to attend Fall Comdex, the admission to the entire trade show is FREE! You can register on-line at http://www.comdex.com . And don't forget... come visit and show support for all of the Linux vendors at the Linux Pavilion while you visit the show. We'd love to see you there!

If you have any questions regarding this year's Fall Comdex Linux Pavilion, please feel free to contact Carlie Fairchild at mailto:li-show@ssc.com or call (206) 782-7733.

As an example of the kind of effect participating in Comdex can have on the acceptance of Linux by the mainstream press, please see the following mammoth URL

http://www.techweb.com/se/techsearch.cgi?action=View&VdkVgwKey;=%2E%2E%2F%2E%2E%2F%2E%2E%2F%2E%2E%2F%2E%2E%2Fservices%2Fdocs%2Fse%2Fdata%2F1996%5F%5F%5B35763%5D&DocOffset;=2&DocsFound;=99&QueryZip;=linux&Collection;=tw%5Fcurrent&Collection;=tw%5Fdaily&Collection;=collinv&Collection;=coll1997&Collection;=coll1996&ViewTemplate;=cmpview%2Ehts&&publication;=All

Ed: We need *more* of the mainstream press talking about Linux like this, and *that* is why I started the Linux Pavilion concept at Fall Comdex several years ago..

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



6. User Success Stories

6.1 Success Story #1: Long term Linux usage.


From: Dr. Eugene Norman - normeu@ourbbs.frvs.org

My initial exposure to Unix like systems was with the Coherent package running on the 80 Meg drive of my 386/25. That was almost four years ago. Then I got a 386/66 and tried the Yggdrasil package on a 540 Meg drive. Due to problems with the CD-ROM (or me), I couldn't get the system up and running as my ISP server. So, I returned the CD-ROM but kept the bible and went to the TransAmeritech package. Linux 1.2.1 ran without lock-ups for over three years, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week as the ourbbs.frvs.org server. The only major down time for this system was the upgrade to my present P200 system. That one lasted a whole hour while the 386/66 continued to run. I stripped out my 386/25 case and installed the Pentium Motherboard and CPU in it. This board is actually smaller than the 386/25 board but I had a devil of a time getting the old board out. I finally used the "might makes right" method and that worked. Then, I installed the two 3.1 GB drives, a 3 1/2 HD Floppy drive, the 32 MB EDO RAM and an Ethernet card which was going to run to the newly installed hub and router (the old system was running with a one hour PPP packet system via modem to the Regional Provider). When everything was installed except for the DOS C:\ drive, we shut down the 386/66, removed the CD-ROM Drive, the 540 MB drive and the cables, and completed the installation to the new system. Since the 540 MB drive contained the DOS partition and the Linux 1.2.1 Operating System, it was a simple matter to format the 3.1 GB drives and tell the system to use the Ethernet system instead of the PPP connection. Then it went back up and again has been running 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!

Folks have been telling me that I should use a newer version of Linux but I'm one of those "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" types. I don't think a one hour planned down time in 3.5 years of continuous operation requires a radical change in the operating system. I wish to thank Jeff Vogt, Jamie Downs, and Chris Kucera, all of EarthReach Communications of the Fox Valley, LLC for their help with this system.

Dr. Gene Norman
Green Bay Facilities Manager
EarthReach Communications

PS. About the only thing I miss from the DOS system is the "Print Screen" function. Is there anyone out there in Linux Land that has the patch that will add this function to Linux?

Ed: I have seen printscreen functions implemented in Unix at various times over the last few years but don't know offhand how. I use Screen Capture with the great program "xv". If you are running X-Windows, fire up the XV program, and save the screen to file. Then print that. xv is included with most major Linux distributions.

How many people know that xv was used by NASA as the tool to view and manipulate the pictures coming back from the Mars Pathfinder mission? You can find out more about the Pathfinder mission in Linux Newsletter Issue #8 at /announce/lxnews.008.html


6.2 Success Story #2: Linux Pro lover

From: William Brydges - wfb@nbed.nb.ca

I cut my teeth on WGS Linux Pro. Thank goodness I did!! As a teacher here in New Brunswick (read that no money for educational programs) Linux has stood us in good stead to support our efforts at expanding our school LAN.

We are always trying new stuff and all of our student WEB pages have been developed on Linux and NetScape. I *have* heard of a product WIN95, that may make inroads, but I haven't investigated it yet for our Lab of MACS.

OK - enough tounge in cheek.

I want you to keep my name on the Newsletter list. I like the HTML links on the e-mail. I like to follow up the contextual references immediately.

Please keep up the great work. Linux does have *lots* of great software. It's tricky to load sometimes, but even a novice like me has success with just a little bit of perserverence.

Ed: Wow, thanks for the testimonial!


6.3 Success Story #3: Loooong Uptime

From: Jon Lewis - jlewis@gnv.fdt.net

Did you actually find a Linux system with a longer uptime than this:

Welcome to Linux version 1.2.13 at ron.rovig.com !

4:16am up 453 days, 10:52, 0 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

As admin for FDT (an almost entirely linux based ISP), I admin about 2 dozen boxes ranging from big servers to little junky boxes (like dino, my old workstation, 486dx-33, 8mb RAM, 340mb and 120mb IDE disks...it was originally a 386dx-20 but got upgraded when the CMOS got totally hosed and I couldn't locate a setup program capable of fixing it).

I've seen plenty of crashes, and even caused some while working on kernel patches, but a box left mostly to itself (like rovig.com) will just run and run. It's a low traffic web server hosting 2 domains (one virtual domain). I suspect it may be the record for longest running Linux box, or if it isn't it soon will be. I plan to let it run at least 500 days or more assuming it doesn't crash at 494 days. I've been told it might crash at 494 when the jiffy counter wraps to 0.

Another notable long uptime at FDT is endor. Endor is a 64 port (Cyclades 16ye based) dialup server.

Welcome to Linux version 2.0.27 at endor.fdt.net !

4:23am up 202 days, 13:06, 23 users, load average: 0.08, 0.09, 0.09

Its counterpart, ewok, is an 80 port (Comtrol based) system, and had a similar uptime when just a few days ago one of the ttyR ports became unusable due to a kernel bug. I had to reboot to get the use of that port back.

Ed: Thank you for sharing. That is a mighty long uptime. And yes, you are right, it is definitely possible to bring a Linux box down unexpectedly if logged in as root (superuser) and mucking around with things, especially necessary configuration files. Problematic hardware and bad configuration information can also cause crashes. What do you expect if RAM does not supply what was written to it in the first place, or a hard drive stops running? It is hard to blame these sorts of things on an operating system. I assume that these issues can safely be excluded when one says that Linux runs well.

I also find it interesting that nearly everyone who sends me long uptime reports chooses a time when the system is hardly loaded. This either supports how efficiently Linux runs....or that the boxes with long runtimes are not under much load, or at least not at the time the statistic is output.

How about some long run times under constant heavy load? Actually our web server (A Pentium 90, 64MB Ram, 22 GB of disk) handles hundreds of thousands of hits per day, and serves a number of full FTP mirrors. It is a Pentium 90 system, and our load averages always look low too.... Our T1 line saturates *LONG* before the Linux box hardly even feels it. Try this with Windows NT!


6.4 Success Story #4: Lockup Free

From: Bernard Leach
Organization: Australian Business Access

Some time ago I build a Linux system that was to act as a dial up client for a number of Mac users on a LAN. The machine was basically set to re-establish its slip connection whenever it went down.

The system is a fairly vanilla Debian Linux 1.1 installation. It has only 50MB of hard disk, so space is at a premium. Interestingly when I installed this system I originally got quite a few disk errors! Timeouts and such.

Now a current uptime shows this baby has been ticking along quite nicely now for some time. Quite amazing really considering the server it dials into goes up and down quite regularly as the power in that part of the building is pretty poor.

$ uptime 12:30pm up 244 days, 23:24, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Ed: Amazing, a system that had disk errors at install... doesn't go down. I assume that bad block checking at install isolated out the problem areas. Folks, if you have disk errors, fix the hardware, please?

It is amazing how even a very small system can become valuable when Linux is put onto it!

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



7. Reader Feedback
7.1 Reader Feedback #1: What Linux Needs to succeed

From: Bob van der Poel - bvdpoel@awinc.com

I think I agree with the comments in your response (I've not read the Wired article...I can't stand the cheezey look of the magazine). But I think that your response really missed one important point...

Linux (with its Unix hacker roots) is still a hacker system. I'm pretty experienced in these things, but I still spend hours doing simple things which just shouldn't take so long.

Take for example getting a Linux distribution to print (yes, I know all about magic filters and reading howtos). Compare getting this set up to what it takes to do so on a Win95 system...you just click your printer's name in some kind of a menu and it works.

As another example, try adding a menu option to a fvwm95, or changing the icon appearance. Again, it is not something I'd suggest to my computer-illiterate spouse that it is something she could easily do.

What I am getting to is that for Linux to succeed we need to have user configuration tools (or better yet, a SINGLE tool) which makes all this easy. Not a simple task...but unless the community can agree to a common approach I fear that as far as the home desktop is concerned Linux will remain a curiosity...much like the assortment of TI, Atari, Radio Shack computers in my closet and the really-good Beta video recorder in my basement storage closet.

Ed: I very much agree with you that Administration and Installation issues *MUST* become easier. And honestly, they are. Look how far Red Hat Linux, Caldera Linux and Linux Pro have come in the last year on installation. Administration tools are the next big area to concentrate on. I know for a fact that significant work that I cannot yet talk about is being done by several parties. Before these tools could be created, the foundation of how things work had to be in place. **IT NOW IS.** Tools like LinuxConf have come a long way, and continue to get better just as the original Kernel has.

Also, I agree that the GUI interface ought to be updated with icons when a product is installed... but there needs to be a standard way of doing this that works across GUIs, and it needs to be built into the PACKAGING system (Read .deb, or .rpm).

More along these lines below.


7.2 Reader Feedback #2: The best software is FREE

From: dhawkins@Mines.EDU

I am writing regarding to points. First, I'd like to recognize your efforts in creating this news letter which has featured some interesting articles regarding the business side of Linux, etc. I especially find the anti-Microsoft propaganda humorous.

Second, I just felt the need to comment on my use of Linux.

I have noticed that there is a lot of talk in the newsletter about this and that distribution and new and wonderful commercial product X. I also read one of the supplementary articles via the web pointing out the supposed need for the Linux community to purchase commercial wares for Linux. And how this is what Linux really needs. I would disagree on this. I feel that best software is free not because of the price, but because of the quality. Free software is a source of pride not income. I would not call my self a rms fanatical devotee, but I heard read many of his texts and have found them both thought provoking and reassuring. I write software for professional uses, though the software itself is not product. But even now I am trying to get myself involved in some of the very exciting Linux projects out there.

I have spent a long time trying to get people various people to switch to Linux. But I realized that it is their loss. Most people feel perfectly content using costly, bloated, broken commercial apps and OS. I feel for them. They think that a WIMP interface is the best solution because they can search blindly to find what they want. A string of text given at the command-line is a deliberate action. And the whole system is available to one who is just willing to put forth a little effort to learn it. I have found most regular Linux users at least willing to put forth this effort. I would hate for Linux to start attracting the wrong crowd. I don't judge people by their appearance, be it their race, sex, or whatever. But stupid people^1 get under my skin like nothing else. In this one instance, I support separation to its fullest extent.

Truly stupid people are stupid by choice. They are unwilling to learn or change for the better, because the risk or effort is more than they care to face.

Ed: Thanks for the compliment. We do try to stick to the facts on anything that that can be perceived as Anti-Microsoft, so I am not sure the word "propaganda" applies exactly.

While you are right in most of what you say, you do speak a bit harshly, and you miss a part of the picture. People buy Microsoft and other commercial products for a reason. The convenience of having it preinstalled, the ability to buy it at the store, etc, etc. The distribution network and the support cost money.

Companies create commercial products to meet demand that is not already filled. For Linux to truly fly, someone has to answer the questions, "Does ??? exist?" and "Why doesn't Linux ???". Free software contributors try to answer those questions on their own time and in their own order, while commercial companies organize their efforts to best meet the needs of their paying customers, often finding a solution first. Example: which was first to answer well the question of how to run Windows 3.1 software on Linux, the freeware WINE or the commercial product Wabi? This fast development of products to fill holes in what Linux can do is necessary to make Linux truly useful to many people. Also, commercial companies have the resources to provide guaranteed technical support and other niceties that general business users either need or feel they need.

I think that commercial products AND free software should BOTH be supported by the Linux community. If you don't need a certain commercial product yourself, don't buy it (I am not advocating people waste money), but stand ready to know what the product is and what niche it fills, so that when you meet someone else who does need it, you can recommend that he buy it! Linux needs to be in both commerce AND free. The *NEED* is for Linux and what it represents to be recognized *everywhere*. Commercial vendors promote to the places people traditionally look for information. Money greases the wheels, and more people are served. *That is the point*. If people and companies cannot make money in Linux, they will not support it. If it is not supported and promoted it will die (at least for business use).

Hackers create technology; business and commerce use what hackers invent sooner or later. Linux should be able to be both a hacker system and a business system. The difference is in how the installations are managed. Hackers play, and break, and fix, and learn, and build, and invent. Business carefully chooses the best pieces, and then if it works, don't mess with it. Hackers care about what they can do with it. Business cares about how much it costs in comparison to what it accomplishes.

Truly, hackers and system administrators for business systems are not that far apart in what they need. It is how they choose to use it that differs radically. Each level of hackers that gets involved makes the product more powerful and easier to use, which in turn allows the next level of less technical people to get involved, and so on. Computing can be made easier... but at some point all users and sysadmins have a responsibility to learn what they are doing, else the power given by new, easy tools will simply let them get into trouble faster. Some education will always be required. Computer knowledge is a form of literacy after all.

What is important to companies about Linux? The freedom that Linux brings. The ability to choose what to use and when. The ability to repair things themselves if needed. The *AMAZINGLY* fast repairs of major operating system security problems found in Linux that other operating systems also had but took weeks to months to get repaired . The ability to communicate with authors. Being in a position where no one can **MAKE** you upgrade is worth a lot, and the initial purchase price is very low. With Linux it is possible to avoid vastly expensive technology paradigm shifts because the technology can be smoothly integrated into a running system as it comes along, as opposed to a major reinstall when a new version of something is released by a commercial vendor. A company can afford to pay a lot of good sysadmins if it is saving the price of commercial software *AND* traditional maintenance.


7.3 Reader Feedback #3: Caldera Rocks ... Linux more stable than NT

From: Charles Esson - charlese@cvs.com.au
Organization: Colour Vision Systems

Once again I found your news letter interesting.

On the subject of uptime, Caldera comes with the option of selecting a globe as the desktop. It rotates as one would expect, and as it is tilted correctly for this time of the year I think it handles the seasons as well.

If you make international phone calls it's almost a must, if you can't see the place then it's nighttime and the person you are ringing will be upset.

If you have your system up for several weeks a rock starts appearing in the lower right hand corner, each morning there's a little more. Well wouldn't you believe it, last Sunday there was a power failure and the rocks gone.

The problems not the OS, I am going to have to get a UPS if I am ever going to find out what this damn rock looks like, thats the problem.

Can someone tell me how long does the system have to be up before I see it all, is it worth seeing?

Linux is more stable than NT, I think anyone who uses both will agree. NT however is simpler to use for simple tasks, it's just a shit of a thing to write programs for. I think the most important thing happening now is the KDE project. If they get that right I think LINUX will win.

Ed: Power problems can be a biggie. KDE is a neat project, but I have a concern that a the Qt libraries that it uses are not GPL, but rather under a much stricter license. Also LessTiff needs to be finished in order to be able to fully support Java and other apps on Linux despite KDE. For info on KDE see http://www.kde.org


7.4 Reader Feedback #4: How many Linux users? Is Linux difficult?

From: REX BALLARD - rballard@access.digex.net

What are the current usage statistics (estimated)? Last I heard we were at about 10 million. That was in January. We must be approaching 30 million by now.

Also, much as been said about the complexity of installing Linux. My question is...compared to what?

Has anyone complaining about the complexity of installing Linux ever tried manually installing NT 3.51, 95, or NT4.0 and Microsoft office, plus a few dozen third party applications, from scratch?

Most people get Windows 95 "shrink wrapped" onto their PC drive. The Linux Mall offers pre-configured drives for PCs as well.

Part of the complexity of Linux is that you are actually getting so much more value per gigabyte. In a 1/2 gig drive, one can easily install not only the equivalent of "office", but also 500 programming languages, 8000 utilities, and all of the software required to be an Internet server site.

Linux is not quite as "Glitzy" as Microsoft, but on the other hand, 32 bit pixels, wave sounds, and animated help videos mostly just suck up lots of hard drive space. These things can and will be provided as the commercial resources become available. Even then, it's more likely that Linux will rely on web pages, given that any workstation or server on the LAN or WAN can store and serve that content.

Perhaps this is the most powerful function of Linux, that every application does not have to be loaded on every PC. Between full support for X11, Web/CGI, NFS, and Java, it's quite trivial to allow users to share applications.

Add to this, the fact that workstations can easily function as servers as well, allowing further sharing of resources, and you have the capability to deploy unrestricted applications across thousands of users, optimally.

In recent announcements, Microsoft has promised the delivery of new features such as the ability to universally mount multiple file systems as one mount point, WinFrame, the ability to run graphics applications on the server processor and having the GUI displayed on the workstation.

The punch line is that Linux has had all of these features for about three years, or longer.

If you want to see what Microsoft will be offering in the 21st century (if your lucky and can afford it). Take a look at a fully installed version of Linux today!

Ed: The actual count of Linux users can only be estimated, and there are five or six ways one can do it. Fortunately these methods DO correlate. 30 Million would not surprise me, but it is not supportable. I think realistically 10 million would be closer to the truth, that was once the upper bound of the estimates.

Most of them, however, have not been buying commercial products from us (or anyone). My guess is that there are about 1/2 million people that are active product buyers (adding the customer lists of the various vendors together), and the rest get Linux off the net. As more business types become convinced about how great Linux is, and as more good "Windows Quality" (user interface, ease of use) applications become available the people who actually buy things will continue to increase in numbers more and more rapidly.

There should also be a lot of leverage in the wings from the existing hacker types as they are the ones that business people and end users look to for help. But there is a catch-22. If we run out of hackers without the transition to end users happening... growth will stagnate. Preventing that stagnation is what the Linux Mall's efforts are all about.

Oh, and in a marketing driven economy it doesn't matter who has the features, but rather who makes the most noise about having them.

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



8. Top 10: Linux Best Sellers

To find out all the information on any of the products in the Top 10 chart, simply click on its link below!

By $ Volume

  1. CDE Business Desktop - /products/00362.html
  2. Linux Pro Plus - /products/00024.html
  3. Official Red Hat Linux 4.2 - /products/00393.html
  4. WebWorx - /products/00057.html
  5. Triteal CDE Developer Edition - /products/00423.html
  6. BRU 2000 Enterprise Edition - /products/00366.html
  7. Caldera OpenLinux Standard 1.1 - /products/00376.html
  8. Caldera Wabi for Linux - /products/00094.html
  9. ApplixWare Office Educational - /products/00169.html
  10. TriTeal CDE Client - /products/00422.html

By # of Units

  1. Red Hat Linux 4.2 Free CD - /products/00411.html
  2. Penguin Bumper Sticker - /products/00328.html
  3. Linux Pro Single CD - /products/00360.html
  4. Linux 3 pack - /products/00461.html
  5. Official Red Linux 4.2 - /products/00393.html
  6. Caldera OpenLinux Lite 1.1 /products/00425.html
  7. Linux Pro Plus - /products/00024.html
  8. ApplixWare Office Educational - /products/00169.html
  9. Triteal CDE Client - /products/00422.html
  10. CDE Business Desktop - /products/00362.html

This list of top ten sellers is compiled using the following criteria: Products sold over a period of the prior 30 days' sales at the Linux Mall. The Linux Mall carries all products from any vendor who wishes us to to do so. There are many ways to come up with sales numbers, but the only truly reliable way is counting actual sales. For the purposes of this "Top 10" chart, the Linux Mall chooses to assume that its own sales are statistically representative of the Linux industry as a whole, plus or minus 20%. Several vendors tell us that the Linux Mall is one of their top dealers. These numbers may be affected by co-promotions with various vendors from time to time, or by a product not being represented by the Linux Mall, but will be generally accurate. WorkGroup Solutions products tend to rank a bit higher than they should as a result of its working closely with the Linux Mall. All other vendors are invited to do the same. We will not play favorites. We just want to sell volume and provide the public with whatever they want to purchase!

You can vote for your favorite product by buying it at the Linux Mall!

See /announce/whylinuxmall.html for other reasons why people choose to shop at the Linux Mall!

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



9. FREE LINUX items

The Linux Mall is giving away FREE CDs of your favorite Linux distributions. Caldera OpenLinux, Linux Pro by WGS & Red Hat Linux Please see /FreeCD.html

Anyone else care to provide products to give away?

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



10. New Products & Specials at the Linux Mall
Below are this month's newsletter specials. A list of products new to the Linux Mall is always maintained at
/newprods.html , so come see the latest additions! In addition, a list of *ALL* current products available at the Linux Mall can be seen at /mallidx.html .

In order to take advantage of the following special deals you **MUST** provide the offer code WIX033 when you contact us. If you order online, and the price invoiced does not match what is mentioned here, simply state in the comments area "Adjust prices to match offer WIX033", and it will be done when we process the order. Offers Expire 09/30/97 or when supplies run out.
                            **  NEW    **
Legal Protection                                         Item #: 00456 
Price: Inexpensive Monthly Subscription, See Below

Fear Legal problems no longer. This special product allows you to be covered for any situation, any time. Prices and services may vary a bit from state to state. Includes preventative phone calls, letters and contract reviews as necessary. In most states, it also includes contract reviews, extensive representation in motor vehicle related issues, trial defense, IRS audit representation, and other legal work by a top attorney at no charge. This is one product that has far more value than you pay for.
More information: /products/00456.html

                            **  SPECIAL   **

Web+ 3.0                                                 Item #: 00439 
List Price: $995.95            Linux Newsletter Special Price: $195.95

TalentSoft Web+ is a powerful tool for developing dynamic web sites and web-based client-server applications. The power of Web+ is in its integration capability: sites and applications designed with Web+ can pull and embed information from files, databases, e-mail, and other sources. You can rapidly create and deploy powerful interactive applications on your web server with Web+. Through an exclusive partnering arrangement with TalentSoft, the Linux Mall brings you this powerful product at an unheard of low introductory price. You can even try it for free!
More information: /products/00439.html

                            **  SPECIAL   **

Caldera OpenLinux Standard                              Item #: 00376 
List Price: $399.00            Linux Newsletter Special Price: $349.00

Caldera OpenLinux Standard is Caldera's famous Linux with much more added. Netscape Browser & Fast Track Server, Star Office and more.
More information: /products/00376.html

Additionally, we are overstocked on BOOKS, so all the following great books from O'Reilly, WGS, MIS Press, and others are on special, all at 20% off our regular low prices, and add another 5% discount for ordering online, and you are never likely to find them at better prices anywhere. So take the opportunity to learn something you've been wanting to read up on!

Linux in Plain English - /products/00469.html
The Linux Internet Server - /products/00470.html
Linux Programming - /products/00471.html
Linux Configuration and Installation - /products/00472.html
UNIX in Plain English - /products/00473.html
Instant Web Scripts with CGI/Perl - /products/00476.html
The Linux Database - /products/00460.html
Designing with JavaScript - /products/00454.html
Developing Java Beans - /products/00453.html
A Practical Guide to Linux - /products/00450.html
The No BS Guide to Linux - /products/00407.html
Linux Encyclopedia - /products/00438.html
Linux Man Pages - /products/00004.html
TCP/IP Network Administration - /products/00174.html
Smileys - /products/00188.html
DNS & Bind - /products/00190.html
Essential System Administration - /products/00191.html
System Performance Tuning - /products/00192.html
Managing NFS & NIS - /products/00193.html
Termcap & Terminfo - /products/00194.html
Computer Crime: A Crimefighters Handbook - /products/00195.html
PGP: Pretty Good Privacy - /products/00196.html
Computer Security Basics - /products/00197.html
Running Linux - /products/00200.html
Learning the Bash Shell - /products/00201.html
Making TEX Work - /products/00207.html
X User Tools - /products/00209.html
Learning Perl - /products/00210.html
Programming Perl - /products/00211.html
Practical C++ - /products/00213.html
Posix Programmer's Guide - /products/00216.html
Programming with Curses - /products/00218.html
Programming with GNU Software - /products/00220.html
Software Portability with imake - /products/00224.html
Motif Programming Manual - /products/00234.html
Java Threads - /products/00241.html
Java Language Reference - /products/00245.html
Java in a Nutshell - /products/00247.html
Java in a Nutshell/Deluxe - /products/00248.html
GIF Animation Studio - /products/00249.html
Shockwave Studio - /products/00250.html
Designing for the WEB - /products/00251.html
Web Client Programming w/Perl - /products/00252.html
HTML: The Definitive Guide - /products/00254.html
CGI Programming on the World Wide Web - /products/00255.html
Java Script: The Definitive Guide - /products/00257.html
Apache: The Definitive Guide - /products/00259.html
Web Security & Commerce - /products/00260.html
Webmaster in a Nutshell - /products/00261.html
Building Internet Firewalls - /products/00265.html
Bandits on Information Superhighway - /products/00267.html
Linux Network Administrators Guide - /products/00270.html
PThreads Programming - /products/00272.html
Building a Successful Software Business - /products/00277.html
GNU Make - /products/00319.html
Java Network Programming - /products/00370.html
Database programming with JDBC and Java - /products/00412.html

Section End - Return to Table of Contents



11. Linux Newsletter Subscription & Policy statement

For more information about the Linux Newsletter visit /announce/lxnann.html

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Despite our best efforts, we cannot respond to all of the hundreds of submissions and communications we receive daily. Please do not be offended if your submission does not appear immediately, is not chosen, or if you do not hear from us about it.

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Anyone whose email address appears as part of a story in the Linux Newsletter wins $25 off their next purchase from us. Simply claim it within 30 days of newsletter publication. You MUST indicate the newsletter issue, and line number where your address appeared in the comments field of our online ordering system at or via E-mail.

Permission to *copy* the Linux Newsletter:

Permission is granted under the terms of the GPL to copy or distribute any portion of this newsletter for any purpose complimentary to the goals of the Linux community. We request that you credit the Linux Newsletter, and the original author (when obvious who it is) of all materials used. Back issues of the Linux Newsletter can be found at /announce.html

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Linux Newsletter
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, mailto:info@LinuxMall.com
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