May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Softpanorama Bulletin:
Open Source Software Chronicle

(Softpanorama Bulletin is published quarterly. Established in 1989. )

Vol. 11. No.2 April-June, 1999 (0b1)

Foreword Certification WEB-based Education Affortable
Algorithms Languages Scripting Security Antivirus


Reviews Unixification OFM Fighting Overload Tools Sysadmin
OSS movement Information
Copyright Social issues People Russian
Humor History Etc


The quantity of information available on the WEB today presents a challenge to both individuals and society. The huge amount of information we face today, especially in computer science (information overload) can cause stress and anxiety. This stress (or information anxiety) is produced by the widening gap between the amount of information that is available and the amount of information that we can consume. This situation leads to a loss of productivity due to compulsive WEB browsing, constant lack of time, feeling of urgency, a pervasive fear that we are about to be overwhelmed by the very material we need to master in order to professionally function in this world. In addition you probably have been victimized by spammers and sometimes by people who can't resist passing on a joke, a quote, an inspirational story or photos from their weekend, etc.

Some authors believe that society has arrived at the point where information has become more a problem than a solution. Huge stream directed at no one in particular, in enormous volume and at high speeds. The current quantity of information not only has the potential for being psychologically unhealthy; it may also be inefficient, reversing positive effects of the WEB to the society. As a result of information overload, people can spend more time browsing the WEB that it is necessary to find a solution with the information already in hand. WEB does not solve the most important problem -- improving signal to noise ratio in the information flow. To certain extent it can be considered as a pollutant :-). High volume low signal to noise ration stream of information can lead to confusion, procrastination and decision-making difficulties. According to psychological research, human brains have retrieval limitations. In order to be able to recall information, it must be learned in a meaningful context. If the context is fuzzy like  the context of WEB browsing with rapidly changing flows of data, remembering becomes difficult. Therefore, incoming information flow information is no longer looks like a scarce resource, it is more and more an (expensive) time drain to be managed.

Information overload is a unique problem. Now information tends to be everywhere and we have problems even to remember where you put it, not what it is. The view that 'Knowledge is Power' is hard to eradicate when some of us regularly throwing out computer magazines that they've never opened. We probably need to  build special skills to handle information overload. The following list contains some possible approaches:

News in field of OSS software now create a substantial stream. Unlike the situation in 1996 or 1997 the amount of events, papers, speeches and interviews for the last quarter is simply enormous, but none of them are significant in the long run. Mandrake 6.0 distribution (based on Red Hat 6.0)  and corresponding distributions from other vendors like Caldera and SUSE  made substantial progress toward providing a low-cost desktop. They are simpler to install and are more both more secure (shadow passwords are available during the installation) and more user-friendly than previous versions of Linux. The gap between Windows desktop and Linux desktop in user-friendliness is much more narrow now than before, but it still exists.  

At last the number of educational resources on the Net for OSS software became fairly substantial and it provide at least theoretical opportunity to improve the level of CS education even in extremely cash-strapped circumstances. See links that I recently added to the collection on Fhe absence of highly qualified teachers can be now partially compensated for WEB materials. (See links section, and if it will not be enough there is comprehensive list of links compiled by ).

Low-cost hardware is now really low cost. Quite adequate for CS education computer (refurbished model with Pentium 90, 100 or Pentium 120 CPU at least 1G harddrive and CD Rom) can now be bought for $100 in the USA and probably prices elsewhere are similar. Pentium 300 or 333 (Celeron-based) computer with 64M of RAM and 8G drive can be assembled for approximately $300.

During this quarter I have managed to improve several old sections (see Chronicle of Updates). Probably most noticeable are updates in Bookshelf. Almost all bookshelf pages were revised and updated, so it's now a completely new and much better resource for finding a decent book on several CS-related topics (See especially CD_bookshelf). Links to relevant Bookshelf  entries are now systematically used in the Directory section. Among revised pages I would like to mention  Algorithms, Compilers, C, Assembler, Security, Open Source. I hope that they became a little bit more useful now. Several new sections were created. The major new page was the Linux Certification. Other includes Information Overload, CD_bookshelf,  Compilers  and Reverse engineering links.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

WEB-based Education

  Related pages: Education, OSS_in_developing_countries.shtml

[June 28, 1999] World Hall Lectures - Computer Science -- great collection of links

[June 28, 1999] Dr. Steve Levicoff's Unofficial Distance Ed. FAQ -- good. Please be skeptical while reading  Rita's Law's Official Distance Ed. FAQ (see comments posted on The Distance Ed. for Dummies Homepage). 

[June 28, 1999] Globewide Network Academy Distance Learning Catalog

[June 26. 1999] -- The Answer to your tough development questions probably lies within the 1000's of answers in our Ask the Pros sections.

[June 26, 1999] New e-book: Computer Networking and Internet Protocols  by Keith W. Ross and James F. Kurose

[June 15, 1999] Study WEB -- a lot of decent links to educational resources, including programming languages, operating systems and networking.


Affordable Hardware

 Related pages: Hardware, Architecture 

[June 27, 1999] Microworkz Home Page --  Toaster PC for $199 199.99 Pentium CPU, 2.1G harddrive, 56K modem, no monitor.

[June 23, 1999]  zPC $400. See evaluation at PC Computing's, but be skeptical...

[June 23, 1999] . new and refurbished computers and accessories PC $100 or less (pentium 90). You can make an excellent firewall out of any of this PCs.

[June 21, 1999] Cumetrix Data Systems -- The $300 PC includes and AMD K6-2 350-MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, a 36-speed CD-ROM drive, a 4.3GB hard drive, a floppy drive, a 56Kbps modem, and a one-year warranty. You can probably replace modem with refurbished 14' monitor. 

[June 20, 1999] Ars Technica:  K7 benchmarks hit the wire

The data below are garnered from several different sources, including the original post that made waves on USEnet, and the post by Scumbria on SI:

Benchmark PIII Xeon
@ 550 MHz
K7 @ 550MH K7 @ 600MHz
SpecINT95 23.6 ~ +5% ~ +15%
SpecFPbase 16.9 ~ +36% ~ +43%
3D Winbench n/a ~ +40% ~ +50%

If this data is even remotely accurate, AMD is due a round of applause. 

[June 14, 1999] Project Computer Bank -- a very interesting Australian project for giving 386 to poor people.

[June 14, 1999] Bye Bye Cyrix -- very interesting and insightful paper. Cyrix did a lot to provide a low cost PC to the people and it deserve our gratitude for the achievements. it's a pity that it gone.

[June 11, 1999] Curtain Call K7 K7 is a really interesting CPU.  Could be useful for low cost servers...

[June 3, 1999] Linux Hardware Database

[May 20, 1999] - Best of Super 7 EPOX MVP3G-M [Feature ArticlesReviewsHardware]

[May 15, 1999] Linux Today Quad Xeon Processors Running NT Are A Weak Value Proposition

[May 2, 1999] ZDNet info on how to upgrade your CPU And Motherboard. Average quality, but some staff can probably be useful...

[April 10, 1999] CNET Where to buy online  -- better than ZD

"A Philip Electronics offshoot named OnStream that has developed 30GB and 50GB tapes, based on "Advanced Digital Recording", boasting variable data rates of 1 or 2MB/second (3GB/hour). Parallel, SCSI and IDE/ATAPI versions are available from $299"  see also Read More...

[April 5, 1999] What's New at Crucial Technology

The S Files -- Overall, upgrading your system with SDRAM will perform up to 20% better over EDO in some applications. In addition, SDRAM is slowly becoming a standard when it comes to memory upgrades...



 Related pages: Algorithms, Compilers

Note: Algorithms section as well as Compilers section were completely reworked...

[June 17, 1999] Resources for University Teaching -- very good list of courses on algorithms and Data structures

[June 17, 1999] A List of Courses in Principles and Implementation of Programming Languages

[June 17, 1999] Computer Science Education Links



 Related pages: Languages, Java, C, C++, Assembler, Debugging

Note: C section was significantly improved.


[June 26, 1999] Bull, the leading French Computer Systems Manufacturer, has just announced the open source release of its full-featured Enterprise Java Beans Framework. The announcement was made during the Europe Japan Conference on Linux and Free Software which happened yesterday (June 23, 1999) in Tokyo. Bull is planning an MPL-type license.

The initiative was backed by AFUL, the French Speaking Linux Association. Service will be provided by ExOffice, a startup which specialises in Java and XML application servers and solutions.

[June 25, 1999] Java Certification FAQ


[June 24, 1999] ISO C9X  -- info on the ISO C9X standard for the C language.

[June 22, 1999] C Programming Language Information by J Blustein.

[June 11, 1999] StudyWeb: programming in C

[May 15, 1999] The Standard C Library for Linux Part 6  -- one can find other parts from this link

[May 15, 1999] C and C++ tutorials -- decent


[June 25, 1999] Assembly Language (x86) Resources by Michael Somos -- good

[June 7, 1999] assembly resources assembly, assembly language, assembler, machine language.



Related pages: Scripting, Shells, Perl, Tcl/Tk, PHP, piping, regex

Note: PHP section was added, but still is pretty rudimentary


[June 22, 1999] EathWeb Perl scripting tutorials resources and information -- very nice site. Contains Perl journal

[June 18, 1999] Perlmonth, Just use Perl; -- new e-zine. Good

[June 14, 1999] Perl versus PHP for Web Design (part 1)

[May 27, 1999] web_log processing scripts

[May 27, 1999] web_site_management scripts


[June 24, 1999] Web mail in PHP [Part 1]

[June 22, 1999] Two new books on PHP:

Core Php Programming : Using Php to Build Dynamic Web Sites (Prentice Hall Ptr Core Series) ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Leon Atkinson / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $31.99 ~ You Save: $8.00 (20%)
Professional Php Programming
Castagnetto, et al / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $39.99 ~ You Save: $10.00 (20%) (Not Yet Published -- On Order)

[June 20, 1999] .MySQl-PHP club [.ru]  -- in Russian

[June 14, 1999] Perl versus PHP for Web Design (part 1)



Related pages: Unixification,   Edit_win32

[June 28, 1999] WIN32 development using free tools

[May 20, 1999] Linux vs. NT a counterpoint from WinInfo - Windows news & information

[May 20, 1999] GNU Software for Win 95 & Win NT

[May 20, 1999] Web66 Windows95 Internet Server Cookbook

[May 20, 1999] Web66 NT Home Page



Related pages: Security, Audit,  Port_scanners, Port_scan_detectors, Sniffers

[June 25, 1999] Red Hat Security Advisories Potential security problems have been found in the nfs-server package of Red Hat 5.2 (a change to 32 bit uid_t's within glibc 2.0.x has opened a potential hole in root-squashing) and in the net-tools package of Red Hat 6.0 (several potential buffer overruns have been corrected). Updated packages are available from the

[June 24, 1999] Web security How much is enough (Datamation January 1997) -- the paper is weak but the idea is important

[June 24, 1999] VPNs: Proceed with caution (Datamation, June 1999)

[June 17, 1999] -- There is a tool from Bell Labs called NSBD (not-so-bad-distribution) that claims to handle the problem of secure distribution over the internet ...

[June 10, 1999] Security Watch (InfoWorld) -- useful collection of article of widely different quality

[June 8, 1999] Unix SysAdm Resources Firewalls & Unix Security -- good collection of links

[June 8, 1999] Securing Linux Part 1 -- Elementary security for your Linux box. Michael H. Warfield 

[June 7, 1999] Performance Computing - Top Open-Source Security Tools For UNIX

**** [June 7, 1999] Experts question "attacks" on DOD computers

***+ [June 5, 1999]  -- good Linux security links

**** [June 1, 1999]  Linux Administrators Security Guide (LASG) -- good 

[May 29, 1999] Securing Your Linux Box

[May 29, 1999] Breaking Into Your Own System

*** UNIX Security Resources -- good 

Building Satan on Linux

Linux Today TCP Wrappers for Security

Miscellaneous Code, Inc. -- contains

Programs To Help Keep Your System Safe

Network and Network Monitoring Software -- nih collection Good

[May 26, 1999]


[May 17, 1999]LinuxPlanet - Tutorials - Linux network security - Network Services



Related pages: Antivirus, AV_secrets, Computer virology(Russian)

[June 18, 1999] Java maven says Windows is uniquely virus susceptible (InfoWorld) - James Gosling is an evangelist so please be skeptical, but there is some advantage of using Unix as for "natural" virus protection:

Java co-author and Sun Microsystems evangelist James Gosling said Tuesday that the recent spate of viruses and worms affecting corporations worldwide is a result of Windows' and Windows NT's structure, and that Unix, Linux, and Java environments are almost entirely immune.

Talking with reporters at the JavaOne conference here, Gosling said that Microsoft's operating systems were not initially designed with networks in mind. That makes it easier for malicious hackers, like the author of Friday's worm attack, to enter those systems with nefarious intentions. Many users have lost files from the recent, e-mail-distributed assault, which is under investigation by the FBI.

The original Microsoft object linking and embedding (OLE) technology used to swap information in and out of Windows 3.x applications on a single desktop was adapted for use on networks and in later operating systems, and has left it easier for viruses, such as the Melissa culprit earlier this spring, to infect Windows desktops and file servers, Gosling said.

"Windows NT is a little bit better, but not where it needs to be," said Gosling, adding that Unix, Linux, and Java platforms are built with an emphasis on security from the get-go. "We have an iron-clad history," he said.

Microsoft employees themselves were hit by last week's worm, even though the Redmond, Wash.-based network that supports the company's 17,000 campus users is up and running on the Beta 3 release of the new, vaunted Windows 2000 operating system, said Microsoft officials.

[June 14, 1999] Wired- Worm Zeroes In On Microsoft

The latest Internet virus to cause turmoil on desktops around the world highlights a unique security problem: users' dependence on Microsoft products.

...If macros are a security risk, then many customers would rather be without them, said Jim Hurley, managing director of information security at the Aberdeen Group in Boston. The firm's market-research interviews found that users don't think the functionality is worth the risk.

"Any 12-year-old who's a computer geek can turn something on and off at will, he said.

Since Microsoft's products dominate office desktops, said Hurley, they get targeted. "In their infinite wisdom, they say their users are asking for macro capability."

Microsoft's Canadian competitors at Corel aren't worried about the worm -- it doesn't affect WordPerfect. A spokeswoman for the company said she was not aware of any attacks against Corel products.

The worm was a source of amusement for Microsoft critic James Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology in Washington. Someone sent him the virus, but it didn't affect his Linux-based machine running WordPerfect. If there were more diversity in the marketplace, he remarked, such disasters wouldn't happen.

"If everybody in the world was only growing one kind of corn and some sort of disease wiped it out, then people would go hungry," Love said.

[May 6, 1999]  Office 2000 Macro Security



Related pages: Linux, Distributions, Installation

Unix System Administration

Related pages: Sysadmin, Certification

[June 25, 1999] Linux File Associations in Linux -- important news

You are no longer restricted to native executable file formats (ELF, a.out, etc), in Linux. With kernel 2.2 onwards, there’s support for multiple file formats, that is, you can make the kernel recognize any file format provided you’ve an interpreter for it. These files can then be run just by typing their name at the prompt, like any pure executable. You could, for instance, associate all text files with the vi editor. Whenever you type the name of a text file on the shell prompt, the vi editor will automatically load with this file. 

[June 24, 1999] open source IT - Tutorials Using RPM

[June 23, 1999] Unix System Administration

[May 16, 1999] Unix SysAdm Resources FAQs, Patches and Other Info [A-M]

[April 21, 1999] Linux Administration Made Easy  by Steve Frampton, <> v0.99u.01 (PRE-RELEASE), 21 April 1999. A new LDP book.

[April 21, 1999] System and Network Performance Tuning, Hal Stern, Sun Microsystems

[April 10, 1999] The Sys Admin.  -- a nice tale about sysadmins



Related pages: Linux, Distributions, Installation

[June 26, 1999] Mandrake has issued a set of security fixes for the 6.0 distribution; affected
packages are printtool, kdenetwork, kdebase, and net-tools.

[June 26, 1999] dkrud -- KRUD (Kevin's Red Hat Uber Distribution) distribution. KRUD is the substription-baed distribution($36 a year) of the latest Red Hat with all of the latest errata (currently well over 100mb) applied and a set of extra packages added. Monthly subscription makes it easy to keep up with the updates.

[June 18, 1999] Macmillan Introduces Enhanced Linux Operating System; Market Leader in Linux Software & Books is 'Complete' Linux Provider    --

"Macmillan Computer Publishing USA (MCP) today announced the release of "The Complete Linux(TM) Operating System 6.0" featuring Linux-Mandrake(TM), an enhanced version of the popular Red Hat(R) Linux(TM).  "Macmillan has also released a Deluxe edition, featuring the "Star Office 5.1" productivity suite, and a Secure Server edition."  "These three products are part of our strategy to make Linux mainstream and maintain our position as the leading provider of all things Linux: from operating systems, to software, to books and online resources," says Doug Bennett, president."

...includes special versions of PartitionMagic® and BootMagic(TM) so Linux can be easily installed alongside Windows for dual-boot options. It offers a preconfigured KDE desktop. The ``Complete'' edition comes bundled with numerous desktop applications including word processing, graphics editing, financial and personal information management.

From slashdot:

I was in CompUSA yesterday and was going to buy a copy of RedHat 6.0 but it was sold out. I saw the above mentioned distro and picked it up to check it out. To my pleasant surprise it actually comes with a copy of Partition Magic so I can easily indoctrinate my windows friends with a quick repartition and install. I am looking forward to trying it out.

SlashdotNew Macmillan Linux distro

[another reader wrote] The reason they say they're the #3 OS supplier (or whatever) is because up until very recently they were distributing RH (in an agreement with RH).  Recently, RH withdrew its interest in this relationship because they wanted to vend their own product all by themselves.  So MCP went with another relationship. Don't ask me the details about how Mandrake happened (over Caldera or Debian or whoever else).  If you want to know how long that company has been doing Linux-related stuff, why don't you check out their website for their product catalog. Search on 'linux'. Find that they mirror the LDP on their servers, find that they recently are putting out a Quake product for Linux. Check out the fact that they have Linux-related e-books online for FREE at  Check what you say before you say it, find your real friends and find out who the real corporate villains are before ASSUMING.

...[another reader wrote]What is Bob Young going to do other than put his foot in his mouth. Macmillan is a publisher of *documentation*. They pride themselves on their documentation being right while RedHat just prides itself on declairing soul ownership of it's documentation (right or wrong). While RedHat web hosts Marc Ewing's statements on why the Linux Community should not be accepting of the Qt license (for modifablity reasons), they sneaked the Donnie Barnes
license into the LDP while the majority of the LDP is covered (and usually assumed to be covered) by the LDP license. And, anyone who has provided patches to both Troll Tech and Donnie Barnes knows that if the patch is sound that Troll Tech accepts the modification into the offical package and that keeping RH documentation maintained is done at Donnie Barnes whim. So, lets not be accepting of non-modifablity licensing just as Mr. Ewing suggested. Hence, lets not be accepting of RedHat! If Macmillan thinks it can publish (and document) a distribution better than the RedHat closed documentation distribution, then more power to them! Go Macmillan, down with the Donnie Barnes/RedHat license which is under conditions that even RedHat's Ewing wouldn't support!

[May 15, 1999] You can buy Red Hat Linux from Macmillan Publishing (  ) for the same price Red Hat charges, but you get an electronic version of four Linux books rather than sample applications on the third CD-ROM.

[May 10, 1999]  Corel distribution will compete with RedHat and will be Debian-based. See. A new distribution, eh:

...At the recent LinuxWorld conference, company president Michael Cowpland used the soapbox of his keynote to announce the latest of a number of initiatives Corel has made in the past year:

The company is one of the first to have really got the concept of free software. And, much to the chagrin of the everything-should-be-free advocates, Corel has discovered how commercial software and the free stuff can complement each other.

Of all the above Linux work Corel has done, the prospect of a new distribution appears to have generated the most buzz, especially now that Corel has announced that the product will be based on the Debian distribution and KDE desktop.

... The choice of starting with Debian's distribution, in some ways, makes a lot of sense. It's certainly easier than starting from scratch, and the Debian development group is a large and widespread committee that poses no commercial threat to Corel. For some users, in fact, Corel could be the corporate face that Debian has always lacked.

Corel's choice will certainly give Debian a bigger audience by dispensing with some of Debian's political agenda. Corel is making an ideological break with the Debian group's near allergic attitude towards non-free software by integrating commercial software with free Linux code. On top of that, Corel is sidestepping the politics that keep Debian from including KDE at all.

Corel's choice of KDE is also significant in that it joins Caldera and SuSE in making KDE its default (if not its only) desktop. Even Red Hat, while still using GNOME as its default, also ships with KDE. While the nature of free software precludes the necessity for a VHS-Betamax-style war of attrition, Corel's choice cements KDE's status as the front-runner for those who need to make a choice.

... Debian is alone among distributions in supporting the dpkg system, when most of the other commercial Linux system and software vendors support the Red Hat-developed RPM format. Until now, commercial developers were generally ignoring the dpkg system, but the Corel entry is likely to at least disturb this peaceful balance.

Corel's Forler said he considered dpkg to be technically superior to RPM, but said he's hoping that the Linux Standard Base (LSB) committee will help resolve the differences between the two and develop a single standardized packaging format. "From our perspective, we'd like to see just one format," Forler said. But, he added, Corel's Linux applications will still be delivered in RPM format because that's where the current market lies.

...Corel, with its global brand-awareness and distribution channels, will make an immediate impact on the Linux industry when its product hits the market later this year. Several Linux vendors I've spoken with about Corel's distribution said that the Linux marketplace was more than big enough to handle another vendor, especially if Corel's presence gives Linux an entrance into markets that hadn't considered it before.

[May 17, 1999] CPU Review -- RedHat 6.0: A First Look by William Henning

[May 17, 1999] Caldera comments by Anthony Moulen (ZDNet Linux)

My general comments on Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 is that it isn't bad for very basic setups. It came up just fine for me, after playing around a bit with the kernel modules I was able to get sound to work, get my zip drive running, and see my scanner (although not use it). The windows looked crisper than RedHat. I am not sure if this was because of a different font used or just the luck of getting my installation to work correctly this time with my unsupported graphics card (an i740 chipset, not a bad card but not that good either). At anyrate the OS looked nice, had a nice feel but was a little clunky. I didn't like that it felt so much like a windows system in that the windowed stuff worked okay but a lot of the underlying standard UNIX stuff just didn't fly right.

Recompiling the kernel and keeping their nice display at boot up seems very difficult. They opted to include every possible module and use every option in compiling the kernel, this makes the kernel large, sluggish, and incorrect for several applications including one they included in the K menu - XCDRoast, which was unable to use my ATAPI CDRom because IDE-SCSI detected each of my CD Drives 8 times. This put the recorder at ID 8 making it unreachable for the cdrecord program. The scanner software had problems (also apparently because of the multiple LUN support in the kernel). Although I was able to compile a new kernel, the lisa software disabled a bunch of stuff, and the graphical startup interface was gone.

I was also unable to compile SSH which I consider to be a staple for computers on the net. I was able to get a patch that worked but I worry about patching security software.

The final straw was that it doesn't seem to have a neat Printer setup tool like RedHat does. So I opted to return the software to the store and stick with the RedHat 6.0 CD I already had.

For the new user (if you are) I would currently suggest Mandrake 5.3 and upgrade everything with their RPMs. I only recommend this if you don't have a laptop. Mandrake is based on RedHat 5.2 and is rather stable and settled. RedHat 6.0 has several bugs in it and the version they released to the net had an annoying problem with Java within Netscape (which I heard rumor was fixed before the CD actually was released). If you want the latest though I would still recommend RedHat 6.0 as long as you are willing to play around with fixing a few of the things that crept out the door with the package. I have a machine that has been up straight for 2 weeks one RedHat 6.0 without a problem yet, and if the previous uptime for this machine is any indication, I suspect it will be up till almost the end of the year (baring security fixes that may need to be installed).

I hope this is what you were looking for. Good luck.

(for the list of the latest versions of Open Source Software and news please consult

Linux Certification

Related pages: Sysadmin, Certification

Note: this section was just created  

...[LPI]  it's not a Caldera show. It's an independent effort, which Caldera wholeheartedly supports because it "will lead to the best possible certification program, because its not specific to any one distribution."

According to Leibovitch, the LPI is now working with an advisory board that includes representatives form all the major Linux reseller distributors. These include Allan Smart, Caldera's director of education services; Lonn Johnston, Pacific HiTech's VP North American operations; Donnie Barnes, Red Hat's director of technical programs and Marc Torres, SuSE Inc.'s president.

...The first certification, naturally enough, will be the Basic with others to quickly follow. There will also be, later in the game, specific certifications for the major distributions.

But, what will participants be tested on? Plans are, unsurprisingly, sketchy at this point. But, what can be safely said is that someone with the basic level will be able to serve on a Linux helpdesk or work as a system administration assistant. At the next level, Standard, graduates will be system administrator ready. At the top, the Advanced level, graduates will be able, depending on their specializations, to work as a senior system administrator, database system administrator or cross-network system integrator.

Training, however, isn't in the LPI's current plans. For that, resellers will need to turn to still nascent Linux training companies and the existing training programs of Caldera, which are geared to generic Linux, or Red Hat with its Red Hat specific courses.

The LPI still doesn't have its ducks in a row on how the tests will be delivered. Although, LPI has had preliminary contact with such old pros of the testing world as Sylvan Prometric and Virtual University Enterprises, LPI may well try an entirely different approach.

The Linux certification's real value will only be seen when resellers have certificates on their walls and can determine whether they result in more business and/or higher rates. With the support of all the major Linux reseller vendors and a vendor neutral approach, though, this is one certification that should pay for itself.


OFM Managers

Related pages: OFM_page


OSS Movement

Related pages: Open_source  OSS_as_academic_research,  Torvalds Stallman





Related pages: Copyright  Open_source  Stallman


 Related pages: Softpanorama Bookshelf

Softpanorama recommends using Macmillan Computer Publishing Personal Bookshelf -- the leading Unix/Internet Computer-related public library (free registration required).


[June 1, 1999] Linux Administrators Security Guide (LASG)


Linux: A Network Solution For Your Office Betabook
Author: Viktor Toth; Sams Publishing
Scheduled to be available in bookstores: July 23, 1999

Red Hat Linux 6 Unleashed Betabook
Authors: David Pitts Billy Ball; Sams Publishing
Scheduled to be available in bookstores: August 20, 1999

Sams Teach Yourself Emacs in 24 Hours Betabook
Author: Jesper Pedersen, Sams Publishing
Scheduled to be available in bookstores: April 23, 1999

Linux: The Complete Reference (Third Edition)
by Richard Petersen ($39.99)
Available in Bookstores August 1999

Softpanorama Bookshelf / Perl Books

Unix Shell Programming Tools (Unix Tools) ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
David Medinets / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $31.99 ~ You Save: $8.00 (20%)
Perl Cd Bookshelf  -- 6 books including Cookbook
O'Reilly, Inc. Associates (Editor) / Software / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $47.96 ~ You Save: $11.99 (20%) (Not Yet Published -- On Order)

Six O'Reilly books on one CD-ROM in HTML format. Only one book is really good (cookbook) though. CD includes:

Perl programmer alert! Six bestselling O'Reilly Animal Guides are now available on CD-ROM, easily accessible with your favorite Web browser: Perl in a Nutshell; Programming Perl, 2nd Edition; Perl Cookbook; Advanced Perl Programming; Learning Perl; and Learning Perl on Win32 Sytems. As a bonus, the new hardcopy version of Perl in a Nutshell is also included.

[June 11, 1999]??? Perl for UNIX System Administration
Brian T. O'Neill / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $31.96 ~ You Save: $7.99 (20%) (Not Yet Published -- On Order)
        Should be an interesting and useful book
[June 5, 1999] Programming Web Graphics With Perl and Gnu Software ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Shawn P. Wallace, Richard Koman (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $23.96 ~ You Save: $5.99 (20%)
Great advanced book in a very interesting area
[June 1, 1999]Mastering Perl 5 (Mastering) ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Eric C. Herrmann / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $31.99 ~ You Save: $8.00 (20%)
Several positive reviews on
Perl Power! : A Jumpstart Guide to Programming in Perl 5 ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Michael Schilli / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $29.56 ~ You Save: $7.39 (20%)
Perl Core Language Little Black Book ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Steven Holzner, Steve Holzner / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $19.99 ~ You Save: $5.00 (20%)
Perl Power! : A Jumpstart Guide to Programming in Perl 5 ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Michael Schilli / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $29.56 ~ You Save: $7.39 (20%)
Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Laura Lemay / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $23.99 ~ You Save: $6.00 (20%)
[May 27, 1999] Book Review Website Automation Toolkit
***+ Perl Cookbook (no e-text)
Tom Christiansen, et al / Paperback / Published 1998
Amazon Price: $31.96(20% off)
Good book. Recommended as a useful reference or second book on Perl. No e-text.
Perl from the Ground Up  (contains one chapter on the Web -- see website)
Michael McMillan / Paperback / Published 1998
Amazon Price: $27.99(20% off)
Perl/Tk Pocket Reference ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Steve Lidie, Stephen Lidie / Paperback / Published 1998
Amazon Price: $7.96 (20% off)
Learning Perl/Tk ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Nancy Walsh, Linda Mui (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon Price: $26.36 (20% off)

Skeptical Reviews

Related pages: Reviews, Softpanorama Bookshelf

****+ ERCB The Practice Of Programming by Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike  (Addison-Wesley, 1999 ISBN 0-201-61586-X 267 pages; $24.95. ERCB Review:

The Practice of Programming is a great candidate to fill this widely perceived lack in the literature that I commonly refer to as "for the industry." Authored by two experienced researchers of the Computing Science Research Center at the well-known Bell Labs (the name Brian Kernighan will ring a bell to the millions of C programmers), this manageable text conveys a fantastic quantity of suggestions and guidelines that will come in useful to all the neophytes of programming, and at the same time provides some sound tips and principles to the more seasoned among us. The first chapter approaches the delicate topic of good coding style; while the opinions on this are always subjective, those expressed by the authors seem generally acceptable and worth following. 

Subsequent chapters touch on design principles, testing practices, common algorithms (this chapter is too short to be of any real usefulness, I would have left it out), debugging (very good chapter), performance tuning, general portability hints, and a glance at notations. Nothing really new, but a remarkable collection of the rules typically taught by experience (the hard way). Most of the code samples are written in C, accompanied by a few others in C++ and Java, but by its very nature all the contents are absolutely language independent.



Related pages: Open_source   OSS Hall of Fame Knuth  Stallman Torvalds  Wall  Ousterhout

IDG/Linus Torvalds Community Award
scoop - June 23rd 1999, 20:47 EST

This is an open call to high school and college students everywhere! Enter the Linux programming contest. To enter, you must write a program that adds to the ease of use of Linux. The program must have begun no earlier than January 1, 1999 and must be complete by July 12, 1999. One winner will be chosen to receive the prestigious IDG/Linus Torvalds Community Award of $25,000! The programs will be judged by well respected Linux evangelists. The presentation of the award will immediately follow Linus Torvalds' keynote presentation, Tuesday, August 10, 1999. For additional details go here.

Social Issues

Related pages: Social  Information Overload OSS in developing countries


[June 30, 1999] Slashdot: Cringely's take on Pirates of Silicon Valley (See also additional links Steve Wozniak Comments on the Pirates of the Silicon Valley and  Robert X. Cringely. Please note that all paragraphs cited below are taken from different contibutors to the Shashdot and represent view of different people):

...What I have heard from most people who I would not think of as in-depth computer enthusiasts, geeks, nerds, or the like, is that Bill Gates came off looking like a sociopathic theif, and Steve Jobs a big jerk.

...One thing that Woz and  agree on: the portrayal of Steve Jobs was good. In fact, Woz said that Jobs' tyrades and abuse of his employees was much worse than in the movie. The movie makes him out to be a real asshole with a messiah complex. Maybe it was all of the acid he dropped, I dunno....

... I can't take anything this man[Cringely] says seriously. Here is a liar and a fraud. Triumph of the Nerds misrepresents stuff just as badly as "Pirates of Silicon Valley" did. For example, did you know that Xerox had a huge investment in apple. That is why apple was brought to Xerox. Steve jobs didn't even want to go. Also, the lisa interface was taken from the mac project before steve jobs even started working on the mac. Somewhere on Cringely's site there is a letter from the origional mac creator (not steve jobs) where he writes something to the effect of: oh well, fake man, fake history.

...I think for this movie, the atmosphere was much more important than the facts. The producers seemed to be trying to capture the mentality and competitiveness that surrounded these two icons of the computer industry, and I think they did a good job of it. So what if a few of the events were slightly askew or out of order. My mother actually commented to me after watching that movie that she would love to destroy her computer after realizing how much of an asshole both Gates and Jobs are. Although that is obviously overkill, I think it is a important attitude. A lot of people in American society idolize Gates and Jobs (and many others), and to be honest, these guys really are not very good ideals. This movie helps show that.

...I gave up submitting new Cringely columns a while back 'cause it either never got posted or it was posted several days late from somebody else, but he's had quite a few worth reading in the past few months. I thought the interesting thing about this one (which will probably be superseded within 24 hours, they usually come out late on Thursdays)was the part at the end about AOL getting in bed with Hughes instead of some other satellite company. Cringely comes across like a Steve Thomas standard generic preppy PBS host clone on TV but his columns are often interesting and insightful observations and theories about where the computer biz and culture is heading and why.

...What I found interesting was the part where he unplugged that guy's computer in the middle of the night. From what i understand it's essentially true, except i think the circumstances were a bit different. I think he pulled the plug on someone's computer who was working on the Liza (or is it lisa?) after he came up with the idea for the mac, killing hours of work, all because he had just come up with the next insanely great thing. IMHO the man is a complete and total nut, who gets a lot of credit for being a revolutionary which he really doesn't deserve. I think the only reason people like jobs and hate gates is because gates won and jobs lost. If things had turned out the other way i'm sure we'd have steve jobus of borg, and the revolutionary bill gates who got cheated out of his work by that big bad apple company. As far as I can tell, woz is one of the few people who actually did anything of importance regarding the technical details, and he gets virtually no credit for his accomplishments.

As for cringely, i think he's just mad that triumph gets no recognition beyond geeks, where pirates was aparently popular among those "normal people." He's just jealous, that's all. And with regards to the historical inacuracies, it's a movie, not a documentary, you know "base on a true story," those types of things are never perfectly accurate. Real life seldom makes a good story, or atleast a good story that can be compressed into a 2 hour (probally more like 1 when you factor out the commercials) period.

Two books to read:
(1) "Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing" by Randall E. Stross
(2) "Apple (The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders)" by Jim Carlton

[June 28, 1999] NH Guide to the Internet Are you a Gadget Grabber or a Cyber-Snob

Manufacturers and advertisers need ways to segment consumers according to motivation, desire and ability to invest in technology products. A new study lists 12 distinct groups of technology consumers based on three variables: Why they purchase technologies; how they feel about technologies in general; and how much money they can afford to spend on the latest gizmos.

Country clubbers: High-income, status-driven consumers indifferent to technology. Would rather own a luxury car than a PC.

Cyber-snobs: High-income, status-oriented technology lovers. Attracted to big-ticket electronic "toys."

Fast-forwards: Career-oriented technology enthusiasts. Most likely to be time-strapped and to use business-oriented technologies to improve productivity.

Gadget grabbers: Lower-income consumers of electronic entertainment; will buy low-cost, high-tech toys.

Handshakers: Successful professionals who value relationships above technology.

Media junkies: High-income, entertainment-driven consumers; addicted more to TVs than PCs.

Mouse potatoes: High-income, entertainment-focused PC buyers; interested in interactive computer entertainment and Web surfing.

Neo-hearthminders: Avid believers in technology for self-improvement, family and education. Highest potential group of future technology consumers.

Sidelined citizens: Low-income technophobes; technology laggards. Least likely to purchase any technology.

Techno-strivers: Up-and-coming professionals looking for technologies to advance their careers; students or young professionals, most likely of low-income groups to own computers.

Traditionalists: Family-oriented, high-income individuals suspicious of technology; unlikely to consume anything higher tech than VCRs.

X-Techs: Tech-loving, status-conscious individuals of limited means; young, flashy cyber-cafe denizens attracted to low-cost, high-visibility items such as cell phones and pagers.

[June 23, 1999]  A Case for Government Promotion of Open Source Software

Computers and the Internet have changed the way we work, study, and interact, yet there are many things about computers and software which we find dissatisfying. Proprietary software is increasingly expensive and memory-hungry. Bugs, security flaws, and other errors appear in even the most trusted programs. Microsoft's monopoly control of the operating system market stifles innovation. Many computer systems are not equipped to handle the upcoming turn of the century, creating a multi billion-dollar problem and dire predictions of a global electronics breakdown.

An alternative method of software development exists, called open source software, which offers a very low cost solution to all of these problems. Open source is not a technology, but rather a different way of thinking about and organizing the software development process. Whereas traditional proprietary software development (which created most of the programs we use daily) adheres to the principle of strict protection of intellectual property found in the publishing industry, open source software (OSS) development is more of a collaborative process that has evolved along with the Internet.

Open source software is growing its market share in a few key areas because of its natural strengths of reliability, security, and low cost. However, open source has advantages on a broader level as well: it eliminates economic waste caused by the duplication of work, and it presents a challenge to harmful monopoly power in the software industry, such as the anticompetitive practices which are under scrutiny now in the Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft. It also provides a cost-effective solution to the Year 2000 problem. For these reasons, increased use of open source software serves more than private economic gain -- it serves a public good as well.

This paper will describe open source software, including a brief history of the idea, discuss its inherent strengths as both a private and a public good, explain why the government should be involved in promoting open source software development, and offer some recommendations for government action.

[June 8, 1999] Libre Contra Gratis -- The need for free software in poorer countries.

Many in the Open Source and free software communities are quick to point out that the important definition of "free" is "free as in free speech", as opposed to "free as in no monetary cost". While this distinction is very important in North America and Europe, especially to those of us who are developers, we should not lose sight of the importance of no-cost software to the rest of the world.

In particular, the Spanish-speaking nations of the Western Hemisphere come to mind. The $80 sticker price for Red Hat 6.0 and the $90 price for MS Windows 98 are both prohibitive to the average user in many poorer nations. Yet citizens of those countries need software ... and they are a goldmine of untapped future talent for Open Source development.

Fighting Information Overload

Related pages:  Information Overload 

[June 28, 1999] Open directory: Reference Knowledge Management Information Overload

[June 28, 1999] The Clever Project

The tremendous growth in the price-performance of networking and storage has fueled the explosive growth of the web. The amount of information easily accessible from the desktop has dramatically increased by several orders of magnitude in the last few years, and shows no signs of abating. Users of the web are being confronted with the consequent information overload problem. It can be exceedingly difficult to locate resources that are both high-quality and relevant to their information needs. Traditional automated methods for locating information are easily overwhelmed by low-quality and unrelated content. Thus, the second generation of search engines will have to have effective methods for focusing on the most authoritative among these documents. The rich structure implicit in the hyperlinks among Web documents offers a simple, and effective, means to deal with many of these problems. The CLEVER search engine incorporates several algorithms that make use of hyperlink structure for discovering high-quality information on the Web.

[June 28, 1999] Coping with Information overload

This presentation looks at the reasons for information overload, gives advice on coping with overload and shows how Mailbase can help you to manage overload from mailing lists. It concentrates on e-mail and mailing lists, though the problems and solutions can be applicable to other media such as the web.

The presentation should last about twenty to thirty minutes, includes speaker's notes and covers

Although this is a general presentation, it may be tailored to an individual audience providing the copyright Mailbase notice is retained.

It is available in the following formats:

[PowerPoint 7] [PowerPoint 4] [HTML]


Russian FreeSoft

Related pages: Russian


TCPNetView by Alexander Gorlach

[June 26, 1999] Alexander Gorlach homepage

this program is like "Network Neighbourhood" but shows the IP- and MAC- addresses of the LAN's computers

George's Textviewer

[June 25, 1999] George's Home Page


The program TextViewer is intended for fast viewing of textual files in DOS , Windows, KOI8, Mac, ISO
encodings, as well as in RTF. The association of this program in Windows with opening of
any types of textual files (for example with exensions TXT, EXC, DIC, INI, CFG, SCP, LOG, DIZ and
others) will allow you quickly and conveniently to look through and to edit these files, not use of the
editors of a type WordPad, NotePad etc. Other features: a) unlimited text size b) opportunity anyone a
combination of a font of the text, colour of a background, coding of the Russian text by default, sizes and
position of a window of the program on the screen c) drag and Drop with file managers d) search,
replacement, print preview and printing of text e) Russian or English interface

X WinCommander

Call Graph Drawing Interface

Call Graph Drawing Interface - Vadim Engelson

For any program consisting of more than 10-15 functions it becomes difficult to keep track of calling
relations between them. Programmers draw a call graph when they design their code, and they do this with
paper and pen. But such call graph helps you a lot when you modify, test, document, explain and maintain
your code or read other's code. This call graph can easily be generated automatically.

Call graph drawing utilities can be found in various commercial CASE tools and programming
environments. But if you work without any CASE tools, and use just traditional compilers, you can find a
simple and cheap solution here.

TCP wrappers patch

to always log the IP address of an incoming connection by Nikita Borisov -

TCP wrappers patch

WebMaker by  Alexei Dets 


WebMaker is a GUI HTML Editor for Unix. Main features include a nice GUI interface, menus, toolbar and dialogs for tag editing, multiple windows support, HTML 4.0 support, color syntax highlighting, preview with external browser, ability to filter editor content through any external program that supports stdin/stdout and KDE integration.

Computer-related Humor

Related pages: Humor

**** NH Guide to the Internet Out-Geeking the Geeks 

At the American Bar Association Techshow, a couple of years ago, gathered all the lawyer
techies from around the country. This is the lawyer's "Super Bowl" of technology, and it is blood
sport to see who can "out-geek" the others. The winner is the one with the best gadgets.

Attorney Dan Coolidge and I plotted carefully to press the limits of what we could make them
believe. We took Dan's miniature tape recorder and advanced the blank tape for about ten
minutes. We then recorded the electronic beeping sound from the hotel alarm clock for about six
seconds and rewound the tape. Next we fired up the portable computer and printer and printed —
in really tiny type as if a message had been sent to the tape recorder — "SatLink 12-A Msg.
Conneer 1256Zulu Cust Coolidge." It was all numbers and gibberish including names of existing
satellites in orbit around the earth.

Then we made up a series of messages from purported clients and printed them out on a narrow
sheet of paper, looking rather like a cash register tape. We slipped the paper strip between the
tape recorder and its case and we were ready!

Just before we entered the room where all of our techie friends were gathered, Dan started the
tape rolling and dropped the player in his pocket. About ten minutes later, it started beeping. Dan
feigned deafness. I hollered, "Dan, your blasted fax is going off again!" He reached into his
pocket and stopped the beeping. He reached to the edge of the recorder and proceeded to pull the
strip of paper out as if it were slowly being printed. No one had seen a satellite fax before! The
room was silent; jaws dropped; envy was rampant.

Since the tape was so small he asked someone else to read it to him. The hushed room waited
while the fax was read. Everyone thought Dan had acquired the ultimate in portable satellite fax
tools. Only when the text was read aloud did the smiles start to appear. It began, "From Captain
Jean Luc Picard, Starship Enterprise, to Captain Daniel Coolidge, Starfleet Headquarters..."
Need I say more? The room erupted into laughter and they all knew they'd been out-geeked.

**** Tao_Of_Programming

***+ Programming Eagles

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

And they showed me the way
There were salesmen down the corridor
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to Mountain View California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely place (backgrounded)
Such a lovely trace(1)
Plenty of jobs at Mountain View California
Any time of year
Any time of year (backgrounded)
You can find one here
You can find one here

... ... ...  ... ... ... ...

*** [ June 6, 1999] The Sysadmin Price List

*** [ June 6, 1999] Fyodor's Good Reading List/UNIX Wars

***+ [ June 6, 1999] Lighter Side Contents -- good collection


 Related pages: cs_skeptic

[June 7, 1999] Experts question "attacks" on DOD computers

[June 7, 1999] What They're Not Telling You About Speech Recognition

[June 7, 1999] PC Magazine Speech Recognition  


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Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

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The Last but not Least

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