2001 09 27

                    LINUX NEWS
            Thursday, September 27, 2001
    Read By Over 7,000 Linux Enthusiasts Weekly!


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

Buy Two, Get One Free
Review of Rune
Gartner Group Reviews Red Hat
Use Linux, Save a Bundle

3) Linux Resources

Tricking RPM
GNOME Autologin
Serving Java From Linux
Star Office Beta 6
Hackers Against Terrorism

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes

It used to be that manufacturers of computer equipment didn't
care much about the Linux users.  The XFree86 project had to
beg and plead for specs that could be used to build
accelerated X servers, and even then not all features could
be used because of Non-Disclosure Agreements that limited
what could be distributed in source form.

Perhaps that's one reason I stuck with my Mach64 PCI card
for so long.  Between it and my Trident 9440, I could use
X-Windows fairly effectively, though at a pretty pathetic
8 bit colour depth.  Unfortunately, that gets tiresome,
and after a monitor upgrade I was starting to wish I had
the video hardware to drive my latest purchase.

So, when I decided it was time for an upgrade, I started
looking at the options, and people's experience with the
card under Linux.  One company that has hopped on the Linux
bandwagon is NVIDIA.  While XFree86 comes with an "nv"
driver for NVIDIA chipsets, you can download newer drivers
from NVIDIA directly:


The drivers are distributed as a kernel module and an XFree86
driver called "nvidia".  From the looks of it, they are
making periodic updates to the driver, so this wasn't just
a token gesture.  Installation was as simple as changing

	Driver "nv"

in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

	Driver "nvidia"

after installing the RPMs and re-running XConfigurator.

The drivers are still given in binary format, which is not
ideal, but is a great deal more than other people give.
They've thoughtfully provided a wrapper in source code
format so that people with custom kernels can still use it.
(Binary distributed drivers in a kernel are a nightmare;
there are some products shipping with them that are
effectively useless unless you are using the exact kernel
that they were.)

After this Linux fan got the drivers installed and restarted
X (no reboots -- are you listening, Bill?) a huge increase
in performance was noted.  My first stop was over to Loki


to download the latest demos, and thus the entire weekend
was lost.

Another company with the right mindset is Advansys, the
makers of various SCSI cards.  They write the driver,
maintain it, and distribute it in source format.
Furthermore, it's packaged in the kernel source tree.
Chances are, it'll work on your system right out of the
box.  And to boot, it's a good card, I have yet to have a
complaint about mine.

Times have changed.  There are now many companies that are
supporting Linux, either by giving out specs without
requiring NDAs, writing the drivers themselves, or supporting
those that do.  Make sure you do your research before you buy
some new hardware -- you no longer have to suffer poor
performance with otherwise good hardware because you choose
to run Linux.  You'll be supporting those companies, and
sending a message to those that refuse to recognize Linux.

Long live the Penguin,


Visit the Linux News Board at

2) Linux News

Buy Two, Get One Free
For the month of September (what's left of it, at least),
you can pick up three O'Reilly books for the price of two.
If you're in Canada, this offer lasts until mid-October,
but only at certain stores.


Review of Rune
The porters of native Linux games, Loki Software, recently
released Rune, a 3D adventure. This is the first review of
it that I've seen, and it looks pretty good. There is a
demo available from the Loki web site, being downloaded to
my computer as I write this.


Gartner Group Reviews Red Hat
Love 'em or hate 'em, groups like Gartner are part of the
industry. One of their latest reports has to do with Red Hat
Linux 7.1. Did they like it or not? You'll have to read the
article to find out!


Use Linux, Save a Bundle
A consultant with little Linux experience was asked by a
client about the merits of keeping existing hardware and
moving to Linux, versus those of performing some upgrades
and going to Win2k. After researching Linux and learning
about it, he developed a business case and shared it with
the world.


3) Linux Resources

Tricking RPM
I found the need for a similar technique the other week. I
had built perl from scratch, using 5.6.1, but the Red Carpet
package management system insisted the RPM for 5.6.0 be
present. Creating a dummy rpm by the same name wouldn't work,
so the solution was to use the "--justdb" parameter to RPM,
which forces the database updates but doesn't touch the
filesystem. This message explains it a bit better, and
includes some more complete command lines.


GNOME Autologin
One of the features of the GNOME autologin manager is that
it can automatically log in a user. This may be desired for
home use, kiosks, or anywhere else where you'd like to boot
the machine straight to a logged in X-Session. The monkeys
at Ximian have the steps to set this up in their knowledge


Serving Java From Linux
Java may not have made it to every appliance we see yet, but
it's a great language for developing web applications. A
friend who does Java servlet development expressed to me how
difficult it is to get Apache to integrate with Java. Here's
an article that makes it simpler, not only walking you
through the install, but providing tests to verify that it
is working.


Star Office Beta 6
I had passed along a link a while ago about Star Office 6,
including a download of the current snapshot. While searching
for more information about the product itself, I found this
form, which will put you on Sun's list of people to notify
when the next release happens.


Hackers Against Terrorism
After the September 11 tragedy, crackers on both sides
began defacing government sites. In an effort to channel
their energy into more useful activities, such as
intelligence gathering, the US Government is going to
launch a series of TV Ads featuring none other than Vince
Cerf, one of the people responsible for the creation of
the core Internet Protocols.


4) App o' the week
I don't know how I didn't notice this one earlier... This
SourceForge project is the parent of several smaller ones,
spearheaded by HP to develop Linux drivers for their printers
under an Open Source licence. Besides drivers, they're
committing other resources to help other Linux projects
integrate HP features into the codebase. I suppose it's the
next best thing to having vendors ship Linux drivers with
the product themselves.


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