Linux Archive

KernelNewbies & OProfile; John Levon Interview

This week KernelTrap interviews John Levon, the author of OProfile and a contributer to KernelNewbies. He offers much insight into both of these projects, as well as reflecting on Linux in general. OProfile is a statistical x86 profiling system for the 2.4 Linux kernel, useful in understanding what percentage of the CPU is being utilized by different processes, including those in kernel space and those in user space. KernelNewbies is an excellent resource for people looking to understand the Linux kernel, comprised of a web page, an IRC channel, and a mailing list.

Linux Goes to the Movies

"Over the past year, the information technology elite have started to dismiss Linux as a flash in the pan that tried and failed to dominate in a world owned by Windows. Woebegone Linux and open-source companies are scattered across the landscape like so much shrapnel. The stock prices of IPO high fliers VA Linux and Red Hat currently trade near half of their pre-IPO offering prices. Meanwhile, Windows XP gets the press and the plaudits. But what's happening behind the scenes?" Does Linux found its place in... Hollywood, being the No 1 choice for a rendering farm? Read the rest of the feature article at

PC Magazine: “Choosing Linux”

PC Magazine offers a six-way shootout between Red Hat, SuSE, Debian (Potato), Caldera, Mandrake, and Turbo Linux. Red Hat takes top honors in the final reckoning (which can be viewed by downloading a PDF on the last page of the report.) From the article: "Widespread industry acceptance and ease of use make Red Hat's distro a solid choice for general use, but don't rule out other distributions until you've studied them and know which excel at specific tasks."

What’s the Future of Linux?

The Gartner Group, the well known consulting and analyst firm, is analyzing Linux progress and future. Interesting read, as it offers explanations behind IBM's $1 billion investement on Linux among other information. Our Take: We don't know what the future holds, but there is a new Linux kernel just released (2.4.13) while SuSE is to start shipping its new, SuSE Linux 7.3 distribution in the United States and North America today.

Linux Library Loader Stirs Borland Complaint

"It certainly would not be a surprise for friction to occur when Windows and Linux developers are confined in close quarters. Now a recent post on a Borland community message board by Danny Thorpe, a well-known Borland engineer who has been involved with the Kylix project from the beginning, has stirred the pot. Thorpe, rightly or wrongly, criticized both Linux and open source in explaining why Kylix wasn't working exactly as intended at library load time." LinuxWorld features the full article. Our Take: The timing for Mr. Thorpe to publish such an article was probably a bit wrong from a marketing point of view: Kylix 2 was announced just today and such an open technical disagreement can have some negative impact at its sales in the Linux market.

Kernel Hacker Interview: Russell King

Kerneltrap has posted the latest in-depth kernel hacker interview with Russell King, who originally ported Linux to ARM and continues to oversee ARM Linux development: "I started hacking on Linux for my Acorn A5000 machine back in Spring 1994 while still at Southampton University, after a fellow student, Martin Ebourne, introduced it to me. An A5000 is a desktop-like ARM based machine. It was already about 3 years old and underpowered at that time, with only 4MB of RAM but it was the machine I had." Russell talks about ARM, the 2.4 kernel, the upcoming 2.5 kernel and much more.

Terra Soft Releases Yellow Dog Linux 2.1

Terra Soft Solutions, the developer of Linux solutions for PowerPC microprocessors, announced the immediate availability of Yellow Dog Linux version 2.1. YDL 2.1 offers the following updates and improvements: YDL installer now supports individual package selection, KDE 2.2.1, XFree86 4.1.0, 2.4.10 (default) and 2.2.19, Mac-on-Linux 0.9.60 which automatically grabs the ROM image from your Mac OS partition--reducing setup to a minimum. - Webmin web-based system administration tool, Mozilla 0.9.4, Ext3 journaling file system, Sound support on iBook 1 and iBook 2 (2001), Sleep support on full range of Apple portables (include all iBooks), Improved support for Apple Network Servers and support for NVidia GeForce 2 & ATI Radeon video cards.

The Desktop Open War

From Wired: "It started as a crusade for free source code. Linux zealots turned it into a full-frontal assault on Microsoft. Now the battle for the desktop could snatch defeat from the jaws of moral victory." This is the teaser of a four page interesting editorial from Russ Mitchell found on Wired. The author recognises that "Linux has a real shot in the enterprise business", but he believes that Linux is never going to get a respectful share of the desktop market, and he presents a number arguments for it. He also includes statements from many people like Rob Malda and Red Hat employees who, surprisingly, state that the real enemy for their business today is not Microsoft (where most of their joe-user customers are far reached from Linux's "nerd" market), but companies like Sun and the "traditional" Unices like Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX and Tru64.

New Linux Kernel 2.4.12

Linus Torvalds in the Linux kernel mailing list: "2.4.11 had a fix for a symlink DoS attack, but sadly that fix broke the creation of files through a dangling symlink rather badly (it caused the inode to be created in the very same inode as the symlink, with unhappy end results). Happily nobody uses that particular horror - or _almost_ nobody does. It looks like at least the SuSE installer (yast2) does, which causes a nasty unkillable inode as /dev/mouse if you use yast2 on 2.4.11." So, 2.4.12 was born, changelog here.

Preemptible Linux – A Reality Check

"Some oppose a preemptible kernel because of throughput concerns. Others oppose preemptibility because of concerns about growing complexity in the kernel. This argument is specious, because the preemption approach takes advantage of already required and in place SMP locking. No additional complexity is created. All Linux kernel engineering must already take into account SMP requirements. Some oppose continued refinement of SMP locking to achieve better SMP scaling (on higher way SMP systems); such refinement has the beneficial side effect of also reducing preemption off periods in a preemptible kernel." Read the rest of the editorial at LinuxDevices by Kevin Morgan who is the Vice President, Engineering at MontaVista Software.

Hewlett Packard Backs Linux

While a lot of Linux companies are closing one after the other and a lot of people are starting to wondering if GPL software can actually bring some money in, Hewlett Packard gave Linux a big boost yesterday as they announced they would use the operating system to power everything from cell phones to stereos. HP said it would develop new security software for Linux, as well as HP Chai-LX, a program to develop Linux applications for small consumer devices like stereos and cell phones. This may very well be the fruit of the work of one of the most important people in Linux history, Bruce Perens, who was recently hired by HP. Our Take: Even if Linux never make it to the desktop market and be able to beat Microsoft's OS offerings (Linux covers about 1% of the desktop market surveys report), it sure can have lots of usages in the embedded market, where some say that "this is where the real money is."

ZDNet Reviews Seven Linux Distributions

ZDNet writes: "Over the last decade, Linux has evolved from the pet project of a Finnish university student to a worldwide platform. The undisputed strength of Linux in the server arena has led to widespread adoption in the business arena--case in point, the ubiquitous Apache Web server, which serves roughly 65 percent of the world's Web sites." ZDNet continues with a full review of seven well-known Linux distributions, an interesting read especially for those who are still undecided as to which distro suits them better.