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From: (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Linux News #1
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 92 16:22:23 +0200


			 L i n u x   N e w s

	  A summary of the goings-on of the Linux community

		 Issue #1, October 5 through 10, 1992

		Proudly reporting on Linux since 1992!

**** Editorial

Linux News is an attempt at a weekly news service about what happens
in the Linux community.  Most of the material will probably be
announcements of new programs or versions of programs, but I will also
cover things like new ftp sites, Linux articles in the trade press,
and other things that Linux users should in my opinion be aware of.  I
won't summarize individual problems and their solutions, unless they
are severe and widespread.  I will also try to restrict announcements
to things that are actually on the ftp sites, and meant for public
use; testing releases will not be included (most people who are
probable beta testers will follow comp.os.linux closely anyway).

I hope that Linux News will be useful for people who want to follow
what is happening around Linux, but don't have the time or energy to
wade through the high volume of comp.os.linux.  Linux News will always
have a subject like that includes "Linux News" in it, so it should be
easy to find it.  Also, if there is enough interest, I might create a
channel on the linux-activists mailing list, so that interested
parties could get it via mail.

The contents of Linux News will be based mainly on postings in
comp.os.linux.  I won't include announcements on mailing lists, since
those are usually only intended for the testers who read the lists.
If there is something you want me to include, send it to me via mail.
Feedback via mail is also greatly appreciated, I would especially like
to know whether there are people who appreciate this kind of thing (if
there are none, I will just drop this project).

Note: This is only a summary, if you want more information about a
given subject, please see the source that is referenced at the end of
each note (for Usnet articles, the reference is the Message-ID of the
article).  I try to include all the relevant information, including
ftp sites and filenames, as given in the announcements (I probably
won't have the time or energy to check these things, or to find
pointers to other ftp sites).

For this first issue, I have picked announcements (mainly based on the
subject lines) from the past few days.  I have probably missed

**** News items begin here. 

October 5.  David Wexelblat announced Xfree86 version 1.1, the
free X server for 386 Unices, including Linux.
   (Source: <>)

October 5.  H.J. Lu released a bootable rootdisk.  This is not the
same rootdisk that Jim Winstead maintains, but Jim and hlu are
considering ways to merge the two disks.
   The disk is based on kernel version 0.98.  It only contains a few
of the basic binaries.  Hlu's announcement gave this partial list:
bash, gnu tar, compress, elvis, doshell, chmod, chown, cp, ls, mv, rm,
ln, mount, umount, swapon, more, ps, free, mkfs, mkswap, fsck, fdisk.
There should be enough software to install Linux on a computer, but
there is little or no documentation.  Because of this lack of
documentation, this rootdisk is may not a good idea unless you are an
experienced Linux user/installer.  Inexperienced users are encouraged
to try out the MCC and SLS releases.
   (Source: <>)

October 5.  H.J. Lu released the Linux Base System, a set of three
disk images of floppies with the Minix filesystem that contain a lot
of software.  They are intended to be used with hlu's bootable
rootdisk (see above), and require the 4.1 jump table shared libraries,
since these disks don't contain the shared library images (good,
because it saves space, bad because you need to get them from
   Disk 1 contains /bin, /dev and /etc (but ps and friends are on the
bootable root disk, since they are kernel dependent).  The software on
this disk includes fileutils 3.3, shellutils 1.7, textutils 1.3, tar
1.10, bash 1.12 (all of these are GNU packages), ldd 1.1, compress
4.2.3, zsh 2.20, doshell, fdisk 0.93, admutil 1.3, poeigl 1.6, LILO
0.5, and setfdprm
   Disk 2 contains /usr, including diff 1.15, find 3.7, grep 1.6,
fgrep 1.1, make 3.62, gawk 2.13.2, flex 2.3.7, bison 1.18, patch
2.0.12u7, sed 1.09, elvis 1.6, minicom 1.3.2, rzsz, more, setterm, od,
strings, and uuencode/uudecode.
   Disk 3 is a development disk without compiler and library.  It has
crt0.o/gcrt0.o, gdb 4.6, as, ar, gprof, ld, nm, objdump, ranlib, size,
and strip.
   (Source: <>)

October 6.  H.J. Lu told that gcc 2.3 should be released by Richard
Stallman in a couple of weeks, and that it has Linux support built in.
   (Source: <>)

October 6.  Rick Sladkey released a new version of his port of GNU
Emacs for Linux.  The new version is 8 bit clean, which is useful for
many Europeans whose alphabet includes letters that are encoded with
the top bit set.  It also has XMenu support for the X11 version.  It
is compiled with libc-4.1 and lixX11-2.1.
   Changes from the early 4.1 jump table release include TCP/IP
support with open-network-stream, larger sharable code segment,
compiled with jump-table library, emacsclient and server work
correctly, full Berkeley /etc/termcap included.
   Rick says that if you don't need the new version unless you need
eight bit I/O, or want the X11 version.
   FTP:,, and (directory
names not given in announcement, but probably the usual directories
for binaries).  Files: emacs-4.1.tar.Z (README and diffs),
emacs-etc-4.1.tar.Z (support programs), emacs-shared-4.1.tar.Z (non-X
version and its DOC file), x11emacs-shared-4.1.tar.Z (X11 version and
its DOC file).
   (Source: <>)

October 7.  After a longish pause of three months, a new version of
the FAQ was released by Marc Corsini.  It was both posted to the
newsgroup, and sent to FTP sites.  The FAQ maintenance has been
divided among several people, with the hope of making it possible to
release new versions more often.
   (Source: <>)

October 7.  H.J. Lu released a port of ispell 3.09 for Linux.  Ispell
is a spelling checker modelled after the ITS spelling checker.  It can
run both interactively, in batch mode (similar to Unix spell), and
under GNU Emacs.  Hlu distributes his port as a disk image.
   (Source: <>)

October 8.  Peter MacDonald announced that the new version of the SLS
release (based on the 0.98 kernel) has been uploaded to tsx-11, and
that a proper announcement will be made shortly, after a few people
have tested it.
   (Source: <>)

October 9.  H.J. Lu released gccdisk, a repackaged gcc 2.2.2d7.  This
is not a new version: there are no changes to the compiler or
libraries, it is only intended as an easier way to install things.
Gccdisk is meant to be used with the Linux C library disk (see earlier
note), because gccdisk does not include any shared library images that
are necessary to run the programs (they use jump table 4.1).
   There are two disk images of Minix filesystem floppies.  The first
one includes gcc, cpp, cc1, and crt0.o/gcrt0.o, and some header files
for /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i386-linux/2.2.2d/include.  The second disk has
   (Source: <>)

October 9.  H.J. Lu released a Linux C library disk, with version 4.1
of the library.  Like the gccdisk, this is only a repackage, not a new
   Libdisk consists of two disk images of Minix filesystem floppies.
The first disk contains the shared library images and a few libraries,
the second one has the header files and the rest of the libraries.  To
get all the required header files, you also need Linux kernel source
(0.97 pl 6 or above), since some of the header files contain kernel
version specific information (so those headers are part of the kernel
sources of the version that they belong to).
   (Source: <>)

October 9.  David Johnson told that he had hacked gnuplot 3.2 for X11
under Linux, and had sent the source code to tsx-11; he did not
provide binaries due to an old compiler and slow upload connections.
   Leon Dent reported that the patches for 3.1 with VGA also worked
for him with 3.2.
   (Source: <>)

October 9.  H.J. Lu released a new version of his bootable rootdisk.
This version is based on kernel version 0.98 pl 1, and also updates
compress to 4.2.4.
   There were some problems with corrupt versions on tsx-11, but they
should be corrected by now.  If you downloaded before this date, and
are having problems, you might want to try downloading again.
   (Sources: <>,

October 9.  Bruno Haible announced that CLISP, a Common Lisp
implementation, is available for Linux.  He says it is mostly CLtL1
   The files are packed with LHA, so you need a copy of that to
unpack them.
   FTP:, and []:/pub/lisp/clisp/linux
(this latter one is will always contain the newest version).
   (Source: <>)

October 10.  Bruno Haible announced a port of MAXIMA for Linux.  It is
an implementation of Macsyma in Lisp by Bill Schelter, and requires
CLISP (see above).
   (Source: <>)

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From: (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Linux News #2 (October 10-17, 1992)
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 92 16:23:11 +0200


			 L i n u x   N e w s

	  A summary of the goings-on of the Linux community

		 Issue #2, October 10 through 17, 1992

			"Still going strong!"

**** Highlights in this issue

- Linux News available via mail
- SLS 0.98pl1 released, initial problems due to pressure to release early
- New version of H.J. Lu's Linux Base System adds zip, unzip, tput, file
- Mailing list for reporting on systems that work or don't work with Linux
- Program to run multiple sessions over a modem line available
- Linux in the limelight: a listing of magazines that mention Linux

**** Editorial

I had some doubts about the market demand for Linux News, and boy was
I wrong.  To date I have received a couple of dozen encouraging mail
messages.  Thanks.  Because of this, I have committed myself to doing
Linux News for the foreseeable future (at least a few months).
However, don't take that commitment too seriously: Linux News is not
a high priority project for me, and if I do not have time to finish an
issue, I will postpone it.  If possible, though, I will attempt to
publish an issue some time around every weekend.  I am hoping to be
able to allocate some time each Saturday to put together a new issue,
but don't count on it.  (If you don't see anything for a couple of
weeks, then ask, but preferably not before.)

I have created a new channel on the Linux-Activists mailing list.  It
is called LINUXNEWS, and I will send each issue to this list as well
as post it to comp.os.linux.  If you are not interested in searching
through the newsgroup for the article, you can join the mailing list
channel and get it via mail.  In order to do this, send an empty mail

This will give you a help text for the mailing list (you do want this,
and you want to save it, in order to be able to get off the list).  Then
send another mail with the following mail body to actually join the
Linux News channel:

	X-Mn-Admin: join linuxnews

You should get a confirmation in reply.

I plan to start doing a TeX or LaTeX version of Linux News for people
who want nice hardcopies.  There was at least one person requesting
that, and even offering to do the conversion himself (thanks for the
offer, and one LaTeXed version).  The idea is that in places with
relatively high concentrations of Linux users (universities, computer
clubs, etc), it might be worth it to print out one nicely looking
version, make copies of that, and hand it out to interested parties.
This could even lure new users to Linux.  (If you must know, the real
reason for doing a typeset version is an excuse to be able to play
around with TeX/LaTeX, something which I have wanted to do for a long
time, but haven't done, partly because of a lack of a real project.)

I considered doing a Texinfo version, and played around for with it
for a few hours, but Texinfo doesn't have enough versatility as a
typesetting language to give the look that I want (it is more directed
towards typesetting manuals, not newspapers), nor have I thought of a
good way to break up things for hypertext.  So I will only do (La)TeX
and plain ascii versions.  Unless there is much opposition, I will
post both to both the newsgroup and the mailing list.

The Finnish University Network had problems with news flow most of the
week (the central news machine for the network did evil things to its
hard disks).  Because of this, I may have missed some announcements.
If you find that something is missing, drop me a note (this applies
always, of course).  Also, if you want to be certain that I see an
announcement in the future, send it to me via mail, and include the
words "Linux News" in the subject.

**** Notices

Linux News is only a summary, if you want more information about a
given subject, please see the source that is referenced at the end of
each note (for Usenet articles, the reference is the Message-ID of the
article).  I try to include all the relevant information, including
ftp sites and filenames, as given in the announcements (I probably
won't have the time or energy to check filenames, or to find pointers
to other ftp sites).  If possible, I will try to indicate directories
with a trailing /, e.g. ``pub/linux/SLS/''.

I won't include announcements on mailing lists or testing releases,
only things that are meant to be used generally (I admit that the line
can be somewhat difficult to draw, since the whole system is

**** News section

October 10.  H.J. Lu released a new version of the Linux Base System.
The new version includes zip 1.9p1, unzip 5.0, tput 1.0, and the file
   The Base System is a set of three Minix filesystem floppies that
contain many packages, all compiled with the latest compiler and
libraries.  However, it is neither as complete as the MCC or SLS
distributions, nor as well documented, so it is not as suitable for
inexperienced people.  On the other hand, if you want up to date
binaries, try it out.
   LBS is intended to be used with H.J. Lu's bootable root disk, since
the former lacks the shared library images.
   (Source: <>)

October 12.  Eugenio Sanchez posted the charter for the CONFIGS
channel on the linux-activists mailing list.  From the charter: ``This
channel will be devoted to send submissions of systems that have Linux
already running, AND those that, for any reason, can't get it to work
   The intention is to create a place where working and non-working
configurations can be listed.  Mr. Sanchez will be collecting
configurations until November 30, when his account expires.
   (Source: <>)

October 13.  Peter Williams announced a recompiled metafont.  The new
version has been compiled using the latest X11 libraries (version
2.1), and jump table shared libraries (version 4.1).  The only binary
affected is virmf (the only one using X11).
   FTP: (
pub/linux/tex-etc/Jump.4.1.version/mf.X2.1.T.Z (the updated binary,
also included in the current texetc.bin.T.Z package, so you need to
get only that if you are getting the files for the first time).
   (Source: <>)

October 14.  Jonathan Badger reported that his upload of Sail 5.2
(some kind of game) is now available on, and will
eventually be available on tsx-11.
   Jonathan commented that ``people must really want games!'', and
said that porting BSD games isn't very difficult.  Perhaps we can look
forward to a number of new game ports by other people in the future?
   FTP: /pub/Linux/games/sail.tar.Z
   (Source: < badger.719103159@phylo>)

October 14.  Nicolai Langfeldt announced his uploads of several
programs for X11.  Ghostscript 2.5.2, a PostScript interpreter that
can output in a variety of formats, including X11 preview, xcolors, a
program for X11 to show colors on screen, xviewgl, a program to view
GL animation files, and xman-groff, a version of xman that uses groff
(the xman in the Xfree86-1.1 distribution uses nroff).
   Nicolai said that all ports were trivial, so no sources or patches
were provided.  The packages contain binaries, auxiliary files, and
any included documentation.  The programs were compiled with gcc
2.2.2d7 for Xfree86-1.1, and use jump tables.
   FTP: and gs252.tar.Z, xcolors.Z,
xviewgl.tar.Z, xman-groff.T.Z.  (No directories given in announcement.)
   (Source: <>)

October 14.  Michael O'Reilly said that his program for running
multiple sessions (including file transfer) over a modem line was up
for ftp.  He claims it is more efficient than SLIP.  His program
features compression and error correction (since his modem doesn't).
   FTP: /pub/oreillym/term061.tar.Z
   (Source: <>)

October 15.  The eagerly awaited update of SLS to version 0.98 came
this week.  The first versions had problems with file permissions and
similar things, but things should have settled down now and the
current version should be fairly ok.  The kernel is version 0.98pl1.
   Peter MacDonald, who does the SLS release, reports that most of the
problems were due to doing a release too quickly, and that that was
because of to too many people putting pressure on him to release
quickly, and notes that patience is a major virtue for Linux users.
Hopefully people will be a bit more patient in the future, so that new
releases don't have to be followed by several fixes in a couple of
   If you have downloaded some of the earlier versions of 0.98, you
can update using the SLS update mechanism (see SLS documentation),
instead of getting everything again.  [ There was a new fix announced
October 16.  It fixes an installation problem with soft links.  Get
the newest a4/zafixtaz or Perms.fix. ]
   SLS is an easily installed Linux distribution package, with all of
the important (and much of the unimportant) software included in a
hopefully coherent whole.  SLS and MCC (another similar package) are
the recommended starting places if you are new to Linux.
   (Source: <>)

October 15.  R. Ramesh announced his upload of a kermit binary to
tsx-11.  This is version 5A(183), and is compiled with gcc 222d7 and
jump 4.1.
   This is a beta version of kermit.  The original source supports
Linux (makefile target linuxgcc2), so porting is not needed.
   Ramesh also said that he had uploaded groff 1.05 and utila-1.0
compiled with gcc 2.2.2d7 and jump table 4.1, but that announcement
had disappeared.  Further, he said that the faith_FSF stuff on tsx-11
should no longer be used, since they have been made obsolete newer
   FTP: (filename not given in announcement), /kermit/sw/ck183.tar.Z (original source)
   (Source: <>)

October 15 and 16.  Peter Williams said that he had made a binaries of
version 5.495 of dvips (a TeX .dvi file to PostScript converter)
   He said that the compilation is straightforward, but that it
requires the standard Unix line editor ed, which is not very common on
Linux systems.  He did point to a version available on tsx-11.
   FTP: (
pub/linux/tex-etc/Jump.4.1.version/dvips5495.T.Z (Linux binaries); pub/dvips5495.tar.Z, pub/dvips5493lib.tar.Z
(original sources); pub/linux/apps/ed.c (ed source for
   (Sources: <>

**** Xref section

Linux has been mentioned and is expected to be mentioned in the near
future in various magazines.  This is a summary of what has been
discussed on comp.os.linux and sent to me via mail.  I have not been
able to verify most of the reports, since I do not have access to most
of these magazines (neither does Linus, btw; he probably doesn't mind
getting a copy, hint, hint).  If you know of additional articles (or
books :-), send me a note.

iX, a small German magazine, had an article in issue ??? about Linux.
(This one I have seen.)

Computer Shopper, a US publication (I think), has an article in the
September issue that compares Unices for 386's and mentions Linux and
386BSD shortly.

SuperASCII, a Japanese magazine, has an article in VOL.3 #10 October
1992.  This is a comparison of BSD, Mach, Linux, and others.  Linux
gets 8 pages, including instructions on how to get and install it.

UnixWorld and Unix Review, two American magazines, mention Linux in
their October issues (only a line each or so, though).

Algorithm, a hobbyist magazine, devotes most of its MicroScope column
to Linux in the October-November issue.  The column is written by
Claude Morin.

C'T, a German magazine, has an article on Linux in the November issue
(out October 15).  The article is reported to be pretty positive.  I
was told that it discusses Linux in general, history, development,
properties, hardware requirements, features, some of the available
software, and how to get it via FTP, but not installation, or newbie
advice.  It also discusses the distributed development.

ComputerTotaal, probably a Dutch magazine, will have an article about
Linux in the December issue, by Hans Oey and Joost Helberg.

Source posts: 

From Wed Oct 28 02:44:23 1992
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From: (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Linux News #3 (October 18-26, 1992)
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 92 01:51:29 +0200


			 L i n u x   N e w s

	  A summary of the goings-on of the Linux community

		 Issue #3, October 18 through 26, 1992

		      "The nightmare continues"

**** Highlights in this issue

- Kernel 0.98.pl2 is out, but not very usable due to new error trapping
- ed is here, editor wars are over
- man pages for SLS
- Pirates BBS v1.9 available
- new RaWrite available
- xv 2.21 available
- Newspak available
- Kernel 0.98.pl3 is also out, with NULL pointer fixes
- more magazine articles
- Wizardly interview

**** Editorial

As you may have noticed, it isn't Saturday, which means that this issue
is a bit late.  Sorry about that.  The reason (but not an aplogoy, I
told you this was going to happen!) is that I decided I'd better keep
deadlines for studies instead.  (Incidentally, the same thing happened
to Linus, which caused 0.98.pl3 to be a few days late.)

Because of the lateness, and because I was somewhat busy and tired
during the weekend (up for 32 hours Sunday to Monday, returned the
report on the school project 5 minutes before deadline), I have probably
not been able to catch many announcements.  I have also not been very
motivated today to write extensive summaries, so some of the
announcements are very short (I slept for about 13 hours, but I'm still

For those waiting for a typeset version of Linux News: you'll have to
wait some more.  I have made typeset versions of issues 1 and 2, but the
look is not necessarily what I want: it doesn't particularly look like a
newsletter, nor is it particularly inviting.  I will see if I can get
some expert help in designing a better look (if you have experience with
making a layout for newsletters, I'd like to hear from you).

Issue 2 added an section that lists magazine articles that mention
Linux.  This issue adds an interview section.  Hopefully this section
will be appearing again, if I can get the energy to do a new interview
(not that this one was particularly tiresome), and can find new victims.

**** Notices

Linux News is only a summary, if you want more information about a
given subject, please see the source that is referenced at the end of
each note (for Usenet articles, the reference is the Message-ID of the
article).  I try to include all the relevant information, including
ftp sites and filenames, as given in the announcements (I probably
won't have the time or energy to check filenames, or to find pointers
to other ftp sites).  If possible, I will try to indicate directories
with a trailing /, e.g. ``pub/linux/SLS/''.

I won't include announcements on mailing lists or testing releases,
only things that are meant to be used generally (I admit that the line
can be somewhat difficult to draw, since the whole system is

**** News section

October 18.  Linus released kernel version 0.98 patchlevel 2.  He made
available both the full source and diffs from patchlevel 1.  New in
this version:
   * The new version contains a new FPU-emulator by Bill Metzenthen.
Bigger than the old one by Linus, but instead of only doing a few of
the most important instructions, it emulates the whole 387 instruction
set.  It is also much faster than the old emulator + the soft math
library.  The new emulator will make a separate soft-float library
unnecessary, which should simplify GCC distribution a bit.
   * Minor memory management fixes.  Actually, one of the minor fixes,
the trapping of kernel NULL dereferences, proved to break a lot code.
While this is normally a bad thing, in this case it is very good,
since it made a lot of kernel or driver bugs show up.  Unfortunately,
0.98.pl2 is not necessarily usable on many computers, since the kernel
bugs creep up too often.
   * SCSI driver changes by Eric Youngdale.  Mostly bug-fixes.
   * Some TCP/IP patches.  TCP/IP is still alpha, has not been
extensively tested, and is probably not up to real use yet.
   * Psaux mouse patches by Dean Troyer.
   Starting with this version, Linus will no longer be making
bootdisks.  That task will be taken over by H.J. Lu and Jim Winstead.
   Note: 0.98.pl3 was also announced, see later in this issue.
   FTP: pub/OS/Linux/testing/Linus/  (you need to cd to
it blindly, since testing is unreadable).
   (Source: <1992Oct18.144546.28249@klaava.Helsinki.FI>)

October 19.  Peter Williams announced a debugged version of ed, the
Unix line editor, courtesy of Bill Metzenthen.  ed is used mostly by
patch and shell scripts.  In the early days of Unix (when paper
teletypes were common) ed was used as the primary editor (these are
referred to as ``the good old times'').  Actually, that was the editor
that the Linux News editor used when his modem was 1200 bps and his
terminal program didn't work (these are not referred to as TGOT).
   FTP: ( pub/linux/apps/ed.tar.Z
(both source and binary).
   (Source: <>)

October 20.  Peter MacDonald announced an update to SLS.  It contains
manual pages that were accidentally removed in a previous release.
   FTP: disk b5 (presumably under pub/linux/SLS/)
   (Source: <>)

October 20.  David Black announced Pirates BBS v1.9 for Linux.  It is
a multiuser bulletin board system.  Working kernel TCP/IP is required,
and 10 MB of disk space is recommended.
   FTP: pbbs-1.9.tar.Z
   (Source: <>)

October 20.  Olaf Erb announced Wampes with Linux support.  The
announcement didn't describe what it was.
   (Source: <>)

October 20.  Thomas Dunbar announced a port of GNU's free-standing
info file reader.  This package allows you to read the GNU on-line
documentation, instead of doing it from within GNU Emacs.  Also
included are makeinfo and texindex, used for formatting info files
from texinfo source code.
   FTP: /pub/linux/packages/TeX/Info.tar.Z (source
code), Info.Z and makeinfo.Z (binaries).
   (Source: <>)

October 21.  Mark Becker, the author of RaWrite, announced a new
version.  The new version is supposed to run on ``nearly everything
claiming to be compatible with the original IBM-PC''.
   RaWrite is an MS-DOS utility that is used to write out disk images
(e.g. bootdisks) onto floppies.  Under Linux the equivalent command is
``dd if=diskimage of=/dev/fd0'' (if you want to write to the first
floppy).  It is not possible to just copy the floppy image file to the
floppy under MS-DOS, since that will require the floppy to have the
DOS filesystem on it, which means that the disk will have extraneous
stuff on it, not just the parts in the image file.
   FTP:	pub/mbeck/
   (Source: <>)

October 21.  Larry Butler announced an upload of xv 2.21 binaries.  There
was trouble with his first upload (compiled with debugging and hence
very large binaries), but that got fixed quickly.
   xv is a program for X that displays pictures in several different
   FTP: /pub/Linux/Incoming/
   (Source: <>)

October 23.  Matthew Lewis announced an upload of dclock, an X clock
with alarm.
   FTP: /pub/Linux/Incoming/dclock.taz
   (Source: <1ca2b1INN1ht@usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu>)

October 25.  Toomas Losin announced tvgalib, a graphics library for
Trident 8900C cards.  This is based on the vgalib library, which is for
generic VGA.  Neither requires or has anything to do with X or other
windowing systems.
   FTP: (final pathname not given)
   (Source: <>)

October 26.  Qi Xia announced a new program cksum, a (mostly) Posix
conforming checksum program (not compatible with Unix sum).
   (Source: <>)

October 26.  Vince Skahan announced an upload of Newspak v1.0.  It is a
package of programs related to Usenet news ported to Linux.  The
included programs are: C-news (12/22/91), tin (1.1pl4), trn (2.2), smail
   Newspak uses programs from Mailpak (by Ed Carp), which provided uucp
and mail for Linux.  (You don't necessarily need Mailpak, if you have
equivalent programs otherwise, e.g. from SLS.)
   FTP: (probably moved
elsewhere by the time you read this)
   (Source: <>)

October 26.  Thomas Dunbar announced TeX packaged as an SLS package.
   FTP: /pub/linux/packages/SLS/t[1-5]
   (Source: <>)

October 27.  Linus Torvalds (a.k.a. the Grand Wizard) announced patches
for kernel 0.98.3.  No complete sources as of this writing (should come
up soon).
   The new version should correct most of the kernel NULL pointer
reference problems (see earlier announcement).
   FTP: pub/OS/Linux/testing/Linus/linux-0.98.patch3.Z
   (Source: <1992Oct27.040101.28497@klaava.Helsinki.FI>)

**** Xref section

Last week I had compiled a list of magazines that mention Linux.  I
have since then received a couple of updates, listed below.  I will
make a complete list in some future issue.

If you know of any additional articles, please send me a note that
tells which magazine and issue the article is in.  Page numbers would be
nice too.

I am usually unable to verify the information, since I have access
only to a rather small number of magazines.

CVu, the magazine of the C User Group (UK), has had regular articles (or
columns) about Linux for about the last six months.  I received an
e-mailed copy of one article, which contained updates about various
parts of and projects around Linux (TCP/IP, distributions, etc).

The Computer Journal, a small American magazine, has also mentioned
Linux in several issue.  The magazine was described to me in a way that
made it sound very much oriented towards hackers: one recent article
described how to build an IDE disk controller for CP/M.  (They obviously
cover more than CP/M.)

*** Interview

Why is Linux News better than BYTE, CACM, the National Inquirer, and
sliced bread?  We interview Linus!  In this first-ever, breathtaking,
revealing interview, the Grand Wizard Linus tells it all!  Well,

LN:	Tell us a bit of yourself and your background.  Age,
	education, occupation, family, pets, hobbies, computing
	history, etc.

Linus:	Hmm.  I'm 22 (as some avid kernel source readers have already
	found out: there is a hidden clue in there somewhere...), and am
	(slowly) working my way towards a fil.kand (MSc? whatever) in
	computer science at the University of Helsinki.  I'm currently
	in my fourth year (hmm..  fifth, but one was spent in the army)
	of studies, and I expect to sit here studying for a long time to

	I still live at home (which is why I can afford to work on Linux
	and study at the same time without working too) with my (100%
	white) cat (Mithrandir, but it's called everything from "randi"
	to "klomppen" depending on my mood) and my sister and mother.
	The fun never ends.

	I started with computers (a VIC-20) when I was about 11, first
	with BASIC, then learning 6502 machine code (assemblers are for
	wimps).  I looked on with envy while my friends got their C-64's
	(I didn't have any more money then than I have now), but was
	eventually able to get a Sinclair QL and get some real
	programming done under a multitasking (albeit somewhat weird)

	On the sinclair QL I continued to program in assembly (The QL
	BASIC (SuperBasic) was ok, but I wasn't interested), and I wrote
	various more-or-less useless programs (ranging from a FORTH
	compiler and an editor-assembler system of my own to pac-man to
	a msdos compatible floppy disk driver).  The QL was a fun
	machine, but there weren't very many of them in Finland, and
	although I was generally happy to write my own programs (still
	am), it did teach me to buy hardware that actually is supported.

LN:	When and why did you start writing Linux?

Linus:	I took this course on UNIX and C at the university in the fall
	of 1990, and I got hooked.  I had naturally seen some of the
	PC-contemptibles running msdos, and I was relatively happy with
	my QL, although some of the 386's were a lot faster.  But one of
	the books we read during the course was "Operating Systems,
	Design and Implementation" by Tanenbaum, and that way I learnt
	about Minix.  I wanted my home machine to have a similar setup
	to the suns at the university, and Minix seemed like a good

	So when I had scrounged up enough money, I bought myself an
	AT-386 compatible machine (well..  I didn't have enough money,
	so I'm still paying on it, but it seems I'll get enough money
	for Linux to finally pay off the last rates).  I had long since
	decided that anything less than a 386 wasn't worth it, and with
	Minix on it, I thought I'd have a nice enough system.

	As it turned out, Minix wasn't available in Finland (at least I
	wasn't able to find it easily), so while I got my machine on
	January 5th 1991 (easy date to remember due to the monthly
	payments :-), I was forced to run DOS on it for a couple of
	months while waiting for the Minix disks.  So Jan-Feb was spent
	about 70-30 playing "Prince of Persia" and getting aquainted
	with the machine.

	When Minix finally arrived, I had solved "PoP", and knew a
	smattering of 386 machine code (enough to be able to get the
	machine into protected mode and sit there looping).  So I
	installed Minix (leaving some room for "PoP" on a DOS
	partition), and started hacking.

	Getting Minix wasn't altogether a pleasant experience: the
	keyboard bindings were wrong, and it didn't exactly act like the
	suns I was used to (ugghh.  I *hate* the bourne shell for
	interactive work).  The keyboard was easy to correct (although I
	didn't like the Minix keyboard driver code), and applying Bruce
	Evans' 386-patches made the system a bit more "real".

	So somewhere around March-91, I had a 386 system running
	Minix-386, and I was able to install awb's gcc-1.37.1 port.
	After that, I was able to port bash to the resulting mess, and
	things looked a bit better.  I also spent my time generally
	fooling around (porting gcc-1.40 and various other programs),
	and kept on learning about the 386 while doing so (writing small
	boot-disks that would set up a protected mode environment and
	print out various inane messages).

	I had noticed by that time that Minix wasn't enough even with
	the 386 patches (various troublesome problems: no job control,
	ugly memory management, no fpu support etc).  So I slowly
	started to try to make something out of my protected mode
	trials, and the result is Linux.

LN:	Please give a short summary of the history of Linux.

Linus:	Difficult.  "Linux" didn't really exist until about August-91 -
	before that what I had was essentially just a very basic
	protected mode system that had evolved from a glorified "Hello
	world" program into a even more glorified terminal emulator.
	Linux stopped for quite a while at the terminal emulator stage:
	I played around with Minix, and used my protected mode program
	to read news from the univerity machine.  No down/upload, but it
	did a fair vt100 emulation, and did it by using two tasks which
	communicated from keybodard->modem and modem->screen.

	By mid-summer -91, "Linux" was able to read the disk (joyful
	moment), and eventually had a small and stupid disk driver and a
	simple buffer cache.  So I started out trying to make a
	filesystem, and used the Minix fs for simple practical reasons:
	that way I already had a file layout I could test things on.
	After some more programming (talk about glossing things over), I
	had a very simple UNIX that had some of the basic
	functionalities of the real thing: I could run small
	test-programs under it.

	By that time I looked around for some standards texts - I
	decided early on that I didn't want to write the user-level
	programs, and that in order to easily port things I'd either
	have to make the new system compatible with Minix (ugghh) or
	follow some other kind of standard.  What I wanted was a POSIX
	guide, not so much to be 100% posix, but in order not to do
	anything really stupid I'd regret later.

	My quest for the posix standards failed, as the posix standard
	committee sells the standard to feed itself as I found out, but
	I did get a good pointer to the (then very alpha and
	unsupported) GNU libc.a, which had an early manual accompanying
	it.  The manual was of some help, but the biggest help was
	actually the contact to the person who pointed it out to me:  He was/is the organizer of the pub/OS
	subdirectory at, and was interested in giving Linux
	a home at nic.

	Back then, I was only idly thinking about making my system
	available (and I had no real time-table), but arl happily
	created a pub/OS/Linux subdirectory at nic, and thus also gave
	the system it's name.  I wasn't really ready for a release yet,
	so the directory contained just a README for about a month
	("this directory is for the freely distributable Minix clone" or
	something like that).  Arl probably thought the project wouldn't
	come to anything.

	Anyway, around the end of August-91 or so, I had a system that
	actually worked somewhat: I was able to run the Minix shell
	(recompiled with new libraries) under it, and some other things
	also worked.  I released Linux-0.01 in September, telling about
	it by mail to those who had shown interest in it when I asked
	around on the minix newsgroup.  0.01 was a source-only release,
	and I don't think anybody actually compiled it, but it was a
	statement of intent, and people could look at the sources if
	they wished.  I don't think more than about 5-10 people ever
	looked at it - I wasn't yet too happy about it, so I didn't
	announce it publically anywhere.

	A few weeks later (October 5th by the minix news-archives), I
	had gotten my act together sufficiently to release 0.02, along
	with a couple of binaries you could run under Linux (bash, gcc,
	update and sync, I believe).  It still needed minix-386 to
	compile the kernel, as the harddisk parameters were hardcoded
	into the hd driver, but I know some people had it up and
	running: arl even sent me some ftp-statistics about it (which
	I've sadly deleted by now).  Gcc wasn't reliable under linux
	yet: it couldn't compile big files due to various buffer-cache
	problems, but you could get small programs going even under

	Not much later, I released 0.03, which actually worked pretty
	well - the buffer cache mostly worked, as did most other things.
	Heady with my unexpected success, I called the next version
	0.10, and by that time I already got comments from early
	beta-testers, as well as actual patches.  The linux community
	wasn't much: maybe 10-20 minix users who enjoyed hacking a new

	After 0.10 came 0.11, and things were pretty much plain sailing.
	The system was stable enough to be used for further
	developement, and it was "just" a matter of correcting bugs and
	extending the system.  I added swapping to the system in three
	days just before X-mas 91, and was finally able to say that I
	was no longer playing catch-up with Minix.  The swapping code
	was ugly and not very well tested: it actually had bad bugs in
	it until I needed it myself when X11 came around, but it was
	something of a milestone.  The next version (0.12) came out
	exactly (?)  one year after I bought my computer (Jan 5th -92),
	and it was the version that finally got popular: by that time it
	was a very much valid alternative to Minix, and people started
	getting interested.

	Later versions (0.95 etc) have had a lot of new features, and
	quite a few bug-fixes.  There have also been major re-writes
	(first the fs was slowly changed to have a vfs layer, then the
	kernel sleep/wakeup primitives got rewritten, and then the mm
	got restructured).  In spite of that, I think 0.12 was what
	might have been called 1.0 - it had the basic features, and

LN:	Have you enjoyed the past year and a half?  Have you liked some
	things especially, have there been things you haven't liked?

Linus:	It's definitely been fun.  Things have changed pretty radically:
	the early couple of months were solitary hacking runs with 5-10
	reboots a day to check out bugfixes/features - seeing the system
	evolve noticeably in a relatively short time.  Now, most of my
	Linux hacking time goes into design (new features do take some
	more thought now) and/or administrative things like keeping up
	with linux mails etc - it's seldom a question of 40+ hours a
	week of pure hacking.

	Getting mail (within limits) is fun: especially if it's 99%
	positive, as it has been.  And people have been generally
	enthusiastic, sending patches, ideas, requests for features,
	etc.  There are downsides: before the newsgroup got founded, I
	often got more than 70 mails a day.  Things have calmed down
	significantly: while I still get 20-40 mails per day, many of
	them are from the mailing-lists and not to me personally, so
	that I can essentially ignore them if they aren't interesting.

	Negative things have been mostly due to driver problems: while
	people have been very nice about it, it's still not fun getting
	mail about "the system from hell that ate all their files".
	Especially if I haven't had a clue about what could be wrong.
	Other problems have included just lack of time and different
	priorities: some people have gotten impatient when I haven't
	included some special feature or other.  I usually need some
	kick-starting if it's not something I'm especially interested

LN:	Why is Linux copylefted?  The copyright was different in the
	early versions.  Why did it change?  Do you support the GNU view
	of software in general?  What are your feelings about freeware,
	shareware, and commercial software?

Linus:	One of the basic principles has always been being that it should
	be freely distributable without any money-begging.  I generally
	dislike shareware: I feel guilty about not paying, so I don't
	use it, but on the other hand it is irritating to know that it's
	there.  Illogical, but that's how I feel.

	Early versions of Linux had a very strict copyright: it
	disallowed any payments at all (not even copying costs etc),
	while otherwise being similar to the GNU copyleft (ie freely
	distributable assuming full source is made available).  It was
	probably an over-reaction to the dislike I felt against the way
	Minix had been set up: I thought (and still do) that Minix would
	have been better off had it been freely available by ftp or

	The copyright got changed with version 0.12, as there were a
	couple of mails even back then asking about the possibility of a
	copying service or similar.  After removing that clause from the
	copying conditions, I essentially had the GNU copyleft (without
	the legal verbiage), so I decided I might as well use the
	copyleft as-is.  And as Linux depended (still does) heavily on
	copylefted programs, it's only natural that the kernel should be
	copylefted as well.

LN:	When are you planning the 1.0 release, and what do you expect it
	to include?

Linus:	I've planned the 1.0 release for a long time, and I've always
	waited just a bit longer.  Right now my final deadline is
	"before X-mas", but I hope it would be ready before December.
	No major new features: I want some cleanups and to get rid of
	bugs, but it's nothing special I'm waiting for right now.

LN:	How do you feel about Minix, 386BSD, and Hurd and their authors?
	Are they rivals, or or allies?

Linus:	386BSD and Hurd are most definitely allies - I'll be happy to
	help them any way I can (for 386BSD I was already able to help
	with the math-emulator, and I've been in contact with some
	others re: vm86 etc).  If 386BSD had been available a year
	earlier, I would probably never have started on Linux, but as it
	is, I'm happy to say that 386BSD didn't automatically mean that
	Linux wasn't worth it.  Both 386BSD and Linux have their points,
	and I naturally think Linux is more fun.

	As to Hurd, I don't know when it will be ready nor what it will
	look like.  But it will be different enough that I don't think
	there is any point in considering it a rival.  I doubt Linux
	will be here to stay, and maybe Hurd is the wave of the future
	(and maybe not), but at the very least it's an interesting

	Minix...  Hmm.  It's no longer a rival, unless ast does
	something really unexpected with it - the niches are simply too
	different.  Linux won't work on many machines that Minix runs
	happily on (x86, x<3, amiga, mac etc), and even on a 386, Minix
	is still probably preferable as a teaching tool due to the book.
	But for anybody who used Minix to actually get a UNIX
	environment at home, I don't see any reason to stay with it, as
	both 386BSD and Linux are free and give much better features.

	On the other hand, I have to admit to a very unbecoming (but
	understandable, I hope) feeling of glee when I saw that
	c.o.linux had finally more readers than c.o.minix.  There was a
	heated discussion about Linux on the Minix newsgroup back when
	c.o.linux (actually, alt.os.linux at that time) had just begun,
	and ast tried to ridicule it (one of his comments on c.o.minix
	being that I wouldn't have passed his course in OS design with
	such a bad system..).  Ast and I mailed about it, and it left a
	slightly bitter after-taste.

LN:	The Jolitzes suggested a while ago a contest between 386BSD and
	Linux, what do you think about it?

Linus:	I don't necessarily think it would be a good idea: I cannot
	imagine how it would be "judged" or whatever.  The only contact
	Linux and 386BSD has had has been only positive (aside from
	occasional flame-wars, but it's a religious argument..), and I
	don't think there is any need to try to get any kind of rivalry
	going.  The argument seems to have been that such a contest
	would make both systems better, but I frankly doubt that is the
	case: both 386BSD and Linux will evolve even without any special
	contest held between them, and a contest would just result in
	more rivalry and flame-wars.

	Linux and 386BSD have totally different goals - 386BSD wants to
	be BSD, while Linux just is whatever we make of it.  386BSD was
	helpful in giving me some ideas (I read the Jolitz column in DDJ
	with interest), and while it's a bit scary to have a big and
	well known UNIX kernel that fills a similar niche as Linux,
	there is no reason to choose one over the other on a larger
	scale.  People will prefer one or the other, and if either shows
	itself to be much better/popular, so be it.

LN:	What about the future?  Are you planning to support Linux, or do
	you intend to retire and let it survive by itself?

Linus:	I'm most certainly going to continue to support it, until it
	either dies out or merges with something else. That doesn't
	necessarily mean I'll make weekly patches for the rest of my
	life, but hopefully they won't be needed as much when things

LN:	Are you going to write a book about Linux?  Or a detailed
	history, > with all the gory details revelead?

Linus:	I don't like writing documentation, and writing a book is
	certainly not planned.  There is some pressure for me to write a
	history, hope this interview will server at least partly as one.
	And there certainly won't be any gory details: if there were,
	I've already forgotten them (or flushed them: I have sadly
	deleted my correspondence with ast along with all other old
	mail.  I simply don't have room for it, and I'm too lazy to back
	it up.)

LN:	Is Linux your dream operating system?  Are there things that you
	dislike, or would like to do differently, if you would start
	over from scratch?

Linus:	There are things I'd like to change - but then it wouldn't be
	UNIX any more.  There are good points to a microkernelish design
	and distributed systems: I just haven't got the resources to do
	anything about it.  I'd like to do a more exotic system, with
	better support for pending I/O, distribution of processes etc,
	but with just one 386 at home, I'm not likely to do anything
	about it in the next few years.  And maybe I'll have found a new
	area of interest by then anyway..

	But in general, I think Linux does what I was looking for pretty
	well.  There are details I dislike in the kernel, but the basic
	ideas have worked well, and there are no major ugly warts in the
	Linux design.  So in that way it is kind of a dream system -
	just enough problems to keep up the interest, and keep it
	evolving.  No program is ever perfect, and operating systems are
	interesting programs: there are a lot of things you have to keep
	track of, and a lot of different ways you can solve the
	problems.  Linux does it one way: 386BSD has many basic
	similarities in design, but some major differences in
	implementation.  Then there are OS's like Hurd (well, Mach right
	now) and Amoeba which have a totally different design strategy,
	giving different problems and solutions.  There may be one right
	way of doing things, but I doubt it: and Linux doesn't do too

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