[conspire] CABAL News -- Sat. Sept 28 Installfest and meeting

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Sep 26 02:04:30 PDT 2002

CABAL News, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2002

1.  BALE renovation.

My Bay Area Linux Events calendar page (http://linuxmafia.com/bale/) 
needed an overhaul:   The big problem wasn't its haphazard layout,
but rather that I maintained it 100% manually in vi, editing raw HTML.

I've just finally moved it over to a PHP4-generated page, pulling
"event" data from a MySQL database.  I haven't properly repopulated the
latter yet, and haven't yet enabled the code to automatically add
repeating events, auto-extending the calendar three months out.  But
soon it'll be a _lot_ better.  

I'll need to catch up on some of the groups' changes:  Smaug moved its
meetings one hour earlier, SF OpenBSD UG has changed days, SacLUG and 
LUGOD have changed meeting locations.  Silicon Valley Perl UG seems as 
if it may have died.

2.  Installfest and CABAL meeting.

_This_ Saturday, 10-4, we'll have another Linux / BSD installfest at the
Robert Austin Show inside the Oakland Convention Center.  Join us as 
event staff, and you can get into the RobAusCo (which is a big indoor
fleamarket for new hardware/software goods).  Details:

You don't have to need help.  You're welcome to just come and hang out,
and chat.

_Or_ you can come to the regular 4th-Saturday CABAL meeting afterwards,
starting 6 PM in Menlo Park.  We'll probably run the BBQ, as usual.
CABAL meetings are relaxed and comfortable compared to the RobAusCo
installfests, and you're _still_ welcome to bring your machines along 
and work on them or install your choice of Linux distributions on them.
(About which, please see item #4, below.)

3.  _Last_ Foothill College Electronics Fleamarket of the year

For even lower-priced gear including some incredible bargains, there's
the Foothill College swap in Los Altos, http://www.electronicsfleamarket.com/ .
Because it's outdoors in the Foothill College parking lot, it can't be
held during the rainy season, so it runs April through October -- every
month on the 2nd Saturday.  Therefore, the LAST swap of 2002 will be the 
next one, October 12.  

Come extremely early for the best bargains.  Particularly determined
shoppers actually show up as early as 4 AM, bearing flashlights.

4.  New Linux Distributions

As many of you know, I keep a pretty large range of Linux and BSD 
distributions around in CD-ROM form, and will gladly duplicate them
for people.  (_You_ bring blank CDs to write to, and you get to 
supervise the CD-burner machine and label your disks.)  The full
list of available offerings is at

The Linux world has been very busy with new distribution versions.  Here
are a few:

Linux-Mandrake 9.0

Out less than a day -- and I just now retrieved the last of its three
disks, and verified their integrity.  I'm burning a set for my
collection, right this minute.  

Mandrake is one of the candy-store desktop-oriented distributions.
Lots of people seem to like it.  GNOME 2.0.2, KDE 3.0.3, Mozilla 1.1(!),
OpenOffice.org 1.0.1, kernel 2.4.19, etc.  Compiler is GCC 3.2.
Printing subsystem is CUPS.  All the plug-and-play hardware detection
that they can manage.  One local mirror that's not so far hammered:

Red Hat 8.0

It's been propagating out to all the mirror sites, for the last couple
of days -- but won't be opened up to the public until next Monday.
You won't be able to get a copy before then without inside help --
sorry.  (If you're in a big hurry, you can get the preceding 7.3.94
beta, but should probably wait.)

SuSE 8.1 beta (sort of)

Although you can't yet get SuSE beyond 7.0 free of charge in ISO form,
it turns out that UnitedLinux beta3 is very strongly based on SuSE 8.1
betas, right down to using YaST2, KDE3, and GNOME2 -- presumably because
SuSE engineers did most of the work.

Word seems to have gotten out; the ftp server is hammered.  But this is
basically getting a slightly sparse two-CD SuSE 8.1 prerelease for free.
(Disc 3 is source code only.)

However, less hammered is SCO Linux (formerly Caldera OpenLinux) 4.0
beta, which turns out to be exactly the same thing -- UnitedLinux beta3.

If you're getting SuSE the orthodox way, and don't want a boxed set:
Single-CD download version, several revs behind the boxed sets.
Complete distro, despite its filename.

SuSE is a very nice "desktop" distribution, but their 7.0 "eval" has
frustratingly trailing-edge versions and is of course only a single CD.
This is no accident:  You're supposed to be motivated to buy one of the
incredibly full-featured boxed sets (Personal or Professional editions).
Which is fair, I guess -- but the UnitedLinux CDs are an intriguing way
to attempt a kind of end-run.

Lycoris beta

For the adventuresome, there's a new Lycoris beta (build 51)
Current release is still build 46.   Lycorix Desktop/LX is one of
the leading "desktop" distibutions, and was formerly named Redmond 


Desktop-oriented distribution (i386-only) w/simple, friendly installer.
Publisher is in Vancouver.  Based on & compatible w/Debian 3.0.
Available either in a boxed set of v. 2.7 with e-mail support and
2 CDs, or as (cheaper) download of the v. 2.7 ISOs, or as free
downloadable ISO of v. 2.0's 1st CD.  I recommend the latter:


A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to grab the two-ISO 2.7 beta,
which subsequently seems to have been pulled from the Net.  Sorry,              
guys; you have to move quickly.  ;->  I _am_ glad to make copies.
If people really want, I can put the ISOs up somewhere.

Additions to Libranet 2.7's Debian 3.0 base:  Installer (ncurses-type).
Graphical administrative tools.  RealPlayer & Flash, Netscape
Communicator, Opera 6.0.  Installs w/kernel 2.4.19.  GNOME 2.0.1, KDE
3.0.3, XFree86 4.2.  Improved hardware autodetection (incl. sound, USB,
printers, Zip drives).  (Libranet 2.0 has most of that, just older

I _highly_ recommend Libranet as a desktop distribution:  Easy
installer, all the goodies, everything up to date.  _And_ it's
compatible with Debian so you can _keep_ it current and secure without 
going crazy.  What's not to like?

CRUX 0.94

Heard about the BSDs, their relative simplicity, and their "ports"
system for installing software?   Here's a distributions that does
all of that on Linux, instead.  http://www.crux.nu/  It's 686-optimised, 
lightweight, simple.  It has quite modern everything, but no bloat


Many of us who've used Red Hat Linux for years have gotten fed up with
certain quality-control problems.  The late, lamented VA Linux software
division did something about it:  a RH-variant distribution called
RH-VALE (Red Hat with VA Linux Enhancements).  RH-VALE was generally 
a more-reliable Red Hat, with a better set of drivers in its installer
and fixes in any number of areas.  Often, I've used RH-VALE successfully
on machines where RH's standard installer can't even deal with the 
hardware at all.  

After leaving VA Linux (which, alas, has devolved into a proprietary
sofwtare firm), Michael E. Jennings decided he wasn't going to allow
RH-VALE to die.  So, with the help of some others, he's continuing to 
maintain it -- as Vermillion.  http://www.kainx.org/vermillion/

I'm right now pulling down his variant form of RH 7.3, which he's 
calling Vermillion 7.3.1 alpha9.  (Michael's alphas are generally 
of _very_ high quality.  He just uses the term to make you understand
he's not promising it'll work, as he's not done with developing it.)

I already have on hand his take on RH 7.1, Vermillion 7.1.1 -- and 
also one or two earlier RH-VALE releases, which probably are too old.


Mentioned in order to stress that it's specfically DISRECOMMENDED:
Lindows.com's LindowsOS distribution defaults to auto-login using
the root account.  Argh.  That's just clueless and a willful disservice
to the company's customers.  You'll never see this thing in my
collection, unless/until this ghastly design error is reversed.

'Hope to see you folks on Saturday!

Cheers,             "Don't use Outlook.  Outlook is really just a security
Rick Moen            hole with a small e-mail client attached to it."
rick at linuxmafia.com                        -- Brian Trosko in r.a.sf.w.r-j

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