On the easiest-to-install LinUX distribution
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* Article on Red Hat LinUX v. 4.0 [Source = Info World];
* A short descriptive note on the OS;
* FTP sites to retrieve the OS.
Linux operating system Cheap, powerful Red Hat Linux 4.0 has no
Web-connection limits. By Nicholas Petreley. Publication Date:
October 14, 1996 (Vol. 18, Issue 42) [InfoWorld].
After looking at Red Hat Linux 4.0, I'm in awe of how quickly the
Linux operating system is moving forward. Last summer (see
"Linux may give reasons to remove Win95, NT from your desktop
system," July 8, page 107) I predicted that Linux, an already
popular implementation of Unix, would infiltrate mainstream
corporate America. If Red Hat Software Inc. (and all the unsung
Linux contributors) continue advancing Linux at the present rate,
such widespread adoption is guaranteed.
Simply put, Red Hat is easily the best Linux version released to
date. It's a must-try for users new to Linux and a must-have for
Up, up, and away. Red Hat's installation program makes it far
easier to install than any other version of Linux I've tried,
including prior versions of Red Hat. It shields you from enough
complexity to keep it simple, yet it provides enough options to
satisfy Linux geeks.
Red Hat comes with the Apache Web server, one of the most popular
servers on the Internet. The server can be installed,
configured, and set to run automatically with no more than a
click on a single check box during system installation. Setup of
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) services is equally easy.
It's just as simple to add Web and FTP services after
installation. That's thanks to Red Hat's now famous -- among
Linux users, at least -- installation and removal utility called
Red Hat Package Manager.
The OS can be a network file system (NFS) server to Unix clients,
and it can provide native file and print services to any 16-bit
or 32-bit Windows client and AppleTalk services to Macintosh
clients. Red Hat can also be used as a client to NFS and
Red Hat licenses and includes Metro Link Inc.'s accelerated X
engine, Metro-X, which supports a long list of display adapters.
A number of video cards I had problems with in Windows 95 and
Windows NT (including the Elsa Winner 2000 Pro and Matrox
Millenium MGA) have enjoyed good support by Metro-X for some
The Metro-X driver absolutely blazes on my Matrox Millenium MGA
card. In addition, Metro Link offers OpenGL for Linux separately
if you want to build 3-D graphics applications.
A pretty face and more. This version of Red Hat introduces a new
version of FVWM, now called The Next Level. FVWM is a window
manager that is configured to look and feel something like
Windows 95, with cascading start menus, a task bar, and a pager
that lets you switch among a set of virtual desktops. Switching
between desktops on my machine is instantaneous, faster than
anything I've seen on Windows 95, Windows NT, or OS/2.
The Linux kernel used in this release of Red Hat supports
symmetric multiprocessing, a feature that brings Linux into the
scalability big league.
It also supports dynamic loading of support modules. That means
you can set up the system to load certain features, such as the
capability to read OS/2 High Performance File System
(HPFS)-formatted drives, only when needed.
Linux can read and write to a long list of file systems,
including DOS File Allocation Table (FAT), Virtual FAT (Windows
95/NT long file names), and HPFS. Free NT File System drivers
are also available from a variety of FTP sites.
One of the most important enhancements to this version of Red Hat
is support for pluggable authentication modules (PAM). PAM is a
tremendously flexible means of letting you choose the levels of
security you want to attach to any service your server provides
-- from simple log-in to remote access of applications and FTP
services. Essentially, PAM paves the way to soothe fears about
A low price and easy installation make Red Hat the ideal
alternative for those who are put off by Microsoft Corp.'s
Windows NT Workstation license agreement (which prevents you from
using Windows NT Workstation as an inexpensive Web server). Red
Hat's processor scalability and multiplatform support -- Alpha
and Sparc versions are available -- make the argument for Linux
all the more compelling.
Nicholas Petreley ([log in to unmask]) is editor at
large at InfoWorld.
Mainstreaming Linux. Although file and print services aren't new
to Linux, in the past they've been anything but simple to
configure. InfoMagic Inc. fixes the problem with a product
called InfoMagic Workgroup Server.
For $75 you get the graphical tools necessary to make
configuration a no-brainer. In mere minutes, I installed the
product and configured native file and print services for my
Windows and Macintosh clients. You can get more information
about Workgroup Server at http://www.infomagic.com.
Linux is also maturing as a mainstream client, as applications
for the OS appear from several fronts. Red Hat Software Inc.
offers the Applixware productivity suite (see Product Reviews,
Aug. 5, page 84), and Caldera Inc. (http://www .caldera.com)
sells a suite for Linux that includes WordPerfect for Unix.
Also, Star Division Corp. is planning to release a Linux version
of its powerful Star Office 3.1 suite. A beta version, which
will be free to noncommercial users, is available now. See
http://www.stardivision.com for more information.
The one thing that makes FVWM, Linux's default window manager,
daunting is that you have to edit text-configuration files to
customize it to your liking. Workgroup Solutions Inc.
(http://www.wgs.com) may help remedy this when it releases a
Linux version of Common Desktop Environment, a Motif-based window
manager available on several Unix platforms.
Look for a review in an upcoming issue of InfoWorld. THE BOTTOM
A short descriptive note on the Operative System
Red Hat distribution v. 4.0
Durham, NC -- Red Hat Software, Inc. is pleased to announce the
availability of Red Hat Linux release 4.0 for Intel, Alpha and
Sparc computers. This release is the first synchronized release
of *any* operating system for these three platforms, and
represents a huge leap in reducing your administrative and
support costs for your heterogeneous network. This release
offers many substantial improvements over previous releases,
including additional hardware support, simplified installation,
rewritten network configuration tools, dramatic performance
improvements, and many more.
NEW FEATURES IN RED HAT LINUX 4.0. Modular 2.0.18 kernel. One
kernel for all hardware, support for much more hardware. Kernel
is distributed as an RPM package. This means that to upgrade the
kernel you only need to upgrade the kernel RPM package, which is
just a single command. Only one installation floppy! Two for
PCMCIA and FTP installs. Both floppies are included in the
Official Red Hat Linux/Intel boxed set product. Easier
installation. Smarter network configuration, full "cancel"
ability, simpler package selection, package descriptions
available during install, much faster. New version of RPM. RPM
2.2.5 includes dependencies, improved PGP/MD5/size signature
capability, dependencies, more powerful querying, dependencies,
improved multi- arch/os handling, dependencies, relocatable
packages, dependencies, support for building and installing
packages as non-root.. Did I mention dependencies? Improved X
Windows support. Easier X Windows configuration. Just pick your
video card and monitor from the provided lists and you are done.
Latest MetroLink X server 3.1.2 (Only available with the Official
Red Hat Linux/Intel boxed set.) Expanded Red Hat Linux User's
Guide. 236 pages of installation and configuration information.
Expanded coverage of the control-panel tools. Includes MetroLink
X server configuration information. The User's Guide is now
available via FTP under the same terms as the LDP documentation!
It is also browsable on our web site! Improved network
configuration. New graphical network configuration control panel
tool. Allows for simple configuration of PPP and SLIP network
connections. Makes it simple to move your machine between
networks, add ethernet cards, etc. Pluggable Authentication
Modules (PAM). PAM is used throughout for increased system
security and configurability. Shadow password support (and
groundwork for future support of "long" passwords, MD5 passwords,
and other authentication schemes). Red Baron secure web browser.
Supports forms, frames, SSL, SET. Faster than Netscape! (Only
available on Official Red Hat Linux/Intel boxed set.) Upgrades
and Fixes. Over 180 updated packages, and over 60 new packages.
The full package list is available at http://www.redhat.com.
Many, many, many security fixes -- most of which are not
available on other UNIX/Linux systems.
Installation. Our third generation installation system is easier
to use than ever. By presenting simple fill in the blank forms,
and applying intelligent automation to network, package, and
module configuration, the system relieves you of the most tedious
and most troublesome aspects of installation. Installation is
supported via CD-ROM, NFS, FTP, hard drive partition, and has
seamless PCMCIA support.
Package Management. The RPM package system is designed to be
powerful yet easy to use. These design features, along with
smart config file handling across package upgrades, "shared" file
handling, documentation searching support, package installation
via FTP, dependencies, and powerful querying, make RPM the most
advanced package system available.
With our graphical package manager Glint you can track every
package installed on your system, and all packages available on
the CD-ROM. You can examine package descriptions and file
contents before you install them. With a few mouse button clicks
you can install, uninstall, list and verify all installed
packages. No other installation system comes close.
Configuration Tools. The Red Hat control panel tools cover
configuration of your network, printer, filesystem, users and
groups, SysV init, time and date, and modem. PPP and SLIP
configuration has never been easier!
Compatibility between Linux Platforms. The Red Hat Linux 4.0 for
Intel, Alpha and Sparc products are built from the exact same
source packages. This ensures maximum ease of software
portability between machines running Red Hat Linux regardless of
the underlying hardware architecture. In addition, your
investment in configuration of Red Hat Linux will pay off on all
License Terms. Red Hat Linux is distributed under the terms of
the GPL, and is freely available from our FTP site, and dozens of
mirrors. For the first time, the Red Hat Linux User's Guide is
also available freely, under the terms of the LDP license!
STANDARDS, TESTING, AND RED HAT LINUX. Red Hat Linux continues
to track both Linux and UNIX industry standards closely. Red Hat
Linux conforms to the Linux file system standard: FSSTND, and
tracks many other Linux and UNIX standards.
Testing is probably Linux's greatest strength and the origin of
its remarkable stability for most applications, and Red Hat Linux
benefits from this. The truly open development model followed by
Linus Torvalds and the Linux development community allows new
releases of the kernel, components, and distributions to be
tested by hundreds of thousands of users. Their access to
everything at little or no cost, including full source code, off
many sites on the Internet enables anyone to contribute to
further development by not just reporting bugs but contributing
Red Hat Linux depends on this open development model. We post
Red Hat Linux as "freely redistributable" software for free
download off of many sites on the Internet, and we are grateful
for the valuable assistance we receive.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has
decided to stop charging for their POSIX Conformance Test Suite
151-2, in hopes that the POSIX standard may be more broadly
applied. Red Hat Software applauds the move, and has obtained
the suites for consideration. We would encourage all Linux
developers to take advantage of this development. Comments and
questions can be directed to Martha Gray <[log in to unmask]>
A STABLE SOFTWARE PLATFORM AND A RAPIDLY EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY.
Red Hat's software packaging scheme (RPM) provides the reliable
and consistent installation on a stable environment that ISV's
are looking for, and yet allows for a flexible environment for
further Linux development.
RPM's advanced software packaging features enable RPM packaged
software to be installed easily and correctly on any Red Hat
Linux platform. Running older software versions on a new release
of Red Hat Linux is generally reliable and trouble free.
FREELY REDISTRIBUTABLE SOFTWARE. Red Hat Linux is released as
freely redistributable software under the terms of the GPL. This
allows anyone to use Linux without restriction and to contribute
to Linux development. It also prevents anyone or any corporation
from restricting access to Linux or Linux source code.
Commercially licensed software can be ported to Linux while
maintaining the license terms that the author uses for any other
RPM - RED HAT PACKAGE MANAGER. After installing Red Hat Linux
once, you will never need to reinstall Linux again! Our RPM
packaging system is sophisticated enough to allow upgrading to
new Red Hat Linux releases without reinstalling your system - no
partitioning, no backing up all your files, no headaches.
Red Hat Linux 4.0 is built on a third generation packaging system
called RPM. The RPM system features include smart configuration
file handling across package upgrades, "shared" file handling,
documentation searching support, and package installation via
FTP. You can install, uninstall, query, verify, and upgrade
individual RPM packages.
The Red Hat Software web site, http://www.redhat.com, contains
more information on RPM and the RPM-HOWTO, which describes how to
use RPM and build your own RPM packages.
A graphical package management tool called GLINT allows you to
quickly and easily manage and track your system. It displays a
hierarchy of packages represented by individual package icons,
and displays progress meters during installation.
We are releasing RPM under the terms of the GPL and we would like
to encourage everyone to use it to package their software. You
can get RPM separately from Red Hat Linux from our FTP site.
PRISTINE SOURCES. An important element of the design of Red Hat
Linux is our commitment to the concept of "pristine sources".
Our RPM source packages include pristine, untouched sources, as
well as patches and a control file which defines the building and
packaging process. It enables us to work with other members of
the Linux development community easily and effectively by clearly
separating and documenting the code that they contribute from any
modifications that are required by Red Hat Linux.
Red Hat Linux is available for the Intel, Alpha, and Sparc on our
Many sites mirror the Red Hat FTP site, and may give you much
better performance. A list of these mirrors is at:
(Note that the Metro X server, Red Baron and Grail are not
available via FTP. These packages are only available with the
full boxed set product.)
RED HAT SOFTWARE WEB SITE. The Red Hat Software web site,
http://www.redhat.com, contains a wealth of helpful information,
as well as a web-based ordering system for all our products.
Of particular interest is the support section of the web site,
which includes archives of our mailing lists, errata, Red Hat
TIPS, the LDP documentation, and lots more. See
UPGRADING AND EXCHANGE POLICIES. All previous releases of Red
Hat Linux (2.0, 2.1, 3.0.3) can be upgraded in place (without
reformatting or repartitioning). For those who want to upgrade,
but do not want to purchase the full boxed set, the Red Hat Linux
Archives 4 CD-ROM set is the right choice. Red Hat Linux for the
Intel and Alpha are both available on the Archives (Metro X, Red
Baron, and Grail are only available with the full boxed set).
Exchange and upgrade policies for those who purchased 3.0.3
recently are best addressed by the vendor of your product. If
you purchased it directly from Red Hat Software, contact the
sales office at:
Please use a mirror if possible. FTP Sites for RedHat LinUx: