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Linux in the News

Recommended Reading.

This ZDNet column starts as a LinuxWorld piece, but wanders off into Linux desktops. "Yet it's precisely this perceived importance of interface consistency, continuity and discipline that is AWOL in any of the current Linux desktop efforts. Without it, Linux will not appear on the desktop in any meaningful numbers. It seems that the fervent engineers have neglected to internalize that users actually care about usability."

Upside has posted a summary from LinuxWorld. "Although smaller companies showed up in force, this week's LinuxWorld only reconfirmed the growing suspicion that large-scale companies are the ones truly making a killing off the Linux phenomenon. IBM, a company that now supports Linux on every one of its hardware platforms -- including the wristwatch-sized server prototype it showed off Wednesday -- appears to have assumed kingmaker status in the Linux business community."

Here's another ZDNet article which starts off as a general LinuxWorld piece. "And while Linus said he was relieved not to be writing another keynote the night before the show, RMS and ESR may have felt differently. Why else would they have kept sneaking into the Working Press room and talking a little too loudly with anyone who'd listen? Even ubiquitous Linuxshow emcee Jon 'Maddog' Hall was more seen than heard at this LinuxWorld..." Thereafter, the article becomes a lengthy look at Helix Code and Eazel; worth a read, even if it does say that GNOME 1.0 came out six months ago.


News.com reports on GNOME and KDE. "Owen Taylor, the Red Hat employee responsible for maintaining GTK, said he stays in touch with Qt programmers so the two packages have similar abilities and features such as the ability to drag text from a Gnome program and drop it into a KDE program. However, he added, 'There's no way we can merge the toolkits.'" (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).

ZDNet tries to play up the GNOME-vs-KDE thing. "For a war that supposedly isn't, the battle over open-source desktops seems to be getting bloodier. It's GNOME vs. KDE. And even though many open-source backers are loath to admit the existence of a rift within their ranks on any software development front, sides are being taken and two distinct camps are forming."

LinuxPlanet isn't happy about the GNOME Foundation. "To me, the GNOME Foundation is really nothing more than an attempt by large vendors to impose their agendas on the Linux community and stifle both innovation and community involvement. For Sun, this is nothing more than an attempt to push StarOffice on the Linux community by tying it to a single desktop standard; it's also a rather blatant effort to crush K Office before it's released, and that saddens me a great deal, because K Office has the potential to be a killer application rising solely from the Linux community."

ZDNet ponders the GNOME Foundation. "Still, The Gnome Foundation faces tall challenges. History shows that multivendor efforts often fail because managers from member companies can't put aside their differences long enough to beat Microsoft."

This ZDNet column questions the GNOME Foundation's prospects for taking over the desktop. "While a Linux desktop sounds good in theory, the idea faces the same obstacle Linux encountered when trying to gain a foothold in the server room- namely, status quo. IT managers who have begun to run Linux servers in the back room said they will hold off on putting Linux in the front office until it looks like Windows."

O Linux interviews KDE founder Mattias Ettrich. "The key to the success of KDE is the huge amount of code that is shared between applications. We implemented the basic idea of free software - code sharing - to a degree that was never done before. This was possible due to two reasons: a) the choice of an object oriented language and its sane use within the project and b) the concept of open source in general."

Here's an osOpinion piece essentially arguing the "GNOME is superior" point of view. "It's worth noting that had the KDE group gone with CORBA components, it would have been possible to write components that would work in both GNOME and KDE. This would have given developers a very powerful way to write common code for both environments."

If you are tired of the latest GNOME/KDE silliness, you probably do not want to have a look at this LinuxPlanet column, which strives to fan the flames in every way. "Does anyone else see the irony of a project headed by a guy who's in it for the money, backed by companies who are in it for the money, getting the official Glorious October Revolution seal of approval, while a volunteer effort driven by sheer love of the project does not? Yes, there are people from distributions who work on KDE, but they have not set up little companies for themselves to capitalize on it."

Reports From LinuxWorld.

Upside reports from LinuxWorld, with an emphasis on embedded systems. "Virtually invisible on the LinuxWorld floor a year ago, fast-growing companies such as Lineo, MontaVista and LynuxWorks poured their precious pre-IPO dollars into lavish booth displays. It was an eerie sight, considering that many of the same companies had been displaying their wares on card tables only five weeks before at the Embedded Linux Conference."

LinuxDevices.com summarizes LinuxWorld from an embedded systems point of view. "Better than one in ten of the more than 160 exhibitors rolled out new products and services aimed at embedded Linux developers and applications."

TechWeb reveals that Linux businesses are businesses in this LinuxWorld summary. "Major corporations joining the Linux love feast this week managed to quietly support their own agendas while boosting the operating system and its open-source contributors." The article also manages to attribute the stock symbol "SUSEX" to (privately-held) SuSE.

ZDNet talks with Linus Torvalds at LinuxWorld. "Rapid content serving on Linux is probably going to be an option in the next 2.4 release of the kernel, he said. It's also a priority to work Riesser [sic] file journaling into the next release."

News.com covers Ransom Love's LinuxWorld keynote. "But for high-end systems, Caldera will advocate the use of UnixWare, one of SCO's versions of the Unix operating system on which Linux is based. 'Linux currently does not scale to the high-end data center, (but) other operating systems in the industry do,' he said. 'A single operating system kernel cannot scale,' he said."

Here's a ZDNet column that is somewhat critical of open source proponents. "Amidst the pony-tailed, multi-pierced, roller-blading attendees of this week's conference is an underlying air of tolerance. Open source is premised upon the equal participation of any and every hacker, regardless of gender, race, religion or hair-color choice. But if tolerance is the watchword in the open-source world, why is the community so hard on newbies?"

The DukeOfUrl covers day one, day two and day three of LinuxWorld. From day three: "I was fortunate enough to attend the Mandrake party on Tuesday and the VA Linux party on Wednesday. Both were great events at swanky locals. Although everyone was amongst friends, no one bothered to take to the dance floor. It seemed really awkward, as everyone was crowded around the collection of vintage video games. Finally, a few brave souls dare out to the dance floor and broke the ice."

LinuxPower has put up more coverage and pictures from LinuxWorld.

MPAA wins DVD case.

Wired News covers the DVD decision. "A DVD-descrambling program is akin to a virulent Internet epidemic that must be eradicated, a federal judge said Thursday as he agreed with Hollywood that DVDs must be protected from decryption and copying."

The Boston Globe. "Robin Gross of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group, rejects the idea that DeCSS is an illegal computer program. But she said that even if it is, 2600 has a constitutional right to tell people how to get it."

CNN. "Martin Garbus, a lawyer for Corley, said: 'We understood that this was an issue that has to be resolved by the Supreme Court. The judge's First Amendment analysis is wrong.'"

News.com. "'To the extent that defendants have linked to sites that automatically commence the process of downloading DeCSS upon a user being transferred by defendants' hyperlinks, there can be no serious question,' [Judge] Kaplan wrote. 'Defendants are engaged in the functional equivalent of transferring DeCCS code to the user themselves.'" (Thanks to Toon Moene).

The New York Times (registration required). "Because Judge Kaplan sits on the district court, which is the trial court of the federal system, his decision is not binding on other federal courts and is subject to review by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. But the judge's decision has considerable persuasive force for other courts both because it is the first time the law has been tested and because the Manhattan court is among the more prestigious district courts." (Thanks to Paul Hewitt and John Villalovos).


ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch looks at Michael Cowpland's resignation from Corel. "So here we are, with what might have been the unthinkable -- a Corel without Cowpland. At the news conference, Cowpland stated that his resignation was voluntary and had nothing to do with Corel's beleaguered state. I dunno, I just can't see the company sustained for very long. This looks to me like Corel is making the conditions right in anticipation of a sale."

Here's a ZDNet column on Michael Cowpland's departure from Corel. It does not pull any punches. "Corel Chairman and CEO Michael Cowpland finally did something right Tuesday, when he announced his resignation from both posts at the Canadian software developer. Most shareholders would argue the unceremonious departure comes several years too late."

Forbes chimes in on Michael Cowpland's departure from Corel. "Forget about restructuring or retrenching. Burney's job should be to put investors out of their misery and get the company ready for sale."

News.com has run a pronouncement from a Gartner analyst on Corel's future. "More recently, Cowpland and Corel placed a large bet on moving the company's applications to Linux on the desktop. In North America, at least, Linux on the desktop has been a non-starter. This strategy may have received its heaviest blow yesterday, when several large vendors--Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems--announced support for the Gnome Foundation's Linux desktop project. Key parts of this open-source interface are productivity applications that run on top of Unix and Linux. The Gnome Foundation likely has further reduced whatever revenue opportunity Corel had in this area."


ZDNet looks at the Ogg Vorbis codec. "In simpler terms, Ogg Vorbis is a new digital audio compression format that is similar to MP3, but costs nothing. It is completely open source, is entirely free of patents, and is supposed to have better audio quality and compression than MP3."

Here's a ZDNet article about IBM's approach to Linux. "IBM's multifaceted moves to Linux go a long way toward opening up the company?s commercial code base. This is a far cry from the IBM of old, which once teamed up with Hewlett-Packard and Digital Equipment Corp. to create the Open Software Foundation (OSF), whose sole purpose was to splinter Unix and protect its members' respective proprietary OSes."

LinuxDevices.com looks at Red Hat's other operating system. "Red Hat's ongoing eCos commitment surfaced yesterday in the form of a joint announcement between Red Hat and CrosStor Software. CrosStor, it seems, is porting its network-attached storage (NAS) software -- which currently depends on Wind River's VxWorks as its underlying RTOS platform -- to Red Hat's eCos."

News.com covers Nokia's plans to release the source to its phone-based browser. "'This doesn't mean it's going to be Mozilla open source. It needs to be better supported than that,' said Paul Chapple, manager of Nokia's U.S. business development team. 'But we've learned that you have to provide the source so the customers can control the destinies of their own products.'"

The New Zealand Herald has put up this article on the production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. "Wellington-based Weta Digital's ability to process work on the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy has just dramatically improved - with big savings to boot. Weta has bought 16 dual-processor SGI 1200 servers running the Linux operating system." (Thanks to Andrew Simpson).

ZDNet reports on a poll of Java developers on whether Sun should open source the language. "Opinion so far is divided. As of Monday, 28.8 percent of developers voting said there was nothing wrong with Sun's Java licensing, while 26 percent said Java should also be made available under the GPL."

Here's a ZDNet column claiming to advocate an open source strategy for Microsoft. The author is not entirely clear on the concept, however: "I propose a slight alteration to the open-source model. Microsoft, of course, would expose the complete source code for its operating systems. This code could be downloaded by any user and compiled for personal use. However, Microsoft would be the only company allowed to create a distribution of the Windows operating system licensed for business use."


Upside ponders the future of Linux. "This unlikely method of developing software works amazingly well for a process that seems to resemble nothing so much as a form of voluntary socialism. I have never seen a business model operate this way. Certainly not in a capitalist country like the United States, where Linux is extremely popular and Linux companies are being funded with the faith that we can somehow make money off it. It makes me wonder how well it will stand up to the capitalist winds of change."

Wired News looks at a new Forrester Research report which predicts great gains for open source software. "Forrester analyst Carl D. Howe predicts that Microsoft's business model will clash so severely with the new open-source-fueled development and distribution models that the company's market share will shrink for the first time in its history. And eventually, the report forecasts, MS will become little more than a 'legacy vendor,' offering support for its antiquated products." (Thanks to Lance Jones).

News.com reports on a deal between Dell, OpenSales, and Linuxcare. "Dell will sell a server loaded with OpenSales' e-commerce software, which lets people create and run shopping Web sites, bundled with support from Linuxcare, said Dell account manager Jay Gleason. The product will be unveiled in the fourth quarter and will be called E-Shop-in-a-box."

ComputerWorld put up this article on Unix vendors who are adding Linux binary compatibility layers to their systems. "However, it could also spell danger for the very vendors that are offering the support, facilitating a wholesale migration away from their proprietary Unix versions toward Linux, observers said."

Here's a ZDNet column which predicts a bright future for Linux. "The main reason to be bullish on Linux's future is not that it will replace Windows. Rather, like Microsoft once was, Linux is the technology that is best aligned with a changing economy and will grow in step with it. This means, of course, in some instances Windows and Windows 2000 servers will be replaced by Linux, but that is a minimal definition of success."

Here's another ZDNet column looking at the growth of Linux. "Like all things democratic, a truly free and open operating system (OS) will require constant vigilance by an industry that is organized not to collaborate, but to compete. What's more, sundry paradoxes threaten to stymie even the sincerest efforts to create a lingua franca platform that is simultaneously free, open, universal and dynamic."

Upside has run some letters to the editor in response to recent columns about Linux. "I can't see many IT managers adopting Linux. Even if the software license is 'free', I doubt that the cost of server software licenses is a very big part of the typical IT budget. How many IT managers really want to have their own customized version of an OS? Oh please, give me a break."

Money.com posted this article on its discovery that Linux is still around. "Linuxmania 1.0 centered mainly around 'pure plays' like Red Hat and Caldera. But now it has become clear that Linux's biggest impact may be on some of the biggest companies in the tech world--AOL, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell."


The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for August 17 is out.

LinuxLinks.com has posted a survey of relational database systems for Linux with an emphasis on business use. "PostgreSQL has been in development for over 10 years and represents a mature product. This is an important consideration to a corporation who cannot afford to trust their precious data to a product that has not been extensively tested."


A review of the ABIT BX133 motherboard has gone up on NewsForge. "The first benchmark is a set of timed Linux kernel compiles. Compiling a kernel is a common action for a Linux user, making it a very valid benchmark for a Linux system."


The Wall Street Journal talks with Linus Torvalds in this article reprinted on MSNBC. "Mr. Torvalds defended his habits. He said, for example, that not selecting an 'official' Linux user interface allows the best one to emerge through competition."

Upside talks with Richard Stallman. "If this year's LinuxWorld seemed a little less colorful than the two previous San Jose episodes, maybe it was because the man who usually supplies the color decided not to show up."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

August 24, 2000


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