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Hunting the wild hacker (Salon). Salon's Andrew Leonard looks at the "hacker ethic". "One reason free software is able to flourish is that most hackers are able to earn their livelihood relatively easily, with enough leisure time to hack for the public good. The hours that they do spend working for the Man are well enough compensated to allow them to construct the rest of their lives in whatever fashion they might desire. A McDonald's cashier or a taxi driver is not so lucky. Free software is built on the reality that programmers are an elite class of worker, both indispensable and relatively rare. The hacker ethic, then, is a luxury."

XUL: Microsoft's worst nightmare? (ZDNet). ZDNet has posted a lengthy look at what's going on at MozDev.org. "But with browser development in general reaching an advanced stage of maturity and attention turning to Web-based applications, the success of MozDev projects and the acceptance of XUL as the basis for such applications could have the potential to make Mozilla's technologies newly relevant." Worth a look.

Momentum builds for open-source processors (EETimes). Open-source processors are the semiconductor equivalent of open-source software movements like Linux, according to this article in EETimes. "A handful of commercial efforts are experimenting with open-source CPU cores. Contract-manufacturing giant Flextronics, for example, is laying plans to tap into open-source hardware for its ASICs. And both Metaflow Technologies Inc. (La Jolla, Calif.) and IROC Technologies SA (Grenoble, France) are building products using the Leon-1, a Sparc-like open-source processor developed at the European Space Agency's Technology Center." (Thanks to Richard Storey)

Linux Comes to the Big Screen (Wired). Wired News reports on Revolution O.S., a new film about the rise of free software. "In an attempt to reflect the complicated culture he captured in his project, [producer J.T.S.] Moore bills Revolution O.S. as an 'epic movie,' and said that his one regret was that he didn't have enough money to hire Charlton Heston to narrate the film."

LinuxWorld Expo

Around the World of Linux (Wired). Wired News reports from LinuxWorld. "Last year, some Linux-oriented journalists grumbled over the Windows-only computers in the media room. This year, some members of the mainstream press looked puzzled, but determined to be good sports when confronted with machines running Linux."

Also in Wired is this report on the Golden Penguin Bowl. "Torvalds, happily displaying his huge Golden Penguin trophy after the contest was over, said that he wasn't really pleased with his performance, and that it was obvious he should watch more 'bad science fiction movies,' something he'd been unable to do during the last hectic months of coding Linux kernel 2.4."

LinuxWorld Expo: Desktop Dreams (ABCNews.com). ABC News has gone to LinuxWorld and reported on desktop Linux. "But Dell's situation shows another major problem. With more than 90 percent of the desktop market occupied by Windows, you'd think Linux-leaning companies would approach offices who wanted to convert from Windows to Linux. But like most of the big players, Dell has profitable business deals with Microsoft."

188 Linux Distributions ... And Counting (TechWeb). TechWeb covers LWN editor Liz Coolbaugh's LinuxWorld talk on Linux distributions. "The leading offerings include Red Hat, SuSE, TurboLinux, Caldera, Debian GNU/Linux, Slackware, and Mandrake. Of the 188 offerings, 28 are derived from Red Hat Linux, the most common Linux distribution, Coolbaugh said."

Microsoft takes a page from Linux playbook (News.com). News.com talks with Microsoft's Doug Miller at LinuxWorld about how the company is making the Windows source available to "less than 100" of its customers. "Microsoft is not going so far as to allow its customers to tamper with the Windows source, Miller emphasized. By contrast, software that is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License may be altered by developers, as long as they agree to publish any changes before publicly distributing the modified source code. 'We don't want to be in the situation that Linux is in, where there are more than 140 different distributions, leading to serious fragmentation,' Miller said."

Big Blue eclipsed at LinuxExpo (Register). IBM is not taking over Linux, according to this article in the Register. "We're not sure if IDG has eased the gate pressure, or simply made the floor tax more equitable; but expansive stands from the likes of Zelerate, Blue Cat, Zimian easily outnumbered the traditional corporate big spenders." (Thanks to Richard Storey).

IBM exec says Linux is ready (Upside). Upside, too, has reported on Sam Palmisano's LinuxWorld keynote. "IBM may not have backed Linux from day one, Palmisano acknowledged, but after experiencing a companywide turnaround in the wake of the Internet connectivity explosion in the early 1990s, IBM executives weren't about to get caught napping as another explosion rumbled under their feet."

IBM Wholeheartedly Embracing Linux (InternetNews). Here's Internet.com's report from Sam Palmisano's LinuxWorld keynote. "One of the factors in Linux's ability to drive standards adoption is its global acceptance. 'It is the first operating system that wasn't developed in the U.S.,' Palmisano said. 'This thing is accepted all over the world. The value proposition is the ability to write an application without having to worry about the plumbing.'"

Palmisano Touts Linux For The Real World (TechWeb). TechWeb reports on IBM President Sam Palmisano's LinuxWorld Keynote. "If people still see Linux as a niche player, Palmisano said the open source code operating system is a major presence in telecom and Internet applications as well. 'That's probably 40 percent of our industry and 40 percent of a $1 trillion industry -- that's a niche,' he said. 'that's big enough for IBM to play in, and we need a big sandbox.'"


SuSE: Startup of the Month (GermanHot100). The magazine GermanHot100 has named (in German) SuSE as its February 'Startup of the month'. The article gives an overview of the company and its near-term plans. An English translation is available via Babelfish.

SuSE US Cans Three Quarters of Its Staff (LinuxGram). Here's a grim LinuxGram article on the SuSE layoffs. "[SuSE US President Volker] Wiegand basically said that Linux as a business isn't working out, calling it a victim of hype and irrational expectations. Customers have effectively been duped into believing that they would be getting something for nothing when, in fact, they would just be paying for it differently."

Lineo adds Embedded Power to its acquisition portfolio (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com looks at Lineo's acquisition of Embedded Power. "Tom Barrett, CEO and cofounder of Embedded Power, says Lineo's primary objective in acquiring his company was for the addition of DSP software support. However, RTXC also represents a full spectrum "hard real-time" OS for microprocessors -- one that supports over twenty-five 8-bit through 32-bit microprocessors. "Our core competency is operating system environments for hard real time systems -- fast and small," points out Barrett."

Caldera deal provides ammunition against Red Hat (News.com). News.com talks with Ransom Love about Caldera's service deal with Acrylis and various other topics. "One difference between the services from Caldera Systems and Red Hat is that Caldera's is designed to be offered as a re-branded product sold by companies that resell Caldera or Santa Cruz Operations software. In other words, Caldera won't be the only one that hopes to profit from the management services."


Enterprise Linux: Where's the beef? (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet article wondering where the high-profile enterprise Linux deployments are. "If General Motors, Bank of America and Citicorp are making big bets on Linux, they aren't telling a soul outside their corporate borders. Not that such information would naturally be there, but searching 'Linux' on all three sites yielded zero results. You'd think there would be some mention of it."

Making a Profit From Free Software (ABCNews.com). Here's a LinuxWorld-inspired article on making money with free software. "Linux software companies think they can master making a profit by selling applications built from free, open-source parts. Three of the most prominent, Eazel, Sun and Corel, have different strategies: one is going with support and services, one is using free software to drive purchases of costly hardware, and the third says, hey, time to pay for your application software."


NSA attempting to design crack-proof computer (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at how VMWare and the National Security Agency have teamed up to make a more secure PC. "Called "NetTop," VMware's answer would turn each computer into a number of virtual PCs running on a Linux computer that would sit on each worker's desk. The security system would erect supposedly impenetrable, but virtual, walls between public data and more sensitive information on the same computer. " (Thanks to Richard Storey)

SuSE Professional 7.0 (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl reviews SuSE Professional 7.0. "SuSE has another distinguishing feature that I wish more distributions would model, and that is their documentation. It rivals many of the third-party manuals Linux users often feel compelled to buy. With SuSE Professional you get four manuals, not one, not one plus a quick start guide, but four full-fledged paperbacks, well, almost."


Torvalds on Linux: They aren't laughing now (SearchEnterprise Linux). A site called "SearchEnterpriseLinux" has put up an interview with Linus Torvalds. "I think the desktop is king. It's the harder market to enter, but it's the one that tends to encircle and overtake the business use. Just look at how business people laughed at PC's and DOS 15 years ago. They aren't laughing now. And the desktop is actually how Linux got started - my desktop."

Eric Raymond: Market slump means great things for Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet talks with Eric Raymond about Linux stock prices. "'(Open source) looks like a better proposition than ever,' Raymond told ZDNet News at the LinuxWorld show in New York. 'Companies need to save money, so they need to stop writing checks for expensive proprietary software.'"

Talking to Red Hat's David Mason about GNOME (LinuxPower). While at LinuxWorld Expo LinuxPower's Christian Schaller interviewed David Mason, Manager for the Red Hat Labs, about GNOME. "Christian: The first step towards getting GNOME 2.0 out the door is GTK+ 2.0 reaching its first stable release. What is the your current educated guess for a release date for GTK+ 2.0?

Dave: Ha! I will not fall into that trap! Lets just say soon. Keep in mind that people at Red Hat aren't the only ones working on GTK+, we just have the co-maintainers working here. Because of that we have to make sure that people who contribute in their spare time, as well as other GNOME related companies get their patches, feature requests, and bug reports in before we release the official 2.0."

Interview with Jasta (Linux in Brazil). Jasta is the mastermind behind Gnapster, the open source alternative to Napster. You can read the interview in English or in Portuguese. "Do you have a personal view on the copyrights abuse normally associated with Napster? What will the future bring to this matter?

My very strong personal opinion on all of that is this: Napster helps starving artists by increasing awareness about the band/group/artist, whereas it takes money away from already overpaid trendy musicians who obviously think they deserve the money they make for their pop crap (sorry to offend anyone who likes pop, but it sucks ;)"

Nat Friedman, in his own right (LinuxWorld). LinuxWorld interviews Nat Friedman of Ximian. "Finally, I asked Friedman if -- as the Ximian CEO -- he was worried about the number of open source companies floundering on the bottom line. He told me that what concerned him more than anything was that so many of the companies were 'blind to begin with.'"

Red Hat CEO details Linux services push (News.com). News.com talks with Red Hat's Bob Young. "'No one cares about vision,' he said. A year ago, investors 'valued us where we would be 10 years from now. Now the stock market values us at where we'll be in the next year or two.'"

Code + Law: An Interview with Lawrence Lessig (O'Reilly Net). The O'Reilly Network interviews Lawrence Lessig. "I certainly think that this is linked in the sense that the Americans have been selling this view around the world: that progress comes from perfect protection of intellectual property. Notwithstanding the fact that the most innovative and progressive space we've seen - the Internet - has been the place where intellectual property has been least respected. You know, facts don't get in the way of this ideology."


From FUD to trash talk (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch looks at the evolution of anti-Linux FUD in this ZDNet column. "Such comments from Microsoft aren't FUD; they're about facets of Linux and open source that most folks consider strengths, but that Microsoft tries to paint as flaws. They'll complain that Linux companies aren't, and will never be, as big as Microsoft. Of course they neglect to tell you the flip side: the reason Linux companies won't ever be as big as Microsoft is because they drain less money from their customers."

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

February 8, 2001


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