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Linux in the news

Never has the press had so much to say about Linux. Even without Red Hat's new financing, there would have been a lot of articles to report here. As it is, there's more than anybody can hope to read. To make life a little easier, we have tried to classify the articles into a few basic groups and mark the most interesting ones.

General and miscellaneous

Folks equipped with RealVideo can check out this interview with Linus on ZDNet.

Thanks to Dan Ginsberg for pointing out this long article in the New York Times about Red Hat (which appeared on the front page of the business section in the print edition). "In an experiment that is half business model and half populist movement, a small company called Red Hat Software is charging $50 for an operating system called Linux that anyone can get free on the Internet, and it is paying programmers decent wages to write code that it will give away." (Note that NYT is a registration-required site. Using "cypherpunks" for both account and password will get you in if you do not wish to register).

According to this C|Net articleInformix will be increasing its support for Linux. "...Informix executives now believe that demand for its software on Linux is coming from deep-pocketed corporate customers."

The Register ran a brief article about Informix's move.

Chris Kagy tipped off to this article in the American Bar Association Journal. It is a debate-style piece, with a group of lawyers discussing whether Linux is interesting or not. "Large software projects do not respond well to unlimited money and unlimited personnel. NT is vulnerable. Linux is in the right place at the right time."

Linux, an NT Killer in the Making in "ent Magazine" takes a look at Linux from an NT-centric point of view. "My take is that these vendors are anxious to help Linux along just in case it should prove to have the potential to compete with Windows NT." Thanks to Dan Lark for the pointer to this one.

The Irish Times series on Linux finishes up with two more articles (though they promise "occasional" coverage in the future). this article is mostly about dealing with the unfamiliarity of a new system. "None of these things is a fault, it's just that six years of using Windows has conditioned every expectation of action and response to one way of working." The author decides it's fun in the end: "This openness and availability recreates the wonder of first meeting a computer."

The last article is a survey of Irish businesses using Linux.

Here is a Transmeta article in The Register. It says that their product will be aimed at running NT 5.0, that DOS and 16-bit Windows compatibility will not be there, and that Linus played a vital role in developing this approach. "According to the source, the arrival of Torvalds heralded a sea-change at the secretive firm, which is run by the ex-head of SunSPARC labs, David Dinzel."

The Vancouver Sun ran an outstandingly positive introductory article in time to publicise last weekend's Canadian Installfest. "The generally held opinion in the IT industry is that Linux is incredibly stable, tried and true, a real workhorse, even on PCs." (Found on the Linux Reviews and Articles site).

For our French-capable readers, here is a column by Jean-Louis Gassée in Libération. He, too, talks of the crumbling of the "Wintel" alliance and the rise of Linux. For what it's worth, here is a Babelfish link to translate the article to English, but the results are unsatisfying. Thanks to "Tran" for the tip.

InfoWorld has a brief article on the recent commercial database announcements. "Mentioning Big Blue and Red Hat Software in the same breath was perhaps inconceivable six months ago, but, with Linux gaining acceptance, more established vendors are hopping on the bandwagon, namely IBM and Sybase."

The Ottawa Citizen has an article about Corel, its results, and its stock price. Linux is not the focus of the article, but they do conclude with: "Among [Corel's] recent promising developments is a move into a fast-growing computer operating system known as Linux, which Corel is aggressively pursuing for both network computer and server applications and some of its software, including WordPerfect."

Here is the Reuters story on Microsoft's SEC filing where they mention Linux as a growing competitive threat. "Over the past year the Linux operating system has gained increasing acceptance, and leading software developers such as Oracle and Corel have announced that they will develop applications that run on Linux" (For those who are really interested, Mark Brady sent the URL for the full text of Microsoft's filing.

Robert Cringely has another interesting article on pbs.org. He wanders a bit, talking about how Microsoft is trying to wipe out Samba, then concluding that the way to make money in the computer business is to give your hardware away for free... (Thanks to Matthew Asplund).

Larry Davison wrote in about this brief article in the Christian Science Monitor. They don't entirely get it, though: "What's most attractive about the new system, say computer geeks who use it, is that anyone can download it from the Internet at no charge."

When does 'free' become too expensive? asks this LAN Times article. It starts off looking like one of those "free software is not so cheap after all" articles, but read on. "For example, when the prospect of running Linux in an MIS shop is discussed, managers typically imagine that they will need to get a kernel-level hacker on staff.... In general, this is ridiculous reasoning....an OS is not likely to break down. Many of these free products are mature platforms and have been tested more thoroughly than many commercial products." Overall a quite positive article. Thanks yet again to Didier Legein for passing this one on.

Didier Legein (hereby named "honorary LWN editor") noticed that Performance Computing is starting a Linux column in January. Even better, it will be written by Jon "maddog" Hall. They are having a contest to see who can come up with the best name for the column.

Didier Legein also pointed out this article in 32bitsonline about 3D rendering with Linux.

CMP chose this time to rerun an old FUD piece from a few weeks back (it was mentioned in our September 3 issue). "Still, Linux is not completely like OS/2; it has some fatal flaws of its own. For example, like UNIX, Linux comes in multiple and incompatible flavors, isn't backed by a blue-chip company and has very low awareness within corporations." This seems like an inopportune time for them to have recycled that one - "awareness within corporations" has probably increased somewhat.

Wired News has a brief articleon LinuxWorld. They really have only rehashed the press release, though.

Don't Believe the Hype? in Intelligent Enterprise Magazine (scroll down to the bottom). "Is it all a marketing ploy, or is Linux about to be catapulted into the operating system mainstream? Vendors are playing their part in hyping Linux, and we're wondering why it's suddenly garnering such avid attention."

Getting help on Linux is a series of articles that popped up on ZDNet, written by Linux Journal author Michael Stutz. "Here's an attempt to outline the most efficient means of getting help with Linux."

Network World Fusion has an article on clustering. Unfortunately, their interpretation of "cluster" seems to mean removing all paragraph breaks from the story, it is very hard to read. "The combination of Red Hat's Linux and Beowulf clustering, while promising, is more hype than reality. That is mainly because there are few business applications that can take advantage of the system." (Note this is a registration-required site. Use "cypherpunks" for both username and password if you do not wish to register).

Linux Can't Beat NT--Except on the Internet is a sort-of pro-Linux article in Internet World. "While I still believe that Linux is not a real threat to Microsoft overall--it may take a killer asteroid colliding with the Pacific Northwest to slow Microsoft down at this point--I do see a major shift happening in a core market that Microsoft is not serving well."

Here is a C|Net series on "cheap speed." Suggestion number one for speeding up your computer: install Linux. "Linux, a Unix clone that runs on PCs, Macs, and a number of other machines, is our favorite alternative OS; it's also the most popular one."

Martin Skjöldebrand wrote in to tell us about this article, which happens to be in Swedish. He says it is quite positive; we're going to have to take his word on this one.

Caldera 1.3

This TechWeb article covers Caldera 1.3, the Vertical Business Server, Caldera Training, and the Microsoft lawsuit.

PC Week also had a relatively straightforward article about Caldera 1.3.

This (other) TechWeb article concentrates briefly on KDE then finishes out with this bit of weirdness: "Caldera and competitor Simon & Schuster publish the top two Linux titles sold at retail outlets."

S.u.S.E. Office Suite

Wired News has an article about S.u.S.E.'s "Office 99" product. "Winterton said the release of his product helps IT managers on the fence make the jump off the Windows ship because of three factors: cost, stability, and performance." Thanks to Arne Sagnes for pointing this one out.

News.com has an article as well. Quoting S.u.S.E.'s Scott McNeil: "Truly, Linux now has an office suite competitive with Microsoft Windows products".

This article in Computer Currents is a pretty straightforward description of the Office 99 product, and talks about the 5.3 install bug as well.

Intel / Netscape / Red Hat (post-announcement)

Intel, Netscape back Red Hat (C|Net) talks about the deal in general. "...Andreessen said the Red Hat investment is not meant to slight other Linux vendors."

Connections key to Red Hat deal (C|Net) talks a bit with Bob Young and concentrates on how the deal will help Red Hat to get processor information from Intel earlier in the developer cycle. Also: "In a way, the investments could be looked at as the day Linux bought a suit and shaved."

Intel, Netscape buy stakes in Red Hat Linux (The Register). "But with Intel trying to figure out how to reduce its dependency on Microsoft, and scoping Linux as a possible escape route, Netscape may actually have run into a couple of companies that it has quite a few things in common with. And could you seriously believe that Intel and Netscape just happened to both invest in Red Hat at the same time by accident?"

Intel puts its weight behind Linux - and Linus (The Register). "'The initiatives Intel is announcing today indicate the relationship between Intel and the Linux community is growing stronger,' said Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux. 'Our combined efforts will enable the expansion of Linux OS performance and services that will drive more mainstream acceptance of Linux.'"

Hats off to Linux! (BBC). "Once the preserve of self-confessed nerds, Linux is being turned into a product suddenly being supported by major companies, many of them in the anti-Microsoft camp."

Netscape, Intel put on Red Hat (Wired). "Tiny Red Hat also may pull off what giants IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard could not: unify the industry behind a single version of the Unix operating system."

Intel, Netscape back Linux vendor (TechWeb). "Although Red Hat declined to give specific information about the minority investments, control of the privately held company has not changed, said Paul McNamara, vice president of strategic relationships"

Linux grows up (The Standard). "[Intel VP] Maloney warned of the danger of spreading Linux 'too thin,' instead of focusing on what it does best now: run small to medium-sized Internet servers."

It's official (ZDNet). Not much new information. "Financial details were not disclosed"

Red Hat's Red Letter Day (ZDNet). "Torvalds... predicts Linux will continue to surge, boosted by the roll-out of Linux-based applications such as office suites and games over the next three or four years. ``That's when total world domination occurs,'' he quipped."

Muth 'the mouth' accidentally boosts Linux (The Register) is an amusing look at the comments of Microsoft exec Ed Muth.

The Linux challenge to NT in the enterprise (The Register) is a more serious and interesting look at what could happen. "But this time the execs are right, because Intel's plans for Linux will hit Microsoft right where it hurts - NT."

Intel, Netscape give boost to Microsoft rival, Linux (Boston Globe). "Microsoft marketing manager Ed Muth [predicted] that Intel's support of Linux would have relatively little impact on Microsoft's share of the operating system market." Thanks to Paul Rensing.

Microsoft, legal expert question Linux's free model (ZDNet). Some (mild, really) FUD from Microsoft, suggesting that they still don't get it. "Creating a business around Linux is a difficult task. Companies that base their business plan on only Linux have no intellectual property invested in the operating system. To Microsoft, that means no competitive advantage. 'Companies need to protect their IP territory,' said Muth. 'Otherwise, there is no reason to stay in the market.'"

Microsoft challenger gets financial backing from big high-tech names(Detroit News). This is the Associated Press wire service piece that appeared in newspapers all over the country. "During the past year, Linux has risen to the forefront among the relatively unknown products that can substitute for the Windows operating system."

Netscape leans on Linux (C|Net). "[Intel vice president] Maloney promised that Intel will take a hands-off approach to how the Linux community on the Internet functions, but he predicted that the progress of Linux would be relatively slow. Customers don't often change operating systems, he noted, and Microsoft has put enormous resources behind Windows NT."

MCI WorldCom Exec On Linux: Not So Fast (TechWeb). MCI/UUnet don't plan to switch to Linux right away. (Thanks to Bruce Ide).

The little OS that could (Wired). "'Lately, everybody has been getting this feeling that Linux is an overnight phenomenon over the last seven months,' said Torvalds. 'In fact, I've been seeing this coming for the last seven years.'"

Linux to get boost from Intel, Netscape (Network World Fusion). A brief note. "One user wondered why Intel and Netscape had waited so long." (Note this is a registration-required site. Use "cypherpunks" for both username and password if you do not wish to register).

Intel, Netscape buy into Linux vendor (Computerworld). "...it would be in Intel's best interest if operating systems other than Windows thrive..."

Hats off to Linux as Intel confirms interest (Silicon).

Intel, Netscape Invest in Linux Distributor (Internet Week).

Intel / Netscape / Red Hat (pre-announcement)

Here is the pile of articles that came out before the announcement actually happened. These articles were necessarily more speculative, but some were worthwhile.

Linux Looms Large: Intel, Netscape slap NT, will invest in Red Hat(ZDNet). This is, as far as we know, the original article which blew this event out into the open. It is still the only one which talks about the effects on the other distributions: "Making one distribution of Linux 'official' could steal market share away from the myriad Unix and Linux Platforms. What's more, it could turn Red Hat Linux into a sort-of authorized version - a scenario despised and feared by most Linux developers."

Intel & Netscape Invest In Linux (Newsbytes). "A key issue for Linux today is whether or not it can become a valid alternative for corporate users. Analysts have said that the hacker association given to Linux has kept it from taking off with businesses yet but the investments from Intel and Netscape should begin to open those doors."

Intel, Wintel: Do tell (San Jose Mercury). This one gives a better-than-most analysis of Intel's strategy, definitely worth a read. "Yes, such an event would would be a big boost for Linux and other products in the ``free software'' or ``open source'' movement... My take: It's even more interesting. And a key word is ``appliance.''"

Linux - now Intel stabs Microsoft in the front (The Register). This was one of the better pre-announcement pieces. "Can Wintel survive Linux? The news that Intel, in close cahoots with Netscape, intends to buy a share of the Linux action on Tuesday makes it doubtful, coming as it does on top of a stack of ominous signals from the chip giant." Thanks to James Cownie for the tip.

Linux Leaps Ahead: New Developments Could Put Linux in the Limelight for Good(ZDNet). Jesse Berst, once highly skeptical of Linux, continues to come around. "I've always said that Linux could become a serious challenger to Microsoft's Windows NT. This summer, I laid out the three steps necessary to make that happen.... But I was skeptical those steps would happen in time. Now it looks like Linux will get at least part of what it needs this very week." Thanks to Peter Mastren and David Morgan for telling us about this one.

Intel, Netscape Seen Investing in Linux Company (Reuters, via InternetNews.com). Not the most satisfying of articles. "Linux now has over 8 million users and is used within the Internet community, by Internet service providers and for intranet site hosting. But because the software is free and it not owned by one company, many major corporations are hesitant to use Linux, even though some claim it is more robust and less prone to crashing than Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT." They also call it "shareware".

Intel is investing in Linux - but why? (Sm@rt Reseller). "...Linux provides Intel with access to the much-coveted Internet Service Provider (ISP) Market."

Blue Chips' Backing Boosts Linux Viability (Internet Week). "According to an Intel spokesperson, the decision to aggressively back Linux was fueled by Linux's popularity among Internet service providers and the belief that Linux may find a home among enterprise customers in the near future." (Found in Linux Reviews and Articles).

How to get Windows for free (The Standard). Talks about Intel, then wanders off into the self-destruction of the "Freedows" project.

Intel, Netscape invest in Linux supplier (InfoWorld). This brief article adds little to the rest of the coverage out there.

Intel rumoured to be looking at Linux (Silicon). Another brief, unexciting piece.

Intel, Netscape stake Linux? (C|Net). More of the same.

October 1, 1998


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