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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.

Linux in the news

Here is a selection of generally interesting articles from this week.

  • Inter@ctive Week's Charles Babcock says that the proprietary Unix vendors should support Linux. "In exchange for conceding some small-server sales to Linux, HP, IBM and Sun would expand the Unix user community -- at the expense of Windows NT."

  • It seems like a little while since we've had a truly good, laughable FUD piece. Well, wait no longer... this PC Week hatchet job fills the bill nicely. "I've done a fairly good job of keeping my mouth shut regarding Linux until now. I felt that to even talk about Linux in a column on networking technologies was to dignify the software beyond what it deserved." As always, please try to keep the high moral ground if you reply to the author. Flames will only solidify his position. (Thanks to Larry Davison).

  • Nicholas Petreley has "An unabashed FUD piece on the future of Windows NT" in LinuxWorld currently. It's a view of NT with the Halloween documents as a backdrop. It's worth a read, as is most of Petreley's stuff.

  • While we're on NT FUD pieces, This John Dvorak column which never mentions Linux is worth a read anyway. Mr. Dvorak has joined the ranks who say that NT 5.0 (aka "Windows 2000") is going to be an outright disaster. "35 million lines of code? What exactly does this thing do? And how is it supposed to become the operating system for the rest of us? By that I mean how do we find ourselves going from Windows 98 to this monster in a couple of years? Forget about it! This has disaster written all over it. Microsoft had over 3,000 bugs in Windows 95, which was under five million lines of code for sure. Folks, this is becoming a joke." (Found in OS News).

  • Fortune magazine discovers Linux in this highly positive introductory article. "Is all the activity around Linux happening because it's free? No. The main reason is that it's so reliable to begin with."

  • Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury says that IBM should release Lotus SmartSuite as an open source product. "This time, IBM should look outward, not inward. Open-source is the answer."

  • Salon Magazine compares Linus to Martin Luther. It's an amusing article, with a good picture. Check it out. "Torvalds' disciples also show the earmarks of the true believer: Giddy with empowerment, but with the memory of oppression yet fresh in their minds, they gleam with ideological fervor. This style of unbridled zeal led some of Luther's true believers to propose more radical extensions of his reforms, like the 'slaughter of the ungodly.' We can only hope that Linux sectarians will propose more moderate courses of action." (Thanks to Robert Graziani).

Quite a bit of this week's press was inspired by Comdex - either by the direct Linux presence there, or by announcements that were made in that setting. These include:

  • ZDNet reports from the Comdex Linux pavillion. "At first, it's hard to tell why some of the center aisles in the out-of-the-way Sands Expo at Comdex are so crammed with people. Then you spot the penguins."

  • Steve Ballmer (briefly) on Linux in MSNBC. "We're going to think about the issue, and I don't think the advantage to Linux is that it's free. The issue is their flexibility opening source code and how do you do that in an NT environment?"

  • MSNBC also covered the Comdex Linux Pavillion. "Melissa London, a spokeswoman for Red Hat software, expects the Linux Pavilion to be jammed, despite its locale away from the main floor."

  • Here is an interesting TechWeb article saying that, while Comdex is seen as being in decline, a strong Linux presence may serve to keep the conference relevant. "One of the busiest sections at Comdex may be the new Linux pavilion, where hardware and software developers will try to persuade attendees of the viability of their upstart open source platform." (Editor's note: the Linux Pavillion has, as we recall, been a fixture of Comdex for a while now). (Found in LinuxToday).

  • Red Hat steps up the Linux beat in PC Week talks about Red Hat's Comdex announcements.

  • Linux piques Comdex curiosity in Sm@rt Reseller is a brief piece about the Linux Pavillion.
A bit of late Halloween memo coverage trickled in, much of which claims that the importance of the memos has been overblown.
  • For example, this Internet Week column says that Linux need not worry. "Let me just reiterate that Linux sprang up very nicely in a development universe free of Microsoft. The independent community is developing faster than Microsoft can. Its very nature means it doesn't need to worry about profit or market share. So why are they suddenly popping Rolaids just because Microsoft is worried?"

  • PC Week's latest Halloween article takes a similar position. "The fact is that the Linux community can react faster than Microsoft in adopting these new extended protocols. Microsoft would be at the wrong end of the paradigm, spending a lot of money to develop new protocols while ignoring the possibility that no one needs them and that they can be reverse-engineered fairly easily for free."

  • Here's Halloween, Friday the 13th, Microsoft in Web Review. "But we don't really need to guess what Microsoft will do to combat Linux: We can just look at what it has already done."

  • Information Week ran this piece about Halloween; fairly straightforward stuff. "What the Microsoft strategy spelled out by Valloppillil fails to take into account is that by making Windows more proprietary to compete, Microsoft would essentially make Windows more difficult to integrate into a heterogeneous environment-the kind of environment that most Microsoft customers have."
There was some coverage on the "Linux in business" theme. Not too long ago this sort of press was rare; things have changed.
  • IBM hops on the Linux express says ZDNet. They talk about the DB2 beta release for Linux, now due December 7. "[IBM manager] Jones said IBM was responding to the demand for DB2 on Linux from academic institutions, and that it would freely distribute the database from its web site in the first half of next year"

  • Information Week has this longish article about growing business acceptance of Linux. "Besides the attractive price, Linux is gaining steam because of its solid business benefits." (Found in Linux Net News).

  • U.S. News and World Report ran a lengthy article about Linux. It's mostly introductory in nature, with some talk of the Halloween documents. "And then there's the weirdness factor. Even if their tech people love it, many top executives can't quite grasp the idea of tying their corporate data systems to something developed free on the Internet." (Thanks to Mike McLoughlin).

  • No FUD here...Linux: Back door to the front office in PC Week talks about rising acceptance of Linux in corporate environments. "Industry pundits say Linux is about to take off in the enterprise. IT administrators will tell you it already has." Worth a read.

    This Business Week article concludes that Microsoft need not fear Linux much; Linux is, instead, a greater threat to other Unix systems. "A winner from the Linux onslaught could be Dell. It stands alone as the only major computer maker in the server market that doesn't have its own version of Unix. If Linux were able to consolidate that market, then Dell could easily sell Linux-compatible servers while its rivals would hesitate so as not to cannibalize their own Unix product." (Thanks to Yun Ye).

Then...there is the "reviews and awards" category...

  • PC Computing has unveiled its "MVP Awards" for the year. Linux rates an occasional mention, but the only winner is the Cobalt Qube, which won both the small business server and innovation of the year awards. (IIS won the web server award - no comment).

  • ZDNet compares Red Hat and Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. (The Red Hat version isn't specified, but looks like 5.1). "Despite attempts by RedHat and Caldera at simplification, their products are still Linux, which means frequent visits to the command line and a chance to get chummy with your favorite text editor."

  • LinuxWorld ran a review of S.u.S.E.'s Office Suite 99 product. The reviewer thinks it has a way to go yet.

  • PC Week ran this review of Red Hat 5.2. It's fairly insubstantial, but mostly positive. "Red Hat won't win any artistic achievement awards with its blue and red installation menus, but installation in tests was blazingly quick and reasonably easy, even when compared with Windows NT 4.0 and recently released NetWare 5."

  • Here is another review of Red Hat 5.2, this one in Information Week. This one too praises the installation proceedure. The "too hard to install" attack against Linux looks like it could be the next one to fall. "It took me less than a half-hour to perform a complete installation of Red Hat 5.2-including all of the bundled software packages, network hardware and software configuration, and display configuration-to configure an NFS share and user accounts, and to get Windows NFS clients connected to it." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • Linux has won PC World Denmark's "Innovation of the year" award for the Software category. "Linux. The 'Ugly Duckling' that turned into a beautiful swan and became - to put it briefly - the most widely used operating system for Internet servers world wide, despite the marketing muscle of the larger companies." See the award announcement for more. (Thanks to Henrik Størner and Kaare Rasmussen).

  • Linux vs. Windows 2000 is a longish article on ZDNet, looking at the server function. On one hand, the author rates the installation procedures for the to systems to be equally easy. On the other, there's lots of complaining about command lines and support. "If you're looking to set up your own server, or a server for your small business, you may very well go with Linux. The initial investment is low enough; just remember that much of the savings may be lost in time." (Thanks to Sean Shore).

And here is a set of miscellaneous and introductory, and non-English press.

For some amusement from the "doesn't get it" department, check out this letter published in The Industry Standard (scroll about halfway down). "Yes, [Linux] is free today; however, if it ever picks up steam and gets enough functionality to handle larger operations, I can guarantee you that some entity will own the rights to it, or to the service of it, and they will charge a large price. Then it will defeat its original purpose of being 'free' and 'open' and 'universal.'"

Internet World says Yes, you can build a router from a Linux box. But be prepared to upgrade it later on.

Don't forget the Bob Young/Ed Muth faceoff in Network World Fusion. Both have put in pieces saying why they think their system is better. (NW Fusion is a registration-required site).

Some coverage of this forum can also be found in this CNN article, reprinted from NW Fusion.

ZDNet UK interviews Corel's Mike Cowpland. "...we're getting WordPerfect 8 out next week to the enthusiast community - a very substantial community - and after that we're making sure our suite works with KDE ... and GNOME..."

French-capable readers may want to check out this article in Libération (in French) entitled "Linux et les logiciels libres: Vers une nouvelle utopie concrète?" ("Linux and free software: towards a new concrete utopia?"). It's a fairly academic piece about free software and capitalism. There is also an English translation of this article, thanks to Elliott W. G. Noel. (Found in NNL).

Klaus Krtschil wrote in about this brief article (in German) about HP's Firehunter and Intel's Torrent demonstration. (Babelfish translation available here).

Windows NT Magazine has run a Linux article this month. Unfortunately, it won't appear on their web site for a few months. Fortunately, Christopher Young wrote up and sent us a summary and review of this article. Thanks, Christopher!

Pål G.Larsson sent us a pointer to this article in Aftenposten. If you don't read Norwegian, however, there's not much to appreciate above (what appears to be) a university-era picture of Linus. The article is evidently about the Holloween documents and the qualities of Linux in general.

Pål also pointed out this article, also in Norwegian, which is a review of StarOffice.

This article in InfoWorld talks about the upcoming 2.2 release and the growing acceptance of Linux in general. "...the writing is on the wall: Linux is growing fast." (Thanks to Didier Legein).

Here is the Guardian article on Richard Stallman. It actually spends as much space on Eric Raymond as on rms. "Raymond's movement might be designed to exclude Stallman, but it's not one he wants to join. 'Please make it clear that I have nothing to do with Open Source,' he says. 'I do not describe what I do as Open Source. That term is a mistake.'"

"There is life after Windows" declares this article (in Portuguese) in the Brazilian "Diario de Parnambuco". It's an introductory article about KDE, primarily. (Here is the Babelfish link, but it's tough going). Thanks to Paolo Sedrez.

"Benji" sent us a pointer to Linux: It's Free, It Flexible, and It's Here to Stay (Part 2) in Intraware SubscribNews alert. It concentrates on reactions from the first article, touching on cost and support issues. There are some silly numbers being passed around, though: "With 150,000 developers reportedly working on the kernel alone, Linux has the resources and flexibility to stay nimble." No wonder the linux-kernel list is so busy...

C|Net covers the Applix OLAP offering. "It's only now that corporations are coming forward or even finding out that Linux is running in their operations."

A lot of folks sent us pointers to Transmeta-related information this week, in the wake of their new patent on (what seems to be) a multi-instruction set processor. People interested in pursuing the subject further can see, for example, this Wired News article or this one in News.com.

November 19, 1998

``Linux may be a great way for computer-literate individuals to get under the hoods of their computers for little cost, but it's nothing more than a convenient form of protest and public relations for the major software vendors that plan to support it.''
Michael Surkan, PC Week

``Linux ... retains the potential of being a successful desktop operating system. I say 'potential' because its main success is in functioning as a sleek dedicated server.''
Charles Babcock, Inter@ctive Week

``Why Microsoft is freaked out about Linux is no mystery. Redmond pretty much designed Windows NT and IIS to be the cheap Web and Intranet server platform. Along come Linux and Apache-a pair that does everything NT can do and is just a bit more stable, faster and cheaper.''
Oliver Rist, Internet Week

``Uh, what? 35 million lines of code? What exactly does this thing do? And how is it supposed to become the operating system for the rest of us? ... Folks, this is becoming a joke.''
John Dvorak, PC Magazine


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