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Samba 2.0 was released this week. This release has all kinds of good stuff, but a couple of things stand out. They have now bundled a web-based administration tool which should be a real boon to all those who were put off by Samba's somewhat gnarly configuration files. And, crucially, there is an implementation of the NT domain authentication protocols. Implementing these protocols was not an easy task - Microsoft has had little interest in documenting them, so a reverse engineering effort was required. Samba is now truly a better NT server than NT. The strongest of congratulations are due to the Samba team. (More info and hype: their announcement).

The business world continues to move into Linux. Here's a brief overview of some of the things that have come out this week:

  • Compaq will start selling Linux-installed servers in the U.S. shortly. These systems will run Red Hat, as a result of a partnership with that company. (More info: ZDNet).

  • Compaq will start selling Linux-installed servers in Japan. They will run Pacific HiTech's TurboLinux, the most popular distribution in that part of the world (as a result of its Japanese language support). (More info: this Sm@rt Reseller article).

  • HP will start selling Linux-installed servers in Japan. No word on which distribution they will use. Their target market is ISP's, and they will be offering training as well. (Slightly more info: Nikkei Net).

  • Gateway will start selling Linux-installed machines later this year.

  • Oracle will begin marketing its database systems and "Enterprise Resource Planning" tools in Japan starting in March. This move evidently ties in with Compaq's, leading, one would guess, to an integrated Compaq / Oracle / Pacific HiTech product. (More info: Nikkei Net).

  • Lotus will release a version of its Notes server for Linux later this year.

There is even more afoot - see the Commerce page for the rest. Once again, it adds up to an impressive sum. For those who thought 1998 was impressive, here is the message: Linux has just begun.

In this context, though, interested readers may want to have a look at this Slashdot feature written by Jeremy Lee about the dangers Linux faces as the corporations move in.

In an interesting move, Corel has sold off its Netwinder division, or, more accurately, they have traded it to Hardware Canada Computing in exchange for a 25% ownership interest in HCC. Some more information can be found in HCC's press release, which also includes an FAQ at the end.

Free software in the French government. The good folks at AFUL organized a half-day get-together with the French "Mission interministérielle pour les nouvelles technologies de l'information" to talk about the possible use of Linux in the French administration. A summary of this gathering, including the presentations, can be found (in French) on this French government site. It may also be read in something that looks like English via Babelfish. (Found in NNL).

Returning Windows for a refund? By now many of you will have seen Geoffrey Bennett's story about how he (eventually) got Toshiba to send him a refund for the (unwanted) Windows installed on his laptop. The Windows license, you see, says that if you do not accept the terms of the license the unused software should be returned for a refund. He didn't accept. His eventual success in getting a refund has raised hopes that people who run Linux-only systems can eventually get out of buying an operating system that is not useful to them.

To further these hopes, the Windows refund center has been launched on the web. Their goal is to get a large number of people to request refunds on February 15, in order to garner press attention and generally turn it into a media event. Sounds like a good idea to us.

Bay Area folks may also want to check out the Bay Area refund page set up by Rick Moen to coordinate the refund efforts there. (See also this PC Week article or this article in The Australian).

Is FUD an inappropriate term? We have been taken to task recently by a few readers for our occasional use of the term "FUD" ("fear, uncertainty, and doubt") in describing certain articles in the press. Perhaps a bit of explanation is in order. There is nothing wrong with criticism of Linux; certainly there is plenty in Linux to criticise. We certainly try not to brand criticism as FUD. However, if somebody prints statements like:

"I think it's great if you are willing to promote Linux to your boss. As long as you are aware of the risk you are taking. The risk of getting fired."
"...because few companies sell customized versions of Linux (Red Hat is an exception), there is almost no service and support for the product."
they have not engaged in criticism, they have engaged in scare tactics using inaccurate information. That is what we call FUD. Perhaps we have used the term a bit freely in the past; we'll be more restrained in the future. But the term has its place.

Blank banner ads. A few folks have informed us that the banner ads occasionally come up blank. "It's a feature." The ad network we use provides "default banners" to run when they don't have anything better. A review of their performance showed that nobody was clicking on them, and LWN was making very little money from them. So, rather than inflict useless ads on our readers, we turned them off. We didn't figure anybody would mind.

January 21, 1999


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