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

Linux in the news

Another busy week for Linux in the press. Actually, every week is busy anymore...

We have not included "windows refund" stories in the press page this week. There are far too many of them, and they are mostly all the same. Folks interested in collecting the whole set may want to head over to The Open Directory Project windows refund page, where you can read windows refund stories all day long...

For this week's recommended reading:

  • J. William Gurley takes into the world of Big Fat Web Sites in this News.com column. BFW's are server farms built to serve the needs of very high bandwidth web servers. Gurley points out that the design needs are very different for this sort of system, and talks about the sorts of tools that engineers use. "Another interesting development is the rise of open-source computing... While few information system managers have the desire to dive deep into the source code of SAP financials, engineers assigned to scale a big Web site typically are more than willing to 'open the hood' and see if a few personalized tweaks might allow for a few more page views per minute."

  • This editorial in Doctor Dobb's Journal puts forward an interesting question: what happens when large numbers of Windows programmers get shifted over into the Linux world and start "fixing up" things they don't like? "Once even a small portion of the Linux development community gets religious about usability and human factors issues, which might only happen through a demographic shift, the product could change radically in a single major release." (Thanks to David Magda).

  • The Guardian ran a couple of articles on the 21st about Eric Raymond's talks in London, and comparing him to Richard Stallman.

    "EVERY software company would like to own the software that runs the Internet, but an American libertarian `gun nut' and martial arts expert called Eric Raymond stands in their way. `If the Microsoft ninja attack squad comes calling, I'll be ready for them,' he says, laughing heartily."

    "However, [Stallman] sees the freedom to change, to copy, and to share software as being more important than anything else, because it is an ethical issue. Raymond thinks it's more important for software to be good than for it to be free: `if we can't win by producing the best software then we don't deserve to win any moral crusades,' he says."

  • Eric Raymond has published an article in Intellectual Capital, a relatively conservative, business-oriented electronic publication. It does speak well to that audience, worth a read. "...it probably will not be long before buying closed-source software for your key infrastructure is considered the height of irresponsibility." (Found in Slashdot).

  • The (U.S.) National Public Radio ran another segment on Linux over the weekend. You can listen to it via RealAudio from this NPR page (near the bottom). It talks about installation difficulties, great performance, and the fact that the real battle is being fought in corporate computer rooms. "Imagine paying thousands of dollars for an operating system that crashes constantly. And then consider that there's a free and stable alternative." (Thanks to Michael Rutter).

  • The IEEE Software special issue on Linux is now available on the web. Articles are available in PDF format only, and registration is required (though the "cypherpunks" account works as usual).
There were a few articles on the 2.2 kernel release, perhaps fewer than one might have expected.
  • Sm@rt Reseller covers the 2.2 kernel release. "Microsoft Corp. will shout it out to the world when Windows 2000 finally ships. Linux creator Linus Torvald [sic] announced the arrival of the next generation of Linux, version 2.2, with a simple note to the Linux-kernel mailing list."

  • The "ITinfo Newsletter" ran an article about the 2.2.0 release and Linux in general. "If you're in the IT business and you haven't tested Linux yet, get with it. It's the future of IT network services, and it's a snap to install and learn." (Thanks to Henrik Soderstrom).

  • News.com had some pre-release 2.2 coverage. Their emphasis is on how the new kernel will make things work better for businesses. "Linux developers emphasize that Linux is a constant work in progress, though. Watching the kernel version click past 2.2.0 is like watching your car's odometer click past 50,000 miles." (Thanks to David Fred).

As is generally the case any more, a great portion of the coverage of Linux had to do with Linux in and around business.

  • Loki Entertainment Software is in the news, following their announcement that they will be porting "Civilization: Call to Power" to Linux. Games Mania ran a brief article on the subject. GameSpot dug just a little deeper with this piece. And here's another in News.com's GameCenter.

  • Computer Reseller News covers TurboLinux. "Of all the Linux companies, Pacific HiTech officials said they are the world's second largest, having shipped more than 1 million units of TurboLinux since 1998."

  • News.com covers the arrival of TurboLinux in the U.S. "Primarily a big player in the Asian computing market, Pacific HiTech needs to establish itself in the U.S. market, analysts and company executives say."

  • "Linux yet to impact job market" proclaims this very short ZDNet UK article. "Of the six IT recruitment firms contacted by ZDNN, none had found an increase in demand for Linux experts."

  • PC Week says Linux boxes show promise for the enterprise. The story ranges over the Netwinder (in cluster configuration), Lotus, and the Windows refund effort. "What if you are suffering an embarrassment of riches at the same time you are suffering the legal embarrassment of being labeled a marauding monopolist by the Justice Department? ... Why not refund the $100 (my estimate) Windows PC license fee for users who prefer Linux, BeOS or OS/2 on their systems?"

  • This introductory article in Business Week can't manage to say anything good without putting in a "but..." somewhere. "To sell more computers to Linux buffs, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HWP) will create Linux-based servers in the next few months, says Nigel Ball, head of HP's Internet application server unit." (Thanks to Marty Leisner).

  • Performance Computing has run a lengthy review of Xi Graphics' "MaXimum CDE" product - a bundling of Linux with their AcceleratedX server and CDE. "All in all, I found this a workable version of the CDE. It looked, felt, and acted exactly as if I were running the CDE on other systems, which is the true goal of this product."

  • Information Week reviews the Netwinder. They like it quite a bit, though, seemingly, mostly for its small size. "Once we stop revering the server as the great IT centerpiece and think of it as a commodity, new possibilities emerge. Want a backup server? Keep one in the closet. Don't even keep it turned off: Spend the watts and keep it progressively backing up the primary server's file system. Need extra security? Lock it in a file cabinet or store it in a safety deposit box."

  • The February issue of the Red Herring has a long feature on free software. The article has not yet surfaced on their web site, but should eventually (we'll let you know). "But despite the real and considerable benefits of this development model, open-source software is not likely to upset the balance of power between big players and newer entrants in the software markets. And despite the publicity surrounding a few companies that focus exclusively no open-source software, it will not be the force thast drives the next wave of startups to success." The article has also made Linus Torvalds into the Chief Technology Officer at Transmeta....

  • Linux bandwagon grows according to InfoWorld. This article covers a number of business activities around Linux, touching on HP, Compaq, IBM, and Lotus. "'I have to admit that I was skeptical about why the world needed another Unix, but the advantages are now clear to me,' said Lotus CEO Jeff Papows"

  • Linux pecking order emerges according to PC Week. The article is about the competition between Red Hat and Caldera. "On the surface, all Linux vendors claim to have a huge stake in resellers and integrators. But Caldera's channel program runs circles around those from Red Hat, S.u.S.E. Inc. and Pacific HiTech..."

  • The Age has an article about Australian company Cybersource, and its Red Hat support business. "Cybersource's business model, and that of other Red Hat support partners, is around offering the software for free, but charging for support and service."

  • The National Post looks at Compaq and Red Hat. They also mention briefly the Canadian National Railway and its use of Linux, then wander back into the same old territory: "I don't think that means the people who are using the strategy are really planning to go away from Microsoft software. They just want as viable alternative so that when they're doing negotiations they can say, 'We don't like your pricing, we're going over here." (Thanks to Ariel Andres).

  • The Washington Post examines Microsoft's "Linux defense". "Asked whether Linux poses a competitive threat to Microsoft's dominance of the desktop operating system market, [Red Hat CEO] Young chortled. 'It just tells you how desperate Microsoft is for a competitor that they're holding up a software box produced by 100 guys in the hills of North Carolina,' he said. 'Who are they trying to kid?'" (Thanks to Tony Aparicio).

  • Jesse Berst, noted expert, tells us How to persuade your boss to take the Linux plunge. "...if it is ever to join the mainstream as a bona fide rival to Windows NT, Linux will have to provide logical business reasons, not just religious zeal."

  • Also in AnchorDesk: a brief articleabout reseller programs. "In the end, the winner may be the one that jumps on the channel bandwagon first. On the surface, all Linux vendors claim to have a huge interest in resellers and integrators. But Caldera's channel program runs circles around those from Red Hat, S.u.S.E. Inc., and Pacific HiTech."
We came across a number of articles in the non-English press:
  • Here's an article (in Swedish) in Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's largest daily paper. (Thanks to Martin Skjöldebrand).

  • Dutch-capable readers may want to check out this article on the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs web site. It appears to be a quite thorough introduction to Linux, with tables comparing the distributions, pointers to documentation, etc. (Thanks to Jeroen Baten).

  • C't ran a review of SuSE 6.0. The review is in German. They do not appear to have an English version online, so Babelfishmust be used. (Thanks to Matthias Hettler).

  • For our readers who can read Icelandic: here is an article about the Icelandic version of KDE. According to Ingimar Robertsson, who sent us the pointer to the article, "The newspiece tells about the translation to Icelandic and that one of the reasons the translation project started was that the Icelandic Government had started negotiations with Microsoft about an Icelandic version of Windows."

  • Finalmente un articolo in italiano...The high profile Italian new magazine L'Espresso has published a lengthy introductory article on Linux. Here is the Babelfish link, however, be warned that something seems to cause Babelfish to choke on this article.

    So here, in your editor's poor translation, is a piece of the closing paragraph: "The most interesting, thing, though, is the economic and productive model that free software demonstrates: cooperative and distributed work, intellectual synergies, reciprocal interests which bring about the growth of a sort of communal good which belongs to everybody and nobody."

  • See also Hacker di tutto il mondo, unitevi ("Hackers of the world, unite") in the same issue, which talks of some of the protagonists of free software.

  • For those who read Danish: this article in Aktuelt evidently talks about the evils of having one company dominate the software scene, and proposes Linux as an alternative. (Thanks to Eik Kristensen).

  • Multimédium ran an article about AFUL's meeting with the office of the French Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago. (Babelfish translation available here).
And here's the introductory articles and other pieces that we were unable to otherwise classify:
  • PC Week contemplates the future of Linux in this opinion piece. "Only when Linux has the requisite infrastructure can it hope to compete with Windows 2000 over the long term."

  • ZDTV invites you to take the Supergeek challenge for Linux lovers. There are some seriously hardball questions...

    Who is credited with creating Linux?
    a. Red Hat Software
    b. Mr. John Linux
    c. Linus Torvalds
    d. No one knows

  • Here's an introductory article which ran in the India Times. Quoting a local "Internet buff": "Linux is clearly the hottest software out there... But strip away the gobbledygook and geek-talk, and you find much more than a software programme. You find a world community with enormous energy and a big heart." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • The Newspaper Association of America ran an introductory article in their "TechNews" publication. "Newspaper supplier Gannett Media Technologies International has already produced a PC-based Linux version of its Digital Collections archive that costs about a quarter of the full-fledged system price." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • The Denver Post came out with an article comparing Windows and Linux. "Linux is supposed to be a hard-core hacker's operating system, while Windows 98 is a mainstream product. The Windows wizards are supposed to shield you from horrible places like IRQ conflicts and 'SCSI Hell.' But installing Linux on an old machine took about two hours... After three weeks of intermittent struggle, I still don't have Windows 98 running, even with some help from the local gurus."

January 28, 1999


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