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Linux in the news

This week's Linux press, not surprisingly, was dominated by windows refund stories. We have a pile of those down at the end of this page. Meanwhile, here's the recommended reading for the week:
  • First Monday reports on hacking. "Hacking is discussed in the context of being a method for system development. Finally, it is argued that this system development method under certain circumstances may yield superior software artifacts." (Thanks to Dunstan Vavasour).

  • What is a business to do with all the confusion coming out of Microsoft? That's the topic of this PC Week editorial. "We think the real message to IT managers is that they need an independent technology strategy. If Microsoft's meanderings sow confusion, then managers should not lean too heavily on Microsoft as a partner. Instead, they should scan the horizon for products based on such standards as CORBA, Java and Linux."

  • Red Hat Linux wins InfoWorld's Product of the Year Award for operating systems. "Red Hat Software has definitely been an instrumental force in ushering Linux into the enterprise. In past years, Red Hat Linux won for its ease, stability, and utility as a multipurpose, low-end to midrange server platform. We selected the product again this year for continuing to build on those themes in its latest release." (Thanks to Troels Arvin).

  • Fortune Magazine has put out a hilariously cynical summary of Microsoft's defense thus far in the antitrust trial. "But no moment has been quite so Alice in Wonderland as the one we're about to see... The video begins. 'Hello,' chirps an effervescent young Microsoft employee. 'This is a demonstration of the Caldera OpenLinux operating system.' ... The young Microsoftie continues: 'The demonstration will show that Caldera's operating system provides effective functionality for end users.'" (Thanks to Marty Leisner)

  • The LinuxPower folks have put up an interview with Wichert Akkerman, the leader of the Debian project. Worth a read.

  • The folks behind the Linux in Brazil site have put together an extensive review of all word processors that run on Linux. And they mean all, proprietary and free alike. The site is in Portuguese, of course, but translations of a sort are available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Augusto Campos).

There were just a couple of introductory articles out there:

  • PC World discovers Linux with this basic introductory article. It seems almost like something from a year ago. "It won't be replacing Windows anytime soon, but a geeky, once-obscure variant of UNIX is winning the hearts and minds of a growing number of PC users."

  • The L.A. Times ran this introductory article. "'Intends' seems to be an operative word when it comes to programs that turn Linux into a user- friendly operating environment. Although Linux is well-tuned as a server operating system for professionals, it is more of a work in progress as a desktop platform for the masses."

There were lots of business-oriented articles, as usual. IBM, VA Research, and LinuxCare all got special mentions, but there was a lot of other stuff as well.

  • Perhaps the most detailed coverage thus far of IBM's plans can be found in this News.com article. "IBM is in the midst of a company-wide adoption of Linux, lifting the Unix-like technology to the status of more traditional operating systems."

  • InfoWorld reports on IBM's upcoming Linux announcements. "Some observers question whether bundling an open-source operating system might threaten proprietary software businesses surrounding AIX, including the operating system and the thousands of AIX-compatible applications. IBM officials reportedly believe the opportunity available to them in the Linux market can cover any losses they would suffer elsewhere."

  • This PC Week column tries to make the point that Linux is not IBM's most interesting offering - AS/400 is. "With its gestures of support for Linux, IBM opens people's minds, but IBM is ready to drive through that opening with a system that is more fully proven and supported."

  • The first report on IBM's plans seems to have been this PC Week article. "IBM also will lead a new trend by announcing support for more than just one commercial Linux vendor. IBM plans to announce licensing deals with several top Linux distributors, including Red Hat Software Inc., Pacific HiTech Inc., Caldera Systems Inc. and S.u.S.E." (Found in Slashdot).

  • This TechWeb article is yet another in the series about LinuxCare's opening, but they also claim that Cygnus will be announcing a Linux support program at LinuxWorld. "With corporations suddenly being faced with having to pay for support for something they didn't even know they had, it raises the questions as to whether there could be an anti-Linux backlash by corporate managers who seek to regain control by ripping out all the Linux and installing NT."

  • Folks wanting more coverage of LinuxCare's startup can find it at Inter@ctive Week or MSNBC (but it's the same article in both places).

  • The Age writes about VA Research (with a digression into the writings of Eric Raymond). "Augustin said the move to open source is so inexorable, it is likely that soon we won't even consider its existence; instead we will question when we can't get the code. He said Sun Microsystems has told all its divisions they have until the end of the year to provide road maps to move development to open source, or give good reasons why they should be exempt."

  • VA Research was also the focus of this article in Internet Week... "At a time when blue-chip names like Compaq, Dell Computer, IBM, Lotus, Oracle and Informix Corp. are tossing their hats into the Linux arena, why should anyone pay attention to an unknown company? Because it knows more about Linux than the large companies, according to VA Research founder Larry Augustin..."

  • This article in ComputerWorld is about how most IT managers still don't know what Linux is, or oppose it if they do. (ComputerWorld also doesn't know, given their frequent use of the term "shareware"). "A typical Linux-averse example is Wells Fargo & Co., a commercial bank based in San Francisco... The bank knows how to deal with blue-chip operating systems such as Windows NT and NetWare, he said. But shareware -- with little or no support -- could pose a risk, he said. The company has sought to root out unauthorized shareware installations, including at least one Linux implementation."

  • Computer Currents is carrying a Newsbytes article about the North American release of SuSE 6.0. "'We've almost sold more in the past week than we sold of (version) 5.3 in its whole distribution,' [SuSE manager] Kohlmeyer said. 'The preorders have been really strong here and the pattern is international. The German version has sold 100,000 in the past 6 weeks, compared to about 60,000 for the whole run of 5.3.'"

  • InfoWorld has handed out more "1999 Product of the Year" awards. The Industry Achievement Award goes to "Tim O'Reilly and the collaborative software community." Oracle, Sybase, and Informix won the Enterprise Development award. "I bestow this joint award in recognition of the companies' database implementations on the Linux platform this past year. The introduction of these database management solutions on Linux promotes continued growth and collaboration among open-source, commercial, and corporate developers." And the Firefighter of the year award went to a guy named Scott Anderson, who made a crucial travel agency application work properly by moving parts of it to a Linux system.
A few other miscellaneous stories of interest, including non-English articles:
  • InfoWorld columnist Bob Lewis rates several technologies for their potential for success. Linux as a server is "a winner"; on the desktop, instead, it's "iffy." (Thanks to David Morgan).

  • Here's an interesting story in The Age about Samba. "[Samba developer Andrew Tridgell] said customers were starting to demand Microsoft be compatible with Samba, edging out the larger software vendor as the locus for the network."

  • Also in The Age: a two-part piece about the "Slashdot effect." The first part is about Slashdot proper, while the second half focuses on LinuxToday and, well, LWN.

  • The Swedish paper Datateknik has put out a lengthy "white paper" on Linux that is said to be an interesting read. It's available in PDF format (in Swedish, of course) from this directory. (Thanks to Mattias Sandstr÷m).

  • For Dutch-capable readers: De underground-software mist een promotiedienst in InterMediair is a positive introductory piece. (Thanks to Mark Tetrode).

  • Also for Dutch folks: this article in De Volkskrant, which is about Linux and how it may be a threat to that large, proprietary software firm. (Thanks to Jan Christiaan van Winkel, Jaap van Bekhoven, and Pieter van den Hombergh).

Now...we know you've all been waiting breathlessly for yet another barrage of windows refund day stories. Wait no more...
  • If you want to read just one article on this topic, you can do worse than this San Francisco Chronicle story. It also includes some pictures and a quicktime movie. "Yesterday's demonstrations could be dismissed as the act of a small but vocal band of Linux fanatics. Yet computer industry analyst Rob Enderlee of Giga Information Group in Santa Clara said the protests may be only the first assault by Linux proponents on Microsoft's seemingly impenetrable fortress."

  • There are two separate articles in Wired News ( firstand second).

  • Also two in PC Week, the first geing a general piece, and the second about activities in Manhattan.

  • There is an article in the Deseret News.

  • CBS Marketwatch has a windows refund day article which looks a bit more closely at efforts to market Linux. "'Hackers are finally discovering the power of publicity,' said [Don] Marti. 'It should have been obvious. Instead of using code to improve a machine's behavior, you are using words and actions to improve a person's behavior.'"

  • ComputerWorld also has a windows refund day story which includes some brief coverage from New York City and Germany.

  • StÚfane Fermigier has sent out a summary (in French) on windows refund day events in France. (English text available (sort of) via Babelfish).

  • The Age had a windows refund day article of its own.

  • There's an article in the New York Daily News with a microscopic picture. (This is the AP article which ran in a lot of US papers).

  • MSNBCran a longer AP article (with a bigger picture).

  • Finally, there was an article in The BBC.
More articles can be found in this Slashdot topic.

February 18, 1999


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