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LinuxHQ has been yanked off the net by the domain's original owner. This move has come as a complete surprise to Jim Pick, who has maintained LinuxHQ for the last two years as a free service to the Linux community. This move is a poor way to treat somebody who has provided such a valuable site for so long. We hope that things work out and that LinuxHQ is restored, with a full explanation, in the very near future.

Meanwhile Jim has set up a new domain for the site formerly known as LinuxHQ at kernelnotes.org.

Open source exchanges. Simultaneously, two independent services which aim to connect software developers with people and organizations which wish to pay to get a development job done. Both seem to work on a variant of the web auction model, where projects are posted and interested parties can post bids to complete the job. Both will collect money for the completion of the project, take a cut, and pass the rest on to the developer. And both will insist that the results of any work contracted through their services be released under an open source license. But there are also some differences.

  • The SourceXchange is a cooperative project between O'Reilly and Hewlett-Packard; it will start, initially, with only HP offering projects. The SourceXchange has built into it an extensive peer-review mechanism - all projects will go through a review phase before being opened up to proposals. (And, almost necessarily, the peer reviewers will be paid for their efforts). Proposals and finished work will also go through a review step. There will also be a mechanism by which evaluations of the final product will be posted on the site - but only if all parties agree.

  • Cosource.com, operated by Veriteam, Inc., relies less heavily on peer review, and seems more oriented toward smaller jobs and sponsors. An interesting feature of Cosource is that it allows several independent buyers to pool their resources in order to get a job done.

In both cases, it will be interesting to see how well things work out. A bit of a leap of faith will be required on both sides. Organizations with work to be done will want some assurance that it will happen on a suitable schedule, and at a high level of quality. Developers need to know that they will be paid fairly and promptly for their efforts. Both concerns will require time and experience to settle out.

If these exchanges work, the end result could be a very positive benefit for free software in general. We wish them luck.

The ghost of Mindcraft. Microsoft has put up this challenge to the Linux community, asking for a rerun of the Mindcraft benchmarks. They claim to have addressed the concerns of the Linux community (and it seems they have, for the most part). Also included is a lengthy comparison of Windows NT and Linux, which is, not surprisingly, to the detriment of Linux. It is also not entirely factual.

The Linux community, in one form or another, probably should respond to this thing in one way or another. It sure looks like a trap, but it is at least partially one of our own making. To not respond at all would look bad. (Then again, see Nicholas Petreley's LinuxWorld column, in which he recommends that the Linux community have no more to do with it whatsoever).

And for those who wonder why Microsoft linked to us (second footnote, having to do with comparing Windows NT and Linux security), all we can say is: we have no idea...

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May 20, 1999


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