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SuSE has announced its financial results through March 31, 1999. See their press release for the details. These results are more interesting than one might think: for the year ending in March, SuSE's revenues were just under $10 million; they have 130 employees. Remember the numbers from Red Hat's SEC filing: just under $11 million and 127 employees. The common perception is that Red Hat is by far the biggest and most successful distributor; these numbers show that SuSE is just as big.

SuSE is no longer just a European distribution either: much of their growth is attributed to increases in U.S. sales.

The clear conclusion from this release is that the Linux distribution business is not as one-sided as it sometimes seems. Competition is alive and well, and there more than one big player - even before companies like Corel move in. This is, of course, a good thing. A diversity of distributions is one of Linux's biggest strengths; it is encouraging to see that this diversity is alive and well.

Report from Linux Expo Paris. Thomas Clouet has sent us a summary of Linux Expo Paris, held on June 17-18. By this account the event was a great success, with over 5,000 attendees. There are also a dozen photos from the event.

The latest draft of a license for postfix has been distributed by the author, Wietse Venema. The original clause to which many people objected has been replaced. From our perspective, it looks much better. These comments from Henning Makholm on debian-legal indicates that he agrees. If there are no dissenters, Debian, at least, will acknowledge the license as compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), which are equivalent (at least currently) to the OSI Guideslines for Open Source software.

Eric Raymond spoke at Microsoft this week. Summaries of the event can be found on the Linux Mall and Linux Resources. As might have been expected, the talk appears to have been a somewhat contentious event.

The art of war. Matt Michie sent in an editorial titled "Microsoft and the Art of War." It's all about how Microsoft may respond to Linux and free software in general. "I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that instead of slapping together a Linux distribution they could just as easily put out MS BSD. Think about the advantages for one moment. No so called 'GPL Virus' to contaminate any of Microsoft's crown jewels, a strong developers base, binary compatibility with Linux, superior networking, and it can be modified internally without having to release any source code back."

Ten European industry leaders raise concerns about software patents is the title of this communiqué issued last week. Linus Torvalds is on the list of those worried about European software patents. " According to pioneers of the software industry, the use of patents to protect software may actually lead to less innovation, less competition and eventually job cuts in the European Software Industry instead of generating new businesses and stimulating innovation as it is often believed."

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June 24, 1999


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