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LWN has been acquired by Tucows.com, Inc. For a full rundown of what we have done and why, please have a look at our announcement; what appears on this page can be considered an executive summary of sorts.

Why have we taken the acquisition path? While we have enjoyed our independence over the last two-plus years, we came to the conclusion last fall that the future of LWN would be better assured by working in partnership with another company. With the ability to hire staff and the help of people who actually know how to do things like run the Gimp or sell banner ads we'll be able to do a lot more with the site. Worrying less about paying the bills will enable us to worry more about producing higher quality news for our readers. Finally, the increasingly competitive nature of the Linux space forced us to look hard at how our business works and how to keep it strong in the future.

Why Tucows? We looked at a wide range of possibilities and ran up far too many frequent flier miles as we agonized over what was the best thing to do. Tucows finally stood out as a company that has a solid business model, interesting ideas for its future in the open source world, a willingness to listen to us, and a relative freedom from editorial conflicts of interest. We feel strongly that we have made a good partnership which will help LWN to grow and flourish in the coming years.

What will change? In the future, expect an increase in the breadth and quality of LWN's coverage of the free software world. Our site technology should see some much-needed improvements - with the code probably being released as open source. Certain things, however, will not change: the LWN staff will remain with the site (and in Colorado), our editorial voice will be what it has always been, and we will remain independent. Our contract with Tucows specifies, in very clear language, that Tucows will not interfere in any way with our editorial freedom.

Work started on LWN almost two and one-half years ago. It has been a wild ride, and a great time. The greatest reward from the whole thing has been the support we've gotten from our readers, and we'll never forget that. Stick with us, both Linux and LWN have just begun to show the world what they can do.

Die Linux Bierwanderung 2000. The 2000 version of the [Hiking penguin] Linux Beer Hike has been announced. This year, it will be held from July 30 to August 6 in England's Lake District. The event seems very flexible in its design: "You do not have to go on any of the hikes (some didn't last year), drink beer or even know much about Linux." It looks like a good time; somehow we are going to have to figure out a way to get an LWN reporter there to document the event...

The Microsoft verdict. LWN normally tries to avoid talking much about Microsoft - it is simply irrelevant to the free software world most of the time. It was thus tempting to let the ruling that Microsoft violated the Sherman act pass by without comment. But the fact is that when large governments take actions in the software business world, Linux and free software will certainly be affected. What sorts of effects we'll see depend on just what happens...

  • What if Microsoft is broken up? If Microsoft's applications are split apart from its operating system business, one would expect that the applications would be ported to Linux in a relatively short time. Whether you think that would be a good thing depends on your point of view. Those who are working at deploying Linux systems on business desktops would certainly find their task eased by the existence of an Office port. But those who would like to see an independent set of productivity utilities on Linux (Sun, Applix, Abiword, etc.) would find the field rather suddenly crowded. To see Linux succeed to become the platform of choice for Office would be, at best, a partial victory.

  • What if Microsoft is made to open-source Windows? Those of us who work with the Linux source tend to see the idea that people would want to jump into 40 million lines of Windows 2000 code as being rather far-fetched. But there are a lot of Windows geeks out there, and it's possible that they could take up the challenge and turn Windows into a true open source project.

    But it is worth remembering that an open-source Windows would happen only after lengthy court battles and negotiations. One could imagine Microsoft burning a year just by dragging its feet with unacceptable "open source" licenses. By the time the code hit the net, Linux will be that much further along in both development and acceptance.

  • What if nothing happens at all? For the short term, nothing is just what should be expected - there will be a whole appeals process to go through. Linux has gotten as far as it has without the benefit of government action (though some say that the antitrust case has emboldened other companies to adopt Linux). In the absence of further action, or with another "consent decree" that changes little, Linux will continue to grow and prosper. The advantages of free software are simply too strong.

In the end, it is not at all clear that free software will benefit from government action against Microsoft. Free software is on the rise because it is better economically - freedom almost always is. A large, distributed network of free software developers are doing far more to change the way we deal with software than the U.S. government will.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Source code and the US first amendment.
  • Kernel: Awash in 2.3 prepatches; the devfs pact; why no audio CD file systems for Linux?
  • Distributions: Tomsrtbt, NeoLinux, SlackReiser and more.
  • Development: Netscape 6, LinuxFailSafe, Haskell, Pliant and more development news.
  • Commerce: Rackspace.com files for an IPO.
  • Back page: Linux links and letters to the editor
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

April 6, 2000


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