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IBM will be offering commercial support for (Netfinity-based) Linux clusters, according to this ZDNet article. "While impressive, the development of Linux superclusters is still at an early stage, said UNM professor Brian Smith, co-director of the High Performance Computer Center in Albuquerque. This is not something that's ready for prime time,' Smith said, 'but it's not surprising to me that in a few months IBM will have units running able to do this stuff.'"

ZDNet looks at IBM's latest Linux announcements. "Somehow, the Linux doldrums seem to have little impact on IBM's Linux commitment. On Monday, the company announced stepped-up support of Linux on a host of platforms, ranging from ThinkPad laptops, to RS/6000 workstations, to AS/400 servers. IBM already has launched major marketing campaigns around its support of Linux on its PC servers and S/390 mainframes."

Here's an AP article on IBM's laptop announcement. "The laptops are aimed at computer professionals and scientists, two groups that have embraced Linux, said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, the head of IBM's Linux group."

News.com covers IBM's Linux announcements. "IBM today committed to preloading Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 on ThinkPad A20m and T20 models. In the third quarter, IBM promised to certify select ThinkPad models for Red Hat, SuSe and TurboLinux versions of Linux."

Here's a Boston Globe article on IBM's laptop announcement. "The ThinkPad notebook from IBM, the world's largest computer maker, will come with Linux software from Caldera Systems Inc. starting in the third quarter. IBM also will spend $6 million this year on services to help software developers create applications that run on Linux."

News.com has run a pronouncement from the Gartner Group on IBM's latest Linux announcements. "In addition, the earlier investment craze over Linux has died out, and most Linux-only companies are struggling financially. Without financial props for companies specializing in Linux hardware and open-source software, asking Linux to take on a pervasive role in enterprise architectures is that much more risky. Accordingly, enterprises must be cautious about which vendors and products they bet on. Failures among Linux companies could have strong ramifications and may put the onus on IBM and other system sellers to contribute technically and financially to the well-being of the Linux community."

Embedded & Real-Time News.

LinuxDevices.com is running a poll to determine which aspects of open source software appeal most to people designing embedded systems. It joins a set of other polls which have been running for a while. Head on over to check out the results or to add your answers.

Is Linux the Embedded Operating System of the Future? asks OpenSourceIT. "Like most corporate embedded Linux developers, however, LynuxWorks sells proprietary embedding, development, and testing software for BlueCat. And while the company has had an internal debate on the merits of opening up the source code to its original LynxOS, it has decided to keep the product as a closed platform."

Here is an article from LinuxDevices that looks at one of the new embedded products announced at this week's JaveOne Conference. "Imsys (Sweden) used the occasion of JavaOne 2000 in San Francisco to unveil an unusual new system-on-chip microprocessor that supports native on-chip Java bytecode execution -- but also runs embedded Linux."

LinuxDevices asks, "How much RAM memory and disk space does an embedded system require to run Linux?" "There are two reasons why it's difficult to answer that question with a few simple numbers. First, Linux is open source. As a result, developers possess the tools to eliminate unnecessary functionality to match the requirements of a given configuration. Secondly, embedded systems are incredibly diverse, so there are almost as many required Linux configurations as there are unique embedded systems (and that's in the tens of thousands)."

Also from LinuxDevices.com, this article on the new real-time Linux API being promoted by Lineo. "Although Cygnus (now Red Hat) proposed an alternative common API last September based on POSIX, called EL/IX, many users of RTLinux and RTAI have expressed preference for the simpler programming model offered by the two most popular real-time Linux implementations."

Open Source.

This Industry Standard column argues that the open source approach should be extended to other types of industry. "But imagine the open-source spirit moving into the manufacturing arena. General Motors (GM) could use the process to help design cars using 3D visual prototypes distributed via the Web. Participants could include style-conscious customers, fleet buyers, knowledgeable service technicians, supply-chain partners, dealers, car buffs and industrial designers."

The Washington Post looks at the Infrasearch engine. "A group of open-source developers quietly posted on the Internet last week a bare-bones search engine based on the technology behind the controversial software tool Gnutella, which lets users bypass central computing authorities and trade files directly among themselves."

ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch revisits the software license topic after getting a lot of reader feedback. "Last week I suggested that the GPL might be a better idea for one specific kind of software: reference code for interoperability standards. I still believe that, despite the vitriol. But this is a far cry from saying the GPL is universally superior to BSD, and I don't believe that at all. Neither is universally better, and neither is innately friendlier or more hostile to authors than the other. It all depends on what the author wants, and the best part of it is that the author has the choice. If you think a license is hostile, just don't use it, OK?"

CNN covers the open source release of Plan 9. "Most users of the 1995 release of Plan 9 are at research labs. Rob Pike, a director at Bell Labs, said opening the source code 'should encourage more people to experiment with it.' Plan 9 is especially well suited for running secure Web servers, he said."

Here's a look at Plan 9 from LinuxMall. "In a typical implementation as part of the infrastructure for a work group, Plan 9 allows users to customize a virtually private computing environment and then recreate it at any networked terminal, [Lucent Technologies spokesperson Patrick] Regan said. 'The system does this by delivering a private view of shared resources, including processing power, data, programs, and communication services. A more prosaic use is to simplify system administration for a community of users who may or may not know that Plan 9 is providing their connections to printers, servers, and other resources.'"

This Upside article looks at a few open source businesses. "Admittedly, the open source business model has come under fire in recent weeks. With investors suddenly demanding a faster road to profitability, companies in the commodity Linux distribution and services market are hard pressed. Fortunately for Collab.net, the company has built up a unique niche, intermediary development services, that affords multiple revenue streams."

BeOS Central has put up a lengthy editorial which criticizes Be's open source moves. "Next to the share-oriented culture that is the open-source old guard, Be's decision to open source the Tracker and Deskbar as part of a marketing effort literally reeks of trendiness and insincerity. This is because though the Tracker and Deskbar are essential parts of the BeOS desktop, they are little more than window dressing in comparison with SGI's decision to release their file system or the lean and loose, totally free code that forms the Debian GNU/Linux distribution." (Thanks to Etienne Pelaprat).

Dave thinks Open Source is a trend in this DaveNet article. "Thankfully the open source rage is on its last legs. If you're honest and made a bet on open source, and want to get help from the press and investors, here's some open source (free) advice. Play it down. "Oh that's an open source play" they will say, shaking their heads as they look for something else to hype. Like B2C and B2B, it's last year's trend. Avoid those trends like the plague."


Forbes looks at Corel's problems. "So the painful but necessary question is whether Corel is really worth saving. As a company, the answer may be no. But its products could thrive under a new company with better distribution and a more focused Internet software strategy. In fact, last November shares of Corel skyrocketed on rumors that Red Hat or some other Linux company might buy the company."

The Ottawa Citizen looks at Corel's Linux plans. "Corel's Linux sales could accelerate more quickly later this year as it introduces numerous Linux-based products. But analyst Duncan Stewart of Tera Capital Corp. in Toronto, said: 'There is no way that Corel is going to sell $20 million in Linux products this year ... when the whole U.S. market for Linux products is only about $25 million now on (an annual basis).'"

Newsbytes reports on the layoffs at Corel, which evidently total 320 people. "Corel also said the Michael Cowpland, president and chief executive officer, had decided to forego his own salary for the time being..."

Other Companies.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes the end of the VA Linux lockup period. "Many Silicon Valley employees have stood on the sidelines watching the value of their locked up shares shrivel. But few have felt the same pain as the folks at VA Linux."

Bruce Twickler, former CEO of Andover.Net, hasn't wasted any time before filing to sell 100,000 shares of his new VA Linux stock, according to this NewsTraders article. "According to the document, Twickler planned to sell the shares, worth nearly $3.8 million, on June 7, using Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's brokerage services for the deal."

Netscape has filed to sell 500,000 shares of Red Hat stock, according to this Newstraders article.

Linuxcare is out looking for more investments, according to this News.com article. "Linuxcare, a struggling provider of services for the Linux operating system, has begun its third round of funding with hopes of raising between $25 million and $35 million. The funding should be sufficient for Linuxcare to execute its plan to achieve profitability, with or without an initial public offering, said Dave LaDuke, co-founder and vice president of marketing."

Upside looks at HP's open source strategy. "In other words, Gartner says, IBM has been willing to support Linux even at the expense of AIX, because Linux is expanding the demand for IBM-licensed applications such as DB2 into markets once dominated by IBM's Unix competitors. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard, because it has less applications to offer, has adopted the strategy of backing Linux primarily in markets where it doesn't overlap with the company's own profitable HPUX offering."

According to this Network World Fusion story, SCO plans to launch its own Linux distribution. "SCO is expected to announce 32- and 64-bit versions of Linux for Intel-based servers, which will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. In early 2001, SCO plans to deliver a 32-bit Internet Infrastructure Edition that will come bundled with a Web server and other IP applications." (Thanks to Joey Maier).

Here's ZDNet's take on SCO's plans to put out a Linux distribution. "There could be downsides to SCO's move for the Linux market, however. Both Caldera and Red Hat said the introduction of any kind of non-standard Linux that might include SCO-proprietary features could result in industry fragmentation."

Collab.Net is the subject of this ZDNet article. "Founded last July, Collab.net was intended to be the source of tools and collaborative procedures following the principles of open source code development. Collab.net maintains the open source hosting site, which has 30 requests for proposals active on the site and being formulated into projects, said [founder Brian] Behlendorf."

Here's a ZDNet story about Eazel. "'I think the promise of the personal computer revolution ran into a dead end. It ended up in a cul-de-sac because of the proprietary systems,' says Andy Hertzfeld, one of the core developers of the original Apple Macintosh, who helped found Eazel."

Primeur takes a look at the "Asgard" cluster hosted at ETH Zurich. "Because the machine is worth more that 1.5 million Swiss Francs, European regulations require an open tender that has to adhere to strict rules. So who won this tender? One of the big supercomputer companies you would assume. Not so, a small Swiss company Dalco employing 8 people but with a yearly turnover in the 10 million Franc range, solved the legal issues, the technical problems, convinced the ETH they could do the job, and offered the lowest price." (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer).

The Rocky Mountain News covers a company called Kaivo, which is launching an "open source marketplace" on its web site. "Kaivo (www.kaivo.com) hopes to attract sufficient numbers of vendors to begin marketing the site to business information technology professionals by July. In addition to listing products and services for corporate customers seeking an open-source solution to specific business problems, the site will include an encyclopedia of open-source related topics."

Other Business.

This ZDNet column expresses concerns about the new (Linux-based) Gateway appliance system. "We've previously expressed our concerns about the next monopoly being based on control of what's on the Net. We'd be less reserved in our delight at the Gateway/Transmeta/AOL initiative if we didn't see a content owner, a big one at that, potentially controlling content producers' access to what could soon be enormous numbers of Net-watching-or in this case, AOL-watching-eyeballs."

ZDNet covers the release of the IA-64 developer's kit by Intel and HP. "The kit includes other relevant tools, as well, such as the standard GPC compiler updated for IA-64 from The Trillian Project -- a coalition of Caldera Systems, CERN, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, SGI, SuSE, TurboLinux and VA Linux Systems, dedicated to bringing Linux to Intel 64-bit systems. A copy of Trillian's February developers release of its 64-bit Linux operating system also is part of the Intel-HP IA-64 SDK."

Here's another a ZDNet article on the release of the IA-64 developer's kit. "While several major OS vendors have already announced support for the new chip -- including Microsoft Corp. (64-bit Windows), HP (HP-UX), IBM (Monterey64) and Novell Inc. (Modesto) -- the availability of Linux-based applications is seen as crucial to the chip's success."

This story on ZDNet is about TiVo's Linux-based set-top box. "While Microsoft's hands' are filled with other worries, Redmond could learn a few valuable lesson from tiny TiVo on how to design interfaces and software. Perhaps in this light it's not surprising that the TiVo PTR runs a Linux core on a PowerPC CPU, as the TiVo demands stability. Why? Because it's always on and always running. Seriously, there's no power switch. Plug the TiVo in and it's on, though it does go into power saving mode after a period."

ZDNet looks at whether Java can really become an Internet standard. "Sun's refusal, so far, to agree to a standards process means many open source developers - the community that developed the Sendmail mail transport agent, the Perl, Python and Tool Command Language scripting languages, the Apache Web server and other open source contributions to the Internet - have gone elsewhere. And while Sun is riding high at the moment, its assertion of control may actually be holding Java back, suggested critics like the Open Source Initiative's [Eric] Raymond. While Java is expanding, Raymond asserted that Perl, Python and Tcl are expanding just as fast and absorbing what might have been part of Java's role."

CNN surveys available distributions for the PowerPC architecture. "SuSE and Debian offer a load of configuration tools and are aimed primarily at users looking to replace the Apple operating system with Linux on old Mac hardware. TurboLinux includes several network and server administration tools with its PowerPC distribution and could be considered better suited for setting up as a server for the Web or LAN."

Troubleshooting Professional has put up a special issue on transitioning away from Microsoft products. "This month's Troubleshooting Professional details some of what you need to know in order to make an orderly transition away from the Windows platform, which we believe to be waning in viability and popularity. Linux provides most of the functionality of Windows, and provides a rich set of features and functionalities for which Windows users had not dared wish. Linux offers us an unparalleled opportunity to make our computers more useful."

Here is an article from UpsideToday, joining a host of others in speculating on the impact of the Microsoft ruling. "The trickle of venture capital into companies competing for a piece of Microsoft's (MSFT) market space may turn to a river of cash now that a judge is ordering the software giant to split in two. The big winners are likely to be middleware software makers and "anything Linux," into which venture capital firms have sunk more than $275 million for at least two years, analysts say."

From Nando Times comes this introductory piece. "For the average home user, however, Linux is still not an appealing choice. Not only does it requires some technical skill, it also doesn't run Microsoft's software for word processing and spreadsheets." (Thanks to Rami Graziani).


Byte.com takes a look at the interoperability of Linux distributions. "The Free Standards Group emerged as a combination of the Linux Standard Base project and the Linux Internationalization Initiative. The group is headed by Dan Quinlan, who had headed the Linux Standard Base project. Indeed, that's the organization's first goal: a spec, which developers can use for apps, similar to the Linux Standard Base work. With luck, people can then download or distribute apps that have a reasonable chance of running on differing distros. That doesn't happen right now. " (Thanks to Rami Graziani)


BeOpen talks with Eazel's Andy Hertzfeld. "Hertzfeld, who agrees with the notion that customizability should be a central design tenet for any Linux element, says that the company's main goal is to build the internal software tools that make life easier for users without pissing off the hardcore hackers that make up the backbone of the development process."

Olinux.com.br interviews Ronny Ko, the editor of 32BitsOnline. "If content is paramount on the web, then it is great bet, the creation of original content take a lot of time and resources. In a world where success is valued by how much revenues a company generates, 32BitsOnline/Medullas is holding its own as a private company."

BeOpen interviews Linux-Mandrake creator Gael Duval. "First, we aren't Red Hat plus KDE anymore. We have a new graphical installation which is nice. It's one of the most powerful installation toolkits available, and it's simple to use. We are very attractive from the end user point of view. Red Hat, on the other hand, is very, very targeted toward the enterprise."

Linux-Mandrake & Other Reviews.

Here's a review of Linux-Mandrake 7.1 on GnuLinux.com. It dedicates a lot of space to complaining about installation problems. "Okay, by now you probably think we really hate Mandrake, right? We still like their distro and have never had problems like this with any of their previous releases (even the betas). So, a few days later we did another fresh install. Guess what? We had none of the problems listed above. So, we maybe we can chalk all this up to bad luck."

The Duke of URL reviews Linux-Mandrake 7.1. "Linux distributions popping up everywhere, it's getting harder and harder to find quality. Fear not, because here it is. Mandrake combines the sleek desktop of KDE and Gnome with many user-friendly features often called 'The Mandrake Touch.'"

In case you've not seen enough Linux-Mandrake 7.1 reviews for one day, here's one on LinuxNewbie.org. "From the massive collection of included apps, seamless integration of XFree86 4.0, and the awesome collection of themes, this version has it all. Newbies will enjoy having virtually everything configured for them while old hands can save time downloading their favorite apps. The boot loaders Grub and LILO are there for the choosing, both dropping the 1024 cylinder problem like a bad habit. I would suggest even die hard fans of Debian and Slack to check this out."

Signal Ground reviews Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4. "After installing Caldera's Open eDesktop, I was impressed by the great similarities between the KDE desktop and MS Windows. The KDE desktop is made up of 4 primary areas: the desktop (including icons), the KPanel, the Main menu and the Taskbar. All these panels and menus are made to help a user quickly access any of the programs in an ergonomic manner."


News.com reports on Bob Young's talk in Taiwan. "The Red Hat chairman turned out to be one of the more popular speakers at the three-day conference here. Unlike other speakers, he drew applause from the audience of approximately 1,700 computer professionals and government officials for his speech, which included healthy doses of spontaneity. After a subsequent press conference, some attendees crowded the podium to get his autograph."

This Washington Post column was intended to be an "installation nightmare" story, except that the nightmare didn't happen. "I was dumbfounded to discover that installing Linux was easy. Why? Well, the world has changed. No more do you have to understand everything about Linux before you install it, downloading the many chunks of code necessary to run a complete system and getting them all to work together. That was BSW--before shrink-wrap. With companies such as Red Hat and Corel putting all the software you need in a box, the pain is (nearly) gone."

ZDNet ran this lengthy article on the state of Linux gaming. It's getting better, they say. "Yet, for all the confusion, the potential is there. Most audio and controller drivers are included in the major distributions of Linux, which makes the majority of installations a snap. Moreover, knowing how to set up 3-D may become unnecessary this summer when Precision Insight's [Darryl] Strauss believes the major distributions will begin to include a stable version of Xfree86 4."

CNN has posted this IDG article from Linux Expo 2000. "That stereotyped image of the Linux brigade was epitomized June 1 and 2 at Linux Expo 2000 in London by Alan Cox, one of the Linux world's gods. As the first speaker, he appeared for all the world as if he'd stepped out of a '60s time warp. Nevertheless, only two or three other hippies were present. The rest appeared to be middle and upper management types, ranging in age from their mid-twenties to at least their mid-sixties."

An Andover.Net columnist has some difficulties with Linux and USB. "And I thought, hey! Now that I have a USB mouse, and the latest Linux kernel has limited USB support, maybe, just maybe, I could try to install Linux again! I was told by several people that Corel Linux was the easiest and best distribution for newbies like me, so I picked one of those up too. All I'm going to tell you is that the whole kit and kaboodle is packed back up in the box, including the free cuddly penguin, and is up for sale on eBay. OK, I'll tell you this too: I didn't (make that couldn't) even get past the 'where do you want to install this package' screen without being unable to further navigate." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

June 15, 2000


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