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Linux in the News

Open Source.

News.com reports on the forming of the Open Source Development Lab. "Linux grew up on single-processor computers, mostly those based on Intel chips--not coincidentally, the types of computers that are easy to come by. But finding machines with two processors, much less 32, has been a lot harder for the volunteer crowd of programmers that has built Linux from scratch. As a result, Linux has shown more promise than performance in these powerful and expensive machines."

The New York Times covers the announcement of the Open Source Development Lab. " The companies were vague on details, like the size of the lab, how much it would cost and how much the project's backers would invest. The backers said the lab would be run by an independent director who would essentially choose which projects would be emphasized and which software would be tested, although they suggested that the laboratories would be accessible to Linux developers at large." The NY Times is a registration-required site.

Here's a ZDNet column about the GPL and Sun's recent adoption of it. "The GPL guarantees that IT has the ability to view, modify and redistribute source code for vital software infrastructure components. It gives IT the ability to set its own agenda independently of the schedule or plans of software vendors, and it provides a common set of resources upon which IT or third parties can build new components."

And here's another ZDNet GPL column on corporate adoption of free software. "Although the GPL model has proved it can produce robust software, it hasn't proved that it can produce large quantities of everyday applications."

The New York Times has put up a lengthy article on the adoption of open source software. It's mostly, though not entirely positive. "The two marketplace triumphs of open source, after all, are derivative rather than truly innovative. Linux is a version of the Unix operating system, and the Apache Web server was derived from software developed at the Illinois supercomputing center." The New York Times is a registration-required site. (Thanks to Jim Turley, Paul Hewitt, and Kenneth Tanzer).

LinuxMall.com has put up a conversation with Frank Hecker about the relicensing of the Mozilla code under the GPL. "Hecker believes these incompatible licenses have been holding up important progress. 'mozilla.org believed that these licensing issues were to some extent hindering the development of useful Mozilla-based applications, and so we believed it was appropriate to try and resolve the issues.'"

Andover News ran this article about OpenCOLA; it talks little about the project (which is another distributed search sort of thing) and much about its "open soft drink" promotion. "Indeed, it all started with a couple of guys from openCOLA sitting around a local Toronto pub wondering what 'the most closed source application in the world' is. Everybody started throwing out suggestions until a voice from the back called out 'it's the recipe for Coke!'" (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).


ZDNet is impressed by VA Linux Systems' latest results, but still sees difficulties in the company's future. "Given that equation, it's really hard to see VA Linux remaining as an independent company down the line. HP, IBM and Dell could all be acquirers of VA Linux -- assuming it keeps on executing. Another wild card would be Compaq (NYSE: CPQ), which needs the server help."

The Boston Globe talks with Helix Code's Nat Friedman. "A quarter-million people have already downloaded Helix Gnome from the company Web site since it was released in March. Among the small but influential clique who run Linux software on their personal computers, Helix Gnome is on its way to being the gold standard."

Upside looks at the Linux Capital Group. "Instead of incubating a whole henhouse worth of startups, the LCG basket currently contains only two eggs: Progeny Linux Systems Inc., a network computing startup headed by Debian co-founder Ian Murdock; and KnownSafe, a professional security consulting company."

LinuxDevices.com gets a preview of the Screen Media FreePad, a Linux-based, wireless web browsing and telephone system. "Although the FreePad's operating system is a standard, open platform, Screen Media does not particularly want users to download 'uncertified' software into the FreePad. Instead, to facilitate FreePad upgrades and enhancements, the company plans to create 'FreePad Software Central', a website where FreePad users can obtain the latest certified software upgrades and enhancements."

News.com reports on SGI CEO Bob Bishop's first year on the job. "The company's decision to offer Linux on Intel processors also smacks against SGI's core group of customers, although Bishop made it clear the company's MIPS-Irix strategy is separate from anything it does with Linux. 'We're not putting Linux on MIPS,' he said."

Robin Miller criticizes Corel's Linux strategy in this osOpinion piece. "Linux offered a fine opportunity for Corel to capture a new set of users for its office and graphics software. Porting WordPerfect and CorelDraw to Linux was a good decision. But the idea of making a Corel Linux distribution was so bad that it overwhelmed all the company's Linux potential and has gotten it into trouble with everyone from hard-core Open Source activists to casual desktop Linux users."

Upside looks at Indrema. "Staking its life on the belief that current software development and hardware trends sweeping the embedded systems market will continue to sweep their way into the realm of gaming consoles, the company has been showing off its L600 Entertainment system, essentially a Linux-driven set-top box with a 600 MHz processor and the potential for 100 Mbs worth of broadband connectivity."


ZDNet's Jesse Berst is concerned about the DVD ruling. "Despite freedom of speech, you still can't shout 'FIRE' in a crowded theater. Now you can't even point to the person shouting."

Upside reports on Time Warner, a plaintiff in the DVD case, which linked (via CNN, which it owns) to a DeCSS mirror site. "The case is the latest example of a large media company contradicting its legal arguments with its own actions."

ZDNet ran this column worrying about the DVD case. "My biggest concern is the contention that the act prevents even the discussion of how to decrypt the code. Excuse me? That seems like a huge infringement on our First Amendment rights."

ZDNet looks at the challenges faced by Caldera in making the SCO acquisition work. "Caldera also must navigate the tricky terrain between its newly acquired proprietary UnixWare software and its open-source Linux offerings. While it won't immediately uncork the UnixWare recipe to developers, Caldera must quickly move the product in that direction to keep from alienating the open-source faithful."

News.com reports on the good news with Linux stock prices. "Analysts said the companies' stock surge in recent weeks may not be a temporary blip but a potential indicator of longer-term gains for the volatile sector."

Here's an editorial in Computer Weekly predicting a bright future for Linux. "Open source software - together with the open standards demanded by Internet-based computing - can shift the balance between IT suppliers and users. It can force suppliers to seek profits in the real added-value areas of services and solutions rather than in a proprietory monopoly over everyday desktop tools." (Thanks to Alan J. Wylie).

An Andover.Net columnist did a survey of web servers used in the B2B market to see what they were running. "Of the 63 retail B2B websites I examined, nearly half were running an IIS server over an MS Windows platform; a third were running Solaris, usually with either Apache or a Netscape Enterprise Server. Seven firms were using Linux. Four were using BSD." (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).

Here's a ZDNet column looking at Linux on the desktop. "Linux may serve countless pages, but the number it renders could probably be totted up on the back of a bus ticket. Like it or loathe it, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the browser to have, and you might have thought that there was zero chance of it running natively on Linux. But two weeks ago Windows source-code licensee Mainsoft announced that it had secured rights to port IE to a variety of Unix platforms, including Linux. So that's one void that will soon be filled."

Computer Sweden/┼sikt has posted this column (in Swedish) on the success of Linux. "In Friday's issue we reported on Gnome, the new standardized user interface that will give Linux a more human face, which is an interesting project. But that which really make us give in for Linux is the the recognition it has gotten from many big companies." (Thanks to Daniel Petzen for the pointer and translation).

Dave Winer complains about the difficulties of being a commercial software vendor in the open source age. "So don't say Stallman created this mess. No one would have cared if Microsoft hadn't forced a decision. If they had been more relaxed about the Web, let Netscape drift, and stay on the side of developers, Microsoft would have cleaned up and we wouldn't be talking about Stallman or open source now. My opinion of course."

Here's a bizarre ZDNet column full of one-paragraph pot-shots seemingly designed to annoy just about everybody. One in particular is relevant: "Now that the KDE-Gnome rift in the Linux community is in the open, certain spinmeisters are doing their damnedest to paper over the differences and suggest it's all one big happy family. Wishful thinking. One side is going to win and there's bound to be raw hurt among the losers -- especially if they believe they backed the superior approach." The competition between the two projects was such a secret before... (Thanks to Dylan Griffiths).

News.com ponders the "Office on Linux" rumors. "Though Linux poses no immediate threat to Windows, two scenarios could change Microsoft's position regarding Office: the government succeeding in breaking up Microsoft or China moving to Linux, as it has threatened to do."


The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for August 24 is out; as always, it contains a comprehensive summary of happenings in the embedded Linux world.

The third English issue of Linux NetMag is out; it contains articles on MP3 utilities, Wine installation, Lightspeed - a program for simulating relativistic effects, and more.

LinuxOrbit has put up this column by a recovering Windows user. "Kicking the Windows habit isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The application-gap isn't nearly as wide as it once was, and the gap is closing every day. Even entertainment software on Linux is gaining fast, most notably in the sound category"


Signal Ground has put up a review of Running Linux 3rd Edition. "The value of 'Running Linux' is tremendous if you don't know much about Linux and want a quick but thorough overview. But even if you're extremely knowledgable about Linux, this book would make a handy reference to refresh your memory about a variety of topics."

LinuxDevices.com looks at the XScale CPU core from Intel. "Like the existing StrongARM processors, the new XScale core based processors will be supported by multiple suppliers of Embedded Linux. Specifically, Intel says the Intel XScale microarchitecture development platforms will contain the GNU toolchains from Red Hat, including compiler, assembler, linker, debugger, and monitor software. Additionally, according to Intel, Embedded Linux implementations optimized for XScale will be available from both LinuxWorks and MontaVista."


O Linux interviews Alan Cox. "Having seen Linux from its early days as a fun toy through to the latest figures on its usage the one thing I have learned is that predicting the future in computing is not very practical."


The Boston Globe covers the most recent Geeks With Guns event. "Call them Linux Libertarians. This subculture of hackerdom is less about guns than it is about an elaborate philosophy of a faction of freedom-loving geeks with an acute distrust for authority. To understand them is to understand the popularity of Linux, an operating system that spawned out of the insurgent 'free software' movement."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

August 31, 2000


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