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Recommended Reading

How Big Blue fell for Linux (Salon). Andrew Leonard has posted the next installment of his Free Software Project book on Salon; this piece looks at how IBM and Linux came together. "The story of how IBM made friends with free software hackers, from the early days when it dipped its toes into the Apache Project to its current headfirst plunge into Linux, is not the story of a carefully executed strategy. It is instead a tale of contingency, luck, a few committed engineers and a few canny executives. Its twists and turns hinge on the results of combating agendas, political maneuvering and software ambition. At its most mundane, it is a story that hints at how the battle for dominance over new software markets will be waged over the next few years." (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).

A bug in the legal code? (Salon). Salon talks with David Touretzky, the professor who gave the first amendment testimony in the New York DVD case. "What was the judge thinking? If he really wants to prevent people from telling others where to get the code, he should have made it illegal to publish the URL in any form. But that would make the fascist nature of his ruling even more painfully obvious. Instead he's opted for a fig leaf, although I can't imagine how he could do this without embarrassment." Go read it.

Patents and Licenses

Patents vs. Antipatents (Newsforge). Newsforge has printed an excellent article on patent issues and patent reform. "'The problem with our patent system is not clueless examiners,' Hargrave and Malamud write. 'The problem is a classic management bureaucracy coupled with an environment changing at the pace of Internet time. The current system is no surprise. The Congress has given the Patent Office a charge to make money ... Patent examiners are on quotas to produce more patents, not better patents.'" [Thanks to Karl Vogel].

Open source licensing battle comes to an end (Upside). Upside takes a look at recent signs of the power of the GPL, including Trolltech and Sun's recent decisions. "On Monday, both Eng and KDE project leader Matthias Ettrich cited the recent OpenOffice announcement as one of many influences on their decision to throw in the towel and add a GPL-licensed version of Qt to the company software lineup."


A Sneak Peek at Nautilus from Eazel (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet has put up this look at the latest Nautilus release; it also gets into Eazel and its relations with the GNOME project. "Commenting on the project's stability is pointless at this stage in the process: the Nautilus team put their efforts up not to provide a day-to-day file manager, but to give the community at large a chance to see what their efforts are leading up to. Our experience over several days ranged from being unable to keep it running for more than a minute to leaving it up and being able to look into various features for several hours."

Open source: KDE hits back at GNOME (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on rumors that the KDE project may be about to set up a "foundation" of its own. "But sources close to the KDE Project say the group is now leaning toward establishing an alternative to the GNOME Foundation, tentatively called the KDE League. Among the expected backers, sources said, are Linux distributors including Caldera Systems, Mandrake and SuSE."

MontaVista unveils fully preemptable Linux kernel prototype (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com reports on MontaVista's new preemptable Linux kernel. "The prototype kernel modification is currently showing better than a 10-fold improvement in worst-case kernel responsiveness, but is expected to reach gains of 100-fold or better, by the time the technology is incorporated into MontaVista's Hard Hat Linux distribution in the January 2001 timeframe."

Embedded Linux companies square off in PR shoot-out (Upside). Upside looks at MontaVista's preemptable kernel announcement. "From a strategic perspective, last week's MontaVista announcement served two purposes: first, it win over real-time application developers to the concept of working on the actual Linux kernel rather than an RTAI-derived emulation; and second, to lobby the inner circle of kernel developers such as Linux creator Linus Torvalds on the importance of including further real-time development in the upcoming 2.5 and 2.6 versions of the kernel."

Linux Getting Its Game Face On (Wired News). Wired News looks at Loki Software and its role in porting games to Linux. "But although its games have been highly acclaimed among Linux aficionados for being virtually indistinguishable from the Windows originals, Loki has made a far greater contribution to the gaming industry: In the process of converting Windows games for Linux play, the company has created a number of open-source development tools billed as an alternative to DirectX, Microsoft's set of proprietary, Windows-only game development libraries."

Investor AM: Red Hat in the spotlight (ZDNet). ZDNet looks forward to Red Hat's earnings announcement, due Thursday. "Aside from the usual top-line and bottom-line tallies, analysts are looking for fissures that could indicate problems ahead. Analysts are projecting a loss of 2 cents a share on sales of about $18.5 million to $19 million. And, oh by the way, a new CFO would be nice too."

VA Linux plunges into booming storage market (News.com). News.com covers VA's new network-attached storage system. "The product offers the ability to send email alerts to VA and customer support personnel, the company said. It also comes with Linux's new ext3 'journaling' file systems, a technology that logs file changes and therefore enables a server to recover from a crash more quickly."

Details of Nokia's MediaScreen (LinuxDevices.com). Here's a closer look into the details of Nokia's Linux-based MediaScreen. "The Mediascreen runs an embedded Linux operating system, and makes use of a unique Nokia software device, called navibars, to make it easier for viewers to locate desired programs and services."

The AIX and pains of 64-bit computing (ZDNet). This ZDNet column looks at IBM, Caldera, and Monterey. "Strong words, but ironically the commandeering of Monterey by IBM may suit Caldera's interests better than those of the pre-Caldera SCO. Having IBM maintain AIX L at the very highest end -- in the thin air of 32-CPU systems and huge installations, which Linux won't be ready to handle for a while -- leaves Caldera to concentrate on the low end where Linux and SCO 32-bit operating systems are jostling for the same mind share."

Commentary: After SCO deal, Caldera needs a Linux-Unix vision (News.com). News.com offers some advice to Caldera on how to make the SCO deal work. "To keep SCO customers from drifting to Windows 2000, Caldera must deliver a coherent road map for SCO's OpenServer and Caldera's OpenLinux and must clarify the data center UnixWare strategy for Intel's IA-64 processors (from SCO's work on Project Monterey)."

SCO slashes its work force by 19 percent (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on the SCO job cuts. "Caldera Systems CEO Ransom Love said that the bulk of the cuts would come from the SCO side, but that a few Caldera people would be cut, as well. 'This is clearly a SCO layoff, not a Caldera layoff,' Love said. 'We are simply positioning the (combined) company to be profitable before any other Linux company is.'"


Close Enough for Government Work? (LinuxNews.com). LinuxNews.com looks at open source and security especially in regard to use by the U.S. government. "Linux is up against some stern arguments against its use in secure government computing--arguments open source security experts are happily blowing apart."

Two SuSE Linux Apache Vulnerabilities Identified (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on two security problems with SuSE's version of Apache - both are difficulties with the default configuration. "One vulnerability allows a malicious user to read passwords and discern network structure while the other allows a malicious user to create or browse file directories on a Web server."

Linux VCs Coming Back? (Andover.Net). Here's an Andover.Net column on how venture capitalists are once again beginning to fund Linux businesses. "Forrester Research, among others, thinks Linux could be IBM's chance to retake its old position as the 'Infrastructure Gorilla' of the computing industry. And if IBM is betting much of its future on Linux, that's good enough for many in the venture community." (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).

Linux great and small (ZDNet). ZDNet UK looks at Beowulf clusters. "Beowulf has a way to go before it delivers cheap, high-performance, high-security computing. Not all computing operations are amenable to being spread across a lot of independent systems, and in any case the application software needs to be written specifically for clustering. But some traditional applications can use Beowulf to maximise online availability -- servers and some database systems, for instance -- so there's an attraction for ordinary business users already."

Supporting WAP in Linux (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has put up a white paper on supporting the Wireless Application Protocol in Linux. "For many in the Linux community, WAP -- the Wireless Application Protocol -- leaves a bittersweet taste because of its semi-open nature. The WAP forum is an elitist club for telecommunication giants that requires $27,500 up front and does not promote open discussion about its specifications."

Two Rivals, One Destination (ZDNet). ZDNet compares IBM's and Sun's strategies for Linux. "Most recently, IBM CEO Lou Gerstner and Sun CEO Scott McNealy have hitched a ride with the Linux parade. It's sure to be an interesting trip. Both companies hope to maintain certain proprietary ad vantages, while opening up their respective Unixes just enough to support mainstream Linux tools and user interfaces." The article spends most of its space on Solaris and AIX, though.

MS on Linux: Thanks, but no thanks (ZDNet). ZDNet talks with Microsoft product manager Doug Miller about Linux. "Microsoft knows where it doesn't want to go, Miller says, and that's headlong into the open-source camp. Microsoft wants to stay a for-profit software company that charges for products and services. And it has no use for open-source development models, he says, claiming that Microsoft's existing peer-review and beta-testing processes give Microsoft better quality control than open source can provide."

Linux can't compete (Australian IT). Here's a report in Australian IT on Bill Gates' latest comments on Linux. "'The myths of Linux just don't add up,' he said. 'It's not free unless you don't place value on the costly development and support resources it takes to make it work.'"

See also: this response from Paul Ferris in LinuxToday. "Mr Ferris said he remained confident that the marketplace would be competitive for years to come. He also said that Linux would surprise even the most clueless of market analysts and journalists by gaining a sizeable desktop share in the next couple of years." (Thanks to Gary Shears).

Is Microsoft Going Down The Tubes? (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet column suggesting that Microsoft will soon be "just another company," with Linux getting much of the credit for bringing about the change. "The usual response to that by Microsoft fans is, 'But there aren't any applications!' Give me a break. You've got Sun's Star Office and VistaSource's Applixware for office work, Netscape Navigator for a browser and mail readers that aren't susceptible to Outlook Transmitted Diseases (OTD) like Melissa. That argument hasn't held water for years."


September LinuxFocus available. The September issue of LinuxFocus is now available. It includes articles on REBOL, MagicPoint, Bastille Linux, and more.

LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter. Here's the LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for September 7. As usual, it contains a comprehensive summary of events and coverage in the embedded Linux arena.

Using Postfix (BSD Today). BSD Today has put up this tutorial article on installing Postfix, an alternative mail system. "Tired of the sendmail's cryptic configuration, or do you find yourself complaining about its speed? Well then, postfix could be the MTA for you."

Gnome Games (ShowMeLinux). ShowMeLinux rates several GNOME games. "Gataxx: D+. Um. is this Othello? It looks like Othello, it plays like it. Or is Gataxx some other Shakespeare play I didn't read in high school. No help, no instructions. It's just black and white pieces, it must be easy."


Review: Think Unix (Danny Yee's Book Reviews). Danny Yee reviews Jon Lasser's Think Unix. "Rather than trying to be a detailed guide to a particular system, a comprehensive reference work, or a source of answers to particular problems, Lasser tries to teach the fundamental concepts of Unix and the Unix way of thinking. He also captures something of the way in which Unix is a way of life and a culture, not just an operating system, with a good leavening of humour, history, and hackish lore."


Software That's Free For All (MSNBC). MSNBC is running an interview with Miguel de Icaza, originally from Newsweek. "We at Gnome are developing features that we want to see in the next generation, but often people want features other than the ones we planned for. By accepting contributions from users, we've been able to make software that has a lot more features for the desktop. We have some of the most exciting software out there."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

September 14, 2000


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