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Linux in the news

IBM and Transmeta

IBM expands Linux offerings for e-commerce servers (News.com). IBM's drive into Linux continues with the announcement of its e-commerce WebSphere server that runs on Linux, continuing its effort to bring the operating system to more of its larger server systems.

Linux - a big take off (IT-Director). IT-Director.com looks at IBM's large Linux deployment in Japan. "This implementation simply demonstrates that Linux can be a feasible solution to real world business requirements. The applications here are very 'web centered' and as such fit into an idealised Linux profile almost perfectly. At the same time IBM are providing a concrete example of their support for Linux in business, following on from their well documented public announcements of backing."

Coop's Corner: Closing the Linux credibility gap (ZDNet). In the wake of the highly publicized deployment for a Japanese retail chain, ZDNet has taken a little deeper look at IBM's jump into Linux. "But while IBM's stamp of approval counts as an important public-relations victory, Linux is still playing catch up to more mature server operating systems and it's not at all clear when it might -- or ever will -- pull even."

IBM Preps Linux Server Suite (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the IBM Small Business Suite for Linux. "Better still, IBM is providing the application programming interfaces (API) and other nuts and bolts for independent software vendors (ISV)s and integrators to add their own software applications to an installation. In practice, you should be able to install, say, your own custom medical services vertical application or a house-brew e-commerce package when you deploy the IBM suite."

IBM Uses Intel Chip Instead of Transmeta (Mobile Computing). It's been around for a day or so but we haven't pointed it out yet - here is one report on IBM's decision to drop the Crusoe chip. "IBM has decided not to use Transmeta Corp.'s energy saving Crusoe semiconductor in its Thinkpad notebook computers, instead keeping with dominant market Goliath Intel Corp.'s." (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth)

Buzz, Doubts Surround Transmeta (SF Gate Tech). While not providing any new information, this article from SF Gate Tech does give one of the better overall pictures of who Transmeta is and why people will care. "The Crusoe's real selling point turns out to be another technology, one that wasn't even part of the company's original vision: a set of power-saving techniques Transmeta calls LongRun. The technology is based on the observation that PC processors rarely need to operate at full capacity to keep up with the work thrown at them. LongRun monitors the Crusoe's workload, then adjusts the chip -- reducing clock speed and, more important, lowering voltage -- so it can keep up with the work on only a fraction of the power it consumes at full bore." (Thanks to Michael J. Miller)

Transmeta's story still has a way to go (ZDNet). Is Transmeta a good IPO bet? ZDNet looks over the financials of the chip maker and examines the up and down sides to investing in this upstart Intel opponent.

Transmeta expected to boost IPO price range (News.com). Citing strong investor demand, Transmeta is expected to boost its IPO price to between $16 and $19. With 13 million shares available, that should raise between $208 million and $247 million. "Transmeta has had losses of $119.4 million to date, according to its IPO filing. The company had $358,000 of revenue from products in the first half of this year, almost five times its $74,000 of product revenue a year earlier. In the year-earlier period, it also received $5 million of one-time technology licensing fees from IBM and Toshiba, the filing said."


VA Linux issues earnings warning (ZDNet). VA Linux issued an earnings warning that first quarter results would not meet analysts expectations. "Citing slow sales growth from dot-com customers, VA Linux Systems Inc. warned investors Monday that first-quarter results would fall short of expectations. The company, which makes Linux operating system hardware, software, and services, said it expects to post a loss of 14 to 16 cents per share for the quarter. Wall Street was expecting the loss to be around 9 cents per share, according to First Call consensus."

Mission Critical Linux names new chief operating officer (News.com). Robert Tumanic has been named Chief Operating Officer at Mission Critical Linux, where he joins Moiz Kohari, President and CEO, in helping run the company. Tumanic will replace Steve Ofsthun who has moved to Senior Vice President of Engineering.

Linuxcare aims for redemption (Upside). Upside takes a closer look at Linuxcare resurgency under the guiding arm of new CEO Art Tyde, one of the original founders and the original CEO before Fernand Sarrat, and how things got to where they are now. "With all that money on the table, the folks at Kleiner Perkins were free to make little suggestions. Eventually those little suggestions blossomed into one big suggestion: Why not bring a professional management type to run the army, leaving Tyde and his merry band of brothers to focus on the back-end machinery?"

ZDNet acquires AppWatch. CNet / ZDNet has acquired AppWatch, a Linux applications and open source repository. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Superlog public domain debut delayed (EE Times). EE Times takes a look at the problems one vendor has had in taking a proprietary language into the public domain. "[Co-Design CEO Simon] Davidmann said that as Co-Design comes closer to completing the technical phase of its [Superlog] language work, the problems with releasing the language have started to loom large. 'You can't just publish it on your Web site,' he said. 'Preserving the standard and interoperability makes things complex.'"


Penguins Unite (ZDNet). An introduction to Beowulf clusters - who has them, who makes them, and what they are - is the focus of this article from ZDNet. "One cluster, Computational Plant, or CPlant, at Sandia National Laboratories, is a 580-processor cluster that ranks 62nd on the Top 500 Supercomputing Sites list presented by the University of Mannheim and the University of Tennessee."

Netscape 6.0: Best ... or buggiest? (ZDNet). The war of words between AOL/Netscape and open source developers has heated up lately. O'Reilly author David Flanagan has raised serious issues regarding stability and standards compliance with Netscape 6.0 and asked that its release be delayed - prompting discussions and analysis.

Linux advances on several fronts (News.com). News.com has put up an article on various new ports of Linux. "With the addition of IDT's chips, which are based on a design from embedded chip company MIPS, Lineo's Linux products now run on 20 different embedded CPUs. These include Arm's Arm 7 and 9 chips; Hitachi's SH3 and SH4 chips; Intel's StrongArm 1100 and 1110 chips; Motorola's Coldfire, Dragonball, Mcore and PowerPC chips; and a variety of Intel-compatible chips, including the 386, the 486SX and DX, and Pentium."

Motorola, IBM brush up on Bluetooth (ZDNet). While the announcements expected from IBM and Motorola regarding Bluetooth in this article from ZDNet are interesting, they aren't quite as fun as the next to last paragraph: "Linux is such a pervasive programming language right now," said Daniel Jue, manager of IBM's Alphaworks division, in Cupertino, Calif.". Programming language? Assuming a proper quote by ZDNet, Mr. Jue might just deserve the Pointy Haired Boss award for the day with this line.

Thoughts on computers in voting (RISKS). Your editor happened to receive the latest copy of the RISKS Digest while waiting to see how the U.S. election went. Therein is a submission from the chair of the Iowa State Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems on the increasing use of proprietary software in voting systems, and on how that software could be subverted to distort elections. "The time has come for computer professionals to press for a change to the guidelines for voting machines, asking that all software included in such machines be either open source, available for public inspection, or at least open to inspection by a third party independent testing authority."

Fed agencies appeal to Linux vendors (ZDNet). Federal agencies asked Linux vendors at the Federal Linux Users conference to step up their efforts to promote the use of open-source software for government accounts. "The vendors responded by criticizing the onerous and outdated certification requirements imposed by the federal Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA-which, they said, are far too financially demanding for the nascent Linux industry."

Setting Patents Free (ZDNet). Another look at patents in an open source world, this time using well known Linux hacker Raph Levien as a model.

Setting Patents Free. Raph Levien sent in some patches and corrections to the previous article. "The patent grant is for GPL software only. If you want to release software under a non-GPL open source license, I'd love to have a discussion with you about royalty payments."

Cybercrime treaty gets it wrong ... again (ZDNet). ZDNet has published an opinion column on the troubles with the proposed "CyberCrime" treaty. "To be certain a particular device can withstand a denial of service attack you need the tools to create that attack. To test to see whether old vulnerabilities are reintroduced in new versions of a program it is useful to regression test with old exploits. These are basic engineering practices that will be outlawed if 'only outlaws can have exploits.'"

SDC: Get An Open-Source Plan (ZDNet). Larry Augustin talked about convincing companies to get an open source plan in his Keynote speech at the Software Developers 2000 Conference in Washington, DC. "The open-source model is also more efficient, with direct communication between users and developers, Augustin said. What's inefficient, he added, is commercial software vendors' parallel development of features on different code bases."

That Tokyo glow (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch looks at LPI's announcement of the release of LPI exams in the Japanese language. "Before I go any further, I will state up front my bias here. I played a part in the beginnings of LPI, and I'm still on its board. That's why I was sitting at the table at the press conference as a participant and not as a reporter, offering answers rather than asking the questions. The room was full -- more than 30 reporters were taking notes and/or shooting cameras."

Long live the OS wars (ZDNet). This ZDNet article takes another look at the Microsoft hack. "There are real differences between operating systems. Even though vendors try to one-up each other's claims of reliability, scalability, price/performance, there remain many price, feature and functionality differences. All OSes are not created equal. Choice is a good thing. Religious wars are seldom, if ever, won on facts. So, why should the OS wars be any different? "


Treasure Trove Looted: Digital Rights? (O'Reilly). The algorithmic paradise known as Treasure Trove has been shut down because a book publisher owns the copyright to the content on the site. Or so it seems. O'Reilly asks authors the question "Who owns your site" in this article on policy and legal issues in publishing. "A Web page is published dynamically, and it is made available to readers even while it continues to change. A book is published by printing the content on paper and binding it into what we know as a book. If the data changes, a different edition of the book is published."

Test version of new Linux kernel available (News.com). News.com looks at the 2.4.0-test10 development kernel release. "But just including the word 'final' in the latest test version of the kernel doesn't guarantee immediate results. In May, Torvalds released the first of the 2.4.0-test series of kernels, hoping that using the '2.4' nomenclature would focus programmers' attention on producing software usable by companies instead of just an interesting prototype."

Linux Power Tuning (Network Computing). Networking Computing takes a look at tuning the Linux kernel. "Also by using hdparm (specifically the -a option), you can alter the read-ahead buffering. Under the default setting, 8 KB of data in a file is read as soon as a process reads from a file, which is good on systems where files are read in their entirety. But on systems where random parts of a file may be read, such as in a database application reading records from different locations in a file, lowering this value may be helpful because such read aheads are counterproductive."

GNOME Configuration Made Easy (Linux Planet). In the first edition of a new weekly column on GNOME, Linux Planet looks at GNOME configuration issues. "The GNOME mail notification applet (found under Programs/Applets/Network/Mailcheck) has six different notification graphics. You can also run more than one of these at a time, and you can select which mailbox each monitors. If you're using procmail and have multiple mbox files, or have multiple POP accounts, this is a great way to keep track of which box has mail."

A Firewall for Linux with Ipchains (PC Quest). PC Quest has an introductory article on Ipchains, a packet-filtering firewall package. "Ipchains is so called because it deals with IP packets at the Network Layer, and the rules defined in it are based on three inbuilt chains called input chain, output chain and forward chain" (Thanks to Colin Frazer)

Unified Logons between Windows NT and UNIX (Linuxcare). Andrew Tridgell has written an in depth look at Winbind, a tool for integrating Unix and NT login identification schemes. "Integration of UNIX and Microsoft Windows NT through a unified logon has been considered a `holy grail' in heterogeneous computing environments for a long time. We present winbind, a component of the Samba suite of programs as a solution to the uni.ed logon problem. Winbind uses a UNIX implementation of Microsoft RPC calls, Pluggable Authentication Modules, and the Name Service Switch to allow Windows NT domain users to appear and operate as UNIX users on a UNIX machine."

Dual Booting (ZDNet). Mixing Linux with Windows on the same PC isn't as hard as it used to be according to this article from ZDNet. "If your machine has sufficient resources, the best way to add Linux (or another version of Windows, for that matter) may be by using a product called VMWare. With VMWare, you don't have to repartition your hard drive, and you can run one or more versions of Linux in virtual machines under the host operating system."


PhatNoise PhatBox car mp3 player (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com gets to play with all the fun toys; this time they review the PhatNoise PhatBox. "The innovative device lets consumers take high quality audio files from their PCs, and play them using the existing sound system of their cars. It's basically an mp3 jukebox, powered by an internal computer running Embedded Linux, that emulates a car CD changer."

Square D embeds Linux in power control thinserver device (LinuxDevices). Linux is used as a flash-based embedded OS in this power system monitoring & control appliance from Square D, which is reviewed in LinuxDevices.com.

Sendmail Multi Switch 2.1 Gives Powerful Features a Simple Face (Network Computing). This review from Network Computing looks at Multi Switch 2.1, the commercial version of Sendmail. "Multi Switch 2.1 is essentially version 8.10 with a smart administration console, advanced security features and the multiple queues option... [that] lets you set up and maintain multiple mail-stream queues. This allows for parallelism, especially on SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) servers and clusters. Individual queues can have their own rule sets and configuration peculiarities."

Device profile: Filanet intelligent Internet service appliance (LinuxDevices). According to the latest LinuxDevices.com device profile, the Filanet InterJak 100 is an "intelligent Internet service appliance" that runs a version of uCLinux on an ARM CPU. The device is targeted as an email and file server with gateway and firewall services. "When it came time to selecting an operating system to embed within the device, the company examined a variety of embedded OS alternatives including Nucleus, VxWorks, pSOS, and QNX. James Goodwin, Finanet senior architect, explained that the development team rapidly concluded that Linux represented the best match to their requirements."


FAQ Answer Man Talks About GIMP (LinuxNews.com). Miles O'Neal, maintainer of the GIMP FAQ, is interviewed one on one in this LinuxNews article. "I don't think it will replace Photoshop. I do think it will force Adobe to re-evaluate its approach to marketing and selling, if not designing, building and distributing, Photoshop."

Red Hat CEO still betting on the long shot (Upside). This Upside interview of Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik reveals where he comes from, what he thinks of "the stock vs the journey" discussions, and whether Red Hat is poised to succeed in the market. "In addition, there is a buzz among open source watchers that insiders moved too quickly to dump the stock. While the SEC documents show plenty of selling, it isn't quite the sellout fest of yore. Oracle has filed plans to unload 1.2 million shares; key early investor Frank Batten has cashed out 6.5 million shares (although he still has 23.6 million left). Co-founder Marc Ewing, who no longer is active in daily management, has sold 2.4 million shares. He's got 13 million left. Szulik says this is routine portfolio trading. He points that he has sold just once: In February, he cashed in 38,826 of his 2 million shares at $90.73 a share for a net of $3.5 million."


More accolades for Torvalds. Upside has started to publish their list of who they consider to be the top 100 individuals in the high tech arena. Linus comes in at number 82, for whatever that might be worth.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

November 9, 2000


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