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Linux in the news

What does "Press" mean? Here at Linux Weekly News we scour the planet each week looking for interesting articles that relate to Linux and the Open Source world. Not all of the articles that we find are meaningful, and unfortunately, many articles each week are simply retreads - older stories retitled and flung out under a different banner of some megamedia giant's slew of online papers. Filtering out the good articles is time consuming, but that's what we do for you, our loyal readers.

The stories that we point to in the Linux in the News page are judged by us to have some value to at least some of our readers, but don't necessarily fit into the categories covered by the other LWN pages.

Recommended Reading

Suit accuses VA Linux of deceiving investors (News.com). News.com covered the VA Linux investor lawsuit. "The suit, which also names the company's lead underwriter, Credit Suisse First Boston, says VA Linux failed to reveal in its prospectus that Credit Suisse promised shares in the stock offering to investors who pledged to buy more shares in the aftermarket at predetermined prices."

Later, Business Wire reported that the law suit was being filed by Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP on behalf of all individuals and institutional investors - i.e. as a class action law suit. Numerous other law firms posted press releases seeking to take part in the suit as the week progressed.

It should be noted that at least one of the suits wrongly refers to VA Linux as simply Linux, see this week's LWN Letters section for more on that.

Linux Plus Itanium Equals Whoosh (Wired News). Using Linux clusters for large scale computational science projects was the subject of this article from Wired. "'Because of Linux clusters -- which are cost-effective, scalable and integrate open source software with vendor solutions -- commodity-based supercomputing is now a reality. This allows us to explore nature's most exotic phenomena, such as black holes, with much more detail and at much lower cost than ever before,' Seidel said."

Modern Operating System, Interface Are Ripe for Change (Los Angeles Times). In this article from the LA Times, Jef Raskin, original project leader for the Macintosh, said that software developers in both the proprietary and open source worlds need to rethink PARC's 30 year old Altos-styled windowing interface. "People are finally beginning to realize that this interface that was developed back in the '70s and '80s isn't really hacking it," Raskin said, but there's "no revolutionary fervor anymore."


Turbolinux, Linuxcare heading toward a merger (News.com). News.com carried an article on the apparent merger plans between Linuxcare and Turbolinux. "The merger would be a dramatic change of direction for both companies." See the front page for more news on this issue.

Former Compaq execs in server start-up (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet article on a startup called RLX Technologies, which will be building servers based on Transmeta chips and Linux. "RLX is one of several start-ups designing 'ultra-dense' servers to meet the economics of Web-site hosting. For companies that house and manage thousands of computers for Internet operations, such very small machines allow them to collect more fees per square foot of computer room."

Compaq rock stars reunite (Red Herring). The Red Herring reported on the founding of RLX Technologies. "Today, servers based on Crusoe and Linux may pose a similar threat to PC servers. Because Crusoe is smaller than the Pentium, it could eventually cost less to produce than Intel's chip, while providing comparable processing power. Linux is free and rivals the performance of Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server, which retails for as much as $640."

Lineo scraps IPO (ZDNet). ZDNet took a look at Lineo's IPO withdrawal. "The canceled IPO is because of drops on the Nasdaq market, not because of problems with Lineo's own business, [CEO Bryan] Sparks said."

Prosa, EtLinux rise from the ashes (LinuxDevices.com). The former Linuxcare embedded Linux company Prosa may be resurrecting the EtLinux distribution that it lost when Linuxcare's European facilities were closed. "At this time, a restart of Prosa and EtLinux is in process, under the direction of Davide Barbieri, who was formerly the General Manager of Prosa Labs and later served as General Manager of Linuxcare Italia following Linuxcare's acquisition of Prosa."


IBM-TurboLinux Deal Pushes Windows Alternative (NewsFactor/Yahoo! News). Newsfactor examined the IBM-Turbolinux deal. "In September, IBM announced that it would spend $200 million over the next four years to build seven new Linux development centers. The role of the new Linux hubs, to be erected in Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Sydney and Bangalore, India will be to work in conjunction with local developers on Linux application software."

CollabNet inks development deals with Motorola, Mozilla (News.com). News.com also examined CollabNet's deals with Motorola and the Mozilla project. "CollabNet will host a site to help programmers collaborate on writing software for Motorola's upcoming Java-enabled iDEN cell phones. The site uses CollabNet's SourceCast service, which enables features handy for collaborative work such as mailing lists, bug-tracking and control over programming project updates. SourceCast also is at the heart of a site called Mozdev run for the Mozilla group to house projects related to Mozilla, the open-source version of the Netscape Web browser."

Free MP3.com technology takes cue from open-source movement (News.com). MP3.com announced this past week that it plans to provide free access to its extensive online music database and streaming technology to developers. "Web developers who take advantage of the offer could create their own online music locker services without paying any licensing fees, said MP3.com's Oien. In addition, consumer electronics companies could create devices, such as portable MP3 players, that tap into MP3.com's online database."


Instant Messaging on GNU/Linux, Part 2: ICQ (LinuxOrbit). In the second in a series on instant messaging solutions for Linux, LinuxOrbit reviewed three ICQ clients for Linux: GnomeICU, LICQ, and Kicq.

New Linux kernel arrives with little fanfare (Upside). Upside's look at the 2.4 release mentioned the new 2.6 pool, Microsoft's view of Linux as a threat, Corel's likely sale of its Linux division and the name change for Helix Code. "Microsoft president Steve Ballmer officially rated Linux "threat No. 1" among competitors trying to chip away at Microsoft Windows' market share."

Traffic analysis almost for free (ZDNet). ZDNet shows how to build a low cost network traffic analysis tool out of a Linux-based PC and the open sourced iptraf package. "Iptraf version 2.3.1 provides network managers with a console-based network statistics utility that is easy to install, a snap to use, and robust enough to win a permanent place in our network management toolkit."


Free software pioneer hacked over sloppy use of computer terms (Dallas Morning News). The Dallas Morning News ran a profile on Richard Stallman this past week. "Many are irritated by Dr. Stallman's boundless determination to correct the errors of sloppy computer historians and espouse the glory of the Free Software Movement. But as longtime research associate Chris Hanson told Salon magazine last year: 'Richard is a genius, a man with a clear and unusual vision, and like others before him, he comes in a quirky and difficult package.'"

Red Hat CTO looks to make running Linux less of a chore (News.com). News.com interviewed Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann. "I think Red Hat is extremely happy with the quality of people that we've been able to attract and retain at our company. The open-source community is in this relatively unique position compared to the proprietary community in that the open-source developer has complete freedom of choice about what they work on and who they work for. So I think we will continue to hire the people that we need to get our job done, but I don't think it's necessary or necessarily even proper to try to hire the entire open-source community. That's not our strategy, and that's not our plan."


Much ado about kernels (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch still thinks there's too much hoopla over the 2.4 release, and that it is just another minor step forward from 2.3. "These facilities have been around for weeks, even months, in the 2.3 development kernels. Nobody who really follows Linux is being taken by surprise, which is another reason why you don't see much rejoicing among real developers and users. If you really want to follow what's happening with the Linux kernel, read the weekly recaps in Kernel Traffic."

Frigid but fun times in the open source world (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch followed with another story stating that the Linux community, at least the commercial side of it, is moving in the right direction. "We have rebounding stock prices, new goodies from the developers, and even indirect help from our adversaries. What more could one ask for?"

Further Linux testing in store (ZDNet). eWeek said that more testing of the 2.4 kernel is expected in the near term from the Linux community, in some cases for major new features like journaling file systems. "IBM will be working with the community and contributing to further 2.4.x releases and the 2.5 kernel in the areas of Logical Volume Manager and clustering, including ongoing MOSIX projects such as scalable Web servers, cluster installations for quick configuration of a MOSIX cluster and Network RAM for large processes that span the main memory of several nodes."

Linux sails in New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald carried a couple of stories on Linux this week. The first covered one sailmaker who used a Linux cluster to help design a new sail using a new program to calculate air flow around the sail. "The entire cluster [of 8 PCs] cost $15,000. In contrast, the Linux clusters Weta Digital is using to render graphics for the Lord of the Rings films, which use SGI hardware, are costing about $15,000 a processor."

In another article, the paper reported on the merger of SCO and Caldera and the Linux marketplace in general. A shop assistant at the Auckland geek haven Dr Floppy noted, "What's hot was the German-made Suse Linux, whose $196 professional version came with six CDs of software. If you can't find what you need in there, you've really got a problem." (Thanks to Andrew Simpson for both pieces)

Microsoft Gets Some MacLove (Wired). Wired said that LinuxPPC's booth was empty at MacWorld, compared to the normally unloved Microsoft booth. "This year when Wired News visited, president Jeff Carr was sitting alone at the small booth in the Sci-Tech/Small Business section, tucked away at the back of the hall. His three-foot penguin, the famous Linux mascot, hadn't arrived, and neither had the booth's biggest attraction, a stack of free installer CDs."

But Kai Staats replied that Terra Soft Solutions was faring much better. "And now, nearly one third of the booth attendees are repeat customers, upgrading to our latest product or asking technical questions about Yellow Dog."

NT remains hackers' favourite (vnunet.com). According to this vnunet.com article, NT is the most attacked server platform on the Internet. "Last year saw Windows NT steaming ahead yet again as the most hacked web server operating system, with the majority of defaced pages sitting on compromised NT boxes." (Thanks to Karl Vogel)

Ex-Dell/NCR exec joins Penguin Computing. Penguin Computing announced that ex-Dell and NCR executive Marty Seyer joined the company as the new President and CEO. Founder Sam Ockman remains as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer.

Section Editor: Michael J. Hammel

January 18, 2001


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