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Using GPL software in embedded applications (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com looks at the issues related to using GPL'd software in embedded applications and the reported fear Wind River has expressed that the GPL is impeding embedded application development. "If Wind River is really worried about the legal status of the GPL, why have they devoted substantial resources to modifying and marketing GDB as a product? We can only assume that others besides Schacker believe that the GPL protects Wind River's right to market this derived product -- that it had at least some legal plausibility."
Crafting the free-software future (Salon). Salon has run a lengthy look at SourceForge. "Not everyone welcomes the kind of collaboration underway at SourceForge. Members of the Free Software Foundation, an older, radical wing of altruistic coders, argue that SourceForge effectively is stealing its thunder. Many software projects at the site are being built by coders sharing the foundation's philosophy -- namely, that all code should be freely published for the purposes of personal liberty and collective action. But SourceForge doesn't properly promote this philosophy, says foundation leader Richard Stallman."
Peer-to-peer technology reaches millions of users (CNN). CNN examines the battle brewing between Gnutella and Freenet to replace legally encumbered Napster. "Gnutella is a decentralized system. There's no single server that tells you all the information of who's got what. So there's no single point in the continuum that you can force to shut down,' said Aram Sinnreich, senior analyst for Jupiter Media Metrix. 'If you take half of the computers that use Gnutella off the system, the other half will still work just fine."
Rival services prepare for Napster onslaught (C|Net). Gnutella is preparing for its day in the sun, though it probably won't be able to take over for Napster should they be shut down on Friday, according to a C|Net News.com report. "It's important to note that Gnutella doesn't scale like Napster,' said Kelly Truelove, chief executive of Clip2, which conducts research and consulting on peer-to-peer technologies. 'Even if Gnutella remains usable under increased load, it's not clear whether it will be usable enough."
Sun aims at peer-to-peer search with acquisition (News.com). C|Net examines Sun's entry into peer-to-peer with the start of it's Jxta project. "As a possible foundation for a wide array of Net-based services from Sun as well as other companies, the Jxta initiative was seen as potential competition for Microsoft's proprietary .Net Web services plans. Sun chief scientist Bill Joy said last month that Sun plans its own set of peer-to-peer services and wants the open-source software in place to make them possible."
Linux company Lineo resumes acquisition spree (News.com). Embedded Linux vendor Lineo looks to push further into the set-top box market through acquisitions according to a C|Net News.com report. "The planned acquisition of Convergence would mark Lineo's seventh acquisition but not its last, Ball said. Through past acquisitions, the company has increased its employee count more than tenfold, Ball added."
IBM Is Putting on the (Linux) Tux (Wired). Wired News covers IBM advertising featuring Tux the Linux penguin. "Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds has put his stamp of approval on the ad campaign, which uses strong 1960s-style psychedelic graphics -- a heart and a peace symbol along with Tux -- to appeal to ex-hippie baby boomers, whom IBM hopes will find the idea of a free, community-developed operating system appealing. "
IBM To Partners: Here's $3,000 For Linux (TechWeb). IBM has offered to pay partners up to $3000US for any of their employees who pass the LPI or Red Hat certification programs. (Thanks to Walt Smith for a workable URL.)
Big Blue spreads Linux love with new ads (News.com). Flightless water fowl will dominate the skylines of Times Square and Silicon Valley in the near future, as C|Net carries Bloomberg's report on IBM's advertising blitz for everyone's favorite mascot. "A six-story billboard is scheduled to appear in New York's Times Square late next week, and others will rise in California's Silicon Valley. They will proclaim in symbolic form: "Peace, Love & Linux." The free Linux computer operating system has long used the penguin as its mascot, and smiling portraits of the black-and- white flightless bird will dominate the pitch."
Brazil test-drives a Volkscomputer (News.com). In Brazil, the Linux-based Volkscomputer could help more people surf the Internet. "Late last year the government commissioned Vale Campos' team to design the low-budget Internet-surfing machine as a response to worries about worsening the country's social and economic inequalities by starving the poor of information technology."
China faces obstacles in Linux leap forward (News.com). This article in C|Net's News.com says Linux is not doing well in China. "So far, computers with the Windows software installed are selling briskly, even though they are 80 percent more expensive, Yu said. Customers with Linux-installed models, meantime, are asking to swap for Windows."
How to succeed at selling free software (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at how businesses can use the GPL using Zelerate as an example. "Take Zelerate, formerly OpenSales, which sells commerce and fulfillment packages starting at $25,000. Every part of its offering can be downloaded for free. Yet, according to Founder Rob Ferber, 'Customers want to pay for software'."
Can Linux make a buck? Here's how (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch thinks he's knows the secret to the almighty Linux dollar. "The Linux world has not come to grips with the task of assembling a market-savvy and aggressive field of Linux-friendly VARs and system integrators. Speaking as someone who's been involved with Unix and Linux VARs for more than a decade, I believe that there are plenty of opportunities for VARs and major service vendors to fill this gap."
Linux catching up to Windows in server market (News.com). C|Net News.com reports on the continued growth of the Linux server market. "Linux grabbed 27 percent market share in 2000, up from 25 percent the previous year. In 1999, Linux also was the fastest-growing server operating system."
Intel draws out Itanium arrival (News.com). C|Net reports on the delayed rollout of the latest chip from Intel. "Intel's Fister said computer manufacturers will unveil Itanium-based systems over a period of months. For example, IBM may introduce a Linux machine early, while Hewlett-Packard might unveil a system with its own HP-UX operating system a little later in the year, he said."
Some new shrink-wrap license terms seem tailor-made for UCITA (InfoWorld). This InfoWorld article says the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) could be a license to kill. "UCITA supporters have scoffed at the notion that publishers would use shrink-wrap licenses to prohibit public criticism of their products. Nonetheless, our friends at Network Associates seem prepared to do just that with their click-wrap license for VirusScan 5.15. ''The customer shall not disclose the results of any benchmark test to any third party without Network Associates' prior written approval,'' reads one part of its EULA, immediately followed by: ''The customer will not publish reviews of the product without prior consent from Network Associates.'' Network Associates declined to comment on why it includes these terms in the VirusScan license." (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth)
The Great Security Debate: Linux vs. Windows (osOpinion). Another in the Linux vs Windows parade, this article looks at how Linux offers tighter security options than Windows. "Microsoft operating systems such as Windows 98 and 2000 have logged enough vulnerabilities to lead a SecurityFocus.com tally in which Windows-based systems averaged nearly 70 percent more vulnerabilities in 2000 than their Linux counterparts."
Consider Apache (LinuxToday.com.au). The Australian LinuxToday looks at the Apache web server. "Since then, Apache has developed into the worlds' favourite web server. It's free, it's fast, and it runs on a very wide variety of hardware and operating systems. The combination of GNU/Linux or a *BSD variant, some cheap Intel-based hardware, and Apache has proven to be a simple and very inexpensive way to set up a web server."
Device profile: Ericsson's Bluetooth "blip" (LinuxDevices). The BLIP is a new technology aka Bluetooth Local Infotainment Point. LinuxDevices takes a close look at Ericsson's Linux-based BLIP. "The device is a tiny networked computer system with a built-in Bluetooth two-way radio. That allows it to provide information transfer to and from Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices (phones, PDAs, etc.) that come within its communications range. The blip thus establishes a localized wireless LAN, which users can freely access via their Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices."
Toshiba enters server appliance market (News.com). Toshiba's Linux-based Magnia SG10 costs $1,289 to $1,799 and, according to this C|Net News.com story, is based on a 350MHz AMD K6-2 processor with 64MB of memory. "In addition, Toshiba plans to sign up business partners who want real estate on the systems. For example, software on the system includes a link to companies that sell office supplies."
Sharp enters Linux PDA market. C|Net reports that Sharp is poised to enter the Linux PDA market sometime in October. "Osaka-based Sharp will be the first major maker of PDAs (personal digital assistants) to introduce a Linux OS-based PDA, said Hiroshi Uno, general manager of the company's mobile systems division, in an interview. The new models will be available in the United States and Europe from October, he said."
USB Modems Under Linux: D-Link's DSB-560 (SignalGround). SignalGround has this story on USB modems and Linux. "As it turns out, the Linux USB modem driver, also known as the ACM driver, works only when modem hardware designers follow some particular specs (called, surprisingly enough, "ACM"). If the hardware designers made sure the USB modem conformed to what is known as the 'Abstract Control Model', the modem would most likely work with the Linux ACM driver."
Herbert Simon (Economist). The Economist has run an obituary for Herbert Simon. "In 1978, Herbert Simon was awarded the Nobel prize for economics. What for many people would be regarded as the culmination of a life's work, Mr Simon took almost casually, a diversion. The Swedish judges at the presentation ceremony were a touch hurt to hear that artificial intelligence had been his central interest, rather than economics, although of course he was interested in that discipline too."
The GNU GPL and the American Way (ZDNet). Richard Stallman speaks his mind in this article from ZDNet. " No license can stop Microsoft from practicing "embrace and extend" if they are determined to do so at all costs. If they write their own program from scratch, and use none of our code, the license on our code does not affect them. But a total rewrite is costly and hard, and even Microsoft can't do it all the time. Hence their campaign to persuade us to abandon the license that protects our community, the license that won't let them say, "What's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine." They want us to let them take whatever they want, without ever giving anything back. They want us to abandon our defenses"
Putting a New Soul in Your PC (NY Times). The New York Times reports on a newbies experience with Linux and his comparison of the GNOME interface to the Windows and Mac worlds. "To install a niftier version of Gnome from the Ximian Web site, for example, I had to log on as the root user (administrator) in a terminal window and type "lynx -source http://go-gnome.com | sh" to start the installation, something that may require only mouse clicks with the Windows or Mac operating systems." Either of those methods, however, would make a security-aware person cringe.
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
March 8, 2001