Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Much press this week was dedicated to the question of "will Linux really take over?", or "should Microsoft be worried?" Conclusions varied, of course, but the general sense seems to be that Linux will stay on a roll for a while, even if World Domination may take a little longer than some people expect.
This article in the Guardian (UK) is a reasonably well-researched introductory sort of article. The author avoids taking a position on what the future of Linux might be, and quotes both positive and negative opinions. "World domination without a revenue stream is not a philosophy readily understood in the cut-throat Silicon Valley software world..." There's also a (brief) quote from one of your co-editors at the end.
There are two columns of interest in "ent" Magazine (a Windows NT publication). The Linux Bandwagon asks "What's all the fuss about Linux?" and comes up unimpressed. "I have to conclude that Linux, with all its apparent outstanding attributes, will remain a niche player for the foreseeable future. ... it just doesn't make sense at this early juncture to make major commitments to Linux, free or not." (Thanks to Larry Davison).
A different point of view can be found in Checking the rearview mirror. This author is under the impression that a computer with 160MB of RAM should really be able to run a word processor without choking. "When the world's best-selling word processor can't support uninterrupted text input when running on the world's premier operating system, it's time to check the rearview mirror." The view in his mirror includes Linux and Apple.
Linux Gets Real is a brief editorial that appeared in ComputerWorld. The author doesn't buy the (now old) 7 million user estimate, but sees a future for Linux anyway, maybe: "Linux also has garnered a following among Microsoft's core programmer constituency. They love the freedom Linux gives them to play with source code, something Microsoft will cede when the moon turns to Swiss cheese. All of that means Linux has the spotlight virtually to itself until NT 5 materializes. Let's hope the Linux adherents in the vendor community don't screw it up."
Didier Legein sent us a pointer to this Computer Reseller News editorial entitled "Is Linux, Linux Everywhere?" It's an interesting look at the forces that are at work. "Ask corporate IT people what programming skills their staffs need, and you will hear: ``C++, Visual Basic, maybe Java.'' But ask corporate programmers what they actually develop in, and they'll say Linux and Java."
It is not entirely clear what this Washington Business Journal article is trying to say. "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft. I stumbled across this phrase the other day while reading an article about Linux, the Internet-fueled alternative to Microsoft's Windows NT that has garnered a lot of attention.... I smiled because I've been around long enough to remember how the phrase used to go: Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." But then the author goes on to talk about why one should buy Microsoft anyway.
Here's an Internet Week article about open source in general. " The equation for success, however, is changing in the software market. The Internet is the new enabler for open-source software and it could forever change software development and distribution." (Found in LinuxToday).
Then, there is this Information Week article. There's not much new in terms of information, but you have to like the author's attitude: "I predict that Linux will kick major butt."
The Linux story promises entertainment in PC Week focuses on the amusement value of watching Linux go up against Microsoft.
At Linux Speed in Performance Computing is a wandering editorial about the future of Linux. "...Linux is changing the IT technology infrastructure dramatically. To what end, we can only watch and wait. But at this rate, we won't be waiting long."
Here is a very positive Internet Week article about open source in general. "The new brands will be service brands, not package brands, and open-source software is already well-entrenched in service providers' systems, thanks to Linux."
While the articles above are surprisingly positive in their outlook, there were a few nay-sayers as well. Surprisingly few, actually. Some sort of backlash from all the good Linux press seems inevitable in the near future. Anyway, here's what we got so far:
Here is a rather discouraging piece in Internet World. They try to talk Linux down at about every opportunity, and just don't get it. Red Hat is "...a North Carolina company that has little name recognition outside of the fanatically loyal Linux community, and has probably not caused many sleepless nights for the powers that be at Microsoft." And who uses Linux? "Small, capital-constrained ISPs have been among the heaviest early users of Linux, because it allows them to get started with a minimal investment." And we thought they used it because it works...
In ZDNet: Who's afraid of big, bad Linux? This author says that Microsoft has no fear of Linux, and need not. An interesting piece. "If Linux really might dampen Windows and NT sales, wouldn't Microsoft be hard at work developing a Linux clone designed to splinter the market, as it did with Java, for example?" Thanks to Larry Davison for this one.
The really good FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) of the week, however, came from Upside Magazine. This guy thinks that Linux won't go anywhere; his only argument seems to be "nobody can beat Microsoft." Convincing. "It's a modern Unix! It's stable, superior, enriching! It's gonna get creamed." Please, if you correspond with the author, be polite, coherent, and convincing. Flames won't help. Thanks to Larry Mills-Gahl for telling us about this one.
More than one article concerned itself with Linux-installed computers from major hardware vendors (or the lack thereof).
Victor Brilon sent us a pointer to this TechWeb interview with James Love of Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology. As you would expect, it's mostly a Microsoft-bashing thing. "No major computer manufacturers will sell a computer to a regular consumer with Linux pre-installed despite the fact that there's maybe 7 to 10 [million] people right now that are using Linux and it's growing every day. Part of the reason for that is because, as the equipment manufacturers have indicated, they do not want to alienate Microsoft..." The interview is available both as text and RealAudio.
As a bit of contradiction to the above, consider this PC Week article about the growing interest in Linux on the part of the hardware manufacturers. "Red Hat's Young expects six of the top 10 PC server makers to offer Linux on their machines by next March." The article mentions Gateway, Dell, IBM, Hitachi, and Toshiba in particular. Thanks to Rob Clark for sending this one in.
This brief Sm@rt Reseller article, instead, concerns itself with Compaq. "Compaq officials hope that adding Linux to their quiver could give them the lift they need to overtake Sun Microsystems Inc., which owns nearly 40 percent of the ISP server market via its Unix wares."
Then, there was the usual run of introductory articles and other amusements.
Also, Intranets on a shoestring (ComputerWorld) is one of those "build a web server out of an old 486 and a bit of duct tape" articles. "...as the operating system matured and applications appeared, a few corporate customers began to take notice, lured by the product's flexibility, minimal system requirements and low price. By some estimates, more than a million people worldwide now use Linux, including some large corporations, and for several good reasons." "More than a million"?
Is Linux ready for publishing? asks eMedia Weekly. The answer: "There are some publishing- and graphics-oriented applications available for Linux, but industry insiders said the OS still lacks key capabilities for publishers and multimedia producers, although it is gaining popularity among Webmasters."
This Charles Babcock column in Inter@ctive Week presents a (perhaps overly) optimistic view of what Intel's support, and UDI, will do for Linux.
This PC Week Gossip column publishes a hypothesis that we've encountered more than once: "Microsoft was actually the driving force behind Intel's equity investment in Red Hat. Microsoft's Wintel partner lining up behind Linux ... will send a not-so-subtle message to the Justice Department that the Redmondians indeed have some legitimate competition in the operating system market..." The author then goes on to suggest he doesn't believe it...
Beware the Penguin, Bill in the Independent (London) is a fairly typical sort of introductory article. "Increasingly, many companies that have made the change to Linux are finding that they quite like it..."
This one is just too good...ComputerWorld News Wirein New Zealand has an article claiming that Bill Gates' new home created so much paperwork for the town of Medina, Washington, that they had to invest in a new document management system. What did they go with? "...the town looked into NT document management systems that might fit in nicely with the town's Microsoft LAN. But what the town came up with was a product that runs on Caldera's version of Linux. This product rang in at less than 10% of the price of its NT counterparts..." (Found in Slashdot).
Time for the weekly Petreley fix. This is mostly a blast against Microsoft, with some passing mentions of Linux. "Linux poses a threat to Windows because companies such as Oracle, Informix, Sybase, IBM, Corel, Dell, Intel, Netscape, and others recently pledged support for Linux. Anyone with half a brain knows these companies only had the nerve to support Linux for one reason: They know Microsoft can't risk retaliation as long as the Justice Department's case is pending." (Found in LinuxToday).
Here's an amusing Performance Computing "Unix Riot" column. "From what I've gathered, running Linux in the enterprise is similar to being gay in the military--don't ask, don't tell. I've even heard a story that when asked, a CIO type claimed he ran a 100% NT shop. However, an IS manager in the same shop claimed, off the record, that 25% of their network was running on Linux/Intel servers." (Found in Linux Reviews).
Here's a ZDNet article talking about how the recent hype around Linux is bad news for other "alternative" operating systems. "...Dataquest analyst James Slaten said the spotlight on Linux may leave BeOS in the dark. `Any overall attention that the development community is giving to one operating system takes attention away from another,' Slaten said"
Linux revolution goes 9 to 5 in C|Net explores the culture clash between Linux hackers and the corporate world. "Intel's investment into Red Hat holds the same potential for romantic deflation. With the investment, Red Hat joins the Rat Pack of corporate computing. Gone are the days of scoffing at the idiocy of corporate sales drones. Now Linux advocates will have to glad-hand them, be polite, and say nice things." The article is perhaps simplistic in its representation of both Linux and corporations, but it's worth a read anyway. (Found in Linux Reviews).
Jeffery Cann pointed out that CNN Net Radiohas an interview with Red Hat's Bob Young, available in Real Audio format. (Go to "Thursday, 2:00 PM")
Another Bob Young interview can be found in Computer Reseller News. "...even without any further announcements from anyone in the Linux space, there is going to be a rapid growth in the adoption of Linux in the enterprise marketplace..."
Those still interested in the Intel/Red Hat topic may wish to see Dwight Johnson's editorial on LinuxToday. "When we wanted free software, it seemed only logical that we invest our time and energy to create it. Now the enterprise wants free software. It is just as logical for the enterprise to make whatever investment is required to create the products the enterprise wants."
According to this ZDNet article Caldera isn't sitting still and letting Red Hat snarf up all the investors - they will be announcing some investors of their own shortly. No hint as to who those might be. Thanks to Larry Davison.
Linux groundswell continues to grow is mostly a repeat of a lot of the Red Hat/Intel press from the week before, not much new.
The Dallas Morning News ran an Introductory article this week. "When a user recently asked Bob Young, chief executive officer of Red Hat Software in North Carolina, whether he should install Linux on his PC, Mr. Young responded: 'If you have to ask the question, my general response is no.'" (Thanks to David Stokes).
Another one of those "Windows user tries Linux" series is starting up, this one by Fred Langa of CMPnet. "I can easily believe that Linux will become a player in the business computing market, but I'll also admit my prejudice: I can't believe it will be a major player." (Thanks to M. Leo Cooper).
Here is a lengthy, detailed article in The Age. Entitled "The People's Revolution," it gets into details that most mainstream media articles wouldn't go near. "Of much greater importance is the Linux documentation project. This has produced a series of 'how-to' text files that make Linux one of the best documented operating systems in the world."
Many people pointed out this Computing (UK) article entitled "Linux marches into big league". It's a general overview, including a (sparse) Linux timeline and the only mention of the Linux Standards Association we've seen for a while.
Colin Walls told us about this introductory article in the Sunday Times (London). Pretty much standard fare, but in a high profile publication.
This article in the Business Standard (India) is about the dissolution of the "Wintel" duopoly, and includes some discussion of the role Linux plays in the whole thing.
We also ran across a few articles in the non-English press. Here they are, with babelfish links where that is possible...
Linus is Bill Gates worst nightmare is the alleged title of this article, which is in Swedish. (Thanks to Patrik Stridvall).
Also in Swedish: a pair of articles, one about Intel and one about Linus. (Thanks to MaDsen Wikholm).
Håkan Aldengran pointed out an interview with Linus in Swedish. It's in RealVideo format.
October 8, 1998
Quotes of the week: