Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
The character of the coverage of Linux in the press changed somewhat
this week, perhaps due to a couple of factors. The Microsoft trial is
dominating the technology headlines, with the result that many of the
mentions of Linux were made in that context. Numerous articles made
passing mention of Linux as an alternative to Windows; we have not listed
those here. It may also be true that the wave of coverage resulting from
Intel's investment in Red Hat is subsiding somewhat.
Anyway, here are the trial-related articles that are worth passing on:
- Salon Magazine's coverage is thorough and well done, as usual. Linux
comes in toward the end. "A frontal assault on
Microsoft is always going to be a losing battle. But there are
other approaches. Today, the one worth paying attention to arises
from the Linux camp of free software/open source code
advocates. They're the first Microsoft challengers who don't want
to become 'the next Microsoft' -- and that gives them both a leg up
in popular support and a strategic advantage." (Found in
- This article in The Register discusses Microsoft's use of Linux as
evidence that Windows is not a monopoly. " As regards the small
matter of Microsoft's dominant position in the OS market,
[Microsoft attorney] Warden pointed out that the company's position
is by no means unassailable, and cited Linux as the evidence. 'As
Linus Torvalds has shown, one person in Helsinki, Finland ... can
quickly write the core of a sophisticated operating system now used
by millions of people.'"
- In response to the above claim,
another article in The Register attempts to respond to Microsoft's
claim that Linux was written by a single individual. The author
estimates the true cost of Linux, thus far, to be approximately $4
billion. About another $200m is estimated as being necessary to be
truly competitive with Windows. "But the point Microsoft's
attorney was failing to make, and should have made, is that it can
be seen to be possible, from the Linux experience, for a single
individual to start a massive ball rolling, ultimately placing that
individual's innovation in a position to challenge
Microsoft.... The funny part, we reckon, is that Microsoft can't
comprehend an explanation that doesn't involve just one person
- Here is a long and reasonably interesting article about free software in
Inter@ctive Week. The setting is the Microsoft trial, but they
move past that quickly, making the point that the software world
tends to change out from under companies quickly. "If this
drive is true, it means the ability of one company to maintain a
stranglehold over any key aspect of computing will draw to an
- The Indian newspaper The Hindu has an article with
most of the usual stuff. They finish up with: "In India, in recent
weeks a few straws in the local ``hawa'' suggest that the ``poor person's
UNIX'' - Linux - is gaining increasing popularity as a desktop medium, in
this cost conscious market, precisely for the reasons Internet Explorer was
first embraced - because it is free. If enough Indian software developers
work to create Linux based utilities and Internet interfaces, this could
yet create a new operating system option here, and make Microsoft's present
troubles a non-issue."
There was a small run of introductory articles in the
overseas (non-U.S.) press.
Then, there was the negative press. Not much of it, but enough to
get a good sign of what is likely to come.
- This one in the Indian magazine
Computers Today is long and uniformly positive.
They have an interesting and different take on some
things: "Linux does not require a graphical user interface,
while NT does. Graphics require incredible amounts of disk space
and memory. The same holds true for sound files, so vital to
Microsoft's operating systems. Overall, there is consensus among IT
professionals, that Linux greatly outperforms NT." Thanks to
- Thomas Tanner sent us a link to
this story (in German) in IT-Sales. It's a general introductory
article with emphasis on Intel's investment. (For those who don't
read German, here is
the Babelfish link, but it's only a slight improvement on the
- The Financial Times has a fairly standard introductory article online. This is a
registration-required site, but the usual "cypherpunks/cypherpunks"
combination will get you in. (Found in LinuxToday).
- ABC News also ran a long introductory article,
focussing on Red Hat Software. "In the end, no
matter who sells packaged versions, Linux will remain Linux. And it will
still be available free." (Thanks to Mike Leddy).
There were actually a couple more technically oriented articles.
- Certainly one of the most striking media events of the week was
this open letter (in French)from the new head of Microsoft France, in Multimédia. It
includes, among other things, some pretty serious attacks on Linux. From
the Babelfish translation:
"Linus Torvald [sic] left the university last year to join a
Californian company. The development of Linux since slowed down
considerably. In the same way, the maintenance of each functionality of
Linux depends on the mobilization of the teams. Thus, certain
functionalities have not known updating for two years." There is
rather more than just this.
Those who want to read the whole thing can see a complete English translation pieced together from Babelfish output
(and lightly edited) by Karsten Self. There was also
a Slashdot article posted by Sengan which includes a translation of
most of the interesting parts, an extensive refutation of the attacks on
Linux, and, for the masochistic, well over 300 comments.
The obvious conclusion is that Microsoft is beta-testing its FUD strategy
in France, well away from the American antitrust circus. Expect to see
more where this came from.(Thanks to Olivier Montanuy for pointing this one
- Here is a dismissive piece in ComputerWorld entitled Looking for the Great Microsoft Alternative.
It's one of these "there's no hope"
columns. "It would be nice to believe that where shortsighted vendors
have failed, individuals and the spirit of the community will triumph. It
would be a bit like a scene from It's A Wonderful Life. But, although Linux
and Apache Software are intriguing, the reality is that the tide is slowly
going out on shareware, just as it is for the Internet standards
Some articles about Linux in the commercial world:
- TechWeb covered the upcoming 2.2 kernel release. The article is accurate so
far as it goes, though it harps on the lack of USB support (a true
shortcoming) and misses a number of 2.2 features, like greatly
improved network performance, Coda file system, etc.
- This article in The Register takes Linux to task for its lack of
support for the USB and FireWire busses, and suggests that Intel
might help address those deficiencies. (Thanks to Didier Legein).
Nicholas Petreley has discovered the Coda distributed filesystem. Coda, of course, is part
of the 2.1 development kernel, and will thus be widely available with 2.2.
- This article in Federal Computer Week talks about PC clusters in many
forms, including the Beowulf variety. They discuss LANL's "Avalon" cluster
(now up to 140 nodes) briefly.
Here's a grab-bag of the other articles that came out this week:
WRAL TV (a Raleigh, NC TV station) has
a feature on Red Hat Software. Portions are available via
RealAudio. "Red Hat's success is attributed to its customer
support and reliability. Young says the company may double in size
soon and move into bigger quarters." (Found in LinuxToday).
- Sergey Dmitriev pointed us to "New Media News", which has a couple
of Linux-related features. Here is
one about Linus, and
another about Cobalt Networks. New Media News is actually a television
thing, seemingly associated with KRON TV in the San Francisco Bay
area. The above features were aired on this station; "RealMedia"
versions are available on the web site (click on the little "video"
thing near the top).
- Computer Reseller News
covered S.u.S.E.'s "Office Suite 99". "Sales of the suite could be
a strong indication of the number of Linux desktop users, as
opposed to server users, McNeil said. Since Linux is freely
distributed and easily downloaded, it has been difficult to gauge
precisely how many users the alternative operating system has."
- EE Times ran
an article about Avant! porting its electronic design automation
(EDA) tools to Linux. "According to Gary Smith, principal EDA
analyst at Dataquest Inc. (San Jose), the trouble with Linux is
support. He told of one EDA vendor that sold four Linux products,
all using different Linux versions, requiring four support people
for four orders. The vendors who are now adopting Linux said times
are changing. EDA on Linux has become considerably easier, they
said, due to commercial support from Red Hat Software; availability
of ancillary products, such as debuggers, under Linux; and the
desire of some customers to plug PC hardware into existing Unix
reviews Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. "With Caldera OpenLinux 1.3, Caldera
has dressed Linux up in a gray flannel suit and is sending it to
- Compaq opens up to Linux in TechWeb explores Compaq's recent
announcements. "So far, Compaq hasn't made major investments in
Linux development, nor is it offering Linux with its computers.
Instead, it will focus on ensuring that Linux works on its Intel
and Alpha computers and publish device specifications so device
drivers can be written for all of its hardware."
- Time ran
a personality piece about Linus Torvalds which would have
been better suited for a magazine like People. "Pale,
fleshy groupies surround him on all sides, adoration in their
eyes. Some are overwhelmed, speechless in his presence. Some ask
for his autograph; some just want to thank him for all that he's
done for them. Some call him a god and want to be among his
disciples, helping spread the word." (Thanks to Dwight Johnson
on the linux-biz list).
- APC Magazine has published their
Best of 1998 awards. The winner of the "Just plain cool award" is
Red Hat 5.1, and the Gimp got the "Productivity software" award.
- Also in the awards category: the Mining Company "Focus on Linux" has
announced its "Best of the net" awards.
- There is a brief mention in this Computer Currents editorial about the
state of the computer industry. "Like sex in high school,
everyone's talking about Linux, but is anyone doing it?"
- Here is an interview with Linus in Finnish. (We're told this one really is in
Finnish....) The title, evidently, is "King of the nerds," and Samuli
Karkkainen, who sent it in to us, says it's one of the best he has ever
- This Performance Computing "Unix Riot" column suggests (at the very end)
that HP may support Linux on their PA-RISC architecture.
- IBM's new release of Apache is the subject of this Sun World article.
"The new additions include technology for increasing
Apache's speed by up to three times, IBM SSL encryption technology running
on top of Apache, and a version of Apache for IBM's AS/400 line of midrange
October 22, 1998
``Like sex in high school, everyone's talking about Linux, but is anyone doing it?''
``Add in the other software bundled with the typical Linux distribution and you have an approximately $4,000,000,000 investment contained on that one single CD-ROM.''
Eric Green, in The Register
``No, he's not the Dalai Lama or Deepak Chopra or even Mark McGwire. This god is a geek who wears socks with his sandals. His name is Linus Torvalds.''