Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Please pardon the length of this section this week; we got a little
behind on the Linux articles since we did not publish last week. Over the
last two weeks we got a lot of general and introductory articles, a fair
amount of press about Linux products, as well as articles about the
Microsoft trial and a trailing batch of columns about Comdex. We'll start
with the general interest pieces:
- P. Gopalakrishnan wrote in to point out that
the December issue of Network Magazine features Linux on the cover,
and a set of articles inside. Network Magazine requires
registration, alas, but it's worth a look anyway. "...vendors
jumping into the Linux fray also need to respect the traditions
surrounding the technology. Once any technology becomes mainstream,
it risks losing what made it special in the first place. One of the
reasons Linux has become so popular is that no single vendor
controls it, as is the case with Windows NT and several other Unix
News.com is running
a multipart article on "Microsoft's Crown Jewels" and the threats
to said jewels; one of those parts deals with Linux. "The
threat the Linux operating system poses to the long shadow that
Microsoft casts across the software market is created primarily by
the two undeniable traits at the heart of Linux's momentum: It is
largely free and it is completely open for people to tinker
with." (Thanks to Ramana Juvvadi).
- Jon "Maddog" Hall's
Performance Computing column, called "Penguin's Brew," has debuted. The
first installment is an introductory piece, clearly not aimed at
people who already work with Linux. It is, however, a high profile
placement for Linux in a mainstream trade publication.
- The folks at OS/2 Headquarters have put up
an analysis of the Halloween memos from an OS/2 advocacy point of view.
"...since MS FUD can now be expected to attack the OSS process and
community, we in the OS/2 development, advocacy, and user community
may be able to operate under the 'cover' of OSS. They will be
taking a lot of flak, and it may be possible to position OS/2 as
the 'best mix' of OSS-style innovation and rapid improvements,
combined with the ultra-careful methodology of IBM as the custodian
of the base OS. 'The thrill of OSS with the safety of IBM.' This
is not to FUD anyone, but merely to clarify the similarities and
the differences between the OS/2 community and its OSS
comtemporaries." [OSS = "Open Source Software", of course].
(Thanks to Timur Tabi).
- Here's one to show your boss:
this article in CIO magazine is a lengthy and highly positive introductory
article aimed at manager types. "Some CIOs have already
considered Linux and decided not to wait. These early adopters have
discovered the worst-kept secret on the Internet: a free operating
system that rarely crashes, runs on hardware ranging from a
386-based PC to a Sparc-based Unix server, is easy to debug and
modify, speaks IP fluently, looks like Unix in terms of how it's
administered and keeps getting better and better thanks to a
grass-roots development effort involving thousands of programmers
worldwide." They do misreport the old LSA controversy,
- Are you ready for choice in operating systems? PC Week
asks that question as they look at a world where Linux is a real
choice. Evidently having to think about what they deploy is going
to be a real strain for some folks. "As IT managers
surreptitiously deploy Linux applications, we're finally emerging
from the wishful-thinking stage and into the real world, where ROI,
uptime and performance rule. And in that real world, Linux seems to
be doing quite nicely..."
November issue of Troubleshooting Professional Magazine is dedicated to
Linux. It includes a number of articles and a lengthy tutorial.
As they say, Linux is "getting more corporationally
correct." (Thanks to P. Gopalakrishnan).
- EE Times has
an article about how free software is finally making some inroads
into the electronic design world. "Where GPL will make the most
sense, said [SureFire's] McNamara, is for utilities that don't
carry a high market value-such as his own Mac's Verilog Mode for
Emacs software, available from SureFire's Web site under GPL for
Unix, Linux and Windows. The site also offers a GPL-based Verilog
- Computerworld Canada has started a monthly column on Linux,
entitled "Free For All" and written by Evan Leibovitch.
An archiveof the columns will be available and currently holds the
first issue, entitled
The freeware movement and the Microsoft effect.
- Here is
a negative editorial in Application Development Trends magazine.
"Linux may some- day become a widespread corporate computing
platform, but it won't happen for many years to come. In the
meantime, remember the past. Promise doesn't usually become
reality -- especially in this business." (Thanks to M. Leo
a lightweight introductory article in the Arizona Republic. "Recently,
Linux seems to have been winning some champions among information
technology folks around the country. And more applications are
being written for it - nothing like what is available for Windows -
but enough to make Linux interesting, especially for people who
have wanted another choice of operating systems. It's almost
enough to make me feel sorry for Bill Gates. But not quite."
- The (Toronto) Globe and Mail has
an article of an introductory nature, with an emphasis on Red Hat.
"I asked Bob Young if he was hoping that - along with the recent
endorsements from powerhouses such as Intel and Oracle - perhaps
Big Blue might give a nod to little Red Hat. 'Since we are in
discussions with IBM,' says Young, 'I can't comment on that.'"
(Thanks to Neal Holtz).
- A reasonable introductory article can be found in
The Australian. "Essentially, Linux is a hacker's delight, and
numerous Australians have already contributed to the code
base." They also have a bit of amusing artwork.
Also in The Australian is
a brief article about an Australian textile printer shifting over to
(Thanks to Mark Jeacocke for pointing out both articles).
- Andover News Network columnist Robin Miller has run a couple of
Linux-related columns recently. First is
Linux rules for new users. Fairly introductory stuff, as one would
expect, but sensible. "Fourth, don't install all the software
that comes with the Linux distribution you selected. One problem
with Linux, for a new user, is an embarrassment of riches. A lot of
the 'packages' you see on any Linux distribution CD are utilities
you don't need unless you're going to host big web sites, run a
large network, or write your own software."
other column is about buying computers with Linux pre-installed.
"But if you buy one computer with Linux pre-installed, and
another with Windows pre-installed, I believe you'll find little
usability difference between the two."
- There is a series of letters to the editor in Windows Magazine responding to an
anti-Linux article they ran in October.
- Upside Magazine has published its
Elite 100 list for 1998. As befits this particular magazine, their
list includes most of Microsoft's upper management. However,
you'll also find Linus Torvalds in the "visionaries" section.
(Thanks to Jordi Torne).
- The Guardian
covers the Silicon Valley Tea Party. "And so 30 to 40 Linux users
turned up at the appointed hour. But the Microsoft men had
monitored their Web sites. Would Bill Gates turn out the redcoats
and massacre the Linux users in the streets of Palo Alto?"
- The December issue of PC Plus magazine has a number of Linux features, including an
What is Linux? article and a
comparison of the Red Hat and S.u.S.E. distributions.
An increasing amount of the attention Linux gets from the press has to do
with new products and corporate moves - almost as if Linux were a normal
operating system. Here's a selection from the last two weeks.
Then there's the coverage of the Netscape/AOL/Sun deal and how it relates
to Linux and free software in general.
- This ComputerWorld article talks about IBM's port of DB2 and the AFS file system.
- Also in ComputerWorld:
this one is an interview with some folks who have use Linux in a
commercial setting, including Daryll Strauss of Digital Domain.
- News.com ran an article about IBM's AFS announcement.
- The Ottawa Citizen has
an article about Corel and the Netwinder. The article has a
rather heavier dose of the "no support" FUD than usual, but is
otherwise positive. (Found in
- PC Week also has
an article about the Netwinder. "Although the new models will
be 'thin' on price, starting at about $500, company officials said
they will not be short on office applications or manageability
- iX Magazine has run a review of Oracle 8.0.5 for Linux; it's available in
German and English. They had some
trouble getting it going, but conclude: "The unproblematic migration of
existing Oracle applications and data to the new system renders Linux a
cost-effective alternative database platform." (Thanks to Olaf
- Linux goes to China is a News.com article about Pacific HiTech's
plans to sell in that country. "...on a more exotic note, Linux
can't be held hostage to international trade squabbles or even more
serious political disagreements..." (Thanks to Donald Braman
- Inter@ctive week
briefly covers Pacific HiTech's move into China. "...some business
issues still need to be resolved before it is known whether Linux
can be distributed profitably in China."
- Infoworld issued
their review of Caldera OpenLinux 1.3. Overall, they were favorably
impressed, particularly because of the KDE build. The install
procedure, on the other hand, took some knocks. Paired with this
review is Infoworld's
review of Red Hat 5.2. They were very happy with Red Hat's new install
procedure; the comments can only be described as glowing. "Red Hat's
custom installation, which I recommend, is easier than any other Linux
vendor's automatic setup." (Thanks to Didier Legein)
- C't magazine has a review of Caldera OpenLinux 1.3, available in
Englishand Germanversions. "By all accounts OpenLinux is a mature and usable
distribution, and for Caldera users the update certainly is
worthwhile. But if Caldera wants to gain marketshare from other
Linux distributions, more changes are needed yet..."
- Computer Reseller News has
an article about IBM's DB2 and the fact that it will be
downloadable for free. "'This seems to be the right thing to
do,' said Jeff Jones, program manager for data management software
- The Denver Business Journal has
an article about Treeline Technologies and their new Linux-based
server offering. "About the size of a stout daytimer, the Aspen
Server lives up to its billing at first blush. It has only three
cords, occupies little space and sets up quickly."
an article in News.com about Red Hat's and S.u.S.E.'s new support
- The (Raleigh, NC) "News and Observer" has
an article about Red Hat's increasing need for space. "Red Hat
squeezes about 75 workers into nearly 11,000 square feet in
Research Commons.... By February, when it moves into the Meridian
building, Red Hat expects to have 130 employees." They also
mention that Red Hat is opening a Silicon Valley office. (Thanks
to Robert Wagoner).
- Web Review has
an article about the Rebol language. They point out that it comes
with Red Hat 5.2 (though they don't mention that it's on the
Here's the final set of Comdex-inspired articles about Linux.
pondersthe effect of the deal on open source.
"...analyst Martin Marshall of Zona Research, in Redwood City,
Calif., said Netscape's Linux development would actually give Sun a
chance to embrace and extend Linux, just as it is doing with
Microsoft's Windows NT."
- Here's The Red Herring's take on the deal. "Sun's involvement also throws
into question the future of Netscape's support for Linux... It's not clear
how much effort Sun's sales force will put behind selling Netscape software
that runs on Linux, Windows NT, or other Solaris competitors."
Gird your loins, it's time for this week's FUD (Fear, Uncertainty,
and Doubt). Some is just silly, and some rates a bit more concern. As
always, if you respond to an article like these, try to be calm, polite,
and rational, and to retain the high moral ground.
- Computer Reseller News has
a Comdex-inspired piece about Linux in business. "Ken Jacobs,
vice president of server marketing at Oracle, Redwood Shores,
Calif., predicted Linux will become mainstream. 'It is faster than
[Windows] NT, has better support and is cheaper,' he said."
covers Linux at Comdex. "...given Linux's stability and
reliability, vendors and users alike predict that Linux has a
bright future. And more corporate IS managers are now considering
Linux as an option." (Found in
- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
discovers Linux at Comdex. The result is a fairly standard and positive
introductory article. "At the Linux pavilion, there were just
16 exhibitors, but a zealousness that was part technology and part
- A ZDTV reporter
discoveredthe Corel Linux Computer at Comdex. This brief article
characterizes the LC as "...about as funky-looking a desktop
unit as we've seen."
- News.com has put together
their list of the top five trends from Comdex. Number one is
alternative OS's, such as Linux and BeOS. (Found in
- The scary one is this ZDNet article which claims that a "worm" is loose and attacking
Linux systems. At the heart of the story is a vulnerability in the IMAP
server which was found - and patched - last June. "Now, hackers are
using the weakness to perpetuate the worm program. The program quietly
takes over key components of the root, or central, program and uses the
host computer to probe and attack other networks without the systeams
The bug is real, though old and long fixed, and there's no doubt that some
systems out there are unpatched and being broken into. But no evidence of
any sort of "worm" has been produced. This particular article appears to
be the product of a confused journalist, rather than a deliberate attack.
Nonetheless, the story has been picked up by EduPage, MSNBC, and
others, and some damage has been done.
For better coverage of this story, please see this news.com article.
- The folks at "Selling Windows NT Solutions" have put out something of
the laughable variety. You can wander over to
the web page for their "Selling against Linux" article, but the
text won't actually be there until March. Until then, it's
necessary to read it on dead trees. A couple of excerpts, thanks
to a reader not wanting credit:
"The Linux open source licensing model mandates that
applications developed for the platform using Linux components and
services adhere to the same public domain model as the operating
system. In other words, if you're a software developer and you
develop an application for Linux you must forfeit all rights to the
one asset that is of any value to your company -- the intellectual
property embodied in the code you write."
"Simply hammer home the high-quality nature of the Windows
NT/BackOffice solution. Emphasize the importance of closed-source
development to creating a secure, robust computing enviroment. And
whereas Linux proponents will come and go, Microsoft has no choice
but to support Windows NT."
- And the "FUD of the week" award goes to...
this ABC News article by Fred Moody. "...much of the discussion
is serious and alarming. Linux, according to these users, has
serious security problems and a tendency to break down."
A couple of pieces in the non-English press:
- From Brazil, here is
an introductory article in Portuguese (Babelfish translation
available here). Included is a brief interview with Linus Torvalds.
(Thanks to Nelson Waissman).
- Jean-Hugues Roy pointed out
this feature (in French) on Radio Canada about Linux and its users.
English text may be had via
but the meat of the thing is RealMedia, and thus not translatable.
- This article in Jyllands-Posten (in Danish) apparently talks about
companies that have chosen to go with Linux for stability and other
reasons. (Thanks to Morten Welinder).
- And readers of Polish may want to check out this article, which,
we are told, is one of the more negative ones. (Thanks to Rafal
One of Microsoft's lawyers hit on the idea of displaying a Red Hat box as
evidence that there is no monopoly in operating systems. Here's a
selection from the flurry of press that resulted from that move, and a
couple of other Microsoft and Halloween pieces.
This ZDNet story is a straightforward piece about Red Hat as a trial
exhibit. "Ironically, internal Microsoft documents
dismissed Linux as a competitor to desktop operating systems only
last summer, but did say they posed a serious threat to their
server software efforts. The current trial deals only with desktop
More on Red Hat in the Microsoft trial can be found in
the Washington Post. "At the Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial, a
lawyer for the software giant brandished a glossy box yesterday
afternoon and spent almost 30 minutes touting the benefits of the
product it held - a personal computer operating system. He gushed
about the growing number of people who are using it. He noted that
it comes with a popular word processor and an Internet
'browser.'" (Thanks to Chris Kagy).
- A brief mention in
a lengthy article about the Microsoft trial in the (U.K.)
Observer. "This [trouble getting NT out the door] raises the
question of whether different kinds of organisation - for example,
co-operative computer networks that have produced the simpler Linux
operating system which rivals Microsoft products - are needed to
cope with this level of complex programming." (Thanks to Dave
- The Christian Science Monitor ran
an article about Linux, Halloween, and FUD. "Apache and Linux
became the most popular Web server and Unix implementation. And, in
a nice twist, IBM decided to bundle Apache as the Web server with
some of its product line. Suddenly, the king of FUD was promoting
- This article in the Independent covers the Jay Jacobs deployment and
the Halloween memos. "If I were an IT manager, I would be very
worried indeed. The inflated costs of software we pay today to
cover managers and their cars will go out of the window when
clients realise that there is an alternative thanks to open source
code." (Thanks to Jimmy Aitken).
- A variant on the "Linux proves that Microsoft is not a monopoly"
argument appears in
this Denver Post article; the difference being that the author wrote
the column on a Linux system. "Alas, I've just ended up
supporting Microsoft's contention - that it really doesn't have a
monopoly. That's disconcerting, but if the day ever dawns that
Linux has 90 percent of the operating system market, then we can
rejoice in the knowledge that Microsoft was actually telling the
truth." (Found in
This TechWeb article is another opinion piece about the Halloween memos
and the trial. "But do we dare to hope that the public will embrace the
open source software movement, with its decidedly un-sexy GUIs and lack of
branding muscle? I wouldn't start celebrating just yet."
One last bit of amusement:
Microsoft has considered a yearly fee for Windows. One might surmise
that this would be their way of accommodating $500 PC's without
lowering their revenue... They also brought out the (now old) line
that Linux provides competition for Windows, so they couldn't
possibly be a monopoly.
December 3, 1998
``Having tasted Linux success, Nichols started knocking off his Windows NT servers one by one. Now, all but a few of the servers at WaveTop run Linux.''
``...whereas Linux proponents will come and go, Microsoft has no choice but to support Windows NT''
Selling Windows NT Solutions
``If you've been listening to your I.S. staff gossip around the cappuccino machine, you've heard them boast that their departmental LAN is running on a near-perfect operating system called Linux. Pay attention; in three years you may be installing it on all your company's servers. ''
``sure people run production sites on linux. i know alot of these people. they dont get much sleep and have grown opaque from the lack of sunlight.''
Anonymous 'Linux Expert', ABC News