Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Here, for your enjoyment, is this week's recommended reading:
With any luck, the pundits have now put their predictions for 1999
behind them. Meanwhile, we have another pile of them here, and most of
them mention Linux somewhere.
- Linux, grab your slingshot cries Healthcare Informatics (scroll down a
page or so). This is a story about a hospital which switched over
to Linux for a number of functions. It's more positive than many:
"...with recent graphical user interface advances, Linux is
gaining new respect as a desktop operating system also."
It's also hard to resist this quote: "John Carpenter,
Microsoft's worldwide healthcare industry marketing manager, admits
that Linux has their attention. 'It will certainly drive us to put
new stuff into our products.'" More stuff...certainly the
answer to the Linux challenge...
- LinuxWorld has
a column by Stig Hackvän about the development of
the GIMP and the difficulties
it encountered when the two principal developers left the project.
"If the story of Gimp's development represents an emerging
pattern, then all is not well for open source software."
- Have a look at
this lengthy interview with Richard Stallman in Network World
Fusion. Once they get past the GNU/Linux thing it's an interesting
"If somebody took a gun and pointed at me and said write
proprietary software or I'll shoot, I think under those
circumstances, I'd be justified in writing some proprietary
software, although I think that it would be very buggy and would
never get to work reliably."
Note that NW Fusion is a registration-required site;
"cypherpunks" as username and password will work if you do not wish
to register. (Thanks to Wari Wahab).
- Here is
a nicely written article about Linux and Java on O'Reilly's
site. It delves into, among other things, one aspect of Linux that
is often overlooked: that Linux makes working with computers fun
again. Pass it on to your buddies who are still stuck in the
"The title of this article comes from a chapter in
J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Two Towers.' It tells of the wizard Gandalf
and his army, preparing for a grueling battle at the enemy
stronghold Isengard, only to arrive and find that it's already been
leveled by an unexpected foe: an entire forest of
seemingly-innocent trees. The parallels are obvious."
(Thanks to Kyle Dawkins).
- Want to make good money? Here's the scoop, according to
this brief salary survey in the Detroit News: "The greatest wage
gains between 1997 and last year were reported by people working
with Linux, a free operating system. Their knowledge of this
increasingly popular system puts them in high demand for Internet
There was a fair number of introductory articles this time around:
- A pair of articles was run in the Bangkok post, with different points
The first proclaims: "Here's a hunch: 1999 will go down in the
annals of computer history as the Year of Linux. I could be wrong,
but all the evidence suggests otherwise." The author is
particularly happy about the availability of WordPerfect.
The other one is a bit less optimistic: "Linux, the open source
software challenge to Microsoft NT may face a less than stellar year
- following its rapid ascendance last year - and momentum may be
lost, mainly because most software developers, the resource needed
to develop exciting applications, are in the Windows NT camp."
(Thanks to Frank Skagemo).
- CNEWS has
a brief mention in a 1999 look-forward. "The New Year is going to
bring about some interesting competitors and developments to the
world of Operating systems and to Internet programming. One of the
fastest growing OS programs out right now is a rogue program called
- Internet Week went a little overboard, starting with this
99 to watch in 99 list; Linux comes up several times.
They also have an article entitled
Microsoft To Lose While Linux Wins. "Prognosticating Linux's fortunes
in 1999 is delicious, in part because this open-source software
triggered so many surprises in 1998. I predict that a major entity,
say IBM or Oracle, will put significant resources behind
Editor's note says Linux will make progress this year despite the
overwhelming presence of the y2k stuff. "Speaking of success,
Linux is already coming in through the back door in large
accounts. And either it's not reading the 'Reserved For Windows
2000' signs or it simply doesn't care. This is going to make for a
very interesting debut if and when Microsoft, fresh from its DOJ
spanking, releases 'Why 2K' only to find a coyote in the hen
And as if that weren't enough...
this article about intranets is also up on Linux: "In 1999, open
source will cement itself as the key method for building highly
scalable, Internet-age software. Linux will continue to
explode." Interestingly, they also say: "A backlash among
developers is already mounting against some open-source 'stars' who
have risen (some say without merit) to the level of spokesmen for
- Jesse is back! Linus Torvalds has made
Jesse Berst's list of five "people to watch" in 1999. The emphasis
here is on Transmeta, not Linux, though.
- InfoWorld has
a general article on the increasing success of Linux.
"Although the mainstream world discovered Linux last year,
InfoWorld readers have been aware of it for years. Battey
discovered that the first mention of Linux in InfoWorld was in
April 1993, in a letter to the editor from a reader who chided us
for failing to mention Linux in an article about Unix on the
- Newsweek discovers Linux with a pair of articles.
Code Warriers talks about open source and has one of the uglier
pictures of Linus around. It's a longish introductory piece.
I ran Linux - and lived is a pure and not entirely accurate
discussion of how hard it can be to run Linux. "And the apps
you can get won't work until you have the OS 'properly configured.'
Linux is bewilderingly complex, requires a steep learning curve and
often demands a willingness to get down and dirty with arcane
text-based 'configuration files.' Only very recently have a handful
of small companies begun selling computers preloaded with Linux and
aimed at the consumer market..." "Only recently"?
Your editor bought a
pre-loaded laptop from a little company called Fintronic (since
five years ago...
- The Age (Melbourne, Australia) ran
this introductory article. "Analysts estimate there are between
seven million and 20 million Linux users. At the current adoption
rate, the number of Linux users will be about 40 million by the end
of next year and would surpass Microsoft Windows users within five
years." (Thanks to David Brown).
- There is
an introductory article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Linux
also faces the obstacle of entrenched ideas. People are familiar,
and comfortable, with Microsoft products."
- The Detroit News has
an article (from USA Today) about Linus and Linux. "But it was
his grandfather Leo Toerngvist, a statistics professor at the
University of Helsinki, who had the biggest influence on
Torvalds. In the mid-1970s, Toerngvist bought one of the first
personal computers, a Commodore Vic 20. Torvalds learned to write
computer games at age 12."
In the area of Linux and business (including reviews) we had:
And a few other articles that came along are:
- The Bangkok Post ran
this article, which compares free Unix security with that of other Unix
systems, and the free systems come out very well. "With free
Unixes, the author of the software is always known. If a bug is
reported, it usually gets fixed within 24 hours..."
(Thanks to Frank Skagemo).
- PC Week has gotten the open source religion, at least if
this editorial is to be believed. "Those who avoid the free or
low-cost alternatives to products from big software houses should
understand that Linux and the open-source model are here to
stay. The passion that once permeated the computer industry is
back. Developers at big software houses are fixated by stock
options and early retirement, but open-source developers are more
interested in changing the world--and they are doing it."
- For those who can read it:
a Norwegian article on LinuxPPC. (Thanks to Pål G.Larsson).
- Inter@ctive Week ran
an article about
eCos, the open source
embedded operating system put out by Cygnus. "ECos 'is sending
ripples through the industry. It's addressing a need' for a
low-cost system that can be modified without permission, said Jerry
Krasner, research editor at Miller Freeman Electronics Markets
- Windows Developer's Journal
reviews"Using Linux, Fourth Edition" by Jack Tacket, Jr. and Steven
Burnett. The author uses the column to talk as much about his
experience with Linux as the book. "The moral of the story for
me was that both the good and bad things you hear about Linux are
generally true: you'll likely get your hands dirty setting up and
using a Linux system, but it's not a toy by any means and can
breathe new life into systems that just can't keep up with Windows'
evolving hardware demands." (Thanks to Kenn Humborg).
talks about Red Hat and GNOME, but without saying a whole lot. They
do report that the next Red Hat release is due in April or May, and
will feature GNOME as the standard desktop.
- TechWeb ran
an article about LinuxPPC. It's a mostly positive piece with some
minor technical accuracy problems.
January 14, 1999