Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Another busy week in the Linux press. Companies are gearing up for their
LinuxWorld announcements. The biggest item of interest this week, of
course, was IBM's announcement. But first, here's this week's recommended
- Feed Magazine
tries to make sense out of the politics of free software in a lengthy
article. "Trying to talk about the politics of Open Source
using the categories of traditional political taxonomy is like
using mammalian anatomy to explain the respiratory apparatus of
fish: there's a certain overlap, but the underlying architecture is
so different that it's better off defining the terms from
scratch." (Thanks to Ramana Juvvadi).
- The San Jose Mercury has published
this lengthy hatchet job against Bill Gates and Microsoft by Jon
Katz. "Strangely, or perhaps fittingly, as we lurch toward the
end of the decade, the Microsoft Age has sputtered, fizzled, with
little fanfare. The Linux Penguin is a much more apt symbol of the
times." (Thanks to Rodney Van Meter).
- The inimitable NTK weighs in with
a suitably sarcastic article about Bruce Perens' resignation from
the OSI. "Watch for the resultant explosion on the usual
mailing lists: as ever, we're expecting a huge release of light,
heat, sound, nervous energy - but strangely, no additional
a Business Week article, about the task of getting W2K
and it's 30+ million lines of code into working condition. "The
'daily build' begins at 6 p.m. That's when engineering managers
gather all of the new features and bug fixes that thousands of
programmers produced during the day and bolt them together like so
many auto parts. Twelve hours later--if all goes well--the build is
done and quality assurance technicians take over. They test the
code on 200 computers and ferret out anywhere from 250 to 400 new
bugs." There is also a brief quote from Linus. (Thanks to
- If once again the Linux press has seemed just a little too
positive, head over to
The Minneapolis Star Tribune. This author decided to try out the
system, and did not have much fun. "Where Windows hides the
complexity of computers behind easy-to-use icons and pull-down
menus, Linux showcases that complexity in lengthy text commands,
obtuse manuals and a frustrating GUI, all of which makes it
difficult even to boot a CD-ROM." (Thanks to Petre Scheie).
OK, brace yourselves, here's the flood of IBM stories:
HP is doing significant things of its own, but got rather less press.
Here's what we were able to find:
- Here's one in Forbes magazine. "So why bother? The answer is
actually very simple--services. Services have helped the IBM
resurgence, even as its hardware sales are sliding lower. By
shipping Linux with its hardware, IBM can now get additional
revenues by providing Linux OS-related services to its
- The Swiss paper Le Temps has run
an article (in French) about IBM's recent moves and the perceived
threat to Microsoft and
an editorial about free software and the arrival of large
corporations. Babelfish links are available for
the IBM article and
the editorial. (Thanks to Erik Rossen).
- The (London) Times ran
an article about the effect of Linux (and the IBM announcement in
particular) on Microsoft's stock price. "A PROGRAM invented by
a Finnish computer hacker and handed out free in 1991 cost
investors in Microsoft $11 billion (£6.75 billion) this week."
(Thanks to Eddie Bleasdale).
IBM puts on a penguin suit in the Red Herring.
This Arizona Central article is an example of the AP article that
showed up in papers all over the U.S. this morning.
MSNBCis carrying the Wall Street Journal article.
New York Daily News. "Microsoft shares fell on the news,
dropping 4¼ to $145.75, while IBM rose 3¾ to $174.25."
Austalian Broadcast News. "The biggest reason keeping more people
from using Linux up to now has been the lack of technical support,
according to a Red Hat statement."
CBS News in an example of the Reuters wire service article.
Wired News. "Linux has taken another big step toward commercial
Computer Reseller News. "The deal with Red Hat is expected to the
first of IBM's key moves within the Linux arena. IBM is expected to
unveil more of its Linux at the Linuxworld conference on March 1 in
San Jose, Calif."
- The (Raleigh, NC) News & Observer
covers IBM's announcement. "The announcement was the first from a
major hardware company that goes beyond the server market, in which
Linux was the fastest-growing operating system in 1998, to the
Microsoft-dominated desktop market....IBM will sell a full spectrum
of hardware preloaded with Red Hat Linux -- servers,workstations,
desktop computers and Thinkpad laptops." (Thanks to Robert
Salon Magazine has a brief piece. "n the not-too-distant future,
it's possible that the only applications that won't run on Linux
will belong to Microsoft."
Computer Reseller News has a pre-announcement article. "At the start
of the agreement, IBM is not planning to preload Linux onto
hardware developed by its Personal Systems Group..."
InfoWorldhas a similar sort of article. "In addition to IBM's work with
Red Hat, the company next week will announce support for Pacific
HiTech and Caldera Systems."
"Responding to increasing customer demand by Fortune 500
companies and other business clientele, the computer colossus is
advancing its global Linux strategy on several fronts. It is
bringing the operating system onto two computer lines, adding Linux
support to its services business, and porting its software to the
relatively new operating system."
The New York Times. "But despite its power and stability, Linux
has not gained wide acceptance because corporations have had
nowhere to turn for support..." (Registration required; the
"cypherpunks" account works as usual). (Thanks to Donald Braman).
- PC Week ran
an article about HP's upcoming
Linux-related announcements at LinuxWorld Expo. "Some critics
of Linux in the enterprise have cited its wide open development
community as a major deterrent to adoption. Too many versions of
the OS and too many application development efforts lead to chaos
that commercial vendors don't experience when developing in-house
or with licensed ISVs, critics argue. But HP's reliance on The
Puffin Group is a direct challenge to that criticism. Not only can
the open source development community work with Linux in the
enterprise, but it can do it as well as or better than commercial
vendors." (Thanks to Justin Hall).
covers the upcoming HP announcements. "In the software area, HP
plans to bring its entire software and applications lines to Linux,
with the aim of positioning Linux as the preferred development
strategy for HP."
And to finish out the business-related articles:
- Computer Associates will release a version of its Unicenter system for
Linux, according to this Network World Fusion article. (NW Fusion requires registration;
"cypherpunks" works as usual).
- TechWeek has
a lengthy article touching on Windows refund, LinuxCare,
LinuxWorld Expo, and introductory topics. "Southwestern Bell,
for example, uses Red Hat Linux 5.2 running on VA Research
workstations for its mission-critical 24 x 7 network control
center. The Baby Bell was attracted to Linux's superior stability
and performance and 'access to source code for debugging,' says Red
Hat Software Inc. CEO Bob Young."
- AsiaBizTech ran
an article about increasing Linux business activity in Japan.
"Database products and application programs that run on Linux
are being launched in rapid succession in Japan, prompting solution
providers to set up support systems."
- They also have
a brief piece on a company called Vertex Link, which is selling
Linux-installed systems. "The server model comes with two
450MHz Pentium II CPUs. It is built according to specifications,
with an emphasis placed on stability. For example, five 6.5GB HDDs
are configured into a RAID5 system and a duplex power supply is
- And Nikkei News has
a brief article about a company called In4S which is coming out
with a Linux-based "thin server" box. "A firm with no
specialized personnel can create a companywide network in about 10
minutes after turning on the iStation. The unit's menus can be used
to create a home page and administer employee e-mail."
- Also in Nikkei News:
this article on the increase in Japanese interest in Linux. "But
the software is gradually attracting corporate users because it
lets them reduce development and maintenance costs for their
information systems. The OS first became popular for use in web and
e-mail servers at Internet service providers. But more and more
small businesses are taking up the free OS because of the need to
cut costs amid the tough economic situation."
- The Utah-based Deseret News has
an article about Caldera and its upcoming initiatives.
"Caldera Systems Inc. develops training and business programs
for the Linux operating system and is currently in negotiations
with IBM Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and Oracle to create a
- News.com has
an article about SCO's Linux compatibility moves. "SCO has
made the Linux compatibility software source code--the original
programming instructions--publicly available ... giving the
code back to the open source programming community that has
developed Linux." (Thanks to Ramana Juvvadi).
- LinuxCare gets
a brief mention in the New York times (scroll down a page).
"...starting next month, Linuxcare intends to make its
'knowledge base' of technical information freely available to the
public over the Web. That data base will be continually updated,
the company said, as new information pours in from its experience
providing technical support." (NY Times is a
- Yet another LinuxCare story appears in Internet World.
"Industry analysts lauded the efforts of the fledgling LinuxCare
but cautioned that it must build partnerships with computer vendors
and Linux distributors--who are also potential rivals in the
support area--in order to establish a foothold in the market and
begin to generate significant revenue."
- PC Week
reviews the Cobalt Qube. Their reaction is rather lukewarm.
"Cobalt Networks Inc.'s Cobalt Qube 2 Internet appliance is a
good starting point for small, technophobic businesses. But any
company with technical know-how and a spare system can duplicate
all of its capabilities, often with free software."
- InfoWorld is hyping the LinuxWorld conference
this article about some announcements that will be made there.
"GraphOn will unveil a Linux Playpen at the show, in which show
attendees will be able to test various GraphOn products that enable
companies to use Windows, Java, and multiuser NT systems to access
Linux applications remotely."
- Here is
an article in Business Week which discusses Microsoft's problems,
with an emphasis on competition with Unix. "The software giant
is used to battling Sun--and wins its share of skirmishes. But
Linux could turn out to be Microsoft's Vietnam." (Thanks to
A few more Windows refund articles trickled in...
- Performance Computing's
Unix Riot column talks about Windows refund day. "Let's face it,
Windows Refund Day showed not the strengths of Linux, FreeBSD,
etc., but their weaknesses. The sparse turnout and pseudo-guerilla
theater at the so-called rallies indicated that the open-source-OS
market is immature at many levels."
- Robert X. Cringely
covers windows refund day. "Microsoft loves this. They loved the
demonstration in Foster City. At a time when the company is under
fire from the Feds, here is evidence that there is viable
competition for Windows. And for a change, Microsoft isn't the bad
guy, since it is the PC manufacturer who is responsible for giving
that difficult-to-get refund. 'Blame your PC maker!' said
Microsoft. We're with you! Have a lemonade!" (Thanks to David
- For folks still hungry for Windows refund stuff, here's
a site with archived video clips of all the news coverage of the
event that they could find.
And to finish things out, here's a batch of miscellaneous pieces and
- Forbes ran
an introductory piece. "Although the jury is still out,
evidence is growing that Linux could have a significant impact on
the computer industry--and on the bottom lines of those vendors who
- ComputerWorld has issued
a correction to a couple of articles that referred to Linux as
"shareware." They declined to take the opportunity to explain what
free software is, but it's a step in the right direction anyway...
gossip column in the San Jose Mecury makes some speculations on the
reasons behind the success of Linux. "One of the phenomena
that's clearly helping Linux develop is the enthusiasm of those
self-described idealistic programmers who, having made buckets of
money at companies like Apple Computer Inc. and Netscape
Communications Corp., are happy to tweak Linux. They like to write
code and they don't have day jobs."
- The Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger has run
an article (in German) of an introductory nature. They claim that
support remains the biggest problem... Babelfish translation
available here. (Thanks to Christian Folini).
- Here is
the ZDNet article about Jean-Louis Gassée's challenge to PC OEM's to
install Linux and BeOS for their customers, or forever be accused
of being afraid of Microsoft. (Thanks to Daniele Bernardini).
a PC Week column about "planning for the millenium." "Linux and
open source. This could change the way software is written and
licensed. In a few years, you could be building enterprise systems
for much less money. But there will likely be a scramble for
talented Linux specialists. It's fairly easy to set up a pilot
implementation of a Linux server. Start making contingency plans
- InfoWorld has
a column on the
Trinuxmini-distribution. "It is unbelievable how superior products
can be designed and developed under the open source model (hint,
hint, Microsoft). Have you uncovered the Trinux gem yet?"
- The New York Times has put out
a lengthy introductory article about Linux and free software.
It's a reasonably accurate and positive introduction. "It is
hard to believe that the future of software lies in a haphazard
process of far-flung programmers e-mailing each other in the middle
of the night, but it just might." The New York Times is a
registration-required site, but "cypherpunks" works as usual.
(Thanks to Richard Storey).
- The March
Penguin's Brew column by Jon Hall is out; this month's installment is
about hardware support. "On the issue of proprietary vs. open
hardware, I am annoyed that hardware vendors still believe their
competitors are smart enough to do reverse engineering on a
product's hardware chips, but too dumb to disassemble a driver for
a video card to find out how that card is programmed."
- LinuxPower has
another interview up. This one's with Dave "Zoid" Kirsch, the guy
behind Linux Quake.
- The "Linux am Mac FAC" web site has published an interview with Kai
Staats of Yellow Dog Linux (a PPC distribution) fame. It's
available in both
- The Economist has put out another
introductory article on free software. "Perhaps the software industry
will eventually look a bit like a highway. The infrastructure
(operating systems, networking technologies) will be largely a
public good, while services (support, training) and specialised
applications are for sale. Just don't expect Bill Gates to like the
idea." (Found in
- Oracle has launched a new
Internet Developer magazine; the first issue features a
Q&A with Linus Torvalds. "About everything from how boring he
finds databases to getting bitten by a penguin." As of this
writing, this site is proving difficult to get into,
February 25, 1999