Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
It was a relatively light week for press coverage (by recent standards)
and, in the absence of earthshaking events, there aren't too many distinct
themes to point out. We'll do our best, though, starting with this week's
- ZDNet UK
interviews Tim O'Reilly. "The challenge for Open Source is to become
the 'Intel Inside' of software apps, for the Amazons of this
world. People are now buying a computer so they can use Amazon --
now that's a killer app. That's a market Open Source has to
a PC Week editorial arguing for the continued success of open
source software. "We fear that Intel, because of its investment
in Red Hat, will give that vendor favored treatment with regard to
confidential information. This would be a mistake, fanning the
smoldering factionalism in the Linux community and thwarting key
open-source aims." Worth a read. (Thanks to Jon Lasser).
- In Salon Magazine:
a review of Bill Gates' new book that touches on Linux for a
while. "To anyone with a reasonably long memory, Gates'
pooh-poohing of Linux offers an overpowering whiff of déjà vu: The
last time Microsoft dismissed a popular new technology as being
good only for 'the student and hobbyist market,' as Gates is now
describing Linux, it was the early '90s, and the technology in
question was the Internet itself -- which, like Linux today, was
'too hard to use,' 'didn't have a good graphic interface' and just
didn't fit into Microsoft's vision."
an article (in German) in PC Praxis which discusses a cracking
competition hosted by IBM at CeBIT. They put up two machines, one
running NT, one running Linux. The Linux system came out on top.
English text available
via Babelfish. (Thanks to Richard Jones).
- An in-depth review of KDE 1.1 has been posted on the ArsTechnica
site, providing pages worth of information about the system.
When the day is done, KDE smashes the myth that Linux can't be
friendly. A Linux box running kdm is so
Windows-ish that the old "I'm afraid of the CLI" excuse just
doesn't hold anymore. Give KDE a try if you're
adventurous but don't want to stumble around in a dark
cave. (Thanks to Matthew P. Anderson)
There were a few moderately technical articles out there:
- Data Communications Magazine has
a lengthy article on the use of Linux in network server environments.
"Getting involved with open-source software is a bit like
getting married. Network architects don't just get the code, they
get a family to go with it." (Thanks to Flemming S. Johansen).
- Network Computing has
a lengthy Samba article which dwells on the challenges of configuration.
"SMB solutions for Unix have a dirty little secret: User
management will make you want to swerve into a bridge
- Sm@rt Reseller
reviews Samba 2.0.2. "Even if your customers seem to have dug their
heels into the Microsoft camp, Samba's one-two punch of far faster
SMB file and print services without Microsoft licensing fees makes
it an option that must be considered."
"The business of Linux" was the subject of a number of articles, in one way
an article in News.com about Compaq's new Linux-based Alpha server
systems. "Compaq has launched a plan to use the popularity of
Linux to give a boost to Alpha sales, which have historically
lagged below expectations. To accomplish that, however, Compaq has
begun offering help to a variety of Linux distributors, not just
Red Hat, with their Linux-Alpha editions."
- Computer Reseller News ran
this article about Red Hat's success. "A keenly focused
management team attracts first-class Linux kernel developers and
world-class financial backers..."
interviews IBM's Steve Mills. "I don't think commercial customers are
going to put a lot of stock in dealing with a loosely affiliated
organization of part-time developers. There's got to be some
underlying strength brought to this environment. Linux has been in
what I would characterize as 'early adopter mode' for years
now. The next step is to get it into the IT mainstream. We think we
can be a catalyst for that."
an article in the Irish Times about how Corel plans to do some of
their Linux graphical interface work in Dublin. "'You're going
to see Linux dominate in five years' time,' Dr Cowpland said."
- This La Repubblica article is a brief one about Siemens and Linux.
Siemens, they say, is "the most important sponsor" of Linux.
via Babelfish). (Thanks to Arrigo Triulzi).
- EE Times has
an article about the upcoming release of Synopsys's Verilog
simulator for Linux. "VCS for Linux will ship in July starting
at $40,000, the same price Synopsys charges for Unix and Windows
- MSNBC has
an article about VMWare- the "virtual platform" system which allows running multiple
operating systems concurrently on a PC. "...some industry
executives see VMWare as enabling the kind of free choice of
operating systems that will ease the grip that Microsoft has on PC
- This Inter@ctive Week article suggests that
VA Research may become
the next Compaq. "Augustin said he intends to take his
privately held company out for an initial public offering - but not
until next year, after the company gets through some growing
- Corporate developers are showing increasing amounts of interest in
Linux, according to
this InfoWorld article. "Particularly when mixed with the Java
programming language, Linux is emerging as a contender to win over
the corporate developers as a stable platform for building serious
applications that can run on multiple operating systems."
(Thanks to Christof Damian).
- Linux sells Alpha Chips is the lesson that Compaq has learned
(after Maddog explained it to them enough times). This article
talks about Compaq's plans in return, to encourage the use of
Linux on the Alpha. Compaq will soon introduce
new pricing geared to encourage Linux users to "step up" from Intel
Alpha chips, Berman said, targeting Alpha-Linux primarily at technical
computer users who can fully appreciate
the number-crunching abilities of the Alpha. Next on the list will be
Internet service providers or companies
wanting to set up internal Web sites. Third will be educational
markets, according to Berman.
And here's a collection of the rest of the articles we found.
- Performance Computing has belatedly gotten around to
covering LinuxWorld. "For those at the show who had been around
during the early days of commercial UNIX, LinuxWorld was almost
like a revival meeting."
- This week's
Fairfax IT OpenLine column is about CeBIT. "From wearable computers
running Linux, to Linux Alley inthe US pavilion and Cobalt's
MicroQube Linux-based plug and play servers, the buzz was that
OpenSource had arrived."
- David Kastrup, whose letters have occasionally appeared in LWN, got
a letter published in Internet Week. His topic is the old "who
do you sue?" charge which is frequently aimed at Linux. "When
was the last time a company sued Microsoft for crashing software,
late delivery or nonworking functionality?"
- Slate (Microsoft's e-magazine) has
a feature on Linux. It consists of two long articles, each of
which is a diary of the author's installation difficulties.
- Salon has
an article (scroll down) about the Slate articles about Linux.
"But there's a larger problem with Slate's coverage. Although it
chose to run two separate pieces on Linux, both said essentially
the same thing: Linux is hard to install, and isn't an adequate
desktop substitute for the average user."
- The Italian newspaper La Repubblica has published
an interview with Roberto di Cosmo, an Italian anti-Microsoft
activist based in France. Much of the interview has to do with the
evils of Microsoft, but they get into free software toward the end.
"If Microsoft lost the source to Windows 98, what would we do?
Yes we have a copy, but it's fixed and you can't fix anything, we
can't evolve it, and all the money we have invested in this
solution will be lost. It would, instead, be difficult to lose the
source for Linux because there are hundreds of thousands of copies
spread out over the world and the Internet. This summer Microsoft
claimed...that it had lost part of the source for Windows 3.11,
Windows 95, and DOS." (Translation by the editor; here's
the Babelfish link, but the article is long and Babelfish quits
long before it gets to the free software part). (Thanks to Massimo
an AsiaBizTech article about the April 1 startup of the Japan
Linux Association. "Starting as a voluntary group, the JLA is
expected to contribute to spreading Linux across Japan."
(Thanks to Conrad Sanderson).
- OS/2 Headquarters has
an editorial (scroll down a page) claiming that Microsoft intends
to Hijack Linux by porting Office. "Sooner or later, MS will
have positioned Office as the 'Linux API' and developers will have
to code to whatever 'standard' that the latest version of Office
provides. Using Internet Explorer for Linux will become mandatory,
too." They conclude with the suggestion that the only platform
that truly can not be taken over is, surprisingly, OS/2.
- LinuxPower has put up
a strongly-worded editorial against "Open Source" and the flurry
of incompatible licenses that has come out under that name. "I
implore the developers of the free software community to not let
Eric Raymond lead the community down this road of self-destruction,
but fight him with every fiber in your body. Software needs to be
free, not just open."
- The Sunday Times has run
a not entirely positive piece about Linux's increasing success.
"...Linux is difficult to set up, fails to understand the
difference between a desktop PC and a notebook, and lacks any kind
of plug and play facility." (Thanks to Seán ó Ríordáin).
- This LinuxPower editorial addresses
the topic of the "Re-unification of Unix". "The first and most
important result, one which I feel strongly
about, is that ANY Unix flavour
which wishes to survive must open it's sources to
the public. This is a profound statement I know, but to
anyone who has read and
generally agrees with Eric Raymond's "Homesteading the
Noosphere" , this result is
predicted by his explanation of why Open Source
- Richard Stallman and the GNOME press release at LinuxWorld are
the topic of this ZDnet article by Charles Babcock. He speaks
of the way in which Stallman's objections to the use of
the term "Linux", rather than "GNU/Linux" eventually turned all
attention at the press release away from Gnome. "There were no
further references to plain "Linux." There were hardly
any references to Gnome, either, as the discussion got
There was no airing, for example, of Gnome's chief visual
characteristic: its ability to be configured into four
of the user's choice. That wasn't what was important at this
press conference. "
- Hiawatha Bray's latest column talks concretely about both KDE and
Gnome ... and specifically where the two still fall short of
their goals. That's okay. We know they are works in progress
and will continue to improve rapidly. I've got the two most
popular Linux GUIs running on my home machines, and both of
them are just
good enough to make me wish they were better. (Thanks
to Donald Braman)
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
April 1, 1999