Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
This was a relatively busy week for Linux in the press, more so than the
last few. The expected flurry of articles about the Mindcraft report did
not materialize, but Linus' Comdex keynote was good for a few, and a lot of
other topics popped up as well. An increasing amount of the press coverage
has turned critical of Linux, but it's still treated quite well by any
Here is this week's recommended reading:
- CIO Magazine
contemplates the future of the desktop computer. "The most likely move
right now appears to be to Linux ... and dedicated hardware. Whether
we are talking about single-use servers, specialized desktops or
both, the opportunity for a hardware vendor to take Linux and
create a unique and differentiable offering is stronger than ever
before. We believe it likely that at least one vendor will deliver
such a system within 12 months. If others follow, this could spell
the beginning of Microsoft's decline and the emergence of a new
- Forbes magazine ran an article about Open Source and big software business. "Moral: It
may be that programmers will happily craft code for open software that
doesn't belong to any one company-the Linux operating system or free Apache
for Web servers-but they balk at helping the Netscapes of the world get
an article in Business Week about Mozilla. They are quite upbeat
about it. "While Mozilla isn't as hot as Linux, it's hardly
dead, either. In fact, it may soon make its own pretty big
- LinuxToday has put up
an interview with Jon 'maddog' Hall.
- Nicholas Petreley
reviews Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 in LinuxWorld. He likes it. "Caldera
OpenLinux 2.2 has success written all over it. It makes Linux as
smooth as a Napoleon cognac, which is exactly what corporate IT and
home users need. The result is downright intoxicating."
a lengthy article in Salon on how Linux needs more help for
low-tech users. "Forget about the fawning press accounts, the
surging market-share numbers and the tide of Microsoft-hating
corporations paying homage to this jewel in free software's
crown. Linux is a morass of arcane text commands, bewildering
options and incomprehensible Unix concepts. Linux sucks."
(Thanks to Peter W).
Mindcraft was not entirely absent from the press; here's the articles we
were able to turn up.
Meanwhile, Linus was off talking at Comdex in Chicago:
- LinuxWorld has published
an article by Jeremy Allison about the Mindcraft report, and about
the Samba results in particular. "In fact, last week's paper
marks a coming of age of Linux, as it is now obviously important
enough to have serious Microsoft marketing dollars spent against
an article in VAR Business about the Mindcraft report.
"'[Microsoft] pretty much knew what it wanted to get,' says
George Weiss, vice president and research director for Gartner
Group Inc.'s Hardware and Operating Systems Group. 'Mindcraft was
the front. It's getting a little too cozy.'"
- For those of you who read Norwegian: here is
an article in digi.no about the Mindcraft survey and its
problems. (Thanks to Lars Gaarden).
a brief article (in German) in Heise Online about the MindCraft
survey. They don't buy it either. Babelfish translation
available here. (Thanks to Johannes Gritsch).
And this is
the first article we found in the trade press about the
Mindcraft report. This one is in Smart Reseller, and they don't
buy it. "On single processor systems, Linux wins. On SMP/RAID
systems, Linux is just now getting in the game. Even so, even at
the high end of stress testing, Linux's numbers would have been
much closer to NT, if not higher, had Linux been as well tuned as
NT." (Thanks to Jeremy Allison).
- The Detroit Free Press has
an articleabout the Comdex keynote. "Torvalds could afford to play fast
and loose with this crowd of programmers, analysts and industry
folk. He has a regular programming day job that pays the
covers Linus' keynote. "About efforts to create standards for
Linux, Torvalds said Linux development is somewhat standardized by
default -- people keep adding to it, but they're writing to the
most current kernel."
- ...and here is
InfoWorld's article about the Torvalds keynote. "...Torvalds only half
jokingly predicts that Linux will achieve operating system world
domination -- 'about next year.' That Microsoft and its Windows
operating system are the inferior enemy was made abundantly
- Jesse Berst
chimes in on Linus' Comdex keynote. "Do you suppose David taunted
Goliath before he hurled that rock? That's the rough equivalent of
what Linux creator Linus Torvalds did at Spring Comdex yesterday
when he predicted his maverick operating system will crush
covers Linus' Comdex keynote. "Although he did not have any
specific time frame, Torvalds did say he expects Microsoft to jump
on the Linux bandwagon with a port to its Office desktop suite. 'It
will eventually happen because we will crush them,' he said."
(Thanks to Conrad Sanderson).
- Computer Reseller News
reports on Linus Torvalds' keynote at Comdex/Spring. "Early in the
presentation, when Torvalds was speaking about the ability of Linux
to allow users to do whatever they want, he said there is a
possibility that Linux could even control a nuclear power plant.
At that moment, the lights went out in the room, which prompted
several in the crowd to yell that the lights were probably run on
Windows 2000, from Microsoft."
Staying on the subject of Comdex, Caldera chose that forum to make their
announcement for OpenLinux 2.2. Red Hat and SuSE are also headed toward
big releases, and there were a number of articles that reflected this.
writes about easier-to-use versions of Linux. "...Ottawa-based
Corel will likely marry the Windows-like K Desktop Environment
graphical user interface with the well-respected, noncommercial
Debian version of Linux and its closely associated
- Then, there is
one about Red Hat 6.0. The main changes look like the 2.2 kernel
and a price increase. "Another change in the new version will
be a remote installation utility that lets people install or
upgrade Linux on remote servers via the network..."
- Here is
a PC World article about Caldera's and Red Hat's new releases,
and where Linux is going in general. "If you're glued to the
latest accelerated 3D games, love to watch DVD movies on your PC,
rely on a USB scanner, or can't avoid using Microsoft Word's
revision marks feature, you'll need to keep a copy of Windows 98
around. But that doesn't mean you can't have a little Linux on the
side. If the revolution is coming, it won't hurt to be
reports on Caldera's OpenLinux 2.2. It's not clear that they are off
to a good start, though... "The early response has been
strong. High download traffic today took Caldera Systems' Web site
down, and the company was working to get it back up and
Similarly, HP's announcement drew a couple of articles:
an InfoWorld article about HP's new support offering. "HP's
interest and support of Linux is, not surprisingly, not as
altruistic as the open source movement itself. The company feels
that Linux levels the playing field in the development arena and
can be used as a strategic advantage against arch rival Sun
- There is also
one about HP's Linux support announcement in News.com.
"HP's Linux services
are not unlimited, however. HP supports only 'qualified
configurations' of the Unix-like operating system, and at this
point the services are limited to fixing computers that aren't
working right instead of more elaborate consulting options."
There were some introductory pieces this week:
- Here is
a lengthy introductory article in the (Australian) Business
Review Weekly. "Rather than coming from one software company
with particular methods of development and corporate culture, Linux
is being developed by what some describe as the cream of the
world's programmers. Even Microsoft employees are known to be going
home at night, thinking of nothing more exhilarating than savoring
the Linux buzz." They also have
an article about the adoption of Linux by Corporate Express in
an introductory article in the Chicago Tribune; it spends a lot of
time talking about command line stuff. "A great many Linux
users, probably a majority, are computer adepts who use rough-hewn
typed commands to do all that most of us do pointing and clicking
in Windows, Macintosh or IBM's OS/2..."
- Here is
a lengthy Fairfax IT column, which tries to size
up Linux for various applications. "For basic server tasks such
as e-mail or firewalls Linux is up to the task, if you can find
support people. But when it comesto high-end business computing,
GNU/Linux is no match yet for the likes of Sun Solaris. The real
face-off will come with next year's launch of Microsoft Windows
- Better look out, Microsoft, here comes free software says this highly
introductory article in the Rocky Mountain News. "If I start
using LyX ... sooner or later there will be some feature I want,
and I'll write it and send it to them. Everybody does that, that's
how it's supposed to work. And in five years, Microsoft will be
saying, 'Word is a program with all the features of LyX.'"
(Found in LinuxToday).
Here's a set of business-oriented articles:
- Is AOL considering a Linux move? asks News.com. The article is
largely speculative, going mostly on the fact that AOL picked up a
chunk of Red Hat when they bought Netscape. "Like the
Java-based devices envisioned in the AOL Anywhere dream, such cheap
Linux computers could give AOL another route to lower the price
consumers have to pay to get AOL's Internet services." (Thanks
to Damon Poole).
- This News.com article is about the new version of Apple's Open
Source license. "Bruce Perens, an Open Source Initiative
founder and one of the original detractors of the Apple license,
was mollified. 'This version of the APSL looks much better,'
an article in the Australian Financial Review which looks at Linux
and SCO. "...SCO chief Mr Doug Michels said yesterday that
rather than posing a threat to SCO, the Linux phenomenon was
drawing attention to the fact that there were viable alternatives
to Microsoft's Windows, which was having a positive impact on SCO's
- The German magazine Computerwoche has run
an interview with Tim O'Reilly. Thanks to the generosity of the
folks over there, we have the original English version of that interview available as
well. "If the open-source community doesn't get it, they are
going to end up fighting the old battle trying to win on the
desktop. But you know, who cares about the desktop? The web is the
platform. What you want to be is like 'Intel inside' - you want to
be like 'open source inside' for the next generation."
- Xappeal.org has put out
a comparison between Linux and Mac OS X. "...Linux is only free if your
time is worthless. It offers great stability, but OS X is ready to
go NOW, and anyone who has used the MacOS or NeXTStep can probably
set up a server using it in an afternoon." (Thanks to Curtis
an article in Red Hat's hometown paper about their certification
efforts. "By attaching its name to Linux certification, the
local company is prompting comparisons with Microsoft"
- Linux is becoming certifiable says this ZDNet article. This is an
interesting one, however: they are not talking about certifying
engineers, but about certifying the system itself. A Utah-based
company called KeyLabs, which does "100% Pure Java" certification,
is setting itself up to do Linux certification as well. This
appears to be in direct competition with the
Linux Standard Baseeffort. Apparently Caldera and IBM have already signed up.
"Since Linux is open source, nothing precludes a company from
offering non-certified products. However, IT managers are likely
to choose only certified products, especially if major vendors like
IBM require certification."
- You take the high end, I'll take Linux is the title of a column in
(UK) Computing Magazine. It looks at the D. H. Brown report, and
concludes that the "low end" to which they have consigned Linux
stretches up pretty high. "As a server OS, the question of
definition is unanswered: how high is high end, and how low is low?
Could a low-end server soon be running your organisation?"
(Thanks to Dave Killick).
- Is Linux Really Ready for the Big Leagues? asks Inter@ctive Week.
Read their answer in their summary: "Linux can play in the
enterprise today, and, like a maturing athlete, it's only going to
get bigger, stronger and faster."
A few articles about specific projects:
- Internet Week has
an article about Linux in routers. They think it's not a bad
idea. "Customers who want to can develop their own features
more quickly and with less cost than if they are tied to a
proprietary system. Custom applications could include billing (for
carriers) or policy management capabilities (for enterprises or
- Finally, they
cover the Free Expression Project, which is creating a set of free
streaming audio tools. "...RealNetworks may have a legal bone
to pick with the Free Expression Project if that group tries to
reverse-engineer RealNetworks products."
- LinuxPower has published
a review of GNOME 1.0. "...the entire system shows such
amazing amounts of potential, I am dumbstruck. Every application
has a similar look and feel (although there are enough differences
from app to app to confuse some newcomers, I expect) and that look
and feel is considerably more modern than Motif."
a Reuters article about Linux in clustered applications. "Just
last week, the Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center,
located on the University of New Mexico campus, turned on a
workstation supercluster system it calls Roadrunner, which
basically consists of stacks of personal computer technology
running multiple Intel Corp. Pentium II processors and Linux."
a Wired News article about the FreeS/Wan release. "A new,
home-brewed cryptography project could make work a little trickier
for spooks and spies."
- Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine has published
an article by Jeremy Allison about Samba. "As you know, Linux
is generating a lot of interest lately. What you might find
surprising, though, is that it's being adopted in great numbers
even by IS organizations that have standardized on Windows NT"
And after all that, what's left is:
- Fairfax IT has
an article about free software licenses. "Some argue that to
maintain compatibility and quality control, the proprietor of the
licence needs to act as code censor. Some even say the modifier
should forfeit intellectual property rights to have the code
included freely. It is hard to see how these licences can
succeed. No-one will work solely for the benefit of another. Not
even a paid employee of a company is likely to stay and be
productive unless he or she also gets some recognition."
- Here's an interesting little article we stumbled across in the
African National Congress Daily News Briefing. It seems that Corel's
Michael Cowpland is in Johannesburg pushing Word Perfect and Linux.
"I'd like to challenge the South African government to adopt our
WordPerfect Linux for the education system and save a ton of money,
as well as endorse a worldwide standard instead of endorsing a
- Here is
an interview with Linus that appears in the Austin American
Statesman. "The last six months have not been that surprising
because I was already starting to see what was happening. It was
obvious to me that there were a lot of companies that wanted Linux,
but were held back by worries about its market acceptance."
- Microsoft Internet Developer
sounds off on free software. "While free distribution is a great
marketing tool (think about all those samples you get in the mail),
what does it say about the product itself? Frankly, it says that
the product (or the effort that went into making the product) has
no value." (Thanls to Atul Chitnis).
- Windows NT Magazine has put out
a press release to tell the world that they, too, have run an
article that is critical of Linux. "An article in the April
issue of Windows NT Magazine concludes that the popular Linux
operating system is still not enterprise-ready, despite
enhancements offered with the Linux 2.2 release." At the end
they add that the purpose of the article "...is not to criticize
the Linux OS but to encourage Linux developers to address the
problems that still prevent the system from becoming a formidable
competitor in enterprise environments."
Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet
April 22, 1999