Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
Craig Knudsen's Linux Net News site has been recently revamped, updates are happening regularly again, and the whole thing looks sharper than ever. A good source for pointers to stories in the press.
See also Les Nouvelles Neuves de Linux, run by Stéfane Fermigier and others in France. The site itself is in French, surprisingly enough, but the right-hand side bar contains interesting news links that point mostly to English-language sources.
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
May 6, 1999
Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 17:46:13 -0400 From: Joe Drew <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: "Restrictively Unrestrictive: The GPL License in Software" I disagree strongly with your opinions, but they are your opinions and you're entitled to them. However, I have some nitpicks: 1) Your political views come through very strongly when you explain various parts of the GPL. If you were going to revise this document, one fo the first things you should do is make the entire document, excepting "My opinions" completely non-partisan - notably words such as 'infected', etc. 2) Communism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive, and neither is 'right' or 'proper' any more than their suitability for a given situation. 3) Nowhere does the Free Software Foundation gain any rights to your code that others do not receive - your assertation that 'you are not the real owner of your code, the Free Software Foundation is' is completely false. You are the holder of copyright, and as such you can sublicense your code under any license you want. Just like most other licenses, though, you can't revoke rights already granted to other uses (ie, the rights given under the GPL.) 4) RMS does not wish GNU/Linux to be called GNU/Linux because its contents are, by and large, GPL'd - he wishes it to be called GNU/Linux because distributions of Linux - particularly Debian - are, for the most part, the finished product of the GNU project, using the Linux kernel. Now, my opinion: - The GPL protects your code from becoming proprietary. If you don't care about that, you wouldn't be using the GPL. - Nothing is inherently Communistic about the GPL. You're not required to give out your code or changes, but you ARE required to license any of those changes under the GPL if you do distribute them. - The GPL has, and continues to, protect Free Software; it has never, and will never be, concerned with political extremism. It's the reason most new Free Software exists. I hope that you take the time to try to understand why the GPL is so popular, and also that you will revise your document to remove your personal opinion from the section meant to simply explain the differences between the BSD license and the GPL. -- Joe Drew http://www.woot.net Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 11:57:05 +0100 From: Aaron.Trevena@msasglobal.com Subject: benchmark - not flame To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Bruce, I would like to add some comments to your open benchmark project. - Apache server is not designed to be fast - its designed to be versatile and reliable. There is a wide choice of web servers designed for speed, flexibility, etc for Unix, Linux and *BSD. You should include at least one alternative known for its speed. - NT is used as a client system in enterprise environments because, frankly, win 9x doesn't do the job. Therefore an pure 9x base is unrealistic because you wouldn't have a quad xeon server just for secretaries, who are the only staff with win9x on their desktop. - your hardware is known to be designed to work with NT - it is advertised Dell policy, this weighs the benchmark heavily in NT's favour regardless of any tuning. - the hardware being tested is unlikely to be used in a Linux environment because it is uneconomical - several mid-range servers clustered or loadshared would be more appropriate providing better performance and increased reliability, scalability and accessability. just because NT can't cluster (2 isn't a cluster, its a joke) doesn't mean that other system can't make better use of hardware. - the web serving environment is unrealistic, it bears no resemblance to a real world serving environment - be it internet or external. A machine with a fraction of the power used in your benchmarks would rapidly saturate even multinational companies networks, the only need for such hardware would be if there was heavy use of dynamic content or web applications. I hope you can address these problems, or at least make it clear in published results that the benchmark is in an unrealistic and contrived environment. Aaron Trevena, Intra/Internet Developer & Administrator.
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 11:58:50 +0200 From: Hubert Tonneau <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Refer to history to get the truth > Now, of course, there are reasons for this behavior. One could > say, for example, that these companies are simply trying to > prevent the publication of something like the Mindcraft report > that has drawn so much scorn over the last couple of weeks. > There's probably some truth to that. Much bad behavior comes > as the result of good intentions. But, in the end, freedom is more > important. The sentence "There's probably some truth to that" is completely false: I have never seen any benchmark of both Oracle and SQL server in any review during the last years. Some reviews have been very serious, with tests run in relation with various database publishers. The true reason is that they have a powerfull and well organised marketing division and they prefer to rely on it to get the product sold. Your sentence is what they like to hear because the doubt about their true reasons is good for closed company, better than the crude reality. So please refer to history: facts are there. Regards, Hubert Tonneau
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 04:41:08 -0700 (PDT) From: Jonathan Walther <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: freedom for ITS source? Dear Mr Hegarty, I have cc'd this message to Alan Bawden and Richard Stallman, who may have some comments of their own afterward, and I am sure, will correct me where I am wrong on historical details. What it is: ITS is an operating system, in the same way that GNU/Linux, VMS, and Windows NT are. More specifically, it is an operating system developed more than 20 years ago that ran on special hardware specific to MIT which no longer exists and which has not, to my knowledge, ever been used for commercial purposes. ITS has no license, and without one, cannot legally be redistributed in source or other form. In your role as the person in charge of source licensing in MIT's Technology Licensing department, we would like to ask that you continue the fine forward looking tradition of MIT in the field of computer science by licensing ITS under the GPL. From available facts, the GPL would be most appropriate. ITS was developed in response to some proprietary drivers which came without source, but didn't do what the AI lab researchers needed. Having an operating system with its source code open to all meant many researchers improved it, enhancing the computing experience. The whole source code of the operating system was completely open. It was this openness, and the culture that came with it, that inspired the GPL, the GNU system, and laid the foundation that vaulted Linux to fame. It's nice to be able to look at ones roots. ITS has never had a license: it never needed one. Its been available to whoever knew someone with the source code who was willing to give it to you. It would be a shame to make it any less open than its successors. If for some legal reasons we are not aware of, it is necessary to release the code under a more restricted license, I will still be interested in corresponding. This jargon file entry contains some detail on ITS: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/frames/ITS.html Yours truly, Jonathan Walther