Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Out of this week's recommended reading, two of the articles are about the
Mindcraft benchmark rerun. Both brought out interesting things about the
Linux community and how it is perceived.
- Salon Magazine
reports on the Mindcraft benchmark rematch. "If there's one thing
that the open-source programmers can definitely match Microsoft at,
it's in their absolute certainty, at least in public, of their own
unassailable rightness. No doubts, no hesitation -- the Linux
programmers didn't appear to really care that the numbers that will
result from the PCWeek Lab tests will probably show Windows NT in a
positive light. That's the present, soon to be the past. The future
- The San Jose Mercury
looks at the rerun of the Mindcraft benchmarks. "In fact, the
Linux community's response to the original Mindcraft tests had
already demonstrated, once again, one of the open-source movement's
most valuable assets. When the tests pointed up a genuine flaw in
Linux under certain operating circumstances, Linux programmers
quickly came up with a fix that is now being tested -- and showed
the remarkable speed with which improvements make it into the
- The Red Herring
says that Microsoft is in trouble. "In order to turn the
Internet into one great Microsoft LAN, the company requires a share
of the Internet server market similar to its share of LAN
servers. Then Internet developers would write server applications
that ran only on Windows, and Web developers would design sites
that took advantage of specific features in Windows. But the
success of Linux means that this will probably never happen. In
Linux, the Internet has found an OS commensurate with its
Linus Torvalds gave a talk in San Francisco that drew a few articles:
There is still a trickle of IPO stories coming through:
caught Linus's talk to the Bay Area LUG. "Torvalds also predicted
that the next version of the Linux kernel would be out by the fall,
though he said the date could slip." (Thanks to Cesar
A. K. Grossmann).
- InfoWorld has
coverage of Linus Torvalds's BALUG talk. "Torvalds also said he
plans shorter intervals between releases of the OS. The release
date for Version 2.2, a predecessor to Version 2.4, slipped by a
year as the growing popularity of Linux prompted developers to take
more time to write code, Torvalds said. 'What happened was people
became more careful, he said."
- Inter@ctive Week also
covered the talk. "[Torvalds] declined to predict when changes
needed to get Linux more acceptable for the desktop and portable
devices could be implemented. 'I'm a really poor planner,' he
noted, saying some previous releases have come out as much as a
year behind his own expectations."
We had just a little bit of negative press this week:
a VAR Business article on Red Hat's IPO. "VARs say Red Hat's
IPO increases visibility of Linux and legitimizes the OS in the
corporate world, but it won't result in more business. They hope
Red Hat uses its new resources to lead the market by improving its
an article about Red Hat's IPO filing in the (Raleigh, NC) News
& Observer. "This passage speaks volumes about Red Hat's
unusual burden as it prepares for its Wall Street debut in a couple
of months: convincing investors that it has a strong business model
based on impressive market share while assuring techies that it's
not like 'some companies,' particularly one based in the Pacific
- US News and World Report
covers Red Hat's IPO filing. "For most of the 1990s, competing
head-on against Microsoft was a singularly stupid thing to
do. Entrepreneurs who dared to try were treated like modern-day Don
Quixotes begging funds for a windmill-demolition start-up. It
wasn't just hard for them to find venture capital financing. It was
practically impossible. Now comes Red Hat, a tiny company out of
North Carolina with the temerity to put Microsoft and its Windows
operating system smack in its cross hairs."
- Inter@ctive Week
looks at Linux-related IPO's. "...the former Pacific HiTech,
renamed TurboLinux after its distribution of Linux, said it was
keeping its options open as well. TurboLinux already is dominant
in Japan, and its operations in Beijing now are up and running and
distributed 110,000 copies of Linux in their first two months of
ZD Net story speculates on the future of Linux IPOs.
"Whatever the reasons, one thing is clear. Linux isn't just
getting into big business. Linux is becoming big business."
- Here is
an amusing editorial on osOpinion. "The bottom line is that
Linux does not have the interface consistency to make it appealing
to end users and it uses a software philosophy that makes it a very
poor choice for developers. If Linux truly were a good choice for
everyone, it would have been popular a long time ago." As
always, please try to be polite and professional in any responses
to the author.
an anti-Linux article in Internet Week. "Linux is a college
student's project gone astray. The version that will be supported
by Sun Microsystems and IBM on its hardware will fall far short of
each of these company's own Unix operating systems in features and
capabilities. If you're responsible for operating system selection
in your company, be wary of the Linux play." (As always, if
you respond to this author, please do so in a polite and
Lots of business-related articles, as usual:
- The Ottawa Citizen
reports on Corel's Linux plans. "Although he admits the reality of
Linux as a commonly found desktop is as far as four years away,
[Corel CEO] Cowpland is confident the growth of the system will
continue to accelerate."
- Sun will be making its Java 2 server platform available to the
Apache project under an open source license, according to
this Wired News article. "Sun will be releasing the source code
to Apache shortly, after the licensing issues are hashed
- ZDNet's Interactive Investor has
an article about VA Linux Systems and the linux.com web site.
"VA also announced that Linux.com...received more than 25
million hits and 5 million page views in its first month....The
number one Linux.com visitor in the month of May was Microsoft
Corporation, with over 15,800 hits in the first two weeks."
They also note that VA has hired Jon "Maddog" Hall into its
- Computer Reseller News has
an article about the SourceXchange.
"Just as every consumer is a potential merchant at [online
auction site] eBay, SourceXchange can turn every open-source-code
developer into an enterprise software contractor."
- IT Managers Shouldn't Be Afraid Of Linux says Internet Week. What
the article really seems to be about, however, is Linux's
firewalling capabilities. "Linux makes a great firewall,
especially those boxes built around the new SuSE 6.0 Linux
package. This version includes all the firewall tools available in
any other Linux distribution, plus they added really useful
firewall scripts. So even Linux-challenged network administrators
can quickly learn to set up a robust firewall."
- Inter@ctive Week
covers the release of IBM's Java Development Kit for Linux. "The
early release Virtual Machine for Linux is based on an outdated
version of the Java Development Kit, release 1.1.6. After
collecting feedback from developers, IBM plans to release an
updated version of the VM for Linux based on JDK 1.2, now popularly
known as Java 2."
- Fortune Magazine
has decided that VA Linux Systems is cool. "Last December the
company had 17 employees; now it has 132 and has outgrown its
office space in Sunnyvale. VA won't disclose its revenues, but
Augustin says that sales are doubling every quarter and that he
wants to be selling more than $1 billion annually in less than five
years." (Found in
discovers Compaq's Itsy. "...Linux's presence in the teeny Itsy
computer can be seen as a proof point for the Unix-like software.
Linux may not be as good as operating systems designed from the
ground up to run handheld devices, but does provide a workable
alternative--royalty free." (Thanks to Damon Poole).
- Linux's existential moment in ZDNet looks at when and how corporate CIO
types will look at adopting Linux for desktop use. Not quite yet,
apparently. "But most IT managers aren't ready to act just
yet. The time is not yet right to convert most corporate desktop
environments from Windows to Linux. But in due course, the time
will come--if the correct events occur."
reports on Wyse and its new Linux-based thin client computer. "The
product uses a version of Linux based on the Slackware version of
the Unix-like operating system..." (Thanks to Neal Richter).
- For our Swedish-capabile readers:
an article in Elektronik i Norden about how the company Axis is using
Linux in their server systems. (Thanks to Erik Johansson).
There were just a couple of introductory pieces this week:
an introductory article in Computer Telephony. It is not one of
the more accurate ones we have seen recently. "Support aside,
Linux has other problems that it must surmount if it is to come
anywhere near playing a truly leading role as an alternative
OS. For starters, it needs to get itself a GUI. Current versions of
Linux rely solely on line code, making it somewhat inelegant as a
front end - except it seems in Asia, where Linux as a front end has
been adopted with gusto." (Thanks to Edmund Grimley Evans).
- There is
a series of articles (in French) in Le Monde Informatique,
including an introductory piece and a several-part interview with
Linus Torvalds. English text available
via Babelfish. (Found in
And here's the rest of what we came up with:
- Read about Jon "Maddog" Hall's travels in
his July column in Performance Computing. "CeBIT cannot be
imagined, only experienced. Huge buildings placed on a fairground,
along with the support services (infirmary, laundry, flower shops,
post office, banks) needed to support thousands of vendors and
hundreds of thousands of attendees.... The booths at CeBIT range
from the small pod to the super-large, two-story power booths of
companies such as Kodak, Samsung, and others. There is a three-year
waiting list for vendors to get space at CeBIT."
- Eric Raymond is giving a talk at Microsoft on June 21, according to
this TechWeb article. "Raymond said he had no idea what
Microsoft is hoping to get out of the talk. 'I wish I knew,'
Raymond said. He added that he does not think Microsoft has any
big open source plans in the near future, despite hints the company
has made in the past few months."
- Justin Maurer
interviews Miguel de Icaza, Nat Friedman, and Matt Loper of the GNOME
project on Linux.com. "So Microsoft has a number of good ideas
that we can build on.... The Internet Explorer web browser, for
example, is a paragon of the component model. When you use IE, what
you're actually using is about 70 tiny little COM components
working together. No matter how ecumenical you are about free
software, you can't deny this is a good idea; it makes debugging
easier and makes the code more reusable. So there's no reason we
shouldn't use this technique in GNOME. And that is our plan with
- The San Jose Mercury's Dan Gillmor
writes about the proposed new software licensing law. "About the
only good result I can imagine from this proposal, should it become
law, is that it could boost open-source software, a genre in which
the programming instructions are available publicly and can be
modified by the user. Thumb-screw restrictions on commercial
products inevitably would make open source a much more attractive
option for businesses and, ultimately, consumers."
- Apparently the Brazilian magazine Veja has published a brief note
claiming that the Brazilian Science and Technology Ministry will be
funding a "technology center" to work on Linux development. Many
details, including where the center will be, how big it will be, or
just what it will work on, are missing. The note (in Portuguese)
may be found on
the Linux in Brazil site; unfortunately Babelfish chokes on this one.
(Thanks to Augusto C. Campos).
- Wired News
goes to Usenix and reports on the state of open source software.
"At an annual advanced-computing summit this week in Monterey,
California, academics, hackers, geeks, and network administrators
shared their growing ardor for collaborative coding, Apple, and
basically anything not Microsoft."
- C|Net has put up a
the decade in computing article. It's a typical top-ten list;
Linux comes in at
number 5. "Although proprietary software may never go away, we're
willing to bet that in five years companies will no longer charge
for operating systems. And for that we can thank Linux."
(Thanks to Benji Selano).
- Concerns about "profane" comments in the Linux kernel source are
not new - see, for example, the October 15, 1998 LWN (scroll to the bottom). This time,
though, the discussion warranted
an article in Wired News. "Torvalds warned against sanitizing
Linux code. He said profane lines only become a problem when they
begin to hog too much memory."
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
June 17, 1999