Linux in the news
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News and editorialsCorel Linux is now available in beta test, see this press release for details. Unfortunately, the beta itself has been overshadowed by their gaffe in releasing the beta along with an obnoxious non-disclosure agreement. Corel is not the only distributor to use non-disclosure agreements with its beta tests - both Red Hat and Caldera do the same - but when you apply an NDA to something based on the Debian distribution you take on an especially vocal group of people.
Corel clearly regrets this whole affair. Like other distributors using NDAs for beta testing, they have no wish to violate the licenses which apply to the software they are releasing. They just want to have people beat on their release before it gets widely distributed. The end result is a higher-quality distribution which is released in full compliance with the licenses of its components.
In any case, according to this message we received from Judith O'Brien, Corel's Communications Manager, the NDA terms were only meant to apply to the code actually developed by Corel. This code, which has not (yet) been released under a free software license, can certainly be released under a more restrictive agreement for now. Given this interpretation of Corel's NDA, they are being rather less restrictive than some other distributors.
Corel may have slipped up here, but the amount of grief they have taken appears to be excessive. There is no evident malice in their actions. The problems that exist in their licensing are, thanks to constructive efforts by the people at Corel and others (such as Bruce Perens), being taken care of. This is not the last glitch we will see as big companies move into free software. The real issue is how these episodes are resolved.
A developer's release of OpenClassroom is now available. OpenClassroom is described as a "fully integrated digital toolset geared towards the educational sector", all composed of open source/free software. Digging into the site a bit, OpenClassroom calls Zope the "heart" of the toolset, which contains a full distribution (currently Red Hat 6.0), ActiveGuardian, PostgreSQL, Gradebook and other software specifically chosen for its usefulness to educators. This project has been around for a while and would welcome additional developers. It is a great step forward to see their first product come out and we wish them luck.
CalderaCPU Review took a look at Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 this week. Their reaction seems to be positive: "I liked the new kernel module manager, which showed you what modules are loaded, and allows you to load/unload other available modules. Well done!"
Corel announced partnerships with several companies this week, including Phillips, GraphOn, eFax, Loki Entertainment Software, and Webb Interactive, to add more goodies to the system. Phillips, for example, will be adding speech recognition, and Loki is porting games.
Corel's stock seems to have responded accordingly, jumping to a new high (and then coming back down a bit). You can track the reaction on the LWN Linux Stocks Page.
TechWeb covered the shipment of Corel's Linux beta. "With a Windows-like interface at nearly half the price, Corel's OS and office suite for Linux could offer a serious alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Office on the desktop. But [Corel CEO] Cowpland said the company does not want to exaggerate the potential of Linux to compete with Windows. 'We don't see Linux replacing Windows,' Cowpland said, adding that the two would exist in a parallel market."
DebianFrance Telecom will be using Debian as part of a project to rebuild their network infrastructure, according to this Debian press release. You can also check out the Slashdot commentary and the original press release (in French).
Debian has released their Debconf configuration management tool. It allows packages to ask questions at install time and will support non-interactive package installs. For more information, check out the official announcement.
Want to sponsor a Debian conference? The idea of a Debian conference has been passed around, with the idea of bringing Debian developers physically together. Response is positive, but finding the money to do it and a "central" location for such a diverse organization would be challenging.
Hard Hat LinuxA demonstration of Hard Hat Linux will be made at next week's Embedded Systems Conference, according to this press release from Monte Vista Software.
Linux-MandrakeLinux-Mandrake 6.1 is available for download, MandrakeSoft finally announced this week. Among other things, it includes a 2.2.13pre4 kernel and both the current and GPL versions of MySQL. (Thanks to Anand Rangarajan).
MandrakeSoft has also launched a new web site: MandrakeUser.org. As might be expected, it's intended to be a "knowledge base" and community site for Linux-Mandrake users.
Red HatRed Hat and Oracle have announced a partnership. The first outcome will be the certification of Oracle 8i for Red Hat's distribution; evidently more is to come.
SuSESuSE has been busy with security updates this week. Check out our Security Summary for more details.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
September 23, 1999
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