Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
The press section is somewhat incomplete this week - being at Comdex has
made it hard for us to keep up. Here's what we have...
This week's recommended reading:
- The Red Herring covers
the Corel Linux launch. "Corel's move to stake out a growing
portion of the desktop PC market has caused many at this trade show to
wonder why Microsoft doesn't retaliate by either releasing its own
version of Linux or opening up its Windows source code for outside
development. Either move, observers say, would give Microsoft the
capability to lower the development costs for its operating system
software and compete for the business that Corel hopes to serve by
- Taking a perspective look at Microsoft's actions in the recent past
and their potential actions in the future is popular right now. Tim
in with his view of how the battle for the web was almost (and
still might be) lost. "I don't think people realize just how
close we came to a Microsoft-dominated Web. If Microsoft, having
trounced Netscape, hadn't been surprised by the unexpected strength of
Apache, Perl, FreeBSD and Linux, I can easily imagine a squeeze play
on Web protocols and standards, which would have allowed Microsoft to
dictate terms to the Web developers who are currently inventing the
next generation of computer applications."
- Paul Rosenberg has produced a lengthy
analysis of the business of developing and marketing software.
Available in pdf or postscript format, this paper is over 40 pages in
length, so put aside some time before you decide to scan it. Some
interesting quotes from within it:
If the timescale for reliability is considerably shorter than the
timescale for the competition for customers then reliability of the
software has no significant bearing on market share.
Conversely, it also concludes that an open source solution can dominate the market if
it can sufficiently increase its name recognition, create the proper
electronic bazaar and effectively counteract the FUD of its competitors.
It is possible for a closed source company Software Inc. and its
operating system to dominate the software industry indefinitely.
- Con Zymaris looks at Linux and Microsoft marketing in this
osOpinion column. "What events have occurred in recent times to
make me believe that Microsoft's once much-feared marketing phalanx has
retreated like a pensioned warrior? I'll briefly run through a few of
There was, of course, some Comdex coverage:
- Here's PC
World's take on the Corel Linux launch. "Releasing Corel Linux at
the Comdex show here on Monday, Corel hopes to bring the open source
operating system to the masses."
- InfoWorld covers
Michael Cowpland's Comdex keynote. "Corel has a localization team
based in Dublin, Ireland, working on 25 language versions of Linux. 'We
will distribute it in multiple languages very soon.'"
- News.com covers Linus'
keynote at Comdex. "In an indication of how far Linux has come
since its unveiling, Torvalds addressed a crowd of about 7,000 at a
keynote address at Comdex..." (Thanks to Christof Damian)
- The Arizona Republic reported a declining
interest in Comdex, apparently due to the cost of the event and the
difficulty in making deals. However, the Linux Business Expo being
held at Comdex was apparently enough to change some people's minds.
"Scottsdale-based eBiz originally planned to skip Comdex but then
decided to go. ... When they learned that this year's show would
include a pavilion showcasing Linux products, eBiz executives
- Here's an
article (in Italian) in La Repubblica which talks about Microsoft and
Linux at Comdex. English text available via
Babelfish. (Thanks to Arrigo Triulzi).
Some articles on the Corel Linux launch:
- Here's a
News.com story about the Corel Linux launch. "However, some
industry observers question whether Corel can pull it off. The company's
stock price has been boosted by several gains in Linux-related stock, but
Corel has been faced with fierce competition from market leader
Microsoft. In an earlier effort to sidestep Microsoft, Corel jumped on
the Java bandwagon, but the company has abandoned that effort."
- InfoWorld writes
about the Corel Linux launch. "'Today, Corel Linux is as easy to
use as Windows,' [Corel CEO] Cowpland said, noting that Corel's booth
features six applications running on Linux."
- Reuters looks at the
latest rise in Corel stock following the announcements.
"The gains followed the Monday morning release of a new Corel DRAW 9
Office edition, a graphics software package, and in advance of this
afternoon's launch of a Linux operating system designed for the
Other Linux and business coverage includes:
- News.com reports on
Intel's investment in eSoft and the resulting stock price surge.
"The investments mark the continuing strategy of Intel in incubating
Linux as one of the operating systems that runs on Intel chips."
- PC World interviews
Caldera's Ransom Love. "The paradigm of the traditional desktop
is quickly passing because of the Net and because the network is the
Net. [With Corel] it's a case of let's go back five years and take on
Microsoft when the paradigm has already changed underneath you."
- ABC News talks
to Linus Torvalds and Bob Young. "The kernel is kind of scary to
mess around with, and there just aren't many developers willing to do
it. We've seen Linux users grow from 1,000 to 10 million, but the number
of people working on the kernel has grown from maybe 100 to 200. "
- Here's InfoWorld's
take on the Cygnus acquisition. "Red Hat Software, market-share
leader among Linux distributors, made an aggressive move to consolidate
its position in the open source movement Monday, announcing it was
merging with Cygnus Solutions in a deal worth $674 million."
- News.com looks at the VA
Linux IPO. "VA said it intends to sell 5.06 million shares at $11
to $13 apiece. If the success of Red Hat or Cobalt is any indication,
that price could prove to be a bargain."
- This Information
Week article says to be careful with Linux in your business. "If
you're running one of those very rare IT shops with almost no turnover
among your stable of very gifted programmers who are intimately familiar
with the inner workings of your open-source platforms, the
self-supporting possibilities offered by open-source software puts you in
an enviable position. Ditto for the potential power of applications built
on the known behavior of the innards of an operating system. For the rest
of us, however, anchoring our IT efforts to a cadre of programmers with
an intimate knowledge of and the ability to recompile entire operating
systems belongs in the catalog of worst business practices."
- ABC News covers
Red Hat's acquisition of Cygnus. "The merger would combine Red
Hat, the leading supplier of Linux software used to power servers, with
privately-held Cygnus, a supplier of Linux software programming
- The Red Herring talks
about what Transmeta is up to. "Only a select few know
exactly what chip developer Transmeta is developing. That's why Monday's
Comdex keynote is one of the most anticipated in recent memory. Pundits
predict Linus Torvalds, Linux operating system creator and Transmeta
software engineer, will let the cat out of the bag. That's not the
plan. But don't despair -- there's good news. Redherring.com has learned
details about Transmeta, including its pending patents, venture backers,
IPO plans, and when it expects to really discuss what it's doing."
- News.com reports on the
new distribution being put together by Red Hat and Oracle. "The
work will help bring several high-end features to an upcoming version of
the Linux operating system from Red Hat. However, development of many of
those features is already under way at Red Hat and other companies."
And here's the rest:
- The New York Times has published some recommendations
from various "anti-trust experts" as to what to do with Microsoft.
None of them inspire much confidence, nor promise much penalty.
(Note that the site requires registration. Thanks to David Brownell.)
"For his part, Bill Gates, Microsoft's
chairman, said he would like to settle the
case and would be willing to consider any
settlement proposal that protects the
company's ability to add any features it
wants to the Windows operating system. "
- This editorial
from osOpinion focuses on why MS Office for Linux is not a good thing.
"Microsoft's standards are both
proprietary and arbitrary- the stealth incompatibility
of Office 97 file formats with
older versions of Office or the subversion of Open
standards like XML with
proprietary extensions that require Internet Explorer
5, MS Active server and so on,
are sober reminders of what the company does to a
article in the National Review easily qualifies as the most bizarre
of the week. "It seems if you mention the LINUX OPERATING SYSTEM,
millions upon millions of people see the link on the Slashdot.com website
and come on over, because Slashdot.com monitors all mentions of LINUX
SOFTWARE and links to them. Who would have thought that so many people
were interested in Linux software? Maybe if Linux software told us
something about Oral Sex? Oh well, never mind."
- AboutLinux ran an
opinion piece about software rental schemes. "Any company that
tries to be too greedy will learn that the free market works; and will be
hurt where it counts - their bottom line. I think these software rental
schemes will be good for Linux."
The Priests Please Refrain From Kicking The Heathens? asks this
osOpinion piece. "A Very Big Clue: You won't capture the heats [sic]
and minds of MS users by calling them 'sheeple'. You won't do it by
insulting their intelligence. You won't do it by shouting like a spoiled
child whenever Linux gets bad press (no matter the reason.)"
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
November 18, 1999