Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
The New York Times ran this article about the most interesting "cyberlaw" developments of 1999. It is less Microsoft-dominated than one might expect, and worth a read. "The attention Wall Street has been giving to Linux all year is ironic... but it demonstrates that the software business will never be the same again, now that everyone has admitted that the best software things in life are free. The licensing structure of the general public license, which frees everyone to create knowing that everyone can use everyone else's improvements, is the legal structure of software's future." The New York Times is a registration-required site. (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).
Here is a Salon article on the Linux stock market frenzy. The author concludes that it is actually a good thing. "If, in the long run, Red Hat and VA Linux never earn a dime, and stockholders start pulling their hair out and analysts begin announcing downgrades, the world in general still stands to benefit immensely. That's because, right now, companies like Red Hat and VA Linux are substantially increasing the amount of software that belongs to the whole world. Software that solves problems, leverages creativity and intelligence, and, bottom line, is free. The companies may go away, but the software won't. What we are currently seeing, in essence, is the largest-scale bilking of the 'free market' ever perpetrated, for the purpose of creating a common infrastructure of software tools that will be to the lasting benefit of all humanity. Merry Christmas, everyone."
LinuxTicker has run an article (in German) covering the Y2K readiness of each Linux distribution, and going over a set of problem applications. It's a good overview of where things stand, worth a last-minute look. English text can be attempted via Babelfish, but it appears to be misbehaving again.
Internet Week ran this article with predictions for next year. "...Linux is likely to be limited to its current role of Web-serving, and file- and print-sharing in the enterprise for 2000, said analyst Greg Weiss of D.H. Brown Associates."
The U.S. Patent office will be revisiting the "Windowing" patent, according to this News.com story. Windowing is an obvious Y2K fix; it was covered in this LWN feature in November. "The Dickens windowing patent was issued in 1998. Analysts have discovered information on the fix from IBM, which referred to the technique in pamphlets as far back as 1991."
This osOpinion piece supports the Amazon.com boycott. "The free software movement is filled with software that probably violates a host of obvious patents... In fact my understanding of amazon is that they use free software for their business - software that could be infringing on any one of the legions of obvious software patents!"
Here's an article in CNN looking at support offerings for Linux. "One big reason that companies have moved from playing around with open source programs, such as Linux, to using them in production networks is that a greatly improved service and support network has emerged."
ZDNet looks at Microsoft and Linux. "The company still is vacillating between two opposite poles. One, that Linux is not a real competitor- as Microsoft claims on its Linux myths Web page; and two, that Linux is poised to do real damage to Microsoft-as its Department of Justice defenders claim every chance they get."
The Montreal Gazette looks at Corel's latest disappointment. "'This setback in the Windows market will encourage us even further to push hard into the enormous potential of Linux,' chief executive Michael Cowpland said in a conference call. Corel is the company with the most Linux technology, he added, noting that the stock market values his company at less than 5 per cent as much as Linux-sector leader Red Hat."
Upside looks at the Mozilla M12 release. "When finally released, Mozilla is expected to be both faster and more stable than Internet Explorer. Such is almost guaranteed, since any programmer in the world will be able to fix bugs that surface."
CBS Marketwatch has put up its list of the top ten financial stories of 1999. Linux is number six. "When it burst onto the scene a couple years ago as a rebellion against Windows and other established operating systems for computers, the Linux 'open-source' movement of code-sharing probably seemed a bit obscure to most investors"
Here's an installation nightmare story in the Washington Post. "My objective was to see whether a Windows user could switch to Linux with minimum heartache and hassle. The answer is no. If Red Hat wants converts, the Linux switch must be as easy and painless as possible." (Thanks to David Hartley).
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
December 30, 1999