Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Salon ran this strongly worded piece on the DVD case. "To the uninformed, the fight over DeCSS might look like the latest hacker obsession -- sure to blow over as soon as the DVD industry starts licensing DVD player technology for the Linux-based operating system. But the key issue at stake here -- corporate control versus individual freedom -- is fundamentally important. It's reason enough for me to stand on a cold New York street corner, and it's reason enough for hackers to fight."
LinuxWorld has done an interview with Jon Johansen, the 16-year old Norwegian indicted, along with his father, by Norway's Department of Economic Crime in connection with Jon's participation in the group which created the DeCSS DVD playback utility for Linux. "...I think the fight we are now fighting is a very important fight for free speech and for the open source community. ... if reverse engineering is banned, then a lot of the open source community is doomed to fail."
ZDNet UK talks with Alan Cox about the DVD mess. "Cox says Hollywood is trying to 'terrorise' people in its pursuit of 'pirates' and suggests it look at the disastrous campaign headed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1998 when it tried to outlaw MP3."
The LA Times ran this opinion piece on the DVD mess. "Far from being an illegal and immoral activity, hacking the DVD encryption codes was entirely legal, moral and necessary in order to circumvent the DVD industry's shameful attempts to restrict the legal rights of consumers through technical coercion."
The Boston Globe attempts to attend a DVD protest. "A chat with the DVD encryption folks revealed that they're happy to share their secrets with Linux computer makers -- for a $10,000 fee. One company, Sigma Designs, has paid the fee, and is now bringing out a circuit card that'll let Linux computers legally run DVDs. You might think this would satisfy the hackers, but you'd be wrong. They're arguing that they have a right to bypass DVD encryption without getting anybody's permission."
LinuxPower has posted this rant for those who think the DVD battle can not be won. "Do not bother replying to this message, the shows over. LiViD is disbanding. In fact, everyone else in the community definitely sees this as the best time to jump ship. I sent a letter to Larry, he agrees and everyone at VA is gonna be let go, because we cannot win. ESR has signed up for a creative writing course at the local community college."
Here's an E-Commerce Times article about IBM's latest Linux-related moves. "Chief among the Linux-related disclosures was IBM's new initiative to foster open-source development. Big Blue will offer versions of its software at no cost to commercial developers to initiate what it hopes will become a new class of Linux applications specifically designed for smaller businesses."
VA Linux and Andover.net:
ZDNet ran this article on VA Linux Systems' acquisition of Andover.Net. "...CEO Larry Augustin said the deal creates 'the Yahoo! for open source developers' with 70 million page views a month and additional revenue streams." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
SmartPortfolio.Com's Investment Opinion for February 3rd, 2000, reported on the stock market's reaction to the VALinux acquisition of Andover. "Shares of VA Linux fell 8 7/8 (-6.48%) to 128, while shares of Andover.Net soared 25.35% (+9 1/8) to 45 1/8."
The Financial Times ran this article about VA's acquisition of Andover. "But IBM is also counting on Linux to boost revenues for its services business, which is its fastest-growing division. This means that VA Linux, Red Hat and others will increasingly face competition from IBM. The issue for these companies will change from: 'Will there be a large enough market for Linux to eventually generate profits?' to 'Will they be able to effectively compete against IBM with its huge customer base and tremendous resources?'" (Thanks to David Williams).
Here's Salon Magazine's take on the VA Linux purchase of Andover.net. "For me, as was no doubt the case with many of Slashdot's fans, the news, coming right in the thick of the LinuxWorld convention taking place in New York, was a bit of a shock. Wasn't VA Linux one of the companies we depend on Slashdot to cover? I immediately flashed back to the last time I had seen Slashdot founder Rob Malda, at last August's LinuxWorld in San Jose."
WebMonkey condemns VA's acquisition of Andover.Net. "Any unbiased appraisal of this merger, however, will yield one difficult but inescapable truth: The camaraderie and high spirits engendered by Linus and his band of programmers will soon be replaced by the same rancor and factiousness that permeates the rest of the capitalist world. And Slashdot, which is so highly revered by its readers and those who know its mission, will soon lose its trust, reputation, and standing." (Found in Slashdot).
News.com covers VA's purchase of Andover.Net. "The acquisition raises the possibility that the Linux.com site will lose the nonprofit status VA Linux has accorded it. VA representatives were not immediately available for comment."
Here's the Red Herring's take on VA's acquisition of Andover.Net. "More than a cosmic communion around Linux, hardware maker VA Linux Systems (Nasdaq: LNUX)'s acquisition of Andover.net (Nasdaq: ANDN) is a customer grab that may drive open-source programmers away from their favorite Web haunts."
Expect to see more acquisitions in VALinux's future, commented this FOCUS article. "'We plan to aggressively grow our business model organically as well as through acquisitions,' Schull told Reuters at the LinuxWorld trade show taking place in New York this week."
Now Slashdot has been featured in a lengthy Forbes article. "Anticipating that his new three-dimensional graphics game for Linux would be featured on Slashdot, Steve Baker, a programmer at Raytheon, delayed releasing the game for a week while he set up mirror sites across the world."
More Mergers and Acquistitions:
Upside ran this article about Linux acquisitions. "With other Linux companies such as Linuxcare and Caldera Systems preparing to enter the marketplace, however, one thing remains certain. The mergers and acquisitions of the last week are only a preview of coming attractions."
CBS Marketwatch looks at Linux IPOs, past present and future. "Given the huge rises in Linux companies' shares in 1999, we can expect about 10 initial public offerings from open-source companies this year, says Mike Kwatinetz, head of technology research at Credit Suisse First Boston."
ZDNet UK takes this look at the Trillian project's release of the Itanium 64 source code for Linux. "For potential IA-64 customers the good news was that the Trillian Project, founded in April 1999, is well on its way to meeting its goals of porting and optimising Linux for IA-64. Its final main goal, making it open source under the Gnu Public License (GPL), has been -- for all practical purposes -- accomplished."
This ZDNet UK article jumps around, touching on the version 2.4 Linux kernel, and Linux on the IA-64 chip architecture. "Torvalds said he was excited about the Trillian project, and that while he did not understand the current stock market, he understood investors' interest in Linux."
The Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray wanders at LinuxWorld. "One key theme at LinuxWorld was concern for the care and feeding of programmers. Open source software is written by hundreds of volunteers, many of whom will never earn a dime from their labors. Will they keep toiling away for free, while major corporations earn millions from their work?" (Thanks to Josh Mayers).
ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch went to LinuxWorld. "The Linux bandwagon is getting heavier by the minute. Last week in New York, the MSNBC mobile broadcasting van was parked outside the Javits Center for most of the show's duration. Companies were falling over themselves to demonstrate how Linux-chummy they are. Gimmicks abounded, from Batman-costumed floor-walkers to Tarantella rappers at SCO."
Linux Games reports from LinuxWorld with a gaming point of view. "From what I saw and heard at the Expo, Linux gamers have a fantastic year ahead of them! From new games to better 3D video cards to better 3D sound cards, members of the hardware and software community showed that they were beginning to not only understand the power of games on the technology market, but also realize the potential that Linux has as a gaming platform." (Found in Portalux News).
Here's a ZDNet UK report from LinuxWorld. "With less than a year of work in (Trillian started in April 1999), Trillian has the foundation laid and the beams raised for a major Linux port. All in all, I think it's the most amazing development story I've ever seen. The lessons from this effort are loud and clear. Open-source code development is faster than me on a wide-open interstate highway. And, not only can it work for old-line corporations, but we have proof positive that open source is the way to get cross-company development teams to actually produce something other than grandiose news releases."
Another ZDNet UK report from LinuxWorld. "I looked for evidence that the imminent launch of Microsoft's Windows 2000 might be causing doubt amongst exhibitors or attendees. But such is the boundless confidence of those here, the event was marked by an almost complete absence of Microsoft bashing."
Reuters picked out some of Linus' comments in his keynote that were aimed at Microsoft. "'The thing about Linux or open software in general is that it actually tries to move software from being witchcraft to being a science,' he said. 'A lot of the programs you see today are actually put together by shamans, and you just take it and if the computer crashes you walk around it three times...and maybe it's OK.'"
Here's a Toronto Sun article (on Canoe.ca) describing what the author learned at LinuxWorld. "6. 'Chicks dig Linux!' Several men I saw had this message on their T-shirts. Strangely, most of them were alone." (Thanks to Bill Duncan).
Here's a Wired News article about the Corel/Inprise deal. "[Bruce] Perens said the Open Source community must learn how to work with the corporate world as Linux goes commercial, and the Corel deal might prove the perfect example. 'Corel has a good marketing channel and that's the most important thing for Linux,' he said."
News.com reports on the Corel/Inprise merger. "The result will be a company focused more strongly on luring customers to Linux, a competitor to the Windows operating system. The merged company will provide stiffer competition not only to Microsoft, but also to Red Hat, the Linux seller that gained access to programming tools with its acquisition of Cygnus Solutions in November."
ZDNet's Inter@ctive Investor looks at the Corel/Inprise merger with a skeptical eye. "... the combination of Corel, which is becoming a major Linux player, and Inprise, which offers development tools for the Linux world and other platforms, should have been great news to investors. But there's that lingering question: Does one company with a poor track record combined with another company with a poor track record equal a powerhouse?"
PC World covers the Corel/Inprise deal. "As part of the $2.44 billion merger, Inprise/Borland will become a Corel subsidiary focusing on Linux software, on which both companies have bet heavily."
Here's an article in Upside about the Corel/Inprise merger. "Like Corel, [Inprise] has turned increasingly to the Linux community as a source of both revenue and -- some might say -- salvation."
Also in Upside: this interview with Corel CTO Derek Burney. "We devote 10 percent of our resources to Linux, but half of my team is contributing indirectly. That's the great thing about Linux. The rewards are potentially large, but the upfront bet is not high."
Bloomberg chimes in on the Corel/Inprise merger with this article. "The transaction will intensify Corel's rivalry with Red Hat Inc. and VA Linux Systems Inc."
Products and Services:
Arne W. Flones takes a look at Linux thin clients. "Maybe the best rationale for thin clients might be that the small network user can return to being a network user and not just an administrator."
News.com looks at the new PDA from Lernout & Hauspie. "The speech recognition software company is hoping to gain attention this week with a product prototype that combines some of the trendiest technology around--PDAs (personal digital assistants), speech recognition, wireless Internet access and the Linux operating system--into one package."
Publishers Weekly ran a brief article on the new "Linux Journal Press" book line being created by SSC and No Starch Press. Its first book will be the second edition of John Blair's Samba: Integrating UNIX and Windows.
LinuxPower interviews Matheiu Pinard of Tribsoft - a Linux game porting company. "At first, I was a little worried that [Loki] would take all the best games, but finally I believe that our 2000 lineup should be complemented very well by the Loki lineup. Look at JA2, they don't have a similar game. In a way we need Loki if we want Linux to be a gaming platform. There are not enough Linux games, and Tribsoft can't port alone all the best games released in 2000."
Nicholas Petreley plays with a TiVo box. "If you get a Tivo unit, you'll never know you're running Linux. Tivo has added its own flashy graphical user interface, which is surprisingly excellent for such a new product. If you suspect Linux at all, it will be due to its robust behavior. I deliberately unplugged the Tivo box a few times during critical operations just to check how much trouble it would get into. It came back up flawlessly each time."
Fox News looks at Linux in home entertainment applications, including the Sony Playstation and the TiVo system. "The impact of Linux in the home entertainment market could be huge. Its ability to run on multiple platforms, including Intel, Motorola, SGI and Apple, and its open-source kernel that can be modified by lots of developers for any task, give it a tremendous advantage over other operating systems in this market." (Thanks to Tony Peden).
Here's a Business Week article with a skeptical look at the Linux services market. "It's easy to forget, when sizing up these companies, that the biggest competitors in the Linux services business haven't flexed their muscles yet. It's conceivable, once IBM and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) wade in, that several Linux companies will have to join forces to create a large enough beast to compete."
VAR Business has run a five-part series on how to build an E-commerce site with Linux. "Recently, an associate offered Bynari International, a co-location space to mirror our site, provide redundancy and build a database. He asked one favor: Use a stable operating system so he doesn't have to open the lockers frequently. We planned to use Linux."
Government Computer News ran this brief article stating that NASA is out shopping for a large number of laptop systems to deploy in the space shuttle and station; these laptops might run Linux. "The Linux open-source operating system, which rocketed into the enterprise computing orbit last year, may now be headed for outer space." (Thanks to Nathan Myers).
FOSE is the self-proclaimed conference "where government clicks with IT". It will be held April 18th through the 20th, 2000, in Washington, D.C., and for the first time, they will be having a Linux Pavilion. Tim Bogart at osOpinion talks about why we should be there. "Linux supporters from everywhere need to support their effort because this is a golden opportunity the entire community has been waiting for. This is an opportunity to make a little slit in the bottom of the changepurse of their primary nemesis and watch the money trickle away. "
Linuxworld looks at the rapid growth in the open source movement. "As Jamie Zawinski wrote in the letter explaining his resignation from Netscape and Mozilla, 'You can divide our industry into two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company.' Open source companies will now be besieged by the latter -- but will not be able to hire and keep even these prospecting workers fast enough to compete with the corporations, who don't play nice."
There is an interview with Linus Torvalds which appears on the GNet site. "Mobile Linux came about because we had customers that wanted to run Linux on those smaller devices like handhelds, so it was on their demand really. It isn't really a new version of Linux, mind you, we have just compressed it so it would fit in the smaller memory space of PDAs and the like."
Internet Week looks at large computer companies and Linux. "While Sun is introducing Linux products, its public statements suggest some ambivalence about the technology. Sun executives take pains to differentiate Solaris from Linux, saying that Solaris is far more reliable and scalable than Linux."
The Industry Standard ponders the future of Linux businesses. "A single press release from Compaq or Dell along the lines of 'We have formed a new Linux division and will pursue dominance in that area just as we have in our other markets' could send Linux-company shares tumbling - unless these companies respond by drawing on their idiosyncratic strengths."
Vnunet.com covers the latest Gartner Group pronouncements on Linux. "...a vacuum currently exists in the area of much-needed Linux system management tools for back-up and recovery, volume management, file system management, transaction recovery, high availability, San architectures, cluster server solutions, performance management and hierarchical storage management."
The Times ran this article about Linux and Windows 2000 that is mostly introductory stuff. "The beauty of Linux, to a young coder, is that you can pick it up and start improving it immediately. Because Linux depends on external contributions, it's deliberately easy for a lone teenager to pull it apart and learn the ropes. Better still, if you write something that fixes a bug, is useful to others or adds a new feature, it doesn't matter if you're a 15-years-old street-seller in Mexico: within days, thousands of people will know your name. So this is why more and more of these young coders polish their skills by messing with Linux."
There is also a companion article with some side-by-side comparisons between Linux and Windows 2000. "[Applications are] still Linux's weakest point, though: installing these extra programs still requires peering at Readme files. And printing, at the moment, sucks." (Thanks to Michael Coyne).
Smart Money takes a skeptical look at Linux. "Most PC users aren't sophisticated enough to request Linux and a Linux office package. While the upstart operating system may have cachet on Wall Street, it's not exactly Coke as far as brand awareness goes."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
February 10, 2000