Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Salon reports on the marriage of Google and ODP (the Open Directory Project). "The difference is that there are now targeted directory entries among the search results, providing both intelligible context and lateral, topic-based browsing, with your results as point of departure. If you search on 'Eric Raymond,' for example, you get links to sites associated with the open-source advocate, plus a selection of relevant directory categories, including 'Computers ?> Open Source ?> Advocacy.'" The article also contains a nice history and philosopy of the ODP.
Legal and Political
This well written article in SF Gate explains the danger to consumers of the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act. "As contracts begin to apply more and more to sales between businesses and consumers, the software industry called for new rules to handle these specific cases. That's the problem. Because in any contract, there are at least two parties concerned. In the case of a software license agreement, the contract involves both a consumer and a software vendor. And who is the #1 supporter of UCITA? It's not the federal government. It's the software industry. Are your alarm bells buzzing yet?" (Found through LinuxToday.)
Wired reports that Geeks Protest, Nobody Comes. "Only about 20 Washington-area Linux users and administrators showed up Tuesday morning in front of the Capitol building to protest a controversial federal law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Waving signs saying 'DMCA Copyright or Wrong,' they marched past the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress -- and got mostly puzzled looks. 'What's the DMCA?' asked one curious tourist. 'Is it about the death penalty?'"
LinuxPower takes a look at the i-opener from Netpliance and its recent relationship with the open source community. "The important outcome of the whole i-opener affair is that Netpliance suddenly had some of the best technological minds on the planet working with their product, testing novel configurations, pushing it to the limits, and freely reporting their results back to the community. Yes, this was costing them, but it was only a small fraction of the cost of actually employing these people."
News.com covers Netpliance's blocking of modifications to its iOpener system. "The company appeared to be unfazed earlier this week when Las Vegas slot machine mechanic Ken Segler revealed that the company's i-opener Internet appliance could easily be modified to function as a Linux-based PC. But in a tersely worded statement today, the company said it has reconfigured the i-opener to prevent unauthorized upgrades."
CNet reports on Intel's investment in Lynx, producers of the proprietary LynxOS as well as Blue Cat Linux. "Lynx will translate Blue Cat so it works on Intel's IXP processors, special-purpose chips designed for networking hardware such as routers and switches, Singh said. The chip competes chiefly against chips from Motorola and IBM... Intel's investment turns up the heat on Lineo, an embedded Linux company that is working with Motorola..."
Here's News.com's take on Cobalt's acquistion of Chili!Soft. "Charles Crystle, chairman and former chief executive of ChiliSoft, said today he plans to donate about $11 million of the $15 million he expects from the acquisition toward boosting high-tech education opportunities in Central America."
News.com looks at Maxspeed, which makes multi-head hardware used to deploy Linux in retail situations. "Linux, an operating system cloned from Unix, is spreading across all sorts of computer markets. Its Unix roots, which allow many users to tap into a single server, make it a natural pick for MaxSpeed."
The Ottawa Citizen looks at the future of the Corel/Inprise merger in the light of Corel's falling stock price. "The deep selloff reduced the original deal to just 52 per cent of the announced value and it put a charge in the campaign of angry Inprise shareholders led by Don Magie of Toronto."
According to this TechWeb article, Infonautics is betting big on Linux servers running Cold Fusion to handle the increased web traffic generated by March Madness. "'We were literally betting more than $1 million worth of promotion, betting it all on Cold Fusion on Linux as our scalable high-performance solution,' [CTO Ram] Mohan said."
PCWeek writer, John McCright discusses how Intel will not be the only 64-bit Linux platform. "Intel's own partners on Trillian aren't content to back an Intel-only strategy. HP, for example, is signing up partners to make Linux run on HP servers equipped with non-Intel processors. The Puffin Group, for instance, is porting Linux to PA-RISC so that HP 9000 server users can run Linux applications. And Cygnus is making development tools for both Linux and HP-UX."
The Motley Fool reports on Red Hat's fourth quarter earnings. "Red Hat intends to gain an additional 25% in annual sales from acquisitions over the next five years, though that figure would depend upon finding the right deals. The company has plenty of capacity for acquisition. Its cash balance sits at $242 million, eight times current liabilities, after Red Hat raised $261 million in a secondary public offering on Feb. 3. In addition, the company has a large balance of authorized shares available for use in acquisitions." However, the piece is not optimistic about Red Hat being able to increase revenues enough to justify its current valuation.
CNet reports that Marc Andreessen has joined Collab.Net as an investor. "'Andreessen will raise Collab.Net's profile,' said Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt. 'The start-up already has strong open-source ties through chief technology officer Brian Behlendorf, a key figure in the Apache movement, but Andreessen will give Collab.Net a higher profile with proprietary software projects.'"
Here's a ZDNet article claiming that services and support are the only way to make money with Linux. "Wall Street high-flyers Red Hat Software and VA Linux are essentially using software and hardware, respectively, to prime the pump for higher margin Linux services gigs. Meanwhile, giants like Hewlett-Packard and IBM also are staffing up their Linux consulting practises."
The Chicago Tribune published a piece on a distributed supercomputer built with discarded computers from federal facilities and donations. The machines are dubbed the Stone Soupercomputer, after the stone soup tale. "The moral is that when everybody works together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts -- like the SouperComputer. " (Found on LinuxToday.)
Here's a lengthy introductory article in the Dallas Morning News. "Open source developers are also stymied on other fronts. While RealPlayer, the most widely used audio and video streaming program, has been made available for Linux, Microsoft's Media player has not. Linux users can't open those files yet, and the prospect that Microsoft's player may yet dominate Internet streaming is troubling for Linux devotees."
This column on the LiViD site advises a pragmatic approach in dealing with commercial software. "Eventually we will not need closed source commercial applications. There is no doubt that Linux would not be where it is now if it were not for one very important commercial application: Netscape. Commercial applications fill many gaps in the available software for Linux in the near future."
This LinuxMall article takes a look at the Free Documentation License (FDL), from the GNU Project. "According to Robert McMillan of Linux Magazine, 'The real question is what the book publishers will be doing with this license. They are creating a lot of content right now, but very little of it is under an open license ... I'd be curious to know if the book publishers (IDG, Macmillan, Coriolis) are interested in adopting this license or not.'"
Upside Today discusses the unmet consumer need being fulfilled by Napster. "The other interpretation is that a large number of arguably reasonable people -- such as college students -- have simply turned into a bunch of thieves. I'm just not inclined towards this simplistic view. No, there must be a gulf between what the record industry sells and what music consumers now want....The real question is whether the record industry will ever get it? " (Found through Salon.)
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols gives the top five reasons why "Linux isn't going to fork its way into disaster."
In Opening the Dungeon, Salon writer Wagner James Au describes the response of the Dungeons & Dragons/Open-Source Community to Wizards of the Coast's recent announcement to release the game's core rules under an "open-source" license called D20. Many in the community greeted the announcement with skepticism, based on the company's history under previous owners. "Gygax, who in the mid-'80s left TSR, the company he founded, on the heels of internal conflicts that read like a treacherous palace coup, confirmed the gist of Harrington's charges: 'The former management of TSR was, in my considered opinion, quite incompetent,' he says in an e-mail. 'Indeed they had a most aggressive enforcement policy in regards to their copyrights, and their fan base eroded considerably, in part because of alienation due to their strict enforcement.'"
Here's a CNet article about the future of Linux. "Even people who don't know what a CPU is have heard of Linux by now. Does that mean that the renegade, Unix-like operating system is on its way to becoming mainstream? Yes. But not by replacing Windows on your desktop." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)
Here's a technical article on Linuxcare's site solving an obscure communications problem. " This will tell you how to set up a masqueraded PPP connection via IrDA from a Windows CE PC Companion to a Linux based notebook computer. Once you are IP connected, the rest is up to you."
LinuxMall.com has put up an article looking at the GnuCash project. "...we've fixed some important mis-features in Quicken, I think we are building on a more solid foundation, on a better conceptual design, than Quicken ever had. So we hope to be better than Quicken someday, hopefully not too far away."
Linuxcare's application of the week is the Gnumeric spreadsheet. "This application looks sharp and functions pretty well for my current needs. Given the momentum behind the GNOME project, Gnumeric is on its way to becoming a convincing alternative to similar proprietary applications."
Dear Lina answers your questions about bash.
Wired presents an
interview with Richard Stallman in mp3 audio format. The page
has links for the entire interview (21 minutes) or you can listen
his responses on the individual topics: Liberating Users (6 min),
Boycotting Amazon.com (5 Min), Hackers, Crackers, and Pirates (6
min), Advice to Users (4 min). They also have a link to the 1993
hit by RMS, "The Free Software Song" (.au).
PBS will air Code Rush this Thursday evening at 10:00 pm ET. The show "takes a dramatic, inside look at living and working in Silicon Valley. The one-hour documentary follows bright and quirky Netscape Communications engineers as they pursue a revolutionary venture to save their company. Through the program's verit style, viewers see human and technological dramas unfold in the collision between science, engineering, code and commerce." (Found on Kuro5hin.)
SystemLogic.net interviews Transmeta's Dave Taylor. "I end up sticking my nose in a lot of things, but my job description du jour is Mobile Linux hacker. I came from the game industry, where I helped write Doom and Quake, and I financed/produced Abuse and Golgotha (not released). I'm probably best known for being one of the earlier Linux adopters in the game industry."
AndoverNews.net is running this continuing nightmare installation saga. In this episode our author waits for a shippment and responds to email. "When it gets here, you'll be the first to know if I manage to make it to Linux utopia. In the meantime, I want to share a few of the quite engrossing conversations I've had with you in response to last week's rant about ease of installation." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann)
TwoMobile.com has come up with a new analogy for Linux. "Just like Linux, rap music was something that scared corporations until it was big enough to be profitable, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of the action." (Thanks to Donnie Brassco).
Though Linux is not mentioned by name, this Dilbert cartoon shows clearly how the disadvantages of proprietary, closed source software are becoming more widely understood. "Put more bugs in the software! I'm making a fortune out here!" (Thanks to James Cownie.)
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
March 30, 2000