Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Politics & Law
News.com ran this article about the U.S. appeals court decision that programs are covered by the First Amendment. "For example, some theorized that today's decision could test the balance between free speech and copyright protections in litigation between the movie industry and Web operators accused of circulating a program that lets people crack the security on DVDs."
Lawrence Lessig speaks out in TheStandard against the DMCA, which has been interpreted in a way that apparently "circumvents" the Constitution's First Amendment limits on copyright law. "But law that protects code that protects copyright is still law. And it, like copyright law, should be limited by the Constitution. If there is a fair-use right under copyright law, then as professor Peter Jaszi and others have argued, there should be a fair-use right under the anticircumvention provision of the DMCA. Just as free-speech rights get balanced under copyright law, so too should they be balanced under the copyright act." (Found through Slashdot.)
The New York Times claims Linux's Open-Door Policy Could Let Hackers Right In and they've dug up some security experts that seem to believe security through obscurity is a better bet. "'This is a double-edged sword,' says Scott Hissam, a member of Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute. 'The bad guys have access to the same code as the creators. They can use that information to exploit the code and make it do what they want it to do.'" (Thanks to Paul Kimoto.) [note: the link above is a registration required site.]
UK article mentions Microsoft's recent flirtation with the term
"open source" and the ramifications of allowing them and other
companies to do so. "Increasingly, software vendors are getting a
virtual slap when they try to play fast and loose with open-source
claims. But the real losers are the developers and users who believe
that software companies slinging the "open" word all mean the same
thing. And of course, they don't...
And of course, they don't..."
Some small hope for sanity shows up in this Wall Street Journal article titled "U.S. Will Give Web Patents More Scrutiny Under New Plan". "Examiners reviewing applications in the business-method area will have to follow new requirements. They will have to search online databases to check that an idea is truly innovative. The patent office also will propose certain other adjustments that take into account recent court decisions. 'We want to heighten the scrutiny that patents in this area get,' Mr. Dickinson said in an interview." It is good to know that the public outcry that has been going on for months, if not years, has had some impact upon this department. (Link found on Slashdot.)
LinuxDevices has put their heart and soul into this article, 10
Reasons why Linux will beat Windows in the Embedded Market.
"There's no question that Windows is king of the Desktop
Market and won't lose that status in the immediate future.
On the other hand, Linux is well on its way to a dominant
position in the Server Market, as evidenced by its
doubling of market share during each of the past two
But what about the third major market for computer
operating systems -- the vast and largely unseen realm of
But what about the third major market for computer operating systems -- the vast and largely unseen realm of embedded systems?"
Here's a LinuxMall article about Lineo and the small world of palm sized computing. "Lineo develops Linux applications for embedded devices (which can be anything from sprinkler timers to VCR's to screenphones). This will allow Open Source applications to run on anything with 32 kilobytes (KB) of memory or more. Some full Linux file systems can be scaled down to a single floppy."
The St. Petersburg Times ran this lengthy introductory article which concentrates on Corel's distribution. "If imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery, the software developers at Corel are big fans of Windows. But Corel promises a more reliable system, one that's easier to set up and use and less expensive than Microsoft's, and it seems to be pinning the company's future on it." (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth).
The Ottawa Citizen looks at Corel's business woes. "Roger Lanctot, an analyst with PC Data in Reston, Virginia, said 'There is a lot of excitement in the Linux market and Corel is clearly in the thick of it.' But he said there is also turmoil in the market as manufacturers send pallets of Linux products into U.S. stores only to see much of it returned unsold."
IBM's operating system quandary, and the Linux solution takes a look at why Linux is perfect for IBM's needs. "Wouldn't it be nice to have just a single operating system? Not just nice though. It would transform the productivity of IBM's developers that need to create business solutions on top of the operating system layer." (Thanks Jay R. Ashworth.)
Has the Linux 'dream machine' arrived? takes a look at Linux on the IBM S/390, then indicates that this won't be the only mainframe platform on which IBM will support Linux. "'There's a plan for Linux compatibility on the AS/400,' said Miles Barel, program director of Unix brand marketing for IBM's Enterprise Systems Group. 'There will be both interoperability and application compatibility aspects.'"
WR Hambrecht initiated their coverage of VA Linux with a Buy Rating, commenting that VA Linux is positioned to quadruple its revenues in the fiscal year 2000. "'We believe that an investment in VA Linux is an investment in one of the strongest competitors in Open Source. VA Linux is involved in virtually all parts of the Open Source market including systems, services, portals and software, and we believe it has opportunities to enhance its position in each of these markets,' Bachman said."
Internet Stock News reports on the recent downturn in Technology and Internet stocks. "... a significant amount of money was taken out of the technology and Internet sector and placed back into the "old economy" stocks of the Dow." A quick look at the LWN Stock Page will show the impact of this downturn on Linux stocks ... our index has dropped below 100 for the first time since November, 1999.
IT Week: Linux firms bet safe talks about the recent distribution releases from SuSE, Red Hat and Caldera and their decisions not to include Linux 2.4 kernel features or XFree86 4.0. "Leading European distribution SuSE, which employs the former XFree86 head as its chief technology officer, will be the first to ship with the new software. But version 4 only installs as an option, said Stefan Wintermeyer, SuSE US president and director of worldwide support."
Wired talks about InterVideo and its LinDVD product. "In keeping with the spirit of open source ethics, Monastiero [head of sales and marketing]says that InterVideo is looking at ways to open up as much of the product as possible to the OS community." (Thanks to John Villalovos)
Here's a ZDNet column on the Walnut Creek/BSDi merger. "So why does Linux have such huge mind share and BSD so little? A lot of it has to do with the religious fervor evidenced by many Linux proponents."
LinuxMall reports on the NetLedger Data Center, said to be the largest deployment of Linux on Oracle worldwide. "The rackmount Linux servers and integration management services for the application server infrastructure comprise the world's largest deployment of Oracle on Linux. Linux's Open Source community has been able to provide expertise in resolving kernel and network file system (NFS) issues as they arise, enabling quick solutions to development problems. "
ZDNet looks at Linux as a disruptive technology. "Sun and Microsoft may yet change their tune and find a way to build Linux into their product strategies, but I doubt it. Every dominant technology vendor believes it sits atop the world by virtue of the corporate culture that produced the existing product line, and it's hard to change that culture."
Business Week looks at the real threats to Microsoft. "Because of the flexibility that open-source code allows, Linux has quickly grown from a graduate student's project into an operating system that works well as an overseer of a network of servers. If a company needs to tinker with Windows 2000 to get it to work right with its system, it needs to get the changes made by programmers in Redmond. If a change is needed in Linux, in-house programmers can do it."
Salon looks at Napster, the software that lets users easily swap MP3 music files. "Already there are other Napster-like services (readers wrote in to tell me about CuteMX and the Mac-oriented Macster). And the debut of Gnutella -- an open-source-style Napster-like exchange program that's fully distributed, so there's no central server to sue or shut down -- suggests just how impossible it will be to put out this populist fire."
Darwin, Apple's "Open Source OS", is nearing release. "The release of Apple's Open Source OS, Darwin 1.0, is imminent--and a March 27 article in Wired News reported that the system will be the first in Apple's history to run on Intel-based systems."
This Upside column claims that Linux will never be able to run high-performance web sites. "Basically, Linux is a group volunteer effort with no clear-cut leader or product road-map. In a volunteer developer group, the skills and knowledge for developing a real high-end operating system don't naturally coalesce."
Linuxcare's application of the week is the Mail User Agent, Mutt. "I originally installed mutt 0.9(something) as a Debian package, and have used Debian's upgrade facilities to stay up to date with the latest mutt releases. I use mutt every day, and I love it. To demonstrate some of mutt's powerful features, I'd like to share a few of my favorite configuration enhancements."
Dear Lina looks at how to make passwords time out, and installing new software as root.
The second issue of LinuxMonth is now available. It features an interview with Dave Whitinger and a number of other articles.
This ZDNet UK article examines the non-Intel flavors of Linux. "With most of the top chip and systems makers making huge expenditures developing and promoting Linux on their hardware, it seems inevitable that Linux will continue gaining a place in the technology market. The PA-RISC, PowerPC and Alpha technologies have traditionally been the home of high-end, enterprise-class computing; perhaps they'll help Linux itself become more ready for the high end."
Is Linux right for you? asks PC World in this lengthy piece. "In light of Linux's impressive progress over the past six months, the choice between Windows and Linux has gotten a lot more difficult to make. To simplify the situation, we've formulated several questions you should ask yourself before deciding whether to make the jump or stand pat."
Paul Johnson takes a look at the mindset and expertise of different computer users, in hopes of helping developers program for people with needs different from their own. "To try to help things along, I'd like to propose the following scale of user skills. Its based a little on those joke 'Superman' scales, with entries like 'Faster than a pistol bullet, stronger than a shunting engine'. But its also based on some experience helping new users with Windows, and some experience with Linux".
Advogato interviews Christopher Montgomery of cdparanoia fame, and now lead developer of the Ogg Vorbis CODEC project. "Vorbis is [approximately] the sixth generation of Ogg and the first CODECs that I feel is ready to go forth and do battle in the streaming arena. It's not enough to be Free and as good as MPEG. I have to be Free and clearly better."
Here's an article in the Rocky Mountain News about the Colorado Linux Info Quest, where this item is being typed. "Keynotes will feature Jon "Maddog" Hall of Linux International and VA/Linux, Linux Today founder Dave Whitinger and Rasmus Lerdorf, author of PHP. Birds of a Feather sessions will cover the High-Availability Linux Project, Linux conversion for small businesses, systems administration and software development for the Linux platform in Java, Perl, Zope and other languages."
This osOpinion author compares OSs and installs Linux. "In the end the difference came down to application support. Linux won that hands-down. The recent rash of Linux publicity has sparked a fresh wave of application developers and software companies of all stripes to port their legacy applications to Linux. It seems to have won that battle, as all of the code can be tuned to any specific platform, with little or no regard for restictive licencing provisions."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol. (Thanks to Scotty Orr for much assistance).
April 6, 2000