Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Upside has posted a lengthy article which may well be the definitive summary of Microsoft's problems. "Microsoft's value proposition was that an Intel-based system running Windows NT was a much less expensive proposition than a semi-proprietary Unix running on non-Intel hardware. Linux, however, beats Microsoft at its own game, offering a highly customizable, standards-compliant operating system at a fraction of the cost of a comparable Windows NT system. Sadly, it's not clear whether Microsoft fully understands the nature of the Linux threat."
News.com looks at Embedded Linux firms. "Another difference between the companies is in royalties--the fee a company pays to sell a device using the software. Lineo charges royalties for Embedix, its version of Linux for gadgets. MontaVista won't charge royalties but will charge for use of software development tools and technical support. Support contracts cost between $5,000 and $10,000 a year depending on depth and responsiveness."
Here's an article in News.com about Red Hat's plans to get into the home appliance market. "The move marks the first major expansion of Red Hat's version of Linux outside its server stronghold. However, trying to enter the home networking market pits Red Hat not only against Microsoft's Windows, but also against other Linux companies such as Lineo."
This News.com article is about RealNetworks' use of Mozilla code in a version of its media player. "Whatever RealNetworks' intentions for Web-browsing capabilities, the company's participation in the Mozilla software development effort is a big win for the organization."
Here's a brief article in Wide Open News about the layoff at Linuxcare. "The company had been expanding its workforce as part of an IPO ramp up, but the withdrawal has forced the company to reexamine its spending and its strategy. Without the expected cash infusion, Linuxcare has had to tighten its belt."
This week's Linsider stock summary is up. "You'll get a variety of opinions as to whether a split is a useful remedy for the problems Gates and Co. have caused, but one thing is for sure: the final word on this is still a year or more away. And for Linux advocates, that's good news. See, in the long run it doesn't really matter what the Government does legally to Microsoft. What matters is that the microscope is on Microsoft for an extended period, allowing other players to move more quickly into competitive positions."
Here's a lengthy Upside article covering the Piranha vulnerability, the change in the VA Linux/Andover merger terms, and the proposed French open standards law. "Despite the glowing endorsement of both free software and the principles of software liberty, free software advocates such as Richard Stallman gave the overall text of the law mixed reviews."
News.com looks at the FreeNet project. "Others say Freenet, if it is able to get out of its early stages, could be the final nail in the coffin for organizations trying to prevent online piracy. Since Freenet is wholly decentralized, there is no central company to sue for copyright violations. And because each 'node' is encrypted, and users anonymous, it will be nearly impossible to track down any individual pirate or pirated work."
ABC News has an article about Eazel. "Windows and Mac users should feel comfortable with Eazel. The current pre-release version, called Nautilus, features large, finely shaded icons, and windows that look like a cross between Macintosh, Windows and Netscape." (Thanks to Jay R. Ashworth and Ketil Malde).
Linsider ran this column on software testing in the open source world. "Reading about Red Hat's recent troubles with its Piranha release I was struck by a thought: Linux, as a whole, lacks a formalized testing organization. In 20 years of development, having worked for 7 different companies ranging in size from a 5 man startup to the behemoth that is Samsung, this is the first time I've seen software released to the world with no formalized testing applied."
Here's TechWeb's take on Red Hat's Piranha problem. "Chris Rouland, director of X-Force at ISS, Atlanta, said he does not believe the back door was installed with malicious intent, but the vulnerability does reinvigorate the debate between open source and closed source software."
Salon looks at several companies that have been hit by the fall in tech stock prices. "Red Hat's IPO was widely considered a validation of the commercial potential of Linux. But its stock price slide is now hailed as proof that there is no money to be made in the entire Linux sector."
Here's a LinuxPower article which looks at the whole Netpliance iOpener affair and tries to convey an understanding of what the company is up to. "When you see something you believe in succeeding it's natural to get worked up about it. Sometimes this kind of passion can lead to actions that seem wild or irrational to people outside of the group. When Netpliance changed their Terms of Service or poured epoxy on the board, they were reacting to a threat to their vision. Regardless of what we may have thought about these actions we have to put them in the context of a group of people working very hard to achieve some goal and then having that dream threatened."
The Red Herring reports on a talk by IBM VP Irving Wiadawsky-Berger. "Mr. Wiadawsky-Berger's zeal for Linux even spills over into IBM's labs, he notes, where IBM is developing a Linux-based watch with speech recognition."
The "Jet" cluster at NOAA (covered in LWN last month) staged its formal unveiling on April 26. Some local coverage of the event may be found in the Rocky Mountain News, the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Denver Post.
Government Computer News has also posted an article about Jet.
U.S. News contemplates the effects of a Microsoft breakup on Linux. "Linux, an operating system available free online, has been a runaway success on the Internet, where it runs 30 percent of sites. But even its founder, Linus Torvalds, is disappointed at its puny 4 percent market share on desktop computers, the machines folks use at home and at the office. That's because Linux can't run the most popular software programs used with Windows, especially Microsoft Office, which includes Word and spreadsheet Excel. Without Office, Linux doesn't have a prayer of a chance on the desktop."
Here's a San Francisco Chronicle column arguing that a breakup of Microsoft may not be sufficient. "In other words, it's not obvious that enough users are likely to adopt Linux in the near term to create a market large enough to induce the new Microsoft-descended applications company to develop Office for that platform -- even if the company makes its decisions strictly on the basis of its own economic self-interest, without regard to its former OS colleagues."
News.com looks at the possible effects of a Microsoft breakup. "On the other hand, current makers of Linux office software such as Corel, Applix' VistaSource or Sun Microsystems' StarOffice would face a fierce new competitor already established as the standard. Netscape might not be the standard Linux browser. And Windows Media Player might give RealNetworks' RealPlayer even fiercer competition."
This Reuters article ponders the possible effects of a Microsoft breakup on Linux. "'Linux is on track to beat Microsoft regardless of what the Justice Department does,' said Larry Augustin, chief executive of VA Linux Systems Inc. , a developer of systems and services optimized for Linux in Sunnyvale, Calif. 'I think that separating the company into an applications piece and an operating systems piece though, could significantly accelerate that, particularly since the applications piece of the company would have a strong economic incentive to port Office to Linux,' Augustin said. 'If Microsoft Office ran on Linux immediately we would see Linux with a 10-15 percent share of the desktop operating system market,' he added."
FUD and Counter-FUD
Here's another piece of old-time ZDNet FUD of the type we've not seen for a while. "What amazes me the most is that open source has gained so much momentum without showing any goods. It's a dot-com-all hype and speculation and no fundamentals. It's like an onion in a bushel of apples. Someone might notice that it looks and tastes different, but peel away its layers, and there's nothing there."
Red Hat's Bob Young responded in this article. "John, you are welcome to continue to insist that this open-source movement cannot continue to succeed. Just don't try to claim it isn't succeeding. With partners like Dell, Oracle, IBM, Compaq, SAP, Computer Associates, Netscape, Intel and thousands of others, and the large and rapidly growing market share figures shown above, this thing is big and getting bigger."
Evan Leibovitch compares Richard Stallman and John Taschek (author of the first article) in this ZDNet article. "John Taschek, meet Richard Stallman; two sides of the same coin, attacking the open source movement from opposite sides. Despite the polarity of their otherwise unrelated assaults, their arguments unwittingly combine to prove what a genius Linus Torvalds really is."
Computer Currents seems mystified by the interest in Linux. "Linux, despite becoming very well-known more than two years ago, has become nothing more than an experimental novelty among desktop operating systems, and is rarely used for any server application besides Web service. Its growth may have stagnated while still in the single-digit percentage range. Yet people flock to Linux classes, even though its spread in corporate IS, and the corresponding career opportunities, are only a future possibility."
Here's a ZDNet column, ostensibly about the Piranha vulnerability, that brings back memories of the Good Old Days of ZDNet's Linux coverage. "The appearance of a security issue at a time when users are still asking for more applications is unlikely to bolster the fortunes of Linux stocks, which tumbled faster and farther than general technology issues in April. Quality assurance and security aren't the only issues: Outside of a few suites, there is a lack of widely available office software; consumer versions of the OS are relatively untried; and open source code's open-ended nature - with many developers working on different parts of the system - makes some information technology (IT) managers nervous about its predictability."
Open Software Law - France Liberation has posted this article (in French) about the proposed French open software law. It's a sympathetic piece. For non French-capable readers, the Babelfish translation is relatively readable. (Found in Portalux News).
Thanks to Stefane Fermigier, we have an extensive list of all press coverage of the proposed "open software" law in France (as described in last week's LWN). Check out Stefane's list for more articles - in more languages - than you could ever read...
FirstLinux has posted a series of articles with the theme "I've installed Linux: What Next?" The articles cover topics like email, web surfing, graphics, and more.
If you've never set up a network before, this article from Gianluca Insolvibile is intended to get you started.
This week's Dear Lina column takes a look at at the file command and cable modems.
Slashdot has posted their interview with Richard Stallman. "Warning: The interview below contains mature concepts and strong opinions. It may not be suitable reading for easily-angered readers whose views conflict with Mr. Stallman's."
Olinux.com.br interviews Pradeep Bhanot, the director of Linux marketing at Oracle. "Oracle's primary focus is on Linux as a server OS. Oracle wants to see Linux succeed as an OS as it offers customers openness and superior TCO. There is strong developer and customer demand for Linux. There have been over 200,000 downloads of Oracle products on linux from our developers site at http://www.technet.oracle.com."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
May 4, 2000