Linux in the news
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Here's a one-year retrospective on Linux IPOs in Upside. "Add the numbers together, and you quickly get the sense that last year's IPO frenzy, while disappointing from an investment perspective, has served its ultimate purpose. By giving early front-runners a chance to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, the stock market has effectively narrowed the future commercial Linux market down to four main runners..."
Coverage on the DVD/DeCSS trial continues, with this Newsbytes report that is following the current arguments. "Stevenson, who was a subscriber to a mailing list supporting the development of the LiViD open-source DVD player for Linux, said he was interested in finding out if there was a way to access the encrypted movies without already knowing one of the player "keys" used by licensed DVD technology to unlock CSS. ... He said the CSS security wasn't hard to figure out. 'It took me three days, and I expect that a person more capable than I am would possibly be able to do it in a shorter amount of time'".
Upside reports on the departure of Hal Covert, Red Hat's chief financial officer. "This is the second major executive departure in four months for the open source software company that champions the Linux operating system."
Evan Leibovitch comments on the StarOffice source release in this ZDNet column. "In all -- again -- it appears we shall have some interesting times ahead. It's still a bit of a shock to see Sun boldly quote on its web site, 'If you love something, set it free...' (I wonder how much Sun loves Java anymore?)"
This brief ZDNet article looks at startup Moonlight Systems. "One product set will upgrade software on large Linux server farms and will support Linux, Solaris and Windows NT. The other product set will offer back-end software. The first offering is hostable e-mail that will compete against open-source offerings like Sendmail. Moonlight will follow an open-source development model where possible, using an open-source code base to develop applications and encouraging customers and partners to contribute to Moonlight's code."
Salon looks at Eazel and its "Nautilus" system. "Nautilus, which runs on top of the GNOME GUI and eventually will be part of the default Red Hat Linux distribution, is the first piece of software I've seen that has a credible chance of luring in the masses of computer users who might be interested in Linux but don't have the time to hack text files from a command line any time they want to get some serious work done."
The Red Herring has posted this article about Eazel. "As Eazel's story unfolds, its future as an independent business is open to speculation. So far, Eazel has garnered a healthy amount of attention based on the merits of its existence and its founding employees. Andy Hertzfeld and Bud Tribble, included among the founding employees, are known for their work on the original Macintosh interface. Even with its technical prowess, Eazel's changes might work better as part of a larger firm."
Intel has introduced its Dot.station web appliance , which runs the Linux operating system. The device includes a built-in telephone and will allow users to surf the web and access email. The new device will most likely be offered by ISPs as part of an overall service package.
Upside reports on the StarOffice code release. "However, whether or not the new StarOffice license is the first sign of a companywide policy of software glasnost remains to be seen."
ZDNet looks at the history of Unix, with an eye towards Caldera's rumored acquisition of SCO. "Linux, thanks to its broad open-source underpinnings, has overcome the interoperability troubles that bedeviled SCO Unix and its competitors. And, more than just that, it showed that an open-source, open-standard approach was much more successful than the proprietary ones of the older Unix vendors. So it is that Caldera, a newish Linux firm, is now taking over SCO's far older Unix business."
Here's a News.com article about the latest IDC report. "In fact, shipments of server operating systems will grow at a compound annual rate of 17 percent from 1999 to 2004, IDC said. However, revenue growth will increase at an anemic 1 percent during the same time period. That discrepancy is explained by the ascendance of low-cost Linux, according to IDC."
Forbes asks where the money is in the business of Linux. "It's a strange paradox. Shipments of the Linux operating system have already surpassed Novell's venerable NetWare. And at a projected growth rate of 17%, Linux will outpace all other server operating systems through 2004. But revenue growth will be barely noticeable at only 1%, compounded annually."
Here's The Register's take on the latest IDC server numbers. "But again, you could see the dynamics of this changing - .NET is essentially the future of the Internet translated into Microsoftspeak. If Microsoft hadn't invented it (which it didn't) it would still happen anyway. You can expect rival services based on Linux and Unix servers to compete here, and given that the services will be Web-based, where Linux and Unix are the servers of choice, you can see Microsoft having a tough time of it, and again coming under price pressure." (Thanks to James Cownie).
Open Game Source takes a look at Battalion, a source-available (but somewhat restricted) game. Battalion dates back to 1995 and has some crufty code to support the SGI workstations of that era. Dennis Payne takes the opportunity to use Battalion as an example of how to recode the sound system for a game using the Open Source SDL library. "Coding the SDL implementation was relatively simple and straight forward. I mainly copied the Linux SoundIt implementation and modified the functions to use the SDL_mixer equivalent." He has, of course, made his patch for the game available.
This week's edition of LinuxDevices's Embedded Linux Newsletter is now available. Check it out for a round-up of this week's Embedded Linux news.
Here's an osOpinion piece pointing out Mozilla's mistakes. "It seems obvious that the Mozilla crew bit off far more than they could chew, but I think a deeper problem is that the development team reached too far. They are trying to re-invent an entire *platform* when all most people want is a good browser that doesn't crash."
This osOpinion piece comes to the defense of Mozilla. "Critics complain that the browser is not in release form yet, but want it to be released now. Let the project run its course, let it become the best browser on the market, then it will be released. When it is done, and not before."
Linux Orbit's John Gowin has published a feature article on GNOME Office. "Like many (or few, depending on who you ask) I believe that Linux can compete in the desktop computing marketplace. To see how far the Linux community has come in this space over the past 12 months is truly remarkable. As both GNOME and KDE move toward their version 2 releases, the importance of an office-like suite of applications can't be over emphasized."
Linux Devices is running an Ongoing Poll that asks "What do you value most about open source?" "The picture is now starting to come into focus -- and the results are surprisingly different from what many have probably assumed."
News.com talks with SuSE CTO Dirk Hohndel. "We (were) profitable in 1998. We started very aggressive growth in late 1998. Aggressive growth obviously means that your revenues are somewhat behind your growth on your cost side. We currently are not profitable, but we are optimistic to become so again. Our revenue was $23 million euros ($21.4 million) in 1999."
Here's a Wired News article about the EuroLinux Alliance and its fight against software patents in Europe. "Jürgen Siepman, attorney and legal adviser of Linux-Verband, a German association that represents numerous Linux companies, is accusing the European Patent Office of inventing its own rules in order to grant more software-related patents. Siepman points out that more than 75 percent of the approved patents were filed by non-European companies." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
CNN has run this IDG article about the O'Reilly open source convention. "The O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention here has become the meeting place between the informality of geek culture and the buttoned-down business world. For example, at last week's event, information technology vendors and user companies came to learn how to develop open-source projects without incurring the ire of the community. At the same time, open-source guru Eric Raymond explained how to talk about the free source-code market to business executives."
Upside reports on the O'Reilly Open Source convention. "If the bloom is off the open source rose, somebody forgot to tell the attendees at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey this week. With no Red Hat (RHAT) IPO to elevate the media buzz and no bandwagon-jumping venture capitalists looking to be parted from their money, this year's conference still managed to outdraw last year's event."
AboutLinux.com, which may have run more reviews than any other site, has put up this article on how there has been no pressure to write only good things about the distributions it reviews. "If I encounter a problem during one of my reviews you can be sure I will report it - but don't be surprised if I mention liking or disliking certain features or utilities! Don't be surprised if I don't find some problems you may have run into - you have to remember that I probably have a different hardware setup, and may not have tried to use the program you have a problem with. I can only report on problems I experience."
CNN.com's Joe Barr looks at various game programs under Linux. "This week's column is all about having fun with your Linux desktop. I promise nothing more serious than tips on finding and installing fun new games. The only bad news is that my quest for fun turned up a few potential time sinks you might want to avoid, at least if you're the productive type."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
July 27, 2000