Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Salon has run this no-holds-barred piece on the shutdown of Napster. "On the open Net, a thousand new Napsters are blooming. And what will be the impact of the court-ordered shutdown of Napster? These projects -- small, underground efforts that grew unnoticed in the shadow of Napster the company -- will be flooded with energy. Users will flock to them, and talented software hackers will work overtime to perfect them. From the recording industry's point of view, it is slaying one enemy only to seed the field with a thousand new opponents -- opponents who are, not incidentally, its own best customers."
Here's an Upside article about the open source database market. "With Linux plays fighting to hold onto their market caps, it seems strange that other companies would be in such a rush to pour money, code and accumulated labor into another unproven market. According to land rush participants, however, databases and the e-commerce applications that feed off them offer an even bigger open source opportunity than Linux ever did."
Napster and Related Topics.
ZDNet questions the consistency of Napster's approach to intellectual property in a lengthy article. "Napster's Barry, a former corporate lawyer, insists there is nothing inconsistent about the company's efforts to protect its intellectual property. 'We are not an open-source software company,' he says. 'This is not Gnutella,' he adds, referring to the popular free software product that lets users exchange music files."
A federal judge enjoined Napster from distributing copyrighted music. (Upside) "Judge Marilyn Patel chastised Napster for failing to turn its technologic expertise against copyright infringement on its system and scoffed at the company's argument that many people use its system legally. In fact, Patel said, Napster has sought to profit from music piracy since its inception."
OS Opinion has run an article on the recent Napster injunction. "With 78 million projected users, Napster would have had a near monopoly on music sharing. It would have been far easier to then develop a licensing system with those users, gathered in a central place. By shutting down Napster without a ready replacement, they insure that music sharing will be driven "underground" in the GNUtella network."
The New York Times has run this article on the Napster ruling. "Like many of Napster's millions of users, Mr. Frost, a 23-year-old systems administrator in San Francisco, did not see the court's ruling as a victory for copyright law or a defeat for a particular company. He saw it as a call to arms. "I wanted to get more involved in keeping free music distribution alive," Mr. Frost said."
Upside looks at another Napster-like site known as Napigator. "'Right now, we're looking into getting more bandwidth,' says the 21-year-old co-owner of Dublin, Calif.-based thirty4 Interactive LLC, which operates Napigator. 'I think a lot of [Napster users] will go to Opennap.'"
USA Today reports that Napster filed a last-minute appeal in federal court to avoid being shut down. Meanwhile, traffic on other free music sites has surged. "At Scour, cofounder Dan Rodrigues says traffic rose 80%, and adds, ''We're prepared for this weekend.'' Scour is being sued by the record industry and the Motion Picture Association of America."
Upside assesses Gnutella's readiness to pick up for Napster if need be. "Now that the court has stayed the judge's order that would have shut Napster down and has allowed Napster's service to keep running during the RIAA trial, the pressure is off somewhat. But the last 48 hours have given Gnutella developers a sense of what improvements they must make to the network in order to prepare for the landslide of users it may be asked to handle."
Wired News reports on yet another file sharing system, this one's called "MojoNation." It's decentralized along the lines of Gnutella, but also has a commercial aspect to it. "In an attempt to spread MojoNation quickly through the hacker underground, Autonomous Zone plans to release the beta version at the DefCon convention this weekend in Las Vegas. Versions will be available on sourceforge.net for Windows and Linux machines."
According to this ZDNet article, the folks at CopyLeft have been added as defendants in the DVD suit as a result of their selling T-shirts with the DeCSS code on the back. Beyond selling a lot of shirts, this move should help to bring the "code as speech" issue into an even more prominent role in the suit.
Here's an Upside article about IBM's Bluetooth release. "The source code, which will be released under the Gnu General Public License, governs portions of both the communications protocol and the device drivers that allow Linux-based devices to communicate via the low power, wireless Bluetooth standard."
IBM is offering special deals for mainframe hardware and software to encourage Linux usage, according to this CNet article. "A new Linux pricing plan means that current customers using the company's G6 mainframes can buy a new processor for $125,000 as long as it's used only to run Linux, McCaffrey said. A new processor normally costs three times that, he said."
LinuxPlanet attends a Linux S/390 installfest, and looks at IBM's Linux strategy in general. "IBM has been getting the message loud and clear from its customers that Linux on S/390 is a hot product--and that IBM needed to refine the installation process if people were going to make it work as anything other than a lab toy."
ComputerWorld has put up this article on IBM's new pricing schemes for Linux support on the S/390. "Key among the features is hardware called the Integrated Facility for Linux. It will let users of IBM's Generation 6 and Generation 5 mainframes add processor capacity exclusively for Linux applications without increasing charges for all other software on the server." (Thanks to Peter Link).
According to this News.com article, Linuxcare has managed to scare up some new funds. "A new round of funding will be necessary to bring Linuxcare back from the brink and restore its status as one of the earliest companies to make a serious go at turning Linux's popularity into a business. But the funding is no guarantee that it will be able to stave off new and current competitors."
Here's an article in Upside about Oracle's new jobs site run by Collab.Net. "According to the deal, Collab.Net will manage OTNXchange, a website that will employ the Collab.Net-owned integrated development environment SourceCast. OTNXchange is scheduled to go live Sept. 15, and to stimulate community involvement, Oracle plans to release a collection of unlicensed freeware tools designed to augment and interact with the company's proprietary database platform. The only catch is that developers must be part of the Oracle Technology Network to participate..."
Perth based Harvest Road has shown a 100 percent growth for the financial year that ended on June 30, reports AFR. "A recent deal with the Brisbane-based local unit of Red Hat, a leading developer of open-source Linux operating system software, to bundle HarvestRoad's web collaboration applications with Linux in Australia and Asia has given HarvestRoad an inexpensive point of entry into the Chinese and Indian markets."
ZDNet looks at the Red Hat/Ericsson deal. "With open software and open standards as its basis, is it possible that a growing community of developers and users will transform the Ericsson screen phone into an open, multi-vendor Internet Appliance platform -- a sort of 'Palm Pilot' of web pads? 'Yes, that's quite possible,' says Red Hat's Knuttila, 'that's an interesting way to frame it.'"
News.com also looks at the Red Hat/Ericsson deal. "Ericsson will pay Red Hat to create specialized versions of the Linux operating system in several Internet-enabled devices for the home, said Kim Knuttila, general manager of Red Hat's client services group. In addition, Red Hat will help Ericsson adapt its product line to Linux, and both companies will engage in joint marketing and branding work, he said."
ZDNet covers the Caldera/SCO deal. "Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik would agree with that, although in a harsher manner. 'This validates what we and the IDC numbers have been saying all along about the death of the proprietary Unix market. As advocates of open source, we look forward to Caldera's support of open sourcing SCO's proprietary Unix technology to the entire open-source community.'"
Evan Leibovitch's latest ZDNet column is about the Caldera Linux Technology Preview distribution. "Based on pre-release versions of the 2.4 kernel, KDE 2.0 and the newest XFree86, the LTP is the first kit I've seen in a while that easily allows those unversed in kernel installation to examine future developments."
ZDNet picks up on
speculation that Microsoft might open source their C# language
minutes of a meeting held two weeks ago in Orlando as part of
ECMA's previously obscure TC39 technical committee. "Q:
Will Microsoft be open sourcing their implementation? A:
This is under consideration, but has not been decided. Microsoft has
been approached by a number of companies desiring to partner on
this. Jim expressed his opinion that he saw it likely that the
source to a reference implementation would be made available, but
declined to speculate on the licensing details.
A: This is under consideration, but has not been decided. Microsoft has been approached by a number of companies desiring to partner on this. Jim expressed his opinion that he saw it likely that the source to a reference implementation would be made available, but declined to speculate on the licensing details."
John Dvorak writes about Linux in China in this rambling column. "I can't see how Microsoft has a prayer in China unless it gives away all its code for years to come. Linux and the open-source movement have China written all over them, because they play entirely in the public domain. Among other things, the government in China abhors piracy and knows it's not good for business. Because Linux is free, there's nothing to pirate, so China will move its computer scene toward Linux officially." (Thanks to Bill Cory).
ABOUT's Aron Hsaio has written an article that discusses the emergence of Linux on palmtop devices.
"Linux is getting smaller.
Not in terms of market share, mind you. Physically smaller. In a trend
which marks a departure of sorts from the Unix and
large-scale computing roots of Linux, manufacturers of
all kinds of small and even tiny devices are embracing
Linux as the embedded operating system of choice. It
could well be that in the future, rather than using
Linux on the desktop, we'll all be using Linux on the palmtop.
Not in terms of market share, mind you. Physically smaller. In a trend which marks a departure of sorts from the Unix and large-scale computing roots of Linux, manufacturers of all kinds of small and even tiny devices are embracing Linux as the embedded operating system of choice. It could well be that in the future, rather than using Linux on the desktop, we'll all be using Linux on the palmtop."
In this OS Opinion article, Xavier Barosa discusses past failures of closed systems and how they relate to today's world. "The CDless policy that Microsoft has imposed on the OEMs will eventually backfire and ensure that success of the Alternative Software movement; in particular, LINUX and BeOS."
The University of Auckland, New Zealand's Tamaki Campus has a DebianGNU/Linux based cluster named Kalaka. Kalaka is built from already installed machines in an open network.
ZDNet has posted this tutorial article on using PHP with database systems. "In this article, I'll introduce you to the process of interfacing PHP scripts with the database of choice. We won't go in-depth into the functions for each database type - those can be found in the PHP Manual, in the 'Function Reference' section."
Here's a survey of Linux web browsers on Web Review. "Timing for the first official [Mozilla] release is unclear, though looking at overall progress and various snippets on the Mozilla Web site gives the impression that we will see one before the year's end. At any rate, M16 is already a usable browser for Linux and I expect the next 'milestone' release to replace Netscape on my own desktop."
Linux Power's Jeremy Katz reviews Caldera's Computer Based Training (CBT). "So, what should I expect? According to the back of the box, I should get the information needed to do an install of Linux, login, use some of the various parts of KDE, get help, and shutdown properly in about an hour of going through the product. With this in mind, I stuck the CD in my CD-ROM drive and mounted the CD to find that it would autorun on a Windows machine as well as an AUTORUN.SH which I assume would autorun on a Caldera machine, although it did nothing of note on my Red Hat box."
GnuLinux.com has run this review of PhatLinux 3.2. "PHATLinux, the name alone is an indication of what kind of experience you are in for when using and installing this distribution. This is by far one of the most pleasant experiences with installing a distribution of Linux that we have ever had. At only 180 Mb for the download this is one small Linux (comparably), but it does come with most of the essentials needed."
Hardware Unlimited reviews the 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 AGP video card under Linux. "As I mentioned before, the Linux drivers are very young, and lacking many features, such as FSAA and the ability to use both of the VSA-100 processors. It doesn't feel very good running a Voodoo4 when you're supposed to have a Voodoo5, that's for sure. If you're thinking of buying 3dfx for their Linux support-you may just want to wait a few months for their drivers to mature."
The (U.S.) National Public Radio ran a segment on open source software in its August 2 Morning Edition program. "NPR's Larry Abramson reports on the open source movement. It may sound unfamiliar, but considering what it's done for operating systems like Linux and Red Hat, it may be the hottest trend in computer programming." The program is available as an 8-minute RealAudio file. (Thanks to Sean Dague).
Bruce Perens has put up an editorial on Technocrat on buffer overflow exploits. He blames much of the problem on the i386 architecture, and calls for non-executable stack patches to be incorporated into the Linux kernel. "The people on the Linux kernel list, I'm told, have discussed and rejected this idea twice now. Maybe it's time for the rest of us to take it more seriously."
Here's an ABC News column criticizing Linux's security. The author has a strange view that the number of vulnerabilities in an operating system should be proportional to the number of users it has. "If you look this list over, and measure each system's number of vulnerabilities against the number of its customers, Linux is arguably the worst operating-system product in history, and Microsoft's the best. As Linux zealots are beginning to find out, it's a lot easier to masquerade as a better product than it is to go out and be one."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
August 3, 2000