Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
License to be good (Salon). Salon looks at free software licenses. "Yes, open-source licenses are boring, complicated, obtuse and multiplying in number faster than porn spam. But they are also the heart of the flourishing open-source software scene. The way they are used, or more to the point, the way they are not abused, is worth paying close attention to. Particularly if you are part of an industry like, say, the music business, where there currently seems to be a wee problem of copyright violation."
LinuxMonth Issue Three available. LinuxMonth has returned from its vacation with its third issue. This issue contains articles on ssh, configuring X, an introduction to perl, the Open Source Tech Support Partnership, ten reasons not to log in as root ("The six month background check gets really tiring when fourth cousins start to complain about the NSA surveillance"), and, well, an interview with LWN's editors.
Patents and Licenses
Cisco response to LWN article on NAT patent. The "Linuks" site in Germany has posted an article containing LWN's coverage of Cisco's NAT patent in last week's weekly edition along with a response from an (unspecified) Cisco office. "This is right. But be careful. Linux is not scaling in large Networks where you have to monitor and protect 10.000 sessions for example." Not reassuring.
Fair wages for Trolltech (LinuxWorld). Nicholas Petreley worries about the Qt GPL release in this LinuxWorld column. "But I am afraid for Trolltech that it won't play out that way. The problem for Trolltech is that you still can't sell commercial software based on Qt without paying Trolltech a license fee. In contrast, due to the LGPL nature of the GNOME libraries, you can sell proprietary software based on the GNOME libraries without paying anyone a cent."
Open Source Debate
Open Source Point/Counterpoint (ESP). Embedded Systems Programming has put up a pair of articles debating the usefulness of open source in embedded systems. The anti- side of the debate brings up the old "open source does not innovate" charge: "It is significant that the major open source companies are all leveraging already existing open source products, which were originally written with no commercial motivation. I contend that these companies will fail to ever truly innovate. Innovation requires a level of risk, and the returns will never justify the risk when the playing field has been levelled by an open source philosophy."
And here is the other side of the debate. "The truth is that the free software movement is a long overdue course correction that reverses the software technology industry's progression towards a state that holds the rights of software vendors in higher regard than the rights of software consumers. Furthermore, products of the free software movement provide models that demonstrate how software should be designed, managed, and marketed in the coming years."
(Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).
The Great Open Source Debate of ESC West 2000 (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com covers an Embedded Systems Conference panel session on open source vs. proprietary solutions. Quoting John Fogelin of Wind River Systems: "The embedded market is inherently fragmented, and therefore does not lend itself to being supported by a community-based open source development process. One way or another, in the embedded market, you really must invest in unique technology, because the needs are truly individualized. Innovation really does cost money."
TheKompany.com: A New Approach to Linux Business (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet talks with Shawn Gordon of theKompany. "And so began a series of projects. Most are open source, free software. But in addition, Gordon and his company, theKompany.com, are producing specialized development tools that, while typically Linux-based, will work on multiple platforms and will be sold to businesses. This hybrid -- producing open-source software, helping with existing projects, and working on proprietary projects, too -- is a thin wire to walk, but Gordon says it's working."
BSD System Takes On Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at BSDi. "BSDi also touts the security features offered with the BSD OS. Problems such as the common Unix buffer overflow exposure, where a malicious hacker crashes a system by putting too many characters into a command field and feeds the system rogue commands as it restarts itself, were identified and eliminated in BSD, primarily through the painstaking work of independent software developer Theo de Raadt."
There is also this companion piece highlighting the differences between the BSD variants.
Red Hat to unveil Linux subscription service (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on Red Hat's new subscription service, which it calls a "bold new concept." This bold concept looks much like the old RHMember service of years gone by. "This is essentially a subscription service that connects customers to Red Hat's central office, allowing them to receive all Red Hat Linux software updates and patches as well as news of kernel and other Linux developments for a monthly fee."
Red Hat Is Now at Your Service (Industry Standard). The Industry Standard looks at the Red Hat Network. "Web-based service is particularly well-suited to open-source software, which is developed collaboratively and doesn't have the benefit of version control, as does proprietary software." No comment.
Bumpy road(map) to Mozilla browser (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the latest Mozilla roadmap. "The updated roadmap calls for Mozilla.org to release Mozilla 1.0 in the second quarter of 2001. The roadmap distinguishes this 1.0 release from the Netscape 6 implementation of the Mozilla code, but doesn't elaborate on the differences. The Mozilla.org team also is continuing to work on projects beyond the browser, including an LDAP-based directory, instant messaging/chat facility, e-mail reader and other open-source deliverables."
Motorola places big bet on Linux developer Lineo (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on Motorola's investment in Lineo. "A company spokesman said Motorola was committed to establishing Linux as the open platform choice for embedded development, particularly as its customers require increasingly more complex capabilities in embedded devices."
Sun-Cobalt deal boosts confidence in Linux sector (Upside). Upside examines the effect of Sun's purchase of Cobalt on other Linux stocks. "VA and Cobalt weren't really going head to head, but with Cobalt gone, VA Linux and its own low-cost server line certainly becomes more attractive fodder for companies hoping to match Sun's move."
S3 spins off Net appliance venture (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet article on S3's spinoff of FrontPath, which will go into the Internet Appliance business. "The device will weigh less than three pounds. It will run the Linux operating system and use a Transmeta processor. A 10.4-inch touch screen will come with the device, which will have wireless communications capabilities and work within a local area network."
Fiorina outlines HP's role in e-biz 'renaissance' (ZDNet). ZDNet covers HP CEO Carly Fiorina's keynote at NetWorld+Interop. "Fiorina described the move to open-source computing as 'inevitable and natural.' Open-source initiatives are successful and already mainstream, she maintained. 'We're supporting Linux across all of our systems, software and services,' she said."
Gnutella is going down in flames! (ZDNet). ZDNet predicts the death of Gnutella. "Unfortunately, we have found that Gnutella is not as scalable as the centralized Napster network. Translation: the more users, the less efficient. In recent weeks, doing a search or query with the program yielded little or no results."
That (other) f-word (ZDNet). This ZDNet column looks at Linux on mainframes and the stresses those platforms put on kernel development. "I heard similar whines about GUIs a few years ago, and from here it looks like the Linux desktop has surpassed the tired Unix offerings of Motif and CDE, both in usability and popularity. So let's turn to the area of big iron, and see just how long it will take before Linux can play with the big boys."
What's Wrong With Linux Services? (Andover News). Here's an Andover News column looking at why investors are down on Linux services. "Several that I spoke to suggested that the very nature of Open Source made it too easy for new firms to enter the market. They worry about a glut of new Linux-based service vendors depressing profit margins and stalling growth of individual companies. They point out that international markets may already be closed to U.S.-based Linux specialists because local vendors are rapidly establishing themselves in local markets." (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).
Music To Their Ears? (TechWeb). TechWeb contemplates the use of Linux by musicians. "So why the move to Linux? According to industry experts, it offers an affordable and stable way to manipulate electronic music. Today, without looking too hard, users can find more than 750 Linux-based music applications both online and off." (Thanks to Scott Dowdle).
Keep tech simple, stupid (Upside). Here's an Upside column on the need for simplicity in tech products. "The most successful Linux company in the world, Red Hat (RHAT), specializes in taking the complexity out of Linux. Note that Red Hat does not deliver on the promise of diversity, of tapping into every Linux developer's mind, but on the approach of limiting choices. It takes the complexity of choosing what version and which applications to use away from the customer. The Red Hat executives and technicians decide that for you, making the choice easier."
LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter. The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for September 21 is out.
Embedded Linux Market Survey -- Sept. 2000 Snapshot (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has put together a snapshot of the results of its Embedded Linux Market Survey. Have a look for a hefty dose of pie charts on why and how people are using embedded Linux.
Program Your Computer to See (O'Reilly Net). Here's an O'Reilly Network article on using Intel's open source Computer Vision Library. "The facilities provided by the library vary from the common and easy-to-understand to the very complex. Some of the former include camera calibration, image statistics and histograms, gesture recognition, arbitrarily sized matrix math support, edge detection, and flood filling. The more complex include optical flow algorithms, segmentation, eigen objects, and embedded hidden Markov models."
From MFC to GTK: A Developer's Journey (Linux.com). Linux.com has put up this tutorial article on porting Windows applications to the GTK toolkit. "Legality aside, don't forget your end users; not only are win32 wrappers considered to be 'cheating' by the Linux community, no one wants to run a native Linux application that looks like a native Windows application. After all, if we wanted to use Windows programs, we'd just run Windows in the first place and save all this hassle. Your users demand more from you. Do not cheat them out of it."
Installing Nautilus: An Emerging Linux File Manager (O'Reilly Net). The O'Reilly Network reviews the Nautilus installation process. "Clearly, these installs are not meant for the typical Linux newbie at this point ... but it's encouraging that, with a little sense of adventure, I was able to get Nautilus running on the desktop."
Nautilus buffs desktop Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the Nautilus preview release. "In tests of the first preview release, Nautilus shone particularly brightly in comparison with the GNU Midnight Commander file manager that ships with the GNOME desktop. Nautilus also impressed us more than the KFM file manager that is included with the KDE (K Desktop Environment) Linux package. However, we expect KDE to show significant strides in usability when Version 2 ships later this year."
Building a low-cost router appliance with Embedded Linux (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has run this how-to article on building a Linux-based router. "Building an embedded Linux device just got a whole lot easier. A new set-top box computer form-factor from Allwell (in Taiwan) enables embedded Linux developers to create great looking products without the hassle and huge expense of building it themselves."
Raymond... Eric Raymond (Government Technology). Government Technology interviews Eric Raymond. "Anybody who believes that closed-source helps their system be secure needs to go have a therapeutic conversation with a cryptographer immediately and get rid of this delusion. Cryptographers have known for 15-20 years now that it's folly, absolute, utter folly, to make the security of the system depend on the security of the algorithms."
Up Close with Microsoft's Paul Maritz (Crosstalk). Crosstalk talks with Paul Maritz, VP of Microsoft's development group. They don't really talk about Linux, but one little gem slips in: "Is Linux an open operating system? You have free access to the source but is there any official standard party that controls the interfaces to Linux? No. Is that an open process or not? I do not know." (Thanks to Soren Lundsgaard).
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
September 28, 2000