Linux in the news
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Mexico Has Resources for High-Tech Success (Los Angeles Times). The L.A. Times has run a lengthy open letter to Mexican President-elect Vincente Fox saying that Mexico's future lies in open source. "With the combination of free software and inexpensive Internet connectivity, as well as building on Mexico's Red Escolar (SchoolNet) program for wiring Mexican schools, the country could become the world's leading example of affordable high-tech infrastructure for the rest of the world's developing nations. Moreover, the philosophy behind free, open-source software fits well with your important ideas about a new 'open society' in Mexico."
Atipa acquires OpenNMS.org
Atipa Team Takes Aim At VA Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Atipa's acquisition of the OpenNMS project. "Doug Stevenson, a network management consultant and author of the industry white paper, 'Network Management: What It Is and What It Isn't,' said OpenNMS.org 'has developed what many consider to be a disruptive technology that will alter the face of the enterprise management market.'"
KC's Atipa leaps into field of ''open source'' software (Kansas City Star). The Kansas City Star reports on Atipa's acquisition of PlatformWorks. "The software will be free, but Atipa will make money by selling a version with manuals and company support for a $10,000-$12,000 annual subscription fee."
Software company finds a buyer (News & Observer). The (Raleigh) News & Observer breaks the news that the Open Network Management Software project has been acquired by Atipa. "OpenNMS' network management software, currently called Bluebird, will start being tested by customers next month and will be ready for a commercial release next spring. Like all open-source software, the OpenNMS version will be free--a stark contrast to expensive network management software from established vendors. Atipa's plan is to make money through service and support contracts."
Will We Be Sun-Lite? (LinuxToday). The Australian LinuxToday site comments on Sun and Cobalt Networks. "My take is that Sun is moving to position its own Solaris operating system and high-end server products as the next step for Linux users looking to move upscale. In effect, it's a strategy that will position Linux as a 'lite' version of Solaris."
Can Cobalt make Sun shine? (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet column on Sun's purchase of Cobalt Networks. "Sun's Solaris operating system has failed to make inroads into Microsoft's dominance of this sector, even when Sun was essentially giving it away. Linux, on the other hand, has tripped the onward march of Microsoft, especially in any application that is Web-related. So, even though Sun has tried to pretend that the Linux part of Cobalt isn't important, it is easy to see the acquisition as a move to get into the Linux market before the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard clean up."
Sunset for Cobalt? (Andover News). Here's an Andover News column with a critical view of Sun's acquisition of Cobalt. "A number of analysts claimed that the high price brought by Sun's purchase of Cobalt Networks was proof of the value of Open Source. But if so, why was Cobalt's Michael DeWitt trying so hard to avoid even uttering the word Linux?" (Thanks to CÚsar A. K. Grossmann).
Tcl's Availability (ZDNet). Here's an article in ZDNet about Tcl and Ajuba Solutions. "Before explaining how Web workers use Tcl, it helps to have a clear picture of Tcl's status as a product. From the beginning, Tcl has been free. That is, [Tcl creator John] ]Ousterhout has always released Tcl's language processor as source code under a liberal "BSD-style" license which allows others to do almost anything they want with it. You can't claim you wrote what you didn't, or take action against Ousterhout for his gift; those are the only significant restrictions on Tcl's use."
Variety of Implementations (ZDNet). This is another ZDNet article about Tcl. "Scores of distinct microscripting systems are in wide use, including mod_perl , PHP, and ASP. Several of the largest Web applications rely on microscripted Tcl. Vignette's StoryServer, for example, leads the market of enterprise-class Web publication systems. Its technical basis is microscripted Tcl. StoryServer is so successful that many of its users know Tcl only through the product, and have the mistaken belief that Tcl is a proprietary language which belongs to Vignette."
Novell touts new products, Red Hat deal (News.com). News.com posted a story on Novel's eDirectory and DirXML software, including Red Hat's decision to use them in that company's latest release, Red hat Network.
Red Hat struggles to be seen in embedded space (Upside). While the Red Hat distribution enjoys strong support, Upside writer Sam Williams reports on the perception in the real world that Red Hat doesn't have a firm embedded plan yet: "Ten months after the merger, however, the integration of the two companies seems a bit awkward. Despite the outwardly can't-miss combination of Cygnus' engineering talent and Red Hat's marketing savvy, the company has spent almost the entire year watching a host of competitors sprint past it in hopes of becoming the world's top supplier of embedded Gnu/Linux software and services."
Nanux or Nanix? (LinuxDevices). Will the real embedded Linux company please stand up. One of these is the name of an embedded Linux company, the other is the code name for an embedded Linux product. LinuxDevices.com explains which is which. "A few months ago, the start-up business, Charmed Technologies, issued a press release about their idea for yet another embedded Linux, which they dubbed "Nanux". It seems, however, that they failed to check and see if the name was already in use -- when, in fact, it was."
Transmeta plans to raise more than $140 million in IPO (News.com). News.com looks at Transmeta's revised IPO filing. "Transmeta plans to sell 13 million shares at a range of $11 to $13. After its IPO, the company will have 126 million shares outstanding, giving it an approximate market value of $1.64 billion based on a sale price of $13 per share."
EnFuzion: Supercomputing by the masses (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the TurboLinux EnFuzion product. "However, even with the potential for unlimited node scalability, at $400 per node, the cost of implementing the current version of EnFuzion could be prohibitive for some small-scale operations."
The Gnutella paradox (Salon). Salon predicts the death of Gnutella. "If the decentralized Gnutella can't handle the legal and technical threats that come from mass usage, what system can? Or are music traders doomed to confront a future in which each new 'next Napster' is progressively undermined by its own success?" (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).
Microsoft and Corel
.comment: Microsoft and Corel -- Not Good News (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet worries about the Microsoft/Corel deal. "The speculation among Linux users who published their opinions at various websites runs chiefly in the vein that this is how Microsoft will insinuate itself into Linux. That speculation, I believe, is dead wrong. Microsoft is no friend to Linux. Microsoft is friend only to Microsoft."
Why did Microsoft really buy into Corel? (ZDNet). ZDNet speculates on the motivation behind the Microsoft/Corel deal. "Nipping another potential legal action in the bud was worth $150 million to Microsoft, no doubt. But I also believe Microsoft made the investment as a way to hedge its bets in the desktop-suite space. Sun Microsystems' StarOffice suite is set to go open-source on Friday the 13th of this month. Sun already has given away lots of free copies of StarOffice. Microsoft doesn't want to be forced to give away one of its biggest cash cows, Microsoft Office, in any way, shape or form. But giving away Corel WordPerfect Office wouldn't hurt Microsoft one bit."
Ballmer learns from past Microsoft missteps (News.com). News.com has another Steve Ballmer interview. Nothing incredibly new, but he does maintain a rather interesting view of Linux: "Linux is not catching on, on the desktop. There are no customers. I may be from Mars, but if there's no demand, we're not going to do the work to take Office to Linux. It's not even an interesting question until there's demand. Linux on the server is a different story. We might still dramatically outsell Linux on the server. You don't see much Linux in (business) customers. You see some Linux in Web sites and application service providers, but it's less than the press hype."
Embedded Systems Conference
Embedded Linux -- one year later (LinuxDevices). This LinuxDevices.com article looks at this year's Embedded Systems Conference compared to last year's Conference, particularly with respect to the number of Linux companies. "If you could travel back in time to the Embedded Systems Conference of September 1999, you would find that the "Embedded Linux Market" simply did not exist, one short year ago. Sure, a growing number of developers and a handful of companies were starting to embed Linux. But as a market that anyone tracked, or paid attention to, Embedded Linux simply hadn't made it onto the radar screens."
Inder Singh: address to the ELC Meeting (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com is carrying the text of Inder Singh's address to the Embedded Linux Consortium meeting. "The momentum of Linux over the last couple of years is beyond anything we have ever seen for an operating system. The focus of the world has been on Linux in the server market, but I am convinced that Linux will have its biggest play in the embedded world."
The Great Open Source Debate wages on (Upside). Upside covers the Embedded Systems Conference. "Red Hat reinforced its strategic decision to work on everything but a real-time version of the Linux kernel."
Is the SDMI boycott backfiring? (Salon). Salon suggests that hackers may want to reconsider boycotting the SDMI challenge. "A successful effort by hackers to break the watermarks, suggest representatives of some of those technology companies, might jeopardize almost two years of work by the coalition of record labels, consumer electronics companies, technology start-ups and computer manufacturers that makes up SDMI. But this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing."
Software's Glass Ceiling: Breaking the Tail-Lights (osOpinion). Here's an osOpinion column which cautions against going too far in imitating commercial software products. " Consider PERL, messy though it is. Did it achieve greatness by emulating BAT files and DOS command-line tools and working up from there? Did EMACS grow from an EDIT.EXE clone (yes, there are several), or from a LISP programmer's scratched itch?"
The Failure of Linux: Credibility and Responsibility (osOpinion). Here's another osOpinion piece that is very strongly critical of the engineering that goes into Linux. " The act of writing computer code is actually a small part of the overall software design process, and yet far too many Linux projects focus solely on this one area. It is why Linux breeds good programmers but lousy engineers. Linux programmers tend to place a very low value on accountability and personal responsibility, and the community is poorer for it."
Certifying the Penguin (Certification Magazine). Dan York has written an article about Linux certification for Certification Magazine. It covers all of the available certification options and how they work. "Unlike other operating systems, there is no central 'Linux, Inc.' No one company can simply dictate the standards for certification or for anything else. Instead there is the whirling bazaar of companies, organizations and individuals all cooperating to build the Linux operating system, yet many of them also competing with each other as well."
Power to the penguin (ZDNet). ZDNet is carrying a column by a Deloitte & Touche manager Linux's prospects. It's reasonably positive, but has a few problems: "While it's likely that competitive pressure will ultimately lead some Linux vendors to make the source code for their version of Linux proprietary, much of Linux's appeal lies in its populist roots."
Linux Firms Still Searching for Success (Los Angeles Times). The L.A. Times has put up this article on Linux businesses. "But TurboLinux Chief Executive Paul Thomas concedes that with little difference among Linux rivals, mergers might leave only two major distributors standing by year's end."
Linux means Business: Word Processors (LinuxLinks). LinuxLinks.com looks at Linux word processors. "Only a few years ago Linux was found lacking in this department, having a very limited choice of tools to use; with only the historic UNIX tools being available. For example, although LaTeX is a highly professional document preparation system it is aimed at the scientific community, and not at the corporate market. The situation has changed; there are a number of quality office suites that include word processing facilities which are a match for the popular Word."
Linux Buyer's Guide #5 (DukeOfUrl). Here's the latest Linux Buyer's Guide from the DukeOfUrl. "The beauty of Red Hat 7 is that, although 3D acceleration takes some tweaking to get working, and kernel 2.4 needs to be installed on your own, is that both of these integral tools are included and at the disposal of any users, and finally, a large distributor is pushing them-this is where people start listening. You can't ignore Linux anymore!"
Linux Gazette issue 58 is now available. Issue #58 of the Linux Gazette is now available. Included are interviews with Chris DiBona and SourceForge's Quentin Cregan, Linux Security Tips by Kapil Sharma, and much more.
Review: Enterasys Networks RoamAbout (Signal Ground). Signal Ground looks at the Enterasys Networks RoamAbout wireless network. "If you're installing on a Red Hat 6.1 or 6.2, Caldera 2.3 or 2.4, or SuSE 6.3 or 6.4 system, you're in luck: Enterasys Networks has provided pre-built drivers for each of these systems, so installation should be a breeze."
VMWare 2.0.2 Review. The Duke of URL has posted a review of VMWare 2.0.2, the all OS virtual environment that allows you to run Windows, Linux and even FreeBSD in a virtual machine.
Interview with Jon Danzig (RootPrompt). RootPrompt.org has run an interview with Jon Danzig, president of Libranet. "We believe that we can produce a first class Linux desktop system that almost anyone can install and use enjoyably. We expect to be the distribution of choice for a large segment of the Linux community and a good choice for those arriving to Linux." (RootPrompt also reviewed Libranet Linux 1.8 at the beginning of September).
Raymond to pen 'Zen and the Art of Unix' (Upside). Upside covers Eric Raymond's talk at Oracle's OpenWorld. "'My goal is for open source development to become the norm everywhere it is economically feasible,' said Raymond, in between videotaped aikido moves. 'I think, at equilibrium, only 5 to 15 percent of the world's software remains closed source.'"
10 Questions with Olivier Fourdan of Xfce (LinuxOrbit). LinuxOrbit talks with Olivier Fourdan, creater of Xfce. "When I read articles on interfaces available on Linux, Xfce is rarely mentioned. That's sad, because choice is a big strength in Linux. Reducing the choice to KDE or GNOME only makes Linux less attractive, in my opinion."
Defanging Carnivore (Salon). Salon talks with Robert Graham of Network ICE, the company that put out an open source "Carnivore" implementation. "More importantly, encryption technology is becoming more and more built into what we do. The real debate that we're going to have to answer and address as a society at some point is whether encryption is a fundamental human right."
Network Computing's 'Top 10' lists. Network Computing has put up a Top 10 most important people of the decade list. Linus Torvalds is there in third place, behind Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee. Elias "Aleph One" Levy is also on the list in eighth place.
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
October 5, 2000