Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Red Hat keeps Linux under control (Computer Weekly). Computer Weekly talks with Bob Young, mostly about Red Hat 7 and the Red Hat Network. "Although Red Hat has grown in line with Linux take-up, Young now believes that Linux is in danger of falling victim to its own explosive growth. The open nature of its software development could also affect Linux take-up, unless something is done to make it more manageable." (Thanks to Alan J. Wylie).
An Analysis of The Red Hat Network - Part 2 (LinuxToday.au). The Australian LinuxToday site continues its look at the Red Hat Network. "Next, the issue of having a system profile of your machine stored on Red Hat's servers. This would not be an issue, except for the fact that having any information about a server in your company, stored on other people's servers outside your company, is inherently a security risk. I don't recommend doing it, and I don't recommend that you take this issue lightly."
A question of leadership (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch writes about the controversies around Red Hat 7 in this ZDNet column. "The inevitable question is, then: who's in control of glibc and gcc? The GNU Project or Cygnus? The Red Hat page on glibc still says it's GNU. Yet the GNU website information is ancient and its release recommendations are ignored."
It's not easy being Red Hat (Upside). Here's an article in Upside about Red Hat's recent glitches. "From a plummeting stock price to exaggerated reports of buggy code to growing outcry over the company's perceived attempts to set itself apart from the rest of the Linux distributor community, Red Hat has been buffeted by nothing but bad news in recent weeks."
Is StarOffice Sun's 'Survivor'? (ZDNet). This ZDNet column takes a dim view of the StarOffice release. "Is it just me or does this seem a like putting 450 rugged individualists on a ship and launching them to sea, while we stand on the dock waving our Linux flags -- never expecting to see them again? More casualties of war and adventure. I hope they at least have fun."
Sun Launches Star Office Into Open Source (ZDNet). ZDNet covers the StarOffice release. "As with just about every commercially backed open-source project these days, there are some caveats for those interested in the code on Openoffice.org. Not only do interested parties have to agree to the GNU Public License terms, they also must agree to adhere to the Sun Industry Standard Source License (SISSL). Under the terms of SISSL, licensors must agree to adhere to Sun-specified application programming interfaces and compatibility tests."
StarOffice open-source code released (InfoWorld). InfoWorld covers Sun's release of the StarOffice source code. "By 8:45 a.m. Eastern time, just 45 minutes after going online, the servers used to host the long-awaited open-source code Web site, www.OpenOffice.org, were overloaded by download requests, causing a crash that was not fully repaired until 3 p.m. The number of hits to the site was not disclosed, but analysts and officials said the deluge of downloads demonstrates the potential popularity of the StarOffice software and open-source code development in general."
U.S. giant can tap Ottawa company's talent (Ottawa Citizen). The Ottawa Citizen has run this article about the Corel/Microsoft deal. "The answer, according to detailed filings with U.S. regulators, appears that Corel has become the insurance policy that Microsoft needs to ensure it won't be left behind if the Linux operating system takes off."
Government filing hints at Microsoft's Linux plans (News.com). News.com looks at Corel's SEC filings on its investment from Microsoft. "As spelled out in a regulatory filing issued by Corel on Wednesday, Microsoft has the option of directing Corel to translate some or all of the .Net framework from its Windows operating system to Linux."
Microsoft .Net for Linux? (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Microsoft's investment in Corel. "But, according to the SEC document, it was Microsoft that was poised to sue Corel for patent infringement. The three patents in question involved Microsoft's equation editor, table formatter, and spelling and grammar checker."
TurboLinux Smells IPO (InternetNews.com). Here's an article on InternetNews.com about the latest round of funding at TurboLinux. "A source close to the company told InternetNews.com Wednesday it would be going public in the next few weeks, saying that the funding, which consists of many of its original financiers, was a 'kind of top-off round.'"
Uncertain times for TurboLinux, Linuxcare (Upside). Upside is carrying a story on the state of TurboLinux and Linuxcare. "As most Linux investors are painfully aware, stock performance in the Linux sector has been extremely rocky. April's market slump put a damper on both companies' IPO plans. To get themselves through the tough times, both have cut staff, hired new management and survived on what little money remained in their corporate war chests."
Open-source angst: Fear of forking (ZDNet). Samba, Inc. announced plans to fork a SAMBA_TNG tree from the Samba mainline. ZDNet covered the announcement in their Computing section: "A number of open source advocates claimed the Samba fork would not actually amount to a fork, since the development team said it had no plans to commercialize the Samba TNG results but planned to incorporate the code back into Samba 3."
Linux Group Seeks to Enhance Portability (InternetNews.com). InternetNews.com reports on the release of the Linux Development Platform Specification. "The LDPS is intended to address fragmentation, an issue which has dogged UNIX for years and threatens to make versions of Linux released by different vendors incompatible with each other. That could bring the adoption of Linux to a grinding halt, as corporations -- frustrated by technical incompatibilities between Linux applications and various distributions of the Linux OS -- might turn to other solutions."
Will App Specs Achieve What Unix Couldn't? (LinuxToday.au). The Australian LinuxToday looks at Linux standards. "In my view, Linuxspace is one of computing's last easy-going, freewheeling frontiers. The freedoms on offer lead to creativity, not just in coding but also in developing new business models and groundbreaking ways of working. Sure a tight specification would make life even easier for developers, but it would almost certainly stifle innovation. I reckon the critics are closet techno-fascists who can't come to terms with the real meaning of open source. Software needs to evolve; it can't do that in a straightjacket."
Without aggressive leadership, Linux Standard Base is doomed to irrelevance (InfoWorld). Nicholas Petreley takes the Linux Standard Base to task in this InfoWorld column. "I am also calling for the Linux community to shame the mother organization Free Standards Group into either hiring a solid leader to get LSB moving, or for the existing leadership to get off its bum and produce a comprehensive specification and a self-hosting sample implementation in our lifetime."
Software patents: will Europe roll over for the multinationals? (Register). The Register has a lengthy editorial on software patents in Europe; worth a read. "In the past, the national patent bodies and the EPO have had little supervision and have not previously been the focus of political machinations: they have tended to be something of a graveyard for civil servants and a rather boring place to work... What is now happening is that these bodies are trying to expand their domain in a play for more power and more money. The EPO and national patent bodies are being encouraged by big multinationals, especially IBM and Cisco, who are lobbying intensively to burn software patents into EPO law." (Thanks to Stéfane Fermigier).
Linux gains ground in emerging Korean SmartPhone market (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com looks at the "SmartPhone" market in Korea. "MIZI Research and Palmpalm Technology are the major Korean companies currently developing SmartPhones based on Embedded Linux."
Growing pains slow Linux cycle (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the delays in the 2.4 kernel release. "How long this arrangement can be sustained is the subject of heated debate. Some developers have argued that as Linux gains ground in the enterprise, it's essential that the release of new kernels conform to a formal schedule. Others argue that technological innovation and stability cannot be held hostage to release deadlines."
By any other name... (ZDNet). ZDNet has posted a column by Richard Stallman on the GNU/Linux name issue. "Is it important whether people know the system's origin, history, and purpose? Yes -- because people who forget history are often condemned to repeat it. The Free World which has developed around GNU/Linux is not secure; the problems that we developed GNU to solve are not completely solved, and they threaten to come back."
Linux at work - Stupid dd Tricks (or, Why We Didn't buy Norton Ghost) (Signal Ground). This success story shows how some enterprising grunts used Linux with dd and a few other common tools to make hard disk copies for machines they ship. "The problem lies in Ghost's licensing. If you want to install in a situation like ours, you have to purchase a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) license from Symantec. And, every time you create a drive, you have to pay them about 17 dollars. When you also figure in the time needed to keep track of those licenses, that adds up in a hurry."
LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Newsletter. The LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Newsletter for October 12 is out with the usual comprehensive summary of happenings in the embedded world.
Installing Yellowdog Linux On an IMAC DV SE (LinuxNewbie.org). LinuxNewbie has added a new "Newbieized Help File" (NHF). This one covers the installation of Yellowdog Linux on an IMAC DV SE. "Expect problems. This is still leading- to bleeding-edge technology".
Being the Perfect Host (Web Techniques). Web Techniques online has a review of two Linux based server platforms: the FullOn 2x2 from VA Linux Systems and the 1U Server from Penguin Computing Systems. "A system like the 1U Server would be a very nice system for smaller sites. The FullOn with its faster CPU and SCSI drive will handle more hits, but it takes twice as much vertical rack space, and that could mean a bigger monthly bill from your ISP."
Book Review: Linux Hardware Handbook (Signal Ground). Signal Ground reviews the Linux Hardware Handbook by Roderick Smith. "You'll be disappointed if you want to learn how AMD's Duron/Thunderbird processor handles Linux since the material only makes mention of the original Athlon. There is also no mention of the Socket A mainboard or Intel's Celeron II. The time constraints to get a book published can make the information contained within seemed dated by the time it surfaces." (Thanks to Tom Moran).
Libranet Linux 1.8.1 (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl reviews Libranet 1.8.1. "What I found was a distribution like no other. At only version 1.8.1, Libranet has really done some exceptional things to Debian-things that certainly make Corel's and Stormix's additions look rather meager."
Licensing, Open Source, and the Rest (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl talks with Nick Triantos of NVidia. "Basically, NVIDIA's drivers cannot be open sourced. They contain several components which are licensed technology, and we have no rights to share that source code with anyone. We do not even provide source code to OpenGL or our kernel module to our board customers."
Linux Online: Interview with Shawn Gordon. Linux Online has an interview with Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany.com, a company that produces development tools and application software for Linux such as PowerPlant. "... We are selling convenience, and some value add. In the case of our PowerPlant product, you have hundreds of various languages, ide's, libraries, databases and such that help the development process. We are like a mini distribution, but PowerPlant is meant to be a compliment to any RPM or DEB based distribution, not replace it. It would take you a long time to download a gig or more of the applications and source found in PowerPlant. Then we have the value add and include a fully licensed version of Erics Ultimate Solitaire as well as a half dozen demos from Loki."
Linux world: It's an alternative (Jerusalem Post). An introductory piece with a little more class than most, this article from the Jerusalem Post covers the world of Linux and open source through an interview with Jon "maddog" Hall. The article also has a little more optimism than most: "While most of the 60,000 work only part time on Linux, this vast number means that almost all bugs have been caught and corrected, and the system is consistently being improved". Almost all? Well, maybe not that many.
Twice Snubbed, Linux Users Fire Back (TechWeb). This is TechWeb's followup to an article they ran last week about the lack of Linux at the Digital Dividends Conference. (See the last week's LWN for more information.) "This time, Linux companies will be there -- but they'll be outside in the rain carrying signs, handing out free Linux software, and waving the mascot Penguin at attendees.." (Thanks to Tim Hanson)
Pope, Protestants Open Source Bible (BBSpot). BBSpot covers a new sort of open source documentation project. "The biggest complaint about the Bible has been about the numerous variations of the book. Therefore the project's main goal is to unify the different versions of the Bible into one coherent work." Not for the humor-impaired or easily offended. (Thanks to Paul Hewitt).
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
October 19, 2000