Linux in the news
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Researchers Say Independent Review Of Carnivore Flawed (Newsbytes). According to a Newsbytes story, a team of researchers and academicians has deconstructed the findings of an independent review team charged with evaluating the FBI's e-mail surveillance tool "Carnivore," saying the team's findings gloss over some serious legal and technical concerns.
Open source policy (Business 2.0). Business 2.0 asks whether a net-oriented company can run completely on open source software. "Most key enterprise-class components such as database software and transaction processing tools remain proprietary products. Even with the January release of Borland/ Inprise's InterBase database to the open source community, there has not been an open source kernel available for long enough-nor a developers' community large enough, such as the one Linux enjoys-to create a full-featured product to handle online business needs. Still, the March release of the Enhydra application server brings businesses one step closer."
Inside The KLAT2 Supercomputer (Ars Technica). Ars Technica is carrying a detailed article on the KLAT2 Beowulf cluster, with an emphasis on its networking design. "In the end, we didn't design KLAT2's Flat Network Neighborhood. Instead, we built a genetic search algorithm (GA) that does it for us. In fact, it not only finds solutions to the aforementioned interconnect problem, but it optimizes the solutions so that the additional bandwidth is placed where it will improve the most important communication patterns."
Linux Gazette issue #60. The December 2000 issue of the Linux Gazette has been posted. Articles of interesting include a report on the Super Computing 2000 show, a review of Heroes of Might and Magic III, and using GnuPG.
Copyright Act Faces Big Test (Wired). Wired News reports on the upcoming review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "When music is streamed, webcasters are required to pay a performance royalty. In order to generate smooth playback of incoming streams, computers temporarily store some of the data in memory in a RAM buffer. Music publishers have stated that the data in this buffer should be considered a physical creation that would require webcasters to pay a mechanical royalty, similar to what they pay for downloads or CDs."
Startup unveils tiny `Linux-like' OS for Internet appliances (LinuxDevices.com). According to a LinuxDevices.com news story, DSPsoft Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) has unveiled UnixCE, a small footprint `Linux-like' operating system for resource constrained Internet appliances and mobile devices.
Dell fumbles open source desktop gambit (The Register). The Register is not impressed with Dell's investment in Eazel. "Call us cynical, but the choice of Gnome/Nautilus is what you'd expect if you dragged a trainee PR intern off the street, and threatened to hit them with a rock until they came up with two leading open source names. This really is strategy dictated by short-haul in-flight magazines."
Linux looming large for Big Blue (ZDNet). ZDNet reports from IBM's internal Linux summit. "'Initiatives that allow (Linux) to effectively host 100 million mailboxes and run huge backbones for mail systems are exciting for us,' said Greg Olson, co-founder and chairman of Sendmail Inc., in Emeryville, Calif. Sendmail uses an IBM Linux mainframe for development and runs a host of Linux servers."
Commentary: Hewlett-Packard takes out Linux insurance (News.com). News.com is carrying a cynical pronouncement from the Meta Group on the hiring of Bruce Perens by HP. "Hewlett-Packard is taking out cheap insurance with its hiring of open-source advocate Bruce Perens, just in case Linux becomes more of a force in the marketplace than anyone expects. Users negotiating with HP can use this new commitment to Linux as a ploy in negotiations, but they should not expect HP to develop Linux into a replacement for HP-UX."
HP hires Linux luminary (News.com). Here is a News.com article, on Bruce Perens' new job at HP. "Perens took the job after deciding his previous endeavor, the Linux Venture Group, didn't have a future. 'The stock market is just not the place to be right now,' he said."
Red Hat closes trio of offices, lays off 20 (News.com). News.com covers the latest layoffs at Red Hat. "Red Hat laid off personnel doing duplicate work, said spokeswoman Melissa London. 'Nine acquisitions in the past year created a lot of redundancies,' she said. The company now has 550 employees, she said."
Red Hat Closing S.F. Office (Wired). Wired News reports on the closing of Red Hat's San Francisco office. "Although Red Hat continues to use the Web for distribution and support, several sources within the company say that management has continually changed plans or has badly bungled implementation of its online strategy."
Koreans claim world's first Linux-enabled cellphone (LinuxDevices.com). Two Korean companies, PalmPalm Technology and SK Telecom, along with the Seoul National University have put Linux into a CDMA phone system. "The device, which contains an Embedded Linux operating system, combines smart phone and PDA functionality within a compact handheld device, and offers multimedia capabilities that include animation, MP3, and video communication. Based on its built-in Bluetooth wireless interface, users can even play network games between devices."
Did Netscape jump the gun with new browser? (News.com). C|Net News.com ponders whether Netscape released their 6.0 browser a bit too early. "Some supporters say problems with the release indicate that Netscape should have waited until its open-source group, Mozilla.org, released its own version 1.0 browser, which isn't due for another five months."
Cash Registers Are Ringing Up Sales With Linux (TechWeb). Linux deployments abound in this story from TechWeb. "But that's changing. In January, Musicland Stores Corp., the Minnetonka, Minn., company that owns Sam Goody, will start installing new Linux- and Java-based cash registers from IBM."
ReplayTV's downturn doesn't faze TiVo chief (News.com). The future of TiVo and its Linux-based recorders is questioned in this article from C|Net's News.com. "Eventually, Ramsay also sees TiVo taking on the roll of real estate broker for a hard drive that could provide numerous services throughout the living room. For example, TiVo could partner with video game or music companies that could use the extra disk space to distribute their content over TiVo's Linux-based platform."
No Safe Harbor for Microsoft (TechWeb). IBM has aimed its big guns directly at Microsoft, according to this Network Computing article. And it's using Linux for the bullets. "And as it happens, these dedicated servers are best configured with Linux. Actually, the servers priced at less than $1,000 don't include an OS, but IBM has stated it will charge the MSRP for an installation of either Linux or Windows 2000. Given the price-conscious nature of this sector, Linux would be the odds-on favorite, since it typically costs no more than a fifth the price of Windows 2000."
Pepperoni, Extra Cheese, And Linux (TechWeb). Information Week gives us this Linux success story, where pizza-related restaurants are now serving penguin. `Even more important, though, says Ken Hoogstraal, Donato's director of restaurant technology, was Linux' resiliency. Under the old system, a power outage that took out a store server often meant two to three hours of downtime to rebuild the system. "That's time we're not taking orders," Hoogstraal says. "If it happens on a Friday or Saturday night, it could really put the restaurant in a tailspin." The Linux systems seem to come back up much more reliably after an unplanned outage.'
Linux Power Tuning (TechWeb). Here's a how-to article on Linux performance tuning on TechWeb. "There is one value you should consider disabling: 'TCP Timestamps.' According to the TCP/IP specification, time-stamping is optional, so turning it off will not break interoperability. Time stamps are intended to provide round-trip timing of packets to enable congestion control algorithms. They aren't needed if the majority of your network connections come from high-speed, non-congested local networks."
Device Profile: VTech Helio PDA (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices published its latest device profile this week: the VTech Helio PDA. "Not surprisingly, in light of intense competition from the growing number of PDAs that run PalmOS, Windows CE (Pocket PC), or Embedded Linux, VTech has lately begun to express a strong interest in supporting an alternative, more "open" OS. Accordingly, two variants of Embedded Linux are currently being brought up on the device."
DIY embedded Linux mp3 stereo (ZDNet). A mini-Howto for experienced developers from ZDNet shows how to build an mp3 player appliance on Embedded Linux. "Its embedded software (kernel, utilities, and application) image is small enough to fit on a floppy, so you could easily install it in a DiskOnChip Flash device within a compact, appliance-like system. You control the resulting MP3 player using a web browser on a separate computer."
Keep Tux Safe (ZDNet). Keeping Linux safe is mostly a matter of diligence, according to a ZDNet article on Linux security. "Until someone designs an operating system that reads minds, security will depend on diligent configuration and administration, no matter what OS software you use. Your Linux machine can be extremely secure, but it's not going to get there on its own."
Linux 2.4 kernel (ZDNet). Here is a short take on what is in the upcoming 2.4 kernel, ZDNet style. "The Linux 2.4 kernel development process has focused on improving performance on larger machines and building in support for new hardware options such as Universal Serial Bus and architectures such as Intel Corp.'s 64-bit Itanium and IBM's S/390."
Caldera Edges Linux Closer To Enterprise With Volution (TechWeb). Network Computing takes Caldera's network management package, Volution, for a test drive. "If Volution reaches its natural conclusion, Linux systems will ship with Volution clients pre-installed. When systems reach their final destinations, they will simply need to be powered on to find a workstation-creation daemon to connect them with a data repository. However, this beta version of Volution shows it has a long way to go to reach the maturity of ZENworks and eDirectory, and it lags behind Active Directory policies and profiles as well."
Blender 2.0 - The gameBlender (LinuxLookup). A short review and not very detailed (for such a sophisticated application), LinuxLookup has posted a review of NaN's Blender 2.0, aka gameBlender. "For as great as Blender sounds, it also has its negative attributes. For instance there is definitely a steep learning curve that one has to overcome if the plan is doing anything more than rendering a ball on a plane. There is no free documentation to help you get by. You can purchase a users manual for about $40 US, and tutorial guides for about $20 US a pop."
Darwin Continues Open Source Evolution (LinuxNews.com). Another look at Mac OS X, aka Darwin, and its BSD roots, this time from LinuxNews.com. `According to Prabhakar, the BSD community has been a great asset to Apple in producing quality software throughout the history of their long partnership. "Having the BSD community welcome us, and having key people like [FreeBSD's] Jordan Hubbard, who's written articles that are extremely valuable, and the number of people who've spent ungodly amounts of time finding and fixing bugs in Darwin that were useful but not a top priority for us at Apple, is of enormous benefit to customers," Prabhakar said.'
Greg Haerr on the past, present, and future of Microwindows (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com interviews the founder of the Microwindows project and current CEO of Century Software, Greg Haerr. "especially in the graphical area in which I'm focused, software developers and systems architects want to leverage the tremendous success that has occurred on the desktop to more portable devices. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when so many applications that have propelled the desktop forward can now be used to enable wireless handheld computing."
.comment: Making Money on Free Software? (LinuxPlanet). Here's a wandering editorial on LinuxPlanet on whether it's possible to make money from free software. "But I think that the Linux companies, at least some of them, have a better than even chance of succeeding despite the potholes and barricades. Here's why: They're committed to making it work. They're hard-working. Though some of them were maybe a little profligate after the injections of money, either by venture capitalists or IPOs, I don't think any has an immutable corporate philosophy of reality denial. They'll adapt."
Linux in Polish parliament (Linux News Poland). The Polish Parliament has installed 100 Linux-based X-terminals in its offices. Marek Pokulniewicz, the main computer specialist in the Polish Parliament, has provided a write up and some pictures of the setup.
Mike Muuss, author of `ping', killed in car accident. According to stories in Salon.com and The Register, Mike Muuss, author of the standard Unix utility ping, was killed in a car accident last Monday night. "The Unix community is mourning its loss, and not just because by all accounts Mike Muuss was a real nice guy and the software he donated to the public was incredibly useful."
The Case For Open Source (TechWeb). President and CEO Bill Portelli of CollabNet gives his perspective on why open source is the right way in this Information Week editorial. "With open-source development, companies and users bypass these delays. Using the Internet to facilitate source-code release, companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Sun Microsystems are gaining competitive advantages, generating long-term revenue and increasing market share."
Why I use OpenBSD (ZDNet). Security is the main reason behind one man's choice of OpenBSD for his network infrastructure in this ZDNet article. "OpenBSD's claim to fame is its focus on integrated security and cryptography. To this end, the OpenBSD developers spend a substantial amount of their time auditing the core OS source in an effort to find and fix bugs with security ramifications before they're actually exploited."
A platform of a different color (TechWeb). TechWeb reviews the Cobalt Qube3. "We won't say that it's the equal of NetWare, Unix or Windows platforms, but the Linux-based Qube 3 is turning into an attractive powerhouse of its own."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
December 7, 2000