Linux in the news
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Why software still sucks (Upside). Jaron Lanier, pioneer in the field of virtual reality and general supporter of the open source movement, laments the state of software today in this interview from Upside, and wonders how Unix - repackaged as Linux - could be the saving grace it is. "How I hated Unix back in the '70s -- that devilish accumulator of data trash, obscurer of function, enemy of the user," he writes. "If anyone had told me back then that getting back to embarrassingly primitive Unix would be the great hope and investment obsession of the year 2000, merely because its name was changed to Linux and its source code was opened up again, I never would have had the stomach or the heart to continue in computer science."
IBM to spend $1 billion on Linux in 2001 (News.com). News.com looks at IBM's plans to invest in Linux. "[IBM CEO Louis] Gerstner questioned whether three or four years from now any proprietary version of Unix, such as Sun's Solaris, will have a leading market position. He noted that Linux is growing at twice the rate of Microsoft's Windows NT and that the Unix variant looks increasingly likely to become more prevalent than NT. IBM has about 1,500 developers working on Linux, Gerstner said."
IBM Keeps Backing Linux (Motley Fool). The Motley Fool considers Linux investments in light of IBM's latest moves. "While today's news clearly indicates Big Blue's efforts to combat its slowing growth against competitors like Microsoft and EMC in software and storage, respectively -- and the biggest pain of all, Sun Microsystems -- perhaps the more interesting question is to examine what all of this means for the Linux companies, such as Red Hat and VA Linux."
Gerstner's $5 billion spending spree (ZDNet) . IBM is set to invest $1 billion in Linux in 2001 and another $4 billion in 'e-sourcing' over the next three years, according to this ZDNet report on IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner's keynote at the ebusiness Expo and Conference in New York. "Gerstner made no bones about the fact that IBM's decision to bet big on Linux also is an attempt to slow the growth of IBM competitors Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), three companies which have distanced themselves from Linux."
Shell Will Use Linux Supercomputer for Oil Quest (Reuters). IBM just keeps rolling with its Linux supercomputers - this time Shell is opting for an IBM supercomputer-scale cluster of 1024 Linux-based IBM X-Series servers, the largest such installation to date, to run seismic and other geophysical applications.
IBM Linux mainframe chosen by European telecom (News.com). News.com reports on Telia's purchase of an IBM mainframe to replace Sun systems. "Using 'partitioning' software, a mainframe can be split into several independent computers that share the same hardware. IBM and others have demonstrated running tens of thousands of Linux computers on a single mainframe. At Telia, a G6 mainframe with more than 1,500 virtual Linux servers will replace 70 existing Sun Unix servers..."
IBM pulls off Linux coup with Telia (ZDNet). Here's another ZDNet article on the Telia installation. "Steve Solazzo, IBM's vice president of Linux strategy, said in an interview that the implementation represents Europe's first major commercial enterprise infrastructure based on Linux. The Linux software will be provided by SuSE Inc. of Germany."
Red Hat rocks the cradle, with Linux/eCos combo (LinuxDevices.com. Red Hat has been selected by Cradle Technologies to create a suite of tools, based on their embedded distributions and packages including eCos, for Cradle's new UMS processor chips. "The Cradle UMS chips will combine multiple RISC and DSP engines on a single chip -- 'on the order of fifty' in a single device, according to [Cradle CEO Satish] Gupta. The result will be a highly parallel system microarchitecture. But that should prove no serious challenge to Linux developer Red Hat, which already has substantial Linux clustering experience. Red Hat, it seems, will be supporting the combination of its open source eCos real-time kernel coexisting with embedded Linux."
Army to try Red Hat embedded Linux (News.com). Red Hat has been selected by Rymic Systems for prototype Internet devices that will diagnose ground vehicle performance for the US Army. "Rymic Systems has chosen a small "embedded" version of Linux for use in prototype Internet devices that will diagnose vehicle performance and predict if failure might be imminent, the company said."
VA Linux's SourceForge forges cash (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at VA's new "rent a SourceForge" service. "Agilent Technologies, a large spinoff of Hewlett-Packard Co, is the first subscriber to the service, called SourceForge Onsite, said VA vice president of strategic planning John Hall. 'It's absolutely a strategy to grow our customer base into the Fortune 500,' Hall said. VA is interested in this demanding but lucrative customer segment and believes the need for collaborative programming tools will be VA's foot in the door."
Can VA Linux get out of hot water? (Upside). Upside reports on VA Linux Systems' new SourceForge OnSite offering. "Ironically, as Linux companies' fortunes have faltered in the market, the number of established software companies looking to incorporate various elements of the open source design model into their own proprietary projects has grown."
U.S. authorities focusing on VA Linux in IPO probe (Reuters). Here is a Reuters article stating that the U.S. government is looking into the VA Linux Systems IPO. It seems that there are some questions on just how the shares in that IPO were allocated, with some investors paying "unusually large commissions" to participate.
Linux moves slowly onto the desktop (News.com). C|Net's News.com does a nice overview of the Linux desktop world as it is currently evolving, and why some players (like id Software) are not as interested as they once were. "Linux on the desktop is a complicated matter. For one thing, there's nobody really in charge of the Linux desktop user interface. Linus Torvalds exercises some control over Linux's kernel--the core parts of the operating system--but leaves user interface issues to others."
Last of the independents (Upside). Upside has run this article on Bruce Perens' move to HP. "In a move that in many ways reflects the current chilly tech market, one of the Linux community's last unsigned marquee players has decided to take a break from free agency and join an established corporate team."
Oracle Expands Developer Services (ZDNet). ZDNet sees Oracle's expanded Oracle Technology Network as a response to other services like CollabNet and VA's SourceForge. "In some respects, Oracle's moves were those of a large commercial company's following the lead of such pioneers in online development as VA Linux Systems' SourceForge, O'Reilly & Associates Publishing and Hewlett-Packard's SourceXchange and CollabNet's www.collab.net. All three provide collaborative development tools and hosted services for open source code projects."
Open-source MP3 project continues after parent's demise (News .com). With parent company iCast folding the future of Ogg Vorbis, the open source replacement for the patent-restricted MP3 format, is in question. The answer, of course, is to keep on rolling. "With the demise of iCast, a casualty of CMGI's recent round of belt-tightening, the Vorbis programming team was cut loose. It was allowed to keep all rights to its work, a provision that was part of its original deal in joining iCast, the programmers say.
But the lack of a corporate sponsor has left the team, at least temporarily, without funding and without the prospect of a high-profile showcase for its work."
Open-source backers: Are you afraid? (ZDNet). ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley suggests that folks should be worried about the increasing corporate involvement in open source. "I am not implying that big corporations have nothing positive to contribute to Linux and open source. Indeed, the nearly 300 IBMers who are dedicated to working on open-source projects are 300 more warm bodies working for the betterment of open source. But what kind of financial and strategic benefits do big companies receive from their increasingly public love affair with open source? Is this topic off limits?"
Report on Linux progress in the German automation industry (LinuxDevices.com). An updated from Robert Schwebel, producer of Linux-Automation.com, on how Linux is being used and developed in the German industrial automation industry. "National Semiconductor's Geode chip was the heart of a small embedded board [from IBS] which can be used in customer-specific applications as well on standardized PC/104-Plus boards. At the booth, a Linux-based demo application was shown."
Hitachi launches Transmeta-based Internet appliance (News.com). C|Net's News.com is covering the new Hitachi Flora-ie 55mi, a Transmeta Crusoe based, Linux powered combination of a notebook, a handheld and a cell phone. "The device can be used on a desktop with a keyboard or removed from its docking cradle for roaming. Besides the keyboard, a stylus can be used to input data, like on a Palm. The device also contains a mobile phone interface for calls."
The press release from Hitachi announcing the Flora-ie 55mi says the battery life is up to 7 hours and runs a "mobile Linux operating system", though it doesn't say if it's an in-house version or one of the well known embedded OS's.
MasterTrade Linux roll-out gives system room to grow (Stuff NZ). It's slowly becoming more commonplace - a major retailer or business rolls out a large Linux installation replacing an existing Microsoft or Sun infrastructure. This time the retailer is New Zealand based MasterTrade and the Linux system count is 300. "After trialling Windows 2000, MasterTrade found difficulties with 'middleware', which communicates between MasterTrade's central inventory database in Christchurch, and the PCs in its 50 branches. 'Linux removed all middleware, and all the difficulties that went with it' [noted MasterTrade data processing manger Neil Helson].'
The problem, of course, is that KDE is neither a Linux distributor nor based in America. "Staff will have access to suppliers' websites through X-Windows software from American Linux developer KDE, which lets staff use graphical applications." So while retailers now get it, it appears some news sites still don't. (Thanks to Ian McDonald)
Will Linux Save Microsoft? (CNBC). CNBC examines the future of Microsoft and how it could, if the 800 pound gorilla gets hungry enough, use Linux to stay alive. "Microsoft doesn't talk about its Linux strategy very much. But it is an open secret in Silicon Valley that the company could rather easily steal the thunder from faddishly popular Linux firms, such as Caldera Systems Inc. and Red Hat Inc., at just about anytime it chooses."
What Is P2P...And What Isn't? (O'Reilly). Defining P2P literally suggests that Alexander Graham Bell was a P2P engineer, according to an article on th O'Reilly Network. "P2P is a class of applications that takes advantage of resources -- storage, cycles, content, human presence -- available at the edges of the Internet. Because accessing these decentralized resources means operating in an environment of unstable connectivity and unpredictable IP addresses, P2P nodes must operate outside the DNS system and have significant or total autonomy from central servers."
LinuxMonth Issue # 4. The 4th issue of LinuxMonth has been published. Article topics in this issue include using sudo, an interview of John Ousterhout, open source licenses explained, and security tips for Red Hat distributions.
28 abstracts and papers on real-time Linux (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has posted the abstracts and, in most cases, links to the PDF versions of the talks from the second annual Real-time Linux Workshop, held in Orlando, Florida on November 27-28, 2000.
Linux on the loose (ZDNet). In this article, ZDNet talks about what can be expected in the soon-to-be released Linux 2.4 kernel. "Torvalds is planning to include the ReiserFS journaling file system in the 2.4.1 release, expected within two weeks of 2.4's release."
First Looks at Nautilus 0.5 (Signal Ground). Signal Ground takes a brief look at Nautilus 0.5. "Installation of Eazel's Nautilus 0.5 from Debian packages went without a hitch. And the next thing I knew, I had a Nautilus menu item in my Gnome menus. After selecting it, the wizard screen shown above appeared. The wizard asks a few questions, including asking you to pick a skill level."
VMware 2.0.3 for Linux Review (LinuxLookup). The VMWare 2.0.3 installation and feature set are examined in this review by LinuxLookup. " Currently there is only a X86 version of VMware and only the ability to run X86 based guest operating systems. All Microsoft Windows operating systems are now supported (including 2000 Professional/Server and ME), FreeBSD 2.2.8 and 3.X, most Linux distributions although the 2.X and above kernels are recommended, and MS-DOS 6.X."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
December 14, 2000