On the Desktop
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DeCSS 2? DVD code broken again (ZDNet). Seven lines of perl code is all it takes these days to read DVD's, according to this ZDNet article. "Last week, a Web site published the pair's seven-line program, which unscrambles the protection around a DVD so quickly that a movie can play at the same time, although the film appears choppy. It's the shortest program to break DVD defenses to date."
The Story Behind Tux the Penguin (Wired). Wired News has posted this article on the Linux logo. "'When I saw the new IBM Linux advertising campaign, I wondered how much of their multi-million dollar budget went to licensing fees for the penguin,' said a public relations representative who requested his name not be used. 'I was amazed to find out that anyone with a Linux-related product or project has the right to use the penguin. Normally, teams of always-angry lawyers fiercely protect logos. And when I discovered you could alter the penguin however you choose, I was flabbergasted. Logos are sacred, untouchable icons in corporate culture.'"
Putting the Web in a Bind (ZDNet). Here's an article about security and BIND bugs. "When asked why more system administrators don't upgrade BIND on their DNS servers, ISC's Vixie said it is purely their option to do so. The ISC does not monitor BIND users or notify them of changes. Registering BIND users is contrary to the concept of freely available software as open source code, he added. The only requirement asked of a downloader is "to use it in good health," he said. Vixie said BIND users may sign up for a newsletter that fills them in on patches and when upgrades are available, but fewer than 500 have done so. He estimated there are at least 30,000 administrators of DNS servers who would need to be notified. "
Is Open Source Un-American? (O'Reilly Onlamp.com). Tim O'Reilly replies to readers responding to his swing at Microsoft's recent comments on open source. "Regarding Kerberos, Jim insists that Microsoft's Kerberos implementation is interoperable. He admits that you can't use the additional Microsoft-specific features in other systems, but says that if it isn't interoperable, he will make it so."
It's Tool Time (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on open source methodologies and philosophies and says that even open source is prone to basic software issues. "Regardless of who's in charge, open-source development methods can't free you from management foibles. The lessons of Fred Brooks' software project management classic, The Mythical Man Month, remain as true as ever. For instance, throwing more programmers at a late project will just make it later. As the unofficial delays in the release of Linux 2.4 showed, that's still true-with or without open source."
Ted Ts'o (ZDNet). ZDNet covers kernel lieutenant Ted Ts'o. "Now, as a principal engineer for systems integrator VA Linux Systems, Linux is his full-time job, which continues into the late evening as he tries to catch up on messages dealing with bugs."
Pop goes the Eazel (ZDNet). Here is ZDNet's take on the layoffs at Eazel. "The company had $15 million in funding from investors, with Accel Partners holding the lion's share. Now, with most of that money burned through, Eazel is looking for more funds. Sources close to the matter say though that the venture capitalists are not pleased with Eazel's path to profitability."
Eazel lays off more than half its staff (News.com). According to News.com, Eazel has just laid off about 40 employees. "'What we're doing is getting our burn rate and business plan more in line with the more sober economic environment,' said Brian Croll, Eazel's vice president of marketing."
Linux company [Eazel] to release key software (News.com). News.com reports on the release of Nautilus 1.0. "One significant change to Nautilus 1.0 over earlier test versions is the addition of 'text tools,' which will allow computer users to take actions when they highlight words in a text document. For example, people will easily be able to submit that text to the Google Internet search site or to an online dictionary."
New Sylvania Internet/TV has "Linux inside" (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices reports on the Sylvania's upcoming digital TV which will run an embedded version of Linux. "The new Sylvania Internet/TV receives standard broadcast or cable TV signals via a built-in TV tuner and is usable as a high resolution display for external video sources including VCRs, DVD players, DSS, cable boxes, and computers (up to 800 x 600 SVGA resolution). The system is also "HDTV-ready," which means it will be able to display the high bandwidth video signals produced by an external HDTV receiver. "
Guest editorial: Microsoft's Ironic Valentine (LinuxDevices). Michael Tiemann, CTO of Red Hat, comments further on recent Microsoft attacks on Open Source and Linux. "By using the non-proprietary HTML file format, and by publishing the source code to the HTTP protocol, Berners-Lee made it easy for others to create their own Web content and Web sites. People immediately ported this software from the quirky NeXT platform to mainstream systems by Sun Microsystems, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics and even Microsoft. Dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, and now tens of millions of people have created their own Web sites, Web content, search engines and other innovations."
Opening proprietary code doesn't come easy for HP (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at HP's OpenMail vs open source situation. Historically, HP has been open source unfriendly. Carly Fiorina, HP CEO, at October's NetWorld+Interop show, signaled a change in her keynote speech by saying that, "The open source movement is natural, inevitable and creates huge benefits. It's part of the next wave of computing."
Only the strong survive in Linux landscape (News.com). Here's a News.com article about the tougher business environment. "Few doubt there is a future for Linux itself: It is the second-most popular server operating system, won the heart of IBM, and was identified as Microsoft's 'threat No. 1' by Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a January speech. And the cooperative programming effort that creates Linux shows no signs of slacking off. But much of the entrepreneurial momentum behind the operating system is gone."
Is that a penguin roosting in Redmond? (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet opinion piece saying that Microsoft should buy Corel's Linux division. "Still not convinced? I'm sure there are plenty of nattering nabobs of negativism (apologies to Spiro Agnew) out there who think that Microsoft is the absolute worst thing that could happen to Linux. But, let's face it, the vox populi act can only be played out for so long. Don't the guys who talk the open source talk while reaping the benefits of reselling an essentially free operating system strike you as just a bit disingenuous?"
Commentary: Linux faces the law of capitalism (News.com). News.com is running a Gartner Group pronouncement on the future of Linux businesses (and distributors in particular). "The current level of activity suggests the opportunity for Linux has not yet peaked. Still, the route to success will become much more complicated (and expensive) for Linux distributors. Providing obvious added value will become critical and will probably involve an operating system/middleware software stack, not just operating system distribution."
Agenda to challenge Palm with "pure Linux PDA" (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices looks at Agenda Computing's new VR3 PDA, and other Linux-based PDAs. "All these efforts are aimed at establishing PDA-Linux as a popular community phenomenon, supported by thousands of application developers worldwide, in hopes of creating a viable "open source" alternative to the proprietary -- though hugely successful -- PalmOS."
Device review: Axis 2120 Network Camera (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices is carrying this review of the Axis 2120 Network Camera. "The camera itself -- weighing in at only (approximately) two pounds, it's hard to believe that Linux lives in there."
Tribes 2 Linux Preview (Duke of URL). The Duke of URL reviews Loki's latest entrant in the games domain: Tribes 2. "Loki has done an outstanding job with keeping up with the port, and I can't help but commend their efforts on this project. Still, there seems to be several issues with Mesa-based drivers currently, but there are many volunteers in the open source community currently working on this problem. However, until then, the NVIDIA cards are the only ones that work with decent speed."
Hello Crusoe: New notebooks debut (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on new Crusoe powered notebooks that will be hitting the market soon. Most will come with Win2k, though at least one model will have a Win2k/Linux dual boot option. "Along with potentially expanding Crusoe's presence in the United States, the new machines exemplify major currents in Transmeta's overall strategy. For one, Transmeta and its PC manufacturers are clearly trying to occupy a high ground when it comes to design."
Building communities on the internet (Financial Times). The Financial Times talks with MandrakeSoft CEO Henri Poole. "Unlike much of the computer industry, Mr Poole believes that Linux is ready for the desktop. He says that he uses Linux for all his office work, mostly by using StarOffice, the office suite, recently bought by Sun Microsystems, that is similar to the popular Microsoft Office. Sun has now released StarOffice with an open source licensing scheme under the name OpenOffice."
The 5 Faces Changing The Linux Desktop, Part 1 (LinuxOrbit). This interview with Shawn Gordon (of theKompany.com) is part 1 of a 5 part series covering the people who are changing the Linux desktop. "With the release of KDE 2.0 the bar has been moved higher, and GNOME is not sitting on its hands. GNOME's new graphical shell, Eazel 1.0 is due out very soon, and Ximian (formerly Helixcode) is releasing Evolution and Red Carpet to the huddled masses in the very near future. It's going to rock to use GNOME this year. KDE has already released KDE 2.1, which is more of an internal upgrade than anything else, and are already planning their next big move. It's going to rock to use KDE this year, too."
Game Arrives Only in Dreams (Wired). Here's a Wired News look at Indrema and the delays in the launch of its gaming console system. "And so far, Indrema does looks like classic vapor. The company has sidestepped each delay by promising a more and more elaborate system. Now, instead of a mere gaming system, the console will have to be nothing less than 'The Future of TV' to make some people wonder if the delay is worth it."
Will penguins rule? Not any time soon (ZDNet). This article from ZDNet asks if the price differential between Linux and the upcoming Windows XP will be enough to sustain Linux growth on the desktop. "Although Linux's considerable system stability edge over Windows will die along with the 9x code base -- as anyone who's already moved to Windows 2000 can attest -- the low price of Linux will remain a significant advantage over Windows. An upgrade version of Windows 2000 Professional retails for $219, and the Windows ME upgrade sells for $109."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
March 15, 2001