On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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SSH inventor denied trademark request (NW Fusion). Network World Fusion reports on the IETF meeting where Tatu Ylönen's request for a name change for the ssh protocol was turned down. "But IETF participants argued that both Secure Shell and its acronym SSH were generic terms that can't be protected by trademarks. Ultimately, the working group voted 3 to 1 to reject 'Ylönens request. 'I'm very disappointed,' Ylönen said after the meeting. 'What will I do next? Consult my lawyers.'"
A World Without Microsoft (Red Pepper). A British magazine called "Red Pepper" has posted an introductory article about free software. "But [free software] is hardly a clear-cut, politically committed resistance movement -- or even a straightforward single-issue campaign. It is a convergence of individuals and groups ranging from philanthropists, to libertarians, to free market believers, to nerds with more passion for the minutiae of operating systems than any political ideology. And as the movement matures and its principles gain commercial ground, the community is cracking along its ideological faultlines." (Thanks to Tony Stanco).
Open-source credo moves to chip design. From Open Source Software to Open Source Hardware: not everyone is convinced that the situations are parallel, but work in the Open Source Hardware arena has been ongoing for several years. This CNet article takes a look at Opencores, one Open Source hardware project. "Open-source hardware owes its life to a number of individuals who, above all else, think it's fun to design chips and other hardware. The leaders of the movement congregate and share their ideas at focal points on the Internet, such as the OpenCores Web site". (Thanks to Sean Leather).
Embed Linux, and put Microsoft on the desktop (ZDNet). ZDNet's Kewney has put a finger on why Microsoft has been getting hot and bothered about Linux lately. "Embedded Windows is where Microsoft is hoping to make all its new revenue over the next decade. And Linux is a big threat to it, there".
On the desktop, though, he does point out another stumbling block we'll be encountering over the next few years. "'You can believe that Linux is ready for the desktop if you like,' he [the Man] told me recently while I was walking the dogs. 'But you just go to any temp agency, and say you need someone with Star Office experience for a week, while your office assistant is away on holiday. See what they say'".
In years past, temp agencies have coped with providing people who knew how to punch cards, who knew a variety of arcane proprietary hardware-based word-processing systems and more. So someday, finding a temp who knows Open Source will be possible. The author is correct, but he doesn't understand the time scale under which Open Source works. We can afford to be patient.
The nasty flip side to diversity: What's holding Linux back (ZDNet). After celebrating diversity by comparing Linux to pizza, ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch looks at the flip side, diversity creates problems for application developers. "There are many reasons you don't see a lot of commercial application software for Linux, but I have to put the lack of a single porting standard near the top. In my view, it even impedes the progress of open source software. The effort spent porting code and packages to multiple distributions is effort that could --and should--be spent making the packages themselves better."
Bulletin: 'Dangerous' Linux worm in the wild (CNN). CNN covers the Lion worm. "William Stearns, a senior research engineer at the federally funded Institute for Security Technology Studies housed at Dartmouth College, and chief author of the Lionfind utility, urged Linux system administrators to download the free code and ensure that their machines aren't infected."
Red Hat's Numbers Get a Boost (Motley Fool). The Motley Fool takes a critical look at Red Hat's latest quarterly results. "At first sight, the announcement looks like a winner, but it's clear Red Hat beat estimates by cutting costs and with the help of an acquisition. For a high-growth software company, more profits on lower revenues gives little reason for excitement."
Red Hat gets red hot on earnings news (News.com). C|Net says investors are happy, but analysts are not, about Red Hat's earning report. "Although Red Hat shares gained, analysts warned that slowing information technology spending may be hurting the company. ABN AMRO analyst Keith Bachman reiterated his "hold" rating on the stock."
Compute farms yield a fine crop of data (ZDNet). ZDNet covers Biogen, a biotechnology company in Cambridge, Mass. that uses a compute farm featuring dual-processor Pentium PCs running Red Hat Linux in its genome research. "Scientists will use the computing power to sift through sections of data over days, weeks or even months to find diseases lurking in our DNA, as well as clues to new generations of biotech drugs that will fight them. "
Open source proves winning ticket for Just Sports USA.com (SlashTCO). Here's an open source success story found on SlashTCO. Using Linux and PostgreSQL, Just Sports USA was able to grow and expand its business. "An open source platform has provided Just Sports USA with the technological flexibility, scalability and intelligence it needs to win big in e-commerce. By harnessing the strength of the PostgreSQL database and other open source technologies, Just Sports USA is well-positioned to become an e-tailing star."
Device profile: HNT's Linux-based Handheld Multimedia PCs (LinuxDevices). HNT Co. Ltd. of Seoul, Korea has announced a new family of Linux-based handheld multimedia PCs, called the "Exilien" series. "In general, these new HNT handhelds are typical of a new breed of PDAs that have high performance processors, generous memory capacities, and "flash" ROM storage..."
Intel uses Linux, Mozilla in AOL Web gizmo deal. Intel will supply 250,000 Web access devices, known as the Dot.Station, to Spain's biggest bank, Banco Santander Central Hispano, who in turn will offer them to clients with America Online Inc. The Dot.Station, which is a blue color similar to the one Intel uses in its logo, runs the Linux operating system and uses a Mozilla Web browser.
Mitac unveils Bluetooth-connected Linux-based PDA (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com reports on the just announced Mitac CAT PDA, a sub $200 Linux-based PDA with Bluetooth support. "The product will come with a multilingual distribution of the Linux operating system developed in Taiwan by Linpus, and will feature Bluetooth connectivity, a perk that was also demonstrated at CeBIT. Mitac executive Lon Cheng also revealed that the product will be priced between $150 and $199."
Commentary: Bad economy's good for open source (ZDNet). Now that the hype is over, the Open Source revolution can begin. Okay, that's a massive paraphrase of this ZDnet article, but it fits pretty well. "Open source, however, is much more than Linux. The melding of the open-source development model and a capitalist economy will bring the most exciting changes to computing that we've ever witnessed".
On trust and open source (ZDNet). Here's an article about the roots of open source. "A very interesting view of how far we've come is found in a new edition of Steven Levy's seminal work "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution." In it, Levy describes a computing utopia that is in sharp contrast to today's open-source "industry" - not to mention the proprietary and bureaucratic establishment of today's for-profit software business."
Fibre Channel for Linux (Linux Journal). Linux Journal looks at Fibre Channel options for Linux and why they might be a better solution than a SCSI network. "The simplest use of Fibre Channel is to replace external SCSI-attached storage units on a single server. This involves one HBA, some FC-storage units and perhaps an FC hub for making the cabling simpler. There are several advantages for using FC here. Having several external SCSI units often leads to cable mess. SCSI cables have limits for how long they can run are usually thick and impractical, and your equipment will most likely require different connectors and cables."
Linux hardware stability guide, Part 1 (IBM developerWorks). Another article from IBM developerWorks shows how to diagnose hardware problems from a Linux perspective. "How many of us have set up a Linux box, installed our favorite distribution, compiled and installed some additional apps, and gotten everything working perfectly only to find that our new system has an (argh!) fatal hardware bug? Whether the symptoms are random segmentation faults, data corruption, hard locks, or lost data is irrelevant -- the hardware glitch effectively makes our normally reliable Linux operating system barely able to stay afloat."
New Linux-based "mobile multimedia communicator" (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com profiles Galleo's Linux-based "Mobile Multimedia Communicator". "The unit's bundled software supports cellular phone communication, Internet access, Web browsing, PIM applications, multimedia (mp3 player, streaming video), games, and personalized content, plus IPsec-compliant VPN network security."
IBM clocks in with new Linux watch (C|Net). IBM's second generation of the IBM Linux Wristwatch is less bulky than its predecessor, but still not ready for the average wrist, according to this C|Net news report. "The highlight of IBM's watch--besides the novelty of cramming an operating system designed for servers into a computer smaller than an Oreo cookie--is its bright OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display. The display crams an array of 640 by 480 pixels into a watch face just 0.65 inches tall by 0.87 inches wide, said Chandra Narayanaswami, manager of the IBM Research Division's wearable computing program. The pixels are so small that sprinkling them judiciously gives the illusion of the ability to show a range of shades of gray, he said."
Singing hosannas for Linux (News.com). News.com talks with Dan Frye, head of IBM's Linux Technology Center. "The open source sell to the senior executives at IBM was extremely easy. That wasn't necessarily the same thing with middle management. Sometimes that took a little more time and effort. But the senior executives just picked up on it. We dispelled a lot of the myths about open source. That was the big thing--the myth that open source was not secure or the myth that it was undisciplined. It's highly disciplined--more disciplined than a lot of proprietary shops."
Linux.com Interviews Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany.com (Linux.com). Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany.com, which focuses on developing software for the KDE desktop environment, tells Linux.com that their Aethera is similar to Ximian's Evolution. "I would say at their core they have a similar idea: they are doing email and a few other things. I know Evolution got a lot of ideas from Magellan, and since Aethera is a fork of Magellan, they have some similarities. I think our target for Aethera is a lot different than Evolution. They want to sell advertising or subscriptions or something into your desktop, while we are writing plug-ins for extended functionality. Aethera is going to be more of a platform like Lotus Notes, where you can create vertical market applications and drop them in and get the groupware knowledge management as part of the package."
SuSE: Germany tops Linux market (News.com). News.com covers SuSE in this interview with Chief Technology Officer Dirk Hohndel during the CeBit trade show in Germany. "SuSE's business in Germany has been focused much more on services such as customizing or installing Linux systems--an approach that flopped in the U.S, Hohndel said. SuSE laid off 30 people, two thirds of its U.S. workforce, in February."
Notes from CeBIT (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal reports from CeBIT. "Further attention was drawn to Linux when KDE2 was distinguished as one of three finalists in the Innovation of the Year award ceremony held at CeBIT on the night of March 22nd. The judges were booed by the largely German audience when the announcer proclaimed Microsoft 2000 as the winner."
Life gets serious for Linux (BBC News). The BBC News covers Linux at CeBIT. "From IBM to Nokia, from SAP to Sharp, the giants of the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover are all showing products based on the system which began life as a Finnish student's hobby." (Thanks to Scott Crittenden)
LG demonstrates wireless Linux Web pad at CeBIT (LinuxDevices). The Digital iPAD is a Linux-based Web pad, demonstrated at CeBIT by LG Electronics. "The device was demonstrated running on the latest version of the Linux kernel, 2.4. First unveiled in January, the iPAD is aimed at home users wanting Internet access and multimedia thrills without all the bells and whistles of a conventional PC."
Hackers Channel Talents Toward TiVo, ReplayTV Video Recorders. The Dallas Morning News looks at the new focus of the hacker crowd: Tivo's. "The TiVo is particularly popular among hackers, in part because it uses the Linux operating system that many technically inclined computer users run on their own PCs. ReplayTV is more difficult to hack because it uses a proprietary operating system."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
March 29, 2001