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Another MIT Innovation: Open Source Education (Newsfactor). Newsfactor.com reports on The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's plans to give its courseware away for free on the Internet. "While many schools and universities struggle with the question of how best to integrate the Internet into their curricula, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced Wednesday that it will publish materials for almost all of its courses on the Internet.
The initiative will take about a decade to complete and will include lecture notes, syllabi, exams, simulations and streaming video lectures for nearly all of the research university's 2,000 courses."
Open-source development drives innovation (News.com). The Wharton School has published, through C|Net, a paper on how open source drives innovation through the power of the community. The results of the research as to why programmers volunteer their time and energy makes for an interesting read. "In all this, an important aspect that Metiu and Kogut studied was why software engineers across the world would volunteer their time to develop free software. Their conclusion: Engineers intrinsically have a gift-giving culture, and the motivations are also driven by norms of reciprocity, reputation enhancement, and by love of their work. They may also benefit financially in the future. Vendors and engineers are increasingly asking to move from a mere fee payment structure to a share of profits in the final product."
NSA Takes the Open Source Route (Wired). Wired reports on the NSA/NAI agreement to continue work on the NSA's SELinux project. "Despite the irony of his old firm teaming up with the agency that tried to have him locked up for publishing the PGP program in 1991, Zimmermann wasn't all that surprised to hear of the partnership. "There are numerous government agencies that use PGP," he said."
Open source: Payback time...Linux *is* more secure! (ZDNet). AnchorDesk author Patrick Houston says that Linux really is more secure than Windows9x/ME, and gets ZDNet security expert Rob Lemos to explain why. "Linux/Unix systems include permission-based access to files and limit access to the critical files to the root (i.e., superuser) account. That limits the damage that a normal user can do to a system. Windows 9x/Me, on the other hand, has no such concept of a separation of powers."
Open source to industry: It's payback time (ZDNet). Bruce Perens, now with HP, is organizing a meeting of industry leaders and open source advocates in order to ask companies to relinquish software patents in exchange for benefits received from open source software. "The meeting will be by invitation only, said Perens, who added that he had already secured the interest of several leading open-source figures. Brian Behlendorf, president of the Apache Software Foundation, which oversees development of the widely used Web server software, is understood to be signed up, as is N2K Chief Executive Larry Rosen and Berkeley University Professor Pam Samuelson."
Experts: Virus Threat To Linux Low (TechWeb). This article from InternetWeek says that Linux has a low vulnerability to virus attacks. "W32.Winux itself is innocuous: It has no mechanism for spreading itself or a "payload" for damaging computers, and it doesn't execute automatically when opened. When manually executed, the virus infects all the executable files in its folder and the parent folder, so that those files also become virus files."
Linux's 'Maddog' sees computers everywhere (CNN). Linux International Executive Director Jon "maddog" Hall says that desktop computers are becoming ubiquitous devices that aren't quite PCs anymore. "The problem with most PCs, Hall argued, is that they are fixed in a room and are limited for some computing purposes. While the machines will grow in power, PCs will not give all users the flexibility they want. So, Hall thinks they will serve an important role in the future but will not be the center of home computing, as Gates has proposed."
The Linux Kernel Summit (Linux Journal). Chris DiBona has written up a good summary of the Kernel Summit. "What I took away from the meeting was a greater sense of the complete inevitability of Linux. That this all can come about and has worked this well for ten years is a monumental achievement; one that will benefit computer science and engineering for decades to come."
IBM takes Linux push to Asia (News.com). IBM wants to expand the Linux presence in Asia, to the tune of $200 million. "Since the initial announcement, seven centers have become operational: Tokyo; Shanghai, China; Beijing; Taipei, Taiwan; Seoul, South Korea; Bangalore; India; and Sydney, Australia. So have four competency centers in Beijing, Seoul, Bangalore and Yamamoto, Japan."
AMD: We're committed to Linux (The Register). While they "eventually plan to have the 64-bit architecture work on a variety of Linux distributions, including SuSE and Red Hat," AMD's manager of Advanced Micro Devices' software research and development group, Wayne Meretsky, says license links on their web site were just plain mistakes. "It was a clear oversight on our part," Meretsky said of the license. "It's obviously silly, and we're getting it addressed as soon as possible."
Open-source firm reverses strategy (C|Net). ArsDigita is moving from an open source strategy to one of proprietary Java modules mixes with services. "Instead of just offering services around the open-source ArsDigita Community System (ACS) software for setting up e-commerce Web sites, the company will begin selling proprietary software modules, said Dave Menninger, senior vice president of marketing. In addition, the company's latest version of ACS has been rewritten using Sun Microsystems' Java language instead of the previous TCL language." (Thanks to Christof Damian)
Wind River answers Linux challenge with BSDi acquisition (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has posted a thorough article on Wind River's acquisition of BSDi. "Questioning the GPL's suitability for use in embedded system projects is likely to be a continuing theme of Wind River's response to the rapidly emerging developer interest in Embedded Linux." Worth a read.
BSDi Unix buy reshapes open source (News.com). News.com looks at the acquisition of BSDi. "Wind River, the dominant company in the embedded market, has been grappling with the arrival of Linux in much the same way that Microsoft faces competition from the upstart operating system for servers."
Wind River: Improvements will come with acquisition (Upside). In this expanded coverage on Wind River's acquisition of BSDi, Upside looks at how another acquisition, Eonic Systems Virtuoso operating system, could help Wind River compete in the embedded DSP marketplace, while BSDI will allow Wind River to improve tools and middleware it sells to network router and switch manufacturers. "The acquisitions were [not] an enormous deal, but they should help fill out Wind River's offerings. The BSDi acquisition, in particular, should help Wind River against embedded Linux providers like Red Hat (RHAT)."
Linux To Play Broader Role In Embedded Systems (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at the momentum open source is gaining going into the Embedded Systems Conference. "The open-source migration to the embedded market has gained significant momentum. Even Wind River Systems Inc. (stock: WIND), which has long dominated the embedded market with proprietary operating systems, has moved toward the open-source camp."
Linux gains corporate respectability (ZDNet). This Wall Street Journal article posted to ZDNet says that Linux has finally achieved corporate acceptance. In another indication of Linux's mainstream acceptance, an IDC survey found 20 percent of corporations were using Linux to operate some of their databases last year, and 10% were using it as part of human-resources and customer relationship-management systems. Those percentages are double the year-ago levels. "Critics and nonbelievers can no longer dismiss the Linux market as a fad," says Al Gillen, research manager for IDC.
Linux Web Hosting Market Set to Boom (InternetNews). According to research conducted by Idaya, a Brighton, England based ISP, the Linux market is set to grow by 150% by mid 2002. "45 per cent of respondents see open-source software as the dominant web hosting technology by 2003, although it should be added that 33 per cent take a contrasting view Nearly two-thirds of ISPs believe that leading open-source software meets enterprise-level standards comparable to those met by proprietary software." (Thanks to Evelyn Mitchell)
Linux Hardware and Software (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews eLinux.com and other Linux friendly shopping sites. "Seek and ye shall find at eLinux, which features 42,000 hardware and software products. The site is so serious about Linux, many of its desktop and notebook systems don't come bundled with that 'other' OS. Features include Linux news and a community forum."
A bandwidth lifesaver (ZDNet). ZDNet shows how to use the Iperf package to run network performance monitoring on Linux systems. "We deployed a Linux server on the residential network and dropped a second server on the same network segment as the registration system. Both test servers, called endpoints, had Iperf installed. If our filters were working properly the amount of traffic Iperf could push out of the residential network would be limited to 10Mbps."
Pogo Linux Velocity Workstation review (Signal Ground). Pogo Linux is a company selling pre-configured Linux systems. Signal Ground took a look at the Pogo Linux IDE RAID-based Velocity system. "Although Pogo sells some dual-boot systems with Windows ME or 2000 installed, their Velocity lineup is RedHat 7.0 exclusively. The manual told us what the root password was, and we were soon looking at the default GNOME desktop. It seems Pogo has put most of their effort into a customized Helix GNOME desktop. KDE is also available at the logon screen, giving users a choice of desktop environments. This is a Good Thing."
Wind River's Fogelin on the acquisition of BSDi (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices' Rick Lehrbaum interviews Wind River's John Fogelin about Wind River's recent acquisition of BSDi. "RL: You may be aware that there's currently a growing interest within the Embedded Linux Consortium in pursuing standards for Embedded Linux. This isn't just a defensive move by Embedded Linux vendors, but it's also being driven, in large part, by some proprietary OS vendors who want to be more "Linux-like" -- or "UNIX-like" as you put it -- such as QNX and LynuxWorks. Do you foresee Wind River playing a pivotal role in helping to define some common standards for "POSIX-and-beyond," which could be shared among all of these OSes?"
Getting Certified with the Linux Professional Institute (Linux Journal). Dan York of the LPI provides a status update to the LPI in this Linux Journal online article. "From the very beginning, we have felt that LPI's exams should use industry standard practices (from a field of test development called "psychometrics") to be sure our exams are scientifically and statistically valid, as well as legally defensible. The legal defensibility becomes an issue in the United States where the moment a hiring or promotion decision is made based on a certification, you need to be able to prove that your exam is not based on biased information. We do this through a lengthy process referred to as a 'job task analysis'."
Holes found in file server software (News.com). While FTP's glob() function is open to attack on some systems, according to this C|Net story, Linux boxes are fundamentally safe. "While wu-FTP contains the vulnerable function--known as "glob()"--it works in a slightly different way with Linux systems, leaving most of those systems protected from the exploit."
Torvalds rips into Mac OS X (ZDNet). This ZDNet article wants to stir things up by saying that Linus is trashing Apple. "'Frankly, I think it's a piece of crap,' Torvalds writes of Mach, the microkernel on which Apple's new operating system is based. 'It contains all the design mistakes you can make, and manages to even make up a few of its own.'"
Why you should be using FireWire (ZDNet). According to this ZDNet article, the Linux world understands the importance of FireWire technology. Even if Intel doesn't. "When I enquired earlier this week about whether Intel had any plans to integrate 1394 into its motherboards' chipsets, I got an unequivocal reply:"Intel has no plans to put 1394 on our motherboards." Can't get clearer than that. Unfortunately, Intel's party line is based on a fallacy, that 1394 is just an A/V technology. This is patently false. But Intel also has a vested interest in seeing 1394 be marginalized into a niche product and having USB 2.0 succeed."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
April 12, 2001