On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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The beast of complexity (Economist). The Economist has put together a lengthy survey of the software industry, which includes, among much other stuff, a look at open source. "Open-source communities, for example, are fascinating social structures. Similar communities could one day produce more than just good code. Thomas Malone, professor of information systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sees great opportunities ahead: 'The Linux community is a model for a new kind of business organisation that could form the basis for a new kind of economy.'"
Battle for the Unseen Computer (Technology Review). According to this article, LynuxWorks questions the suitability of Linux to the embedded world. "It is just such real-time operation that skeptics say eludes Linux. Linux is built to run a given command from start to finish. That's why the embedded systems that run on Linux to date are ones where real time is not critical, such as the Kerbango radio. Disagreement about the best way to make Linux real-time-and whether it's possible to make Linux real-time at all-are splintering the embedded-Linux movement into less-than-friendly factions."
In an instant (Denver Rocky Mountain News). Jabber.com's business model and technology from the open source Jabber project may make it the de facto standard for instant messaging, says this article from the Denver Rocky Mountain News. "Instant messaging is seen as having great potential in a number of areas, including employee collaboration... That could help speed up the way business is conducted and projects are completed. [Unfortunately,] the big players, trying to protect their own markets, have been reluctant to embrace an industry standard."
iomojo creates open camera server project (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com writes about Silicon Valley startup iomojo, an embedded Linux company that is designing a media-centric server appliance. "Basically, all that's required to implement iomojo's camera server is an appropriately configured computer running Linux, equipped with an inexpensive video camera and video capture card. The latter two items are available for a few hundred dollars."
Freenet developer to create commercial apps (InfoWorld). Here's an InfoWorld article on Uprizer. "The outstanding difference in the software Uprizer develops compared with that for Freenet will be absence of those capabilities that shield users' identities. Clarke said the goal is to retain the positive qualities of the Freenet architecture but deliver software that is palatable to corporate users."
Ian Clarke's Uprizer Gets $4 Million (NewsBytes). NewsBytes reports on Uprizer, the company created by Freenet founder Ian Clarke. Uprizer has evidently scored $4 million in venture funding, from Intel no less. "Uprizer can save businesses money in the distribution of software, games, video and other content, he said. 'We feel we can streamline that process and help people save money on bandwidth cost.'"
HP Backs Open Source Server (ZDNet). HP thinks the Enhydra server software is becoming another important piece of the open source world. "Part of the reason HP is backing Enhydra is its ability to deal with eXtensible Markup Language messaging and wireless applications based on I-mode and Java 2 Micro Edition cellular phones. Netservers are often used to host wireless applications, and the availability of Enhydra helps "companies looking for ways to use mobile technologies," said Nigel Ball, general manager at HP's e-Services Partner Division."
Game Over for Video Console Firm Indrema (San Francisco Chronicle). The SF Chronicle covers the demise of the Linux-based Indrema game console project. "Indrema said it amassed an active community of 50 to 100 developers, and that "potentially hundreds" of projects were in the works. Most of those titles will be redirected to personal computers running Linux, Gildred said. He denied that a lack of big-name developers contributed to Indrema's flameout."
Plans for Linux game console fizzle (News.com). News.com looks at the demise of Indrema. "[Indrema CEO John] Gildred said there were close to 200 Indrema games in development, including 30 or 40 far enough along that the company hoped to have them available when the console launched. The fate of those games and the Indrema format will likely hinge on current negotiations to sell Indrema's intellectual property. If the Indrema standards and other technology are released as open-source software, the format may live on."
Low-cost Indian PC to hit market soon (News.com). C|Net reports that India is getting ready to launch its inexpensive Linux-based Simputer. "Vinay Deshpande, president of the Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT), said the low-cost was due partly to the use of the Linux operating system and other open-source software."
O'Reilly's look at Napster alternatives. O'Reilly's P2P site does a rundown of the available alternatives to Napster for searching for programs, images, video, documents, and, of course, MP3 files. Most of the options make use of Gnutella.
Opinion: Inder Singh on The ELC Platform Specification (LinuxDevices). Dr. Inder Singh has written this opinion piece on why he believes the ELC Platform Specification will succeed where the POSIX effort failed. "Now, there is a real opportunity for Linux to fulfill the promise of UNIX and POSIX. Linux is already available from many vendors, and since all the different versions start with the same kernel, there is a high degree of compatibility and interoperability between different embedded Linux distributions. At the same time, Moore's law has largely eliminated the resource constraint issue. In fact, with the falling prices and increasing power of system-on-chip (SOC) devices and memory, and the growing software complexity of embedded applications, a Linux style of operating system with its process model is an excellent fit for today's high volume embedded devices compared to the legacy flat address space real-time operating systems that can work with MMU-less CPUs."
Here's a copy of Singh's slide presentation given at the ELC's annual membership meeting on April 9, 2001. Singh is the Chairman of the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) and is also CEO of LynuxWorks.
Linux gets embedded (ZDNet). In a short summary of who's who in the Linux Embedded marketplace, ZDNet says that the little guys are taking on the big players with high hopes. "Linux, a clone of the Unix operating system that competes with Windows, got its start in servers. A number of companies, such as TimeSys, Red Hat, Lineo, LynuxWorks and MontaVista Software have been working to squeeze it into smaller embedded devices such as network routers, handheld computers and set-top boxes."
Microsoft's campaign to help Linux on the desktop (ZDNet). According to this ZDNet article, Microsoft is doing the Linux desktop a favor by releasing XP - because XP uses XML as its file format. "Office's use of XML could help the Linux desktop as much as Microsoft's opening of SMB allowed Samba to help Linux become such a competitive server. To be sure, there are still usability issues with current Linux GUIs, and Windows still runs many more applications than the Linux desktop."
Leave everything to me... not! (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch says in this ZDNet op-ed piece that while Microsoft offers too little choice, Linux offers too much. "It's a feature, not a bug, that Linux is about choice. Recently I wrote about the increasing progress being made by the Linux Standard Base, a group that seeks to make life easier for software developers while encouraging diversity among Linux distributions. And I've been happy to hear reports coming from this month's GNOME developer's conference, GUADEC II, where interoperability was a major concern."
Red Hat Unveils Latest Linux Distribution (InternetNews). InternetNews reviews Red Hat Linux 7.1. "The latest release also includes updated versions of the GNOME and KDE GUIs, as well as Mozilla. And, for the international audience, 7.1 has increased internalization that supports the global user community with fully translated GNOME interfaces in Japanese, Spanish, French, German and Italian."
Moving up to the big time (ZDNet). ZDNet examines Red Hat's jump into the 2.4 kernel with their just released 7.1 distribution. "Perhaps the most important news is that Red Hat's distribution comes with improved security built in. For example, in almost all Linux distributions, the default setting is to automatically set up Internet programs like Sendmail and Apache with their open network ports, even if you don't plan to use either program. In Red Hat 7.1, these default to keep the ports closed and thus prevent would be raiders from exploiting programs that you might not even have known were running."
NuSphere MySQL: Free Beer in a Tall Glass (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet reviews NuSphere MySQL. "The folks at NuSphere have a good idea, and they have in effect done for the middleware tier what Linux distributions have done for the operating system tier. It would be nice to see an integrated Open Source search engine tool, and perhaps a WebDAV-aware HTML editing tool, in a future release. Even without these items, though, NuSphere is useful enough to be worth considering for business oriented server deployments."
Apache 2.0 scales to Windows (ZDNet). ZDNet takes a look at the Apache 2.0 beta. "Unfortunately, this build still lacks any official administration tools, our biggest complaint with the earlier versions."
The life and times of Linus Torvalds (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews Linus Torvalds biography, "Just for Fun, The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary". "He uses the Red Hat IPO, when he realized that he was actually worth something financially, as an example. ''Regardless of the image that has caught on in the press, of me as a selfless geek-for-the-masses living under a vow of poverty,'' says Torvalds, ''I was, frankly, delirious.''"
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
April 19, 2001