On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Turbo-Linuxcare Merger Implodes (Linuxgram). Linuxgram reports on the cancellation of the Turbolinux/Linuxcare merger. "[Linuxcare CEO Art] Tyde's reasons for the bust-up were more a matter of direction and individual goals although [Turbolinux CEO Paul] Thomas said that Turbolinux intends to cease being a distribution company by the end of the year and become a systems management platform, a move that will put it in direct competition with companies such as BMC and Computer Associates, not to mention of course the ever-constant Microsoft and the rival distributions, Red Hat, SuSE and Caldera, which are all searching for ways to exit the pure distribution game."
Linuxcare, Turbolinux reverse merger plan (News.com). News.com looks at the collapse of the Turbolinux/Linuxcare merger. "[Art] Tyde said that after the merger cancellation details are worked out, Linuxcare likely will lay off more staff, in addition to staff cuts announced in February. And the company will abandon the technical support business plan that had been at its heart since the company started promoting itself in February 1999."
Open source's black hole (ZDNet). ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch rips into Apple in this opinion column. "No one outside the world of Mac advocates actually buys into the myth that exploiting Mach represents a change in Apple's closed corporate attitude. Apple simply found a source of cheap high-quality systems software that it could make its own without needing to give back so much as a bug fix, let alone useful software projects."
VA Linux issues third earnings warning (News.com). News.com covers VA Linux' third quarter warning. "VA did report increasing demand for its consulting services and its Open Source Development Network, a Web OSDN site with news, programming projects and other resources."
Caldera latest Linux company to cut jobs (News.com). News.com reports on the layoffs at Caldera, as well as Stormix shuttering its doors. According to the report, Stormix reported on their web site the company "has suspended its operations and has gone into 'hibernation' mode. Since all of Stormix's employees are regrettably laid off, we can no longer offer support."
Google Defies Dot-com Downturn (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at Google's booming business. "While other e-businesses are cutting back, Google is increasing its infrastructure as fast as it can, doubling the size of its server farm in the last 10 months, to 8,000 systems." And Google runs Linux on all its servers.
SGI promotes CFO, boosts Linux effort (News.com). News.com has posted an article about SGI which covers the promotion of Hal Covert to President (he was once the CFO at Red Hat), and the release of the XFS filesystem. "SGI is banking on Linux for computers using Intel's upcoming Itanium chip, expected to be announced late this May, according to a source familiar with the plan. Part of the company's longer-term effort to accommodate the chip consequently relies on improving Linux in directions where SGI thinks it can do better than the competition."
Sun, IBM take server brawl to the streets (News.com). "Peace, Love and Linux" vs. "the dot in dot-com". This article looks at the rivalry between Sun and IBM. "Sun executives have derided the initiative at Big Blue, saying IBM is grasping at Linux the way it grasped at Windows for servers in earlier years. Sun believes its Solaris version of Unix is better and that IBM is distracted by having so many different operating systems to support."
Linux Training Pyramid Topples (Wired). A deeper look into the inner workings of LinuxGruven appears to be turning up unethical business practices, among other things. "In March, 2000, the Better Business Bureau opened a file on Linuxgruven. The Bureau's records indicate 'this company has an unsatisfactory business performance record with the Bureau, due to a lack of response to customer complaints that were brought to Linuxgruven's attention by the Bureau.'"
Trials and Tribulations
DeCSS code-crack dispute back in court (ZDNet). ZDNet covers the return of the DeCSS case to the US courts. "Other sites named in the suit caved and removed the code, leaving 2600 and its publisher as the only defendants in the case. After a lively trial featuring teen hackers, computer scientists and record executives, New York Federal District Judge Lewis Kaplan sided with the MPAA, ruling that 2600 could neither post nor link to the code.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is representing 2600, appealed the ruling in January 2001, calling it a blow to the First Amendment."
Hacker Mag Faces Tough Hearing (ZDNet). ZDNet is running a Reuters article on the first day in the DVD case appeal. "The movie industry had targeted as many as 500 individual sites in more than ten nations in late 1999 when DeCSS started to become freely available over the Internet -- as part of a bid to stifle the rise of this video equivalent of Napster."
Regardless of any particular feelings about Napster, descriptions of DeCSS as its "video equivalent" need to be challenged. There is not much equivalence there...
Studios Demand Internet Services Block Access to Pirated Movie Programs (Oregonian). According to this article in The Oregonian, the MPAA is now pressuring Internet service providers to shut down customers who are using Gnutella. "Gnutella doesn't rely on a central catalog. In fact, it's an open-source program, meaning that no one really owns or operates it. So controlling it isn't as easy. 'They are really trying to put the cat back in the bag,' said Lydia Pallas Loren, an associate law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School who specializes in cyberlaw."
The Market Channel That Makes Linux Go (Consulting Times). This Consulting Times article looks at how resellers help Linux. "Ron Herman's association has done what start-up Linux companies tried and failed. They provide the per-incident help desk support companies need to use Linux. They provide an association where small independent Linux companies can find resources to bid on jobs. They can help the independent Linux consultant win and keep business. Linux consultants wanting products to offer customers might do themselves a favor by looking at the products "the channel" provides." (Thanks to Tom Adelstein)
Microsoft issues bounty for OS-less PC buyers (Register). The Register looks at Microsoft's 'turn in your customers program'. "While stopping just short of claiming that anyone buying a PC without an OS is a de facto criminal, MS obviously reckons that doing so would be outré enough to qualify one for suspicion, or referral to a shrink."
For information on this program, which offers prizes to system resellers for telling Microsoft about orders for systems without operating systems, see this page.
Microsoft wants you... (ZDNet). Here's ZDNet's take on Microsoft's "turn in your customers" program. "Worried that your customers might take offense? Don't be, Microsoft reassures you. While you may have compromised your customer's privacy, your privacy will still be protected: 'Microsoft will not disclose your Company's identity as the source of the bid information.'"
Linux hype?. Dave Finton pointed out this pair of articles to us. 32BitsOnLine is carrying an article called Linux: A Story Of Hype, which says that Linux will not survive the release of Windows XP. "I don?t want our readership to get the wrong impression, but let?s face it, Linux will never replace Windows. There was a lot of hope that Linux would even make a mark in the enterprise. Unfortunately, I don?t see it happening. Large companies like the fact that Windows comes with Bill Gates. If I were the CIO of a large firm, I would sleep better knowing that I could shift blame to Bill Gates. Wouldn?t you? It?s nice to know that I can have access to Linux?s source code, but without someone to whom I can shift blame, I would not want my organization to have to suffer through the task of testing a, well, untested operating system. "
LinuxToday is running a response to this attempt to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). "Microsoft on the desktop has held its market share. Microsoft has let its server share slip dramatically. NT workstations have major competition from Linux, Sun Solaris, HP UX and AIX especially with GNU program support. Every major UNIX distribution has fresh ports of GNU distributions on their web sites."
Sony tests Linux on PlayStation 2 (ZDNet). ZDNet has posted an article on Sony's PlayStation 2 announcement. Sony will be releasing an official version of Linux to run on the PlayStation 2. "Users will receive a hard drive with built-in 10Mbit Ethernet socket that will plug into the console's PCMCIA slot, a mouse and a keyboard, as well as a PS2-compatible version of the popular open source operating system. The PS2 Linux Kit will cost the equivalent of about $200 and will go on sale in June 2001the Japanese market".
As previously mentioned, the PS2 Linux Kit will only be released to to the Japanese market. Initially, only a 1,000 copies of the kit will be manufactured; additional copies will be dependent on demand. Some have asked how Sony can restrict the Linux kit from becoming available outside Japan. Please note that the kit itself includes hardware components. Once the kit has been sold, the GPL'd portions of the code included can be redistributed, but that will not include the hardware and presumably any proprietary code shipped with the system in order to interface with the hardware.
Sony to release Linux for PS2 (News.com). News.com takes a look at the Sony PlayStation 2 Linux kit. "Sony selected Linux to help game developers simulate the PlayStation 2 so they could get a jump on creating games before the actual hardware was available."
IBM Unveils iServers That Allow Sub-CPU Partitions (TechWeb). TechWeb takes a look at IBM's new iServer series for Linux. "The new OS/400 V5R1 operating system can handle up to 32 partitions in a single system.
Some of those partitions can be Linux. Because of the operating system support, Linux applications written for an iSeries server can also be run on IBM's pSeries, formerly known as the RS/6000 servers, said [iSeries product marketing manager Ian] Jarman. The operating system includes a virtual I/O features which allows the same hard disks to be shared by OS/400 and Linux applications, allowing multiple virtual servers to be managed on a single iSeries, he said."
Update on teeny weeny Linux SBCs (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com presents a sampling of some "teeny weeny" embedded Single Board Computers that support embedded Linux. "A growing number of extremely small, yet highly integrated, single board computers (SBCs) make it increasingly easy to embed Linux in a wide range of applications, from handheld devices to embedded instruments."
Security: Not Just for SysAdmins (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal has reviewed Real World Linux Security by Bob Toxen. "I would highly recommend this book to any Linux SysAdmin (and user) interested in securing their Linux systems. From practical hands-on tips and techniques to detailed explanations of attacks and other Linux security issues, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in Linux security."
Heat is on Windows (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews Samba 2.2. "For basic file sharing and print sharing in a Windows client environment, Samba 2.2 offers plenty of reasons to look beyond Windows server operating systems in settings where Samba's lack of trust relationship and BDC (backup domain controller) support doesn't matter." (Thanks to Jeremy Allison).
Living Cheaply: SuSE 7.1 and USB on a Budget Box (SignalGround). The price performance on AMD's Duron processor inspired SignalGround to give it a try, using SuSE's latest version at the same time. Total cost of the test system: $474 (not including the $75 for SuSE 7.1). "If you're living on a budget -- and who among us isn't? -- you can still build yourself a powerful system for a very modest price. On top of that, you can't go wrong with SuSE 7.1. I was extremely impressed. Its hardware support is the best we've seen, and the whole package is put together well".
Commentary: Jxta usable, but for what? (News.com). C|Net says that while Sun's new Jxta offers promise, it is not clear what that promise is. "The problem--as with several of Sun's technologies, including JavaSpaces, Jini and those in the Sun Open Network Environment--is that the company has failed to develop and articulate a strategic vision of how the technology is to be implemented."
Ninth Annual International Python Conference (Linux Journal). Linux Journal covers the Python Conference held back in early March. "Last year, Guido used the code name "Python 3000" to refer to a mythical future version that would be perfect but not necessarily backward-compatible. Since then, the Python team has realized that a quantum leap is not necessary. All desired changes can be implemented gradually using the new warnings framework and the __future__ module to give users a transition period."
Penguin, 'Mad Dog' Visit Africa (Wired). Linux International Executive Director Jon "maddog" Hall will take open source to Africa this week, according to this Wired news story. "This is where the battles in the software industry will be held. Open-source advocates believe that when African governments start viewing a deeper usage of technology as a higher priority than it currently is, they will decide to ditch proprietary software in favor of open-source software."
Party like it's 999,999,999 (BBC). The BBC News covers the one billionth second (in Unix time). The 1,000,000,000 second since 0000 GMT 1 January, 1970 happens at 0146 GMT on 9 September, 2001. "Hans Schou, one of the members of the [Skåne Sjælland Linux User Group], said it is planning to combine the billion-second commemoration with a party celebrating 10 years of Linux - an operating system built around the heart of Unix." (Thanks to Andy Gibb)
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
May 3, 2001