On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Linux laps up more of the server software market (USA Today). The mainstream press looks at Linux. USA Today summarizes much of what has been happening lately with respect to market shares and Microsoft attacks. "Inconsequential 3 years ago, the crash-resistant Linux today accounts for 10% to 27% of server software shipments, surveys show. Researcher IDC pegs Linux as the fastest-growing server software 2 years running, complicating Microsoft's hope to dominate servers as it does PC operating systems."
Beware of wolves in agnostic's clothing (AnchorDeskUK). Bruce Perens responds to a recent pro-Microsoft, anti-Linux AnchorDesk editorial. "The concept of a commons has always been an essential feature of capitalism, especially for infrastructure like public roads. Open source puts software in the commons, a natural place for infrastructure, but Jack doesn't think that will work."
License to FUD (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch examines the real and perceived differences in licenses, most notably the GPL and BSD licenses. "The BSD philosophy seems to hold that creating and giving away code, then seeing it used by others, is victory and reward enough. But most of the GPL supporters disapproved of allowing "others" to close off source code and hide enhancements."
Whitepaper: Linux's Future in the Embedded Market (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com has a white paper on the future of Linux in the embedded market. "The overall embedded market is undergoing a major transformation both in design and functionality. Networking technologies are becoming increasingly more important for embedded developers. Driven by the proliferation of the Internet and the increasing ubiquity of embedded computer systems, devices that can communicate with other devices are becoming dominant in the embedded market."
Embedded Linux set for European push (ZDNet). The ELC plans to extend its reach in Europe, including the addition of a new European Ambassador to help market embedded Linux in that marketplace. "ELC-Europe is a new body whose purpose is to "accelerate the ELC's European presence via promotion, marketing and standardization-related activities". The ELC plans to open an office in Belgium, Holland or Luxembourg soon."
Embedded Linux: strong growth, European chapter. According to a LinuxDevices report, Venture Development Capital expects strong growth for the embedded Linux marketplace over the next 4 years. Additionally, LinuxDevices reports on a new European chapter of the Embedded Linux Consortium.
Microsoft vs Linux
Gates wades into open-source debate (News.com). Bill Gates is interviewed by C|Net and talks about how Microsoft uses open source software and how the company feels about the GPL. "The GPL, he continued, 'breaks that cycle--that is, it makes it impossible for a commercial company to use any of that work or build on any of that work. So what you saw with TCP/IP or Sendmail or the browser could never happen.'"
GPL Pacman will eat your business, warns Gates (Register). Here's The Register's take on the latest wisdom from Bill Gates. "Think hard about that one - it's a little thing that runs around gobbling up everything it comes across, like alternative GUIs for Dos, disk compression, independent TCP/IP stacks, the browser market, email clients, instant messaging, digital audio and CD burning... No wait, that's something else entirely. What Bill really means is that the GPL is the Borg/bodysnatcher de nos jours, tainting everything it comes into contact with and assimilating it to The Hive." (Thanks to David Killick).
Microsoft Uses Open-Source Code (Wall Street Journal). The Wall Street Journal reports that FreeBSD developers have verified that Microsoft is not only still using FreeBSD over at Hotmail, but also within the Redmond giant's own operating systems. "Software connected with the FreeBSD open-source operating system is used in several places deep inside several versions of Microsoft's Windows software, such as in the "TCP/IP" section that arranges all connections to the Internet."
Why Microsoft is wary of open source (News.com). More fallout from the Microsoft attacks on Linux, including more market numbers, for what ever they might be worth. At least this time they're from IDC, which sees Linux as having gained a larger piece of the pie. "While Linux hasn't displaced Windows, it has made serious inroads. Linux accounted for 27 percent of new worldwide operating-system licenses in 2000, and Microsoft captured 41 percent of new licenses, according to IDC. Overall, Gartner estimates Linux runs on nearly 9 percent of U.S. servers, with worldwide projected sales of nearly $2.5 billion, reaching about $9 billion in 2005."
Opening closed minds to open source (ZDNet). This ZDNet article by Richard French, senior vice president and general manager of the Open Source Development Network, rebuts some Microsoft FUD. "Let's be clear. It's Microsoft that diagnosed Linux as a supposed "cancer" and polarized the debate to begin with. So I'm here to offer a second opinion: Contrary to Dr. Ballmer's misinformed prognosis, the weight of evidence shows that Linux, and open source software in general, can in fact co-exist with proprietary software."
Microsoft before the earthquake (LinuxUser). A recent document from Microsoft describing their perceived dangers of the GPL (in .doc format) has started to rile the masses once more. This time, LinuxUser presents an analysis and rebuttal to this latest bit of Microsoft FUD. "Of course, including a few lines of Microsoft source code in your commercial product would have a dramatic effect on your legal obligations, too: you'd soon be looking at a Microsoft lawsuit for trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement. We almost always let you do things they absolutely prohibit. That's why we must be wrong."
The campaign against Linux is uphill battle for Microsoft (Wall St. Journal/MSNBC). Recent attacks on Linux may be backfiring for Microsoft, according to this Wall Street Journal piece. "Many of the nation's biggest companies, including International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp., regularly release proprietary programs that work with Linux, and TiVo Inc. built its TiVo digital video recorder on top of Linux. What's more, some other open-source software, such as FreeBSD and Apache, are distributed under an entirely different license than Linux, and have virtually no restrictions on them at all."
Microsoft is not the enemy (ZDNet). Here's a ZDNet article that cautions Linux advocates against lashing out at Microsoft. "While a lot of Linux and free software creators are probably just motivated to write good code, I think others really hope to free the computing industry and all computer users from the kind of bullying and domination that Microsoft has exemplified. They seek to do this not by turning the tables on Microsoft and themselves dominating the industry and the users. That's absurd--you can't dominate anything by letting people take stuff for free. Rather, they seek to provide for those who can't afford or just don't want to buy from a domineering company."
Red Hat to play in Oracle's arena (News.com). Red Hat announced plans to roll out a new database product next week to continue their moves into the enterprise market. "Szulik said the product will continue Red Hat's support for open-source software--code developed collaboratively by programmers who freely share the underlying source code, without many of the restrictions of proprietary software such as that from Microsoft or Oracle. The database also will fit into Red Hat's plan for selling subscriptions to the company's software management services."
IBM Banks on Austin, Texas, Center to Build Customer Base for Linux System. IBM's Linux Technology Center and other Austin, TX based open source companies are profiled in this story from the Austin American Statesman. "One Austin startup that's hoping to get in on the application side is Gnumatic Inc., which is developing desktop financial management software. Founder and Chief Executive Linas Vesptas anticipates eventually selling the product, Gnucash, on a CD-ROM, accompanied by the proper documentation -- just like its Windows equivalents, programs such as Quicken and Microsoft Money."
Winnebago Running Linux Mail on Mainframe (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at Winnebago's use of Linux on an IBM mainframe. "Winnebago installed Linux on the mainframe in the fall. The company uses the Linux installation for Web serving, an intranet, Samba for file serving and printing, DNS and ftp serving. The advantage to running Linux on the mainframe is that Winnebago already had the mainframe; the company did not need to bring in and maintain another server."
End of an affair? (Salon). Salon reports on the strong relationship between hackers and TiVo and how Andrew Tridgell's unreleased ethernet hacks for the device spurred alternative projects, and then wonders if the relationship hackers have had with the company will end now that the Napster-like hack for the TV recorder is making the rounds. "The Alviso, Calif., company has worked extremely hard to cultivate the geek community. So hard, in fact, that previous to the release of ExtractStream, another hacker who had created his own version of the software declined to release his hack to the general public after discussing it with TiVo. Why? Simply put, says open-source-software programmer Andrew Tridgell, "because TiVo is doing a damn good job." (Thanks to Paul R Hewitt)
Compaq adds stability to Linux armor (News.com). Compaq has announced clustering software for Linux that was previously available for their Tru64 version of Unix and Caldera International's UnixWare. "Compaq's clustering technology will be released under a license similar to the General Public License that covers Linux, said Gary Campbell, president and chief technology officer of Compaq's Enterprise Server group. The company is working with Linux sellers--including Red Hat, SuSE and Turbolinux--to encourage adoption of the software."
Compaq ramps up enterprise Linux efforts (ZDNet). Compaq is said to be irritated that IBM is being portrayed as the leader in big business support for open source software, according to this ZDNet report. "[Compaq's executive vice president in charge of its global business units Mike] Winkler countered that Compaq has invested in the open-source community for 10 years and was among the earliest proponents of Linux."
Netscape Denies Browser Escape (Wired). Wired test drives Netscape 6 and finds it better, but not great, and the company has more to lose by shipping a buggy version than a late one. "Page loads are notably faster, and the page comes up all at once, as opposed to Netscape 4.x or Internet Explorer 5.5, which tend to load the page in pieces -- first the HTML, then small graphics, then the fatter content. With Netscape 6.1, the whole page pops up at once, and often very quickly."
Networks promise unfettered file swapping (News.com). According to this C|Net News.com report, FreeNet has hired one of their own to finish a new release. "The largely volunteer effort has hired a paid staffer, Swedish student Oskar Sandberg, who will get $2500 for two months of work, using funds from an online donation pool. Developers hope that allowing one of their members to work full time on the project will help the completion of a new release, the first in almost a year, that finally will make Freenet faster and easier to use."
Which OS is Fastest for High-Performance Network Applications? (SysAdminMag). SysAdmin magazine is running this article comparing Linux, Solaris (for Intel), FreeBSD, and Windows 2000 to determine which operating system (OS) runs high-performance network applications the fastest. "We found that the software application's architecture determines speed results much more than the operating system on which it runs. Our benchmarks demonstrate a 12x performance difference between process-based and asynchronous task architectures. Significantly, we found up to a 75% overall performance difference between OSes when using the most efficient asynchronous architecture. We found Linux to be the best performing operating system based on our metrics, performing 35% better than Solaris, which came in second, followed by Windows, and finally, FreeBSD." (Thanks to Michael Greminger)
Smart coding pays off big (ZDNet). Red Hat + Apache 2 years ago provided 1,842 requests per second. Fast forward today and, with tuned upgrades of both packages, Red Hat + Apache reaches 4,602 Web requests per second. "Despite having a tougher workload and fewer overall CPU megahertz available, Apache on Linux showed a huge 2.5 factor speedup in just two years of development time. Some of these performance changes were in Apache, but many were in the Linux kernel itself."
Tux: Built for speed (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews Red Hat Inc.'s Tux 2.0 Web server. "The fact that Tux 2.0 was also significantly faster than Windows 2000's Internet Information Server 5.0 Web server (5,137 requests per second) clearly shows the advantages of Tux's new design over that of a well-established Web server. The next version of IIS (which ships with Microsoft Corp.'s Whistler project) uses several ideas introduced by Tux, including the kernel-space design."
A talk with Paul Leroux (FreeOS.com). This interview with Paul Leroux examines the philosophy and people behind QNX, the reason the project went open source and compares QNX with Linux. "While they share programming interfaces, QNX is inherently realtime, whereas Linux is a general-purpose OS. QNX has a microkernel architecture (i.e. drivers, protocols, and file systems are dynamically upgradable, memory-protected processes), whereas Linux follows a far more traditional "monolithic" kernel architecture."
Applications over Freenet: a Decentralized, Anonymous Gaming API? (Linux Journal). Linux Journal is carrying an article on writing a simple gaming API over Freenet. "There are four different APIs exposed via XML-RPC in the Freenet reference implementation. The Util API supplies utility methods for determining the version of your node and other sundry items that don't concern us. The Simple API provides a one-line method call to insert and request files but is not designed to handle big files. The Chunked API allows for chunked retrieval of large files. The Streaming API allows for efficient streaming retrieval of data."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
June 21, 2001