On the Desktop
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How many ways canst thou measure Linux shipments? (The Register). The Register presents an analysis of the methods used to measure shipments vs. usage in the Linux world. "IDC has been rigorous about disregarding unused copies, such as magazine cover mounts, CDs that get bundled with network cards, and the like. IDC is also not counting some full shipments that aren't really being used as full shipments: for example, when it's being used to update a specific library." (Thanks to Dave Killick)
Mac creators tackle Jobs, Mac OS X (ZDNet). Applauding and criticizing at the same time both Steve Jobs and the new OS X, the team that built the original Mac says Apple can't ignore open source any longer. "Apple needs to pay more than lip service to open-source development," Hertzfeld said, if the company is to grow and woo new developers."
BOFH and the Linux Evangelist (Register). The Register treats us to another chapter in the ongoing Bastard Operator From Hell saga. "A couple of years back the chances of seeing Unix on a user's desktop machine was about as likely as seeing a Manager at the bar with his wallet open. But in recent months, thanks to the evangelism of a geeky type from R&D a number of people are converting from the Windows Dark Side to Linux. And I'm not a happy man."
Caldera drops license bombshell (Register). Caldera has added a per-user license for it's latest product offerings. according to this report from The Register.
Open source leaders duke it out (ZDNet). Caldera's Ransom Love responds to criticism from Richard Stallman. "Love said he is deadly serious in developing Linux to become the main business-platform. 'From the technical view this is a major challenge. I hold a lot respect for all these Linux companies and their work. They are no parasites, either.'"
Compaq Makes Play for Sun Base with Linux (LinuxGram). Compaq's attempt to use Linux to grab Sun developers with their STL porting tools marks another thrust by Big Q to do battle with Sun while holding its own against IBM. "Winkler couldn't resist making a crack about Compaq really doing Linux work as opposed to companies spending their time and energies painting penguins on sidewalks, alluding to an ill-conceived marketing ploy that got IBM in Dutch with the authorities."
Microsoft: Audit, Or There's Gonna Be Trouble (ExtremeTech). Here's an article in ExtremeTech demonstrating just how fun proprietary software can be. "In its continuing jihad against software piracy, Microsoft Corp.'s legal department has sent letters to corporate customers demanding they conduct internal audits of their software licenses and submit their findings within 30 days to the software giant. The letter, using language no less intimidating than the Internal Revenue Service might use, also includes a form that spells out the audit process. Customers must report the number of installs, documented licenses, license upgrades and unlicensed software." Apparently some 5,000 businesses have received this letter.
MS lawyers join open-source fray (ZDNet). Microsoft lawyers join the battle against open source software, writing licenses that prohibit using "potentially viral software" with MS code. "In describing this category of software, Microsoft includes the most common licenses used for publishing open-source software, such as the Linux operating system. Licenses specifically excluded by Microsoft include the General Public License, the Lesser General Public License, the Mozilla Public License and the Sun Industry Standards License."
Open source terror stalks Microsoft's lawyers (Register). The Register examines, and laughs just a bit, at Microsoft's Mobile Internet Toolkit license. "One almost begins to believe that there is some nightmare security hole in previous issues of Microsoft's development tools licence agreements. Could it be that Microsoft has carelessly conferred some kind of power of attorney or similar on its developers, thus actually giving them some kind of authority that might be construed as allowing them to open source Microsoft's IP?"
.Net to support Linux? (ZDNet). Independent research shows Microsoft may be preparing to release versions of the Visual Studio .Net software for non-MS platforms, including Linux. "'I found a list of the target operating systems to be supported in .Net in that beta. The list includes Linux (kbLinux), Unix (kbUnix), Macintosh (kbMacintosh), Windows and Windows CE,' said Rob Scoble, an editor at Fawcette Technical Publications."
MS masters NC mind-set (InfoWorld). Nicholas Petreley warns about .NET and Microsoft's plans for world domination. "If Microsoft controls the management of user data and user authentication, it controls the flow of the services others can provide. It's the Windows desktop all over again, business-wise. You can't compete with Microsoft without first making a deal with Microsoft over something as basic as where your customer's data is stored and how one must access it." (Thanks to Scott Weikart).
Those interested in a more detailed look at Microsoft's plans may want to read Clay Shirky's OpenP2P article from a few weeks ago. If you believe this vision of the future, little things like dominance of the desktop no longer matter. Worth some thought.
Red Hat follows Microsoft with server move (News.com). C|Net's News.com reports on Red Hat's move into the database world. "Red Hat may be small compared with Oracle and Microsoft, but it's an 800-pound gorilla compared with its open-source software competition. Companies that likely will feel the pressure of Red Hat's arrival in the database market include Progress Software subsidiary NuSphere, AbriaSoft, IBPhoenix and Great Bridge."
Red Hat sought help in database plan (News.com). Red Hat has plenty of competition in the database arena, according to this C|Net article. "One major difference separates Red Hat from the likes of NuSphere, Great Bridge and Oracle, though. Like Microsoft, Red Hat has an operating system business to protect. The other companies' database products run on numerous operating systems, including Sun Microsystems' Solaris, the various versions of BSD Unix and in some cases Windows."
Red Hat database ready to roll (ZDNet). ZDNet looks deeper into Red Hat's upcoming PostgreSQL based database product. "The Red Hat Database, as it is likely to be called, is based on PostgreSQL 7.1. Included in the package will be Red Hat Installer, which will aid users in quickly installing the database, robust transaction support and advanced locking capabilities. It will comply with SQL92, ODBC and JDBC APIs."
Ellison's NIC Co. to team with Sun (News.com). Larry Ellison wants to push his NIC with Sun's Cobalt Qube to get schools low cost Internet connectivity. "The NIC Co. will market Sun's Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance together with the $199 New Internet Computer as a low-cost way for schools to get students onto the Internet. Both the Qube and the New Internet Computer use variants of the Linux operating system."
Linux makes the move to China (ZDNet). German embedded Linux startup Tuxia is entering the Chinese market for Internet appliances. "Tuxia is to co-develop Linux-based gadgets like thin client terminals, set top boxes, PDAs and Web pads with Beijing Orient Electronics Group, a large manufacturer of electronics components and displays."
HP gets funky with Digital Entertainment Center (CNN). CNN reports on HP's new Digital Entertainment Center, the Linux-based music center for home consumers. "At the heart of the system: the capability to record and play MP3 and Real Audio music files. You can compile the collection from downloads, move them from your PC via a HomePNA network connection, and gather tunes from your standard audio CDs."
Rogers tests complex home system (globetechnology.com). Canadian cable company Rogers Cable is rolling out a Linux-based home networking system for delivery of TV, the Internet and phone services. "The service, delivered via a box running the Linux operating system, is called Triple Play. It combines TV sets, personal computers, stereo systems, laptop computers and telephones in a technology that Rogers says is faster than Microsoft's WebTV. " (Thanks to Michael Walma)
O! Canada Gets Fast Interactive (Wired). Wired looks at the Rogers Cable plan for Linux-based cable systems. "If this thing works, if this gets off the ground, then the whole interactive TV thing is just going to be mothballed," John Grandy, an industry analyst with Yorkton Securities in Toronto, told the Star.
Profit from programming practices (InfoWorld). A comparison of open source and extreme programming (known as XP) methodologies for code development are examined from an IT perspective in this article from InfoWorld. "Open Source developers, although highly communicative and tightly focused on rapid release cycles, seldom meet or see one another while working on code together. The Open Source development methodology leverages Web-based tools and communication techniques to support collective code development. Freed from location-based constraints, Open Source developers around the world work jointly on code, and oftentimes many more sets of eyes are examining the same code than the two sets of eyes defined by XP's pair programming." (Thanks to Dan York)
A little respect: Red Hat in black (ZDNet). eWeek says Red Hat's recent profit showing will take it to new regions far afield from its "Linux-in-a-box" roots. "For the first part of its equation to pay off, however, Red Hat must find a way to stimulate growth for Red Hat Network, which has not lived up to expectations."
SEC pores over pro forma (News.com). Here's a News.com article on how companies spin their financial data. "Take Red Hat, for instance. The Linux company reported first-quarter results Tuesday in a press release titled 'Red Hat Achieves Positive Cash Flows From Operations and Shows a Profit for the First Time in First Quarter.' But further down in the press release, the company revealed that 'on a reported basis,' it had a net loss of $27.6 million, or 16 cents per share."
The OpenSSL Project's New Engine (Linux Journal). Linux Journal explores using a cryptographic hardware token with Linux. "The engine implementation dynamically links with a hardware token's library at run time. The user specifies the engine type on the command line, and this loads the necessary library from a structure and links the needed token-specific functions. The "-engine" option to OpenSSL allows the end-user to specify the type of token to use."
Book Review: Python Standard Library (Linux Journal). Linux Journal reviews O'Reilly's Python Standard Library.
Software review: Engarde Secure Linux (NewsForge). NewsForge reviews Engarde Secure Linux. "With minimal system access allowed and every precaution taken, Engarde Secure Linux just might be the best distribution for Web/mail servers yet. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other distributions or operating systems, but it would seem that, unlike other companies that market server OSes, Guardian Digital does not think Pinball is an appropriate application for a server."
Bootstrapping the YOPY PDA (O'Reilly). This final installment from O'Reilly of a three part series on Linux PDAs covers the G.Mate YOPY. "Once I actually tried to use the applications for personal information management (PIM) functions, I discovered that there were many bugs with the individual applications and the window/app management itself. For example, while you can always launch a new application, there's no way to switch between running apps."
Death of a Palm (O'Reilly). This bit of humor about the loss of a Palm in a tragic suicide (or so it seems) comes from O'Reilly. "I screamed, as I scooped it up and turned it over. My worst fears were realized: Paw's display was smashed -- the touch screen blinded to input. My Palm was dead; it had committed suicide! (The fact I had had three beers at the time had nothing to do with it; that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)"
Anche Linux finisce in tribunale (La Repubblica). Here is a strange article (in Italian) in La Repubblica; the title translates to "Linux, too, ends up in court." Editor's translation: "The entire open source community, for example, is now asking itself if development of the Linux system might not suffer from Torvalds' power, given that 'his' system drives all development strategies, which functions to integrate and which to leave out." English translation is available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Paolo Bizzarri).
Linux in Possible Crisis; IBM, NEC, Two Others to Form Promotion Group (AsiaBizTech). More FUD is to be found in this AsiaBizTech article, which warns that corporate takeover of Linux is inevitable due to Linus' relaxed attitudes. "Also, the casual attitude of Torvald [sic], which doesn't meet the needs o f the market and minds of investors, is one of the reasons that investors have rapidly lost interest in Linux distributors and Linux-related businesses."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
June 28, 2001