On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Locking up the lock-pickers (Financial Times). Here is a Financial Times column about Dmitry Sklyarov. "It is easy to romanticise his case: the 26-year-old Mr Sklyarov (who looks like a Slavic version of Hugh Grant) seems genuinely baffled by his predicament. Seven short weeks ago, he left a young wife, toddler son and infant daughter in Moscow for an innocent jaunt to a software hacker convention in Las Vegas. Once in the land of the free, he was promptly arrested for thought-crimes."
Copyright in a Frictionless World (First Monday). This lengthy article examines copyright law, its origins and how it applies in the Internet age. "Another innovation of the Internet age has been the creation of new methods of research and development. These methods seek to harness the collective input of a number of skilled individuals (often on a volunteer basis) in return for those individuals, or the wider community, taking the benefit of that research and development. An early example of this was the work of the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman in the 1980s. From this movement grew others such as the GNU ("GNU's not Unix"), Linux and the Open Source movements. Under these arrangements individuals take on the responsibility to co-ordinate the coding of software by independent third party programmers." (Thanks to Karl Vogel)
Can't Linux do any better? (News.com). An editorial on C|Net's News.com says Linux shouldn't just duplicate old Microsoft tools and formats. "The redundancy in our software reaches the point of absurdity. How many word processing modules are on the average computer? WordPad, Notepad, Word, small ones in Excel, Access, and many other applications with many of the features such as copy, cut and paste repeated. I must have over a half a dozen photo-editing type programs loaded, some simply because they provide a single feature not available in another."
Linux Gains Respect (ZDNet). At LinuxWorld last week, Compaq's keynote speaker said Linux wasn't ready for the enterprise. But IBM said it is. "IBM, meanwhile, put the Securities Industry Automation Corporation on display as exhibit A for Linux's viability as a serious e-business platform. SIAC, which operates the computers and communications networks of both the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange, is running a key customer application under Linux on an IBM zSeries mainframe."
Brazil opposition slams 'arrogant' Microsoft. Brazil's government has a mandate to get computers into their schools, but their choice of Windows as the operating system is meeting stiff resistance. "PT Congress leader Walter Pinheiro, who sought the cancellation of the tender after the choice of Windows, slammed Microsoft this week after the software giant issued a statement in Brazil criticizing its competitors."
A Healthy, Helpful Epidemic (Linux Journal). Linux Journal says that XP and Microsoft licensing may be good things, at least for Linux. "Another data point was from El Salvador. There used to be two Linux users registered with the Linux Counter. Microsoft did a license crack-down and the number jumped to 141."
Preemptible Linux -- a reality check (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com is running a guest editorial by MontaVista's Kevin Morgan on preemptable kernel technology for Linux. "Some oppose a preemptible kernel because of throughput concerns. Others oppose preemptibility because of concerns about growing complexity in the kernel. This argument is specious, because the preemption approach takes advantage of already required and in place SMP locking. No additional complexity is created."
Caldera faces losses, delisting, layoffs (News.com). Caldera's future looks bleak, based on their recent quarterly filings, according to this C|Net report. "In the third quarter ended July 31, Caldera had $18.9 million in revenue. In the fourth quarter, the company expects revenue of $15 million to $20 million and an operating loss of $20 million to $24 million, including restructuring charges."
Open-source database company closes (News.com). C|Net reports that Great Bridge is working with Red Hat and other companies to help find positions for the staff let go today. ``In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to sell the company to Red Hat, Batten said. Red Hat this spring offered a "modest price, but it would have been better to have sold the company for something rather than nothing," Batten said.''
HP + Compaq: Server powerhouse (ZDNet). While Wall Street seems dismayed at the pairing, this ZDNet article says the Compaq + HP alliance is a big win for Linux. "Linux, though, will be the real winner. Both companies have strong Linux commitments that will grow even stronger. Red Hat and Caldera, both of which have strong relationships with Compaq, should do the best here. That is, if Compaq, as rumor has it, doesn't buy a Linux company between now and the merger. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on seeing Linux as a standard offering across the hardware line (except for the Himalayas) within the next year."
Embedded Linux powers new set-top Internet Appliance (LinuxDevices). Here's a look at a new Internet appliance based on National's Geode "set-top box on a chip", developed by Japan Computer Corporation. '"JCC pioneered the Internet Appliance market in Japan, introducing the world's first product in the new category in 1996," said Takatoshi Ishii, president of JCC. "By integrating National's [chip-level Internet Appliance] solution and Linux operating system into our new Internet Appliance, we are able to find new customers for our device in market segments like educational and medical institutions and local government offices, in addition to home markets." Another key feature of the new device is its built-in broadband (Ethernet) interface which enables users to surf the Web much faster than with telephone lines.'
Red Hat To Make India A Primary Business Base (NewsBytes). Red Hat is planning on moving its operations in the Philippines, U.K., Australia and Japan to a facility in India in mid-2002. This move will make India the only software development and support center outside of the U.S. for Red Hat.
Red Hat chooses RTLinux for real-time Linux technology (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices reports on the announcement that Red Hat will use FSMLabs' RTLinux for its hard real time embedded offering. "Since there has been considerable ongoing controversy over which approach is superior, Red Hat's endorsement of the dual-kernel RTLinux approach is certain to spark a lively renewed debate."
Linux smartphone heads for Europe (Register). Samsung's Linux smartphone is expected early next year in the U.S. following its European launch later this year, accodring to a report in the Register. "We know that Nokia has invested in Linux, and not just because of the Finnish connection, but strictly for set top boxes and webpads, and Nokia hasn't gone as far as committing to launching real retail product. In fact almost every European consumer device manufacturer has flirted with Linux."
Could Linux Be Too Open for Our Own Good? (ITWorld). ITWorld has taken a look at the NSA's secure distribution. "That's sort of what I was feeling when I first saw that the National Security Agency was releasing a secured version of Linux 2.2 into the 'open source' community, along with the background on the testing models it used for verification. It was just too weird to be happening. The people behind the triple fence in Fort Meade, Md. giving out something?" (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
Introduction to Bonobo: Bonobo & ORBit (IBM developerWorks). Michael Meeks, Component software engineer, at Ximian Inc., begins a series of articles examining Bonobo in detail. "Using Bonobo also solves one of the tricky problems in Free Software that is also one of its strengths: diversity. Often in the Free world (and in the non-Free world as well, for that matter), people cease maintaining projects due to time pressure, and replacements are rewritten from scratch. Or again, competing projects, such as CD player applications, arise. Allowing these applications to share the same Bonobo interfaces makes it easy to provide functional replacements, and tracing the entry points allows you to better understand an old application."
The Truth Behind the Great Server Heist (Consulting Times). Consulting times talks with Jimmy Lee, Director of Professional Services for Equant, to find out how much of IBM's new commercial using Linux on their zSeries mainframes might be realistic. "Now look what happens to the costs. The Exchange/Intel solution, again, is $ 8.65 per user per month. The Linux groupware solution now comes out to a mere $ 2.02 (compared to the original estimate of $16.73). Pretty compelling math! The IFL solution can be fully justified wherever you have comparable PC vs. mainframe applications." You have to read all the way through to see how Linux scales more cheaply than the MS Exchange option in this article - the initial numbers look bad for Linux if you stop reading too early.
What's Linux without Microsoft? (CNN). Linux couldn't exist without Microsoft having driven the movement, according to some open source advocates at LinuxWorld quoted in this CNN report. "Augustin and Hohndel joined other open source leaders in a panel debate at the conference, which turned into a discussion of how open source and proprietary software will coexist in the future. Linux creator Linus Torvalds emerged as the most vocal antagonist to the theory that Microsoft and open source will continue to exist as polar opposites."
WinXP: an OS for Linux lovers (ZDNet). ZDNet has posted an opinion piece stating that XP makes Windows as bad as Linux, and in the process gives users a reason to try Linux instead. "I've always maintained that for Linux to become as popular as Windows, someone needs to talk Microsoft into developing a version of its desktop operating system that's as freaky as Linux. When that happens, Windows will drop in popularity to the same level as Linux and the two will finally be on equal footing. By going in a direction that's extremely opposite to Linux (closed source?), Microsoft seems to be headed toward doing just that."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
September 13, 2001