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Computing Made Good, Easy (Wired). Users seldom use computers efficiently, opting instead to stick with the method that first worked even if another method improves speed, according to this Wired article describing how the "Good Easy" environment uses concepts Unix users have known for years. "This system is tied together by a culture that, like Unix, keeps technology simple and understands how to use programs together. You either delete an e-mail or pipe it through the text editor to strip out the line breaks and save it as plain text on the hard disk. In fact, anything that can be kept in plain text is -- so no more Excel address books with long lists of phone numbers. Keeping all your data, including e-mail messages, in plain text makes searching quicker and easier because users don't need to run searches in multiple locations. If users find themselves repeating an action, it can be easily automated." (Thanks to Robert George Mayer)
Geeks Gather to Back Crypto (Wired). Wired reports on one groups efforts to help keep congress from enacting legislation in response to last week's attacks that they feel may threaten civil liberties. "Carlson plans to post details, including a draft don't-ban-crypto-letter, to a newly created Working Group on Privacy and Civil Rights website."
Hollywood Loves Hollings' Bill (Wired). Wired quotes a Disney VP saying that the proposed SSSCA bill is a reasonable compromise that will spur high-speed Internet access and boost hardware sales. "A person close to the Senate Commerce committee said that discussions with industry groups over the past few weeks will continue and that the final bill could change. The source said, however, that "not much" has been rewritten since the Aug. 6 draft obtained by Wired News."
Open Letter to Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company (Linux Journal). This editorial looks at the SSSCA and how passing a law like that would effect the usefulness of the Internet during times of crisis. "The SSSCA is all the more dangerous because we're a big country. I would love to be able to say that even without the Internet, our independent radio stations, local newspapers and town meetings would get our communicating done. I would love to be able to say that many voices in all media brought us news, personal appeals, debate."
Virtual talk (San Diego Union-Tribue). The use of artificial intelligence as chatting `bots', according to a San Diego Union-Tribune report, is creating for some lonesome souls an unsettling feeling of false comfort. "The program merely simulates conversation by identifying key words and searching its database for an appropriate response. Alice can string together several sentences, refer to something discussed previously and even personalize the reply with the user's name, giving the illusion of a heartfelt response. Still, Alice tends to repeat comments, a trait that Wallace said is not unlike humans."
Enforcing the GNU GPL (LinuxDevices). Eben Moglen, General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation, describes why the GPL is legally sound in an editorial posted to LinuxDevices.com. "This right to exclude implies an equally large power to license -- that is, to grant permission to do what would otherwise be forbidden. Licenses are not contracts: the work's user is obliged to remain within the bounds of the license not because she voluntarily promised, but because she doesn't have any right to act at all except as the license permits."
It's a Dirty Job, but Does Anyone Have to Do It? (Linux Journal). Napster may be dead, but Napster clones are very popular. This Linux Journal article examines the issues between the recording industry and open source Napster clones. "But it does seem that the fantasy view of unlimited free music, and both listeners and artists getting everything they want, may be a little naive (for alternative "fantasies" see Doc Searl's Linux for Suits in the October 2000 issue of Linux Journal). Perhaps not unlike the view prevalent among the Open Source community before reality set in--that open-source software would save the world, and the artists could still make money. "
Hard times for Linux biz (Register). The Register covers Caldera's and Lineo's recent woes. "Last week Caldera announced in a SEC filing a consolidation of their stock, in other words a reverse split with a 1:6 ratio. Caldera's hand has been forced by the stock trading well below the $1 required to justify a NASDAQ listing."
Bankruptcy, more layoffs in Linux world (News.com). News.com examines Lineo's layoffs and EBiz's chapter 11 filing. "Lineo had hoped for an initial public offering but canceled its plans at the start of the year. In August, the Lindon, Utah-based company secured $20 million in funding to continue its effort to compete with better-established embedded operating system companies such as Wind River Systems."
Key programmer among Caldera job cuts (News.com). Set to be detailed on Monday, Caldera's next round of layoffs will include 51 employees from across all departments and will leave the company with 618 employees. "Caldera spokeswoman Tania Cantrell confirmed Thursday that Kienhoefer was among those to have lost a job. But she added that the LKP software remains "a fundamental element of our entire product and platform design." The company still has several key individuals working on the project, she said."
Fujitsu opens up Linux-based humanoid robot (ZDNet UK). Fujitsu is planning on releasing details on the architecture of their Linux-based humanoid robot this coming Tuesday. "Engineers from Fujitsu Laboratories will disclose the internal architecture of Hoap-1 at a meeting of the Robotics Society of Japan, which will be held at Tokyo University. By revealing some of the secrets of the robot, the scientists hope to encourage users to write original programs for it." (Thanks to Richard Storey)
IBM gains in shrinking server market (News.com). C|Net reports on IBM's growth both in the overall server market and it's gains in Linux workstations. "In the Linux server market, Compaq is the leader, with $119 million in sales for the quarter--a 14.4 percent decrease from the $139 million in the year-ago quarter. No. 2 Dell increased 33.9 percent from $59 million to $79 million, while No. 3 IBM increased the most, 39.5 percent from $43 million to $60 million, IDC said."
IBM maps out database sales campaign (Register). Marc Dupaquier, IBM's worldwide VP for data management solutions sales talks with IT-Analysis about his company's database thrust, and says Linux is much bigger outside the U.S. than inside. "In Europe I could not name one major manufacturer that does not have a Linux project or live installation. Linux is huge. To be honest though, it's not quite so popular in the US. I don't know why. But for some reason the US seems to be more reluctant to go with Linux. Perhaps this is because Sun is so big or Microsoft so popular."
Business To Business: Licensing Liability (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at software licensing. "UCITA (Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act) makes software licensing really troublesome. But it's not about legislation or liability. Network managers need to consider licensing's burdens. What is the overhead associated with using reasonably licensed software versus unreasonably licensed software?"
Product Review: NuSphere MySQL (Linux Journal). Linux Journal reviews NuSphere MySQL. "Why should you buy such a package when your favorite Linux distribution probably comes with most, if not all, of this software? The fun comes in getting all the pieces to work together. I've set up Apache/MySQL/PHP on several machines, including Solaris, from source. It's not hard, but it does take a little time, and I can't count the number of requests for help I've seen on the various lists for getting PHP working with Apache or for getting MySQL set up and usable. "
PHP-Nuke radiates power (ZDNet). eWeek's evaluation tests of corporate portals used PHP-Nuke for their own portal, according to their report on the setup. "One of the strongest points of PHP-Nuke is its excellent administration interface, which is as good or better than some found in corporate portals costing six figures. From this interface, we could easily add content, customize the look and feel of the portal, and manage users."
NetMAX sidesteps VPN security scares (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews NetMAX, a VPN server package built on top of Red Hat Linux. "Making remote connections to our network was a breeze. Once connected, we were able to log in to the Windows NT domain and access directories and resources on our network. Performance was acceptable but, because our dial-up connections were limited to 56Kbps, accessing large files across the link was time consuming. Except for the speed, our test systems operated as if they were directly connected to our internal network."
COMPUEXPO in Costa Rica (Linux Journal). Here's a look at COMPUEXPO, a computer trade show in Costa Rica. "In Costa Rica, RACSA is the government monopoly that provides connection services. They had a great booth and were up for this crowd. I got excited by the new term they had plastered on the walls: "RACSA-sat". I asked what that meant, as I live out in a small pueblo and connection is by undependable phone line. Visions of a new satellite dish on my roof popped into my head. The man said that, yes, satellite connection existed, and I could call their office as he didn't really know much about it. I did, later, and found out that for $1,000 down and $500 per month, I could be right up there with the big boys. "
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
September 20, 2001