Linux in the news
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How Linux saved Amazon millions (News.com). A migration to a Linux-based technology platform has saved Amazon.com millions of dollars, according to the company's recent SEC filing. "Amazon's disclosure could provide hard data for Linux proponents who have long argued that the open-source software can save corporations money over the Microsoft alternative. A Microsoft representative, however, warned that short-term savings seen by Amazon could turn into a long-term increase in costs."
LinuxUser issue 15 - Smooth iron. LinuxUser is running an article, Smooth Iron, about Telia Net's move to Linux on a mainframe. Ten months later they find it saves big money. "Reliability was also important to Telia Net when searching for a replacement solution - any downtime on its hosting system meant a loss not only of money but also of reputation. 'We asked a lot of vendors, one of which was of course IBM, how to consolidate all of this, how to bring out the flexibility of Linux but with the very stable production platform underneath,' says Henrik Wulff Riedl, CFO of Telia Net. 'So that's why we came out of the discussions with IBM and decided to go with Linux running on the mainframe.'"
The Law and Open-Source Software (TechWeb). This article looks at open source licensing, and finds a few legal quagmires. "At one time, developers had to worry only about software dependencies and incompatibilities. Now they need to worry about license incompatibilities among open-source projects. For example, Mozilla includes four different licenses. Contributing to this project requires attention to license conflicts."
.comment: The Distribution We Need (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet argues for the adoption of the NSA SELinux kernel by the distributors. "There having never been a reason for a wide-open box, and now there being greater reason than ever for a box that's really locked down, seems to me that there is wisdom in distributions working toward adoption of SELinux as the standard kernel or at minimum an option at install. Indeed, in many respects SELinux can be seen as a government grant to defeat Microsoft where it is weakest. It would be plain foolish for distributions not to avail themselves of the help."
Leaving SourceForge (Advogato). Advogato worries about the future of SourceForge. "Free software is robust and decentralized enough that I doubt the closing of SourceForge will have much long-term impact. If nothing else, it will result in a much needed 'garbage collection' of hopeless projects. All projects worth their salt will find a new home without much difficulty."
Quick release for new Linux kernel (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on the 2.4.13 release. "The quick pace of releases has some Linux users questioning their quality. Version 2.4.11 was released with a flaw major enough to warrant its replacement two days later, and 2.4.13 arrives less than two weeks after its predecessor."
IBM Roils Linux Waters (ComputerWorld). ComputerWorld sees IBM and Linux taking a bite out of Microsoft. "IBM's first Linux technology came in December 1998 from an unsanctioned effort by IBM programmers in Germany, who ported the Linux kernel to the System/390 (now the zSeries mainframe) in their spare time, according to Dan Frye, director of the IBM Linux Technology Center."
VA drops Linux name, boots out Kuro5hin (Register). The Register covers VA's proposed name change and adds that the company will drop Kuro5hin from OSDN. "K5's founder Rusty Foster told us there was "no fear" that the site would not continue. K5 is looking to adopt the classified advertising model that's proved pretty successful so far for the MetaFilter blog."
Taking the Bazaars out of the Cathedral (Linux Journal). This article provides an economic analysis of open source software, examining some of the myths and realities of how to succeed in free software business. "Let's say, for argument's sake, that the software Goliath did succeed in convincing its government to ban open-source software. What would happen then? Not much. Such laws stop at a nation's borders, and in a world where most countries have yet to build an information infrastructure, this would quickly lead to incompatibility and balkanization. It is the software equivalent of economic protectionism--indeed, it is economic protectionism--the same kind that created disastrous economic conditions for the United States in the 1930s."
The coming 'open monopoly' in software (News.com). Here's a News.com opinion piece stating that the Microsoft monopoly will soon be replaced by an open source monopoly. "What is different, however, is that in an open-source monopoly the barriers to participation and influence will disappear. This will be a different kind of monopoly--an 'open monopoly'--from which no vendor can be excluded from participating, including the big companies now joining the open-source movement. They have much more to gain by breaking the existing monopoly and replacing it with the new open monopoly."
The Lindows Conundrum (PC Magazine). John C. Dvorak takes a look at Lindows. "One reason I have high hopes for the Lindows OS is that there is a 20-person team working on it, not a 20,000-person team. Starting with the base Linux OS gave the Lindows team a nice head start, after which all the team had to do was translate Windows app-to-OS hooks. The open-source WINE project helped out there. But the Lindows team still must make its OS run the key versions of Microsoft Office. Once the Lindows team starts talking about running StarOffice applications, then you'll know the developers have failed." (Thanks to Peter Link)
Interview with Sleepycat President and CEO, Michael Olson (Winterspeak.com). Michael Olson talks about Sleepycat Software, Berkeley DB, and how to make money selling free software. "Sleepycat Software was founded in 1996 to develop, maintain and support the open source Berkeley DB product. Our approach to business has been very different from that of many other software companies that started during the past several years. We've always been funded by our revenues, and have never taken any capital from outside investors. We've been profitable since inception."
KernelTrap Interviews Keith Owens. Another profile interview has been released at KernelTrap. This time it's a talk with Keith Owens about his contributions to Linux including work on XFS, kbuild 2.5, ksymoops, modutils and kdb. "JA: Can you offer more reflection on the 2.5 Kernel Developer's conference?
Keith Owens: Although the talks were useful, the biggest advantage was getting together around a whiteboard and arguing technical points. Email is fine up to a point but sooner or later you need a whiteboard. I find that local conferences are useful for the same reason, get a few kernel hackers together and you can sort out a lot of problems very quickly."
Humanity - the Bazaar Way of Making a Movie. The Humanity - The Movie project is aiming to make a movie by using techniques modeled after open-source software projects. "'Humanity' is a parody about humanity and modern life in particular. It tells the story of a Semitic city circa 500 B.C. through its elements: the Cathedral (actually a priest with an altar), the Bazaar, the Well, the Wall, the Gate, etc. There is a very interesting twist in the end."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
November 1, 2001