Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Knowledge Center Special Report: Server Operating Systems (ComputerWorld). ComputerWorld has put up a large series on server operating systems which includes several articles on Linux. "One of the other critical features that open-source Linux allows is broad customization for Cendant's hotels. That flexibility, for instance, allowed modifications to make the virtual private network code work with the existing central reservation system. It also allowed modifications to the operating system kernel to remove unneeded features at each hotel. That essentially protects hotel workers from inadvertently making system changes and causing problems..." (Thanks to Peter Link).
IP conference: copyright law has gone too far (Register). Here's a report in The Register from the Cato Institute's "The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age" conference. "The 'go to jail' panel addressed issues close to the hearts of many in the Open Source community, including the DMCA-inspired lawsuits against webmasters who posted the DeCSS code that allows Linux users to decode and play DVDS, and the arrest in the United States of visiting Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov for creating a program that strips copy controls from e-books."
Chewing up and spitting out our leaders (Advogato). Here's an article on Advogato on the public resignation of Christoph Pfisterer from the Fink project, and how the free software community treats its leaders in general. "Instead of giving examples, I'll just call attention to the current drought of leaders. Many of the 'big names' who would have been listed as leaders a couple of years ago are no longer very active in actual free software development, and there isn't much in the way of new blood. Thank God we've still got Linus."
phpGroupWare is leaving SourceForge (NewsForge). NewsForge covers the departure of the phpGroupWare project from SourceForge. "All of this makes me nervous... what happens if their business model doesn't work, and they run out of money? What happens to SourceForge and all of the data on there? Would we want to face that situation and have to deal with the flood of other projects that are also in a panic to find a new home?"
Dell begs for mercy after ditching desktop Linux (Register). The Register gives us a cynical look at Dell's open letter regarding Linux support. "So there you go. It's not an alternative to Windows at all, it's a 'migration platform' for customers who need to get their apps away from 'proprietary Unix platforms.' All it needs is for Dell to precede it with 'And now for a word from our sponsors.'"
IBM and Linux: The Dinosaurs and the Penguin (IT-Director). Here's an IT-Director article on how Linux has helped IBM's mainframe business. "Legend has it that several IBM executives got to know about the [S/390] Linux project and advised the developers involved to desist. They didn't, it just turned into a skunk works. They got Linux working and demonstrated the running of thousands of Linux instances on the mainframe. Because the educational world became interested, IBM executives changed their minds. Then, IBM looked at the Linux market and decided that it wanted in and suddenly mainframe Linux became part of the strategy."
CEO's Exit Caps Wild Year for Lineo (Salt Lake Tribune). The Salt Lake Tribune looks at Lineo and its troubles over the last year. "Nearly a week after stepping down without explanation, former Lineo Inc. chief executive Bryan Sparks remains mum about the role he will play at the software company he founded in 1998."
Travel ASP takes Linux down the road to success (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Viata, Inc., an application service provider which uses Linux for its entire operation. "The payoffs were equally real, however. Viata saved about $170,000 in software costs during the first six months of using Linux, according to Phillips. Viata also saved on hardware, as it was able to avoid purchasing the high-end machines it would have needed to run Windows. Administration is cheaper, since most functions are performed centrally and can be automated." The article has several parts, and is a good business case study.
Open-source approach fades in tough times (News.com). News.com tells us that companies are losing interest in open source as they try to come up with ways to actually make some money. "'It's interesting to see these companies coming around to what has been our business model since the very beginning,' added Pete Beckman, Turbolinux's vice president of engineering. Turbolinux sells Linux in combination with proprietary software of its own and from partners like Oracle."
Introducing ext3 (developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks has an introduction to the ext3 journaling filesystem, which will be in the 2.4.15 stable kernel release. "Thanks to the fact that ext2 and ext3 use identical metadata, it's possible to perform in-place ext2 to ext3 filesystem upgrades. Yes, you read that right. By upgrading a few key system utilities, installing a modern 2.4 kernel and typing in a single tune2fs command per filesystem, you can convert your existing ext2 servers into journaling ext3 systems. You can even do this while your ext2 filesystems are mounted. The transition is safe, reversible, and incredibly easy, and unlike a conversion to XFS, JFS, or ReiserFS, you don't need to back up and recreate your filesystems from scratch."
Why tech innovation is under threat (News.com). News.com interviews Lawrence Lessig. "[Programmers] need to do a better job in showing us the values that are built into the code they're writing. The point of both my books is that the architecture had certain values build into it. The people changing them should do a better job of making us aware of how the values change with the code."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
November 22, 2001