Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
What is the point of Linux? (IT-Director). IT-Director says that Linux needs better marketing. "One of the problems with the open source model is that there is no governing body to determine the product's future strategy. Whilst this communal approach has been the strength of Linux development so far, could it also be its undoing?"
Lockware (FindLaw). Worth a read: this article on the FindLaw's legal commentary site on Hollywood's "intellectual property" strategy. "But Hollywood will continue to press for the legislation, and it may have an important ally: Microsoft. Digerati have observed that the SSSCA could help kill off threats to Microsoft's monopoly from open-source operating systems such as Linux, as it would be difficult, if not impossible, to build SSSCA-compliant encryption into open-source software, where every line of source code is available for public inspection and modification."
Lawmaker promises changes to online copyright law (CNN). CNN reports on Representative Boucher's attempt to address some of the problems with the DMCA. "Boucher told an audience of musicians, lawyers, and music industry officials at the Future of Music policy summit that his bill would modify section 1201 of the DMCA to allow consumers to defeat copy-protection measures for legitimate personal uses, but would still outlaw circumvention efforts for piracy."
Public money, private code (Salon). Salon looks at pressures within U.S. universities to not release code under free licenses. "Many would regard giving the Internet to the world as a benevolent act fitting for one of the world's great public universities. But Bill Hoskins, who is currently in charge of protecting the intellectual property produced at U.C. Berkeley, thinks it must have been a mistake. 'Whoever released the code for the Internet probably didn't understand what they were doing,' he says."
Linux invades Unix enterprise space (vnunet). This vnunet article says that Linux can now move into "enterprise" deployments, thanks to the inclusion of journaling filesystems. The article contains an interesting claim, though: "However, one problem with journaling file systems is that they easily become fragmented. Due to the nature of its allocation file system, journaling soon ends up with blocks scattered all over the disk. This fragmentation is also true for the Ext2 file systems installed by default on every Linux distribution."
Xanadu project lifts open source kimono (Register). The Register reports on the new Sunless-Sea site, home of the "Xanadu Cyberarcheology Project." Much of the history of the long-lived Xanadu Project is being dug out and made available. "Even though you might find it hard to justify the time to the pointy-haired boss, it's well worth the excursion."
On The Horizon: 'Peer Production' Promises To Leap In Importance (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at the future of 'peer production' - getting others to do some of your work for you. "When 2001 began, open-source software was still viewed as the domain of hobbyists and hackers, and the open-source process was seen as incapable of producing stable, mission-critical business applications. But no more. The open-source Linux operating system remains the fastest-growing operating system out there, and with IBM's huge investment in Linux products, it's moving steadily toward the IT mainstream."
The IDC Top 10 IT industry tips for 2002 (Register). The Register is carrying a set of 2002 predictions from IDC. "Linux will have a 'breakout year.' Last year there were a number of ways the market could have gone - including into the tank. Now it seems clear that Linux has become a viable alternative for enterprise use."
Best of 2001 (IT-Director). IT-Director picks the best products from 2001. "Red Hat Linux: The company that is, perhaps, the most astute when it comes to getting Linux away from the view of Open Source as a hobby, and convincing businesses that it offers a true commercial opportunity. Strong support for a good range of platforms and looks to compete in the UNIX market as much as being an 'anti-Windows' sell. Of all the Linux companies, Red Hat seems to be the one most likely to succeed." StarOffice also made the list.
A look back: 2001 (NewsForge). NewsForge has put up a 2001 retrospective. "Many Open Source-related businesses struggled to find working business plans; the U.S. government explored ways to limit the freedom to code; community nemesis Microsoft took all kinds of potshots at Linux and Free Software license; and it looks as though Microsoft will get off with a slap on the wrist for its antitrust violations. But through it all, the community of Open Source/Free Software coders and users continued to thrive and crank out good software."
Missouri Attorney General sues Linuxgruven founders (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Here's an article in a Saint Louis newspaper on the latest in the sad Linuxgruven saga. It seems that the Missouri state attorney general (Jay Nixon) is now suing the company's founders for deceptive trade practices. "Nixon claims that James Hibbits and Michael Lebb lured hundreds of applicants with advertisements for jobs paying $45,000 a year. Once applicants arrived at Linuxgruven offices, interviewers who appeared to be human resource employees said the job applicants first had to pay up to $3,150 for training."
Royal unveils $299 Linux/Microwindows based PDA at CES (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com looks at the new "Lin@x" PDA from Royal. "Applications included with the device include a full featured Internet Browser plus a Personal Information Management (PIM) software suite with Address Book, Calendar with Scheduler, Notes, and Calculator functions. The Lin@x will also ship with an MP3 player application and other multimedia support."
User fury as Sun puts x86 Solaris to sleep (Register). The Register reports that Sun is ceasing development on the x86 version of Solaris. "All in all, it's a minor historic decision by Sun as it leaves no proprietary Unix left in active development on Intel hardware." BSD/OS and QNX RTOS users might disagree with that assessment.
Ximian and theKompany: Converging doctrines (NewsForge). NewsForge compares Ximian and theKompany. "Some people are irritated with both Ximian and theKompany because of their perceived lack of cooperation, which will force users to choose between KDE and GNOME because many applications produced by these two companies will only run on one or the other."
Lindows could give Linux life and worry Microsoft (SiliconValley). Dan Gillmor looks at Lindows in this SiliconValley.com article. "While Lindows will be constructed on top of open-source software, some of its key elements will be proprietary -- a strategy that will not make some open-source advocates happy but which [Lindows founder Michael] Robertson says is essential to making the business work. Lindows won't be the first to meld proprietary and open code, but the potentially high visibility of the project will spark a strong, continuing debate."
How to run a Microsoft-free shop (CIO). CIO tells how to run an operation without Windows. The article is interesting because it concentrates entirely on the politics of moving an organization to Linux, rather than the technical side. "This journey usually starts with a tech executive playing around. Maybe it's a Linux firewall on a home machine. Maybe it's a Linux desktop on an old Pentium that was collecting dust. But it starts at the top. A Microsoft-free IT shop cannot exist without the CIO reading up on and understanding the power of the alternatives."
Red Flag Linux beats out Windows in Beijing (Register). According to the Register, a Beijing municipal software procurement passed over Microsoft and went with Red Flag Linux instead. "China agreed to clean up its act on intellectual property as part of its WTO membership, but the Beijing move suggests that it will do so by opting for local companies. If this is the case western vendors will miss out on the market, and Windows use in China will be steadily eroded by Linux."
Escape from Redmond (Byte). Byte's Jerry Pournelle is looking harder at Linux as the only viable Microsoft alternative. "Simultaneously, there are strenuous efforts to make Linux more user friendly. Some of those are resisted by the guru tribe - what's the point of being an expert if everyone can do all the things you can do? - who try to make newcomers learn all the richness of the command line instead of using Gnome or KDE or some other Graphical User Interface to just get the job done. I've seen this drive new users stark raving mad. Indeed, it nearly happened to me." (Thanks to Atul Chitnis).
The StartX Files: Gnumeric 1.0 Proves Stable and Fast (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet reviews Gnumeric 1.0. "And that's something I kept coming back to in this application. No matter what I threw at it, whether over-formatted Excel files or huge workbooks full of data, Gnumeric never faltered or slowed. It's stability and speed in GNOME was excellent. It even clipped right along in KDE, too."
Network Booting of a diskless Linux device with PXE (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com has put up a how-to article for those interested in booting diskless systems using the PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment) protocol.
Interview: Shawn Gordon (DesktopLinux). DesktopLinux interviews Shawn Gordon, CEO of theKompany. "I can't see any difference between earning a living selling proprietary software (and doing open source on the back of it) and, say, selling washing machines (and doing open source on the back of it). In both cases you are making a living that allows you to survive and then do open source work because you like to."
Forcing Linux on a crap Presario laptop (Register). Here's a different sort of installation nightmare story from The Register. "But I did fdisk the little junker, and it did feel awfully good. And then I set about forcing Linux down its ungrateful Windows-compatible little throat."
Linux Gazette #74. The January Linux Gazette is out. Articles in this issue include looks at micro_httpd, installing from source, Cuyo, socket programming, and more.
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
January 10, 2002