Linux in the news
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Norwegian authorities indict creator of DeCSS (CNN). CNN has an article on the indictment of Jon Johansen. "With the DVD CCA's failed attempt to prosecute Johansen already on the record, it remains to be seen how successful the Norwegians will be at trying the teen. Representatives for the EFF have stated that the indictment sprouts from increased pressure from Hollywood and have said that they do not believe the case will stand under the Norwegian justice system."
DVD hacker Johansen indicted in Norway (Register). Here's an article in The Register about the indictment of Jon Johansen. "Despite the lawsuits, [EFF attorney Robin] Gross says that Johansen, who now works for a software company, is respected in Norway. She notes that he was awarded Norway's Karoline Prize given each year to a Norwegian student who receives top grades and makes a contribution to society. Gross says the EFF plans to coordinate protests and a letter-writing campaign similar to that which lobbied for the release of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov."
Bride of UCITAstein (InfoWorld). Here's an InfoWorld "Gripe Line" article about the new UCITA draft. "For certain, any of the alternative proposals would have been better than the language the committee came up with -- apparently out of thin air -- for the free software amendment. The amendment the committee approved doesn't appear to benefit much of anyone, except maybe Microsoft. Just a coincidence, I'm sure."
USB 2 arrives in Linux test version (News.com). Even News.com reports on development kernel releases anymore. The article talks about the new features in 2.5.2, but misses the inconvenient problem with swapfiles not working. "Linux may have lost its allure as a get-rich-quick scheme for would-be entrepreneurs, but the largely volunteer programming community that advances the core software is still functioning."
U.S. Census Bureau Reaps Awards from MySQL-based Web Sites. According to the MySQL site, the U.S. Census Bureau has been using the MySQL database as well as other open-source software to develop a number of web sites. "In fact, one of the MySQL-run sites won the prestigious Census Bureau's Director's Award for Innovation in 2001, and the Bureau's web development team, which is led by Rachael LaPorte Taylor, senior technology architect for FedStats.gov at the Census Bureau, and Lisa Nyman, senior Internet technology architect, has begun serving as informal open-source consultants to their entire organization (of over 5,000 employees)."
UK fails to exploit open source (vnunet). vnunet says that the U.K. isn't using enough free software. "But key findings from in-depth interviews with 30 IT professionals, representative of a cross section of public and private organisations, identified key concerns as: uncertainty over what open source is; uncertainty over support and what the liabilities might be; lack of clear marketing positioning for products; and difficulties in identifying the right products for a given requirement"
Out the Windows (US News). The US News site has an introductory article about desktop Linux which is surprisingly positive. "As it nears a settlement in a U.S. antitrust suit, the software giant seems to have crushed all formal resistance to its dominance of desktop computing. But it has a guerrilla war on its hands, fought by the small but growing band of PC users who have forsaken Microsoft. They are opting for the only alternative other than switching to Apple's Macintosh: the decade-old Linux." (Thanks to Robert K. Nelson).
Ten Resolutions For Better Computing In 2002 (InformationWeek). Fred Langa has some New Year's resolutions: "I think it's time for all Windows users to have a 'Plan B' in mind: Begin exploring alternatives to Microsoft products. The free or low-cost Linux operating system is one obvious Windows alternative." (Thanks to M. Leo Cooper).
We can put an end to Word attachments (NewsForge). Richard Stallman writes about Word format attachments on NewsForge. "If you think of the document you received as an isolated event, it is natural to try to cope with it on your own. But when you recognize it as an instance of a pernicious systematic practice, it calls for a different approach. Managing to read the file is treating a symptom of a chronic illness. To cure the illness, we must convince people not to send or post Word documents." (LWN has had a policy of not accepting proprietary formats since the beginning).
MS obtains Lindows subscriber info (ZDNet). Here's a fun twist in the Lindows trademark lawsuit, as covered in ZDNet. "'We feel obligated to disclose to you that we were compelled to disclose your e-mail address to Microsoft during the discovery process as well as the content of many of your messages sent to us,' wrote Lindows founder Michael Robertson in a message on the company's Web site." (Thanks to Sean E. Walton).
The Lindows Alternative (IT-Director). Here's an IT-Director article about Lindows. "Since when did users pay $99 for a beta release of an Open Source product? This begs the question of how much we will have to pay for the finished article. LindowsOS is being aimed at small businesses so we must presume that the price will not go too high and that we will be able to download one copy and use it multiple times."
SuSE buys off trademark extortionist (Register). The Register has a strongly-worded article on the resolution of the trademark suit against SuSE. "Because crayon is a generic term it seems implausible that SuSE would have lost the suit had it gone to court. But of course the inability to distribute its product while the case was pending would have been a preposterous price to pay for vindication."
Find High Tech in the Bargain Basement (Business 2.0). Business 2.0 likes the 'free beer' aspect of open source. "Forget the zealots. Open-source software isn't ready to take over the world just yet. But it can be had for free, and in this economy, free is good."
The Natural Resource View of Open Source Profit (TroubleShooting Professional). TroubleShooting Professional looks into how to make money with free software. "In fact Open Source more resembles an abundant, self renewing natural resource. Imagine it as a fast growing weed. You don't make money by selling abundant weeds -- you make money using them."
Simputer: Ultra-cheap Linux laptop (ZDNet). ZDNet has discovered the Simputer. "The Simputer will be powered by Linux, and have an easy-to-use interface comprising mainly icons and graphics on its high-resolution 240 x 320-pixel touch screen. For users who are illiterate, the device also supports text-to-speech capability and will be able to provide voice feedback in local languages, according to specifications provided by Encore Software."
New European Linux PDA shows up at CeBIT (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com has an article about yet another Linux PDA. "According to Adrian Steinmann of Invair, the device, called the Filewalker, was designed to be able to be operated with one hand and weighs a mere 0.2 lbs and is small but somewhat thick, at 3.4 x 2.2 x .74 in."
Keeping in Sync (Byte). Byte plays with the InterMezzo filesystem. "Wouldn't it be nice if my Linux box automagically always kept in sync with my desktop or my file server whenever the LAN became visible? Guess what. As of kernel 2.4.15, doing just that has become as easy as clicking on the right box when configuring the kernel before compilation."
The kernel of pain (LinuxWorld). Here's a LinuxWorld story from somebody who has not been having fun with the 2.4 kernel. "The 2.2 kernels may not handle large SMP machines as well, they may not handle large amounts of memory well (only 2 gigabytes), and they may have a practical limit of 2 gigabytes on a single file, but the 2.2. kernels don't crash or cause phone calls at 5:00 AM. Moreover, the 2.2 kernels don't make customers unhappy that they chose Linux as their server solution." (Thanks to Lance Jones).
Interview: Rik van Riel (linux.html.it). Here's an interview with kernel hacker Rik van Riel on the linux.html.it site. "With Linus out of the way, I can make a good VM. I no longer have to worry about what Linus likes or doesn't like. This is mostly important for intermediary code, where some of the 'ingredients' to a VM are in place and others aren't yet in place. Such code can look ugly or pointless if you don't have the time to look at the design for a few days, so Linus tends to remove it ... even though it is needed to continue with development." There is also a version in Italian available.
Interview: Alan Cox (KernelTrap). KernelTrap has posted an interview with Alan Cox. "The 2.4-ac tree turned out very well. It was never something I set out to make a big thing but it ended up being used as the base for most 2.4 vendor released kernels. That was a big thing, not just for the code quality, but also because it showed everyone is still working together. 2.4-ac was built out of patches from many places, and I think almost every vendor, put together by someone at Red Hat and in various variant forms shipped by many other companies."
Interview: Gnumeric project leader Jody Goldberg (DesktopLinux). DesktopLinux.com has an interview with Jody Goldberg, leader of the Gnumeric project. "The desktop is an evolving target, we are getting there quickly. There are already many users whose needs are met by open alternatives. That number will continue to grow. That is the beauty of open source, it can continue to improve and expand as long as people are interested in it."
Interviews: Michael Meeks and Damien Sandras. The Free and Open Source Software Developers Meeting (FOSDEM) site has a couple more interviews with its speakers. The first is with Ximian hacker Michael Meeks. "Well - there are huge amounts of changes in Gnome 2.0; mostly we will be shortish on user visible changes, unless you're part of the 2/3rds of the world that couldn't read the typography before in your native language, or if you like your text right to left. Of course - there are other improvements, speedups, reduced memory usage, cleaned up and more robust libraries, a powerful accessibility framework for impaired users, the ability to use the Glib Object model in non-GUI apps etc. etc."
Then, there is this discussion with Damien Sandras, author of GnomeMeeting. "I will not detail all the things that we plan to implement into GnomeMeeting because it will be part of the talk. But the most interesting things are: the ability to make 'n to n' conference calls, support for answering machines, CU30 codec support, Gnome 2.00 port, and perhaps a Windows port."
A 'Speed Bump' vs. Music Copying (Business Week). Business Week interviews Edward Felten. " For someone like me -- I do computer-security research -- I now have this complicated, vague law [the DMCA] in my head all the time. Whenever I'm going to open my mouth to talk about technology, I have to think if it's safe, or do I have to call my lawyer. At the very least, it scares people away from topics that most need to be discussed."
Full Nelson: Postcards from the Ledge (TechWeb). TechWeb prints some of its weirder letters. "Linux is not ready for the Enterprise. There is not a single voice-controlled app for any of the mission-critical functions of the Enterprise. Conspicuously absent are warp core control, phaser bank activation, interstellar navigation, transporter operation and the all-important self-destruct sequence. Until these and thousands of other important apps are written and deployed, Linux will just be a toy in the Enterprise."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
January 17, 2002