Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Top Stories of 2001, #5: Linux Falters on the Desktop (WinInfo). One of WinInfo's top stories of 2001 is the failure of Linux to take over the desktop. The article is lengthy and details every setback, but is not entirely negative. "However you measure it--by absolute dollars or actual use--Linux has never achieved the desktop success that's so often predicted. That doesn't mean that it can't grow in this market; indeed, growth is much easier when there's no place to go but up. But for those people who had hoped to see Linux produce a credible desktop contender, one fact is now clear: It isn't happening any time soon. And it most certainly didn't happen in 2001." (Thanks to Con Zymaris).
Copy Controls and Circumvention: Don't Get Around Much Any More (O'ReillyNet). Here's a lengthy article by Andy Oram on the O'Reilly Net site about copy controls, the DMCA, and free speech and fair use rights. "Even given the Second Circuit's predilection to rule for the plaintiffs, its insensitivity to the seriousness of its ruling is cause for concern. The ban on linking, for instance, is a major intervention into the rights and practices of the Web - in fact, a blow at its very heart - not to mention a shadow hanging over communications technologies that will emerge in the future. The new limitation of free speech in computer programs is also far-reaching." Worth a read.
Are DSPs a dying breed? (EE Times). EE Times sees a difficult future for digital signal processors. "Five years from now, the success of a processor in many DSP applications may have less to do with how many multiply-accumulate operations it can perform in parallel, and more to do with whether it can boot Linux."
Microsoft builds the government Linux market (NewsForge). Here's a NewsForge article on how Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts are pushing governments toward Linux. "In India, the state of Goa has finally addressed the issue of illegal code on classroom computers by distributing Linux. Linux enthusiasts from local colleges have pledged to help the government conduct a mass migration of PCs to a localized version of Linux based on the Red Hat distribution."
AOL in Negotiations to Buy Red Hat (Washington Post). Here's an interesting article in the Washington Post. "AOL Time Warner Inc. is in talks to buy Red Hat Inc., a prominent distributor of a computer operating system, an acquisition that would position the media giant to challenge arch rival Microsoft Corp., according to sources familiar with the matter." (Thanks to Martin Rowe and Carl Joachim Berdal Haga).
Who wins if AOL swallows RedHat? (Register). Here's The Register's take on a potential Red Hat/AOL deal. "In other words, it may be a Linux computer, but a Linux computer serving that's solely serving a gigantic information and entertainment congolmerate. And that will be enough to make folk nostalgic for Clippy the Paper Clip."
Think Twice, Red Hat (O'ReillyNet). O'Reilly's Andy Oram has some warnings for Red Hat as it ponders a deal with AOL. "I just think that Linux has more places to go than most of us now imagine. An independent and quick-thinking Red Hat will be free to go those places as well. I think some of those directions will not be where AOL or Time Warner want to go. If Red Hat is the one to suffer, I don't want the rest of the Linux community to suffer too."
Sources: AOL not bidding for Red Hat (News.com). News.com reports that AOL is not considering a Red Hat acquisition after all. "Whether AOL is looking at Linux or not, the company must find a way to neutralize Microsoft's desktop advantage, say analysts."
Salon.com Leans On Open Source (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at how Salon built its subscription system. "Engineers have a saying: 'Cheap, fast, good. Pick any two.' But online magazine Salon.com thinks it got all three when it desperately needed a subscription system and decided to build, rather than buy, the software using Linux, open source development tools and Java."
Linux serves up the Open (I.T.). The Australian I.T. site has an article about IBM's latest Linux deployment. "IBM has thrown its weight behind the GNU/Linux operating system in a very public way, using the free software competitor to Microsoft's Windows to manage the Australian Open tennis tournament website." (Thanks to Con Zymaris).
Linux virtual machines aren't just for the big boys anymore (NewsForge). Here's a lengthy NewsForge article on Linux virtual machine technology; it includes a survey of a number of available products. "The music swells, and the announcer says something about IBM servers running Linux saving you a bundle. What the commercial doesn't tell you is that the spendy IBM server in the commercial is running multiple copies of Linux at one time as virtual machines."
Linux Software Maker to Relocate (Herald-Sun). The (Durham, NC) Herald-Sun reports on Red Hat's office move. "The move will nearly double Red Hat's current space, giving the company and its 200 Triangle employees room to grow, [Melissa] London said. Red Hat, which offers services and its own version of Linux software, employs 400 additional employees in 18 offices worldwide. But Red Hat began, as many software companies have, in a bedroom. In this case, it was founder Mark Ewing's Durham bedroom in 1993."
New UltraSparc outsells older Sun CPU (News.com). Here's a News.com article about the success of the Sparc III chip, but it wanders into Sun's attitude toward Linux. "Sun, though, accused IBM of ultimately trying to control Linux. 'You can't put a billion (dollars) into Linux dev. without hijacking and owning it,' [Sun VP John] Shoemaker said. IBM is 'making a lot of investments consistent with moving Linux to a more proprietary base,' added Steve MacKay, chief architect in Sun's computer group."
Asian enterprises embracing Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Linux use in Asia. "The report also revealed that Thailand and Korea led the region in Linux installation, where over a quarter of organizations in both countries use the operating system. In addition, strong Linux adoption was seen in India and Hong Kong -- with 24 percent and 21 percent usage among companies, respectively."
The Open Source Prospect (IT-Director). Here's an IT-Director column by Robin Bloor on the prospects for open source software in general. "For potential business users of Open Source products, this software evangelism is not really relevant and may even be off-putting. But there is another side to this. It is many of the same committed evangelists that provide the free labour that has turned Open Source from a wacky idea into a viable software channel. Many Open Source products are actually better supported than the proprietary products they compete against."
Empower Technologies unveils $149 Linux PDA (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com has a brief article (with picture) on yet another new Linux-powered PDA. "The PowerPlay V PDA is based on a 16 MHz Motorola Dragonball system-on-chip processor with 8MB of system RAM memory plus 2MB Flash (upgradeable), and provides an IrDA interface."
Linux-based file server eases remote management (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the Mitel Networks SME Server 5 (the product formerly known as the e-smith server and gateway). "SME Server is built on a standard Linux operating system which includes common applications and utilities freely available to the Linux community. Although the functionality provided by SME Server is certainly readily available to any knowledgeable Linux administrator, the product's custom management tools and automated installation process let virtually anyone with a modicum of Linux experience install and maintain a network file server with minimal effort."
KDE at Conectiva (KDE::Enterprise). The KDE::Enterprise site has an interview with Conectiva's Roberto Teixeira. "It may sound cheesy, but the fact is that choosing KDE is really a no-brainer when you have such a diverse user group as our company has. Our employees range from Linux gurus to people who have very little computer experience like lawyers, accountants and personal secretaries. They all use Linux here and almost all use KDE by default, since we believe it is the best desktop for people to learn how to use."
Interview: Robert Love (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com interviews Robert Love, maintainer of the preemptible kernel patch. "I think Linux can become a contender in the embedded/real-time market without giving up on itself, while still being a UNIX and having the standard Linux API. In fact, I think a lot of the technologies that achieve this could live right in the official kernel. Kernel preemption is one such innovation, and it's an innovation that does not benefit solely real-time applications."
FOSDEM interviews: Philip Hazel and Richard Dale. The Free and Open Source Developers Meeting has put up a couple more interviews with speakers at the upcoming event. The first is with Philip Hazel, author of Exim. "I don't know where this idea came from, because security was not the main focus of the development. Please don't misunderstand me -- security was of course of great concern, but I am not a security expert. I did not want to pursue the development of new security models for MTAs in the way that some other developers have done."
Then, there is this interview with Richard Dale, author of the KDE bindings. "I'm quite excited by the combination of native code generation and debugging with gdb for writing KDE apps in Java. This would just use Java as a 'bettter C++' with no need for any of Sun's 'Java the Platform' technology."
Commentary: The Linux alternative for PDAs (News.com). News.com is carrying a Meta Group pronouncement on why Linux PDAs are not interesting. "Linux PDAs will find a role only in situations where companies need a highly customized or specialized system, or one in which devices will be distributed to extremely large numbers of users, such as fast-food outlets."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
January 24, 2002