Linux in the news
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Why This Link Patent Case Is Weak (Wired). Wired reports on the BT hyperlink patent suit. "'If BT won the right to collect fees-per-click you'd have a ton of seriously pissed-off programmers, with all the financial resources of every big business in the U.S. who has anything to do with the Internet behind them, working on coming up with a new protocol,' open-source developer Mike Markan said. 'Believe me, there is no way BT is going to get anything more tangible (than) a whole lot of ill will from Internet users.'"
Mom Moves to Linux (Open For Business). An Open For Business author describes the process of getting his mother running on SuSE Linux. "She hasn't had to reboot the machine since the day she installed it."
Torvalds looks into Linux bottleneck (News.com). News.com looks at bottlenecks in the process of producing the Linux kernel. "Two weeks ago, addressing the perceived delays in dealing with tweaks to the OS, one programmer proposed that Torvalds anoint a "patch penguin"--a person responsible for applying the oodles of patches and updates to the software." (Thanks to Peter Link)
Risky Business (SF Gate). Should you ever wonder why a business might want to run free software, look no further than this SF Gate article on the Business Software Alliance. "If the company refuses to settle or if the BSA feels the company is criminally negligent and deliberately ripping off software, the organization may decide to get a little nastier and organize a raid: The BSA makes its case in front of a federal court in the company's district and applies for a court order. If the order is granted, the BSA can legally storm the company's offices, accompanied by U.S. marshals, to search for unregistered software."
Lessig to set up digital rights group (ZDNet). The Copyright Commons project draws on the experience of open-source software programming to create new digital licenses that will cut out painful legal wrangling and rights disputes. "Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the most articulate critics in today's online copyright battles, is kicking off a project he hopes can serve as neutral ground in the digital rights debates."
Stallman issues Porto Alegre clarification (Register). The Register reports on comments allegedly made by Richard Stallman concerning .NET/GNOME. "Richard Stallman has written to us about comments made on the .NET/GNOME controversy, reported by Brazilian tech site HotBits and cited here thanks to a translation provided to us by HotBits, Stallman asks de Icaza to explain himself to the community."
Advocating Open Source the 'good old boy' way (NewsForge) . NewsForge looks at the Open Source Software Institute. "Go ahead and say this all sounds cynical. It is. This is the way government works in the real world. When it comes to allocating funds, 200 studies showing how Linux scales better than Windows don't make as much of a political splash as the promise of an Open Source research center in a powerful senator's state or a powerful congressman's district that'll bring in 50 high-paying, permanent jobs and 1,000 or 2,000 expense-account visitors every year."
Run Streaming (Linux Journal). Radio broadcasts over the Internet are becoming increasingly more common. Linux Journal examines how open source technologies could take over this growing field. "But somebody inside the company recently told me the Force is stronger there than one might think. He writes, "we could have had a really good Linux player years ago. We had an absolutely brilliant developer working on it, but he quit after exceeding his pain threshold. Those of us who work here have players that work better than anything we have released. This place has Linux at its core despite having a WinTel face." He also says there are signs internally that the company is turning in a positive direction."
The Great Giveaway (NewScientist). NewScientist looks at the Copyleft, OpenCola, the EFF's Open Audio License (OAL), and other related topics. "What started as a technical debate over the best way to debug computer programs is developing into a political battle over the ownership of knowledge and how it is used, between those who put their faith in the free circulation of ideas and those who prefer to designate them 'intellectual property'. No one knows what the outcome will be. But in a world of growing opposition to corporate power, restrictive intellectual property rights and globalisation, open source is emerging as a possible alternative, a potentially potent means of fighting back." (Thanks to Ron Klumpes.)
BT in Fight to Establish Web Surfing Patent (Yahoo). Yahoo News reminds us that British Telecom's patent case against Prodigy is about to go to trial. BT claims to own the idea of hyperlinking; if it's successful, the shakedowns will not stop with Prodigy. "BT is calling the trial a test case whose outcome will determine whether it can commercialize a potentially lucrative patent. If successful, BT intends to go after other American internet service providers, the lone jurisdiction governed by the patent."
British Telecom seeking enforcement of old hyperlink patent (SF Gate). SFGate looks at BT's suit against Prodigy attempting to enforce its old hyperlinking patent. "BT tried to persuade the judge to interpret the language broadly for the jury -- to include a computer mouse, for example, as the 'keypad' mentioned in the patent. 'It has keys,' BT lawyer Robert Perry said."
Googlewhacking enters the office? (ZDNet). According to ZDNet, Google has introduced a new rack mounted Linux based device that searches the contents of client web sites. "'It was just a natural extension for us to take our existing search product and put it behind the firewall,' said Joan Braddi, vice president of search services at Google. 'We had been asked by many of (our) partners for something like that.'"
Wizards and Windows (HP World). HP World benchmarks SuSE Linux and Windows XP, both running on an HP laptop. According to this particular comparison, XP beats Linux in many of the tests performed. The report is, however, somewhat critical of the Wizards in XP, and has some good things to say about Linux. "Now, with open source rising up as the business-alliance tsunami of the century, Microsoft for the first time in a very long while faces both fundamental technology and business model challenges." (Thanks to Robert K. Nelson.)
MS chief lashes out at German Free Software petition (Register). The Register reports on Microsoft's reaction to the petition urging the use of free software in the German Bundestag. "One of the things likely to have worried Microsoft most is the fact that quite a few of the initial supporters of the petition are Bundestag members, meaning it looks much more like a genuine campaign with heft than just a clutch of crazed visionary lobbyists."
Sun to reveal administration, Linux plans (News.com). Sun's CEO Ed Zander discusses some upcoming plans, including Sun's involvement with Linux. "'We're doing a lot on Linux,' Zander said, mentioning the company's open-source StarOffice suite that competes with Microsoft Office, its Cobalt servers that run Linux, its open-source Forte programming tools and the iPlanet e-commerce software that runs on Linux. 'Maybe we haven't marketed it well.'"
Sun details plans for Linux servers (News.com). Here's more on Sun's recent Linux announcement. "The company added it will 'aggressively participate in the Linux community,' offering key components of its Solaris operating system for free. "
An observant reader pointed out that Tux the penguin has shown up on Sun's front page. (Thanks to Tim Hunt.)
Servers lead out Sun's Linux drive (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on the Sun Linux announcement. "Sun Microsystems said Thursday that it would sell general-purpose Linux servers, a dramatic departure for the company that for years has advocated the use of its own Solaris operating system." (Thanks to Peter Link.)
Sun embraces x86 in Linux overture (Register). The Register focuses on a different area in Sun's Linux announcement. "Pragmatism has trumped pride at Sun Microsystems: the company will expand its Intel-based Cobalt line at the low-end to win back some of the business currently being lost to white box and Dell x86 servers.
That was the most dramatic of nine announcements from Sun this morning, declaring that it is embracing Linux."
Sun's war against Microsoft (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com interviews Vivek Mehra, VP and General Manager of Sun's Cobalt Server Appliance business unit. "Mehra, a key architect of Sun's Linux strategy, cofounded Cobalt Networks Inc. and served as Cobalt's chief technology officer prior to its acquisition by Sun. Mehra describes himself as having been "very involved in all aspects of the design" of the original Linux-based Cobalt Qube."
Sun's McNealy finds his inner penguin (ZDNet). Here's ZDNet's take on Sun's latest Linux moves. "Indeed, moments after advocating Linux at Sun, McNealy showed a mock advertisement disparaging IBM and bragging about Sun's single-OS, single-chip strategy."
Linux Moving to Heart of Sun (Wired). Here's Wired's take on Sun's announcements. "Is it damage control? In recent months, online trading company ETrade and retailer Amazon have announced a shift from Sun servers to Linux as money-saving measures to run their websites. Amazon said it saved $17 million in one quarter alone by using Intel/Linux systems. Also, Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley is moving its Solaris applications to Intel computers running Linux."
Sun Falls In Behind The Linux Juggernaut (IT-Director). Here's an IT-Director article on Sun's announcements. "So now Sun joins the party. It will be interesting to see how the contest pans out. 2002 is likely to be a good year for Linux and SUN may have been a little late for the party."
Sun gives Linux an equal billing (vnunet). Vnunet chimes in with its view of Sun's Linux announcements. "Speaking in San Francisco last week, Sun president Ed Zander insisted the company's support for Linux would not change its strategy for a single-platform architecture. "Linux was created over time and was mirrored on Solaris; you can go back and forth easily. We share the same philosophy, and are the one company that can do this," he said."
Vendors Spur Linux On (TechWeb). Here's a TechWeb article on the continued success of Linux. "No one says businesses will soon dump everything in favor of Linux, but the fact that IBM concedes there may be a time when it's the only operating system IBM ships is surprising, considering the millions of dollars the vendor has spent developing Unix systems in the last decade."
The New Workhorse of Gene Sequencing, Proteomics and Drug Development (Drug Discovery). According to this article at Drug Discovery Online, Linux clusters are making big impacts in the bioinformatics arena. "Linux clusters, which network multiple processors together to form a unified and more powerful computing system, are becoming a major technology in the bioinformatics industry. Universities, government labs and commercial entities now boast Linux clusters of dozens, if not hundreds of these processors or 'nodes' for the explicit purpose of gene sequencing, proteomic research, or drug discovery and development."
A Modern, Low Resources Linux Distribution (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal describes the RULE project, which is trying to put together a less resource-hungry Linux distribution. "Schools, families, developing countries, public and private offices with almost null budget (pretty big segment nowadays) must save on all costs, no matter how low they already are. Often, the only PCs they can afford are donated and really old, and Free Software can't leave them alone."
Wireless Gateway addresses security issues (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the Bluesocket Wireless Gateway Appliance, which happens to run Linux. "Bluesocket Inc.'s $6,000 WG-1000 Wireless Gateway sits on a LAN between wireless access points and the rest of the corporate network. It acts as an authorization and VPN server. Any wireless data traffic can reach the device, but unauthorized users can't get past it. Authorized packets pass across the internal network (which is presumably secure), unencrypted."
A review of Qt Palmtop (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com reviews Qt Palmtop (now called Qtopia). "Trolltech's Qt Palmtop has evolved over time into a fully functional application suite for handheld devices and internet appliances. It is based on the industry-proven Qt API and features a flexible and fast software platform, which also integrates Java technology. Qt Palmtop is an application suite that should be taken seriously by all manufacturers and developers of handheld products."
A Bison Tutorial: Do We Shift or Reduce? (Linux Journal). LinuxJournal presents a tutorial on Bison. "A shift-reduce conflict is the result of an ambiguity in the grammatical specification of a language, in our case, a programming language. The terms 'shift' and 'reduce' are explained in the course of this article."
Interview: Andrew Morton (KernelTrap). KernelTrap interviews kernel hacker Andrew Morton. "One hot tip: if you spot a bug which is being ignored, send a completely botched fix to the mailing list. This causes thousands of kernel developers to rally to the cause. Nobody knows why this happens. (I really have deliberately done this several times. It works)."
Adam Wiggins Interview (KDE::Enterprise). KDE::Enterprise interviews Adam Wiggins of TrustCommerce. "It's simple: KDE makes the UNIX desktop usable for non-IT workers. If it wasn't for KDE, we'd have to pay a lot of money for proprietary hardware (Apple) or software (Microsoft). More importantly, the machines are more stable and easier for our sysadmin to maintain. That's a big savings in cost - not having to hire another sysadmin as our employee count continues to grow."
A conversation with Gaël Duval (DesktopLinux). DesktopLinux talks with Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux. "Our recent IPO was quite small, yet nicely accepted, and it permitted us the luxury of cutting costs in many areas instead of just laying off people! Financially speaking, we're doing better and better with each passing month: MandrakeStore is very successful as well as the Mandrake Club, and we plan on reaching 'break-even' by September 2002 and on being a profitable company in 2003."
Three more FOSDEM speaker interviews. Three new FOSDEM 2002 speaker interviews are available, see what Philippe Aigrain, Ian Clarke, and Richard Morrell have to say.
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
February 14, 2002