Linux in the news
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Danish local govt. rebels against MS license terms (Register). The Danish local government is evaluating open source alternatives to reduce high software licensing costs. "Seven Danish IT directors, including Lembøl, have got together under the auspices of the Association of Danish Municipalities, to investigate of open source software as an alternative to Microsoft products."
Linux in the US Government (Linux Journal). U.S. government use of open source software is increasing according to this Linux Journal article. "In fact, while far from ubiquitous, Linux and open-source software is popping up everywhere from local-level governments to national agencies. A couple of examples are the Orange County city of Garden Grove, which has been using Linux for years, and the recently launched Dublin County, N.C. web site, which uses Linux, PHP and MySQL."
Medical Enterprises and Open Source. Daniel L. Johnson, MD recently posted a white paper on open-source software in medicine, written in August, 2001. "We in the health care industry, both software vendors and institutions, need to share code that meets common needs, and work together to develop it. We are wasting precious resources competing with duplicated effort. To share development of code that meets shared needs will spread R & D across the whole industry, and enhance useful competition to meet the individual needs of customers and to provide highest quality service.
We already have a model for this in our sharing of research and medical discovery. This sharing of knowledge does not hinder competition, and allows greater attention to excellence and service. We can best meet our responsibility to society by sharing development of our software tools in the same way we share discovery of medical advances."
Open Source gets security standards (IT-Director). IT-Director covers developing industry standards for security testing. "Now there is some good news as the Open Source body The Idea Hamster Organisation are developing industry standards for security testing with the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM)."
Open sourcers spice up security testing (vnunet). Vnunet comments on the efforts of a group of open source developers, Ideahamster.org, who are developing a standard security testing methodology. "Pete Herzog, heading up the development group, said that the focus of the project is to set a standard whereby 'any network or security expert who meets the outline requirements in this manual is said to have completed a successful security snapshot and therefore, if nothing else, has been thorough.'"
MSN fails again as Linux starts to show its flaws (IT-Director). This IT-Director article discusses the latest MSN instant messenger security hole and talks about Linux security. "So, as the research almost disregards its results as they're printed, we still don't know which is the more secure operating system. As both operating systems jostle for entry into the data centre and as businesses are being asked to open up their systems more than ever before, security is now top priority."
Censor-buster Peek-A-Booty goes public (Register). The Register reports on the recent release of Peek-A-Booty from the cult of the Dead cow (cDC). Peek-A-Booty allows users to anonymously surf web sites. "Joey told us that the code was pretty standard Unix code (on the Cygnus Windows environment), so a Linux and even a Mac OS X port should be trivial. But Windows is on most desktops, and for Peek-A-Booty to work effectively - like SETI - it needs participating nodes, so that's where the numbers are."
Human rights application not finished (News.com). News.com takes a look at the Peekabooty project. "The project promises to create an underground railroad for Web information that may be censored by some nations. Based on a peer-to-peer network of computers, Peekabooty would allow a person to get information from the Internet that they may not normally be able to access."
Open-Source Community Opening Up to Rest of World. The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. writes about potential pitfalls due to recent Linux acceptance by large corporations. "They've always been righteous in their hatred of so-called proprietary software such as that sold by Microsoft. And they love Linux, the open-source computer operating system. But many also thrive on being the underdog in their war for better and cheaper software. And now that their best-kept secret is slipping into the mainstream, they might just lose underdog status."
Four years on, digital copyright law revs up (CNN). CNN covers both sides of the discussion over the DMCA and touches on the Sklyarov/ElcomoSoft case. "However, supporters of the legislation, mainly powerful copyright holders, see the DMCA as a necessity. For them, the digital age is not just a time of great opportunity, but also a time of new and previously unimaginable threats to their business. In this new era, music and movies, which require millions of dollars to produce and promote, are suddenly vulnerable to casual computer users, who can make perfect digital copies of works, for free."
DMCA Protection at U.S. Border (Wired). Wired reports on the US Customs service's efforts to stop shipments from an Asian video game retailer. "The agency was trying to stop the import of NEO4s, a chip that allows PlayStation consoles to run DVDs with geographic encryptions and games copied on to CD-ROMs, according to sources familiar with the video game company, Lik-Sang.
These chips, called 'mods,' have come under scrutiny by corporations claiming the technology violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which restricts anyone's ability to circumvent copy protections."
Charney an Ominous Microsoft Pick (BusinessWeek). BusinessWeek comments on the appointment of Scott Charney as "Chief Security Strategist." Mr. Charney is perhaps best known as a federal prosecutor who went after computer criminals. "Since the vulnerability would give us access to the kernel, and the kernel would give us the ability to circumvent copy protection mechanisms, certain parties might just consider the publication of such a bug -- particularly if accompanied by exploit code -- to be a technology that allows one to break digital copy protection. And guess what? That would be illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So under the right circumstances, where you have the right government people hooked up with the right lawyers, sharing particular information about the security hole could be considered a crime."
US DoJ Identifies 47 'Major' Comments (dot.KDE.org). dot.KDE.org reports on the US DoJ proceedings against Microsoft. "After a brief review, other comments making significant references to Open Source include John A. Carroll, Steven Waldman, Ralph Nader and James Love, The American Antitrust Institute and the U.S. Senate (mainly Red Hat's testimony)..."
O, brave new OS of the future (CNN). CNN looks at Microsoft's Farsite project and compares it to the Odyssey project at Carnegie Mellon University, which uses Linux. "Farsite is a serverless, distributed system that doesn't assume mutual trust among its client computers. Although there's no central server machine, the system as a whole looks to users like a single file server. High reliability and security are ensured because each file has one or more encrypted and digitally signed replicas elsewhere in the cluster."
KDE Linux desktop nearing release (News.com). News.com covers the release of KDE 3.0 beta. "The final version is scheduled for release in the second quarter, but in the meantime KDE is seeking large numbers of developers to test the software."
BSD '3 times as popular as desktop Linux' - Apple (Register). The Register reports on the annual USENIX BSD Conference, where Apple's Ernest Prabhakar stated that BSD is three times more popular than Linux on the desktop, thanks to Mac OS X. The article also includes this tidbit: "he reminded attendees that Microsoft now has Office running on a Berkeley UNIX."
Corel shutting down open-source site (ZDNet). Corel continues to back away from open source software. A note at opensource.corel.com says, "This site will no longer be available on March 1st 2002". ZDNet covers the closure. A more detailed article is also available in French thanks to Bertrand Fremont.
HP releases new Linux workstation (News.com). News.com takes a quick look at HP's new Linux workstations. " Hewlett-Packard has begun selling new Intel-based workstations with Linux, the company said."
IBM introduces new low-end mainframe, 'Raptor' (News.com). Today IBM is announcing the introduction of its Raptor mainframe, which will go on sale worldwide on March 29th. An unrelated but interesting quote from this article: "Running Linux [...] has helped recharge IBM's mainframe business [...] Because of the new software, 2001 was the first time in 13 years that mainframe revenues grew at all."
IBM unmuzzles low-end 'Raptor' mainframe (News.com). According to this News.com article, IBM will debut its new low-end z-800 Raptor mainframe. "IBM has been heavily pushing the ability to run the Linux operating system on its mainframe line. It chose to first discuss the z800 as a Linux-only model. But Linux was more of an afterthought in the z800 design, Lechner said."
Quite Big Iron - new baby IBM mainframe (Register). Here is an article in the Register about IBM's 'Raptor'. "The new system will be available in eight models, as well as a Linux-only mainframe version. They will come in one-way to four-way processor configurations and with 8GB of central memory at standard, which can be increased up to 32GB."
IBM servers to run Linux, Windows (News.com). IBM will use VMware to allow IBM x360 eServer models to run the Windows and Linux operating systems in various combinations.
Lindows CEO delivers broadside in MS trademark dispute (Register). The Register interviews Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson on the ongoing legal battle with Microsoft. "Another critical fact that clearly illuminates Microsoft's true motivations is that over the last 10 years Microsoft has never filed a lawsuit similar to the one they filed against Lindows.com in spite of the fact that there are hundreds of products which use the term 'windows'."
Lindows moves to head off Microsoft (ZDNet). Here's ZDNet's take on the Microsoft vs. Lindows.com law suit: "And the suit has given Lindows new ambitions. "There's a strong chance that Microsoft may lose its trademark on Windows," said Vice President of Marketing John Bromhead. He also said the company has some backup names prepared in case it loses."
Just Add Linux: The Union of Commercial and Open-Source Software in Existing Business Models (Linux Journal). Linux Journal discusses the growth of Linux in business. "Open-source software combined with commercially licensed software has become a market reality, as open-source technologies like Linux and Apache, already tremendous market successes, are combined into business models by vendors who want to win in the marketplace. It's happening today and will continue to flourish, and here's why: Linux Market Penetration."
'Open-Source Software' Offers Lessons in Working toward Common Goals (Boston Globe). This Boston Globe column looks at the open source model in modern business practices. "Such open-source-like ideas can already be found in unexpected places. For example, Wolf and Lakhani say, Harley-Davidson, the venerable motorcycle manufacturer, encourages customers to extensively modify their models by working with other companies that produce various accessories for the bikes. In effect, the company willingly cedes some control to the owners and outside firms."
Open-source projects grab dot-com dropouts (News.com). What's bad for dot-comers may be good for open source software according to this News.com article. "The down economy has breathed new life into open-source software projects as unemployed software engineers pitch in."
InsightConnector Disconnects Microsoft Exchange (ConsultingTimes). The ConsultingTimes looks at Bynari, Inc.'s InsightConnector. "In short, for the vast majority of shops deploying Microsoft desktops, Exchange servers are no longer the only game in town. With InsightConnector installed on a Windows machine, Outlook can talk to Bynari's own Insight server, as well as to Caldera's Volution, CommuniGate Pro, Courier-IMAP, the open source Cyrus IMAP, IMail Server, iPlanet, and the SuSE Linux eMail Server III."
A sneak preview of Infomart's 'Kaii' Linux PDA. LinuxDevices examines yet another Linux PDA. "Infomart decided to use a platform similar to that of Sharp's Linux-based Zaurus, in order to leverage the abilities and commitment of companies like Lineo, Trolltech, Insignia, and Sharp -- and the associated developer community. The hope is to help create a standard for Linux-based PDAs which will make it easier for software and add-on peripheral developers to support the devices, and which will give users a wider choice of software and hardware options..."
Advanced filesystem implementor's guide, Part 9 (developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks continues its survey of advanced Linux filesystems. "In this article, we'll take a look at XFS, SGI's free, 64-bit high-performance filesystem for Linux. First, I'll explain how XFS compares to ext3 and ReiserFS, and describe many of the technologies that XFS uses internally."
SNMP threatens networks (ZDNet). ZDNet covers the SNMP bug. " To protect yourself, you need to do a few simple things. First, if you really want to be safe, turn off SNMP throughout your network until you've been able to install patches provided by the manufacturer of your infrastructure equipment or software. You may need to check every router, switch, hub and server on your network, as well as the software that runs on them."
Alan Cox, Kernel Hacker, Linux (ITWales). ITWales interviews Alan Cox. "Alan Cox is one of the most influential IT innovators in the world. A graduate of the University of Wales, Swansea, he has been a key developer of the Linux kernel for nearly a decade. Currently working for Red Hat writing kernel and application code, Cox was previously responsible for the original Linux multiprocessing support, and for much of the early work on networking. Here we ask him about his changing role at Red Hat, and learn about the benefits Linux brings to business."
Interview: Steve Holden. New Riders interviews Steve Holden, author of "Python Web Programming". "Every Python author says good things about the newsgroup, comp.lang.python, so I subscribed. Sure enough, I found it's an incredible resource, and it helped me to get up to speed with Python quite quickly. Plus there's quite a lot of humor on that group, which suits my personality."
Jim Fulton Interview (Zopera). The Zopera site interviews Zope creator Jim Fulton. "I'm an object zealot, and Zope has always been about employing the power of object technology and Python to make building web solutions to complex problems as easy as possible. We do, of course, follow industry standards. We put a lot more emphasis on the standards that our customers need or that make our lives easier. The same is true, of course, for the Zope community." The interview is also available in French.
GNU-Friends interviews David MacKenzie. Gnu-Friends has interviewed long time GNU developer David MacKenzie. "t's fun to realize that I've helped millions of people on every continent have better computer systems, and probably inspired some to make contributions to free software themselves. I don't regret anything about it." (Thanks to Jonas Oberg.)
UnderLinux interviews Harald Welte. Brazilian site UnderLinux interviews Harald Welte. "My favourite subject within computing has always been firewalling. Considering this, it's not too surprising that I tried the 'new' netfilter/iptables code in its early development state during 2.3.x linux kernels. There were some features missing, and I started to implement some of them. I got more and more involved with the project, resulting in me becoming the fourth member of the netfilter/iptables core team in October 2000."
Managing processes and threads (developerWorks). This developerWorks article looks at process and thread creation under both Linux and Windows; it is interesting to compare the two. "The graphs show that Linux is considerably faster than either Windows 2000 or Windows XP at creating threads and processes."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
February 21, 2002