Linux in the news
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Putting together a complete multimedia architecture for Unix (LinuxPower). LinuxPower has posted a detailed article on what Linux needs to become a truly capable multimedia platform. "GStreamer will take care of the challenges of giving developers easy access to the features of the platform, but unfortunately the platform itself doesn't quite deliver all we need. There are still some unresolved issues in both the X Window System layer and the kernel layer on Linux." Worth a look.
Import This: the Tenth International Python Conference (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal covers the Tenth Python Conference. "Tim [Berners-Lee] became a Python enthusiast when he tried to learn Python on a plane trip. He had already downloaded Python and its documentation on his laptop, and between takeoff and landing he was able to install Python and learn enough to do something with it, 'all on one battery.'"
Linux developers call for patch flow (vnunet). Vnunet debunks rumors about "severe problems" in kernel development. "In order to tighten up the process, Gentoo has called for developers to "do what they can to get good patches flowing" so they can be incorporated into the stock kernel"
GPL enforcement goes to court for first time in MySQL case (Register). The Register looks at the MySQL license case. "However, says [FSF VP Bradley] Kuhn, when NuSphere violated the GPL the first time, it lost its right to redistribute the code in any form, according to provision No. 4 of the GPL. Normally when the FSF privately enforces the GPL, it forgives a company's violation when it corrects the error. However, under the GPL, such forgiveness is not required. MySQL AB has so many other issues with Progress and NuSphere that it is electing to press a case against its adversary."
Can the World Be Copyrighted? (Wired). Wired looks at the two WIPO intellectual property treaties that are about to go into effect. "[Dmitry] Sklyarov wasn't arrested until he came to America, but that could change if Russia adopts the two treaties. Then, copyright organizations in that country could go after a programmer like Sklyarov."
Grateful Dead lyricist lambasts DMCA (Register). From the "I need a miracle every day" department, The Register covers EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow's comments on DMCA issues, at a recent security conference. "Barlow used the example of the Dead's approach to copyright to illustrate how the free flow of content did not necessarily choke off content availability.
Or indeed lead to anarchy, communism, the end of the world and very poor record companies (although he might agree that last one could be a good thing)."
RSA: Security in 2002 worse than 2001, exec says (CNN). According to this CNN article, SecurityFocus co-founder and CEO Arthur Wong presented a view of past and future security problems to attendants at the RSA Conference 2002. "On the Web server front, Microsoft was again the most popular target. Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services), the software that was exploited to spread Code Red and Nimda, was attacked over 17 million times, Wong said. SecurityFocus customers running the open-source Web server Apache were attacked only 12,000 times, he said, meaning that IIS systems are '1,400 times more frequently attacked than Apache.'"
ELC paves way for Embedded Linux platform specification (LinuxDevices). The Board of Directors of the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) voted to adopt an Intellectual Property Agreement (IPA) that lays the groundwork for building a unified embedded Linux platform specification.
Linux Goes Large, Very Large (IT-Director). IT-Director reports on large Linux clusters. "Large Linux clusters appear to offer the most economic solution available for parallel applications and hence are of particular interest to scientific establishments and specialist areas such as rendering or DNA research, and we now frequently hear of big clusters. The largest we know of, has over 2500 nodes and is used in biosciences."
Why Linux will prevail (ZDNet). Here's a strongly pro-Linux column in ZDNet. "Quite a few distributions of the Linux desktop are close to becoming products that can successfully compete against Microsoft Windows. And it's about time. The last thing we need is an economy dependent upon proprietary tools to perform common computer functions. Linux systems are evolving at a rapid rate and can be expected to provide the first universal (non-proprietary) operating system and tool assortment for the average desktop user."
Most SNMP vulns quietly lurking (Register). Although few exploits have been reported, the Register reminds us that the SNMP vulnerability could yet bite those who haven't installed the available upgrades. "For example, the PROTOS tool doesn't include a buffer overflow exploit, but researchers working with SANS were able to come up with a working buffer overflow to get root access to several versions of Linux in about two hours, Counterpane Security Architect Tina Bird remarked receltly [sic]."
iAnywhere Sharp deal gives Linux PDAs boost (Register). The Register comments on the collaboration between iAnywhere Solutions Inc and Sharp Electronics Corporation. "iAnywhere Solutions Inc may have inadvertently provided a major shot in the arm for Linux-based PDAs through a tie up with electronics giant Sharp Electronics Corp. The relationship will see the Sybase mobile subsidiary working with the Japanese electronics giant to encourage developers to build Java-based enterprise applications for Sharp's Linux-powered Zaurus SL-5500 PDA using the iAnywhere m-Business platform".
IBM stands tall in server market (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on IBM's gains in server market share. "IBM has benefited from resurgent sales of its old-guard mainframe line, spurred in part by the new ability to run the Linux operating system. But demand for servers in general dried up, with companies worried about the recession and overcapacity left over from the Internet spending spree."
Full-fledged Linux coming to IBM servers (News.com). News.com looks at 64-bit Linux on IBM mainframes. "Red Hat and SuSE will begin selling a 64-bit Linux version for mainframes in the first half of the year, said Rich Lechner, vice president of marketing for IBM's eServer group."
Apache on warpath over Java licence (vnunet). vnunet looks at the disagreement between the Apache Software Foundation and Sun. "The group, which represents open source developers, issued a statement last week which called on Sun to discontinue licences prohibiting Java compatible open source implementations, and make compatibility testing more accessible."
StarOffice 6,0 no longer free of charge (heise online). Heise online says that Sun is planning on charging for non-Solaris versions of StarOffice 6.0. An English translation of the article is available. Here is the original article in German. (Thanks to Alan Robertson.)
Checkout the OS-free PCs at walmart.com (Register). Walmart plans to sell PCs with no operating system, according to this article. "This is by way of an experiment to attract tech savvy custom at a time when consumer PC sales are flatter than a flat pancake. The idea is that buyers can install their own operating system - maybe open source, maybe a license from an dead PC (but make sure you have all the documentation, folks)."
Administration of the German Parliament Confirms Maturity of Linux (Heise online). A recent study by the administration of the "Bundestag", Germany's federal parliament, compared Microsoft with IBM and SuSE, prior to a forthcoming switch to a new operating system. heise online has managed to obtain the results of the study. "Neither of the two camps was able to meet all the requires of Germany's parliament, however. For instance, the IT security subsections of the administration complained that the PKI established by IBM through Linux existed "with respect to certain functions only". But neither did the "simple PKI" of Windows 2000 meet all the conditions laid down by the German law on signing and signatures, it was said." (Thanks to Christof Damian)
Government Control of Software? (IT-Director). IT-Director looks at the issue of the British government's Export Bill and its effects on software. "Does the UK Government really want to place draconian controls on software collaboration and export? Framing legislation is not the easiest job in the world, so politicians and the civil servants that assist often create 'bad law', perhaps without meaning to."
Dillo, the GTK Web Browser (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal reviews the Dillo web browser. "Though still in the alpha stage, Dillo is a fast, compact browser that can be useful for browsing local pages or when using a browser such as Netscape would be overkill. With the SSL-Cookies patch, Dillo's usability is enhanced at the cost of a little source code tinkering."
Starting over with Evolution (LinuxWorld). Joe Barr writes about the process of moving from Sylpheed to the Evolution mail client on LinuxWorld. "Why am I giving up my faithful, trusted Sylpheed? Many little reasons. One is Ximian pestered me. A better reason is Evolution handles images embedded in e-mail messages with aplomb."
At the Forge: Zope Products (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal explores Zope products. "But anyone who has worked with DTML knows that it ceases to be wonderful when you want to create something relatively complex. DTML is best when it is used sparingly or when its functionality is obvious; writing pages of DTML that contain a half-dozen nested conditional (<dtml-if>) tags quickly becomes unreadable and difficult to maintain, not to mention very nonmodular."
The DMCA and What's Worse. Here's the text of a speech by Mike Godwin, as given to the Cato Institute. "But the DMCA has changed all that. Now our law says that it doesn't matter whether you are an infringer or not, it does not matter whether you are a bad actor or not. It says that if you engaged in this kind of technology development at all or if you distribute this technology at all, you are going to be criminally or civilly liable. This development has unmoored the copyright enforcement framework from its original policy infrastructure, from its original policy foundation."
Linux Maximus, Part 1: Gladiator-like Oracle Performance (Linux Journal). This Linux Journal article looks at tuning Linux for applications such as Oracle. "Now without sounding condescending, let me state that the PC architecture was never really intended to scale to the heights Linux makes possible. Thus we need to make sure that we squeeze every last drop of blood out of the turnip when we deploy an Intel based Linux server--especially for enterprise databases like DB2 and Oracle."
Steven Johnson on 'Emergence'. O'Reilly interviews Steven Johnson on the topic of 'Emergence'. "Emergence is what happens when the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts. It's what happens when you have a system of relatively simple-minded component parts -- often there are thousands or millions of them -- and they interact in relatively simple ways. And yet somehow out of all this interaction some higher level structure or intelligence appears, usually without any master planner calling the shots. These kinds of systems tend to evolve from the ground up."
GNU-Friends Interview Guido van Rossum. GNU-Friends has posted an interview of Python creator Guido van Rossum. "Guido van Rossum, known primarily for his work on Python, was recently awarded the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software. In this interview with him, he tells of his first experience with computers, his vacation plans and other things."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
February 28, 2002