Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Linux digs in at embedded systems show (CNN). CNN reports on the Embedded Systems Conference. "To allow an application written for one vendors' operating system to run on that of another vendor, an industry group will unveil plans Tuesday to create a standard for embedded Linux systems. The Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC), an industry group with more than 70 members including Intel and Red Hat, has set its sights on firming a standard set of APIs (application programming interfaces) and compatibility test kits so that eventually, any Linux application will run on any Linux operating system, so long as both conform to the specifications."
Jim Allchin mentions Embedded Linux threat (Register). Microsoft's Jim Allchin talks about the threat of Linux in the embedded space. (See the end of the article.) "It's -- we've lost accounts on the client based on it. We have -- we're in constant competitive situations in the embedded space. To me that's where it's strongest, in the embedded space. Second in servers and third in client, but it's a progression that they're moving very quickly with."
Identifying the top requirements for Embedded Linux systems (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com is carrying a lengthy article looking at the requirements for embedded systems and how well Linux meets them. "My personal belief is that not so much power consumption or processing speed but security will be the key issue in embedded systems in the near future. Reliability was one of the demands from the very beginning on -- security, on the other hand, has been neglected. The more embedded systems become complex, offer extensive user intervention and utilize the ability to interact with local networks and the Internet, the more security related issues are emerging."
Stop the Copying, Start a Media Revolution. O'Reilly's Andy Oram discusses current copyright problems. "Why is there so much trading of copyrighted material online? Because the general public has few alternatives to the popular media controlled by large copyright holders. If the Internet developed its own media, there might be less to fight over--although as I will show, the battle will intensify before it subsides."
Republicans Should Back Recording Artists, Consumers (Fox News). Recommended reading: this strongly worded article on the Fox News site. "And now, record companies - who have allied themselves with the just-as-bad motion picture industry - want to make it a felony for you to own a computer that is capable of copying music from a CD to your portable player without paying them money, even though courts have held that such copying is entirely legal." (Found on Slashdot).
Bizarre vs. Bazaar (Linux Journal). Will the DMCA be the death of Internet radio? "Webcasting is just the first species marked for destruction. Whether this is an evil plot, a dumb bureaucracy at work or both, the effects are the same: the destruction of the Net as a commons and its replacement with a plumbing system for the distribution of "content" (a word hardly used in a shipping context before Big Media got all drooly over The Promise of The Net)."
NA cans PGP -- takes on a life of its own? (IT-Director). IT-Director talks about the future of PGP, now that Network Associates has decided to stop developing and marketing the encryption software. "When NAI took the product from Zimmerman in '97, he came with it. He was the face of PGP and the heart of the movement. In February last year however, Zimmerman left NAI citing issues with the firms handling of the PGP solutions. Looking back this was the turning point for PGP. If NAI hasn't got Zimmerman then surely it hasn't got the PGP movement behind it? And, although NAI clearly failed to realise this, it would appear that this took the heart out of the NAI solution -- and, at NAI at least, it died."
Vivendi's Canal Plus sues NDS (MSNBC). Here's an interesting MSNBC article discussing an alleged use of source code as a weapon. Vivendi is suing News Corp.'s NDS, claiming that NDS cracked Vivendi's digital TV content scrambling scheme and released the resulting code on the net. "The lawsuit claims damages of more than $1 billion. It alleges violations of U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and federal copyright laws, as well as a breach of California?s unfair competition statute."
Some games aren't fun (InfoWorld). Here's an InfoWorld story about the conflict between bnetd and Blizzard. "It's amazing how the right to protect intellectual property has managed to erode the rights of consumers. Open source, on the other hand, specifically seeks to empower software consumers, giving them the right to use, distribute, modify, and distribute modifications to the software. In the days ahead, I fully expect that the gap between the rights of open source and the restrictions of closed source will begin to resemble the Grand Canyon."
Locking Up Your Rights (MSNBC). MSNBC is carrying a Newsweek article about the ongoing Elcomsoft case. "The main event comes on April 1, when the judge hears [Elcomsoft attorney Joseph] Burton's motions to dismiss on constitutional grounds. Though his argument gets technical, attacking what he calls 'vagueness' in the DMCA, the bottom line is this: how can it be a crime to allow people legal access to what they legally paid for?"
Deciphering the war on open source (News.com). Bruce Perens counters attacks by Microsoft's Craig Mundie. "Mundie uses a textbook tactic of manipulation: start with some reasonable talk, and lead the audience to an unreasonable conclusion. The reasonable part is that businesses have to sell something to make money. And it's (deliberately) hard to commercialize GPL software. To follow Mundie's conclusion, however, you'd have to believe that the money people save by using the GNU-Linux system just disappears."
Ethical and Social Implications of Science and Technology (TechWeb). TechWeb reports on a recent conference that looked at the ethical and societal implications of the accelerating developments in science and technology. Present at the conference were Bill Joy, Raymond Kurzweil, and Mitch Kapor. "Open source creates a sort of 'virtuous circle,' Kapor said, where 'you take it, you improve it, you put it back.' He's critical of the way science is increasingly closed, licensing off its discoveries to corporate interests or making them inaccessible via patents. Says Kapor, 'It would be great if science can get back to its own roots.'"
Il guru hacker propone: 'Mai piu allegati Word' (Repubbl ca). Richard Stallman's call for an end to Word attachments has been reported in La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper. It's a reasonable discussion of the problems with these attachments - though freedom and open file formats are not mentioned directly. An English translation of sorts is available via Babelfish. (Grazie a Massimo Marengo).
Simputer for the masses set for takeoff (ZDNet). ZDNet is carrying a Reuters article about the upcoming rollout of the Simputer in India. "Built by the non-profit Simputer Trust, the device is slightly larger than a regular handheld PC, and uses the free-to-use Linux operating system. Its software is expected to aid farmers seeking to know commodity prices and beat middlemen and also provide speech recognition in regional languages to help illiterate rural folk."
Caldera reverse stock split March 14 (News.com). News.com covers a Caldera International stock split. "Caldera International shareholders approved a 1-for-4 reverse stock split Thursday, the struggling Linux and Unix seller said. The split will take effect March 14, at which point the 57.5 million outstanding shares will be converted into 14.4 million shares."
Resellers get Linux boost (vnunet). Caldera is looking for a few good resellers, according to this vnunet article. "The company, which boasts 1,500 UK partners, is offering free commercial and technical training, free educational materials, access to demonstration software, development tools and sales information."
HP Urges Linux Support for Research (InternetNews). HP is at the forefront of a new consortium aimed at bringing Linux and 64-bit computing to the research community. "Called the Gelato Federation, the group will develop commodity software to help scientists conduct technology research in life and physical sciences."
Leaning HP's Way (InformationWeek). InformationWeek covers HP's renewed efforts to purchase Compaq. "HP board members, in a mailing to shareholders last month, argued that the new HP would dominate the Windows and Linux server markets, which are growing at 20% and 30%, respectively."
IBM preps AIX 5L 5.2 for October release (Register). The Register reports on IBM's plans for AIX 5L version 5.2, which is to be released in October, 2002. "The L in AIX 5L stands for Linux affinity, which means that many of the Linux APIs are supported within AIX so applications written for Linux can be recompiled to run natively on PowerPC and Power4 processors."
Linux-backer Lineo opens doors in India (ZDNet). The embedded Linux company Lineo has announced that it is expanding its operations to India. "Privately-held Lineo aims to closely work with Indian computer hardware manufacturers and offer a suite of embedded software solutions, Ishrat Hakim, vice-president, Asia-Pacific sales at Lineo, told a news conference in Bangalore."
Mandrake Linux looking for users' cash (News.com). MandrakeSoft is in need of short-term funding. "To raise funds, Mandrake urged people to join the Mandrake Linux Users Club, which costs $5 per month or more, and the Mandrake Corporate Club, which costs between $2,500 to $100,000 per year."
Linux company lays off 90 percent (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the hard times at Mission Critical Linux. "The company has been stripped down to a much smaller entity, with six employees compared with just less than 60 a month ago..."
Red Hat signs Sanyo, Motorola deals (News.com). Red Hat has signed deals to bring its GNUPro software-development tools to Sanyo's Xstormy16 CPU and to support the AltiVec instructions in Motorola PowerPC chips. "Sanyo's Xstormy16 is used in devices without much computing power, including audio devices and home appliances. AltiVec is technology built into many PowerPC chips that speeds up operations such as audio processing. The technology is useless, however, unless software can take advantage of it, and supporting AltiVec in GNUPro will allow Linux to get past that roadblock."
VPN hardware company names new CEO (News.com). Embedded Linux VPN provider SnapGear has promoted Chief Technology Officer Rick Stevenson to chief executive. "SnapGear uses a version of Linux and was a subsidiary of embedded Linux company Lineo until October 2001. The company now has about 35 employees. Stevenson had been vice president of integrated products at Lineo."
Sony starts selling Linux kit for PS2 (News.com). News.com covers Sony's PS2 announcement. "Sony doesn't expect the product to be a mainstream hit but hopes that hobbyists who tinker with the PlayStation can become top-notch game designers. Judging by the 9,626 people who signed a petition for Linux on the PS2, there is significant interest."
Double Checking Sun's Reality Check (Byte.com). Byte.com carries Moshe Bar's rebuttal to Sun's "Reality Check" article. "The big advantage to using Linux on a mainframe is the consolidation of servers. There are data centers out there with thousands of individual x86 servers, especially in new industries like cellular communication, ISPs, and application server providers." (Thanks to Biju Chacko)
Sun Microsystems Faces Critical Point in Company History, Experts Say (Boston Globe). The Boston Globe examines Sun's efforts to get involved with Linux, and looks at one Sun customer's switch. "In 1998, Lucas began switching to cheap personal computers, similar to those found in millions of American homes, and to the free Linux operating system. He has been delighted with the results. The more primitive computers actually run his code faster than the high-end machines ever did and at far lower cost. 'We decided to convert completely over to Linux,' Lucas said."
Sputnik: Open Source wireless public network (Register). The three co-founders of Linuxcare are on another Open Source adventure. "David L. Sifry, Arthur Tyde and David LaDuke launched wireless networking company Sputnik in April 2001, but only last month did they launch a public Web site to reveal their plans. In an effort to "under-promise and over-deliver," as Sifry calls it, the trio have thus far avoided marketing and advertising their product, an Open Source 802.11b wireless gateway designed to allow wireless access providers to authenticate users while sharing their bandwidth."
Will Linux find a home in handhelds? (CNN). CNN reports on the growing number of Linux PDAs. "While new to a market which already has established giants Palm and Microsoft operating systems battling it out for market share, Ishrat Hakim, Lineo's vice president Asia-Pacific sales and corporate development, believes Linux has the ability to hold its own in this ultra-competitive arena."
Cost the key factor in pushing business to open source (Register). The Register examines data gathered by OpenForum Europe, a group advocating the use of open source software in business. "Unlike the more overtly geeky open source organisations we're familiar with, OpenForum Europe has set itself the tricky task of evangelising the software in business and government, which means having a few suits on board itself, and working the line between suit and geek."
AOL embraces Linux and Mozilla, plans to drop MS Explorer (Register). Here is a Newsforge article, carried in the Register, which looks at AOL's internal switch to Linux and Mozilla. "AOL is switching to Linux for the same reason most large companies make the change: to save money. Thousands of AOL servers are already 100% Linux, and more are switching over every day. AOL number-crunchers figure they can replace an $80,000 box running proprietary UNIX with two $5,000 Linux boxes and get a 50% increase in performance in addition to the cost savings."
Mozilla's Revenge (Salon). Salon's Andrew Leonard revisits Mozilla. "Mozilla today is so much more impressive than it was a year and a half ago that it made me feel like I wanted to be a hacker all over again, just as I did when I first began to tap into the fervor that was fueling the growth of Linux and Apache."
The Evolution Continues (Linuxworld). Joe Barr continues his review of the Evolution mail client, and the process of migrating from Sylpheed to Evolution. "After a couple of weeks of constant usage it is even clearer to me today than when I wrote the first column that while both Evolution and Sylpheed are GUI clients, each are seeking a different audience. If it is sheer speed, power, and reliability you want then Sylpheed is the choice for you. If you want ease of use and an almost seamless bridge between Windows clients like Outlook and e-mail Linux-style, then Evolution meets your needs better."
Emulate This! Part 1 (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal launches a new series of columns on interoperability with this look at the mtools package. "You might ask why we would use something like mtools instead of simply mounting a floppy diskette as type msdos (as in mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy) and using the traditional Linux commands. Well, for one thing, there's this whole thing about mounting and unmounting diskettes, which can be a bit of a pain."
Consumer Video Editing in Linux (Camcorderinfo). Camcorderinfo looks at some of the advantages of using Linux for video capturing and editing. "Because video editing is so computer intensive, we often push our computers to their limits when editing video and anyone who has worked with video in a Windows environment has experienced the unreliability of Windows and gone through many crashes. Linux is considered much more reliable than Windows and once you have it installed will most likely give you much fewer headaches."
Alan Cox: What the future holds for Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet has posted another interview of Alan Cox, this time the topic is the future of Linux. "In the desktop world there are a set of transitions for the legacy-free PCs which we have to be ready for--we're pretty much in the right spot. So you see machines where USB is basically the only plug-in interface. ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) is becoming a requirement on machines, so you have to support the ACPI configuration."
Alan Cox: The battle for the desktop (ZDNet). Here is part 2 of ZDNet's interview with Alan Cox. "A good example of the flexibility of Linux is in internationalization. Because it's open source, anyone can pick that code up and adapt it, and do it with all their own cultural nuances. At one point Iceland had a problem because Microsoft looked at it and said, here's a small country, we won't be doing an Icelandic version of Windows anytime soon. This was unfortunate for Iceland as they are rather attached to their language, having spoken it for more than 1,000 years. So some guys took Linux and translated it into Icelandic."
Brian Chats with Moshe about openMosix (SF Foundry). Brian Finley talks with Moshe Bar about openMosix. "We had then, finally, one last interested [venture capitalist]. very serious people who did a lot of research into Mosix, on the three people invovled and on the chances for marketing Mosix as it was then (spring 2001) in the summer of 2001 we got a firm offer from that VC to create a commercial Mosix entity."
GNU-Friends Interviews Karl Berry. GNU-Friends has interviewed Karl Berry, long time TeX guru, who shares his thoughts on open-source software as well as a recipe for Hungarian pork chops. "Typography and letterform design have been innately interesting to me for as long as I can remember. In the 1980's, TeX and Metafont were just hitting their stride, and Kathryn and I designed and typeset numerous books and other random items with them. Don Knuth's projects are always fascinating on many levels, and it was natural to get pulled in."
Linux watch counts down to launch (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on IBM's latest Linux watch, which is to make an appearance at CeBIT. "Linux 2.4 runs on a 32-bit RISC processor, the frequency of which varies from 74MHz to 18MHz to help save power. By tinkering with Linux, IBM has reduced the amount of memory required to run the operating system. In turn, this has helped increase the battery life to six hours. IBM has predicted all-day battery life will appear in a year or so."
Are You a Linux Waif? (Linux Journal). Linux Journal asks twelve questions designed to reveal the Linux waif. "Does your dad's license plate read ILUVLNX or LNXROX or LNXRULZ, etc.? Does the other car's plate read IH8MS?"
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
March 14, 2002