Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Bleak future looms if you don't take a stand (SiliconValley). Recommended reading: this call to action from Dan Gillmor on SiliconValley.com. "And insist that they reject anything resembling legislation introduced last week by Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. This favor to the entertainment moguls would lead us down a control-freak path of putting copy protection in every digital device. Tell them you don't want your PC to be neutered into an expensive DVD player. And tell them you don't want the Internet, the greatest enabler of free speech in history, to be reduced to online television."
Abe Lincoln and the internet pirates (Financial Times). Disney CEO Michael Eisner has an appalling Financial Times column telling us that Abraham Lincoln would have supported the CBDTPA. "Lincoln's affection for the internet would have stemmed from its power to unite. America's 16th president fought to hold the United States together. Nearly a century and a half later, he would have been thrilled to see the web make it possible for citizens from Key West to Kauai to share an enormous range of news, information and knowledge. But he undoubtedly would have disdained those who go to sites with names such as Gnutella, Madster, BearShare, Limewire, Swaptor, Morpheus or Rapigator to pilfer the intellectual property of others."
Anti-copy bill hits DC (Wired). Wired reports on the introduction of the SSSCA into the U.S. Senate. It has transformed into the "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA)," but the intent is the same. "...the newly named CBDTPA says that all 'digital media devices' sold in the United States or shipped across state lines must include copy-protection mechanisms to be defined by the Federal Communications Commission."
See also: Senator Holling's remarks when introducing the legislation.
Proposed anti-piracy bill draws fire (News.com). CNET reports on a debate involving representatives from the recording industry, computer manufacturers, and the Open-Source Applications Foundation on the topic of recently proposed U.S. Government controls on digital media devices. "The debate comes days after Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings introduced a bill that would ultimately require computer and consumer electronics companies to build piracy-prevention software into their products. Called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Act--once known as the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act--the bill has some powerful lobbyists including Hollywood studios Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox."
Anti-Copy Bill Slams Coders (Wired). Wired looks at how the CBDTPA would affect programmers. "According to the CBDTPA, any software with the ability to reproduce 'copyrighted works' may not be sold in the United States after the Federal Communications Commission's regulations take effect. Even programmers who distribute their code for free would be prohibited from releasing newer versions -- unless the application included federally approved technology."
Does it take hardware to repel pirates? (ZDNet). ZDNet covers the introduction of the CBDTPA (formerly SSSCA) in the Senate. "Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for network protection firm Counterpane Internet Security, said the bill would essentially lock up all content in boxes controlled by copyright holders no matter what device or computer the information is on. The legislation would also have far-reaching effects on the software and computer industry, making almost all of today's software and hardware illegal and putting open-source software in a tight spot, he said."
Biting the Hand that Beats You (Linux Journal). Here's a rant from Doc Searls in the Linux Journal about the CBDTPA and those who are pushing for it. "But not Disney. Not News Corp. These guys are having trouble making the transition from potato farming to whatever comes next. They have no idea how to do business with resourceful human beings rather than passive vegetables. So they run to government for protection."
MS Office arrives on the Linux desktop (DesktopLinux). DesktopLinux.com reviews CrossOver Office from CodeWeavers. "CodeWeavers' new CrossOver Office product delivers on the long-standing goal of the Wine project: making it easy for anyone to successfully install and run Windows software on Linux systems, using a simple point-and-click process. It works so well, and the Windows programs that it currently supports run so smoothly, that it makes me feel slightly guilty -- as though I'm somehow cheating."
Councils want an Office alternative (vnunet). UK councils are looking into open source alternatives to Microsoft Office. "Local government user group Socitm has strongly criticised Microsoft's licensing policies. It is already in talks with Sun Microsystems about whether its StarOffice suite offers a realistic rival for authorities."
Commentary: StarOffice is now more viable (News.com). CNET looks into the viability of StarOffice as a replacement for Microsoft Office. "Many enterprises use the same version of Office companywide to standardize desktops. However, enterprises now realize that most workers consume information but don't create it, so they don't use more than 20 percent of the features in Office. At the same time, changes in Microsoft's license policy could force some customers to pay twice as much for the next version. Enterprises looking for alternative suites may eventually find one in StarOffice 6.0, which will likely become available in the second quarter. "
Raymond: Mac OS X too restrictive (ZDNet). ZDNet UK's Matthew Broersma talks to Eric Raymond about Apple's Public Source License. "Apple may be courting open-source developers with its Unix-based Mac OS X, but it doesn't have all open-source gurus convinced. Eric Raymond, the co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, told ZDNet UK that he, for one, finds Apple's "public source" licence too restrictive."
Open source wins Java rights (vnunet). According to Vnunet, Sun may be loosening its grip on the Java Testing Compatibility Kit license. In the past, the high price of the license has prevented its use by open source Java implementations. "The software giant has buckled following a campaign headed up by Apache on behalf of the open source community, which called on Sun to discontinue licences prohibiting Java compatible open source implementations, and make compatibility testing more accessible. "
Sun opens Java to Open Source community (Register). The Register covers Sun's plans to modify the JCP so open source community members can submit APIs for inclusion in Java specifications. "And, in a gesture of good-will, Sun will move some web services JSRs - currently navigating the JCP - to an open source license. Sun was unable to say which JSRs will be opened, but said all JSRs would eventually be moved to an open source license. JSRs are the working name of Java APIs before they graduate the JCP."
Red Hat exec questioned in antitrust case (Reuters). Reuters looks at on Michael Tiemann's testimony concerning the Microsoft antitrust case. "Wheeler tried to neutralize Tiemann's testimony on Monday by pointing out that Microsoft's settlement with the Justice Department would require Microsoft to make disclosures that would ensure compatibility with other companies' software.
But Tiemann said the settlement deal was vague and could allow Microsoft to continue withholding technical information competitors need to make sure their software works well with Microsoft products."
Linux Executive Accuses Microsoft (Associated Press). Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann gave his views on Microsoft's proprietary extensions in a U.S. District Court, according to this article on the Associated Press. "'Some disclosure does not mean complete disclosure or substantial disclosure,' Tiemann said."
Testimony: Microsoft still intimidating (News.com). News.com carries this Reuters article about testimony in the Microsoft hearings. "Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Michael Tiemann told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that computer makers had rebuffed his attempts in recent years to pre-install the Linux operating system on their machines because of fears that Microsoft would retaliate."
Makers of PCs Fear Wrath Of Microsoft (Washington Post). The Washington Post covers Michael Tiemann's written testimony for the federal court hearings on the sanctioning of Microsoft. "At one point in 2000, Red Hat had a deal with Dell to put Linux in desktop and laptop personal computers, but it was later abandoned, Tiemann testified. He said Dell balked at helping Red Hat do the necessary technical work to make Linux function because he was told Dell feared it would jeopardize its relationship with Microsoft."
Also, see ComputerWorld's article on the subject.
Microsoft Suggests Red Hat Short on Development for Competing Linux System (Dow Jones Newswires). According to this article a Microsoft attorney has accused Red Hat of doing too little to help itself. "Red Hat Inc. [a distributor of the competing Linux operating system,] has invested little to either develop applications that would run on Linux or to make third-party applications work, argued Microsoft attorney Stephanie Wheeler."
Free and Transparent software for all (Linux Valley). Linux Valley has this editorial (in Italian) about a Press Conference at Palazzo Madama (the Senate of Italy), in which Sen. Cortiana (Greens Federation) presented a proposed law regarding the introduction of Free Software in the public administration. Here is the Babelfish translation. (Thanks to Francesco De Carlo)
Don't give up hope on developers yet (ZDNet). On ZDNet, Robert K. Fullerton writes about advances in the promotion of new ideas. "The computer world is loaded with individuals with new, inventive ideas who are not afraid to trot them out. There are still many outlets for individual creativity. The whole Linux world, which is based upon that very premise, shows increasing promise. The open source movement is gathering proponents and appears increasingly viable -- even thriving. New companies will arrive to cash in on innovation; some will fail, a few won't. But that's no different than any other economic endeavor."
How Coder Cornered Milosevic (Wired). Wired News looks at Patrick Ball's work in the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. "Ball added it was important to note that human rights work 'is best served by free software, so that any group who wanted to reproduce my work could do so without a huge investment. I did the data processing using Python, we used MySQL, and all the data coding teams used Linux and Apache.'"
IBM calls up new Linux server (News.com). News.com covers IBM's latest Linux offering. "The company on Tuesday announced a new eServer based on the Linux operating system for the telecommunications industry. At the same time, Big Blue introduced a new Linux Service Provider Lab to test Linux software for telecommunications companies."
Mandrake Linux policy angers members (ZDNet). Some Mandrake Club members are not happy about a MandrakeSoft decision to allow only those members paying higher fees to download the latest StarOffice, now that Sun is charging for the office suite. "Because of this policy, the company changed the note on Mandrake Club's site from "All membership levels enjoy the same benefits," to "All membership levels enjoy almost the same benefits." This, however, left many of the original Club members feeling ripped off."
Inside Sun (ConsultingTimes). ConsultingTimes looks at the the marketing of StarOffice 6, and its relation to OpenOffice.org in an interview with Mike Rogers, vice president and general manager of desktop and office productivity at Sun. "Rogers: We are 100% in sync with OpenOffice.org and we'll stay so. That's not to say there won't be derivative products at OpenOffice.org -- people can take the source and do something to feed a niche market, supply a port to a platform we don't support, or a language that we don't support. That's all good."
SuSE infuses Blue blood into Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the relationship between IBM and SuSE. "SuSE, a German company that both Intel and IBM have small minority stakes in, does this by offering IBM's customers peace of mind. According to SuSE's [Jurgen] Deck, that peace of mind comes in the form of a 'single throat to choke if something goes wrong.' In addition to making sure that Linux is running smooth as silk on all of IBM's platforms, SuSE also makes sure that IBM's customers don't mistakenly move their Linux installations out of lockstep with what's supported by companies like Oracle and SAP."
Linux Is Served (TechWeb). TechWeb looks at the sucess of Linux as a server. "With support from the major vendors, analysts predict that Linux installations will capture 32 percent of the Intel server market by year's end, up from 27 percent last year. Why? Linux is considered more robust and scalable than Microsoft's Windows NT. And users can modify Linux's open source code as needed."
Commentary: Ten key consequences (News.com). News.com has a Gartner Group pronouncement on the effects of the HP/Compaq merger - whether it happens or not. "Linux and IBM AIX will increase their support among independent software vendors, likely at the expense of HP/UX and Compaq Tru64."
Zaurus Linux PDA makes wireless debut at JavaOne (Mobile Tech News). Mobile Tech News gives a sneak peak at the latest fun Linux device. "Sun and Sharp will be offering the long-awaited Zaurus Linux PDA bundled together with a Linksys 802.11b (Wi-Fi) interface card. Pricing has been set at $299 for the conference promotion. The unit comes pre-installed with the Linux operating system, and the PersonalJava virtual machine software."
Qtopia and embedded Linux showing up on smart phones soon (NewsForge). NewsForge reports on TrollTech's Qtopia. "Qtopia is a complete embedded application environment that is based on Qt and the Linux kernel. It stays smaller, requiring about 8MB of ROM, because it works directly with the Linux framebuffer -- there's no need for a bulky X11 server, or a window manager, or toolkits. [...] Qtopia is dual-licensed just like Qt. Free Software adherents can pick it up with the GPL, and commercial developers can take Qtopia with a proprietary, for-pay license that will let them keep their code private."
Humanoid robot goes to work on Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet UK covers the Kawada HRP-2P robot. "Linux is proving a popular choice for robotics, partly due to the flexibility of the operating system -- developers can customise the code freely for their own purposes. Fujitsu created a robot based on Linux last year, called Hoap-1 . In disclosing the internal architecture of Hoap-1 Fujitsu urged open-source developers to try and improve the robot's operating system code."
Linux Gets Even More Friendly (IT-Director). IT-Director examines new features in SuSE 8.0, KDE 3,0, and Mandrake Linux 8.2. "Linux is still not ready for large-scale deployment to users without significant local support available, but it is daily becoming more and more user friendly."
Making a success of 'Freeware' (IT-Director). This article proves that many people don't understand the nature of Open Source/Free Software licensing. "For a while it looked as though the Open Source community would be going down the same route -- dogmatically demanding that all software licensing is theft and saluting proudly as each new development sinks beneath the waves of Microsoft oppression."
Commentary: Trust no one (News.com). News.com has another Gartner Group opinion piece; this one is about security and actually shows some clue. "Unlike proprietary software security programs that don't open code for public scrutiny, open-source software allows for public viewing. This process allows open-source software vulnerabilities to be discovered faster than those in proprietary software, and the spiral release-and-enhance model used in well-managed open-source products will result in higher-security applications more quickly than in the typical waterfall model seen with commercial proprietary software."
RTAI goes (partly) GPL (LinuxDevices). Here's a LinuxDevices.com article on the RTAI license change. "In summary, the RTAI team made the switch to GPL to satisfy any lingering qualms by developers that there may be some kind of patent infringement risk when using RTAI. With the switch to GPL, the RTAI team is now convinced that RTAI meets the RTLinux patent license requirements and thus developers will not need any kind of license from the holders of the patent (FSMLabs)."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
March 28, 2002