Linux in the news
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Linux geeks play Hollywood politics (News.com). Linux geeks Jeff Gerhardt and Doc Searls are forming a lobbying group called GeekPAC that would try to convince lawmakers to consider developers when they draft laws concerning technology. "In recent years, attempts to crack down on illegal copying by outlawing some technologies have outraged developers, but few technologists have had the time or political wherewithal to challenge proposed legislation. The most high-profile law so far has been the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has landed one developer in jail and led to countless threats of enforcement against other programmers."
Microsoft learns a lesson from competition (CNN).
article claims Microsoft is learning lessons from open source.
"Dana Hayter, a lawyer with Howard Rice in San Francisco who
specializes in intellectual property law, says Microsoft is likely more
worried about the competitive threat of open source software.
Microsoft Attacks Free Software Developers with New License (FSF). The Free Software Foundation has published an article that explains the perils of Microsoft's new "Royalty-Free CIFS Technical Reference License Agreement".
"Microsoft has veiled this attack in the trappings of a 'gift'. Microsoft agrees to grant royalty-free permission to use and exercise their CIFS patents in Free Software, but only to a limited set of developers. Under the guise of fulfilling its obligations under the anti-trust settlement, Microsoft has singled out developers and companies who choose copyleft licenses (such as GPL and LGPL). Software distributors of copylefted software are forbidden from exercising the patents royalty-free, and thus are effectively forbidden from exercising the patents at all under copyleft."
Microsoft anti-GPL fine print threatens competition (Register). The Register is carrying a look at Microsoft's new CIFS licensing and how it may affect Samba. "The main problem for the Samba team is that while the open source version has been specifically designed to be interoperable with the Microsoft's SMB implementation without copying Microsoft's code, the new license references software patents implemented in CIFS, which some observers speculate Samba may inadvertently infringe upon."
The Microsoft penalty that isn't (News.com). Bruce Perens has written an article on News.com concerning Microsoft's recent licensing maneuvers. "In its antitrust settlement with the Justice Department and nine states, Microsoft promised to publish technology that would allow competing products to interoperate with Windows. But Microsoft has sidestepped the penalty by crafting a technology license that excludes the company's only viable competitor."
Economist backs Microsoft foes' case (News.com). News.com is running an article that discusses the testimony given by several experts in the Microsoft antitrust case. "'The case is about the illegal defense of a monopoly in the face of a threat that might have eliminated the monopoly power, not about the creation of a monopoly,' Shapiro testified. He also focused on how the technologies that posed a threat to Microsoft's Windows monopoly had changed dramatically since the case was brought in May 1998. "
FDA Validation a Threat to Free/OSS? (LinuxMedNews). LinuxMedNews looks at the possible threat to open source software from a recently changed FDA software validation document. "Arnaud Le Breton wrote in asking about the 'regulatory aspects' of medical open source especially in view of the FDA's recent revised document 'General Principles of Software Validation: Final Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff'".
Go with the GPL - Or Else (os Opinion). OsOpinion is running an article concerning reasons to chose a GPL compatible license. "Usually, even avid GPL proponents will support software with other GPL-compatible licenses if you choose not to use the GPL. However, if your license is not GPL-compatible, developers may create a competing product so they can take advantage of GPL'ed code."
Open source debated at AEI-Brookings (UPI). Newsalert is carrying this UPI article covering this open source debate. "James Bessen, founder and director of Research on Innovation -- a non-profit organization that promotes research on technological innovation -- says that part of the problem in the debate over open source development is the media portrayal of the "false dichotomies" of the competing sides. He believes that the portrayal of serious business interests (embodied by proprietary code products like Windows) vs. youthful idealism (represented by Linux and other OSS products)-- or "industrial strength products" vs. "hacker code" -- does not reflect the reality of the situation."
Open source subject to fiery debate (CNN). Can open source and proprietary software coexist? CNN covers a recent conference at which panelists debated the issue. "But audience member Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, nearly stole the panel's thunder as he grabbed a microphone during the question and answer period and attempted to commandeer the conference to address what he described as mischaracterizations the panel made about the free software movement. Stallman had not been invited as a panelist."
Linux kernel captain deported (vnunet). Here's a vnunet.com article on 2.4 maintainer Marcelo Tosatti's expulsion from the U.S. for trying to do work with a tourist visa. "Tosatti acknowledged that the deportation was perfectly reasonable. 'I didn't have correct documentation so they had a reason to do it,' he said"
Munich considering a switch to Linux (Heise Online). Heise Online reports that the city of Munich, Germany is looking into the possibility of switching 10,000 PCs from Microsoft software to Linux. The main concerns of the study are information privacy and recurring license fees. See the original article in german, or view an English translation. (Thanks to Andreas Lauser.)
Judge sets hearing for e-book trial (News.com). The ElcomSoft/DMCA case is slowly grinding its way through the U.S. court system. News.com reports that U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte has announced a hearing on May 6 to set a trial date for the case.
The making of de facto standards (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at efforts by IBM and Microsoft to push the UDDI, SOAP and WSDL protocols. "IBM and Microsoft have been widely recognized as the driving forces behind these protocols that, for the most part, were hatched in the labs of one or both companies. However, not one of these protocols has yet received the imprimatur of either the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) or the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the two standards-setting bodies for the Internet and Web."
FSF asks Lindows: 'Where's the Source?' (NewsForge). The Free Software Foundation wants to know why no source code was included with the LindowsOS sneak preview. "Robertson does not deny that the source code for LindowsOS isn't included in either of the two beta releases. 'It's a work in progress. We're hopeful our first release will happen around the middle of the year. When we release an official version, all the GPL pieces will be properly distributed.'"
The Case Against the DMCA (Linux Journal). Linux Journal has published an article on the history of the DMCA bill and its many negative effects. "This now infamous piece of legislation violates our basic rights of free speech and fair use. Not only does this evil piece of legislation violate our rights; it also stifles technological growth."
Opposing Hollings bill makes for strange bedfellows (NewsForge). NewsForge looks at the opposition to the CBDTPA. "Financial analysts are already warning major stockholders that their investments in the electronics industry are going in the tank unless the Hollings bill is killed."
Apunix Uses Mandrake Linux for Large-Scale Kiosk Deployment (MandrakeBizCases). Apunix Computer Services used Mandrake Linux 7.2 in the development, deployment, and continued use of a network of 160 kiosks for TravelCenters of America. "In September 2000, Apunix and TravelCenters of America (TA), the largest TravelCenter network in the United States, deployed the highly successful TravelCenters' RoadKing ClubTM Kiosk Program. These 160 Mandrake Linux-based kiosks have been running trouble-free since their installation."
Netscape, not IE, put on new CompuServe (News.com). Netscape is bundled with CompuServe 7.0. "However, the decision for CompuServe to embrace Netscape, also an AOL subsidiary, could further divide the Internet company's tenuous partnership with Microsoft. For years, the pair existed in an amicable quid-pro-quo arrangement where AOL would use IE as its default browser in exchange for Microsoft bundling AOL into its Windows operating system. Last summer, that arrangement dissolved, sending the tech rivals back to their respective corners."
Gateway Launches Ad Campaign Against Copyright Bill (Yahoo). Here's a Reuters article on Yahoo showing that the technology industry is starting to wake up to the CBDTPA problem. "The country's fourth-largest computer maker is taking to the airwaves in a bid to rally consumers against a copyright-protection bill that would prevent computers from playing pirated movies and music. Starting Wednesday night, computer maker Gateway Inc. will launch a radio and TV ad campaign urging consumers to visit its Web site to download free music and learn more about a copyright debate that so far has been dominated by Washington lobbyists and corporate lawyers."
Google Begins Making DMCA Takedowns Public (Linux Journal). Linux Journal looks at Google's response to DMCA censorship. "Failing to act in response to a DMCA takedown letter is not against the law. "They can always choose not to take advantage of the safe harbor," Seltzer said. However, only by complying with the letter and taking pages out of their index can Google escape a possible copyright infringement lawsuit."
IBM Australia migrating to Linux (ZDNet). IBM's Australian staff are being moved to Linux servers for file and printer sharing, according to ZDNet. "IBM's Linux business manager, Geoff Lawrence, told ZDNet Australia that the company commenced consolidating 96 IBM Intel-based file and print servers to 55 Linux machines in February 2002, the deployment of which will be completed in July. The migration also includes one IBM Unix backup server running IBM AIX and Tivoli Storage Manager."
What's an 'ICE Box' and what's inside one? (LinuxDevices). Linux NetworX announced a new appliance-like device that is used for managing rack-mounted Linux clusters, called the ICE Box. Join LinuxDevices.com for a tour inside the ICE Box. "As cluster systems scale from dozens, to hundreds, and even thousands of nodes, management becomes exponentially complex and requires significant effort. To simplify this effort, Linux NetworX has developed Integrated Cluster Environment (ICE), a complete cluster management solution that consists of the ClusterWorX management software and the ICE Box hardware appliance."
CEO out at Ellison's Net-device firm (News.com). News.com reports that CEO Gina Smith is leaving the Larry Ellison-backed New Internet Computer Company. "Smith, a former technology reporter for ABC News and CNET, was chosen by Ellison in February 2000 to head the company, of which he is chairman and majority owner. The company's namesake product is a $199 Linux-based Web-surfing device that lacks a hard drive, storing the operating system and other software on a CD and in flash memory."
CEO of Red Hat to Take Position as Chairman of Board. The Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer reports on some changes in the Red Hat corporate organization. "Red Hat will announce today that Chief Executive Matthew Szulik will take over as chairman of its board, a spot currently held by company co-founder Bob Young."
Red Hat CEO named chairman (News.com). News.com talks about Red Hat's naming of Matthew Szulik as chairman of the board. "Szulik faces the challenge of turning Linux, an open-source operating system that is licensed for free, into a profitable business--a task all the more daunting given that it competes with Microsoft's dominant Windows operating system."
Red Hat To Ship Secure Web Server (TechWeb). Here's a look at Red Hat's Stronghold Enterprise, an open-source Web server based on Apache and featuring enhanced security, performance, and development tools.
Sendmail nabs funding, expands (News.com). News.com covers Sendmail's recent funding and its new calendaring products. "Sendmail's e-mail software has at its heart the open-source project of the same name. The calendar software, though, is a proprietary product Sendmail licensed from an undisclosed company, Anderson said."
Loki: A promising plan gone terribly wrong (LinuxAndMain). LinuxAndMain looks at the failure of Loki Software. "In January 2001, [Scott] Draeker fired Lance Colvin, his now-former best friend who had been with the company for two years, and who had loaned the company more than $200,000, his mother even sometimes loaning Loki money so that it could make payroll. Some former employees pointed to this event as an indication that the situation might have been more ominous than could be explained by mere incompetence."
Running MS-Office on Linux (Register). The Register test drives CodeWeavers' Crossover Office for Linux. "Whereas MS Word ran quite well, we're warned that the Office Assistant is nowhere near ready for prime time. But of course I had to play with it (see screen shot above). And yes, Clippy somehow managed to reboot my machine -- something I personally haven't done in weeks. This appears to have been in swift retaliation for shutting him off. All right; fair is fair."
Running Windows apps on Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at ways of running Windows applications on Linux. "We found CrossOver Office surprisingly easy to install and configure, and the performance of MS Office apps was comparable to performance under Windows. While there are still nits to pick with the product (font rendering, for example), CrossOver Office is easy to use, fast, and cheap ($59), and thus more likely than other Windows-on-Linux solutions to make corporate migration to Linux on the desktop a practical alternative."
Lindows launch edges closer (IT-Director). IT-Director reports on the latest release of Lindows. "Temporarily free of its court wrangle with Microsoft, Lindows this week released a second preview version of its operating system."
WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean) (Linux Journal). Linux Journal reviews LyX, the GUI front end to the venerable LaTeX typesetting system. "Although LyX can be used to write small notes and memos, it really shines when a user is making complex documents. Its ability to add sections automatically to the table of contents as they are created, and to do section and list numbering, saves a lot of time and strain."
Ogg Vorbis offers first handheld player (News.com). News.com reports on TheKompany's release of tkcPlayer for Sharp's Linux-based Zaurus handheld computer.
Aspire to Crudeness: Special Ogg Vorbis Issue (Linux Journal). Linux Journal's Don Marti reviews ogg123, a command line Ogg-Vorbis audio file player. "I can't stand having a background application I rarely if ever touch use some of the pixels I paid for. The closest player to being cool is the command-line player ogg123, but I don't want to start an xterm for it. It's supposed to be an audio player and has no reason to get in my eyes -- just my ears."
Mozilla poised for revival (News.com). Here's a review of the newest Mozilla browser. "As Mozilla.org readies the long-awaited 1.0 browser, speculation has swirled over the prospects of a renewed browser battle with Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer now dominates the Web."
Apache graduates to Version 2.0 (CNN). CNN.com reviews Apache version 2.0. "'From what I'm hearing, the performance improvements are significant,' said Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of systems software with research company IDC, noting the benefits of its multithreading support. 'They rethought the architecture and added additional benefits of security and allowed some clever additions of different modules so you could get better performance.'"
58-node Linux Cluster benchmark results. IBM has published a paper (in PDF format) on cluster benchmarks for a 58 node eServer Cluster 1300. "This paper presents the results of a benchmark test conducted on a 58-node Cluster 1300 system, simultaneously running eight instances of e-Business Trade 2 benchmark tests on Redhat Linux. This all-IBM solution mounted in only three racks supported 800,000 users, serving an unprecedented 12,547 requests/sec with an average response time of 0.27 sec/request."
An interview with Jason Hunter (IBM developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks features an interview with Jason Hunter. "If you were following JavaOne a few weeks back, you probably heard about how Sun and the Apache Software Foundation have resolved their difficulties over the way open source software could participate in the Java community process but if you were like the majority of Java developers, the precise issues were probably a bit of a mystery. To clear things up, and find out exactly what these changes will mean for open source developers and the Java community, developerWorks caught up with Apache's representative on the Java Community Process, Jason Hunter, and asked him to explain what's going on."
Rice University Studying the Sociology of the Linux Community (Linux Journal). Linux Journal looks into a survey currently being conducted by the Jones School of Management at Rice University in Houston, Texas. "So take a few minutes to complete this survey; all of the information will remain confidential and is for academic use. And if you need another motivator, one of the last questions on the survey asks for your favorite Linux group or organization, and five from the final results will receive $100 donations."
LWN also received a letter from Professor Dholakia asking for our help in publicizing this survey. So we reiterate LJ's request that you take a few minutes to fill out the survey.
Experience the impossible. Linuxmag.nl is running a humorous article on a visit by Tux the penguin to the Microsoft corporate offices. "Not wasting any time, I immediately crawled behind the first keyboard I could put my hands, eh, wings on. And guess what, the password I found underneath the keyboard works. Now I can adjust my security privileges, and get some work done." (Thanks to Armijn.)
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
April 18, 2002