Linux in the news
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Greenpeace cans Windows (vnunet). Vnunet reports that environmental advocate Greenpeace has migrated its operation-critical fundraising systems in the UK from Windows to a Java Enterprise system running on Linux. "Greenpeace UK evaluated Red Hat against Windows NT and Sun Solaris, comparing performance, reliability, configurability and support services. The result was Dell servers with Red Hat Linux 7.1, running a Java application server and IBM's DB2 database." (Thanks to Richard Kay)
Sustainable Computing Consortium 'foolish' if it doesn't embrace open standards (NewsForge). NewsForge takes a critical look at Carnegie Mellon's "Sustainable Computing Consortium". "The "benefits of membership" listed by the Consortium in its FAQ lays it out: 'Members are entitled to a non-exclusive, internal-use license for the intellectual property created by the SCC.' So what benefit would it be for a Free Software company to get involved in an environment that prevents them from using the innovations created in that environment, since the very nature of Open Source software is that the source code must be offered to those who purchase software?"
'Fair Use' Is Getting Unfair Treatment (BusinessWeek). Business Week looks at the copyright battles. "Copyright law has always tried to strike a delicate balance between the rights of content creators to be compensated for their work and the rights of consumers to use what they have paid for. But the development of digital media and Big Media's attempt to completely control it have destroyed the delicate equilibrium that is copyright law." (Thanks to Kyle Roberson).
Does new Europe law mean slammer for DRM crackers? (Register). The Register examines the implications of the pending European Union Copyright Directive in the area of copyright protection. "Fears that the pending European Union Copyright Directive could lead to a European re-run of the Dmitri Sklyarov prosecution were much in evidence during the recent Campaign for Digital Rights mini-conference at London's City University."
Respect for IPR key to new economy (Taipei Times). The Taipei Times looks at intellectual property and anti-piracy efforts. "But will the computer world really come to a halt without Microsoft? There are many other companies providing similar products. People in Taiwan are not alone in wanting non-Microsoft options, as seen in the growing boycott of the Windows operating system in favor of the open-code Linux system." (Thanks to Andy Tai).
The technology behind Napster is far from dead (SiliconValley.com). Dan Gillmor reports from the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. "Open source and the public domain are under attack as never before, largely from the entertainment cartel that so successfully brought Napster to heel. But resistance is beginning to surface to tactics that would not just curb the Napsters of this world, but would literally require Hollywood's approval for technological innovation."
States: Microsoft Urged Linux Retaliation (Reuters). Here is a Reuters article on another Microsoft memo which has turned up. "In the memo, Microsoft senior vice president Joachim Kempin complained to Gates and other senior executives that computer chip-maker Intel Corp. was encouraging computer makers to support Linux and funding development of new devices that would work with Linux. Kempin said Microsoft should withhold technical information from Intel and 'work underground' to promote its competitors in the computer chip industry..."
Microsoft winds up on both ends of software piracy stick (NewsForge). Did you know Microsoft was convicted of software piracy last year by a French court? Not many people do, says this NewsForge article. "And nobody else in the segment of the tech media that's traditionally anti-Microsoft picked up the story, either -- not Slashdot, nor LinuxToday, nor NewsForge. Neither did any of the mainstream tech outlets. Nobody noticed this news. Nobody except Peruvian congressman Edgar David Villanueva Nuñez."
Microsoft steps on Samba's toes (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at the problems involving Microsoft's Common Internet File Sharing (CIFS) protocol and GPL software. "Specifically, Microsoft requires programmers to sign an agreement that prohibits using information in the document when building software governed by the General Public License (GPL). Among the products affected by the restriction is Samba, widely used software that competes with file sharing technology in Microsoft's Windows operating system."
Hackers turn on open source (vnunet). vnunet reports that crackers increasingly are not limiting themselves to proprietary systems. "Security watchers warned this week that May has seen a dramatic increase in defacements on Linux boxes, most noticeably on those from German speaking domains. Websites associated with Germany (.de) and German speaking countries such as Austria (.at) and Switzerland (.ch) have been the hardest hit of the open source community."
Report roasts Linux on mainframes (ZDNet). ZDNet looks into a report from market research company Meta Group that says Linux on the mainframe will not be cost effective in the long term. "Meta Group predicts that by 2007 the Linux-based data center workload, which will make up 15 to 20 percent of the market, will be almost exclusively running on Intel-based hardware."
Judge: Elcomsoft Case Can Proceed (Wired). Wired covers the continuing Elcomsoft case. "U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte of San Jose said that the DMCA was neither vague nor did it violate the First Amendment, as Elcomsoft had argued. Although the judge agreed with Elcomsoft that computer code is speech, he said that the DMCA does not unconstitutionally ban that speech."
Sklyarov/ElcomSoft case sent to trial (Register). The Register examines the latest news from the Elcomsoft case. "On Elcomsoft's First Amendment argument, Judge Whyte ruled that the computer program qualifies as speech, rejecting the government's argument that software is not speech. But the court then ruled that the First Amendment was satisfied because the government's purpose was to control the 'function' of the software rather than its 'content', and that the statute did not ban more speech than necessary to meet its goal of preventing piracy and promoting electronic commerce."
Caldera cuts costs (IT-Director). IT-Director covers Caldera's latest financial results. "Just last summer Ransom Love called for some consolidation of Linux distributors. In his words, "There is no place for multiple Linux distributors. There's no business to be made from the bits and bytes of Linux." Consolidation and take overs are always a possibility when stock markets are low. Open Source suppliers will almost certainly fall victim to basic economic forces. The questions are who and when."
Commentary: Linux bid needs time (News.com). Here's a Gartner Viewpoint article about IBM's latest Linux e-business initiative. "To succeed, IBM must reassure smaller businesses that Linux will be around for the long term, that reseller support will remain constant and that the application pool will grow. Smaller businesses should take none of those factors for granted, nor has IBM proven that the new offerings decrease total cost of ownership."
IBM backs developer bot battle (ZDNet). ZDNet covers the Robocode programming game that was launched at IBM's DeveloperWorks Live conference. Finals for the IBM backed competition will be held at the Linux World conference scheduled for August.
IBM brings grid computing to games (News.com). IBM is working with Butterfly.net to bring grid computing to the video game world. "The expense and complexity of hosting online games has been a sticking point for the growth of the industry. Game publishers have to maintain hundreds of servers to host a popular game and risk angering subscribers when games are unavailable due to malfunctioning or overloaded servers." The grid will be built from Linux-based IBM eServer xSeries systems.
See IBM's press release for more information.
Lynuxworks gets a shot in the ARM (ZDNet). ZDNet covers a Lynuxworks deal with ARM to bundle the two companies' products into a single embedded Linux development platform.
War among the penguins? Red Hat goes all competitive (Register). The Register looks at an offering from Red Hat. The company is offering a $20 rebate on 7.3 Professional and $10 on Personal for people upgrading from earlier versions of Red Hat or competiting operating systems. "Well, that'll certainly put the wind up Redmond, won't it? Er, no. Aside from the earlier Red Hat distributions, the other qualifying products are various versions of Mandrake and SuSE, including the recently-released 8.2 and 8.0 versions respectively."
RedHat Puts out a New Release and Offensive (Open For Business). Open For Business examines Red Hat 7.3 and its associated upgrade rebate offer. "Oddly enough, while RedHat went very cutting edge with packages such as XFree86 and KDE, other packages are left oddly outdated. The included Mozilla is behind by at least six minor releases (0.9.2 is included, whereas Mandrake includes 0.9.8), which is especially strange since RedHat has been a big proponent of Mozilla."
The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C., Business Briefs Column. The first brief item in this Raleigh News & Observer column covers a new Westford, Massachusetts office for Red Hat. "Earlier this year Red Hat acquired the assets of ArsDigita, a Westford software company. The new operation will employ a number of former ArsDigita engineers. The new facility will focus on developing high-performance computing products and enhancements for Red Hat's corporate line of server software"
Sun's Office competitor to cost $76 (News.com). Here's a News.com article on the upcoming commercial StarOffice release, which will be priced at $76 (US). "There are more costs than just the initial purchase fee, though, all agree. Gartner puts the price of switching a Microsoft Office user to StarOffice a $1,200--costs that include factors such as retraining, lost productivity and the difficulties of translating StarOffice files to and from Microsoft formats."
Sun works to converge Linux, Solaris (News.com). News.com covers Sun's efforts to integrate Linux interfaces into its Solaris operating system. "The change in strategy is momentous. First, it requires Sun to translate software products such as its Sun Open Network Environment suite to a new operating system. Second, because Linux is most popular on Intel processors, it furthers Intel's aims to encroach on Sun's server turf."
Microsoft customers shun new licensing (vnunet). Vnunet reports that two thirds of Microsoft's business customers have yet to sign up for the company's controversial Software Assurance program, in which customers are required to pay up front for software upgrades. "Experts said that the plan could drive IT managers to consider rival packages such as Sun Microsystems' StarOffice, and to switch operating systems to the open source alternative, Linux."
Total Cost of Ownership. The Italian ERLug has published a study (in Italian) on the total cost of ownership of a GNU/Linux system versus a Windows-based system. For an English version of the article, see the Babelfish translation. (Thanks to Pietro Suffritti.)
City sees the appeal of Linux (vnunet). The New York financial community is increasingly adopting Linux to cut costs, and London's banks aren't far behind, says this vnunet article. "IBM says it has 10 potential users on each side of the Atlantic. HP says it is talking to seven London banks, has nine users already in New York, and another 10 contemplating a switch."
IBM wooing smaller businesses to Linux (News.com). ZDNet reports on IBM's efforts to bring Linux to small businesses. "At its DeveloperWorks Live conference Thursday, the computing giant said it is courting small and midsized businesses with a new hardware and software bundle. The package includes IBM's eServer xSeries Intel-based servers running Linux; the WebSphere application-server software, technology that runs e-business and other Web site transactions; and the DB2 database, IBM's software for storing, managing and retrieving data."
Linux's future in the embedded systems market (Linux Devices). Linux Devices has published a white paper that summarizes the results of an analysis by Venture Development Corporation on the future of Linux in the embedded systems market. "Embedded developers using Linux identified a high level of satisfaction in Linux meeting their technical requirements and technical support provided by their Linux solution providers."
Desktop Penguins (InfoWorld). Here's an InfoWorld column saying that it's time to look at desktop Linux. "So if someone tells you Linux isn't ready for the office desktop, ask them to make sure their facts are current. Or, if they happen to be a vendor, check their product line. They may have a lot to lose if you realize that you have choices."
Abiword reviewed by MSNBC. Here's a review of Abiword from MSNBC. "AbiWord began during the Internet IPO craze. It was hoped that an open software office suite might help SourceGear Corporation become a player in the Linux/Open Source world and would produce a lucrative ITP. That didn't happen. So SourceGear stopped working on the project and released the source code. Since then more than 200 people have worked on the open word processor over the years. It?s now down to a core of nearly two dozen, finally bringing the product to fruition."
Linux Orbit reviews VMWare Workstation 3.. Linux Orbit has reviewed VMWare version 3.1, a commercial product which allows guest operating systems to be run under a host operating system. "There have been many improvements in performance and stability, but not many truly new features are in the 3.1 release. That's good news for longtime VMWare users. However, there is one new feature that will interest learning and training institutions. VMWare 3.1 now allows repeatable suspend and resume functions for all guest operating systems."
Device Profile: Rio Central digital audio center (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com reviews SONICblue's Rio Central, a high-fidelity home stereo component that stores up to 650 CDs (or 6,500 individual songs) on its built-in 40GB hard drive. "The device can also be used as the basis of a broader 'Rio experience', serving one or more companion Rio Receiver 'thin clients' (which also run Embedded Linux) via HomePNA (phone line networking) or Ethernet, and can download files to Rio portable MP3 players via USB."
Linux Phone and VPN Offerings Rule N+I (Linux Journal). Linux Journal takes a look at Avaya's new Integrated Stackable Telephony Solution, and other Linux-based products introduced at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas. "Avaya's high-end PBXes already run Linux and support up to 36,000 conventional phones and 12,000 IP phones. Avaya is using Pentium III processors and the Reiser filesystem, said Avaya's Cheryl Tomlinson."
Update on IBM/Citizen Linux WatchPad (Linux Devices). Linux Devices has posted an updated review of the IBM/Citizen Linux WatchPad. "'The WatchPad is actually a lot larger than what I expected,' noted Lehrbaum. 'It makes quite a fashion statement -- perfect for those geek-intensive social events in Silicon Valley.'"
SuSE 8.0, KDE 3.0 first look (Register).
reviews SuSE 8.0 and KDE 3.0. "People have been wondering why a
conservative company like SuSE would go with two x.0 versions, theirs and
KDE's, to form the core of their latest distro; and I must say that on
the basis of my experience with x.0's I was ready for some comic
frustration when I installed SuSE 8.0-Pro the other day.
'Argument list too long': Beyond Arguments and Limitations (Linux Journal). Linux Journal shows how to deal with intentionally long command line argument lists.
Mozilla chief: RC2 and what happens after that (News Forge). NewsForge has interviewed Mozilla's chief lizard wrangler, Mitchell Baker on the topic of Mozilla 1.0 release candidates. "Mozilla releases are intended for the development community rather than the general consumer market. Mozilla.org is not set up for marketing, distribution or support for the consumer market; we rely on companies building Mozilla products to do that."
An interview with Robocode creator Mat Nelson (IBM developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks features an interview of Robocode creator Mat Nelson. "Robocode is competitive programming for fun, and fun is definitely the key word. With a few simple lines of code, your can watch your robot blast its way around the screen, crushing anything in its path. And while you're doing that, you'll learn a real language that's solving real problems in today's world."
How tech neutrality paid off for ARM (News.com). CNET News.com spoke with Robin Saxby, chairman of ARM. "ARM's goal is to work with all the best players to enable as many things to happen as possible and then let the market decide who the winners are. We support Bluetooth, we support 802.11, we support CDMA, we support Microsoft, we support Palm, we support Linux. We're the Swiss of the IP industry."
GNU-Friends interviews Mike Haertel. GNU-Friends has interviewed Mike Haertel, who worked with the FSF in the late 1980s. "It was at the end of my freshman year at St. Olaf. I worked as a student system administrator on the Unix systems there, and I stumbled across a tape from the 'Unix Users of Minnesota' that contained GNU emacs. I'd heard of Emacs before, I think from a friend who went to MIT, and I wanted to see what it was like. I was hooked when I discovered it was partly written in Lisp, because I'd been fascinated by Lisp ever since I'd read Douglas Hofstader's columns about it in Scientific American, in the early 1980's. "
Is Linux Infrastructure? Or Is it Deeper than that? (Linux Journal). Doc Searls examines the meaning of 'infrastructure' and how it applies to the Linux operating system, in this Linux Journal article. "An answer came to me while I was flying into Minneapolis last Wednesday to give a keynote on Thursday titled "Why Linux is still the best OS for business", at the Strictly Business Expo. I was looking for a way to characterize Linux that would not reduce it to yet another "component" or "strategy" or "business model". I wanted to make clear that Linux, like the Internet, supports the stuff we call infrastructure in the same deep way that geology supports roads, bridges, reservoirs and power lines. And that Linux is no less free and open than the Internet."
From Bit Part to Leading Man: Moving Linux into the Enterprise (Linux Journal). The Linux Journal looks at network management products for Linux. "Without the support of major software vendors, Linux is relegated to a few side functions, such as web serving, without reaching the core business applications--sort of like being an extra in a lavish Hollywood production."
ELJonline: VOCAL: Open Source VoIP Software for Linux. Here is an ELJonline article about the open source Vovida Open Communications Applications Library (VOCAL) project. "In this article, we discuss how the state machine for our user interface has been implemented both from a state machine/operator view and a source-code view. We're hoping that by reading this article, you will be encouraged to log on to our site and check out our stuff, literally."
Embedded Linux Journal announces NIC contest winners (ELJonline). ELJonline covers the winners of the Embedded Linux Journal's second annual design contest. "From twenty finalists selected last August who were sent NICs and later submitted their results, one winner and two runners-up have now been selected."
The Stallman Factor (LinuxWorld.com). Joe Barr writes about Richard Stallman on LinuxWorld.com. "Mention RMS in a Linux crowd and you'll find people who love him, hate him, and those who simply roll their eyes. People call him a whacko, egotist, genius, saint, and communist. Precious few are ambivalent about Richard Stallman." (Thanks to Sean Summers.)
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
May 16, 2002