Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
Nicholas Petreley has taken a different and interesting approach to the Microsoft attack in this LinuxWorld column. "What I'm celebrating -- and what you should be, too -- is that we didn't read this story about Linux Myths in ComputerWorld, InfoWorld, PC Week, Information Week, or any of the other major trade journals. As little as three years ago, that's where you would have read this story. And most readers wouldn't have known that Microsoft virtually wrote it from beginning to end."
India Today ran a lengthy article about the adoption of Linux in that country. "More incredible is the fact that Linux has arrived in India, all the way from the University of Helsinki, Finland, with its culture intact-the culture of openness, freedom and flexibility." (Thanks to Atul Chitnis).
O'Reilly has an interview with Python creator Guido van Rossum. "Well, Python takes programming seriously. Python takes programming as seriously as C or Java or C++. My own use of Python is as a real programming language and not as a tool to write quick, throwaway scripts. For the most part, anyway."
XML.com has run a transcript of Tim O'Reilly's keynote speech given at LinuxWorld in Tokyo on September 29. "Almost everyone who talks about Open Source software wants to know whether or not Linux stands a chance of dethroning Windows. I'm here to talk about something completely different -- the role of open source software and Linux in building the future of the Internet, and more specifically, the future of the World Wide Web."
Here is a critical article in Feed Magazine about the Solaris source release. "In making such a bold move (Solaris is their core product) Sun is embracing everything that has made the Open Source movement such a success. Everything, that is, except that bit about opening up their source code." (Thanks to Phil Austin).
The Red Herring takes a cautious view of the VA Linux Systems IPO. "VA's relationship with Intel may offer short-term advantages, but ahead, a major computer company may quickly move in and eat VA's lunch, especially after Intel's 64-bit chips become widely available. But even a company with mediocre revenues can ride high on the stock market by piggybacking on a word-of-mouth fervor surrounding a 'hot' technology like Linux."
PC Week covers the VA Linux Systems IPO filing. "Like Red Hat Software Inc., VA Linux will be sharing some of its IPO pie with Linux community developers. This will come in the form of shares being held at the IPO for 'employees, directors, other persons associated with us and a number of open source developers who have expressed an interest in purchasing common stock in this offering.' Details as to how this will be handled are still forthcoming."
E-Commerce Times takes a look at VA Linux Systems' IPO filing. "Although VA's IPO, according to some analysts, stands the best chance of being the next successful Linux offering, it is not the only game in town."
News.com covers the VA Linux Systems IPO filing. "Linux must be available for free under the terms of its license, which means Red Hat faces the challenge of convincing people to pay for it. As a result, it plans to bolster its revenue by offering technical support. VA Linux faces a different challenge: Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Gateway, and many other large computer manufacturers have begun selling Linux systems."
Reuters looks briefly at the VA Linux IPO filing. "VA LiNUX said it plans to use the proceeds from the IPO for working capital and general corporate purposes, including expanding sales and marketing activities and capital spending, among other uses."
TurboLinux received an investment from Intel Corp., Broadview Associates and venture capital firm August Capital. "Intel is also an investor in Red Hat Inc., the largest distributor of Linux that went public in August on the NASDAQ, in a well-received public offering. Both Red Hat and TurboLinux, as well as other Linux distributors, plan on offering additional services and support, to Linux users."
TechWeb looks at TurboLinux and the pile of deals it has announced. "[TurboLinux President] Miller said he hopes the cash will accelerate the company enough to pass Linux distributors Suse and Caldera and eventually to surpass market-leading Red Hat Software. To that end, the company unveiled a triple-play of bundling deals."
The Red Herring looks at the investments in TurboLinux. "Mr. Miller says that about 40 investors have approached Turbolinux, offering a total of nearly $200 million in potential funding. A lot has changed since Mr. Miller and his wife founded Turbolinux seven years ago."
News.com is reporting that Intel, Broadview, and August Capital have made an investment in TurboLinux. "What will be done with the money? 'We're going to grow like a weed,' said TurboLinux vice president Lonn Johnston." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
Debian Box Set:
ComputerWorld weighs in on the Debian box set announcement. "But analyst Stacey Quandt at Cambridge, Mass.-based Giga Information Group Inc., said VA and SGI could also be looking for a distribution of Linux that they can charge to support. The best-selling versions of Linux are supported principally by the distributors themselves, such as Red Hat Software Inc. Debian.org, meanwhile, doesn't provide commercial support, leaving a potential revenue stream for VA and SGI, she said."
The San Jose Mercury has run the New York Times article about the new Debian box set. This version, however, can be read without registering...
Here's News.com's take on the new commercial Debian distribution. "The companies won't be taking over the Debian version, Biles added. 'We're not going to change the way it works or change the organization,' he said. 'All we're trying to do is expand their demographic'--in other words, make Debian appealing to more people."
Here's a News.com article about Linux and embedded systems. "Use of the Linux operating system in TV set-top boxes, cars, and other non-PC devices is becoming a more serious possibility with the backing of some established companies."
Nicholas Petreley covers the Embedded Systems Conference in this InfoWorld column. "Unless a unified body of people direct the development of embedded Linux, it seems like it will evolve in dozens of directions. Lineo is talking about launching an independent organization for this purpose. But because everyone developing embedded systems has such specific needs, maybe fragmentation wouldn't be such a bad thing after all."
Gateway will be reselling Cobalt Networks' Linux-based servers, according to this News.com article. "Through the agreement, Gateway adds server appliances to a server line that thus far has included only general-purpose machines..."
News.com looks at Linux and gaming. "These moves indicate Linux's gradual move from having a stronghold as a server operating system to being utilized by desktop users, generally a less technically sophisticated person than system administrators."
Jon Hall's October "Penguin's Brew" column in Performance Computing is about Beowulf systems. "Another rather unique use of Beowulf technology along this line is the use of a system called Loki by Los Alamos labs, which is used to simulate asteroids colliding with the earth to see what types of damage they would do. I think this has potential as an exciting video game."
Upside Magazine asked several people what stocks they would use to create the "Linus Torvalds Third Millennium High Growth Advantage mutual fund." Linuxcare seems to be the general winner. "[Nathan] Myers also sees Red Hat (RHAT) struggling to retain its own front-runner status, as the current crop of IPOs inevitably dilute the Linux mystique 'I see Red Hat as the shakiest property,' he writes, referencing a former Red Hat developer's departure. 'They own nothing but the Red Hat brand, and we have already seen Mandrake 'lift' their product and take a substantial fraction of their business away.'" (Thanks to Mike Gerdts).
Here's a ComputerWorld article on the talk IBM chairmain Louis Gerstner gave at Telecom '99 warning about proprietary standards. "The good news is that movements like Java and Linux are powerful reminders that those who bet on proprietary standards are not going to win in a heterogeneous, open, networked society."
CNN looks at IBM's approach to Linux. "IBM has been training its sales force to offer Linux to customers and even has 300 Linux specialists in its Global Services Division. IBM also works with Linux vendor Caldera Systems to train resellers to deliver Linux offerings."
HP World writes about the new HP Linux workstations and electronic design automation (EDA) tasks. "EDA is an obvious market for Linux systems, in part because the graphics requirements are 2D, which keeps the overall cost of the systems down." (Thanks to Robert K. Nelson).
The New Zealand Herald looks at in-store Linux systems. "Auckland firm Excellent Systems, which makes software for home-appliance and big-ticket retailers, believes its shift to the Linux operating system will be the springboard for growth." (Thanks to Ian McDonald).
Are you ready for the $200 PC? asks ZDNet. "One of the first PC makers to step up to the plate will be Tatung. The company is developing multi-hued, low-cost consumer PCs that will start at about $299... But a stripped-down version of the same PC will be available for as low as $200. This box won't have a CD-ROM, will use Linux in place of Windows 98, and is based on a Cyrix chip." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
Computer Reseller News ran this look at Rebel.com, which sells the Linux-based Netwinder. "For some companies, a change in name is also a change in attitude. That is how the folks at Rebel.com see their new name, as the VAR stretches its borders to reach out to resellers and ISPs with its new network appliance aimed at the small- and midsize-business market."
Internet Week looks at Linux's progress. "Linux, long overlooked by IT organizations and trivialized by competitors, is wielding new clout as an enterprise operating system."
The Jerusalem Post covers Magic Software's deal with Red Hat (scroll to the bottom). "Magic will benefit from being able to leverage access to the rapidly expanding Red Hat Linux installed base, who need technology that can help them quickly develop business solutions for the platform."
ZDNet UK was at Alan Cox's talk at Linux Expo in London. "Appropriately decked out in a red hat exactly like the one used as a trademark by Red Hat as he browsed the stands, Cox was swamped by adoring follows of the Linux hoping perhaps that a little of his coding expertise might rub of on them. Cox is obviously enjoying the first ever official Linux-fest in his own country."
ZDNet UK also has a whole set of brief stories, evidently inspired by Linux Expo in London. Included are articles on Red Hat's European push, Hummingbird's deal with Red Hat and Caldera, Red Hat targeting enterprise users above home users, OpenMail 6.0, and The Linux Fund.
Upside Magazine writes that Sun and AOL are trying to imitate Microsofts tactics, and will lose that way. "Haven't either of these companies heard of the open source movement? Red Hat is one of the few software companies developing an innovative business model, exploiting both the open source movement and the Internet."
Here's a PC World article (via CNN) about Cybernet's Linux-based "server appliance" software offerings. "The NetMAX packages come in three flavors: file/print, Web, or firewall service. Each is fully 'precooked' for its specific role. Cybernet emphasizes ease of installation and maintenance, with a graphical interface to get started and then a simple browser interface for all other tasks."
ZDNet looks at funding for open source companies. "Fernand Sarrat, CEO of Linuxcare, said he's having no trouble getting second round funding for his firm, which provides support for Linux. In fact, the money on the table has been triple the amount his company is seeking."
CNN ran a brief article about the release of Red Hat 6.1. "Version 6.1 of Red Hat Linux features a slicker graphical installation interface, online access to updates and improved system management capabilities, the company says."
Computer Weekly once again reports on the Linux deployment at Reliance Mutual, an insurance and pension company. "Kent-based insurance and pensions firm Reliance Mutual has begun rolling out Linux to its 400 users, breaking new ground in the adoption of open source technology in the commercial world..." (Thanks to Alan Wylie).
More Linux Myths:
Here's ZDNet's take on Microsoft's "Linux Myths". "Some of Microsoft's claims are more than a little puzzling, such as its decision to compare the cost of the two operating systems. Free (Linux) versus hundreds of dollars per copy (NT)? Microsoft says total cost of ownership should be the real measuring stick when it comes to dollars. But it seems doubtful that NT would win even on that front."
Here's a Seattle Times article about the Microsoft "Linux Myths" document. "There's a penguin that seems to have Microsoft just a little paranoid."
Here's a Wired News article about Microsoft's attack. "In its zeal to debunk Linux, Microsoft occasionally stretches things. For example, it points out that Linux lacks universal serial bus, plug and play, and power management. But it neglects to mention that the features are not native to Windows NT, either. Microsoft criticizes Linux for a lack of security. It fails to disclose that the US Army recently switched from an NT server to a Mac server because NT wasn't secure enough."
Here's News.com's coverage of Linus Torvalds' Internet World talk; it looks much like the other articles. "One point Torvalds stressed was that open-source projects are more likely to succeed if their developers are users of the software."
InfoWorld covers Linus Torvalds' talk at Internet World. "Torvalds cautioned, however, that developers are not guaranteed success just because they adopt an open-source strategy against competitors who have not. 'People think just because it is open-source, the result is going to be automatically better. Not true. You have to lead it in the right directions to succeed. Open source is not the answer to world hunger,' Torvalds said."
AboutLinux ran an article describing the building of an inexpensive dual-processor system.
PC Week has posted a summary of what happened when they put up their hacking challenge. It includes at least one ridiculous claim: "While any operating system needs patches and updates, there is no central repository for testing or approving patches to the Linux system. Kernel patches can be obtained from a verified source such as kernel.org, but most other components have no central infrastructure." Red Hat (the distribution they were running) has a very nice central infrastructure for all of the security fixes that need to be applied. They simply blew it by not applying the available fixes.
Evan Leibovitch covers Comdex Quebec in this ZDNet article. "As at most Comdex shows this year, the Linux presence is clear and popular. Two large Linux booths, with very different flavors, made certain that conference-goers were aware of the main alternative to the booth that asked Jusqu'ou irez-vous? ('Where do you want to go?')."
Jesse Berst summarizes recent Linux developments in this brief piece. "In many ways, Linux, the open source alternative OS, has a lot in common with The X-Files. Instead of a government conspiracy, the Linux community opposes all-powerful Microsoft. And just as the TV show was a cult favorite that crossed into the mainstream, so too Linux is poised to crossover."
Here's an introductory article on ZDNet. "...if you're curious to learn more about Linux, I've assembled a starter kit for you. Even if you've been using Linux for years, you'll find good refresher information."
Performance Computing looks at Linux use in India. "A free and powerful OS is needed by users in India, and Linux is a dream come true. Although Windows NT is the fastest growing commercial platform in the country, Linux is the fastest growing OS overall."
News.com reports on a scheme by the organizers of LinuxFund.org to gather up unwanted Windows licenses (and media) and turn them into art projects. "The art projects will be unveiled in February at the LinuxWorld Expo."
Linux.com interviews Deb Richardson, the founder of LinuxChix. "I think that we all know that the Linux community is unbalanced at the moment, but this has less to do with Linux than it has to do with the fact that society still tends to teach that computers are 'for boys.' Which isn't at all true, by the way."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
October 14, 1999