Linux in the news
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We got a copy of WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux from Corel, so
your editor decided to give it a quick try. This product is, after all, a
large part of Corel's plan to find success in the Linux world; one would
hope that it came out well.
The sad truth appears to be otherwise. WPO2000 has much the same feel as
one of last year's Mozilla milestone releases. It's a beta-quality product
at best. Here's just a few examples:
The sad thing is that WPO2000 looks very much like a full-featured, capable
productivity suite. Its handling of fonts in the word processor, for
example, makes choosing typefaces a breeze. A lot of what is needed is
there, it just needs to be more stable. Linux users expect software that
actually works. If Corel wants to build a strong position in the Linux
community, it is going to have to meet that expectation.
- The recommended installation takes 312 MB of disk space - before you
even load up the second disk (which is full of clipart, pictures, and
fonts). The install procedure insists on putting it in
/usr/lib/corel, whether you want it there or not.
- The manual tells how to install the software, but not how to run it.
The installer doubtless creates a beautiful KDE menu (it instructs you
to log out and back in to pick it up), but your editor is not a KDE
- Fortunately, a quick look in /usr/bin clears things up.
There, one will find links to programs like wordperfect (the
word processor), quattropro (the spreadsheet),
presentations (the drawing and presentation package), and
paradox (the database package). Running them produces the
- Running WordPerfect turns up a number of glitches in the windows API
emulation provided by Wine. The editor window has a very
obnoxious habit of both raising and lowering itself - something only
the window manager should do. It can even raise itself above its own
dialogs if you put the mouse in the wrong place. Pulldown menus
sometimes highlight entries above the pointer. Exposures are not
always handled well, leaving junk behind in parts of the window.
- The system is also sluggish and slow to respond. The hardware being
used was a dual-processor Pentium 450 with 128MB of memory - certainly
not the state of the art, but it really should suffice for running a
- Recent events have left
us with a great many MS Word files sitting around. Feeding them to
WordPerfect generally worked pretty well - its conversion is visibly
better than StarOffice or Applix. WordPerfect refused, however, to
read any file owned by others, even though the permissions allowed
- Reading in Word files also brought about the first of many crashes
experienced in this test. Even in normal operation, WPO2000 issues a
constant stream of debug and error messages - something you're
presumably not supposed to see if you start it from a window manager
menu. A WPO2000 crash produces a bunch of output that strongly
resemble a kernel oops message - lots of nifty hex numbers and such.
At least it doesn't leave core files lying around.
- The Quattro spreadsheet looks very much like a spreadsheet. Every
attempt to read an Excel file, however, led to another verbose crash.
- The presentation package is standard stuff. When running slides,
however, it is very slow in updating the screen. Even a beast like
StarOffice outruns it.
- A quick attempt with Paradox led to a blank, unresponsive, full-screen
CorelDRAW for Linux ships early. Corel has sent out
this press release stating that CorelDRAW for
Linux will be shipping two months earlier than expected. Betas have
evidently been delivered already; the full product will go out in July.
In the same announcement Corel also says that VENTURA Publisher will be
made available for Linux by the end of the year.
The InterBase license. Version 1.0 of the InterBase Public License - the
license that will be used for the InterBase source - has been released. At
a first glance, it looks strongly derived from the Mozilla license. It
allows distribution of binaries under any license, but requires that source
be made available under the InterBase license. All changes to the source
must be documented in a separate file - the form of the documentation is
not specified, a simple CVS log would probably suffice. There is also the
"patent poison pill," which terminates the license for anybody who brings a
patent suit against a contributor to the source.
People with more experience will make the final judgement, but this does
indeed look like an open source license. What it probably is not is
compatible with either the GPL or BSD licenses. It will thus be hard for
code from InterBase to migrate into other projects, unless those projects,
too, use the InterBase license. As more code becomes free, this sort of
licensing mismatch is going to increasingly frustrate attempts to combine
and reuse existing code in new projects.
IDC declares Linux is red hot in the server market. Here's a
press release from IDC on its latest report on the server market.
Server shipments grew 166% between the fourth quarters of 1998 and 1999.
"In a recent IDC survey of 200 Linux users ... the majority of
participants estimated that their Linux servers offered at least 4 9s in
availability, which translates to less than one hour of unexpected downtime
Option source? Merlin Software Technologies has announced the
creation of the "option source" program. Option source seeks to reward
free software developers through payments in cash and/or Merlin stock.
Although the resulting software is supposed to be open source, there is a
line in the web site about how Merlin might be the "sole commercial product
distributor" for some projects for some time.
Lynx Real-Time Systems gets investments from TurboLinux, Motorola.
Lynx Real-Time systems has announced the receipt of investments from
TurboLinux and Motorola. Amounts of the investments have not been revealed.
CSP Inc. introduces Linux cluster system. CSP Inc. has announced
a new Linux cluster product. This one is based on PowerPC processors, and
runs Terra Soft's Black Lab Linux.
BigStorage Inc. sponsors ReiserFS journaling filesystem. BigStorage
Inc has announced
that it is sponsoring the development of the ReiserFS filesystem.
Compaq is #1 Vendor in Linux Server Market. Compaq has issued a
press release citing the IDC "server tracker," which places Compaq as
the top supplier of Linux servers. The following places are taken by IBM,
Dell, and HP; companies like VA Linux Systems are not even mentioned.
Computer Associates unveils Linux service offerings. Computer
Associates has announced
a line of Linux service offerings aimed at high-end enterprise clients: it
includes 24x7 support and remote monitoring and administration services.
Caldera Systems announces new channel program. Caldera Systems has
a number of changes to its channel program, including a name change (to
"eCommerce Solutions Provider program") and the "alliance" partner level
which offers a higher level of support.
Linux Powered Voting Booth. Dallas Semiconductor supplied the
Internet components. iButtons, computer chips in stainless steel cans,
provided registered, private ballots. The Tiny InterNet Interface (TINI)
will relay real-time voting results over a live network. What's
interesting about this press
release is one line about half-way down. "Further demonstrating the
flexibility of the iButton/TINI technology, the "central server" in this
election is nothing more than a laptop running Linux."
Coollogic to begin shipping Coollinux. Coollogic has
announced that it will begin shipping its
"Coollinux" distribution this week. Coollinux is aimed at embedded tasks,
and seems to be intended for set-top boxes and other "Internet access
devices" in particular. They claim that their kernel can fit in less than
355 KB, then talk about their inclusion of things like
Netscape 4.7, which would seem a little contradictory. More
information can be found on Coollogic's
web site (which is running IIS 4.0 on Windows...hmm...)
Section Editor: Jon Corbet.
Open Souce Products
- Enhanced Software Technologies
has released its CRU for Linux (Crash Recovery Utility)
under the QPL open source license.
- Protectix has
announced a Linux-based firewalling product, which it
claims is the first such system based entirely on open source code.
Commercial Products for Linux
- Aladdin Systems has
announced that its "Expander" utility is now available for
Linux in a test mode. Now Linux users too can work with "StuffIt" files...
CopperZ, Inc. (PASO ROBLES, Calif.) introduced a new line of
Linux servers that feature dual Intel processors and an extensive
preloaded library of Open Source software.
- Easy Information Technology announced the release of easySamba
version 1.0, a Samba configuration tool.
- IBM has made a beta version of its
TopPage HTML editor available for free download.
InfoValue Computing Inc. (LAS VEGAS) unveiled the QuickVideo
Player for Linux, a complete, end-to-end video streaming solution
for Linux workstations.
Optibase (HERZLIYA, Israel) announced Linux support to the
VideoPlex XPress, its streaming media endpoint platform.
Prima Tech (NDIANAPOLIS) launched its Linux series. Books
"designed to meet the specific requirements of all Linux users".
- QueryObject Systems has
announced the availability of its "QueryObject" data analysis
software for Linux.
Rogue Wave Software (BOULDER, Colo.) announced the release of a
collection of C++ components for Linux.
SilverStream Software, Inc. (WASHINGTON) introduced the beta
version of the SilverStream Application Server for Linux. It
is initially supported on RedHat Linux, version 6.1, running with the
latest Java 2-ready Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Software Group Limited (BARRIE, Ontario) announced that it began
shipping an update to Wanware Linux, the high-speed synchronous
communications subsystem for Linux systems.
StarNet Communications Corp. (MONTREAL) announced its X-Win32
PC X server Version 5.0 will ship with the Storm Linux 2000
Trend Micro Inc. (BOSTON) announced InterScan VirusWall for
ISP, its Internet gateway virus scanning software solution
designed for Internet Service Providers, Application Service
Providers, and telco environments.
- UniComp has
announced the availability of UNIBOL400, which enables
porting of IBM AS/400 applications, on Linux.
VirtualSellers.com Inc. (CHICAGO) announced that its TAME
software has been included on the Red Hat Linux 6.2 Application
Xi Graphics Inc. (DENVER) has released OpenGL 1.1.1 compliant
3D Linux graphics drivers supporting the Voodoo3 3D graphics
cards from 3dfx.
Products Using Linux
DISC, Inc. (MILPITAS, Calif.) announced the COMET nas
server, a line of fully scaleable Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES, Calif.) unveiled the Linux-based
SLinux 1/4U High Density Cluster Server Array.
LAND-5 Corporation (SAN DIEGO) introduced the iCEbox
InstaNAS, a 1U thin server and software. The OS is based on
enhanced Linux software.
Merinta, Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) supplied iBrow, an embedded Linux
solution used in Internet Appliance Network's WebPlayer.
- VA Linux Systems has
announced the availability of a new, low-end Linux system.
Products with Linux Versions
arcadiaOne, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced arcadiaOne
Online, an ASP-style online service.
The Bulldog Group Inc. (TORONTO) announced the next version of
Bulldog Two.Six, their content management software.
Compaq Computer Corporation (HOUSTON) announced major enhancements
to its high availability AlphaServer systems.
Corporate Software and Technologies (BOSTON) announced the release
of CorporateTime Server 5.0 with support for Red Hat Linux.
Dell Computer Corporation (NEW YORK) announced the PowerApp
appliance server, focusing on Web hosting and Internet
caching. The PowerApp servers are available with Red Hat Linux.
Equator Technologies (CAMPBELL, Calif.) introduced the iMMediaC
Software Toolkit, V5.0, an Interactive Multimedia C compiler for
Equator's MAP1000 Media Accelerated Processor platform.
Hyperion (VIENNA) announced its Essbase OLAP Server
technology will ship with every copy of IBM's DB2 Universal
Database Version 7.
IBM (VIENNA, Austria) introduced DB2 Universal Database Version
Integrix, Inc. (NEWBURY PARK, Calif.) announced the RS480
UltraSPARC rackmount server for the Ultra AXmp+ motherboard. Red
Hat Linux 6.1 is available as an optional operating system.
Maxoptix Corp. (FREMONT, Calif.) announced the new MaxRAID
series of 5.25-inch MO RAID products.
Metamail Inc. (BOSTON) announced its virtual e-mail system.
nStor Technologies, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced a new family of
SAN storage solutions.
Performance Technologies, Inc. (ROCHESTER, N.Y) announced its
adoption of the OpenTelecom.org H.110 Application Programming
Interface (API) for its CPC380 Quad T1/E1 access interface
PowerQuest Corp. (OREM, Utah) announced Drive Image 3.0
with support for Linux Ext2 and Linux SWAP file systems.
Progressive Systems, Inc. (COLUMBUS, Ohio) announced it has
implemented its Phoenix Adaptive Firewall onto Cobalt Network's
Quantum3D (THE HAGUE, The Netherlands) announced support for large
area terrain database paging in the newest version of its realtime
3D scene management software, OpenGVS.
Quest Software, Inc. (IRVINE, Calif.) announced the release of
Foglight 2.7, its software solution for management of
multi-tier e-business and enterprise computing applications and
Rational Software (LEXINGTON, Mass) announced the availability of
Rational ClearCase 4.0, a software configuration management
solution, is now available for Red Hat Linux.
Sendmail, Inc. (EMERYVILLE, Calif.) and ActiveState will provide
streamlined Mail Content Processing with Perl.
XOR Inc. (BOULDER, Colo.) chief technical officer Trent R. Hein
has co-authored the 3rd edition of UNIX System Administration
Handbook, due out in June, which will now include coverage of the
Young Minds, Inc. (Redlands, California) introduced its new DVD
Studio DVD-Recording solution.
webMethods, Inc. (FAIRFAX, Va.) announced webMethods B2B for
RosettaNet, an out-of-the-box solution that enables real-time B2B
2netFX (Fremont, Calif/Mountain View, Calif) announced an
alliance with Zapex Technologies. The new systems from the two
companies will include Zapex's new ZL-330 Linux-based encoder with
Dolby audio and multi-channel video, which will be combined with
2netFX's Streamrider client and Thundercast server streaming software.
Adaptec and Network Engines (MILPITAS, Calif. and RANDOLPH, Mass.)
announced Network Engines will incorporate Adaptec's Ultra160 SCSI
into its WebEngine Viper appliances. The resulting product comes
in a Linux version.
ALPNET, Inc. (SALT LAKE CITY) has been selected by Applix,
Inc. to localize Applixware 5.0 Linux for the Chinese market.
Applied Microsystems Corp. (MONTREAL) and MontaVista Software
Inc. are working together to better serve embedded systems
EarthWeb (ATLANTA) announced that it has completed a license
agreement with McGraw-Hill. New titles such as 'Red Hat Linux
Reference' and 'Linux Certification' will be added to EarthWeb's
Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES) announced a technology agreement with
Elitegroup Computer Systems Inc., in which Einux will supply
technology to Elitegroup's motherboards and server products and
Elitegroup will manufacture Einux's server line.
LinuxMall.com (DENVER) announced that orders from its web site are
being filled through Frank Kasper & Associates' Minneapolis,
Minn. warehouse. The fulfillment operation is a key component of
the recently announced merger between LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper &
Merlin Software Technologies Inc. (ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FLORIDA)
announced an agreement with Shrewsbury, NJ-based Programmer's
Paradise, to sell Merlin's PerfectBACKUP+ Linux backup and crash
recovery software to its retail channel.
MSC.Software Corporation (LOS ANGELES/COSTA MESA, Calif.)
announced that NEC Corporation (Japan) will support MSC's
manufacturing industry applications for Linux on NEC's IA-64 based
NARUS, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced availability of wire
speed NARUS Analyzer capability for Optical Networks at OC-12 (1.2
Gbps) data rates using the Intel's GigaBlade accelerator. The two
companies have completed tests at each of their facilities,
demonstrating NARUS Analyzers, using the Intel GigaBlade accelerators
on Intel server architecture using the Linux operating system
collecting usage data at speeds exceeding 1.2 Gbps with no packet
- NEC has
announced that the Linux 2.3 kernel has been ported (with
VioSoft's help) to NEC's 64-bit RISC chips.
Neoware Systems, Inc. (KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) announced that it has
become a sustaining sponsor of LinuxDevices.com, a web portal
targeted at the embedded Linux developer community.
Rebel.com Inc. (OTTAWA, ONTARIO) announced that it has entered
into a distribution agreement with EMJ Data Systems to
distribute Rebel.com's NetWinder product line to resellers throughout
Investments and Acquisitions
International Capri Resources Ltd. (VANCOUVER, British Columbia)
announced that it has entered into agreements to acquire all of the
issued and outstanding shares of CSV Technologies Inc. and all of the
assets of Cyber Station Ltd.. This will give them all rights to
Cyber Station's EZ Linux Products and Macropedia.
Internet Appliance Inc. (FREMONT, Calif.) has recently secured
funding from three separate parties, for a $15 million
total. Internet Appliance's INTERNETpro SES is a Linux-based VPN
SteelEye Technology Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced that it
has received funding from the Intel 64 Fund to port LifeKeeper
to Intel's IA64 product family.
- Tucows.com has put out
a press release on its acquisition of LWN.net.
TurboLinux, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO and HONG KONG) announced it has
received an investment from Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited.
Linux at Work
BakBone Software, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that NEC Soft, Ltd.
has selected BakBone's NetVault for its Linux Enterprise Oracle
BigStorage, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that it has selected
the LAND-5 iCEbox family of network attached storage (NAS)
products for its enterprise-level solution.
ezlogin.com (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) announced that it has selected
2U and 7U servers from VA Linux Systems for hosting its suite
of Internet infrastructure tools.
Unibol (MARIETTA, Ga.) announced a contract with RoTech Medical
Corporation (Orlando, Florida) for custom software development and
associated licenses that will enable RoTech to use Linux-based web
servers to access corporate applications and data.
- Linux NetworX (SANDY, UTAH) named Stephen Hill vice president of
business development. Hill acted as one of the lead councils for
Caldera Systems, Inc. in its antitrust lawsuit win over Microsoft
SCO (SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) announced that it has appointed
Randall I. (Randy) Bresee as its Chief Financial Officer.
- SuSE Linux AG (Oakland and Westlake Village, California) announced
that a free distribution CD of the soon to be released SuSE Linux
for the Apple PowerPC will be included in the June 2000 issue of
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
April 13, 2000