Linux in the news
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What makes software open source? (Upside). Upside looks at the Python license issue. "What's the difference between a GPL-compatible and a non-GPL-incompatible software license? In the case of the version 1.6 license for Python, the interpreted object-oriented language developed by Dutch hacker Guido Van Rossum and the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the hacker group charged with overseeing the Gnu General Public License (GPL), the answer is: 20 words."
U.S. Government Should Foster Development of Free Software (LinuxToday). LinuxToday covers the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) and the recently issued 'Recommendations of the Panel on Open Source Software For High End Computing.' "The cover letter to the report says that PITAC 'believes the open source development model represents a viable strategy for producing high quality software.' A promising start. "
Know your rights (regarding open source software) (ZDNet). Here's a quick survey of software licenses on ZDNet. "The real downside of the GPL, particularly for embedded developers, is that it's designed to discourage the creation of proprietary software and to encourage free software. If you wanted to build your firmware around a GPL package or library, you'd be forced to give away the source code to your firmware. But this is not a problem with an LGPL package, like the GNU C library, which can be legally included as part of proprietary software."
The Failure of the Free Software Movement (Dr. Dobb's). Here's an opinion piece in Dr. Dobb's Journal claiming that the free software community has fallen short of its goals. "Although the Free Software Movement has succeeded in creating GNU/Linux and other free software, it has made little progress in its larger goal of making all software free, and faces serious challenges due to increased popularity of existing free software." (Thanks to Alexandre Dulaunoy).
Real-time on LinuxDevices.com
The Real-time Linux Quick Reference Guide (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has posted a quick reference guide to real-time Linux. "Given the somewhat bewildering variety of alternatives, we've assembled the LinuxDevices.com 'Real-time Linux Quick Reference Guide' which we hope will assist you in locating Linux-based solutions that match your system requirements."
Real-time Linux -- what is it...? (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com has put up a tutorial article explaining real time applications and the various approaches to real time that can be found in the Linux world. "First, we'll define terms like real-time, hard real-time, soft real-time, and learn how real-time performance is characterized. Next, we'll learn what sorts of systems need real-time, and how much they need. Then, we'll compare some of the basic approaches used to add real-time to Linux."
When hard real-time goes soft (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices has run a guest column by Jeff Dionne of Lineo on the distinction between hard and soft real time applications. "Of course you need to define the response time requirements for your real-time system. However, it is the fact that you have strictly defined those requirements (say, before the spacecraft goes out of view or before the shaft on the motor you're controlling turns more than 0.3 degrees) that have made your system hard real-time as opposed to soft real-time."
Can Linux Make Money? (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Red Hat's prospects. "A year ago it was enough to have a dream, a hot technology and a good name. Today, however, tech stocks--such as Red Hat, the leading Linux distributor--need more. They need, if not profits, than solid bottom-line improvements. Red Hat delivered."
Linux seller Red Hat narrows losses (News.com). News.com reports on Red Hat's quarterly results. "Companies that hired Red Hat in the past quarter to help push Linux into embedded devices included Samsung, Eastman Kodak, Hitachi, Ericsson, Cirrus Logic, Cradle Technologies and Intel, Red Hat chief operations officer Tim Buckley said during a conference call today. Such contracts typically have garnered Red Hat revenue from $100,000 to more than $1 million each, he said."
Downgrade, sell-off zap Red Hat shares (News.com). News.com reports on the fall in Red Hat's stock price despite the company's good quarterly results. "Meanwhile, Oracle sold off 800,000 Red Hat shares for $19.4 million, and Novell sold off 50,000 for $1.35 million, according to regulatory filings yesterday and today."
Sun buys Cobalt
Sun to buy Cobalt in $2 billion stock deal (Reuters). Here's a Reuters article reporting that Sun intends to buy Cobalt Networks for $2 billion in stock. Each share of Cobalt will be replaced with a half-share of Sun.
Sun buys Cobalt in $2 billion deal (News.com). News.com covers Sun's purchase of Cobalt Networks. "The deal also means that Sun, at least for the time being, will be adopting two foreign technologies into its product line: Intel-compatible Advanced Micro Devices CPUs and the Linux operating system."
Sun Buys Cobalt Networks (ZDNet). ZDNet looks at Sun's purchase of Cobalt. "Sun Microsystems is presenting its stock-for-stock merger with leading Linux network appliance maker Cobalt Networks Inc. as primary being a way to accelerate Sun's entry into the server appliance marketplace. That's one way to take it. The other, while not mentioned by Sun in its press release, is that it gives Sun an instant entry into the Linux market. Unlike the quiet Solaris on Intel efforts, this move gives Sun not only its first Linux products, but it also marks the first time that Sun has made a splashy entry into the non-Sun hardware product market."
Commentary: VA Linux tees up in the storage server market (News.com). News.com is carrying a column from the Gartner Group on VA's new network attached storage product. "For the regional ASPs that are experiencing explosive storage growth and companies that run storage-hungry applications, VA Linux's NAS products are a much less costly alternative. VA Linux, on the other hand, should enhance its storage management software features."
TurboLinux wins supporting role in Hollywood bank (News.com). News.com looks at the use of TurboLinux at the First Credit Bank of Los Angeles. "Winning over financial institutions is an important step in establishing the legitimacy of comparatively new companies such as San Francisco-based TurboLinux. But there's plenty of room for improvement, as First Credit Bank will be using the TurboLinux servers only for relatively minor server tasks such as sharing files, sending print jobs to printers and transferring files over the Internet, TurboLinux said."
An Open-Source Maven Closes In on Oracle (Business Week Daily). Business Week Daily looks at Great Bridge Software and its plans for the PostgreSQL database. "But convincing corporations that an open-source database, created by thousands of unknown contributors, is secure and stable enough to trust could prove difficult. That reluctance comes, in part, from the crucial role databases play in everything from stock-market transactions to air-traffic control -- a role many information architects claim is even more crucial than that of operating systems."
Embedded Linux Development Site Set to Unveil (InternetNews). InternetNews.com reports on DevelopOnline, an embedded Linux site set to launch at the beginning of October. "Targeted primarily at the embedded Linux community, the site offers developers open source software (multiple versions of Linux) and a database of complete open hardware platforms, including reference designs, schematics and board layouts."
Lesser-known Linux companies join forces (News.com). Here's a News.com article about Caldera's investment in EBIZ. "Although Caldera is one of the Linux companies that went public before Wall Street grew testier this spring, analysts say it doesn't have the revenue or brand recognition of Linux companies such as Red Hat or VA Linux Systems."
Gnome needs a facelift (ZDNet). ZDNet comments on GNOME and the GNOME Foundation. "If you've ever attempted to use the Gnome desktop, you'll know that even in its newer, much improved incarnations, it's not going to find favour with many IT support departments. They will not want to do battle with its installation routines, and explain its complicated file management processes to users. If the Gnome Foundation is serious about making Gnome a viable mainstream solution, it needs to look further than using it as a vehicle for pushing the open source message, and begin to apply some real design expertise."
Console makers face a brand new game (Upside). Upside reports on the next generation of game consoles, including the Linux-based Indrema. "So which strategy will be successful? Indrema's won't. The L600 consoles will end up as high-end engineering curiosities, like the DeLorean, if they ever get made."
Yggdrasil riddle (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch looks at Yggdrasil, a once-prominent Linux distributor. "[Yggdrasil owner Adam] Richter said the company didn't go after the venture capital, staffing expansion or marketing blitzes of other Linux companies of the last few years because the company wasn't ready for it -- then."
Linux and Napster users: Cut from the same yarn (Upside). Despite its title, this Upside article has nothing to do with Napster. It is, instead, a comparison of the Linux community with modern music producers. "After all, today's hackers and DJs share more than just a penchant for expensive electronic toys and ill-advised haircuts. In a world characterized by information overload, both cultures have emerged as separate appendages of the same post-modern beast. Whether it's Gnome hackers appropriating the GIMP tool kit for their own benefit or musicians such as DJ Spooky overhauling Metallica's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' throwing in hip-hop samples underneath, the underlying creative concepts are the same: Take the best. Dump the rest. Integrate and start over."
MP3.com yanks song with illegal DVD-hacking code (News.com). News.com covers the banning of the DeCSS song from MP3.com. "The song, called DeCSS.MP3, offers an English language rendition of computer code that, depending on whom you ask, is either a harmless exercise in experimental software engineering or a missile aimed at the heart of Hollywood."
Building a Black Hole with OpenGL (O'Reilly Network). This lengthy O'Reilly artcle looks at the physics of black holes and OpenGL. "What we can do fairly inexpensively is simulate the physics of a very strong gravity field acting upon a number of particles. By simulating a thousand particles or so, a very pleasing visual display can be created. Using a simple iterative solution, the physics can be calculated quickly, while still resulting in true "Kepler" orbits, within limits.
We'll use OpenGL as the 3D API in order to leverage any 3D hardware that might be available on the machine."
.comment: Visiting the Kernel (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet plays with the 2.4.0-test kernel. "As Eric S. Raymond has famously noted, programming in our sphere is done because the programmer has an itch he or she wants to scratch. I'd like to extend that--pre-release software is installed by itchy users."
LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter. Here is the LinuxDevices.com Embedded Linux Weekly Newsletter for September 14. As usual, it contains a detailed summary of embedded Linux happenings over the last week.
Helix Code GNOME 1.2 (DukeofURL). Here's a long look at Helix Code's GNOME 1.2 from the Duke of URL. "Thanks to intelligent design, if you already have a desktop environment, installing Helix Code GNOME is as easy as a couple commands. If you don't have some sort of desktop environment installed already, it's no harder than KDE or other environment. Installation can be done via RPM or source, and can be done with Helix Code's handy installer."
DigitalDevices: From old PC to powerful server (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews the NetMAX Professional Suite. "Installation isn't pretty during the first section, consisting of bewildering Linux text messages scrolling up the screen. Linux-phobes aren't asked to do anything even resembling a command, however; the program just answers a few quick questions and continues to the browser-based installation screens, which are clean and attractive."
Opening a Few Windows with PHP (ZDNet). ZDNet has run a lengthy article on PHP - for Window systems. "The intention of this article is not to engage in platform warfare, but to simply inform folks that PHP is not just for Linux."
Information on a Korean combo cell phone + PDA (LinuxDevices.com). LinuxDevices.com talks with Minsuk Lee of PalmPalm Technology, which is working on a new, Linux-based cellular phone/PDA system. "There were some some disadvantage in using Linux in embedded applications: It's BIG! It needs much more memory than typical embedded RTOSes, but still less than WinCE"
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
September 21, 2000