August 19, 2000

Weekends<BR>Weekly News Wrap Up

Author: JT Smith

By Grant Gross

It's Linux's World, we're all just living in it

The first week of NewsForge coincided with LinuxWorld, so much of the news this past week centered on company announcements about new products, new alliances, and new releases.

There was a dizzying number of press releases about Linux. Software companies aligned with hardware companies, or with support companies, or with other software companies. You get the picture.

Perhaps the biggest, and most controversial, alliance coming out of LinuxWorld was the Gnome Foundation, a group of 13 computer industry heavyweights lining up behind the Gnome desktop interface. Some pundits gnashed their teeth about the future of the competing KDE, others praised Gnome for "unifying the Unix world."

Also much celebrated was the Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (potato) release. By Thursday, LinuxPlanet had reviewed the new version of the Linux flavor favored by many hard-core devotees.

Recent Linux convert Michael Dell's keynote address at LinuxWorld got tons of press, among the coverage was WinInfo saying the computer maker knocked Microsoft and Sun, and an interview from TheStandard.com, with Dell saying he sees a "groundswell of support" from his customers for Linux.

NewsForge had its own man on the scene, Editor in Chief Robin Miller. He filed reports on an inside look at the LinuxWorld press room, the party scene, and the tired-feet hangover following the show.

Microsoft ports to Linux? Of course not

Amid the flurry of news from LinuxWorld came an unconfirmed report Wednesday from WinInfo that longtime Linux basher Microsoft was working with an Israeli company to port some of its applications to Linux. It took about a day for Microsoft to deny the report. Linux chief developer Linus Torvalds said he'd be "all for it" if Microsoft went Open Source.

A chip off the old IPO

Speaking of Linus, his employer Transmeta announced its IPO. The chip maker hopes to raise $200 million, and, ironically, one of its biggest investors is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who holds a 7% stake. It's a small world after all.

Hollywood 1, 2600.com 0

Of course, the rest of the news world didn't take a holiday during LinuxWorld. A federal judge ruled Thursday in favor of the giant motion picture industry and against little old 2600.com, which had published the DeCSS computer code allowing users to copy DVDs.

AOL for Linux: Does anyone care?

America Online's Linux version leaked onto Web sites this week before the chat-room-for-the-masses service planned to unleash it. Reaction from the Linux crowd: a stifled yawn. Give us something we can use, like a judgment-proof DVD copying program.

Diversions: Does your vote really mean anything?

A couple of stories highlighted voter disgust with the U.S. political process. First, a Maryland voter protesting political corruption tried to sell his vote on eBay. He wrote: "You may specify whom I vote for in the presidential and all other elections in my district, by name or by party. Why should the American citizen be left out? Congressmen and senators regularly sell their votes to the highest bidder. Democracy for sale!" Next, a whole Web site, Voteauction.com, was started with the purpose of selling votes. With the millions of the major political parties spend on campaigns these days, maybe it'd be cheaper to pay $50 a vote on the Internet (the going price for a California vote on Voteauction.com Friday afternoon).

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