March 18, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: AOL to dump Microsoft browser, Mandrake asks you to join the club

- By Grant Gross -

The big news this week came from an exclusive NewsForge/ report saying AOL is planning to dump the Microsoft Internet Explorer for the core of the Open Source Mozilla browser. Robin "Roblimo" Miller also reported March 11 that AOL was talking with Red Hat about supporting AOL's wholesale switch to Linux servers.

By late in the week, several other news organizations were reporting the same information. After we outed AOL, The Register and others noted a beta test switch at AOL to the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine. wrote about Mozilla's revenge.

Reuters reported the Red Hat angle, although that story seemed oddly similar to Roblimo's, and Red Hat's stock jumped after the news got out.

Mandrake: Please sign up for our club

The news wasn't quite so rosy for MandrakeSoft, the maker of the popular Mandrake Linux distribution. The company asked individuals and corporate users to sign up for the Mandrake Club, which provides some additional benefits in exchange for a subscription. The company says it's got a short-term cash flow problem, but The Register asked: "Would you pay $5 to save Mandrake?" The story didn't provide its own answer.

However, NewsForge columnist Jack Bryar suggesting it was unbecoming of a for-profit company to "beg for money." That column prompted a lot of discussion, on both sides of the issue.

Loki bankruptcy gets ugly

Early reports on the bankruptcy proceedings of Linux gaming company Loki Software have the company owing more that $2 million total and more than $560,000 in payroll.

New look NewsForge and launch

It's been about as painful as birthing a baby, at least what I'd imagine that'd feel like, but new versions of and are launching this week. Please let us know what you think by contributing to the discussion in the linked story above.

Security issues

We reported that a vulnerability in zlib could affect Linux, Netscape and other Open Source software, and other reports alerted users of the Jac virus in Linux. But some analysts say new bugs won't hurt Linux in the long run.

Meanwhile, a, Open Source programmer in Austria has released "the Linux virus writing howto," for educational purposes.

In other news ...

SuSE may consider charging license fees, a new step for Linux distributions. The company also announced SuSE Linux 8.0.

The Free Software Foundation talked of plans to release a Linux-free GNU operating system by year's end.

The U.S. Air Force told Microsoft to improve its security or it would look elsewhere. Come on over to the light side, all you Air Force people.

Newly released

BrowserG! 1.02, a browser written in Java/JFC and Mozilla has been released.

JGraph 1.0 is now available. "The open-source component offers a 100 % stable, fully standards-compliant API to display and edit graphs (networks)."

Mozilla 0.9.9 was release, on the way to the browser suite's 1.0 launch.

Success story of the week describes how to set up an "Open Source household."

Even John Dvorak is suggesting that Linux might be your next desktop OS.

New at NewsForge and

Other stories that NewsForge and reported first this week:

We reported that a vulnerability in zlib could affect Linux, Netscape and other Open Source software.

Russell C. Pavlicek reviews Memtest86, an Open Source program that allows you to test your computer's memory.

Stock news

The Nasdaq ended last week at 1,868.30, down from 1,929.67 March 8. Today, the Nasdaq was running about 5 points lower as of 1:30 p.m. EST. On our list of 11 Open Source-related stocks, it was a mixed week, with eight of the stocks falling, including Caldera's, which started the week at .67 before a four-for-one reverse stock split and ended the week at 2.05. Seven of the stocks were down in early Monday trading.

Caldera's reverse split was called successful by company leaders, but Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reported that analysts have other questions about the company's future.

Here's how Open Source and related stocks ended this past week:

Company Name Symbol 3/8 Close 3/15 Close
Apple AAPL 24.66 24.95
Borland Software Int'l BORL 14.05 12.26
Caldera International CALD 0.67 2.05 (after reverse split)
Hewlett-Packard HWP 20.59 19.05
IBM IBM 105.09 106.79
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e3.95 e2.89
Red Hat RHAT 6.75 7.10
Sun Microsystems SUNW 10.00 9.06
TiVo TIVO 6.39 5.32
VA Software LNUX 1.98 1.89
Wind River Systems WIND 14.47 13.73


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