December 17, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: Command line vs. the GUI, Red Hat vs. discount CD sellers

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

This week brought another chapter in the debate between GUI friendliness and the power of the command line debate in the Linux community. NewsForge/ editor in chief Robin "Roblimo" Miller wrote another in his series on teaching Linux to newbies, answering the question, "If Linux is getting so easy, why not use Windows?"

One answer: Linux is much cheaper than Windows, all around. Miller advocated in a column a couple of weeks ago, and his columns generated a response , who started their Web site devoted to teaching the virtues of a point-and-click interface.

Red Hat and the community

Another story generating a ton of debate this week was to its trademark and alleged violations of it. Late last week, Red Hat's lawyers sent a cease and desist to a company selling cheap CDs containing Red Hat. Red Hat says it has no control over what's on those CDs, and it's been getting complains and questions, so it's asking CD sellers to stop using the name "Red Hat."

In another story on the relationship of an Open Source project to the community, the folks at the Abiword word-processing project about what kind of support users should expect from the project and what kind of support the project should expect from users.

From the story: "As AbiWord is getting more powerful and usable, we attract more and more users who expect the same feature set and product polish as they'll find in a commercial product such as Microsoft Word. Which is, in a simple word, absurd ... Do not read that as an excuse for why AbiWord lacks in comparison with other products. Do read it as an explanation for why you should expect nothing more from AbiWord than it actually delivers. We're sure you'll agree (after having your bias readjusted and mulling it over for a bit) that it's quite a lot you get, AbiWord being a free (zero cost) and open source word processor."

Microsoft hearings and other stuff

Microsoft saying in an online document that embedded Linux is convoluted, difficult to develop for, expensive and insecure. Gee, and we thought Microsoft had a monopoly on expensive and insecure.

In other Microsoft news, the software giant got some payback from the Linux community when before a Senate committee about the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust settlement with Microsoft. The Senate Judiciary Committee about the secretive settlement negotiations.

Meanwhile, a columnist at to let the government know what they think of the proposed settlement.

Home for the holidays

Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov in exchange for testimony against his employer for alleged violations of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Sklyarov's "crime" was creating a program that defeats the proprietary security codes of an eBook, allowing non-Adobe customers to read them.

Speaking of the DMCA, college radio stations are of the much-criticized copyright legislation for streaming
audio over the Web. Apparently, college radio stations may be on the hook for thousands of dollars in music licensing fees for their webcasts.

New releases

The , code-named "Everyone's Excited and Confused," was released this week.

NewsForge's Tina Gasperson reports that to the Open Source community.

Success story of the week

Freelancer Jacqueline Emigh reports on how the non-profit STAR Center, an assistive technology project in Tennessee, is to cut costs and expand operations.

Newly reviewed

The Mandrake 8.1 Gaming Edition Linux distribution received a couple of positive reviews this week. NewsForge freelancer F. Grant Robertson says . LinuxPlanet reported that this version of Mandrake had and ran more Windows games than just The Sims that comes in the package.

Another gaming review, this one by Jeff Mrochuk, who , which is available for Linux and Windows. Mrochuk calls it a "highly additive" and "quite original" game that's a must play.

Also this week, embedded toolkit.

New at NewsForge and

Other stories that NewsForge and reported first this week:

Freelancer Daniel P. Dern . Hint: Don't go to the major hardware vendors like Dell or Compaq.

Gasperson and finds it's like "ESR, Linus, roblimo, and maddog tossed all their bookmark files together on one page, and regurgitated all their Linux knowledge on another."

Stock news

It was a mixed week for our Open Source-related stock list, with losers outnumbering gainers seven to four, and a couple of the gainers only sneaking up a couple of pennies the whole week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the week at 1,953.17, down from 2,021.30 Dec. 7. That was Nasdaq's first decline in six weeks, although it climbed 6.66 points on Friday.

IBM, MandrakeSoft, Red Hat and TiVO were up for the week.

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

Company NameSymbol12/7 Close12/14 Close22.5420.3916.8916.841.091.0123.5221.00120.40121.10e5.10e5.197.968.0213.3912.344.524.693.232.8918.3018.05

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