May 21, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: Eazel shuts down, but Nokia wades farther into Open Source

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross

The bad news this week: Eazel, the company that was supposed to make the Linux desktop as easy to use as a Macintosh, shut down operations. The good news: Nokia, the giant communications company, launched an Open Source project to create open standards for home entertainment software.

Eazel's Apple and America Online veterans couldn't save the company in these tough times for tech startups. Rumors had been circulating that the company was shutting down, and news reports this week confirmed it. Eazel posted the announcement, but went out with heads held high about the company's achievements. But some news reports quoted people who weren't even that shaken up by Eazel's financial difficulties.

Nokia jumps in

On the other hand, Nokia launched with CollabNet in an effort to promote the Open Standards Terminal software platform, based on Linux, XFree86, and Mozilla, for home entertainment devices such as the multipurpose Nokia Media Terminal the company plans to start selling in Europe this summer. That news generated a lot of media attention; later in the week, Nokia announced a deal Loki Software to distribute games on the Media Terminal.

Microsoft vs. Open Source, Round VXIV?

Nearly two weeks after Microsoft v.p. Craig Mundie slagged the GPL and Open Source business plans in a speech, 10 Open Source and Free Software leaders responded by saying, "Free Software is a great way to build a common foundation of software that encourages innovation and fair
competition. Microsoft, it's time for you to join us." Mundie responded to the response by saying this was the kind of, dare we say it, open dialog he was hoping for when he announced Microsoft's so-called "shared source" initiative.

When the Open Source community and Microsoft aren't competing in a war of words, their products are competing in database benchmark tests. It was widely reported that IBM's upcoming DB2 7.2 release running on Linux 2.4.3 outperforms SQL Server 2000 running on Windows 2000. The humor site, Segfault noted that IBM's hardware costs may have been a bit higher.

A worm that fixes things?

A computer worm aimed at Linux computers apparently sought to fix damage that the earlier Lion worm did. Security experts weren't so impressed with the Good Samaritan, however.

New in NewsForge

Stories unique to NewsForge this week:

Editor in chief Robin Miller says a good public relations effort is all that's needed for Linux to gain ground in the desktop. That's where the Open Source community comes in.

News editor Tina Gasperson continues her review of Open Source Web sites with a look at MandrakeForum. She says the discussions there are worth the price of admission.

Business columnist Jack Bryar finds what's missing at the Wireless Agenda 2001 conference, namely most Open Source companies.

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