March 4, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: GPL faces court test, Sun faces more Open Source critics

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

Two companies with Free Software ties faced off in court this week, in what the Free Software Foundation is calling the first court test of the GNU General Public License, the popular license that Linux and many other Free Software products are released under. In the case, MySQL AB is asking that NuSphere stop using the MySQL trademark because of alleged GPL violations.

A Boston judge granted a preliminary injunction in the case, barring NuSphere from the use of the MySQL name, but there's more to come in the case. Adam Kessel was at the hearing and suggested the GPL was not at risk. Our own Tina Gasperson was the first to report on the case going to court; also, see her reporting on NuSphere's side of the situation.

Sun's Open Source commitment, part II (or III?)

Just weeks after Sun Microsystems announced it was embracing Linux, questions continue about its seriousness. Some reports this week had Sun planning to charge for its previously free StarOffice suite. NewsForge/Linux.com columnist Jack Bryar noted Sun's half-hearted denial and suggested Sun has other credibility problems among Open Source/Free Software fans.

On the other hand, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols also reported that Sun is tempting soon-to-be-abandoned Windows NT users with a discounted Linux/Cobalt package.

In other news ...

Programmers discovered a security flaw in some versions of Linux that could "allow protective firewall software to grant malicious computer users access to protected networks." The flaw could be exploited when two computer users chat on IRC.

A U.S. Senate committee conducted the first hearing for the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, which "would require government mandated copy prevention technology in future digital devices that would give Hollywood control over how consumers can use digital content," according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Tech leaders told senators to back off, but Democrats seem to be fond of the bill.

Microsoft's and the U.S. Justice Department disclosed several changes to the proposed antitrust settlement between the two after criticism from legal experts and the public over the slap on the wrist Microsoft was getting. Apparently, Microsoft thought the changes minor enough to call them "clarifying changes," and some critics are still being critical.

Newly reviewed

Our own Robin "Roblimo" Miller explains how he set up a wireless network in Linux, using the SMC Barricade combination 802.11b wireless access point, wired network router, and printserver. It's really very easy, he says.

Russell C. Pavlicek checks out the Bochs hardware emulator and finds it useful to emulate old hardware and software combinations.

TuxReports offered up a review of the Libranet GNU/Linux 2.0 OS, giving it the coveted four-star rating.

TinFoil Hat Linux, the self-described Linux for the paranoid, is getting a lot of press lately. A review by Evilmutant.com calls the distro innovative, but hopes for more security and privacy tools in future versions.

Lycoris Linux (formerly Redmond Linux) received a favorable review from Extreme Tech.

LinuxWorld.com features a comparison of the Evolution email/calendar program with Sylpheed and recommends a switch to Ximian's Evolution.

Newly released

The Opera 6.0 beta for Linux was announced.

New at NewsForge and Linux.com

Other stories that NewsForge and Linux.com reported first this week:

Guest commentator Elwin Green says that more than anything, Linux needs a coordinated marketing effort.

The OpenSSH crew says its use has surpassed SSH.com's product about a year after a trademark fight between the two.

Stock news

The Nasdaq took an encouraging swing upward for the week, the first weekly rise since the week of January 25. The Nasdaq started the week at 1724.54 and closed Friday at 1,802.74. Our list of Open Source-related stocks followed that trend, with 10 up for the week and one, Caldera, holding at 52 cents.

Caldera did report its quarterly results, with the company saying its net loss of $11 million, or 19 cents per share, was met its own predictions.

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

Company Name Symbol 2/22 Close 3/1 Close
Apple AAPL 22.74 23.45
Borland Software Int'l BORL 13.04 14.11
Caldera International CALD 0.52 0.52
Hewlett-Packard HWP 19.29 20.21
IBM IBM 98.45 103.02
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e4.20 e4.40
Red Hat RHAT 6.15 6.50
Sun Microsystems SUNW 8.07 8.93
TiVo TIVO 4.82 6.00
VA Software LNUX 1.725 1.79
Wind River Systems WIND 11.40 12.71
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