September 9, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: How would HP/Compaq merger impact Open Source?

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

One story dominated the news in both the Open Source community and the technology community at large this week -- the announcement from hardware-maker Hewlett-Packard that it intends to buy rival Compaq for $25 billion.

There's a lot of speculation, and not a lot of answers yet, on how the deal would impact Open Source projects at the two companies, especially at Compaq. BusinessWeek suggested the merger could boost Linux if the merged company decides to consolidate its Unix offerings. NewsForge business columnist Jack Bryar writes that the combined company could have a huge impact on Linux acceptance in corporations, if it chooses to.

Reactions to the proposed merger were mixed, at best. It was called a "survival merger" by one ZDNet columnist, and others suggested it could face European Union regulatory problems or even U.S. antitrust scrutiny. But Gateway's CEO called the deal "cool," saying the deal could preoccupy both companies and give Gateway a competitive advantage.

Bad news from Open Source-based businesses

There was a lot of not-so-good news from companies focused on Open Source this week:

NewsForge's Tina Gasperson reports that Chicago-based Linux training company Linux Island is short on cash, with the company president paying the payroll out of his own pocket.

Netscape has laid off the head of the Mozilla project, and Mozilla 0.9.4 is reported to be behind schedule.

Analysts are questioning whether the Linux-based TiVo television recording hardware company can survive on its own.

Embedded Linux company Lineo announced a restructuring and layoffs of 60 percent of its workers.

Linux for work

On a more positive note, TechWeb reviewed four Linux distributions this week to see how they worked alongside Windows NT, a likely OS in the corporate environment. "Is Linux right for your business? If your business requires working with multiple platforms, and customization, stability and security, and your organization is willing to take on the potentially steep learning curve, then Linux has evolved as a useful alternative to commercial operating systems," notes the reviewer.

Linux needs Microsoft?

A couple of interesting stories this week on how Linux is helped by the competition. NewsForge's Robin "roblimo" Miller says Linux is benefiting from being seen as the underdog again, as the media is writing again about its underground movement aspects after the downturn in Linux businesses. Elsewhere LinuxWorld.com.au argues that Linux actually needs Microsoft because there'd be no Linux without the software monopoly.

One billion seconds

Unix fans celebrated the rollover of the Unix clock to one billion seconds this weekend.

New in NewsForge

Stories unique to NewsForge this week:

Tina Gasperson reports on complaints that the Open Source Initiative is taking its own sweet time in approving new Open Source licenses.

We report that On2 Technologies Open-Sourced its VP3vieo compression technology this week.

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