Weekly news wrap-up: Less Stallman, more Red Hat vs. KDE

By Grant Gross

You might be hearing less of Richard Stallman in coming days. Tina Gasperson reports that the Free Software Foundation is increasingly using other spokespeople and focusing more on its message than the man who founded it.

It’ll be interesting to see how that strategy works. Stallman often inspires strong feelings, which makes for frequent publicity, if nothing else.

In a related story, Robin “Roblimo” Miller responds to critics who say the GNU General Public License is “viral” by saying that borrowing code from “Proprietary Licenses in General” can get programmers in a lot more trouble.

Still more of Red Hat vs. KDE

LinuxPlanet offers an “exclusive preview” of Red Hat 8.0 and its Bluecurve desktop, coming out this week. We were kind of expecting a review, but the article is more of a talk with Red Hat about why it’s creating its own desktop, which has been in the news for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, KDE developer Bernhard “Bero” Rosenkraenzer said he was quitting Red Hat over the company’s decision to “cripple” KDE in the new release.

If you can’t beat ’em, lobby them out of existence

Wired.com looks at lobbying efforts against Open Source, in particular how the Microsoft-backed Initiative for Software Choice is attacking Open Source-in-government pushes.

Also this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged the threat Linux is to his company during a speech at a Microsoft Most Valued Professionals conference. (Gee, why do I never get invited to these things?) Ballmer seemed disappointed that Microsoft couldn’t run Linux into the ground like it’s done with some other competitors, saying Linux started off bankrupt, in a way.”

Success story of the week

Salon.com had an interesting story this week (on its free section, even) about how a group of anti-globalization activists in California are recycling old computers, loading them with Free Software and sending them to South America.

Newly released

  • PHP-Nuke 6.0 was released.

  • AbiWord 1.0.3 was also released this week.

    Newly reviewed

  • OSNews reviews the new UnitedLinux beta, focusing mainly on the installation.

  • OSDir looks at GnuPOD and Fink.

  • OSNews also reviews Lindows 2.0 and seems to like it, calling it one of the most usable Linux distributions.

    New at NewsForge/Linux.com

    Among the other stories we reported first this week:

  • Robin suggests that this country needs a good $999 Linux laptop.

  • Brendan Scott attacks four Free Software fallacies, including that one about the GNU GPL being viral.

    Stock news

    The Nasdaq fell for the fifth week in a row, closing Friday at 1,199.16, down more than 21 points from the September 20 close of 1,221.09. The Nasdaq’s on track for its third straight losing quarter, pending any miracles Monday. Only one of our 11 Open Source-related stocks — Borland — closed up for the week.

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

    Company Name Symbol 9/20 Close 9/27 Close
    Apple AAPL 14.87 14.72
    Borland Software Int’l BORL 8.26 8.46
    Hewlett-Packard HPQ 12.94 12.03
    IBM IBM 63.92 60.36
    MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.20 e2.20
    Red Hat RHAT 4.98 4.78
    SCO Group (formerly Caldera) SCOX 1.61 1.201
    Sun Microsystems SUNW 2.88 2.67
    TiVo TIVO 3.52 3.33
    VA Software LNUX 0.92 0.8473
    Wind River Systems WIND 4.32 3.57