June 17, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Lindows comes to Wal-Mart PCs, Open Source good for government

-By Grant Gross -

Awhile back, we reviewed the PCs available at Walmart.com without operating systems, a perfect fit for Linux users who don't want to pay the Microsoft tax. This week, Wal-Mart and PC maker Microtel took a step closer to the Linux camp by offering PCs with the Linux-based LindowsOS installed, reports Tina Gasperson.
Our report generated a lot of questions from the Linux faithful, including, "why Lindows?" The relatively new company is promising to ship a version of Linux that runs several pieces of Windows software. Lindows has gotten mixed reviews and suffered through a rather public announcement from the Free Software Foundation that it may have been violating the GNU General Public License, although the two sides seem to be working things out.

It'll be interesting to see how Wal-Mart customers react to the LindowsOS.

In a somewhat related review, Tina looks at Crossover Office 1.1, which continues to improve its Windows-programs-on-Linux software. Tina found that Crossover Office pretty much does what's advertised, but non-advertised Windows programs can have a little trouble.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reviews Win4Lin 4.0, another way to run Windows apps on Linux. It works well for daily office work, he says, if not for burning CDs or playing games.

Open Source in camouflage

Robin "Roblimo" Miller takes a look at a MITRE study of Open Source in government, prepared for the U.S. Department of Defense and just recently made public. The mostly positive report concludes: "Open source methods and products are well worth considering seriously in a wide range of government applications, particularly if they are applied with care and a solid understanding of the risks they entail."

Meanwhile, Wired.com offered a report on the current use of Open Source in the U.S. government, concluding that bureaucrats are still penguin-shy.

Grandma likes Linux

Tina tells of her experience talking to a seniors computer group about Linux and the interest it generated, especially when they heard Linux doesn't give you frequent blue screens of death.

While some grandmas are interested in Linux, they may be ahead of some major tech columnists. In an odd review, ZDNet AnchorDesk editor David Coursey finally takes Linux for a spin, describing his installation of Red Hat 7.3. You might find it odd that someone of Coursey's status has never tried Linux on the desktop before, but that appears to be the case from this article.

Odds 'n' ends

Not directly related to Open Source, but interesting nonetheless, was Slashdot's commentary on how McAfee, and potentially other computer security companies, use scare tactics to keep people buying their products. Slashdot looks at a highly suspect virus warning from McAfee as an example.

A DistroWatch report asking if RPM is doomed generated some interesting discussion.

Success story of the week

J.D. Edwards will offer its CRM applications built on a Linux-based infrastructure from IBM, beginning with the financial services industry, the company announced this week. What's that mean? Well, ummm, it means J.D. Edwards is bringing its customer tracking software to Linux.

Newly released

Evolution 1.0.7 was released. It's described as a bug-fix version.

Gnome 2.0 RC was also released.

Mozilla.org released Mozilla 1.1 Alpha.

Newly reviewed

LinuxPlanet on Red Hat 7.3: "In general, Red Hat 7.3 is the best version of Red Hat yet, though plagued by some irritating installer problems on some of my test systems. Caveat Downloader."

LinuxWorld reviews StarOffice 6.0 and says it's a good buy, even though it's no longer free as in beer.

New at NewsForge/Linux.com

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

In a funny turn of events, Robin says he's lost millions of dollars to online piracy. Read the story to see if he's being serious or not.

We talk to a couple of companies pitching Linux to enterprise customers and find those customers are starting to ask for Linux, instead of it being sold to them.

Stock news

The Nasdaq closed Friday at 1,504.74, down more than 30 points from the June 7 close of 1,535.48. Of our list of 11 Open Source related stocks, only three were up, with MandrakeSoft staying even for the week.

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

Company Name Symbol 6/7 Close 6/14 Close
Apple AAPL 21.40 20.10
Borland Software Int'l BORL 9.83 10.05
Caldera International CALD 0.87 0.84
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 18.69 17.35
IBM IBM 78.30 76.17
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.35 e2.35
Red Hat RHAT 5.03 5.44
Sun Microsystems SUNW 6.42 6.14
TiVo TIVO 4.20 4.12
VA Software LNUX .821 .88
Wind River Systems WIND 6.32 6.04
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