January 14, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Linux offers new desktop options

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

It was a Linux desktop kind of news week. Our own Robin "Roblimo" Miller reviewed the Internet Computer from OEone, which he says is so easy it makes using an iMac look tough. And among the predictions for 2002, PC Magazine suggested Linux would "emerge as a true desktop operating system." Perhaps the editors there got a sneak peak at the OEone machine?

Or perhaps they got a look at Lindows, the Linux-based operating system that's finally supposed to run Windows programs easily. While SiliconValley.com suggested Lindows could worry Microsoft, Lindows CEO Michael Robertson released a statement explaining why the OS hasn't been released by now, as promised. Robertson also recently wrote a chairman-to-chairman note to Microsoft's Bill Gates, suggesting some resolution to a trademark lawsuit being pursued by Microsoft.

A few words about Word

Also somewhat desktop related was Free Software Foundation leader Richard Stallman's suggestions of ways to get people to stop emailing you documents in Word doc format. Stallman's We can put an end to Word attachments at NewsForge caused quite the debate; check out the more than 250 comments on the story.

No, you can't give away software to schools

Well, at least Microsoft can't. A federal judge tossed out that proposed settlement of Microsoft antitrust case, saying it would give a large benefit to the software giant. Well, no kidding.

In related news, the Schoolforge Open Source schools coalition officially launched this week. The coalition of more than 40 groups interested in Open Source education efforts seeks to give schools an alternative to Microsoft products.

The strange SuSE trademark issue

This was an odd court case that lasted all of about four days. As far as we can tell, early in the week, a German judge stopped shipments of SuSE, the popular Linux distribution, because of a trademark violation alleged by Crayon Vertriebs for a defunct KDE app called Krayon that was still listed in SuSE's startup menu. Within a couple of days, SuSE and the company reached an out-of-court settlement, which The Register characterized as SuSE buying off a trademark "extortionist."

Linux trojan? Community yawns

This week brought several reports of a "smarter" version of the "smarter" variant of the Remote Shell Trojan that did minor damage to Linux systems last September, but most security experts dismissed the risk, saying the trojan required the unlikely event that a Linux user to ran an infected binary.

Other miscellaneous stuff

Reports that the Yopy Linux handheld had been discontinued even before its launch is simply not true, according to representatives of Yopy maker G.Mate.

The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, proposed in the U.S. Congress, would potentially require proprietary anti-copying technology on every digital device. It caused a lot of concern in the Open Source and Free Software communities, but LinuxJournal.com reports that the bill is dead on arrival in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a member of the Judiciary Committee.

The word is getting out that Open Source can help IT departments cut costs, even in "mainstream" publications like Business 2.0.

New at NewsForge and Linux.com

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

Swedish lawyer and Open Source activist Mikael Pawlo makes the case for a software copyright compromise between the Free Software types and proprietary companies.

Tina Gasperson checks in on the campaign of Open Source advocate Adam Davis, a Libertarian candidate for the city council in Jacksonville, Florida.

Frederick Noronha reports on a project in India that's helping schools use Open Source software instead of more expensive options.

Stock news

Predictions of economic recovery that bolstered the Nasdaq last week seem to be back on hold. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the week at 2,022.46, down from 2,059.38 Jan. 4 and down 24.78 points on Friday alone. The U.S. markets took a hit Friday after a downbeat speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and what Reuters called "a slew of dismal corporate news," including announcements of 35,000 layoffs at Ford Motor Co.

Our list of Open Source and related stocks, following a week of all 11 stocks rising, had a mostly down week, with only Red Hat, TiVo and Wind River Systems bucking the down trend. TiVo announced $14 million in financing -- that can't be bad for the stock -- while Wind River that Mitsubishi has chosen the company's software and services for high definition digital televisions.

TiVo wasn't the only Linux-related company that received a multi-million cash infusion this week. Aduva, a company that seeks to simplify installation and management of
Linux systems, also received $14 million, this investment coming from Intel, BMC Software and others.

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

Company Name Symbol 1/4 Close 1/11 Close
Apple AAPL 23.69 21.05
Borland Software Int'l BORL 16.62 16.29
Caldera International CALD 1.05 0.93
Hewlett-Packard HWP 23.16 22.88
IBM IBM 125.60 120.31
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e4.95 e4.48
Red Hat RHAT 8.25 8.71
Sun Microsystems SUNW 13.93 13.32
TiVo TIVO 6.43 7.30
VA Software LNUX 2.83 2.77
Wind River Systems WIND 18.89 19.27
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