July 21, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Mandrake on Walmart.com PCs, the next Open Source business boom

-By Grant Gross -

We first reported in mid-June that Walmart.com was planning to offer Mandrake's brand of Linux on PCs, in additional to offering Lindows OS and PCs without operating systems. Tina Gasperson was first to notice that the preloaded Mandrake PC went on sale this week.
The Walmart.com move received overwhelmingly positive reactions in our comments section, now we'll have to see if the praise translates into profits for Walmart.com. Walmart.com may be on the front end of a trend -- as we've noted, Outpost.com is also offering Linux preloaded on PCs, the east Asian Linux brand ThizLinux.

Battle over digital rights

In Washington this week, Free Software and fair use advocates raised a bit of a ruckus at a digital rights management workshop featuring a panel full of Big Hollywood and Big IT executives. That story and a follow-up commentary generated a lot of debate about digital rights "management," and whether it's needed or not. The Hollywood insiders at the U.S. Department of Commerce workshop were calling for the government to step in and mandate some kind of digital rights control, err, management.

Business is good?

Jack Bryar suggests that some Open Source-related businesses are riding out the current stock market troubles better than some other tech companies. The business columnist sees some opportunities for the "next boom."

Tying the digital rights debate and business plans together in one neat package, Robin "Roblimo" Miller checks on how WashingtonPost.com is using Open Source tools to build a music download service featuring local musicians.

Also this week, Forbes.com published a special report this week, asking if Linux is a good bet for investors, and quoting analysts who are optimistic about Linux-related stocks.

On the down side, there were rumors of layoffs at UnitedLinux partner Turbolinux, but the company later denied those rumors.

Odds 'n' ends

A British security company is saying that security attacks against Linux-based Web servers are on the rise, but still small compared to the number of attempted attacks on Microsoft servers.

Former Red Hat employee The Rasterman raises some debate by declaring Linux dead on the desktop, but has great potential in embedded systems.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer finally seems to be admitting that Linux is cheaper to run than Windows. Is this the end of total cost of ownership studies sponsored by Microsoft? Meanwhile, the Norwegian government has dropped its Microsoft license.

Success story of the week

CBS Sportsline is moving to Red Hat Linux on Dell hardware to run the large sports news Web site.

Newly released

A couple of big releases this week:

Ogg Vorbis 1.0, the audio codec, was released.Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 hit the download sites.

OpenOffice.org 1.0.1 was also released.

Newly reviewed

OSNews reviews Gentoo Linux and finds a lot of things to like.

Linuxwatch.org checks out Walmart.com PCs running Lindows and is not impressed.

Forbes.com reviews Gaim, the IM service for Linux.

eWeek explains how Gnome 2.0 beefs up Linux security.

LinuxOrbit offers a grab bag full of reviews, including File Roller and Karchiver.

New at NewsForge/Linux.com

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

Tina explores the issues behind the legal wrangling over several UNIX-related domain names.

Bruce Tober checks on efforts of the Russian government to use Linux.

Stock news

The Nasdaq closed Friday at 1,319.15, a drop of more than 54 points from the July 12 close of 1,373.50. The tech-heavy stock index is at its lowest levels since late 1998. Our list of 11 Open Source-related stocks fared a bit better, with four of the 11 up for the week, and a couple more down just pennies for the week.

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

Company Name Symbol 7/12 Close 7/19 Close
Apple AAPL 17.50 14.96
Borland Software Int'l BORL 6.93 7.58
Caldera International CALD 0.91 1.00
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 15.27 12.80
IBM IBM 69.21 72.00
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.20 e2.19
Red Hat RHAT 5.70 5.65
Sun Microsystems SUNW 5.27 4.25
TiVo TIVO 3.59 2.75
VA Software LNUX .85 .80
Wind River Systems WIND 5.30 6.04
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