May 12, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Microsoft convicted of "piracy," Red Hat lures customers from other distros

- By Grant Gross -

We often think Microsoft's licensing cops go above and beyond what's practically necessary to stamp out software "piracy." Witness a couple of weeks ago, when the software giant tried to tell schools that removing Windows from computers donated to them is illegal.
So it's the mother of all ironies that Microsoft itself has been convicted of software piracy in a French court. Tina Gasperson tracked down the little-reported case from late 2001. Perhaps it's only piracy when it's a Microsoft product being copied? When you're a huge monopoly, you might be tempted to think that way.

Meanwhile, Microsoft complained that proposed antitrust sanctions would let "hackers" run wild on Microsoft software, as if that wasn't already happening.

Inching closer ...

The Mozilla project leaders released an RC2 version of its leading-up-to 1.0 release this week. We tracked down project leader Mitchell Baker and asked her what's next.

Declaration of war?

Red Hat caused a bit of a stir this week by going "all competitive" and announcing rebates to customers switching from other Linux distributions.

Newly released

AbiWord, the Free Software word processor project, officially released its 1.0 version. We took a look and found that it fixed some annoying bugs that were present in earlier releases.

Ximian released version 1.0.4 of its Evolution email software package.

The Apache project released version 2.0.36. released version 1.0.4 of its Rekall RAD DBMS tool for Linux.

Newly reviewed

Norbert Cartagena takes a look at the new SuSE 8.0 and mostly likes what he sees, although he notes some room for improvement.

Across the street, LinuxandMain takes a "so-what" approach to SuSE 8.0. Also among several reviews of SuSE 8.0 was The Register's.

The Register also reviewed Mandrake 8.2 and had mostly positive impressions. says Galeon 1.2.0 is making it easy to ignore other browsers.

New at NewsForge/

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

StarOffice book author Solveig Haugland offers some tips and tricks for getting around the office suite that works with Linux.

Jack Bryar suggests Open Source may help save the new merged Hewlett-Packard/Compaq.

Stock news

The Nasdaq ended the week at 1,600.85, a drop of more than 12 points from the May 5 close of 1,613.03, which was already the lowest the tech-heavy market had closed since October 2001. Most of our 11 Open Source-related stocks followed Nasdaq's lead, with eight dropping for the week, although most dropped only slightly. HP, MandrakeSoft and TiVo bucked the downward trend.

Several sites noted layoffs and a lowered revenue forecast at Linux/Unix distributor Caldera. But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that CEO Ransom Love
remains optimistic.

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

Company Name Symbol 5/3 Close 5/10 Close
Apple AAPL 23.51 23.32
Borland Software Int'l BORL 10.29 9.78
Caldera International CALD 1.00 0.87
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 17.44 19.26
IBM IBM 81.78 79.68
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.60 e2.70
Red Hat RHAT 5.16 5.03
Sun Microsystems SUNW 6.77 6.26
TiVo TIVO 3.96 4.00
VA Software LNUX 1.18 1.11
Wind River Systems WIND 7.00 7.49
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