January 7, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Microsoft fires up sales staff to fight Linux; Linux a technology to watch

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

This week brought more news of Microsoft's attempts to discredit Linux. The Register published a second letter sent to members of the Microsoft sales and marketing organization. Microsoft is trying to "debunk the myths around Linux," namely that it's free.

Well, it is, or at least it can be, free as in beer. It's also free as in speech: You can look at the code anytime you want and make changes to it. Microsoft will surely put together some numbers saying Linux costs so much to get working in a business setting, but you probably won't find a cost comparison of Linux to the new software licenses you have to pay for with every Windows upgrade. Now, a true cost comparison -- including the new hardware new versions of Windows demand -- would be interesting reading from Microsoft.

Speaking of a little Microsoft reality, CIO Magazine published a 12-step program on how to free yourself from the expensive upgrades and endless security problems that come with Microsoft products. Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore our IT department to sanity. "Linux is that power. It is less expensive to acquire. It takes up less hard disk space and requires less memory to run. There is elegance in the open-source code license: You can have the source code for free, allowing you to upgrade or patch systems as you like."

If you don't believe CIO Magazine, IT-director.com named Red Hat Linux and Sun's StarOffice, the office suite similar to Microsoft's Office, as two of the best tech products of 2001. Notably absent from the list: Windows XP.

Just when you thought your were safe from predictions ...

PCWorld.com names Linux as one of the technologies to watch in 2002. "The arrival of Sun Microsystem's StarOffice 6.0 and continued work on the KDE desktop graphical interface could make Linux a more viable alternative on the desktop ... A slower economy could prompt smaller technology departments to consider Linux as a way to save money."

GUI-Lords.org has another list of predictions for Open Source desktops in 2002.
Among the predictions: Ximian will go bankrupt, and Mandrake will fall out of favor under the onslaught from all the new desktop distributions. Hmmmm, bold predictions, indeed.

New releases

A couple of games for Linux were among the releases announced this past week:

Space Tripper is billed as a retro arcade game. From the announcement: "No story, No background, No plot and No friends. It's just blast or be blasted."

Majesty is the second title released by Linux Game Publishing Ltd. It's a "fantasy kingdom simulation" real-time strategy game that was released for Windows in 2000.

Other releases is the Open Source world this week included:

Java3D 1.2.1_03 and Java3D 1.3-beta1 for Linux.

Krusader 1.0.

GCC 3.0.3.

Gnumeric 1.0.0, GNOME Office's spreadsheet.

Newly reviewed

NewsForge's Jeff Field checks out the LinkSys EtherFast 10/100 CardBus NIC on a Linux laptop and finds it works pretty darned easily.

Success story of the week

Industrial automation controller manufacturer SIXNET is not only putting out a Linux device, it's also converting all its programmable products to Linux because of its flexibility and low cost.

New at NewsForge and Linux.com

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

Tina Gasperson examines the converging doctrines of Ximian and theKompany, the commercial companies aligned with competing desktop projects GNOME and KDE, respectively. Both companies are now pitching proprietary add-ons to their Open Source projects.

Robin "Roblimo" Miller tells readers why Linux really doesn't have to beat Windows to give users what they want. It just needs to become enough of a major player that more hardware and software companies start noticing.

Miller also checks on the progress of Linux in Pakistan. Pakistan users say Linux is become more popular as the government cracks down on pirated versions of Windows.

Stock news

The Nasdaq ended last week at back above the magic number of 2,000, closing Friday at
2,059.38 up from 1,987.26 Dec. 28. Investors seem to believe that an economic rebound is just around the corner, and some analysts are predicting another rise in the markets this coming week. Last week was a good one for our list of Open Source and related stocks -- all 11 rose, with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Caldera and Red Hat making significant gains. With the holiday-shortened trading week, there was little news coming out of our list of companies; the rises in stock values seemed to come from the larger optimism about the economy.

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

Company Name Symbol 12/28 Close 1/4 Close
Apple AAPL 22.43 23.69
Borland Software Int'l BORL 15.85 16.62
Caldera International CALD 0.89 1.05
Hewlett-Packard HWP 20.82 23.16
IBM IBM 122.90 125.60
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e4.69 e4.95
Red Hat RHAT 7.02 8.25
Sun Microsystems SUNW 12.59 13.93
TiVo TIVO 6.30 6.43
VA Software LNUX 2.49 2.83
Wind River Systems WIND 18.05 18.89
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