Weekly news wrap-up: Microsoft loses Lindows fight, Sun to charge for StarOffice

By Grant Gross

A judge has ruled against an injunction Microsoft is seeking against Lindows.com, the company that’s trying to make more Microsoft programs work in Linux. Microsoft alleges that Lindows is violating its Windows trademark, but our own Jack Bryar notes dozens of other cases where Windows or Windows-like names are used in company products.

Looks like Microsoft either has dozens of trademark violation cases to sue over, or much more likely, will be told by a judge that if it wants a trademark, it should come up with words less common than windows, word or office. But don’t hold your breath — when was the last time you saw Microsoft do something truly innovative?

In other business-related news, there were several reports this week of Sun Microsystems’ plans to start charging for its popular StarOffice suite, an alternative to Windows that opens most Microsoft-formatted documents. The Open Source project for OpenOffice will continue, however.

Disney buys a bill

Sen. Fritz Hollings — who’s from South Carolina but gets a sizable chuck of money from Disney and other large copyright holders –finally introduced a version of his Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, now going by the name the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act. The proposed law would require electronics manufacturers to embed copy-protection controls in all PCs and consumer electronic devices sold in the United States, pretty much squashing any kind of fair use rights the public has on copyrighted works, and further limiting legitimate reverse engineering done by Open Source developers and others.

I’m not sure how much good a few thousand signatures will do against the corporate resources of Disney and and the motion picture industry, but there is an anti-SSSCA petition available. The petition had more than 70,000 signatures as of Sunday evening.

Linux at federal trade show

Linux continues to be in the background at the FOSE technology-in-government trade show, but don’t blame the efforts of the Northern Virginia LUG. Members were hoping to pass out 1,000 Linux CDs at the three-day event.

Several government agencies are using Linux and Open Source, however. On Friday, the Cyberspace Policy Institute at The George Washington University announced a plan to gain an international security rating for the U.S. National Security Agency’s Security Enhanced Linux project.

Also this week, Internet architects at the U.S. Census Bureau detailed how Open Source software is being used on several agency Web projects.

Newly released

  • Mandrake 8.2 was release, but some users reported some installation problems.

  • Netscape 6.2.2 hit the download sites this week.

  • One reader says we should “prepare to fall in love with KDE 3. The was released this week.

    Newly reviewed

  • LinuxLookup.com reviews RAV AntiVirus v8.5 for Linux. “Defiantly a must have for you system administrators!”

  • OSNews has a review of the Lycoris Desktop/LX Linux distribution, but says the OS isn’t quite ready for the desktop.

    New at NewsForge and Linux.com

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

  • Tina Gasperson reported on Caldera’s OpenLearning product, a Linux training curriculum for everyone from new users to big business customers.

  • Robin “Roblimo” Miller talked to a custom browser programmer about the ease of moving from development based on Internet Explorer to Mozilla, now that AOL is planning to use the Mozilla engine as its default browser.

    Stock news

    The Nasdaq ended last week at 1.851.30, down ever-so-slightly from the 1,868.30 March 15 close. It was the second week in a row the Nasdaq fell. Of our index of 11 Open Source-related stocks, 10 fell, with only MandrakeSoft rising a week after the company asked for more customer support because of a cash crunch.

    Red Hat saw its stock price tumble 17% Wednesday on reports of lower than expected quarterly earnings. The company did report an “adjusted” profit, despite what was called “weak” sales.

    Hewlett-Packard’s merger with Compaq was approved by Compaq shareholders, but even that didn’t help HP’s stock price.

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

    Company Name Symbol 315 Close 3/22 Close
    Apple AAPL 24.95 24.09
    Borland Software Int’l BORL 12.26 11.99
    Caldera International CALD 2.05 1.61
    Hewlett-Packard HWP 19.05 18.15
    IBM IBM 106.79 105.60
    MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.89 e3.00
    Red Hat RHAT 7.10 5.95
    Sun Microsystems SUNW 9.06 8.86
    TiVo TIVO 5.32 5.18
    VA Software LNUX 1.89 1.72
    Wind River Systems WIND 13.73 12.53
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