December 24, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: Microsoft sues Lindows over trademark, Red Hat considers trademark changes

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

Linux start-up Lindows made the news this week, although probably not in ways it wanted to. You remember Lindows, the company started by a former MP3.com exec, who's promising to deliver a Linux distribution that will run most Windows applications, even though several Open Source projects have been working for years on that problem, with varying success.

NewsForge's Robin "Roblimo" Miller used Lindows as an example in an essay about why we don't write about many unreleased products, sometimes called "vaporware," even though several other Web sites have hyped the no-product-as-of-yet Lindows. That story prompted more than 70 comments, including one by Lindows head dude Michael Robertson.

This same week, Lindows got news it was being sued by Microsoft for an alleged trademark violation of the Windows brand. Still, Robertson gets points for being good-natured, in his post to the NewsForge story, in private emails, and in his reaction to the Microsoft lawsuit. Here's what he told Reuters about the Microsoft legal threat: "All I know is that I'm being sued for unfair business practices by Microsoft. Hello pot? It's kettle on line two."

More on trademarks

Speaking of trademark issues, this week Red Hat announced it was rethinking its trademark policy in response to more than 140 comments on an earlier NewsForge story describing a Red Hat crackdown on CD resellers.

Also this week, NewsForge columnist Jack Bryar defended Red Hat's trademark position, saying the Linux distributor's name is as important to its business plan as its software.

In other Red Hat news, Red Hat's latest quarterly report had the company slightly above analysts' expectations. The company posted a $1.3 million profit, before those nasty charges, which turned that profit into a loss.

More on Microsoft

It was week no. 2 of a spat between Microsoft and embedded Linux companies, with Linux companies responding to Microsoft criticism that Linux doesn't work well in embedded devices. Both LynuxWorks and Lineo rebutted Microsoft this week, and LinuxDevices.com even offered an analysis of why Microsoft is attacking embedded Linux: Generally, that Microsoft is losing to Linux in the embedded market.

Linux through the year

If you're interested in looking back at what's happened in the Linux world during 2001, check out the Linux timeline from LWN.net.

New releases

The Mozilla browser inched closer to a 1.0 release with its 0.9.7 release.

theKompany released the fourth beta of its Aethera Messaging and Groupware client for KDE.

The KDE project released KDE 3.0beta1 and competitor the Gnome project released the Platform Beta of its 2.0 desktop. Gnome services company Ximian also announced its Red Carpet Express subscription service.

KOffice 1.1.1 also shipped this week.

Newly reviewed

The Register compared Linux Mandrake 8.1 to Windows XP and found, surprise, Mandrake easier to install than Microsoft's latest operating system.

NewsForge's Miller looked at Redmond Linux beta 3 and found it extremely easy to install, but lacking application packages on the CD.

New at NewsForge and Linux.com

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

Freelancer Russell Pavlicek describes the practical uses of tomsrtbt, the little Linux distribution that fits on one floppy disk.

News editor Tina Gasperson a closed memory card, when it could just as easily use a more open option. If you missed this story because you were on holiday, be sure to check this one out.

Stock news

The tech-centered Nasdaq market ended the week at 1,945.83, down just slightly from the 1,953.17 closing Dec. 14, although the index rallied for more than 27 points Friday.

In our list of 11 Open Source-related stocks, only three posted gains this week: Apple, IBM, and TiVO, while Hewlett-Packard and Wind River Systems were unchanged from Dec. 14 after the week shook out.

It was a slow news week on the business end of things, other than the Red Hat earnings announcement, and a couple of press releases from IBM. One that bears watching: IBM's for eServer iSeries, which makes available
over the Internet a "virtual Linux server" to help independent software vendors and the Open Source community write and port their applications to Linux on iSeries. IBM is touting the test drive as a way small- and medium-sized businesses can check out Linux.

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

Company NameSymbol12/14 Close12/21 Close20.3921.0016.8415.391.010.7721.0021.00121.10122.00e5.19e4.908.026.9512.3411.744.695.472.892.4818.0518.05

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