June 9, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Mozilla 1.0 released, Linux more secure than some might think

-By Grant Gross -

The big news for the week was the release of Mozilla 1.0 after the browser had been in development for four years. The release opened a floodgate of reviews, mostly positive, including one from Tina Gasperson, who marveled at the browser's configurability.
Other Mozilla reviews: CNet called it good but no Internet Explorer killer, while eWeek says Mozilla "impresses from all angles."

What's the problem with Linux security?

Robin "Roblimo" Miller points out that the cross-platform Simile.D virus, which is supposed to attack Linux as well as Windows, only works on Linux if you're running as root. Now, who's dumb enough to do that? Robin also suggests a "new" way of keeping your systems secure: Running operating systems so old the young script kiddies don't know what to do with them.

Speaking of security, a soon-to-be-released white paper questioning Open Source security has some questions about who funded it. Conservative think tank Alexis de Tocqueville Institution has received funding from Microsoft in the past, although it won't disclose who funded this current study. We spoke to study author Ken Brown, who runs Apache on the think tank's Web site, and found a lot of assumptions he's making about security that Open Source fans could argue with.Editor's note: Here's a link to the study, apparently released June 10.

Nader vs. Microsoft

Former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader and technology consumer advocate Jamie Love threw their hats into the Microsoft antitrust debate this week. Nader and Love suggest the U.S. government could easily end the Microsoft monopoly by putting limits on the amount of Microsoft products it will buy. That'd give a new advantage to Linux and companies like Apple. Of course, it didn't take long for someone to find fault with the Nader/Love idea. ZDNet said the courts should deal with antitrust and government offices should decide to buy Microsoft products on their merits.

Odds 'n' ends

The German government signed a contract with IBM to run SuSE Linux at a discount on a variety of government offices.

The government of Taiwan also has a Linux initiative involving the development of a local version of Linux.

Success story of the week

Maybe not a success story yet, but the word seems to be getting out about Linux. Half of those responding to a CNet poll said they expect Linux to play a significant or major role in their companies' business plans.

Newly released

AbiWord 1.0.2 hit the download sites this week.

Linux kernel 2.5.21 was released.

Audacity 1.0, a multi-track and recording audio editor, was also released.

Newly reviewed

Norbert Cartagena takes ELX Linux for a spin and says the distribution aimed at people new to Linux should appeal to former Windows users, because it looks so much like Windows.

Linuxlookup.com has a review of Engarde Secure Linux Pro 1.1: " I am happy to see a Linux distribution that is really secure straight from the box. You can tell that a lot of thought and planning went into it. Instead of lumping a bunch of programs together and calling it a distribution, Engarde was designed to be Secure from the ground on up."

Linuxlookup also looks at Red Hat 7.3 and finds it "the best offering so far."

LinuxWorld.com says Linux Mandrake 8.2 offers "the easiest installation ever."

New at NewsForge/Linux.com

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

Tina reports that the Free Software Foundation says Lindows is moving toward compliance of the GNU General Public License after a public spat earlier.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols hunts for evidence of Linux on IBM pSeries hardware and doesn't find much.

Stock news

The Nasdaq dived again this week, from 1,615.73 to 1.535.48. Where's that rumored economic turnaround? Only four of our 11 Open Source-related stocks posted gains for the week, most of them just a few cents. Red Hat was one of those posting a gain after announcing a partnership with Oracle and Dell, dubbed "Unbreakable Linux." The partnership will allow Oracle's 9i database software to run on Red Hat Linux on Dell's PowerEdge servers.

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

Company Name Symbol 5/31 Close 6/7 Close
Apple AAPL 23.30 21.40
Borland Software Int'l BORL 9.57 9.83
Caldera International CALD 0.84 0.87
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 19.09 18.69
IBM IBM 80.45 78.30
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.20 e2.35
Red Hat RHAT 4.81 5.03
Sun Microsystems SUNW 6.89 6.42
TiVo TIVO 4.37 4.20
VA Software LNUX .87 .821
Wind River Systems WIND 6.72 6.32
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