September 2, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: New name for Caldera, new licensing fee for MP3?

-By Grant Gross -

Red Hat was called the nasty M-word, Caldera decided to call itself something else, and Thomson Multimedia was called dirty names for a wording change in its MP3 license that really didn't change the company's licensing policy.
The Red Hat controversy started with eWeek.com suggesting its dominance could make it "a Microsoft Corp. among Linux vendors." As far as we know, there's no crime in becoming the biggest player in the market, just in using dirty tricks to get there, so the Microsoft comparison may be a stretch in a lot of ways.

Jeremy Hogan's rebuttal of the original story received a lot of comments. "How can you trust Red Hat not to [become a monopoly]? Simple. Our cards are on the table. All of them. What can we hide to lock the world into our platform and standards? Nothing. Both are wide open. You don't have to trust us, we have nothing to hide."

Hello again, SCO

Caldera got a lot of attention this week at a resellers conference in Las Vegas. The biggest announcement: The company was changing its name to The SCO Group, the Unix company Caldera acquired in 2001, which left some commentators wondering about Caldera/SCO's commitment to Linux and others wondering about the direction of the company. Company officials insisted that the new SCO remains a Linux and a Unix company.

Revenue for the third quarter at SCO was down 18% from a year ago, the company also announced this week.

MP3 no longer free?

Well, not so fast. This week, the people at Xiph.org -- the creators of Ogg Vorbis -- got a lot of mileage out of a wording change in the MP3 license from Thomson Multimedia. The change in wording got the Free Software community up in arms about potential charges for decoders. But a Thomson official tells Robin "Roblimo" Miller that there hasn't been a change in policy. Thomson has always charged for commercially distributed MP3 players and encoders, but there's no license fee planned for decoders and players that are distributed free-of-charge on the Internet for individual users.

Odds 'n' ends

The Register published a story about how the U.S. National Security Agency's Security Enhanced Linux project is getting tangled in politics, with a little help from Microsoft.

Success story of the week

According to Dataquest numbers, Linux remains the fastest growing server market, with $50 million more shipped this past quarter than last year at this time.

Newly released

Netscape 7.0 was released. See the reviews section below for several reviews.

Talk about choices: Mozilla 1.1 was also released.

openMosix 2.4.19-3 was released.

Slackware 9.0 beta was released.

OpenPKG 1.1 was released this week.

Newly reviewed

Brian Aker reviews the Everything2 and LiveJournal Open Source content management packages.

If you're looking for reviews of the new Netscape 7.0, MozillaZine has a list. eWeek.com says Netscape 7.0 "shrivels" under its cousin Mozilla's shadow.

New at NewsForge/Linux.com

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

Tina Gasperson reports that the company making copy-protected CDs says the felt-tip marker hack no longer works.

We talk to the founder of the Linux Xbox Project and ask why he left the project. Apparently the $200k donation to help finish the project is making the work a little less fun. Meanwhile, the project kept plugging away with its 0.2 release.

Stock news

Our little three-week rally was too good to last. The Nasdaq closed at 1,314.85 Friday, down from 1,380.62 August 23. Of our 11 Open Source-related stocks, only one, Wind River Systems, was up for the week, and it was up all of two cents.

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

Company Name Symbol 8/23 Close 8/30 Close
Apple AAPL 15.73 14.75
Borland Software Int'l BORL 10.459 9.90
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 14.70 13.43
IBM IBM 80.40 75.38
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.20 e2.20
Red Hat RHAT 5.25 4.70
SCO Group (formerly Caldera) SCOX 1.98 n/a
Sun Microsystems SUNW 4.18 3.71
TiVo TIVO 4.57 4.00
VA Software LNUX 1.45 1.16
Wind River Systems WIND 5.13 5.15
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