February 18, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Questioning Sun's commitment to Linux

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

There are still lingering questions about Sun Microsystems' commitment to Linux, after the company announced in early February a bunch of new Linux initiatives and one Sun executive declared the move was part of a "war on Microsoft."

ITdirector.com called Sun "a little late to the party" during what should be a good year for Linux. NewsForge business columnist Jack Bryar suggested Sun didn't have much choice but to move into the Linux camp, with customers defecting Sun's Solaris Unix OS for Linux. And NewsForge's Robin "Roblimo" Miller published a memo from an IT guy inside a company considering Solaris or Linux. The government employee gave seven reasons to pick Linux.

Microsoft vs. the holdout states

This past week offered a couple of noteworthy items in the ever continuing Microsoft antitrust case. The U.S. Department of Justice sifted through 30,000 public comments on the proposed Microsoft settlement and found only 47 it considered "major" enough to publish. However, at least two of those come from the Open Source and Free Software camps, from the KDE League and the Free Software Foundation's Eben Moglen, and only five of the 47 actually favored the settlement.

On Friday, federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Microsoft must show its source code to the states holding out on settling. Those nine states have argued that they need to see the Windows source code in order to verify Microsoft's claim it could not offer a simpler version of Windows.

Meanwhile, reports this week showed that the money Microsoft spends on lobbying exceeds that of failed energy company Enron, which is facing questions about its campaign contributions. Gee, and people in the federal government wonder why there's suspicions that the Microsoft settlement was rigged.

Wither Corel?

At least from the former Linux company's last flirtation with Linux and Open Source software. DebianPlanet.org noted that Corel plans to close its Open Source Web site March 1.

In other news ...

There's still much talk of Rob Landley's proposal to create the position of "Patch Penguin" to help Linux creator Linus Torvalds get patches into the Linux kernel code quicker. Joe Barr of LinuxWorld.com wrote an interesting piece wondering if Landley's idea was "evolution or revolution." Is either of those outcomes a bad thing?

KDE's 3.0 release is near, noted C|Net, with the beta 2 release of 3.0 released this week.

In a bit of people-type news, Slashdot founder Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda asked his long-time girlfriend to marry him, using the popular news and discussion site as his forum, on Valentine's Day, no less. She said yes. Awwwwww.

Newly reviewed

NewsForge regular freelancer Russell C. Pavlicek checked out the FreeDOS project and found the Open Source DOS to have more uses than you might expect.

Open for Business (OfB.biz) reviews Mandrake Linux, the supposedly desktop friendly distribution. What the reviewer says: "Mandrake Linux sports a mature interface and no shortage of precompiled packages. With obvious care taken to ease-of-use and excellent administration tools, it is an ideal choice for the Linux desktop."

Success story of the week

In another OfB.biz article, one contributor there convinced his mother to try SuSE Linux. She seems to like it, especially the up time of 170 days straight.

New at NewsForge and Linux.com

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

NewsForge's Tina Gasperson talks to Val Henson about Linux kernel hacking and what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated world. We talk to Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Robin Gross about how some recent court cases, mostly involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, could affect Open Source developers and Web sites.

Stock news

It was another bad week for the Nasdaq, especially if you were a day trader specializing in Open Source-related stocks. The Nasdaq fell from 1,818.88 Feb. 8 to 1805.20 Feb. 15, and all 11 of the Open Source-related stocks listed below suffered losses. Other than that, it was a fairly slow news week for our list of companies.

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

Company Name Symbol 2/8 Close 2/15 Close
Apple AAPL 24.03 23.90
Borland Software Int'l BORL 16.65 14.00
Caldera International CALD 0.68 0.61
Hewlett-Packard HWP 20.40 20.36
IBM IBM 104.99 102.89
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e5.20 e4.50
Red Hat RHAT 7.88 7.39
Sun Microsystems SUNW 9.75 8.90
TiVo TIVO 5.56 5.3987
VA Software LNUX 2.06 1.98
Wind River Systems WIND 16.69 16.45
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