May 26, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: Red Hat applies for patents, dozens of DMCA violations

- By Grant Gross -

A little controversy erupted late this week when it was revealed that Red Hat has filed for patents related to the TUX webserver, for Embedded Protocol Objects and the method and apparatus for atomic file look-up. As many of you know, many people in the Free Software community see software-related patents as a tool for creating more proprietary software.
The anonymous hordes at Slashdot had a good debate on the issue, but argued that the community should hold its outrage until it knows more about Red Hat's intentions.

Leaps of logic

Equally controversial, but in a trolling-for-page-views kind of way, was a column at WorldTechNews blaming Open Source for one company's programmer recruiting problems. Here's the twisted logic: Open Source allows programmers to copy each other's work, and that's why this company can't find skilled Microsoft programmers. Yeah, really, that's the point this columnist is making.

Then there's the columnist at Forbes who complains that Linux distributions don't include Windows software to help make dual-booting easier. Where do you start to argue against that kind of logic? Gee, perhaps copies of Windows should include a Linux distro to make dual-booting easier, too? Hmmm, I smell a new anti-trust remedy.

Violating the DMCA en masse

We note that a Reuters story, carried on, and in dozens of other publications, may have violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by describing in too much detail how people can use a felt-tip marker to defeat a Sony CD copy protection scheme. Of course, Sony will never sue Reuters, because if we have the entertainment industry going after Big Media instead of sites like, we'd have companies like AOL Time Warner and Disney suing themselves, and it'd be chaos.

Trying to grab your tax dollars

"Microsoft has beaten a retreat -- albeit a rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' retreat -- from its proposed audit of the 24 largest school districts in Washington and Oregon ..." notes the Oregonian. Microsoft, as you may recall, was threatening to unleash the license cops on those schools. As the Oregonian column notes, perhaps it's time more schools investigated using Linux.

Success story of the week

IBM is painting its new deal with Sherwin-Williams as one of the largest retail adoptions of Linux ever. The paint retailer is converting cash registers and other store computers to Linux.

Newly released

Mozilla 1.0 release candidate 3 hit the download shelves this week.

KDE 3.0.1 is shipping.

Open SSH 3.2.2 has been release and gets a review at O'Reilly's Linux site.

FrozenBubble 0.9.3 has been released. It's an "addicting" game that works in Linux.

Newly reviewed

Robin "Roblimo" Miller gets the comments flying when he reviews Opera 6 for Linux ands says it often performs better than Netscape or Mozilla.

Dee-Ann LeBlanc looks at TransGaming's WineX 2.0 and its promise of playing Windows games on a Linux machine and finds mixed results. says StarOffice 6.0 is worth every penny; Sun may decide to charge for it.

OSNews checks out Win4Lin Workstation 4.0 and says nice things about it. says Mandrake 8.2 "offers the easiest installation ever."

New at NewsForge/

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

Jack Bryar looks at the Microsoft vs. Open Source fight in Third World countries and finds it doesn't always come down to which offers the best software.

Robin examines Zend and how the company is making money off PHP by offering proprietary tools.

Stock news

The Nasdaq dropped from 1741.39 to 1,661.49 this week, ending a one-week rally. Of our 11 Open Source related stocks, only TiVo posted a gain for the week, a whole nickel for the week.

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

Company Name Symbol 5/17 Close 5/24 Close
Apple AAPL 25.01 24.15
Borland Software Int'l BORL 9.99 9.80
Caldera International CALD 0.73 0.67
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 19.68 18.69
IBM IBM 85.69 83.10
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.70 e2.25
Red Hat RHAT 5.12 4.59
Sun Microsystems SUNW 7.35 6.86
TiVo TIVO 3.90 3.95
VA Software LNUX 1.0497 .97
Wind River Systems WIND 7.22 6.88
Click Here!