August 20, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: A small victory against the DMCA

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

For what's supposed to be a slow news month, at least until the LinuxWorld Expo, it was a busy week for those of us who covered Open Source-related activities. Big news this week, even in Big Media, was that Princeton Professor Edward Felten's team finally presented their paper describing their defeat of the Secure Digital Music Initiative's proposed anti-copying technologies.

Someone might ask what Felten's work has to do with the Open Source community. Actually, there are several intersections, one being the interest of conducting science in the open, instead of behind closed doors, as the recording industry would prefer. And the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, with which the recording industry first threatened the Felten team, has also been used to go after people who create Open Source-related programs, such as the DeCSS DVD code.

While the Felten team's presentation was a victory against the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, the law could still be used to sue other creators of legitimate research and technologies. The DMCA could even be used to stop the media from reporting on such efforts.

Good news, bad news for the Linux desktop

The great news came in the form of NewsForge editor in chief Robin Miller's report from Largo, Florida, where hundreds of city workers are using Linux on their desktops and making out just fine, thank you. So much for the argument that the secretaries can't figure out Linux.

The not-so-good news is that Loki Software, which ports PC games to Linux, has filed for bankruptcy. Apparently, the company owes a former employee some money, but founder Scott Draeker says he plans to keep the company open.

Making their debuts

Linux Mandrake 8.1Beta1 was released for downloading and testing.

KDE 2.2 was also released. It's the real deal, not the beta version.

The latest version of the Ogg Vorbis digital music compression format was also released, for all you digital music connoisseurs out there.

Ahhh, darn

A U.S. federal appeals court rejected a Microsoft appeal that could've indefinitely delayed further proceedings in the government's antitrust case against our favorite monopolist. We weep for you, Bill.

New in NewsForge

Stories that first appeared in NewsForge this week:

News editor Tina Gasperson reports on Bryce Wilcox-O'Hearn's effort to do a side-by-side comparison of Open Source licenses. The reviews have mostly been positive, saying Wilcox-O'Hearn's table is a good reference.

Gasperson also reported that Linux hardware company Penguin Computing laid off 25 percent of its staff.

Business columnist Jack Bryar cheered Red Hat for refusing to provide long-term guesses on its profits to stock analysts.

Click Here!