September 22, 2002

Weekly news wrap-up: UnitedLinux vs. the GPL; another think tank vs. Linux

-By Grant Gross -

Is UnitedLinux violating the GNU General Public License with its closed beta? The Free Software Foundation seems to have questions.

This weekend, UnitedLinux member company Conectiva responded to the questions about the closed beta. Basically, Conectiva argues that an open beta is coming soon and there's a way to publish code from the beta if it's shown to be part of the public domain. We'll keep an eye on where this goes from here.

Here we go again

For the second time since early summer, a conservative-leaning Washington think tank is questioning the use of Linux and other Open Source software in government. This time, free-market advocate CEI took issue with a New York Times editorial championing Linux as a good competitor to Microsoft. CEI's objections to Linux seem to be that a bunch of volunteer programmers can't possibly challenge the great and wonderful Microsoft (a past contributor to CEI) and that the GNU GPL "infects" every program it gets close to -- both of which are serious misconceptions, of course.

Related to Barney?

Sun's CEO Scott McNealy was talking up Sun's future "purple boxes," which will be Sun desktop machines loaded with Linux. That's purple boxes -- for Sun's favorite corporate color -- instead of white boxes. Wouldn't it be cool if they were really purple?

Sun's touting the purple boxes as a low-price alternative to Windows machine, but they're still tentatively priced at $1,100, which isn't exactly a bargain by today's standards.

Red Hat vs. desktop projects

Red Hat announced it would release its 8.0 version this month, and that version would be aimed at the desktop. Some controversy erupted when Red Hat's new beta junked Gnome and KDE for Red Hat's own desktop.

Odds 'n' ends

The Slapper worm, aimed at Linux servers, didn't do a heck of a lot of damage, only infecting about 7,000 servers, by C|Net's count. Last summer the Code Red worm infected about 400,000 Windows servers. Are Linux sysadmins just smarter?

The Philippine Open Source community is going hard after Microsoft after the giant monopoly claimed it could beat Open Source software in total cost of ownership numbers.

Newly released

Tcl/Tk 8.4.0 was released this week.

The chkrootkit 0.37 sysadmin patch tool was released.

Newly reviewed

Tina Gasperson looks at Lindows 2.0 and says at least it looks nice.

OSNews checks out Lycoris Desktop/LX, a user-friendly Linux distribution, and says it's still got a couple of rough edges.

OSDir reviewed Straw and Leo.

OSNews reviews another user-friendly Linux, this one being Xandros, and says it's a contender.

New at NewsForge/

Among the other stories we reported first this week:

J.T. Smith explains why he prefers Open Source databases.

Robin "Roblimo" Miller explains why it's so hard to count the number of Linux desktop users after recent speculation that Linux was ahead of Macintosh.

Stock news

The Nasdaq fell for the fourth week in a row, closing Friday at 1,221.09, down from 1,291.40, September 13. Nine of the 11 Open Source-related stocks on our list took dives this week, many of them significant losses.

Red Hat released its quarterly earnings this week, and the numbers were in line with Wall Street expectations, which is about as good as any company can hope these days.

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

Company Name Symbol 9/13 Close 9/20 Close
Apple AAPL 14.17 14.87
Borland Software Int'l BORL 9.32 8.26
Hewlett-Packard HPQ 13.50 12.94
IBM IBM 72.50 63.92
MandrakeSoft 4477.PA e2.20 e2.20
Red Hat RHAT 5.25 4.98
SCO Group (formerly Caldera) SCOX 1.62 1.61
Sun Microsystems SUNW 3.112 2.88
TiVo TIVO 3.80 3.52
VA Software LNUX 1.11 0.92
Wind River Systems WIND 5.35 4.32
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