August 26, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: VA Linux goes proprietary, kind of; dead people support Microsoft

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

It's hard to ignore the news this week of NewsForge parent company VA Linux's quarterly earnings announcement and its follow-up plan to sell "proprietary" software. VA reported a $290 million quarterly loss, but the bulk of that loss came from write-offs as the company gets out of the hardware business.

As for the announcement VA would sell proprietary pieces of its newly named SourceForge Enterprise Edition, that's not quite what it seems on its face, either, at least according to VA board member and Open Source evangelist Eric S. Raymond. ESR writes that VA's apparent change of philosophy is really just a change in tactics, with the company hanging some "proprietary tinsel" on SourceForge in order to sell it to enterprise customers, who had questioned paying for something that had been free.

Layoffs in the Linux world

Layoffs are hardly news in the Open Source business sector these days, but NeTraverse, the maker of Win4Lin emulator, said it was the victim of a overly pessimistic post at the rumor site F*** this week. NeTraverse's CTO told NewsForge's Tina Gasperson that the company had indeed laid off some people, but not the 90 percent first rumored. He also promised that the company would continue its course. Stayed tuned to see what happens with the company, but remember, don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

Yes, your honor

There are times when it seems NewsForge should do a weekly court roundup. This is one of those weeks.

The California DeCSS case returned to court this week, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation arguing that the California trade secrets law used to halt Internet publication of the DVD-playing code at dozens of Web sites
violated those site owners' First Amendment rights. We'll keep watching to see the outcome of this appeal.

Also, Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov, arrested in the United States for allegedly violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was supposed to go to court this week, but the hearing was delayed. There's some speculation that a plea bargain is in the works. Sklyarov sent a note out this week thanking the many people who have supported his cause since he was arrested in July.

Microsoft sees dead people

Or, at least, dead people like Microsoft. Well, Open Source people have been arguing for years Windows is a dead operating system. Apparently, dead people are writing letters of support to the attorneys general suing Microsoft for antitrust violations. Oops.

Free taking over Glibc?

A weird controversy broke out this week, with the author of Glibc accusing the Free Software Foundation Richard M. Stallman of trying to take over the project.

Ten candles

Look for more news this week about Linux's 10th birthday. Several news sites have done stories, but one interesting story is from the The Bangalore Linux User Group Web site, which explains why August 25 is considered Linux's birthday, instead of a couple of other fairly legitimate dates.

New in NewsForge

Stories that first appeared in NewsForge this week:

Hardware reviewer Jeff Field got one of the first looks at AMD's 1GHz Duron CPU, saying the Morgan chip is more of an incremental step than a huge leap for the company.

Business columnist Jack Bryar writes that analyst conflicts of interest during the tech stock boom are now fueling dozens of lawsuits, including some against your favorite Open Source companies.

News editor Tina Gasperson noted that one enterprising Linux fan was selling a Linux-like license plate on eBay and there are several others who could cash in.

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