Weekly news wrap-up: What’s happening with Penguin Computing, the SSSCA?


Author: JT Smith

By Grant Gross

News reports have Penguin Computing, the self-proclaimed leading Linux hardware vendor, laying off between a third and three-quarters of its staff this week, including CEO Martin Seyer, in an apparent effort to become profitable.

NewsForge was the first to speak with company founder, majority owner and returning CEO Sam Ockman, who said the layoffs make the company profitable now. However, there seems to be a lot of bad feelings about the layoffs, and disagreements about just how the restructuring went down. Check out the comments on the NewsForge story, or an earlier LinuxGram story to see alternate points of view.

Pending legislation

The Open Source/Free Software communities’ campaign against the proposed U.S. the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act is stepping up, with a hearing on the bill scheduled for Oct. 25. NewsForge’s Tina Gasperson reports that many organizations that could be affected by the bill don’t know its potential impact; that of requiring proprietary anti-copying controls on all kinds of hardware and software. The Free Software Foundation says this bill could outlaw Free Software and Open Source development, which several U.S. agencies have embraced.

KDE blows out the candles

Open Source GUI project KDE celebrated its fifth birthday this week. You’ve come a long way, baby. Meanwhile, Gasperson reports that a group of the KDE faithful are posting themes online while the new Themes.org is still down.

AOL doesn’t like Mozilla?

News reports have the 7.0 version of America Online still sticking with Microsoft’s IE as a browser, not AOL’s own sponsored Mozilla. Apparently, AOL will test run the Mozilla Gecko engine on its much smaller CompuServe. In other Mozilla news, the Mozilla team has released a Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto. Great bedtime reading.

Fighting words

If you don’t read Wired magazine, this will be new for you. Former Red Hat employee Russ Mitchell has an essay, Open War, about why he thinks Linux will lose the war to Microsoft. His argument: The Linux desktop isn’t here yet.

Why Microsoft will lose the war

Microsoft security guru (is that an oxymoron?) Scott Culp is blaming its products’ security problems on security companies and Web sites that publish the exploits. Does that mean customers are better off not knowing? A classic case of blaming the messenger. It didn’t take Open Source advocate Eric S. Raymond long to write a rebuttal, saying “If you can’t stand the heat …”. From ESR: “What Culp is really saying is that he doesn’t believe Microsoft will ever get its act sufficiently together for Windows or IIS to survive in a high-threat environment, so Microsoft wants to blame someone else for the problem.”

My installer is your installer

A group of Linux people pushing for a “Common Linux Installer” got some flack this week, with critics saying that would take away the individuality of the various Linux distributions. The installer people say that’s not really true, that some common functionality wouldn’t make everything look the same.

New in NewsForge

Stories that appeared first in NewsForge this week:

  • Robin “Roblimo” Miller compares proprietary software development to fundamentalist governments that don’t want debate. Open Source development often looks messy from the outside, but it’s very democratic.

  • Lutris CEO Yancy Lind responds to critics of the company’s decision to back away from support of the Enhydra.org project.

  • Jeff Field reviews the AMD Duron 1.1GHz chip and finds it doesn’t offer much new beyond AMD’s Athlon line.