November 5, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: A whole lot of Linux converting going on

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

This week's news featured a lot of conversion stories:'s converting to Linux, a U.S. court converting a lower court's ruling on posting Linux-related DVD code being free speech, NewsForge/'s corporate parent converting to a new name, and the U.S. government antitrust investigators converting to compromisers.

Let's take these items one at a time, shall we? announced this week it has saved about $17 million last quarter by switching its servers to Linux. However, the decidedly Windows-faithful site WinInfo noted that the switch was from proprietary Unix, not proprietary Windows.

Posting the DeCSS code, the software that allows Linux users to decode and play DVDs, was ruled as an act of free speech this week. The victory for several webmasters who'd been barred from even posting the code, came at the hands of a California appeals court.

VA Linux Systems, which owns both NewsForge and, announced it plans to change its name to VA Software Corp. to better reflect its new focus on its SourceForge collaborative software development package.

The Microsoft antitrust case, at least as far as the U.S. federal government is concerned, is all over but the shouting. The two sides have reached a tentative agreement, and while the settlement doesn't break up the monopolist giant, it might have some good news for Linux and other Open Source operating systems. One provision may allow computer makers to include alternative operating systems on the machines they sell without Microsoft retaliating.

What's new?

Netscape 6.2 was released this week.

OpenLinux 64 release 3.1 for Itanium was released by Caldera

The latest "ac" release of the Linux kernel (at least at the time of this writing; that might change soon) is 2.4.13-ac7. The latest "pre" version is 2.4.14-pre7.

Cox passing the torch

Longtime Linux kernel maintainer Alan Cox made news this week when he announced he was passing the torch on maintenance of the 2.4 kernel to Marcelo Tosatti. Linux users everywhere should give Cox a big "thank you" for his work. He'll continue to work on Linux and related issues, he promises.

In other Cox news, as promised, he has begun withholding security details in Linux updates because of controversial U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act could be used against Linux developers.

Windows XP: Slow sales and big security issues

Microsoft's Windows XP release this month seems to be meeting with a collective yawn from consumers and a collective groan from security experts. Early reports have the operating system ringing up lackluster sales and its copy-protection features vulnerable to crackers.

NewsForge/'s Robin "Roblimo" Miller suggests that even if XP is better than past versions of Windows, it's time for taxpayers to hold government agencies responsible for using an expensive operating system when much cheaper Open Source alternatives are available.

New at NewsForge and

Other stories that NewsForge and reported first this week:

Guest author Brian Aker does one of our first enterprise-level hardware reviews by testing OmniCluster's Slotserver PC-on-a-card.

Another guest author, Adam Cutchin, debuts our weekend "community commentary" column by suggesting Linux users shouldn't expect support from hardware vendors because Linux runs so well on old machines.

News editor Tina Gasperson reports that Open Channel Software decided to remove several references to "Open Source" from its Web site after it was pointed out that some of the software it features isn't really Open Source at all.

Also, if you've been wondering about the changes happening at, here's what's going on. We'd love to hear what you'd like to become.

Click Here!