October 8, 2000

Weekly news wrapup

Author: JT Smith

By Grant Gross

Managing Editor
News of the weird?

Probably the weirdest news this week had closed-source giant Microsoft pumping $135 million into competitor and Linux embracer Corel. That strange move prompted a slug of questions from the tech community. A ZDNet column suggested the investment would head off some potential legal disputes between the two companies. A CNet article amplified that sentiment by saying Microsoft was heading off potential antitrust troubles with its Office product by pumping up a competitor.
A Canadian Press article said the investment helped new Corel president a chief executive Derek J. Burney move from "interim" to the real deal. A 32bitsonline commentary guessed that Corel thought it was "better to strike a deal with the devil than to be annihilated," and OS Opinion questioned Corel's commitment to Open Source.

Weird claim, or just a misunderstanding?

Linux distributor Red Hat seemed to send some mixed signals to the Open Source community this week -- or at least that's how it was reported. On Wednesday, CNet reported CTO Michael Tiemann saying that the company "started the Open Source revolution," much to the dismay of several people who've been developing in the Open Source or Free Software models for years. Tiemann disputed the report later in the week, saying Red Hat started the commercial Open Source revolution. Later in the week, Info World reported that Red Hat and SuSE officials said they're not trying to create monopolies for their companies. Red Hat chairman Bob Young: The company "never set out to be a big fish in a small pond. ... My job is to worry about the size of the pond. If we can make the pond that much bigger, it creates more opportunities for everyone."

Not weird, but not happy news either

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, reported that the 2.4 version of the kernel will take at least another two months to complete. Torvalds, speaking at a German Linux conference, said Linux developers are now working on fixing bugs.

Reactions to Netscape 6

Trying to make this a weird story might be a bit of a stretch. Netscape released the third preview version of Netscape 6 this week. Analysts seemed to like it, but users called it "slow and clunky." An eWeek review said 6's limited messaging capabilities and lack of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol support gave it limited corporate appeal.

Patent progress?

Wired.com reported that two congressmen have introduced patent-reform legislation, calling for the end to obvious patents. NewsForge did its own story on the technology patent debate this week. During a panel discussion of the D.C. Area Chapter of The Internet Society, the director of the U.S. Patent Office said Congress and the courts have tied his hands on patent reform, while a leading patent scholar called for a moratorium on most new software patents.

New in NewsForge

Also new this week from NewsForge's staff:

Columnist Emmett Plant talked about why many Linux users prefer Debian.

Columnist Jeff Field examined how to resurrect old hardware with Linux.

Columnist Julie Bresnick profiled 20-year-old Alex Chamandy, founder of the interestingly named Black Hat Networks.

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