March 19, 2001

Weekly news wrapup: Downsizing Open Source businesses; new reasons to dump Windows

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross
-

It was another week of downsizing in the Open Source world. The same day that Open Source desktop company Eazel released the 1.0 version of its Nautilus product, the company laid off more than half its staff, NewsForge reported. According to the company, sales and marketing people made up the largest chunk of those cut loose.

Also this week, we reported that LinuxWorld.com and UnixInsider.com parent company ITWorld told writers it was shutting down those sites, although it was moving some of the content to the corporate site. LinuxWorld.com's editors issued a kind of non-denial denial, saying they're simply migrating over to ITWorld.

Flame bait warning: If you're still waiting for the Linux desktop revolution, keep waiting, said a story from eWeek this week. An IDC report said Windows accounted for 92 percent of client operating system shipments last year. While shipments of desktop Linux were up 25 percent last year, the OS accounted for less than 2 percent of the desktop market.

More reasons to get rid of Windows

On to the good news . Several news sites reported that Mexico City is dumping Microsoft for Linux, largely as a cost-saving measure. The millions of dollars "spent unnecessarily" on software will go toward social programs, said Mexico City officials.

Halfway across the world, German armed services and foreign services have decided to get rid of Microsoft software as well, for very different reasons, report our friends at The Register. Apparently, German security authorities suspect that the U.S. National Security Agency has "back door" access to Microsoft source code, and "can therefore easily read the Federal Republic's deepest secrets." Another good argument against closed-source, or in this case secret-source, software.

Meanwhile, our favorite monopolist announced that it plans to extend its .Net platform to Linux, leaving some observers to question Microsoft's motivations.

1-click really worth a patent?

Amazon.com's patent on 1-click ordering has caught a lot of flack in Open Source circles, but at least one high-profile patent-reform advocate is now less convinced that Jeff Bezos and crew were on to something. Tim O'Reilly of the book-publishing fame writes, "After talking with Jeff, I concluded that his claim of innovation had some merit." O'Reilly did give out his $10,000 award in the 1-click patent bounty hunt, but while several debunkers came close, "the patent as a whole is not invalidated," O'Reilly said.

New in NewsForge this week

Stories you may have missed:

Linux creator Linus Torvalds' employer Transmeta released the first beta version of its Midori Linux for small devices this week. The release received plenty of attention because of Torvalds' proximity to the project, but he's been more of an advisor than a core developer on this one.

News editor Tina Gasperson reported on a project to use Linux in spacecraft. The FlightLinux project is nearly "ready to go," according to its founder.

News editor Dan Berkes gave us a story about efforts to use Linux in a very different market, television land.

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