November 27, 2000

Weekly news wrapup: European software patent decision delayed

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross-

Even though the Open Source news world was suffering from a Comdex and a U.S. turkey day hangover this week, news still happened in fits and spurts, especially in places that didn't celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Europeans were busy debating software patents, with the Open Source community heavily involved in arguing against an expansion of the law.

On Tuesday, most European Union countries voted to postpone an expansion of patents to software, with the EuroLinux group declaring it "a clear victory for democracy."

KDE vs. Gnome vs. Windows

The KDE League, KDE's answer to the competing Gnome Foundation, continued to warrant coverage this week. One member of the KDE team wrote a letter to the community, explaining the reasons for the marketing alliance. The big reason: Promoting KDE and Linux to the 95 percent of computer users who don't use either one. Meanwhile, a ZD Net column noted that a prolonged war between the two user interfaces would do more harm to the Open Source community than good.

What would a week be in the Open Source world without someone finding a new way to bash Windows -- or at least a new way of saying it? (For the record, I like to read a good Windows skewering as much as anyone; it's far more entertaining than endless election news.) This week's Rip on Windows Award goes to, which revisited Windows security flaws in a piece titled, "Is Windows now playing catchup to Linux?" NewsForge's own Jeff Field jumped into the KDE vs. Gnome vs. Windows fray in his comparison of Windows Whistler to Gnome, KDE and Mandrake Update.

Odd stories not all related to elections

While we're on the subject of election news, Eric S. Raymond, the Open Source evangelist and geek speak lexicographer, released a special "chad" edition of his Jargon File, with an expanded explanation for all you Florida election fans out there.

Winning the Odd Story of the Week Award, The Register reports on a Linux devotee, Intrinsa software developer Bill Softky, winning Microsoft's most coveted patent award.

Supercomputers and BSDs

We often get a how-to story that chances the eyes of many readers. This week,'s "How to set up a Linux supercomputer" was popular, with its explanation of software and hardware configurations.

And for all you non-Linux users out there, the NetBSD team announced the release of version 1.4.3 and promised 1.5 shortly. If you're new to BSD, check out Network World Fusion's "Discovering the BSDs."

New in NewsForge

Business columnist Jack Bryar says an "irrational pessimism" plagued Open Source vendors at Comdex this year, after last year's "irrational exuberance."

News editor Dan Berkes explains the wireless technology, Bluetooth, and why it's important to Open Sourcers.

We examine a Internet voting project hosted by and a debate over why the project's code isn't released yet.

NewsForge editors read and respond to comments posted on our discussion page.

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