April 2, 2001

Weekly news wrapup: Linux/Windows virus isn't really an April Fool's joke

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross

The initial reports of the W32.Winux virus read almost like a joke. A virus that could compromise both Linux and Windows machines? Yeah, right. Well, it was not a joke, but Linux security experts soon jumped on the report from security vendor Central Command. A NewsForge article (among others) argued that the virus didn't present a serious threat to experienced Linux users.

Basically, you'd have to acquire the infected executable and put in on your machine, and be running root for the virus to do major damage. Somewhere out there, a Linux machine or two may get hit, but careful Linux users should be safe.

Big Blue getting active in Open Source

IBM's $1 billion-plus investment in Linux has bought it lots of media attention, if nothing else. This week, Open Source advocate (and fairly recent Hewlett-Packard employee) Bruce Perens said he's planning a conference that would call for IBM to open up its vast catalog of patents to Open Source developers.

In other IBM interactions with the Open Source crowd, Big Blue VP for Linux sales and marketing Steve Solazzo told a crowd at the CeBIT technology conference in Germany that there are too many Linux distributions and a shakeout was on the way. Well, yes, but do they need to hear it from IBM? Solazzo also said IBM favors working with SuSE, Turbolinux, Red Hat, Caldera, and Mandrake. Maybe those are the distros he's predicting to win that shakeout, or is that still too many?

If you haven't head enough about IBM's "Peace, Love and Linux" ad campaign, IT-Director.com reviewed IBM's attempt to bring Linux to the masses. The article also talked about why Linux tends to confound technology analysts. (Insert your own analyst joke here.)

Rumors of their death ...

Reports had Open Source consultancy Zelerate closing its doors this week. That wasn't quite true, the company is still operating, according to its head honcho, although it has laid of a large chunk of its staff.

The survey says ...

There seemed to be a lot of survey news in the Open Source world this week. Is it sweeps month and no one told us? One survey said about three in four Linux developers use Red Hat when selecting a Web server or Web
application server, although there were some questions about the accuracy of the results.

Another survey said 23 percent of those responding would consider switching to Linux the next time they update their equipment. In the same survey, 56 percent of PC users had actually heard of Linux.

Finally, a bit of unwelcome news about TiVO, the Linux-run super VCR-like device. Apparently, TiVO is keeping track of what you watch and sending back information to advertisers. Stop that, please.

New in NewsForge this week

Other stories found only at NewsForge this week:

New Cyberpunk columnist Joab Jackson exposes Microsoft's PowerPoint as a useless tool that makes most people's eyes glaze over.

Business columnist Jack Briar bemoans an irrational pessimism in the Linux market, especially with the press asking, "Will they sell?" about a cool group of Linux PDAs coming out.

We also report on a project to port Linux to AMD's x86-64 processor architecture, although AMD itself might not quite understand Open Source licenses as of yet.

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