March 26, 2001

Weekly news wrapup: Red Hat brings good news to stock market

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross
-

The business end of the Open Source community has been in a funk lately, with layoffs and bad earnings reports all around, but there was some good news this week. Linux distributor Red Hat announced it beat earnings estimates.What that means is that Wall Street was expecting a one-cent loss per share, and Red Hat actually broke even. That still means Red Hat lost $600,000 for the quarter, but investors liked the stock late in the week. Analysts weren't so positive, however, saying that slowing I.T. spending could spell trouble down the road.

On the other end of the Open Source business news spectrum, don't be surprised, but Turbolinux pulled its IPO this week, citing the current crappy market conditions. Wouldn't you just love to see a press release quoting a company big-wig saying, "This market @#*&ing blows right now. We all thought we were gonna get rich, now I'm not sure if I still have my golden parachute." That's not meant to disparage Turbolinux, their heart's in the right place, just a commentary on the general tech stock environment these days.

I'm not sure where to file this on the spectrum of Open Source business news stories: China's Ministry of Information is planning to invest in Red Flag Linux, a Chinese Linux distributor. Call it Red Rebellion against Microsoft.

Your own reason not to use Microsoft software

Some enterprising computer cracker apparently tricked VeriSign into giving him two digital certificates for Microsoft.com. Basically, you might not want to trust the certificates if you're downloading updates to Windows for awhile, you never know what you might be getting.

On the other hand, a worm affecting Linux machines (but only ones running the BIND nameserver) hit the Internet this week. Apparently, the Lion Worm scans the Internet, infects vulnerable machines, steals the password file, installs other cracking tools, and forces the newly infected machine to begin scanning the Internet looking for other victims. Ouch, sounds painful.

Do Open Source projects need patents?

Patents would generally seem to go against the grain of the Open Source philosophy, but the Foresight Institute, a nonprofit nanotechnology think tank, and IP.com, a Rochester, N.Y., start-up, are working on a way to help Open Source developers "defensively publish" their work, so another person can't steal the idea and patent it. It's like having a patent without actually stooping to get a patent.

Finally, a followup on the OpenSSH vs. SSH Communications Security Corp. trademark dispute you've read about here. Tatu Ylönen, chairman and CTO of SSH Communications Security, was rejected by the Internet Engineering Task Force in an attempt to get the group to change the name of the Secure Shell protocol. The IETF will continue to use "SSH" as the name.

New in NewsForge this week

Stories that our readers seemed to like this week:

News editor Tina Gasperson checked out layoffs at Linux services company Linuxgruven and found a lot of disgruntled former employees, who felt the company wasn't up front with them. Some ex-Linuxgruven-ers have started over, saying the idea for the company was a good one even if the execution wasn't.

Freelancer Joab Jackson reported on the U.S. National Security Agency's plans to pitch some security measures to the Linux kernel developers. Could Linux soon be the spy community's operating system of choice?

Editor in chief Robin Miller reported on the Linux presence (or lack thereof) at the Federal Office Systems Exposition. Linux was represented at a panel discussion featuring Sun vs. Microsoft vs. Linux, with some interesting admissions from Microsoft.

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