October 15, 2000

Weekly news wrapup: Red Hat responds to bad PR

Author: JT Smith

By Grant Gross

Managing Editor
Is it really all about Microsoft?

More fallout this week about Microsoft's decision to invest in the Linux-friendly Corel. Several news organizations reported on an SEC filing that claimed Corel will be able to port Microsoft's .Net service model to Linux and ease itself into the Open Source community. The question is, how many Linux users want to play with .Net?

Red Hat: We're no Microsoft

Linux distributor Red Hat continued to take some flack this week, with Upside Today lamenting the fallout from Red Hat's attempts to become a Linux market leader: "From a plummeting stock price to exaggerated reports of buggy code to growing outcry over the company's perceived attempts to set itself apart from the rest of the Linux distributor community, Red Hat has been buffeted by nothing but bad news in recent weeks," wrote an Upside staffer. Earlier reports in the week gigged Red Hat for some capability problems Red Hat 7.0 had with earlier versions.

Finally, Red Hat chairman Bob Young went so far as to write an open letter to Slashdot readers, focusing on the criticism the company has received for its 7.0 release. Young also wrote: "There is one recurring comment that I could not resist addressing. Namely the regular habit of our critics of comparing Red Hat to Microsoft. I just don't get it. There are many things for which we should be justifiably criticized (I have no idea what these might be, but I'm certain they exist ;-) but trying to act like Microsoft is not one of them."

KDE and Gnome: We borrow from Microsoft

The Atlanta Linux Showcase and Conference was this week, and along with it came a flurry of reports from the showroom floor. Among them: KDE and Gnome developers saying they're looking to Microsoft for some inspiration, and book publisher Tim O'Reilly hinting at a new peer-to-peer project. NewsForge reported on two companies hawking their wares at ALS, PocketLinux and Epitera.

Gates: We're Microsoft and we're proud

All this news about Microsoft, and we get to hear from the man himself! Bill Gates spoke at an Intel event this week, saying Microsoft is in great position to do just fine in the wireless and voice technology areas. Could you expect less from Mr. Gates?

Commentary: We're flushing money down the Microsoft toilet

We can't break away from all this MS news without someone in the Open Source community getting a good jab in. This week's cut on the Bill and Steve show comes from 32bitsonline: "Actually, all you have to do is take the current value of all of Microsoft and divide that into the number of machines ever loaded with WinWhatever, and multiply that by the number of hollow marketing promises that M$ has ever made. That is what it has cost business and end users alike to leave the Redmondites to their own devices ... several (hundred?) trillion dollars, any way you cut it."

Microsoft isn't the only one with security issues

If you like a bit of irony with your breakfast, check out the story about the Secure Digital Music Initiative's not-so-secure start. Salon.com reported that not one single watermark resisted attack in the SDMI's hacking contest. Oops! In other security news -- or lack thereof -- a Swedish hacker team cracked what was supposed to be the "world's toughest code" from author Simon Singh's bestseller "The Code Book."

New at NewsForge

Among the original reports at NewsForge this week:

News editor Tina Gasperson talked to LXNY secretary Jay Sulzberger about what makes a successful Linux user group.

Tina also busted one Open Source company, Collab.net, for having a closed-source mentality about doing business, specifically about talking to the press. It should be noted that Collab.net is a competitor of one of NewsForge's sister sites, SourceForge.

We also reported on the beta release of the Opera browser for Linux. Developers say they believe Linux users will find the browser good enough to pay for.

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