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Firebird 1.0 final release

Author: JT Smith

Mariuz writes: “The Firebird Project is proud to announce the immediate availability of Firebird 1.0 for Linux, Windows and MacOS X. Other directly supported platforms (FreeBSD, Solaris, HP-UX) should follow shortly.”

LinuxLaboratory.org call for papers

Author: JT Smith

njcajun writes: “LinuxLaboratory.org, a banner-ad free community site devoted to administrators of *nix servers and networks, is looking for any and all writers who can document some of the more advanced uses of Linux. Some ideas are: ‘Linux in a Mixed LDAP/NIS environment’, ‘Solving Problems through Clustering’, ‘Development for Linux on the Itanium’, and ‘Step-by-Step: a Custom Bootable Redhat Distro CD’. Writers own their submissions, and are credited as such. Papers should be addressed to njcajun _AT_ LinuxLaboratory _DOT_ org.”

Bynari offering free Linux groupware suite

Author: JT Smith

LinuxPR: “Bynari’s InsightConnector allows Microsoft(R) Outlook users to uncouple their dependence on Microsoft Exchange. To test it, a user needs an IMAP server. So what’s the problem? Outlook users need an Open Source advocate to help them through the murky waters of freedom.”

‘We’ll play nicely’ says Microsoft

Author: JT Smith

BBC.co.uk: ” Steve Ballmer was sharing the platform with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder when he acknowledged his company had a less than perfect track record as far as trustworthiness went.”

Everything XMMS

Author: JT Smith

DocTomoe writes: “While many Linux users wouldn’t think a second about playing music on a Linux box, others can’t live without it. iMacLinux has a guide that will show you a bit through the possibilities of XMMS and why it has become the “standard” Linux music player. Screenshots included.”

Debian developer wins gold in Salt Lake City

Author: JT Smith

Debian Planet reports that a Debian developer has won two gold medals at this year’s Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

MandrakeSoft, here we go again

Author: JT Smith

By Jack Bryar

I love MandrakeSoft.
I love its product. I think its software team is great, but the
company’s recent “strategy” of begging for money is ridiculous posture for any
for-profit company. It may be time for MandrakeSoft to return to its roots.

It must be that time of the year. My local National Public Radio affiliate is
begging for money. At least four times a year, the airwaves at the lower end of
the FM dial are clogged up with boring mid-level executives, whining
for dough and threatening to drive their Volvos over to CBS if I don’t
fork over another $10 a month.

This means they have come begging only twice as often as
MandrakeSoft during the last year.

I have a problem with this. I don’t mind being guilt-tripped into forking over a little dough to my local public radio station. After all, where else will you hear a music marathon featuring the
Portsmouth Symphonia
? Certainly not on commercial radio.

I do have a problem with making regular contributions to the folks
at MandrakeSoft, not that they have stopped asking. About a year ago,
they were warning everyone that they were having trouble making ends meet,
and were effectively soliciting contributions. Last summer the company put together a multimillion dollar IPO of sorts, selling off 20% of
the company for a little under $4 million dollars.

That was nearly $4 million raised despite the fact that MandrakeSoft had nothing in
the way of decent financial prospects, and no obvious business plan
that would ever turn the company into a promising investment.

I cheered them on. Last May, I suggested that there
was a good case to be made
for Mandrake, although not a
particularly good financial case. I did think the company might be able
to keep its burn rate under control until executives there figured out a way to run
the company as a business.

Apparently not.

the end of the year
, Mandrake was asking enthusiasts to chip in $5
dollars a month to join something called the Mandrake Club. By the
beginning of this week, the company was back louder than ever, stating that, the “Mandrake Linux distribution’s short-term future is in jeopardy due to a simple factor:
money.” The newest fund-raising gimmick? Corporate club memberships,
with fees ranging from $2,500 to $100,000. Among the perks: direct
downloads from Mandrake servers.

MandrakeSoft is assuring users that its current financial straits
are temporary. The company is about to release version 8.2 of Linux Mandrake. The company expects to be profitable in 90 days.

Of course, the company also planned to be profitable 90 days

This really wouldn’t be a problem if MandrakeSoft was a little more
like National Public Radio. No one ever figured that NPR would
become self sufficient. Likewise, MandrakeSoft was originally set up as a
non-profit. It began its existence as a volunteer project to upgrade and localize
Red Hat’s version of Linux, combined with the KDE user interface. Almost
from the day the company declared itself a profit-seeking corporation,
observers have had trouble figuring out how the firm expected to make money,
although MandrakeSoft leaders keep insisting they are going to try.

And that’s silly. In some ways, the company is a lot like your local
public radio station. Public radio puts out a reasonably good product and
owns the top income demographics in most markets. However, it has no
means of forcing its user base to pay for its services. MandrakeSoft,
more than most Linux firms, has the same problem. There’s a reason that
Linux firms like Red Hat walked away from the end-user, desktop business. Setting up and managing a massive server farm at companies like AOL requires plenty
of onsite support and more than a little custom development. There’s a
potential revenue stream and an obvious market. By comparison, MandrakeSoft’s
desktop Linux is a shrinkwrapped product. No matter how good it is, there’s little
need for support and there’s no reason that a company should ever
have to fork over cash for anything other than the minimum single
license to run an entire floor of workstations.

One important difference is that NPR is supposed to be a non-profit.
MandrakeSoft isn’t. The company is backed by firms like AXA
and ABN Amro — both gigantic financial service companies. Since when did you send a love offering to your local bank? In addition, the company has yet to float 80% of its stock. Last I checked, the current trading price was still trading at around $3.50. If MandrakeSoft needs to raise a little cash, it could always sell some of the remaining stock.

If selling stock or heading to the bank is not an option for
Mandrake, the firm may have to face the fact that it may not be viable as a
for-profit entity. It may be painful, but it’s not the end of the world. Other
firms have restructured. Plenty of private schools, water and sewer
companies, hospitals and real-estate holding companies have made the
transition to becoming non-profit institutions. There’s no reason a software
developer couldn’t do the same thing.

And when MandrakeSoft does, I’ll mail it a nice contribution.

Linux group plots business desktop domination

Author: JT Smith

Anonymous Reader writes “silicon.com carries a story that a pressure group called OpenForum Europe has been created to speed the take-up of open source software (OSS) in UK businesses.
Comments are invited from registered users”


  • Open Source

Lindows.com information

Author: JT Smith

LPH writes “Just thought NewsForge readers would be interested in an email sent out by Michael Robertson. It appears they are about ready for Preview 2 of Lindows and a ruling from the Judge regarding the Lindows.com name.”


  • Linux

NetBSD at the 4th Chemnitz Linux-day: a daemon among penguins

Author: JT Smith

From BSD Today: “March 9/10 was a big “Linux” event at the university of Chemnitz, Germany. About 1500 attendees visited technical sessions in several tracks, went to
the “install fest”, watched demonstrations or participated in workshops. The event also had some BSD content: a booth with (Net)BSD was available as
well as several presentations mentioning NetBSD in detail.”


  • Open Source