Welcome to .org Watch!

On the Linux Greenhouse, Free Software Foundation Europe, the GIMP and KDE.

The premiere edition of a column is usually the place where the writer introduces him or herself (hi, my name is Leslie, and I'll be your columnist) and stakes out the territory that will be covered (welcome to .org Watch! Our specialty will be tracking the developments and trends in the .org community. We'll profile a .org or discuss a trend or issue and give news briefs). Really, who am I to buck tradition? So, welcome to .org Watch!

For the initiated, what I'm about to say is very, very obvious. However, I'm constantly amazed by the number of people entering into the Linux space who don't understand that the history of the GNU/Linux .org community is the history of Linux. Tracking the trends and developments—of what would be a marginalized group anywhere else—is vital because some of the best innovations come from the .orgs.

Profile—The Linux Greenhouse

The Linux Greenhouse (http://www.linuxgreenhouse.org/) describes itself as a “virtual incubator”. But don't let the word “incubator” scare you. The Linux Greenhouse is a completely different animal from the incubators that have come under fire recently. For starters, it is a nonprofit organization that doesn't charge participants or take an equity stake. In many ways, the Linux Greenhouse is more like a lab than an incubator.

Companies or projects that are chosen to participate must be open source and have high potential. Once chosen, they are given access to resource executives from various Linux businesses. The Linux Greenhouse's mission is to develop a bank of investors and business development, marketing and public relations executives who are willing to donate a little time and expertise to Greenhouse participants. The goal is to give the participating companies access to resources that are hard to come by during the startup phase. It will also give the resource executives an inside track to forming strategic alliances with some small, high-potential companies and projects that may be flying under the radar.

The first Linux Greenhouse class met for a week in Seoul, Korea in June at Global Linux 2000 and consisted of projects and companies from Belgium, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Sweden and the United States. Projects include Linux-based intranets in China, a French company that is developing sophisticated Linux-based environments for handheld devices and a web-design system, and a project that is teaching Linux to continuing education students in Sweden. The class of 2001 will be chosen in April, and application forms should be available on-line in mid-February.

News Briefs

Free Software Foundation Europe

Free software advocates on the continent have formed the Free Software Foundation Europe (http://www.fsfeurope.org/), an acknowledged sister organization to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) based in Boston, Massachusetts. MandrakeSoft has donated 2,500 euros to the organization.

“We thank MandrakeSoft for this donation as it will allow us to cover the legal expenses coming up.” Georg C. F. Greve said. “We hope to establish a good and cooperative relationship for future activities on behalf of free software and GNU/Linux.”

The FSF Europe is currently under development and plans to take up work in Germany, France, Sweden and Italy by March. Other European countries, including England, Belgium, The Netherlands and Spain will be added shortly thereafter. The mission of the FSF Europe will be the coordination of free software initiatives throughout Europe.

The GIMP

The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed piece of software that can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo-retouching program, an on-line batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter and so on. A new stable distribution, version 1.2, has been released and can be downloaded at http://www.gimp.org/.

The GIMP recently won the Linux Community Award for “Most Innovative Desktop Software” at the Systems 2000 show in Munich. Carey Banks, Marc Lehmann and Simon Budig accepted the prize, which included a trophy and a check for 3,000 DEM.

KDE

KDE (www.kde.org) has released XParts, an extension written by Matthias Ettrichm, Simon Hausmann and Lars Knoll, which extends KPart and makes it possible to embed out-of-process components. XParts provides interoperability with major UNIX/Linux software toolkits and applications, including Mozilla. It is now possible to use Mozilla's rendering engine (Gecko) instead of KHTML in Konqueror. This can be set up at runtime in a config dialog and requires no changes to Konqueror.

Eventually XParts will allow Linux and UNIX developers to make KDE components—no matter which toolkits and software they decide to utilize.

Leslie Proctor is an active participant in the .org community and has acted as a consultant for a number of .org organizations around the world. Send mail to lesproctor@yahoo.com.

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