Week of March 20

by David Penn
March 24-23

Vocalizations! "There is no way that the Corel takeover of Inprise will go forward now ... Inprise shareholders are not going to sit still while Corel takes $245 million in Inprise cash in a deal that is now worth so little to them." from Don Magie, part of a group of "angry Inprise shareholders", reacting to news that Corel's share price dropped 22% on reports of major losses and overall disappointing six-month forecasts from the Canadian software maker. As reported in The Ottawa Citizen.

Come Embed With Us Not too long ago we told you about the formation of the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC), a group of companies, organizations and individuals whose mission is to raise the level of attention paid to Linux in the embedded space. Today, we let you know that the RTC Group (an organization that manages exhibitions and conferences) and LinuxDevices.com are co-sponsoring the Embedded Linux Expo & Conference (ELEC) and have put out a call for papers for the event's first technical get-together. Not just anybody can submit, however. The conference coordinators are insisting on "Chief Technology Officer or equivalent senior technical experts" as presenters. Also technical papers should address "integrating Linux and Linux-related technologies into embedded system applications." "Immediate technical value" is your key to win and get in! E-mail rick@linuxdevices.com for more information.

Chili!Soft: Better Tasting, Less Filling?  Yesterday we learned Red Hat, Lineo and VA Linux aren't the only Linux companies gone koo-koo for cool acquisitions. Cobalt Networks, Inc. has announced its takeover of Chili!Soft, maker of, well, "Internet server technology that allows Web pages to be interactive." Chili!Soft, by the way, was voted "Best Internet/Intranet/Extranet" by conference attendees at the recent Linuxworld Conference. It's Chili!Soft Active Server Pages was also recently made available for Linux users. Said Stephen DeWitt, president and CEO of Cobalt Networks, Inc. "The hosting market is driven by Web-based applications. By integrating Chili!Soft Active Server Pages technology to Cobalt's server appliances, we believe we will bridge the gap between Microsoft development tools and the Linux operating system."

Do you ... GLUE? Well, we sure do--in spite of recent fears to the contrary. In fact, not only do we GLUE, but we want you to, too! First, check out the Linux Journal's GLUE page on our Website for information about GLUE (that's "Groups of Linux Users Everywhere") activity in your area. Second, if your area happens to be anywhere in the Seattle vicinity, consider dropping by the Bellingham Linux User Group's Linux Fest, Saturday, April 15th, from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held at Bellingham Technical College. The link should provide you with directions a-plenty. According to Bill Wright, treasurer of the Bellingham Linux User Group, demonstrations will include "everything from distributions, apps, lan gaming (!!!), installs, business and home uses ..."

Clued-in/Clued-out "I don't really know what their message is. That's funny, though." from a "Microsoft loyalist" on seeing a man in a penguin costume wrestle a man in a Bill Gates costume to the ground during a recent launch of Microsoft's Windows 2000 in San Francisco. As reported in The Daily Morning News.

March 22

Vocalizations! "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by venture capital, burned-out, paranoid, postal / dragging themselves through the Cappuccino streets of Palo Alto at Dawn looking for an equity-sharing, stock option fix / HTML-headed Web-sters coding for the infinite broadband connection to that undiscovered e-commerce mother lode in the airy reaches of IP namespace ..." From Thomas Scoville, author of Silicon Valley Tarot and Geek Astrology. His Allen Ginsburg-inspired verse appeared in Salon.com.

Caldera Can't Catch a Break: Caldera's IPO cat is out of the bag and, surprise! surprise! it's an old-fashioned tabby and not the Bengal Tiger some analysts were expecting. Shares in Caldera, Inc. rose over 80% in their first day of trading on Tuesday and, as of Wednesday morning, shares had climbed to $26.87, about $12 above the intial offer price. Of course, the spin on the Caldera IPO is in overdrive. When Caldera's stock behaved respectably (i.e., an 80%-plus return after the first trading day), the pundits panicked: "Hmmm, no Red Hat, eh?" they chime, tongues a-clucking. At the same time, these pundits suggested that the relatively tame share price might be indicative of some rationalism entering the Linux equity market (did I just write "Linux equities market"?!). A relatively balanced take is available, as usual, at The Register. CNET's story isn't bad, either.

"Pay No Attention to the Sales Report Behind the Curtain!" Tom Fox-Sellers of SCO wrote in to let everybody know that the Santa Cruz Operation has shuffled its corporate deck. Essentially, SCO is dividing itself into three, well, "divisions": one focused on e-Business servers, another focused on Tarantella and a third dedicated to Internet Professional Servers. The new divisions will be led by David McCrabb, Mike Orr and Jim Wilt, respectively. Said Doug Michels, president and CEO of SCO, "It is now time to reinvent SCO ... By operating these organizations as independent divisions with their own revenue and profit objectives we will be able to better develop each business appropriately and so maximize shareholder value." Funny that you mention that, Doug. Because on the same day we read about the mitosis of the Santa Cruz Operation, we also see that the company is warning investors and analysts that second quarter sales will be "significantly lower" than the company had originally anticipated and, more importantly, below analysts expectations, as well. "I am disappointed that the market for our UNIX server software has not recovered as quickly as we expected following the Y2K period," said Doug in a statement.

SuSE Real Good :Is there much to say about the fact that SuSE Linux 6.4 is scheduled to ship on April 3? The new version of the popular, European-based Linux distribution is being hyped as the easiest to install of all the distributions, due to an improved graphical installation tool that includes more automatic hardware detection (a boom for many Linux newbies), as well as a "Quick Start" beginner's manual with step-by-step screen shots. SuSE Linux 6.4 also has features for the more sophisticated Linux hacker, such as XFree86 4.0 (not installed as a default, according to SuSE's CTO Dirk Hohndel, due to instability issues), NVIDIA, S3 and 3D chipsets from Intel. Other features include the SuSE Proxy Suite, SuSE's open source firewall tool and FTP proxy, and the journaling Reiser-Filesystem. More technical information ("more technical! more technical!") can be found at SuSE's site here.

Clued-in/Clued-out "I'm in tech because I can double my money every year. I can see 150% returns a year as easily as falling off a log. I know I'll get my comeuppance some day, but for now this is like shooting fish in a barrel." From Dorn Van Cleave II, an investor quoted in Fortune magazine.

March 21

Vocalizations! "Unfortunately, it's possible for Linux users to be seen as cranky. We don't want to give any publisher the impression that the supporting base is going to be more trouble than it's worth. Sending Blizzard 100,000 e-mails isn't going to get StarCraft ported to Linux. Selling 100,000 copies of Quake III is." from Scott Draeker, president of Loki Entertainment Software talking about Linux gaming in an article in the Orange County Weekly.

Caldera: Ready, Set, Not Yet!: If Caldera, Inc.'s IPO hasn't been the most anticipated Linux IPO of the bunch, it may soon become so. The company announced today that it had priced shares for its initial public offering at $14 each, setting the stage for a Wednesday IPO. Unless, of course, there is another delay. The company has twice raised the raised the price of IPO shares, from $7-9 to $10-12 to the current rate, which company spokespeople (as noted in this CNET story have said will help the company earn its expected $70 million in IPO proceeds. The increased share price also reflects increased investor interest in the stock, which will trade under the symbol "CALD" on the Nasdaq market. Approximately five million shares will be made available through the IPO.

Dominating the World One Region at a Time: The Korea Herald is announcing the Global Linux 2000 exhibition, which is scheduled to take place in southern Seoul, Korea on June 14-17. More than 80 Linux companies, more than half of them from Korea, are expected to participate. The exhibition, which is being hyped as the "first, large-scale global Linux fair in Asia" as well as the "world's largest Linux trade show" is being organized by the Information and Communication Ministry of South Korea, and is being managed by both the Korea Linux Council and the Free Software Foundation.

"Honey! I hacked the i-opener!"  Just what makes an appliance a Linux PC? Apparently, just the ingenuity of one committed hacker, 's all. A Las Vegas engineer, according to this CNET article, spent a few hours one day adding a hard disk drive and the Linux operating system to his i-opener, a product of Netpliance that consists of a stand-alone Internete appliance, and offers Internet access without the troublesome, yet familiar accompaniment of a personal computer. When news of the hack hit the Web (predictably, at Slashdot), requests for the engineer's "Linux fix" soared and shares of Netpliance--which became a public company only last week--plunged 18%.

Clued-in/Clued-out:"Supposedly, TurboLinux modified the kernel of Linux to accomplish (built-in support for clustering) since they also released the source code of their modifications. One thing that caught my eye, though, was the fact that they imposed a two-month delay on releasing the source code to the general public and hence their competitors. Now to most people this may not seem like much, but technically, this action alone could destroy the Open Source movement." From Olaf Beckman, a software engineer, as quoted in his editorial for OS Opinion.

March 20

Vocalizations! "You start to ask why is Silicon Valley rich. The answer is free minds and free markets . . . Freedom and free markets are closely tied to what this country is all about." T.J. Rodgers, CEO and co-founder of Cypress Semiconductor and chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a government lobbying organization.

Crazed Copyright Law Still Loose!: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling on all like-minded hakcers and civil libertarians to send your comments on the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to the U.S. Copyright Office. According to the EFF's "Alert", "The U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress has the job of ensuring that implementation of the DMCA does not negatively impact legitimate activities that should remain exempt from DMCA's prohibition on 'circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.'" And it's our job, apparently, to see that they don't screw this up. The deadline for comments is Friday, March 31, 2000. If you want more information on why DMCA is a threat is Motherhood, apple pie and reverse enginneering (to say nothing putting a kingsized buzz-kill on your plans to establish your own little Epiphyte, Inc.), then there are several Internet resources worth pursuing. Start with the EFF's own comments on the DMCA here, then give our own coverage of DMCA a read with pieces by Bryan Pfaffenberger and Jason Kroll.

Corel's Got Your Office 2000 ...: Judith O'Brien of Corel Corporation wrote to let us know that Corel's Wordperfect Office 2000 for Linux will begin shipping tomorrow. They expect store shelves to be stocked with the open source office suite by early April. Pointing to one of many "turning points" in Corel's brief tenure with Linux, company CEO and president, Dr. Michael Cowpland, called the announcement "the turning point in making Linux a reality on the desktop." Ironically enough for the shrink-wrapped version soon to be hurtling its way toward end users across North America, Judith points out that Corel Wordperfect 8 for Linuxhas had over 1.5 million free downloads (Corel's Linux OS has had over 200,000), making the software number one and two respectively at CNET's download.com Web site. Both Corel's Linux OS and Wordperfect for Linux will be available as part of the WordPerfect Office 2000 Standard Edition for $109 USD (suggested retail price).

The Latest from Lineo, Part 2: The ever-loquacious public relations team at Lineo wrote in to let us know that Lineo, its hunger for vibrant young engineering companies showing no signs of abating, has eaten again. This time, the meal consists of Moreton Bay Ventures, a major developer of embedded Linux software headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. Moreton Bay Ventures makes multi-modem cards (RAStel PCI and ISA cards) and Internet routers (NETtel), but one of their most noteworthy products is likely their new PoPToP VPN server software, which is being touted as the "first" PPTP server software for Linux (if you've heard this one before, drop us a line at rookery@linuxjournal.com). In any event, the code is freely available under the GNU General Public License. However, the folks at Lineo are hopping highest about Moreton Bay's engineering prowess with the Coldfire chip. Said Lineo CEO Bryan Sparks "By adding the embedded Linux VPN solutions developed by Moreton Bay to the Embedix product family, Lineo provides OEM developers the additional Internet connectivity they need for Internet appliances and embedded devices."

Clued-in/Clued-out  "Today, Microsoft and Sun dominate the application development seats. We recommend that IBM aggressively pursue a Linux-based application development platform. Doing so would disrupt the Sun-Microsoft stranglehold." from The Bowen Report, IBM's plan to overtake both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems using Linux, as quoted in The New York Times.

Linux as Elf-infested Space:As someone who is truly among the little people of Linux, I find it fun to have a Linux distribution come along that is named after some of the other "little people" many of us hold dear. Not hack Linux journalists, but elves whose namesake has been adopted by Terry Montgomery and the good fellows of Elfstone Software for their new distribution of the open source operating system. Terry was writing in to ask us to give his Elfstone Linux a look and possibly inclusion in Linux Journal's list of distributions and, just as we were getting around to it, comes an announcement that Elfstone Software has teamed up with Frank Kasper and Associates to help distribute their new version of the Linux OS. What makes Elfstone any different from the rest of the pack, you ask? Said Elfstone Software CEO Ralph Miner, "it is truly targeted for enterprise networks. By adding the industry standard Motif runtime environment to the free Linux kernel, we are opening a whole new world of opportunity for Linux servers to coexist in more traditional UNIX enterprises."

Troll Tech's Embedded GUI Gruff:Continuing along on the theme of high-technology companies named after imaginary mystical creatures, Troll Tech has announced that it is developing a GUI application framework specifically for embedded Linux systems. The newGUI application product, Qt/Embedded, is based on the company's flagship Qt technology, and does not require the X Window System, the absence of which will be a major relief for those looking for a powerful GUI on an embedded platform. Qt/Embedded will provide an identical interface as Qt/X11 and Qt/Windows which, for application developers, means single source code portability between desktop OS (Unix or Windows) and device OS. Troll Tech CEO Haavard Nord sees Qt/Embedded as "the ideal software platform for internet appliances and similar embedded Linux devices." And Lineo's chief technology officer, Tim Bird seems to agree: "For OEM's, the Qt/Embedded software development kit can significantly reduce time-to-market, and the memory savings can reduce the per-device hardware production costs."

Linux Flashback The April 1995 Linux Journal, issue 12, featured "Building Shared Libraries" by Eric Kasten, a Linux port tour by Joseph L. Brothers, and Terry Dawson's article on "Ethernetting Linux".

Wanna let everybody know? Send your announcements, thoughts, comments, rude gestures and flattering remarks to: rookery@linuxjournal.com

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