To:"Mike Swier" <mswier@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 20:08:05 -0400 (EDT)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LPN] Linux Pipeline Newsletter -- 9.14.2004 - And Furthermore Linux Pipeline Newsletter | Manageable Problem | 09.14.2004
Linux Pipeline Newsletter
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: Manageable Problem
  • Top Linux News
        - Service Provider: Open-Source Developers Stole My Code
        - Linux Boosters Look To Keep The OS Together
        - Firefox Posts Feature-Complete Preview
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Opinion: The Calm Before The Storm?
        - Opinion: Microsoft Should Open-Source Anti-Spam Technology
        - Linux Aims For The Desktop
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: Vote For Your Favorite Linux Distribution
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: Solvable Problem

    1. EDITOR'S NOTE: Manageable Problem

    We can expect chowderheads both inside and outside the Linux community to make a big deal out of today's top story.

    A service provider named Furthermore claims an open-source project got a hold of some of its proprietary code and released the code as open source. Since then, several companies have included Furthermore code in their own projects, the company claims.

    Open source opponents ( *koff* Microsoft *koff*) are sure to jump on this story triumphantly, as proof of the superiority of proprietary software development.

    Some open source advocates will respond by screwing their fingers in their ears and sing, loudly, "La la la la la la there's no problem here la la la." Some of these advocates will take their fingers out of their ears long enough to write nasty e-mail to Linux Pipeline. Some of them are already writing hate mail to Furthermore.

    In fact (1) there is a problem here but (2) it's manageable.

    The problem is this: If you're a proprietary software developer, what do you do if you believe your code was wrongly released as open source? Right now, the only solution is to try to track down everyone who used the code and get them to pay you for it. If that doesn't work, sue everybody who'll stand still long enough to be served with papers.

    Likewise, if you're a user, how do you make sure that code advertised as open source is, in fact, legitimate? You don't want to run the business on open source, only to have someone knock on the door months or years later and tell you the software isn't open source after all, and you need to pay up. That can be a real day-ruiner, as well as leading to a career change from information technology to the glamorous world of waste disposal (e.g., picking up waste paper in the park with a big, pointy stick).

    These are legitimate problems. They are also on their way to being solved. A company called Open Source Risk Management reviews code in open-source projects to certify their legitimacy, and will insure open-source users and developers against claims of intellectual property theft.

    Also, Pamela Jones, author of the popular Groklaw blog, is working on Grokline, a collaborative project to document the intellectual property ownership of Unix and Unix-like code.

    According to the project home page, Grokline is "designed to carefully trace the ownership history of UNIX and UNIX-like code with the goal of reducing, or eliminating, the amount of software subject to superficially plausible but ultimately invalid copyright, patent and trade secret claims against Linux or other free and open source software. If there is any code out there that represents a conceivable risk of that kind, we'd like to identify it and mitigate the litigation risk now. If there isn't any valid claim that can be made, we'd like to be able to prove it."

    Grokline and the OSRM efforts come as open source faces increasing pressures from private intellectual property concerns. OSRM identified 283 patents that could pose a threat to Linux, including two dozen owned by Microsoft.

    And, while support from big companies like IBM and Novell has been a benefit for Linux, those companies have their own agendas, which may not always be in alignment with the open-source community.

    And of course there's the SCO lawsuit. 'Nuff said about that.

    Threats by proprietary vendors who believe their intellectual property rights were infringed are a problem for the open-source community--but the problem is manageable. We'll bring you more news about the open-source community's protections against intellectual property claims in coming weeks.

    By the way, earlier I wrote about hate mail, and I have to say I'm disappointed with you all. It used to be whenever we ran something critical of Linux or open source, we could count on at least a half-dozen nasty, expletive-filled diatribes in e-mail. But now the nastygrams have slowed to a trickle, and the ones we do get are the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger kind ("I used to have a lot of respect for your opinions, Mr. Wagner, but now I have to say I am gravely disappointed.... ")

    Hop to it, people! You're letting me down! I want to see some real psycho screeds in my in-box by tomorrow--the kind of stuff that makes me want to hire bodyguards! Work yourselves up to a self-righteous rage and get to work!

    Mitch Wagner
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

    Top Linux News

    Service Provider: Open-Source Developers Stole My Code
    In a case reminiscent of the SCO lawsuit, startup application service provider Furthermore claims its intellectual property was stolen by contractors, and released as open source.

    Linux Boosters Look To Keep The OS Together
    Major Linux distributors say they have agreed to support a single version of the freely exchanged open-source operating system.

    Firefox Posts Feature-Complete Preview
    The latest version, which is near to final release, includes an RSS reader, updated Find feature, and plug-in installer.

    Sun, Microsoft To Reveal New Interoperability Plans Next Month
    A Sun marketing executive hinted that Sun and Microsoft aim to enhance interoperability between their platforms' file systems, as well as other areas.

    IBM Touts Entry-Level Linux Servers
    IBM's eServer OpenPower family of entry-level Linux servers are positioned as cost-effective alternatives to Sun Microsystems' Solaris boxes.

    IBM Releases Speech Technology To Open Source
    IBM has donated speech technology to The Apache Software Foundation and to the Eclipse Foundation with the hope it will speed up the use of speech-recognition software.

    Novell Announces Public Beta Of Open Enterprise Server
    It incorporates open-source software and NetWare along with network management tools and identity-based services.

    Open-Source Cores To Aid In System Design
    OpenSoCDesign offers system design, intellectual-property design and hardware integration services to make open source cores more usable.

    SIS Releases Java-Based RFID Reader
    Java Mustang permits the deployment of RFID middleware to the reader, reducing server load and minimizing network congestion.

    IBM Promises New DB2 Will Take Better Care Of Itself
    IBM will begin shipping a new DB2 Universal Database next week that has more self-managing capabilities, extended Linux support, and geospatial technology.

    Sybase Ramps Up Linux Effort With Express Database
    The Express version of Adaptive Server Enterprise offers more robust features and functions than other Linux databases.

    Editor's Picks

    Opinion: The Calm Before The Storm?
    Few things are more dangerous than a wild animal that gets cornered and can't find a way to escape. Does the same truism apply to the world's largest software company?

    Opinion: Microsoft Should Open-Source Anti-Spam Technology
    If Microsoft is serious about using sender authentication to block spam, phishing, and viruses, the company needs to release its Sender ID technology into open source.

    Linux Aims For The Desktop
    Security and pricing concerns are causing companies to consider alternatives to Windows, but adoption of the open-source operating system has been slow.

    Apple Releases Patch For Mac OS X
    The patch fixes problems with Apache 2, IPSec, Kerberos, rsync and other open-source components.

    Voting Booth: Vote For Your Favorite Linux Distribution

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    In a recent poll, we asked which Linux distributor you prefer above all others: The field is large; but SUSE/Novell has emerged as the early favorite.
    The polls are still open and every vote counts. Vote today!

    Poll Results: Linux Distros Preferred by Linux Pipeline Readers:
    SUSE/Novell, 26%, 342 votes out of 1338.
    Mandrake, 14%, 189 votes
    Red Hat, 13%, 178 votes
    Debian, 9%, 122 votes
    Fedora (Red Hat-Sponsored), 9%, 119 votes
    Gentoo, 6%, 82 votes
    Slackware, 5%, 73 votes
    Other, including alternatives such as FreeBSD, 5%, 69 votes
    Knoppix, 3%, 45 votes
    Lindows/Linspire, 3%, 42 votes
    Xandros, 3%, 41 votes
    Sun Java Desktop, 2%, 24 votes
    TurboLinux, 0%, 5 votes
    Lycoris, 0%, 4 votes
    Conectiva, 0%, 3 votes

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    scalable, affordable, and reliable.


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