Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 20:49:18 -0400 (EDT)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 04.12.2005 - Sizing Up The Competition Linux Pipeline Newsletter | Sizing Up The Competition | 04.12.2005
Linux Pipeline Newsletter
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: Sizing Up The Competition
  • Top Linux News
        - Adobe Acrobat Rediscovers Linux Desktop
        - Firefox 1.1 Slated For Late May Beta Release
        - Intel's $10K Question For Pack-Rat Geeks: Where's Gordon?
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Sino-Indian Tech Pact Likely To Have Long Reach
        - Applications: The Next Open-Source Opportunity
        - $40
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: How do You Get Your IT News?
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: Sizing Up The Competition

    For more than a year now, I watched with a great deal of interest as many East Asian nations steadily deepened their relationships with open-source software. Private businesses, academic and research organizations, and governments across the region have waded into the open-source waters, either on their own or with some encouragement from above. As so many others have discovered, open-source software is at its most effective when it finds its way to people and organizations who can't afford proprietary software and the latest hardware and who enjoy opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

    This has been an evolutionary shift for the most part, but that may have changed this week. For the first time, I saw what might, when I look back someday with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, be a major shift in the balance of technological potential in the world.

    To cite an easy example, it long seemed likely that Microsoft would have a hard time penetrating the two biggest markets with the greatest long-term potential: China and India. Now, after seeing these two nations moving towards common, or at least cooperative, IT policies, a Western software company with a proprietary product seems even more out of place. After all, no matter how much Microsoft discounts WindowsXP or works to improve its public image, it is still a foreign corporation with foreign shareholders to satisfy. It simply can't turn over its intellectual property in order to spawn a generation of future competitors, even if for some reason the notion ever crossed its mind.

    Happily enough, that job falls by default to Mozilla, and Apache, and any one of a dozen localized Linux distros fueling what will be an explosion of technology innovation within the next five to ten years. The people who use these products--and hack these products--used to think of software as something that came shrink-wrapped from the United States, either absurdly priced or blatantly pirated. Today, they have a chance to see software, and technology in general, as something for them to make, to own, and to control for their own benefit. I think it's hard for us to wrap our minds around the difference between those two positions, but it's important to try.

    At the same time, the Chinese government is now making crystal clear what I saw coming a year ago: Microsoft will never have access to the Chinese market on anything like workable terms, if they have access to it at all. I think it's clear that Microsoft also won't profit much from the future growth of India's IT sector, its government and academic computing initiatives, or (someday, and then on a vast scale) its consumer mass-markets.

    These are the two most populous nations on earth, both with largely poor but relatively well-educated populations, and it now seems likely that they will enrich not Microsoft or any other foreign company, but rather a generation of home-grown software entrepreneurs. Considering that these people have a lot more at stake than whether the shareholders get a dividend this quarter, it's hard not to find yourself pulling for them--even if someday we're likely to find ourselves scrapping with the best of them for every dollar of overseas business that we once took so blithely for granted.

    Matthew McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Adobe Acrobat Rediscovers Linux Desktop
    Two years after dropping its desktop Linux support, Adobe returns with an updated Linux release of its industry-standard, and often essential, Acrobat Reader software--and promises that it's here to stay for good.

    Firefox 1.1 Slated For Late May Beta Release
    Mozilla developers prepare to roll out the open-source browser's first major upgrade, which is scheduled to enter general beta release in about seven weeks; a very rough early preview, intended mostly for developers, could be ready within the week.

    Intel's $10K Question For Pack-Rat Geeks: Where's Gordon?
    Intel wants a copy of the 1965 magazine in which co-founder Gordon Moore first laid out his famous "Moore's Law." We're confident the company's offer will be of interest to you, since it involved $10,000 in cash.

    Apple Will Spring 'Tiger' OS X Release In Late April
    The computer maker confirms its long-awaited new version of OS X, over which Apple sued several people for releasing confidential product details, will be on sale at retailers by the end of the month.

    China's Prime Minister Proposes Sino-Indian IT Alliance
    Asia's two most powerful nations should pursue cooperation, rather than competition, to initiate an "Asian century" in technology, suggests Wen Jiabao, during a tour of Bangalore software firms.

    Mozilla Readies Firefox Security Update
    Mozilla Foundation developers say the organization is close to issuing a final version of a new security update to its popular Firefox Web browser.

    Open-Source CRM A Sweet Deal For Budget-Minded Firms
    With the launch of a major update this week, SugarCRM closes in on proprietary competitors with new features such as campaign management, E-mail marketing, sales forecasting, and wireless support.

    VMware Delivers Virtual Desktop Update
    With its Workstation 5.0 release, VMWare retools its flagship product for the first time in two years and turns up the heat yet again in a red-hot Linux virtualization market.

    Open-Source Startup's Grid Vision: Keep It Simple
    A startup adopts the 'commercial open-source' standard, releasing an application server and developer tools to build grid-ready software and to serve as a foundation for a line of complementary commercial products.

    IT Employment: Prosperity Without Promises
    Tech-industry jobless numbers are at their lowest level in years, but many IT professionals haven't changed to reasoning behind their outlooks: share the same career outlook: a pessimist is never disappointed.

    Yahoo Releases Anti-Spyware App For Its Firefox Toolbar
    Yahoo's update passes a key milestone: Firefox users now have access to all of the Toolbar features, including many that were previously available only to Internet Explorer users.

    Report: Linux A Loser In Midsize Business Market
    Few midsize companies will deploy Linux over the next three years, instead staying with Microsoft Windows to avoid potential problems, including the high cost of maintaining more than one type of server OS.

    Analyst Report: Thunderbird Is No Firefox
    The Mozilla Foundation's E-mail client can't duplicate Firefox's runaway success, says a report, mostly due to its lack of an integrated calendar.

    Google Searches For Success With Small-Biz Customers
    Google cuts prices and boosts capacity on its search appliances, which are designed to help smaller firms add enterprise-class search capabilities to their Web sites and internal networks.

    Sun Mistake Reveals New Entry-Level, High-End Linux And Solaris Servers For 2005
    Sun Microsystems document, briefly posted to the company's Web site, outlines two pairs of entry-level and high-end servers running on AMD Opterons.

    Mac Mini Makes BestBuy Debut
    Apple's Mac mini goes on sale at BestBuy stores, marking the product's first retail appearance at a appearance anywhere other than the Apple Store and proof it has overcome initial production capacity problems.

    Editor's Picks

    Sino-Indian Tech Pact Likely To Have Long Reach
    Asia could become a hotbed for technological innovation, and a major obstacle to U.S. hegemony, if China and India cooperate in developing their computer industries, say international technology and business experts.

    Applications: The Next Open-Source Opportunity
    Instead of reinventing the wheel, open-source developers are likely to seek out find new challenges creating core business applications--and smaller firms stand to reap the benefits, says one open-source pioneer and software executive.

    The $40 Million Question For SCO
    I heard last night from Steve Puluka, the guy who authored the SCO cash flow analysis I mentioned in a prior column. "The real shame," he said, "is [SCO] built up a huge cash reserve in 2003 that is being blown on these lawsuits. What might have happened if that $40 million was invested in the Unix and Linux business instead?"

    JBoss Turns Open-Source Risks Into Business Opportunities
    Faced with growing concerns over the legal risks of open-source software, enterprise middleware vendor JBoss decided the best offense was a good defense--for its customers, that is.

    Stanford Professor Slams Software Patents
    Lawrence Lessig says the current body of U.S. patent law poses a grave threat to innovation and competition in the software industry--but the companies that benefit from the status quo are unlikely to give them up without a fight.

    Review: Pervasive Postgres 8
    Free of charge and enterprise-ready, this open-source database holds its own quite effectively against Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle, while delivering the database goods at a fraction of the cost.

    Sun's Schwartz Equates GPL With 'Colonialism'
    The Sun Microsystems president says the open-source General Public License restrains innovation and slows economic activity in developing nations. A leading open-source legal expert, however, says he has not seen any evidence that the leaders of developing countries consider the GPL a problem.

    Wagner Opines: No, Thunderbird Just Stinks
    Security Pipeline Editor Mitch Wagner thinks the Radicati Group is way off base about Mozilla's Thunderbird: It will take more than just a calendar, he says, to freshen up this open-source stinker.

    Microsoft's Mantra: Variety Is The Spice Of Licensing
    The head of Redmond's "Shared-Source" program said the company is likely to expand customer access to the program, as well as increasing the number of products involved. In addition, he said, open-source licensing may be a practical solution for aging products not under active development but still potentially useful to the community.

    Voting Booth: Does OpenOffice Have The Right Stuff?

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the concerns I had about the direction is taking with some of its key marketing and development efforts. This week, it's your turn: Is a real alternative to Microsoft Office, or is it a poor imitation of the real thing?

    We'll tally up the votes for next week's newsletter. Now quit wasting your time doing real work, get over to Linux Pipeline, and vote!

    Poll Results
    As for the previous poll, asking where you like to get your IT news: We're waiting to hear from a few more Pipeline sites to total the votes. You're dying of suspense, aren't you?

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