[fdn-ann] Additional coverage from Reuters & InteractiveWeek

Here is some additional coverage from Reuters and Interactive Week.

August 16, 2000
"LinuxWorld show marks operating system's evolution"
By Duncan Martell
August 16, 2000

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug 16 (Reuters) - Linux, the upstart operating system that many see posing a considerable threat to software behemoth Microsoft, may not yet be ready for prime-time -- but it's getting closer.

At a gathering this week of 20,000 software programmers, developers and Linux software and service providers in San Jose, Calif., the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo featured high-profile announcements by computing giants such as International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM - news), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HWP - news) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (NasdaqNM:SUNW - news).

Of particular note was a Tuesday announcement by Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE:CPQ - news) start-ups Eazel, Helix Code, as well as IBM, Sun, VA Linux Systems and Red Hat Inc. (NasdaqNM:RHAT - news) to form the Gnome Foundation, a nonprofit group that will aim to boost acceptance of the popular Gnome graphical user environment designed for Linux.

IBM, Sun and Compaq all said that the Gnome interface would be the standard one for their versions of Unix, an operating system used to run powerful computer servers.

The Gnome environment gives Linux a point-and-click interface, which so far it has largely lacked, preventing the operating system from catching on with consumers. Most versions of Linux aren't as user friendly as Windows or Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh operating system.

With their backing of Gnome, the computer makers, Linux companies such as Red Hat and others, hope to change that. This will let developers write programmes that can run on varying versions of both Linux and Unix, such as Sun's Solaris operating system, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s and others.

Armonk, N.Y. based IBM, the world's biggest computer maker, also said on Tuesday that it will sell its computers loaded with software from Red Hat, which works with the Linux operating system, and package it with IBM's e-mail, group collaboration and database software.

The source code for the free, publicly available operating system was invented by Finnish programmer Linux Torvalds. But in the past two years, it has really taken off. Dell Computer Corp.'s Chairman Michael Dell said in speech at the LinuxWorld conference on Wednesday that fully 10 percent of its computers sold now are installed with Linux.

On servers, powerful computers that handle large amounts of data, Linux had a market share of 24 percent, up from 16 percent, in 1998, according to market research firm International Data Corp.

Microsoft's NT operating system had 38 percent for both 1999 and 1998, while Novell's NetWare had 19 percent in 1999, down from 23 percent in 1998. The various flavors of Unix had a 15 percent market share last year, down from 15 percent in 1998, IDC said.

On desktop PCs, however, indicating how much farther Linux has to go before it can pose a potent challenge to Microsoft, Linux's market share pales. Fully 88 percent of desktops in 1999 ran Windows, up from 84 percent in 1998, compared with 5 percent for Mac in 1999 and 4 percent in 1998. Other operating systems were 3 percent last year of the total market, down from 10 percent in 1998.

Although a small number, Linux's market share on desktops is growing quickly: In 1999, it held a 4 percent market share of operating systems, compared with 1 percent in 1998.

Inter@ctive Week
Gnome Group Aims At Microsoft
Charles Babcock
August 16, 2000

The Linux user interface suddenly looked like it was sprinting to catch up with Microsoft Windows
yesterday as an industry consortium, the new Gnome Foundation, lined up behind a "brilliant"
open-source developer, Miguel de Icaza, and his team's Gnome graphical interface.

Marco Boerries, developer of the StarOffice suite of desktop applications and vice president at Sun
Microsystems, announced Sun would throw its considerable weight behind de Icaza by making
Gnome its standard interface for the Solaris operating system later this year.

Jim Gettys, a developer at Compaq Computer and developer of the X Window System on which
Gnome and other Unix user interfaces sit, said his company sees Gnome as a potentially rich user
interface for the iPaq handheld computer, or pocket PC, which sports a 2-inch by 3.25-inch screen
manipulated with a stylus. "We would like a more modern user interface. We'd like the open-source
community to start developing applications for these handhelds." Compaq is supporting such
development at a new Web site. It currently ships the iPaq with Microsoft's Windows CE installed.

Martin Fink, lab manager for Unix systems at Hewlett-Packard, said HP-UX would also use the
Gnome interface, incorporating it into its version of Unix sometime next year.

Gnome stands for the Gnu Network Object Modeling Environment, a user interface that has
emerged as a challenger for predominance on the Linux desktop. It is built with Gnu tools from the
Open Software Foundation, which launched free software dubbed Gnu's Not Unix in the 1980s as
AT&T moved to make Unix a proprietary system.

Gnome is three years old and is built on C++ libraries from the GTK package of open-source
graphical components. Another graphical interface known as KDE, or K Desktop Environment, is
based on the Qt package of C libraries from Trolltech in Oslo, Norway, and open-source
programmers complain that its software is still subject to licensing restrictions once it is used in
products. Asked if the two might merge, de Icaza said, "No. It's an impossibility," because the two
were based on different licensing schemes and underlying technology.

In addition to supporting Gnome as a user interface, Boerries announced that Sun was donating its
StarOffice suite of applications - which includes a Microsoft-compatible Word processor,
spreadsheet and graphics programas - to the Gnome development project so that it may offer Gnome

Bud Tribble, who led the Apple Macintosh user interface project and is now vice president of
software engineering at Eazel, said his company will supply the Nautilus file-management system to
Gnome Office.

"The Mozilla browser is part of our file-management system and can be used for viewing all
different file types," he said. For example, not only could a user look up Microsoft Word or
StarOffice document files, but they could find Internet-oriented multimedia files, such as MP3 music
recordings. Nautilus could show the MP3 files as a list, as an icon of favorite music or as a Jukebox
listing the playing time for each song and displaying a play button.

"Today people have so many different file types" that it's necessary for a desktop file system to get
beyond the restrictions of a single set of proprietary formats, he said. Nautilus is still a work in
progress, Tribble said, but a finished version is expected by the end of the year and will be released
as open source.

Gnome Office is also expected to include Evolution, a communications application something like
Microsoft Outlook, produced by the company that de Icaza founded with Nat Friedman, Helix Code.
Helix Code sells commercial versions of the Gnome Desktop user interface and sponsors the
development of Gnumeric, a Linux spreadsheet.

The combination of a user interface, applications and broad industry support will "tremendously help
Gnome," predicted Brian Behlendorf, lead developer at the Apache Software Foundation (formerly
the Apache Group) and chief technical officer at CollabNet, which supplies project management
services to open-source projects.

"A developer has to pick his poison and go with it. With all this open-source code behind Gnome, it
becomes less of a lock-in" to pick as an application's user interface, he said.

In addition to Helix Code, Sun, HP and Eazel, members of the newly formed Gnome Foundation,
include: IBM, VA Linux Systems, Red Hat, TurboLinux, Gnumatic, Henzai, the Free Software
Foundation and the Object Management Group, whose CORBA standard is closely adhered to by

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