Linux industry now worth $25 billion

Owen Thomas · 10/20/08 03:00PM

The Linux Foundation has strategically leaked a report showing that the "Linux ecosystem" — distributors, resellers, support specialists, and other hangers-on of the free-to-download operating system — is now worth $25 billion. Ignore the inevitable quibbling over methodology; what this means is that every open-source entrepreneur out there is going to slap that figure on a PowerPoint slide, trot down to Sand Hill Road, and get funding for the latest open-source boondoggle. The sales pitch: "It's the Linux of distributed databases!" Translation: It's just like Linux, except for the $25 billion.

Microsoft looking to avoid Instant On

Paul Boutin · 10/15/08 03:20PM

An Engadget tipster took snapshots of a Microsoft survey that popped up on his Vista screen. The survey probes the customer's interest in an "Instant On scenario," in which the customer would sacrifice some applications or features in exchange for an eight-second boot time and much, much longer battery life. Aftermarket products like SplashTop already exist. Dell will ship you an instant-on laptop right now. So why doesn't Microsoft just buy SplashTop?It's this simple: All the current instant-on solutions involve packing the computer with a flash memory chip, one that contains a downsized operating system. Guess what operating system? Dell and SplashTop both use Linux. For Microsoft, bundling Linux into a Windows computer is still unthinkable. Okay, they can think about it, but the survey makes sense. Microsoft will either need to accept Linux as part of the product, or much more likely spin off yet another mini-Windows, as the company did for PC games and cell phones. Can you see Steve Ballmer's face? I'd rather be the senior vice president who tells him we can all relax about Instant On — nobody wants it.

Linus Torvalds blogs about nerding out, kids, and America

Alaska Miller · 10/07/08 09:00PM

Maybe you didn't exactly invent an operating system. But other than that, Linus Torvalds is just like you! The open-source movement's favorite Finn has gotten into the blogging game, just like every other Tom, Dick, and Sergey. Unlike the Google founder, whose site blatantly promotes 23andMe, his wife Anne Wojcicki's gene-testing startup, Torvalds just wants to share news and pictures of his family. On the blog, he geeks out over Intel flash-memory disks and even shares a custom script to limit Internet usage for his kids. But like any good long-term resident alien with a green card, Torvalds laments the most about American politics, pointing out the fundamental problem with voting:

HiVision to ship $98 MiniNote laptop in October

Jackson West · 09/04/08 09:00PM

In the race to develop the first mass-producible laptop that costs less than $100 has apparently been won by Chinese company HiVision, which currently offers an adorable, pink, 7" MiniNote for $120 but plans to introduce a model in October that will retail for only $98. Like the Lemote laptop that radical open source guru Richard Stallman uses, it couldn't run Windows if you wanted it to. But it comes with a free installation of Xip, a Linux distribution from China, and runs Firefox. But then Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project decided to go with Windows and with that decision alone the size and cost ballooned. Would be just the thing for running Google's new Chrome browser — that is, if the Chrome browser supported Linux.

Red Hat server break-in hushed up

Paul Boutin · 08/22/08 04:20PM

"Last week Red Hat detected an intrusion on certain of its computer systems," says a security advisory from the leading Linux vendor. "The intruder was able to sign a small number of OpenSSH packages," in what seemed like an attempt to place something into the company's downloadable enterprise software packages. Red Hat's spokespeople say they don't believe any hacked packages were distributed, but still.Most security scare stories are about potential problems. This was a real, successful break-in at the open source movement's most high-profile brand. So here's the big question: Why did it take Red Hat a week to acknowledge the problem? Because I can imagine the reaction if Microsoft did that. (Photo by Eric Skiff)

Spies, killers, thieves, and coders: 10 engineers gone bad

Nicholas Carlson · 08/18/08 08:00PM

When former Varian engineer Wayne Cox reached out his driver-side window to push the dying Oralia Puga Ramirez, 75, and Enedina Oliva, 70 off the hood of his car, a 1994 Infiniti, did he have to roll down his window first or was it already open? I wonder, because that's a detail that matters — a detail that delineates between confused and calculated cruelty. You're driving along, you hit someone by accident, your window's already open, you reach out to see if the person is OK, they aren't, so you freak out and drive away — that's callous and wrong, but not calculated. Hit someone you didn't see, see they're dying, press the button to send your power window down, wait the three or four seconds for the window to sink all the way, then reach out and push two dying people from the car's hood? That's callous, wrong and calculated — criminal in a way you'd only expect from an engineer. Or least from an engineer like the nine bad guys we list below:

Convicted murderer Hans Reiser fingers corpse in Oakland Hills

Jackson West · 07/07/08 11:00PM

Hans Reiser, the wealthy Linux developer who has been described as "brilliant," led authorities to a location in the Oakland Hills where he said they would find the body of his ex-wife, Nina Reiser. The remains found have yet to be identified, but this confirms rumors that Reiser was looking to cut a deal, unearthing the body in exchange for a more lenient sentence of only fifteen years for the murder of the mother of their son. Reiser is due to be sentenced on Wednesday, which would make him sixty upon his release if he serves a fifteen-year term. Meanwhile, Reiser's counsel during the trial are bickering with Reiser's divorce attorney, with both camps claiming to represent the convict. While his trial lawyers are trying to argue that the software developer was and is mentally incompetent, his former counsel is asserting exactly the opposite. (Photo by AP)

Debian death threats? Come on, send us the emails

Paul Boutin · 07/03/08 06:40PM

"I was *shocked* to hear that one of our community has been the target of death threats as a thank you for her work," wrote Debian project leader Steve McIntyre, near the bottom of a long message about the results of a survey of Debian contributors. Now McIntyre tells The Register, "I have since discovered that several of our female developers and documenters were threatened. It was some kook in the U.S. who made quite a name from himself harassing women for supposedly destroying the free software movement." Valleywag would be happy to make the guy an even bigger name for himself. Got death threats? Send 'em in or just post in the comments.

Steve Ballmer gets egged in Hungary

Nicholas Carlson · 05/19/08 10:00AM

Speaking at the Hungarian University of Economy today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer got egg on his face and not in the figurative sense. Hungary's government spends millions on licenses to use Microsoft software at its universities and this market lockdown is apparently so upsetting to some Hungarians — how will they ever learn to use Linux? — that during today's speech, one attendee stood-up, yelled at Ballmer: "Give back the money of the taxpayers!" and then started chucking eggs. We disapprove, but only because we know Ballmer prefers bananas. A nice banana-cream pie-ing would have made a European matched-pair with the earlier prank on Bill Gates. Watch the egging in the clip embedded above.

Murderer-developed file systems introduce new features

Jackson West · 04/29/08 05:40PM

Hans Reiser, the software engineer who developed code for the Linux operating system, wasn't just convicted of first degree murder in the disappearance of his ex-wife. He's also become the butt of an incredibly obscure joke. Someone edited a comparison of file systems to add a new feature to ReiserFS and Reiser4 — unlike any other file system available today, the two developed by Hans Reiser will "Murder Your Wife." The change was removed from the Wikipedia page within 90 minutes.

Hans Reiser convicted of murdering ex-wife Nina Reiser

Jackson West · 04/28/08 06:20PM

After two and a half days of deliberation, an Oakland jury has voted to convict Linux developer Hans Reiser of murder in the first degree in a case involving the disappearance of his ex-wife Nina Reiser, pictured here. The conviction came in the absence of a corpse — with Reiser arguing that his ex-wife had stolen a large sum of money and disappeared back to Russia. Judge Larry Goodman is now responsible for handing down a sentence. Video of Reiser's reaction to the jury's verdict after the jump.

Negroponte to OLPC developers: Pour some Sugar on me!

Owen Thomas · 04/24/08 11:40AM

Nicholas Negroponte, the nutty MIT professor who has championed the idea of cheap laptops for Third World children, is feuding with his own programmers. Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child is best known for its distinctive hardware — the candy-colored, devil-horn-antennaed XO notebook computer. But he's turned his attention to Sugar, the Linux-based software which runs on the XO. Negroponte, cozying up to Microsoft, wants Sugar to be rewritten for Windows. Great idea, says OLPC developer C. Scott Ananian — hire 10 Windows developers right away, suspend all other software development, and maybe it will happen.

Linux-hating SCO not dead yet

Jordan Golson · 02/14/08 05:10PM

Unix vendor cum software shakedown artists SCO got a $100 million shot in the arm from Stephen Norris Capital Partners. The investment will give SNCP a controlling stake in SCO and allow the company to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and pursue its legal claims against IBM, Novell, and anyone who ever shook Linus Torvalds's hand. []

Open-source trap or sign of weakness?

Tim Faulkner · 10/04/07 03:09PM

Open source conspiracy theorists warn that Microsoft's effort to make the code behind .Net, its software-development framework, open to the public to view — but not modify— is a trap. The goal? It's aimed, they claim, at tainting Mono, an open-source implementation of .Net, with the software maker's intellectual property. And why does this matter? Mono, you see, allows programmers to easily port software meant to run on Microsoft's Windows to Linux and other competing operating systems. But really, might Microsoft's critics be giving it too much credit for cleverness?

Owen Thomas · 09/21/07 11:00AM

No, make that just plain writing for dollars. Fake Steve Jobs has a day job? Why, yes. Dan Lyons, the Forbes editor who pens the faux-Apple CEO blog, has chucked his pajamas, donned a suit and tie, and filed a story for the magazine's website. How does he find the time, with all that blogging? The subject: SCO, the software company which filed for bankruptcy as a series of its anti-Linux lawsuits fell apart. [Forbes]

A blowjob ad reappears in Linux Journal

Megan McCarthy · 08/17/07 02:46PM

You'd expect to see all kinds of corporate blowjobs in a tech trade like Linux Journal. But an ad about blowjobs? Unlikely, I know, but this one, showing an attractive woman and promising that QSol's servers, like her, "won't go down on you," appeared in the magazine's August 2007 issue. It has, of course, attracted the attention of several blogs, including our sibling sites Gawker and Jezebel. But there's one overlooked fact in most of the coverage.

Will Linux get you laid?

Video by Sarah Meyers · 08/09/07 11:41AM

Sarah Meyers asks the key question that was on everyone's mind at this week's LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco: Has the open-source operating system gotten anyone laid, ever? The consensus: No. SpikeSource CEO Kim Polese admits to knowing Linux creator Linus Torvalds and insufferable free-software gadfly Richard Stallman, but making out with them? "I'm definitely not going to continue this interview. This is not a serious business interview, is it?" We always knew you were a smart cookie, Kim!

How to get hardcore geek jokes (without a CS degree)

Nick Douglas · 04/05/07 05:29PM

NICK DOUGLAS — "Make me a sandwich." "No." "Sudo make me a sandwich." "Okay." Ahahahahahaha I don't get it. At least I didn't until I checked Wikipedia, which explained that "sudo" is a command that tells a computer you're a super-user. A command prefaced with "sudo" is a command to be obeyed. "Isn't a computer supposed to do what you tell it anyway?" you ask, because you are stupid. Rule #1: Don't question the logic. If you were good at doing that, you'd already be a computer geek, and clearly you aren't. To hide among the geeks as I have, scan this cheatsheet for "getting" their jokes.