Linux Developments Perplex the Puss

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2001-02-05

What could Microsoft executives have been up to last week as they lurked in the hallways of the Javits Center in New York during the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, pondered the Katt. "Just a few short years ago, they wouldnt have been caught dead at a gathering of engineering geeks who were discussing a fringe operating system that supposedly had no chance of ever becoming mainstream or enterprise-class," mused the Mouser.

El Gato was even more baffled when a Katt crony confided to him that the Microserfs were investigating taking a booth at the expo. Evidently, the show organizers were so cool to the idea that Microsoft gave up and went with Plan B: infiltrate and conquer.

In addition to being confused last week, the Furry Feline was a little worried. In fact, he always gets worried when vendors become actively involved in "independent" projects. So his ears perked up when he heard about the recent opening of the independent Open Source Development Lab in Beaverton, Ore. (Could it be anywhere near where IBM opened its Linux Competency Center? mused the Mouser.)

At any rate, the development lab has been set up to foster the growth of Linux in the enterprise and is funded by 19 companies—including IBM and Intel—to the tune of $24 million.

The independent lab director, Tim Witham, moved to this position from Intel, where he was the companys Linux program manager. Ross Mauri, the vice president of Unix software at IBM, is president of the labs governing board. But the Furry Felines sympathies lie with Witham because the decision about which projects to undertake ultimately lies with him. What an unenviable position to be in, the Katt thought, knowing just how tough vendors are about protecting their turfs and pushing vested interests. "I guess hes just lucky Microsoft and Sun werent invited to join the party!" the Katt crowed.

"I guess you have to learn to speak legalese if you wanna buy stuff on eBay," groused the Grimalkin upon hearing the plight of a bidder who, unfortunately, got exactly what the seller was offering. Seems the buyer won out over 38 others for an item described as "PlayStation 2 Original Box and Receipt." Imagine the buyers chagrin upon discovering the $425 payment was for an empty game box and a sales receipt. "I sent what was promised in the auction" was the unrepentant sellers posted response.

Spencer had to wonder if those $2 million 30-second Super Bowl ads really gave a tech biz like EDS the recognition it was hoping for. On an "Entertainment Tonight" spot about the costly ads, the host referred to the consulting company as "Eds," as in the plural of a persons first name. "After youve tossed out a few million, thats just gotta hurt," laughed the Lynx.

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