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Linux Top 5: Groklaw Calls It a Day, GNOME Unifies

Linux Top 5: Groklaw Calls It a Day, GNOME Unifies

April 12, 2011

The Linux Planet never stops spinning, and this past week was no exception. We saw the end of an era at Groklaw, the beginning of a new era at GNOME and Linux continuing to push forward in the embedded market.

1. Groklaw Declares Victory -- SCO Is Dead

The name Groklaw is synonymous with SCO. Led by Pamela Jones (PJ), Groklaw was always first on the scene as news in the SCO case was breaking, whether it was IBM, Novell, Autozone or otherwise. SCO is no longer in the news and is a zombie corporation that exists only under bankruptcy protection, so PJ has decided to declare victory, call it quits and close Groklaw.

Is her declaration of victory much like President Bush's infamous Mission Accomplished?

Not really (but maybe). The patents that SCO was threatening the Linux community about are still floating around. Those patents have not been invalidated, although SCO's claims of UNIX copyright ownership have been.

Novell, apparently the rightful owner of the UNIX copyrights, is in the process of selling off a mountain of its patents to CPTN Holdings, a group led by Microsoft. Yes, Novell has publicly stated that the UNIX copyrights are not part of the CPTN sale, but Novell itself is being acquired by Attachmate. Is that something we should be worried about?

2. GNOME 3 Released, Unity Restored?

After years of development, GNOME 3 is finally out. Many in the free desktop community were worried that GNOME 3 would be such a dramatic shift that it would trigger the same kind of backlash that KDE 4 had, when that open source desktop debuted.

As it turns out, the release of GNOME 3 has been mostly hailed as a triumph. Where the challenge comes is in the shell. The GNOME Foundation provides GNOME Shell as the default interface, which is what Fedora and many other Linux distributions will use.

Not Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is going its own route with the Unity interface, which is an alternative approach to GNOME Shell, but it's not a fork. When Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the move to Unity, he stressed he wasn't aiming to be divisive. If you look at the GNOME 3 press release from the GNOME Foundation, there is actually a quote on there from Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman.

GNOME 3, Shell or Unity, isn't about forked versions of GNOME, it's about a new Linux desktop with a couple of different options in how users want to see it.

3. KDE 4.6.2 Ships

Although the spotlight was clearly on GNOME, rival desktop KDE also had news of its own. KDE 4.6.2 is now out, providing stability and bug fix updates to the KDE 4.6.x desktop.

What is particularly interesting about the KDE update is the name the KDE developers gave the release.

Codename: Congrats.

Not congrats to themselves, KDE developers codenamed KDE 4.6.2 as congrats to their (sometimes) rival Linux desktop KDE. Now that's class.

4. Linux as the Fabric of Embedded Computing

The Linux Collaboration Summit wrapped up in San Francisco, and among the big pieces of news was the 1.0 release of the Yocto Project. The goal of Yocto is to be a base Linux platform for mobile and embedded projects.

Looking at the broader strategy behind Yocto, it's an important component of the Linux Foundation's overall goal of enabling Linux for every use case and on every platform. Linux isn't just about the desktop (this year, by the way, definitely is THE year of the Linux deskto), the server or supercomputers.

Linux is the base, the fabric if you will, for the open generation of all computing infrastructure. With Yocto, Linux will make some strides forward in that goal.

The final version of Carrier Grade Linux 5 (CGL) specification, was also announced at the Collaboration Summit. It will be part of pushing the Linux as the fabric of computing goal. CGL is focused on carrier and network equipment vendors' needs. Ensuring that Linux is ready to power the high-availability needs of networking vendors is a critical part of maintaining the integrity of the Linux fabric.

5. Android Still Open

Taking pot shots at Google for Android is a very popular sport. There is no shortage of vendors alleging patent claims, and hey, Linux kernel developers also haven't been entirely pleased with Android, either.

That said, Android is based on Linux, and in many ways it is the standard bearer of Linux on mobile devices. After some misunderstanding of Google's intentions about the Honeycomb tablet-focused version of Android, there was some speculation that Google was closing off Android.

As it turns out, Google remains committed to keeping Android open, which is good news not just for the Android community, but also for Linux and open source as well.

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