Will Ubuntu Linux Break Through on the Desktop?
Canonical, caretakers of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, will release
its new 7.10 Desktop Edition today
. It sports a raft of new features that
just may just give it the best chance to take share away from Windows on the
What has some industry analysts all excited about version 7.10's -- also known
as "Gutsy Gibbon" -- desktop fortunes is its 3D graphical interface
along with its automatic printer driver installation. The latter has perpetually
stood as one of the annoying roadblocks for wide audience acceptance of Linux
by desktop users. Many users have walked away from their first installation
of Linux on a desktop machine because they couldn't get it to work with both
new and older printers in their shops.
The flashy new graphical interface may prove to be more than just eye candy.
Linux has had a couple of other graphical interfaces before, but none as rich-looking
as this one. Some are boldly saying that version 7.10's 3D interface, built
on top of the Gnome 2.20 desktop, will give Windows Vista and Apple's upcoming
Leopard a run for their money.
The new version also contains improvements for laptop users. It offers full
external VGA support right out of the box, and can be more easily configured
when hardware is switched around. Also, new support for automatic firmware installation
for Broadcom Wi-Fi cards has been added.
So far, larger IT shops have been more interested in the idea of Linux on the
desktop than in actually having it on their desktops. That interest has
stemmed from wanting to eliminate the expensive licensing fees Microsoft imposes
on Windows users, along with a handful of other technical shortcomings. But
with the underwhelming response to Vista among corporate accounts -- many of
whom claim to have no plans to deploy the operating system this year and even
next -- coupled with Ubuntu 7.10's set of capabilities, the door has never been
more open for a Linux offering to walk through.
Users interested in downloading version 7.10 can go here.
Getting More Social Around the Office
Atlassian, a well-known wiki provider, and NewsGator Technologies Inc., a well-known
developer of RSS technologies, announced they're working cooperatively with
another well-known company (Microsoft) to create
greater Web 2.0-based social computing opportunities around Office SharePoint
According to Derek Burney, Microsoft's GM in charge of SharePoint, the collaboration
with the two companies should result in new opportunities for "integrating
social computing technology into a company's business productivity infrastructure."
One NewsGator executive, Dave Keller, GM for Enterprise at the company, was
almost giddy about the deal, saying he believed companies of all sizes are starting
to look to SharePoint as the foundation for social computing development.
Speaking at the fourth annual Web 2.0 Summit yesterday, Burney said that Microsoft's
use of social computing includes a commitment to create up to 100 next-generation
business applications on the SharePoint platform by next calendar year. He also
noted that the Community Kit for SharePoint (CKS) 2.0 -- a volunteer-driven
initiative to develop a set of best practices, templates, Web Parts, tools and
source code -- enables even novice users to create a community Web site based
on SharePoint technologies. More information on the CKS is available here.
Microsoft officials said they expect revenues from SharePoint technologies
to exceed $800 million for fiscal year 2007.
Services Growth Fuels IBM's Third Quarter Results
IBM, always a reliable bellwether for the overall health of the high-tech industry,
solid revenues and earnings for the third quarter yesterday, which were
buoyed by the performance of its services unit.
While its overall earnings were up 6 percent, Big Blue's hardware sales fell
some 10 percent to $4.9 billion. Some of that decline can be attributed to the
recent sale of its printer division, but what was more notable were the numbers
turned in by its mainframe group, which were down a whopping 31 percent. Chip
sales, which were off by 15 percent, also disappointed some analysts,.
IBM's software group, perhaps the most profitable group in the company during
the past few years, grew by 7 percent to $4.7 billion, although it would've
been only 3 percent without shifts in the dollar.
But the best news came out of the company's mammoth services group, which reported
revenues growth at 14 percent to $13.7 billion. What was at least as impressive
was the 27 percent up-tick in pretax profits. Company officials reported that
IBM signed some $11.8 billion in services contracts in the third quarter, up
from $10.5 billion in last year's third quarter.
Overall revenues rose 7 percent to $24.1 billion, up from last's year's $22.6
billion, with earnings of $2.36 billion, up from last year's third quarter figure
of $2.22 billion.
Mailbag: Don't Worry About Larry, More
Lafe reported on Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's decision to sell 2 million shares
of Oracle stock. Is this a bad sign for Oracle? Most of you don't think so:
It's interesting what information people lock in on. Ellison has personally
traded 14 million shares in the past year for a total of $248 million. To
take this a little further, LAWRENCE
J ELLISON REVOCABLE TRUST traded 50 million shares at $1.042 million and
MEDICAL FOUNDATION traded 3 million shares at $50 million during the same
time period. Does this mean Oracle is in trouble? I don't think so at all.
Oracle has a debt/equity ratio of 0.35 and just placed a bid to purchase
BEA for $6.6 billion cash. I think Oracle is strong and doing well and old
Larry is smart. He is leading Oracle on a quest to purchase technology companies
that complement Oracle strengths by propping up weaknesses. Don't be fooled
into thinking Larry is bailing out because he knows something the rest of
us don't. He didn't get to where he is by being stupid. Look at the numbers
and make up your own mind. I already have and I'll stick with Oracle. Oh,
I think I'd purchase a couple of those shares he no longer needs.
Interesting article about Ellison's sale of stock, but pretty small deal.
Check into Billie Gates' sales in the last year(s). Likely not all going to
$44 million to you and me is a huge chunk of change -- but in the world
of America's Cup racing, $44 million might get you a few design changes. See
the magazine ANSYS Advantage (volume 1, issue 2 of 2007, pages 3 through 6).
Each team spent 150,000 (yes, one hundred and fifty THOUSAND) labor hours
just to optimize their boats. So $44 million MIGHT cover the cost of, let's
say, a few sim runs. (I'm an amateur sailor so I found the article very interesting.)
It also depends on how many shares Larry still owns. If that was his
last 2 million shares, I'd be worried.
In the wake of a Webroot survey that found most SMBs ill-prepared to protect
themselves against Web threats, Lafe asked readers how they keep their networks
safe. Here's Karl's response:
We use MessageLabs to manage our incoming mail and Web traffic. Some
firewall rules so that no mail is accepted from anyone except MessageLabs
and some MX records, and we've had no viruses and only a tiny handful of spam
for years. Also some more firewall rules to prevent all traffic except that
going through port to the Web scanning proxy and all incoming Web traffic
is guaranteed cleaned of malware.
Want to add your 2 cents? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.