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10:04 AM

Good News/Good News

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Good News/Good News
2. Today's Top Story: Virtualization
    - VMware Player Runs Virtual Machines For Free
    - XenSource Poised To Reshape The Virtualization Market
3. Breaking News
    - Opera Releases Browser Preview
    - Another Wi-Fi City Rollout, Another Headache For Telcos
    - Panel Criticizes Technology, Other Changes Sought After 9/11
    - Navy Blocks Commercial Web Mail
    - CA Preps Unicenter r11
    - Dutch Botnet Bigger Than Expected
    - Broadcom Gains Win In Video IPod
    - Cisco Pledges $50 Million More For Bangalore Campus
    - Voice Over WLAN To Triple By 2007
    - Out-Of-Band Systems Management Helps Businesses Expand
    - Wiki Inventor Leaving Microsoft
    - Free 2.0 Suite Launches
4. In Depth: The Power Of Google
5. Voice Of Authority: Google's Book Search
6. White Papers: Mobile Computers
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." -- James Branch Cabell

1. Editor's Note: Good News/Good News

Last week was a tough one. Coastal regions braced for another potentially monster hurricane, the former House majority leader was indicted on charges of violating campaign-finance laws, mortgage rates are rising, and the stock market is moving sideways at best. Closer to home, InformationWeek writers and editors continued their lively, but at times discouraging, debate about the state of the IT profession. Most recently, Patricia Keefe spelled out the anger evident in so many IT professionals as they struggle with their evolving roles in business.

But for some good news, look no further than our industry and several developments from last week that suggest competition is thriving in areas where it hasn't in the past, while spending is on the rise in some key sectors that are driving technology innovation. At worst, the glass is half full:

  • There's a growing set of viable alternatives to Microsoft Office. That's a positive development for business customers and users alike. Perhaps the prospect of a meaningful competitive push will force Microsoft to focus on making Office easier to use for people who don't need dozens of unwanted features imposed on them when they simply need to generate a memo. An open-source group launched the final version of 2.0, a free suite that's drawn attention from governments interested in breaking away from Microsoft's office application bundles. Judging by Friday's strong reader response, this suite is drawing attention from a lot of your peers. Still, the claim by Sun president Jonathan Schwartz that " is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen" has little credence.

  • Reviewers, including those at our sister sites, are giving high marks to Sun's StarOffice 8, which shares a code base with These experts find that the functional difference between Microsoft Office and these alternatives is shrinking, and with Google poised to begin promoting StarOffice, a real challenge appears likely for the first time in many years.

  • It's not just Sun and OpenOffice, but other alternatives that are now in the mix and worth considering.

  • Also in the new-competition-for-Microsoft space, Firefox has reached 100 million downloads, albeit amid findings that it's actually losing ground in the market-share war. Market-share losses or not, 100 million users are worth taking seriously.

  • Amid ongoing concern (by ongoing, I mean, since 2000) about the overall health of the IT sector, Google and Yahoo continue their breakneck growth, showing once again why they're the companies to watch when it comes to gauging the overall health of the tech sector.

  • My personal favorite development: "Famed" hacker DVD Jon's decision to get an honest job. It's great when kids take your advice.

    Tom Smith
    [email protected]

    2. Today's Top Story

    VMware Player Runs Virtual Machines For Free
    Free utility enables companies to distribute beta software, custom applications, or special environments to workers or customers who don't use VMware's more-expensive products.

    Related Story:
    XenSource Poised To Reshape The Virtualization Market

    With its first commercial open-source systems expected to launch within weeks, XenSource is poised to challenge VMware and commoditize the virtualization software market, observers say.

    3. Breaking News

    Opera Releases Browser Preview
    The new version for Windows, Mac, and Linux users includes improved E-mail and stability, support for additional Web standards, and changes to the user interface designed to make it easier to switch from Internet Explorer or Firefox.

    Another Wi-Fi City Rollout, Another Headache For Telcos
    Madison, Wis.'s Wi-Fi rollout will serve wireless users in city government, consumer, and commercial sectors.

    Panel Criticizes Technology, Other Changes Sought After 9/11
    The privately funded "Report on the Status of 9/11 Commission Recommendations" criticizes the president for making "minimal progress" in leading national security institutions into the information revolution, and the FBI for making minimal progress in its analytic capability.

    Navy Blocks Commercial Web Mail
    Citing security and viral risks, the Navy's decision discharges Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, America Online, and others from its mail servers.

    CA Preps Unicenter r11
    The latest rev of the network-management suite will provide a common data repository and user interface, making it easier to manage storage and security under a single enterprise infrastructure.

    Dutch Botnet Bigger Than Expected
    The botnet consisted of about 1.5 million compromised computers, 15 times the 100,000 PCs first thought.

    Broadcom Gains Win In Video IPod
    Analysis of Apple Computer's new video-capable iPod reveals an important new component supplier for the unit: Broadcom.

    Cisco Pledges $50 Million More For Bangalore Campus
    CEO John Chambers peels off another $50 million for a new R&D campus in Bangalore, one day after announcing plans to spend up to $1.1 billion in India over the next three years.

    Voice Over WLAN To Triple By 2007
    Infonetics Research claims that over the next two years, 31% of companies surveyed for its study will have implemented the technology, compared with 10% today.

    Out-Of-Band Systems Management Helps Businesses Expand
    Uplogix introduces a version of its network-management software for centralized and remote management that makes use of out-of-band techniques to gain access to servers and other IT systems that have crashed, lost power, or have faulty network connections.

    Wiki Inventor Leaving Microsoft
    Ward Cunningham is leaving Microsoft to join the Eclipse Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to open-source technologies.

    Free 2.0 Suite Launches
    The open-source alternative to Microsoft Office got new legs recently as governments argue that documents should be based on open-source formats.

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    4. In Depth: The Power Of Google

    Google Revenue Doubles
    Third-quarter revenue was $1.578 billion, up 96% year over year, driven by increasing online advertising and Google's growing share of the Internet-search market.

    Google To Blame For Spam-Related Blog Entries, Some Say
    An increased number of so-called "splog" entries on Google has drawn the ire of prominent bloggers.

    Google Gives Up Gmail Name In U.K.
    New users will get accounts with the domain, but existing users will keep their addresses ending in

    Search-Crazy Swedes Name Baby 'Google'
    Walid Elias Kai, who works for a Swedish search-optimization company, and his wife, Carol Kai, have named their boy Oliver Google Kai.

    Google Clarifies Privacy Policy
    The company described in more understandable terms what it does with user data, but remains mum on how long it hangs onto the information.

    Mitch Wagner's Blog: Google's Magic Pixie Dust
    I definitely want some of the magic pixie dust that Google uses. Google gets away with stuff that other companies--particularly Microsoft--get hammered for. But Google gets a free pass. Because it's Google. And everybody loves Google.

    5. Voice Of Authority: Google's Book Search

    Google Not Straight About Book Search, Or 44 Pages In 5 Minutes
    Google isn't being completely forthright in making the argument that it should be allowed to scan and digitize millions of books without permission from publishers. Let me amend that: Google is being downright devious. I was able to view 44 pages of a $133 book, all in about five minutes with not much effort.

    6. White Papers: Mobile Computers

    One-On-One Laptop Initiatives--Providing Tools For 21st Century Learners
    This paper will explore the goals behind one-to-one initiatives, the fundamental issues to consider before rolling out a program, and analysis of successful one-to-one programs that have transformed classrooms--and communities--using technology.

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