ad info
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Linux creator speaks about secret new project

by Jack McCarthy


LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux open source operating system, pointed to the increased popularity of the open-source movement Monday night here at Comdex, and for the first time spoke publicly about the new, secretive company he is working for.

Torvalds spoke to more than 5,000 enthusiastic open-source supporters, telling jokes and giving updates on the progress of Linux.

"I was going to start with a lawyer joke, but I'm told it was already done yesterday," said Torvalds, referring to Gates' speech Sunday night.

VideoCNN's Anne McDermott reports on the gee whiz items available at this year's Comdex.
QuickTime Play
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K
• 3dfx announces Voodoo 4 and 5

• Corel launches desktop Linux

• Converge on (and at) the 20th Comdex

• Dick Tracy meets Star Trek

• Digital cameras for slim wallets

• HP's Fiorina: Net just isn't friendly enough yet

• George Lucas, Playstation 2 highlight Sony keynote at Comdex

• Windows 2000 reliable, says Microsoft

•  Internet audio on autopilot

• Users await the networked home

• Sony debuts MusicClip MP3 player

• Linux creator speaks about secret new project

More COMDEX 1999 stories


Torvalds prodded Gates another time in his speech, using a David Letterman-like Top 10 list for using the open-source development method. The number one reason for its use, he said, was "You won't get sued for anticompetitive behavior."

In the wireless communications arena, he said, Windows CE "didn't cut it ... especially when you cram into a small space, you need flexibility."

For the first time, Torvalds spoke publicly about Transmeta Corp., the secretive start-up he has been working with. The company, he said, will give "full disclosure" January 19. He said that at Transmeta, "We are doing a smart CPU, which will be the first microprocessor using software to do a lot of stuff."

The Linux source code is being used for more and more complex tasks, he said. "We are going for high-end hardware," he said.

"I've been promoting the open-source method and I've been working for a company that is closed," he said.

The industry rumor about Transmeta is that it is working on a cheaper and easier-to-manufacture microprocessor that can run any operating system.

Linux 2.4, the next kernel version, which will be released next year, will be able to support a high-end architecture. It will go from supporting machines with dual or quad Pentium IIs and 1G byte of RAM as of one year ago to machines incorporating 8-way Pentium IIIs with 8G bytes or more of RAM.

Torvalds also said that users are setting higher and higher bars for technology. "Take Apple's iMac," he said. "The fact that it has five colors -- who cares from a technology standpoint, but they are selling like crazy."

"Technology is not driving the market, but what's driving it is what people want."

In keeping with his Huck Finn personality, Torvalds said the most important thing was to have fun. "It's not really about Linux vs. Microsoft, it's about something you really, really have fun with and lets others have fun as well."

Although Torvalds did not reveal much about Transmeta, a new message on the company's Web site confirmed that the company would release the information regarding its Crusoe processor on Jan. 19, 2000, but it would remain silent on details until then.

A "secret message" embedded in the source code of the Web page stated that Transmeta would announce and demonstrate the processor on that date. "Crusoe will be cool hardware and software for mobile applications," the message said. "Crusoe will be unconventional."

Richard Stallman on freedom and the GNU GPL
November 8, 1999
Finnish vendor enters English-language Linux fray
November 3, 1999
Where's Linux going?
October 28, 1999
Java, Linux to link arms
October 20, 1999

Linux's Torvalds debates open source
Torvalds awarded honorary doctorate
Linux founder predicts progress
(PC World Online)
Linus Torvalds: Is that real silicon?
Linus on the Linux kernel
Torvalds on Linux directions, open source
Linux progress on the desktop eyed by OS founder
Everyone wants to see Linus
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.