Week ahead, the week that was

Week ahead, the week that was: Linus tackles Kernal 2.5. Also: Paul Allen gets his TV wish. And no guts at Goldman Sachs.

Linus Torvalds headlines a gathering of developers meeting to chart a course for the development of Linux Kernel 2.5. The announcement says the attendee list is by invitation only. But if you're bummed about not being able to hang with Mr. T and the other pudge faces, let me turn you onto something really worthwhile.

The San Jose Museum of Art will host an event organized by Child Advocates to get Silicon Valley more involved in fighting child abuse. With more than 12,000 abused and neglected kids in the Bay Area, that's a helluva timely idea. Considering how the system has rewarded so many people in this region these last several years, isn't it time Silicon Valley did more to to fulfill its part of the social contract? That's going to be the big item on the agenda and hopefully, something meaningful will come out of it.

After kvetching to senior management about this for the better part of the last year, Paul Allen will finally get his wish when Tech TV launches nine-and-a-half hours of live news programming on its network. Odd to see the press queries for comment being directed to Greg Drebin, a programming suit who has been less-than-enthusiastic about making this all happen and not Harry Fuller, the mad genius who's news director over there. Then again, it's the TV biz where oddity often rules.

Far be it from me to suggest Goldman Sachs is run by gutless weasels but the investment firm has taken the pusillanimous step of barring the press from an Internet conference it's hosting in Las Vegas. Normally, I couldn't care less about the sort of spouting that goes on at gabfests such as these. But considering how badly investors have been burned in the last year, the decision to ban the 4th Estate doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the independent body that oversees the Internet's naming system, votes on a deal to let VeriSign retain long-term rights for the .com domain. The quid pro quo: Verisign will have to give up rights to the .net and .org suffixes. But this vote may not be the last word. Tthe deal is highly controversial and Billy Tauzin, Fred Upton and Ed Markey, three of the more tech-influential representatives in Congress want the Commerce Department to take a closer look.

Speaking of Congress, the hired help on Capitol Hill are starting to lose patience with all the infighting in the digital music world, a subject sure to surface when the Senate Judiciary Committee shines a light on the sundry copyright issues raised by music and video distribution online.

Also on the Internet music front, MP3.com revamps its royalty system, dumping a no-cover-charge model in favor of a monthly $19.95 fee artists must pay to become eligible for the profit-sharing program. That's not exactly onerous for a band raking in the big bucks but how many musicians fall into the top tax brackets?

The week that was

The Information Technology Association of America says its members don't have the remotest chance of hitting a June deadline to make their products meet government disability regulations. Under current law, they need to do just that if they want to sell to Uncle Sam. But the ITAA probably has good reason to believe the new administration will be sympathetic about granting an extension.

Microsoft finally disclosed system requirements for running Windows XP. In typical fashion, Redmond had lowballed memory expectations. You'll need a minimum 128K memory to run the operating system. Translation: Get twice that amount or you're hosed. (Considering how memory is selling below cost, this is a good time to stock up.)

Speaking of Microsoft, another browser security hole has popped up -- where have you heard that one before? -- this time automatically opening e-mail attachments. (The affected versions of Internet Explorer are 5.01 and 5.5.).

Sun Microsystems named a new storage chief, a belated recognition of its fumbling attempts to convince the world that storage is just "a feature of the server," to quote the company's rodomontading chief executive Smiling Scott McNealy. If McNealy were right--and he's not--then the likes of EMC and StorageTek would not have been racking up such big numbers.

Google's spreading its wings, selling ads and putting up a directory. It's a soft -- but nonetheless significant -- considering how it's the best commercial search engine out there.

This one flew in under the radar but it should be noted in passing that DigitalConversation, the folks who gave us the world the CueCat, have pulled their IPO. Smart move as this offering would have gone to the dogs.

I didn't see much made of this but I think it's a big deal. Albertson is licensing technology from U.K.-based Tesco that is going to help the chain get into online grocery delivery. That's bad news in bells for the likes of WebVan and all the other online-only delivery services which have yet to hit their stride.

Transmeta has an uphill fight against Intel but the scrappy startup won a toehold in the corporate market with a deal to supply Fujitsu with chips for 12,000 laptops. The systems are being sold to a Japanese insurance company.

Another of the Recording Industry Association of America's hired guns says Gnutella is not a worry--at least not for now. But just in case the popularity of the file swapping community does pick up, "we have a strategy, but we have yet to implement it," says Frank Creighton of the music lobbying group. Napalm at dawn, anyone?

Bluetooth proponents have had better days, I am sure, but when a demonstration at CeBit flopped, it underscored how much more work remains before this wireless technology is ready for prime time.

After shutting down its Internet network, NorthPoint Communications handed out pink slips to 700 employees, or roughly 71 percent of the company, putting the final coda to a very forgettable quarter for the tech sector.

Transmeta to power MS tablet

IE security hole launches e-mail attachments

IBM pushing new chip technology

CueCats sent to the litter box

Apple notebook sales get Titanium boost

New look for Windows XP

HP may be on the prowl for Scient

Bezos pledges allegiance to profits

Get ready for Internet fire sales

MarchFirst assets picked up by Divine