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Briefs (left)

Microsoft and Novell
Cooperate on Linux

By Laurie J. Flynn
and Steve Lohr

Microsoft acknowledged the influence of the Linux operating system on Thursday by striking a deal with Novell, a longtime rival, to ensure that Novell’s version of Linux could operate together with Windows in corporate data centers.

In an industry known for strange bedfellows, the two companies said they were collaborating on technical development and marketing programs. They also took steps to ensure that Microsoft’s intellectual property is protected as it modifies its software to work with SUSE Linux, the operating system Novell acquired in January 2004.

Steven A. Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said that the companies began discussing the collaboration in April, but that Microsoft had been getting pressure from its largest corporate customers for far longer.

“I certainly recognize that Linux plays an important role in the mix of technologies our customers use,” Ballmer said at a news conference here announcing the partnership. But he added that Microsoft would continue to push Windows over Linux to customers, endorsing SUSE Linux only if customers insist on using it.

Report Warns of
‘Global Collapse’ of Fishing

By Cornelia Dean

If fishing around the world continues at its present pace, more and more species will vanish, marine ecosystems will unravel and there will be a “global collapse” of all species currently fished, possibly as soon as midcentury, fisheries experts and ecologists are predicting.

The scientists, who are to report their findings on Friday in the journal Science, say it is not too late to turn the situation around. As long as marine ecosystems are still biologically diverse, they can recover quickly once overfishing and other threats are reduced, the researchers say.

But they add that there must be quick, large-scale action to protect remaining diversity, including establishment of marine reserves and “no take” zones, along with restrictions on particularly destructive fishing practices.

The researchers drew their conclusion after analyzing dozens of studies and fishing data collected by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and other sources. They acknowledge that much of what they are reporting amounts to correlation, rather than proven cause and effect.

FAA Finds More Errors
On Runways

By Matthew L. Wald

Using the wrong runway, the error that led to the crash in Kentucky that killed 49 people in August, is not so rare, a top official of the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday at a safety conference.

A search of 10 years of records found 117 other cases in which the crew was confused, said the official, Nicholas A. Sabatini, the associate administrator for aviation safety.

That number does not include two cases in the past week.

On Saturday evening in Newark, a Continental Airlines Boeing 757 mistook a taxiway for the parallel runway and landed on it. The taxiway was empty, which is not always the case, and no damage resulted.

On Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, controllers said an Alaska Airlines 737 had taken off on the wrong runway; safety officials are investigating whether the problem was confusion between the tower and the cockpit about which runway had been assigned.

In the Kentucky crash, on Aug. 29, a single taxiway led to both runways at the Lexington airport, but one runway was long enough only for propeller traffic, not regional jets like the plane that crashed.