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Tuesday Newswatch: Microsoft meets PHP, Cisco slammed at net forum, new frontiers for women in tech

Microsoft, Zend hook up for PHP

Microsoft has committed to a long-term partnership with Zend, a commercial developer of PHP products, Reuters reports. The deal is intended to improve PHP's performance on Windows servers.

"PHP has always worked on Windows. The problem is that it never performed very well," Andi Gutmans, Zend's co-founder and chief technology officer, said.
The deal will result in technical improvements to PHP, which will be offered to open source developers in early 2007.

The move shows that open source has won the battle for web scripting. The real battle is over the operating system. Rather than demanding that customers use all Microsoft products, Redmond is signaling that it can accommodate customers' needs. If shops can get PHP running as well on Windows as Linux, why take on the hassle of running multiple operating systems? "Microsoft is giving corporate software developers one more reason not to choose Linux," said Gartner Inc. analyst Mark Driver.

RSF accuses Cisco of colluding with China

Addressing the World Internet Forum in Athens, Reporters Sans Frontieres accused Internet companies of participating in China's repression of free speech. Cisco especially was singled out for providing routers that allow the Chinese government to monitor and shut off traffic, Reuters reports.

"We sold the same equipment we sell in any country around the world," Art Reilly, Cisco's Senior Director for Strategic Technology Policy said at the forum. "We are selling the same product everywhere. We are not colluding with any government."

He said Cisco technology sold to China would allow a secure information flow. "It is essential that there has to be security..to provide security to allow the freeflow of information. It is the same technology for libraries for example".

RSF's Julien Paine called for a ban on "the sale of communication surveillance equipment to repressive countries."

Women in Technology is back in the Valley

In the aftermath of dot-bomb, Women in Technology International went $1 million in debt, lost thousands of members and even closed its SiliconValley branch. As it meets in Santa Clara this week, though, WITI is back - though with a more focused mission, the Mercury News reports.

``WITI has shifted from the issue of diversity and human resources to things that are important to business executives,'' said Cheemin Bo-Linn, IBM's director of worldwide marketing. ``It's getting more focused on how it can help corporations grow.''

But for some at the conference, it was more like Women without Technology, as there was no wireless access in the meeting halls. If they want to reach out to young women, that's a awfully stupid oversight.