LINUX DISTRIBUTION KING Red Hat released its financial results for the most recent quarter this week, racking up losses of $24.6 million on sales of $13.1 million. But only in the Linux world are such results rewarded with a resounding cheer, since the company didn't lose as much money as analysts were expecting. And speaking of losing money, recent Linux convert Corel continues to hemorrhage cash as well; the company just announced a loss of $12.4 million for its most recent quarter. Who said you can't make money with Open Source Software?

AFTER SOME FITS and starts over the weekend, Microsoft finally shipped what it's calling the "release candidate for Beta 3" of Windows Millennium, or Windows Me. The new consumer OS, which is scheduled for release to manufacturing (RTM) in late May, will feature a host of friendly new features, including the recently unveiled Windows Media Player 7.

A HACKER ACCUSED of stealing credit card records and credit reports can apparently count Microsoft uber-geek Bill Gates among his stash. But what's the big secret with Gates' credit information, when the man could buy and sell us all with the proceeds from his passbook savings account. Those Publisher Clearinghouse "you might already be a winner" mass mailings must never stop being funny around the Gates household.

I GUESS THIS is what happens when you don't illegally leverage your monopoly in operating systems and Office applications: Two previously high profile Microsoft applications were cancelled this week, TaxSaver and Vizact 2000, which was a member of the Office family. I mentioned TaxSaver previously (and have since seen it for sale for $5 in a local OfficeMax) but Vizact was a product that never should have happened in the first place. Expect to see its features rolled into the next version of FrontPage.

IT ONLY TOOK them a year to ship the Mac version, but Microsoft has finally released the long anticipated Internet Explorer 5.0, Macintosh Edition. And like most Microsoft products for the Mac, it's actually got some cool new features that haven't made it over to the Windows side, including a wonderfully configurable toolbar and a new rendering engine that finally makes browsing on the Mac with squinting a possibility. Mac users are going to want to grab this one ASAP.

I USUALLY RESERVE Short Takes for some of the more irreverent items that come across my desk, but this one is serious: Jason Haas of LinuxPPC was involved in a terrible car accident a few weeks ago that quite nearly took his life. You may remember Jason from last August, when various Linux vendors took on Microsoft's Windows 2000 uptime challenge (and won, by the way). I talked to Jason back then about Windows 2000, Linux and the PowerPC, and he's a great guy who deserves to come out of this OK. If you have a second, please cast an eye upward and wish Jason the best. You can find out more about Jason's accident and ways to help on the LinuxPPC Web site.

AND JUST IN case you missed this yesterday, I'll be in Redmond for the rest of the week for the SQL Server 2000 Reviewers Workshop. This means sporadic email at best, but I'll try and keep cranking out WinInfo during the trip (and I'm quite happy to hear that Judge Jackson might delay his ruling, since Tuesday in one of my travel days)