Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
LinuxPower is a new site dedicated to providing useful, original Linux information. It resembles somewhat an online magazine - its content consists of editorials, "how to" articles, software reviews, etc. But, without publication dates and such, the good stuff just arrives when it does. This looks to be a useful site.
A similar sort of site is ionline. They, too, concentrate on interesting articles and tutorials, in a more subject-oriented way. The current set is mostly about PHP3 and its uses.
October 8, 1998
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Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 10:49:26 -0500 From: Craig Goodrich <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Red Hat's growth ... In your 10/1 issue you comment > All of these [developments connected with RedHat's growth and > additional investment] can be seen as good things ..., but all > together they raise the question of just how big and influential > Red Hat should get... We certainly do not need a single company > in a Microsoft-like role with an overwhelmingly large market > share. While no reasonable tuxie could disagree that the diversity and competition among distributions is one of the best things about Linux, I think your concern here is exaggerated. First, if one distribution is to become a favorite, a good case can be made that none deserves that position more than Red Hat. They have consistently pushed the state-of-the-art forward for the Linux community, from the development of RPM years ago through today's funding of such superhackers as Alan Cox and the breaking down of chipmakers' NDAs for programming information. I recall several years ago telnetting anonymously into Linus' machine in Helsinki and being greeted by a Red Hat login banner (for RH2, I think). Second, Red Hat has always kept closely to both the letter and the spirit of the GPL -- and in the process allowed new competitors to spring up based on Red Hat's own distribution. SuSE, for example, began as a Red Hat distribution customized for the German market. The original Caldera was based on Red Hat. Any creator of a Linux distribution has innumerable decisions to make, some major -- e.g. libc5 or glibc? -- and many minor -- do I go with the latest release of xbunnies or use the more heavily tested older version? In the Linux world, if there is widespread controversy over any of these decisions, it's likely that someone will address that concern with yet another distribution: For those worried about the stability of glibc, LinuxPro is available, a slightly tweaked Red Hat 4.2. For those (like this writer) who believe the Red Hat position on KDE is just silly, the Mandrake version of Red Hat 5 recently appeared. The free market is an incredibly powerful force, and when combined with the quirky ethos of the free software movement, it assures us of continuing wide choice in Linux distributions. The only way Red Hat could gain and hold a monopoly position is by putting out a distribution that made *everybody* happy. And, as the most casual perusal of Slashdot or c.o.l demonstrates, that jes' ain't gonna happen. So yes, indeed, best wishes to the other distributions. Some will die off and new ones will appear, of course, but let's not worry the community about it. Our Linux choices have multiplied enormously during the very period that Red Hat was establishing its premier position among the distributions, so as Linux is finally beginning to receive its well-deserved attention in the business community, let's just relax and enjoy the ride. Sincerely, Craig Goodrich Rural Village Systems somewhere in the woods in Elkmont, Alabama =========== There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. -- C A R Hoare
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 15:09:13 +0200 (MET DST) From: Maurizio de Cecco <Maurizio.de.Cecco@ircam.fr> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Applications, the Next Challenge Can Microsoft (or anybody else) takeover Linux ? We all know the answer: no. But this "no" refer to the kernel; what if we consider the user market ? In this case the answer is simply yes. For example, take this strategy illustrated in a discussion in SlashDot: Microsoft port MS Office to Linux, together with a Window Manager or Desktop that provide proprietary undocumented extensions, not friendly to non-MS applications. Or, just consider the porting of MS Office, without any other monopolistic strategy; will this change anything for the average user ? No, everybody would still be caugth in the update-tax paradigm, the monopole on the office suite market will just be renforced; and, if you consider that in the last two years Linux got far more new users than MacOS, and that MS-Office exists for MacOS, you will see that is not at all unreasonable to have a MS-Office suite on Linux (expecially if Linux really win the war against NT). What the Linux community can do to prevent these mechanism to replicate themselves on Linux ? I don't know, but for sure it is time to seriously think about all this. The RMS position is one answer: develop free applications that are competitive with the commercial one, and have the Open Source movement to win the application war after the OS (ok, this is not the RMS position, this is my personal interpretation of it :). Personally i think we need on thing more: open formats; for example, an open format, protected under some LGPL/GPL style licencing for word processor files; a smart, generic, extensible, well designed file format, supported by a good LGPL library, to encourge Linux word processor authors to use this format; and similar things for other application types. Not an easy job, anyway, any taker :-> ? Maurizio -- Maurizio De Cecco Real Time System Team IRCAM, Centre Georges Pompidou 1, Place Stravinsky 75004 Paris, France tel: +33-(0)1-44784779 - fax: +33-(0)1-44781540 - email: email@example.com
Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 13:55:08 -0600 From: Jeffery Cann <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Linus Torvalds Hello. I just read that the GNU project has been taking nominations for the first Free Software Award (http://lwn.net/1998/1008/fsa-nominees.html). Strangely, the name of Linus Torvalds was not on the list. Surely this was an oversight because without each other, the Linux kernel and the GNU tools would not enjoy their current notoriety. Is this a plot by RMS because people won't call Linux 'GNU/Linux'? I sure hope not. Sincerely. Jeffery C. Cann firstname.lastname@example.orgEditor's note: Linus, as a previous winner, was ineligible...
Date: Sat, 03 Oct 1998 04:29:45 +0100 From: teeth <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Save the Xaw scroll bar. I am driven to write by two things; Andrew Spencer's thoughtful look at the RiscOS GUI and wide agreement at the recent EdLUG meeting. There seems to be a tendancy in all the developing Linux GUIs to impersonate MS Windows, Motif and CDE even where there is already a superior approach, the most glaring example being scrollbars. The functionality of the Xaw/GNUEmacs scrollbar is far superior to the MS/Motif approach, requiring, as it does, much less movement to use. It is not perfect, scroll buttons would be a useful addition, especially if there were both up and down buttons at each end (left and right too, for that matter). For Linux to gain desktop converts eye candy is not enough (great as it is to raise interest), the usability must be superior in an imediately accessable way. I have yet to meet a windows user unimpressed by the Xaw scrollbar, though the shine goes when it's rarity is known. Let the call go out "Save the Xaw scroll bar!" - may its children flourish. Alistair Murray
Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 17:01:08 +1000 From: Jeremy Lee <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Acorn & Linux Revisited Like Andrew Spencer (email@example.com) who wrote in last week, I have also extensively used various Acorn RISC-OS machines. Indeed, I've still got my elderly and battered Archimedes A310 (serial number 801!) stuck in my cupboard. And the news that Acorn is dropping the Arc/RISC PC for set tops is harsh to me. I have just one suggestion to the Linux community, of which I consider myself a part. Bring the Acorn users over! Now! Any merger will be very hard. Arc coders are often fanatics who have been defending their machines from MS/Windoze for as many as five years before Linus even hacked his first kernel. And any suggestion that they just roll over and be assimilated by Linux will be fiercely resisted by those that matter. We need to offer the two related things that the Arc hackers must surely be wanting: Hope, and A Future. The reason I assert the Linux community should embrace the Acorn tribes is because they have so much to offer us. For a start, RISC-OS has always had an innovative and beautiful user interface, perhaps the best I've ever used. Apps were consistently written to the common UI guidelines, because they _made sense_. The Arc had outline fonts, taskbar, inter-application drag-and-drop, pop-up menus, and 'plug&play' in 1989. And if there's something the Linux community needs right now, it's good interface designers with a history of getting it right. More importantly, the Arc was a doddle to configure. The Arc tribes will hopefully bring an intolerance to messy configuration scripts and banish forever such atrocities as sendmail.cf which seem merely 'quaint' to Unix gurus. Lastly, the arc is build with the ARM chipset. You've all heard of the StrongARM? More powerfull than a Pentium II, while running on an AA battery? The Arc embodies some fearsome processing power, and a talent pool of people who know how to work with this architecture. It's difficult to convey the depth of technical expertise which this machine embodies, and the skill posessed by many Arc coders. David Braben (who wrote Elite [yes, *the* Elite] Virus/Zarch, Conquerer and others) was one famous early coder who made this machine do amazing things. Because of the educational focus of Acorn, Arcs (like the BBC micro before it) turned up in many schools and univeristies in the UK, New Zealand, and here in Australia. People learned to code on this elegant machine, and code well. Acorn was also cool enough to sell and support a version of Unix for the Arc for quite some time - A BSD variant, I think - so there are considerable Unix skills already present. And the Archimedes was one of the early port targets for Linux. (Though work has been a little slow) Perhaps one of the reasons there's been less progress on the Arc port of Linux is because RISC-OS is such a good operating system to begin with! What it lacks in some modern features (eg. pre-emptive multitasking) it makes up for in sheer speed and ease of programming. Half of the things I've written for the Arc were in Assembly, because - hard as this is to believe - it was often easier than using a high-level language. There was a 'bare metal' feel to the machine which made it a Hacker's joy. I personally feel a little betrayed by Acorn, and I've not seriously used my Arc in years. To current gen, this will be a serious blow. We are the new Amiga-nites, suddenly bereft of a homeland.. er.. supplier. We'll coast for a year, until RISC-OS starts looking too dated. Then, if Linux is ready for us, we'll come. And Linux will gain another group of formidable, talented developers. See to it. -- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeremy Lee | Orinoco "One Crowded Hour of Glorious Life firstname.lastname@example.org Is worth an age without a name." http://www.geocities.com/researchtriangle/lab/5003