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If you haven't seen it already, check out the new design of FreshMeat. The new arrangement is far more readable and easy to deal with; a definite improvement. (For some coverage of the furor that erupted when the new site was unveiled, check out this LinuxToday article).
Another Linux news and articles site is Matts's House. Matt recently sent us a note stating that he is looking for folks to contribute articles for his site. Have a look at the site, and help out if you like.
January 7, 1999
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 09:29:13 -0500 (EST) From: Zack Brown <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org, will@localhost Subject: Free Commercial software? Not quite yet, thanks. Amid all the whooping for joy about the various commercial programs being ported to linux, people seem to have forgotten about one of the basic flaws in most commercial software, including WordPerfect: their essential unfriendliness to other programs. Ever cat a WordPerfect file to the screen? Pretty messy. They didn't have to do it that way. It was done specifically to tie users to their particular piece of software by making it difficult to use other programs with that data. Most commercial software venders do this. That's also why they keep changing their data formats. IMHO, this completely goes against the purpose of having a powerful system in which pipes and whatnot can transform data in arbitrary ways. It limits productivity to the small set of functions that the WP (and other proprietary) venders think is important to include in the binary itself. This is one of the reasons Microsoft systems are so much less useful than linux systems: because they all desperately want to lock each other out, each vender must duplicate the code of each other vender in order to get the same functionality, with the result that much less software can fit on the harddrive. This very real, very ugly nightmare is about to come to Linux, full steam ahead. And while we may all be cheering now, we may not be so happy a year from now when our sleek, powerful linux systems have grown top-heavy with 30- and 40-megabyte packages that really don't give anything back to the system they live on. Drag-n-drop will only make it easier to invoke these huge beasts. The beasts themselves will remain virtual black-boxes in terms of automated usability and advancing functionality. While things like TeX may not be everybody's wet dream, TeX does at least understand the need to put (or allow) real power in the hands of the user: The power to transform data in arbitrary ways. Now I'm not saying everyone should run out and learn TeX. That system has its own problems and limitations. But people should keep in mind that up until now Linux has remained a fully integrated system, with everything talking to everything else. Why should office and productivity suites be above all that? Why should the linux community allow linux to become just a cheaper and more stable version of Windows 98? In the coming months, let's learn to put open file formats and scripted automation on a par with open source. The gimp is a good example of something that does these things already. Let's let the commercial venders know that if they want to run on linux, they have to let linux run on them. Zack Brown
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 13:28:03 -0500 (EST) From: Peter Teuben <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: GNU struggling? In your significant development list of the year "The bazaar approach shows its viability for large projects": I didn't like your wording that GNU has been struggling along for 10 years in comparison with the sudden hype about the bazaar approach and open source. GNU has been a major major force in the bazaar's success, as Eric and most of us will probably agree with. If GNU had failed, the bazaar approach would have never happened, I believe. The reason the bazaar approach is suddenly working is conditions are just right. Good overall internet acccess, good websites to serve educating the people (remember open source has been around as long as GNU, there is nothing new there, just a new name in a slightly upgraded jacket) with a lot of computer users outside just academia. Going back 15 years when I saw "open-source" work for the first time on uucp and newsgroup one can understand why growth was so slow. All what we see is a natural outcome of this whole growth process. I don't disagree with your final conclusion, but it takes a lot of work and utilities to get the KDE and GNOME developers to even start! So to just push GNU in the struggling camp, is understatement in the least. Peter Teuben
From: Barry.Randall@minnesotamutual.com To: "editor(a)lwn.net" <email@example.com> Subject: FUD Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 09:58:27 -0600 Dear Linux Daily News I'm a dedicated reader, and I appreciate your work in assembling all the Linux info. It sure makes my life easier. One suggestion: please stop referring to any criticism of Linux as "FUD." You seem to do this reflexively, which makes you look bad. It's ironic too: many people (including myself) see Linux as being more robust because it is continually subject to the "peer review" of many independent programmers. Yet you seem unable to tolerate any viewpoint but your own, which makes you seem pretty thin-skinned. It's a healthy attitude to believe that a) Linux is imperfect; and b) constructive criticism is part of the process of making it less so. Of course there is FUD in the world, but counter it with thoughtful rebuttals instead of teenager-ish defensiveness, and you will take the higher road. Good luck, and thanks again for your work. Sincerely, Barry Randall Equity Technology Analyst Advantus Capital Management St. Paul firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tue, 05 Jan 1999 15:16:59 -0800 From: Jason Tuomy <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Linux Win! I would like to report that we have successfully installed/configured/tested Oracle8 on RedHat Linux 5.2. ODBC from MS is working and the Oracle8 Client for NT sees it and works perfectly. It is now our database server, immediately replacing our Microsoft SQL Server 6.5. It was not hard at all making the decision to move. We will be using a third party tool on NT to port all of our databases from SQL Server to Oracle8. Our prelimenary tests show that connecting to Oracle is already faster than SQL Server. We are already in the process of moving our file serving from NT to Linux. We have a mix variety of workstations; Linux/Mac/Windows. Linux has already proven to work as a file server using Netatalk and Samba. And is very stable. I would like to let you know and hope this is encouragement for other Linux Enterprise pioneers.