Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Development page.
News and Editorials
Transitioning developers to LinuxMany of us in the Linux world have been relying on the operating system exclusively for a long time. It's easy to forget that the majority of computer software developers are only familiar with other platforms, mostly Windows and Macintosh. As Linux becomes more widely used, there will be more and more people coming over from other camps with certain expectations of what a computer is supposed to do for them. Easy to use desktop systems such as KDE and Gnome will go a long way towards helping people from other platforms feel at home. Fortunately, these new desktops also have a lot of "cool features" that will attract techies over to Linux.
The building and installation of open-source software is another matter. One rule of programming is that the documentation can always be improved. This is especially true with regards to educating new Linux users. A great program may go unused if few people can figure out how to get it up and running. Introductory documentation is very important for new users, yet it is often neglected. Good introductory info should tell the user what the program does, how to perform the installation, how to use the program once it is installed, and where to go for more detailed information. It is suprising how many projects lack some of this basic information. Project maintainers would do well to find an uninitiated person to do a test installation, such a person would likely ask questions that could ultimately be turned into better documentation. As the level and consistency of Linux documentation improves, the experiences of new users should also become better.
Along those lines, the Open Documentation Summit was a pre-conference meeting to the Open Source Convention. Eight hours long, it focused on improving the documentation that accompanies open source software, reports O'Reilly. Participants included representatives from the Linux Documentation Project, GNOME, KDE, FreeBSD, BSDI, SourceForge, Samba, OASIS, Los Alamos National Labs, Python, and Open Content.
"The major conclusion reached by attendees was to standardize on DocBook/XML as the canonical format for open source documentation. The role of DocBook, however, is to be the storage and exchange format. Different projects will use it in different ways, but all will provide some form of their documents in a standard DocBook format".
Also, speaking of Linux documentation, Rick Lehrbaum from Linux Devices asks a panel of experts the question What is Linux and gets a variety of answers, most agree that among other things, "Linux is whatever Linus says it is.
Mozilla M16 Review (Duke of URL). Patrick Mullen has taken the time to do a more in-depth comparison of Mozilla M16, Netscape 6 and Internet Explorer 5, complete with screen shots of the same website loaded from the different browsers. He picks out lack of plug-ins, Java support and some missing protocols (https, for example) as key problems in the current release, but also pinpoints some of its strengths. "It appears to render HTML 4.0 much better than even the latest IE 5.5, and does so much faster, as usual...Although, to really behold Mozilla's power, take it on a 56 K dial-up connection and watch it make mince-meat out of the competition."
Galeon Web Browser (Linux Planet). Linux Planet's Michael Hall has written a sneak preview of the Galeon Web Browser. Galeon is a minimal size, high speed browser that is based on the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine. "Because of some licensing issues with Mozilla itself, it's not possible, according to the galeon team, to distribute the crucial gtkmozembed.h file required to make the browser run, so users may either download the entire Mozilla source package (17MB for the bzipped version of the archive) or the devel RPM (1.9MB)."
Mozilla status update for July 14, 2000. The latest Mozilla status update is now available. Topics discussed are LDAP, XPToolkit, Necko/Imglib, XML/DOM, and NSS.
German version of mozillaZine. Claus Augusti is now producing a German version of mozillaZine called mozillaZine.de. This is a translation of the English mozillaZine with a few extra articles thrown in for good measure.
Get those boards talking under Linux (EDN). EDN has run a pair of articles on writing Linux device drivers for data acquisition hardware by Alex Ivchenko of United Electronic Industries. Part 1 gives an overview of device drivers and discusses driver initialization. Part 2 discusses interrupts and system memory allocation. " Linux is now an attractive alternative to Windows, especially among engineers who roll up their sleeves and type at the command line. Linux offers a stability you just can't get with Windows 95/98 or even Windows 2000. As a result, the demand for Linux systems and compatible peripherals is mushrooming. "
Linux For Kids. The Linux For Kids site is undergoing a domain name change involving a move from .com to .org. The site now includes Spanish and Portugese translations. Several new kid-level games have also been announced there.
SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report for July 17 is out. Topics include several interesting chemistry related programs, school networking, and discussions about computers in education.
Mexican Linux Program Sees Red (Linux Mall). Linux Mall's Michele Head has written an article on the Red Escolar project which aims to distribute Linux around the Mexican school system. "In starting the Red Escolar Linux branch of the project as a free software venture, 'the primary reason for reaching this decision was the kind of money we would have had to pay if we went for proprietary software,' the project's FAQ explaned. 'At $55 for each machine with Win98 and Office, $500 for every NT license and anaverage of six workstations and one server for 140,000 labs, that's a lot of money.' Upgrade expense is also a consideration."
Using Serial Line LCD displays under Linux (Linux Focus). Linux Focus has run an article by Guido Socher that details how to make a Serial LCD Display work under Linux. This is useful information for people who are building embedded Linux devices without a CRT display.
Embedded Linux Expo & Conference. The second Embedded Linux Expo and Conference will be held October 27, 2000 in Westborough, MA. There is an open call for papers for this conference. Linux Devices has posted an Overview of the conference.
BusyBox utility suite for Embedded Linux. Lineo has released version 0.46 of BusyBox, a suite of utilities that are tailored for embedded systems. " BusyBox includes the functions of many common UNIX utilities within a single small executable. It thereby provides a fairly complete command environment for small or embedded systems, allowing embedded system developers to minimize hardware costs while maintaining a reasonable degree of functionality." BusyBox is distributed under the GPL license.
Wine Weekly News for July 17, 2000. This week's Wine Weekly News is out. Wine 20000716 has just been released. Other topics include replacing windows, benchmarking wine, and the Evolution configuration tool.
OpenNMS Development Report. The latest report from the OpenNMS network management project is now available. "Weave is spending a lot of the time filling up white boards, swearing under his breath, and drinking heavily. Oops. Strike that. He's actually been swearing out loud, and usually at me. But then again, you've pretty much got to take a number to swear at me around the office..."
Bind 9.0.0rc1 released. The latest version of Bind 9, the internet name daemon software is being distributed as a release candidate. If you are on the cutting edge of DNS, you may want to experiment with this.
Gtik: stock ticker. The first stable version of the new Gtik stock ticker applet for the Gnome panel has been released.
Burn-In for the Gimp. Burn In is a new script-fu plugin for the Gimp that is used to animate text with a moving blur effect. This looks like a fun tool to play with.
AbiWord Weekly News (July 12th). Last week's AbiWord Weekly News came in too late for our weekly edition, yet got overlooked the next day for the daily page. It looks like they are making progress towards a 1.0 release.
On the Desktop
KDE 2.0 Release Schedule. Another version of the KDE 2.0 release schedule has been released. Only 7 weeks until KDE 2.0 is scheduled to be available.
The Future of Free Software in Health Care(Health Informatics). Douglas Carnall has written an article on Free Software in Health Care which discusses the advantages of the open source model. "The success of the approach is perhaps the defining moment of the 21st century. Politically, it suggests that open collaboration on networks beats hierarchies: technically it suggests that a distributed development method produces more reliable software than any proprietary quality assurance department could hope to find; and socially it is encouraging too: it is a model in which programmers gift their skills to a worldwide community, confident in the expectation that their efforts will be returned 1000-fold. And if they need to solve 'the peanut butter and jelly problem' (meet living expenses) they can find as much or as little highly paid Unix systems administration work as they care to tackle. Another alternative is to set up in business providing services such as installation, customisation, documentation and support for the free software that they have mastered."
Zope 2.2 released. The final Zope 2.2 release has been announced. It includes a number of new goodies, including security fixes, a new online help system and a built-in user tutorial, better performance, ane more.
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
July 20, 2000
A custom utility class for JavaHelp software (IBM). Marshall Lamb from IBM has written an article on A custom utility class for JavaHelp software. The article discusses the Writing of a portable help utility based on the JavaHelp package.
One important announcement that came from the conference is that Larry Wall is planning a Complete Rewrite for Perl 6.
Free Pascal 1.0 released. Version 1.0 of the FreePascal compiler is now available.
CP4E needs new sponsor (O'Reilly). The CP4E (Computer Programming For Everybody) project may be abandoned due to funding problems, the project is looking for a new sponsor.
Python Enhancement Proposals. Barry A. Warsaw has set up a system for submitting Python language enhancement suggestions using Python Enhancement Proposals or PEPs. This step should help to formalize the process of changing the language.
Aquarium web framework in Python. A new open-source web site development framework called Aquarium is now available. Aquarium provides a modular approach to the design of web applications. The license for Aquarium is modeled after the BSD license.
Mod Snake. Mod Snake 0.2.0 has been released, it is a plug-in to Apache 1.3 and 2.0 that enables the development of Apache modules with Python. Mod Snake is distrubuted under a BSD style license.
This week's Python-URL (July 18). Andrew M. Kuchling released this week's Python-URL. Hot topics: Python compiled to generate C# code?, formalized enhancements process, "Visual Python" and more ...
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
IBM Java Zone