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News and EditorialsRegular readers of the LWN Development page may notice some changes this week, material that specifically relates to Linux desktop computing will now be available at the new On The Desktop page. The Development page will focus more on general software development issues under Linux.
Recorded Music as DataIn recent years, recorded music has transitioned from being just another commodity product into a form of computer data. Those data files can now be shared across the Internet by the use of file sharing technologies such as Napster and Gnapster as well as older protocols like FTP and the web. The MP3 compression format has reduced the size of the music data enough to allow the files to be easily transported across the Internet, even through low bandwidth modems.
Recordable CDs have helped to bridge the gap between data on a computer and common audio CD players. A music collection can now be transferred from hard drive to CD and played in the car or shared with friends who own no computer. Thanks to the mass market for computer media, prices of blank recordable CDs have plummeted.
People are now able to take large, inexpensive hard drives and build music databases out of MP3 files. It has becomes almost trivial for someone to trade their entire music collection with a friend by simply copying an entire hard drive worth of material to another drive. Once again, mass marketed computer hardware has made this economical and the use of data management techniques has made it easy. Cheap disk drives have also made it possible to quickly and easily back up a large music collection.
As the old saying goes: never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon loaded with tapes. The modern version would be: never underestimate the bandwidth of a 40GB IDE disk drive in a Fed-Ex envelope.
Linux is, and will continue to be an excellent platform to work with digital music as data. The incredible suite of time-proven data handling tools combined with the lack of a single monopoly that controls the tools will keep Linux viable in that capacity.
Copyrights are, of course, still a major stumbling block, at least for legitimate copying of copyrighted material. Some traders of music will no doubt stray across the line of legal copying and venture into the world of bootlegging. It is not LWN's position to promote that any more than we would promote the copying of non-free software.
Many musicians have taken matters into their own hands and freely allow taping and trading of their live performances. By allowing their material to circulate freely, musicians can become more widely known, and consequently can draw larger audiences to live performances, which generates money. Ironically, sales of a musician's copyrighted material may also go up due to this wider exposure. If enough musicians allow their music to be traded freely, and there are already many out there who do, then free music trading will become as big as free software.
The music industry may end up in a situation that is similar to that of proprietary software vendors who can only view open-source software as a "competitor" and miss the point that they are dealing with an entirely new paradigm.
Ownership of music currently remains an open issue, but as the free trading situation continues, there may become a need for a more formal GPL style music license that allows material to be freely traded as long as it is never sold.
Although it is typically several orders of magnitude larger in size, recorded video will likely go down this same path in the near future.
Along those lines, the LiViD project has announced the first official release of the Open Media System - an open source media and DVD player. This is, of course, a major milestone - Linux users can, at last, play DVDs on their systems. Congratulations are due to the LiViD team, which has had more than the usual number of obstacles to overcome on the way to this release. While not specifically aimed at copying or recording video, the ability to play DVD on Linux could be viewed as a step in that direction.
IBM develops Bluetooth network simulator (IBM developerWorks). IBM DeveloperWorks introduces the BlueHoc simulator. "BlueHoc, a new project on developerWorks' Open Source Zone, provides a simulated Bluetooth environment to allow developers to design applications operating over radio, baseband, and other communication layers."
Wine Weekly News. Although somewhat late, here is the February 14 issue of the Wine Weekly News. Included are discussions on reverse engineering, PS printing, startup directories, and more.
And here is the February 19, 2001 Wine Weekly News which discusses the February 16, 2001 release of Wine. The new version features improved PostScript drivers, enhanced metafile support, the beginnings of PowerPC support, and lots of bug fixes. Also discussed are working with Novell and Wine, copyright issues, Wine speedups, and more.
Creating Network Diagrams (O'Reilly). In an O'Reilly Network article, Terry Dawson discusses the use of the open-source tools dia, Tgif, Tkined, and Xfig for creating diagrams that illustrate network layouts.
OpenNMS Update v2.8. The OpenNMS summary for February 20 is out. Among other things, it covers the 0.6.1 release, happening this very day.
bioinformatics.org, the open lab. The bioinformatics.org site is being run by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Intelligent Biomaterials and aims to bring open-source software into the world of bioinformatics. "Bioinformatics.org is a non-profit, academe-based organization committed to opening access to bioinformatics research projects, providing Open Source software for bioinformatics by hosting its development, and keeping biological information freely available."
Midgard Weekly Summary - February 16th, 2001. The latest issue of the Midgard Weekly Summary has been posted. This past week's news included progress reports on the 1.4.1 release and notes from the Developer's Meeting and OSDEM in Brussels.
Zope News for February 19th. Ethan Fremen posted a new issue of the Zope News today. Topics include the Content Management Framework formerly known as PTK, the release of Zope 2.3.1 beta, Zope's DHTML replacement known as Presentation Templates, and stabilibizing Zope.org.
Zope book moves to New Riders. Michel Pelletier pointed us to the news that his text on Zope was dropped by O'Reilly. After some searching, Michel and co-author Amos Latteier have found a new publisher in New Riders. No firm ship date is given, though Michel hopes to have the book available by June.
Zope directions roadmap. The folks at Digital Creations have posted the Zope Directions Roadmap, a discussion of where they see the Zope platform heading in the near future. It includes a lot of nice ideas, including simplifying the architecture, shortening the learning curve, making it easier to use external HTML editors, and much more. They are looking for feedback, of course...
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
February 22, 2001
Build better Web sites using the Translator pattern (IBM developerWorks). Donald S Bell discusses the use of Java and the Translator pattern in an IBM developerWorks article. "When building Web applications using JSP files and servlets, the application's interface is most likely going to be HTML. The HTML that is rendered by the browser is nothing but a big string. Business objects that make up an application have a few attributes that are strings, but the rest are dates, numbers, and even other business objects. When building Web applications, there is a big problem of how to get the information contained within business objects translated into HTML that the browser can understand."
Perl 5 Porters for February 19, 2001. The February 19, 2001 edition of Perl 5 Porters is out. This week's topics include Unicode fun, nlink and tmpfs problems, parsing XML, and lots more.
Perl 6 Alive and Well! Introducing the perl6-mailing-lists Digest. A new Perl 6 digest has been created by Simon Cozens, the digest is done in the same spirit as the Perl 5 Porters digest. This issue discusses autoloading modules, packaging, vtables, and more. Included are some comments on Eric Raymond's ongoing online book The Art Of Unix Programming with regards to Perl 6.
HTML::Table 1.06 released. Version 1.06 of HTML::Table has been announced. "HTML::Table is used to generate HTML tables for CGI scripts"
phpReview for book reviews. A new project, phpReview has been announced. "phpReview is aiming to be a complete Free Reviewing system, entirely based on PHP. Originally made for book-reviews for the NL.Linux.org site it will be redesigned to be a general reviewing system, including voting, reactions and about anything else found in a good reviewing system. It will be licensed GPL." (Thanks to Hans Wolters).
PHP Weekly Summary for February 19, 2001. The February 19, 2001 issue of the PHP Weekly Summary is out. Topics this week are: fixes to the cURL extension, redesign of safe mode, problems and fixes for dealing with high volume database connections, a new midgard extension, and more.
PHP Configuration Directives (O'Reilly). Darrell Brogdon writes about configuring PHP in an O'Reilly Network article. Configuration directives in the php.ini file are discussed in detail.
Python-Dev Summary, 2001-02-15. The biweekly summary of the python-dev mailing list has been posted, covering stackless python in Korea, performance, Python 2.1a2 and future release cycles.
This week's Python-URL. Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for February 20 is out, with the latest happenings in the Python community.
Charming Python: Getting version 2.0 (IBM DeveloperWorks). David Mertz discusses new Python 2.0 language features in an IBM developerWorks article. "Python programmers have recently acquired a shiny new toy with the release of version 2.0. Python 2.0 builds on the strengths of previous Python versions, while adding a number of new conveniences and capabilities. This article contains its author's impressions of Python's newest version, and some tips on using it effectively."
Introducing Narval. Narval , the Network Assistant Reasoning with a Validating Agent Language, is a Python based project that aims to help people filter their daily data. "Narval is designed to be a companion that will help you in your daily work in the information world. It runs on your machine or on a remote server, and you can communicate via all standard means (email, web, telnet, phone, etc). It executes recipes you wrote, to perform a wide range of tasks, such as prepare your morning newspaper, help you surf the web by filtering out junk ads, keep searching the web day after day for things you want, participate in on-line auctions, learn you interests and bring you back valuable information, take care of repetitive chores, answer e-mail, and much more..." Narval is being developed under the GPL license.
4Suite 0.10.2. New releases of 4Suite and 4Suite Server have been announced. The 4Suite releases provide an open-source XML data server and XML processing tool set. The 4Suite license is similar to the Apache web server license.
This week's Tcl-URL. Here's Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for February 20 with the latest from the Tcl/Tk community.
Getleft 0.10 released. Version 0.10 of Getleft has been released. Getleft is a Tcl/Tk based web site grabber that clones a web site to your local hard drive and tweaks absolute links to use local file copies.
ImPress 1.1-b7 released. Version 1.1-b7 of the ImPress web publishing system has been released. "ImPress is a Tcl/Tk based desktop publishing and layout package. It also supports presentations and it can run inside or outside of a web browser." ImPress also has slide show capabilities.
LDP Weekly News. The LDP project is starting a weekly news notice on their web site and has sent us the first of these announcements. This week's LDP news includes news on a new document for using TrueType fonts with XFree86, and updates to the documents on securing Red Hat and enabling process accounting.
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC)
Gnu Compiler for the Java Language (GCJ)
IBM Java Zone
Free the X3J Thirteen (Lisp)
Dr. Dobbs' Perl
PHP Weekly Summary
Tcl Developer Xchange