On the Desktop
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See also: last week's On the Desktop page.
More Java After last week's coverage of Java runtime environments for Linux, we got a couple of replies. The first comes from IBM's John Kacur, a member of the JIT Java compiler team in Toronto.
In your article you make the observation that Blackdown's Java implementation and IBM's appear to come from different code bases. This is indeed the case. IBM's jvm on Linux Intel is ported from our AIX jvm. Our AIX jvm was ported from Sun code, with IBM contributing many bug fixes and code back to Sun. Our JIT is entirely our own code. It was originally written by a team of IBMers in Tokyo on Windows, and this JIT was then ported to Linux.
He then goes on to say that the reported "floating stack" problem that affects Java on Red Hat 7.1 systems is already handled by the IBM JRE, something we reported (although we didn't state it quite that clearly). The workaround provided in the current releases that addresses this issue won't be necessary in future versions as IBM has a fix for the problem already working in the labs. One final note from Kacur:
The RPMs should be relocatable, so you aren't forced to install them in /opt. You can read the rpm man page for more information about installing relocatable RPMs.
Okay, we knew that one. Win a few, lose a few.
Sun's Java for Linux The other note we received was from Sun, who felt a little left out of our review. In fact, they were left out, but not intentionally, so we'll include them this time around.
You can always find the most up-to-date information about Sun's releases at http://java.sun.com/j2se. That page has links to the 1.3.1 release as well as to the 1.4.0 release, which is now in beta.
Sun's Java Runtime Environment includes their own browser plug-in, making for a total of at least three alternatives (Blackdown, IBM, and Sun) to the builtin Java support in Netscape.
Choice is good.
GNOME Installation Guide 07/2001 published. The latest version of the very useful GNOME Installation Guide has been published. This guide provides a complete listing of libraries and applications associated with GNOME, how to build them and what they do. It's a good reference point if you can get past some of the funky colors (yellow letters on black background, for example - ouch!).
The Omnivore - KDE's flexible I/O architecture (C'T). C'T magazine has published an English translation of an IOSlave tutorial written by Carsten Pfeiffer and Stephan Kulow. "The KIO library itself is modular. Individual I/O modules are called 'kioslaves'. Each slave is responsible for at least one protocol. They do not just deal with network protocols either: they may also implement the reading and writing of compression formats such as tar or gzip, or may extract tracks from an audio CD. "
Proposed Timetable for KDE 3. In order to set some expectations for the post 2.2 release, Waldo Bastian posted a proposed schedule for KDE. The upshot: KDE 2.2.1 in September, KDE 3.0 in January 2002.
GNOME Summary for2001-07-09 to 2001-07-22. This week's GNOME Summary covers the release of Sun's GNOME usability report, the release of the first Evolution 1.0 beta releases, and information on using Galeon in a kiosk.
GNOME at LinuxTag 2001. From the much-too-late dept. at gnome.org comes this look at GNOME participation at LinuxTag 2001.
GNUStep Weekly Update. GNUStep's Weekly Update this week includes updates for MacOS-X interfaces.
KOffice API Reference Available. The API documentation for KOffice has been posted to the KOffice web site for developers to review.
AbiWord Weekly News. The 53rd edition of AbiWord Weekly News is now online. This week saw DocBook importer fixes, the addition of Galician speller files and stomping out of some long standing image cut and paste issues. GNOME Print was also improved, with better memory management and fixes to enable the print preview.
Gnumeric 0.68. A new release of Gnumeric is out, mostly to cover bug fixes but with a few new features, such as frozen panes.
WorldForge News: Acorn 0.4. The WorldForge team has released a new version of its second game, Acorn. This release includes a number of new features, including goal-motivated artificial intelligence and a richer collection of artwork, sound effects, and music.
Gimp-Print 4.1.99a2. A new version of Gimp-Print was released this past week. Updates include crash fixes for Epson and Lexmark printers, fixes for preview updates, and the stp driver has been qualified against GhostScript 6.51.
Rockin' in the Free Software World (O'Reilly). This article from O'Reilly examines the breadth of open source tools available to guitarists from tuning, to writing musing, to adding sound effects. "Instrument tuners come in two flavors: fixed-pitch tuners made for a specific instrument, such as a guitar or bass; and chromatic tuners which can tune any instrument. A chromatic tuner can come in handy, even for a guitarist, but we'll stay focused here on some of the better Linux guitar tuners."
And in other news...
GNOME Usability study released. The full report on the Sun's first GNOME Usability study is now available online. Calum Bensom reported that the report expands on his preliminary results presented at GUADEC2.
TheKompany's Shawn Gordon Responds In Full (Slashdot). Here's an interview with Shawn Gordon of TheKompany.com. "Shawn Gordon: When we started 2 years ago we had one product in mind and a very specific goal. Since that time our products have expanded dramatically and so have our goals. Basically we are trying to provide developer software and desktop software on Linux, specifically using KDE. The idea is that you can't have critical mass for users on the desktop without there being some core software available, and you can't necessarily attract developers for specialized software and vertical market applications without there being a critical mass of users. By addressing these two ends of the spectrum we hope to get people on the platform."
City of Largo Adopts KDE 2.1.1. The City of Largo, Florida has migrated to 400 thin client systems running KDE. "The City of Largo is a thin client/X shop. We have 400 thin client devices that support X, 800 total users, and run about 230 concurrently during the heaviest part of the day. For the last 7 years, we have always built one large 'desktop' system that everyone logs into and gets their desktop. ... Previously, this function was done by the IXI Desktop on SCO OpenServer... The Friday cutover was moving all of these users off of Unixware to RedHat Linux 7.1 and KDE 2.1.1 "
.comment: The Desktop? The Desktop! (LinuxPlanet). Here's a rambling LinuxPlanet article on various desktop topics. "KWord, zoomed to 150 percent and entering text in Serifa-12 with anti-aliasing on and a screen resolution of 1600x1200 is just about as pleasant an experience as I've had since my days of DeScribe under OS/2. I'm starting to really like it, and have the feeling that it will be my word processor of choice until further notice. I'll write more about it when I've dug deeper into it, but for now I think it's safe to say that KWord is just about there."
Linux "upgrade" unveiled for Palm III (LinuxDevices). A new embedded Linux distribution is available for Palm IIIx and IIIxe users, according to this LinuxDevices.com report. "Leung said Linux DA's graphical user interface (GUI) is home grown, so it is not based on any of the other available handheld computer Linux GUI and windowing environments, and there is no browser available in the demo version currently available for download."
Section Editor: Michael J. Hammel
July 26, 2001