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See also: last week's Development page.
News and EditorialsWith the departure of Michael Hammel, and the resulting discontinuation of the On the Desktop Page, we will be folding some of the desktop development news back into the new Desktop Development section of the LWN Development page. Open source desktop projects will be the primary area of focus.
Open Source BIOS Projects On many Linux computers, the BIOS is the only piece of proprietary software. BIOS programs have been around since before the first IBM PC, they existed in a simple form on ancient CP/M systems. Unfortunately, there has not been much independent control over the workings of BIOS software since the days of CP/M. What happens between the application of power and LILO is up to the BIOS manufacturers. As with much of the PC architecture, BIOSes were written with DOS in mind and tend to haul that baggage along with them despite big changes in the software that they boot.
A Linux specific BIOS can offer a number of possible advantages:
FreeBIOS is a new project."The goal of the FreeBIOS project is to be a central gathering point for BIOS firmware code which can be used to initialize and boot various services. Initially, due to the large scope of the project, FreeBIOS will likely only boot the Linux kernel on a few chipsets. Eventually the goal will be to provide a complete BIOS replacement for many popular motherboards."
Luckily, open-source software can be shared among these various projects, so it may not be necessary to reinvent every wheel.
Open source BIOS developers face several problems, a big one is getting access to proprietary hardware design specifications. That problem has plagued Linux device driver writers in the past, but the growth of Linux has greatly improved the situation.
The large variety of motherboards makes the process of writing an open-source BIOS challenging, it takes a lot of effort to keep up with the fast changing hardware industry. The list of supported motherboards can be narrowed down by focusing on a smaller number of widely used boards that are proven Linux performers.
As with embedded Linux, open source BIOS projects can take advantage of the many eyes effect, and can produce more highly optimized code that better meets the needs of the end users. Who knows, a little competition could also cause the proprietary BIOS companies to give their code a look-over.
MySQL 4.0 alpha available. An alphpa version of MySQL 4.0 has been released. "The new version is intended as a platform for building mission critical, heavy load database solutions, and much effort has been put into providing a solid foundation for planned enhancements, some of which are included from the start. Although the current release is an alpha version, the development team expects to release a beta version after rapid initial testing and will also add a number of new features in the weeks to come." New features include an embedded MySQL server library, secure connections with SSL, better speed, and improved compatibility with other DBMS implementations and SQL.
Linux in Education Report. The SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report for October 15 is out, with a look at the Linux Public Broadcasting Network, TuxMath, MimerDesk, and more.
Embedded Linux Newsletter. The October 11, 2001 edition of the Embedded Linux Newsletter is out. This week features a look at a Linux based wireless phone, a review of a new Embedded Linux book, and an update to the Cool Devices quick reference guide.
Samba 2.2.2 Released. A new stable version of Samba has been announced. Samba 2.2.2 features a new winbind daemon that deals with Windows NT/2000 name service, new SSL and LDAP parameters, and a number of important bug fixes. An upgrade is recommended.
PIKT 1.15.0 released. Version 1.15.0 of PIKT, the Problem Informant/Killer Tool has been released. PIKT is a GPL licensed tool for managing heterogeneous networked workstations.
LPRng-3.7.9 available. A new version of LPRng is available. This version apparently includes some modifications that were supposed to be included in the last release.
New release of GNU Bayonne telephone system software. The GNU Bayonne Project has announced, via a BusinessWire press release, that the seventh major release of its free telephony system has been released.
Zope Members News. The Zope.org members' news site looks at documentation this week and includes a new Unenlightened Zopistas Guide to exUserFolder and a free chapter from a new Zope book.
Page Templates (avogato.org). Page Templates is a Zope derivative that can be used to optimize HTML coding. "Page Templates, a new template language inspired by Enhydra's XMLC and created in part by Python BDFL Guido van Rossum, offer a way to achieve true separation of logic and presentation on the web. First being introduced in Zope, they let HTML designers edit templates without losing the dynamic elements of the page."
Ganymede 1.0.7. Ganymede 1.0.7 has been released. Ganymede is a network directory system that is available under the GPL.
October 18, 2001
New releases of mpg321. Two new releases of mpg321, the free drop-in replacement for mpg123, have been announced. Version 0.2.1 features higher sound quality, a new option to verbose mode, and portability, compilation, and bug fixes. and version 0.2.2 fixes a bug in the previous version.
Wavesurfer 1.1 released. A new version of the Wavesurfer audio editor has been released. Documentation on changes with this release are scarce.
Audacity 0.97 released. A new version of Audacity, the open source, multi platform audio editor is available. This version includes several bug fixes and configuration improvements.
Galeon 0.12.4 released. For those of you without Mozilla's 64MB RAM requirement, Galeon 0.12.4 is also available. This release features bug fixes and compatibility with Mozilla 0.9.5.
KDE turns five. KDE Dot News reminds us that Matthias Ettrich's posting starting the KDE project went out on October 14, 1996. Congratulations are due to the KDE team for all they have achieved over the last five years; we're looking forward to the next five as well.
What do you want in GNOME 2?. The Gnotices site is curious: what features would you like to see in GNOME 2? They're hoping to get a set of useful comments which can, eventually help to guide the GNOME developers toward what their users want.
GNOME Foundation Accepting New Members. The GNOME Foundation has announced that it is, once again, accepting new members. Anybody who has contributed to GNOME is invited to apply. There is a board of directors meeting coming up in November; those interested in membership might want to apply relatively soon so that they can participate.
XML You Can Touch (xml.com). Ed Dumbill writes about XML and Gnome on O'Reilly's xml.com. "Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Daniel Veillard, an ex-W3C hack now working at Red Hat, GNOME has adopted XML quite deeply. GNOME's core XML component, LibXML, provides the platform with an implementation of SAX, DOM, XSLT, and even OASIS catalogs."
Final Draft: GUI Programming with Python and Qt. The final draft of GUI Programming with Python and Qt by Boudewijn Rempt has been made available on the web under the Open Publication License. It looks like a great resource for the Python and Qt programming communities; congratulations to the author for its completion!
AbiWord Weekly News #65. The October 16, 2001 edition of the AbiWord Weekly News is out, with the latest AbiWord status and developments.
Caml Weekly News. The October 3 to 16, 2001 edition of the Caml Weekly News is out. Topics include shared objects on i386 ELF systems, O'Caml hints, a pre-release of OCamldoc, and a test release of Objective Caml 3.03 Alpha. Also, this addendum to the CWN came out with a look at LablGTK and LablGL.
Manta 0.1 fast parallel Java compiler. A new GPL Java compiler known as Manta, is now available for download. "Manta is a native Java compiler. It compiles Java source codes to x86 executables. Its goals are to beat the performance of all current Java implementations. Currently it already contains a highly efficient RMI implementation (source code compatible with std. RMI). It is currently about 30 times faster than std implementations. Class libraries are taken from kaffe, classpath and homebrew."
Perl 5.8.0 TODO (use Perl). A Perl 5.8.0 TODO list was mentioned on use Perl. "The bad news is that it seems that the things on what I consider to be a todo list are relatively hard. The good news is that the list is not too long."
PHP Weekly Summary for October 15, 2001. The October 15, 2001 PHP Weekly Summary is out. Topics include A change of plans for PHP 4.0.7/4.1.0 releases, new Unicode support, Alternative syntax, Pctnl documentation, and more.
Caching PHP Programs with PEAR (OnLamp.com). Sebastian Bergmann discusses PHP optimization through the use of caches on O'Reilly's OnLamp.com site.
This week's Python-URL. Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for October 15 is out, with the usual collection of interesting happenings in the Python development community. News includes work on a faster Python compiler, pickling, and pSQL.py, a python to SQL syntax translator.
Interactive Python (O'Reilly). Stephen Figgins covers Interactive Python on O'Reilly's onlamp site. "I love the command line more than any graphic interface. I want to type commands, not move graphics around on a screen. Working through my keyboard is faster than clicking for me, and what I do seems more real. I don't know what it is that makes the keyboard seem more real than icons in a window. They're both abstractions, different ways of interacting with a a flow of bits and bytes. Maybe I was brainwashed from my early exposure to Unix."
Dive Into Python rev 3.7. A new revision of Mark Pilgrim's online book Dive Into Python is available. This revision adds some new chapters on packages and parsing XML.
This week's Ruby Garden. The latest edition of the Ruby Garden looks at weird results from simple statements, replacing getoptlong with optparse, a Spanish Ruby list, and more.
This week's Tcl-URL. Here's Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for October 15, with the latest from the Tcl/Tk development community. Topics include the need for a complete statistical package in Tcl, dealing with environment variables, Tcl and Java, and more.
Tcl/TK quick start (IBM developerWorks). IBM's developerWorks is featuring a Tcl/TK quick start tutorial, registration is required.
XML Bookshelf : Extending XSLT (IBM developerWorks). Doug Tidwell presents one chapter from his book XSLT on IBM's developerWorks. "This chapter adapted from the O'Reilly book XSLT shows how to create XSLT extension functions and extension elements, and it demonstrates how to use them to generate interactive pie charts, query databases, and build JPEG graphics from a stylesheet."
Putting XSL transformations to work (IBM developerWorks). Mark Colan writes about XSL translations on IBM's developerWorks. "This paper introduces the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and highlights several real-world business scenarios that benefit from the use of XSL transformations. XML data comes in many forms, so one of the most important technologies needed for XML applications is the ability to translate the data from one form to another and to convert it into document types -- such as HTML and PDF -- that can be rendered visible to end users."
Transforming XML With SAX Filters (xml.com). Kip Hampton looks at Perl SAX filters on O'Reilly's xml.com. "A SAX filter is simply a class that is passed as the event handler to another class that generates SAX events, then forwards all or some of those events on the next handler (or filter) in the processing chain."
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