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News and Editorials
The future of omniORB. omniORB is a CORBA 2.1-compliant object request broker which was developed at the AT&T Cambridge Laboratory. It has a reputation as being one of the better free ORBs available, and it has a significant user base. AT&T, of course, has decided to close down the Cambridge Laboratory; this closure has cause some understandable curiosity about the future of free software projects that were run out of that lab.
In the case of omniORB, the news looks reasonably good. omniORB hacker Duncan Grisby is taking the project independent, with a site on SourceForge. Interestingly, this project will become much more open to community contributions than it previously was:
In the past, we always discouraged contributions of anything except bug fixes and ports to new platforms. That was largely to make sure AT&T kept the copyright to all the code, so we had the flexibility to relicense it if we wanted to, and to protect AT&T from copyright claims. Obviously, that reason is no longer an issue
Mr. Grisby tells us that the previous policy did not impair omniORB development; indeed, he claims, a robust, high-performance system is best developed by a small, tight group. Even so, AT&T's firm grip on the code shows how many companies, while they are increasingly supportive of free software, are still reluctant to really turn the process loose.
On the other hand, omniORB development could yet become a little too loose, given that AT&T's support for its development has been terminated. Mr. Grisby has plans for both the short term (omniORB 4.0 and omnORBpy 2.0 releases) and the long (asynchronous methods, passing objects by value), but the financial support for that work is no longer. So Mr. Grisby is seeking support for continued omniORB work; it looks like time for those who benefit from omniORB - or who would benefit from future enhancements - to step up and help ensure that development continues.
For those who are curious, a web site dedicated to tracking ex-Cambridge projects and people has been set up at xorl.org.
Audio ProjectsAlsaPlayer 0.99.60 has been released. This release consists mostly of bug fixes and infrastructure work; see the changelog for details.
WaveSurfer 1.3.1 has also been released. The changes appear to be mostly related to documentation; details in the changelog.
EducationSEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The April 29 Linux in Education Report is available from SEUL/edu. It looks at difficulties with Linux gradebook development, Microsoft's guide on donating computers to schools, and numerous other topics.
Thai Tales: Taking Computers to Schools (Linux Journal). Linux Journal looks into the use of Linux in Thailand's SchoolNet project. "'Initially we used Windows NT on a straightforward PC. Then we developed the Linux schools internet server. We now have our own software, running GNU/Linux, which is managed via the Web, using the Thai language. That means, to run it the user hardly need to know anything of UNIX. This runs on just a PC. Compared to it, we could not afford a Sun Microsystem box and router for each school, for example,' says Koanantakool."
SnapGear Ports uClinux to Motorola ColdFire MCF5249. Here's a press release from SnapGear. "SnapGear engineer, Greg Ungerer, has recently completed uClinux support for the new Motorola MCF5249 ColdFire(R) CPU, specifically for M5249C3 development board. Patches have been made available for 2.0.x and 2.4.x versions of uClinux kernels."
Building a secure kiosk with Embedded Linux. LinuxDevices features an article on building a Linux based information kiosk. "In this informative and entertaining technical article, embedded developer Patrick Glennon relates his experiences in creating a small Linux-based system for a client that required robust, easy-to-use, low-cost kiosks for conducting surveys at hotels."
BusyBox 0.60.3. BusyBox 0.60.3 has been released; see the changelog for details. BusyBox may be designed to fit into limited space, but the developers have still somehow found room, alas, for color "ls". BusyBox may be downloaded from the project web site.
GNU Ghostscript 7.05 released. The release of GNU Ghostscript 7.05 has been announced. This is the first GPL release of Ghostscript 7.x - though this code has been available under the AFPL for almost a year. New features include better Asian language support, improved PDF handling, and more.
Also available is ESP Ghostscript 7.05.1, which adds fancier configuration, the CUPS raster drivers, and a number of other things.
Puffin 0.8.8. Puffin is a regression testing framework for web-based applications; it is written in Python. The announcement for this release claims a number of advancements, including greater ease of use, better response analyzers, etc.
The Python Web Frameworks Overview has been announced by Paul Boddie. The Overview is a set of documents describing the (numerous) web development frameworks available for development in Python, and the ups and downs of each. It is still much in development (there are not yet entries for all frameworks), but the initial contents look promising.
Nemein releases NemeinAuthentication library. Nemein has announced the release of its NemeinAuthentication library, session-based authentication library for Midgard. The library has been released under the LGPL license. (Thanks to Henri Bergius.)
LPI News April 2002.
The April, 2002 publication of the LPI
Newsletter is available. Table of Contents:
The LPI also has a press release out on the giving of its 10,000th test.
LDP Weekly News, April 30th. This week's edition of the Linux Documentation Project's news it available. Besides several new and updated documents, most of this week's newsletter is devoted to the announcement of Lampadas, their brand new documentation management system.
May 2, 2002
KDE Application Of The Month: KTouch (dot.kde.org). Here is this month's KDE favorite. "As part of the May 2002 issue of "Application of the month" series on KDE.de, Klaus Stärk has interviewed Håvard Frøiland, author of KTouch. KTouch is part of the KDE Edutainment Project and provides a quick and fun way to learn the useful and impressive skill of touch typing."
Desktop Elegance (mosfet.org). An editorial at Mosfet.org defends KDE against Eazel cofounder Bart Decrem's attacks.
KDE Stats: KDE Is Brought To You Today By.... KDE.News looks at the berliOS project's KDE CVS statistics. "Have you ever wondered who contributes what to KDE? The berliOS project attempts to answer this question with KDE CVS statistics, a site tallying every developer's contributions"
GNOME 2.0 Desktop Beta 4: 'Thank You' (Gnotices). The Gnotices site is carrying an announcement for the new GNOME 2.0 beta 4 release, code named "Thank You".
Civil 0.70 released. Civil is "a cross-platform, turn-based, networked strategy game" based on the U.S. Civil War. Version 0.70 has been released; it includes no end of improvements and new features.
GUI PackagesGNUstep Weekly Editorial. The GNUstep Weekly Editorial for April 26 is available with the latest from the GNUstep development community.
TheOpenCD: Free Software on proprietary operating systems. Here's the announcement of a new project that wants to make programs like AbiWord, the Gimp, and OpenOffice available on Windows and MacOS. "The key, as I see it, is to encourage people to use the high-quality Free Software now becoming available in the OS they are already using."
Kernel Cousin Wine #120. The 120th issue of Kernel Cousin Wine is available, with coverage of events through April 18, including the "ReWind" fork.
Also available is Issue 121, with coverage through April 25. Covered topics include incorporating the ALSA sound system and many others.
Gnumeric 1.1.3 available. The development version of gnumeric 1.1.3 is now available. "This is a DEVELOPMENT RELEASE it is not supposed to be stable..."
AbiWord Weekly News published. The AbiWord Weekly News issue #89 is now available. "This week there have been some really long threads on the future development of AbiWord, primarily about the backend enhancements necessary for tables and improved rendering/i18n. Plans for the near term seem to be in place, and I suspect people have already started hacking."
OpenOffice Native Language additions. Italian and Dutch have been added to the OpenOffice Native Language Development project, bringing the project's tally to four languages. German and French are the other supported languages.
KOffice 1.2beta1 Ready for Testing, More Developers. The KDE Project announced the release of KOffice 1.2beta1. Open For Business has this report on the new beta. "The most notable improvement in KOffice 1.2 Beta 1 is the new WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display in KWord and KPresenter. This insures that these applications will finally show documents on screen like they will appear once printed."
Kernel Cousin GNUe. Kernel Cousin GNUe #26 includes a summary of the status of the GNU Enterprise project, the beginnings of the GNUe Application Server 2, and more.
CamlCaml Weekly News. Here's the Caml Weekly News for April 30, with coverage of the "PhoX" proof assistant, interfacing with Matlab, and more.
Second Call for YAPC::NA Papers (use Perl). The second call for papers is out for YAPC::NA. Deadlines are 1 May for papers and 5 June for lightning talks.
Lightweight Perl Blogging Tools (use Perl). UsePerl links to several web logging tools, Movable Type, Bloxsom, and Blagg.
mod_perl Developer's Cookbook reviewed (Perl.com). Simon Cozens has reviewed the mod_perl Developer's Cookbook.
Don't be afraid of Perl 6. Here's an article in System Administration Magazine on what is really changing in Perl 6. The conclusion is that most Perl code will still work, that there is no need to fear the changes. "The same dangerous misfocus occurs every time Larry releases another Perl 6 design document. Our brains instinctively skip over the majority of familiar, unchanged Perl landmarks and, instead, zero in on the comparatively few features of the language that are actually changing."
PHP Weekly Summary for April 30. The April 30 PHP Weekly Summary is available; it looks at the 4.2.0 release and several other topics.
PHP.net: A Tourists's Guide. Those trying to find their way around the PHP.net site may well want to take a quick look at PHP.net: A Tourist's Guide. "Everyone knows the www.php.net site. All of us went there sooner or later, and will keep going back there. This is the central reference point for PHP users, and it has a wealth of informations there. All of it isn't that obvious. Come with me, I'll show you."
'Programming PHP' Released by O'Reilly. O'Reilly has released "Programming PHP" by Rasmus Lerdorf, creator and lead developer of PHP, and Kevin Tatroe.
PythonStackless Python in Limbo? Christian Tismer, author of the stackless Python patch, has announced a bit of a change in direction. Stackless Python will start to look more like the Limbo language used in the Inferno operating system. Limbo defines a "tasklet" mechanism which makes it easy to write concurrent, multi-threaded applications; the tasklets communicate through "channels" which also handle synchronization issues.
This week's Python-URL. Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for April 30 is available with the usual roundup of interesting happenings in the Python community.
RubyRuby Weekly News. The April 29 Ruby Weekly News looks at Ruby/Google 0.3.0, the first release of the Practical Ruby IDE, and more.
Review: Ruby Developer's Guide. Slashdot has posted a review of the Ruby Developer's Guide, written by Robert Feldt, Lyle Johnson, and Michael Neuman. "Directed towards programmers with a working knowledge of Ruby, the text is a quick read even with working through the examples. It effortlessly introduces the basic concepts of each package worked through and then gives locations where more in-depth information can be gathered."
GDB 5.2 has been released; details in the announcement. There are a few new commands and supported architectures, but seemingly no radical changes.
Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet
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