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Wheeler: Fixing Unix/Linux/POSIX Filenames

David A. Wheeler says it's time to adopt tighter rules for file names to improve ease of use, robustness, and security. "In a well-designed system, simple things should be simple, and the 'obvious easy' way to do something should be the right way. I call this goal 'no sharp edges' - to use an analogy, if you're designing a wrench, don't put razor blades on the handles. The current POSIX filesystem fails this test - it does have sharp edges. Because it's hard to do things the 'right' way, many Unix/Linux programs simply assume that 'filenames are reasonable', even though the system doesn't guarantee that this is true. This leads to programs with errors that aren't immediately obvious."

Comments (177 posted)


Sun rises on talk of IBM deal. Good for Linux? (Tectonic)

Alastair Otter considers the ramifications of IBM's potential acquisition of Sun Microsystems in a Tectonic article. "Clearly the market likes the idea of IBM snapping up Sun but would such a deal be good for open source and Linux? It’s hard to say but there are many advantages in such a deal. For a start, despite its heritage as a hardware vendor, Sun’s future looks certain to lie in open source software, even though it is finding it incredibly hard to make that transition. Sun owns some very valuable software properties including Java, MySQL and VirtualBox, items that IBM could well monetise if it could get its hands on them. And in doing so it might well preserve and grow these properties."

Comments (45 posted)

Linux Adoption

Is Linux only for the poor? (ZDNet)

Over at ZDNet, Christopher Dawson looks at Linux adoption in schools, specifically whether it is a decision based only on cost. "Cost will certainly give people a reason to switch, but I don’t think a crappy economy or poverty in a developing country is the only reason to use Linux and open source software. I won’t even get into the argument of exposing kids to a variety of computing environments. I think the biggest reason to use Linux (aside from potential cost savings if you can develop some in-house *nix expertise) is simply the giant body of software that is freely available."

Comments (11 posted)


Now TomTom Sues Microsoft for Patent Infringement (Groklaw)

Here's Groklaw's take on TomTom's countersuit against Microsoft. It seems that TomTom has made PJ's day. "Can you believe it? This is so great!! Morrison & Foerster are representing TomTom in a new patent infringement lawsuit TomTom has just filed against Microsoft! I love covering their cases. Patent law is usually soooo boring to me, but these guys will keep me awake, and no doubt if I pay attention, I'll learn a lot." Groklaw has TomTom's complaint [PDF] available too; the countersuit is for infringement of four patents, all of which are related to navigation software.

Comments (26 posted)


Benchmarking The Linux 2.6.24 Through 2.6.29 Kernels (Phoronix)

Phoronix has published the results of a long series of kernel benchmarks, generally concluding that 2.6.29 is faster than its predecessors. "When it came to the SQLite performance, a serious performance regression began with the Linux 2.6.26 kernel and ended with the Linux 2.6.29 release. Normally it required 27~28 seconds to perform 12,500 database insertions using SQLite, but with the Linux 2.6.26 through 2.6.28 kernel releases it took 109 seconds! Fortunately, this regression is now fixed." There's no sense for why things might have changed, though.

Comments (18 posted)

Williams: That's when I reach for my revolver...

Dan Williams examines the vagaries of mobile broadband cards in a posting on his blog. He reports on the problems when trying to get NetworkManager working with all of this different hardware. "Yes, there are standards. But as we all know, given 10 people and a standard, you'll end the day with 12 or 13 differently behaving "standards-compliant" implementations. People suck. You’d think it would be easy to agree on an AT command for "prefer 3G / prefer 2G / 3G only / 2G only". NO SIMPLE FOR YOU. But NetworkManager has to work around huge amounts of stupid. Here's a run-down of some of the mobile broadband hardware that’s available today and what about it sucks."

Comments (25 posted)


One Laptop Battery Later And I'm A Django Fan

Zed Shaw reviews the Django web platform on his blog. "I mostly ignored Django for most of its life because I thought it was just another web framework. Yawn. Yay. A framework. Joy. Models. Views. Controllers. Oh boy, I think I’ll just stick to one of the hundreds I already know. Then I saw James Tauber talking about Pinax but more importantly, talking about how 2008 was the year of modularity (he used different words). Apparently, Django has been pushing the idea of having discrete “applications” that act within a “site” as cooperating but separate components. The idea is that, unlike other “components”, these ones act like decoupled little web sites you can put in and configure for a site, and through the magic of HTTP work seamlessly."

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Testing 3.0 - A Sneak Peek at 64 Studio 3.0 and Ardour3 (Linux Journal)

Dave Phillips covers developments in 64 Studio and Ardour. "[64 Studio] is loaded with an excellent selection of audio/video production software, and the maintainers particularly want feedback on the base system (that is, the system as it's set up by a fresh install). I took things a bit further and installed a complete development environment as well. I've already built and installed the latest libsndfile, which I needed for building and installing Ardour3 (see below). Everything's gone smoothly, and I've had no problem finding any required tools and utilities. "

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At last: GNOME adds native Exchange Server support ( reviews GNOME 2.26. "The 2.26 GNOME release includes a broad range of new improvements, but before delving into them, let's call out two in particular: claimed support for Microsoft Exchange Server's native MAPI protocol, and "direct" import of Outlook Personal Folders."

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Writing a Linux shell book the community way (blogs.ComputerWorld)

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols takes a look at a new book from the FSF and O'Reilly. "There are several ways you can learn how to use the Linux command line. The way I took was the traditional one. I read the, ahem, fine manual, RTFM as we like to say, and I used the 'man' command a lot. That was well back before O'Reilly started publishing its great Unix and Linux technology books. Now, the FSF (Free Software Foundation), is having a community 'write-in' to create a new, free book "Introduction to the Command Line" for Linux beginners."

Comments (3 posted)


It's *Not* The 15th Birthday of Linux - and Why That Matters (Linux Journal)

Glyn Moody questions recent proclamations about the 15th birthday of Linux. "This is one of the most profound strengths of free software - that the software is never really “finished”, with the corollary that it is also never really *not* finished. Huge quantum jumps are rare: mostly it's more granular. That's why I think it's misguided to “celebrate” Linux 1.0: it gives the impression that free software is like any other proprietary bit of code, rubbish until you hit the magic release number, and somehow finished when you do. If you want to celebrate Linux (and that's an eminently sensible thing to do), the only possible date to choose is when the project was started - after all, that's what the "birth" bit in birthday means. The trouble is, even that date doesn't exist."

Comments (11 posted)

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