LJ Archive



Issue #89, September 2001

Stop the Press, LJ Index and more.

Penguin Knights

For reviews of Linux chess interfaces see http://www.firstlinux.com/articles/chess/.

LJ Index—September 2001

  1. Percentage of computers that have been kicked or mauled by their users: 25

  2. Size in billions of dollars of Microsoft's cash hoard, as of May, 2001: 30

  3. Rate in billions of dollars/month at which Microsoft's cash hoard is growing: 1

  4. Percentage increase in Microsoft's stock price in 2001 through May 30: 62

  5. Number of possible simultaneous conversations possible when Marconi made his first xmission: 1

  6. Number possible now, in trillions: 1

  7. Years in which this number doubles: 2.5

  8. Number of square kilometers of land in the world: 148,940,000

  9. Number of simultaneous conversations per square kilometer: 6,714

  10. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “open source”: 1,930,000

  11. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “free software”: 1,150,000

  12. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “Eric Raymond”: 26,100

  13. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “Eric S. Raymond”: 30,100

  14. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “Richard Stallman”: 54,300

  15. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “Richard M. Stallman”: 11,600

  16. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “Copyleft”: 176,000

  17. Number of pages Google finds containing the phrase “GNU/Linux”: 446,000

  18. Number of pages Google finds containing the word “Linux”: 26,500,000

  19. Linux shipments as a percentage of all server shipments in Q3 2000, according to Gartner: 9

  20. Linux as a percentage of the total server market, according to IDC: 27

  21. Percentage of respondents who say they are already using Linux, according to AllNetResearch: 39

  22. Percent IBM Linux revenue growth: 128

  23. Percent revenue increase for Linux shipments from 1999-2000: 28

  24. Projected Linux server installed base in 2005: 21,006,000


  • 1: Wired News

  • 2-4: TIME Magazine

  • 5-7: Martin Cooper, CEO, ArrayComm and inventor of the mobile phone

  • 8: CIA World Factbook

  • 9: mathematics

  • 10-18: Google, June 11, 2001

  • 19: Gartner Group

  • 20: International Data Corp.

  • 21: Internet.com

  • 22: IBM

  • 23-24: International Data Corp.

## _A_Lug's_Life_ - (c)Dave Edwards
<amoamasam@sympatico.ca> 2001
_Minutes of the General Meeting of FOOLUG (Formerly
the Oxbridge and Orford Linux Users Group)[1],
Aug. 2 2001_
Convened and brought to order at 7:05PM by Joseph
Liebe, meeting coordinator, in room 110 Brandt College.
   Joseph Liebe, meeting coordinator
   the board of directors--
      George H. Walker, President
      Ravi Singh, Vice-President
      Christina Howe, Treasurer
      Rick Joiner, Secretary
   and 43 members.
   1. o _Linux Can Conquer Cancer_ (LC3)
        presentation by Mike Kelly, followed by
        Q&A = 40 m.
   2. o _Introduction to XFree86 and X11R6, Part XIV_
        by Ewen = 3 m.
   3. o General open Q&A = 20m
Motion Raised:
   o by Alf Tupper
   o that the 3 Tux plush dolls received by FOOLUG
     from Eazel(r) (with the "Eazel(r)
     Forever" logo on their chests) with
     the sample CDROMs be distributed as prizes to
     the top finishers of FOOLUG's Code Wars
   o seconded by John Combe,
     top finisher in FOOLUG's Code Wars.
   o put to show of hands
   o carried
      o Christina inquired re the whereabouts of the
        Eazel(r) Tuxes
      o minutes of March meeting of FOOLUG board of
        directors consulted
         o "Eazel(r) Tuxes entrusted to
      o # find / -name 'Eazel(r) Tuxes'
Meeting adjourned @ 8:30PM
20-odd members adjourned to local for FOOLUG Beerswill
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Re: Tux took a hike
Date: Mon. 11 June 2001 19:48:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mal Tremblenc <mtrem@xxx.xxx>
To: foolug@lists.foolug.lug
Reply to: foolug@lists.foolug.lug
On 07-June-2001 Christina Howe wrote:
> the Tuxes must have been swiped somewhere between
> the end of the March meeting and the end of the
> beerswill, I can't remember.
Yah, I believe that. ;)
> But I want them back.  They're practically
> collectors items—like the Spruce Goose or
> something like that.  So whoever took them, please
Only penguins, and smaller, and not as sprucey.
> return them.  I've arranged with the staff at
> Brandt College for the reception people to accept a
> package an hour before the July meeting, no
> questions asked.  That's fair, isn't it?
> Give someone else a chance at them.  Not
> *everything's* free, you know.  Most directly,
> the thing you do is theft.
Hmmm.  That rings a bell.  Anyway, do like the lady
says. I want mine.
It is always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to
get permission.
Re: Tux took a hike
Date: Mon. 11 June 2001 19:51:34 (EDT)
From: Justin E. Cohen <jec@xxx.xxx>
To: foolug@lists.foolug.lug
Reply to: foolug@lists.foolug.lug
On 07-June-2001 Mal Tremblenc <mtrem@xxx.xxx> wrote:
> > Not *everything's* free, you know.  Most
> > directly, the thing you do is theft.
> <snip>
> Hmmm.  That rings a bell.  Anyway, do like the lady
> says. I want mine.
Me too.
[1]This new name was chosen by majority rule at the
meeting of May 3, 2001, after the townships of
Oxbridge and Orford were merged into the new
Municipality of Orbridge, as a compromise in order to
please both sides of a divisive flame-war.

Hacking the NIC

In the February 2001 issue of LJ, Bill Ball reviews the NIC (New Internet Computer) and points out the flexibility and cost of the NIC, which offers a “tantalizing opportunity for Linux hardware and software hackers”. Since then at least a couple of you have risen to the challenge. Look for an article by Jay Sissom on booting the NIC from a network in the September/October issue of our sister publication, Embedded Linux Journal. Also, for a HOWTO on replacing the NIC's Flash memory with a 2.5" laptop hard drive see www.virtualdave.com/~dpsims/NIC-server/nic_review.html.

DISA Adopts StarOffice

On June 25, 2001 Sun Microsystems announced that the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which manages command, control, communications, computing and intelligence systems for the Department of Defense, has adopted 25,000 units of StarOffice 5.2 productivity suite. DISA will replace Applix, which it currently uses, with StarOffice 5.2 software on over 10,000 UNIX workstations at 600 client organizations worldwide.

OS Study

In the first quarter of 2001 a study was conducted to discover which operating systems electrical distributors in the southeastern United States used. This study examined the types of operating systems in use, how they were used, the perceived reliability of each operating system and future plans for implementing other operating systems. After developing a survey instrument, 159 surveys were sent and 92 were completed and returned. Responses from the 92 respondents were used for data analysis.

The research revealed that distributors were using 15 different operating systems. The operating systems used were Windows NT, Windows 95/98, Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition, UNIX, Linux, OS/400, OS/2, Open VMS, Novell, VSE/ESA, MPE, Solaris, DOS and Advanced 36. Of all 92 respondents, 78 used Windows NT, making it the most widely used operating system. Windows 95/98 followed close with 77 respondents. Only 17 used UNIX and 6 used Linux.

With all operating systems included, the most common use for the operating system was as an application server. Windows NT accounted for 46% of the application servers. The second most common use was a fileserver, with Windows NT accounting for 64% of those. Print servers, e-mail servers and web servers, respectively, were the next most common uses for the operating systems. Windows NT was the most common operating system used for each of these purposes.

Overall, although not as popular, non-Microsoft operating systems were rated significantly more reliable than Microsoft operating systems. The mean reliability score of Microsoft operating systems was 7.62, while the mean reliability score for non-Microsoft operating systems was 9.66. Windows NT was the most reliable of the Microsoft operating systems. Of the non-Microsoft operating systems, OS/400 had a mean reliability score of 10 (n = 6), followed closely by Linux with a mean score of 9.4 (n = 6) and UNIX with a mean of 9.36 (n = 14). For a PDF version of the full study, see http://www.jcpb.com/ospaper/.

—John Williams

They Said It

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

—John Maynard Keynes

The second oldest profession is bookkeeping.

—Craig Burton

Being afraid of monolithic organizations, especially when they have computers, is like being afraid of really big gorillas, especially when they are on fire.

—Bruce Sterling

I'd doubt that it represents a threat to anything but the notion that you can sell bad code by refusing to let anyone see what's in the box.

—Amy Wohl on Linux and open source

The personal communications industry started with the first portable cellular call 28 years ago.

—Martin Cooper

Culture is the tacit agreement to let the means of subsistence disappear behind the purpose of existence. Civilization is the subordination of the latter to the former.

—Karl Kraus

At the close of the first day the cash drawer revealed a total of $24.67. Of this sum, $24 was spent for advertising and 67 cents saved for making change next morning.

—John Wanamaker, after opening what was to become the world's first department store, in Philadelphia, 1861.

Is the Internet world better? Well, Internet has its share of acronyms and techno-babble. But because the Internet is an open platform, because it's free from the monopoly legacy, the entrepreneurs who ply the Internet have the freedom to focus on the real problems, to create and search out markets and then to make those markets work. And, of course, they have the freedom to go out of business when the businesses and markets don't work as they hoped and expected. That's how free enterprise works and that's the real secret behind the success of the Internet.

—Martin Cooper

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

—Jane Hopkins

ULB in Upcoming Issue

Don't miss our annual Ultimate Linux Box article forthcoming in the November issue. This year's LJ ULB gets an upgrade from single to multiple processors by including AMD's new Athlon MP processor. See www.amd.com/products/cpg/server/athlon/partners/partners.html for a few places where you can get yours.

Stop the Presses: Recasting .NET

On July 9, 2001, Ximian did the unprecedented: they embraced and extended the Microsoft “innovation” called .NET. Titled the Mono Project, they called it “a community initiative to develop an open source, Linux-based version of the Microsoft .NET development platform”. In a number of interviews, Ximian CTO Miguel de Icaza was remarkably flattering to .NET. To The Register he said, “.NET solves a number of problems we've been trying to solve in GNOME. Instead of wasting our time trying to create a new standard, we're embracing .NET and extending it for our own purposes.” To Linux Journal he said, “We saw in .NET a mechanism that would allow programmers to become more efficient. You have garbage collection. You have thread-based libraries. You can use any programming language—and none of the class libraries have dependencies on Windows. There is a lot of device and platform independence.”

On Slashdot and Linux Today the responses ranged from “Way to go” to “Dare we ask it? Has de Icaza been seduced by the dark side?”

In fact, the effort has a lot more scope in ambition than in actual size. While .NET is a vast development framework, de Icaza tells us:

We're mostly looking at just what Microsoft calls the Framework SDK. This basically consists of three pieces. The first is a virtual machine—they call it a virtual execution system—which is basically a runtime. So far we have implemented one-third of our C# compiler; we've started work on a runtime engine, a just-in-time compiler for Linux; and we've also started work on class libraries to run our compiler inside of Linux. It's not a complete project yet and won't be for another six months. Then we hope to have by the end of the year something that can run the compiler—a system which is self-hosting, so we can compile the compiler itself on Linux. It's a huge project. That's why it has to be an open-source project. We can't do all the work alone.

Craig Burton, an analyst with Burtonian.com (who joined in during the same Linux Journal interview) says, “It won't be easy, especially since Microsoft won't even be done with the .NET framework before the end of the year. Microsoft hasn't even explained .NET to itself. A lot could change before the end of the year.”

De Icaza responds, “Microsoft right now has .NET at a point it calls 'API stable'. We're working from (what they) submitted to the European Commission.” Instead his main concern, shared with many who remarked on the announcement in public forums, is with licensing. De Icaza thinks Microsoft's public concerns about the GPL are a smokescreen for its perception of Linux as a direct competitor for its service business. Regardless of Microsoft's motives, any attempts to embrace and extend .NET are likely to be a source of legal concern to the company.

Meanwhile the idea in the medium-long run, de Icaza said, is to let developers create .NET applications and run them on any Mono-supported platform, including Linux, UNIX, and of course, Windows. That's the goal he and Ximian will be working toward with the Mono Project.

On Slashdot “polar bear” writes:

It's a long shot. But if IBM, Sun, HP and the rest got behind a true open standard Web services framework, Microsoft wouldn't be able to deny its competitors an equal playing field—which is exactly what it wants to do with .NET—they want to deploy pieces of .NET to other OSes to lure people in to using it, but the choice bits will only work with Windows. An open .NET would allow everyone to have an equal footing. Sure, Microsoft could still play ball, but they'd lose some of their bully power.

In the days that followed the announcement, however, another potential strategy emerged, suggested first by Burton—who employed exactly the same strategy when he was fighting Microsoft, successfully, at Novell in the 1980s—then picked up by others. That strategy is “redirection”. By contrast, Burton calls Ximian's strategy “cloning”. He writes, “The cloning method simply means that you rewrite all of the code that Microsoft has developed and run it on a different platform.” Redirection, he continues, is a way to “redirect” or “hijack” the Microsoft-generated object data flow to servers that are not controlled by Microsoft. The same strategy could apply to data streams of all kinds, including instant messaging (IM). XML streams of AOL and Microsoft Messenger client code could be redirected into Jabber's IM server, for example.

In the long run, Burton believes, “.NET (all of it) and HailStorm are going to be redirected technologies. If I were Ximian—or any other open-source vendor for that matter—I would be busy building redirection-based code, not clone-based code.”

And thanks to the nature of open source, the bazaar will decide.

—Doc Searls

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