Éric Lévénez created and maintains an excellent, detailed chart showing the history of UNIX through the marriages, divorces, births, and funerals of its family members. It includes events up through late September 2001. It's a great reference both for history and for seeing the major influences on current UNIX-derived OSes. Print it out on 13 letter-size pages and tape it up on your wall. His site has similar charts showing the history of Windows and the history of computer programming languages, also very fun and informative.
From Tom's Hardware: "Creative Labs is bringing out a new range of sound cards based on a new DSP by E-Mu assisted by 24-bit converters. Linked with a new games library, the Advanced HD, the Audigy card is aimed at both game players and musicians who will benefit from the ASIO drivers. And as a bonus, Creative provides a FireWire port. Here is the low-down on a multimedia card that approaches professional standards. The article is great, and apart from the good price for the OEM basic model ($80 street price) it also comes with the notion to kill the ancient protocol of the Joystick port (the Joystick port on the Audigy only comes as an add-on card). Firstly because the USB Joysticks are the future, second because the actual joystick-port protocol is an extremely old, legacy problem and third because use of a joystick with most of the new PCI sound cards kill the overall OS latency. And this is exactly why the newer linux kernels do not turn on by default the joystick on the SBLive driver module and also why the BeOS (an extremely low latency/multimedia OS) never managed to properly support joysticks on the SBLive! driver.
A proposed anti-terrorism law has civil libertarians up in arms because it would include harsh punishments for low-level computer crimes, classifying them as terrorist acts.
At Seybold Expo Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that MacOSX 10.1 would be available on September 29th. Retail price is $129, having an upgrade CD shipped to you from Apple is $19.99, and it will be available in all Apple Retail stores (and official resellers' stores) for free. Update: Saturday. A visit to our local neighborhood Apple Store (Tyson's Corner, VA) yielded no free CD. Apparently over 1000 people lined up at 6 am this morning to get theirs.
Some OS/2 fans are circulating a petition asking IBM to open the OS/2 source code. You can sign it here. Though IBM has become a good neighbor in the open source community, there are sometime tricky issues involved in open sourcing commercial software. For instance, IBM's one-time collaborator in OS/2, Microsoft, may still own some of the OS/2 technology, and may not want to see it open sourced. Nevertheless, make your voice heard. It can't hurt.
PC World compares the newest processors from AMD and Intel for high-end notebook computers and two computers that sport the new chips. The short version: the Intel chip is faster, has some nifty new features and is very expensive. The AMD is a solid performer at a more affordable price. Both chips suck battery power, though. Read the PC World article for more info.
MandrakeSoft announced today Mandrake Linux 8.1 as the newest alternative to Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The new version features Kernel 2.4.8, KDE 2.2.1, Nautilus 1.04 and other latest versions of well known Linux packages as well as choices of installing ReiserFS, XFS and even JFS in place of the EXT2 file system.
Pedro Eloy sent us a note to notify us about the availability (and there is even a free evaluation downloadable version) of the SavageXE operating system for handhelds or IAs, written mainly in Java. More information about the OS here.
FreeBSD is a well known and advanced BSD UNIX operating system for the Intel compatible (x86), DEC Alpha, and PC-98 architectures. The new version, 4.4, came out just some days ago. Announcement here, the BSD Installation Guide here and the release notes are here.
Sun Microsystems has released a new version of Java 2 Enterprise Edition, 1.3, which includes a new specification for Enterprise JavaBeans, increased XML integration and a Java Message Service API. A ZDNet article has more details.
A PC World article says that all indications point to Apple releasing OS X 10.1 this month, as promised. The article covers some of the shortcomings that users dealt with in the 10.0 release, and how they've been addressed with 10.1. The article also mentions that Microsoft Office for OS X is expected in November. Update: A news.com article has more details, and reports that current Mac OS X users will be able to obtain the upgrade CD at no cost from Apple dealers and Apple retail stores. Apple had originally said it would charge $20 for the upgrade.
Just as these days of crisis have made for sparse technology news, the health of the technology industry has gone "from bad to worse," according to a Siliconvalley.com article. Confidence among individual consumers is down (athough I personally witnessed brisk traffic at a local outlet mall over the weekend) but more importantly, businesses are postponing large expenditures of PCs, enterprise software and other high tech equipment.
While high technology has had a major effect on the U.S. military arsenal, strategists warn that high tech weapons may not be enough to achieve importatnt aims in the U.S. war on terrorism. Capturing Osama bin Laden, for example, will likely be achieved only through local help and the old fasioned art of making friends with locals in the know. An Associated Press story outlines some of the major high tech tools to be used by the U.S. military in its search for bin Laden, and their recent track record.
A SiliconValley.com article discusses the latest high tech security devices available today and in the near future. Vendors have been quick to capitalize on the world's paranoia, offering gadgets that range from face recognition systems to microwave powered incapacitation rays to full-body x-ray machines.
PC Makers have already begun taking orders for Windows XP machines, though without much fanfare. Even before the terrorist attacks, the weak economy and dismal PC sales numbers have dampened expectations for the XP roll-out, and analysts have not been particularly ebullient about Windows XP's technical prowess, though it has received favoriable reviews. Analysts note that the PC market is very saturated, and that Windows XP is unlikely to spur huge PC sales. Of course, revenues from sales of Windows XP upgrades to existing Windows users are sure to be a boon to Microsoft, but not to the struggling PC industry. An eWeek article has more information.
With the U.S. government in turmoil over the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, congress will likely be forgetting several pending bills that stood to affect the technology sphere. An ISP News article covers the legislation that's likely to be swept away, like the E-government Act and the National Digital School Districts Act. Alas, other legislation, like broad new wiretapping rules, restriction of encrption technology, and other electronic surveillence-oriented bills have either already been passed or are likely to come to vote in the near future, in order to facilitate intelligence gathering and spycraft in America's new war on terrorism.
Mozilla 0.94 has been released and here you can read the Release Notes. New features, among others, include better IMAP, LDAP and MIME support. The Mozilla team writes: "The Windows-only Quick Launch feature (-turbo) is enabled by default in this release for installer builds, although you can turn it off in the installer or in Advanced Preferences. We are hoping community members will test this feature for us. The performance increase is not as great as it used to be; however, Quick Launch now works with multiple profiles."
Rebol is a very interesting internet-oriented programming language (for example, you can create a brand new instant messaging application with only 5k of source code) but they are now extending their language even more. From the Rebol web site: "REBOL/IOS is an enabling technology, consisting of protocols, concepts, APIs, hierarchies, modules, security models and algorithms etc. REBOL/IOS (Internet Operating System) is not a traditional computer operating system. It is an Internet-wide operating system, providing Internet-wide services and a common framework for distributed, platform-independent applications. IOS is to the Internet what an OS is to a PC. IOS does not replace existing operating systems, but augments them, providing some OS-like services across networks. Products using IOS still need an operating system (or at least some BIOS or other kernel) on whatever machine they run on. IOS is independent of the OS in the sense that it is a separate layer, i.e. it can run on any OS and thus any type of machine, all the way down to hand-held devices with minimal kernels."
"Trolltech is releasing version 1.4 of Qt Palmtop, a complete mobile computing platform for advanced embedded Linux devices. This release provides numerous improvements to the existing Qt Palmtop, including bug fixes, enhanced functionality, and a new user interface. Qt Palmtop provides device manufacturers and hobbyists a stunning set of productivity applications, games, multimedia software, and a Personal Information Management (PIM) suite for cutting-edge mobile computing devices. Qt Palmtop is built with Trolltech's Qt/Embedded, the embedded Linux port of the popular cross-platform application framework, Qt." The rest of the announcement can be found at TrollTech's web site.
"The European Parliament published its report into the Echelon spying system last week in which it concluded it did exist, was against the law and that the UK had a lot of explaining to do. We've sifted through about 100 of the 194 pages and decided that since no one had yet to officially admit its existence, you may be interested in how the European Parliament decided it was definitely out there." Read the rest of the scoop at TheRegister.