Interview with QNX’s Paul Leroux

Just in time for the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston this week, we here at OSNews thought that we would bring our readers an interview from the world of embedded OSes.
OSNews was happy to meet with Paul Leroux of QNX Software Systems at their headquarters in Kanata, part of the Silicon Valley North area around Ottawa, Ontario. With 20 years of experience in the field, QNX is synonymous with embedded systems. Many people will be familiar with the QNX demo disk that fit their OS, GUI, browser, web server, games, TCP/IP, and more onto a 1.44M bootable floppy. In 2000 QNX gained notoriety for making the QNX realtime platform free for non-commercial use. QNX has been riding a wave of buzz in this last year. We spoke during the hectic lead up to Embedded Systems Conference.

New Development Version of GTK+ Available

A new release of the development versions of GTK+ and associated libraries (GLib, Pango, Atk) is available. This is a an unstable preview release and should not be used in production. This release is incompatible with GTK+ and GLib 1.2.x and software that has not been explicitly ported will not compile with this version. GTK+ 1.3.7 is the unstable version that will result to GTK+ 2.0 which is the next major version of GTK+ and the one which Gnome 2.0 will be based on.

VMware Launches VMware Workstation 3.0 Beta

VMWare today announced the availability of a Beta release of VMware Workstation 3.0, the latest generation of its award-winning desktop software for technical professionals. Workstation 3.0 delivers significant performance and usability improvements over previous releases, the company says. Workstation 3.0 provides support for the latest operating systems including WindowsXP and the latest Linux distributions, supports additional peripheral devices, and provides significant enhancements in networking and better overall performance. VMware will ship Workstation 3.0 in the fourth quarter of 2001. New features include: Host and guest OS support for WindowsXP Pro and Home Edition, USB device support, DVD-ROM support, CD-R/RW support, CD-ROM ISO image support, generic SCSI device support -- makes devices available directly to the guest OS, large virtual disk support, now up to 128 GB per IDE virtual disk and 256 GB per SCSI virtual disk, improved CPU, networking, disk and interactive performance, completely new Windows style user interface (Windows host version), built-in NAT for easy connection to networks, more flexible and easier to configure virtual networking, improved support for laptops and more. Our Take: No word for BeOS support as a Guest OS. Update: I downloaded the latest beta version and BeOS loads this time, without crashing. While it is loading very fast in the beginning, when it is going to graphics mode, because the VMWare virtual graphics device does not expose the VESA standard, the performance falls so much that hits the disk pretty hard. Normal BeOS boot time is 12 seconds when launched natively, under VMWare it takes up to 5 minutes on a dual Celeron 533 under Win2000 and of course it is so slow (please remember that all this slowness is just because of the unsuported gfx subsystem that makes the rest of the launching process and the OS to be unresponsive) that it is completely unusable. Screenshot here.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL, a Year Later

"To many people, PostgreSQL and MySQL seem like similar, alternative databases. Both are quickly gaining popularity. Based on the track records of older versions, there's a lot of debate over the speed of PostgreSQL and the durability of MySQL. But times have changed and each database has progressed. On both counts, the two packages are the closest they've ever been, so when deciding which to use in a Web application, a developer doesn't always have a clear winner. If you're looking for a database to prop up a Weblog or portal, you'll find that many such packages rely on MySQL. It should be possible to port them to PostgreSQL, but if you're looking for a turnkey package, chances are you're not interested in doing too much porting work. If you're migrating from Oracle, Sybase, or Microsoft SQL Server, I suggest PostgreSQL. Like those databases, PostgreSQL has triggers, stored procedures, and a rich set of built-in functions (including many functions for date manipulation). Also, PostgreSQL procedural language is easy to learn if you're familiar with Oracle's PL/SQL and SQL Server's Transact-SQL." Read the whole shootout article over at WebTechniques.

First Glance at nVidia’s nForce Glue Chipset

FiringSquad takes a look at nVidia's first offering of motherboard chipsets, the nForce, which reportedly has some interesting features including 3D capabilities. The reviewer concludes that "Now that you've seen everything NVIDIA is offering with nForce, you see why we feel this is a groundbreaking product -- quite literally there isn't anything else on the market with such powerful features! Even if you don't like them, you've got to give NVIDIA a lot of respect With nForce, NVIDIA has turned itself into a powerful competitor in a little over a year!"

Dennis Ritchie Put the C in Compiler

He invented the C programming language. He is one of the co-creators of Unix. He has watched more than one multi-billion dollar industry evolve around his creations. And still, Dennis Ritchie shows up for work each day in the same Murray Hill, NJ office where he and Ken Thompson first ran Unix on a Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-7 back in 1969. Why? Well, it's not just any old company that employs Ritchie. This is Lucent's Bell Labs we're talking about ­ the home of the laser, the place where the transistor first saw life. It's a pretty exciting work environment, and, as Ritchie is fond of saying, it's nice to walk around your office and stumble into things like canisters of liquid helium. It was at his nondescript office, right next to where Unix was invented, that Ritchie met with Linux Magazine's Robert McMillan and Adam Goodman." More at Linux Magazine.

Work for KDE 3.0 Has Started

The sleepless KDE/QT developers have started work for KDE 3, the X graphics environment, planned to be released sometime next year. KDE 3 will be based on QT 3.0 and will also feature educational and other apps (like Kompare and KWinTV) as part of the default installation, support for extremely large files, new versions for KNode and KMail, email templates in KMail, advanced Web Shortcuts, S/MIME support, plugins for the KMenu, a graphical Regular Expression app (KRegExpEditor) and much more. A mailing list for the KDE3 users can be found here. Update: If you are an adventurous user, there is an alpha version of KDE 3 available.

ExtremeTech Revises Article on Java vs C#

Since the original article, first appeared some months ago, Microsoft has released Beta2 of Visual Studio.NET. As with any beta software, changes were inevitable, so ExtremeTech are now updates the article and accompanied source code to reflect the changes made. According to the article, the API changes in C#, in some cases made the language too different from Java, while in other cases brought the two languages closer. It is a very interesting read, as the article has a code-to-code comparison between the two languages. Also, looking at the archives of ExtremeTech we found this very interesting article, which discusses the kernel enhancements that WindowsXP will feature and also mentions the nifty tricks they added to get around the Registry bloat and slowness when searching for a Registry Key.

FreeBSD 5.0 Delayed For One More Year

One of the main developers of FreeBSD, Jordan Hubbard, announced today that the next release of FreeBSD, version 5, will be delayed until November 2002. Jordan said that "Unfortunately, a lot of the features on the TODO list for 5.0, such as SMPng (next-generation symmetric multi-processing), KSE (kernel scheduler entities) or support for a new architectures like the PowerPC, SPARC64 or IA64 (Itanium) are nowhere close to being complete. Without these features, there's just not a lot of reason for 5.0 to exist in non-snapshot form and it's therefore been decided that rather than release 5.0 prematurely, we're going to give ourselves the time we need to finish it properly." Jordan also talked about the general economic down-turn and the decline in resources which various companies have had available to donate to such efforts.

Enter the Qube, a New Graphics Environment for CLI OSes

Qube is a multiplatform Desktop Environment with support for networking protocols such as TCP/IP, PPP, SMTP, HTTP etc. developed from scratch by Interactive Studio. The Qube environment was designed for a wide variety of console operating systems and it's designed to be easily portable. It supports multitasking even on non-multitasking operating systems, such as DOS. The basic installation occupies less than 4MB of disk space (download the DOS package) and it looks very attractive (check for screenshots inside) with GUI elements coming from the MacOS (buttons, launch bar), BeOS (icons), Windows (desktop's context menu style) and even Java (scrollbars). Today, we host an interview with the mastermind behind Qube, Michal Stencl.

Editorial About .Net Preaches That a New Monopoly is Born

"Microsoft.Net can be summarized in one simple statement: Microsoft is building an Internet monopoly", Gary Hein from C|Net, writes. "It's unquestionable that .Net integration will simplify the Internet experience for millions of users. But at what cost? As a society, are we willing to cede control of the Internet to Microsoft for the sake of usability and convenience? Success is far from guaranteed, but Microsoft will do everything in its power to win. Our eternal vigilance is the only barrier between Microsoft and its next monopoly."

Sony Drops eVilla, ZDNews Reports that BeIA is Dead too

ZDNews is reporting the end of the (short-lived) SONY eVilla by September 13th. Sony executives blamed the demise on "stability and usability" problems with the $499 desktop IA, but did not offer specifics. "The product did not meet our expectations," Sony spokesman John Dolak said. "It did not operate as planned." There were a lot of user reports that the appliance was slow and not stable. Also, in the ZDNews article is clearly stated that Palm has no plans to continue development of the BeIA, endorsing even more David Nagel yesterday's answer that Palm bought Be for the engineering team and not for the technology. Our Take: eVilla was slow because of two things: because of the very slow CPU (266 Mhz Cyrix which has the power of Intel Pentium 166) and because the graphics chip (incorporated in the CPU) could not handle the high resolution of 800x1024 with enough speed, especially because the monitor is a normal SONY 15", but rotated (make sure you read this thread to understand why the rotation is an overkill). As for the stability issues (which they were indeed, I can personally verify that), it just seemed that there were some technical issues with BeIA, which we may not know about.

Interview with Saku of Maturefurk, the Winning Assembly 2001 Demo Team

Here`s an interview with one of the members of Maturefurk, the winners of the largest demo-party ever! A record breaking figure of 5,000 people attended this year`s Assembly party and they voted the Lapsuus demo (DivX video) for the Amiga as the best of all. This is quite remarkable since they only used a 50 mhz 68k Amiga with an AGA chipset (released in 1992) for this demo. It`s a great demonstration of the 3D capabilities which existed on Amigas since a decade ago. Read more for more information regarding the origin of the Demo Scene and other relating info written by Mike Bouma, a long standing Amiga user.