The Desktop Open War

From Wired: "It started as a crusade for free source code. Linux zealots turned it into a full-frontal assault on Microsoft. Now the battle for the desktop could snatch defeat from the jaws of moral victory." This is the teaser of a four page interesting editorial from Russ Mitchell found on Wired. The author recognises that "Linux has a real shot in the enterprise business", but he believes that Linux is never going to get a respectful share of the desktop market, and he presents a number arguments for it. He also includes statements from many people like Rob Malda and Red Hat employees who, surprisingly, state that the real enemy for their business today is not Microsoft (where most of their joe-user customers are far reached from Linux's "nerd" market), but companies like Sun and the "traditional" Unices like Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX and Tru64.

WindowsXP May Spark Ultimate Battle to Own the Net

Jeffy124 reports on Slashdot: "C|net is embarking on a seven day comprehensive report on how Microsoft is moving themselves into position to be The 'Gatekeeper Of The Internet' through WindowsXP. The first installment explains the basics of how this is going to happen: Reminders that last for days encouraging users to sign up for Passport, and how Windows will evenutally resemble services like AOL." The second installment explains the whole masterplan behind .NET and how it is going to position Microsoft as a kind of a... global monopoly.

Debian GNU/Hurd CD release ‘G1’

The good folks over at Debian have released the first alpha CD distribution 'G1' of Debian GNU/Hurd. This release consists of three CDs, but only the first one is necessary to get a usable system running. They have a page with install information that you'll definitely want to read before trying it out. (Hint: Don't forget to run /native-install and reboot, then repeat, or you'll be stuck in single-user mode.) The primary download site at is often busy, so try one of the GNU mirrors or this temporary mirror if you have trouble getting in. We had fun installing and playing around with the Hurd on a spare machine. As they warn, this is still very raw and experimental, but this kinder, gentler release finally makes the Hurd more accessible to the non-diehard crowd. See the GNU Hurd main website for more project information and history.

Making the Case for BeOS’s Pervasive Multithreading

Forcing a developer to use multithreading, which is pretty complex for most programmers to code for, it is the wrong way to go for an OS. There was some controversy about this, but at the end, the experienced programmers agreed. And Maarten Hekkelman, of the Pepper fame (Maarten is also the same person who wrote the BeOS debugger when he was hired by Be to do so), seems to agree too: There won't be a Pepper for BeOS, just because the BeOS design does not make it easy to code such a big and complex app. Before you start replying in this story, make sure you read all the comments here. Our Take: I love BeOS, but BeOS is not perfect. In fact, what Be's marketing was trying to sell as the best feature of BeOS, pervasive multithreading, it is also its most weak spot. Now you know why big apps crashing too much under BeOS, and why there are not many big apps available anyway. Too hard to code big apps for such an environment, for most developers. Take Scooby for example. This person's multithreading code, is far below par, and mind you, Mr Takamatsu is an experienced developer. Scooby still crashes too much though and locks up the app_server at times, in a spaghetti multithreading confusion... Same goes for Gim-ICQ and lots of other apps.Update: Maarten Hekkelman responded to our comment section explaining his decision and Pepper's design.

News Flash: Microsoft is NOT the “Evil Empire”

In an interview with the St Petersburg Times, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer stressed most emphatically (is he ever not emphatic?) that his company is not an "Evil Empire." He says, "I don't think it's right and I think it causes people to make decisions which are not even in their best interest . . . A, we're not evil. B, we're not an empire." A article has the entire interview with Microsoft's energetic CEO.

Interview with Jason Filby from the ReactOS Project

ReactOS is an effort to re-create the WindowsNT platform, in an open source sense (GPL). The team works towards source compatibility with NT's applications and drivers by re-creating the Microsoft APIs. More developers are always welcomed in the project, but there is already a number of them working for the last 3 years, splitted into several teams. Jason Filby, head developer of ReactOS, answers to a series of questions regarding the project.

Motorola Completes its new 64-bit CPU, G5

Apple will probably be satisfied this month, seen Motorola completing the G5, the next generation of PPC CPUs, which it will be 64-bit, but it will also run 32-bit code in almost full speed. Apple is preparing a 64-bit version of MacOSX and they insist that porting the OSX apps over to the new CPU, it will be as easy as recompiling the app for the new CPU. The CPU will clock from 1 GHz to 1.6 GHz for its first generation. For now, Apple has released a long awaited dual 800 G4 machine, while it upgrades the iBook and PowerBook series of laptops with more RAM, speed and features. In the meantime, Transmeta announced yesterday their new Crusoe CPU which it will clock 1 Ghz and it will be available sometime next year. Intel is getting ready to release the first mobile Pentium4, which it will start clocking at 1.5 Ghz, while AMD strugles to produce new products that can compete with Intel directly and finds refuge in marketing tricks, renaming their line of CPUs as Athlon XP or Athlon 1800+. Same tricks Cyrix was doing 3-4 years ago when they could not produce CPUs with faster clock speed than the competition.

MySQL 4.0 is Released

Patrik Wallström writes "The long awaited version 4.0 of MySQL has been released. It is in its alpha stage, and among the new features are SSL-connections, increased speed, more compatibility with other DBMS's and the SQL standard, transactions with the InnoDB table type and more. Download here, and read all the news in the 4.00 version here."

QT 3.0 Final Released

After 5 months in public beta testing, QT 3.0, the next incarnation of the popular multi-platform GUI Toolkit from TrollTech has been released. Qt 3.0 introduces a large number of new and powerful features: The ability to build platform- and database independent database applications, greatly improved internationalisation and font handling, rich text engine that also supports richtext input/editing in addition to rendering, Qt Designer, a full-fledged GUI builder that now supports main window development, and includes an integrated C++ editor, Qt Linguist provides easy translation of Qt GUIs to different languages, Qt Assistant eases browsing and finding information in the Qt Documentation. In addition there are numerous other improvements such as Multiple Monitor Support, HTTP network protocol support, Support for latest evolutions in GUIs, Accessibility support and 64-bit Safety. Qt 3.0 also features a new and powerful Regular Expression Engine, which greatly simplifies complex text-manipulation operations. The syntax is compatible to, and as powerful as, Perl regular expressions, while at the same time including full support for Unicode. QT 3.0 is the basis for the next KDE and while it breaks binary compatibility, it keeps source compatibility with QT 2.x.

Mac OS X 10.1 – A Road Test

OS News' review of Mac OS X last week certainly stirred up controversy, partially because some die hard Mac fans perceived that it was improper for an outsider (someone who is not an everyday Mac user) to me making broad criticisms after only a superficial introduction to the New operating system. Well, folks, that's why they call it a review. We thought that Apple's major new OS also deserved a road test, and there were two very important events in Mac OS X history just a few days ago that toppled the last major obstacle to making it ready for millions of Mac users to start using it as their everyday OS: the 10.1 release and the release of Microsoft Office X. Last week, I made the switch and started using Mac OS X as my everyday OS. Here's how it went:

Interview: Wouter van Oortmerssen on SHEEP

Wouter van Oortmerssen is a living legend in the Amiga community. Mostly known about his ability to design and code a whole bunch of programming languages throughout the years, interpreted or compiled (counted 38 so far). Today we host a mini-interview with Wouter regarding the SHEEP programming language. SHEEP is a new scripting/querying/ipc/programming language he is doing for Amiga Inc. "Expect familiar beginner friendly syntax and semantics coupled with multimethods, automatic memory management without garbage collection (linearity), powerful datatypes, pattern matching, strong and dynamic typing living together in harmony, integrated access to all the new Amiga OS features, and optional compiled output comparable to C in speed and size."

New Detonator XP Drivers Released reports: Owners of NVIDIA 3D graphics accelerators now have new drivers available to download. TNT, TNT2, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce 3, Quadro, and Quadro2 owners who have Windows 95, 98, and ME can download Detonator XP version 21.83 drivers here. Windows 2000 users with the same cards can download their version 21.83 drivers here, while this page hosts new version 22.20 drivers for Windows XP 64-bit users.

Review: MacOSX 10.1

I went on and wrote a review about MacOSX 10.0.4 a month ago, but it was never finished as I had to fly to France for my own wedding. I came back and MacOSX 10.1 had been released. I scrapped completely the old text, as 10.1 brings some more speed and new features to the system, and restarted writting the review from scratch.

New Linux Kernel 2.4.12

Linus Torvalds in the Linux kernel mailing list: "2.4.11 had a fix for a symlink DoS attack, but sadly that fix broke the creation of files through a dangling symlink rather badly (it caused the inode to be created in the very same inode as the symlink, with unhappy end results). Happily nobody uses that particular horror - or _almost_ nobody does. It looks like at least the SuSE installer (yast2) does, which causes a nasty unkillable inode as /dev/mouse if you use yast2 on 2.4.11." So, 2.4.12 was born, changelog here.

Why Apple Can’t Pull the Plug on OS 9

Editorial at BusinessWeek: "The new OS X operating system is a triumph, but Jobs & Co. need to keep its predecessor on life support until Mac heads get the message Has the Mac's classic operating system become like Ole Betsy, a beloved but aging workhorse that must now be put out to pasture? If you ask me, this Ole Betsy has stayed around way past her prime. Still, she ain't a-going out to graze on the lower 40 acres any time soon."