Applications are being accepted by Microsoft for beta testers for version 9.0 of the widespread multimedia API for the Windows line of OSes. Two separate applications are accessible: one for gamers and another for developers.
ZDNet reports that Sun Microsystems has initiated beta testing for the next version of its Unix operating system, Solaris 9. The new version runs on Sun's UltraSparc or Intel's 32-bit processors, and includes new features to streamline software upgrades and manage system resources. The final version of Solaris 9 should be available to Sun customers some time in 2002 and it will also feature Gnome 2.0 (which released its first alpha version just yesterday) as the default desktop instead of CDE.
Alan Clegg reports in a story at Daily DaemonNews that twelve people associated with the FreeBSD project were laid off from Wind River Systems. Only four remain. Also, at least one FreeBSD person was let go from iXsystems (formerly BSDi). David Huff notes, "The comments to the story are worth reading, as they include a lengthy response to this from Jordan Hubbard (FreeBSD release manager and current Apple employee)."
A PC World article reports that though OS/2 has enjoyed years of success in key niches such as automated banking and airline systems, those days may be numbered as Microsoft targets those markets with Windows XP. OS/2 has virtually disappeared from the desktops of all but an elite hard-core group of enthusiasts, but its stability made it popular for devices like ATMs. With IBM's support for OS/2 having waned years ago, things are looking pretty grim for its continued existence as a live product.
The new up and coming HancomOffice 2.0 according to LinuxWorld.com could be a serious contender for StarOffice and Microsoft Office. The most interesting point is that the same boxed product can be installed on Windows, GNU/Linux and Solaris. This could be great for people switching operating systems as they could continue to use the same office package on their new OS, without even having to purchase new software. A Preview version is already available for download.
A press release announces that Novell is offering a new Native File Access Pack that allows Windows, Mac OS, and UNIX/Linux clients to access Netware servers without any special Novell client software. This is a big step in the right direction for Novell. Using the standard file-sharing protocols for each of the three major workstation platforms makes Netware a stronger competitor to other file servers. And administrators who've disliked adding more software to every workstation just so they can connect to Netware servers now have one less reason to switch their server OS. An Infoworld review of a beta release of Netware 6 gives some more detail.
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.