It is not just KDE and Gnome for X11 in this world that get new releases. XFCE, the CDE look-alike window manager, reached version 3.8.8 recently, WindowMaker released version 0.70.0 while Afterstep had a new release too after a long time. Coupled with the brand new version of Crux, the lightweight Linux distribution, developed and maintained by a single person in his free time, can work wonders for your... geeky OS experiements this weekend.
Danger Research (which employs 9 ex-Be, Inc. engineers out of about 20 engineers total) is a company that does not talk too much about their product, but it is already known that they are developing a PDA that is able to send and receive email and access the Net among other goodies. Danger hoped to be the first company to have a PDA product that will feature the full range of Internet connectivity, but it seems that the market is getting "dangerously" crowded. RIM already is talking about an updated version of BlackBerry that does more, Motorola have already announced a device oh-so-similar to Danger's, and now even Sharp with a Linux-oriented device is doing the same. Handspring, which this week announced a deal with Aether Systems, is partnering with other companies to bring corporate data to its handhelds while Good Technology, which was founded in March 2000, prepares a similar product too. Also Motient, a wireless data network company plans to unveil a device that effectively allows a Palm handheld to act more like a BlackBerry pager. The plan in most of these devices is to have the device always connected to the net, as there is a special contract with some major mobile phone networks when you purchase such a device in order to activate it. Our take: Amazingly, Palm still haven't announced something exciting as this (where most of the software running in a remoted server, and not included and running in the actual machine), and please don't start posting comments that they will use BeIA for it, because they just won't. Palm has even postponed any wireless plans.
Coming with Kernel 2.4.10, KDE 2.2.1, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS and even Ext3 support, SuSE leads the way in the newest Linux distributions with their new version, SuSE Linux 7.3. Many improvements on their Control Center and YAST, especially in the TV Card configurations (Bttv cards) and XFree. The distribution is available in Personal ($40) and Professional ($80) editions currently in Pre-Ordering, the full release is scheduled for October 19th.
QSSL has released patch A for QNX 6.1. The patch can be obtained from the standard QNX repository (mind you, you have to be able to connect to the Internet with QNX to get the patch, as it is obtainable with the QNX download manager only). Release notes can be found here.
The release of WindowsXP does not seem to discourage the coders around the world to code the operating system of their dreams. Lots of new, simple and complex, embedded and desktop OSes grow like mushrooms very often these days. Not all of the OSes we found by searching the web are active, but we will link to the ones with more activity.
Apple has released a binary snapshot of Darwin, the core OS of Mac OS X. Darwin 1.4.1 brings the snapshots to the level of OS X 10.1. For the first time, bootable CD images are available, for both PowerPC and Intel. Details are here.
GeekOS is a tiny operating system kernel for x86 PCs. Its main purpose is to serve as a simple but realistic example of an OS kernel running on real hardware while it can also run under the Bochs x86 emulator. Download the latest version here.
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.