2002 04 18

                    LINUX NEWS
        Resources & Links From CramSession.com
             Thursday, April 18, 2002


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

Linux Making It Into Financial Institutions
Review of Gentoo 1.0
Top 8 Microsoft Anti-Unix Slogans
More on the Anti-Trust Remedies

3) Linux Resources

Tune Those Databases!
Intro to PostgreSQL
Active Directory and Linux?
Rooted? Maybe Not
Getting a Good Foundation

4) App o’ the Week

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1) Sean’s Notes

I’m not that old, but I can remember a time before Internet Explorer. I remember XMosaic, and Netscape 1.0, web pages without tables, backgrounds, or animated GIFs. (Unfortunately, I still remember the BLINK tag though.) Yes, folks, the web was really that boring at one point.

Then Internet Explorer came about. Version 1.0 really sucked. This isn’t me speaking as a Linux user, either. It was quite awful, bordering on useless. Netscape laughed “we’re not scared”. And why should they have been? Microsoft made operating systems and office suites, not Internet products.

After that, each release of Internet Explorer would add some features to HTML, and the same with Netscape (boy, would I have hated to be on the HTML standards committee at that time). By trying to force web developers to target a particular browser, each hoped to cut out the other. But that wasn’t working. A couple of years passed.

By this time, I have to admit, Internet Explorer and Netscape were both quite similar in terms of functionality. Kudos to Microsoft for coming back from behind and building a decent product.

But that wasn’t enough. If you can’t force the web developers to prefer your browser, then assert your dominance on the desktop and make sure that people have to go out of the way to use the competition. Move the updated common controls into the web browser so that people have to keep up with updates in order to use their other software. Integrate the browser with the OS so that you get more speed. Make it so the developers will naturally choose your product if they want web integration in their applications. Make it so that the users don’t have a choice.

Netscape’s on the ropes. What can they do?

January 22, 1998. Netscape announces they are placing Navigator under the GPL. Mozilla is born.

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT5&STORY=/www/stor y/1-22-98/399575&EDATE

I remember that the first thing I thought was “this is just a desperate ploy to get free labour”. The “source only” releases didn’t help my getting into the project; after one attempt at a compilation I gave up.

In November of that year, AOL announced that it’s going to buy Netscape. What’s going to happen to the flagship browser?

The staunch Netscape fan I was, I continued to use Navigator, convinced that it would all work out.

I don’t know when it was, maybe a year ago, a friend told me “You have got to try Mozilla!”. So, I gave it a shot. It’s not too bad, but I stuck with Netscape.

Six months ago, I pulled back the latest version, and I was amazed. A lot of the things I’ve decided to live with in Netscape, such as poor font support, are done very well in Mozilla. Tabbed panes get me down to two or three windows instead of a dozen. The bookmark navigator starts to make this newsletter a lot easier. And it’s fast! And stable! Plugins for Netscape work just fine, but don’t tend to hang the machine. But most of all, it just works. I really notice a difference at home, where I run Mozilla, and work, where I’m forced into Explorer. My machine doesn’t grind, it seems to use fewer resources – I’m just plain happier using Mozilla.

Any time now, over four years after the releasing of the source, we can expect the release of Mozilla 1.0 within weeks. The project has been slammed by prestigious people who worked on the project. It’s survived the AOL takeover, the dot bombs, and most of all, Microsoft. Mozilla 1.0 isn’t so much an initial release as it is a triumph for Open Source.

It’s one thing to build an OS that can kick the pants off of NT, but it’s quite another to build a product that could conceivably become the benchmark by which others are measured. Mom may never use Linux, but she could feel right at home in Mozilla. It’s intuitive, it’s fast, it’s stable, it’s free of restrictions. All this without having to embed yourself into the OS, or rely on underhanded tactics.

Open Source means higher quality products, and better access to them. Mozilla runs on everything from AIX, through Linux, OpenVMS, OS/2, and on to Windows. Its goals aren’t set according to profits, they’re set according to what needs to be done to make a great product. More eyes on the code mean fewer bugs. More access to the code means other projects can benefit.

If you’ve never been involved with an Open Source project, now is the time.


You’ll notice that most of the calls for help aren’t for people to code (though that’s always nice), but for documentation and bug reports. Find a page that doesn’t render properly? Try to figure out what causes it, and submit a bug report.

With all that’s going on with Microsoft and the Anti-Trust lawsuits, it’s vital that a high visibility project like Mozilla succeeds. No longer am I confident that Netscape/AOL are the ones that are going to fight IE in the browser wars, my money is on Mozilla.

Long live the Penguin, and more importantly, the Dragon,

Sean mailto:swalberg@cramsession.com

2) Linux News

Linux Making It Into Financial Institutions

“When the loss of about 1,000 computer servers in the World Trade Center attacks put Lehman Brothers in the market to buy millions of dollars of systems, it looked at a slightly unorthodox option: Linux, an operating system that is as noteworthy for its speed as for the fact that its source code is free.”


Review of Gentoo 1.0

Along with an odd sounding name, this distribution has an odd feature… It’s all source. Yep. The installation process involves downloading and compiling everything, including the kernel. The benefit is that everything on your system can be compiled for your particular processor. The author claims it’s noticeably faster… I wonder if he included the hours taken to download and compile everything?


Top 8 Microsoft Anti-Unix Slogans

With their “We have the way out” campaign, Microsoft is going to need some good anti-UNIX slogans. Here are 8 beauties! My favorite is #4, but I’ll let you be the judge.


More on the Anti-Trust Remedies

Though most of this article is somewhat against the broader sanctions against Microsoft, it does point out cases where Microsoft has hired an economics professor to publish supposedly objective papers defending their position.


3) Linux Resources

Tune Those Databases!

The more I play with PostgreSQL, the more I like it. It’s powerful and fast. Speed in a SQL database doesn’t only come from the software you install, though, there are a lot of things you as a programmer or DBA can do to help. Here are a few.


Intro to PostgreSQL

Just what is PostgreSQL anyway, and why should you even look at it? This article gives a brief look at what this database can do, and why you want to keep it in mind.


Active Directory and Linux?

One great thing about the way that UNIX, and Linux in particular, is put together is its modularity. This approach lets you integrate your Linux box into almost any environment. In this case, authenticating against an Active Directory server.


Rooted? Maybe Not

I was running a root kit detector on some machines the other day, and one came up as having a possible Linux Kernel Module (LKM)-based rootkit on it. Since all other tests came up clean, I was suspicious of the result. This explanation set my mind at ease.

http://www.der-keiler.de/Newsgroups/comp.os.linux.security/2002-02/ 0451.html

Getting a Good Foundation

In a rush to get to the good stuff, people sometimes ignore the basics. Though there are a couple of higher end Linux certifications, some of the hardware skills from A+ are still valuable. This article talks about the benefits of A+. Though it specifically references the Microsoft certifications, there’s no reason it can’t apply to the Linux world.


4) App o’ the week

Many of you are probably familiar with Ghost, which lets you clone Windows systems for quicker rollouts or recovery. Searching for a Linux equivalent, I found PartImage. It supports network based imaging, too.


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