Monthly Archives: July 2002

What Is Right And Wrong With Linux

If you believe some pundits, Linux on the desktop is dead, or at least it shouldn’t buy any long playing records. But I’ll tell you a secret… Those are the same “smart” people who were telling you a year and a half ago that the Mozilla project was dead and that the browser wars were all over. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
That’s not to say that Linux winning on the desktop is going to be easy. It won’t be. It’s going to be the same struggle that winning over server rooms has been and that’s far from over yet. But here’s another secret. It’s as inevitable and inexorable as the march of time. Microsoft faces an army of people who want to produce something better and cooler than what they can do and they don’t exactly have a history of being “innovative”.
Here are three recent articles on improving Linux or improving specific aspects of it. You may find them interesting:

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Linux Bites Man

I’ve had the “pleasure” of moving from Windows to Linux at work for the first time ever this week and while it is helping me remember how to do stuff that I last did in school 15 years ago, it is also teaching me much about the current state of Linux for end users.
Anyway, one of those lessons had to do with sound on Linux. Linux has several schemes for sharing the audio hardware and unfortunately Sun chose to not support any of them, though they say they might for the 1.4.2 JVM. A Java program on Linux simply cannot play sound if anything else is using the sound hardware. As a result there is a new release of HotSheet available that does not play a sound when it finds new items during a refresh. If you add “sound.newItems=true” to your HotSheet.properties file then it will play sounds again (for Windows and Mac OS X users).

Zaval

In my ongoing series I want it, why don’t you build it for me comes this ditty.
Zaval is a a piece of software that runs on a Palm PDA to let you view TV schedules. Unfortunately all the schedules it seems to know are Russian or something. So what I want is somebody to write a converter for the XMLTV format that will generate the Palm DB format file and then Zaval can run from that. Then the current listings they use can be converted instead to XMLTV format and everybody will be much better off. They can use their listings with other tools and I can use their program with listings that for where I live.
Now get to work on it :)

Online CCG Play – A Prediction

One man’s predictions for a possible future for Magic Online (the online version of the popular collectible card game Magic: The Gathering). He’s predicting a less than rosy future for it based on the idea that 90% of the people playing will be… less than personable.
Speaking from experience I know that playing CounterStrike I encountered a lot of people who were able to both intentionally and unintention ruin play at various times. But on the whole I didn’t stick with it for a couple of years just because I had nothing better to do. There was still plenty of fun gameplay to be had and there were lots of times when I saw behavior that was exemplary. Maybe we’ll be lucky and he’ll be wrong. Or maybe anybody who wants to play will have to go get a free Thawte certificate to verify who they are so if they misbehave they can be embarrassed and they won’t be able to just escape into another identity.