Monthly Archives: September 2002

Good First Look At RedHat Linux 8.0

In their self-proclaimed World’s First Review of Red Hat 8.0-Psyche, OSNews.com has taken a good and interesting look at the revamped desktop that RedHat has taken so much heat for lately. It sounds really good and I’m looking forward to trying it out myself just to see what the installation and user experience is like.

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JMX And A Management Console

When I was working for Vast Solutions in 2001, I built built a management console for JMX servers. It was very handy because Don was building a message-oriented-middleware server and it ran on top of JMX. So we had a server and an administration console that could run against multiple servers. I’ve never tried to reproduce that server as an open source project but I’ve wanted to. Now maybe I don’t need to as the MC4J Management Console is now out.
It has the graphing ability that we had intended to add but never did. It doesn’t seem to have the cool remote logging capability that we added though. Maybe somebody could merge in the code from Lumbermill. Now that would be really cool.
Then maybe they can add in the IBM Bean Scripting Framework and you’ll have a scriptable management console.

Unifying The Linux Desktop

RedHat, supplier of one of the most popular Linux distributions has stirred up some controversy recently because they have been working to unify the appearance and some of the behavior of the two main Linux desktops; KDE and GNOME. In this article someone from RedHat explains why they are unifying the two desktops in appearance and other ways.
All I can say is bravo. This is long overdue. Take this mans words and carve them into stone because you can learn a lot from what he says here. But I’d go even further and say that his statements about not trying to brand the desktop like a race car with 100 endorsement logos should carry over to RedHat itself. RedHat isn’t the star of the show here, Linux is. It is the operating system that is being run and just like Mac OS X or Windows, it is the underlying brand that needs to be promoted. However, I don’t think Mr. Taylor’s vision extends far enough to not realize that “branding” the desktop everywhere with RedHat’s logos is no different from KDE or GNOME doing the same.

JDK 1.4.1 Released

The latest version of the Sun Java Development Kit has been released. It’s a free download and it contains every single tool you need to be able to write simple or complex programs that will run on every major consumer computer out there. It doesn’t matter if you want to target Linux, Windows, or Mac OS, you can do it.
If you’ve been thinking about developing stuff using something else, look at the tools available with Java and ask yourself why you would limit yourself to one platform or, if you have a multi-platform language, why you would limit yourself to the lessor tools and libraries available for Perl, Python, or Ruby.

Fight The Spam! Redux

There was an excellent article recently about using statistical techniques to separate spam from real email. I linked to that article just a couple of weeks ago. This spam detection article builds on the first one and talks about some potential improvements to the algorithms mentioned. Bravo. I hope to see a lot of this built into software in the future.
Currently there is no good reason why we shouldn’t have a pluggable filtering system in products like Ximian Evolution and Microsoft Outlook Express. Their built-in filtering systems based on rules are inadequate and have proven themselves to be so for years now. Provide a simple way for someone to write a plug-in and then we can all take advantage of more sophisticated systems like these that examine the email for us and make decisions that are: a) likely to trap most of the spam, and b) aren’t likely to get false positives that cause email we really want to be tagged as spam.

Learning Java With A Game

One topic that has come up at work recently is teaching developers who do not know Java, or any object oriented language for that matter, how to program in Java. IBM’s innovative solution is a game called Robocode. Developers can code up simple tanks that battle it out inside an arena that is provided by IBM. Each tank is a little software program which can be quite simple initially but get increasingly complex as the developer learns more and more about how to program in Java. It’s a fun way to learn and IBM has tried to keep the barrier to entry low by providing simple instructions on getting started and lots of tutorials and articles to get you started.

How Not To Deal With Data In Java

If you have ever asked yourself, “Self. How should I really screw up an application that otherwise works pretty well,” and you weren’t sure what to answer, I can tell you. What you do is you use serialization for several large data structures and allow the serialization code to stay in the code long after you should have replaced it with a database.
Needless to say, that’s precisely what I’ve done with HotSheet and I’m paying for it now. If you allow yourself to get up to many hundreds of news items in your list then performance is poor, startup time and shutdown time suffer, and best of all, if there is a crash or other event that causes HotSheet to exit without getting a chance to save, you are thown back to whatever the last saved version of everything was. Ow…