Archive | March, 2005

lzip – lossy data compression

It was five years ago tomorrow that lzip version 1.0 was released. Lossy Data Compression, with compression ratios far beyond those available with conventional zip, gzip or even bzip technologies, should have taken the world by storm. Instead, they have ended up in this dusty little corner of Check out the site and learn why. Don’t miss the FAQs and License sections!

Windows Server 2003 SP1 out… and down

Andrew MacNeill reports Microsoft Releases Windows 2003 SP1 quickly followed by
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 – Can’t Find Server and other upgrade woes “It’s this kind of thing that makes upgrades so traumatic for users. ” and Windows 2003 SP1 Broke My ASP.Net. “ARGH!! The saga continues… Back in December I had this problem before – Andrew MacNeill – AKSEL Solutions: Reinstalling DotNet/ASPNet on a Windows 2003 Server Now, after upgrading to Windows 2003 SP1, the problem has returned. ”

In many organizations, it’s considered wise to wait for the first service pack to allow Microsoft to work out the bugs in their DotZero release, bugs that never seem to come out in their extensive beta testing. In the case of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, you may want to wait to see if the Service Pack needs some tweaking before it is ready for primetime.

Ubuntu 5.04 release candidate available

OSNews reports “Ubuntu Linux 5.04 release candidate. The release candidate of Ubuntu Linux 5.04 is available.”

Ubuntu is getting a lot of attention as an up-and-coming distribution. It is Debian-based, has a slick interface, comes with a try-before-you-commit Live CD, and it’s free for the download. BitTorrent links are available at the web site above. Took very little time to download the ISO files using BitTorrent – remember to leave your client running after you get your copy to share the load with the rest of the community! – since many other people were downloading too. That’s what good peer-to-peer file sharing is all about.

The IT generalist makes a comeback

Tom Yager’s weekly column in InfoWorld: Application development starts out: “The IT generalist makes a comeback. I’ve been seeing the title “IT generalist” coming back into use. It’s a welcome sight. I recall the generalist from the days when minicomputers and mainframes were being traded for less costly Unix microcomputers. Back then, the generalist was the one who had a functional understanding of the entire technical operation and many of the processes that depended on it. If you had a generalist, by any title, you may have him or her to thank for easing the transition from legacy to modernity.”

I think IT generalist is a lot less presumptuous than “Architect” particularly the capitalized ones. General Knowledge has often taken a back seat to Specialization, usually resulting in a loss of Perspective. Speaking with an experienced UNIX admin last night, and he wondered how we got into this situation where people are slapping together systems that are held together with baling wire and shoestrings; his thesis was that there was a lack of “system perspective.” I spoke with another friend just back from the US Pycon conference; a long-time Windows developer, he was amazed to see people sitting around with Powerbooks and Linux laptops and Windows laptops and all working together — he’d had no idea. He’d been sheltered in the Redmond Reality Distortion Field. C’mon out, folks, the air is great out here!

Mission: Interoperable. Competition breeds Innovation. Monopolies breed stagnation. Working Well with Others is Good.

Paul Graham: Return of the Mac

In “Return of the Mac,” Paul Graham writes: “All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.”

At the LinuxWorld show in Boston last month, Apple had a small understated booth, with a couple of company reps out front, and a plain table with a Mac Mini, an XServe and an XServe RAID up and running. They were low-key and glad to answer questions. I spoke with one of them and said “The Mac is my favorite unix workstation,” and he replied “I’m glad someone knows why we are here.”

Microsoft’s Vertical Initiatives: Tactic or Strategy?

Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley reports “Microsoft’s Grand Plan To Go Vertical. Can Microsoft transform itself from a product-focused company into a solutions-oriented one? Top brass are betting that it can.”

Microsoft is wise to diversify. From consumer products like MSN and Xbox to hardware like mice and keyboards, Microsoft is spreading its bets around. They make operating systems for home users and for big servers. They sell games. They sell development tools. We’ll see if the “plan to go vertical” realigns the OS, servers and desktop products divisions or just becomes yet another diversification.

Whose Lifetime?

Ed Foster’s Gripelog points out that ‘Lifetime’ promises by vendors are rarely the good deal that they sound like: Promise of Lifetime Service Isn’t Sirius. “We already know how some manufacturers think a lifetime warranty is one that’s only good…”

FLOSSPro: the essential guide for Windows programmers learning Linux

FLOSSPro: Free/Libre Open Source Software for the Professional Developer

FLOSSPro is the name for a series of essays I’ll be developing, eventually leading to publication, either online or in dead-tree format or both. They are both an autobiographical journal of travels from there to here, and a set of tutorials and pointers to people following a similar path: starting in Windows, learning Linux and the associated technologies to generate web-based and rich-client applications using Open Source Software.

  1. Getting started with Linux: get a box and screw it up a couple of dozen times.
  2. Distributions: which to choose and why it doesn’t matter.
  3. LiveCDs, especially Knoppix
  4. Creating your first server: Samba
  5. Remote access: SSH
  6. Updating your server and monitoring logs
  7. Maintaining a server while learning as little as possible: WebMin
  8. Getting started with data: MySQL
  9. Publishing web pages with Apache
  10. Not So Stupid Shell Tricks: learning a little BASH.
  11. Save your changes (yes/no)? Using Subversion.
  12. Building a knowledgebase: wikis and forums

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.