Legal Battles Ended
The three-year criminal investigation of Philip Zimmermann, the author of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), by the U.S. federal government was closed without prosecution. Mr. Zimmermann had been alleged to have violated the antiquated U.S. export control laws in releasing PGP.
A few days later, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in favor of Borland in the Lotus copyright infringement suit. This means that the court has again upheld the notion that a user interface is not copyright-able, which is certainly a relief to the free software community.
Those who tuned into last month's Stop the Presses read about what I termed “The Desktop War”, and about two products which are attempting to bring MS Windows applications to Linux and other platforms: The freeware program Wine, and a commercial product called TWIN XPDK, created by a small company called Willows Software. There has been a recent flurry of activity at Willows.
Last month, the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) approved a new standard called APIW (Application Programming Interface for Windows) over the objections of Microsoft. This standard, authored by Willows, is now on track for ISO approval as an international standard.
This month, Willows announced that they are releasing binaries and source code for XPDK (a toolkit for porting MS Windows applications to Linux and Unix and soon Mac, OS/2, and Netware, which, not surprisingly, follows the APIW specification) free for non-commercial use. At the same time, they announced their extensive commercial support program, which is detailed on their World Wide Web site, www.willows.com
Willows has officially said that they do not support using XPDK for running off-the-shelf Windows program, because supporting it would be extremely time-intensive and take more resources than they have. However, they discovered during beta testing that many people joined the beta test group solely to attempt to run off-the-shelf binaries with the included “xwin” Windows program loader. By releasing the source code, as well as the binaries, free for non-commercial use, they allow technically capable users to support themselves and others, even using the xwin program to run off-the-shelf binaries. Essentially, the non-commercial users will be “paying” for the software by contributing bug reports, and bug fixes if they are capable.
While the xwin program currently only supports the 16-bit windows interface, the library can be compiled in a 16-bit or 32-bit version. Willows says that the full Win32s API will be supported by June, because they have already written most of the infrastructure that is necessary.
When asked whether he thinks Wine poses any threat to Willows' business, Rob Farnum, CEO of Willows, said that he doesn't think so, for a few reasons. Essentially, Wine has a much narrower scope: running windows binaries on a few Intel Unix platforms, and eventually providing a win32s library for most 32-bit Unix platforms. By contrast, XPDK can run Windows binaries on other processors, and is not X- or Unix-specific. It is already running on PowerPC Macs and is targeted to be released for OS/2, Netware, and both flavors of Macintosh this year. This doesn't mean that Willows doesn't take Wine seriously; they have paid close attention to its development and regularly benchmark XPDK against it.
When asked what pieces were currently missing from XPDK, Rob said that implementing OLE is the biggest technical challenge facing them. When asked whether he thought Microsoft's recent noises about OLE for Unix were meaningful, he said “No.” His reasons were:
The projected release date is too late to be meaningful. The actual coding is being done by Software AG, who has licensed the OLE code from Microsoft, and who is projecting a late 1997 or 1998 release date.
OLE for Unix is already available from Mainsoft and Bristol, as part of their Windows API on Unix packages.
OLE is so tied to Windows internals that it isn't clear what OLE on Unix would mean, anyway, and Microsoft has not made this clear.
He suggests that the announcement was a tactical move by Microsoft against CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) and the OMG (the Object Management Group with supervises CORBA). Microsoft would like to be able to ignore its promises to provide an ORB (Object Request Broker) for Windows.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide