“Well, [the IPO] certainly looks like a success! [Red Hat] raised a good bit of capital, which is going to help us scale our business, so from that standpoint, sure.”
“We offered approximately 5,000 open-source developers with an opportunity to be involved. Of that, 1,300 people expressed an interest in being involved, and of those, basically 1,150 of them were able to become Red Hat shareholders.”
—Donnie Barnes, Director of Technical Projects for Red Hat, to Marjorie Richardson, September 7, discussing Red Hat's IPO. (Complete interview can be found at http://www.linuxjournal.com/articles/conversations/004.html.)
The man on our September cover is Terry Burkhardt, co-owner of Burk's Creole Cafe in the Ballard area of Seattle, Washington. Right around the corner from SSC's building, Burk's Cafe is a favorite place for LJ employees to dine. We thank Burk, a great cook and a good model, for allowing us to photograph him.
We had several entries with the correct answer and chose one at random. And the winner of the Palm Pilot is Grant Ranlett of Seattle, Washington. No surprise—he lives in Ballard.
It is entirely possible that someone, somewhere might have wondered how soon the “Linux: For IQs above 2000” T-shirts would show up. While I still think this has a nice ring to it, Linux has become easier and easier, while the user base has gotten larger and larger. One could know literally nothing about Linux, buy a machine from VA, Penguin, ASl, Linux Laptops, NexTrend, Pogo, Telenet, DCG, HiTech or whomever, and have it up and running in a matter of minutes. However, if someone accidentally clicked the little “terminal” icon (or, by some slip of the fingers, hit ctrl-alt-f1), how would he know what to do?
Cyber Station's EX Linux has the answer. This company is producing reference cards, mousepads and even software exclusively for educating Linux users. The mousepad, for example, houses dozens of key Linux commands for so many important things that practically everything is covered. EZ Linux's software is an electronic reference card, quite expanded from the mousepad, and full of all kinds of things that will help you do anything you want on Linux.
If you're past the point of needing a reference card to help you mount and repair file systems, configure X and set up your network, but you can't yet coordinate yourself well enough to buy a Linux CD or do an ftp install, fezbox.com has the answer.
fezbox.com is an automated Red Hat installer on the Web. It's just like installing from a CD-ROM, only the interface sits on the Net and you get your files from an NFS server. It's still beta, and you have to specify an NFS server, but there's probably a future in web-based software installation. Maybe other distributions would like to be represented on-line in this way.
Linux has been getting easier ever since its inception, and now that the user base has expanded, it seems there is a demand to make things even less difficult. Not so long ago, we saw the birth of RPM, KDE, GNOME, easy auto-probing installers and numerous XF86 configuration utilities. Today, even kernel recompilation has an easy-to-use graphical interface. Really, what's next?
Artificial intelligence is one of my favorite topics in computers—at the very least, it's a science-fiction fantasy which inspires the imagination more than kernel development. A particularly exciting subset of AI is robotics, which, when coupled with some creative mishaps, leads to futuristic happenings as seen in countless stories, films, computer games and toys. Computer people often know the movies (maybe line for line), and probably remember the computer games (such as Andrew Braybrook's immortal Paradroid). Maybe we even had toy robots as children, though disappointingly, they didn't go crazy and take over the house/neighborhood/school/planet nearly as often as we might have liked.
Hacking, <\#224> la Hollywood, is another topic we've seen treated in books, movies and computer games. The mystique of dark hackers, clad in black, hiding in basements while performing nefarious deeds and drinking Jolt (although I have it on good authority that real hackers drink fruit juice) probably draws many people in (but what to do once we've dressed ourselves in black and gone to the basement with soda pop is quite another matter). If we can't start a global thermonuclear war (just try playing “wargames”), at least we can write a virus. Failing that, we'll have to play computer games.
Fortunately for the Linux-using, aspiring ne'er-do-well, there are a number of games available which allow us to do dark and mysterious things like program robots to blow each other up and code viruses to battle for RAM domination.
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