Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?
—Steve Jobs to John Sculley, 1983
C'mon Steve, do you want to go on selling colored plastic all your life, or do you want to change the world?
—USENET posting to Steve Jobs, 1999
Jim Bumgarner's Public Opinion Research Project at www.jbum.com/jbum/public_opinion.html takes the Sucks/Rules-O-Meter concept to its extreme. His site lets you poll the Web (through www.altavista.com) for the negative and positive adjectives of your choice. Here are a few of the polls displayed at the site on September 23, 1999.
a robot playing a board game or striking a thinking pose?
From its origins in China, Weiqi has spread through Asia and indeed throughout the world. In Korea, where it is most popular, it is known as Baduk, while in Japan and elsewhere, it has the familiar name Go. Its rules are simple and easily acquired, yet the mathematical and logical complexities are vast and largely unfathomable. Indeed, some say Go can be as demanding and subtle as art or science, while the scope for personal expression is such that it is said one cannot hide his personality on the Go board. So what is your Linux box's personality like? Go find out!
The board is 19x19; the stones are round. Everything else is just numbers, a dendrite path which I would vaguely estimate to contain a number of paths somewhere around 361!/111! (if we assume 250 moves per game). Navigating this path well has proven to be an impossible task for computers. Still, in the post-Deep Blue world, Go may be both the most promising and the darkest frontier in artificial intelligence gaming. From chess, we developed heuristic searches and witnessed the power of brute force when we trimmed our search trees, not to mention the parallel processing research which occurred during the construction of Deep Blue. The subtlety of Go, which is less materially dependent than chess and has more branches in the dendrite with a less clear objective (territorial acquisition rather than monarch hunting), has rendered brute force largely ineffectual, and we have to resort to pattern recognition and analysis and strange algorithms to make a computer think like a human. What we learn from developing Go software could expand our knowledge base of AI theory and techniques a great deal. The computer chess authority Hans Berliner remarked that Go “may have to replace chess as the task par excellence for AI.” Fortunately for us Linux enthusiasts, there is some very high-quality Go software floating about, free of charge and with the source code, of course.
If you have long been frustrated by GNU Chess, you can get back at the GNU Project by beating GNU Go—well, maybe not. While computers are relatively worse at Go than at chess, GNU Go is not a weak program. In fact, it recently took second place at the 1999 U.S. Computer Go Championship, winning the “Best New Program” award as well. It has a text interface, but since it understands Go modem protocol, it can also be played against other programs or with the Cgoban interface. Check out www.gnu.org/software/gnugo/devel.html if you're interested in playing or contributing to the project.
Baduki, by Jim Laebum (who goes by Artist), is free Go software with its own graphical interface. The program is actually quite good, and the interface is nice. The board seems to have come from the GIMP's wood pattern (I suspect, since I did this myself for Go software I was writing). The software allows you to set handicaps and play levels, and the interface scales to whatever window size you like. Additionally, Baduki can give its rationale for moves, show its thinking process and display alternate moves. Baduki understands GMP (Go modem protocol); thus it can play on IGS (Internet Go Server), NNGS (No Name Go Server) or against another program such as GNU Go. The Baduki home page lives at soback.kornet21.net/~artist/baduk/baduki.html.
CGoban (Complete Goban) by William Shubert is the Go equivalent of xboard. It allows users to play Go against programs (such as GNU Go or Baduki), or against other players on the Internet Go servers. In addition, CGoban allows one to examine SGF files, that is, game records. The interface looks quite nice (the standard wooden board with black and white stones), scales to whatever size you like, and should run on all UNIX systems with X. CGoban will automatically connect you to the Go server of your choice with a simple mouse click. The home page of CGoban is http://www.inetarena.com/~wms/comp/cgoban/.
The Internet Go Server is the on-line meeting place for wired Go enthusiasts the world over. You can telnet in and play with a text interface, or use a graphical interface like CGoban. IGS is similar to the chess servers, with the typical commands applying like who, match, observe, kibitz, tell and shout. I find the atmosphere to be friendly enough, though less talkative than the chess counterparts. Also, blitz Go seems to be less popular than blitz chess, and as for lightning Go, I don't know. (Lightning chess is one or two minutes per game, a rather difficult schedule for Go.) If you want to check out IGS's well-designed web page (available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese), go to http://igs.joyjoy.net/. Or, if you want to go directly to the server, use telnet igs.joyjoy.net 6969 (yes, port 6969). There are a few other Go servers wandering about, No Name Go Server (NNGS) being one of the more popular. CGoban already knows the addresses and will connect you automatically.
Whether Go interests you on a playing level or a programming level, many on-line resources are available as well as software and many excellent books. A visit to your local bookstore or gaming shop should provide you with ample opportunity to foster an obsession (assuming, of course, that you don't find it boring). Likewise, if AI is your thing, Go is in need of creative solutions and has a lot of scope for truly clever, brilliant thinkers. If you become outstandingly fond of Go, you may even want to check out your local club, which would probably be overjoyed to have a new member. Happy Going! (Next month, something more violent...)
Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal
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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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