Stop the Presses, LJ Index and more.

The world's first multimedia computer (and what a computer it was, as any Amiga freak would love the chance to tell you) came out in 1985 with a 7.1MHz MC68k, 4096 colors, stereo sound, and was enough to convert even Commodore 64 fanatics. Oddly enough, Commodore acquired Amiga for $40 million back in July of '85, and then destroyed its hopes of success by hapless marketing ploys. Commodore itself died in 1995, and was sold to ESCOM for $12 million. Gateway ultimately acquired what remained of Amiga, and it looked as though they were poised to bring back the once and future queen. However, Gateway had bought Amiga for the patents, not for its devotees, and the new vaporware Amigas never materialized. (You remember the rumors—that it would be Linux-based, etc.)

Today, Amiga is owned by Amino Development Corporation which has changed its name to Amiga Corporation and plans yet again to resurrect the multimedia machine. However, you don't have to wait; Amiga will carry on. Rush on over to http://www.themes.org/ and you can download Amiga themes for your favorite window managers. Yes, that's right, the Amiga Workbench 2.x series (known as Picasso, presumably because the colors correspond with Picasso's blue period) can live again on your desktop. Pair it with GNOME and its new anti-aliasing feature, and you've got it. Fire up the GIMP, start up an ETerm and maybe load XClock; it'll be just like home. Well, until you try to load Video Toaster. But, hold on a while; what with DVDs, MP3s, a bit more sound support and the new wave of games (and the hardware support they will drive), we might actually have multimedia machines someday.

—Jason Kroll


Last month in my games column, I noted that the authoritarians had given up the MP3 war and lost control of the DeCSS situation. Unfortunately, some people don't know when to quit, and the industry is back at it again. This time, the Recording Industry Association of America has held secret meetings in Seattle in order to plot the demise of MP3 as well as other conniving ways to take control of technology out of the hands of users. The real news, however, was that the Motion Picture Association of America got in hot water over the raiding of DeCSS author Jon Lech Johansen's house by special police. The hacker community more or less collectively called for a boycott, ranging from DVDs to the entire motion picture industry and even extending to every single product, film-related or not, produced by any of the big seven (Disney, Sony, MGM, Paramount, Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.). The 2600 community organized large protests outside movie theaters across the country. This charming graphic featured prominently in the thousands of flyers we distributed.

—Jason Kroll


Enthusiasts of Linux gaming, and those who realize games drive the hardware industry, will be pleased to hear that Tux Games (http://www.tuxgames.com/) is shipping its new Demo CD of six playable demos of popular Linux games for $7.50 with free shipping. Titles include Loki's Civilization: Call to Power, Eric's Ultimate Solitaire, Heroes of Might and Magic III, Myth 2: Soulblighter and Railroad Tycoon II, as well as a playable demo of MP Entertainment's Hopkins FBI. Yes, Linux has games, did you know? Check out http://www.happypenguin.org/ and http://www.linuxgames.com/ for general information on the state of the art in Linux gaming.

—Jason Kroll

  1. Linux market share among Intel servers, as projected in a recent IDC report: 24.8%

  2. Size of first Linux kernel: 71KB

  3. Lines of kernel code in v2.0: 3/4 million

  4. Number of penguins killed in the recent mystery spill near the Phillip Island Nature Park: 19

  5. Amount of oil discharged in the Bass Strait: 1000 litres

  6. Number of penguins rescued: 205

  7. Amount of money donated to the Phillip Island rescue efforts by Linux users: $5,000 US

  8. Number of the 25 species seriously affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill that have recovered: 2

  9. Amount of the $5 billion US Exxon was ordered to pay in punitive damages, that it has paid: 0

  10. Number of years Kevin Mitnick spent in jail awaiting trial: 5

  11. Number of e-mails received by Jason Kroll, in response to his on-line tome, “Free Kevin, Kevin Freed”: 77

  12. Number of e-mails received by Mr. Kroll in response to his recent on-line article “Crackers and Crackdowns”, about the DeCSS fiasco: 623

  13. Number of subscribers to PursuitWatch, an L.A. paging service that alerts customers when a high-speed chase is televised: 350

  14. Number of days for the longest up time on a Linux system: 498

  15. Amount of sales for Corel Linux in 1999: $3.2 million US

  16. Percentage of embedded application developers who plan to use Linux as their host platform in the current year: 26

  17. Percentage of IT professionals who consider Linux important or essential to their enterprise strategies: 49

  18. Percentage of corporate PCs that will run Linux and other free operating systems within two years: 9

  19. Current Linux corporate PC market share percentage: 4.5

  20. Percentage of enterprises that plan to deploy Linux or FreeBSD as corporate e-commerce platforms: 17

  21. Percentage of IBM servers of all sizes that now support Linux: 100

  22. Number of IBM server lines that supported Linux one year ago: 1

  23. Worldwide open-source UNIX (including Linux) growth rate for major enterprise server applications: 150% to 500%