Letters

Readers sound off.
Victor Yodaiken on Real-Time Linux

Re your “Real Hard Time” article in the November issue of Linux Journal: your readers should know that both TimeSys and Lineo use real-time technology taken from FSMLabs RTLinux. What those companies add (other than a fascinating interpretation of the GPL) is a misunderstanding of what makes RTLinux useful. RTLinux adds a special multithreaded, real-time process to Linux and rigorously prevents Linux from delaying the operation of this process. The real-time process schedule, itself, ignores Linux synchronization, and has access to the raw hardware. Instead of adding “features” to the real-time process, we encourage developers to break out of the box and take advantage of a dual environment: hard real-time with a stripped down POSIX threads API in this special process, and the stability and power of Linux outside of the special process. The pedal-to-the-metal performance and reliability of RTLinux are possible because our design allows us to toss away many “features” that have been considered essential in previous real-time operating systems.

In my ever so humble opinion, some of the new arrivals to Linux and RTLinux operate under the mistaken theory that simplicity is a “lack of maturity” in the technology. But simplicity in both Linux and in RTLinux is a deliberate design choice and is the hard-won and hard-to-keep “feature” that we most prize. In horror movies, the victims have to walk down the steps into the dark basement to see exactly what is making that growling noise. Don't they know that IRIX and RT-Mach and who knows how many other victims have preceded them down the stairs—and none of them ever came back?

—Victor Yodaikenyodaiken@fsmlabs.com

Look for Victor and Edgar Hilton's article on RTLinux in the January issue of Embedded Linux Journal —Editor

Advertisement Uproar

Readers response to Qsol.com's advertisement in the November issue was vast and varied. Below are a few samplings from each side along with the advertiser's response.

—Editor

I think the picture of a naked programmer on the supplement was a bit much, but still laughable. However, in the November 2000 LJ, page 43 contains an ad by Qsol.com that contains what some would call vulgar insinuation.

Personally, I think this type of sexism has now gone too far in your magazine and sullies the character, professionalism and image of LJ, not to mention some of the people who buy it. I ask you to please contain the college crowd a bit more, and give us a magazine we can proudly display on our living room coffee tables or at work without having to rip pages out.

I for one will never use Qsol.com's products as I don't agree with their advertising message.

—Gordon Cunninghamgcunnin2@bellsouth.net

Not that I want to be accused of being politically correct of anything, but I bought my copy of Linux Journal, November 2000, and found the advertisement opposite page 42 a *leeetle* beyond the pale. I mean, [that caption]--with that picture! I had a flashback to advertisements from the 1970s.

God knows we have few enough women in this industry (and in Open Source specifically) as it is, and adverts like this aren't going to help us any.

Not that I want to stop a corporate citizen's rights to “individual speech” or anything, but maybe someone might hit them with a clue stick?

—Jeremy Allisonjeremy@valinux.com

As the proud owner of 150 copies of the Python supplement, I read with rapt attention the many letters regarding its famous nudie cover. This has all left me very curious as to what kind of response you will get for the QSol ad on page 43 of the November 2000 issue. I hope you will print a sampling. It's very interesting from a marketing perspective. I'm fairly sure you wouldn't see this stuff in Byte or InfoWeek, and the fact that you do see it in LJ tells me something about the markets Linux is and isn't in.

Not that I ever want to see you turn into Byte. It's just that I've worked in Corporate America and I can see where the negative response comes from. The part of me that tries to sell Linux/Python solutions to this often ultra conservative group feels that a print leader of the Linux community such as LJ needs to walk a more conservative line.

But, thankfully, the rest of me says to heck with it. Let someone else do Byte for Linux. I hope that whatever you do, you continue to print articles with so much delicious geeky detail and technically focused variety.

—Stephansdeibel@archaeopteryx.com

I would like to commend you on having the guts to print what is probably one of the most creative ads I have seen in a long while. The ad on page 43 of the November 2000 issue. A lesser magazine (especially one that that just had problems with a cover shot that included a naked man—another awesome show of backbone on LJ's part) probably would have refused it. I know you will probably take a lot of heat for it but, I am impressed. I thought the add was a riot. My only problem is whether to tear it out and pin it up in my cube or keep the article together in the magazine. All things being equal I would much rather deal with a company with a sense of humor than one that refused a funny ad for fear of offending someone. In fact, all things not being equal I would rather deal with a company with this type of add. Please keep up the GREAT work and don't back down from the people that will always complain.

—James Alspachjalspach@csione.com

We sincerely apologize to all those who have expressed concern about our advertisement recently featured in Linux Journal (November 2000). It was certainly not our intention to be offensive and we wish to again express our regret to anyone who was displeased by the ad. We understand that this has angered some readers and have therefore reacted immediately by pulling this artwork from all future issues of the magazine. Again, we extend our sincerest apologies.

—QSol.com

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