UpFront

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Buzz Match: Who Does What?

See if you can match each of these companies with their buzzphrase description of themselves. All buzzphrases are copied and pasted out of each company's own press releases or corporate boilerplate.

For more fun, random-generate your own buzzphrases at http://www.BuzzPhraser.com/. And if you don't like that engine, take the source code and build your own. It's free and open.

—Doc Searls (Linux Journal's leading expert buzzware management solutions provider)

1) Red Hat              a) Linux-based software solutions for the Internet
                           and enterprise computing infrastructure
2) Caldera              b) the leading CyberSecurity product, service and
                           training solutions provider
3) Linuxcare            c) a leading provider of software and services for
                           connected smart devices
4) VA Linux             d) the expert provider of Linux and open-source
                           solutions for the Web
5) APC                  e) the "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business"
                           technology leader in developing and marketing successful
                           Linux-based business
6) Chek                 f) the leader in developing, deploying and managing
                           solutions built on the benefits of an open-source platform
7) Aberdeen             g) the world's leading supplier of
                           business-to-business embedded computing platforms for use in
                           telecommunications, network storage, imaging, medical equipment, and semiconductor production and test
                           equipment applications
8) Mainsoft             h) a leading developer of scalable messaging and
                           e-mail infrastructure software for Internet Service
                           Providers, Application Service Providers and corporations
9) Bay Mountain         i) a leading provider of state-of-the-art application
                           development technology and business solutions
10) IBM                 j) a leader in providing comprehensive professional
                           services and solutions for Linux and open-source
                           technologies
11) Trustix             k) a leading application infrastructure provider
12) Zero G              l) a leading provider of web and application
                           infrastructure services
13) SecureInfo Corp.    m) leading provider of global, end-to-end
                           availability enhancement solutions
14) Motorola Computer   n) the leading provider of
    Group                  open-source e-commerce applications
15) Wind River          o) a leading provider of communications
                           infrastructure software for service providers
16) Rockliffe           p) a leading market analysis and positioning services
                           firm
17) Magic Software      q) the e-porting company
18) TurboLinux          r) the leading independent software vendor of
                           network management solutions for Linux
19) Zelerate            s) the leading global provider of IT solutions

Answers: 1-f, 2-e, 3-j, 4-d, 5-m, 6-o, 7-p, 8-q, 9-l, 10-s, 11-r, 12-k, 13-b, 14-g, 15-c, 16-h, 17-i, 18-a, 19-n.

NASA's JPL Builds War Game Simulator on Linux

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of Pasadena, California is one of the space program's major players. Managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, JPL is the lead US center for robotic exploration of the solar system, and its spacecrafts have visited all known planets except Pluto. In addition to its work for NASA, JPL conducts research and development projects for a variety of federal agencies. One such project, the Corps Battle Simulation (CBS), recently made the transition from VAX to Red Hat Linux 7.0, resulting in a substantial increase in performance at considerably reduced cost.

CBS has been used to train army officers in battle tactics for over 15 years. Previously, it ran on VAX's most powerful computer, a $100,000-plus 7800-series machine. However, due to the steadily increasing intelligence and the addition of new features, CBS reached its limitations on VAX. This made further innovation a struggle and threatened to render the battle simulator obsolete within a few years. As a result, the US Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), in Orlando, Florida asked JPL to port the software to Linux in order to increase functionality while cutting cost.

After spending a man-year reconfiguring CBS source code, then recompiling, testing and debugging, the team benchmarked the system running on Linux with rewarding results. “By porting CBS from VAX to Linux, we have achieved far better performance at a much reduced cost and have lots of extra capacity”, says Jay Braun, a simulation software technologist at JPL.

The additional capacity of Linux gives the CBS system more room to expand. Terrain elevation, for instance, can now be modeled to a highly detailed level. Previously, attempting complex line-of-sight calculations severely taxed VAX capabilities. Now, high-fidelity maps are available on Linux that make simulations more realistic, increasing the accuracy of the battle scenarios.

CBS is running on a $4,000 PC with a 1.2GHz AMD Athlon processor. This Linux machine runs the largest CBS exercise almost four times faster than the most powerful VAX, without sacrificing anything in model fidelity. Using the VAX, fidelity had to be reduced in order to allow a simulation to progress at a one-to-one game ratio, i.e., a virtual minute in the simulation requires a real minute of execution time. Under Linux, however, one-to-one scenarios can be achieved at the highest quality levels available.

JPL has also made adjustments so that CBS has a 20-second save time for the largest exercises and three seconds for small exercises. This is an order of magnitude faster than the old VAX system. Under Linux the application can now represent almost 3GB of virtual address space for each simulation. “That's a big image!” says Braun. “Our model has plenty of features that are pushing the limits of Linux.”

JPL will deliver the ported software in June 2001. Braun predicts that in the near future, the system will further advance to a two-processor machine that can support additional simulations. JPL is now shifting over to Red Hat Linux 7.1 with the new 2.4 kernel.

—Drew Robb

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