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Hacking the NIC

In the February 2001 issue of LJ, Bill Ball reviews the NIC (New Internet Computer) and points out the flexibility and cost of the NIC, which offers a “tantalizing opportunity for Linux hardware and software hackers”. Since then at least a couple of you have risen to the challenge. Look for an article by Jay Sissom on booting the NIC from a network in the September/October issue of our sister publication, Embedded Linux Journal. Also, for a HOWTO on replacing the NIC's Flash memory with a 2.5" laptop hard drive see www.virtualdave.com/~dpsims/NIC-server/nic_review.html.

DISA Adopts StarOffice

On June 25, 2001 Sun Microsystems announced that the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which manages command, control, communications, computing and intelligence systems for the Department of Defense, has adopted 25,000 units of StarOffice 5.2 productivity suite. DISA will replace Applix, which it currently uses, with StarOffice 5.2 software on over 10,000 UNIX workstations at 600 client organizations worldwide.

OS Study

In the first quarter of 2001 a study was conducted to discover which operating systems electrical distributors in the southeastern United States used. This study examined the types of operating systems in use, how they were used, the perceived reliability of each operating system and future plans for implementing other operating systems. After developing a survey instrument, 159 surveys were sent and 92 were completed and returned. Responses from the 92 respondents were used for data analysis.

The research revealed that distributors were using 15 different operating systems. The operating systems used were Windows NT, Windows 95/98, Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition, UNIX, Linux, OS/400, OS/2, Open VMS, Novell, VSE/ESA, MPE, Solaris, DOS and Advanced 36. Of all 92 respondents, 78 used Windows NT, making it the most widely used operating system. Windows 95/98 followed close with 77 respondents. Only 17 used UNIX and 6 used Linux.

With all operating systems included, the most common use for the operating system was as an application server. Windows NT accounted for 46% of the application servers. The second most common use was a fileserver, with Windows NT accounting for 64% of those. Print servers, e-mail servers and web servers, respectively, were the next most common uses for the operating systems. Windows NT was the most common operating system used for each of these purposes.

Overall, although not as popular, non-Microsoft operating systems were rated significantly more reliable than Microsoft operating systems. The mean reliability score of Microsoft operating systems was 7.62, while the mean reliability score for non-Microsoft operating systems was 9.66. Windows NT was the most reliable of the Microsoft operating systems. Of the non-Microsoft operating systems, OS/400 had a mean reliability score of 10 (n = 6), followed closely by Linux with a mean score of 9.4 (n = 6) and UNIX with a mean of 9.36 (n = 14). For a PDF version of the full study, see http://www.jcpb.com/ospaper/.

—John Williams

They Said It

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

—John Maynard Keynes

The second oldest profession is bookkeeping.

—Craig Burton

Being afraid of monolithic organizations, especially when they have computers, is like being afraid of really big gorillas, especially when they are on fire.

—Bruce Sterling

I'd doubt that it represents a threat to anything but the notion that you can sell bad code by refusing to let anyone see what's in the box.

—Amy Wohl on Linux and open source

The personal communications industry started with the first portable cellular call 28 years ago.

—Martin Cooper

Culture is the tacit agreement to let the means of subsistence disappear behind the purpose of existence. Civilization is the subordination of the latter to the former.

—Karl Kraus

At the close of the first day the cash drawer revealed a total of $24.67. Of this sum, $24 was spent for advertising and 67 cents saved for making change next morning.

—John Wanamaker, after opening what was to become the world's first department store, in Philadelphia, 1861.

Is the Internet world better? Well, Internet has its share of acronyms and techno-babble. But because the Internet is an open platform, because it's free from the monopoly legacy, the entrepreneurs who ply the Internet have the freedom to focus on the real problems, to create and search out markets and then to make those markets work. And, of course, they have the freedom to go out of business when the businesses and markets don't work as they hoped and expected. That's how free enterprise works and that's the real secret behind the success of the Internet.

—Martin Cooper

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

—Jane Hopkins