Week of March 27-April 2

Rook"er*y,n. 1. a gathering place for certain gregarious birds, such as penguins. 2. the best place on the Web for Linux news, notes and reports from the field.
March 27

Vocalizations! "Documentation should be viewed as an important part of the whole product. If the documentation isn't done, then the product isn't done. If a product isn't done, then it isn't released. So, if you look at it from that perspective, it's not so much 'holding back on a release' as 'not releasing until product is complete'. Will the open source community adopt this sort of attitude towards documentation? Hopefully. This doesn't go against the 'release early, release often' philosophy, either. 'Publish early, publish often' is a perfectly reasonable way to treat documentation releases, as well."  Deb Richardson, leader of the Open Source Writers Group, as quoted in an interview at Slashdot.

Double Dealing Red HatRed Hat, has chosen to brighten this last Monday of March with the announcement of not one, but two new Red Hat Linux distributions. Both Red Hat Linux 6.2 and Red Hat eCos 1.3 (Red Hat's embedded Linux OS) are scheduled to ship in early April, and Red Hat is touting the OSes as a pair, stating that Red Hat is "the only company to provide a powerful continuum of reliable open source Oses and supporting development tools ... " One of the big selling points for companies developing embedded Linux OSes has been the ability to move projects from Linux 6.2 to eCos (from "regular" to embedded operating systems) without difficulty. Red Hat Linux 6.2, Professional Edition includes such enterprise features as the CCVS credit card processing system (which Red Hat gained through its purchase of Hell's Kitchen Systems early this year), and all versions of Red Hat Linux 6.2 feature improved X configuration, a "Web-based interface for configuration of clusters" and several tools added for easing installation. Red Hat Linux 6.2, Professional Edition, is priced at $179.95 USD, and can be ordered directly from Red Hat now for those who can't wait until April. The company's embedded operating system, eCos 1.3, is also available immediately from http://sourceware.cygnus.com/ecos. Downloadable implementations for a variety of platforms are available, including ARM, Intel x86, PowerPC and SPARC, among many others.

Too Tough Torvalds? One of the more interesting "Getting to Know Linus" pieces to come around in awhile is the one that was posted late Friday at Computer Reseller News. Apparently, the cute 'n' cuddly Linus Torvalds, whose benevolent intensity is rivaled only by that of, perhaps, the Dalai Lama, has his rough side--as hackers who were unfortunate enough to present Linus with some, ahem, inferior code, were chagrined to find out. As the CRN story by "ShadowRAM" reports, Linus was driven to distraction by repeated Internet newsgroup visitors offering patches for the Linux kernel. Apparently, Linus was forced to announce: "I don't think people understand. I will not apply the patches I've seen so far. They suck. There are absolutely no advantages to doing it the stupid way." You go, Linus! Of course, the kinder, gentler Linus is still available in his interview with our Margie Richardson here.

Hip-Hop Hackers? What is Linux like? Let me count the analogies ... Well, the comparison of Linux and rap music is perhaps the most creative comparison yet, and it sure beats the hell out of that tired old "Linux is Communism" saw that we haven't seen dragged out since VA Linux broke IPO records last year. No, Linux isn't like rap music because they both share constituencies--uniquely talent but nonetheless marginalized men and boys (generally) with underdeveloped social skills inadvertently making large sums of money on something they'd just as soon do all day for free ... hey, wait a minute ... Linux is like music, say the authors, because both acted as disruptive (to use IBM's favorite phrase) agents in their respective markets: rap music literally forced its way into mainstream music, and not just because is was better than what was being offered (a debatable point, to say the least), but because listening to rap and hip-hop was, to a degree, embracing a cultural attitude and stance and, as such, offered much more than just a listening experience. Similarly, more than just offering a new way to process words, Linux introduced an alternative computing culture (open source/free software) and implicitly provided a worldview from which to understand new technology and public policy as it relates to science. Of course, since hip-hop is hip, comparing Linux to it makes Linux hip, which is one of the things you might want to if you're trying to hawk Linux mobile technologies, which seems to be the other point of the piece, as they go on to discuss Samsun YOPY PDA and other Linux-to-go offerings. Still, it's worth a read, yo'.

Clued-in/Clued-out  "The reason that we have not seen a real Linux virus epidemic in the wild is simply that none of the existing Linux viruses can thrive in the hostile environment that Linux provides. The Linux viruses that exist today are nothing more than technical curiosities; the reality is that there is no viable Linux virus."  "Ray" in a commentary called "The Short Life and Hard Times of a Linux Virus" posted to Sitereview.

Linux Flashback!  The April 1995 edition of the Linux Journal, issue 12, featured "Building Shared Libraries" by Eric Kasten, a Linux port tour by Joseph L. Brothers, and Terry Dawson's article on "Ethernetting Linux."

Wanna let everybody know? Send your announcements, thoughts, comments, rude gestures and flattering remarks to: rookery@linuxjournal.com