2004 Editors' Choice Awards
This is a new category, but it's about time we recognized library maintainers. Library code saves time and prevents errors by letting people “outsource” parts of apps. We're always happy to see developers use a good library instead of reimplementing something from scratch. Reuven writes, “I want to thank all of the hardworking people who have worked on Pango and the other internationalization libraries and software that make non-Western scripts usable with Linux. Thanks to you, billions of people who don't speak, read or write English still can use open-source software. The fact that I can read and write Hebrew e-mail with the standard version of Mozilla or documents with the standard version of OpenOffice.org continues to impress me.”
Greg writes, “It makes my life dealing with zillions of kernel patches sane. It is the only way I successfully can maintain seven different kernel trees and still have time to sleep.”
Linus Torvalds contributed a stunner of a quote to a BitKeeper company press release—“It's made me more than twice as productive”, he said. As if he was slow before. With that kind of testimonial, BitKeeper deserves a slot in any company's search for a new source code management system.
“I continue to love PostgreSQL and prefer it over MySQL because of its features, stability, scalability, Unicode compatibility and adherence to standards”, Reuven writes. “That said, the MySQL team is making impressive inroads, and I expect to see them close the gap with PostgreSQL in the coming years. But for now, I strongly recommend PostgreSQL to anyone who needs a relational database.”
Marcel concurs. “PostgreSQL is still number one for me”, he writes. “This is a grown-up, powerful database, and the first I turn to when I need to create or use database-enabled applications.”
The latest Zaurus is Ibrahim Haddad's choice. Unlike previous Zauri, this one features USB host support, so you can use it with your USB devices for storage, networking and input. The screen is a pixel-licious 480×640, four times the area of the original Zaurus and the same as the Japan-only Zaurus SL-C700 we reviewed last year.
Our editors are all business and turned up their noses at selecting favorite games. These are the kind of people you want to hire to roll out your company desktop systems. But even though it might not look like Quake or Frozen Bubble when the boss walks by, there's a new hit game that Linux people are playing on the Net, and whether you want to call it blogging or social software, players are everywhere. It's like painting Dungeons and Dragons figures or collecting baseball cards, but with real people.
The glue tying it all together is a simple XML-based syndication format called RSS, which sites such as Technorati and software projects such as Planet are using to bring together Web content in new ways. Who's a blog king and who's a bozo? Pop in to Technorati to check the score.
Reuven points out that the all-in-one social network sites LinkedIn, Orkut and Ryze aren't particularly useful, but he says they're “all scratching the surface of something new and interesting.” It gets really interesting when social networking info crosses site boundaries and anyone can crawl it. Game on!
Paul Barry called Andrew “bunnie” Huang's Hacking the Xbox “a darned good read” in our January 2004 issue. The book is a matter-of-fact introduction to current issues in making hardware do what you want and not what fits into some company's business model.
Reuven writes that Real-World XML by Steven Holzner is “another big, thick book about XML, which doesn't really need big, thick books. But it offers some good explanations, sample code and discusses applications, including SOAP.”
If you're into well formed documents, get Huang's book; if you're into well formed solder joints, get Holzner's. Expand your mind.
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