Editors' Choice Awards 2005
Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia
Robert Love calls Wikipedia, “probably the single greatest thing on Earth.” It's hard to comprehend an encyclopedia with 1.5 million articles and editions in 195 languages, so just visit the site and click “random page”. One visit yielded a history of Kincheloe, Michigan; an unfinished “stub” article about a political party in Suriname; a biographical entry on Admiral Walter F. Doran, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet; and the ingredients and history of mortadella.
Why doesn't Wikipedia get cluttered up with flaming, drivel and spam like other on-line fora? Part of the answer has to be in the Wiki philosophy, where anyone can “edit this page” and put problems right, and part of the credit has to go to the MediaWiki software, which makes it easy for helpful people to find and fix vandalism.
On the Internet, any movement looks like a big argument. But forget all the arguing over K this and G that, and get plugged in to the grand unified master plan to clean up the ragged legacies of UNIX, advance the X Window System to keep up with leaps in hardware and put a secure, friendly GUI everywhere.
The list of hosted projects includes D-BUS, X.org and all the hard-to-get-right infrastructure such as vector graphics, fonts and internationalization.
Marco Fioretti wrote in our May 2005 issue, “If protocols and formats stop being tied to specific implementations or toolkits, they can be shared across multiple 'desktop environments'. Code stability and lightness would directly benefit from this, as would innovation. Completely new programs could interact immediately with existing ones.”
Ralink Technology Corp., RT2500 Chipset Solution
If binary-only 802.11g drivers are the rat dookie in your raisin bread, get a card based on the RT2400 or RT2500 chipset and be happy. Instead of giving other vendors grief over “take our word for it, it's a raisin” drivers, we're going to celebrate a company that gets it right. Ralink worked with Mark Wallis, Ivo van Doorn, Luis Correia, Robin Cornelius and others to get a supported driver out there under the GPL.
Paul writes, “On my aging laptop, I popped in the PCMCIA card, downloaded the source code and installed the device driver into Fedora Core 3 and—about two minutes later—joined the wireless revolution!” Special thanks to Minitar, the network gear vendor with the foresight to ask Ralink to make the driver GPL.
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Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.
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