October 2005: From the Editor - rm -rf /opt/bs
To understand the IT industry, start with On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. Prof. Frankfurt poses, but doesn't answer, the question of why there is so much B.S. in our society. He compares his subject to shoddy construction, and that's an analogy we can work with, because in software we're working at the thrilling edge of language and craftsmanship. We have the tools for dealing with B.S. in computer languages. Try to B.S. a compiler and that's a bug. It's time to tackle the B.S. problem head-on and start reporting bugs in human communications too.
Consider this filler, I mean essay, to be a bug report on the big companies that are doing Linux for the desktop. “Let's 'position' Linux as a simplified desktop for 'transactional users'”, they say. That's right—employees, if your company gives you Linux, that means Management thinks you're a human servlet. Decision-makers and content creators get a proprietary desktop OS.
Of course, offending the employees' pride might not show up on a TCO spreadsheet. But no executive would want to admit to running a division full of transactional, replaceable, outsourceable “human resources”.
But what about Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation and The Innovator's Dilemma? Doesn't the cheap, good-enough contender always grow the features and stability it needs to win? Yes, when it lets in the customers left pressing their noses against the Expensive Stuff Store window. The Macintosh lets you do layouts even if you can't afford phototypesetting. Linux lets you put up a Web server without blowing the price of a Coupe De Ville on a UNIX box.
But selling less-capable products to customers who can get the good stuff doesn't fly. Seen an F-20 at an air show lately? It was a capable airplane, but it was positioned as an “export fighter” for air forces that weren't allowed to have, or couldn't afford, the F-16. Naturally, countries held out for the “real” fighter. Information freedom ideals can only go so far when vendors are patronizing Linux customers. “Aww, the little transaction worker filled out a Web form! Isn't that cute?”
Desktop Linux marketing is doing more harm than good, but work is under way to make Linux out-perform the other OSes. Robert Love's Project Utopia is bringing together the desktop interface and the necessary tweaking of hardware to make things work smoothly, not just securely (page 66).
Michael George has an example of how a thin-client environment almost works to solve a problem, but the project needed one key local app, the soft phone. See a hybrid approach to a VOIP station that works as a phone and a PC on page 72.
One of the projects where software excellence, not transaction-workerism, has triumphed, is Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla expert and author Nigel McFarlane died last month, leaving us with one last article (page 52). Let Firefox serve as an example for the standards the desktop is coming to meet.
Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide