What is Java?

by Reuven M. Lerner

My national patriotism is very hurt by putting Dili on the map with no reference whatsoever to East Timor. Dili IS NOT INDONESIA! Dili is an indivisible part of East Timor, and by the United Nations Resolution, Portugal is still the rightful administrative power of East Timor. The Indonesian government has shown no regard for the human rights, and refuses the right of self-determination of the people of East Timor. —Daniel Bernardodaniel.bernardo@visus.alce.pt

Dear Sir,

Let me congratulate you and your team for all the work you have done to benefit the Linux Community. The October issue of LJ was once more a good example of what a magazine should be—both instructive and entertaining.

Although your introduction to the Java world was quite good, I was a bit disappointed you didn't refer to the wonderful relationship between the Java world and the Linux world. An interview with Randy Chapman would maybe be in order. Perhaps focusing on Sun's license restrictions and (dare I say it?) aggressive position towards the Linux Community would also not be a bad idea. Maybe for a future Java II issue?

Finally, I would just like to point out a geographical error in your cover: the city of Dili, as well as half the island it is on (East Timor), is not a part of Indonesia. In the eyes of the UN, it is still a Portuguese colony. It was invaded in 1974 by Indonesia, and its people (the Maubere) are still fighting for their freedom. I know it's not your duty to know this, but you'll also understand it is mine to report it.

Keep up the good work! —Filipe Custódiofmc@novabase.pt

Just a couple of weeks after receiving your letters, in a strange coincidence, the Nobel Committee jointly awarded East Timor's Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and exiled resistance leader Jose Ramos-Horta the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in the 21-year-old conflict with Indonesia.

The prize draws international attention to the situation and awards US$1.12 million to the recipients, which Committee Chairman Francis Sejersted said was for “their work toward a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.”

In 1975, shortly after Portugal pulled out of what had been a Portuguese colony, the Indonesian government moved in and annexed East Timor a year later, an action which the United Nations has never recognized.

But Linux Journal is not a magazine about world politics, so I leave further investigation to the interested readers; a web search I did suggests there is ample reading material available.

More Graphics Standards

In the November 1996 issue (#31), Jorg-Rudiger Hill wrote an article entitled “Linux Goes 3D: An Introduction to Mesa/OpenGL”. In the article, he writes, “OpenGL is the standard for 3D computer graphics and is managed by the Architecture Review Board.” Then, on page 27, this text is enlarged and quoted in a box.

I would like to point out there are other standards for 3-D graphics besides OpenGL. A visit to the ANSI web site (www.ansi.org) reveals two. First, the Graphical Kernel System (GKS) is a graphics standard which now has 3-D extensions (ANSI X3.124-1985). Second, the Programmer's Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System (PHIGS) is a newer standard (ANSI/ISO 9592-1-1989) with many features OpenGL lacks. You may have also heard of PEX, PHIGS Extensions to X, which supports networked 3-D graphics.

These are just some thoughts for you to consider. —John F. Bunchbuncho@ro.com

Readers may want to check out the comp.graphics.misc FAQ by John Griegg at http://www.primenet.com/~grieggs/cg_faq.html. On PEX and PHIGS, it references:

  • PEXlib Programming Manual, Tom Gaskins, 1154 pages, O'Reilly & Associates, ISBN 1-56592-028-7

  • PEXlib Reference Manual, edited by Steve Talbott, 577 pages, O'Reilly & Associates, ISBN 1-56592-029-5

  • PHIGS Programming Manual, Tom Gaskins, 908 pages, O'Reilly & Associates, ISBN 0-937175-85-4 (softcover), ISBN 0-937175-92-7 (casebound)

  • PHIGS Reference Manual, edited by Linda Kosko, 1099 pages, O'Reilly & Associates, ISBN 0-937175-91-9

  • A Primer for PHIGS, Hopgood, Duce & Johnston, 298 pages, Wiley, ISBN 0-471-93330-9

The FAQ also mentions an analysis of OpenGL vs. PEX, Analysis of PEX 5.1 and OpenGL 1.0, by Allen Akin, available by anonymous FTP from sgi.sgi.com as /sgi/opengl/doc/analysis.ps.Z.

There is also a PEX FAQ at http://www-inria-graphlib.inria.fr:8000/Faq/pex, and the language specification can be found at http://www.x.org/pexlib/PEXlib52main.html.

Praise For Linux Journal

I have enjoyed your fine publication from the newsstand for probably more than a year and have finally gotten around to subscribing.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what a great magazine I think it is, because you probably wouldn't hear from me otherwise. I fully support your content policy of mixing novice-level articles with advanced topics. As you have stated in at least one response to a reader, I can overlook those articles that don't apply to me now, because more than likely, I will go back to them in the future. This makes LJ a wonderful reference. I have already used back issues as such on more than a couple of occasions.

I have upgraded to Linux 2.0 and have finally deleted all my DOS partitions from all machines except for one (and I'm working on that...). I couldn't have done it without y'all (little Texas lingo there), and I will remain a subscriber as long as you continue to provide such an outstanding product. —Keith Brownksbrown@ix.netcom.com

Another View of Microsoft

Mr. Hughes,

I agree with the main point of your editorial “The Politics of Freedom” but take issue with your statement that “Bill Gates [should] yield to market pressure and make his software freely available...” Microsoft is a corporation that earns its revenue from selling software. As CEO of this corporation, Bill Gates' responsibility is to maximize by legal means the profits of Microsoft. If he were to suggest giving away the software of Microsoft, he would be swiftly and justifiably fired by the Board of Directors.

I am grateful for the efforts of the free software community, but its members must remember that commercial software companies have a responsibility to protect their software to the extent that it increases profits and benefits shareholders. —Vivek RaoVivekrao@aol.com

Phil Hughes's editorial appeared in the October 1996 Issue (#30).

Yeah, but the train was going backwards

The photograph illustrating your column in Issue 31 of LJ is printed in reverse. If you really want to do that sort of thing, you should be careful to select illustrations without noticeable directionally oriented details like lettering. —Harvey Fishmanfishman@panix.com

Amy Wood, Goddess of Layout, says it was a test for readers and you have passed.

I only read it for the articles.

Finding the Java Developer's Kit

I guess someone has already told you, but there is no JDK at the ftp://ftp.blackdown.org/pub/Java/linux/ site you gave in your “The Java Developer's kit” article! —Richard Smithrick@gte.net

The JDK is available only from mirror sites, a list of which is available from http://www.blackdown.org/java-linux/Mirrors.cgi.

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