UpFront

by Various
Buzz Match: Who Does What?

See if you can match each of these companies with their buzzphrase description of themselves. All buzzphrases are copied and pasted out of each company's own press releases or corporate boilerplate.

For more fun, random-generate your own buzzphrases at http://www.BuzzPhraser.com/. And if you don't like that engine, take the source code and build your own. It's free and open.

—Doc Searls (Linux Journal's leading expert buzzware management solutions provider)

1) Red Hat              a) Linux-based software solutions for the Internet
                           and enterprise computing infrastructure
2) Caldera              b) the leading CyberSecurity product, service and
                           training solutions provider
3) Linuxcare            c) a leading provider of software and services for
                           connected smart devices
4) VA Linux             d) the expert provider of Linux and open-source
                           solutions for the Web
5) APC                  e) the "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business"
                           technology leader in developing and marketing successful
                           Linux-based business
6) Chek                 f) the leader in developing, deploying and managing
                           solutions built on the benefits of an open-source platform
7) Aberdeen             g) the world's leading supplier of
                           business-to-business embedded computing platforms for use in
                           telecommunications, network storage, imaging, medical equipment, and semiconductor production and test
                           equipment applications
8) Mainsoft             h) a leading developer of scalable messaging and
                           e-mail infrastructure software for Internet Service
                           Providers, Application Service Providers and corporations
9) Bay Mountain         i) a leading provider of state-of-the-art application
                           development technology and business solutions
10) IBM                 j) a leader in providing comprehensive professional
                           services and solutions for Linux and open-source
                           technologies
11) Trustix             k) a leading application infrastructure provider
12) Zero G              l) a leading provider of web and application
                           infrastructure services
13) SecureInfo Corp.    m) leading provider of global, end-to-end
                           availability enhancement solutions
14) Motorola Computer   n) the leading provider of
    Group                  open-source e-commerce applications
15) Wind River          o) a leading provider of communications
                           infrastructure software for service providers
16) Rockliffe           p) a leading market analysis and positioning services
                           firm
17) Magic Software      q) the e-porting company
18) TurboLinux          r) the leading independent software vendor of
                           network management solutions for Linux
19) Zelerate            s) the leading global provider of IT solutions

Answers: 1-f, 2-e, 3-j, 4-d, 5-m, 6-o, 7-p, 8-q, 9-l, 10-s, 11-r, 12-k, 13-b, 14-g, 15-c, 16-h, 17-i, 18-a, 19-n.

NASA's JPL Builds War Game Simulator on Linux

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of Pasadena, California is one of the space program's major players. Managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, JPL is the lead US center for robotic exploration of the solar system, and its spacecrafts have visited all known planets except Pluto. In addition to its work for NASA, JPL conducts research and development projects for a variety of federal agencies. One such project, the Corps Battle Simulation (CBS), recently made the transition from VAX to Red Hat Linux 7.0, resulting in a substantial increase in performance at considerably reduced cost.

CBS has been used to train army officers in battle tactics for over 15 years. Previously, it ran on VAX's most powerful computer, a $100,000-plus 7800-series machine. However, due to the steadily increasing intelligence and the addition of new features, CBS reached its limitations on VAX. This made further innovation a struggle and threatened to render the battle simulator obsolete within a few years. As a result, the US Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), in Orlando, Florida asked JPL to port the software to Linux in order to increase functionality while cutting cost.

After spending a man-year reconfiguring CBS source code, then recompiling, testing and debugging, the team benchmarked the system running on Linux with rewarding results. “By porting CBS from VAX to Linux, we have achieved far better performance at a much reduced cost and have lots of extra capacity”, says Jay Braun, a simulation software technologist at JPL.

The additional capacity of Linux gives the CBS system more room to expand. Terrain elevation, for instance, can now be modeled to a highly detailed level. Previously, attempting complex line-of-sight calculations severely taxed VAX capabilities. Now, high-fidelity maps are available on Linux that make simulations more realistic, increasing the accuracy of the battle scenarios.

CBS is running on a $4,000 PC with a 1.2GHz AMD Athlon processor. This Linux machine runs the largest CBS exercise almost four times faster than the most powerful VAX, without sacrificing anything in model fidelity. Using the VAX, fidelity had to be reduced in order to allow a simulation to progress at a one-to-one game ratio, i.e., a virtual minute in the simulation requires a real minute of execution time. Under Linux, however, one-to-one scenarios can be achieved at the highest quality levels available.

JPL has also made adjustments so that CBS has a 20-second save time for the largest exercises and three seconds for small exercises. This is an order of magnitude faster than the old VAX system. Under Linux the application can now represent almost 3GB of virtual address space for each simulation. “That's a big image!” says Braun. “Our model has plenty of features that are pushing the limits of Linux.”

JPL will deliver the ported software in June 2001. Braun predicts that in the near future, the system will further advance to a two-processor machine that can support additional simulations. JPL is now shifting over to Red Hat Linux 7.1 with the new 2.4 kernel.

—Drew Robb

Now Everybody Knows Where You Live

Wonder what the weenies at Google are up to, besides finding ways to make 17,000+ Linux servers search for everything in nothing flat? Try finding out where you live. It's easy. Maybe too easy.

Substitute your name for these: John Doe KY (in other words, first name last name two-letter-state-abbreviation). If they get enough information from some white pages directory, they might even come up with a Yahoo! map to your house.

Want to de-list? Go here: www.google.com/help/pbremoval.html.

And, for more information, go here: www.google.com/help/features.html#wp.

—Doc Searls

LJ Index—June 2001
  1. Uptime in percentage claimed by Chek: 99.928

  2. Uptime in percentage claimed by some Microsoft ads: 99.999

  3. Billions of unique lines of C/C++ software code eligible for migration to the Itanium 64-bit platform: 100

  4. Percentage of Kuro5hin readers who watch TV less than one hour a day or not at all: 65

  5. Sum SuSE is charging high school students for its Linux distribution: 0

  6. Number of Linux boxes SuSE is initially sponsoring for high schools in the US: 2,000

  7. Billions of dollars professional venture funds invested into new startups over the past two years: 160

  8. Millions of hits per day at the Apache.org web site: 2

  9. Peak bandwidth demand on the Apache.org web site in Mb/sec: 15

  10. Number of sites in millions found by Netcraft to be serving with Apache: 17.238

  11. Number of Jabber servers: 35,000

  12. Millions of wireless shoppers by 2004: 373

  13. Number of Americans in 70 now on the Wireless Web: 1

  14. Number of Americans in 3 expected on the Wireless Web by 2005: 1

  15. Percentage of Cingular's 20 million cell phone customers that access the Web: 50

  16. Range in billions of dollars on wireless ads by 2005: .89-6.1

Sources:
  • 1: e-mail from Chek

  • 2: Microsoft advertising

  • 3: Aberdeen Group, www.migratec.com

  • 4: Kuro5hin.org

  • 5-6: SuSE

  • 7: Red Herring

  • 8: Brian Behlendorf, speaking to the Apache Software Foundation Meeting in April

  • 9-10: Netcraft www.netcraft.com

  • 11: Jabber.org

  • 12-16: Graeme Thickens, reporting on what was said at an Industry Standard conference on Wireless. David Weinberger adds, “Attending the conference were between 200 and 300,000,000 people.”

Apache Keeps Rocking

Maybe it was the long-awaited Apache 2 beta release in March, or maybe it was the “increasing returns” economics by which the huge get ubiquitous while the small get trivial. Any way you look at it, it's hard to beat the increasing majority Apache—which is open source—enjoys as a server of web content to the World.

Netcraft's April 2001 survey finds nearly 18 million sites serving with Apache, or 62.55% of the total population of 28,669,939 surveyed sites. That's a 2.3% gain. Microsoft's IIS also gained .89%, achieving 20.64%. Sun/Netscape's iPlanet beat even with a .03% gain, for a 6.27% share. The rest, in total, were down.

Here are some of the improvements in the Apache 2 beta:

  • Runs in a hybrid multiprocess, multithreaded mode.

  • New Apache Portable Runtime and multiprocessing modules.

  • Filtered input/output modules.

  • IPv6 support.

The Apache Software Foundation is at apache.org.

Netcraft also reported that Compaq and AltaVista have followed Amazon's lead by moving its servers to Linux. Both were on Tru64 (formerly Digital UNIX, which was bought by Compaq along with the rest of Digital Equipment Corp). Compaq moved off Tru64 to Windows in January 2001, before moving to Linux. Netcraft is at http://www.netcraft.com/.

—Doc Searls

Stop the Presses: Linux on the PDA Agenda (and Vice Versa)

It's starting to look like a tsunami of Linux-based PDAs is about to spread out of Asia. From Japan, Sharp recently announced that it would roll out a new PDA based on Linux rather than an OS from Palm or Microsoft. The Korea-based G.Mate Yopy is a PDA that uses a speech interface from Conversay, a company headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Ericsson Singapore and Singapore's Centre for Wireless Communications have announced a jointly-developed “handheld computer” called the DelphiPad that runs Linux, features a 10-inch touch screen and is scheduled to sell in the fourth quarter of 2001 for under $1,000 US. VTech has the Helio. And you can put several forms of embedded Linux into Compaq's iPAQ and other PDAs.

But the PDA with major momentum at the moment, judging from the sudden upswelling of buzz in the Linux community, is the Agenda VR, from Agenda Computing. While Agenda is owned by Kessell International of Hong Kong, which also handles manufacturing, the company's whole agenda (pun intended) seems to originate out of its Irvine, California offices, where the company is run by its president, Bradley La Ronde.

Recently I was on The Linux Show with Brad, who seemed to be at least as committed to mobilized Linux as the OS' famous creator. I got the distinct impression that Agenda is a harbinger of change in the consumer electronics business, from one controlled by corporate giants to one controlled by small developers who take advantage of freely available technologies that are constantly improved by their surrounding development communities. I later found out that this particular show was one of the most popular in the history of the program.

Then a couple days ago I got this unsolicited e-mail:

Went to my first linux users group meeting in like a year last night (http://www.nblug.org/, North Bay Linux Users Group) and the CEO/President/Developer from Agenda Computing was there giving a demonstration and talk about the VR3 Linux-based PDA's they're putting out....Don't know if you've checked them out before, but they're actually a lot cooler and more usable than I thought they would be.

Later he added,

They're a little slow—but a big part of the discussion revolved around various ways of solving that. It was very, very cool to have a realistic, technical discussion with a CEO about their product. I spoke with him afterwards, and we agreed on some points where they're going to have difficulty in the marketplace, but the part I cared most about was his honesty. Very clued, in my view.

And that was just one guy. Agenda is clearly making some smart moves with the Linux community. From the start, Agenda's agenda has been to put out an inexpensive ($249 MSRP) basic PDA that runs Linux in a form so inviting to Linux hackers that they'll jump in and write all kinds of stuff for it. This appears to be exactly what's happening. There are a growing pile of independent developer sites, which, together with Agenda, have put together a rapidly growing pile of apps for the Agenda VR—and, presumably, for other LinuxVR-based (linux-vr.org) devices, which also include PDAs from Vadem, Casio and Everex.

In the words of Ian LeWinter, Agenda's VP Marketing, the Agenda VR will compete with Palm, Handspring and other PDA companies for a reason that has nothing to do with Linux' hermit crab-like ability to run in almost anything. The whole look and feel of the device “screams cool”. It's truly palm-sized (4.5" x 3.0" x 0.8"), comes in three colors, runs on NEC's 66MHz 32-bit MIPS processor, with 8MB RAM + 16MB Flash Memory, both IrDA and its own peripheral ports. Audio, too.

According to the independent supermegamulti.com/agenda/ site, there were 93 Agenda VR3 programs in the on-line software depsitory. Those include 23 apps, 16 games and 22 utilities. By the time you read this the number will certainly be much higher.

A review of the Agenda VR is in the works for a future Linux Journal.

—Doc Searls

They Said It

The radio market is now clearly driven by greed and corruption rather than creativity and talent. Something must be done to bring attention to this, and I strongly believe that swift federal action is necessary.

—Sen. John McCain, on record companies paying stations to play their music.

Greed is never good.

—Linus Torvalds

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

—Albert Einstein

Sex is the mathematics urge sublimated.

—M. C. Reed

2,500 statue miles is .0134 light seconds. If we take 10 gigabits/sec (OC192C) as a gigabyte/sec (rounding), we get 13.4 megabytes in flight at 2.5 gigabits/sec (OC48C), divide by 4 and get 3 megabytes in flight.

—Mike O'Dell

Windows has noticed you have changed your mind. Windows will reboot to recognize this change.

—Gates_throws_tantrum, on Slashdot

Irony is so dead.

—Don Marti

Human reality is socially constructed. That is, most of the “facts” that determine our daily lives are socially constructed facts, which are true as long as enough people believe them to be true. The right to own property, the right to not be murdered, indeed the right to continue to live at all; all of these are socially constructed rights, which are true only as long as enough of us believe in them.

—Rusty Foster

There's no matter on the Web and thus no distance. It is a purely social realm; all we have are one another and what we've written. And what we've written has been written for others. The Web is a public place that we've built by doing public things.

—David Weinberger

We hackers were actively aiming to create new kinds of conversations outside of traditional institutions. [The Net] wasn't an accidental byproduct of doing neat techie stuff; it was an explicit goal for many of us as far back as the 1970s. We intended this revolution.

—Eric Raymond

When you've commodity chips strapped together with commodity drives hooked together with fast Ethernet interconnects, then you want a commmodity OS, and Linux is it.

—John K. Thompson

Humans are destined to be party animals, and the technology will follow.

—Linus Torvalds

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