Fun with Hardware
From 64-bit servers to console conversion projects, your Linux platform choices are better than ever.
by Don Marti
Running Linux makes you smarter, and we've got proof. In his article on Nagios on page 52, Richard C. Harlan explains how John Deere integrated its diverse server management needs under the thumb of one Linux-based project, for a small budget.
Other cluetrain-riding people at a variety of companies talked to Doc Searls about the new balance of innovation power between informed Linux-using customers and their vendors (page 38). Freedom is changing companies behind the scenes, and thanks to your discreet tips, Doc is watching it better than anyone.
This issue also includes the year's best Linux hardware news so far. The big cheeses of the information technology industry are building servers based on AMD's new AMD64 architecture, which you may know as linux/arch/x86_64. In an interview on tazaa.info, AMD CEO Hector Ruiz included Linux as one of only two “operating systems that matter”, and our favorite OS was the first one released for AMD64.
You can get an idea of AMD64's abilities, and those of the Newisys two-way server that's among the first Opteron products on the market, in Michael Baxter's first look on page 58. Michael is the man to ask about Linux in the electronic design automation industry, and the new AMD architecture is already attracting attention from Cadence and others as a way to replace expensive 64-bit RISC UNIX.
Our other featured hardware article this issue covers Microsoft's Xbox video game system. On page 44, Michael Steil explains how making the Xbox run Linux is not only fun but actually useful. Try it. Upgrading an Xbox is a great way to learn about the boot process and is cheaper than a single-board computer for hobbyist embedded projects. Cut back on the coffee the day you solder those two little pads together, though.
If your web site uses free software exclusively, you might not realize how big of a deal CMF for Zope (page 14) really is. Proprietary content management systems have high-priced licenses and still require you to do substantial customizing. This might be the article that makes you a web hero at work, so pay attention.
This issue also hosts a cross-platform development-tool cage bout. Will your next project use the promising new Mono (page 74) or the reliable wxWindows (page 90)? Both are free as in Dmitry, so you can easily try both. Finally, contributor Josh Rabinowitz told me that he got hooked on using the man page index, shown in his article “How to Index Anything” (page 82), before he was even done with the article. Imagine searching all your man pages, Linux Journal archive CDs and old mail with one tool. I'm going to try it out.
Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.