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Slashback

Slashback: Tenacity, Freedomware, Lem 338

Posted by timothy
from the las-vegas-would-be-nice dept.
Slashback brings you more on Solaris, the not-quite-dead OS/2, and free software you can sneak onto your Windows-running computer. Also, Home Depot turns to the dark side, and Hughes winds down its two-way Internet-by-satellite service. Read on below for the details. Update: 12/18 00:30 GMT by T : The Home Depot item got chopped by accident; it's been restored below. Update: 12/18 00:38 GMT by T : Sigh. And -- my fault for misreading -- Hughes is shutting down their DSL business; satellite service continues at least for now.

Honest, I'm not dead. Again. silvaran writes "A clarification on CNet News indicates that IBM will not stop supporting or selling OS/2 as mentioned previously. Says IBM spokesman Steve Eisenstadt, 'As long as our customers want OS/2, we will support them... We don't have plans to withdraw OS/2.' The withdrawal notice lists several hundred components or software packages that will no longer be available, but OS/2 itself will still be offered."

Like Marshall MacLuhan in Annie Hall. tree writes "The Boston Globe has a really interesting interview with Stanislaw Lem, author of the 1961 novel "Solaris": he is a bit baffled about the latest movie adaptation. In any event, it's a great read for fans of Lem."

They win, GNU Win, we all win. Shwag writes "Last week I downloaded TheOpenCD after it was on Slashdot. I learned about all kinds of great free (as in speech) software. I then searched for more and found out about GNU Win which is a win32 free software cd but it has way more software! Yay! This is a really great way to show people the benefits of free software and get them ready for transitioning to linux."

A platform built from an Acorn. An anonymous reader writes "The (London) Guardian's Online section reports today on the new Ionix PC earlier Slashdotted for being the first desktop to run Intel's XScale processor. The Guardian concentrates on how the new machine may revive the fading fortunes of the once-pioneering Risc OS, but also makes mention of the fact it is ditching old proprietary Acorn subsystems."

Woe to the boonie dwellers, until enough balloons are in place. Avenger writes "Another DSL provider is getting out of the market. Hughes Electronics has announced that they will no longer be providing high-speed Internet services. Over 160,000 users will be affected. As it stands right now, they still will be providing connectivity via DirecPC."

But it seemed like such a great do-it-yourself idea! adagioforstrings writes "You may recall last year Home Depot announced they were deploying Linux at 90,000 point-of-sale terminals across the nation. Well, time went by and no more was heard about it...until now, when Home Depot announced they would be upgrading their POS systems with technology from NCR Corp., and 360 Commerce Inc. and ... Microsoft Corp."

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Slashback: Tenacity, Freedomware, Lem

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:01PM (#4911873)
    Did they turn invisible when they went to "the Dark Side" or something?
  • Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damiam (409504) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:03PM (#4911887)
    What happened to Home Depot and the Dark Side?
    • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Funny)

      by JJAnon (180699)
      That's just it - there is no story. They went to the dark side because they didn't have a story for us to dissect and bitch about.
      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by vsprintf (579676) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:40PM (#4912535)
        There was a story in the local newspaper last week about how Home Depot (they are building another store in town) had originally planned to use Linux for the self-serve system but had switched to Windows because they didn't want to "limit their options" or "lock themselves into something" as hilarious as that is. I won't be buying stock in Home Depot. If the Windows checkouts work as well as the voting machines, I'm sure they'll be popular in Florida. I'll be going to Ace.
    • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

      by mu_wtfo (224511) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:09PM (#4911932) Homepage
      I know, that was the main thing I wanted to read about.....?
      I guess I'll just amke a story item up, then:
      "Home Depot To Migrate All PC's, Registers, and Forklifts to Windows 3.11"
      Now *that's* what I call the Dark Side.

    • "What happened to Home Depot and the Dark Side?"

      Didn't Yoda make it pretty clear that when one attains enough power within the Dark Side that they can hide themselves from the Jedi?

      Afterall, if the information doesn't exist in the Great Archive, then it simply doesn't exist!
    • ... Don't be stupid. Parent post recieved an overrated moderation for saying this:

      "What happened to Home Depot and the Dark Side?"

      Don't mod this guy Redundant or Off-topic. When the topic originally appeared it was missing that info. Don't burn his karma up just because he can't go back and update it now that the story is fixed.

      Normally I wouldn't bother to post something like this, but I've been burned a couple of times recently over it. If you have karma to burn, mod up the funny posts or find people that really are trolling. Don't mod people down because an article was corrected after the fact. Its not like we can run back and edit our posts to coincide with the edit to the story.
  • I'll bite, Timothy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SteweyGriffin (634046)
    I realize you were trolling with your anti-IBM remarks, but I'll bite anyway.

    Considering that OS/2 came out way back when Windows 3.1 was around, it's quite a remarkable OS. It supports multithreading as well as various other important and fairly advanced features, which is neat since it had these features nearly a decade ago.

    It's important to remember that OS/2 is not Windows, nor does IBM want it to be. It is a very different environment that does take some getting used to. There are a lot of things I like about using OS/2, but there are a few things I like about using Windows too. One of the nicest things
    about OS/2 is its ability to coexist with other operating systems on the same computer.

    Now that really is a freedom of choice, one that many love about using Linux with Windows or *BSD with Windows or even dual-booting Windows/OS X.
    • I think that you may have misinterpereted his "Almost dead" remark. I think it was referring to the recent /. article that IBM would be discontinuing OS/2. He wasn't trying to pick a fight with you.
    • by rabtech (223758)
      You seem to forget that Microsoft had the same thing when Windows 3.1 was out, and it was called Windows NT.

      IBM and Microsoft co-developed OS2/WinNT, but disagreed on where the interface should go. Microsoft saw dramatic uptake of Windows 3.x and thought that would be a good road to plod down. IBM wanted to do their own thing. As a result, the groups split.

      Microsoft won.

      And here we sit today. Perhaps if IBM had done things Microsoft's way, the world would be a different place. For better or worse, I cannot say.
    • But I hear Slashdot has a new promotion going, subscribe to one article, get the dupe for free!
    • Stewey, I have to agree about OS/2 being a remarkable OS. As an ex-IBMer, I guess I'm biased, but I truly believe that the VDM in OS/2 was a better DOS than DOS. The fine tuning you could do on the behaviour of DOS apps was incredible.

      An example of this would be an app written using Borland's Turbo Vision framework. These apps poll for keyboard input like no tomorrow. Under any flavour of Windows, you can get the CPU useage down to about 50%, but no better. On OS/2, you could get CPU useage down to 1% and still have a nice, snappy response.

      I ran a 3-node DOS-based BBS package (RemoteAccess) for several years and enjoyed it most when running under OS/2. Most of my apps were DOS apps and running them there was a far better experience than using DOS and DESQview.
    • by Mattsson (105422)
      Eum...
      How on earth do you dualboot Windows with OS X? =-/

      OS X can't run on x86 hardware.
      Windows can't run on Mac hardware.

      Unless you're speaking about dualbooting Windows with a Gnu/Darwin system.
      But that's something completly different from OS X.
  • What about Home Depot???!

  • Home Depot and M$ (Score:2, Redundant)

    by gazita123 (589586)
    Try this link to what is probably hinted at: http://www.computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/hardwa re/story/0,10801,76511,00.html [computerworld.com]
  • The Home Depot thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:12PM (#4911962)
    They're buying some Microsoft systems for point of sale [com.com].

    Home Depot used to be one of those Java poster children that they trotted out at JavaOne, but I never saw any of it show up in the stores. To this day their systems, except for the actual registers, are straight out of the 70's. I think they're terminals connected to an HP/UX box.
    • Jill Taylor, a director of engineering, said Home Depot considered Linux but settled on the "more mainstream" Windows operating system. She said that with Linux, the company would have faced issues such as a lack of drivers and support if it decided to use cross-platform hardware.


      this is pretty funny. i wonder if by cross-platform she means dell vs. gateway. really though, there is alot of support for linux (ibm, redhat) if you want it.
    • by Myco (473173) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:22PM (#4912043) Homepage
      Mildly OT, but what the hell, Karma's only a number... not even that, really... anyway:

      Stopped into my local 7-11 the other day to use the ATM there. Rather than the expected greeting and prompt to insert my card, I see... a Windows desktop. 2K, IIRC. I just about bust out laughing right there in the store.

    • by Loundry (4143) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:41PM (#4912178) Journal
      I'm an ex-employee of Home Depot. I worked in the IT department.

      Yes, the registers, and practically all of the store systems, are connected to one of many different types of HP-UX boxes, depending on how old the store is. I heard tales of SSC (store support center, the HD headquarters just outside of Atlanta, GA) IT employees opening up those boxes and finding them totally packed with dust. As in, no more dust could fit in the case of the HP-UX box. But it still worked!

      When I worked there, Java was all the rage and HD had lots of employees churning out millions of lines of shitty Java code that did a whole lot of nothing. Much of the real work was still done on MVS (that the IBM mainframe) in JCL, assembly, and whatnot. The UNIX work was in HP-(S)UX in, of all things, Informix 4GL.

      When I was leaving, HD was seriously flirting with Linux. They had lots of cool linux machines running in one of the labs. I felt bad about leaving, but not really, since I was leaving to go work at a Linux shop doing Perl. HD hated Perl, or anything else that was "unsupported."

      HD IT managers actually did a purge of all rouge Linux machines they found on the network maybe about a year or so before I was hired.

      In my opinion, any flirting that HD has done with MSFT is due to the new CEO, Bob Nardelli. Talking to my old HD friends has revealed that he's making all sorts of really stupid changes, such as trying to turn 50% of all store employees into part-timers. (What? How are you supposed to have SMEs with so many part-timers?)

      But before anyone forms any real opinions about HD, remember: HD is a retail shop, not a technology shop. People in IT there were, every few months or so, demanded that they "prove their worth." As far as the head retailers were concerned, IT was nothing more than a "cost center." If you want to work in technology, don't choose retail. You're going to be disappointed.
      • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:15PM (#4912398) Homepage Journal
        You say this about HD:
        Much of the real work was still done on MVS (that the IBM mainframe) in JCL, assembly, and whatnot.

        The other day, I had a look at a new looking terminal in the Lowes. It was some kind of IBM box, running X. The main aplication seemed to be .... a 3270 emulator. Ta-da! the sturdy old background process continues to run but they now have a reasonable desktop to add other applications if they feel like it. No hideous CompUSA adverts blaring, just a nice clean window manager. The terminal, by the way, looked to have all the expected IBM toughness. It was pleasing to see.

      • rouge Linux machines

        In Soviet Russia rouge linux is the standard Linux distro...
        • TROLL? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

          How, exactly, is this is a troll? My guess is that the moderator didn't get the joke. So, for the cosmically clueless, here it is:

          The parent poster misspelled "rogue" as "rouge." This misspelling actually resulted in a different word, properly spelled. "Rouge" is French (and other languages, including English meanings) for "red." Therefore, when Alomex commented on "rouge linux" being the standard distro in Soviet Russia, he was actually being quite witty: Red Linux is standard distro in Soviet Russia.

          Sheesh. Give some clown mod points, he turns off his brain.

      • And that is why... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SlashChick (544252) <erica AT erica DOT biz> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:30PM (#4912483) Homepage Journal
        "HD is a retail shop, not a technology shop. ...As far as the head retailers were concerned, IT was nothing more than a 'cost center.'"

        And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Home Depot will never be as big as Wal-Mart. Home Depot thinks of IT as a hole that the company is constantly pouring money into; Wal-Mart relentlessly uses IT to further its goals of getting the lowest cost from suppliers. (The definitive article on Wal-Mart and technology. [technologyreview.com])

        Home Depot will never be a leader in the industry if it continues to view IT as an expense rather than an investment. Your post was an excellent example of how retailers tend to forget that technology, when used properly, can not only form the core of the business, but strengthen existing product lines. Home Depot's executive staff most likely looks at Wal-Mart and ask "How do they do that?" The answer lies in Wal-Mart's aggressive stance on technology adoption.

        In fact, Wal-Mart and Home Depot are even compared here [business2.com], where Wal-Mart's CIO is asked whether or not it will make a difference if competitors use RFID tags. (RFID tags are Wal-Mart's next big frontier.) "The challenge is to keep innovating faster than the competition can copy us," he says.

        If what you're saying really is true of Home Depot, expect Wal-Mart to keep swallowing Home Depot's business. Wal-Mart has never labeled itself as "just a retail shop," as you label Home Depot. Home Depot doesn't have the competitive advantage, nor does it sound like they know where to spend to get that advantage. I expect that Wal-mart will remain a leader for some time to come in the retail space. This quote [cisco.com] sums up what you're seeing nicely:

        "'I think Wal-Mart views technology in a different light than most retailers,' says Peter Abell, retail research director at AMR Research. 'It's not only an integral part of the company, but it's where the leaders of the company can come from.'"

        This is the direction in which Home Depot must go in order to become truly successful at lowering costs and increasing productivity. Unfortunately for Home Depot, Wal-Mart is already there, and getting further and further ahead...
        • actually home depot is looking at Menards and asking "hod do they do that?" Menards has them beat on every corner, every city and in every mind of every customer. How? menards has made the poorly shot and produced commercial a trademark, They produce their spots for horribly tiny money on horribly outdated equipment. Second they cust costs while gaining more exposure by only advertising on Cable and local broadcast during cheap times. they get 20-30 more ad's than all their competitors combined and if you poll people to name a home improvement wearhouse they will say the name menards first.

          Finally they are really looking at making their IT work for what they want at the lowest cost.

          Home-depot = the wannabe of the home improvement wearhouse. and will more than likely become the next Home-quarters (HQ as they were known before filing Chapter 11) if any indication of the levels of incompetence their upper management has been demonstrating.

        • HD and Wal-Mart (Score:3, Informative)

          by Loundry (4143)
          Home Depot will never be a leader in the industry if it continues to view IT as an expense rather than an investment.

          Agreed! To view IT as a cost center only is to blind oneself to the advances that we can make to "mere retail."

          In fact, Wal-Mart and Home Depot are even compared here

          You have no idea! The Home Depot concept IS the Wal-Mart concept (mostly). The common managerial question at HD upon considering a new idea was, "Has Wal-Mart done it?" The Home Depot cheer was a carbon copy of the Wal-Mart cheer. Giving stock to all company employees was an idea HD copied from Wal-Mart as well. So was the "Inverted Pyramid" idea (read: lie).

          The differences between Home Depot and Wal-Mart are why HD will shrink and Wal-Mart will grow. 1. Home Depot has a service element which is much, much more difficult to quality and inventory control. 2. HD is much more limited in what they can sell than Wal-Mart is. Many Wal-Marts now have grocery stores.

          If what you're saying really is true of Home Depot, expect Wal-Mart to keep swallowing Home Depot's business.

          It's inevitable. Wal-Mart and Home Depot will eventually be competitors, and HD will lose that battle.

          I expect that Wal-mart will remain a leader for some time to come in the retail space.

          I expect that Wal-Mart will be the defining force behind retail until the retail concept becomes obsolete.

      • It's sad to hear about the new cluelessness at HD. I don't mean about not using Linux --I couldn't give a damn one way or another-- but their drive to shed their really important asset: the employees.

        HD employees make that place different from other large supply megalostaurs. Trying to convert half the workforce into temp slaves is going to turn the HD experience and franchise into shit.
      • HD IT managers actually did a purge of all rouge [reference.com] Linux machines they found on the network maybe about a year or so before I was hired.

        And no doubt all the eyeliner and lipstick ones too.

  • It's obvious they bought the acorn they built the
    platform out of at home depot.
  • dilemma (Score:3, Funny)

    by zdzichu (100333) <zdzichu@i r c .pl> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:16PM (#4911996) Homepage Journal
    -rw-r--r-- 1 zdzichu users 825032208 gru 16 22:25 /tmp/solaris/CD1/vc-sol1.bin
    -rw-r--r-- 1 zdzichu users 170 gru 16 22:25 /tmp/solaris/CD1/vc-sol1.cue
    -rw-r--r-- 1 zdzichu users 220958640 gru 16 22:26 /tmp/solaris/CD2/vc-sol2.bin
    -rw-r--r-- 1 zdzichu users 170 gru 16 22:26 /tmp/solaris/CD2/vc-sol2.cue

    watch it or delete it?
  • by stripmarkup (629598) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:19PM (#4912013) Homepage
    Jill Taylor, a director of engineering, said Home Depot considered Linux but settled on the "more mainstream" Windows operating system. She said that with Linux, the company would have faced issues such as a lack of drivers and support if it decided to use cross-platform hardware

    story [computerworld.com]

    • She said that with Linux, the company would have faced issues such as a lack of drivers and support if it decided to use cross-platform hardware

      Yea, we all know who well Windows runs on big-endian boxes. Except for x86 is there anything else that Windows can run on?

      And, I'm not talking about 'Pocket PC' on little ARM PDA's - AFAIK you still have to manage menory manually with Pocket PC. That shit became passe when Max OS 9 died.

    • That's gotta be PR BS. How many drivers do you need for a Point of Sale system? I take it no one will be playing quake on these things. A 486 could do it just fine, be dirt cheap, and extremely stable. Try running any newer Microsoft offering on one. Then upgrade it and see how it does.

      As for support, they could have just talked to Redhat/IBM whoever and gotten them to support it. POS systems are a narrow, reasonably well defined task. They could handle that.

      I'm betting there's more that we aren't being told. Three to one someone wanted to go with the "safe" bet and ignored any arguments against Microsoft. Oh, well. I guess I get to make fun of Home Depot's computers when they bluescreen in addition to the blue screens I've seen in train stations. How do you bluescreen displaying a train schedule??? Anyway, that's another comment. I just hope Home Depot's prices don't get driven too high when their POS system starts suffering from vendor lockin effects. I wonder how often they'll need to "upgrade" the software on them.
      • About the only thing non-"standard" that a POS system would have to support would be a magnetic card reader. And most of the time, those just show up as keyboard input. Hmm, and a receipt printer. Gee, do you think that Linux can handle an ASCII printer? (You would not believe how much those things cost.)

        Bafflegab cybercrud excuses. Bullshit Baffles Brains. My guess, they could get a freight-car of VB programmers cheep. (I saw a tor.jobs ad for VB programmers in California. "Embeded" VB in healthcare apps. Scarey stuff!)

        • Like everything else, POS systems are more complex than they look. The peripherals they have to support include bar code scanners, scales, magnetic card readers, touch screens, operator ID tags, customer displays, EFT devices, smart card readers, security alarms and POS printers. In more specialised areas you might attach fuel dispensers, liquor dispensers, loyalty devices, token (eg car wash) programming ... the list goes on and on.

          Someone made the comment about "how hard is it to drive an ASCII printer"? Well, if it just prints ASCII, perhaps not hard hard at all. But POS printers may also print logos, bar codes, cut their paper, print Credit Card signature slips, have multiple colours, warn when the paper is getting low and occasionally contain more than one print head. And no, they don't support Postscript or PCL. Usually it is some proprietary encoding scheme that is peculiar to the make and model of printer. The situation is exactly the same for the other devices for the other devices - the scanners, EFT devices, and so on. There are lots of different models. They all perform roughly the same functions, but they are all have to be driven differently.

          So a few years ago Microsoft came up with OPOS [monroecs.com], which defined a standard interface for each type of device and left it up to manufacturers to write device drivers that adhered to it. In theory we POS software writers did not worry any more about how we had to drive each device - we just wrote our POS's around the OPOS spec.

          This admittedly old concept is brilliant, but in OPOS's case somewhere between the drawing board and the delivered drivers something went badly wrong. Your average driver did not work or had to be installed in some peculiar way, so you ended coding around each drivers idiosyncrasies - once you figured out what they were. Personally, I think it was easier to do it the old way. But that is irrelevant as I did not make the purchasing decision, nor did company that produced the POS software. The company buying the POS peripheral did - in this case Home Depot. And if you don't have to use it OPOS makes perfect sense - something you would include in your requirements list.

          Linux does not have OPOS. In fact its worse then that, Linux has no language neutral object system that allows something like OPOS to be developed. So unless something changes drastically, Linux will never have drivers for POS peripherals that can be used by any developer, whether they use Gnome, KDE, Python, Perl, C++, or whatever. The situation could best be described as a mess. About the only out you have to to code in Java and use JavaPOS.

    • by sterno (16320) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:34PM (#4913209) Homepage
      Let's think about this for a moment. If you are deploying thousands of systems, you can set a standard and deploy a standard that is compliant with Linux. As for attached hardware, I guarantee you that any POS hardware shop would bend over backwards to make a massive sale to home depot. They are one of the 800 lb gorillas in retail so you'd think that they get a little flexibility from their vendors.

      So now they get to pay licensing fees on all of those POS systems forever. What happens when Microsoft no longer supports the OS on your registers? Now you HAVE to upgrade, and outlay even more in support costs.

      Good thinking... really...

      In reality, I guarantee that this decision is the old, "nobody lost their job choosing microsoft", the more modern version of the same phrase that was applied to IBM originally. IF they went with Linux and it was a failure for whatever reason, the person who made the decision is SCREWED. IF they go with windows and it's a failure, they won't take the heat because they went with Microsoft.

      Granted, if the Linux option succeeds they have the potential to look really good, but oh well...
  • by marhar (66825) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:21PM (#4912034) Homepage
    The article said that Lem "had no intention of seeing the film". However, what Lem actually said was "I have not seen the film and I am not familiar with the script, hence I cannot say anything about the movie itself except for what the reviews reflect..."


    From his offical website [cyberiad.info]

  • by zzxc (635106)
    DirecTV's satellite-satellite service isn't shutting down, it's only their DSL service. Their DSL service was directvdsl or directv broadband, while their satellite-satellite service is DirecWay.
  • The Lem article talks about the botched communication and wounded love
    of his Western audience. What's the big mystery?

    I encountered plenty of American snobs in college who "liked"
    Stanislaw Lem because, well, because he has the decency to NOT be an
    American. Just thank God he is not an American science-fiction writer,
    such as Heinlein (that Fascist!), or, well, any of those other guys
    (Phillip K who?) that write science-fiction that can't be any good
    because they are Americans so they can't be literary or
    throught-provoking. Lem is foreign, so he just has to be deep.

    I'm sure there was plenty of backlash against that kind of snobbism.

    The poor guy never had a chance to get a quality audience in the US.

  • by sfraggle (212671) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:33PM (#4912119)
    Now that we have User Mode Linux [usermodelinux.org] that can run in User Space, would it be possible to get it to compile and run in CygWin? Then people could run Linux in their existing Windows system.


    Just an evil thought I had.

  • It seems that IBM is dancing around the issue here. They say that they will still support and sell OS/2, but they are not supporting large chunks of it.

    It would be simmilar to microsoft saying that it will still sell windows, but if anyone has a problem with any of the components (IE, Control Pannels) they are out of luck.

    It seems that IBM dosen't want to say that they aren't stopping, but they want to. They should bite the bullet and go one way, the other, or the GNU way.
    • It would be simmilar to microsoft saying that it will still sell windows, but if anyone has a problem with any of the components (IE, Control Pannels) they are out of luck.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Microsoft already operate that way?

  • "Jill Taylor, a director of engineering, said Home Depot considered Linux but settled on the "more mainstream" Windows operating system. She said that with Linux, the company would have faced issues such as a lack of drivers and support if it decided to use cross-platform hardware." Umm... I don't see a plethora of Windows drivers for non-Intel computers. (Maybe they are talking about CE?). And the last time I checked Java still worked on Linux. Seems to be alot of FUD to me, because once your on non-x86 chips there seems to be much more hardware support in Linux than on Windows.
    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@nospaM.yahoo.ca> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:56PM (#4912280)
      Here we have an excellent example of somebody doing something because they were not sure about what they were talking about. Hence take the "safe" bet and use Windows.

      The problem with the statement she makes is that they would have a lack of drivers if they went cross-platform. So that means they have all the drivers on the i386 platform. Hence right now they are locked into i386. So since they were "locked" they might as well get locked totally and use Windows. Why, because at least it is supported!

      To Jill Taylor this logic makes sense. However, to people outside it makes little sense since either route would end up at the same destination. The problem with her logic is that she is associating Linux with cross-platform and failure to do so as a strike against the platform. In other words in her mind Linux 1 Windows 2, when in fact the score is Linux 2 Windows 2.

      It is funny when I am on panels and I make these comments on the bad logic within corporations many people take a hissy fit. The reality is that most people decide on funny logic like this.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:38PM (#4912149) Homepage Journal
    "I'm sorry sir, I can't check you out. You'll have to go to Ace Hardware."

    "Why! I'M PAYING CASH!"

    "My Supervisor told me that a "Crib Kitties" in the Maker? No, Servicer! Yea. He said that Norton would fix it and that he would give us a "lice update" when he was done. I think."

    "Here, catch this hammer. Oops. Missed. Sorry.."

    This could be a good use for P2P apps, to update drivers and make sure the lastest and bestest is on all machines....

  • Perhaps not (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shird (566377) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:41PM (#4912180) Homepage Journal
    This is a really great way to show people the benefits of free software and get them ready for transitioning to linux

    Either that, or they will realise that it is not Linux that is providing this 'great software', but GNU, and it is also available on Windows. So why bother to switch when they can have the best of both worlds: Good GUI, and all the same free GNU software thats available under Linux.
  • by spacefrog (313816) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:42PM (#4912181)
    Well, now we have proof that the Slashdot editor's don't even read the damn articles.

    The DirecTV deal has nothing to do with rural customers. Rural customers couldn't get DSL from them before they went out of business, either.

    The DirecTV story does not apply to their satelite-based system (DirecWay/DirecPC). This is what the people in the boonies use. The article clearly states this.
  • The Cyberiad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alomex (148003) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:44PM (#4912198) Homepage

    While Solaris might be the most famous book from Lem, I much prefer "The Cyberiad". The book is a mixture of Douglas Adams and Monthy Python, but at a higher level. Science fiction meets Guildernstein and Rosencratz.

    Here are a few quotes:

    "Everyone knows that dragons don't exist. But while this simplistic formulation may satisfy the layman, it does not suffice for the scientific mind. The School of Higher Neantical Nillity is in fact wholly unconcerned with what does exist. Indeed, the banality of existence has been so amply demonstrated, there is no need for us to discuss it any further here. The brilliant Cerebron, attacking the problem analytically, discovered three distinct kinds of dragon: the mythical, the chimerical, and the purely hypothetical. They were all, one might say, nonexistent, but each nonexisted in an entirely different way ... "

    Pastoral poem on love and tensor algebra (with a little topology and higher calculus):

    "Come let us hasten to a higher plane
    Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn
    Their indices bedecked from one to n
    Commingled in an endless Markov chain."

    "One day Trurl the constructor put together a machine that could create anything starting with n. When it was ready, he tried it out, ordering it to make needles, then nankeens and negligees, which it did, then nail the lot to narghiles filled with nepenthe and numerous other narcotics. The machine carried out his instructions to the letter. Still not completely sure of its ability, he had it produce, one after the other, nimbuses, noodles, nuclei, neutrons, naphtha, noses, nymphs, naiads and natrium. This last it could not do..."

    • Re:The Cyberiad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moses Lawn (201138)
      Yeah, I love this book. What I find most amazing about it is that it was originally written in Polish, and somehow all that poetry still comes out amazing. The one you quoted goes on for another 7 verses, and each damn one rhymes. Although that's probably a much of a tribute to the translator as is is to Lem himself.

      I think my favorite story from that book is the one where Trurl creates the world's stupidest, most stubborn thinking machine that insists 2 + 2 = 7, and tries to kill Trurl when he won't agree that it's not 4.
    • by Yahnz (443775)
      I don't have my copy handy, but I must say that the translation is the best I have ever seen. The original text is (as you can imagine) extremely difficult to convey consistently and well, especially in a language as different as English.

      The Cyberiad is also a testament to the breadth of Lem's talent. I would love to see more work in this vein, but alas, there is no more...

      A few more stories appeared here and there in Polish compendiums, but as far as I know they have not been translated into English (yet).
      In case you were curious, these new stories do not expand on the Trurl and Klaupacius per se.

      Jan
    • Cyberiad is one of SF's few works of literature. Unfortunately, it's probably doomed to relative obscurity because the language is highly mathematical.

      On a side note, it was amusing to see (in the Globe article) the true colors of cold warrior hack Jerry Pournelle come to light. His characterizations of Lem as "boring" and someone who "embraces communist egalitarianism" says far more about him than about Lem.
      • Re:The Cyberiad (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bcrowell (177657)
        Well, I can't deny that Pournelle is a right-wing hack. But he happens to be right --- Lem's novels are all booooooring. By contrast, that's what's great about The Cyberiad -- the collection is long enough to develop some cool ideas at length, but the individual stories aren't long enough to put you to sleep. The Cyberiad was, luckily, my first encounter with Lem. If it had been Solaris instead, I never would have read anything else by him.

        One of the big problems with Lem's novels is that the characters tend to be cold, intellectual cardboard cutouts with no personalities. I can't motivate myself to read a 300-page novel about characters I can't even tell apart. The robots in the Cyberiad, ironically, are a lot more interesting as people.

    • Re:The Cyberiad (Score:3, Informative)

      by yulek (202118)
      well it's really a shame that all westerners always talk about the Cyberiad, treating Lem as a writer of satirical sci-fi comedy and completely dismissing the rest of his incredible body of work. everytime he comes up people who have heard of him have to bring up Cyberiada. Sigh.

      yes, Lem doesn't have the incredibly well developed characters of someone like Dick, the silly alien interactions of Asimov, the wars and battles of Pournelle, or the geekness vindication of Stephensen or Gibson.

      he doesn't try to make fantasy out of sci-fi, he doesn't try to give us a warm fuzzy about technology or society, or excite us with explosive plots. his books provide a mental challenge, paradoxes, psychology, and stark reality that most popular science fiction completely ignores. there are tons of people who used to say j.r.r. tolkien is boring. they don't anymore because JRRT is in the mainstream now, but c'mon, reading LOTR and the Silmarillion was a lot like reading history books with an occasional plot! (btw, i'm not knocking JRRT, i've always loved his work)

      now, i'm a native Polish speaker (and reader) so of course i've read Lem in Polish and maybe a lot is lost in translation (actually, i think Solaris' translation isn't all that bad, i've read it in both Polish and English). give his other works a chance: Return from the Stars, Eden, Fiasco, the short stories of Ion Tichy (Star Diaries), the essays of One Human Minute...

      read my epinions review of Lem [epinions.com] for more, if you're interested.

      frankly, i'm really disappointed that slashdotters would be so ignorant of Lem's amazing insights in the rest of his works...

  • maybe that windows emulation layer could prove a useful study piece
  • Freeware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thatmushroom (447396) <Thatmushroom@@@mille352@@@purdue...edu> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:47PM (#4912221) Homepage
    I must confess, I believe the Gnuwin cd deserves a lot more accolades. I downloaded the Open-CD iso, but I realized that with the possible exception of OpenOffice, there really weren't any applications that the people I know might possibly interested in. The multiple compilers in one location would certainly create some interest, but the communication and games packages are the ones that make me want to give this CD to those who know very little about computing. Some will say this is good, some will say I'm inviting a wave of unclean, but if I can show my friends how easy it is to use free, open-source software, then they might avoid any purchases where they contribute to Microsoft, or any company that offers an inferior product to a free one. The fear of just trying something different kept me away from even considering Linux for a long time, and the knowledge and use of free programs like this removes a lot of the fear.

    Sorry for rambling on like that.
  • by RollingThunder (88952) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:48PM (#4912228)
    It used to be a no-brainer - Home Depot in Vancouver was open 24 hours, great selection, and a little bit closer to me than the nearest comparably sized Revy store.

    Sure, a little bit of me didn't like shopping at a US firm when there was a Canadian firm, but at 2 AM, you don't have much choice, and for some reason I always seem to end up going and getting lumber and crap for things I'm working on at 2 AM.

    Then one day, HD announced they were going stock only from 2 AM to 5 AM. Fine, I thought. No biggie. I'll just try to get there earlier.

    Then it was midnight to six.

    Then ten to six it was closed. Now it's the same hours as Revy.

    Then they "expanded their aisles to make shopping better". Nice doublespeak for "we dropped twenty percent of our stock"!

    Creature of habit that I am, I kept going there. I'm uncomfortably reminded of "how to boil a frog"... but one day, I wander into Revy on a quest for the holy rivet.

    OK, not that holy. I just needed some damn copper rivets. HD had nothing. I go into Revy, and they have not just one or two but dozens of types of rivets. I realized then how bad I'd been getting it at HD. Never going back there again!
  • by diaphanous (1806) <pgarland AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:53PM (#4912252)

    RMS dislikes the use of "win" to refer to the MS Windows platform because he regards using MS Windows as a loss [tuxedo.org], not a win [tuxedo.org]. So in the GNU Emacs source code, all variables and functions in the MS Windows port that had been named win32-* were changed to w32-*.

    Additionally, In the Emacs manual, "MS-DOG" is used to reference MS-DOS.

    ~Phillip
  • by Dr. Mu (603661) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @08:56PM (#4912282)
    To quote the lead-in:
    Slashback brings you more on Solaris, the not-quite-dead OS . . .
  • by dcuny (613699)
    But I visited the local Burlington Coat Factory, and was admiring the cute lcd monitors atop the registers. About the size of my I-Opener screen.

    So I had a look at the screen, and was suprised to find a Red Hat icon instead of a Start button in the lower left hand corner.

    This turns out to be old news [computerworld.com], but still a pleasant surprise.

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:13PM (#4912386) Journal

    They're evil because they're cash registers run an OS I don't like!
    </SARCASM>

    What's that about freedom of choice again?

    Here's a corporation that actually considered the alternative, and for whatever their reasons, right or wrong, decided it was inferior.

    How about instead of condemning them, the community looks to the reasons that linux lost a fair fight and addresses them?
  • The last time I bought something at Home Depot, I got caught in line at the register for like 25 minutes. The woman ahead of me had to get something price checked (was taking forever), and all the other lines were real long. While waiting for the price check, I asked the woman at the register whether she could ring me up while they waited. She said no. Her register could only handle one transaction at a time.

    How in the world is Microsoft software going to allow them to do two things at the same time?

  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:24PM (#4912443)
    They have all their Windows cd key labels taped to the side of their PCs throughout their store for anyone to read or record.

    On the labels it specifically tells them not to remove the label either.
  • by renard (94190) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:37PM (#4912525)
    You may recall last year Home Depot announced they were deploying Linux at 90,000 point-of-sale terminals across the nation. Well, time went by... until now, when Home Depot announced they would be upgrading their POS systems with technology from... Microsoft

    Another case when corporate HQ's "We're considering transitioning to Linux..." turns out to be biz-speak for "Gimme a discount, Ballmer!"

    We'll know Linux has won this battle when the shoe's on the other foot and HQ mulls over "transitioning to Windows" until, I dunno, some widget-manufacturer agrees to release open-source drivers that work on the latest RedHat release... or something.

    -renard

  • Jill Taylor, a director of engineering, said Home Depot considered Linux but settled on the "more mainstream" Windows operating system. She said that with Linux, the company would have faced issues such as a lack of drivers and support if it decided to use cross-platform hardware.

    Looks like good ol' Jill is either on the dole or is susceptable to MS FUD. Either way, I wouldn't want her working for my company. That's too bad for Home Depot. That just cost them a buttload of $$$. Looks like the cost of my do-it-yourself remodel isn't going down anytime soon....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:41PM (#4912541)
    I'm not sure how far on or off topic this is, but I happen to work for Home Depot's biggest competitor, Lowe's. All of the POS registers in the stores built in the last few years are running Red Hat, and all of the ASCII terminals are being replaced with thin clients that - surprise! - are running Red Hat as well. All of the programs we use for special order sales, project design, and such are all being ported to the new thin clients. The basic trend is to move away from Windows (Design and Special Order tools) and AIX (POS and terminals throughout the store) to Linux.
  • This article illustrates the biggest rift in ideas between the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block science fiction and Western and in particular science fiction. Soviet sci-fi was the only medium for a somewhat freer expression of ideas and critisizm then most other literary channels and so veiled in otherworldly travels the reader in fact finds very deep commentary on society and technology. Unlike American sci-fi classic Soviet sci-fi rarely goes into the technology or alien biology but instead is much more preocuppied by its effect on people and it's representation of other types of societal order. I would suggest to anyone who would care about this to read Arkady and Boris Strugatski's books such as "Inhabitted Island", "Hard to be a god" and "Picnic by the roadside" the last of which was filmed by Tarkovsky as "Stalker". These are the books which are the most understandable by Western readers and with a good translation are incredibly interesting to read.
  • Actually, the Guardian is based in Manchester, not London. It's a bit further north.
  • "until now, when Home Depot announced they would be upgrading their POS systems with technology from NCR Corp., and 360 Commerce Inc. and ... Microsoft Corp."

    So they are upgrading POS systems to great big whopping POS systems! (same TLA, but use your imagination)

    -My .sig is longer than yours.
  • will have a real POS system!
    Microsoft gives a whole new meaning to the acronym POS.
  • by WG55 (153191) <w.adderholdt@verizon.net> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:33PM (#4912844)

    At the official Stanislaw Lem Web site [cyberiad.info], they have the entire statement made by Lem about the new movie version of Solaris [cyberiad.info], written on December 8th.

    He seems to have a negative view of the typical Hollywood ending, saying that

    It seems that these deep, concrete ruts of thinking cannot be avoided: either there is a happy ending or a space catastrophe. This may have been the reason for the touch of disappointment in some of the critics' reviewsthey expected the girl created by the ocean to turn into a fury, a witch or a sorceress who would devour the main character, while worms and other filth would crawl out of her intestines.
  • Lem "Interview" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bodrius (191265) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @12:05AM (#4913389) Homepage
    Someone has to nitpick... There is no "interview", it's just a nice short article on Stanislaw Lem, using the last movie as an excuse to call attention on an immensely underrated author.

    The "interview" part consists of a single quote, taken from the public statement he published elsewhere about the criticisms to the North American version of Solaris.

    The article is pretty good, though. I was unaware of some of the details of PKD's involvement in the SFWA debacle.

  • by Apathetic1 (631198) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @01:30AM (#4913768) Journal
    Now they really will be POS terminals!

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.

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