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DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! × ## Slashback: Mainstreaming, Lux, Ports234 Welcome to the Slashback. This time around you'll find bits about the speed of light, project Monterey, and coverage of the recently departed (alas!) San Jose LWCE. And word from Microsoft about porting Office apps to Linux gets my thumbs up -- your thumb direction may vary. [Updated by timothy with a special bonus story, 22 Aug. 0:30 GMT] Show of hands if you think Windows is easy to use ... If I'm driving a car with a radio, I usually fiddle with the dials way down around 88-90 FM to listen to NPR, for Car Talk, All Things Considered, and the occasional science show. Now AlKini gives me another reason: "National Public Radio's "High Tech" section covers the Linux World Expo: Linux Moves to Heart of Corporate America (top item ATM). NPR's Chris Arnold for All Things Considered: www.npr.org/ramfiles/atc/200008 16.atc.07.ram (Real Audio)" A major issue raised by the High Tech section article is ease of use; maybe I'm crazy, but putting on Mandrake and going nuts with the included programs is pretty darn easy. Putting on 98 and NT I thought was rather a nightmare. Well, surely all this has shown ... something! OK. Perhaps now everyone can stop submitting the story about the experiment which has been reported as showing a previously unheard of increase in the speed of light. drinkypoo writes: "It turns out that 'Not only does the speed of light remain unsurpassed, but Wang's experiment wasn't even about that.' To be specific, 'the team developed a method of manipulating the wavelengths of a beam of light, thereby altering the way it arrives at its destination. Because short wavelengths become longer and long ones become shorter, the natural fanning outward that marks a light pulse is eliminated; consequently the shape of the pulse at its destination appears the same as at its origin.' It seems that the journalistic frenzy and a NEC press release are to blame. Salon Magazine is carrying the full story here." Reports have been greatly exaggerated. We reported a few days ago that IBM's Project Monterey had been killed. Not so, says dentar, who writes: "I am attending SCO Forum 2000, and contrary to what was published in Sm@rt-aleck Reseller, IBM is NOT ditching Monterey. It is going to be called AIX-5L. (NOT AIX-RL like the article says). The Sm@rt reseller article is very poorly researched and is pure yellow journalism. In fact, IBM is very ticked about the article." Where are the software-release-date betting pool sites? fonixmunkee writes: "Found an interesting story on BetaNews regarding Microsoft reportedly working on porting some of their software to linux. Check it out here." For either P.R. or experimental purposes at least, though, doesn't it seem like Microsoft will offer some Linux software soon? While there's often no accounting for corporate decision making, to ignore the large, vibrant, growing Linux market would be to ... ignore a large, vibrant and growing market. Fine by me; I never much like having my words mangled by Word, and I have never pined for Outlook. The more numerous the laws ... werdna writes: "Counsel for Napster, Inc. just submitted their initial brief on Appeal, explaining why the preliminary injunction should be reversed. The brief sets other arguments, any one of which could be a basis for reversal. Whatever may be said of Judge Patel's decision, she set forth her reasoning squarely, which made it possible for Mr. Boies to crisply and concisely join the issue: Whether the test for contributory infringement of an internet service will be that the services has a "mere capacity for substantial non-infringing uses" (the test adopted by the Supreme Court for VCR's), or Judge Patel's new creation of a "present primary purpose " test, in direct contravention of the Supreme Court's decision in the Betamax case. The answer to this question can have broad-sweeping impact on the internet as a whole. Interestingly, the brief shows that the Ninth Circuit itself originally adopted the "primary purpose" test when it first reviewed the Betamax case, noting that the Supreme Court expressly rejected that argument there. It is sometimes advocacy to a judge to remind them that the District Court they are reviewing just made the same mistake they made years ago." This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted. #### Slashback: Mainstreming IN PROGRESS More Login ## Slashback: Mainstreming IN PROGRESS Comments Filter: • #### Windows is easy (Score:2) I know you guys hate to admit it, but a standard Win 95/98 setup is easy to install and operate. Its fine to stress Linux's strengths (ease of use ain't one of 'em), but don't be ridiculously biased... -- Chaosnetwork [chaosn.com] • #### yeah seriously (Score:5) on Monday August 21, 2000 @03:33PM (#838590) Homepage Everyone here claims windows is the OS for idiots or the average dumb consumer, yet have trouble installing it :) • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1) Pshaw I say. These days Linux is getting to be quite easy to install. It's not so much the Windows installation program that sucks (although it does, and often has inexplicable crashes), it's the hardware detection process that tends to screw things up. I'm not saying that installing Windows is hard; in fact, most of the time (if you remove all your expansion cards first) it's trouble-free. But I think Linux is just as easy, if not easier in some cases, to install. Especially Debian - does Windows explain that you need to fdisk, and format, for example? No, although sometimes if it feels like it it just might do that for you. It's pretty hit-or-miss. Debian's famous "hit enter five billion times" install works pretty well and actually lays out what needs to be done in an easy to understand manner. Windows Setup is okay, but not great. • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:3) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday August 21, 2000 @03:34PM (#838592) Homepage Journal Most significant to me is the fact that it's easy to get almost any hardware to work with windows. Drivers for everything common are included with Win2k and WinME. Win98 SE has a pretty good collection of drivers, too. Drivers for a great number of uncommon things are included as well, though I suspect that predominantly is made up of products from people in bed with Microsoft. And getting your games to work with your 3d accelerator couldn't be easier -- When it works. Which, I will readily admit, is not always. Still, there's more than one reason Windows is my gaming platform of choice. I just wouldn't dream of using it for a server. • #### Funny +MS ports to Linux (Score:4) on Monday August 21, 2000 @03:36PM (#838593) Homepage the line "I have never pined for Outlook" is hilarious. Seriously though, I doubt microsoft will port much if anything to Linux. The reason MS dominates so often is that any windows box you buy, comes straight from the manufacturer with lots of its software installed. Of course IE beat out Netscape in browser wars, its right there on the desktop when you boot up for the first time. Similarly, I dont think people, especially not-so-techy people, will go out of they're way to install new MS software on a Linux box when it comes with free defaults ready to go. Add to that the fact that much of Linux's appeal is that it is free, who would want to ruin that by shelling out for some proprietary software? peas, -Kabloona • #### Yellow Journalism (Score:2) I guess I'm the History Nazi now, but "yellow journalism" doesn't mean what they think it means. It refers to the influential muckraking (and sometimes inaccurate and inflammatory) journalism practiced around the turn of the century by newspapermen such as H.L. Mencken. "Yellow" refers not to cowardice but to the yellow ink used. • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1) This is true, but isn't it always better to install the manufacter's drivers anyways for any product? In that case, who cares if Windows has drivers for them or not, since they'll always be outdated? It's too bad companies aren't providing better drivers for Win2k though... it really peeves me that my brand new Voodoo card keeps uninstalling itself just because 3dfx can't fix their broken drivers. On the other hand, it works fine in Linux ;-) • #### Re:Yellow Journalism (Score:1) You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means. • #### Re:yeah seriously (Score:1) Microsoft has addressed the installation problems by forcing OEMs to not include installation media with a new computer. Now when Windows gets out of whack, the user should just buy a new computer. Everyone wins! • #### if napster looses..... (Score:3) on Monday August 21, 2000 @03:44PM (#838598) Homepage We are all pretty screwed Any kind of new, filesharing technology will be pushed aside for the bland, boring, corporate controlled web. The primary purpose of VCRs, before video tape rentals most certainly was Copyright infringement, but if it hadn't been allowed the video rental industry never would have started. Similarly, any new technology that moves the Internet away from the highrachal, centrally controllable Web model to a more Peer-to-peer model could be used readily for copyright infringement. This judgment could mean that any technological advances in certain directions must contain copyright controls, limits on what the user can do with information on their own computer, in order to even be developed. When Radio first came out, it was everybody talking to everybody else. It was going to liberate everyone, and free the information for the tech nerds. But we all know what happened, air filled with the meaningless chatter of a few, franchise radio stations owned by Disney. I would like it if that didn't happen to the Internet. We don't know how bad things are in north korea, but here are some pictures of hungry children. -- CNN • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1) Ease of installation is one of Linux' strengths; 5 out of 6 Linux installations are IMHO easier to install than most incarnations of windows. Debian is probably the one I've encountered recently that isn't (but it happens to be my distribution of choice once it's installed). Ease of installation was an issue a year ago, a lot of work has gone into it, and as far as I'm concerned, Linux currently leaves Windows in the dust. If you disagree, try Mandrake 7.1 or any new Red Hat. • #### Re:Windows is easy - Maybe for you! :) (Score:2) I am the anti-intuitive computer user, though. I'll admit that MacOS is easy to install and use, but when it comes to sheer joy of installation, I stand by my claim that Mandrake goes on easier than Windows. Doesn't even need a reboot till the process is complete. Of course, that's with my particular rotating collections of hardware that pass as PCs, some of which grouse about having any OS at all. Installing new software, that's a different story -- some things are ridiculously easy to install under Linux (a nightly build of mozilla, most any RPM), but there are some things I've never gotten on right, or that slip on in one distro but flounder when I try to put them on another. In that regard, Windows may be ahead, but I don't use it often enough to say, and I've never been much of a Windows user anyhow. I'm excited about Eazel (and other Gnome related projects) because of the even greater ease of use they promise, though. The Mac -- now *that* I'll admit beats any Linux gui I know for intuitiveness, but "intuition" varies enough person to person that I can see why some people prefer windows-like GUIs better. Variety, spice of life, now available with extra flavor, from Lipton. Trying to put an AOL client onto Windows NT, for instance (for my mom! for my mom!) gave me hours of trouble, until I found out that the Windows AOL client doens't work with NT anyhow. (maybe that's changed with 2000? Dunno, don't care.) Installing certain MS software has failed for me inexplicably at different installation points -- and so have some linux distro's installs. But I can try another Linux (for free) -- with MS you're stuck with an expensive annoyance. So there's my natural bias, don't mean it to be ridiculous, only in keeping with my own experience. I certainly hope you have a better time with any OS than I generally do! :) Cheers, timothy • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1) Windows is easy to install, but you have to be very patient in doing so, and you have to spend a lot of time getting things right. The same is true in Linux, albeit to a lesser extent for those of us who have been around before. With Windows, no matter how many times you've installed it, it takes roughly the same amount of time to redo, in my experience. Firsrt-time Linux installs, while worlds better than they were back in 1995, are still quite problematic for the green-type Windows user. YMMV -- • #### um, hello (Score:1) Yeh, windows(9x) is easy to install, kind of. I've heard NT can be a bitch though. But having installed both 95, 98, Red hat, Corel, and mandrake (as well as slack ware about 4 years ago). I can safely say that Linux is easier to install. Setting up slack ware in 1996 was a bitch, and I'm sorry to say but Corel's distro was completely fucked (network didn't work, when I tried to change the desktop rez, it consistently fucked my setup bad enough to require a reinstall) Win 98 and 95 have the exact same install, and it takes about an hour. Mandrake and Redhat are also similar, detected my hardware as well as windows, and installed quicker. Also, remember, after you actually get windows on the hard drive you need to detect hardware, etc. Sometimes this can take a while, and sometimes things can go screwy. I've seen a lot more people with windows install problems then with Linux install problems, but then a lot more people run Windows. As far as difficulty for me, I'd say installing both windows and Linux rate close to zero, with Linux being very slightly closer to zero then windows. • #### Re:yeah seriously (Score:1) nah, point out to them that they can always pop in the FreeBSD 4.1 platter, or a Linux Mandrake 7.1 platter, and get rolling again. (Of course, there's the little issue of the user's data, and working apps, but we're winning! :o) -- • #### huh? (Score:1) Dude, installing windows is not very hard, otherwise, why would windows users keep doing it over and over again (I know I have...)? • #### IE and Office on Linux is a good thing (Score:1) IE and Office are the two major needs for any corporate desktop. Like it or not, the lack of Office and IE are major reasons for companies not to adopt Linux. Standardization is a powerful thing. MS support for Linux will only help it's adoption on the desktop. Of course, MS Windows for Linux can't be far away... • #### Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2) Before porting 50 meg or so of Office Linux needs a GUI that doesn't suck, so why are we listening to this anti-MS FUD? More Win98 users will be added in China in the next 6 months than all the present desktop Linux users total. Of course someone who thinks installing '98 is difficult is likely emotionally traumatized by the mere thought of anything Micros~1 and likely to sound like an idiot to anyone who can do both. • #### Napster (Score:2) So does anyone here really believe that Napster were not engaged in vicarious infringment - or, in other words, do they believe that Napster did not intend their software to be primarily used to copy MP3s of commercial music? • #### Damn, I told that joke at work and noone got it. (Score:4) on Monday August 21, 2000 @03:59PM (#838608) Homepage We recently migrated to Outlook due to corporate, and I made the comment: I never thought anything would make me pine for CC Mail again.... I work in a Unix shop where we all have to share one Winblows box for e-mail and I must say that Outlook is a major PIA. (Pain in the Artichokes) But at least the web access works with Netscape. (At least until the next Exchange patch...) And more to the point made by Kabloona, MS cannot port anything to Linux without losing much of the mindshare they currently enjoy. Our desktops are getting slicker, (Check out KDE2) our uptime is still better, and our reputation is better. But heck, I just applied for a job as a Solaris admin and got: "Could you send me your resume in DOC format??" I sent it as a perl app instead. ~Hammy "We're all Devo!" ~Boogie Boy • #### What about Konqueror and Nautilus (Score:1) Why is everyone waiting for IE to come out for Linux. I always have found Netscape lot more stable on Windows NT 4.0 (I've hardly used 95 or 98)(Which I have to use at work 8) ) than IE. At home I run Linux Mandrake with Netscape (which is the least stable application on Linux) I am just wondering why people think IE for Linux is going to be any better. What about KDE's Konqueror and GNOME's Nautilus I am sure they'll be much better than IE or Netscape will every be for Linux. • #### Nazi ink (Score:2) I hate to be the Terminology Nazi here, but "Nazi" doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. It refers to a murderous political party that rose to power in Germany after world war one. While its leader, Adolph Hitler probably did have lots of anal sex (really), it does not refer to someone who is anal about facts, rather someone who kills lots of Jews. Also, newspapermen of the early 1900s used black ink, but on high-acid-paper that quickly turned yellow. • #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1) I've actually had times where the windows install has told me that Windows CANNOT be installed. It didn't say why, but it was something with the partition table. I had to use the Mandrake install CD to make a fat32 partition for the windows installer before it would install. But I do have to admit that IIRC, I had a pretty weird partition setup that Windows couldn't get around. • #### e tu troll? (Score:1) I agree as far as office goes, Linux wont make any inroads in business where M$ office is standard (witch is a lot), with out having a fully compatible office suit.

On the other hand, why do we need IE? what's wrong with Mozilla?
• #### Re:Napster (Score:1)

Nah, of course not. At least, I doubt it, although it's funny that all of a sudden Napster comes along with its "New Artist Program" that's had the same "Featured Artist" for a month... now is it just me or does that sound like they're putting on a song and dance for someone? However, I don't believe that Napster should be shut down just because its users choose to use it for piracy (or even because that's what it was designed for). I'd rather they go after the individuals (like Metallica did), or better yet, just leave us alone completely (yeah, like that'll happen).
• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

> I know you guys hate to admit it, but a standard Win 95/98 setup is easy to install and operate.

My computer illiterate friends never complain about it, because they buy it pre-installed.

And when they have problems installing new software (they do, you know), they just call me.

However, for Windows, Linux, or anything else at all that you might actually want to configure for yourself rather than using the default configuration, you're going to have to be smart enough to program the clock on your VCR. Exactly that smart.

The biggest differences between installing Windows and installing Linux are -
• commonness as an OEM pre-installation
• commonness of friends who can show you the tricks
• commonness of willingness to RTFM
The third point only matters because of the differentials in the first two. My friends don't RTFM for Windows, either.

--
• #### Re:if napster looses..... (Score:4)

<mondo@mando.org> on Monday August 21, 2000 @04:10PM (#838615) Homepage
My Intro to EE professor told us a story about the preliminary discussions at Sony concerning VCPs (video cassette players). Some VIP at Sony asked "Why would someone want to see movies at home when they could go out and see them?".

One of the designers turned and said "Porn", and that was that.
--
Mando

• #### superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:5)

<mreece@midway.uchi c a g o . edu> on Monday August 21, 2000 @04:19PM (#838625) Homepage
It does seem that someone... whether NEC or reporters, I'm not sure... was a little irresponsible with the "faster-than-light" story. Even the title of the Nature article, "Gain-assisted superluminal light propagation," seems a little misleading. Although all the articles clearly indicated that this experiment was not at odds with Einsteinian relativity, none of them really explained it.

I don't know that much about physics, but I knew something weird was happening here, and I found a little bit of explanation in the Feynman Lectures on Physics (Volume 1, Chapter 31).

For light of frequency omega, in a material with electrons having resonant frequency omega0, the index of refraction is:

n = 1 + (Ne^2)/(2 epsilon0 m (omega0^2 - omega^2))

The dependence on omega shows that a material transmits light at different speeds, depending on the frequency (or, from a different point of view, the wavelength) of the light. This phenomenon is called "dispersion." Now, for some frequencies, (omega0^2 - omega^2) will be negative and n can be less than one, implying "superluminal" propagation in the sense that light of that frequency may be transmitted faster than "c", the speed of light in vacuum.

Feynman notes that the difference in index of refraction indicates a "that the phase shift which is produced by the scattered light can be either positive or negative." However, he is careful to point out that signals themselves are not transmitted faster than c, because transmission of a signal depends on the index of refraction at multiple frequencies. The index tells the speed at which the node of the wave travels, but the node in itself can carry no information. In order to transmit information, the frequency of the wave must be varied.

So, it appears that the idea of sending light at "faster-than-light" speeds is an old one, well understood by physicists. The theory of relativity has not been violated, and this has been known for some time. Feynman, apparently, taught it to beginning physics students at Caltech in the 1960s. News sources must have simply been attempting to make the story into something more appealing to the public. "Laws of physics break down!" But in reality, no laws have been violated, physics is fundamentally unchanged, and the net result seems to have been a confused public.
• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:1)

"it's the hardware detection process"

Exactly! Redhat detected my audio, but not SuSE. SlackWare is the only distribution to ever detect my zipdrive. The installation is simple where it works. Anybody could do it. In terms of applications the install couldn't be easier (and uninstall is much cleaner than windows). Hardware probing and autoconfiguring is whats really needed to go mainstream.
• #### Re:Napster (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @04:24PM (#838627) Homepage Journal
That would depend on whether noncommercial copying and exchange constitutes infringement. You may behave like taping albums and stuff off the TV is illegal, if this pleases you, but that doesn't make it true. There is such a thing as fair use and one criterion is that the copying and exchange doesn't take place commercially. Claiming that this exchange intrinsically makes the situation commercial leads to a contradiction that renders pre-existing fair use meaningless- clearly if you tape your own CD, this is enabling you to not re-purchase the same music on audiotape, therefore home taping is commercial too... except that the law says home taping is fair use, and not by accident.

Follow the reasoning, respect the law and you can plainly see there's substantial question as to whether Napster exchange is even infringement. It's noncommercial, and is not even verbatim copying of the exact bits of the commercial product, merely an approximation much like audiotapes.

On the other hand, if you _don't_ respect the law you're welcome to imply whatever you like, but it seems strange to turn to the law for shelter when you aren't even interested in respecting what it has already had to say on the matter.

• #### Re:Windows loses install, wins ease of use. (Score:1)

I installed '95 and Mandrake last night. Mandrake was easier to install. Once installed, however, I'd say that Windows was easier to use. Linuxen just don't have a "/Program Files" concept down - and I think it is sorely missed.
• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

Define "GUI that doesn't suck"... Would that be the MS GUI?? Check out KDE2. Even in beta it's more stable than MS.

Enlightenment + Gnome doesn't suck either. FVWM95 does suck.

Have you tried Caldera OpenLinux?? Their installation is ridiculously simple, and you can play Majongg while files get copied. Also the need to reboot 5-100 times is removed.

Also, Win98 vs. Linux comparisons are misleading. Our true competition is WinNT and 2000. Most any linux distro is easier to install than NT4 and does not have later installation issues with service packs, etc. Heck, most people won't even install Win2000 SP1 yet for fear of what it will do.

What most people find so "difficult" about linux installs are issues with unsupported hardware (same as 2000) and package selection. If MS offered half of the apps that most distros do they would have the same problems. (Latest SUSE update: 3228 packages.)

About the Win98 users in China, half of all bicycles are still sold with training wheels, then you upgrade to a car. Most of those people have not had a chance to use a computer before, does their choice to use MS validate the value of Windows?? Tell me what they're using in 2-3 years. Considering the economic conditions in China I'd guess at least a few of them will be using Linux. Comparing US prices for Win98 comes out to 2,000 Hong Kong Dollars per copy, but I'm sure that MS is using drug dealer techniques to get you all hooked. (Fist hit is free, second one costs a bit more...) In comparison, I haven't paid for Linux in years, and even a full price copy of SUSE would run 300 HKD based on the same comparison. (The exchange rate was 10 to 1 when I was over there a few months ago...)

Looks like the British brought opium and the Americans are bringing Windows...

~Hammy
"In a country where chicken's feet are a delicasy, you can be sure that someone else keeps stealing the rest of the chicken." ~Cohen
• #### Monterey is long dead... (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @04:34PM (#838632)
hey, monterey is long dead. The code isn't, but monterey was ibm & sco's new unix, then sequent came on board, then IBM bought sequent, then caldera bought SCO.

So, does IBM kill the cool x86/ia-64 code? Or do they just keep the code, excuse themselves from the SCO commitment. Of course!

Now it's just them in monterey, no one else, so do they kill the brand they've been hyping for the last two years? Nope.. Watch, they'll probably rename AIX to Monterey (think warp or domino).

why is this so damn clear to me?
• #### Re:Napster (Score:2)

This is the sort of honesty that I really like.
• #### Re:Damn, I told that joke at work and noone got it (Score:2)

And what will the HR dude do with your perl app?
• #### Napster (Score:2)

I am so tired of Napster news on slashdot.
Could we create separate "Napster whining"
section so I can switch it off in my preferences?

Not that I am do not care about the freedom
of speach, but I do not use damned thing - I have
my minidiscs and happy with them.

• #### Re:Funny +MS ports to Linux (Score:2)

There is no way that MS can compete with thousands of free developers world-wide.

Why is it that when I hear 'thousands of free developers world-wide' what I visualise is a whole room full of cats?
• #### Windows is easy...but Linux is Fun (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @05:15PM (#838656) Homepage
Before calling anyone biased, one has to remember what /. is for: a bunch of digital grease monkeys poking around in their computers. This is a Nerd news site.

For the casual web surfing game player, windows is clearly easier to get set up and use. It came with the computer to begin with...so the install process never even took place, and wizards are provided so that 97% of the populace can get their AOL up and running without cracking a manual.

However, if you are more interested in poking around and just looking at what all that nifty hardware actually does and how it interacts, I think poking around in the /proc tree is much more easy to do than navigating through a bunch of meaningless windows in the control panel. As a friend of mine demonstrated, it is easier to hook a remote control car up to the parallel port with joystick control in linux than in windows NT or 98. Try to get ttyquake running in windows, I imagine it is difficult.

The point is, for Nerds linux provides a better platform for monkeying around and doing inane things with computer science than windows. To do nerdy things, (outside of gaming which does not really count) linux is just easier to play with. Since /. caters to nerds and not normal people, one shouldn't consider normal uses when arguing about regular uses. The question should be: upon which os is it easier to write a driver for your homemade usb blender? On which os is it easier to pipe revving noises to the speaker when the load goes up? Under which os is it easier to send a message to your beeper when the ports get scanned?

Outside of the enigmatic and mysterious sect of the BSDs, I cant understand why any computer geek could not enjoy linux for just being nerdy.

• #### Heck, even Linus admits Windows is easier... (Score:2)

Check out this [nandotimes.com] story.
"However, confessing that even his parents and sister prefer Windows -- which is compatible with far more software programs -- over Linux, Torvalds predicted Linux will not "catch up" with Windows for "perhaps five or 10 years." "
• #### Re:Yellow Journalism (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @05:37PM (#838669) Homepage
Yellow journalism was the realm of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. They liked any bogus headline or story that could sell more newspapers. H.L. Mencken was an extreme critic of the disparity, hypocrisy, and problems of American society of the early 1900's. To call Mencken a "yellow" journalist does him a major disservice.
• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

Woah...hold the phone.

With linux, the drivers you need are either on the cd (95% of the time)

Umm, everytime I try to install linux I find at least one driver I have to track down. About half the time, the driver I'm trying to use isn't supported at all. Of those cases, about half the time, I can't even emulate it very easily. Even when I can find the drivers, installation isn't generally as simple as "double-click on the executable" or "plug the device in, boot up, point to drivers diskette".

Perhaps I've just been plagued with bad installs, but in my experience, drivers aren't anything I feel like discussing when it comes to linux.

• #### Re:Windows is easy - Maybe for you! :) (Score:2)

(yes timothy, I've met you - CTY)

For the meat of this post relevant to the subject, skip the next paragraph and then everything after it. But I hope the rest has some interesting stuff too.

What I really like about Linux, especially with a good distro (Debian anybody?), is that stuff is rediculously easy to install as timothy says, and you get nice default settings and everything works (especially with Debian, where the package configuration mechanism is well-defined and thought out) and you don't have to mess with it, but when you decide to go "power-user", everything is right there, from simple-to-edit text configuration files to the complete sources of most available programs; you can mess around with stuff. And if you royally screw something up, apt-get reinstall <package>.

• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:2)

I don't mean this to be a flame (OT, certainly), but you have no iea what you're talking about.

You can't "accelerate" light just like "a rock with gravity." Gravity affects a rock by moving it. Gravity affects light by altering its wavelength. That's all. Gravity, as basically defined by general relativity (which is basically a controversial model of gravity) bends the four dimensional space-time manifold..this is what makes the lgiht appear to "bend" in a gravitational field. It's space that's curved, not a star sucking in light by using a centripetal force.

"Therefore, to accelerate light, the scientist must cause it to have waveform, as sound does."

What does this even mean? I've had quite a few physics courses, including theoretical physics, quantum physics, a course on relativity, and even a course entitled "Philosophical Problems of Space and Time" which pretty deeply explored 20th-century cosmology and world-views, with a heavy heavy focus on relativity and string-type theories and so forth. I have no idea what this means.

Cause light to have a waveform? Light is a wave..it's an EM wave. Sound is a longitudinal wave..it consists of nothing more than a "waveform" of compressed particles of some substance. This is nothing like light.

Once you have this "waveform," whatever that is, how do you manipulate it? How does one manipulate light through some attractive force? Um....bzzt, you can't...Elasticity? The only thing I can think of is actively bending space using mass to "direct" light somehow, but that would not quite accelerate it, even if it were in this mysterious "waveform."

If you're basing all this on your concept of the rudImentary Star Trek episodes, I suggest you actually learn some physics first. I suggest "Inside Relativity" by I believe Mook and Vargish for a basic understanding of relativity. James Cushing has written a truly wonderful book entitled "Philosophical Concepts in Physics" that goes more deeply into the physics of quantum theory as well as other various cosmologies. He also has done a collection of articles..I can't remember the title, but it's subtitled "Reflections on Bell's Theorem" that is extremely enlightening.

I may be totally missing something about your post, and indeed I may be blissfully ignorant of some recent advances in theoretical physics that have spawned even rudimentary episodes of Star Trek, but.....I have _no_ idea what anything you said means.

Are you fried up on some weird shrooms, or do you posess an understanding of particle and wave physics that I cannot comprehend?

Oh well..
• #### Re:Napster (Score:2)

I guess my answer to that would be, I think you're asking two different questions.

Question one: Do we believe that Napster wasn't engaged in infringement. I don't believe so. I believe they were involved in much the same way that Netscape is involved in the transmission of kiddie porn and Microsoft is involved in the email transmission of viruses. Yes, they are the medium, but no, I don't think they can be held accountable for that.

Question two: Do we believe they did NOT intend their software to be used to copy commercial music. I personally thing it was, but that intent is a tricky thing to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (a tenet of our US judicial system).

I think the boat has been missed. Trying to take a whack at the medium by which MP3s are transferred is doomed to failure. Better and better ways will be developed as the old ways are killed. It's not a cost effective solution.

The right way to do this (and, coincidentally, a more cost effective way) is to wack some big trafficers. Nail a few of the Napster/Gnutella users for some cash per pirated copy they are distributing. Doing that would scare the bulk of the bandwagon "pirates" off quickly. How many people do YOU know that download an occasional copy, because there's nothing stopping them? How many do you know that would stop post-haste if they thought they could be getting an expensive law suit followed by a more expensive fine?

This is the right way to play...Napster isn't their target, it's the first in a long, long line of internet file sharing softwares.

• #### Re:Windows is (NOT) easy (Score:4)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @06:19PM (#838689) Homepage
I disagree with this idea that "windows is easy to install". Here is a little rant that I sent off a couple days ago on the subject which explains why.

\begin{rant}

I've installed Linux on several machinces in the last year, including a
bleeding-edge laptop, an older laptop, and a couple of desktops, one
overclocked. I've installed windows (mostly 98, once 2000) on all of
them at least once, as well.

Windows WILL find the hardware, every time, and doesn't have the right
drivers for it, and will drive your 21 inch monitor hooked to a big,
fast 3d card at 640x480x8bit until you take it by the hand, after many
reboots, and lead it to a driver for your card, and another for your
monitor, which YOU must dig up. Then you must reboot AGAIN!

Contrast this to Linux: it correctly detects the card, just as does
windows, and then loads a good driver for it. It offers you a sensible
default resolution, and you're off. All the other hardware is handled
similarly by Linux: it finds it, gives you a decent driver, and things
just work. The windows example is also standard: it finds some kind of
hardware, loads a lowest common denominator driver, and then expects YOU
to do the work of making it work right.

Don't try to install Win98 to replace NT, by the way ... fdisk gets
baffled, scandisk crashes, setup.exe craps out ... the problem is that
they don't know that NTFS isn't FAT, and die in an uninformative
manner. I had to use Linux's fdisk to repartition as ef2s, then MSfdisk
thought that the partition was "unformatted", or some such, and could
work with it.

In short, it seems to me that Windows is MUCH harder to install than is
Linux. Windows does have a fancy graphical installation tool, not quite
so nice as Corel's, perhaps, but it really doesn't DO anything for you!
Linux, with or without the eye-candy, gives you far fewer hassles, far
fewer reboots than even win2000, and seems to me to require a bit less
knowlege of the hardware, as well. Linux only requires that you guess
which interrupt your soundcard wants. That you can get by trial and
error (some day I'll write down which one works, so I don't have to try
the guessing game at each install on a given machine).

Windows requires that you have the manufacturer's driver on hand for
EVERY part in your machine! For a frankenstein box, assembled out of
old parts, that can be a big problem. You have to know what you have,
and go find the drivers, and on and on. First stop, the FCC website, to
try to find out who made each board, and then go find out that the
manufacturer is out of business and no more drivers. For a Compaq (don't
buy Compaq if you want to run windows), knowing your hardware is still a
big problem. Finding the drivers on the Compaq disk is painfull. For
Linux, all the drivers are on one CD, and the installer finds the right
one for you. THAT'S easy.

Yes, Linux app's do seem to be lagging a bit yet, but Staroffice 5.2 is
getting pretty close to MSOffice. You will soon be able to do
Microsofty things as well as MS, and serious work is already much easier
on Unix. By the way, administering NT on a home system doesn't seem any
easier to me than the same chores on Linux. Maybe even harder, since at
least with Linux, I know what's behind the GUI. You never really know
that with MS.

It always bugs me to hear this "Linux is hard to install" line, since

\end{rant}

Nels Tomlinson
• #### About Linux on Corprate Desktops.... (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @06:20PM (#838690)
Ok, here is a point that I'm sick of hearing, and am going to put to rest right now. Mircosoft products for linux isn't the reason it's not on business desktops.

If that were the case, MacOS would have the lion's share of the market here. Both IE and Office for the MacOS are better then their WIndows counterparts. IE5 being the most standards compliant browser there is. Office for MacOS being just as good. And with Office 2001 being completly carbonized, it will also be better then their Windows version.

There are reasons that people say why businesses aren't using linux on their corprate desktops. Inconsistant user interface, lack of bussiness apps for linux, fear of open source, etc. The MacOS doesn't have any of these "shortcommings". So why doesn't it own this market? Bases on the reasons that people give for lack of linux use in my eyes are invalid. There are other os'es that do everything they say is needed. Yet they are realatively unused and passed over.

The only negatives I can see to using MacOS on a corp. desktop would be cost of Apple hardware. But cost isn't something these businesses aren't concerned with. MacOS may not be a rock of stability, but is Win9x?

So what is the real reason that linux isn't on the business desktop? Or better yet, why hasn't MacOS been able to get to this market? And as a follow-up.....if linux gets to where the MacOS is in number of aps, ease of use, etc., will it even matter?
• #### Re:FTP install in 30 min? Under 8 MB? Poppycock. (Score:2)

Whatever, dude. I installed OpenBSD over ftp using DSL and it was a piece of cake. Took about an hour, though, but maybe if my connection was faster...the only part that is slow is the disklabel (fdisk equivalent) stage which is admittedly not very intuitive.

I don't think I'm alone here; ftp installs of FreeBSD and OpenBSD are fairly common/frequent.

Red Hat took about 45 minutes to install off a CD when I re-evaluated the main distros this spring. This was on a P-133 with 32 MB ram and a 24x CD-rom. AFC Archvile, you must have really screwed it up to make it take 3 weeks...or was that FUD?

• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

What is "difficult" about linux is NOT using it. Using it is wonderfully simple.

What is difficult is ADDING to it. Installs are pretty easy, running it is pretty easy. But Linux has no equivalent of Windows' "Add New Hardware Wizard" or "Device Manager," nor can you go to a website, click on a link to start downloading, and click the "open" button to install a piece of software when it's done.

THAT is what is hard about Linux. As much as you or I may like it, until you can double click a file to install a program, or click on an icon to add any new hardware you may have, Linux will remain out of reach of the average person.
• #### Re:Microsoft apps for Linux (Score:2)

In cyberspace, nobody can hear you being sarcastic.

• #### Re:What about Konqueror and Nautilus (Score:2)

Why is everyone waiting for IE to come out for Linux. I always have found Netscape lot more stable on Windows NT 4.0 (I've hardly used 95 or 98)(Which I have to use at work 8) ) than IE. At home I run Linux Mandrake with Netscape (which is the least stable application on Linux) I am just wondering why people think IE for Linux is going to be any better. What about KDE's Konqueror and GNOME's Nautilus I am sure they'll be much better than IE or Netscape will every be for Linux.

Netscape is considerably less stable than IE 5.0+. This is a fact, as far as my experience shows. I use both every day while I am doing my current project (PHP development) and cannot stand the strange bugs in Netscape (text disappearing randomly, deciding to eat 50 MB memory for no reason, etc) and the incessant visits from the "Full Circle" bug reporting system. That means it crashed. Yes of course there are javascripts that can bomb IE and security holes, etc., but IE is far more useable, and much faster for my browsing needs.

Since I don't like Microsoft I'd sure like to see someone else release a good browser, but so far all I see are even more inferior browsers coming out. Opera? Fast as heck, but the CSS and Javascripts (DHTML) that work on IE and Netscape rarely work under Opera. Why don't they just emulate one or the other's JS implementation? We'll see, but so far IE is way in the lead in my book.

Chris
• #### Windows install usability (Score:2)

maybe I'm crazy, but putting on Mandrake and going nuts with the included programs is pretty darn easy. Putting on 98 and NT I thought was rather a nightmare.

That said, Windows is more foolproof to install. It checks for more devices and writes progress to disk to mark how far along it is, in the event that it got crashed out by a rogue memory poke.

The fact remains that hardware detection and installation of appropriate drivers is an important part of OS setup. Having to find and download "experimental" or "beta" drivers that aren't included with the default CD (or network) install for a Linux or BSD system makes system installation a lot harder for many.

• #### Re:if napster looses..... (Score:2)

You wanna talk on the radio? Get a CB.

I traveled accross country with a CB one time. Most of the channels are empty. Most people are not interested. There are 3 or 4 channels with truckers on them, who keep better track of the police than the police keep track of themselves. That's it.

You wanna talk on the radio? Get a shortwave license. It's probably no more difficult than, say, becoming an ISP.

I too remember the Internet the way it used to be: Obscure, Intellectual and Hostile. Now that black turtleneck voice would appear to be drowned in a sea of polo shirts and khakis, but it's not. You just have to look for it, like you always have had to do.

There is no way they can kill the www. The nature of the Internet is far freer than radio even, because the bandwidth is only limited by the ammount of fiber that they are willing to bury in the ground. With IPv6 we have virtually no chance of ever encountering rationing like we do with the airwaves.

Exactly how would they go about taking away my ability to post my own original material on a website? They won't. But if they want to go after me posting somebody else's original material without their permission, well, that's to be expected.

• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:3)

<mreece@midway.uchi c a g o . edu> on Monday August 21, 2000 @07:25PM (#838706) Homepage
I'm not familiar with any way in which quantum tunneling can be used to send signals, but I don't know enough to say for sure whether it is possible or not.... I thought the point was simply that quantum particles had a nonzero probability of crossing potential barriers that classical particles could not. Is there more to tunneling?

Note: Quantum physics and a bit of math follow. I've highlighted the important stuff in bold in case you don't want to read the boring details. Or, you can just skip to the last paragraph.

However, I am somewhat more familiar with the "quantum teleportation" of a photon, and my understanding of this is that the actual signal transfer happens by classical means, and is not superluminal.

The quantum teleportation depends on an "EPR" device (named after the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen thought experiment). This device can produce a pair of entangled photons, so that when a measurement is performed on one, the state of the other is determined. That is, the particles start out in some entangled state, but when particle A is measured, it will become either a |0> or a |1>. If A is |0>, B is |1>, and if A is |1>, B is |0>. They are said to be "orthogonal."

The basic idea is that A and the signal are entangled during a measurement, and this affects B, so that B becomes similar to the signal. Now, in order to determine the signal from B, one has to know not only the state of B, but the result of the measurement that entangled A and the signal. Thus, that result has to be transmitted by a classical method, which can't be faster than light. The advantage of quantum teleportation, as I understand it, is not faster transfer, but more accurate transfer.

Here's a more detailed explanation (let's hope I get the details right): the quantum teleportation method has a signal. Let's call it S. Now, Alice wants to send Bob the signal. Alice has a particle "A" (from the EPR device) and a particle "S." Bob also has a particle from the EPR device, particle "B". Particles A and B are entangled, in the state k(|0A>|1B> + |1A>|0B>). (k is a normalization constant = 1/sqrt(2)). When measured, either they will become |0A>|1B>, or |1A>|0B>. Particle S is in some unknown superposition of states, a|0S> + b|1S>. So Alice starts out with the overall state k(|0A>|1B> + |1A>|0B>)(a|0S> + b|1S>). She performs a Bell measurement on A and S. The Bell measurement entangles the photons, thus producing one of the four eigenstates:
PSI(+/-) = k(|0A>|1C> +/- |1A>|0C>)
PHI(+/-) = k(|0A>|0C> +/- |1A>|1C>)
Now, the combination of states (of A and S) that Alice begins with can be rewritten as:
(1/2)[ |PSI+>(a|1B>+b|0B>) + |PSI->(a|1B>-b|0B>) + |PHI+>(a|0B>+b|1B>) + |PHI->(a|0B>-b|1B>) ],
so that entangling the photons causes the state of particle B to become one of the four terms in parentheses. There is a nonzero probability (25%, to be specific) that any of these four states will occur.

Due to the way the beam-splitter technology used in the device works, the teleportation is only successful if the |PSI+> or |PSI-> state results; otherwise, there is a probability that either the |PHI+> or |PHI-> state caused the observed result. As far as I know, 50% efficiency is the best possible for quantum teleportation.

Still, the key point is that, in order for Bob to know if he has the exact state S that was intended to be teleported (that is, the |PSI+> eigenstate was measured so that a|1C>+b|0C> is the current state), or if he needs to apply a phase shift (that is, the |PSI-> eigenstate was measured so that a|1C>-b|1C> is selected), Alice has to tell Bob which Bell eigenstate her detectors measured. And that information must be transferred classically. And so, quantum teleportation does not transfer information faster than light.

By the way, I think a lot of these quantum teleportation experiments happened at IBM. There's a web site at http://www.research.ibm.com/ quantuminfo/teleportation/ [ibm.com] that gives some information about the researchers who have done this. Also, the Los Alamos (xxx.lanl.gov or arXiv.org) preprint archive has a nice paper at quant-ph/0007106, written by Hai-Woong Lee and Jaewan Kim, if you want more detail.

In short, it seems that, no matter how clever scientists become, nature always leaves some sort of catch that keeps us from sending information faster than light and violating causality.
• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:2)

My reading of the article was that the wavefront propogated at superlight speeds. This has apparently been done before, but with a difference. In previous experiments, the shape of the pulse was mangled in propogation -- in other words, all that you could tell at the other end was that something had happened. In this case, they were apparently able to propgate both the existence of the pulse and it's shape.

I think that the thing about waveform is about being able to prove that what came out is what went in. If you drive a car in one end of a mile-long railgun (at 55MPH) and, one second later, a smpking blob of molten metal pops out the other end (again, at 55MPH) , you can try to argue that the car went through the tunnel at 3600MPH. Other people might seriously question the claim.

In this case, the pulse shape of the light beam made it through intact. In the analogy, this would imply that there was enough left of the car to compare serial numbers.

• #### Do I understand this correctly? (Score:3)

on Monday August 21, 2000 @07:44PM (#838717)
So the thing is acting a little like a LASER, only without a net amplification of the signal, sucking back the energy it gives to the output pulse from the input pulse.

Rather than actually somehow weirdly having precognition of the coming wave, the medium amplifies the leading edge of the pulse with its own energy, creating energy "holes" where it was taken, which collapse in reverse-order and suck away the energy of the rest of the incoming pulse, with the appearance of a backwards wave motion. The interaction of the pulse, the amplification, and the energy holes creates a pulse that very closely matches the shape of the center of the pulse nearer to the leading edge of the pulse, but the leading edge of the pulse isn't transmitted any faster than the speed of light, and the output pulse is different from the input pulse in that its leading edge is closer back to the highest point of the pulse, so it lacks the precursor that would allow the bulk of the output signal to be shifted forward as far second time, so the apparent FTL speed (to a device which can only detect the peak of the pulse) should drop off the longer the "wire" is.

The backward energy-sink "wave" is not truly a chain-of-events wave at all, like sound, but is merely a sequence of disconnected events that occur in wave-like fashion WRT their positions and timing, and is therefore not bounded by the speed of light (just as the area illuminated by a flashlight, or the point at which the blades of a closing pair of scissors meet, can theoretically be moved faster than the speed of light).

That's pretty funky. I can definitely see uses for it, if that's what it does.

---
Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:2)

I thought the point was simply that quantum particles had a nonzero probability of crossing potential barriers that classical particles could not. Is there more to tunneling?

I think the idea is that tunneling takes no time (or at least less time than it takes for a photon to move that far), though the particle is translated in space, resulting in FTL movement of the particle. If the particle can be induced to tunnel a significant portion of the distance it has to travel, it can come to have travelled the distance faster than a photon could have moved through space by its normal means of propagation.

This is not the same thing as "teleportation" through quantum entanglement, which, as you know, involves sending data without the particles themselves.

I have no idea whether it's sensible or not.

---
Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
• #### Wow! Napster Plaintiffs! (Score:2)

It is amazing to see who makes up all of plaintiffs in the case. Take a gander!

A & M RECORDS, INC., a corporation, GEFFEN RECORDS, INC., a corporation, INTERSCOPE RECORDS, a general partnership, SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT INC., a corporation, MCA RECORDS, INC., a corporation, ATLANTIC RECORDING CORPORATION, a corporation, ISLAND RECORDS, INC., a corporation, MOTOWN RECORD COMPANY L.P., a limited partnership, CAPITOL RECORDS, INC., a corporation, LA FACE RECORDS, a joint venture, BMG MUSIC d/b/a THE RCA RECORDS LABEL, a general partnership, UNIVERSAL RECORDS INC., a corporation, ELEKTRA ENTERTAINMENT GROUP INC., a corporation, ARISTA RECORDS, INC., a corporation, SIRE RECORDS GROUP INC., a corporation, POLYGRAM RECORDS, INC., a corporation, VIRGIN RECORDS AMERICA, INC., a corporation, WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC., a corporation,

JERRY LEIBER, individually and dba JERRY LEIBER MUSIC, MIKE STOLLER, individually and dba MIKE STOLLER MUSIC, and FRANK MUSIC CORP., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,

You ain't nothin' but a hounddog, a cryin' all the time! You ain't nothin' but a hound dog...

-AP

• #### Failed Experiment (Score:2)

This is not a flame. This is a fact. If you are interested - read this story. Disclaimer: This is not about ease of use, but on the topic: Windows VS Linux in use

At work I have a good 600 PIII box with 256 RAM. I used to have Win NT on it and the speed was alright. I am doing intense Java development (JBuilder) constantly running Apache Web Server/JServ + JBuilder + Oracle Client + 5*(IE Windows) + a lot of other crap. It was running fine, but my friend told me that with Linux it will fly.

I erased everything, installed Redhat 6.2 with KDE and GNOME. I did not recompile the kernel.

I did not see any performance difference between KDE or GNOME, both sucked. Yes, sucked, you open up Netscape (16 megs of RAM!!!!) window and try to drag it - it moves very very sluggy. Now what is that? I downloaded Mozilla, just a little better.

Now with JBuilder and couple of Netscapes my RAM was 217M full!!! Now I understand that this is not really actuall memory that is used, but still.

I could not take that, so I cleaned up everything and installed W2K Pro. And I love it. It is by far the best working environment I used.

The point is, Linux sucks on the GUI/X Windows big time. It is really slow and pretty buggy. On the other hand, I am using it as my firewall and loving it. With no X installed it makes the best server/firewall there is. It is relativelly easy to set up. And Java, Apache, Oracle run greatly on Linux as services. I think this is where Linux kicks major ass... But not on the client side.

Just my .02

• #### No, it's much weirder than that. (Score:2)

I think that the thing about waveform is about being able to prove that what came out is what went in. If you drive a car in one end of a mile-long railgun (at 55MPH) and, one second later, a smpking blob of molten metal pops out the other end (again, at 55MPH) , you can try to argue that the car went through the tunnel at 3600MPH. Other people might seriously question the claim.

It's more like driving a 12 foot car through a mile-long railgun, with 3 feet of the car sticking out the far side at the instant that 4 feet of the car have entered the near side.

It might even be like the above scenario, but with 5 feet of the car sticking out the far side at the instant that 4 feet have entered.

Yeah, it's that weird, if you view it as the same pulse/car coming out the far side.

On the other hand, try imagining that the car has an incredibly thin, stiff wire which has the car's plans magnetically encoded on it sticking out the front of it for miles (but which is not visible to the human eye), and the car drives into a car factory. An identical (except for having a shorter wire) car comes driving out the far side just as the car proper enters the near side. So it looks to our eyes as if the car has driven through very fast, or even been stretched or transported in time, but it has only actually been copied from the information on its leading wire. This is both easily understandable and a more accurate analogy.

---
Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:2)

I think the idea is that tunneling takes no time (or at least less time than it takes for a photon to move that far), though the particle is translated in space, resulting in FTL movement of the particle.

This is very interesting. I wasn't aware of the debate over tunneling time, but I have just been reading through various preprints and web sites and it appears that there are currently several different approaches, with some researchers claiming superluminal and some subluminal tunneling times. From what I have read, it looks as though tunneling through a thin enough barrier might actually be instantaneous.

However, the papers that I have skimmed so far mostly say that while the group velocity is superluminal, the frontal velocity is not. Apparently it is the frontal velocity that is involved in causality and information transfer, so again, the researchers do not seem to claim to have violated relativity.

Interestingly, the Nature article by Wang et. al. (from NEC) about superluminal propagation that started this discussion also indicates a group velocity faster than c. Everything I have been reading lately indicates that the "frontal velocity," not the group velocity, is what cannot exceed c in information transfer. I wonder if this concept is a relatively recent one, as I was able to talk to a rather famous (Nobel laureate) physicist a few months ago and he told me that the group velocity of any wave could never exceed c, as this would violate relativity. Has the understanding of which velocity determines information transfer been called into question recently?

It seems that there are many open questions and debates in this field, even though almost everyone agrees that FTL information transfer is not possible.
• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

Well, the "Add new hardware" wizard sometimes does not work at all, and you have no other real recourse when it doesn't. I used to make a killing installing modems because of the "Virtual Com Ports" and other such rot.

As for the rest of it, many devices just get picked up by the kernel, or have distro vendor tools for installation. "Yast -> System Administration -> Integrate Hardware" is no more difficult than "Control Panel -> etc...".

The truth of it is that people start off using Microsoft products, it's what they "know", and hence they think it's easier.

/opt/oss/soundconf -> Autodetect for sound cards is not much different than the MS method, and so on... Yes, Linux can improve on many things in this area, but does not need to in the strict Win9x emulation that so many people seem to desire.

As far as double clicking on a file to install, there are RPM frontends out there that allow for just that.

Options are confusing to many, but are the ethos of Linux. If people did not want options and control we would never have bothered to start, and we'd all be happy using Windows. (Which probably would have been in a worse state without the competition of Linux to light a fire under it.)

Also, Linux does not suffer from deterioration with use as does Windows. Although not as bad as MAC OS, Windows has a tendency to either fall apart or become unbearably slowww after a year of use. I even see this on our companies workstations that do not get extra software installed on them. On our graphics stations a manual clean-up of the win.ini and a reg clean is needed every month, and FAT corruption causes them to be rebuilt once a year.

That doesn't strike me as easy...

~Hammy
• #### Re:superluminal light propagation (?) (Score:2)

IIRC, the fact that the group velocity can be faster than light has been known for years. In Faster Than Light: Superluminal Loopholes in Physics [amazon.com], Nick Herbert comments on this, particularly with respect to the reflection of radio waves in the ionosphere.
• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

But I think Linux is just as easy, if not easier in some cases, to install

I heartily disagree. I installed Corel Linux on my machine recently... worked well, except it assumed, for some reason, I had a PS/2 mouse. So no mouse support in XWindows. I fixed this easily enough, but it involved steps that no "dumb computer user" could do or understand. Linux is getting easier, I'm not arguing there... I installed a version of RedHat a couple years ago and had to jump through many more hoops... but still, it is not nearly as easy as Windows.

• #### Re:um, hello (Score:2)

But having installed both 95, 98, Red hat, Corel, and mandrake (as well as slack ware about 4 years ago). I can safely say that Linux is easier to install.

Yeah, easy for you, someone who knows what he's doing, an experienced computer user. Now, do you think my grandpa could install Linux on his own? I know he couldn't... and he is a very typical new computer user. Linux is getting easier, and is easy for those familiar with computers, but it still has a long way to go before new computer users will be able to install Linux on their own....

• #### Re:Funny +MS ports to Linux (Score:2)

Of course IE beat out Netscape in browser wars, its right there on the desktop when you boot up for the first time

Well that, and IE is better than Netscape, comes out in regular intervals, integrates well with other Microsoft apps, etc.

• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

Choice is good. No choice is bad

Tell this to the secretary who needs to write up a memo.

You: "Well, you can use Word, or WordPerfect, or StarOffice, or AbiWord, or a simpler text-based editor: vi, pico, joe, emacs. So, what do you want?"
Secretary: "I just want to write a memo."

If you are a college student, take an HCI (Human Computer Interaction) course... you'll quickly learn that the vast, vast majority of technology users want a standard, simple protocol. Imagine if, when driving up to the gas station, you had 50 types of gas to choose from. It's bad enough with three.

• #### Re:yeah seriously (Score:2)

But you didn't. And even if you did, how could they tell ?
• #### Re:Napster (Score:2)

Apples to oranges. You're saying "copy", I'm saying "traffic". No, Joe User still copies his buddy's MS Office CD for his use. No, Joe User wouldn't distribute said copies via mail-order for fear of prosecution.

Napster isn't a way of copying, it's a distribution media, so you have to use metaphores that are similar, not random. Joe User doesn't post his CD image of MS Office on his personal web site for anyone to download....fear of prosecution. Joe User does go download, and make available for download, MP3s on Napster...no fear of prosecution.
• #### Re:I don't (Score:2)

But Napster did give out the tools and the protocols necessary to do just that. It's like this, say Smith and Wesson were to give a bunch of loaded .38s to a bunch of ethically devoid people in the same room. Would they be responsible when someone died? Maybe. It's debatable. Same with Napster.
Distribution of copyrighted audio for non-commercial gain is explicitly legal...
It is? When? Where?

• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

How many of you support users at work? I mean ordinary users, non-tech types? It's hard enough to teach them how to change the desktop wallpaper or check their mail using Outlook. Do you really think they would get linux? I am 100% certain they would not. I love linux though I think it is in need of some major rewrites (X,standard window manager,etc) but Windows works better for the masses of non-tech employees who have to use a computer everyday at work. To some degree, I believe the direction Apple is going is the correct one. Combine the desktop ease of use of the Mac, with the proven reliabilitiy,stability and pure power of of Unix (Linux in our case) and you would have the uber os. -Mark
• #### Re:Funny +MS ports to Linux (Score:2)

the line "I have never pined for Outlook" is hilarious.

I thought so, too. I wondered if anyone would catch that. :)

I wouldn't say that NO ONE is going to install MS apps on Linux. But you're right in thinking that many Linux hackers aren't going to. OTOH, like it or not, if you want to do business with the world, you're going to have to create nice looking Microsoft-format documents. And when you consider that StarOffice's Microsoft filters are notoriously broken (not their fault that MS won't give out enough information about their file formats :-), AbiSuite is hardly complete, GNOME Office is still in early development, KOffice has been in beta testing for at least the last year, and is not likely to do much better on Microsoft conversion, that means sooner or later, you, too will be bend over, grease up, and install Microsoft Office. Heck, just last week I was told to submit a resume for a Unix sysadmin position in Word 97 format. :)

Microsoft Office on Linux would also put an end to the claim that "Linux doesn't run mainstreams apps like Microsoft Office." Microsoft is hurting themselves more than they are hurting Linux by porting apps to it.

• #### Re:um, hello (Score:2)

Now, do you think my grandpa could install Linux on his own? I know he couldn't... and he is a very typical new computer user.

The question isn't whether your grandpa could install Linux. The question is whether he could install Windows. I'd guess he probably couldn't. That doesn't mean that Windows is easier or harder then Linux. Probably, you'd find that overall, they are both even in terms of illiterate computer users to be able to learn how to use them.

-Brent
• #### Thats odd... (Score:3)

on Tuesday August 22, 2000 @04:20AM (#838770) Homepage
I run GNU/Linux+KDE on a 300Mhz AMD system with 128 MB RAM and an old ATI Rage Pro graphics card (PCI) with a 6 GB HD. I run Apache, IBM WebSphere (on a different port), a couple of Netscapes, and I always have at least 5 kedit windows, soundtracker, and a few terminals open. My system flies compaired to my old Windows setup not to mention the huge gain in stability (and six desktops to fill up with programming goodness). In windows, if I had Netscape open, an edit window open, winamp playing, and tried to compile a Java app my computer would reboot itself (which took quite a long time). My system has never crashed while running Linux. In fact, the only time I turn my computer off is when I install nifty new hardware.

Seeing as how you have about twice the machine I do, your computer should have absolutely rocked under Linux. I think if it was slow you must have had a video driver problem as it is fairly easy to pick an unaccelerated video driver.

On the RAM issue, why are you complaining about 217 MB being reported as used when you also say you know about caching -- it's not as if that RAM is locked up -- Linux will give the RAM back when an app needs it.
• #### Re:About Linux on Corprate Desktops.... (Score:2)

Well, there are lots of smallish (less than a hundred or so workstations) that are standardized on Macs still -- at least I still see them.

The problem for MacOS in the corporate setting is in industry specific software. In most industries, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) vertical market software is practically non-existent on the Mac. For custom applications the leading client/server RAD environments (PowerBuilder, VB and Delphi) don't exist on the Mac. The cross platform RADs that are available are either obscure (OMNIS), poorly organized (4D) or very limited (FileMaker). ActiveX does not exist on the Mac, so there are no reusable third party components, so you lose a lot of wiz-bang stuff.

I suppose that the best option for corporate Mac development these days would be to go with java.

-Matt
• #### Grandpa can't install windows either (Score:2)

Windows 2000 is a bit better, but the fact is that installing windows requires AT LEAST as much knowlege as does installing Linux. My father, now a grandpa, couldn't install either. He was an electronics technician for many years, a ham radio operator, and took several programming classes over the last 10 years. His first experiences with computers were back before magnetic core memory. I spent over an hour on the phone long distance getting him through installing windows. GUI's are terribly unintuitive at first use. The hundreds of little conventions about which window is active, how you move about, how you change things, the fact that dialog boxs pop up and CHANGE which window is active, are all confusing. That is actually one of the great things about the linux text-based installers: they don't require that you have the years of experience with the GUI.

The fact is that a new user is unlikely to be able to install any useful operating system on his own. Or windows, or BEOS. Would you expect a new auto user to be able to fix a car? Even a model T? New users have to be told how to find a gas tank! Remember the first time you tried to cook? Followong a receipe is easy when you know how: divide two eggs, cook some spagetti, reserve some of the water, and so on... if you aren't familiar with the jargon and the basics, it's gibberish. Same with computers. Nothing is easy until you understand it.

I posted a comment above, RE:windows is (NOT) easy to use, which details some other of my experiences with windows. I am convinced that windows is actually NOT easy to use, nor easy to install, when compared with old-style, command line unix. At the Purdue stat department the secretarys, who have windows pcs on their desks, use pine and vi on AIX for most of their work. They find it easier, and they teach it to temps because even for temps, the learning curve is short enough. They use those windows pcs for xterms, and for netsurfing.

When you start using a computer, you learn, through trial and error, how to accomplish the things you can imagine to do. Once you've learned it, and forgotten how you struggled, it's easy. By this standard, windows would be easy. So was VMS.
• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

The problem is not that there are several tools available, the problem is that your hypothetical secretary hasn't enough knowledge to make an informed decision about which tool to use. In this case, somebody just has to tell everyone what the "default" application is to use, and the painful choice problem is solved.

If you are a college student, take an HCI (Human Computer Interaction) course... you'll quickly learn that the vast, vast majority of technology users want a standard, simple protocol. Imagine if, when driving up to the gas station, you had 50 types of gas to choose from. It's bad enough with three.

I don't care what those users want, and they're probably not interested in the interfaces that I like. It's fine with me if the secretaries of the world standardize on WordPerfect (well, really they should be using plain text for memos, but you get the idea) as long as I don't have to use it too. As long as there's choice, I and the "vast, vast majority" of users can be happy.

There are three types of gas (five if you count diesel and kerosene) at the gas station where I go, but I don't recall any painful choices - I always pick the same one. I don't see how that would change if there were 10 times as many choices.

• #### Re:Turn of the century (Score:2)

That would be now?

No, that would be in about 3 1/2 months or so...
• #### Re:yeah seriously (Score:2)

No, you aren't. Its called a "contract of adhesion", and it has no legal validity in most jurisdictions. UCITA does give these licenses some force in the US states that have passed it, and they may also be valid in Scotland (although I'm not aware of this being tested), but otherwise common law jurisdictions do not recognise software license agreements as being contracts.

The reason being that the law considers the purchase of software in a store (or over the 'net) to be a sale. You can buy the goods without seeing the license in most cases, and you are usually only confronted with the license when you get the goods home. At this point the law considers the agreement to buy/sell the goods to already be complete, under the normal, common law, terms. Thus agreeing to the EULA is entirely optional, even if you open the box/click the button/whatever.
• #### Prerequisite for Office (Score:2)

Before porting 50 meg or so of Office Linux needs a GUI that doesn't suck,

Why? Office seemed to do ok on Microsoft Windows, and their GUI was/is pretty rotten by mid-90s standards (e.g. compared to MacOS and OS/2 Warp). I am skeptical that a good GUI is a prerequisite to office app success, since the historical evidence contradicts this.

LOL! While I was typing the above a coworker interrupted me and asked for help backing the contents of a Win95 hard disk up, to a directory on the file server. He opened two explorer windows, and dragged the hard disk icon from one, to the target directory in the other window. The computer told him it couldn't copy it and asked if he would like to create a shortcut instead. So I solved his problem by telling him to use the XCOPY command instead. If your assertion that Linux needs a GUI that doesn't suck before Office should be ported is correct, then perhaps Windows also needs a GUI that doesn't suck before Office is released for Windows.

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• #### Second that motion! (Score:2)

Yes, please! I am tired of it myself. Of course, eliminating YRO gets rid of most of it.

WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

Or the fact that half of them had how to install linux OVER windows :))))
• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

hehehe, now that I think about it, that is pretty damn funny.
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• #### Re:um, hello (Score:2)

Probably, you'd find that overall, they are both even in terms of illiterate computer users to be able to learn how to use them

How to learn to use the Install or how to learn to use Linux? My Grandpa didn't install Windows, it came on the computer, but since then he has installed - on his own - various software titles. Could he have done this on Linux? I dunno, I doubt it... It doesn't get much easier than putting the CD in and clicking OK a couple of times...

As I said, Linux is making great strides in being easier to use for the computer novice, but it still has a long ways to go... and it should, I mean folks have been working on making Windows user friendly for several years longer than folks have been working on making Linux user friendly. Windows also has a very consistent look and feel. 99% of Windows apps have similar menu options, a consistent toolbar appearance, etc. With Linux, that familiarity is lacking (at least in my experiences).

I enjoy using Linux, and have two boxes, one in 98/2000 and the other exclusively Linux. I find myself using Linux more often than not... however, I am a computer science major, I've been using computers for 12 years (give or take). For the billions of everyday computer users out there, Linux is not up to par with Windows... not yet...

• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

I don't care what those users want, and they're probably not interested in the interfaces that I like

Right, but you would care (hopefully) very much if you were one who created software to be used by others (including novices). According to an HCI guy (can't remember whom, exactly, off hand... Neilsen, perhaps, Borenstein, maybe), having options for the super-user is a great idea, but, like you said, the defaults need to be tuned to the novice developer.

I don't recall any painful choices - I always pick the same one. I don't see how that would change if there were 10 times as many choices

But what if the ordering of the gas, or the labels, or whatnot differed at each gas station? Such is the case with many types of software...

• #### Re:Windows is (NOT) easy (Score:2)

It sure does, the fcc id search [fcc.gov] is the old hardware owner's best friend. just plug in the guarantee code and (optionally) the product code, and you're (usually) going to find your manufacturer. I've used it a few times myself.

Bill - aka taniwha
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• #### Re:Silly Editorial Bias (Score:2)

My point is (or was) that choice != bad, although lack of enough information to make a reasonable choice == bad

Ok, and my point is: not creating defaults for novices == bad (i.e., forcing all users to make a choice rather than providing choice but also providing a default). That being said, I think we are in agreement... hehe, a discussion on /. that ended in agreement, who woulda thunk it?

• #### Re:Windows is easy (Score:2)

I said it was easier to install, not easier to get hardware running with

Yeah, I guess that is what you said... I kind of figured getting the mouse to work was part of the installation (what good is a computer with a GUI IDE if the mouse doesn't work?). Oh well... the good thing is, though, that it is getting easier, and, hopefully within the next couple of years novice users will be willing to give Linux a try...

• #### Re:um, hello (Score:2)

How to learn to use the Install or how to learn to use Linux?

Well, you acknowledged that your Grandpa didn't install Windows, so therefore he just had to how to use "X". In this case Windows.

My Grandpa didn't install Windows, it came on the computer, but since then he has installed - on his own - various software titles. Could he have done this on Linux? I dunno, I doubt it... It doesn't get much easier than putting the CD in and clicking OK a couple of times...

Well, You can have applications autorun from the CD in Linux when the CD is inserted, just like on Windows. A few OK's and the app is installed. Don't see a major difference between Linux and Windows here.

Windows also has a very consistent look and feel. 99% of Windows apps have similar menu options, a consistent toolbar appearance, etc. With Linux, that familiarity is lacking (at least in my experiences).

That's silly. Microsoft doesn't even have a common look and feel between their own apps. I just upgraded from Office 97 to Office 2000 and all the menu's and widgets changed again. No more Services menu in Outlook. I still haven't figured out how to set Outlook up the way I had it before. Media Player has some sort of wierd skin now. Internet Explorer's scrollbars change color.

Non MS apps are even worse. Some of them don't have scrollbars that scroll with the mouse wheel. Some of them use old widgets. No, Windows is not any more consistant then Linux. But Like doesn't try to claim to be consistant. If you need consistancy, only run KDE apps, or Gnome apps.

The difference between Linux and Windows is not the ease of use, it's how much you already know. Must people who struggled to learn Windows, think that Linux is too hard. But what they are forgetting is that they struggled to learn Windows also.

-Brent
• #### Re:Failed Experiment (Score:2)

I am currently running SuSe 6.3 on a P200MMX machine with 96 megs and a 4.3 gig drive. I am not a Linux guru by any means. Over the past several weeks, I have been tweaking and torquing various things in the system - currently I am trying to get X and Window Maker set up just the way I want them. Along the way, I installed many of the WMs to see which one I liked best.

So far, Window Maker/GNUstep is what I have found to be most responsive, and most intuitive for my needs. It is also highly configurable, and easy to manage, as well. FVWM2 comes in a good second - but it looked a little too "old" (I am sure this is only because I haven't played with tweaking it yet - I have seen some pretty cool fvwm desktops - I just wanted something different looking from Windows). Gnome seemed ok, but it took forever to load up fully (I am not sure why, it may be it, my machine, or something I need to set up). KDE was alright - but seemed less polished in areas, and if you turned on a lot of stuff (or popped in a gargantuan theme), it started to act slow (on dragging windows, etc).

I have found Window Maker to load up FAST. I love it. Sure, it has it's quirks (I seem to constantly lose the dock, for instance - but I think that is me) - but I can get to what I need, and it looks good.

So maybe it is the choice or setup of the WM that is the problem. One thing that I have found, at least for my machine, is to turn off full window content redraw on dragging - instead just showing an outline - much quicker to move the window (it moved fine before, just a bit jerky).

I still have a ton of stuff to do (setting up a screen saver is one, a custom theme is another) - but I am enjoying every minute of getting there - even when I want to scream in frustration! I have a lot left to do (including setting up a dev environment - I still haven't decided on the language yet!) - but I will get there. It is fun, and exciting - two things sorely lacking in the Windows world.

I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?