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Matt Welsh on NPR 37

ian writes "Yesterday, Matt Welsh was the guest on Public Interest, an NPR talk show: "It's Tech Tuesday. This week, Kojo and guests discuss the growing popularity of the Linux operating system and answer your questions about installation and use of this free, open source, system." You can listen to the show on RealAudio. " Alan McConnell also joined him on the program.
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Matt Welsh on NPR

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  • Well my RealPlayer can play it. My version
    is called RealPlayer(tm) (LINUX)
    Version 5.0 Gold

    Hope this helps
  • Well like the small number of us who actually use Linux as a movie platform, we found out that RealNetworks dropped the Realplayer G2 for Linux. Now none of the content I created since 1998 will play on Linux anymore. Did anyone else in the world use Linux to create Realplayer G2 content back in the day?
  • I'm a linux advocate, but I hate articles that proclaim linux is so damn stable. Yeah, it's stable until you start working on something as non-standard as using linux as a desktop instead of as a server. Once you do that things start falling apart and the learning curve is dwarfed by rate of change(good or bad). Libraries are constantly changing, libraries are conflicting, libraries are missing. I've had to reboot linux several times, most notably X server crashes, although I have a persistent mingetty problem that frequently causes me to power done without properly shutting down. Applications don't work, one caller mentioned the famous netscape instability. What good is stability if you don't have a damn thing to run on it. I've taken a redhat 5.1 install and basically had to recompile most of the included stuff to get a decent desktop system, and I still can't run most of the red hat admin tools, because of library problems. Linux is just alright, and the only thing that really seperates it from the pack is its open nature, and I think that needs to be emphasized, and explained better to why that matters to your apeman computer user.
  • Why people do not wish to use something slightly more accessable and reasonable on resources, such as mp3's is beyond me.

    It is a shame that most broadcast companies seem to stick with the proprietary Real format. Especially, if it is a public funded one, like the BBC World Service [].

    One of the few counter examples I know of is the dance/techno oriented HR XXL [] station, by the public broadcasting service of the federal state of Hessen. They offer this MP3 stream []. I would love to hear from more stations.

  • Well like the small number of us who actually use Linux as a movie platform, we found out that RealNetworks dropped the Realplayer G2 for Linux.

    How did you find out? Is there some press release by RealNetworks? The page with the first alpha version was still up, yesterday. But it is no good (expired).

    It is also bad, because some radio broadcasts seem to use a G2 only format. If it was an open standard, one could try to implement one's own client - a good example why this proprietary stuff if a Bad Thing.

  • Real Networks have posted an unexpired version of the Linux G2 Real Player on their site. This is still the Alpha version, but I have not had any serious problems with it.

    Kudos to Cara at Public Relations and the technical support people for going to bat for us Linux folks.

    For the new version, go to Real Player G2 Download Site []

    To install the driver:

    • Load X Windows
    • Start an xterm session as root
    • chmod +x g2a1_linux22.bin
    • ./g2a1_linux22.bin
    • That's it.
  • Is there a mirror of this that I could use to download the ra file? I am behind a firewall and cant do streaming, but if I could find the ra file and download it, I could listen to this.
    • Is there any danger that Linux is going to be talked to death?
    The danger is that the press is going to run out of reasons to talk about Linux and then stop talking about it.

    Linux has been getting a lot of good press recently, but we are clearly seeing signs of the coverage just rehashing old news. You have to acknowledge that one of the reasons the mainstream press are talking about Linux so much is that they ran out of Microsoft news to report. Windows '95 was huge, '98 was a bit of a yawn, and everyone has already previewed 2000 to death. This is a PR war and if we run out of Linux news then Linux will become JAOS (just another OS).

    Linux has some promising tidbits brewing:

    • Corel Linux and the maturation of Wine
    • The growing gaming support and 3d acceleration
    • Mozilla
    • Visibility for clustering
    • Linux on Merced (regardless of the actual value of Merced, it is something the press loves to talk about)
    • KDE and GNOME coming of age.
    Microsoft will make a huge push once Windows 2000 ships and the Linux community needs corporate partners like RedHat, Corel, and VA Linux to respond in kind with a bit of media hype.
  • That's the version 5 player, which doesn't play 80% of today's real content, which uses the G2 method. I'm going to use the G2 player by changing the date for now :P
  • I think the best point made was when Alan McConnell answered the question "Why should I switch?". His answer was, effectively, that one doesn't have to switch , one can install it to have the choice between one's previous OS and one's present OS.

    I think that's a great distinction that sometimes gets lost in all the "World Domination - Fast!" rhetoric.

    And it's cool to have a voice to go with the guy who wrote the LDP document that got me through my first install -- Slackware with the then-fresh 1.0 kernel :-)

  • I didn't hear the show, and I don't (yet) have an audio player on my linux machine, but I'm glad that they picked Matt and Alan to speak.

    Yes, it's good that they picked Matt and Alan (who spoke off the top of their heads) rather than some well-spoken but less credible representatives.

    Obviously, I'm not the only one who needed the help of "Running Linux" to install it ;)

    Thanks, Matt!

  • The day the Distributions of linux start to use that Caldera Lizard installation engine (or some type of clone of it,) is the day that Linux becomes the competitor to Windos that we all say it is.

    The only scary thing about the o/s is the installation. After that your home free.
  • I WAS ON THE SHOW!!! IT WAS SO COOL!! I know I'm gunna sound like a hopeless groupie, but it was cool to actually talk to someone that helped me get into linux: Matt Welsh. Without RUNNING LINUX, I would have never had the resources to get into linux. Shallow and stupid of me? yes, but Matt did what the linux movement still needs: make truly human readable documentation and instructions. Amazing how things tie together.
  • There is an update to the linux G2 player on Real's website at Apparently, there was an expiration date in the code that expired today. This has been resolved with the new release. Aaron
  • The content providers will only 'broadcast' on a proprietary protocol, because they use the privateness to "protect" their content. If the .ra format was open, they'd choose something else.
  • I find the post-installation configuration to be much more annoying than the installation, itself. I've foisted Linux CDs off onto some number of co-workers, only to see this issue trip them up.

    I've heard of one installer that at least creates one plain old userid during installation, and that's a big step forward. But there's a ton of other stuff to do before you're dialing an ISP and doing ordinary internet functions.

    Not to mention closing the normal default security holes.
  • Call me nitpicky, but accuracy is important.

    - UNIX (in any form that remotely resembles it as we know it now) does not date back to the 60's, but rather early 70's. The very earliest assembly language work started around 1969, when Ken had yet to develop basics like an assembler and editor that would run on the target host, not to mention a higher level language. C wasn't developed until around 1973 or 1974. You wouldn't want to be running most of the operating systems that actually date back to the 60's. :)

    - The GPL does not require you to release modifications. Only if you do release, you must not do so in binary only form. So it's not accurate to say that ``you have to share'', but that ``you can't release the modified software in executable form only''.

    - Linux is not just for PC's.

    - OpenBSD is not ``security through obscurity''. Matt says that he doesn't want to incite a religious flamewar and then turns around to say that. What about the fact that a bunch of hackers did a line by line security audit that supposedly took a number of years? To use a derogatory term like ``security through obscurity'' is an insult to these people. Sure, there may be an element of obscurity because OpenBSD isn't that popular, but that's no excuse for FUD. Matt blew a perfectly good opportunity to use OpenBSD as an example of how open source code allows people to increase their confidence in systems security.
  • You can listen to the show on RealAudio.

    I would love to, but my copy of the G2 alpha for Linux expired yesterday and I can't spot a new one on the Real web site. Unfortunately this is the only player that works on my system right now (FreeBSD 4.0-CURRENT).

    Anyone knows what Real is up to with this player?

  • Joe Public shouldn't have to be as adept as Joe Linux. After all, when do you think the last time Joe Public installed Windows...

    The trend I am seeing among Windows users is that anytime they encounter a problem, they think it is a hardware problem. Computer slow? Replace computer or processor. Modem not working? Replace modem (can you say winmodem?) Sound card not working? It must be the increased stability of the windows operating system and how it should run for years without crashing.

    I'm not complaining. I get the "broken" hardware and build some might fine boxen out of these freebies. Linux just works.

    The company I work for bought $31 million in computers from Compaq a few years back with NT 3.1 installed. Crashing. I'll give you three guesses where the blame was placed. Hardware. Faulty motherboards? So, the blame game continues and always will. I use Linux and can't blame anyone but myself. Fortunately, it works and there is no blame.
  • NT 3.1

    NT 3.5, I need to proofread.
  • would blame me for anything that went wrong with her box, just because I was using it.

    Oh, I forgot. Yes, my company sure did blame the users too. Anyone who had Blue Screens of Death were responsible for the network going down and must have been downloading from them porn sites. Draconian usage policies seemed to have been more convenient than educating users on acceptable usage policies.

    Service packs 2,3,4, NT 4.0, 2,3,4... the blame game continues...
  • Let me preface this by saying that I realize you are responding to critics as a group (especially some of the more vehement ones), and not to me personally. Since I did write a critique though, I'll respond.

    I may have gone a bit overboard in questioning why NPR would have picked who they did. You and Alan are obviously knowledgeable about Linux and care about it a great deal. No one here (who knows better) would question that or the bravery you both showed in presenting yourselves live in a public forum. We owe you thanks for everything you both have done!

    With that said, I still must admit that I found the interview somewhat disheartening. I hear/see live interviews all the time that have more structure and straightforward content. That may have been due to NPR, it may have been due to you guys, or it may have been due to my own expectations; However, it's still how the interview left me feeling.

    Of course we can't fix what has already been done, so let's just forget about it, right? I don't think so. Just as OSS allows our community the opportunity to analyze (and bicker sometimes *grin*) about where our software falls short and fix it, Slashdot (and the like) allows us the opportunity to analyze where we fall short and fix ourselves.

    I know if I were you, I'd immediately have headed over to /. to see how folks think I had done. That's the purpose of an open forum such as this. Not only does it allow people to express their opinions, it also allows us as a community to form brand new opinions out of a consensus. It refines us both collectively and as individuals.

    I feel that if I discuss how I think we missed an opportunity, I may be able to somehow lessen the chance that we will miss it the next time. I'm quite happy that Linux was featured for an hour on public radio... but I think that a whole lot more could be done with such a powerful communication tool.

    So I say let the flames roar and take the personal comments with a grain of salt. We all have something to gain from this kind of discussion IMHO.


  • Is there any danger that Linux is going to be talked to death? Every tech magazine and radio show is talking Linux Linux Linux and none of them have too much to say. Is there a chance that Linux is going to be thought of as overhyped? I know that frenzied work is being done on many levels, and all the big releases are right around the corner, but there doesn't seem to be enough happening right now to justify all this press. I'm just really concerned that we're going to suffer from excess hyperbole and build up expectations a little too much. As of yet, I don't believe that Linux/X/GNU, etc is ready for John Q Public. It's not going to be long, but with the current browser, Linux isn't as stable or dependable as your average Windows 98 system.
    NOTE: I do not blame this on Linux, X, GNU, GNOME, KDE, sendmail, fetchmail, Emacs, etc. Netscape is the reason why Linux is unstable for me on multiple systems. Yet, I use it all the time at home, and here at work.
    Currently, there aren't enough reasons for the average Joe to put up with Netscape and its bad attitude. Nor should they. If consumers as a whole jumped on the Linux bandwagon tomorrow and started mass installing Linux, the one place they'd get really hung (literally) is with Netscape. Mozilla or Opera need to be released before we have something we can install on Grandma's machine.
    Sorry for the rant. I'll behave now.
  • Joe Public shouldn't have to be as adept as Joe Linux. After all, when do you think the last time Joe Public installed Windows was? (and no, I don't mean when he had to reinstall Windows with a handy "first-aid" disc provided him by the company that built his computer then installed and configured Windows for him) Joe Public doesn't have time for that nonsense. He just buys a computer with an OS on it, already installed and configured. When more computer manufacturers (sp?) that are more well-known (like Dell) make actual desktops (ones with modems.. you can get an ok box from Dell right now, but I think Joe Public is even less excited about installing a modem than he is about installing an OS.. stupid winmodem policies.. argh Dell), that's when the rest of the world will actually get a chance to see what all the buzz is about. Otherwise each of them would need a Linux guru to help them along, because installation and configuration are annoying to the average end-user. :)

    Everyone likes to get computer that "just works". Zero prep time = Good Thing. Turn on and zooom. Of course, it would be nice if the prices for preinstalled Linux systems were a little less, ah, steep, on average.. (Dell, for example, actually sells them for more than Windows systems, even with comparable hardware -= a modem.. still haunts my mind why that is..) After all, with no good desktops to turn to (that I know of - remember, think of companies Joe Public knows about, not Joe Linux), few people are going to want to buy a workstation or server for, um, home use.. ;)

  • I haven't noted that particular blaming game among Windows users (practically synonymous with the computer illiterate these days, sad to say).. well, not yet, anyway. ;) Back in the day when I used to live at home my mother would blame me for anything that went wrong with her box, just because I was using it. Hey, it's not my fault if Windows likes to act up for no reason other than it can. I think one of the more amusing things she mentioned was "You install and uninstall things too often. It fragments the hard drive." Gee, if that's true, how come with GNU/Linux I never had that problem back when I actually played on MUDs and dled then subsequently trashed all sorts of MUD code just to poke around in it? =P

    Of course, after I moved out she got a new box and didn't think it was too funny when Windows (98 this time, previous incarnation was 95) trashed her modem, still crashed several times a day (guess her son isn't so "computer illiterate" after all ;), etc. Strangely enough, once this occured, she never once blamed the hardware. She finally blamed the correct party: Windows!

    Unfortunately, many people will always blame something other than the true problem. Those that have the oppurtunity to see that Linux "just works" will be those who start to question why they can't just buy a desktop with it already installed, etc. And actually, Windows moving slow is sort of a hardware problem, if you think about the fact that it has just about always been built to be handled by systems that don't yet exist. ;)

    Oops.. got really distracted by that Pengiun Computing ad where the pengiun rumbles on in to Redmond and steps on stuff. That's really funny. Forgot what I was going to say though. Hee hee..

  • by Matt Welsh ( 11289 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @09:47AM (#1650856) Homepage
    I'm sure that the interview on NPR yesterday could have gone better, that much is true. But please bear in mind that this was done entirely unrehearsed, on the spot, and live. Unlike a magazine or newspaper article, or even a talk in front of an audience, neither Alan nor myself had a chance to carefully think through our responses to the questions -- we simply spoke off the top of our heads. As such some of our responses may have been blundered a bit, but that's the best you can do on live radio.

    I regret that some people are so narrow-minded as to flame Alan and myself for getting out there and simply trying to promote Linux to the masses in the best way we know how. Would you have rather had guests who were eloquent speakers but knew nothing about the system? I doubt that you could have found two people qualified to talk about Linux who would have done much better under the circumstances.

    Please, folks, have some patience. Whether you loved it or not, the point was that Linux got an hour of airtime on NPR.

    Matt Welsh

  • by Louziffer ( 39872 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @05:25AM (#1650857) Homepage

    I believe that the average computer user is going to get very confused by this particular show. Even having used Linux since 1993, I found myself wondering when a question would actually get answered without someone rambling off on OSS, their own history with Linux, or terms that only Linux users would be familiar with. Not once did I hear a question that had a clear and concise answer. I understood what they were going to get at eventually, but that's only because I knew the answer already.

    Perhaps when choosing people to interview, one should not simply pick the most learned individuals they can find. The ability to prepare an on-the-spot lecture is nice when you're in a classroom, but it doesn't seem to work very well in an environment where every minute counts.

    I see this as a bit of a wasted opportunity when it comes to "educating the masses". Instead of giving a brief, basic overview of the pros and cons of a good OS... I heard the interviewer constantly losing control as our knowledgeable interviewees plumbed the depths of Linux while dragging the audience with them.

    Perhaps it wasn't a total loss... but I still think it could have been a lot better.

  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @05:58AM (#1650858) Homepage Journal
    I would love to, but my copy of the G2 alpha for Linux expired yesterday and I can't spot a new one on the Real web site.

    I'm not sure why this was marked offtopic, but this was the issure I faced when trying to find something under real audio's web site that would run Linux. I found the link [] off freshmeat for the download. Its a bloated 4.5 megabyte rpm, typical of proprietary software. Why people do not wish to use something slightly more accessable and reasonable on resources, such as mp3's is beyond me.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"