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Journal Journal: Linux Power Tools Quickstart 3

... from a course "Power Linux User Quickstart" :)

Postfix is not a tool - it's a server software. Gnome is not a tool either - it's a windowing/desktop environment.

Tools is what you use to fix something or to build something.

Here is my list of Linux Power Tools:

  • bash - in Linux you really need it to choose other CLI tools;
  • find - you need it to find what to fix;
  • awk, sed - you need to filter what you found;
  • emacs - you need it to edit config files in order to fix them;
  • cvs - you need it to keep track of a history of your changes;
  • lynx - that's how you find new software with fix patches;
  • wget - that's the way you download new software;
  • Perl, Tcl, Python - many scripts, you want to fix, are written on these languages;
  • gcc, make, configure - you may or may not program on C, but you have to build lots of packages from their source;
  • C - actually programming on C is always good to know;
  • PostgreSQL, MySQL - it's not just a database server - it can serve your data;
  • webmin, linuxconf, apt, rmp, Portage - some tools are prescripted already, chose what's better for yur system;
  • iptables - protect yourself;
  • Postfix, Apache, Squid, Zope, Samba, LDAP, Gnome, KDE, X11, CUPS - only now you are ready to learn not fixing tools, but what should be fixed;

Journal Journal: multimedia X11 clipboard

I thouth to answer on this comment, but then decided that it would be too offopic. This subject is too big. I'd better save it for bigger battles.


As a Linux user I've been sufferring from being stuck to Xfree86 for too many long years. That's why my previous irony was so sad.

In 1994 my Linux desktop was more advanced than then-time win-3.x. Since then Windows has got DCOM, NT-microkernel and Active Directories. The system design is unsecure per se, but the system is usable.

In XFree86 I still cannot copy images or rich text formatting through the clipboard, while most of Xfree86 progress went to catch new hardware after it's been out there for windows already. I guess Xfree86 team stuck to bitmap processing: vector graphics is still experimental, while the idea of multimedia is forbidden in Xfree86 team whatsoever - otherwise why multimedia objects are not in clipboard and why Xfree86 has nothing to do with sound?

Speaking about sound: in MacOS my sound is shisfted through stereo channels depends on the place on the screen I click or drag. That's because sound and graphics are processed together in MacOS. Why this idea had never hit brains of Xfree86 developers? If it would then they would defenitely would not forbidden sound in Xfree86.

It's sad for me to realize that a good system design is less important than a good financial investment. But I still applaud to Mozilla, Linux Kernel, Python, Apache, Zope, Gnome, KDE, OpenOffice, Jabber and many other OSS teams for their underpaid efforts to make a difference.


Journal Journal: Microsoft quotes

I like this collection of misleading quotes from Microsoft, from Bill Gates and about Microsoft.

My favorite ones:

  • "The Internet? We are not interested in it" -- Bill Gates, 1993
  • "Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority." -- Bill Gates, Jul, 1998
  • "We had planned to integrate a Web browser with our operating system as far back as 1993" -- Microsoft (27 Jul 1998, filing its first court responses to federal antitrust)
  • On code stability, from Focus Magazine: "Microsoft programs are generally bug-free. If you visit the Microsoft hotline, you'll literally have to wait weeks if not months until someone calls in with a bug in one of our programs. 99.99% of calls turn out to be user mistakes. [...] I know not a single less irrelevant reason for an update than bugfixes. The reasons for updates are to present more new features.
  • Bill Gates, Free Market and the LA Times: "There are people who don't like capitalism, and people who don't like PCs. But there's no-one who likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft"
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. --Bill Gates, Business @ The Speed of Thought
  • "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates
  • I don't think there's anything unique about human intellience. All the neurons in the brain that make up perceptions and emotions operate in a binary fashion. (Bill Gates)
  • "There won't be anything we won't say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go."
  • "We have no intention of shipping another bloated OS and shoving it down the throats of our users." -- Paul Maritz, Microsoft group vice president
  • On the solid code base of Win9X: "If you can't make it good, at least make it look good."
  • "Microsoft's biggest and most dangerous contribution to the software industry may be the degree to which it has lowered user expectations." -- Esther Schindler, OS/2 Magazine

Journal Journal: Some alternatives to ant/make

Some alternatives to ant/make are

  • cook [] (probably the best contender),
  • Mk [] (which is like bitkeeper+make),
  • Jam [],
  • cake [] (does anyone use this any more?), and
  • the Plan 9 mk [].

There's also something called Cons, but it needs perl to work. See this [].

I haven't found a good alternative to autoconf yet. There used to be Metaconfig, but I don't know who maintains it any more (or where). It produces configure scripts similar to what you see when you configure perl. This guy [] uses some unreleased software package for his build systems that tend to work really well -- for C code under Unix.


Journal Journal: TeX books online

That's, library for those who aren't familiar with this wonderful site.

It lists a number of other out-of-print books which're of interest to geeks (and some which are in print such as the .tex source (which one may not process save under specific circumstances) for _The TeXBook_ and _The METAFONT Book_ by Dr. Donald E. Knuth). Books of interest include:

  • _Unix Text Processing_
  • Norman Walsh's _Making TeX Work_ (which is on Sourceforge)
  • Eckel's book on programming Java
  • and for those with kids, _The Great Logo Adventure_

Journal Journal: if Haskell is so great, how come it isn't "mainstream"?

From the article: Why does Haskell matter?

So if Haskell is so great, how come it isn't "mainstream"? Well, one reason is that the operating system is probably written in C or some other imperative language, so if your application mainly interacts with the internals of the OS, you may have an easier time using imperative languages. Another reason for the lack of Haskell, and other functional languages, in mainstream use is that programming languages are rarely thought of as tools (even though they are). To most people their favorite programming language is much more like religion - it just seems unlikely that any other language exists that can get the job done better and faster.

There is a paper by Paul Graham called Beating the Averages describing his experience using Lisp, another functional language, for an upstart company. In it he uses an analogy which he calls "The Blub Paradox".

It goes a little something like this:

If a programmer's favorite language is Blub, which is positioned somewhere in the middle of the "power spectrum", he can most often only identify languages that are lower down in the spectrum. He can look at COBOL and say "How can anyone get anything done in that language, it doesn't have feature x", x being a feature in Blub.

However, this Blub programmer has a harder time looking the other way in the spectrum. If he examines languages that are higher up in the power spectrum, they will just seem "weird" because the Blub programmer is "thinking in Blub" and can not possibly see the uses for various features of more powerful languages. It goes without saying that this inductively leads to the conclusion that to be able to compare all languages you'll need to position yourself at the top of the power spectrum. It is my belief that functional languages, almost by definition, are closer to the top of the power spectrum than imperative ones.

So languages can actually limit a programmers frame of thought. If all you've ever programmed is Blub, you may not see the limitations of Blub - you may only do that by switching to another level which is more powerful.

One of the reasons the mainstream doesn't use Haskell is because people feel that "their" language does "everything they need". And of course it does, because they are thinking in Blub! Languages aren't just technology, it's a way of thinking. And if you're not thinking in Haskell, it is very hard to see the use of Haskell - even if Haskell would allow you to write better applications in a shorter amount of time!

Hopefully this article has helped you break out of the Blub paradox. Even though you may not yet "think in Haskell", it is my hope that you are at least aware of any limitations in your frame of thought imposed by your current "favorite" language, and that you now have more motivation to expand it by learning something new.

If you are committed to learn a functional language (to get a better view of the power spectrum) then it is my belief that Haskell is your best bet.


Journal Journal: The Post-OOP Paradigm

The Post-OOP Paradigm

Posted by michael on Tuesday April 15, @04:44PM

Kallahar writes "American Scientist has an article up about Computing Science: The Post-OOP Paradigm. The article has a great overview of how OOP works, and then goes on to a brief outline of the possible successors to OOP such as Aspect, Pattern, and Extreme Programming. Also a pretty picture of OOP Spaghetti."


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Computing Science: The Post-OOP Paradigm
pretty picture
More on Programming


Journal Journal: What Is the Future of Business Intelligence?

What Is the Future of Business Intelligence?

Posted by CowboyNeal on Saturday April 19, @12:30PM

Roland Piquepaille writes "Mitch Betts asked this question to many technology leaders in the field of business intelligence. Here is one selected prediction. 'In five years, 100 million people will be using an information-visualization tool on a near-daily basis. And products that have visualization as one of their top three features will earn $1 billion per year,' says Ramana Rao, founder and chief technology officer, Inxight Software Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. Check this column for more forecasts and an update on the adoption of so-called 'executive dashboards.' You also can read the original Computerworld article for even more information."


Roland Piquepaille
more forecasts
original Computerworld article
More on Businesses

The Matrix

Journal Journal: The Science of the Matrix

The Science of the Matrix :

Posted by michael on Saturday April 19, @06:43PM

KamehamehaWarrior writes "Peter B. Lloyd, author of Taking The Red Pill: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in The Matrix, believes that many of the plot developments in "The Matrix" that seem to contradict the laws of physics, biology, etc. can actually be explained with a closer look at the science. He addresses issues such as "Can humans really be an energy source? How does the Matrix know what fried chicken taste like? Why do the rebels have to enter and exit the Matrix via a telephone system (that doesn't actually exist)?""

Taking The Red Pill: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in The Matrix
be explained
More on The Matrix

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