I started out in 1994 as a Linux advocate, saying to myself, “This is great, but I wish it were easier to install and didn’t screw up my boot sector.” In 1995-1996, I forgot about it so that I could concentrate on applications. In 1997 I went into denial, and in 1998 I tried to remain objective.
In 1999, I’m taking a “who cares” attitude. I’m not denying Linux per se; I’m simply refusing to get caught up in an OS holy war.
It’s not 1999 yet, though, so I still have a little time left for some more denial–not just about Linux, but also about Windows 2000 and NetWare.
Linux fanatics out there, you’re going to have to get over this: In some aspects, Windows NT is a better operating system. The biggest NT advantage is that it has a development model and a ton of rich consumer-friendly applications.
Were that the only thing, Linux would be home free, since the mass acceptance of the operating system will spur on more applications. But Linux also has problems with its scheduler. I’ve written before that the Windows NT scheduler is not up to par to what is available on some Unix platforms (see PC Week, June 1, Page 71). However, NT’s scheduler makes Linux’s look like dog meat.
Another Linux problem is with I/O. An engineer I know says that Linux is rife with Ring 3 scaling problems. But he added that the operating system will “get there” soon enough.
The trouble with NT starts with its registry, which most engineers complain is a horrible mess. The only people who like the NT Registry are those who sell packages to “fix” it.
As bad as it is, the registry is the least of Microsoft’s worries. We have today a big need for 24-by-7 uptime, and NT just doesn’t cut it. NT doesn’t allow IT managers to gracefully kill rogue programs. It makes organizations reboot systems too often, even when minor, noncritical application-level changes are made. Sure, Microsoft and others have patches, kludges and fixes that let NT function in this environment. But corporations want guaranteed uptime; that’s why Linux is perfect here.
NetWare 5.0 should have been poised to reap profits from a delay in Windows 2000 and the newness of Linux. Unfortunately, there are a ton of problems with NDS (Novell Directory Services), including incompatibilities between NDS with NetWare 5.0 and NDS with NetWare 4.0 implementations.
There are also unconfirmed reports that NetWare 5.0 is slower than NetWare 4.0 in some instances. The performance problem stems from NetWare’s unithreaded TCP/IP stack. But really, these performance differences are so slight that it shouldn’t really make a big difference.
All this hand wringing is meaningless in a way. We in the press and in the community constantly operate in an “exclusive OR” world. That is, if something new comes along, we have to assume it will displace something else. But the buying practices of corporations rarely function in this way. Corporations buy to solve problems.
That’s why I see businesses forcing vendors to work together. The consumers will push Microsoft to accept Linux; they’ll push for development of stronger NT development (for example, Winsock) APIs on the Linux kernel. They’ll push Microsoft to accept NDS because consumers don’t plan to dump it.
Next year, though, Linux will be pushing other Unix vendors out of the market. The smartest move Novell could make would be to completely dump the NetWare code base and move all of the NetWare services to Linux. Caldera supports NetWare for Linux now.
Watch out for Caldera, by the way. In 1999, it’s going to make some Linux announcements that will knock your socks off.
Overview of changes in Gnome2-VFS 1.082: Avoid misusing the macro PL_na, thus preventing issues when Gnome2::VFS is used in conjunction with certain XS modules, among them XML::Parser and String::Approx. View the source in the Gtk2-Perl git repo at h…
Overview of changes in Gnome2 1.043: Avoid misusing the macro PL_na, thus preventing issues when Gnome2 is used in conjunction with certain XS modules, among them XML::Parser and String::Approx; Created %meta_merge, which is used to pass META_MERGE va…
Overview of changes in Gtk2 1.248 [2013-09-29]: Avoid misusing the macro PL_na, preventing potential issues with other XS modules. View the source in the Gtk2-Perl git repo at http://git.gnome.org/browse/perl-Gtk2/tag/?id=rel-1-24-8 or download the so…
Overview of changes in Glib::Object::Introspection 0.016 (unstable): Add support for unicode character arguments to Perl callbacks; Avoid misusing the macro PL_na, preventing potential issues with other XS modules; Fix build on MinGW with dmake. View…
Overview of changes in Glib 1.302 (stable) [2013-09-29]: Avoid misusing the macro PL_na, preventing potential issues with other XS modules; Avoid memory corruption when registering boxed synonyms repeatedly. View the source in the Gtk2-Perl git repo a…
For IT organizations such as West Virginia Network in Morgantown, which runs the network applications for the state’s higher education institutions on AIX Risc 6000, NT, and Intel platforms, “it would probably take a killer app to move us to Linux quickly,” says Jeff Brooks, lead systems programmer for WVNET.
On the desktop side, however, he says Linux is taking hold. “We have an increasing number of people running a Linux desktop environment for personal productivity, including mainframe programmers. IT professionals who are not supporting PC products are spending too much time maintaining their PCs. We calculated the time people spent doing non-business, non-mission-related maintenance–doing upgrades, or rebooting when that blue screen comes up on NT– and it’s not non-trivial.”
As an embracer of Linux, Java, and other things non-Microsoft, IBM, which dropped to Number 2 in the Software 500, grew its software revenue 6% to $11.9 billion, with total corporate revenue growing 4% to $81.7 billion. IBM, like other Top 10 companies Sun, HP, Compaq, and Hitachi, derives the bulk of its revenue from hardware sales.
IBM’s strategy for making money from software and services is a model the others are also following, each in their own way, says IDC’s Bozman. “If you look at IBM you see a model for how you can make more from software and services, but [IBM's offerings are] more marketable, more cross-platform. Look at Lotus and Tivoli.”
Like IBM, HP “realizes there is a synergy there in combining software sales and services.”
Sun, she says, uses software more as a lever to drive hardware sales. And unlike IBM, “Sun has a small professional services organization and doesn’t want to be concerned about competing with the Andersens, etc.”
Compaq entered the enterprise software fray with its acquisition of Digital Equipment, inheriting not only the software but Digital’s services organization. While Compaq so far has not been able to meld this acquisition as smoothly as it probably hoped, and recently replaced CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer with chairman and acting CEO Ben Rosen, analysts are positive about Compaq’s ability to move forward in the enterprise software world. “Compaq already has a lot of corporate IT accounts; they have extremely strong relations with the IT world. The ability to take DEC and integrate it is an obvious question mark, but you have to believe Compaq will make [DEC] an important part of the future,” says Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies Inc, San Jose, Calif.
He adds, “Clearly they see enterprise-driven software as a key component to the overall value-added products they sell in the marketplace. The demand for complete systems solutions is on the rise, not the decline. I would be surprised if Compaq doesn’t get it right.”
Also pushing hard in the one-stop shopping realm is Computer Associates (#4), now busy absorbing its recently announced acquisition of Platinum Technology. CA in 1998 grew its software revenue 12% to almost $4.9 billion, with total corporate revenue growing to almost $5.1 billion. The combination of Platinum and CA, based on 1998 software revenue would be $5.6 billion, which would rank the combined company this year at #3, surpassing Oracle. Size seems to matter in the systems management market, as the industry consolidates into a smaller group of large suppliers. Collectively, companies in the Software 500 that compete in the systems/network management space grew software revenue an average of 16.2%.
In the enterprise applications arena, where both Oracle (#3) and PeopleSoft (#10) compete, “the key priority for ERP vendors is to extend their applications and frameworks to the world of e-business,” says Steve Bonadio, senior analyst, Hurwitz Group, Framingham, Mass. ERP will be the backbone that enables companies to efficiently and effectively communicate and collaborate with themselves, their customers, partners, and suppliers.”
Both Oracle and PeopleSoft grew at a good pace, with Oracle reporting a 20% growth in software revenue (which also includes their database business) to $5.3 billion. And PeopleSoft hit the billion dollar mark in 1998, with its 48% increase in software revenue. Both companies beat the average software revenue growth rate (17.4%) for companies in the Software 500 that compete in the ERP/enterprise applications market.
While the ERP suppliers are benefiting from a still-healthy demand for their solutions, corporate IT professionals still need to evaluate the health of their potential vendors, and the health of their strategy, says Hurwitz’s Bonadio. “As ERPvendors aggressively round of their product functionality and architectural strategies, companies using ERP applications need to make sure that their existing ERP investments are secure. There is nothing worse than spending millions and taking years to implement an ERP solution than to find out that you have to do it all over again.”
ERP was not the only software segment thriving in 1998. Among the Software 500, suppliers in both the Internet/e-commerce and data warehouse/OLAP markets saw software revenues rise an average of l7.8%.
Across all segments of the software industry, many companies grew through merger or acquisition, a trend that has continued as the industry matures. Among the Software 500, 32% merged with or acquired another company during 1998 (see “Here Today Gone Tomorrow,” pg. 28 for a look at what happened to some of last year’s Software 500 companies). While investment banks tend to say this is largely a positive trend for IT buyers, assuring the continuance of new and innovative products from startups and small companies, and enabling more one-stop shopping and more formalized support organizations, IT professionals are not so sure.
The supposed benefits of one-stop shopping “depend almost completely on the willingness of the vendor to try to fit our enterprise situation,” says WVNET’s Brooks. Some vendors, in his experience, “try very hard to lock you into multiyear contracts with little added value. Some conglomerates have offered us software they think is a great deal but that we don’t necessarily need. In that sense, the whole merger mania for us every year looks a little gloomier, because we have to deal with a smaller number of suppliers that give us heartburn. But then again, I’m not a stockholder.”
In addition, says Brooks, “we tend to lose relationships with developers we may have worked with for 10 years. All of a sudden there’s a layer of management between us and them–if they’re still there.”
Agreeing with Brooks is Lynn Manzano, Y2K project manager at Experian Inc., a leading supplier of information on consumers, businesses, motor vehicles, and property, in Orange, Calif. “You do lose a lot continuity, and you lose the depth of support.” On the other hand, she says, “Hopefully I’ll get a better price. With some of these bundled purchases we saved a lot of money, from a cost perspective. From a functionality perspective, I don’t know yet” the benefits from a merger or acquisition.
Another overriding concern for IT in 1998 was the Y2K issue. 1998 was the year the software industry and the IT community got serious about Y2K, scrambling to address millennium date issues before year-end, so 1999 could be spent testing. Among the Software 500, 89% of the companies reported that their primary software products are now Y2K compliant. Only 1% of the companies said they will not be compliant by year-end ’99, nor will they make it by 2000. And 10% of the companies did not respond.
The Y2K issue proved to be a double-edged sword for IT. On one hand, many organizations were forced to put off new development projects to concentrate on their millennium fix. On the other hand, Y2K has prompted a massive updating of legacy systems to, in many cases, new packaged applications.
Says WVNET’s Brooks, “In 1998 we were largely sidetracked by Y2K. Every application we were working with from mid-year 1998 through now had been with an eye to getting everything done for Y2K. The fringe benefit is massive updating. I think, architecturally, that’s clearing out a lot of deadwood. It’s really a new broom–inadvertently.”
And while it didn’t get quite the attention in the U.S. that the Y2K issue received, Europeans were busy grappling with the debut of the Euro currency, which observers say creates a more complex coding challenge than Y2K, as it affects fundamental business rules. Among the Software 500, which are predominantly U.S.-based companies, 50% reported that their primary software products are Euro compliant, while 6% said they are not compliant yet. Twenty-nine percent reported that Euro compliancy was not applicable to their software products, while 15% declined to answer.
With the Euro now launched, and Y2K soon to be winding down, what’s ahead for 1999 and beyond?
WVNET’s Brooks cites storage management as an area to watch–”the whole issue of integrating storage management across the enterprise, particularly the interoperability of storage and the prospects for data interchange on a rapid, secure basis.”
Says Mark Gorenberg, a partner in the venture capital firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, San Francisco, Calif., “Lower cost and plentifulness of storage is a huge trend for people in IT.”
Other trends, Gorenberg notes, include the management of the extended enterprise, the movement of ERP vendors to e-commerce, and the rise of vertical software markets. “Vertical markets are very much in vogue. It’s possible to create a vertical company as a standalone company now. Before, they couldn’t grow large enough.”
For Brooks, he is looking to the new millennium to bring simplification. “It seems that over the 25 years I’ve been following the industry, complexity grows at a fairly good clip until people refuse to tolerate it, then something comes out to simplify it. It used to be the desktop environment was fairly complicated, then Windows came out, and pretty much everybody’s PC looked the same for a few years. There has been another one of those [trends] with the Web, but it’s not done yet. I have a feeling our architectural issues in about four years will look very different. But I’m not seeing anything from the pundits that satisfies me about what could be next big thing.”
So is life e-beautiful for IT professionals today? Both WVNET’s Brooks and Experian’s Manzano agree there are lots of opportunities for IT professionals, both employment-wise and innovation-wise. And the software they have to work with keeps getting better. “The tools are significantly more compatible,” says Brooks. “You can have a toolbox and have some hope that most of them work together somewhat.” With more packaged products, he notes there are also fewer opportunities to provide solutions for users that the software vendors won’t, “but at the same time you can devote more time to doing other things, like developing new applications, or training, or doing production evaluation, and spend less time looking at code.”
Gorenberg adds, “There are a number of huge opportunities in IT. Outsourcing has created real capitalism for people in IT. Outsourcing and the whole service provider phenomenon are growing like gangbusters. For the first time venture firms are funding service companies, and those companies are growing and going public, making great IT people the new rock stars.”
= Minutes for Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, 16:00 UTC =
== Next Meeting ==
== Attending ==
The latest update to GNOME 3, version 3.10, has been released. This release comes six months after the previous version, and includes new features, new applications, and many improvements.
Introducing the release, Allan Day (GNOME Design Team) said, ‟GNOME 3.10 is a significant upgrade for our users, and developers will benefit from new features in the application development platform. Our contributors did an incredible job and have created a really exciting release.“
Highlights in this release include:
You can find out more details about these features, as well as the many other improvements, in the GNOME 3.10 release notes.
GNOME 3.10 also introduces initial Wayland support. This represents a major technological step forward for GNOME, and will enable the project to fully adopt the next generation display and input technology in the future.
The GNOME Project is a member of the GNU Project, and GNOME 3.10 comes just days before GNU’s 30th anniversary. Speaking about the 3.10 release, John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation, said: ‟the GNOME 3.10 release exemplifies what GNU is about — technical and ethical excellence. The Free Software Foundation is proud to showcase the GNOME community’s work when talking to potential new free software users, and as GNOME users ourselves, we’re very thankful for these new improvements.“
Further information and reactions can be found in the GNOME 3.10 press release.
Orinda, CA– The GNOME Project is proud to release GNOME 3.10 today. The latest milestone release in the GNOME 3 series includes many new features, applications and bug fixes, as well as enhancements and updates to many existing applications.
“Days before the GNU System’s 30th birthday, the GNOME 3.10 release exemplifies what GNU is about — technical and ethical excellence,” said John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation. “The Free Software Foundation is proud to showcase the GNOME community’s work when talking to potential new free software users, and as GNOME users ourselves, we’re very thankful for these new improvements.”
Highlights for GNOME 3.10 include:
For developers, there are new GTK widgets, a geo-location framework that will allow location aware applications, and the ability to define composite widgets using XML.
“GNOME has pioneered the development and support of code that is now core infrastructure for many diverse Free desktops, including DBus, accessibility support and Network Manager,” said Matthew Garrett, Linux kernel developer and security expert. “As a result, it’s unsurprising that GNOME is the first to ship with support for a next-generation display server in the form of Wayland. GNOME’s commitment to improving the underlying platform is vital to the future of Free Software and provides a service to the entire community.”
Users will see many changes in this release which allows greater customization than in previous releases, such as the ability to customize the background of the lock screen. Other changes include allowing app browsing using pagination instead of scrolling, fine scrolling in applications with precise movements, an enhanced and redesigned login screen, and improvements to user settings. Finally, the system status menu has been redesigned by consolidating many of the smaller menus including wifi, bluetooth, sound, brightness and power into a single drop-down menu providing quick easy access to all.
A new Software application will provide a GNOME centric consistent interface to installing and maintaining software regardless of the distribution you will use. In the future, Software will be improved to include comments and ratings and other exciting developments to help choose the best software for your tasks.
For those using new hardware like the Chrombook Pixel, support for high resolution displays will ensure a consistent look independent of the resolution.
Allan Day, who was recognized at GUADEC as 2013′s most distingushed contributor said, “GNOME 3.10 is a significant upgrade for our users, and developers will benefit from new features in the application development platform. Our contributors did an incredible job and have created a really exciting release.”
The GNOME Foundation thanks all of the contributors for their hard work, perseverance, and vision in this release.
GNOME was started in 1997 by two then-university students, Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. Their aim: to produce a free (as in freedom) desktop environment. Since then, GNOME has grown into a hugely successful enterprise. Used by millions of people around the world, it is the most popular environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-type operating systems. GNOME’s software has been utilized in successful, large-scale enterprise and public deployments.
The GNOME community is made up of hundreds of contributors from all over the world, many of whom are volunteers. This community is supported by the GNOME Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that provides financial, organizational and legal assistance. The Foundation is a democratic institution that is directed by its members, who are all active GNOME contributors. GNOME and its Foundation works to promote software freedom through the creation of innovative, accessible, and beautiful user experiences.
GNOME 3.10 Released
Today, the GNOME Project celebrates the release of GNOME 3.10. This
The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first release of the stable
We recently had the chance to sit down and talk to Andrew Lee, co-founder of GNOME’s newest advisory board member Private Internet Access. Andrew Lee is a long-time privacy advocate, and has co-founded several other privacy related companies in the …
Orinda, CA — September 23, 2013 — The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that Private Internet Access has joined GNOME’s advisory board. The Advisory Board is a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation. Last month during GUADEC, GNOME announced that the Linux Foundation was added to the advisory board, joining IBM, Google, Intel and the Free Software Foundation, among others.
Andrew Lee, co-founder of Private Internet Access said “We’ve been very fond of GNOME at Private Internet Access for quite a long time. When GNOME announced its new initiatives towards greater privacy functionality, our fondness quickly became a strong admiration. We’re very proud to support GNOME and its continued commitment to open source, usability and, most importantly, privacy.”
Private Internet Access, founded in August 2010 is a VPN service provider offering anonymous and encrypted VPN. The service operates at the TCP/IP interface level, allowing all applications to be secured, not just the web browser. Private Internet Access has publicly commited itself to user privacy. It is a small U.S.-based company, with thousands of users.
“I am excited to welcome Private Internet Access as a GNOME Advisory Board member,” said Tobias Mueller, member of the board of directors of the GNOME Foundation. “This is a great example of how the support for Free Software is growing and highlights how we are aligned in our missions to put users in control.”
The nonprofit GNOME Foundation is an independent organization committed to supporting the advancement of the GNOME Project and software freedom. It provides financial, organizational and legal support to the GNOME project and helps determine its vision and roadmap. GNOME software is used by millions of people around the world.
Here’s a GNOME release candidate for you, your last chance to make 3.10
To compile GNOME 3.9.92, you …
The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first release candidate for the 1.2 release series. The
A last step before 3.10, here is the call for 3.9.92 tarballs, this is
Let’s repeat: Tarballs are…
= Minutes for , September 3rd, 2013, 16:00 UTC =
== Next Meeting ==
== Attending ==
Overview of changes in ExtUtils::Depends 0.305 [2013-09-02]: Makefile.PL: converted to CPAN::Meta::Spec v2; Updated license in RPM spec file (closes RT#88196); Updated contact info and added git repo info in POD; Add comments for find_extra_libs metho…
Overview of changes in Gtk3 0.011 [2013-09-01]: Add forgotten release notes. Overview of changes in Gtk3 0.010 [2013-09-01]: Gtk3::HBox/Gtk3::VBox: use correct defaults in constructors; Gtk3::TextBuffer::create_tag: handle all property pairs; Fix a f…