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Softpanorama Bulletin
Vol 10, No.04 (October, 1998)

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In this issue:

Dmitry Gurtyak died on November 13, 1998

Softpanorama Tribute to Dmitry Gurtyak

Softpanorama Tribute
to the Brilliant Ukrainian Programmer
Dmitri Gurtyak

1971-1998

Introduction Letters Links Papers Programs Photos

 

 

Introduction

This is a memorial page devoted to a very talented Ukrainian programmer Dmitry Gurtyak who passed away on December 13th, 1998.

I am still collecting information and photos about him. Please check back at this space for the additional information about Dmitry Gurtyak (October 09, 1971 - November 13, 1998) who was not only a brilliant programmer, but also a very fine person -- I would say uniquely fine person. This page was created as a small memorial page, a small tribute to his work, ideas, and aspirations. I will always remember him especially for his sincere advocacy of the values of freeware and true shareware in a place and time in history when this was a very difficult -- and correspondingly important and courageous thing to do.

He was the author of the most popular free DOS cyrillization program Keyrus (a real masterpiece of assembler language programming) and several other (mostly assembler) programs for DOS that were a landmark in functionality and extremely small size (a very important feature in old DOS days). All of them were released as freeware.

From the tremendous amount of cyrrilization drivers (I believe several hundred were wriiten; see for example Kiarchive cyrrilization drivers page)  people choose Keyrus and his logo was/is a usual greeting on almost any PC in xUSSR region. I have found reference about Keyrus in assembler FAQ(x86 Assembly Language FAQ - General Part I) as his methods of detecting a VGA mode remains one of the best methods used in assembler (first published in the documentation to Keyrus 7.3). This method is also mentioned in the Interrupt List. The last version was the version 8b (see below). We have now the source code of this version (thanks to Tanya Gurtyak for providing it to me).

Dmitry was well known in FIDO. He was one of the first users (number 10 to be exact) of the  Softpanorama BBS (2:463/10) where Igor Sviridov was a sysop. Among players in Galaxy+ Dmitry was well known as the author of the GalaxyViewer -- the best client for the game (see GalaxyViewer)

Most of the programs from Softpanorama bulletin that you can see below were written by Dmitry in 1990 when he was just 19 years old -- at this age most of the students have problems writing even a simple program.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

Letters

Other Pages Devoted to Dmitry

Papers by Dmitry Gurtyak published in Softpanorama

Programs by Dmitry Gurtyak

The destiny was very harch to Dmitry and he passed away very young. As a trubute to this very talanted programmer please mention him in your documentation if you use any of his programs or fragments of sources published here.

Thank you in advance for this courtecy.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

Keyrus Vga480 Sdir Calc Peek Protect Slower Txtscr

Famous KeyRus

About KeyRus

Vga480 -- driver that switch to 30 line move in VGA
for MultiEdit and similar programs

Sdir -- superfast program for scanning logical disks
and updating Treeinfo

Calc -- an extremely small resident DOS calculator

Peek -- a resident program for looking into DOS memory

Protect - a simple protection of partitions from viruses

Slower -- a superslower

Txtscr - program for copying DOS screen to the file


Photos

 

1998 Editorials and Papers

Linux in Education

Linux Today UPDATED Unix as an element of literacy

Mexican schools will use Linux
(Technology News from Wired News)

The Mexican government said this week that it plans to install the free Linux operating system in 140,000 elementary- and middle-school computer labs around the country.

Over the next five years, the government's Scholar Net program will furnish Mexican students with access to the Web and email, as well as word processors and spreadsheets, said Arturo Espinosa Aldama, the project's leader.

"We decided to go with Linux because of the cost of using proprietary software," said Espinosa, who is based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. "Otherwise, it would have been too expensive for all the software licenses."

...Indeed, without Linux and other open-source software packages, such as Netscape's Mozilla browser, Espinosa said the Scholar Net project would likely be more restricted.

He figured that it would have cost the equivalent of at least US$885 to install Windows 98, Microsoft Office and a server running Windows NT in each school computer lab, he said.

Multiplying that cost over 140,000 labs, the price tag for software alone on the project would have been about $124 million. So Espinosa turned to Red Hat Software, which distributes Linux at a cost of $50 for a pair of installation CDs and a manual. Red Hat's version of Linux can be copied as many times as necessary at no extra charge. It is also available as a free download off the Net.

Cost factors aside, Espinosa said Linux is more reliable, adaptable, and efficient than commercial operating system software. These qualities will allow him to use older, less expensive equipment. "We don't have a huge budget. We are depending a lot on the equipment already in schools, so we need to be kind of flexible. We don't want to upgrade a lot of hardware," he said. Scholar Net plans to have labs installed at a rate of 20,000 to 35,000 thousand per year for the next five years. The program already has 2,000 labs set up using Windows software, but Espinosa said those schools will soon switch to Linux.

The project is not without its share of challenges. Although the Linux interface resembles a commercial operating system, it may be challenging for school students to use. The project also faces a shortage of applications and difficulties translating the programs into Spanish. But he's confident he'll get help. "When you ask how many people are working on Scholar Net, well, it's the whole Linux community," Espinosa said.

In the United States, Oregon's Multnomah County will next month install 30 Linux servers in high schools -- the most ambitious Linux project in American schools to date, according to Paul Nelson, technology coordinator at the Riverdale School District in Portland. Nelson is one of the leads of the Linux in Schools Project.

Like Espinosa, Nelson said he would love to see Linux desktop machines but doesn't think there is enough software available for the platform just yet. "It's made huge inroads in the server market," Nelson said, and "the desktop is next."

Linux in French schools

The folks at the Association Francophone des Utilisateurs de Linux et des Logiciels Libres (AFUL) have signed an agreement with the French Ministry of Education, Research and Technology to support Linux in the French school system. This agreement essentially puts Linux on an equal footing with other, proprietary systems. Congratulations are in order for AFUL, which has come a long way in a very short time.

Linux as an Educational Tool in Undergraduate Labs by Emre Demiralp.

Linux has unexpectedly wide user groups in Turkey, especially in academic media. Amongst these, Istanbul Technical University takes an important role to develop Turkish versions and to contribute to the developments about Linux at different scales. Quite recently, a beta version of the Turkish Linux, Turkuvaz (Turquoise) has been developed in the Electrical Engineering Department of the university. Although it has been developed in this department by the research and teaching assistants the major student group which intensely uses Linux exists in the Science and Letters Faculty. The students are the attendees of the Mathematical Engineering Undergraduate Program which is jointly coordinated by Mathematics Department and Engineering Sciences Department. This article gives some brief information about the Linux usage in this program starting from its very beginning.

Affordable Hardware

Pentium  II 366 and 400 are dead;
long live Celeron 366 and 400 -- great performance at an exceptional price

On Jan. 7 Intel will launch a 300MHz Pentium MMX chip targeted for mobile computers including mini-notebooks, followed soon after by a 266MHz Celeron chip aimed at the same mobile market that will include 128 K bytes of Level 2 on-chip cache. 300MHz Celeron chip for mobile computers will be released too.

For the notebook market, Intel has also picked January to introduce mobile Pentium II chips running at 333MHz and 366MHz, sources said. As expected, the mobile Pentium IIs will carry 256K bytes of on-chip Level 2 cache.

In early January Intel will release Celeron 366MHz. the chip will include 128K bytes of Level 2 cache with 400Mhz in March. New 366MHz and 400MHz Celeron processors are just as fast as 350MHz and 400MHz Pentium II chips. On both the business application-based Winstone 99 and the high-end application-based Winstone 99 benchmark, the Celeron proved capable of taking the Pentium II head on: No significant performance difference was observed between the two processors. The release of a Celeron processor with a 100MHz bus will wait for the release of chips running in excess of 433MHz, which are due later in 1999. Intel had hesitated at releasing a Celeron with a 100MHz bus because of its potential to cannibalize sales of higher-end PCs based on Pentium II chips.

These benchmark results contradict Intel's claim that the Pentium II is the clear performance leader. Both chips offer equal levels of performance when running common desktop applications.

On Jan. 7 Intel will launch a 300MHz Pentium MMX chip targeted for mobile computers including mini-notebooks, followed soon after by a 266MHz and 300 MHz Celeron chips aimed at the same mobile market that will include 128 K bytes of Level 2 on-chip cache. They will take the price of laptops below $1200 point.

For the notebook market, Intel has also picked January to introduce mobile Pentium II chips running at 333MHz and 366MHz, sources said. As expected, the mobile Pentium IIs will carry 256K bytes of on-chip Level 2 cache.

In the first quarter Intel will roll out Katmai (MMX 2)  processors with new multimedia-oriented instructions. A 450MHz version of the chip will be aggressively priced at around $530 -- only $50 or so more than Intel's Pentium II processor running at the same speed. A 500MHz version will be priced considerably higher.

Also in early January, according to sources, Intel will release a 450MHz version of its Pentium II Xeon processor for workstations and servers. Intel has said the chip will come with three Level 2 cache options: 512 K bytes, 1 M byte or 2 M bytes. The chips will initially support only four-way systems, but will work in eight-way servers when Intel unveils its Profusion chipset in late February or early March.

The release of a processor for eight-way servers will be a challenge for Intel. The chip maker initially stumbled when it released its first Xeon chips earlier this year: designed to support four-way systems, the chips were only available for use in two-processor configurations until Intel had ironed out a bug in the processor.

Due soon after the Katmai release, Tanner (chip with Katmai Instructions) will be introduced at 500MHz and 1 M byte of Level 2 cache. In late March Intel will release a version of Tanner with 2 M bytes of Level 2 cache that will support use in eight-way servers when coupled with the Profusion chip set. Tanner will be the highest performance Intel architecture available to date.

See also New Xeon, Celeron chips planned for January By James Niccolai and Terho Uimonen, IDG News Service

New 32-bit microarchitecture from Intel that will replace the current P6 design

The first chip (codenamed Foster) is due to appear in late 2000 with a clock speed of at least one gigahertz, and will be targeted at the volume workstation and server markets served today by Intel's Pentium II Xeon chips. It will be manufactured using a 0.18-micron manufacturing technology and at least one megabyte of level 2 cache memory integrated on the same piece of silicon as the processor. Intel's marketing and manufacturing skills will be challenged in the coming years as it tries to make and sell simultaneously three different chip architectures -- the P6, the new IA-32, and 64-bit Merced.

 

Algorithms

[November 26,  1998] Algorithms Courses on the WWW -- excellent resource

[November 26,  1998] Graphs Theory - Algorithms - Complexity

[November 25,  1998] Maximal Common Subgraph (MCS) algorithm

[November 25,  1998] string matching algorithms

[November 25,  1998] Pattern Matching Pointers.

[November 23,  1998] Literature on realistic parallel algorithms

[November 23,  1998] Analysis of Algorithms Home Page

[November 23,  1998] The Travelling Salesman Problem Bibliography.

AVLTree 0.1.0
AVLTree is a small implementation of AVL trees for the C programming language. It is distributed under the Library Gnu Public License. This library does the basic stuff. It allows for inserts, searches, and deletes in O(log n) time. It also provides an interface to iterate through your entire AVL tree, in order by key, in O(n) time (the calls that allow the iterating take constant amortized time).
Cosine Jeremiah @ 11/21/98 - 06:47 EST

 

Languages

Assember

[April 18, 1999] All direct links to file in the Programmers Heaven - Assembler Zone    removed at the request of the maintainer of the site... Also some files mentioned below are no longer online on this site. In such cases probably one can find them by direct search via www.filez.com or www.shareware.com  I will correct this later...

[Feb.12,1999] GeoCities Computers & TechnologyProgrammingAssembly GeoAvenues

Heath's x86 Assembly Page [added Nov.4,1998]

Ice-Digga's World

The 80x86 Assembly Pages by Jannes Faber. Useful info

Kibernetica9619 -- Dima Samsonov page

WWW.ProgrammersHeaven.com Linkpage  -- just links

The art of assembly language another mirror of the Hyde guide

BIG(!) Assembler Tutorial (more than 2 megs!)

GeoCities Computers & TechnologyProgrammingAssembly GeoAvenues

Assembly tutorials - Neurotic colection of source codes books and any resource related to assembler programming

Leon Bouquiet's Assembly page

Welcome to The Programmer's Link Assembly

Programming Languages - Assembly Directory

 

Linux

  Open Source Movement

Linux/FreeBSD

Microsoft/Linux coopetiton

Etc

Linux/FreeBSD

[October 17, 1998] The Free Software Bazaar -- by Axel Boldt <boldt@math.ucsb.edu>      -- a very interesting idea -- site where you can put you own request for new free software and/or existing software modification for a small fee. the site can also be used for Free Software CD and book exchange/donations (for the price of postage)

It works like this: you request that a certain piece of free software or documentation be written or improved and offer something in return, usually an amount of money to be paid directly to the developer (or to some charity or other free software project). If you are a developer yourself, you can also turn it around and offer to write a specified piece of free software and request some money for it.

X11R6.4 is now available under the traditional X Window Style Copyright (free)

Onward & Upward

Tim Howse, vice president and CTO for Netscape's server product division, saw potential in Red Hat's future and championed the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's investment in the business. He points out that operating systems appear in two places: the desktop side of computing and the server side. Linux's potential is on the server side.

"We are seeing a shift away from the importance of the operating system on the desktop," Howse continues. "Most applications will be available through the Web browser." This shift, he says, represents an open opportunity for Linux to grab a leading role as the operating system of choice for the server

..."Some of the players on their last gasp are able to have another go at the market and seek some kind of market share with Linux," says GartnerGroup's Weiss, "possibly enough to continue to survive."

."The fundamental reason for the popularity of Linux is the need for a reliable, vendor-independent system which no single company dominates," Saxena says. "That's what is driving the movement."

Take nothing for granted  by Nicholas Petreley (I disagree with the author and believe that products for Linux need to be cheaper in order to present viable alternative to Microsoft desktop, if this is to happen; selling support should be major revenue stream)

Someone will undoubtedly label 1998 as the year Linux took the market by storm. This conclusion is premature. Linux is enjoying remarkable growth only because vendors are scrambling to make the most of the brief window of opportunity they have while Microsoft is paralyzed. As long as Microsoft is engaged in a battle with the Department of Justice, Microsoft cannot retaliate against anyone who dares defect from the "Windows NT is the only future" camp. Should Microsoft ultimately win the case, however, I guarantee vendors will abandon Linux faster than a rat out of an aqueduct.

...As far as the media is concerned, the main reason Linux is a credible challenge is because it is getting vocal and financial support from major corporations like Intel, IBM, Oracle, Informix, and Corel.

Here's where you need to wake up and smell the green, folks. There is only one reason why these businesses would dare challenge Microsoft's dominance. It's the same reason they did not challenge Microsoft's dominance in the past. It's all about the big, bad, dirty "M" word. Money.

These companies are looking for a way to make money on their products without first having to siphon off a portion their income to Microsoft. They saw the potential in Java, and now they see the potential in Linux.

...That leaves the choice to commit to a single free (as in liberty, not cost) operating system. As long as an operating system is not under the exclusive control of any single company or team, there is no perceived risk that support will simply mean a shift from one form of tyranny to another.

Of the free operating systems available, the two most visible are Linux and FreeBSD. It is unlikely that vendors would choose to support more than one free Unix, because it is only through solidarity that ISVs could create enough perceived momentum for a product to compete with Windows NT in the long run. As I pointed out above, if they voiced support for multiple versions of free Unix, Microsoft would surely promote the idea that the Unix market was fragmented and unsafe, thus ruining the opportunity to build momentum for a non-Windows system.

It makes sense, therefore, that ISVs have chosen one free Unix to support vociferously. And Linux appears to be the one.

One can only conclude Linux was chosen for other reasons. Linux has two advantages over all the other flavors of Unix on Intel. First, even before the media blitz began, it already enjoyed the greatest degree of mindshare among free versions of Unix. Second, it is perceived as a safe choice. As Microsoft correctly noted in its Halloween documents, the GNU General Public License (GPL) makes Linux immune to long-term FUD. Linux cannot suddenly disappear as an alternative because one or more Linux distributor goes out of business. The GPL guarantees that the source code for Linux will always be freely available.

One could argue that FreeBSD is not subject to a single company going out of business, and that widespread adoption of FreeBSD could not lead to tyranny. But we're talking about a market where an operating system like Windows can gain and hold a monopoly on the desktop. For the most part, logic does not govern this
business -- perception does.

Linux has emerged as the winner because it was most easily turned into the perceived winner. In an industry where perception is more important than reality, that edge made all the difference. (While fans of FreeBSD may resent the way things turned out, they can take some degree of comfort in the knowledge that a long-term victory for Linux is a whole lot better for the future of FreeBSD than would be a long-term victory for Windows NT.)

This is perhaps one of the most sensitive issues regarding Linux, but it's one we must address if we want Linux to flourish. For example, we should vote with the dollars we are willing to pay for full-featured products that are also available for other platforms. I would expect Oracle, Informix and IBM to charge the same for a Linux version of their database server as for a Windows NT version of the same product. If you value having the choice, I recommend you respect this decision. The fact that you can get Linux for free does not necessarily mean you should be able to get commercial products for free just because they run on Linux.

That's not to say there aren't some wonderful GNU products for Linux that deserve your support -- GIMP and GNOME are two such free products (free as in beer, not just liberty) to name but two. But that doesn't mean every product will or should be free. Many who are religious about this issue are going to have to learn to live with that fact if they want Linux to enjoy widespread success.

Finally, as you know, many ISVs are giving away their products free for personal use. This is extremely generous, and it is a brilliant means of getting the kind of market penetration that almost always leads to follow-up sales (especially if your product is any good). But I urge you to resist the temptation to abuse this and cheat companies of their legitimate income.

Learning to love Linux

Quote of the week: [Linux] is like a good, old pickup truck. It's not pretty, nor does it have the latest bells and whistles, but it starts and runs when you need to haul some firewood.

-- Letter to the editor, PC Week this week.

The announcement this week that Sun will deliver its computers running both Solaris and Linux caps an extraordinary year for Linux. To my knowledge, it is the first time that Sun will sell anyone else's operating system:

It is almost like IBM selling its servers with NT installed, or supporting Apache, or delivering their own software as open source. Wait a minute. IBM is selling NT, supporting Apache, and delivering open Java code. Well, that just goes to show you how the landscape has changed this past year.

Linux has become everyone's darling because of what it isn't. It isn't created by the folks in Redmond, it isn't prone to periodic crashes, and it doesn't cost a lot or require you to add more memory or computing resources when it comes time to upgrade to a newer version. But being the anti-Windows isn't enough to win the hearts and keyboards of users everywhere: witness what happened to OS/2 and NetWare.

See also SUN makes LINUX available for ULTRASPARC systems

Wearable Linux PC to debut at Comdex

Ruputer -- a  wristwatch computer from Seiko

Seiko Instruments Inc Wednesday announced that it plan selling wristwatch personal computers in USA. The product sold in Japan since June, 1998. The new product is the world's first watch-base PC. A company statement said the watch, called the Ruputer, can download data that includes text and pictures from other personal computers. The wristwatch PCs will be sold with three software applications that run on Microsoft Corp's Windows 95 operating system. Watchs come equipped with a 16-bit central processing unit and 128 kilobytes of main memory, it said. Games can be played on the products and they can exchange data with each other via infrared signals, it said. The company will launch two Ruputer models with a retail price of approximately $285, the statement said. A company spokeswoman said it aimed to sell 100,000 of the watches in the first year. http://www.ruputer.com/

l i n u x p o w e r . o r g -- GNOME Why GNOME Has What It Takes

Linux Gains Application Momentum

"There's a market because people effectively are buying support, and corporate organizations want support," said Michael Cowpland, CEO of Corel. "That's pretty much the whole Linux model, the fact that people want the support."

...It is possible to make money this way, Cowpland said. "It's not too dissimilar to free installs," he said. "The revenue is often a fraction of the shrink-wrap price, but you make the money back with upgrades or corporate use."

Shoulders of Giants A Paper on the Inevitability of Open Source Dominance by Con Zymaris

Science, in its clearly understood modern guise, is unique. This essentially Western tradition of open inquiry is believed to have developed only one instantiation throughout the whole period of human history. While almost all human societies have developed language, art, and music, open inquiry into the natural and philosophical world sprung only from the eastern rim of the Mediterranean sea, in a number of ancient Greek states, approximately 27 centuries ago. Helped along by the advantages provided by the recently formulated Greek alphabet, the people of this region bought forth the makings of the primary conceptual and philosphical machinery that was necessary to develop an understanding of the nature that surrounded them. In short order, they had conceived ideas which led them to believe that the Universe was understandable, that it was measureable and that it could undergo rational analysis. The philosphical re-conceptualisation of the Universe had its eventual pinnacle in the works of Plato, who introduced us to the sublimely powerful concept of 'Forms' (27). In Platonic terms, we find both the phisycal, everyday world in which we exist, and the world of absolutes and eternals; the Forms. Using this machinery, scientists and philosphers have been able to visualise generalisations in their 'idea space', and not merely the imperfect incarnations that exist in real, physical space. Through the advantages bestowed upon the Greeks by virtue of their written language and undoubtedly their open, democratic political environment, these concepts spread. Where once these people would have been manipulators purely of the physical world (pottery, sculpture) they now also became masters if symbolic manipulation. Mathematics, logic, geometry, geography, mechanics, hydraulics, medicine, architecure, astronomy and cosmology, optics and dozens of other disciplines flowered. There has never been a similar period in human history, with the possible exception of the 18th century 'age of reason' the Enlightenment. Even though the power of the ideas from ancient Greek science seem to us obvious, they were patently not so, as even after their demonstrable successes, they were relegated to the recess of history for almost a thousand years, after the fall of Rome and of the great library in Alexandria. Luckily for all of us, these same ideas were storehoused and enhanced by the Islamic world. Eventually, after the fall of Muslim-held Toledo in the 11th century these same ideas resurfaced slowly but steadily, into Western and Southern Europe, to precipitate the Renaissance; the re-birth (28). The arrival of these Greek texts coincided with the development of the university as a legal entity with political and intellectual autonomy (29). Once again, the openness to new forms of thought, the cheap, efficient and accurate transmission of ideas through the wonderful machinery of technology (Gutenberg's printing press) brought forth an explosion of creativity and propelled Western civilasation forward. Open source software is a direct descendant of this culture of thought, as it prizes the same properties and philosphy which form the basis of the driving force of science.

Openness is thus one area of the scientific process which is of interest for comparison with open source development. While sizeable tomes have been written about the methodology and philosophy of this facet of science (4), things generally boil down to the following: part of science is a process of verifying or culling hypothesis, and is in essence an open and self correcting system. Because of this, progress occurs at a much faster rate and in a more dependable/trusted fashion. This doesn't mean that the self correction happens in minute, continuously flowing 'chunks'. In reality, corrections arise as mini-revolutions, characterised by philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn (5), as paradigm shifts. Nonetheless, over longer periods of time, progress does occur. In many ways, this progress is accidental, as there is often no 'vision' or nomenclature to describe where science is heading, until after it has arrived.

The speed of progress is greatly enhanced by virtue of the fact the practitioners of science publish not only results, but methodology, and techniques. In open source terms, this is equivalent to the source code. This not only helps 'bootstrap' others into the field, to learn from the example set, but makes it possible for others to verify or refute the results (or techniques) under investigation. In an almost guided Darwinian evolutionary fashion (6), this makes the scientific process a powerful tool for the highlighting, analysis and possible culling of ideas and concepts; less useful ideas and hypothesis die, and likely contenders come sharply into focus. Newton made his famous comment, in part, to indicate that his contributions to the human knowledge could not have been achieved solely. He needed the 'firmament' beneath him hypothesised, tested and confirmed by generations of scientists, philosophers and thinkers before him, over thousands of years. With science, in the medium to long run, all other issues fall by the wayside, and merit alone is the main attribute of the victorious memes. (7)

Linux - now Intel stabs Microsoft in the front by John Lettice THE REGISTER

In recent months it has become clear that Microsoft has been going out of its way to block Intel moves into software, forcing the company to back away from Java and other kinds of software and drivers that would make it easier for non-Microsoft software to run on Intel. When it comes to the Wintel platform, Microsoft reckons it defines the software, and that the software goes rather further into the hardware than Intel would like to be the case.

At the same time Microsoft's definitions of the software have increasingly been putting a brake on Intel's programmes. Microsoft has a narrow view of appliances that doesn't help Intel (hinders it, in that most CE platforms aren't Intel), and the whole of the Microsoft-centric network future is dependent on the much-delayed NT 5.0. By snuggling up to Oracle and the cable companies Intel has shown us it sees whole new markets out there that don't necessarily have much to do with Microsoft, and if Microsoft shouts 'stop!' every time Intel starts to do something about them, Intel could find itself shut out of them. So making the break must have been tempting.

As we said at the time (Intel network scheme means war with Microsoft) this means Intel needs a non-Microsoft OS. Microsoft produces one big server OS which remains over-complicated and overly expensive for small businesses. Microsoft also wants a Client Access Licence (CAL) payment for each and every client connected to the network. So Intel had to work with another vendor. The established Unix vendors may have been unattractive because of their desire to control their own implementations tightly (this is particularly the case with Sun), so as a cheap and flexible general purpose Unix, Linux has obvious attractions for Intel's small business efforts.

The Halloween Document suggested by Dmitry Kohmanyuk

The memo, written by Microsoft's Vinod Valloppillil, an engineer who analyzes industry trends, sheds light on the MS development practices, strength and weaknesses. The memo points out that Microsoft developers should view the company as "an idealized OSS community, but for various reasons, do not." See also Softpanorama Open Source Software (slightly skeptical) annotated Webliography

Linux campaign rolls on Unix camp seeks ally (InfoWorld)

"[Linux is] already having success in the workgroup server space and could challenge Novell and NT in the file and print server space," said Robert Berger, president of Internet Bandwidth Development, a consulting firm in Saratoga, Calif. SCO Unix and Microsoft Windows NT may cost between $4,000 and $5,000 for a basic enterprise server for 50 users, and the comparable Linux server may cost as little as $300, said Dan Kusnetzky, program director at International Data Corp., in Boston.

Although Microsoft officially recognized Linux as a competitor in its SEC filing this fall, the software giant's rhetoric remains patronizing.  "The greatest impact of Linux is the further cannibalization of the Unix marketplace," said Ed Muth, group product marketing manager for the enterprise at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

Forbes (8-10-98) Freeware children

QT controvercy

Cygwin32 A Free Win32 Porting Layer for UNIX® Applications

Source-code navigation tool needed -- Michael Tiemann, Cofounder, Cygnus Solutions, Sunnyvale, Calif.

The challenge of software comprehension has grown considerably since 1986, when I started programming. Back then, I could write 2,000 lines of code on a good weekend and build fully functional systems of 20,000 to 70,000 lines of code in a matter of weeks or months. When I downloaded the Free Software Foundation's Gnu C Compiler, Version 1.0, from the Internet in 1987, it supported two Unix machines-the VAX and the Sun3-and comprised about 110,000 lines of code. ...Today, GCC weighs in at over 750,000 lines of code; supports C, C++, Java and other languages; supports over 100 variants of 30 CPU architectures; and has grown in complexity to the point that no one person can understand all of it. The code-comprehension techniques I used 10 years ago do not scale to today's software comprehension challenges, yet the need to do new things is as strong as ever.

Ten years ago, I wouldn't think twice about writing 10,000 lines of code if it needed to be written. Today, good engineering is as much about reusing existing code as it is about writing new code. Indeed, for a system of reasonable complexity to work with any degree of consistency, it is required that common functionality must come from common implementations. But how does one find common implementations in a code base that's over 500,000 lines? What about in 5,000,000 lines?

Oracle powering up XML data warehousing (InfoWorld)

At the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco next week, Oracle will reveal plans for supporting XML in its products, including the company's upcoming Internet File System (iFS) for managing disparate file types. Meanwhile, this week the company will announce a new warehouse design product, called Warehouse Builder 2.0.

Microsoft/Linux coopetition

Scripting

 

[November 4, 1998]Second Perl conference

[November 4, 1998] Perl Mongers Starting a Group -- the site devoted to Perl user groups

[November 4, 1998] Updated Perl Documentation

[July 30,1998] Perl Debugger Built With a Perl/Tk User Interface

[July 25, 1998] Links to WEB logs processing scripts were added;

[July 25, 1998] HTML Converters were added;

[June 30, 1998] VIM has now (limited) support of Perl. See Softpanorama Editor Links

 

Security

 

Musings on open source security models -- a very important article that discuss an issue "Is open source software less secure that closed source (commercial) software ?

Tech Tutorials Network Security Anything But Bulletproof

http://www.gelb.com/chapter1.html -- firewalls
http://www.gelb.com/chapter2.htm -- firewalls

Performance Computing - Features - Kerberos A Secure Passport

[Nov. 17, 1998] Security Software from NIH

[Nov.7,1998] www.eds.org -- The Security-Audit Mailing list FAQ

[Nov.5,1998] A Security Primer for UNIX system administrators at MIT

 

Antivirus

 

Note on Virus Paranoia -- why server-based AV protection is a bad idea and why virus protection should be considered as part of the cost of the ownership of the Microsoft Plaftform.

AV_Secrets/doc2rtf.htm

AV_Secrets/macrovir.htm

Bookshelf (see also Softpanorama Bookshelf)

MCB Unix/Internet Related books

See Macmillan Computer Publishing Personal Bookshelf -- the leading Unix/Internet Computer-related public library (free registration required).

Skeptical Reviews

Book Review Website Automation Toolkit. by Andrew Johnson

Inforworld Coolest of the Cool awards  (www.reviewbunker.com)

They also wanted to award companies and innovators that introduced new technologies in 1998 that stood out for pushing the technical envelope-products that might not be the best this year, but were certainly promising contenders for the future.

1. Qualcomm Inc.'s Eudora 4.1 and Metrowerks Inc.'s CodeWarrior products. Eudora 4.1 pulled further ahead, achieving a level of user-friendliness we've almost never seen and a tool chest of mail management tools that is unequaled. Metrowerks' CodeWarrior was nominated less for features excellence but more for reliability. Java development tools were a special focus this year. The one commonality was a tendency to crash at just the wrong moment. CodeWarrior stayed competitive with everyone else in the field but seemed amazingly solid and uncrashable. Definitely cool for the harried Java programmer.

2. Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver once again redefined HTML ease of use, taking the WYSIWYG development concept to new levels, not just in terms of ease of use but also in the way it handled even the most advanced HTML technologies. Its ability to generate readable script for hand coding also was cool and was immediately emulated by many competitors in the field.

CNET Product Awards - Best affordable database MySQL (free for non-profit use)

Developed by the T.c.X in SwedenMySQL users have created Scalable enough applications (there are existing databases with of more than a million rows). Rapidly becoming a must-have on Web hosts everywhere. MySQL can be quickly picked up by anyone with a bit of database experience. Database queries written in SQL (Structured Query Language) can be easily ported to and from other databases. ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) support lets you connect to the database with a variety of database front-end programs, such as Microsoft Access.

If you're looking to connect the database to your Web server, MySQL's slick integration with PHP--a free scripting language--makes writing online database applications almost trivial. Most Web builders will need to use only the half-dozen functions it takes to execute queries, but if you need more access, you'll find advanced functions as well. If you have compiled PHP into the Apache Web server, the system overhead of connecting to MySQL's daemon process is minimal. With this type of support--along with Perl's DBI interface and the multiplelanguage APIs (C/C++, Java, Python, TCL) that MySQL supports--you can integrate this sweet little database into just about any product you might be developing.

For the vast majority of applications and Unix platforms, MySQL is distributed free of charge. An active mailing list provides support for most developers. Commercial support is available starting at $200 per year, which also grants the user access to the Windows 95/NT version of the database.

 

People

Dmitry Gurtyak died on November 13, 1998 He was only 27...


Cult of Personality -- Linus as a new god ;-)

In 1517, Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation with his assertion that no worldly power had the right to interpose itself between the individual and God. Nearly 500 years later, Linus Torvalds is insisting nobody should get between us and our CPUs, either. The Digital Reformation is here.

ArticlesLinus Story in Salon -- slashdot comments

Computer-related Humor

 

History

Great Renaming

Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny Subject: From: oneill@sfu.ca (Melissa O'Neill)  Tue, 3 Nov 1998

REDMOND, WASHINGTON. Microsoft Corporation announced today that Windows NT 5.0, its much delayed operating system for servers and business desktops, will be renamed ``Windows 2000'' and abbreviated to ``W2K''.

Brad Chaste, director of Microsoft's Advanced Marketing, Strategies and Leverage Group, explained the change, stating that ``This is another case of Microsoft innovation at work: we expect to see significant revenues deriving from our leadership in W2K issues.''

Industry commentators have been quick to speculate that Microsoft may be hoping to create confusion between W2K and the similarly named Y2K. Y2K, also known as ``Year 2000'', is expected to be a major budget item for businesses in the coming year, as they struggle to make their systems Year 2000 compatible. Microsoft is apparently hoping to place Windows 2000 compatibility similarly high on the agenda of corporate America. ``It's a clever move,'' argued analyst Mary Spittle, ``but it may backfire. The associations people have with Y2K, such as dangerous software instabilities, unfixed bugs, and sloppy coding, may not be the sort of associations Microsoft really wants for W2K.''

But Chaste disagreed. ``We view Y2K as a direct competitor to Microsoft products. We're already seeing a tiny, but noticeable, dip in revenues as people spend money on Y2K, and so obviously we're going to aggressively compete. We want to see support call revenues going to Microsoft and Microsoft certified consultants. We've already shown with Windows 98 that we can get customers to pay to test our software and track bugs -- with W2K we'll have 20 million lines of new source code for our customers to test out. We're looking at a very profitable future.''

Linus Torvalds, author of Linux, the upstart challenger to the Microsoft hegemony, offered an alternate viewpoint on the situation: ``You can use an operating system like Windows, or you can take a vacation. I'd take the vacation every time.'' But Chaste quickly dismissed Torvalds' comments, ``He's a nice guy, but he's acting alone. We've got thousands of contract programmers making new changes to the Windows source code every day. What's he got?'' Microsoft stock closed up 1.3 points on light trading. Sun Microsystems' Solaris gained 4.4 points, moving from 2.6 to 7.0.

Selected by Jim Griffith. MAIL your joke to funny@netfunny.com.This joke's link: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/98/Nov/w2k.html

 

Social Issues

ERICA AWARDS -- Technology Funding Opportunity

The ERICA Awards Starting January 11, 1999 and running through March 31,1999, LM Ericsson, a global data communications and telecommunications company is offering $250,000 in Web development services and expenses to non-profit organizations from around the world in the inaugural Ericsson Internet Community Awards, the ERICA. ERICA is seeking new and creative ideas for technology applications that take advantage of the community-building power of the Internet. The program is open to all charitable non-profit organizations (U.S. 501(c) (3) or equivalent). For information and to submit entries online, log on to the ERICA Web site, www.ericsson.com/erica after January 11th. For information write to ERICA, c/o Edelman Public Relations, 1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1270, Miami, Florida 33131.

[November 14, 1998] Linux goes to China

For one thing, Linux doesn't require the latest cutting-edge machine to satisfy its hardware demands, Miller said. Linux will run on hoary 386 computers. The operating system itself also doesn't cost as much, even when sold by distributors such as Pacific HiTech.

And on a more exotic note, Linux can't be held hostage to international trade squabbles or even more serious political disagreements, Miller said. "If your software is from a company in a country not friendly to your own, watch out when you go to war," Miller noted.

But Bill Peterson, an operating system analyst with International Data Corporation, was more restrained.

While Pacific HiTech does indeed appear to have a stronger Chinese presence than competing Linux distributors, Peterson noted that there's a big difference between getting your Linux product installed on computers and making money off that popularity. Companies only need to buy one copy of the operating system,
which they then replicate and install it as often as they want, he said.

He agreed with Miller that Linux has a big performance advantage, though. "Any [Linux] distribution can run on older Intel-based hardware pretty effectively as a client or server," he said. "Clearly there is a potential for countries where a huge up-front hardware costs are not an option. Current [releases] of Microsoft operating systems are useless to them, based on their hardware needs."

But the biggest obstacle is probably the sheer complexity of the country, with its enormous population and telecommunications regulatory maze, Weiss said. Providing technical support for Linux in China "could be quite an undertaking," Weiss said.

[November 12, 1998] Linux Today: Yes we really do want to use Free Software. -- [Start of NNB comment] Many people push Linux because it is free. IMHO zero initial price for NOS that will be used, say, 5 years is not that important for a sizable organization. Man power and support cost is of primary importance. You can argue only for the total cost of ownership part of which are stablility, convience, flexibility and ease of management. As for the Linux hype -- alright, alright, NT may not great as NOS, but it has its place if the server is uptime is not that critical. Linux is NT's ultimate Service pack but you need a specialist to apply it ;-). If you have problem with Unix specialists that as a departmental Intranet WEB server NT is often right choice and can be installed on the same PC that is used as a workstation. Exchange NT server/ Outlook client seems to be a decent messaging system. NT servers are quick to install and probably have some place...[End of NNB comment]

Yes, we really do want to use Free Software.

...We are building a large distributed system (about 200 processors over a 20 mile region) using Linux and Interbase only. Recently, a consultant hired by our client popped up with the questions I have heard soooo much about:

  1. Do you really want to base your system on "freeware?"
  2. There is no technical support, how will you get questions answered?
  3. Who are you going to blame?

Fortunately, my (Government) customer has had such a bad time with NT over the past couple of years, the questions were not even forwarded to us for review. The customer was happy to provide the following answers directly to the consultant:

  1. You bet, the quality of code is too high to ignore. By the way it isn't freeware, it's open source.
  2. We have given up calling Microsoft for support. Their support people seem to be incapable of answering technical questions that are deeper than simple "how do I boot my computer" questions. As far as we are concerned Microsoft does not support its product. The support we have received for Linux has been the best we have ever experienced from any vendor...
  3. Since Linux is very reliable, our trial systems were 100% operational from day one, the issue of blame doesn't surface. However, our experience with NT (SP4) gave us some insight into the "who to blame" mentality.

The customer has really begun to despise Microsoft with their lack of support and buggy operating systems. The customer's primary server is operational and has a zero item bug list, except in the operating system (NT). Since our overall strategy is to build the entire "second phase" system from Linux, we have the task of porting the existing server code to Linux, a task that ordinarily would take a low priority since a working server already exists.

The customer has overridden our own prioritization and requested that the Linux port be completed ASAP. Two reasons:

  1. At least twice a week the NT machine crashes or starts to behave strangely and a reboot is required.
  2. Remote system administration cannot be performed on the NT box so we have to talk the customer through troubleshooting instead of simply logging into their boxes directly from our site.

Since this customer now has about 30 Linux machines working in remote, hostile environments and those machines NEVER go down, one can understand their desire to get the NT -> Linux upgrade completed soon...

Cathedrals Bazaars and the Town Council -- "Town council"  or "The committee for the administration of the structural planning of the Linux kernel" effect by Alan Cox (bold in mine -- NNB)

Cathedrals, Bazaars and the Town Council

These are some of my thoughts on the Bazaar model that I figure are worth sharing. Its also a guide to how to completely screw up a free software project. I've picked a classic example of what I think is best dubbed the "Town Council" effect (although town councillors may think otherwise).

...The first thing to understand is that really good programmers are relatively unusual...

Secondly you need to understand that a lot of the wannabe real programmers are very good at having opinions. Many of them also catch buzzword disease or have some speciality they consider the "one true path". On the Internet talk is cheap.

The third part of any software project is what we shall call "the masses". They range between people who don't program but contribute massively in other areas -- documentation, helping users and artwork to the sort of people that are often used to argue that you should require a license to connect to the Internet.

<discussion of Linux 8086 project  deleted>

The problem that started to arise was the arrival of a lot of (mostly well meaning) and dangerously half clued people with opinions -- not code, opinions. They knew enough to know how it should be written but most of them couldn't write "hello world" in C. So they argue for weeks about it and they vote about what compiler to use and whether to write one - a year after the project started using a perfectly adequate compiler. They were busy debating how to generate large model binaries while ignoring the kernel swapper design.

Linux 8086 went on, the real developers have many of the other list members in their kill files so they can communicate via the list and there are simply too many half clued people milling around. It ceased to be a bazaar model and turns into a core team, which to a lot of people is a polite word for a clique. It is an inevitable defensive position in the circumstances.

In the Linux case the user/programmer base grew slowly and it grew from a background group of people who did contribute code and either had a basis in the original Minix hacking community or learned a few things the hard way reboot by reboot. As the project grew people who would have turned into "The committee for the administration of the structural planning of the Linux kernel" instead got dropped in an environment where they were expected to deliver and where failure wasn't seen as a problem. To quote Linus "show me the source".

If someone got stuck they posted questions and there was and is a sufficiently large base that someone normally has both the time and the knowledge to reply. In the Linux8086 case the developers had long since walled themselves off. Given a better ratio of active programmers to potentially useful wannabe programmers would have rapidly turned some of the noise into productivity. The project would have gained more useful programmers and they in turn would have taught others. As with any learning exercise you are better off having only a few trainees.

There is an assumption some people make that you can't turn the "lesser programmers" into real programmers. From personal experience in the Linux project there are plenty of people who given a little help and a bit of confidence boosting will become one with the best. There are many who won't but enough that will. [1]

<deleted>

The lessons from this project, and others that went the same way (and sometimes died - remember the earlier Linux word processor projects) are fairly clear:

So next time someone wants to vote on a project, or discuss issues for a month and then implement it - be warned. They may end up with the right solution. The odds are however in your favour for carrying on regardless. Just ask them to send you a patch when it works.

Beware "We should", extend a hand to "How do I"...

Alan

[1] As an example of this claim the original author of the Linux IPv6 code used to sit on irc from Portugal playing with a few basic ideas and asking questions. After we helped him figure some of the kernel internals he wrote probably 75% of the Linux IPv6 stack and was last seen working in the USA for cisco

Downsizing of IT organizations

Demand will stay strong for information technology professionals, but companies will "radically" cut the size of their internal IT organizations, a Gartner Group, Inc. researcher predicted.

Over the next five years, companies will place less emphasis on using IT to automate internal processes, and focus more on using IT to link to customers and suppliers in "virtual enterprises," predicted Bill McNee, vice president and research fellow at Gartner. As a result, IT departments will spend less time actually providing services to end users, and more time managing outsourcers, he said.

IT staffs will increasingly be "project managers, vendor managers and asset managers," he told attendees at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo '98, being held at Walt Disney World here. A prime focus of these outsourcing efforts will be to allow applications at a customer's site to work together with applications at sites run by customers, suppliers or other business partners, he said.

McNee said the concept of a traditional, monolithic IT organization supplying all of a company's IT needs is being replaced by an IT function that manages strategic partnerships and integrated value chains.

College computer science enrollment skyrockets - October 22 1998

...campuses are reporting skyrocketing enrollments in virtually all computer-related fields. Many schools have reported increases in IT enrollments by 40% or more within two years. Some say their enrollments are doubling. And schools such as Berkeley are seeing a critical shortage of qualified teachers.

...as the number of students enrolling in computer-related courses increases, the quality of students enrolling appears to be declining

The recent interest in computer science is, in part, because of the fact that the current crop of students spent their teen-age years playing games and hanging out in chat rooms. But once they enroll in their first programming class, they quickly learn hard new lessons. Many new enrollees find that they can't quite cut the computer science mustard.

Students appear to have more interest than ability.

In real estate, the most important thing is location, location, location. For a student who wants a good job, it's experience, experience, experience.

Help Wanted Older workers need not apply - September 14 1998

The survey clearly shows that younger network managers tend not to hire older workers.

Young workers are viewed as willing to put in longer hours for less money and are perceived to have the hot skills.

Kostek says a potent mix of cultural and economic factors are working against older workers. Software companies and Internet start-ups, in particular, tend to be founded and run by young people who are simply more comfortable working with their peers.

Jack Bobo, research director for the National Software Alliance (NSA), a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of industry, government and academic leaders concerned about the IT labor shortage, says companies are "trying desperately to hire entry-level people." The reason: Young workers are viewed as willing to put in longer hours for less money and are perceived to have the hot skills.

Harris Miller, president of the ITAA, says the fact that a handful of vocal mid-career people say they can't find jobs doesn't prove age discrimination. It may mean those particular people lack up-to-date skills, have inflexible salary demands, or aren't willing to relocate to areas where the jobs are.

U.S. IT managers turn to Canada to find scarce IT talent - August 26, 1998

"They're the closest thing to a U.S. citizen," declares Heinz Bartesch, director of technical search at the Professional Consulting Network, Inc. in San Francisco. Bartesch has placed three Canadians in high-level IT positions thus far this year. "And their credentials are excellent. Canada has some terrific computer science schools," he says.

And the numbers make U.S. offers look very attractive to Canadians, points out Doug Weir, president of Weir Executive Search Associates in Toronto. The Canadian dollar currently is worth only 60% of the U.S. dollar. And taxes are substantially less in the U.S. (Canadians pay in excess of 50% of their income in various taxes.) An IT job in Toronto that pays $50,000 Canadian will command a U.S. salary of $70,000 or more.

Why musicians may make the best tech workers - July 31, 1998

Some say the real correlation has less to do with discrete aptitudes than with the way technical people think: They favor spatial/temporal reasoning, or the ability to visualize. Mozart, who composed entire symphonies in his head, clearly excelled at that skill. And Albert Einstein, who was known to think about time and space, was also known to favor the violin.

The ability to do spatial/temporal reasoning is important in a lot of areas, says Gordon L. Shaw, professor emeritus of physics at the University of California at Irvine and co-discoverer of the "Mozart Effect," which demonstrates that exposure to classical music enhances reasoning ability.

"It makes sense that if you're good at one of these higher brain functions that involve the spatial/temporal aspect, you're going to be good at the others," Shaw says. "To construct a good program, you want to be able to see the consequences in your head, not just do line by line of the code. You have to be able to totally visualize it."

Howard Rosenbaum, assistant professor at the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, tells of a professional bass player who became fascinated with computers. "He told me that sometimes when he sits down at a computer, he can visualize what he's doing as if it were a piece of music," he says.

That skill, too, works in information technology. Rosenbaum has another student who was a construction foreman.

"He has an interesting ability to visualize a project Ñ where it all fits in a blueprint he carries in his head," Rosenbaum says. "He looks at programming as having a structure. He starts by drawing blueprints and sketches just as he would if he were putting up a building."

The correlation is equally apparent on the job. "One of my best employees, now a senior program analyst, was a construction worker," says Jim Crumb, chief operating officer at World Media Co. in Omaha. "Companies should go out and start interviewing carpenters."

The ability to visualize facilitates another aptitude common among technical people: a knack for solving mental puzzles. Mathematicians who move to IT say their success depends more on their ability to solve mental puzzles than to do complex calculations.

But before you send Freud packing, consider this: Rosenbaum says success in technology may ultimately depend on a person's ability to relate technology to his previous career. "I think it's a matter of being able to find a workable metaphor," he says. "Many who are successful have done that." He cites graphic artists who think of pixels on a screen as oils on a canvas.

Finally, even novelist Austen may not have chosen the wrong second career. IT workers have to perform in the real world, where not every programmer gets to visualize and build a masterpiece from beginning to end.

WorkingWounded So Long Stability

Etc

Discovery Online Hackers' Hall of Fame

MIT IHTFP Hack Gallery Chronologic Overview

Sites to visit

Freshmeat  -- great site to look for open source applications; has applications index

Linux Gazette  Have several mirrors in Ukraine:

LinuxFocus (some articles are available in Russian translation)

Linux Journal  

Linux Weekly News  

Linuxmall News

SlashDot

Web Review     

ALL UNIX NEWS

itmWEB Information Technology & Systems Management

Swaine's World Front Page

The Linux Mall - Home Page -- interesting selection of articles to read



Etc

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Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

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The Last but not Least


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