Create Web applets with Mozilla and XML

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 11/03/2003 - 01:12

I just came across this very informative article on creating web applets with XUL. It provides an introduction to XUL and Mozilla as a development platform, in the form of a tutorial for creating an online helpdesk system.

Now I gotta tell you, I spent a good many days playing with XUL over the summer, and it can be a real bitch to work with. However, it's a very powerful, cross-platform bitch. It's well worth learning, whether you want to create online applets, or offline applications.

Check out the full tutorial.

The Evolution of a Cryptographer

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 10/27/2003 - 01:12

Anyone with experience in the IT security field should be familiar with the name Bruce Schneier. Author of Applied Cryptography, he's one of the definitive experts on cryptography, and he's recently been expanding his expertise into the wider world of security in general.

He recently granted an interview to CSO Magazine, in which he discusses various issues facing security professionals, concerns in a post-09/11 world, and several other topics. He also discusses/plugs his new book, Beyond Fear, which seems like it should be a very interesting read.

Here's the full interview.

How Microsoft's Misunderstanding of Open Source Hurts Us All

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 10/27/2003 - 00:19

Robert Cringely has written a fantastic article on how and why Microsoft just doesn't simply doesn't get it, and what that means for consumers. As Cringely says, these ideas are both obvious and old hat to people in or around the Open Source movement, but he does an excellent job of analyzing one of Ballmer's recent spearches, and breaks it down for techies and non-techs alike.

This is a must read. Here's the full story.

Breaking up with Bill

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 10/27/2003 - 00:09

This is a really good article on one man's switch to Linux. Instead of focusing on the actual migration, however (as many of these types of articles do), this one focuses on the reasons why he made the switch. It's a short and entertaining read, but he brings up several important points. My personal favorite quote?

It wasn't just the virus, or the thrice-weekly crashes, or the forced upgrades or even the massive, bloated resource hog that Microsoft Office has become. It was the realization that Microsoft is building the Great Eye That Never Sleeps, which, in combination with your government identification number, will be used to track you, verify you and determine if you are a properly obedient little wage-serf.

Here's the full article.

How Much Office Functionality Do We Really Need, Anyway?

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 10/14/2003 - 19:42

This surprisingly accurate article questions just how much functionality consumers need in an office suite. The author points to the recents statements of Microsoft's Jeff Raikes dismissing open source office suites as "being where we [Microsoft] were with Office 97." But, leaving reality for a moment and accepting that as truth, is that really such a bad thing? Consider: what important feature of any office suite component do you use that was not available in 1997? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Now, let's jump back into reality. OpenOffice 1.1.0, for example (since it was released just last week), does not contain every feature as Office 2003, or even Office XP. No one would say otherwise. However, it doesn't need every feature, as very many of them are pure fluff. In addition, it supports several features that MS itself can't match, such as native support for PDF and Flash export.

I strongly recommend reading this article. I know I mostly turned this post into a sales-pitch for OpenOffice, but that's neither my nor the author's intention. He questions the need to upgrade to versions of MS Office from any office suite, even previous MS ones, as they all contain the basic functionality that any office worker or home user could need. Definitely an enlightening read.

Transmeta Introduces Efficeon Chip

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 10/14/2003 - 18:58

Transmeta launched its new Efficeon processor today, once again turning up the heat in the increasingly import low-power-consumption market. The Efficeon is a pretty big improvement over Transmeta's previous Crusoe line, so here's hoping they can get some top-tier vendor backing.

You can read the full article here. There aren't any major revalations, but it does provide a good introduction to both the Efficeon processor and Transmeta, so it's a pretty good read.

Open-Source, Closed Minds

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 10/10/2003 - 08:11

Noted Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig posted a blurb about recent (failed) efforts to get the World Intellectual Property Organization to consider adopting and supporting "open and collaborative projects to create public goods," of which FOSS was just one example. Things appeared to be going smoothly at first, but once Microsoft started lobbying against these efforst, true ignorance was shown.

Read the full story. It'll answer a lot of questions about why our patent and IP systems are in such a sorry state.

Notes from the SCO Road show

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 10/10/2003 - 08:02

Because of all of SCO's bad press lately with this Linux lawsuit, they decided it'd be a good idea to go on a city-to-city tour to meet with vendors and customers to update them on their roadmap, answer questions, etc.

One Linux supporter (I'm sure there will be many others) showed up at a recent stop for the inside scoop. You can read the full story here, but here's a personal favorite quote:

The other reason the roadmap was entertaining? I now know how retro SCOs OSes are. Riotous, riotous stuff. How they had the ya-yas to declare Linux an infant OS in need of their IP is beyond me. Upcoming features? PAM. files larger than 2 gigs. NFS over TCP. The 80's called, they want their features back. NTPv4 was a listed big feature on a slide of 10 to 15 upcoming enhancements. How does an NTP enhancement get mentioned as a 'big' feature? Wow. I never knew it was this bad. Maybe I should lend my old 486 running Debian from '97 to Pizza Hut - it sounds like they could use the upgrade.