If one were to do a survey of the next tablet computer from a major manufacturer likely to disappear — the HP TouchPad now being gone — the near-unanimous choice would very likely be Research In Motion's Blackberry Playbook. And that's too bad. The little 7-inch Playbook is a really cool machine, a Mercedes to HP's Ford F-150.
When news broke of Steve Jobs’s death, their was an outpouring of sadness from both those who knew the man and those of us who knew only the products his farsighted perfectionism had helped to mold. Amidst the mourning over a technology pioneer and visionary, there was a contrary opinion from another technology pioneer and visionary known for his nearly 30 year long campaign against proprietary software. Richard Stallman was glad Jobs would not be able to create any more “jails” to lock people in.
Don’t it always seem to go: you don’t know what you want until it’s marked down to a fraction of its retail price and there is a brief but vast buying frenzy. Yes, I was drawn to think of what Joni Mitchell ought to have written when, a few weeks ago, I discovered that my life would never be complete until I had one of the discontinued Hewlett Packard TouchPad tablet machines.
The bundled Open Java on RHEL is okay. It's also painfully slow, particularly compared to the competition. Most people still call it Sun Java, though it's now owned by Oracle. Because we have installed the development packages, we have the Open JDK (Java Development Kit) so we'll have to replace it with Oracle's JDK for Linux. This is so much faster, there simply is no comparison, at least on desktop applications. That would be things like Jedit (a java-based text editor), the Bible Desktop or "JSword" (java version of Crosswire's Sword Project) and any number of java games.
A few years ago there was an advertising campaign on television, the punchline of which was, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” Like so many commercials, I remember the joke but not the product — I believe it was margarine, but I do not know or care which brand.
For our last desktop oriented article, I promised we would build one item using the generic Open Source scripted building process. For this project, I chose something only slightly complicated, and likely to be favored by most users: PySolFC, the Python Solitaire Fan Club Edition. It's not just a collection of card games, but more card games than you've ever seen, along with a wide array of Mahjongg based games. It also comes with background music.
In my last column, we learned the basics of RPM, the software management tool of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and numerous other distributions). With a little less hand-holding this time, I am going to outline for you building a bigger SRPM project which has lots of dependencies. As scary as that may sound, it is really fairly simple in practice.
I remember as a boy shopping with my parents for our first computer that didn’t hook up to a TV. In the stores, there was the “open world” of PC’s and then that odd little section for people who insisted on closed, strange — gasp — Macs. Such a view was more a sign of a general misunderstanding of Macs than anything else, but the reputation has persisted for many. A new product launch from Adobe, however, shows just how wrong that reputation is.
You probably know everything on your computer is just zeroes and ones, grouped together in eights and sixteens, and so forth. You might know a bunch of folks type out lines of instructions ("code") for computers which have to be converted into those ones and zeroes, in a process called compiling. You may have heard compiling stuff on Windows requires you to buy expensive software suites to do that sort of stuff. Maybe you know Open Source means the entire process from start to finish is wide open and free, and if you take a notion, you can compile your own software because it's all part of the package. This is why I recommended you install the Developer Workstation package profile. You can take all those instructions people write and make it into zeroes and ones yourself.
Linux is capable of superior font display handling. On my hardware, it's better than any version of Windows if those capabilities are taken advantage of. However, its capabilities are not turned on in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or many other distributions) by default. There are several issues involved, but never fear — they can be solved.