2000-Jul-10: SlashDot


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Apache: IIS Vs. Apache and Netcraft Results

Apache | Posted by Hemos on Monday July 10, @11:37AM
from the what-to-make-of-this? dept.
ant banks wrote to us with an article that takes issue with the Netcraft results regarding Apache's continued domination of web servers. This server looked at Fortune 500 companies and their deployment, with some differing results.

( Read More... | 37 of 49 comments | Apache )

Chris McKinstry Replies: Telecopes, AI And More

News | Posted by timothy on Monday July 10, @11:00AM
from the international-man-of-mystery dept.
A few weeks ago you asked the multi-talented Chris McKinstry questions, about the telescope projects he's involved with (ESO's Very Large Telescope -- VLT -- and the OverWhelmingly Large telescope -- OWL), about his project to synthesize AI by collecting a database of answers to questions common and obscure, and about the possibilities of discovering extraterrestrial life. Read what he has to say on everything from humans leaving the solar system to telescopes staying here on Earth.

( Read More... | 24667 bytes in body | 18 of 28 comments )

Fling:Anonymous Protocol Suite

Encryption | Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday July 10, @10:23AM
from the who-said-that? dept.
_endgame writes "Fling is a new suite of internet protocols that perform the function of DNS, TCP, and UDP in a manner that's both untraceable and untappable. Fling protects clients from servers, servers from clients, and both from an eavesdropper in-between. The result is that anyone can serve or retrieve any data, without fear of censure."

( Read More... | 87 of 118 comments )

Apple, Pixar And Disney To Merge?

News | Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday July 10, @08:56AM
from the sources-less-reliable-than-slashdot- dept.
Master Bait sent in the freakiest merger rumor: Apple + Pixar + Disney, with Steve Jobs as the chairman... you can read more at the ever untrustworthy Drudge Report, so take this whole thing with a grain of salt the size of a Ford Taurus.

( Read More... | 137 of 224 comments )

Ask Slashdot: Cross-Platform Internet Telephony?

The Internet | Posted by Cliff on Monday July 10, @08:21AM
from the now-this-would-be-cool dept.
the . Silicon . Dragon writes: "The company I work for is creating a product that we hope to launch on Linux. One of the key features of our product is Internet Telephony where a user can not only call other users on the Internet, but also make and receive calls from standard telephones. We've investigated a number of possible solutions, but they all have shortcomings. The most sour part of the situation is we may have to move our launch platform to Windows if we cannot find an acceptable Internet telephony solution. It'd be highly disagreeable with myself and several others in the company as well if we have to do this, but we can't drop a key product feature and we don't have the time or the resources to develop the technology in-house. Suggestions for Java (preferrably) or C/C++ solutions, and/or references to companies that provide said technology would be extremely helpful." The 'key feature' in question is interface customization. You can find out more in the article.

( Read More... | 413 bytes in body | 45 of 81 comments | Ask Slashdot )

Walk-By DNA Testing

Patents | Posted by Hemos on Monday July 10, @08:20AM
from the scary-stuff dept.
Scott_Marks writes "The New York Times today has an article on a newly-patented device which may make it practical to perform DNA testing (or drug testing, or explosives testing) on anyone walking underneath. This "portal" sucks up some of the millions of skin flakes each of us sheds each day and whips them into your choice of privacy-invading analysis equipment "for detecting the presence of molecules of interest"."

( Read More... | 92 of 109 comments )

Warwick Allison Of QT And KDE Fame

KDE | Posted by timothy on Monday July 10, @03:38AM
from the telecommuting dept.
Konqi the Dragon points to this BeOpen interview with Warrick Allison of Troll Tech's Qt Library, writing: "Warrwick is also a longtime KDE contributor with interesting things to say about GPL, QT Embedded, KDE, The Mythical Man Month, Distributed Development and scaling projects."
If Warrick's words make you say "hmmm" (for whatever reason), you might also want to revisit earlier Slashdot stories about Embedded QT and Trolltech. [Updated noon GMT 10 July 2000 by timothy] Thanks to jdfox, who pointed out that I had perpetuated the misspelling of "Warwick" in the headline. Sorry, Warwick!

( Read More... | 56 of 112 comments )

Science: Cities Influence Their Own Weather

Science | Posted by jamie on Monday July 10, @01:45AM
from the low-pressure-tactics dept.
CalamityJones writes "In the 'Well, DUH!' department, this story from the AP shrieks 'Cities May Make Their Own Weather.' As if anyone with half a brain could possibly have missed this point." Not having a weather supercomputer to crunch the numbers, it wasn't quite that obvious to me, but then what do I know. Living in Michigan I'm used to the lake effect - if I lived east of some major asphalt, I guess I'd get the L.A. effect.

( Read More... | 85 of 117 comments | Science )

Intel Tests Show PC133 SDRAM Bests RDRAM

Intel | Posted by timothy on Sunday July 09, @10:54PM
from the obligatory-note-benchmarks-=/=-real-world dept.
SteveM wrote citing an Semiconductor Business News article which begins: "SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Here's a surprise. Benchmark test results from Intel Corp. show its new 815E chip set with PC133 SDRAMs beating the performance of its 820 chip set with Direct Rambus memories. Moreover, Intel has posted those unexpected test results on its Web site, not intending to show PC133 SDRAMs beating the Direct Rambus memory format, which is favored by the Santa Clara chip giant." The results actually show some fairly unspectacular differences, but those differences lean overwhelmingly in favor of the SDRAM. Surely someone will come up with a benchmark that always makes RDRAM look better.

( Read More... | 87 of 173 comments )

SOCs: Say Goodbye To µC's?

Technology | Posted by timothy on Sunday July 09, @07:21PM
from the want-these-in-my-kiddie-meal-please dept.
Rick Lehrbaum writes: "This [LinuxDevices.com] article describes a new class of Linux-friendly system-on-chip (SOC) ICs that are taking over the 1-chip microcontroller mantle from simpler architectures like the 8051 and 68HC11. And they're going to vastly accelerate the use of embedded Linux in thousands of new designs for intelligent devices, Internet appliances, and embedded systems. Devices covered in the article include include: Intel StrongARM SA-1110, NEC VR4181, STMicro STPC, Mot MPC823e, IBM PPC 405GP, NETsilicon NET+ARM, Aplio/TRIO, Axis ETRAX, LinkUp L7205, Alchemy Au1000, and Cirrus Maverick EP9312." I'd like a walkman-size computer based on that IBM 405GP that runs on AAs for a week ... sort of neat how open source OSes can seep into things like this.

( Read More... | 60 of 128 comments )


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Apple, Pixar And Disney To Merge?

News | Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday July 10, @08:56AM
from the sources-less-reliable-than-slashdot- dept.
Master Bait sent in the freakiest merger rumor: Apple + Pixar + Disney, with Steve Jobs as the chairman... you can read more at the ever untrustworthy Drudge Report, so take this whole thing with a grain of salt the size of a Ford Taurus.

Cross-Platform Internet Telephony? | Fling:Anonymous Protocol Suite  >

 

 
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

The Editor-in-Chief of Slashdot...

(Score:4, Funny)
by arc.light on Monday July 10, @08:59AM EDT
(User Info) http://www.abriasoft.com

... calls the Drudge Report untrustworthy?

Now that's the pot calling the kettle black!


New user: replace this text with a witty comment or saying for use as a signature. [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Stories Like This are Crap

(Score:3, Insightful)
by MyopicProwls on Monday July 10, @09:03AM EDT
(User Info) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nrrinard/

Look. A couple years ago Apple was in bad shape. There were bankruptsy rumors and takeover rumors. At the time, they were plausable. Barely.

Since then Apple has seen an amazing rebirth and return to amazing profitability. Even in the dark days this sort of crap was barely believable, but now days it is just absurd.

Why the hell would Disney want Apple? Disney I could see buying Pixar, but Apple? And why would Apple want Disney?

This just doesn't make any sense. I guess I'd chastize Slashdot for giving it enough credence to post at all.

My homepage

[ Reply to This | Parent ]

This one is always popping up ..

(Score:5, Insightful)
by scrutty ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:03AM EDT
(User Info) http://www.scrutty.dircon.co.uk

Doubtless fuelled by the Jobs/Pixar Pixar Disney connection and the fact that the Pixar movies , well at least the toy stories represent some of Disneys biggest money spinners of recent years.

For example http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/9902/disney-to-buy-apple.shtml

Just feed Apple Disney merger into any search engine for many previous similar speculations, all equally uninformed ever since Jos took over the helm back at Apple.

I seem to recall slashdot fetaturing it before as well ... here it is


-- Oh Well [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Been there...done that

(Score:5, Informative)
by Wyatt Earp ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:07AM EDT
(User Info) http://www.bloodshed.org

From macnn.com this morning...

"Reigniting old rumors which have surfaced several times in the past few years, the latest edition of The Drudge Report speculates on an impending merger announcement between Pixar, Apple, and Disney. We advise readers to be highly skeptical of this rumor; AppleInsider first published an article more than 18 months ago that also suggested a possible Apple/Disney merger was in the works."

This has popped up so many times, I laughed so hard when Drudge put this up there.

And compared to Drudge.../. is hella better. When was the last time "the President's Talking Penis" was a 72 point headline on /.?


Ad Astra Per Aspera "A Rough Road Leads to the Stars" [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Disney Teaming up with Apple...

(Score:5, Funny)
by cswiii on Monday July 10, @09:13AM EDT
(User Info) http://wiw.org/~corey/

...means a truly mouse-driven user experience.

/me dodges tomatoes.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

New Mice

(Score:3, Funny)
by grahamsz ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:17AM EDT
(User Info) http://graha.ms

Cupertino 06/10/00 - Apple today announced that they will be merging with Disney in order to obtain disney's mouse technology. Having proven their success with 'Mickey' for over nearly 80 years, Apple are keen to revamp disney's mouse in a variety of different translucent colours in a bid to entice consumers to think differently.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

Re:Yay!

(Score:5, Insightful)
by Phroggy ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:39AM EDT
(User Info) http://phroggy.com/

Now we can see apples in more movies. Why are all computers in movies apples?

Remember how everybody says the Macintosh has a niche market, and other than that they've got really low market share? Well, guess what that niche market is? That's right - graphics, music, sound, video, film, etc. etc. The people who make movies use Macs.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Apple often gives computers to movie studios for use in movies. And sometimes they do cobranded marketing, like for Mission: Impossible.

Remember when Forrest Gump bought stock in a fruit company? Apple didn't call the movie studio and ask them to use their logo. The movie studio called Apple and asked for permission.

Something you might find interesting: Apple Masters.

--
The views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the author. [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Re:Appleology

(Score:3, Funny)
by Darchmare ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @10:17AM EDT
(User Info) http://www.velocinews.com

Depends. The merger can't complete unless you can get Mickey to wear blue jeans and a black turtleneck sweater.

- Jeff A. Campbell
- VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com)
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Fling:Anonymous Protocol Suite

    Encryption | Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday July 10, @10:23AM
    from the who-said-that? dept.
    _endgame writes "Fling is a new suite of internet protocols that perform the function of DNS, TCP, and UDP in a manner that's both untraceable and untappable. Fling protects clients from servers, servers from clients, and both from an eavesdropper in-between. The result is that anyone can serve or retrieve any data, without fear of censure."

    Apple, Pixar And Disney To Merge? | Chris McKinstry Replies: Telecopes, AI And More  >

     

     
    The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

    Don't Want To Be A Spoilsport But...

    (Score:5, Insightful)
    by Carnage4Life on Monday July 10, @10:28AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.google.com/search?q=dare+obasanjo&meta;=lr%3D%26hl%3Den

    ...this project is less than a week old and consists of some theories bandied about by a developer and he's friend (who is providing the crypto knowledge).

    Wouldn't have been better to post this when there was actually news to report? Simply because someone has an idea and backs it up with a webpage does not a headline make.

    PS: That said, I wish them luck. :)


    What kind of Flame Warrior are you? [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Sounds Interesting - for possibly the wrong reason

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Midnight Ryder ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @10:33AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.midnightryder.com

    One of the things that always strikes me as interesting about things like this is the posiblities for abuse. No - I'm not talking about things like trading warez, porn, MP3, or whatever the hot semi-illegal commodity of the week is.

    I'm more interested in the possible effects for companies that keep wanting to do things like map out the Internet (see article last week here on /. about the group maping the 'net for advertising purposes) but don't want to really tick off admins who's machines they are adding to thier map. Same goes for script kiddies looking for machines (using nothing more than ping to see who responds) but want to keep from possibly alerting the admin at some company they are maping out.

    Just a thought - I could, of course, be completely wrong!


    Davis

    MidnightRyder.Com

    Boulder Panic! 2 - The Challenge [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Two problems...

    (Score:5, Insightful)
    by Signal 11 ([email protected]?Subject=Slashdot comment) on Monday July 10, @10:37AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.malign.net/~bojay/

    There's no way to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks with a truly anonymous protocol as there is no way to verify the authenticity of the server.

    In addition, crypto without a pre-arranged way to mutually verify both parties is trivial to crack. The NSA will certainly not mind you exporting this protocol overseas. :P But that is just a footnote to the above problem I mentioned. You can probably derive the encryption keys by monitoring the beginning of the conversation with the server and thus decrypt the contents of the packet(s). However, I am no expert in this, so I may be incorrect about being able to derive the keys - specifically, I know nothing about the duffie-hellmann(sp?) public key exchange stuff, beyond "it works", so YMMV.

    The other problem I can see is that you're sending up a big red flag saying "Here I am! Look at me, I'm up to no good!" to your network administrators. Net admins are notoriously paranoid, moreso now with the proliferation of scripts. This means that if you use it at work, you stand a good chance of having your network access monitored/revoked and/or you getting your ass canned. Yeah! Go crypto!

    The ideal protocol for this would be one where monitoring would a) do an attacker no good (which means you have to verify the authenticity of the server somehow before you communicate over the unsecured channel (the 'net)) and b) look like normal traffic. This is important - either you encrypt everything, even non-sensitive material, or you encrypt nothing and rely on stenography. I like stenography better myself.. and it'll become more important as governments crack down on conventional crypto - witness new zealand, I believe, which made it a law forcing you to divulge the keys of every encrypted thing on your system under penalty of jail.. even when they can't prove you ever had them!

    Imagine an HTTP request to www.someplace.com where the downloaded JPEG contains the information requested and the POST contents contained the key+query. E-commerce cookies can easily look like crypto keys. Rewrite a few doubleclick cookies and no one will be the wiser.

    -o Disclaimer: My employer doesn't even agree with me about C indentation style. o- [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Anti-tax philosophy

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by phil reed ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @10:38AM EDT
    (User Info)

    The author's justifications are very much anti-tax (he appears to be a serious Randian). One of the unstated reasons that the U.S. government was believed to be anti-crypto was exactly that the widespread distribution of unbreakable crypto would allow the development of an underground untaxable economy. It's interesting that this web site's author comes right out and says pretty much the same thing.


    ...phil
    "For a list of the ways which technology has failed to improve our quality of life, press 3." [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:This is JUST a theory...

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by MostlyHarmless ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @11:27AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.sidgames.com/

    Great! Not giving away your IP address is a fantastic idea! As long as we don't need to get information back from the server, it'll work for sure! Exclamation points can make the suckiest idea sound good if used right!

    Seriously, though, you need to reveal your IP address so the server can send back the information you requested. That's what servers do.


    Big Brother doesn't care about you [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Chris McKinstry Replies: Telecopes, AI And More

    News | Posted by timothy on Monday July 10, @11:00AM
    from the international-man-of-mystery dept.
    A few weeks ago you asked the multi-talented Chris McKinstry questions, about the telescope projects he's involved with (ESO's Very Large Telescope -- VLT -- and the OverWhelmingly Large telescope -- OWL), about his project to synthesize AI by collecting a database of answers to questions common and obscure, and about the possibilities of discovering extraterrestrial life. Read what he has to say on everything from humans leaving the solar system to telescopes staying here on Earth.

    1) GAC
    by Dungeon Dweller

    I have an active interest in artificial intelligence. I study it as part of my major, and hope to do research in it in the future. As a young man coming up in the world, I am hoping to enter into research eventually, am entering into research at my university (WVU).

    Your project reminds me of several projects/theories that have been discussed before. In the psychological debate, your system depends entirely upon nurture, it would seem. I like that kind of system and research. I do have a few questions.

    1. What separates this from other projects in the field?
    2. Where did you draw your inspiration for this project?
    3. What kind of support staff do you recommend to an individual who has never led research before, but would like to? (I ask this of many of my professors who conduct research)
    4. Where are you getting the bulk of your input for this project?
    5. What do you hope to learn from this project?
    6. At what time will you consider this project a success?
    I know that I posed a lot of questions, but several could be answered in combination, I just didn't want to ask 2 questions at the same time.

    Chris McKinstry:

    Question 1-1:

    There are three primary features of the MindPixel Digital Mind Modeling Project (also known by GAC -- for Generic Artificial Consciousness -- which is public interface to the project) that distinguish it from other large scale knowledge projects such as CYC.

    1. The first phase is a completely public, internet based effort. All the data it will be collecting will come from average people, with no specific training in AI or psychology. It is like [email protected] in many respects, except that we're not after your CPU's cycles, but rather your humanness. We're actually seeking to extract the entire content of an average person's mind bit by literal bit from millions of different internet users. We're not trying to write the algorithm for consciousness, but rather create the world's most rigorous fitness test (a Dawkinsian continuous variable) and get it into the hands of researchers who will attempt to make systems that will learn or evolve into consciousness by feeding back against this fitness test. Not only will we be collecting consensus fact, but also consensus emotion. (When the project is fully operational, in addition to collecting information about each MindPixel's truth or falsity, we will also collect emotional data based on Mehrabian's PAD model of emotion.)

    2. The second phase of the project involves releasing the data collected to the scientific community and providing those researchers with some funds (generated by advertising to the people supplying the data) to conduct their research. As a side note, Jeff Elman's page contrains information about recurrent neural networks that are very good at processing just the kind of data that this project will collect and distribute. Specifically his 1990 article, Finding Structure in Time (PDF) is one of the most important neural network papers ever written; it strongly influenced me.

    3. Finally, the project is a meritocracy. People will gain voting rights that will give them a say in every aspect of how the project is run, from data collection and use to the distribution of data and research funds, based entirely on the amount of data they have contributed to the project. The more work you do, the stronger your voice becomes.

    Question 1-2:

    My primary inspiration for the project comes from observation: I observed that computers are stupid and know nothing of human existence. I concluded a very long time ago that either we had to write a "magic" program that was able to go out in the world and learn like a human child, or we just had to sit down and type in ALL the data. When I was studying psychology in the late 80's I wanted to begin to gnaw the bullet and start getting people to type in ALL the data. It was my plan then to get people to enter data as part of an intro psych course, or get the university to allow me ask people for data when they logged on to the university's computer system. I was never able to get permission for either and the idea sat on the shelf until I downloaded my first copy of NCSA's Mosaic in 1994. I saw in following my first hyperlink, a different path.

    I decided to collect my data via the internet. But, the problem was, that I needed to think of a standard format for the data; some way of representing human knowledge that an average person could learn quickly. That idea didn't come to me until I was preparing an entry for the 1995 Loebner Prize. Jackie, my program, was a stimulus response creature. You would ask her a full text question, and she scan her database for a canned full text response. My idea for the Loebner competition was to have her talk to a lot of people a get a lot of canned responses (at the time I was consulting for a large insurance company and brought Jackie to work everyday where she could talk to my colleagues) As well, I stored the responses in a number of different ways: phonetically using soundex, again with all the words in each stimulus sorted alphabetically, and also with a primitive concept token system. So, if there was no direct match, she would look for a phonetic match or sorted or conceptual match. Essentially I was breaking down each stimulus and standardizing it like a Fourier transform breaks down a waveform.

    Then suddenly Hugh Loebner changed the rules. No longer was passing a text based Turing Test good enough for him. Now he would only award his prize if the system passed a full audio/video Inquisition. I hit the roof! Hell, there were tens of thousands of people on the planet that couldn't pass that kind of test! Anyone blind or deaf are just two obvious examples. I withdrew Jackie in a loud protest, stating that intelligence didn't depend on the bandwidth of the communication channel; intelligence could be communicated with one bit! If you locked a person in a box I could detect them with a series of yes/no questions and nothing more. And there all of a sudden, I had my answer (and a quick paper - The Minimum Intelligent Signal Test - An Objective Turing Test in Canadian Artificial Intelligence, issue 41.) There was a minimum intelligent signal, and it was just one bit. I would store my model of the human mind in binary propositions. I would make a digital model of the mind.

    I realized within minutes that a giant database of these propositions could be used to train a neural net to mimic a conscious, thinking, feeling human being! I thought, maybe I'm missing something obvious. So, I emailed Marvin Minsky and asked him if he thought it would be possible to train a neural network into something resembling human using a database of binary propositions. He replied quickly saying "Yes, it is possible, but the training corpus would have to be enormous." The moment I finished reading that email, I knew I would spend the rest of my life building and validating the most enormous corpus I could.

    Question 1-3:

    Support staff! I recommend using the entire planet as support staff! Seriously, don't even dream about it. Almost every researcher I know works on their own or with a handful of collaborators. When you're a big cheese you might get a student or two, but other than that you'll get nothing more than shared use of a departmental secretary. You'll definitely be writing all your own code for a very long time.

    Question 1-4:

    I can't tell you that yet because at the time I wrote this, the project was not yet online (should be now though.) What I can tell you is that in 1995 I did try to collect this same data, using a web based form that sent an email back to me. I managed to collect some 450,000 items. This time, I expect to collect more and higher quality data and I expect it to come from a wide cross section of the internet public. I should also note MindPixels will be collected in multiple languages, which opens up the future prospect of mapping the sampled human languages to each other concept by concept. It will be very interesting to see exactly how an artificial consciousness trained in English differs at the conceptual level from one trained in say, Spanish.

    Question 1-5:

    I hope to learn what the human conceptual network looks like. I hope that in a few years I will be able to access a map of all the concepts in the head of an average person or to have learned why I can't.

    Question 1-6:

    I will consider the project a complete success when the cover of Science announces that for the first time in history there exists an artificial system that has passed a scientifically strong form of the Turing Test known as the Minimum Intelligent Signal Test.

    2) How do you guys do it?
    by pc486

    With exptremely high magnification, how in heck do you keep the telescope still enough to take photos?

    The slightest movement ought to mean millions of miles so thoes pesky little earthquakes should be a problem. Not to mention how you guys move the telescope accurately?

    Chris: You're quite right about the system being very sensitive; if I walk on the azimuth platform of a VLT telescope while we're observing, I will destroy the observation. For normal tracking we use a software system called Tpoint written by a well known telescope genius named Pat Wallace (Pat has a wonderful and detailed article about telescope pointing that anyone seriously interested in telescope pointing should read); the same system is in use on telescopes all over the world. Basically what we do is build a pointing model for each of our telescopes. This involves pointing each telescope to a number of different points uniformly covering the sky. At each sample point, we observe a guide star and record how it moves from the center of the field over about one minute of tracking time. After we have collected enough data, we build a computer model of the telescope's tracking error. Then we basically run the model backwards into the telescope control system and thus apply corrections that try to cancel out the tracking errors of the telescope. This of course can't correct for any unusual vibrations, we rely on normal guide star tracking and hydraulic isolation of the telescope for that. And baring a large earthquake, Tpoint, automatic guide star corrections and the isolation work pretty well (In the event of a large earthquake, there are giant airbags that inflate to protect the mirror from damage.)

    3) How can we help?
    by Mignon

    You probably know about SETI At Home, which lets people volunteer spare CPU time to processing radio-telescope data, in a (so far vain) attempt to find extra-terrestrial intelligence. Is there a similar way that we can help process some of the data that you gather?

    As a simple example, one could compute the differences between a sequence of pictures of the same portion of the sky, looking for anomalies like giant asterioids on their way to wiping us all out.

    Chris: [email protected] is one of the most impressive demonstrations of how the world of science has changed. There are now over 2 million average people working together for a common scientific goal. I just wish they sold advertising to raise funds for other worthy (meritocratically determined) projects. It really bugs me that my Pentium III 450 which has done over 7000 hours of [email protected] processing since last June, hasn't shown me a single science supporting ad. What a waste!

    Now as for your idea of doing the same thing in optical wavelengths, I think in it there is a great deal of merit. There are a whole pile on new survey telescopes coming online soon that will be useful for just what you proposed. And if you read ahead to my answer to question 11, you'll see I do think it is a problem we have to pay attention to. (As well, I know of at least two virtual telescope projects; the NRC's National Virtual Telescope. See NVO White Paper (PDF) and ESO's ASTROVIRTEL which seek to allow data mining of previously collected telescope data.

    In general, I think the future will see a lot more distributed processing projects doing useful science. The question remains whether or not it is more cost effective to build supercomputers for critical projects or harness the CPU's of private citizens, and I think the answer will need to be determined on a case by case basis. As well, there will be some projects (my own for example) where the CPU cycles are incidental; where what we want to harvest is not your electricity and capital equipment, but actually your humanity.

    4) Division between Science and Spirituality
    by ParticleGirl

    I am continuously frustrated that people's general perception seems to be that science and art, spirituality, and so forth are divided by an uncrossable schism. People feel the need to pit science against spirituality; logic against intuition. It is a rare thing that people accept the idea that these are different ways of approaching the same reality. As a dreamer and artist as well as a respected scientist, what do you say to people who doubt that scientists can be spiritual and artistic people?

    Chris: Science for me at least, is concerned with the external, the measurable; while art is concerned with the internal and immeasurable. Every scientist knows measurement can only go so far; that nature at its most fundamental is immeasurable. Unfortunately many scientists turn away from what they can't measure (and conversely, many artists turn from measurement) instead of finding some way, any way to express it. It is this turning away or fear of the immeasurable (or many artist's converse fear of reduction to measurement) that creates doubt; that separates science from art. The scientist can learn that one does not become any less of a scientist for attempting to express the inexpressible or attempting to measure the immeasurable, just as the artist can learn that because we are neurons and our neurons atoms, doesn't mean we are any less human.

    5) CCD or what?
    by paRcat

    What kind of imaging does a telescope of this scale use? Is it an OWLCCD or something else? What kind of resolution? And how far away would an object need to be before the resolution becomes a shortcoming?

    Chris: I actually can't answer this question. I am only aware of one discussion regarding instrumentation for the OWL and I haven't read it yet. See FROM ISAAC TO GOLIATH, OR BETTER NOT!? INFRARED INSTRUMENTATION CONCEPTS FOR 100M CLASS TELESCOPES (PDF) on the OWL project page.

    6) Yeah, they're big ...
    by viper21

    But what do you do with them?

    What kind of work do the telescopes at your facility generally do? Do local astronomers get to come in and do research or are the scopes reserved for some large project?

    Chris: There is a very wide spectrum of observing programs for the VTL; from the study of comets in our solar system to the detection and measurement of objects on the edge of the observable universe. The VTL operates in two primary modes: visitor and service. In visitor mode, scientists actually travel to Chile and execute their observing program interactively with the support of operations personnel like myself who know the telescope and control system intimately and staff astronomers that know the instruments and science. Visitor mode is best utilized when the program contains interactive components, for example when what the observer does next depends on the results of what he has just completed. In service mode, observers don't travel to Chile but instead submit observing programs that don't have a large interactive component. Service programs are executed by staff astronomers and the data is automatically returned to the observer upon completion. Service mode is much like the old batch mode of mainframe computers. In both service and visitor modes, the programs that get time are determined by an observing program committee made up of scientists from all over the world based on scientific merit. And yes, a portion of the time (I believe it is 10%) automatically goes to Chilean astronomers in exchange for Chile's donation of the land for the project.

    7) How parellelizable?
    by Omnifarious

    How parallelizable is the problem of micro-adjusting small portions of a large deformable mirror to correct for atmospheric distortion?

    I remember a Scientific American article stating that you'd have to devote a top-of-the-line Cray to continuously recalculate the deformations needed given data from the guide star, or laser simulated guide star. If this problem is highly parallelizable, you may be able to get away with _much_ cheaper hardware.

    I'm sure the idea has occured to you, but I want to know what your thoughts are on it.

    Chris: My experience with deformable mirrors is entirely practical and I'm really not qualified to comment on the theory behind them. However, speaking from a practical standpoint, the VLT's 450 force actuators (150 per operating telescope) are each activated about 1000 times per night, night after night almost without error (7 non-critical electronic failures up to May of this year). I see no obvious reason why it shouldn't scale smoothly to 130 or 150 meters with current computer technology. And we certainly don't have any supercomputers doing the deformation calculations.

    8) Why single-mirror?
    by jd

    I could have been mis-reading the article, but it seemed to me as though the idea was to build a single-mirror system. On the other hand, in radio astronomy, and in the insect world, arrays are considered the norm. Is there some advantage that a single mirror gives that cannot be duplicated using multiple smaller mirrors? (Simpler optics is an obvious one, paradoxically. :) Or is this (at least in part) NerdTrek III: The Search for Sponsors, where a record-setting single telescope is going to get more interest than a comparable array?

    (A supplementary question, to go along with this. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that optical arrays are practical. Do you see any possibility of optical astronomers adopting the same line as radio astronomers, in trying to build an effective 1Km+ optical telescope, using an array?)

    Chris: Actually, it isn't a single mirror. It is "filled aperture" telescope. The aperture is filled with many smaller mirrors, just like Keck. And as for optical arrays (interferometers), the VLT (called VLTI in this mode) will be the first real large scale test of such a system. But that stage of the project is still a few years away. In short, we'll have to wait and see how effective it is before we even consider giant optical interferometers.

    9) funding
    by jmayes

    What's the biggest hurdle to hop over in getting funding for projects like OWL? And how did you pull it off?

    Chris: The biggest hurdle for getting funding for projects like OWL, is getting funding for construction! Construction of OWL hasn't been funded, so nothing has really been pulled off, yet. But, if the public really wants projects like this to go ahead, then they need to be active about it. If you're in Europe, write your representatives and mention OWL by name and direct them to the OWL project page. If you're not in Europe, urge your representatives to find some way to participate in this project or projects like it.

    10) Terrestrial Optical Telescopes
    by pb

    What are the benefits of having an Earth-bound, optical telescope? Or rather, what can a larger optical telescope find better from Earth that we can't already find on other wavelengths and from other venues (i.e. The Hubble)?

    If there are no advantages here, is it more cost-effective, or what?

    Chris: What you should actually ask is what advantage does a space based telescope have over a ground based telescope? The only thing you gain from being in space for an optical telescope is better image quality due to lack of atmospheric turbulence. By for every other measure (maintenance, support, materials, etc.) being in space is much, much more expensive and limited. Which is why the Hubble and it's 2.4 meter primary cost a number of times more than the projected cost of of the 100 meter OWL. Recent advances in computer technology (adaptive and active optics) have greatly reduced the advantage that being in space provides at optical wavelengths. For some non-optical telescopes (x-ray, IR, gamma ray) there will always be an advantage to being in orbit.

    11) might as well ask it now..
    by Blue Lang

    I noticed in your 'fave books' section that you have the blind watchmaker, et al.

    so, with an eye towards dawkins' views on evolution, what's your personal take on the probability (not the possibility) of humans locating extraterrestrial life without going outside the solar system?

    Chris: Actually I'm quite pessimistic about the prospects of us locating ETL, AND independently about leaving the solar system. My main reason for this is that I doubt our civilization can last long enough. Not that I think we're going to self-destruct, but rather I think that nature is going to do it for us. It is my opinion that it is much more PROBABLE that we are driven into or close to extinction by an asteroid collision, than it is we will detect ETL or travel outside the solar system. This is one of the major reasons I strongly support construction of self-supporting Lunar and Martian colonies (and sky survey telescopes!) I just don't like us having all our eggs in the one basket called Earth. Having said all that, if we survive, I am confident we will eventually detect ETL, and that we will leave the solar system.

    Fling:Anonymous Protocol Suite | IIS Vs. Apache and Netcraft Results  >

     

     
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    ESO

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by Submarine ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @11:16AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.di.ens.fr/~monniaux

    Note: ESO is the European Southern Observatory,, an intergovernmental, European organisation for astronomical research. It has eight member countries. ESO operates astronomical observatories in Chile and has its headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany.


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Division between Science and Spirituality

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by ChrisDolan ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @11:35AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/

    Question 4: what do you say to people who doubt that scientists can be spiritual and artistic people?

    I would say, go meet some real scientists!!!

    I am an astronomer, and I would say that my colleagues are pretty average Americans in terms of their religious outlook. In fact, some see a very strong connection between their religion and their research: both are searches for the truth.

    I am reading an interesting book called Brother Astronomer, which is the memoirs of a Vatican astronomer (most people don't know that the Catholic church pumps a fair bit of money into astronomical research). Some chapters are rather boring, but others are very enlightening, particularly the chapter about the church and Galileo: the church is actually quite a bit more pro-science than most people allow.

    Science, like spirituality, is an investigation into the nature of the universe. Both are continually evolving as we learn more. For both, what we don't know is much larger than what we do know.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    IIS Vs. Apache and Netcraft Results

    Apache | Posted by Hemos on Monday July 10, @11:37AM
    from the what-to-make-of-this? dept.
    ant banks wrote to us with an article that takes issue with the Netcraft results regarding Apache's continued domination of web servers. This server looked at Fortune 500 companies and their deployment, with some differing results.

    Chris McKinstry Replies: Telecopes, AI And More

     

     
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    Cross-Platform Internet Telephony?

    The Internet | Posted by Cliff on Monday July 10, @08:21AM
    from the now-this-would-be-cool dept.
    the . Silicon . Dragon writes: "The company I work for is creating a product that we hope to launch on Linux. One of the key features of our product is Internet Telephony where a user can not only call other users on the Internet, but also make and receive calls from standard telephones. We've investigated a number of possible solutions, but they all have shortcomings. The most sour part of the situation is we may have to move our launch platform to Windows if we cannot find an acceptable Internet telephony solution. It'd be highly disagreeable with myself and several others in the company as well if we have to do this, but we can't drop a key product feature and we don't have the time or the resources to develop the technology in-house. Suggestions for Java (preferrably) or C/C++ solutions, and/or references to companies that provide said technology would be extremely helpful." The 'key feature' in question is interface customization. You can find out more in the article.

    "It is an absolute MUST that we be able to customize the interface of any such client application. Second, it MUST be able to run on Linux and Windows with minimal pain (the product is coded in Java). Lastly, the quality MUST be fairly high. So far, solutions like HearMe and OpenH323 are either incomplete, lack quality, are not cross platform, and / or do not allow us to create our own interface."

    Walk-By DNA Testing | Apple, Pixar And Disney To Merge?  >

     

     
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    You couldn't have searched very hard

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by FascDot Killed My Pr on Monday July 10, @08:28AM EDT
    (User Info)

    http://www.speakfreely.org/

    Hey, Ask Slashdot editors: Could we get a slightly higher quality of question and less repetition (we've had the "internet camera" question at least twice).
    --
    Connect your MAPI users to your UNIX mail system! MailOne for Linux! [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Why linux?

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by w00ly_mammoth ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @08:36AM EDT
    (User Info)

    I know this may cause thousands of readers to pump up their blood pressure, but if it's a commercial company, then it will naturally target its products on windows (let's face it, if it's a product that needs to make money, windows would be more sensible, not because of the platform's attractiveness, but because that's where the most users are. And this sounds like a home consumer type of product as well.) I can understand it if you want to target BOTH windows and linux, but from your description, it looks like you're sour about moving from exclusively linux to exclusively windows. Why not both?

    After all, if it's written in java, that would be one of the key advantages. btw, did you look on computer telephony magazine?

    w/m

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    The internet isn't made for voice calls.

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by revin ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @08:40AM EDT
    (User Info) http://revin.wol.be

    Voice over IP has been a hot subject for quite a while now, but till now we've never seen it being realised on big scale. First I think it has been marketised too much. Voice over ip is not rocket science. For me, it doesn't say more than 'telnet over ip'. Classic telephony calls are practicaly 100% reliable. TCP/IP connections are too unexpectuous: theres a big risk on delays, that are not important for data, but are so for voice. With TCP, you're sure your packets arrives, but it is too slow for voice packets. UDP hasn't this checking, is fast enough, but you are not sure the packets are delivered. How many times we like to see realaudio clips, but that we can't get a connection. Internet telephony is super for applications like netmeeting etc, but when somebody with a real telephone calls another , he expects that his call arrives, not that it is in a jam. People are used to this. So, in my opinion their will not be evolution to internet telephony as long their is no protocol redesign.
    --ReViN-- [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Java Telephony

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by mflagg on Monday July 10, @08:43AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Java has a Telephony API, have you looked at that yet. I'm not sure if it is exactly what you want but it is a place to start. Here's a link: http://java.sun.com/products/jtapi/
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    LinuxTelephony.com

    (Score:4, Informative)
    by paled ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @08:46AM EDT
    (User Info) http://drakonian.com

    http://www.linuxtelephony.com/

    is a good place to start.
    first a Dopple, then a Tripple, then Quadrupel - when will it stop? [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    bad question

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by abes ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:29AM EDT
    (User Info)

    I am not trying to be mean, but this is a horrible question. What do you mean by develop "your own technology"? Almost any programming project requires a certain amount of innovation (if its to mean anything, and be sellable by a company).
    <p>
    Secondly, like a previous "ask slashdot", you are confusing the method with the language. This is almost completely dependent on what the employees in your company. The question of whether to use Java is not so much a question of language, but whether you need it to work across platforms. However, keep in mind Java tends to be slow, and usually not such a great thing for realtime involving a lot of data.
    <p>
    If your company decides to use linux, there are many tools available for sound transfer. There are at least 2 or 3 sounds projects I know of. TCP/IP is almost free using any UN*X clone, and that sounds like the majority of your project.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Several Linux Solutions

    (Score:4, Informative)
    by nodvin ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:31AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.televid.com/nodvin/

    Quicknet has a low - cost 1 port card that will do the trick with Linux and Windows drivers:
    http://www.quicknet.com
    Also check out Pika for 4 port cards with traditional analogue and VoIP capabilities with Windows and Linux drivers:
    http://www.pikatech.com
    Aslo check out the Bayonne project. Linux based Open Source telephony system with interfaces to Quicknet, Pika, and other cards:
    http://bayonne.sourceforge.net/


    Stephen Nodvin http://www.televid.com [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:Abusing the telcos

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by tsmith213 ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @08:54AM EDT
    (User Info) http://0x7f000001

    Actually, with a good compression codec (which are quite common), VoIP can take up less bandwidth than a regular analog call. For instance, with CELP compression it's possible to have a full-duplex communication channel in 9600bps (600Bps * 8b/B * 2directions) + protocol overhead (IP + UDP header lengths anyone?) so on a typical 33600bps connection you could likely squeeze 3 simultaneous conversations. IMHO this is why there was a big push in the wireless telco industry to move to digital (what do they really care about call security?).

    If you think about it, VoIP is more efficient than your "honest" + "proper voice line".

    CELP == Code Excited Linear Predication
    I believe it's been around for a while (1970's?).

    Tim --
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Walk-By DNA Testing

    Patents | Posted by Hemos on Monday July 10, @08:20AM
    from the scary-stuff dept.
    Scott_Marks writes "The New York Times today has an article on a newly-patented device which may make it practical to perform DNA testing (or drug testing, or explosives testing) on anyone walking underneath. This "portal" sucks up some of the millions of skin flakes each of us sheds each day and whips them into your choice of privacy-invading analysis equipment "for detecting the presence of molecules of interest"."

    Warwick Allison Of QT And KDE Fame | Cross-Platform Internet Telephony?  >

     

     
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    Aaaaah!

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by deefer ([email protected][Spam:_Just_Say_No]dial.pipex.com) on Monday July 10, @08:42AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.deefer.dial.pipex.com

    Another scary innovation.
    As with all scientific advances, this throws up a whole load of interesting situations...
    Depending on how sensitive and correct this device is, I can see some being installed in London, UK. Mention "terrorist" in England and you get some pretty draconian legal powers (such as extended questioning periods etc) to use and abuse.
    So these are set up at airports... "To trap the terrorists"
    Then set up at train stations... "To trap the terrorists"
    Then set up at tube stations... "To trap the terrorists"
    Before you know it, the terrorist threat has disappeared. Do they remove these machines? Hell, no lets have them sniff for drugs/homosexuality/Linux!
    Think I'm paranoid? Then on my way to work, how come I drive through 3 manned police CCTV cameras left over from the "anti terrorist" Ring of Steel?

    Strong data typing is for those with weak minds.
    Join the revolution! Online Nation [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Guilty before proven innocent?

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by KlomDark on Monday July 10, @08:47AM EDT
    (User Info) http://ooze.bloomnet.com

    This is the kind of stuff that should be illegal. Randomly sampling people as they walk by is no better than randomly searching peoples houses.

    This is precisely what is described by "Illegal search" (and maybe even seizure, as they are effectively taking pieces of you as you walk by). In a perfect world, I doubt this would stand up in court, as the "due process" required has to be done on an individual basis, not on a broad scope of mostly innocent people.

    What kind of people use their engineering talent to make such things? I would refuse. People do not see the long term cyclical nature of government. Everyone should take an Ancient Western Civilization class. Watch how the ancient civilizations grew, became strong, then became oppresive, then were overthrown for the greater good of humanity. This stuff will only prolong the suffering of humanity when the current civilization's time has come, making it difficult for the cycle to advance to the next level. Instead we end up in a totalitarian, invasive sitiuation.

    Don't forget the children who have to live in this world we create...

    [RAID on the Forest of Horrors] - Legend of the Web Dragon [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Easy solution - ban DNA cross referencing

    (Score:5, Interesting)
    by xtal ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @09:02AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.nyx.net/~smanley

    You americans have an opportunity to make a real stand here, and it will solve the problem of people spying on your DNA - simply BAN the cross referencing of a DNA database with public info, like for instance, your social security number. If your DNA cannot be used to identify you, this won't be a problem from the standpoint of raw information collection for marketting purposes (although might be valid statistically, for instance, all the caffiene molecules being secreted through the pores of coders in the development building.. heh heh)

    As for explosives testing.. the american people need to vote on what they want more: Freedom or safety. You can be perfectly safe, more or less, but you'll be living in a police state. But, this is something the country will decide, personally, I'd rather live in a rural setting where the man doesn't have as many rights to get on my land.

    The drug issue is worse though, and it's why I'll never move to the US. What if I toss a couple grams of an illicit substance in your car and then call the cops? What if I sprinkle you with coke in an elevator? The shit will hit the fan, and with the way the US drug laws work currently, your life is over and you very well might lose your car, if I phrase my "anonymous tip" correctly.

    Something to think about..

    ...don't panic [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    well that's it

    (Score:3, Funny)
    by happystink (:D) on Monday July 10, @10:05AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Time to get rid of my skin again!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Something you can do (in U.S.) to protect liberty

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Pfhreakaz0id ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @10:36AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Not that these are actually in use yet, but I can see it someday if we keep going down this path. It seems like we in the U.S. keep giving up more and more of our personal liberties to have a sense of "safety." Americans are whipped into frenzy by the focus of local TV news on sensationalistic crime reporting. Americans believe they are under seige from gun-toting, crack-smoking gangbangers.

    There is a real, everyday, easy to do, practical thing you can do: Remind everyone you know that violent crime is at a twenty-year low in this country. Most of you have probably heard this, but you'd be surprised at how often it shocks people you meet. Here's a CNN.com article to link to. (I'm sure there are better ones, but I can't find 'em right now. Or point 'em to the FBI's Universal Crime Reports. Really. Do it.
    ---
    "There's a short list of people whose opinions of me I give a rat's ass about, and guess what? You're not on it!" [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    It's not the DNA you need to worry about

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by rgmoore ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @11:22AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Honestly, scanning your identity this way is about the last thing you should be worried about. The main goal of testers like these is to be able to scan people rapidly, like the metal detectors at airports. They want to be able to tell if someone is trying to smuggle bombs or drugs onto an airplane. That means that you need to know the answer from your test now, not in an hour or two when the guy's already had a chance to pass his stuff to some third party.

    At the present, and for the forseeable future, it's just not possible to make a DNA-based individual ID in anything like real time. Even in the lab with nearly ideal samples doing that kind of thing takes time, and a lot of that is not something that can be easily reduced; certain chemical and physical reactions take time and can't be sped up. That puts a pretty strong damper on using this as a DNA vacum to violate people's rights.

    OTOH, you can bet that the war against drugs and the war against terrorism will be used as excuses. Pretty soon you won't be able to get on a plane without being subjected to a battery of tests to make sure that you're not trying to put anything illegal onto the plane. Oops, you're a mining engineer who uses explosives at work? Prepare to be hassled every time you try to fly. Your pot smoking brother came over to visit? Prepare to be stopped and have your luggage examined. In the long term those kinds of minor erosions of personal protection are a much more dangerous threat to privacy than some hypothetical DNA screening.

    What if there were no hypothetical questions? [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Warwick Allison Of QT And KDE Fame

    KDE | Posted by timothy on Monday July 10, @03:38AM
    from the telecommuting dept.
    Konqi the Dragon points to this BeOpen interview with Warrick Allison of Troll Tech's Qt Library, writing: "Warrwick is also a longtime KDE contributor with interesting things to say about GPL, QT Embedded, KDE, The Mythical Man Month, Distributed Development and scaling projects."
    If Warrick's words make you say "hmmm" (for whatever reason), you might also want to revisit earlier Slashdot stories about Embedded QT and Trolltech. [Updated noon GMT 10 July 2000 by timothy] Thanks to jdfox, who pointed out that I had perpetuated the misspelling of "Warwick" in the headline. Sorry, Warwick!

    Cities Influence Their Own Weather | Walk-By DNA Testing  >

     

     
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    Open Source and Business

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Whyte Wolf ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @03:53AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.spots.ab.ca/~whytwolf

    But when we wrote it, it was basically an advertisement for ourselves, a way of saying "Hey, look what I can do. I can do the same thing for you" to some company.

    Looks like Mister Allison isn't a big believer in business being able to make a profit from an OSS business model. I'm not sure this is a healthy thing for the OSS movement, especially when voiced by someone with some visibility like Warrick.

    Now, i can't naysay how he sees thing. Currently the money is definitly more likley to come from a company hiring an Open Source programmer who's got a good track record writing free software, but I'm hoping (and betting on) ESR's services-based model. Allison says it breeds non-user firendly code. Hogwash. Only if your company or programming team is unscrupulous or lazy.

    I am hoping that most leading OSS companies like VA and Red Hat don't fit into that particular category. We've all had enough of unscrupulous and lazy software companies. Or at least I have.

    So yeah, Warrick is right about why he got a job, but by saying that's the way it should work, he may be pronouncing self-fulfilling prophesy.

    I hope not. We all have too much to lose if OSS can't make the big leap to big business.


    Beware the Whyte Wolf.

    With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels... [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    And the overall point being......?

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Bowie J. Poag ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @03:58AM EDT
    (User Info) http://metalab.unc.edu/propaganda

    You know, i'd like to see some hard numbers as to just how many people have actually purchased a Qt License from Troll Tech.. And, more specifically, if that number is sufficiently large enough to really warrant keeping Qt something other than GPL'ed.

    The only thing standing in the way (as I see it) of KDE being the dominant desktop for Linux is this persistant, irritating, annoying, pointless debate over the nature of the Qt libraries. Its a boat anchor that has been dragged behind KDE for far, far too long. Get it over with, guys.

    Its only by pure luck that GNOME development has been centered more on building pointless foo-foo options as of late, rather can concentrating on basic usability issues. Both efforts have boat anchors. One has to do with politics, the other has to do with direction.

    Want KDE to win? Make Qt free. Game over.



    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Founder, PROPAGANDA Desktop Enhancement Graphics For Linux (Now at MetaLab/UNC!) [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Open source money

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by TheCovenant (seaveyj AT nemoc DOT navy DOT mil) on Monday July 10, @06:05AM EDT
    (User Info)

    It is encouraging to see a success story about making money in the open source world. I believe that the industry should move towards open source as much as possible, and I completly understand how companies withstand the urge to go open source.

    I have planned on going the same route that the author took in my software developement career. I am planning on doing some development work on some open source projects as an experience and resume builder so that I can fill in the part that talks about experience on my resume. It is a perfect place for new programmers to gain useful experience programming, but I have concerns about a market that is totally open source.

    For all products to be open source is scarey. Now I know that open source doens't necesarily mean free. It means letting everyone know what your software is doing, possibly fixing it for their own use. This type of use is great. But what should a company do if they are making some true innovations. Release that software for the world to look at.

    For example, Oracle may or may not have the most scalable and fastest database. But lets say that their programmers have developed some new methods that enable there database server to be faster and more scalable than the competition. How do the open source gurus claim that opening that software up would help Oracle. This is precisely the part that I have yet to understand. It is the same as patenting a new device. It lets the inventor or inventing company protect there investment for awhile so that even doing the research to begin with is worth it. The patent gives the garantee that the innovation is protected.

    The article didn't help clarify my view of the issues with open source either. There method of dealing with the problem is by having some products open source and free and other products closed source and for sale. This doesn't really answer the question of how to deal with open source software and make money, unless this happens to be the final solution.

    For example, Microsft opens the source to DirectX, IE, etc.. but keeps the source on NT and Office. Of course, this isn't really the core of what they do, it would be like giving out some toys, but not the real thing. Do people think this is the answer to the open source questions, or do people really think everything can go open source?


    cp -R /* /dev/null [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:If only I could ask him...

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by Peter Putzer (putzer_at_kde.org) on Monday July 10, @04:35AM EDT
    (User Info) http://eclipt.uni-klu.ac.at/projects/ksysv

    Because those weren't available on all platforms when Qt was written (it has always been cross platform, earlier versions had both macro- and template-based containers, for those compilers that didn't support templates back then).

    Besides, QString is UniCode (while std::string is not, since it's just std::basic_string) and reference counted, so you get a performance bonus as well.

    As for bidirectional scripts: there's some support in KDE I think, but as I don't speak any of the involved languages I'm not too sure about it, ask someone. Heck, write to Trolltech and ask them to pay you for writing it!


    -- KDE programmer and computer science student in Klagenfurt, Austria. [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Cities Influence Their Own Weather

    Science | Posted by jamie on Monday July 10, @01:45AM
    from the low-pressure-tactics dept.
    CalamityJones writes "In the 'Well, DUH!' department, this story from the AP shrieks 'Cities May Make Their Own Weather.' As if anyone with half a brain could possibly have missed this point." Not having a weather supercomputer to crunch the numbers, it wasn't quite that obvious to me, but then what do I know. Living in Michigan I'm used to the lake effect - if I lived east of some major asphalt, I guess I'd get the L.A. effect.

    Intel Tests Show PC133 SDRAM Bests RDRAM | Warwick Allison Of QT And KDE Fame  >

     

     
    The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

    An explanation ...

    (Score:3, Funny)
    by Jim Tyre (j(dot)s(dot)tyre(at)cyberpass(dot)net) on Monday July 10, @01:53AM EDT
    (User Info) http://censorware.org

    The story sez:

    But in Atlanta, the new research showed storms popping up around the city on otherwise clear days.

    There is an explanation for this.

    It is called the John Rocker effect.

    (Sue me, I'm a baseball fan.)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Urban Greenspace

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Whyte Wolf ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @01:58AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.spots.ab.ca/~whytwolf

    A major contributing factor is that developers recklessly chop down trees to make room for suburbs, the scientists said. Trees provide shade from the heat and absorb many of the sun's harmful rays. Without them, the effect is a sort of urban desert.

    I come from a very rural part of Canada--the smallest province in fact, and on Prince Edward Island we have lots of trees, and not much in the way of urban sprawl.

    My first experience in the big city came quite a few years back when I moved to Calgary, Alberta, and in retrospect I feel very lucky. Calgary has an imense amount of greenspace within it's limits--heck we still see deer and get the occasional bear in the 'berbs.

    However, coming from the countryside as I do, I have to say I do miss the trees. If I lived in a larger or more urban city, I'd likley have worse bouts of homesickness :)

    People who grow up in cities often don't see nature the same way I do. Parks are very organized in comparison to raw Canadian wilderness. That said, I'd love to see more green in the urban landscape--and there does seem to be a larger move towards this kind of 'greening of the urban jungle.'

    I remember a report several years back about a high-tech company in Toronto adding an atrium to their front lobby--one that was essentially a giant watershed (read swamp). A fascinating concept--no less than the idea of planting trees and creating parks on the roof's of office buildings.

    I guess what I'm saying is that it's nice to see everyone--urban pesant and country hick living in the big city, see the benefits of greening our cities.

    Maybe one more would be weather moderation. With the thunderstorm raging outside my window right now, that would be a welcome change :)


    Beware the Whyte Wolf.

    With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels... [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    obvious?

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by nomadic (acarterATeverest.hunter.cuny.edu) on Monday July 10, @02:05AM EDT
    (User Info)

    The problem with doing this sort of research is the tremendous amount of variables (it's why we can't forecast the weather more than a few days in advance); how exactly it changes seem to differ from region to region. Some industrial cities in Britain show cool islands, presumably from the water released by industrial processes. Cities in western desert areas often have lower temperatures due to increased vegetation and surface water (though the increased humidity often makes it more uncomfortable). If you have access to a good library, Robert Balling is probably the best known researcher working on it today; for fundamentals on urban climate, anything by Helmut Landsberg on the subject would probably be informative.

    The problem is really, what are we going to do about this? A few storms are one thing, but a lot of cities are probably going to be running out of water in a few decades due to the fact that nobody wants to tell people things they don't want to hear; things like maybe the environmental health of a region is more important than having a really nice lawn or golf course, or that just because you've had a constant supply of water for the past 100 years, that it's going to continue. There's a very good reason that only recently have desert areas started attracting real estate development; through most of history they haven't been sustainable. And just because we have better plumbing and air conditioning that didn't exist a hundred years ago doesn't mean the environment has gotten better for us on an environmental level.

    I guess I'm seriously off-topic, but I sometimes obsess with this subject the way some people obsess with the GPL license or open source...
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    10,000 years of sheep

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Perdo ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @02:10AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Cities are a minor effect on the weather when it comes to man made alterations. The weather is "critically dependent on initial conditions" (chaos theory) So, to find the things that man has done you need to look far into the past and find the event with the greatest impact in its time. I believe it is sheep grazing. In Kuwait the US Army has a firing range where no Bedouin shepherds are allowed. The Impact area is verdant and lush. It looks a lot like the great plains (USA) do. Outside of the impact area sheep over graze, ripping vegetation out by the roots, leaving baked dust and sand. This has gone on for thousands of years. Kuwait is very near the Tigris and Euphrates rives, the cradle of civilization. The entire middle east is man (domestic sheep) made desert. About the time god cast man out of Eden he also decided that being a shepherd was better than being a farmer(Cain and Able). I speculate that early man even in Africa domesticated animals and possible even created the Sahara. The loss of Eden was not from god, but man destroying Eden. Cities are recent have a small effect compared to the thousands of years man made deserts have had to work their magic on the environment.


    The Constitution poses no threat to our current form of Government. [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Phoenix, AZ

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by cr0sh ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @02:19AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.phoenixgarage.org/

    When I came here from Cali, the first year I was here (1991, fresh outta high school), we had an awe inspiring monsoon season. That was the last good monsoon I remember (though there was one a couple of years later that literally turned the street in front of my employer's office into a river, but a I digress).

    I remember extreme thunder and lightning, and super heavy rains for many days straight (not constant rain, just rain that when it came down, it came down HARD) - the kind of storm where you turn out the lights, go outside, and watch.

    At the time, I was living downtown. There wasn't a whole huge amount of development around the city like there is today. This year, I moved to a house north of the city - out in the more desert area (you know, we have like - coyotes, rabbits, ground squirrels, bats, birds by the ton - and saguaros in the front yard). This season hasn't been any better. Sure, it has been cooler (we are in our monsoon season right now), but it hasn't been rainy. On the days where it seems like it would rain, the clouds appear to part, and go "around" the city.

    I blame it on all of the development - the leveling of desert to put in homes (the house I am in is close to 30 years old - when it was built, the desert was all around it, and the edge of Phoenix was a good 10 miles or more away), getting rid of foliage and scrub, leaving pavement, and a kind of "designed" desert area (where all the saguaroes are "just so" - and things are arranged "just right" - and no cholla allowed, lest someone get hurt!) - none of which helps to prevent what I think of as a "heat bubble" effect - which the clouds drift around.

    Only on days where the cloud buildup has happenned in the previous night do we have any chance of a good rain during the monsoon. Even then, it is only a trickle...

    I want my thunder and lightning back - dammit! (hey, I got UPS's on my system - come and get me!)...

    Cr0sh the F0ckers! [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Urban heat islands, people.

    (Score:5, Informative)
    by GianfrancoZola (jkoepp-at-atlas.socsci.umn.edu) on Monday July 10, @03:31AM EDT
    (User Info)

    The built-up area of cities produces 'islands' of higher temperatures, for a number of reasons, among which are:

    Manmade materials like concrete, asphalt, bricks, etc. absorb solar energy much more readily than vegetation.

    Water almost completely runs off because there's so much concrete everywhere, instead of standing around and slowly evaporating. Evaporation can make a significant contribution to cooling.

    Waste heat from vehicles, residences, etc. doesn't help the situation.

    Urban heat islands are pretty well understood. You can get nice images of them--temperature contrasts, that is--from AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) remotely-sensed imagery.

    cf. W.B. Myer, "Urban heat island and urban health: Early American perspective", Professional Geographer 43, 1991, p. 38 if yer curious for a little more.

    Throw more heat up into moist summertime air and that's a good prescription for thunderstorms.


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:I heard there was a way to minimze tornados...

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by thogard on Monday July 10, @02:10AM EDT
    (User Info) http://web.abnormal.com

    There seems to be lots of evidence in Oklahoma that manmade stuff effects the weather. For example tornados will follow highways. A picture taken on the founding day of Ponca City shows no trees at all. The land was thick grass at the time (the bufflo had not been clearing it for years) but that was cleared to farm. The result was the dustbowl. The solution to that problem was lots of trees. In Kansas now you can see lines of trees along the edge of the farms on the section line roads. Its amazing how well a few trees stop the wind from building up. The large number of man made lakes in Oklahoma have also increased the rainfall in the area.

    As far as dropping something from a plane into a tornado, I don't like the idea of that. The tops of the cloud cells that make tornados in Oklahoma are offten 50,000 ft and have large amounts of windsheer. Flying in a huracane is one thing but a tornado is just too intense. When the F15s get retired nasa may try to adapt one to radio control for just this theory but I think the current plans involve the plane not getting back.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:weird stuff...

    (Score:3, Funny)
    by Frymaster on Monday July 10, @04:09AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.sunhelp.org/pipermail/rescue/1999-August/000514.html

    He might mean it's being pushed down from 'Brown Cloud' level to street level.

    hmmm... ground-level o3 does tend to occupy the top-bit of inverted thermal domes... a good thing as it tends to keep it out of our lungs. In theory though, ozone should only be a problem if you have:
    1. the thermal inversiona from hell
    2. A much-bigger-than-normal amount being produced.. ie, 250 vand de graff generators running a street level.

    I vote for number 1 since if there were 250 van de graff generators being run at street level anywhere cmdrTaco would have run it as a story... viz:

    posted by cmdrTaco on Monday July 10 @04:22AM
    from the It-makes-my-hair-stand-on-end-but-in-a-good-way dept.

    BozoTheClown writes "The Mayfield Daily Blatt has this story about an high school science teacher who is trying for the Guiness record for "largest baloon stuck to wall with static electricity". He has a full size replica of the Hindenberg (no, not hydrogen filled, thank god) and, get this, 250 full-sized van de graff generators... better than rubbing the blimp on your head!" 250? Wow, that's like a Beowulf cluster of van de graff generators!!

    (Read More... | 2 of 1045 comments | Stunts )

    "Why should we limit computers to the lies people tell them through keyboards" Bill Gospar, 1965, MIT [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    Intel Tests Show PC133 SDRAM Bests RDRAM

    Intel | Posted by timothy on Sunday July 09, @10:54PM
    from the obligatory-note-benchmarks-=/=-real-world dept.
    SteveM wrote citing an Semiconductor Business News article which begins: "SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Here's a surprise. Benchmark test results from Intel Corp. show its new 815E chip set with PC133 SDRAMs beating the performance of its 820 chip set with Direct Rambus memories. Moreover, Intel has posted those unexpected test results on its Web site, not intending to show PC133 SDRAMs beating the Direct Rambus memory format, which is favored by the Santa Clara chip giant." The results actually show some fairly unspectacular differences, but those differences lean overwhelmingly in favor of the SDRAM. Surely someone will come up with a benchmark that always makes RDRAM look better.

    SOCs: Say Goodbye To µC's? | Cities Influence Their Own Weather  >

     

     
    The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

    This is sensitive to many things.

    (Score:4, Interesting)
    by Christopher Thomas on Sunday July 09, @11:01PM EDT
    (User Info)

    Tom's Hardware did a moderately detailed benchmark of SDRAM vs. RDRAM a while back.

    Which is better? It depends on both the montherboard configuration and on what you're doing.

    Intel's high-end RDRAM motherboard beat the hell out of SDRAM systems. It had two interleaved RIMM slots, doubling effective bandwidth.

    Intel's more recent SDRAM offerings have generally been pretty bad. Via chipsets put out a good effort, but were still beaten out by the high-end RDRAM systems and the BX board.

    The best SDRAM offering was a 440 BX board overclocked to 133 FSB. Tom swears it's stable. YMMV.

    As far as load is concerned, RDRAM is optimized for throughput, SDRAM is optimized for latency. Something that hits many cache rows in more or less random order taking only a little data from each will work well with SDRAM. Something that processes large amounts of data in more or less linear order will work well with RDRAM. It depends on what you're doing.

    My personal opinion? RDRAM is a bad implementation of a good idea. In five years we might see something better. For now, by DDR SDRAM. YMMV.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:Intel's conspiracy?

    (Score:4, Interesting)
    by kirkb on Sunday July 09, @11:11PM EDT
    (User Info)

    I think Intel needs to come clean as to why exactly it's still pushing Rambus memory so hard.

    Other than the fact that they own Rambus? How about profits from licensing Rambus technology? How about using patents to put the squeeze on SDRAM manufacturers? How about designing future CPU's and chipsets so that rambus is the ONLY memory that is supported?

    We love to bash M$ because we are visibly affected by their evilness on a daily basis, but I think most people would be suprised by the kind of nasty stuff that Intel gets away with (just ask intergraph!)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:yeah

    (Score:3, Informative)
    by CMiYC ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @11:16PM EDT
    (User Info)

    Maybe I'm just not enough of a hardware junkie, but are a few percentage points difference that big a deal?

    I think the big deal is the fact that RDRAM is suppose to be so much better in terms of performance than SDRAM. The very fact that SDRAM matches or beats or loses by so little causes one to wonder why spend the extra $$$ for RDRAM. So, no... in terms of performance only a few percentage points don't matter. But if you look at the overall picture: price, availability, compatbility, APPLCATION.... which technology do you really need?

    ---
    "Both players [MPMan and the RIO] were able to withstand a vigorous shaking with no skips whatsoever" --Matt Rosoff, C|net [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:This changes nothing

    (Score:3, Insightful)
    by CMiYC ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @11:21PM EDT
    (User Info)

    Rambus handily outperforms PC133 DIMMs, and is worth the extra expense

    I think that the benchmarks make you step back and think. Do you really need to spend the money on Rambus? Think of it this way, if you were about to invest in a Rambus system just because you thought it was faster than PC133... you might be surprised to find out that whatever your application is, SDRAM performs just as good.

    So, think of it in that respect, it all depends on the application and if the application warrents the cost. If your specific application won't gain anything out of it, why spend the money? On the otherhand, you might be able to rest assured that the money is well spent.......(which I know most people here won't think that way, they'll just look at the numbers, but hey that's life).

    ---
    "Both players [MPMan and the RIO] were able to withstand a vigorous shaking with no skips whatsoever" --Matt Rosoff, C|net [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Yes, Intel thinks users will remain dumb forever.

    (Score:5, Insightful)
    by Sir_Winston on Monday July 10, @01:04AM EDT
    (User Info)

    Intel's philosophy is no different from Microsoft's: Embrace, extend, extinguish. I'm just amazed that your typical Microsoft-bashing /.ers aren't Intel bashers, too, because Intel deserves a big ol' can of whoopass opened right by their corporate asses. Let's examine a little...

    First off, Intel has been in the process of developing standards for the PC architecture for some time, as well it should. However, they've doing it the same way Microsoft has been "contributing" to Internet standards. For example, they developed AGP up to 4x, which has proven to be very useful; however, rumours are churning out from reputable sources discussing an Intel project to create a successor to AGP 4x, and this successor is to be limited to Intel chipsets and chipsets made by select Intel partners--i.e., anyone who annoys Intel will get left behind. Intel developed PC-100 memory standards--a great service, but...then it refused to develop PC-133 standard or DDR-SDRAM specifications, because of its own interest in RDRAM as a wholesale replacement for all SDRAM.

    Many have questioned that Intel has much to gain from Rambus becoming the new standard instead of DDR-SDRAM; after all, contrary to popular belief Intel doesn't completely own Rambus, and their deal with Rambus would only give them compensation in the tens of millions, which isn't much for a company whose revenues are in the billions each year. But what Intel has to gain isn't direct monetary compensation by Rambus, it's *control* over the standards for memory and memory controllers--and the rights to manufacture and license those memory controller technologies. This is exactly what MS did with IE--it didn't directly make a profit by developing a new web browser and bundling it with Windows; it gained market control and the ability to manipulate the Internet protocols so that all its products, from IIS to Frontpage to NT Server and the rest, had an advantage of guaranteed interoperability and increased functionality over competing products.

    Intel wants to do the same with RDRAM and its new IA64 architecture, and its new forays into the emerging appliance market. Intel will make royalties on all chipsets which support RDRAM. Intel will make direct profits on its IA64 processors and has probably been hoping to licence the ISA to competitors once x86 plateaus. Intel has purchased the StronARM and other embedded/appliance hardware companies, hoping to leverage its market dominance to push it into every area. And, let's not forget that they tried and tried and tried to force their way into the graphics market, but failed there due to too-short product cycles and competitors with much more graphics experience.

    It's clear that Intel wants to be the Microsoft of the hardware world. If they leverage enough tech patents on all fronts, they can force use of their products in the same unfair ways Microsoft leveraged itself into every crevice: big OEMs unable to get the best prices on Intel desktop processors unless they agree to use StrongARM in their embedded/appliance products instead of Transmeta or MIPS, or unable to get hold of ahort-supplied IA64 for workstations/servers unless they use P4 in their desktops, VIA unable to make the most advanced RDRAM chipsets unless they cut back on DDR or agree not to pursue QDR, etc. Don't think it won't happen, even with M$ as an example: there are many sneaky, below-the-board ways to hint at such matters without bluntly making demands.

    And, since everyone here hates the x86 architecture so much, why the Hell are so many /.ers such big Intel fans? They're the companywhich kept pushing x86 for decades instead of developing something new and improved and more RISCy, so why so many Intel apologists and AMD naysayers? After all, as good and serviceable as the P6 core was, it didn't deserve to stay in service for 5+ years. AMD may have been a dog back then, but at least it made radical improvements with almost every product cycle; Intel just wasn't trying at all. And look at the disaster which

    Read the rest of this comment... [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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    SOCs: Say Goodbye To µC's?

    Technology | Posted by timothy on Sunday July 09, @07:21PM
    from the want-these-in-my-kiddie-meal-please dept.
    Rick Lehrbaum writes: "This [LinuxDevices.com] article describes a new class of Linux-friendly system-on-chip (SOC) ICs that are taking over the 1-chip microcontroller mantle from simpler architectures like the 8051 and 68HC11. And they're going to vastly accelerate the use of embedded Linux in thousands of new designs for intelligent devices, Internet appliances, and embedded systems. Devices covered in the article include include: Intel StrongARM SA-1110, NEC VR4181, STMicro STPC, Mot MPC823e, IBM PPC 405GP, NETsilicon NET+ARM, Aplio/TRIO, Axis ETRAX, LinkUp L7205, Alchemy Au1000, and Cirrus Maverick EP9312." I'd like a walkman-size computer based on that IBM 405GP that runs on AAs for a week ... sort of neat how open source OSes can seep into things like this.

    It's Official: Deckard Was A Replicant | Intel Tests Show PC133 SDRAM Bests RDRAM  >

     

     
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    The IBM 405GP - be warned

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by faeryman ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @07:40PM EDT
    (User Info)

    Okay. I know you will very well call me a stick in the mud for this one, but I must be a bit more pessimistic than the article or the general air for the IBM 405GP is.

    I've followed the development of the for a while now, even having a few email conversations with Jonathon Thompson, Quong Ho Thoc, and Hagr Itstein (three lead developers). I told them about a few of my concerns but it looks like marketing prevailed :(

    While yes, I am a fan of Linux and OSS (hell, I've used been running Slackware since version 2 and my firewalls run OpenBSD), I don't see Linux being the right tool for this. I don't want to see this product fail since I know IBM is a good company. By all means everything else they made was a success, but the IBM 405GP looks like it will be a flop.

    Why?

    (1) Security - This is a big concern for me. Imagine some evil hacker getting control of this baby...now imagine if this was used in your bank or a military instituion. See the problem? While I commend the design of Open Souce, perhaps allowing the innerworkings of this to be accessable by a hacker is not good, even more so when it's an embedded system.

    Check out these sites, they explain why the needs for your desktop's security (which Linux can provide) are on the other end of the spectrum for bank/B2B/military security (which Linux cannot provide):
    The CIA's spin
    Military disablement
    cpsr.org

    (2) Expansion architecture - Check the specs on this thing. While a PCI slot is normally a good thing, wouldn't MCA or a propietary bus be better suited for this? Linux runs on the MCA fine, and I think it's low overhead and fault-tolerant properties are better than a run of the mill PCI slot for this. Or a new bus design could be implemented. IBM benefits with better performance, we as a comunity benefit from more GPL code being released. Sound good?

    (3) Operating system - [flamesuit] I like Linux, but I don't think Linux is the best tool for this. IBM has made the decision to go with Linux, so I'll respect that. But I must say that WindowsCE or QNX would be better. We know who WindowsCE is backed by, but I must admit Mico$oft'$ embedded OS department knows thier stuff. Look at the recent Sharp handhelds - fine work and I think the same design could be applied to the IBM 405GP. If you don't want to recognize MS products though, I can understand. QNX would be just as valid (and in some ways such as power usage and latency) even better than WindowsCE and Linux. Scalibility and performance are key here, and QNX can deliver better than Linux. [/flamesuit]

    Again, I don't like being negative but I don't think the IBM 405GP will do that well. I want to be proved wrong though, I want to see Linux progress and gain market share, and I want to see IBM be profitable....but Linux just ain't gonna cut it for this one my friends. Please tell me I'm wrong.

    It is time to protect me from myself :( [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Gestation Period

    (Score:3, Funny)
    by Tsujigiri ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @07:50PM EDT
    (User Info)

    I must say that I particularly like the part:

    "Which means nine months from now (products take roughly the same time to gestate as human babies), the results of this frenzy of post-PC development will begin to emerge in a big way.

    Obviously my problem is not that all my products are defective, they're just premature!

    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? -T. S. Elio [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    But do we need them?

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Cerlyn on Sunday July 09, @07:55PM EDT
    (User Info)

    While doing web scripts, I often find myself writing simple databases. These forms do trivial things like take a users form and add it (comma or tab seperated) to the end of a text file. While I could have used a complete SQL backend, I chose the simple append to file approach. This is because my forms were purely meant to be imported into a database on another system - there was no need for them to be entered in a manner where they would be quickly searchable locally.

    So instead of connecting to an SQL server, logging in, sending the command "INSERT INTO mytable VALUES data_1, data2,..., data_n;", waiting to hear if it worked, and closing the connection, I simply appended a line to a file. When I wanted to read the file, I downloaded it, viewed it locally, and zeroed the online copy so it could be filled again. What is wrong with that?

    Compare this to my work with microcontrollers. I do work on Z180's, the PIC series, Basic STAMPs, and the 68HC11's (you can get a good student deal on these from Motorola - ask them). I have done work in both C and pure assembler (or in the case of the stamp, their BASIC). Guess whose programs comes out largest? Those in C. While the assembler routine itself for the task at hand is similar, a bunch of additional preloading code added by the C compiler is added. Imagine how much bloat a crude real-time operating system (RTOS) such as Linux would add if I did not need it.

    If I'm purely watching inputs and outputs, and need to scan a few interrupts, I do not see the need to have Linux in my design. Granted, I'm a huge Linux user myself, but putting a stripped-down version in a microcontroller seems to be like shoving an elephant into a tin can. Real-time OS's for microcontrollers have been around for a while; some are designed to take up less than 2 KB. Why do we need to adapt Linux to a task that has already been solved?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    vs Java

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by AtariDatacenter ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @07:56PM EDT
    (User Info)

    I'm wondering how this compares to what Sun is working on... the Java inside a chip for embedded devices. Or is this something completely different?


    We've been headed for systems on a chip for quite some time know. I remember, when working for Creative Labs, that they had a chip version of the Sound Blaster Pro waiting in the wings to be placed on a motherboard (as opposed to a card). But there was no demand for it! Looking at my IBM desktop, I'd say its no logner the case. (Sound card is integrated.)


    I'd have to say though, as much as I like technology, the thought of all my appliances having a fulling running OS of some sort and hooked up to a network really really scares me.

    Adopt the PENISBIRD.COM domain name. Make PenisBirdMan angry, willyah? [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Glad we're finally getting rid of those...

    (Score:5, Funny)
    by Imperator ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @07:59PM EDT
    (User Info) http://myther.com/

    ...annoying microcoulombs. If there's one metric unit I can't stand, it's the µC. In fact, the µ prefix should be removed entirely, because you need to use the HTML character entity µ, which timothy doesn't seem to know about.

    Gates' Law: Every 18 months, the speed of software halves. [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Meanwhile, back in reality...

    (Score:5, Informative)
    by Silverpike ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @11:15PM EDT
    (User Info)

    Disclaimer: I am a design engineer on the embedded PowerPC team, interpret this accordingly.

    Before I begin: don't be misled. The 68HC11 and the 405gp are two totally different ballparks. They do not compete in the same space.

    faeryman sez:

    I've followed the development of the for a while now, even having a few email conversations with Jonathon Thompson, Quong Ho Thoc, and Hagr Itstein (three lead developers). I told them about a few of my concerns but it looks like marketing prevailed :(
    I am relatively new with the 4xx PowerPC team, but I've never heard of any of those people; I don't think they are developers (much less lead ones).

    I don't see Linux being the right tool for this. I don't want to see this product fail since I know IBM is a good company. By all means everything else they made was a success, but the IBM 405GP looks like it will be a flop.
    Umm, our customers sure seem to think it's the right tool. We got so much demand for Linux on 405 that we had to hire extra people to fully support Linux. As for 405gp being a flop, I don't know what planet you are on. 405 is selling so fast that it put a strain on our short term capacity. I don't consider a chip to be a 'flop' when Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, and Alcatel use them in their products...

    (1) Security - This is a big concern for me. Imagine some evil hacker getting control of this baby...now imagine if this was used in your bank or a military instituion. See the problem?
    Umm, no, I don't. How exactly do you associate a SOC device with an Ethernet port automatically vulnerable to hackers? Is the 405gp somehow deficient in this regard?

    While I commend the design of Open Souce, perhaps allowing the innerworkings of this to be accessable by a hacker is not good, even more so when it's an embedded system.
    You are confusing connectivity with security. This article is about SOC's, and as far as their design is concerned they must be properly secured like any other computer system. Save the security tirade for a different forum.

    (2) Expansion architecture - Check the specs on this thing. While a PCI slot is normally a good thing, wouldn't MCA or a propietary bus be better suited for this?
    Are you f*cking kidding me? MCA? How many MCA devices can you buy? Not just cards, I means chips (which is what the vast majority of 40x's will be talking to). Almost zippo. Now how many different PCI devices do you think you can find?

    Linux runs on the MCA fine, and I think it's low overhead and fault-tolerant properties are better than a run of the mill PCI slot for this. Or a new bus design could be implemented. IBM benefits with better performance, we as a comunity benefit from more GPL code being released. Sound good?
    Absolutely not. The whole point of choosing PCI is because it is commodity, fast, reliable, and supported by almost every modern OS. It seems that you are desperate to reinvent the wheel here.

    3) Operating system - [flamesuit] I like Linux, but I don't think Linux is the best tool for this. IBM has made the decision to go with Linux, so I'll respect that.
    Like I said before, our customers want Linux. Linux is not the only OS we support. Actually you can put damn near any OS on the planet on it; IBM doesn't have support for them all however. You want a lighter weight OS than Linux? Fine, use OS/Open, which is IBM's little creation (works very well and supported too).

    Scalibility and performance are key here, and QNX can deliver better than Linux.
    Well, if you think so, then there's no reason you can't run it on 405gp.

    Again, I don't like being negative but I don't think the IBM 405GP will do that well. I want to be proved wrong though, I want to see Linux progress and gain market share, and I want to see IBM be profitable....but Linux just ain't gonna cut it for this one my friends. Please tell me I'm wrong.
    We

    Read the rest of this comment... [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Goodbye? I think not

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Matt_Bennett ([email protected]) on Sunday July 09, @11:35PM EDT
    (User Info) http://web.hazmat.com/~mjb/

    I've been building in PICs and AVR microcontrollers into a bunch of devices, and I can tell you, for sure, that they still have a long lifetime ahead of them. I've designed devices that are made in 10's quantities and in 10,000+ quantities and I have a few comments:

    When you are designing with microcontrollers, you use the smallest and cheapest that will do the job. It is all about the appropriate use of technology. You don't need Linux to run your microwave oven. 99% of the microprocessors used in embedded systems don't need that much power. They aren't located in PC/104 bussed computers, they aren't in computer racks, they are in devices that are all around us, but not noticed: your microwave, your cell phone battery charger, your car alarm remote... and so on. Price is a very sensitive issue. These system-on-chip devices are very expensive- running $50+ each! If all I need is a $0.73 PIC to do the job, you're a fool (and soon to be unemployed) if you don't use the PIC (or AVR, or COP8, or whatever the latest, cheapest part is)!

    The power of a real operating system is undisputed, but use it where appropriate! Rick Lehrbaum's white paper on using 75-200 MHz SOCs to replace 68HC11s and 8051s is ludicrous. If not for the simple fact that 99.9% of your clock cycles would be wasted, think about all the power (electrical) that would be wasted. Sure, Transmeta has some impressive MIPS/Watt numbers, but it doesn't scale well as you go lower. Many applications just don't need that much power. I can run a PIC off a 32 KHz crystal and only draw 50 microwatts off a power source. Not a one of the processors that Rick Lehrbaum mentions will be able to approach that low a power draw, even with a stopped clock.

    Microcontrollers are going to be here a long time, just like we still use discrete transistors when we need to. Yes there are some applications that can use these systems on a chip, but for full acceptance they will have to be *cheap*, coming in at a price less than $10.00 each, and preferably less thann $5.00. It will take years for that to happen, and even then, we will still be using microcontrollers. I don't need 20 MIPS to run my microwave or my battery charger, or even my watch.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Eight Bit Devices Won't Die

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by pjrc ([email protected]) on Monday July 10, @02:48AM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.pjrc.com/

    For the last 6 years or so, 16 bit microcontrollers have been predicted to generally replace 8 bit devices, but the trend has been very slow. The market for 4 bit chips, as I recall, as finally shrunk below 10%, but 4 bit chips are still in widespread use!

    I design products with 8 bit devices, and I've used a couple larger chips here and there. There are many important features that designers need in microcontrollers:

    Often times these considerations at much more important than cpu horseposer. For example, Microchip took off about 6 years ago, offering one of the most limited feature-poor instruction sets on the market, but they did all the important things very well. Their chips were cheap, low power, small size, and they offered EPROM based chips at low prices.... but the most important thing they did was they offered flexible purchasing, made possible by selling blank EPROM based devices, at a time when Motorola had inflexible purchasing requirements for masked-rom based parts.

    Most projects in the embedded market just don't need a lot of CPU power. At high volumes, it's easy to pay even the most expensive engineers and programmers to re-write code to run on a cheaper chip.

    I should probably disclose that I have a small website with 8051 related resources (open source), so take my words with a grain of salt, but until 32 bit microcontrollers are less expensive and use less power than their 8 bit competitors, I'd expect the bulk of the market will probably stay with the 8 bit chips.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

    Re:Hey!

    (Score:3, Interesting)
    by softsign (horbal at vlsi dot uwindsor dot ca) on Sunday July 09, @08:22PM EDT
    (User Info) http://www.vlsi.uwindsor.ca/~horbal/

    Are you kidding? The 68HC11 is a great platform to learn all sorts of neat stuff.

    For my senior project, I used an HC11 to a) receive and interpret X10 home automation (extended) codes and b) act as an LCD clock. The idea was to show that you could use many of these cheap devices anywhere in your home and they could all be kept in sync.

    Best of all, it worked! With less than 1024 bytes (BYTES) of memory to play with... Imagine what you could do with 16 or 32k.

    I mean, using C or any other high-level language, you can barely even compile a "Hello world" inside of 1k.

    uCs may not be as elegant as a SPARC, but they've got their uses. Even if it's only for hobbyists and students. You gotta start somewhere.

    Also, I don't know what kind of HC11 you're programming, but last I checked, B was an 8-bit register, while X was a 16-bit index register. It's gotta be tough for Motorola's engineers to justify an instruction that only copies B to X.

    Besides, you could do that with: CLRA, XGDX. It's not at all counter-intuitive.

    --
    ever see a 100ft tall moose?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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    Trolltech Developing Qt That Doesn't Need X
    Posted by timothy on Tuesday March 21, @03:06PM
    from the getting-bedded-with-embedded dept.
    Thrakkerzog writes: "Here is an article about Qt/Embedded, a version of Qt which is source-compatable with Qt/X11 and Qt/Windows. It doesn't use X11, and just uses the Linux framebuffer. This is very ideal for embedded systems. Check the link for more info."

    According to Trolltech's release, "Qt/Embedded will also provide functionality not found in the X Window System, such as anti-aliased text rendering and alpha-blending of images. For increased performance, Qt/Embedded can utilize hardware graphics acceleration and it is well suited for multimedia and Web applications."

    Flashy graphics without the overhead of X looks like a winner for all the companies providing embedded Linux devices and sofware.

    Is "coke.ch" A Violation of Coca-Cola's (tm)? | Cracking Military Devices  >

     
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  • This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Trollin' for Trolltech (Score:0, Interesting)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:10PM EST (#2)
    Stuff like this is why Linux is going to take awhile (a few decades) to become a serious threat to other OS's. There is no centralized authority and people keep coming out with more and more crap to throw to the pile.
    Re:Trollin' for Trolltech (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @05:36PM EST (#108)
    one word options
    It's all about KOffice. ( Nice sarcsim ) (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Forge (forge @ myrealbox.com?Subject=Slashdot) on Tuesday March 21, @09:48PM EST (#209)
    (User Info) http://www.netcraft.com
    I wonder how many slashdot readers figured out that this poster is being sarcastic? Anyway here is my take on this new embeded QT.

    I read through the comments looking for someone who gets the real significance of this and came up with a blank. So here is my take on this baby.

    When WinCE was 1st released oneof MSs major promises was that it would let you run the same apps and exchange files in the same format on both desktop and palmtop. Basically they promised MSWord in a pocket sized version.

    It never happened and the reason is simple. MS office is over 200 megs of bloat. If they could have made it smaller they probably would but frankly that's tough to do. a 16 meg office suite and OS combination just isn't going to happen.

    fast forward to the present. portable Linux has a compressed file system almost dubbing the capacity of a flash card so all you really need is a 32 meg office suite to fit in 16 megs of flash. KOffice is normally under 30 megs with the kdelibs. add on 2 megs of QT and 400 K kernel with all the drivers for that device plus frame buffer and you are running in 16 megs of cache with an OS and an OFfice suite. add another 16 or 32 megs of RAM to run everything in and you can get decent performance plus a desktop.

    THAT is the significance of this thing. Linus plus Transmeta plus Troll Tech and the KDE team are about to deliver on Bill's promise.

    Frankly I would hate to be a microsofty right now.

    As for little issues like "dose this interface match the small size device?". They don't matter. Interfaces can be hacked and adjusted and with tidy modular code like this it doesn't really take much for good GUI designers to "fix" it.

    Isn't it surprizing how badly I spell ?
    Flamebuffer? (Score:0, Offtopic)
    by Kent Berglund ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @03:12PM EST (#4)
    (User Info) http://www.bloomington.in.us/~kentb
    Is it possible that Qt can use this technology to
    create some underwear using linux flamebuffers to
    increase the safety of firemen everywhere?

    Thanks
    Kent
    X (Score:1, Insightful)
    by Signal 11 ([email protected]?Subject=Slashdot comment) on Tuesday March 21, @03:13PM EST (#6)
    (User Info) http://www.malign.net/~bojay/
    You know, with so many developers trying to bypass the X APIs and write directly to the screen, one would think that X is out of date.

    There seems to be a big push to get the X protocol away from network protocols and into direct API calls. Any thoughts (maybe we could interview an X developer next week?) people?

    -o Question authority! Yeah, says who? o-

    Re:X (Score:2, Funny)
    by redhog ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @03:17PM EST (#10)
    (User Info) http://mini.dhs.org
    I think we should bypass all of the OS and program the hardware directly, as done in windows to get better single user acceleration.
    --The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what distinguishes you from one.

    The above text is covered by the GNU General Public License.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by not Bruce Perens on Tuesday March 21, @03:26PM EST (#20)
    (User Info)
    >--The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what
    >distinguishes you from one.

    After a comment like that, I know it; do you?
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:18PM EST (#196)
    it was his sig.

    might I suggest a sig for you: "the difference between me and a fuckwit is that most fuckwits have a sense of humor."
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by penguinboy (comphelper AT yahoo DOT com) on Tuesday March 21, @03:53PM EST (#50)
    (User Info) http://home.earthlink.net/~rmedico/
    You are joking, right? This is what made NT4 so ridiculously unstable (3.51 wasn't too bad when the graphics stuff wasn't in the kernel)
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by Grimlord on Tuesday March 21, @05:13PM EST (#99)
    (User Info)
    you idiot we are not talking about ms doing it. The code is only as stable as the guy that wrote it.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by penguinboy (comphelper AT yahoo DOT com) on Friday March 24, @08:26PM EST (#262)
    (User Info) http://home.earthlink.net/~rmedico/
    It'ss a bad idea none the less. Although it doesn't guarantee it, more low-level stuff certainly increases the chances for problems.
    Yes (Score:2)
    by redhog ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:22PM EST (#126)
    (User Info) http://mini.dhs.org
    Of course I was joking! I thought that was obvious! Perheaps I should have put a ;) there to guide you...
    --The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what distinguishes you from one.

    The above text is covered by the GNU General Public License.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:20PM EST (#61)
    I think we should open the windows and throw you out (to get better single user acceleration).
    Re:X (Score:2, Interesting)
    by ceswiedler on Tuesday March 21, @03:23PM EST (#16)
    (User Info)
    The design of the X Server sticks to the original multiuser-server philosophy that everything runs on the server, and the client is practically nonexistent. At the time "GUI" (tm) came out, people were used to telnetting and running processes on central boxen. The X Server design maintained the status quo.

    But jesus, are we still in the days of VAX? Big servers are great and it's useful for people to share them, but everyone ALSO has a decent desktop box. Why on earth do we need our computer to talk to itself through networking calls just to render a window?

    If we're going to keep up the desktop-user push, we have to make the windowing environment better. Does anyone have any figures for how much slower the X server system is than a direct windowing API? If it's a signifigant speed issue (and I imagine it is), we're going to have to do something about it.

    How difficult would it be to abstract communication layer of the X server so that if it were running locally, it used direct calls, and if remotely, then by networking like it does now? Best of Both Worlds.
    HELP STOP PLATE TECTONICS
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by not Bruce Perens on Tuesday March 21, @03:32PM EST (#26)
    (User Info)
    You're living in the days of VAX as well, apparently...

    Believe it or not, someone (actually, quite a lot of people) already noticed that little problem! And that's why modern X implementations (go XFree86!) are hacked to take as much advantage of locality as possible without breaking the abstraction too badly.

    Even if there were a significant hit, though, abstraction would be sufficient generalization.
    Been done (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Sloppy ([email protected]^H^H^H^Hrt66.com) on Tuesday March 21, @03:35PM EST (#31)
    (User Info)

    How difficult would it be to abstract communication layer of the X server so that if it were running locally, it used direct calls, and if remotely, then by networking like it does now?

    Isn't that pretty much what AmiWin does, when you link it with the proper libraries?

    Why on earth do we need our computer to talk to itself through networking calls just to render a window?

    Because it's cool, and occasionally useful. Ever taken a look at the size of the market for Windoze products like Symantic PCAnyWhere or Citrix WinFrame? If your windowing system doesn't have that capability built-in, then someone's just going to have to tack it on later, anyway.

    It actually makes sense for X to have this feature. It's a good feature.


    ---
    Have a Sloppy night!
    Re:Been done (Score:1)
    by ceswiedler on Tuesday March 21, @04:12PM EST (#58)
    (User Info)
    I didn't say that we should remove the capability for X clients to run from X servers on other hosts, I said that we should also include the ability to run completely on one host without wasting any time with talking back and forth to itself.

    I don't have any complaints, personally, about how fast my Xfree86 system runs, but then I don't stress it very much. This is one of those "it shouldn't work that way!" sort of optimization-thoughts, and I'm glad to know people are already working on it.
    HELP STOP PLATE TECTONICS
    Re:Been done (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:35PM EST (#136)
    Argh! haven't any of you heard of the shared memory stuff in X? What on earth do you think MIT-SHM stands for?
    Re:Been done (Score:2)
    by Ralph Wiggam ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:36PM EST (#73)
    (User Info) http://www.redmeat.com
    This week the company I work for is cutting a 6 figure check to Citrix for the privledge of a capability that X has for free. Nice.

    -B
    10 PRINT "THIS IS MY SIG" 20 GOTO 10
    Re:Been done (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @11:00AM EST (#255)
    X has the capability to export Win32 applications for free? Cool! I bet everybody will be excited to hear the news!

    Re:Been done (Score:2)
    by Samrobb on Tuesday March 21, @05:24PM EST (#103)
    (User Info) http://www.pghgeeks.org
    Ever taken a look at the size of the market for Windoze products like Symantic PCAnyWhere or Citrix WinFrame? If your windowing system doesn't have that capability built-in, then someone's just going to have to tack it on later, anyway.

    I think the point is that X was designed to operate over a network, period; in hindsight, it probably would have been better to define a local display protocol that could be modified to work in a more peer-to-peer or client-server fashion as the need for that arose. There's nothing particularly wrong with "tacking on" functionality later, as long as the original specification was designed with that sort extensibility in mind.

    If that had been the case, then this discussion wouldn't be happening, because I could run X the way I want to, and you could run it the way you wanted, and we'd both be happy. As it stands right now, you get what you want, and when I try and get what I want, I get a shrug and a "Live with it - it's a good feature" reply.


    reminds me of C++ (Score:1)
    by kaisyain on Thursday March 23, @08:26AM EST (#261)
    (User Info)
    Wasn't that designed so you were only penalized for the features you actually used? I wonder how many people who are saying "live with it - it's a good feature most of the time" praise that effort in C++ and fight tooth and claw to the bitter end against mandatory inclusion of things like garbage collection, of which pretty much the same thing can be said: "live with it - it's a good feature most of the time".
    X !=> networking (Score:2, Informative)
    by [email protected] on Tuesday March 21, @04:14PM EST (#59)
    (User Info)
    X servers can communicate with clients over a variety of communications channels including network streams, shared memory, and unix domain sockets, etc...


    Shut up, be happy. The conveniences you demanded are now mandatory. -- Jello Biafra

    Re:X !=> networking (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:23PM EST (#128)
    Thank you for clearing that up, it should be apparent to everyone now that the reason X is so slow is the prevalence and perdurability of cosmic radiation. Networking, sockets, and the like have nothing to do with it.
    Re:X !=> networking (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:20PM EST (#197)
    some cards have excellent support for their acceleration in Xfree. others do not. might I suggest a reasonably modern Matrox card. I've heard good things about voodoo3's X server also.
    Re:X !=> networking (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @09:54AM EST (#251)
    I have a g400 card, and i am horrified to see that win2k is MUCH faster than X in linux, running mozilla in win2k is a totaly different application than running it in linux. The same goes for netscape and wordperfect. But sure, the matrox cards are among the faster cards with xfree86. It would be fun to know how much of the lack of speed in X depends on its design, and how much is just because of unomptimized X server
    Isn't this what Direct Rendering does? (Score:1)
    by gharikumar ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:49PM EST (#83)
    (User Info)
    I thought this was exactly what
    Direct Rendering (included in Xfree4.0)
    does.

    Hari.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:35PM EST (#135)
    I don't know about you, but its hella great to have an X server on my NT workstation at work and administer my beefy DEC box in the basement. I feel damn sorry for all the NT guys that have to stand directly in front of their servers for hours on end, messing up their necks in the process. X might add overhead, but its damn nice to have that capability.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by Anonymous._.Coward (print reverse split(/ */,"moc.buprenroc\@demmahom") on Wednesday March 22, @05:57AM EST (#238)
    (User Info)
    Huh? But NT workstations and servers can be remote configured.

  • 3tech remote explorerNT
  • PC Anywhere from Compaq
  • NT Remote Controller
  • Take a seminar
  • Or visit your favourite website.
  • Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @08:04PM EST (#161)
    the sad thing is, its probably a lot more efficient to push bitmaps around the network than download, trees, lists, images, button text, grids etc. In these days of server generated forms, X rules.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by Rakarra ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @08:50PM EST (#184)
    (User Info)
    But jesus, are we still in the days of VAX? Big servers are great and it's useful for people to share them, but everyone ALSO has a decent desktop box.

    Again, the problem is that you're assuming everyone wants to run the X client applications FROM their desktop. To demand that would be pretty limiting.

    Why on earth do we need our computer to talk to itself through networking calls just to render a window?

    Why? Portability for one. Second, why not? Since on the local machine you don't have to use actual TCP ports to get it done, I've seen XFree86 use domain sockets instead. Is there really a huge drawback other than a "networking! *shudder*" response? You don't have to limit the server to only one method of contact.


    Take the NOSPAM out of my address if you're responding by mail..

    Re:X (Score:1)
    by twixel on Wednesday March 22, @06:13AM EST (#239)
    (User Info)
    But jesus, are we still in the days of VAX? Big servers are great and it's useful for people to share them, but everyone ALSO has a decent desktop box.Why on earth do we need our computer to talk to itself through networking calls just to render a window?
    Rest assured, it doesn't use networking calls if it is not necessary. It uses IPC (unix domain sockets ,shared memory) where possible.
    Does anyone have any figures for how much slower the X server system is than a direct windowing API? If it's a signifigant speed issue (and I imagine it is), we're going to have to do something about it.
    And how are you going to measure that? How are you going to factor out driver optimisations? BTW, what you call a direct windowing API means moving the graphics subsystem into the kernel. It would save context switches. Any other design where a separate process handles the windowing and the display, has been done: it's called X.
    How difficult would it be to abstract communication layer of the X server so that if it were running locally, it used direct calls, and if remotely, then by networking like it does now? Best of Both Worlds.
    Depends on what you mean with "direct calls". A "direct call" into a shared library to draw a window can be handled in two ways:
    • A. either your graphics subsystem is in the kernel, and the code in the shared library thunks into the kernel for the window drawing code.
    • B. Your graphics subsystem is in a separate process, and the shared library marshalls the arguments of the function call into a structure and sends that structure via IPC to the display process. (Contrary to the belief of some, you can't just call "direct" into another process)

    So there you have it: A = WinXX and B=XWindow. Take your pick. I guess moving the display subsystem into the kernel won't be very popular.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:24PM EST (#18)
    > There seems to be a big push to get the X
    > protocol away from network protocols and into
    > direct API calls. Any thoughts (maybe we could
    > interview an X developer next week?) people?

    Have a look at NanoGUI (a mini X server) or it's twin MicroWindows (a mini Win32 API).

                        http://microwindows.censoft.com/

    There was talk about porting Gtk+ to it, but I have no information as to whether anyone is actually working on it (Anyone know?).

    There's no reason why Qt couldn't also be ported. IMO, TrollTech would be foolish not to go this route.

    X is pretty well thought out. It's been ported to the Itsy.

    There's little reason to bypass it's API. You simply need a leaner server with fewer features for embedded systems.


    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @05:31PM EST (#105)
    moderate one this up
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @08:31PM EST (#175)
    My name Shane Nay, (sorry too lazy to log in) and Greg Haerr of Microwindows and I are working on porting FLTK right now, it's almost done. The next target in my scopes is GTK/GLIB. I already downloaded the Win32 based source, and setup the headers. Haven't made a function list yet, but it's "in process". I'd say we're a couple months away from a usable GTK on microwindows.

    You can take a look at some screen shots of FLTK on microwindows at ftp://esdev.net/pub/fltk/scrshots/ There is a history type section, and some new stuff in fontpass2 directory.
    Re:X (Score:3, Interesting)
    by bluGill ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @03:49PM EST (#47)
    (User Info) http://www.black-hole.com/users/henrymiller/

    I find that the majority of my time in X is spent with something onscreen not running on the local machine. Even if we call the programs running on the same machine as my window manager this is true.

    Maybe your desktop machine is fast enough, but not mine. I used to have an ultra sparc on my desktop. I hated it, genuine noisy fan, poor keyboard (You think Sun would know the controll key belongs next to the A. xmodmap is for more difficult tasks than that) And when I kicked the power cord all my compiles stoped. Now the server is in a back room, I have a NCD (A dumb terminal that can run X) on my desk.

    As a devolper I find that my programs have to run on a machine in the lab. Pop an X window from the lab machine to my desktop and its like working in the lab. THen I can go home and pop an X window from the lab to my home FreeBSD machine. (I don't normally work from home, but if I can check my compile over night and fix the one typo after supper I save time at work the next day)

    I used to have a sun3 in one room, and my main machine in anouther. In theory I could run programs on the sun3, but since the main machine is 400 mhz, and the sun is 16 (20? doesn't matter as m68k and x86 of different generations don't compare well by looking at mhz, but you can get the idea) who wants to? X still has life. Xfree86 is very fast on a local machine, and works just fine on a remote one.

    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:26PM EST (#69)
    I find that the majority of my time in X is spent with something onscreen not running on the local machine. Then you're in the wrong cubicle. Contact your system administrator to correct your position in the seating chart.
    You guys rail on about MS Wurd having bloated rarely used features, but you refuse to look at your own case with the same critical eye.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by mulderlr (mulderlr @ netscape . net) on Tuesday March 21, @04:44PM EST (#77)
    (User Info)
    the problem isn't the overbloat by itself in any application that is the problem. The problem is the market share dominance that forces people to use something which is overbloated like in the case of Microsoft "Wurd"... Last time I looked nobody told you that you have to use X (and if they did you can modify the source to streamline it down to what you want), but my company sure as shit rails on me about having to use Microsoft "productivity" apps (if that isn't an oxymoron in and of itself).
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by 51M02 on Tuesday March 21, @05:35PM EST (#107)
    (User Info)
    Actually this is a very often used feature.

    The ability to use a GUI interface using two computers instead of one and even to share this environnements in network is wonderful.

    Also this method does not require much more memory or speed than any other concept

    In this case this new Qt version is for device that does not offer a lot of memory or CPU speed like the kind of computers we were using 4 years earlier or for Palm like devices (Internet Appliance) where every kb of memory footprint is important.

    In this kind of new device it's not very useful to be able to log on it from/to another computer to use a GUI. It just need to be able to access Yahoo(tm) and emails.
    - Open Source would not be as popular if Window$ was GPLed.

    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:17PM EST (#123)
    Popular? Yes--among developers. You need to remember your needs and conveniences are radically different from the (millions) people who use your work. If it were up to developers, monitors would probably be twice as tall as wide. 99% of computer users really don't care about networked displays...(trying not to say something nasty here)...infact they probably would want that port 6000 firewalled off.

    Who is being forced to use the boated--yes BLOATED, cranky, creaky narcotecture of grampa X? Well everyone who wwants to use Unix or Linux is pretty well forced to live with what's convenient but crappy for people who's idea of exciting desktop applications are transparent virtual terminals. A more appropriate question (or at least a more Utilitarian one) would be: how many people are turned off of linux and unix and forced to live with MacroShaft because X doesn't do the basic job of displaying to a monitor in acceptable fashion? (X4.0 just barely gets there now, and still, if anything is in motion--it's back to paleolithic era performance) And convinces them that everything else about the "alternative platform" must also suck?

    Why is it that when anyone says, "wouldn't it be awesome to have desktop speed and capabilities like well other desktops--by cutting out the deadwood of X" a thousand crustiphores poke their heads out and screech NEVER! YOU'll never take my network display capability away--as if the first logically necessitates the second. Non Sequiturs are the infallible sign of neurossification. Let's not condemn ourselves mutually to that evil end.

    This X server has been running for 3 months ... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:15PM EST (#194)
    and there's a lot of apps open (a dozen actually - including Netscape, Emacs, applix, staroffice). It currently takes up 30 megs of RAM but about half of that is swapped out (I only have 64 megs).

    The main source of RAM usage is the Netscape process.

    How is this "bloat"?

    MS-Windows is 10 years old. X is about 17 at the most. The reason X is still around is that it works.
    Re:This X server has been running for 3 months ... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @11:31PM EST (#222)
    It's running with a feature(s) most people don't need which noticeably hampers its basic performance with one or more windows open--and the feature can't be turned off. Bloated spec, sluggish performance.

    Why do you think people carp and bitch about the performance of XFree86? Because they see that it's fast, sleek and elegant ?? and seeing that makes them envious?

    Re:This X server has been running for 3 months ... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @03:22AM EST (#229)
    This notion that the network transparency of X hampers it's functionality is urban legend. People carp and bitch about the performance of Xfree because it's a small group of volunteers trying to replicate the efforts of an entire industry of hardware vendors, oftentimes working without proper information.

    Furthermore, one implementation of X is not enough base a condemnation of X servers in general.

    Nevermind that in my own experience I have yet to suffer from this 'slow X' problem. Infact, I find myself running beefier NT machines during the day and being rather glad that I am 'subjecte' to 'sluggish X servers' when I compute at home.

    WinFoo may push pixels better, but Unix handles concurrence much better. In that end, that gives Unix or Linux the edge.
    Fast sleek and elegant? (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Arker on Wednesday March 22, @05:09AM EST (#234)
    (User Info)

    X isn't designed to be fast sleek or elegant. It's designed to be stable flexible and powerful. It is that.

    How much of a performance hit the flexibility costs seems to be a subject of great debate. Not being an X hacker all I can offer is subjective, anecdotal evidence - on my box, certain things are noticeably slower, but other things are noticeably faster, I don't see any significant overall speed advantage to win32 over X on my hardware, just some fairly minor trade-offs going both ways.

    Of course X itself is flexible enough to adapt to a lot of situations - if I stuck a larger window manager on X I could make it slower than win32, and if I stuck a smaller one on I could speed it up a bit too.

    There are downsides to flexibility, to be sure, but there are advantages too. If you really don't like X, why not make something you like better? X isn't a part of linux, remember that. It's one of many open source programs that you can run if you choose.


    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:17PM EST (#195)
    Uhmm the two aren't mutually exclusive: you could run your "Qt in the framebuffer" thing and just run an X server that displays in the framebuffer too to run X apps.

    There already are a few framebuffer X servers out there.

    There's nothing wrong with X11. (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @04:39PM EST (#75)
    (User Info)
    X11 is still a great protocol for network transparent windowing: it's efficient, conceptually simple, and mature. In those areas where it really matters (bulk image and geometry transfer, 3D graphics) X11 already gives applications memory mapped access.

    X11 does lack a few features, like antialiased drawing and fonts. Those can be added easily with X11's well-defined and widely used extension mechanism, and without breaking backwards compatibility. If you type "xdpyinfo", you'll see that you are already running a dozen or so extensions.

    Using libraries that access the frame buffer directly does make sense for embedded systems, but for general usage, they would represent a big step backwards.

    ~/There's something wrong with make world today/~ (Score:5, Interesting)
    by MenTaLguY ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:17PM EST (#122)
    (User Info) http://lunar8.rydia.net/mental
    X11 is still a great protocol for network transparent windowing

    Really?

    it's efficient

    Only if you consider marshalling/unmarshalling individual drawing primitives across some sort of IPC (network or local) efficient. No, I'm not advocating direct application hardware access. Think outside the box, and maybe go back and look at how systems like NeWS, Display Postscript and Berlin are designed.

    conceptually simple

    No, not really. Try writing a window manager sometime. The original idea was (is) pretty simple, but once you start adding the various standard extensions that accumulated over the years, if you're writing something major, it's a real mind-bending mess. You're fortunate nowadays that GTK+ and Qt hide a lot of the evil from you.

    mature

    No argument there; X is tried, true, and it works.

    In those areas where it really matters (bulk image and geometry transfer, 3D graphics) X11 already gives applications memory mapped access.

    That doesn't help you if you're remote ... and yes those are nice sometimes if you're remote.

    X11 does lack a few features, like antialiased drawing and fonts. Those can be added easily with X11's well-defined and widely used extension mechanism, and without breaking backwards compatibility.

    Ever wonder why that hasn't been done yet? It's because most people who thought about it decided it wasn't worth the trouble: existing applications might run, but they wouldn't get the new functionality (i.e. antialiased characters). They would still still require a rewrite (yes, a rewrite, not just recompiling). The APIs and necessary backend code are just necessarily that different, because the original X ones were designed so badly.

    [To be fair, the situation is a little better now, just because modern toolkits abstract the stuff enough that you could get by with only minor changes to the library APIs ... in most cases you'd just have to recompile the apps that didn't use the changed APIs, and only make minor changes to the ones that did, or that bypassed the library in some way]

    If the antialiased font server was backwards compatible, it would only be because it kept the entire old (now redundant) architecture and API, in addition to implementing the new one.

    The necessity of taking this approach to extend other aspects of X is one of the contributing factors to its bloat over the years.

    Using libraries that access the frame buffer directly does make sense for embedded systems, but for general usage, they would represent a big step backwards.

    Agreed, for the most part. However, arbitrated (i.e. not totally unsupervised) hardware access is still good for certain classes of specialized applications, and of course games. That's the need that ultimately spawned fbcon and KGI (the GGI kernel layer).

    Something to ponder in parting... if someone wants to experiment with a windowing system that is not X, they either need to rewrite all the drivers themselves, run under X (...then what's the point?) or they need to have some kind of non-X driver infrastructure availible.

    i.e. has the reliance on X to drive graphics hardware directly strangled the development of alternatives on Unix?


    Re:~/There's something wrong with make world today (Score:1)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @07:20PM EST (#148)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    has the reliance on X to drive graphics hardware directly strangled the development of alternatives on Unix?

    YES!

    All the stuff going into XFree86 has killed development of fb or gdi or other simpler protocols. It does not matter how well they are designed, if you want your fancy card to run at full resolution, you have to use X, because all the hardware control is hidden in the X server.

    One plausible solution: could new replacements interface with the binary plug-in interface that the new XFree86 4.0 has? Then they could get all the hardware. I'm sure the interface will be painful because it will make X assumptions, but not impossible to program for. Once an acceptable replacement for X has been made, a new low-level interface can be designed, and instructions on how to change the drivers.

    Re:~/There's something wrong with make world today (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:42PM EST (#181)
    (User Info)
    DPS and NeWS never worked as well or as efficiently as X11. In particular, for what really mattered--getting lots of data from the client to the display server--they are a lot worse than X11. X11 gives you memory mapped bulk data transfer on the local machine, and efficiently packed bulk data transfer to remote machines. That's really the best you can hope for.

    As for writing window managers, if you think writing them under X11 is hard, try doing it sometimes under Windows or MacOS. X11 at least delineates and defines responsibilities and puts the window manager in control. The fact that the protocol is complex is a result of the fact that there are a lot of complex interactions that can happen between different applications from different machines.

    Thank you! (Score:1)
    by uradu ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @09:49PM EST (#210)
    (User Info)
    The fact that marshalling has barely come up in the whole discussion about X shows that most people are talking out of a hole in their head, and it's not the mouth!

    You simply cannot say high perfomance and RPC in the same breath, period. X is simply a specialized RPC mechanism, including all the marshalling/demarshalling of parameters that goes with it. As soon as you want to draw a line, X packages up the parameters into a packet, zips it across the network to the server, which then extracts the line parameters, figures out that you want a line, and then does the drawing. The amount of overhead involved is mind boggling. The same basic process is going on even if the server is local, except that you save the network transfer. If X were really smart, it could first check if the server is local, and if so, dispense with the entire marshalling/demarshalling process and resolve the drawing to a simple local API call. Even so, the extra steps involved in this checking would be a significant slowdown.

    Consider that in comparison the original Windows drawing mechanism is much more straighforward. Drawing requests always resolve to API calls which then delegate drawing to the driver. Much more straightforward than X. Except that even that was too slow for high performance games, which led to DirectX. And even DirectX isn't the fastest thing around, according to some die-hard gamers. And yet compared to X it's orders of magnitude faster.

    It would be intersting to see a breakdown of the number of machine instructions required for some given drawing primitives, first under plain X, then using memory mapped X, the plain Windows, then DirectX (maybe also NT 3.5, 4.0 and 5.0, as they've moved more of the display stuff into the kernel).

    It's amusing to see hardcore Xers always defend X mainly by virtue of its remote display capabilities. And they're vocal enough that it would seem that they're the majority. But if Linux should really take off and become a popular desktop OS, remote display will hardly be used at all, by percentage of users. The great unwashed masses had a hard enough time understanding the concept of a Web page, remote data displayed locally. Getting them used to the notion of a remote program displayed locally will be a shift I wouldn't want to walk them through.

    Besides, I remotely administer NT machines daily quite nicely, courtesy of a little utility called VNC. Brute force maybe, but who cares? It works well enough, doesn't bring the network to its knees (something that couldn't be said about X in the 80s), and is completely free.

    Uwe Wolfgang Radu
    Chattanooga, TN
    Re:Thank you! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @10:41PM EST (#218)
    Damn you people act as if there is no alternative, and seem completely naive to DRI, and GLX. I mean seriously people, I get 40fps at 800x600 in Quake III with my Matrox G400... seriously fellows, learn before you blabber. The G400 is NOT a good 3d card either... in fact it's 3d engine is supposed to suck hardcore.

    Not only that, but there are alternatives. Microwindows is one, but they don't have as many developers as they need. So instead you people bitch about there not being an alternative when there is an alternative that needs more programmers. Get off your ass and do something about it. X isn't going to kill Linux... lazy people that just sit on the fence whining will kill linux. Get off your ass and help Microwindows, or GLX.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:46PM EST (#79)
    I recently had the idea of some kind of 'remote framebuffer', when the SUN people showed off with their 'Ray 1' Terminal, which basically implements a really dumb protocol to access a graphical desktop. What at first sound redundant (because we already have X) makes sense when you see how it can handle compression, encryption and authentication/session management, which can all be some kind of problem in X. I guess we could implement something like that using a system like the network block device with a kernel and a user space part. Apart from running XF86_FBdev, this could then also be used to provide a rather lean application server _and_ thin clients as terminals using QT for the framebuffer.
    Re:X (Score:2)
    by MenTaLguY ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:22PM EST (#125)
    (User Info) http://lunar8.rydia.net/mental
    compression, encryption and authentication/session management

    What about tunneling X over ssh?


    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:41PM EST (#138)
    While using dxpc at the same time.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:38PM EST (#137)
    X can tunnel over ssh (in fact, ssh usually sets this up automatically for you), providing compression, encryption and authentication. Session management is normally handled by xsm, which has been around for years.
    Re:X (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:55PM EST (#186)
    (User Info)
    It's been done, and it's widely used: VNC. It's free, it's very useful, and there are some vendors now offering thin clients based on it.
    Re:X (Score:1)
    by Wesley Felter ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @09:31PM EST (#205)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wesf/
    There was a paper (at SOSP, I think) about SLIM, which is the protocol that the Sun Ray uses. In their benchmarks, SLIM beats VNC by a wide margin.
    Re:X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @06:45AM EST (#241)
    There are lots of protocols that are more efficient than VNC. Let's hope Sun makes a open source clients and servers available like VNC. Until then, VNC is pretty much the only game in town for most people.
    S (Score:1)
    by levl289 ([email protected] check out www.sonous.com) on Tuesday March 21, @04:47PM EST (#81)
    (User Info) http://www.sonous.com
    You know, with so many trolls bypassing /. moderators by moderatring their own posts, trying to write directly to the top of the screen, one would think that /. moderation is out of date.

                                      There seems to be a big push to get the /. moderation protocol away from trolls and into the hands of insightful posters. Any thoughts (maybe we could have an insightful post next week?) people?

    [sorry, couldn't resist]


    Q: What do you think about American Culture?
    A: I think it's a good idea.
    (adapted from Ghandi)
    Whoa! Looks SOMEBODY forgot our slogan 'round here (Score:1, Insightful)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:33PM EST (#133)
    You know it--you love it--you can repeat it after 12 beers and a bong hit standing on your head ('cause you've heard it all your life...)
    Xwindows today, Xwindows tomorrow, Xwindows forever!
    After all, if it was good enough for Dad why change ?!?

    seriously people, when do you think maybe it might be time to move on? Are there any plans for that day or do we just wing it here?

    Re:Whoa! Looks SOMEBODY forgot our slogan 'round h (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @09:23PM EST (#199)
    (User Info)
    Yes, I completely agree that there isn't enough innovation in GUIs on Linux. And I completely agree that it is time to move on.

    But X11/Xlib isn't the culprit. X11 clearly is not the best thing since sliced bread. It's an old design, a bit clunky in places, and lacks antialiasing for low resolution screens. But the would-be X11 competitors for desktop applications don't aim much higher. And the clunkiness of the low-level X11 API is of little concern to programmers, since it's mostly hidden by the various toolkits.

    The really important areas where Linux GUIs ought to innovate (but don't) are at the toolkit level. Well executed as they are, Qt and GTK+ are still MFC/toolbox-style, event driven, decades old technology. There are a lot more interesting and innovative ways of writing GUIs out there. Whether it's X11, GDI, Java, Berlin, SVGAlib, GGI, or anything else under the covers doesn't matter much.

    While for embedded systems, getting rid of X11 makes some sense because of space constraints, trying to replace X11 on the desktop to me is just barking up the wrong tree. I'd much rather see some of that effort go into something like a desktop based on scalable UIs, notebook interfaces, transcript-based interfaces, or any of a large number of other interesting, innovative approaches to GUIs.

    Re:Whoa! Looks SOMEBODY forgot our slogan 'round h (Score:1)
    by Arker on Wednesday March 22, @05:12AM EST (#235)
    (User Info)

    Got an idea? Develop it. If people find it useful it will grow. This ain't MS, no one decides where "we" are going to go, we each do that ourselves.


    Re:X (Score:1, Insightful)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @07:43PM EST (#152)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    I seem to be in the minority here, but I don't think the "network protocol" is the problem. The problem is in the horrid design of the Xlib calls themselves! Implementing Xlib as local calls will just remove the only advantage of X and would be totally wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with buffered network protocols. In fact they use less context switches than api's. If this were not true, why do we have interfaces that write more than one character (or one bit) to a device? Isn't the overhead of copying those characters to a buffer from where they originally were inefficient? NO!

    Another way to look at it: if Xlib puts 10,000 requests in a buffer and sends it, we get TWO context switches (one to the kernel, one to the server). Win32 gets 10,000 context switches (each one to the kernel for each call). And X, despite being 5000 times more efficient in context switches, does not have the risks of putting complex code in the kernel! (PS: yea I know Win32 ain't that bad, but their solution is exactly equivalent to buffering multiple requests!)

    What does lose in network protocols is synchronous communication. When Xlib has to wait for an answer from the server, we get at least 4 context switches, plus the network overhead, and we lose. But we don't need so much synchronous communication!

    The solution is to chuck out most of the Xlib design except for the fact that it is a network protocol. A program that displays a non-interactive display should be writable with a *single* "write" to the server (plus it may have to wait for redraw events and send that write again).

    Get rid of colormaps! Trash the horrid font system and put in something so that if I ask for "Times" and 12 points, I get something (even if it is not Times at 12 points, if it has letters in it it would be an improvement over Xlib!). Either get rid of window managers, or make it sequential so I can create a window and send drawing to it in one block, without waiting for a stupid expose event to indicate syncrhonization with the window manager. Get rid of atoms, or make it so I can define thousands of atoms in a single round trip.

    While we are at it, put some non-primitive graphics in. It is inexcusable that we don't have anti-aliased fonts, or anti-aliased polygons (even though Win32 does not have these), or a call that draws a color image without me having to figure out how to dither it to the hardware!

    Network transparency... (Score:1)
    by Rakarra ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @08:44PM EST (#182)
    (User Info)
    ... along with OS transparency (display one OS's graphical applications on the screen driven by another OS) are X's greatest strengths. There are many people for whom direct/hardware calls would be useless.

    My setup: Two computers, one running Windows, the other running Linux. Linux is my "big server," it's where most of my files are stored (served by samba) and where I get much of my "real work" done. The monitor is connected to the Windows machine, and when Exceed runs in full-screen mode, there's pretty much no difference between that and running X from the Linux console. That kind of flexibily is what I love about X, and removing or dumbing down the network aspects would just kill the whole point of it.

    It'd be ok for running the few games available, but you'd be sacrificing much more to gain that. Assuming "get the X protocol away from network protocols" is even necessary for that, a statement I wouldn't agree with.


    Take the NOSPAM out of my address if you're responding by mail..

    eliminating X from embedded systems bad idea (Score:1)
    by CurtisLeeFulton (echo [email protected]|sed y/Oo0/cru/) on Tuesday March 21, @11:10PM EST (#221)
    (User Info) http://blur.cx

    Taking the asumption that many apps will fade from the desktop and reincarnate themselves as single devices, keeping X from these products would seriously limit their functionality.

    A consumer's office suite/browser module and gaming/multimedia module should be able to output to a wide variety of display servers and be controled by a wide variety of input servers.

    Only X makes this possible.

    The analog RGB or VGA jack on your computer or gaming machine is going to be replaced by a jack for IEEE1394 or giga ethernet. Both are fast enough even for DV, which is 960x540 pixels at 30fps.

    Because X has been around for so long makes X look old fashioned, but I think it's the future.

    Project EverBlue (Score:2)
    by Pseudonymus Bosch on Wednesday March 22, @05:51AM EST (#237)
    (User Info) http://www.dmoz.org/
    The project EverBlue is a port in progress of Xlib to OS/2 Presentation Manager, so that you can compile X applications to run in a OS/2 framebuffer, using your normal OS/2 drivers and integrated with the rest of your OS/2 apps.
    --
      "Free" as in "free 'undred quid".
    Now how about GTK+? (Score:1, Interesting)
    by NRLax27 on Tuesday March 21, @03:18PM EST (#12)
    (User Info)
    I think this is a great idea, does anybody know if it would be possible to re-work the GTK+ backend to also let it use the Linux Framebuffer device without X? I personally prefer programming in GTK+ over QT, and would be interested in any developments along this line.

    ./configure
    make comment
    make post

    Re:Now how about GTK+? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:38PM EST (#37)
    No. Unfortunately that would be absolutely impossible. The reason is that GTK+ is lacking the real-time direct API that Qt has. That and I think the newest version of Qt includes a gigabit flux capacitor.

    Seriously though, what are you smoking?

    Re:Now how about GTK+? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:51PM EST (#48)
    Considering that a Win32 port of GTK+ exists, it certainly sounds possible: all you'd really need to replace are the Xlib calls.
    Re:Now how about GTK+? (Score:1)
    by PiMan ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:22PM EST (#101)
    (User Info) http://www.sacredchao.net/piman
    Note: I'm not a GTK+ hacker My understanding is that GTK sits above the Gdk layer, which does all the actual work, and porting Gdk means (pretty much) a port of GTK. This is why the Win32 port was (relatively) easy, and why you have both Gdk/X11 and Gdk/Imlib to choose from in X. So a port of Gdk to the framebuffer would do it.
    Windows 2000: Designed for the Internet. The Internet: Designed for UNIX.
    A way for QT to take over? (Score:3, Interesting)
    by molog on Tuesday March 21, @03:19PM EST (#14)
    (User Info)
    With QT now being a good solution for embeded Linux, it would make good sense to use QT for application portability. I like QT. It is object oriented and easy to program with. On the other hand, I'm not too keen on the way that it is marketed. With QT you can use it in open source software with no charge. If you are making propriatery software there is a big charge for it(well some people could compare it to other componets that cost more but I'm speaking from my point of view). I know it would be a nice world if everyone would write open source apps, but a lot of cool apps that would get written for Linux would only be brought over if there was a good open frame work. I think that the best way to go as far as development libraries go is to sell a development environment. Trolltech sells the library only AFAIK. It is for this reason that I support and use the GTK becuase it feels more open to me that everyone can use it. I'm sure I'll get flamed but I think that a development library should not have a cost becuase you are trying to make a standard. Just an opinion.
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?
    The same thing we every night Tux. Try to take over the world!

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by Taxing Bastard (lhilATihugDOTcoDOTnz) on Tuesday March 21, @03:33PM EST (#27)
    (User Info) http://www.memepool.com
    It is a bit of a pain not being able to develop any proprietary stuff without paying heaps. You have to think seriously about learning Qt, if you can only use it for open stuff, when at work, you are told to develop closed source. It makes you think - is this the best thing for me to spend time on learning? Do I really want to learn another way of doing things?

    And you are right that there would probably be more cool apps come across. We cannot expect everything to be open source, if we want to achieve "World domination - and fast"


    "Oh, I got me a helmet - I got a beauty!"
    Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by hypergeek (cat > /dev/null) on Tuesday March 21, @06:34PM EST (#134)
    (User Info)
    Do I really want to learn another way of doing things?

    Even if you only plan on solving a particular problem a certain way, it almost always pays to know "another way of doing things". Otherwise, you could go through life without realizing that you've been tackling a given problem in a suboptimal manner.

    Suppose one day you decided to write your own library similar to GTK or Qt? I don't know about you, but I would certainly be interested in knowing the different ways that each one solved various problems, and I'd also rather have experience programming in both so I know which solutions work best in practice, and which ones need to be replaced by something completely new.

    (Sigh... if I only had the time...)

    --
    Poochy eats a tripe ration.

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1, Insightful)
    by not Bruce Perens on Tuesday March 21, @03:39PM EST (#38)
    (User Info)
    Wow, that got moderated up really fast...goes to show how most moderators are really just pattern-matchers. (Try it sometime: write a comment with no content but in the form of the ones that tend to get moderated up, and watch...)

    The point is to bring big non-free apps over to Linux, right? And why aren't they here already? Because companies tend not to feel comfortable without having a reliable vendor who you can yell at if something goes wrong. Troll Tech provides that, and they even give their stuff away for open-source projects.

    So we've got a company that's helping to bring heavy hitters over while allowing current open-source projects to develop, and making a buck in the process. Why are you complaining again?
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by Peter La Casse ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @03:43PM EST (#41)
    (User Info) http://www.execpc.com/~tlacasse/
    With QT you can use it in open source software with no charge.

    It's not as simple as that. You cannot use it for making open source windows software without shelling out big bucks (relatively speaking) for the professional version (unless you port the linux version to Windows yourself, if I read the license correctly.) This is what prevented me from using QT for an open source project I was considering - I wanted to have cross-platform capability. When I asked them about it, they used the "we have to eat somehow" line. So much for believing in open source.

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:22PM EST (#63)
    So much for believing in nutritional needs.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:01PM EST (#158)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    When I asked them about it, they used the "we have to eat somehow" line.

    Do you have a problem with them eating? The levels of intolerance here at Slashdot have reached an all time low.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @08:19PM EST (#166)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    Do you have a problem with them eating? The levels of intolerance here at Slashdot have reached an all time low.

    I don't think the original poster was objecting to them eating, merely to their use of proprietory licensing.


    Most people in the world get paid without creating proprietory software. Even software developers (most of them write in-house software, which is not licensed *at all* - and hence does not have the same socially divisive effects that non-free packaged software does).

    In any case, this claim that people will `starve' if they don't write proprietory software is completely false, especially in Norway.


    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @08:21PM EST (#170)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    I can never remember how to spell "proprietary". Oh well.
    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @09:28PM EST (#203)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    I don't think the original poster was objecting to them eating, merely to their use of proprietory licensing.

    Then he should have stuck to that objection, instead of bringing food into it :-)

    Seriously, it is unrealistic to expect commercial developers to give up their jobs and become waiters as suggested by RMS. But we are not talking about developers here, we are talking about the companies that employ developers. Before these companies can pay their employees, they need revenue. If Troll Tech open sourced their professional version, they would end up with ZERO revenue, and be forced to lay off their employees. If they can get complementary products to support Qt with in the future, then that may be an option at that time. But it is not an option now.

    Qt is not the type of product that you can shrink wrap, put on store shelves, and hope enough users buy it to subsidize those that download it instead. And it's unrealistic to expect them to convert to a support company, particularly since their customers are in the profession least likely to need support.

    The unfortunate fact is that Troll Tech has only one product. They don't sell other proprietary software like Redhat does. They don't sell hardware like VA Linux. All they have is Qt, and if they don't sell it they have to lay off their employees.

    Their current situation is in my mind nearly ideal. The software is free if you write free software, but it's proprietary if you write proprietary software (I only wish that the Windows version were the same). But one who is of the opinion that all software must be free takes a strange stand by insisting that proprietary software get the benefit of a free library.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by Peter La Casse ([email protected]) on Wednesday March 22, @09:11AM EST (#248)
    (User Info) http://www.execpc.com/~tlacasse/
    I don't think the original poster was objecting to them eating, merely to their use of proprietory licensing.

    Then he should have stuck to that objection, instead of bringing food into it :-)

    I made the (apparently false) assumption that slashdot readers would know that the "we have to eat somehow" line is a false argument. As the post you replied to stated, whether or not Troll Tech developers are able to eat has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not they allow QT to be used for free in open source windows applications.

    To be more explicit: in refusing to allow this, Troll Tech essentially states that they don't believe that the model they pay lip service to (free for open source, not free for closed source) is a viable one. If they did believe this, there would be no operating system restrictions on the QT license.

    Great expectations. (Score:1)
    by Roberto ([email protected]r) on Wednesday March 22, @10:46AM EST (#254)
    (User Info) http://www.kde.org
    One would also expect that someone that writes about the Qt license would actually have read it.

    There is no OS restriction in the Qt license.

    For example, I am doing a microwindows port. Microwindows runs just fine on DOS. You could use Qt on win32(with some effort) using it.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Wednesday March 22, @02:33PM EST (#258)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    I asked VA Linux why they don't give their hardware systems away. They replied "we have to eat somehow."

    But that's not a true statement. Their employees may lose their jobs and the company may fold, but they can always get other jobs.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @03:51PM EST (#49)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    I'm sure I'll get flamed but I think that a development library should not have a cost becuase you are trying to make a standard.

    Don't worry, I won't flame :-)

    The reason Qt has a cost is because Troll Tech is a business. Hmmm, was that a tautology? I actually think their marketing makes a whole lot of sense. Free for Free Software, proprietary for proprietary software. I wish the would do the same for their Windows product as well.

    Troll Tech is still largely a one product company. They would be foolish to give away their only source of revenue. But this embedded Qt, coupled with some other new products coming out the same time as Qt 2.1, means that there will be more of an incentive to opensource their professional version as well. If they can make more profits by giving Qt away and selling the complementary products, then they will do so.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by molog on Tuesday March 21, @04:46PM EST (#80)
    (User Info)
    Yeah, I understand that Qt is their only product. I was sorta saying that I would have liked it better if they sold a development environment instead of just a library. On a side note, unless you are going for strick portability using Qt on Windows doesn't make since to me. It seems that it would serve only to port *nix apps over that used Qt. If I was developing an app for the Windows world, I would probably just use the Win32 API. It is native (buggy I know) and consistant with the M$ way of doing things. Is the Qt for Windows targeted at Unix developers who want a port? I don't see Windows developers using it.
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?
    The same thing we every night Tux. Try to take over the world!

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @05:41PM EST (#111)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    I see a lot of Windows developers on the Qt mailing lists. Probably just as many as there are Unix developers. From the questions they've posted and the comments they've made, I can surmise that at least a quarter of the Win/Qt developers are not doing porting. And this is despite the fact that Qt is not even close to the MS paradigm. The reason for this is that Qt is better, easier and more robust than MFC or Win32.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by HarpMan ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:56PM EST (#145)
    (User Info)
    Yes.

    I do wonder, though, if Qt would attract more Windows developers with a lower license fee. Of course Qt has the right to charge whatever they want, and if you know that you're going to be selling something commercially, the price is not that much. But I'm thinking of the Windows hackers who shell out their own money for a copy of Visual C++, VB, Delphi, etc. (I used to be one of them, before I converted to Linux/Open Source). Troll Tech might make up in volume what they lose in price.

    Also, a lot of Qt/Kde developers might release free as in beer versions of their apps for Windows, if the Qt license didn't cost that much.


    Stephen Molitor [email protected]
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:18PM EST (#165)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    Yeah, it would be great if the Trolls treated Windows like Unix: free for free and proprietary for proprietary. I suspect that this has crossed their minds more than once. I sense some signals that something like this may happen in the future.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by GeZ117 on Wednesday March 22, @03:39AM EST (#231)
    (User Info)
    Also, a lot of Qt/KDE developers might release free as in beer versions of their apps for Windows

    Maybe right for QApplications, but not for KApplications. I remember reading Matthias Ettrich's letter for launching the KDE project, something like "Qt is portable to Windows, but don't matter, we can use enough Unix-specific things to make a windows port of KDE impossible". Most peoples involved in the KDE project want to see more apps for unices (particularly free ones), and not more apps for Windows (particularly proprietary ones, as they're the only ones ;) ).

    Most Qt-hater blame Qt for making money out of people wanting to work in an universe were everyone is making money (MS OS). They compare with GTK but the comparison is unreceivable: GTK don't allow proprietary development, and don't allow cross-platform development. As long as you stick with free development for unices, you use them the same way: costless, with a look on the source. Oh yes, for the Qt 1.X branch you weren't granted the right to distibute modified version of Qt. This was mainly to enforce Troll Tech's right as developers and maintainer of this toolkit, something which is tacitly agreed on for GPL software (the creator is the owner). Can you imagine John Doe Programmer modifying three function in the Linux kernel and then saying "Hey, I've got the new official Linux kernel!" No way.

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:1)
    by hattig (SpinningNucleon FATBAT yahoo.com) on Wednesday March 22, @08:56AM EST (#245)
    (User Info) http://evil.cones.org.uk/
    QT should release a book "Programming QT for Windows" and include QT free of charge with the book, and make money from book sales :-)

    [ Discuss new TLDs ]

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by bero-rh ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:51PM EST (#85)
    (User Info) http://people.redhat.com/bero
    What's wrong with the Qt license?
    Someone writing proprietary software does it for the money. It's fair that all the developers (including the ones working on the widget set etc.) would profit from that if the programmers don't give back anything else (their code).

    It's not much unlike the GPL in that respect (the difference being that you can write proprietary software with Qt if you pay, and you can't do it at all with the GPL).
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2, Informative)
    by molog on Tuesday March 21, @07:05PM EST (#147)
    (User Info)
    It's not much unlike the GPL in that respect (the difference being that you can write proprietary software with Qt if you pay, and you can't do it at all with the GPL).

    This is one of the reasons that I like the LGPL more then I like the GPL. My point was that if they want to make Qt a standard then it should be free for "everyone" to use. The BSD license is also good in this regard. I'm not really critizing them for charging money for it but it isn't what I would do. That's it basically.
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?
    The same thing we every night Tux. Try to take over the world!

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Ian Bicking ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @07:48PM EST (#154)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.earlham.edu/~bickiia
    It's not much unlike the GPL in that respect (the difference being that you can write proprietary software with Qt if you pay, and you can't do it at all with the GPL).
    This isn't really true. Caldera uses the GPL extensively in just this way. They own the copyright for a lot of the stuff they produce, and if you want it under a non-GPL license, you have to pay them. This is nearly identical to the QPL.

    The difference is that what Caldera does provides much more benefit to the community. You cannot use portions of Qt in a GPLed program because of the incompatible licenses. And you cannot make a purely free fork of Qt -- any extensions to Qt have to be distributed under some sort of license that allows proprietary use by Troll Tech (I don't remember the exact terms).

    Caldera uses a symmetrical license -- it obeys the GPL, you obey the GPL, everyone has equal rights. But Troll is more equal than everyone else with Qt -- it can do whatever it wants with your patches to Qt, but you don't have the same rights. You can't say "this extension I wrote is only available to free software programs" -- and you probably don't want to, but they don't even give you the choice.

    This could be more important if/when Qt moves to embedded or otherwise Abnormal environments. In an embedded environment, things are often statically linked and integrated. But if you want to integrate Qt into general graphical interface, you will have to give up a lot of the control of your code to Troll Tech. The same is true with the GPL, but in that case you are giving up a lot of control to the community, not a company. That's what Open Source/Free Software is all about: community. The QPL is one-way, centralized on Troll Tech.

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:50PM EST (#185)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    ...any extensions to Qt have to be distributed under some sort of license that allows proprietary use by Troll Tech (I don't remember the exact terms).

    You don't remember them because they aren't there. Troll Tech only gets rights to Qt derivatives (in the sense of copyright law), not to extensions.

    But actually, they might not be able to proprietarize you derivations either! IANAL, but look at the clause in question: ...a non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the initial developer of the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of the Software provided such versions remain available under these terms... To my non-legal mind, this means that they can only use your derivatives in the Qt version you derived from. If you derived from the Free X version, they can't use it in the Win32 version without your permission. They could of course put it in the proprietary X version, but they would still have to include it in the free version as well. Again, IANAL.
    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Ian Bicking ([email protected]) on Wednesday March 22, @10:10AM EST (#252)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.earlham.edu/~bickiia
    Troll Tech only gets rights to Qt derivatives (in the sense of copyright law), not to extensions.
    I don't see the distinction. The relavent clause is this (from the QPL):

    3. You may make modifications to the Software and distribute your modifications, in a form that is separate from the Software, such as patches. The following restrictions apply to modifications:

    a. Modifications must not alter or remove any copyright notices in the Software.

    b. When modifications to the Software are released under this license, a non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the initial developer of the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of the Software provided such versions remain available under these terms in addition to any other license(s) of the initial developer.

    It is, altogether, a rather short license. It doesn't seem to make any definition of "modified Software" or derivative work. I would thus assume that anything that used a portion of QPLed code would fall under this clause, and that would include many forms of extensions (though again, extension is not well defined either).

    This also clearly means that the initial developer has the right to distribute your free modifications under their proprietary license ("right is granted to the initial developer of the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of the Software provided such versions remain available under these terms in addition to any other license(s) of the initial developer."). This is a confusing notion, as each piece of the software has an initial developer, so I don't know why Troll Tech takes precedence...

    Re:A way for QT to take over? (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Wednesday March 22, @02:28PM EST (#257)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    It doesn't seem to make any definition of "modified Software" or derivative work...extension is not well defined either

    It doesn't have to define "modify" or "derivative" as they are already defined under copyright law. If you only link to Qt, then at most your code is an extension. But the only way you can be derived from Qt is to take parts of their actual code and modify them. The latter is what clause 3 refers to.

    But I assume you want to modify Qt itself...

    This also clearly means that the initial developer has the right to distribute your free modifications under their proprietary license

    That is true, but they also have the obligation to keep it in their free version as well. In short, they cannot close source it. The only way they can use it as proprietary code is to simultaneously issue it as open source code.
    Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @08:10PM EST (#164)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    What's wrong with the QT license?

    It's an asymmetric license - Troll can use your derivatives in a non-free product, but you can't use theirs in a non-free product.


    This means that you can't combine code from both QT and a QPLed product from someone else. You'd have to give both original authors rights over each other's code which the QPL doesn't let you give.


    Compared to standard proprietory licenses, the QPL is a good deal. But don't mistake it for a license which allows the community-style code reuse which has made OSS mushroom so fast.


    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:32PM EST (#176)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    You are only half right. Yes, it is asymmetrical. But there's nothing wrong with that per se. As with any copyrightable product, the authors have some rights to derivative works.

    However, you claim about the QPL being incompatible with itself is totally off base. Troll Tech has zero rights to the code of third parties. Just because the QPL makes you open up your source code, it does not follow that Troll gets any rights to patch it into their proprietary version.
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @08:41PM EST (#180)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    Just because the QPL makes you open up your source code, it does not follow that Troll gets any rights to patch it into their proprietary version.

    The QPL insists you give the initial developer these rights in your derivative works. In the case of QT, that means Troll. The relevant paragraph is 3c:
    When modifications to the Software are released under this license, a non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the initial developer of the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of the Software provided such versions remain available under these terms in addition to any other license(s) of the initial developer. [emphasis added]

    This means exactly that they get the right to patch it into their proprietary version.
    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:59PM EST (#188)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    Clause 3c refers to the Software, ei. the Qt Widget Library. You would be correct if I incorporated a third party's QPLd code into my own version of Qt, but that was not your scenario at all. You were talking about linking an application to both the QPLd Qt and another QPLd code base. The Trolls get zero rights to any of your code that merely links to Qt (beyond the demand that you open source it).

    They can't proprietarize your code unless it is a modification to their code.
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:1)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @09:26PM EST (#202)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    They can't proprietarize your code unless it is a modification to their code

    I was indeed talking about this scenario; if I gave the impression that I meant merely linking to libraries then that's my mistake.


    Here's a relevant example of this being a problem. I want to do away with X. I want to modify QT to work without X, but in my modified version I want to support other toolkits such as Athena. I find a QPLed implementation of Athena. I want to merge these two codebases and create my own derivative codebase. I can't, because the QPL won't let me. If the toolkits were GPLed, this wouldn't be a problem.


    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Wednesday March 22, @01:52PM EST (#256)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    I've been thinking this over since yesterday, and there is still a problem with your scenario. The problem is copyright law. It doesn't matter what the any license says, it can't give any rights to the copyright holder that he or she did not already possess. The rights of party "A" do not transfer to party "B" just because party "C" combined their two code bases into one. In such a case, Troll could incorporate all of your modifications, including the third party stuff, into their free version of Qt, but they couldn't put any of the third party stuff into their professional version. That section of their license would be voided for that section of code.

    At the worst, you would be disallowed from combining the two. But in that case it's a very simple matter of making a distinct library that links to the original Qt and QPLd athena widgets.
    Re:Qt Public License incompatible with itself (Score:2)
    by divec on Thursday March 23, @06:16AM EST (#260)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    At the worst, you would be disallowed from combining the two.

    Assuming that copyleft-style licenses are capable of standing up in court, that's what would happen.
    But in that case it's a very simple matter of making a distinct library that links to the original Qt and QPLed athena widgets.

    On a desktop machine it would be. A random palmtop platform might not have any facility to do dynamic linking.


    But I think the QPL is much more dangerous for applications than for libraries. As you say, generally you use a library by linking to it. Troll say that "We feel [the QPL] is particularly well suited for anyone who wants to run an Open Source project and still have the possibility to earn some money to eat from sales to closed source commercial developers." Other people on the net are starting to take that opinion. If two equivalent programs were both QPLed it would be very annoying, because there are many times when you'd want to share the code. E.g. you might want to rip xemacs's context highlighting code, modify it and then stick it into Abiword or KWord. If these were QPLed you couldn't. As a result, it becomes very hard to share new features without a complete rewrite, which is one of OSS's principal technical advantages.


    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    good (Score:1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:20PM EST (#15)
    Remember the old adage of "More choices is a good thing!"

    If this means KDE/Qt is more widespread, various open source OS's must be too. More uses for Linux/*BSD/open source is a Good Thing =)

    like grits? who doesn't!
    Acceleration API .... (Score:3, Redundant)
    by taniwha on Tuesday March 21, @03:24PM EST (#17)
    (User Info) http://www.taniwha.com/nospam.jpg
    So will there be an API for 2d drivers for common cards? (embedded systems seem to be using all the same chipsets ...) will they use an existing one so that existing drivers can be used? what about 3d drivers?
    Re:Acceleration API .... (Score:2, Informative)
    by Majix on Tuesday March 21, @03:44PM EST (#44)
    (User Info)

    Since this new Qt is built on top of the linux framebuffer infrastructure it will most likely use the standard frambebuffer drivers too. Currently there's at least drivers available for the Matrox cards, some TGA cards and a generic VESA 2.0 one.

    BTW, if you haven't checked out the frambuffer stuff yet, you really should, it's quite cool. You get a Tux logo while Linux boots up and you can have hi-resolution text consoles. Framebuffer support seems to be tagged experimental in the 2.2 kernels at the moment, but I've found that it works pretty well.


    Re:Acceleration API .... (Score:1)
    by zilym ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @08:28PM EST (#174)
    (User Info)
    I tend to disagree with the framebuffer comments. From my experience with it, it's a lot slower than the traditional text only console and using Shift-PgUp/PgDn to scroll back and forth doesn't work quite right (pieces of text from previously displayed pages remain on screen). Yeah, the Tux penguins on boot are a nice gimmick to show off to your friends, but that's all they're really good for.

    I only place I use the framebuffer support is on my laptop with its fixed pixel LCD. The text console looks terrible with uneven stretching of pixels to match the LCD resolution -- very annoying to read. With a frame buffer, I set the console to use a mode that matches the LCD resolution, making things more readable.
    Ed Schlunder
    Re:Acceleration API .... (Score:1)
    by Wesley Felter ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @08:57PM EST (#187)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wesf/
    Since fbcon doesn't provide acceleration AFAIK, it might be interesting if they used the same loadable modules as XFree86. But I admit that I don't know anything about the X driver APIs, so maybe that is a terrible idea and someone in Norway is spewing COke through his nostrils right now...

    Or maybe they use more BeOS-style loadable accelerant modules.
    Qt...NT... (Score:0, Flamebait)
    by not Bruce Perens on Tuesday March 21, @03:25PM EST (#19)
    (User Info)
    At first glance, the name bears a striking similarity to NT Embedded...but then I realized it was Qt. If you want a real clone of NT, go for embedded GNOME: comparatively as large and just as buggy.

    Yes, I want to run KDE on Embedded Linux on my fridge. Go Qt!
    Bypassing X, good and bad (Score:1, Interesting)
    by crow on Tuesday March 21, @03:29PM EST (#24)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~crow/
    What we lose from bypassing X is the network transparency and multi-application windowing. Sure, you could create a non-X window manager, but I don't think that's what they're talking about here.

    The network transparency of X is very useful if you're in an environment with multiple machines; I use it all the time. Of course, starting with the shared memory extensions, there has been an increasing push to go directly to the hardware, which improves performance, but breaks remote execution.

    On the other hand, they're marketing this for embeded systems. Think of "embeded" as meaning "single application." In this case, you only want one thing on the screen, and you probably don't need remote execution, so X is just a big waste of memory. This could be really cool for a dedicated web browser (WebTV) or such.
    Re:Bypassing X, good and bad (Score:1)
    by srichter ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:03PM EST (#90)
    (User Info) http://www.linuxactivist.org
    It is interesting. I read the QT article last night (since KDE's site quoted it already) and me and my friend talked about the Network transparency. Maybe they will support that. The article does not mention it. My personal opinion is that for most users at home network transparency is not a big deal, since most users will only use the standard office stuff and a web browser. Remember, the goal is to bring Linux to the Desktop! Furthermore, I love the idea that Qt will bypass X. X is big and ugly (and a horror to code in). If the X standard does not wake up and include antialiasing and alpha-channeling, then someone must come up with a solution. The market asks for it, so someone supplies it. And that a commercial company is behind all of that, is actually good, since it will be better supported. Anyway, this comment I reply to was the first sane idea I read, other than "This is dumb" or "That's fucked up!" People, we should communicate smarter than that. Regards, Stephan
    -- Stephan Richter - The Linux Activist
    Eyecandy (Score:1)
    by Majix on Tuesday March 21, @03:32PM EST (#25)
    (User Info)

    It will have support for anti-aliased text and alpha-blending, two basic features missing in X11R6. It would take about a complete rewrite of the way X11 handles fonts to get anti-aliasing support, so don't expect it anytime soon :(

    I know the technical reason why we can't have anti-aliased fonts (only 1 color/font allowed etc.), but why don't we have true alpha-blending yet (either provided by X or the windowmanager)?


    Re:Eyecandy (Score:1)
    by abram_fettig ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:23PM EST (#66)
    (User Info) http://fettig.net/
    I believe that both Enlightenment 0.17 and Gnome 1.2 will support alpha-blending, and I believe that Enlightenment will support anti-aliased fonts. For some enlightenment screenshots, see http://www.enlightenment.org/efm.html. I couldn't find any good shots of the development version of gnome, but I've seen the anti-aliased icons in action and they look pretty good.

    More importantly, I'd like to celebrate the fact that I got my first blue screen of death on Windows 2000 today at work! I went to open a .doc file in Word, and it said that to install the necessary converter I needed the CD. So I pressed the eject button on the CD-ROM drive, and BANG! BSOD. So much for stablility...

    Re:Eyecandy (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @05:48PM EST (#114)
    GEE you think it might have been the CDROM hardware or driver that was at fault and not Windows 2000 itself? I do! You spankmaster.
    Re:Eyecandy (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:48PM EST (#140)
    Recreate that beautiful moment on your 95 or 98 box...

    Click here

    Re:Eyecandy (Score:1)
    by homoted ([email protected]) on Wednesday March 22, @04:32AM EST (#232)
    (User Info) http://members.xoom.com/homoted
    No kidding, that URL gives this win98 box a bluescreen and a reboot. Is it a IE problem?

    If you paint your butt blue and glue your bunghole shut you just "themed" your butt, but lost the functionality.
    Re:Eyecandy (Score:1)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @07:48PM EST (#153)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    Enligtenment and Gnome "support" does not cut it, because it is on the client end. If this was sufficient X could have one graphics call (putpixel) and we could quit working because all the work is done!

    Hey, I wrote a program that did radiosity and drew the result on the screen, but I don't think anybody would claim that because of that Linux graphics now supports radiosity!

    We need advanced graphics in the server. And we need to stop making excuses.

    Re:Eyecandy (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @03:31AM EST (#230)
    As long as your major drawing/widget API's support it, there's really not much of a difference.
    Re:Eyecandy (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @04:54PM EST (#87)
    (User Info)
    No, it wouldn't take a complete rewriting of the font code in X11 to get antialiased fonts. In fact, the existing font code should probably not get touched at all.

    Antialiased fonts and drawing could simply be added as a separate extension, with a separate set of requests. That way, for example, the antialiased FreeType code could probably be dropped in without a lot of changes.

    Whether to use antialiased operations probably should be left to high level toolkit libraries and/or applications, since it affects performance, color allocation, and color maps.

    For the common cases, of course, low-level client libraries could try to map non-antialiased calls onto antialiased calls.

    The open source alternative (Score:3, Informative)
    by geirt on Tuesday March 21, @03:35PM EST (#32)
    (User Info)
    Microwindows/NanoGUI is an Open Source project aimed at bringing the features of modern graphical windowing environments to smaller devices and platforms. NanoGUI allows applications to be built and tested on the Linux desktop, as well as cross-compiled for the target device.

    Both share a common graphics engine. Nano-GUI is based on an X-like protocol called Nano-X. Microwindows sports an interface similar to the ECMA APIW spec with some advancements.

    • Greg Haerr's Microwindows Page
    • Alex Holden's NanoGUI Page

    Re:The open source alternative (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Thrakkerzog on Tuesday March 21, @03:44PM EST (#42)
    (User Info) http://tick.dhs.org

    Yes, but most QT applications will be source compatable. You can't say that about any of the gui toolkits you mentioned.


    -- Thrakkerzog
    Monkey Cloning at Bucknell!
    Re:The open source alternative (Score:1)
    by HoovrBass on Tuesday March 21, @05:08PM EST (#94)
    (User Info)
    Microwindows is on it's way to supporting Fltk, IIRC. Fltk is really lightweight and supports X and Windows with source compatibility. In that case you should be able to develop on the desktop for an embedded target just like Qt is proposing.
    Re:The open source alternative (Score:1)
    by HoovrBass on Tuesday March 21, @05:13PM EST (#98)
    (User Info)
    bah, errors.

    Anyway, Fltk is LGPL'd too, so I would think that embedded leaning companies would be quick to jump on it, all OSS issues aside.
    Re:The open source alternative (Score:1)
    by Thrakkerzog on Tuesday March 21, @09:52PM EST (#211)
    (User Info) http://tick.dhs.org
    I think there are a lot more apps which use QT than apps which use fltk.

    If you want to talk about licensing issues, remember what happend with fltk about a year ago.


    -- Thrakkerzog
    Monkey Cloning at Bucknell!
    Re:The open source alternative (Score:1)
    by HoovrBass on Tuesday March 21, @10:24PM EST (#215)
    (User Info)
    Which ones would you use on an embedded system, though? I can see your point for set-tops and net type devices but I've built custom defense-oriented embedded systems using Fltk that would have benefited from not needing X, which Microwindows should take care of. No Qt app would have helped there. You'll have to remind me about Fltk. Are you talking the issue with Bill Spitzak(?). Yeah, it was close, but his company made the right decision (TM) and we all benefited. Or are you talking about something else. It's just another choice--one I find particularly suitable for custom, single app type systems--and it's really easy to use. Regards.
    Re:The open source alternative (Score:1)
    by Thrakkerzog on Tuesday March 21, @11:43PM EST (#224)
    (User Info) http://tick.dhs.org

    Here is what I am talking about.

    Either way, I'm sure some good will come out of both. :) I have quite a bit of faith in Troll Tech, so I think they will come up with something nice.


    -- Thrakkerzog
    Monkey Cloning at Bucknell!
    Nice for set-top boxes (Score:4, Insightful)
    by tjwhaynes on Tuesday March 21, @03:36PM EST (#33)
    (User Info)

    This version of QT without X looks very nice for running on Set-top boxes - anti-aliased text and all. In this sort of environment, the 'display anywhere' X protocol is just excess baggage and a more direct route to the screen makes a lot of sense, especially if you are a company intent on providing a cheap device for general home use and want to get maximum speed out of the hardware. This does of course assume that the license for QT/Embedded is reasonably set... On the flip side, just how much software are you cutting yourself off from if you don't provide X libraries? Quite a lot I suspect unless QT/Embedded is providing some extra coverage.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes
    Anything I post is strictly my own thoughts and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the opinions of IBM.

    Re:Nice for set-top boxes (Score:2)
    by stripes (stripes at eng dot us dot uu dot net) on Tuesday March 21, @06:30PM EST (#131)
    (User Info) http://www.eng.us.uu.net/staff/stripes/
    [...]Set-top boxes[...] In this sort of environment, the 'display anywhere' X protocol is just excess baggage and a more direct route to the screen makes a lot of sense, especially if you are a company intent on providing a cheap device for general home use and want to get maximum speed out of the hardware.

    Actually that is where I most wish they would use X so I can have my non-embeded program display on my TV, or wrist watch, or car stereo's display, or PDA (assuming some sort of net connection). Witness the vast horde of folks wanting to do little more with the i-opener then turn it into an X terminal :-)

    Of corse I can see where the company that wants to sell a dirt cheap box would rather have a cheaper device... or want to lock me into their application.

    No mention of the license (Score:2)
    by dsplat on Tuesday March 21, @03:38PM EST (#35)
    (User Info)
    I certainly hope that the license terms are the same as for the original Qt, but I wasn't able to verify that either from the announcement or from Trolltech's own web site. I would imagine that they wouldn't intend to change course, but it would be nice to see that confirmed. If there's anyone from Trolltech reading this, an official statement on your web site would be a good thing.

    [This space intentionally left blank]
    Qt w/o X? Now this changes everything. (Score:2, Interesting)
    by truefluke ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @03:38PM EST (#36)
    (User Info)
    This is something that I am so interested in its not even funny. X is good for sharing / pumping apps up and down a network / remote login etc. but is too much cruft for something as simple as a desktop GUI. The topic de rigeur is targeting Linux as a replacement for Windows (which I think is moronic: Linux is *really* a server but everyone will disagree and follow the trend and call me an asshole anyway. oh well!). Well, not in its present state. I mean, if Caldera's WebSpyder browser can run in DOS mode, there's no reason why Linux can't have a better GUI system that doesnt require so much twisted legacy-based logic and overhead.
    Re:Qt w/o X? Now this changes everything. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:51PM EST (#143)
    I have the feeling that the people that don't like X never utilize it. What could be better than bringing up my desktop from one server on my local machine exactly like it would look on the server -- without any third party hacks? I'm willing to accept a little bloat for that capability.
    Down with X (Score:1)
    by theants on Tuesday March 21, @03:53PM EST (#51)
    (User Info)
    This could be a big step forward, not just for embedded applications, but for "Linux on the Desktop" in general. I feel that one of the biggest problems for inexperienced users of Linux is XFree86. There is nothing particularly wrong with X for people who are technically inclined and have time to monkey with, but someone who has little or no computing experience has little hope of using it without someone to hold their hand through it. (No matter how easy Redhat makes it to install.) I hope that GTK will eventually try this too. (Maybe Berlin will be helpful here.)
    Re:Down with X (Score:1)
    by CdotZinger on Tuesday March 21, @04:22PM EST (#65)
    (User Info)
    Absolutely. I don't have much trouble with the technical blizzblazz of X, but I'd like to have a disencruftified X (or a feature-slim replacement) to use in RAM-shortage and/or who-needs-it-anyway (ie: desktop) situations. The only reason I keep it around is for compatibility. Anyone out there working on a mini-X that provides basic application compatibility w/o all the cool stuff? I'd be working on it myself, but I know I'd screw it up and piss everyone off.

    This (what the article is about) looks very, very useful—moreso than its makers realize, I think.


    Your mouth is like Columbus Day.
    Re:Down with X (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:09PM EST (#121)
    I want linux to have a 90 degree learning curve. It's what seperates linux users from winblow lamers and script kiddies. I don't want linux to be easy!
    Re:Down with X (Score:1)
    by karzan on Tuesday March 21, @06:25PM EST (#129)
    (User Info)
    Write this 100 times on a chalkboard, and maybe then you will understand: XFREE86 IS X, BUT X IS NOT XFREE86. X11 is a protocol. X11R6 is the standard distribution of an implementation of that protocol and the surrounding libraries and utilities. XFree86 is based on X11R6. It is not X that is hard to set up, install, or use. It is XFree86. Do you have any idea how many X servers there are out there? XFree86 is hardly the only one. If you want an X server that's easy to use, set up, etc, I'm sure there are some, and if you're not satisfied with the ones available, make a new one.

    X as a protocol is excellent. X11R6.4 is an excellent implementation of that and an excellent set of libraries. Maybe XFree is hard to set up. You can change that without using some shit protocol like Berlin that was designed by people who just want their name on something. Use X... X is good... X is great.

    Confused about details (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Pike (jdueck[at]crosswinds.net) on Tuesday March 21, @03:55PM EST (#52)
    (User Info) http://www.jdueck.org
    It sounds nice at first, but don't get the idea that Qt is replacing X on the desktop anytime soon.

    Is Qt becoming its own windowing system as well? Will you be able to run more than one Qt app and have them windowed? Where are the video card drivers coming from without X??

    Sure it's nice for embedded stuff, but a lot of people seem to have the idea that they're getting a small, fast, free X11 replacement for their desktops.

    -JD
    Re:Confused about details (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:22PM EST (#64)
    Where are the video card drivers coming from without X??
    Linux framebuffer driver.
    Re:Confused about details (Score:3, Interesting)
    by bmetzler ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:45PM EST (#78)
    (User Info) http://www.geeky.org
    Howdy Joel!

    It sounds nice at first, but don't get the idea that Qt is replacing X on the desktop anytime soon.

    As others have mentioned in here, it is likely that as a consumer desktop graphical system, an X-less QT/KDE interface could fill a big need. Consumers who just want to run graphical applications locally, don't ever need the overhead that X provides.

    Is Qt becoming its own windowing system as well?

    Seeing that KDE runs on Qt, if Qt/Embedded is source compatible, then the problem is solved. KDE on non-X displays.

    Will you be able to run more than one Qt app and have them windowed?

    There are 2 answers to this. 1, with embedded devices, such as webtops, PDA's, and refrigerators, only one app is running, and therefore windowing isn't needed. For set top boxes, and consumer Linux installations, windowing can be provided by KDE, or any other Window Manager that is ported to Qt.

    Where are the video card drivers coming from without X??

    Frame-buffer devices. This is what gives you the graphical penguin on most distributions bootup now.

    Sure it's nice for embedded stuff, but a lot of people seem to have the idea that they're getting a small, fast, free X11 replacement for their desktops.

    And for those who are looking to run their Qt/KDE applications, they are.

    -Brent
    -- Are you a geek?
    OK for 2-D, perhaps, not for 3-D/games (Score:1)
    by SpinyNorman ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:40PM EST (#110)
    (User Info)
    The matroxfb driver is slightly accelerated for 2-D, but bottom line is that the framebuffer API is too low level to really allow for much acceleration anyway.

    What's really going to limit this to embedded use though is the lack of accelerated 3-D (forget GL Quake!). OpenGL via DRI in XFree 4.0 should rock!

    What would be really nice would be if the accelerated drivers for XFree could also be used for Qt or other graphical subsystems, rather than having to rely on a poor common denomenator like the framebuffer.

    Re:Confused about details (Score:2, Interesting)
    by drew (cattand at charlie.cns.iit.edu) on Tuesday March 21, @07:58PM EST (#156)
    (User Info) http://www.iit.edu/~cattand
    Seeing that KDE runs on Qt, if Qt/Embedded is source compatible, then the problem is solved. KDE on non-X displays.

    whoa... hold on a second here. i haven't looked at the kde code enough to prove this, but i kinda doubt that kde uses only qt. im pretty sure kde uses a lot of X calls as well. so if you have this new qt which doesn't use X, kde will not automatically compile for you. i may be wrong about this, and i would appreciate if someone would verify this for me, but i don't think kde can do all of the things it does based solely on the qt libs.

    but that's actually my secondary point. the more important part is this: For set top boxes, and consumer Linux installations, windowing can be provided by KDE, or any other Window Manager that is ported to Qt.

    now this i do know enough about to comment on, because i have worked with window manager code before. just porting a window manager to qt will do squat for you. in the most basic sense, the window manager does very little really. all it does is give you the means to move your windows around and resize them, and maybe close/shade/iconify them. X is what actually does the work of creating and displaying the windows. the wondow manager uses X library calls to modify the windows state, and do the other things it does. take away x, and oops! our wondow manager is now useless. want proof? run x without starting a windowmanager. see, you still get all of your windows, you just can't move them around. and you lose al of the little control options your window manager gives you. now try starting your window manager without x? what's that? you cant? ohhh.... ok, this isn't really proof, but it does illustrate my point. with this qt, the best you could do is a sort of MDI thing. you would write one big qt app that swallows smaller ones, kinda like the gnome control center. but this doesn't completely work, because all of your pre written qt apps wouldn't run inside this monster app. you'd need to rewrite them at least a little bit to make them compatible with an MDI scheme.

    > Sure it's nice for embedded stuff, but a lot of people seem to have the idea that they're getting a small, fast, free X11 replacement for their desktops.
    And for those who are looking to run their Qt/KDE applications, they are.


    nope, sorry. you are right about the framebuffer thing providing the video drivers, but it doesn't provide the windowing system for you, and kde, while it is an excellent desktop, is not a windowing system. so at best, you'd be able to run one app fullscreen on each of your 6 or so consoles, or run screen and switch between n different fullscreen apps, just like you would use it now to switch between a bunch of curses programs running on the console. (or the previously mentioned MDI app, with it's custom "applets")
    Re:Confused about details (Score:1)
    by Hawke (kilpatds at erols dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:37PM EST (#179)
    (User Info) http://www.erols.com/kilpatds
    Brent wrote:
    For set top boxes, and consumer Linux installations, windowing can be provided by KDE, or any other Window Manager that is ported to QT.
    That's a little harder than it seems. kwm (the KDE window manager) has communicate fairly tightly with the X server. You can't write a window manager purely in terms of the functionality QT provides, you have to speak Xlib.

    For there to be an Embedded QT window manager, QT would have to add a significant chunk of functionality beyond what would be required to draw widgets into a framebuffer.

    Brilliant idea. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:59PM EST (#54)
    This is an excellent idea and I'm surprised no one else has thought of it before. I wish the Trolls the best of luck with this venture.
    what niche does this fulfill? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:08PM EST (#55)
    What kind of device would use QT/framebuffer?

    It'd have a decent graphics display and chipset (relatively expensive) but also have very low cost hardware behind it that would be bogged by even the leanest X. But the computing hardware can't be so low cost that the CPU/memory can't support QT and the C++ QT applications. If a cheaper lower resolution graphics display was used, then you probably don't need the overhead of QT.

    It seems to be such a narrow niche. I'm having difficulting trying to imagine such a beast. Anybody got any ideas? (Not a flame, I'm just not being imaginative enough :)


    X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Florian ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:10PM EST (#56)
    (User Info) http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/index.cgi
    The question here is not whether framebuffer-based GUI Toolkits render X11 obsolete. There are many reasons why X11 will remain the better graphics subsystem for workstations:
    • X11 has network transparency
    • X11 runs in the userspace, so misconfiguration (or just switching your video card or screen) doesn't lock up the system
    • XFree 4.0 has many highend features which framebuffer-based GUIs will lack: multihead support, truetype support, modular drivers, 3D/OpenGL etc.etc.
    • X11 is GUI toolkit agnostic. You can run KDE, Gnome, GNUstep, Tk, Motif... apps under one X11 desktop, which you can't on a framebuffer-based desktop
    That said, I find Qt/embedded an excellent idea, moreover in the light of the recent progress in the efforts to port Linux to Psion PDAs and WinCE palmtops. For such devices, X11 is bloated. It will be nice to have Qt/KDE applications such as KLyX available on PDAs in the not-so-distant future. I hope the GTK/Gnome folks take up the idea and do the same with GTK/GDK, hopefully in a way that makes it possible to run both Qt- and GTK-based software under the same framebuffer-based GUI.

    These developments are important in a time where companies like Samsung are working on Linux-based PDAs with proprietary user interfaces and proprietary applications on top of the kernel. Although it's good that Linux becomes popular for settop boxes, PDA and other embedded devices, it would be a substantial drawback for the cause of Free Software if proprietary GUIs and userspaces would prevail on such systems. So Trolltech's move deserves applause from our community.

    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @04:48PM EST (#82)
    (User Info)
    Qt is a proprietary toolkit. It may come with a more or less liberal license, but it's still owned and controlled by a single company. And, in fact, it appears that Troll Tech has opposed free reimplentations of Qt based on their API specifications in the past.

    Two truly open source GUIs for embedded systems are MicroWindows and NanoGUI. You can find more information at http://microwindows.censoft.com/. There are lots of other GUI libraries that can access the frame buffer as well. A port of GTK+ to SVGAlib or libggi probably wouldn't be all that hard either.

    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:1, Interesting)
    by MassacrE ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:39PM EST (#109)
    (User Info)
    Just to clarify:

    X11 runs in the userspace, so misconfiguration (or just switching your video card or screen) doesn't lock up the system

    X11 can crash the system just as bad as if it was kernel space, i.e. on NT. The actual X server, which controls the hardware, runs setuid root. Indeed, with the new Direct Rendering Architecture it is not possible to use the direct access modes without being root.

    If this was a microkernel and the X server used a kernel interface for controlling the hardware, it would be one thing - but XFree is directly banging on the hardware, and has the ability to bang anywhere in memory. A bad pointer can still lock the machine, as can a bad PCI setup.

    XFree 4.0 has many highend features which framebuffer-based GUIs will lack: multihead support, truetype support, modular drivers, 3D/OpenGL etc.etc.

    Windows CE has truetype font support, some have video output - and they are framebuffer devices.

    Some even have DirectX support

    X11 is GUI toolkit agnostic. You can run KDE, Gnome, GNUstep, Tk, Motif... apps under one X11 desktop, which you can't on a framebuffer-based desktop

    You can too! There is absolutely no reason why you wouldn't be able to do this - try it out with the X framebuffer server!

    The reason you would not be able to do this is because having the same application loaded in memory three times and using three different functionally equivelant library sets is dumb. The only reason this happens is because X is toolkit agnostic, and spent twenty years without ever having a decent toolkit. So you have a native X protocol version of biff, a xaw version, an xaw3d version, an openwindows enhanced version, a version packaged with enlightenment, gnomebiff, kbuff, etc etc.

    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:32PM EST (#132)
    X11 can crash the system just as bad as if it was kernel space, i.e. on NT. The actual X server, which controls the hardware, runs setuid root. Indeed, with the new Direct Rendering
                                  Architecture it is not possible to use the direct access modes without being root.


    I've never had an X crash that I can't recover by simply plugging in my serial terminal into the back of my PC and restarting X. The DRI is specifically *for* running direct 3d hw apps as non-root users - if yuu can't use it in this fashion, you DRI settings are probably wrong - note that you still have to tell it /which/ non-root users. Or maybe you're confusing the Utah-glx or old-glide rendering structures with the DRI (and even on old-glide : addgroup hw3dusers ; chown root.hw3dusers /dev/3dfx ; add 3d-hw using users to group hw3dusers)?

    If this was a microkernel and the X server used a kernel interface for controlling the hardware, it would be one thing - but XFree is directly banging on the hardware, and has the ability to bang anywhere in memory.

    'Fraid not - It may leave your video HW in a dodgy state, but it shouldn't be able to directly violate segmentation as if X were some sort of amiga program, even if running as root (malicious trojans in the source are another matter, since they could explicitly override by writing to /dev/kmem.)

                                Windows CE has truetype font support, some have video output - and they are framebuffer devices.

    Do you know what you're talking about, or are you jut trolling?
    WinCE devices are not necessarily flat framebuffers by any means. At least in the linux/amiga/unix arena, when someone says framebuffer, they tend to mean, quite specifically, a /dev/fb* device that is a flat page of memory that maps directly to a graphical display.

                          an xaw3d version, an openwindows enhanced version, a version packaged with enlightenment, gnomebiff, kbuff, etc etc.

    Personally, I prefer diversity. I would HATE to be coding for a platform where there was only the one MS way.
    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @08:07PM EST (#163)
    The point was that it *could* crash your system as setuid root. Not that it does all that often.
    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:1)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @08:34PM EST (#178)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    X11 can crash the system just as bad as if it was kernel space

    Any idea if this is true using xfree on GNU/HURD?
    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    don't be silly (Score:2, Informative)
    by Lazy Jones ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:22PM EST (#127)
    (User Info) http://pobox.com/~mjy
    As others have pointed out, the userspace argument isn't true. I have to add that:
    • framebuffer-based apps don't necessarily miss out on multihead, truetype, modular driver and OpenGL support. Especially OpenGL and Truetype are already available.
    • It has advantages to have a GUI toolkit that is display driver agnostic. QT apps will compile for both X and the frame buffer device. The claim that you can't have many GUI toolkits on the framebuffer device is also simply wrong - you just need to port the toolkits or use an X server or X protocol proxy on the framebuffer device.
    • It is a common misconception that network transparency must be built in the display server/driver. It's very simple to add it later, as the X servers for other OSes prove, and much more efficient. Why do X applications need to convert all GUI-API calls to a protocol suitable for network transport, send the data over a Unix domain socket and convert it back to internal API calls for the X server? This is a great waste of resources and absolutely unnecessary.
    • X has very bad limitations that may be fixed only using X protocol extensions (which have the drawback of not being supported by existing software)
    • X wastes memory

    Re:don't be silly (Score:1, Informative)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:50PM EST (#142)
    Oh for pity's sake. The shared memory stuff (MIT-SHM) has been in X for years. Everyone sane uses it. XFree86 doesn't convert everything local to UDP and back again, hasn't done for a long, long time.

    X is designed to be an extensible framework, like OpenGL. This is a GOOD THING, and is why both the OpenGL and X APIs remain clean, while Win32 and Direct3D are horrible kludges.

    X is actually relatively memory efficient comapred to citrix winframe or the like. A common problem is that people think that the X process memory size quoted in ps or top is correct - actually, since the whole video card is mapped into X's process space, the process size includes the entire gfx mem on the card, as well as it's control registers. This can be in excess of 16Mbyte - but this is not subtracted from the total main RAM in use on the system.

    Re:don't be silly (Score:1, Interesting)
    by Lazy Jones ([email protected]) on Wednesday March 22, @04:46AM EST (#233)
    (User Info) http://pobox.com/~mjy
    MIT-SHM is useful for transferring bitmaps, but only programs that need to do this quickly bother to use it. Most applications transfer their icons etc. without it. It isn't used for common tasks such as text output or mouse input (well, last time I checked).

    Calling X an extensible framework is a bad excuse for holding on to a design that is too limited from the beginning (if it's so extensible, where's the antialiased truetype font support that has been available for so many other GUI frameworks for such a long time? Perhaps no applications would support an extension?).

    X required in excess of 16MB on 1MB video cards and it wastes a lot of memory in case programs try to use pointless "optimizations" like loading pixmaps into server memory because it's the fastest way to move them on your *local* display (pointless, because a better protocol could have avoided this waste).

    Re:don't be silly (Score:1)
    by twixel on Wednesday March 22, @05:36AM EST (#236)
    (User Info)
    It's very simple to add it later, as the X servers for other OSes prove, and much more efficient.
    X servers for other OS's don't prove anything (after all they are using the built-in network transparency of X). Let's take a real world example: remote viewing of NT sessions. The NT GDI was not written with network transparency in mind. So if it is, as you claim, " very simple" to add it later, why are all the solutions so clunky? VNC, PC Anywhere and Citrix don't even come close to the smoothness of X.
    Why do X applications need to convert all GUI-API calls to a protocol suitable for network transport, send the data over a Unix domain socket and convert it back to internal API calls for the X server?
    Why not? The overhead is small. IPC is pretty efficient. The only way to get more efficient is to move the display system into the kernel (ala Winxx and WinNT). It would save you context switches. If you run your display driver/Windowing system in a separate process, you still have to pass your command via IPC ( domain socket, shared memory).
    Re:don't be silly (Score:1, Interesting)
    by Lazy Jones ([email protected]) on Wednesday March 22, @03:39PM EST (#259)
    (User Info) http://pobox.com/~mjy
    X servers for other OS's don't prove anything (after all they are using the built-in network transparency of X). Let's take a real world example: remote viewing of NT sessions. The NT GDI was not written with network transparency in mind. So if it is, as you claim, " very simple" to add it later, why are all the solutions so clunky? VNC, PC Anywhere and Citrix don't even come close to the smoothness of X.
    X servers for other OSes just implement the X protocol, which is fine for that sole purpose (network transparency), but not for a local display. The solutions which you claim to be clunky just implement a simpler protocol, but they do not compete in the local display arena anyway. The simple protocols have other advantages - you can use them with very little memory (my DOSVNC viewer fits in a 400KB disk space comfortably, with all necessary drivers and runs with ~1MB RAM), so they trade off speed for size and stability (don't tell me how stable X is - I've had enough X crashes, on workstations and even NCD X terminals).
    The only way to get more efficient is to move the display system into the kernel (ala Winxx and WinNT). It would save you context switches.
    No, there are many ways to implement more efficient protocols for local displays than the X protocol, which is "optimized" for network transport and architecture-independent. Then again, drivers are a kernel issue, so the display system belongs there anyway.

    The essential questions are:

    • Is the built-in network transparency of X necessary? Answer: no, it can be added later, basing the whole design on network transparency makes sense only for environments where network transparency is actually used most of the time (and that excludes most PCs/workstations these days), in all other cases it isn't worth the performance degradation and design complexity.
    • Is X flexible enough to support modern hardware's capabilities without a messy heap of extensions that aren't accessible to existing programs? No, it isn't - e.g. I can't even switch the bitmap depth of the display without restarting all applications (this could have been fixed a long time ago, but for various reasons it hasn't been considered worth it, I suppose - the visuals would have to be "emulated" using quantization, dithering etc., since older applications can't be told that the depth has changed).
    If X was stable and efficient, the disadvantages could be tolerated, but unfortunately it is neither. It's one of the major causes for the slow adoption of Unix/Linux in the desktop market. It's time to think about a new design, it can't be too difficult (look at BeOS) and X servers for other display systems are easy to write, so you could still use your favourite X programs, like xfontsel (blergh).
    Re:X or no X? Choice is good! (Score:1)
    by Wesley Felter ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @09:08PM EST (#192)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wesf/

    X11 runs in the userspace, so misconfiguration (or just switching your video card or screen) doesn't lock up the system


    But X runs as root, while framebuffer apps don't have to. Likewise, X bangs the hardware directly, while framebuffer apps don't. So I think framebuffer apps should be safer than X (unless you are running the fbcon driver for X, of course).
    Similarities to Berlin or GGI? (Score:5, Interesting)
    by Thag on Tuesday March 21, @04:16PM EST (#60)
    (User Info) http://www.users.fast.net/~acheson/
    I'm wondering how this would compare to the Berlin windowing system or GGI? With the goal of running embedded, I'd guess QT's new system is simpler, and less cross-platform. Basically a way to get QT apps ported to handhelds really quickly, rather than a general replacement for X. I'll freely admit, though, that I don't know much about GUI framework design. Anyone out there in the know and willing to comment?

    I have to wonder, though, how many X apps will really work well on a handheld? It's a different environment, after all, with somewhat different inputs and uses. Just dumping X apps to a PDA would be like the approach MS used for WinCE, and it didn't really work.

    Jon
    All opinions expressed herein are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled.
    Re:Similarities to Berlin or GGI? (Score:2)
    by Christopher B. Brown ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:48PM EST (#141)
    (User Info) http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/linux.html
    There would be similarity to Berlin, but not to GGI.

    "Embedded QT" represents an abstract API for constructing GUI apps. That does parallel Berlin.

    GGI represents a physical API that abstracts away only the lowest level of "talking to hardware."

    The net result is that you might want to run "Embedded QT" on top of GGI, much as you have to run Berlin on top of GGI.

    In the process, it's pretty evident that you'll lose the ability to have remotable network applications with "Embedded QT." (Berlin has no such loss, as it runs atop CORBA...)

    The thing that I don't see any information on is what they're doing about font rendering. That's one of the major things that X does which a framebuffer doesn't do...
    Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer

    Re:Similarities to Berlin or GGI? (Score:1)
    by Hawke (kilpatds at erols dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:21PM EST (#169)
    (User Info) http://www.erols.com/kilpatds
    Berlin attempts to replace the X server. GCI attempts to replace how graphical programs access the hardware. As I understand it, Embedded QT attempts to provide a widget set for the hardware.

    Berlin might be implimented in terms of Embedded QT, which might be implimented on top of GCI. Well, not really, but I hope that got the idea across.

    Re:Similarities to Berlin or GGI? (Score:2)
    by Christopher B. Brown ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @10:30PM EST (#216)
    (User Info) http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/linux.html
    Nope, that doesn't get the idea across. Berlin attempts to replace the GUI libraries like QT, Xt, GTK, ...

    Berlin depends on there being some lower-level display substrate like GGI.

    It would make sense to implement Berlin atop X; implementing it atop QT, of whatever form, would not make sense.

    What could make sense would be to implement Berlin (or, by the same token, X or Display Postscript) atop whatever low level framebuffer scheme lies underneath Embedded QT. But I suspect that this layer will more closely resemble GGI than anything else...
    Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer

    Re:Similarities to Berlin or GGI? (Score:1)
    by Felinoid ([email protected][website_url]) on Wednesday March 22, @03:10AM EST (#228)
    (User Info) http://www.meowpawjects.com/
    I would hope that programmers would go byond just compiling QT apps.
    While WinCE and the lesser known PenWindows were miserable failures in moving Windows to the PDA PenGeos made the move quite nicely and continued to move into cell phones where it lives today.

    The key diffrence (byond Zoomer dying and nearly taking Geoworks with them) is that as Geos moves from platform to platform it changes to take advantage of that platform. The apps also changed.

    I would hope thats the plan with QT. It's not binary compatable but sorce compatable. I suspect we are expected to modify existing programs for the imbeded system and not run them as is. Anything in binary form for the PDA should be a full port.

    The use of the framebuffer suggests to me that porting is left up to the Linux kernel and taken out of the hands of QT. A rather smart move.
    For anything that bugs you.. Rant at Meow BBS
    Good first step (Score:1, Funny)
    by ubertroll on Tuesday March 21, @04:21PM EST (#62)
    (User Info)
    Getting rid of X is a good start. Next, we have to get rid of Qt, and then there's only Linux left to get rid of. Let's do it!
    The Tool for the job (Score:1)
    by jjr ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @04:23PM EST (#67)
    (User Info) http://theotherside.com/
    I love X. But this would be great for the embedded solutions. The small footprint is ideal for some projects that I would like to start we just have to see about the licensing issues and time.

    http://theotherside.com/dvd/
    Help fight against MPAA and Support the EFF
    Installers (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @04:24PM EST (#68)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    The first thing I thought of was "this would make a better GUI installer for Linux". So far, only the Mandrake GUI installer has worked on my system. And only SuSE worked on my friend's system. Everything else completely bombs. The reason for this is X. My card cannot be probed, thus, not detected automatically. My friend's card doesn't have a VGA mode, so it can't use the default.

    An embedded Qt would allow distributions to use their own video detection routines. I don't know about frame buffers, but it seems that having two ways of making a GUI installer covers more bases than just the X way. Just load the library that's appropriate and use the same installer.
    I want X-lite (Score:2)
    by Anomalous Canard on Tuesday March 21, @04:28PM EST (#71)
    (User Info)
    I'm not sure if this is what Trolltech is talking about, but I want a display server that doesn't take over the whole screen. I want full screen text mode consoles to use with mutt. I don't want an Xterm that uses a hard to read font and useless crap on the screen to click on with a mouse that takes my hands off the keyboard. And I want to be able to launch a graphical browser from an email using the framebuffer without all the overhead of X and either Gnome or KDE. It's just way too much stuff.
    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
    Canard: a false or unfounded report or story
    Re:I want X-lite (Score:2, Informative)
    by I R A Aggie on Tuesday March 21, @05:03PM EST (#91)
    (User Info)
    I don't want an Xterm that uses a hard to read font

    You mean like xterm -fn '-bitstream-courier-bold-r-normal-*-*-220-*-*-m-*-iso8859-1' &?

    James


    Re:I want X-lite (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:06PM EST (#191)
    :%s/bitstream/adobe/

    it a LOT more readable.
    Re:I want X-lite (Score:1)
    by Anomalous Canard on Wednesday March 22, @09:00AM EST (#246)
    (User Info)
    Ahhh, but my mini-notebook only has a (tiny) 640x480 screen. I won't be able to fit an 80x25 xterm in that at 22 points. Anyway, I *like* the console fonts.
    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
    Canard: a false or unfounded report or story
    But I want my fridge console in X... (Score:1)
    by Flerp on Tuesday March 21, @04:30PM EST (#72)
    (User Info)
    Ok, I can sympathize with not wanting the overhead of X, but if you can afford the overhead of Qt, single chip capacities arent that far off supporting X too...

    And, hey, while we are at it, sure, a webbrowser on a toaster must make sense in someones mind, but what _I_ want is my toaster, fridge and oven consoles on my DESKTOP! Which means X!
    This is seriously kick ass. (Score:2, Insightful)
    by be-fan on Tuesday March 21, @04:37PM EST (#74)
    (User Info)
    This is not only great for embedded systems, but for desktops.
    A) The whole X server over network paradigm isn't really needed for a local desktop (most of the time) by utilizing the framebuffer and hardware acceleration, this is provide an increadible peformance and memory usage boost. One reason I use BeOS that its GUI is so ridiculously responsive. Meanwhile KDE on a PII300 and TNT chugs along. Ever open up SysV init editor and resize the window? Talk 'bout major redraw.
    I really hope they put in support for writing directly to the framebuffer. That way OpenGL could be put on it and we'd be in desktop heaven.
    B) Its X compatible so no re-writing apps to support a next Gen interface!
    C) It dumps all the X stuff that is in qt and is redundant anyway on a Qt system.
    I think they seriously have the right idea with this release. Finaly, a great kernel like Linux gets a good windowing system to go along. If this is GPLed, it will not make its biggest splash in the embedded market. It will make a splash in the desktop market, because even if Trolltech doesn't have the right focus for this product, I'm sure lots of media obsessed users pissed of by poor interactive performance do. This is seriously cool. This also bodes well for a DirectX type API on Linux. Think about it! It support hardware acceleration, so SDL could be put on it and have a very direct route to the graphics hardware. If basic SDL-style input services are put in, and OpenAL plays nice with it, you have a Direct, low-overhead API that is cross platform to boot!

    "Any sufficiantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:1)
    by jonabbey ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:08PM EST (#95)
    (User Info) http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2

    A) The whole X server over network paradigm isn't really needed for a local desktop (most of the time) by utilizing the framebuffer and hardware acceleration, this is provide an increadible peformance and memory usage boost. One reason I use BeOS that its GUI is so ridiculously responsive. Meanwhile KDE on a PII300 and TNT chugs along. Ever open up SysV init editor and resize the window? Talk 'bout major redraw. I really hope they put in support for writing directly to the framebuffer. That way OpenGL could be put on it and we'd be in desktop heaven.

    I don't think XFree86 really has any significant overhead due to the X server network support, anymore. As others have pointed out whenever this topic comes up, local clients talk to the server through UNIX domain sockets (i.e., no TCP/IP involved), pipes, and shared memory. XFree86 is about as efficient as you can get while still having a separate process responsible for actually managing the display.

    For embedded applications, it might make sense to have support for a system in which one process can serve as both application and as framebuffer driver, to reduce overhead, but in general this cost of the context switch is overwhelmingly outweighed by the convenience of having multiple applications able to put forth windows on the same screen, and by the convenience of not allowing everyone's code to have a chance at trashing registers on the video card, etc.

    As far as DirectX-style API's, isn't DRI on XFree86 4.0 working quite well?

    What I wish X had was an API for creating and switching between multiple video contexts, at different resolutions and color depths, the way Windows does. I'd love to be able to configure Wine to create an 8bit 640x400 video display context for playing StarCraft, rather than having to kill the X server, edit XFree86.conf and restart the whole thing in low-res/color mode.

    There's plenty that's wrong with X and could use fixing, but the basic decision to use a separate server that can be communicated with over a network is not one of them.


    Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:2)
    by be-fan on Tuesday March 21, @05:15PM EST (#100)
    (User Info)
    No, X is really not very efficiant for local devices. BeOS and MacOS X display servers are efficiant, X is nowhere in that ball park. Actually, I didn't realize if embedded Qt does not support multiple windows (does it?) I know that BeOS certainly does and its graphics driver is loaded as a dynamic module. Having a client/server has nothing to do with it. Second, DirectX style is not only 3D. 2D graphics and input are also part of it. X has pretty bad 2D performance, and DRI is a pretty big hack. I'm saying that on the desktop there is no reason to have X (which is bloated and offers a lot of useless features (of the desktop anyway)) when something lighter and more efficiant can be put in place.
    PS> Network transparency should be a much higher level service. In a desktop environment, stuff like X and OpenGL and DCOM and SOM disgust me for their performance robbing network transparency.
    "Any sufficiantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:1)
    by jonabbey ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:24PM EST (#102)
    (User Info) http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2

    Do you have any evidence for these assertions? I can believe that BeOS's deeply multithreaded kernel and display logic is more efficient than X, and I believe that MacOS X's Quartz API provides some fancy operations that would be expensive to emulate in X, but you're really making a lot of sweeping statements here.

    I happen to use X Windows over a network all the time, both at work on my X terminal to several machines in our computer center, and at home when I'm doing work there. If having X able to support those uses were a terribly heavy burden for the desktop, I could see moving away from it, but I don't believe that it is.

    I'd love to be educated as to the precise technical factors that you believe make an X desktop so painfully slow, but I haven't heard any yet.


    Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:3, Insightful)
    by be-fan on Tuesday March 21, @09:02PM EST (#189)
    (User Info)
    I'm talking about efficiancy. If you look at the BeOS and MacOS APIs a lot of what they do is very efficiant code-wise. I'll speak for BeOS because thats what I use most often. The BeOS display server is just a thread in the app server (the BeOS is a microkernel.) The connection between the app and the server is just some really efficient message passing between two threads. It leaves out a lot of the negotiation and protocol stuff needed with X. In the app server, it is drawn using the graphics driver which is loaded as a dynamic link library. I don't know too much about MacOSX, but I do know that it too uses a light weight window process. Also, there is very little cruft in the BeOS window manager. It is not nearly as feature heavy, and a lot of the layers such as toolkits and window managers and desktop environments are not there. Sure it can't do any of the network transparent stuff, but it really isn't meant to. Aside from technical factors, X is slow from experiance. There are noticable problems with redraw in KDE, and it just doesn't feel snappy. Its on par with windows 98 and slightly slower than 95. Of course, since I come from BeOS, it is painfully slow. I've seen what a light, well designed interface can do. For example, BeOS has a busy cursor, but I've only seen it once when running a benchmarking app. Huge menues load instantly, complex views almost never have redraw problems, and there is never a time when you feel like you're waiting for the sytem to respond to you.
    "Any sufficiantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke
    How To Speed Up X (Score:1)
    by jonabbey ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:48PM EST (#113)
    (User Info) http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2

    Just thought I'd offer a tidbit on X performance from the XFree86 FAQ. They recommend that you run the X server on Linux at nice priority -10 so the X server gets first priority for interactive use.

    It would be interesting to see if doing this would make any impact on your feelings on X.


    Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:1, Informative)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:01PM EST (#159)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    Once again, I don't blame the "network transparency" or the client/server architecture.

    The problem is HORRIBLE Xlib design.

    Lets see how you draw a red dot on the screen in Xlib:

    1. fill in an XColor structure with the r,g,b and call XAllocColor (1 round trip to server). (this could fail, in which case you have to do hundreds of round trips to find the closest color or make a new colormap, but I'll ingore that to be fair).

    2. Create a "gc" (probably 0 round trips in modern Xlib? But info is sent to the server).

    3. Set the foreground color in that gc (probably done locally).

    4. Do XPutPixel, passing that gc and the window over the wire. (more info sent to server)

    Now lets see what the calls would be in an interface designed by a semi-talented monkey:

    1. "set_color(r,g,b)": info sent to server. Size of info: 3 bytes.

    2. "draw_pixel(x,y)": info sent to server, size of info: 2 numbers.

    3. DONE! Total number of round trips: ZERO. And I suspect the amount of info is about 1/4 as much sent over the wire, so the buffer fills up only 1/4 as often. Overall improvement in efficiency: perhaps 10,000 or more, depending on the overhead of a round trip.

    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:1)
    by ethereal on Tuesday March 21, @06:04PM EST (#117)
    (User Info) http://www.kleinbottle.com/

    What I wish X had was an API for creating and switching between multiple video contexts, at different resolutions and color depths, the way Windows does. I'd love to be able to configure Wine to create an 8bit 640x400 video display context for playing StarCraft, rather than having to kill the X server, edit XFree86.conf and restart the whole thing in low-res/color mode.

    Amen to that. The one thing I miss about Windows is the ability to switch resolutions without stopping everything else that's going on. With the old 14" monitor that I have, in order to get enough screen real estate I have to run at a ridiculously low refresh rate. This doesn't bother me too much, but my wife notices the waviness/jumpiness a lot more. If we could swap video modes as easily as in Windows, X on Linux would be about perfect for our needs.

    God: "Here's a quarter, kid, get yourself a real operating system." [ducks flames] ;)

    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:1)
    by vanye ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @08:00PM EST (#157)
    (User Info) http://reality.sgi.com/offer/
    Most of the requirements for switching depths are because most low-end PC graphics cards do not support multiple pixel formats at once.

    If they did this (like SGIs have done for years), then the only reason for swithing would be to change resolutions...and that's less interesting.

    Since the screen size and depth are encoded in the X protocol there would be real problems in changing this...

    So you want to spend years of resouce across all the major X vendors becuase you don't have a decent monitor ? I'd be cheaper for me to just by you one :-)
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:2)
    by be-fan on Tuesday March 21, @09:05PM EST (#190)
    (User Info)
    What does that have to do with it? Every major PC windowing system aside from X can switch color depths on the fly.
    "Any sufficiantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:03PM EST (#160)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    Why don't you guys run a separate X session? Then you can have two resolutions and desktops at the same time (something Windows can't do).
    Re:This is seriously kick ass. (Score:2)
    by Inoshiro on Tuesday March 21, @05:53PM EST (#115)
    (User Info) http://www.thock.com/Dylan/
    "I really hope they put in support for writing directly to the framebuffer. That way OpenGL could be put on it and we'd be in desktop heaven."

    This is why the Vesa frame buffer + X11 frame buffer server exist. The problem is that it is totally non-accelerated. X11 uses the XAA (X Acceleration Architecture), which is a gain. True, redraws are somewhat expensive, but that's mainly because the app is written poorly.

    Use Slackware -- BSD style init scripts :-)

    "B) Its X compatible so no re-writing apps to support a next Gen interface!"

    It's QT compatible. I'm a GNOME guy. :-/
    ---
    Internet Explorer (n): Another bug, that is, a feature that can't be turned off, in Windows.  See also: monopoly.
    Food for thought: Qt on MacOS X (Score:1)
    by Droog on Tuesday March 21, @04:41PM EST (#76)
    (User Info) http://www.mindspring.com/~davidrugge/index.html
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Embedded Qt doesn't require X, then Qt apps should work on MacOS X without having to also run an X server. Of course you still wouldn't get all of the nifty features of Quartz, but on the other hand you wouldn't have to run an X server to use Koffice either.
    Re:Food for thought: Qt on MacOS X (Score:2)
    by TheGreek ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:04PM EST (#93)
    (User Info) http://lagparty.org/~greek/
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Embedded Qt doesn't require X, then Qt apps should work on MacOS X without having to also run an X server.

    You're half right. You wouldn't need an X server, but you'd need Linux framebuffer support, which Mac OS X doesn't have, and isn't likely to have.

    Looks like a nifty hack for Darwin, though....

    Re:Food for thought: Qt on MacOS X (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-usermode-dot-org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:20PM EST (#168)
    (User Info) http://www.usermode.org/
    The Trolls are hiring Mac developers. Hmmm...
    What? Bypass X?? (Score:1)
    by magnetx11 on Tuesday March 21, @04:49PM EST (#84)
    (User Info) http://magnetx.com
    You mean someone is trying to bypass the standard bloatware(X)? How dare them.
    Will this improve installation programs? (Score:1)
    by astrotek (spamsucks) on Tuesday March 21, @04:53PM EST (#86)
    (User Info) http://www.astrotek.net
    Having an install disk with qt and the framebuffer device would make graphical installs one step easier. Correct me if I'm wrong but this seems like a good thing =)

    Now we just need gtk to do the same thing
    Darn Somebody With Some Brains (Score:1)
    by Grimlord on Tuesday March 21, @04:55PM EST (#88)
    (User Info)
    This is exactly what linux needs to push it to the desktop. I have been saying this all along. X is crap in a single user mode environment. If you wish to have fast graphics which is required by games you have to get at the hardware.
    Told you so... (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Chouser ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:02PM EST (#89)
    (User Info) http://bluweb.com/
    Well, maybe I didn't tell you, but I predicted this. It's only a matter of time until we see the same thing for gtk/gnome.

    I figured this would happen once I saw what KDE and gnome were trying to do, namely isolate applications from X completely. Older apps communicate with graphics hardware via X. This meant that graphics hardware could be swapped in and out (and even across the network!). But now both KDE and gnome (with the help of GTK and QT, respecively) have become a complete layer between apps and X. This means it should be possible for KDE and gnome to completely skip X, and go straight to the hardware. The advent of the Linux frame buffer makes this even easier.

    There were hints of this already in projects like the now defunct Harmony (FreeQT) in how it handled TrueType fonts.

    As others have said, choice is great. It isn't (yet) time for X to die completely, being able to skip the rather large and complex called Xwindows will often be a great boon.

    I hope that at some point, all gnome and KDE apps will be run-time (or maybe shared-link time, which amounts to the same thing) switchable between framebuffer and X. Run the app, and if the DISPLAY is local, skip X, otherwise be an X client. ...or something like that, but now I'm just rambling.

    --Chouser
    "To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods." -LL

    Re:Told you so... (Score:2)
    by jetson123 (br_9801 at hotmail dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:33PM EST (#177)
    (User Info)
    Qt and GTK can potentially "skip" X and present abstract graphics interface because they have restricted applications domains: they are GUI toolkits for Motif and Windows-like applications. arranged and communicate.

    If you wanted to use a toolkit like Qt or GTK to replace X11 as a general purpose window system, you'd have to add a lot more functionality. And, in the end, you'd still end up with something that can't do as much.

    Embedded versions of those toolkits are very useful. However, they are no replacement for a system like X11.

    BeIA still way ahead technologically (Score:1)
    by browser_war_pow on Tuesday March 21, @05:03PM EST (#92)
    (User Info) http://digitalheresy.tripod.com
    Linux might as well give up in the embedded market because BeIA is much farther ahead technologically. Linux should stay in the server/workstation market where it belongs. BTW BeOS now runs on crusoe so it is only a matter of time before BeIA internet appliances start appearing in big numbers
    Welcome to the 21st century: megacorporations crush personal liberty and individual rights and the government calls it "capitalism"
    Re:BeIA still way ahead technologically (Score:1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @05:27PM EST (#104)
    Linux might as well give up in the embedded market

    But Linux is an OS, not a company... how can it give it up? Seriously, though, BeOS is much more advanced & better designed in a number of areas... A program/game can write directly to the graphic buffer (full screen or in a window), a window's contents can change while the window is being moved, resized, etc. I don't want to say "innovation" (MS has given it a bad name, and it isn't an innovation), but someday people will recognize that it's a better solution

    BTW BeOS now runs on crusoe

    BeOS has run on crusoe since day 1 (of the announcement :-)

    Re:BeIA still way ahead technologically (Score:1)
    by GeZ117 on Wednesday March 22, @06:16AM EST (#240)
    (User Info)
    BeOS is better designed because J-L Gassé wasn't trying to have a system compatible with what was already existing. BeOS is not a VT100-compatible Linux with a silly keyboard handling (fucking numlock and fucking delete). Nor is it a DOS-compatible Windows. BeOS is a wholly new OS, designed for new appliances without bothering with carbon-dated technojunks. This is its strength (for the technical part) and its weakness (for the number of applications). I hope to see one day a GPL-or-whatever version of BeOS.
    What is the licensing? (Score:1)
    by scott__ ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:08PM EST (#96)
    (User Info) http://www.surrealistic.org
    Did Qt ever amend their differences with the Free Software movement? I've never really gotten a clear answer on this issue.
    -Scott__ [email protected]
    Re:What is the licensing? (Score:2)
    by Foogle ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @07:34PM EST (#151)
    (User Info) http://snowball.in/~hell
    Yes, the license for QT version 2.0 is fully "Open Source" compliant. Of course people still complain because it's not GPL'ed, but that's life.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
    - They Might Be Giants

    Re:What is the licensing? (Score:1)
    by Thrakkerzog on Tuesday March 21, @09:58PM EST (#212)
    (User Info) http://tick.dhs.org
    That's the license for FreeQt version 2.0.

    They don't mention the license of Qt/Embedded.


    -- Thrakkerzog
    Monkey Cloning at Bucknell!
    Re:What is the licensing? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @07:57PM EST (#155)
    Richard Stallman has declared the QPL to be Free Software (What I don't understand though, is why anyone needed his imprimatur to begin with). But he did issue a poison pill by declaring that GPL applications must have special permissions before they can link to a QPL library. Too many people have taken this as the gnuspel truth without realizing that the GPL already allows this.
    You can't link *someone else's* GPLed app to QT (Score:1)
    by divec on Tuesday March 21, @09:38PM EST (#207)
    (User Info) http://3334130452/
    he did issue a poison pill by declaring that GPL applications must have special permissions before they can link to a GPL library.

    He's not alone; the Debian project, with some legal advice, agreed. See their statement about the issue. Section 2 of the GPL and section 3 of the QPL are mutually exclusive.


    If you link *your own* GPLed app to QT, that's perfectly legal. If you give others permission, then they can do it too.


    [Sig obliterated ;-) ]
    hey, hey! X is not dead yet! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @05:12PM EST (#97)
    Ok, I agree that X sucks in stand-alone desktops. But I'm not going to give up the ability to execute programs remotely anytime soon!
    I like the idea of being able to choose between the X and the framebuffer version of a program when I want to, or even to have a same binary being able to execute on both as much as the next guy. But I think that this distributed execution we've always taken for granted is a very good thing.

    Even the windows world is trying to implement this kind of thing, btw.
    Paradigm fork(1) (Score:1)
    by DrSkwid ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:41PM EST (#112)
    (User Info) http://www.hardlight.couk.com
    Just when you upgrade to the long awaited version 4.0 than it's time to delete it and re-write all the apps again for a different one.

    Anyone written a Farenhieght to Celcius converter for it yet?
    .oO0Oo.
    Politics is life. Vote with your self.
    Re:Paradigm fork(1) (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:59PM EST (#213)
    You mean fork(2), since fork() is a system call.
    Qt/fb via DGA if local, else Qt/X (Score:2, Informative)
    by SpinyNorman ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @05:55PM EST (#116)
    (User Info)
    XFree already provides DGA to remove the X protocol and network overhead for local apps, so why not combine this with Qt/fb for a seamless "do the right thing" Qt-based desktop...

    A Qt/KDE based app. can determine if it's X display is local or not, and act accordingly: If the display is remote (i.e. over the network), then the normal Qt/X is used, but if the display is local, then the new "embedded" Qt/fb is used "on top of X" via DGA to provide a seamless display.

    What would really make this solution would be if XFree accelerated drivers could be used by Qt for direct screen access rather than using the framebuffer which has very limited 2D acceleration only.

    QT vs GTK (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @09:11AM EST (#247)
    QT or GTK?
    QT ... doesnt seem to be going anywhere, except in the new KDE version seemlessly.

    GTK.. gnome is moving up and so is GTK i love gtk, and it seems to be always ranking the theme sites as well.
    No X, No way !!! (Score:2, Insightful)
    by 51M02 on Tuesday March 21, @06:06PM EST (#118)
    (User Info)
    No X this mean:
    • They must convert KDE (that require X) or create a new desktop (one more :-).
    • No GTK applications will work with it (Unless support developped by the GTK project group, which is unlikely)
    • No X application support (Netscape Communicator ...) until a port is done.
    This is a M$-like method to create standard: pressing the developers to adopt Qt as the standard application model capable to be used in all environnement (X and non-X) inside Linux.

    And if Gnome release such environnement it will only create more fragmentation. I don't really like this idea.
    - Open Source would not be as popular if Window$ was GPLed.

    Re:No X, No way !!! (Score:0)
    by PHroD (zephcATearthlinkDOTnet) on Tuesday March 21, @06:27PM EST (#130)
    (User Info) http://hotsos.8m.com
    hullew? is this thing on?

    the point of this is for EMBEDDED systems, not for desktop systems. Qt apps will all ready work, as they should be 100% source compatible (as if there was such a thing :P) and KDE could be ported quite quickly to it, but again its NOT a desktop system, its meant for like ATM machines and stuff like that... you can still run your gtk C apps all you want on your desktop system...besides, its not like Linux FORCES you to upgrade :) you can do it if you WANT to

    "There is no spoon"-Neo, The Matrix
    "SPOOOOOOOOON!"-The Tick, The Tick
    "Redeyes! Didn't expect to see you so...SPOON!"-Blue Raja, Mystery Men
    KDE is not Qt (Score:2)
    by JamesKPolk (multivac @ fcmail.com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:06PM EST (#162)
    (User Info)
    Qt is just a application development toolkit, with a healthy dose of GUI.

    KDE uses Qt, but Qt is not a desktop environment. It is just a library.

    KDE will continue to use Qt/X11, as it always has.
    Re:KDE is not Qt (Score:1)
    by 51M02 on Tuesday March 21, @08:26PM EST (#172)
    (User Info)
    This article is about Trolltech creating a new environment (not been X) that will be able to use Qt applications. Correct me if I am wrong but KDE is not only developed using Qt, KDE need some X functions. Without X most part of KDE has to be rewritten.
    - Open Source would not be as popular if Window$ was GPLed.
    Re:KDE is not Qt (Score:1)
    by warmi on Wednesday March 22, @01:38AM EST (#226)
    (User Info)
    Mostly WM code, since this requires X specific code, everything else should port very easily.

    Re:KDE is not Qt (Score:1)
    by GeZ117 on Wednesday March 22, @06:54AM EST (#242)
    (User Info)
    No more, as for KDE2 there is a OLE-like protocol (DCOP) which require X for ICE. Without X, no DCOP, so KOffice, for example, won't work. Except if Qt/embed include a remplacement for ICE (I doubt).
    Re:KDE is not Qt (Score:1)
    by JamesKPolk (multivac @ fcmail.com) on Wednesday March 22, @09:45AM EST (#249)
    (User Info)
    My point is, KDE is not a Troll Tech project, and Qt/Embedded is not a sign that the Troll developers are megalomaniacs.
    But is it free software? (Score:2)
    by raph ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @06:08PM EST (#120)
    (User Info) http://www.levien.com/
    The press release doesn't mention licenses at all. The only reasonable thing to conclude is that it probably won't be free software.

    I believe it is now time for a fully free (GPL, perhaps) windowing system that fixes the major problems with X. Such a beast would:


    • Be based on a sophisticated imaging model with transparency and antialiasing
    • Have fonts that didn't suck
    • Be simple and small
    • Have hooks for adding hardware acceleration
    • Work with the realtime capabilities in the OS


    A lot of the infrastructure that we need already exists. Libart provides the imaging model. FreeType can take care of the fonts. I've seen some early results from FreeType 2, and I have reason to believe it will be juicy. We can certainly make use of all the wisdom learned from mature systems such as X, as well as newer systems such as Berlin and Microwindows.

    This idea, I think, is gathering momentum. If you're interested in contributing to the project, let me know and I can hook you up with some of the other people who are working in a similar direction.
    New graphics systems (Score:1)
    by Wesley Felter ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @09:24PM EST (#200)
    (User Info) http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wesf/
    I've been thinking about this, too. It seems like there are two ways to go:

    Smart: Put as much of the logic and work as possible in the server. NeWS was an example of this; Berlin is possibly an extreme example.

    Stupid: Put as little in the server as possible (events, region management) and let all the apps draw directly to the framebuffer. Y seemed to be taking this approach, and I hear MacOS X is also.

    (Note that I don't mean "stupid" in a bad way. The Internet is a really stupid network, and that's why it's the best one around.)

    Which way should we go?
    Re:But is it free software? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @07:05PM EST (#146)
    No. linux is a very fast pseudo-microkernel ( linux has (un)loadable modules, but no inter-module memory protection means that it is technically still a monolithic kernel)

    Linux has both hard- (rtlinux) and soft- (mess with your scheduler - how do you think sound playback on linux avoids jitters) realtime.
    And just as a point of fact.. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @07:28PM EST (#149)
    .. the next version of GTK (1.4) won't be tied to X in the slightest.
    I think its on the right track (Score:1)
    by neoptik ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @07:33PM EST (#150)
    (User Info)
    Not being a professional, but a young amature, take my comments with a grain of salt. But...This does seem like a logical step for Linux/OS Unix on the desktop.

    Considering that in the upcomming years we probably WON'T see broadband internet connections capable of handling a decent speed X session, this may have some value. Because thin clients don't have as many resources as workstations, desktop machines, or even the standard X terminal, this may provide a new solution.

    Also we have to realize that one of the things that keeps Windows popular on the desktop is that it is in one way or another easy to develop for. I know I am going to get hit by lots of experienced programmers telling me that I am wrong and that the Win32 API's suck and all that, but with VB and the whole MS Dev studio together, its pretty simple creating apps.

    One aspect of Windows development that I see could be easier than standard Linux/OS Unix development is the UI output. If programmers can save resources by not having to utilize network protocols then maybe the apps that they develop could be either more stable or more feature filled.

    All of us complain about having too little memory, or bandwith, or processor speed. If there was one less process going on in our standard desktop apps then maybe we may find other features to use those resources with, or even, *gasp*, just have apps that run more stably and consume less resources?

    Any thoughts?
    I dont have a .sig just yet.

    troll tech/qt is kind of a ripoff. (Score:2, Interesting)
    by small_dick ([email protected]_ADDRESS.org) on Tuesday March 21, @08:20PM EST (#167)
    (User Info)
    'spose you write closed source...for whatever reason.

    TrollTech: A set of libraries; $1550 per developer.

    Microsoft: Visual C++ Pro AND W2K. About $500 per developer, for both.

    My sources: The trolltech webpage and pricewatch.com

    I think the price for Qt is ridiculous. Borland sold their stuff to anyone, for $49.99, at a time when the cheapest alternatives were over a thousand. Phillipe Kahn is still a very rich man. The way they (Troll and KDE) keep yapping about the "QPL" is sickening. The Qt libs do not even have a value of a Borland product, let alone MSHAFT.

    Really, I know a lot of people don't like to hear it, but far too many Linux OS and add-on companies are guaging their price structures off of Microsoft, Borland and Apple.

    Here's some news for you: your product only runs on a few percent of the world's machines, if that. Stop staring at your P&L; and get the products out for low cost so developers can use them.

    You are killing Linux, which wouldn't exist without people like RMS and Linus, who were selfless and knew they would have to give for a long time before the rewards came back.

    Wake up, Trolls.
    Well said. Qt a ripoff. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:29PM EST (#204)
    ... but hey the KDE developpers can keep on developping GPL'ed software based on Qt - just as long as they only use the X11 version. Troll can include some of the GPL apps along with their 2000$ development license for windows and "embedded" markets. Troll can say: "thanks for the sample code open source programmers. Now suck it up and give us 2 grand for the commercial Windows version."
    Hey it's cheaper than NeXT Developer! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:38PM EST (#208)
    Everyone might have loved NeXT but uhh it didn't exactly take the world by storm ...

    A case of a technically excellent UI and OO design made by a small company (NeXT and OpenStep were good enough that a fleet of engineers weren't needed). But htey were small and needed money and charged WAY too much ...

    Troll seems small and cash hungry too.

    Message to Troll: cut the price by 90% and go for an IPO. In case you don't know an IPO is where people invest in your company and you use the money to sell develop and market your products.
    I don't really like the look of this (Score:3, Insightful)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @08:23PM EST (#171)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    We need to replace X. Anybody who thinks otherwise is totally ignorant of how bad it is.

    But I don't want to see a "toolkit" interface as the low-level API. This will completely freeze all gui devlopment. It will also make Linux much harder to "hacker" program and will make it less fun. If I am forced to use Qt, I might as well use MFC and Direct X.

    What we need is a true replacement for X that keeps the (few) good ideas of X:

    A networked, buffered protocol. Despite claims above, this is more efficient than a call-based API. There has to be context switches, unless we want to allow the programs to write and peek at each other's windows and to be able to clobber the video registers. The way to keep the context switches down is to buffer requests. Nice simple buffering at a low level, and we get an efficient interface, and we get networked transparency for "free" (rather than having to add it on, as MicroSoft is feverishly trying to do right now...)

    The server does not have to do any "GUI" things. X design is 20 years old, yet it is obvious that it can draw all the GUI components ever invented (like we can copy Windoze quite exactly, and that was not a design criteria when X was made). I do not want a server that has any concept of a "menu" or "button". That is bloat. Put it in the user-level library (much like Qt and GTK are now). I really really fear Qt becoming the standard interface, even MicroSoft was smart enough to not cram MFC down everybody.

    The server does need advanced graphics capabilities. Here the opposite is obvious: X obviously cannot duplicate new ideas. We have seen antialiasing for years now and X cannot do it. 3D requires a whole new interface (OpenGL) that does not interact well with the rest (it does not use X gc's or colors, for instance). And way too many programs "work" by creating a local image buffer, doing all the work there (thus losing all hardware acceleration), and drawing the image.

    I envision a server much like X, but with graphics capabilities like a combination of PostScript and OpenGL (plus antialiased everything, like Flash, and 4-channel images, and transparent paint, and UTF-8 text).

    It seperates programs into arbitrary-shaped "windows" (perhaps with transparency) and does not allow one program to draw in another's "window" or intercept events to another's "window". But except for that it is "GUI stupid". It must deliver raw events to the clients and make absolutely no assumptions about anything, for instance a "window" does not mean it has a border.

    Re:I don't really like the look of this (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @08:47PM EST (#183)

    The answer to your question is: DisplayPostscript.

    NeXTStep used/uses this and it's quite amazing. It runs over a network, deals with the color issues that are problematic under X, alpha color channels (transparency), and NeXT addressed 3D and high-performance access.

    And while people complained about the performance of DisplayPostscript, it seemed that my color NeXTStation (a 30MHz 68040) had about he same feel as my dual 200MHz PPro running WinNT 4.0(SP6). I'm sure DPS would cruise on this hardware.

    Whatever performance advantages there are to a direct access model, something else in NT completely offsets it.

    Craig

    Re: DPS (Score:1)
    by spitzak (spitzak at d two dot com) on Tuesday March 21, @09:26PM EST (#201)
    (User Info) http://www.cinenet.net/users/spitzak
    Direct PostScript as implemented on the NeXT is an excellent example of what is needed. (Do not confuse this with X DPS, which is more like an extension and does not solve anything, on the Next everything, including window creation, was in the postscript stream).

    Main changes I would make to the NeWS:

    1. Add 3d (openGL) and antialiasing

    2. Do alpha correctly by making alpha part of the current color, rather than having the "compositing modes".

    3. Get rid of "layer numbers" in the server. This was the only bit of GUI in the server, and there was absolutely no reason for it, as the toolkit could emulate it easily.

    Document and support the postscript interface, rather than trying to force everybody to use NeXTStep (ie same complaint I have about Qt or MFC being the interface).

    A perhaps better example is NeWS. In this the windowing was much better integrated into the PostScript. They did depend too much on executing the GUI on the server, though, but otherwise was a much cleaner design.

    In both cases lots of operations were noticably faster than X, despite the "overhead" of the buffering and the PostScript interpreter. And NeWS allowed me to rotate and scale an application and it still worked! Nobody is even trying that now...

    Doesn't *ANYONE* know about Berlin? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:31PM EST (#206)
    It uses GGI OpenGL TrueType and Unicode and it isn't X. Gentlemen, port your toolkits ....
    Re:Doesn't *ANYONE* know about Berlin? (Score:1)
    by jonabbey ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @11:10PM EST (#220)
    (User Info) http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Berlin Home Page

    Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Qt licensing issue. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:10PM EST (#193)
    I like Linux. I like GNU. GNU is best. Linux is cool
    X and Qt-in-a-framebuffer aren't exclusive ... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @09:23PM EST (#198)
    Run your KDE/Qt in a framebuffer desktop if you want and uhmm ... run an X server in the framebuffer to display X apps (AFAIK there already are several of these - plus GGI Xggi yada yada yada).

    Surely KDE based on Qt-in-a-framebuffer would accept XDND standard drag and drops etc. etc. blah blah.

    What's the big deal? Or has Troll said the Qt-in-a-framebuffer GUI toolkit won't be "free"?

    If they have well then surprise surprise and add to that about 10,000 "I told you so's"

    ...
    X isn't as big as you think... (Score:2, Informative)
    by jg on Tuesday March 21, @10:01PM EST (#214)
    (User Info) http://www.w3.org/People/Gettys/

    A few factoids to add to the discussion.

    The size of the X server on Itsy is under 700K, courtesy of Keith Packard's new frame buffer code; contrast this with your current X server weighing in at 2 megabytes. This is due to the changes in machine speeds over the last decade. (Note that Keith did the previous frame buffer code: but on 10 mip machines, you had to do things differently to drive a frame buffer flat out).

    DDX's are beginning to cut over to this code, so expect your X servers to get smaller over the next year or two.

    Keith is also working on an anti-aliased text and graphics with alpha blending extension: come hear his paper this summer at Usenix.

    Oh, and someone said X is 20 years old: incorrect, the first thing called X was created less than 16 years ago, and X11's design is about 12 years old.

    Of course, jg was one of the primary authors of X (Score:1)
    by jonabbey ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @10:40PM EST (#217)
    (User Info) http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2

    Jim Gettys is a name that should be familiar to all old-time X developers, as his name is on a whole lot of the code from way back when

    Anyone with some free moderation points might want to bump up his post.


    Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/gash2
    Re:X isn't as big as you think... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @10:22AM EST (#253)
    I agree on this point - I used to run X on a 4Meg Atari Falcon,
    and from memory the actually base system wasn't huge at all
    - it couldn't be, otherwise it wouldn't have worked on a 16Mhz
    68030 with only 4Meg of RAM and no VM at all.

    An X server isn't huge in itself - but the API is probably overkill
    for a single user system.

    One day I'll port my old GEM clone XaAES to the linux framebuffer,
    just to show how far things haven't moved in the last few years
    with respect to bang-for-buck in the user interface stakes...
    I hope someone ports Mozilla to this (Score:2)
    by Jack William Bell ([email protected]) on Tuesday March 21, @10:50PM EST (#219)
    (User Info) http://www.sff.net/people/jackb/home.htp

    Or to some other frame-buffer based GUI. I want to use Mozilla/XUL/XPCom as the basis for a whole set of applications. And it would help if I could use it embedded.

    Jack


    Now we dare the great Promethean sin/And bring fire back to heaven on our rockets -- Robert Anton Wilson, from the poem 'Free At Last'
    GTK/Gnome sans X (Score:3, Informative)
    by anonymous cowpie on Tuesday March 21, @11:33PM EST (#223)
    (User Info)
    In a similar vein, the YAX (YAX Ain't X) project aims eventually to build a windowing system on top of svgalib/GGI/fbcon/Mesa/whatever that will support Gnome and GTK apps. There hasn't been a lot of traffic on the list, but the code is progressing, albeit somewhat slowly.
    Just interesting... (Score:1)
    by ceeam on Wednesday March 22, @01:08AM EST (#225)
    (User Info)
    Why X is nicked X11?
    Was there X2, X3 etc.?
    Re:Just interesting... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @09:53AM EST (#250)
    Yes.
    Currently X is version 11, release 6.4.
    That's why you hear X11R6 (well, apparently you don't.. :)
    How is this a bad thing? (Score:1, Flamebait)
    by Graymalkin on Wednesday March 22, @02:41AM EST (#227)
    (User Info) http://xydyx.com
    So many people on here are bitching about Qt. Qt (I find personally) is much better than GTK. I this this move by Trolltech is a very good idea. Removing Qt's dependancy on X would make it MUCH easier to port. It would be nice to be able to port *nix apps directly to other OSes GUI and all. I would also think it would be a boon to people wanting to put together embedded systems running Linux but don't have the cash to build their own GUI engine along with a graphics library. I don't like X anyways, why the heck does my display need to be networked? I don't ever use a remote client because my connection isn't nearly fast enough.
    Don't knock my smock or I'll clean your clock!
    Re:How is this a bad thing? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, @07:38AM EST (#244)
    Really, do you have any idea what you're talking about?
    Finaly (Score:2, Interesting)
    by rullskidor on Wednesday March 22, @07:34AM EST (#243)
    (User Info)
    For the first time Im relly happy about QT, I still doesn't like it and will never ever in hell use it but it will hopfully inspire GTK hackers to imitate ;). Linux doesn't need one way to do it but more ways, long live QT,GTK, Berlin, X,Dinx,Framebuffers and GGI !
    Re:Hmm... no TROLLS _yet_? (Score:0, Informative)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:18PM EST (#13)
    Speaking of Trolls, CmdrTaco is still an idiot
    Re:Hmm... no TROLLS _yet_? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:47PM EST (#45)
    moderate this up
    Re:Hmm... no TROLLS _yet_? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @06:19PM EST (#124)
    heh. true, true.
    Re:so (Score:1, Flamebait)
    by Graymalkin on Tuesday March 21, @03:27PM EST (#21)
    (User Info) http://xydyx.com
    Another acronym you should ponder is URI, U R an Idiot.
    Don't knock my smock or I'll clean your clock!
    Re:so (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @03:34PM EST (#30)
    Do you live under a rock?
    Re:you think you're cool (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @04:27PM EST (#70)
    http://www.time.com/time/everyone/magazine/sidebar_dj.html
    Re:so (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, @08:26PM EST (#173)
    yeah, good one mate.
    Goals... Plans... they're fantasies, they're part of a dream world... -- Wally Shawn
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