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Development projects

News and Editorials

SourceForge's new developer rating system. Slipped into the SourceForge site news on September 20 was the announcement of the new "peer rating system." SourceForge now invites its registered developers to rate each other in five different categories:
  • Teamwork/Attitude, from 0 ("Q") to 6 ("Borg").
  • Code, "white belt" to "black belt."
  • Design/Architecture, "block stacker" to "Leonardo da Vinci."
  • Follow-through/Reliability, "none" to "robot."
  • Leadership, "Dr. Evil" to "Muad'Dib."
The results of these ratings are available to anybody who cares to look. Lest you wonder whether SourceForge intends for developers to be competitive about their ratings, consider the following from the news item:

Who has the strongest code-fu? Who's the best project manager? Who's the best designer? Who's the most reliable? In the end, there can be only one.

Interestingly, the "one" happens to be a person named Tim Perdue. He is, well, one of the hackers on the SourceForge code itself...

What is SourceForge trying to achieve here? Obviously creating a ratings scheme and encouraging developers to go rating each other is one way to push up traffic on the site. Perhaps they are truly trying to make the free software meritocracy work a little better. It also could help them to build an increasingly valuable database of the free software developer community.

That last bit is interesting. SourceForge does, finally, have a privacy policy, which is an encouraging step. Said policy says:

At no time, unless such disclosure is required by law or a user specifically authorizes such disclosure, will SourceForge disclose individual user personal information that is not publicly available to unrelated third parties.

Herein lies the rub: the developer's name and ratings, since they are displayed on the site, are "publicly available." VA Linux Systems, the sponsor of SourceForge, is highly trusted in the free software community, and it has earned that trust. Even so, this seems like a large loophole.

Some other concerns come to mind here:

  • What if a user does not want to be rated? The only way to avoid being available for rating would appear to be to not have an account on SourceForge.

  • How will these ratings be used? Will there come a time when prospective employers will routinely check SourceForge ratings? Do we as a community want SourceForge to serve as a ratings bureau?

  • How reliable are the ratings really? The rating system is essentially an online poll. Such schemes are good for Slashdot polls, but they need to be looked at more closely if the results are going to be put to serious use.
The point here is not that the SourceForge rating system is a bad idea. It is an interesting idea. But it could probably stand a bit more discussion than it has seen so far.


Netscape 6 Preview 3 Released. Netscape has released Preview Release number 3 of Netscape 6. This release features an exciting new user interface , and enhanced stability among other things.

Mozilla Status Report. The latest Mozilla Status Report for September 27, 2000 is out. Check it out to get a view of the parallel debugging process being done by the Mozilla team.

Galeon 0.7.6 is out. This release brings a number of nice new features, including a button bar with nice functions like "back," "forward," "home," and "reload." Until this release, Galeon users have had to go to the menus for those functions. Even nicer, though, is the little "zoom" blank on that button bar. A few keystrokes, and awful pages with tiny fonts become instantly readable. There is also (from 0.7.5) a nice option which disables popup windows on links.

Galeon is clearly reaching the point where a lot of people are using it, and some are beginning to scratch some of the more annoying itches. After all these years, we are beginning to see what an open source browser can do for us. Galeon is becoming truly usable; it will be fun to see where it goes in the future.


Gnome-DB 0.1.0 released. Gnome-DB 0.1.0 a.k.a. Olympius, has been released. "GNOME-DB is a complete framewok for developing database-oriented applications, and actually allows access to PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle and ODBC data sources."


KDE Games Center. KDE Dot News pointed out the updated KDE Games Center site. The site is the depository for over twenty KDE games and aims to be the place to go for information on developing games under KDE.

New games for kids. The Linux for Kids site has reviewd a number of new kid oriented games. Check out Tunnel, gSoko, 3Dtetris, 7colors, and xquarto. Congratulations go to Linux for Kids, they are now one year old and going strong.

Embedded Systems

gdbstubs 20000921-1406 available. A new version of gdbstubs is available. Gdbstubs is in effect a portable ROM monitor program for embedded systems that speaks a GDB compatible protocol. Gdbstibs allows an instance of GDB running on a development system to communicate with a target system over a serial port. There is currently support for Hitachi 704x and Motorola CPU32 architectures. The code is designed in a way that allows for the addition of new CPU families by customizing a small set of functions. Gdbstubs is released under a GPL style license.

Vendor Neutral Embedded Linux Workshop (Linux Devices). The RTC group and K computing will be providing a hands on embedded Linux workshop at the Embedded Linux Expo & Conference (ELEC) near Boston, Mass on October 26, 2000. "In the full day vendor-neutral workshop, attendees will carefully walk through the process of creating a optimized embedded Linux system. The seminar will focus on open source software that is available on the Internet free of charge. Attendees will gain direct experience, by performing each step on their own in the workshop's hands-on lab set-up."


Wine 20001002 released. The Wine development team has released Wine release 20001002. This version has lots of bug fixes and better Winelib support among other improvements.

Office Applications

The Other Media Player. Noatun is a new media player which will hopefully be released with KDE 2.1. It is said to run more efficiently under KDE compared to other media players.

German-Sponsored KOffice Meeting -- Report. KDE News reports on Linux Kongress which was held recently in Erlangen, Germany. The Koffice team will be working on adding better MS Office and rich text file compatibility.

On the Desktop

Joining the GNOME project. For those of you who would like to make a contribution to GNOME, a guide has been published on how to Join the GNOME project. The project is looking for volunteers to help with documentation, translation, testing, graphics, sound, and numerous other topics.

KDE announcements. Here are some announcements from the KDE developers:

The People Behind KDE: Cristian Tibirna. The "People Behind KDE" series continues with this talk with Christian Tibirna. " I was on the lyx lists when Matthias Ettrich started it in October 1996. His ideas caught me bad. After finishing some exams at beginning of 1997, I got involved with coding (kwm's smart placement and magnetic borders algorithms) and I started to do a lot of users support on the mailing lists."

KDE 2.0 and Korean language support. KDE Dot News has a link to a tutorial on adding multibyte language support (speficially, Korean) to KDE 2.0 applications.

Miscellaneous KDE eyecandy. KDE Dot News has put up a page of "KDE eye candy" with nice spash screens and such. Check it out for a view of the pretty side of KDE2.

Konqueror support for the Diamond Rio (KDE Dot News). A new Konqueror kioslave for the Diamond Rio has been announced. Now you can organize your portable tunes under KDE.


Latest OIO Enables Medical Forms Over the Web (Linux Med News). A new version of OIO, the Open Infrastructure for Outcomes is available. The OIO library manages XML forms and is used for managing medical forms over the net.

Web-site Development

UdmSearch V3.1.5 released. Kir Kolyshkin wrote in to tell us that version 3.1.5 of UdmSearch, a search engine similar to ht://Dig, has been released.

Midgard Weekly Summary. Here is the Midgard Weekly Summary for September 28, billed as "the first of the biweekly Midgard Weekly Summaries." It covers the new MWS format, the upcoming 1.4 release, and more.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

October 5, 2000

Application Links
High Availability

Open Source Code Collections
Le Serveur Libre



Programming Languages


Glibc test tool (IBM Developer Works). IBM's Developer Works has run an article on using Glibc Test, an open-source tool for testing the Glibc internationalization APIs. The tool currently only supports Japanese locales, but the tool is designed to be able to support other languages. Glibc Test has been released under the IBM Public License.


Erlang User Conference Proceedings. The Proceedings from the sixth annual Erlang/OTP User Conference have been made available. Lots of interesting topics were covered.

Erlang 5.0/OTP R7B released. Erlang 5.0 release R7B was made available on August 30. See the list of highlights for the details. The code can be downloaded here.


Blackdown Java 2 SE v1.3 released. The Blackdown Java-Linux Team has announced the release candidate 1 of Java2 SE v1.3 and Debian packages for Java2 SE v1.3, Java3D 1.2 and JAI 1.0.2

Java Servelet Tutorial (IBM Developer Works). IBM's Developer Works has a 30 minute Java Servelet Tutorial by Jeanne Murray. This looks like a good way to get your feet wet with Java (ouch). Registration is required to take the tutorial.

Trusting your e-mail with Java security (IBM Developer Works). An article on using Java to implement secure internet transactions has been published on IBM's Developer Works.

Java code samples (IBM Developer Works). Lastly, IBM's Developer Works has published a useful list of Java Code Samples with lots of useful tidbits.


Upcoming Perl Classes. If you are looking to educate yourself on the use of Perl, the University of Perl has classes by several well known Perl experts in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York City during October. Also, Consultix is offering Perl Classes by Damien Conway and Tim Maher this month in Chicago and Kirkland, WA.


This week's Python-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Python-URL For October 2, with the latest in development news from the Python community.

Python-Dev newsletter for September 30. A.M. Kuchling's Python-Dev newsletter for September 30 is out. Development is a little slow with the current code freeze, but numerous topics are covered regardless.

VTK-CFD Visualization Tools. Prabhu Ramachandran has released his Python based VTK-CFD Visualization Tool package. VTK-CVD is useful for visualizing 3D graphics and has been released under the GPL license. The screenshots from this program look very impressive.

Python Disribution Utilities 1.0 released. Version 1.0 of the Python Distribution Utilities have been announced. "The Python Distribution Utilities, or Distutils for short, are a collection of modules that aid in the development, distribution, and installation of Python modules.


This week's Tcl-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for October 2. It covers the latest in the Tcl core team charter and other Tcl development topics.

New Tcl/Tk rpms for Redhat Linux 7. New rpms of Tcl/Tk that are compatible with Redhat Linux version 7 have been announced. Both the alpha Version 8.4a1 version and the stable Version 8.3.2 version are available.

Software Development Tools

CVS tagged KDE_2_0_RELEASE. KDE Dot News reports that the release version of KDE 2.0 has been tagged. This means that the development work is done. In the absence of showstopper bugs, all that remains is the packaging work to actually put together the release, which is still set for October 16.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

Language Links
Caml Hump
g95 Fortran
Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC)
Gnu Compiler for the Java Language (GCJ)
IBM Java Zone
Free the X3J Thirteen (Lisp)
Use Perl
O'Reilly's perl.com
Dr. Dobbs' Perl
PHP Weekly Summary
Daily Python-URL
Python Eggs
Ruby Garden
MIT Scheme
Why Smalltalk
Tcl Developer Xchange
O'Reilly's XML.com
Regular Expressions

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