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News and Editorials

In past issues of LWN, we have discussed the need for alternatives to the popular SourceForge site at VA Linux. SourceForge provides an excellent resource for open-source development, but we firmly believe in the axiom "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket". Currently, SourceForge lists over 17,000 projects and over 134,000 users. That's a lot of eggs.

Some fairly recent entries into the world of open-source project hosting include BerliOS which currently hosts 85 projects and has 265 registered users, and Savannah [Savannah] which claims 85 projects and has 328 registered users. Savannah is based on the SourceForge 2.0 code, which is freely available.

Savannah seems to be strongly oriented toward GNU projects, leading to the question of whether non-GNU projects can be hosted there. Not everybody wants to work within the rules for GNU projects (i.e. signing copyright over to the FSF, coding standards, etc.). One has to dig pretty far into the site before finding the following text:

The FSF would like to extend an invitation to any Free Software project to be hosted for no price and no catch. This is our token of appreciation to the people who help make the GNU project a reality.

Thus, it is not necessary to go the full GNU project route, as long as the software involved has an FSF-approved free license.

The open availability of SourceForge software takes a lot of the work out of starting a new software hosting site, it seems like the time is ripe for some new sites to open up.

Surprisingly, there are not very many small, focused-area software hosting sites. Many areas of focus are available, including among other things, specific languages, embedded systems, and database and web applications to name a few.

Whether it is possible to make money with a software hosting site remains to be seen, but such a site brings a level of community recognition that money can't buy. One would think that a few of the larger, well established computing companies such as Sun or IBM would venture into the software hosting arena. It's probably only a matter of time before they do.

Meanwhile, the launch of Savannah should provide a much-needed alternative to SourceForge. (Thanks to Marko Schulz for the pointer to Savannah).


Oracle MySQL conversion available. A conversion kit from MySQL to Oracle has been mentioned on the MySQL site. "At MySQL AB we are pleased to note that Oracle Corporation has shown their recognition of the significant MySQL impact in the database market by creating a MySQL-Oracle migration kit. We are delighted that Oracle shares our view that it should be easy to transfer data between various database architectures."

Embedded Systems

Embedded Linux Newsletter, March 8, 2001. The latest summary for the week that was in the embedded Linux market has been published: LinuxDevices.com's Embedded Linux Newsletter for March 8, 2001.


Wine Weekly News for March 12, 2001. The March 12, 2001 edition of the Wine Weekly News has been published. This issue covers a new Wine web site with lots of tips for dealing with real-world problems, asynchronous I/O performance tests, and other Wine speed improvements.

Mail Software

Mailman 2.0.3 released. Version 2.0.3 of Mailman has been announced. Mailman manages electronic mail lists with a web based interface. This version includes an important privacy patch.

Network Management

A Visit to OpenNMS. Pete Siemsen made a trip to the OpenNMS facilities in North Carolina and posted some useful tips that he learned about getting OpenNMS installed and running on his system. "A functional system has several pieces: Java, OpenNMS, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, Xerces, RRD, Ant, etc. Versionitis is a problem. On my system, some components had to be upgraded because they were all of a month old! The team will bundle things for releases, but this problem will make life interesting for developers."

Two new OpenNMS Updates.

  • The March 6, 2001 issue of the OpenNMS update is out. This issue covers project status, an upcoming OpenNMS release, and road shows.
  • The OpenNMS update for March 13, 2001 also showed up. Topics include the release of OpenNMS 0.7.1, ongoing DSL hassles, improving the ease of installation, and more.


Major Releases for BioPython and BioPerl (bioinformatics.org). Two major releases of Biopython and Bioperl have been released. Both projects consist of collections of tools for use in molecular biology and genome research science. Last, but not least, there is also a BioLisp project.

Software Development Tools

Gnu Visual Debugger 1.1.0 released. Version 1.1.0 of the Gnu Visual Developer has been released. "Besides providing all the features of other debugger GUIs, GVD includes advanced data display and visualization capabilities. Furthermore, GVD allows the debugging of multi-process/multi-threaded applications in the same debugging session." For an added challenge, GVD is written in Ada...

Software Testing

Testing, fun? Really? (IBM developerWorks). Jeff Canna discusses software testing in an IBM developerWorks article. "Testing. Yuck! Puh! Aagh! I've always hated testing. Testing, both unit and functional, is something that gets in the way of the 'real' work. Everyone knows that their code is perfect, right? In the unlikely event that the code does need to change, the comments are so well written that anyone could figure it out. Wow, am I in need of growth (maybe some counseling as well.)"

Web-site Development

New Zope Documentation. Michel Pelletier has announced the creation of several new Zope publications, some of which are still in the planning stages. Included are the Zope book, a Zope Developer's Guide, and a Zope Administrator's Guide. All three documents are being released under the Open Publication License.

Window Systems

Qt 2.3. Trolltech announced the release of Qt 2.3, now with anti-aliased fonts and True Type and Type 1 font support for printing.

The People Behind KDE: Dirk Mueller. This week Tink interviews Dirk Mueller. Dirk has been working on the Konqueror HTML engine of KDE 2.x. "How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I read about KDE the very first time by following a link posted in a Linux related newsgroup to an archive that contained Matthias Ettrich's initial call for programmers back in early 1997. I read the article about KDE by Kalle in the german computer magazine c't later that year and from those days on I started to follow KDE development, mainly as a user and a convert from the Linux console, where I've been previously porting a text based C++ News and Mailreader too."

Recommended Reading

Debunking the myths of UI design (IBM developerWorks). Paul Smith discusses the importance of user interface design in an IBM developerWorks article. "Everyone in product development does design work, whether they know it or not. Moreover the design is the dimension of a product that customers see and feel; it is what satisfies or disappoints them."

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

March 15, 2001

Application Links
High Availability

Open Source Code Collections
Le Serveur Libre



Programming Languages

Expressiveness and language choice (IT World.com). Robert C. Martin discusses dynamically typed languages in an IT World.com article. "As this decade progresses I expect to see an ever increasing use of dynamically typed languages such as Python, Ruby, and even Smalltalk. These languages are often referred to as 'scripting languages'. I think this is a gross injustice. It is these languages, and languages of their kind that will be mainstream industrial languages in the coming years."


Catching more errors at compile time with Generic Java (IBM developerWorks). Keith Turner discusses Generic Java and parametric types in an IBM developerWorks article. "The elegance and expressiveness of the Java programming language has won the hearts of academics and developers alike. Additional features may enhance the Java language, but it is hard to reach a consensus on what to include and how to implement it. For example, there is an intense debate over whether to include operator overloading. On the other hand, there seems to be a general consensus that parametric types would be a welcome addition to the language specification. Here the contention exists over how parametric types should be added. One popular proposal is called Generic Java (GJ). This article will introduce parametric types and discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of GJ. "


LISA 0.5a released. The first public alpha release of LISA, the Lisp-based Intelligent Software Agents, has been announced.

Markup Languages

Ximian soups up SOAP for Linux (ZDNet). SOAP is an XML-based protocol designed for sharing data in a distributed environment. Here's an article about SOUP, Ximian's SOAP compiler. "Ximian is creating a tool that will allow Web services written for Linux to be compiled for SOAP. De Icaza said the compiler could be available to developers within two months. A compiler changes the software code into language a computer can understand, allowing the computer to run the program. "


Perl5 Porters for March 12, 2001. The March 12, 2001 edition of Perl5 Porters is out. Topics covered this week include podchecker questions, EBCDIC and UNICODE, and uses for the previously undocumented PERL_DL_NONLAZY environment variable.

Writing GUI Applications in Perl/Tk (perl.com). Nick Temple discusses multi-platform Perl/Tk GUIs in an article on perl.com. "In this article, I will introduce the basics of installing the Perl interpreter for Win32 and writing a visual application using the Tk (toolkit) modules. This system is geared toward the Win32 and Linux developers; however, most of the information presented pertains to other operating systems as well."

VoiceXML Adventure Game (WebRef). Continuing in the series on VoiceXML, a WebRef article discusses the writing of a voice based Adventure game on the Tellme site.

  Tellme: You are in a small room with three doors.
  Tellme: To open the first door, press 1.
  Tellme: To open the second door, press 2.
  Tellme: To open the third door, press 3.
  User: (pressed 1)
  Tellme: You see a large hungry monkey.
We can only hope that this doesn't get popular with commuters who own cell-phones.

Test Shows 99.99% of High School Seniors Can't Read Perl (bbspot). Showing a growing trend towards code illiteracy, this study tells of a developing crisis: "San Francisco, CA - Recent results from standardized Perl Fluency Test showed that 99.99% of US high school seniors can't read Perl. This disturbing statistic shows that American students are painfully unprepared for life after graduation."

Two New Perl/Tk widgets. Robert Kiesling has announced the availability of two new Perl/Tk widgets, Tk::SimpleFileSelect and Tk::Browser.


PHP Weekly Summary for March 12, 2001. The March 12, 2001 issue of the PHP Weekly Summary is out. This issue covers the newly redesigned PHP Net site, PHP 4.0.5 RC1, compressed output buffering benchmarks, and more.


Python Conference Coverage (zopeNewbies). The zopeNewbies site has coverage of the O'Reilly Python Conference last week in Long Beach, California.

O'Reilly also has coverage of the Python conference by Laura Lewin, and Frank Willison.

Jython 2.1 alpha released. The first alpha release of Jython 2.1 has been announced. Jython, of course, is the Java implementation of the Python language; the 2.1 release mirrors the Python 2.1 release.

Linux version of Installer for Python 2. Gordon McMillan has announced the Linux version of Installer for Python 2. The installer provides a way of packaging Python applications and dependencies for distribution.


The latest issues of Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL!.

  • The March 8, 2001 Tcl-URL! covers the announcement of a puzzle game called tkSokoban, the creation of a shared SourceForge project for small Tcl programs, and creating linear filters in Tcl.
  • The March 12, 2001 Tcl-URL! discusses running Tcl from Java, Chinese characters, changes to the TkGS font project, and more.

tclpython 2.0 announced. Tclpython version 2.0 has been announced. Tclpython allows the execution of Python code from within a Tcl script.

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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