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Development projects

News and Editorials

Notes from the VA Open Source Printing Summit. Printing has never been an area where Linux has particularly stood out. In an attempt to change that situation, VA Linux Systems convened a "printing summit" in Sunnyvale, attended by many people who are actively developing in the printing area. Grant Taylor's notes from the event are worthwhile reading. "Mark VanderWiele then presented his project, which frankly took most of us by surprise. IBM has over the years written printer drivers for essentially all printers to support OS/2. They are porting this project to Linux and releasing it as free software: probably GPL or perhaps LGPL."

Grant has also announced the launch of LinuxPrinting.org, his site dedicated to information about printing under Linux.

Internet Groupware for Scientific Collaboration. Jon Udell has written up a report on Internet Groupware for the Software Carpentry project. The report looks at the tools that are currently available, and talks about where those tools should really be. It's a good overview of what could be done to make the net better for collaborative work, recommended reading.


Mozilla Status Update (July 29th). A new Mozilla Status Update went on-line on July 29th. Each group appears to be making progress towards eliminating bugs that are considered "show-stoppers" for beta 2 release.

KMail progress review. As part of the lead-in to the 2.0 release, the KDE project has set up a "launch pad" page with information on what's changed. The most recent addition is a detailed review of the new features in the KDE mail client KMail. It looks like the developers have been busy...

KMailcvt - Exchange email's with Outlook Express. Hans Dijkema has reported the completion of two working import filters for KMail and Kab (KDE address book). They support the import of Outlook Express 5.0 folders into KMail and MS Exchange .PAB format files into Kab. This should be pleasant news for KDE users that still need to use Outlook and Exchange as well.

Web Browsers on the Linux Desktop (Web Review). Here's a survey of Linux web browsers on Web Review. "Timing for the first official [Mozilla] release is unclear, though looking at overall progress and various snippets on the Mozilla Web site gives the impression that we will see one before the year's end. At any rate, M16 is already a usable browser for Linux and I expect the next 'milestone' release to replace Netscape on my own desktop."

qmail-autoresponder version 0.93. The qmail-autoresponder appears to be approaching its first stable release. This should be a useful little tool for qmail-based sites.


SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report for July 31 is out. It contains information on efforts to support Linux in education in Colombia. In addition, recent discussion on the mailing lists has focused on the need to provide lessons plans, developed by teachers, that utilize Linux software instead of commercial packages. New effort has begun as a result, currently focusing on getting permission to adapt existing lesson plans to Linux and re-publish them. Many additional topics are also covered.


WorldForge 'Acorn' demo alpha release. The WorldForge project has announced the 0.1 (alpha) release of its Acorn demonstration game. This is the first chance for many to see this open source multiplayer game platform in action.


A toast to wine for running win apps (ZDNet). A ZDNet columnist writes about his experiments with Lotus Notes and Wine. "The performance was similar to running Notes under Windows-the longest lags were in accessing the Notes server. This surprised me, but after all, Wine's name stands for 'Wine Is Not an Emulator.' Rather than slog through the emulation of a full machine and OS, Wine only provides an alternate implementation of the Windows API."

Network Management

ScoreBoard Inc to support OpenNMS. ScoreBoard Inc has announced plans to support development on OpenNMS by hiring an OpenNMS fellow, another full-time person dedicated to this open source project. They are currently looking for the right person to fill this position.

OpenNMS Development Update. This week's OpenNMS Development Update highlights the release of the "Service Control Manager" spec. "This is the hallmark event in what should be several successive weeks of new programming specs. Knock wood."

It also includes an informal report back from DefCon.

Office Applications

Gnumeric and the Gnu Love of my Life (ShowMeLinux). Here's a review of Gnumeric on the ShowMeLinux site. "Hold onto your hats, Excel fans, it gets even better. On the higher end, some of the most useful Excel features are supported: goal seeking, solver, and quite a lot of analysis tools, which unfortunately don't allow the interaction of Excel when it comes to selecting ranges, but the tools themselves work great."

Evolution 0.3. Another development snapshot for Evolution, the Gnome groupware suite, has been put out. This is primarily a bug-fix release.

The Graphics Lab on Your Linux Desktop (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet looks at Linux graphical tools, especially gPhoto and the Gimp. "gPhoto offers a very friendly and easy-to-use package that covers a wide array of cameras. When I was shopping for a camera, I loaded the supported list of cameras on to my Palm and went shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that there was support for almost every model on the shelves of several local merchants. The only exception was a $75 toy. Everything else, from $200 beginner models to pricier almost-$1000 units were supported by gPhoto."

AbiWord Weekly News. Last week's AbiWord Weekly News focused on Online help, toolbar improvements, and major BeOS fixes. This week's edition reports great progress on the binary Word export.

On the Desktop

KDE 2.0 Beta 3 Released (1.92). The KDE Project has announced the release of the third beta of KDE 2.0. This release contains a lot of bug fixes, and some new functionality as well.

Helix GNOME: Unix For Humans (O'Reilly Network). The O'Reilly Network has put up a detailed article on obtaining and installing the Helix GNOME distribution. "Helix Code aims to provide an easy-to-use and easy-to-install open source desktop. They do this by taking the standard GNOME desktop and then enhancing it with a few additional features that make it both nicer and more user-friendly. However, what basically has made Helix GNOME so popular is its awesome installation and update programs. With these programs, setting up the latest version of a GNOME desktop, and then keeping it up-to-date, has become really easy."

Web-site Development

IBM offers free tool for writing Linux software (News.com). According to this News.com article, IBM is about to release a new web development tool. "The product, Sash Weblications for Linux, was written by seven IBM summer interns and will be available for download to the open-source community within the next few weeks..."

Latest Zope faqts update. Here's an update detailing the latest entries in the zope.faqts.com knowledge base. Check it out for instructions on making the Zope tutorial work, and the distressingly ugly truth of how one simulates a "while" loop in DTML.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

August 3, 2000

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Development tools

News and Editorials

The OpenTcl Movement. On July 24th, in response to discussions on comp.lang.tcl, John Ousterhout posted a proposal for a "Tcl Core Team" to manage the Tcl core. "Our conclusion matches what many of you have been arguing for a while, which is that we should open up the Tcl core to encourage contributions by a broader cross-section of people."

This week, Michael McLennan posted an announcement for a community election of the new Tcl/Tk Development Team. Nominations must be received by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, August 6. Voting starts on August 7 and continues until 11:59 EST on August 11. Check http://www.tcltk.com for more details.

The next few months are likely to be pivotal in the history of Tcl/tk. A transition from a tightly-controlled development to a more fully open development is not an easy one. Nonetheless, in this case, it seems an obvious evolutionary step. We wish them good luck.

VAR'AQ: Finally, programming support for Klingon. For the fearless only, NTK reports on var'aq, a "stack-based, Forth-ish language, with Lispish data structures, and an object-verb-structure grammar designed for use by Klingons." Comments project leader Brian/B'Rian Connors/C'onnarrghs, "'If you are afraid to tread in hostile territory like this, you might want to hold off on playing with var'aq for a while.'" NTK retorts, "But then, maybe you are weak, and dishonour us all with your cowardice, toDSaH!" Hey, if my dog can understand Klingon, surely programming in it can't be hard?


Java2 v1.2.2, Java3D 1.2 FCS, and JAI 1.0.2-beta. The Blackdown team proudly announced three new releases this week, including Java2 v1.2.2, Java3D 1.2 FCS, and JAI 1.0.2-beta. The JCK status page for Java 1.2.2 indicates that the Intel port has passed all tests.

They also mention that Java v1.3, the JMF and Debian packages for all the recent releases are "soon to come".


Mumps Compiler Version 2.0. Mumps is a programming language with a long history of use in the development of software for the health-care industry. Version 2.0 of the Mumps to C translator/compiler has been released. It appears to provide some specific PostgreSQL support. Note that this is not free software; commercial use requires a license. The full 1995 Mumps standard has not been implemented. Nonetheless, if you have legacy code, this may be a way to get your software ported reasonably painlessly to a new environment.


Developers To Polish New Perl (ZDNet). ZDNet reports on the plans for Perl 6. "The upgrade will better Perl's management of system memory, improve its ability to parse eXtensible Markup Language and search for XML-tagged documents, and make the language more compatible with Java and other software programs."

For those of you wanting to follow the development progress for Perl 6, we recommend bookmarking http://www.perl.org/perl6/.


Python-URL for July 31. Here's Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for July 31; it contains the usual mix of Python development items, including a pointer to this posting by Tim Peters clarifying the Python license situation.


Tcl-URL (July 31st). This week's Tcl-URL contains a link to another posting from John Ousterhout regarding the development of the Tcl Core Team, works from Sergei Kucherov containing wizardly Expect advice and other useful posts from the past week.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

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