By: J.D. Hildebrand
Abstract: Loki founder on Linux gaming. Low-down on scripting languages. SD 2000 East keynotes. Napster outlook. The current state of distributed development teams. Big Brother knows where you are.
By J.D. Hildebrand
Greetings! Today is the 305th day of 2000; 61 days remain in the year.
Halloween! The festival of Samhain lives
on tonight as children take to the streets with bags for collecting treats.
Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand, or you might wind up with a trick
instead! Trick or
English poet John
Keats, author of "Hyperion"
and other marvelous poems, was born 205 years ago, on October 31, 1795.
Celebrate by dipping into his works, or by rereading Dan
Simmons's remarkable Hyperion
books, which contain many allusions to Keats.
In 1517, Martin
Luther nailed his 95
theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, causing a schism that led to
the Reformation and the birth of the Protestant movement. Luther's document was
so influential and powerful that other visionaries have adopted the format in
their own efforts
to change the world.
LOKI FOUNDER ON LINUX GAMING. Media
& Games Online has published an interesting Q&A with Loki
Entertainment president and founder Scott Draeker. Loki ports commercial
games from Windows and other platforms to Linux, squashing bugs and performing
rewrites in the process. The company's goal, Draeker says, is nothing less than
to "make Linux the best gaming platform on the planet."
The entertaining, informative interview can be found here.
Loki's games are based on proprietary code and they're sold retail without
source. But the company offers open source tools and useful libraries for free
via its Web site. Here
is the list of projects the company is supporting, and the code you can
THE LOW-DOWN ON SCRIPTING LANGUAGES. What's your favorite scripting
language? Some developers use Perl, others swear by PHP. Everybody has an
eWeek Labs has published an informative evaluation that pits four scripting
languages (and associated development environments) against each other:
Apache's JSP-based Tomcat,
the Microsoft VBScript/ASP
approach, and PHP Development's PHP.
The winner? Click here
to read the benchmarks for yourself.
MARTIN FOWLER, LARRY WALL STIR UP THE CROWDS. "Extreme
programming" expert Martin Fowler challenged programmers to think big at
his SD 2000 East presentation Tuesday. Chief scientist at San Jose-based
ThoughtWorks Inc., Fowler said developers need to use processes that are more
adaptive and iterative. Fowler advocates lightweight methodologies in which
developers can stay nimble to respond to new information, new requirements, and
ZDNet's account of Fowler's presentation can be found here.
For an even more thought-provoking presentation, check out this
transcript of Larry Wall's presentation at Atlanta's Annual Linux Showcase.
Wall, the creator of Perl, is known for his off-beat, provocative, entertaining
presentations. Judging from this transcript, the Atlanta crowd was treated to
Wall at his best. For more on Wall, Perl 6, and related subjects, start here
OK, THE OPEN SOURCERS PROBABLY DIDN'T DO IT DEPT. Salon's
ever-entertaining Andrew Leonard let himself in for trouble when he suggested
that renegade members of the open source community may have been responsible for
the break-in at Microsoft. In this
entertaining report, he tells about getting burned in the flame wars -- and
explains why he believes that the open sourcers' readiness to flame others is
related to the community's main strength.
WHITHER NAPSTER? Napster is temporarily back in business, but the
outlook isn't good. Smart Business's Joyce Slaton has written an informative,
in-depth report of where the company stands, what happens next, and what the
implications are for all of us.
As developers, we can't afford to ignore the Napster case. It isn't just
about music. Every line of code we write is intellectual property, and like it
or not, the legislation that safeguards Britney Spears's interest in her latest
ballad is the same law that protects thee and me. I know, I know, it's tempting
to play ostriche, bury our heads in the sand, and hope it all blows over soon.
But I'm not sure we have that luxury.
is Slaton's report.
ENABLING DISTRIBUTED DEVELOPMENT. People have been talking about the
promise of geographically distributed programming projects since the invention
of the modem. The Internet and successful projects like Linux and Apache have
lent the discussions an underpinning of real achievements. Is it reasonable to
think we'll all one day work from home, collaborating with developers around the
globe? Businesses hope so -- home workers are cheaper to employ, especially if
they work in countries where the wages are lower.
InfoWorld's Tom Sullivan offers this
snapshot of the current state of distributed development.
BIG BROTHER KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE. What if your PDA and your credit
cards and your laptop and your car all broadcast your location as you carried
about your business. When you approached a restaurant near lunch time, it might
page you or e-mail you the day's specials.
Science fiction? Not according to this
CNN report, which details the surprising extent to which this information is
already being made available. If you're concerned about online privacy, or
intrigued about the potential of such technology, don't miss this report.
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