By: J.D. Hildebrand
Abstract: Eazel in the news. Making money in the open source world. Highly reliable software. And all the usual nonsense.
By J.D. Hildebrand
Greetings! Today is the 339th day of 2000; 27 days remain in the year.
December 4 is a fine day in the history of romanticism,
the artistic movement that is occupied with significance, meaning, and idealism.
Concerto in D Major made its world premier 119 years ago, on December 4,
1881. Legend has it that the concerto was written to ease the pain of
Tchaikovsky's broken marriage, which lasted less than three months.
Romantic poet Rainer
Maria Rilke, a champion of lyricism, was born 125 years ago, on December 4,
1875, in Prague. Track him down on the Web; even in translation his voice is
pure. Of the provenance of art, Rilke once wrote, "Works of art always
spring from those who have faced the danger, gone to the very end of an
experience, to the point beyond which no human being can go."
Zappa died seven years ago at age 52.
Today's birthdays: Model Tyra
Banks turns 27 today. Game-show host Wink
Martindale turns 66. And the marvelous singer Cassandra
Wilson turns 45. I have all of Wilson's
CDs and I've caught her live two or three times. Her work always leaves me
breathless. Celebrate her birthday by nabbing a copy of her breakthrough
Moon Daughter, or my favorite, Blue Light 'Til Dawn. You will be astounded,
I promise, to hear what a soulful
jazz singer can wring out of Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" or the
Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville."
I am back from Scotts Valley and recovered from the chest
cold that laid me low for a week or so. Sorry about the lack of Almanac
columns while I was busy brainstorming with David I., John
Kaster, and the rest of the crew. I stayed up late working in my hotel room
every night, but I never really got anywhere.
We did some good brainstorming about new features for the Borland Developer
Community site, including some irresistible new features that tickle me, they
are so clever and nerdy. The best of the new ideas are huge, of course, too huge
to implement in a week or a month. We haven't even begun to assess their impact
on the timelines and budgets that support our work here. There's a lot of work
ahead of us. But I always feel great when I participate in the excitement of a
shared vision and commitment to a project I believe in. The visit really
recharged my batteries.
But enough about me. I have some stories to tell you about today.
EAZEL IN THE NEWS. The guys at Eazel
should give their public-relations
firm a bonus. I can't think of another company that gets so much favorable
press -- and on the basis of so little product. It seems like every couple weeks
I get overflows from the flack buffers at ZDNet, Linux Today, and CNet. I swear,
can't buy a new car without CNN rushing a special report onto its Web site.
The amazing thing is that the news is almost always positive. In fact, before
today I had never read a word about Eazel that was even slightly discouraging.
Reporters treat the executive team -- most of them members of the original
Macintosh development team at Apple -- with the kid gloves and wide-eyed
admiration usually reserved for rock stars and bishops. You'd think that Nautilus
was the second coming of Lotus 1-2-3.
Well. Here's the daily dose of adulation:
CAN YOU REALLY MAKE MONEY IN OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE? The collapse of the
high-tech stock market has increased the pressure on dot-coms and Linux firms to
generate revenue and show profits. Predictably, journalists and pundits are
using the occasion as an excuse to do a little navel-gazing about the big
picture. Can Linux firms ever make money? Or is the whole thing a house of
The great thing about opinions is that everyone has one.
MAYBE WE SHOULD JUST HANG IT UP RIGHT NOW DEPT. SiliconValley.com is
on the verge of discovering embedded systems.
In a report by the San Jose Mercury News's Chuck Carroll, sv.com shared the
news that NASA, Carnegie-Mellon University, and a number of corporate partners
will form a "high dependability computing consortium" in Silicon
The purpose of the consortium is apparently to research and promote
techniques for writing highly reliable software for use in embedded systems.
Because they're fed up with the way they're always having to reboot the antilock
braking systems in their cars, I guess.
The story just seems wrongheaded to me, maybe because I'm more aware than
most people of the countless computers that surround us in daily life, all
spinning away with a quiet reliability that puts PCs to shame.
Or maybe it's because of the statistics. Carroll quotes a Stanford Research
Institute scientist who says the Y2K bug cost businesses $1 trillion worldwide
-- far more than any other estimate I've read. And Carroll reports that software
"typically has from six to 30 errors per line of code."
I never claimed to be a superprogrammer (well, once),
but I doubt I ever squeezed six errors into a single line of code, much less 30
Oh well. Here
is the story.
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