Tara Calishain sends along a pointer to a long article from the LA Times about Red Hat. It’s a nice overview of the Linux and Red Hat phenomenon, and goes a good way toward answering the puzzling question, “How can you make money off of something free?”
Judith Lewis has started recommending FreeBSD to friends after Linux users on Slashdot were mean to her. Slashdot is increasingly becoming a new incarnation of Guy Kawasaki’s Mac EvangeList … a staging areas for juvenile attacks on journalists. Guys, grow up.
Linux gossip: Rasterman (aka Carsten Haitzler), the author of the Enlightenment window manager, has left Red Hat (where he was working on GNOME) due to what in the entertainment industry would be called creative differences. Slashdot has posted an email message he sent to the Enlightenment mailing list in which he burns his Red Hat bridges with aplomb. If you don’t feel like reading the email message, I’ll summarize: Red Hat is a sellout, GNOME and KDE suck, and Enlightenment is on its way to being the greatest thing since sliced bread. After you’ve followed the free software world for awhile, blowups like this never come as a surprise, they’re really one of the best things about it. By the way, I’m forecasting that he’ll get a job with Penguin Computing or VA Linux Systems.
Nathan Myhrvold, head of research at Microsoft, is taking a “one year leave of absence.” There are rumors that he’s leaving after a power struggle with Steve Ballmer, although Myhrvold is denying those rumors. In any case, we’ll see what happens in July, 2000, when Myhrvold is supposed to be back. Maybe he’s going off to do whatever Brad Silverberg is doing.
Peter Coffee talks about burgeoning momentum behind the Mac in his PC Week column. Such an idea would have been ridiculed not that long ago.
Washington Post tech reporter Mike Musgrove has a funny article about how his Palm palmtop has revolutionized his life. I’m planning on revolutionizing mine in the next week or two.
Jamais Cascio reviews Scot Hacker’s BeOS Bible for Byte Magazine, and sneaks in a review of the whole operating system as well! I’d like to see the BeOS succeed, but I really do think it’s caught in a nasty pinch between the mainstream users who are shackled to Windows, and the hacker community, which has settled on the free Unix alternatives.
If you want to use Unix, but vi and emacs give you the blues, you might want to try out NEdit, a text editor for Unix that acts more like a text editor for Windows.
Perhaps you wonder what’s wrong with the world of business. Why would someone take a useful thing, destroy it, and build another entirely different thing on top of the remains of that formerly useful thing? Wouldn’t it be easier to just build a new thing without going through the trouble of destroying that old, useful thing first? These are the thoughts that I have in mind when I consider the case of the formerly useful Deja News. I finally got around to reading Janelle Brown’s article about Deja News, and I wasn’t surprised to discover that they hired a new CEO last December who backburnered all the good stuff about Deja News, and put a bunch of crap in its place. (He also moved the company headquarters from Austin to New York … the bastard probably just didn’t want to live in Texas.) So now we have an overdesigned site with no useful purpose that insults practical users by loading slowly, where there was once a nice, useful resource. Why couldn’t the new CEO have just started a new company to express his misbegotten vision of what a Web site should be like? The people behind these companies can thank their lucky stars that the world is full of even bigger idiots than they who are willing to throw money at them while they pursue their flights of fancy. The bottom line is that 90% of the “Internet companies” are doing nothing but peddling crap. It’s a good thing that the market for crap is huge. By the way, in case you’re writing the business plan for the next lame-ass Internet business, people actually use the Internet to do things besides shop.
In his latest .plan update, John Carmack describes his latest experiences with Linux. He’s been hacking on the open source driver for the Matrox Millenium G200, and according to a subscriber to the G200 mailing list, he’s been posting ideas and patches to the list. John Carmack is the type of software developer other software developers aspire to be.