August 5, 2004

Cliff's List Filter - July 29-Aug 2

Author: Ian Palmer

In this week's summary from various open source development efforts: the latest release from the FiST project and the concept of "stackable" filesystem development; more fun with Linux schedulers; a fork in the GNOME road; Rosegarden, a near-professional level music authoring program, closes in on its "ready for prime time" release; and the usual assortment of tips, tricks, workarounds and patches.

Linux Kernel

  • Sometimes getting even the most basic of devices working under Linux can be frustrating. Sometimes its a matter of the software, and in this situation judicious use of the proper Linux configuration options and BIOS settings can work wonders. In other cases though, you can't rule out flaky ports, especially those on multi I/O cards.
  • UDF filesystem support on CDs is still not quite perfect under Linux, however these UDF mounting tips may get your UDF CDs mounted under Linux. It mentions several useful tools you can use to diagnose any problems you may have with UDF disks. If you're having problems using UDF CDs burned with Nero, then you might be able to make good use of this information, especially if the culprit turns out to be Nero.
  • fistgen 0.1, released on July 29, now has support for Linux 2.6. FiST is primarily used as a way to easily create a filesystem (via a method called "stacking") in such a manner that a VFS (virtual filesystem) defined using FiST can be compiled, and loaded on all supported operating systems. Currently FiST supports Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD.
  • Marcelo Tossatti marks the end of July by letting Linux 2.4.26-rc4 out into the world. Right after 2.4.27-rc4 was released, a minor kernel error in XFS was reported, and quickly fixed.
  • Performance hounds will be interested in the latest version of the Single Priority Array scheduler from Peter Williams. Included in this release are many variations of the SPA based on other alternatives of the standard 2.6 scheduler. Each SPA variation comes in flavors for Linux 2.6.7, 2.6.8-rc2 and 2.6.8-rc2-mm1.
  • As the last bit from the Linux Kernel list, this information may prevent you from a lot of head-scratching if you deal with systems that depend on symlinks. Currently, due to some internal limitation in the Linux Kernel, symlinks can only be nested 5 levels deep, instead of the usual 8. The 2.6 kernels are working to address this issue but it is still a work in progress.

GNOME

  • A Balsa user reported strange crashes when loading emails infected with the latest Microsoft-email-virus-of-the-week, but also reports that st version of Balsa will fix the problem. Considering the amount of traffic these things usually generate, if you haven't upgraded to version 2.2.1, then you probably should at your soonest opportunity.
  • It appears recent issues with the current direction of GNOME have drawn some outside attention. The basic question in front of GNOME users is: do you prefer simplicity or flexibility. GNOME is now standardizing on the former, while many GNOME users would prefer the latter. The dissatisfaction with the move toward simplicity was enough for a group of developers to fork GNOME into a new effort: GoneME.
    Now before you react, realize that a fork isn't a bad thing, especially when there is a bit of friction between the developers. Slashdot has its own opinions on the fork, but the author of the GoneME article says it best: "... no one desktop interface can serve every human need..." and that's what is happening here. If GoneME goes forth and achieves its goals, we'll all benefit from the extra freedom and the extra choice.
  • With this week's release of Gnopernicus, Samuel Thibault provides enhancements
    to allow Gnopernicus to feed its text into braille
    using BRLTTY, providing braille support to the GNOME desktop in one fell swoop.
  • From the "whoops-this-should-have-been-mentioned-last-time" department: Andy Wingo releases his mtools backend for GNOME-vfs. He's found it very useful in his thin-client computer lab, maybe there are some of you out there in a similar situation that may find a decent use for it, too.
  • A random sampling of this week's freshly squeezed GNOME software:

KDE

  • Rosegarden-4 v0.9.9 was released on July 30. Rosegarden is an audio/MIDI sequencer for Linux (using some of KDE's libraries) that features a musical editor that which classical notation (remember sheet music?). It's chock full of features and looks to be well on its way to becoming a professional-level musical authoring tool.
  • There were recent reports of problems printing in KOffice, particularly with PDF files. According to a message from Marc Heyvaert, there may be some workarounds to the printing problem. Hopefully one of the two options offered will address some or all of these issues.

Mozilla

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