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Joe Barr

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Latest Articles from Joe Barr
Joe Barr is happy to have a Ximian desktop again, and hopes he doesn't have to go a long time without it in the future. Want a polished desktop? Give it a try!
While conspiracy theories are fun, Joe Barr is certain of two things. One is that Linux is going to continue its inexorable march to the desktop. The second is that the Microsoft monopoly is not going to go gentle into that good night.
At the risk of sounding blasé, Mandrake 9.1 is a pretty standard distribution, and consists of the latest KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice.org, Xine, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and PostgreSQL. The PowerPack version comes with 60-days of support via e-mail. The higher-priced ProSuite version of Man...
SCO CEO and President Darl McBride said the company is 'alerting commercial users to the fact that legal liability for the use of Linux by businesses may extend to end users.' (300 words)
Microsoft claims Windows 2003 Server is twice as fast as Linux, at least when it's used for file serving. I spoke to Jeremy Allison, head of the Samba team, who provided a few insights into the test configurations that don't leap out at the reader because they are hidden away in append...
In the late 1980s, I wrote an online bridge game for Portal. The world has changed a lot since then, but the itch remains. I decided to scratch the old itch again: I'm writing a bridge game, this time for online play over the Internet and on Linux.
I decided to put my Red Hat Network subscription to greater use. I normally use RHN to run up2date at least weekly so I can keep up with the latest security fixes and updates. This week, I decided to download the iso images of 'shrike' (Red Hat's code-word for its new release) and upgr...
With all the chatter accompanying two WINE-related announcements over the past week or so, Joe Barr thought it might be a good time to take a long look at the WINE project to see what all the fuss has been about. (1,400 words)
Here are the basic steps to adding 120 gigabytes of storage to your
I've been hanging around all the gaming channels I can find on irc.freenode.net over the past week or so, trying to learn more about the Linux gaming scene. There are more top-quality games available today than ever before, and the pipeline is filled with more jewels to come. (1,500 wo...
Tricks, tips and techniques for installing one of the greatest timesinks ever invented on Linux. Hurry, Lady Aribeth has a secret mission, and you need to find and recover the Waterdhavian creatures! (1,400 words)
Over the past two years, Texas has become ground zero in the war between proprietary and free/open-source software for use in state and local government. Our unilateral correspondent gives an update on three key battles in the Lone Star state. (1,700 words)
In monitoring his son-in-law's performance in the Busch Series, Joe Barr discovers that NASCAR.com is packed with great information and features for racing fans. Unfortunately for Linux and Macintosh users, the site's most-exciting feature -- streaming audio and video -- is rigged to w...
Showcasing a questionable understanding of the history of Unix, open-source software and computing in general, SCO's lawsuit against IBM has sent shockwaves rippling across the IT community. Parts of SCO's complaint would be laugh-out-loud funny if only the possible repercussions for L...
Now that Linux boasts full-featured office suites, there's no reason it can't become a boon for small- and home-offices. Joe Barr compares two Optical Character Recognition packages -- Kooka & Gocr (free software) and OCR Shop (proprietary) -- that may be of special value in the legal ...
In the Browser Wars' latest scrap, MSN 'optimized' Opera browsers by sending instructions to shift text 30 pixels to the left. Opera responded by releasing a humorous 'Bork version' of its Windows browser, but Microsoft's track record in dealing with competitors isn't so funny -- and n...
OpenOffice.org is more sophisticated and powerful than I realized. It can be made to work with various database-management systems, and it can do the mailmerge functions required by many SOHO types. Ease-of-use issues need attention.
Thanks in no small part to a helpful how-to piece by John McCreesh, Joe Barr shows us how to get ODBC, MySQL and OpenOffice to treat each other with respect. And don't forget to tune in next week, when Joe tells all regarding his attempts to use MySQL from within OpenOffice (1,500 word...
Looking for a software solution to help him access his home desktop remotely, Joe Barr finds even more than he'd hoped for in TightVNC. (1,470 words)
The story of how BitKeeper became Linus Torvalds's (and many other kernel hackers') tool of choice in maintaining the Linux-development tree is worthy of a book. Here's the Cliffs Notes version of McVoy's contribution to Linux kernel development, BitKeeper, and countless hours of flami...
Bruce Perens, former Linux/Open-Source strategist for HP, advises Joe Barr about hot-headed journalism tactics and sounds off on Bitkeeper, pre-loaded Linux PCs and the ever-fervent Windows vs. Linux TCO debate.
Bruce Perens, the former Linux/Open-Source strategist for HP, talks to Joe Barr about his work with the Cyber Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, his new Prentice Hall book series and his life since departing HP. (1,300 words)
It's the time of year when columnists make shots in the dark about what will happen in the next 365 days, and Joe Barr is no exception. Plus, we review how well Barr did last year. Editor's advice: Don't listen to his Super Bowl predictions. (1,550 words)
IRC is that information dirt road for hackers, right? Well, yes and no. It's a whole lot more. Here are the basics to getting started with IRC. (1,550 words)
Help for managers who want to undertake their own TCO study. We look at three current real-world scenarios to learn what elements should be included in TCO calculations. (2,650 words)
At wit's end due to crowded shopping malls, miserable weather and that FAO Schwartz song that plays over and over and over until you lose your mind? Have no fear: an open-source, first-person-shooter game called Cube can help relieve some of your stress, and Joe Barr is here to tell yo...
Ever since his own jump to open source, Joe Barr has been hearing complaints from Linux newbies and never really bought into any of them. Until now. Joe points out three major obstacles for anyone making the jump to Linux and explains how the operating system's usability can improve. (...
The pluses for Mandrake installation are its speed and the absolute ease of obtaining and applying updates. It completely obliterates the Windows contenders in both the update category and the installation of attached devices. (1,900 words)
Joe Barr tests the installation process for the sample version of Xandros 1.0. Our hero finds that the Distribution Formerly Known As Corel Linux isn't just pretty... it's pretty darn easy to install, too. (2,200 words)
Here are ten questions Doc Searls, Phil Hughes and the rest of the gang really wanted answered on the Linux Lunacy Geek Cruise but were afraid to ask. (700 words)
The configuration process on a normal Debian installation can be daunting. Knoppix automagically identified and configured everything for me, making a normally tedious (for me) installation a 40-minute walk in the park. (1,300 words)
Didn't know about the Linux version of Unreal Tournament 2003, Epic Games' popular first-person shooter? That's because Epic Games seems to be keeping quiet about the Linux version's very existence. Joe Barr examines the mysterious shortcomings that plague what could have been very coo...
First, we compared the reinstallation of Windows 2000 to a fresh installation of Red Hat 7.3. Then we brought in a newbie to install Windows XP, on the theory that the latest Windows would be the state of the art in convenience and speed. In this installment, we compare all to the late...
What's up with Linux and open source at HP these days? No Linux or open source people have lost their jobs at HP. Given the current downtrend in the technology sector as a whole these days, that says a lot about HP's intentions. (1,700 words)
Joe Barr responds to reader feedback about his recent Red Hat vs. Win2000 install comparison and accepts the challenge to put Windows XP installation up to the test. Will Windows enthusiasts win out and force Joe to eat crow, or will Red Hat remain the quickest and easiest install test...
If you are a committed Linux user running an RPM-based distribution with a need for ViaVoice Dictation, I recommend that you beg, borrow, or steal a copy of the Mandrake PowerPack Edition 8.0 instead of trying the IBM commercial offering. Part 2 in a series. (1,200 words)
The boxed version of IBM's ViaVoice Dictation for Linux is one of the most poorly delivered commercial offerings I have seen for Linux or any other platform. If you need voice recognition software, get Mandrake or SuSE, which bundle ViaVoice Dictation.
Joe Barr walks us through his experience with GnuCash personal-accounting software. His conclusion? GnuCash is good enough to trust with his miniature donkey farm’s bookkeeping.
The trials and tribulations of one man's attempt to code a 'cute little demo application' using using the C++ features of Kylix 3 Open Edition (K3OE). (1,400 words)
Do not try this at home. Do not run Kylix 3 on an unsupported distribution unless it makes no difference to you if the product works or not. Just want to play, learn, or experiment? Fine, but to develop code you intend to use or distribute, no. (1,600 words)