Stories by Joe Barr

Analysis: Is Windows 2003 Server faster than Linux/Samba?

Microsoft funded and released a new set of benchmarks to follow the debut of its often-renamed Windows 2003 Server. The boys in Redmond are proud as punch of their new baby, whatever its name. They would have the world believe that Windows 2003 Server is twice as fast as Linux, at least when it's used for file serving.

Why Microsoft is exhibiting at LinuxWorld

It's been bugging me for weeks, ever since I read the announcement from LinuxWorld Conference and Expo that Microsoft Corp. is coming to the show. No, the announcement didn't mean stealth attendance by solo Microsoft employees or contractors. The show has had those in the past. It meant Microsoft will have a booth. My questions are what do they hope to accomplish and how will they do it? What would motivate Microsoft to participate in an event celebrating a cancer-causing, communist-inspired, anti-American miscreant of an operating system called Linux?

A first look at StarOffice 6.0

In a past life, I was responsible for communications software at Electronic Data Systems Corp. that allowed health-care providers to transmit Medicaid health claims from their TI Silent 700 terminals -- and later from IBM Corp. PCs -- to EDS for processing. We gave the software to any healthcare provider who asked, and not out of altruism, either. It was clearly in our best interest to receive the claims in a machine-readable format rather than paying data-entry operators to enter the claims for us.

Torvalds autobiography speaks to dweebs

My apologies to John Griffin, but after reading Linus Torvalds's autobiography Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary, I feel that a better title for the book might be Dweeb Like Me. Not that being a dweeb, a geek, or a nerd is a prerequisite to enjoying it, but if you are dweeb, this book is for you.

Bob Young, tete-a-tete with the monopoly

Red Hat Chairman Bob Young. This column will be my last to appear on before the site becomes part of its parent at It's only because of my intimate knowledge of the Internet's dark side, and a few of the more shadowy characters I've met there, that it appears at all.

Inside IBM's Linux Technology Center

When I first heard about IBM Corp.'s Linux Technology Center, my ears pricked up because Austin, Texas, was regularly mentioned in conjunction with it. I pictured the LTC as part of IBM's complex of buildings on and around Braker Lane in north Austin.

Evolution's latest mutations

It's been a while since I've looked at Evolution, the GNOME project's answer to Microsoft Outlook. While some serious progress has been made between 0.2 and the current 0.8 release, there is still work to be done before 1.0 goes out the door later this year.

Profiting on Linux

The Linux marketplace is a dichotomy if I've ever bumped my head on one. On the one hand you have the free software folk who brought us GNU and the GPL (General Public License), and on the other you have, well, IBM Corp. for example.

Nat Friedman, in his own right

In August 1999 I ran into Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman in a gift shop not far from the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo (LWCE) in San Jose. Among other things, Friedman and de Icaza were kicking around the idea of forming a company. Later the same year they did exactly that in founding Helix Code, a company whose sole mission has been to bring the GNOME desktop to new levels of completeness, polish, and ease of use. In August 2000 I ran into the dynamic duo again at the LWCE in San Jose. This time it was at the GNOME party.

Analysis: IBM's JFS for Linux

Nick Petreley wrote last year that Linux needed three items to become more fault-tolerant, and thus better able to compete on high-end boxes in the enterprise: a journaling filesystem, fault tolerance and data clusters. One company that listened to Nick must have been IBM, which, believe it or not, has become a major player in Linux and open source.

The Last Roundup

The last San Jose LinuxWorld Expo (next year's summer event will be in San Francisco) was memorable for many reasons. In terms of both exhibitors and visitors, it was the largest LWCE to date. On opening day, the IDG people told everyone that the keynotes and feature presentations were being held across the street in order to provide more room than they had last year. I seriously doubt that's the case. The auditorium appeared to have about half the capacity of the room in which Torvalds delivered his keynote last year. A much more likely explanation is that no space was available in the main building.

Gaming in the Third Dimension

It began simply enough. I was a little bit ahead on my deadlines, so I took the opportunity to do a little "research." I visited several sites I knew to be reservoirs of mission-critical Linux applications and decided to sample one: a demo of a 3D game called Soldier of Fortune that I found at Loki Games. Little did I know this was to be my first step on the Path of the Thrice Doomed.

USENIX Wrap-Up: FreeBSD-Linux Rivalry Apparent

The 25th annual USENIX Technical Conference kicked off June 21 in San Diego, following three days of tutorials which began on the 18th. Over 1,700 attendees were in Mariott Hall to hear the opening remarks and Bill Joy's keynote address.

IBM's secret summit - IBM's open source (and Linux) strategy

IBM has just concluded its first internal "Linux Summit." The two-day event was held at the J.J. Pickle Research Center of the University of Texas, which is located very near IBM's north Austin facilities. The summit was attended by approximately 250 IBMers from around the globe, but it was closed to outsiders.