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Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200605

Wes takes on another industry pundit who fails to understand yesterdays solutions do not apply to tomorrows problems.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200502

I've been thinking once again about Poul-Henning Kamp's rant about tools. A decade ago, I worked for a small division of a very large company that made equipment for television broadcasters. It was an interesting business, small volume, high value, with lots of custom work for most of the customers.

Sometimes we had to send an engineer on-site to finish the custom work. Often the customer would have some weird piece of equipment we had never encountered before, but needed to interface to. The customer of course never had a spare, and we had little to no ability to acquire another of these gizmos, usually because the manufacturer had departed or stopped making the item years ago. We would dutifully package up an entire HP workstation, complete with 19" monitor, and send it to the customer site in advance of our engineer arriving. When the engineer arrived, he often found various parts of the workstation broken or missing, so we would order spares while he became familiar with the customer site.

Daemon's Advocate (Long, Scott)(Watson, Robert) 200501

There has been a lot of recent talk and advocacy for NetBSD 2.0 from the NetBSD team. Most recently there were a series of articles posted by Chritos Zoulas describing why NetBSD is relevant and why it's a better choice than either FreeBSD or OpenBSD. While I strongly applaud the accomplishments of the NetBSD team and happily agree that NetBSD 2.0 is a strong step forward for them, I take a bit of exception to many of their claims and much of their criticisms of FreeBSD.

Daemon's Advocate (Kamp, Poul-Henning) 200412

When I hear somebody like Robert Watson complain about not being able to find features and options in OpenOffice, I am reminded of my own introduction to UNIX: "I'm sure there is a way to do this, but I wonder what the program is called...".

As the deadlines made me older I came to know the contents of /usr/bin by heart, and it now feels like my organised but cluttered workshop where I can almost always find a gadget and thingmajic which can be used to solve the problem at hand.

Over time new things have appeared in /usr/bin but that has not been a problem for me, because it did not rename the old commands so all the tricks I learned on System III still work.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200411

Between rumors of updates to the ubiquitous Gnu Public License (GPL) to the open source release of Solaris and the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) from Sun have fueled new discussion on this old topic, raising issues of whether we really need hundreds of slightly different licenses, and renewed interest in one or a very few open source licenses that can easily be understood by businessmen.

While remaining skeptical as to whether most businessmen really care about licensing at all, I am curious to learn how (or if) all this open source licensing and software have translated into the business world? Let us take a tour through some corners of the open source business you may not be familiar with.

A few months ago I was casting about for a small system to use as a mail server for a handful of users, preferably one that would run NetBSD.

Daemon's Advocate (Kamp, Poul-Henning) 200410

I met Peter Salus the other evening, he was in Copenhagen for a talk and he invited me out because he has started writing yet a computer history book (If you have not yet read "A quarter century of UNIX" and "Casting the NET" by all means do so).

He told me that Kirk had told him to talk to me about FreeBSD, and his first question, while we waited for our "Galletes" to arive was "Why bother ?"

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200409

One of the columns I read regularly is the BackSpin column at the back end of Network World magazine each week. I enjoy Mark Gibbs' sense of humor, and this column helps me keep in touch with what's going on in the minds of my customers. I don't always agree with what Gibbs has to say, but I rarely actively disagree with his viewpoint.

This summer, however, Gibbs came up with a doozy. It's been quite a summer for the IT types here in the USA, and one of the current hot spots is a conflagration between hospital IT departments, medical device vendors, and the US government Food and Drug Administration.

Daemon's Advocate (Watson, Robert) 200408

Robert Watson's been very busy working on the FreeBSD 5.3 release. This is summary of just a few things that are going on.

Daemon's Advocate (Kamp, Poul-Henning) 200407

I remember when the Alpha chip was first unveilled in sufficient detail that we could try to understand what kind of beast it was. And I remember seeing and installing the first one, and doing some heavy duty math on it to see if the performance was interesting.

Then we heard the NetBSD crew were porting to the Alpha and we got a bit envious about that. But since none of us had Alphas we could play with much less time to do so, it did not take long before we realized that we could lift 64-bit cleanup patches from NetBSD rather than have to do the hard work ourselves.

Daemon's Advocate: SIGALARM (Peters, Wes) 200406

My wife and I have a problem. Alarm clocks don't work for us. It's not that ours are faulty, but more that they're just so limited. Mine, for instance, starts bleeping loudly at 6:55 each morning, again at 7:00, and again at 7:05. Each time, it will bleep increasinly loud and increasingly fast for 1 minute, then stop, or will stop when I mash the big "shut up" button on the top.

Other than that, it tells the time and nothing else. Oh sure, it displays the date too, in such small digits you can't see it unless you're holding the clock, but it's a pretty limited functionality. Where's the alarm at 2:20 pm, when it's time to pick up my daughter from school? Why does the stupid thing insist on waking me at 6:55 Saturday morning, when I don't have to be up? Why not an alarm for Thursday afternoon's doctor appointment?

Daemon's Advocate (Watson, Robert) 200405

The BSD phenomenon is quite remarkable: a community of incredibly talented and experienced developers, administrators, and users, joined by diverse technical interests and a common desire to build and use the best operating systems in the world. What's interesting, though, is that despite the fact that advocacy is arguably not one of the strongest aspects of the BSD world, BSD and BSD-derived systems seem to continue to be widely used, with growing developer and user communities. While BSD lacks flashy multi-million dollar advertising campaigns involving graffiti-ing San Francisco sidewalks, it seems to have grown a firm base of committed fans who respect the technical accomplishments and maturity of the system. Which raises the question: what role should advocacy play for the BSD community?

Daemon's Advocate (Kamp, Poul-Henning) 200404

There are no persons more defensive about their knowledge than kids. If my children have picked up some random fact, they will defend it with everything they can, for as long as they can, rather than admit that maybe they got it just a tiny little bit wrong. As we grow older, we learn to appreciate getting more and better information, and of the benefit of more shades of grey. And then there comes a day in every man's life where we feel secure enough to say "Really ? I guess I was totally wrong then, thanks for setting me straight." And actually mean it.

In the last couple of weeks I have had my view of the D�monized part of the world seriously remodelled and enjoyed it every bit of it. So I guess I must be growing old.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200403

Computer and Network Security has been in the news a lot lately. We've had another spate of security advisories, for both open and closed source systems; the spam keeps flowing; the virus and worm writers have been keeping busy inventing new menaces to Internet society. And if that weren't enough, Microsoft and the US Department of Homeland "Security" want to help us.

I've written about security a number of times before, so I'm going to try not to rehash past history, or to simply regurgitate what you've doubtlessly already read in the news. I'm going to write a bit about my background in security and what kinds of security interest me.

D�mon's Advocate - BSD: The professional's choice (Lehey, Greg) 200402

The BSDs have prided themselves on supplying professional, reliable, secure and high performance systems, much better than this Linux stuff. We didn't care so much about whether other people wanted it: it's enough for us to be happy with it.

For the past four years, my job has brought me more and more into contact with the Linux world. I have always advocated maintaining good relationships with the Linux community, and I had considered that some of the prejudice about Linux that exists within the Linux community is just that, baseless prejudice. I was correspondingly disappointed when I had to install Linux on a machine to run my satellite downlink: Linux really did have many of the disadvantages that I had discounted as prejudice.

That's a few years back now, though. How do things look today?

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200401

Yes, FreeBSD 5.2 really is usable. Mostly. At least enough that if you're a FreeBSD user, you should be trying it and getting to know it. There is much new about 5.2, and much to like. For instance, if you're a laptop user with a hankering for wireless, you're really going to love the 802.11 subsystem. There is now support for CardBus 10/100 ethernet cards, and a new disk-support system named GEOM. The usual caveats also apply. We haven't labelled 5.2 as "STABLE" yet because it's not up to the standards our community expects from a FreeBSD STABLE release.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200312

Is open source software innovative? Are its developers innovative, or do we just follow Microsoft paradigms?

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200311

What do users want? And how is BSD doing on satisfying user wants?

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200310

Advocacy of the BSD's, this month by Greg Lehey who reflects back on the past five years of BSD conferences and turning points.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200309

Wes Peters does a little bit of reminiscing on Daemon News' fifth anniversary as well as Java on FreeBSD

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200308

If you read Slashdot on a regular basis, you'll know the troll who keeps claiming that BSD is dying. In truth it's anything but; the projects are constantly growing. FreeBSD has grown so much that coordination is becoming quite difficult...

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200307

The Advocate discusses online identities and identification, online freedom (or the lack thereof), and you!

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200306

Greg Lehey takes a look at the recent developments regarding SCO's action against IBM and Linux, as well as how BSD can play a part in the situation and asks if the BSDs really want to run on every desktop.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200305

he Advocate discusses Directory Services and BSD; FreeBSD's NSS implementation, LDAP and more...

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200304

It's anniversary time again: the NetBSD project celebrated its tenth anniversary on 21 March, and the FreeBSD project will celebrate its tenth anniversary on 19 June. Things have changed a lot in that time, and it's time (isn't it always?) to think about how the projects should change as a result.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200303

Open source software has been in the news a lot lately, as least in the geeky news sources I read. Much ink was spilled extolling the virtues of the GNOME 2 and KDE 3 desktop software releases, and of OpenOffice 1.0, and how they are "good enough to be viable competitors to Microsoft" now. For many of us, these and other open source tools have long since replaced Microsoft, but apparently it takes the press longer to catch on.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200302

In this month's column, Greg Lehey discusses some of the communication hurdles that an ever evolving project has to deal with, along with hard decisions that one has to make at times.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200301

Wes takes a look at Java, how important it has become in many different areas, and the not-so-great state of Java on BSD.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200212

Open source software is making inroads in commerce and government, but will BSD be part of that ingress? Only if we make it so.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200211

The advocate discusses telecommuting, telementoring, and the future of Western society.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200210

This issue marks the beginning of the fifth year that I've been writing this series. You can't claim that it's been a boring time--it's been more like the allegedly Chinese curse ''may you live in interesting times''. During that time free operating systems went from being a geek curiosity to a major factor in the ''dot com'' collapse.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200209

Scattered among my usual summer reading selection, which runs to mystery novels and sailing magazines, have been two interesting essays at the confluence of Internet development and politics. They both present what I find to be a very compelling picture of the state of open source software development from the opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200208

Admittedly, some people claim that BSD is even less suited to the desktop than Linux, but I don't agree with that either. The issues that Linux has on the desktop are the same issues that BSD on the desktop has.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200207

Wes is on vacation as well, spending the (U.S.) Independence Day with his family.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200206

An anarchy works when everybody is in agreement: you don't need an arbiter to make decisions. That's easy in a small group. You shouldn't need anybody in charge of a group of five people. By the time they get to be fifty, things aren't quite as easy, but with a bit of goodwill and mutual respect it can still work.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200205

What is needed for online computing to become ubiquitous, part of the very background of our lives, is for all of our applications to become agnostic to the device type and location used for access. What we really need is an expanding of our viewpoint when developing or maintaining applications.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200204

How have project management practices influenced BSD in the past? How will they be needed in the future, as the BSD projects grow larger and more internally diverse? Here are some history, predictions, and questions about what is to come.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200203

When you're building a system that plays with nuclear warheads, the phrase "security at any cost" makes a lot of sense. There truly is no cost too great to bear in assuring that nuclear weapons cannot be launched without the proper authorization. As a popular bumper sticker of the period read, "One nuclear bomb can ruin your entire day."

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200202

In the last few years, I've talked about all kinds of BSD-related topics, but the intention is always what's reflected in the name: advocacy. It's been some time since I discussed straightforward BSD advocacy; this month I'd like to consider whom we target with advocacy, and how we handle it.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200201

I've read several columns lately about the limitations of open source software, or at least the open source development model. Being dedicated to several open source projects, I tend to dismiss these as the rantings of those who do not understand open source, or who have a political or economical axe to grind. Then I had an interesting design discussion with my boss, Matt Smith. We were discussing a problem in the user interface of our product, which is based on quite a bit of open source software. We have experienced very few problems with the open source components in our product, largely because we have selected proven technology; this is one of the big advantages to using open source in a commercial product.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200112

Meanwhile, in Europe... It's been a couple of years since the BSD community first got together at their own conference, at the FreeBSDCon in Berkeley in October 1999, about which I reported in December 1999 D�mon News. That was such a success that it was repeated in Monterey CA in October 2000, now as the BSDCon. Again I reported in the December 2000 D�mon News. So now it's time to report on the BSDCon 2001, right? Well, yes, but there's a little difference: after last year's BSDCon, Kirk McKusick suggested to the board of USENIX to take over running the conference, and USENIX decided that February would be a better time to hold the conference, so the next BSDCon will be from 11 to 14 February 2002.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes ) 200111

I have been closely following the development of a number of email clients for several years now, anxiously awaiting one that would allow me to ditch Netscape Communicator for the limited and crash-prone rusty tool it is. I've been installing, trying, and deleting email clients so frequently over the past year my home directory on Homer became cluttered with various and sundry email configurations, carefully moved away and saved as I tried the next client.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200110

It's been ten years since Linus Torvalds first announced his free operating system("just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu"). BSD has been around much longer than that, but the idea of a free BSD operating system hasn't. Things have changed a lot since then, and it's worth looking at where we are and what lies ahead.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200109

Happy Birthday, again! This is now the third anniversary issue of Daemon News. I usually begin each of these columns by editing a previous one; in this case, I began with my second anniversary column. I see we made a lot of changes last year. The pace slowed somewhat this year, as Daemon News has become more mature. We've developed a stable core of columnists, a good supply of articles, and even managed to get a few recurring authors to do small series of articles for us. The attention added by Mac OS X has probably helped a bit, too.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200108

There's been a lot of news about BSD lately. It's mainly related to FreeBSD, but just as Linux news has proved good for BSD in the past, news about FreeBSD will prove good for the other BSD projects.

Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200107

It seems that almost everyone who's been in the industry for more than a couple of years has a sleazy recruiter story. Now I understand why friends and associates say "head hunter" and "flesh peddler" with such dripping disdain in their voices. I think there is a better way.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200106

Greg Lehey addresses some of the issues from past Daemon's Advocate articles as well as the concerns raised by Craig Mundie and those raised about the responses by Bruce Perens.

Daemon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200103

Dadvocate by Greg - this is a test. This changes everything

Dæmons Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200102

Another year has passed, and I'm going to use that as an excuse to look back where we've come from and try to guess where we're going. This is the fifteenth article I have written in this series, over a period of 2� years. During that time, the free software landscape has changed considerably.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200101

The Secret of Our Success...is that we haven't had too much. This is a controversial opinion, of course. Some scoff at the idea there can be too much success, others argue that we've had either plenty of it or none that can be measured. None of these are wrong, success is in the eye of the beholder. I will nonetheless spend this column explaining what I mean by too much success.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200012

Greg Lehey travels the world spreading the BSD word.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200011

In my last column I wrote about universal presence and building a virtual home. When I sent the column to my regular reviewers, Greg Lehey responded ``Your vision of the future is ... only slightly in the future. I'd like to look even further forward, to where synchronization is automatic. Then you could talk about halfway steps like the ones you do. And don't underestimate the influence of wireless: I suspect that within a few years you won't put a PDA in a cradle any more.'' I reassured him that was my intention

The Dæmon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200010

Anarchies, Monarchies and Dictatorships: A short history of the politics of BSD.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200009

This month, Wes elaborates on his previous article regarding universal presence, and points out where BSD could play a role. If you've given any thought about data localization, this article is a must read.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200008

Some feedback on the ILOVEYOU virus and the state of things to come for the next version of FreeBSD SMP.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200006

In this issue, Greg discusses the ILOVEYOU attachment briefly before getting back on track to the age-old question.

The Daemon's Advocate (Peters, Wes) 200005

Advocacy of the BSD's, written alternately by Wes Peters and Greg Lehey.

The Dæmon's Advocate (Lehey, Greg) 200004

In this issue of Daemon's Advocate, Greg gives us insight on the (new) SIS feature in Windows 2000. He also digs into an advocate's thought on what's being labeled as the biggest news of the year.

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