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Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds)

  • Joel on Software; By Joel Spolsky (Posted by jezuch on Feb 23, 2008 4:35 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Microsoft
With a little bit of digging, I’ll show you how those file formats got so unbelievably complicated, why it doesn’t reflect bad programming on Microsoft’s part, and what you can do to work around it.

[I kinda like their approach to this, as a software engineer, but it sure looks like some desperate ad-hockery -J.]

Ten Years Ago Today: Netscape Launches mozilla.org

Today marks ten years since Netscape Communications Corporation launched mozilla.org to coordinate the open source development of the Netscape Communicator 5.0 source code, an endeavor that would later become known more broadly as the Mozilla project.

Frozen-Bubble is a Ridiculously Addictive Puzzle Game

Frozen-Bubble has blissfully stolen hours and hours of my life with its addictive gameplay and flippin' awesome soundtrack. It's an easy game with a simple premise: shoot colors bubbles onto the game board in an attempt to match up three or more similarly colored bubbles. Doing so will cause them to fall from the board, taking connected bubbles with them. If you clear all of the bubbles, you move on to the next level. If the bubbles pile up and cover the entire screen, you lose the game and restart the entire level.

Wine 0.9.56 released

What's new in this release:

- Proper handling of OpenGL/Direct3D windows with menu bars.
- Stubs for all the d3dx9_xx dlls.
- Several graphics optimizations.
- Many installer fixes.
- Improved MIME message support.
- Lots of bug fixes.

Linux Anti-Virus Programs Explained

There has been a lot of debate recently over whether or not it's a good idea to run an anti-virus program if you're using Linux. I hope to clear up a common misunderstanding: An anti-virus program running on Linux is designed to detect Windows viruses, so that they aren't spread, unknowingly, by the Linux user. This article explains when you should run a Linux anti-virus, and what exactly they do.

AMD Releases 3D Programming Documentation

  • Phoronix; By Michael Larabel (Posted by phoronix on Feb 23, 2008 4:55 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
For the past several weeks we have been referencing AMD's "tcore" in several of our articles, which is a user-space software suite that has been developed and used internally at ATI by engineers to work on various aspects of their binary drivers. Tcore is primarily used for testing prior to the availability of the actual silicon for their forthcoming graphics processors. John Bridgman and Alex Deucher have been working tediously to get this tcore source-code sanitized and cleared for public release, and finally they have reached this milestone. AMD has just published the first bits of open-source 3D programming documentation for ATI GPUs. This 3D programming documentation covers the R500 series and even goes back with information on the R300/400 series as well. The R600 3D programming guide will also be out soon. This information available today is what will foster the growth of open-source R500/600 3D support for the Radeon and RadeonHD drivers as well as R600 2D acceleration.

OLPC A Good Idea, Badly Misunderstood

ITWire has a rant disguised as an opinion piece titled OLPC: one bad idea per child by Sam Varghese.

Manage your Movie Collection with Griffith

Griffith is an application for Linux that organizes your movie collection. Simply by entering the name of a movie, Griffith will query various databases on the Internet and download cover art, plot details, and cast information. You can then export your movie database as a PDF, iPod, or HTML file to show-off to your friends!

Hack-that-desktop-OS contest

  • DesktopLinux.com; By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Feb 23, 2008 1:30 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
So, what's the most secure desktop operating system of all? Well, we'll get at least a hint from an upcoming bout pitting some top hackers against Mac OS X, Windows Vista and Ubuntu.

Review: PCLinuxOS 2007, GNOME and MiniMe

What version of Linux has been at the top of the Distrowatch rankings for months now that I've never tried until today? PCLinuxOS. Everybody I know who has runs PCLinuxOS has good things to say about it. Scott Ruecker of LXer and the Los Angeles Daily News' own City Hall reporter Rick Orlov are among those who have used and liked it.

Why I Switched to Mac and What I Have Learned

User is torn between needing an exchange environment and the comfort of Linux, so he chooses Mac. This is his experience so far.

Interview With Tyler Mitchell of OSGeo

Linux Journal's James Gray recently spoke with Tyler Mitchell, Secretary of OSGeo, about his organization's efforts to promote open geospatial technologies.

Apache daddy walks out on OpenSolaris

AMD and Microsoft should take note that open source strategies bring painful problems. Sun Microsystems knows this all too well. Just as Microsoft said it’s opening its APIs and AMD made its latest contribution to open source, controversy again bubbled up for Sun’s much-vaunted OpenSolaris project.

Media collection managers for Linux

There comes a time, right after you burn your 137th MP3 CD, when you start feeling the need to establish a system for finding all the songs you treasure so much. It's the same with movies, application kits, books, and music -- you need software that lets you index your media quickly and output detailed search results. Here's a selection of Linux applications you can use to ease your work.

Stumbling Into eGroupWare

Recently I have been grumbling about project management, accounting and organizational software in general. Basically, Gixia and I want to just build the Geek Ranch rather than be bogged down with overhead. The reality is, however, this is too big a project to do without some back-end organization.

Time-lapse photography with dvd-slideshow

Over the last few years I have been experimenting with time-lapse photography. One easy way to compile a time-lapse video is to use dvd-slideshow, a tool for creating video slideshows from digital photos, and more. To get started, copy your photos into a single directory on your computer, then use dvd-slideshow's dir2slideshow utility to create the control file that dvd-slideshow needs.

Threading Building Blocks Packaged into Ubuntu Hardy Heron

The spread of Threading Building Blocks (TBB) into Linux distributions is gaining momentum: TBB will be packaged into the upcoming Ubuntu Hardy Heron release. If you’re not familiar with TBB — it’s an open source C++ template library that simplifies multithreading of applications to take advantage of modern multicore computers. TBB was originally an Intel commercial product; it was turned into an open source project at OSCON 2007.

Open sourciness

JBoss seems to be undergoing some generational pains as it strives to morph from an open source products company to an enterprise open source products company. So its recent formal announcements covered the enterprise tack: something called Enterprise Acceleration that performs the basic blocking an tackling to show enterprises, ISVs, and systems integrators alike that nobody will get fired for buying JBoss. And then there were the pronouncements to the faithful that, while JBoss is trying to go enterprise, that it won't forget its roots.

Mark Shuttleworth's Stance on Mono Inside Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth, whom we have great respect for after maintaining his stern stance against intimidation tactics, has responded to our concerns regarding the existence of Mono in Ubuntu. His message to us was CC’d to the Technical Board and the leader of Fedora. It would be worth bringing it to our readers’ attention because some were concerned (if not outraged) about the subject.

KDE 4.1: Visual Changelog (rev 777000)

  • PolishLinux.org; By Korneliusz Jarzębski (Posted by michux on Feb 22, 2008 2:39 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Reviews; Groups: KDE
KDE 4.1 will be what everyone expected 4.0 to be — a fully functional revolutionary Linux desktop. I took a look at the revision 777000 of this desktop environment and what you get is a visual changelog describing the current progress in terms of look and feel and features.

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