ALS 2001 Summary

The Annual (ex-Atlanta) Linux Showcase and XFree86 Conference took place last Thursday through Saturday in Oakland, California. Representing KDE at the
event were Ralf Nolden,
Ellis Whitehead, Roland Krause, Paul Campbell, and
Charles Samuels. Ralf
and Charles, who took photos, have made them available in a
picture gallery (made especially
interesting by Charles' colorful commentary). Ralf provided
a well-attended presentation on KDevelop, and Ellis provided one on KDE's "hidden features". Charles had a CVS edition
of KDE 3 running on KDE 2.2 using
Xnest. A large
number of the attendees visited the KDE booth, and, according to Charles,
the most common questions were "What's new in KDE3" (which, as we have
reported, mainly has to do
with the new features of Qt 3), and when the initial stable KDE 3 release
is planned (February 2002). Charles further reports, "An
Afterstep developer approached and
asked about implementing a
interface to his project. We wowed a few visitors with
Noatun and
Arts Builder. Several company representatives also expressed interest
in moving their office to KDE (and appeared to be sold on the prospect
when they left).
" Way to go, guys, thanks for representing
KDE at the ALS!

Dot Categories: 


by Stonehead (not verified)

(Grmbl. Because of the presence of the file upload field in the reply submit form, Lynx doesn't work and I had to type this all over again.. :( )

Last Thursday, I attended the annual Dutch Unix Users Group (NLUUG) conference, themed "Unix and the desktop". (The website is offline because it was defaced this weekend, using an old sshd hole.)
Highlight speakers were Jordan Hubbard (FreeBSD / Darwin lead developer) and Brett Halle of Apple. They had very interesting speeches, and indeed did they piss of their public as they announced, because they stated that Unix is not suited for the desktop. (With the notable exception of Mac OS X, of course.) Jordan Hubbard gave several reasons for this, among them that X sucks, the idea of separating the 'root' user is not enough and that there are too little protocols.
It became even more interesting when Martin Konold stepped up from the public, to tell Hubbard that these problems had already been solved in KDE for years. It was a shame that Jordan Hubbard called off a real discussion!
Anyway, I was at Martin's talk later in the afternoon as well. It was a presentation about KOffice, Konqueror and lots of other KDE desktop ideas. Main point: Mac OS X might be great for grandma's desktop, but KDE is much more suitable for enterprise use. You decide which one is more useful.

If you read this, Martin, many thanks for your talk! I'm not yet a KDE developer, but I hope once to give some code in return! :)

by someone (not verified)

Are the presentations available online somewhere, in particular the one about "hidden features"?

by try (not verified)

what would be nice, would be to have persons to follow such events only to do reports of them. There is always many persons who ask how they could be involved in this or this project without programmer skill. There is a need for such reports being done in a regular way, not only when one of the attendee has time.
This is the kind of things the pr people of kde could organize. In order to put them near stories like how the city of largo migrated to kde and such.
People outside the kde world or outside nix world need to be able to find this kind of information in ONE place. an near news.kde and apps.kde..
sorry for ze bad english

by ac (not verified)

Hi isn't today the announced release date of KDE 2.2.2 ?

by Hywel Mallett (not verified)

Yes, and today's the day afterwards, and still no sign :-(

by someone (not verified)

It's delayed one week.

Is there any information available regarding the KDE/Thin-client installation in Largo, Florida? To my knowledge, there are some people working on a white-paper on the subject. I'm writing my final thesis on the subject, and any information would be appreciated!

Although this probably isn't what you're interested in, I read today that MS wants to "take Linux the win of the City Of Largo" again. This was from an internal ms email. Its covered both at /. and the heise newsticker... Great to hear ms is scared!

Yep, I heard of that. That was what reminded to ask about this.

Have a look in the archives of newsforge and the dot. The sysadmin of Largo posted some intresting replys in the article on the dot.


I have contacted him directly, and he told me that someone(s) from the KDE-community is writing a white-papers on the project. But I will take a look at the archives :)

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

This is hitting close to home, as I live just north of Broward county. Here's an extract from a memo leaked from Microsoft. The full text can be found at and reprinted in NewsForge.

"Speaking of fights, Brett Cocking and team from the SLG vertical just don't know when to quit! Not only did they displace RedHat for a 40+ web server deal at Broward County in Florida, they're also going straight after one of the Linux community's key wins at the City of Largo (dubbed the City of Progress). "If they're the city of progress, why are they running Linux?", Brett jokes. "We're going in there to show them how much value exists in the Microsoft platform and take this win away from Linux!" Key in both accounts is the way Brett's team positions Microsoft's future .NET vision as well as providing great products like Windows 2000 to start building on that vision today. Thank you team! I know Brett digs tattoos, but this is one less he is going to have also."


by Andreas (not verified)

It is nice to see your stuff being used :)


by Lukas Tinkl (not verified)

Hahaha, of course! Same feeling here :)

by Matthias Fenner (not verified)

THX for the good news!

by AC (not verified)

I really wouldn't put it past Microsoft to give then free copies of Win XP/Office XP, just so that they can make a PR puff piece out of it...

by Carbon (not verified)

Well, can MS also sponsor pay for the 5 or 6 extra tech support people they'll need as well? :-)

by Jens (not verified)

Don't put this off too lightly.

Microsoft knows they have a hell of a lot to loose as soon as their customers figure out they have a choice. Microsoft's software doesn't sell so well because it's good, or because it's cheap, but because most of their customers just assume they have to live with it.

The City of Largo showed them otherwise. They've got clued admins, satisfied users, GOOD community feedback and a well supported and running network - all without not a single Windows machine (or 'because of lack of', more likely). Microsoft doesn't like that and will chase their PR people to hell and back over this.

So watch out, and help. Do some (sane!) local advocacy. Get friends to try out Linux (and not your own überhacker distro, but a distro they won't feel completely stupid with). Tell workmates you refuse to open 'winmail.dat' attachments because of virus danger (they probably won't understand the problem with 'because only Outlook can read them'). Etc.

Read - through babelfish if you don't grok German.

Make people *AWARE* they have a choice, and they don't have to take this any more.

Microsoft doesn't care about money or ethics here (as if they ever did). They want something and they will build snow castles in Africa if that's what it takes to win them over.

Example: One of the people of the German government (very vivid OSS supporter now) was recently invited to the US to be "educated" by Microsoft people. He came back and was "shocked", he was constantly treated by MS officials who told them it's ridiculous for the state to make such (ie. "non-Windows") purchase decisions, it's absurd that an organization as big as his relies on a bunch of hackers, etc etc etc. Result? Some time later another branch opened a competition(?) for companies to stock their new IT center. Lowest price wins. Catch: One of the requirements was "everything must run Windows". I wonder how much money they got from MS.

One other very influential society that acts like this is Scientology. I'm not proposing there are any more ties than there really are (e.g. disk fragmenter in Win2k), but who knows.


by AC (not verified)

For what it's worth, there is a scientology building in Redmond... Pretty close to a mall, I saw it when I went to visit the evil empire last summer.

(Wanted to know what we're up against... ;-) )

by patrick darcy (not verified)

if u want to know more about what we're up against go
to punch in microsoft and landmark as your search.
u just might be surprised as to what u find.

by Johnny Andersson (not verified)

This article made me try Xnest. Way cool program. ;)

by Holger Benl (not verified)

Have you ever tried VNC? You can do similar stuff and (a little bit) more: It's seperated into a server and a viewer that communicate via TCP/IP, so you have the same network-transparency as with X11. But there are two bonuses:
Both the server and the viewer run on Windows and MacOS as well. And: the viewer can detach from the server and the GUI programs keep running. This means you can, for example, start a desktop on a server machine and let it run forever, and use that desktop from different other machines, wherever you are... you'll never have to shut down KDE anymore, even when you're shutting down the client machine you're usually using it from.
It has to be mentioned, however, that the VNC protocol, in my experiences at least, is not as efficient as the X11 protocol and that the VNC server for windows seems to have quite some trouble (never tried it myself, but that's the impression you get from the FAQ).

by Johnny Andersson (not verified)

Yes, VNC is very useful. Actually, to me VNC often feels faster than X, at least over slow connections. I use it all the time to access Solaris-boxes over an ADSL connection.

I'd love to use it the way you describe, with one desktop running all the time, but then I'd have to use my desktop through VNC when using my computer locally too, and that has a lot of problems (no antialiased fonts, no xvideo extension, much slower update sometimes).

It'd be very useful if the Unix VNC server was able to connect to my already-running X session and let me use it on another computer, just like the Windows server does. This is also mentioned in the VNC FAQ... Anyone had any success with this?

by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

Actually, to me VNC often feels faster than X, at least over slow connections. I use it all the time to access Solaris-boxes over an ADSL connection.

Even faster:

Advantage: It uses the X protocol itself, just very weell compressed and with a pixmap cache. Has worked 100% stable for me so far.

This is what I use to work on my office machine from home. Excellent compression, good enough to be usable over ISDN! If I reduced colordepth it would probably be even better.

by Charles Samuels (not verified)

Using Xnest is easy:

first, start Xnest:

Xnest -ac -fp /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo :1'

-ac makes it accept connections from anywhere (you may or may not need this)
-fp [path,path,...] sets the location of the fonts
:1 makes it become DISPLAY=:1

Then prepare a non-conflicting KDEHOME

export KDEHOME=$HOME/.kde3 # where to store local data
mkdir $KDEHOME/tmp-$HOSTNAME # non conflicting sycoca db, only need to do this once, the rest are done every time, since environment vars are lost

export DISPLAY=:1 # use the Xnest server
export KDEDIR=/opt/kde3 # duh :)
export QTDIR=/opt/qt3
export PATH=$KDEDIR/bin:$QTDIR/bin:$PATH # some updated files
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$KDEDIR/lib:$QTDIR/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH # where to find shared objects

startkde # start kde

by Carbon (not verified)

Wasn't there one app that allowed (among other things) using Xnests as textures on 3d objects, mostly as a demo? k3dworkbench or something like that.