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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Attendance!
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Re: [vox] Attendance!



On 3 Oct 2001 speck@blkmtn.org wrote:

> On Wed, 03 October 2001, Christine Scobee wrote:
> 
> > then, after the meeting, I overheard Jeff Newmiller and my six-year-old
> > having an intense conversation about the logistical hurdles of building a
> > time machine.  Now *that's* what I call integrated learning:  watches a
> > Nova rerun on time travel, listens to a previous LUGOD talk on embedded
> > systems, puts it all together, and waits patiently for the after-meeting
> > social time to start discussion with the potential engineering team ;)
> > 
> > Linux... helps dreamers dream big!
> > -- Christine
> 
> So, will the time machine be Open Source and does it have a Sourceforge page yet?   :)

I pointed out that time machines and rockets are related
(http://www.howstuffworks.com/time-travel.htm) and he quickly assumed
responsibility for the time travel part if I would work on the rocket.  I
am a little worried about the propulsion system though, since the masses
involved look like they are going to be nontrivial.

> In any case, how was the talk from Apple.  I really wanted to go last
> night, but had other commitments pop up at the last minute.  Grrr....

There were some interesting bits.  Seeing an outline of the software API
classifications was interesting from a theoretical point of view, but
unless/until GNUStep takes off, there isn't much hope that programming for
the Mac GUI will ever become portable.  I can't say I see MacOS X pulling
Linux people away from Intel hardware... too many proprietary software
tools. On the other hand, if you are a Mac afficionado (as I used to be
many years ago), this is a _very_ overdue upgrade.  The chicken-and-egg
conundrum has to be bypassed and the transition must be made, but I think
Apple is going to have to drag their user base through it to make it
happen.

The "Classic" virtual machine sounds good, though in practice the
restriction against direct hardware access is bound to break naughty
software so users will grumble.  The "Carbon" API is a transitional
backward/forward compatible compromise that shouldn't be too difficult to
port up to. And the "Cocoa" API effectively requires programmers to make
the leap to Objective-C, which means they think it is the wave of Apple's
future.  I don't think Mac users are going to

Mr. Doss advertised the portability of Unix console apps as quite
portable. However, portability of Unix GUI code (XWindows) to MacOS X is
not supported by Apple, though X is available online.  This, and the
heavy dependence on NetInfo (see http://freshmeat.net/projects/netinfo/)
give pause for thought when considering a transition to or
network integration of . The byline in
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/comment/0,5859,2657124,00.html voices
the comparison between NetInfo and the Windows Registry that occurred to
more than one audience member last night.  I don't know whether that is
cause for condemnation or not, but it doesn't inspire immediate
enthusiasm.  And security (encrypted network data) didn't appear to be a
high priority.

Mr. Doss expressed the opinion that all computers suck... just in
different ways (at which point Bill Kendrick good-naturedly pointed out
that that means he is an "OS whore").  He says he has several OSes on his
home system, including Windows and Linux. When asked what he thought it
would take to get Apple to open-source more of their API code, he said
that simply selecting open-source solutions over proprietary ones would
drive everyone in that direction. He did indicate a willingness to come
speak on the topic of how to program in Objective-C using GNUStep... I
just hope he brings some presentation materials when he does so, because
keeping up with the discussion last night was quite a challenge.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
                                      Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k
---------------------------------------------------------------------------



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