Gilbert Detillieux announced a couple of offers that have been made to the Linux SIG from two companies producing material for the Linux market. (This announcement was repeated at the following week's Linux SIG meeting.)
In addition to the structuring of the code, there are many issues concerning the definition of the data itself, that can help or hinder portability. Issues such as data types, element sizes, the way data structures are organized, and so on, must be considered. If data is to be stored in binary files, other issues must also be considered. Finally, Gilbert stressed the importance of sticking to standards, as much as possible, and clearly documenting the data file formats you define.
The main topic of the meeting was about migrating to 64-bit technology. In the midst of the PC world's noisy and hype-filled transition to 32-bit operating systems, the UNIX market is girding itself for a transition to 64 bits. Why is this happening? Is there a real need for 64-bit systems, or is this another example of vendors creating uniqueness through unusable features. What about recent industry initiatives for 64-bit standards?
Glenn Bontje, High Perfornamce Computing Product Manager for Digital Equipment of Canada, addressed this subject. Although Digital is among the most vocal proponents of a 64-bit architecture, he provided a reasonably unbiased survey of the technology, the market requirements, and the state of current vendor offerings and plans. Discussion was lively in the Q&A period that followed.
Linux fans please note that our order of 5 LUG/nut CD-ROMs has finally arrived! This is the version 2.1 of this CD, from late October, which contains both Slackware 3.0, and Red Hat Commercial Linux, version 2.0. We will be keeping one of the copies, to lend out to MUUG members who are interested in trying it out. We will be selling the other 4 copies for $12 each. (This is MUUG's cost, after factoring in shipping, exchange, GST, and Canada Customs charges.)
Since there will likely be a lot of interested parties, we will likely have a "lottery" to decide which lucky members will be able to buy a copy right away. We will also take orders for more copies, and place that order with SSC shortly thereafter. (Orders can take quite long to be filled, however, particularly if we end up being put on hold for the next edition, as happened last time.)
Ian Watts started with a general overview of Java, and described Sun's strategy with respect to that product. Paula then provided a technical description of Java, including a demo. Scott Hamilton, also from Sun, was on hand to answer technical questions.
If it seems like you are spending all your time fighting fires and trying to track down the cause of problems, you might have benefitted from this presentation. Mike talked about some of the most common and persistent problems in the distributed environments, whether it's a heterogeneous or homogeneous environment. And whether you're dealing with databases, applications, underlying technologies or all of it. The talk focused on solving these problems with real-world, common sense solutions. (A lot of the advice dealt with PC hardware configuration, and nothing specific to UNIX. But this advice is nonetheless useful to most people working in a mixed network environment, where PCs are likely to be involved.)
The talk concluded with a brief Q&A period. Free t-shirts as well as product information and video tapes from BMC were given out to those who wanted them.
For this month only, the meeting was held at ISM, at 400 Ellice Ave, where the Linux SIG usually meets. (Our thanks to Doug Jackson, of ISM, for hosting this meeting, and to Doug Shewfelt for chairing it.)
During this presentation, Gavin demonstrated Oracle Web applications running over the Internet. These were simple demos of an employee database, and an online order system. All of the demonstrated software is available, for a free 90-day trial, for several platforms, at Oracle's Web site.
This year, the barbeque was held at Assiniboine Park. Unfortunately, despite almost ideal weather for it, the turn-out was very small. There were only 10 people, and most of them were board members and spouses. Only one non-board member showed up, which was rather disappointing. Thank you to those who did come out; I hope you had a good time. A big thank you to those who helped coordinate, and get the required stuff.