After reading stories all year about the ascendancy of desktop linux all year, this story about IBM's plans to port MS Office to linux is one of the first that I think justifies the desktop linux hype. It is clear that to co-operate with other users, MS Office is essential. Alternatives like OpenOffice, though improving and interesting, simply are not viable yet for most non-nerd users. This is why the IBM move is a significant one. IBM has the business acumen and the corporate infrastructure to pull something like this off. I think with a real MS Office port, desktop linux is a real possibility for most computer users.
That being said, Macintosh OS X already has a compatible MS Office, and it isn't exactly taking over the desktop market, despite a look-and-feel vastly superior to either Windows or any of the Linuxes. I've been using OS X for years, and find it satisfies my Unix hacker side and my make-my-manager-happy side with ease and finese. I think functions like NetMeeting (still missing on OS X) might need to be included for a real business user to contemplate switching, tho'.
But it's an important step, maybe the most interesting news on alternatives to Windows since Apple bought NeXT and brought Steve Jobs back into the fold.
Obviously I'm not posting enough. Here are some interesting links:
C&E News reports Angstrom resolution of nanofiber growth. The work was done by (among others) Jens Norskov, a brilliant experimental/theoretical physicist in Denmark. It's a great example of how theory and experiment can work together well.
As someone who has been in too many pointless meeings, I found this article brilliant.
Good article by Mark Lutz about programming mistakes in Python.
s it just me, or does it seem like half of the *NIX packages expect prefix to be /usr, and the other half expect it to be /usr/local?
Biggles is a great plotting package for Python. I've been using the Gnuplot/python module for years, but biggles is a much cleaner, much easier to use program. Now if I could only figure out how to do double-y plots...
The PyGtk GLArea bugzilla page has again been updated. It appears that this was a problem on Linux, except that the problem manifested itself as never crashing, as opposed to OS X, which it always crashed. In any case, I think that the pygtk code can now be safely patched and committed.