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Linux readers cause concern, Guy Kewney gets told off and the Founding Fathers could be out of date...

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Story: Loot exposed as tool for software pirates

Dear ZDNet News

I hate piracy but I know a lot of people living in poverty, who have no option but to buy on pirate games on cd, and for that I am grateful that my friends can play games similar to people in the middle classes.

Reply: Not entirely convinced this argument would stand up in court. Not even convinced it would stand up in a pub debate, but thanks.


Story: Anti abortion site back online

Dear ZDNet News

It would seem that the Internet in the States has gone free speech crazy. The lack of support for the Child Online Protection bill may be understandable, but a woman who supports abortion putting up an anti-abortion site just to defend the rights to free speech is surely going too far. The First Amendment is all well and good, but it must be borne in mind the Founding Fathers were not legislating for the Internet.

Yours

Bill Norton


Story: IBM dismisses Corel's Wine plans

Dear ZDNet News

You can see why I like those "marketing managers"? Simple. If he would actually go to an IBM lab and ask a technician to show him the latest Wine snapshots and something running on it, he would have seen that Wine runs the program 20% slower because the program is full of breakpoints for debugging.

Tests show that Wine, without debugging messages/stops - runs Windows application at the same speed and on a heavy file management program which uses Linux native file system - it's 43% faster!

I think some people need to check their facts. Simple as that.

Hetz


Story: Corel pushes desktop Linux

Dear ZDNet News

Is this just FUD day for you? WINE Is Not an Emulator. It only runs natively, on x86, it is not slow. It isn't finished either, but of all the words you could have picked to describe it, slow is not it. Sure, you're quoting someone, that doesn't mean you stop doing research. Have you compiled the latest version of Wine? (990226, I have...) Well, it doesn't run a lot of applications, but it runs the basic ones, and with a few surprises. (I got Quicken 5 to work, mostly, I don't have a later version, but then I also never got a copy of Windows '95)

Please, talk to someone who actually knows what they're talking about on the subject, or learn it yourself. I'm sure they told you something about that when you became a journalist.

Reply: Have we compiled the latest version of Wine - No. We're too busy collecting news stories for you.


Story: IBM dismisses Corel's Wine plans

This would be all and good if this person know anything about WINE and the WINE libraries. The WINE project has two parts, one is a binary loader (not an emulator) and the second is the source code libraries that wrap X and Linux with Windows API like classes. The WINE libraries will make it so you can compile your windows source code on a Linux (or any Unix box at that) and have a native program. Of course this program will have the look and feel of it's windows counterpart, but it is native. This idea is rather common, what are the MFC's if not a wrapper of Windows API's?

Corel is contributing to the libraries side and will have Linux native programs for x86 and StrongARM Linux. Hopefully by the time they are done Windows developers can just compile their code (with minimal changes) to get into the Linux market. Could you please talk to Corel and print a retraction? Just because this guy is from IBM doesn't mean that he has any idea about what he is talking about. And the article should have pointed out where he was wrong in his statements.

Mark Arrasmith


Dear ZDNet News

Story: IBM dismisses Corel's Wine plans

Wait. Is this the same marketing engine from the same IBM that I purchased OS/2 from back in '94?

To this day I am certain that the only reason their emulation efforts (Winos2 under OS/2) failed was that their marketing engine was so incredibly inept. I was a little surprised that they didn't end up selling refrigerators to eskimos. This is the same IBM that has essentially given up on OS/2. It's already been proven that open efforts can surpass their efforts. (Compare Linux to OS/2 and AIX).


Story: IBM dismisses Corel's Wine plans

Dear ZDNet News

Linux running Windows applications using Wine is slow, naive and just plain daft, according to IBM. Occleshaw dismissed the plans citing his own company's experience with emulation software:

"Emulator" is a word that covers a lot of territory - something that is reflected in the name "WINE" itself, which stands for both "Wine Is Not an Emulator" and "WINdows Emulator". While most "emulation" programs work at a very low level, by simulating the hardware of the target system (SoftPC and various Apple and Mac emulators, for example), and are very, very slow as a result of that design, others work at much higher levels. Both Windows and Linux run on Intel Pentiums, there is no need to emulate the hardware - only the software. WINE is an implementation of the Windows API over Linux's own kernel - precisely the same approach as that used by Windows NT itself

The net result here is a program that will run as fast - or even faster, since Linux is more efficient with managing the hardware - as the same program under Windows. Had Tony Occleshaw bothered to look beyond the word and his own prejudices about it to the WINE web site, he would have realised what an utterly foolish statement this article makes.

Protect your own credibility and do your homework. And don't quote fools. It wrecks your own credibility and does not hurt the fool.

Reply: Some of the responses to the Corel interview could not be published because they were threatening and abusive to the staff at ZDNet UK News.

Of course there were well argued, intelligent notes sent, but the abuse is unnecessary and unwelcome.

Perhaps this needs more discussion.


Story: Don't buy the Palm V

Dear ZDNet News

Guy Kewney is the UK's best known and most respected IT journalist... With over 20 years experience, Guy has a unique insight into the world's most exciting industry?.

Unique?! That's one way to put it! How about "Misinformed"? In Kewney's most recent article, "Don't buy the Palm V," he makes a veritable fool of himself. Unfortunately, since Kewney's style of writing skews the reader's perspective with opinion more than facts, he also manages to do his share of damage to the marketing efforts of the company that he allegedly feels "a sense of loyalty to."

Aside from Kewney's obvious slant towards the power-user market (he obviously feels that the entire world is comprised of power-users like himself), his article is riddled with technical inaccuracies. The processor was never upgraded from a Hitachi to a Motorola Dragon Ball chip; Palm III has always relied on a Dragon Ball based chip. And contrary to what he writes, the Palm III certainly did have room for add in cards well before the Palm IIIx came around, and third party vendors were certainly producing pager modules, and memory cards for the previous models too. The difference is that the third party manufacturers no longer have to accommodate 2mb (or 4mb, or 8mb) memory chips on their respective boards if their product doesn't specifically need it. He also manages to get non-historical information wrong as well, citing an extra-rugged writing surface (that you can "scribble HARD on") where in fact it's the chassis that the screen is attached to that was improved.

And while his language is strong, Kewney's reasoning is weak. For some reason Kewney seems obsessed with "interchanging" the Palm V and the Palm III in their handsets. But in actuality, why would anybody use the Palm III and the Palm V simultaneously?! (i.e. "placing the Palm V into a Palm III cradle") The order of the pins, as he mentioned, certainly are the same, but the additional necessity of incorporating a power feed intrinsically changes the base requirements. He really doesn't get that they represent two separate market segments. And, yes, eventually the third party manufacturers will eventually have to decide whether to a) make a simple adjustment to their product line, b) sell an adapter, or c) choose not to support the Palm V.

Lastly, it seems evident that Kewney is completely unaware of the business strategy and goals that the Palm Computing founders, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, built the platform on, nor does he grasp the direction that they intend to take the Palm computing platform. He fails to recognise the existing market segmentation between hardcore users like himself (who are likely to strap on GPS devices, keyboards, etc?), and people who are quite content with the on-board features and value form factor more than expandability. He fails to recognise the simple practice of premium pricing for luxury features which the Palm V is obviously catered towards (like a convertible sports coupe, which I'm sure he will also tell you not to buy).

Unfortunately, the general message that sticks in the head is DON'T. 3Com=BAD, BAD NEWS?, "Most stupid thing they've ever done?" Sadly, that's what most people will pick up, even if they do bother to read all one thousand some odd words. Yes, there are plenty of reasons not to get the Palm V. There are plenty of reasons not to get the Palm IIIx. Kewney fails to recognise the distinct markets that the Palm IIIx, the Palm V, and the Palm VII (and perhaps even the PDQ phone) represent. He simply can't see outside the box he's familiar with?which apparently, he's not all too familiar with that at all.

This is England's most respected IT Journalist??

Sincerely,

Joe Lee the real world


Kewney's reply

The factual error pointed out -- that the chip was Motorola-built, not Hitachi -- I thank you for pointing out. The error arose because I met the founders of Palm Computing when they expected Hitachi to second-source the DragonBall, and were hoping to do a deal. At that stage, the chip was not actually in production -- they took quite a chance.

The Hitachi design, of course, was going to be an identical one. The new chip is apparently faster, not because of change of manufacturer or change of clock speed, but because of fewer wait states.

The screen is a new design -- identical on Palm IIIx and Palm V -- and is certainly tougher and more scratch resistant than the Palm III.

Subject: Music Industry hurt by CD piracy?

Dear Editor

Personally I feel it is quite evident that the whole CD market right now is a raquet. Of course piracy will hurt the industry, but the industry has an option: lower the price of it's original CDs.

It does not cost anything near $17.95 to produce a CD, however the industry can get away with pricing CDs that high because there is no competition.

I hope to find someone with a burner so I can buy their CDs and bottom out the market.

Well that's sure to settle the problem.