Windows is still not favored for Super Computers

I have been watching the semi-annual 500 fastest super computer list for a while, and each time I look to see how many computers on the list are based on Microsoft Windows. This latest list (released this month) still doesn't show much Windows love. Out of 500 super computers, there are 6 based on Windows. And two of those are partially based on Linux, so really only 4 of the 500 are purely Windows. That is really sad. But why is this happening?

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ColdFusion Builder on Linux

If you are a ColdFusion developer that runs Linux on your desktop, you are probably aware that you can't get an official Linux version of CFBuilder. Well, there is a way to run CFBuilder on Linux, thanks to Mark Mandel. He has done some leg work to find the files you need from the Windows version and then you can run a script he wrote to get it all working. I haven't tried this yet, but it looks promising.

So my next question is...if Mark can do this, why can't Adobe figure this out and release an official Linux version? Especially since they do have a Linux version of ColdFusion.

Linux installations = recursive masochism

I have to get this off of my chest. Firstly, yes I am a big Linux fan because it's the only operating system I've used that offers configuration down to the anal retentive levels I prefer. But sometimes Linux makes me want to scream. Installing from source is one of those times.

So I like to use Ubuntu desktop because it is a LOT easier to use than any other Linux distro I've tried (and I've tried a number of them). In general, installations are a breeze because I can open up Synaptic Package Manager and search for the program I want (and 9 times out of 10 it's in the repositories). But on occasion the software I want is not in Ubuntu's repositories (nor any of the "universe", "please don't go here", "you will die if you use this" repositories I've enabled). So I am forced to use the old fashioned methods. This is where recursive masochism begins. I'm sure many of you Linux fanboys have suffered this scenario:

  1. Download source files.
  2. Attempt compilation...discover you need some additional library first.
  3. Find dependency on the Internets, attempt compilation...discover you need some additional library first.
  4. Find second dependency on the Internets, attempt compilation...discover you need some additional library first.
  5. Find third dependency on the Internets, attempt compilation...discover you need some additional library first.
  6. Find fourth dependency on the Internets, attempt compilation...it works.
  7. Attempt compilation of third dependency...discover you need some additional library first.
  8. Find fifth dependency on the Internets, attempt compilation...it works.
  9. Attempt compilation of..."Where the &$#% was I??"...
  10. Attempt compilation of originally desired software...discover that their *&%# compile script has an error in it.
  11. Realize that you just wasted the last 6 hours of your life (as well as about 500 MB of hard drive space).
  12. Pray to the Linux gods that some pioneering soul has written a tutorial for installing your desired software in Ubuntu, and that said tutorial will work for your machine.

Com'on, Linux developers! You can't honestly make fun of Windows developers when they figured out user friendly software installation years ago, but in 2009 you guys are still swimming in dependency hell.

And for those wondering about all the bleeped out 4 letter words in this post...it takes a lot to make me swear. Linux's dependency hell can bring that out in me.

Ok, I feel better now. :)

Ubuntu Jaunty with ATI Azailia (Intel HDA) Audio

This is a somewhat obscure post, but it's for my future reference and anybody else that had audio problems after upgrading to Ubuntu Jaunty.

Firstly, let me say that my audio worked fine "out of the box" with Ubunto 8.10 (Intrepid). I have an AMD mobo with an onboard sound card built by AMD/ATI (or Intel), I'm not sure which. Here are some descriptions for my sound card I saw in various hardware lists in my system:
ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA)
RS780 Azalia Controller
ALC1200 Analog
snd-hda-intel (the driver)

To make a long story short, I ended up following this excellent Ubuntu sound troubleshooting guide in the Ubuntu Help section. The part that seemed to do the trick was when I "purged" all of my audio config/setup and set it back to "factory defaults". This was accomplished with a single (long) command in the terminal. After that, I was able to hear sounds in the "Sound" panel under System->Preferences. However, I had to try all of the different devices under the dropdown before I found one that worked. In my case it was "HDA ATI SB ALC1200 Analog (OSS)".

I'm not sure I like that I had to settle with the Analog device instead of digital, but oh well. At least I finally have sound working again. On second thought, I've heard that Analog is better than Digital when it comes to music (sound waves are analog not digital). So I guess I'll survive. :)

How Adobe Can Kill Silverlight: Linux

This is not my idea, but John C. Dvorak's. Microsoft is making a full frontal attack on Adobe with SilverLight. Dvorak's suggestion is that Adobe should port the full creative suite to Linux, and once that's done make a fully optimized, custom version of Linux for Adobe designers/developers. How would this hurt SilverLight? It wouldn't directly, but it could potentially take money out of Microsoft's coffers (by taking away Windows market share).

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Where's Windows Real Time Operating System?

There is an excellent article in c|net about a new version of SuSE Linux that claims to be a Real Time OS. This got me thinking about Windows, as I'm unaware of Microfost's entry into this small market segment. I'm talking about large enterprise level systems like Wall Street's infrastructure. I know that Microsoft has Windows CE, which is technically a RTOS. But I doubt we'll see a version of Windows any time soon that guarantees microsecond response time. Unless it can reboot that fast...

Dot Dot Enter

I've blogged about this before, but at my eye doctor's office today I noticed that their computers are running Linux (I recognized the desktop interface widgets). They had a terminal window that accesses a command line/gui type doctor's office application. One girl was getting trained on the system, and I kept hearing them say "dot dot enter", which is a command to go up a directory in some Linux distributions. I also noticed that they had Thunderbird icons on their toolbar. Very cool! :)

Oh, and their website is powered by ColdFusion! According to Netcraft, their web server is running Windows 2000 and IIS, which kind of surprised me considering all the above mentioned technology choices.

Installed ColdFusion on Ubuntu

I've been getting Ubuntu Linux up and running on my desktop. Today I decided to use the directions I mentioned earlier for installing CF on Debian Linux (Ubuntu is based on Debian). Those directions help you get things running for a production server, using Apache. I am just doing this to have a local copy of CF for development, so I only used about half the directions. But it worked! :) Also, the guy that wrote the directions had a problem with the graphics server, and I didn't have that problem. My guess is they were installing it on a headless Debian server, because he needed to install some x server libraries, but I already have them.

ColdFusion on Debian

Steven Erat has published a ton of information for running ColdFusion on RedHat Linux. This is very useful, and you can probably take most of it and apply it to other distributions. However, there may be enough differences between the different Linux flavors that a specific tutorial for your favorite would be great. Today I found one for Debian. This should also be useful for all of the Debian based distros, like Ubuntu.

JavaScript Operating System

Someone has built a Unix like operating system using JavaScript and a web browser. It uses a lot of Ajax like functionality I'm not sure how useful this would be to anybody, but here's the description: "It comprises a vir-tual machine, shell, virtual file-system, process-management, and brings its own terminal with screen- and keyboard-mapping." I logged to the terminal in and played around a bit. All of the standard commands I tried worked! I looked at man page, and there are 55 commands currently implemented. This is pretty wild, but it doesn't have access to your local filesystem. So it's not very useful. The author says it is demo software, and I think this is another case of someone having too much time on their hands. :)

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