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The Linux World reading list, XGL, Ubuntu and GentooNick Selby, April 5, 2006 @ 12:11 pm ET
I’ve just spent about an hour running around the publisher booths at LW, and there are some great new books out there or on the way. O’Reilly is launching or has recently launched books including Ruby Cookbook, Ruby on Rails: Up and Running; Steal This Computer Book 4.0; Ajax Design Patterns and, the title I’ve been personally waiting for, Ubuntu Hacks. O’Reilly was out of UH copies, but handed me their Rough Cuts galley set, basically a best-of Xeroxed compilation to give punters the flavor of an upcoming title.
Hack #69 is all about managing security updates in Ubuntu Linux which, according to Distrowatch, has been the number one Linux distro for at least the past 12 months. The folks from Ubuntu are here of course, running Dapper, Ubuntu 6.06 which is certainly stable enough for a convention crowd (I’m running it on one desktop and two notebooks, and frankly, I think it’s stable enough for me, too! I write this from Jedit on Breezy, Ubuntu 5.10). Ubuntu supports Intel x86, AMD64 and PowerPC (Apple iBook and Powerbook, G4 and G5) architectures.
Ubuntu is sponsored by Canonical, Ltd., which sponsors several other open source projects including TheOpenCD project, whose goal is to introduce Windows users to the benefits of free and open source software.
Meanwhile the developers at the Gentoo Foundation booth are busy fending off the crowds jostling to see the XGL demonstration that Josh Nichols has been trying to run as fast as possible. If you haven’t seen it, check out this online XGL demonstration. XGL, an Xserver that uses OpenGL for its drawing operations, promises to change the way people interact with their desktops. It has stunningly clear and crisp graphics, and the content within windows being dragged remains rock solid – even if that content is DVD playback. Special visual effects range from just plain eye candy (windows which visibly drag at the edges when moved, or vibrate when they bump into other windows) to darn day-changing useful (it allows switching between multiple desktops while maintaining continuity of thought by transitioning in a way that looks as if you’re rotating a three-dimensional cube in space). An XGL desktop uses surprisingly little memory to accomplish all this too – Gentoo users can follow the instructions here; there’s talk of making it an easy add to Ubuntu Dapper; Red Hat said in March that Fedora Core 5 will offer Accelerated Indirect GLX (AIGLX) support, and the next iteration of OS X and Microsoft’s Vista will sport sophisticated OpenGL API-accelerated user interfaces for desktop environments.
I stopped by the Addison-Wesley stand as well to look over the new titles and got immediately sidetracked by Rootkits: Subverting the Windows Kernel by Greg Hoglund and Jamie Butler, a how-to guide to subverting the Windows XP and 2000 kernels (another great resource is Joanna Rutkowska’s invisiblethings.org). I also picked up a copy of A-W’s Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions by Richard Bejtlich.
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