Originally Published: Thursday, 23 March 2000 Author: Scott Nipp
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux Software Looking Good?

Linux, as an operating system, is a continuous work in progress, as are many of the utilities that you run on it. The software that users run on Linux are what turns a stable and powerful kernel, which is technically all "Linux" is, into a robust operating system capable of a wide variety of functions.

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Linux, as an operating system, is a continuous work in progress, as are many of the utilities that you run on it. The software that users run on Linux are what turns a stable and powerful kernel, which is technically all "Linux" is, into a robust operating system capable of a wide variety of functions. This software includes everything from the basic file manipulation commands, to graphics packages, to web servers, to games. There has been a recent flurry of activity regarding Linux software.

One of the most exciting developments in the Linux software world right now is the release of XFree86 4.0. XFree86 is the default X server on the Linux platform. This software is the core of the graphical display capability of a Linux system, and therefore of critical importance to most users. This new version of XFree86 includes numerous enhancements including improved performance, built-in hardware acceleration for many video cards, built-in 3D capabilities with acceleration for some cards, and more. Furthermore, 4.0 is even more modularized than the previous versions which allows an "easier" implementation for video card vendors, at the expense of binary only driver, which is a concern for some. All in all, XFree86 4.0 is a big step in the right direction and will soon become the default X server on most Linux distributions.

Another interesting software development recently is the announcement that RealPlayer 7 is now available for Linux. RealPlayer is one of the most popular multimedia playback applications in the Windows world, and is now going to be available for Linux also. This will allow users to play a wide variety of audio and video clips from news sites, radio stations, and other sources. This is just one more shining example of the momentum that Linux has in bringing more commercial software titles to Linux. RealPlayer is one application that virtually everyone who uses a Linux system can enjoy regardless of the primary of his or her Linux system.

Another big development is the upcoming release of KDE 2.0. This is the next big step for what is possibly the most popular desktop environment available for Linux. The current KDE release schedule looks like we should see a final release sometime within the next couple months. This release will include things like Konqueror, which is a "new" web browser and more designed specifically for KDE, and KOffice, a professional quality office suite including components like a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program. KDE 2.0 will also include numerous technological enhancements to provide better performance and integration within the environment. KDE 2.0 simply improves upon an already outstanding windowing environment granting many users even better performance, functionality, and ease of use.

Linux is an operating system that, like most operating systems, is in a constant state of development. This development goes beyond just the operating system kernel itself, and extends to all of the supporting programs people typically consider a standard part of the average Linux distribution. The development of these pieces of software, and others, help to increase the overall stability and performance of what is typically thought of as Linux, not to mention bringing new features and functionality to this already very flexible operating system.

Scott Nipp is a Technical Solutions Consultant at Sprint Enterprise Network Services.

The views, information and opinions provided in this article are expressed and held solely by the author. Neither Sprint Enterprise Network Services nor Sprint Corporation or any of its affiliates assume any responsibility for any opinion or statement of fact presented in this article.





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