Mitch Meyran's articles

Linux performance: is Linux becoming just too slow and bloated?

This is an aspect of FOSS that is regaining some measure of interest: for years, it was considered that writing production-ready FOSS meant lean and mean software. However, recent events have shown that, in the case of the Linux kernel, this is no longer exactly true: performance is dropping slowly yet steadily.

How come?

Xorg's X Window innovation - it's not ALL about the graphics (but there's quite a lot of it)

In my last article about Xorg, I touched upon several points that have been in a state of continual flux in Xorg. Here's a follow-up on that article, as it seems to have generated quite a lot of interest. However, I didn't expand much on some features and their implications, so I will do so here.

I will, also, touch upon a few improvements other than pure graphics.

The X Window innovation: welcome to the new Xorg

Over time, many people have complained about the X Window system; the X Window system, or Xorg in its current most popular implementation, is the layer between applications and the graphics adapter. It has some fantastic features (like the ability to run application over the network) and some shortcomings (it really looks like it's been put together backwards).

One thing is sure: it has evolved over the last year or so, immensely, especially as far as 3D and hardware acceleration go.

Return of the Xvid: check your outputs!

A long time ago, on a blog post not that far away...

I once wrote an article on Xvid 1.1.3, and the speed boost one could get by enabling assembly-optimized code. Well, this is a case of my being hoisted by my own petard -- however, I must admit that several things were against me.

In short, Murphy's Law struck again. But first, for those of you who don't want to click through old blog posts, a (fair) bit of history.

Creating web pages, the right way

Have you ever felt that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your code is error-free and complies with the latest standards? In terms of programming skill, web authors are too-often seen as the bottom of the barrel (you will notice I didn't call them 'web programmers') due to the apparent forgiveness and limitations of the platform. However, they are required to cover a large array of programming expertise and, even worse, they must ensure that their code runs the same on various platforms–something "real" programmers consider a challenge.

The "bottom of the barrel" indeed!

Mobile devices in GNU/Linux and GNOME

You have a computer (a laptop or a desktop). Since it's a machine you use often and don't tinker with much, it probably runs Ubuntu Linux. Or, maybe, another distribution (like Mandriva 2008). If it doesn't run GNU/Linux, I hope you're at least using BSD. If not, stop reading right now!

You also have a brand new digital camera, or a shiny new MP3 player. And you feel the dread: are those pure consumer oriented pieces of hardware compatible with my machine? Will I have to pay the Microsoft tax (and the required hardware upgrades) to get all my photos from my last holidays, or to listen to Beethoven's fifth sung a capella by lazy llamas? Read on.

Tale of a codec optimisation: doing things the GNU/Linux way

Encoding is a CPU-intensive operation. Whilst encoding, using optimised code is crucial. In this short article I will explain how I gained a 300% speed boost when encoding DVDs and will show how having the program's sources and being able to talk to the maintainers sometimes really, really helps. Welcome to doing things "the GNU/Linux way".

ODF in MS Office? No, really!

Microsoft declared yesterday (May 21st, 2008) that Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 would include (among others such as PDF 1.5, PDF/A and some more) built-in support for OASIS OpenDocument Format version 1.1 (finalized, submitted to ISO, supported by OpenOffice.org, Kofffice, GNOME office apps and their forks) while ISO-submitted OOXML support would wait for Office 14.

How to love Free Software in 3 steps: configure, make, make install

I recently re-read the article how to hate free software in 3 easy steps by Steven Goodwin. I'm no programmer, but then I've also installed a few distributions myself. And frankly, I have trouble relating to that post.

Several points were made in the article's comments, some being that non-programmers don't compile from source anyway, compiling from source requires you to be a programmer, and other operating systems don't crash when you tinker with their partitions.

Excuse me?

Hotmail doesn't work with Firefox 2.0: Microsoft answers to GNU/Linux users "Switch to Outlook Express"

I'm the increasingly discontent owner of an Hotmail account (don't laugh, I subscribed back when Hotmail wasn't owned by Microsoft). Recently, in order to compete with Google on the Web, Hotmail's interface was overhauled: it now has a "classic" interface, which works reasonably well but is still rather limited, and a supposedly "Full" interface that should make it the equal of sites like Google Apps and Yahoo Mail/Calendar/etc.

Book review: Learning PHP Data Objects by Dennis Poppel

Learning PHP Data Objects by Dennis Popel (Packt Publishing, 2007) introduces the PHP5 extension PDO. If you've ever worked on a LAMP server, you must know how tedious it is to go through the results of an SQL query, and to manage the connection--even worse, if you happen to change database, your work is pretty much lost: PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite don't have the same driver nor functions! Not so with PDO.

Get your classes and objects ready: PDO will make using a database under PHP5 a snap.

Mandriva 2008 VS Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

For those of you that follow my blog, you must have noticed that I’m a Mandriva user. Recently though, I took an interest in Ubuntu: I installed version 7.04 on a laptop, and it did look interesting, enough to make me doubt my commitment to Mandriva’s products.

Thus, when 7.10 came out with a bang in the media, and I got another laptop to de-borgify, I downloaded the Ubuntu 7.10 ISO along with the install CD for Mandriva 2008.0 Free.

Pick your own OOo, there must be one for you!

OpenOffice.org is probably the biggest free software project in existence today. It certainly is the biggest single piece of software one can download and compile in one go, with the core package hitting over the 100MB mark (while bzip’d) and the total sources going over 200MB.

It directly competes with Microsoft Office, is a bit more easy to install than KOffice, and is very complete.

But what will you get?

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