Coders: Living on the Edge

Fun and entertaining early Linux History, from Lars Wirzenius:

At one point, Linus had implemented device files in /dev, and wanted to dial up the university computer and debug his terminal emulation code again. So he starts his terminal emulator program and tells it to use /dev/hda. That should have been /dev/ttyS1. Oops. Now his master boot record started with “ATDT” and the university modem pool phone number. I think he implemented permission checking the following day.

Linux Anecdotes

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Adobe: Implement ETDs on Linux, please!

I just left this on the Adobe forums:

I just bought an e-book from amazon because it said it was Adobe Reader.. I didn’t choose Microsoft Reader because I have a Linux machine (the book was also available on Microsoft’s eReader format). Now only after spending the money do I realize that your application can open these files on every platform BUT Linux. Well if I can’t print it, and I can only read it on the desktop at home (where I have a Mac), it completely defeats the purpose of buying an e-book for me.

If this is the level of support you offer your customers, I will not be buying DRM protected books again. I’m an avid buyer of freely available PDFs – The pragmatic programmers provide an excellent selection of programming books on PDFs, as do many other fine technical book publishers.

Even without agreeing with the methods of DRM, I can understand them. But if you are going to go through the trouble of implementing DRM, you would think your company would WANT people to use it, and hence implement it in the same platforms you implement your product. As it stands right now, it’s PDF 1, DRM ETD -10000 (since I can’t even begin to download it).

What is bad enough to be laughable is the text on the FAQ mentioning that there is not enough market. Somehow I don’t believe this for a very simple reason. If Adobe was really interested in knowing whether there is market or not, they would implement the ETD download as a stub that would notify your servers of the attempt (and provide the user with a message about the feature not being implemented in the Linux version). That would be more straightforward and allow your company to determine the actualy market for the product.

But your failure to implement or even mention the feature in the Linux version of the reader is telling enough for me.

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