% fortune -ae paul murphy

I get mail

As regular readers know, I'm on holidays - but I'll be back this weekend and expect to spend considerable time wading through email and talkbacks.

You all see the talkbacks, and it takes no imagination to understand what most of my junk mail looks like - it'll be filled with offers promising to ameliorate my career, financial, sexual, social, and software access inadequacies. Some of my mail, however, is distinctly more interesting than that.

A lot of it predicts future blog topics. For example I have an anonymous contact me form on my website that has a textarea length limit of 400 characters - so it must have taken some serious dedication for someone to send me nearly 4,000 lines of code starting with:

#define find_lock_page(mapping, index) \
__find_lock_page(mapping, index, page_hash(mapping, index))

+extern int __check_page(struct address_space * mapping, unsigned long index,
+ struct page **hash);
+#define check_page(mapping, index) \
+ __check_page(mapping, index, page_hash(mapping, index))
extern void __add_page_to_hash_queue(struct page * page, struct page **p);

No explanation, of course - but it's not hard to figure out what that's about.

Or how about this snippet from a friend:

... lots of nonuniform data reference pointers poking up all over the thing...

Opaque, huh? he's working on device driver support and coming up against the big endian/little endian issue -and one thing I can predict with some certainty is that this issue will come to haunt the people bringing the old Solaris (2.5.1 and 2.6) ports for PowerPC up on the IBM Power5 processor.

And then, of course, there are the abusers - nothing remotely like the storm of perfect hatred my 2002 Linuxworld series on mainframe Linux drew -more than 2,800 emails -many part of an organized campaign- and highlighted by a handwritten note FedEx'd to my home on paper headlined "Office of the CIO" for a Canadian top 100 company that said "You, sir, are an *&&^%a -just my 2cents worth".

Many of these people are just venting their frustrations, but some of them are polite to the point that I can't figure what they could possible have wanted to achieve with it. Consider, for example, this one:

Sorry that you have so many issues with windows.

I have learned how to manage windows and it works very well for my desktop network and 24x7 web hosting server.

I seldom have a problem from security issues or virus problems.

Resource issues are easily managed just by checking a few utilities.

I have used Linux and on all of my bench mark tests, it did not perform as well as windows.

Sorry, I will have to stay with windows.

[name deleted] Ph.D.
Northwood University

What am I supposed to do with that? Apologize to him, or advise him to write a book? -because the rest of us would love to know how to run Windows without encountering "problem(s) from security issues or virus problems".

And then there are people like this - all of them deadly serious, many of them very knowledgeable and interesting on their own, and some deeply comitted to issues I'm concerned about too.

Dear Sir:

Part of the problem with the mass uptake of any *nixOS, especially GNU/Linux is that the geeks behind the movement must be prepared to deal with the novice-ness-of-the-average-user. Maybe you could address that point in your blog but here is my gripe, which I have written about more extensively here: http://fredmt.blogspot.com/2005/12/service-please.html. Namely, I am expressing frustration at gadget manufacturers for not servicing a segment of the market that is constantly growing. That is nothing new, however...

Another thought: I made a couple of predictions for '06 at: http://fredmt.blogspot.com/2005/12/random-thoughts-going-into_113512500334610206.html. The second one should tickle your fancy: /02: We will see the first serious threat to the Intel/MicroSOFT hegmoney. Sun Microsystems will approach IBM with hopes of merging their processor technologies. This move will really revitalize the *nix world, especially GNU-Linux and Solaris.

Sun's fortunes will probably dictate this move...

The primary purpose of this email however, is to gripe about the apparent lack of mainstream software and hardware which confronts users of gadgets that are not Redmond supported but this will more likely change in the future; problem is, I want the future now!

A little exposure wouldn't help either...

Freddie Montana
Great Lakes Region

I don't think so, Fred - but in honor of the great state of Montana, here's a little tiny bit of exposure and I hope you decide to become a regular contributor to the talkback community.

See you all Monday.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.