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India's IT giants left gasping after water shortage

IT execs from some of India’s biggest tech firms are set to meet government officials this week after crippling water shortages almost shut down a large chunk of the country’s multi-billion pound industry last week. Businesses in Chennai’s Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) district apparently account for around three-quarters of the …
Phil Manchester, 04 Jul 2013

How Alan Turing wanted to base EDSAC's memory on BOOZE

Centenary If Alan Turing had been in charge of the EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) project in the late 1940s, the first computer memory might not have been based on mercury - but on a good gin. In his Turing Award speech in 1967, Sir Maurice Wilkes, the actual EDSAC project chief, recalled Turing's input on …
Phil Manchester, 28 Jun 2013

Now pay attention, 007: James Bond's Q re-booted

Bond on Film There were others, but Desmond Llewelyn defined the part of Q in James Bond, appearing in 17 films and nailing the shtick with the wayward agent who invariably broke or lost his toys. Q perfected the long-suffering dad to Bond’s fidgety teen, who pressed the wrong buttons to earn an exasperated: “Pay attention, 007!” Skyfall …
Phil Manchester, 16 Oct 2012
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DBMS pioneer Bachman: 'Engineers have more fun than academics'

Fifty years ago this month a young engineer at mega corp General Electric was on the verge of completing a project that would change technology. Charlie Bachman was working on Integrated Data Store (IDS), the first disk-based database management system (DBMS) that could be accessed by apps simultaneously. IDS made data …
Phil Manchester, 30 Nov 2011
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Happy Birthday, Turing's universal machine

It's just 71 years ago this month that a seminal paper from Alan Turing was published, which helped pave the way to today's multi-billion dollar IT industry and confer on Turing the title of father of modern computer science. As is often the case in scientific endeavour, Turing was actually working on an entirely different task …
Phil Manchester, 18 Nov 2008
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Time to reject traditional database techniques?

Mainstream database management system (DBMS) technology faces a challenge from new approaches that reject the relational model. The battleground is set to be the market for business intelligence based on very large databases. Some main players in DBMS software are already jockeying for position with revamped database products …
Phil Manchester, 14 Nov 2008
DVD it in many colours

Intel rallies rivals on parallel programming education

Intel has enlisted chip rivals to push for making parallel programming a higher priority on computer science courses. Intel will kick-off its campaign at Supercomputing 08 in Austin, Texas next week, during a Monday session called There Is No More Sequential Programming. Why Are We Still Teaching It?. Representatives from AMD, …
Phil Manchester, 13 Nov 2008
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Eclipse kills open-source SOA projects

The open-source Eclipse Foundation is terminating several service-oriented architecture (SOA) projects thanks to lack of interest. The Application Lifecycle Framework (ALF), initiated in 2005 to solve integration problems of application lifecycle management (ALM) for SOA developments, failed to attract committers beyond Serena …
Phil Manchester, 07 Nov 2008
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Dead boffins deflate the cloud

Afterlife Panel Like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web 2.0 before it, the phrase "cloud computing" has become catnip to marketing zealots and lost souls of the IT industry. Behind all the fluff, though, the cloud touches on some timeless computing topics - big systems, parallel processing, collected intelligence, and the value of …
Phil Manchester, 06 Nov 2008
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Debian discord over de-classified developer proposal

Members of the Debian community are up in arms following a surprise announcement over the way project participants are vetted and organized. The announcement, posted by Debian developer and administrator Joerg Jaspert, proposed - among other things - that a new class of non-technical Debian contributor be introduced. This person …
Phil Manchester, 04 Nov 2008
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XML anti discrimination plan hits hurdle

A well-intentioned attempt to make XML less exclusive to certain ethic groups actually risks causing breakage for those it's intended to help. XML co-inventor Tim Bray and others have raised a last-minute objection to the planned XML Fifth Edition working its way through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They say it could …
Phil Manchester, 24 Oct 2008
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Eclipse spruces Mobile Tools for Java

The Eclipse Foundation - the open source integrated development environment (IDE) project - wants more mobile platform developers to get involved in expanding Eclipse into mobile application development. With the launch today of a revamped version of the Mobile Tools for Java (MTJ), Eclipse said it wanted to establish a new …
Phil Manchester, 15 Oct 2008
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Lenny might be late

Debian project leader Steve McIntyre has dismissed claims that the next stable version of Debian – codename Lenny – could be delayed until June 2009. Based on the number of outstanding release-critical bugs and the time it has taken to fix them on previous releases, Debian developer Bastian Venthur estimated it will take a …
Phil Manchester, 10 Oct 2008

Apathy comes easy to OpenAjax Alliance

The OpenAjax Alliance is once again finding it tough to enlist support for its projects, despite representing some of the biggest players - with the most resources - in software biz and on online. The 2008 Open Ajax Alliance InteropFest a project set up in June to promote compatibility demonstrations for AJAX tools, libraries, …
Phil Manchester, 07 Oct 2008
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Cold War comfort on software engineering’s birthday

Forty years ago today, at the height of the Cold War, around 50 computing experts gathered in the southern German market town of Garmisch to change history. With the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact glowering at the west, the participants - drawn both from academia and industry - met under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty …
Phil Manchester, 07 Oct 2008
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WebKit passes third Acid test

WebKit - the framework that underpins Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome browser, and its Android phone platform - has become the first browser to pass the full Acid 3 test. The Acid tests are designed to check how compliant a browser is with the web standards laid down by the Web Standards Project (WaSP). Acid 3, reckoned to be …
Phil Manchester, 01 Oct 2008
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Apple NDA kills Jesus Phone gospels

Apple's clampdown over access to information on the iPhone's Software Development Kit (SDK) has plumbed new depths, forcing a book publisher to withdraw a programmers guide scheduled for December 2008. Pragmatic Bookshelf announced it is pulling Phone SDK Development from its production schedule because Apple's draconian non- …
Phil Manchester, 26 Sep 2008
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Debian all business with Lenny and Squeeze

Steve McIntyre knew he faced a huge task when he took on the job of Debian project leader nearly six months ago. But he didn't reckon on the scandal of a major security bug, followed by a massive clear-up operation within a few days of taking over. As if this wasn't enough McIntyre also faced a backlog of approvals for new …
Phil Manchester, 25 Sep 2008
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Debian components breach terms of GPLv2

A top Debian contributor has been left "pretty disappointed" by elements of the Debian community for failing to comply with the conditions of the GNU GPLv2 license. Daniel Baumann, who maintains the Debian Syslinux bootloader package, has said Debian components were being released only in binary form without source code - …
Phil Manchester, 05 Sep 2008
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Ubuntu documentation in shreds

An ambitious plan to smarten up the online documentation for Linux distro Ubuntu has ended in failure. Dubbed the Summer of Documentation by the Ubuntu forums beginner team who devised the plan back in June, the goal was to clean up the Ubuntu Community Wiki. The documentation wiki had "fallen into a huge state of disrepair and …
Phil Manchester, 04 Sep 2008
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Mozilla claims mass Ubiquity mobilisation

Firefox developer Mozilla has claimed its decision to reinvent the command line to make mashups easier has received an overwhelming response from developers. Mozilla Labs last week released an experimental plug-in called Ubiquity, which lets users call up a command line entry box and type in commands to carry out additional …
Phil Manchester, 03 Sep 2008
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Google's MapReduce suddenly not so backward

What was seen as a major hole in Google's MapReduce database technology has been plugged, not once but twice. In the same week. Californian start-up Aster Data and its more established rival Greenplum have both launched SQL integration for MapReduce. The lack of SQL tools was one of the main criticisms levelled at MapReduce in …
Phil Manchester, 27 Aug 2008
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Microsoft's .NET goes Web 2.0 with Sadville

Sadville is rolling out the open-source implementation of Microsoft's .NET on its virtual infrastructure in a step towards enabling software development. Linden Labs is installing the Mono Project's virtual machine on its heavily trafficked Second Life servers - Sadville runs more than 2,500 clustered servers. The move means …
Phil Manchester, 21 Aug 2008
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Debian delivers FreeRunner open-phone package

Olympics aside, summer 2008 will be remembered for at least two other reasons. It will be seen as a time when the noise over Linux as a platform for mobile devices reached a crescendo. Second: it marked Debian's fifteenth anniversary. Bringing both together, Debian developers have delivered a version of their Linux distro for …
Phil Manchester, 20 Aug 2008
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JavaScript standards wrangle swings Microsoft's way

Adobe Systems appears to have been wrong footed and Microsoft left crowing on JavaScript’s evolution, following a decision by the ECMA. After several months of wrangling, ECMA technical committee (TC) 39 - responsible for JavaScript standardization - has agreed to abandon plans for an ambitious new standard dubbed ECMAScript (ES …
Phil Manchester, 15 Aug 2008
California flag

COBOL thwarts California's Governator

Inspite - or perhaps because - of its "difficult" birth, Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL) has become a survivor in the world of computing. That's caused problems when it comes to maintaining systems running the language. COBOL has now taken center stage in the rumbling controversy over the State of California's budget. …
Phil Manchester, 14 Aug 2008
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Sun quietly sets mobile middleware bait

Yes, Apple has a lot to answer for. Having hooked the iPhone into Microsoft's Exchange email server, so business types can now read corporate emails horizontally, more tried-and-tested enterprise vendors are revisiting the concept of mobile business computing. Sybase last week began pushing the latest version of SQL Anywhere. …
Phil Manchester, 11 Aug 2008

Drizzle plans to wash away DBMS past

A new database management system (DBMS) designed for web applications and cloud computing could be the start of a new direction in DBMS development and, indeed, in software as a whole. Drizzle - unveiled recently at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) by MySQL director of architecture Brian Aker - is described as a " …
Phil Manchester, 04 Aug 2008
For Sale sign detail

Next Debian's 'Lenny' frozen

The next version Debian has come a step closer to completion with the freezing of the current testing distribution version codename Lenny. This will form the basis of Debian 5.0, expected in September. The freeze means that package developers who have not uploaded software for inclusion in the Debian 5.0 release have effectively …
Phil Manchester, 30 Jul 2008
homeless man with sign

Business Objects/SAP bungle leaves users in lurch

Business Objects users have been left confused and angry after a bungled attempt to merge their product support with a system serving SAP customers. Some Business Objects users have had to wait for full product support almost three weeks following an attempt to merge them into SAP's main support system, in the wake of its $6. …
Phil Manchester, 28 Jul 2008

Microsoft, Facebook, Google box clever on really big systems

Facebook's decision to release under open source a large-scale data management project similar to - and inspired by - Google's BigTable has received backing from an unusual quarter: Microsoft. Data center futures architect and distinguished database developer James Hamilton, has complemented the pimply faced social network for …
Phil Manchester, 18 Jul 2008
fingers pointing at man

App Store clean-up follows allegations

Members of Apple's brand-new App Store have cleaned up their act after accusations of unprofessionalism and queue jumping to get their software noticed by iPhone users. Apple iPhone School first highlighted the fact some developers were inserting special characters - spaces, quotes and numbers - in front of their applications' …
Phil Manchester, 16 Jul 2008
homeless man with sign

Patent violation, prosecution, acquisition: pick your top open-source project

The world of open source gets the equivalent of an Oscar awards ceremony later this month when code-host SourceForge announces the winners of its second-annual vote on the community's top projects. And this year SourceForge is loosening the bow tie and letting down the hair, by inviting nominations for projects that could land …
Phil Manchester, 11 Jul 2008

AJAX browser vote exceeds 'wild' expectations

There's been a late surge of interest in voting for a wishlist of features users want added to web browsers, after being ignored for months. With less than a day left before the OpenAjax Alliance closes its poll for most-wanted browser features 116 people have now voted, according to the project's summary. That's up from a …
Phil Manchester, 09 Jul 2008
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Nut launches death threats at Debian women

Exclusive Women working on Debian have been getting death threats from a nut job who believes they're killing free software. A poll by new project leader Steve McIntyre into whether people are happy on Debian revealed one female coder had been getting the threats as thanks for her hard work. Further daggering soon revealed she was not …
Phil Manchester, 03 Jul 2008

JBoss app server 5.0 emerges from hiding

Red Hat is inching closer to delivery of the long-awaited JBoss Application Server 5.0, but there's still no final release date. Sacha Labourey, chief technology officer (CTO) for JBoss, has blogged the first release candidate is now frozen and will be available some time this week. He said a further release candidate will be …
Phil Manchester, 01 Jul 2008
graph up

Dreamer calls for revolution of the algorithm

Fresh from challenging Silicon Valley to invest in ethical Web 2.0 efforts, a blogger-cum-consultant has proclaimed a "manifesto" for the next industrial revolution using Web 2.0. Umair Haque, director of the Havas Media Lab think tank and founder of Web 2.0 consultant Bubblegeneration - seriously is this post-modern irony, or …
Phil Manchester, 26 Jun 2008

Eclipse will be watching you very closely

The Eclipse Foundation wants to know who is using Eclipse and how they are using it ahead of next year's planned mega release. One of the main innovations in the Eclipse Foundation's Ganymede synchronized release of 24 projects this year, out today, is a feature called Usage Data Collector (UDC). Eclipse Foundation executive …
Phil Manchester, 25 Jun 2008
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Freescale loves open and closed source equally

Freescale Semiconductor, whose chips power a broad range of business and consumer devices, has spread its bets in embedded software development by joining the open source Eclipse Foundation and Microsoft's embedded partner programme. Both moves, announced at the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Orlando, Florida, are clearly …
Phil Manchester, 19 Jun 2008
For Sale sign detail

1,076 developers, 15 years, one open-source Wine

After 15 years of development, a running battle with Microsoft and persistent doubts about its viability, the first proper version of Wine - a middleware tool to run Windows applications on Unix-like operating systems - has finally arrived. Wine 1.0, the work of a staggering 1,076 programmers, has been released under the GNU …
Phil Manchester, 18 Jun 2008
Eclipse teaser (lrg)

Eclipse projects squeeze into record Summer fun pack

The Eclipse Foundation's annual code blitz - this year under the name Ganymede - kicks off at the end of this month with 24 Eclipse projects co-ordinating their new releases. Now in its third year, this annual big push keeps getting bigger. Ganymede is Eclipse's largest co-ordinate release of updated projects to-date, beating …
Phil Manchester, 16 Jun 2008

Apple partially rehabilitates Sun's DTrace

Apple has decided that developers can use Sun Microsystems' DTrace tool to monitor applications under its Mac OS/X operating system after all. Well, sort of. Sun engineer and co-author of DTrace Adam Leventhal has revealed that a limitation built into the earlier version of Mac OS/X 10.5 that disabled DTrace for certain …
Phil Manchester, 12 Jun 2008

AJAX browser wishlist call goes unanswered

The OpenAjax Alliance is trying to gee up the AJAX community after a disappointing response to its call for a wish list of features vendors should add to browsers. The Alliance - a cross-industry group whose goal is interoperability between AJAX technologies and to drive uptake of AJAX - issued the call at the start of April …
Phil Manchester, 10 Jun 2008
graph up

Ingres alumnus joins DBMS scrum

Ingres originator Jerry Held has become the latest database big gun to take aim at traditional database management systems (DBMS), saying they are unsuited to cloud computing. A former senior Oracle vice president, now chairman of Vertica promoting a database it claims is - guess what - suited to cloud computing, Held has …
Phil Manchester, 10 Jun 2008

Eclipse slams Sun for 'mockery' of a Java process

Sun Microsystems has earned the displeasure of the Eclipse Foundation over its proposed modular Java specification alternative to the OSGi, for the next version of Java. Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, has accused Sun of a lack of openness and using "backroom tactics" to push for a compromise …
Phil Manchester, 06 Jun 2008
Bill Gates teaser pic

Multi-threaded development joins Gates as yesterday's man

When he wasn’t ruminating at this week’s TechEd on the “millions” of servers running Microsoft’s planned on-demand services, Bill Gates was talking about how to architect software to take advantage of powerful “transistors” in massive server farms. Applications - like, for example, Microsoft’s BizTalk Server and SQL Server that …
Phil Manchester, 06 Jun 2008
Eclipse teaser (lrg)

Split on support for 'old' Java in next Eclipse

A summit on the next version of Eclipse platform - E4 - has exposed fundamental disagreements between those who want to update the platform and those wanting to continue support for "old" Java. The dispute is over whether to focus on Java 5 or to continue supporting its aging predecessor Java 1.4. Eclipse projects currently …
Phil Manchester, 28 May 2008

Windows XP bests OS X in RIA test on Intel

A benchmark test for rich internet application (RIA) frameworks claims Apple's OS X lags Microsoft's Windows XP on Intel when rendering HTML, being just over half as fast. Sean Christmann, an experience architect at user interface specialist EffectiveUI, released the GUIMark benchmark following concerns over the lack of a proper …
Phil Manchester, 23 May 2008
Eclipse teaser (lrg)

IBMers answer call for IBM-free Eclipse

If Eclipse was hoping to escape its current over reliance on IBM then it's off to a slow start judging by early work on its next platform - E4, due in 2010. Project members are meeting during the next two days at an E4 summit in Ottawa, Canada, to push on with the practical work of building E4, announced at EclipseCon in March …
Phil Manchester, 22 May 2008
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W3C 'clarifies' HTML 5 v XHTML

Potential conflicts and overlap between the first update to HTML in a decade by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and XHTML has been addressed by the standards body. The group, meanwhile, has also acknowledged vendors are - once again - pushing their own platform-specific technologies, this time on RIA, with the standards …
Phil Manchester, 16 May 2008