Linux users unhappy with the GIMP image editor may want to take a look at Pixel, a cross platform image editing application close to photoshop

Linux users unhappy with the GIMP image editor may want to take a look at Pixel, a cross platform image editing application, which more closely mirrors the behavior of Adobe Photoshop.
Although Pixel isn't free in either sense of the word — a licensed copy will set you back $38 USD and the source is not available — in terms of ease-of-use Pixel trumps the Gimp on a number of levels.

Where the GIMP’s palettes are each separate application windows, Pixel opts for a unified interface similar to that of Photoshop, eliminating the confusion of palettes showing up in your taskbar or app switcher.

Pixel also shows evidence of a deeper concern with UI design than you’ll find in the GIMP, which, while functional, is nothing special to look at on any platform. Pixel’s panels are more compact and closely mirror those that Photoshop users are accustomed to. Pixel even has few things, like a live workspace switcher which lets you keep multiple customized workspaces open at the same time, that Photoshop doesn't.

Pixel is still a beta and thus a work in progress, but it already offers the core functionality of both the GIMP and Adobe Photoshop with support for layers, paths, channels, masks, selections, as well as color management support for RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, CIE Lab modes and even support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) images with 32-bit/channel precision.
There are also the usual complement of adjustable brushes, filter plugins and most of the tools you’ll find in Photoshop.

Perhaps even more impressive is Pixel’s roadmap, which promises full compatibility with Photoshop files, SVG support and Photoshop plugins support due for the final release of the first version.

Pixel isn’t perfect by any means, if you frequently use the Photoshop camera RAW plugin you’re out of luck here. Pixel can convert and open your RAW file, but it doesn’t offer any RAW adjustment options. Pixel has also been around quite a while and is still in beta form, which may not speak well for future development, but the application was stable and useable in my testing.
Also, as noted above, Pixel isn’t free which won’t sit well with some Linux users (I should also point out that Pixel is available for Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and others -- even BE OS). Still if you’re looking for Photoshop on Linux, Pixel has the GIMP beat. There’s a demo version of Pixel available for download if you’d like to test it out before purchasing, the demo is limitation free but will watermark your images when saving.
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Microsoft has finally recognized Linux as a competitor.Microsoft target Linux and not Solaris.Microsoft criticizes Linux for a lack of security.

Microsoft has finally recognized Linux as a competitor.

The dominant operating system vendor posted Linux Myths on its Windows NT Server site, attempting to poke holes in commonly held Linux beliefs while touting the many ways in which Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and Server are, in Microsoft's view, superior.

The page zeroes in on five commonly espoused by the Linux faithful: That Linux outperforms NT, that it's more reliable than NT, that it's free, that it's more secure than NT, and that it can replace Windows on the desktop. Microsoft argues each point and uses benchmarks to back up some of its claims.

So why did Microsoft target Linux and not Solaris, the OS from established competitor Sun Microsystems?

1: "It's a very competitive market out there and you need to look at all the areas of competition," said Aubrey Edwards, group product manager in the business enterprise division at Microsoft. "There's a lot of interest around Linux and we need to compete."

2: "This makes it clear that Microsoft has decided it's time to get nasty with Linux," said Eric Troan, director of development at Red Hat, developer of one of the most popular Linux distributions.

3: "Microsoft has obviously been concerned about Linux for a while, and we think it's kind of flattering for them to consider us a competitor and to be marketing against."
The purpose of the document was to provide data points of the technical merits of Windows NT and Linux, according to Edwards.

But the page begins to attack Linux in the second sentence: "First, it's worth noting that Linux is a Unix-like operating system. Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture."

In its zeal to debunk Linux, Microsoft occasionally stretches things. For example, it points out that Linux lacks universal serial bus, plug and play, and power management. But it neglects to mention that the features are not native to Windows NT, either. Microsoft criticizes Linux for a lack of security. It fails to disclose that the US Army recently switched from an NT server to a Mac server because NT wasn't secure enough.

Troan said the Myths page is a mishmash of statements that aren't totally accurate, combined with selective editorializing. In some cases, he said, Microsoft simply ignores certain issues. For example, while Microsoft points out that Linux lacks a world-class journaling (error tracking) file system of its own, it fails to mention that SGI is porting its XFS file system to Linux. "There's a lot of facts they are missing which Microsoft certainly doesn't have any interest in promoting," Troan said.

"Sounds like they're pretty darn scared," said Mark Bolzern, CEO of WorkGroup Solutions, a developer of Web server software for Linux in Aurora, Colorado. "What is says is they see Linux as a competitor and they have to get into a FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign in a big way. That's a good thing."

Bolzern agreed with some of Microsoft's contentions, namely, that Linux has a way to go on the desktop, and that nothing in life is free, including operating systems.

Edwards says the page is not a direct attack, but simply points out the differences between Windows NT 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 6.0. The tests did not include the Linux 2.3.x kernel, which is the developer-release kernel that has all the new technologies like improved symmetric multiprocessing and USB.

The Linux legion responded in force on Slashdot's discussion board. Comments range from basic insults and flames to reasoned responses. "This only serves to polarize people further," posted one reader. "The Microsoft faithful will wave this around as proof of their beliefs and the Linux zealots will point to it as more proof that Microsoft is a nothing more than a hive of marketing droids who can lie better than they can write code.

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Linux looks to take on the world. Linux is a highly capable but curt operating system that does not suffer fools gladly.

Linux is a highly capable but curt operating system that does not suffer fools gladly.

Likewise, LinuxWorld shows have always been a gathering primarily for the few, the proud, the brave and the extremely nerdy ubergeeks.

But this year LinuxWorld will feature tools that will help bring the alternative operating system squarely into the mainstream.

Sophisticated system-management tools, tantalizing previews of Linux running on Intel's upcoming super-fast Itanium processor, small handhelds and super-thin servers, huge cluster computers and gigantic storage devices are expected to take center stage at the show, which will be held at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

Over 200 exhibitors will be on hand for the four-day event, which will also feature 15 tutorial programs and 50 conference sessions, primarily focused on real-world implementation and management of Linux.

"We've proved the essential value of Linux. Now we need to focus on providing the tools that will allow Linux to grow and prosper in the standard business and home environment," said Jerry Franks, a Linux programmer.

"We may need to shift our focus away from those typical Linux programmer activities like twiddling with the operating system itself, or writing drivers that let Linux run specific peripherals, and think about what we can make that will really further our vision of Linux as the ultimate operating system, and open source as the ultimate development method."

Franks isn't the only one who sees a real need for professional-strength management tools.
Veritas will announce that its NetBackup products now support Linux. Caldera Systems will be announcing Caldera Solution for Linux, a Web-based remote management solution that allows administrators to manage multiple Linux servers and desktops from afar.

EST will preview its newest data-protection product for Linux-centric networks, BRU-Pro, while Virtual Access Networks and SuSE have developed The Van, the first PC settings migration tool that promises a painless way to migrate Microsoft Windows clients onto Linux.
Chilliware's "Mambo" is an Administration Tool to simplify file, printer and Internet sharing between Windows and Linux, making it easier to integrate Linux into an existing Windows 95-2000-based network.

And Applied Data Systems will unveil a sleep mode/power management package for their Linux/StrongARM SA1110 platforms that improves battery life for Linux-powered devices.
Herb Hinstorff, a marketing manager at Sun, welcomed the plethora of new tools and said that the growth of Linux is bringing real opportunities to technology companies, especially those that focus on Unix-based technology.

Linux was based on Minix, a Unix system.

"Businesses are benefiting greatly from the large and growing talent pool of knowledgeable Linux administrators and developers, the broad range of computing solutions from multiple vendors, and the many innovative and compelling new applications that are based on open-source development principles," said Hinstorff.

Hinstorff said he expects to see interest in Linux continue to grow. He thinks Linux will pose a real threat to Windows, particularly in the server market, and also expects to see a lot of Linux on smart appliances and handheld devices.

IBM has been an especially aggressive supporter of Linux over the past year, and Deepak Advani, vice president of IBM's Linux Strategy team. He said he feels Linux is now rapidly moving into the mainstream, primarily due to widespread efforts to make the operating system more user-friendly.

"Given the prevailing market forces, we have no doubt that these efforts will continue, making Linux a very appealing option for the average computer user," said Advani.
Intel's Dialogic is also excited about the potential of Linux. The company is especially interested in using Linux as a base to create new technology and applications that merge voice and Internet-based communications, said Art Herzog, marketing manager for Unix platforms at Dialogic.

Voice-over Internet products already allow companies to offer live product support over the Web and assist people who are having problems with online purchases, but Herzog said the possibilities for this technology are endless.

"As businesses realize that there are more than four times as many phones as there are Internet clients and as the technology becomes available to use the telephone as the interface to the Internet, it will be natural for those businesses to use the same Linux platform they have come to trust as the basis for their converged communications."

Although many developers say the newly released 2.4 kernel will also boost Linux's popularity in business markets, few expect to see many finished 2.4 products on display at LinuxWorld this week, since many developers are still working their way through the testing and certification process.

LinuxWorld San Francisco, slated for August of 2001, is expected to be the true showcase for 2.4 applications.

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BJAX: Using a Bookmarklet to Rerank Google Search Results

I've had this thing around for nearly two years and have just not known what to do with it.
Google was doing a pretty good job with search results as long as a topic didn't have a profit motive associated with it. On popular, money-making keywords, the top ten are polluted by the SEO consultants.
What to do?
One option is to use the Google advanced search to limit the search results to recent content. The SEO dudes haven't colonized this territory yet. But this only gets you so far; sometimes you want all of the results.
What else could work?
Well, a mashup between Google and Delicious seemed pretty obvious. But messing with Google search results is a no-no.
How to get around this?
Simple -- let the user do the reranking using a bookmarklet and JSONP.
Thus Rerank was born. I use it on a daily basis to improve my search results. Everyone I have exposed to it has been pretty jazzed by it. Thus my dilemma: I can't scale the backend right now because it depends on, which throttles calls from a single IP.

So, I'd like to show off this idea, but if more than a half dozen people use it at a time, it stops working. So I've been sitting on it for all this time.