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The Answer Gang

(?) The Answer Gang (!)
By Jim Dennis, Ben Okopnik, Dan Wilder, Breen, Chris, and... (meet the Gang) ... the Editors of Linux Gazette... and You!

We have guidelines for asking and answering questions. Linux questions only, please.
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¶: Greetings From Heather Stern
(?)Compile on one, run on another machine
(?)Dedicated Linux application
(?)Diagnosing a Linux crash
(?)I blew out Fedora with yum and 2.62
(?)2c tip: filtering in-place
(?)framebuffer colors
(?)Mirror 2 web servers

(¶) Greetings from Heather Stern

Greetings, folks, and welcome to the world of The Answer Gang. It's been a rough and tumble time here... I've got some hardware in a shambles. It's just not my week. Just looking at all these scattered parts makes me wonder if I could build a robot out of them. I've got enough backups I've certainly my pick of linux flavors...

Then some folks in an IRC channel got into discussing what sort of mayhem we would see if various window managers were thrown into a gladiatorial arena and forced to duke it out, mano a mano, claw to saw. "Fight! Fight!" cried our Weekend Mechanic -- as he cheerfully added parts to the house favorite -- and the battle was on.

WM-bot Wars

In our first round of the competition, we have the little guys. Heck, you might have even heard of some of them. Aren't they so cute! Minimal is the name of the game here. Let's weigh in, the advantage is they're light, the disads are what features they left out - the underpower crowd roars for these underdogs - here you have 'em folks:

The fight begins, with these and crowds of other small fry swarming to the freshmeat. Amaterus makes a pretty good start but it has a menu - just a sucky one. Someone hops a pogo stick and virtual desktops sprout. Apps being executed everywhere. A pypanel confers, Oroborus nearly trapped against the obscurity wall when MacOSX rescues it. And the first round goes to the happy Blackbox family, including hacked, open, and flux box for creative menu tricks ranking recently used apps.

The bell rings and we clear out a few smoking ruins - now for the midsize mayhem.

WindowMaker wades in - or is that widowmaker - docks his jaws around AfterStep. Tiny Tom's wm escapes the system spikes, but Claude has the extra edge. IceWM is looking cool until he hits the arena's flame trap "I wanna look like..." but won't fall for that - escapes the pit! Menus click, swap thrashes, and catlike fvwm takes control of the mouse, scripting rings around the others.

Now for a page from the masters. We know those flames are tough, and it's time to let the survivors here get a chance to commit before the next round... the big noisy battle of them all... Desktops.

Gnome and KDE both extend their hints against the competition, crushing smaller opponents. Enlightenment upgrades to 16.6 and stands its ground. FVWM laughs and sprouts modules to extend itself, while fast light wm joins it in pushing the brutes into the arena's OOM killer. Parts are flying everywhere! Chipping through the armor, flames are getting through ... ooh! FVWM escapes by shedding its modules again, while K is trapped. Something's bound to overload... K's gears grind slowly to a halt, while Gnome has the metacity to pick on E's incomplete brother which valiantly struggles to code up new features before timeout. XFce zooms into the fray - "wanna piece of me?" Then the commercial desktops enter the fray, xig's CDE-like DeXtop rushing forward only to wedge in the pit of interoperability. Athene constantly regenerates but when the battle gets toe to toe, the obscurity spikes pin it down, the theme of the day turns Fvwm's way -- and it looks like we've a champion.

But what's this? The arena has been invaded. Who are these interlopers? screen has taken to the field, with twin nipping at its heels. A growl from behind, but they squish splitvt together, dtach another tiny opponent, then turn back to each other -- only to wail as emacs turns its Gnu-like head in their direction, establishing a sessions server...

Is it possible for there to be any more carnage than this? Probably. Seen on alt.sysadmin.recovery:

I am now taking bets on when this planet will reach its window manager event horizon. At some distant point in the future some sort of alien life-form is going to land on this planet and find everything dead except for a lone Sparcstation in an abandoned building waiting for a consignment of small lemon-soaked Motif widgets to be loaded.
-- Peter Gutmann

Ok, ok. That was overkill. I'm sorry, really sorry that I had to pub late this month, but as you can see now, my place is a shambles. But I did find something cool while finishing up... hooray! Someone in Ireland actually *CAUGHT* a spammer. Better yet, got them hauled away by the cops. (Alleged, hah. Caught with everything but a patsy present in person and teary-eyed.) Not even April fooling. Enjoy your month, folks. I know I will.

[NOTE]So that's it. Answers by Jim Dennis, Ben Okopnik, Thomas, Faber, many others among The Answer Gang... and you! If you've got some great Linux answers - send them to us. Ideally the answers explain why things work in a friendly manner and with some enthusiasm, thus Making Linux Just A Little More Fun! Good short bits will probably go in Two Cent Tips, but truly juicy explanations, especially those that get the Gang jumping in, could end up here. We don't promise that we'll publish everything, though. Also - you can be anonymous, either asking or answering - just tell us so, and Tux will eat the herring we wrote your name on. We swear.

HTML script maintained by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/


Copyright © 2004, . Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 101 of Linux Gazette, April 2004

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