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Editor's Note: The Bug Days of Summer

So Slow Companies Would Rather Burn Down than Go On Another Day

  • August 2, 2001
  • By Michael Hall

This is the time of year no one in the tech reporting world much looks forward to.

If you need an indication of how slow things have become, consider Adobe's brief exercise in PR self-immolation as it attempted to become the corporation best known for roughing up academicians and agonizing over whether it felt good or bad for kidnapping foreign nationals. That sort of behavior isn't prompted by an organization immersed in the process of making money... it's induced by the sort of boredom that has children contemplating anthills as they fondle a magnifying glass.

Here, we found ourselves momentarily salivating over the prospect that StarOffice 6 might be out in beta, only to have our hopes dashed. Sun says StarOffice 6 might be out in beta some day soon, and we found ourselves salivating once more as we filled out a form granting Sun the right to spam us for all eternity for the privilege of knowing when we could get at a hunk of beta software that will hopefully do more for the OpenOffice team's credibility than Netscape did for Mozilla's.

LinuxWorld is just around the corner, so things will pick up some, and we're considering a pool to guess how many "Java applets with Linux support" will be announced by obscure companies with desultory PR firms... so things are looking up.

In the quiet lull before the Press Release Armageddon that is a convention, as Code Red quietly scratches at the door and procmail recipes to eliminate SirCam are traded about, it's time to contemplate a semi-frequent tradition with the Linux Planet editor's note: we're going to exhort the flamers, web-board mavens, desktop gadflies, and net.pontificators to do the right thing (if they aren't already.)

First things first: there's a good, fool-proof SirCam recipe we finally slid into place a few days ago, and it's made the last 100 or painless enough:

:0 D
* ^Content-Type:
* multipart.*"----[A-F0-9]+_Outlook_Express_message_boundary"
/home/mph/Mail/things_to_read

Zot O'Connor (of the Portland Linux User's Group) keyed in on the fact that SirCam uses a dummied up multipart boundary line, and his recipe does an admirable job of taking care of business.

So on with the feelgood pontification:

Today's an Evolution Bug Day, and if you like Evolution or perceive that you might someday like Evolution, it would be good to participate as much as possible. You'll have a chance every Thursday from here until Evolution is "done," but why not get things off to a good start?

Evolution's still a hair pesty for people who haven't committed to Ximian GNOME or who don't just maintain a very up-to-date GNOME install from source, but it's another home-stretch project. After breaking our bandwidth fast, we grabbed the latest releases from Ximian and reapproached the project after a few months away. It continues to get better in all sorts of little ways, and it continues to be plagued by some irritating little bugs.

The home lab uses IMAP, and some of Evolution's problems center around this functionality, so we'll be spending a little time today on #evobugs at irc.gnome.org doing the good citizen thing. Part of our hopes for 2001 include having a great IMAP client that a.) isn't attached to Netscape 4.something, and b.)doesn't require a browser. Though we think SquirrelMail is wonderful, we like something with a little more teeth to it.

KDE users and the general mass of GUI abstainers will be wondering what the applicability of this is to them, and the answer's the sort of stock cheerleading everyone nods about but needs to hear anyhow:

Today there will be a lot of GNOME enthusiasts who wouldn't otherwise have much to contribute to a project they'll benefit from out there on IRC doing what they can to make Evolution a little better. Consider your favorite project, go find its variant on Bugzilla, fire it up, and spend a little time reporting and voting. Though we'd be hypocrites if we said the standard talkback warrioring that goes on day in and day out was somehow unsavory, there's no denying that not a lot tends to get settled there. Pitching in and helping out with a project when you can't chip in on code is a good way to see something concrete come out of that time spent in front of the beige box besides black rings under your eyes.

Summer's slow, not a lot is happening... the perfect time to spend some time making something you love, or at least like a whole lot, a little better.

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