Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Nov 08, 2001

About Us
Contact Us
Business Published on Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Folio |

Business

A new choice in operating system

DO YOU remember Mp3.com, the controversial music distribution service created by Michale Robertson featured in this column on May 10, 2000? Having left his CEO's position in MP3.com, Robertson is now in the process of creating an operating system named LindowsOS that will allow its users run Windows and Linux based programs.

Linux's limitations

Readers of this column need no introduction to the operating system Linux, one of the spectacular products of the Net's great and fascinating open source/free software movement. Recent visit of Richard Stallman, founder of the free software movement, to India with his electrifying talks has helped the philosophy of the movement go really deep into the hearts of many computing enthusiasts and this has further helped the penetration of the free OS Linux.

In spite of all these factors running favourable for the Linux, it still continues to be viewed as a product only meant for the tech-savvy computer user. The majority of the ordinary computer users still shy away from embracing this operating system. One of the reasons for this reluctance to switch over to Linux from the more costly Windows environment is the lack of popular application packages like Office and other numerous quite user-friendly programs. In this context the attempt to build an operating system that can run the Windows and Linux programs without any additional effort assumes importance.

LindowsOS

The operating system LindowsOS, lindows.com, is built around the Linux kernel and it will allow the user to run all the Linux-based programs automatically. Apart from your getting the ability to run the freely available Linux software, the uniqueness of this new OS lies in its feature that allows you to install a Windows application in the way one usually installs them in the Windows environment. As mentioned in the Lindows web site, you just need to insert the medium in which the installable software is stored and start the setup/install program as usual. So this way the Lindows puts a computer user in a strong position that lets him/her enjoy the benefits of two totally different operating systems.

Adopting Linux as the machine's OS provides your digital life more stability and security; but it demands a little bit of intelligent interaction from the user. Windows provides you a very user-friendly interface and comes with many packages that fills almost all needs of an ordinary user. Another point to be noted is that the Windows environment does not demand anything extra from the user to exploit the computing resources. But as all Windows users are aware, it is a highly unsecured and unstable environment. So if Lindows can bring you Linux's stability and Windows' ease of use, it is well and good and we should certainly welcome it.

But the question is how far it will succeed in keeping its promises, we have to wait and see. An excellent discussion on this subject that took place at the Slashdot news site can be read at: slashdot.org/articles/ 01/10/24/ 1317241.shtml

Fast browser

Popular browsers such as IE and Netscape though possess many useful features suffer from some limitations like, inability to present more than one site in one Window; lack of direct search facility that lets a user directly invoke search engines; lack of tools to translate a page from one language to another and the like. This column featured some alternative browsers like Opera — opera.com — Netcaptor — netcaptor.com — and the like that solve some of these issues. In this context we will see one more browser alternative — Fastbrowser, available at: fastbrowser.net/ — which is worth experimenting.

Some of the notable features of this browser include, multi-tab browsing facility that lets you browse multiple sites simultaneously; the program comes with hundreds of search engines support and this helps you invoke the services of multiple search engines to locate a Net resource. Another notable feature of this browser is the facility to create groups of related sites that let you invoke a few related sites by just clicking at the group's name.

Along with the program mentioned above, you would find another shareware program called NetPicker at the Fastbrowser site. This software lets you select a part of a web page's content and store it in a standalone file automatically. To save a selected part of the web content this way, you just need to select the intended information — can be text or image — and drag and drop it into the NetPicker's icon available at the desktop.

Set-up editors

While visiting web sites we may land up in sites, which contain malicious codes capable of creating unpleasant situations in our digital life. To prevent web travellers from getting into troubled spots of this kind, IE provides a security mechanism called security zones that lets us differentiate between good and bad sites and thereby enable us invoke some control while browsing. IE comes with four built in security zones-Local intranet, Internet, Trusted Sites and Restricted sites.

If you are curious to know more about security zones check out the link at: theguardianangel.com/ tutorials/browser_security_tutorials_ie5_ zones.htm

Due to some mischievous software's action some of the zones got disappeared from the IE loaded in my machine. This prompted me to look for a utility that can edit the IE security zones and the search resulted in locating the program `IE zone editor'. If you want to have a look, check out the link at: geocities.com/_SemperFi_/.

We have got many programs installed in our machine and all of them take certain parameters from some configuration files such as system registry, and INI files before becoming active. By making some changes in some of these parameters we can alter features of programs that depend on them.

For example, by editing some registry entries one can hide the security zones mentioned above. For an ordinary user, making such configuration changes is a little risky and to help him/her do such jobs many programs are available. This column already featured some of them. X-Setup is another free software — available at: xteq.com — of this kind that helps you edit many Windows and other programs' features.

J. Murali

(The author can be contacted at: murali27@satyam.net.in)

Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Business

Features: Magazine | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Folio |



The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2001, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu