Jason Perlow Archive

Jason Perlow is Senior Technology Editor of Linux Magazine. You can send Jason email at jperlow@linux-mag.com.
Final Shutdown: Still Crazy After All These Years
Nine years is a very long time to be doing any one thing -- and as of December 2008, that will mark the length of time I've been writing for this publication.
Giving Thanks to Linux and Open Source
As you carve into the turkey next week, be sure to give thanks to all the people that make the Penguin possible.
Sinning with Windows: There’s no Bagels at the end of this Fast
When I last wrote to you, the world was going to Hell in a handbasket. Well, it's a month later little has changed. So unfortunately, I don't have any good news for you.
When the Stock Market Gives you Lemons, You Make Lemonade
Facing tough times? Now might be a good time to turn to Open Source.
OpenSolaris Just Wants to be Free
OpenSolaris: Excellent OS but is the license holding it back?
Extend or Die, Yahoo!
Is it too late for Yahoo! to beat back the Google giant?
Windows Server 2008: Lamenting Longhorn
What could Microsoft learn from Linux? Jason Perlow takes a look at Windows Server 2008, and says that Microsoft should consider taking a page from its competition, the Linux distro vendors, and consider shortening the product release cycle to allow for more incremental, short term upgrades.
Windows Vista: One Year Later
For many in the IT profession, January 30, 2007 was a day that will live in infamy. If you've blocked it from your memory, that's the day that Windows Vista was launched and available for purchase in stores and in new PC systems. And there was much rejoicing. Not!
VMware Server Episode 2.0: The Revenge of the Web UI
Has VMware gone over to the Dark Side? Linux Magazine's Jason Perlow examines the recent release of VMware Server 2.0 beta, and finds its Web-only management interface disturbing.
Peace, Love, and Linux
It's about free code, man. Free, as in speech. Can you dig it?
Gutsy for Grandpa, Part One
Does this situation sound at all familiar? You're a computer hobbyist, power user, or maybe even an IT professional. You have family members that are well aware of your "superior" computer knowledge. So, naturally, when they have computer questions or issues to be resolved, you're the first to get the call.
Sun: Let My Office Suite Go!
Nearly a year ago I took a shot in the dark predicting improvements in OpenOffice.org thanks to the Microsoft/Novell alliance, and Novell releasing a solid Evolution for Windows, as well as a Windows version of the Novell build of OpenOffice.org, with improved filters and usability features. About half of it came true.
Run Your Windows With VMware
If you already have a Windows PC, you can install Linux and run your existing Windows configuration as a virtual machine. Jason Perlow explains how to do it.
Grokking the Goatberg
As a Linux and Open Source user and advocate, it's often easy to take defensive potshots at those who are critical of our favorite OS. It's a position that I have become intimately familiar with over the last decade or so, because before I was a Linux and Open Source advocate, I was an IBM OS/2 advocate.
Wither Unbreakable?
One would assume that Oracle 10g would install and run flawlessly on Unbreakable Linux. One would be wrong.
Stupid USB Tricks
USB flash drives may be the sneakernet of the 21st Century, but with a little open source software, you can carry a veritable arsenal of tools in your pocket.
Get On With It
The Wicked Witch is dead! Now, go back to work.
Buy an iPhone, Kill a Kitten
Wanted: An iPhone Killer. Open Source developers, please apply within.
Prototyping with VMware Server
Need a system or two to validate a new architecture? When combined with Linux, VMware Server provides a sophisticated and highly adaptable infrastructure that allows you to test complex customer client-server software configurations on a single machine.
Beautiful Beryl
With common graphics hardware and some bleeding-edge software, Linux can exceed both Mac OS X and Vista with its gee-whiz desktop special effects. Here’s how to impress your friends, wow your neighbors, and influence the public with Beryl.
Java: Linux’s New Best Friend?
Java once promised “Write Once, Run Everywhere.” Why, it might just happen, and that would be great for Linux.
Backups and the System Rescue CD
Use the bootable System Rescue CD two or four times per month to save your data and protect your sanity.
Children, Behave!
Why can't the virtualization vendors just get along?
Planned Parenthood
Will Oracle release its own Linux distribution? Jason Perlow says it shouldn’t.
Build a Better Media Server
Discover how to use Ubuntu, commodity hardware, an inexpensive TV tuner card, and DVR software to build a powerful home media server.
“Plug In” Your Browser
In most cases, the Web browser included with your Linux distribution lacks features you’ve come to rely on — advanced multimedia, Java applets, and more. Here, learn how to assemble a better browser.
System Recycling with Xubuntu
Have an old PC or three? Turn those aging hunks of silicon into refurbished Linux workhorses.
Mikey Should Copy Jeff
How can Dell sell 31 Flavors of Linux and still turn a profit? Just mimic Amazon.
Penguin Prophecies
Professor Perlow prognosticates. Gaze into his crystal ball. It gets 170 channels.
Reviewed: IBM System x3550 and x3950
Black, stealthy, capable, and cool — just a few words that aptly describe IBM’s System x3550 and x3590 servers. Here's a hands-on review.
Tweaking Ubuntu
Ubuntu is the best Linux distro out there. Here’s how to make it even better.
Blog With XAMPP and WordPress
Want to blog? Grab XAMPP and WordPress and just add prose!
Revitalizing Vista (and Windows)
Fix the Vista Beta blues with open source software for Windows.
Tweaking SUSE 10.1
Here’s how to use the SMART Package Manager and Xgl graphics.
Interoperability is a B*#&@!
If Microsoft really wants to build some bridges to Open Source, it has to provide some serious steel for the bridge builders.
More Fun with VMWare
I know, I know. Damn that Perlow. Can‘t he come up with an “On the Desktop” column that doesn’t involve VMWare (http://vmware.com) or some kind of emulation of some kind or another? Well, yes, I could, but then you wouldn’t learn all the cool stuff I’m about to lay on you.
Armchair Podcasting With Linux
Hey! Let’s put on a show! With a little bit of audio equipment and Linux, the world is literally your stage.
Linux: The Quickening
The computer software industry is best explained by comparing it to science fiction.
A Trio of Linux Tricks
Learn how to share files simply, burn SUSE ISO DVDs, and make VMWare Player play nicely with Ubuntu and Debian.
Mikey Dell Has a Good Point
Why won’t Dell sell a Linux desktop? Surprisingly, it has little to do with Dell at all.
Hell Has Frozen Over
Dell and Sun hop aboard the clue train. Unfortunately, Apple’s jumped off.
Why can't Unix and Linux code just get along?
More About the iPod and the Penguin
Learn how to get the most out of your iPod with Linux.
Insanely Great? Try Open.
Who is Apple trying to kid? Open systems and freedom of choice is" Insanely Great".
Penguin Penicillin: CLAMAV and AVG Free
Fight the spread of spyware and malware with CLAMAV and AVG Free, two cost-free Linux antivirus solutions.
I’m a DMCA Scofflaw
It’s my DVD. I should be able to play it anywhere, right? According to the DMCA, perhaps not…
Editing Your Digital Photos
You don't need a Mac to edit your digital photos. Linux and some free software can unleash your inner Ansel Adams.
VMware Player
Need to run Windows and Linux? Try running both at the same time with VMware Player.
New Year’s Resolutions
It’s January 2006. Time to take stock of your penchant for the Penguin.
DVD Playback in SuSE Linux 10
SuSE Linux 10 is the best distribution for power users. Oddly though, it can’t play DVDs — unless you tweak it a little. Desktop expert Jason Perlow shows you how.
Microsoft at 30
The software giant recently turned 30. Wouldn’t it be great if the company acted like an adult and embraced Open Source?
The Linux Guy
“Linux laptop” should not be an oxymoron.
SMB Browsing with KDE
KDE 3.x has some nice, built-in, multi-protocol network browsing features, but, unfortunately, chances are that your Linux distribution doesn’t enable or configure those features automatically. So, let’s dive into KDE and get connected.
Linux on Windows with CoLinux
Some of us still need (or want) to use Windows desktops, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up Linux and its many features. CoLinux is an open source project that allows you to run a specially-modified Linux kernel as a Windows application, without the need for virtualization software.
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, We all Buntu for Ubuntu
If you’ve never tried Ubuntu Linux, you’re missing a real treat. Here’s how to get started with the absolute best free desktop Linux.
Debian, Get Your@%#* Together!
To make Debian a real success, its many advocates and vendors must pool resources. But columnist Jason Perlow says that makes too much sense to actually happen.
Time to Build an Empire
To realize Linus’s dream of nothing less than Total World Domination, we’re going to need an Empire, not a Republic.
TCO Myths and Politics
Think Linux total cost of ownership is less than that of Windows? Think again.
Video, MP3 Plug-ins for Fedora
If you’ve chosen Fedora as your desktop, rejoice! By adding a few pieces software, you can turn your Penguin into a complete audio and video extravaganza.
Solaris 10 x86
Solaris 10 blooms into the open.
Sun Java Workstation W2100z
The Sun Java Workstation W2100Z is one of the fastest desktops ever. And it runs Linux better than Solaris 10 x86.
Keeping Java in Check
Is the world safe from Java?
Symbio Workstation Manager
If every person at your place of business or in your home wants or needs their own machine to do typical PC productivity tasks such as web browsing, word processing, and “Office”-like tasks, is there a better and less expensive way to go than buying a full-fledged PC? There most definitely is and it’s called the Linux Terminal Server project.
RAID-o El Cheap-o
Hardware-based RAID 5 has traditionally been a privilege only afforded to servers found in data centers in large enterprises — until now.
How “Geeko” Lost His Mojo
It’s pretty darn clear that to make mojo, SuSE Linux Professional needs to look deep into its roots and re-birth itself as a public, open source project similar to Fedora.
Stairway to Geek Heaven
“The Ultimate Linux Box” indeed: a review of the Monarch Empro Ultimate Worktation.
A Mile in IT’s Shoes
Linux is far from perfect. Here’s a no-holds-barred assessment.
And Now, Something Completely Different
Solaris x86 is fast, scalable, and works on 64-bit processors.
SMB Network Browsing With KDE
KDE 3.x has some nice, built-in, multi-protocol network browsing features, but, unfortunately, chances are that your Linux distribution doesn’t enable or configure those features automatically. So, this month, let’s dive into KDE and get connected.
P2P with Java
In this installment, I'd like to touch on an oft-forgotten but increasingly important component of the Linux desktop: Java applications. Since Java is largely distribution neutral, what Java code works on Fedora Core works for Debian, Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, and any number of other distributions. And, yes, Java applications really do exist, and some are actually good.
Keeping Fedora Ship-Shape
I've started to have a sort of love-hate relationship with Fedora. On the one hand, I like the fact that the Fedora Project keeps their distribution constantly up-to-date, making all of the latest and greatest advancements in KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice.org, and so on available to me. On the other hand, Fedora can sometimes be as stable as Anne Heche strung out on peyote.
The Man who Saved Everything
Let me introduce you to my friend Steven Shaw, or "Fat Guy," as he likes to be called.
Back to the Future
PC CPU paradigm shift? Been there, done that. Don't you remember what happened with the 386? Oh, that's right, most of you are too young to remember. Compared to most of the Linux user demographic these days, I might as well be an octogenarian -- even if I'm only 34. Well, sonny, saddle up on grandpa's lap and he'll tell you a story. Be nice and I might even share some Werther's Originals, or some of this new cola-flavored gum that I'm addicted to from Penguin Mints.
How Not to Build a Linux PDA
Last month, I touched a little bit on HP's screwed up Linux PDA initiative, but perhaps I was a bit too harsh. Sure, they have a research arm that's completely underutilized and they have absolutely no clue as how to turn those efforts into a product, but HP is in no way unique in their absence from the PDA and Linux device cluetrain. For the most part, the entire industry needs a swift kick in the head to see how to build and market a successful Linux handheld and to learn how to properly support open source PDA developers. I learned how the hard way, and here's my painful perspective on the whole shebang.
What I Did with my Hiatus
Every time you go on a long trip, it's always great to come back home. That's how it is with my return to Linux Magazine. After two long years, I'm back in the business of writing a column, and I'm as happy as a clam. I'm clearing off my old dusty desk, restocking its drawers with Penguin Mints and Instant Ramen, and firing up every piece of computer hardware that can run Linux that I can get my hands on.
Instant Messaging For Linux
As we approach the real turn of the millennium in the year 2001 (that's right people, after all that Y2K hullabaloo, we're still in the 20th century!), I can't stop thinking about Stanley Kubrick's movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, based on Arthur C. Clarke's classic sci-fi novel. If you have never seen it, then by all means, drop this magazine, go out and rent it now -- you're depriving yourself of seeing probably the best sci-fi film ever made. Go right now. Watch it. Make popcorn. And don't skip the slow-moving monkey part -- it's important.
Giving Your Palm the Bird
If you're one of the millions of computer geeks and harried executives addicted to your Palm or Palm-compatible connected organizer, you've probably noticed that Palm Computing hasn't exactly been a huge supporter of Linux. For the most part, Linux users have lacked the tools that allow their Palms the same level of interoperability that Windows and Macintosh users have been enjoying for quite some time.
Remote Control with VNC
Why go into the office when you can work from your living room? The Internet has made telecommuting to work from home a more popular option in corporate America. Certainly, if you are a Windows user, there's no lack of remote control applications for doing this, but Linux users may find themselves in a bit of a bind.
Compiling and Installing KDE 2.0
In last month's On The Desktop column, we instructed you on the fairly headache-proof process of installing the Helix GNOME desktop environment. This month, we introduce you to the trials and tribulations of installing KDE 2.0, the latest and greatest KDE of them all.
Averting Disaster — Undeleting Files
Have you ever had the horrible sinking feeling that you just deleted a file you didn't want to delete? As fate would have it, it's usually something incredibly important to you, like your entire year's worth of personal financial data that you forgot to back up, or in my case, my last three months of On The Desktop columns. (Jason, don't worry. We've got them. ­Ed.)
Installing Helix GNOME 1.2
If you've been reading this column for the last few months, you've probably noticed that we've been putting a lot of emphasis on Linux's GUI environments, in particular the KDesktop Environment (KDE) and the GNU Object Model Environment (GNOME).
Getting Artsy and Crafty with GUIs
One of the few ways we are allowed to manifest our personalities and our sense of taste (or lack thereof) with computers is by decorating our desktops. In the Microsoft world, there is only one GUI environment, which you can decorate and modify via plug-in themes and color schemes. Those migrating to Linux will soon realize that, unlike Windows, Linux has two odifferent GUI environments that you can customize to your heart's delight. Those are GNOME and KDE. And, as Martha Stewart says, it's a Good Thing.
X Grows Up
It's faster. It handles fonts better. It has better 3D support and every graphics-board manufacturer is writing drivers for it. XFree86 4.0 is finally here. We tell you what it delivers and show you how to install it.
Printing Complex Documents with Ghostscript
Have you ever tried printing a complex word-processing document or a Web page in Linux only to have it come out as complete garbage on your printer, with strange characters and all sorts of gobbledygook? That happens because some Linux programs, like Netscape, use PostScript, which is a page-description language that only some printers can understand and handle properly. Why is this so? Maybe this practice was inherited from old-style Unix publishing systems and Macintoshes, which use PostScript. Or maybe not.
Linux is a Killer Platform for MP3s — Here’s How to Get Up and Rocking
MP3 digital audio is the hottest and most controversial technology advancement to hit the music industry since the tape recorder -- the notion of being able to compress multiple CDs' worth of music into a fraction of the space, customize your own music playlists, and listen to volumes upon volumes of your favorite music on your PC while doing other tasks has the personal-computing hobbyists in a frenzy and has the music-recording industry in an uproar over intellectual-property issues. Linux, no stranger to controversy itself, just so happens to be one of the best platforms there is for playing and recording your own MP3s.
Learn to Burn CDs With Linux
Burning your own audio and data CDs used to be an expensive proposition, but now that the cost of CD recorders and media has plummeted to an all-time low, this technology is available to just about every PC user.
Getting Quake III: Arena to Run on Linux
Quake III: Arena is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year on any personal-computing platform, not just Linux. But getting Quake III running on your Linux box may be as fierce a challenge as any battle you'll fight in the game. This isn't just popping a CD into your drive and clicking on the "Install" button like it is in the world of Windows. No, instead of fighting warriors hell-bent on blasting you to smithereens, your nemesis here is Linux itself.
Corel spiffs up the Debian distribution in hopes of taking Linux to the masses.
Serious Games
With Linux' increasing popularity, there is a growing
Forget Windows emulation. With VMWare you can now create virtual machines right on your own Linux system.