Lab Notes

Lab Notes

Mad hatter. A Big Blue penguin wearing a Red Hat? IBM Corp.'s ThinkPad 600E notebook computer has passed certification tests by Red Hat Software Inc. of Research Triangle Park N.C., to run the Red Hat Linux 6.0 operating system.

Is this going to become a mainstream practice? Almost certainly not, but count on more notebook vendors implementing versions of Linux on mobile PCs, following the lead of server and PC makers.

The ThinkPad 600E, although certified, nevertheless has pages and pages of special instructions and notices for road warriors to peruse at the company's Web site,

You will find phrases such as 'Recompile the kernel' and 'Try swapping DMA values' among the special instructions. If they fail to inspire warm and fuzzy feelings, the GCN Lab suggests you wait until some of the device driver and application problems are ironed out. Next to jump into the ring will be Dell Computer Corp., which is expected to make a version of Linux available on some of its Inspiron notebooks.


Talk about timely.'Microsoft Corp. recently announced plans to buy Visio Corp. of Seattle and make it a division under the business productivity group. The deal still has to receive a regulatory green light, but you can probably expect a version of Visio's diagramming software bundled with a future version of the Microsoft Office 2000 suite or its successor.

Coincidentally, Visio just launched Visio 2000, so it won't even have to change the product name for the suite.


Front-row tickets. Could the hype machine be wrong again? Come midnight Dec. 31, point your browser to The site, run by the International Y2K Cooperation Center, is going to try to post a real-time map of the world showing year 2000 disruptions across the globe.

From trains in Tokyo to banks in Buenos Aires, reports from 170 countries will come in and, hopefully, appear on the site.

Reports about the functionality of government, medical, transportation, banking, power and communications infrastructures are supposed to be provided. The group, founded by the United Nations, aims to be a central clearinghouse for year 2000 information.

The map is expected to go live sometime around Dec. 28. The site already contains many valuable 2000-related links and a calendar of events.

So if the thought of watching Dick Clark emcee another rockin' New Year's Eve event leaves you cold, watch the other shoe drop instead of the ball in Times Square.

'Jason Byrne


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