Spotlight on O'Reilly & Associates
by Jim Johnson
Our friends at O'Reilly & Associates have always been known to keep a hospitable lodge for weary explorers of the bleeding edge, but recently they've been outdoing even themselves. Here's just a few of their recent involvements:
Open Source: On April 7th, shortly after NetScape released the source code to their communicator product, ORA convened an "Open Source Summit." Creators of some of the world's best known software, including sendmail, Linux, perl, PGP, Apache, emacs, fetchmail, and others, gathered to discuss the open future of software development.
Participants agreed on four critical factors that could make Open Source software a superior methodology: flexibility, innovation, reliability, and faster development time. If you'd like an insider's account of the event, Eric Raymond wrote a fine critique.
O'Reilly has an "Open Source Developer Day" conference planned for August 21st, 1998, (the day following their Perl conference) in San Jose. Many Open Source players are featured.
XML: On March 10th, 1998, ORA brought together Perl creator Larry Wall, XML spec co-author Tim Bray, and others to help make Perl the scripting language of choice for XML. At the top of the to-do list is to get Perl working with Unicode. Look for a Perl XML spec in the 3rd quarter of 1998, and an XML white paper, co-authored by Larry Wall and Tim Bray, any day now.
If you missed the fall '97 issue of the World Wide Web Journal covering XML,print issues are still available. This O'Reilly publication provides critical background on XML and includes some very thought-provoking articles from Michael Leventhal, David Siegel, and Ted Nelson.
The Perl Resource Kit: Anyone using Perl on Un*x knows that there are lots of helpful resources available, but ORA put the best of them together into this one neat package. Included with the standard Perl distribution are extensive tutorials and references for the most important Perl extension modules and utilites, plus a complimentary issue of ORA's Perl Journal. For those trapped in a Windows® world, ORA has just released a Win32 version as well, in a package that includes a couple of Perl/COM integration utilities.
The second annual O'reilly Perl conference will be held August 17-20, 1998, in San Jose, CA.
Managing Mailing Lists: I have to speak up here because this new O'Reilly book recently saved my butt. I was installing majordomo 1.94.4 on an older SCO Unix® machine and my testlist kept giving me "permission denied" errors. I've installed majordomo quite a few times, but I'd tried all my tricks and was still stumped. I swallowed my pride, reached for this book, and had my list running within a few minutes.
This book provides brief but comprehensive overviews of the installation and management of four major mailing list managers: Listproc, SmartList, LISTSERV, and my beloved majordomo. Newcomers to mailing list administration will apreciate the introductory chapter, and those who want to get by with just sendmail will find help here, too. Handy references in the back. Thanks, Tim!