Nicholas Petreley

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Top Stories by Nicholas Petreley

(LinuxWorld) -- Given the kinds of comments I receive in e-mail, people who feel they cannot switch to Linux on the desktop seem to fall into one of three groups. There are those who say they need Microsoft Word and Excel, others who say Quicken is the deal-breaker, and still others whose corporate lives revolve around Microsoft Outlook. Now, the glass-is-half-full way to look at this is that I don't hear anyone complaining about the lack of a good Linux desktop environment anymore. Indeed, the situation has reversed. If anything, Microsoft is now in catch-up mode, especially with respect to KDE 2.2. That obviously isn't enough to make people switch. Despite the fact that Outlook, combined with the poor security model of Windows itself, costs companies a fortune in damages, I believe Outlook is the show stopper here. I'm a well-known critic of Microsoft, but I hav... (more)

Enterprise Open Source Magazine: GNOME vs. KDE Revisited

This story originally appeared in LinuxWorld print edition in May 2003. My comments in last week's column about KDE and Qt being superior to GNOME and GTK generated fewer gripes and flames than I expected. That's a good thing, because there's no reason for the comparison to be contentious. While I prefer Qt and KDE, I criticize GTK and GNOME hoping these environments will improve. This week and next I will list my main concerns and complaints about GTK and GNOME. Jeff Waugh, a GTK/GNOME developer, agreed to review my columns and point out where he thinks I'm right, wrong, what is... (more)

Xfce, Icewm & Enlightenment compared

(LinuxWorld) -- I had hoped to wrap up the topic of window managers with my most recent column (see Window-managers 101: The desktop beyond GNOME and KDE), but from the e-mails I've received I'm afraid readers will hang me up by the thumbs unless I mention a few of their favorites. It just so happens that I used to switch window managers about once weekly just for kicks, so I confess that looking at a few more won't be the most distasteful task I've tackled. In case you haven't been following along, the aforementioned article described X11 window managers and how they compare to... (more)

rsync and the Unsung Command Line

(LinuxWorld) -- This week's topic is a salute to the command line. It was inspired by a reader named Kevin, who recently brought to my attention some interesting limitations of Windows XP's new feature called "fast user switching." In case you missed the hype, "fast user switching" is Microsoft's name for "multi-user system." It lets more than one user log into Windows XP at the same time on the same machine. For more details on Kevin's observations, see the resources section for a link to his comments posted on You'll also find a link to a column I wrote about fas... (more)

X-oops, I did it again

(LinuxWorld) — One of my non-profit Web sites,, ran on my modified version of the PHP-Nuke weblog package from the site's inception in March 2001 until late November 2002. I chose PHP-Nuke as a starting point because I was very impressed with it. However, the more I learned how to use PHP, the more I realized that PHP-Nuke was not only a tangled mess but that I had made it even worse with my modifications. A year later, I was faced with the fact that was not only lame because it was based on PHP-Nuke, it was also showing its age. It lacked features... (more)