The year 2008 of programming

The encryption algorithm MD5 is not secure

The MD5 encryption algorithm is commonly used to create a code from a content such as a password or a file, a code supposed to be unique and impossible to unlock. CMS software make use of it for passwords of users and PHP provides a md5() function to do so. But several players in computing, including Microsoft and Mozilla warn that we can create collisions, namely that different contents can produce a same MD5 code that can no longer be used to authenticate a source.
December 31 2008.

A universal package manager for Linux

Nix wants to replace all existing package managers on Linux without being incompatible with them. It is designed to be independent of the Linux distribution, and supports installations and updates.
This should greatly simplify the lives of programmers who may be test their software on a single platform and create a package operating on all.
Nixos.
December 23 2008.

The game Myst Open Source

Cyan Worlds, the company that has produced the game Myst decided to place MystOnline with clients server and tools codes open source. The developer can download the code and possibly expand it. That is what the society expects of them.
MystOnline.
December 13, 2008.

OpenGL open source

After months of negotiations between the Free Software Foundation and the company that distributes OpenGL, SGI, an agreement was reached and the graphics library is now open source and therefore freely accessible to all without limitation of time. OpenGL is an alternative to Microsoft DirectX and the base of 3D graphics in Linux. It helps the portability of software. The greatest gift that has been done to the open source community and to us, the users.
September 19 2008.

Chrome and programmers

With the release of the Chrome browser from Google, a new epoch starts for programmers. Because it is no simply a browser, but a new environment for applications instead, that are now both local and remote. The integration of Gears, functioning with multi-task tabs, a clean interface and full-screen mode that hides the navigation part, make this program an alternative to Windows for a wide audience.
Some computers can now start a limited session with immediate display of a simple browser without to load Windows, and we can imagine netbooks comprising only of a browser to navigater and Web applications with offline mode.
3 September 2008.

A JavaScript compiler in Firefox 3.1

The next version of Firefox to be released at the end of the year will incorporate a JavaScript compiler, named TraceMonkey whose benchmarks show that it considerably accelerates Web applications, in some cases it is 40 times faster than SpiderMonkey, the interpreter used by the current version 3.
Mozilla expects several advantages with this new tool. The development of more sophisticated Web applications, the abandonment of proprietary frameworks (one thinks to Flash) to move to JavaScript now sufficiently fast, and also enhanced security through economic exploitation of the memory.
August 27, 2008.

A new C++ language

We start to see more clearly what will be the new version of C++ and when the standard will be established by the ISO committee.
- In October 2008, a public draft will be published.
- In 2009 the final document will be submitted to the ISO committee vote. If adopted in 2009, therefore the language will be called C++ 09. The new language includes some structures popularized by scripting languages and should include an optional garbage collector, but also many libraries already extending its functions will be part of the standard.
See the C++ 0x description.
August 22, 2008.

PHP 4, the end

After 9 years of service on our Web pages, the PHP interpreter in version 4 is no longer supported by its creators, who announced the latest version of the software, 4.4.9. It remains to irreducible to change their own code, if necessary, since the source is furnished. The end of PHP 4 should accelerate the adoption of PHP 5 or 6 by hosts of websites.
August 11, 2008.

Linux Application Checker

A new promise for Linux. After the success of the OS on Netbooks, the ultra-portables which all manufacturers want to produce a version, a new tool will end the nightmare of incompatibility between the versions.
This software, AppChecker, aimed at programmers, allows to test the distributable version of the software produced, whatever the language, and indicates whether it is compatible with any particular version of Linux, Ubuntu, Suse, Red Hat, Mandriva, etc.. If the software is compatible, it may be included in the LSB (Linux Standard Base) list whose aim is to promote a universal compatibility to Linux software.
August 8, 2008.

The BrowseRank against the PageRank

The research center of Microsoft in China unveils a new algorithm supposed to be more effective than the famous PageRank, which made the success of Google. Rather than assessing the importance of pages by the number of links, it is determined by the time spent by visitors on it and according to a continuous-time Markov process. The experiment shows most relevant results, however, as shown in the article BrowseRank algorithm, the process suffers from many drawbacks.
August 6, 2008.

The end of software patents?

According to this article by John Duffy, the American patent office has changed its position on software patents. Many of them will no longer be valid which includes Google's patents and the famous Google's PageRank patent held by the Stanford University but of which Google has an exclusive right of use. In general, inventions on a computer processing will no longer be patented.
July 24, 2008.

PDF now ISO standard

This has just been announced by the ISO committee. PDF is the standard ISO 32000-1, which means that this is no longer a proprietary format but now a true standard, a format which is open and that passes under the control of ISO. The realization of software to create PDF files should be facilitated. Quote:

This International Standard supplies the essential information needed by developers of software that create PDF files.

Futures version of the format will be published by the ISO committee too.
Through this opening, the 3 version of Open Office will edit PDF files, it should be available in September 2008.
July 3, 2008.

Objective J

This is the name of a language written in JavaScript designed to emulate the language Objective C. A preprocessor converts Objective J to JavaScript, and everything works on the client side. With this language, the authors have created Capuccino, a framework that emulates Cocoa, the development system from Apple. You can see a demo of its use named 280 slides. The demo allows you to create a Web page and save the layout as a Powerpoint file. The authors plan to distribute Objective J and the Capuccino framework to open source.
June 30, 2008.

More news...

Adobe has announced the immediate availability of the AIR 1.5 runtime for Linux. The runtime was already working on Windows and Mac. With AIR you can use HTML and JavaScript to build applications and 3D animations running on all operating systems.
19 December 2008.

Microsoft has created the M programming language. M is also the name of the MUMPS medical oriented language. The M language will be part of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and will run on the .NET platform. Its purpose is building other programming languages dedicated to the processing of textual data or models. It works in conjunction with MS SQL and XAML. October 13 2008.

Searchers have written an algorithm that make face on photos more attractive. Photos and video can be improved in several ways thanks to computer.
Algorithm to fake photos and videos. October 10 2008.

Reddit is one of the largest digg-like. There are at least two CMS to achieve this type of site, but the most complete, Pligg is very weak. Also the announce of release as open source the code for a powerful functionnal digg-like could really interested webmasters who wish to create a site like this.
June 18, 2008.

The inventor of Hypercard, Bill Atkinson, which is now a photographer, has regrets. Hias system allowed to make applications by organizing cards with a language close to the natural language, Hypertalk. But if he had thought to link cards on different computers rather than on a single machine, it would have preceded the browser 10 years before his appearance.

Mogo and the UCT algorithm beat a human opponent at master level in the game of Go for the first time on March 22, 2008.

KDE 4.1 is available for Windows in an Alpha version, as well as for MacOS X, OpenSolaris and of course Linux. This superb 3D interface will be running the same software in all platforms and expand the public of Linux software. All programmers are invited to contribute even only by finding bugs.

Java completely open source. Sun announces that remaining restrictions on opening up the code will fall so that Java can be incorporated in all Linux distributions.

OS News article contest. Write an article and win gifts and merchandizes. The contest starts today April 18, 2008 and continues for 30 days.

Google Summer Code 2008. Departure of the coding period, students can participate in open source projects and to show off their talents, led by Google.

Plash is an open source implementation of Powershell, the programmable command-line tool for Windows that was inspired from Unix, even better. Cmdlets are handled. Plash runs on .Net and Mono under Linux. Mac and Solaris are targetted too.

Google Site is a new tool in Google Apps for creating collaborative websites - wikis - without any programming knowledge.

Adobe has just created its open source space to present its projects whose code is open. This site proposes for now the Flex SDK, a framework for achieving Flash applications.

Simcity is now under GPL license and the source code is available to download. The software has been renamed Micropolis for copyright reasons. You can now view how was written on of the most famous computer games ever.

The Android challenge has just started and will last until April 14, 2008. Java programmers who want to create an application for Google's platform can earn $ 25000 if selected.