Georgia, 1999

Georgia nestles between Russia, Turkey, Chechnya, Armenia and Azerbaijan putting it right at the border between Europe and Asia.

At its north and south borders you find some impressively large mountains called the Caucus (the Lesser Caucus to the south). We travelled around quite a lot, as you can see, and managed to see Tbilisi, the capital, and some of the beautiful scenery in the north.

But a picture, he said in a cliched manner, paints a thousand words, so on with the photos. I may add a little commentary later, but for now it’s just the pictures.

Click the small pictures below for a full size version. All the full size pictures are optimised for a 1024×768 display and are in 24-bit colour.

Church on the route from Tbilisi to Alvani. Its name esAnother view of the same church. Another view of the church on the way to AlvaniThis is another church on the same route. I can't remem
This is the inside of the same church.Alvani high street Yet another church!A waterfall in the Lagodechi National Park
View of a church from anotherAnother church on a big hill A view from a church on the way to Gudauri.On the way up to the Kobi Pass
Coming down from the Kobi Pass (around 3000 metres)A shrine of some kind in the Truso Gorge I think this is the Tsminda Sameda Church. It's Mount KView of Tbilisi

If the pictures have piqued your interest, there are a few web sites that you might want to visit:

Whats with Windows 2000?

It is now two days after Microsoft’s official release of ‘the next generation’ of their premier operating system, Windows 2000 (n?e, NT5). We’re now at a safe distance to be able to assess the impact it has had on people and the press.

The first interesting thing to note is that on Slashdot, the Internet’s favorite site for hacker-oriented hi-tech news, did not make any announcement. One argument is that Slashdot is Linux, or at least Unix, biased making Windows news irrelevant. I don’t buy that. What Microsoft is doing is important if Linux is to achieve world domination.

The real answer came as a comment to another thread (about a new development kernel release), not by the sites editors. 17th February is not really a very significant date even to Microsoft. The software has been available to big customers — the main target market — for months and even smaller customers should not have had too much difficulty finding a copy. The only significance is that you can buy a shrink-wrapped copy. Big deal.

But should you buy a copy?

This brings me to my second point: despite a sprinkling of pro-Linux-is-Microsoft-doomed? articles, almost all the press I’ve read pretty much follows the line of Microsoft’s PR company. Whatever happened to reasoned, critical journalism?

Since there’s so much of this, I’m loath to identify individual magazines or articles, it just wouldn’t feel representative. The kind of thing I’m talking about are blanket statements such as “Windows 2000 is faster, more scalable and more reliable than NT.”

Where do they get this from? There is certainly no ‘real world’ evidence of this. If you discount this months release, people have been trialing the OS on small, test systems for a few weeks. Without a realistic load who can say, honestly, that it’s more reliable? And does ‘more reliable’ just mean ‘better than NT4’ or does it mean ‘as good as ‘Unix’? (Personally I believe neither interpretation. I very much doubt that a first release can be as reliable as NT4 with all the service packs, and that’s before we get to the months of uptime you can expect from a well configured Unix box.)

If reliability is difficult to understand, more scalable is laughable. At work we’re using a four processor Xeon 550Mhz machine with tonnes of disk-space. Right now there are very few Intel boxes that are bigger than that. Okay Win2K may support that hardware better than NT4 but it’s still the biggest you can get. An equivalent Sun machine probably falls into the ‘midrange’ category. What happened to the Alpha support? What happened to the PowerPC port? Both these architectures are far more scalable. And Linux, popularly believed to be less scalable than NT, supports them all.

So far, this piece is definitely painted as an anti-Microsoft tirade. That’s not going to change substantially, but Microsoft does deserve some credit for getting something the size and complexity of Win2K out the door at all. Check the metrics and success rate of projects that are thirty-five millions lines long. And there are some nice features. The GUI admin tools are not matched on any Unix implementation I’ve used and some things, such as the file protection and the separation of web applications from the web server, are long overdue.

However, the late delivery, high price and Microsoft-only nature of many new features don’t help in Microsoft’s defense against the monopoly allegations.

Photography, opinions and other random ramblings by Stephen Darlington