Open Source Linux Solutions » features Open Source Linux Solutions: Linux Programs, Reviews Programs, Ruby on Rails, Tutorials for Web 2.0 Tue, 12 Feb 2013 17:50:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 WhoDoes Lesson one: remove constraints Fri, 01 Feb 2013 15:23:09 +0000 admin We just finished launching WhoDoes and soon we will be starting to think of the next major steps in our product life cycle. New features? A bit of mashups? APIs?

Not exactly. We decided to take a different approach, re-thinking some core characteristics of WhoDoes to make it even easier to use. We know we are the first clients of WhoDoes and we soon understood that we would make a better product for everyone by simplifying the way it works.

So we stopped thinking about the product’s evolution and we started thinking about how we can streamline what we have been creating.

We are a small company and this is an advantage. You can simply decide to change things that you think can be done better and soon, start to improve the future of your application. You can decide to listen to yourself and your customers, and make things work faster.

No committees, no meetings, no focus groups, … no wasting of time. The best way to check how changes might effect your product is to try it on your user base and to wait and see what it produces… in the real world.

I think user responses are the best way to validate ideas.

Anyway, let’s go through what we called Lesson Learned #1

No constraints, no boundaries. You can step back

In the current version of WhoDoes people have to follow a specific pattern to start planning a project. You have to create a new project, invite then staff people, create milestones then tasks and assign people to tasks.

This is the normal path you follow when you start a plan. Up to this point everything can be considered normal.

Using WhoDoes you also need to complete all the task’s attributes (i.e. start and due date, budget) in order to make them visible on people’s calendars. If you don’t complete them, you don’t actually get the tasks included into your plan and visible to people.

We found this approach too limited. After all a project management tool must first of all help people to communicate deadlines, things to be done or simply facts.

People need to share TO-DOs in a project even before they know who will be in charge of them. Again, they need to communicate to each other before knowing when activity deadlines need to be accomplished.

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Verdict Chess Programms Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:58:09 +0000 admin I am generally impressed with the quality of the chess interfaces reviewed here. Xboard and eboard are highly professional clients that are worth checking out. Howver Gnome Chess does need more development to improve its stability. Compiling and installation of these programs was extremely easy.

All of these clients support premove, except Gnome Chess. Premove is a slightly controversial feature that is offered at some Internet Chess Servers.

This is the ability to preselect your move whilst it is your opponent’s turn to move. In very short time games this is a distinct advantage because it allows you to move without any time being deducted from your clock.

It is important that your client supports premove if only for the reason that your opponent does not get an unfair advantage.

All of the ratings below are scored out of a maximum of 10.


I feel that Xboard is more appealing to the experienced Linux enthusiast because it relies so heavily on command line options. A configuration tool that helped the newbie set up Xboard would be a distinct improvement.

In WinBoard (the Windows version of Xboard) the options are set from the interface.

In play Xboard is a dream to use, the quality of the pieces and board are superb but the Athena widgets look prehistoric in the days of polished KDE and GNOME interfaces.

  • Xboard Rating
  • Features 7
  • Board 9
  • In use 7
  • Communication 5
  • Overall 8
  • eboard

In many ways eboard rivals Xboard as the best Linux chess interface. Its options are configured by a polished GNOME interface and whilst it lacks many of the features in Xboard it more than compensates for this with its superb text chat facilities and ’seek graph’. Having channels in separate consoles also makes it much easier to follow conversations than in Xboard.

The auhor plans to add real bughouse support in a future version as well as legality checking for variants. This interface is highly recommended for people who don’t like editing configuration files. I would strongly recommend the major distributions to include this program in future releases.

  • eboard Rating
  • Features 7
  • Board 9
  • In use 8
  • Communication 8
  • Overall 8
  • Gnome Chess

I find it extremely difficult to recommend this software. It has the smallest number of features, the worst board and is extremely buggy. In time I hope it develops into a stable product that represents a real alternative to Xboard and eboard.

  • Gnome Chess Rating
  • Features 3
  • Board 4
  • In use 4
  • Communication 3
  • Overall 4
  • ics.el

It is worth reiterating that ics.el relies on Xboard to provide the graphical board. Using Xemacs and Xboard is an improvement to the text abilities of Xboard on its own. Although Xboard has long supported colorization of the text, ics.el adds improved font support and buttons.

If you are already regularly running (X)emacs it makes sense to use ics.el. But for everyone else I recommend you use Xboard or eboard, because Xemacs is one of the most memory hungry programs available for Linux. It would be a huge overkill to just run Xemacs solely as a text interface to an Internet Chess Server.

  • Xboard Rating
  • Features 5
  • Board N/A*
  • In use 6
  • Communication 6
  • Overall 6
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