You will discover, in this CNL issue, quite a different structure for our Computer News Letter; this is most obvious in practice from the re-naming of most of the chapters, and the re-organization of the articles inside these chapters.
The CNL is still popular (looking at the number of people who continue to register) and constitutes one of the most important information channels of the Information Technology (IT) Division at CERN. The main objective for defining such a new structure was to offer to our readers something more oriented towards services rather than IT-internal (i.e. group-related). If the structure is well defined, readers should be able to know immediately, just looking at the table of contents of the CNL, where they will find the piece of information they are interested in.
I will summarize and explain briefly the new structure we intend to use. This is the new list of chapters you will find in this CNL:
All chapters which are preceded by (*) should be considered as "regular", meaning that they should appear in (almost) all CNL issues; chapters preceded by (+) are also regular, but in a less extensive way, and could be left aside more frequently.
The Announcements chapter will only contain "punctual" (limited in time) or/and "divisional" information, such as the announcement for the "1998 CERN School of Computing" made in the last CNL, or changes of structure inside IT division or internal to groups.
The design of the proposed chapters is:
In addition to that pre-defined list of chapters, it could be that occasionally a "special" chapter is added, such as the "The `Year 2000' Problem" chapter in CNL 228. Readers who are interested in a more precise description of this new structure can refer to the IT/User Support internal document, "Proposal for a new structure of the CNL" - IT-US/1998/01.
Any comments from readers concerning this new structure is welcome, and can be addressed directly to me at:
I guess that one other wish the CNL readers may express is to review the "appearance" of the CNL and to make it more "fashionable"; as you may know, this work was already undertaken for the "Computing for Engineers Newsletter" which certainly looks more attractive than our present CNL. However, even though this task seems quite easy to achieve today by using one the various tools available on the PC-market, one goal of the CNL is that it should be easily and quickly accessible to everybody, for instance by using the most basic Web browsers (like the free public domain Mosaic). Also, one must be aware that we must keep the printing cost of the CNL as low as possible, so that we can continue to distribute it freely outside CERN. Consequently we are still waiting for some stabilization in Web technology (see, for instance, the article "The Web Prepares for the Future" in the last CNL) to go further in that direction. In this domain, a common agreement for all kinds of documentation distributed by IT division will have to be reached: a working group is being set-up for this (huge) task.
Let me finish this particular and long "Letter from the Editor" section and wish you an interesting reading of this new issue (no 231) of a "revised" CNL.
CNL editor, IT/User Support