Yesterday the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the fact that, in response to soaring gas prices, smaller cars are outselling light trucks (which include SUVs, pickups, and minivans) in the US for the first time since 1996. Last night I was going through old magazines that we’d just tossed in a bag before moving. I found the September 2006 issue of Westways (the California Auto Club’s magazine), with a cover story about the new breed of small cars, wondering when the market would shift in response to the high prices. Now there’s timing.

On a related note, 9 months of driving a Prius has given me a somewhat different perspective on “good” and “bad” mileage. When I see averages of 38–48 MPG over the course of a tank of gas, and can get up to 60 MPG on straight, flat stretches of freeway, advertisements touting 25–30 MPG just don’t sound that enticing.

CNet reports that Adobe is buying Macromedia for $3.4 billion. I don’t know whether to be more disturbed that Adobe will be in control of ColdFusion and Dreamweaver, or that Flash and Acrobat (the two most common—and most often abused—plug-in formats on the web) will be under the same roof.

As far as comparing the companies, I think the forum quote from “Biggles Worth” in the sidebar has it about right: “Moby Dick has swallowed the Little Mermaid.”

Remember UnitedLinux? It was a consortium of Conectiva, SuSE, TurboLinux and Caldera to build a common distribution that could compete with Red Hat. That effort got derailed, in part because Caldera decided they could make more money by changing their name to SCO and extorting suing the market into oblivion. Now Novell owns SuSE, TurboLinux is facing competition from Red Flag, and Conectiva is merging with Mandrake.

Mandrake’s a nice OS. I keep trying to switch, but I keep coming back to Red Hat Fedora. While my own experience with Conectiva has been, shall we say, less than stellar, they did port Debian’s outstanding package manager APT to work with RPM, and started the development of Synaptic, which should (in my opinion) be the standard way to install and upgrade software on any package-based Linux distribution with a GUI.

For now it looks like they’ll be maintaining separate brands based on a common core (hmm, sounds familiar), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up merging the products in a few years.

Hey, if it means Mandrake replaces their clunky update system with APT and Synaptic, I’m all for it.

(See also CNET’s take.)