For the moment, I will ignore the false statement of some that specifying ODF requires one to run OpenOffice. In fact, there are many products which already do so, including Koffice, AbiWord. Anyone that wishes to can produce OpenDocument compatible software, including proprietary software vendors, such as Corel, who have chosen to do so. Microsoft alone insists not that it is unable to do this, but rather that it is unwilling, and it alone demands the state choose its products and its document format instead.
Oracle is expected today to announce a free (yes, free) limited version of its database called Oracle 10g Express Edition.
This is clearly a reaction to pressure from the open source databases MySQL and PostgreSQL. It shows that free software is good for IT purchasers even if they don't use it. Downward price pressure is a natural side effect of the commoditization of software that has occurred as the free software phenomenon gives us a freer market.
I doubt there is anyone reading this blog who hasn’t heard of wikipedia. I imagine that most of you are like me—it’s often the first place I turn when I want a quick “lowdown” on subjects as disparate as a Civil War general, postmodern theorists, Apple IIs, or He-Man toys. My students also use wikipedia incessantly, though other professors tend to chide them for using an “unreliable” resource.
Businesses are often bound to proprietary and closed source software solutions. So, when they try to adopt free software, they often face difficulty. John Locke wrote this book to give advice on when and how to make the transition from properietary/closed source software to free/open source software. The author deals with the most common and useful software a small business is likely to require.
I recently spoke with Bruce Snyder of the Geronimo project about this open source Java app server under the Apache Software Foundation.
My favorite quote from Bruce:
“I have a saying I've used for years that I think sums it up: With open source, we come for the code, but we stay for the people!”
See the full interview here...
Geronimo, the open source Java application server sponsored by the Apache Software Foundation, has been picking up steam lately. Hard core developers are experimenting with it as a potential replacement for proprietary application servers like IBM Websphere.
(Editor’s note: In this article, the term “open source” is used rather than “free software”. In this case, they are intended to be synonymous.)
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I have to admit that I am a sucker for nice screen shots, desktop wallpaper, etc. I also subscribe to OSDir.com's RSS feeds, and every week (or sooner) they post screen shots from yet another Linux distro that I've never heard of.
This week, however, they posted a link to a page of thumbnailss of all different types of distros!
I think when a parent tells a child that something is “good” or “cool” their immediate reaction is to disbelieve it. I guess I must have done that to my parents, though I cannot remember any specifics there, certainly my children do it to me. I have had broadband at home with a computer available to be used by them any time for a few years now, but it has been underused. When I tell them what an amazing resource the internet is, do they believe me? No... of course not. I am only a parent after all.
But recently things have been changing! And not all for the better...
Roberto Vacca is a Doctor of Computer Science and an electrical engineer. He is very well known in Italy because of his forecasts, mathematical and provisional models, his books (which he sells through his site www.printandread.com) and articles. Since his forecasts, as well as his points of view, are always very sharp and are so clearly expressed, I decided to talk with him about his activity and free software world.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for quite a few years, you’ve probably heard of Samba, the free software server that provides Windows networking compatibility. For new users coming from a Windows networking environment who want to avail themselves of all the advantages of free software server platforms, Samba is the ticket, and the ticket to Samba is good documentation.
In 2000, I was a much more naive person when it came to both free software and the legal environment in which it exists. To be fair, I suppose I was far from alone.
At that time, the idea of applying free licensing to artwork was pretty new (the Creative Commons hadn’t really built up much steam, even if they did exist, which they probably did, but I can’t remember). There were a lot of theories about the reasons why it was hard to motivate artists to use free licensing, perhaps because an awful lot of people were still fuzzy about why programmers did it.
Newsforge is running a story that ought to concern everyone here at Free Software Magazine. Every three years, the Library of Congress pulls down the DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Clause (the one that makes reverse-engineering illegal and paves the way for totalitarian digital copyright policies) and solicits comments regarding possible revisions.
Of course, the construction of a free road does cost money, which the public must somehow pay. However, this does not imply the inevitability of toll booths. We who must in either case pay will get more value for our money by buying a free road.—Richard Stallman
As a college professor committed to the principles of the free software movement, I frequently find myself wondering how I can promote the cause from within the university setting. One obvious way is to have students read works by Richard Stallman and Lawrence Lessig—and have them use free software alternatives whenever possible. However, I still felt there had to a less propagandistic, more subtle (and effective) way.
I woke up on Thursday 6th October on a friend’s sofa in London where I had spent the night after the Lonix evening get-together after the first day of the LinuxWorld Expo the day before. After a half hour journey recovering on a number 28 bus I arrived at 9.30 a.m. sharp(ish) in time to attend the Fedora Users and Developers Conference (FUDCon) at Olympia.
What is FUDCon?
As a specialist in multiple environments, I have spent many years putting together an environment that enables me to do all of the work I need to do.
This makes my network—for a relatively small two person operation—more complicated and substantial than some networks that support 10, possibly even 100 times that many users.
Why so complex?
Several years ago, at the eGovOS summit, Microsoft desperately tried to introduce its form of “Shared Source” as if it were a valid form of “Open Source”. And to claim their new licensing strategy they offered “freedom” to others. This effort met with extreme skepticism from me, and I wasn’t the only one. Since then, they have appeared at many free software related advocacy events, as well as using their own closed and special government conferences, and have been desperately trying to sell this idea: that “Shared Source” is “Open Source”.
I heard that at Gartner Mr. Ballmer said that one of the four areas which Microsoft believes GNU/Linux is particularly successful and where Microsoft wishes to challenge GNU/Linux is in application servers. I have often wondered why a company which makes one kind of product feels it needs to control the entire market. This is not something unique to Microsoft, as there are many corporations who feel they should be able to control the third party marketplace that utilizes their products, rather then let others choose what products and services they wish to receive.