With the latest GNU Telephony releases of GNU Bayonne, I have experimented with and introduced a new lightweight kind of XML based web service that I call serverResponse. This was meant to offer something functionally capable of supporting automated remote procedure callable services, but that is far simpler to operate and requires far less code to support than SOAP or even XMLRPC.
While many people have been working on the technical challenges of providing low cost computing to emerging communities, a couple of months back I had proposed a different and related challenge to my immediate friends and free software professionals from several organizations. This challenge was not based on how to deliver ever lower cost physical computing, but rather why and how such solutions can and should be delivered through free software.
Having read of Microsoft’s white paper on the use of GNU/Linux on legacy hardware, I had to laugh at the conclusions. But, to be fair, I thought it was time to update my own “legacy” laptop, a Toshiba 660CDT, with a Pentium 150, a 800x600 LCD panel, and a whole 80MB of ram installed.
The third International Forum on Free Knowledge brought together many groups and individuals interested in the development of free software worldwide to the city of Maracaibo. One reason Venezuela choose to host this event is because starting in January (2006), their new free software law, directive 3.390, comes into effect, which mandates all government agencies to migrate to free software over a two year period. I was invited to speak about Telephonia Libre: the use of free software in telecommunications.
Among the many free software projects out there, I think ReactOS is particularly worth some discussion. This is an effort to create a complete, clean room re-implementation of the entire Microsoft Windows NT operating system. Here is why I think this project is important:
I have recently been asked to attend the GPLv3 conference later this month in Boston at MIT, and so I thought this was a good time to share how I personally view the GNU General Public License (GPL), and how it has touched my life.
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.
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.