The desktop computer is not dead, but it’s doomed. Laptops are not dead, but they are doomed. And our mobile phones are going to kill them... sounds unlikely? Well, please read on—and let me know what you think. People have predicted the death of the desktop computer and the death of the laptop many times. These death sentences have often sounded like those religions which predicted the world would end by the year 2000—then the year 2000 came, and the end of the world was then rescheduled for 2004—then 2004 happily came and went—and so on.
I had a chance to talk to Steve Lake, at Raiden’s Realm. After a few words, I could tell that the project he was engaged in was very interesting, so I interviewed him...
TM: What is Raiden’s Realm?
RR: We’re a community of people interested in technology, both hardware and software. We help each other survive our computers and we have fun talking about gaming, anime, HDTV, etc. All the “tech geek” topics plus the occasional chile recipe. :) We have a diversified group of members ranging in age from the early teens to the 50 and over crowd.
The growing international population of free software activists are dedicating their personal time and energy on a collaborative project that aims to raise awareness for the social and technological values of free software. One of them is Binary Freedom. I talked to Christian Fernandez, who is one of the coordinators. Here are his answers.
TM: What is Binary Freedom?
In most industries, innovation comes from big companies that invest large amounts of money in equipment and research. The IT industry is different: the only real investment is a PC—and copious amounts of time necessary to study and research. (Without free software it could have been a very different story today, since we could live in a world where you couldn’t program without forking out several thousands of dollars just for a compiler. Does anybody remember how much the first version of Visual C++ cost?)
In computers, the most important leaps forward are often made by single (outstanding) individuals. I’ve had a chance to talk to Arturo "Buanzo" Busleiman, who wrote Enigform. If Enigform becomes a standard, it could change the way everybody logs onto their internet banking sites and more. He’s the best person to talk about Enigform... so, here he is.
The exciting side of free software is that anybody can jump in andhelp. This is, in a way, what we did when we created Free SoftwareMagazine - and this is what many others around the world are doing, withsoftware projects and informational web sites.
As many of you already know, I founded Free Software Magazine in 2004. The idea was to create a printed magazine about free software. Our focus was on the paper version, and therefore the website was somewhat neglected. The way the magazine evolved showed us that that initial decision was a mistake. People clearly didn’t want another paper magazine—the popularity of our web site, and the lack of interest in the paper magazine, showed clearly that we needed to focus more on the online audience.
Sometimes, somebody does something courageous. Dave and I could have started a magazine about anything, targeting a much wider audience. Creating a magazine about free software, and calling it Free Software Magazine, had an element of courage in it - and an element of madness as well!
The free software world is experiencing another legal storm. This time, the trouble doesn’t involve a big company attacking a free software project—this time, you could probably call it a “civil war”. A former contributor to Pligg (a very important free software content management system for creating digg-style sites) intends to take Pligg’s developers to court. I managed to talk to Eric Heikkinen, the co-founder of Pligg, and ask him a few questions...
TM: Hello Eric. Please tell our readers a little about yourself and Pligg.
When I first launched Free Software Magazine, I intended to have a "fiction" section. I've been writing short stories since I was quite young, and a fiction section seemed to make sense. For a number of reasons, the idea never took off.
Note: Tony will not address comments made to this editorial. Please refer to his blog entry for more information.
When I was 14, I bought my first computer magazine. Yes, I was a late starter! What I found amazing was that, after buying my first issue, I understood pretty none of what I had read. There were terms like CPU, RAM, protected mode, driver... I had simply no idea. I was partially excused: we are talking almost 20 years ago, and back then many of those terms weren't as popular as they are now.
I am the founder of Free Software Magazine. My role has always been important, but you must keep in mind that FSM exists thanks to several key people who worked hard on this project.
My latest editorial has received countless comments about us dropping the PDFs. You can see them yourself - some of them are reasonable, while other were along the lines of "I want a PDF version, and I want it right now. If not, I will never be back to this site ever again".
I am planning on changing the world with this article. I can’t do it on my own: I need your help.
Well, I must admit that changing the whole world might be a little ambitious. For now, I will settle for the “computing world”.
Right now, the following factors are true:
- Linux has a very viable desktop and office suite—for free. OpenOffice being bloated is basically not an issue anymore, since even a basic computer today will run OpenOffice completely fine. Thanks to Ubuntu, end users can now use Linux and not notice the difference.
I was talking to Russel Ossendryver recently, WorldLabel's owner. After exchanging a few words, and being a little shocked by what I heard, I told him "Russel,would you like me to actually interview you formally?" He was a little hesitant at first. However, in the end we decided that current events needed as much exposure as possible. So, this is a friendly private conversation that turned into an interview.
Here it is!
TM: What is Worldlabel?
As you know, we have been working very hard over the last 2 years todeliver the best magazine ever. Now, we need your help.
We are proud of what we achieved. We now have more than 750 articles onour web site, and all of them are released under a free license. Manyarticles are key references for Linux users and developers. Right now,we feel that we are flying.
However, as I said, we need your help. If you have a blog, or if youknow somebody with a popular web site, please ask them to have a look here.
Recently Medsphere, supposedly an “Open Source” Medical Software Company, has sued its founders Scott and Steve Shreeve. Why?
I am angry. It’s not a good state to be in, and it’s definitely not healthy. However, today I just can’t help it.
The main problem is that I have a bet going on, and I feel I am going to lose it. My bet is that by 2010, more than 50% of the world’s laptop sales will have GNU/Linux preinstalled, rather than Windows.
Until a little while ago, I was feeling optimistic. However, my optimism fell after I decided that I needed a new laptop.
You’ve probably guessed already: I want a laptop with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled, and I’m having a great deal of trouble finding one.
Being the founder of Free Software Magazine means that I receive amazing (or I should say amusing) amounts of email that ask us to announce the imminent release of some fantastic project that will change the world. I always answer that I will be happy to talk about the fantastic project once it’s been launched, and I can actually see something.
Nobody ever calls back.
Even worse, when I go back and check what the project status is, I often find that the “launch” never happened, or that it did and that’s pretty much where the project stands—a few months later!
Novell recently signed an agreement with Microsoft. From the press release:
Under the patent agreement, both companies will make up-front payments in exchange for a release from any potential liability for use of each others patented intellectual property, with a net balancing payment from Microsoft to Novell reflecting the larger applicable volume of Microsoft’s product shipments. Novell will also make running royalty payments based on a percentage of its revenues from open source products.
I was lucky enough to interview Jon “Maddog” Hall, one of the speakers of the upcoming LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in London.
TM: Your name is so well-known that you don’t even need an introduction. How are you keeping yourself busy these days?
It’s no secret that I love free software; you don’t decide to start a magazine about it and stick with it for years unpaid if you don’t. While making Free Software Magazine, I learned a lot about free software and its ecology. What I discovered was sometimes exciting, sometimes disheartening.