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The Groklaw effect hits Becta. And yes, I am coining a new term

Quite a long time ago (maybe in 2000), people started talking about the Slashdot effect. Being Slashdotted meant (and still means) that a truckload of computers online suddenly decide to access your site, because one of your pages was linked from Slashdot's home page. The results on your servers used to be disastrous. I think I ought to attempt something brave: I would like to coin a new word: the Groklaw effect.

While you can't really Groklaw a site, you can definitely Groklaw a company or a court case.

So, what is the Groklaw effect specifically?

The Future is Now for Some.

There are about 1000 million PCs on the planet, most running that other OS. For the folks running free software, the future is now. They can run on almost anything. They can shift hardware/software platforms easily. They can increase the number of seats easily. The 900+ million not running free software are now or will soon be a burden to their owners: mal-ware, forced upgrades, high life-cycle costs and bloat.

Free software heroes: from Stallman to Google, a list of inspiring individuals who made everything possible

This article was originally published on "2008-06-15 13:09:55 +0000". I re-read it, and decided that it deserved to be re-published in Free Software Magazine as a tribute to those individual who made GNU/Linux possible. Every field has its own key individuals who donated much of their time to the ideas they believed in. Each one of them is a reminder that it's up to individuals to make a difference -- and to make history. Their work affects large chunks of the world's population, and bring amazing changes to the way we see and experience the world.

The free software world has its own heroes. You probably know a lot of them already; if you don't, you probably use the results of their work on a daily basis.

This article is both a tribute to them, and a summary to those people who are new to the free software world.

UK Agency snubs free software community

Early in May Becta, the UK government agency charged with helping schools in their use of ICT, released a tender to support 'open source' adoption in UK schools. Several organisations decided to tender, and of the four short-listed, three covered a very large part of the communities and companies that have been involved in the field to date. On Thursday Becta announced that it had awarded the contract the the fourth bidder.

Let's stop playing the numbers game: free software has changed the game.

Tony Mobily's recent FSM post A future without Microsoft and the resulting comments have caused me to consider the way we use numbers to argue for free software in the marketplace. I'm not convinced that it's the best strategy because those waters are particularly muddy when it comes to comparing free and proprietary software.

Vienna failed to migrate to GNU/Linux: why?

Several governments and councils reported multi-year migration plans to GNU/Linux. Free software activists praised each one of them in their blogs and commentaries. However, a few months or years on, some of those plans crumbled. Vienna is one of them. A question here begs to be answered: why did it happen? The City of Vienna made several crucial mistakes. In this article, I will list the most prominent ones.

A future without Microsoft

It's June 2008, and it's not a good time to be a Microsoft shareholder or employee. The computing industry is changing very, very quickly, creating new opportunities and killing once-prosperous markets. In this short article, I will outline these changes in relation to free software and Microsoft. If you can think of more changes, or if you don't agree with some of my forecasts, please let me know!

Seagate Freeagent Pro: hardware that comes with proprietary software

Getting an external hard drive for my laptop seemed like such a good idea when I first thought about it. Seagate have got a dinky little 750 GB affair, called the Freeagent Pro, with lights that go up and down when it’s having a bit of a think to itself, so I got myself one of those. What I didn’t know when I bought it was that the hard drive came with all sorts of issues related to proprietary software.

A Technological Singularity: What are the Implications for Free Software?

I was at another meeting of the Editorial board of the Skibbereen Eagle yesterday. Hopefully you read the outcome of the last one. Some clever clogs suggested that it might be a spiffing wheeze to write something about the possible implications of the much mooted singularity (is that a proper noun, with a capital S?) and what it might mean for the future of both free and proprietary software.

Dubious ads in Free Software Magazine

Hello Everybody,

This is an emergency post. I am writing it in Dubai. I am on my way to Rome and then London, only have 50 minutes left in my EeePC and no Dubai power adapter. The joys of travelling...

Some dubious ads have appeared in Free Software Magazine. I have received reports of a "virus scanner" (fake) with a malicious redirection. We currently use two ad networks, IDG and Adsense, and I don't have any way to figure out which one is giving problems. In any case, having worked with both of them, I am 100% sure this is something that simply slipped the net.

Updating Debian keys for the uninterested

Despite having an aversion to configuring and maintaining security and crypto software, I accepted that I had to update my system in response to the recent big Debian security problem. If I can do it, you can do it. Below are my notes, but keep in mind that my security rank is somewhere between ignorant and uninterested.

Report from the Texas Open Source Symposium

Recently, I attended a small symposium here in Texas, with just over 70 people attending: the inaugural "Texas Open Source Symposium" (TexasOSS). Although small, it was a pleasant conference. Topics ranged from 3D applications to business models, to introductions into the inner workings of the free software community process.

Open letter to standards professionals, developers, and activists

You've read how Microsoft drove its tank through the international standardization process last year and this year, finally winning ISO approval for its legacy OOXML format. The OOXML event proved that we're in a real fight, and that money and power can break down the existing polite rules and agreements that constitute the international standardization process.

Digital Rights Management (DRM): is it in its death throes?

In this opening salvo, I will reprise the technical terms and history of DRM and thereafter I will try to keep you abreast of the issues for computer users in general and free software in particular. Hopefully, I will in fact be chronicling the death throes of DRM.

Guidelines to switch to a free platform

The topic of switching from Windows to Linux has been bashed numerous times and it often comes with the same arguments: high-performance, cheap, goes against the big monopolies, and so forth. Now, as a user, does it really matter? This article focuses on the steps you need to make for a successful switch or, at least, mix platform for the best result.

Alternatives

GNU/Linux and free software are unstoppable

When I first saw GNU/Linux (the kernel plus the utilities) in 1994, I was amazed. I started using GNU/Linux as a server system, rather than a desktop machine, and I just couldn't stop thinking: "This will only keep better and better. There is no limit. This is simply unstoppable. Everybody will be using this, and only this, by the year 2000". Remember that the year 2000 seemed really quite far off... and that I was being genuinely optimistic.

Things you miss with GNU/Linux

Recently I've noticed an increases in the number of people I know who are migrating from Windows to GNU/Linux. Either my tireless advocacy is grinding them down, word is starting to spread. Perhaps they've actually seen Vista in action and decided to jump ship now. Either way there are some things they are going to miss when they make the leap.

Creating wealth with free software

A report by the Standish Group indicates that adoption of 'open source' has caused a drop in revenue to the proprietary software industry by about $60 billion per year. That's not a huge amount of money compared to what has been lost though the misselling of mortgages, but it is still a lot. The report identifies the value of these 'open source' products to be about 6% of the world market for software.

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