Few events have created more fodder for the blogosphere, more fuel for Microsoft critics and more emotional responses than the Microsoft patent deals with Novell, Linspire and Xandros. While putting together a list of things people hate about these deals is easy, generating a list of positive aspects is much harder. So I tried to take a more balanced approach and put together a love/hate list about these deals.
The free software world is being attacked by a large, wealthy, brutal monopolist, who I’ll call “Megatron” for today. As I wrote last month, Megatron is driving its OOXML tank through the village church of open standards, doing unspeakable things to the ISO process, with the intention of locking in a generation of computer users to its stack of patented, restricted, and undocumented formats. It’s about freedom, some of us want it, others want to take it away from us.
More and more people are discovering free software. Many people only do so after weeks, or even months, of using it. I wonder, for example, how many Firefox users actually know how free Firefox really is—many of them realise that you can get it for free, but find it hard to believe that anybody can modify it and even redistribute it legally.
When the discovery is made, the first instinct is to ask: why do they do it? Programming is hard work. Even though most (if not all) programmers are driven by their higher-than-normal IQs and their amazing passion for solving problems, it’s still hard to understand why so many of them would donate so much of their time to creating something that they can’t really show off to anybody but their colleagues or geek friends.
Sure, anybody can buy laptops, and just program. No need to get a full-on lab or spend thousands of dollars in equipment. But... is that the full story?
Imagine you need to create an Ajax application, and you’re scratching your head in frustration since you don’t understand
That is, I didn’t read the Fake Steve blog. I heard good things. I may have read a one or two posts that I followed through links. Some of the excerpts I’ve seen in the aftermath of the reveal are quite funny. But I wasn’t a reader. I’m familiar with some of Dan Lyons’s work, though, and I’m just some anonymous idiot with a blog so I feel qualified to put my $0.02 in. This is all just my opinion, mind you.
- For the people complaining that the New York Times ruined the fun, don’t you get it? He wanted to be outed. Publicity for the book. Nourishment for the ego.
Today I thought I might suggest a little bit of summer reading, now the good weather has finally arrived in the UK! Some are a little off the beaten track, with less explicit links to free software; all of them, in my opinion, will be of interest to anybody visiting this website. So, read the list, pay a visit to Amazon and grab the nearest bottle of sun cream!
Free Software, Free Society by Richard Stallman
For any specialist interest, be it trade or hobbyist, it is the norm to find at least one specialist magazine. If you are into selling comics and games you are probably an avid reader of the Comic and Games Retailer publication. Where would the world's tissue vendors be without their Tissue World Magazine? Also I cannot imagine the problems caused if the machine lubricators were deprived of their monthly Machine Lubrication Magazine.
Those of us who are proponents of free software, and follow it in the technical press, also have our weird and wonderful publications. Though being IT oriented these tend to be on-line based rather than paper based (such as Free Software Magazine), but often have to undergo an experience that is distasteful and nauseating...
Microsoft. Open-Source Certification. This is not an April Fools, apparently. According to various news feeds (this was brought to my attention from PCWorld, but YMMV as these stories are periodic) they will be submitting some of their "shared source" licenses to the OSI. This is genuinely fantastic news, as after years of FUDing us around, they finally admit that Open Source exists, is a good thing, non-cancerous, and something with which they want to get involved. It's also very flattering, because since they're submitting to the OSI it tells us that they acknowledge the term "Open Source" (and by its implication "Free Software") and that its definition is vested and controlled. By someone else.
But now they've built the bridge, they need to know how to cross it. There's a cultural divide that has been fostered through the years. So listen up Microsoft, this is your next step in allowing shared source to become compatible with FOSS licenses and - more importantly - its inherent ideals!
I won this great big lottery the other day. I rushed around and bought new houses and all the usual stuff, then I had enough left over to get a new sports car. Before I went to look at the latest Porsches and Ferraris, I thought I might have a look at the new MicroKlapt V16 F1 GT Ultimate. They had all these ads with everyone dancing around going, “Wow”, so it looked pretty good.
Kevin Rose founded Digg in late 2004. It was the beginning of something phenomenal... to be precise, the Digg phenomenon. Digg was all about the tight-knit community of techies who wanted to get in there, share relevant tech news, vote for it, and talk about it. And what a fabulous idea it was.
According to Matt Asay, justice is served by the recent $2.5M judgment against SCO in favor of Novell.
The wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.
Closer inspection reveals that while justice was served, it was within a very narrow scope. It seems that Microsoft has succeeded in recycling some of the cash spent propping up SCO in the campaign against free software.
Days ago I was appointed as the on-call support on our TIBCO installation. So I have been given a personal mobile phone, a personal laptop and, lastly, a Vodafone Mobile Connect Super UMTS card. You may well be interested in the fact that Vodafone Spain developed a Linux driver, the card seems to work very well with Linux, and that it was quite easy to configure it!
I am going to describe how I configured it to work with Vodafone Italia as the provider. Please feel encouraged to comment on this entry and fill in the configuration you made for your own Country or distribution. What follows is the configuration for Ubuntu 7.04.
The normally boring world of international standards has turned into a bloody fist fight between the most brutal monopolist of modern times, and the Community. Just the name, “Office Open XML” makes my head spin, and when I start to read Microsoft’s so-sincere explanations that “users demand multiple standards”, my blood begins to boil. But before I turn green and rip off my shirt, let me take a deep breath and look calmly at how Microsoft is trying to do to ISO what Borat wanted to do to Pamela.
Their misleading GPLv3 article from last week drew criticism for using false evidence to suggest that Linus is on a new anti-GPLv3 and that Linus's insults are "the latest sign of a growing schism".
LINUS CALLS GPLv3 "A FINE CHOICE" - is a title that InformationWeek could have used for their article. It would have been very selective quoting, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for InformationWeek. Nor does pretending that old emails are new emails, or misrepresenting people.
Since this is, actually, a blog, I feel entitled to speak my mind in it once in a while. However, being the computer nut I am, most of it is tech-oriented.
If you’re actually interested by this kind of read, prepare your scroll wheel, soften your ergonomically designed backrest, and start reading.
I can still remember my first LUG meeting; the Greater London Linux User Group at the GND building, London. I met developers, end users, geeks, sysadmins, and a magazine editor who, although neither of us knew it at the time, would later publish my first articles on Linux. These were people with intelligence, soul, and consideration. I had finally found a like-minded milieu for my free software tendancies.
To contrast, in my capacity as the local “geek about town”, I recently attended a one-off event intended to bring together the local geek community to examine the future of the Web 2.0 technology platform. Of all the people present I met only three geeks. Everyone else was a corporate schill wanting to tell me of how their corporate strategy was going to change the face of Web 2.0. Or a marketroid relentless pushing their closed-source buzzword-compliant platform. Or bourgeois recruiters intent solely on badmouthing every employer they didn’t represent. Or a hanger-on, desperate for free beer. Alas, this was not the first geek event hijacked by corporate import.
So what happened to the community?
In just a few days, the FCC will close its deliberations on Net Neutrality to outside comment.
If the giant telcos, like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, get their way, the FCC will abandon Net Neutrality and allow them to play favourites with big online companies who are willing to pay them the biggest bribes for favoured online treatment.
This will mean that everyone who can't pay will receive prejudiced online treatment compared to those who can.
When we consider the situation Microsoft finds itself in with regard to the GNU General Public License (GPL), it is important to consider how one determines when someone has accepted the GNU GPL and, hence, when someone is actually bound by its terms. Many people receive software that has been licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL all the time. However, simply receiving software licensed under the GNU GPL does not, in itself, mean that one has accepted the terms. Indeed, there is no contract to sign when receiving said software and certainly no “End User License Agreement”.