Google's new “My Maps” is one of the coolest new web technologies I've come across in a long time – I love it! But this, combined with an off-hand remark in a blog, got me thinking: where are all the free web apps?
Last fall a slightly ambitious project to test the uptake of Ubuntu Linux in the volunteer community of eastern England showed positive results, so why has the funder pulled the plug?
What do a super secret ultracapacitor and a recent Supreme Court ruling have to do with providing viable clean electric energy to the masses? Well, if things are allowed to gravitate toward their logical conclusion, they provide the technical and political impetus to finally bring cheap, clean, and renewable power to the people.
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!
When I checked my feed reader at one point today I noticed that there was an interesting sounding article from the BBC available - “Tiny files set for a big future” was the heading. It did actually turn out to be a novel look at the importance of compression technologies when it comes to the availability of content on the web; then I read the last few paragraphs and it went horribly wrong: the BBC needs a wake up call (from us!).
Free software advocates, including myself, like to pontificate about how free software is a good business model. We like to hold up companies like Red Hat and show them off like a bright cliff-top lighthouse that shows the way to profitable free software. And, in passing, we like to name-drop companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle and Sun, rabbiting on about how they are all benefiting from a free software model. However, each of those four companies have closed products that are cash cows, the only truly 100% (ish?) free software oriented company being Red Hat. How much of a broad successful business model is free software in fact? Does it really work in real life? Ask no further, for I am about to put to the test that which myself and others have been advocating for years...
People are real creatures of habit, aren’t they? It’s true, change is a stressful thing. There are all those statistics that say events like divorce and moving house are as stressful as a death in the family. However, none of those stress therapists ever predicted the suffering that it seems thousands of people are slogging through at this very minute, mouths forced open in silent screams of distress... the stress of switching from trusty, faithful first wife XP to that slinky young blonde upstart Vista. Who knew something so desirable could be so high maintenance?
PCs are complex due to underlying hardware organisation. Consequences of this include difficulty in modifying or upgrading a PC, bloated operating systems and software stability issues. Is there an alternative that wouldn’t involve scrapping everything and starting over? I will describe one possible solution with both its benefits and drawbacks.
What (most) users want
Two weeks ago Sony released a program for its PS3 game box which just might help find cures for Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and other diseases .
As we all know, the PS3 has a very powerful processor to generate all those stunning car crashes, real time battle scenes and deal with all that crazy gaming AI, but that power sits idle for most of the day and night. And that’s a waste.
I’m sure everyone reading this has heard the debate over whether that top dog free operating system should be called “Linux” or “GNU/Linux”, but how big a contribution is GNU or Linux to that operating system?
There’s a discussion going on on my LUG mailing list today which seems to have diverged from its original topic to the question of the inclusion of officially supported non-free repositories in distributions: is this merely facilitating freedom or does it have more sinister implications for free software?
Several blogs and newspapers recently reported that Practice Fusion is partnering with Google, which will provide targeted ads for Practice Fusion's EHR solution. However, while everyone is wondering when and how Google will be getting into Health IT, Google is not (yet) entering the EHR market. Most importantly, Practice Fusion’s business model is trivial to implement using free software. Read on for the all the gory technical details.
The Google Partnership
This week, I have been forced, through threat of domestic misery, to sacrifice a section of one my shelves on what I like to call my “Computer Rack”. No longer can that area be used to house a masterpiece of IT equipment that has been assembled from various cast-offs, loaded with interesting software to run exciting server programs. Instead, that section is used to perform the mundane task of storing light bulbs. Let me explain the reason why...
A new hard drive manufacturer, Sextor, is entering the market (pardon the pun!) by pre-loading all of it’s 120+ gig drives with porn and music MP3s to save users the time and effort in downloading them.
The announcement, made earlier today, says that Sextor will be providing pre-loaded drives as from October 9th 2007 in three different flavours, general porn, MP3s, and TV shows. A spokesman commented on the decision.
With the bickering about what Dell will and won’t do to provide Linux on their desktop machines, it seems to me there’s a much easier way to introduce GNU/Linux into the world. Scrap it!
Everyone wishes that free software licences were shorter. The good news from the GPLv3 process is that by changing the LGPL from being a whole licence to being an additional permission that can accompany the GPL, the LGPL has shrunk drastically and the proposed GPL and LGPL texts, combined, are shorter than the current GPL and LGPL combined. But GPLv3 itself will indeed be longer than version 2 is.
This is a slightly different post this week. I haven’t found anything of technical note to talk about and only discovered some of the power of Ruby on Rails this week, but have not had the chance to explore it much, but on the surface it looks awesome.
What I did discover while checking things out in cyberspace is three interesting open source models for different areas. War, politics and religion. Just the stuff we like to discuss at the dinner table. No doubt there are many blogs on open source sex, but that’s a dinner table conversation I’m not going to cover today.
As with any copyright licence, software developers who use any version of the GPL can also grant additional permissions to recipients for code that they hold the copyright of. That is, they can say that you can distribute the software under the terms of the GPL, and they can additionally say that, at your option, you can also distribute the software in this way or that way.
About such additional permissions, the following words are proposed for GPLv3, in discussion draft 2: "When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it." As I see it, these words actually don't change the nature of such additional permissions at all. This topic has come up a few times when I've been discussing GPLv3 with people, so here's my understanding of this issue.