A couple of weeks ago, at a very large event in Brussels, I sat and watched several government officials, from the US and EU, debate innovation policy. This sounds very grand, but what they actually said, to paraphrase, was “we want to stimulate innovation by spending money and protecting intellectual property”.
My first blog entry for the Free Software Magazine is dedicated to someone important to free software.
Therefore, I would like you to pause for a moment here, and say a silent “thank you” to Ettore Perazzoli. Do it now, don’t go diving into Google to see who this guy is first, don’t just skip this paragraph, don’t do anything else. It’s a simple “thank you”, just trust me and say it.
I love to write witty titles, in many cases more than the actual article, but this title kinda says it all (if you don't understand it, read this). If there are still those of you that are avoiding free software, give up. You lose. To view this blog entry alone you've used dozens of free software products.
I know that many people come to the FFII—as I did—because they feel a deep sense of injustice at how the smaller players in IT are consistently squashed by special interests and monopolists. But I’m going to look at our core concern—software patents—from a different angle, one based more on economics and less on emotions.
Which do you like best: the satisfying, rich taste of principle in free software? Or do you prefer the less morally filling and pragmatic goodness of open source? Do you wish people would stop endlessly rehashing the whole question of "free" versus "open source?" Or do you enjoy the chance to talk about goals and philosophy? As you might suspect, since I'm bringing it up...
Somebody recently noted that, what with all the bombing and killing and tyrannical madness going on in the world, how can we waste all this time talking about free software? Surely there's more important stuff to worry about?
Well, they’re absolutely right that there are bigger problems in the world. When I get a chance to do something more direct about it, I plan to. So far, it looks like voting is about it, though.
I just read on the Linux Advocate that Google Trends is indicating that the Ubuntu OS has outpaced Mac OS X (as well as other free distros) by a pretty fair margin. However, as the comments on the article indicate, really this is just showing the relative number of searches for "Ubuntu" vs. "Mac OS X." Still, even if it's not an accurate indicator of how many people are installing either OS, I find it significant that a free OS would trump a powerful commercial OS like the Mac's in Google searches.
By now, almost everyone who has a computer has heard about something called “Linux”. Usually, what they hear goes something like this—“Well, Linux is free, but it’s very difficult to use. Don’t try it unless you’re a computer expert”. There is also generally talk about how “Linux” is incompatible with equipment like digital cameras, printers, and games. In short, “Linux” is generally thought to be a free but experts-only operating system. Fortunately for those of us who aren’t computer experts, almost all of these “facts” about “Linux” are completely wrong.
As you may know, Debian 4.0 stable 'Etch' is almost out. As expected from the Debian project, it will be a very stable, feature-ladden if slightly outdated OS.
What you may not know, is that it will come without Firefox. Nope, no fox trailing fire on your Debian desktop, no sir.
Instead you'll get Iceweasel.
Recently, I've become involved in the ongoing discussion between the Creative Commons and Debian over the "freeness" of the Creative Commons Public License (CCPL), version 3. Specifically, the hope is that Debian will declare the CC-By and CC-By-SA licenses "free", as most people intuitively feel they are. There are a number of minor issues that I think both sides have now agreed to, leaving only the question of "Technological Protection Measures" (TPM, also known as "Digital Rights Management" or "Digital Restrictions Management" or "DRM").
Days ago I read this announcement about Sun moving Java's license to free software, and in particular that some parts of it will be released under the GPL
Today on www.sun.com they are announcing a webcast today at 9.30 Pacific Time
Are we nearly there?
There’s no point in having a world full of “ethical” but unemployed artists. I think there is an ethical compulsion for people with talent to use their talent (artistic talent is power which carries responsibility). And, since making money at doing it is frequently a requirement for that to happen sustainably, then making money at doing your art is also an imperative.
While trawling through this week’s normal helter-skelter barrage of free software and open source news items, opinion pieces and analyzing ponderings a couple of pieces caught my eye. These are the BBC’s article entitled “Charity shuns open source code” and Silicon.com’s one called “CIO Jury: The Linux desktop is dead”. When first seeing these pessimistic pieces of free software doom and gloom, I confess my immediate reaction, as an advocate and developer, was one of misery, depression and fed-upness. Was it all worth it? What is the point? Where is the bright side? Should I simply go outside and step under a bus?
After a nice strong cup of coffee and pulling myself together a bit, I examined the articles a little more closely. I discovered that the authors, or originators, of each had, in fact, made a very common mistake while performing free and closed software comparisons that reminded me of the old adage regarding apples and bananas...
The success of GNU/Linux and other free software projects is annoying. Free and open source development doesn't fit neatly in the box of standard business practices and is therefore a problem. We really need to break free of those hippies at the Free Software Foundation and let the grown-ups manage things from here on out. Not to mention that the peer-based production model doesn't really work that great anyway.
Well, while I haven’t posted anything new in a while, I’m (AGAIN) updating my 3D desktop article.
This time, I’ll answer some comments I have seen appear in response to the two previous incarnations of this very same article, as well as revise (further) some of the content.
This revised version brings some confirmations from users, and adds a preliminary Matrox product line support description.
_The matrix in this article has been superceded by the one in _this article.
William Pitcock (aka nenolod, aka the guy who wrote Audacious , aka the guy behind atheme.org ) has decided to, in spirit, respond  to my earlier article about ESR and the Bazaar . Every good reply deserves a reply in turn.
This week, after reading Scott Carpenter’s fun (yet a bit scary) satire 5 ways to save on your monthly software rental bill in the year 2056..., I felt like a fairytale ending. I was after something sort of cool and utopian, where we’re all free and enjoying ourselves. But, when I was speculating about what this fairytale would entail, it brought me around to wondering...
What will happen AFTER the year of Linux on the desktop?
Software bills got you down? Here at Intellectual Property Magazine (championing intellectual investment since 2012!), our studies show that the share of an average household's budget for software rental has increased from 10% to 23% from 2040 to 2056. Today our experts will share* some money-saving ideas!
*Please note a licensing fee of $50 for initial use of the ideas in this list, and an ongoing monthly charge of $5.
I recently had my fourtieth birthday. When I announced it to a group, a woman came up to me to tell me how brave I was to admit to my age. I found it strange. I'm not ashamed to be this old. In fact, I'm glad about it. When I was a teenager, everyone said that the World War III would have happened by now, and I would be living in a post-apocalyptic anarchic civilization like in the movie Road Warrior. I really prefer how things turned out.
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.