Being open about "open" (source)

I’m not sure why it bothers me: I use the word "Free" when I’m talking about "Free Software", and "Open" when I mean "Open source". I’m very particular about my words, that way. But that's just me. I don't expect another religion to follow the rules of my own, or vice-versa. So why do I expect others to use words in the same way that I do? And why do I feel so cross about "Open standards", which come with proprietary documentation, a hefty price tag, and an NDA?

How do Drigg and Pligg compare?

I am Drigg's founder and developer. Drigg and Pligg are pieces of software that will allow you to create Digg-like sites. People sometimes ask me if they should pick Drigg or Pligg. When it happens, I am not sure what I should answer. This article will hopefully solve the dilemma for most of them. Please note that I am bound to be biased here. I am an ex-Pligg users, who happened to have the both the need and the skills to create an equivalent product. I would have never forked Pligg had I liked Pligg in the first place. So... well, feel free to tell me what I got wrong with facts -- I will correct this post accordingly.

There and back again: a narrative of OSCON 2008

The Open Source Convention, or OSCON as it's more readily known, is an annual confluence of all things open source that has taken place since 1998. From its origins as an informal get together of Perl aficionados, OSCON is now regarded as the place to go for all things open source.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of OSCON, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of that history.

Is Microsoft trying to kill Apache?

When the story about Microsoft shelling out $100,000 to Apache for ASF sponsorship broke across my radar it rather tickled my funny bone and my curiosity. When ASF Chairman Jim Jagielski declared that "Microsoft's sponsorship makes it clear that Microsoft "gets it" regarding the ASF" I had a fit of the giggles--and then, like many others, I started to ponder on the reasons why and what it actually meant.

Stop the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

I just heard about the proposed ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) over at Free Software Daily and from the Free Software Foundation. Right now the governments of the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico are secretly negotiating this new treaty which aims to increase the enforcement of intellectual property laws yet again.

Why "open source" is not "free software"

Choosing to release a piece of software under the terms of a free software license is an important step through which many programmers and writers first approach the free software community. However, the myriad of licenses available can sometimes confuse and disorient the user, sometimes making this first step much harder than it should be. Let's try and make things clearer.

The top 4 internet flame wars about free software

Everyone knows about the infamous internet wars. Ranging from operating systems to text editors to code indentation style, these wars have wreaked havoc on the web for years. The topics range from serious topics like religion to serious geek topics like operating systems to just plain stupid topics like code indentation style. So today, I'm going to go through a list of some of the most famous topics and remind you of a few of the more, er, "famous" battles.

Figure 1: By Dave Fischer(http://www.cca.org/dave/), licensed under the CC-BYFigure 1: By Dave Fischer(http://www.cca.org/dave/), licensed under the CC-BY

Why sharing matters more than marketshare to GNU/Linux

In a recent article, Ryan Cartwright argued that free software isn't playing the "same game" as proprietary software is. He's right—but that begs the question: what game is GNU/Linux playing?

Thirty years of proprietary software thinking have conditioned us to think that marketshare is a critical measure of success, and so we've convinced ourselves that we have to "win" against Windows in order to "succeed". But this is simply not true. GNU/Linux can be a very great success even if it never achieves more than 1% of the installations in the world. The reason is the difference between "power" and "freedom".

Why did Javascript/AJAX mop the floor with Java, Flash and Silverlight? Or, why open standards eventually win

It's not always true that the neatest, most advanced technology ends up winning most of the market share. There are other reasons which get in the way. Sometimes, the less advanced solutions end up winning -- and evolve in order to become more solid and established. An example of this is Javascript/AJAX, which has conquered most of the web-based client programming -- despite the fact that there were competing technologies which could (and maybe should) have easily won, purely based on technical merits. How did that happen?

More evidence of Microsoft "tying up" the Asus EeePC

The EeePC started as a niche product aimed at children. It was a huge hit, which surprised everybody -- even Asus. Microsoft noticed it, and started putting pressure on Asus . While reading around, I came across this interview with Benson Lin, which proces once more that Microsoft is tying up Asus and effectively killing the GNU/Linux version of the EeePC.

Dictators in free and open source software

Some people seem to challenge the idea that most (if not all) free software projects need a benevolent dictator--that is, somebody who has the last say on every decision. They are quick to point out Linus Torvalds' past "mistakes" (see the speech marks): using BitKeeper to manage the kernel, not allowing "pluggable" schedulers in Linux, etc. As a software developer, I feel that a dictator is absolutely necessary in every free software project. Here is why.

Respect earned by the BDFL

Does anybody still develop Windows applications? Or, the programming world has gone online

Steve Ballmer has recently sent a memo to every Microsoft employee. Ballmer's memo leaked really quickly (I wonder if he expected it). After swallowing the corporate-madness part (but that's allowed: he's a "mad" corporate leader after all), one particular passage really grabbed my attention. Taking about Internet applications being popular, he wrote: "But we also need to make sure developers have the .NET skills to write unique Windows applications using Windows Presentation Foundation". Which begs the question: does anybody still develop Microsoft Windows applications? Really?

The Blender Foundation's "Big Buck Bunny" is a Peach!

The Blender Foundation's second free-content movie, Big Buck Bunny, is the product of the foundation's "Peach Open Movie" project, and the results are impressive. Like the previous Elephants Dream movie, this film pushes the technical envelope for the "Blender" free software 3D rendering and animation application; unlike it, it succeeds as pure entertainment.

Do we have a "Vista for Dummies" yet?

Ryan Cartwright wrote an excellent article, Don't compare GNU/Linux with Windows or MacOS – they are not in the same game.

I ran across the same blog he is referring to, while gathering potential stories for FSD and my reaction was very similar.

Ryan questions, “I mean how can you tell how many Ubuntu installs came of a single CD?”

Don't compare GNU/Linux with Windows or MacOS - they are not in the same game

Recently a blog post entitled "Why Desktop Linux is its own worst enemy has come across my feed-radar a few times. It's yet another in the long line of "Linux ain't ready yet" jeremiads and it doesn't really say anything new yet it got on my nerves. Why?

Acer's Linpus Linux Lite (Fedora) ultra portable laptop piles the pressure on Microsoft

First Asus , then Dell, then MSI , Elonex, the Cloud and all their clones. Now Acer has entered the fray and it is all, at least initially, good news. It looks like they've all found a bit of Dutch courage and started to turn on the schoolyard bully from Redmond.

The OOXML fight continues: here's one way you can help

The fight against the adoption of OOXML as an ISO standard is continuing in many countries. In the UK the UK Unix & Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) unsuccessfully, sought a judicial review of the British Standards Institute's decision to vote yes. UKUUG are now seeking to appeal against that rejection of a review and you can help them.

Is Asus backsliding on GNU/Linux?

Businesses are not philanthropists. They are not, intentionally, educators or evangelists for ideologies. However, from time to time their business models just happen to coincide with their more idealistic customers own interests. Asus is one such company.

When they launched the little EeePC they could scarcely have imagined the extraordinary reaction it would cause. They say that any publicity is good publicity but the reaction to the two pound wonder was almost universally favourable. It was hot. I mean nuclear hot. And it was GNU/Linux.

Ian Lynch's take on the BECTA fiasco

I have recently read an eye-opening email from Ian Lynch about what happened in the UK with BECTA.

I have received his permission to republish here his thoughts. I think his email speaks volumes about what happened.

Ian Lynch's email

Fundamentally, I'm not complaining that we were not successful in the tender - I have no idea how strong the winning bid was. I'm complaining that the tender process adopted was broken. This is despite the fact that 130 MPs signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament last year censuring BECTA for procurement frameworks that block out Open Source.


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