Thursday Aug 14, 2008

US Court Validates Open Source Licenses

The US court of appeals has ruled on a case involving the open source Artistic License finding that it is indeed a valid license.  The key to this is that the court ruled that the copyright provision of this open source license is enforceable.  Precedent is key in US law and since there have been few, if any, cases testing open source licenses this ruling establishes a precedent that will be used to defend all future open source copyright issues.  In essence, this ruling strongly supports open source licenses and therefore the software that is protected by them.  This is a great day for open source and even though this covers just the artistic license, it is easy to extend this to validate the copyright protections offered by the GPL, CDDL and other open source licenses.

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

IBM's Says Linux to be Around for the Next Ten Years

I attended Bob Suter's talk at Linux World in San Francisco today to hear how IBM positions Linux. Yesterday they announced they are shipping a M$FT free desktop system w/ Ubuntu, Lotus Symphony (based on OO.O) and other open source sw, so IBM must see quite a bit of value in Linux.  Bob is a fine speaker and started with a history of how IBM got into the Linux business - he even had some humorous slides on the old e-business campaign from 2001.  Here is the top 8 list from Bob's talk (my paraphrasing) and my commments.

1) Linux will drive green initiatives - lower costs / power  and virtualization

2) No other open source OS will replace Linux in the next 10 years - considering it takes 10 years for an OS to get widely accepted and we see nothing comparable today, I would venture this is accurate

3) Linux mindshare will be less focussed on x86 hardware - sure, phones, embedded into devices, servers

4)Linux on the desktop will be significantly different - I agree with him here. As collaboration sw becomes ubiquitous, what we call / see as a desktop today will certainly evolve.

5)SMB large scale adoption is too close to call.  He states that SMBs buy solutions (say Dentist office application) rather than piece together hardware. But I think most, if not all, new technology companies will startup w/ Linux

6)Open Source Licenses will stabilize.  - Yes, licenses are soo 2007. However, I think we'll a bit of activity around SaaS and open source licenses to coral in the Googles of the world

7) Open Standards will grab more attention.  He claims, and rightly so, that many of the exisiting standards bodies are just horrible and in need of an overhaul and I couldn't agree more.

8)It will be a do or die decade for open source industry applications.  I don't believe its do or die, but certainly we'll see a shift to more open source / commercial applications where all the good capabilities that enterprises will want will be in the for pay enterprise bits.  The open source sw business is the same as the old proprietary sw business - engineers still need to make a living (but now we get access to much more rapid innovation).

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

Verizon Opens up, a little!

Verizon announced today that they are opening their network to all compatible phones and services.  For years, Verizon has had the "walled garden" business model where they control everything.  This means that all services have had to go thru Verizon so you could not acquire applications or ringtones unless you paid Verizon.  As a result, it cost more to download a stupid 15 second ringtone than it cost to download the entire song (in high quality).  Remember when Verizon offered a service to backup your contacts OTA for...$3 / month?  That kind of price gouging didn't work, no one bought it and eventually, they offered it for free because it caused them less work when someone had to replace a phone.  The walled garden model spilled over to what Vzn let consumers do with their phones.  My phone has bluetooth, but it only works with a headset - I cannot sync data wirelessly with it!  Why? Well Verizon wants me to sync my data with their servers for a fee and then resync it w/ my phone. It will be a cold day in hell before I do that and I take great pleasure in syncing my device with a cable knowing that eveytime I do I am sticking it to the man!  It is this kind of perversion of the market that Verizon lived on and I and everyone else hated it. 

This latest move, of course, is clearly a reaction to the market in which Apple opened their iPhone and Google is going to offer SAAS via the Web.  The only way for Verizon to stay relevant in this market where people have access to free services, is to open their network. This move parallels the open source movement - make it open and they will come and innovate.  By opening the network, Verizon will encourage development of new and innovative services that will provide me something I want at a reasonable price.  For Verizon, this means an erosion of their business model (think large holes in the walled garden) as they have to rely more on revenue from moving bits and less on revenue from overpriced applications and services. Tearing the wall down will ultimately be good for everyone.  The really useful services from Verizon will continue to sell, new services and phones will bring more people to their network and drive volume on their towers thus lowering their costs (which will ultimately be passed onto us thru lower prices or more minutes).

Thursday Oct 04, 2007

Open Source and Mac OS X - a Nurturing Relationship

 Mac Logo                   

Open Source implementations need to be available to run on the OSs that developers prefer and this fact is not
lost on Sun. In addition to our efforts to get our open source implementations distributed with Linux we also ensure they work on Windows and Mac OS X.  The latest version of GlassFish is now available for download from the Apple Developer site.  GlassFish for Mac OS X.    

Also, OpenDS is available from the same site.  OpenDS for MaxOS X


Wednesday Jun 06, 2007

Apache Geronimo is Java EE 5 Compatible

The Apache Geronimo project announced they have passed all the Java EE 5 tests ensuring compatibility. They join the list of other companies that also have compatible implementations including TMaxSoft, SAP, BEA, Oracle and Sun.  This is a gigantic proof point for the power of open source to enable innovation.  In the first year after releasing Java EE 5 to open source (GlassFish went public in May 2005) there were 5 compatible implementations,  Geronimo now makes it 6 with more to come.  In previous years it took 2 to 3 years for the 1st additional implementation to appear.  Congratulations to the Apache project.

Monday Jun 04, 2007

I, sadly, replaced my Mom's Mac with an (erp) Dell

I am a Mac lover and so I bought my 80ish year old mom an iMac running OS9. Well that is now so old that the browsers for OS9 won't display Web content very well AND she can't get any support because few of her artist friends use Macs. I live far enough away that tech support is offered mostly by phone and our conversations often get bogged down with me asking her to do something like enter a URL. So my sister and I bought her an (erp) Dell. I know, I should have at least had it shipped with Ubuntu Linux, but again, none of her friends could help her w/ Ubuntu so I opted for (erp) windows. With this OS I am no longer the sole 1 800 line for help as she can ask her neighbor, friends, my dad and take classes (and maybe even test Dell support!). However, to retain what little dignity I have left and to counter the threat of Windows (and associated viruses) I am stripping all other M$FT products and leaving FireFox, ThunderBird and Open Office. There are so many free and open source applications out there that it is simple to set up a computer - even for my computer challenged mom. Her friends may not have heard of these applications, but they have the look and feel of other commonly used programs so it should be easy enough to get help! We'll find out in a couple of weeks when I delivery it.

Moving to a PC means that she loses the all-in-one sleek design of the Mac and gets more cables and a big case on-the-floor. The only problem with this setup is the very large case contains a very large heat sink and fan. The heat sink is the size of my fist and its cooled by a $2 fan. The heat sink is an engineering marvel as I am sure that many, many weeks went into understanding the thermodynamics of heat transfer in a box. I just hope they had sufficient slack in their calculations so the processor won't die if/when the fan quits and I lose the $200 motherboard and AMD processor (maybe that's why Dell tried so hard to sell me the 3 year warranty?). I can now understand why the high end computers are going back to the good old days of liquid cooling!  Side note - my son upon seeing the size of the Dell box exclaimed - that's not a computer, that's a Dell!

Final note - to compensate for the sin of buying a Dell, my wife did get a new Mac Book Pro and I am buying a new iMac for home. My daughter complains that our old iMac is too slow and doesn't have a full version of Adobe Photoshop (which it couldn't run very quickly anyway). I am just waiting for Apple to ship the new 64 bit processors in the new iMacs - I hear it is now end of June.

Monday May 21, 2007

Java One Recap

What I learned at Java One:

Twitter- a great way to locate the best parties

Open source - If you have a brand name company donate software to your project you generate A LOT of interest (Ericsson and GlassFish). And in case you missed it Portal 7.1 announced it was open source.

Parties- The best one I attended was the open source unBOF @ the Thirsty Bear (best because of the people (Geir being pinned to a dart board by Juggy - video in production) and the great conversations and the minimalist(read recruiting party) was Google.

Open Source Panel - Simon's salon on open source was well attended with lots of dicussion about licenses which was a prelude to Microsoft's big announcement to extend full employment to more lawyers

Wednesday May 16, 2007

Open Source @ Yosemite

Post Java One a group of us from the open source group decided to spend the weekend in the car and head to Yosemite. This included Simon and members of his extended staff from Brazil, Germany, Menlo Park and the state of Texas (does this count as a separate country) and oh yes, Juggy. Now, most people would wonder why I would consider a weekend with my coworkers and a stuffed finch, but after Java One any chance to get off the grid was welcome! So on Friday we trundled off to rejoin at the Wowona hotel and step back in time to the 1800s when there was no TV, no phone, no internet, no in-suite bathrooms. I was a bit worried about the Wawona as we had shared baths, no electronics to keep the kids entertained and it was run by the park service (expections were set very low). The hotel was a great experience and I would stay there again - off the grid was nice so the kids had to worry about catching frogs in the front pond, the bathrooms were just fine, the beds nice and food was good. The service, however, was not good, but this was a National Park so I guess it was as expected. Next time I go I'd make reservations for every meal in advance as they aren't so good at accomodating large numbers of people in the dining room.

Juggy the Java Finch shared a room with Bruno and followed us everywhere so we photographed him (her? it?) at all the classic spots in the park - overlooking the falls, half dome, El Capitan (photo above), admiring a wayward skink - great fun. In fact we became Juggy's posse and followed him (her, it?) around the park for an entire day of fun. I"ll update this post when the videos are online.

Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

Free Open Source from France

French authorities will give out 175,000 USB memory sticks loaded with open-source software to Parisian high-school students at the start of the next school year. The sticks will probably contain the Firefox 2 Web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, an office productivity suite such as 2, an audio and video player, and software for instant messaging, he said. Details InfoWorld article.




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