Open source is an outsider, not part of the establishment. One price it pays for this is not being privy to all the decisions that are made in the field of governmental policy. Too often, established players are involved without any counterbalancing input from the free software side. Generally, we don't see all the machinations and deals that go on here behind closed doors. But thanks to the increasingly-indispensable Wikileaks, we have the opportunity to observe how an organisation close to Microsoft is attempting to re-write – and hijack – an important European Union open source strategy paper. more>>
The announcement that one of MySQL's founders, Monty Widenius, was leaving Sun, was generally regarded as a pity, though no huge surprise, given the rumours that had been swirling since last year. But its impact was redoubled following the even more astonishing news that MySQL's boss, Marten Mickos, was also moving on; together, they inevitably sent shock-waves through the open source world. Most analysis has centred on the state of Sun, and whether these two high-profile departures mean that the MySQL acquisition was a mistake, or has already failed. But here, I'd like to look at a bigger question that these moves pose: do top hackers (and their managers) have too much money? more>>
One of the many great things about Linus is that he doesn't bottle it up: he speaks his mind on things that matter to him, without worrying overly about what others might say as a result. And when he mentioned in the course of an interview that he had switched from KDE to GNOME, others soon had plenty to say on the subject. But I don't want to revisit those arguments about which is better today: instead, I want to explore the possibility that Linus decided to jump to GNOME at precisely the time when KDE could soon leapfrog it in important ways. more>>
The world and their dog seems to be talking about Windows 7 at the moment. Ironically, in part that's because it's proving almost impossible to download the beta that has just been released: you can't help feeling that Microsoft has let this happen on purpose just to create a little demand. But while everyone is looking forward, I want to look back, at Windows Vista – more specifically, to the FSF's BadVista campaign. more>>
As the end of 2008 approaches, people's thoughts naturally turn to 2009, and what it might hold. The dire economic situation means that many will be wondering what the year will bring in terms of employment and their financial situation. This is not the place to ponder such things, nor am I qualified to do so. Instead, I'd like to discuss a matter that is related to these larger questions, but which focusses on issues particularly germane to Linux Journal: will 2009 be a year in which openness thrives, or one in which closed thinking re-asserts itself? more>>
Many sceptics were convinced that as free software spread out beyond hackers into the general computing sector the rigorous GNU GPL licence would gradually be replaced by more accommodating – meaning weaker – forms, since it was “obvious” that its unbending rules were too strict for widespread use. In fact, the GPL has grown in importance, until today it is probably fair to say that it underpins most of the free software world, including enterprise applications. This makes any violation of its terms particularly worrying, because if left unchallenged, it threatens to undermine the entire ecosystem. more>>
For some in the world of free software, libraries are things that you call, rather than visit. But the places where books are stored – especially those that make them freely available to the public – are important repositories of the world's knowledge, of relevance to all. So coders too should care about them alongside the other kind, and should be concerned that there is a threat to their ability to provide ready access to knowledge they have created themselves. The good news is that open source can save them. more>>
“They order, said I, this matter better in France.” So wrote Laurence Sterne in his 1768 book A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Alas, things have changed much since then, at least as far as the Internet is concerned. In the light of recent events, now he would we have to say: they order this matter worse in France. Even more unfortunately, France's bad habits are spreading, and could have serious consequences for free software. more>>
“What's in a name?” some bloke in the sixteenth century once asked. As Microsoft knows, quite a lot. What you call something can have a major influence on how you think about it. So how Microsoft talks about free software is important – not least for the clues that it gives about its latest tactical move to defang the open source threat. more>>
eBay is not going through the happiest of times. Not only has it found it necessary to make 1000 people – 10% of its workforce – redundant, it has had to own up to a serious breach of trust with its Internet telephony program, Skype. more>>
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