Glyn Moody's blog

Openness is the Solution to the (Double) Subprime Crisis

As I listen to all this talk of lack of trust in the banking system, of inflated values ungrounded in any reality, of “opacity”, and of “contaminated” financial instruments, I realise I have heard all this before. In the world of software, as in the world of finance, there is contamination by overvalued, ungrounded offerings that have led to systemic mistrust, sapped the ability of the computer industry to create real value, and led it to squander vast amounts of time and money on the pursuit of the illusory, insubstantial wealth that is known as “intellectual property”. more>>

The *Other* Vista: Successful and Open Source

There is a clear pattern to open source's continuing rise. The first free software that was deployed was at the bottom of the enterprise software stack: GNU/Linux, Apache, Sendmail, BIND. Later, databases and middleware layers were added in the form of popular programs like MySQL and Jboss. More recently, there have been an increasing number of applications serving the top of the software stack, addressing sectors like enterprise content management, customer relationship management, business intelligence and, most recently, data warehousing.

But all of these are generic programs, applicable to any industry: the next frontier for free software will be vertical applications serving particular sectors. In fact, we already have one success in this area, but few people know about it outside the industry it serves. Recent events mean that may be about to change. more>>

Could Microsoft's Photosynth Have Been Free Software?

Photosynth is one of the most exciting programs I've seen in a long time. It takes a group of photos, typically of a single geographical location, but possibly taken at different times by different people, analyses them for similarities, and then stitches then together into a smooth-flowing, pseudo-3D panorama. It's really great. Just two problems. One: it won't run on GNU/Linux; and two: it's from Microsoft, and so is unlikely ever to do so.

My question is this: Why didn't the free software community come up with Photosynth first? more>>

What Comes After the Windows Era?

As a computer journalist for the last 25 years, I've received a lot of review copies of software. As something of an obsessive magpie, I've tended to keep most of it, “for reference”. Until yesterday, that is, when I finally threw out all those copies of OS/2, Lotus SmartSuite, and my entire collection of Microsoft software. This included Windows NT 3.5, Windows 2000, Microsoft Office and many, many more. What's makes this little spring-cleaning exercise particularly apt as well as cathartic is that all of us - and not just me - may finally be witnessing the end of the Windows era. more>>

Why We Must React to ACTA

A new global standard for the enforcement of intellectual monopolies is currently being discussed by representatives of the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand. This new agreement is so important that it must be drawn up in secret, safe from the prying eyes of little people like you and me. Thanks, however, to the indispensable Wikileaks, a discussion paper outlining some of its possible proposals has surfaced, and from this it is clear that it represents a serious threat to online liberty in general, and to the practice of free software in particular. more>>

How Should Mozilla Execute Its Vision?

The announcement by the GNOME Foundation that it is appointing Stormy Peters as its Executive Director confirms a suspicion that I've harboured for a while: that we are witnessing the evolution of major open source projects into new kinds of players in the computing world, ones that require full-time staff not just to run them, but also to articulate what exactly they are trying to do *beyond* the code. more>>

How Can We Harness the Firefox Effect?

Three things are striking about the recent launch of Firefox 3. First, the unanimity about the quality of the code: practically everyone thinks it's better in practically every respect. Secondly, the way in which the mainstream media covered its launch: it was treated as a normal, important tech story – gone are the days of supercilious anecdotes about those wacky, sandal-wearing free software anoraks. And finally – and perhaps most importantly - the scale and intensity of participation by the millions of people who have downloaded the software in the last week.

But the question has to be: what now? How can we harness that amazing spirit, to make the Firefox Effect permanent, not just a media event that comes around once every few years? more>>

Firefox 3 Is Given to the World – Or Maybe Not

As you may have noticed, Firefox 3 is released today. Excited by this prospect, the first thing I did when I got up was to rush to my computer to download it (yes, pathetic, I know). And what do I find? more>>

The Meaning of Open Source

Like many Linux Journal readers, I have been upgrading my Gibbons to Herons recently. And like many readers, I imagine, I have been finding a few little challenges along the way. That was no surprise, since it's pretty much par for the course when carrying out a major upgrade. But something else did surprise me, although in retrospect I see that it shouldn't have. more>>

Microsoft and ODF: Has Hades Gone Sub-Zero?

Most of the time, Microsoft's public declarations are pretty easy to parse. A bit of pre-announcement here, a touch of FUD there, with the odd dollop of feel-good waffle thrown in for good measure. Occasionally, though, it produces what can only be called a googly – not to be confused with a Google – with announcements like this one about adding support for ODF in Microsoft Office: more>>

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