Glyn Moody's blog

Should We Boycott Microsoft? Can We?

Captain Charles Boycott was an unfortunate chap. Not only was he the object of prolonged social ostracism, but his name has passed into history as both a noun and a verb describing that action. At the moment, the idea is much on people's minds because of suggestions that the Beijing Olympic games should be boycotted, but here I want to discuss something quite different: whether the open source community should be boycotting Microsoft, and if that is even possible. more>>

Of Microsoft, GNU/Linux and Boiled Asses' Heads

There are many ways of peering into the future. This page lists 163 of them, including cephalonomancy (divination by boiling an ass head), coscinomancy, (divination using a sieve and a pair of shears), ololygmancy (fortune-telling by the howling of dogs) and tiromancy (divination using cheese). Me, I prefer to stick with the tried-and-trusted method of reading between the lines of Microsoft press releases. more>>

Microsoft's Great Besmirching

I have been covering Microsoft for over 25 years - I've even written a few books about Windows. During that time, I've developed a certain respect for a company that just doesn't give up, and whose ability to spin surpasses even that of politicians. To be sure, Microsoft has crossed the line several times, but it has always worked within the system, however much it has attempted to use it for its own ends. No more: in the course of trying to force OOXML through the ISO fast-track process, it has finally gone further and attacked the system itself; in the process it has destroyed the credibility of the ISO, with serious knock-on consequences for the whole concept of open standards. more>>

Has Dell Delivered on GNU/Linux?

Almost exactly one year ago, I made the following suggestion in the wake of Dell's long-awaited decision to offer ready-configured GNU/Linux systems alongside the usual panoply of Windows systems:

we must vote with our wallets. Assuming the Dell GNU/Linux systems are not hopelessly flawed in some way, we must all try to buy as many of them as we can (within reason, of course).

What follows is a short report on my own experiences of putting my money where my mouth is. more>>

Why Microsoft's New EU Fine is Just Fine

News that Microsoft is to be hit with yet another fine from the European Union has naturally attracted plenty of attention, but it has also raised the old questions of whether such interventions by governments are justified or even do any good. more>>

Microsoft's DreamSpark – What a Giveaway

Yesterday, Microsoft announced DreamSpark – an ironic name, since it actually lays bare Microsoft's worst nightmare: that more and more of tomorrow's programmers are growing up using free software for their studies, which means that as they move out into the world, there will be less and less demand for Microsoft's tools, and even fewer programs written for its platforms. more>>

Good Bill, Bad Bill, and The Art of Philanthropy

There's no doubt that 2008 will go down in history as the end of the first Microsoft era. This year, Bill Gates will finally hang up his Microsoft mouse and leave the company he cofounded over 30 years ago. Most people know that he's going off to spend the very large sums of money he has acquired from those Microsoft years, most of which has been used to set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with $37.6 billion in assets. But what will that really mean for free software? more>>

Is MySQL's Fate the Future of Open Source?

It's not every day that the entire technical press goes bonkers over news in the open source world, but that's what happened last week, when Sun announced that it was buying MySQL. Doubtless, the pleasant roundness of the sum involved - $1 billion – helped, as did the fact that most of that was cash. But leaving aside the sense of satisfaction that events in the free software world should be suddenly thrust centre-stage, Sun's move does raise a larger question about the fate of all open source start-ups. more>>

Defending Openness

Things have been going pretty well for open source and open standards recently. First, there was the implosion of the SCO case, in the wake of which even SCO accepts that it may not be around much longer. Then we had the rejection of Microsoft's request for a fast-track approval of its OOXML rival to ODF. Finally, the European Court of First Instance has refused Microsoft's request for an annulment of the terms imposed by the European Commission. All are notable victories that many regarded as unlikely a few years ago. But elsewhere, other open movements are still in the early stages of the struggle against forces pushing closed, proprietary standards. more>>

The Joy of OOXML

For most of us, file formats are right up there with printer drivers in terms of fun. Certainly, they're important, but not something you'd look to for excitement. And yet that is precisely what the battle between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft's OOXML is providing. And I'm not just talking about the dry, intellectual excitement derived from comparing well-formed XML tags: this is a no holds barred, down-and-dirty mano a mano fight over the soul of document standards. more>>

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