Glyn Moody's blog

A Modest GNU/Linux Proposal for Michael Dell

For anyone who has been using open source for a while, the current commercial enthusiasm for communities, collaboration, and all things Web 2.0, is rather amusing. After all, the idea that users are not to be regarded simply as passive and grateful recipients of whatever is handed down to them from on high, but need to be treated as partners and participants who can make valuable contributions to the formulation and development of new products, is central to the way that free software works. But some companies that are starting to dabble with Web 2.0 ideas are discovering that you have to be careful what you wish for when you solicit this kind of user feedback. Just ask Michael Dell. more>>

Save the BBC from Windows DRM! - Update

The BBC has a long and glorious past as a technological innovator. Throughout the history of broadcasting, it has often been the first to develop and promote new technologies. Sadly, it seems now to be teetering on the brink of making technical choices that will not only damage its own reputation as a world-class institution, but which will also have serious knock-on consequences for free software. more>>

Let There Be Light: Promoting OpenOffice.org with Sun

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) just keeps on getting stronger. It is now an official ISO standard; there are numerous applications that support it, with varying degrees of fidelity, including Google's online word processor and spreadsheet; there's an official Microsoft-funded plug-in for Microsoft Office that allows it to open and save ODF files, and a program that converts between ODF and the Chinese UOF XML office format; and the ODF community has largely sorted out issues of accessibility that threatened to de-rail its adoption by Massachusetts. more>>

2007 Begins with a Bang

Wow: has there ever been a month in computing like this one? A January distinguished by not one major announcement, not two, but four significant events that will surely go down as milestones in the history of technology. more>>

The Real Firefox-Killer

Firefox fans will be facing 2007 with more tranquillity than they did 2006. A year ago, it was clear that Firefox's free ride was about to end: after an astonishing five years of inactivity, Microsoft was finally launching an updated version of Internet Explorer. There seems little doubt that much of more>>

The Ultimate Distro

The name of Gaël Duval's new distro, Ulteo, with its hint of the word "ultimate", smacks of a certain ambition.  But Duval probably means it in the sense that it is the last distribution you will ever need to install, because thereafter it will "self-upgrade automatically," as the announcement of the alpha release put it.  Ease-of-use has been a constant theme in Duval's work.  When he launched his first distro, Mandrake, in July 1998, one of his stated goals was "to provide a working and easy-to-install linux-distribution to people who don't want to spend too much time in installing and configuring their Linux system : just install it and USE IT."

But if the vision has been steadfast, the path to achieving it has proved somewhat stony.  more>>

What Can't Open Source Achieve in the Next 10 Years?

Exactly ten years ago I was sitting in a small but cosy flat in the west of Helsinki, waiting to interview its owner. He was busy in the tiny kitchen, which lay just past the entrance hall decked out with dozens of cups and shields won at Karate competitions, preparing a cappuccino for each of us. As you've probably guessed, his name was Linus Torvalds - the trophies belong to his wife. more>>

Why We Need an Open Source Second Life

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you will have noticed that the virtual world Second Life is much in the news. According to its home page, there are currently around 1,700,000 residents, who are spending $600,000 – that's real, not virtual, money – in the world each day. These figures are a little deceptive – there are typically only 10,000 to 15,000 residents online at any one time, and the money flow is not a rigorous measurement of economic activity – but there is no doubt that Second Life is growing very rapidly; moreover, we are beginning to see it enter the mainstream in a way that has close parallels with the arrival of the Web ten years ago. more>>

Who Else Gains from a GPL'd Java?

Sun's announcement that it would be releasing Java under the GNU GPL confounded many of its critics (including myself) who had feared that the company was incapable of making such a bold move.  Quite rightly, it has garnered praise from across the hacker world.  But Sun's relationship with free software has not always been so idyllic. more>>

GPLv3: What the Hackers Said (Update)

When I wrote about the wrangling over the GNU GPLv3 licence a month back, it provoked a lively conversation in the comments. Given this evident passion among readers, I thought it would be interesting to ask the top hackers - the ones actually involved in the discussions - for their thoughts on the matter. So I contacted Richard Stallman for the FSF angle, and a bunch of the top kernel hackers - Linus, Alan Cox, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Andrew Morton and Dave Miller - for their view. more>>

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