Glyn Moody's blog

Linus Torvalds

Happy Birthday, Linus

Today is the birthday of Linus. Although that's essentially a private event for him, there's an interesting historical link to the creation of the Linux kernel, too. more>>

Android and Cupcake

Is the Success of Google's Android a Threat to Free Software?

When Google first announced its Linux-based Android mobile phone platform just over two years ago, many were sceptical. After all, the reasoning went, the world of mobile phones is very different from that of computers. Similar doubts greeted the first Android phone, the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1), when it appeared last year. But something strange has happened in the last twelve months, with a growing chorus of approval for the Android platform and its phones. more>>

Would You Accept Google's Free Netbook?

When Google first announced what it called Chrome OS, back in July, it said it would open source the code “later this year”. Last week it made good on that promise with the release of the code for what is now called Chromium OS, and the first analyses have started rolling in. They're mostly tinged with a vague air of disappointment, as if Chromium OS isn't quite as exciting as people hoped. But might Google be aiming much, much higher – and planning to turn the personal computing sector on its head by offering computers that cost nothing? more>>

Let's Act on ACTA Before it's Too Late

It was over a year ago that I wrote about the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA), a new global standard for the enforcement of intellectual monopolies currently being discussed by representatives of the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand. Since then, the secret negotiations have been continuing, and the threats it poses to the Internet as we know it grow ever larger. more>>

A Bit of Licence

One of the striking aspects of the free software community is its obsession with licences. It's as if within every hacker there's a lawyer struggling to get out. But maybe it's not so surprising; as Larry Lessig reminded us, “code is law”, and the reverse is also true in the sense that the licence adopted has a big impact on how the software is produced. That explains, in part, why recent discussions of Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun – and hence MySQL – have once more put free software licences under the microscope. more>>

Cloud Computing: Good or Bad for Open Source?

Cloud computing: you may have heard of it. It seems to be everywhere these days, and if you believe the hype, there's a near-unanimous consensus that it's the future. Actually, a few of us have our doubts, but leaving that aside, I think it's important to ask where does open source stand if the cloud computing vision *does* come to fruition? Would that be a good or bad thing for free software? more>>

Without Free Software, Open Source Would Lose its Meaning

I'm a big fan of Matt Asay's writings about free software. He combines a keen analytical intelligence with that rare thing: long-term hands-on experience in the world of open source business. But even though I generally look forward to reading his posts, I have been rather dreading the appearance of one that I knew, one day, he would write...because it would be wrong. And now he has written it, with the self-explanatory headline: “Free software is dead. Long live open source.” more>>

Does Microsoft Have an Open Source Strategy Any More?

Whenever I write about Microsoft here I usually get a few comments asking me, with varying degrees of politeness, why I am wasting electrons on this subject on a site devoted to GNU/Linux. The reason I do this – and why I am about to do it again – is that whether we like it or not, Microsoft remains probably the single most important external factor in the free software world. It's useful, therefore, to try to understand what exactly the company's open source strategy is, in order to head off some of its worst aspects, and to build on any positive elements. The trouble is, I don't think Microsoft has an open source strategy any more. more>>

Time to Help an Open Source Hero (Updated)

People contribute to free software in many ways. Some write the stuff; some write *about* the stuff, spreading the word; and some actually spread open source directly by giving away systems to those who need them. We hear a lot about the stars of first group, and the second group make a lot of noise on their own. But too often we take the third group for granted. I want to talk about one of the unsung heroes of open source – someone who has helped many, and now needs a little help from us. more>>

Moving Beyond the First Firefox Billion

You may have noticed the odd bit of celebration around the magic billion downloads milestone for Firefox. Of course, as Mozillans themselves point out, that figure doesn't tell us very much; more useful, perhaps, are stats like 300 million users, but that too is only an estimate. And in any case, I think looking backwards is precisely the wrong thing to do at this point: what we need to ask is how do we get the *next* billion downloads – and why do we want them? more>>

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