The Latest

Is there a secret story behind the Novell/Microsoft deal?

Was the Novell/Microsoft deal a worthwhile well-meaning effort between renegade open-source geeks at Microsoft and geeks at Novell that got derailed by salespeople and management, after which it was turned into a nightmare deal with the devil? I raise this question because I know someone with ties to people at both Microsoft and Novell. He has a credible story to tell about what really happened, and how much it differs from what we now know about the Novell/Microsoft deal. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get him to write up the history - yet. While I continue to pester him, here's the short version, third hand. 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>>

Building an Relationship Economy

Is there something new that open source development methods and values can bring to the economy? How about something old?

I think the answer may come from the developing world, where pre-industrial methods and values persist and offer some helpful models and lessons for a networked world that's less post-industrial than industrial in a new and less impersonal way.

This began to become apparent to me a few years ago I had a Socratic exchange with a Nigerian pastor named Sayo, whom I was lucky to find sitting next to me on a long airplane trip. more>>

Mix Libre

It's a mixed bag this week from Studio Dave. I'll skip the preliminaries and just invite you to dive in and check out some of the latest news from the ever-expanding world of Linux sound and music software. There's far more going on than I can possibly cover in my allotted space, but here's a quick survey of some recent remarkable activity.

more>>

Putting the Wholes Together

If incoming mail contains the word "identity" it goes to a mailbox I started in late 2004. It has over 7000 emails in it now. The majority of those are from the Identity Gang list.

The Identity Gang got its name when it first met informally on the December 31, 2004 edition of Gillmor Gang. I've lost track of how many workshops and meetings and other exercizes in convergence we've had, but the progress continues to be amazing.

I just looked at what Eric Norlin of IDG wrote here, then at what Scott Kveton of JanRain wrote here then at what Kim Cameron of Microsoft wrote here — to pick just three out of countless posts, all connected somehow. You can see the progress in just one month.

This observation comes in the midst of thinking about a form of Vendor Relationship Management that has the same initials as CRM, but a different meaning: Creator Relationship Management.

I would like to relate to creators in a better, less intermediated way. 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>>

Now revealed! Secrets of line spacing in OpenOffice.org Writer

The fact that OpenOffice.org Writer is more than a word processor is an open secret. Designed to write long documents, Writer is in many ways a document processor comparable to FrameMaker, suitable for designing books and dissertations while falling short of a complete desktop publishing solution. For this reason, it includes a number of tools for tweaking lines of text, including Tools > Language > Hyphenation and the tools for adjusting character width and letter space for individual characters. However, by far the least understood of these high-end tools is Writer's ability to adjust line-spacing. more>>

LDAP: Attributes and Keeping Them Simple

A consensus exists among many writers about jargon. Throw a bunch of undefined words at a reader and he or she will soon fall asleep. In fact, put one term in a paragraph that the reader doesn't understand and a page or two later sleep will start to creep and the reader will lose interest. more>>

Microsoft Tries to Patent a Crippled Baseline OS

Microsoft is applying for a patent for an operating system that starts out crippled. You must pay to do things like take the throttle off network speed, disk access, install drivers, install software, and more. Trust me, I rarely even visit Groklaw, even if this is my second consecutive blog entry with a link to a Groklaw article. My VarLinux.org readers posted the article, A Brave New Modular World, and I had to share it. more>>

Regional Ruby Conferences Are Taking Shape

Last summer, I wrote about local Ruby events and the RubyConf*MI event that was (at that time) just announced. Since then, I've taken some time to write about regional conferences, and to encourage people to check out the Ruby Central grant program. more>>

LDAP: Replacing Exchange Revisited

LDAP can occupy numerous places in an IT infrastructure. For example, you can migrate Network Information Services (NIS) to LDAP and many Legacy UNIX centric organization have done just that. While the NIS migration model serves as one excellent example, many others exist. Most recently, I saw LDAP used as a simple white page - name and address - directory service. I consider that under utilizing LDAP. more>>

What happened to the guts?

What happened to the guts in mainstream publications? I recall back in the 80s InfoWorld pressured Lotus into ditching its copy protection scheme by docking Lotus 1-2-3 several points in reviews because of the inconvenience. I believe Lotus was the first to buckle, but other vendors jumped on the bandwagon and abandoned copy protection. Fast forward to today. Not only has copy protection come back from the grave, it has risen like a juggernaut zombie bent on eating everyone's brains. Worse, many consumers and writers alike seem to be unscrewing their scalps and willingly offering up the meal. "I want the latest iThing, it's so cool!" Sure, you'll find appropriate outrage in Linux Journal and a handful of renegade publications like the Register. But what happened to the mainstream journals with the guts of yesteryear? more>>

HD as the first step beyond TV

What comes after television? That's a question I've been asking at every Consumer Electronics Show. The answer, of course, is not just "more TV" but bigger and better TV, with better sound and higher resolutions, made possible by digital sources, processing and displays. In other words, computing and networking.

So does TV become just become a suburb of computing, or does the reverse happen? The TV folks imagine the latter. But the former is inevitable. Our job is to make the inevitable happen sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, we get to watch Big TV metasticize — and to enjoy what we can of it. more>>

The Software Ecology Of Rui Nuno Capela

Rui Capela's software has appeared in this column many times. I've written about it directly (see At the Sounding Edge: Using QSynth and QJackCtl and HDRs and DAWs For Linux: The New Breed) and it shows up in almost every article I write. I'm not exaggerating when I state that Rui's programs have become indispensable components here at Studio Dave, so naturally I'm interested in the mind behind it all. In this entry I'll recap the nature and state of Rui's software, after which we'll meet the man himself in another lively interview here at the sounding edge. more>>

Customizing general OpenOffice.org settings

OpenOffice.org includes dozens of options for how it behaves. Available from Tools > Options, they are divided into general settings for the entire office suite and settings particular to each application. General settings are available under the general headings of OpenOffice.org, Load/Save, and Language Settings. more>>

Watering the Net Roots

On the one hand, you can look at Verizon's dumping of rural New England business as a kind of red-lining. On the other hand, listen to what the company picking up the dumped business says it wants to do. According to the Boston Globe,

...the merger will likely benefit rural customers by putting them in the hands of a company that specializes and focuses on rural markets, according to John Byrne, analyst at Technology Business Research in New Hampshire.

Verizon serves 1.5 million access lines, 180,000 DSL customers, and 600,000 long-distance customers in the three states. The company offers DSL Internet access to about 60 percent of households there. In contrast, FairPoint offers DSL access to about 80 percent of households it serves.

But in southern New Hampshire, where FairPoint will take over the high-speed FiOS fiber-optic network available to 80,000 households, customers who may have expected to see FiOS TV offerings won't likely see "triple-play" bundles of voice, television, and Internet in the near future.

"Clearly, video will be a consideration, but we don't want to get distracted by that," as FairPoint takes over, Leach said. "We are going to increase high-speed data right out of the box."

Kurt Adams, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission in Maine, said he cannot comment on details, but that merger hearings would likely focus on broadband investment, service quality, and rates.

Something big is getting missed in the fight between carriers and local governments, and many side-takers on both the right and the left are equally blind to it. What's missed is serious and widespread market demand for high-speed data connections — specifically connections that are not subordinated to television. 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>>

Contradictions in Microsoft's OOXML openness

There is a fascinating article on Groklaw called Searching for Openness in Microsoft's OOXML and Finding Contradictions. One of the most relevant comments in the article is "So, they plan to be the only one in the Linux world that can actually interoperate with Microsoft. How do you think they will achieve that? By sharing? On the contrary, they already market themselves as uniquely interoperable, which means they get to interoperate and you don't, unless you are their paying customer." There is also the Novell comment, "Only Novell has Microsoft’s endorsement as its partner to drive Linux-Windows interoperability." more>>

All They Need Is Funds: A Call For Community Support

This entry is a little off my regular beat, but its substance is of great importance to all users of Linux audio software. To get straight to the point, it's about money and two projects in real need of significant financial support, the Ardour hard disk recorder/digital audio workstation and the Hydrogen rhythm programmer/drum machine. Both projects are well along in their development cycles, both have achieved great status not only in the Linux audio software world but on OSX as well, and both need financing for their planned evolution. Ardour and Hydrogen are two of Linux's finest programs for musicians, rivalling their commercial counterparts and providing libre alternatives to the intense vendor lock-in typical of the Win/Mac sound and music software worlds. These are truly important projects that deserve your support and financial backing.

more>>

The mobile revolution gets personal

I'm writing this from CES 2007 — the latest and greatest Consumer Electronics Show, where 140,000 attendees crowd 2,700 exhibits packed into 1,660,000 square feet of space in more halls and hotels than I'll bother to count. There's a lot of noise here, and a certain amount of signal; though the ratio of the former to the latter is no less lopsided than it always is. Everybody's not only showing their good sides, but paying millions to crow about it through mass quantities of advertising and PR.

Yet the whole damn thing got upstaged Tuesday by Steve Jobs and his on-stage announcement of the long-awaited iPhone.

Normally CES and Macworld overlap barely or not at all. But this year the two shows are spread across the same week, forcing many (including yours truly) to choose one or the other — though I know a number of folks who flew to San Francisco for Jobs' speech and then back again. Of course, I chose to spend as much time as possible here at CES, because it's a show packed with Linux stories. (My first report on the show is here. This is second. A third will follow.) Yet, like every reporter here, it was clear to me that the biggest news of the week — or perhaps of the year — was delivered by Apple in San Francisco. more>>

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState