Show Us the Code
As I've noted before, I am something of a connoisseur of Microsoft's FUD against open source, in part because I believe each successive FUD-flavour of the month gives important hints about the evolution of the thinking and strategy within the company. The latest development in this area, which revolves around patents, is no exception – not least because I think people are drawing the wrong conclusions from it.
The patent issue has really come to the fore through last year's Microsoft-Novell agreement. This may be the most high-profile instance of Microsoft insinuating that GNU/Linux is infringing on some of its patents, but it is by no means the only one. Around the same time, Microsoft expressed a desire to enter into a similar relationship with Red Hat. Of course, neither move was out of the goodness of its heart: the more organisations that sign up to such deals, the greater the implicit support for the idea that there are indeed infringements that need to be covered.
Given Red Hat's reluctance to fall for this trap, it is no surprise that Microsoft has started casting its net wider by approaching companies whose use of GNU/Linux is only incidental. These include Fuji Xerox and Samsung, both of whom have announced patent agreements with Microsoft that explicitly mention Linux:
Fuji Xerox will obtain access to Microsoft patents for Fuji Xerox’s existing and future product lines, including products that incorporate proprietary source and open source software, such as Linux.
Samsung will also obtain coverage from Microsoft for its customers' use of certain Linux-based products.
One of the most original interpretations of these moves comes from Matt Asay, building on an insight of Mark Shuttleworth:
Microsoft's patent game is designed to force open source to compete on its terms. Mark made a hugely salient point on this: Microsoft has been a disruptive force in the software industry by building complex software and essentially giving it away for peanuts.
In turn, it is being challenged by open source, which is free. The difference, as Mark said, between $0.00 and $0.01 is huge. And that difference is not flattering to Microsoft, even despite its lower price points than its fellow proprietary competitors.
But if Microsoft can place a patent tax on all open source software or, at least, the open source software most threatening to its business, then it provides an effective way to inhibit open source disruption.
At first sight, this is an attractive idea, because it sits so comfortably with the hacker worldview that sees open source as special and inhabiting a completely different universe from that of proprietary, non-free products. It also confirms that the “free as in freedom
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
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