Ramblings & ephemera

How free riders are good for open source

From Howard Rheingold’s interview in “Howard Rheingold’s Latest Connection” (Business Week: 11 August 2004): Then there’s open source [software]. Steve Weber, a political economist at UC Berkeley, sees open source as an economic means of production that turns the free-rider problem to its advantage. All the people who use the resource but don’t contribute to […]

Some facts about GPL 2 & GPL 3

From Liz Laffan’s “GPLv2 vs GPLv3: The two seminal open source licenses, their roots, consequences and repercussions” (VisionMobile: September 2007): From a licensing perspective, the vast majority (typically 60-70%) of all open source projects are licensed under the GNU Public License version 2 (GPLv2). … GPLv3 was published in July 2007, some 16 years following […]

Microsoft Exchange is expensive

From Joel Snyder’s “Exchange: Should I stay or should I go?” (Network World: 9 March 2009): There are many ways to buy Exchange, depending on how many users you need, but the short answer is that none of them cost less than about $75 per user and can run up to $140 per user for […]

What happens to IP when it’s easy to copy anything?

From Bruce Sterling’s “2009 Will Be a Year of Panic” (Seed: 29 January 2009): Let’s consider seven other massive reservoirs of potential popular dread. Any one of these could erupt, shattering the fragile social compact we maintain with one another in order to believe things contrary to fact. … 2. Intellectual property. More specifically, the […]

ODF compared & constrasted with OOXML

From Sam Hiser’s “Achieving Openness: A Closer Look at ODF and OOXML” (ONLamp.com: 14 June 2007): An open, XML-based standard for displaying and storing data files (text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations) offers a new and promising approach to data storage and document exchange among office applications. A comparison of the two XML-based formats–OpenDocument Format (“ODF”) […]

Richard Stallman on why “intellectual property” is a misnomer

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): Anyway, the term “intellectual property” is a propaganda term which should never be used, because merely using it, no matter what you say about it, presumes it makes sense. It doesn’t really make sense, […]

Richard Stallman on proprietary software

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): I hope to see all proprietary software wiped out. That’s what I aim for. That would be a World in which our freedom is respected. A proprietary program is a program that is not […]

Richard Stallman on the 4 freedoms

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): Specifically, this refers to four essential freedoms, which are the definition of Free Software. Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program, as you wish, for any purpose. Freedom one is the freedom […]

A wireless router with 2 networks: 1 secure, 1 open

From Bruce Schneier’s “My Open Wireless Network” (Crypto-Gram: 15 January 2008): A company called Fon has an interesting approach to this problem. Fon wireless access points have two wireless networks: a secure one for you, and an open one for everyone else. You can configure your open network in either “Bill” or “Linus” mode: In […]

Remove EXIF data from JPEGs

ImageMagick mogrify -strip *.jpg JHead jhead -de *.jpg

Obama, Clinton, Microsoft Excel, and OpenOffice.org

I recently posted this to my local Linux Users Group mailing list: Thought y’all would find this interesting – from http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/05/26/fundraising_excel/index.html: “A milestone of sorts was reached earlier this year, when Obama, the Illinois senator whose revolutionary online fundraising has overwhelmed Clinton, filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by […]

Do’s and don’ts for open source software development

From Jono DiCarlo’s “Ten Ways to Make More Humane Open Source Software” (5 October 2007): Do Get a Benevolent Dictator Someone who has a vision for the UI. Someone who can and will say “no” to features that don’t fit the vision. Make the Program Usable In Its Default State Don’t rely on configurable behavior. […]

Types of open source licenses

From Eric Steven Raymond’s “Varieties of Open-Source Licensing” (The Art of Unix Programming: 19 September 2003): MIT or X Consortium License The loosest kind of free-software license is one that grants unrestricted rights to copy, use, modify, and redistribute modified copies as long as a copy of the copyright and license terms is retained in […]

Open sources turns software into a service industry

From Eric Steven Raymond’s “Problems in the Environment of Unix” (The Art of Unix Programming: 19 September 2003): It’s not necessarily going to be an easy transition. Open source turns software into a service industry. Service-provider firms (think of medical and legal practices) can’t be scaled up by injecting more capital into them; those that […]

A big benefit of open source: better learning & teaching

From Jon Udell’s “Open source education” (InfoWorld: 7 June 2006): Open source software development, to a degree unmatched by any other modern profession, offers apprentices the opportunity to watch journeymen and masters at work, to interact with them, and to learn how they think, work, succeed, and fail. Transparency and accountability govern not only the […]

Unix specs vs. Windows specs

From Peter Seebach’s Standards and specs: Not by UNIX alone (IBM developerWorks: 8 March 2006): In the past 20 years, developers for “the same” desktop platform (“whatever Microsoft ships”) have been told that the API to target is (in this order): * DOS * Win16 * OS/2 * Win32 * WinNT * WinXP * and […]

Why Microsoft is threatened by open source

From How Microsoft played the patent card, and failed (The Register: 23 December 2004): … the joint lead on the Samba project, Jeremy Allison …: “Microsoft has bought off and paid off every competitor it has, except open source. Every single player they could buy out, they did. That leaves Real, and FOSS. And they […]

Windows directory services

From David HM Spector’s Unfinished Business Part 2: Closing the Circle (LinuxDevCenter: 7 July 2003): … an integrated enterprise directory service does give network managers a much greater ability to manage large-scale networks and resources from almost every perspective. Unlike most UNIX systems, Windows environments are homogeneous. There are three modes of operation in terms […]

Unix vs Windows: NYC vs Celebration

From David HM Spector’s Unfinished Business Part 2: Closing the Circle (LinuxDevCenter: 7 July 2003): The UNIX world is the result of natural evolution, not the outgrowth of a planned community. UNIX is a lot like New York City: dynamic, always reinventing itself, adapting to new needs and realities. Windows is a lot like Celebration, […]

Open source breathalyzers

From Bruce Schneier’s “DUI Cases Thrown Out Due to Closed-Source Breathalyzer“: According to the article: “Hundreds of cases involving breath-alcohol tests have been thrown out by Seminole County judges in the past five months because the test’s manufacturer will not disclose how the machines work.” This is the right decision. Throughout history, the government has […]