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Sunday in the afternoon

August 15, 2010 2 comments

. . . what have you got to lose?

If you’re looking for a good Sunday read, Pamela Jones of Groklaw — who could be an outstanding journalist masquerading as a paralegal, or a paralegal who is one of the best journalists ever — outlines the Oracle-Google dustup in her Friday post here.

There’s a lot here and there’s more to it that what most folks, me included, have speculated. Have a read and we’ll pick this up tomorrow.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.) Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge XubuntuEliminate DRM!

Pass the coffee

June 14, 2010 3 comments

Monday mornings are not as toxic to me as to others, to hear them tell it. In fact, I have a healthy indifference to Mondays; on a work-week landscape where my first day of the work week at the newspaper is a Thursday, Mondays essentially are my “Fridays.” All of which is to say, that’s not so bad.

Still, coffee would be nice, and while sipping a Kona blend, we can review some of the recent past’s events and articles, like . . .

It’s dead, Jim . . . finally: Novell came up the winner in the SCO case, according to Groklaw, and it looks like this is the end of the line for a one-time tech company turned litigation machine. Judge Ted Stewart ruled that Novell’s claim for declaratory judgment is granted; SCO’s claims for specific performance and breach of the implied covenant of good fair and fair dealings are denied. Denied. Did I mention it was denied? Also SCO’s motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial: denied. Deeee-nyed! So that’s game, set, match. Also, on a personal note, as a MoFo — as in a Morrison & Foerster alum, having worked for the firm in Tokyo — I have to say I’m proud of their work in this case.

Well, duh! Chapter One: Dell, which offers Ubuntu (if you want to wait for it — more on this in a minute), gives those thinking about ordering an Ubuntu machine some reasons for making the switch. While those ordering Ubuntu Dells wait — ask me about ordering one for a client and getting a shipment date in about a month, versus a few days for an identical Windows machine — they can take a look at Number 6 on this list: Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft Windows. You think? Sheesh.

Well, duh! Part Deux: What’s the weak link in the national security in relation to cyber war? Easy question, according to a recent ars technica article: Microsoft Windows. Richard A. Clarke’s new book, “Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It,” is still making quite a splash. A quote from the article: “While it may appear to give America some sort of advantage,” Cyber War warns, “in fact cyber war places this country at greater jeopardy than it does any other nation.” The enormous dependence of our financial and energy networks on the ‘Net open us up to potentially devastating online attacks. “It is the public, the civilian population of the United States and the publicly owned corporations that run our key national systems, that are likely to suffer in a cyber war.” Yep, that sounds like Microsoft Windows all right.

What’s that? The sky is falling? It figures that the likes of PC World would take a story involving a relatively obscure IRC server, give said IRC server undue credit for popularity, exaggerate the seriousness of the situation and exaggerate how long it went unnoticed all in one article. But that’s what happened when — HORRORS! — an announcement was made on the Unreal IRCd forum that the Linux version of the popular IRC server Unreal IRCd was contaminated with malware in November 2009, without anyone noticing it. Of course, what the article conveniently fails to mention is that unlike the infections automatically started by the mere presence of Windows, this one had to be downloaded, installed, and configured. That point was glossed over. Another glaring omission: How many in the wild security breaches have there been due to this? I’m not linking to the article — PC World is not getting hits from me — but you can go to LXer and see the article, with responses, if you wish.

I need a refill.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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More miscellaneous ramblings

May 1, 2010 Leave a comment

In honor of Mailman reminder day — and I know everyone got their monthy reminders today from the various mailing lists that you all belong to — I thought I’d shock everyone by not going six months before blogging again.

Since my mailing list memberships are a smorgasbord of different Free/Open Source Software topics, I’m just going to take this opportunity to catch up on a few — OK, several — topics which I should have touched on over the past few months. Like:

It might work better this way: One day while Mirano and I found we had some time to kill and found ourselves close to a Best Buy (lucky us), we got to give the iPad a try. As some of you know, my distaste is legendary for netbooks and any other technology that’s, well, hard to physically handle. Such is the case with the iPad and, at one point, I was unable to clear the screen. So I instinctively shook it like an Etch-a-Sketch, but bear in mind that doesn’t work. Darling daughter came to the rescue, pushing a big-as-life button on the front to get back to the desktop. I still like the prospect of shaking it like an Etch-a-Sketch to bring it back to the desktop, but I am sure that this is not forthcoming from Apple.

Small, but informative: I didn’t comment on this either way, but the MySQL conference earlier this month in Santa Clara — held under the ominous shadow of the purchase of Sun by a huge database conglomerate whose CEO is also named Larry — was a lot smaller than in years past. Nevertheless, it was a pretty informative event. Working the Entrance booth with Tod Landis and Chris Busick, a few laps around the floor garnered an education in the latest database developments — but don’t ask me to repeat them. It was great to see MariaDB’s Kurt von Finck once again, as well as to talk to the MariaDB folks about their project, now that MySQL may be in peril.

The definition of insanity . . . : SCO’s at it again. They lost by judge (Dale Kimball’s summary judgment ruling) and they lost by jury just recently. Groklaw reported last week that SCO is behaving in the same way expecting a different result by filing papers that, according to The Register’s description, “saying the jury hearing its case over whether SCO owned the Unix copyright, and that found for Novell last month, was either too stupid, too confused or too distracted to grasp the compelling power of its evidence.” Puh-leeze.

Visiting an old friend: When I first converted to FOSS back in 2006 (has it been that long?), I was a regular visitor to Distrowatch; regular visitor as in my morning ritual would include coffee, boot the computer, go to Distrowatch (and then LXer.com), read and sometimes download. I went to the site again for the first time in several months to find it comfortably familiar in look, but with a number of distros I hadn’t heard of before, like Chakra, EasyPeasy, blackPanther, moonOS and ZevinOS, for starters. If ever I have time again, I should download some of them and give them a shot.

More to follow. Watch this space.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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Is it just me . . .?

November 3, 2007 Leave a comment

A lot of times we see or hear things and wonder whether we’re the only ones who get the peculiarity or irony in what has revealed itself.

Like:

Is it just me, or has Ubuntu 7.10 made a significant number of people hit a proverbial “speed bump” in this latest upgrade? The reason I ask — my “upgrade” resulted in getting only a shell that I had never seen before, and as a result I had to revert to reinstalling the prior version of Xubuntu running on this machine — is because others who had done the upgrade had significant problems with their machines shortly afterward (many of whom, of course, righted their machines after a significant amount of adjustments, but is that how upgrades are supposed to work?). Don’t get me wrong: I like all the flavors of Ubuntu, even Kubuntu, but rather than drinking the Kool-Aid, you have to bring this stuff up when it happens for the good of the distro.

Is it just me, or do the these two people deserve more credit than they’re often given: Pamela Jones of Groklaw, and Ken Starks of HeliOS Solutions (also the blogger known as “helios“)? The former has earned my unwavering respect for doing what those in the both the legal and journalistic professions, by and large, have stopped doing; i.e., stopped doing the right thing in their professions. The latter — who as I’ve blogged in the past I have joined in a business venture — is tireless fighter for FOSS in the face of health issues that would floor the strongest of us.

Is it me, or is blogging, as I perceive it, harder than it looks?

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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A lesson in dealing with the devil

July 24, 2007 Leave a comment

Lindows — I’m sorry, it’s Linspire — sold its soul recently to have Microsoft help them “build a better Linux” (waiting for laughter to die down). Here’s a list of what they got:

True Type fonts.

Windows Media 10 Player.

DVD Playback.

Patent (ahem) “coverage,” which many people might consider extorted “protection” money, but I digress.

That’s it.

This deal is worse than the Novell deal, says Pamela Jones at Groklaw, and outlines Linspire’s soul-selling-for-mere-pittance, line by line (almost), here. Being the journalist and legal eagle that she is (although she warns that you should consult a real attorney if the agreement affects you in real time), Jones goes to great lengths to show what a dog this deal is and displays, just as she has been tireless in the SCO case, just why it sucks to be Linspire these days.

At the end of her lengthy tome, she makes the following poignant observation which, going forward, should be at the forefront of the GNU/Linux discussion: “For myself, I think it’s time to think really seriously about who should be allowed to use the name Linux, before the trademark loses all its traditional meaning.”

Indeed.

Also, I can’t help wondering how long it will take the people at Linspire to grab pitchforks and torches and race through the streets of Lindowsland looking for Kevin Carmony in order to give him a good tar-and-feathering.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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