Archive

Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

This is what $300 million gets you?

September 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Bob Lewis, who I’m proud to say is my “partner in Linux crime” in the Felton Linux Users Group, sent me an e-mail this morning with a link to the first Microsoft commercial featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld (whose dramatis persona, incidentally, spent several years as a Mac user on what can arguably be called the most watched comedy in television history).

If this is what Microsoft spent $300 million on, I think I’d ask for a refund.

On second thought, maybe that’s the point: Perhaps it’s payback for all the money people have spent over the years to migrate and update (or downgrade, in the case of Vista) and buy additional software (anti-virus ware, for example) to make Microsoft’s software, well, work. It also begs the question about how many times Microsoft intends to take it on the chin, in the public eye.

[I also sent the link to one of my best friends and best baseball buddy Pam Tao, and she got an error message on Internet Exploder. Poetic justice anyone? Here's the message (thanks, Pam): "Internet Explorer cannot open the internet site http://justinflood.com/?p=528. Operation aborted." If you get the same message, drop the ?p=528 and scroll down a few items on Justin's blog.]

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix XubuntuEliminate DRM!

Changing teams

August 16, 2008 3 comments

Growing up in the Maspeth section of Queens, my father grew up a New York Giants fan — the baseball Giants that played at the Polo Grounds, not so much the football Giants (although I believe he never forgave Frank Gifford for fumbling away the championship 50 years ago). If you fast forward to 1987, I moved to San Francisco from Miami (long story) and picked up where my father left off, being the second generation of Cafiero to live and die with the orange and black.

My father’s favorite Giant was Mel Ott, but then there were also Johnny Mize, Carl Hubbell, Eddie Stanky. And there was Bobby Thomson, who hit the legendary home run the year my parents were married. I got to San Francisco in ’87, the year Candy Maldonado lost a ball in the lights against the Cardinals in the playoffs which brought me, and the Giants, back to earth. Two years later, it was Will Clark acing the Cubs’ Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams in the league championship, sending the Giants to “Bay’s-ball” against Oakland and to the first World Series interrupted by a natural disaster.

In addition, I have five Croixs de Candlesticks — awarded to Giants fans who braved the elements at Candlestick Park during extra-inning games — on a cap which also bears the ’89 National League Championship pin.

What does this have to do with FOSS? The reason I’m waxing nostalgic about the Giants is because it looks like I’m going to have to leave them on Oct. 1: Microsoft attorney Bill Neukom takes control of the ballclub in October as president.

It’s impossible for me to support a team that is run by a shill who has made his fortune representing a company that has made its sole raison d’etre squelching any semblance of digital choice; all that while forcing on the public some of the worst software in the short history of personal computing.

This may not make a lot of sense to the Europeans reading this. But imagine a Manchester United fan having to switch his or her support to Manchester City; Real Madrid to Barcelona; Juventus to AC Milano; All Blacks to Australia. Change can be necessary because team allegiances should include principles and mean more than just root, root, root for the home team.

So once this season ends, I’m going to hang up my hat, hang up the jacket and shop around for another team to support. The Oakland Athletics, more than likely, will keep my heart in the San Francisco Bay Area. But perhaps I’ll take the winter off while hoping the San Francisco 49ers do something resembling anything (thanks, Pam) and also root for the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, since co-owner Bob Young is one of the founders of Red Hat.

Go Cats.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix XubuntuEliminate DRM!

Microsoft goes for the blue

August 14, 2008 1 comment

Things weren’t exactly looking up for Team Redmond in Beijing during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Of course, if you weren’t looking up, you may not have noticed the notorious Blue Screen of Death captured by The Register here.

What’s more, some of the comments in the story that this was “shopped” defy reason — I don’t think the best of the best of the best in Photoshop can do it, let alone a superstar in Gimp. Apparently they used XP and not Vista for the opening ceremonies, so perhaps in a backwards sort of way it is a promotion of Vista by our friends in suburban Seattle.

Time will tell.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix XubuntuEliminate DRM!

Categories: China, Microsoft, Olympics

The doctor is in

June 15, 2008 7 comments

[If you think I don't write enough here, I have a good excuse: I've been blogging at the Lindependence 2008 Felton Diary here. I'll get here when I can.]

I’ve mentioned this before in blogs, but it bears repeating: For years, I have hoped to be a thorn in Dell’s side, the pebble in ol’ Mike’s Gucci loafers about dependability and quality of the machines that came from the Dallas conglomerate.

So when Dell decided to see the light and offer Ubuntu as an OS option, I asked for a nice bearnaise sauce to go with the crow I dutifully, and happily, ate.

Fast forward to late last week, when I helped my commercial neighbor Ron at Long Cabinet Company with the memory on his Dell laptop, it was one of those opportunities to show that what we do, hardware- and software-wise, is not exactly some sort of black magic. In addition, it showed Ron how Dell and Microsoft are working together to make Vista unusable.

Ron’s wife had bought Ron a gig of memory and he asked me to install it. Thanks to Dell — more crow, please — adding memory on the laptops is merely a matter of just removing a panel, popping it in, and putting the panel back on; 60 seconds, tops.

This was the easy part: The harder part, and the part I couldn’t explain other than to say that it’s a huge mistake by both Dell and Microsoft, was trying to justify to Ron how Dell could sell a machine that they said was Vista-ready with “only” 512MB of RAM and how Microsoft could make an “new and improved” operating system that . . . well . . . oh, never mind. In the end, both Dell and Microsoft took a back seat to an explanation of how GNU/Linux doesn’t have the same problems that Ron was experiencing.

One more convert in the making? One can only hope.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix XubuntuEliminate DRM!

When it’s cloudy in Felton

May 8, 2008 1 comment

I could blame global warming, but I wouldn’t have the scientific facts to back it up. But the weather has taken a turn for the strange here in Felton, where the sweaters that have been packed away for the summer have to be pulled out for extra duty and the fog that rolls in off the Monterey Bay that makes it past Santa Cruz parks bewteen us grounddwellers and the sun.

Long before the air raid siren goes off — like clockwork in Felton, at noon the air raid siren atop the solar-powered fire station wails, signifying that we’re either under attack or it’s high noon; so far, thankfully, it’s only been the latter — the overcast morning lends itself to another cup of coffee and staying in the office. And catching up on this blog.

This would probably be a good time to bring everyone up to date on what’s going on with Lindependence 2008. When I last talked about the project and Felton, I was somewhat surprised and disappointed at the lack of response to this project. My initial thought was that distros and FOSS programs would jump at the chance to have a month to promote their wares and provide a town with the opportunity to use the fruits of their labor for at least a week, possibly more.

I’ll have that plate of crow now: My disappointment was somewhat premature, since people are now stepping up, contacting me and wanting to know more about the project and offering help. Someday a study should be done to test the premise that no matter how fast the Internet might be, human contact still is the key to getting things done. Case in point: Talking to people at the MySQL conference last month and JavaOne attendees yesterday has been a lot more productive than a flurry of e-mails and several calls.

I am in the process of gathering up questionnaires that I had given to businesses in the community. The most encouraging sign is this: Question 7 — which asks if, given the choice, business owners would try and use Free/Open Source Software alternatives to purchased or pre-installed software — comes up as unanimously “yes” so far.

We are moving forward. In fact, it occurs to me that perhaps I should have a separate blog for Felton developments, so watch this space.

52 and overcast, and maybe it’s time for a redwoods break.

[As a postscript, I have to say that my blog a few weeks ago on Microsoft's 10-K report to the SEC garnered my first four-digit amount of hits on this blog. So if I were concerned about that sort of thing, I'd mention Microsoft -- Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft -- and watch the numbers roll in. But that would be cheating, so never mind. If I was really that concerned about getting numbers up, I'd change the title of this blog to I CAN HAS FREEZOFTWARE and put cat pictures on it.]

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix XubuntuEliminate DRM!

It’s official: Microsoft’s concerned about GNU/Linux

March 25, 2008 32 comments

Without fanfare (as expected), Microsoft filed its 10-K form to the Security and Exchange Commission.

In it, however, we find that Microsoft bemoans the fact that their “business model,” well, might tend to suck in comparison to the open source business model. Not only that — and maybe you should sit down for this — all that, ahem, innovation stemming from Redmond might suffer because they would have to lower their prices to keep competitive.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Some of the more tasty, entertaining morsels are:

“Our business model has been based upon customers paying a fee to license software that we developed and distributed . . . . In recent years, certain “open source” software business models have evolved into a growing challenge to our license-based software model.

[And for this we are truly thankful.]

“Open source commonly refers to software whose source code is subject to a license allowing it to be modified, combined with other software and redistributed, subject to restrictions set forth in the license . . . . A prominent example of open source software is the Linux operating system.”

[Wait for it . . ]

Although we believe our products provide customers with significant advantages in security, productivity and total cost of ownership (emphasis added to highlight both the audacity and humor of this clause), the popularization of the open source software model continues to pose a significant challenge to our business model . . .

[When you stop laughing, I'll continue.]

” . . .including continuing efforts by proponents of open source software to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of open source software in their purchase and deployment of software products.

[For this we are truly thankful.]

“To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, sales of our products may decline, we may have to reduce the prices we charge for our products, and revenue and operating margins may consequently decline.”

[One can only hope.]

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

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debian dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Fluxbuntu button gNewSense button Linux Mint Wolvix Xubuntu

Eliminate DRM!

Categories: GNU/Linux, Microsoft

Notes, quotes and gloats

February 6, 2008 2 comments

Driving Mister Stallman: My 1994 Jetta (with the specialized California license plate “GNU LNUX”) and I had a special guest over the last few days: the Free Software Foundation’s Richard Stallman. RMS, as he is known, needed transportation from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz on Saturday morning, and at 8 a.m., we appeared at the doorstep of the home at which he was staying for a ride to KUSP in Santa Cruz for an appointment with a radio show.

After a spot of tea, we loaded up the Jetta and headed southwest. For the most part, RMS kept to his work on his laptop in front of him as he rode in the passenger seat (no, I don’t know what he was working on — I didn’t look) but we did have time to talk about some of the upcoming events — the radio show, his Op-Ed piece running in the Sunday Santa Cruz Sentinel and his talk on Monday at Cabrillo College. He also commented on the road noise my car makes, but after 274,000 faithful miles, the Jetta can play Sousa marches with every passing mile for all I care.

On Tuesday morning, I drove RMS from Santa Cruz to the San Francisco airport, and the trip was a little more conversational. While negotiating the twists and turns of Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains (hoping all the while I didn’t hit anything, lest his laptop become a permanent part of RMS’s forehead thanks to the driver side airbag), we talked about a GNU-friendly “Intro to Unix/Linux” textbook (which may soon be available — watch this space) and how much alike surfing and love are. Other topics — the folly of highway expansion in the face of peak oil and a McAfee billboard on Highway 101 that said “Hackers are bad” — led us both on conversational tangents punctuated by work on his laptop.

We arrived at SFO after a side trip to Palo Alto to the home he had stayed in before to pick up an item he had forgotten. At 11, he had plenty of time to catch his plane. As we shook hand to take leave of each other, he left me with two words (and you can say them with me): “Happy hacking!”

[Note to P.L.: Not to worry -- I didn't tell RMS about the dream you had about him.]

Blue Screen of REAL Death: The Defense Department and Boeing plan to base their new Future Combat Systems not on Microsoft Windows, but on a GNU/Linux based system using Red Hat. The reason the generals made is clear — they don’t want to be beholden to Microsoft — but another more important issue arose, this from John Williams, a sergeant at the Boeing plant in Huntington Beach: “Soldiers don’t care about software,” he said. What they care about is “if it’s going to work.” That means the men and women on the ground have their lives depending on software, and that software has got to work or the result could be fatal. So, arguably, that counts Microsoft out.

[So how far did that chair travel, Mr. Ballmer?]

Coming soon (like tomorrow): Starting tomorrow, I am going to release eight straight blogs on eight distros I use and particularly like, and why. Call it “Eight Distros a Week” if you like, because I plan to. In any case, hope you enjoy it. Up tomorrow: AntiX 6.5 Spartacus and 7.0 Lysistrata.

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

Get Linux Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Greens Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button debianEliminate DRM!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers