[Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? Probably. But with the Lindependence 2008 project hopping, maybe that's not so surprising. My apologies for the long hiatus to those outside my family who read this blog.]
The Heron has landed: Ubuntu let fly with its semiannual release — Hardy Heron, which really goes by the name Ubuntu 8.04 (and Kubuntu 8.04 and Xubuntu 8.04, for those of you keeping score at home) — and it certainly has a lot to offer. Having a chance to tinker with the beta in preparation for the Cabrillo College installfest yesterday, I seem to join a legion of those who use Ubuntu who are deeply impressed with this release. In fact, some are so impressed — like the writer of this eWeek article who seems to think that the *buntus are ready for prime time. Let’s hope he’s right.
[Also, hats off to the Xubuntu developers who completely kicked bug butt in getting 8.04 out the door. How do I know this? For some reason, I'm on the developer's mailing list and the bug reports -- and their solutions -- were fast and furious over the last few weeks. Way to go, Cody and others on the Xubuntu team.]
MySQL, YourSQL, OurSQL: The MySQL conference in Santa Clara two weeks ago was yet another learning experience wrapped in a swagfest. If I keep going to these, I may never go naked again, with a total of 12 T-shirts (one a small YouTube shirt for Mirano, of course) garnered during the course of the show. I worked the dbEntrance booth with Tod Landis and Shane Duan, two ex-Borland guys who have written a browser for MySQL that’s definitely worth a try. Not to toot my own horn or anything, I did get dbEntrance up and running on a Hardy Heron beta with Shane’s help and they work like they were made for each other.
[dbEntrance was fortunate enough to be across from the Red Hat booth, which had a monitor looping a video called "Truth Happens" which was absolutely great. Watch it here. Go ahead, I'll wait.]
Follow the money: Scott Ruecker wrote an editorial on LXer.com rightfully questioning the validity of a report from The Standish Group International that says the “disruptive technology” of open source has cost the IT industry $60 billion over the last five years. So Scott asks $60 billion question: How did it cost the IT industry $60 billion dollars? Where did the money go and to whom?
[Scott does acknowledge that those are more than one question and apologizes for it in the editorial, though I don't feel an apology is necessary; at least not from Scott.]
More on Lindependence 2008 upcoming, which is starting to come together better than I had expected. Watch this space.
(Larry Cafiero is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
Databases and I don’t get along, period.
That said, I’ll refain from a metric ton of complaints about how databases don’t do what they want on my behalf (which, of course, comes from operator error moreso than anything wrong with the databases themselves — long story).
However, lately I’ve been getting the hang of MySQL thanks to my assignment as GNU/Linux tester for dbEntrance, a MySQL browser currently written for Macs and soon-to-be prime-time for GNU/Linux. With the patience of the Biblical Job, Tod Landis — the lead developer of dbEntrance — has walked me through the nuances of MySQL and as a result, now it’s not the megamystery it has always been.
Now, Sun has bought MySQL for a billion dollars, causing a variety of reactions ranging from a head-scratching followed by a “hmmm,” to all-out “the-end-is-near” panic.
My reaction leans toward the former, with a “huh, how about that?” rather than a “hmmm.”
Why? I think the Jonathan Schwartz years at Sun are different than Sun’s past leadership, and I mean that in a good way; in fact, I mean that in a great way. Not only has Sun liberated Java and also opened Open Solaris, it also puts a lot of work behind OpenOffice. Further, Sun is making its way into academia on behalf of open source projects.
No one is claiming that Sun is perfect, but I’m not sure anyone in the FOSS realm needs to be wailing and gnashing teeth over this deal.
(Besides, anyone who blogs only once or twice a fortnight — as Schwartz and I seem to do — gets my complete understanding and appreciation!)
So this is the kind of deal that comes only once in a blue moon, or as often as pigs — or MySQL dolphins — fly. And rather than bemoaning the fact that MySQL is now a “hostage” of a multinational, I think this should be seen for what it is: a positive step for both companies.
Armonk. Cupertino. Redmond. Santa Cruz.
Of the four aforementioned places, three have iconic status in the history of the personal computer, and the fourth hopefully can reverse its dubious place in the historic footnotes that have yet to be written.
Armonk is where IBM makes its home. Cupertino and Apple are joined forever in an infinite loop at 1 Infinite Loop. Redmond . . . well, the Death Star has to reside somewhere, and the suburb just east of Seattle just happens to be where Microsoft settled in.
Then there’s Santa Cruz, which is the “SC” in the original “SCO,” which at its founding in 1979 was the Santa Cruz Operation.
I live in Santa Cruz — in the mountains of the Santa Cruz County, not near surfing mecca on the shores of Monterey Bay (hence, I don’t pepper the ends of my sentences with duuuuuuuude) – and through SCO’s many metamorphoses, the company no longer has its headquarters in Santa Cruz (to be fair, there’s an SCO office in Scotts Valley, a suburb here which would be more at home in Orange County than Santa Cruz, but I digress).
That’s a good thing, too, because like Berchtesgaden in Germany trying to clean its sullied past as Hitler’s playground, Santa Cruz also has some image problems in GNU/Linux circles thanks to SCO. This occurred to me during an on-line conversation with someone overseas that went like this:
J: Where do you live?
Me: Santa Cruz, California.
J: Santa Cruz? As in SCO?
Me: Um, yeah. But I didn’t live here when SCO was around.
Why did I feel the need to defend Santa Cruz? I don’t know. We have some pretty good software and hardware companies here — Borland started out here, and Seagate still makes its home in Santa Cruz County, as does Allume, which was once called Aladdin Systems and is still based in Watsonville. A plethora of independent developers — like Entrance‘s Tod Landis — write programs on “this side of the hill,” while the Silicon Valley teems with activity on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Open Source and Free Software Reporter, my magazine, is based here, too.
SCO is now based in Utah, which begs the question why they haven’t changed their name to UO, for Utah Operation (and keep those cards and letters — I’ve read the history and know why).