Saturday, August 25, 2007

BOYCOTT Open Source Violators

Open Source developers do not expect remuneration for their efforts. This is implicit in the Open Source agreement. Then the only recourse available to them in the case of [alledged] Open Source License violation is for the public to actively and aggressively BOYCOTT the violator(s).

Model train software spat threatens future of open source

Throws copyrights from the train

Analysis A dispute over some open source software used for model railroads resulted in an important decision last week, involving the scope of open source licenses and the remedies available when they are violated.

The decision has triggered alarm in the open source community, with a prominent open source licensing advocate charging that the court fell asleep at the switch in its legal analysis of the case.

[. . .]

Interpreting open source licenses as contracts removes the possibility of injunctive relief preventing license violators from further copying, modifying and/or distributing source code. Such a remedy is available for copyright violations, but not contract breaches.

For broken contracts, the remedy is damages - whatever it would take to put the plaintiff in the position he would have been in had the contract been fully performed. Since this is usually money, many providers of open source software would get the shaft, since they don't expect any remuneration for the copying of the software.

[. . .]

A.) Read the entire article

B.) If it is to work (without the support of the legal system) then it is up to us, the community of users, to insure that the integrity of Open Source is upheld.

C.) BOYCOTT Open Source violators.

Slackware: what was old is GNU, again

I shouldn't be too snarky. This article, Midnight Commander in Action, is very comprehensive and well illustrated.

I just got a bit harrumphish when I realized that Linux is old enough so that the young'ins don't remember a time before the GUI. The same argument that shied folks away from early Linux is being raised in the face of the latest distros.

I cannot use a PC unless it has pictures and a mouse pointer. That is why I am sticking with Windows er, uh, Gnome or KDE.
MC is the very reason that I have such an allegiance to Slackware. From the first day MC, or should I say mc has been my best Linux friend. Allowing me to traverse the file system. Providing easy access to compressed files. Copy, move and rename at a keystroke. MC even gave me access to the mystical chown/chmod attributes with just a couple of keystrokes.

All of that brings me to this insight... Slackware, in its most fundamental state, is not about the end-user experience. Slackware is about Linux, the kernel, running the on a computer platform.

Quick, someone get the men in white coats and butterfly nets. Papa has really lost it this time.

While we wait for the funny-farmers to arrive let me meander on ... To over-simplify, Slackware is old school. Slack came out of an era when only mainframes ran *nix and users all enjoyed the same interface: green characters on a black CRT display. The Slackware distribution sought to emulate that stable, robust mainframe experience while running on a PC.

I will surmise that Patrick Volkerding sought then, and still seeks, to provide an environment in which the Linux kernel runs as well as humanly possible. I would even go so far as to suggest that this is his first priority. I predicate my assumption on the premise that if the kernel runs well then everything that runs subsequently will do so at an optimum level.

Modern Linux distros and modern users have succumb to the Madison Avenue ploy of selling the sizzle while Patrick Volkerding and Slackware are in the business of selling the steak. Users are welcome to enjoy any GUI sizzle that they like when running the old-school prime-cut Slackware.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Windows: Perception, perspective and definition

Having recently been tasked with responsibilities that include MS-Access, MS-IIS and MS-SQL I have a new found respect for the Windows "program".

Windows is a program that I run in order to provide access to the other 'services' that operate in the Windows environment. This is a subtle rhetorical point but it helps to clearly define my perception of the Microsoft "OS" and associated programs. I employ Windows as just another application suite. So much so that I have to specifically choose to run it. For me Windows is not the ubiquitous underlying foundation for my computing environment.

I suggest that if this is my perspective then sooner than Microsoft is comfortable with the general public's perspective will also be changing. I would further suggest that as the public becomes more reliant on hand-helds (cell phones and to a lesser extent PDAs) then the perception will change radically away from the Windows paradigm. Windows will become the archaic interface that we used to use when we were stuck in front of our desktop PCs.

For now I can affirm that when dealing with the Microsoft suite of programs then Windows is my first choice. For the rest majority of my computing needs I enjoy the comfort, speed, and robust nature of ... Linux.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Workplace Linux

Rory Curtis, a United Kingdom Software Engineer, writing at Linux And Other Rants did a nice piece by interviewing his work mates to get their input on Linux in the Workplace: What the Users Think. I thought I would follow suit and offer my answers to his questions as well.

Q. What motivated you to try Linux?

In a word, curiosity. I had been working with IBM's OS/2 and knew there were PC alternatives. The prospect of a *NIX clone was just too much. I had to give it a try.

Q. What did you think of Linux before switching?

I was the worst sort of noobie - I wanted Linux to be and do Windows. Took me the better part of a year and a half to stop being sooooo dumb. Unfortunately for Linux those were the days when office desktop software was a bit thin. Once I began to work with Linux 'services' then the light went on and I began to see its real potential.

Q. What concerns did you have about switching to Linux?

Pretty much the same concerns that I have had all along: now I have to support two Operating Systems. One that I felt comfortable in and could depend on, Linux. And one that I had to support professionally, Windows. From a Information Management perspective file incompatibilities (prior to OpenOffice and some others) made the prospect of rolling Linux out almost impossible. Thankfully that is behind us.

Q. What were the major issues you faced in Windows?

The 3 "C's" ... Cost, Complexity and Crashes. When evaluating Cost there is the unit price of the OS and then the cost of the programs and applications. Personally I could afford the hardware and the OS that was packaged by default but I could not afford the programs. I ended up with a nearly useless PC.

The Complexity of Windows has really begun to impact its value for me and my users. To attempt to insure a safe(r) computing environment it has been necessary to implement a large number of the draconian measures Windows uses to protect it self. Each time one of these measures in activated the user suffers from another layer of complexity.

Crashes = BSOD ... 'nuff said. (To be fair, Windows XP Pro is much better about this one aspect of my dissatisfaction.)

Q. What are the major issues you have with Linux?

The only real issue that I can cite is that of succession. With the "expertise" (term used very loosely) that I have gained over the years I have implemented Linux in key roles in my network infrastructure. A competent replacement, somebody knowledgeable in Linux, is probably too qualified to work in my market. Conversely, in todays market there are untold numbers of proficient Windows Admins.

Q. What do you miss most about Windows?

Absolutely nothing. I am, however, very frustrated that Lotus Notes has been so poorly ported to Linux.

Q. What do you like most about Linux?

(This is the question that prompted me to do this Q&A thing in the first place.) Linux allows me to stay current with evolving technology AND not go broke doing so. Thanks to the huge effort of Patrick Volkerding I have a great distro of Slackware (v.12) that runs my aging laptop very well. In addition the software meets and exceeds all of my computing needs. Last but not least, it is all legal.

Q. Any other info you would like to share?

Linux is not as difficult as you were led to believe. On many occasions I have had to load Linux onto my family PCs. While my wife and children prefer Windows they have never had any difficulty working in Linux. Aside from some rather esoteric operations (that require instructions in Windows too) I have never even had to explain how Linux works. They just sit down and use it like any other PC.

I know from my work in Information Technology that Windows will be with us for a very long time. I know from my work with Linux that there are very viable alternatives available.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rupert Murdoch had to pay for the WSJ somehow

So he raised the daily newstand price to $1.50 USD. Now here in Kentucky, unlike the big city of New York, a dollar and a half is real money ... most of a lunch ... so to spend it on a bird-cage liner is just too much. Sorry Rupert but I won't help you buy the WSJ - you have to do that on your own.

Hugh hijinx

So nice to see hugh back in action!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

He gave a gift...

[He]...who knew how to bring about a work worthy of God.

The Man Who Planted Trees

Special Note:

In 1953, Jean Giono dedicated to the public domain his story L'homme qui plantait des arbres. English translations have been made, but copyright was and still is claimed in these translations. As this seemed completely contrary to Giono's purpose, in 1993 Peter Doyle made a new and fully independent translation, and dedicated it to the public domain.
[Note: The "Peter Doyle" link does not resolve. I am currently seeking an up-to-date link.]

What can I give?

What do you get for the person who has everything?

What if that person was your Aunt or Uncle who's familial love was unconditional?

What gift could be given to a person 'who has everything' that they might value or cherish?

These are questions that I have faced once a week for the past 33 weeks. Each Sunday morning I have sat, often before this very keyboard, and wrestled. In the earliest weeks I sat here and could hear only the echoes of previous Sundays swirling through my thoughts. Slowly those noises abated in favor of the actual sounds of the mornings. Entire Sunday mornings spent on the back stoop listening to the bird calls and occasional cars. Other Sunday mornings spent soaring and searching cyberspace for the latest offerings of insight and wisdom. Yet under it all ran an undercurrent of questioning.

Only now, today, have I been able to pose the questions above.

What gift could be given to a person 'who has everything' that they might value or cherish?
The gift that I can give is the same gift that would be given by the person 'who has everything'.

The only thing that is of such value that it could be gifted by the person w-h-e is the only thing that is worthy of being given to such a person.

If I give of myself in the same manner that the person w-h-e gives then I am contributing to the nature of his or her gift.

  • the person w-h-e cannot get anything more as he or she already has everything.
  • the person w-h-e can do nothing and will receive nothing in return.
  • the person w-h-e can give of his or her everything and gain the satisfaction of such giving.
To the person w-h-e I can give as they give and in turn receive the satisfaction of such giving. Thus, the only thing I can give to the person w-h-e is to give as I am able to those that the person w-h-e gives to.

Another load of laundry, another pot of coffee


And I thought the morning was going to be a total write-off. I spent the better part of 90 minutes composing my views on the future of blogging...only to realize that I was blogging about blogging. While it was well written, if I do say so myself, it was still the ultimate form of mental masturbation. (So I have ended up blogging about blogging about blogging instead. I am really moving forward now.)

Chopping wood and carrying water.

When the intellectual monkey mind runs amok there is only one thing to do. Do another load of laundry and make another pot of coffee.

Sunday: In the beginning...


Thanks xkcd

. . .