Linux and Open Source

About Linux and Open Source

Thanks to Vik Olliver..

Having just bought and installed a Logitech Quickcam on my Windows XP Laptop, I can sympathise.

- Installation CD has an option to check for online updates to the software, which I leave selected.
- Software checks and then asks if I want to download an available update, I click yes.
- System CPU Load skyrockets. Flatlines at 100%. Download starts.
- All that I get on the download dialogue is a progress bar (with no markings) and a byte count with approx speed estimate next to it. No indication on how big the download is, no estimation of time remaining.
- Download winds up well in excess of 80MB and the update process thrashes my CPU for the whole time, making it impossible to do much else other than use my SSH session and browse simple pages.
- Download runs at less than 60k/s on average and takes quite a while as a result.

Its exactly that sort of behavior that puts me off 'closed' solutions. You're at the whim of the vendor and have to put a lot of faith in the fact that they'll do things right - and often don't!

I was very fortunate to score an invitation to attend the New Zealand Open Source Awards last night held in Wellington.
The Inaugural event aimed to be a celebration of achievements New Zealanders have made in the Open Source environment and from what I saw, it achieved just that.

The awards were created and driven by those wonderful OSS Innovators and supporters, Catalyst IT. They along with the other key sponsors Google and Red Hat along with the assistance of numerous 'Silver' sponsors (Including my own involvement via the New Zealand Open Source Society) turned the entire event into a success.

Ok so its not really a popup, more an installed program prompting me for an upgrade:

My question: Is OpenOffice being advertised as 'FREE with this upgrade!' legit? Or is it grossly misleading (given that OO is free anyway)???

Or am I just a cynic these days?

As per earlier comment.. Standards NZ have voted no to the proposed OOXML standard for documents.. Also covered by Computerworld. The advertisement run by Microsoft trying to encourage a Yes vote really did strike me as rather crooked, though; the argument we're seeing time and time again is that the 'Defacto standard' is a driving force in the decision around the Standard-to-be. Notwithstanding the acceptance of the ODF in industry already.

So this is a good move. Will see what happens next.

Some discussion on the Open XML Document format..

Crunch time is an interesting one. Standards New Zealand are debating the adoption of the (Microsoft) Office Open XML Standard as a published International standard for documents.

As you're no doubt aware the Microsoft Word .doc format is a defacto document standard and has been since Microsoft Office won the lions share of the word processing market back in the mid 90s.

However, times have changed. .doc has become .docx (XML based) and Microsoft have created their 'open' standard and offered it to the world for international adoption.

The New Zealand Open Source Society has entered the fray. They have opposed the adoption of OOXML - with plenty of good reasons as described at the aforementioned link.

Then the discussion on Rod Drury's site was brought to my attention.

What people need to be aware of is that we're talking about something with potentially _big_ ramifications. At the moment its assumed by most people that we can all talk MS Word. (And, in fact, Open Office does this very well, at least up to the last .doc format pre .docx.) [Interestingly, recent dealings with IT recruitment agencies have involved me being asked to supply .doc format documents as opposed to what I sent - .pdf. I had to challenge this!]

Groklaw tells all..

Serves them bloody right for assuming ownership and licensing rights over something which was quite rediculous from the get-go.

Vik Olliver noted some interesting articles on ZDNet...

Microsoft Urges PC Vendors not to sell 'Naked' PC's..

(The mailer sent to vendors by Microsoft)

Top 5 Vendors fail to offer Naked PCs - and by fail, I mean 'claim to be able to, but when grilled further, mysteriously can't...'

This is seriously disturbing crap. Microsoft obviously weild so much power in their position as the monopolistic OS supplier, that vendors are afraid of losing 'discounts' through the offering of a choice.

More than that; Microsoft assert that theres 5% of business (in the form of addon software and support) that would be lost if naked options were available.

And as a result, we get 'The Microsoft Tax'. And a Google Search for that phrase gives a lot of hits, including...

http://tuxmobil.org/ms_tax.html

... which is a good idea, but does illustrate exactly how small the selection really is.

Its very dissapointing, really - that MS can bully us so hard and we can do so little about it.

As is quite rightly pointed out, Linux Is Not Windows. This relatively long article explains a number of the fundamental differences - and how they're actually quite logical.

It appears that Orcon had a major power problem this morning, and a side effect of that is that the NZLUG server linux.net.nz has failed to come back up. Impacted are the NZLUG, AuckLUG and HBLUG mailing lists along with their main website.

http://auckland.linux.net.nz/ has been updated, this is hosted by BlakJak.net and unaffected (at least for as long as the DNS keeps working.)

For info, in case anyone pops through here wondering whats up.

A map of Linux Distribution Development [kde-files.org] was posted to WellyLUG recently. Interesting stuff. :)

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