foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


PC World: Move your business to Linux, not Vista

, posted: 9-Jul-2008 11:05

The PC World magazine now recommends moving to Linux instead of paying for upgrades to Vista. Even using the "downgrade to XP" option still requires the purchase of a Vista license from Microsoft, so PC World recons that especially small businesses will be much better served simply moving to GNU/Linux instead.
Making the switch from Windows to Linux will incur some costs as employees and support staff adjust to the new system's configuration settings, utilities, and applications. Even so, t (read the entire post)...



And you thought your computer would do what YOU wanted...

, posted: 20-May-2008 06:39

Just another reminder of why DRM and closed software is bad. You end up with a situation where your own computer doesn't do what you want anymore. Instead, it follows the bidding of the software vendor. You bought the system, you paid for it, you think you'd be in control, right?

Well, not anymore. With closed-source software, you have no idea what is going to happen. In this case, the Windows Vista Media Center stopped recording certain TV programs, because the broadcaster (NBC in th (read the entire post)...



The great 'Windows collapse' of 2011?

, posted: 12-Apr-2008 05:05

The blogs and news are abuzz this morning with the rather spectacular claims by two Gartner analysts, predicting that Windows market share and importance is literally going to collapse under its own weight. These claims understandably received a lot of attention, but I think a bit of perspective is needed.

Several points are mentioned by the Gartner analysts:
Windows has become too big and complex, therefore innovation happens rarely and is mostly just incremental. The PC market' (read the entire post)...



Firefox and Google at Microsoft

, posted: 3-Apr-2008 15:05

I know I'm late to the party, but just yesterday I finally got around to install some access log widget on my blog here, which tells me the hit counts, exact URI that was hit in my blog, and where the visitors are coming from. So, I'm looking through the log entries for my recent article about OOXML and found something funny:

Apparently, my blog got a visit from Redmond. Not only the city of Redmond (Washington, USA), but the IP address for that hit was reported to be part of Microsof (read the entire post)...



Asus Eee PC with XP - special discount for schools?

, posted: 28-Mar-2008 10:43

Update: Thanks to Mauricio for enquiring at Asus about the availability of the educational special tender for the GNU/Linux version of the Eee PC. Apparently, the special tender is also available for the GNU/Linux version, which is great news. The article was phrased in a way that suggested, the tender only applied to the Windows XP version. The point I am making below about the problems of using proprietary software in schools remains valid, however.


This morning we are treated (read the entire post)...



Gartner warning about Microsoft's 'patent trap'

, posted: 29-Feb-2008 09:54

A few days ago, I wrote about Microsoft's new openness pledge. Although announced with much fanfare, many have quickly pointed out the problems with Microsoft's strategy. Particularly troubling is the promise not to sue open source developers who make use of Microsoft's information, but still requiring patent license fees for any commercial applications of thus developed open source software. I wrote then that this results in: Microsoft IP contaminated open source, not suitable for bundling or c (read the entire post)...



Update to the Microsoft DreamSpark interview

, posted: 26-Feb-2008 16:46

Over here is an interview between Geekzoner Chakkaradeep and Paul Lo from the Developer & Platform Strategy Group, Microsoft New Zealand, about the DreamSpark initiative. This initiative, in case you don't know, provides Microsoft developer tools for free to students.

One of the questions was "What do you think is the reason for Microsoft to announce DreamSpark?" Mr. Lo answered:
Making sure there is a strong pipeline of technically skilled students is key to the future of our ec (read the entire post)...



Microsoft's big openness pledge

, posted: 23-Feb-2008 07:47

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a big pledge towards openness. In essence, it is the promise to freely provide extensive API documentation for their protocols and applications. It should be pointed out that Microsoft is not open-sourcing anything, as some commentators seem to think. Instead, it is merely talking about publishing API and protocol specifications. Those of course are probably more important for interoperability than open source, actually. This, of course, makes it easier for competi (read the entire post)...



The Miracle of cheap and subsidised Windows

, posted: 23-Jan-2008 07:22

It has been apparent for quite some time now that Microsoft is fearing to lose developing markets before they even have become viable. Free software competition, usually based around Linux, is the biggest thread. Linux is used for the OLPC laptop, for example. And because of its lower cost and unprecedented access to the underlying technology and therefore teaching and learning opportunities, Linux has been suggested or is being discussed in many of those markets as a cost effective alternative (read the entire post)...



100 Open Source downloads for Windows

, posted: 27-Dec-2007 06:21

Open source software is of course not just limited to Linux. Case in point: Someone put together a list of 100 Open Source downloads for Windows.

This is a great resource for anyone still on Windows, who would like to get some experience with open source software and see what can be available for free. (read the entire post)...



A Vista marketing video of a different kind...

, posted: 27-Dec-2007 06:12

Now THIS is funny!

(read the entire post)...



Slow file copy bug in Vista: An excellent case for open source development

, posted: 21-Dec-2007 12:18

The Register is running an article, detailing the strange phenomenon of incredibly slow file copies under Vista. That is a known problem, and has been widely discussed before.

The article describes that some people have had success with some rather complex sounding workarounds...
To be fair, some ... have reported success in eradicating the Vista malady. Some report SP1 does speed things up. Others have seen improvements after running through a series of steps that includes disab (read the entire post)...



The problems with Vista DRM (and why you should care even if you like Vista and/or Microsoft)

, posted: 18-Dec-2007 09:43

A very interesting posting on Slashdot here, in which someone gives a good summary of the reasons why the DRM in Vista is truly a bad thing. I'm not running Vista myself, so I can't confirm each technical point he makes about what exactly is restricted and what not (even though it does sound quite scary). But there are a few items that are quite clear and troublesome:
The [DRM] technologies above mean two things that I care about and which most other people here care about. The first concer (read the entire post)...



Upgrade from Vista to XP (you read that right)

, posted: 15-Dec-2007 06:52

Here is a great article, which shows all the benefits waiting for you when you finally upgrade from Vista to XP.

So there, some Windows for you. Hopefully, this will go a long way to calm down those who claim that all I ever talk about is GNU/Linux. (read the entire post)...



Why is MS Office better than OpenOffice?

, posted: 15-Nov-2007 06:27

Note: This is not supposed to be flame bait, but rather a serious question.

I am a proponent of open source software, and in response to me talking about open software I often get to hear:
In the business world MS Office rulesOpenOffice is not a replacement for MS OfficeMS Office beats OpenOffice hands downMS Office blows OpenOffice awayThings of that sort. I then often ask what exactly it is that MS Office has that OpenOffice does not have, but so far I have not received a good (read the entire post)...



Windows is no more!

, posted: 10-Nov-2007 12:02

Today, I erased the Windows partition on my dual-boot laptop. What a happy day!

It's all Linux (Ubuntu) now. After yesterday's release of Video Skype for Linux, I had absolutely no use for Windows anymore. So, this morning, the NTFS partition was reformatted with ext3, a quick edit in the Grub boot menu, and here we go. Windows is no more.

I swear, the laptop feels lighter now when I pick it up! (read the entire post)...



Microsoft to publish its APIs ... sort of

, posted: 23-Oct-2007 04:53

Just in case you haven't heard the news already: Microsoft has finally agreed with the terms imposed on it by the European Commission. Details can be had from the Wall Street Journal, and many other commentators today as well. Under the terms of the agreement, competitors can get access to Microsoft's various network and server APIs for a one-time fee of 10,000 Euros.
The court held that antitrust regulators were correct to condemn
Microsoft for holding back technical information that (read the entire post)...



A brief history of how Microsoft became a monopoly

, posted: 12-Oct-2007 09:40

There is a very interesting article over on the ITpro site. It is called 'Wrestling with the monopoly' and is about reasons for Linux adoption in the face of Microsoft's quasi-monopoly, and about the decision of the European Commission to demand from Microsoft the publication of their APIs and protocols. If you have the time to read the full article, please do. Even though it is a bit longer, it's very informative and actually covers a number of issues.

It starts out b (read the entire post)...



Why Windows should be 'unbundled' from PC sales

, posted: 10-Oct-2007 05:59

Recently, a 'think tank' in Europe suggested that the European Union should establish legislation that would force PC manufacturers to unbundle the Windows operating system from the sale of new PCs. You know, the practice that makes most consumers think that Windows is free and comes as a 'necessary' part of their PC, not realising that they actually paid a 'Microsoft tax' with the purchase of their PC (up to 50% of the system price in case of some lower-cost hardware). W (read the entire post)...



Becoming Windows-free - Part 2

, posted: 19-Sep-2007 11:17

This is the second article in my little series about how to become Windows-free. As I outlined in the first article, this is actually not only about Windows, but in general about the use of open software and open data formats.

Open software, open data

Open data formats are an important consideration. Not only for the typically low price of the open source/data solutions ($0), but also for the longevity of data and the avoidance of vendor lock-in. Proprietary software that u (read the entire post)...



foobar's profile

 
New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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