Saturday, May 30, 2009

Asus and Microsoft have combined forces against Linux on the netbook, their first step has been the release of this website. Nothing to see there, except a movie, and it pisses me off.
The movies shown all include the original netbook (the 4G surf), and they are running windows XP. Now each time the movie zooms in, it is most certainly not the screen of a 4G you are seeing, the screen estate is just to big! Then in the last ad you they promote as a benefit that you can 'protect your family online' - that is beyond absurd.
It's all too bad, Asus was the one to start the netbook revolution, and they did so with Linux on it. I'm sure the success of the netbook took them a bit by surprise and all, but i don't see that as a reason to throw away their Linux strategy. A lot of people just removed the Asus/Xandros Linux on it and installed something else, the default installation wasn't very interesting, though it did everything it was supposed to do. What if they just invested a little bit more money (surely the massive sales of netbooks can support a little investment?) to make their distro suck less (for most people)? I don't buy the argument of an unfamiliar OS causing lots of problems, that is probably true for people expecting to buy a laptop, but as i told people interested in a netbook over and over again - it is not a laptop, it is a device that enables you quick and easy internet access. Really, my 4G does that perfectly. The interface story is false because a lot of other devices people use every day do not have XP on them either. Mobile phones is the biggest example, each phone is different and i don't see those returned en-mass. The Nintendo Wii is the number one console in sales, no windows to be found on there. GPS devices, the most popular ones from TomTom and Garmin also run on Linux.
So either, the high return of netbooks because of Linux is a false story or the netbooks are marketed wrongly.

Does this Asus-Microsoft alliance mean that no linux versions of the Eee-PC will be available anymore? Seems that if i ever need to replace mine, i'll be looking at Dell or Acer instead.

I think it is pretty cool what Canonical is trying to do with android. As you may know android uses the linux kernel, but has nothing else in common with a regular linux distro. Another libc is used, their own graphics system, special java stack. In practise this means that you can just run regular linux apps on Android or the other way around.
With the Canonical work done you can run Android apps on your desktop, alongside all your normal apps. Very nice for Netbooks, all the power of a linux environment and all the cool Adnroid apps available at your fingertips.

Mozilla Labs released Jetpack which is a browser (Firefox) add-on API which uses only easy to use 'languages' and web standards like HTML/CSS and JavaScript, the excellent firebug is used for debugging. There is even an API for common web interfaces (although right now it only includes Twitter), and it's possible for others to expand the API with their web service. I can imagine something like the Firefox add-on repository for Jetpack already.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Canonical released Ubuntu One somewhere in the past days and discussion about the thing are lighting up the Linux world. Jeez people, what is the freaking problem? Nobody is forcing you to use it, so if you don't like it, don't use it! You have a choice here. I'm not too worried about the fact that it might end up in an Ubuntu release one day, Canonical has only benefits of keeping their user base happy because switching to another Linux distro is probably the easist thing in the world to do (compare that to the whining of Vista or Leopard users, they have no compatible alternatives - except downgrading).
The whole trademark discussion lost me as well. These are total non-issues in my book, shouldn't we be putting this energy in something more interesting that will advance OSS as a whole instead?

Monday, May 04, 2009

A week or so ago, ESR had a blog entry about 'The economic case against the GPL', it spawned a hefty discussion on slashdot, as you can imagine. However the case he tries to make is correct. Companies are scared of the GPL.
As a user or independent developer the GPL is probably the most attractive license for software/open source development currently available. I know i would release all my work using this license. But companies don't see it that way, and they try hard to avoid the GPL. Linux applies to the GPL as well and it's about the only exception they are willing to make (mostly thanks to the idemnification efforts from several distro poviders).
At my current employer they are scared of the GPL as well. The general rule is to avoid anything GPL. This would make sense for our development team and they want to assure themself never to have to release code to the public. But this rule is enforced for end-user use too (as a unix admin, i would be an end-user), because there is this fear it could still end up with a customer somehow. I almost had to pick up myself after hearing that explenation.
It's even worse if you know that software is not even our core business, we have software ofcourse, as any company will these days. But we are not a software company. Software is not our product, although it enriches the products for our customers. In such case i believe that when you are completly open it will benefit your main product more then with closed software. They could enjoy the benefits of faster development of software by leveraging available GPL code instead of inventing everything all over again (which costs you money on something that isn't your core business, don't you want to avoid that?).