Linux and Open Source

About Linux and Open Source

35 UK Councils forced into an expensive migration path after vendor discontinues service.

Tells a tale all of it's own, doesn't it? One big plus to the FOSS world is you don't wind up subject to the whims of a single vendor/manufacturer.

Door is indeed "Slammed".

I'm not sure about the rationale here; it seems key that Flash would open the door to flash-built apps - and in effect provide a bypass to the Apple Store.

Heaven forbid Apple should lose their totalitarian control over their appliances!
(do we need to mention Apple threatening a lawsuit against Woolworths due to their new logo?)

That's a bit what this sounds like. Essentially it appears that Apple iPhones which've been syncing with MS Exchange have been leading people to believe their data is encrypted on-device. And now that the bug that caused this to be reported has been patched... Exchange sync no longer works.

This doesn't personally affect me, as I run neither Exchange nor an iPhone. But it does thoroughly convince me that my previously doubts about Applies business practises were right on the money.

I've previously blogged about it. And now this issue adds to the mix.

I seriously wonder what people inside Apple are thinking right now?

Nicely said by Dave Lane.

"$1.4 Million" is a lot of money. But when we're talking about them providing $140,000 (actual cost) of software (worth $1,400,000 retail) to a charity, it is indeed self serving when you think about it!

- Continues to lead people down the path of using the MS template.
- These packages use closed formats by default. What about interoperating with others - or working from home as Dave points out?

I do agree that if Microsoft wants to truly be seen as benevolent to charities, they should offer cash equivalent - even at the wholesale price equivalent. The Charity could then opt to use the Software - or do something else potentially more useful, with the funds.

It is on the surface a great deal for the charity concerned - but you do have to read between the lines, eh?

I hope you get it too - an excellent and eye-opening Groklaw piece.

It's yet another example of why Patents can be bad news, too. Funny how it all ties together isn't it?

Don't be sucked in by Microsoft offering to do big things in the Open Source world; theyre doing it to ensure that Windows itself isn't marginalized in the process. On the contrary, they want Open Source apps to be running on Windows - and Windows only?? The latter is of course, the question.

At a business level it's probably good thinking, as they're losing, if anything, against their competitors (both Linux and MacOS) - so it's not a bad stake-in-the-ground.

All I can say, is, be wary. I still appreciate _complete_ openness. Not this hybrid that continues to cause our reliance on a single-vendor closed platform.

I spotted this last week, but this is with a more local focus.

This is a key risk for organisations that choose to:

a) Run a closed source package which leaves them at the whim of the vendor; and

b) Run a Windows based system without allowing for updating to a 'current' generation OS.

Windows 2000 is closing on 10 years old (obviously) and most people have moved to Windows XP or Vista (on the desktop) or Windows Server 2003/2008 (servers). Those who havn't are either poorly organised or have a particular reason for staying with Win2k; perhaps compatibility with hardware or a particular software package.

However these people are now left without an option for the security of their system, thanks to the Vendor deciding 'no' (this despite the fact that I read somewhere, MS had previously agreed to keep patching the OS until next year!)

It brings me back to one of the reasons Im becoming a big fan of the open alternatives; The decisions of a profit-focussed monopoly vendor should not be allowed to have such potentially far-reaching effects.

Me thinks those with remaining W2K machines will be working to replace them fast - or isolate them behind a suitably configured firewall... I hope however this is something of a learning experience!

Best Buy Employees to talk down Linux.

A 'training' slideshow spreading very, very misleading statements as 'fact'.

Sad, very sad. The propoganda wagon is indeed moving at full speed!

Having worked in electronics retail myself I can just imagine how this material is going down - and being spouted to customers. Sadly the people who work in electronics retail are (with depressingly few exceptions) limited to reciting in a fairly canned fashion, the training they've been provided with.

When that training is far from 'objective', what hope do they have?

Okay so recent events in a single post...

Having returned from Brisbane (Photos on Facebook for those who can see them) i've been working like a bit of a maniac on several different projects at work... between that and other bits and pieces i've been very, very busy.

Other bits and pieces include having been 'officially confirmed' as a member of the NZOSS Council at their AGM last week. This after having been either a 'defacto' or 'coopted' member of the council since pretty much the inception of NZOSS.... somehow it's now more 'real' - and it feels good, to be honest. I do have to be careful not to overcommitt myself - but the Society seem to be happy with what I manage to contribute and i'm more than happy to continue supporting freedom of choice in the software world.

With that in mind I attended the Open Government Barcamp yesterday. Very interesting to get ~160 interested, enthusiastic and clooful people together to identify real issues that can be addressed - or at the very least, raised to the attention of people who can. Todays hackfest was the practical side - unfortunately due to personal committments (like actually needing to see my family! heh) I had to skip it. Still, the Barcamp was very useful. Of particular interest was NZGOAL - Government Open Access and Licensing initiative which is looking to greatly simplify the gotchas around making government information accessible and usable by the populace. A video helped paint a picture. Suprisingly I havnt found the video itself on Youtube yet...

... I think i'm really glad of it.

If you havn't read Animal Farm, you really should.

The New Zealand Herald reports..

Of course, Albany Senior High are probably an exception to the rule - being a 'clean slate' of recent times and a good advocate of a sane, holistic approach to their IT environment - and curriculum. Other schools have thousands of dollars in legacy systems that they need to retain value for - which is fine.

However all educators need to pay attention to some of the key facts beginning to surface:

- Schools should be teaching fundamentals, not by-rote ways of achieving an outcome using specific tools;
- Open Standards allow for portability, and prevent vendor lock-in;
- Open Source provides for transparency; for community collaboration on the 'whole solution' and for an opportunity to expose students to real world examples of software development;
- Cost is a factor, but should not be the whole reason.

"Total cost of Ownership" is a key phrase, and closed source vendors tend to argue that despite lower initial investment, the TCO of F/OSS is often higher in the context of training, and of obtaining support when things go awry. This is a subjective viewpoint (they have obvious bias... they're the competition!) and educators need to be taking an open and objective viewpoint as much as possible.

The truth is that Linux has never been better prepared for the end-user environment; current desktop solutions are mature, flexible and easily deployed, and there's plenty of F/OSS packages, tools and utilities to help them along their way.

So as your kids school approaches their next ICT refresh; what direction are they heading?

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