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August 2008 Archives

I heard a snippet of a story on the radio about the trauma of losing older workers. I didn't hear much, but I'm pretty sure they were talking about retirement, both forced and voluntary, and occasionally moving to a different job. The staff who were left behind were all traumatized- the old coots are gone, and all of their ineffable wisdom with them! Now what will we do!

I've run into this several times in my consulting career. This probably reveals too much of my cranky, impatient nature, but the script always runs the same way- they act like employees getting older and moving on is an unforeseeable event, and act all surprised and betrayed and the foundations of the universe are cracking. I always wonder- don't they teach planning ahead and how to recognize the obvious in those spendy college business programs?

There are two stories posted on Linux Today that I knew I was going to rant about as soon as I saw them:

Nominum Solves Kaminsky Attack, and Novell's iPrint Open to Attack, Say Researchers. What do these stories have in common? I was thinking perhaps institutionalized delusional thinking and incompetence, but maybe I'm being too harsh.

FOSS applications for Windows don't seem to get the same respect and support that their Linux counterparts do, even when they are genuine 100% GPL or BSD or whatever a person's favorite license is. Some say they are good introductions to FOSS; some think they're tainted and nasty and prop up the evil monopolist.

This blog was written a few months ago by an Inkscape developer, Bryce Harrington, and it is one of the better analyses I have seen:

"A point I often hear made is that having a good Windows port of Inkscape will "increase it's popularity." Perhaps, however popularity by itself isn't valuable - it needs to be translated into something tangible. For proprietary software, increased userbase means increased income, which allows hiring more developers to fix the bugs that the increased number of users are reporting. For free software projects, popularity doesn't bring value quite so directly..."

I am not making this up:

WSJ: Microsoft using Seinfeld as Vista pitchman in $300 million ad campaign

"Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will headline Microsoft's upcoming $300 million Windows Vista ad campaign, along with Chairman Bill Gates, according to anonymous sources quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

"Seinfeld will get $10 million for his work on the campaign, whose slogan is along the lines of "Windows, Not Walls.""

What could be more appropriate than using professional comedians as Vista pitchmen? I wish they'd use Judy Tenuta- now that would be ads that bite.

Thanks to Jose_ X for finding this story.

More hardware manufacturers than ever support Linux in some way- they supply binary drivers, or support and sponsor FOSS drivers. Even better, some actually admit it publicly. Though some still act like you want to peek up their skirts when you ask about Linux.

One of my favorite features of Linux Today is the Talkbacks. A lot of times they're better than the articles. Or at least funny, or intriguing, or from such a different perspective they change how I think about the subject.



I can't share all of the Talkbacks that I think are worth sharing because there are too many good ones. So here is a random sampling of a few that caught my eye. I'm not saying I agree with any of them- I just think they're worth sharing.



"Vaster Than Empires, and More Slow" is a wonderful short story by Ursula LeGuin. It has nothing to with Linux and FOSS, but I think of the title whenever I read about SCO's latest and endless antics. But some cases move through the courts more quickly, like the recent Jacobsen v. Katzer decision. It took only two years and the second-highest court in the land to affirm that the Artistic License is indeed a copyright license, and not a contract. A lower court had determined that it was a contract, which meant bad consequences for the Artistic License holder- calling the Artistic License a contract stripped it of any meaningful recourse for copyright violations.

Here come the "This story doesn't belong on Linux Today!" whinges again, so this seems a good time to discuss how I select stories. In any week approximately 170 stories get posted on Linux Today. Some of them are contributed by readers, some are selected by me.

Mom Nature Wins Again

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Summers in my little bit of the world tend to be hot; lots of 90- and 100F days. But it's high desert, so the nights are cool, down in the 50s and even 40s. I live in a nice green river valley, not the desert part, and the transition from valley to desert-y hills is abrupt. You can literally move from one to the other in a single step. I lived in big cities most of my life, a country girl trapped in the city because that's where the jobs were. But now, thanks to high tech and the Internet I can work anywhere.

As powerful as all this cool technology is, it's also fragile, as I learned yet again today. A storm blew in and it was a doozy- high winds, machine-gun rain, lightning, and thunder that felt like it was RIGHT HERE. What can the mighty Linux and FOSS machine do in the face of Mother Nature pitching a little fit? Not a darned thing. They're not even relevant.

Ordinarily I don't pay any more attention to Microsoft than I have to, but this was too funny to ignore:

A Better View of Microsoft Security?; Microsoft to expand its Trustworthy Computing in a bid to help users and vendors understand security risks.

Sean Michael Kerner is an excellent reporter, and gives the impression of keeping a straight face as he wrote this article. It may be that he did; I know I would not have been capable of writing it as a straight news story. Allow me to share a few choice quotes: