Firefox just passed the 400 million download mark, according to the Spread Firefox site for promoting the open-source, extendable Web browser.
That number shouldn't be confused with actual installations, Mozilla's public relations folks rightly caution. (I'm sure I've downloaded it at least a dozen times this year, and I'm only using copies on three computers at present. On the flip side, there are any number of other ways to get Firefox, including Linux installations.) Nevertheless, 400 million is an achievement worth noting, given that just a few years ago it looked like Microsoft had the … Read more
Qualcomm's handoff of its Eudora e-mail software to the Mozilla Foundation has taken an important step: release of the first beta version of the software, 8.0.0b1.
Mozilla already has an open-source e-mail program, Thunderbird, and the new Eudora will be a branded offshoot with some new features, according to the release site. In addition, a related extension called Penelope will provide some extra features to both Eudora and the regular Thunderbird.
Eudora rose to popularity in the dial-up days of the Internet, but it was mostly supplanted by Microsoft Outlook Express and by Web-based e-mail services. Qualcomm … Read more
Advanced Micro Devices will release open-source driver software to improve Linux support for its ATI graphics chips and is contributing help and funding to outside programmers who are improving the driver, according to a Linux graphics expert.
AMD is sharing specifications, releasing source code of one software component, and funding programmer work on the project, said Michael Larabel of the Phoronix site, which measures Linux performance. AMD is working with Novell's Suse Linux programmers on the project, he said.
An AMD representative told CNET News.com that the company plans to release details later Thursday about its open-source driver … Read more
ATI, the graphics chip business Advanced Micro Devices acquired, is planning to release new graphics drivers for Linux, and the move should provide a much-needed performance boost and a new open-source approach, one expert said Wednesday.
"The performance overall for the past sixteen months has been stagnant," said Michael Larabel, who runs the Phoronix site to monitor Linux graphics performance. He tested the driver and said the new 8.41 version will be available within the next week. "The new driver delivers massive performance improvements."
That's handy for the graphics wonks who want fancy 3D-graphics … Read more
I don't think there's a useful answer to this question: is open-source software support better than closed-source software support? While I believe that open source aligns vendor interests with customer interests, I don't think that this necessarily translates into world-class support. At the end of the day, people and process create excellent support organizations. Source code access is an important but not the defining factor in how good support is.
There is only one email program for Windows users. No, I haven't lost my mind, and yes Windows users can chose from many client side email programs. But this is a Defensive Computing blog and speaking defensively, that is, with the hope of avoiding problems in the future, there is only one choice when it comes to email programs (webmail is another topic entirely - if you use webmail exclusively you can stop reading here).Outlook
Outlook is out because it stores all your email in a single file. You don't need to be a techie/nerd to … Read more
Slashdot has an intriguing question posed by Scott_F:I recently reviewed several commercial, closed-source slideshow authoring packages for Windows and came across an alarming trend. Several of the packages I installed included GPL and LGPL software without any mention of the GPL, much less source code. For example, DVD Photo Slideshow included mkisofs, cdrdao, dvdauthor, spumux, id3lib, lame, mpeg2enc, and mplex (all of which are GPL or LGPL). The company tried to hide this by wrapping them all in DLLs. There are other violations in other packages as well. Based on my testing of other software, it seems that use of GPL software in commercial Windows applications is on the rise. My question is how much are GPL violations in the Windows world being pursued?
Probably not. But the larger question is, why do these proprietary software companies think it's OK to steal from open source, but abhor the notion of anyone stealing from them?… Read more
I stumbled across this excellent commentary from Stephen Baker in BusinessWeek on "good enough" technology. It's actually a great foil to an earlier post I wrote on software as a service (SaaS).
Baker asks, "Are we helped or hindered by imperfect technology that is merely 'good enough'?" He comes down squarely on the "helped" side, and with interesting reasons:… Read more
What makes a cell phone more than a phone? What it can do. Software can elevate your plastic slider, candy bar, or PDA above its earthly mechanics and turn it into the kind of dream machine that entertains you and organizes your life.
Consider, for example, ListPro (for Pocket PC, Palm, and Smartphone), a handy organizer with a slew of built-in, customizable list templates for managing everything from your shopping to your calendar to the sudden surge of brilliance that will eventually lead to that multimillion-dollar idea. No really, it can do that.… Read more