The glossy hype over the Apple iPhone has certainly faded some, but that hasn't bothered the independent and corporate third-party developers that have been polishing up iPhone apps to run over the device's mobile Safari browser.
Every once in awhile I come across a story that seems too incredible to be true. This week, I heard the exact same story, from two different enterprises, about the same proprietary vendor. Unfortunately, I had to live the story, which I found unpleasant.
If you don't believe that the proprietary software model is inherently bad for customers, read on.
I've argued before that proprietary software pits vendors against would-be customers. At its most benign, the proprietary creates perverse disincentives to actually serve customers. And, as I've written, it dramatically increases the cost of failure for IT buyers and shifts nearly all risk to the buyer.
Talk about a raw deal.… Read more
Once upon a time, the term "open source" was coined to save the free-software world from itself--or, rather, from the free-software zealots, as you can read on the Open Source Initiative's Web site.
Today, I can't help but feel that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, where we're so self-satisfied with the money we're making off open source that we have neglected the essential freedoms that make open-source profit possible.
The wake-up call about the necessary freedoms came from Eben Moglen at last week's O'Reilly Open Source Conference. Some, including software consultant Stephen Walli, don't like the way Eben said it. I wasn't in the room to hear Eben. At any rate, I'm not one for handwringing and am just glad it was said.
Why?… Read more
Update: I updated this posting to correct my misunderstanding of an ambiguous point in the news release--the ar5k-based OpenBSD driver isn't proprietary.
The Software Freedom Law Center, which provides free legal advice to free and open-source software projects, has declared an open-source project to support Atheros Communications wireless network devices to be free of copyright infringement.
The group--which employs notable attorney and former Free Software Foundation counsel Eben Moglen--performed a confidential comparison of the OpenHAL project and the Atheros HAL software whose functions it attempts to duplicate, the center said Tuesday. The audit was a response to allegations of … Read more
Like their real-world counterpart, a quickly jotted digital sticky note placed prominently on the desktop can be just the reminder or inspirational message you need. And it won't bulk up the landfill when you trash it.
Software sticky notes are simply movable widgets that contain text, and even the simplest possess some font, color, and formatting customization. Most of the apps I looked at let you add alarms, sounds, and hot key shortcuts. The more advanced programs are surprisingly powerful, adding sophisticated synchronizing features and management platforms to track notes and reduce desktop clutter.
Earlier this week, security company Secunia released a beta version of a new, free tool that scans all of your installed applications and analyzes their security patch statuses. The Secunia Personal Software Inspector evaluates all of the installed programs on your computer and compares them to a list of over 4,200 software programs.
After the scan is complete, Secunia PSI will categorize each program as "Up-To-Date" (everything is OK), "Insecure" (you've got an outdated version), or "End-of-Life" (your version is no longer supported). The results table presents the name and version number of your install app; each--when clicked--takes you to a page that gives more information about that program.… Read more
I've been mentioning Larry Rosen's Open Software License (OSL) off and on over the last few weeks.
But today I decided to give OSL a deep dive in light of the failure of General Public License (GPL) version 3 to protect software developers from network distribution of their works and the success of the Common Public Attribution License (CPAL) in protecting these same developers by calling out network distribution.
The OSL works because, like the GPL, it's concerned with contributions, not credit (i.e., attribution). Ultimately, this is what a strong open-source license should provide. It's the best protection of freedom and, let's be frank, revenue.
The OSL is, in my opinion, one of the best licenses for the 21st century. Here's why.… Read more
I had been wondering this lately, and so have been asking people: who are IBM's software customers? My company sells into a wide range of Global 2000 companies, but we almost never bump into IBM databases or application servers (or hardware, for that matter). I can count the number of times on two hands, yet we often run into Oracle, Microsoft, BEA Weblogic, even Sybase. Rarely IBM.
System Restore is a feature of Windows XP that periodically backs up the Windows system folders. It does this in case some piece of software is not doing something today that it was doing yesterday. In that event, you can restore the latest System Restore backup and hopefully fix things.
Microsoft refers to System Restore backups as "restore points". They reside on the C disk in a folder Windows tries to keep hidden.
System Restore runs silently in the background, thus, you can use a Windows XP machine for years and not be aware of its existence - … Read more
Ian Howells, Alfresco's chief marketing officer, did some analysis of the company's customer and user community, and I found the results interesting. I've been hearing rumblings for some time that Windows increasingly serves as a great evaluation platform for open source, but most companies use Linux when they're serious and want to go into production. Ian's data confirmed this, and more. (Zmanda has published data that corroborates our findings.)
First of all, the Alfresco data shows that Windows is plays a healthy role in the open source ecosystem. (In the graph, Windows = green, and Linux = blue, in case you can't see it well.) We have plenty of companies going into production with open-source Alfresco sitting on top of closed-source Windows. From my work with SugarCRM, JasperSoft and others, I know the same holds true for them. I don't suspect that this is going to change anytime soon.
Windows plays a large role because it's the OS sitting on the most desktops. But when customers are serious about production, the majority favor Linux. Again, I think you'd find very similar results were you to talk with MuleSource, Funambol, SugarCRM, etc.… Read more