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Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations

mjasay Do you actually *want* to give Canonical this info (548 comments)

So, I'm biased: I work for Canonical. But I'm guessing many would want to give Canonical this sort of data, so long as it's innocuously used (i.e., for the reasons stated in the original article). I don't want Canonical tracking my every move (that's Google's job ;-), but I do feel fine letting it know that I'm an Ubuntu user, so that Canonical can more effectively count users and make informed decisions based on that information.

Reading the comments above, it seems I'm not alone. I actually went out and installed canonical-census so that Canonical has data on use (i.e., I've added myself to the total Ubuntu user count), as the package is otherwise only installed on OEM installations. But how many of you others (who installed Ubuntu yourselves rather than buying it through Dell or someone else preinstalled) would like an easy, opt-in mechanism for providing this information?

I know there will be plenty with privacy concerns, and I respect that. But I'm guessing many others would be happy to provide this sort of information. (Yes, you can use Synaptic to do this, but as Ubuntu becomes more and more mainstream there will be plenty of people who don't want to get into Synaptic or a command line.)

I'm not suggesting that Canonical has plans to broaden the use of this package. So far as I know, we don't. I'm merely asking whether you'd support making it more easily available and, if so, under what conditions. (Is there some value we could be giving users in exchange for that opt-in, for example?)

more than 4 years ago
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Open Source Facing a Difficult Battle For Cloud Relevance

mjasay Re:Crybaby (141 comments)

That's the point (read the full article). We keep expecting open source to topple old hegemonies, but the reality is that it's simply helping to create them (Google) and keep them in check (everyone, including Google). That's a very important role, but it's not the BigCo Destroyer role we too often assign to open source.

more than 5 years ago
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Is Apache Or GPL Better For Open-Source Business?

mjasay Re:GPL offered protection from competitors (370 comments)

This is absolutely true, but isn't that same protection against competitors more efficiently realized through proprietary add-ons to the open, Apache-licensed core?

more than 5 years ago
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Can You Be Denied the Right To Support OSS?

mjasay Re:It's even more confusing than you think. (212 comments)

I'm surprised you had any trouble finding a non-partner to provide support. I see dozens on a regular basis. There are hundreds.... We would never ask our partners to do work for free. Why do you think it's odd that the partners would prefer that you use Alfresco for a fee?

more than 5 years ago
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Can You Be Denied the Right To Support OSS?

mjasay Re:Open Road (212 comments)

Actually, there is some truth to this (though I know you were mocking the misspelling). I don't respond to trolls.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Mickos urges EU to approve Oracle's MySQL takeover

mjasay mjasay writes  |  about 5 years ago

mjasay (1141697) writes "Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos has written to EU Commissioner of Competition Neelie Kroes to urge speedy approval of Oracle's proposed purchase of Sun, including the open-source MySQL database. The EU is has been worried that Oracle's acquisition of Sun could end up hurting competition by dampening or killing MySQL's momentum. But in his letter, Mickos separates MySQL, the community, from MySQL, the company, arguing that Oracle's takeover cannot hurt the MySQL community: "Those two meanings of the term 'MySQL' stand in a close mutually beneficial interaction with each other. But, most importantly, this interaction is voluntary and cannot be directly controlled by the vendor." In a follow-up interview with CNET, Mickos indicated that he has no financial interest in the matter, but instead argues he "couldn't live with the fact that [he's] not taking action," and is "motivated now by trying to help the employees still at MySQL and Sun, and by an urge to bring rational discussion to the matter.""
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Linus Torvalds: "Linux is bloated"

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Linus Torvalds, founder of the Linux kernel, made a somewhat surprising comment at LinuxCon in Portland, Ore., on Monday: "Linux is bloated." While the open-source community has long pointed the finger at Microsoft's Windows as bloated, it appears that with success has come added heft, heft that makes Linux "huge and scary now," according to Torvalds. As Linux gets pulled into an ever-widening array of tasks, from mobile to data centers to desktops, it will almost certainly become even more bloated, all of which begs a question: will Linux become more like Windows over time?"
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Microsoft releases Linux devices drivers as GPL

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Microsoft used to call the GPL "anti-American." Now, as Microsoft releases Hyper-V Linux Integration Components (LinuxIC) under the GPL (version 2), apparently Microsoft's calls the GPL "ally." Of course, there was little chance the device drivers would be accepted into the Linux kernel base unless open source, but the news suggests a shift for Microsoft. It also reflects Microsoft's continued interest in undermining its virtualization competition through low prices, and may suggests concern that it must open up if it wants to fend off insurgent virtualization strategies from Red Hat (KVM), Novell (XEN), and others in the open-source camp. Microsoft said the move demonstrates its interest in using open source in three key areas: 1) Make its software development processes more efficient, 2) product evangelism, and 3) using open source to reduce marketing and sales costs or to try out new features that highlight parts of the platform customers haven't seen before."
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Does the bazaar need the cathedral?

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Matt Asay writes "Walk the halls of any open-source conference and you'll see a large percentage of attendees with ironically un-open-source Apple laptops and iPhones. One reason for this seeming contradiction can be found in reading Matthew Thomas' classic "Why free software usability tends to suck": open-source advocates like good design as much as anyone, but the open-source development process is often not the best way to achieve it. Open-source projects have tended to be great commoditizers, but not necessarily the best innovators. Hence, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst recently stated that Red Hat is "focused on commoditizing important layers in the stack." This is fine, but for those that want open source to push the envelope on innovation, it may be unavoidable to introduce a bit more cathedral into the bazaar. Without an IBM, Red Hat, or Mozilla bringing cash and discipline to an open-source project, including paying people to do the "dirt work" that no one would otherwise do, can open source hope to thrive?"
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Microsoft losing 10% IE market share every 2 years

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Mozilla's Asa Dotzler points to some interesting long-term trends in browser market share, noting that "browser releases aren't having any major impact on the macro trends," which suggests that a better IE will likely have little impact on its sliding market share. The most intriguing conclusion from the data, however, is that Firefox could surpass IE market share as early as January 2013 if Firefox continues to gain 5 percent every year, even as IE drops 5 percent each year. In the past, Microsoft might have fought back by tying IE to the browser to block competition, but with the EU keeping a close antitrust eye on Microsoft and the U.S. Obama administration keen to make an example of an antitrust bully, Microsoft may have few good options beyond good old fashioned competition, which doesn't seem to be working very well for the Redmond giant, as the market share data suggests. Microsoft's loss of IE market power, in turn, could have serious consequences for the company's efforts to compete with Google on the Web."
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Is Apache or GPL better for open-source business?

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "While the GPL powers as much as 77% of all Sourceforge projects, Eric Raymond argues that the GPL is "a confession of fear and weakness" that "slows down open-source adoption" because of the fear and uncertainty the GPL provokes. Raymond's argument seems to be that if openness is the winning strategy, an argument Michael Tiemann advocates, wouldn't it make sense to use the most open license? Geir Magnusson of the Apache Software Foundation suggests that there are few "pure" GPL-only open-source projects as GPL-prone developers have to "modify it in some way to get around the enforcement of Freedom(SM) in GPL so people can use the project." But the real benefit of Apache-style licensing may not be for developers at all, and rather accrue to businesses hoping to drive adoption of their products: Apache licensing may encourage broader, deeper adoption than the GPL. In sum, the old GPL vs. BSD/Apache debate may not be about developer preferences so much as new business realities."
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The coming Microsoft/open source duopoly

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Mozilla's Firefox 3 is now Europe's dominant Web browser with 35.05 percent market share, beating out Internet Explorer (IE) 7's 34.54 percent share, according to data released by StatCounter and reported by Reuters. In a separate market, Linux is supplanting UNIX in server operating systems, leading to a showdown between Linux and Windows over enterprise data centers. Though these are just two examples, is it possible that we're rapidly nearing an industry-wide duopoly between open source and Microsoft? Though Microsoft has recently been offering an olive branch to the open-source community, it's likely that an embattled Microsoft will turn to legal maneuvers like its TomTom lawsuit and the monopolistic practices that have earned it the enmity of the European Commission, and could require government intervention to overcome, as Mozilla's Mitchell Baker has argued. In short, a duopoly between open source and Microsoft sounds like a serious cage match, and only one of the contestants has shown a propensity to carry a switchblade into the ring."
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Steve Ballmer pleads for openness to beat Apple

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "At the Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer took aim at Apple's closed iPhone ecosystem with an ironic plea for openness: "Openness is central because it's the foundation of choice." Ballmer has apparently forgotten his company's own efforts to vertically integrate hardware and software (Zune, XBox), vertically integrating software (Tying SharePoint into Office, IE, SQL Server, Active Directory, etc.), as well as years of illegal tying of Windows to Internet Explorer that only the U.S. Justice Department could undo. Indeed, Microsoft's illegal tying in the browser market has pushed Mozilla to get involved in a recent European Commission action against the software giant, with Mozilla's Mitchell Baker recently declaring that "A number of illegal activities were also involved in creating IE's market dominance," now requiring government intervention to open up the browser market to fair competition. Putting aside Microsoft's own tainted reputation in the field of openness, is Ballmer right? Should Apple open up its iPhone platform to outside competition, both in terms of hardware and software? Or does anyone want Windows Mobile running on an iPhone?"
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Microsoft and Red Hat team up on virtualization

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "For years Microsoft has insisted that open-source vendors acknowledge its patent portfolio has a precursor to interoperability discussions. Today, Microsoft shed that charade and announced an interoperability alliance with Red Hat for virtualization. The nuts-and-bolts of the agreement are somewhat pedantic, providing for Red Hat to validate Windows Server guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies, and other technical support details. But the real crux of the agreement is what isn't there: patents. Red Hat has long held that open standards and open APIs are the key to interoperability, even as Microsoft insisted patents play a critical role in working together, and got Novell to buy in. Today, Red Hat's vision seems to have won out with an interoperability deal heavy on technical integration and light on lawyers."
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Microsoft the copycat?

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Microsoft celebrated its 10,000th patent this past week, declaring that "Logging the 10,000th patent really is a testament to all of the innovation that has been taking place." Unfortunately, history isn't kind to this idea that Microsoft is rich in innovation. Microsoft celebrated its moment of innovation by...following Apple into retail stores. From the Zune (iPod) to Live Search (Google, Yahoo) to Office (WordPerfect), Microsoft's history is that of a fast follower, but not an innovator. But is this so bad? Microsoft almost certainly doesn't invent much, but shouldn't we give it credit for making others' innovations easier and cheaper to use? Or we content to criticize Microsoft because it's so quick to point to open source as an imitative copycat and thief of its IP? Pot calling the kettle black?"
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Microsoft may be targeting the Ubuntu desktop

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Microsoft is advertising for a new director of open source strategy, but this one has a specific purpose: fight the Linux desktop. "The Windows Competitive Strategy team is looking for a strong team member to lead Microsoft's global desktop competitive strategy as it relates to open source competitors." For a variety of reasons, this move is almost certainly targeted at Ubuntu Linux's desktop success. With the Mac, not Linux, apparently eating into Microsoft's Windows market share, what is it about desktop Linux, and specifically Ubuntu, that has Microsoft spooked?"
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US Dept. of Defense creates its own Sourceforge

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "The U.S. Department of Defense, which has been flirting with open source for years as a way to improve software quality and cut costs, has finally burst the dam on Defense-related open-source adoption with Forge.mil, an open-source code repository based on Sourceforge. Though it currently only holds three projects and is limited to DoD personnel for security reasons, all code is publicly viewable and will almost certainly lead to other agencies participating on the site or creating their own. Open source has clearly come a long way. Years ago studies declared open source a security risk. Now, one of the most security-conscious organizations on the planet is looking to open source to provide better security than proprietary alternatives."
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Mozilla solicits user feedback with Test Pilot

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Mozilla has announced Test Pilot, a new "user-testing program...that aims to build a 1% representative sample of the Firefox user base for soliciting wide participation and structured feedback for interface and product experiments." Instead of relying on outside developers to learn and then contribute code, Test Pilot lowers the bar to outside contribution, making it as easy to participate as installing a Firefox plug-in. Indeed, Test Pilot may well help to break down the divide that currently prevents average users of software — the ones that can't code but are the most likely customers for Firefox and other software — from contributing back. Whatever its importance for Firefox and other Mozilla projects, its impact on teaching open-source projects how to widen their respective communities may well be its biggest contribution to open source."
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MySQL: Is community eating the company?

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta "you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free." Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"
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HP blocks competitor from revealing its pricing

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Matt Asay writes "On October 13, 2008, Hewlett-Packard (HP) sent a complaint to an open-source competitor, GroundWork, asking GroundWork to stop revealing HP's "confidential" pricing. CNET has posted the letter, which indicates that HP doesn't want its pricing revealed, but which doesn't question the veracity of the pricing (which, not surprisingly, is 82 percent higher than the open-source vendor's). Does HP think its pricing is really a secret? It's publicly available at GSA Advantage. Guess what? HP software costs a lot of money, but presumably feels that it can justify the high prices. Why try to hide the pricing information?"
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Patent troll spawns the anti-patent troll, RPX

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Matt Asay writes "Intellectual Ventures (IV) is arguably the world's largest patent troll. It is ironic, therefore, that two of its executives have now spun out of IV to create RPX, a new defensive patent aggregator designed to defend against the IVs of the world. This sounds a bit like the radar gun/detector industry, wherein the same manufacturers that help police nab speeding motorists also build the radar detectors to help avoid getting caught. It's perhaps different in that RPX is funded by VCs, so it will be profit-driven, unlike non-profit defensive patent aggregators like Linux's Open Invention Network. But the question still remains: can RPX be trusted given its pedigree?"
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Microsoft treats "Windows-only" as open so

mjasay mjasay writes  |  about 6 years ago

mjasay writes "The Register is reporting that Microsoft is hosting Windows-only projects on its "open source project hosting site" CodePlex. Miguel de Icaza caught and criticized Microsoft for doing this with its Microsoft Extensibility Framework (MEF), licensing it under the Microsoft Limited Permissive License (Ms-LPL), which restricts use of the code to Windows. Microsoft has changed the license for MEF to an OSI-approved license, the Microsoft Public License, but it continues to host a range of other projects under the Ms-LPL. If CodePlex weren't an "open source project hosting site," this wouldn't be a problem. But when Microsoft invokes the "open source" label, it has a duty to live up associated expectations and ensure that the code it releases on CodePlex is actually open source. If it doesn't want to do this — if it doesn't want to abide by this most basic principle of open source — then call CodePlex something else and we'll all move on."
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Stanford teaching MBAs how to fight open source

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mjasay writes "As if the proprietary software world needed any help, two business professors from Harvard and Stanford have combined to publish "Divide and Conquer: Competing with Free Technology Under Network Effects," a research paper dedicated to helping business executives fight the onslaught of open source software. The professors advise "the commercial vendor...to bring its product to market first, to judiciously improve its product features, to keep its product "closed" so the open source product cannot tap into the network already built by the commercial product, and to segment the market so it can take advantage of a divide-and-conquer strategy." The professors also suggest that "embrace and extend" is a great model for when the open source product gets to market first. Glad to see that $48,921 that Stanford MBAs pay being put to good use. Having said that, such research is perhaps a great, market-driven indication that open source is having a serious effect on proprietary technology vendors. If open source were innocuous to proprietary profits, there would be no market for such research."
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Microsoft's annual report reveals OSS mistakes

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mjasay writes "Microsoft's most recent annual report suggests that the company is increasingly coming to grips with open source, yet also seems determined to perpetuate myths about open source that serve it and its shareholders poorly. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has suggested before that "free software means no free soda" for Microsoft employees, but this is perhaps the first time that Microsoft has managed to enshrine its ignorance in a public document. In the annual report, Microsoft makes two primary false claims about open source: 1) Open source companies don't invest in research and development and instead largely free-ride on Microsoft's patents and copyrights and 2) Open-source projects don't innovate and instead mimic Microsoft's products. Perhaps Microsoft has forgotten its own "innovative" past copying markets and technologies created by Apple and others, but at least Microsoft gets one thing right: "To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, our sales, revenue and operating margins may decline.""
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FSF attacks Apple Genius Bars, forgets web freedom

mjasay mjasay writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mjasay writes "At OSCON this year, MySQL's Brian Aker made this bold statement: "Microsoft is irrelevant....We're more worried about Apple." The Free Software Foundation appears to have caught the hint, and has turned its attention to all-things-Apple with a "denial of service" attack on the Apple Genius Bars. The idea is to completely book all Genius Bars and then ask the "geniuses,", over and over again, a few questions about Apple's proprietary ways (while, apparently, real customers with support issues are left to flounder). Lost in this anti-Apple fervor, however, is the Free Software Foundation's complete and conscious failure to protect the web. Richard Stallman has long felt that software that doesn't sit on his desktop doesn't affect his freedom, but isn't the opposite true? Why is the FSF focused on Apple when the bigger concern should be Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and other web players, a point made by Tim O'Reilly recently at OSCON?"
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