MindTouch releases list of influential voices in open source
Mar 17, 2010 GMT
If you want to spread information about an open source topic, who are the people who can help you? MindTouch, a producer of wiki-like solutions for business, has the answer in the form of a list of the top fifty most influential voices in open source -- those whose blogs and microblogs are most likely to be picked up and echoed by others.
The list is a follow-up to MindTouch's list of Most... more »
Ad-blocking and the compromises of conscience
Mar 11, 2010 GMT
After reading Ken Fisher's "Why Ad Blocking is Devastating the Sites You Love," I admit to mixed emotions. In fact, I wonder if I can possibly navigate the issue without revealing myself as hopelessly hypocritical.
Fisher is writing after Ars Technica, for which he works, blocked content from ad blockers for twelve hours. Technically, the experiment was a success, but it met with mixed reactions.
"There was... more »
Learned helplessness and the hacker mentality
Mar 08, 2010 GMT
Like anyone with even a modest claim to computer expertise, I am often asked to help neighbors and friends. I tend to mutter about the blind leading the blind, because what small expertise I've accumulated is in GNU/Linux, not Windows nor OSX. Yet, a surprising amount of the time, I can help, generally not because of any prior knowledge, but because I have absorbed enough of the hacker mentality that I'm a systematic troubleshooter. That used to be a given among GNU/Linux users, although lately I've worried how much longer that will remain true.
The... more »
The allure of the phone app stores
Feb 25, 2010 GMT
I was at a news conference today when two men pulled out their iPhones simultaneously. In less than ten seconds, they were comparing apps, their original purposes forgotten.
This is a scene I've seen repeatedly in the last six months. Every time, I wonder what the excitement is about. After all, as a GNU/Linux user, I've been able to download software on a whim for years -- and not just the equivalent of KDE's widgets or GNOME's applets, but complex applications like Inkscape or Amarok.
Moreover, that software is free of cost, unlike a lot of the apps on the more »
Damned Lies and Statistics, FOSS Sexism and Education
Feb 17, 2010 GMT
The trouble with statistics is that they can be easily abused. This insight is hardly new to me, but its truth was reinforced when I read Mark Guzdial's suggestion that free and open source software (FOSS) was not a good match for education because few women or minorities participated in it.
Guzdial makes his comments in an article entitled, "The Impact of Open Source on Computing Education." After talking with... more »
RMS's Mostly Slax: Bad choices in a good cause
Feb 11, 2010 GMT
Free distributions -- ones that contain only free and open source software, and remove proprietary blobs from the kernel -- are a rarity. In fact, the GNU Project lists only nine.
For that reason, I was immediately interested in the announcement of RMS's Mostly Slax, a project dedicated to putting a free distribution on a USB... more »
Fellow travelers: The FOSS media and FOSS developers
Feb 04, 2010 GMT
Recently, Carla Schroder published an editorial in which she used the current version of KDE Gwenview image viewer as an example of how interfaces are dumbed down. A couple of days later, Aaron Seigo replied in detail, refuting many of Schroder's points and talking about the design philosophy behind Gwenview. Both Schroder and Seigo tried hard to keep the discussion... more »