A re-evaluation of Canonical
Oct 07, 2011 GMT
Like many people, I've always thought of Canonical as a FOSS company. Recently, though, I realize that I've been guilty of a category error. Unlike Red Hat, Canonical does not have an open source business model. Rather, like Novell or Google, it's a company with a mixed business model in which free software and proprietary practices mix as convenient.
Nothing's wrong with a mixed business model, no matter how disappointed it makes me. As much as I'm tempted, I can't even bring myself to call it immoral, although I would say it's not part of best practices.
But I do... more »
FSF Moves to Greater Openness with Free Software Directory Relaunch
Sep 30, 2011 GMT
Over the last few years, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has tried to become more open in its operations. The largest of the efforts in this direction is probably the LibrePlanet network and annual conference. But today, the FSF announced another effort: the relaunching of its Free Software Directory, with a redesign that makes it easier for people to contribute. Although what is implemented falls... more »
Bad-mouthing the Free Software Foundation
Sep 22, 2011 GMT
Over the past year or so, I've noticed a disturbing trend. Whenever the Free Software Foundation (FSF) posts anything on any subject, pundits leap to criticize it. The FSF is too negative, people like Brian Proffitt say. It's too ineffectual, people like Joe "Zonker"' Brockmeier say [See Correction in comments]. Just how the FSF might communicate... more »
Revolutionizing desktops without causing user revolts
Sep 14, 2011 GMT
The last few years of development on the free desktop have been instructive. First, KDE stumbled and recovered with the KDE 4 series. Then, this year, GNOME and Ubuntu introduced radically new desktops. In each case, user complaints immediately poured in. Although both GNOME and Ubuntu seem determined to ignore these complaints and continue on their course, I keep wondering: could the disastrous receptions have been avoided?
The question is worth asking. On the one hand, free desktops need to innovate steadily, both to attract developers and to stay... more »
A community is shared mythology
Sep 12, 2011 GMT
Everyone now and then, someone insists that there is no such thing as a free software community -- only a collection of code and licenses. That has always seemed self-evidently false to me, but it struck me as especially so when I attended LinuxCon last month.
Probably, I was overly-aware of the sense of community because, for personal reasons, I hadn't attended a conference for several years. Consequently, I seem to have spent most of the three days of the conference either catching up with old acquaintances like Jay Lyman and his family, or else meeting Internet... more »
I've got some good news and some bad news
Aug 21, 2011 GMT
Recently, I wrote an article about the lack of acceptance of GNOME 3. I received a private email from Aaron Seigo of KDE in which he took me to task, politely, thoughtfully, and with his usual thoroughness, for focusing on negative news. Since I often debate this issue with myself, with Seigo's permission, I'm summarizing the discussion here.
Seigo begins by asking, "Is it useful to spend time concentrating on the negatives in FOSS when we have not only a... more »
Seven Points About Ereaders You Should Know Before Buying
Aug 16, 2011 GMT
Last week, I finally got around to buying an ereader. I might have bought before, except for a vague feeling that I should wait for the technology to improve, but the whim hadn't struck me before. Nothing I might read has ever been published exclusively as an ebook, and the price of ebooks isn't usually compelling, especially since I frequent used bookstores. But the stars aligned (or, more exactly, a sale and my available cash), and I bought at last.
I chose a Kobo, based partly on in-store trials, and the fact that Kobo has limited support for... more »