Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog


Feb 27, 2010 GMT

I recently had to sign a "Non-Disclosure Agreement" (NDA) for the first time in a long while, and I thought I would write about how an NDA might or might not fit in with Free and Open Source Software.One of the main ideas of FOSS is to share information, and we encourage both programmers and vendors to share as much information as possible.Sometimes a vendor shares some information with developers, and the vendor's words "we think we are going to do this" becomes misconstrued as "we are going to do this". Then people get upset when (perhaps a year later) the "promise" never materializes.Information like product lines that never get produced,...
Of Questionable Value

Feb 24, 2010 GMT

Since I buy a lot of books through an on-line reseller, I normally receive some emails from them with "suggestions" of "books of interest" based on books that I have ordered in the past.Recently I have started receiving suggestions about books bearing a title that is very long and sort of a combination of a series of topics, for example:"OpenSSL: Open Source, Transport Layer Security, C (Programming Language), Cryptography, Unix-Like, Solaris (Operating System), Linux, Mac OS X, RSA Security (Paperback)""edited" by three editors, and published by "Betascript publishing".Curious, I looked at the description of the book, which was advertised...

Feb 24, 2010 GMT

I have a few personal heroes whose lives have inspired me: Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Clemens, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Albert Einstein and Alan Turing. Recently I learned of another, and I would like to share their story with you, since in a lot of ways they had a major effect on Computers and Free Software.It was 1937 and Europe was in turmoil. A lot of Jewish people were fleeing from the regime of the Nazis, quite a few coming to the United States to escape oppression. A lot of these immigrants were highly educated. My "hero" had received a good education in Austria, but also had a love of mathematics and science that went far beyond their formal education. My hero's...
Project Cauã: Vertical Market Definition

Feb 22, 2010 GMT

Several months ago in the printed issue of LinuxProMagazine I wrote an article about Project Cauã (, a project that I had initiated, and several people have joined, with goals of: Creating millions of new, high-tech, private-sector jobs throughout the world; Make computing much easier and cost-effective; Significantly reducing the use of electrical power and other environmental impacts of computers; Bringing digital inclusion to under-served populations in urban areas; and do all of this with private-sector money, not government spending.While these are very high goals to achieve, even if a fraction of the goals are realized the project will be worthwhile. And...
Walk the plank....or not! Help Microsoft eliminate software piracy.

Feb 15, 2010 GMT

Several times I have written about "Software Piracy", and I think a lot of my readers get a little tired of hearing about it, but something happened this week that started me thinking about Software Piracy again.Microsoft made Software Piracy Prevention a voluntary thing.Of course Microsoft will probably pitch a different explanation, but what they actually did was post an "update" to Windows 7 that had lots of anti-piracy software in it, and told their customers that it was "voluntary" to install the anti-piracy software.Now this was probably in response to another time when Microsoft tried to force down the throats, er....ah..."distribute"...
Linux Professional Institute and Training Materials

Feb 06, 2010 GMT

Recently there has been a discussion on the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) mailing list about why LPI does not publish its own training materials to help students prepare for their tests. I started to answer in the mailing list, but instead I decided to answer here.LPI, of course, is a non-profit organization that creates certification exams for Linux systems administrators. It is distribution neutral, and tries to be comprehensive in its tests.When we started LPI many years ago, there was a long discussion about whether LPI should create its own training materials.At that time "Linux" was a fledgling industry, and the number of Linux books, publications and (particularly)...
Free Software In Action: Please donate to Inveneo's work in Haiti

Jan 29, 2010 GMT

Four or five years ago I learned of Inveneo, a company that was trying to bring low-cost and low-power usage computers to the developing world. They were some of the first to use Asterisk to set up a PBX for a village and (of course) the recognized the benefits of other Free Software in what they did. They also recognized the issues of reducing power consumption in computers so you reduce the number (and cost) of solar panels.I met the three co-founders, Kristian Peterson, Bob Marsh and Mark Summer at many different FOSS events, and I am proud to say that I once helped them get booth space for free at a Linuxworld event in San Francisco when they showed up and there was "no space...

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