Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Digital Tipping Point

Oct 06, 2008 GMT

In 2004 I was at the FISL conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil when I was introduced to a young man who wanted to create a documentary about the Free Software movement. His name is Christian Einfeldt and he is a lawyer in San Francisco, California Christian and Paul Donahue, his cameraman, had flown to Brazil to capture some of the excitement and flavor of Free Software that occurs at FISL. At the conference I contributed some video on the early days of the Alpha port and other topics. Later I found that Christian was traveling to Extremadura, Spain for the Free Software World Conference and when I went to wine country on a trip to California I invited Christian to join Eric Allman...
Microsoft admits that TCO for developing nation's schools is same for Linux and Windows.

Sep 30, 2008 GMT

This is a very long blog entry. I wondered whether it would be better to write it here, or to write an article for Linux Pro Magazine. The editors felt that because of the timeliness of the subject it would be better to have it as a blog entry. For those who do not want to read to the end, the "Executive Summary" is: Microsoft admits that TCO for education students in developing nations is about the same with their products and Free Software. They further admit that the initial TCO costs of hardware and software are lower with Linux, and that Linux technical people in developing nations command a higher salary than their Microsoft counterparts due to scarcity. I feel that...
Public Code With Public Funds

Sep 25, 2008 GMT

I was summoned to a large bank the other day. This bank administers funds for various philanthropic organizations, and often oversees grants for software development. The bank had an interesting idea. Since the grants they handed were purportedly for the "common good", why not make a stipulation that any software developed through a grant be a free and open source license? At first the bank thought about insisting that all of the software be GPL. That way the bank could be assured that the maximum number of people could use the code that was developed with these philanthropic funds. However, the bank worried about companies who wanted to take the GPLed software and make a...
Proyecto Ceibal: Uruguay's project for OLPC deployment

Sep 19, 2008 GMT

Last week I was in Montevideo, Uruguay. While there I visited the people who are rolling out the deployment of the XO (nee OLPC) systems, named "Proyecto Ceibal". Ceibal's office was located in an incubator where small businesses are started. Project Ceibal occupied two locations in the series of "incubator" buildings. Uruguay is very serious about deploying the laptops, and today the project is deploying about 1,600 laptops per day. They believe that the first wave of laptops will be completely deployed by the end of 2009 (the country of Uruguay has a population of 3,460,607 people according to a July 2007 estimation). Along with the notebooks, of course, is the...
Ohio Linux Fest - October 10th and 11th, 2008: Columbus, Ohio

Sep 15, 2008 GMT

On October 10th and 11th, 2008 the Ohio Linux Fest (OLF) 2008 Ohio Linux Fest (OLF) 2008 will occur. This is the sixth edition of this event, held every year in Columbus Ohio. I like OLF, because it is not only a community event, staged and run by volunteers, but it is also a family event, with people of all ages invited and involved. When I say "all ages", one of the speakers is Elizabeth Garbee, a teenager who will be talking about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) from a teenage perspective. If her last name sounds familiar, she shares it with her father Bdale Garbee, who is the Chief Technologist for Open Source and Linux at Hewlett Packard and former Debian project...
Universities that do not use Free Software: Time for a boycott?

Aug 29, 2008 GMT

I received an email recently from a young man in Brazil who wanted me to come to his university and talk to the students and faculty about using Free Software. I am normally happy to advise universities to use Free Software, but usually this is done in conjunction with some large conference held at the university or some other venue. I just do not have the time to visit each and every school. But I did investigate the university of the student and found that Microsoft was indeed a sponsor of the University. In fact, the university had a large banner on the front page of their web site talking about Microsoft as a partner. It was the first time I saw a university advertising a commercial...
Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre: Open Source conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina (20/8/2008 - 22/8/2008)

Aug 20, 2008 GMT

I am currently sitting in the main auditorium of the Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre (which I continuously abbreviate to "JRSL" in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Produced by a group of volunteers from various LUGs around Argentina, I was invited to participate by my very good friend, Daniel Coletti of CaFeLug. This conference will be going on during the days of August 20th to 22nd, 2008. While DebConf and Debian Day were focused on the Debian distribution as well as Free Software, JRSL as a three-day event is about the breath and width of Free Software. CentOS, for example, is next on the list of talks that will be given. The event is being held at a University, to keep down...

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