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SciPhone && Open Source

These guys (SciPhone) really REALLY ought to get together with some open source developers. Looks like a great product, but it's almost 100% certain that their software stinks. Is it simply that they don't believe that hackers will come togther to write software for their hardware? Do they not know how to build such a community? Are they bound by contracts not to disclose programming information for the chips they've used? Do they not speak English well enough to make a difference in the Open Source creating part of the world?

Defending Open Source

When you see somebody abusing the term "Open Source", please tell us. But also tell them. Let them know that they have lost your trust as a business. Let them know that their use is fradulent (misrepresentation with an intent to profit from it). Let them know that they are confusing their customers. Confused customers do one of two things: they either go away and find another vendor who doesn't confuse them, or they purchase the product and then bad-mouth it to their friends because it wasn't as represented. Look for the Open Source Approved License logo, including the green keyhole.

An obvious reason to use Open Source

Let's say that you want to build the highest building in your {village,town,county,state,country}. Your resources are limited, as they always are. Should you start building from the ground up? Or should you make use of the community foundation that Open Source developers have created? Your choice should be obvious. You may choose to build from the ground up, but your competitors are not likely to make that mistake.

Open Source is not about freedom, nor is it about licenses.

Open Source is not about freedom, nor is it about licenses. It's about community. Of course everyone knows about Richard Stallman's concern about having the freedom to modify all software on his machine. Tim O'Reilly has had a concern for many years that Open Source licenses do not keep software Open Source when it is not being distributed but instead performed as in Web 2.0 applications.

tigers and elephants

Is Microsoft a tiger or a rogue elephant? A tiger has its own agenda, and cannot be diverted from its mission:to kill and eat. An rogue elephant is powerful and intelligent, but they can also be trained. We in the opensource community are not sure of the answer to this question. If Microsoft is a tiger, we will have to kill it to have peace. If Microsoft is currently a rogue elephant, we can tame it and turn it into a significant open source contributor. Either way, I have faith in the power of open source to overcome, just like the power of water to erode.

Franchise

In a free market, over time, competition in the production of a commodity product will eliminate all profits. Bread-makers can sell their bread for enough money to cover the cost of the capital invested in the bakery, the cost of the flour, yeast, sugar, and water, the fuel needed for firing, and the salary of the baker. They can earn no more money than that. If they did, then another bakery would be established which would price its products lower, splitting that profit between the customer and the owner of the new bakery.

''open-source fundamentalist''??

Apparently somebody somewhere sometime recently called Walter Bender, late of the OLPC, an open source fundamentalist. Walter expressed confusion about what that meant. I wish I could clear it up for him, but I don't know what it means either. We never talk about Open Source in terms of religion or philosophy, morality or ethics. There is simply no place for one to be fundamentalistic about Open Source. If Open Source works for you, great!

Declare victory and go home

Sometimes I want to declare victory and go home. Of course, that's usually an admission of defeat, but I really think that with news like Verizon Embraces Linux, that the penetration of Open Source into every sector of computer-using society (which would be ... everything) is inevitable. We've started the snowball down the hill, and there's no stopping it. Not that we would want to! But neither can the foes of Open Source stop it either.

Web 2.0 doesn't imply usability

I recently got myself a Flickr Pro account, and have been using Flickr for more of my photos. I find myself more and more annoyed at the rough edges in the Flickr user interface. For example, when you want to delete a tag from something, you click on the [x] to the right of the tag. Flickr asks you "Do you want to delete the tag?" Cancel/Ok:

config.h considered harmful

Many, many programs written in C or C++ use a file called "config.h" which contains #define statement that control the compilation of the program. These programs are also nearly always built using 'make'. I claim that these two attributes are in conflict with each other. Or, in layman's terms, "config.h sucks". The problem is that when you have multiple options in config.h, every file which may be compiled differently depending on the values defined therein must be recompiled whenever config.h changes.

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