''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!

Dr. Phatak speaks...and the world learns

I first met Dr. Phatak at the Red Hat Summit in New Orleans in 2005. Dr. Phatak exemplifies what Amartya Sen lovingly calls The Argumentative Indian. Dr. Phatak is passionate, well educated, articulate, and most of all, sincerely committed to raising the standards in India to the highest levels. After spending time with him in Mumbai (aka Bombay), I truly envied those students fortunate enough to have him as a mentor and a teacher.

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.

Report from CSEE&T Meeting, April 2008

Last month I was honored to be a keynote speaker at the Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEE&T) annual meeting. Open Source has become a major topic on campuses, not just the enterprise, and I was delighted to meet with some of the leaders in setting the agenda for software engineering education.

When I was a student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, I did not give to much thought about how the faculty chose to teach Sorting and Searching and not DOS for Idiots or why the core curriculum was constructed in one way and not another. At the time it all seemed like useful and exciting stuff to me, and I learned it all (as best I could).

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:

I just won a $300 bet

For the past several years I've printed various documents at home by sending them to my wife Amy with a request "Please print...". And after several years we both know that Adobe Acrobat version 5 for Mac works far, far better than any subsequent release from Apple or Adobe, at least for the pdf documents I create on Linux. But how crazy is it that I don't have my own printer?

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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