Category: Software:

The last two weeks have brought two major software upgrades for my personal computing environment.

The Ubuntu team released the latest version codename “Gutsy Gibbon.” Ubuntu has come a long way, and continues to be the leader in desktop Linux. The Add/Remove programs and browser integration is second to none, even to OSX.
Ubuntu Gutsy Desktop

Speaing of OSX, I upgraded my Macbook to Leopard over the weekend. Leopard is definitely a worthy upgrade. My only complaint is I did a fresh install and I totally forgot that i-applications (i-photo, i-movie, etc) are not included with OSX. I’ve never under the rational for seperating iphoto and imovie from OSX. Its almost as dumb as “Quicktime PRO.”

OSX Leopard Desktop

Overall, I’m pleased with both upgrades.

There are lots of open source projects out in the wild, that have their own blog planets. A planet, is essential a collection of blogs, usually of people involved in the same project. Gnome is a windowing environment for Linux, and other Unix like operating systems. Gnome’s founder, Miguel de Icaza, had a lot of clout and respect in Linux circles, until he decided to waste the last 7 years or so of his life reverse engineering Micrsoft’s Java and Flash clones.

Miguel has some pretty extreme political views, most of which I agree with if I happen to catch them, but they piss off a lot of people because he continually posts his political blogs on Gnome planet. This brings up an interesting question, should people be posting politically charged content in software blog planets?

My view is simple, I go to Planet Gnome to read about the latest developments on Gnome. I don’t care about Miguel De Icaza’s view that Israel has an unjust influence on US foreign policy, even if I totally agree with it. If I care about someone’s political opinion, I will take the time to visit their blog directly. I go to Planet Gnome to read about Gnome, and laugh at whatever Microsoft product Miguel is porting now.

I noticed an article in Slashdot today, promoting the fact that Comcast is moving to Zimbra, an “open source” groupware product designed to compete with Microsoft’s exchange.

I spent a decent chunk of time evaluating “open source” groupware optionsa few months ago. None of the major “open source” groupware options are truly open source. Both Zimbra and Scalix are a category of software I like to describe as “dual source.” The bulk of the code for both products is released under a software license that is semi open-source. Any of the juicy features that make the product interesting are proprietary.

If you want to use any of the additional features, a per-seat license is needed. How is that exactly open? “Dual Source” products might as well be proprietary in my book. With “open source” licensing designed to prevent anyone from actually using the code in a real product, and restrictive licensing for the real enterprise ready product, what is the real benefit of the source release?

For me, real open source is not the partial release of code under a restrictive license. Real open source is where the open source code, and the enterprise product, are one in same. No handcuffs, no restrictions, just freedom.

A few jobs ago, I co-wrote a grant proposal for a P2P project that received a grant from the Mellon foundation. The Mellon foundation funds a variety of academic IT initiatives, including the Chandler project. There were quite a few instances were my project, called LionShare, was encouraged to collaborate with the Chandler project. A few conference calls, and the occasional sit in on each other’s conference presentations.

One of my former colleagues at Penn State alerted me about a book detailing the misguided development process of Chandler. The book, “Dreaming in Code,” was authored by Scott Rosenberg, the co-founder of Salon.com. I just started reading the book last night.

Today, I’m reviewing the list of blogs that are linking to items on my personal website, when I notice that the author of Dreaming in Code is linking to an image on my website, in a post about the how Pioneer HDTV’s run GPLed software.

It’s a small world..