Totally getting a GNUphone

Free Software, Humour 7 Comments »

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While some people are getting all excited about the Google Android-based phones, I’m going to opt for something way cooler:

The Free Software Foundation (NASDAQ: RMS) has announced the Free Software alternative to the evil, DRM-infested, locked-down, defective-by-design iPhone: the GNUPhone.

The key technical innovation of the GNUPhone is that it is completely operated from the command line. “What could be more intuitive than a bash prompt?” said seventeen-year-old Debian developer Hiram Nerdboy. “The ultimate one-dimensional desktop! Just type dial voice +1-555-1212 –ntwk verizon –prot cdma2000 –ssh-version 2 -a -l -q -9 -b -k -K 14 -x and away you go! Simple and obvious!”

Aaron Seigo has announced that a A KDE 4 port is also in the works, and that the Novell corporation has already started spreading FUD about it.

The phone should be able to make actual phone calls by 2011 to 2012.

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Microsoft signs another Linux distributor

Free Software 7 Comments »

For those who haven’t quite caught up, last year Microsoft signed a broad-collaboration deal with Novell that included a patent covenant. Since then, Xandros, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and now also Linspire, another Linux development and support company.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they target the cellular handset manufacturers as well. Both Nokia and Motorola have a lot invested in Linux as a platform, and they have existing agreements with Microsoft, so they would be easy targets.

Today, Aaron Toponce, and Richard Johnson (both Ubuntu members), urged Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu), to make a public statement about where Ubuntu and Canonical stands with regards to Microsofts new partnerships.

In a recent interview, Mark was asked whether he would sign such an agreement, and his response was:

“No, absolutely not. But the time will come when the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win. At that point I’d love to work with Microsoft. It’s not an evil empire. It’s just a company that is efficiently grounded in the 1980s. New leadership and new thinking might make it a more effective partner for us.”

By that, I understand that Mark has already stated that there won’t be a Microsoft-Ubuntu cross-patent deal. Mark has also previously expressed that he is against software patents. It does sound like he’s quite keen to be doing work with Microsoft though, and I don’t think that’s necassarily a bad thing, as long as Ubuntu doesn’t give Microsoft more FUD mud, I think I’ll be fine with that.

However, what IF Ubuntu would sign a patent covenant with Microsoft? Would I still advocate Ubuntu? I honestly can’t say. I certainly won’t like it, and I admit that I would also feel more comfortable if Canonical would make a statement on where they stand on this. I have lots of trust in the Ubuntu project though, and I’m very confident that the right choices will be made.

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Novell invites local users to information session on Microsoft deal

Free Software 2 Comments »

Tonight I received this e-mail. It’s an invitation to a session explaining the Novell-Microsoft deal from Novell’s side. I’m thinking of going, I’ll try to take some pictures or even videos. Either way, I’ll report back on what they say…

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        FOSS Workshop - 7 December 2006
Date:   Wed, 29 Nov 2006 16:29:45 +0200 (SAST)
From:   Leigh Holt 
Reply-To:       [email protected]
To:   Jonathan Carter 

Dear Jonathan

*FOSS Workshop (7 December 2006)*

The Novell Microsoft deal is causing ructions throughout the OSS
community. Is this going to encourage companies to move to Linux, as
Novell says, or is this a deal with the devil signifying the death of
small OSS companies everywhere? Well, ask Novell yourself.

Peter Hunter, Cape Regional Manager for Novell will deliver a
presentation that will cover the key aspects of the agreement reached
between Novell and Microsoft, as well as why Novell pursued such an
agreement with Microsoft, and the implications of this agreement for
customers and the open source community.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share about the latest move
in the OSS community, please be there and make yourself heard.  We will
also so be presenting our draft declaration for the FOSS Forum and would
appreciate feedback on that also.

Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone you feel would be
interested, but be aware that seating limited, so RSVP soon.

There will be a limited amount of time at the workshop for OSS companies
to present innovative, new product offerings. Should you have an OSS
product offering, please submit a short summary on the product and its
relevance to the OSS sector to [email protected]  and we will
select companies to present their products at the workshop.  If you have
registered yourself for the event, well done!  My apologies if you are
receiving this invitation for a second time.


/08h00-08h30/ - Registration

/08h30/ -          Welcoming address
Viola Manuel, Executive Director, CITI

/09h00/ -          Understanding the Collaboration Agreement between
Novell and Microsoft
Peter Hunter, Cape Regional Manager, Novell

/09h45- 10h15/ - Tea break

/10h15/ -          Company presentations

/11h15/* *-          The FOSS Forum
Viola Manuel, Executive Director, CITI

/11h30-12h00/ - Discussion on ways forward for the FOSS Forum in 2007

*Event Details:*

*Date:* Thursday, 7 December 2006
*Time:* 08h00 - 12h00
*Venue:* 44 Wale Street, Cape Town
*RSVP:* email [email protected] , 021-409-7000 by
no later than Tuesday, 5 December 2006
-------- End of Message --------

In other local news: University IT chief vows to dump Novell

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OpenSUSE vs Ubuntu

Free Software 6 Comments »

I’ve been pondering whether I should say something about Mark’s reachout to the OpenSUSE community or not, but decided that it couldn’t do much harm to add my 2c.

I think Mark had the best intentions with that mail, I also think it was done in a bit of a rush. I don’t think the problem is much with what he did, but how he did it. I think that reaching out to other projects and building bridges are great, but the tone of the mail was a bit divisive, and dismissive of the OpenSUSE distribution, which is in my opinion a fantastic distribution (even though it’s been a while since I’ve used it). While I agree with Corey’s apology, and Matthew’s backing of it, I don’t feel a specific need from my side to apologise, but I will say that not everyone in the Ubuntu project feels the same way about OpenSUSE like Mark does. In fact, you will find that a large percentage of Ubuntu contributors are good at working in teams, and enjoys collaboration and working together with different projects.

Something good is coming out of this though. There seems to be a ever greater awareness of the proprietary drivers included in Ubuntu, and a greater awareness of Ubuntu’s reliance of proprietary tools such as Launchpad, and new proprietary software coming from Canonical, like the mysterious Landscape. Some are saying that now is a good time to put more pressure on Canonical to release more of their code under a free software license. I doubt they will budge though. I hope that Canonical will learn that “freeware != free software”. Just because Ubuntu is free of charge doesn’t mean that it’s free software.

At least there’s projects like Gnewsense that are working on cleaning up Ubuntu. Hopefully they will release a meta-package at some point that I can just install that will remove all the proprietary software from a standard Ubuntu installation, which I can use on my desktop systems that doesn’t need wi-fi drivers, proprietary display drivers, etc.

Some are suggesting that they’ll switch to Debian Etch. I haven’t used Debian since just before Warty was released, so I’m not sure how it stacks up to Ubuntu, but it certainly seems worth the try.

I think this post started off more diplomatic, and I do admit that I’ve edited it down a bit afterwards. I really feel that Canonical should review their free software policies, or follow the current philosophy and policies more closely. I don’t mean to be mean, I applaud the work and funding that Canonical has put into Ubuntu, but at the same time there’s a growing level of frustration among community members, and it’s early enough to fix this.

These are just my thoughts on this, it’s not authoritative and it’s open to correction.

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