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GNOME Foundation Endorses MS OpenXML November 25, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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While the title may sound like the GNOME Foundation may be moving to a Shared Source style of licensing its really not the case.  While Russell Ossendryver  may think that the GNOME Foundation helping with OpenXML may be a bad thing I for one applauded them if that was the case.  This industry always has two sides to it and the fighting and evangalism never ends.  GNOME vs KDE, UNIX vs Linux, Mac vs Windows, PC vs PowerPC it goes on and on.

I was thinking very higly of the GNOME Foundation because it had appeared that they were going to put the evangelism and zealotry aside and contribute but alas it appears not to be so.

Contribution to the process is a very good thing.  It levels off the playing field and actually helps to make the technology better.  If you arent contributing and just sitting there pointing fingers and not devulging any kind of technical expertise to help overcome the hurdles why bother.  Do they think they are the high priests, so self righteous that they think they are the saviors of the IT world?  So a message to the GNOME Foundation stop wasting everyones time with petty games.

Alright now.

If you look at ECMA TC45 there are many companies involved in the process.  Apple, Toshiba, NextPage and even non-it companies like BP, the Library of Congress (does this mean the government is selling out?) The GNOME Foundation is one of many involved in the process.  The adoption of OpenXML as a standard will in no way shape or form harm ODF, it just levels the playing field.  OpenXML will be used, ODF will be used neither format will die off.  If the GNOME Foundation decides to help overcome the hurdles than they are to be applauded and thanked.  If they dont want to be involved and if they arent contributing like their open letter suggests then its time for them to get off the bus.

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Another review of the gOS November 20, 2007

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Susan Linton has put up a review of gOS on Linux.com.   She gave it favorable ratings and thinks its one of the better reviews she has used.

While I generally disagreed I do respect Susan and Im glad she had a better experience than I did.

gOS: A lot of Buzz with no Substance November 19, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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I had the privilege of buying one of the Everex gOS PC’s from Wal-Mart.com before they sold out. I bought it and had it shipped to one of their stores to where I picked it up. Whats the verdict. Im using the gPC right now to write this review and I loaded it up with PCLOS 2007.

gOS: The beginning

After I got the PC and set the thing up I actually liked the hardware. Its great hardware, very stylish and looks very functional. I booted it up and I saw green. I like green, along with black and purple its my favorite color. I actually liked the gOS for 48 hrs. So what happened? lets cut through the hype and just say if this is the Linux communities hopes to take down Microsoft, go back to the drawing board.

gOS: Functionality

I will give the gOS this. Its extremely fast. It has plenty of horse power and even though the hardware it runs on is low end the software in this case makes all the difference. It runs a modified version of enlightenment. Enlightenment is a very underated and underused window manager in the *nix universe. Enlightenment is one of those technologies that even though it was great was dismissed by the *nix community. DR17 is no exception. When you see the gOS for the first time it looks nifty, great animations similar to what you would see in Mac OS X and in Windows. Plenty of throbbing and bouncing and (man this is starting to sound dirty) and somthing you dont see in Windows and Mac OS a Google search bar on the desktop. GreenOS is the official name and Green could also be used as a descriptor in the case of the gOS. When you hit the mint leaf in the corner (I am assuming its a mint leaf) the system menu pops up. In this menu you have your applications and configuration tools.

gOS: The problems

The problems mainly stem from the fact enlightenment is a developer preview, not even alpha quality yet. DR stands for Developer Release and should be a hint. That standing out there are plenty of Window Manager crashes and inconvenient lockups to make your heart content. The first time I ever opened a directory to have the damn thing crash was with the gOS, when trying to copy files over and have the WM crash was pretty nasty as well.

The main problem is that unlike MEPIS, Freespire and Linspire, the gOS doesnt modify the core OS so its a standard Ubuntu 7.10 kernel and all the hardware incompatibilities and kernel problems you have with Ubuntu are adopted by gOS. To give the developers a little bit of leeway this is a 1.0 release and Im almost positive they will work on the quality of the OS and hopefully whip it into a decent distro. The gOS is a selling point for their gPC and in some ways I think they are trying to establish a fan base similar to Macintosh, Amigans or RiscOS.

gOS: Other machines

I went ahead and downloaded the gOS ISO from their web site and tried it on a couple of other machines. It liked my PowerEdge, a couple of OptiPlexes , my Compaq Evo and even a home built PC. Mobile computing was an entirely different story. On my Dell Inspiron 2500 during the LiveCD session it would boot but go into a Limbo black screen when trying to load the desktop a behavior also present with Ubuntu 7.10 on the same hardware and on my ThinkPad A21m it would go halfway through the live CD boot and just freeze a behavior also inherited from Ubuntu 7.10. On my Vaio AR it worked great as a LiveCD. I didnt hose the HD on my Vaio because its my main laptop so I couldnt tell you about native HD performance from that system.

gOS: The good

Good presentation, great concept and great delivery mechanism. The interface is simplistic and easy to navigate and the learning curve is rather limited. Good effort to build a user base and a fan base. It has OpenOffice, Rhythmbox and Xine installed by default which is a good thing.

gOS: The bad

Using pre-alpha software that is rather buggy, mediocre to non-existant mobile support, using a non LTS release for the base. There is also no clear roadmap where the offering is going and no hardware compatibility list. There is also no native support for 3D using the nvidia drivers. The GPC line would be interesting if they offered a mobile unit. While I like the presentation of Google in this distro I feel there is too much faith in Google.

Conclusion

I see no pushing reasons to use this over a vanilla Ubuntu installation. You can add Enlightenment to an Ubuntu install through the use of repositories. Unlike Freespire/Linspire they do no work to improve upon Ubuntu but rather just give it a paint job, a shiny theme and market gOS as something new.

But. It doesnt mean gOS is not interesting and given that the software HAS to mature and probably couldnt regress its a distribution I will keep my eye on and will possibly install and review again at a later date.

I couldnt give any recommendation to switch to gOS from any Linux distribution at this time.

Score (Rating of 10): 6

Bill Hilf reveals Microsofts Open Source strategy November 17, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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It doesnt seem to be around divide and conquer.  They seem to be really paying attention to the issues.  He discusses the partnerships with TurboLinux, Xandros, Linspire and Novell and goes into the discussion of software patents.  A pretty well laid out interview whether you agree with his views or not.

Link to Interview 

Open Source community needs to arm itself November 8, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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LinuxWorld wrote an article about the patent landscape and concluded that the OSS community needs to “arm” itself against patent infringement lawsuits.  They have the idea that the OSS community needs to start building its own patent portfolio.

The problem

While the Open Source guys have done a good job of finding prior art and getting patents invalidated, which admittedly over 90% of those cases have ended with the patent being validated again after an appeals process, developing your own patent portfolio for a defense is hard to do.  The open source community will have a harder time because really what do they do or what have they done thats been innovative? or new?  Besides a few things, nothing and what they do have thats patentable is small beans.

Its going to be a hard long road to patent reform and unfortunately the OSS developers will be the ones that will inevitably suffer.

Windows Live Apps: Part useful, mostly useless. November 8, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Microsoft released  Windows live apps to the world and while Microsoft is marketing this release as a major movement to me it just shows Microsoft still doesnt get it.

What do the Windows Live programs have that alternatives dont?  Absolutely nothing.  I have started using Googles offerings because Im a cross platform guy.  I use different operating systems and while I live on Windows Server 2003 that doesnt take away the fact I use Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and FreeBSD.  The first major killer for me is that Windows Live doesnt work on Windows Server System.  Microsoft knows developers use that platform as a desktop, they even put the Desktop Experience pack into Windows Server 2008 to cater to the people who want to use Windows Server as their desktop and the end result, Windows Live applications do not run on Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008.  Well while Windows Server System may not be able to run Windows Live apps they can run Googles apps.  Google Earth, Picasa, Thunderbird and the range of Googles services work on Windows Server and also more importantly Linux and Mac OS X as well. 

Another major downfall of Windows Live Apps is unlike the Google Pack it contains only Microsoft software where the Google Pack showcases partner and other vendor applications and offerings.

If Microsoft wants to be seen as a serious contender to Google it better start showing something other than another attempt to lock users into their platform.  Microsoft better get serious and quit releasing half-assed Applications as an “answer” to Google and their other competitors.

If you live on Windows XP and/or Windows Vista the applications are very useful and are somewhat elegant.  If you are a power user dont bother.  They are not worth the download.

PC World has an article covering the Windows Live release

Get the facts about sagging Linux server sales November 4, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Joe Barr over at Linux.com has written an opinion piece on the Linux server sagging sales. He bases his opinions on Peter Galli over at eWeeks article. In his opinion piece Joe bases his “research” on Red Hat and Novell financial revenue reports. The opinion piece is also representative of what happens if you drink too much of the zealot kool-aidIDC and eWeek based their research on system sales.

All Joes opinion piece does is show that you can manipulate numbers to be in your favor if you really wish to do.

Using Red Hat and Novells financial reports is flawed and useless for the context of the original article. What Galli and IDC have reported is a much stronger case. By using Red Hat and Novells reports Linux does look like its on the rise but one thing those reports lack is the fact if these are new licenses or if they also include renewals. Tracking server sales is much more reliable because unlike desktop systems, vendors do offer the choice of what OS to preinstall, whether it is Solaris, Linux or Windows. If a customer buys a system with Windows Server system, they will more then likely use Windows on that server. If they buy a Linux server, they more than likely will use Linux and the same for Solaris. So right now on the official scoreboard Windows is winning on new servers sold.

This however does not mean Linux or even Solaris is lacking. Solaris x86 and Linux are often used on retiring workstations, retiring servers that run a variety of file and print servers, web servers and old PCs that are even being utilized as firewall appliances. What will those users buy when those machines have to be replaced? With the current trend it appears to be Windows.

gOS: Google OS November 4, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Everex put out some new machines this week that utilize an Ubuntu 7.10 based OS called gOS.  This Operating System uses a heavily modified and kindergarten inspired E17 desktop that makes the RISCOS look good.  So whats new about this OS?  It basically acts like a portal to all of Googles web apps.  Nothing else but that.

Phoronix has a review of the gOS also known as the GreenOS bet you thought uit meant Google OS.  The OS thats preloaded everyone seems to agree that its good for one thing, public PC usage such as internet cafe’s and mall kiosks.  I just wanna know how much Google paid them to build their OS like that.  Wal-Mart has a page for this computer and at $199.00 if you want a Linux PC its not a bad buy, I would just load up PCLinuxOS and kick gOS to the curb