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Good Bill, Bad Bill, and The Art of Philanthropy

There's no doubt that 2008 will go down in history as the end of the first Microsoft era. This year, Bill Gates will finally hang up his Microsoft mouse and leave the company he cofounded over 30 years ago. Most people know that he's going off to spend the very large sums of money he has acquired from those Microsoft years, most of which has been used to set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with $37.6 billion in assets. But what will that really mean for free software?

[This story is not about open source software, but about Bill Gates 'charitable' intentions to prevent the uptake of open source software in developing countries and make them dependent on Microsoft - hkwint]

Related story: Bill & M. Gates foundation for-profit investments harm the health & environment of the poor

Dutch government software tender favours Microsoft software

[ My personal opinions are between () parentheses. If you like to read a rather unbiased article, skip the bits between brackets and you should be fine - hkwint ]

(Dutch source here)
Yesterday (a Dutch IT-site called "Webworld") revealed it laid its hands on a 'non-public' document which describes a non-public tender for new software for 3k to 21k desktops for the financial department of the Dutch government. It seems the tender favours Microsoft and other closed software over other solutions leaving little chance for open source software. That's because the tender asks for support for several closed / proprietary platforms like Active Directory to manage logins and firewalls, and (the patent encumbered) .NET. After protest from society and politicians, the Dutch Minister of Finance / Vice Prime Minister, Mr. W. Bos answered the Dutch government will switch to open standards and open source software in 2012, but at the moment this is not a viable option (not viable since they are locked in rather badly it seems).

Portable power pack

Those of us living in South Africa are now facing the reality of rolling electricity blackouts for, at the very least, the rest of this year and possibly even longer than that. If you have a laptop and 3G connection then two or three hours a day without electricity is not unmanageable. Add the Flexopower SolarPouch to your backpack and your cellphone, iPod, PSP, GPS and music player are also covered for unexpected downtime.

Microsoft is like the Matrix

  • In search for ultimate programming language (Posted by SirYes on Jan 31, 2008 9:12 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Humor
The majority of the users Just Don't Know. But I have been enlightened: Microsoft is like the Matrix. The only difference is that Microsoft does not desire electricity, but the money. All it can get. Now read, think and have fun.

This week at LWN: The Grumpy Editor's video journey part 2: Video editors

In the first installment in this series, your editor took on the task of getting video data onto his system in digital form. Part 3 talked about authoring DVDs with the nicely edited versions of those video clips. Now it's time to fill in the missing second part, wherein your editor turns raw captured video into something suitable for DVD creation.

SWAT your Samba problems

If you need to share files or printers with Windows machines, you're likely using Samba and know how to administer and configure it by editing configuration files and starting and stopping the daemon. However, there's an easier, graphical way to configure your box: the Samba Web Administration Tool. SWAT allows you to set up all aspects of your Samba server through an intuitive Web interface in a style similar to Webmin. (In fact, if you use Webmin, you can access SWAT by going to Servers -> Samba Windows File Sharing and then clicking on the hammer icon for SWAT.)

VirtualBox: A Review

VirtualBox is a great application for hosting guest operating systems on your Linux platform. It can be used to host other Linux operating systems and Windows.

Polished NetBeans means Ruby

Let's be honest, the rise of the Eclipse development platform is the best thing to ever happen to Sun Microsystems' NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE). Eclipse rolled out a solid platform, with good performance, high levels of extensibility and a rapidly expanding ecosystem of commercial and open source plug ins. NetBeans, by contrast, has been the poor relation with low levels of industry take up, fewer users and not much in the way of momentum.

First Sub-$100 3G Linux Mobile Phone unveiled

  • MobileTechNews (Posted by bob on Jan 31, 2008 4:39 AM EDT)
  • Groups: Linux; Story Type: News Story
The new Purple Magic Linux 3G Linux reference feature phone offers video telephony, music playback, high-speed Internet browsing and video streaming ...

Virtualization Made Easy In Ubuntu 8.04

One of the features that was introduced a year ago into Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" was support for KVM, which is the Kernel-based Virtual Machine. The Kernel-based Virtual Machine provides full virtualization support for Linux when running on x86 hardware with either Intel's VT or AMD-V technology, which means you can run unmodified guest operating systems such as Linux or Microsoft Windows within your Linux host operating system.

In the Year 2020

An interesting article that shows a what if scenario 12 years from now, concerning Linux and the rest of the world.

Sun and Frontline Support KDE with Donation of Server

During a tutorial today on-stage at, Sun Microsystems and Frontline donated a server to the KDE project, available for shipment within hours. Aaron Seigo, Plasma developer and KDE e.V President, accepted a certificate from Ross Cunningham of Sun Microsystems and David Purdue of Frontline on behalf of the KDE project.

Windows Vista Making Geek Squad Rich?

Perhaps The VAR Guy pursued the wrong career. He’s blogging for free, but could be making $229 per hour or so — that’s nearly $460,000 a year — troubleshooting Windows Vista PCs for his neighbors. That may sound a little far fetched. But check out this amazing math, using some quick cost estimates from The Geek Squad. Consumers are actually paying Geek Squad a hefty fee ($129 to $229) to set up and optimize their Windows Vista PCs. Can you imagine calling Linus Torvalds to re-boot Linux? The VAR Guy thinks not. Here’s a look at the fees Geek Squad is charging to keep all of those poor Windows Vista customers up-and-running.

Getting Office 2007 fonts into Linux

  •; By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Jan 31, 2008 1:19 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Linux
The really big problem in document formats is what's going to become the next office document format: Microsoft's proprietary Open XML or OpenOffice's ODF (Open Document Format). A far more minor but nonetheless very annoying problem is what do you do about Microsoft's ClearType Collection typefaces: Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia and Corbel?

Review: OliveBSD turns OpenBSD into very usable live CD

The blogroll at Denny's blog -- Denny being committed to running OpenBSD as a full desktop operating system -- continues to point me toward interesting spins on the various flavors of BSD. Since OpenBSD is the only one of the three major BSD systems (which include NetBSD and FreeBSD) to run on my VIA C3 Samuel-based test box, I wanted to try one of the projects to which Denny linked right away. I've spent quite a bit of time trying to run the three main BSD projects and their various offshoots -- more trying than doing, actually, but I always want to try what's new.

Free online desktop came to life with FLOSS

Back in 1999, free software believer Joshua Rand and his friend Oscar Mondragon were talking about the changes they predicted were coming for the Internet. Not long after that, the bubble burst and things did change, for the worst, many said. "We didn't subscribe to that theory," Rand says. "We saw the Internet becoming a platform for applications and services long before the term Web 2.0 was coined. With the growth and proliferation of things like Web-based email, the next logical step was, why not everything else? Why not more personal productivity tools and office tools?" That was the beginning of Sapotek.

SNMP Monitoring for GPFS Clusters on Linux

  • IBM/developerWorks (Posted by IdaAshley on Jan 30, 2008 10:57 PM EDT)
  • Groups: Linux
General Parallel File System (GPFS) on Linux provides Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) services that let administrators collect SNMP data about the health of a GPFS cluster so that problems such as disk failure can be quickly identified. This article provides a method for basic verification of SNMP in a GPFS cluster.

First look at Ulteo Desktop

Using VNC to remotely access your desktop, applications, and documents sounds like a great solution when you are out and about, but it has a few significant drawbacks: you have to leave your machine turned on, the VNC protocol is not secure, and often you need a dedicated VNC client to access your desktop. Ulteo, the company started by Gaël Duval of Mandriva fame, is set to offer an alternative solution. Ulteo gives you access to a full-fledged KDE desktop hosted on the company's own servers while taking care of the behind-the-scenes stuff. While the service is still in beta and by invitation only, I had a chance to take it for a spin, and I found it promising.

The Red Hat of China

China is one of the fastest growing nations on the Earth, and Red Hat Inc. is taking advantage of that fact. Red Hat, the Linux and open-source distributor, is focusing on the continent of Asia, expecting gains of more than 50% in growth.

The 42-inch Eee PC TeeVee? Yes, and more

It looks like Asus is going to seriously expand the "Eee PC" product line. The new family of low-cost, Eee products will include the E-DT (desktop), E-TV, and E-Monitor

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