May 01, 2010 GMTThere is the old adage that “customers are always right”, and while this is true 99.999% of the time, I have run into at least one situation where the customer was wrong.....It was in the late 1980s, and I was working for Digital Equipment Corporation. We had gone to a DECUS convention, where users of DEC's equipment would go to learn more about using these wonderful machines.We had produced a version of Unix called Ultrix for our PDP-11 line of computers, and several releases of this had already been shipped, proving itself to be a solid implementation of Unix.At the event we had a reception, with finger food, beer and wine and I was standing there, munching some chicken wings and...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
May 01, 2010 GMTFrom time to time I advocate that every programmer learn at least one assembler language. Not that I would ever advocate writing in assembler language when a higher-level language would do, but because assembler allows you to see how the machine really works, and can help you understand other topics such as operating system architecture and compiler design. In fact, I advocate that programmers learn a little bit about digital logic and how digital gates such as AND and OR gates combine to create registers, memory and other computer structures.Many years ago I started work for Aetna Life and Casualty as a young programmer. One of the other programmers had written a program that...
May 01, 2010 GMTA couple of months ago I mentioned Project Cauã in my column in LinuxProMagazine. Without repeating the whole article here, Project Cauã's goals are to create large numbers of private sector, entrepreneurial jobs as the owner and administrator of thin client/server systems and to make computing easier for end users of all types. Project Cauã would do this by having a trained, licensed, and bonded person taking care of the end-user systems as their business. In a large company systems administrators take care of the systems, integrate new software, do backups, take care of viruses and SPAM. Many times in small businesses and in homes these tasks are either not done at all, or...
Apr 30, 2010 GMTI have been to many conferences in Brazil, but few have the line-up of speakers that the IV ENSOL conference will have this coming May 6-9 in João Pessoa, the capital of Paraíba. With three tracks, a discussion area and a vendor area it promises to be an action-packed event. There will also be sub-conferences, such as the I PHP-NE - Northeast Meeting of PHP, held partially in honor of Lerdof Rasmus, the creator of PHP, attending the event. João Pessoa is a beautiful seaside city, and as the most eastern city in the Americas, it is literally where the sun rises first, and for the three days of this conference is figuratively where Free Software rises first in the Americas....
Apr 26, 2010 GMTI was contacted recently by an organization called the Free Technology Academy (FTA), which offers Masters Level courses across the Internet on Free Technologies. They wanted me to do a video-taped lecture on “Perspectives On the Free Software Market”. I realized that you could parse that topic in at least three different ways: Perspectives on the Free (Software Market) Perspectives on the (Free Software) Market (Perspectives on the Free Software) Market The first is perspectives on how "Freedom" affects the Software Market in total. Does it disrupt the Market? Does it allow the market to grow? How has the software market changed since the...
Apr 05, 2010 GMTRecently I had forgotten what password I had used for a web site, and I politely asked them to reset the password so I could log in and change it. Instead the site sent me my old password, in clear-text through email. After I got over the shock of seeing the current password in my email I went onto the site and changed the password to a not-very-flattering noun which had something to do with a combination of excrement and the flabby pieces of nerve endings in the website manager's collective craniums. Then I proceeded to make sure there was nothing on that site of any value. I did consider just deleting the account, but I was curious as to how this site operated and how it...
Apr 01, 2010 GMTNEW YORK — April 1, 2010 — Today, CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft would be releasing their own version of the Linux operating system in twelve months.After years of calling the Free Software movement “communists”, threatening them with patent suits, deprecating Free Software and coercing foreign governments to ship useless, broken Microsoft software packages with hardware programs aimed at helping poor people get access to the Internet, Ballmer actually used a copy of GNU/Linux and said, “Hey, Free Software is really pretty darn good, I think Microsoft could really make a lot of money with it.”Ballmer was particularly impressed by the ease of use of emacs, and said...
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