Sep 15, 2012 GMTToday is Software Freedom Day, and as part of that I would like to discuss what Software Freedom means to me, and to talk about one of its greatest defenders, Richard M. Stallman.Recently Richard has come under “discussion” about his remarks regarding Valve putting their games onto Linux...er, ah GNU/Linux. Richard seemed less than ecstatic about it. His concern was that closed-source games coming onto Linux would reduce the drive to create games based on Free Software. I understand Richard's concern, but I do not share it.I have known Richard for more than a quarter of a century. I first met him when I was working at Digital Equipment Corporation, and he was still at MIT. By...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
Aug 15, 2012 GMTYears ago a certain Redmond-based company told people that their software had a lower Total Cost of Ownership than Free Software. After a few years they commissioned a third party to study the situation, and the third party published a report that said the TCO over a five-year period was the same for Free Software as it was for their closed-source proprietary software, the reason given was that good software support people for Free Software were harder to find and received more money than software support people for their products.Let me say that again: Good Free Software Support people were harder to find and received more money than people that supported closed-source software.The...
Aug 03, 2012 GMTIn “Perfect Storm Brewing: The Linux Desktop – Part One” I described some of the attributes that made for a low desktop penetration for Linux. Notice that not one of the issues was “ease of use” or “ease of porting applications”, but all had to do with installed base and volumes of systems being sold presently.I had a couple of comments on that article that I will address briefly here, after boiling them down to the following list. I will not necessarily address them in order, but will jump around: Penetration of Linux in Asia is higher than in USA (and shelf space is actually paid for by some manufacturers) White boxes with Linux are actually a staggering number, but are...
Jul 14, 2012 GMTFrom time to time I get the question of “Why has Linux failed on the Desktop?” Recently Linus was also asked this question, and he considered it a personal failure, since his first desire was to have Linux as a desktop machine. He attributed this to the fact that end user customers just do not like installing operating systems on their machines that they purchased.I both agree and disagree with Linus.First of all, Linus, you have not failed. Linux is winning, and will have world domination.But the world of “consumer retail” is made up of two things: Volume Shelf space Lesson One: Stores sell what they are comfortable with.I remember walking into my first computer store,...
Jun 24, 2012 GMTIf you are homophobic, you probably want to stop reading now. Just go to the next blog, or dial up Fox News, because the rest of this blog entry will not be satisfying for you. Do not worry, you will be able to read my next blog, just not this one.And if you have read this one already, I have added some answers to the comments below on July 4th, 2012.What is going on?Today I wrote an essay on Alan Turing and the 100th anniversary of his birthday.I have made no bones about the fact that Alan Turing is a hero to me. I have had several heroes, among them: Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Abraham Lincoln (not just because he freed the slaves, but because he was one of the greatest humans...
Jun 23, 2012 GMTJune 23rd, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Alan Turnings' birthday. Particularly on this day we might reflect on the triumphs of this man.Alan Turing is considered by many to be the “father of computer science” and “the father of artificial intelligence”. I have purposely separated the two concepts, because even one of them might be considered a “life work” for most people. Today we look back on them and take the concepts for granted, but in those days there were a lot of people who laughed at the concept that a machine could be controlled by numbers that were self-generated, and that machines might be able to be consciously aware.Developing two such concepts in such a short...
Jun 16, 2012 GMTIt is the day before Father's Day, a day that will never be celebrated in my honor.I sit in a foreign country watching two young boys out the window of the house where I am staying. They are barefoot, playing together, sharing their toys, speaking a language that is alien to me. They start kicking a soccer ball, as soccer is the national sport for them.One of the boys lives in the house where I am a guest. Early this morning I found him opening a kitchen cabinet door, climbing up on the cabinet shelves, reaching for something very much higher than himself. I came to his aid, and found that he wanted a biscuit. Using motions and signs I assured him that I...
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