Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

An Open Letter to The United States Trade Representative

Mar 02, 2010 GMT

Dear Ambassador Kirk, Recently it was reported in the Guardian, an on-line newspaper, that the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is requesting that the United States Trade Representative put Indonesia, Brazil and India on the "Special 301 Watchlist" specifically because those countries advocate the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in their economies. I have been in the software industry for over forty years, as a programmer, businessman, educator, author and entrepreneur. I have worked in some of the largest companies, both as a supplier of software and a customer of software.I have traveled to two of these three countries, and while I have not been...
Input requested on thin clients for Project Caua

Feb 28, 2010 GMT

Project Cauã ( is starting to evaluate configurations for a Thin Client. Actually we have been thinking about thin clients for some time, and trying to find a good design to meet all the needs of the project. Although we have some general ideas, a long time ago I realized I was not omnipotent, and that the best way of finding good information was to pose the question to the FOSS community and let them help you solve the problem.....First, some design considerations for the thin client. The design considerations below are purposely a little vague and are acknowledged as incomplete. We did not want to limit people's thinking too much, and wanted to offer some...

Feb 27, 2010 GMT

I recently had to sign a "Non-Disclosure Agreement" (NDA) for the first time in a long while, and I thought I would write about how an NDA might or might not fit in with Free and Open Source Software.One of the main ideas of FOSS is to share information, and we encourage both programmers and vendors to share as much information as possible.Sometimes a vendor shares some information with developers, and the vendor's words "we think we are going to do this" becomes misconstrued as "we are going to do this". Then people get upset when (perhaps a year later) the "promise" never materializes.Information like product lines that never get produced,...
Of Questionable Value

Feb 24, 2010 GMT

Since I buy a lot of books through an on-line reseller, I normally receive some emails from them with "suggestions" of "books of interest" based on books that I have ordered in the past.Recently I have started receiving suggestions about books bearing a title that is very long and sort of a combination of a series of topics, for example:"OpenSSL: Open Source, Transport Layer Security, C (Programming Language), Cryptography, Unix-Like, Solaris (Operating System), Linux, Mac OS X, RSA Security (Paperback)""edited" by three editors, and published by "Betascript publishing".Curious, I looked at the description of the book, which was advertised...

Feb 24, 2010 GMT

I have a few personal heroes whose lives have inspired me: Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Clemens, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Albert Einstein and Alan Turing. Recently I learned of another, and I would like to share their story with you, since in a lot of ways they had a major effect on Computers and Free Software.It was 1937 and Europe was in turmoil. A lot of Jewish people were fleeing from the regime of the Nazis, quite a few coming to the United States to escape oppression. A lot of these immigrants were highly educated. My "hero" had received a good education in Austria, but also had a love of mathematics and science that went far beyond their formal education. My hero's...
Project Cauã: Vertical Market Definition

Feb 22, 2010 GMT

Several months ago in the printed issue of LinuxProMagazine I wrote an article about Project Cauã (, a project that I had initiated, and several people have joined, with goals of: Creating millions of new, high-tech, private-sector jobs throughout the world; Make computing much easier and cost-effective; Significantly reducing the use of electrical power and other environmental impacts of computers; Bringing digital inclusion to under-served populations in urban areas; and do all of this with private-sector money, not government spending.While these are very high goals to achieve, even if a fraction of the goals are realized the project will be worthwhile. And...
Walk the plank....or not! Help Microsoft eliminate software piracy.

Feb 15, 2010 GMT

Several times I have written about "Software Piracy", and I think a lot of my readers get a little tired of hearing about it, but something happened this week that started me thinking about Software Piracy again.Microsoft made Software Piracy Prevention a voluntary thing.Of course Microsoft will probably pitch a different explanation, but what they actually did was post an "update" to Windows 7 that had lots of anti-piracy software in it, and told their customers that it was "voluntary" to install the anti-piracy software.Now this was probably in response to another time when Microsoft tried to force down the throats, er....ah..."distribute"...

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