May 25, 2009 GMTThis year is a very special year for me. It is forty years ago, in 1969, when I was a college student that I programmed my first computer. Since I could not afford the high prices of software in those days, I joined the Digital Equipment Corporation User's Society (DECUS), and made great use of the DECUS software library. Software that had been written by engineers, mathematicians, business people, scientists and others whose main job needed a computer. "Professional programmers" mostly came later. Shortly after that, when I was moving toward graduation, I had a professor seriously tell me "Jon, you will never be able to make a living writing software." I am still...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
May 17, 2009 GMTLast night I went to see the latest Star Trek movie. I decided to see it on an IMAX movie screen, and the combination of Star Trek and the gigantic screen with speakers that let you feel when the Enterprise went into warp was really great. Yes, I am a Gene Roddenberry fan. I never went around painting my skin green, or wearing pointed ears, but I did enjoy watching Star Trek about the same time as I started working with electronics over 40 years ago. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was my favorite series, and Captain Picard was my favorite character. O.K....who could not like Spock and Data? Nevertheless, I really liked Picard. Recently I was an Honored Guest to the Penguicon...
May 17, 2009 GMTI am once again headed to the airport, this time to fly to London for the cloud computing conference I blogged about previously. Normally I take a private car, but this time I decided to use the bus service that goes from a free parking lot close to my house directly to the airport. It is only twenty-six dollars round trip, a lot less than the private car. I have taken the bus before. It is comfortable and has a bathroom on board (important when you drink a lot of coffee and are "older"), and often I start up my notebook computer and work a bit. This time was different. They had free WiFi on board the bus. This is awesome. Now I can spend the hour and one-half it takes to get...
May 11, 2009 GMTNext week I am headed to London, England for a conference called "Cloudexpoeurope" run by my old friend Maggie Meer, publisher of LinuxUser Magazine. Maggie is one of those people who is as tough as nails, but with a heart of gold. This will be my first conference dedicated solely to "cloud computing", and while I generally agree with a lot of what cloud computing promises, I also feel that Free Software is absolutely necessary for cloud computing to be used as a tool, but I also recognize that cloud computing is not the only tool. Like a lot of other things, cloud computing takes planning. On the other hand, once that planning is done correctly, cloud computing...
Apr 23, 2009 GMTWhat are you doing on Saturday and Sunday April 25th and 26th? If you are anywhere near Bellingham, Washington, USA you could stop in at the Bellingham Technical College for the 10th annversary of the LinuxFest Northwest 2009. Many talks and activities are scheduled from things for newbies to highly technical. I was there many years ago, and I can tell you the people of the Pacific Northwest are very open and friendly. I look forward to this return visit. I will be there, talking about how and why Linux and Free Software will reach world dominiation, and how there is virtually nothing that anyone can do about it other than enjoy the ride. Sure, it still takes "work" to make...
Apr 06, 2009 GMTI was working for Digital Equipment Corporation when I first met Linus and facilitated the port of Linux onto the Alpha processor. During the port, a member of the community contacted me and asked if Digital would contribute their math library to the Linux project, since Digital's math library was a great deal faster than the one currently in use on the Alpha Linux port. I easily got Digital to contribute the Digital Unix math library in binary form, but they refused to make the library "open source" because of the investment that they had put into it. Digital was afraid that one of their competitors might take the source code, most of which was written in complex Alpha...
Mar 23, 2009 GMTMarch 25th is Document Freedom Day. Like Software Freedom Day this is a grass-roots effort to educate people about the importance of open document formats and information freedom. My friends at 4Linux, in Sao Paulo Brazil mentioned to me that they were having a "BotecoNet" to answer questions from the Internet about Document Freedom, and they requested a question to ask the panel of experts from the computer field which they had assembled. Here is the question I asked: Imagine you found a copy of the Constitution of Brazil written in 1891, the most important document in Brazil, which abolished the monarchy and introduced separate state powers. Also imagine the writers of that...
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