Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Opportunities with Free Software

Aug 10, 2008 GMT

I work with free software for many reasons, but sometimes I get wrapped up in the things that I do, and lose sight of the most important reasons why I work in this field....until I get a letter like the one below. A few weeks ago I was in Columbia's first "Campus Party", a combination LAN party, conference, technology showcase and idea exchange, and while there I was shown a series of projects that were being developed by some students from the SENA group of colleges and Universities in Columbia. I commented on some of those projects, and used one of their systems in running a small "contest" during my talk. I think it significant that the SENA students wanted the...
Big Buck Bunny

Jul 20, 2008 GMT

A lot of you have heard of or seen "Big Buck Bunny," the latest animated production from the same people that brought you "Elephant's Dream", the Blender Foundation. And most of you know that "BBB" (as it is fondly known) was created with the Free Software named Blender. Some of you even know that not only is the entire movie under Creative Commons license, but that all of the intermediate parts are also under Creative Commons and available for download over the Internet. The Blender Foundation encourages you to change the movie, come up with different endings, different characters, or follow-ons to the movie. What you probably do not know is how much this...
Happy Birthday, Openmoko NEO FreeRunner!

Jul 04, 2008 GMT

The Openmoko project, which was designed to have a completely open phone (both software and hardware), has been going on for some time. They released a preliminary version of the hardware phone in limited quantities about a year ago (called the "Neo 1973"), and it seemed like the final hardware product was taking "forever". Many people did not know, however, how difficult it was for the designers of this phone. In their desire to have a completely open and documented phone, they had to visit (and sometimes revisit) various hardware manufacturers who made the various chip sets in order to get the documentation and "openness" they wanted. While at Campus...
Campus Party Colombia!

Jun 26, 2008 GMT

Campus Party....what can I say? More than a computer conference, it is a technology showcase and multi-media fair geared toward the high school, college and post-college age people, although a few grey-bearded geeks can also be found in the crowd. Started in Spain about 12 years ago, expanding to Brazil last year, Campus Party is now having its first event in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, where it is held on a fairground, spread across multiple buildings. I arrived on the late evening of June 23rd, having flown from a previous event in Mexico City, so my first exposure to the Bogota event was the next day when a driver came to transport me to the fairground.Arriving at the event (and...
Software Guru: An event in Mexico City

Jun 26, 2008 GMT

Mexico City had a small, but vibrant event on June 21-24th. The event, SG'08 Conferencia y Expo, was produced by Software Guru magazine, and was oriented toward software developers, although I also found that CIOs and other executives were in the crowd. The event was four days, held in a Sheraton hotel in the historic sector of Mexico City, and included two days of tutorials, two days of conference and an exhibit floor of both large (IBM, HP, Sun, Oracle) and smaller companies like Microsoft. While there were only 30 companies represented in the exhibit area, the floor was packed with attendees talking to the vendors and looking at products the one day that I was at the conference. The...
Red Hat Summit Summary

Jun 20, 2008 GMT

The Red Hat Summit (, held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA June 17th to 20th is over, but FUDcon ( goes on for at least one more day with a BarCamp at Boston University. The Summit was a very well-planned and executed event held at the Hynes Convention center (where the FUDCon was also held). It started off with a Keynote by Jim Whitehurst, the CEO of Red Hat Software. Jim gave the impression of someone who "really got it". One of his more memorable statements was: "We are leaders in Open is who we are and what we do." He discussed a patent settlement that he said is...
Linus Torvalds to be made Fellow of the Computer History Museum

Jun 18, 2008 GMT

The Computer History Museum ( in Mountain View, California is one of the largest multi-national museums in the world dedicated to the computing industry. Every year they choose technologists and entrepreneurs who have made great contributions to computer science and honor them by admiting them to "The Hall of Fellows". Past Fellows have included Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Maurice Wilkes, John Backus, Jay Forrester, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and others whose contributions were of stellar calibre. In 2007 I heard that the nominations were open, and having seen the quality of people who had been selected in the past, I submitted a...

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