Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Les Misérables and Aaron Swartz

Jan 13, 2013 GMT

Last night I was about to watch the movie “Les Misérables” in my favorite movie theater when (during intermission) I flipped open my cell phone to read the news of Aaron Swartz's death. I do not recommend watching that movie after reading news of a young (26 year old) hacker and Internet activist committing suicide.***warning*** movie spoilers following:For those of you who have not seen the movie, the stage musical, or read Victor Hugo's masterpiece, “Les Misérables” (set in pre-revolution France) is about a man named Jean Valjean who stole a loaf of bread to help feed his brother's son, was caught and sentenced to nineteen years of punishment as a slave. When freed on parole...
Those Who Are Last May Later Be First: Ubuntu and the Phone

Jan 10, 2013 GMT

On January 2nd Ubuntu announced that they were going to support a phone, and the announcement has been met with both congratulations and nay-sayers.The people that congratulate Ubuntu and Canonical are talking about how manufacturers and carriers will now have a clear path to creating a highly branded interface to differentiate themselves from the other manufacturers and carriers.People that are nay-sayers usually talk about how Canonical is “late to the market” and “do not have experience dealing with carriers”.I would like to congratulate Ubuntu and Canonical, as I think this announcement has great potential.I will remind people that Mark Shuttleworth was considered a little...
Its the Night Before <Christmas>|<Hanukkah>|<Kwanzaa> and all through the house.....

Dec 24, 2012 GMT

It is the Night Before <your favorite holiday name> and all through the house, geeks are panicking because they STILL do not have some Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa presents for those they love.Do not panic. With Free Software you can fix it all in a couple of hours.First of all you need to design some nice cards for those on your list.Go to the Internet and find some appropriate images for your particular holiday. Make sure they are covered by Creative Commons licensing or otherwise are in the public domain. Photographs that you have taken in the past (perhaps of the loved one at this same time of year) are also good to use for this. Holiday scenes drawn by young hands and scanned in...
A letter to a manager about security, databases and openness

Oct 17, 2012 GMT

Recently I was talking to a high-ranking government official about the choice of using Free Software instead of closed-source proprietary software.  In this letter I mention "Microsoft" a lot, since most people know them, and they make a wide variety of products.  However, you could just as easily substitute almost any closed-source vendor and have the same message.One of the people who was copied on the letter, thought it was worth sharing with others, so here is the letter (somewhat edited) for my blog:Dear _________,Please let me apologize for not answering your questions sooner, but I have been very busy traveling, and getting time to sit down and direct a letter...
Software Freedom Day: Freedom, Control and Responsibility

Sep 15, 2012 GMT

Today 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, 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...
Treat you and your company to low-cost professional training.

Aug 15, 2012 GMT

Years 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...
Perfect Storm Brewing: The Linux Desktop - Part Two

Aug 03, 2012 GMT

In “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...
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