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Posts published by “Robin "Roblimo" Miller”

Robin "Roblimo" Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he's mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Should the U.S. Army Have Its Own Open Source License?

Should the U.S. armed forces begin releasing software under an OSI approved open source license rather than as public domain?

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Army software open source license

This question has generated many pixels’ worth of traffic on the OSI License discuss email list. This post is just a brief summary of a little of the discussion, which has been going on for some weeks and shows no sign of slowing down.

There are currently 80 Open Sourse Initiative-approved open source licenses. It’s nice that the Army (I’m a veteran) wants to not only write software licensed as open source, but OSI-approved open source software. (Go Army!)

But does the Army really need its own special OS license? Should the Air Force have a different one? Will the Navy want a Coastal Combat Open Source License, along with a separate Blue Water Open Source License? That might sound far-fetched, but Mozilla has three separate open source licenses, Microsoft has two, and Canada’s province of Québec also has three. So why shouldn’t the U.S. Department of Defense have a whole slew of open source licenses?

New Open Source License Compatibility Company Debuts with a Bang

Finding compatibility issues in open source software is tedious and complex. Roblimo explains why organizations that look for compliance issues are a valuable asset to the FOSS community.

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examining code compliance compatibilityexamining code compliance compatibility

When I heard about FOSSA, my first thought was, “Don’t Black Duck and Palamida already have the FOSS license compatibility thing pretty well sewed up? Do we really need another company doing it?”

This was, of course, the question I immediately asked FOSSA founder Kevin Wang. His answer, via email:

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Why I’m Not a Full-Throttle FOSS Advocate

“Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose.

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I have the Chrome web browser running full-screen on my Ubuntu desktop. Not Chromium, but proprietary Chrome — because it suits my needs better than open source Chromium. I also like Chrome better than Firefox, and I say this after using only Firefox for a week and trying hard to like it.

Some of this may be habit. We humans tend to prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar, and I’ll admit that I have gotten used to Chrome and its features.

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Poverty Helps You Keep Technology Safe and Easy

In the technology age, there might be some before unknown advantages to living on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. The question is, do they outweigh the disadvantages.

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Poor LinuxPoor Linux

Earlier this week I saw a ZDNet story titled Vizio: The spy in your TV by my friend Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Scary stuff. I had a vision of my wife and me and a few dozen of our closest friends having a secret orgy in our living room, except our smart TV’s unblinking eye was recording our every thrust and parry (you might say). Zut alors! In this day of Internet everywhere, we all know that what goes online, stays online. Suddenly our orgy wasn’t secret, and my hopes of becoming the next President were dashed.

Except… lucky me! I’m poor, so I have an oldie-but-goodie dumb TV that doesn’t have a camera. There’s no way my old Vizio can spy on us. As Mel Brooks didn’t quite say, “It’s good to be the poverty case.”

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Open Source Eye for the Android Guy

Android may be a free operating system, but unlike GNU/Linux, keeping it free is next to impossible if you want to make it useful.

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Android FOSS free softwareAndroid FOSS free software

Do you ever look at your Android phone and wonder how much of the software on it is open source? I just did, and I was surprised at how little FOSS I had on it. Could I change that? After a bunch of searching, I did. But only a little.

Android itself is an open source project. Google controls the main branch and can keep you from using the “Android” trademark if you fork the project, but otherwise you can do anything you like with the code.

Now let’s talk about Android applications. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this in public, but until the idea for this essay came up last week in a conversation with FOSS Force editor Christine Hall, I hadn’t thought much about Android app licenses, not even when choosing apps for my own use.

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

In Search of an Open Source DNS Server

You’d think that in this day and age finding a free and open DNS server would be easy, no? Evidently, not so much. That didn’t keep Roblimo from finding one, however.

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DNS server The Internet's Phone BookDNS server The Internet's Phone Book

Does it matter whether the DNS server you use is open source? Most of the good ones run proprietary code. But after some tedious shopping and testing, I finally found one that’s open source, community-owned, and (so far, at least) as reliable as its proprietary competitors.

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

The Many, the Humble, the Ubuntu Users

The proverbial “better mousetrap” isn’t one that takes a certified biologist to use. Like Ubuntu, it just needs to do its job extremely well and with little fuss.

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Ubuntu UnityUbuntu Unity

I have never been much of a leading-edge computing person. In fact, I first got mildly famous online writing a weekly column titled “This Old PC” for Time/Life about making do with used gear — often by installing Linux on it — and after that an essentially identical column for Andover.net titled “Cheap Computing,” which was also about saving money in a world where most online computing columns seemed to be about getting you to spend until you had no money left to spend on food.

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Linux People Should Say, ‘You’re Welcome, Windows Users’

If it wasn’t for Linux setting the bar, would Windows users still be dealing with the “blue screen of death” several times a day?

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VW LinuxVW Linux
There’s no evidence on whether Ted Kennedy tweeted his displeasure at this fake VW ad that appeared in National Lampoon.

There was a time when a computer operating system called Windows totally dominated the market, and it sucked. I mean, really sucked. Blue screens of death, unexplained crashes, viruses and worms galore, re-re-reboots all the darn time…and still, despite all the problems, people used this Windows thing. Why? Because except for the artsy/hipster $MacOS, it was the only computer OS you could get for your desktop, and it was the one that ran all the 17 jillion programs businesses wanted their office workers to use. Luckily, Windows has gotten a lot better over the years. Except…was it luck or was it Linux that made Windows improve?

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Torturing Tech Support Phone Scammers With Linux

Some days it doesn’t pay to be a huckster selling phony Windows support. Not that Windows doesn’t need supporting, mind you…

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Tech Support call centerTech Support call center

“What,” you may ask, “is Online Tek Squad?” I didn’t know, either, until a guy calling himself Paul, known to Caller I.D. as “Name Unavailable,” rang me up from what turned out to be a nonexistent phone number. Paul said he called me because my computer was infected with “over 30 viruses.” Wow. Good thing he got hold of me before the number climbed to 40 or 50, right?

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

Remembering Linux Installfests

In this article, for the first time since 2003 a writer makes mention of Caldera without immediately following it with a mention of SCO. Must’ve been a mistake.

Linux InstallfestLinux Installfest
Installfest hosted by the Rutgers University Student Linux Users’ Group on November 13, 2005.
MJKazin at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Ah, yes. I remember the good old days when you had to be a real man or woman to install Linux, and the first time you tried you ended up saying something like “Help!” or maybe “Mommmmyyyyy!” Really, kids, that’s how it was. Stacks of floppies that took about 7,000 hours to download over your 16 baud connection. Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

Robin "Roblimo" MillerRobin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

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