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FOSS Force

Happy 4th of July

I thought I’d take time out from blowing up fireworks and grilling hot dogs to wish everyone a happy 4th of July!

Friday FOSS Week in Review – Android Coming to PC

It’s been rather hectic here at FOSS Force this week. You might have read that we had to replace our old worn computer with a new-to-us (that means “used”) box, and we’ve been spending the week configuring our POS app, plus downloading and installing all of the stuff we need to operate our daily business.

This means, however, that the FOSS Force army is currently working in (ugh) Windows. We’ve got a key dreaded legacy app we use that’s Wintel, and we’re not partitioning the drive and installing Linux to run it in WINE until we’ve thoroughly tested the new/used box and determined it fully ready to go. Don’t fear, however, everything else here is open source. I’m writing in OpenOffice, doing graphics work in Gimp, emailing in Thunderbird and browsing in Firefox. By this time next week, we’ll hopefully be running Linux.

No More Kin, Folks

Again, Microsoft has thrown something at the wall that didn’t stick. Just two months after introducing a pair of faux smartphones, would be iPhone killers for the teenage set, Redmond has announced that after existing inventory is gone, Kin will be no more.

Wow. That’s pretty quick. Even Jay Leno on prime time lasted longer than that.

Changing of the Guard Brings Copyleft Under Attack

It’s been said that desperate times call for desperate actions, and the last decade or so has certainly been an era of desperation for the old guard in the music biz. Indeed, the havoc the Internet has wrought on the recording industry would’ve been unthinkable back in the mid to late sixties when Jefferson Airplane and other “San Francisco Sound” groups were struggling to wrest control away from the major music labels to bring “free music” to the people.

Record labels become more irrelevant every day. Don’t believe me? Quick, what label releases Lady Gaga’s music? Back in the sixties, every teenager in America could tell you that the Beatles were on Capitol, Dylan and The Byrds were on Columbia, the Airplane on RCA and Sonny and Cher on Atco. Now an artist’s label hardly matters. When all is said and done, all music is on iTunes.

Why Buy a “White Box” Instead of a Dell?

On Friday, when I went to start up the main computer at our office I found it had died. I turned on the surge protector and hit the start button, only to hear none of the familiar sounds of a computer firing-up. No whine or clicking from the hard drive, no beeps from the self-diagnosis, not a noise except for an almost silent whir from a cooling fan.

This wasn’t entirely unexpected. The box was probably ten years old, and a few years ago we’d replaced a failed motherboard on it with a board that’d been salvaged from a worn out HP. The computer had served us well, but it was time for it to go.

Symbian Out, Linux In at Nokia

Linux continues to gain ground on mobile devices, and it’s not all Android.

On Thursday, Finnish phone maker Nokia announced it’s dropping Symbian and replacing it with the Linux OS MeeGo on their top-of-the-line handsets. The N8 is slated to be the last of Nokia’s N-series phones running Symbian. “Going forward, N-series devices will be based on MeeGo,” Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson told Reuters.

For the time being, Nokia intends to keep Symbian alive on its cheaper sets, but the handwriting’s on the wall, Symbian is rapidly approaching its end of life, which will doubtlessly come as a shock to those who’ve become fans of the OS over the years. Symbian has a long, rich history as an OS for hand-held devices, and can be said to be the first smartphone OS.

Android’s Nuclear Football

The day after I pat Google on the back for doing something right, they go screw it up. What’s got me and others scratching our heads is there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it.

I’m talking about the so-called “kill switch” built into Android that lets Googlefolk remove installed applications from Android phones. We’ve known about its existence since the beginning of Android, it’s mentioned in the terms and conditions at the Google app store and the mainstream press took note as early as October of 2008. But, to me at least, it’s been something akin to the U.S. intercontinental nuclear arsenal. I don’t like it’s existence, but I figure that sane people are in charge and it’ll never get used.

GPL: The Google Public License

Until a few years ago, hardly a day went by without an article being featured on Linux Today about how “the year of Linux” had arrived. Every Linux user with a blog was willing to bet, year after year, that this was finally going to be “the year of Linux.” This was going to be the year when the public got wise, quit paying the Microsoft tax and moved over to the obviously superior Linux.

And year after year, it didn’t happen.

Mandriva Finds Angels

According to an exclusive article posted yesterday on the French language web site LeMagIT, it appears that Mandriva has found investors to stave off financial failure at the French Linux company. Mandriva announced on May 11 they were disparately seeking buyers. If buyers were not found, they said, the company would be forced to shut their doors.

The article on LeMagIT was later covered in English by Caitlyn Martin at the O’Reilly web site. According to Martin, the French article quotes Mandriva Director General Arnaud Laprévote:

OEM Branded Linux

Last week on Computerworld, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols posted a blog about HP’s forays into the Linux world. Specifically, he wrote about HP’s recent acquisition of both Palm, which gave them the Linux based mobile platform WebOS, and Phoenix Technologies’ HyperSpace, one of those instant-on Linuxes that resides in the BIOS of a laptop to allow users to check email and surf while waiting for the system’s main OS, presumably Windows, to boot.

Vaughan-Nichols thinks HP is planing on developing both platforms, and using them extensively in their products. WebOS, he thinks, will be what HP will build their tablets around, now that they’ve wisely dropped Windows 7 as their tablet OS. He also thinks WebOS will show up in a variety of other HP offerings, in everything from smartphones to Internet connected printers.

Friday FOSS Week in Review: Apple Bigger than Microsoft

It’s been a relatively slow week in the FOSS world. The good news is we’ve got our monitor trouble solved for now, in a way. The ancient monitor we installed runs great in Windows, but isn’t configured properly to work in our Linux install. Anybody want to tell us how to configure our install of Linux from the command line to get our monitor working properly in X? There’s something definitely wrong about a FOSS site writer working in Windows…

And now the news…

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