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FOSS Force

No Brass Ring on HP’s CEO Carousel

Since September 18th I’ve been saying that Hewlett-Packard needed to get rid of Léo Apotheker sooner rather than later. Well, the deed’s been done and Apotheker’s been shown the door. The trouble is, HP’s board doesn’t seem to have learned their lesson. They’re replacing him with former eBay CEO and would be California governor Meg Whitman, who might even be less qualified than Apotheker to run the ailing tech giant. The announcement of the switch came early this evening, pretty much timed to coincide with the closing of the stock market.

Apotheker’s Troubled Tenure

Léo Apotheker
It wasn’t obvious that Léo Apotheker was a good choice to replace Mark Hurd in the catbird seat at HP last September when it happened, and it has never been obvious since. In fact, it’s never even been obvious that Mr. Hurd’s resignation should’ve been forced to begin with, as the cloud over his head, a charge of sexual harassment, was evidently short on substance. HP’s board, evidently after blood, ignored the fact the he’d put the company on a sound financial footing and had charted a reasonable course for the company to follow, a course that left room for expansion into other areas.

None of this mattered, according to James B.Steward writing in The New York Times, for the bigwigs at HP thought the company to big to fail:

Top 10 Runlevels for Windows 8

Ah! Thursday! Who can we mess with using the half baked humor of our top 10 list this week?

You heard the news, we’re sure, that Ballmer & Company unveiled a preview of Windows 8 this week. We FOSS types couldn’t help but notice that the Microsofties seem to be copying more than a few Linux ideas with their new release, so we sent our crackpot investigative reporter Ms. Dos (well, she’s a crackpot, we know that much for sure) to nose around Redmond to see if she could find any unknown ways that the upcoming Windows operating system mimics the penguin.

Lo and behold! We discovered that Microsoft is secretly including Unix-like runlevels into their new OS. Some of these runlevels will be available to the user (although they won’t be called “runlevels”) and others will only be able to be activated by MS through the Windows Update feature, without user control. Doesn’t sound good, does it? Things from Redmond seldom do.

So, here it is, our list of the top 10 runlevels for Windows 8….

Happy Belated Birthday, Mageia

I absolutely have to stop for a moment to wish a big happy birthday to the folks at Mageia.

A year ago, when I wrote about a group of Mandriva former employees and contributors who’d decided to create a fork called Mageia, I had no idea whatsoever whether the project would survive to actually release a product. Well, a year has come and gone and Mageia not only released Mageia 1 in June, it’s now a distro with a year’s worth of organization under it’s belt. That may not sound like a lot, but to my mind it’s quite an accomplishment.

Tech Firms Facing the Abyss

There seems to be quite a few tech companies in trouble these days. In fact, in an article published yesterday on 24/7 Wall Street, tech firms represent six out of the eight major companies listed as being in troubled financial waters. There aren’t any surprises here for anyone who’s been paying attention, but a year or so ago most of us wouldn’t have suspected that some of these companies would even be capable of falling on hard times.

Topping this list is Best Buy. Although we’ve known for some time that the company is ailing, this is still something of a surprise given the recent history of consumer electronics retailing. After all, it was only a couple of years ago that Best Buy’s main competitor, Circuit City, floated to the surface face down, killed by intense competition from…you guessed it, Best Buy. For the latest quarter, the chain’s net income dropped $77 million from the same quarter last year, from $254 million to $177 million.

More Linux Site Hacks, ReactOS Ready to Go, Obama Signs ‘America Invents Act’

Friday FOSS Week in Review

In many ways, FOSS news this week is like a soap opera with lots of stories being continuations from last week’s items. However, there is some new stuff to report. If you’re like me, all FOSS news is interesting….

Bartz Resigns from Yahoo Board

After being fired by telephone last Tuesday, Yahoo’s former CEO Carol Bartz resigned from the Internet company’s board on Friday. According to a Reuters report posted on Yahoo, the resignation was made public on Sunday and first reported by The Wall Street Journal:

Top 10 Career Choices for Yahoo’s Ex-CEO Carol Bartz

Oops… You forgot it was Thursday, didn’t you? Too late, you’re here now. Time to subject yourself to another of our inane top ten lists.

Of course we couldn’t let the firing of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz slide by without getting the top ten treatment. After all, they fired her on the telephone, then she went and showed us that she knows some words that are, er, not very polite. On top of that, she’s been willing to ignore a non-disparagement clause in her contract, possibly forfeiting over $14 million in money owed to her by Yahoo. Perhaps you can see how we might find this to be fodder for humor, no?

So, here it is, our list of the top 10 career choices for Yahoo’s ex-CEO Carol Bartz….

  1. Become CEO of Since they’ve never been very successful, they won’t be expecting much.
  2. Put her in charge of HP’s consumer PC division. They want to get rid of it anyway – maybe this will help.
  3. Become a professional drunken sailor. She’s got the vocabulary down.
  4. Do what every IT CEO does after being proved incompetent – run for public office.
  5. Two words: Roller derby.

Intel Still MeeGos, Apple Loses Again, Yahoo Presents ‘The Charlie Sheen Show’

Friday FOSS Week in Review

What a wacky week for tech news this has been! I couldn’t make much of this stuff up if I tried – and if I did, you wouldn’t believe it. That’s one of the nice things about the Internet, I can provide you with links so you can see for yourself that these stories really happened…

Apple Loses Another iPhone Prototype in Bar

Less than a year and a half after an Apple employee lost a top secret prototype of an iPhone 4 in a bar, it’s happened again. This time the prototype of an iPhone 5 was lost at Cava 22, a bar located in San Francisco’s mission district. Although every tech site on the planet is covering this story, I think it’s only fitting to turn to Gizmodo for a quote, given their connection with the first lost prototype:

Top 10 Things To Do With an iPhone Prototype Found Abandoned in a Bar

It’s Thursday, and around these parts that means it’s time for the Top 10 list, which means nobody nor nothing is safe.

This week it was deja vu all over again (to steal somebody else’s line) over in Cupertino town, where the Zapple… (oops, that’s a cheap wine they might not even make anymore) …the Apple folks have once again managed to misplace (that means “lose” or “leave behind”) a valuable prototype of an unreleased iPhone at a bar. Hmmm… come to think of it, maybe they are the Zapple folks after all.

Just in case you’ve been living in a cave on some remote island somewhere, the exact same thing happened a year ago in an incident that’s just now getting sorted-out in court. You tell us, doesn’t it seem that a company trying to keep its secrets secret would learn not to take those secrets into a bar? But, then again, we’re poor and they’re rich. We do understand that rich yuppies act much differently than folks like you and I.

Anyway, that got us thinking about the possible things a person might do upon finding an iPhone prototype abandoned in a bar. We wanted this to be realistic, so to put ourselves in the proper frame of mind to fully understand the mindset of your typical bar patron, we opened up a bottle of Wild Crow and then let our imaginations run away with us.

So, here it is, our list of the top 10 things to do with an iPhone prototype found in a bar….

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  1. Do the right thing and return it to Apple. Then you get mad when they don’t offer you a reward and start a blog ( or something) and spend the rest of your life writing tirades against Apple.
  2. You call Gizmodo and try to sell it to them. They say no-way-Jose, been-there-done-that, we-can’t-afford-the-legal-fees, or words to that effect.
  3. After slipping it in your pocket, you take it back to your apartment. About 4 AM you’re awakened by the sound of fifteen or twenty storm troopers from the SFPD, accompanied by Steve Jobs, breaking into your apartment. After they’ve recovered their device, Jobs will erase your memory so you can’t tell anyone about the new features incorporated into the new iPhone. They’ve got a app for that.
  4. You steal it, but give it to some other bar patron after you discover it won’t play Flash videos.
  5. Although you decide to keep it and use it as your new smart phone, you discover after playing with it for about at hour that it’s nowhere near as capable as your Droid Bionic. You leave it behind at another bar.

Will Google Keep Motorola?

There’s been very little in the way of real news about Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility since the deal was announced on August 15th. We know this acquisition was made mainly because Google desperately needs to beef up its mobile patent portfolio, and that Motorola has several boatloads of such patents. This means if this sale can pass antitrust muster with the DOJ, Google will be in a much better position to wheel and deal with the likes of Apple, maybe even Oracle, when it comes to Android and alleged patent infringements.

Everybody gets that – no argument. However, many tech writers have been wondering out loud how Android vendors like HTC and Samsung feel about Google competing with them in the consumer marketplace. Aren’t they worried that Google will give preference to Motorola at the expense of the other handset makers?

The VAR Guy: Does Sold Mean Sold Out?

Several times a month while looking for updates for our Facebook and Twitter feeds, I run across articles by an unknown writer who pens a blog called The VAR Guy. He’s usually Linux and FOSS friendly, but not always. If you don’t know, VAR stands for “value-added reseller,” so sometimes he can understandably turn downright proprietary – right when you least expect it. Mostly, however, he’s pretty fair, or as fair as you can expect someone to be who would profit by getting you to sign up for long term vendor lock-in.

Now The VAR Guy has been sold. More specifically, The VAR Guy’s publisher, Nine Lives Media, which also publishes the web sites MSPmentor and Talkin’ Cloud, has been sold to Penton Media, a huge business-to-business media company. At last count, according to Wikipedia, Penton “publishes and produces 113 magazines, 96 trade shows, 145 websites and has over six million subscribers across 17 different market segments.” Their target markets run the alphabetic gamut from Agriculture to Wealth Management. Nine Lives will become part of Penton’s “Technology Group.”

Kernel Archives Hacked, SCO Dies Again, More HP Changes & More

Friday FOSS Week in Review

It’s been a busy week in the FOSS world. Evidently everyone’s been in a hurry to make some news happen before leaving town for the Labor Day weekend. Well, lots of FOSS news is good for me, makes my job easy, so here goes…

HP Makes PR Changes After WebOS/PC Fiasco

I’ve been working on a story all week on the mess at HP caused by the all-at-once and probably premature announcement they’re dropping WebOS, smartphones and consumer PCs. One trouble, I keep having to go back and rewrite stuff, because the story is still very, very fluid and new aspects keep popping up almost daily.

On Monday, Bloomberg Businessweek announced that HP’s chief communications officer, Bill Wohl, will be moving to a “special assignment.” Chief Marketing Officer Marty Homlish will be picking up the slack with the corporate communications team and Lynn Anderson will take care of PR’s day-to-day operations, at least for the time being. According to the Bloomberg, both Wohl and Homlish have a history with CEO Leo Apotheker that predates his tenure at HP:

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