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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…

World to Zuckerberg: Opt-in Not Opt-out

I have a friend who thinks Facebook’s child star Mark Zuckerberg knows exactly what he’s doing. He despises Mr. Zuckerberg and thinks the best use for him would be as a plug to stop-up the hole on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico that’s spewing oil at the rate of ten gallons every two seconds or so. Maybe he’s right about the latter, at least he’d be useful. I’m not so sure about the former though, as I really suspect Zuckerberg just doesn’t get it. I think he really doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about and why almost all Facebook users don’t want their personal information handed over to the top thousand highest bidders.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe Facebook’s Shirley Temple twin is innocent. Indeed, playing fast and loose with our private information isn’t the first time he’s betrayed those who’ve trusted him. Heck, the way I understand it, there wouldn’t even be a Facebook if he hadn’t cheated and stolen to get it. But I don’t think he thinks he did anything wrong there either. He was just being smart. Just like his idol Bill Gates was being smart when he stole his GUI from Apple. Kind of like in that movie Catch Me If You Can.

Windows HP Tablet Loss

When HP unceremoniously dropped plans to release the Slate tablet computer running Windows 7, we learned much about the changing relationship between Microsoft and the major computer makers. That the product was dropped after being unveiled by Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was even more telling.

The project might have been doomed from the start. Despite the fact that the bar for tablets had yet to be raised by the iPad, reporters at CES weren’t very impressed by what they saw. Nick Mediati’s remarks on InfoWorld were typical:

Is This Any Way to Run a Web Site?

By now, both of the regular visitors to this site have doubtlessly discovered we didn’t publish a blog on Friday or yesterday, though neither of them have contacted me about it. Those who know me might be inclined to think the missing blogs are due to my laziness. How I wish that was so. How I wish I’d just said to myself, “To heck with the blog, I’m going to have a mint julep.” Instead, I’ve been done-in by Murphy’s Law.

My first clue that Murphy was going to strike came late Thursday afternoon, just as I was getting ready to close down the office for the evening. I was intending to go home, have a quick dinner and bang out “Friday FOSS Week in Review” and get it scheduled to publish here on Friday morning. As Google was having their big developers’ fest out west, and everybody in tech was continuing to sue everybody else in tech, this was going to be an easy column to write. But just as I was getting ready to turn off the office computer and take the trip home, I received an email with no message, just the subject line: “PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MAILING LIST.”

Google Offers New Open Source Video Standard

Yesterday was a great day for open source at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

At the I/O developers’ conference, host Google finally announced they are open sourcing the VP8 video codec they acquired with their purchase of On2 Technologies back in February. Google is packaging VP8 as part of a format they’re calling WebM, which will include Ogg Vorbis for audio playback. WebM is being released royalty free under a BSD-style license.

Linux & Microsoft’s Patents

Unless Linux developers begin purposely infringing on major Microsoft patents, Redmond will not go after Linux regarding the famous 235 patents they claim the penguin already violates. They’ve waited too long; that can no longer happen. To go after Tux now would be something akin to suicide and might possibly relegate the software giant to being simply another consumer software company. Ballmer knows this; Red Hat probably knows it; the rest of us suspect it.

The reason for this centers around the enterprise. No matter how pervasive Windows may be in the consumer market, they can’t live on the money they make from supplying binary for home computers, especially given the fact that most consumers receive all their Microsoft products preinstalled when they purchase their boxes. The Microsoft tax on consumer products is hardly enough to keep the world’s largest software maker afloat, and it’s a tax they can’t raise much without creating a revolt by both consumers and OEMs that would move personal computing to Apple and Linux.

Unicorn Media
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