Open Source » Opinions »

  • A tale of two markets

    In August, Caldera International held a major event to declare that its new name would be The SCO Group. According to some folks in attendance, many resellers were overjoyed with the announcement. They could once again promote the SCO name in their marketplace. Rather than working with a Linux company that sells Unix, they were now working with a Unix company that sells Linux. And they loved it.

  • Red-mond Hat?

    I guess it's that time again. About once every quarter, someone circulates the story that the open-source world is cowering in fear over the possibility that Red Hat Inc. may become the next Microsoft Corp.

  • Set a Linux standard

    The recently completed LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco dealt with business -- lots of business. But one issue that concerns many companies developing solutions for Linux is the number of different Linux distributions. The earlier fragmentation of the Unix operating system left many desiring the one-size-fits-all approach promised by Microsoft Corp. -- even if it wasn't really one size and it really didn't fit all. As a result, many businesses look at the various Linux distributions and fear that history will repeat itself.

  • Where McNealy's wrong about open source

    I found interesting comments in an interview Robert McMillan conducted with Scott McNealy. Let me sum up McNealy's views, and what I think is right and wrong with them. While it's not my intention to alter a subtlety in McNealy's argument, please send me a message if you believe I have, and include an explanation of where I went wrong.

  • Take it for a test drive

    When it comes to buying cars, I hate test drives. Maybe I've encountered just one too many used-car salesmen with bad hair and a disingenuous smile who would gladly sell his grandmother to make a buck. The specter of a high-pressure pitchman leering over my shoulder makes me uncomfortable.

  • Next Stop Greenwich Village

    The conspiracy crowd always has plenty of material to work with, especially when Microsoft Corp. throws a party such as .Net Insecurity Day (see ".Net Insecurity Day" ). Carefully hidden in a sea of disclaimers, goals, aspirations, and promises of standards and trust was one nugget of new information, an initiative code named Greenwich.

  • .Net Insecurity Day

    Some guys have all the luck. And then there's Bill Gates. With all of the money in the world, he can't buy a break.

  • Why Microsoft is exhibiting at LinuxWorld

    It's been bugging me for weeks, ever since I read the announcement from LinuxWorld Conference and Expo that Microsoft Corp. is coming to the show. No, the announcement didn't mean stealth attendance by solo Microsoft employees or contractors. The show has had those in the past. It meant Microsoft will have a booth. My questions are what do they hope to accomplish and how will they do it? What would motivate Microsoft to participate in an event celebrating a cancer-causing, communist-inspired, anti-American miscreant of an operating system called Linux?

  • A first look at StarOffice 6.0

    In a past life, I was responsible for communications software at Electronic Data Systems Corp. that allowed health-care providers to transmit Medicaid health claims from their TI Silent 700 terminals -- and later from IBM Corp. PCs -- to EDS for processing. We gave the software to any healthcare provider who asked, and not out of altruism, either. It was clearly in our best interest to receive the claims in a machine-readable format rather than paying data-entry operators to enter the claims for us.

  • Considering TCO

    I'm amazed. For the first time in recent memory, I find myself in total agreement with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. According to published accounts of the Microsoft Fusion 2002 conference, Ballmer said, "We haven't figured out how to be lower-priced than Linux."

  • XML no magic bullet

    If there's one thing attendees should have taken away from last week's Catalyst conference, it's the notion that XML is not the magic bullet for identity management, Web services or any other technology initiative.

  • Pondering Palladium

    This is one of those columns I really wish I didn't need to write. Whenever I mention Microsoft Corp. I inevitably hear from someone who thinks that I am just Microsoft-bashing. Frankly, I'd love to avoid the subject of Microsoft altogether, but there's no way to ignore the company as long as it tries to undermine the growth of open source.

  • License to plunder

    Microsoft raised the ire of critics and customers alike by sneaking a new EULA (end-user license agreement) into a critical security patch delivered in June for Windows Media Player. The EULA grants Microsoft the unrestricted right to automatically alter your copy of Windows so that it will "... disable your ability to copy and/or play secure content and use other software on your computer." Well, that only applies to home users of Windows. Surely vendors would never be stupid enough to antagonize corporate customers with such "guilty when charged" intellectual property protection policies, would they?

  • Return of Cobol?

    One topic that few people write about these days is Cobol. Aside from the slew of Y2K articles a couple years ago, Cobol has not mustered much attention in recent times. Although Cobol won't be mistaken for the next hot thing in computing, it still holds up more than its share of large business infrastructures across the planet.

  • Opinion: Shred that paper

    An opinion is a funny thing. Two intelligent individuals can look at a set of facts and develop two very different opinions about the matter. As someone who writes about his opinions, I hear from reasonable people with differing opinions every week. As the saying goes, it's all good.

  • Open-source hot air

    Looks like it'll be a long, hot (northern) summer at least when it comes to politics and open-source software. A fortnight ago, Ralph Nader sent a letter to the White House suggesting that the government use its purchasing power to keep Microsoft Corp. in line by adopting open-source software. That was just after a Microsoft-funded think tank, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, announced the publication of a white paper arguing that the government shouldn't use open-source software because it would pose a national security risk.

  • Where is the Malware?

    Only months after Java first appeared on the scene, one headline-hungry pundit described Java as a "virus construction kit". History proves that this pundit's prediction was dead wrong. To date, I am aware of viruses for the Java platform: Strange Brew and Hive. Neither was viable in the wild.

  • Opinion: European governments open up, software-wise

    While U.S. businesses begin to take up Linux as a critical part of their business IT infrastructures government agencies "across the pond" are going full bore into Linux and open source software.

  • IT from Planet Bizarro

    I have always loved comic books and old science fiction movies. I wasn't a big fan of Superman, but I liked the stories about the planet Bizarro. Bizarro was an opposite world, where people set their alarm clocks to ring when it was time to go to sleep. And for some reason I never quite understood, the Bizarro people all talked like Sesame Street's Cookie Monster: "Me want cookie." As for old science fiction movies, one of my favorites is the 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, starring Kevin McCarthy.

  • Open opportunities

    As late as 12 months ago, the very subject of open-source desktops would have brought an endless stream of catcalls from folks who consider the concept unthinkable. A year ago, almost no one gave credence to the thought of Linux on the corporate desktop.

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