What’s in a name?

This morning some people involved with OpenOffice.org forked the software. OpenOffice.org is an open source office productivity suite originally controlled by Sun and now Oracle that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation application, and other software. With OpenOffice.org you get two things at once, both a website and the name of the application. That’s right, because of trademark concerns, they needed to stick the “.org” in the application name.

Whatever the exact reason, I have always thought this was silly. Even if the name was abbreviated to OO.o, something just seemed off. I’m sure most people just called it OpenOffice. I did, except when Sun people were in the room.

Sometimes you just need to come up with a completely new name instead of doing something odd to the one you love. I would have recommended that for OO.o, but no one asked me.

The new fork is called LibreOffice. Is this an office suite for astrologers or librarians who can’t spell? What if I write it as LibreOffice? Libre is a word that means “free” as in “with few or no restrictions” vs. “at zero price”. So that’s a very free-and-open-sourcey name for this new fork of the office software. I think it will take a while for people to get used to the new name, much less pronounce it. I myself am very pronunciation-challenged, and I’m waiting for someone else to say it out loud so I can repeat it to myself a few times.

In other renaming news, the open source effort formerly called the CodePlex Foundation is now the OuterCurve Foundation. I’ll admit to not knowing what a CodePlex is (unlike, say, an iDataPlex), but I’m also not sure about OuterCurve. Does it refer to racing? Baseball?

Basic naming is hard, but even harder is coming up with a name that has a website available. You also have to avoid trademarks that are for products close to what you are providing. Here “close” is relative and your sense of it probably differs from the attorney of the company that is suing you for infringement. It’s cheaper, though not always cheap, to do the early research to come up with an available name.

I have some experience with this. In the middle 1990s I came up with some software that would display text and mathematical expressions on web pages and in a standalone browser. I cleverly came up with the name “techexplorer,” thinking that the software would be used for exploring technical documents. The IBM naming police did not like this at all. It wasn’t descriptive enough to differentiate it from other possible uses of the word “techexplorer,” none of which I could find. Therefore the official name became the “techexplorer Hypermedia Browser.”

Ouch. I still cringe at that. I should have found a completely new name as I suggested above.

Good luck to all parties with their new names.

Daily links for 09/28/2010

OpenOffice.org Forks into LibreOffice

  • “The bad news is that in the same time period the OpenOffice suite could have become so much more. As with other single-company controlled efforts in the past (e.g., the Eclipse Foundation, before IBM spun it out into an independent organization), other companies that could have, and would have, made significant contributions of personnel, funding and promotion stood aside.

    Why? Because Sun maintained too much control. This reality has played out over and over during the past 30 years – when one or a few companies maintain too much control, others stay away, because they can’t be sure that the project will be managed for everyone’s benefit.”

    tags: openoffice libreoffice

  • “Robert Sutor, IBM’s VP of Open Systems and Linux, said”First and foremost, we want to see high quality and interoperable implementations of ODF, the Open Document Format, that will drive greater adoption of the standard. This will take continued innovation and collaboration in an active and broad-based open source community. It will also need products like Lotus Symphony 3, which is on track for an on-time release, that build on the great work done by both the OpenOffice and Eclipse communities. We’ve made no decisions about the new LibreOffice community and will assess how best to work with it as we learn more.”

    tags: openoffice libreoffice

  • “BROffice, Google, Novell and Red Hat are among the sponsors of LibreOffice, a community led fork of OpenOffice that is to be developed under the umbrella of a European based non-profit to be named The Document Foundation.

    While development of the new fork will focus around the developers inherited from Novell, Red Hat and Debian, the project has the support of the great majority of the community surrounding OpenOffice.org; Among those who have expressed support for LibreOffice and the Document Foundation are the Free Software Foundation, the OSI, OASIS, Canonical, credativ and Collabora and the Gnome Foundation.”

    tags: libreoffice openoffice

Firefox

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 09/27/2010

  • “The New Yorker is launching an iPad version of the magazine Monday, in a significant test of an iconic, old-media brand’s efforts to refashion itself for the tablet-computer age.

    The launch highlights the mounting pressure on Apple Inc. to give publishers a way to sell their magazines more than one digital issue at a time. Executives from the New Yorker and its publisher, Condé Nast, say the true value of apps like the New Yorker’s can’t be realized until readers are allowed to purchase subscriptions.”

    tags: ipad apple newyorker

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 09/26/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Retheming the blog, again

I’m looking to change the theme of this blog and website, again. That’s not too bad for me, really, since I’ve had this look and feel for almost 10 months.

At the end of 2009 I decided to archive the blog I started in 2004 and begin anew with the latest version of WordPress and a new theme, Atahualpa. I very much liked the look of Atahualpa and I could customize it in many, many ways. I especially liked that I could have a two or three column design, since I do not want the blog-specific right hand column to be on the standalone pages. I want to thank the developers of Atahualpa, but I’m looking to replace it.

The problem is with all those options. For some time I’ve had the lingering feeling that the maintenance of the theme is more difficult than that of WordPress itself. My version of the theme is slightly backlevel and I’m nervous about upgrading it because of some of the problems I’ve seen noted in the forums. Moreover, I want to upgrade to WordPress 3.0.1 and I’m not sure that the theme is going to survive that change.

So I think it is time to switch themes. I’m going to find one that is in active development, appears to be well supported, and has a history of smooth upgrades from version to version. I know that moving to a new version of my current theme will be work, so I’m going to apply that work effort to make my overall self support of this website is easier.

I haven’t found the new theme yet. When I do move to it, the appearance of the site may be erratic for a bit while I stabilize the new look.

Daily links for 09/25/2010

Linux

  • “Still, The VAR Guy doubts Oracle wants to go after the Linux masses. Rather, CEO Larry Ellison’s strategy seems pretty simply: If a customer wants to run Oracle applications on Linux, then Oracle wants to be the Linux of choice.”

    tags: linux oracle

  • Ubuntu is one of the most polished Linux distributions available, fusing the work of a global community of contributors who provide a diverse range of skills to make Ubuntu what it is.

    While we all enjoy the fruits of a new Ubuntu release every six months, many people have asked the team over the years how this wide range of contributors manage to come together to build a new Ubuntu release.”

    tags: ubuntu linux

  • “Many of Mandriva’s exiting developers have joined together with others to fork the once popular distribution and have dubbed their new distribution Mageia, which translates to “Magic.” It’s a distribution, as explained on its Website, not “dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.” “Mageia is a community project. This organization will manage and coordinate the distribution: code & software hosting and distribution, build system, marketing, foster communication and events.”

    tags: Mandriva Mageia linux

Firefox

  • “3D in your browser! FoxTab brings innovative 3D functionality to your Firefox.”

    tags: firefox extensions

  • “PDF Download by Nitro PDF Software is the leading tool for handling, viewing and creating Web-based PDF files and is enjoyed by millions of Firefox users every day. The browser extension removes the pain you can experience when you encounter PDF files online, reducing browser crashes, speeding up the display of a PDF’s content, and letting you convert any (unsecured) Web page into a high-quality PDF that’s great for archiving, printing and sharing.”

    tags: firefox pdf extensions

    • “iMacros was designed to automate the most repetitious tasks on the web. If there’s an activity you have to do repeatedly, just record it in iMacros. The next time you need to do it, the entire macro will run at the click of a button! With iMacros, you can quickly and easily fill out web forms, remember passwords, create a webmail notifier, download information from other sites, scrape the Web (get data from multiple sites), and more. You can keep the macros on your computer for your own use, or share them with others by embedding them on your homepage, blog, company Intranet or any social bookmarking service.”

      tags: firefox extensions productivity

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/24/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/23/2010

      • “Do you know “a Female Journalist who stands out from the crowd and not in a good way!” Meaning she’s unattractive? Why not ambush her with a visit from What Not to Wear? She’ll love you for it! Details below.”

        tags: fashion

      • “So, what happened? Well, for me, the experiment was a pleasant success. With a few exceptions, I got everything done that I would have done with a laptop. Yet I toted a lot less weight, enjoyed much better battery life, and had a computer that started up instantly whenever I reached for it. I also was able to combine the functions of a comfortable e-reader with those of a laptop.”

        tags: ipad ereader

      • “Visa has just rolled out a new pilot program that allows New Yorkers to pay subway, bus and train fares with a wave of their iPhones.”

        tags: subway pay iphone

      • “At its core, the FCC’s new online platform will leverage the same open source technology powering WhiteHouse.gov, and they’re planning active engagement with the open source community. We’ve found open source technology to be a great way maximize the scalability and accessibility of WhiteHouse.gov, and we’ve even contributed some of the custom code we’ve written back to the public domain.”

        tags: Open Source government

      • “In his April blog post announcing his resignation, Gosling would only say, “As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good.” However, over dinner with eWEEK in San Francisco during the week of Oracle’s first JavaOne conference – held concurrently with Oracle OpenWorld here – Gosling went a bit deeper, telling a tale of low-balling key employees and cutting off at the knees projects and strategies Sun had put into play.”

        tags: oracle java sun

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/21/2010

      • “Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux–what a name!–is based on the stable 2.6.32 mainline Linux kernel. For some reason, a few idiots seem to think this represents a Linux fork. Nope. It doesn’t. When you get past all the hype, Oracle’s new Linux just a Linux distribution that’s been optimized for Sun/Oracle hardware. Specifically, Oracle sees this as their Linux for the company’s Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and high-end, Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) servers. “

        tags: oracle linux Red Hat

      • Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon has announced on his blog that Ubuntu are trialling a new process for developers who would like to see their applications appear in the Ubuntu Software Center. Bacon says that recently an Application Review Board was formed which is intended to provide rigorous reviews of applications submitted to Ubuntu and ensure that only high quality applications appear in the Software Center. “

        tags: linux ubuntu application

      • “Open Invention Network (OIN) today extended the Linux ecosystem with the signing of Mozilla as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, Mozilla, the developer of leading software applications including the popular Firefox web browser, has joined the growing list of organizations that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.”

        tags: mozilla oin linux

      • “According to Microsoft‘s advisory, the flaw exists in all versions of ASP.Net, the company’s Web application framework used to craft millions of sites and applications. Microsoft will have to patch every supported version of Windows, from XP Service Pack 3 and Server 2003 to Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, as well as other products, including its IIS and SharePoint server software.”

        tags: microsoft security bug

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      What’s holding back presentation software?

      I can’t think of one thing I do with presentation software today other than creating PDFs that I didn’t do ten years ago.

      We have Microsoft PowerPoint, we have OpenOffice.org Impress, and IBM‘s Symphony. Over on the Mac we have Keynote. Toss in a few others such as KOffice and we have the office productivity market.

      These all have value to their users though if though don’t support ODF, the Open Document Format, in a first class way, I don’t care too much about them. On a regular basis I use Symphony and to a much lesser extent OpenOffice.org and Keynote.

      I don’t view presentations on the web as a matter of course, though I do look at SlideShare occasionally. I probably get a dozen presentations a day for work. Unless I’m going to edit them, I want them in PDF format. Otherwise I expect ODF.

      The software for creating and deploying presentations have changed very little in the sense that we create blank slides, use templates and predefined layouts, add text and images, and fiddle with fonts and colors. Depending on the application you choose, this is more or less easy.

      If you were to create a new desktop presentation application from scratch, what features would you put into it? What would you do differently compared with the apps above?

      I’ve addressed some of these ideas before in “Presentations: Still too hard to mix and match” and “Presentations: The death of complexity”.

      Here’s an idea of what I would do. Note my usual disclaimer that these are my own opinions and not those of any IBM product group.

      • Forget backward compatibility with the Microsoft formats. I understand that for some of you this is a non-starter, but this is my app and I’m starting with a clean slate. I have no interest in supporting the huge number of features that minorities of users need. I also don’t want to support all the failed formats contained in OOXML. Therefore it all goes.
      • I would support ODF natively, but look at understanding the subset, if possible, that I would need.
      • Excellent PDF export is necessary.
      • Like applications such as Firefox and WordPress, I would have a well defined and documented architecture for extensions and hooks. The goal is to keep the core small, tight, and well understood. From there we would drive a third-party market for tools that extend the core. These could include input format filters and export plugins.
      • I would use Python as the macro language in the presentation editor.
      • While I would target the desktop, the architecture must facilitate multi-touch interfaces such as the iPad and the upcoming Android tablets.
      • I would not prioritize support for devices as small as a smartphone.
      • The display engine would be cleanly separated from the core components. For the desktop, I would start with a Linux port, then do the Mac, and finally Windows.
      • Themes and presentation documents need more metadata to make it simple to switch themes easily and accurately. That text box at the top of a slide in a big font is not assumed to be a title, it is known to be a title because of the information associated with it. This also allows me to create and manipulate presentations programmatically, even on servers. No guessing about slide structure is allowed.
      • I need to be able to manage groups of one or more slides for reuse, with versioning. It is still far too difficult to create libraries of slides and then put them together when necessary into new presentations. Slides and groups of slides need tags. For extra credit, slide groups might have suggested dependencies so you know, say, that you should not include these 4 slides without showing those other 2 first. Similarly, one group of slides might be indicated as being the in-depth expansion of another group.

      What am I missing? What would you do differently?

      Daily links for 09/20/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Sailing: Boat pull-out day (but not for me)

      I’ve had my sailboat, a 1988 Catalina 22, on Lake Ontario since the middle of August. I bought this used boat in July and after some preparation, finally got it into the water 5 weeks ago. Therefore I am in no hurry to take it out. The weather does turn very cold here in the northwest corner of upstate New York, so I will likely pull it out of the lake in about a month.

      Some people pull their boats much earlier, and yesterday was the day when the yacht club brought in a crane to pull those boats from the water and set them on cradles. In preparation for the lift, a boat owner will remove personal possessions, food, and boat gear that shouldn’t sit in the closed up vessel until April. Then the mast is removed and stored on long racks in a covered pavilion.

      My boat is relatively small at 22 feet. I’ll use the trailer to pull it out in mid-October.

      The pull-out process was well underway when I arrived at the marina around noon on Saturday. These photos show how a boat goes from sitting in the water to sitting in its cradle.

      Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario Photo of boat being removed from Lake Ontario

      Daily links for 09/18/2010

      • “There is this thing currently going around tumblr about why dating a writer is good. I think it’s nice that this thing is going around, because I like writers, and lots of us could use more dates. As a writer who has dated people, though — including other writers — I would like to offer some correctives to this list.”

        tags: authors

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/17/2010

      • “Rincón’s remarks do seem to put a dent in my idea that Microsoft‘s careful re-positioning within the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, and China) markets has caused it to ease off the FUD and anti-open source rhetoric. It paints the picture of a company that still has deep animosity towards free software. As well it should: free software poses a huge potential threat to Microsoft’s markets. “

        tags: microsoft Open Source

      • “Regardless of whether Diaspora ends up replacing Facebook, we do need a better, safer alternative to Facebook. If Diaspora doesn’t work out, there are other social networks working on similar goals. With thieves using Facebook to plan robberies, having the ability to easily control who gets access to your private information is more important than ever. Here’s hoping Diaspora is up to the challenge.”

        tags: diaspora facebook

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/16/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      A late summer visit to the Erie Canal

      Last March, feeling antsy that winter seemed to be going on forever here in northwestern New York, I paid a visit to the Erie Canal in Pittsford. Most of the canal was covered with snow and ice and so there was, of course, no boat traffic.

      This morning I was driving by the same spot at Lock 32 and I stopped for a few minutes to take some photos of what it looks like with a week to go before summer turns into autumn. Had I arrived 15 minutes earlier, I could have seen a boat being raised in the lock. The first photo is that boat motoring off to the east, almost out of sight.

      Within two months they will mostly drain the canal and things will revert to what they looked like last March. I’m still fascinated by the idea of taking a multi-day trip on the canal, though the sailboat I bought recently is not the right kind of vessel for such a trip.

      Click on an image to see a larger view.

      Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY Photo of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY

      Daily links for 09/14/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/13/2010

      • “Earlier this month we started once again our annual Linux Graphics Survey in which we poll our readers about their choices and opinions concerning graphics cards, display drivers, and other graphics / X.Org related features of the Linux desktop. While this survey is still going on through the end of September — so you still have time to participate — here are the results from the first 6,300 people to submit their responses. We are publishing the results so far since there is the X Developers’ Summit this week in Toulouse and some of these findings may prove to be useful during those discussions.”

        tags: phoronix linux graphics

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/12/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Basement door project: Part 1

      We’ve now lived in our 1820 Federal-style house in western New York for 10 years, and in this blog I’ve documented some of the projects I’ve worked on. (A fence, a porch, another porch, yet another porch, some shelves.)

      We have two doors out of the basement, one of which is sealed up. I’ve always hated both of them, especially the one going out by what we call the corner garden on the western side of the house. The screen door was in very bad shape and out of kilter, the threshold was worn, the door hardware was in bad shape, and water came into the basement when it rained. What’s not to love?

      In the last couple of weeks I’ve been working to fix all these problems. In this entry I’m going to describe the fixes to the door frame and door itself and in the next I’ll describe how I built a new storm door by recycling an extra 100+ year old screen door I had in the basement.

      First, the photos, which I’ll refer to as Photos 1, 2, and 3 from left to right:

      Basement door Basement door Basement door

      In Photo 1 we join the job in progress. I’ve already removed and disposed of the screen door. This side of the house is due for a paint job in a year or two, but the area around the door was in particularly bad shape, so I scraped it thoroughly. You can see that the threshold needed work. What was there were two boards, one horizontal which was the threshold itself and a vertical board in front of it. Both needed to go.

      In Photo 2, the siding has been caulked and primed and a new threshold is in place. The horizontal board is a 1×8 that has been cut to width and notched to be inserted from inside the house. The vertical piece is a pressure treated 1×6 that has been cut to width. I installed it closer to the door jamb molding than the previous piece to help keep water away and to make a tighter fit for the storm door I will eventually build and install. The glazing on the window needed some minor repairs.

      Though you can’t see it from this external shot, I removed the two ancient deadbolts and handle on the inside and replaced them with newer and stronger models. I also painted the inside of the door with a white exterior semi-gloss enamel, covering up some of the ugliest green paint I’ve ever seen. The threshold was painted with a gloss exterior latex enamel after being first spray painted with a stain blocking non-latex primer.

      In Photo 3, the siding has been painted with its final coat of satin exterior latex paint and the door has received its first coat of gloss exterior latex enamel. It will receive the final coat of green when the storm door is in place and I can leave the inner door open while the paint dries. I can’t leave it open for long now for fear that one of our cats will try to exit or a neighborhood cat, squirrel, fox, deer, skunk, raccoon, or chipmunk will try to enter.

      While I was repairing the door and waiting for the caulking and paint to dry at various stages, I began work on the storm door. Projects such as this have tens if not hundreds of small to large steps, but you need to think about what parts of the overall job can be done in parallel. You also have to map out what you can do right now so that you can do something else in an hour, at lunch, after work, or over the weekend. This is especially true for tasks involving glue, wood filler, and paint.

      Daily links for 09/11/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      My changing supply chain for getting information

      It’s important to stay flexible and experiment as new technologies come along that can get you the information you need and want in a timely manner.

      When the web was new in the 1990s, I had many browser bookmarks and I could cover most of the important websites. This quickly got out of hand as the number of sites increased exponentially, and so I reduced my bookmarks to a couple dozen important ones and depended on search to find what I wanted.

      Alta Vista was my favorite for some time, but it eventually got replaced by Google. I dabbled with a few others and will still sometimes look at the secondary search engines to see what they list and in what priority. Using Google, I could pull the information I wanted down to me if I knew the right keywords. For what it’s worth as a confession, I hardly ever look at the ads and in fact I use AdBlocker Plus in Firefox to skip most of them.

      When feeds, via RSS and then later Atom, became available, I started using feedreaders. I wasn’t interested in ones that were desktop applications because I used many different machines. Thus I gravitated toward web-based readers and, in particular, used Bloglines. I could subscribe to many sites and Bloglines would aggregate the feeds for me, saving me the trouble of bouncing from site to site.

      I read this morning that Bloglines in shutting down on October 1. This doesn’t affect me because I switched to Google Reader long ago. I still use Google Reader but the problem is that with 50+ feed sources, the number of entries to read can easily exceed 1000 if I let it go a few days. Indeed, I probably only glance at Google Reader once a week and I’m actively thinking that I am dedicating time to the task while I am doing. That is, using Google Reader is well defined task that consumes my personal intellectual resources in block of time.

      Another issue is that I tend to read the news from sites that come earlier alphabetically. So ars technica gets read in Google Reader often, ZDNet not so much. Still, I keep Google Reader alive and reasonably up-to-date subscription-wise. However, if it went away, I would not be bereft.

      Most of my knowledge about what gets published on the web now gets pushed to me. I have half a dozen or so Google Alerts that I get daily and I can scan the results in a few seconds. If I find I’m ignoring an alert, I refine or delete it. No mercy!

      Other key sources are Twitter and Facebook. I think of Twitter as something that sits in my peripheral vision, almost like a stock ticker. I might miss some information when it first appears, but if it is important it will be retweeted and I have a greater chance of seeing it later. Thus I follow not just the primary web and news sites but also people who are likely to retweet information that I care about. Thus I don’t think of the people I follow as a list but more of a structured graph related to things I care to know about.

      Facebook is similar but the news if usually much more at a personal level. Indeed, I would prefer not to see Facebook entries that are fed from Twitter as I consider it redundant. When I first started using Twitter and Facebook, there was an impedance mismatch since the volume of my tweets was much higher than what should appear in Facebook.

      My wife got annoyed and some of her friends remarked at the large number of Facebook updates from me, most of which were also on Twitter. I broke that connection and now actively think about what I want to say on Twitter and what I want to say on Facebook. Sometimes I put the same information in both, but that’s rare.

      I use reddit from time to time to see interesting content, but I usually look at areas by category such as “sailing” and “gardening.” It is currently one of the best sources for driving readers to my blog.

      By the way, I learned about the shutdown of Bloglines on Twitter and I followed a link to a blog entry. I probably have that blog entry somewhere in Google Reader, but I’ll probably do a mass “mark as read” to clear the queue before I ever see it there.

      Daily links for 09/09/2010

      • “We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

        In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.”

        tags: apple

      • Apple has conceded. They have essentially rescinded all of the madness associated with 3.3.1. This is an amazing turn of events. It is exceedingly rare for Apple to capitulate, and it can only mean that pressure from the popularity of the far more open Android has taken its toll. It looks to me like the accelerating rate of Android app development and user adoption as apple concerned.”

        tags: apple

      • “Some of the first fruits of a European Union-funded project led by IBM are making their way into the field of cloud computing, in the form of a virtual machine migration technology.”

        tags: ibm virtualization

      • “Canonical works closely with IBM to certify Ubuntu on a range of IBM hardware.

        The following are all Ubuntu-certified. More and more devices are being added with each release, so don’t forget to check this page regularly.”

        tags: ibm ubuntu linux

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Math apps and the updated iOS Developer Program License Agreement

      Apple‘s changes to the iOS Developer Program License Agreement resolve some issues but still contain confusing elements for those who might want to develop sophisticated apps such as those for mathematical computation.

      As I first discovered this morning in a blog post by Hank Williams, Apple has changed their iOS Developer Program License Agreement to be less restrictive on the tools used to create apps for iOS for the iPos Touch, iPhone, and iPad.

      Apple’s press release states:

      We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

      In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

      Those relevant sections in the license agreement are:

      3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.

      3.3.2 An Application may not download or install executable code. Interpreted code may only be used in an Application if all scripts, code and interpreters are packaged in the Application and not downloaded. The only exception to the foregoing is scripts and code downloaded and run by Apple’s built-in WebKit framework.

      3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect user or device data without prior user consent, and then only to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application, or to serve advertising. You may not use analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party.

      In April I looked at the previous restrictions in the license and concluded that it would be very difficult to to implement a full featured mathematics application on the iPad.

      Nota Bene: I am not an attorney and the following does not represent a legal opinion and certainly not an official IBM point of view.

      The changes to sections 3.3.1 and 3.3.s improve things somewhat today:

      • Evidently you can now have an interpreter on the device. This means that you could run Python or a Java virtual machine on an iPad.
      • From 3.3.2, prepackaged scripts are allowed, so interpreted Python code is allowed if that code comes with the app.

      However,

      • You cannot download code to be interpreted.
      • I am not sure if you are allowed to type in code on the iPad and then have it interpreted. I suspect not, because that code is not prepackaged with the app, even though it is not downloaded.

      From the perspective of building a math app with Python or another interpreted language, I interpret this as strictly meaning that the app and libraries are fine now, but users cannot write new functions if the math app provides an interpreted language such as Mathematica and Maple do.

      This is problematic. If, say, the library does not provide a factorial function, am I not allowed to write one?

      I suspect that one of the things that Apple wants to avoid are system calls into the iOS operating system by random downloaded scripts. I hope it is not just a question of performance. Some computations take a very long time.

      I really can’t see how this type of interpreted script for math computations should cause any problem for the iPad device, for Apple, or the users. This form of code interpretation is how things get done in these kinds of apps.

      Indeed, if I have a word processing document it contains markup to indicate paragraphs, fonts, colors, and so forth. A work processing app interprets that information, which could be said to be a descriptive script. Or is ok to interpret such things? Do I need permission from Apple to do this?

      I don’t think this is the last we will hear from Apple in this area. Their statement is now shorter, but it is not complete enough regarding the kinds of code that might be interpreted. I think another round is necessary to clarify matters.

      On the other hand, perhaps all this is below Apple’s radar or level of caring. While that might be true, it might be better to ask permission first rather than asking forgiveness later when you submit your app for publication.

      Daily links for 09/08/2010

      • “Brady over-stated the case. Android is Linux. To be exact, version, 2.2, Froyo, runs on top of the 2.6.32 Linux kernel. To quote from the Android developer page, Dalvik, Android’s Java-based interface and user-space, uses the “Linux kernel for underlying functionality such as threading and low-level memory management.” Let me make it simple for you, without Linux, there is no Android. “

        tags: linux kernel android Open Source

      • “Thus the decision about something as apparently abstract and dry as the licensing terms for patents that may be involved in standards actually has an enormous knock-on effect on free software. If FRAND is adopted, those standards cannot be implemented by the latter, and so any moves to adopt these nominally “open” standards actually lock out real openness.”

        tags: standards Open Source rf frand

      • “Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.”

        tags: Oracle HP

      • “It took Hewlett-Packard less than a day to file a lawsuit against its former chief executive, Mark V. Hurd, over his decision to join its rival and partner Oracle as a co-president. “

        tags: Oracle HP

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/07/2010

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Mark Bohannon will join the company as Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy on Oct. 1, 2010. He will lead Red Hat’s worldwide team representing the company’s interests before policy makers in government, industry consortia, and other venues regarding issues such as technology and innovation policy, open source and standards adoption, intellectual property legislation, government technology initiatives, and tax regulation. “

        tags: Red Hat

      • “Canonical, the founding company of Ubuntu, released and presented the new wallpapers that will come with the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 OS, also known as Maverick Meerkat. Ubuntu Users will be able to choose from a list of 17 new wallpapers to be used as desktop backgrounds and also they will be able use the revamped version of the Ambiance theme.”

        tags: linux ubuntu

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/06/2010

      • “If you use Linux long enough, you are going to wind up getting to know (and using) the command line. And if you use the command line long enough, you are going to find yourself using the grep tool. Grep is one of the most useful linux utilities in that it will search WITHIN a text file for a string of characters. Grep is such a useful tool that it is often used in shell scripts and much, much more.”

        tags: linux

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Installing an outboard motor in one step

      So my plan for today was to install a new Tohatsu 6 hp outboard engine on my Catalina 22 sailboat and document some of the process in a blog entry. Thus I started with this photo:

      outboard in the box

      Next I removed the motor from the box, tied a rope around it for my son to hold while I maneuvered the motor over the back of the boat, put the motor on the mount and tightened the mounting bolts, tested the engine tilt, added oil, attached the gas tank, and started breaking in the motor by running it at idle for 20 minutes.

      I forgot to photograph those parts.

      However, here is the finished result:

      outboard on the boat

      So much for the photographic how-to blog entry. The motor looks good, though.

      Daily links for 09/03/2010

      • “With Cloud Computing being the biggest thing on the technology horizon, there is a huge race shaping up over which API will allow clouds to talk to each other. Like many other sectors in tech, the open source community has several hats in this ring, any one of which could wind up the winner. This much is sure, one of the biggest inhibitors to wider cloud adoption is a lack of standards from one cloud provider to another. So a unifying standard that all cloud providers follow is seen as a trigger point to even greater cloud adoption.”

        tags: cloud Open Source

      • “We regularly feature commercial software on AppStorm, so decided it was time to bring a roundup of completely free (and often open source) apps to your attention. If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know that a variety of great OS X software is available free.”

        tags: apple mac Open Source osx

      • “There are many applications that can help you work faster and efficiently. Though, not many applications come cheap. For this post we tried to digg deep to find the best selection of free and/or open source Mac applications that will help you be a more efficient designer. We’re covering from application launchers, GTD (Getting Things Done) to design utilities that can help you focus on what’s important: create.”

        tags: mac software Open Source

      • “open source and indie software for mac and windows”

        tags: mac Open Source

      • “A quarter of the projects available on the European Commission’s software development site, the OSOR Forge, 47 out of 183 projects, are published using the EUPL. On Sourceforge, a commercial venture for open source software development based in the US, the licence is now selected by 49 projects. One year ago there were none.
        The EUPL was written to be used for distributing open source software applications built for or by the European Commission.”

        tags: Open Source license

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/02/2010

      • “The latest release of Ubuntu 10.04, code-named Lucid Lynx, has a somewhat revamped user interface. One of the most significant changes is the Software Center, which provides a simple, user-friendly way to find and install your choice of thousands of free, open source apps. While there are many ways to install apps in Ubuntu 10.04, the easiest way is to click Applications from the top-left panel and select Ubuntu Software Center.”

        tags: ubuntu

      • “Author Neal Stephenson has been credited for inspiring today’s virtual world startups with his novel Snow Crash. Now he’s launching a startup himself: Subutai, where he is co-founder and chairman.

        The company, based in Seattle and San Francisco, has developed what it calls the PULP platform for creating digital novels. The core of the experience is still a text novel, but authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers.”

        tags: stephenson book

      • “While the iPad’s aesthetics are exemplary, its built-in protection is a bit spare, especially when it comes to its 9.5-inch screen. Transporting the iPad can sometimes resemble a trip home from the grocery store with a dozen really expensive eggs.

        But fear not, iPad owners: thousands of armed-guard-like cases are available to protect your frangible computing device. ”

        tags: ipad

      • “During Apple‘s music event, Steve Jobs gave a brief preview of iOS 4.2, the iOS update that will finally bring the iPad up to speed. In November, the update will finally bring the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad up to the same iOS version, and it will also bring Game Center to the iPad.”

        tags: ipad

      • “Teachers are looking for alternatives as Linden Lab prepares to close down the Teen Grid–a region of the immersive virtual world Second Life designed just for teenagers and their education institutions. Where will all those teen avatars wind up? And is there an upside for those who’ve spent years developing educational resources on the proprietary platform?”

        tags: second-life teen virtual-world

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

      Daily links for 09/01/2010

      Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.