What I’m Reading on 07/27/2014

  • “The Ruby language is 21 years old. Its strong community and adoption by the open source community has kept this language steady and improving. Ruby has changed drastically over the years. It has grown from a young child to the strong adult that it is today. But it didn’t get that way overnight. Let’s take a look at the life of the Ruby programming language.”

    tags: bs history ruby

  • “Enter Scrivener.  This program, produced by a company called Literature and Latte, was designed specifically for writers who are writing long documents like novels and movie/play scripts.  It is available for Windows, Mac, and LInux, and comes with a thirty day free trial. I have been using Scrivener to write my novels for about a year now, and I have to say it has made writing my novel sooooo much easier.”

    tags: bs novel writing scrivener

  • “One of the first things we like to talk about when you’re going to learn how to get into a kayak is keep in mind that more people tip over at the dock – getting either in or out – more than any other place on the water itself. We have a tendency to be overconfident about the fact that we should be able to get into a kayak with no problem.”

    tags: bs kayak dock

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What I’m Reading on 07/15/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/11/2014

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What I’m Reading on 05/01/2014

  • “That’s all well and good, but hypervisor support takes up a lot of system resources — every VM runs not merely a full copy of an operating system, bur a virtual copy of all the hardware that operating system needs to run. That’s great for using otherwise unused memory or CPU cycles, but say you’re running multiple VMs and your users want more VMs — more I tell you! — then the fact that these fat VMs take up a lot of RAM and clock time starts to be troublesome. That’s where containers (a different take on virtualization) comes in.”

    tags: bs containers virtualization linux

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What I’m Reading on 04/23/2014

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Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone OpenSim on Ubuntu 13.10

This post is a great example of why you should never say that you are starting a new series of blog entries. In February of 2010, I wrote a blog post called Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone opensim on Ubuntu 9.10 saying

As a complement to my Life with Linux blog series, I’m introducing another series which explores what I can do in virtual worlds and immersive Internet environments on Linux.

I wrote two entries, and that was it. Well, here is the third entry, notes from trying to install the latest version of OpenSim on Ubuntu Linux 13.10. I’m not going to go through all the steps involved, but mostly talk about some of the glitches I encountered and how I resolved them.

First, some notes on Ubuntu 13.10. I have a dual boot pc with Windows 7 and Ubuntu on it. I used to do a lot with Linux because it was my job and also because I loved the experience of trying all the distros, seeing what was new, and playing with the features. Well, I moved on to a job involving mobile and then running the math department in IBM Research, and I really did not touch Linux for a long time. Long as in the version of Ubuntu on my machine being from 2009.

I fired this up several weeks ago and started the upgrade process, which was excruciatingly slow. Somewhere in there I accidentally hit the power button on the computer and that pretty much wiped out the Ubuntu image. Don’t do that. I eventually burned a DVD of Ubuntu 13.10. Once again the updates were really slow.

This weekend I did the clever thing and did a web search for “slow Ubuntu updates.” The main suggestion was that I find a mirror closer to me, and this made a huge difference. I went into the Ubuntu Software Center, picked Edit | Software Sources, went into Download From, picked Other…, and found a mirror 40 miles from my house. Problem solved.

32 bit Libraries

I installed the 64 bit version of Ubuntu but you are going to need the 32 bit libraries. There’s a lot on the web about how to do this for older versions of Ubuntu, how you should use multiarch libraries, how you don’t need to do anything at all, and so on. Eventually I found this solution and it worked, from the forums for the Firestorm virtual world viewer. There are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but this does the job.

sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libpangox-1.0-0:i386 libpangoxft-1.0-0:i386 libidn11:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio:i386


You need the complete mono package, not just what you install from the Ubuntu Software Center.

sudo apt-get install mono-complete

See the OpenSim build instructions for other platforms.


Install the client and the server from the Ubuntu Software Center. You will be asked for a root password, so write it down somewhere.

Getting OpenSim

There are several ways of getting and installing OpenSim. When I last did this four years ago, I took a “from scratch” approach but I’m doing it more simply now. I used the popular Diva Distribution of OpenSim which comes set up for a 2×2 megaregion (that is 4 regions in a square that behave like one great big region). What you lose in some flexibility you gain in ease of installation and update. Once you download and expand the files, start reading the README.txt file and then the INSTALL.txt file. Other files will tell you more about MySQL and mono, but you did the hard work above.

Since I am not connecting this world to the Internet, I did not bother with the DNS name, I simply used localhost at

Follow the instructions for configuring OpenSim and getting it started. You’ll need to give names for the four regions, which I’ll call R1, R2, R3, and R4. These are laid out in the following tile pattern:


You will need to know this if you decide to change the terrains for your world.

For example, suppose you had four terrain files called nw.raw, ne.raw, sw.raw, and se.raw in the terrains subdirectory of your OpenSim bin directory.

Then you would issue the following from within the OpenSim console to set the terrains for the regions:

change region R1
terrain load terrains/sw.raw
change region R2
terrain load terrains/nw.raw
change region R3
terrain load terrains/se.raw
change region R4
terrain load terrains/ne.raw

A web search will find you many options for terrains. Basically, they are elevation files for your region.

Getting a Browser

I believe that all the popular common browsers out there for OpenSim are evolutions of some major versions of the Second Life browser after they were open sourced. This OpenSim page has details on your options. If you have a choice, get a 64 bit browser if you are using a 64 bit Linux. I’ve had good luck with both Firestorm and Kokua.

Other Approaches

Maria Korolov extensively describes the different ways of getting an OpenSim region up and running in her article OpenSim 102: Running your own sims. In particular, she discusses New World Studio, and I’ll be trying to get that running on my MacBook.

Second Life and OpenSim revisited

Several years ago I spent quite a bit of time in Second Life when it was the hot 3D social world. The promise was that you could build and visit worlds that had been uniquely constructed by the users. As such, it was dynamic environment that tended to be slow as all the shapes, buildings, and textures were loaded.

Second Life alter egoPeople can customize their in-world presences extensively, from body shape to the clothes and decorations worn. Indeed, you don’t even need to look like a person. Note, however, that you probably should not show up to a business meeting in Second Life in the form of a squirrel, as my now-retired IBM colleague Irving Wladawsky-Berger once said.

Over time, Second Life fell out of fashion as a world where businesses could set up sites where clients or interested people could visit, learn about products or services, and talk to real people, albeit in avatar form.

For internal business meetings, the lack of truly secure conversation was a problem. We used teleconferences for the voice, and Second Life for the environment. As meetings went on, participants often went inactive, or fell asleep, in Second Life, and we were back to phone meetings as usual.

Second Life lives on today as a social world. That’s never been much of an interest to me, but to each his or her own. It seems to be quite vibrant across a broad range of what “social” means.

My interest in it was always more in the construction aspects, and I’ve written extensively about the techniques involved. See Building in Second Life, By Example. I still get many links to this site from people looking to build moving doors, for example. I also had a long series of blog entries about how to do things in Second Life called My Second Life. Note that this is from 2006, so it is getting a bit old.

You can see all my writings on Second Life by going to the top of this page and entering “second life” in the search box on the right side.

Here is the net for me with Second Life: it is too expensive to be as slow as it is, especially if I only want to use it as an advanced 3D building environment. While new ways of building objects have been introduced, it’s hard to see a lot of difference from the way it was five years ago. I still visit from time to time, but I own no land and spend no money there.

OpenSimulator, or opensim for short, is a reimplementation of the Second Life server in open source. It is written in C#, so requires Microsoft Windows or the Mono environment on Linux. It does not include a browser, but several are available.

Other than the OpenSim site itself, the best source of information about the technology and the worlds built with it is Maria Korolov’s Hypergrid Business. It is excellent.

Some of the features of OpenSim include:

  • an active development community
  • better in-world programming options
  • the ability to host a world on your own computer, which is completely free
  • many online paid hosting options
  • the ability to connect your world to several choices of “grids,” or collections of worlds
  • teleporting from one world to another across a grid

This means that I could set up a world on my local computer, do all the building I want on it, save an image, and then transfer it to a hosted server. If you can and want to connect your computer to the Internet, you can host your world from there and have others visit it.

To see a modern use of OpenSim, read the article $250,000 project models cities in OpenSim.

Some of the potential downsides are:

  • hosting providers come and go, though some have been around for years
  • it may be more difficult to find assets you need at the quality you want, for example textures, but there are guides for finding free content
  • it is probably best if you have some technical chops or know someone who does

So Second Life costs money to own land and to buy some assets, and is more restrictive. OpenSim and the worlds and grids associated with it provide more freedom, but you are more on your own and there might be some long term risks related to hosting. For me, the freedom is worth the risk.

In 2010 I wrote a blog entry called Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone OpenSim on Ubuntu 9.10. I’ve recently gone through the experience of doing this on Ubuntu 13.10. I’ve published some notes on what I did this time to install on my pc in Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone OpenSim on Ubuntu 13.10.

What I’m Reading on 02/21/2014

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What I’m Reading on 02/18/2014

  • “For RHEL6 and newer distributions tools are available to profile Python code and to generate dynamic call graphs of a program’s execution. Flat profiles can be obtained with the cProfile module and dynamic callgraphs can be obtained with pycallgraph.”

    tags: python

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What I’m Reading on 02/16/2014

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What I’m Reading on 01/17/2014

  • “This collaboration strengthens Red Hat‘s proven business model by extending the Red Hat open source development ecosystem. Red Hat anticipates that taking a role as a catalyst within the CentOS community will enable it to accelerate development of enterprise-grade subscription solutions for customers and partners, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat JBoss Middleware, OpenShift by Red Hat, and Red Hat Storage.”

    tags: centos red hat

  • “That’s all changing with the news last week that CentOS will join Red Hat, said Karanbir Singh, CentOS project leader and one of four CentOS developers going to work for Red Hat as part of the new collaboration. For the first time, developers will work on CentOS professionally and that’s created a “paradigm shift” for the project and its contributors, he said.”

    tags: centos red hat

  • IBM is moving rapidly on its plans to spend heavily on cloud computing. It expects to spend $1.2 billion this year on increasing the number and quality of computing centers it has worldwide.”

    tags: ibm cloud

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My annotated programming language history

I’ve been coding, a.k.a programming, since I was 15 years old. Since then I’ve used many programming languages. Some of them have been for work, some have been for fun. I mean, really, who hasn’t done some programing while on vacation?

Somewhat chronologically, here are many of the languages I’ve used with some comments on my experience with them. In total I’ve written millions of lines of code in the various languages over four decades.

Basic: This is the first language I used. While primitive, I was able to write some long programs such as a Monopoly game. In between coding sessions, I saved my work on yellow paper tape. I fiddled with Visual Basic years later, but I never wrote anything substantive in it.

APL: Now we’re talking a serious language, and this is still in use today, particularly by one statistician in my group at IBM Research. I was editor of the school newspaper when I was a senior in high school and I wrote a primitive word processor in APL that would justify the text. It sure beat using a typewriter. Some modern programming languages and environments like R and MatLab owe a lot to APL. They should mention that more.

FORTRAN: My first use of this language was for traffic simulations and I used a DYNAMO implementation in FORTRAN in a course I took one summer at the Polytechnic Institute of New York in Brooklyn. Forget interactive code editing, we used punch cards! FORTRAN was created at IBM Research, by the way.

PDP 11 Assembler: I only took one Computer Science class in college and this was the language used. Evidently the course alternated between using Lisp and Assembler and the primary language in which the students wrote. However, our big project was to write a Lisp interpreter in Assembler which got me hooked on ideas like garbage collection. No, I did not and do not mind the parentheses.

csh, bash, and the like: These are the shell scripting languages for UNIX, Linux, and the Mac. I’ve used them on and off for several decades. They are very powerful, but I can never remember the syntax, which I need to look up every time.

Perl: Extraordinary, powerful, write once and hope you can figure it out later. Just not for me.

PL/I: Classic IBM mainframe language and it saved me from ever learning COBOL. When I was a summer student with IBM during my college years, we used PL/I to write applications for optimizing IBM’s bulk purchases of telecommunications capacity for voice and data. It was basically one big queuing theory problem with huge amounts of data. It was big data, 70s style.

Rexx: This language represented a real change in the way I viewed languages on the mainframe. Rather than being obviously descended from the punch card days, it was a modern language that allowed you to imagine data in more than a line-by-line mode, and help you think of patterns within the data. It was much easier to use than than the compiled languages I had used earlier. My primary use for it was in writing macros for the XEDIT editor.

Turbo PASCAL: This was my main programming language on my IBM PC in the 1980s. The editor was built-in and the compiler was very fast. I used it to write an interactive editor like XEDIT for the mainframe with it, as well as a Scheme interpreter.

Scheme: A very nice and elegant descendant of Lisp, was considered an important programming language for teaching Computer Science. That role has been largely usurped by Java. I liked writing interpreters in Scheme but I never did much actual coding in it.

VM Lisp: This was a Lisp dialect developed at IBM Research for mainframes. My group led by Dick Jenks there used it as the bottommost implementation language for computer algebra systems like Scratchpad, Scratchpad II, and Axiom. Like other Lisps this had two very important features: automatic garbage collection and bignums, also known as arbitrarily large integers.

Boot: An internal language at IBM Research built on Lisp that provided feature like collections and pattern matching for complex assignments. It had many advantages over Lisp and inherited the garbage collection and bignums. From time to time I and others would rewrite parts of Boot to get more efficient code generation, but the parser was very hard to tinker with.

Axiom compiler and interpreter languages: The IBM Research team developed these to express and compute with very sophisticated type hierarchies and algorithms, typical of how mathematics itself is really done. So the Axiom notion of “category” corresponded to that in mathematics, and one algorithm could be conditionally chosen over another at runtime based on categorical properties of the computational domains. This work preceded some later language features that have shown up in Ruby and Sage. The interpreted language was weakly typed in that it tried to figure out what you meant mathematically. So x + 1/2 would produce an object of type Polynomial RationalNumber. While the type interpretation was pretty impressive, the speed and ease of use never made the system as popular as other math systems like Maple or Mathematica.

awk: Great language for regular expressions and sophisticated text processing. I wrote a lot of awk for pre- and post-processing the Axiom book.

C: Better than assembler, great for really understanding how code translates to execution and how it could get optimized. Happy to move on to C++.

C++: Yay, objects. I started using C++ when I wrote techexplorer for displaying live TEX and LATEX documents. I used the type system extensively, though I’ve always strongly disliked the use of templates. Several years ago I wrote a small toy computer algebra system in C++ and had to implement bignums. While there are several such libraries available in open source for C and C++, none of them met my tastes or open source license preferences. Coding in C++ was my first experience with Microsoft Visual Studio in the 1990s. The C++ standard library is simply not as easy to use as the built-in collection types in Python, see below.

SmallTalk: Nope, but largely because I disliked the programming environments. The design of the language taught me a lot about object orientation.

Java: This is obviously an important language, but I don’t use it for my personal coding, which is sporadic. If I used it all day long and could keep the syntax and library organization in my head, that would be another story. I would be very hesitant to write the key elements of a server-side networked application in something other than Java due to security concerns (that is, Java is good).

Ruby: Nope. Installed many times, but it just doesn’t make me want to write huge applications in it.

PHP: The implementation language for WordPress and Drupal, in addition to many other web applications. If you want to spit out HTML, this is the way to do it. I’m not in love with its object features, but the other programming elements are more than good enough to munch on a lot of data and make it presentable.

Objective-C: Welcome to the all Apple world, practically speaking. It hurts my head, but it is really powerful and Apple has provided a gorgeous and powerful library to build Mac and iOS mobile apps. My life improved when I discovered that I could write the algorithmic parts of an app in C++ and then only use Objective-C for the user interface and some library access.

Python: This is my all time favorite language. It’s got bignums, it’s got garbage collection, it’s got lists and hash tables, it can be procedural, object-oriented, or functional. I can code and debug faster than any other language I’ve used. Two huge improvements would be 1) make it much easier to create web applications with it other than using frameworks like Django, and 2) have Apple, Google, and Microsoft make it a first class language for mobile app development.

Javascript: This has been on my todo list for years and I’ve written a few dozen lines here and there for some web pages. To me, the object system is strange, but I need to get over it. Of the languages that are out there now, this is probably the most important one missing from my coding arsenal and represents an intellectual deficiency on my part.

What I’m Reading on 12/10/2013

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What I’m Reading on 12/07/2013

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What I’m Reading on 10/22/2013

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What I’m Reading on 10/04/2013

  • “When you use a system often, you tend to fall into set usage patterns. Sometimes, you do not start the habit of doing things in the best possible way. Sometimes, you even pick up bad practices that lead to clutter and clumsiness. One of the best ways to correct such inadequacies is to conscientiously pick up good habits that counteract them. This article suggests 10 UNIX command-line habits worth picking up — good habits that help you break many common usage foibles and make you more productive at the command line in the process. Each habit is described in more detail following the list of good habits.”

    tags: unix linux shell reference

  • “Which makes us think Apple has longer-term plans for Siri’s tech, Cue’s algorithms, and whatever other apps and hardware startups it buys in the near future. This is particularly true if it is also aligning its future Mac OS with the developments of iOS 8. What Apple may do is wind intelligent question-and-answer natural language systems through iOS on a deeper level, and build in more automatic “before you knew you needed it” technology, dissolving the idea of Siri as an extra to the OS. Why do we know this? Because Apple already dreamed this solution up a long time ago. Never forget the “Knowledge Navigator”:”

    tags: apple buy calendar app cue

  • “At the IBM research colloquium on cognitive computing, Columbia University computer scientist Kathleen McKeown uses natural language processing to mine social media for valuable information.”

    tags: ibm cognitive computing facebook

  • “IBM is teaming with MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to advance the state of the art in building smarter computer systems. Their research ranges from automatically classifying text and images to human-computer interaction.”

    tags: ibm academic cognitive computing

  • “At the event, IBM unveiled its newly minted Cognitive Systems Institute, a collaborative effort between universities, research institutes, and IBM clients to advance the state-of-the-art in cognitive computing, starting with four major universities: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).”

    tags: ibm institute cognitive

  • “Another major cloud service is angling today to join the pantheon of public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Rackspace and Windows Azure. Verizon Terremark, a unit formed by Verizon’s $1.4 billion purchase of the Miami-based cloud vendor Terremark in 2011, is launching two new public infrastructure services today: Verizon Cloud Compute and Verizon Cloud Storage.”

    tags: verizon cloud

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What I’m Reading on 09/27/2013

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What I’m Reading on 09/24/2013

  • “Just a day after announcing its iPhone launch numbers, Apple is updating its iMac lineup. Last year’s all new iMac was an impressive performer and quite the looker, and an update to Haswell was expected at some point this year. Pixel density enthusiasts may be disappointed to learn that there wasn’t a move to a higher density display at either the 21.5-inch or 27-inch SKUs. Thankfully, pricing hasn’t changed, so the base model retains its $1,299 sticker, while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799. That’s not to say nothing’s changed. So what’s new?”

    tags: apple imac updates

  • “The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 improves upon the Note 2 in many ways and is still the best phablet in the market. Samsung does, however, need to improve on the Note 3’s camera software and work on a better rear cover accessory.”

    tags: mobile phones samsung galaxy note mobile

  • “Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve and its Steam game platform, wasn’t kidding when he said at LinuxCon in New Orleans that “Linux is the future of gaming.” Valve is releasing, in advance of the expected announcement of its SteamBox Linux-powered gaming console, its own Linux for gamers: SteamOS.”

    tags: linux games

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What I’m Reading on 09/21/2013

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What I’m Reading on 09/17/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/12/2013

  • “So, you’re finally considering giving Linux a try. It’s about time! And it’s really not as scary (or different) as you may think. The myth that you had to be some kind of computer guru to use Linux is utterly untrue. Today’s top desktop Linux distributions, such as Mint, openSUSE, and Ubuntu are easier to use than Windows 8.”

    tags: linux windows

  • “We are about to take a detour from the traditional ways of using computers to solve problems. Tomorrow’s market leaders will be the companies able to leverage their unique knowledge, intellectual property, and data mining skills to create products that understand context, predict outcomes, and continue to learn from vast amounts of information collected daily.”

    tags: big data

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What I’m Reading on 08/09/2013

  • “Many open source projects (from phones to programming tools) have taken to crowd-funding sites (such as Kickstarter and indiegogo) in order to raise the cash needed for large-scale development. And, in some cases, this has worked out quite well. But these sites really aren’t built with open source projects in mind – they are much more general fund-raising platforms. And, as you are probably well aware, open source comes with its own benefits and challenges.”

    tags: open source community

  • “Is Apache the most important open source project? Opinions will naturally differ. Some will point out that Linux dominates the next key global computing platform – mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Others will note that Firefox has defended many kinds of critical online openness, without which the Internet would be hugely poorer. Both are enormous and indispensable successes.”

    tags: apache open source

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What I’m Reading on 08/07/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/06/2013

  • IBM‘s Irv Lustig was one of the first INFORMS members to take the new INFORMS CAP (Certified Analytics Professional) exam. In this interview recorded at the 2013 INFORMS Analytics Conference in San Antonio, Irv shares his view on taking the exam, prepping, and how the exam benefits both analytics professionals and employers.”

    tags: ibm cap exam informs

  • “The alliance, called the OpenPower Consortium, was formed to break into Intel’s server chip prowess. The move could open up new designs and alternatives to the x86 architecture. The x86 architecture is under fire in the datacenter from ARM too. For instance, HP’s Moonshot effort will offer a series of various special use processors. IBM’s OpenPower Consortium appears to be aimed at HP, which could get traction with hyperscale servers. “

    tags: ibm consortium nvidia power

  • Apache OpenOffice 4.0 is now available for download from our official download page.  Building upon the great success of the OpenOffice 3.4 release, which has seen over 57 million downloads, this major update brings exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes.    OpenOffice 4.0 features an innovative new Sidebar user interface,  additional language support for 22 languages (including 3 new languages), 500 bug fixes, improvements in Microsoft Office interoperability, enhancements to drawing/graphics, performance improvements, etc.”

    tags: openoffice apache open source

  • “This guide explains one method for creating electronic books (“eBooks”) in the ePub format using open source tools available on most popular computing platforms. ePub is the International Digital Publishing Forum’s open standard for digital book publishing, and most major electronic reading devices support it (except for the Kindle—sorry, Amazon fans!). But more importantly, formatting an electronic book as an ePub guarantees that many online eBook marketplaces will host and distribute the work.”

    tags: open source ebooks

  • “The newest generation of Mindstorms, the EV3, has capabilities that would have blown my mind back in the mid-’80s (if a set could have been sent back in time, my reaction would have looked a lot like the kid in this Onion story). First demoed at CES back in January, the EV3 set features a new controller with an ARM9 CPU with 64MB of RAM, 16MB of NAND flash storage, a USB 2.0 interface for expansion modules (like Wi-Fi), and Bluetooth. The brick runs an ARM version of Linux and is capable of driving four separate motors and receiving input from four separate sensors. It can also be linked to other Mindstorms bricks (including previous-generation Mindstorms NXT controllers) for truly large creations.”

    tags: lego mindstorms robots

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What I’m Reading on 07/31/2013

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What I’m Reading on 07/23/2013

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Daily links for 05/08/2013

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Social Media and the Professional: Enterprise Social Media

In this series I’m looking at my experiences using social media as a business professional. In this entry I examine the rules and policies I personally use regarding enterprise social media.

In the introduction to this series of blog entries, I asked several questions regarding my use of particular social media services, and how I manage the intersection of my personal and professional lives in them.

Here I’m going to look specifically at enterprise social media. That is, services that allow you to blog, post status updates, comment on the status of others, all inside your company’s or organization’s firewall. I’ll assume that what is posted is seen only by people in your organization, not by the general public.

I think use of multiple social networks only has value if you do different things on each of them. If one service targets a specific audience, use it with those people in mind. If you are more or less throwing the same material at all of them, I think you are spamming people, hoping it will lead to some sort of positive outcome for yourself. Therefore, if you post blog entries externally, there is no need to repost internally, but perhaps a link will do.

Enterprise social media is tricky because what you post could be seen by your bosses, your colleagues, and your employees, not to mention HR. You want to keep it relevant to your work life but you do need to be aware of the politics and sensitivities involved.

Do not use internal enterprise social media to state how brilliant you think management and their status updates are and how much their postings have changed your outlook on life, the way you’ll raise your children, or the very essence of your being. It’s fine to just click “Like.”

Be constructive, don’t use use enterprise social media to build a mutual admiration society. Ask questions, get a better understanding of the details of how the business is run and why decisions were made, and improve upon the suggestions of others. Don’t ever say in a response posting “What is more important …” but rather say “What is also important …”.

Share what you have learned about making products or service engagements better. Pass along dos and don’ts about working with clients. Don’t ever criticize a client as individuals or a company in your postings. Think about how new technologies like mobile and analytics can help you serve customers better and share your thoughts with your colleagues.

Be interesting. Be a person.

The social media service I use inside IBM is Connections.

Here are answers to the standard questions I’ve used in all these postings.

Who will I follow?

I follow (or connect with) people I know and have worked with directly. IBM has over 400,000 employees. If I connected with everyone, I could never find anything of value in the stream of status updates.

Who will I try to get to follow me? Who will I block?

I’ve suggested to my current employees that I would be honored if they connected with me, but it is completely optional. If anyone expresses uneasiness that “the boss” is watching what they post, I won’t follow them. No one is blocked (I’m not even sure I could if I wanted to).

How much will I say in my profile about myself?

Much of my work contact information is pulled up automatically. I’ve added a few other items, plus links to my external social networking activities. I certainly don’t list my personal hobbies in my inside-IBM profile, though I don’t think that is out of bounds in general. Since I cover my personal social networking elsewhere, I don’t redundantly add things in my internal profile.

What kinds of status updates will I post? How often will I post?

Though many people blog internally, I don’t. When I first started blogging in 2004 I had a WebSphere blog, then a developerWorks blog, an internal blog, and then one WordPress personal blog and one WordPress business blog. It didn’t take me long to decide I needed just one, and that is what you are reading here.

If I had something to say about open source, standards, Linux, WebSphere, or mobile, I would not have a special inside-IBM version and a different outside-IBM one. For one thing, this helped me keep the messages straight! Since I spoke publicly quite a bit, I needed to make sure that I did not say things internally in print that might inadvertently get repeated externally.

I do use Connections Communities now to share very specific internal information with named groups of people, such as the worldwide Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences community. This is quite useful.

In terms of status, I post questions, some simple statements about IBM activities in which I’m engaged, and occasionally some critiques of features of processes or software.

While it’s fine to inject the occasional comment about non-work matters, I do not recommend that you use a lot of bandwidth in your company’s social networking service discussing American Idol or the World Cup. Take it elsewhere, perhaps to Facebook.

When will I share content posted by others?

Sometimes if I think it is really important or answers a question someone posts.

How political, if at all, will I be in my postings?

Zero, nada, zip.

How much will I disclose about my personal details and activities in my postings?

See above.

On what sorts of posts by others will I comment?

Anything I see where I might add something useful to the conversation.

What’s my policy about linking to family, friends, or co-workers?

I’ll link to co-workers to share what they’ve said or to note them as experts on a particular subject.

Blog entries in this series:

Daily links for 03/05/2013

IBM, OpenStack, and the cloud

Scientific computing

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

Daily links for 02/04/2013

  • “In this article, we explain in detail how city leaders can configure automated sentiment analysis for social media sites for the topics of interest to them by using the recently released Sentiment Analysis dashboard, a part of the IBM Intelligent Operations Center. The dashboard uses IBM Cognos Consumer Insight as its underlying analysis engine. However, much of the advice in this article is equally applicable for any automated sentiment analysis tool.”

    tags: sentiment city

  • “The extra cash nets buyers a 14-inch screen and a Intel x86 chipset rather than an ARM chip inside the Samsung or Acer. All three models have 2GB of RAM. The Intel 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 CPU chipset inside the HP likely runs slightly better than the ARM chip. But this is a Chromebook. You run Chrome on a Chromebook. Not Photoshop. The Samsung Chromebook correctly mashes a sleek casing with a computing platform in an affordable package. The HP does not.”

    tags: chromebook hp

  • “Getting Linux to boot and install on PCs locked down with Windows 8’s UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot continues to be annoying at best and downright impossible in some cases. Still, slowly, ever so slowly, progress is being made.”

    tags: linux windows

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

Daily links for 12/29/2012

  • “While on his death bed, the brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan cryptically wrote down functions he said came to him in dreams, with a hunch about how they behaved. Now 100 years later, researchers say they’ve proved he was right.”

    tags: ramanujan mathematics

  • “If you want to experiment with Linux without dual booting and potentially impacting your main operating system, the best way to do so is with virtualization. Virtualization allows you to run Linux directly atop your primary OS, whether it’s Mac OS X or Windows, in a separate virtual machine, with practically no potential for error. It’s completely free and fairly easy to set up, we’ll walk you through the entire process.”

    tags: virtualbox linux ubuntu

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

Daily links for 09/05/2012

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

Where I’ve been

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted an entry here. It’s been a very busy summer both in my personal life as well as my business one. I changed jobs within IBM effective August 1: I went from the IBM Software Group  where I co-led the Mobile Enterprise strategy as well as led Product Management for the WebSphere Application Server, over to IBM’s Research Division. Here in Research I’m the VP for Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences (BAMS).

This is actually a return to Research for me. I spent 1984 to 1999 in the Mathematical Sciences Department, as it was called then, including three years away at Princeton finishing my Ph.D. in theoretical Mathematics. During my time since I left Research I had various jobs in IBM Corporate and in the Software Group working on and leading efforts in web services, standards, open source, Linux, WebSphere, and Mobile.

I now am responsible for a wordwide community of several hundred researchers focusing on basic and applied science in analytics and optimization. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks meeting my team members, coming up to speed on the work of BAMS as well as the Research Division and, well, doing the job.

It’s very different from what I’ve been doing over the last few years. When I can discuss it, I’ll talk about the work, what it means and why it is important, what its importance is for the industry, and how it will affect us all. In that last sense, I’ll talk about analytics and optimization in general, and not just about what we are doing here.

There’s a lot of confusion about analytics and my sense is that the term is applied much too widely. That said, there are many more areas of applicability than I think many people realize. So it’s a really a question of sharpening the definitions and terms used, and then employing them correctly.

I also plan to get back to some of the things in my personal life that I have not written about recently. For example: yes, the sailboat is in the water, but not Lake Ontario.

Daily links for 07/19/2012

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

Daily links for 06/12/2012

  • Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) on Thursday is unveiling new Windows Azure cloud services, including support for Linux-based operating systems. Microsoft, which thought of Linux as a rival, will now offer several Linux distributions. They are Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, openSUSE 12.1, Ubuntu 12.04 and CentOS 6.2.”

    tags: microsoft linux azure

  • “It’s always a tricky thing for developers, who seek to provide applications which add value on top of the mobile hardware and software that Apple has released. But as time goes on, more and more of the applications that developers build end up being replaced by features that Apple builds directly into its software. With the launch of iOS 6, here’s a list of apps and categories that could be affected by features Apple has added directly into the OS.”

    tags: mobile app apps

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

Daily links for 06/01/2012

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Daily links for 05/30/2012

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What I learned about mobile at IBM Impact 2012

In this post I talk about IBM mobile products and what happened at a large IBM conference. As a result, it is more specific to IBM’s offerings than some of my other blog entries.

This week I’ve been in Las Vegas at the IBM Impact conference. The days have been a blur of meetings with partners, customers, and colleagues from around the world. We’ve talked about the new PureApplication System and updates across the software portfolio for connectivity, integration, business process and decision management, and application integration.

The Liberty Profile in the new WebSphere Application Server version 8.5 has been an especially hot topic. Conversations about that often go something like “It takes up less than 50Mb. Wow! It loads in 5 seconds. Show me! You can develop with it on your Mac. IBM did that?”

We’ve also had quite a few conversations about mobile and I’ve learned a lot.

Now I’m one of the executive leaders for mobile at IBM and I discussed it (briefly) on the main stage on Tuesday, gave an hour+ talk on “Top 11 Trends for Mobile Enterprise,” did press interviews and a panel with journalists, and challenged and was challenged by industry analysts on the topic. So I had a lot to say about mobile. But more than whatever I said, I learned an incredible amount of what our customers and partners are doing with mobile today. We also discussed how IBM’s new mobile products, IBM Worklight 5.0 and the IBM Mobile Foundation, could be essential to them over the next few years.

Here’s a bit of what I learned.

System integrators are looking to pick the one or two best mobile platforms on which to focus their efforts. The hybrid mobile app development model in IBM Worklight is very appealing because of its open standards and technology approach, and because it allows the creation of everything from pure native apps to those that are mostly HTML5 content.

Security and app management are critically important. Both IBM Worklight and Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, included in the IBM Mobile Foundation, have capabilities that address this. In some organizations, the BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, movement is accelerating their concerns but also their need to react quickly. My suggestion is to consider security and device management as extensions of what you already do for your website, web applications, and hardware like laptops and servers. Don’t think of mobile as this odd new thing, consider it as adding on to what you do already.

Partners have started building mobile apps on Worklight, often without any initial guidance from IBM. This is wonderful. It reaffirms what we knew when we acquired the company earlier this year: Worklight is an elegant product that you can use to create mobile apps for multiple device types, connecting them securely to your backend infrastructure.

Mobile apps are not islands. That is, don’t think of a mobile app server as something that sits in the corner by itself while the rest of your infrastructure is elsewhere. We included IBM WebSphere Cast Iron in the IBM Mobile Foundation because we knew that customers and clients needed to have apps talk to enterprise applications like SAP but also services that run on clouds.

Infrastructure support for a mobile app could be very little or might need to be very large. IBM Worklight 5.0 will ship the Liberty Profile of WebSphere Application Server in the box. So you get small and fast. If you have an existing WebSphere Application Server ND deployment, you can put IBM Worklight right on top of that. This includes WebSphere running on System z mainframes using Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Mobile can extend your business. If you have a web presence for retail, mobile can extend that. If you are a bank and have ATMs, mobile can extend some of those functions to mobile devices. If you have automotive repair shops, mobile can increase customer trust and loyalty.

Mobile can transform your business. Your first mobile apps will enable some core functionality, but later apps and versions may bring in social, analytics, commerce, and industry-specific elements. Don’t think of just an air travel app, think of one that helps me use my time in airports productively and eat healthily.

So to sum it up: mobile is surging for good reasons, customers and partners are asking the right questions, IBM Worklight is appealing to them as platform on which to build multiple mobile apps, we think the IBM Mobile Foundation is a solid base on which construct your mobile enterprise, and I’m looking forward to showcasing the many, many mobile apps created by and for our customers and partners at Impact 2013.

Daily links for 04/12/2012 – OpenStack Foundation Edition

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

Daily links for 03/20/2012

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

Return to “Landmines for Open Source in the Mobile Space”

Before I had my current job involving the IBM mobile platform and product management for the WebSphere Application Server, I worked on Linux and open source. In March of 2011, I gave a talk at POSSCON called “Landmines for Open Source in the Mobile Space.” I gave a look at this again and thought a lot of it was still relevant.

You can see a video of the talk and get a link to the presentation here. What do you think still holds? What is out of date?

Stats for browsers and operating systems accessing sutor.com

I haven’t posted the stats for browser and operating system access to this website since last July, but since I’ve been doing a lot of posting lately on mobile topics, I thought it would be useful to check the stats again. The numbers are from Google Analytics and are for the last six weeks of traffic.


Position Browser Percentage
1. Firefox 37.85%
2. Chrome 31.76%
3. Internet Explorer 13.46%
4. Safari 9.15%
5. “Mozilla Compatible Agent” 2.58%

Operating Systems

Position Operating System Percentage
1. Windows 60.13%
2. Macintosh 22.21%
3. Linux 9.31%
4. iPhone 2.73%
5. iPad 2.68%

Browsers and Operating Systems

Position Browser / Operating System Percentage
1. Firefox / Windows 26.72%
2. Chrome / Windows 19.19%
3. Internet Explorer / Windows 13.42%
4. Chrome / Macintosh 11.20%
5. Firefox / Linux 5.79%

Daily links for 02/22/2012

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

Daily links for 01/25/2012

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

Daily links for 01/20/2012

  • “As before, the RHEV hypervisor, which is only a few hundred megabytes in size, virtualises using KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and integrates many RHEL core components – however, the new RHEV uses components from the current RHEL version 6.2 rather than RHEL series 5. Consequently, the new RHEV-V offers many improvements that have been available in RHEL 6 for some time – for example, guest systems can now access up to 64 virtual CPU cores and up to 2 TB of working memory. Technologies such as vhost-net, Transparent Huge Pages (THP), x2apic and KSM (Kernel Shared Memory) are designed to improve performance and increase efficiency.”

    tags: Red Hat virtualisation

  • “Apigee, a provider of API management products and services, which we’ve referred to in the past as a “Google Analytics for APIs” has acquired the mobile cloud platform Usergrid. For those unfamiliar, Usergrid helps to make mobile app development easier by providing the APIs needed to manage data, users and events. The company provides these kind of core APIs for the backend so mobile developers can speed their time to market.”

    tags: api management mobile

  • “It used to be that Linux gained its market-share from cannibalizing Unix servers. That seems to no longer be the case. According to this study, in the last two years 71.6% of new Linux deployments have been in brand new applications and green deployments. By comparison, 38.5% were migrations from Windows and 34.5% were from Unix.”

    tags: linux windows

  • “Dubbed iBooks Author, the free Mac OS X application lets authors create textbooks and other books with simple drag-and-drop mechanisms. According to Apple, the application gives authors basic templates to quickly create titles that offer both text and interactive elements such as videos and images. To add multimedia content, iBooks Author lets users drag and drop content onto pages.”

    tags: apple author creators

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

Daily links for 01/12/2012

  • “We are very excited to bring you IBM Sametime for Android! This gives you access to IBM’s award-winning platform for Unified Communications on today’s hottest Android devices.”

    tags: mobile lotus sametime android

  • “AT&T is planning to launch a store for mobile Web applications that run in the browser. The company has released a set of JavaScript APIs and a software development kit (SDK) that provide Web developers with access to certain mobile network features. Platform fragmentation has long been a major concern for AT&T. The company has repeatedly expressed frustration with the difficulty of making applications that work across the full spectrum of poplar mobile operating systems. Previous development frameworks that had the potential to unify the mobile application landscape, such as Java ME, largely fell short of expectations. AT&T is hopeful that standards-based Web technologies will finally solve the problem and provide a ubiquitous target for third-party application developers.”

    tags: mobile at&t developers

  • “Jane Silber is on a mission to get the Ubuntu Linux distribution onto mobile devices and TVs, rather than be stuck on desktop PCs. The CEO of Canonical (which makes Ubuntu) took over from the previous CEO, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, in March 2010, but has been with the company since shortly after its 2004 founding.”

    tags: ubuntu tablet

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

Getting started with mobile in the enterprise: The IBM Mobile Technology Preview

Over the last 15 years of my career, I’ve seen several ideas or technology trends capture a significant amount of customer, press, and analyst attention. There was Java, XML, web services, SOA, and cloud. In and around all those were standards and open source. To me, the unquestionably hot technology today is mobile.

To be clear, I’m not talking about what happens in cell phone towers or the so called machine-to-machine communication. I mean smartphones and tablets. Those other areas are important as well, but devices are so front of mind because so many people have them.

Apple is obviously playing a big role with its iPhone and iPad, not to mention the half million apps in their App Store. Google and the Android ecosystem have produced even more smartphones and a whole lot of apps as well. Then there’s been the drama around HP and webOS, plus RIM and the PlayBook and outages. So we’ve got competition, winners and losers, closed ecosystems, and sometimes open ones. What’s not to love about mobile?

It can get confusing, especially for people trying to figure out their enterprise mobile strategy. They are looking for strong statements, for “points of view,” that will help them take advantage of mobile quickly but also aid them in avoiding the biggest risks. This is made even more interesting by employees bringing their own devices to work, the “BYOD” movement.

Not every employee is issued an official company smartphone and the devices they buy themselves are often better than what the company might provide. So they are saying “I’ll pay for my phone and my contract, let me have access to work systems so I can do my job better.” The recent ComputerWorld article “IBM opens up smartphone, tablet support for its workers” discusses some of what’s happening in this space at IBM, my employer.

Next there is the whole web vs. hybrid vs. native discussion regarding how to build apps on the device itself. Should you write it to the core SDK on the device (native), stick to developing standards for continuity and interoperability reasons (web), or something in between (hybrid)? Which is faster and for what kinds of apps? Does the app cause a lot of network traffic or does it require great graphics? Are you willing to bet that HTML5 will get better and better? I’ve started discussing this in a series of blog entries called “Mobile app development: Native vs. hybrid vs. HTML5″ (part 1 and part 2). Your choice will involve tradeoffs among expense, time to market, reuse of web skills, portability, and maintainability.

What about management? If I bring my own device to work, how do the company’s apps get onto it in the first place and then get updated? Is there an enterprise app store? If I leave the company, do they zap my whole phone or just the apps they put on it? There are differences between Mobile Application Management (MAM?) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) that you need to understand.

Let’s not forget security, as if we could. A colleague of mine, Nataraj Nagaratnam, CTO of IBM Security Systems, told me the way to start thinking about that for mobile is that “a secure device is a managed device.” That doesn’t mean that all security falls under management, but rather you need to have device management to have a complete mobile security strategy. You also need to be handle identity management, authorization and authentication, single sign-on across apps, data loss protection, and all the things you need to worry about with the web today such as phishing, viruses, worms, social networking, VPN, etc. Security must be there but it also needs to be unobtrusive. Most mobile users will not know what a certificate is nor whether they should accept it.

Fundamental to managing and securing mobile devices compared to laptops is that people tend to lose their phones a lot more often than they lose their laptops. That’s a good starting point for thinking about the differences.

With that as prolog, let me introduce you to the IBM Mobile Technology Preview on IBM developerWorks at http://ibm.co/ibmmobile.

The Mobile Technology Preview encapsulates several technologies we’ve been working on in the labs. We’re making it available for you to experiment with it, comment on it, share your requirements for your mobile platform, discuss the pros and cons of different approaches to mobile app development on both the device and server side, and join the community to make it better.

We plan to update the Technology Preview as we add or change the feature set, ideally because of your stated requirements. In this release we’ve included

  • an application server runtime that uses the WebSphere Liberty Profile of the WebSphere Application Server 8.5 Alpha (runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows)
  • a notification framework
  • a hybrid app development model using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • basic management functions
  • location-based security
  • several samples featuring notifications, Dojo, PhoneGap, and a starter insurance app for handling car accidents.

The Mobile Technology Preview is available for Android devices.

I plan to use the tech preview from time to time to illustrate some of my discussions of mobile in my blog. I encourage you to try it out, track its progress, and influence its roadmap.

Daily links for 11/02/2011

  • “But at mobile application developer Big Nerd Ranch, President Aaron Hillegass has seen mobile Linux efforts before and stressed the need for a viable ecosystem. “It isn’t enough for Canonical to announce that it is making the OS available — what makes the [Apple] iOS platform so compelling is the entire ecosystem: the OS, the devices, the iTunes store, iCloud, and the iTunes application. When that ecosystem exists for Ubuntu, we will be developing apps for it and offering the relevant training and consulting to our clients.””

    tags: ubuntu mobile

  • “There’s a growing list of venues and dates, for events starting 7th November and spanning the rest of the month, but the biggest party is no doubt the one to be held at  EclipseCon Europe that opens today, 2nd November. This evening’s  keynote for the conference, is being delivered by John Swainson who will talk about the events that led to IBM’s 2001 decision to sponsor the creation of Eclipse with a donation of the people, code, and intellectual property. The creation of Eclipse marked the first time that a major IT vendor had open-sourced a strategic piece of technology and Swainson, who was the general manager of the Application Integration and Middleware Group at IBM at the time, will tell the delegates about why IBM made such a risky decision.”

    tags: eclipse birthday

  • “Internet Explorer still retains a majority of the desktop browser market share, at 52.63 percent, a substantial 1.76 point drop from September. However, desktop browsing makes up only about 94 percent of Web traffic; the rest comes from phones and tablets, both markets in which Internet Explorer is all but unrepresented. As a share of the whole browser market, Internet Explorer has only 49.58 percent of users. Microsoft‘s browser first achieved a majority share in—depending on which numbers you look at—1998 or 1999. It reached its peak of about 95 percent share in 2004, and has been declining ever since.”

    tags: browser

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

Daily links for 10/10/2011

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Daily links for 09/23/2011

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

Daily links for 09/17/2011

  • “Two weeks ago, in the wake of tropical storm Irene’s devastating flooding in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, local residents organized a MRV Flood Relief initiative. What began as a self-organized volunteer effort to match needs and help offered in our communities, using telephone, handwritten posters, and a Mad-River-Valley-Hurricane-Irene Facebook page created by the Chamber of Commerce, quickly grew into a coordinated project based in downtown Waitsfield’s Masonic Lodge. Now, two weeks later, in an effort to more effectively provide daily coordination for ongoing flood relief efforts in 10 central Vermont towns, Mad River Valley flood relief headquarters has launched a new open source web site.”

    tags: vermont flood relief

  • “The file system in Linux can be intimidating coming from other operating systems like Microsoft Windows. At first glance it may seem that there is no organisation to the files, but there is a method to this madness. After spending some more time with the file system in Linux, it will seem a lot more secure and organised.”

    tags: linux file system

  • “Despite dominating the enterprise server market, Microsoft is struggling to maintain a large presence in the world of Web servers and is seeing its market share decline. Netcraft, which surveyed more than 485 million websites this month, credits Apache with 65.05 percent of Web servers compared to 15.73 percent for Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services). This is down from 15.86 percent in August and 16.82 percent in July, but the more striking decline has occurred since June 2010 when Microsoft accounted for more than 26 percent of Web servers surveyed by Netcraft.”

    tags: microsoft server enterprise web

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

Daily links for 09/14/2011

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Daily links for 08/19/2011

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Daily links for 08/17/2011

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Daily links for 08/13/2011



  • “So how do you sort through the pros and cons – and how has HTML5 thrown in a new wrench? Start with a hard look at not only the kind of experience you want to provide your customer base, but at what kind of budgets and resources you have to throw behind your efforts.”

    tags: HTML5 mobile

  • “In the mobile world, there’s no more important smartphone than the iPhone. Apple’s handset is wildly popular in every country in which it’s available. And each year, when new versions of the device are launched, people around the globe line up to be the first to get their hands on it. But so far this year, those people haven’t been able to get hands on a new iPhone model. Now, there is rampant speculation that Apple might wait a couple more months to finally offer up the next version of its smartphone. Whenever Apple finally gets around to launching a new smartphone, consumers will be quite interested to know what the device will come with. Will the next iPhone be a major upgrade over the iPhone 4, or will it simply be an evolutionary update? Will it come with a bigger screen or the same 3.5-inch option owners have grown accustomed to over the years? So far, Apple has been tight-lipped. But the rumor mill hasn’t been so silent. In fact, a host of reports have been cropping up, claiming Apple will be delivering several key improvements to the device. However, while some of those improvements make sense, others do not. Thus, it’s important for everyone to keep a level head when assessing those reports. The following slides will help folks do just that. Instead of listing every possible update that has been talked about, the following items are those that are most likely to come to the iPhone 5.”

    tags: eWeek.com iPhone apple

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

Daily links for 08/11/2011


  • “This IBM® Redbooks® publication contains a summary of the leading practices for implementing and managing a WebSphere® eXtreme Scale installation. The information in this book is a result of years of experience that IBM has had in with production WebSphere eXtreme Scale implementations. The input was received from specialists, architects, and other practitioners who have participated in engagements around the world. The book provides a brief introduction to WebSphere eXtreme Scale and an overview of the architecture. It then provides advice about topology design, capacity planning and tuning, grid configuration, ObjectGrid and backing map plug-ins, application performance tips, and operations and monitoring.”

    tags: websphere extremescale caching


  • “It’s amazing to me to think that August 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer. The announcement helped launch a phenomenon that changed the way we work, play and communicate.  Little did we expect to create an industry that ultimately peaked at more than 300 million unit sales per year. I’m proud that I was one of a dozen IBM engineers who designed the first machine and was fortunate to have lead subsequent IBM PC designs through the 1980s.  It may be odd for me to say this, but I’m also proud IBM decided to leave the personal computer business in 2005, selling our PC division to Lenovo. While many in the tech industry questioned IBM’s decision to exit the business at the time, it’s now clear that our company was in the vanguard of the post-PC era.”

    tags: IBM Post-PC

  • “Much has been made about Apple’s recent changes to the iOS terms. At first, everyone was sure that many big players would be forced to pull their apps, such as Amazon’s popular Kindle app. But then Apple relaxed the rules a bit, and simply said that Amazon and others couldn’t link to their own stores from their iOS apps. Amazon complied. But at the same time, they were also working on an alternative.”

    tags: amazon kindle html5 mobile

  • “However the company is licking its chops from the juicy licensing fees it gains from Android handsets. According to Horace Dediu, Microsoft sold around 1.4 million Windows Phone 7 in Q2, which brought in around $21 million from the $15 per Windows Phone 7 that it earns. On the other hand, HTC sold 12 million Android smartphones in Q2, and as it earns around $5 per Android phone from HTC patent licensing fees, Microsoft made around $60 million. This is 3x the amount earned from its own OS from the licensing deal with HTC alone.”

    tags: microsoft android windows phone

  • “Microsoft plans to officially launch the next version of an operating system called Windows 8 next year. [3] Windows 8 is a touch-screen version of the OS and will work on tablets as well. However, similar to Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich, Windows 8 allows the iPad to make further inroads into the tablet market. By the time Google and Microsoft roll out their new tablet OS’s, Apple may well have launched iPad 3 to further drive sales.”

    tags: apple tablets

Open Source

  • “After years of slow, steady growth, OIN has been growing significantly in the last quarter. During the second quarter of 2011 alone, OIN had 35 new companies join its community of licensees. The consortium now has 260 corporate supporters. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from leverage against patent aggression and access to enabling technologies through OIN’s shared intellectual property resources.”

    tags: cisco Twitter linux patent oin

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

Daily links for 08/04/2011

  • “The study, done by market research firm, VisionMobile took a look at Android, Eclipse, the Linux kernel, MeeGo, Firefox, Qt, Symbian and WebKit and focused on their open governance, inclusiveness, transparency, and ease of access to source code. In the “open governance index”, Android finished with a measly 23 percent. It was far and away the lowest score, Android was the only open source project to score less than 58 percent (the best score was Eclipse at 84 percent).”

    tags: android open source

  • “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, a new collection of previously unheard songs by the country great recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Jack White, Norah Jones and Levon Helm, will be released on October 4th. The set, which will be issued on Dylan’s imprint Egyptian Records, was originally conceived by veteran A&R executive Mary Martin as a Dylan-centric project, but eventually evolved into a multi-artist tribute to the late singer-songwriter.”

    tags: dylan white williams music

  • “Users expect mobile services to be relevant and user-friendly and to perform well. The limitations of the medium, however, impose significant challenges to designing products that meet all of those expectations. While often underestimated, performance is a crucial contributor to a trustworthy mobile user experience. Therefore, it should be considered a key driver in the design process. In this article, we’ll discuss performance in relation to design and present seven guidelines that can help shape design decisions related to performance while accounting for the needs of end users and businesses. These guidelines are based on the experiences of our teams in designing native mobile apps for a broad product portfolio and on multiple mobile platforms.”

    tags: mobile High-Performance

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

Daily links for 08/02/2011

  • “WebSphere Application Server V8 samples are new and improved! Although you will continue to find key sample applications installed with the product, most samples are now available online and can be accessed from a new section in the WebSphere Application Server V8 Information Center. Sample code, documentation, and other resources reside online, under one roof, which increases availability and collaboration, while providing samples in a time-sensitive manner.”

    tags: websphere application samples

  • “With the release of Java 7 this week, Oracle posted a support policy expressly stating that it would not support the new Java 7 software development kit on VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V. Oracle has since said that it “mistakenly created” the policy page, but that the company will stick to its standard policy regarding non-Oracle components in a mixed stack: They’re not supported unless users can prove the problem stems from the Oracle part of the stack.”

    tags: oracle java virtualization

  • “Microsoft is buying $100 million in additional SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates and the pair are going to continue to collaborate on interopability solutions through January 1, 2016. The SUSE certificates are designed to insure Microsoft customers who are implementing Linux that they won’t be caught in any Microsoft-Linux patent crossfire.”

    tags: microsoft suse novell linux

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

Stats for browsers and operating systems accessing sutor.com

It’s been a while since I last put up some stats about what browsers and operating systems access my website at sutor.com. Traditionally, Firefox did well, followed by Internet Explorer, and then Chrome. The last two are now reversed.

Since much of my blog content has focused on content regarding open standards and open source, it makes sense for Firefox to have consistently led. Here’s the statistical story for the last month, thanks to Google Analytics. I’ve focused on the top 5 in each category.


Position Browser Percentage
1. Firefox 44.37%
2. Chrome 24.60%
3. Internet Explorer 14.95%
4. Safari 9.69%
5. Konqueror 1.64%

Operating Systems

Position Operating System Percentage
1. Windows 54.75%
2. Macintosh 22.07%
3. Linux 12.82%
4. iPhone 2.59%
5. iPhone 2.57%

Browsers and Operating Systems

Position Browser / Operating System Percentage
1. Firefox / Windows 26.17%
2. Internet Explorer / Windows 14.89%
3. Chrome / Windows 12.57%
4. Chrome / Macintosh 9.28%
5. Firefox / Linux 8.07%

Daily links for 07/19/2011

  • “At first, this code wasn’t open-sourced at all, but in 2009, it was discovered that some GPL code was already in Hyper-V’s Linux drivers. So it was that “In a break from the ordinary, Microsoft released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree. The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike, and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.””

    tags: microsoft linux ZDNet

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

Daily links for 07/07/2011

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

Daily links for 07/06/2011

  • Apple’s iOS is now the number two smartphone platform in the U.S., according to market research firm comScore. Apple rose to second place during the three-month period ending in May, up 1.4 percentage points to 26.6 percent of total U.S. market share. Android was the only other platform that gained share of smartphone subscribers during the quarter, growing 5.1 percentage points to 38.1 percent of the total pool and retaining its number one spot among mobile operating systems. All other major players besides Android and iOS lost share, with Research in Motion taking the hardest hit with a 4.2 percentage point drop for its BlackBerry OS, while Microsoft and Palm each shed 1.9 and 0.4 percent respectively.”

    tags: RIM apple ios mobile

  • “It’s a strong testament to the power of Linux that HP has chosen WebOS as the platform for many upcoming phones, tablets, printers and PCs. WebOS is, of course, based on Linux, and its official launch on HP’s new TouchPad this week marks its official debut in the tablet space.”

    tags: HP webos tablet

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

Daily links for 06/21/2011

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

New position within IBM

It’s been effective for a week, so I guess I can spill the beans here and say that I’ve shifted to a new executive position within IBM, namely to be the Vice President for WebSphere Foundation Product Management in the Software Group. I’ll have more to say about this over time, but basically it means that my team works with development, sales and marketing to drive the WebSphere Application server line and products like WebSphere eXtreme Scale. These are significant unto themselves but also underlie some of the most important software products that IBM sells. That’s not a totally inclusive list, but you get the idea.

Obviously we’re not just concerned about what we have already but also will be driving the plans for new products and the next generation of current ones that fit within that “foundation” area of the stack of IT software. Stay tuned.

Some of you might ask “didn’t you sort of do something similar about 6 or 7 years ago?”. Yes and no, sort of.

When I was last here in 2003-4, the world was just figuring out the commercial benefits of applying XML to business problems and web services was pretty new. There were several open source app servers and Oracle had not yet bought BEA and Sun. We were about to enter into the SOA era that led us to the current cloud era. Also, I had a marketing position, something I had never done before. This role is more of a blend of the business and the technical.

I learned a lot during that time but the IT world has evolved significantly, as have our products. We’re all right on the cusp of doing even more wonderful things with this core technology we as an industry have developed, so it’s a great time to move back and help drive it from the inside.

What does this mean for the blog?

  • I will not use it as marketing vehicle for products, though I may provide links to things I think of interest.
  • I’ll still talk about all those extraneous topics like gardening, sailing, cooking, and not playing the guitar well.
  • The discussion of standards will probably increase again.
  • I’ll keep talking about Linux and providing links to interesting articles, but more from a user or enterprise consumer perspective.
  • The amount I’ve said about open source lately has decreased primarily because I’ve largely exhausted many of the discussion areas that interest me, and I don’t like repeating myself. There will still be some content about open source, but it will be at about the same level it’s been for the last six months.
  • I’ll be ramping up the discussion of Java and other languages, programming frameworks, tools, cloud, mobile, runtime considerations, and application integration. Much of this has been present from time to time, but will increase.

New book about 100 years of IBM

Book coverAs some of you know, I’ve been working for IBM for 28 years, though I was but a child when I started. Evidently it existed before I got here, and the full 100 year history is discussed in a new book called Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company by journalists Kevin Maney, Steve Hamm and Jeffrey M. O’Brien. It is now available for preorder and will be be out in a week or so.

From the book description:

The lessons for all businesses and institutions are powerful: To survive and succeed over a long period, you have to be willing and able to continually transform, guided by enduring values and a broadly understood identity. Over a century of change, IBM, came into being, grew, went global, nearly died, transformed itself… and is now charting a new path forward, embracing a second century that bids to be even more surprising than its first.

By the way, Linux is mentioned, see page 194.

Daily links for 05/31/2011

  • “Linaro was launched at Computex in 2010 by ARM, IBM, Freescale, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and TI with the mission of reducing fragmentation, increasing optimization and making it easier for OEMs and ODMs to develop Linux-based products.”

    tags: Linaro Linux ARM

  • Apple announced today that it plans to introduce the next generation of its mobile platform, iOS 5, as well as a new cloud service called iCloud at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week on Monday, June 6. This is a highly unusual move for Apple, which normally tries to keep their center-ring announcements secret until the scheduled event.”

    tags: apple ios

  • “What was going to become Linux 2.6.40 has, in the blink of an eye or a few clicks of Torvalds’ keyboard, become Linux 3.0.0-rc1. There had been talk last year about whether the Linux kernel development team should call time on the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel, with some having suggested that 2.8 should be the next major version number. Now Torvalds has made the decision that the next major Linux kernel release will be 3.0.”

    tags: linux torvalds

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

Daily links for 05/26/2011

  • “People often ask us what license we recommend they use for their project. We’ve written about this publicly before, but the information has been scattered around between different essays, FAQ entries, and license commentaries. This article collects all that information into a single source, to make it easier for people to follow and refer back to. The recommendations below are focused on licensing a work that you create—whether that’s a modification of an existing work, or a new original work. These recommendations do not address the issue of combining existing material under different licenses. If you’re looking for help with that, please check our license FAQ.”

    tags: fsf license apache

  • “Today I’m happy to share something we’ve been working on for a little while: “How to choose a license for your own work” is a comprehensive set of license recommendations for new projects. This page explains what factors are important to consider when making licensing decisions, and suggests specific licenses for different scenarios. If you’re starting a new project (whether it’s software, documentation, or something else related) and unsure what license to use, you just need this one link to find our recommendations.”

    tags: fsf license foss

  • “If you haven’t sent in your design yet, there is still time. The deadline for submissions is this Monday, May 30, 2011. And, there is plenty of room for more ideas. One hint for all the designers out there: Remember the theme is the 20th Anniversary of Linux. By incorporating this into your design, you will increase your chances of being among the Top 5 finalists.”

    tags: linux anniversary

  • IBM‘s server revenues grew 22.1% in the first quarter, outpacing rivals as demand for the types of high-end systems in which Big Blue specializes picked up. Total industry revenue from non-x86 servers, including Unix and mainframe systems, jumped 12.3%, compared to a 10.1% increase in revenue from sales of servers that run Windows or Linux on industry-standard chips, according to numbers released Wednesday by market watcher IDC.”

    tags: ibm hp oracle server

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

Daily links for 05/25/2011

  • “I told you so. I knew that Steve Ballmer could talk all he wanted about how Microsoft would continue to support non-Microsoft platforms, but that there was no way he’d actually do it. The first proof is here. Digium, the company behind the popular open-source Asterisk private-branch exchange (PBX) program, has announced that Skype has unilaterally ended its deal that allowed Asterisk to work with Skype.”

    tags: microsoft skype Open Source

  • Fedora Linux not for everyone. If you’re an experienced Linux user who wants an easy-to-use desktop Linux, I recommend Mint 11. If you’re new to Linux and just want something that’s easy to pick up and use, I think you should give Ubuntu 11.04 a try. But, if you’re a Linux expert, and want to explore the outer limits of what’s possible with Linux, then Red Hat’s new Fedora 15 Linux is the distribution for you.”

    tags: fedora linux

  • “Unfortunately, it’s easier to mess it up than to get it right, and the result is that employees end up confused, frustrated, and stifled. Here are six things that a lot of leaders and companies do to stifle innovation. Keep in mind that a lot of these things are done for good reasons — organization, systemization, and efficiency. Nevertheless, the effect is the same.”

    tags: innovation kill

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

May 18: Open Virtualization Alliance news roundup

Here are some of the stories around the Open Virtualization Alliance that was announced yesterday.

Also check out IBM’s Jean Staten Healy’s guest blog entry on IBM developerWorks.

Daily links for 05/18/2011

  • “Richard Dawkins has a new kids’ book coming out in October called The Magic of Reality, which explains just how gosh-darned awesome the actual scientifically explained world is, and how wondrous the universe is when considered as a material, non-supernatural phenomenon. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, the book is illustrated by the wonderful Dave McKean (whose work you might know from Neil Gaiman books like The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, or the US cover of my novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town).”

    tags: dawkins book science

  • “The Summer pyGames project is a six-week long competition during which high school students develop open-source educational software and games to be used and distributed to schools in South Carolina. Many of last year’s competing teams presented at the FIRST Championship in St Louis. The program has also been showcased at the FIRST Robotics Palmetto Regional, POSSCON and INNOVENTURE Southeast.”

    tags: pygames summer python Open Source

  • “And although Apple isn’t known for its corporate focus or market penetration, it’s the leader when it comes to tablets: 83 percent said they would be using iPads. That compares to 17 percent for RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, 14 percent for HP’s Slate, 13 percent for Motorola’s Xoom, and 11 percent for Dell’s Streak.”

    tags: ipad apple

  • Fedora is in the process of retiring our old “Individual Contributor
    License Agreement” (also known as the ICLA or CLA) and replacing it with the new Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA). All Fedora contributors with accounts in the Fedora Account System
    (https://admin.fedoraproject.org/accounts) who have agreed to the old CLA *MUST* agree to the new FPCA by June 17, 2011 to continue contributing to Fedora.”

    tags: fedora linux license

  • “Starting on Wednesday, Film Forum is offering a double feature of the literal Dylan, made up of “Don’t Look Back” (1967), by D. A. Pennebaker, and “The Other Side of the Mirror,” Murray Lerner’s compendium of Newport Folk Festival concert footage from the early 1960s. Both films highlight the mischievous, mercurial aspects of Mr. Dylan’s personality, while also providing undeniable proof of his musical prowess and incidental proof that he was, indeed, a young man once.”

    tags: Bob Dylan film

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

Daily links for 05/17/2011

  • “As a demand for Linux-related jobs has jumped unexpectedly high in the last couple of years. LinuxCareer.com as a new Linux related job portal attempts to compensate for this sudden surge in demand for Linux skilled professionals and will surely accommodate both employers and job seekers.  LinuxCareer.com is not affiliated with any local or international company, nor is it a recruitment or employment agency and it is specialising only in Linux based careers and closely related Information Technology fields.”

    tags: linux job portal

  • “For North American PlayStation 3 owners, you can choose any two of the following five games: Dead Nation, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD, and Wipeout HD + Fury. The same offer applies to those in Europe, though with Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty replacing Super Stardust HD.”

    tags: sony psn

  • “Scholars, artists and other individuals around the world will enjoy free access to online images of millions of objects housed in Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries thanks to a new “Open Access” policy that the University announced today. Yale is the first Ivy League university to make its collections accessible in this fashion, and already more than 250,000 images are available through a newly developed collective catalog. The goal of the new policy is to make high quality digital images of Yale’s vast cultural heritage collections in the public domain openly and freely available.”

    tags: digital images yales

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

KVM News Today: Meet the Open Virtualization Alliance

Today a whole lot of companies, including BMC Software, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Inc. and SUSE, announced the creation of the Open Virtualization Alliance.

OVA logo

From the press release:

… today announced the formation of the Open Virtualization Alliance, a consortium committed to fostering the adoption of open virtualization technologies including Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). The consortium will promote examples of customer successes, encourage interoperability and accelerate the expansion of the ecosystem of third party solutions around KVM, providing businesses improved choice, performance and price for virtualization.

The Open Virtualization Alliance will provide education, best practices and technical advice to help businesses understand and evaluate their virtualization options. The consortium complements the existing open source communities managing the development of the KVM hypervisor and associated management capabilities, which are rapidly driving technology innovations for customers virtualizing both Linux and Windows® applications.

KVM virtualization provides compelling performance, scalability and security for today’s applications, smoothing the path from single system deployments to large-scale cloud computing. As a core component in the Linux kernel, KVM leverages hardware virtualization support built into Intel and AMD processors, providing a robust, efficient environment for hosting Linux and Windows virtual machines. KVM naturally leverages the rapid innovation of the Linux kernel (to virtualize both Linux and Windows guests), automatically benefiting from scheduler, memory management, power management, device driver and other features being produced by the thousands of developers in the Linux community.

Daily links for 05/16/2011

Groklaw 2.0

  • “Last month PJ announced that because SCO as we knew it is no more,” she would stop publishing new articles today, May 16, Groklaw’s anniversary. Now she’s handing the reins over to Mark Webbink, former general counsel at Red Hat, law professor, and board member at the Software Freedom Law Center, to create “Groklaw 2.0.” Here’s what she had to say about Groklaw’s past and her future.”

    tags: groklaw webbink interview pj

  • “Now that the battlefield has shifted from SCO attacking Linux to Microsoft using patents against it and from servers to mobiles, I realized that Groklaw needs a lawyer at the helm. So I asked Mark Webbink if he would take on this role, and I’m thrilled to tell you that he has accepted. He is the new editor of Groklaw as of today. Mark was General Counsel at Red Hat, as you know, and he is on the board of the Software Freedom Law Center. He is also a law professor, which as I’ll explain is a vital piece of what he has planned. Mark is a visiting professor at New York Law School where he runs the Center for Patent Innovations, oversees the Peer To Patent project run with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been active in seeking reform of the U.S. patent system, and teaches patent licensing. In addition, Mark is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law where he teaches intellectual property (patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret) licensing. Mark has access to law students at those law schools and many others. In addition, Mark has remained interested and involved in free and open source software and related intellectual property issues and he is the author of the chapter on U.S. technology law included in a soon to be released book on free and open source software law.”

    tags: groklaw pj webbink

Open Source

  • “OpenLogic analyzed which open source licenses are most used by enterprises versus those preferred by open source developers. Over two-thirds of open source projects are licensed under the GPL, which has created the impression that the GPL is the most popular open source license. However, the research examined data about enterprise usage and found that Apache-license projects were the most downloaded and most used in enterprise applications.”

    tags: openlogic gpl apache

  • “What needs to happen is pretty clear: we need more eyes on the ARM code, some determined work to clean up what is there now, and better high-level support to facilitate the addition of clean code in the future. Much of this work is already happening; the 2.6.40 kernel will certainly include a number of patches which consolidate duplicated functionality and make the code base smaller. There will be more review and guidance for embedded systems developers (who are often not full-time members of our community) as they work to get their code upstream. As the result of all this, we may well see the size of the ARM tree shrink, even as it gains functionality and supports more hardware.”

    tags: linux arm


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

Daily links for 05/12/2011

  • “Should Microsoft worry? Yeah, I think so. They’ve got Apple making in-roads on the business desktop front with tablets and smartphones, may other companies, like HP, are also going after the business desktop with tablets, and now Google has finally thrown down the gauntlet on the business desktop. Dare I say it? I think for the first time in decades, Microsoft is facing real trouble on the desktop. Seem unlikely? Remember when everyone used Internet Explorer and then along came Firefox? I see the desktop market at a similar tipping point.”

    tags: linux google microsoft

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

Daily links for 05/11/2011

  • “OK, it’s not too surprising that Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has switched to OpenStack for its Ubuntu cloud foundation technology. After all, Canonical started flirting with OpenStack back in February. What is surprising is that Neil Levine, who as Canonical’s VP of corporate services, which included the cloud, has jumped ship to start a new company, Soba Labs.”

    tags: canonical linux ubuntu cloud eucalyptus

  • “The Ubuntu project announces today that future versions of Ubuntu Cloud will use OpenStack as a foundation technology. The Ubuntu project is gathered in Budapest, Hungary to discuss future development plans that will culminate in the October release of Ubuntu 11.10. This announcement will move OpenStack to being a core part of the Ubuntu Cloud product, which enables users to build an open source cloud.”

    tags: ubuntu cloud openstack

  • “While Darrell thinks that Microsoft buying Skype in a $8.5 billion deal is probably good news for video chat users, there will probably be some Skype customers who are worried about the implications of the acquisition and may be looking for alternatives. While there’s probably no one service that provides a feature-for-feature replacement for Skype, there are plenty that offer great VoIP and video calling services, some of which are even better than Skype’s. Here is a list of some of our favorites”

    tags: skype alternatives

  • “There was a time when daggers were drawn on Linux and its demise was plotted in dark detail.  At that hour stepped out a shieldmaiden with a blog, and that blog was Groklaw.   Eight years later, we hear the news that Groklaw will cease new postings after May 16th.  My sadness in hearing this news is more than equaled by my gratitude to PJ and her community of researchers and commentators, for their enormous effort and unparalleled achievement over these years.   The world is a better place because of PJ.  Who can hope to say better?”

    tags: pj groklaw

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