The Link Factory

Around the web: Ubuntu - the lazy man's Debian?

Ubuntu is Debian unstable with some of the rough edges smoothed over, some security features deprecated and some enhanced, the implementation of proprietary blobs made easier, a bit of polish, a different theme, and a lot less packages. Ubuntu is a clean and polished experience for those new to GNU/Linux, (although the 'release often release early' philosophy it has taken from other free software projects has created occasional stability issues).



Around the Web: Samba - The Interoperability Dance

"People have always made music. Once human beings had computers available, software became just like music. People create software the same way they create music. They really do. You don't do it because you get paid for it. You do it because it's fun. Samba is the equivalent of a garage band that made it big."



Around the Web: OpenOffice.org - The Fun Has Gone?

Meeks takes the view that OpenOffice.org should be developer driven, with less hands-on involvement from Sun staff. Successful developer driven projects, such as the Linux kernel, Samba or GNOME, tend to be open, democratic, noisy, argumentative, divisive, and chaotic, but are often highly creative and successful because they promote developer initiative and attract a greater number of developers. Organisations participate in such projects for selfish reasons, because it works, and because it brings twice the resources at half the price.



Around the Web: A question of piracy

While pirates were once seafaring robbers, these days the more common definition is "one who infringes another's copyright or business rights or who broadcasts without authorization" – selling software, music or computer game CDs from a market stall in the East End or via P2P across the Internet.

One doesn't have to approve of illegal copying to realize that this definition covers a multitude of sins, some of which, paradoxically, work to the advantage of the owners of the copyright, and some of which reflect changing cultural perceptions of the ownership of ideas.



Around the Web: Q&A: Pamela Jones of Groklaw

Groklaw is the blog that has made a difference. Created as a personal project by Pamela Jones, better known as PJ, in 2003, its stated purpose was to increase understanding of the law as it is applied to Linux and free software.

Groklaw emerged just as SCO began its legal action against IBM and the Linux community, and quickly became a focus for Linux users, programmers and legal professionals in their mission to expose, understand and demystify the issues surrounding SCO's legal action.



Around the Web: Debian and the grass roots of Linux

Debian GNU/Linux was the first project to be deliberately modelled on the principles of distributed software development, and provides the core software for many of the more successful commercial Linux distributions. Though Debian does not have the high profile of other Linux distributions the commercial success of Linux may owe more to the Debian community than advocates of Linux in the enterprise are ever likely to acknowledge.



Around the Web: X Window Revisited

X Window, X11 or "X," as it is known for short, provides the programming framework and the underlying runtime system for most Unix and Linux-based network-transparent windowing implementations. It runs on a huge number of Linux and Unix flavors, including Mac OS X and with a bit of help, on several Windows varieties. Without X11 , there is no KDE, no GNOME, and no Linux-based window manager, unless one is prepared to accept an X replacement. They do exist, and many carry a proprietary license, while X comes with a GPL-compatible license.



Around the Web: Wrestling with the monopoly

"Unlike the wider network where there is genuine competition, the desktop has not been subject to open standards, and this has had a deleterious effect on competition and innovation. This is the most important outcome of the European Court's recent decision to uphold the European Commission's judgment against Microsoft. While the mainstream press focused on the record fine imposed on Microsoft, the more engaging and decisive part of the judgment was the Commission's insistence that Microsoft publish its proprietary protocols to enable interoperability."



Around the Web: Fidel Castro gives Jeremy Allison a name check

In his last column, The Definition of Sanity, Jeremy noted that Cuba voted "yes" to the fast-tracking of OOXML, "even though Microsoft is prohibited by the US Government from selling any software on the island that might even be able to read and write the new format." As if by way of an apology, Fidel Castro has responded by quoting one of Jeremy's columns in his own column, which appeared 5 days later, in Juventu Rebelde, the Newspaper of Cuban Youth.



Around the Web: Microsoft's quest for shared-source approval

Microsoft has submitted two of its "shared source" licences for approval by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The significance of this can be read in different ways. Some see it as a victory for open source, a capitulation on the part of Microsoft, and an admission that open source will be the way of the future. Others see it as a divisive move, designed to emphasise existing splits within the free and open source community. In reality, it is probably a bit of both.



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