Tilting at windmills

Duncan Mac-Vicar P.'s blog


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aKademy 2007 Glasgow

So aKademy is over for me. While I type this I am flying back to Germany.

But not for everyone. Hundred of hackers and contributors are still in Glasgow, discussing and coding the pieces that conform the best free desktop out there.

The first social event was in a strange, but cool place called something with “Duck” in it. It was perfect except for the Dj on crack which sounded like a mp3 player with skips on a super high I/O load. People also had some obsession with fruits and flavors in beer which germans did not like.

On Monday evening, we had a nice event at the City Hall. The place was like a palace. Lot of marmol, paintings and details. The reception was in a big luxurious room, were the city authorities and Aaron gave a speech, followed by nice food and wine. We also sang happy birthday to Zack, the KDE e.V. and other people. I did not bring my camera, but [here there is a picture][4] from Nikolaj Hald Nielsen blog.

I had much fun talking with the spanish guys (plus Helio). Finally met Thiago and Charles and had a italian dinner with Will and some Trolls.

Unlike last year, I was able to get my KDE4 development environment running in no time, and spend most of the time playing with Kross and Kopete integration.

The organization was good. I liked the hostel more than the one in Dublin, especially because it had one bathroom per shared room and completely free wireless (even if it only worked the first day).

Scotland was a special place for me to visit, as the first MacVicar came to Chile from Scotland. I had the chance to meet some of family there. That was incredible! They even showed me the original letter the wife of the first MacVicar in Chile wrote to his brother in Scotland announcing his death.

* Glasgow has a nice downtown, but it is not my kind of city (Well, Dublin wasn’t too). I am looking forward to see other cities from the country in the future.
* When walking in the street. I immediately noticed something. Then [I realized][2] it [was not][3] my imagination.

I think we were all amazed by the number of people. It really felt like a big group (just check the [group photo][1]). You rock guys.

My photoset is [here][5].

[1]: http://static.kdenews.org/danimo/akademy07/group-photo.html
[2]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4073901.stm
[3]: http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/obesity
[4]: http://amarok.kde.org/blog/uploads/HighSociety.jpg
[5]: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanmac-vicar/sets/72157600637782040/


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free software now takes on your camera.

Free software first invaded your server, then your desktop, then your laptop, and now it is conquering your devices.

It is known already you can replace your limited Linksys firmware to turn your $100 router into a $1000 router with [openwrt][4]. Or that you can replace your lame and proprietary ipod (and other mp3 players) firmware with [rockbox][3], and get real tagging, [ogg vorbs][6] support, and even games like [frozen bubble][5].

But I knew from [Martin][2] yesterday that there is even now a [firmware for your digital camera][1] available, and mine seems to be supported. I have to try it!.

>Currently, the CHDK firmware is available for Canon digital cameras of the following models:
>
>* A610, Fw: 1.00D (with CHDK version for 1.00E), 1.00E, 1.00F
>* A620, Fw: 1.00F ( 1.00E is not compatible. You must upgrade to 1.00F first )
>* A630, Fw: 1.00C
>* A640, Fw: 1.00B
>* A710 IS, Fw: 1.00A
>* S2 IS, Fw: 1.00E, 1.00F, 1.00G, 1.00I (with CHDK version for 1.00G)
>* S3 IS, Fw: 1.00A

[1]: http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
[2]: http://mvidner.blogspot.com/
[3]: http://www.rockbox.org/
[4]: http://openwrt.org/
[5]: http://www.frozen-bubble.org/
[6]: http://vorbis.com/


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Gobierno de Chile discrimina tecnológicamente.

[FayerWayer nos cuenta][1], que el gobierno de Michelle Bachellet, discrimina de tal modo que sus usuarios deben poseer una licencia de Windows para poder ver via Internet el video de la segunda cuenta pública.

>Se nota que definitivamente el Gobierno no entiende esto de la “neutralidad tecnológica”, y que no conoce ninguna solución que no empiece con M de Microsoft, y de Monopolio Monopolizador. Hoy la Presidenta de Chile entregó la segunda Cuenta Pública de su mandato, la cual pudo ser sintonizada por internet únicamente en formato Windows Media. Por suerte existen programas alternativos (como VLC), sin la bendición de Microsoft, que te permiten sintonizar este formato, de lo contrario los usuarios de software libre quedarían sin soporte. Lo podrían haber hecho usando H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, un estándar de la ITU patrocinado por la ONU, un formato soportado nativamente por todas las plataformas y sistemas operativos a esta altura — incluyendo las consolas. Por si fuera poco, la propia página de la Presidencia recomienda el uso de Internet Explorer, un navegador únicamente disponible para Windows. El estado exigiéndote por todos los flancos usar productos de una sola compañía, en vez de basarse en estándares abiertos. Muy, muy mal.
>
>Sobre la Cuenta Pública propiamente tal, parece que a la Presidenta se le olvidó que en el discurso del año pasado definió como uno de los 4 pilares de su Gobierno “el acceso a las tecnologías de la información”. Esta vez le dedicó un breve párrafo, donde promete un computador por cada 10 niños para el 2010. Migajas y mala memoria.

Pésimo. Se está discriminando el acceso a esta información a gente con los medios para adquirir la licencia. Además se podría pensar que existe una confabulación entre el gobierno y Microsoft al obligar el primero a comprar los productos del segundo.

Siendo estos videos documentos o bienes públicos, el análogo sería que las carreteras de Chile sólo funcionaran con automóviles Chevrolet.

[1]: http://www.fayerwayer.com/2007/05/presidencia-chilena-recomienda-productos-mi…


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Linus Torvalds Responds To Microsoft Patent Claims

>The holder of the Linux trademark suggests Microsoft should name the patents it alleges have been violated so the claims can be tested in court.

Remarkable:

>”It’s certainly a lot more likely that Microsoft violates patents than Linux does,” said Torvalds, holder of the Linux trademark. If the source code for Windows could be subjected to the same critical review that Linux has been, Microsoft would find itself in violation of patents held by other companies, said Torvalds.

Also:

>Microsoft would prefer not to actually sue anyone, particularly a Linux user who’s also a Microsoft customer. “They’d have to name the patents then, and they’re probably happier with the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] than with any lawsuit,” Torvalds predicted.

[Complete article][1].

[1]: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199600443


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Some quotes from the Microsoft patent FUD

There has been soime noise around an [article in Fortune Magazine][2] where Microsoft says “Linux infringes intellectual property”.

This FUD has always a especial characteristic:

* They talk about “intellectual property”, not about patents or copyright, trying to create confusion.

This FUD strategy is lead by their lawyer Horacio Gutierrez. Then they are able to say things like “Opensource has high quality because it contains Microsoft intellectual property”. As they mixed patents and copyright, this can lead people to think open source has copied Microsoft code into their programs, instead of the real fact: U.S. patent system is screwed and every obvious concept or idea is patented (like the double click of a mouse).

This is a very dirty game. The quality of the software is not very determined by the patents you implement, but how the code is implemented. Microsoft products are a good example: Lot of obvious patents (most of them invalid, as they file so many that [they end patenting "intellectual property" from other people][1]) but [horrible quality][6].

Open source software contains no code from Microsoft nor other proprietary company. This is easy to check: the code is open and available. You can’t say the same about Microsoft. Do they include open source software illegally in their products? Nobody knows. The source code is not available. This could be used as a FUD weapon, if the community would be interested in playing dirty games, of course.

Some quotes from the noise generated in the press:

From [Is Microsoft Still Just Posturing Over Open Source?][3]:

>For now, though, the most to do is continue to say “we’ll see.” Microsoft is still continuing to say things without putting court filings where its mouth is.

From [Open-source users, companies scoff at Microsoft threats][4]:

>”Microsoft is certainly not the only owner of patents in this area, and perhaps not even the owner of the largest number of patents in these areas,” he said. “Microsoft will need to be careful what it starts, given that it cannot know where this will end.”

>Lindsay, Zemlin and others also said they believe Microsoft is exploiting the patent system in the U.S. to buy time as it tries to compete in an industry where it is no longer a thought leader.

>”It’s just like with SCO Group — when they no longer had a product to sell, it started suing people,” he said. “It looks like Microsoft is throwing in the towel on trying to be innovative.”

From [Microsoft details patent breaches][5]:

>Open-source proponents are frustrated by Microsoft’s repeated allusions to patent violations because “they never say what patents being violated, never make any assertions, never put the evidence out there,” said Larry Augustin, a technology startup investor who launched SourceForge.net, a prominent open-source development site, in 1999.

>If Microsoft were to start suing, it could also kick off a patent war on a grand scale. An organization called the Open Innovation Network, funded by IBM Corp., Red Hat Inc. and others, has amassed a vast number of software patents. In the event of a Microsoft lawsuit against open source companies or customers, the OIN would retaliate in kind.

>”We believe it’s highly likely that Microsoft would infringe some of our patents,” said Jerry Rosenthal, OIN’s chief executive.

[1]: http://www.bluej.org/mrt/?p=21
[2]: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/i…
[3]: http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/05/is_microsoft_st.html
[4]: http://www.linuxworld.com.au/index.php/id;672245206;fp;2;fpid;1
[5]: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/1700AP_Microsoft_Open_Source.html
[6]: http://www.google.com/search?q=windows+vista+sucks

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