On Google and Open Source

I've always known that Google was an open source shop for the longest time. However, when rumors about a Google OS, and an online Google-Sun desktop suite (squashed under this article), I started having second thoughts... A Google empire, alongside the empire of Redmond... a scary thought indeed.

However, it was pointed out in this eweek article that no such things are happening.

"Google has no plans to release an operating system or an office suite."

They do support open source projects quite a lot (many of them in-house projects), like Open Office... and one of their recent additions was the developer of GAIM, to do further work on Google Talk.

Google... a benevolent giant?


From the Home Front

After weeks upon weeks upon weeks of figuring out how... I give up... It seems that my old Compaq 1201 really only has an 800x600 resolution... I've been up all night (for several nights) hacking the damn thing to smithereens (except for one nuking session, when I upgraded to slackware 10.2)... I cry uncle... I'm stuck at 800x600x16@60.

Oh well... I've run on machines with even less resolution... and anyway, since I do most work from the terminal, it doesn't really account for much, but I could use the extra screen real estate for when I do fire up X. Hmm... although, I still have to figure out how to get that trident framebuffer device to give me an 800x600 console yet...

But on another matter, the folk of SFD Philippines are finally getting together, and getting a host and a domain name (courtesy of moi, for the first year anyway). Hopefully, we can start the next year strong with more of that grass! ... errr... grass-roots advocacy that isn't getting much in the way of help from the governement here. I have to ask the folks as to what exactly they envision the organization to be and where we will go and what we will do. These are The Questions That Need Answering, and today, I ask. And from there, we move forward.

Hopefully though, we can keep together, and get the good word of Open Source out to the masses.


MS's stance on the cost of software...

This just made me laugh!

According to MS, Africa - of all places - doesnt need free software. Here in the Philippines, where the per diem income is just under $5 (roughly $150 per month), people can barely afford to buy computers, much less the most well known peice of software on the planet (which can cost up to 50% of a low cost machine). What more with Africa?

As the ZDnet article I linked to referenced, the yearly income of the average African is $160! How are they supposed to buy software that costs, oh, I dunno, $100?

Their argument? Expertise. Let me see... in the Philippines alone, I have met and spoken with Computer Science students who are even less tech literate than my own mother... and these people are being taught what, VB, .NET, and several others from the same line.

I know this looks like an MS bashing post, but lets get real here. Expertise (or lack of it) is the same for both camps, and both are doing their best to get their product out. Unfortunately, it seems that the best (and most effective) weapon for this is more FUD from their PR machinerey.


New MS Licenses?

It seems that MS is introducing three new licenses for their code... namely:

What does this mean? I have no idea... and even less as to what the future may hold. But the fact that they're finally opening up (some) of their code to peer review is a Very Good Thing indeed.

However, the big question is, what about Windows?


Google + Gaim

While we all know that Google launched it's Google Talk service, and that Gaim is one of several IM clients that can utilize it, it seems that Google went one step further, by acquiring Gaim. It's an interesting step by Google, specially now that theres an IM "war" between the three largest IM services, namely AOL,Yahoo, and microsoft (you'll have to forgive me if I didn't get the MS URL right, as it's been years since I last paid it a visit). Anyway, this, right after MS and Yahoo announced that they'd start sharing their userbases and getting their respective message suites talking to each other (and leaving AOL out in the dark).

Considering that the userbase of MS and Yahoo alone goes into the (tens of) millions, and AOL has a steep climb in front of them. Googles diving headfirst into this foray looks more like an insurmountable task. Muddying up the waters even more is this acquisition. Google has an ace up it's sleeve? Or they have a different road map ahead of them? Only time will tell.

Rembember Startrek?

Not that this post is about Star Trek, but rather, something that was mentioned in Star Trek IV... Namely, transparent aluminum. Apparently the US Air Force managed to whip up a bunch, and found that

"The substance itself is light years ahead of glass," he said, adding that it offers "higher performance and lighter weight."

Nifty? Yes.
Useful? Definitely.
Expensive? Maximally.

As some guys on slashdot have calculated, to replace the windshield of a Hummmvee with this material could cost anywhere from $16,560 to $24,840.


On Connectivity, Networking, and Getting Around

I've been an active poster in one forum (and a very inactive lurker in several more) and, good news, looks like the TipidPC grand eyeball-slash-christmas party is going to be a big one! Imagine, one of the threads anounced that they were looking for a location where they could fit several hundred members and a lan-party setup (BYOA, of course). Well, as long as theres going to be some internet access, I guess I'll manage...

Then, there was the PLUG seminar last Saturday (101505). I got in late (around lunch time), but 'twas all good... Lots of laughs with Clair and company (too bad I'm too much the loner to really mingle)...

It's not really clear to many as to the why's of attending these kinds of functions. Well, for the seminar, Knowledge Transfers are always good. Even better when it's free. But what else is to be gained? The term is networking (and I don't mean multi-level marketing).

An large network of contacts is always a good thing. Whether close and warm, or distant and professional, a contact is one thing that a person cannot do without. Although, as I did mention, I didn't exactly mingle outside of the people that I already knew, but, hey, that's just me. Watch and wait. I have time until the next time, to start being the social butterfly needed to build bridges and connections at those events.

Speaking of connectivity, that's probably the main cause that got me into linux in the first place. Connectivity. What with all the interoperability that is being built in, and the openness and warmth (in general) of the people in this culture. Although, I do have to admit, I have yet to see a windows user acutally gush about their utilities the same way linux users/fans/fanatics/zealots do. I wonder if there was ever a study about that?


Something interesting... Or maybe not...

I was just going over some news that I view regularly, and I came across this editorial of sorts about how much technology has affected us. While it's more personal in perspective, I quite agree that technology does have its place in society, but not in every nook and cranny. So, like the author said, please take things down a notch.

And then, Open Office got delayed! But all for the better, as it seems there was this one major flaw in its graphics routines. Apparently, bug i55330 makes graphical elements go awry. They did take this time to plug in more bug fixes as well (some minor inconsistencies).

On the other hand, IBM is donating a large part of its Rational code to the Eclipse Foundation. Very good news for Open source indeed!

On the other side of the realms of tech, apparently, Microsoft is going to give Windows XP some "gadgets" that were slated to be included only in Vista. Interestingly though, these gadgets are things the Open Source community have been enjoying for a long time.

And finally, if you think you have trouble about setting your priorities, then the Peruvian government has got to have some major issues.



Jesus Christ! I've been too far removed from doing any programming or scripting for far too long. I never thought that doing

#include <stdio.h>
printf("Hello World!\n");
return 0;

could give me a hard time (did this on my slackware laptop, of course). Actually, doing it last night took me all of 30 minutes, trying to remember how the damn thing went. And typing it here? I'm not sure if I did it right either. (So please feel free to flame, because I deserve it.)

This does prove to me, however, that I need to get my act in order. And fast.

Although, I think I'll just skim C/C++ at the onset of my reviewing, and check out python first. Maybe ruby as well. Those two sure as hell piqued my interest.

Any suggestions on what I can work on during my relearning???


On Linux, Communities and Belonging

I've always been a Slackware user. For the longest time, it's been the only distribution that I used. Well, okay, I used Ubuntu for a while. While I enjoyed Ubuntu's ease of use, there was just this something that I was looking for.

I guess it's because that I'm a do-it-yourself'er type of guy. I really don't like it when I have no say on what's going on from the onset. Not that I'm saying that Ubuntu isn't good (it is!), it's the lack of choice at the onset that probably turned me off (not to mention Gnome). Ubuntu is prepackaged with what the developers feel that a typical desktop user would need. Most notable of which are:

Which is all that your typical user needs. I forget which multimedia player was included, but like I said, I only used it for a little less than two weeks. And this was the Warty the Warthog release, which was a little rough around the edges (okay, okay, I ran Hoary for about a day, but that was about it).

Anywho, what really makes me wonder is (ease of use questions aside), the Slackware community is all but invisible! And yet, in the months that I've been monitoring the rankings on Distrowatch (since last year), slackware never goes up or down. It's always steadfast between rank 8-10. To me, this just shows that the slackers are out there, but the question remains, in that Where are they?

Rolling back to Software Freedom Day, I remember meeting some fellow slackers. Security freaks, and more of the loner types (well, so am I).

Could it be possible that Slackware users are indeed loners? In all this time, I've known two slackers personally, maybe another handful from online, but the rest? It seems everyone and their brothers are on Debian, or Redhat, or Suse or Gentoo (or their derivatives, if available).

I'm not griping. I'm all for the freedom that F/OSS gives to it's users. It's just that I wonder. Where are they?

That the Slackware community is active is not in question, after all Linuxpackages is alive solely because of the contributions of Slackware users. Also, the official Slackware forum is located at Linux Questions. But still, the feeling of community is somewhat missing.

On occasion, the Ubuntu community makes me envious. From all appearances, they're one of the most dynamic groups of people around. Mostly friendly (I have yet to find one that isn't), and very active everywhere. Much like the Debianites, from which the fount of Ubuntu doth swelleth.

So, I therefore conclude (and until I otherwise manage to disprove it to myself), slackware users are loners. Much as I'd like to participate in the workings of other communities, I've already laid down my stake with slackware. And I guess, after the longest time, it's time to give back.

Now, where did I put those programming books?

Just to backtrack a little though, it's not that I don't like Gnome. It works well enough for what it needs to do. It just doesn't suit me. I still find that either fluxbox or enlightenment do well enough for me.


On Death and Dying

Less than 10 minutes from this posting, I found out that my stepfather (the father of my younger sister) died. No news yet as to what cause - just that. He died.

I don't really remember much of him. He came into my life when I was about 13 or 14, when I didn't really give much of a f*ck about much of anything. What I do remember was that he made me laugh a lot, which says a lot about that man. Few things truly amuse me, even to this day.

It's said that of any industry, clowns have the highest suicide rates. I wonder if it's true that the people who most make others laugh are actually the loneliest people around.

My stepfather was just halfway through to 60, going on 23, the way he was living.

But, yes. I assume that he was lonely. Very few people liked him (I have no idea why), and those that claimed otherwise took advantage of him (he was rich, prior to his becoming alchohol dependent).

But again, I never really knew him. I knew him for less than a year. After which point, the family had to move, and I was shuttled over to an Aunt. They went to live together. Last I knew was that he was over his bingeing days, and was trying to come clean.

I didn't know him. I really didn't. I wish I did.

Now, I can't.

Due to some violently reactionary factions in my office. . .

I decided to take off the image of a blossom on the bottom right.

Sheesh. I've always been a firm adherent of the Japanese ideal of minimalism (okay, the things I like don't exactly spark of minimal, but I'm talking about aesthetics here), and the blossom down there quite relaxes me. It wasn't very obtrusive, and fit the color scheme quite well (except for that cyan bit at the footer of every post). Unfortunately, I did receive some exceedingly violent reactions, so I've decided to remove it for my peace of mind.

Critics. Sheesh. Maybe we should hang them alongside the lawyers as well...


Talk About Coming Up Short....

I was just ready to pick up a domain for myself, and was ready to order from goddady. Earlier this afternoon, I was bean-counting, and left just enough on my debit card to cover the cost of a domain ($8.95+.25 cents). On computing, initially, i had just a little more than the necessary amount (which is just perfect, just in case things go awry), at which point, I started arguing with myself as to what domain I'd get.

Anyway, some hours later, I finally decided, and lo and behold, the exchange rate went against me... =( I came up 2 pesos short! (grumble, grumble).

Guess I'll just wait till the next payday rolls around. Then I'll pick up the domain and the space at the same time.

grumble, grumble, grumble...