Posted tagged ‘open source’

Chrome OS goes open source

November 20, 2009

When the technology became available for personal computers on a desktop, there was a significant paradigm shift in the way operating systems worked.  And ever since the notebook has come into the mainstream, notebook operating systems (largely) have been desktop operating systems crammed into a smaller can.  Yes, mobile phones came along with their own OSes, but it’s about time operating systems had a significant shift in the way mobile computing happens.

That said, I’m not entirely sure Chrome OS is it.  But I’m interested to see where it goes.  I like their security model (as long as we can trust the application host?).  And for a group that has milked their customers for personal information for so long, I’m hesitant to think they should be the ones providing apps for you to, say, manage your finances on.  Sorry, call me a conspiracy theorist.  I’m actually not, because I don’t have a theory.  I’m just distrustful.

Bottom line: Chrome OS looks very promising.  If it is to OSes what Chrome is to browsers (as I type this post in a Chrome window) it might just be the catalyst that gets me to finally buy a netbook.

Another issue with my web design textbook

January 15, 2009

You might have read my December post quibbling with the author/editor of my web design textbook.  It’s happening again, but this time it’s not just a quibble – it’s just plain wrong.

In this case, I’m feeling a little ill.  Here’s the quote (emphasis added): “The second difference [between Apache and IIS] is that Apache is open-source software, meaning that it is non-proprietary and thus license-free.”  I’m sorry?  When did open source start meaning there’s no license?  Have you ever heard of the GPL?  Creative Commons?  In Apache’s case, it has its own Apache license, which is compatible with GPL 3 (though not with GPL 1 and 2). 

I guess the moral of the story is that I should do my homework to avoid writing about things I don’t understand.

This reminds me.  I haven’t been posting much due to a final exam tomorrow in this very course.  I’ve got a long way to go, so I’m signing off.


What is open source?

October 21, 2008

So I think before I can get into the juicy details of open source and Linux configuration I need to explain what it is and, more importantly, what I mean by it. If you are a long time user of open source or free software and Linux than you know that this issue comes with a considerable amount of baggage.  If you are new than just be aware that baggage exists and that people disagree within the movement. I try to stay away from the fragmentation and bantering and stick to what really makes open source great: openness. So what is open source? I am going to stick with open source as it relates to computers, but the actual movement or ideology is starting to seep into all facets of life from education to government and even music. So here we go with what I mean by open source. Open source programs are those computer programs where the source code is freely available and alterable; often these programs are given away for free. Now you can find other definitions and there are more nuances but for the purposes of programs that I use and will write about this definition works.

So how is this different from Microsoft or Mac products? Well when you purchase Microsoft Office that is it. They control everything, how it is installed, how you can use it, what you can add to it, what type of machine you are allowed to install it on. Open source doesn’t have any of those limitations. You can install it anywhere you can get it to compile. You can see the full source code and make any changes or additions that you wish. You can even take the entire source code and start a new product from that source code. The only limits are your imagination and ability. The trade off is that most open source software comes with no warranty or support, but is free and flexible while closed source comes with warranty and support, but is costly and limiting.  That highlights the best and worst of both worlds. Because open source is free and non-limiting innovation happens at a very fast pace with many users supplying code and bug fixes in real time at their leisure, and if you don’t like where a product is headed you can start a new project using the source code from the original. But for closed source you are dependant on the vendor to fix bugs and update the software and often closed source vendors block competition or innovation that doesn’t come from within the company. On the flip side since so many people offer code for open source and it is so flexible it often is cumbersome and can be finicky at times (there is such a thing as too many options). Whereas closed source has professional developers devoting the better part of their day to ensure that the product you bought is everything you want.

So which one is better? Well I am not an open source Nazi. I think both open and closed systems have their place, which is one of the areas that carries a lot of baggage in the open source world, it is a matter of what fits the job best. If you are a gamer than you probably won’t like Mac OS or Linux very much, because both are limited by vendor acceptance, so you will likely choose Windows for games. Graphic designers tend to like Mac for their OS needs and that is fine. Programmers often like Linux. You choose whatever works best for your situation. That said I prefer open source to closed source because it is free (both monetary and freedom/flexibility). However, I am not apposed to hybrid methods or closed source solutions where they are needed.

Hopefully this helps clarify what I mean by open source and hopefully I didn’t loose you in details. From here I’ll start some tutorials on getting started with Linux. Stay tuned.

Looking for a tech contributor

October 14, 2008

I really enjoy writing for this blog, and I’m truly surprised to see how popular some of the pages (printmig) have gotten – if you Google “printmig” this blog is on the first page.  But I want to start expanding the offerings and readership, and I think the next step is bringing in some additional talent.  I’ve got a person in mind but I’m open to just about anyone who fits some basic qualifications:

– must deal with technology in large quantities daily (you don’t have to be an IT pro but I’d prefer it)
– good written communication skills
– prefer someone who can write about the open source community or other current issues
– writing demeanor must be professional; keep it clean, correct, and relevant

If you’re interested, drop me a note at bfpower @ gmail dot com.  Tell me some of your ideas and maybe include some links to some of your work.