Boing Boing: Mark Pilgrim's list of Ubuntu essentials for ex-Mac users:
"Mac guru and software developer Mark Pilgrim recently switched to Ubuntu Linux after becoming fed up with proprietary Mac file-formats and the increasing use of DRM technologies in the MacOS. I've been a Mac user since 1984, and have a Mac tattooed on my right bicep. I've probably personally owned 50 Macs, and I've purchased several hundred while working as an IT manager over the years. I'm about to make the same switch, for much the same reasons."


Dabble dB - taking the poisoned chalice?

So Dabble are rumoured to be taking $2m in venture capital. I'm with James on this:

Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants:

"Sounds to me like they are still in late binding mode though - they held off on venture capital until they needed it. I hope they don't run into any of the classic 'business optimization' scenarios that can come with funding."

Based on no experience, just observation, I wish they could just grow organically. Still, good luck anyway!
The Size Of Our World: "The Size Of Our World"

Wow - take a look at those pictures! Isn't our Earth small! Isn't our Sun a very small star! Very impressive but, as my wife said, the scale is a bit scary!


Slashdot | Ruby on Rails for DB2 Developers:
"I just had to switch part of my current project from Ruby to Common Lisp for performance"


The last days of the Empire

Software Wars:
"A graphic map depicting the epic struggle of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) against the Empire of Microsoft."

Via Slashdot.
Note the great SCO FUD stalled attack.....


More Linux Desktop disinformation

James Robertson on Linux, a subject where I think he may be a little out-of-date:
Desktops and Hair patterns:
"That's about the size of it. I much prefer managing applications on a Linux server, but I just can't see myself fighting with Linux on the desktop."
So, MS is good at desktops but not applications:

The Suckage continues
MS Outlook - it's teh Sux0r.
"Fighting the Linux desktop" - since when? Welcome to 2006 - where the only things you have to fight with in Linux is where MS dominance has stopped software suppliers bothering to write some applications. But the truth is that everything I want to use works, and is nice aand configurable. Oh, and there is usually a choice of app (even if using MS Exchange, I am told)

Linux is easier to install and setup than Windows, and most apps can be updated automatically, at least in Ubuntu.

Oh, and I don't have a beard!!
ongoing ? 2006 World Cup:
"And I’d actually started liking England a little bit when Rooney brought some second-half life to the affair. The Gerrard goal was perfectly fine but I booed it, and unless they actually wake up and play like men I’ll be cheering for whichever team eventually knocks them out. ?"
I hate to admit it , but I agree with Tim - I won't be cheering whoever knocks England out, but I will be glad to be able to stop whincing and enjoy the game. They("we") have some great players - so why does it go so wrong when they get together as a team.

And I agree with another post of Tim's:
I am officially a major fan of Ghana’s “Black Stars”, as of now. Chances are they advance, and I will be rooting for them against whichever big-name side they play next.
Absolutely - fantastic stuff - I imagine some well organised side will clamp them down this time, but in 4 years? Still fun to watch. How about Ghana vs. the real Brazil ( they will turn up eventually!)


Open Source Message Queuing

JPMorgan Chase leads open source messaging push:

"The formation of the Working Group follows a multi-year development effort at JPMorgan Chase aimed at creating an alternative to expensive proprietary messaging middleware such as IBM's MQSeries. "

See also:James Governor's MonkChips
Q: There are many folks on Wall Street that are working on an open source equivalent of MQ Series. Would be curious to know what industry analysts think of this effort? Would also love to know if it possible for a traditional end-user client of an analyst firm to create software and get it on a quadrant without having to become a software vendor?
A: I also talked to Coridan, which is another open source message queing effort, as per your earlier suggestion, and while I thought the MantaRay approach was potentially interesting, I am a little worried about who the target market is in both cases. Big Wall Street firms have casts of thousands that love to build IT stuff. They have people that like to go toe to toe with IBM and other major vendors, architecture for architecture, flexing technical pectorals. But the level of resource in financial services is hardly the enterprise norm. Banking is IBMland: it makes sense to put pressure on it. But MQSeries, now called WebSphere MQ, is pretty darned solid middleware. I do wonder sometimes about the balance between function and "non-proprietary" choices. Many SOA implementations are driving WebSphereMQ volumes, without requiring other WebSphere componentry. It is a very handy transport which covers an unbelievable number of platforms. It scales in a way JMS can't. Without a vendor sugardaddy on board, what happens if banks cut the AMQ budget? What is the maintenance and governance model? I am all for enterprises contributing to open source, and it will be interesting to see if AMQ becomes, say, an Apache submission. Ron at Zapthink talks about open source message queing putting pressure on ESBs. I think of MQ as a transport not an ESB. In the end, I think I need to talk to AMQ and JP MorganChase to find out more. I have many questions before I can really say what I think of the effort.

AMQ might even act as leverage to push IBM towards thoughts of open sourcing the core WebSphereMQ messaging service. Its not as if customers wouldn't still come to IBM for service and support and the rest of the stack... and who knows, IBM might even find one of its venerable middleware platforms winning new customers by lowering barriers to participation. IBM could then focus on selling the higher level software, for SOA Governance and so on. I wonder what the guys at Hursley think, not that they will likely say in public...
My emphasis added


The drones are coming

BBC NEWS | Americas | High hopes for drone in LA skies: "
Commander Heal is quick to point out that it is not their intention to launch 'big brother' style surveillance operations.

'There's no place in an urban environment that you can go to right now that you're not being looked at with a video camera and you have nothing to fear from your own government - you are being watched by your fellow citizens,' he says."

(my emphasis added) That makes me feel so much better!


New printer: Epson Stylus CX6600
My old HP 720C gave up the ghost - the head froze and the band was fraying dramatically. So I decided to buy a new one. What did I want?
  • To get rid of the old parallel cable ( yes, I really still had one of those massive things!)
  • Colour printing - reasonable quality and speed, nothing too fancy
  • Built-in scanner - to save space and replace an unreliable flat-bed scanner
  • All functions should work with Linux and Windows
  • Separate colour and blak cartridges and replacements should not be too expensive (cf. the HP ones!!! )
Not too much to ask? It quickly became apparent that Epson had a great reputation with Linux folks, and the CX 6400 was said to work with all functions.

Well, I am delighted with the CX6600 - all functions (print, scan, copy) work with both Linux and Windows. As a bonus it can also read a variety of memory sticks. All though its volume is quite large, its footprint is not worse that the 720C ( which had a long paper catching tray) and of course the huge A4 scanner is gone too. Print and scan quality seems very good to me, and the speed of prnting is good. It is nice and quiet.

Bottom-line - I'm very happy!


Ubuntu 6.06? Me too

Fun summary of the advantages of Ubuntu and a complaint about the industry's miopic focus on pre-installed Windows:The Blog Of Ryan Vennell ? Linux? Windows? Huh?:

"I have also recently installed the latest release of Ubuntu Linux and have found that its ease of use is second to no other OS I’ve used as of yet. "

I actually installed the previous version of Ubuntu ( dual boot with Windoes XP - Ubuntu respected this and gave both options at bootitme) and then as 6.06 grew closer I learnt how to update the Update Service to gradually adot new versions of each package. So when 6.06 was finished, a few packages were updated and I was already at 6.06 - fantastic. I'm sure one has to be careful not to do this too long before GA, but there were no problems with broken function for me. Great stuff!


Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership: Thoughts on Industry Standards Bodies: "Ever heard of the Object Management Group? Ever look at their membership list? Did you notice that there isn't a single Fortune 100 enterprise (non-software) on the list? Do you think they may miss important customer requirements in their discussions if customers aren't participating in them? "

Leadership vs. Despotism

Ted discusses different styles of leading open source projects, and rightly points out that many such projects have an apparent despot:Ted Leung on the air : Open Source leadership:

"The term 'despot' (or to use the Python community's label, 'Benevolent Dictator For Life') inserts a lot of unhelpful color into this particular discussion. It is very rare to find a human endeavor in which no one displays that quality known as leadership."

Is Linus a despot? No, for 3 reasons 1) he seems to work with other people and only occasionally wields the big decision stick (and even then with justification) 2) as Ted points out people can leave as individuals and 3) the tam can effectively depose the despot if the act together.

The important point to me is how limited "positional" power is in corporate e situations too - sure employees are more locked-in but in a reasonably "liquid" job market managers should be leaders too.


Eternal vigilance

Can't James just stick to technology? Why do I have to think ad worry and write to my MP:

James Governor's MonkChips: Quote of the day via Bruce Schneier: Solzhenitsyn on Data and Privacy:

"Could it be that the we are all so busy patting ourselves on the back for the 'end of Communism' that we have failed to see the rise of pervasive surveillance and potential authoritarianism in our own societies? Be aware of your invisible threads... its time to go back and learn from writers like Solzhenitsyn... any suggestions folks?"


Quotes of the Day - The Quotations Page:
"The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting."
Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994)

Seems rather appropriate at this time .... perhaps if we added "wasted time with voting machines, missing votes...."

Uh-oh, it's cultural insensitivity time

FIFA World Cup™ Blog ? World Cup starts next week, but America doesn’t care:

No matter how hard the fans in this country may try, Americans as a whole just don’t care about the World Cup.
Actually, I think you will find a lot of Americans care about the World Cup: maybe "North Americans" don't care. But that'sjust fine with the rest of us!!