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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Jamie McCracken's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
12:49 am
Surely the internet makes software patents obsolete?
At least for internet connected devices. I mean why is it that companies bother fighting or capitulating when they could simply outflank the bastard patent trolls at no cost to themselves?

Armed with the internet, any half knowledgeable person can easily download copyrighted movies and music such that copyright protection itself is under threat. But for software patents its much much worse - in fact its so bad for patent trolls that software patents should be obsolete and totally worthless

IANAL but consider the case of a smart phone (or tablet or other mobile device). Surely all that needs to be distributed with the machine is a boot strap with a bare bones OS and the simplest of apps which are completely non-infringing on any patent held by a known patent troll . On startup, the machine just needs to be smart enough to inform the user they can download a fuller version of the OS + a whole host of apps which can infringe all they like of course. Provided the download server is out of the USA, there's bugger all a patent troll can do.

After all he cant go the US ITC to ban the imports nor can he sue the manufacturer, distributors or retailers cause the machine does not infringe anything. The only person who could be sued is the person who downloads the extra stuff but of course theres no way of finding that out nor would it make economic sense to sue them even if they did (the license fee a troll could expect to extract would be paltry compared to the court costs for the patent troll - they would go bankrupt very very quickly!)

If Google was smart, it should do something like the above for the forthcoming Android 3. The bare bones OS on it should not have any Java or things like the encumbered FAT filesystem but just the bare necessities to make it a phone without the smarts (and without infringing any patents of course). Then stick all the juicy patent encumbered stuff on a non-USA server for easy download and Bob's your uncle!
Sunday, September 19th, 2010
11:29 am
How Oracle can easily be defeated in its patent offensive against Android
Fortuitously it appears Oracle is a licensee of OIN (Open innovation network) which enforces the company to forego patent attacks against any product protected by OIN - http://xml.coverpages.org/Oracle-OIN.html

Makes you wonder why they dont add Android and Dalvrik to OIN's collection of protected technologies and hence do away with the attack (even if it cant stop backdated attacks it can at least leave the future clear). Google is also a licensee of OIN but maybe it needs to up its membership to the equivalent of one of the founders to enjoy this level of protection

Interestingly, OIN appears to be rather stealthy and no longer publishes a list of protected technologies (other than mentioning linux) nor does it make public any strategy or commitment to protect anything. It might be doing this to prevent patent trolls finding loopholes or to prevent the organisation from wasting resources in unwinnable situations. Then again, it might just be an impotent organisation with no real teeth or one that only caters to protect the interests of its founding members and no one else.

Its amazing how much power OIN has (100+ patents) yet does very little to prevent the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Oracle from their anti-competitive and unethical actions which result in terrorising users of Open source with patents. The only success it has had was to purchase a set of anit-Linux patents that Microsoft would have sold to a bunch of trolls. Time to end the moral cowardice of OIN if you ask me...
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
7:10 pm
Why Android and Meego should merge
I have to say there is quite a lot I like about Android but there's always a few things that are done better in Meego (like not needing a constant Internet connection to use GPS maps and of course tracker integration!).

Meego is also more open to different developer languages of course so it occurs to me that merging Android and Meego would be an ideal scenario for both developers and end users.

With the recent Oracle suit, a merge would provide a good deal of insulation from a possible negative outcome in the case and at the same time provide a means to move away from Java completely if needed. Whilst I cant see Intel or Nokia objecting, given that it will propel them into market leaders, the big question however is would Google stomach such a move and give away some of the power and influence it has achieved to date?

Whilst Google proclaims its "do no evil" stance, it should not be forgotten that absolute power corrupts as well and were Google to knock out Apple and steal Microsoft's crown as well (Android + Chrome could be a killer in the enterprise desktop), who can possibly say Google would not become evil or at least a shade of grey in that department. A safeguard against that is to make sure power is shared and distributed such that no one company can take matters into their own hands. Thus a merge now is not only potentially good for everyone but vital to safeguard the future

On technical matters, a merge should not be a big deal. Whilst Android does not use X, it should not be hard to port Android to use it. Sandboxing is best done in the kernel IMO and there is already a neat JIT available for most lanaguages (LLVM) so portability wont be sacrificed either. I cant see Android losing anything and Meego would acquire a java platform in addition to its native platform

And last but not least, a merge would create a more friendly name too - Ameego :) (At least thats better than MeegoDroid!)

P.S. Yeah I know it will probably never happen but if Google is smart enough not to repeat the mistakes of Microsoft, it will know the value of sharing its power with friendly companies who can help it fend off patent attacks (the more defensive patents you have the better) and more importantly stop itself from acquiring too much power for its own good
Saturday, August 14th, 2010
10:14 am
Own goal
If you ask me, Oracle has scored a massive own goal by suing Google. Not least because if it expects to wrest back control of Java and make billions from it, it will surely be in for a massive disappointment. Heres why:

Despite Oracle's motivations (which I interpret as total disrespect/disregard for FOSS at best and pure malevolence at worst), its attacks are destined to fail. The copyright claim looks bizarre especially as everything is open source and publicly viewable and for all purposes consists of clean room stuff and the Harmony open source stuff. If there was any dispute here why wasn't examples provided? To me it smacks of wishful thinking and is surely a long shot. Worst case scenario is Google rewriting the offending code (if any) which should not be a big deal

The 8 salvo patent broadside also looks like a hit and miss approach and as they are more based on optimisation techniques rather than on restricting running of Dalvik code, it seems unfathomable that there's anything there that could not be coded around. Oracle would need to land a killer hit that would prevent execution of Dalvik code to have any chance of bringing Google to its knees and I cant see that happening. Chances are that one or two salvos may hit but they look like causing only minor damage which is easily repaired

So when the dust settles, what will oracle have achieved? I sure hope Google will fight and the end result could hurt Oracle big time

Oracle no doubt expects the following:

1) Google to concede and license Dalvik for billions

2) Oracle to pursue all manufacturers for similar license deals and loads more cash

3) Force Dalvik to comply with Java standards and put itself firmly at the helm of future java development

Here's what I think will happen instead:

1) Instead of billions it may only get a few tens of millions in damages due to the odd patent sticking and no license deal

2) Google will armour plate Android by coding around any weaknesses thus Android will become invulnerable to further attack and so Oracle will not be able to go after anyone else - the only damages it will receive will be for previous violations and not present or future ones and there's no hope of any license deal or further revenue. And there's plenty of time to do this as patent disputes take years to resolve if they go to court

3) Dalvik could become the new Java standard. If Microsoft proved anything, its that anyone with a half a brain steered clear of getting involved with them and Oracle is likely to develop a similar feared and loathed reputation that will drive Java adopters into Google's arms. On technical merit it also looks like Dalvik is way ahead of any other Java implementation too so its really bad news for Oracle here

So to sum up I would like to offer my congratulations to Oracle - you have lost big time!

And please Google go for it and make 'em suffer!
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
8:12 pm
Best possible UK government
Normally Im turned off by elections in the UK - its just a great big lying campaign IMHO.

Also as my job is done online and I can work anywhere in the world, I have consequently left the UK for a better climate (not to mention to legally escape its pernicious taxes and endless form filling as well) so whoever is elected would not affect me personally

But this time it was fascinating and amusing to watch all the twist and turns (especially bigotgate).

I must admit I feared the worst for my country but the end result of a Tory-Lib Dem coalition is probably better than anything else.

First and foremost, Britain needs another Thatcher to sort out the awful fiscal mess left by the previous reckless administration which was obviously made a damn sight worse by the recession. Its frankly staggering that the UK is being compared to Greece on that front. With the Tories now back in power we should get at least some much needed improvement in that area

But what about the nightmarish hell that Blair/Brown descended on Britain in plunging us into wars and jumping into bed with Bush? Would the Tories be just as bad there? Well not when they are being propped up by the somewhat anti-American, anti-war Lib Dems. The end result is no more wars for the foreseeable future which should be a good thing even if Obama should lose out in a few years time

Other negatives for the Tories like their support of big business (also a negative for Labour) should also be moderated by the Lib Dems.

And with the Tories and Lib Dems appearing to be rather pragmatic and each sacrificing their more controversial policies, the end result, if it works, should be a very good, moderate and balanced government

Now lets see if we can persuade them to adopt more open source and help their budget deficit out at the same time...
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
5:00 pm
Semantic desktop - piece of a jigsaw
Benjamin makes some interesting comments here which I would like to address

The semantic desktop, as implemented by tracker, cannot glean all useful semantic information by indexing alone. This is why there is a separate storage daemon (trackler-store) which apps can use to supply additional semantic info. However even that is not enough to realise its full potential.

So what is needed?

For me, a service orientated architecture (SOA) is needed for objects like contacts, music, images etc. This would span all local objects - eg your locally set up contacts, objects on remote machines (EG contacts on corporate address books like an LDAP server) and of course web service contacts (myspace, facebook etc). An SOA would require a federated database and the obvious candidate for that is tracker

I would also suggest that SOA implemetations be freedesktop based so all desktops can use them and allow KDE/GNOME to replace EDS and Akonadi for a common contact SOA

SOAs would also provide methods for importing/exporting contacts to various services as well as unifying all contacts under one umbrella.

SOAs can go a long way to eliminating duplicated code between desktops and competing applications. In one rosy future, all applications will end up being thin clients with their bulk of their function in SOAa and their data in tracker. Apps could then be created which use any platform (QT/GTK/NBTK/PYGTK/GTK#) with minimal of code. Dont like the UI or the toolkit? No problem, just rewrite it in super quick time

The biggest problem of course is not coding it but getting everyone to tango - it would require a monumental freedesktop effort that would need to overcome all the politics and factions. That sadly means it might not ever happen however...

One of the reasons Im more excited by a desktop variant of Moblin than say Gnome 3 stuff, is that I will be able to implement a tracker based SOA for it as it already comntains SOA stuff like mojito. I do envy the mobile folks as they have the power to forge their own mini desktop environment but who knows. One day soon you may well see a moblin desktop variant where semantic desktops and SOAs will power it.
Saturday, July 11th, 2009
9:04 am
Desktop Nirvana
As the desktop Summit draws to a close, I feel I have to point out what I thought was by far the best and most exciting thing I saw.

For me the award goes to Moblin 2 - it absolutely rocks and I want it on my desktop (and im considering making a desktop variant which would be more suitable than the current one which is obviously designed for small screened netbooks)

Moblin screenshot 1

Why does it rock?

If you attended the Moblin talk you already know the answer - its rocktastic design. The design that is sadly not always evident in other open source application.

Now dont get me wrong - there has always been varying degrees of successful design in Gnome, KDE and even Windows. But when it comes to the Apple standard of design, you either have it or you dont. And right now, Moblin apart, we are not even close!

With integrated web services, social desktop features and a really neat clutter based UI on top of rocktastic design - what more could you want?

(well ok besides tracker integration, vala/genie as dev language, use of favourite window manager like compiz etc etc which can all be done in a desktop variant)
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
8:11 am
Tracker at Gran Canaria
Unfortunately I only arrived Saturday night so I missed the fun with Stallman's keynote - hopefully a video will be forthcoming (I dont really care about the patent state of mono as Im just a guy that prefers native code for apps but it would be boring if there weren't anything controversial!) .

But I was in time to see the metadata session with Jos stream analyser and Ivan's presentation on tracker.

Tracker 0.7 is going to blow the bloody doors off and more!

The new architecture where tracker is split into a separate storage component (no indexing or monitoring just pure storage and query) and various optional providers (EG File indexing and monitoring, Facebook/flickr indexing, etc) should help revolutionise things.

Want the shared metadata capability and sparql querying of tracker store without the file indexing - no problem!

Want optional web service integration - no problem!

Want to provide your own custom providers - no problem!

Its tracker just the way you want it

Also good news for file indexing - its faster, leaner and much much more lighter on your system - heck it runs smoothly on maemo on N810 so you can be sure its gonna rock on your more powerful desktop

At some point in the near future, Im likely to write a new desktop shell/UI in Vala/Genie/Clutter that can fully utilise tracker and its web service integration but more on that later. Im very happy that Nokia and Codethink are both working on tracker backend which should free me up to do more front end work. More of my short term plans are to rewrite the tracker-search-tool to take advantage of the fantastic power that the next version of tracker will bring

Im also keen to get timeline and file audit info into tracker and nepomuk so we can do similar things to zeitgeist (which can use tracker as a backend as well) and will be needed by my new shell plans

Watch this space!
Sunday, September 21st, 2008
5:02 pm
Desktop search hackfest
The hackfest has been really cool with lots of discussions and ideas

Of particular interest to me is just how far Nokia wants to integrate tracker into their devices. Suffice to say its massively and no doubt explains why they have contributed tons of code over the last 6 months via 6/7 paid developers.

I have to say Im very impressed with the list of ideas that they want tracker to do including being the database for their media player. Philip Van Hoof also showed me a really cool tracker powered file manager thingy but as some of this is potentially confidential I wont go into details just now

Its also good to know what makes a metadata storage daemon a success and in particular why tracker's database utilising a hybrid sql and custom triple store approach allows us both performance and flexibility which you would not get using say an RDF based backend

the key factors for a successful metadata daemon include:

1) ease of use - friendly API (XESAM scores big here). Raw RDF/SPARQL would potentially scare people off
2) high performance - sadly absent from RDF databases but not an issue with tracker's ability to denormalize triplet data into flat tables for key or important metadata.
3) Extensibility - not so great if you cannot extend it

At the end of the day we dont want application developers to resort to creating custom sql databases to service their needs which is what will happen if a metadata daemon does not satisfy all of the above.

Anyway thats not to say tracker is perfect in this area yet and there will be some more work to create dedicated media databases which are flattened and comparable in structure to databases like banshee and rhythmbox use. Im confident we can deliver 50,000 music tracks complete with key metadata in a fraction of a second with the soon to be implemented improvements.

Along with the integration of a custom sqlite FTS module that im working on I believe it will make tracker's goal of world domination one step closer as well as giving us a rocking mobile desktop thats fully integrated and far faster and more intelligent than what we currently have.

The next generation desktop is happening now in the mobile space and with a clutter based UI expected in the next generation tablet from Nokia complete with cell phone ability, that future device should easily match the iphone (if not beat it)

I cant thank Nokia enough for having the vision and the resources to make it happen. Its also great that companies like Nokia are now going overboard in investing in exciting free software projects and getting their work upstream.

I hope we will have the same level of excitement in our Gnome desktops that exists in the highly innovative mobile space in the not too distant future and Im sure it will happen if other companies follow Nokia's example.
Monday, June 16th, 2008
11:20 pm
Genie Improvements
I know there is a lot of excitement generating around this uber cool new Genie programming language and i am happy to report more progress including more documentation at that site (i know more needs doing there + more examples but they are on the way)

I have now made lists (dynamic arrays) and dicts (hashtables) first class datums in Genie. As they utilise the tiny and useful libgee, you will need this library installed if you make use of these. You will also need latest svn version of vala too.

Anyway here is a small taste of lists and dicts in action:



    /* test lists */
    var l = new list of string
    l.add ("Genie")    
    l.add ("Rocks")
    l.add ("The")
    l.add ("World")

    for s in l
        print s
    print " "
    l[2] = "My"
    for s in l
        print s

    print " "

    /* test dicts */
    var d = new dict of string,string

    d["Genie"] = "Great"
    d["Vala"] = "Rocks"
    for s in d.get_keys ()
        print "%s => %s", s, d[s]

to compile you must use libgee so compile with:
valac --pkg gee-1.0 genie-list.gs

output is:
Vala => Rocks
Genie => Great

The big advantage of embedding lists and dicts in the language is that it makes it much easier for the developer to make use of them. It also means genie can make decisions about which hashing and equal functions to use based on the types (Eg for a dict of string,string it would use the glib g_str_hash and g_str_equal functions automatically although you could of course specify different ones by setting the properties explicitly) whereas in vala you would have to type something like :
var map = new Gee.HashMap<string, string>(GLib.str_hash, GLib.str_equal);

which is a bit long winded and embedding them allows us to avoid this.

Anyway in the future we also want to support initializers and type inferencing of the list/dict EG the above dict in the future could be created as
var d = {"Genie" = "Great", "Vala" = "Rocks"}

but that of course needs more work!

Also I have create a feedback wiki page for genie here so feel free to put suggestions there (but be nice!)
Monday, May 19th, 2008
10:31 pm
Introducing Genie - the smart programming language

I have just created a nice cool new language which is now incorporated into latest Vala svn. This means that with the latest Vala compiler, you can now program in a language similar to Boo and Python for those that dont like Java/C# syntax.

The syntax of Genie is designed to be clean, clear and concise. In some ways its cleaner than Python and is certainly a lot more concise than C#/Java.

Genie of course has all the advantages of Vala and you can seamlessly use Vala code and bindings with it too just like a CLR.

And unlike most other modern languages, there is of course absolutely no slow, bloat laden VM either as it compiles into GObject C code.

Here's a GTK sample which uses the Vala GTK bindings to whet your appetite:

/* GTK+ Genie Sample Code - compile with valac --pkg gtk+-2.0 genie-gtk.gs */
    Gtk.init (ref args)
    var test = new TestWindow ()
    test.show_all ()
    Gtk.main ();

class TestWindow : Window

        title = "Test Window"
        default_height = 250
        default_width = 250
        window_position = WindowPosition.CENTER
        destroy += Gtk.main_quit
        var button = new Button.with_label ("Click Me")
        button.clicked += def (btn)
            title = "Hello World"
            btn.label = "Hello World"
        add (button)

To compile :
1) save above source to a file called genie-gtk.gs
2) valac --pkg gtk+-2.0 genie-gtk.gs

run the generated executable:

Some notes about the syntax:

1) It uses tab indentation for blocks (like python but only tabs and not spaces are allowed)
2) By default everything is public. To mark stuff as private either use underscore as first character in name of enitity or use the private keyword modifier
3) Genie supports everything vala supports including closures (see button.clicked above), properties, events (aka signals), delegates and other cool stuff

more to follow as I need time to document the language...

Update updated gtk sample above + added more documentation of language here
Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
11:51 pm
Tracker 0.6.6

Hot on the heels of 0.6.5, I've rolled out another release of tracker


0.6.5 and 0.6.6 now make indexing a really smooth and relatively bug free experience.

Our most important feature is the new smart pause feature in the applet which can automatically pause the tracker daemon whenever the user presses a key or moves the mouse during heavy indexing merging. This makes indexing completely non-intrusive when computer is in use by user and no slowdowns should be evident at all. Default setting is to auto pause the merge state only which provides a nice balance between index speed and non-intrusiveness (can be set to pause all indexing if desired or turned off for maximum index speed).

Another great and currently unique feature of tracker is the ability to temporarily blacklist files that change frequently and index them much later on (or on next restart of tracker). This prevents needlessly indexing downloads and torrents which have not been fully downloaded yet. Coupled with the already intelligent pausing that tracker has whenever it detects other applications writing to disk (IE when compiling source code) and you have the best non-intrusive indexing on the market as well as one of the fastest.

One really annoying issue with tracker doing an extremely cpu heavy sqlite corruption scan on startup whenever it was not shutdown cleanly (depending on your db size this could last up to 30 minutes at 100% cpu and on battery too!) has now been removed. Its one area of SQLite that really sucks and needs to be optimised before we use it again. We have instead made sure tracker always shuts down smoothly and cleanly to do away with the need for the costly precautionary scan (which is not really required in any event).

We have also fixed a few other annoying issues with the applet - we have removed most of the messages and we have replaced the applet's popup with a tooltip which now displays status and progress.

And finally Im pleased to say (having spent the bulk of our time on this) all the significant bugs which surfaced in gutsy have now pretty much been fixed.

I would also like to thank Sun And Nokia for supplying a load of paid developers to work on tracker too - its almost an embarrassment of riches as I have to find work for them but its a lovely problem to have :)

(and we will need them for the next major tracker version but more on that later...)
Friday, February 1st, 2008
2:22 pm
Murders & Executions
Theres been a lot of merges and acquisitions going on lately with Sun and Nokia. However the one that really caught my eye was Microsoft's attempt to snap up yahoo.

With Microsoft gaining an excellent ability to shoot itself in the foot with Vista, I must say I am all for this deal for the following reasons:

1) At $42 Billion, it will wipe away its $19 billion cash reserves and throw it into the red

2) Yahoo is a fading star and has only one valuable asset Flick/r

3) Yahoo and its products are built with open source (PHP and FreeBSD). Microsoft will obviously waste years converting it to use inferior propriety technology

4) Microsoft will still have no worthwhile internet content business with which to challenge its competitors

5) Every attempt by microsoft to expand away from Windows and office has been a failure

6) Microsoft suffers from a chronic lack of innovation, bureaucracy and inability to compete with more nimble competitors like Google.

Note to US/EU - please dont block this deal - let microsoft implode!
Friday, January 18th, 2008
9:23 pm
File system notifications without watches

One of the most eagerly anticipated kernel features that desktop search and VFS authors have been crying out for is full recursive watching of the entire file system - something which is not practical with inotify especially with filesystems containing many thousands of directories.

I read on KDE planet that this has been communicated to kernel devs but hey why reinvent the wheel as a technology called fschange has been around for a while now which pretty much meets the bill as far as the kernel side of things goes. The only snag is it exists only as a patch to the kernel and so needs constant updating as new kernels are released

I would love it if some kernel hacker can get this into the mainline kernel and I am prepared to write a user space root daemon which will use the dbus system bus to send out recursive notifications for it (only root can read the output at /proc/fschange and the daemon must make sure any client has necessary read permission to preserve confidentiality).

The daemon I plan to write for it will also log all changes at the directory level to an sqlite database with the timestamp as primary key for fast date based lookups and delete any data older than 30 days to prevent db growing large. That way an indexer merely has to ask for all file change events from a certain timestamp as well as subscribe to a simple dbus based file notification and tell it what directories it wants to watch recursively.

The benefits of this will be virtually instant startup times for indexers and no grinding of the disk recursively seeking out folders to watch and checking their mtime values for changes (not to mention the memory and resource usage of watches in the kernel). Also it will make it more viable to index the entire filesystem and keep it up to date (and do away with the likes of periodic runs of update-db too).
Monday, November 26th, 2007
9:13 pm
Any chance you guys on planet gnome can move all the electioneering mudslinging to the foundation-list mailing list?

After all thats where it belongs considering all the candidates up for election are interrogated there and all voters (foundation members) are subscribed to that list

We all like a good flame war but its so much easier to follow on a mailing list rather than having to transcend a myriad of blog posts and their comments!
Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
3:25 pm
Microsoft empire to expand via OLPC?

Having read about the unfortunate mandriva/classmate deal which Microsoft managed to hijack to its advantage, its pretty clear what their strategy will be as regards the bigger fish - OLPC

Microsoft certainly has deep pockets and will willingly pay to make sure governments around the world put windows on any OLPC deals that they purchase. But is there anything we can do to stop it?

It can of course be stopped by making it a condition of sale that only an open source OS can be used (at least for the government - maybe allow the end user to change it if they so wish) and I would urge the OLPC board to implement this ASAP. Failure to do so could have disastrous consequences and as such outweighs any question of morality or ethics about such a move. IMO its the lessor of two evils to restrict OS choice in this case to prevent monopoly abuse via corruption.

I had been tempted by the recent OLPC offer to give 1 get 1 but until I see such a clause that prevents change of OS I am holding back and I would urge others that dont want to see it hijacked by Microsoft to back away from it too.

Its unfortunate these days that Microsoft destroys all competition and will happily exploit any freedom we give it to continue its unfair, illegal and anti-competitive behaviour but we will never win unless we fight like they do. And you can bet if Microsoft was behind OLPC that is exactly what it would do - force all of them to use its software. As distasteful as it may sound to some people we need to start taking a leaf out of their book to level the playing field and we will easily beat them as long as the field remains level.

So please, OLPC board, safeguard the rest of the world from the Microsoft monopoly and add that clause!
Friday, October 12th, 2007
12:08 pm
Pandora's Box...

has just been opened

Microsoft is doing another SCO but this time with patents as it gets a patent troll staffed by former microsoft execs to launch a patent assault on Red Hat and Novell.

Of course MS is funding this - no sane company would ever sue open source companies as the massive pain for very little gain would not make business sense

SCO for instance incurred the wrath of the community so much that it received death threats and had to employ bodyguards as well as being fought to the death in court.

On no account must Red Hat or Novell cave in and pay their bogus claims as it will land a killer blow in the propaganda/FUD war being waged by MS. I hope a common fund will be set aside to combat all future claims that will further deter patent aggression as protagonists will know their claims will be fought all the way to the bitter end

I hope the execs in Novell wake up and smell the coffee - being microsoft's poodle will not stop them stabbing you in the back. MS is the common enemy of all open source and we will kill them - I dont care if MS improves its behaviour in the future for I and others will do everything in our power to destroy them and their crappy appalling technology and standards.

Let it be in no doubt that Microsoft must die and every one must do their duty to smash their monopoly. For their empire is built on sand and their own users have nothing but apathy for them. The only thing that props them up is their over engineered bloated crap thats designed to enforce vendor lock-in but with an increasing desire by governments and other agencies to use open standards, MS is effectively living on borrowed time - but on no account must we give them more time.

We must not allow MS to abuse FOSS to further their own interests and thats why Im also fully with Sun controlling OpenOffice so long as they stop OpenXML filters getting in.
Sunday, August 19th, 2007
4:32 pm
Same old Microsoft

I have been watching the Odf vs OpenXML drama with some trepidation and wondering where the catch was with microsoft's apparent support for open standards.

I simply dont have the time to read the monstrously verbose OpenXml spec so I'm very grateful someone else has done the hard work and exposed the patent bombshells, the flaws, the omissions and the whole semi-propropriety nature of it (undisclosed blobs). The article in question can be found here and everyone who cares about open standards should read it.

What is most worrisome is the fact that no one other than Mirosoft could ever implement it in full. This means that open source software would never be used by companies who are risk adverse for office docs (the same reason said companies will not use OpenOffice for their doc/xls files as it cannot guarantee to read or open them 100% even though it currently does an excellent job)

Of course Micrsosft has been exploiting risk adverse enterprises for ages by spreading patent FUD against Linux and open source as it seems to be the only effective startegy they have. (its sadly an approach that works far too often as well). Nothing has changed...

The injection of patents into practically all microsoft standards is also the prime reason to avoid them especially now as it seems that smoke and mirrors are being used to hide them at first glance in the hope of snaring the unwary. Its quite cunning yes but then a leopard cant change its spots can it? Sigh - nothing has changed...

I agree whole heartedly that open standards must be vendor neutral and be controlled by representable committees and must never be in the exclusive hands of a callous convicted monopolist. Remember the Halloween memos where MS laid out their strategy of hampering OSS by creating new standards that they could not adopt or use? It seems nothing has changed...

As with any corporation, if the people at the top are evil (or utterly ruthless, selfish, psychotic and power mad if you object to the word evil) then so is the corporation. Again nothing has changed...
Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
12:26 pm
Heavy Disk I/O and Gutsy/recent kernels

Upgraded to gutsy last night to check reported performance problems with tracker.

The difference in performance of tracker on Feisty and Gutsy is absolutely startling.

On Feisty tracker is very quick at indexing and does not slow down desktop responsiveness at all but Gutsy is the complete opposite and is barely usable (indexing appears to take forever and desktop pauses are all over the place - it totally sucks at disk I/O)

Its quite alarming cause I dont want tracker to be blamed for this. I checked trackerd with nice and ionice so theres no problem there

the good news is its not just tracker or gutsy that triggers this behaviour on recent kernels:

from http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=35200 :

"Same sort of issues here, any heavy disk io (ie. pacman) completely cripples desktop responsiveness.
Only noticed after upgrade to 2.6.22"

some workarounds posted here:


I need to get onto the gutsy kernel guys to fix this pronto!
Monday, August 6th, 2007
9:30 pm
Vala == Voila!

Another great technology called Vala is also getting the recognition it deserves.

I had been keeping a close eye on Vala since day one and to be honest not a lot of people were paying attention to this fantastic project. I was glad I met Juergbi at Guadec as I hoped to change that situation.

I nagged him to do a talk on Vala at Guadec and sure enough the word spread amongst the devs and now lots of them are digging it

I nagged him the other day to add Duck Typing to vala so Dbus method calls could be done like interface.method (just like python) and he has delivered (Duck Typing is also cool for doing Window.Widget instead of doing glade_xml_get_widget for UIs)

so pls check out Vala and if you find something is missing or want a cool feature goto #vala on gimpnet and nag Juergbi!

We desperately need stuff like Vala in our platform and as a way to rapidly create desktop apps (without the need of a big sucky VM!) and I have high hopes for it.

Go Vala and big thank you to Jurg!
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