Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Spending time in the iPod cult 

Through some luck, I ended up with a free used iPod. I'm playing with it using my iMac and iTunes to get the "real" experience. After a while, I'll try it with my Linux machine and compare. It is a version 4, so iPodLinux doesn't fully support it yet, but as soon as it does, I'll install Linux on the iPod itself. I've always felt fairly ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, but I'm very late in the game with this whole iPod craze.

I'll have to see if the slick engineering makes it a better option than my Creative MuVo or my iRiver. I haven't used the FM tuners and voice recording very much, but the option is nice. Also, the MuVo and iRiver are USB Mass Storage devices, so no special software or cables are needed to transfer music.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Value of Newbies 

Is there any value to "newbies" in the open source development model? New users are often treated with disdain. As an open source project becomes more popular, the number of clueless users seems to grow to the point where they can overwhelm the newsgroups with basic questions are already answered in the basic documentation. Should projects strive to make things easy for the novice, or should developers focus on themselves? In traditional software, users create revenue when they purchase a product. Open Source software is usually distributed for free, and few users contribute anything back to the project.

Or do they?

I would argue that more users, even novice users, provide a benefit to open source projects. Users expose bugs by installing software on different systems, although getting good bug reports can be a challenge. Projects benefit from a network effect, and popularity can help lure more developers. New users can become the informal technical support for projects, although much bad advice is given by barely experienced users.

Perhaps a few developers can work together on a project and exclude anyone who does not contribute, but I think the project would be limiting itself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Accessibility issues as a weapon 

Interesting discussion from Peter Korn's Weblog regarding the move to the Open Document Format in Massachusetts.

"However, given Microsoft's history in Massachusetts around accessibility, it is especially disappointing that they would try to use accessibility concerns to try to kill Massachusetts move to ODF. This is all the more galling because (a) most of the achievements in Windows accessibility come from the actions of 3rd party assistive technology vendors rather than from Microsoft's efforts, and (b) Microsoft could simply support ODF in MS-Office 12 and ensure that accessibility concerns were addressed that way. If Microsoft truly cared about the needs of their customers and the needs of people with disabilities - rather than trying to use them as a corporate weapon - that is what they would do."

Go get 'em, tiger!

Monday, November 07, 2005

People forget about the license issues 

Why choose open source software? Freedom. How many times do you have to get burned by a license to learn? How many times do you have to discover some problem that is fixed in the next version, and then have to pay for the next version just for a bug fix? How many times will the license be changed to extract more money out of you, or features removed and placed in the more expensive version?

Friday, November 04, 2005

OpenBSD 3.8 Coolness 

OpenBSD 3.8 is out. I have been playing with this free clone of Unix for a few years, and recently have started using it in production. I really like the focus on security and simplicity. Upgrades and updates are still a little more complicated than I would like, but I'm sure it will improve over time.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?