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open source software

Bill Gates Says – We Disagree with GPL

Bill gates is spreading misinformation about GPL. From the article:

After one scientist asked if Gates would consider open source uses in health research, the man who built his $280 billion company on the power of intellectual property bristled.

"There's free software and then there’s open source," he suggested, noting that Microsoft gives away its software in developing countries. With open source software, on the other hand, "there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with."

Open source, he said, creates a license "so that nobody can ever improve the software," he claimed, bemoaning the squandered opportunity for jobs and business. (Yes, Linux fans, we're aware of how distorted this definition is.) He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: "I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them," he said, adding with a shrug: "That may seem radical."

=> Bill Gates on Pharmaceuticals: The System Isn't Working

A new study report - free open source software is costing vendors $60 billion per annum. According to Jim Johnson, Chairman, The Standish Group International, Boston, MA :

Open Source software is raising havoc throughout the software market. It is the ultimate in disruptive technology, and while to it is only 6% of estimated trillion dollars IT budgeted annually, it represents a real loss of $60 billion in annual revenues to software companies.

This is good news as you and me just saved $60 Billion. I'm now wondering how this revenue is calculated? Anyway, FOSS software is for all of us and it is a win win situation - screw the proprietary software ;)

What do you think?

Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend'

Red Hat and Novell decided not to challenge Microsoft on desktop PCs. However, Canonical Ltd is getting ready to release a new version of Ubuntu on Thursday. According to Mark Shuttleworth:

The public perception of open source software is changing fast. French police force was currently deploying 50,000 Ubuntu-powered machines, while Spanish education authorities were rolling out 500,000 desktops with the OS. Hardy Heron also has improved support for multimedia, including photo editing, music sharing and video playback. It's a favorite version of Linux both for specialists and one that specialists would recommend to a cousin, aunt or uncle who want to have a stable desktop internet experience. There are other versions of Linux that are better for a particular purpose - but Ubuntu strives to be a general platform that is secure and self-maintained.

Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend'

Hackontest is a 24 hour programming competition between various open source software projects. The event takes place at OpenExpo on September 24/25, 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland. The contest is sponsored by Google. From the contest page:

The participating teams may win cash prizes of USD 1000, 2500 and 5000. Next to fun and competition, the elected open source developers receive a free trip to Zurich, Switzerland, including accommodation and meals from September 23 - 26, 2008 up to USD 1000 each person.

The idea of the Hackontest event is three-fold:

  • First of all, hackers (=smart programmers) of open source projects meet physically during 24h and enhance their software with a certain feature. Thus their Free Software project gets improved in terms of code and the developers have a fun time meeting in one place and competing for some nice prizes.
  • Second, users of open source software get the opportunity to file features they've missed in their favorite applications and operating systems. Therefore, during the selection process everyone who registers may file feature requests and others may vote and comment on them.
  • And third, visitors of the Hackontest event get the chance to see the commitment and team work with which open source software is created. Like this, the public becomes more aware of the creative processes and the power of collaborative effort by international open source communities.

Hackontest web site (via ./)

Now Novell Says Linux Consumer Desktop Too Tough

Finally, both Red Hat and Novell is in total agreement - both of them thinks making money with Linux desktop is hard. According to Ron Hovsepian, CEO, Novell India Engineering:

The market for the desktop for the next three to five years is mainly enterprise-related.

As usual, I recommend Ubuntu Linux for both consumer Desktop and Laptop user:

  • Ubuntu will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates.
  • Ubuntu comes with full commercial support from Canonical and hundreds of companies around the world.
  • Ubuntu includes the very best translations and accessibility infrastructure that the free software community has to offer.
  • Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications; we encourage you to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.

Red hat's Open Source Assurance program is already used to safeguard customers developing and deploying open source solutions. Red hat now asking court to limit patents on software:

Open source software is one of the most dynamic, innovative sectors of the U.S. economy, but the U.S. patent system is a costly hindrance to open source innovation. We believe that although the patent system was created to foster innovation, it’s simply not an engine for innovation for open source. Software patents were barely recognized when open source began, and so the hope of obtaining a patent did not motivate the first developers. Those pioneers were generally opposed to software patents. The open, collaborative activity at the heart of open source is at odds with the patent system, which excludes the public from making, using or selling a patented invention. Open source developers seek to contribute code to the community – not to exclude others from using the code.

There is also Open Invention Network (OIN) backed by IBN, Red Hat, Novell, Sony and others. OIN is a company that acquires patents and offers them royalty free "to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications". On a related note, Microsoft has claimed that free software such as OpenOffice.org and the Linux kernel violate 235 Microsoft patents and said that it will seek license fees.

=> Read more : Red Hat Asks Federal Court To Limit Patents On Software

Open Source Will Quietly Take Over

According to Gartner, almost all businesses will use open source software:

Open-source promoters have welcomed the endorsement by what is seen as a conservative commentator, but predict the changes will go further than Gartner assumes.

"By 2012, more than 90 percent of enterprises will use open source in direct or embedded forms," predicts a Gartner report, The State of Open Source 2008, which sees a "stealth" impact for the technology in embedded form: "Users who reject open source for technical, legal or business reasons might find themselves unintentionally using open source despite their opposition."

=> Gartner: Open source will quietly take over