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Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again
Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 01:05 AM EDT

The International Herald Tribune is reporting that Paris is considering switching to Linux. The report says that they will announce a decision this month. The switch, if it happens, would affect 15,000 government PCs and servers:

"Unilog, a French consulting company, was expected to submit a feasibility study on open-source deployment in Paris to the government on Tuesday, with the administration to make a decision soon after, people familiar with the study said. A Unilog spokeswoman said the company could not make any public comment about its work for the city of Paris.

"On the strength of an earlier Unilog study, Munich agreed in May to migrate its 14,000 workstations to Linux systems put together by Suse Linux, a German company that is now a subsidiary of Novell, the U.S. software company.

"In France, some government agencies have already started doling out contracts to a Paris-based vendor of Linux hardware and software, MandrakeSoft."

Microsoft is reportedly offering a 57% reduction in price to keep the French government as a customer, but offering lower prices might not work in this case, according to Philip Carnelley, software research director in the London office of Ovum, a technology consultancy, because in Europe, with regards especially to public-sector contracts, "ultimately, it is not an economic decision, it is a political one, and there is not much Microsoft can do about that other than try to be charming."

What are the odds of that?

Sadly for Microsoft, its reputation precedes it. Bill Gates gave a speech at the University of California recently, and while the interviewer, the Dean of the College of Engineering, fawned over him like a courtier before Louis the XIV, a student asked the following question:

"QUESTION: You mentioned earlier, Mr. Gates, that universities are a really important source of great innovators, and so I expect that you consider being able to recruit from that source of great innovators pretty important to you. (Laughter.) So I'd like to find out if I could have a show of hands in the audience, I'd like to find out how many people in this audience might have concerns about working for a company that's been found guilty of illegal business practices, that limits the choice that its customers have to choose a product they want to use and the type of media they want to watch, and that has also been found guilty by the Federal Trade Commission of misleading the public? . . . Do you think you might do better at recruiting students from universities if you improve the business practices of your company?"

Mr. Gates' answer was, "Sure." I got the impression from a remark by the Dean that the University apparently gets support from Microsoft for research projects, and then Microsoft gets the benefit of the research in some way, which may account for the deference. Money talks.

Except with Linux kernel guys, being asked to destroy the GPL. Really. Follow this thread, where Jeff V. Merkey or someone saying he is Jeff V. Merkey first bad mouths the GPL and then offers them $50,000 for a snapshot of the kernel, with permission to dump the GPL and slap a BSD license on it instead, and you'll see what I so love about Linux guys. One, Ingo Molnar, does some quick calculations and figures out how much Linux is actually worth:

"all the politics aside, the Linux 2.6 kernel, if developed from scratch as commercial software, takes at least this much effort under the default COCOMO model:

Total Physical Source Lines of Code (SLOC) = 4,287,449

Development Effort Estimate, Person-Years (Person-Months) = 1,302.68 (15,632.20) (Basic COCOMO model, Person-Months = 2.4 * (KSLOC**1.05))

Schedule Estimate, Years (Months) = 8.17 (98.10) (Basic COCOMO model, Months = 2.5 * (person-months**0.38))

Estimated Average Number of Developers (Effort/Schedule) = 159.35

Total Estimated Cost to Develop = $ 175,974,824

(average salary = $56,286/year, overhead = 2.40).

SLOCCount is Open Source Software/Free Software, licensed under the FSF GPL.

"Please credit this data as 'generated using David A. Wheeler's "SLOCCount".'
"and you want an unlimited license for $0.05m? What is this, the latest variant of the Nigerian/419 scam?"

And another puts it best: "I'd argue that the kernel is entirely priceless." Nobody was the least bit interested.

There is a Jeff Merkey listed on a new Canopy Group patent:

"US 6,795,895 B2
Jeffrey Vernon Merkey, Lindon, Utah (US); and Robert Timothy Wilcox, Albuquerque, N. Mex. (US)
Assigned to Canopy Group, Lindon, Utah (US)
Filed on Mar. 07, 2002, as Appl. No. 10/93,359.
Claims priority of provisional application 60/273601, filed on Mar. 07, 2001.

"A dual-axis RAID system includes a plurality of X-axis ordinal series of disks, configured to store parity data and a tape drive, and a Y-axis ordinal series of parity disks. The Y-axis series is smaller than the X-axis series, because the X-axis series contains an extra disk configured as a segment journal disk. The RAID system communicates with clients on a network a network via an SCI network interface."

I'm sure they have lovely plans for that. There is a little bit of water under the Merkey bridge, which you can read about here and here.

The Microsoft reputational issue is very much a factor in Europe, according to the Tribune, and particularly now, with the antitrust decision that recently went against the company. Sooner or later, you really do reap what you sow. Here's an interview with Larry Ellison of Oracle on Microsoft and innovation:

"One of the great disappointments in Microsoft is that they have all this money, and they've had this tremendous success selling Windows, selling Office...but just try to list the innovations from Microsoft.

"I'll take IBM over Microsoft. Although I think Microsoft does some things brilliantly. The way they destroyed Netscape was illegal but brilliant.

"Microsoft's policy has been the destruction of innovation. Netscape was the most innovative software company around, certainly during the 1990s. These were the people who really popularized the internet, through the outgrowth of the Mosaic browser. And Microsoft said the reward for innovation should be oblivion. . . .

"I call it the death of innovation. It's actually the theft of innovation. But that's too strong a word; it's too strong a word. It's more like 'Well, we'll just copy that.' [laughter]"

See what I mean? No respect.

Gates either totally misunderstands the GPL or he pretends to. Here is part of his answer to a question from the Dean of Engineering about open source and the GPL:

"Clearly Berkeley UNIX, the BSD distribution was a fantastic thing. It let a lot of computer science students understand operating systems, tinker around. It was an element that allowed Sun to get going and build its products, that had been a huge contribution.

"So a lot of software will have the source code available. There will be these different licensing models and I think this is one thing where researchers, universities, people have to think carefully. We tend to favor the distribution license that was used for BSD, which is a very non-coercive open license that allows you to modify it and make your modifications available, or you can actually modify it and create a version that you build a company around, hire people, pay taxes and there's this virtuous cycle that there's lots of free software that often comes out of the universities, sometimes that just generates more free software, sometimes it generates companies and jobs that then pay taxes and that money goes back to the university to keep this ecosystem going, and that ecosystem that the U.S. has is the envy of the world.

The GPL in our view should be used, which is the license that says you can't enhance it and create a commercial product. Our view is that it should be used very narrowly, and we think people should think twice. So if you have government funded research, it's ironic that then if it goes into that GPL you can't create a company that creates jobs that pays taxes. And so most of the countries outside the U.S. have stayed away from that because they want to get the ecosystem that we have.

"So over time in software we'll have free software and commercial software and the equilibrium between them will always shift as people see the support, the indemnification, the certain types of innovation."

The GPL is the license that "says you can't enhance it and create a commercial product"? Someone needs to tell Red Hat then, and Novell, and Mandrake, because that is exactly what they are doing -- making money on GPL'd software. Come on. It's the twenty-first century, the digital age, for heaven's sake. The internet makes FUD really, really hard to keep floating in the air. People may not know every detail of the GPL, but this much everybody knows by now: the GPL doesn't prevent commercial development of a product. I believe Red Hat pays taxes and pays employees, just like Microsoft does.

Oh, and Vienna is thinking about switching to Linux too, according to the International Herald Tribune, which also reports on Linux gains in Germany, Norway, and Denmark. And here's news of a deal between France and China involving Linux. Notice a trend? More details in this press release.

Finally, speaking of innovation, some iPod owners are using their iPods to broadcast their music from their cars over FM radio for a distance of about 4 car lengths, with a bumper sticker letting other motorists know the frequency so they can enjoy the music with them. No doubt someone will pass a law forbidding it shortly, with fines and jail time, but for now, does it not sound like fun? Here are some more innovative uses for the iPod that Duke University came up with. They gave all their freshmen an iPod this year and will be trying various educational projects with them. I love human creativity. I can't figure out why some keep trying to stamp it out whenever they see it pop up over the horizon. I know. I know. Money talks.


Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again | 278 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here Please
Authored by: entre on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 01:33 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

iPod broadcasting
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 01:39 AM EDT
And so, life imitates art again. Doctorow discusses something very similar in that book.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Posts here
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 01:43 AM EDT
Will follow with a bonafide clickable link...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:06 AM EDT
Ahhh.... how wonderful....

I'm not logged in because the RAID on my windows workstation just bellied up.

How I WISH I could look at the source code, fix it, pay someone to fix it, or
whatever. But I'm trapped in windowsland.

The trap is like this:

I've just returned from a convention I host, and my Windows XP CD was stolen,
along with my serial number folder. It appears someone just went and grabbed it
while my back was turned.

However, now that I have the problem of replacing a license, I also have the
problem of proving to M$ that I own a license.

Ahh the joy. Locked out of my machine, data to recover, faxes to send, phone
calls to make- just for one machine.

If only I could bill M$ for this.

Oh I know this is off topic. But there is no person hated more by me at 12:21am,
with a downed RAID, a deadline, and a headache than Mr. Bill Gates Himself.

"Sure"?? That was the answer? Just "Sure"?

Maybe my bottom is still stinging from the win-spanking I've just taken
considering my server farm, all running linux, has never had a software related
failure (really) and yet every 6 months I'm rebuilding my production machine.

I "Sure" love M$ products.

>> Moderate as needed. I'm angry.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ah, To Be A Wiseacre Student!
Authored by: hbo on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:07 AM EDT
That was priceless!

There was a show on Los Angeles TV in the late 60's called "Both Sides Now" that paired the (then left wing) Mort Sahl with George Putnam. George was the model for the pompous news buffoon on the Mary Tyler Moore show, to clue in a slightly later generation. For those who are still confused, picture Lesley Neilsen with dyed hair and the politics of Attila.

Anyhow, on the opening show, George threw it open to the audience, telling them "the name of the show is 'Both Sides Now', so it's your side now!" This brought an odd assortment of LA TV studio riff-raff to the mike, all pretty familiar from George's earlier shows on KTLA. (This was on KCOP.) Then a scruffy looking 19-or-20 year old got up and gave a maundering speech about how he'd grown up watching George on the tube, and how, the fact that they were on opposite sides of the generation gap notwithstanding, he'd always considered George to be a "Master Debater."

This was the first time I'd heard that term anywhere. For all I know, the guy had made up the sophmoric joke on the spot. But the effect on George Putnam was priceless. He bounced around saying "why thank you son .." and much else that was fulsome. Mort Sahl just repeated, slowly, "Master .. Debater?" And George slowly wound down as he realized he'd been had.

Looking back, it doesn't seem nearly as funny as it did at the time. And George seems like a figure of pathos, rather than a cartoon cut-out of an establishment buffoon. Still, these students say the darndest things! The guy in PJ's article seems to have had more courage, plus a lot sharper message for Mr. Bill G, than the erstwhile scruffy youth in an LA TV studio. We could have used him at the last two presidential debates. I'm sure he would have proved .. masterful.

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux for Sale
Authored by: maroberts on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:21 AM EDT
It's impossible anyway, as the prime developers do not hold the copyrights to
all the Linux code; the copyright is held by each individual contributor; they
would have to get every single contributor to the Linux kernal to agree to the
change in order to release a BSD'd Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The U.S. ecosystem
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:25 AM EDT
Why do some U.S. citizens keep thinking we europeans even want something like
the "U.S. ecosystem" (whatever that means)? Has any of these people
who say such things ever even spoken to a european citizen let alone done a poll
on it?

I personally don't consider corporate sponsored university research all that
good; it lessens the posibility for researchers to do the research that
corporations don't need. Even as we speak, research into certain types of
medication is not being done simply because there is no money for it,
pharmaceutical corporations won't sponsor it because it might interfere with
their profit margins on less effective drugs... ah, the joys of the "U.S.

And as for the blatent lie that europeans are largely keeping their hands off
GPL software; does the word "Munich" mean anything to Mr. Gates? Well,
perhaps "Paris" might? The whole world seems to be slowly moving
towards open source and Linux in particular.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Jeff Merkey
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:45 AM EDT
IIRC, Jeff Merkey is an old-time kernel developer, involved (maintaining?) at
one time something like NTFS. I remember him because at the time Al Viro posted
a VERY loud but legalese message, asking him to stand up and certify that his
code was in fact original, and not taken from a third-party source.

I think that already at the time there was some misunderstanding on JVM's part
as to how the GPL worked ...

Details must be in an LKML thread somewhere ~1999-2001 ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bill Gates in Berkeley????
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 03:29 AM EDT
Unbelievable!! I wonder who ever *admitted* (not to mention *invited*) this
butthead to Berkeley. I think, there got to be some sort of cut off, so every
single moron couldn't go anywhere and talk any trash he wants.

Isn't that terrible that Berkeley gets bought and paid, and that their dean
receives bribes from M$? Yeah, I know, some of you wouldn't like this word
"bribes" in this context, but how else would you call it, given that
the technologies that come out of this are strictly proprietary and benefit
nobody else but Microsoft?

Berkeley is a state university. State university developing proprietary
technologies! Hah! This isn't right, is it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mr Gates can't do it without help
Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 04:55 AM EDT
Mr Gates says that you can't take GPL'd software and create a commercial product around it.
What Mr Gates means is that he can't take a GPL'd product and make it a proprietary product owned by his company.

Check out Microsofts history of developing operating systems and you will understand why that is a problem for Bill:
- MS-DOS was aquired from 'Seattle Computer Products'
- Windows was developed under a derivate license from Apple
- Windows NT/2000/XP is based on a specification from IBM (the original OS/2 version 3.0 specification), co-developed with IBM, then re-named to "Windows NT" after a fallout with IBM in 1990.

Considering this lack of innovation on Microsoft's behalf, is it supprising that they try to patent methods rather than inventions?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Paris matters
Authored by: Groo on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 05:34 AM EDT
There are two words to describe what is happening to MS:
Credible Alternative
Think about that, until recently, MS could screw you up down and sideways, and
there was nothing you could do. If you were corporate IT, you sat back and
seethed, there was nothing else. The myriad of problems piled up because there
was no reason for them to have to care.

Recently, that has begun changing, there is now a credible alternative to them
in most areas, and prople are fleeing in droves. With each public defection, the
tide gets that much harder to stem, people see it CAN be done, and it works, so
they try. Usually, they like what they see, but not always. There are
excepition, holdouts, and companies where Windows works better and is cheaper.

That said, the snowball is rolling down the hill getting bigger each second. MS
was not able to stop it when it got started, and there is no way to do so now,
it is over. It will take years, and may slow down if the MS cultural 'attitude'
changes, quickly, and they start honestly playing nice. I don't give that good
odds personally, but it could happen. Even then, they will have to overcome the
built up emnity and distrust. That takes time, and time is something MS does not
have right now.

I saw this trend over a year ago, and with an unworthy self-link, wrote this:
It sums up what I was feeling then, and what I feel now, and mirrors a lot of
what PJ is saying.

Linux is now an established player, and the lag between people realizing that
and the wins is now at the point where lay-people can see it. The next two years
will be very interesting, from all I hear, people that move like what they get.

Once the footholds are established, the ecosystem comes with it. Drivers, tech
support and custom software soon follow, and it is quite visible already if you
look for it.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux efforts --- 1300 Man Years.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 06:51 AM EDT
So it takes 1300 Man years to develop the code, but SCO says that it will take
25000 man years to certify that it is free from infringing code. Something
doesn't add up. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why is it that folks from Utah or just Canopy think only of forking Linux? Ransom Love did too!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 07:09 AM EDT
Starting with Caldera (Ransom Love's vision for why they purchased the stuff
from oldSCO... )

The Trade Show Floor: Ransom Love's Secret Master Plan for Linux and UNIX,
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2000 by Don Marti
[begin quote]
"Linux is being pulled across the spectrum of IT solutions, and a single
kernel won't scale," Ransom says. The considerations that are important to
embedded Linux, to the small server market Linux rules now, and to the midrange
and high-end server markets are different. As Linux "forks" —
hopefully through a proliferation of compile-time options, not a real fork,
Ransom hastens to add — the high-end parts will end up participating in some
sort of technology-sharing arrangement with UnixWare.

So, Linux, UnixWare, Openserver, Monterey (or whatever they're calling it now) —
what is the secret master plan? I draw a chart — OSes down the left, years
across the top, fill in "Linux 2.4" in 2001 with a question mark, and
ask Ransom to fill in the rest. Arrows sprout from Linux and spread like fungus
tendrils into the "UnixWare" and "Monterey" areas — that's
the compatibility thing — and a big arrow moves forward into the future along
the UnixWare/Linux dividing line. This represents the spawn of Linux and
UnixWare, an über-OS with a yet-to-be-determined licensing policy. Ransom says
you'll be able to see the source code, but parts will be open source, and parts
will be "viewable source" — you'll be able to read it, but not modify
and redistribute it.

A dangerous course indeed, in this market. Caldera can't afford to keep UnixWare
alive as a proprietary product if the mainstream Linux kernel blows past it in
performance and features. "Our model is to innovate, give back, and
innovate again," Ransom says. So, if current industry trends are any guide,
Caldera will be making a lot more of UnixWare a lot more open than they're

[end quote]

What the heck is in the water in Utah? Is this some sort of bug that one gets
by working this way in that state (or state of mind). I hope that Novell does
not get it as when they win the copyright battle vs Caldera/SCO... they will
have in their pocket many registered copyrighted files THAT THEY NEVER HAD

I think they (Novell) are still looking for a way around the BSDI settlement and
are thinking that no one at BSDI is around anymore to fight them. This newSCO
case has them registering copyrights that they never had a mind to before (with
the excuse that they need to do so to block Caldera/newSCO's registration of
such files). Ouch. Beware of TROJAN HORSES.... and any that might have been
built in Utah.

If Novell management changes then will these Unix copyrights that they
registered... will Novell, after they win against Caldera/newSCO, then do the
right thing and turn said copyrights over to FSF or to a neutral party so that
they might never be used vs Linux again? Not ever? Is Novell now that kind of
company that will do the right thing? Or are they a fork minded Utah company as
well (down deep in there unpublished dreams at night). Beware of the idea of a
Trojan Horse, they still live today in the minds of many.

Some just don't like the GPL... and they are trying hard to get around it no
matter what!

And Bill Gates will fund anyone who has a crazy idea of any kind for any method
to attack Linux from any angle (even from the inside). It is the old divide and
conquor tactic... with the real threat of the Trojan Horse thrown in for good

[ Reply to This | # ]

How Netscape got on top, then fell off
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 07:43 AM EDT
There were two things that put Netscape on top of the heap:

1. It was better than Mosaic
2. It was FREE.

Yes, Free. Any and Everyone could easily download the latest builds for personal
use without charge.

Internet Explorer, basicly a badge-engineered Mosaic, was included with Windows
for a looong time, yet people happily kept downloading Netscape because it was
better, and free. When did IE jump to the foreground? Well, Netscape decided to
try charging for "enhanced" versions in a pretty box, stopped
innovating the product itself, and suddenly Microsoft found market share

1. It was better than Netscape
2. It was FREE!

Now the cycle is repeating again. MS has stopped innovating IE, and to get any
new features (when/if they ever come) you will need to "pay" for them
by upgrading Windows. Suddenly, in comes Firefox (itself a descendent of
Netscape) grabbing huge amounts of market share because (you guessed it):

1. It is better than IE
2. It is FREE!

(anyone else notice a pattern here...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again
Authored by: Steve Martin on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 08:03 AM EDT

So if you have government funded research, it's ironic that then if it goes into that GPL you can't create a company that creates jobs that pays taxes.

Well, I guess Mr. Gates would rather that research paid for by my (and others') tax dollars was given to him to create a proprietary product that he could then sell back to me. In other words, a government-subsidized software business is what he wants. Puh-leese.

"When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports Night"

[ Reply to This | # ]

FM transmitting devices
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 08:13 AM EDT

PJ said:

Finally, speaking of innovation, some iPod owners are using their iPods to broadcast their music from their cars over FM radio for a distance of about 4 car lengths, with a bumper sticker letting other motorists know the frequency so they can enjoy the music with them. No doubt someone will pass a law forbidding it shortly, with fines and jail time, but for now, does it not sound like fun?

Broadcasting in this manner can hardly be called "innovative." See, for example, U.S. Patent No. 4,541,119 entitled, "Portable broadcast band transmitting system." The abstract reads as follows:

A portable advertising sign is positioned in proximity to a street and includes a message board. A low power transmitter is physically secured to the sign and generates a modulated RF output signal at a predetermined frequency within the broadcast band. An antenna colocated with the sign is coupled to the transmitter and radiates the transmitter output signal. A cassette tape player is positioned in a secure area physically spaced apart from the sign by a substantial distance and includes a colocated power supply for supplying a DC voltage. A cable conveys the audio output signal from the tape player and the DC voltage from the power supply to the transmitter. The sign message board displays the operating frequency of the transmitter to vehicles passing by the sign.

Furthermore, many of the first commercial broadcast stations were portable stations. See, for example, KGFO, Los Angeles and many other stations at 1470 KHz in the list of broadcast stations on the air in the year 1927 at and the article entitled "When Radio Stations Were Portable" by Donna Halper at .

Moreover, the transmission of unlicensed broadcasts on the FM band has long been authorized, provided the power is low enough. And a transmission distance of 4 car lengths could very well be within the limits set by 47 C.F.R. 15.239(a)-(c), "Operation in the band 88-108 MHz," particularly if a commercially built (and hence, FCC certified) low power transmitter is used:

(a) Emissions from the intentional radiator shall be confined within a band 200 kHz wide centered on the operating frequency. The 200 kHz band shall lie wholly within the frequency range of 88-108 MHz.

(b) The field strength of any emissions within the permitted 200 kHz band shall not exceed 250 microvolts/meter at 3 meters. The emission limit in this paragraph is based on measurement instrumentation employing anaverage detector. The provisions in Sec. 15.35 for limiting peak emissions apply.

(c) The field strength of any emissions radiated on any frequency outside of the specified 200 kHz band shall not exceed the general radiated emission limits in Sec. 15.209.

As far as I am concerned, the upshot is that, if broadcasting music using an IPod were really innovative, the comment about someone wanting to make it illegal would be easy to understand as sarcasm, and your point would be easy to understand and appreciate. If someone really wanted to make it illegal, the comment about it being innovative would be easy to understand as sarcasm, and again, your point would be easy to understand and appreciate. But with neither being the case, I am confused as to exactly what point you are trying to make, and would appreciate a further explanation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

French provincialism?
Authored by: RealProgrammer on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 08:14 AM EDT
"In France, some government agencies have already started doling out
contracts to a Paris-based vendor of Linux hardware and software,

I wonder if there is any anti-American sentiment there. Oh well. If Microsoft
is America's face to Europe, we need a quick makeover.

(I'm not a lawyer, but I know right from wrong)

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO lost another customer...
Authored by: Jadeclaw on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:00 AM EDT

According to NewsForge, Rouse's Supermarkets have switched their cash register system to a Linux based server - thin client system in all of their stores.

The last paragraph is especially interesting, as it shows where Microsoft will get real problems in the future...

The report is here


[ Reply to This | # ]

Paris? That proves it...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:02 AM EDT
The GPL <b>is</b> un-Amaerican!

But seriously folks, what is Merkey's bug? besides the GPL that is...

He's got BSD. If he needs something in Linux, that isn't in BSD, well he can
code his own self. Or pay someone else to do it for him.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Dual axis RAID systems
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:03 AM EDT
The system of a two-dimensional array with parity information around the edges describes something I wrote in 1980, for a company named Cogito. This was not a RAID system, but an optical mark recognition (OMR) system. If there was one error in the array, it would show up in one row and one column, so it would be possible to get the exact position. I spent about two months on the entire project, and two or three days on that part of it. And now I realize that I had millions, maybe billions, of dollars within my grasp.

At the time Cogito was a subsidiary of Canada Systems Group of Mississauga, Ontario. It later got sold to Petrodata of Princeton NJ. The last time I was in contact with them was 1984, when they told me it worked very well.

On another subject. Gates makes a big deal about the taxes Microsoft pays. For another side of the story, see thi s.

Tom Mathews

[ Reply to This | # ]

Slightly OT
Authored by: drh on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:07 AM EDT
Provided places like Paris are not using Linux as a club to beat down Microsoft,
these are good wins.

But my question is where are Sun and Apple? Are they not bidding, were they not
offered to tender, why do they not appear as competition?

Not trolling, just really curious why these two companies do not seem to be
pursuing contracts.

Just another day...

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  • Slightly OT - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 07:10 PM EDT
Divide and Conquer
Authored by: Dale on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:11 AM EDT
"We tend to favor the distribution license that was used for BSD, which is
a very non-coercive open license that allows you to modify it and make your
modifications available, or you can actually modify it and create a version that
you build a company around,[clip]"

Listen to what Bill is saying. He would rather that companies be able to take
an image of the kernel source, modify it, and sell it as their own, not
contributing their modifications to the community. Sound familiar? What do you
get after 10 years of this? A bunch of competing products, all claiming to be
UNIX, none of which are truly compatible, and all the associated squabbling that
goes with it. Who wins then? Microsoft, of course.

The way to keep Linux moving forward coherently is just how it is currently
modelled. One kernel.

Prospectus is Latin for "Close your eyes and open your mouth"
-- Dogbert

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MS and BSD license
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:13 AM EDT
I'm a little bit curios, since Mr. Gates says they, at MS
I assume, prefer the BSD license. Where can I find MS code
released under the BSD? Or is it that they only prefer
others to release code using BDS license so they can
legally take it?

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Govt funded research and the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:19 AM EDT
I think the most important comment in there is where Gates says we shouldn't
have software from govt funded research coming out GPL'd. PJ points out that
nobody who understands the issues would think this is good policy -- but I can
just picture this line being pitched to Congress and the White House. They
don't have a great track record of understanding technical stuff, and good
policy is rarely at the top of their agenda. And the arguments Gates raises,
while ludicrous to techies, are just the kind that would make sense to the
Capitol Hill types. I think we're getting a preview of Microsoft's next
lobbying campaign, to get a law barring such software from being GPL'd. And
it's *not* impossible that Microsoft could succeed.

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OT - a quick poll
Authored by: N. on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 09:24 AM EDT
Just so I can get a feel about how people feel about open and closed source,
which of the following applies to you:

A) Everything released should be open and free, nothing should be closed.

B) Almost everything should be open, although some closed stuff is OK.

C) All new stuff should be open, older stuff could be closed if not opened up.

D) Private companies which release just closed products are "bad".

E) Private companies which pick and choose which product is released open and
which product gets released closed are "bad".

F) Private companies who embrace open software whilst also strongly competing
against other open software with their own closed software are "bad".

G) Any other points you want to make...

Just trying to judge whereabouts on the barometer between pure F/OSS and pure
closed software everyone is.

(Recent convert to Linux)

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Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 12:25 PM EDT
Paris uses Windows? With their fussy individuality and exceptional aesthetic
sense, I would have thought they all used Macs.

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  • Paris - Authored by: Rudisaurus on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 03:10 PM EDT
Jeff Merkey
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 02:46 PM EDT
Jeff's thinking bleeds through his writing:
[...]the folks who were more interested in being smart rather than being right would get the $$$. That's easy.
This mindset -- or, perhaps better, amorality -- is, I think, one of the biggest problems we'll eventually have to face down and eradicate in our society. I don't see much of a future for our kids, otherwise.


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From LKML he's a bit of a nut case
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 04:17 PM EDT
Jeff's been on LKML for a long time, and he's a bit of a nut. Harmless but a

I think the story was that he was involved with some lawsuit with Novell. Also
when April fools came around someone wrote a joke email from Linus about how RMS
was going to be in charge of the kernel and Jeff bought it completely. The
other thing that I recall about him is that after Sept 11th he went out and had
some peyote to honor the people who had passed away.

I saw the recent thread on LKML and I chuckled about it, but that's it.

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Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 05:23 PM EDT
Personally I prefer Paris Hilton rather than Paris Linux ;-)

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Microsoft, Distroyer of Innovation
Authored by: harrison on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 06:05 PM EDT
There are other more insiduous methods of killing
innovation. I volunteer, in a non-computer related basis,
for a local Community College (Iowa Western.) When I
started using GPL software a year ago, I was amazed at how
well developed and user friendly it was! I was thinking
of offering my services to set up a few Linux and BSD
desktop computers on some of the college's older machines
so students could have the oportunity just to experiment
with them. A few modest inquiries revealed that the
College signed an exclusive contract with Microsoft. The
terms of the contract require that all computers on campus
must run Microsoft software on Microsoft platforms. It
incudes, all servers, office, and educational applications
with no exceptions.

Sad, but but it makes me wonder how many other post
secondary institutes of "higher" education have put a
knifeblade in the heart of this topic matter? Granted
small schools like this don't necessarily generate the
great computer innovators of the year, but they do
generate those ignorant store clerks who repeatedly
state,"You don't want to use Linux! It's way too hard and
you will never find support for it!"

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Another anti-trust violation by Microsoft?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 06:43 PM EDT
>>Microsoft is reportedly offering a 57% reduction in
price to keep the French government as a customer.<<

This price fixing scheme - dropping prices to prevent
competitors from winning contracts and simultaneously
fixing prices at higher levels when there is no
competitor, is surely a price fixing scheme which is as
blatent an anti-trust violation as they come. The EU
should be investigating this as well as other Microsoft
price fixing deals with the UK national and local

Even if it saves the government money, I do not believe
any government body should be colluding with Microsoft to
commit anti-trust crimes at the expense of the public and
the private sector. Microsoft is in effect bribing the
government to put competitors out of business, and then
recovering the bribes by overcharging the public and the
private sector. The government is in effect collaborating
with Microsoft to rob the public, in return for a share of
the loot and assisting Microsoft to illegally put it's
competitors out of business.

If discounts of 57% are offered to government,then
Microsoft should be required to offer the same discounts
to everybodyelse as well. Anything else is a price-fixing

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Ah, To Be in Paris & a Mr. Merkey Shows Up Again
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 07:02 PM EDT
What an idiot - he doesn't even know they already HAVE the site? Maybe, just
like the rest of the world, he realizes it isn't worth reading and just choses
to ignore it.

Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous with no ability. —
George Bernard Shaw

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Merkey by name...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12 2004 @ 07:17 PM EDT
...murky by nature. Sorry, couldn't resist the bad pun !

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Bill Gates...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 13 2004 @ 12:33 PM EDT
chooses not to acknowledge that his preditory flavor of ecosystem cost jobs (and
taxes) from companies that he *illegally* put out of business. There are many
arguments listed here on Groklaw that detail how such actions limit innovation
and progress, so I won't comment other than to agree. Secondly, Mr. Gates fails
to state that money saved by using a *real* OS that is cheaper than his
"invite the Internet in"ware then is spent on other useful things.
Thinkg like higher pay for employees, some form of R&D, a new big-screen
plasma TV, or just a somewhat fatter bank account. His real complaint is that
he is being deprived of his *rightful* income and power.

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A really stupid comment here
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 22 2004 @ 03:13 AM EDT
Gates either totally misunderstands the GPL or he pretends to.

I'm sorry if my bluntness offends, but Gates is an extremely clever man who certainly understands the GPL. Yes, he's unscrupulous, yes he has the ethics of a mugger, yes he's a threat to the economy and our freedom; call him "evil" and I for one won't quibble. But we will never beat him by underestimating him. Never assume that what Gates says reflects what he thinks. He will say whatever is likely to further his aims.

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