links for 2008-04-28

links for 2008-04-24

Ozzie talks about FLOSS and FLOSS advocates talk back

Lots of talking about Microsoft lately.’  As I expected, Ray Ozzie’s public appearances are increasing with declarations of love for the magic word interoperability and with a new, more open, attitude.’  I believe it’s true that “Microsoft fundamentally, as a whole, has changed dramatically as a result of open source,” as Ozzie said.

Roberto wrote a long post about Microsoft Open Source strategy. Having talked to him long enough, I know he sees the big potential for new Open Source firms to prosper on Microsoft ecosystem.’  I suspect he is right, given the fact that the *nix competitors have lost 15 years of evolution fighting each other instead of building a common (superior) platform. Only with GNU/Linux such common platform arrived, but it probably came a day late and a dollar short.

Contrary to Roberto, I think that Microsoft change is not sufficient yet for Free Software advocates like me to merrily lift the precautions. I can still hear Ballmer shouting threats and see him trying to twist the arms of the EU Commission (as Carlo remembers very well). I’m not confident yet that these moves represent a new strategy and they’re not merely tactics to penetrate the FLOSS market and break it from the inside (patent lawsuit?).’  If I were a developer I wouldn’t trust any promise not to sue by Microsoft, even if that promise uses the same (murky) words of IBM’s promises. I don’t care: Microsoft track records on Free Software is bad, bad, bad and worse. Microsoft must do better than IBM, it must be perfect (they can, if they want to).

links for 2008-04-17

Rainman, the day of the election

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This is how I’m dressed when it rains… well, it pours, for days like it happened last week. I hope that now winter is over and we will get only light spring showers. I can stand those, without having to wear the full swim suit 🙂

PS The picture was taken by my colleague Andrea in the school’s corridor.

PPS the pic was taken on Monday, the day of the election of the new government. It was raining. We have a saying in Italian about rain and government. Coincidence? 🙂 (Very rough translation: It rains, government thief).

links for 2008-04-14

Buy, sell, regret. A lesson from a good professor

My professor of International Economics, Fabio Sdogati, is quite a character: he has a very effective teaching style and I really like to go to his lessons. Last night’s lesson was about exchange rates policies. He was showing a graph to demonstrate how exchange rates follow clear political decisions. His theory is that, at least in the mid-long term, the monetary markets are governed by politics, not by market rules. Answering a question about when to (dis)invest in currency that is about to [de|ap]preciate against another, he gave a small piece of advice:

don’t even try to buy/sell at the peaks. The rule is: buy, sell, regret!

In his roman accent it sounded great. I love him 🙂

Iniziativa di Assoli: vota per il software libero!

Non ho mai seguito così poco come quest’anno le diatribe politiche italiche. Paradossalmente ne so più dei programmi di Obama, Clinton e McCain che di Veltroni, Berlusconi e compagnia cantante.

Segnalo comunque l’iniziativa dell’Associazione Software Libero per contare quanti elettori considerano favorevolmente l’impegno per il software libero nel momento di scegliere dove mettere la croce sulla scheda elettorale.

vota per il software libero! (banner)

voglio aderire all’iniziativa – vota per il software libero!

OOXML: free software is back to square one

We’re back to square one, 1 ISO standard on each side of the barricade since Microsoft managed to convince the ISO that its proprietary standard, OOXML’  deserves the approved stamp. For all the money Google and IBM have thrown trying to stop it, it seems they’ve lost this battle. But I’ve learned yesterday from a ISO member that there are still 60 days for any country to appeal the decision. Given the irregularities mentioned by many, this is not a remote possibility.

But anyway, I wish we would all move on and focus on two main actions for two main groups of people.’  Developers should focus to deliver good code to compete with Microsoft Office.’  Advocates and lobbyist should instead convince Microsoft customers and Microsoft execs directly to modify the Open Specification Promise in order to fix its shortcomings (and make it compatible with GPLv3).’  I think this will help free software (whose interests don’t necessarily coincide with those of IBM and Google) and I’m sure that there are people at Microsoft ready to listen.

New UI from Funambol to iPhone

Only real hackers consider improving what everybody else thinks is already optimal. At Funambol we like to do just that and we decided to improve the iPhone user interface:

Funambol, the company that is known for putting the “fun” back in the mobile business, today released a high contrast user interface for the widely used iPhone, making it more fun to use and more accessible to select customers.

Read the rest of the press release with the working screenshots on Funambol for iPhone.