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Articles by Serdar Yegulalp
posted in August 2008
How to react to the news that an earlier flaw in Debian's random-number generator has been used to fuel an honest-to-Linus exploit, especially after yesterday's post? Welcome to the tip of the iceberg.
If there's any one thing you hear said consistently about open source, it's the security benefits. My take: given how much we depend on software, we need to stop assuming open source = secure, and take steps to make sure that happens. Here's one idea how.
The Linux Foundation sees no reason to sit still. This October in New York City, right on my doorstep practically, they're hosting the End User Collaboration Summit, a way to "give end users the opportunity to learn about upcoming developments in Linux and ensure they are maximizing their investment." Count me in.
Over at Groklaw.net, there's an interview with Richard Hulse of Radio New Zealand, talking about his decision to begin offering some of that station's Internet-based audio in the nonproprietary Ogg Vorbis format. It's a veritable case study in both the etiquette and ethics of adopting open standards.
It's never nice to know that you've been violating the GPL in some form. Far better, instead, to know how to not violate the GPL in the first place -- which is the premise behind the Software Freedom Law Center's new guide to same, "A Practical Guide to GPL Compliance".
It's high time for another roundup of open source software you can use, the close-of-August-2008 version. This time around: chatting, publishing, and content management.
Much to the chagrin of some, Microsoft continues to snap up certificates from Novell that can be redeemed for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server support. So what's the source of the consternation? Is it the mere fact that Novell is "colluding" with Microsoft?
Now that Canonical has added its name to the roll call of companies on board with the Linux Foundation, a question comes to mind: Is the foundation becoming the thing that "separates the men from the boys" in the Linux world? It may well be, and that wouldn't be bad news.
The other week, the open source community enthusiastically welcomed a court ruling that set a strong precedence for open source licensing. Not everyone was enthusiastic, though. Among the cautionary dissenters is Michael P. Bennett, partner, Wildman Harrold (Chicago). To Michael, it's a two-edged sword that can harm as much as it can help.
How often do you hear the old canard that someone's done a great job of talking about a problem but doesn't have a solution? I hate that, too. Matthew Paul Thomas wrote an article about why free software often has lousy usability -- and what to do about it.
One thing I didn't talk much about in my recent feature article about the future of Linux was whether consumers will be paying for Linux apps in four years. Truth is, I don't think most of them will -- if even any at all.
Yesterday the open source world got handed a major victory in the courts -- or, rather, given another brick for its growing wall of legal defense. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the use of content under a properly worded open license is still protected by copyright law.
Contributing code to the Linux kernel probably seems about as easy as, say, reading the entire Buddhist canon in its original Pali. Now there's a how-to guide, written in plain English, about how exactly to go about being a "kernel guy."
My friend has a PC running XP -- old, but not so old that he can't watch DVDs on it, something he does pretty regularly. He uses the FOSS application VLC to watch DVDs and typically has no trouble with it. That is, until he tried to play Shoot 'Em Up. No dice.
Our open source expert foresees the future of Linux: By 2012 the OS will have matured into three basic usage models. Web-based apps rule, virtualization is a breeze, and command-line hacking for basic system configuration is a thing of the past.
Beta-testing is an inherently messy business, made all the messier if you have to install a beta on a production system. With a new beta of OpenOffice.org 3 in the wild, I wanted to dive in and try it, and found a nearly perfect way to do that without much effort.
Writing a Linux app that works on multiple breeds of Linux typically hasn't been a snap. It's about time something was done, and now there's a tool to address that issue: the Linux Foundation's AppChecker.
I read Bob Sutor's words about an impending implosion in both open source licenses and standards-setting bodies, and found myself nodding: It's not just that there are "too many open source licenses," but that the consequences for blithely creating new ones are finally becoming concrete.
So who's buying licenses for open source applications? Enterprises, from the look of it -- which would explain why most of the for-pay editions of FOSS applications are branded as the "enterprise" edition. But there's more.
How free does Linux need to be? As free as possible, or so goes the philosophy behind a number of Linux distributions that strip out everything that isn't wholly untethered by IP restrictions.
Microsoft's annual 10-K filing with the SEC has a few lines in it about open source as a competitor that has raised more than a few eyebrows. I'm scarcely surprised, especially since it highlights Microsoft's schizoid behavior over open source.
Is any attempt to standardize Linux akin to herding cats, especially given the proliferation of distributions and packages? Jim Zemlin doesn't think so, and has been trying to do something about it via the Linux Standards Base.