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November 2009

Crazy Google Kids at it Again with Chrome OS

Google kicked off the launch of its Chromium OS project today with a presentation on Chrome OS. The first thing you’ll notice is that the name of Google’s consumer product will be Chrome OS, while the open source project is named Chromium OS. My guess: Google will bless the usage of the Chrome OS name by granting trademark rights to those who comply with Google’s standards. Google didn’t say that, but that’s what I would do.The next thing I noticed is that Chrome OS will be completely “cloud-based”. As in, no local data. As in, all web apps all the time. As in, it’s only useful to the extent that there’s an internet connection. This will likely prove to be a Google Rohrschach test. Those already predisposed to disliking anything Google does will find this horrifying. Those who think Google is the bee’s knees will conclude that it’s not completely evil and, indeed, is the next logical evolution of desktops-in-the-cloud technology.

in reference to: Crazy Google Kids at it Again with Chrome OS (view on Google Sidewiki)

10 Years of

It’s often difficult to notice when you’re in the midst of making history. In the summer and fall of 1999, I spent some time working next door to four noisy, Mountain Dew-swilling misfits working on a renegade project within VA Linux Systems. Little did I know that their efforts would become known as the world’s largest open source development site.I refer, of course, to, which launched on November 17, 1999. Most people think of these days as another huge web site with lots of ads, but very few understand its humble beginnings or how challenging it was to even launch the darn thing without the powers-that-be at VA killing it off in a fit of well-intentioned hari kiri. The history and beginnings of can teach executives and managers today the value of trying crazy things that might (and probably will) fail; of letting your young guns run wild with imagination; and not squashing innovation within your company. Today is about, the site that was before its time and how it came to be.

In reference to: 10 Years of (view on Google Sidewiki)

OStatic: Is the Symbian Foundation DOA?

When Nokia announced that it was launching the Symbian Foundation to great fanfare, it had within its grasp that rarest of opportunities to move swiftly and become the dominant open source mobile platform. Alas, just one and a half years later, they have seemingly ceded that position to Android. Instead of recognizing the threat from Android and making strategic changes to counter, they instead criticized Google’s closed-door development of Android before releasing a line of code themselves. When criticizing competitors, it helps to have your own house in order first.

in reference to: Is the Symbian Foundation DOA? (view on Google Sidewiki)

OStatic: Thoughts on the Koala

It’s been a few days since Ubuntu 9.10, aka the Karmic Koala, was unleashed on the world. I wanted to post a general review after having used the special K since it went RC in late September and early October. In general, I’ve been very impressed, especially in comparison to another, recently released, operating system. This mini review will focus on using Ubuntu as a desktop system. When I drop it onto my Linode server, I’ll provide commentary on server usage as well.Read the full article on

in reference to: Thoughts on the Koala (view on Google Sidewiki)

OStatic: Cable Modem Hacker Indicted on Federal Charges

In a case reminiscent of the DVD hacking cases from the early 2000’s, Oregon cable modem hacker and author of “Hacking the Cable Modem” has been charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting wire fraud. This is another sad commentary on a criminal justice system that prosecutes the toolmaker without noting the legitimate uses of hardware hacking and modding.

The art of taking an existing product and modifying it in ways never intended by the original manufacturer has been a core tenet of the open source and free culture movements from the beginning. It is long past time for more sanity when considering these issues and crafting public policy.

Read the rest at

OStatic: Open Source is More Than a License

Has the terminology finally evolved in the debate over “who’s open source?” It would seem so. After years of haggling over the essence of open source, free software or other monikers, Simon Phipps gets right to the point in “A Remarkable Reversal” – his critique of Richard Stallman’s joint letter to the EC regarding Oracle and MySQL.For the first time, there seems to be a growing concensus that an OSI-compliant license alone is not enough to define one’s position on the openness spectrum.

in reference to: Open Source: More than a License (view on Google Sidewiki)

On OStatic: Subversion Joins the ASF

The Subversion corporation and project is joining the Apache Software Foundation. To mark the announcement, representatives from the Apache Software Foundation, the Subversion Project and CollabNet held a joint press conference at the downtown Oakland Marriott in a cozy, if poorly ventilated, hotel conference room. Read on for more details, as well as news about Git repositories and comparing the ASF to the new Codeplex Foundation.Read the full article at

The Wages of Fear – My Entry in the WaPo Pundit Contest

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a mosque. I was about 12 or 13 years old and my father was driving around with me and my uncle in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I can’t remember where we were going or why, but that funny-looking building eventually became my sole surviving memory from that day. I can still hear my dad saying, somewhat derisively, “Oh, and there’s the mosque.”

It did not compute, that funny, colorful building in marked contrast to the rest of the landscape. “What’s a mosque?” I asked. I don’t recall exactly how my father answered, but the lasting memories of that day tell me that not only did I understand that it was visually different, but that it somehow clashed philosophically with everything I had learned until then. At that time, my father was a Southern Baptist minister, and the world was clearly divided into two groups: born-again Christians and then everyone else, with everyone else consisting of witches and devil worshipers. In our world, not only were they non-Christians, but they were actually “against God” and, by extension, against Christians.

That was the first time I was ever confronted with the Other, ie. those against our values. I remember quite clearly thinking “Why are they here?” As in, why don’t they go back to their own people and country – some place where they wouldn’t torment those of us perfectly content to live in the world we had spent so many generations constructing.

Since then, I’ve had many opportunities to confront the Other and to get to know the Other. I’ve read much in the news about tea parties, birthers, town hall crashers, and many more who have been described at various turns as racists, crazies, wingnuts, and lobotomized dittoheads. Except for a few fringe groups who do meet those criteria, the sum of the rest of those who sympathize with these fringe elements are afraid of the Other. In their lifetimes they have witnessed demographic shifts that have brought the Other “intruding” into their daily lives. And in Barack Hussein Obama, they see a living manifestation of “The Other.”

Hell, he’s so Other, he’s the Other’s other: born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia, and had a Muslim stepfather. This otherness drives the fringe stark-raving mad. This man, who so clearly is out of step with our vision of America, how dare he inhabit our throne? You can hear them ask, “Why is he here?”

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