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free software

An article that has recently been published by the Fortune magazine and through called "Microsoft takes on the free world" is one I would regard as historic. In three pages it clearly and honestly describes what is happening between Microsoft and the Free Software movement revealing certain points which are rarely seen in the mainstream media. After reading the article one can't be too confident that Microsoft will succeed, which inspires confidence to the opposite; that the Free Software revolution is imminent.

"The Linux community also has to get past the belief that Linux is mostly an alternative to other OSes. The Windows vs. Mac choice is between two silos that both do their best to lock customers in and maximize the dependencies of developers on proprietary platform SDKs and the like. Linux is not an alternative to any platform. It is an alterative to platforms themselves. It is the path to an open marketplace, not just another silo.

There's a great series of fake ads that Novell has put together recently, each a parody of the Apple ads where two guys represent a PC and a Mac. In these ads, Linux shows up in the form of a smart and attractive young woman. It's a brilliant twist away from the usual penguin representation. But it still makes the mistake of portraying Linux just as an alternative to other operating systems. It still lets Microsoft and Apple set conceptual limits for what you can do with a PC." -- Read more | Digg it

Some more good news come from Dell. It appears they are getting more serious about supporting GNU/Linux on desktops and laptops and they are even talking about prioritizing hardware with Free Software support over those with lack of it.

A recent blog entry on Direct2Dell blog indicates that Dell may be quite serious about the whole thing. It is interesting to note that the author, "Matt Domsch, Linux Software Architect", seems familiar with the Free Software philosophy, if nothing then subtly from a way he writes the word "Free". It is good to see that someone from one of the leading computer vendors actually gets what's going on in our community, sees the debate and in fact puts a reasonable amount of weight to the Free Software side.

Sun Microsystems, which has viewed free code alternatively as a competitor and as a friend, announced that it is joining the Free Software Foundation. Simon Phipps, chief open source officer, announced that Sun would become a patron supporter of FSF during a Feb. 24 keynote address at the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting in Brussels.

FSF patrons make a financial contribution to the foundation in exchange for the right to use its logo on the Sun Web site. Patrons also get free consulting on the FSF's General Public License. Read more...

"Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman has announced two Ubuntu Technical Board decisions that will affect the upcoming Feisty Fawn release, due out in April of this year. For the Feisty release, proprietary video drivers are out of the default install, and the PowerPC port of Ubuntu is being downgraded to an unofficial release."

However this doesn't mark a shift in policy. The decision seems purely technical and proprietary video drivers may yet be included in the release after Feisty. Also, Ubuntu already does contain some proprietary bits:

"According to the release, Feisty will "preserve the status quo with respect to proprietary video drivers." This doesn't mean that Ubuntu will be completely clean of proprietary software. Ubuntu still includes closed source drivers "where necessary to provide sufficient hardware support" for wireless network cards and other devices."