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Please excuse the different blogsite. Our traffic lately has been off the charts and bandwidth usage has spiked to new levels here. Blogger.com is just a bit more capable of taking the slash and digg affect than our server and in the interest of those who share space with me, we are going to do it this way for a while. Same words, same obnoxious style and content...just a different wrapper. - h
Two articles caught my attention this week. In that I am a Project Leader of the Tux500.com project, I am able to see how this substantiates our efforts. As well, given the fact that I have someone close to the source putting a bug in my ear from time to time, I thought it was time to not only bring this to your attention, but offer some ideas on how to best combat it.
Make no mistake about it, this is akin to a combat situation. it is a battle between a corporation who wants to completely dominate the way you not only use your computer, but judge how and when you access your media devices. Let me introduce exhibits a and b. We can go forward from there.
Colleague and author SJVN comments in prose and opinion what I only wish I could match in talent and intensity. This says it better than I ever could.
I'm not going to comment on this much further than saying that in my opinion, and that opinion is shared by many; he is right. To those that have wedged themselves between the opinion I may over-react and the allegation that I am an alarmist...all of you may have an argument right to a degree. I will openly admit times when I accentuated a position or point that didn't need that much weight attached to it. It is a set goal for me to moderate more carefully what I say here and elsewhere. However, I am not going to budge a micrometer on this issue. I am going to put it as plainly as possible so there will be no doubt as to my thoughts on this matter.
It is a frightened, lazy, uninformed or apathetic man that leaves an unfinished war for his children to fight.
Comment as you will. The headlines on this matter tell the story. To fail in interpreting the impact of these articles is to fail those that count upon us most. Some will argue that the measures we have taken to this point will suffice to win the battle. I say they are not nearly sufficient. In fact they have been impotent. Measure the meager market share Linux and FOSS have against Microsoft then tell me again how "word of mouth" has served to gain anything but a niche market.
Now agreed, this has not been a focused goal for the majority of the Linux Community, so charges like this should not be leveled, but only offered as a history lesson. A decade of effort has yielded us a whopping 4 percent of the this market? Fight on soldier.
If the Power and Influence of Microsoft isn't plain enough for some to fathom, I ask you to read the headline and subsequent article noted:
Microsoft Says Samsung Can Offer Linux
You would think that this headline says it all. Yes, it does, but Joe Barr's opening paragraph should seal the implications firmly enough for even the most disengaged Linux User to take notice. Note I said "should".
Lately, there seems little that can be done to stir many from their apathetic state:
"Computerworld reported yesterday that Microsoft and Samsung have signed a new cross-patent protection agreement which specifically provides Samsung rights to any of the unspecified patents which Microsoft claims are being violated by Linux usage. In return, Microsoft is given rights to Samsung's extensive patent portfolio."
I am not going to dissect this or pick it apart for you. Those of you who Use Linux as a rule, do not need this simple statement unpacked...by me or anyone else. The implications are obvious. Barr has done the job well and I think I am going to let his opinion and statements of fact stand. However I will bring something to the attention of the uninitiated or those not a member of the Linux Community.
Note the language used here. "Microsoft says Samsung can..." Oh, Microsoft is granting permission? Reading the language as I understand it, much of the permission being granted is for accessing and using code covered by unspecified patents? It's bad enough that we have major league players giving into Microsoft, but now we have second-stringers genuflecting in front of Microsoft before they ask permission to take the field. And what did Samsung gain from this magnanimous gesture?
"...In return, Microsoft is given rights to Samsung's extensive patent portfolio."
Stockholders cheer, others should scream for the head of Samsung's CEO. Not only did this deal place Samsung with bowed head and on one knee before Microsoft, it handed them the keys to the Treasure Vault.
And many of you wonder why we are pushing so hard for the proliferation of Linux on the Desktop. Without large numbers, we are discounted as "that bunch of Linux Geeks". We are a tiny voice... first Novell, now Samsung and Friggin' Pete Rose knows best who will be the next to take what we have so laboriously built over the years...and hand it over to Microsoft. That brings me to my point. And consider yourself blessed. We still have the ability to do something about it.
It is a well-known fact that I am a Project Leader of the Tux500.com effort. I am not the originator, but one who saw the potential of this opportunity and answered the call. I was called to duty by Bob Moore. Bob has forgotten more about Linux than I will probably ever know. Let the record be set and corrected on this matter from here on in. Some of you have voiced reasonable, honest and logical questions about this project. I as well as anyone else will appreciate the thoughtfulness and integrity of these questions. I hope we have addressed them sufficiently in the faq at tux500.com
Others however, have decided to actively work against the project. That too is a right that cannot be taken away or minimized by any entity. It is a right we own just as we own the skin that shields us. Unfortunately, there are some that have breeched the line of civility, integrity and honesty. I will say no more about this faction. Not now. There is much work to be done in this effort, and I have neither the time or the energy to deal with any diversion or division this attack has caused. Instead, I will redouble my efforts and even offer my thanks to those who oppose us. The "controversy" has oddly enough, stirred both awareness and possibly a spike in donations to this project.
I've made it no secret that I have a close friend and an x-in-law that works at Castle Redmond. He is fairly high on the Totem Pole and with any luck, will retire unscathed in July of this year. It was a bit before ten last night that my phone rang. I was in bed reading and my wife and I looked at each other before she reached over and handed me the phone. It has been my experience that the later the phone call, the worse the news.
My wife watched my face as I listened to the response on the other end. When I smiled and winked at her she returned her attention to her book.
"Were you asleep"
"No but I was working on it you pr... you priceless friend. So is it raining there?"
I make it a point to remind my buddy that he is stuck in the rain capital of the world while Austin enjoys some of the most moderate weather in the nation. He chuckled softly.
"I wouldn't know, they sent me to (left out for obvious reasons). I'll be here for a couple of days then head back. Listen...you take up race car driving and forget to tell me?"
His voice held a slightly amused tone...as if I would be surprised he knew anything about it. I didn't bother letting him know I thought it was amusing myself.
"No, not personally, I hire that done these days. Where'd you read about it?"
"I didn't read it Skipper. It came up in a briefing Tuesday. (So and so) threw it up on the projection wall and read it to us then asked for comments. I can't say much more about it but I called to let you know that they are watching this closely. In fact they assigned someone to keep an eye on it. And no, I won't tell you who, you wouldn't know him anyway."
I glanced over at my wife as she read. She cut her eyes over at me, realizing I was looking at her. I winked and went back to staring at a muted Jay Leno.
"Well isn't that special. You gonna keep me posted?"
My buddy snorted. "Not hardly, if ol' Jack Daniels hadn't gotten me in a talkative mood, I wouldn't have told you this much."
Our conversation drifted from one usual suspect to the other and after 10 minutes of almost practiced back-and-forth topics and responses, I broke the connection and turned out the light on my side of the bed. I had to wonder what they were thinking or planning. Probably not much...at least not now. The fact is, this is the same guy that warned us that MS was going to bring down the Linux Corporates, at least get partial control of them, then use that influence to quiet the community at large. He also told us that MS fully planned to hire away some of our best talent. He did so a full 90 days before it actually happened. I tend to listen to him now when he tells me things.
If he can swing it, there will be a book two years after he retires. There are some things he wants us to know. Knowing what I do, and it's only a fraction...there's gonna be hell to pay. As far as the divide and conquer plan...? That's a lousy plan and I don't know who they think they're going to control outside OF the corporates, but that is there plan none then less. Now, we could use some help in insuring their plan turns to dust.
There is no doubt that Linux has the potential to free millions from the tangled trap of proprietary software. It would be a small number of Linux users that disagree with this statement. Some of us feel it is our duty to make that happen. I suggest this. If you disagree with what the Tux500 project does, spend your energies building like projects of your own. If many of you had expended a fraction of the energy to this as opposing what someone else is doing, chances are we wouldn't be in the second chair, playing second fiddle to Microsoft. And possibly, companies like Samsung and Novell wouldn't have to prostitute themselves in order to satisfy a board of directors or some Wall Street expectation. There is a truth I hold within myself and there isn't a week that goes by that I do not reaffirm it.
A man who takes a knee to defer to another man is only one knee away from praying to him.
The fact that the Upper-Crust of Microsoft is aware of this project gives me reason for a bit of smarmy attitude as well as a jolting dose of concern. This project, on its face, seems like a no-brainer. A lousy buck fifty from one percent of the Linux Community and we have, for better or worse, a premiere sponsorship in the Indy 500. If we fail, we provide another indication that we are as weak and divided as Microsoft says we are.
The world is full of people who provide valuable suggestions and that is valuable indeed. I involved myself in Tux500 on someone else's idea, not mine...yet I dedicated every fiber of my being to it because I believe in it. It wasn't important to me that I be credited as the originator of this effort, or even mentioned by name as being part of it. It was my goal to spark an energy within this community, to show the world that we are surly here and a force to be recognized. That type of creativity and energy spreads rapidly.
But as some of you know, throwing bricks is much easier than building a house from them.
If anyone needs to borrow a trowel or my mortar mixer, come talk to me. I have plenty to go around.
Friday, April 20, 2007
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 12:00 PM