CyberTech Rambler

August 31, 2010

Microsoft view of open source is upside down??

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:05 pm

Via Groklaw, I saw Iturbide‘s recollection of Microsoft’s Open Source Strategy. In particular, his recollection on the slide which Microsoft had drawn where Microsoft sits in the open source world was hilarious, if you are like me used to see the standard community open source diagram, or even corporate open source diagram.

With Community Open Source, you only see open source software. With corporates’, even with well established company, you see open source as the bottom most building blocks. As Iturbide pointed out, it is upside down, since we have Microsoft products as building blocks.

After laughing my heart out, I start to see Microsoft point. They want Open Source to be built on their ecosystem. Well, in a sense, everyone do. We should take it as  coincidence that Microsoft is charging for Windows, Exchange and Visual Studio. Swap Microsoft out for RedHat and we will see RedHat products at the bottom. It is hard to argue that that is not what RedHat wants. Of course, we can migrate away from RedHat relatively easily.

Bearing that in mind, my further analysis shows that there is only one thing that I cannot accept in the diagram as an open source advocate, i.e., building on top of exchange, share point and System center. The rest are just fine by me. Why? I can migrate away easily from SQL Server, Windows and Visual Studio (Assuming you are writing Visual Studio plugin with proper layering  and you would if you are writing for Visual Studio, I can easily write the VS dependent part out). Since I can, I can pull the three out right under Microsoft’s nose in the future.

Don’t agree with me? Guess on which platform converts to open source  first encounters Open Source Software? Windows!

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August 27, 2010

A small step in the correct direction, but not good enough

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:23 pm

Anyone involved in the audio/video codec debate cannot say we do not see this coming: A slight relaxation of H.264 codec royalties by the patent pool holders as  reported by TheRegister.

Obviously this is an reaction to WebM, the format Google is pushing and which comes with a license condition that is way much lenient than H.264, even after considering this latest concession.

Is it good enough to start adopting H.264. No. The concession is there to encourage adoption on  the web at the expense of the other, extremely important activity around H.264, the creation of H.264 contents. That is still not free.

WebM is still important for the future of videos and audios on the web in particular, the general audio/video landscape in general.

TheRegister always like to point out that Steve Jobs jibes with the patent pool when it comes to free format such as Ogg/Theora and WebM. May be we will be seeing a battle in the future. But I am willing to bet you that if WebM gains traction, Jobs will put it into Safari, regardless of his reservation about WebM.

August 20, 2010

Let’s do the maths

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:35 pm

150,000 applicants denied places in this year university intake in UK according to the BBC. That’s a BIG number. The reaction of most people: Bad government coz it should had increased university spaces to accommodate them (Nevermind of the fact that it is not possible to create that many spaces overnight). Wow!

However as usual, the detail matters. Take thisother story from BBC. Key paragraph:

“The number of university applications in the UK hit a record high last year, with a total of 640,000 people applying (including through clearing) and 482,000 eventually accepted onto courses.”

So last year, after clearing,  158,000 student was denied places. So, let me get it straight: The projected number dropped this year by 8000? OK. I am not going to nitpick a few thousands, let’s call it no change  this year.

Let’s look at an alternative scenario. According to the first article, this year, 660,000 people applied. That’s only an increase of 20,000. Assuming number of places haven’t changed, we will only have 20,000 people more this year who will be denied places. That increase is not that huge, is it?

Moral of this maths lesson? Do your homework.

August 14, 2010

SCOracle?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 2:53 pm

I like Joe Cheng’s comparison of Oracle to SCO. So is Brian Profitt’s “consistently contradictory“. Nothing like a good lawsuit that irks a lot of people to bring out the wordsmith in us.

Bottom line here is Oracle suing Google over Dvalik VM (used in Android), accusing it of infringing on Java’s patent.

Surprisingly, besides Groklaw’s excellent coverage, Miquel de Icaza’s is very good as well. However, I think he and I has to disagree that Google would be better off using Mono and .NET platform. That would be like basing Andriod on OpenSolaris. [Not the dying part, but the fact that one is forced to play the catch up game eternally.

I like the tidbit from James Gosling about Oracle’s lawyers’ eyes sparkle when they question Sun’s engineers about Google during the acquisition phase. This tells us one thing: Google sees it coming.

Perhaps Google was depending partly on Sun’s DNA which does not like filing lawsuit unless it is absolutely necessary. But once Google heard that Oracle got SUN, it knows its days are numbered. What made this lawsuit interesting is Google had long planned for this day. It will give us a glimpse into how companies with fat pocket deals with the patent threat. I hope PJ covers this on Groklaw. SCO gave us the course 101 on IP litigation, this case might give us the follow on course 201.

Like Updegrove, I think this is about money. SUN is always said to be bad at commercializing its asset. For Oracle, the opposite is true: It is not only good at commercializing its own asset, it also tries to commercialize non-asset too (Unbreakable Linux anyone?).

Looking into my crystal ball, I  think the likely scenario is Google and Oracle signs a patent pact to make this goes away. So small modifications to the Dvalik VM will happen regardless of whether the lawsuit is settled or not. Settling the case is meant to buy time for Google to modify the VM  to its liking. Google will not like to base something that looks to be fulfilling its potential as Google’s second crown jewels after many false starts on someone else’s technology. If it goes to trial, as issues with individual patents become clearer, it is only in Google’s interest to steer away from the controversial patents while it can.

Unlike SCO, SCOracle is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

August 12, 2010

Google Hypocracy

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 3:16 pm

News on the web is about Google-Verizon deal on wireless. Google is called a hypocrite because it believe net-neutrality does not apply to wireless.

Don’t believe that Google  thinks net-neutrality should not apply to wireless? Read this entry from Google’s own Public Policy blog. From a business point-of-view I understand why Google fears that should it push net-neutrality on wireless and practice it by not paying wireless ISP,  it might lose out to others. However, a non-hypocrite Google should had simply explain it to us that it has no choice but to play the game as it is today but at the same time work hardly towards applying all net-neutrality principles on wireless.

I do not agree with Google that net-neutrality principles should not apply to wireless because it is “still-nascent”. In fact, I think it is more important that net-neutrality principles applies to it now. This way nobody with big fat bank account can use it to crush everyone else.

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