Posts Tagged FOSS

Sun and UNESCO join forces to promote FOSS

As reported here, Sun Microsystems and UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) signed an agreement at the World Summit on Information Systems (WSIS) to promote free and open source technologies. Both organizations see FOSS as the key to increasing access to information, communications technologies, and ICT skills training in under-served communities throughout the world.

According to the agreement, both organizations will promote the use of OpenOffice and Open Document Format (ODF) and other FOSS as a low cost way to improve education and universal access to information and knowledge.

The money quote:

We are glad to work with Sun to harness the power of free and open source software for extending and disseminating knowledge and to foster community approaches to software development,” said Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO.

This is great news for the HFOSS movement.

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IBM in talks to buy Sun Microsystems

According to a Wall Street Journal Article this morning (March 18th 2009). The International Business Machine (IBM) are in talks to buy Sun. IBM is offering 6.5 billion according to the WSJ for the deal which is one of the largest bids by IBM for a rival. If this goes through this would put IBM in competition with the likes of HP and Cisco in the server markes and Oracle in the database space. IBM is a heavy backer of the Java platform which Sun owns; what does this mean for the other applications in Sun’s cart, including MySQL and OpenOffice applications. In this weak economy its not uncommon to see these consolidations. What impact will this have in the Open source space if two OSS giants become one?

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Stallman Interview on WNPR

Before his talk on “Free Software in Ethics and in Practice” at Trinity last Tuesday, Richard Stallman did an interview with John Dankosky on his Where We Live program at WNPR. You can download the interview. One condition of doing the interview was that it be distributed only in Ogg format. What is Ogg? Here is an excerpt about it from www.gnu.org:

We distribute our audio files in Ogg Vorbis format. We avoid MP3, because it is impeded by software patents in some countries. The Ogg Vorbis format is technologically superior to MP3, and is not encumbered by patents. The sound quality of speech recordings on this page is not indicative of the quality you could expect from Ogg Vorbis when applied to HiFi audio.
Please avoid transcoding HiFi audio from MP3 to Ogg Vorbis. By doing so, you will create Ogg Vorbis files of a lower sound quality than the original MP3. Instead, please encode to Ogg Vorbis directly from the uncompressed
source.

Vorbis.com provides a list of audio software and hardware (such as portable players) which support the ogg vorbis format. The Ogg Vorbis project is part of the Xiph.org project, where you will find the project development page and source code..

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Richard Stallman’s Talk on Free Software: Hosted by HFOSS

On Tuesday June 17, 2008 Richard Stallman, the founder of GNU and the “father” of the Free Software Movement presented a talk on Free Software in front of a audience of about 100 at Trinity College. Mr. Stallman used personal information, humor, factual evidence, hair twirling, and pill popping to engage the audience in his opinion on free software, proprietary software, and the purpose of the Free Software Movement. He discussed the four freedoms of software all while differentiating the use of proprietary software and free software based on the different freedoms.

In the attempt to inform the audience of what proprietary software is all about Mr. Stallman introduced some properties that Windows contain that decrease the actual privacy and or freedom of the actual user. He stressed that the Window’s operating system is not the the only system (i.e MacOS) that consists of features that invade the user’s privacy and freedom. Overall, Mr. Stallman’s opinion is that the user should have the freedom to view the source of the software he or she is using. If the user does not have this freedom, the software being used is not considered “free”.

He ended the talk by donning his Saint iGNUsius garb of the Church of Emacs and blessing the entire audience after explaining that HFOSS (Humanitarian Free Open Source Software) should be renamed to FLOSS(Free/Libre Open Source Software). Here he is with his halo that he states is not a computer disk:

You can see more photos of the lecture @ http://summer.hfoss.org.

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Sahana/IBM Training

This past week an H-FOSS team attended a week-long, IBM-supported Sahana training session at IBM offices in Washington D.C. The team consisted of H-FOSS Project Director, Trishan de Lanerolle and summer interns Antonio Alcorn (UConn ‘10), Ernel Wint (Conn College ‘09) and Vinit Agrawal (Trinity ‘10). I attended the Thursday and Friday sessions. Antonio and Ernel worked on our Volunteer Management (VM) module last summer.

The workshop was organized by Diane Melley and Rebecca Curzon of the IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs office and conducted by Chamindra da Silva and Ravith from Sahana. IBM brought in 10-12 members of its crisis management team from Milwaukee, San Francisco, San Diego, and other locations in the U.S. as well as a developer from the IBM office in Poughkeepsie.

Read the rest of this entry »

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