Free Software / Open Source linksThe following are Links for further reading on Free Software (Also known as "Open Source" software), the model of computing that I use in personal computing and in my business.
I previously maintained them as a static page, but have decided to include them as an article in the Intellectual Economics Features section of the FLORA.ca weblog.
From the desk of Russell McOrmondMost of the recent articles have been written directly to Weblog.flora.ca.
- RWM: My consulting pages
I am a consultant working primarily in the Free Software field. I include a page entitled, "Open Systems, Free Software, and Why?"
- The Last Dinosaur
and the Tarpits of Doom: How Linux Smashed Windows (Jan 10, 1999 -
updated Sept 5, 2000)
Using the historical perspective of the Workstation market moving from proprietary vendors to open standards, this discusses the movement of the Microcomputer desktop environment in the same direction.
coming "open monopoly" in software (October 24, 2001)
Discussing the concept of "natural monopolies", and coming to the conclusion that open standards must become that natural monopoly.
Maker Portfolio: Microsoft vs. Linux
This piece by a financial educator may not fit into philosophy, but is closely tied to the article above, but from an investor rather than a technological point of view. There was an earlier related article on Network Effects.
History and Philosophy of the GNU Project
This speech was given at the CLOWN (Cluster of Working Nodes), a 512-node Cluster project of Debian GNU/Linux machines in the University of Paderborn, Germany. (5. December 1998). A very recommended first-read for those just learning about Free Software.
``Free Software'' is better than ``Open Source''
Language is very important, and while the phrase "open source" may be more palatable to a business community no longer familiar with discussing freedom, the phrase is just as confusing as the phrase "free software". Reading both positions on this might give people a better idea of the meaning we are striving for.
the Information Ecosystem (By Stephen Adler)
Puts the Open Source phenomena into a larger historical and forward looking context. (Found on Linux Today)
- The Cathedral
and the Bazaar
This article by by Eric S. Raymond was reportedly the article which convinced Netscape to move to the Open Source model for their browser. It clearly discusses some of the advantages to the Open Source model for producing software solutions.
- Reality 2.0
Culture Hacks by Doc Searls: Talks about some of the business/cultural changes that Linux may bring. While I don't agree with some of what he says (My focus on the Freedom of Free Software, rather than the low-cost and 'technical coolness' of Open Source: Proprietary information just isn't useful to me), articles such as Hacking an Industry (From LinuxJournal) answer some of the basic questions new (or non) Free Software users might have.
Medical Information Management
The section entitled "The Moral Basis of Free Software/Open Source" is quite interesting and makes the economic and social connections to Free Software. It in part makes some interesting comparisons between the medical and software professions. (P.S. No mention of the quite different Pharmaceutical industry ;-)
Ethical Trading, and Free Software
A trend toward an "information economy" is continuing. Ethical trading and appropriate technology policies should therefore cover informational products.
- a paper on
information and communications for developing countries
Talks about a potential future of ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) in majority-world countries, contrasts with the expansion of transportation infrastructure, and discusses what we can learn. I believe this article even applies to the middle/lower classes in the so-called "developed" countries.
Lambastes Linux (From Roaring Penguin Software, Ottawa)
This reply from a local Ottawa Linux Consulting company replies to a number of comments Microsoft has been making comparing NT and Linux. See also a related article from CNN.COM entitled Why is Microsoft worrying about Linux?.
- Linux and
Extinction is forever: Can one trust a centralized model, one based on the restriction of information, to protect diverse languages and culture?
- Yes, we really do
want to use Free Software.
Stories such as this one where a client answers a Microsoft-promoting consultant directly are becoming more popular. This client took on the standard MS style questions:
- Do you really want to base your system on "freeware?"
- There is no technical support, how will you get questions answered?
- Who are you going to blame?
Senior Microsoft Attorney Looks at Open-Source Licensing
When you play down your principles, you make lots of new friends--including some you don't like.
- Microsoft Windows NT
Server 4.0 versus UNIX
by John Kirch, Networking Consultant and Microsoft Certified Professional (Windows NT), this article is a good primer to answering the question of which server platform you wish to use. There are issues beyond just the question of SecretSource software that put NT at a disadvantage to other solutions.
- Free Software Foundation
The FSF is the main organization discussing issues relating to Free Software, and is the originator of the CopyLeft (GNU Public License, GPL).
- Open Source Org
Eric S. Raymond and others have created this site to help publicize issues relating to Open Source computing. "Open Source is a marketing program for free software. It's a pitch for `free software' on solid pragmatic grounds rather than ideological tub-thumping."
- Boycott Microsoft
While the Free Software foundation doesn't consider Microsoft to be special, I find that this single company best demonstrates the problems with owned software and the centralized control and monopoly that it can help build. This is home to the Monopoly Clock, as well as The (nearly) Whole Microsoft Catalog.
- Ottawa Canada Linux Users Group
Gives a "made in Ottawa" feel to the Linux community. The site includes pointers to local Ottawa Retailers, Consultants, events and enthusiasts.
- Linux Online
A good start for information on Linux.
A more business oriented place to start.
- Linux Journal
This magazine, aimed at both the new user and the more advanced, is available in many magazine stores around Ottawa.
XandrOS purchased what was previously Corel Linux from Corel Corporation
- News about
This page is maintained by RedHat software, and includes many links to news sources that discuss Linux and other related technology.
- PC Quest
Magazine based out of India has contained many articles on Linux over the years. It has had Special Issues focused on Linux. These issues, which include Linux on CD, have been critical to the the adoption of Linux in India. I do my own part by hosting the mailing list and website for the Indian Linux Users Group of Calcutta.
Not to be confused as a Linux religious fanatic, I wanted to include this article. I am a supporter of Free Software and while Linux is currently the best of the breed and the flagship of the Open Source Software movement, I look forward to upgrading to systems such as GNU HURD which uses the Mach microkernel in it's design. Where I disagree with Tanenbaum is that Linux was necessary to capture the new audience for Free Software systems back in 1991 that are now going to innovate toward future computing at rates the proprietary model cannot achieve.
Other Open Source/Free Software
- Why Open Source
Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!
This paper provides quantitative data that, in many cases, open source software / free software is equal to or superior to their proprietary competition. The paper examines market share, reliability, performance, scalability, security, and total cost of ownership; it also gives commentary on non-quantitative issues and unnecessary fears. Author David A. Wheeler keeps a Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS) References page.
Software Sites on the Internet
This is a collection of freely distributable software links.
Small multi-platform word processor, with sufficient features for most word processing usage!
This is the full featured office suite that is also the basis of the Sun StarOffice suite.
This is the full featured Open Source browser that is also the basis of the AOL/Netscape browser.
Samba is a suite of programs which work together to allow clients to access to a server's file space and printers via the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. This software is used to offer the services of both Server and Peer-to-Peer (Workgroup) LAN services compatible with Microsoft Windows (Windows for Workgroups, Win95/98, Windows NT), OS/2, Linux and others. Support is available.
- The K Desktop Environment
"KDE provides a complete desktop environment, including a file manager, a window manager, a help system, a configuration system, uncountable tools and utilities. and an ever increasing number of applications, including but not limited to mail and news clients, drawing programs, a postscript and a dvi viewer and so forth.".
- GNU Network Object Model Environment
"The GNOME project intends to build a complete, user-friendly desktop based entirely on free software.".
- The Linux FreeS/WAN Project
A Free implementation of the Secure Wide Area Network. This is part of the fight for privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet.
"On October 22nd, Amazon.com filed suit against Barnes & Noble over a ludicrous software patent. It is precisely this type of lawsuit that threatens to halt technological innovation and ruin the Internet for all of us.". See also my own introduction to this protest, linking in the fame of Linux against Amazon. The Free Software Foundation also has a page on this issue.
EToys, the largest online toy retailer (in business since 1996, using eToys.com since 1997), is preventing etoy, an Internet art group (founded in 1994), from using etoy.com, which etoy has been using since 1995. There are a number of protests underway including RTMark's multi-user etoy Fund game. RTMark also has extensive links on the story.
- Why there are no
GIF files on GNU web pages
"There are no GIFs on the GNU web site because of the patents (Unisys and IBM) covering the LZW compression algorithm which is used in making GIF files.". See also Burn All GIFs .
socked with royalty bills for popular Y2K fix / Firms
may face fees for using patented Y2K fix
An obvious Y2K solution involving windowing has a claimed patent against it.
- Recent Papers
and Articles by Professor James Boyle
Please read the article: Cruel, Mean or Lavish?: Economic Analysis, Price Discrimination and Digital Intellectual Property 536 Vanderbilt Law Review 2007 (2000)
- Free / Open
Source Research Community
Please read the article: by Philippe Aigrain, "Positive Intellectual Rights and Information Exchanges"
- RWM: It really is about
Copyright Law. (LinuxToday Story)
Microsoft is trying to turn the Anti-Trust lawsuit it is loosing into a matter of copyright. I agree with them - the common abuse of copyright law is at the core of this issue. This article was also posted to comnet-www.
- RWM: "Intellectual
Property" does not exist!
This is an article I posted myself describing why I believe "Intellectual Property" does not exist.
- The US
Patent System Is Out of Control! (Humourous reference to entertaining
cat being patent infringement)
Phil Karn, when asked his view of the patent system, I responded, "I find it totally loathesome, and it has totally drained the joy out of engineering for me". If patents are there to encourage innovation, everyone should ask why the real innovators are opposed to their current state.
- Defining The
World's Public Property - Who owns knowledge?
"Most innovations and inventions are based on ideas that form part of the common property of humanity. It cannot therefore be right to restrict access to the information and knowledge that make up this common property by making the law too keen to safeguard individual interests...."
Coming Software Patent Crisis: Can Linux Survive?
This puts Software Patents, and I believe the entire patent system into questions. As with everything there are examples when it does good, but when do we realize that the abusers outweigh the legitimate uses by several orders of magnitude?
primer on the ethics of "intellectual property"
Discusses some of the philosophical aspects of "Intellectual Property", including not only Software but Music.
This posting to the FLORA.comnet-www discussion group is reprinted with permission from the PBA Intellectual Property Law Newsletter, p. 3 (Vol. 1, No. 2, Winter 1998).
- Berkman Center's Openlaw
"Openlaw is an experiment in crafting legal argument in an open forum. With your assistance, we will develop arguments, draft pleadings, and edit briefs in public, online."
- League for Programming
Freedom - Software Patents
Many articles about Software Patents
- The Libertarian
Case Against Intellectual Property Rights
While I disagree with many Libertarians about the nature of "the state" in a world of neo-Classical economic globalization (EG: Transnational Corporate Rule, etc), I do agree with much of what Roderick T. Long had to say about Intellectual Property in this article.
OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS
The letter that really puts Microsoft and Bill Gates political lobbying for "Intellectual Property" into perspective. It is one of the first places that suggested that sharing information among computer hobbyist was somehow similar to "stealing", and that imposing limits on this sharing was the only (in his limited mind) way to make money writing software. (Letter also archived at: Xiaoguang Zhang's, Ashley Dunn's homepages.)
- B. Gates
Rants About Software Copyrights - in 1980
Continuing his successful political career, Gates lobbies for the strengthening of abusive and now routinely abused copyright laws and anti-competitive IT business practices.
Linked to this article was a analisis of a BBC Interview With Bill Gates where the author indicates " I don't think he comes across as the sort of person who's massively concerned about power.". Interesting, but I totally disagree: Bill Gates believes he is "right" and is willing to step on and/or dismiss anything or anyone in his way. What can this type of action possibly be about, except power? Dictators may have good intentions or bad, but they are still dictators.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit organization working in the public interest to protect privacy, free expression, and democracy online.
- Electronic Frontier Canada
Electronic Frontier Canada (EFC) was founded to ensure that the principles embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms remain protected as new computing, communications, and information technologies are introduced into Canadian society.
- Best Viewed
With Any Browser Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW
The intent of HTML and the Internet was to allow for information to be exchanged in a standard way as to not run into the problems that existed previously with proprietary Word-Processor and other formats. This campaign draws attention to some of the issues in ensuring that this is the case! This is also related to general accessibility issues, where the Bobby site provides a considerable amount of information.
- The Web Standards Project
- "The WEB STANDARDS PROJECT is a coalition of web developers and users. Our mission is to stop the fragmentation of the web, by persuading browser makers that standards are in everyone's best interest."
- User Friendly
Linux Humour. Did you hear the one about Genetically Altered Insects Capable of Transmitting Computer Viruses or the Tuxissa Virus