Army finds Windows FUBAR
Chooses instead to develop system
based on Red Hat

Boeing and the Army said they chose not to use Microsoft’s proprietary software because they didn’t want to be beholden to the company. Instead, they chose to develop a GNU/Linux-based operating system based on publicly available software for its Future Combat Systems. Besides, “How many times does your computer system go down in a week?” said Jim Currie, a retired Army reserve colonel, military historian and professor at the National Defense University. Using Windows, Colonel? More on the story from The Washington Post here.

NYSE banks on GNU/Linux
Stock exchange invests in independence

The New York Stock Exchange is investing heavily in x86-based GNU/Linux systems and blade servers as it builds out the NYSE Hybrid Market trading system that it launched last year. Not surprisingly, flexibility and lower cost are among the goals. But one of the things that NYSE Euronext CIO Steve Rubinow says he most wants from the new computing architecture is technology independence.More on the story from The New York Times here.

2 Koreas, 1 OS
North, South unite on GNU/Linux

People in South Korea speak of folks in North Korea more as lost brothers moreso than bitter enemies. While the two nations have made various rapprochements over the years, it now appears that North Korea and South Korea are teaming up on a new joint project: a Korean-language GNU/Linux distribution called Hana Linux. More on the story from Information Week here.

Oh Canada!
Green Party OKs FOSS in platform

Thanks to a founding member of Free Geek Vancouver, the Green Party of Canada has quietly become the first major political party in Canada to make support for FOSS part of its election platform. Like officials in the Green Party of England and Wales, deputy leader Adriane Carr sees the move as compatible with basic Green ideas, but IT consultant Neil Adair also points out the move serves the practical purpose of helping the party match the technical resources of more established parties. More on the story from here.

Only 10?
List of reasons to dump Windows

We were under the impression — and we still swear to it — that there are more than only 10, but the 10 reasons that Microsoft wants you to drink the Kool-Aid and use Vista are the 10 reasons that you should probably avoid it. As if it were plutonium. More on the story from the Good Computing Blog here.

Queen of Grok
PJ does what lawyers, journalists
should be doing, but aren’t

When Pamela Jones started Groklaw, she preferred to remain anonymous and showed no desire to become well-known. Groklaw nevertheless became extremely popular very quickly, and has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a source for legal news in the FOSS realm. More on the story in this Q-and-A from Datamation here.

Burn Free
Kiosk dispenses FOSS

In South Africa, “Freedom Toasters” are conveniently located, self-contained, computer-based, ‘Bring ‘n Burn’ facilities. Like vending machines, Freedom Toasters are preloaded to dispense free digital products, including software, photography, music and literature. The Freedom Toaster project began as a means of overcoming the difficulty in obtaining GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source Software due to the restrictive telecommunications environment in South Africa, where the easy downloading of large pieces of software is just not possible for everyone. More on the story from the Freedom Toaster site here.

Go Celtics
NBA team’s rallying cry: “ubuntu”

Providing a free — albeit unwitting — plug for GNU/Linux, the Boston Celtics have adopted “ubuntu” as this year’s rallying cry. Celtics coach Doc Rivers apparently chose that word after learning of it while reading about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and, as every Ubuntu user knows, “ubuntu” has its roots in the Bantu languages of southern Africa as meaning “a philosophy of life that promotes the greater good rather than individual success.” Oh, and it’s an above-average GNU/Linux distro, too. More on the story from C|Net here.

Magnificent Seven
Most influential distros listed

We all have our favorites — Debian, Xubuntu and Linux Mint (not to mention Knoppix) come immediately to mind at OSFSR — but Bruce Byfield has taken stock of the GNU/Linux landscape and has written an interesting look at the seven most influential distros. More on the story from Datamation here.

Microsoft ‘standard’ goes down in flames

The arguably buggy and closed Microsoft Office OpenXML was voted down as an international standard after the ISO tallied the votes on Monday cast by representatives worldwide. More on the story from Sander Marechal at here, and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that Microsoft takes a page from “1984” in putting a positive spin on their defeat in his eWeek column here.

Friendly skies
Airline offers Red Hat in every seat

To make flying more enjoyable for its passengers, Singapore Airlines is adding bigger screens, more in-flight movies and a PC, running Red Hat, in every seat on its newest planes. More on the story from Network World here.

Norwegians would
Norway opens Free Sofware Center

Norway opened a national center for competence in Free Software in Drammen, near Oslo, last week. Technocrat’s Bruce Perens gave a keynote speech, after the Minister of Government Reform and a local politician, and got to discuss OpenDocument vs. MS Office Open XML with the minister. Perens says the minister is up-to-speed on the issue and Norway casts its ISO vote this week. More on the story from Technocrat here.

Star of the Pack
Google Pack to include StarOffice 8

In a surprise move, Google quietly released StarOffice in its Google Pack of free downloadable programs. StarOffice is Sun Microsystems’ commercial office suite. A version of it, OpenOffice, is the most popular open-source desktop suite. More on the story from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at eWeek here.

Malaysia gets it
Asian nation adopts ODF

The Malaysian government today announced plans to adopt open standards and the Open Document Format (ODF) within the country’s public sector. The Malaysian Administration Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) last week issued a tender for a nine-month study to evaluate the usage of open standards in its information communications technology (ICT) deployment. More on the story from ZDNet Asia here.

Pair of improvements
highlight Mahara 0.8.2

With two major improvements, Mahara — an open source electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system — recently released version 0.8.2, the latest stable release of the new 0.8 series, while it ramps up an internationalized version with the upcoming version 9. More on the story from OSR Correspondent Penny Leach here.

Ubuntu chief: Microsoft practices extortion

Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with the patent indemnity agreements it has entered into with several prominent vendors, Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told eWEEK. The strategy behind that was to drive a wedge into the open-source community and unsettle the marketplace, Shuttleworth said. He also took issue with the Redmond, Wash., software maker for not disclosing the 235 of its patents it claims are being violated by Linux and other open-source software. “That’s extortion and we should call it what it is,” he said. “To say, as [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game. On the other side, if Microsoft is concerned about its intellectual property, there is no one in the free software community that wants to violate anyone’s IP.” More on the story from eWEEK here.

Japan OKs open standards

The OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), a leading advocate for openness and accessibility to government documents and information, congratulated Japan for adopting a policy under which government ministries and agencies will solicit bids from software vendors whose products support internationally recognized open standards. More on the story from Government Technology here.

Entrance MySQL
Browser released

Entrance beta release 0.74.0 is now available. Entrance is a MySQL browser with charts, written by OSR’s own Tod Landis. Entrance displays tables and query results as histograms, line charts, and scatter plots. Entrance also allows users to select and examine data points in charts. It supports an innovative feature called “data painting” that can be used to explore multi-dimensional data sets. Entrance is released under the GPL, and runs on Macintosh OS X, Unix and GNU/Linux — oh yeah, and on Windows systems, too — with JRE 1.6. Get the free downloads here.

Bring it on, Steve!

Sue me first, Microsoft: Tired of Microsoft rattling the patent sabers against FOSS? Why not join Christian Einfeldt at the Digital Tipping Point and demand that Microsoft sue you first. Or to put it another way, “Hey, Microsoft, put up or shut up!” More on the story from Digital Tipping Point here. But wait, there’s more: OSR has made up T-shirts and other FOSS-wear that demands of Darth Ballmer — “Sue me first, Steve!” Get yours today at the OSR store.

One man: 235 video drivers

A lone hobbyist programmer sitting at his home in France is responsible for adding 235 USB webcams to the list of those supported by Linux. He tells the Fernando Cassia of the Inquirer about this often unknown and unrecognized achievement. More on the story from the Inquirer here. But wait, there’s more: Larry the Open Source Guy raises a glass of Chardonnay to Dr. Michel Xhaard, the driver author who shows that the old guys still rule, in his blog here.

The true benefit of FOSS

Free software and open source software (FOSS, or sometimes called FLOSS for free/libre open source software) is often discussed as if it were just about the code. In reality, it’s about the community of people who care about the code, or rather, it’s about those who care about the things that FOSS helps them do. So the real value of FOSS is the community it cultivates moreso than the software. More on the story from Technology Review can be found here.