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Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive? 718

An anonymous reader asks: "Our startup honestly wanted to use OSS products. We do not want to spend time for any OSS bug fixing so our main requirement was -official support for all OSS products-. We thought were prepared to pay the price for OSS products, but then we got a price sticker shock. Now behold: QT is $3300 per seat. We have dropped the development and rewrote everything to C# (MSVS 2005 is ~$700). Embedded Linux from a reputable RT vendor is $25,000 per 5 seats per year. We needed only 3 seats. We had to buy 5 nevertheless. The support was bad. We will go for VxWorks or WinCE in our next product. Red Hat Linux WS is $299. An OEM version of Windows XP Pro is ~$140. A Cygwin commercial license will cost tens of thousands of dollars and is only available for large shops. We need 5 seats. Windows Unix services are free. After all, we have decided that the survival of our business is more important for us then 'do-good' ideas. Except for that embedded Linux (slated for WinCE or VxWorks substitution), we are not OSS shop anymore." Why are commercial ports of OSS software so expensive, and what would need to happen before they could be competitive in the future?

Google Fires Off Warning to US Telcos 283

mytrip writes "The US Senate Commerce Committee last week approved reforms in communications legislation that will make it easier for Internet providers to offer IP-based television. The resultant perceived threat of telecommunications companies muscling in on the Web has stirred search giant Google into firing off warnings. A spokesman said it would not hesitate to file anti-trust complaints if Internet-providing telcos abuse powers that could come from U.S. legislators in further reforms - some of which, Google argues, could threaten 'Net Neutrality'.

Why Aren't Powergrids Underground? 556

jonging asks: "It is common knowledge that an underground power grid is less susceptible to the effect of a large thunderstorm. The American Transmission Company cites numerous reasons why it (and other power companies I assume) do not bury their transmission lines underground (e.g. environmental concerns, cost of installation and repair, etc.). Exactly how detrimental are underground transmission lines to the environment? Wouldn't the time spent without a power outage generate more than enough revenue to offset initial costs? Aren't the need for repairs in cities with successful underground power grids rare?" The linked article goes into extensive detail about the disadvantages in initial costs of putting in underground lines, but doesn't go into any detail about the maintenance costs of either option. With storms getting worse and worse (Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia have weathered torrential downfalls this week), might underground lines prove more resistant to storm-related power outages?

ISPs to Create Database to Combat Child Porn 595

BlueCup writes to tell us that several media companies are banding together to create a database of child pornography images to help law enforcement officials combat distribution of questionable material. In addition to the database several tools and new technologies are also planned but most notable is what some perceive as a willingness to cooperate which critics say has been lacking in the past. From the article: "Each company will set its own procedures on how it uses the database, but executives say the partnership will let companies exchange their best ideas — ultimately developing tools for preventing child-porn distribution instead of simply catching violations."

DVD Format War Already Over? 640

An anonymous reader writes "'Nobody likes false starts' - claims the assertive and risky article "10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed" published by Audioholics which outlines their take on why the new Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats will attain nothing more than niche status in a marketplace that is brimming with hyperbole. Even though the two formats have technically just hit the streets, the 'Ten reasons' article takes a walk down memory lane and outline why the new DVD tech has a lot to overcome."

Trojan Compromises Oregon Taxpayers 250

Blair writes "An employee at the Oregon Department of Revenue downloaded a trojan file from a porn site, possibly compromising up to 2,200 taxpayers. An information technology security officer with the state said, 'the released data likely involved names, addresses or Social Security numbers, or possibly in some cases all three.' I guess some of our public workers are having too much fun after all."

Verizon to Launch Mobile 'Chaperone' Service 427

Billosaur writes "CNET is reporting that Verizon will soon be offering a service (branded "Chaperone") which will allow parents to keep track of their cell phone-carrying children. Following on the heels of a similar service started by Sprint in April, the system will allow parents 'to set up geographic limits and receive text alerts if their children, who also carry phones, go too far from home. The service also lets parents check where their offspring are via a map on their cell phone or computer.' Disney will purportedly be offering a similar service when it begins selling mobile phones sometime this summer. It's 10pm -- do you know where you child's cell phone is?"

Why Startups Condense in America 565

bariswheel writes "The controversial genius developer/writer/entertainer Paul Graham writes an insightful piece on Why Startups Condense in America. Here's the skinny: "The US allows immigration, it is a rich country, it is not (yet) a police state, the universities are better, you can fire people, work is less identified with employment, it is not too fussy, it has a large domestic market, it has venture funding, and it has dynamic typing for careers. Inquire for details within."

UK Music Fans Can Copy Own Tracks 154

An anonymous reader writes "BBC news is reporting that music fans in the UK won't have to fear litigation from the British Phonographic Industry. Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, said 'consumers would only be penalized if they made duplicates of songs for other people.'" From the article: "Mr Jamieson also called for Apple - which makes the popular iPod portable music player - to open up its iTunes software so it is compatible with the technology of other manufacturers. Apple applies a digital protection system to its downloads, which means they are not usually compatible with other companies' devices. "

ITMS Faces Complaint From Norwegian Ombudsman 270

Whiney Mac Fanboy writes "Following the French Bill that threatened Apple's iTunes service in France, the iTunes music store is facing more uncertainty in Scandinavia. According to a report in Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Norway's Consumer Ombudsman has filed a complaint with Apple's music download sales service iTunes, arguing that the transaction terms violate Norwegian law. The Register is also reporting this story:, saying a contract cannot be regulated by English law, rather than Norwegian law, so iTunes must accept responsibility for damage its software may do, and said it is unreasonable to alter terms and conditions after a song has been sold. Consumer Council told the Reg: 'The Consumer Council has asked Apple to respond as to whether iTunes should work on other platforms - they have until 21 June to respond. After that the Ombudsman is likely to set another deadline and then start fining the company.' The BPI (Britain's RIAA equivalent) has also called upon Apple to license Fairplay."

'BlueBag' PC Sniffs Out Bluetooth Flaws 76

An anonymous reader writes "Why isn't Bluetooth set to "hidden" in all of Nokia's phones? Some hackers in Italy stuffed a computer with a bunch of Bluetooth dongles in a suitcase to see how many Bluetooth devices they could discover by wandering around airports, train stations and shopping malls. The answer? More than 1,400 in 23 hours." The team will present their findings at BlackHat later this summer.

Microsoft Talks Daily With Your Computer 686

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft Corp. acknowledged Wednesday that it needs to better inform users that its tool for determining whether a computer is running a pirated copy of Windows also quietly checks in daily with the software maker. The company said the undisclosed daily check is a safety measure designed to allow the tool, called Windows Genuine Advantage, to quickly shut down in case of a malfunction." The EULA is suppose to disclose this daily call-in feature. Lauren Weinstein, who is co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, was one of the first people to notice the daily communications to Microsoft. Report from"

System Integration Leads to MegaFunction Gadgets 104

nanotrends writes "The IEEE Spectrum is running a piece entitled 'Moore's Law Meets Its Match', about the system-on-package (SOP) approach to technology. The (SOP) approach combines Integrated Circuits (ICs) with micrometer-scale thin-film versions of discrete components, and it embeds everything in a new type of package so small that eventually handhelds will become anything from multi-to megafunction devices. This integration is actually developing at a rate faster than Moore's law." From the article: "SOP technology represents a radically different approach to systems. It shrinks bulky circuit boards with their many components and makes them nearly disappear. In effect, SOP sets up a new law for system integration. It holds that as the components shrink and the boards all but disappear, the component density will double every year or so, and the number of system functions in an SOP package will increase in the same proportion."

Pricing For Retro Games on the Wii 328

schnikies79 writes to mention an Ars Technica article revealing the pricing scheme for retro content on the Wii. From the article: "Iwata revealed that games for Nintendo's "virtual console" that will allow Wii owners to play old titles on their consoles will be priced at ¥500 and ¥1,000, roughly US$4.50 to US$8.99. For reference, classic retro games for the Nintendo GameBoy sold for upwards of US$35 for some titles, US$19.99 for others. Uptake was understandably low, as gamers were reticent to pay that much for old content." The piece goes on to say that they're ramping up DS production to meet command, and that connectivity with the DS will be a major selling point for the console when it releases.

New Personal Mono-Wing 263

geekRECON writes to tell us that a new lightweight mono-wing is being tested by special forces as an aid to parachute deployment. From the article: "Fitted with oxygen supply, stabilization and navigation aides, troops wearing the wings will jump from a high-altitude transport aircraft which can stay far away from enemy territory - or on secret peacetime missions could avoid detection or suspicion by staying close to commercial airliner flight paths."

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert