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Software

+ - Has open-source lost its halo?

Submitted by
PetManimal
PetManimal writes "Open-source software development once had a reputation as a grassroots movement, but it is increasingly a mainstream IT profit center, and according to Computerworld, some in the industry are asking whether "open source" has become a cloak used by IT vendors large and small to disguise ruthless and self-serving behavior. Citing an online opinion piece by Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., the article notes that HP and IBM have not only profited from open-source at the expense of competitors, but have also boosted their images in the open-source community. The Computerworld article also mentions the efforts by the Microsoft/Windows camp to promote open-source credentials:

[InfoWorld columnist Dave] Rosenberg is more disturbed by the bandwagon jumpers: the companies, mostly startups, belatedly going open-source in order to "ride a trend," while paying only lip service to the community and its values. Take Aras Corp., a provider of Windows-based product lifecycle management (PLM) software that in January decided to go open-source. Rosenberg depicted the firm in his blog as an opportunistic Johnny-Come-Lately. "I'm not impressed when a company whose software is totally built on Microsoft technologies goes open-source," said Rosenberg, who even suspects that the company is being promoted by Microsoft "as a shill" to burnish Redmond's image in open-source circles.
"
Privacy

+ - New teeny tiny RFID chips

Submitted by
paltemalte
paltemalte writes "Hitachi has just come out with a new crop of RFID tags, measuring only 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters. Compare that with the previously smallest chips at 0.4 x 0.4 millimeters. The new chips width is slightly smaller than the width of a human hair. These new chips could put an end to shoplifting forever, but they could also be used by a government or other entity to 'dust' crowds or areas, easily tagging anyone present without their knowledge or consent. Think easy tracking of dissenters or demonstrators. Will someone come up with a surefire way of neutralizing chips that may be on your body or in your clothing?"
The Internet

+ - Canadian ISPs Send Thousands of Copyright Notices

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The CBC reports that Canadian Internet service providers are passing along thousands of copyright infringement notifications from U.S. copyright lobby groups such as the Business Sofware Alliance to subscribers under a system called notice and notice. Michael Geist comments that unlike the U.S. takedown approach, the Canadian system is proving effective while protecting privacy and free speech."
United States

+ - U.S. senator: Time to ban Wikipedia in schools

Submitted by jcatcw
jcatcw (1000875) writes "Preston Gralla is appalled by Senator Ted Stevens' latest: Senate Bill 49, aka Son of Dopa. The bill would require schools and libraries that receive federal Internet subsidies to block access to a variety of sites. Stevens, a dangerous buffoon according to Gralla, would effectively ban reference materials from libraries."
Microsoft

+ - What is Microsoft's appeal?

Submitted by
beerdini
beerdini writes "It seems like most people I talk to in the IT industry have a sour impression of Microsoft. How is it that if 90% of the world uses their products, many of the business IT administrators always talk about it with disgust and frustration? If superior, better cost effective alternatives exist, what was the reason for implementing a Microsoft solution over that alternative. I know many companies have one major piece of software that most likely runs on a MS system, but if a complete overhaul of the network is being implemented more companies are migrating from their current systems (Novell, Mac, etc) to Microsoft than the other way. Are the people that are expected to maintain the system (IT dept.) even a part of the decision making process to migrate or is a management decision that falls to brand name familiarity? Why is it administrators allow the implementation of a product that they know will provide endless frustration and "what do you expect, its Windows/Microsoft" types of support issues, and probably subject themselves to an intense product training (probably out of their own pocket) just to keep their job?"
Windows

+ - Vista first look: Bugs and confusion

Submitted by
SeanAD
SeanAD writes "The Register has an article of its impressions of Vista. With the many articles comparing it to OS X, this article also deals with expectations of what a new OS should include. The closing paragraph is pretty telling: "It does benefit from a lot of good ideas, many of them Apple's, of course, but good nevertheless. It simply doesn't work very well, unfortunately. There are serious problems with execution; it's not polished; it's not ready. It should not be on the market, and certainly not for the outrageous prices being charged. Don't buy it, at least until after the first service pack is out. Don't pay to be a beta tester.""
Patents

+ - Drug patents threatening cheap medicines to poor

Submitted by
GillBates0
GillBates0 writes "The BBC is reporting that a recent court challenge to India's patent laws by pharmaceutical giant Novartis may cut the supply of affordable medicines to treat AIDS and other epidemics in the developing world. Based on the rejection of it's patent on a drug, Novartis is arguing that India's requirement for drugs to be "new and innovative" is not in line with the WTO TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement that India is party to. India came to be called the "pharmacy of the world's poor" since it stopped issuing patents for medicines in 1970 allowing its many drug producers to create generic copies of medicines still patent-protected in other countries — at a fraction of the price charged by Western drug firms. In 2005, however, it changed it's patent laws to comply with international regulations. NGOs including Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Oxfam say that if Novartis succeeds, pharmaceutical firms will be able to put newer AIDS treatments based on existing drugs under patent protection in India, preventing cheap generic versions being exported to Africa and elsewhere. In 2005, Slashdot carried a story about efforts to put India's ancient traditional medicine and Yoga online, so as to make it visible as public domain to patent examiners. More recently, Slashdot carried a similar story about Tiwan's decision to violate Roche's patent on a bird flu drug for the benefit of it's people."
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft, IBM in slap-fight over open documents

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Microsoft went on the offensive Wednesday with a Valentine's Day attack on IBM openly accusing its rival of trying to subvert Microsoft's efforts to standardize its new document format and in turn destabilize customer choices. "A lot of hype — and smoke and mirrors obfuscation — surrounds interoperability these days," Microsoft wrote in an open letter published on its Web site. Meanwhile, Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of open source and open standards, wrote on his blog: "The OpenDocument Format ISO standard is vastly superior to the Open XML spec." Sutor also said in his post: "ODF is what the world needs today to drive competition, innovation and lower costs for customers. It is an example of a real open standard versus a vendor-dictated spec that documents proprietary products via XML. ODF is about the future, Open XML is about the past. We voted for the future." http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/021407-micro soft-ibm-formats.html"
AMD

AMD's "Frantic Price Cuts" May Pressure Intel 135

Posted by kdawson
from the chips-falling-where-they-may dept.
kog777 writes in with news of a Needham analyst report alerting their clients to a possible price war between AMD and Intel. Analyst Y. Edwin Mok notes that AMD has cut its prices three times in three weeks. He says that Dell has been playing off the two chipmakers against one another to drive costs down. He suggests that bargain-hunting clients avoid both AMD and Intel stock for now. As an aside, Mok notes that so far Vista is not causing a spike in demand for chips. This story hasn't been picked up very widely; other coverage is at Seeking Alpha.

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