Friday, March 11, 2005
Open Source Friday: Open Source, Closed Society
Only Mozilla could go to China
The Mozilla Foundation has moved into Chinese waters by establishing an affiliate Web site and non-profit organization in Beijing, the open-source group recently announced.
Actually, pirated software is such a problem in China that free software will be an interesting proposition. Is it better to steal or take what's free?
The answer here is to take what's free:
In effect, what they're finding is that an open-source package like the OpenOffice.org suite doesn't have all the features claimed by Microsoft's Office Professional. But it doesn't lose files, there's no cost beyond downloading and setup, no upgrade pressure and few restrictions on exchanging files with other systems -- including Microsoft's.
In consequence, a growing number of organizations are experimenting with the Linux desktop and getting the same results they found with server functions: They save the expected dollars in up-front costs and surprise themselves with big gains in overall systems stability, support and information integrity.
My experience -- and I've been running Linux at home since 1999 -- has been very positive. Sure, last week I upgraded my pango
packages and hosed just about everything on my system. That's the price I pay for leering after the latest Gnome desktop
release. I should stop trying to improve things, but it's too fun to ring the new bells and blow the new whistles.
You know, I love Gnome so much I really should do something to help out, short of donating actual cash money. If only they made it very easy for a wanna be to start hacking the source.
Of course, you don't have to run Linux to use open source office apps. Star Office 8 will be shipping in August. Now with Russian!
Mozilla is dead! Long live Mozilla!
According to Linux Weekly News
MozillaZine has the news: there will be no Mozilla 1.8 release. The plan, instead, calls for a shift to the standalone Firefox and Thunderbird clients. "However, the Mozilla Foundation will offer infrastructure support to a community effort to continue development of the Mozilla Application Suite, probably under a different name." See the article for various links to more information.
I can't access the links LWN provides. It's a good move, though. Mozilla was like a Swiss army knife -- a tool for everything. Firefox is like a hammer -- it does one thing, but does it extremely well. (Unless it's a claw hammer, then it does two things, one extremely well and one not so great.) Don't worry, though. Every sentient person's favorite browser is on course
for continued development:
First off, we are executing on the Firefox 1.1 Plan. This is an important incremental update to Firefox 1.0 that includes major enhancements to the Gecko platform we are built on, as well as a few application level enhancements.
Secondly, we are developing a plan for Firefox 2.0, which will include many feature enhancements and generally make browsing faster and easier than before. Coupled with the releases on the way to 2.0 will be significant platform enhancements that make it easier for people to build their applications on Gecko.