Open Source Software for Bernese Schools?
Monday February 27th 2006, 13:59h
Filed under: Education, Linux, Politics

In today’s newspaper “Der Bund” there is an article about the software discussion in the city parliament. As reported earlier we, some people of the Free Software movement in Bern, organized a presentation about Open Source software in education for politicians. Apparently, the work was somewhat fruitful since in today’s commission hearing Debian developer Gaudenz Steinlin is invited to talk about the advantages of Open Source software. However the meeting is going, I’m happy the newspapers are beginning to report about the issue since this sensitizes the public in case we have to fight against the announced voting.

Wilf’s Blog Online
Friday February 24th 2006, 9:38h
Filed under: Private

After welcoming Lionel on this world (and having a very nice week as a happy familiy ;) I’d like to welcome Wilf Gasser in the Blogosphere! As an active member of the Grossrat of Kanton Bern for the EVP, very active co-leader of the Vineyard Church of Bern and speaker of various relationship seminaries about sexuality and intimacy he’ll definitively have a lot to tell.

Warmly Welcome!
Saturday February 18th 2006, 5:42h
Filed under: Private

Today at 2h in the morning Lionel Semion Stürmer (3.6kg, 50cm) was born!!
May your life in this world be a happy one!
Anita & Matthias

Lionel Semion Stürmer

Update: The first week of Lionel’s life is documented quite precisely ;)

How old software industry is buying geeky start-ups
Tuesday February 14th 2006, 17:00h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Research

Well, JBoss might not be the Open Source company with the highest reputation in the community, nevertheless rumors about Oracle going on shopping tour in the OSS business world seem to come true: Today the Sleepycat (known for Berkely DB) deal was announced, others with JBoss and Zend might follow. So I wasn’t surprised when I read shortly afterwards about SugarCRM agreeing with Microsoft in some cooperation deal.
On the one hand I’m happy for the financial power that’s going into the Open Source movement since some long-time developers are already talking about the so-called volunteer fatigue. On the other hand I’m little bit afraid what effect these hundred-million-dollar-deals have upon the still motivated volunteer programmers. How long will people still be willing to code for fun? When will most of the Open Source programmers only continue to maintain a project to enhance their CV and thus to get better job offers? Be that as it may, there are lots of new research questions arising ;)

CSV to vCard
Tuesday February 14th 2006, 7:47h
Filed under: Private

Small is beautiful! Yesterday I used this simple Javascript website to convert a long list of contacts, stored in a CSV file, to one large vCard. It works perfectly! So just past a comma seperated list of address information, assign the field labels and that’s it!
Update: The opposite conversion can be accomplished here, from vCard to CSV.

Report about OSS
Tuesday February 07th 2006, 12:58h
Filed under: Linux, Research

Found on BLOGfeld and Golem, I just read some parts of the Open Source Software (OSS) report of the Fraunhofer Institute. Since I’m currently involved in the political movement around supporting OSS in Bernese schools, I was particularly interested in the part about Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Although there are several issues about using TCOs, it’s still somewhat practical for IT deciders to be informed about these project figures. On the other hand, in the famous Munich Linux project (which by the way isn’t stopped as many critics are scoffing…) costs didn’t seem to play a major role in the decision process as the preliminary study in 2003 revealed. Quoting from the newer study, the following parts of the conclusion seems interesting:

Open Source Software ist in diesen und auch in anderen Einsatzbereichen eine Alternative zu herkömmlicher kommerzieller Software. Es konnte gezeigt werden, dass sich freie Software in vielen Bereichen qualitativ hinter der kommerziellen Konkurrenz nicht zu verstecken braucht. Freie Betriebssysteme, Office Pakete, Entwicklungssysteme, Datenbanken und Content Management Systeme – um nur einige Beispiele zu nennen – erfüllen die qualitativen Anforderungen ebenso gut wie die oft viel teureren proprietären Produkte.
Kostenaspekte sind ein Kriterium, das tendenziell eher für den Einsatz freier Software spricht, aber nicht das einzige. Darüber hinaus bringt der Einsatz freier Software auch strategische Vorteile mit sich. Diese sollten gegenüber dem – zweifellos wichtigen – Kriterium der Wirtschaftlichkeit nicht vernachlässigt werden. Die sonstigen Vorteile, die aus dem Einsatz freier Software realisiert werden können, rechtfertigen den Einsatz von Open Source Software möglicherweise auch dann, wenn die finanziellen Einsparpotenziale lediglich aus einer »schwarzen Null« bestehen. In vielen Fällen sind Einsparungen möglich.

Stuck in Powerlessness - and still some hope
Saturday February 04th 2006, 17:18h
Filed under: Development Cooperation, Politics

Documental 'We Feed the World'After watching the documental “Darwin’s Nightmare” some weeks ago, the movie “The Constant Gardener” this week and today the reportage “We feed the world”, I observe the trend of films as a new medium of making injustice visible to the public. Although sometimes such stories about unfair situations let the directors act in a not completely objective way, the main idea of such movies, the sensitization of us western people, is usually accomplished in a very efficient manner. Fair enough, all such films reveal today’s global inequality is not a single men’s nor company’s guilt, it’s the system - and we are part of it. But this again leaves us stuck in powerlessness, because we just can’t win against “the system.” So what can I personally do? The national campaign StopArmut 2015 gives in the section “Was kann ich tun?” various ideas on how to behave here in Switzerland for such thing as a “better world,” since this week also with Deborah Pickering’s article about short time assignements. Another approach is supported by ChristNet, the Cukup project, initiated by Dominic Roser and Rahel Röthlisberger. So where do I start?

Political Event for Open Source Software in Bernese School Project
Saturday February 04th 2006, 10:19h
Filed under: Education, Linux, Politics

Last thursday various people of the Linux User Group Bern, WilhelmTux and other organisations hold an information event at the University of Bern about the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in education. Due to the large IT project (8.6 million Swiss francs) the city of Bern is planning, we felt it necessary to inform politicians about today’s and tomorrow’s possibilities of OSS. With several demos and case studies of realized Linux projects in schools the speakers convinced the 9 city councils of various parties (GFL, SP and EVP). Now contacts have been made between politicians and IT people so there will be more information campaigns going on in the next week to make the vision possible: The city of Bern is pioneering in IT education by introducing Linux and other Open Source Software on about 1000 school computers!

Some of the politicians listening to the presentations
Talking about Linux