Can Money Buy Love? Microsoft and Open Source
Monday July 30th 2007, 8:23h
Filed under: FLOSS, Linux

Last week, Marc Holitscher, lead Platform Strategy of Microsoft Switzerland, and I had a stiff-necked email discussion on the role of Microsoft within the open source community. While we had such discussions before at /ch/open OBL or OpenExpo, this time we went little more in detail. I pointed out the interesting FAQ “Is this a new strategy?” doesn’t get answered at all on the website where as other relevant ones such as “How does Free and Open Source Software threaten Microsoft’s current business model?” and “In which areas and how does Microsoft still today oppose FOSS and open standards?” aren’t posed yet. For me, this new website is just another CSR bluff like it can be observed in other industries such as in the coffee market concerning Fairtrade activities e.g. the one of Nestlé. Marc replied he’ll discuss the FAQ issues in a f2f conversation and explained his believe in the change of firms and humans - also if not altruism are their cause.

Then, a friend draw my attention to Miguel de Icaza’s blog post on Microsoft’s announcement sending its Shared Source Licenses to OSI for ‘open source certification’. I must admit his comments and the quotes have somehow changed my mind a little bit and brought me back from the idealistic to the more pragmatic track. Although Miguel has his own agenda on why to cherish the relationship to Microsoft, the basic question remains: What makes the difference between Google, IBM, Sun etc. and Microsoft concerning their commitment towards FOSS?

For me, it’s credibility. While Microsoft has finally received a as well and accomplished some faint tries to actually CODE something (although heavily critized), there is no comparision to the long lasting and much more substantial open source contributions of other industry players. It’s clear that no company does anything without benefits for their own and that’s absolutely OK like that. But depending on their actual activities they’ll receive more or less credibility and support by the ’software community.’

And it’s definitively not the marketing department which can buy community love by spending money on sites such as the open source link of Microsoft. It’s the acting of the operating business which is relevant - and this is particularly in the current OOXML vs. ODF dicussion destroying every single bit of Microsoft’s credibility.

Participating in the Outer Realm of the Scribus Community
Monday July 23rd 2007, 22:52h
Filed under: FLOSS, Linux, Ubuntu

Today I finally finished layouting the OpenExpo booklet with Scribus 1.3.4. Although this newest version still crashed a lot it was really a great experience layouting a high resolution 16p brochure (34MB) with a professional open source DTP software. In the end I had some troubles creating Evince-readable PDFs. Finally with the help of Riku Leino, developer of Scribus, through their IRC channel #scribus I exchanged the OTF with TTF fonts and everything worked fine. Nevertheless, one error I had to report into the bug tracking system. Now let’s hope the printers don’t screw up - an edition of 20′000 copies is quite a tree massacre. If you’d like to receive a copy of the booklet sign up in the new OpenExpo newsletter before Aug. 8th, 2007.

Screenshot of my Unbuntu Desktop with Scribus 1.3.4

Back to Hack
Thursday July 05th 2007, 0:12h
Filed under: Linux, Research, Ubuntu

Today was quite a lucky hacking day. First I wanted to analyze 370′000 newsgroup messages for our research project on Eclipse. So after learning from Hannes the easyness of PEAR using the Mail_Mime class to parse my mail box, I tried today Net_NNTP in order to spider all the Eclipse newsgroups and download their message headers. Well, as I projected my super inefficient algorithm takes approximately 30h for all messages, so still about 20h left…

require_once ‘Net/NNTP.php’;
$nntp = new Net_NNTP;
$ret = $nntp->connectAuthenticated(”USERNAME”,”PASSWORD”,””);

//Go through all groups
$groups = $nntp->getGroups();
foreach($groups as $group) {

  //Select one group and iterate through all message IDs
  $data = $nntp->selectGroup($group[’group’]);
  $msgs = $nntp->getOverview($data[’first’], $data[’last’]);
  foreach($msgs as $msg) {
    //Print out raw message headers
    echo $nntp->getHeaderRaw($msg[’number’]);

Then later tonight I had a problem with a damaged video DVD including recordings from Lionel. Creating an ISO image and then trying to burn didn’t succeed since only 1/4 of the DVD got copied. Luckely on Gentoo Wiki I found the hint to ddrescue, a nice little GNU tool which copies all available data and ignores the errors. Thus I finally succeeded to copy the 2.7GB, excluding only 262kB of missing data due to reading problems.

Program Published OpenExpo 2007 in Zürich
Monday July 02nd 2007, 8:21h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Linux

Last week we published the presentation schedule and project exhibition of the upcoming OpenExpo on Sept 19/20, 2007 in Zürich. The highlights are really nice - great thanks to Google Zürich!

Speakers: Chris DiBona (Google), Georg C.F. Greve (Free Software Foundation Europe), Dr. Michael Lauer (OpenMoko), Kurt Bader (Kt. Solothurn) etc.
Open source projects:, GNOME, Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, Fedora, Gentoo, OpenBSD, TYPO3, Joomla, Moodle, Zimbra, Asterisk uvm.
Specials: free access to presentations and exhibition, Google Social Event, reduced LPI exams, LiSoG Open Source Cocktail, Open Source Jungle Tours
Sponsors: Google, HP Switzerland, SyGroup

Now the hard part starts, the layout of the event booklet. We plan to print a 16p A5 brochure in a edition of 20′000 copies by the end of July in order to mail it to all available addresses. Inspired by the Ubuntu Full Circle Magazine I played around with Scribus. The new version (1.3.4) is really again a great progress, now even offering crop marks and other features necessary for professional printing. So this time it seems like we’re succeeding to write in our little booklet: “Created with open source software only” ;)