Getting to Know Simon Phipps and his Thoughts on Open Source
Thursday June 26th 2008, 8:59h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Politics, Research

Although my night in Zurich’s cheapest hotel wasn’t very relaxing, I got up early enough to meet Simon Phipps, Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer, in his much nicer hotel. We went with the train to Bern where we discussed several interesting issues such as IBM’s deadly weapon to destroy Sun or Google’s absence in own contributions to OSS projects. In Bern we visited the Informatikstrategieorgan Bund where Simon introduced us to Sun’s open source strategy and gave many other interesting statements:

SharePoint: While Microsoft is very open now by e.g. adopting ODF in its products, SharePoint itself seems to become Microsoft’s next layer of locking.
OOXML-ODF: Complete conversion from one file format into another is very difficult and can’t be fully automated as true language translation e.g. from German in French cannot (yet) be done by machines either.
Levels of open source: While releasing pure code is the minimum requirement for being open source, Simon added two more layers of doing open source software - being transparent in the development process and eventually enabling open participation by accepting contributions by external players (admitting e.g. only recently entered stage three).
Evolution of the OSS industry: From 1980’s till 1995 Free Software was mostly community-driven development by volunteers, from about 1995 till 2005 corporations started to use OSS and opening up proprietary software, parting from 2005 firms began to realize the benefits of external contributions thus opening up also the processes of creating OSS
Return on OSS investment: Rule of thumb - When governments buy proprietary software, each Franken creates 7 other Franken for their economy. When governments use open source software, each Franken creates 20 more Franken for its economy. Thus, public administrations should start using more OSS!

Thanks a lot for your interesting insights and great to meet you again at OpenExpo 2009 in Bern (April 1/2, 2009) !

Meeting the open source guru of Sun

Will the new Preisüberwacher ever criticise Microsoft again?
Thursday June 19th 2008, 7:31h
Filed under: FLOSS, Politics, Private

In 2000, the Swiss ‘price supervisor’ Werner Marti criticised Microsoft for unfair license prices. No wonder, this role in Swiss administration has to take care that market prices are reasonable and that monopolies are not missused by greedy companies. While so far, the position of the Preisüberwacher was executed with great tenacity, the new person - Stefan Meierhans - who is honoured with this duty runs into the danger of weakening anti-trust in Switzerland. We, /ch/open, and several other organizations (Free Software Foundation Europe, Digitale Allmend, Wilhelm Tux, The Alternative, and Linux User Group Oberwallis) doubt the independence of Meierhans, top manager within Microsoft Switzerland. Therefore we sent out a press release (PDF, ODT) stating our concerns, demanding explanation of the Bundesrat for this decision and transparency by Meierhans how he will distance himself from his current employer.

Update 2008-06-19: It seems like the press release had hit the mark - basically every Swiss IT online news channel and even heise Germany did take up our message: Heise, Netzwoche, Computerworld, PCtipp, iTReseller, InfoWeek, and

Press Release

Oranjes in Bern
Wednesday June 18th 2008, 0:24h
Filed under: Private

The dutch fans are fun and have a lot of fun during their stay in Bern at the European championship 2008. No wonder, winning 3 of 3 games! Some impressions of todays siteseeing tour downtown. (some Romanians were discovered as well)

Click-through gallery

The Flash slideshow was made with NetGEN Gallery and JW Image Rotator - everything open source of course, Serge!

Onshore offline
Friday June 06th 2008, 23:35h
Filed under: Private

Let’s hope the sun is indeed shining at the Golfo del Sole so my first offline-week since years will not be that painful ;)
(will be back online on June 15th - just in case the world stops spinning till then)

Update 2008-06-15: Back from great family vacation I selected 177 of the over 1000 photos we took with our new Canon EOS 450D.

Flying Lionel