Real innovation happens in FLOSS and GNU/Linux where the pace of innovation sometimes is annoyingly fast. In the last few years, FLOSS has brought us the cloud in real measure, better and faster IT generally, Android/Linux and “apps”, more distros and rearrangements of the desktop than you could ever think of shipping, and most amazing of all, growth of >100% in users at a price of $0 to end-users.
Italy's High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica, the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.
The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating system as "a commercial policy of forced distribution". The court slammed this practice as "monopolistic in tendency". It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these programs or not.
Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.
One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.
Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.
The new mayor of Munich is a self-proclaimed Microsoft fan and he wants to waste all the money that was invested in moving away from Microsoft’s vendor lock and incompatible technologies. His deputy is also a Microsoft fans so it’s not surprising that the new office of the mayor wants to bring back Microsoft technologies.
But that will be a very dangerous move for Munich.
Josef Schmid, teh deputy, points out two issues with LiMux – one is incompatibility with Microsoft technologies and other was increased support calls.
Incompatibility with Microsoft products is a huge problem and it’s a problem for everyone who is using Microsoft technologies. Linux or Open Source are not the cause of the problem as Schmid says, they are victims.
Then what is the cause?
In a recent interview one of the directors of The Document Foundation disclosed how Microsoft users various tricks to break compatibility and that leads to people like Schmid to blame open source technologies without fully understanding where the problem lies.
Microsoft is copying competitor’s models so vigorously that they should move their head quarters to China. After pushing ‘cheap’ (in terms of price and performance) Netbooks to combat Chromebooks, Microsoft is now about to flood the market with ‘cheap’ Windows tablets.
Toshiba is going to be the first company to launch cheap 7-inch Windows tablet. The tablet will be launched at IFA tradeshow in Berlin.
Microsoft is well known for spreading FUD to harm their competition. A business strategy that may work to some extent, but is also a sign that Microsoft lacks confidence in their own products.
Microsoft recently published a Microsoft Educast on YouTube where they compared Chromebooks to Windows 8 laptops. The video has been set to private in the meantime, I suppose the feedback wasn't very positive.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft can't see many good things in Chromebooks, admitting they are super low-cost, but of course there are reasons for that. In the 9 minute video they manage to get several things wrong though. Maybe not as embarrassing as other MS FUD campaigns, but still worth a closer look.