Microsoft vs Mandriva: The plot thickens

Jonathan Carter has an update on the goings on regarding the Classmate PCs in Nigeria:

The plot has thickened as more details emerges in a PC World article.

The funder of 11000 of the 17000 classmate PC’s is insisting that Mandriva remains on the machines, at least for now. This will have a big impact on the project as a whole, and Mandriva might just yet be the default system on all these machines after all.

In the article it also mentions that the Microsoft country manager for Nigeria, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu wrote that Microsoft is working on an agreement with the Technology Support Center (which seems to be an independent service provider in Nigeria) to pay them US$400 000 for marketing activities around the classmate, if they switch to Windows.

Hopefully this means the door is not cloased on Mandriva.

While I can understand the stakes are high for Microsoft, if only half of this is true, their ethics need questioning.


idea jam – Linux support for Quickr Domino version

I haven’t specifically blogged about the idea jam yet, I wasn’t lucky enough to be involved in the beta testing, but have since signed up and been having a look around

Today created my first idea!

idea jam – Linux support for Quickr Domino version

Bruce and the guys have done a great job getting this up and running, now we need to support it by throwing in our ideas!

So if you haven’t already, sign up!

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Mandriva Vs. Windows

Yet more strange decisions regarding software choices where Microsoft is involved.

François Bancilhon writes an open letter to Steve Ballmer regarding the news that Mandriva Linux will be replaced by Windows XP on the 17,000 Classmate PCs for Nigerian schools.

We actually closed the deal, we took the order, we qualified the software, we got the machine shipped. To conclude, we did our job. And, the machine are being delivered right now.

Now, we hear a different story from the customer : “we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.”

This raises so many questions, both business and ethics. How much pressure and money did MS throw at this?

We will probably never know the truth, and it is likely not going to swing back Mandriva’s way. Unfortunately. Such a shame that so many children will have there first computing experiences tarnished by politics and an out-of-date OS running on low powered hardware.

It is the apparent lack of ethics and arrogance that Microsoft seem to be showing that really gets my goat.

Plenty more commentary out there including this and this.

The BBC "committed to platform neutrality"

An update on the iPlayer situation, after the beeb apparently was trying to avoid committing to a download service for Linux and Mac OSX.

The BBC must deliver an online TV catch-up service that lets users of all computers download programmes, the corporation’s regulators have said.

A good example of where regulation can be a good thing.

Lets hope this can bring longer term benefits to non-Windows platforms as they get a higher level of attention from some pretty clever tech folk at the beeb.

Now if only this wasn’t restricted to UK residents!

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10 Rocking Features in 10 Days – Countdown to Ubuntu 7.10

As we close in on the release of Ubuntu 7.10, codenamed Gutsy Gibbon during the development cycle, we thought we would tell you a little bit about some of the new features and improvements that make the release exciting. So over the next ten days, we will talk about one rocking feature each day until the 18th of October, when Ubuntu 7.10 goes live.So what is in store for you with 7.10? We’ll be looking at the following features:

  • Starting today, desktop search via Tracker and Deskbar
  • Improved usability for configuring the graphic environment, with features such as Bulletproof-X and Graphical X configuration
  • Spectacular desktop visual effects by default, brought to you by Compiz-Fusion
  • Improvements in Firefox plugins, including Gnash installed by default
  • Fast User Switching for those with shared machines
  • Printer auto-detection
  • Better handling of non-free drivers (including firmware installation)
  • Improved security with AppArmor
  • Easier access to your files on Windows with NTFS writing

Exciting times for an Ubuntu user! This series of articles is one to check out over the next week-and-a-bit.

Here’s the first, explaining what we’re getting related to desktop search.

Linux elegance and aesthetics

In terms of elegance and aesthetics, Microsoft and Apple are many years ahead of Linux.

451 Group analyst Raven Zachary

Ignoring Mac OSX for now, I’m not sure what this is being based upon. I’ve been using Ubuntu since 5.04, and in its current form I’d say it is every bit as elegant and aesthetic as Windows XP.

I’m not sure Mr Zachary is being fair calling the Linux OS “scrappy”. Is he talking about the OS, the UI, the applications, or all three? Comparing just the Linux OS with Windows, which one would likely justify the description given proper investigation? The UI, if comparing Gnome and KDE with Windows Vista, he has a point, but if we don’t need or want the effects, its a much closer call. And as for the applications, I think we’ve all had to use some pretty poorly designed UIs for applications running on Windows, right? (Mentioning no names! ;-))

RED HERRING | Lenovo or No, Linux Not There Yet

IBM support for Ubuntu

James Governor of RedMonk raised a question that has come up a few times in the Lotus blogsphere, on the subject of Ubuntu as an IBM supported OS.

I mentioned the fact that DB2 is supported on Ubuntu, a fact which doesn’t really fit with some of the justification for not supporting Lotus Notes and Domino, that Ubuntu is not an “enterprise” operating system.

James followed up this morning, and wonders whether

Ubuntu really just isn’t seeing much in the way of enterprise adoption as yet

Sounds like a chicken and egg situation to me!

Ubuntu is an extremely popular desktop distribution, so in my opinion, chances are support for software like Lotus Notes on Ubuntu would go a long way to opening the door to further enterprise adoption. I realise this is not an adequate cost justification, but if we’ve managed to get the Notes 8 Beta running on Ubuntu by ourselves, my guess is there isn’t a hell of a lot that IBM would need to do to get this sorted.

One other point I have mentioned before (can’t remember where!) is that with Ubuntu support, could IBM Lotus not look to provide more of an “appliance” (along the lines of Nitix), if not for production, at least for testing or demonstration purposes?

With a consistent support for Ubuntu across the IBM portfolio, they could potentially provide a serious offering to the SMB market. Taking the appliance approach and therefore “hiding” the underlying technologies somewhat, certain barriers to entry could be eliminated, at least from an install / admin standpoint.

Good luck trying to get more on this one James, there are lots of us very interested in where it could lead!