Archive for December 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – January 1, 2011

The Illusion of Apple Innovation…

I was recently reading an article that I won’t justify with a link. In this article, the author was putting in a great deal of effort trying to say that all Google has done with Android is copy Apple, and that Apple is actually the true innovator. I’ve read this position time and time again. I’ve even seen it in Apple’s own marketing. I think what makes this so annoying is it’s complete lack of truth. Let’s look over some of Apple’s products, shall we?

Macintosh:

Let’s start with the original Macintosh. What’s innovative about the Macintosh? Well, it’s an all in one personal computer with the first commercial GUI. All in one computers were nothing new when Apple made the first Macintosh. Commodore was making them in the 70s. The GUI? Well, that wasn’t an Apple innovation either. They copied the work from Xerox Parc. So, one of the greatest Apple innovations ever is just a combination of two things that other companies had already done? Yay for Apple. From there on, Apple has done nothing but build on this idea.

iMac:

It almost turns my stomach to even include this category. The iMac is innovative? No, it’s really not. Again, Apple pulled out the all in one computer. The original Macintosh was an all in one computer, why is this innovative? Because it’s blue? Not exactly new. So what the heck is innovative and original about the iMac? Someone please educate me. Please?

iPod:

The iPod is a music player. It’s a glorified Walkman. The only real difference is the fact that it plays digital music instead of from a CD or tape. It wasn’t even the first device to do that. I owned an MP3 player before Apple even hinted at the iPod. All Apple did is take an idea that had already been implemented by someone else, and made their own version of it.

iPhone:

Ah, the illustrious iPhone. True innovation at it’s best? Hardly. The iPhone interface is a blatant ripoff of the interface used by the Palm Pilot. Apple prettied it up a bit, but essentially the iPhone’s interface in 2007 is the same as the Palm Pilot’s interface in 1997.

iPad:

Another one that nauseates me. This one for several reasons. The biggest? It’s just a giant iPhone/iPod. That’s what Apple did. They took the phone interface that they’d already copied from Palm, gave it a bigger screen, and called it something new. On top of that, this is not the first Tablet computer either. They’d been made by other companies for years. So, again, Apple took an idea that someone else had, added another idea that someone else had. That’s it!

Conclusion:

Apple has been hailed as an innovative company for literally decades, while it seems like anybody and everybody that competes with Apple is only stealing their ideas. At least that is what I’ve seen the Apple faithful claim over and over again. They’ve done it with Microsoft. They’ve done it with Linux. They’ve done it with Google. Seriously, the Apple faithful can’t even come up with a new and innovative argument! Apple is not the end all be all innovator. Most of their ideas didn’t even originate at Apple! Please, can we lose this tired old argument?

Of course, you’re more than welcome to correct me. Please. I’d love to hear something new and original.

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 31, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 30, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 29, 2010

Linux in Russia

Today it became known that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed a time table to implement Open Source software all over the Russian government. This includes Linux. This begs the question, why aren’t we? There are many inherent advantages offered by Open Source and specifically Linux.

1. Let’s talk about security.  First of all, I’m not even going to address the people that blather on and on about how Windows 7 and IE 8 are really, really secure. When it comes down to national security, everything should be checked. Linux and Open Source software are really the only environment that you can literally check every single line of code in an Operating System. The United States Government can hire their own developers to line by line check each bit of code before it’s even compiled and used to verify that there are no hidden back doors or other security violations. That just isn’t possible with an Operating System that’s not Open Source. That’s not even considering the multitude of viruses and the host of malware applications that threaten Windows and even the Macintosh everyday. Do those threats exist for Linux? No. More than that, the way that Linux handles it’s permissions and security makes it virtually impossible for them to exist at all. The people out there that claim that Linux would be just as vulnerable if only it had the market share to motivate an attack don’t take into consideration some of the very basic things that are present in the Linux Operating System that prevent that from happening.

2. Ease of Use. Linux is often thought to be the hobbyist’s Operating System. Too difficult to use for the lay person. This just flat out isn’t the case. If the United States Government were to implement Linux, most people wouldn’t even need to be retrained to use the new Operating System. Quite literally, the skills that they already have would be more than sufficient to use Linux. LibreOffice (Open Office) is close enough in it’s setup that anybody that’s used Microsoft Office could jump right in. Web browsers that exist for Windows already exist for Linux. Further, any applications that are used on a Linux system that are also Open Source share the security advantages mentioned in section one. Do you honestly think that Microsoft would allow anyone, even the United States Government, to go line by line through Microsoft Office and verify that their code is secure? Even if they did, can you imagine what it would take to get any fixes implemented that would be required to actually make that code secure?

3.  Cost.  OK, let’s imagine a world where Microsoft just gives away Windows and Office and never asks you to pay one thin dime for the privilege of using it. After you’ve all calmed down from your hysterical laughing fit, we’ll assume for the moment that this is actually the case.  Even if Windows and Office were free of charge, Linux would still be cheaper based on it’s higher stability and better security. Of course, we all know that Microsoft is going to take it’s pound of flesh. As each dollar goes from the tax paying American’s pocket into Microsoft’s, it should become more and more obvious that Linux and Open Source is the better answer.

There are a lot of reasons that the United States Government should seriously consider following in Russia’s footsteps and adopt both Linux and other Open Source software as their standard. Cost, ease of use, and plain old national security. These reasons should be enough to tip us in that direction. That really begs the question, why haven’t we already done it? For that question, I don’t have an answer.

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 28, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 27, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!