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Open Source and Money · Si­mon Phipps made a speech at OSBC (he claims that, what­ev­er was re­port­ed, this is what he meant). Ben Rock­wood, who’s a re­al­ly smart guy, is elo­quent­ly re­volt­ed by OSBC in gen­er­al and Simon’s mes­sage in par­tic­u­lar. [Ed. note: I have a bunch of tech­noth­ings to write about which I’ve been putting off till mid­sum­mer brain­dead­ness abates, but this is too ur­gen­t.] ...
 
Mad at Microsoft · We have a 2002-vintage Athlon 1800 white­box run­ning Win2K in the liv­ing area that’s used for slide scan­ning and games; the kid plays Ton­ka con­struc­tion games, and he and I both oc­ca­sion­al­ly dip in­to the Need For Speed se­ries. Nel­son Mi­nar wrote a piece on Eve On­line that made it sound in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­en­t, so I thought I’d take a look. Eve would load but not run, looked like a video driv­er prob­lem, so I went and got what looked like the lat­est for the old GeForce 2 Ti from the NVidia site, and by fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions pre­cise­ly, re­duced it to 640x480 pure-VGA mod­e. Lau­ren (des­ig­nat­ed Win­dows hack around here) was able to get it more or less work­ing again but now it runs nei­ther Eve nor Need for Speed. (Yes, we have the lat­est Direc­tX and all the Win­dows up­dates and all the ob­vi­ous things). Wel­l... could get a nice new Mac and dual-boot it as a games box. Or could up­date it to WinXP which would prob­a­bly come with the right driver-ware by de­fault. Of course, both of these mean buy­ing XP. Off the shelf, the Home up­grade is C$150, but we can’t use that be­cause it on­ly up­grades from 9x and ME. The XP Pro up­grade is C$250. Which is to­tal­ly, com­plete­ly, in­sane­ly, ex­or­bi­tan­t. And I ain’t gonna pay. Good­bye, Need for Speed.
 
Oracle vs. Niagara · Last week I was in Ed­mon­ton, and spent some time talk­ing to the lo­cal Sun of­fice and some cus­tomer­s. One of the things we talked about was our “through­put com­put­ing” prod­uct line, which is com­ing, uh I be­lieve the par­ty line is “late this year or ear­ly next year”. I like to talk about this stuff be­cause in the Web-centric world where I live, a highly-parallel low-wattage ma­chine hits a bunch of sweet spots at on­ce. (Al­so, it presents in­ter­est­ing soft­ware prob­lems.) Out there in the field, they seem to like it too; then on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions I heard “But we wouldn’t be able to use that.” I asked why, and they ex­plained that Oracle’s id­i­ot­ic per-core pric­ing for­mu­la would make it pro­hibitive­ly ex­pen­sive. Hey Or­a­cle, Sun isn’t the on­ly com­pa­ny that’s go­ing to be ship­ping highly-parallel com­put­er­s, and if there’s a tech­nol­o­gy out there that meets a lot of cus­tomer need­s, and you’re stand­ing in the way of them get­ting it, all you’re do­ing is mov­ing the FYO point clos­er and closer.
 
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