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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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