LCA 2010 Thursday
Jeremy Allison on ‘The elephant in the room – free software and microsoft’. While he works at Google, this talk was ‘off the leash’ – not about Google . As usual – grab the video We should care about Microsoft because Microsoft’s business model depends on a monopoly [the desktop]. Microsoft are very interested in ‘Open Source’ – Apache, MIT, BSD licenced software – the GPL is intolerable. Jeremy models Microsoft as a collection of warring tribes that hate each other… e.g. Word vs Excel.
The first attack was on protocols – make the protocols more complex and sophisticated. MS have done this on Kerberos, DCE/RPC, HTTP, and higher up the stack via MSIE rendering modes, ActiveX plugins, Silverlight… The EU case was brought about this in the ‘Workgroup Server Market’. MS were fined 1 Billion Euros and forced to document their proprietary protocols.
OOXML showed up rampant corruption in the ISO Standards process – but it got through even though it was a battle against nearly everyone! On the good side it resulted into an investigation into MS dominance in file formats -> MS implemented ODF and MS have had to document their old formats.
MS have an ongoing battle in the world wide web – IE / Firefox, ajax applications/ silverlight.
All of these things are long term failures for MS… so what next?… Patents . Patents are GPL incompatible, but fine with BSD/MIT. The Tom Tom is the first direct attack using MS’s patent portfolio. This undermines all the outreach work done by the MS Open Source team – which Jeremy tells us are true believers in open source, trying to change MS from the inside. Look for MS pushing RAND patented standards: such things lock us out.
Netbooks are identified as a key point for MS to fight on – lose that and the desktop position is massively weakened.
- Keep creating free software and content *under a copyleft license*.
- Keep pressure on Governments and organisations to adopt open standards and investigate monopolies.
- Lobby against software patents.
- Search for prior art on relevant patents and destroy them.
- Working for a corporation is a moral choice: respectfully call out MS employees.
Jonathan Oxer spoke about the google Moon X-prize and the lunarnumbat.org project – it needs contributors: software and hardware hackers, arduino/beagleboard/[M]JPEG2000 gooks, code testers and reviewers, web coding, documentation, math heads & RF hackers. Sounds like fun… now to find time!
Paul McKenney did another RCU talk – and as always it was interesting… Optimisation Gone Bad (RCU in Linux 1993-2008). Linux 2.6 -rt patch made RCU much much much more complex with atomic operations, memory barriers, frequent cache misses, and since then it was slowly being whittled back, but there is now a new simpler RCU based around the concept of doing the accounting during context switches & tracking running tasks.