48 posts • joined Saturday 17th May 2008 07:03 GMT
Re: Nice results generally
I can't agree more, we all need to give a hat tip to Mozilla for restarting the browser wars. There was a time when most of us would be using either IE or Netscape, and now all the major browsers are viable choices with only subtle pluses and minuses. As for all the trollish comments elsewhere, if whichever browser pisses you off so much, quit using it and use a different one. Or get your head out of your ass, learn how to code, and develop your own 'perfect' browser.
Well you obviously believe the typical U.S. news media hype on the Gates Foundation along with those impressive numbers that always get touted in the press releases. The world press however, along with several indie news media sources here, are much more adept at reading between the lines. One of the most wasteful aspects to all contracts the Gates Foundation has with companies providing services and meds to African nations is that they are EXCLUSIVE to Big Pharma and a handful of corporate entities. That means only corporations like KBR (forever linked with Haliburton and Team Bush) get to bid on those contracts, and even meds can only be purchased from Big Pharma (Pfizer, Abbott, etc.) as much more economical generics are excluded from the bidding process. Since these companies take relatively huge cuts for their services and products, markups in the hundreds of percentage, the actual dollar amount that ends up as an end result is a lot smaller. So yeah, it's great when Gates is dumping millions into this project and that cause, but this isn't like he's doing this for altruistic reasons, he's making himself and handful of others rich and richer at the expense of those who need help the most, and he's doing it in a deceitful way.
Re: Change the time frame?
For any IT geek who hasn't read Steven Levy's, "Hackers" you should go out and buy it. Such a great narrative on the early days of the computer industry back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Development was filled with innovation, collaboration, and sharing of ideas. Now we live in a time where proprietary walled gardens isolate everybody and everything from each other, with the priority always focused on short term profits that benefit the select few. The Steve Wozniak Apple computer existed in a completely different culture compared to the Steve Jobs Apple computer.
It is something of a mess. This is half-dreaming, half-logic but IT departments need to express to upper management the issues involved. If anything, make all staff who insist on using their own devices to sign off on a waiver. In a lot of places general staff resent controls put on their computer usage by IT -- they want the authority to do what they want and how they want under a claim of productivity but they don't want any of the responsibility of their own actions should they cause a serious problem.
Re: RE: Pete Spicer
>> not just fanbois who accept anything he has as gospel.
It's really obvious you like to make assumptions off of your own biases. It's also very clear you're either not aware of the Open Source community or that you just don't bother to even read up about it much.
I remember the whole matter differently
I see a little revisionist history in this article. From what I recall, it wasn't the low cost and minimal resources that made the netbook market dwindle, those two factors are what made netbooks so popular. It showed the PC manufacturers there was actually a huge market of people who wanted cheap, affordable devices to do things like check their email, write a letter, and listen to music. A lot of non-techie people simply didn't want or need a full blown laptop. I also recall back around 2008 when we all were coping a global economic downturn, it was the surge of netbook sales that helped keep a lot of computer manufacturers going.
Both Intel and Microsoft hated netbooks because the limited profit margin didn't fit in with their typical high-markup business models, and they also took steps to minimize netbook adoption (i.e. putting artificial caps on hardware specs). Despite the Intel/MS hate on the netbook line and the manufacturers odd choice to use only minimally functional Linux distros when much, much better options were available, netbooks were still quite popular, more in the EU than in America. In retrospect, netbooks did have their limitations but there was also a lot of bad marketing that helped confuse a lot of consumers by making netbooks out to be some kind of cheap laptop option when they clearly were not, by design they were NOT supposed to match the functionality of any typical 'laptop'. MS bullying the manufacturers to turn netbooks in Windows PCs (quite a mismatch) and Apple bringing out the iPad were two big factors in the death of netbooks. Hard to diminish the impact of tablet devices on the PC market as whole even.
There's a very distinct difference between any school environment and a workplace, equating the two because you have to wear a RFID badge is puzzling. An adult not being able to determine the difference between a student/teacher/staff relationship and an employee/employer relationship even more so.
I see this whole matter as yet another Tea Party style waste of time that pushes real issues out of public debate.
That said, if some states like Texas were to actually secede from the United States they would find life to be really hard -- almost all the conservative-leaning states have been a long-term net loss when it comes to what they contribute vs funds/resources they receive on a Federal level. Basically, they're all acting like teenagers wanting to move out of the house because want to act like, well teenagers. Once Mom and Dad aren't around to pay the bills, the world starts to look a lot different.
Google vs Bing or Gmail vs Hotmail
Looking back, this article sort of reminds me of comparisons made between Hotmail and Gmail. For years MS had let Hotmail fester as a massive spam pool while Google has applied a pretty good filtering process all along. Outlook.com appears to be a lot more 'clean' than Hotmail (including MS's many relabeling stunts over the years -- Windows Live Hotmail, MSN Hotmail, etc.) so I wonder if MS will focus on cleaning up Bing also. It's clear that MS is committed to keeping Bing (aka Live Search, Windows Live Search, MSN Search) a viable service, it's dumped a lot of money and resources into Bing even though it has yet to make any kind of profit in a financial/bookkeeping way.
Re: sovereignty only important for your country
I hold Assange in much higher regard. I'm assuming you consider him to be a 'douche bag' either because of some character trait you find objectionable and/or because you have conservative beliefs on how governments should operate completely separated from the commons. But generations from now, historical documentation tends to filter out a lot of the bias and subjectivity every current society gets mired in, and information exposed by sources like Wikileaks will be a part of that.
>> Meanwhile, those same tech titans' employees have contributed just $87,000 to the campaign of Obama challenger Mitt Romney, all told.
Sadly Mr. Reagan isn't aware of a guy all of us IT folk remember fondly as Bill Gates. His Gates Foundation slips billions and billions of dollars into sectors focused on conservative ideology -- segregated charter schools over all-inclusive public schools, Big Pharma drugs over cheaper generic meds, selective contract bidding over hiring local workers, the list goes on and on.
Whatever amounts companies like Google and Yahoo donate to whichever party, it's insignificant pocket change compared to what the Gates Foundation gives to indirectly support conservative causes. (Add the direct funding from groups like the Koch Brothers and Dick Cheney's ironically named Better America Super PAC and it's less than insignificant.) Reagan is spitting out numbers that have absolutely no meaning when taken in context to any kind of comprehensive analysis of what kind of money is backing either party.
>>Seriously, why pass over cheap Android tablets that are "not-relavent tech"? It's more likely that these kids will be using iPads in the future, so teaching using the most popular tech will achieve the better results.
It's the same as using Microsoft products. Okay, they're not cheap, but they're relavent where most of the desktop PCs are using this stuff.
That's regressive thinking. As far as non-Apple tablets, there are issues like lower overall cost and flexibility for teachers to teach what they feel is appropriate, not what Apple allows them to. (Apple is a tightly controlled, fee-laden, walled garden where apps and the content they have access to are limited.) Content management is a serious issue when it comes to school-aged kids and I don't think that should be determined by a company like Apple. Public good and social services are not very high on Apple's list of priorities.
Regarding Microsoft software, there are clearly equal or better alternatives. Simply because they were given monopoly status by the U.S. government and it spread like a cancer worldwide does not mean everyone should just give up and let that situation remain that way. And for those of you who have short memories, the computer world was not always dominated solely by MS products. MS Office and Windows may dominate now but I'd be surprised if that holds true in another generation. Kids in grade school now will be seeing a very different IT world as they grow up and get into the workplace, locking them into a path of status quo is short-sided. Plus, while older folk are resistant to change, kids are much more flexible.
This is all just pure speculation but I imagine right now, sitting in a nearby office there's an Apple-Peru office staffer with a bunch of empty gas cans scattered around him and the burned out left-over stub of a safety flare in one hand.
In a day or so, we'll all be reading about Apple starting a huge lobbying campaign in Lima to put iPads in all the schools down there.
Re: What's all this then?
It's not just the Maldives, for well over a decade now several low-lying Pacific nations have been discussing the affects of Global Warming and the rising sea levels. The governing bodies on the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tarawa, and many others have been forced to look at migrating off their home islands because of rising ocean levels within the next few years. They are looking at their own offspring, future generations, who will no longer have a direct tie to their past because 'the civilized' part of the world's population is still in denial about global warming. Relocating a sovereign nation is not a task anyone takes lightly and it's not because of some silly, trivial reason, cutting yourself off from your heritage and homeland is a drastic step to take. Some Polynesian cultures have been around thousands of years longer than 'Western' societies -- this isn't some cyclic change in ocean levels, those are gradual occurrences (in a geographic sense). What we're looking at is a severe climate induced change. (Again, in a geographic time frame.) Satellite images show global ice caps are shrinking, weather patterns are shifting, and ocean levels are rising, yet no matter how much solid, documented proof there is, when somebody in the middle of Illinois looks out their back window and sees snow they dismiss climate change as B.S.
World's 3 most popular? Taking into consideration WinXP's still high market share numbers their choice to use IE9 in the testing indicates they were using some other performance metric than 'popularity'.
...and I agree with the numerous posts that Opera should have been included. This study lost some relevance to me as Opera has more than earned its status as a modern, viable web browser.
Auto-update for most applications is a disputable reality. It's only a partial solution. As one of the previous comments already mentioned, using a computer with administrative privileges is a bad idea. Maybe more of an issue with WinXP than Win7 but still relevant, and this is definitely a issue that contrasts corporate systems and consumer systems. In most big companies the general user login account is a restricted one, limiting what the user can do, especially when it affects the operating system. It's the responsibility of the IT department to maintain and update things. Most home users use their computers by logging into a account they set up with administrative privileges, most unaware that's not a safe way to do so or some simply not patient enough to have to log out and into an administrative account for occasional maintenance.
You're distorting the truth
Your rant is very misdirected. The protest was going to be a statement about police brutality, a serious and prevalent problem here in the U.S whether you're aware of it or not. Stating it was some kind of boost for drunks attacking people is either ignorant or intentionally misleading. BART's solution may or may not have been best idea, and resulting action by Anonymous is just as questionable. This is a complex problem that at the very least has gotten some public exposure, but your diversionary mis-truth linking BART's shutting off a means of communication to 'freedom' is so Tea Partyish it's disturbing.
Regretfully in agreement
There was a time when I would try to be more 'diplomatic' about such a statement and try to avoid the word, "stupid" in favor of, "ignorant." But watching America's crumbling infrastructure aided by the solid public support of the Bush administration and the current level of Tea Party extremists' control of Congress, I stand corrected. The word, "stupid" IS being diplomatic as it doesn't really represent what's actually going on.
BetterPrivacy add-on for Firefox
>> Previously, the only way to delete Flash cookies was to use an online settings panel that was confusing for many users.
The BetterPrivacy FF extension has always allowed you to manage your LSOs, and in a very granular way. You can delete them all manually, or selectively, or periodically, with options to clean out LSOs when you start FF or quit it. Recently I've also seen other FF extensions like Ghostery include wiping LSOs too.
I never trusted Adobe's online settings panel. It had a quirky interface, required you to actually be online, and relying on a company like Adobe considering their history of security and privacy issues take a great leap of faith.
>> I'm not massively pro-MS
Your MS astroturfing works well in non-tech forums where consumers don't necessarily live and breathe IT issues but it just aren't very effective on sites like here, Ars, etc.
>> Fine, we get it, many people don't like Microsoft.
Just the way you phrased your first sentence is a tip-off. In the general public's eye, which often has a very short memory, that's a nice way to start off your statements. But most of us know MS has a well-documented and sadly consistent history full of reasons WHY we don't like MS.
>> Some things are best left to the professionals. Thanks Bill!
Actually quite a few more enlightened and less self-centered people do care. Your love for MS Office is fine for you, but some of us prefer to support projects following Open Source ideology. Now that I've sank to your level of being a patronizing, trollish dupe I've got to stop and my apologies to all who even bothered to read this.
Not completely useless and not a ploy
Online security and privacy issues are a major problem and Mozilla throwing their hat in the ring with this announcement is hardly a marketing ploy. Microsoft has already made similar press releases about this with IE, and also Google with Chrome. The aspect that is 'useless' is all three parties are focusing on fixes for their own environments instead of collaborating on a common, universal solution. There's a detailed explanation by Steve Gibson on a recent, "Security Now" podcast.
FBI scrutiny is one-sided
The FBI's press release reminder is a little scary considering its obvious bias. If they were also investigating the DDOS attacks against servers hosting Wikileaks than I'd feel a lot more comfortable. Reminds of a time in our history when it wasn't a big deal for a white guy to kill a black guy but if a person of color even talked back to his 'superiors' than it meant jail time or even worse. The fact that we've sank to the point where laws only apply to a select few is disturbing.
Mainstream news media has done a great injustice by only pointing out the fluff and entertaining messages that Wikileaks has revealed. At least the indy news media sources have the fortitude to point out numerous state policy issues that so many foreign governments find so damaging.
...and coincidentally my first computer was also a Mac. There's no denying Steve Jobs has made significant contributions to the consumer computer market and I respect him immensely for that. But this is just an offhand observation -- it seems like the past couple of times he has taken time off for medical issues (2004 and 2009) each time he comes back, it's with more of an anti-consumer attitude. I don't recall Apple being such a walled-garden environment, embracing DRM and restricting its users, until the past few years.
Find it hard to trust Adobe
I still rely on the BetterPrivacy add-on for Firefox to clear all the LSO's that build up when I'm online. Whether Adobe offers a cleaner user interface than that weird Flash Cookie web site before doesn't give me any more confidence in Adobe's ethics. The whole premise for LSO's is quite insidious -- they're not just some kind of enhanced browser cookie, in principle there's deception included by design.Sadly, Adobe's stance on privacy is no better than on the security aspects of their products.
Bringing back memories
It was only three-four years ago I had a contract with a public school system. The relatively small elementary school I worked out of for about three years had about 75 computers (staff and classrooms) total and just under half of them were iMacs, the majority of them being these same G3 Bondi Blue models. By current standards they certainly weren't snappy but the kids never seemed to mind. (It's notable that the kids could bounce from new to old Macs and Windows PCs without major issues. But on average, adults, the teachers and staff, tended to always stick with one platform or the other and would freak out if even an icon for a common application would change on the Desktops.) Anyway, those photos of the iMac tear down gave made me twitch a bit from the memories. Upgrading something like RAM on a PC was just a matter of popping open the case, or on later model iMacs where they put an easy access, round hinged hatch on the bottom side, but as mentioned in the article, doing the same for one of these original iMacs required a clear space on a table and some planning.
Regarding the matter of CRT displays dying, out of the thirty+ iMacs I don't recall a problem with any of them. Being in a school those iMacs could get pretty beat up but the displays weren't a problem. Extracting pencil leads (from a typical mechanical pencil) from those front-mounted audio ports was a problem for a while. And of course occasional damage to peripherals like keyboards and mice. Hated those stupid round, puck mice. I was actually glad when one of those mice would get damaged or a kid would steal the ball inside so I could replace it with a more conventional one.
>> it is Berners Lee who really deserves to be taxed with the far more significant failure
Things like HTML, TCP/IP, DNS, etc. were never developed to function in such a complicated, high volume way. Today's Internet was never imagined to grow into such a massive monster that it is now. There are so many facets to online technology that were never intended to be taken to the level they have today. Take Flash for instance -- originally it was just for simple, animated games and graphics, then it grew into a standard media delivery mechanism (hopefully to be replaced sooner rather than later by something like HTML5). Blaming Berners Lee for not designing something absolutely no one had any idea would come to fruition is too simplistic, that's ignoring relatively recent history and applying baby-logic to complex issue.
Microsoft however has a very well documented history of cutting corners, killing competition, and stifling development simply to increase its own revenue stream. People, even in the tech media, keep saying personal computing wouldn't be at the level it is now but what they fail to see is how much further along we would be if other technologies and companies would have been allowed to grow and prosper (a true 'free market' environment, not the highly modified American-style free market).
On the flipside
Yeah, I know what you mean. I've worked a few PCs that came out of smokers' homes. But a while ago a girlfriend gave me her old PC when she upgraded and besides getting a still decent computer I liked it because the scent of the perfume she always uses was coming out of the exhaust fans in back.
>> Nothing seemed to translate right.
If that was indeed the case then it's pretty clear implementation was a problem, and more than likely intentional. I can see occasional problems with problematic documents but if the IT staff couldn't get past 'nothing seemed to translate right' than there's a much bigger problem that school district needs to deal with. I've seen a lot of problems working with various versions of MS Office that are more complicated than MS Office <<>> OpenOffice.org issues.
>> When OpenOffice get that right (make sure that Excel Macros run flawlessly)
Macros are a feature that include vendor lock-in by design. Microsoft most definitely does not want others to dabble in their costly, proprietary products. They change and add code and specs all the time not only to add features (sometimes known as bloat) but also to complicate compatibility issues. Reverse engineering a moving target is far from easy. Blame Microsoft before blaming OpenOffice.org.
Video manipulation in Linux
>> They run the software from Adobe, Apple, and Avid that's preferred by professionals
I'm going to dispute the lead-in sentences.-- I don't think Linux is in any way a back seat driver when it comes to professional usage of Linux in the professional video world. Take Pixar. Their production boxes run Linux, not OS X (Jobs founded Pixar). Any number of Hollywood movies, big and small were cooked up on Linux systems. Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Shrek, The Matrix, Titanic, and plenty more all used a significant amount of Linux horsepower in their creation. As for consumer use, most people use whatever was bundled with their computers or pay for the big proprietary programs that are backed by extensive marketing and promotion.
My needs are much more modest but I've used Avidemux for years now and it's taken care of just about all my video editing/converting/tweaking needs.
Re: Oh dear
Please re-read the article -- Oracle has not been a friend to Open Source. Also, note that this actual project, 'OpenOffice' cannot be referred to by the media as OpenOffice because that name is a legally owned trademark by another company. That's why it's actually named, "OpenOffice.org."
ZoneAlarm used to be a good product
I used to really like ZoneAlarm years ago when it was still owned and developed by ZoneLabs. It was very effective and had lots of easily configurable controls. Then it got became really bloated and full of ads (mid 90's). This latest Check Point mess doesn't give me any confidence to try ZoneAlarm again either. While the Win 7 firewall seems quite effective and can stand on its own, I've got at least some doubts with the integral firewall in WinXP since it offers only one-way protection. That's OK for the most part and better than nothing, but the past few years I've used Agnitum's Outpost on WinXP set ups. Feature-wise it reminds me of what ZoneAlarm used to be, with a GUI that's much more sparse and basic. Doesn't use a lot of system resources either.
Re: Flash is great
>> You dinosaurs would still rather be working on computers running unix or dos with a green screen VDU.
Personally I like both a terminal window and a dancing GUI making mindless sound effects. But both have their own appropriate situations, and I think almost all computer users young or 'dinosaur' feel the same way. The problem with Flash is Adobe has failed in an extreme way to allot proper development resources to optimize and secure it. To Adobe's credit, if you think back to when the Internet was just starting to gain so much general usage, Flash was originally aimed more at animated games and then it's usage for things like online video just grew almost organically. There really wasn't a lot of viable alternatives at the time, like HTML5, WebM, or Silverlight, etc. But getting back to the point, most techies don't hate Flash for what it is and making silly blanket accusations is pointless. I think a more accurate sentiment is the wish for an optimized, cross-platform stable, secure Flash that just works. A proprietary-free environment would be even better. Adobe's refusal to a) give Flash better development support, or b) Open Source it to allow better development support is disappointing. HTML5 is gaining lots of momentum and Flash could become more and more irrelevant.
Web-based email services
>> since Flash is used by Gmail and other web-based email services
That statement is misleading since such services can USE Flash but they most certainly don't NEED Flash to function. An example would be a Gmail user being able to view a Youtube video that's part of a message they received. But outside of something like that Flash is not a necessary part of any webmail service I'm aware of. I just don't want to see people being spooked about some kind of vague distinction that webmail services are more or less vulnerable as that isn't the case.
...that maybe some legal action on the State or local level might turn out to be more effective. I believe that there is still a lawsuit brought up by one or more of the families involved. But it's still so very disappointing the Federal courts didn't care to follow up on this matter. This sets a very bad precedent for other school districts/systems -- the Lower Merion school officials lied about the facts in a Federal investigation and the conclusion is there was no criminal intent? It's mind-boggling that Federal prosecutors think it's OK to spy on students even when they are not on school grounds and that photographic monitoring of families in their own homes is acceptable. I wonder how long it will be before every baby born in a hospital will be, by law, required to have an I.D. chip implant (that also includes GPS)?
Some commenters here are actually taking a deep offense to this? We (Americans) casually and blindly accept the drone bombing and killing of innocent civilians in Pakistan as a vital part of our government's blanket 'War on Terror' and THIS is what gets some people all fired up?
Gee, thanks Oracle. I use OpenOffice.org for myself almost exclusively (and hopefully the Oracle top management won't do this same treatment of OOo) but I tend to see mostly MS Office situations as far as work issues. MS has done a really bizarre and sloppy adoption for Open Document formats so it was nice to have an ODF plugin from Sun itself to fall back on. News of this expensive, 'free' change is disappointing to say the least. Even if the plugin wasn't Open Source previously and this absolves Oracle from any FOSS issues, it's still disappointing to see Oracle maintain their usual 'corporate' stance on things even as minor as a supplemental plugin.
Oh well. I still have the free (to download and to use) older ver. 3.1 installer that just gained more 'sentimental' value.
That original Streaming Learning Center article is getting way too much online attention. The author did a limited test and posted simplistic results. Comparing Flash to HTML5 in a performance benchmark test at this time is pointless. Of course Flash will do better in selected platforms with hardware acceleration support, Flash has had years of well funded development to mature, HTML5 has not. Once there is more adoption of HTML5 and its developers get similar time and financing, THEN do the kind of tests Streaming Learning posted.
The most obvious omission in that article is it focuses solely on statistics, but leaves out the Big Picture. (...and anyone who has any familiarity with statistical analysis knows how easy it is to manipulate results simply through omission.) HTML5 will certainly catch up performance wise, but the real issue is the massive software patent problems we in the U.S. have crippled the Internet with. Blind acceptance of Flash simply because it's the dominant web video technology won't solve the problem, it just hampers progressive development overall.
Re: Hate in the post?
>> Will people now start to hate Samsung purely because they are bigger than anyone else?
Tired of hearing this simplistic analysis regarding Microsoft. It's baby logic to think MS is scorned so much simply because it's size. The problem is the unethical and immoral business style MS has used to become a government sanctioned monopoly. MS doesn't offer better products, it rigs the system to the point where there's no real competition.
Wozniak has earned a spot in computer history
i disagree with this article and its tone. Steve Wozniak has been a major influence on the consumer computer market. He crafted really clever, innovative engineering tweaks in the early days of what we now call desktop computers, something that has significantly changed our society. For whatever reason Mr. Myslewski has some problem with Wozniak and has chosen to emphasize what he views as minuses while ignoring and minimizing the pluses.
Embrace, Extend, Extinguish -- that's been a Microsoft standard for almost all its history. If people in the right places don't see this and fail to apply applicable restrictions to MS's participation, this could be the beginning of the end for the adoption of SVG as a viable standard.
Unfortunately, the public is not as 'overexcited' as it should be
>> That arrangement maybe your lock-in. But it's my choice. I only wish AIR (Flash) would be as flexible.
I'm sorry and this will seem like I'm flaming but statements like these are simply a rough rationalizations to continue using Silverlight, but certainly not valid reasons why to do so. When you grow up and have kids yourself, it becomes second nature to see past their sometimes bizarre justifications to get permission or squeak out of a punishment. Silverlight gives choice? Comparing it to AIR is kinda/sorta worth an argument, but a more expansive and practical discussion should be the contrasts between Silverlight and HTML5.
Lectures also on youtube
This is good PR for Bill Gates to push both Silverlight and his philanthropy, but if you have issues over either one or both just go to youtube.
As for the 'Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation' lovers, you do realize that choosing private and charter schools over public schools is a trend that breaks one of the strengths that used to be an important part of America's foundation -- every child is entitled to an education. Our current shift to every child with money or contacts gets an education is a dangerous social path. Another B&M Foundation PR statement is all the money they've pledged to African health care, with the added 'read the disclaimer in fine print' -- the majority of medicinal contracts are earmarked for Big Pharma corporations. Generics lose out, so do the people who need those meds. The big dollars go to the ones who need it the least. The list goes on and on about Bill's philanthropy, but
once you start examining each one there's a lot going on between the lines.
I was kind of hoping Becta's documented reluctance to Vista and Office 2007 the past couple of years was an indicator that something like the more logical adoption of Open Source software was in someone's head. In retrospect it was probably just an issue about computer system resources and the typical IT testing/development for such a large implementation. Bummer.
Far too judgemental
I have to agree with the previous commentators -- this article has 'prejudice' throughout. Opera's Unite might not be something I'll be signing up for but I still see it as another innovative idea to add to Opera's already long list of accomplishments.
The B&M Gates Foundation is a mainstream press darling for all the money that gets donated, but keep in mind a very, very selective process is involved on who gets that 'redistributed wealth'. For instance, when Bill Gates does a photo op for a donation to an AIDS clinic in Africa, the amount is in the headlines of all the newspapers, but what gets left out is the fact that the money goes to contracts with big pharmaceutical corporations for drugs with extremely high mark-up. Generics and/or alternative medicines are minimal players in the game, if at all. So yes, there's a big donation involved, but the results are diminished because so many people need to get their 'cut' first. I live in the Chicago, IL area and there are always headlines about money coming from the Gates Foundation for our schools, but again, the mainstream media leaves out the part that the focus is often charter schools over public schools, a situation where those who have the greatest need get the least. Then there's the hypothetical question -- taking into consideration Bill Gates previous public statements about philanthropy, his history with Microsoft, and a basic time line of law suits against Microsoft -- would he even be doing this if US tax laws didn't allow donations to be tax write-off/deductions?
XO just another MS monopoly victim
Looking back at all the recent problems OLPC has gone through recently, this is just a very disappointing but not surprising change in direction. Now that the XO will be competing with major manufacturers as just another low-end laptop it will be interesting to see if it's new pseudo-nonprofit status is enough of a distinction to keep it alive for very long. In any case, the OLPC project was an inspiration for the Open Source community, and full of examples of what can be accomplished, what to avoid, and what to do better. But my heart sinks when I think of all the kids around the world who are definitely going to lose out in this 'jump the shark' change.
As for Nicholas Negroponte, I remember when news of OLPC was just coming out two-three years ago and how surprised I was to learn he was the brother of Team Bush member John Negroponte. I guess they're not so different after all.