☞ Transitions

  • This is a good and balanced article that is worth reading. At Sun I tried several times to get a Foundation started for OpenOffice.org and it had to happen in the end.

    Today was the day that the OpenOffice.org community (apart, significantly, from the Oracle-owned team in Hamburg) got tired of waiting for the fulfillment of the commitment at OSCON in 2000 to liberate the project into an independent Foundation and did it themselves. The Document Foundation has been a long time in the making, and has been created rather reluctantly, but it is broadly-based (not a Google or Novell initiative, regardless of what people are going to try to tell you) and stands every chance of success. I warmly welcome it, both personally and on behalf of OSI.

  • The new initiative was being weighed down by its association with Microsoft, so this rebrand is an essential step if they are to achieve the potential they speak about.
  • Key Solaris ZFS developer Jeff Bonwick quits Oracle.
  • The natural pathway for great ideas is for them to be integrated into the platform they use, and that’s finally happened to XMarks (originally FoxMarks). Maybe if they had use d a community-centric strategy they would have been the locus of innovation for web sync?

✈ Travel Security – A Modest Proposal

Jetting awayI have been travelling this week on Europe’s low-cost airlines, and have realised that there is only one way to make air travel secure, and that is to take security seriously and prioritise it above all other factors. We should learn from the most secure flights to date – operated by the US military for select trips to the Caribbean.

In future, all passengers aboard planes must:

  • Wear secured headphones for safety education and approved entertainment throughout flights, so that passengers cannot communicate with each other for co-ordinated attacks. It’s possible Apple or Sony might sponsor these, reducing costs. This measure will also reduce incidents of unlicensed use of music, especially as people cross market boundaries, so maybe the RIAA will support this.
  • Travel blindfolded. This prevents any awareness of location or time and ensures no targetted use of devices. This additionally defeats attempts to benefit from unlicensed movies, so MPAA sponsorship for the blindfolds is possible.
  • Travel naked. This reduces opportunities for concealment of devices, although security staff will still need to use powerful scanners pre-boarding.
  • Undergo sensory disorientation pre-travel, so that passengers do not know where they are seated or what the time is. This could be combined with the blindfolds and headsets.
  • Travel in limb restraints fastened to the seat. In addition to protecting against unexpected turbulence, this will prevent any attempt to operate devices. Airlines could consider tube-feeding so they don’t lose revenue from in-flight paid catering.
  • Require a pre-flight “hotel night” where they spend 12 hours before boarding naked in solitary confinement under observation. This will eliminate the possibility of devices being ingested. Boarding will only be permitted with evidence of defecation.
  • Flights must operate to unpublished departure and arrival schedules using undocumented routes. This has the added benefit that flights can no longer be late.
  • Business class passengers might benefit from loin-cloths during boarding and in-flight sedation so they are less impacted by security measures. They can also purchase use of video goggles instead of blindfolds.
  • First class passengers benefit from anesthesia and are boarded on stretchers. Choice of approved drugs available pre-boarding.

There are huge cost-savings achievable for the airlines here, as well as potential new revenue opportunities and sponsorships such as those indicated. The pre-flight “hotel night” will naturally be charged extra, the need for in-flight entertainment systems is eliminated since no-one can see, hear or operate them, on-board toilets and galleys can be removed and replaced with extra seating and on top of all this far fewer staff are needed and training can be reduced.

RyanAir appears to be field-testing some of these ideas already. All for your safety, comfort and convenience, of course. Relax, sit back and enjoy the flight!

☂ Why Open Source Is Free

My classic (read: several years old) essay on Payment At The Point Of Value has finally made it on to the Essays page on this site. Now that community-centric open source is once again returning to centre stage, PPV is a relevant concept to understand the roles different community members play in relation to the software, and especially the different freedoms they are exploiting – beyond free-as-zero-price.

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