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The Luxury of Ignorance: An Open-Source Horror Story

Eric Raymond has a written a great rant on the usability problems of many Open Source programs out there, using his trouble configuring CUPS as a specific example. Now, hmm... why does this seem familiar? Oh yeah, because I spent nearly a year trying to get a similar setup working, and still haven't been able to do so. CUPS/IPP sucks.

Read the full rant. A must read for for any FOSS users and/or developers.


I recently came across a review of the upcoming 5.0 version of the SkyOS operating system. I had come across this a while back in my try-every-operating-system-imaginable days, but this review got me quite interested in it again. Once version 5.0 is offically released, I'll definitely spend some time playing around with it.

Check out the full review, or get more information at the SkyOS home page.

Create Web applets with Mozilla and XML

I just came across this very informative article on creating web applets with XUL. It provides an introduction to XUL and Mozilla as a development platform, in the form of a tutorial for creating an online helpdesk system.

Now I gotta tell you, I spent a good many days playing with XUL over the summer, and it can be a real bitch to work with. However, it's a very powerful, cross-platform bitch. It's well worth learning, whether you want to create online applets, or offline applications.

Check out the full tutorial.

3 New Mozilla Releases

Yeah, baby!

The Mozilla Foundation today announced the final releases of Mozilla Application Suite 1.5, Mozilla Firebird 0.7, and Mozilla Thunderbird 0.3. Lets see if I can get all these links right:

Application Suite 1.5: download | release notes
Firebird 0.7: download
Thunderbird 0.3: download | release notes

Get 'em while they're hot!

How Much Office Functionality Do We Really Need, Anyway?

This surprisingly accurate article questions just how much functionality consumers need in an office suite. The author points to the recents statements of Microsoft's Jeff Raikes dismissing open source office suites as "being where we [Microsoft] were with Office 97." But, leaving reality for a moment and accepting that as truth, is that really such a bad thing? Consider: what important feature of any office suite component do you use that was not available in 1997? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Now, let's jump back into reality. OpenOffice 1.1.0, for example (since it was released just last week), does not contain every feature as Office 2003, or even Office XP. No one would say otherwise. However, it doesn't need every feature, as very many of them are pure fluff. In addition, it supports several features that MS itself can't match, such as native support for PDF and Flash export.

I strongly recommend reading this article. I know I mostly turned this post into a sales-pitch for OpenOffice, but that's neither my nor the author's intention. He questions the need to upgrade to versions of MS Office from any office suite, even previous MS ones, as they all contain the basic functionality that any office worker or home user could need. Definitely an enlightening read.

Open-Source, Closed Minds

Noted Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig posted a blurb about recent (failed) efforts to get the World Intellectual Property Organization to consider adopting and supporting "open and collaborative projects to create public goods," of which FOSS was just one example. Things appeared to be going smoothly at first, but once Microsoft started lobbying against these efforst, true ignorance was shown.

Read the full story. It'll answer a lot of questions about why our patent and IP systems are in such a sorry state.

OpenOffice 1.1.0 Released

Yeah, baby! Been waiting for this for a long time, and it definitely hasn't disappointed. Grab it while it's hot!

Download Sites
Release Notes
Highlighted Features
New features since 1.0

Update: 10/01 14:36 CST:Here's the official release announcement, as well as coverage.