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Mozilla Weave 1.0 now generally available - sync away!

By Sean Kerner   |    January 29, 2010

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From the 'Staying in Sync' files:

For the last two years, Mozilla has been working on a project called 'Weave' that enables users to sync their browser activities. Now at along last, Weave has hit version 1.0.

Weave is a Firefox add-on and unlike the bookmark sync that Chrome 4.0 users now enjoy, it's not directly part of a default Firefox download - though I personally expect that it will be - eventually.

I've been a Weave user over the last two years and really what has changed is the fact that Weave now actually works, and works really well. Frankly I could not do my job without Weave today.

Synchronizing bookmarks is one thing, but with  Weave you can also sync open tabs as well which is a very useful feature. Say you're on a work desktop and then go home. How do you remember what you had open at work? (assuming you really want to work at home). With Weave that's not a challenge at all.

The real key will be for mobile users, as mobile versions of Firefox start to proliferate. With Weave users will be able to move from desktop to mobile and back again in their browsing.

Originally the Weave plan was to develop a Mozilla Services back-end. With Weave 1.0 a basic level of that services back-end is now in place. It will be interesting to see how it evolves for Weave 2.0 and how Mozilla developers will (or won't) integrate Weave with Firefox Lorentz.

Wikimedia Gets New CTO

By Sean Kerner   |    January 29, 2010

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From the 'Knitting' files:

The Wikimedia Foundation, the people behind Wikipedia have a new CTO. Danese Cooper, who is well known in open source circles from the time at Sun and at Intel will take the CTO job starting in February.

Cooper is also a  Board member at the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and has a keen understanding of open source licenses. The first time I ever saw Cooper speak was at a Linuxworld San Francisco event in 200 where she was on a panel talking about open source licensing.

It was the strangest panel I have ever seen in my whole career as a tech journalist.

Then CEO of SugarCRM John Roberts who was also on the panel hurled a few questions at Cooper about how the OSI operates and gets to choose what is and isn't open source. While Cooper responded articulated and succinctly, she never actually looked over at Roberts or the audience. The whole time she was sitting on the panel she was -- knitting. (Don't get me wrong I have nothing against knitting - it's just not something i had seen before on a panel - or since).

Zend Framework 1.10 Joins PHP to Windows Azure

By Sean Kerner   |    January 28, 2010

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From the 'PHP on Windows' files:

Zend - one of the lead commercial sponsors behind PHP - and Microsoft have had an ongoing relationship over the last few years to make PHP a first class citizen on Windows Servers.

Now Microsoft is help PHP to take the next step, into the cloud.

Today Zend Framework 1.10 was released including support for Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services. Zend Framework is a PHP framework for application development and deployment that already has benefited from contributions from IBM, Google and others.

The new Zend_Service_WindowsAzure component was actually contributed by
Microsoft to the open source Zend Framework project. It enables to PHP developers to call Windows Azure APIs from within PHP applications. 

"The ubiquity, simplicity and flexibility of PHP make it ideal for
building cloud applications. Native Windows Azure support in Zend
Framework 1.10 brings the power of Windows Azure to a substantial
community of Zend Framework users,"said Zeev Suraski, Chief Technology
Officer and Co-founder of Zend in a statement.

Is this a  good thing for open source?

Sure it is. Azure is just another deployment option and with the new Zend Framework capabilities PHP developers now have yet another choice.

It's also great to see open source contributions from Microsoft like this one. Microsoft's goal is to make it's platforms the ones that developers - any developers PHP or otherwise - want to deploy on. By making this open source code donation they're making a good step forward in their goal, at least for PHP developers.

Is Ubuntu Cheating Mozilla with Yahoo Search Deal?

By Sean Kerner   |    January 27, 2010

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From the 'I Don't Like This' files:

Mozilla makes a good chunk of its revenues from a search deal with Google. So for all of you reading this blog on a Firefox web browser, Mozilla staffers that worked on this, were in part paid (indirectly) from that deal.

If you happen to be running Firefox on Ubuntu, that's going to change.

You see, Canonical the lead sponsor behind Ubuntu has struck it's own search deal with Yahoo. So Canonical will make money from Yahoo searches (really Microsoft now with Bing powering Yahoo search) to help fund their efforts.

The way I see it, that leaves the good people at Mozilla out of the money loop and I don't think that's fair. Sure it's open source and everyone contributes and then pulls back out of it and that's the way it works, but do Linux users really want a Microsoft powered default search engine for Firefox?? I don't think so.

So why is Canonical pulling this (boneheaded) move?

Oracle Owns Sun - What's Next for Open Source, Java?

By Sean Kerner   |    January 27, 2010

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From the 'Finally' files:

The long wait for Sun employees and customers is over as Oracle today officially announced that it has finally completed the acquisition of Sun. (My colleagues at InternetNews.com will be covering the full-day event at Oracle, so be sure to check that out).

With the acquisition now will come word on the fate of Solaris, Java and Sun's other open source efforts.  With Java in particular, over the last six months I've spoke with many Java stakeholders and there is a general trend in their opinions.

Java MUST remain open and Oracle must make the Java Community Process (JCP) more open than it was under Sun.

The JCP has kinda/sorta been an open process to date, but Sun has always held the master card.

Learn Linux for Free

By Sean Kerner   |    January 26, 2010

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From the 'So What Else is New?' files:

The Linux Foundation (the people that employ Linus Torvalds) today announced new free training sessions for Linux. The sessions that they've listed as free at this point are on some basic topics like Linux performance tuning and troubleshooting.

Then there are a few more developer focused topics like how to contribute to Linux and how to use Git.  No this isn't quite Linux for dummies, but hey it's free.

Considering the current economy, free is always a good thing right?

Then again, Linux education, at a basic level has always been free -- that's how I learned. Any Linux user - and i don't care which distro you use - has a built in learning mechanism that no other OS can match. It's called the 'man' command and though it's not perfect, it's a decent start.

Red Hat launches opensource.com with Drupal

By Sean Kerner   |    January 25, 2010

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From the 'Where is the OSI?' files:

Red Hat has just launched a new portal at opensource.com - for information and articles about open source. The site uses the Drupal open source content management system and it looks like Red Hat has been working on the site since at least October.

With opensource.com, Red Hat is following in the footsteps of the Linux Foundation with Linux.com which launched in 2009. Frankly I'm not sure that it's a good idea.

Red Hat has been a leading voice in open source since its creation and leverages open source for both technology and marketing purposes. With this new portal, Red Hat has yet another medium to push their message, which is good for them.

But it's not a broad open source as an industry message is it? It's more of a Red Hat as a leader message.

If you're looking for open source as a movement and as a licensing approach, you need to look no further than opensource.org which is run by the Open Source Initiative -- the people that actually define what is and isn't open source. Red Hat has always had strong representation on the OSI.

The current president of the OSI,Michael Tiemann is also Vice President of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat -- so there is a direct connection.

I don't know what direction opensource.com will take, but let's hope that it evolves to become more than just a marketing mouthpiece.

ReactOS Hits a Fork In The Road

By Sean Kerner   |    January 19, 2010

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From the 'If At First You Don't Succeed' files:

I've been writing about the ReactOS for at least five years (the project itself is more than 10 years old). It's an effort to try and replicate a Windows operating system in open source.

Originally it was all about getting a WindowsNT implementation -- which they never quite achieved -- then it morphed to support Windows Server 2003. Again not quite ever really achieving a fully usable status. So instead of keeping up the same old/same old approach that to date hasn't quite achieved all of its goals - ReactOS is now set to take a different path.

"ReactOS has been around for about 11 years, and it's been growing each year since then," ReactOS developer Aleksey Bragin wrote in a mailing list posting. "Time goes by, new versions of Windows operating systems are being  released. ReactOS usability still has not reached any significant value."

So what ReactOS will now start to do, is to leverage the work that the WINE project has been doing on the win32 system. It's an idea that makes a whole lot of sense, seeing as WINE has been working at replicating win32 for years (with some success, just look at CodeWeaver's CrossOver apps) while ReactOS has been focused on win32 as part of a larger open source windows implementation.

When Will Mozilla Lightning Strike?

By Sean Kerner   |    January 15, 2010

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From the 'Firefox's Cousins' files:

Regular readers of my blog know that I'm not a fan of the Mozilla Thunderbird email project lately - I personally think that the effort has been mismanaged. A related project that I've long been interested in is the Mozilla Calendar efforts which includes the Sunbird standalone calendar and the Lighting plug-in (for Thunderbird).

Unfortunately, much like the delayed releases of Thunderbird, Lightning and Sunbird have also suffered. Having a calendar component as part of an email client is a key component for those that seek an open source alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

Even though Thunderbird 3 has been out for over a month, the Lightning calendar plug-in - that likely should have been out at the same time - wasn't. As it turns out Lighting 1.0 Beta 1, the first update to Lightning in 16 months just came out this week.

The delayed Lightning has caused some concern, so much so that Mozilla developers put out a statement this AM to allay concerns.

"There seems to be some doubt in our community regarding the status of the recent Lightning 1.0 beta1 release in our release hierarchy," Mozilla developer Simon Paquet blogged. "So let me unequivocally state for the entire Calendar developers team We (the Calendar developers) consider Lightning 1.0 beta to be the best Lightning release, that has been released to the public so far."

Looking for a Linux job?

By Sean Kerner   |    January 14, 2010

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From the 'Working For A Living' files:

Years ago when I first started out with Linux, I remember talking to a recruiter about trying to find a job with Linux skills. The recruiter was clueless and asked me 'But do you know Solaris?'

Times sure do change, and while there is still a need for Solaris admins, there is undoubtedly a need for Linux admins too.

In an effort to help make it easier to find Linux jobs, the Linux Foundation today announced a new Linux jobs board at  http://jobs.linux.com/.

There are all kinds of stats including some self-serving ones from the Linux Foundation that point to a growth in the number of Linux related jobs. Without pulling any specific numbers, it's easy to observe that demand has grown.

Ten years ago, Red Hat was not as widely deployed as it is today. In 2010, Red Hat Enterprise Linux powers the NYSE, Navy ships, Airplane entertainment systems and thousands of enterprises. I'm specifically calling out Red Hat here as they have their own certification, the RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer)  that is now a decade old certification effort.

Mozilla Jetpack Won't Toast Add-Ons

By Sean Kerner   |    January 12, 2010

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From the 'Rocket Powered Add-ons' files:

I've been an avid user of Mozilla Jetpack - the next generation of add-on technology - since about May of 2009 when the project was first made public. I speculated as recently as November that Jetpack could spell the end for traditional Mozilla Firefox add-ons, it's not clear yet if I was entirely wrong.

Jetpack is set for inclusion in the Firefox 3.7 release later this year and with that has come all kinds of speculation about the fate of add-ons and where that leaves the millions of users of today's add-ons. Long story short, Mozilla is not in the habit of ever leaving its users behind and add-ons are no exception.

"Jetpack tries to make everything about Add-ons easier, from how they're
developed to how they're installed and managed," Mozilla staffers wrote in a blog post."If Jetpack becomes just
as functional and powerful as the existing system, then we'll talk
about whether migrating all extensions to the new platform makes sense.
It's far too early to have that discussion in earnest now, and to be
clear, no decision has been made about deprecating the existing system."

Nat Friedman Leaves Novell: Is open source in trouble?

By Sean Kerner   |    January 11, 2010

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From the 'Ximian' files:

Nat Friedman, the one-time CTO for open source at Novell is no longer at Novell. His last day was Friday. Friedman came to Novell by way of the acquisition of Ximian - a GNOME company he co-founded with Miguel De Icaza.

The first time I met Friedman was back in 2004 at a Toronto Linux event, when he gave, what was at the time, one of the first keynote speeches he had ever delivered. Friedman was passionate about the Linux desktop (since of course 2004 was The Year of the Linux Desktop...). No surprise since he did help to create the GNOME project after all.

Now he's gone from Novell, off to take some time off and then to another startup? Does this mean trouble for Novell? Maybe, then again maybe not.

"It's likely that when we're done traveling my next move will be to
start a company in the U.S., "Friedman blogged. "It's hard to imagine myself doing something
other than founding a startup. But you never know. I'm open to anything."

Why Nexus One is bad for Linux

By Sean Kerner   |    January 06, 2010

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From the 'Linux Inside' files:

With all the hype surrounding the launch of Google's Nexus one 'super phone' yesterday was one of the biggest Linux phone releases ever - or was it?

Google's Android sits on top of Linux, but it's my view that Nexus One is not necessarily a good thing for the mobile Linux community.

Remember back three or four years ago - before Android - and there was a lot of talk from various groups LiPS, LiMO and vendors like Motorola about Linux phones. The promise then was a truly open ecosystem where Linux was the base that would help to make phones easier to build and faster to develop applications.

In many respects, Android and nexus one deliver on that promise.

Yet the nexus one isn't about Linux is it? Can applications written for Android run on other Linux based phones in a similar way to how an LSB (Linux Standards Base) application can (potentially) run across any Linux distribution?

Why Yahoo Should Keep Zimbra

By Sean Kerner   |    January 05, 2010

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From the 'Acquisition Rumors' files:

Zimbra - the open source mail/collaboration vendor acquired by Yahoo in 2007 for $350 million, may now be up for sale. There is no official word yet from Yahoo, but according to a rumor that CNET blogger Matt Asay says he has been able to confirm, virtualization vendor VMware is the likely suitor.

Personally, I don't think Yahoo getting rid of Zimbra is a good thing - for Yahoo at least.

 As far as I know, Zimbra's email technology has (in some part) been helping to enhance Yahoo's own core email offerings.  With Yahoo now in a deal with Microsoft Bing for search, I see email as a core Yahoo owned and developed service for Yahoo. Sure Yahoo can (and does) have its own seperate email capabilities but Zimbra has raised the bar.

With Zimbra in hand, Yahoo is more than just a portal vendor that sells display ad space. Where Zimbra excels is in providing a platform for hosted email, something that big carriers like Comcast know and use today. Yahoo has branded email offers with numerous carriers around the world and Zimbra has the capabilities to add innovative technology behind the Yahoo brand.

Google Chrome passes Apple Safari, barely

By Sean Kerner   |    January 04, 2010

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From the 'WebKit Browser' files:

According to at least one browser share tracking vendor, Google's Chrome browser is now more widely used than Apple's Safari browser.

The latest December 2009 data from Net Application gives Chrome an incremental lead over Safari. According to Net Applications, Chrome has a 4.63 percent share while Safari holds 4.46 percent.

While Chrome now has (barely) past Safari, it is still far behind the number two and number one browsers. Microsoft's Internet Explorer commands a 62.69 percent share while Mozilla Firefox holds a 24.61 percent share.