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Archive for September, 2008

Not a standard debate

Not a standard debate

The battle over international standards for file formats promises to be a long-drawn one. Just when one felt that the embers were cooling with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) having accepted Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format as an international standard (after rejecting appeals from four countries including India), two developments threaten to light the coals again.

First, IBM is threatening to leave organisations that set standards for software interoperability over concerns that their processes are not always transparent (the ostensible references are to the ISO and Microsoft).

Second, according to sources close to the development, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) — which met in New Delhi on the 22nd of this month — is reviewing the ISO transparency issue while simultaneously exploring alternate standards which emerge from bodies like the W3C and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


Red Hat tops list of corporate Linux code contributors

Red Hat tops list of corporate Linux code contributors – Software Development Times On The Web

September 18, 2008 — When it comes to donating code to Linux, Red Hat is the company that contributes the most, according to Greg Kroah-Hartman, maintainer of the USB and other subsystems in the Linux kernel.

Speaking at the Linux Plumbers Conference, he gave a keynote address that examined the contributions of those who’ve made Linux what it is today. All of these lists tracked contributions as patches, not initial donations to Linux.

The overall largest contributions to Linux code come from individuals who have no apparent affiliation with any company, as Kroah-Hartman surmised by looking at their e-mail addresses. Red Hat came in second overall, with 11,846 patches.

By comparison, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, is the 79th most active contributor, with 100 patches. Kroah-Hartman said that such behavior on the part of Canonical will be detrimental to the company and the Ubuntu distribution over time.

“Then there are the distros that base themselves off of other distros, like Ubuntu and [Lance Davis'] CentOS. These distros have yet another layer between them and the original developers. Patches rarely, if ever, flow backwards into an upstream distro, and the developers are very unlikely to push their changes into the upstream packages as they don’t feel the need or don’t realize the issues involved as they rely on the upstream distro so tightly,” said Kroah-Hartman.


Red Hat Achieves Record-Setting Price and Performance Benchmark

Red Hat Achieves Record-Setting Price and Performance Benchmark

RALEIGH, N.C. – (Business Wire) Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux has achieved a powerful, record-setting TPC-C benchmark that demonstrates the rapid improvements that open source software can bring to overall performance and costs. In its fifth TPC-C result over 1M tpmC, Red Hat improved price performance to a level 20 percent lower than the best competing non-Red-Hat result with a combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 on an IBM System x 3950 M2 with the new Intel X7460 Xeon processor.

In its latest 1M tpmC benchmark, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 outperformed all other operating systems on price performance in the 1M range. The Red Hat-based benchmark system delivered 1,200,632 transactions per minute and improved the price performance to $1.99, delivering a 20 percent savings in comparison to competitors.1 The single system proves its capability to handle substantial transactional workloads with its ability to process over 20,000 transactions per second.


Collaborative Drug Research In India

CSIR launches collaborative research for anti-TB drugs- Healthcare-Healthcare / Biotech-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: India today launched a unique collaborative programme to discover drugs for infectious diseases common to the developing countries.

The ‘Open Source Drug Discovery’ (OSDD) programme, launched by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), aims to build a consortium of global researchers and bypass the patent regime, which makes drugs expensive.

To begin with OSDD, a brainchild of CSIR Director General Samir K. Brahmachari, has taken up research on discovering new drugs for treatment of tuberculosis, a field in which no major advancement in treatment has emerged since 1960.


Putting Profit Ahead of Wonder

An editorial from today’s New York Times.

Unboxed – When Academia Puts Profit Ahead of Wonder – NYTimes.com

In the past, discovery for its own sake provided academic motivation, but today’s universities function more like corporate research laboratories. Rather than freely sharing techniques and results, researchers increasingly keep new findings under wraps to maintain a competitive edge. What used to be peer-reviewed is now proprietary. “Share and share alike” has devolved into “every laboratory for itself.”

In trying to power the innovation economy, we have turned America’s universities into cutthroat business competitors, zealously guarding the very innovations we so desperately want behind a hopelessly tangled web of patents and royalty licenses.

Of course, there is precedent for scientific secrecy, notes Daniel S. Greenberg , author of “Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards and Delusions of Campus Capitalism” (University of Chicago Press, 2007). When James Watson and Francis Crick were homing in on DNA’s double-helix structure in the 1950s, they zealously guarded their work from prying eyes until they could publish their findings, to be certain that they would get the credit for making the discovery.

“They didn’t try to patent it,” Mr. Greenberg notes, “but somebody doing the same work today would certainly take a crack at patenting the double helix.”


Amazon to sell XO laptops

From the OLPC wiki

As it has been reported, One Laptop per Child will sell its XO Laptop on Amazon.com in late 2008 as part of a global ‘Give One, Get One’ (G1,G1) program. Although the first iteration of the ‘G1,G1′ program was extremely successful and sold more then 185,000 laptops, the delivery of the laptops in the USA did not run as smoothly as we anticipated. Selling the laptops on Amazon.com will provide us with the resources to process and ship the laptops globally in a timely fashion.

In addition, contrary to some media reports, it will be a Linux-based XO Laptop that will be offered as part of the global initiative and not a dual-boot machine running both Windows and Linux.


CUNY, Red Hat, and Intel team up

CUNY, Red Hat and Intel team up on tech lab – Crain’s New York Business

New York City’s tech geeks have a new playground. The City University of New York and tech giants Red Hat Inc. and Intel on Thursday morning will unveil the New York City Open Source Solutions Lab, the first such facility in town.

The center, located at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Institute of Software Design and Development in midtown Manhattan, is a state of the art facility where information technology professionals employed by the city government and other public agencies can develop cost-effective and flexible technology for city programs and services. The lab’s hardware and software was donated by Red Hat and Intel. CUNY will train students to help out with work being conducted at the lab. The cost to build the lab was not disclosed.

“The new lab is important to the city because open source is a trend,” said Ted Brown, the executive director of the CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development. “There is so much software that is being developed and will be developed that people should be properly trained to use it and made aware of it.”


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