Daily Archives: October 9, 2007

Unless he fails in DonValley West Progressive Conservatives must to stick with John Tory


Unless he fails in Don Valley West Progressive Conservatives, in Ontario, must stick with John Tory, like glue, no matter what happens in this election. John Tory has a personality, great intellect and an eagerness to think out of the box. His business savvy has made him an important asset to the PC Party. Unfortunately the religious schools issue, albeit an honourable endeavour to fix an issue that Dalton Mcguinty was unwilling or unable to handle, cost him a substantial amount of votes in this election. He remains everything that Ontarians want all politicians to be. John Tory is a rarity, and he almost seems “too good” for politics. Maybe Ontarians were just shocked to see a politician that was actually honest? It was just not normal, which also explains his popularity. It seems unlikely that John Tory will be Premier; however I would not count him out yet. I will wait until October 11 for the final tally. We should remember that Dalton McGuinty did not win in 1999, but he became premier in 2003. Bob Rae lost elections before he finally took power in Ontario. Most importantly, among many voters, he came across as an honest man that people actually liked. The polls also suggest that Tory himself is more popular than his party and Dalton McGuinty. This says a lot about the character of John Tory. He obviously left a lasting impression on the voting public. Even if the Tories were to lose, they would be fools to put all the blame on John Tory. I would say that all of the right-wing conservatives who are opting not to vote in protest of John Tory and soft Liberals, who want to vote for Tory but won’t are to blame. Being from the Don Valley West riding myself, it shows a lot of courage for him to actually run in a riding, not considered a “safe seat”. If John Tory wins his riding of Don Valley West, he deserves another try. If Dalton McGuinty becomes Premier, and we go through another 4 years of “fiberal” politics, I am certain he will be the premier the next time around.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

An in-depth look at Puppy Linux


Puppy, with a download as skimpy as 28MB, is well suited to older computers, thin workstations, and diskless PCs. This article looks at the value of Puppy Linux on normal PCs, and reviews its features, flexibility, capability to peacefully coexist with Windows, ease of use, and limitations.

With hundreds of Linux distributions available, how do you determine which one is right for you?

Start by listing your needs. What will you use it for? Which features are important? How would you prioritize them? Which features don’t you care about?

Once you’ve developed your “user profile,” measure it against the strengths of different Linux distributions. Linux is configurable and gives you the full control you expect from open source software — so theoretically you could probably tailor (or strong-arm) almost any Linux distro into meeting your needs. But with hundreds of distributions to choose from, it makes more sense to select the most suitable Linux distro for your requirements.

Puppy Linux is one of the twenty most popular Linuxes worldwide, according to the distro-tracking website Distrowatch. Puppy’s distinct personality makes it of interest to those who want a Linux that…

* Includes all the applications required for daily use
* Works right out of the box
* Is easy to use, even for Linux newbies and Windows refugees
* Runs fast and performs well — especially on limited hardware
* Runs on old computers, thin clients, and diskless workstations
* Installs and boots from any bootable device, including USB memory sticks, hard disks, Zip drives, LS 120/240 SuperDisks, CDs and DVDs, rewritable CDs and DVDs, and network interfaces

Unlike most Linux distributions, Puppy is not based on some other distro. It was created from scratch to meet these goals.

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Invest in transit now, not later


In reading the history of Toronto and the TTC, high investments were made in public transit, which helped the TTC become one of the top transit systems in North America. However during an episode of the Agenda with Steve Paikin, which airs on TVO, one of the panelists mentioned that we need to make investments in transit now, not later. He pointed to the fact that Toronto’s population was at the size of the Mississauga’s, Brampton’s and York Region’s of today and they were digging subway infrastructure. Fast forward to today and places like Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and York Region are bursting at the seams and there is no talk of subways or light-rail. With the Move 2020 plan, the Liberals essentially promised to build pretty much everything that was, and is, on the books. I am not sure I believe that the 17+ billion dollars will be spent (this is Dalton McGuinty); however I do hope that this plan has been carefully thought out. How do these plans help to move large amounts of people quickly and defiantly? Should we not be talking about subways and LRT’s for places like Mississauga and Brampton? We have band-aid solutions now, like the Viva bus service and ideas for BRT right-of-ways, but what about heavy investment in transit. What purpose does bringing the TTC service to Vaughan serve? YRT/VIVA should concentrate on building service for York region, not only relying on Toronto. People do not necessarily head only to downtown now. Hurontario, in Mississauga, would be perfect for an underground subway. Where are the brave politicians, like the days of the old TTC guard, who will make the investment in public transit? If we continue to move down this ‘slow’ path, the Greater Toronto Area will eventually come to a stand-still. We do not need personal political projects that ensure politicians get elected. We need some brave individuals that we put their reputation on the line and do the right thing. Let the people in the know, use their knowhow and get the transit job done for GTA residents now, not later.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

October 9, 2007 – Did Dalton McGuinty just get a free ride or a free advertisement on CFRB this past hour?


The ‘Dalton McGuinty Show’ just aired on CFRB, between noon and 1PM. In an effort to be totally unbiased on this issue, I did listen to all of the leadership candidates and in general they all did a great job. Albeit I did not think that the Green Party leader, Frank De Jong, needed to have someone from New Zealand? But that is beside the point. What was particularly disturbing is the free ride or shall I say “free advertisement” Dalton McGuinty just received via CFRB. We have not had an opportunity to see Dalton McGuinty truly answer questions, which may not necessarily be easy to answer, from the electorate. All events have been choreographed and staged extremely well. When pressed by reporters to answer difficult questions, Mr. McGuinty, ever so skillfully and tactfully, avoids the question. What is more upsetting is the fact that he essentially got 1 hour of “free” radio time to promote his agenda. I am not sure but I almost felt like I was in a trace or radio mind meld, so maybe he is Vulcan? It actually at one point sounded like a ‘Liberal Love-in’ at one point. I wish more stringent guidelines were placed on all of the leadership candidates, for their respective shows. Maybe next time producers of the show will be more careful to ensure that each leadership candidate answers questions from the electorate, and not avoid and ignore us completely. With one day left before the election, Dalton McGuinty successfully used CFRB, to his and the Liberals advantage, as a tool for his inauguration.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Microsoft’s Ballmer calls out Red Hat with more patent threats


It seems that Microsoft is feeling a bit threatened again. With Microsoft Vista “tanking” and arrows coming from all sides it seems that Microsoft is back to scare tactics and fear again. With Red Hat still in control of the server market, on the Linux side, Microsoft seems to feel that it can “bully” them into paying their “extortion fees”. It almost sounds gangster like, but we are talking about technology, not crime. It would be nice to see Microsoft actually “show” what these patent infringements are!

From ZDNET.com
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is back on the “Linux violates our patents” kick. But this time, he’s calling out Red Hat, specifically, for allegedly infringing on Microsoft IP. And he’s hinting there could be other patent challenges coming to open source from companies like Eolas. At the UK launch of Microsoft’s Startup Accelerator Programme last week, Ballmer said it’s only a matter of time before the leading Linux distributor is going to have to pay up for allegedly violating Microsoft IP. As reported by VNU.Net:

“‘People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us,’ Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.”

Red Hat execs said earlier this summer that Red Hat isn’t opposed to working with Microsoft on the interoperabiity front, but that it has no intentions of signing a patent-protection agreement, like those inked by Novell, Linspire and Xandros. Under those agreements, Microsoft has agreed not to sue customers using those vendors’ Linux distributions (as long as they are not covered by the GNU General Public License Version 3) for a set period of time. In order to secure this indemnification promise, these vendors agreed to license Microsoft IP that the Redmondians claim is part of Linux and other open-source products.

It seemed Microsoft was going to try to let controversy die down, following claims earlier this year that free and open-source software violates 235 of Microsoft’s patents. But it looks like Ballmer has decided — maybe because no new Linux vendors have signed patent-protection contracts with Microsoft recently — that it’s time to rattle the patent sabers again.

Every time Ballmer opens his mouth on this issue, it seems to me he undoes any goodwill that Bill Hilf (who recently received a promotion and is now General Manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy) and his team had done to build bridges with the open-source community.

Groklaw.Net noted that Ballmer’s latest remarks go further than simply claiming that Red Hat is violating unnamed Microsoft patents. During the aformentioned Q&A, Ballmer hinted that Eolas — the company that sued Microsoft for browser patent violations and won a settlement with the Redmondians — might be the kind of company to go after Linux and open-source vendors for patent violations. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but wonder if one of the terms in the Eolas-Microsoft settlement might specify that Eolas lodge a patent lawsuit against Red Hat or other open-source vendor. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Groklaw also highlighted another Ballmer remark from the Q&A:

I would love to see all Open Source innovation happen on top of Windows. So we’ve done a lot to encourage, for example, the team building, PHP, the team building, many of the other Open Source components, I’d love to see those sorts of innovations proceed very successfully on top of Windows.”

What kinds of incentives (monetary and otherwise) might Microsoft be offering open-source vendors to get their software to “proceed very successfully on top of Windows”? Did Microsoft pay Novell anything (money, resources, indemnification promises, etc.) to help get Silverlight ported to Linux? Interestingly, neither Microsoft nor Miguel de Icaza and his Moonlight team says they are at liberty to discuss that issue….

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Hampton warns against Liberal majority


With just one full day of campaigning left before the Ontario election, NDP Leader Howard Hampton spent today trying to chip away at the chances of a Liberal majority government. At a campaign stop in Oshawa, Ont., Hampton disparaged Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty at every turn.

Hampton warned voters that a majority mandate would give McGuinty free reign to spend taxpayer money as he sees fit, break promises and possibly raise taxes. Hampton pleaded with the public to keep McGuinty “accountable.”

“Voters are telling us they don’t believe Dalton McGuinty, they don’t trust Dalton McGuinty and they don’t want Dalton McGuinty to have a majority government because they know what happens,” Hampton said after meeting with NDP candidate Sid Ryan at a Tim Horton’s in Oshawa.

“A day after the election all the promises mean absolutely nothing.”

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The Ubuntu coming out party! But where is the marketing and advertising effort from Dell and others?


The final release of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) will be released shortly and Dell has indicated that it will be pre-installed on some of their Notebooks and Desktop PCs. It will include GNOME 2.20 and the default installation of NTFS-3G, which provides read/write access to Windows (NTFS) partitions. Also included is Compiz Fusion, the 3-D window manager and desktop effects package. Improved plug and play printer support and a host of other features. However the story of success does not rest in the fact that Dell is offering its support to Ubuntu. The big question is the marketing and advertising of Ubuntu Linux. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is still the best Linux distro available, for the commoners. However, why is there so little advertising of Linux? Is there a reason why Dell is not fully backing Linux? Ubuntu has a chance on becoming a big player for Linux enthusiasts and possibly people who want a PC, but for online and basic home PC usage. But, the progress will continue to be a slow one, as long as no particular hardware vendors helps in marketing the product, in the same way Microsoft Windows is pushed. I sense that Dell does not want to fully upset the Microsoft behemoth. Dell is now offering XP as a downgrade (of upgrade – depending on how you see it), for users that do not want Vista. Vista has experienced extremely bad press, along with a host of problems. The question is since Microsoft is not coming out with a new OS anytime soon; why not help push the Ubuntu Linux cause? Is there more at play than we know? Dell may simply be riding the Linux wave for free, while not helping (spending too much) to promote Ubuntu, at the expense of XP. Also, Linux is still not mainstream in the public eye. At a recent event the subject of Microsoft Vista was brought up. These are not “technically inclined” individuals; however they ALL had nothing good to say about Vista. Many said that they would buy a Mac. Some said “a Mac is hard to use” (did not get that one). However at the price, they could probably purchase 2-4 basic low-end PCs, with Microsoft XP. Only a few knew about Linux, however they said that “it was for nerds and programmers”. Well at least they knew something about it! A little education brought them up to speed, however more work needs to be done. While HP, Acer and others are contemplating Linux ventures, Dell has an opportunity, with its marketing knowhow, to boost the general profile of Linux. I hope Dell jumps on the opportunity, which should help to change the technical landscape for years to come.

 

Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

 

KDE’s Windows weapon KOffice 2.0 – Cross platform KOffice to challenge OpenOffice.org


While the industry is distracted by the ongoing tussle between Microsoft and OpenOffice.org over document formats, the KDE project is quietly preparing the next generation of its own office suite, KOffice, for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

KOffice 2.0, to be released sometime in the first half of 2008, will be cross platform like many other applications in the KDE suite built with the Qt4 GUI toolkit.

Spokesperson for the KDE project Sebastian Kugler told Computerworld there is a community building around KDE on Windows and KDE e.V., the non-profit organization that represents KDE financially and legally, sponsored a meeting to help people get the port to Windows going.

“The by-product [of Qt4] really is that it became possible, now people are taking advantage of it,” Kugler said.

That said, Kugler admits KDE on Windows is “not really a steered effort” but is being done because there is interest in having KDE software run on Windows, and because KDE was developed to be platform-independent in the first place, it is possible.

People involved in the Linux and open source communities have often expressed conflicting views on whether free software on Windows benefits, or detracts from, the adoption of free operating systems, particularly on the desktop.

Kugler believes it is “hard to say” one way or another if KOffice 2.0 on Windows and Mac OS X will benefit KDE on Linux.

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Google tools to power virtual worlds


New technology will let virtual-world designers incorporate Google’s 3D Warehouse models, as well as terrain from Google Earth. Virtual-worlds platform developer Multiverse Network is set to announce a partnership Tuesday that will allow anyone to create a new online interactive 3D environment with just about any model from Google’s online repository of 3D models, its 3D Warehouse, as well as terrain from Google Earth.

The idea is simple: Multiverse’s technology–which gives game developers tools to design custom virtual worlds–will let those designers pick and choose from most of the millions of 3D models created using Google’s 3D software tool SketchUp, and to import pieces of terrain, as defined by entering specific longitude and latitude data, from Google Earth.

If you want to build a virtual world centered on, say, downtown San Francisco, you could use the new technology to create the area itself and populate it with the digital versions of real-world buildings that have been created and uploaded to the 3D Warehouse.
Virtual world images

“The goal is to grab things from the 3D Warehouse when looking at things in Google Earth and then make an instant multiverse world,” said Multiverse co-founder Corey Bridges. “What we’ve done is provide a more streamlined interface for using (Google’s technology) as a virtual-world production tool.”

Until now, incorporating this kind of information from Google has mostly been the province of fantasy. For some time, Multiverse has made it possible to upload some SketchUp models into a virtual world created using its platform. But the technology the company plans to announce Tuesday, informally called “Architectural Wonders,” brings the concept to much more well-rounded fruition, and answers what some people have been crying out for as obvious and necessary technology integration.

“Google’s mission statement is to make all the world’s information universally available and useful,” said Jerry Paffendorf, co-author of the Metaverse Roadmap and co-founder of a stealth start-up called Wello Horld. “So I would say this (is about) making all the world universally available and useful, and that’s why this is so fascinating.”

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