Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Open source of conflict (May 10)

Far from being a flashpoint of controversy about Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), we had Jason Matusow from Microsoft talking about

the importance of open source and interacting properly with the larger developer, user and customer communities.

Microsoft spoke about how there is BSD Unix code in Microsoft Windows, and how Microsoft continues to run Hotmail on BSD Unix. He spoke about different examples of the acquisition, use, creation and distribution of non-copyleft Open Source software at Microsoft.

While Microsoft is not supportive of copyleft licenses like the GNU General Public License (GPL), which they still don’t understand, they have come quite a long way from the past when all FLOSS was a cancer and would destroy the world. It is hard to claim that something you depend on for your business needs is destroying the world.

With much of the Microsoft rhetoric from the past out of the way, talking about core business needs (their own and their customers) will finally lead all of us to a better understanding the importance of free/libre and open source in a free/libre and open market in software.

Note: For those who want to learn about BSD Unix, parts of which are in every major operating system from Microsoft Windows to Mac OS-X to Linux, please see, the first BSD Conference in Canada.

Russell McOrmond

Re: Where will the ‘smart dust’ settle? (May 6)

For a treatment of this issue in a science fiction classic published in 1966 in Analog, read “”Light of Other Days”” by Bob Shaw, and his other stories about “”slow glass.”” Imagine a pane of glass that slows the passage of light from one side to the other by a predetermined length of time — from minutes to years. The conclusion to be drawn from his stories was that governments and economic competitors will be unable to resist the temptations arising from very cheap, ubiquitous and hard-to-detect intelligence-gathering devices.

L. C. (Skip) Lumley

Re: It’s a mod, mod, mod, mod world (May 5)

We recently ordered a clone off the web, configuring it ourselves. The case we chose seemed innocuous enough. When we opened the box, the case had plexiglas cut outs top and side with multi-coloured lighted fans in the centre of each clear panel, glowing bubble rods in front with a colour cycling hot spot above the power button. The staff member who received this monstrosity was elated. We have been flooded with requests to get a similar case from other users, so, when we upgrade users we plan to allow them to select a cases from a range of cases available, with the caveat that computers in open offices must have a similar theme.

Scott White

Re: A tale of two open source cities (April 30)

I would be curious to know the configuration of the tests comparing the Unix systems to the “”new”” Linux systems. If the Unix systems were quite old, then I don’t believe it is a fair assessment.

Rod Gallup

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