Get ’em started young!
Boy, I am always amazed at the breadth of stuff that goes on weekly, surrounding people’s preferred operating systems, new hardware press releases and so on. For me, it’s one of the best things about the internet: constant information from all corners of the globe, seeking an audience and advocate elsewhere.
So, this week there has been loads of stuff which caught my attention, only a short list of which I have time to share. First things first, Ars Technica : a constantly vibrant source of interesting news out there in the technosphere. Featured in its hallowed pages was the title “ARM’s Eagle has landed: meet the A15“. Indeedy, ARM is developing more processor chips which are beginning to compete with the likes of Intel’s Atom and AMD’s lesser-known Geode.
The exciting thing here is that a third player is entering the midst of a traditionally two-horse race: GPU/CPU design and manufacture (AKA AMD vs Intel). Similarly to the console race of 2007-ish, a third player getting involved (in the console war, this being Microsoft‘s XBox 360) does great things for the market and the larger picture. Who would have thought, against the mighty 360 or PS3, that the Wii would have competed so well?
We’ll see how this plays out in a different way with chip manufacturers though but, as with most of these things, the early adopters of SmartBooks (Netbooks with phone capabilities, typically powered by ARM processors) will likely be Business types and Linux users who aren’t just taken in by the big names.
The Apple is finally ripening
Finally. Sense at Apple. Well, some at least. Developers are creative, resourceful individuals. So throwing down the gauntlet by restricting their development languages was kind of a draconian, hard-line gesture by a company pimping itself as cool and trendy. Sorry Fanbois, but it was a bit Microsofty, actually. Which is actually unfair to Microsoft, as they are generally far less restrictive about this (as this list of programming languages illustrates..). Then again, 99.4% of malware is aimed at Windows users.
But back to Apple, this Ars story describes the change in stance at Cappuccino.
How nice of them to open up their policy as well as opening up their iOS 4.1 BootROM in the same week! In case anyone thinks I have a grudge against Apple, far from it. This
vulnerability intended feature clearly demonstrates that Apple are committed to opening up their systems and allowing users to fully use what they have purchased. Brilliant!
Oh, but then there are still situations which make you wonder. Like the stealthy Apple OS-X update that kept “fanbois strangely silent“… I’m not sure I would have described Apple’d products as a “mutant virus“, but their loyal customers’ thinking probably is. But then, Apple build fashion statements, not computers.
Open systems continue to gather pace
There’s an interesting article at O’Reilly on debunking the 1% myth. The 1% myth is the idea, forever purported by some in the industry, that Linux only has 1% of desktop market share. Succinctly put, as there is no way of actually measuring this accurately, it’s a false claim (as the article details).
Talking of open software, media player Amarok is looking more and more beautiful. What’s not to like about this, especially when it’s free?
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Well, thank the heavens. It finally happened. Google saved the web.
The Register reports that Google has released the VP8 video codec which it gained last year through its $124M acquisition of web video business, On2.
On2 have been producing video codecs for years. It open sourced VP3 around 2003, if memory serves, which then became the basis for the Theora codec; the preferred choice of the open source community. Theora is a royalty- and patent-free codec that many open source advocates – myself included – have promoted the use of due to its free nature (free as in freedom… but that’s another issue).
However, as Steve Jobs recently hinted that a patent pools was being established to destroy Theora (and ultimately line his pockets further), Google have done just what Microsoft and Apple probably feared. Pulled the rug out.
So, all YouTube video will be re-encoded to use VP8 rather than H.264 (the proprietary codec supported by Apple and Microsoft), and browser builders Mozilla and Opera have already come out in support of it. As has Adobe. And, of course, Chrome will support it too.
And VP8, being open source and royalty-free, can also be supported by Microsoft and Apple. All source code and documentation is available on line, so there really is no excuse not to support it.
Well Apple-lovers, you sure do choose interesting products. Like the iPod; a “revolutionary” portable audio player, being probably the first to have a non-replaceable battery. I might be wrong, having done no research on the subject, but this was enough to turn me off. Let alone the insistence of using iTunes.
Or the iPad; the computer-but-not-a-computer consumer device that let’s you do anything you want with your media. So long as it is on Apple’s terms. I don’t get why someone as apparently intellectual as Stephen Fry gets so excited about it. Yes, it’s so exciting, in fact, that I’d go immediately to iPad.com and check it out!
The iPad. I mean, for goodness sake, it’s a laptop without a keyboard, but with potentially harmful restrictions, a proprietary operating system and about as much appeal as a colonoscopy. According to Fry, it also has no “multitasking, still no Adobe Flash. No camera, no GPS”. But it does have a touch-screen and 3D desktop effects… Perhaps that’s why the Free Software Foundation dropped “Freedom” Fry’s video from their homepage: who’d want to appear as hypocritical as that?
And then there’s the iPhone. This is the biggy. Apple are using typical Microsoft-like tactics here. Make an “irresistable” upgrade, probably for free or very cheap, and subtly attach some conditions to it. This time, as exposed in Giorgio Sironi’s blog post, The Apple of Sin, the condition is that you must only develop iPhone applications in languages prescribed to you by Apple.
The reasons, given by Giorgio, are pretty clear: Apple want to kill any chance of Flash appearing on the iPhone, else it might be inconsistent with the new iPad policy.
So, Mac users, be aware that your choice of platform may well come to haunt you in a year or two, when Apple extends this anti-Flash policy to OS X. There is one nice aspect of this, though: Apple might just force Adobe to open-source Flash. Then will follow a review-and-embrace process, where Flash gains recognition as an open standard.
Then we’ll see if Apple is embracing open standards as it “seems” to be with its current policies. If not, then you’ll get more choice of hardware and software if you choose Windows. And even more if you opt for Linux and, not only would that be cheaper, you would also retain your right to choose what you do with it.
Sorry about that. 😉
So, I can’t quite work out why I might want or need an iPad. Amusingly, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to Apple’s “TV” adverts on its website.
What I saw was the image, opposite.
Hmm, strange. Is this product only for people who already use Windows and/or a Mac? Being unable to install QuickTime (which is for a “PC” or Mac only) means I am unable to view this product. Apple are unable to do the most basic thing with sales and actually demonstrate to me why this product is good.
Which then led me to think, perhaps it isn’t.