Category Archives: Blog

Open source adopted by more than 50% of worldwide companies

Research has shown that an increasing number of organisations are opting to use open source software over proprietary application, driven by open source’s competitive advantage, lower cost of ownership, flexibility, innovation, shorter development times and faster procurement processes.

It is hardly surprising that proprietary software vendors love to warn consumers against the potential pitfalls of open source software, stating that it isn’t ready for business, either due to a higher total cost of ownership in comparison to their licensed applications or substandard features.

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BBC Radio 4 “In Touch” again, alas

In Touch is a radio programme that covers a range of matters for people who are blind or partially sighted.

Back in September 2009 I blogged about the problems that file format (in)compatibilities were causing for e-books and so forth and that one listener even complained that they couldn’t use their Linux computer.

In Touch suggested they were going to “do” something on file formats, I must have missed that programme… they certainly didn’t respond to my offer of help.

This evening there was a deal of hand wringing that mobile manufacturers were not providing much in the way of accessibility apps – the reassuringly expensive iPhone aside.

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Do patent pool attacks have a future?

IPKat has drawn attention to a US case: American Needle v NFL – in which the Supremes handed down a ruling that collaborative exclusionary action by competing bodies could infringe the Sherman Act. (Competition Law).

It’s back with a lower court that originally refused to consider the question.

Nothing has happened yet but if American Needle prevail on that point (even if they fail to actually get what they want) it could have interesting ramifications. I can think of at least two questions.

  • Directly relevant to the USA, would it still be lawful to assert a patent pool to exclude others (I’m thinking WebM)?
  • Indirectly, how might this read across to BBC Project Canvas?There’s nothing there yet but the case is worth following to see if there is a reusable precedent. I think this is separate to any outcome on Bilski, as it’s a separate legal principle.

    original story

    Gerry Gavigan, 5 June 2010,

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More BBC and IPTV

More BBC and IPTV: Project Canvas

We wrote at length to express our concerns about Project Canvas at the time the consultation was opened ([1], details here).

Our chief concern, then as now, remains that in a world where use of a computer (netbook, smartphone) is becoming essential, it becomes ever more important to avoid lock-in to technologies that only enable high-cost access, do not properly address security issues and wrest control away from the user of those technologies with little or no recourse.


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A charitable organisation “gets it”

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation providing a new web service for charitable organisations to manage fundraising campaigns and their online presence among donors.

They have recognised the consistency arising from software without licence fees and better meeting their not-for-profit objectives: “As a not-for-profit business, Virgin Money Giving can work with companies such as Jaspersoft to ensure that a much larger percentage of donations go to the important causes donors choose.”

Of course they also realise that FOSS also enables “innovative business models, including the one we’re rolling out to support charitable giving in a responsible way.

As I blogged in ‘Radio 4 “In Touch” and file formats’ it turns out there consequences for a charity’s client group arising from partnering with proprietary software companies. It’s nice to see that others realise that too, Congratulations to Virgin Money Giving and let’s hope we see more of this.

— Gerry Gavigan, OSC Chairman, 14 October 2009

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Don’t bank on Windows

In case you needed to be told, the New South Wales Police were giving evidence at a public hearing on “cybercrime” last week.

The first rule, he said, was to never click on hyperlinks to the banking site and the second was to avoid Microsoft Windows.

In an earlier blog “delete Australia insert UK” I mused that the situation over there seemed remarkably similar to that here.

If that is universally true, then some size of the scale of the problem we face may be gleaned from his subsequent exchange with Australian MPs. In response to his suggestion that if one were using the internet for a commercial transaction one should “use a Linux boot up disk”, MPs were enthusiatic but clueless: “You may need to explain further for us,” said one MP, while another responded, “yes, we need to understand that”.

As a well known British MP put it: “education, education education”…

— Gerry Gavigan, OSC Chairman, 13 October 2009

LSE goes Linux

The London Stock Exchange has just hoofed out its trading platform based on Microsoft and .Net.

In a move (sort of) reminiscent of Sun‘s decision to buy a company making an alternative rather than renew its Microsoft Office licences, the LSE is buying an entire development company

I remember the delight expressed by Microsoft when the LSE went Microsoft (Catch it while you can), together with its “High Reliability Times” advertisements (scroll down) and videos which were as more than one person noted were a bit premature

— Gerry Gavigan, OSC Chairman, 5 October 2009

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