Richard Stallman’s point of view

You must read this article by Richard Stallman on the BCC News website about Bill Gates retirement (BBC article). Richard Stallman is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and from the article you can see that he sees Microsoft as and Bill Gates as Dark Vader.
I agree with his argument about the Microsoft Tax which large suppliers have on their ready to use PC’s. You should be able to decide what you use on your hardware and if you use Linux you shouldn’t be paying for Windows. The question is; does the average buying/user really care what OS he or shee is using. I think most of them are thinking; as long as my applications I want to use are running and I don’t have to bother about the other stuff, I don’t care.

More interesting is to see how deep the founder of the organisation of the Free Software Foundation is in the trenches and is unwilling the move. All companies are wicked and have control over your freedom. The only way is free and open software.
I personally think these is a place for open and proprietary software.

Microsoft Office OpenXML standard accepted

Microsoft Office OpenXML has been accepted as ISO standard. Some countries didn’t agree among which; China, Iran, India, South Africa, Brazile and Canada. The first three could be expected. The last three are a supprise to me.

The question is if the ISO acceptance is going to be accepted by e.g. Governments who want to move to an open office standard. If not, than this is going to be the end of the ISO standard.

Windows Vista sp1

Well, this week SP1 for Windows Vista came out. I haven’t had any problem with Windows Vista so I wasn’t really waiting for the update but my Windows update icon popped up and said “A new update is available for you“.

Before starting the update I checked the small print on the Microsoft website. There are some drivers which are a problem but Microsoft has build in some kind of mechanism which prevents the automatic update of PC’s with such drivers. I didn’t seem to have this problem so I started the download.

The whole SP1 package is something of 470MB. The update of my machine was only 82MB and was downloaded quickly. Installing the update took about 15 minutes and went on without any hiccups. After the reboot my machine was ready and everything seems to work.

I have been reading on the net about people complaining about not getting the updates, the fact that drivers are not compatible and that Microsoft is not offering the help people want. I agree that Microsoft should do more that only “their best” in solving the problems with driver. On the other hand people should also complain with the other manufactures for not providing drivers which are “Vista compliant”. I recognize the same problem when I have to explain to a customer why a certain software package cannot be used because it is not “Windows XP certified” and the supplier doesn’t want the certify it because it thinks it is costing to much. If only the manufacturer had started of with building a software package which is based on the Windows software principles.
I remember, many years ago,  getting my hands on the Apple Software bible. It was a handbook on how Apple software should be constructed and what requirements it had to meet. If only there weren’t so many manufacturers who are looking for the quick buck and make to many shortcuts.

Software upgrades!

In the last three I’ve updated some important software I use and I would like to tell you about it.

I have updated:

  • My desktop OS from Windows XP to Windows Vista,
  • WordPress from version 2.0.11 to 2.3.3,
  • Joomla from PHP-Nuke 7.6 to Joomla version 1.5.1.

Vista upgrade.

Last year in december I decided to upgrade my desktop computer OS to Windows Vista the Business edition. Before upgrading I made a list of the software I use, the peripherals I use and what I use my computer for. Upgrading is always something which has to planned carefully.
I build my computers myself and I try to buy “good” components. For instance, the motherboard I use is from Asus. A brand I have been using for years and which has never let me down. The CPU I use is an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+. Not the fastest in the market but it delivers good performance for its money. For memory I pick Kingston modules and I read the fine print of the Asus motherboard manual so that I not stuck with non performing memory modules. Most of the harddisks I buy are from Western Digital. As I don’t play games on my computer I don’t really care about the graphic card. As long as it is quite and can deliver the resolution I need. I have a 24″ display so I need 1920 by 1200. My NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT does the job. 

My computer is mostly used for management of my websites and for editing my photo’s. I made the first step into digital photography a number of years ago when I bought a Nikon Coolscan II. That model has been replaced by a Coolscan IV-ED. One requirement when upgrading my OS is that my Coolscan has to work under Windows Vista. The Nikon support side told me that it did not have Vista compatible drivers. There were drivers for the Coolscan V-ED, so maybe it would work or work in the near future.
Of the software I use I only had to replace the Roxio DVD burner software and my Silverfast scanner software which was not compatible. Roxio I replaced with CD Burner XP (open source) and Silverfast was replaced by Nikon Scan 4 (not as good as Silverfast but it is Vista compatible).

I backed up my data and made the fresh install (I never do in-line upgrades). That process went without one hickup. I installed Office 2007, Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture NX, Firefox, Filezilla, Notepad++, SyncToy 2.0, McAfee, Adobe Reader, jZip, Diskeeper 2007 (Vista upgrade included), Realplayer, Nikon Scan 4, CD Burner XP. The result has been a stable platform, as stable as my Windows XP version.

It is March 14 and I still love my Vista setup. The graphics is crips and new, performance is good, stability is good and the new security features of Vista do not bother me at all. The Business version of Vista has some features which you cannot find on the home edition. One of them is VSS. With VSS Vista keeps previous copies of the files you create and alter. A feature you do not really need at home but is really nice in a business environment.
I work as IT architect and I wouldn’t mind having Windows Vista as my business desktop and I would recommend it to the customers I speak with.


This website is based on WordPress 2.3.3. I wanted to upgrade to this version but the webserver I used did not have the right MySQL and/or PHP version. So I was stuck with the 2.0.11 version.
With the renewal of my contact with Flexservers ( I upgraded my hosting package to a newer Virtual Private Server version with the right MySQL and PHP version. I finally could make the upgrade!

Upgrading WordPress has always been easy and this upgrade has been as easy as always. Backup your site and database, disable all plugins, copy the new files to the server, run the upgrade script and that is it.

WordPress rocks!


There are two other sites I manage, both sites are sport related ( and On one site is based on the Joomla CMS, the other on PHP-Nuke. Both are open source packages, Joomla is a Mercedes, PHP-Nuke is a Lada.
I had to upgrade my PHP-Nuke site because to add-ons I used were not updated anymore and security flaws and the PHP-Nuke version I used also had serious security issues. So what to do, stick with the security flaws or move to another MS and look for replacement add-ons. I decided to move to Joomla.

I found some specific sport related modules I could use. It only meant that all data I had had to be transferred, manually.

Joomla version 1.5.1. is beautiful. It is a new version which has completely been rewritten. But it has a “legacy” plugin which means modules and components designed for the 1.0.x version can work with the new version. Most of the popular modules and components have already been updated to the new version of Joomla so the Legacy plugin won’t have to be used for long. Moving from PHP-Nuke to Joomla is a major step especially if you have custom add-ons. Moving from Joomla 1.0.x to 1.5.1 is a step I will try out in the near future.

Scoble goes (again) into a non-issue discussion

Again Robert Scoble has started a discussion about whether Apple is better than Windows Vista (link).
Just like the other instances he is trying to compaire apples and oranges.

Apple is a hardware and software supplier. It produces software (application and a OS) which will only run on hardware produced and sold by Apple.

Microsoft is a hardware and software supplier, but mostly a software supplier. It produces software (applications and OS) which will will run on any hardware, produced and sold by anybody, as long as it is based on the old PC design.

In his new post Robert complained about that his new Dell which gave him a blue screen while booting. I’ve been using Dell, Fujitsu, Asus, Compaq, Tatung and HP machines and I agree that there are qualilty differences between the brands but also between the models within a brand. None is trouble free and every model I have used needed two or three firmware updates in order to solve problems with OS during it’s lifetime.
So I ask Robert; Is a blue screen the problem of Microsoft or the problem of the hardware supplier.

Looks like Google is scared shit

If you read the New York Times article about the action Google is taking to crash the Microsoft – Yahoo deal, you can only conclude “They are scared shit“.
A lot of bloggers are writing about how Microsoft is going to kill Flickr. I think just the opposite. Yahoo and Flickr could mean a good change for Microsoft. Neither Yahoo, Flickr or Google are a big player in the business end of the market. The combination of Microsoft and Yahoo could be a mighty combination.

Long Live Closed-Source Software! | Computers | DISCOVER Magazine

You have got to read this! [link to document]
Jaron Lanier states that the open-source model will hold back radical, unique and one of a kind new designs. As an examples he uses Linux with it’s many distribution versions, the iPhone as a product and the scientific practice of doing research and publishing your result at the moment your result is ready.
Very interesting.

Long Live Closed-Source Software! | Computers | DISCOVER Magazine

Netherlands Adopts Open-Source Software: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

It sounds really nice, the adoption of open-source software and open standards to cut cost and the dependencies on individual companies. Anyone who looks further into this sees that it is more the case of “using only those open standards so certain companies are excluded”.

Netherlands Adopts Open-Source Software: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

Windows Vista or not

This weekend I took the plunge and tried Windows Vista on my desktop PC at home. The result: I like it! It is quick, the graphics are refreshing new and most of the software I own works. I know that as with most systems if you do a fresh install, the speed of the OS is the first thing you notice. So comparing it with a 2 year old Windows XP SP2 installation with loads of updates and installs and uninstalls of not fair.

I have been trying Vista since it came out in Beta. I have installed it on Tablet PC’s and as a virtual machines under VMware. Most of the problems I had were due to some hardware features which were not yet supported under Vista or where VMware did fully supported of the OS.
There has been a lot of flag about the security messages a user gets when he or she is doing something the OS things to be a security issue. I cannot say that I find this a problem. I am used to locking down desktops and making it impossible for users to install software and making change the OS. That of course is in a business environment. But I think home users should apply some of principles at home as well.


Amazon Kindle

Robert Scoble has published his one-week review of the Amazon Kindle. The Amazon Kindle is an eBook Reader much like the Sony Reader and the iLaid from iRex Technologies.

Of the six comments Robert has, some of them are legit but most of them show that he is looking at this too much from a PC point of view.
What is an eBook Reader and what should an eBook Reader be like.
An eBook Reader is an device which should give an user the same user experience when he/she is reading a newspaper or book. That includes:

  1. Be quiet, no fans, no humming, etc.,
  2. Always on, always available,
  3. Size should be book-, tabloid- or full newspaper size,
  4. Weight should be light,
  5. It should be flexible like paper,
  6. User Interface should that of a book or newspaper.

As it is an electronic device, it should be able to:

  1. Refresh content, subscribe to e.g. newspapers and libraries,
  2. Connect Wireless and not be dependent on a connection with a PC,

Suggestions like:

  1. No Social network,
  2. No touch screen,
  3. No ability to send electronic goods to anyone else,

are nonsense and show that Robert is trying to make an eBook reader yet another PC.

The Kindle looks like a nice device but is still no replacement for the user experience of an actual book and newspaper.