Thursday, November 20, 2008

Off to Linux.Conf.Au 2009

I'm off to LCA 2009! This is a quick blog entry.. just to test the LCA 2009 blogging planet. It is going to be awesome (again).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is the Federal Budget FOSS Friendly?

Well... the first budget for the new Labor Federal Government and there have been some changes to the way that purchased computer software (or software licenses) are depreciated, with regards to tax right-offs. Australian IT News Article. The depreciation period on capital expenditure on business software has been increased from 2.5 to 4 years. This was projected to lead to $1.3 billion dollars of government savings up to 2012. This money is then going towards a National Secondary School Computer Fund (NSSC) of $1.2 billion which is to pay for computers and communication technology. So.. where is the incentive to make more use of Free and Open Source Software? Indirectly, I think that this is an excellent budget for FOSS. The proposal is for individual schools to be able to receive up to $1 million dollars as a grant. This is targeted spending, and the schools would need to justify the way that the grant gets spent. To work properly, this would require that the schools have freedom on how they spend their grant money. Schools could choose either to buy the 'latest and greatest' (typically this will be Apple), or they could extend their spending power by just buying hardware and installing Free and Open Source Software on top of this (eg. Ubuntu). The usual benefits would then also apply.. Schools would be able to offer all the software that they use to their students to take home; upgrades and security updates would be available free of charge; students can start to learn about the Free and Open Source Software community and participate and contribute the Free and Open Source. All good... So what about businesses? Businesses will carry an increased tax burden for an additional one and a half years, over the next 4 years. In a tightening economy, this maybe enough of an incentive to switch to Free and Open Source Software. If businesses do take up Free and Open Source Software en-mass, then the education fund could be significantly less than projected. This could, in turn, drive the adoption of FOSS in schools, as funds for computer grants become tighter. So, watch the space. The budget assumes a status quo which may not continue. If this changes, FOSS is an attractive proposition for those people that would then like to make use of it.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

OLPC Laptop - How Awesome it that!

Happier then a pig in mud. Yesterday, at Linux.Conf.Au 2008, I was given (another) XO laptop. This is a fantastic little gadget which some of you have seen me discuss before, and it great to see just how far this project has progressed. Let me just say from the outset that during the last year I have been the happy custodian of an early model XO laptop, received after last years Linux.Conf.Au, which has travelled around a bit. He even had his own blog (sparky's blog). Several other people from Adelaide, South Australia have also received XO's to do 'cool stuff' as well. I plan to keep in contact which these people.. and sparky will be as well. If you live in Adelaide or South Australia and would like to see an XO laptop first hand, play with it or even borrow it to try out some cool idea for the project, send me an email and we'll see what we can do. From the grapevine, there were 50 of these laptops bought by Linux Australia for distribution at the conference and the OLPC project pitched in with another 50. Footnote: This blog post was written on the XO. Unfortunately, it looks like blogspot relies on multiple windows for uploading images.. which is something that I haven't been able to figure out how to do yet but I do have some nice ones from the conference, taken with the XO's own built-in camera. Update: Found an answer to the image problem.. upload into Picassa first, and then copy/paste the link using the regular X server cut-n-paste function between browser windows.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Off to Linux.Conf.Au 2008

It's January! ...and that means that it is again time for the Annual Linux.Conf.Au, this year being held in Melbourne from Monday, 28 January to Saturday, 2 February 2008. It's returning to the location where it all started in 1999, where the 'Conference for Australian Linux Users' (CALU) was held. I attended that one, missed the next two LCA's but have been to every one since. (There was no LCA in 2000.) If you are interested in this history, more details can be found on the Linux.Org.Au website. As always, LCA is going to be incredibly interesting. It is going to very tough choosing between speakers ( as the entire week is packed with lots of people talking about lots of technically interesting linux and Free and Open Software related stuff.. my current short list looks like: Hardware / Software Hacking: Joining Second Life to the Real World, The Kernel Report, OLPC, Peace, Love, and Rockets!, Kernel hacking: hacking on lguest Clustered Samba - not just a hack any more, Parrot: a VM for Dynamic Languages, The Replicators Are Coming!, Farsight 2: Video conferencing made easy, Create your own Open Source Dance Mat, The Australian Open Source Industry & Community Census 2007. Amongst all this, there are also the Mini-confs, Birds of a Feather (BoFs) sessions, the hacking in the hallways and the catching up with people not seen since the last LCA. The only down side (that I can see) is that the conference has limited places and that they have all sold out. This won't stop you getting to meet some of the fantastic people or technology. If you are in Melbourne on Saturday, 2 February, make you way down to Union House, Melbourne University for the Open Day. More details and the online registration are here.