Tom Halfhill, formerly a senior editor for Byte magazine and now an analyst for Microprocessor Report, wrote in an interesting piece (as he always does) in the currently shipping August issue of Maximum PC magazine (perhaps you've heard of this rag?) on how Apple's iPad is doing Intel a favor. Halfhill argues that even though Apple snubbed x86 in favor of ARM's architecture for its iPad, the iPad will generate demand for low-power x86 chipsets.
"Intel is trying to push x86 processors into cell phones, where ARM's lower-power processors reign supreme," Halfhill writes. "Intel's latest attempt is an Atom-based chipset code-named Moorestown... Moorestown will be an ARM-breaker for high-end smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices."
Halfhill brings up some excellent points, which makes today's announcement that Microsoft has signed a new agreement to license technology for the ARM processor architecture all the more interesting.
Hit the jump to find out what this means for Microsoft, ARM, and Intel.
Last month, Google stopped automatically redirecting Chinese search traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong site, opting instead for a landing page that contains a link to the uncensored site. The search engine giant was made to rethink its approach after it began to threaten its request for a fresh Internet Content Provider (ICP) license.
Google's legal boss David Drummond had said last month: “It’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable—and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30).”
The new approach seems to have done the trick. “We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China,” Google said on its official blog. The announcement comes after days of suspense surrounding the fate of Google's application for a fresh license.
Back in March, Google launched a special page to help users keep track of the availability of its services in mainland China. According to the latest status update, Google's web search service is currently “partially blocked,” meaning that accessibility is anywhere between 10 and 66 percent. While such blockages have been reported on a few occasions in the past as well, the latest comes a day after Google announced that it was stopping the automatic re-routing of Chinese search traffic to its Hong Kong site.
The company says that search queries based on the search engine's query suggestion feature, Google Suggest, are the ones being blocked. “Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected. We have updated our China status page with the latest information,” Jay Nancarrow, a Google spokesman, said.
Google will stop redirecting Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong site as it looks to maneuver itself into a more conciliatory posture. Its Internet Content Provider license is scheduled to come up for renewal on Wednesday. The Chinese authorities have warned Google that it will be denied a fresh license if it continues redirecting Chinese search traffic to its Hong Kong site. Unwilling to sacrifice its presence in the most populous internet market, the company has opted for an alternative to automatic redirection. That said, it won't be rolling back the clock to the uncomplicated days of censored search results any time soon.
Instead, Chinese users will soon begin seeing a landing page on Google.cn that links to its Hong Kong site, leaving the choice of clicking through to the uncensored search site with the user. In fact, it has already begun directing some Chinese users to the new landing page. The company has applied for a new license “based on this approach.”
“Without an ICP license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China,” David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer, wrote in a blog post Monday. “That’s a prospect dreaded by many of our Chinese users, who have been vocal about their desire to keep Google.cn alive. We have therefore been looking at possible alternatives, and instead of automatically redirecting all our users, we have started taking a small percentage of them to a landing page on Google.cn that links to Google.com.hk.”
Eighteen online map providers have won the nod from China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM), and are now officially authorized to ply their trade in the world's most populous country (and internet market) – a new regulation requires that all surveying and mapping services obtain official sanction by the end of this year. According to the China Daily, all the mapping services on the list are domestically owned, even though foreign companies were among about 30 companies that have applied for a license.
"According to China's Surveying and Mapping Law, foreign firms are not allowed to provide surveying and mapping services. Their activities in China must be under joint ventures or in partnership with domestic firms," the SBSM said.
However, all is not lost for the foreign companies as the SSBM is still considering applications from those eligible to apply under Chinese law. A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google has already applied for a license for its Google Maps service. But Google China did not return the China Daily's request for a comment.
Unlike its search operations, which it shifted to Hong Kong in March, Google's mapping service continues to be operated from mainland China. Even Baidu has yet to get the nod for its own mapping service.
Security firm Symantec this week introduced its new ExSP Licensing Program designed to allow partners the choice of consuming Symantec software via a monthly subscription-based model.
"Our partners are telling us that they’re finding success in offering Symantec software bundled with their services to solve their customers’ information protection challenges," said Randy Cochran, VP, North American Channel Sales, Symantec. "By enhancing our ExSP licensing program to make it accessible to our broader partner base, Symantec is enabling partners of all sizes to accelerate profitability and reduce their upfront investments to support growth. With this subscription-based program, Symantec partners can license our solutions in a way that aligns to how they do business with their customers."
Symantec claims the new pricing model will help companies reduce their upfront costs, while also enabling traditional Symantec partners of all sizes to more easily develop their own managed services offerings.
The ExSP Licensing Program is open to partners enrolled in Symantec's Partner Program who are qualified service providers, the firm said.
The software world has gotten this point pretty well by now. Sure, you can wrap additional elements of a larger business plan around an open-source offering. But even at its core, the concept of open-source isn't really designed around capitalistic ideals. If anything, it's more communistic in its focus: everybody shares an equal stake in a project, and anybody is free to assert their individual ownership in a piece of work by advancing it toward a new direction as they see fit.
But these... these are just the tools of the revolution, as Marx might have said. When it comes to actual content itself--the very bits and bytes of progress that open-source tools help create--the current crop of major content creators and distributors are behaving like dictators in an open world. And it's costing both them and us rather greatly. Instead of reaping the success of a community-driven groundswell for their assets, these companies would rather lay down the hammer and stifle all innovation in an attempt to control their futures to a "T."
Two recent examples from Lawrence Lessig and the band OK Go really hit home the biggest elements that are wrong with our current system of open information distribution on the ‘net. If it's not the owner of the content acting like an idiot, it's the system we've allowed to propagate that virtually criminalizes content sharers without a second thought.
It's so hip and fresh. Open-source singlehandedly represents the latest and greatest thinking in the modern-day technological movement. Drop it into a conversation and you're suddenly talking like a futurist. Throw it into a company's strategic roadmap and suddenly we've created innovation and depth. Suggest that virus-makers are embracing open-source, and you've got the attention (and clicks) of Web geeks worldwide.
Wait a minute. Open-source viruses? How does that work?
Hell hath no fury like an open-source developer scorned. In the red corner, we have Portable Apps and its developer, John Haller. In the blue corner, we have LiberKey and project manager Christophe Peuch. Both programs are suites of applications that can sit on your USB key for portable use. Both offer a number of open-source or freeware apps that assist you in your everyday PC tasks without costing you a single penny. At one point, it was argued that both shared an identical design, layout, and operation. But that's just one of the many charges being heaved across the battleground--its accuracy, along with the others, is subject to dispute.
I wrote a while back about the confusing issues surrounding open-source and freeware licensing. They haven't changed. The controversy over LiberKey is a perfect example of the confusion--enough so, that Maximum PC itself removed a mention of the suite from one of our freeware roundups after allegations of wrongdoing on the developer's part. But is this piece of software as guilty of the violations as the Internet chatter would have you believe? Or has LiberKey done its fair share to eliminate the liabilities caused by its inclusion of open-source and freeware apps into a large package manager?
Why should you care? That's the easiest answer of them all. Supporting applications that stick to the legal guidelines of trademark, permissions, and licensing ensures you're downloading stable, safe, and secure packages that foster the spirit of open source software. If you support software that flaunts the rules, you disrespect the work of those who contribute their works to the greater community. And I wouldn't want to lose these developers--nor their awesome (usually) free applications.
Click the jump to find out the full details on LiberKey!
With a mighty "yehhh," the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a motion to adopt open standards in its local government this past May. I find it to be a wonderful development--not just because I write about open source. Rather, I think that the move is a twofold triumph: It allows governments to free themselves of pricy, proprietary software burdens while simultaneously opening up more areas of government for access by conventional citizens.
It's no secret that programs like HOST and CRADA are helping the U.S. bring new, open standards of communication and accessibility to the forefront of the discussion. I'd nevertheless like to see more cities working the answer from a bottom-to-top approach, adopting motions like Vancouver's--or, for that matter, using Vancouver's exact template--to call for the integration of open-source ideas and programs wherever possible in local government.
It's not an idle dream, as various cities in the United States have already started to dip their toes into open waters. If our brethren to the north can take the plunge into open source sans hesitation, why not us as well?
Click the jump to learn more about Vancouver's open initiative!