Open Source

Happy Birthday to Vim!

Vim (text editor) in a terminal emulator, with...

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Vim has been a constant in my computing life for over a decade. Initially used to Emacs, i was gradually persuaded to what i regarded as an odd editor. Oh, how wrong i was. The power of vim. The amazing configurations you can do with scripts and just a small amount of work with the .vimrc. I love this editor!

The Vim text editor was first released to the public on November 2, 1991—exactly 20 years ago today. Although it was originally designed as a vi clone for the Amiga, it was soon ported to other platforms and eventually grew to become the most popular vi-compatible text editor. It is still actively developed and widely used across several operating systems.

via Two decades of productivity: Vim’s 20th anniversary.

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Lessons from Apple on Advertising and Aesthetics | Smarterware

Conceptual Map of the FLOSS (Free/Libre Open S...
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Gina always has amazing insights into the industry – I highly recommend the podcast she is in called This Week In Google (TWiG – not just Google, but cloud computing in general).

As an Open Source advocate, and well known developer in FLOSS platforms, and Android phone lover, this is a really good example of how she gets this industry, and can see many sides.

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An open letter to Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs while presenting the iPad in San Fr...
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I think you must get sick of the negativity. You are a dreamer of dreams in a mundane world – and also pragmatic. You know there is just no pleasing some people, but you seem at times weary, at times stung, often just plain surprised at people being sp negative.

I love my iPhone. To utter distracted must know where it is levels. I tell everyone it will change their world, and without fail, though perhaps with reluctance, they all admit it has changed their lives for the better. Oh sure, you don’t NEED an iPhone, but you don’t need beauty or things to taste delicious or need entertainment. You just get to live rather than exist with such differences.

Those of us lucky enough to be able obtain one are enriched. Not all of us to the same degree – but oh, you must say so vastly the majority of us to such a large extent that you changed the very concept of a mobile phone.

I love the idea of Android. The more inspired by, striving, standing on the shoulders of giants, well, the better for the rest of us. Trickle down, I believe, (with some degree of knowledge of what it is inspiring people to attempt even in my small sphere), trickle down – change will build on change, and many will benefit from the vision that started with you.

Now the iPad. Wow. I know, more criticism.

I have read the disparaging reports – the iPad is not a laptop, is not a netbook. Which is completely correct, and gloriously so. What the critics call weakness is the strength of this device. It is a mini iPod. It is a shinier Kindle (that does more). That is merely little people with little minds and smaller dreams.

I read somewhere it is a solution to problems you didn’t know you have. An interesting start on it, yes. Yet not enough, and slightly negative in suggestion. You create inspiration, Mr Jobs. You are the Willy Wonka of my childhood, the Carl Sagan of my adolescence, awakening me to worlds of dreams, obtainable impossibilities.

I bought my iPad today, a slightly Sisyphean task (logistics, not any fault of the amazing staff at Next Byte Glenunga, who would have organised relays if Ancient Grecian fame to get stock to us faster. Tired as I was, in pain, recovering from nasty things happening to my back, they were upbeat and cheerful as my wheelchair and I paced in waiting).

I also bought with and for friends. None of us have been anything but excited. Techies to a person, I cannot remember a more consistent level of excitement at buying new tech. One always enjoys the new, but, Mr Jobs, you helped us become kids at Christmas again. Long after the unwrapping, that was a mere introduction to the main event.

I will not speak further if the others, for that is not mine to do. The general vibe and excitement is often belittled as ‘fanboys’, or copying the crowd, to have for the sake of having. Perhaps a few strange souls do that. Humanity is odd. That is just fine by me. So I speak for myself.

This device, this hard to classify technology is the stuff of magic to adults. Children accept it more readily as so – and the older generations accept the inevitable incomprehensible magic if technology much better than we cynical, greedy, please us now types.

Arthur C Clarke wrote famously : “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In this vase, you have reached the zenith of that concept, the utmost peak.

I love my iPhone. My Macbook Pro and the nice 24″ screen are indispensable for development. Thank you for game changing technology.

For the iPad, thank you, for the forgotten sense of wonder and possibility. In a field that has always set my imagination on fire, there is a blaze, a conflagration of potential. It will settle, but remain burning strongly, fuelled afresh as others strive to stand on the shoulders of giants – of the giant – again.

You plant not seeds, but mighty ideas, so large that people must merely imitate to even begin to hope of improving on. They will, some always do. App developers will be fired again, and for every 10000 mundane apps, something as wonderful as your initial dream will be realised.

You are a visionary, and you create in the medium of today. Leonardo Da Vinci would have grokked you. You dream big dreams of things we don’t know we need yet, ahead of their time. He sketched helicopters as well as slightly smirking women. Beauty and function were all the same to him, execution, form, style.

As an Open Source by nature and inclination I long resisted your siren call. I think I understand now the purity of your vision drives you to control in ways we do not always understand or like. I wish that could be different, and a compromise be found. I am hopeful always of that. Yet to not buy due to purity of principle is to not dream unless it meets my highest standards. This surpasses my dreams, ways will be found for the standards, if the dream is magic enough.

It is magic enough. This is a shameless paeon of praise. You’ve earnt it. Let all of us with little voices be heard to counter the big criticisms. Dream on, dreamer.

Thank you,


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