Big news today - Microsoft’s top executives have held a press conference, stating on record that they will be opening up access to APIs and protocols associated with Windows and related technologies to an unprecedented level. That means, among other things: It will publish full API documentation for Vista, Windows Server, .Net, SQL Server, Office, Exchange, Sharepoint and such It won’t sue open source developers working on non-commercial projects over patents It will charge “reasonable and non-discriminatory” royalty levels over patents for writers of commercial software implementing Microsoft APIs and protocols They will allow developers to plug-in new document formats to Office One of the key factors here is what “reasonable and non-discriminatory” royalty levels actually means - after all, non-commercial outfits aren’t a direct competitor for Microsoft’s core business customers, the offices which require that their infrastructure is provided by professional, commercial outfits.

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I talked a few days back about my preferred Eclipse plugins, and that my chosen Subversion plugin was Subclipse. Subclipse has been going for many years which is why I instantly gravitated to it without really thinking about it, but David was good enough to recommend in the comments that I should take a look at an alternative: Subversive. Since Subclipse has been working just fine for me it took me a while to get around to doing it, but I finally did today.

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The Food Chain

A friend blogged yesterday about Microsoft finally releasing the specifications for the binary Office formats recently - I welcome that Microsoft is finally opening  up on these formats, even if it’s largely irrelevant from a technical perspective now all the reverse-engineering has mostly been done, the patent protection for reimplementations is a major boon. It  kinda made me think that maybe,  just maybe Microsoft are starting to realise that opening all standards related to critical business data is what customers really want.

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I can’t be the only person amused at the prospect of the Village People taking an offensive stance against Pirate Bay. For a start, although I know it’s all just legal wrangling, I have this mental image of 6 slightly camp men dressed as native americans, police officers, construction workers etc storming a pirate stronghold, an image which will probably keep me chuckling for days. Maybe they’d resolve the whole thing through a Zoolander style walk-off.

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I’ve been thinking about subscribing to an online backup service for a little while; after all while a scheduled backup system to an external drive / NAS is all very well, if something should go seriously wrong (heaven forbid), you really need an offsite backup of your most critical data. There’s only so long you can go burning DVDs or removing hard drives and persuading friends / family to keep them at their houses before it starts to get unwieldy.

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I like Eclipse a lot. As many of you know, I’ve developed business software for just as long as I’ve been doing graphics software (and learned a lot from both worlds), and through that I’ve used Eclipse in various forms over a number of years - it’s really quite incredible how far it’s come in that time. If you discount the language dimension (Visual Studio is still my preferred C++ development environment) Eclipse is easily my favourite IDE to use - although in practice you have to be a Java developer to really get the best out of it.

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Nasty Surprises

I don’t have as much time with it as I’d like, but over the last six months or so I’ve grown to like OS X. It’s slick, easy to use and generally just gets out of my way, and I keep finding neat little tricks I don’t expect (like dragging the icon on the title bar of the current window to create a shortcut to the document you’re viewing - nice).

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A lot of people have been getting their panties in a bunch over the last 24 hours because of the Beta 5 drop of Google Toolbar - which can now present a custom 404 page to its users, which contains a Google search button. My reaction was ‘so what?’, but it appears that the typical Internet misinformation train had already kicked in and people are claiming it’s an evil act that is deliberately set up to harvest people away from websites to ad-driven pages, and that webmasters are powerless to stop it.

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Yesterday’s Ubuntu install didn’t exactly go entirely to plan, but today I spent a little time trying to resolve things. My overall approach to this is to try to use the most user-friendly tools available first before starting to hack on the command-line - as a fan of running Linux servers which don’t even have an X server running this might seem odd, but I really want to know how well Ubuntu does as a user-facing OS while I’m doing this.

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A Gutsy Fighter

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with much lately, but while I processed some OGRE patches (ie during the times I was waiting for builds) this morning I finally got around to installing the latest Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on my new test box. It already has XP and Vista on it, so it’s getting quite cosy in there, but since the box is only for testing I can afford to burn a fair amount of space on OS overhead.

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