Research Proposal Becomes Reality
Eight years ago I submitted a research proposal for developing a
tablet-based game platform for toddlers.
Although the proposal was not accepted for funding,
it's nice to see the idea becoming a reality through the
unveiling of the Toys 'R' Us $150 Tabeo tablet for kids.
Continue reading "Research Proposal Becomes Reality"
Backwards Compatibility in Office Open XML
As a member of my country's
national standards body
committee on electronic data processing, I lately spend considerable time
deliberating what our position should be in the upcoming Office Open XML
ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva.
My biggest objection concerns large parts of the standard that
are proposed to live in an Annex containing normative descriptions of
deprecated features that will only be used by existing binary documents.
The rationale behind this decision is backwards compatibility.
My opinion is that this solution is counterproductive for a number
Continue reading "Backwards Compatibility in Office Open XML"
What I'd Say to Bill Gates
Bill Gates is visiting Athens tomorrow.
In his short stay he'll inaugrate Microsoft's
so-called innovation center, which is provided
as an offset for a deal Microsoft signed with the Greek government
for the purchase of 70.000 licenses, and he'll also give a talk
on Microsoft's vision for the future of technology.
As a prelude to this event
the Sunday newspaper Eleftherotypia inset
has invited a few Greek open-source advocates to give in a few sentences
what they would say to Bill Gates during his visit.
Continue reading "What I'd Say to Bill Gates"
Internet Explorer's Cleaner Look
Today the Microsoft update on my Windows machine asked me to upgrade
the Internet Explorer to version 7.0.
My bank refuses to work with any browser other than IE,
so, although I'm using SeaMonkey
as my everyday browser, I'm also forced to keep a current copy of IE.
The installation's banner reinforced some of the fears I have
regarding Microsoft's technical prowess.
Continue reading "Internet Explorer's Cleaner Look"
SeaMonkey vs Internet Explorer Revisited
In an older blog entry
I compared the complexity of Mozilla with that of Internet Explorer
by looking at the components each linked to.
Recently, comments to a Slashdot posting I made, noted
that I was comparing the two products on different platforms and
source with binary dependencies.
I therefore set out to compare the binary dependencies of the two
Continue reading "SeaMonkey vs Internet Explorer Revisited"
A Clash of Two Cultures
I dug the following gem from the Usenix
HotOS X Conference
Panel titled "Do we work within existing frameworks or start from scratch?",
summarized by Prashanth Bungale.
Continue reading "A Clash of Two Cultures"
Slashdot Story: The Future of Windows Software Distribution
Earlier today I posted on Slashdot
describing Microsoft's new third-party software distribution approach.
Continue reading "Slashdot Story: The Future of Windows Software Distribution"
The hypot() Mystery
I was writing a section for the
followup volume, and wanted to demonstrate the pitfalls of
using homebrewn mathematical functions instead of the library
As an example, I chose to compare the C library
Continue reading "The hypot() Mystery"
sqrt(x * x, y * y).
I created a plot of "unit in last place" (ulp) error values between
the two functions, which demonstrated how the error increased for larger
values of y.
Binary File Similarity Checking
How can one determine whether two binary files
(for example, executable images) are somehow similar?
I started writing a program to perform this task.
Such a program could be useful for determing
whether a vendor had included GNU
Public License (GPL)
code in a propriatary product, violating the GPL license.
After writing about 20 lines, I realized that I needed an accurate
definition of similarity than the vague
"the two files contain a number of identical subsequences"
I had in mind.
Continue reading "Binary File Similarity Checking"
Putting the Jini Back into the Bottle
It has been brought to my attention that
Microsoft is sending
cease and desist email letters regarding the illegal distribution
of the Windows source code.
Continue reading "Putting the Jini Back into the Bottle"
Software Complexity: Open Source vs Microsoft
In a readable and interesting paper titled
CyberInsecurity: the cost of a monopoly
seven notable security experts argue that the Microsoft's near monopoly
in the desktop operating system and office productivity markets is creating
a dangerous monoculture that exacerbates the effect of security vulnerabilities.
Continue reading "Software Complexity: Open Source vs Microsoft"