Some time ago, I fretted about the future of OpenOffice, an open source office suite, and my software of choice for writing, spreadsheets and presentations. The problem, put simply, was the lack of interest in OpenOffice from Oracle, it’s new owner. Well, it looks like my worries are over. Meet the Document Foundation, a new… Continue reading Liberation

It’s Alive!

This week, scientists created artificial life. Well, sort of. Truth is, once you snip away the press release puff and spin, it’s more a case that scientists copied life. Here’s how the BBC reported what happened: ‘The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used synthesis machines to chemically… Continue reading It’s Alive!

Falling for the propaganda

Linux is hard. I know this is true, because I’ve been told it so many times. Never mind that I’ve been using it quite happily for the past few years, it’s hard. Sometimes, I even have to type something using the dreaded Command Line interface. Never mind that all the programmes I need are stored… Continue reading Falling for the propaganda


Ubuntu, the Linux distribution from Canonical and marketed as ‘Linux for human beings’, manages to both annoy and please me with every release. On the one hand, it sure does look pretty, and gets prettier with every new release. The latest version, Lucid Lynx, now in beta, introduces the ‘Light’ theme – see the screenshot… Continue reading Meitheal


First the recession, then killer pig flu, and now it looks as if my favourite software is doomed. OpenOffice exists as a project of Sun Microsystems, and Sun just got taken over by Oracle Corp. Sun has two jewels that Oracle wanted: Java, a programming language designed to run no matter what your operating system,… Continue reading Sunset

Business As Usual

This article, like yesterday’s, is written on a computer running ‘Jaunty Jackalope’, the latest Ubuntu release. So I wondered, how much would the Irish government save switching to open source. Probably nothing. First off, they’d hire an accountancy firm to do some consultancy. Then they’d tweak their requirements and hire a second crew of consultants… Continue reading Business As Usual

Faduda v. Microsoft Part II

Today I got a reply to my letter to the Competition Authority about the Windows Tax. Reproduced below are key sections, along with my thoughts. Computer manufacturers tend to bundle laptops with pre-installed Windows. This may lead to significant cost saving or efficiency gains. It is therefore less expensive for computer manufactures to acquire a… Continue reading Faduda v. Microsoft Part II