LugRadio Interview

by Miguel de Icaza

Last week I was interviewed by the LugRadio crew. The interview is now available.

The last question I think was the most interesting, but I did not have time to actually finish answering it.

The crew has a nice gallery of pictures for their Rock-band look. But a picture at Starbucks?

Posted on 24 Sep 2007


Bullet-proof Gandhi

by Miguel de Icaza

From Scott Adam's Sorry I confused You post where explains his satiric post from the day before:

Still, the bulk of my sympathies are with whatever group suffers the most, regardless of how much of the problem is their own damned fault. To feel otherwise would be inhuman. Sometimes it feels as if the Palestinians are only one Gandhi away from fixing their problems. But he’d need to be bulletproof.

Posted on 23 Sep 2007


Weekend Movies

by Miguel de Icaza

Posted on 21 Sep 2007


Generics Improvements

by Miguel de Icaza

Mark, the hacker behind Mono's CoreCLR Security implementation has committed to SVN the support for generic code sharing.

Generic code sharing allows the same native code generated by the JIT to be reused for more than one generic instantiation. This can be done when the JIT can ensure that the code generated for the given method would be exactly the same.

This optimization currently needs to be enabled with -O=gshared

Update: Mark blogged some details and clarifications

Posted on 21 Sep 2007


One Day We Won't Know What To Do

by Miguel de Icaza

On the comments section at Sadly, No! comes this observation:

(This is about American conservatives, as the word has different meanings across country boundaries).

Posted on 20 Sep 2007


Apple locked ecosystem and the EU

by Miguel de Icaza

Ian Williams mailed me to point out an article this morning at the BBC about Apple and its practices.

The article builds on the EU ruling against Microsoft and points out:

Apple has spent much time trying to ensure that anyone who buys an iPod is completely locked in to an Apple-centred world in which they use iTunes, buy from the iTunes Music Store, purchase only Apple-certified iPod accessories and, ideally, abandon their plans to migrate from Windows XP to Vista and instead purchase a shiny new iMac.

It is very nice to see the BBC coverage go into the depth of the issues involved in the closed interfaces (the now read-only database; the streaming limited to Apple products by means of using encryption to lock the competition out; the new cable add-ons; the locking-out of Linux jukebox software; and the ringtones fiasco):

It is hard to see what justification there can be for these various measures other than an attempt to lock customers in and keep competitors out.

I've asked Apple why it is doing this, but it has remained characteristically silent, preferring to invest its time and energy in the iPhone's UK launch.

[...]

But its business practices do not stand up to scrutiny, and when it comes to music downloads it is just as bad as Microsoft on servers, putting its time and energy into creating barriers to competition instead of letting its developers and designers concentrate on doing great stuff.

If Apple was serious about building a music industry around downloads and digital devices then it would open up its devices and interfaces to allow greater innovation and greater competition.

It would have faith in its own products to compete in this larger ecosystem instead of trying to lock everyone in with tactics that resemble those of IBM in the days of the mainframe.

I wrote a presentation this morning using Microsoft's PowerPoint, but displayed it using Apple's Keynote. Apple can sell Keynote because it took PowerPoint apart and figured out how the files work.

Had Apple been unable to do so, or found that every time it figured out what was happening Microsoft changed the format, it would have complained loudly.

Yet this is exactly the technique it is using against third party jukeboxes. And it is time it stopped.

Read the whole piece.

The BBC article missed the bit where purchasing DRM music also locks you into a particular platform (Apple could license the DRM to allow users to re-encode the songs into another DRM if necessary).

So the EU has teeth, lets make sure that they do not end up wrapped around Apple marketing and they act decisively to ensure interoperability and an open ecosystem.

Posted on 20 Sep 2007


Qt bindings for Mono

by Miguel de Icaza

Back in June David Canar from the Qyoto project emailed me pre-announcing the launch of Qyoto. Qyoto is a Mono/.NET bindings for TrollTech's Qt4 library:

You can:

This is another toolkit that you can use to develop cross platform GUI applications.

Posted on 18 Sep 2007


iPods Hash Puzzle Unlocked

by Miguel de Icaza

The folks in #gtkpod figured out the hash used for newer iPods using a debugger on Windows. The code is here and hopefully it will be integrated in the relevant applications soon enough.

Thanks to everyone on #gtkpod that made this possible (wtbw, nopcode, retar_d, oleavr, desrt and everyone that provided DBs and IDs).

Although we -the Linux community- can choose not to buy iPods, many other people will. And it is our goal to make Linux a viable modern computing platform that allows people to use all of their existing devices.

Breaking the hash is not really a long-term solution, as they can keep making the process harder every time. The long-term solution is for iPods to have a standard interface that third parties can communicate with.

This probably should be compounded to the EU's findings on Apple's anti-trust practices to ensure open access to a popular device.

Posted on 16 Sep 2007


iPods

by Miguel de Icaza

Yesterday after rumors that new iPods require a cryptographic checksum on the song database we confirmed that Banshee can no longer store songs on the new iPods.

The new firmware will now refuse to play any songs that you legally own unless you use Apple's iTunes (which is only supported for Windows and MacOS)

A temporary solution is to not upgrade the firmware on your current iPods and avoid purchasing any of the new iPods until someone figures out hwo to generate the checksum.

As a consumer I can vote by not buying Apple products. What bothers me is that they are the market leader and pretty much own that space, other people will buy iPods and they will just not be able to use them with Linux.

With this move they are preventing people from using their iPods with Linux which will be added to the list of things that "Linux can not get right". Not because we can not get it right, but because of Apple's anti-competitive practices. What better way to keep your potential competitors down than with a little lock-out strategy, using the strength in one market to help weed out the competitors on another market. In fact, today's experience with Banshee is no different than using iTunes: plug, sync, unplug.

Apple being the darling of the computer industry will face little or no criticism over this.

Maybe this need to be brought up with the EU commission as another unfair business practice from Apple.

Although someone will eventually break the new lock from Apple, they can keep changing it, and every time they change it, they will keep stopping consumers from using their iPods with Linux. Maybe it is time for Apple to be subject to some quality-time government sponsored regulation.

Update: As Lennart points out, this is hardly the first time that Apple has locked out competitors or products that interoperate.

Cory Doctorow weighs in on the issue, and states:

I guess my next player won't be an iPod after all.

Cory last year stated that he would switch to Linux from OSX. I hope that he did.

Posted on 15 Sep 2007


Mono's GC

by Miguel de Icaza

Paolo covers three issues on his blog post about the Mono GC:

  • Setting expectations as to what the new Compacting GC will be able to do.
  • The new support for purely managed object allocation (without having Mono transition from managed to unmanaged code to allocate objects).
  • Performance improvements that you might expect from this optimization in Mono 1.2.6

Zoltan has also implemented the needed support for managed-based allocation on the ahead of time compiler.

Posted on 12 Sep 2007


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