Open News Episode 31

A Weekly Open Source News Podcast

More and more film-makers are turning to open-source software to meet the demanding needs of their production environments. Lisa Hoover, in an article on linuxinsider. com, writes: ’Since the advent of the music (The speaker says ‘music’ but this is a mistake for ‘movie’.) industry, the process has remained largely unchanged. A writer creates a script, finds someone willing to invest money in producing it, and a director is brought in to oversee the film’s production.’ While that process is still typical of most movie-making ventures, more and more independent filmmakers are turning toward open source tools and methods to produce their projects. For many filmmakers, the economics alone make open source film making an attractive option. When free or low-cost production tools like CinePaint and Blender are combined with free host- ing services like Internet Archive, writers and filmmakers are free to focus on film production rather than financing. Some filmmakers are even going beyond simply sharing ideas, and are also sharing the footage they’ve shot. “It makes sense when resources can be shared and costs can be cut,” writer and independent film director Valentin Spirik told LinuxInsider. “I also see a lot of potential for remix-related projects where the source footage is used in many different productions. Right now this is a niche genre online, but it might just be the future of interactive storytelling.”


You may have heard recently that Google purchased the mobile phone platform company Android, but what does that mean for comapnies like Open Moco and Tratec, who are trying to develop their own platforms based on open-source software. According to a story by Phil Manchester at While the mobile Linux community has reacted positively to Google’s Android, the new platform has also given some cause for concern. The arrival of a giant player with very clear ideas of roles it wants mobile Linux to fill was bound to ruffle a few feathers and, despite public proclamations of welcome and support , the Linux establishment is showing a few cracks. Like it or not, Google has achieved something that none of the established knitting circles has managed so far: it has created a single target platform for developers to aim for. But a unified standard does not necessarily play well with the established mobile Linux players. The LiPS or L-i-P-S Forum, for example, says that it “regards OHA as complementary” and acknowledges that Android and the OHA have confirmed the popularity of Linux in mobile and embedded applications. LiPS also says that Android shares its mission “to reduce fragmentation among Linux-based mobile platforms” - only with a different approach. While LiPS aims to unify the development of mobile Linux through open standards, it sees the Android and OHA team as working to the same end with shared code. But elsewhere LiPS general manager Bill Weinberg has expressed concerns about the limitations of Google’s use of the Apache license for Android and suggests that far from reducing fragmentation, Android might increase it. Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation, said publicly that he welcomed Google’s move and also sees the role of the OHA as complementary. “Google’s angle is,” he said, “focused on the end-user experience and bringing the Web to mobile devices while the LiMo Foundation wants to create a common middleware platform to underpin mobile applications.” But in the same interview he pointed out that those in the mobile Linux area have a stark choice: “Work with Google, or think very seriously about how to achieve the next-generation mobile internet experience for their customers on their own.” The next six months will certainly be critical in the growth of Android ecosystem. It could have the same galvanising effect on mobile application development that Windows had on PC applications in the late 1980s. Developers need to pick it up and create some compelling applications to match the appeal of, say, Apple’s iPhone. But despite the concerns over licensing and the possibilities of a broader long-term agenda from Google, it would be hard (and, perhaps, foolish) to bet against it.


Apparently, the Macedonian government is going for Linux in a big way. According to an article on the website, the Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science will deploy more than 180,000 workstations running Canonical’s ubuntu 7.04 as part of its “Computer for Every Child” project.

The Macedonia “Computer for Every Child” project is one of the largest known thin client and desktop Linux deployments ever undertaken. Half of elementary and secondary Macedonia students attend school in the morning, and half attend in the afternoon, so 180,000 workstations will allow for one classroom computing device per student for the entire Republic’s public school population. The first 7000 computers pre-installed with Ubuntu were shipped on September 4th 2007. The Ubuntu operating system will run on 160,000 virtual PC terminals and 20,000 PCs (which also support a student on the attached monitor) supplied by NComputing and procured and installed by The Haier Company, a diversified manufacturer and PC maker based in China. The project will enable a range of innovative educational programs, including interactive web-based classes in which specialized experts teach lessons in such areas as mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics to multiple schools and classrooms around the country.