ID Checks

Paul Dwerryhouse blogs about ID checks in the US being more frequent that in Australia and the irony of people accepting a Victorian drivers license with likely no idea what one is meant to look like, or even if it really exists.

In a similar vein a friend of mine was travelling in China and wanted to use a Internet Cafe and they required that he provide identification before he could use the facilities. He dutifully handed over his Victorian drivers license and was pleased to see that they logged the fact that a Mr Vic Roads was going to be web surfing there. A nice bit of accidental anonymity. πŸ™‚

Why Open Source is Good

If you’re ever in the situation where people try to convince you that a commercial application is better than an open source one because “you never know what is going to happen to the open source one” (rather than technical merits) then this little story might be handy to keep in mind.

Sun Microsystems had their own “Single Sign On” product called Access Manager, which they open sourced back in 2008. Now when Oracle took over they decided it wasn’t really their thing, and so shut it down, for reasons best known to themselves. Now had this still been a proprietary application that would have been that, dead, finito, it is an ex-parrot, it has ceased to be. But not with this one, as in the best (worst?) zombie movies it has risen from the dead again (or to keep the Python sketch going, it muscled up to the bars of the cage and ‘Voom!’):

But here it comes the awesomeness of the open source community: A Norwegian company called ForgeRock has stepped up to give OpenSSO a new home and continue developing OpenSSO under a new name: OpenAM (because of trademark issues with the name). They claim they will continue with Sun’s original roadmap for the product, and they have started to make available again all of the express builds, including agents, that were removed from OpenSSO’s site, and a new wiki with all the content that once was available at

So the real power of Open Source isn’t that people will magically keep things going (they are just human after all) but that if *you* need to keep something going then you can, despite what any company says..

Microsoft Tried to get Patent Royalties for from Sun

In an interesting blog on patents, copying and litigation former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz discloses that Bill Gates and Steve Balmer tried to put the frighteners on Sun over to try and protect their office application monopoly. Their attack went like this:

β€œMicrosoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” […] β€œWe’re happy to get you under license.”

Of course (as ever) they do not identify any patents, as that would let us fix any problems (if there are actually any), they would much rather weave their usual web of FUD on the matter than come clean. Jonathan’s response turned the issue on them on a different tact:

β€œWe’ve looked at .NET, and you’re trampling all over a huge number of Java patents. So what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?”

That killed that angle of attack off.. πŸ™‚

WordPress “Worst Offenders” Plugin Works in WP 2.9.x!

I’ve just spent a bit of time fixing up a fairly simple bug that was preventing Rich Boakes’sWorst Offenders” plugin (( This plugin classifies your Akismet spam queue by various criteria to let you do bulk deletes for comments matching various criteria )) from working in current WordPress versions (basically it was assuming it had created a submenu somewhere it wasn’t) and merged my branch back into trunk to check the content of comments for a list of bad words. No release yet, this is just in trunk, but if you are feeling adventurous you can go into your WordPress’s wp-content/plugins directory and do:

svn co worst-offenders

Of course make sure you’ve nuked any earlier version of Worst Offenders first!