The latest release of Ubuntu Linux has hit the download servers. One of the more exciting aspects of this release is that it contains a new installer that allows Windows users to install inside their Windows hard drive partition without repartitioning, so you can try it out with no risk to your existing system. Christer Edwards has some nice upgrade instructions.
The new Mozilla organization dedicated to developing Thunderbird, Mozilla Messaging, has launched. They will also be developing Lightning, Sunbird, and an IM client, which is all very exciting. I’m using Lightning as my calendar at work now and it is looking and feeling much better than it has in the past.
Many people have pointed out that the scary thing about Microsoft potentially buying Yahoo is that Yahoo owns many important web sites (Flickr, del.icio.us, upcoming.org, etc.) and supports many important open source projects (PHP, FreeBSD, YUI, Hadoop, Squid, etc.) I’m not worried, though. These days Microsoft is so ineffectual that it would take them at least a decade to ruin all of those sites and projects.
Randall Monroe of webcomic XKCD came up with a great idea for reducing the noise in the XKCD IRC channel: filter out all sentences that have been spoken in the past. A moderator bot scans two years worth of chat logs and blocks any repeated statements, forcing chatters to come up with original thoughts and avoid the repetitive greetings, acronyms, and in-jokes that make up much of the noise in a chatroom.
The Wall Street Journal has a sort of tragic story about the trouble the One Laptop Per Child project has had selling its XO laptop to developing nations. OLPC has faced competition from Intel and other low-cost laptop manufacturers and several of the nations that had initially committed to purchasing laptops now seem to be going with Intel. The story ends on a bright note, however. Intel and OLPC now intend to collaborate on an Intel-based laptop and OLPC is in good financial shape.
Personally I don’t have a problem with commercial competition for the OLPC, I just think it’s a shame that the nations buying the Intel laptops are putting Windows on them. The extreme hackability of the XO is one of its most important innovations and you miss out on that if you load up your laptops with proprietary software. I ordered an XO through the Give One, Get One program. Mostly I hope it will make a good ebook reader and maybe I’ll play some Micropolis on it.