A while ago you had the chance to ask programmer and open source advocate Bruce Perens about the future of open source, its role in government, and a number of other questions. Below you'll find his answers and an update on what he's doing now.
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Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to drop a cool $16 billion on WhatsApp, a messaging service with 450 million users. It was a mind-boggling sum, even if you buy into Facebook's argument that WhatsApp (which will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, at least for the moment) will soon connect a billion people around the world. But it wasn't the biggest tech acquisition of all time: that honor belongs to Hewlett-Packard, which bought Compaq for (an inflation-adjusted) $33.4 billion in 2001. Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp comes in second on the list, followed by Hewlett-Packard's purchase of Electronic Data Systems for $15.4 billion; Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $13 billion, and Oracle snatching up Peoplesoft for $12.7 billion. In sixth comes Hewlett-Packard again, with its Autonomy buy in 2011 (for $11.7 billion), followed by Oracle's BEA Systems acquisition ($9.4 billion) and Microsoft seizing Skype ($9.0 billion). What do many of these highest-cost purchases have in common? Many of them didn't pan out. Hewlett-Packard's Compaq, Autonomy, and EDS acquisitions, for example, made all the sense in the world on paper, the tech giant eventually took significant write-downs on all three (Autonomy in particular was an outright disaster, resulting in a $8.8 billion write-off and widespread allegations of financial and management impropriety)." Update: 02/20 19:32 GMT by T : Of interest: Mother Jones has an interesting take on the seeming mismatch between Facebook's business model and the way the WhatsApp founders think about advertising. Hint: they hate it.
pigrabbitbear writes "There's a reason why Elon Musk is being called the next Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, he's a visionary, a super successful serial entrepreneur, having made his initial fortune with a company he sold to Compaq before starting Paypal. Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion. Like Jobs, [he has] a knack for paradigm-shifting industry disruption. Which means he's also demanding. 'Like Jobs, Elon does not tolerate C or D players,' SpaceX board member and early Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson told BusinessWeek. But while Jobs was slinging multi-colored music players and touchable smartphones, Musk is building rocket ships and electric-powered supercars. It's why his friends describe him as not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one. His friend Jon Favreau used Musk as the real-life inspiration for the big screen version of Tony Stark. Elon Musk is a badass."
alphadogg writes "Napkins don't really stack up well against hard drives or even floppy disks for preserving data over time. But some of the technology and business world's most enduring ideas are said to have at least gotten their starts as sketches on dinner or cocktail napkins (which in fact were inspiration for the 5 ¼ floppy disk's size). Robert Metcalfe's early Ethernet diagrams from his days at Xerox PARC back in the early 1970s might be the most famous napkin sketches in the technology industry, but there are napkin stories involving Compaq, Facebook, @home and more."
When someone offers you the once in a lifetime chance to see something as historic as the final Space Shuttle Flight: You go. As a child I assembled a puzzle of the Challenger illuminated by those bright xenon lights, and dreamt of space flight. And last week I went to see the last launch the world will ever see of a Space Shuttle. Atlantis. STS-135. What follows is the story of my brief stay at the Kennedy Space Center.
racquetballguy writes "As part of a December 2010 settlement agreement, NVIDIA agreed to provide all owners of laptops containing a defective NVIDIA GPU with a laptop of similar kind and value. In February, NVIDIA announced that a $279 single-core Compaq CQ56 would be provided as a replacement to all laptops — from $2500 dual-core tablet PCs to $2000 17" entertainment notebooks. Ted Frank, from the Center for Class Action Fairness, filed an objection to the court, which was overruled by Judge Ware today. Once again, the consumers of a class action lawsuit lose."
alphadogg writes "Kenneth Olsen, the computer industry pioneer who co-founded and led minicomputer king Digital Equipment Corp. for 35 years, died at the age of 84 on Sunday in Indianapolis. As DEC's leader, Olsen oversaw the company's epic battles vs. IBM and its mainframes for the hearts and business of IT shops – a fight DEC eventually lost as the era of fast, cheap and networked PCs took hold in the 1980s and 1990s. During its heyday, DEC's PDPs, VAXes and DECnet network technology became staples in many organizations, and today's IT industry remains filled with companies whose founders once worked at DEC or with its gear. Digital was acquired in 1998 by Compaq. Dan Bricklin, co-creator of the VisiCalc spreadsheet and DEC alum, tweeted: 'Ken Olsen is in the elite club of tech founders w/Gates & Jobs, and set the stage for them. What he did we take for granted today.'"
An anonymous reader writes "HP and 3Com Corporation today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase 3Com, a leading provider of networking switching, routing and security solutions, at a price of $7.90 per share in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $2.7 billion. The terms of the transaction have been approved by the HP and 3Com boards of directors."
narramissic writes "Doing a download speed test of his Time Warner cable connection, James Gaskin discovered something odd, something that he is quick to note isn't a rigorous benchmarked lab test. The discovery: His Ubuntu machine 'returned a rating from the Bandwidth.com test of 22-25mbps over several tests' while the same test done from a Windows XP PC returned a rating of 12-14mbps. The two computers used in the test are 'almost identical: both off-lease Compaq small form factor D515s, part of the very popular corporate desktop D500 family. Both have Pentium 4 processors running at 2GHz. The Ubuntu machine has 768MB of RAM, while the XP box has only 512MB of RAM. Both run Firefox 3 as their browser.' Gaskin's question: Can a little extra RAM make that much difference in Internet download speeds or does Ubuntu handles networking that much faster than Windows XP?"
Trigger writes "At our work we were decomissioning six old HP/Compaq servers to clear up space for new servers and, naturally, each server had a fairly large raid array. Instead of formatting every hard drive (would have taken weeks performing a DoD level wipe) and disposing them all together with the servers, I decided to disassemble the hard drives and recycle them into something neat. With a lot (a lot) of patience, I made this shiny Xmas tree. In total there are around 70 old SCSI hard drives, between 9gb and 18gb in size each. They were nice and chunky, oldschool style. There were quite a few different hard drive models, which is good because they each had different bits which I could use. The Xmas tree is made with parts from hard drives only except for one nut which I had to purchase for $0.39." It's good to see that this guy has plenty to do at work.
ruphus13 writes "HP finally begins to actively push open source in its products. From the post, 'HP has been quirky over the years when it comes to open source. It has been, traditionally, a company that supports open source — especially in larger enterprises... Wednesday, it announced two new open source products, geared to small businesses and educational institutions. HP plans on including its 'Mozilla Firefox for HP Virtual Solution' on more of its business class desktop PCs (to a total of seven models between the HP Compaq dc/dx lines in the US, eight models worldwide). Come December 15th, HP will also offer Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop on its HP Compaq dc5850 model. The base SLED-equipped model will cost $519, and features the usual open source suspects for the small business setting — OpenOffice, and mail clients such as Evolution.'"
ruphus13 writes "In an effort to take on IE and make strong headway in its share of the browser market, Google is taking a page out of Microsoft's playbook and working on deals with PC OEMs to include Chrome in their devices. From the article: '[Google] is likely to pursue deals with major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to put Chrome on their computers and devices. ... If Mozilla could get aggressive about this too, we could see Internet Explorer facing more serious competition than ever. ... Google, much more so than Mozilla, has enough global brand recognition, money, and savvy to make a big deal of this. ... Microsoft wooed Dell, Compaq, HP, Gateway, Acer and many other companies into making its browser the default choice on Windows desktops. Chrome currently has just under one percent market share, according to NetApplications. That number could rise significantly through this effort. Mozilla doesn't have the kind of money required to get the significant deals in this space, but Google definitely does.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Dell and Hewlett-Packard are both facing lawsuits over catastrophic equipment failures that lead to fires and injuries last year. 'In one case, a North Dakota auto lube shop owner claims that a Dell monitor he purchased caught fire and burned down his business ... meanwhile, an Arkansas man has sued HP, claiming that an HP Compaq Presario PC he purchased from Wal-Mart burst into flames, causing a blaze that destroyed his house and seriously injured his daughter.'"
alphadogg-nw writes "Tired of being wrong too often, a Network World pundit applies 20-20 hindsight to this list of prognostications for 1998, which if he's right will turn out to be quite a year. Among the forecasts: The U.S. Department of Justice will go medieval on Microsoft, Compaq will buy what's left of DEC, AOL likewise Netscape, Apple will introduce something said to look like an Easter egg ... and then there's the deafening buzz about this new search engine called Google."
Ian Lamont writes "A security researcher calling himself porkythepig has published attack code that can supposedly brick most HP and Compaq laptops. The exploit uses an ActiveX control in HP's Software Update. It would 'let an attacker corrupt Windows' kernel files, making the laptop unbootable, or with a little more effort, allow hacks that would result in a PC hijack or malware infection.' The same researcher last week outlined a batch of additional vulnerabilities in HP and Compaq laptops, for which HP later issued patches."
babyshiori writes "Users of Microsoft Windows Vista can rejoice in the fact that Microsoft just released a preview of the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate! The build is the lead-up to the actual service pack, which will be made available to even more testers at a later date. 'In our early tests with the beta, we saw some small improvements in boot time on an HP Compaq 8710p Core 2 Duo notebook. Before SP1, the laptop took 1 minute, 51 seconds to boot. After the update, that figure dropped by almost 20 seconds. Microsoft is also touting improvements in "the speed of copying and extracting files," so we tested a few of those scenarios. We noted a slight increase in the time required to copy 562 JPEG images totaling 1.9GB from an SD Card to the hard drive of the aforementioned HP Compaq notebook.'"
Paolo DF writes "An Italian user asked for a refund after buying a Compaq computer that came with Windows XP and Works 8 pre-installed. HP tried to avoid the EULA agreement which states, approximately: '[I]f the end user is not willing to abide by this EULA... he shall immediately contact the producer to get info for giving back the product and obtaining refunds.' The court ruled in favor of the user (Google translation from the Italian), who received back €90 for XP and €50 for Works. Here is the ruling (PDF, Italian)."
theodp writes "Come Monday, no more Indiana University searches will be powered by computer-driven Google. Only by people-powered ChaCha. The move was announced by new IU President Michael McRobbie, who until recently sat on ChaCha's Board of Directors (5-29 SEC filing, PDF). IU will draft hundreds of librarians and IT employees to be ChaCha Guides for the university's websites, although a FAQ accompanying IU's press release tells librarians not to expect any checks for their efforts from ChaCha, which IU notes is backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Compaq founder Rod Canion."
darkonc points us to a writeup on linux.com about a very Linux-unfriendly policy at HP. A woman bought a Compaq laptop and loaded Ubuntu on it. Some time later, still well inside the 1-year hardware warranty, the keyboard started acting up. An HP support rep told her, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." Gateway and Dell refused to comment to the reporter on what they would do in a similar situation. (Linux.com and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.)