Allison Randal

Allison Randal is Program Chair for O'Reilly's Open Source Convention. Her first geek career was as a research linguist in eastern Africa. But eventually her love of coding drew her away from natural languages to artificial ones. Allison is the architect of Parrot (a virtual machine for dynamic languages), on the board of directors of The Perl Foundation, and founder and president of Onyx Neon. She co-authored Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials, and has edited various O'Reilly books on dynamic languages including Perl Hacks and Programming PHP.

Free Computers for Local Schools

If you're located in the Bay Area, take a bit of time out this weekend to help the community and the environment. On Saturday, March 1st, the Alameda County Computer Resource Center together with Untangle, are hosting an installfest in 4 locations: San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo, and Novato. They'll be installing Ubuntu, Firefox, Open Office, and more on recycled…

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Interview with Linus Torvalds

The second half of the Linux Foundation interview with Linus Torvalds went up today. Several interesting perspectives on patents, competition, innovation, community building, target markets, and the future of Linux. If you're looking for hope that Linux will focus more on the desktop market, look no further: "I have never, ever even run a Linux server and I don’t even…

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Linux and GPLv3

The Linux Foundation published a podcast interview with Linus Torvalds this week, the first in a new series. The interview covers a broad range of topics related to Linux, but towards the end spotlights the subject of licensing. As I suspected, 6 months after the release of GPLv3, Linux shows no signs of adopting the new version of the popular…

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OSCON 2008 Call for Participation

The call for participation for the 2008 O'Reilly Open Source Convention is out. This year marks the 10th anniversary of OSCON, of the Open Source Initiative, of Mozilla, and of the term "Open Source", so a huge celebration is in order. OSCON will be in Portland, Oregon again this year, one of the key Open Source hubs in North America….

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Phone Monopoly Redux

The economics of hardware subsidization aren't as significant in mobile phone contracts as you might think. The mobile phone companies could sell you a $20 phone that would work just fine. They do in other countries, and they used to do it in the US. They don't any more, though, because if they offer the option, people take it instead…

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Open Source and Microsoft

At OSCON this summer, I was interviewed by Sam Ramji from Microsoft on the subject of open source and Microsoft's participation in the community. The video is live now on their open source labs site, Port 25….

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Design Thinking

At OSCON next Tuesday evening, Michael Tiemann will lead a training session on Design Thinking. In a nutshell, Design Thinking is an approach to planning and problem solving that extends a familiar metaphor of "design" (as in graphic design, or architectural design), to, well… everything. I first heard the meme in connection with Stanford University's d.school, and have watched it…

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Publishing Renaissance

I just got a stack of copies of Gravitas, the first book published by my company (Onyx Neon Press). I was amused to see it tagged as "Chick Lit" on Amazon, since it's written by a guy, and entirely from the perspective of the lead male character. Maybe they thought "S. Christopher" is something like "Samantha Christopher". The "Fight Club"…

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Perl in a Nutshell

I've always appreciated the humor and creativity of the Perl community, and the Zen-like devotion to not taking life (or anything) too seriously. This snippet on YouTube was inspired by an O'Reilly book: Perl in a Nutshell….

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Beyond the Browser

At OSBC last week I gave a Radar talk on current technology trends. The trend of moving traditional desktop applications to massively networked, Web 2.0 online applications like Google Docs is well-known. The problem is, a web browser is a terribly limited platform for application development, and JavaScript is a less-than-fully-featured language. There are inherent limitations to the kinds of…

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