This is incredible news. The behemoth Cisco has apparently not been in compliance with the GPL License (in relation to their Linksys routers for one), and one problem after another seems to have been cropping up as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) tried to resolve each one.
Finally, the FSF saw no recourse but to finally file a lawsuit to get them to resolve all of the issues and released a press release to that effect. The FSF gives more details in this article. The complaint filed by the Software Freedom Law Center (who announced the filing on their on site) on behalf of the FSF is also available.
The news is spreading far and wide: already, there are articles in InformationWeek, InternetNews, and NetworkWorld. It’s also already on Slashdot, and a Wikipedia page is aging nicely already. (Side note: it’ll be interesting to see how gnu.org handles the slashdot effect…. but I digress.)
I can’t wait until the folks at Groklaw get their hands on this; will be interesting (and will update with the results when it happens).
Lastly, if you believe in what the FSF has been doing, why not join today?
Having programmed in COBOL, I can say its not so bad as people think it is – and it remains a powerful force in the business world. Thousands of lines of COBOL are being used every day. (Of course, no one ever says thousands of lines of COBOL are being developed every day, but that’s another kettle of fish….)
Having also worked in RPG, and in APL (slightly), I can say without reservation that COBOL is not so bad. The worst that people can say is that it takes 300 pages to write a program that C can do in one line – and they’re right. Oh, well – can’t win ’em all eh?
Turns out that back in September, Fujitsu updated their three COBOL compilers: one for .Net, one for Windows, and one for UNIX (including Solaris Sparc!). It also turns out that they have released (again) a previous version for personal educational use – and at no cost! I caught wind of this via esotechnica. It may well be that Fujitsu has provided the easiest way to get started in COBOL anywhere.
If I’d’ve had Fujitsu COBOL on Microsoft Windows XP (for instance) back during my COBOL class days, they’d probably have called it cheating (heh!).
If you want to stay with open source projects, you could always use tinyCOBOL, OpenCOBOL, or GNU COBOL… although I think GNU COBOL is dead (the project was to create a COBOL compiler front-end for GCC). TinyCOBOL and OpenCOBOL appear to be quite active (I actually packaged the tinyCOBOL RPMs for a while).
Anybody ever use COBOL for system administration? I doubt it – but who am I to say? Maybe that important network manager is written in COBOL and we just don’t know it…
If you are willing to pitch in and help FreeBSD, why not donate to the FreeBSD Foundation? Of course, if you don’t want to help FreeBSD, there are other worthy causes that are close to open source and to free software:
- The OpenBSD Foundation – dedicated to funding the OpenBSD family of projects (such as OpenSSH, OpenBGPD, OpenNTPD…)
- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) – the creators of the GPL and funders of the GNU Project
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – dedicated to protecting freedoms in a digital age
- The Mozilla Foundation – the funding for Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, and more
- The Apache Software Foundation – the non-profit behind the Apache web server, Apache Tomcat, Apache Ant, Apache Cocoon, and more
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) – dedicated to promoting the responsible use of computer technology
With the notable exception of the OpenBSD Foundation, all of these groups should be classified as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The OpenBSD Foundation is a Canadian non-profit, so that’s different.
Two that are struggling the most probably are the CPSR and the OpenBSD Foundation. Both are small and not often in the limelight – even though OpenSSH is used by virtually every UNIX and Linux variant on the planet.
All of these are worthwhile – why not donate – or join today? Perhaps your (US) employer might even match your donation to one of these 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.