Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Microsoft's going to release source code of Windows Phone

As you all may know, Windows 8 Phone (codename Apollo) has not been the great "Android replacer" that Microsoft hoped. Developers do not like this OS, and neither users: too much complex, too slow. Given that it's not worth spending resources on Windows Phone 8, Redmond decided that the support for this system will end on July 2014.

So, trying to go for broke, Microsoft decided to publicly release the source code. The day of the public release is not yet decided: the code needs to be cleaned and organized first, so it will happen probably after July. Redmond hopes to attract, in particular, people who are disappointed by the NSA scandals.

Microsoft declared that all the source code of Windows Phone will be released, including the NT kernel.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SteamOs: the good, the bad, or the ugly?

You may have heard that Valve, one of the major videogames companies, is going to release its own operating system: SteamOs. It is based on Debian: basically, it's just a Debian GNU/Linux distro with GNOME, that comes with Steam preinstalled and ready for use. If you want to try it, I have prepared a VDI image for Virtualbox (you will need to create a Debian VM, with 3D enabled):
www.zorbaproject.org/steamos/Steamos-vdi.zip

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kartesio: best fit curves with experimental points

I finally had the time to build a simple website for Kartesio. This is a program I wrote about two years ago for my phisycal chemistry laboratory: I needed to calculate best fit curves for some experimental points I got from the refractometer and the regression algorithms available in the common office suites were not so good. But I also wanted something really simple: why sould I use "R" if I just want to best fit some points? So I decided to create a program which does this operation and only this one, but does it well. Kartesio is able to best fit curves using a regression algorithm or a neural network.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Free software at the CERN, or: how did FOSS help the discovery of Higgs boson

What are the main fields in which FOSS is really important, and had given big successes in these years? Research is, probably, one of the most important. And when you talk about research, scientific research, you must speak about the CERN.
In the GNU/Linux Magazine Italy number of January, you will find an interview I did to two researchers about this topic: Sebastien Ponce is the head of CASTOR, the CERN's data storage system (based on GNU/Linux) and Brian Bockelman is an american physicist that works with CERN software to analyse data from ATLAS and CMS experiments (those who found the existence of Higgs particle).
I think you will find their answers really interesting.

Se leggete GNU/Linux Magazine Italia troverete nel numero di gennaio 2013 (in edicola giĆ  la prossima settimana) la traduzione in italiano dell'intera intervista, con una breve introduzione.

I would like to thank both Brian and Sebastien, for the time they spent answering me, but also Melissa Gaillard from the CERN press office for all the work she did.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pengpod's GNU/Linux tablets are coming. Also in Italy.

I just read the news that Pengpod is going to release a couple of tablets with a GNU/Linux system (not with Android).
I got the news from ANSA, the main italian agency (http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/tecnologia/2012/12/04/gennaio-tablet-Linux-sfida-Android-Apple_7899132.html) and the title of the article is "In January a Linux tablet will challenge Android and Apple".

The news is beautiful for two reasons. First: a new tablet with GNU/Linux, hurray. Second: an italian press agency (the most important, inter alia) mentioned Linux. Ok, I know it's GNU/Linux and not "Linux" but don't demand too much: it's incredible that someone in our press world recognized just the existence of GNU/Linux. In Italy, basically, it's unusual to read about GNU/Linux on a newspaper. At maximum you will hear about "Open Source" the word "free" is not even mentioned. And, "GNU/Linux" and "Linux" are often considered synonyms. The title itself of the the article recognizes GNU/Linux as a character of the mobile challenge.

Talking about the tablets, they seems to be good products, expecially for their price. Personally, I can't wait to see them running Plasma Active.

So it's a good period for Italy in freedom of software: today we hear this news, and some weeks ago our parliament has issued a law that forces public administration to choose Free Open Source Software every time it is possible (and buy proprietary programs only if there is no FOSS alternative). This is the base for a mentality change: if everything goes well, in less than ten years FOSS will not be just "an alternative", but it will be "the normality".

Monday, October 15, 2012

Progetto Archimede: energy for everyone

Computers, obiously, need energy to work. And so do all the other machines: the problem of power sources is becoming bigger every day, since we don't have a renewable energy source that could really replace fossil fuels. Or do we?

Some months ago I wrote an article for BBC Science Italy, about the "Progetto Archimede" (Archimedes Project) built from the ENEA based on an idea of Carlo Rubbia (an italian Nobel prize winner for physics). Because of some troubles in the layout of the magazine, we decided to not publish the article. For this reason I would like to publish at least the interview I did at the italian minister of environment Corrado Clini (and former director of ENEA).

Just for those who don't know what we are talking about, Progetto Archimede is a new kind of power plant based on solar thermodynamic that works both in day and night: according to Rubbia's calculations, a power plant of this type large about 2000 Km2 (this is nothing in terms of desertic areas) can give energy to the whole Europe. Forever.

Here's the interview:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Social networks: the new major media

A few days ago, I got an email from Sarah Wenger, with an infographic she developed about the power of online people. There is a line that says "Social media is becoming the new major media". This is basically right, I think we are all aware that Facebook and Twitter (for example) are the main way for the diffusion of news. Is this good or bad? This question, obiously, is stupid. Tecnology is not good and not bad: tecnology is just an instrument. The use people do of tecnology can be positive or negative.