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 ( 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".