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Getting Open Source help for schools (a comment as post) September 7, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Blogging, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, OpenOffice, Other Distros, PCLinuxOS, Piracy, Recommendation, Software, Windows, Working with Linux.

The following post is not written by me, but was a comment on a previous post about the real-life problems facing Open Source implementation in the fact of Microsoft loaded schools. This unusually large comment has a host of links that are geared to help individuals/institutions to grow in their awareness of Linux and MS. I’m posting this comment here as a post because I believe it could be helpful to more than me. The author of the comment goes by the name “Jose”. So thanks Jose, here’s your ‘comment’ as post.

(disclaimer: I don’t know anything more of Jose than this comment. So his views are his own, not mine. Similarly, I’ve not had a chance to test all his links, so even though I think I trust Jose, please click with caution).


By Jose, 7 September, 2007

If the schools asks for help, I am sure there are some fairly cheap offerings. LTSP is both practical (saves headaches managing it once you understand Linux) and cheap.

Nice story btw. Scouting (bringing problems like this one into the open) is very important in order to figure out what problems exist and how they might be tackled (word of mouth market research).

I think I understand you not wanting to impose your views on the school nor risk losing credibility in the process. If you have a good track record and can accept rejection, you may want to approach your supervisors with a plan for a pilot. You (with help maybe) can work on possible solutions off-line in order to make a presentation. Maybe you will also find a way, in the interest of student education and well-roundedness, to encourage students that may like Linux/FLOSS (w/parents’ help perhaps) to put initiatives forward. Do you want it or do the students want it? Reports show that Linux is growing, including for example, job offerings on Dice.com as a recent survey revealed. It seems a bad move for educational institutions to ignore Linux just on account of this momentum statistic (I’m not even considering all the other benefits of FLOSS to anyone, much less to an educational institution).

This is an educational institution to serve the students. It seems short-sighted not to offer a Linux option especially being free and with students willing to do their own research (after school club if nothing else).


There are sites dedicated to schools and linux. There are commercial and free Linux distros that focus on schools. There is a modest amount of FLOSS that is useful specifically to teachers and administrators.

Here is a very recent story dealing with libraries and Linux: http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2007090700526OSPB

There are many sites for newbies.

How can you go wrong with a LiveCD? Have they tried PCLOS? Do they know that you can customize many LiveCD distros and then burn another LiveCD so as to have that exact setup matching your needs and preferences wherever whenever?

Can something like this, http://olpc.tv/2007/05/19/preview-60-minutes-about-olpc/ , be all that bad and scary? [OLPC may be a great advocacy tool, browse around olpc.tv for neat videos.]

Would you be a fanatic? an advocate? or just someone finding it very difficult to ignore a good thing whose “business case” just keeps getting better and better?

Microsoft has a long tradition of illegal (court of law) and unethical behavior, assaults on OPEN and FREE software, and on extremely aggressive lock-in techniques (a part of “embrace, extend, and extinguish”). Expect Microsoft licenses to only keep getting more draconian and more expensive. Expect Microsoft products to keep getting more disrespectful of the end users’ privacy (I think this is a big concern for most people). Vista phones home with a lot of personal detail (it’s part of the license too.. you sign away many rights).

And with the lawsuits and bad news mounting, what will the school do if, heaven’s forbid, Microsoft should go out of business? What is the backup plan? Will the kids have continuity and an ability to go further with whatever they might be building.

Has the school done a cost analysis just of licensing costs for the next ten years (Linux downtime is much lower and management is easier in many ways.. again, look at LTSP offerings)? Do these take Microsoft’s steady price increases into account and the requirements for hardware buys? How about all the many and powerful Linux software that costs $0. What would that cost for Windows over 10 years for all computers? Ouch! [Note, students may want to put up their own websites and such]

There are many success stories (even of grandma’s) which should help inspire confidence, but I think the key is a presentation/pilot program to show before everyone’s eyes that it can work. [And don’t forget that the kids needs and wants will trump most other concerns.]

Linux commercial support is growing fast. The communities are in abundance. In fact, you can probably find rather easily 20 websites with volunteers pushing Linux. Why so many people willing to help out for free? [And yes, it can be fun.]

Would the school be doing its duty in not providing at least some support for the greatest educational tool of all time?

You own Linux, really. You help define Linux.. and there is so much that is new and free!

More links:

It may even work to seek out stories on Linus and others that would bring a human dimension to Linux. Tux is the penguin mascot. Top supercomputers (eg, from IBM) run Linux so Linux isn’t just cute. Shrek likes Linux, too: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9653 . Even the US military trusts Linux when they don’t trust Microsoft.

It’s also too easy to beat up on Vista (stories of Bad Vista abound). There are also horror stories of XBox360 problems.. which comes back to the point of how trustworthy is Microsoft and will they be around in 5, ten, or fifteen years? And what will their prices be like (can’t repeat this enough times).


And wow them with some Beryl/Compiz. Yes, this is Linux, too. [This should open eyes, of the faculty, but also students’ eyes.]
http://youtube.com/watch?v=T67kricXYRE sabayon is popular, too.

Bad Microsoft.. long rap sheet
Recent MS abuse of power and unethical behavior with OOXML. Last minute gold partners joined up on MS’s “request.”
Despite all this, OOXML failed to get accepted.

As for the Gates Foundation, I wrote this little bit up recently. I joke around, but it’s no joke that Microsoft gives to biomed research and MS software, both areas where he has significant private interests. The Foundation has made many contributions of MS software, so the Foundation subsidizes Microsoft [Bill’s left pocket pays his right one]. I mention this just in case (if it comes up) people put up with Microsoft because they think Gates is a nice person and that they are doing the right thing even if it is expensive. http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2007-09-01-006-26-OP-CY-PB-0011

And if you get down, or if you simply want to show others that it’s not supposed to be a walk in the part to go through change, here is a review of Linux by someone. What is striking is how this person’s perceptions changed over just 5 months http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2007080900326OPSW . He isn’t the only one, btw. If you give Linux a little bit of time, it really grows on you (it takes a while to undo the brainwashing of Windows and realize that there is such a thing as freedom and control and it can be easy and fun if you give it a little time). Many people that have not heard of Linux have no clue how extensive support is for Linux and for open source (we have a huge community).

A link to the GPL may also be useful (four freedoms etc).

Sorry, to put up so few links, but I still have to organize my files.

Finally, if you have doubts about whether or not you are doing a good thing presenting a FLOSS alternative, ask youself how much of a good thing it is for the kids for them to stay along the current path [I don’t mean to pressure you, only to help overcome doubts and guilt should you want to do something.]


Piracy more serious than bank robbery? Not really! (Article Watch) June 17, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Piracy.

Among other things, the author of this article (linked below) argues that unlike the people who think Piracy is the worst crime of all, “chances are you would prefer that the cops spend their efforts protecting people from rampant home burglaries than chasing down kids with pirated music on their iPods.” Read this article also for the take on the differences between real and intellectual property. Full article here: http://arstechnica.com/

Five reasons that prevent my ‘school’ from adopting Open Source: (from a non-western perspective) May 30, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Mac, News, Open Source, OpenOffice, Recommendation, Software, Windows, Working with Linux.

Recently the NZ government aggressively pushed the adoption (some say too early adoption) of open source software (NeoOffice) for their Macs (news-report here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10442388) I found this a fascinating discussion but in the end unrelated to my situation because while my heart goes out for the permeation of open source for the sanity of the global IT customer/user, my own school (in a non-western country) is ions away from moving towards open source awareness let alone adoption.

A bit about my ‘school’: My school (without naming names) is a small set-up for advanced learning; with about 50+ computers for faculty and students. All computers run Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP. All computers use Internet Explorer (except a few faculty who have chosen the adoption of Firefox. The Firefox option does not exist for the students). For office software, all student computers have Star Office 7. While the faculty have either Star Office or MS Word 2003 (education version). Some faculty have their own MS Office solutions, through OEM licensing when they bought with their laptops. The same is true for students with Laptops, though students with desktops (usually assembled of local one-room shops) may have some pirated software, but all MS oriented. In the entire campus, there is only one Mac, and that sits in the Publications Office.

There are at least five reasons why for the next five years my ‘school’ will probably still be dependent on Windows-based products and not touch anything from open source.

1. Our institution is not government funded, hence management policies are determined in-house and by the Board. While currently, finances are not preventing positive IT implementation, there are still enough financial constraints to give the impression/feeling that “we can’t take risks” with open source.

2. Since our IT supervisors (we outsource our IT solutions and support) are MS Windows oriented, their recommendations will obviously be Windows-based solutions. In fact, one deterrent for resisting the implementation of Linux in student computer labs is that, according to these IT-guys, the Windows server does not (cannot?) recognise which site a student on a Linux computer is browsing. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but in a school situation where internet monitoring is important, such arguments are clinchers.

3. Our management (raised in the generation of typewriters) is not IT friendly, and any adoption of new technology (even if it is windows-based) is not thought of positively.  For example, out of all the faculty, I know only one has a blog. And that too he needs help to manage it.  Of course there are exceptions; we have probably two-three IT geeks hidden in the faculty/management. But they are still in the Windows mold and trust Windows enough because it works for them.

4. There is also a false (in my view) impression that grammar check and spell check improves grammar and spelling. That is why, there has been a push for the adoption of Microsoft Office on all our student machines; because it has grammar check. (Currently we use Star Office). There is also the false impression that the software with more tools means greater productivity. In actual fact, neither student nor faculty, in my experiences, uses the computer for more than writing academic documents (which require footnotes, table of contents and indexing). Still, the idea of ‘better’ software is always, ‘potential’ to do more.

5. Finally, there is no understanding of open source philosophy. Open Source philosophy, of free (as in money) and free (as in for cooperation/transparency) is unheard of.  Linux is probably just a catch-phrase out of context. And right now, people feel they have bigger and more important things to worry about than the operating system and software running on their computers. I say this because this lack of understanding of the ideology of Open Source exposes how despite being an advanced educational institute that focusses on the discussion/critique and development of ideological thinking among students, they fail to understand the ideology (and politics) that control their decision to continue with Microsoft, or the alternatives the lie, waiting for adoption.

In summary: as you can see, we’re far away from implementation. I almost wish that the government was funding our institution and would then force us to adopt something like what the New Zealand government is doing. But alas, I realise that even if our government was funding us, they will still push for Microsoft, because what is here below (the people) must reflect what is there above (our governments that reflect our people).

How this “poor chap” fixed his GRUB May 27, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Confessions, How-To, Linux, PCLinuxOS, Working with Linux.

Recently I ooh-ed and aah-ed about PCLinuxOS 2007. But one gripe I did have was that it messed up my GRUB (ie. it recognised my Windows but it did not recognise my openSUSE partition). While writing that point, I confessed that I have some GRUB problems with many distros and only Ubuntu in my experience recognises and boots everything correctly. I then confessed that I have actually installed an entire Ubuntu distribution (in the past, but on more than one occasion *blush blush*) to fix my GRUB!

Later, I saw a GRUB fixing how-to post that was intended to help ME fix my GRUB, and it referenced me as “the poor chap”. Which I admittedly am! :) The helpful techinical post is found here: http://www.tuxmachines.org/node/16701

Anyway, I was inspired to fix my GRUB, but the post was a little complicated for a noob like me. And so I did what I usually do, go for shortcuts and hope for the best. The following text is extrapolated from the comment I wrote in that post. Hope that helps some people, though I would urge as many people as possible better read the helpful techinical post to get a better idea of how to REALLY fix the thing.


Hey thanks for your effort, but what you wrote, for a person like me, was tooo scary. Really, I’m one of these people who find it difficult to read too much technical stuff… and so I found it difficult (and scary) to read your help. But you did inspire me to fix my GRUB immediately, and so, I did. And this is how I did it.

Firstly, taking on from your pointer, I realised that GRUB is just code. Thanks for that pointer.

Secondly, I realised that I actually needed to “cut and paste” only. Thanks for this pointer too.

However what I did, was I went to my openSUSE GRUB menu.lst and opened the file (using su) and then I copied openSUSE’s boot code, which in my case was

title openSUSE 10.2
root (hd0,3)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hdc4 vga=0x317 resume=/dev/hdc3 splash=silent
initrd /boot/initrd

I pasted this to the end (replacing my previous openSUSE detailed attempt). And then tested.

Viola, it worked!

Now I know that people like me are the bane of linux. Meaning, if I knew the code, I’d understand it… but instead, more and more, a generation of windows-based users (like me) are infiltrating linux and filling the space with a desire for ‘easy’ solutions. I try not to be one of them, but sometimes I am. However, I guess I have to go with my strengths. I don’t think I will ever be friendly about understanding code (cut and paste solutions are just about all that I can do), and so I guess I want to thank you again for taking the time to address this issue… and hopefully there will be more people who will read your entry and actually UNDERSTAND what they’re doing.


Ten things a Linux Fanboy will not tell you: when you install linux May 14, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Blogging, Confessions, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Funny Stuff, Linux, Windows, Working with Linux.

Yes, I read the original list here. And as most lists are, it included somethings it shouldn’t have, and missed somethings it shouldn’t have. So, anyway, here’s my list (and perhaps my exaggerated confessional!) based/built on the earlier list.

When you install Linux (10-1)

10) You will not lose all your athletic abilities, rather you will get quite good in speed-typing and could even qualify for the regionals.

09) Your reading literature will drastically change. No more People/Hello/Filmfare, only OSNews, Slashdot, Wired. As a result, you will know less about what’s happening to Anjelina Jolie’s adopted children from Africa/India and more about what’s happening to Linus Trovalds, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs!

08) Yes, you will eventually sell all your hardware because you are righteously angry that none of the workarounds to make them work on Linux are supported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). But then as you go to buy the latest hardware you will see that you will STILL need some proprietary software/drivers/workarounds after all. But by then you will get off the ideological high-horse and install the new hardware with proprietary stuff anyway, because at least your wife is letting you upgrade your computer!

07) You will write more! Much more. Especially in blogs like this one, in the hope that you will spread the Linux love. And there will be plenty of encouragement because people will read the drivel you write! And no, you will not write “Bill Gates is the devil” nonsense, because it is stereotypical, passe and crass. Instead, you will adopt cool jingoism that shows how clever you are… like saying micro$oft, and instead of saying “let’s google it” you will now say, “let’s distrowatch it” Yeah! How cool are we!

06) You will do your best to convince the world that Linux is free, user-friendly and compatible. You will wax eloquent about open-source philosophy, free-speech and peace on earth. But as you continue in the Linux world, you will also get to know bitorrent technology, and will discover a new world of internet piracy that lets you download cool Windows-based programs for free! You will justify this by saying that micro$oft has enough money anyway, forgetting that some simple people like you are probably working on the software that you just ripped off!

05) When your multimedia codecs (etc) don’t work in Linux, you will rant against proprietary drivers and corporate law. Ultimately, though you will get the darn movie (file) to work on Linux and feel really proud of it! But you will also realise that you took 10 times longer to get stuff done than you would have if you had stuck to Windows (of course you will convince yourself that this is time well invested, things will improve, things will improve!!!)

04) Yes you will try-out a gazillion linux distributions, while you dis all Windows from 95 to Vista! Of course you will begin ranting against Windows in your brand new Linux. Then you will dual boot and do some work in windows and some in Linux. And oftentimes, when things don’t go too well… you will continue to rave about Linux and rant against Windows, in Windows!!!

03) You will get popular for a minute (not 15) and then geek out of this stratosphere. You will become The social misfit, That Linux-guy, and the person people will remember as “yes I knew him, but wish I didn’t”

02) while you become a champion of the poor and opensource community, arguing for cheaper software costs, your electricity bill will jump, your internet download bill will go up, and you will increase medication for eye-strain and headaches!

01) And after two years with Linux you will look back at a list like this, and say, “wow, it was worth it!” And continue your Linux journey!

Mac Spoofs PC. Linux spoofs Mac. April 27, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Funny Stuff, Linux, Mac, OpenSUSE, Windows.
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OK, I admit it. I just saw these videos. Everyone else must have seen this series long time earlier. Anyway, web means sharing and I would like to “share” these three youtube movies. Obviously, like the MAC ads, these ads are not geared to “inform” the viewers. The Mac ads were supposed to make us snigger at the competition while we feel good about ourselves. Well, these Linux (Novell) videos certainly makes me feel the same!

Linux Exists!

“You’ve grown up fast!” great line. :)

Linux changes. Fast

I really liked this ad, above. It points to the very thing that makes Linux such a strong attraction; configurability and community sharing.

Linux everywhere

The third video, I didn’t like it, probably because I couldn’t believe anyone would want to replace their (expensive) mac os for a linux. Also, it seemed the least realistic ad in terms of Linux’ capabilities visa vi the competition. But at least it made it’s point that Linux works on both systems.

Official Novell site for the ads: http://www.novell.com/video/

Why is Ubuntu no. 1? Because of distrowatch! April 27, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Internet, Linux, Linux Mint, Other Distros, Recommendation, Reviews, Ubuntu, Working with Linux.

Don’t get me wrong (from the title). Ubuntu has a lot of things going for it. I learned a lot through it, and it eased my entry into Linux from Windows. But what my title is trying to say is this: distrowatch deserves credit for Ubuntu’s meteoric rise to fame.

Distrowatch has become the number one go-to site for information regarding Linux distributions. It’s an excellent collection of reports on the latest linux distros. Heck, without it I would have never heard of or tried, Dreamlinux, Linux Mint, MCNLive, LG3D… and a host of others.

Of course, the more people came to distrowatch and learned about Ubuntu, meant that more people would look for Ubuntu and come to distrowatch. So perhaps there is more mutuality than I have suggested.

More importantly, it’s much maligned and appreciated stats page, that records the hits for a site have been a helpful (though qualified) guide to what’s out there and how ‘popular’ it (probably) is. Notice, the key word is popular, not best.

However, human beings being human beings, we gravitate towards the “best” movie according to the highest rating, the restaurant with the best “review” and in this case, the distro with the “most” hits. Distrowatch, by its stats that have consistently shown Ubuntu as number 1 for the last two years… has drawn people, even like me, to try Ubuntu first.

Of course now I use other distros. I like other distros. However the first-time user, if given a choice, often invariably chooses Ubuntu. I mean, they (first time users) don’t even choose Kubuntu, which according to me is better equipped for Windows defectors like me. But that’s because Kubuntu is rated a lowly 15 today!

So what am I trying to say, finally? I’m saying that while Ubuntu has many things going for it (and a single-CD concept is one of them)… Distrowatch has led the way in Ubuntu’s popularity. Of course, the more people came to distrowatch and learned about Ubuntu, means that more people will look for Ubuntu and come to distrowatch. So perhaps there is more mutuality than I have suggested.

But still, this post celebrates (and emphasizes) the role of distrowatch in the rise of Ubuntu.

And just to let you know that I’m not the only one who would think like this, check out this site (http://useopensource.blogspot.com/2007/03/unscientific-linux-popularity-contest.html ) especially the first comment by Jay Ellington which reads:

Its too bad you don’t give distrowatch.com the credit they rightfully deserve in your post. Yes the numbers on the ticker can be fudged but I can remember going to distrowatch right after its first publishing and it just blowing up in the following months, it is an incredible site that still today remains quite unbiased towards the different distros on the market. I still read distrowatch weekly regularly and at the time it was one of the only sites that had quality news for open source os’s compared to today when linux has every poser organization claims they are the news site for the masses. At my university (EWU, very small school) we used it almost daily for tracking our currently installed distribution’s default packages and new up and coming distributions onto the market like sorcerer…


Actually, my post is written in response to this post http://blog.lejer.ro/2007/04/26/why-the-ubuntu-linux-os-have-such-great-popularity/ which is a typical entry that one would expect that tells the “merits” of distro as the reason for its success while missing the sociological (and marketing) reasons around it.

ps. check out Distrowatch’s report of Ubuntu’s recent success. The section is in “miscellaneous news.” http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20070423#topten

Why choose open source? Article watch March 29, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Recommendation, Software, Windows, Working with Linux.
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FIRMS WOULD LOVE to have you dump your computer every year, and your accesories, and your MP3 player, and your DVD, and your entire movie collection, and replace it with new ones. The software world is getting closer.

Read full article here: Open Source, the only weapon against ‘planned obsolescence’

Why Piracy hurts Open Source January 18, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Piracy, Software, Windows, Working with Linux.
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I remember reading this article (it’s currently downloadable as a pdf for free from TUX magazine) early on when TUX *was* free… and I was really struck by the truth of the argument.

Basically the author says that while Piracy is *free* like open source (ie you don’t need to buy it)… it has it’s cost on the open source industry. In other words, if we had a pirated copy of Photoshop CS2 which has millions of dollars of investment poured into it… for free! then of course GIMP would not match up to it. But if you had to PAY for Photoshop CS2, then more people would be rushing to a commendable GIMP. Do read the article to understand this idea further.

If we had a pirated copy of Photoshop CS2 which has millions of dollars of investment poured into it… for free! then of course GIMP would not match up to it

I see another problem in addition. Of late I’ve been trying to work exclusively on Linux (openSUSE being my current favourite medium)… and while my Windows XP Home on my Lenovo is not pirated, it is *free* in that it came as the price of the laptop. I guess in that sense this *free* copy of Windows makes it difficult to trust exclusively on Linux. However, if I had to pay for Windows separately, people may have gone more aggressively for a Linux operating system. Currently, with this pricing, it is all the more difficult to abandon Windows and move entirely onto a growing medium like Linux.

Anyway… I tried this piracy-is- not-good-for-open-source argument on a few of my friends… and well, they thought it was interesting, but they were not sold to the idea of supporting open source software. They were more into free software.

But it surely this is a better argument than say… piracy is stealing (because even the companies cheat/steal!).

Anyway. It was a memorable article. And hope you find it too.

Fluendo gives free access to mp3 proprietary codecs January 16, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Article Watch, Linux, Software.
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Well it’s happening! Linux is forging ahead, becoming easier to use. And, it’s a great journey to be in. (of course some will say that flac or ogg is best, but an easier crossover really makes things simpler)

This was just in,

“The Fluendo people have fully licensed the mp3 audio codec with redistribution rights in place, meaning that future versions of Fedora or Ubuntu will be able to support mp3 out of the box. “In order to improve the GNU/Linux and Unix multimedia experience Fluendo announced today the immediate availability of their MP3 plug-in for the GStreamer multimedia framework. The MP3 decoder is available free of charge both for individual end users and GNU/Linux and Unix distribution makers. In addition to making their licensed binary plug-in available to the public Fluendo also released the source code to this MP3 plug-in under the very permissive MIT license allowing all kind of developers and companies access to it.

Source: http://www.osnews.com/story.php/13078/Fluendo-Folks-Licensed-Mp3-for-GStreamer-Usage

It seems, however that Fluendo is into streaming video/audio and is supporting opensource codecs ogg vorbis/theora for that. Following is a selection of the interview with Fluendo’s CEO and co-founder,Julien Moutte.

2. Tell us a bit about the Ogg Vorbis/Theora codecs. How do they compare to the proprietary codecs technologically? Julien: Well I am really impressed by the Xiph guys, they have done some great work. Recently we took care of the streaming of KDE’s aKademy developer conference in Stuttgart using Ogg Vorbis/Theora, and I must admit even after having been working for over 6 years with Internet video streaming I have never seen such a nice picture/sound quality/smoothness for only 40KB/s! I’m very confident in the fact that these open/royalty-free codecs can compare with proprietary ones, and I am really sure that as soon as Xiph does a first beta release, a lot of very good hackers will optimize those codecs to get them better than the others. Our goal is that our effort, combined with those of the wider GStreamer community and the desktop projects will help spearhead the free formats into wider usage. To some degree we feel that for free codecs to really become important and dominant, the free desktops have to start making some serious inroads, because Microsoft and Apple do not have any interest in pushing free formats and codecs over their own.

Source (and full interview): http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8218

Fluendo main site here.