All busy on the Western front

Stone me I’m busy. Bah. Haven’t even had time to write some things up here. However, my collection of kept-unread things in Google Reader has reached high enough proportions that I have to do something about it, so this gets a few things off my list. A post about the stuff I discussed at LugRadio Live — whether it might be reasonable to make “be permissive about IP” be the default for Linux distributions and make the Americans and others in oppressive IP regimes do the legwork to remove what they consider to be “patent-infringing”, rather than all of us non-Americans suffering for it — is stacked into the holding pattern and circulating over Heathrow, incidentally.

Recent interesting things

Google Reader finally lets you search past posts
Thank god for that. Finally. Finally.
ATI open graphics specs and open source the driver for video cards
This is a pretty big deal, this one. At first blush it looks as if two of the three leading graphics card manufacturers (ATI and Intel)* will now have good support in open source. I imagine someone at nVidia has at least noticed that this has happened. More openness of this sort cannot be a bad thing. Well done ATI, I say.
I should note a couple of small reservations: it’s only for their newer cards (i.e., not most of the ATI cards that are out there), and it’s not as simple as them just open sourcing their existing fglrx binary driver. They’re providing a library to access the BIOS on the card, but most importantly they’re providing specifications for the cards. It’s still down to the open source community to write the driver itself, but we’ve historically not had a problem with that (and ATI are funding the initial writing of this driver!). Phoronix has more detail on what ATI are actually doing — the important quotation is “The aim of this open-source driver is not to overtake the fglrx driver but rather is designed for those who just want a working desktop with 3D capabilities and basic video playback. This new driver is ideal for FOSS enthusiasts” — the point here is that if you want the very best performance from your ATI card you’ll still need to go proprietary, but there’s now enough information that the open source code will be able to provide the things that a lot of people are clamouring for — 3d acceleration, video acceleration, 3d desktop effects. Well done, ATI, I say. Obviously I’d like to see it all being Free, but I’m confident in the open source community’s ability to build a great driver (maybe even a better driver than the binary one?) based on having the information they’ve asked for, and now they’ve got it. Blizzard’s thoughts are informative.
@media Ajax 2007
I’m really looking forward to speaking at @media Ajax this year. The list of speakers is pretty cool, indeed, including some people I’ve never had the chance to meet. As usual, details of events I’m going to be at are on my events page.
Separated at birth
John “jQuery” Resig says that he’s “baffled” by why I referred to him as John “Kelly Osbourne” Resig in an earlier post. Well, the camera doesn’t lie.

John Resig and Kelly Osbourne

On the other hand, John did an excellent Google Tech Talk on building a JavaScript library, so don’t hold it against him.

Convert a physical Linux box into a VMWare virtual machine

Useful, although convoluted. Parallels lets Mac people virtualise from a bootable partition, so you can either boot into your image or run it as a VM inside another OS. Can we do that under Linux? It’d save my dad rebooting into Windows to make his scanner work.