Monday, February 19, 2007

Open Source Colas and Naughty Old Gates

Yes it is precisely that. Funny this is what some random tag surfing brought me to. I've heard jokes about outsourcing where people talk about outsourcing almost any kind of service however insane, but not many about open source stuff. But this one beats it all!
If you’ve been to a computer show in recent months you might have seen it: a shiny silver drink can with a ring-pull logo and the words “opencola” on the side. Inside is a fizzy drink that tastes very much like Coca-Cola. Or is it Pepsi?There’s something else written on the can, though, which sets the drink apart. It says “check out the source at” Go to that Web address and you’ll see something that’s not available on Coca-Cola’s website, or Pepsi’s — the recipe for cola. For the first time ever, you can make the real thing in your own home. OpenCola is a brand of cola unique in that the instructions for making it are freely available and modifiable. Anybody can make the drink, and anyone can modify and improve on the recipe as long as they, too, license their recipe under the GNU General Public License.

Of course the people who made the drink weren't really serious about making something big out of it, and it was used purely as a tool for educating the people and extolling the virtues of open source software. However the software company that actually used this strategy ended up finding the drink to be more popular than the software!

But my question is if there is a chance where certain products (by that I mean tangible ones, not software) could be made open source, what would that mean to the economy of some of the evil empires that currently have a monopoly over? I would think that to be kinda far fetched because the people who make these products incur some significant cost which wouldn't be worth the while to release it for free (maybe my dear IIM friend might care to enlighten us!). But hey, if Linus Torvalds could invest his time and effort into giving birth to Linux and realeasing his baby to the world for its growth and nourishment, then why not other products?

And on the subject of Operating Systems here is a link that I have been wanting to post for a while about. Despite widespread criticism and its obvious security flaws I have been a staunch supporter of the Windows OS. I like the way they make things easy for the common user. Mac users will have other ideas, though the Mac may really be user friendly, maybe more than Windows. (Which reminds me... last semester while working in one of the labs in the University, I had to help someone set up a VPN client on a Mac, and trust me, it was then I realised that Macs don't have a right click! I have to admit it was the first time I'd used a Mac and I did find the graphics impressive, but it was different - though not necessarily less or more user friendly than Windows - and would take time to get used to) Anyway, getting to the point, I love the Windows OS (but adore Firefox) and respect the work Microsoft does. They have a really smart bunch of people. But I am not really sure about Bill Gates. There's been far too many occasions where his behaviour, or let's say his communication abilities have been found wanting. This is the second situation of late, where I've seen Gates exhibit obvious nervousness/weakness or something not befitting the richest man in the world. (the other one being his immediate stand up and leave while cameras were still aimed at him in Jon Stewart's Daily Show)

I don't agree with the particular blogger's constant Vista-is-another-crappy-thing-to-come-out-of-Microsoft rant but I do see Gates' response to questions he would normally expect to be asked, particularly the Apple comparison, as appalling and highly defeatist, given that the interview was also a small part of the huge promotional campaign that Microsoft has undertaken for Vista. In case you want to read the interview here it is.

I know, I have been writing more stuff about world and current issues than I usually write about. Maybe it's got to do with my abnormally increased frequenting of blogs in general and tech/entertainment blogs in particular, but for those who are terribly interested in my phenomenally eventful personal life, I'll get back to one of those 'personal experiences' posts soon.

But before that I would have to give one more link that's totally unavoidable and getting a lot of press lately; I must admit, another gem from the erstwhile pop princess, current one-step-from-rehab wastrel and quite possibly future Courtney Love. Yes you might have guessed by now. Our very dear Britney Spears.

Update: Lest I have another post about it... due to its relevance you might want to read about the blame game/excuses from the current CEO Steve Ballmer for the rather poor sales of Vista. It comes as little surprise that the object of his frustration is a familiar enemy but a close friend of us desis atleast! Personally I believe it will pick up after their usual SP1, SP2 and the like.


  1. whoa! That's a lot of links...I can count at least 5 different posts in this one :)

  2. right.. so all we need now is open source rum and we are good to go...

  3. [Patrix]
    Economy my friend! Instead of writing 5 different posts.
    Btw, I just read my post again and (apart from cringing, which I usually do when I read any of my pieces of writing) I must admit that it sure was one hell of an information/link overload. The post kinda loses the point.
    That explains my General Rubbish category.

    You wish! And so would Misra. In fact the whole world would wish for open source dope! :)
    Though that might severely affect the economy of several countries.

  4. well if u think about it, dope IS open source....