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If Bloggers Had Been Around Throughout History

Six Apart's Mena Trott has posted a very funny series of pictures called "If Bloggers Had Been Around Throughout History" (here's why).

This made my day.

(via Micro Persuasion)

Free Software and Motivation

Thomas Breitner has released his (German) thesis "Freie Software - Motivation und Engagement" which examines the motives of Free Software developers for working on Free Software.

It features a good historical introduction of the Free Software movement in general and discusses topics such as geeks, nerds, hacking etc. The main part is about the social aspects, though, especially motivation and commitment in the Free Software community.

The results of four interviews with famous Free Software developers are a major part of the thesis. There developers are:

I'm through half of the thesis now and really recommend reading it, as it gives some interesting insights into the social aspects of Free Software development.

(via Harald Welte's blog)

Censorzilla - Words You Can't Say on teh Intarweb

Jamie Zawinski, former Netscape employee and later Mozilla hacker, has a nice list of "outtakes" from the Netscape 3.x/4.x source code, i.e., code comments which were removed before the Netscape code was released and then became Mozilla. Makes an interesting read.

Drupal statistics

drupal.org currently carries a story by its author Dries Buytaert where he compares the popularity of CMSes (and blogging systems and forums) using the Alexa traffic ranking service. There's several nice graphs included, so have a look.
Also, there's a similar service called g-metrics.com which can be used to create nice graphs from the number of hits Google returns for a given keyword. See the graph for Drupal for an example.

(via Peter van I. via email and drupal.org)

Vintage Computer dead - Display Panels at Dortmund Railroad Station dead

The WDR (a German TV channel) reports that a Commodore C64 has died (German article) after 20 years of doing its job - running the display panels of the Dortmund railroad station. The display panels are all dead now, the train station employees "manually" guide the people to their trains.

Heise reports (German again, sorry) that the old Intel-310 system with an 80286 processor running Xenix (first erroneously reported to be a C64) doesn't run anymore because the harddisk is dead. They still have the software, but even if they could get a working harddisk, they couldn't reinstall the software on it (I'm not sure why).

Some more facts:

  • The company who originally installed the system in the 80ies is out of business since more than 15 years.
  • A completely new display panel system would cost 3 million Euros.
  • They don't want to spend that money, as the train station is to be reconstructed soon, anyways.
  • Several people have called them and offered help and old C64s (which they don't need, as it's really an 80286).
  • Some technicians now try (as a workaround) to write software for a standard-PC to let them at least control the display panels manually.

I can't decide whether to laugh or to cry. Honestly.

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