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The Penguin Goes 'Quack'

Today's recommendation is that you read John Naughton's retrospective for 2003 in The Observer Newspaper. I have been lucky enough to have stood in for John's column once of twice in the past but could never hope to match his talent as one of the industry's great storytellers. He writes:

" The most intriguing thing about 2003 was the glimpses it provided of how the transition from vendor-to-consumer-dominance will come about. The catalyst looks like being Open Source (ie, free) software - particularly the Linux operating system. The most significant event of the year in this context was the decision of the City of Munich to persist in switching its 14,000 PCs to Open Source software despite increasingly desperate discount offers from Microsoft. In the end, the Munich officials explained, the move to Open Source made sense even if it cost more than the Microsoft option, because it avoided the lock-in implicit in standardising on a proprietary system outside the municipality's control".

Personally, I'm far from sure how the Open Source battle will pan-out in 2004. I believe that Open Source will continue to attract more market share but there is a danger of it being oversold by its supporters, IBM, Red Hat, Hewlett Packard, Sun and now of course, Novell. Watch this space or my own column for more detailed analysis over the course of the year.

I've been lucky this wekend, having managed to go flying twice. Saturday found me spending half an hour scraping a thick layer of snow-like ice from the aircraft before it was ready to try starting. This was a struggle and I very nearly gave-up before it coughed and spluttered into life in the freezing temperature.

The top field we use as a runway extension at Maypole Farm is now waterlogged and any aircraft that ventures over the dividing line may sink into the mud without trace until the Spring. This leaves us with the official grass runway 20/02 which is not much longer than the standard aircraft carrier and in the wet, with a full fuel load and no headwind, the take-off decision point doesn't leave much room for indecision with a hedge looming up in front of the accelerating aircraft. Mind you, try Clipgate Farm with its enormous trees at one end. One instinctively lifts one's bottom off the seat with the trees only feet below.

Tomorrow, Monday is the start of the real New Year. I wonder how many people will be frantically back at work in the morning? Me, I'll be moving house disguised as a 'White Van Man'.


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