Why did Microsoft join the Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance?

In today's open source roundup: Microsoft becomes a member of the AllSeen Alliance. Plus: Chumby returns from the dead, and how to run Quake and Quake 2 in Linux

When people think of open source they don't usually associate Microsoft with it. But the company recently surprised many when it joined the Linux Foundation's open source AllSeen Alliance. The AllSeen Alliance's mission is to create a standard for device communications.

Has Microsoft changed its attitude toward open source in general or is there another reason for its uncharacteristic behavior? Computerworld speculates on what might have motivated Microsoft to join the AllSeen Alliance.

According to Computerworld:

Microsoft has joined what began as a Linux Foundation effort to create an open platform for the Internet of Things. It's a move that may be a telling sign regarding Microsoft's plans for home automation, and even for the Xbox.

Microsoft is interested in home automation and recently announced an agreement to work with an insurance company on home automation technology. Its Xbox gaming platform is seen as a potential hub or control center for home devices.

More at Computerworld
Microsoft Joins AllSeen Alliance

The idealist in me wants to believe that Microsoft has changed its tune when it comes to open source, but the cynic in me promptly smacks the idealist upside the head and asks: What's in it for Microsoft? Once you ask that question then I think the real motivation falls into place, and that can be summed up in one word: Apple.

Apple recently announced its HomeKit effort at WWDC and it seems to have totally freaked Microsoft out. Microsoft quickly realized that Apple had stolen yet another march on them, and thus decided to frantically grasp at anything that would help them develop a viable home automation strategy. So joining the AllSeen Alliance strikes me as yet another desperate "me-too" attempt by Microsoft to keep up with Apple.

Am I being too cynical here? I doubt it. Microsoft, like most companies, does what it is in its own interests, and I think joining the AllSeen Alliance is truly a marriage of convenience. So you'll have to excuse me if I don't interpret this move by Microsoft as marking some new attitude toward open source. It seems to be something that is clearly rooted in Microsoft's self-interest rather than any shared open source vision.

Of course it's quite possible that Microsoft's participation in AllSeen could be a good thing over the long haul. But let's not kid ourselves about why Microsoft is doing it. Any good that results will be merely a byproduct of Microsoft doing what it has always done best: Looking out for its bottom line while trying to beat its competitors.

The return of Chumby

LinuxGizmos reports on the return of the Chumby service and web site.

According to LinuxGizmos:

Chumby, which sold Linux-based tabletop devices that ran Flash-based apps, is back in business under Blue Octy, with an overhauled website and 1,000 apps.

Chumby devices display a continuous stream of rotating, personalized “push content” channels from the Chumby Network. The service was free, but now costs $3 per month. It’s been completely rewritten, and brought up to date with new technologies, and stocked with a selection of over 1,000 of the Adobe widget-like Flash Lite apps, says Blue Octy. “All of the original user accounts have been restored, and any apps, channels and registered devices are back the way they were,” says the company.

More at LinuxGizmos
Chumby
Image credit: LinuxGizmos

Is it me or does Chumby seem like a bit of an odd duck? I'm all in favor of Linux-based devices being sold, but I'm not sure how something like this will survive over the long haul. Maybe I'm missing something but it doesn't seem to offer anything you can't get on a tablet or phone.

If anybody is using the Chumby service please do share your thoughts below. I'd be interested in hearing your take on the future of the Chumby service and in knowing what you like about it. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Run Quake and Quake 2 in Linux

Linux.com has a tutorial on how to run Quake and Quake 2 in Linux.

According to Linux.com:

Don't get rid of your classic Quake and Quake 2 disks, because you can play them better on Linux.

Quake 1's graphics were amazing for the time (1996), and still look good. Windows was the dominate PC desktop operating system, crappy low-resolution graphics and instability and all, and Quake took full advantage of the latest graphics technology to look wonderful even on Windows. ID Software, the creators of Quake, created Linux ports, and then open-sourced the game engine code. Fast-forward to now, and we have a number of Linux Quake engines to choose from: QuakeSpasm, Yamagi Quake II, FitzQuake, Darkplaces, and many more. I tried several and wound up using Darkplaces for Quake 1, and Yamagi Quake for Quake 2.

More at Linux.com
Run Quake in Linux
Image credit: Linux.com

Wow, the article takes me way back to two games that I had completely forgotten about but loved back in the day. You younger folks who have no idea what Quake is might want to check out Wikipedia's overview of the game. It'll give you an idea of what you can expect before you try the instructions in the article.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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