Monthly Archives: June 2007

WiFi is patented

Seemant pointed out an interesting article this morning, where the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) have successfully filed an injunction against Buffalo, a manufacturer of wireless routers, access points, and wireless adapters. Buffalo are no longer able to sell wireless equipment in the US unless it licenses the technology from CSIRO.

Further research shows that CSIRO believe they own the rights to orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, which is the data modulation scheme used in 802.11a, 802.11g and 802.11n (note that 802.11b, the older/slower standard, uses complimentary code keying instead).

If this lawsuit succeeds, it means bad news for all wireless vendors.

Distributed distributions

Does anyone know of any Linux/BSD/similar distributions that are employing a distributed/decentralized source code management system for their package trees?

To clarify, the difference that I’m interested in is as follows:

Distributed development tools such as git and mercurial allow everyone to clone the whole tree including all history. Everyone who does make a clone — let’s call it a branch — is able to commit new changes to their own branch, and can publish their branches. As everyone effectively has commit access, development hierarchy is built purely based on politics and personal standing (e.g. in the case of the Linux kernel, Linus is recognised as the boss, therefore his tree is ‘the one that counts’). Within reason, these systems all make it very simple (i.e. 1 easy command) to merge all the changes in someone elses branch into your own, even if the 2 branches are stored on different computers.

Centralized tools such as CVS and Subversion are different. There is a concept of ‘commit access’ to a centralized repository, and while anonymous read-only access may be granted for users who do not have commit access, such users can not make their own commits and do not have such an easy way of sharing their changes with the people who do have commit access to the centralized repository.

So, does anyone know of distributions that are using distributed systems for managing package trees? Gentoo uses the centralized approach — packages are maintained in CVS and we only give commit access to people who we certify and trust as Gentoo developers.