Microsoft offers help with Firefox

It does not seem odd at all to me that Microsoft would offer a helping hand to Firefox development to get it running on Vista. It makes perfect sense that Microsoft would want to actively engage with this project, for two reasons I can see:

For one, let’s look at the amount of effort Microsoft has placed into developing IE7 to make it more secure, more standards-compliant, and more useable. Good for them! I’ve played with the beta and it is a huge improvement over the existing IE6 implementation.

But with all that effort, it puts IE7 in my opinion just under where Firefox is currently at in terms of overall quality. Not all the bugs with CSS and such have been completely worked out (though most have been) and it’s not quite as useable (though that’s improved a lot too). I’m betting the budget to get Firefox where it is has been considerably smaller. And on top of all that, Firefox is just about to go to the next major milestone of 2.0. Finally, with any darling open-source project, there are more eyes looking at it for bug fixes, for enhancements, and most of all, for security patches. More eyes are looking at Firefox and more hands are writing code for it than Microsoft could ever hope to afford. So while in the short term Microsoft’s browser dominance still reigns, Firefox now has an important chunk of that market share, and it’s increasing over time. Eventually, well-adopted open-source projects will tend to prevail over proprietary software.

Another reason, perhaps more short term thinking, is the buzz about how Microsoft may be trawling for talent. And why not? Apple hired Dave Hyatt, and that was a good thing for Apple as well as for their consumer base. IE could certainly use a little Mozilla in it’s blood.

Exporting Censorship

I’ve never been one to believe it’s better to do business in China or anywhere else by bowing to their demands for censorship and oppression than to not do so at all. Apparently many in the UK’s Parliment agree:

UK MPs slam ‘immoral’ Microsoft, Google, Yahoo stance

THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS committee in the UK House of Commons has laid into Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for collaborating with Chinese authorities to censor and police the Internet.

The committee pointed to Microsoft’s portal which blocks the use of the word “freedom”, Yahoo for fingering journo Shi Tao, who was then arrested and thrown into a Chinese clink, and to Google for introducing a “self censoring” version of its website in the country.

Turning a blind eye to evil only creates more evil. Pretending like this is going to get better over time is like pretending your kid is going to stop throwing temper tantrums by rewarding them with the toy that they are screaming over. It doesn’t work that way.

Our chief exports should not be the tools that enable censorship. How do you want to be remembered in history books? Do you want to be the guy who sold censorship to China, or do you want to be the guy that stood up and said “No”?

Duruflé Requiem 9/11 Memorial Benefit Concert

I’ll be playing the double bass in a benefit concert on 9/9 and 9/10 for the program shown below. This all-volunteer performance is to honor the five year anniversary of the September 11th disaster, and proceeds will go to benefit the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. (See this shameless cute puppy photo for more detail on what our concert proceeds go to.) If you would like to get out of the house for a change and hear some beautiful music, you might consider coming to one of these performances:

The Pacific Collegium Presents:
DURUFLÉ: REQUIEM
A memorial benefit performance
In support of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

  • Christopher Kula, conductor
  • Tonia d’Amelio, soprano
  • Joseph Wright, baritone
  • Susan Matthews, organist
  • Pacific Collegium
  • Pacific Boychoir

— Program —

Finzi, Lo, the full, final sacrifice
Festival anthem for chorus and orchestra

Finzi, Dies natalis
For soprano solo and strings

Duruflé, Requiem
For soloists, chorus and orchestra

Dates:

Duruflé’s orchestrated setting of the Requiem Mass is a marvel of the liturgical repertoire, as well as being a seminal work of the 20th century Gregorian chant revival.

Lo, the full, final sacrifice is viewed by many as Finzi’s masterwork, though it is little widely known and virtually unheard in its lush orchestral version. A series of musical vignettes around the hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas: Adoro Te devote and Lauda Sion Salvatorem, set in English by the 17th-century poet, Richard Crashaw, it is particularly celebrated for its final Amen in eight-part divisi.

Dies natalis, also by Finzi, sets texts of another 17th-century English metaphysical poet, Thomas Traherne. Accompanied by string ensemble, this work explores in solo voice the innocent ecstasy of a newborn child discovering the world and its wonders anew.

Visit http://www.pacificcollegium.org/ for more information and to purchase tickets for this event.