An open-source software activist crashed Bill Gates' speech at Peking University in China on Friday, The Associated Press reported. The protest came a...

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An open-source software activist crashed Bill Gates’ speech at Peking University in China on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The protest came a day after the Microsoft chairman announced his company’s plans to sell a $3 student software suite to poor countries, which many see as an attempt to counter Linux and other open-source software in the developing world.

The unidentified man walked on stage as Gates was giving prizes to students and held a banner over his head that read, “free software, open source.”

“Gates and most of the group appeared shocked at the intrusion, which ended when the man ran off the stage and was tackled by security officials. No one was hurt,” The AP reported.

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A Chinese Web site,, reported that the protester was taken in for questioning by police.

Message from Dell

There might be just a little bit of tension in the next meeting between Microsoft and one of its biggest customers, Dell.

Grass-roots content

Global revenue from user-generated content is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2011 from $80 million last year.

Source: In-Stat

In the past month, the computer maker has launched a couple of initiatives that appear to run counter to Microsoft’s effort to move the world to the Windows Vista operating system.

On Thursday, Dell said it will make Windows XP an option on some of its consumer-focused desktop and laptop computers.

“We heard you loud and clear on bringing the Windows XP option back to our Dell consumer PC offerings,” the company said on its Ideas in Action Web site, which is part of a customer-feedback tool it launched earlier this year.

Back in March, Dell announced plans to “expand our Linux support beyond our existing servers and Precision workstation line.

“Our first step in this effort is offering Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems.”

As further evidence of Dell’s open-source exploration, we learned last week that company founder, chairman and CEO Michael Dell is using a laptop with the open-source Ubuntu operating system, the Firefox Web browser and OpenOffice productivity software.

For the record: That’s his home laptop. Dell has several other PCs that are loaded with Microsoft’s Vista and Office 2007.

Tech, Kent-style

Interactive-software maker Amiga is bringing more than its name to Kent, prompting the city’s public-relations agency to call Kent “a tech hub in Puget Sound region.”

In addition to naming rights on the city’s $67 million events center, the company says it’s opening an “idea incubator” in 2008.

The incubator would allow software developers lacking access to capital to use Amiga development tools free of charge.

Amiga would market promising products hatched in the incubator and share any profits with the little guy — no word on the split.

Amiga earlier had its headquarters in Snoqualmie.

Local ties attracted the company to Kent, a city of about 84,000.

“I live near Kent and my family has been in this community for more than 30 years,” Amiga President Bill McEwen said in a statement.

“Amiga could have partnered with any major metropolitan city in the country to test this ‘idea incubator’ — but I believe that here in the city of Kent, or in cities across the Puget Sound region, is where the next big idea that will revolutionize the future will come from,” McEwen said.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or

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