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08.01.07

Thank G** GPLv3 is Being Widely Adopted

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is a nice screen grab from the GNU GPLv3 announcement video. Watch the mug.

Richard Stallman

It appears as though the industry agrees with our predictions that wide GPLv3 adoption was only a matter of time. Even SJVN, who never appeared to be fond of parts of the new licence, has come to a stage of acceptance.

When the GPLv3 first arrived, only a handful of programs made the shift. The most significant of these was Samba making good its promise to move its popular Windows-compatible file/print server program to the GPLv3.

Since then, according to data collected by Palamida, an IP (intellectual property) management company, the GPLv3 is picking up steam. By July 31, Palamida found that 277 open-source projects had moved to using the GPLv3. At the beginning of the month, only 82 projects, most of them created by the Free Software Foundation, which created the GPLv3, had made the switch.

This licence — just as a reminder — is a huge barrier to Microsoft’s malicious plan. It protects Free software from those who strive to change and destroy it.

OOXML = Our Way or No Way; Spain Says “Adios, OOXML”

Posted in Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An article from ZDNet Asia seems to be very damaging to the reputation (if any was ever earned) of OOXML. On the face of it, OOXML miserably fails to address the needs of non-Westerners. In fact, this is predictable because the format was never built upon other established (ISO) standards, unlike ODF.

Another standard that Microsoft does not support, is the RFC 3987 specification, which defines UTF-8 capable Internet addresses. Consequently, OOXML does not support the use of Chinese characters within a Web address.

Microsoft also did a bad job in creating a document format for the whole world, which is an important requirement for an ISO standard. Considerations for users in Israel and many Muslim countries were excluded in the specification of OOXML. For any locale, the function ‘Networkdays()’ will always return Saturday and Sunday as the weekend. However, this is wrong for Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Bahrain, Qatar, Bangladesh, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. ODF handles this correctly.

There are many more examples why OOXML isn’t a suitable candidate for an ISO standard yet. From my point of view, Microsoft should stop, as soon as possible, bringing more redundancy into office document formats.

It would be much better if Microsoft takes the good ideas and technologies from OOXML, and tries to join an effort to unify ODF, UOF and OOXML. For those interested, the blog of IBM’s Robert Weir, is a good source to get informed about the issues of OOXML.

I hope China will not support OOXML in its ISO voting, but force Microsoft to consider talks for one harmonized office document standard for the whole world.

A detailed report which was published last week talks about accessibility issued in OOXML.

Regardless of the poor quality of OOXML, watch Microsoft shoving more of it into people’s desktops, even Macs.

A new beta of Microsoft’s Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac adds PowerPoint support.

Being a LaTex person myself, I rarely get the chance to use ODF, but the following bit is worth mentioning (link from Bob Sutor’s blog).

ODF more complete than LaTex

LaTeX might be the bees knees for text, but ODF also supports spreadsheets and presentations (and a few other odds and ends). LaTeX doesn’t do me much good if I want to exchange a spreadsheet – vs a static representation of a spreadsheet – with somebody.

Another item worth mentioning is this document that is explaining what happened in Spain (Microsoft manipulation). This was written in Spanish, but automated translations might help here.

Fortunately, more news (in Spanish again) has just arrived from Spain and OOXML was apparently rejected.

[PJ: The following report says that the results are in from Spain, and the technical committee voted 4 to 3 against OOXML. That means that in September, Spain will vote Abstain, because the rules require a 2/3 majority. More info at NoOOXML.org and OpenXML.info. ]

Quote of the Day: What Microsoft Tries to Achieve by Invading OSI

Posted in Quote at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You would think that of all people the OSI could see what is going on. Microsoft is never for the public good of the Open Source community. They have done the opposite. Always thumbing their noses, and calling Linux a wanna be. Putting the whole idea of Open Source as a insecure choice with no future.

The time has come for The open source community to be selective on whom they allow to join their licenses community. They have to realize that not all is roses when you have this type of business. You always have to be on guard, you always have to protect, you always have to fight for what you believe in. Let your guard up once and you let the scum in.

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9028242&intsrc=news_ts_head

“And Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who once called Linux “a cancer,” further fanned the flames last fall by declaring that because of the alleged infringement of the software vendor’s intellectual property, “every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Does this sound like a friend that is ready to embrace the Open Source community?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,135255-c,opensource/article.html

http://port25.technet.com/archive/2007/07/26/intelligent-design-the-osi-and-microsoft.aspx

http://www.builderau.com.au/news/soa/Linspire-loses-in-Microsoft-Linux-pact-legal-expert/0,339028227,339280414,00.htm

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2157208,00.asp

Microsoft is only doing one thing here. They are protecting their own products. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer. If they can influence, then they have half a chance to bait and kill. The bait is the OSI Licenses the kill is Open Source.

This one particular comment comes from Digg which, sadly enough, has recently signed Microsoft as its advertiser (starting today). I left about 10,000 comments in that Web site, primarily attached to Free software- and Linux-related articles. I can already imagine those animated anti-Linux ads getting attached to each such Web page.

As the Saying Goes, Who Invited These Guys to the “Free Software” World?

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TuxDeluxe explains some of the problems that we face now that a few unwanted guests have arrived and ‘diluted’ the impact of Free software — applications which most business have come to know and recognise as “Open Source” software.

The great majority of the better known and more successful “open source” projects are released under the GPL, and can be described accurately as free software. JBoss (now owned by Red Hat), for instance, has always described itself as “professional open source” but has released its software under Free Software Foundation (FSF) licenses.

An accidental side effect of the popularity of “open source” has been a proliferation of licenses that describe themselves as “open source”, some of which aren’t necessarily compatible with each other and may or may not be recognised by the OSI, and many of which contain proprietorial clauses that don’t always work to the advantage of the licensors or the licensees.

The term “open source” has at times been misused by companies who want to gain the benefits of a wider developer community.

The latest misuse, however, has come from Microsoft, which at some point even called shared source “Open Source”. A BBC columnist who is truly loyal to Free software has contributed a piece where he describes Microsoft’s recent actions as a “chess game”.

Of course Microsoft is not endorsing the larger and more challenging free software philosophy of Richard Stallman, whose GNU General Public License (GPL) places more stringent conditions on the software it covers than it could ever accept.

As Stallman puts it, “open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement. For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, because only free software respects the users’ freedom”.

The bottom line is that one has to watch and understand what Microsoft is trying to achieve. There is far more than meets the eye. Microsoft tries very hard to hide its long-term intentions. In another blog I have been confronting folks (possibly Microsoft employees) who say that Ballmer now praises what he once called “a cancer”. It’s a case of a crocodile tears and a subversive tactic. Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts.

Patent Mess Demonstrated Using New Events (Updated)

Posted in FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One of our goals in this Web site is to show that software patents and so-called ‘junk patents’ are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, we strive to show that they must be eliminated because they do more harm than good to inventors, to investors (as confirmed by the New York Times a fortnight ago), and to industry (the consumer).

The deals which Linux companies struck with Microsoft do not change anything, apart from perception. Here are some new reports that could teach you that the industry is getting fed up with spurious lawsuits that involve ‘ownership’ of any concept under the sun.

How a Patent Ruling Is Changing Court Cases

“The Supreme Court has made it clear what it thinks,” the judge said at a hearing in the case. “Patents are being issued on obvious inventions, and it tightened the reins.”

In the following case, Microsoft gets stung as well and, as usual, it escapes its problems by paying some money.

Microsoft Reaches Settlement on EOLAS Patent

EOLAS applied for a patent in 1994 and the PTO awarded it to him in 1998. In this controversial patent, Michael Doyle claims to have invented the mechanism by which a hypermedia browser embeds the output of another program and allows the user to control it directly.

The following comes from a ‘Microsoft guy’, mind you, but it is still worth citing.

There was a hullabaloo recently about Microsoft rattling their software patent sabers. Sadly, there’s nothing notable about it; this is simply business as usual for everyone in the software industry. Software companies are forced to build huge stockpiles of software patents solely to be used as deterrents.

[...]

Something has to be done, or else we truly are staring down a coming software patent apocalypse.

USPTO just needs to end the madness. It took some steps recently in order to cut down the acceptance rate, but what will be the destiny of junk patents that are already filed?

Update: news just in. This one is amazing: Company Sues Sony, Wants PlayStation 3s ‘Impounded And Destroyed’ (yes, because of patents)

More GPLv3 Wins Makes Acceptance Inevitable (the Coordinated Smear Campaigns Failed)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GPL at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We are pleased to see that the pace of GPLv3 adoption is on the rise. More and more companies which once sat and watched finally fall under the spell of the ‘cattle effect’. They also come to realise that what was being said in the press was not truthful. Ciaran from the FSFE sums it up pretty nicely:

So, in review, Samba’s GPLv3 transition went well. Then SugarCRM ditched their custom licence and moved to GPLv3, which, as I said, is one way in which GPLv3 tackles licence proliferation. And now GCC and 286 other projects have made the transition, according to Palamida’s GPLv3 counter. It seems that GPLv3 transitions are going quite smoothly.

In fact, it seems that many commentators have been surprised (and some have surely been disappointed) by the lack of major problems. There is a vacuum of bad press, which is why Slashdot has resorted to printing hallucinations, and InformationWeek can only publish bad news by inventing it. All in all, I’d chalk that down as a success for the eighteen months of hard work that was the GPLv3 consultation process.

Guess what? Another prominent project has just joined the wave of adoption.

The developers of the Citadel messaging and collaboration system are pleased to announce that we are now releasing all of our software under version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

For those who do not know, this is a fairly large project. This symbolises the notion that GPLv3 and businesses co-exist in harmony (and even thrive in it). Ask Alfresco.

Q: Has the move to GPL for Alfresco been a positive experience?

It’s been a very positive experience. We saw a pretty healthy uptick in terms of new contributions coming into the Alfresco community moving to GPL. It has also helped to simplify the perception of Alfresco in terms of is it really open source or not. It also probably helped to simplify our OEM business, as well, which is a healthy piece of business.

Microsoft Shills Praise Microsoft in the Press (Public Relations Stunts)

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, FSF, Marketing, Microsoft at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well, what do we have here? An article in ZDNet is telling us that Internet Explorer was voted the “most influential” tech product. Guess where this little nugget of information came from? CompTIA.

Microsoft and CompTIA have traditionally been closely aligned, particularly in the fight against open-source software–both are key members of the Initiative for Software Choice, which frequently takes an anti-open-source stance. Earlier this year,

To say the very least, that is. We’ll come to this in second. Perhaps Internet Explorer was the “most influential” among Web developers who had to hack their properly-designed Web site in order to work in Internet Explorer, which Microsoft deliberately made non-standards-compliant (by its own recent admission).

CompTIA is a Microsoft lobbying arm and it viciously attacked Richard Stallman quite recently. It is only one among many incidents that we covered before (it fights OpenDocument format now). CompTIA is poison. It is not alone in this because Microsoft has other lobbyist arms. Some of them are working in disguise, presenting themselves as independent analysts, and they are responsible for ‘placements’ in the press.

A reader of ours recently mentioned a disturbing antitrust exhibit [PDF] that tells us what it’s all about.

“There’s an interesting article in the April 2007 issue of Harper’s magazine about panels, audits, and experts. It is called CTRL-ALT-DECEIT and is from evidence in Comes v. Microsoft, a class action suit in Iowa. Here’s a paragraph from a document admitted into evidence, called “Generalized Evangelism Timeline,” about guerrilla or evangelical marketing:

Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology is a key evangelism function. “Independent” analysts’ reports should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent consultants should write articles, give conference presentations, moderate stacked panels on our behalf, and set themselves up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour. “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and granted research money).

They advise cultivating “experts” early and recommending that they not publish anything pro-Microsoft, so that they can be viewed as “independent” later on, when they’re needed. This type of evangelical or guerilla marketing is apparently quite common in the high-tech fields, and seems to be used liberally by open source developers.

The document admitted into evidence also says, “The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator,” and explains how to find “pliable” moderators–those who will sell out.

It is all a big money game. Most activists in any field know of countless “hearings,” in which hundreds of citizens would testify before a panel, only to be ignored in favor of two or three industry “experts.” When a panel is chosen, the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion. As with elections, they don’t leave anything to chance.”

(a post from a Mark E. Smith about exhibit PX03096 “Evangelism is War” from Comes v. Microsoft)

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