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Request for Contributions (Posts) from Readers

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, Site News at 9:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A long time ago we stated that this site strives to be driven by its readers, not editors. We wish for the site to represent those whose views intersect with the theme. Anything that you send me or Shane to publish would be great (my E-mail, by the way, is roy at schestowitz dot com and I don’t know how frequently checks his E-mail these days).

The site still reaches thousands of people per day, including Novell, Xandros, Microsoft and Red Hat employees. Diversity and volume counts because we do not want this site to be seen as the sole voice or just two people. There are certainly others who vocally oppose the deal if the following new post from Ed is anything to go by.

If we go by the likes of Slashdot posts and comments, the bulk of Open Source developers and users bear a strong antipathy for even the free community version, openSUSE.


Perhaps it’s unfair to liken the strong stand some take to mere politics or to religion, but it sure looks like it. Yes, I find a solid reason to condemn some of the things Microsoft has done based on my faith, and Novell, too.

Opposition to Novell’s actions needs to be heard because the mainstream media turns a blind eye. We still have opportunities to have ourselves heard. I should hopefully have my interview with RMS ready for publishing in Datamation fairly soon. I’ve asked him about the Novell issue, among others.

So, to repeat the take-home message, please do send us contributions (short essays) and we’ll gladly publish them. The more, the merrier.

Embedded Linux Running in Devices != Combining Code with Devices

Posted in Fuji Xerox, GPL, Hardware, IBM, Kyocera Mita, LG, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents, Samsung, Videos at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Addressing a common misconception…

The Linux kernel is clearly a piece of software that is not built to integrally operate with a particular device. To be more precise, it is not implemented to achieve a particular physical process. Several months ago in court proceedings, a Microsoft lawyer explicitly said that a device needs to be involved in order for a patent to be valid. That was Microsoft arguing that software patents as we know them should be considered invalid. This happened in a US court of law. Shane and I recorded this dialogged and had this mentioned before.

The following new article from The Register talks about arguments involving the British patent system. Let it be repeated that software patents are not valid in the UK and here is a more precise explanation.

“The UK IPO’s position is that only when the patented item and its software are combined, when you are dealing with the whole package, are they offered protection,” he told us.

This leads back to discussions about the most recent patent deal which involves embedded Linux. One discussion went on to asking whether the LG, Samsung, Fuji Xerox, and Kyocera Mit deals actually mean anything to Linux. Matt Asay, who started his OSS/Linux-oriented career when he worked at Lineo (embedded Linux), rebuts and clarifies.

I doubt Microsoft has been any more forthcoming in private about its patent claims than it has in public. I used to work for a large Japanese company (Mitsui & Co.). I also used to work for an embedded Linux vendor. Between the two roles I discovered that Japanese electronics companies use a lot of Linux and they’re also very conservative.

Mix the two together, with a finger-pointing, brash American FUD-meister like Microsoft, and you get a patent deal. I don’t think there’s much more to it than that.

Regardless, Linux had a strong toehold in embedded Linux before Microsoft even thought of being relevant there. If nothing else, I’m guessing any claims around embedded Linux would be swatted down on prior art (whether that’s from Linux or VxWorks, pSOS, etc.).

As further evidence and information about this consider:

That last item is very interesting in retrospect, due to FSF/Microsoft disagreement that soon followed.

In the following new video, Eben Moglen says more about the GPLv3, but he also talks about software, hardware, and patents.

I just got a note from Joe Latone of IBM Research that brought the happy news that the video of Eben Moglen’s talk Copyleft Capitalism, GPLv3 and the Future of Software Innovation, given at at IBM Research on October 29, 2007, is now available online

Embedded stream below, if you have Adobe Flash (link for gnash users is provided above).

Yahoo VP Explains Patent Trolling (Video)

Posted in Patents, Videos at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch the following 3-minute video.

Ogg Theora

By the way, Yahoo is no innocent party when it comes to Free software and Linux. Just to balance things a little, here are a few things which you may or may not already know about Yahoo:

A month or two ago, Richard Stallman called for a boycott that includes Yahoo, due to political censorship. And here are two recent messages from two separate incognitos from USENET:

USENET Message-ID: 1187970640.783887.100410@i38g2000prf.googlegroups.com

I’ve got a Yahoo email address. I don’t actually use it for anything except putting it on forms that demand an email address be supplied (probably so they can sell lists of email addresses to a spammer).

Anyway: I logged into Yahoo, as I periodically do, to see if anything interesting had been sent to me, and I noticed that Yahoo lets its members have a free website on Geocities. I thought I’d give it a go, I didn’t have anything to do at that moment. I know very little about HTML and site building to I decided to use their Page Builder editor, a WYSIWYG HTML editor for clueless newbies like myself. I clicked on the button to use Page Builder, and that’s when it started.

Firefox told me it had prevented a pop-up from appearing. I told Firefox to allow pop-ups from this site, and continued. Then Firefox told me it had stopped another pop-up from popping up. I had been taken to another page, you see. Basically, to get anywhere with this site-building, I would have to allow pop-ups from anywhere.

And now Yahoo said there was a problem: I was using a “non-Microsoft Windows operating system”! Yahoo told me that Page Builder might work for me, but they couldn’t guarantee anything if I continued using “Apple or Unix”.

Unix?! How many people do you suppose use Unix as a general desktop operating system, and who would be using something like Yahoo Page Builder to make a website? I think there are very few such people. Yahoo obviously meant “Apple and Linux”. They’re the most common non-Windows OSes I believe. So why don’t Yahoo just come out and /say/ Linux?

I can remember reading somewhere – maybe it was here – that people who had been suggesting Linux-based solutions to people on Yahoo Answers had had their accounts terminated. Yahoo obviously have an issue with Linux. But why are they being so vehement and troublesome about it? Heaven’s sake, I just wanted to build a little site.

USENET Message-ID: 466e0575$0$7982$4c368faf@roadrunner.com

The system troubleshooting technique taught to me since 1965, in the Air Force schools, is to find the solid parts, and eliminate the possibly faulty ones, one at a time!

So, my ‘toolbox’ of techniques includes a Linux or FreeBSD LiveCDrom, and a REBOOT, to run the OS from the CDrom, instead of from the Hard Drive.

I like “Frenzy” (FreeBSD), Mepis, Damn Small Linux, and PCLinuxOS, as first choices.

Yahoo must hire summer-break students, or idiots who have no village, because they have killed my accounts three times, for helping out poor windoze idiots, and mentioning that a Linux or BSD live CDrom can demonstrate that their equipment is good, or bad!

It’s a real pisser, because, in my case, each account that was suspended/deleted had attained Level 6 stature. There is nothing sacred in Cyberspace.

Yahoo Corporate management is in a quandry with the idiocy! Nobody seems to be in charge, and there is no supervision over the script monkeys!

Yahoo really sucks, because I have usually got 15,800 points, which is some 6,500 questions answered, with over 15% being rated “BEST”.

I do take pride in having advocated Linux and BSD as tools to solve problems, and in having saved many folks from their own ignorance! But, there are always more idiot lemmings!

Back to the salt mine, with a new disposable Yahoo identity!

All in all, Yahoo’s talk about patent trolls was interesting. By no means, however, think of Yahoo as a pleasant company.

France Gets It Wrong on GNU/Linux

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Mandriva, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 1:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


“It’s not too bad if it’s SUSE Linux, as long as it’s a Linux”

That’s just what we hear quite often, but various people beg to differ. Allowing Novell to get its way is making the ‘pen of sheep’ prophecy [1, 2] a harsh reality, from which one cannot escape. It’s a one-way street for a variety of reasons that are yet to be realised in the future.

The latest story comes from France and it’s written in French.

Tous les étudiants de la prestigieuse école d’informatique Supinfo seront certifiés sur Suse Linux Enterprise dans les 5 prochaines années

A rough English translation: “All [10,000] students in the prestigious School of Information Supinfo will be certified to use SLED for the next 5 years.”

”Doesn’t the patent ‘protection’ of Novell run out in 4 years?“There seems to be a long-term (and unnecessary) commitment here. Doesn’t the patent ‘protection’ of Novell run out in 4 years? Novell has never commented publicly on this issue, has it?

France’s choice of GNU/Linux distributions is an interesting subject in its own right. For example, they should have chosen Mandriva and supported their own local businesses, but instead, the cabinet chose Ubuntu (yes, they are all moving to Linux). Other news of interest from France:

Whatever France decides to choose, it need to be aware that SUSE/Novell should essentially be seen as a Microsoft subsidiary. Novell passes Linux ‘tax’ to Microsoft and Novell also spread FUD along with Microsoft. That FUD is directed and used against other Linux distributions, which are free. That’s how Novell markets itself.

Who knows what is being said to those who evaluate their options… I’ve heard stories, but I am not allowed to share them in public (yet). Let’s just say that Novell and Microsoft work closely to ensure that free Linux does not win.

Related articles:

Clubbing baby Linux penguins

So when Microsoft says it respects other people’s intellectual property, what everyone is thinking is, That’s not true. Microsoft doesn’t respect the GPL, and that’s other people’s property. Microsoft is just trying to kill off a competitor. Again.

Even Sys-con even got it right this time, or at least the headline: Microsoft Spits in GPL Creator Richard Stallman’s Eye.

Alan Cox Interview

[Alax Cox:] Personally I think it’s a bad idea and that Novell are going to get stung by the GPLv3, and rightfully so. The license is designed to keep the software free, if it fails to do this then it needs fixing, so GPLv3 hopefully will fix this flaw.

Reader’s Take on Microsoft’s, Open Source Strategy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Novell at 12:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As further analysis of the Bill Hilf interview SundayRefugee submits:

From the Bill Hilf interview:

“That’s why when we do these partnerships we want to use, we want to partner with the people who are distributing the product that customers use…”

He nearly says ‘we want to use these distributors (of Linux)’, catches himself, and has to quickly rephrase it.

“We published a patent map, which shows, literally, we listed out every number and we listed out every category it fits in and we published that so everyone can see it, because everybody kept asking us, well, what are the patents? (Note: a Microsoft spokesman later clarified Hilf was referring to a categorized tally of possibly infringed patents published earlier this year in a Fortune article, not a detailed list of every specific patent, which Microsoft declined to provide to InformationWeek.)”

”…they’ve been purposefully vague in the hopes of scaring potential customers.“Of course they’ve done no such thing – they’ve been purposefully vague in the hopes of scaring potential customers. Either Microsoft’s “biggest brain” on Open Source A) is dramatically misinformed and utterly clueless about even the essential goings-on in even his own company, let alone the complicated Open Source landscape, or B) purposefully lying, with the only intent on FUDing Open Source and Linux, in the hopes he somehow won’t have his bluff called.

Thought you might want to catch that. There are several other great quoteworthy statements, but those are the two biggest that caught my eye. I wrote my replies as if I were addressing he average ‘boycott’ user.

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