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Microsoft Sued for Patent Infringement, Patents Brain Probing

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freaky, freaky, freaky!

As we pointed out last week, Microsoft is becoming one the USPTO’s largest clients (yes, clients). One thing which was interesting to find is that Microsoft is claimed guilty of infringing on patents — those patents which is loves so much.

Zhongyi Electronic, a 100-employee firm, alleged that Microsoft has used its inputting technology and fonts in Windows operating systems without commercial agreement for a decade, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

More interesting, however, is the following freaky patent application from Microsoft:

When a Microsoft Corp. patent application for a method of sorting brain waves surfaced late last year, it drew quips that the company now plans to read PC users’ minds, in addition to selling them software.

This probably makes the pinnacle of a series of disturbing and unethical patents identified in the past few months. These include:

  1. Microsoft patents the mother of all adware systems
  2. Will Microsoft Put The Colonel in the Kernel?

Also see this: Forget about the WGA! 20+ Windows Vista Features and Services Harvest User Data for Microsoft

In other patent news, the idea of a community patent litigation system provokes and makes some decent discussion. [found in digitalmajority.org]

Who doesn’t like patent litigation? I know I do. What could be more fun than reading newspapers articles about companies suing the pants out of each other for infringing on ideas the suing party are theirs. It doesn’t matter that the defendant might never even have heard of the patent in question, as patent law nevertheless applies and gives the claimant a chance to make a windfall in damages for patent infringement.

The EU is now close to setting up its own Community Patent Litigation System (CPLS), which would turn the current national-based litigation into something bigger, a community-wide litigation-fest. The idea of a CPLS came from the Commission back in 2004, but since then the Member State politicians have gotten involved and have been hard at work in coming up with a proposal for such a system.

With regards to patents, Pieter Hintjens has just added a video which sheds some light on the issues at hand.

We apologise, but there is no Ogg Theroa version. Pieter’s permission to produce it would be needed.

By-Proxy Lawsuit and Conflicting Interests?

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proxy mastery at its worst

About four of weeks ago we showed how Microsoft is hurting Google. It hurts it by proxy, not just directly. Do remember that Steve Ballmer equates Google to Linux in terms of its severity as a #1 threat to Microsoft. Here is the latest development in Viacom’s lawsuit against Google.

The lawsuit was filed in march last year, and in May, Google hired Phil Beck, a partner with Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, to lead its defense. Beck has represented George W. Bush in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, and Microsoft during its anti-trust trial.

It’s rather interesting that Google hired one who defended Microsoft, especially given the fact that Microsoft has an ‘anti-Google axis’ with Viacom (see link at the top for context, details and compelling evidence). A replacement might indeed be necessary due to the past burden and possible connections.

Related articles:

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part IV: Novell’s Management Defended, Restored

Posted in Africa, Google, Microsoft, Novell at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We recently wrote about some of the bad news for Novell in South Africa. On the brighter side of things, a new manager is assuming responsibilities.

Novell South Africa has appointed Michelle Beetar as country manager. Beetar assumed her new position on 2 January 2008 and takes over the reins from Stafford Masie, who resigned in August 2007.

She replaces one who left to join Google before a serious staff exodus. Again, on the brighter side of things, Novell gets some good pat on the shoulder from ComputerWorld UK.

Whether you think Novell is a pioneer or a pariah for signing an agreement with Microsoft in November 2006, it is inarguably an important player in the open source world, employing many key hackers like Miguel de Icaza. That alone makes its moves worth watching, and these blog posts worth reading.

In a separate context, Eric Schmidt, who is Novell’s former CEO, gets just a quick mention in the following article.

The study’s weakness is that it’s a look in the rearview mirror and may not best reflect today’s leadership factories. The companies that groomed today’s CEOs did so in decades past. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, came from Novell by way of Sun Microsystems. But Baxter International in the 1990s was the CEO farm system for today’s biotech industry, so Google could well be grooming the tech CEOs of tomorrow, says Joe Moglia, CEO of TD Ameritrade, who became a Merrill Lynch trainee after 16 years as a football coach.

Novell’s days of glory probably predate Eric Schmidt and go back to Ray Noorda’s watch.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Novell Products… From [A]MD to [Z]enworks

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Identity Management, Novell at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Market penetration follows good execution…

Here are some of the past week’s stories about Novell products.


Novell’s single sign-on has added support for Windows Vista.

Novell has announced enhancements to its single sign-on solution, including support for Windows Vista, improved authentication capabilities, easier administration and expanded applications support.

Fujitsu’s collaboration with Novell bears fruit. It also earns some new clients.

Logica’s technology incorporating biometric technology in the form of a fingerprint reader, developed along with its partners Novell, Fujitsu and 123ID, is currently being employed in Logica’s new web site Annesdiary.com, the world’s first secure social networking site for girls ages 6-14. The site, which was launched in November, is based on the novel Anne of Green Gables and is seeing increasing enrollment as girls and parents around the world are seeking a safe website for establishing friendships within a secure online community.

Identity Management

Here is a new product review of Novell Identity Manager 3.5.

Novell Identity Manager is a complete identity management system, a workflow system that simplifies both provisioning and binding users to objects, a compliance auditing system, single sign-on, a designer component that allows drag and drop development of policies and workflows and a user interface that is both comprehensive and easy to use.

Novell’s Jim Ebzery talks about the important role of identity management in the following new article.

Insider threats, ID theft and adhering to strict compliance rules and regulations will be the main security pains facing IT managers and CIOs in 2008, according to the head of security at enterprise software firm Novell.

In a forecast for 2008, Jim Ebzery, senior vice-president of Identity and Security Management at Novell said even though the internet has made it easier to get information and services, it can be a dangerous place to compute.


A press release from Novell provides details about more sophisticated encryption in ZENWorks.

ovell today announced the availability of ZENworks(R) Endpoint Security Management with expanded encryption functionality and local language support. This policy-based security solution offers improved encryption for personal data management, removable storage and white-listed devices, as well as increased security for fixed disks. With ZENworks Endpoint Security Management, enterprise customers have granular control over their endpoint ports and devices allowing them to confidently protect and secure their corporate data.

A success story involving ZENWorks is introduced by Bruce Lowry.

This new success story just up about the Municipality of the Hague is a good example. The Hague has used Novell technology for some time. It uses GroupWise for its employee email, and ZENworks to manage employee desktops.

To Lowry’s credit, from what I have been told, he is truly passionate about Free software and he even convinces members of his family to follow this route. He is one of the good people and we deeply apologise for being harsh on him sometimes.

Benchmarks and Power Management

SUSE seems very popular (almost de facto) when it comes to evaluation of processors and some other bits of hardware. This Xeon benchmark is no exception.

The benchmark was performed using 32 computers to submit 500 individual transactions to a server running Novell’s SUSE Linux, Apache2 and MySQL. The firm said the test has a complex multi-user load with a large memory footprint, a high volume of context switches, significant network traffic and substantial amounts of physical disk I/O. Servers put through the wringer used 1GB memory modules in 4, 8 and 16GB memory configurations.

SUSE was used in some recent AMD benchmarks as well. Actually, it’s worth stressing that AMD and Novell have quite a healthy relationship which involves not only CPUs, but also GPUs (drivers) and virtualisation. We covered many such stories before.

These new test results were collected with Neal Nelson’s Power Efficiency Benchmark which is a client server test where up to 500 world wide web users from 32 separate computers submit individual transactions to a server running the Apache2 web server software, the MySQL relational database and Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. The benchmark has a complex multi-user load with a large memory footprint, a high volume of context switches, significant network traffic and substantial amounts of physical disk I/O.

It is mentioned in the press that both AMD and Novell are in the Green Grid.

AMD is a board member of Green Grid. Alongside several technology giants, Novell is also a contributing member to the consortium.

Novell SA sales director Desan Naidoo says Green Grid aims to make energy-efficiency part of any company’s IT and business strategy, specifically inside the data centre. He says there are many ways to change and manage power within these environments, without having to rip-and-replace.

Efficiency has always been a strength of Linux. The same goes for AMD. There is software efficiency (utilisation of the CPU and RAM) and hardware efficiency (utilisation of the network and electricity), but there is a fuzzy relationship and intersection between these. AMD and Linux (Novell) make a good pair which suffer similar problems due to predatory and even illegal behaviour of their most dominant competitor.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Novell and SCO Court Proceedings

Posted in Corel, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s trial is set to resume in April when its state of affairs w.r.t. SCO will be discussed.

A long-delayed federal trial that will, hopefully, wrap up the remainder of a four-year battle between Novell and the bankrupt SCO group over intellectual property rights to Unix will finally proceed.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball issued an order for a four-day trial to start April 29.

Friday’s order follows a November ruling by a bankruptcy judge in Delaware who decided to allow the federal trial in Utah to proceed to determine if SCO had the authority to collect Unix license fees and what portion of the fees it collected from Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems and other Linux customers should be returned to Novell. Novell said those fees could potentially amount to up to $40 million.

Here is another report on the very same issue.

A federal judge has set an April trial date to determine how much, if anything, The SCO Group owes Novell Inc. for unauthorized licensing of computer software — a potential bill of around $35 million.

Federal Judge Dale Kimball scheduled the four-day bench trial to begin April 29 in Salt Lake City.

And another:

Novell will head to court this April to find out what it is owed, if anything, by SCO, which had been trying to earn royalties from Unix code it did not own.

The following adds the observation made in various sites including Groklaw. SCO appears to be spending the money which it owes Novell and others.

Novell has expressed concerns that SCO is attempting to sell off assets that could be used to help satisfy its possible financial obligations to Novell.

There are still quite a few filings on this matter and every scrap of paper appears to get documented in Groklaw at the moment.

In other legal news, the WordPerfect trial which we mentioned yesterday is getting a little more attention. The Bloomberg article has been updated and here is another short mention from the Boston Globe.

Novell suit vs. Microsoft cites WordPerfect share
WordPerfect, a once-popular software program, is making something of a comeback – this time as Exhibit A in Novell Inc.’s antitrust suit against Microsoft Corp. The suit is a byproduct of the US government’s landmark case against Microsoft that was settled more than six years ago after the world’s biggest software maker was declared an illegal monopolist. Novell briefly owned WordPerfect in the 1990s and says Microsoft’s anticompetitive tactics undermined the product. WordPerfect’s share of the word-processing market fell to less than 10 percent in 1996 from almost 50 percent in 1990. Microsoft asked the US Supreme Court last week to quash the suit. (Bloomberg)

Things have been relatively quiet on SCO’s side of the fence. The company hasn’t the capacity to fight anymore, but it hasn’t much to lose either.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: A Week of OpenSUSE 11.0 Alpha One

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alpha1 of OpenSUSE 11.0 has just been released.

With the new year beginning we kick start major development into the next version of openSUSE: openSUSE 11.0 (roadmap). A very early alpha version, Alpha 1, is now available for download and testing.

What appears to draw people’s attention is the new appearance of the installer, which the project manager offered a sneak preview of just before Christmas.

Some of the major developments in this release will be integrating KDE 4.0 and major changes to the appearance of the Installer.

Here are some of the latest news from the OpenSUSE project, accumulated by volunteers (not Novell).

A profile of James Tremblay was published just a week ago.

openSUSE Education founder James Tremblay was caught up by ‘People of openSUSE’ to an interesting interview.

That’s about it for OpenSUSE — for now.


Posted in Site News at 6:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This was somewhat expected; almost anticipated even, just as that last comment indicates (watch the very bottom of this remark).

We have got to get the hosting sorted out because the site has outgrown itself and it cannot cope too well with Slashdot/Digg/other such effects, especially when these occur simultaneously. I tried optimising the PHP files a little bit in order to reduce the load, but to no avail. The site went down at around 5AM GMT.

The server is decent and it can cope with the usual traffic of a few hits per second, but when thousands of people arrive within a short period of time, then all those PNG files elevate throughput and the many database queries which make up detailed pages just bring the server to its knees and it eventually collapses.

Eric Meyer had an interesting discussion a couple of years ago about handling spikes by borrowing CPU cycles from the local desktops, but it seems complex and unreasonable. It’s truly a shame that at the most critical times we lose valuable and new readership. It has become a pattern and there’s no simple solution in sight, so if you have advice to share, we would appreciate it enormously.

Qt Goes GPLv3, is KDE Next?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL, Interview, KDE, Tivoization at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

Mrs. Warren’s Profession, 1893

The last time we boasted a project whose choice was the GPLv3, it was SimCity. Other large projects include Funambol (AGPLv3) and SugarCRM (GPLv3). Here is another ground-breaking transition that is certainly going to have ripple effects. It might also instill confidence in the minds of some of who are still cautious and hesitant.

Trolltech CEO Haavard Nord announced today at the KDE developer conference that the company’s cross-platform open source Qt application development toolkit will be released under the GPL 3. This move, which comes shortly after the release of KDE 4.0 (watch for our review on Sunday night), will allow the open source desktop environment to adopt the new version of the GPL.

Also on the same subject, Free Software Magazine has an excellent new interview with Richard Stallman. Among the things that he says there with regards to Tivoization:

Companies making consumer electronics products want to impose DRM on us; they want to do this in programs that they receive as free software, then pass them on to us in such a way that we do not have the freedom to change them. So they invite us to allow our software to be tivoized, and offer us, as an inducement, that our software will be “more popular” if we cave in.

The only way to keep our freedom is to have the steadfastness to reject those tempting offers. We have to move to a license like GPL version 3 that will stop these tempters in their tracks.

With Qt’s new licence, courtesy of Trolltech whose business is on the incline, the future of GPLv3 is all about business, not against it.

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