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European Conference Against Intellectual Monopolies (and Other Interesting Readings)

Posted in Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 11:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly has money

There is a lot more to intellectual monopolies than just software patents. The broader and lesser-scientific aspect which is knowledge can be subjected to similar mistreatment.

It’s more than just encouraging to find that a conference called “Free Knowledge, Free Technology” is being launched. There is a correlation between knowledge, culture and technology, but with the exception of countries like Brazil, this tight connection is often misunderstood. Regarding the conference, here is its description. [Via FSDaily]

The Free Knowledge, Free Technology Conference (FKFT) is the first international event which will centre on the production and sharing of educational and training materials in the field of Free Software and Open Standards. With the objective of promoting Free Software and the sharing of free knowledge, the FKFT 2008 Conference will bring together hundreds of people from different continents including government representatives, school and university teachers, IT companies, publishers, and NGO’s. By gathering together people from all these groups, we aim to stimulate both present and future collaboration between diverse disciplines, sectors and countries, through the medium of free software programs and the sharing of successful experiences related to free software and free technologies.

Economics too are affected by the freedom of expression and exchange of ideas. Blakenhorn goes as far as concluding that Novel prize winner Stiglitz supports this assertion. For further validation consider the fact that another Nobel prize winner, Professor Maskin, has been a critic of software patents.

Why is he [Stiglitz] the official economist of open source? Because his main point supports the open source thesis, which is that breaking monopolies on information is essential for free trade and economic growth.

Lastly, here is another take on intellectual monopolies in general, [via Glyn Moody]

These opinions are almost certainly not shared by the wider community of consumers, businesses, economists, legislators, and policy-shapers. At the highest level, there are those who no longer believe that all property is theft but appear to make an exception for IP. Since every newly created work builds upon the words, the thoughts, the ideas, and the knowledge created by countless others in their furtherance of humanity, any attempt to ring-fence an item of IP, and exclude others from it is an attempt to misappropriate part of the common intellectual heritage of mankind. Since knowledge and information can be shared with others without depriving oneself of them, there is no loss to oneself if such an act of sharing takes place.

At a lower level, there are those who accept the existence of IP rights, but reserve their criticisms and their hostility for specific manifestations of it: the enforcement of copyright against large-scale private copyists, the use of trade mark rights to carve up markets so that genuine goods cannot be imported from a country where they are sold cheaply for resale in another country where they fetch a better price; the theft of traditional knowledge and culture which is then repackaged as copyright- or patent-protected property; the patrolling of industry by unproductive patent trolls, intent upon securing a rent where they create no value; death by patent monopoly for millions in the developing world who, in the unlikely event that they can even access vital medicines, cannot afford them. To the IP professional and his clients, this list can appear depressingly endless.


This study makes one thing quite clear: attitudes toward IP rights focus principally upon their negative qualities and do not connect them with that which is positive. Thus, new medicines save lives, while patents kill; music is cool, while copyright is a clamp; brands are brilliant, while trade marks are tools of trade manipulation. It is too much to hope that the public at large will wake up one morning, enlightened at the beneficial, positive, and above all necessary role played by IP rights, but we can at least aspire to teach that, between that which they praise and that which they condemn, there is a powerful causative connection.

With the rise of a more connected society (means for sharing), there seems to be this thirst for breaking the chains which achieve little more than protecting the established and driving away new entrants. Are intellectual monopoly rights ethical at all? The question seems rhetorical.

Microsoft’s Death Row of Standards and Why W3C Must Be Careful

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 11:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

A presentation from an IBM employee in Europe has just been shared a little more publicly. It describes the serious problems ISO will be facing after the countless OOXML scandals that worked in Microsoft's favour.

Not all standards development organizations are the same. Looking forward, I believe that competition between standards organizations will increase and established de jure organizations will be further challenged. In this context, quality will become a differentiator between standards organizations and, just as it is true in the corporate world, standards organizations that do not strive to improve will become irrelevant over time.


Ultimately, reliance on traditional de jure standards will probably decrease. In the meanwhile, if they care to survive standards development organizations will need to start a serious introspection of their processes and look to adopt some of the principles set by exemplary organizations such as W3C.

While no organization is perfect and there always is room for improvement, W3C has indeed set itself apart from the pack by showing the way to much greater quality and openness for the benefit of all.

ISO standards for saleJust a couple of days ago we warned that Microsoft is once again poisoning W3C, at least on the face of it. Wilson is at it again, causing problems and upsetting Microsoft’s rivals from the insides of the W3C. This has a long history [1, 2, 3] and as stressed many times before, Microsoft hopes to render W3C obsolete by introducing XAML and making it widespread to the point where all Web pages are proprietary and by no means controlled or policed by W3C guidelines [1, 2, 3, 4]. This overrides (X)HTML, which is vendor-independent.

If there was anything to learn from ISO's sellout it is that having Microsoft near a standards committee is a recipe for trouble. ISO has yet to go under assault, potentially effective owing to the legal system. Microsoft’s OOXML is not an ISO standard before June, if ever.


Welcome EuroOffice, a Microsoft-Free Era for Software

Posted in ECMA, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 10:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spread ODF

Several major European nations were noted and praised some weeks ago for ignoring OOXML, essentially giving it the pass blindly, having realise what it really is. Jan "you are well paid, shut up" van den Beld, who now works for a Microsoft lobbying arm (formerly of ECMA International) implicitly threatened such governments, but it truly made Microsoft look more arrogant than people already perceive it.

It is encouraging to find that Europe presses on with its plans and EuroOffice, a derivative of Sun’s OpenOffice.org, has been created to accommodate market needs.

EuroOffice is the name of a free and open-source OpenOffice.org derivative and a set of accompanying free and non-free extensions. Most of the extensions also work with “vanilla” OpenOffice.org.

The LGPL3-licensed ODFDOM is meanwhile being prepared, so it looks encouraging for the continent which considers banning Microsoft from government contracts and actively studies a migration to GNU/Linux and ODF at the moment. For whatever reason, the press has given almost no attention to this very major news. Anyway, here is the latest about ODFDOM:

The first pre-version of the Java 5 reference implementation of ODFDOM is planned to become available under LGPL3 in May 2008.

Microsoft won't sit idly. It already sees its sales declining because fair competition is encouraged, even enforced.

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

Links 26/04/2008: Googlehoo Still Seen as Possible; GNU/Linux Beats Windows in Benchmarks, Test

Posted in News Roundup at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Novell Business Overview, New Activities and SCO

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, SCO at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


In quite a sparse post, Novell’s CTO describes the company’s strategy going forward.

In my last two postings, I introduced Novell’s future vision for an agile infrastructure to support computing and collaboration. I described the CIO motivation, eight use cases which make agility compelling, technology megatrends which make this possible, and the seven key technology areas which will allow the realization of this vision. These seven areas are: policy, identity, virtualization, Linux, orchestration, compliance and collaboration. In this posting, I will describe our roadmap for these seven areas.

There is a breakdown there which separates the main areas of operations. Some of the headings below are an attempt at separation as well.

SUSE Linux

Teradata turns out to be using SUSE Linux, which might be interesting in the future, especially in case the company gets mentioned again.

The 550 SMP scales up to 6 TB and is targeted at organizations looking to run a single application or to support test and development workloads. The system, which Teradata claims can be installed “within hours,” runs on the Novell Suse Linux 64-bit operating system or Windows. The Teradata 12 database costs an additional $40,000 or more, depending on requirements.

The 2500 model is powered by dual-core Intel processors, and includes storage, Novell Suse Linux, and the Teradata database and utilities. All the technology is pre-installed in a single “ready to run” cabinet, Teradata said. The system can be used to complement an enterprise-level data warehouse to meet specific analytical needs.

SUSE Virtualisation and Appliances

Some days ago we wrote about rPath [1, 2], which fell into Novell’s (and — by association — Microsoft’s) arms. But Novell’s virtualisation efforts are still broader than this and The Register has this new article about Novell appliances.

Through its Appliance Program, Novell said it will collaborate with ISVs to develop technology necessary to better make applications in an virtual appliance format. Novell will begin releasing software components over the coming months, including an automated tool to build appliances.

Some more on the virtualisation scene (Novell included) you can find here.

In a bid to bring about continuous innovation in virtualization, SAP has formed the Enterprise Virtualization Community, along with tech vendors AMD, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, HP, Intel Corporation, NetApp, Novell, Red Hat, Sun, and Vmware. The community will aim to develop new strategies for making business benefits of virtualization easily apparent.

Virtual Awards

Web site-awarded prizes have always been somewhat pointless and meaningless because of the process involved in granting them. Even nomination and voting are opaque. But Novell brags about this prize.

Novell was also named to the ASP’s Web Support Hall of Fame, which honors sites that have been named among the “Ten Best” for at least four years.

In its PR blog, Novell also claims to have won another award.

TechTarget has announced the results of its prestigious Information Security magazine and SearchSecurity.com 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards (registration required). For the second year in a row, Novell Identity Manager took the top spot in the Identity and Access Management category.

Shades of Frost & Sullivan.


NetWare is not forgotten yet and Prosoft’s NetWare client has just become compatible with the latest version of Mac OS X.

Prosoft Engineering on Wednesday announced that the latest version of their NetWare Client for Mac OS X, version 2.0.1, is now available. A free update for users of version 2.0, NetWare Client costs US$149.

Identity Management

Over to identity, Dale Olds from Novell participates in the following event. It’s nothing too significant really, but at least noteworthy.

If you are here in Munich, be sure to come by our three hour long session Wednesday afternoon on Context in Identity, as well as my opening “Putting Identity in Context” talk that morning. But just in the last couple of weeks the “aha” guy of this conference, Kuppinger-Cole’s Joerg Resch, has put together a dynamite panel for Thursday morning – I’ll be moderating while host Martin Kuppinger, Quest VP Jackson Shaw (ex-Microsoft), Symlabs co-founder Sampo Kellomaki, Radiant Logic CEO Michel Prompt and the Bandit Project’s (and Novell’s) Dale Olds talk about “Virtual Directories and Beyond.” Each of the participants have been deeply involved in virtual directory technology – Sampo and Michel created their companies’ virtual directory products, Jackson was formerly VP at Zoomit who’s VIA product became the Microsoft Metadirectory Service, and Dale has worked on both Novell’s virtual directory as well as the Bandit Project. Martin and I simply like to talk about virtual directories!

SCO-Novell Faceoff

Groklaw keeps track of the very vibrant proceedings that now involve a great deal of Novell in the SCO saga. Here are some selected items from the past week:

Another New, New Lawyer for SCO; and Novell and SCO Update Exhibits: The Trial is Near

Another lamb to the slaughter, I fear, another new lawyer on the SCO team in SCO v. Novell, who I’m guessing drew the short straw. New in both senses. He passed the bar in 2005, and here he is, walking into the buzz saw called Morrison & Foerster. He must have been very, very naughty as a little boy, to deserve such a fate.

Parties File Sealed Trial Briefs; Novell’s Redacted Amended Trial Brief, as text

Comparing the two versions is interesting, in that we see Novell’s carefulness in answering all that SCO has raised recently, including the argument that when it said UNIX System V, it meant UnixWare, because that is where UnixWare comes from. Novell points out that it doesn’t matter where UnixWare came from, since SCO has only identified Unix System V pre-APA code as allegedly being in Linux.

SCO’s Reply Memo in Support of its Motion for Judgment on Novell’s 4th Claim

…what SCO fails to address is this: who is going to make SCO pay back Microsoft and Sun? I guess they get to sue SCO later or something, in SCO’s universe.

However, this illustration leaves out the reality — namely that Novell has not yet failed to ratify. It’s a decision SCO wants them to have to make before they even have the money in hand, before there is even a decision to make, since the court has not yet ruled on whether or not SCO had the authority to enter into the agreements. If they did, the agreements can’t be void, I don’t think, no matter how many of Nathan’s cars can fit on the head of a SCO pin.

Novell is still unlikely to see much (if any) money coming from SCO.

Staff Going Social

Some Novell executives receive credit for playing along with embarrassing things.

It takes a lot of guts for the CEO of one of the best-known software companies on the planet to go along with something like this, but I can tell you that he didn’t hesitate for a nanosecond. Hovsepian has a terrific sense of humor that really says a lot about Novell’s corporate culture. After watching the video of his boss, John Dragoon, Novell’s chief marketing officer, wrote in an e-mail to me yesterday that having a sense of humor is “a prerequisite to work in this industry.” I’d tweak that to say it’s a prerequisite to be as highly regarded in this industry as Hovsepian is.

Dana Russell, whose role we often criticise, participated in a scouts event too.

Scouts learn skills at career expo


The keynote speaker was Dana Russell, the Chief Financial Officer of Novell Networks. “Open Doors to Career Paths” was his message. The Expo did just that by offering a variety of hands-on experiences for the scouts.

Hopefully he did not encourage the youngsters to exchange money with Microsoft for establishment of foolish and regrettable deals.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE 11 Beta 1 and Linspire’s CNR

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Linspire, OpenSUSE, Samsung, Turbolinux, Xandros at 1:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE in Blue

The past week has been a pleasant one because there were many positive announcements for GNU/Linux, despite the Intel- and Microsoft-imposed OLPC disaster, which was rather predictable anyway (to those tracking the inhumane and systematic abuses).

Looking at OpenSUSE over the past week, here is what we have. From the company which planned to install Ubuntu, then dropped it for Foresight on KPC, now comes OpenSUSE.

PERSONAL computers with Linux pre-installed have been springing up all over the place in recent months. Now Shuttle, the Taiwanese company famous for making small but perfectly formed PCs, have gotten in on the act. I’ve been spending some time in the company of their LinuXPC SD3002Q, which is sold with openSUSE 10.3 Linux pre-installed.

Moving on to the development builds, here comes the announcement of beta 1 of OpenSUSE. The announcement is about a week old by now, but we post these roundups periodically.

KDE 4 and KDE 3.5: The openSUSE 11.0 beta 1 includes KDE 4.0.3, which includes a number of new features, fixes, and optimizations. See the KDE4 page for more info on the KDE4 branch. To help test, see the wiki for info on reporting bugs in KDE. Not quite ready to move to KDE4? No worries, the beta includes an installation option for KDE 3.5 in addition to KDE4.

There is a very nice new post from Zonker, who discusses ways of giving equal and fair chances to GNOME and the two KDEs (KDE4 might not satisfy everyone’s needs at this early stage).

Of course, it really matters very little what order the desktop choices are ordered in — the majority of users are going to pick the desktop that they’re familiar with, and it won’t matter if that choice is placed first, second, or third. The users who have no idea which desktop is which are probably going to pick the desktop that has the most appealing (for them) description — not the desktop that happens to be placed first.

Screenshots extracted from the latest beta can be found at GNUMAN.COM. Beineri is the one posting a summary of the news this week

In this week’s issue:

* OpenOffice_org 2.4 available
* 11.0 feature by feature: All you ever wanted to know!


That’s about all from OpenSUSE this week, other than the breakdown of projects sponsored by Google’s Summer of Code (SoC).


‘CNR factory’, sometimes known as Debian derivative Ubuntu derivative Linspire, has had another CNR press release published. This time it’s Google Earth, which is free (gratis) and typically very trivial to install.

Linspire, Inc., developer of CNR.com, the free and easy to use one-click digital software delivery service for desktop Linux software, today announced the immediate availability of Google Earth for Freespire 2.0, Linspire 6.0, Ubuntu 7.04 & 7.10 (32 bit) desktop Linux users.

Just like last week, the only ones to pay attention are at DesktopLinux.com (eWeek).

Ubuntu, Linspire, and Freespire users can now install “Google Earth” with a single click, says Linspire. The desktop Linux distributor has added support for the free mapping application to its CNR (“click-n-run”) installer, a user-friendly tool currently beta-testing for a wide variety of desktop Linux distributions.

Nothing from Xandros recently, other than some articles about Asustek’s derivative of Xandros. Turbolinux got mentioned a few times in articles about Novell in China. Samsung has meanwhile posted good results despite the corruptions and the departure of the CEO.

Links 26/04/2008: New Wins for Red Hat, Called More Secure

Posted in News Roundup at 12:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Protest Against Microsoft OOXML: Short Video (Flash)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Videos at 12:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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