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06.15.08

Links 15/06/2008: Sabayon Linux 3.5 Coming Soon, GNU/Linux for Education Explained

Posted in News Roundup at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Threatens Microsoft Monopoly Overseas
  • Sabayon Linux 3.5 Official Release: here we come

    After months and months and months of hard work, I am happy to say that Sabayon Linux 3.5 final will enter the final beta testing stage within 48 hours and will stay there for a couple of weeks.

  • In Defense of a Linux Education

    The difference between learning how to use a new tool and learning a new concept is the same difference between receiving training and gaining an education. How many times have you heard (or said) that algebra and history are not “useful” in “real life”?

  • Microsoft, the Bully

    Microsoft is sending letters to school districts insisting on audits to make sure they are paying for all the licenses they should be.

    [...]

    However, along with that threatening letter is a sales brochure for a new license program from MS: pay us money for every PC in the district capable of running Windows and pay for it every year. Over and over again. Every year.

    [...]

    But then I think…Linux is free.

    Linux will never threaten you.

    Linux will never ask you for money.

    Linux will never try and revoke your ability to use it.

    Linux will never ask you to not share.

    Linux encourages you to give back and make things better and share that better with others.

    Linux has a nice soft fluffy mascot.

    Linux loves children.

  • Charging for GNU/Linux is not the answer

    Another danger of getting into the pricing bun-fight is that it is clearly Microsoft territory. They would probably love it if free software started to try and compete on their terms. The scary part of free software for Microsoft is that it doesn’t compete on their terms — it tells users that those terms are wrong and unfair and it offers an entirely different approach.

  • Linux Only, Two Months Later
  • Essential Ubuntu Desktop Apps

Free Software/Open Source

Leftover

  • Why Arrington is Wrong about Yahoo!-Google Deal

    3. The real source of my argument for this position, which you linked to in your piece, but I’ll point to again here, is that Web 2.0, the internet operating system we’re building, is much bigger than search. Search is an incredibly powerful subsystem of that OS, but it is just a subsystem. There is lots of competition across the system as a whole, and we’re a LONG way from the concentration of power that represents monopoly when we take that into consideration.

    4. The landscape is changing so fast. To take only one axis, consider mobile. Google doesn’t dominate mobile/local search. That’s a whole new game…. Again, there’s lots of competition.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 14th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 15/06/2008: DeviceVM Looks for OEMs, Acer’s GNU/Linux Laptops Called Polished

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

KDE

Proprietary, but for GNU/Linux

Firefox

The BECTA Scam

  • The OSC’s open letter to Becta

    If you are a school, ignore Becta’s project, ignore Becta, and seek advice from the people who are able to give it. Any of the organisations Becta rejected will be your best choice.

    If you are a member of the Open Source community or industry not yet touched by this scandal, boycott the project and refuse to have anything to do with it. It’s not about ‘Open Source’, it’s about jobs for the boys, spin, and discrediting non-proprietary software.

    If you are anyone else, throw your hands up in despair at yet more political sleaze, cronyism and incompetence, and vote for someone other than the current government at the next election, preferably someone with policies on Open Source and Open Government.

  • The Case for Linux in the Classroom

    Linux is the only OS designed and equipped with Education in mind. Edubuntu, a flavor of Linux, is designed with the classroom in mind. It comes preinstalled with education software and applications that suit students of all grade levels, and even has some handy applications for the teacher too.

Leftovers

Despite ISO and Microsoft Apologists, ODF Rises in Europe

Posted in Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following article, “ISO process slammed”, was spotted a couple of days ago. While it bothers to explain clearly enough that OOXML has been “a mockery of the system” (Rob Weir’s words), it uses for ‘balance’ the words of another mysterious mind.

Rob Weir, co-chairman of the OASIS Open Document Format (ODF) technical committee, says the blatant committee backing around the world to have the standard ratified was disconcerting. He says in several countries, countries voted yes at the last minute and were “heard of no more. It makes a mockery of the system.”

Patrick Durusau, as quoted in the same article, once again (c/f [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]) urges everyone to just ignore the sheer abuse and corruption in this process. Is this a man who given power to influence ODF’s direction?

However, Patrick Durusau, co-editor of ISO ODF and OASIS ODF, says halting OOXML publication is good for no one. “Some 61 countries voted in favour of OOXML and only four have lodged appeals. With all due deference to the concerns of the four appellants, consensus does not mean that the majority should be held hostage by a determined minority.”

Using the same logic, if ‘only’ four people in a classroom got mugged and reported the incident, the police should assume that theft is not a problem. Well done, Patrick. Well done. The folks from Open Malasia had a message for him too just a couple of weeks back:

“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

In other document formats news, Europe’s support of ODF seems strong.

Standards body the Open Document Format (ODF) Alliance closed ranks with the European Commission (EC) against Microsoft today, issuing a statement applauding the commission’s vociferous endorsement of the ODF standard in an effort to avoid vendor lock-in on document formats.

An important day is soon coming too.

The European Commission, Directorate General for Informatics (IDABC), is organising a special event aiming to present and inform on the new version of the European Interoperability Framework. This EIF Info Day is to take place on 25 June 2008 in Brussels.

Be very careful of those who pretend Microsoft's crime was no crime. They are usually part of it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].

flickr:2400865918

Trend Micro Soft Patent Against Lower-cost Competition

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is it not cheating if the law is broken?

There is clearly a trend here. Companies that are unable to compete with superior and more affordable competition go beyond just dismissal using stereotypes. They start to attack. How so? Using software patents, which were never supposed to be valid in the first place (they are still seen as illegal by the vast majority of the world).

The same type of dilemma and response chracterises the music industry, which still tries to transform business models using new laws and defective ‘feature’ (anti-features), whose purpose may be to turn a purchasing model into a renting model much to the consumer’s disappointment and the middleman/merchant’s delight.

A couple of days ago, Groklaw identified a Web page that spoke about Microsoft’s plan for Novell. It also gives insight into other strategies for ‘competing’ against Free software (using law, not technical merit). Microsoft is prepared to use RAND, which is absurd for being a mechanism designed only to secure a monopoly. Here is some text of interest, which is deliberately brought second-handed from Digital Majority:

Microsoft patenst in these protocols will be made available on RAND terms at very low royalty rates Covenant not to sue open source developers for development and non-commercial distribution of implementations of these Open Protocols.

It should be obvious then that when Microsoft talks about “Open Protocols” (both capitalised) it does not mean free-to-use protocols. It’s neither libre nor gratis. It’s another fine example of Microsoft bending or misusing the word "open". Remember what Microsoft thinks of the word “open”:

“I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Jason Matusow, Microsoft

Eventually, Microsoft is likely to just dilute the word “open” until it has no valuable meaning whatsoever. It serves it well.

“It should be obvious then that when Microsoft talks about “Open Protocols” (both capitalised) it does not mean free-to-use protocols.”The mighty sting that enables visibility of APIs to mean no free access is of course the notion of intellectual monopolies, which are recognised only in a handful of nations. Microsoft is not alone when it comes to such strategy, whose core principle is extraction of money from one’s own competition. Trend Micro tried this too. And look where it ended up:

  1. Trend Micro patent claim provokes FOSS community, leads to boycott
  2. Call for action: Boycott Trend Micro

The CEO of the company, who is also one of the ‘geniuses’ behind the bad business plan, is currently doing some ‘damage control’. First they attack and then they apologise and pretend to be clueless.

Trend Micro may have received more than it bargained for in its software patent dispute with rival Barracuda Networks. In the past few months Barracuda’s cause has been taken up by free software advocates, who see Trend Micro’s patent claims as a threat to the open-source ClamAV antivirus project.

[...]

Chen: In the patent, we are not claiming that we invented the antivirus scanner. We are not claiming that we invented the proxy server. But the concept of using these two together so that you can stop the virus during the transition is new. Like I said, I’m not a patent specialist, but at that time it was awarded as a patent. And then later on even IBM themselves exchanged their patent with us, and so there was some recognition of that as a valid patent. And then later on it was litigated.

Software patents are always very controversial. It’s not about open source; it’s about how you define the patent.

Here is what Bruce Perens said about it:

Eva Chen, CEO of Trend Micro, currently suing Barracuda over Trend’s patent on an anti-virus scanning gateway, was interviewed in PC World. She says “It’s not about Open Source”, but she manages to sound rather short of a clue in this interview, and makes a poor case for this sort of patent being issued at all.

PJ at Groklaw said this: “Here’s the article about prior art referenced in the article. If you find any more, it’s still not too late. The case, in my view, in unequivocally about open source.”

It ought to be clear by now that software patent attacks come not only from patent trolls (empty shells without even a product) but also directly from companies that want to ‘negotiate’ using terms like RAND, “settlement”, and ‘interoperability’. All are just a case of putting lipstick on a pig. Pamela Jones has already said that Microsoft will be the next SCO Group.

Software patent abuse is an abuse; it should be called for what it is. Red Hat too was a victim of those that need to be eradicated. Tolerance towards this might only encourage more of the same and, as Trend Micro shows, IBM’s cross-licensing did no good, let alone its filing of silly patents. At the end of the day, programmers don’t want patents. Copyright are far more than sufficient. But.. who are they to decide when the likes of Microsoft are run by lawyers, MBAs, investors and marketing people?

The article reports the results of a survey on the optimal legal way to protect developers’ rights to their intellectual property in the US. Two groups were incorporated: software developers and attorneys. The majority of both groups favor copyright as the legal method, but attorneys prefer patenting with a longer protection period.

Lawyers should not be setting the rules for the software industry. It’s an obtrusive perversion by those who only think of money.

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

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