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Links 21/06/2008: Government of Jalapa on GNU/Linux; Debian Boots Immediately

Posted in News Roundup at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


Free Open Source Software

  • One small step for Amarok?

    I’m very excited to announce that the first Amarok->Cloud transfer has taken place. Just moments ago, for the first time ever (as far as I’m aware), a track was sent up into the Cloud from a desktop media player, escaping the local collection prison. This track shed the chains of limited accessibility, and is no longer doomed to obscurity, lost in an sql database in my home directory.

  • Open source solves UK cancer charity challenges

Big Media


Ogg Theora

Direct link

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Security, Virtualisation and Some Leftovers

Posted in Identity Management, Mono, Patents, Security, Virtualisation at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This post covers some developments at Novell that are not necessarily Linux-related.


Novell eDirectory gets a special treat from Barracuda.

Facilitating simplified rollout of award-winning Barracuda Web Filter, Barracuda Networks Inc., has expanded authentication capabilities of its product line with Novell eDirectory, an identity management and policy control tool used by many Fortune 500 companies as well as educational organizations. With this upgrade, Barracuda Web Filter can perform transparent, single-sign-on authentication.

Here is the press release.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SUSE (SLED/SLED/OES) Progress

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, NetWare, Novell, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE’s advancement was perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the more important release of OpenSUSE 11.0 just a couple of days ago. Magnitude matters.

Nonetheless, a few reporters kept their eyes also on the commercial versions of SUSE and here is a story about adoption at a university

De Montfort University has chosen Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 as the foundation for its IT infrastructure for students and staff. The Novell system, built on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SP1 operating system, is designed to reduce storage costs, and using Novell’s Xen virtualisation technology, improve resilience and flexibility.

The university is one of the largest in the UK, with more than 20,000 students and 3,000 staff across two campuses in Leicester, and offers 400 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

OES2 is based on Linux and here is a firm that claims to be cannibalising Netware for OES.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE 11.0 GM Roundup

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We are not evil on Saturday, so…

It has been an important week for the OpenSUSE Project and there was, expectedly enough, a short media blitz. More OpenSUSE reviews are likely to surface next week as many people install the GM over the weekend.

We cherry-picked some reviews earlier in the week, so we won’t repeat them here. What we do include below is a list of resources that serve as a point of reference for the historical release of version 11.0.

Regardless of our feelings about the project, congratulation to all the volunteer developers who did a fine job.

OpenSUSE: General

Weekly news came just before the big release and the same goes for this article about Rupert Horstkötter from the OpenSUSE project.

This week the openSUSE Project announced the launch of forums.opensuse.org, a merger of the three largest openSUSE forums. Continuing the openSUSE Forums euphoria we present you the Project Manager – Rupert Horstkötter.

Quite interesting was this announcement about an Education DVD which is based on OpenSuSE 10.3. The announcement came just before a much newer base, namely 11.0, was made available.

We’ve currently 3.7GB (!) of software on the Education DVD (2,4GB for each arch) – a huge progress compared to 10.2 with ~1,2GB for each architecture. But: some applications cover nearly the same area – so we need your help by dividing the “good” from the “not so good” for the next release.

Speaking of 10.3 and the road to 11.0, Ben Kevan wrote about reasons to upgrade.

You’re at the breaking point of what to do with your current openSUSE 10.x (hopefully at least 10.2) installation. You hear that openSUSE 11.0 is just about to come out, but why should you go from a .2/.3 release to a .0 release?

Then the big moment came.

Release of 11.0

Here is the press release announcing the final release.

The openSUSE(R) Project, a worldwide project sponsored by Novell(R), today announced that openSUSE 11.0 is immediately available for download at openSUSE.org. openSUSE 11.0 is the latest release of the community Linux* distribution, and a major update over the previous release with more than 200 new features specific to openSUSE and hundreds of application updates.

Articles about this release came from a lot of the media. Announcements from the British press include vnunet and The Inquirer.

Andreas Jaeger, chairman of the Opensuse Project Board reckons, “Opensuse 11.0 is a true reflection of the community that discussed, tested, developed, translated and promoted it.” All brown beer, beards and sandals, then.

The Register (also UK-based) wrote about it also.

OpenSUSE 11 a redemptive OS with a Mactastic shine

You can now add OpenSUSE, the community-driven sequel to Novell’s SUSE Linux distribution, to the list of significant releases. Version 11.0 of OpenSUSE is set to ship this week, ushering in a number of new features and solving most of the problems that saw OpenSUSE 10 get off to a bumpy start.

Here is an optimistic one from Tectonic:

The OpenSuse development team will today release version 11.0 of its open source operating system, an OS that could well be seen as the biggest threat to Ubuntu Linux domination. Faster installations, better package management and top-notch multimedia support are just some of the things that make OpenSuse a significant release.

Marti T. van Lin, a former SUSE and Novell fan, responded to this article rather sarcastically. He said:

Who wrote this article, “Zonker” maybe? :-)

1. Faster installations.

Right, installing Ubuntu takes about 20 minutes and openSUSE over an
hour on the same box.

2. Better package management.

Sure, if you ignore the dependency hell and it’s speed (or the lack
there of). Since 10.1 YaST package management is a POS, it takes 15
minutes, before it’s able to do anything useful *even if you disable all
“external” repositories* (packman and the likes). Using YOU (YaST Online
Update) frequently breaks dependencies.

Additional packages frequently can not be installed due to the broken
dependencies. I have frequently solved these problems by making symlinks
to newer libs, if an older version is missing and causing problems. Not
really a big deal for the seasoned user, but a no go for Average Joe

3. Top-notch multimedia support.

Yeah right, to enable multimedia discrepancies, an additional ISO image
has to be downloaded. It’s *not* supported right out of the box.

Adding encrypted DVD support (libdvdcss) has always been a pain in the
ass, since it is illegal in Germany.

In Ubuntu, you’ll simply add the medibutnu repository and add the damn

OpenSUSE is a treat to Ubuntu’s GNU/Linux domination and pigs can fly,
no really :-)

OpenSUSE simply seems to ignore they have an awful reputation within the
Free Software movement.

Kudos for their positive way of thinking, but I’m afraid it’s rather

Over at Download Squad, a promotional OpenSUSE 11.0 box set was up for grabs.


Credit where credit’s due! OpenSUSE looks rather nice, out of the box even.

Here are some views of OpenSUSE. Mostly screenshots are included therein.

The Coding Studio has published screenshots as well.


Reviews varied slightly becuase of the different possibilities and the choice of a desktop environment. For one’s reading pleasure, here are some of the more interesting reviews that stood out.

Ars Technica: First look: OpenSUSE 11 out, offers best KDE 4 experience

We tested both the GNOME and KDE flavors of OpenSUSE 11 by installing from the Live CD images. These work reasonably well and provide an installation experience comparable to that of Ubuntu and Fedora. The few minor issues that we encountered when we tested the beta 2 live installers back in May have all been resolved. There is also a full installer that is offered as a 4.3 GB DVD image. It provides a highly polished visual interface and an enormous package selection. For most users, who only require one desktop environment, the live installers are probably more practical than the full installer.

ZDNet UK Community: openSUSE 11.0 First Impressions

I was surprised that this fresh-from-the-server distribution still contained Firefox 3.0 beta 5, and OpenOffice 2.4.0 rather than 2.4.1. I assume that if I had gotten the online update working correctly, these might have been updated, but read on…

Linux Planet: First Look: openSUSE 11 with KDE4

I was offered the chance to have an initial look at Novell’s latest Linux offering openSUSE 11. It’s a distribution I’ve tried in previous versions but often had trouble settling on. It seems very popular on enterprise desktops along with Red Hat. I got a copy of the KDE4 LiveCD and gave it a spin.


A lot of work has gone into making this integrate with a typical enterprise Windows domain, which is no doubt helped by the controversial deal struck between Novell and Microsoft last year. This distro is not quite as straightforward for novice users to get to grips with as the likes of Linux Mint or Mandriva but in an office environment it’s a real contender and this is of course Novell’s intended market.

CRN: Review: Novell OpenSUSE 11 Is For Power Users

Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9 have made some great strides in making desktop Linux more user-friendly and technologically advanced. With OpenSUSE 11, Novell can match them feature for feature and carve out a space for itself as well.

theunixgeek: openSUSE 11 Review

I know it’s a day early, but I was able to get my hands on a copy of the release version of openSUSE 11 and I must say it’s a really good distribution!

There are many more reviews, but their visibility is lower and brevity/focus a bit of an issue. We include a few of them below.


Here is another noteworthy review and from Ben Kevan’s blog, which has been OpenSUSE-centric lately, now come some post-installation tips.

So you’ve downloaded and installed openSUSE 11.0. Are you now wondering what you may have to do post installation, here’s a quick run down…

Ben also calls OpenSUSE “the perfect Ubuntu replacement” as if Ubuntu is a yardstick to go by.

With the release of openSUSE 11.0 right around the corner, you will see plenty of reviews, how-to’s and other various things about openSUSE, but how does it stack up against other distributions mainly Ubuntu/(K)Ubuntu?

Here is a review from linuxfr.org (in French) and here is a sort of inaugural chat with the community manager. On the face of it, he has been exceptionally busy over the past week.

In OpenSUSE News you can find some more overviews like this one. Just before the GM release, Stephan Binner did a piece about the KDE side.

With openSUSE 11.0 just a few days away, it’s time to look at one of the stars of the show: KDE. In openSUSE 11.0, you get two KDEs for the price of one. Here we’ll take a look at what’s coming in KDE, and talk to one of openSUSE’s KDE contributors, Stephan Binner.

Have a lot of fun!

Links 21/06/2008: Choice a Necessity, GNU/Linux Development on the Rise

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


Red Hat



  • An interview with Jim Ready

    We can all be quite proud of the enormous progress Linux has made in transforming the embedded OS marketplace from one which was highly fragmented and largely devoid of standards, to an environment based upon a highly functional OS which is a truly open standard: Linux.

  • Linux prominent in chip show awards
  • Home-Brewed Entertainment the Open Source Way

    There are plenty of companies offering to sell you the latest set-top box or media server for your home theater. However, many of them are tied up with proprietary technologies that limit what a true-hearted tinkerer can do with them. There are other ways. Open source software exists for those with the courage to do it themselves.

  • Google’s Summer Of Code Attracts Hundreds Of Students

    Google’s Summer of Code is one reason why Google keeps Microsoft executives awake at night.

    Summer of Code is one of Google’s most active hosted sites for open source development. Google’s strategy is clear — give students a stipend and in return they’ll code their tails off and contribute to the open source community.

    Now in its fourth year, the project has attracted open source heavyweights like Mozilla, MySQL, PHP and GNU.



Novell, Microsoft… and IBM… Maybe Oracle Too (Part I)

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, SUN, Ubuntu at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This two-part post is worth reading carefully yet cautiously. We’ve received a lot of information from a credible source, but a lot of it needed to be omitted or at least watered down. What we have left below will be useful knowledge to return to in the future.

Let us begin with some timely news about corporate politics. A short while ago, after this short and mystifying post, Matt Asay wrote the following clarification about Red Hat and Oracle:

“I’ve since heard a bit more about this. There’s not an acquisition in the works, but Oracle is apparently pushing for some sort of partnership that would bring down the price of RHEL. Oracle doesn’t have much of a salesforce pushing “Unbreakable” and it shows. It wants to ride RHEL’s coattails but also wants RHEL to be even cheaper…so that no one will notice that it keeps raising its prices.

“So, there’s substance to the rumors. But will Oracle have the humility to give some value to Red Hat? The jury is still out….”

Oracle’s role has been interesting to us for quite some time because the company had announced that it would undercut Red Hat just about a month before the Novell/Microsoft agreement was revealed to the public (it had been negotiated for about 5 months before that). Oracle and IBM were probably among those who knew about it well in advance (IBM at the very least) and later we saw Oracle making some moves which can be characterised as strong-arming [1, 2, 3].

Remember that, going a few years back, Red Hat too considered buying S.u.S.E. Sun was mentioned in a similar context, but it appears to be sticking with OpenSolaris. It also maintains a healthy relationship with Canonical.

But… here are some other key facts of interest. It’s about IBM:

  1. IBM funded, at least in part, Novell’s acquisition of S.u.S.E
  2. IBM approved the Novell/Microsoft deal on the day of the press conference
  3. IBM has an extensive and ever-growing software patents portfolio
  4. IBM may be trying tame Free software, just like Nokia intended to do not so long ago (lingering questions remain about the new DRM ‘solution’ for Linux)
  5. With Symphony and some other supposedly ‘open’ (as in standards) projects, it’s clear that IBM is not the biggest fan of Free software
  6. Some months ago it was revealed that IBM had been working on that dreaded thing called ‘Trusted’ Computing for GNU/Linux
  7. IBM is doing business with both Red Hat and Novell, on both the desktop- and the server-side.

The rest this story is reserved for the second part, which will be posted shortly.

Monopoly Abuser Feels the Wrath of Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What goes around comes around

Major developments are being reported at the moment on the Alcatel-Lucent/Microsoft saga [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Alcatel-Lucent is an example of a struggling — if not dying — company that reaches out to its portfolio for survival (“defensive” no more [1, 2]). Well, it may have just hoovered up half a billion dollars off of Microsoft for what’s evidently junk patents.

A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Microsoft Corp. will have to pay Alcatel-Lucent more than $500 million for infringing on two patents.

One patent covers how software users to fill out forms. The other is related to the use of a stylus on a tablet computer.

Will Microsoft cough out that amount without appealing? Will people use this as an opportunity to slam the system? Will Microsoft challenge the patents for their stupidity? There will probably be a lot more coverage of this at the beginning of next week.

Meanwhile, for contrast, here is a short article about ways in which the GPL can mitigate the impact of patent trolls.

Why would a patent troll agree to this? Don Marti explains how the GPL strengthened Red Hat’s bargaining position. In a normal patent licensing negotiation, the patent troll would demand a per-user license fee that would be passed along to the vendor’s customers. But the GPL specifically prohibits Red Hat from doing this; if Red Hat agreed to pay per-user royalties, it would be in violation of the GPL and would lose the right to distribute the software at all.

Below you can find a short description of the power struggle and what’s at stake. [via Digital Majority]

Who will win the “cold war” brewing between commercial software companies and open-source advocates over software patents?

Software developers prefer to rely just on copyrights, based on surveys which were conducted in the past. It’s often a struggle between greed and practicality. Sometimes it’s a case of science versus investors and lawyers, who profit if the system goes belly-up (more lawsuits mean more money).

The threat of McCreevy and his so-called ‘harmonisation’ scheme is revisited now by IAM Magazine. [via Digital Majority]

Essentially, these talks are about harmonising substantive patent law, including areas such as priority of invention, the grace period, the definition of prior art and loss of right provisions. However, I wonder whether Brimelow – who always considers her words very carefully – is hinting that other things may now be on the agenda. It is interesting that when she spoke to me about this, and also in the BBC interview, she talked about users of the patent system raising the issue of mutual recognition. In that way, any talks on the subject can be seen as being responsive and not as policy-makers going out on a limb.


And, who knows, after the In re Bilski case is finally resolved at either the CAFC or the Supreme Court, Europe and the US may even be a little closer with regard to the controversial areas of business methods and software patents.

Lastly, a poor (too broad) patent that was mentioned here before, gets the attention of IAM Magazine as well. [via Digital Majority]

Since 2006 Ocean Tomo auctions have raised over $70 million for sellers. Its first European sale ““ held in London in June 2007 ““ established a world record for a single patent sold at open auction when an internet shopping patent was bought for $4,865,550.

“In collaboration with IAM magazine, we have planned the most informative, important and exciting event for the IP community this year,” says James Malackowski, President and CEO of Ocean Tomo. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from and network with the IP pioneers and thought leaders who will be attending.”

This sick orgy of Intellectual Monopolies is ridiculous of course. The ‘brilliant’ idea of internet shopping is not only owned but ownership of it is being passed as well. The value of it? Millions. What is the worth of the one-click shopping patent? Or the double-click? Can’t everyone see that the system has gone insane?

Bill Gates and His Press Rewrite History Amid Semi-retirement

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Whitewashing, on to writing cheques

Discretion may be needed because there is some toxic stuff in the mainstream press at the moment. The previous post touched on one historical aspect of Microsoft dirty tricks, which Novell now embraces as well. It worries to see that Microsoft goes out of its way to make credible storytellers, including many of those who were directly harmed, evaporate or overridden by disinformation.

The BBC has been virtually impossible to trust ever since its deal with Microsoft and occupation by former Microsoft employees. A reader of ours has complained about what he calls “BBC on the breakthrough deal.” He points to this new article, which is just one among several at the moment which glorify Gates in his press. A part of it says:

Summer and Autumn 1980
Gates agrees to produce the operating system for the personal computer being developed by IBM

“I kinda remember it differently,” says the reader. “MS-DOS aka QDOS was bought by Microsoft from Seattle Computing, MS also hired on it’s chief creator Tim Patterson to rework QDOS into MS-DOS.”

As another example consider this one.

Sir Alan believes he got the better of it, buying MS-DOS for a pittance, a figure he’s legally unable to disclose to this day according to the contract he signed with Microsoft

This is contradicted by the following antitrust exhibit.

Customer System Royalty Rate ($US)

Exhibit D1 $5.50
Exhibit D2 $7.50
Exhibit D3 $14,00
Exhibit D4 $16.00

This seems like a typical case of whitewashing, unless it’s an innocent mistake. The same type of thing we already find in OOXML (post the corruption). Rewriting of history is a very dangerous thing to permit. Bear in mind that Bill Gates writes for the BBC sometimes. He does. That’s just how close they are.

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

Winston Churchill

Our reader expresses his frustration with what seems like corporate-serving press. “It really pisses me of the way they laud him as some kind of software guru that brought computing to the masses. The reality being that he skated in on the coat tails of IBM with the help of some rich and influential parents. He also ****** over so many people along the way that I’ve lost count.

“Finally I resent working for peanuts while Sir billie get[s] even richer .. Microsoft, a gigantic pyramid scheme, you know they work. In Microsoft’s case, you get to fix my crappy computers and get to pay me for the privilege.”

“Rewriting of history is a very dangerous thing to permit.”The BBC is just one example among others. Several similar instances were brought up in the IRC channel yesterday and some are still being found even weeks before Gates semi-departs to play more 'politics'.

Microsoft’s long-time friend, David Kirkpatrick, seems to be doing Microsoft PR in Fortune at the moment (and yes, it’s a pattern from him). He even makes incorrect claims and slams the potential of GNU/Linux and “open source” (no hyperlink as that would only feed him).

All in all, there is a lot of Gates glorification going on in his the press at the moment. It just shows how much he owns it (see reference to concrete proof at the top). Even Groklaw has noticed this. PJ, for instance, has posted a modified headline with a pointer to the BBC. It reads: “The secret of Bill Gates’ success – according to Bill Gates

She provides as an example a portion of the text where Gates attributes competitors’ mistakes to their decline or eventual death, rather than malicious intervention and breaking of rules by Microsoft.

For credible information about Microsoft’s history and ‘success’, the last source you want to consult is Microsoft itself (or its media/business partners, of which there are plenty).

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.

Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.

I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

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