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07.08.08

Links 08/07/2008: GNU/Linux Reaches More Stores; OpenMoko Sells Everything in Stock

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Brazil

  • Linux in the Stores

    Linux hardware is finally starting to make its debut in consumer stores. Here in Brazil, in the store Saraiva, I noticed two KDE 3-based laptops, both apparently built upon some version of Kubuntu; one wasn’t that customized and had the normal bar and K menu at the bottom, and the other one was so customized at first I thought it was Vista with the taskbar put on the side!

  • Review: GoblinX 2.7 Micro Edition

    GoblinX is a Slackware-based Linux distribution which comes in live CD format, and is developed and maintained in Brazil by Flavio de Oliveira, aka Grobsch.

Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu At Best Buy?
  • The “Ubuntu Equals Linux” Paradox

    Now, the reason that new users are using Linux is in part to the fact that Ubuntu users, or LoCo teams, are actively spreading Linux to new users. Notice that there are no other distributions that are spreading Linux like Ubuntu.

Devices

GNU/Linux

  • Is it time for Open Source to grow up?
  • Debian Project News – July 7th, 2008

    16 August 2008 will mark the 15th birthday of the Debian project since its first announcement by founder Ian Murdock on comp.os.linux.development on 16 August 1993. A coordination page for local Debian User Groups organizing and announcing birthday events is already available at the Debian Wiki.

  • Pardus 2008 review

    Pardus 2008 is everything I could of asked for it looks good, plays all my multimedia, it’s super-fast/stable and it’s so easy even a Mac OS X user could easily adapt to it. Pardus has taken over my linux partition at the moment I consider it the best distribution available at this time; I won’t switch distribution anytime soon perhaps I may use Pclinuxos 2008 for reviewing purposes but it’ll be hard to top pardus 2008.

  • Evolution, Linux, and Gentoo

    I’ll start at the end by telling you that I’ll finish this with a discussion of my “Distro of Choice”, Gentoo. But before we get there …..

    It royally annoys me when people say that Linux is too hard to learn! Admittedly, Linux is probably insurmountable for some people, in the same manner that learning Psychology would be insurmountable for me. Not everyone has an interest or talent in computers and their software. However, the statement that began this paragraph has been used to categorize computer users in general. I don’t have a particularly strong computer background, but I do have an avid interest in them, so I figure that if I can do it, anyone with a modicum of talent and interest in computers can learn Linux if they want to.

  • RHEL and SOA speed time to market, slash costs at D&B

DEs

F/OSS

Leftovers

Further Analysis of GNOME’s Leadership

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

C

ontinuing the brainstorm from yesterday, what we now have is an H-P and OpenLogic connection with the GNOME desktop. With Stormy Peters at the centre, one concern is that GNOME could lean towards commercialisation (in the negative sense), along with all that undesirable baggage that is software patents, OOXML, and maybe even Mono (the Microsoft API).

The Register had an interesting article that covered this new appointment. Among the many things,it stated:

Her new role will focus primarily on bridging the gap between commercial and open source camps. She’ll be hoping to promote the free desktop for Linux and Unix-based operating systems not just to fanboys and openistas but also to Microsoft-leaning folk.

Remember that this guy is her current boss at OpenLogic:

Steven L. Grandchamp, President and CEO

[...]

Steven also held various senior management positions with Microsoft including the application development segment of Microsoft Consulting Services. Steven spent the early part of his career in progressively responsible IT roles in the banking industry.

Now it turns out that OpenLogic has gotten a brand-new partnership with JasperSoft.

EnterpriseDB and c are the inaugural members of the OpenLogic partnership program.

For those who don’t know JasperSoft, recently there was this. Here is another article of interest:

Open-source business intelligence company, JasperSoft, is working with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to optimize the JasperSoft Business Intelligence Suite for Windows Server 2008. In addition, the company has unveiled its new JasperSoft ODBO Connect product, which enables Excel to be used as a front-end for the JasperAnalysis data analysis server.

We covered several other important angles yesterday (read it if you haven’t because repeating might seem provocative)). It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on, just in case GNOME becomes the Novell of desktop environments.

Quick Mention: Microsoft Insider Takes Over VMWare

Posted in Corel, Microsoft, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly-abusing executive to make matters worse

We wrote about him and warned about it when he first joined EMC. We also shared a good introduction to him. Now he’s leading the company that competes with his former long-time employer. It’s clear that Microsoft will play the ‘frienemies’ card, just as it did when signing the deals with Novell, XenSource and Corel (it even acquired the second one, by proxy). Who was behind this tactless appointment? It’s a non-compete strategy. Et tu, VMWare? Welcome KVM.

Links 08/07/2008: Alienware and GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Open Source

Leftovers

Nobel Laureates Come Out Against Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in America, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

H

ow many senior figures does it take convince large companies to set aside greed in favour of science and technology. It has already been shown before that software developers, for instance, favour copyrights and see no need for software patents, which are perceived as a hindrance to progress. Speaking more broadly about Intellectual Monopolies (not just software), noble and Nobel people explain why it’s all wrong. [via Digital Majority]

Intellectual Property Regime Stifles Science and Innovation, Nobel Laureates Say

Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.

Another problem is that the social returns from innovation do not accord with the private returns associated with the patent system, Stiglitz said. The marginal benefit from innovation is that an idea may become available sooner than it might have. But the person who secures the patent on it wins a long-term monopoly, creating a gap between private and social returns.

Software Patents Even Worse Off

According to the following article, it may be impractical to examine collision in software patents.

An examination process that utilizes the expertise of the industries in which applications lie has now become essential in the very difficult to examine fields of software, pharmaceuticals, and business methods.

This is exactly what Richard Stallman has been arguing for years. In large programs that are written rapidly, there’s no chance of checking for implementation overlaps that are conceptual. There are just too many of them. It’s mathematics at the most fundamental level, but forms of abstraction are used. At the moment, the USPTO is labouring hard only in attempts to re-examine 4 silly patents. What an utter waste of time.

RIM wins delay in Visto patent suit

[...]

The trial was scheduled to begin next Monday in Marshall, Texas, but the judge said a postponement is warranted while the US Patent and Trademark Office re-examines the four disputed patents.

The USPTO, in its current state, should really be reformed or shut down already. Even those who make a living out of the mess which is Intellectual Monopolies are beginning to feel slightly embarrassed by the ‘civil wars’.

…there are a number of companies where there is IP awareness. The problem here though is that they see the IP system in so many different ways and want very different things from it. The recent Patent Reform Act debate in the US showed this very clearly. And what it also demonstrated is that when IP owners fight among themselves, it leaves very big spaces for people with a general anti-IP message to exploit; something that harms all rights owners, no matter what side of a specific argument they are on. The same thing happened in Europe with regard to the CII Directive and could well happen again if there is ever any political agreement on the Community patent and the European patent court.

In other words, they can’t figure out what they want. On the one hand, they want ‘protection’, but then they get stung, so they cry crocodile tears. Which way would it be? Crying because there is legal chaos or crying because people are compelled to share ideas rather than defend ownership of every single idea that is neither genuine not defensible.

Embracing and Extending SVN — the Microsoft Way

Posted in FSF, GPL, HP, Mono at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I am convinced we have to use Windows – this is the one thing they don’t have. We have to be competitive with features, but we need something more — Windows integration.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Same old and familiar maneuvers, new project though. This time Microsoft is redoing SVN. It’s doing it the ‘Microsoft way’.

This infuriates me. This cool thing they spent six months (six!) writing is called Subversion, and it had a 1.0.0 release three years ago. Subversion had its first beta in late 2003, so the Codeplex folks are waaay behind the state of the art on this one.

[...]

This problem is ingrained at Microsoft, which feels the need to brand everything, but it is in no way limited to them.

Needless to guess, there’s some .NET dependency and integration there. The following comment ‘gets’ it.

It’s called reinvent the wheels they like so that they have copyright. Then get people to help improve their wheels and not those of someone else.

It’s a strong itch because they can then integrate that (eg, GPL.. for others) code into their Monopolyware. Keep it closed and full of hooks while the community debugs most of it for Monopolysoft, spends their (the community) time doing that instead of something that benefits the community more, and even adds innovative features while at it.

Remember what they did with Ruby [1, 2]? If not, be sure to read about it.

When Stallman et al built the GNU system, they systematically created free substitutes for proprietary yet modular pieces of UNIX. What Microsoft is doing now is it embraces the power of Free software, but it tries to spit the GPL out of it, thus giving control to Microsoft, rendering developers its slaves under the ‘open source’ promise (where open source is defined by Microsoft).

Did you know that there’s an ongoing implementation of a .NET-based emacs? Remember that Microsoft tries to market its poor Vista sibling, Server 2008, as though it’s a better Linux than Linux. How about Apple and its UNIX, which gives the false illusion of open source and POSIX while hiding all the underlying lock-ins (hardware- and software-wise)?

Convicted Monopolist ‘Attacks’ the European Commission

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, RAND at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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

How ‘dare’ anyone mess with Microsoft and impose the law upon it? How ‘dare’ anybody fine the company for refusing to comply with the law? This was mentioned very briefly yesterday and now comes some more coverage. Groklaw writes:

Microsoft to EU Commission: We’re Not the Bad Guy; You Are

Yes, the EU Commission is the defendant. It seems it neglected to believe Microsoft’s experts about how valuable its patents are. And it accuses the Commission of accepting reports from the trustee, whom Microsoft hand-picked, by the way, based on “documents obtained through powers of investigation that the Court of First Instance held to be unlawful.” Whoah. No more Mr. Nice Guy for Microsoft, I see.

The Register writes: Microsoft criticizes EU’s ‘unreasonable’ judgement

According to Microsoft, the Commission made a “manifest error” in deciding its prices were unreasonable saying the prices were “intended to facilitate negotiations between Microsoft and the prospective licensees.”

Among other claims, Microsoft said the Commission had ignored evidence from patent experts on the subject of whether Microsoft’s trade secrets were innovative, and it had denied Microsoft a right to be heard as it failed to give Microsoft the chance to give its views at the end of the period for which it was fined.

A lot of this coverage broke out after the Reuters story bearing the headline “Microsoft says EU court’s fine ‘excessive’.” Electronista suggests that the EC remains very confident about its decision.

The European Commission’s response in court hasn’t been revealed, though the organization maintains that the $1.4 billion fine was “legally sound,” according to spokesman Jonathan Todd.

Ask Scott Fulton what it is which makes Microsoft a spoiled brat, envisioning itself as above international laws. The remedy for this may need to be as radical as the corporate culture.

WikiLeaks Catches ISO with Pants Down

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO in money

The article covering this is in German, but the exhibit is there for all to see. Groklaw has this summary:

Heise Reports ISO Report on Fast Track is on Wikileaks

[PJ: The report is in German, and you must draw your own conclusions. They provide a link to the document on Wikileaks, which is in English, and they say the report "does not directly refer to that particular fast track process. Rather it is a response to a question which had been asked at a previous meeting of ISO/IEC JTC1's Special Working Group on the Directives about the fast-track process in relation to amendments to standards." The conclusion? That fast tracking should only be for standards "which do not need changes". The origin of the document is "IEC Central Office", and is guessed to be Gabriel Barta. The significance is that ISO publicly has stated how wonderfully the OOXML Fast Track process worked. It seems someone disagrees.]

How foolish must ISO and Microsoft feel? How much and how long can they attempt to deny the abuse of this process?

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