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07.22.08

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 22nd, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 22/07/2008: GNU/Linux in Macedonian Schools, Debian 5.0 (Lenny) Approaching

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Macedonia and Ubuntu

    Two years later, in 2007, Macedonia became one of the few countries to roll out, en masse, Ubuntu throughout the educational system.

  • We Want A Dead Simple Web Tablet For $200. Help Us Build It.
  • IBM nears a decade of Linux and open source

    After nearly a decade of active involvement in open source, IBM’s commitment to Linux is broad and deep, said Inna Kuznetsova, the director of IBM Linux strategy &ndash. This vision of IBM’s rapport with Linux is shared by most, but not all, IBM observers.

  • Kernel Log: No unstable series; Linux 2008.7; dealing with security fixes

    He does not want to simply drop the 2.6 prefix – he and others do not like such high version numbers. That is why he is considering a model that roughly corresponds to the year and month – Linux 2.6.26 might then be called 2008.7.

  • Ubuntu for business

    IT’S shaping up to be an exciting year for Ubuntu, the Linux distribution that can knock the socks off Windows Vista and free your company from expensive software licenses.

  • Debian Project News – July 21st, 2008

    Luk Claes sent a release update regarding the upcoming stable release Debian 5.0 Lenny. An important part is, that starting with next week, the transition of packages from the unstable to the testing branch will be frozen to concentrate on: fixing the remaining bugs.

  • Killing the Desktop Metaphor with GNOME

    The desktop metaphor as we typically know it reproduces some of the concepts of the real world, which brings its share of drawbacks. While GNOME still uses this metaphor by default, we can, however, customize it to fulfill more efficiently the needs of the increasingly complex information flow that we experience on a daily basis.

  • what is KDE?

    whenever people ask me that question, I have trouble answering. what is KDE? it’s not just a desktop environment any more, not by a long shot. it’s a whole universe of software projects (one of which is a desktop environment).

F/OSS

Standards, Monopolies

Censorship Laws Via the “War on Child Porn” Excuse/Lie

Windows

Links 22/07/2008: NimbleX 2008 Coming, Extreme Networks Sued for GPL Infringement

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Desktops

  • the new GNOME duality
  • KDE Components: Folder View

    Overall; I like the FolderView widget and the idea of Icon-less desktop through sets of plasmoids. Kudos to the KDE development team for the component – a must have widget in the default collection.

Mobile

  • Distributor spins “W.E. phone”

    Mississauga, Ontario-based Koolu Inc. has agreed to distribute OpenMoko’s Linux-based Neo FreeRunner in the Americas, the U.K., and the European Union. Koolu is distributing the FreeRunner under the name W.E. Phone, and is bundling it with Google Apps.

  • Linux set to make mobile splash

    Speaking at the Open Mobile Exchange portion of the O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) in the US, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the foundation, touted the trends and technologies pushing Linux into a leadership position in mobile systems.

Hypervisors

  • Linux as a Hypervisor

    I’m also pleased of how the 2.6.24 kernel of my Penryn laptop that suspends with s2ram automatically with acpid when I close the lid, and it consumes only 0.5watts until I open the lid again. It continues playing YouTube video and audio inside KVM whenever I open the lid with only a few lines of KVM being aware of the suspend and resume to disable vmx/svm mode while the CPU is suspended.

    I noticed that the design that requires the lowest effort to quickly reach equal or superior features usually wins the marketplace as it tends to be the most efficient and stable over time. I guess this is why we’re not using IA64 laptops just yet.

  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Use VirtualBox Over VMware Server

SaaS

F/OSS+Linux

Licensing

Rights

The Patent Comedy is Real

Posted in Courtroom, EFF, Microsoft, Patents at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And it’s painful, not painfully funny

It is important that everyone recognises just how misguided and flawed the patent system has become. To demonstrate the severity of the problem, we present a few jaw-dropping items from the news. The first would have to be this one. [via Digital Majority]

Creating A List From A Database? Prepare For A Patent Infringement Suit

…Channel Intelligence, a company that owns a ridiculously broad and obvious patent on creating a list from a database and is now suing a whole bunch of small websites that offer things like wishlists.

More visual details you will find in Techcrunch. How about this one, which has just been invalidated by the EFF?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced another victory for its Patent Busting Project last Friday, this time against NeoMedia. The company received a comprehensive set of patents that covered information lookups via scanned input.

Yes, bar codes too are considered non-trivial, no matter their ubiquity.

Here are some more details about the lawsuit against Silverlight and the patent/holder involved. It’s truly ridiculous. The Wall Street Journal has just published this followup to a recent similar complaint which it published a week ago.

In “Patent Gridlock Suppresses Innovation” (Information Age, July 14), L. Gordon Crovitz asserts “that for most industries today’s patent system does more harm than good.” He paints with too broad a brush. The “most industries” he refers to are those heavily involved with software, e.g., Verizon, Cisco ,Google, RIM and HP, which he cites. Such companies have indeed suffered grief because of patents on software and so-called “methods of doing business,” like double-clicking something to place an order. Such patents basically didn’t exist as little as 15 years ago. The appropriate way to deal with these problems would be for Congress to declare such subject matter to be unpatentable.


Photo from the public domain

Part of the problem may be attitudinal, and it includes the likes of Facebook and its junk patents. Those patents are not just defensive and they were reported as morally offensive just weeks ago. The company now uses them to defend its monopoly through a lawsuit.

ACEBOOK FILED an intellectual property lawsuit against StudiVZ, a German company accused of operating a virtual replica of the social networking site.

Watch the ‘invention’. The writing of public messages from one person to another…

This isn’t too shocking given Facebook’s corporate neighborhood. It’s friends with Microsoft and with Amazon (of 'one-click shopping' infamy), both of which are aggressive with patents too. The CEO is even a close (visiting) friend of Microsoft executives. Here are just a few recent articles of relevance:

1. What does the Microsoft “partnership” with Facebook mean for users?

First, Microsoft had a very instructive failure with Passport, and the “Hailstorm” effort of which it was a part.

2. From Business Journal: [expired now]

In a collaboration with Redmond-based Microsoft Inc.’s Popfly, Facebook users can create applications and add them to the profiles with no programming.

It was actually over a year ago that Facebook users were discouraged from participating if they dread becoming Microsoft’s inheritance (like Hormail).

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 19th-21st, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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What Might Happen to ISO After Self Humiliation, Microsoft Abuse

Posted in Asia, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOft

I

SO insulted its own intelligence when it chose to pretend that it had done a good job with Microsoft OOXML . People inside ISO and people who participated have already admitted that Microsoft abused the rules, but such people are either ignored, gagged, or have already left in protest or fear. It is very embarrassing.

In Switzerland, for instance, having witnessed the abuse a year ago, one man decided to create OpenISO (also mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]). The name quite obviously implies that ISO is not open. It implies that a replacement was desperately needed.

Now it goes further. Watch this timely pointer.

Of course, ISO’s officials attitude to recommend a straight dismissal isn’t helping the matter either. Although they are definitely being consistent I’m afraid in this case they are just being consistently wrong. They remind me of these abusive governments that spend their time trying to shush the opposition rather than understand it. They should know better though.

History is full of governments that were thrown out by oppressed people. If ISO and IEC officials think they are somewhat shielded from this kind of trouble they need to think again.

Here is the main proposal of interest. where you will find another recommendation of a replacement to ISO.

ISO/IEC and OOXML: The judge, the jury and the hangman

Those who have been following the OOXML issue would have noted that India was among the four countries that had appealed against the ISO/IEC approval of OOXML. The next step in this drama (charade?) is that the heads of ISO and IEC have replied to the four countries. The replies essentially dismiss the claims made by the four countries with studied nonchalance. I am not surprised. After all, if I was asked to pass judgment on my own goofups, I am not likely to hang myself. Enough has been said on how Microsoft has compromised ISO on this blog and others and I will not add to this.

[...]

We Indians have had enough of the East India Companies looting our country, and leaving a trail of bloodshed, poverty and famine behind. We have had enough of India being a soft state. If these companies want to sell in India, they better follow Indian rules and obey Indian laws and stop acting against the interests of the people of India. If you think those are harsh words, I’d recommend reading Prof.DB Phatak’s blog and his detailed commentary on Microsoft’s activities around OOXML. As they say, there is no smoke without fire and if a respected professor like Prof.Phatak is so furious, imagine what caused it.

For those who are unfamiliar with the ordeals of Professor Phatak, start here. Microsoft may have gone as far as bribing charities (circumstantial evidence); shortly after the fiasco had surfaced, the MD of Microsoft India ran away. Several sources suggested a connection between the two events.

A few days ago we also alluded to Rick Jelliffe’s attempt to discredit OASIS (and ODF). Here is Rob Weir’s response to it.

Former Microsoft consultant Rick Jelliffe has posted his own particular brand of science fiction/fantasy, this time in his favorite subgenre, a parody of a drug-induced psychosis, where after uneasy slumber Rick awakes in some alternate parallel universe and finds that JTC1/SC34 is open and transparent and OASIS is closed, and decides to write a rambling blog post about it.

Watch the first comment, which we wrote about here. Does Microsoft wish to ruin ODF using a Microsoft-influenced ISO? Groklaw sure supports this assertion.

On a brighter note, here is another win for ODF, which Andy wrote about here.

That said, the new suite claims to be ahead of Office 2007 in one more specific respect. According to Interfax, EIOffice 2009 is compatible with ODF as well as OOXML files. (Details on how difficult that might have been to achieve can be found here).

While Evermore may not cost Microsoft many sales in the West, it could prove to be a formidable opponent in what I expect will soon be the largest market for software in the world – China, with its 1.3 billion people. China is determined to promote its own software industry, and Evermore also will have a distinct price advantage, at least relative to Microsoft’s standard list prices. The top edition of EIOffice 2009 will sell for RMB 1,198 ($174.92), as compared to the RMB 4,902 ($717.83) price in China for Microsoft’s professional Office 2007 edition.

China voted “No” OOXML. You can find more information about it here (scroll down to “China”).

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

Quick Mention: Zuck and the Gang Still Manipulate Politicians

Posted in Boycott Novell at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spotted yesterday

The lobbying arm/pressure group known as ACT was mentioned here before. Microsoft feeds it handsomely.

“For those who do not know, this is a back door to software patents in Europe.”ACT is located/based only in Washington and Brussels where manipulation and 'soft bribery' are easier to apply to politics. And boy, does Microsoft love to mess about with politicians, via proxies. It’s the industry's 'leader' in that respect, judging by expenditure.

Watch the leader of this movement, Jonathan Zuck, as he is once again speaking 'on behalf' of small businesses. He did this before despite the fact that he represents just large companies seeking to hijack the voice of small ones, thus suiting themselves.

Here is the latest example.

A key element in the Commission’s new strategy, according to the President of the Association for Competitive Technology Jonathan Zuck, is the suggestion that small businesses would be able to avoid costly legal proceedings in court to resolve patent disputes. Instead, the Commission says it will look into the establishment of “alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms,” which it acknowledges could “substantially improve” the settlement of disputes.

Such a mechanism would be “key for smaller players”, allowing all parties to settle disputes more efficiently, said Zuck.

The Commission’s draft also stresses the need to set up an EU-wide jurisdiction system for patents. But up till now this has been a major stumbling block in the negotiations on a Community patent, and the strategy offers no new solutions as to how to move forward on the issue.

For those who do not know, this is a back door to software patents in Europe. Microsoft craves it.

Intellectual Monopolists Unite

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents owned and covered only by the few domain giants

A bit of a controversy erupted a month ago when several large vendors had entered a ‘patent pool’ agreement, whereby only wealthy corporations are covered while excluding all the rest. It appears to be happening once again.

Sipro Lab Telecom (Sipro), the G.729 Patent Pool Licensing Administrator, is pleased to announce that Toshiba Corporation has joined the G.729 Consortium. The G.729 Consortium now represents and pools together the intellectual property rights (IPR) essential to this ITU-T standard of France Telecom, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Universite de Sherbrooke, and Toshiba Corporation — all recognized industry leaders in the area of speech coding and processing solutions.

The case of Novell/Microsoft is very much related to such ‘pools’. Over the years, owing to Novell’s long history, the company has expanded its patent portfolio. It’s still applying for them — which is an adversity in the eyes of FOSS spirit. This can be used to ensure that no other companies enter the scene (Canonical for example). That’s just what Novell tried to do with Microsoft.

Sadly enough, to paraphrase Asay, IBM keep “feeding Novell”. If the theory is correct, then IBM, Microsoft and Novell were all deeply involved when they arranged the marriage of software patents and spplied them to GNU. Here is an interesting perspective:

IBM has long looked to Novell to serve as a buffer to Red Hat’s growing dominance. Years ago, IBM invested $50 million in Novell. More recently, IBM selected Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise for its Cognos 8 mainframe debut. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is planned to join SLES in the future.

Why does IBM favour a Microsoft partner over a genuine GNU/Linux player in this case? If this persists, then IBM becomes part of the problem.

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