- ACM OSR Linux Issue Available For Free Download
- PCLinuxOS Magazine, August 2008
- Amazon.com’s rent-a-grid
- 10 Linux T-shirt that will make you smile
There are times when I want to let my geekiness out and I want the world to know about it. I decided to share with you my favorite collection of Linux t-shirts that you also might like. Please share you ideas for healthy geeking in the comments.
- My Linux Anniversary – 1 Year Later . . .
So now I’ve gone from being a non-Linux user to a Linux end user/advocate to a professional position where I need to know the inner workings of Linux cold. I’d say it’s been a pretty good year, wouldn’t you?
- Linux Myth: Installing Software on Linux is Hard
As many a Linux user that follows posts on USENET and other online forums can attest there are Linux Haters out there. Typically these Linux Haters are folk that, for some reason or another, decide “I Hate Linux and You Should Too!”. Most of the time they advocate for Microsoft and its’ products, but not always. In any case, these folk tend to promulgate specific myths about Linux. One of these myths is that software is hard to install on Linux.
- Ubuntu on Fujitsu Siemens ST5112
- Try ubuntu
- 23 Awesome Themes for Ubuntu Linux
I started using Ubuntu 4 months back, and since then I’ve been looking for ways to customize and tweak it to make Ubuntu more productive and look good. During my search, I came across many cool themes from various sources that I’d like to share with you all.
- How to: Customize your GNU/Linux desktop in 7 easy steps
I absolutely love Linux, but in terms of design I have saw better than the default theme of most of the available distributions. Here’s a complete how-to for giving your Linux desktop the look you want and customize everything, from themes to fonts.
- LVM Snapshot Merging
Mikulas Patocka announced new patches introducing snapshot merging for the Linux kernel’s logical volume manager. He explained, “snapshot merging allows you to merge snapshot content back into the original device. The most useful use for this feature is the possibility to rollback [the] state of the whole computer after [a] failed package upgrade, [or an] administrator’s error”. The patches are for the 2.6.26 kernel, with device mapper 1.02.27 and LVM2.2.02.39.
- Impressions: gOS 3 Gadgets BETA
Overall gOS is great. It does try a little too much to be like a mac, with the dock on the bottom, the one bar on top, and moving the window buttons from the top right to the top left. None of these things are standard in Ubuntu, but they aren’t enough to keep me from thinking that the new gOS is a keeper.
- The BeagleBoard: $149 Linux System
- Linux Kernel news: Wlan and Webcams for everyone
At the Ottawa Linux symposium the current state of Wlan in Linux was highlighted in detail. In the meantime, the development version of the Linux kernel included the gspca webcam drivers.
- Interview with Andrew Tanenbaum, Creator of MINIX
Have your students ever helped you in the development of MINIX?
In the beginning, no. I wrote V1 entirely alone. Later on, many students had ideas and wrote code. I also got funding to hire some students to write code.
Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day
Brian Behlendorf, lead developer of the Apache Foundation 02 (2005)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
Send this to a friend
India a Matter of Urgency
The software patents situation in India is not good. That’s the result of a quick assessment from FFII anyway. We last covered this here and here. It’s progressing and exacerbating as Microsoft strives to stuff committees and steal the country's voice. Those who are not combative will simply leave room for neo-imperialists to take over that empty space. Revenue comes at the expense of people’s freedom.
In response to this atrophy which is software patents, the India press has published this article.
Here’s what Gates wrote in an office memorandum in 1991. “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. . . I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique.”
This was the year after Microsoft launched Windows 3.0, the first of its new operating systems that would become hugely popular across the world. Yet, three years down the line, Microsoft had changed from a kitten that was content with copyright protection to an aggressive patents tiger. In 1991, Microsoft had filed fewer than 50 patent applications whereas last year it was awarded 1,637 patents, almost a 12 per cent increase in the number of patents it received in 2006. According to IFI Patent Intelligence, the rise in Microsoft’s patents portfolio bucked the general trend in 2007 when the number of patents issued by the US Patents and Trademark Office dipped by 10 per cent. Apparently several thousand of the company’s filings are still pending.
All this may prompt the reader to conclude that there is indeed a direct correlation between IPR and growth — and wealth — as the company claims. Not true, says Mark H Webbink, a US Supreme Court lawyer who is a recognised voice on IT issues. Charting the company’s revenues, R&D spending and patent filings from 1985 onwards, he shows that the spike in patent filings occurred long after the Microsoft “had become well established and was being investigated for its monopolistic practices”. Webbink contends that patents did not spur the launch and rapid growth of the mass market software industry. On the other hand, patents have become a threat to software innovation, he warns.
This was also published here and it’s good to see such information reaching the mainstream press.
OIN Under Bergelt’s Reign
As mentioned before, the leadership of OIN had quietly changed, but there are some good initiatives lurking over the horizon.
Earlier this week we wrote about a sort of OIN equivalent for mobile Linux (‘fire blanket’ for patents). Well, it appears as though OIN itself will have a big announcement to make pretty soon.
In coming weeks, OIN will reveal more details of the site, which Bergelt described as “a production environment where we educate and train people to do this. We’ll work with them to make sure it’s put in a form that is acceptable.”
The effort will serve as a counterpart to OIN’s existing strategy, under which it provides its patents royalty-free to companies in exchange for a commitment that they won’t assert their patents against the Linux system. Its backers include NEC, IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. Google, Oracle and Alfresco are among the licensees.
Bruce Perens, who is well aware of Microsoft's patent plot, had this to say:
Plain old published source code is at least somewhat protective, just look for “Perens” in a full-text search of the USPTO database to see an example of where it’s worked. There are a few patents there that reference Electric Fence as prior art.
However, you can make more claims in a defensive publication than might be exercised by your source code.
Of Trolls and Sharks
Digital Majority has found this article which talks about “patent sharks”. It is important not to phase out terminology like “patent trolls” as that’s just what culprits like Ray Niro would want [1, 2]. It’s token proliferation. It’s dilution.
Technology firms face a serious menace: patent sharks. These predators collect patents through acquisitions in bankruptcy proceedings, licensing agreements, or their own R&D efforts. They hide their intellectual property–to deliberately trap tech firms into inadvertent patent infringements. Then they sue.
And the awards are typically huge. Pure patent holding company NTP, for instance, sued best-selling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion in 2006 for violation of NTP patents. Under threat of an injunction that would have shut down the mobile e-mail service, RIM settled for over $600 million–even though several NTP patents were later declared invalid.
Here is another brand-new example:
Apple, RIM, Palm sued over vague GSM patents
Quick, you ever heard of WiAV Solutions? You know, the owner or exclusive licensee of several vague patents on the use of GSM tech in smartphones? The company that doesn’t make anything or even have a web site, but files so many patent lawsuits that some companies have taken to pre-emptively filing suits for declaratory judgment against it?
When will it stop? Can the USPTO put an end to this?
Big Boys and Their Intellectual Monopolies
Brand power (trademarks) and secrecy (copyrights) is not enough for everyone, so patent muscle and other notional things are soon summoned. Facebook is turning out to be a patent pest. It has quite a monopoly in its area and a new report has revealed that, some time in the past, Facebook actually wanted to buy the competitor that it’s now suing, instead. They are in direct competition and these are obvious ideas with plenty of prior art.
Before Facebook sued the German social networking site StudiVZ last month for copying its “look and feel,” it had been in talks to purchase the site.
Apple is no exception, either. It is a software patent pest and we previously showed how it directly harms GNU/Linux development. The Register claims to be having a patent duel with Apple.
Apple will fill in some long-awaited missing features from its iPod and iPhone mobile players, a patent application published this week suggests. There’s just one problem: Much of Apple’s “invention” was dreamed up by Reg readers several years ago – and one embodiment is already on the market.
The patent system is a mess. Serenity now. █
Send this to a friend
ave a look at this blog post (English translation here). It’s about some obscure blogger that goes by the identity ‘LinuxHater’ and once attacked us. A while ago, Jeremy Allison, whom we trust, brought some more attention to this anonymous blog. There was a rebuttal to it.
“Watch this recent post about Maureen O’Gara and Microsoft agents coordinating a sabotage against Linux (OSDL) on the Web.”Why did Allison advocate this? Miguel de Icaza recommended this site at least twice in his personal blog. Does he encourage attacks on technical merits of Free software? It ought to be added that Carla Schroder at Linux Today recently linked to this pest (Allison’s and de Icaza’s endorsements surely did not help, did they?), but she got slammed for it by at least one reader. More rebuttals have just come that are arguing against this Web site, which is, oddly enough, run by incognito. Another Linux-slamming site might be Planète Béranger, but he is not troll and he was never anonymous. it’s just his style to rant (about virtually everything).
Regarding that ‘LinuxHater’ character (or pseudo character), one reader told us that he is “extremely selfish and arrogant or… in fact is so technically good because “he” is actually a front for a set of people machinating to poison programmers (who value technically good arguments, frequently disregarding any ethical arguments) against GNU/Linux.” Watch this recent post about Maureen O'Gara and Microsoft agents coordinating a sabotage against Linux (OSDL) on the Web. None of this is far fetched and the phenomenon by all means exists. Lastly adds our reader, regrading persistent attacks against critics of ‘LinuxHater’: “Th[ere] is circumstantial evidence, of course, but very suggestive of a connection.” █
Send this to a friend
It’s a delight to see a widely-respected publication such as The Times (Online) finally telling people the truth about OLPC. The trade journals and Microsoft-obedient press like the Wall Street Journal have been exploited extensively to spread the lies and rewrite history on behalf of Intel and Microsoft. There are clear examples of this where even Intel employees were given room for ‘placements’ that defend themselves. That misuse of literature can hardly be tolerated. It puts society at risk because it prevents future generation from learning about history. It imperils legal justice, too.
Anyway, read the following article and sober up with truths. Having watched the project closely for over two years, I can attest to having the same understanding of what happened. Now it’s time poetic justice.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, supreme prophet of digital connectivity, revealed a strange tent-like object. It was designed to change the world and to cost $100. It was a solar-powered laptop. Millions would be distributed to children in the developing world, bringing them connection, education, enlightenment and freedom of information. The great, the good, the rich and the technocrats nodded in solemn approval.
And then some of them tried to kill it.
Microsoft, makers of most of the computer software in the world, tried to kill it with words, and Intel, maker of most computer chips, tried to kill it with dirty tricks. Of course, they don’t admit to being attempted murderers. And when I introduce you to Intel’s lovely spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, you’ll realise how far their denials go. But the truth is the two mightiest high-tech companies in the world looked on Negroponte’s philanthropic scheme and decided it had to die.
My Intel spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, seems to exist to evade the issue. I played e-mail ping-pong with her over several days. She was trying to avoid giving me any dates that would show the Classmate came after the XO. This included sending me a bizarre and barely literate “ethnographic” study of computing in the developed world. In the end, all she would say about the timeline of the Classmate was: “It’s hard to pinpoint a start date with the nature of ethnographic research in which ethnographers collect data over a long period of time.” Sorry?
We advise that you read this article. The author had the guts to make the accusations and the editors did not 'intercept' it.
We wrote about this several times before. It’s about OLPC’s need to join hands with the likes of Larry Lessig and fight corruption, not liaise with those who shower in it.
“They try to counter GNU/Linux on low-cost laptops by manufacturing ‘lessons’ on ‘failures’.”To give just one example: Intel sold computers at a loss (dumping) just in order to ensure OLPC could not get a foothold in Nigeria. Going by trade law, this may be illegal and it’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as Intel's crimes go (there are more obvious cases where the company is to be convicted of bribery, too). Intel is now after Nvidia’s lunch because it seeks growth, so sit sight and watch. Nvidia is already complaining, just like AMD. Intel and Microsoft were recently caught engaging in collusion that harms consumers.
There are some other current incidents to remember. Consider what happens with ASUS at the moment. Again, it’s about Intel and Microsoft. They try to counter GNU/Linux on low-cost laptops by manufacturing ‘lessons’ on ‘failures’. The most recent Fiscal indicates that low-cost laptops are among Microsoft’s main threats, so they push the ‘perception’ envelope (FUD). They want their healthy margins back.
“So, you want manufacture and market a Ubuntu-based UMPC? Well, look what happened to OLPC (now running Windows),” Microsoft will insist. It’s especially important to do this where kids are involved. Given enough stories of ‘failures’ that Microsoft can generate, people’s positive perceptions of Free software turn to fear. See the quote below. How many projects of migration to GNU/Linux has Microsoft countered by handing out gratis (or highly-discounted) software and/or equipment, sometimes even funds?
“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”
–Microsoft, internal document
You’ve got to admire what Richard Stallman has just said in this new interview about corruption and its impact on society.
From my point of view, business issues are minor in comparison with issues of human rights and general well-being. And I reject completely the assumption that the way to improve people’s well-being is always through a market. A market is a tool, and for some things it’s very good. It can work well in some areas of life, as long as somebody is making sure it doesn’t go haywire. One of the things we see when businesses have too much power is that they corrupt those watchdogs, and we see this in the U.S. all the time. The U.S. government has ceased to effectively monitor the market to make sure it works well. Instead, it is a tool in the hands of big business. So instead of capitalism of a useful kind, we now have extreme capitalism, which is thoroughly corrupt. And the results of that are increasingly bad, here and everywhere else.
Microsoft is not there to compete. It’s there to destroy competition. It’s an ethical illness. █
Diversionary tactics, holding action, and retreats may each seem contrary to the achievement of the overall objective when considered solely in their own terms, but taken in light of the overall conflict, may contribute to overall success. In the Chinese Civil War that followed World War II, Mao Tse Tung’s Army ran away from every battle, until they won the war. They knew that overall victory, not local victory, was the objective.
Thus it is imperative to measure each action in accordance with its contribution to overall, not just local, victory.
“A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” This is the mission statement of Microsoft itself; it is the definition of the conditions under which Microsoft itself can declare overall victory.
–Microsoft, internal document
Send this to a friend
We have warned about this for ages (as far back as 2006), but some folks consider this Web site biased, so our words were not taken seriously by a few developers. Maybe it’s the right time to point out what Pamela Jones wrote some hours ago about this new article: “I told you. I told you. I told you. If you look at the go-oo.org site, you’ll see Mono and “OpenXML” being pushed. Please watch out, KDE. He says they want to share code between Gnome and KDE. Patents are still an issue, in my view. There is no new Microsoft. And I believe Microsoft plans to use their patents at some point, upon which Novell will suggest safety in their arms.”
We wrote about this article here. Novell, being a "Microsoft partner", just wants more customers, so Freedom becomes secondary. It chose not to play friendly with other GNU/Linux distributions. This observation is the raison d’etre of this Web site.
It is important to remain cautious. In the latest KDE Commit Digest, which was posted yesterday, you’ll find this:
Richard Dale committed changes in
* Added a tiger example C# applet.
It wasn’t possible to build an executable called ‘main’ as mono gave an error about it not having an extension.
Maybe some sort of special cmake macro is needed for building C# plasmoids.
Richard Dale might not understand the consequences. Is the 2004 April Fools’ Day story about Richard coming to fruition? Regardless, don’t allow Novell et al to contaminate KDE with software patents for which only they are ‘covered’ by Microsoft. Mono is only for Novell. Microsoft says so and Miguel de Icaza wants this to happen. He would want Mono widgets/Plasmoids to materialise. Remember that it’s all about the holder of the patents and they need a ‘smoking gun’ to make less deniable claims (threats). They wants to extract money and they needn’t sue because the secret extortions have already begun.
Personally, I sometimes wonder if the Vista-esque KDE menu from Novell (yes, it’s Novell’s work) is some grounds for a submarine patent from Microsoft. Many people resist that new menu. In fact, Mandriva has just decided to use the classical menu by default.
OOXML is still not safe.
The impossibility of implementing the darn thing and the fact that Microsoft will ignore ECMA OOXML only to deviate into its proprietary trajectory aside, there are legal issues.
Will Microsoft support ODF? Of course not. It will do minimal work to just put an “ODF complaint” label on its boxes (the oldest and out-of-date version of the standard), but will then steer all users towards OOXML using intimidating dialogues that shout out “data loss”. Here is how SJVN puts it in this new article from Fox News:
The headline reads, “Microsoft Bows to Pressure to Interoperate with ODF.”
Oh no, Microsoft isn’t. The Redmond crew has an entirely different agenda for “supporting” the OpenDocument Format with its own Open XML Translator.
It’s not even news, actually, according to Andrew Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove, and the editor of ConsortiumInfo.org.
Why, oh why, do I think that Translator’s technical-support line will often be telling users that the fault for a botched document transfer lies at ODF’s door? And somehow I think Microsoft’s technical support’s usual suggested “fix” will be to just use Microsoft’s own Open XML instead. “It’s so much better,” they’ll say to annoyed users.
In conclusion, don’t play with the monopolist by embracing OOXML. Resist it instead. Study from history. There is no “new Microsoft” and the scorpion will always pinch the frog. A couple of days ago, Andy Updegrove brought back this oldie:
So, what I have gleaned from my researches (though that is probably too strong a word) so far is that while there are some valid discussions to be had, the majority of participants are either staunchly pro-ODF, or they are working for Microsoft. I do know that, were I an end-user, I would remain ignorant – but given the mud flying around, perhaps ignorance is bliss.
It rings a bell.
“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
Miscellaneous ODF News
A tool that was mentioned here before, ODF@WWW, got some coverage in Linux.com. There is also this free Java library for manipulation of ODF files.
We are pleased to announce the last beta version of the next version of our open document library.
Remember ThinkFree, which may have been pressured by Microsoft not to support ODF? Well, the good news is that it has already come to GNU/Linux.
I tried out Thinkfree about a year ago and just recently check back and it was a pleasant surprise. The website looks much more professional and the user interface for the online version is total awesome. Best off all, Thinkfree offers an offline version that sync seemlessly with the online storage. I love it. This post will not be some kind of tutorial but only my opinion about the suit. Visit my tutorial on how to install ThinkFree office suit for instruction.
Here is an older story about it. As ECT reported a couple of days ago, there are more signs of ODF coming to Apple Macs, too.
“But the Mac presence grants CIOs and others tasked with choosing the right software for their organizations the assurance and confidence that they can adopt the OpenDocument Format (our native format and the only published ISO standard file format for office documents) and have an office array that includes Macs, Linux, Solaris, Windows and so on.
“In short: OpenOffice.org and the Mac version in particular, suture the wounds inflicted by 20 years of divergence. The connecting thread is the file format and the understanding that what counts is creating, communicating, preserving files in a format that resists the fragility of monopoly and the reliance on any one company. In fact, there is a plugin that gives users the ability to read/write ODF, and with Open Office 3.0 and StarOffice 9.0, we’ll have native support of OOXML, which MS Office 2007 uses.”
Here is a new academic study on document formats inter-operability. It uses ODF and OOXML as examples.
Open standards are widely considered to have significant economic and technological benefits. This has led many governments to consider mandating open standards for document formats. Document formats are how a computer stores memos or spreadsheets. Governments are moving away from Microsoft’s proprietary DOC format to open standard document formats, such as the OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Office Open XML (OOXML). The belief is that by shifting to open standards, governments will benefit from choice, competition, and the ability to seamlessly substitute different vendor implementations.
Last but not least, success stories from the FSF:
I’ve just made a couple of updates to the OpenDocument Campaign — adding some perspective on OOXML in India and an announcement from the Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) about their switch to OpenOffice.org.
Microsoft already knows about Malaysia and it appears to be responding to this 'threat' in the only way it truly understands: localised dumping. █
From the Campaign for Document Freedom
Send this to a friend
One reader has contacted us asking for attention to be brought to the following document, which is compressed and thus not easily accessible to search engines.
“Here’s another which is good to have handy. You’ll probably want to track down the original,” he writes, pointing to:
“I [was] commenting in 1995 [while] talking with a co-worker about vaporware screwing up the market and wanted to study it. It seems from the above that someone else got paid to do just that. It would also be good to have handy an itemized list with the items Microsoft has promised enough to hobble competition but failed to deliver, like WinFS for example.”
We have covered several examples of Microsoft vapourware before. It’s endemic. Here is a very partial list that will surely grow over time:
Some of the posts above contain antitrust exhibits which back the assertion that Microsoft does this deliberately. “Midori” and “7″ are good example of the vapourware du jour.
“We have covered several examples of Microsoft vapourware before.”We have asked the reader if the document can be disseminated better, and if so, how. He asked about our readership and, well… it depends on the statistics package. Webalizer says 60,000 hits per day, or about 15,000 Web pages on average. We flush the logs every night though, for privacy reasons.
As the above seems to be a court record, it can be appended below (uncompressed). but it would be best to be able to prove the provenance of the document. “Best of all would be to be able to point to a government web site with the same content,” our reader adds. Can anyone help identify the source?
“There also might be some finding of fact material which might have more weight. This appears to be the complaints against Microsoft,” the reader concludes. █
Read the rest of this entry »
Send this to a friend
Microsoft’s abuse (exploitation) of the Olympics is something that was covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s a timely subject now that GNU/Linux users actively complain. The same old arguments and explanations need not be repeated, but here are some bits of interest for those who wish pursue or address this fiasco, which could be just the beginning of more. Even the Microsoft-obedient New York Times covered this problem:
Olympics Online, With a Hook
But for many industry executives who compete with Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, the Silverlight strategy recalls a federal antitrust case in which Microsoft was found guilty of using its market muscle to stifle competition from the Web.
Well, Microsoft’s CEO considers GNU/Linux to be the #1 competitor, which he has already excluded from the European championship. As Groklaw has made very clear, Moonlight is out of the question and it’s proof that Mono is “The Road To Hell”. Sadly enough, people like de Icaza and companies like Novell stand in the way of regulators. They help Microsoft.
“If a broadcaster that affects you uses Silverlight, you should protest.”Formal complaints by industry giants have already been filed to tackle this and more such complaints continue to come.
Silverlight is about The Microsoft Web and antitrust lawsuits are in progress. Don’t forget what Gates did to Netscape, very much deliberately and against the law. Video evidence is still up there for people to view and the clips are fortunately available as Ogg Theora, not Silverlight.
If a broadcaster that affects you uses Silverlight, you should protest. The authorities are rarely responsive, however, with a few exceptions. The likes of Rob Enderle poison their minds, so resistance is seen as extreme to those unaware of the long history of systematic abuse. Diplomats are an easy target. █
Send this to a friend