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08.22.08

The Latest from Microsoft, Its Indian Partners, and Its Patent Trolls

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Patents at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

As we showed earlier, Bill Gates invests in and/or backs patent trolls, such as Nathan Myhrvold, who is shown above (more examples at the bottom of this new article). But Microsoft too is assembling it own arsenal of software patents, the latest of which seems to be a jaw-dropping patent on PgUp and PgDn. Here are preliminary details:

If patenting the obvious is considered something of an art form in the world of IT, then Microsoft is undoubtedly an old master. The Page Up Page Down patent it has been granted would seem to confirm this…

It’s worth weighing some more information from Mike Masnick and his readers over at TechDirt.

An effective way of ending this madness is firstly to prevent software patent permissions from expanding. India is in the headlines at the moment [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and now comes this post from GNU India and from this reputed man from Kerla, V. Sasi Kumar Thiruvananthapuram.

There are indications that the government is again trying to bring software patents, possibly covertly. The first indication of this has been in the draft Manual of Patent Practice and Procedure published by the Patent Office, India, in which they talk about “software per se” and software in association with hardware. This was repeated in the meeting held in Mumbai which was a consultation organised by the government with the public. Whether this move has been engineered by the bureaucracy or by the government under pressure from big corporates, this is not good for the software industry, especially the small scale sector, in India.

It is worth remembering that this latest push for software patents in India is spearheaded by Microsoft et al.

Software patents are a nasty new animal. It could be rose though. Certain types of patents are actually killing people — or rather — let ill people die despite the existence of a simple cure. Glyn Moody revives this old moral debate.

Got that? Indonesia releases the sequences, and the US CDC does indeed patent that information, a situation which could then force Indonesia to pay for vaccines based on its own sequence data to protect its citizens. This probably means that fewer vaccines will be bought, more people will die, more mutations in the flu virus, and more deaths globally. So how, exactly, is this particular intellectual monopoly good for the world?

Patents are not a friend. Software patents are an insane friend… to lawyers.

Novell Chief Pressures Critical Blogger

Posted in America, Novell at 8:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

O

n the face of it, Novell has not done enough by ‘gagging’ critics in advance [1, 2, 3]. Now that there’s some opposition out there, Novell tries to shoot down the message/messenger. Freedom of speech? Not quite.

Watch this Novell employees, Chief Technology Officer in fact, leaving a comment without disclosure. Dana criticises Novell, so Novell comes to knock his message down. Who knows just how many pseudonyms are used out there by Novell employees? It’s hard to tell. In the past, we also saw Novell’s PR Director, Bruce Lowry, pressuring Dana after he had criticised Novell in his blog. it’s a pattern and Microsoft does this too. Novell’s Lowry has quit the company since then, only to be replaced by Mr. "Peace of Mind" [with patent coupons].

Novell error message

Who is Promoting Mono Anyway?

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 8:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

IBM’s Bob Sutor does not like Mono. This was covered before [1, 2, 3]. Despite the fact that he rejects Mono, IBM’s stance is a tad different. IBM, for reasons that we mentioned before, still accepts Novell and accepts what it did with Microsoft. In fact, Linden Labs now embraces some of Novell’s Mono.

Linden Labs is installing the Mono Project’s virtual machine on its heavily trafficked Second Life servers – Sadville runs more than 2,500 clustered servers.

I’ve inquired here and received some responses. One comes from Chris Ward, who belongs to IBM. What to make of it all? It’s uncertain.

Yesterday we mentioned a Mono 'guard' in Ubuntu Forums. There was a long discussion about it in the IRC channel today (logs will go live tomorrow). It seems very mysterious and it also may be possible that Novell employees are promoting and protecting Mono under anonymous account in Ubuntu Forums. Maybe they are just part of the Mono developers community. We have no proof yet, but either way, it looks rather bad.

There’s reason to be cautious but not yet concerned. Watch what someone says in this brand-new review of gOS 3.

Now even though Adobe AIR and Mono version of Microsoft Silverlight is still in Beta stage and are very buggy, still gOS team might consider including them in future release…

Keep the software clean from Mono. The reasons were explained before [1, 2].

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

Corel’s Days Seem Numbered After Selling Out to Microsoft, Just Like Novell

Posted in Corel, Deals, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Xandros at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corel used to be about GNU/Linux, but then Microsoft signed a deal with it

Corel was once a company boasting a GNU/Linux strategy. It was a promising leader with plenty of resources at its disposal. Then, a mysterious deal was signed with Microsoft and the company embraced things like .NET. Initially it had promised to keep its GNU/Linux direction alive, but the promise didn’t last. Over the years it become more and more of a Microsoft-oriented company. It spat out Xandros though.

Xandros later swallowed Linspire. We foresaw Linspire’s death several months [1, 2] before it actually happened [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Their deal with Microsoft ruined them on so many levels. We received information about these issues, albeit privately. Eventually it materialised and Linspire is no more.

Moral of the story: Microsoft deals kill. It’s a dance with the devil.

In this week’s news, one can now find that Corel trying to sell itself, just like Linspire.

Corel in Talks to Sell Itself After Vector Ends Buyout Offer

[...]

Corel, founded in 1985 by Michael Cowpland, earned acclaim for its CorelDraw graphics program in the 1990s. In 1996, the company paid $170 million to Novell Inc. for the WordPerfect word-processing software, which competes with Microsoft Corp.’s Word. Cowpland stepped down in 2000 after sales dropped.

Probably related to this: Corel withdrew a buybacks offer.

Corel Corp., the maker of WordPerfect and CorelDraw software, said Vector Capital Corp. is withdrawing its buyout offer so Corel can pursue alternatives to increasing shareholder value.

[...]

Corel, founded in 1985 by Michael Cowpland, won fame for its CorelDraw graphics program in the 1990s. In 1996, the company paid $170 million to Novell Inc. for the WordPerfect word- processing software, challenging Microsoft Corp.’s Word. Cowpland stepped down in 2000 after sales dropped.

There were some shuffles at the very top level of Corel recently and it’s never an encouraging sign of corporate health. For background on the history of Corel and Microsoft, consider [1, 2].

Eventually, just as Matt Asay speculated couple of days ago, Microsoft will throw Novell into the ashtray. Right now it only needs to get a job done. It exploits Novell in order to ruin other GNU/Linux vendors, as well as put software patents and Linux taxation in place.

Here They Go: Novell Starts Marketing Patent Protection, Not Interoperability

Posted in FUD, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Perhaps it was a matter of time. Novell starts pitching software patent FUD just like Microsoft. We also pointed out yesterday that SJVN seemed to have been brainwashed. We already have evidence of Novell pressuring journalists/developers ahead of the press coverage [1, 2] and the following almost confirms that SJVN too was contacted in advance. The goal? Damage control and manipulation of the coverage in the press. Having been softened the first time around, now he’s more blunt:

Novell and Microsoft: Stop with the FUD already

[...]

In an e-mail interview with Ian Bruce, Novell’s public relations director, Bruce wrote me that customers wanted the Novell/Microsoft package, in part, because it “provides IP (intellectual property) peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”

It does? Since when?

This is significant because those software patents coupons (Microsoft calls them “patent royalties”) Novell used to insist have nothing to do with patents. The same pitch persisted as far as marketing goes… until now. It might be safe to guess that Ian Bruce, who is new to the company, does not know yet that he’s not supposed to say the truth. Novell spins and lies to the public.

“I think the vast majority, and I’d quantify that at about 80 percent to 85 percent, of the open source community actually supports this deal [with Microsoft].”

Justin Steinman, Novell

Links 22/08/2008: New Linux RC, Several GNU/Linux Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Releases

Kernel

  • Linux v2.6.27-rc4 [Released]

    This time the diffstat is almost totally dominated by the addition of the musb driver that drives the MUSB and TUSB controllers integrated into omap2430 and davinci. That, together with the removal of the auerswald USB driver (replaced by libusb version) is more than half of the bulk of the patch, and obviously most users won’t ever notice.

  • Ubuntu 8.10 To Use Linux 2.6.27 Kernel?

    Generating buzz this morning with the release of the Linux 2.6.27-rc4 kernel is word that Ubuntu may switch to the Linux 2.6.27 kernel for their forthcoming 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” release. Canonical’s Ben Collins has proposed on the Ubuntu development mailing list that Intrepid be switched to using the Linux 2.6.27 kernel instead of using 2.6.26.

Minimalism

GNU/Linux

Laptops

Multimedia

Education

  • Higher Secondary Board to catch up with FOSS revolution
  • FOSS for students

    Long the platform of choice for programmers and those doing advanced scientific computing, GNU/Linux is also home to a plethora of free and open source solutions for students of many disciplines. Applications such as the ones above provide a solid basis for those starting out in math and the sciences, but by no means make up an exhaustive list of all that is available.

F/OSS

Web

Leftovers

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 21st, 2008 – Part III

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 21st, 2008 – Part II

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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