The most important features from our Windows release are all present in this beta of Picasa 3 for Linux: Along with faster performance, Picasa 3 for Linux introduces new features like automatic web sync, a greatly-improved collage tool, a powerful retouching tool, and an intuitive text tool that’s both fun and useful. A full list of changes can be viewed here.
KDE3 is still open in our svn so that bug fixes, security fixes, etc. can continue to be made. KDE 3.5.x is a rather solid desktop system and really doesn’t need a huge amount of work given what it is today; the work to move it to the next level is what we refer to as KDE4, of course. This means that the efforts needed to put into it aren’t huge to keep it viable. However, efforts that do go into it are welcome.
“The systems are capable of running Windows or Linux, with Linux being the preferred operating system for our client. This creates even more useful applications for this type of low profile system because the customer can design their own software to run under Linux for applications like security monitoring, and remote management.”
“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”
–Jim Allchin, Microsoft executive
LIKE SO MANY others, we were beyond "skeptical" when Microsoft tried to join OSI and hop on the “open source” bandwagon. Some external articles of interest include:
Miguel de Icaza has complained about such things, but yesterday he ran back to Microsoft, giving them credit and thanking them. And in other related news, it turns out that even self-appointed experts fail to understand Moonlight. Here is a portion from a new article:
Microsoft announced Silverlight in May of 2007 at their MIX conference held in Las Vegas. The first Community Technology Preview (CTP) was released a few months after that. The design goal behind Silverlight was to make it possible to build applications for the Web that used essentially the same code as you would use for a desktop application. From an implementation perspective that translates to a version of Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime (CLR) running inside the browser.
Linux is obviously missing in the list of supported platforms–at least it was in the beginning. That’s where Moonlight comes in.
When asked why Siiverlight itself was not ported to GNU/Linux, Microsoft’s response was that Novell’s second-rare copycat [1, 2, 3] should do (or something along those lines). Since regulators would drag Microsoft’s feet until it supports GNU/Linux, Novell did a double favour here to Microsoft:
It made it seem like Microsoft collaborates with GNU/Linux
It ensured that all GNU/Linux ever gets is an inferior and incompatible thing called Moonlight, which is not SIlverlight
Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie is among the technical committee members who are resigning over the OOXML decision. In the letter, he stresses the importance of open standards and the need for formats that are universally accessible to everyone.
“Standardization of formats for content on the Web is more important than ever. A large part of mankind’s communication is done digitally, and all—ALL—must have the ability to read and write these formats,” he wrote.
Fallout from the OOXML controversy continues to be felt around the world. ISO is facing a revolt from dissatisfied participants who feel that their technical input was ignored, and national standards bodies from various countries are suffering internal friction over alleged misconduct. The implosion of the Standards Norway technical committee reflects the ongoing turmoil created by the ambiguity surrounding ISO’s approval of OOXML.
It’s looking very grim for ISO. Last week we argued that ISO, whose reputation is the only thing it must rely on, was dying. Several countries may already bypass ISO recommendations and a new site has just been born. It’s called “Boycott ISO” and it’s not related to us at all. It’s related to <No>OOXML.
Following ISO’s fallout, the whole world was left with stacked committees that sought to control everything (including ODF [1, 2]) and use this position of authority to promote Microsoft’s business agenda. As such, these committees must now be shunned.
According to the following article from The Inquirer, the exodus in Norway is not necessarily good news. It sure makes a very strong statement that harms ISO, but here’s the outcome that’s also a side-effect.
Norway ISO members walk out over OOXML
In all, 13 of the committee’s 23 members have resigned, a majority of the membership.
That leaves vacancies for more Microsoft ‘puppets’ to take over, i.e. even more stacking. It’s those who are most angry who leave first and thereby leave empty seats for greater Microsoft obedience. It was the same inside ISO’s very core, at least in the past. Remember Bryan, for example.
“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.
The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”
The damage that has been done to the ISO itself. Most other companies only whimper and complain in passing but have no scruples in partaking of the benefits of associating with this ‘behemoth’.
But no one has the courage to stand up to this ‘company’ that has done such immense damage to the digital landscape. By the mostly horrible trash they have been purveying over so many decades now. This ‘company’ personifies all that is bad about a monopoly. This is the first time in the history of humankind that a ‘company’ has got away with being the ‘classical’ monopoly. The tactics employed by this ‘company’ to dominate the digital landscape is in my opinion is a danger to society if not humankind itself.
Seeing how ODF is adopted by countries like Sweden, Tony OBryan remarks:
This is why Microsoft’s ISO surrogates are trying to usurp control of ODF from OASIS within ISO. With entire countries switching to ODF, Microsoft’s file formats are on the way out. If people can seamlessly share their work files with Free software, then Microsoft will have to compete on features rather than lock-in. That would eliminate half of Microsoft’s annual revenues.
I am sure not adopting OOXML for any file formats I’ll be using. If OpenOffice.org “standardizes” on this format, I will just migrate to another word processor that doesn’t. RTF is bad enough, but I am not using any new MS formats as I will have to pay them ransom money in the future to use my files and they will sue me if I don’t pay them off. The only one that should be bowing out is Microsoft.
As South Africa prepares to host the second annual ODF conference next week, momentum behind the Open Document Format appears to be growing stronger.
This harms Microsoft's biggest and fattest cow cash. Since Microsoft perceives high income as a privilege or a right, as opposed to merely an opportunity, it is willing to just stomp and destroy whatever stands in its way, including once-respected standards bodies. Everybody loses, Patrick. Everybody loses. █
“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”
“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).“
Microsoft may be breaking the law in India, as we have already pointed out before, but more importantly, its surrogate Nathan Myhrvold with his shell company seem to resort to patent-mining in a land which makes software more of a commodity.
It’s a desperate yet somewhat successful attempt to digitally monopolise in a country that potentially suffered the most from such type of suppression, brought about in a colonialist fashion, so in light of the patent deform in the country [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] Indians are urged to react.
New Delhi: Individual inventors and research organizations here may find their patents turning liquid with the imminent entry of Intellectual Ventures Llc., a controversial company that owns an estimated 20,000 patents and is in the market for as many more as it can lay its hands on.
The company has already entered into agreements to buy patents from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and is close to signing an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest research and development organization, said a person familiar with the developments who did not want to be named.
Intellectual Ventures is moving into India says a report published this weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Livemint Lounge, IV has signed deals to acquire patents from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT in Bombay, while it is close to signing an agreement with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
What the report does not say is whether this is a deal for Indian patents, for US patents or for patents internationally. My guess is that there is going to have to be a pretty substantial international element. On that front, it is worth noting that CSIR is by far the biggest Indian filer of international patent applications, filing over 350 in the US alone between 2005 and 2007.
Brian Kahin draws the parallel between the financial/real-estate “bubble” with the still-expanding “bubble” in patents. As Brian suggests, combine that bubble with a Ponzi scheme (Intellectual Ventures) and you might have a real perversion.”
This is not about a peaceful collection of patents. First comes the mining, later comes the extortion.
Millionaire Nathan Myhrvold, renowned in the computer industry as a Renaissance man, has a less lofty message for tech companies these days: Pay up.
Over the past few years, the former Microsoft Corp. executive has quietly amassed a trove of 20,000-plus patents and patent applications related to everything from lasers to computer chips. He now ranks among the world’s largest patent-holders — and is using that clout to press tech giants to sign some of the costliest patent-licensing deals ever negotiated.
As a result of our investment in innovation, Microsoft has created a large, diverse portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that is now available for licensing. This portfolio includes source code, schemas, protocols, and documentation as well as associated copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets. Our policy is to license this IP under commercially reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
The US (and Australian) more liberal position on patents for software has traditionally differed from the UK where software patents are related to thought processes, which are not patentable. The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) has allowed companies to patent computer programs if they can demonstrate some sort of innovative technical effect. This may for example be something like increased memory access.
The case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal is not binding on the EPO member states and different national courts acting on different cases may take a different view of patentability. The position on software patents in the UK has been recently considered by the High Court and UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).
We will soon unleash another post that reviews the state of the patents systems in Europe and Australia. There’s unrest and there are evident problems.
As pointed out earlier today, Bruce Perens has at least temporarily joined the cause of fighting software patents and here are some portions from his latest article, which explains patents in the context of open source software.
Jacobsen’s case against Katzer is ongoing, although this most important appeal is completed. He has not yet convinced the judge that Katzer lied on his patent application, but what if he does? There has been no criminal prosecution of anyone for lying (“perjury”) on a patent application since 1974, when the patent office eliminated its enforcement department.
Contrast that to what the defendant in a suit brought by the holder of a bogus patent faces: between $3 and $5 million dollars in legal fees per case. Without the beneficent legal team that came to Jacobsen’s aid, winning such a case is so expensive that it’s really losing.
The current system of software patents in the United States makes it too easy for the Katzers of the world to come after others for big bucks, even when there is significant doubt regarding the validity of their own patents. The poor defendants have to spend millions just to prove that the patent being pursued against them isn’t valid, bankrupting themselves in the process.
The patent holders have little prospect of punishment when they game the system. That’s a system with no sign of balance. We need to restore justice to the patent system, and we also need to take a good look at the motivation for software patents, which many economists and others feel do more to hurt innovation than to promote it.
Microsoft is not the only foe here, but it’s the one which is poised to lose the most. Shielding the existing patent laws is very important where software patents are verboten. █
Microsoft’s investment in the Magellan Learning Suite is designed to encourage targeted, international adoption of the Magellan educational computers by addressing the need for relevant software and content, user support, digital literacy, and broad scalability…
Reread the quoted text if necessary. There is a cash infusion and Microsoft’s talk about “digital literacy” is mostly a reference to GUIs, including the start menu, security ‘skills’, Word, and perhaps services like Live@edu. “Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced significant Microsoft investment in the Magellan Initiative through the Microsoft Unlimited Potential program,” it says. As we stressed many times before (e.g. here and here), “Unlimited Potential” is more of an anti-GNU/Linux program, operated under the guise of ‘helping’ poor children.
Microsoft launched on Friday a software package for a Portuguese ultra-cheap laptop for school children that the government hopes will boost the country’s technological edge in education.
Portugal started rolling out the “Magellan” computer at schools last month. It aims to hand out a total 500,000 of the laptops, which cost just 50 euros ($69.29) for school children, at home and export it to countries in Latin America and Africa.
What about those 1 million laptops that shall go to Venezuela and are said to be running GNU/Linux? The initiative above may have a ‘domino effect’ that transcends Portugal’s borders. It’s all just intended to put Microsoft’s proprietary software on low-cost notebooks, which, at least for students, are funded by the government (i.e. taxpayers).
Yes, that’s people’s tax money going into the funding of children’s addiction to Microsoft so that Microsoft will be paid by them when they grow up and only recognise one brand of software.
Some people might say that GNU/Linux is still available as an option, but it’s not even being mentioned, no manual is provided for it, and as this recent post stated, “[t]he software “choice” is false.” It’s part of the diplomacy.
One comment which out readers have highlighted is this one:
“curiosamente, é também hoje que se a inicia a Semana do Open Office em Portugal, com uma apresentação da versão 3.0 no Forum Picoas, em Lisboa; mas a essa não se dá destaque – não é “Microsoft driven”.”
More information (in Portuguese) can be found under:
So, over all, I think Antix is the best, most fully featured Lightweight Linux distro I’ve tested thus far. It even beats out Puppy Linux 4.0. So my current recommendation list would be Antix, Puppy Linux, and then Feather Linux. If you have an older computer that you don’t want to send to the junk bin – install Antix!
“IBM’s patent department is actively lobbying Europe to legalise software patents. They have invested millions in fighting example cases to leading European lawcourts such as the EPO’s Technical Boards of Appeal and the German Federal Court in order to soften and eventually remove European restrictions on patenting software. They have also threatened European politicians that IBM might close down local facilities if software patents are not legalised in Europe. IBM has also prevented the US government from conducting studies on the value of software patents for the national economy. In the wake of the Opensource hype, IBM’s rhetoric has become relatively moderate, but nonetheless it is supported by real pressure. IBM has acquired approximately 1000 European software patents whose legal status is currently unclear. Given the great number of software patents in IBM’s hands, IBM is one of the few software companies who may have a genuine interest in software patentability. Once software patents become assertable in Europe, an IBM tax of several billion EUR per year may be levied on European software companies.” [Read more]
IBM and Microsoft are no enemies. They are inclined to collaborate on some things, as the following new article demonstrates.
The baby SAN that IBM is announcing today supports Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, as well as the current releases of Linux from Red Hat and Novell.
Microsoft does not appear to have cross-licensing agreements with IBM (it’s hard to find examples), so how does that work? By all means, this post is very speculative, so any possibilities that arise should be taken with great deal of caution.
“In fact, OIN seems somewhat close to this ‘umbrella’ establishment..”It emerged in a recent conversation that the Linux Foundation (LF) is not quite so isolated from the issue software patents. In fact, OIN seems somewhat close to this ‘umbrella’ establishment, which Jim Zemlin mentioned in his ‘letter’ published by BusinessWeek last year.
For reasons that were covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], the LF seems like a muchly misunderstood ‘fundation’ [sic], whose goals align directly with its members’ — comprising mainly proprietary software/hardware companies. The Foundation spends a lot of time attacking Solaris rather than focus on greater threats. Jim Zemlin responded rather vainly to claims that his words in an IDG article (and later in the New York Times) were damaging.
One source believes there’s more to the story and considers the LF to be more than just an umbrella, claiming: “it seems to be an IBM proxy.
“Type “system” or “method” in the patent commons search, it is all IBM patents,” says our source.
The same goes for OIN, which is said to also include companies like Red Hat, Google, and Oracle.
Claiming that IBM is everywhere, says our source, “None of them [patents] are really from another company [...] and it is too American”
“The Linux Foundation and OIN bear a certain resemblance.”The Linux Foundation and OIN bear a certain resemblance. Intel is right there in the LF though, so IBM is far from the only titan involved. They have a patent FAQ at OIN, but the action they take against the problem is one that we criticised before. I asked Bob Sutor about patents and IBM, but he didn’t even approve my comment, let alone answer the question contained in it. Why is IBM escaping these questions?
At some stage, we wish to do some more research and find out where OIN’s current CEO is from. If we could finally explain the relationship between OIN and LF, that would be helpful too. It turns out that OIN has some patents in the LF patent commons. There is a patent commons database in the Linux Foundation. Why this intersection and why so much IBM everywhere? █
Perens said in a recent interview that the current system makes it too easy for patent trolls to sue, even when their patents may be bogus.
We need to restore justice to the patent system, and we also need to take a good look at the motivation for software patents, which many economists and others feel do more to hurt innovation than to promote it.
Software patents were not created by Congress, but by courts, at the same time as business method patents. These are often very broadly drawn, and holders use their power to tax real innovation.
The problem is patents. LLVM’s license allows more room for Apple to use software patents than the GCC’s licenses do. And Apple now has the opportunity to maneuver themselves into a place where through those patents they can dominate the software that can be run on their machines. Those bastards!
The sooner the world understands this patent trap it’s irreversibly led to, the better. █