The touchscreens that are beginning to replace those clunky old air phones on the backs of airplane seats have something in common — they mainly run on Linux. Because it’s lightweight, robust and flexible — which is more than you can say about other operating systems — it’s ideally suited for in-flight entertainment.
Fierce competition in the desktop and end-user application space is looming large over Microsoft. Google continues to develop knockout, Web-based apps like Desktop, Video and Docs. OpenOffice is going mainstream — the new Ubuntu distro makes Linux easier than ever for the layman.
Mozilla and Sun Microsystems have developed serious alternatives in the browser and productivity suite arenas with Firefox and OpenOffice.org.
Microsoft has long had a stranglehold on the browser and productivity suite markets. That hold may start to slip. In the Test Center, we are seeing the number of SMB and consumer applications and devices that are being developed with Linux compatability at an all-time high.
Could this latest security issue and the fact that it had not been addressed for the last several years by Microsoft, arguably the Earth’s most wildly successful software company, be that proverbial straw that draws the masses to alternative personal computing offerings?
Available in black, gray, or white, the device will have 128MB of internal memory, plus USB and an SD Card slot (it’ll come with a 2GB card, too). Because its screen draws very little power, battery life should be extremely long; Foxit says it’ll go for 8,000 page turns between recharges; it recharges via either USB or an included AC adapter. It uses an embedded Linux operating system, too.
Linux has a strong following among those who manage corporate servers, a loyal corps of desktop users and a small but growing base of laptop users. But it’s also been a big — if stealthy — success as a platform for gadgets.
In fact, there ought to be a Linux Gadget Hall of Fame. I’ll get it started with the first group of inductees: 10 of the most important gadgets of all time, each one based on Linux.
Acer’s aggressive marketing for their netbook is clearly evident. The leading netbook seller has decided to sell the Aspire One at a very affordable price of Rs. 17,499 for Linux, while the Windows XP variant will go for under Rs. 20,000.
An open source project has released a new, more “hackable” Debian-based Linux distribution for the Openmoko NeoFreerunner phone. The Hackable:1 group hopes to build a well-maintained, developer-friendly codebase for use by VARs (value-added resellers) building products on top of Openmoko’s open hardware designs.
Around noon today, I picked up my unlocked Android G1 dev phone, and as of now it’s my main phone, plus I’m trying to write an app for it. I suspect that my experiences are going to be shared by quite a few people in the not-too-distant future, so why not record them?
Overall, majority of the changes in Amarok 2 are refreshing. The interface has become more elegant, much simpler and more user-friendly without losing any of its functionality. Some of the newly addons feature such as search filtering and widgets are interesting and useful. I would hope to see better integration and connectivity with my iPhone so that I can stream/transfer music easily.
At Harvard, he won’t be focusing exclusively on intellectual property — the topic that made him famous. He’ll, in the words of Harvard, launch a “five-year project examining what happens when public institutions depend on money from sources that may be affected by the work of those institutions — for example, medical research programs that receive funding from pharmaceutical companies whose drugs they review, or academics whose policy analyses are underwritten by special interest groups.”
Why was this turned into an anti-network neutrality story? Probably because the Journal has long been banging the drum against neutrality, for ideological reasons and because big companies are big advertisers.
Also, I believe, because this is how cable operators — who fear a neutral network will break their video business model — spun it.
Why believe what I’m saying? Possibly because the two “experts” the reporters consulted to justify their spin, Richard Whitt of Google and attorney Larry Lessig, say their words were twisted.
It must be that time of year, because we have another Microsoft executive departure to report: Joe Peterson, a corporate vice president who has been involved in everything from Internet Explorer to MSN to Windows, is retiring after 13 years with the Redmond company.
American multinational/monopolist ‘instructs’ Europe
Microsoft ‘loves’ open source. Yes, it really does. This must be the reason why its ‘fronts’ are all responding to the EIF V2.0, which was made available for feedback from the public. They are also taking open source off the table. Microsoft, ACT, CompTIA and even the BSA have all responded. Their interests are not to facilitate fair competition, but to promote further monopolisation by their big funding source. In page 2 of ACT’s recommendations, for example, they write in very large fonts: “Promotion of Open Source is Outside the Scope of this Framework.”
Yes, that’s how Microsoft writes the law. It does not need to do this directly. It just hires lobbyists to do the writing ‘on behalf’ of “the software industry” and ‘on behalf’ of “small businesses”.
THE financial SourceForge-Microsoft link is a subject that we covered before [1, 2, 3, 4], so the following award, granted to Wine, was in a way sponsored by Microsoft. The Wine project, which has a new site design, has just formally responded:
The Wine project has won an award from the SourceForge 2008 Community Choice Awards.
We won the category:
“Most Likely to Be Ambiguously and Baselessly Accused of Patent Violation”.
Nice. It’s good to have Microsoft inside open source, is it not [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]?
Some upcoming conference ([1, 2, 3] below) show just how hard lobbyists are pushing to introduce software patents outside the United States. Glyn Moody has meanwhile responded to UKIPO research.
UK Businesses Indifferent to Intellectual Monopolies
The results of the research suggests that UK business simply doesn’t think intellectual properties are worth expending time and effort on, because they don’t really matter in this day and age. And, of course, they’re not alone: most young people would tell you exactly the same thing.
It’s important to remember that, to UKIPO at the very least, more Intellectual Monopolies mean more ‘business’ and more revenue. █
“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.
“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”
There are high profile right-owner lobbying efforts directed at higher standards and tougher enforcement of intellectual property rights, and growing interest among consumer groups, academics and many innovative businesses to protect the public domain and retain or even expand user rights. There is also much interest in exploring newer approaches to the support of creative and inventive communities, that do not rely on notions of exclusive rights.
Meanwhile, the issue has been resurrected in Europe. Three years after the European Parliament rejected a proposed directive after extraordinarily contentious debate, the EPO President has asked the Enlarged Board of Appeals to determine where and how the line should be drawn on computer programs. The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced an economic study of software patents to provide input to the EPO. There is also vigorous debate in India, centered around patent office interpretation of recent legislation.
The one-day conference is dedicated to exploring the treatment of computer-implemented inventions under patent law in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Renowned experts – Judges, academic and practitioners – from all three jurisdictions will present the case law and praxis of the relevant patent offices and courts in the respective jurisdictions, both with regard to the particularities of obtaining and enforcing patents for computer implemented inventions
MATT Asay and the usual trolls from ITWire continue to show their utter contempt for desktop GNU/Linux. It’s the usual suspects and, suffice to say, the latter case is deliberate provocation that had us pondering a ‘link embargo’ on ITWire (or particular writers from there).
Elsewhere on the Web, what seems like Vista ‘advertising’ is almost disguised under the teaser headline “Hasta La Vista, Microsoft Vista.” It tries marketing the unwanted operating system using the “inevitability” tune. This relates to a former Microsoft tune, which goes like: “computers are only desktops, and therefore Linux is not important.” It’s totalnonsense and a case of aligning one’s statistics to suit an agenda [1, 2, 3].
Another noteworthy item is Microsoft’s choking of Xandros at ASUS, having tied them up [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], brought back XP, and begun selling it for very little, some say $0 (i.e. anti-competitive dumping).
One of our readers, Slated, remarked on such tactics yesterday:
> The plundering of the Earth by those that we call "businessmen" is a
> fact that more people should be aware of. It seems that all sorts of
> immoral, selfish, back-stabbing behavior is forgiven, if the result
> is money made.
But just to be clear, I'm not anti-business. I'm anti-monopoly and
anti-Corporatist, certainly, but I have nothing against legitimate
business. In fact, as I've pointed out many times before, it's the
Corporatists who are anti-capitalist, since they seek a state of
monopoly which suppresses the Free Market Economy. This is nothing
more than State-endorsed racketeering, just like any other form of
monopoly (e.g. patents).
Microsoft are not unique in this regard, in fact they are not even
the worst culprits, but in the context of Free Software they are
the biggest threat to the kind of equal opportunities conducive to
Freedom and choice.
> Could it be denied that Bill Gates and his cohorts "zealously"
> perused their goals of dominating the markets that they participate
Given that a "zealot" is merely a derogatory term for someone with
absolute intolerance for others' ideals, then yes, it is perfectly
accurate to describe right-wing extremists like Microsoft (or even
any other Corporatists) as zealots. Their goals and principles are
the antithesis of the Free Software community's, and they (Ballmer
in particular) have made it perfectly clear in word and deed, that
they utterly despise everything we stand for.
The flip-side of this is, of course, that since I am diametrically
opposed to Microsoft's goals, and absolutely committed to opposing
their right to pursue those goals, then it is technically accurate
to describe me as a zealot too. But, as I said, it is a derogatory
term, so I'd only expect to be denounced as a zealot by anyone who
opposes my ideals. Given that those ideals are just the opposition
of something immoral, it's highly inappropriate to describe such a
position in a derogatory fashion, unless those making such comment
are themselves immoral. Hence my assertion that "zealot" is a term
which is only used in a derogatory sense, since intolerance is not
in and of itself necessarily wrong, if that which is not tolerated
And Microsoft's goal of monopolistic dominance is most certainly
immoral, since this is not merely about making money; but they aim
to make that money by denying others the opportunity to do so, and
they accomplish this unworthy goal using the most depraved methods
the law will allow (and even break those laws on occasion). That's
not business, it's racketeering; totalitarianism; Corporatism. And
worse still, having achieved this position of dominance, they then
abuse it to force others to buy their products. This precludes the
need for them to compete at all, and so they become complacent, to
the point that their products become grossly substandard, but they
have a captive audience who must accept these substandard products
without choice. This situation may be improving with the emergence
of products like Netbooks, but this tends to be an exception to an
overwhelming rule of pre-installed Windows systems; bundled by OEM
vendors who are bribed to do so, then bribed again to lie that the
"[Vendor] Recommend Windows". Again - that's not business, it's an
immoral means of securing profits; synonymous with racketeering.
There's business ... then there's "bizniz". I'm not opposed to the
former, but I am certainly opposed to the latter. If that makes me
a "zealot" then so be it. I suppose the EU Commission; the US DOJ,
and I, all bear the the same "zealot" hallmark.
Kim Groneman, an administrator of the Novell Forums, writing to break the news on the BrainShare forum to prospective attendees (making it very clear that he is not an official spokesman, but simply a Novell employee and an interested party) observed that “registrations for BrainShare have been very low to this point.”
The tough economy hasn’t helped Novell’s financial numbers of late either. The company continues to lose money, reporting earlier this month a $16 million loss for its fourth fiscal quarter on roughly flat revenue. For the fiscal year, ended Oct. 31, Novell lost about $18 million on revenue of just under $1 billion. Making apples-to-apples comparisons of Novell financial results quarter to quarter has become next to impossible given a variety of “impairment charges” and other clarifications included in its reports.
Novell Inc. said Wednesday it has canceled its 2009 BrainShare, the annual conference that this year drew 5,500 to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.
The Waltham, Mass.- based company, whose largest operation is in Provo with about 1,200 employees, said many of its customers were saying economic conditions would keep them from traveling to Utah in March of next year.
Novell is considering delivering conference materials online or conducting smaller, more-regional events “that will allow us to get face time with folks but would be more locally based so that, again, we’d get around some of the travel restrictions that our customers and partners have,” Bruce said.
The Massachusetts-based company, with about 1,200 of its 4,000 employees in Provo, develops enterprise infrastructure software for companies.
For the past twenty years, one of the jewels of the Novell calendar has been the annual BrainShare conference. Highlights have included, among many others, 2004′s surprise appearance by Linux-creator Linus Torvalds — reportedly also attended by SCO arch-villan Darl McBride — and the 2008 revelation that Big Bird was switching to SUSE. It seems those memories are all that will remain of the conference, however, as Novell announced this morning that the conference has been canceled.
What the FAQ doesn’t state is how much Dragoon was probably pleased to free up a significant chunk of his marketing budget tied up in the annual conference. He won’t state it publicly, but I’m betting that he’s cheering to have so much of his marketing budget available for other activities.
This is not the end of the world, however. GWAVA goes ahead with its plans and issues this press release:
GWAVA Provides Alternative to Novell BrainShare Attendees
Discount offered for Novell customers to attend GWAVACon, the independent Novell technology conference in place of BrainShare ’09
GWAVA today announced a special discount for Novell customers to GWAVACon in Las Vegas Nevada, January 25th – 27th 2009. With the announcement of Novell suspending BrainShare in March of 2009, GWAVACon becomes the largest Novell technology conference in the world.
Not so long ago it was Mozilla that got ‘detoxicated’. Novell’s harmful relationship with the Linux Foundation (LF) is something that we remarked on before [1, 2, 3, 4]. By association, the LF with Novell is an open(er) door to Microsoft, which is a partner/ally of one of its funding sources. There are other examples, e.g. Intel, but it does not come quite so close.
Either way, things are changing for the better. Here is a press release about the departure of Markus Rex from the Linux Foundation. He’s going back to Novell, where he was still partlyinvolved. His ‘inauguration’ we mentioned here and here.
Matt Asay changed his headline from “Novell gets a new/old Linux chief” to “Novell’s new Linux chief has Suse history.” It’s possible that someone from Novell, his former employer, sent him E-mails ‘behind the scenes’ again (the original headline made it sound like Markus is “old”) [correction in the comments]. Anyway, here is his coverage.
Markus Rex, formerly the chief technology officer of Suse and currently on leave from Novell, is back in the saddle as acting general manager and senior vice president of Novell’s Open Platform Solutions business unit, reporting to Novell CTO Jeff Jaffe, as Novell announced Monday.
Novell has announced two new executive appointments that it said will strengthen its focus on cross-platform solutions and the SUSE Linux Enterprise market.
The company has appointed Roger Levy as senior vice president of strategic development, responsible for cross business unit strategy and offerings for the data center, end-user computing, and identity and security management markets. Prior to his new role, he was general manager and senior vice president of the company’s Open Platform Solutions unit.
Markus Rex, who is currently on leave from the company as CTO to the Linux Foundation, will take over as acting GM and SVP of the OPS unit. He joined Novell in 2004 when it acquired SUSE Linux, and has served as GM for SUSE Linux and CTO for the OPS unit.
So who will inherit his place? A short while ago it was announced that it would be Ted (also appearing here and here).
Ts’o will be replacing Markus Rex as CTO of the Linux Foundation. Rex was on loan to the Foundation from his employer Novell. He recently returned to Novell to work as the acting general manager and senior vice president of Novell’s OPS business unit.
Power to the Microsoft Way® — becoming a follower, not an independent leader
WE HAVE ALREADY commented on the latest release last night. TechGeek writes: “Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal between Microsoft and Novell didn’t cover OpenSuse. But I don’t know for sure.” Well, it didn’t. But into OpenSUSE goes the poisonware (free-but-Microsoft-patents-encumbered software) anyway.
As well Novell includes support for Microsoft Excel VBA, and integration with Novell’s Mono project. Mono is a Novell led effort to enable Microsoft .NET on Linux.
The Mono effort has also led to a Novell effort called Moonlight which is an attempt to enable Microsoft’s Silverlight media framework on Linux. The first public beta for Moonlight came out in December. Moonlight is not, however, part of the openSUSE 11.1 release. Brockmeier explained that Moonlight isn’t part of the release mostly due to timing issues as the Beta came out after openSUSE hit is feature freeze.
The issue is that many of these things, which are sponsored by Novell/Microsoft, are then passed to other distributions to harm the Real Things® like ODF, Java, and Web standards. █