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12.31.08

Could Microsoft Use Novell for Infighting, Forking, and Distraction?

Posted in Fork, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, SUN at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keeping developers helpless and divided

SEVERAL Web sites accentuate issues of disagreement which are related to OpenOffice.org. Here is just one new example. They are using old news [1, 2, 3] and sometimes promote Novell’s fork the software [1, 2, 3, 4].

“It’s the same with GNOME and KDE; mutual damage helps nobody but the outsider, in this case Microsoft.”Infighting that’s led by Microsoft is an issue that we covered before, using examples. Those who look at Microsoft's "TE" material will find that causing ‘civil wars’ is one of their key strategies (finding sources of friction, then stirring things up), so by funding Novell and enabling/having them fork and insult OpenOffice.org they distract their competitors, who will fight among themselves rather than against Microsoft Office. It’s the same with GNOME and KDE; mutual damage helps nobody but the outsider, in this case Microsoft.

So where is it all coming from? Well, it mostly comes from Novell and it successfully penetrates and deceives some reporters, who fail to see the full picture:

And about this “we, the media” thing you brought up: Meeks has a conflict of interest that you don’t do a particularly good job of pointing out. If he works for Novell and Novell is in bed with MSFT, why should we simply take him at his word without questioning whether he has any vested interest one way or the other as to the corporate “sponsor(s)” of OpenOffice? Does this relationship have anything to do at all with Sun’s “difficulty”? As a managing editor of a news outlet, this is something I’d take my team to task for failing point out in reporting. By “we, the media” you’d better mean you and the mouse in your hand.

It would be interesting if Novell tried to seize control of other Free software in the future. CUPS, for example, belongs to Apple now, but that’s a wholly separate story.

Red face

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53 Comments

  1. Ian said,

    December 31, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Gravatar

    Wasn’t it determined that you can’t both patch upstream and fork at the same time?

  2. Chris said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:32 pm

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    Oh boy, repeating your mad babblings over and over wont make it any truer but will simply make you look even more dumb.

    So, just for the record, let me state it once more:

    A patchset is no fork and a fork is no patchset!

    And since go-oo is a patchset against the latest OpenOffice it can’t be a fork. And no, that single post from that SUN guy who claimed it to be a fork doesn’t make it right either.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:34 pm

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    Sun’s VP of open source alleged at one stage that this was technically “a fork”.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:37 pm

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    Division in this case is harmful and sharing of patches is already limited. If Sun has resolved this issue with Novell, then this is good news, but I need it confirmed by Sun (the victim).

  5. Chris said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Jeez, you really don’t get it, do you?

    1. I care if “Sun’s VP of open source” is calling it a fork about as much as the pope calling the earth a disk.

    The point simply is that it isn’t true. A fork is by definition a split from a common codebase into two independent projects with different development lines which simply isn’t the case here because all go-oo is is a big patchset against the current OpenOffice release.

    2. Why do you think go-oo exists?! Although you apparently refuse to believe it, and like others already told you over and over, go-oo tries to get its patches upstream. Some get accepted, some get rejected and so on. Now what should be the correct solution (according to you) for stuff that got rejected upstream (for whatever reason) but still adds functionality? Should it be dropped cause it was rejected upstream? I for one am pretty happy I still can get it with go-oo.

    3. Calling SUN a “victim” is completely ridiculous if you finally stop looking only at the part of the story that fits your little world.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:06 pm

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    Don’t forget who contributes the most.

  7. Chris said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:13 pm

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    And that answers what question? As usual you are simply avoiding any answer …

    So let me list it up for you:

    1. Why do you think go-oo exists?

    2. What should be the correct solution (according to you) for stuff that got rejected upstream (for whatever reason) but still adds functionality?

    3. Why is SUN a victim?

    PS: I would guess / hope that SUN has the most people working on OpenOffice since they sell it also as StarOffice (which might be the explanation why some stuff doesn’t get into OpenOffice) but that’s not the point here.

  8. pcolon said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:19 pm

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    A fork is by definition a split from a common codebase into two independent projects with different development lines which simply isn’t the case here because all go-oo is is a big patchset against the current OpenOffice release.

    It’s not a fork, then I can go to Openoffice.org and download go-oo.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Gravatar

    1. Why do you think go-oo exists?

    We both know the obvious answer, but there is more to it, in my humble opinion, as I will state below.

    2. What should be the correct solution (according to you) for stuff that got rejected upstream (for whatever reason) but still adds functionality?

    If the pool of patches is centralised, then it needs to be distanced from Novell, which cannot be trusted (and yet it strives to have control of the ‘pool’).

    3. Why is SUN a victim?

    Sun wants to monetise its work. Novell wants to take Sun’s money off the table by promoting Microsoft technologies that are Sun-hostile and also — by extension — harm GNU/Linux (not SUSE Linux).

  10. Jose_X said,

    December 31, 2008 at 5:18 pm

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    Chris, get your definition of a fork straight. You can patch GNOME to turn it into KDE. Having a “patchset” doesn’t mean anything magical. A simple automatic diff done on what go-ooo keeps inhouse against whatever Sun is doing will lead to a “patchset”.

    If you can’t remember what a fork means, look it up on wikipedia or at least provide some other source if you think wikipedia is out of their mind. I actually think the wikipedia definition makes a lot of sense.

    Here is what I wrote on LT recently: http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-12-31-005-35-OS-NV-0000

  11. Jose_X said,

    December 31, 2008 at 5:40 pm

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    Chris, my apologies for picking nits since I think you were actually talking about a significantly divergent fork.

    I think forking is good. Most would call these “branches”, at least if they are being managed by the same community managing the main branch.

    What I don’t like is helping out Monopolysoft when it’s so easy to take a different path.

  12. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 31, 2008 at 8:44 pm

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    Roy: where do you see Novell trying to maintain control of the Go-OO patches?

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:45 am

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    Where did I say they did?

  14. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 1, 2009 at 8:40 am

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    Right here:

    If the pool of patches is centralised, then it needs to be distanced from Novell, which cannot be trusted (and yet it strives to have control of the ‘pool’).

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Gravatar

    http://www.whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=go-oo&tld=org

    
    Domain ID:D105535482-LROR
    Domain Name:GO-OO.ORG
    Created On:07-Jan-2005 09:37:13 UTC
    Last Updated On:16-Nov-2007 14:50:45 UTC
    Expiration Date:07-Jan-2010 09:37:13 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH d/b/a joker.com a German GmbH (R25-LROR)
    Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
    Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
    Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
    Registrant ID:CORG-108930
    Registrant Name:Michael Meeks
    Registrant Organization:Novell, Inc.
    Registrant Street1:Revel Cottage
    Registrant Street2:
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Newmarket
    Registrant State/Province:Cambridgeshire
    Registrant Postal Code:CB8 0NB
    Registrant Country:GB
    Registrant Phone:+44.1638668562
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    Registrant FAX:
    Registrant FAX Ext.:
    Registrant Email:michael.meeks@novell.com
    Admin ID:CORG-108672
    Admin Name:Michael Meeks
    Admin Organization:Novell, Inc.
    Admin Street1:Revel Cottage
    Admin Street2:
    Admin Street3:
    Admin City:Newmarket
    Admin State/Province:Cambridgeshire
    Admin Postal Code:CB8 0NB
    Admin Country:GB
    Admin Phone:+44.1638668562
    Admin Phone Ext.:
    Admin FAX:
    Admin FAX Ext.:
    Admin Email:michael.meeks@novell.com
    Tech ID:CORG-108672
    Tech Name:Michael Meeks
    Tech Organization:Novell, Inc.
    Tech Street1:Revel Cottage
    Tech Street2:
    Tech Street3:
    Tech City:Newmarket
    Tech State/Province:Cambridgeshire
    Tech Postal Code:CB8 0NB
    Tech Country:GB
    Tech Phone:+44.1638668562
    Tech Phone Ext.:
    Tech FAX:
    Tech FAX Ext.:
    Tech Email:michael.meeks@novell.com
    Name Server:NS1.DREAMHOST.COM
    Name Server:NS2.DREAMHOST.COM
    Name Server:NS3.DREAMHOST.COM
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    Name Server: 
    
    
  16. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Gravatar

    Oh, wow; they do have a PHYSICAL server with an adress… Gosh, surprise! Oh, wow, it’s a Novell server; who would have tought?

    And what has this got to do with ‘control of the patches’? Nothing.

    Next you’ll tell us that OpenOffice.org is hosted on a SUN server.

    Instead, we all would much prefer it if you anwered the question Dan asked instead of trying to weazle your way out of answering, as usual.

    Again:

    Roy: where do you see Novell trying to maintain control of the Go-OO patches?

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Gravatar

    See this for a bit of background. As I recall it, Novell manages the code.

  18. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Novell contributes most of the patches to Go-OO, yes, but that does not mean they attempt to control it. They do not require copyright assignment and everyone is able to contribute (unlike OOo).

  19. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, you’re weazling. Answer straight, don’t point to some unrelated gibberish you wrote up yourself for ‘reference’. Straight answer, one sentence.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Novell contributes most of the patches to Go-OO, yes, but that does not mean they attempt to control it. They do not require copyright assignment and everyone is able to contribute (unlike OOo).

    There is nothing preventing them from committing patches that mostly benefit their big partner and funding source (Mono, MOOX, etc).

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Wilbert,

    May I ask if you are connected to SUSE? Just a user?

  22. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Gravatar

    The code is at http://svn.gnome.org/svn/ooo-build/trunk so its more controlled by Gnome than by Novell but since the argumentation anyways will go like “but the bad Novell employee has commit access, so M$ controls the code” it doesn’t matter I guess …

    Besides that, Roy, if you would read what you link to, you would have noticed that your preferred solution (3rd party pool of patches that aren’t accepted by SUN and controlled by a non-profit organization) is exactly what that poor guy you are trying to flame all the time wishes what would happen. Although this would only happen if SUN gets into the boat as well which wont happen anytime soon I guess.

    @Jose_X Sure, you can patch Gnome in to KDE or the other way round with the right patchset (and surely you better generate that automatically … ;D) but that’s kinda missing the point.

    IMHO a fork is when 2 different products emerge from one shared codebase and then continue to grow in two independent development lines. This isn’t the case with go-oo since it’s always a patchset against the latest official OpenOffice build (and therefore there aren’t two independent development lines). You don’t believe this? Just look into their SVN repository (URL a few lines above) ;P

    I agree that it probably would be a branch if it would be developed by the same guys but IMHO calling it a fork is just over the top. Also, IIRC, the wikipedia definition calls everything that is modified in a single bit a fork which is kinda stupid IMHO since basically every packager who applies a patch would be forking a project.

    @Roy: Please, do us a favor and ask that SUN guy who called go-oo an hostile fork why they want their branding on it (in Ubuntu) since that is kinda a contradiction. I guess his argumentation would be “interesting” ;)

    Or is it more like said at https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2008-December/006586.html
    and a few reasons for the existence go-oo might even be true? *gasp* … :P

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Gravatar

    The code is at http://svn.gnome.org/svn/ooo-build/trunk so its more controlled by Gnome than by Novell but since the argumentation anyways will go like “but the bad Novell employee has commit access, so M$ controls the code” it doesn’t matter I guess …

    Thanks, I knew where it’s located. Back in 2007, I could find “Novell” in some footers around the code/accompanying pages. I’d need to recheck though

    Besides that, Roy, if you would read what you link to, you would have noticed that your preferred solution (3rd party pool of patches that aren’t accepted by SUN and controlled by a non-profit organization) is exactly what that poor guy you are trying to flame all the time wishes what would happen. Although this would only happen if SUN gets into the boat as well which wont happen anytime soon I guess.

    I hardly care for Sun. I care about some projects they have, such as Java that we very much need.

    @Roy: Please, do us a favor and ask that SUN guy who called go-oo an hostile fork why they want their branding on it (in Ubuntu) since that is kinda a contradiction. I guess his argumentation would be “interesting” ;)

    I never asked. I was contacted. I’m not about to approach Sun, sorry.

  24. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Teh, the typical knee-jerk reaction. Yes, I use openSUSE; no I don’t develop, I don’t work at Novell, I don’t work in the IT business or anything related to that. But I have a special place in my heart for truthbenders, thus I’m here with you…

    That was me, now your turn:

    Answer my question (Dan’s question) straight.

  25. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Gravatar

    In case you hoped we forgot the question, it was:

    Roy: where do you see Novell trying to maintain control of the Go-OO patches?

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Gravatar

    The hands on the spigot. Just look how this fork started (Kohei, Meeks and others).

  27. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re talking nonsense. You conveniently overlooked that Chris just (tried to) enlighten you that Michael Meeks pushes for a NPO-controlled pool of patches; which is pretty much what you yourself would like to see…

    Doesn’t fit into you rant, so you omit it, eh?

    “Hands on the spigot”? Laughable! What spigot? Don’t talk flowery to us. Where is your spigot? C’m on, show us your little spigot, Roy…

  28. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Gravatar

    So the SVN repository is located @ svn.gnome.org and apparently hosted by Canonical but go-oo is still bad since it was created by some Novell folks who were fed up with the way SUN is handling contributions to OpenOffice.

    Further it doesn’t matter that they (the go-oo people) want the same as you (Roy) (a NPO-controlled pool of patches that is) since they are still from “bad bad Novell” ™ and therefore have to be evil.

    I’m sorry, that’s probably my bad since I thought, just for a moment, it would be worth the time to normally argue with you based on facts. However, those one sided view at everything while ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into your little world is exactly what makes this site so ridiculous (except for nutters like “twitter”) and what drives every sane people away (like it apparently happened to Shane).

  29. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re essentially asking me to throw away my personal assessment or else be abused with cheap shots like “Where is your spigot? C’m on, show us your little spigot, Roy…”

  30. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Gravatar

    No, in fact I couldn’t care less about your spigot.

    What I expect you to do is to stop making up stuff by purposely showing one side of the story and totally ignoring the other part just because it doesn’t fit your “bad bad Novell” ™ theory.

    Simply stick with the truth and present the facts instead of some far fetched speculations which then are used to back some other “facts”. Perhaps then you will actually succeed in your quest (_IF_ there is a point / reason behind this) and convince normal people (read as not nutters like e.g. “twitter”).

  31. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Gravatar

    Perhaps then you will actually succeed in your quest (_IF_ there is a point / reason behind this) and convince normal people (read as not nutters like e.g. “twitter”).

    There must be a lot of “nutters” out there because we had almost 10,000 visits yesterday.

    I don’t have to accept an opinion which I find erroneous given what I’ve read and learned. I try to separate the marketing gunk from the truth.

  32. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t have to accept an opinion which I find erroneous given what I’ve read and learned

    Hm. Read: “I don’t have to accept facts”?

  33. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Oh, not every hit is a ‘believer’. Some come for contradicting you, some come for watching the circus (that’s what you’ve made of it) in disbelief.

  34. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Things Novell says are arguments, not facts. I can accept them based on judgment.

    Companies lie. They call it “marketing”.

  35. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy: where do you see Novell trying to maintain control of the Go-OO patches?

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Gravatar

    I showed you earlier. Besides, where do you think the Go-OO idea came from?

  37. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Gravatar

    No you didn’t. Don’t pretend you did.

  38. Will said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Gravatar

    …or I will say ‘spigot’. ;-)

    Seriously, what did you mean by that word? It didn’t answer any part of the question.

  39. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Sure you are free to have your own opinion, I would never deny that.

    What I mean is simply idiotic stuff like your go-oo rants that claim it would be an hostile fork with the purpose to get Novell in control of OpenOffice and totally neglect the other side, like:

    1. it was only founded because SUNs way of getting stuff into core OpenOffice is kinda “suboptimal” (as in many bureaucratic hurdles, stuff gets rejected cause they want it only in their commercial StarOffice product or for various other reasons).

    2. Core OpenOffice is a total bitch to build – one of the main targets of go-oo was to make this much easier.

    3. go-oo tries to get its patches into OpenOffice (that “omg its a fork” implies the opposite)

    4. The preferred solutions of the go-oo people is the same as yours (a NPO organization managing the patch pool / OpenOffice).

    5. and so on

    The point simply is that you should present the whole picture and not only the parts of it that you like cause they fit your view of the world.

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Seriously, what did you mean by that word? It didn’t answer any part of the question.

    Novell pours Mono and MOOX out the code barrel (Microsoft’s proprietary technology).

  41. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Chris,

    For multiple points of view, read more than one Web site. I know I always do.

  42. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Then perhaps you better rename the subtitle of your page from

    Exploring the reality behind exclusionary deals with Microsoft and their subtle (yet severe) implications

    into something like

    Exploring my subjective point of view behind exclusionary deals with Microsoft and their subtle (yet severe) implications while ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into my little world.

    That’s what you want?

  43. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re suggesting that your point of view is correct and mine is incorrect; that’s just fascism. I’m entitled to my opinion, which I based of evidence that I gather.

  44. Chris said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Er … no?!

    I’m suggesting that your “point of view” is artificially made up by purposefully neglecting everything that doesn’t fit into your never ending ranting that “bad bad Novell” ™ is the devil and thereby creating a subjective point of view that is far from being objective.

    And, because it isn’t objective, it therefore doesn’t deserve the word “reality” (as in objective reality) but more “subjective point of view” (as in the way you see only what you want and completely ignore the rest). So your heading is wrong and you better fix it since it might give more people a wrong impression.

  45. casanunda said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Gravatar

    >Novell pours Mono and MOOX out the
    >code barrel (Microsoft’s proprietary technology).

    Don’t mind my asking but what does this have to do with Novell trying to maintain control of the Go-OO patches?

  46. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Novell can merge things that make its partner happy. They do have ongoing collaborations.

    “[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

    Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

  47. casanunda said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Gravatar

    No, I meant, how does ‘pouring out Mono’ (whatever that has to do with OpenOffice) help Novell control the Go-OO patches?

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Go-ooXML facilitates Mono extensions and has a dependency.

  49. casanunda said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Yeah, bad, bad.

    But how does this help Novell ‘maintain control’ of the go-oo patchset?

  50. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Gravatar

    This is less than related to “control of patches”.

  51. casanunda said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Gravatar

    So then you replied something unrelated to the question. Why?

  52. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Not quite.

    Influence and control are separate issues. Novell does not control this patchset with an iron fist, but it is able to sneak into it some of its exclusively-’protected’ stuff, which will in turn be funneled into ‘unprotected’ distributions.

  53. casanunda said,

    January 2, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Gravatar

    What in the world has ‘sneaking in’ what you call ‘protected stuff’ (and I think this is very much subject to discussion) to do with ‘maintaining control’ of the go-oo patchset? (And I suspect the answer is ‘nothing’.)

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  24. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  25. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  26. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  27. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  28. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  30. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert


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