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01.05.09

Links 05/01/2009: GNU/Linux at Honda Dealership, KDE 4.2 Release Parties Planned

Posted in News Roundup at 9:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Linux provides affordable alternative for Honda car dealership

    It’s no secret that the UK’s car industry is suffering badly in the economic downturn. Whilst giant US car manufacturers face bankrupcy and the UK government considers providing emergency credit to Jaguar-Landrover, other industry players must look at innovative solutions to remain competitive.

    Nestling in the heart of Surrey, Trident Honda first considered Open Source software when they were faced with an eye-watering £75,000 to ‘update’ their existing Citrix MetaFrame infrastructure.

  • Linux: this year’s silver lining?

    The key word in that sentence is “new”. Like many watching the PC business, Zemlin thinks 2009 will be a year when netbooks really take off, and Linux is doing well on these platforms. “Linux is taking share from Windows in this new playing field, and we think Linux will be the dominant platform for netbooks,” explained Zemlin. He added that Microsoft has been forced to extend the life of Windows XP and move up the launch of Windows 7 as many consumers and corporations have ignored Windows Vista.

  • Keryx Tutorial: Bringing Updates Home

    Though in most North American cities one cannot find a spot without at least a weak WiFi signal, many of us Linux geeks still live in rural areas with less Internet connectivity. Also, in various non-Westernized nations, there is a growing number of Linux users who may have a computer at home, but cannot afford a decent connection. For both groups, software updates typically demand an Internet connection, which can make updating difficult if not impossible. There is now a solution though, a new program called Keryx.

  • Texas Group Brings Linux Computers Home

    In 2008, The HeliOS Project built, placed and supported 329 computers where they were needed. Sometimes it was necessary to travel over 100 miles to do it. Admittedly, 329 computers doesn’t sound like much. Not many at all in the scope of things. That is until you take into consideration one relevant fact.

    It was done almost exclusively by one man. One guy in a a beat up old Isuzu Rodeo with questionable braking ability and over a quarter million miles on it…that’s averages out to 1 computer installed in a child’s home every 26.6 hours in a year’s time.

  • Running WDSC From a Linux Desktop

    As more and more applications move to the browser, the desktop has become more of a place to boot to than anything else. This begs the question: “How long will Microsoft stay at the top of the desktop operating system mountain?” You can only put so many useful features into a desktop until it’s reached a point of being “good enough and I don’t need to upgrade.” Today, companies stay with Microsoft because it’s safe and is actually cost effective (because staff is trained and knows Microsoft). But what about kids in schools who are learning about these easy-to-use and free operating systems? Dare I say that things like Ubuntu Linux are becoming “cool” to the next generation because feels semi-rebellious to embrace Linux?

  • The Inherent Danger in “Just Working”

    Linux usage — if not outright, across the board, full time adoption — has been on a healthy increase for several years. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the focus on new-user friendly distributions (such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, and Mandriva) that make the now rather wide range of hardware supported by Linux “just work” seamlessly. Before we go further: This is a good thing to strive for and make new users aware of.

  • DECT phones and POS terminals are vulnerable

    The attack on DECT, demonstrated at the 25th Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin on 29 December, used a Linux laptop with a modified €23 laptop card. It can intercept calls and information directly, recording it in digital form. Even if encryption is switched on, the system can bypass encryption – simply by pretending to be a base station that doesn’t support it.

  • KDE

    • Call for Organisation of KDE 4.2 Release Parties

      On January 27, a year after the release of the first KDE 4 version, KDE 4.2 “The Answer” will be released. This release will feature stabilisation and feature completion and is likely to be taken up by a wide audience of users. To celebrate the important event in KDE’s history with our fans all around the world we would like to invite our community members to organise a release party.

    • The Rise of Linux and the Death of Microsoft

      All in all, 2008 was a pretty good year for Linux, and I’m hopeful 2009 will be even better. Some of the notable changes that come to mind:

      The arrival of KDE 4, a new Linux desktop, which, while it was initially received with some criticism, has improved, and is continuing to improve greatly. Linux is becoming a serious threat on the desktop, and I’m hopeful the fabled “Year of the Linux Desktop” may be imminent. The KDE 4.2 beta I’m running at the moment looks very slick and feels very functional.

      Webcam support in Linux has greatly improved very recently. With the merging of the GSPCA and UVC drivers, Linux systems based on recent kernels support most webcams in existence…out of the box.

    • OSCA Foundation, Nepomuk, and the Importance of Semantics

      Nepomuk was managed previously by the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (please note that the previous link references a Wikipedia entry, as the official site isn’t resolving currently). In December, Nepomuk’s official funding ended, but it continues as an open source effort, and the newly incorporated Open Semantic Collaboration Architecture Foundation (OSCAF) plans on working closely with Nepomuk (and similar applications) to further new developments in semantic technology.

  • Google

    • Meet Google Linux

      You knew it was coming. Surely you did. First Google had their “Google Desktop” that mostly went nowhere. Then came Chrome, the browser that threatened to “out cool” any other browser. And then came Android, the operating system for the phone of the future (the one that supposedly could take down the iPhone). Android. An operating system for mobile phones.

      [...]

      Now remember, Google already has Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google this and Google that. It is now shy only a platform to run as a full-fledged system.

    • [gOS 3.1 released]
  • Distributions

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 11: Blarney? Duchess? Zampone?

        In early December we shared that it was time for the Fedora community to come up with the Fedora 11 codename. Following that many different names were proposed for Fedora 11, but then after each name was evaluated and went through Red Hat’s legal department, the list became much shorter. Now though it’s time for the Fedora community to vote for the official codename.

      • What will Fedora 11 be called?
    • Ubuntu

      • We’ve made it to twenty!

        That’s right, we’ve made it to the twentieth issue of Full Circle! It’s great to have been around this long and to have helped the Ubuntu community for so long. Here’s hoping that we get to Issue 40.

  • Devices

    • Concurrent Announces New MediaHawk(R) Software Release

      Concurrent (Nasdaq: CCUR), a worldwide leader in real-time Linux-based computing technologies, announced today a new software release for its MediaHawk line of video servers. The release is SCTE-130 compliant and features many new functionality and capacity enhancements, most notably play list support enabling advanced advertising.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Next netbook – thinner, cheaper, better, Linux

        All of these factors, as well as other logistics and economics, point to greater use of Linux. The open source OS — available in a variety of distributions that are specialized for netbooks — offers more flexibility in design and may help designers go leaner. In terms of the SSDs, we typically see them included in Linux versions, which may cost the same as the XP version, but is able to include the more expensive, non-moving SSD thanks to licensing savings from Linux. Lastly, as manufacturers drive down the prices of netbooks and their components, there is no question that Linux is a key component of the less expensive netbook. My discussion with Freescale confirmed this.

        As we’ve said, netbooks, MIDs and increasingly other mobile and consumer devices are largely about cost and Freescale agrees that the netbook’s reliance on WiFi, rather than a costly data plan with a smartphone, will be another key driver for consumers embracing netbooks.

      • Will the netbook cannibalize the traditional PC market?

        Will netbooks ultimately put the Linux OS on an equal footing with Windows in terms of market share? Probably not. Given how consumers view netbooks right now — more as a “mini laptop” than as another category of device in its own right– an ultra mobile device more in line with a mobile Internet device (MID) than a PC — consumers are favoring Windows.

        “As consumers come to view it as less of a PC and more of a tool to access the Internet that happens to look like a laptop because of its larger screen and keyboard, then they will probably come to accept Linux more readily,” Solis said. “In addition, only x86-based processors from Intel and Via (AMD had not yet jumped into this game) can support Windows. x86 also support Linux. The competing platform base would be ARM — mostly with Cortex A-8 and Cortex A-9 based processors from ARM itself and its licensees. These platforms do not support Windows XP or Vista, but they do support full PC versions of Linux (that would be optimized for netbooks and MIDs).”

F/OSS

  • Commercial open source business strategies in 2009 and beyond

    The future of commercial open source software lies in commercial licensing strategies, but which are the strategies that are more likely to deliver the results vendors are looking for?

    [...]

    I certainly expect to see more vendor-dominated communities created as vendors seek to use “The Law of Conservation of Attractive Profits” as a strategic competitive weapon with which to undermine rivals and boost revenue generation opportunities.

    While larger vendors have tended to form foundations around previously-proprietary code it is not unreasonable to think that open source specialists could also provide attractive acquisition targets for the same purpose.

  • Voice

    • VoicePHP: Indian Startup Marries Voice with PHP

      Basically, VoicePHP is intended to do the same things as VoiceXML, but by using the familiar PHP programming methology. In doing so, it wants to attract a large pool of PHP-savvy developers and have them develop voice applications.

    • Asterisk Open Source PBX

      Overall this is certainly a nice product to watch and we may be making the change here. Right now we have a demo PC running with a couple analog cards for testing.

Leftovers

  • RIAA dumps dodgy detectives

    NOT HAVING actually understood that harassing and suing its customers isn’t really a good idea, the Big Music MAFIAA has nonetheless dumped one crew of clowns that was doing the harassing. However, it’s not an admission of defeat but just a change of tactics.

  • Wikipedia Raises 6.2 Million Dollars

    Thanks to contributions of $6.2 million, the financial future of the free encyclopedia Wikipedia in 2009 is secured.

  • Copyright Once Again Being Used To Hinder Culture, Not Enable It

    I’m still working my way through James Boyle’s excellent The Public Domain, but it’s chock full of examples of ways that copyright holds back cultural expression — and that comes to mind in reading the saga of a movie called Sita Sings the Blues. It was brought to my attention by Rich W, who saw the film at a film festival a while back and loved it.

  • Back to the future: Vinyl record sales double in ’08, CDs down

    Audiophiles have long argued that vinyl records offer better sound quality than CDs or MP3s, but their stoic loyalty in the face of change was seen as little more than a nostalgic bias during the 25 years in which digital recordings came to dominate the music industry. In recent years, however, sales of LPs — that’s short for long-playing records, kids — have more than doubled online and are regaining overall market share, thanks to new converts looking for more than they can find in an MP3 selling for 99 cents online.

  • U.S. Album Sales Decline 14% While Online Track Sales Surge

    Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” was the best-selling album of 2008, a year in which total album sales fell 14 percent as consumers continued to buy single songs online, such as top-seller “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

  • China to ‘clean up’ the internet

    The authorities have also published the names of 19 websites that have failed to heed requests to get rid of unsuitable material.

    These include Google and China’s top internet search engine, Baidu.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Marcelo Marques, visionary security networks entrepreneur 09 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Hold on a Second, We’re Not the Bad Guys

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Besides — we’re the good guys!”

Confidential Microsoft evangelism presentation

MARY Jo Foley has just decided to use the term “Microsoft haters” to describe those who talk about Microsoft’s demise (Rui for example). But hey, that’s not fair.

For starters, those who doubt Microsoft’s future have a sound explanation that includes Microsoft’s overt reliance on desktop software in an age when desktops matter a lot less. In fact, almost everything else that Microsoft touches turns out to be unprofitable, but these losses are sometimes outweighed by massive profits (which nonetheless decline) in a couple of divisions. Moreover, according to the very latest report — among many previous ones — Microsoft layoffs are no fiction. One of Microsoft’s fanalyst firms, Goldman Sachs, believes this to be true and imminent.

Goldman Sachs believes the Redmond company is likely to reduce its headcount.

David Gerard tells us about this post as well.

So going back to the beginning, it is not fair for Mary Jo Foley to label realists whose projections she considers inconvenient reality “Microsoft haters”. Bruce Byfield too has used this daemonisation term, “haters” [1, 2]; it’s a shoot-the-messenger-type strategy, which falls short of calling someone a “zealot” or “radical”. Microsoft and/or its partners even tried to label Andy Updegrove a “hater”, despite him being so exceptionally polite. This was noted in a blog last year.

These labels sometimes come from inside Microsoft and what it calls “talking points”. For example, Jim Gray from Microsoft Research (now deceased) said that Linux is a cult.

“I have a hard time seeing the [Linux] Zealots
as any different from terrorist… I strongly believe
that if September 11 showed us anything, it
was that zealots…”
— Rob Enderle, Microsoft talking point

Smiley
Don’t hate us for saying the truth, Microsoft

Quote of the Day: Server-Browser Lock-in

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Quote at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Basically what everyone is saying is that we have done nothing Microsoft specific that makes IE and IIS work well together. This is a huge missed opportunity.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Links 05/01/2009: FreeBSD 7.1 Released, Freescale Likely to Make GNU/Linux Devices

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Pupils conquer fear of computers

    Much of the country is remote and accessible only on foot, and many of its people have never glimpsed a computer, let alone touched one.

    Working with other organisations, including Save the Children-Norway, HeNN is setting up the libraries with the use of what is called the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP).

    This is a free and open-source (accessible to everyone) package which connects one powerful central server in the school, using the Linux operating system, to a number of diskless low-end computers. When linked to the server, each computer receives a full Linux desktop.

    LTSP is seen as a cost-effective, power-saving and durable technology, not only in schools but also in other sectors. What’s more, it is also virtually free of tampering and computer viruses – and the Linux software developed by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, a charitable educational library based in Kathmandu, is being provided free of cost.

  • The world may be unstable but Linux is not.

    I cannot even consider doing that with windows and there is no way I would do that sort of thing on the spur of the moment. It would be like trying to merge c: and d: drives to the d: drive in windows speak. Is that even possible? The only way I can think of is a total backup, reformat, reload, restore and reconfigure, brrrr! How long do you think that would take?

  • Gaming on Linux: I’ll Stick With Wine, Please

    In general, there are a lot of reasons to avoid wine and promote native Linux software instead. But when it comes to gaming, I think that developers are best off relying on wine as a vehicle to the Linux desktop. Vendors should make sure their games will run well on wine, rather than delving into the much muckier work of writing native Linux games.

  • How on earth do you make a dime out of Linux and open source software?

    Software piracy is a scourge on the world of computing. Yet it’s a problem the open source community doesn’t have. That makes sense; it’s all freely available. But this raises the question: if it’s free how do the developers make any money? And how can it be any damn good?

    [...]

    Just because you produce or use open source software doesn’t mean you have no means of gaining commercial advantage. However, open source software is anti lock-in.

    It’s a significant difference. An open source software solution will protect end users from being stuck with a poor support company or developer. Any capable organisation or person or group of people can be hired to take on the work.

  • Becoming a Linux user, pitfalls and experiences

    I’ve been a Linux user for some years now, and I’ve decided to start documenting the process I went trough.
    Today I might be seen as a Linux guru from the point of view of a starting user, from the point of view of a Linux guru I’m probably more seen as a starting user. I see myself as an intermediate, but even as my knowledge level might not be top level, On this day I do manage a business network, a few mail servers and web servers running a few hundred web sites. I do all this with relative ease and I could not have known I would be doing so much with Linux on the moment I started going down this path.

  • DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics in 2007 and 2008

    The star distribution of 2008 was undoubtedly Linux Mint, a project which has been successful in enhancing a standard Ubuntu and GNOME with a variety of user-friendly tools and features. Other operating systems rising noticeably in the ranking were Dreamlinux, Puppy Linux, FreeBSD, gOS and PC-BSD. On the other hand, severals distributions have fallen over the past year, most noticeably Freespire, KNOPPIX, Zenwalk Linux, Gentoo Linux and MEPIS Linux. Overall though, it’s the same old story – the Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora pages continue getting most hits year after year, with only an occasional “outsider” upsetting the dominant trio.

  • Interview with Stormy Peters – GNOME Foundation

    In this interview we talk with Stormy. In specific, we talk about:

    * History and scope of the GNOME umbrella project
    * The relationship between GNOME and the public
    * Branding an open source project in a world of mixed solutions
    * Competition and collaboration between open source projects and other software
    * Enhancing communication between developers and non-technical users
    * Individual versus collective contribution to product development
    * Client-side Linux and the rise of mobile devices
    * Emerging relationships between device manufacturers, carriers, and users

  • Applications

    • 14 of the Best Free Linux File Managers

      A file manager is software which provides a user interface to assist in the organisation of files. It helps users with their daily work in managing their files on a hard drive or other storage device. With terabyte hard disks becoming prevalent, file managers represent an essential tool in managing file systems.

    • Campus Party Brazil – maddog’s challenge – multimedia and Free Software

      Campus Party is going to be held January 19th to 25th in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have been asked to create a “challenge” for the attendees.

      I have long had a fascination with automated musical instruments (player pianos, player reed organs), and while I sometimes struggled with higher mathematics while attending Drexel University, I have developed an appreciation of how math, music and computers fit together, so I decided to anchor the “maddog challenge” around digital multimedia.

    • GRUB 2 Receives New Font Engine

      GRUB 2, the next-generation Linux boot loader, has received a new font engine. Version 2 of the GRand Unified Bootloader introduces this new font engine that’s written in C and with a font tool in Java. This engine will allow for better internationalization support including non-ASCII character codes and support for multiple fonts.

  • Security

    • Migrating from Windows

      I have been threatening my wife’s PC for quite some time now, but there has been no real motivation to move until today… Our bank called and told her a credit card has been fraudulently used in the last few days. Fortunately they appear to have correctly and swiftly identified the misuse and are dealing with the problem.

      However, this experience has obviously caused my beloved (Helen) to start wondering how her details were captured in the first place. She is pretty scrupulous with the shredder, and this particular card is almost only ever used for on-line transactions; so her PC was a possible, if not likely, route for the thieves. The ClamWin AV scan threw up a few nasty sounding files, including some IE.IFrame trojan thing, although they had all been quarantined already. But the fact that Windows is so vulnerable to attack and subsequent compromise when compared to Linux, this saga has just tipped the scales. We now have a good reason to start the final migration of the Lord household.

    • Security and your mother’s Linux box

      From the point of view of a user who’s only going to use the PC for web browsing, word processing and one or two other simple tasks like that, the best solution is to move to an alternative platform. The big opportunity, which some Linux distributions are now obviously seizing, is to produce Linux PCs and Linux laptops that just work, which don’t need anyone to know what a Tar file is, let alone how to compile stuff.

    • UK Government backs more remote searching of private PCs

      Liberty director Shami Chakrabati said “These are very intrusive powers – as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home” and that Liberty would be seeking to challenge the legal basis of the proposals. Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, considered that there were benefits to law enforcement, but that “The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse.”

    • Another Reason to Run GNU/Linux…

      Er, and how are they going to break into my system to install the keylogger if they don’t know the password? Attachments won’t work: I’m generally clever enough *not* to open them, and even if I did, they wouldn’t do much on a GNU/Linux box. And hacking my hard disc through the wireless network? I don’t think so.

  • Distributions

    • R.I.P. Linux 7.4 Offers Support for Ext4

      Kent Robotti announced today that last release of his R.I.P. Live CD, a Slackware-based CD that can be used for system rescue, backup, recovery or maintenance purposes. “This will be the last release from me, it should be useful for awhile. It’s licensed under GPL, anyone can do whatever they want with it without my permission. My email address is closed.” – he said on the R.I.P.’s official homepage.

      We have no idea why Mr. Robotti decided to drop the development of R.I.P., but we sure hope that a new developer will take over from here and continue to release new versions of this helpful rescue CD.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 123

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #123 for the weeks December 21st, 2008 – January 3rd, 2009. In this issue we cover: Notification, indicators and alerts, Making LoCo Teams Rock, Planet Ubuntu and Corporate Blogs, Ubuntu live on TV, Ubuntu Berlin review of 2008, Tunisian Team Events in December, 12 days of Launchpad, Full Circle Magazine #20, Meeting Summaries, and much, much more!

        [...]

        Milo Casagrande has posted that there would be an interview with Fabio Marzocca on the local Rome TV channel, RomaUno. The interview, in Italian, is about Ubuntu and the Italian community.[1]

      • Another perfect Intrepid install

        After that all my customary installations and tweaks went perfectly; not a blip. Installing a whole raft of KDE applications in Gnome (Amarok, Kid3. Kaffeine, K3b, to name a few). Installing the KDE system settings piece to go with them. Configuring Wine and setting up DVDShrink and DVDFab HD Decrypter. Codecs and Acrobat Reader and Grip and Startup-manager and a bunch of other things from the Medibuntu repositories. Setting up links to the shares on my file server. Installing new icons and themes (but not a new desktop wallpaper – the coffee-stain Ibex picture is growing on me). All this and more took place quickly and easily.

  • Devices

    • Palm needs Nova to shine

      Palm is poised to make what some analysts are calling its last stand at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, where it is expected to introduce its long-awaited Linux-based operating system.

    • Light at the End of the Tunnel: 7 Things We Need From Nova

      Thanks in part to their obsessive secrecy regarding the upcoming Nova devices and the long development process, Palm have led many of their fans, the tech press and the financial community to write them off as serious contenders in the smartphone market. This is it. Their last shot at showing the world they’re not dead yet.

    • Palm NOVA Details Leak

      Palm recently received a $100 million cash “bailout” to tide it over while it tries to release its Linux-based NOVA OS. It’s going to release details about the OS this week at CES, but information about the upcoming phone has already leaked.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One details leak

        Acer had already confirmed that a larger version of their Aspire One netbook was coming in Q1 2009, and now we have more details and even an image. The 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One will be a larger evolution, rather than replacement, of the existing model, with the display running at the same 1024 x 600 resolution, but now have optional integrated 3G and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

        Acer have removed the second SD slot – the Storage Expansion slot, used to augment internal memory – and there’s only a single DIMM slot for RAM, with a maximum 2GB supported. Contrary to initial reports, both XP and Linux versions are expected, though it’s unclear what onboard capacity each will have.

      • Fedora 10 + Acer Aspire One = damn fine computer

        Linpus Linux is actually a great choice for inexperienced users. Everything works right out of the box and it’s obvious and intuitive how to get online, create documents, and use the built-in webcam. You can certainly launch a command line, as well, if you want to get more sophisticated, but it will quickly leave experienced users feeling a bit underwhelmed.

      • My First Netbook Experience

        Alright, so I’m a little behind on the times. Netbooks have been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to spend a little more than a few minutes with one. With CES right around the corner, I decided to finally get one in and spend a week using it exclusively at the event. Read on for my initial thoughts.

        [...]

        Being a Linux user, I wasn’t that interested in sticking to Windows on the netbook for the simple fact that I’m so used to applications I use everyday, that I wanted to feel at home, as it would increase productivity. The distro I chose to use was Kubuntu, for two simple reasons. First, I’m not a fan of GNOME, and second, Kubuntu has superb hardware-detection.

      • Netbooks aim to boost PC sales

        The netbook takes the concept of the notebook PC to an even smaller level. A netbook typically has a screen that is less than 10 inches wide diagonally, carries no optical drive, and runs on Intel Corp’s Atom processor. Most employ either Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system or a version of open-source Linux-based software and weigh around 3 pounds or less.

      • Netbooks and Cloud Computing on the Rise
      • Freescale Chases $199 Netbook With New Processor

        The netbooks will support Linux, and Freescale is working with Canonical to develop a version of the OS for the Arm core. The devices won’t support Windows, however.

      • CES-Freescale chip targets sub-$200 netbook market
      • Freescale announcement heats up speculations about at Apple netbook

        The vendor also envisages budget notebooks with Ubuntu Linux and i.MX51 under people’s Christmas trees in 2009.

        [...]

        The vendor suggests using the Ubuntu Linux operating system and also highlights the improved support of Adobe Flash (and AIR) for ARM cores. In recent months ARM announced co-operations with Adobe and Canonical to this effect. The GPU portion of the i.MX51 is planned to be OpenVR and OpenGL (ES) compatible. Linux drivers are also available for PowerVR MBX graphics. Pegatron, the component manufacturing division of Asus, is to supply an i.MX51 reference netbook.

        [...]

        Freescale has denied the suggestion that it may be making an Apple Netbook, saying “Freescale’s current netbook approach is unambiguously an ARM/Linux play, and any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate.”

F/OSS

  • Stallman: ‘we still have a fight on our hands’

    While Linux Torvalds gets most of the plaudits nowadays for the Linux kernel, it was Stallman who originally posted plans for a new, and free, operating system. Free had nothing to do with the cost of the operating system, but with the implicit rights of those who were using the software to do with it exactly as they pleased. “I launched the development of the GNU operating system back in 1983 specifically to make it possible to use a computer without ceding these freedoms and accepting the dominion of the software’s developers,” he told us.

  • FreeBSD 7.1 released

    The FreeBSD project have released FreeBSD 7.1, an update to the FreeBSD 7 series of stable releases. Among the highlights of the release is support for DTrace inside the kernel, which has been imported from OpenSolaris. DTrace is a powerful tracing framework that allows developers and administrators to monitor the performance of a running operating system to a very fine level of detail.

  • DTrace gets guernsey in new FreeBSD

    The FreeBSD Project has released a new stable version of its popular Unix operating system, officially incorporating for the first time Sun Microsystems’ flagship DTrace performance analysis and debugging tool.

  • AccesStream Announces the Beta Release of its Open Source Identity Access Management Solution

    AccesStream, a provider of open source access management and security solutions, is pleased to announce the beta release of its identity access management solution to the open source community.

  • Hunches and predictions for open source in 2009

    # OpenSimulator will increasingly challenge Second Life for those who wish to host their own virtual worlds.
    # A new non-Java, non-Mono open source virtual world project will start to get serious traction this year.

  • Where the Tech Jobs Are, Part 1

    “In a recession, headcount looks like a cost center, but open source can turn employees into profit centers — or, at worst, into less costly cost centers,” he said.

    “For example, let’s say an enterprise needs [an enterprise content management] system, perhaps for outsourcing documentation or to build a new catalog system — or perhaps for a workflow system around approval of executive documents. Traditional IT would invite vendors to do a dog-and-pony show,” Asay explained, “ultimately culminating in a purchase of software licenses and services to make the licenses useful to the enterprise.” The IT staffer is then mostly responsible for coordinating others’ efforts, and the associated expenses.

    An open source savvy IT person, by contrast, would download an open source ECM solution and tweak it to save the company license and services fees — “and the risk that the software wouldn’t work as advertised,” said Asay.

  • Vyatta: Beating Cisco with open networks

    Vyatta, the open-source networking company, has been turning on the heat lately against Cisco, the networking giant. Even as Cisco expands beyond its networking base with collaboration products, Vyattas sole focus remains beating Cisco network performance at rock-bottom prices.

  • Kochi to have centre for training in free software

    A Centre for Advanced Training in Free and Open Source Software (CATFOSS) will be opened in Kochi soon. The new centre will be a joint venture of Kerala State IT Mission and Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT). It will be opened before 20th of this month, according to officials.

    [...]

    The free software movement can have wide impact among the students, according to a computer engineer of the Indian Linux group—a group of free software campaigners—who did not want to be named.

  • Plug-ins

    • Open source video module for Drupal

      “With more than 15,000 sites already using our solutions and hundreds of new ones every day, it is clear that our open source platform is filling a void in the online video space,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and CEO.

    • Find Photos on Flickr for Use in OpenOffice.org Documents

      Flickr offers a vast collection of photos you can use with your OpenOffice.org documents, but trawling hundreds, if not thousands of photos in order to find the right one can be a rather tedious and time-consuming affair. Fortunately, the CCOOo extension can help you to find a photo you like on Flickr without leaving the convenience of your favorite productivity suite. More importantly, the extension finds only photos released under Creative Commons licenses, so you don’t have to worry about potential copyright issues.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Marcelo Marques, visionary security networks entrepreneur 08 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Microsoft Spreads Intellectual Monopolies as Business Model

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

Microsoft views its future direction as one that’s centralised around software patents, probably with moneyflows that are based on “compensation” (welfare), not sales. As indication of it, watch this Google results page for the search phrase “cross licensing patents”. 6 out of 10 top results are about Microsoft. No kidding.

A news report from Heise indicates that Microsoft is the one single entity which is hoarding lots of (and the most) software patents, according to IEEE figures.

For the third year running the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has ranked companies in different sectors to estimate the power that these companies have, based upon their patent portfolio. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft came top in the “Computer Software” category and IBM tops the “Computer Systems” chart.

Given that “Computer Software” is not patentable in the vast majority of the world, Microsoft may own just a bubble, whose value it will try to actualise using interest-sharing allies like IDC, BSA, ACT, and CompTIA.

Microsoft also suffered this setback very recently. Mondaq has a new article about it:

United States: JFTC Issued Microsoft Ruling On Its NAP Clause Practice

On September 16, 2008, Japan Fair Trade Commission (the “JFTC”) issued a ruling against Microsoft Corporation (“MS”) regarding its use of a so-called “NAP” clause in its software licenses. The MS NAP clause prevented licensees from asserting certain intellectual property rights against MS and its customers.

Pay-per-use PCs or Pay-per-use Patents?

As pointed out last week, Microsoft wanted competitors to pay ‘innovation tax’ for just daring to devise the idea of renting PCs (with software) to people. Why else pursue this patent? Patent trolls? Fortunately, their patent application was rejected.

Microsoft’s patent application for a usage-based PC model has already been rebuffed by the US Patent Office, according to a letter disclosed today. Given to Microsoft a few days before the requested patent became public, the notice rejects Microsoft’s submission for being at once too broad and too familiar. The tendency to use vague terms and the existence of already patented, relevant technology are cited as the core reasons behind the rejection.

This rejection is also covered here and here. Novell is mentioned in this article:

Five Reasons Microsoft Wants A Pay As You Go Model

[...]

Make no mistake about it. Microsoft wants to put itself at the center of the internet universe. It wants to control the applications experience of each and every user on the planet. And this is a way to do that. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have never been comfortable playing second banana to anyone. Remember these are the guys that started the PC revolution. Do you really think they are going to ride off into the sunset and watch their bring computing to the masses revolution spoiled by a one time CEO of Novell. Not in a long shot. Gates and Ballmer still want to make history. This pay as you go model may be their biggest play yet.

It Seemed Like a Bad Idea at the Time…

Apple, as we routinely emphasise, has its share of silly patents that sometimes obstruct GNU/Linux development. Here is another bizarre ‘invention’ from this company:

The US Patent and Trademark Office yesterday released Apple’s most recent application, in which the company files for patent protection for … wait for it … a glove.

This race to patent everything under the sun is akin to the Gold Rush and MIT seems to have caught the fever as well.

Unfortunately, MIT liked it so much they decided to patent it. Seeking permission to use his own idea for his iShoe startup, which develops products like insoles to address the problems of seniors, Lieberman was told no problem — as long as he promised a hefty royalty and forked over a $75,000 upfront payment. Whether or not students are aware of it, the NYTimes reports that most universities own inventions created by students that were developed using a ‘significant’ amount of schools resources.

Later on, people like Microsoft’s own patent troll come to collect those patents from universities [1, 2], essentially sweeping them away from creative minds. They build an arsenal where no substantial inventions are really made; they are just bought. Here is a nice new cartoon about patent trolling and… “NCSoft”.

Speaking of the article above, Slated writes: “Whilst reading the Slashdot article about the inventor who was not allowed to implement his own invention, because his university claimed “ownership”, I came across this highly illuminating comment:

Re:Encouraging innovation (Score:4, Interesting)
by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza[AT]gmail.com> on Sunday January
04, @07:49AM (#26319371)

This is what the Gates Foundation is about – they are not there to cure
disease. It’s easy to see that not every country is going to let them in
to vaccinate, because you have to basically adopt US IP law (esp.
regarding patents – this is about big pharma) to get the vaccinations.

So Gates is basically using his Fundation[sic] to spread the disease of Intellectual Monopolies with medical blackmail,” writes Slated. “This way, he not only gets a mechanism by which to launder his bribe money (and pull a nice little tax break), whilst “investing” in Oil companies, but he also eventually gets to capitalise on third-world royalty payments for his assimilated Innovation®. Only a gangster like Gates could neatly tie up the world’s three most morally corrupt industries (Oil, Pharmaceutical and Software) together into one neat little package like this, then mask it as “charity”.

We already wrote about Bill Gates' passing of money to governments through his charitable foundation, which protects him from state tax and enables him to invest, literally, in very harmful companies. Charitable donations are, in comparison, slush funds that keep this organisation going. Such a moral issue is hardly televised due to media ownerships and peer pressure.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 4th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Accused of Profiteering ($1.5 Billion) from Crime with Intel

Posted in Courtroom, DRM, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Vista, Windows, Xandros at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Collusion trial resumes

Intel: criminal inside

Microsoft seems to be absolutely fine with antiquated and inadequate machines at the store, so long as they come saddled with Windows Vista and its sophisticated disablement capabilities, better known to many as “DRM”. Intel has no problem flogging old machines that nobody wants, as long as there are salesmen out there whose Microsoft recommendation they fall for. This recommendation allegedly came after Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini, conversed with Steve Ballmer. The latter chap ought to have undergone his deposition by now (before Christmas), but there was no press coverage.

A lot of Microsoft-faithful analysts, whose opinions are up for sale at bargain prices [1, 2, 3], ushered and promoted the operating system that turned out to be a dud. So much for their credibility. It’s incredible how corruptible one can become, but as Microsoft puts it, “Analysts sell out – that’s their business model…”

Either way, the “Vista Capable” class action lawsuit is far from over and a figure is now named, which is supposedly the amount of money Microsoft — not just Intel — made by deliberately lying to their customers.

An expert estimates Microsoft earned more than $1.5 billion through the sale of PCs labeled as “Vista Capable,” according to a court document.

The declaration states:

I have been asked by Plaintiffs’ counsel to estimate the amount of revenue earned by Microsoft from the licensing of Windows XP on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs. In Microsoft’s Supplemental Responses it estimates that it received revenue of [redacted] from Windows XP licenses on upgradeable PCs sold in the U.S. during the April 2006 through January 2007 period. From the estimates of Windows Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs compared to all upgradeable PCs as in Table 1, I estimate that [redacted] of the [redacted] from Windows XP licenses on upgradable PCs were for XP licenses on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs — those PCs purchased by the Plaintiff class. From these figures, I have, therefore reached the opinion that Microsoft revenue from the Windows XP licensing on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs was $1.505 billion.

This figure probably does not account for the injury caused to Microsoft’s competitors, which is related to vapourware — an offence in its own right. They froze the market or spurred sales based on false premises.

Microsoft tried to squeeze an unwanted product into PCs where it did not fit. Spotted in the news two days ago was also this report, which is similar to previous ones from May 2008. Microsoft is artificially crippling hardware performance, thus proving that its interests do not lie in maximising value for the customer. It shows not only that monopolies corrupt but that absolute monopolies corrupt absolutely.

Microsoft adds to Atom’s restrictions

One of our readers was kind enough to send in the Microsoft Windows hardware requirements (or limitations) for the NetBook and NetTop platforms. This spec applies to the top 20 OEMs and should have come into effect in September last year.

Since then, Microsoft moved further in its war against GNU/Linux (on sub-notebooks). ASUS conceded that Microsoft had tied them up and it very much shows. Will there ever be a class action lawsuit that protests and seeks compensation for these anti-competitive tactics? This was done before, even when the price of Windows by far exceeded $5.

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

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