Novell issued a press release and so did IBM, so SUSE was mentioned in quite a few places. In the spirit of investigating Novell stories without discrimination, the details that we found are all below.
Novell issued a press release and so did IBM, so SUSE was mentioned in quite a few places. In the spirit of investigating Novell stories without discrimination, the details that we found are all below.
AS EMPHASISED in the previous post, this seems like a slow week for Novell, with the exception of Microsoft technologies that Novell develops at its own expense. It’s actually familiar because the situation is becoming similar to what Microsoft did to Corel and we hear that Novell braces itself for more layoffs (possibly next week).
Let’s have a quick look at the little coverage that exists about Novell, with the exception of its GNU/Linux products.
We were able to pull only a few items about OpenSUSE, mostly HOWTOs and technical writings. These would be:
Jason Brooks took a look at OpenSUSE 11.1 and compared it to better known competitors.
Novell’s OpenSUSE, one of the Linux world’s most prominent distributions, hit Version 11.1 late in 2008, sporting a renewed focus on community involvement. Check out this slide show to see if the latest version of OpenSUSE has what it takes to win mind share from Canonical’s Ubuntu and Red Hat’s Fedora Linux distributions, and stay tuned for eWEEK Labs’ full review of OpenSUSE 11.1.
Steve Carl took OpenSUSE 11.1 for a ride as well.
Were any major developments missed? The weekly news grouping from
opensuse.org did not appear, either. █
NOVELL’S announcement about Moonlight is a subject was covered very briefly 3 days ago because it had (d)evolved to become another case of generating hype for no obvious reason at all while ignoring real news about GNU/Linux and Free software. It’s an observation that was once made or echoed by Groklaw as well.
From the press release, which reached many wires:
The Mono(R) Project, an open-source initiative sponsored by Novell, today announced the availability of Moonlight(TM) 1.0. The first and only open source project that provides Linux* users access to Microsoft* Silverlight* content, Moonlight demonstrates Novell’s commitment to making Linux a first-class platform for multimedia and Rich Internet Applications. Moonlight provides the platform Linux users need to use Silverlight and Windows* Media content. In combination with Banshee(TM), a Novell-sponsored project to produce an open source media player, Moonlight is part of a complete multimedia solution on Linux.
So what’s the noteworthy feature?
Well, it’s feature complete… with respect to an old version of Silverlight that many Web sites won’t accept anyway because it’s out of date.
Thom Holwerda, who likes Windows, could not help it. Of course gave this coverage in OS News.
In a Blog entry, De Icaza states that Moonlight1.0 is feature complete, and has passed all of Microsoft’s regression testing, and comes with support for Microsoft’s Media Pack for both 32bit and 64bit architectures. It can be installed as a Firefox plugin with a single click through the download page.
Even Novell employees like Jeff Stedfast and Miguel de Icaza went over there to promote/defend it. Chief primate also promoted this in his personal blog, followed by — as always — all the usual sources that peddle Mono: eWeek, BetaNews, Softpedia, Microsoft employees, Mono people, and even Heise which is SUSE centric and thus Novell centric too. Heise wrote about the Moonlight 2.0 roadmap and also mentioned Mono support in SharpDevelop.
DesktopLinux.com (of eWeek, formerly/still Ziff Davis) loves to interview de Icaza, so therein appeared some promotional coverage too.
And how was the release received? “Between 4AM and the inauguration, we had about 20,000 downloads. And then we had another 8,000 during the inauguration itself.”
Very few people touch the thing (20k at most), so it’s likely that Novell felt compelled to make more noise about this, just like Sun does with OpenSolaris by reannouncing supposedly “big releases” time and time again.
Darryl K. Taft, who also writes for eWeek, wrongly announced that “Novell Delivers Moonlight 1.0″
Novell’s Mono project announces the availability of Moonlight 1.0, an open-source technology that enables Linux and PowerPC Mac users to access Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Media content.
Novell’s Mono project on Feb. 11 announced the availability of Moonlight 1.0, an open-source technology that enables Linux and PowerPC Mac users to access Microsoft Silverlight content. Moonlight is essentially an open-source implementation of Silverlight.
The very same author used an almost identical headline some months earlier, so how can he not see that he re-delivers old news? Are authors being bamboozled? His latest article bears the headline “Novell Delivers Moonlight 1.0″, but he used the same headline not so long ago (May 2008), with the word “Ships” instead of “Delivers”.
Softpedia is always among the herd which covers Mono and Moonlight in a positive light, so this time was no exception.
Silverlight can now truly live up to Microsoft’s vision of delivering a cross-browser, cross-platform solution designed to power rich applications and high-quality, interactive videos, with the arrival of Moonlight 1.0. Moonlight is an open-source implementation of Silverlight for the Linux operating system, which is working its way to catch up with its Silverlight big brother tailored to Windows and Mac OS X. A joint effort by Microsoft and Novell, Moonlight is currently lagging Silverlight, which is already at version 2 since 2008, with version 3 expected by the end of 2009.
The Register had a trollish and very inaccurate article, but this is not particularly surprising given that Gavin Clarke wrote it [1, 2, 3, 4]. It has a Microsoft tongue-in-cheek-type tone all over it. Ian Murdock too is upset with The Register at the moment.
Watch the charts in this new article about Moonlight:
Of the 1,365,249 daily unique visits to 39 different sites over the past 30 days, here’s how the breakdown of Air versus Silverlight adoption plays out…
Silverlight is doing very badly, but we already knew that. So why is Novell helping it as though it’s inevitable?
InformationWeek picked a very silly headline: “Novell’s Moonlight Ready To Eclipse Microsoft’s Silverlight”
Should one laugh at this headline?
Novell has released the much-anticipated 1.0 version of Moonlight, the open source equivalent of Microsoft’s Silverlight, designed to work with Linux- and Unix-based environments.
“Much-anticipated” by whom? By Microsoft? Novell’s management? Or maybe SJVN?
Officially, Moonlight supports SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10, the latest versions of openSUSE, Fedora and Ubuntu on 32-bit architectures and SLED and openSUSE on 64-bit chips. In practice, I’ve installed and used it without any trouble at all on not only those operating systems but on MEPIS 8, which is based on Debian 5, Lenny, and Mint 6, which is built on top of Ubuntu 8.10.
Distro discrimination is unsurprisingly part of this package. Those who pay Microsoft for mythical patents receive preferential treatment and this should not be too shocking because Moonlight is not Free software.
Ryan Paul is one of the bigger Mono enthusiasts out there, so it was expected that he too would cover it.
Novell has officially released Moonlight 1.0, an open source implementation of Microsoft’s Silverlight framework for rich Internet applications. Moonlight, which is distributed as a Firefox plugin, brings Silverlight’s media capabilities to the Linux platform.
The headline states: “Moonlight 1.0 brings Silverlight to Linux”
Which Silverlight? Yesterday’s? The one that’s of no use for access to Web sites that Microsoft seizes using its binaries?
Moonlight’s progression is bad news. This enables Microsoft to fraudulently claim that Silverlight is cross-platform (it’s not!) and thus market their patent trap under false pretenses. As explained in the following new article:
Laurent Lachal of analyst firm Ovum said that the Mono Project is still finding its footing but Moonlight has the potential to have a bigger impact.
“Microsoft is very much pushing Silverlight as multi-platform, because it is coming from a position of weakness vis-à-vis Adobe,” he explained.
According to ZDNet Australia, Moonlight 1.0 hamstrung in a catch-22.
Novell yesterday announced the official release of Moonlight 1.0, a project to bring Microsoft’s Silverlight runtime to Linux — but can the project ever catch Microsoft’s shadow?
Moonlight 1.0 was actually available on US President Obama’s Inauguration Day, but before everyone runs off and starts to attempt to view Photosynth and DeepZoom Silverlight applications, be aware that Moonlight 1.0 is an analog of Silverlight 1.0; all the glitzy Silverlight demonstrations of recent months will not work.
Basically, all Moonlight 1.0 is good for is viewing online video implemented in Silverlight 1.0.
Moonlight exists in this Catch-22 state whereby it is open source but has to rely on Microsoft codes/feature planning, thereby drawing the ire of some members of the Linux community. It’s a shame that such attitudes exist. The idea of packing a .NET CLR into a browser plug-in is a powerful idea as Moonlight steams towards Moonlight 2.0.
Also on the schedule for the Moonlight and Mono team is version 2.4 of Mono, an open source, cross-platform implementation of the Microsoft .Net development framework. Due in March, version 2.4 will feature a revamped ASP.Net stack that is many times faster than the current version, de Icaza said. ASP.Net is Microsoft’s technology for building Web sites.
Even Microsoft bloggers are promoting this thing, which says a lot about how Microsoft feels about it. Mary Jo Foley for example urged people to download this Trojan from Novell:
Moonlight 1.0 is ready for download
Moonlight, the open-source implementation of Microsoft’s Silverlight, has hit the 1.0 milestone.
Microsoft bloggers always promote Mono and Moonlight nowadays. These projects are helping Microsoft and are thus hurting GNU/Linux. Did things suddenly change when Microsoft signed exclusionary patent deals that cover Mono? After all, a few years ago Robert Scoble wrote: “I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”
LinuxToday readers were very uninterested in Moonlight. That’s merely business as usual for that crowd. Comments can be found here. Moonlight is also forbidden from entering Fedora because the SFLC considers it poisonous. This is a vector for inserting Microsoft binaries into people’s GNU/Linux boxes, as David Meyer has just reminded readers.
Moonshine, which requires Moonlight to have been installed first, uses Moonlight’s inbuilt Windows Media capabilities to “bring Windows Media playback to Linux in a fully legitimate way, without forcing the end user to worry about what a codec is”, Bockover wrote in a blog post.
To make matters worse, someone is giving a bad name to a previous Fedora release by unleashing a sort of Moonlight addon called “Moonshine”.
For the last month, I have been working on a new project officially called Moonshine, but referred to as “Pornilus” in some affluent circles.
Moonshine is a project based on Moonlight that leverages the built-in Windows Media capabilities of Silverlight to bring Windows Media playback to Linux in a fully legitimate way, without forcing the end user worry about what a codec is. This is possible because Microsoft provides the codecs directly to all Moonlight users, regardless of their choice of Linux distribution.
Miguel is already boosting Moonshine.
Don’t rely on foreign binaries in the army
DELL has mostly supported Ubuntu and SLE* since it opened up to more choices. There are reasons for doubt, however, given the company’s involvement in a software patent alliance that jeopardises Linux and there are pricing oddities too.
Last week we wrote about the company's choice of SLE* for thin clients, which would not be acceptable by those who oppose Microsoft's racketeering. But Dell is taking this affair further. Many Linux aficionados have probably heard about the ARM+x86 computer from Dell. For those who haven’t:
Analysis: Dell has dragged the Linux-ARM Trojan horse inside the Wintel PC
The idea of adding smartphone capability to the conventional notebook PC may seem like a bit of a gimmick at first sight. But the idea of doing email and other basic operations while increasing battery life by a factor of ten compared with the same operations on an Intel processor certainly appeals.
It’s being claimed that reviews of this unit have been largely negative (not yet verified independently), but regardless, the more major issue is that, according to SJVN, this unit uses SLED, which is encumbered by Microsoft patent tax that Novell happily pays for nothing of substance.
Yes, it is that, but, it’s also a Linux desktop, based on Novell’s SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10. This runs on system-on-a-chip subsystem that comes with its own ARM processor and flash memory that runs without needing to call on the E4200′s 1.4GHz Intel Core2 Duo ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) or the E4300′s 2.26/2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 CPUs or the system’s drives and memory.
While Novell and Dell partnered to build the desktop level, the underpinnings are also based on Linux. MontaVista, the embedded Linux company, used its Mobile 5 embedded Linux operating system on a Texas Instruments’ OMAP3 mini-board with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor to power Latitude ON.
New and related to this:
VMware, Dell, and Microsoft are the most recent converts to the whimsical world of Linux and open source. In fact, Microsoft is totally committed to its deal with Novell and support of the SUSE Linux lineup.
“Interesting [that] Novell developed the desktop [but] not the low level stuff,” says one readers who adds that it’s “interesting they didn’t ask Canonical.”
Is there an answer to this which eliminates the need for speculation?
“[This] could be for Microsoft software integration… Novell has the exclusive,” believes the reader who argues that this “could allow Novell to leverage their license to do Microsoft stuff to get some extra work. So Dell makes a step out of Microsoft slavery, but they still have to stay under Novell. Furthermore, Linux will be the booting process of Windows [...] works like that: computer starts and boots Linux in ARM, in the mean time windows 7 loads its libraries and viruses.” █
THIS POST contains a large number of news items which demonstrate dissent and misconduct around the theme of intellectual monopolies.
Apple’s action against 2 Linux devices — one with the means of words, another being through castration of a feature — is a subject we last explored two days ago.
Chris Maxcer at ECT claimed this to be exaggeration just like Daniel Eran of Roughly Drafted Magazine had claimed, but they are quick to defend Apple quite blindly. Apple’s practices are not without faults. They actually cause considerable harm to Google's Linux platform (including users) and they harm GNU/Linux desktops too.
Apple’s latest controversial patent (on touch-screen) is further discussed in LWN and quite coincidentally, according to this new report from IDG, Apple has just been sued as well, over a technology that relates to screen rendering.
Apple is facing another iPhone lawsuit, this time focusing on the screen rendering technology Apple uses in the iPhone and iPod touch.
Some people have begun doubting this system as a whole. Examples of new coverage include:
So we come to trademark. I deal with this on pp. 58-59 of Against Intellectual Property, and also in some detail in Reply to Van Dun: Non-Aggression and Title Transfer (esp. pp. 59-63). In my view, the new-fangled extensions of trademark law–rights against “trademark dilution” and cybersquatting, etc.–are obviously invalid. Further, federal trademark law is problematic since it is not authorized in the Constitution (copyright and patent are, but not trademark; trademark relies on the Interstate Commerce Clause, and thus the federal trademark law only covers trademark connected to interstate commerce, and does not preempt state law, so that state trademark law still governs many intra-state situations).
But even if federal trademark law were abolished, as well as modern extensions such as rights against trademark dilution, even common law trademark is problematic, for three primary reasons. First, it is enforced by the state, which gets everything wrong. Second (see First), the test of “consumer confusion” is usually applied ridiculously, treating consumers like indiscriminating idiots. Third, and worst of all, the right at issue is the right of the defrauded consumer, not the competitor. Trademark law ought to be reformed by abolishing the right of trademark “owners” to sue “infringers” (except perhaps as proxy for customers, when consent can be presumed or proved), and treating this as a case of the customer’s right to sue a vendor who defrauds him as to the nature of the good purchased.
The speed of the global economic collapse is provoking a widespread — many would say belated — realisation that many of the beliefs underlying economic expansion over the past 20 years need close questioning, particularly those involving the relationship between the state and the market.
[T]he act has led to a flood of ‘upstream’ patents on basic scientific knowledge, leading to what some commentators describe as a virtually impenetrable ‘patent thicket’ blocking small-scale inventors from marketing their products. For example, restrictive software patents limit further development and commercialisation in the field of information technology.
India takes preventive measures:
India Fights Patents with Huge Prior Art Database
This is a huge, multilingual resource – something that could only be put together with governmental support and resources. It is also fairly specific to the domain of traditional knowledge. Nonetheless, it’s a great example of how an extensive prior art database can be created and then made readily available to the patent authorities in order to help prevent patents being granted unjustifiably. It’s a pity that we are unlikely to see anything quite like it for other knowledge domains.
As further illustration of the fact that intellectual monopolies are going out of control (and not just in software), here are some new articles that serve as evidence:
And the concerns can go much further. In James Boyle’s The Public Domain, he spends the second half of chapter 7 quite worried about efforts to lock up the basic building blocks of synthetic biology. As he notes, synthetic biology is quite similar in many ways to software — and locking it up with patents would have the same disastrous implications as software patents currently do. Luckily, the early days of software did not involve patents, but the same cannot be said for synthetic biology.
It would be as if, right at the beginning of the computer age, we had issued patents over formal logic in software — not over a particular computer design, but over the idea of a computer or a binary circuit itself.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (GSK.L) chief executive urged creation of a voluntary patent pool to spark development of new treatments for neglected diseases in the world’s poorest countries.
Glaxo CEO Andrew Witty said on Friday his company would contribute its own patents for technologies that might aid research into malaria, cholera and more than a dozen other diseases.
I can certainly understand why they might be upset from a traditional angle, but it seems fairly ridiculous that you can tell people how they can and cannot dance.
When the settlement between Google and authors and publishers, over Google’s book scanning project, was announced, many saw it as a big victory for everyone — as it allowed Google to continue moving forward with plans to scan books, while also creating a “business model” for authors and publishers. However, some of us were very troubled by the implications of the settlement.
This last one was also covered here.
Software Patents and Open-Source
Does our current system of patents, especially software patents, “promote the progress of science and the useful arts?” The answer is obvious. It does not. Is it obvious enough for the Supreme Court to go against the wishes of the “intellectual property nomenklatura” of this country, with their fictitious billions of dollars on their balance sheets? Maybe. We’ll see. Another interesting question is this. On the day after all those patents are invalidated, what will the stock market do? It will be interesting to see….
There is dissent coming even from large companies which hold many software patents.
Many big tech companies, including Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and others represented by the Coalition for Patent Fairness, are pushing hard for patent reform, citing the rising costs of IP claims against them. The threats and suits often come from companies that exist solely to license sometimes questionable patents, the companies say.
These companies are particularly concerned about patents trolls, which are merely the side effect of a system that promotes monopoly by a few. If the major companies can (ab)use the system they themselves help create, why can’t the parasites?
It’s symptomatic of an oversized industry, but also of an inefficient one. “There are some who would stick the moniker ‘troll’ on Acacia. They don’t invent anything. They just buy patents and enforce them,” says Mark Webbink, a visiting professor at New York Law School and Director of the Center for Patent Innovations, an organization partnering with the US Patent and Trademark Office to tighten up the way patents are issued.
Here is another new case of harvesting with patents:
Freedom Wireless LLC has reached settlements with a host of defendants, including Ericsson Inc., Cingular Wireless LLC and T-Mobile USA Inc., in a protracted spat over patents related to prepaid cell phone technology.
Another noteworthy point: [via Glyn Moody]
So, who are the nation’s “independent inventors?” Are they patent-holders busy denouncing patent reform? Or are they the people and companies who must defend themselves against lawsuits brought by those patent-holders?
For mild amusement, there is this new cartoon on the subject.
Now that it’s realised and almost confirmed that the Community patents can serve as a back door to software patents, ComputerWorld UK warns about it and additionally links to the cause:
Unfortunately, it looks like the recent Symbian decision in the UK, which muddied the software patent waters yet further, could prove to be the thin end of the wedge. It’s hard to know what can be done about these moves to create a Community Patent, since the idea itself is not without merit in terms of reducing European bureaucracy; but rest assured, as soon as it becomes clear, I’ll be writing about it.
Maybe it’s time to set up an Anti-Intellectual Monopolies Trust: anyone want to fund it?
It is sad to see that
europa.eu is entertaining Microsoft pressure groups, in this case ACT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. In fact, it gives an entire page to them under the “Cordis” subdomain. “Cordis is an EU website of the EU Publications Office and features a news report that advertises an ACT report. Eutopia means “good place” in ancient greek,” says the person who sent this polite notification to us. “Right now we find a growing meme of domestic software in the EU,” he added.
We also hear that the European Commission has a working group on patents and software strategy. This is totally disrespectful to Free software and the rest of those ideas which promote sharing, collaboration, intellectual independence, and freedom. We also find the ESA (Microsoft pressure group) saying that they want software patents via a central patent court. This relates to the reports above.
Here are some new ACTA disclosures with remarks on them. For details:
If true, these are to the credit of the EU delegation, which is clearly trying to limit at least some of the most damaging aspects of ACTA.
In my earlier posting from November last year I had reported on the secrecy of the ongoing ACTA negotiations wherein also the EU is involved. Just in order to make clear that important issues are at stake but carefully hidden from the general public, here is a small compilation of papers dated after November 21, 2008, and known to the EU Council but not published up to now…
The public voice seems to have been lost in the noise of lobbyists, media moguls and American conglomerates, who further ruin copyright law in the European Union.
Copyright term for music recordings must be extended from 50 years to 95 years, says legislation approved on Thursday by the Legal Affairs Committee.
Increasing the term of copyright protection would ensure that performers and producers continue to receive royalties for 95 years from the first publication or performance of their song, according to a Commission proposal backed by the committee.
People are rightly frustrated to see their system giving permanent welfare to this tiny (and sometimes deceased) segment of the population. This law started in the United States, later to be pushed into other countries using reasoning like “harmonisation”. █
“Intellectual property is the next software.”
“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
Microsoft was trying to deflect the blame away from its highly insecure software and onto people who write the exploit/s to take advantage. With the help of the BBC, which it had corrupted, Microsoft proceeded to blaming computer users for Microsoft’s shoddy engineering that is even killing people. LinuxToday has a strong rebuttal:
And too stupid or dishonest to report Microsoft Windows as the defective disaster that it is. If it were any other type of product it would have banned from every country in the world long ago. The BBC reports the latest Windows Conficker worm outbreak in typical “oh no big deal” fashion, does not identify this as a Windows worm until several paragraphs into the article, quotes industry security vendors as though they were actually worth listening to and not useless weasels, and then blames end users:
“The worm is spreading through low security networks, memory sticks, and PCs without current security updates…
“”Microsoft did a good job of updating people’s home computers, but the virus continues to infect business who have ignored the patch update…
“”Of course, the real problem is that people haven’t patched their software,” he added.
Please excuse me while I go kick something. Of COURSE it’s the users’ fault. They’re still using this most expensive piece of defective crapware in the entire solar system. But its incurable defects are not their fault. (We need to give up the notion that such computer users can be rescued by Linux– we don’t WANT them using Linux. “It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are ingenious”.)
IDG identified flaws in Windows’ update mechanism, but besides, it doesn’t really matter if Microsoft patched the flaw. Why was such a huge flaw there in the first place?
Windows Update Shows Its Quirky Side
While installing the updates, my firewall asked about allowing outbound access to a program running from the E disk, an external hard drive. This was the first time I’ve seen Windows Update stomp on anything outside of the C disk. The computer had other hard disk partitions with higher letters of the alphabet, so my guess is that it chose the E disk because it had the most available hard disk space.
White hat hackers have created a proof of concept demo illustrating how improved User Account Control (UAC) features in Windows 7 might be completely bypassed.
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