Androids ‘Bricked’ by Microsoft Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 10:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“NoMo (patent) security vulnerabilities!”

MONO Man is doing it again [1, 2]. He rejoices the turning of Java-based phones into phones that are encumbered by Microsoft patents.

Koushik Dutta has posted two great updates on his blog about Mono running on the Android powered G1 phone. The code necessary to build Mono on Android is available at the androidmono page.

This is nothing to be jubilant about because Microsoft just loves it for a reason. Microsoft wants to spread its de facto standards and software patents everywhere in the industry. Novell keeps helping and steering towards the goal by producing and spreading damaging copycats. Novell too just loves it for a reason, as the quote below elucidates.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

Does Microsoft Take Over the BBC from the Inside?

Posted in Microsoft at 10:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”

Ashley Highfield, BBC executive at the time (2007), now at Microsoft

Microsoft BBC

THE PROBLEM with inside influence by Microsoft was noted here in the past using concrete examples, one of which was the BBC. For background:

Here is the latest exhibit to be added an already large pile:

Industry Moves: Microsoft Online Chief Baylay Joins BBC After Highfield’s Arrival


There’s an irony in this latest turn of the revolving door between the two organisations – Baylay had been with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) when former BBC/Kangaroo online chief Ashley Highfield was in November announced as MD and VP of Microsoft’s online and consumer business; her division merged with another. It also follows the earlier appointments of Erik Huggers and Jon Billings to the BBC’s future media team from Microsoft in 2007.

Glyn Moody remarks:

Why doesn’t Microsoft just take over the BBC and be done with it?

It’s truly shameful to see Microsoft conquering positions of influence not only in technology companies (here is a recent example) but also in media companies which control what people think and how they feel. Unlike media companies that Microsoft owns, controls or funds, the BBC is paid for by taxpayers, which makes this a lot more outrageous. It’s no wonder that the BBC is regularly accused of advertising Microsoft products and services rather than covering noteworthy events.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 16th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 16/02/2009: GNU/Linux Big in Brazilian Schools, New GIMP

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

GNOME bluefish



  • KDE in nearly all public schools in brazil.

    Today I was in a public school near where I live for a interview with Nazareth, the coordinator of a social-inclusion project for the less afortunate kids in brazil, that live in 2 poor-communities: Alto do Coqueirinho and Bairro da paz.

  • How Not To Make A Commercial Linux Distribution

    Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against commercial Linux distribution, even though some of you might do. But if you are going to make a commercial Linux distribution please by all means do not make it look like or name after every proprietary OS cliché out there and against everything which Linux and free software stands for.

  • RAI Now Provides Support for Linux Networx (LNXI) Evolocity and LS Series Clusters

    RAI recently expanded its large systems expertise by hiring engineers from the former Linux Networx ( LNXI ). They bring with them the proven experience in deploying large and complex systems at a variety of high performance computing centers.

  • Hardware manufacturers embrace Linux

    It seems more and more people are looking at Linux as a real alternative to Microsoft’s desktop operating systems. Both Russia and Cuba have announced that they will be developing their own national Linux distributions for internal use as an alternative to Microsoft products.

    However, it’s more than just former comrades from the Soviet block who are showing interest in finding new uses and functions for Linux. In recent news, Dell announced that it would be releasing one of the world’s first Linux/Microsoft dual boot commercial products with its new hybrid range.

  • You may find you’re a Linux geek, too

    The free Linux operating system doesn’t reveal its charms easily, but charms it has. You just have to know how to make the software work for you.

    That will become easier next weekend for those in the Los Angeles area, which plays host to the annual Southern California Linux Expo at the LAX Westin hotel.

    Created in the early 1990s to be a freely distributable copy of the Unix operating system, Linux has grown tremendously.

  • Writer’s Café 2

    Despite installing locally on your computer, Writer’s Café 2 feels like a Web app or even a browser. Writer’s Cafe will run on just about any computer, including Linux-based netbooks.

  • MS Office is not integrated with itself

    I’m continually amazed that Windows and other Microsoft products just don’t have the same level of integration and “ease of use” that have been there for years in Linux. Microsoft needs to wake up.

  • Installing software on Linux Monday: The repository is your new best friend

    Our word for the day this fine Linux President’s Day Monday is “repository.” I admit, it was one of those alien words that buffaloed me when I first started learning. Linux geeks, like any group of insiders, throw around terms that are incomprehensible to outsiders, but it turns out the concept is really easy. A repository is simply an online software library that’s built into the operating system.

  • Kernel Space

    • Wayland’s Eagle EGL Stack Gets Working DRI2

      It has been a while since last talking about Wayland, which is a new display server for Linux designed around newer X technologies like kernel mode-setting and the Graphics Execution Manager. Wayland is being developed as a side-project by Red Hat’s Kristian Høgsberg. There hasn’t been anything too exciting to report on lately within the Wayland project, but now its Eagle component has a working DRI2 back-end.

  • KDE

    • Interview: Eigen Developers on 2.0 Release

      Recently Eigen 2.0 was released. You might already have heard about Eigen, it is a small but very high performance maths library which has its roots in KDE. Below, the two core developers are interviewed about it…

    • KOffice 2.0 Beta 6 Released

      The KOffice developers have released their sixth beta for KOffice 2.0. With this release we start to approach the end of the beta series and move towards the Release Candidates. As usual the list of changes is rather long, but it is obvious that the really large issues are starting to dry up. Take a look at the full announcement to find out more, or look at the changelog for the details.

    • New Plasma themes, new Qt, new Lancelot

      First I would like to point out that there are two new Plasma themes on kde-look. Well, at least two *my* new themes. Or to be even more precise, there is one new theme and one old that is new. Or new that is old. Or one theme… OK, I’ll stop now.

      One of the themes is Spoons, which is now named Spoons Original, and is currently the oldest Plasma theme in existence (that’s why I couldn’t really say that there is a new theme on kde-look).

  • Distributions

    • Review: Linux Mint 6

      The latest LXF magazine arrived with Linux Mint 6, Slackware 12.2, and openSuse 11.1. I was originally going to review openSuse, but I have been unable to successfully boot either into VirtualBox or just by booting my computer and running it as a LiveDVD. (ed. note: I just checked the magazine and they suggested booting in failsafe mode, so I’ll try that out in a couple of days) So, we’ll be starting with Linux Mint 6. I reviewed Linux Mint 5 Light back in July 2008. Since I wasn’t using VirtualBox at the time, I only tested it as a LiveDVD and that may have been the source of some of my problems testing the software installation. Plus this time I can review the installation process.

    • Parted Magic 3.6 released

      Parted Magic has been updated to version 3.6 and includes bug fixes, updates and a number of new programs. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with 128MB of RAM. File systems supported include ntfs, fat, reiserfs, reiser4 and hfs+. LVM and RAID are also supported. The update to the open source live CD collection of hard disk management tools “offers a major overhaul in the way Parted Magic boots and behaves.”

    • Debian

      • Latest Debian Linux release ideal for recession hit UK enterprises

        The UK’s only government-approved open source supplier announced today that the latest release of Debian Linux is ideal for enterprises looking to save money in the recession. Sirius Corporation claims that Debian 5.0, codenamed ‘Lenny’, includes new security and high performance virtualisation features that make it the most capable and affordable Linux distribution to date.

      • First look at Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 live CD and network installation

        Debian GNU/Linux is the one of the oldest surviving, independently developed Linux distribution and the grand-daddy of many others, including the ever popular Ubuntu. Each release is named after a character from the Pixar animated movie ‘Toy Story’, and so as it is with ‘Lenny’ – the pair of binoculars with feet. Debian is unique in that the project is entirely community driven and is one of the largest open source projects in the world. It is governed by two major documents, the Debian Constitution and the Social Contract, the latter being at the centre of the recent firmware debate.

      • Debian’s Lenny offers enterprises open-source option

        Debian 5.0, known as Lenny, will offer users improved security handling. For example, as an added protection measure, Debian Installer will now apply any security updates before the first boot.
        In addition, several security-critical packages have been built with GCC hardening features, and the standard system contains fewer setuid root binaries and fewer open ports. Other new features include support for IPv6, NFS 4, PostgreSQL 8.3.5, MySQL 5.1.30 and 5.0.51a, Samba 3.2.5, PHP 5.2.6, Asterisk, Nagios 3.06 and the Xen Hypervisor 3.2.1.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Training Strengthened in the USA

        Canonical has recently signed and trained up instructors from Fast Lane and Bridge Education, the latest two partners to join the Ubuntu Training Partner Programme. Ubuntu courses are now available in many locations across the USA.

      • ArtistX 0.6, Now Based on Ubuntu 8.10

        Marco Ghirlanda, team leader of ArtistX, announced the immediate availability of version 0.6, now created with the help of Remastersys Live CD creation software. Using the 2.6.27 Linux kernel, ArtistX 0.6 lets you choose between GNOME 2.24 and the recent KDE 4.2 desktop environments and has Compiz Fusion included for a full 3D-effects experience.

        Having plenty of space on a DVD, ArtistX 0.6 comes with almost 2500 free multimedia applications designed for all Linux users. This version is based on the latest stable Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) release and features the Ubiquity installer.

      • Ubuntu partners with HP on Servers

        While HP was slow in supporting Linux on the desktop, HP has long supported Linux on the server. HP currently supports RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Novell’s SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), Oracle Enterprise Linux and even the community’s own Linux, Debian on its server hardware. Now, HP is about to start supporting Ubuntu on its ProLiant server line.

      • Weekend Success – Ubuntu 8.10 on the HP 2133 Mini-Note

        Once that was done, the rest of the installation and configuration was routine, and Ubuntu 8.10 is now running just fine on the HP 2133.

      • Valentine’s Day gifts from the geekish heart

        1. The Valentine’s Day (Video) Card: Avoid that schlep down to Fry’s, whereas surplus stores, e.g., Surplus Gizmos (where Oregon Scientific’s surplus is sent to find a new home) or the FreeGeek Thrift Store, are much funkier. Check out an entire iMac system for $55, loaded up with user-friendly Ubuntu Linux, and oh-so-cute in it’s exterior Macitude. No guarantee that actual Blueberry iMac will be there when you arrive, but there are many, many bargains to be had at FreeGeek (and almost all run faster), and every one of them comes with Free Ubuntu Linux and its easy built-in access to thousands of free programs to download. FreeGeek and its Thrift Store are located in the heart of the close-in eastside industrial and shopping district (free parking!), is open until seven, Tues.-Sat., and it’s only two blocks off the #70 bus line!

      • Will Ubuntu 9.04 Be Jauntily Fast?

        When announcing Ubuntu 9.04, the Jaunty Jackalope, Mark Shuttleworth had hoped to make this next Ubuntu Linux release perform better and to boot “blindingly quick”, in particular with Ubuntu beginning to appear on more mobile devices. Well, with Alpha 4 have been released earlier this month, are Canonical developers and the community in the right direction with making Ubuntu 9.04 boot quickly? We have boot-time benchmarks of the latest Ubuntu 9.04 work along with Linux desktop benchmarks comparing it to its predecessor, Ubuntu 8.10.


        Ubuntu 9.04 is not being officially released until April, but already it appears to be in good standing. On the Intel Atom netbook we used for this round of testing, the boot time was shaved by eight seconds, which is quite noticeable.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat Appliance exclusive review

        As well as making it extremely quick and easy for administrators to deploy applications, once deployed, the service and support package makes it easy to keep them running with minimum effort. For example, the appliance comes with a subscription to the Red Hat Network (RHN), which enables IT staff to install software and updates from a browser connected to the RHN web site.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Booksize PC = Good Cheap Alternative Computing

      Bear in mind that if you buy one with an integrated processor and use Linux, the total cost new could be a low as $150!

    • Phones

      • Live video of the Garmin-ASUS nuvifone G60

        Built on a Linux operating system, the phone’s simple UI offers one-touch access to calling, searches, maps, contacts, messaging, and the web.

      • Hands-On With Garmin-Asus’ nüvifones

        The G60, Garmin-Asus’ first nüvifone, is an odd bird. It’s a biggish, slab-style touch screen phone running a custom Linux OS built by Garmin, which means that everything works in its own way. It’s generally a pretty simple way, but it’s not quite like any other phone. It’s more like a Garmin GPS device.

      • Hold the phone, Google’s on line

        Made by Taiwanese electronics company HTC and dubbed the Dream, it is the first and so far only smartphone in the world to use Android, an open-source computer-style operating system, built by Google and based on Linux.

      • Huawei says to sell 2-3 Android phones this year

        China’s Huawei Technologies said on Monday it aimed to start selling 2-3 phone models using Google’s Android software platform while introducing more models next year.

        Edward Chen, head of Huawei’s devices unit, told Reuters in an interview the firm was also considering introducing phones using software from Symbian, the leading software platform, and from Linux foundation LiMo.

      • Samsung eyes Linux push this year

        The world’s second-largest cell phone maker, Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), will start to sell several phones using open-source Linux software platforms this year, a senior executive told Reuters in an interview.

      • Google, Nvidia Bringing Android to Tegra Chips

        Nvidia on Monday said it is working with Google to build support for Linux applications on smartphones with its upcoming Tegra mobile chips.

      • Broadcom Demonstrates First Android-Enabled Mobile Phone Platform Supporting High Definition Camcorder, Video Player and up to 12 Megapixel Digital Camera Applications
      • MOBILE FAIR-Panasonic, NEC unveil 9 Linux phones

        NEC (6701.T) and Panasonic (6752.T) will unveil on Monday nine new cellphone models running the open-source LiMo operating system, wireless Linux foundation LiMo said at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

        The focus of the cellphone market has been shifting to software development since Google (GOOG.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) entered the mobile market in the past two years, with phone vendors and operators increasingly looking for open source alternatives like LiMo to cut costs.

    • MID

      • Moorestown MID to run voice-call enabled Moblin

        LG Electronics is collaborating with Intel on a new line of mobile Internet devices (MIDs) based on the latter’s energy-efficient “Moorestown” processor. Due to ship in 2010, the MID will run a Linux-based, MID-focused Moblin V2 distribution that will add cellular voice capability, says Intel.

      • MontaVista spins MID stack

        MontaVista will demonstrate a commercial Linux distribution for mobile Internet devices (MIDs). The “Montebello” stack focuses on corporate and consumer devices, offering extended battery life, fast boot-up, and “seamless” handoffs between various wireless networks, said Dan Cauchy, senior director of market development.

      • LG Electronics, Intel Collaborate on Future Mobile Internet Device

        LG Electronics (LG) and Intel Corporation today announced collaboration around mobile Internet devices (MIDs) based on Intel’s next-generation MID hardware platform, codenamed “Moorestown,” and Linux-based Moblin v2.0 software platform. The LG device is expected to be one of the first Moorestown designs to market.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Freescale Offers New Netbook Platform

        Freescale has announced the expansion of its netbook offerings with a new connectivity and operating system options for netbooks based on its i.MX515 processor. The company entered into the netbook market in January 2009 when it introduced its processor.

      • ARM’s Multicore Chips Aim for Netbooks

        Ubuntu and Debian Linux both run on ARM chips, and Ubuntu for ARM will go public in April 2009, Bryant said. That version of Ubuntu may even run on existing ARM devices.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Firefox themes that don’t suck

    I forgot I was writing a post on my son’s computer and captured this one without thinking about it. One of our attentive readers caught it, and wanted to know which theme it was.

    Character-based themes don’t often turn out well, but this one is nicely done.

  • Bruce Perens: How Many Open Source Licenses Do You Need?

    About 14 years ago, I created the Busybox embedded systems toolkit for Linux. I put in a month’s worth of evenings on the project, which was to build a command-line environment that would fit on a single floppy disk, for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution’s installer. I released the product under the GPL license.

  • Sugar in the YiPs Sandbox

    How do you get your hands on some open source customer relationship management software that’s ready to rock ‘n’ roll on the IBM i? Simple: Take a quick Web trip to the Young i Professionals home page, where you’ll find one of the more popular business-oriented, open source applications: SugarCRM. Visitors can log into the application–as a user or an administrator–and spend some hands-on time with an open source Web application running on the i platform.

  • Seven predictions for open source in 2009

    1. Adoption of open source software will increase as the economy worsens.

  • The argument for Xiph codecs

    Yesterday I had a random technology developer email me with the question why he should use Ogg over other codecs that have a much more widespread uptake. Of course with “Ogg” he meant “Xiph codecs”, since a comparison of container formats isn’t really what people are asking for. He felt positive towards open codecs, but didn’t really know how to express this with reason. So I wrote up some arguments that can be made for open codecs.

  • Open Enterprise Interview: Brian Reale, Colosa CEO

    He’s the founder of Colosa, an open source company based in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz.

    Here he talks about his background, how the company came to be set up, what business problems its ProcessMaker is trying to solve, how it compares with Intalio’s business process management (BPM) product, and why cloud computing using the Affero GPL is the future.

  • Net filter plan nurtures ‘open source government’

    The campaign to prevent the mandatory internet filter in Australia has been like no other campaign before it. Though the subject matter naturally lends itself to the type of campaign we’re witnessing – and participating in as never before – it also offers a fascinating glimpse into the way more mainstream campaigns will be run in the future. We are witnessing what may come to be seen as the beginnings of open source government in this country.

  • Musicians Help Aid FOSS Initiative in Africa

    Few things are more heartbreaking than the notion of children without access to healthcare. While no one denies that there’s a tremendous need for better healthcare options for American children, the U.S. provides for emergency care, vaccinations, and other basic needs. Children in many other countries aren’t so lucky.

    IntraHealth International works with nations across the globe to provide the training and infrastructure communities need to solve public health issues within their own country. One initiative, IntraHealth OPEN focuses on using open source technologies in impoverished areas because of its accessibility, adaptability, and versatility.

  • Open-Source Collaboration Software Adds Language Support, Enhances Usability

    Open-Xchange today announced a comprehensive feature update for the Open-Xchange Server 6 product family – adding support for Dutch and Spanish languages, as well as more than 50 improvements to the Linux-based collaboration suite.

  • GIMP 2.6.5 Released

    GIMP 2.6.5 is a bug-fix release in the stable GIMP 2.6 series. As usual, the source can be downloaded from ftp.gimp.org. Binary packages for the various supported platforms should become available soon.

  • Games

    • Top 10 best open source games

      1.) Tremulous – This is hugely popular open source title, being downloaded millions of times since its inception in 2006. Tremulous is a team-based first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements as well. The game is very similar to Quake II and III, and was actually born out of the commercial modification of Quake III Arena. The game-play is inspired the Quake II modification known as “Gloom.” If you’re a fan of Quake, you’ll like Tremulous. There’s already a huge development community and support structure in place, and it’s available on all major platforms – FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

      2.) Netrek – This is another long-time favorite in the open source gaming genre. It’s an Internet-based game that can be played by up to 16 players. The game can actually be classed as a hybrid multi-directional shooter and real time strategy game. It combines “twitch” style action-game “dogfighting” with extensive team play and strategy. The game is loosely based on Star Trek Universe, in which each player controls a starship, and has been under development continually since 1986 when it was created a successor to Xtrek.

    • Making money with “free-to-play” games

      Free-to-play games are looking more and more like open source products as commercial entities behind the development and operations figure out ways in which to add value and monetize their user base.

  • Sun

    • blog(FOSDEM, 2009);

      It’s been five years since the first Free Java developer meeting at FOSDEM. It’s amusing to look back to how a bunch of nice people first met there, sharing the dev room with Debian, to discuss packaging and steps towards liberation of Java. It makes me feel like an old guy. At the same time, it makes me feel like someone with a lot of old friends, so that’s not so bad, after all. Not bad at all.


      The final set of talks was devoted to community building, priorities and everything around that. Petteri Räty spoke on recruiting, communication, and lessons learned from the Gentoo Java project’s efforts to expand the set of developers, and share the workload of maintaining many packages onto many shoulders.


  • Section 76 ignites new debate

    The National Union of Journalists, in association with BJP, has called for photographers to make their voices heard at a rally on 16 February as a new law is introduced that allows for the arrest – and potential imprisonment – of anyone who takes pictures of police officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.

  • Nokia threat to quit Finland ‘unless law changed’

    Mobile phone giant Nokia threatened to leave its native Finland if a change to laws blocking companies from monitoring employee emails was not introduced, a respected Finnish newspaper said Sunday.

  • Internet Security Concerns, Online Anonymity, and Splinternets

    What would it take to create a more secure Internet? That’s what John Markoff explores in his latest New York Times article, “Do We Need a New Internet?” Echoing some of the same fears Jonathan Zittrain articulates in his new book The Future of the Internet, Markoff wonders if online viruses and other forms of malware have gotten so out-of-control that extreme measures may be necessary to save the Net.

  • New Zealand Goes Black

    The previous government in New Zealand enacted an amendment to the Copyright Act that required ISPs to have a policy to disconnect users after repeated accusations of infringement, over the objections of technologists.

  • Commission shelves plans to curb online piracy

    The European Commission is set to put proposals to tackle online piracy on ice until the end of its current mandate, following heavy pressure from telecoms companies and consumer organisations alike, EurActiv has learned.

    The EU executive had been expected to bring forward two initiatives in the first half of 2009, both of which could have forced a more restrictive EU-wide approach to free and illegal downloading.

  • Swedish Newspaper Has Tremendous Success ‘Beta Testing’ Article On The Pirate Bay

    Last week, in talking about how the Wall Street Journal had laid off its librarians, I suggested that newspapers could start trying a more “open research” system where they ask their community to help them with the research.

  • How The Pirate Bay sailed into infamy

    The Pirate Bay was launched in 2003 and has established itself as the world’s most high-profile file-sharing site. But its founders are now on trial for copyright violation and face imprisonment, if found guilty.


    “The tracker provides the user only with .torrent files which contain no copyrighted data. The actual copyrighted material is to be found on the individual machines of our users, not on our servers,” says the site.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 12 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Red Hat-Microsoft Agreement Not Malicious, But Was It Smart?

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows at 4:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THE epic video shown above is just over one year old and it serves as an important reminder of Microsoft’s motives and attitude towards Red Hat. Nothing exists which suggests that anything has changed since then, except posturing. In fact, Microsoft reiterated the threats against Red Hat some months ago [1, 2]. Microsoft has not changed with regards to FUD and it is actively looking to spread more such fear, to this date.

When the press approached me (just 10 minutes before the embargo got lifted), my initial instinct was that “it could be worse.” At least two readers immediately disagreed, taking into account IRC and comments. They thought it was very bad. Shane rightly suggests that “true interoperability requires no agreement, just adherence to open standards (or at least working documentation).” I strongly agree with that personally. “Microsoft wants a level playing field, as long as they own the patent property rights on grass,” said one reader in IRC.

“This would help marketing of RHEL and Linux in general (with KVM ‘baked in’).”It seems safe to imagine that a lot of this is to do with hypercalls, which bring up questions that we debated before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

It also appears possible, having not seen the pertinent details, that Red Hat will benefit if its newly-/recently-acquired KVM technology, for example, can virtualise Windows well. This would help marketing of RHEL and Linux in general (with KVM ‘baked in’).

On the other bright side, if Hyper-V becomes not a SLES-only area for decent performance, then companies will be less inclined to purchase vouchers from Microsoft/Novell (Microsoft openly calls these "patent royalties" now). Hasn’t Red Hat distanced itself from Xen somewhat, for obvious reasons [1, 2]? It’s partly because of Microsoft’s malicious, self-serving strategy around hypervisors. They hoard the market using partners and allies, but they cannot swallow the entire ocean.

Novell has admitted that for its 'interoperability' needs* (patent deal) it had received privileges and was granted access to Microsoft source code. Novell’s Justin Steinman said this to Business Review Online in 2007. Does Red Hat get the same privileges that may serve more as a path to SCO-type actions (“you saw our code and copied it”)? Is only one side receiving source code? If so, there is reciprocity really. Can the user run Hyper-V under Red Hat Enterprise Linux?


Well, it’s proprietary, it’s Windows-only, but then again, KVM isn’t suited for Windows, either.

Red Hat realises that a two-way solution may be essential, but it’s not something to be terribly excited about. If someone walks over for a quiet dinner with the mafia don, it may be harmless, but it’s still within the mafia, so it’s hard to be enthusiastic about the idea. This is the same company that repeatedly issues direct accusations and threats against Red Hat and its customers. It has made no promises to end this extortionate affair, even when its own ecosystem asked the vicious ‘emperor’ to put up or shut up.

Looking at the news for a bit, we discovered that Jason Stamper got notified in advance when the scoop was still embargoed. Here is his update which contains this quote from Microsoft:

Asked how this deal compares to Microsoft’s interoperability agreement with Novell, Mike Neil, Gm virtualisation strategy at Microsoft said: “The interoperability announcement we are making today with Red Hat should be seen as more of a one dimensional agreement, whereas our deal with Novell was a multi-dimesnional agreement that covered patent rights, business collaboration and an IP agreement.”

Microsoft’s media mole soon wrote about the announcement on behalf of Fort 25[sic], whose goal is to fight directly against GNU/Linux by coercing open source projects. They have people to assist with The "Schmoozing" for Windows Initiative.

Savio Rodrigues is very easily fooled by Microsoft, so it’s not surprising that he drank the Kool-Aid and asked for more, but one the other hand, Groklaw too expressed cautious optimism.

Congratulations to Red Hat for refusing to buckle on this vital matter, and to Red Hat Legal for working out the details, and a tip of the hat to Microsoft, for facing reality and doing the right thing. And thank you, EU Commission, for creating a reality that makes it possible for the GPL to find a level playing field.

Groklaw had also praised Red Hat for settling the Firestar case in a GPLv3-compatible fashion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and since the site is mostly silent these days, the fact that Pamela Jones saw the need to make a statement sure speaks volumes.

Here is the coverage from Matt Asay, who wrongly believes that hatchets are being buried and everyone can sing kumbaya (well, not in these words).

Today both Red Hat and Microsoft lowered their guns long enough for customers to win. They did so without encumbering interoperability with patents, which will be critical to ensuring that Microsoft can lower its guard further to welcoming open-source solutions to the Windows fold as a full partner.

We are pleased to have been cited by ComputerWorld for our take on this subject. Here is an important gem from the article.

Yes, you read that right. Microsoft is saying that they made this deal because of Microsoft customer demand to run Red Hat Linux.

Back in September 2008, Steve Ballmer that “forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Is it possible that Microsoft has just become so frail that it’s willing to sign patents-free deals with Red Hat just to keep inside the market? Several months ago a source revealed to us that Microsoft had failed badly with Red Hat. They just couldn’t get a patent deal, no matter how hard they tried.
* Compatible to Windows, interoperable to Windows, Winteroperability.

Novell the Biggest Loser in New Red Hat-Microsoft Virtual Agreement

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Windows at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RED Hat has just made an announcement that is less important than reporters might be led to believe. Given some initial details, it’s clear that Red Hat wants nothing to do with Microsoft’s software patents.

As Glyn Moody pointed out, there is “Nothing Novell-ish here.” Matthew Aslett got that right as well.

There is no Linux-support coupon scheme, although that was exclusive to the Novell-Microsoft agreement anyway, and no patent or intellectual property agreement either.

Ultimately, this developments makes Novell’s SUSE a lot less necessary and therefore it provides an escape route from Microsoft’s patent coupons. In other words, Novell got screwed for paying for something that’s potentially free, owing to reciprocity. This isn’t the first such example where Novell looks like fool for these reasons. Bada boom!

Drums Novell

Patents Roundup: Red Hat, Acacia, Microsoft, Apple, and the European Commission

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RED HAT is calling for participation in the discovery of prior art to be used against Acacia’s trolling [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. From the blog of Fedora’s current leader:

Back in 2007, IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell. IP Innovation is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. You may have heard of them — they’re reported to be the most litigious patent troll in the USA, meaning they produce nothing of value other than money from those whom they sue (or threaten to sue) over patent issues. They’re alleging infringement of patents on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use.

That patent was filed back on March 25, 1987 by some folks at Xerox/PARC, which means that prior art dated before that date is helpful — and art dated before March 25, 1986 is the most useful. (That means any examples from Linux aren’t really going to help, seeing as how Linus Torvalds first began the Linux kernel in 1991.

According to this new essay, patent trolls are merely a “tax on innovation” and it is important never to forget the intersection between Acacia and Microsoft, in addition to interesting timing.

Many years ago, wrote Bill Gates: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” Things have changed since then because Microsoft is spending a lot of time filing patents rather than developing actual products and this gets criticised in CNET. Other points are raised too:

Microsoft earlier this week celebrated its 10,000th patent. Implicit in that announcement is the supposition that “patents = innovation.” However, a quick look at Microsoft’s last five years demonstrate a company that is struggling to copycat the best the industry has to offer, rather than innovate.


In this way it’s much like the criticism it has of open source: Microsoft claims that open source steals others’ intellectual property and doesn’t innovate. Pot calling kettle black?

Here is an indicator of Microsoft’s newly-discovered obsession with patents and here is a new article bearing the headline “Microsoft: We won’t sacrifice original IP.”

But Microsoft has no intention of sacrificing its “focus on exciting IP” and will continue to invest in innovation in order to emerge from any ongoing recession in a “healthy” state.

This is an obnoxious little article. It’s filled with buzzwords like “innovative” and “IP” despite the company’s true (and original) understanding that patents are weapons to very large companies. They are monopoly enablers.

Microsoft’s obsession with patents is not unique because, according to this report, China may be following a similar route.

Patent applications submitted to China’s State Intellectual Property Office totalled 828,328 during 2008, according to statistics just made availableon the office’s website. That’s up over 130,000 on the figure for 2007. But before anyone chokes on their lunchtme sandwich or afternoon tea, just remember that the vast majority of this number would have been for unexamined utility and design rights. That said, examined invention patent applications grew by over 50,000 – with domestic companies accounting for most of the rise from 245,161 in 2007 to 289,838 at the end of last year. This makes SIPO the third biggest patent office in the world after the USPTO and the JPO.

Why is it that every single thought (or idea) needs to be “owned” by someone regardless of the origin of this thought? That is the point being raised thusly:

A patent is not the ownership of a pre-existing thing that needs an owner. Rather, the things over which the patent system gives people ownership are the creations of patent law. And in many cases, it makes little sense to talk about them as “things” at all.

Apple’s case against Linux-powered devices was mentioned the other day, but over in Europe it turns out that two — not one — companies are suing Apple for patent infringement, doing to Apple almost exactly what Apple is doing to others.

A pair of small Scottish companies have filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. (AAPL), claiming two of the computer maker’s best- selling products include technology that infringes on their patents.

Meanwhile, and also in Europe, it turns out that Commissioner Viviane Reding does not understand the problem and she’s being misinformed.

The problem is those kind of numbers is that they seems to be calculated in function of software vendors, which represents only 15% of the whole software industry. The other large part of the industry is pure services. And this does not seems to be taken in account. Does Mrs Commissioner Reding have the wrong numbers? Or she does not know the european software industry?

It’s quite likely that lobbyists will have commissioners bamboozled. That’s just what they’re there to do.

GIMP Plugin Removed by Software Patents, Resurrected

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Patents at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SOME months ago we showed that software patents were responsible for the permanent removal of a GIMP plugin. We’ve finally found the source and binary of this plugins, but it seems as though the author had removed the plugin for GIMP v2.x. It says that “For the GIMP V 2.0, the following additional plug-ins are available in source/executable for download…”

For GIMP v2.2, the plugin is on this page. This plugin is trivial and this is the type of thing it achieves. It takes multiple pictures and assembles them into a mosaic. The source code is in pmosaic.c.

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