IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 17th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 17th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 17/02/2009: OOo 3.1 Gets Anti Aliasing, Google Caught AstroTurfing

Posted in News Roundup at 10:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft realises it’s in trouble

    Microsoft’s announcement last week that it plans to open its own chain of retail stores “to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience” might be viewed as just the company’s next move in its continuing marketing competition with Apple, but it might also be understood as more than that. It could be a sign that the company has realised it’s in trouble.


    Microsoft was forced to abandon some of its more egregrious practices with respect to preload agreements in 1994, and – as software alternatives based on Linux have become available – a few of the large PC manufacturers are offering those to buyers. However, one result of such agreements and other anticompetitive practices was that the company avoided or stifled effective competition from other operating systems and applications for most of its early history.


    Microsoft’s failure to deliver a capable, snappy and attractive successor for Windows XP in Windows Vista opened a window of opportunity, so to speak, for competing operating systems. And as luck would have it, Apple’s Mac OS X and new versions of major Linux brands were ready to take advantage of the situation.


    Increasingly these days, paralegals, engineers and architects, as well as management consultants and marketing people, might be found to have different operating systems running on two or even three different machines. One might be a Windows machine, if their work requires it, but it’s just as likely that they might have a desktop running some flavour of Linux and an Apple Macbook running OS X, or maybe a desktop and a netbook, both running Linux.

    Last month web metrics firm Netapp released some statistics it gathered based on 160 million visitors to its hosted domains. It said that Windows’ market share is now below 90 per cent at 88.26 per cent, while Apple Mac OS X market share has reached nearly 10 per cent at 9.93 per cent, with the rest accounted for by Linux. The Linux figure might be lower than its actual market share on individual computer users’ systems, but that’s what Netapp reported.


    That Apple’s gaining market share can’t be very comforting right now to those occupying Microsoft’s executive suite, nor can the growth of Linux awareness and acceptance in the general consumer population. Welcome to the real world, folks.

  • More copies of World of Goo sold when GNU/Linux version was released than any other day

    This is the kind of update that deserves its own blogpost just to make this heard. It is excellent news and I believe sends out quite a strong message to anyone who is paying attention.

  • VMware vCenter Converter version 4.0 released

    VMware has released version 4.0 of its vCenter Converter software, which allows VMware virtual machines to be created from physical sources as well as other virtual machines. The software now supports Windows Server 2008 and Linux physical machines, as well as a variety of third-party image formats.

  • Towards the freedom of the operating system: the French Gendarmerie goes for Ubuntu

    In 2001 the Gendarmerie Nationale, France’s national police force, started introducing open source software. The main goals were to gain greater independence and flexibility than proprietary software could offer. The decision to migrate all new workstations to Ubuntu, taken in January 2008, was the most important step in this transition so far.

  • How Linux Helped Adopt My New Daughter

    If you noticed that LDN was a little quiet last week, it was because my wife and I were out of town last week–way out of town. Our destination was Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where we were to bring home our new seven-year-old daughter.


    “Then obviously any Linux files will have no viruses,” I finished, holding up the memory stick where he could see the tiny Larry Ewing Tux logo stamped on it–the same logo on the sticker on his server. To emphasize the point, I pulled out my laptop to show him the Linux Foundation logo sticker on my machine.

    He slumped a bit–I had him. He charged me double the printing rate to try to make up the difference, but they plugged in my drive, printed the files I needed, and we made it back to the embassy with five minutes to spare.

  • Mitsubishi developed Linux-based Car in-dash Blu-ray player

    Mitsubishi Electric unveiled it latest automobile In-dash player with a Linux-driven Blu-ray player to be integrated with its Windows CE’s car navigation systems. Like most automobile in-dash player, the thin profile 1D1N Mitsubishi Blu-ray player is a shrunken version of home-used Blu-ray player, at the size of 1/3 smaller than the regular shelf component units.

  • LINBIT Simplifies Linux Clustering With DRBD Management Console

    Over 1,000 people per day download DRBD from http://www.drbd.org. In order to streamline DRBD’s integration and installation for its user base, LINBIT has developed a new graphical user interface. The DRBD Management Console (DRBD MC) is now available for free download, just like DRBD.

  • Single biggest thing holding Linux back? Vendor lock-in

    In trying to get more businesses to adopt Linux and open source software over the past 18 years or so, I’ve discovered that no matter how good Linux becomes, one hurdle stubbornly remains – in fact, it’s the biggest hurdle that Linux and free/open source will ever face: vendor lock-in.

  • Programs

    • Free and Open Source Finance/Accounting Software for Linux

      If you have a small or medium-size business, then you may consider using finance or accounting software to efficiently manage your own venture. You can choose from a wide variety of finance programs. –Some of them are really expensive, while others will cost you nothing.

    • 10 free RAW image tools for Linux

      You don’t need to have played with a digital SLR camera for long to run into the continuing frustration that is RAW images. RAW images offer very high image quality without the nasty compression artifacts of often found in consumer cameras using the JPEG format.

    • 17 Awesome Linux Applicaitons to Improve your Productivity

      I always appreciate any useful application I can find for Linux that can help its users enjoy and have the same comfort they have in Windows.

  • Distributions

    • The G:Noblin 3.0.beta01 is Released

      The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the third beta of the next stable release. The g:Noblin is the GoblinX Gnome and GTK/GTK2 based distribution. The edition is ideal for those users whose are fan of the Gnome desktop environment. This distribution is an old desire of GoblinX users.

    • The Days and Years of Sabayon

      The year 2004, my first jump into the Gentoo world after a slew of other distros. Thanks to a good friend of mine for finally convinceing me to try it. I had heard the nightmares of installing gentoo, but I wanted to learn more. I hated the terminal, I liked my point and click GUI so it was a big change. I glanced over the handbook without really reading it and went upon my venture, I failed miserably. I just never learned enough from my past years of GUI using. A month goes by and I read the handbook a little better this time and off I went once again on my venture and failed once again. I wasn’t going to give up and this time printed the handbook and followed it step by step and it was a success. The next couple of years I learned more about linux than I had ever did in the years before.

    • PCLOS

      • PCLinuxOS Magazine, January 2009

        PCLinuxOS Magazine, January 2009 (Issue 28) is available to download. You can find it at the PCLinuxOS Magazine website. If you’d like to be informed immediately about our releases, please signup for the Magazine-Announce mailing list .

      • PCLinuxOS 2009: My Experience

        In essence, PCLOS has gone from a solid, stable, “just works” system to a solid, stable, “just works” system.

        Kudos to the Ripper Gang for all their hard work on this upgrade!

    • Debian

      • Debian 5′s Five Best Features

        Despite delays and internal arguments, Debian 5, Lenny, has finally arrived, and it’s a darn nice Linux distribution.

        You don’t have to take my word for it. Consider what Warren Woodford, the well-regarded Linux developer, who uses Debian for the foundation of his SimplyMEPIS Linux distribution, has to say. Woodford, who switched MEPIS’ cornerstone distribution from Ubuntu to Debian in 2007, said, “Behind the scenes, MEPIS is being used more and more in demanding environments, so I was happy the Debian teams decided to use the hardening features in gcc to increase the security of Debian in Lenny.”

      • We put Debian 5.0 (Lenny) through its paces

        Lenny can be deployed with confidence on the desktop, by both beginners and experienced Linux users and is significantly more user-friendly than its predecessor, Etch. There are big improvements to network configuration and automatic printer set-up. For virtualisation, in addition to an updated version of Xen, there is a now a second virtualisation system suitable for server use, available in the form of KVM.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0: Screenshots

        Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, codenamed “Lenny”, was released over the weekend; in this gallery we take you through the install process and basic desktop functions.

    • Ubuntu

      • GroundWork Open Source Meets Ubuntu Server Edition

        GroundWork Open Source says nearly one-third of its newest customers are deploying its network management software on Ubuntu. Here are the early details.

      • Ubuntu Edges Further into the Data Centre

        Everybody knows that Ubuntu is the most popular GNU/Linux distro for the desktop. Everybody knows that it has achieved that distinction be concentrating on that sector, unlike Red Hat, say, which is aiming at the corporate market. Everybody knows these things, and everybody is wrong. Because, very cunningly, Ubuntu is trying a tricky strategy: to insinuate itself into the highly-profitable corporate sector without losing its cachet as the user-friendly distro for newbies.

      • Ubuntu ROCKS!

        Although I’ve never been a Linux Operating System convert, I have tried different versions through out the years and generally kept up with the development of the OS.


        In short Ubuntu ROCKS!

      • Ubuntu Training Program Improved Throughout USA

        One of Ubuntu’s strategies for gaining a larger user base is providing quality, comprehensive training for everyone who desires. For that purpose, Canonical has recently included Fast Lane and Bridge Education in its Ubuntu Training Partner Programme, signing and training instructors. The courses are held all across the United States of America.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Kontron Announces AdvancedMC Intelligent IO Modules, Supports Linux

      Besides the fact that the Cavium-based multi-core architecture is ideal for packet processing applications, the Kontron AM42xx AdvancedMC modules can be used for Carrier Grade Linux distributions with built-in ‘control’ plane functions on one of the 12 cores, with data plane functions handled by the remaining cores.

    • Phones

      • Windows device house comes to Linux, Android

        Intrinsyc comes to the Android and Linux device world after a strong recent focus on Windows CE.

      • Palm brings Flash to the Pre via Adobe Open Source Screen Project

        Yes you lucky Palm pre wannabees, Palm has joined Adobe’s Open Source Screen Project, which undoubtedly means…”the Open Screen Project will help deliver Adobe Flash Player for smartphones on the new Palm webOS platform.”

      • Nvidia demos Tegra running Android

        NVIDIA’S TEGRA HAS gone paranoid Android at MWC. The firm was earlier seen showing off its Tegra system on chip (SoC), running Google’s Android OS and boasting about the firm’s new Tegra 600 series platform which purportedly enables a $99, always-connected HD mobile internet device (MID) that can go days between battery charges.

      • Second ‘Google phone’ is unveiled

        A new phone based on Google’s operating system Android has been unveiled by Vodafone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

        The touchscreen HTC Magic will feature a 3.2 Megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and GPS, but no slide-out keyboard.

        The first “Google phone”, called the G1, was launched in September by HTC and is exclusive to T-mobile.

      • LiMo’s Linux-based Mobile OS Stack Makes Gains

        A flock of new mobile devices unveiled this week at Mobile World Congress are part of the trend toward Linux-powered mobility, incorporating the open-source software stack from the LiMo Foundation.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Windows and Intel, Kings of the PC: Divided They Fall?

        Intel and Microsoft see these trends as clearly as anyone. In the past, they stuck together to fend off competitive threats—lowering prices and cranking up marketing to undercut new products yet maintain their profits. But now, Intel is pushing low-cost Atom chips designed to work on almost any operating system. In January it even unveiled its own Linux-based operating system, called Moblin, for use in netbooks and a new class of pocket-sized products it calls mobile Internet devices.

      • Smartphones Under Assault From Beige-Box Bunch

        Intel and LG also showed off a mobile Internet device, which sits somewhere between a cellphone and a netbook. The product, expected to be released next year, will run on an Intel-financed version of the Linux operating system called Moblin and Intel’s Atom processor.

      • Netbooks Worm Their Way Into Businesses

        Jamrog brings a Linux-based Eee PC 1000 that he bought himself to HCC, connects it to the school’s network and does his work on the netbook. “No one has scoffed yet,” said Jamrog, who added that he and a full-time security professor at the college are thinking about pushing to require students to have netbooks.

      • Netbooks: What’s All The Fuss?

        Typically priced below $400, netbooks offer a diminutive form factor, usually weighing less than three pounds and sporting 10-inch or smaller screens. They’re also known for their low-power processors, which pack less oomph than those found in their notebook cousins but also promise longer battery life. Most commonly, they come with Microsoft XP Home or Linux operating systems.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source News from FOSDEM 2009 – Day 2

    In the weekend of 7 and 8 February, the 9th Free & Open Source Developers’ Europe Meeting (FOSDEM) took place at the Université Libre Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels. Your editors Sander Marechal and Hans Kwint attended this meeting to find out for you what’s hot, new in the area of the Linux environment and might be coming to you in the near future. This is our report of the second day covering the talks about Thunderbird 3, Debian release management, Ext4, Syslinux, CalDAV and more.

  • SAS Warms to Open-Source One Letter at a Time

    “R is a leading language for developing new statistical methods,” Bob Rodriguez, the senior director for statistical development at SAS, said in the notice. “Our new Ph.D. developers learned R in their graduate programs and are quite versed in it.”

    The company looks to add more R support into its software as soon as next year.

    While limited for the moment, SAS’s support may be enough to open the company up more to the R discussion and developers in the future.

  • The Open-Source Collaboration Gap

    Why individuals contribute more to open-source projects than companies do.

    When it comes to open-source communities, individuals are much better citizens than institutions. The enlightened self-interest that causes individuals to send back bug fixes, contribute ideas for new features and write documentation is much harder to find in institutions. This week, the JargonSpy analyzes why such a gap exists and what can be done about it.

  • Application Architecture Data of Over 2,500 Open Source Projects Now Available at Coverity(TM) Scan Site

    Coverity, Inc., the software integrity company, today announced the publication of application architecture data from over 2,500 popular open source software projects at http://www.scan.coverity.com. As an outgrowth of its contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Coverity(TM) collected this data via the Scan site in conjunction using the Coverity Architecture Analyzer product. This new, publicly accessible resource includes application architecture files and generated diagrams that will benefit developers planning to incorporate open source packages in their applications, as well as developers that want to learn the architectures of successful projects to improve the structure of their own applications.

  • Open source can boost S’pore innovation

    Through its 10-year Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) masterplan, Singapore seeks to create an environment where its people, the private and public sectors can collaborate on innovative next-generation ICT products and services, said Tan Geok Leng, CTO of the country’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

    During his keynote address here Tuesday at the Open Source Singapore Pacific-Asia Conference and Expo (OSSPAC), Tan urged attending developers and delegates at the event to use Singapore as a place to create innovative services, pilot them and then provide these services globally.

  • Moneybookers Expands Open Source Shop Network

    Moneybookers, one of Europe’s largest online payment systems, is delighted to announce that its full payment module is now available via the Open Source shop software provider, osCommerce.com.

    This follows the recent announcement that the Moneybookers payment system would be available via Magento.com, another leading Open Source shop software provider.

    One of the first Open Source systems, osCommerce has built a showcase of over 14,000 online shops and powers many thousands more online shops worldwide.

  • 50% of Company Revenues to be Distributed to Open Source Developers

    Software company, The Development Cloud has announced that it is to distribute 50% of the revenues of its commercial software products to contributors of the associated open source software projects allowing contributors to earn uncapped financial rewards.

  • Health

    • A Response to HIMSS “Call to Action” on the American Recovery and Response Act of 2009

      Jeff Soble, Neil Cowles, and Edmund Billings have a response reproduced after the break to HIMSS “Call to Action”. This is a sobering look at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which looks poised to result in the demise of real competition, medical data in the hands of a cartel or monopoly for a few wealthy corporations, loss of privacy and the loss of the physician as the traditional custodian of medical data. Item 3 is salient: “CCHIT works to the benefit of a small number of large EMR vendors that can command a high price from the relatively small segment of the market able to currently afford their products. It is essentially anti-competitive, and establishes a major barrier to entry by new vendors and open source projects (where the majority of innovation will take place).”

    • Musician’s back project to fund open source health tools

      Popular musical artists including Peter Buck of REM and Youssou N’Dour are part of a new project to raise funds to put open source software tools in the hands of African doctors. Partnering with Grammy Award-winning artist N’Dour, global non-profit IntraHealth International is releasing a charity album called OPEN Remix. Artists on the album have donated remixes of N’Dour’s Wake Up song as part of the project.

    • Standards of Patient Care

      If we are to pull back in time from such an Orwellian future of patient “care,” we need to remember that there is still an art as well as a science to healing. The time is now, if indeed it is not already too late, to recognize that there are human standards for health care that cannot be quantified, and should not be forgotten.

  • Business

    • Open Source Collaboration: Two Cases in the U.S. Public Sector

      Globally, there is an emergence of open source consortia focused on the sharing of resources and code, and a desire to promote an open source approach generally. In this paper, we describe our findings from interviews with participants working in two relatively new consortia in the government sector: the Government Open Code Collaborative or GOCC, and the Open Source Software Institute or OSSI. For each case we consider six major questions: (1) How and why did these collaborative efforts begin? (2) What are their motivations? (3) How are these collaborative efforts governed? (4) What communication and collaborative infrastructure do they utilize? (5) What software do they focus on? and, (6) What is their current status? Our findings suggest that incentives, membership structures, stable paid staff, concentrated focus and attention to the creation and delivery of “value” to participating organizations are important factors leading to successful open source consortia.

  • Google

    • Why Google loves open source

      Perhaps that’s because Google apparently recognizes that open source isn’t something to be strip-mined. For open source to succeed, it must be made into a renewable resource. That means contributing back. It means respecting the community and feeding it.

      Google groks this. The next phase is to convince enterprise IT to contribute back, too, as it is the group most in need of the cost savings, innovation, and efficiency that open source can provide. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has been calling for greater enterprise IT participation in open-source communities. Let’s hope they listen.

    • Game-changers – Google or Apple?

      When I caught up with Google’s mobile chief Hugo Barra, I asked him whether he was disappointed that Android hadn’t yet taken over the world. He insisted that the hundreds of applications now being built for the new operating system proved that it was going to be very popular with all sorts of manufacturers – but pointed out that as it was an open-source system, he’d be the last to know what was in the pipeline because nobody needed to tell Google.

  • Sun

    • Finally: Anti Aliasing is done for OOo 3.1!

      Fast enough methods for Anti-Aliasing on all systems had to be evaluated. All this had to be done in a compatible manner, migrating the ‘living’ office over that time. All in all, about 500.000 lines of code were changed/rewritten (CWSes aw024, aw033, aw059). Doesn’t sound like a dead project, does it? If You are interested in more details, You may follow the task’s description and its discussions and links.

    • Heads up for users of bidirectional and CTL text

      OpenOffice.org 3.1 will have quite a lot of improvements. Especially advances in the internationalization (I18N) infrastructure are very important in a product with over a hundred localizations (L10N). OOo is used all over the world by millions of users and we really want to provide the office productivity suite of choice for everyone.statcounter

  • Government

    • Open World Forum releases the 2020 FLOSS Roadmap

      The Open World Forum (OWF) is an international organization based in Paris, France. OWF organized an event in December 2008 which brought together people from across the FLOSS spectrum: programmers, advocates, corporate and small business users, hobbyists, academics and investors. OWF’s focus is the future of information technology within the context of the FLOSS revolution. One significant outcome of the 2008 event was the culmination of strategic, tactical and political discussions in the form of a roadmap through the year 2020.


  • BCS = Brilliant, Brave and Beautiful Computer Society?

    The British Computer Society (BCS) is not an organisation I refer to much in these posts. That’s because there’s not really that much intersection between its interests and mine. BCS represents the computing establishment, if you like, while I’m just some crazy blogging about all this weird open stuff on the margins.


    If we now have the pre-eminent establishment computing organisation raising its voice in protest against the unprecedented, transformative nature of this bill, isn’t it perhaps time for the UK government to stop and think again? Who knows? – maybe it could even ask the BCS for some sensible advice.

  • BCS accuses UK.gov of grabbing ‘draconian’ data powers

    The British Computing Society has joined the chorus of criticism of the way the government has hidden major changes to data protection law in unrelated legislation – the Coroners and Justice Bill.

  • EU privacy chief supports Amendment 138

    The European Data Protection Supervisor expresses support for Amendments 138 and 166, which provide user safeguards against abusive practices by rights-holders or network operators. And he chastises the Parliament for giving in to pressure.

  • Free Culture vs. Fear Culture vs. Fee Culture

    This is probably why I chose to require that videos be submitted to the Mozilla Net Effects video program be licensed under the Creative Common NonCommercial-ShareAlike license — I let my fear of someone misusing the videos outweigh the benefits from allowing commercial use. People with bad intentions will do bad things with the videos, often regardless of the license on the work. Preventing people who do create good in society from using the work in a broad way is just providing extra advantage to those who break the rules.

  • Pirate Bay prosecutor tosses infringement charges overboard

    Half of the charges made against the four men behind the notorious file-sharing website The Pirate Bay have been sensationally dropped on day two of the trial.

  • Canon Tries To Shut Down Fake Canon Parody Blog

    Thomas Hawk writes “An interesting twist over at the Fake Chuck Westfall Blog. Fake Chuck (like Fake Steve before him) has a blog out parodying Canon’s real Technical Information Advisor Chuck Westfall. It seems that Canon and their lawyers over at Loeb & Loeb are none too fond of all the fun that Fake Chuck and DSLR geeks everywhere have been having at their expense and have sent Fake Chuck’s blog hosting company, WordPress, a notice to take the blog down.

  • Google’s Cutts Apologizes For Paid Post Snafu

    Google Japan hired a Japanese company called Cyberbuzz, who paid bloggers as much as $100 to write about a new search widget. This was a clear violation of Google’s rules, which Google has aggressively and publicly enforced over the past couple of years, much to many directory operators’ chagrins.

  • Vietnam may shut down Vietnamese-American Web site

    Authorities have recommended closing a Web site owned by an American man of Vietnamese origin for violating copyright rules and publishing “misleading” information about government policies, police said Monday.

  • Technical aspects of the censoring of archive.org

    Back in December I wrote an article here on the “Technical aspects of the censoring of Wikipedia” in the wake of the Internet Watch Foundation’s decision to add two Wikipedia pages to their list of URLs where child sexual abuse images are to be found. This list is used by most UK ISPs (and blocking systems in other countries) in the filtering systems they deploy that attempt to prevent access to this material.

    A further interesting censoring issue was in the news last month, and this article (a little belatedly) explains the technical issues that arose from that.

    For some time, the IWF have been adding URLs from The Internet Archive (widely known as “the wayback machine“) to their list. I don’t have access to the list and so I am unable to say how many URLs have been involved, but for several months this blocking also caused some technical problems.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 13 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

German Press on Novell Shafting Its German Employees

Posted in Europe, Mandriva, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell not committed to S.u.S.E.

AS ONE OF our readers put it, he knew it would be bad news when an American proprietary software company, Novell, bought a darling of Europe, which was competing closely on the desktop against Mandriva.

It was a particularly quiet week for OpenSUSE last week and it turned out, based on two independent sources (one is private), that Novell’s core SUSE developers were affected by low-key layoffs.

Is Novell moving further towards GNU/Linux and open source as it so boldly claims or is it running further back to development of proprietary technologies and Microsoft copycats that only weaken GNU/Linux and open source?

The following article from the Germany-based Linux Pro Magazine rightly expresses disappointment, according to gentle signs in the writing style.

ovell openSUSE: Development Ebbing?


Of the 160 openSUSE workers, around 30 (or 20%) were affected by the layoff.

Novell does not want either to confirm or deny any cuts in the popular Linux distro’s development and still defers to last week’s announcement. Financial results are expected February 26.

We are hardly able to find OpenSUSE news this week and the only article found so far is not favourable to OpenSUSE.

Open SuSE 11.1

I knew there would be issues with this machine, simply because it is more than 5 years old. In the case of OpenSuSE, it appears that the integrated video card is the main weakness. Or at least it was a jumbled display that kept me from getting very far. I did try several of the screen options from the default to 800×600 to VESA. Nothing seemed to be working. I’m sure some of you could have done some command line magic to make it work, but I’m only going so far on a live CD. The purpose of the live CD is to see if the program works on my hardware, and in this case, OpenSuse would not. I may try it on my laptop just to see how it looks and does on more modern hardware.

Is it time to branch out of SUSE and rid this good project from the bad name of Novell, including the encumbrances it imposes on OpenSUSE?

Peace of mind


Microsoft’s Patent Roadshow and Trolls

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


FOR ITS software patents agenda, Microsoft recruited a multitude of cronies and pressure groups inside Europe. Every debate must accommodate someone from Microsoft (or one who represents Microsoft interests) and this Brussels event which took place yesterday was no exception. Look who was there:

Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe, Microsoft Corporation

A few days ago, Acacia returned to the headlines because of its lawsuit against Red Hat — a lawsuit that was potentially invoked by former Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. One of our informants found out that Acacia has just successfully extorted another company.

Acacia Research, a developer and licensor of patented technologies, has announced that its Cardio Access subsidiary has entered into a licensing agreement with Edwards Lifesciences, a provider of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring devices, covering a patent relating to certain medical devices.

For a company to harass another on behalf of a larger company is so not unusual and in fact, the following news article from Information Week shows exactly that.

Apple, Google, IBM and maybe even OLPC are likely to have become victims of Microsoft lawsuits that were carried out via proxies. There are more recent examples and bizarre ones too.

A word that we echoed the other day keeps circulating and suggesting that patent trolls are merely a symptom of an erroneous system. [via Digital Majority]

Here is a well-written piece by Timothy B. Lee at the Cato Institute which focuses on how we can improve the patent system. It points out that patent trolls are merely a symptom of a patent system which is dysfunctional. In addition it touches on VoIP patents and is worth a read if you have interest in our patent system.

Another post which we pointed out a couple of days ago proposed the notion that patents are a “tax on innovation”. Mike Masnick has more to say on this matter and he also argues for that disposition that patents do not support independent inventors.

Joe Mullin has written up an interesting post, talking about how almost no patent infringement lawsuits involve accusations that one firm specifically “copied” the other. Traditionally, of course, if you think about intellectual property or the way most people view intellectual property — and you hear that someone’s been accused of patent infringement, their first thought is that the invention was “copied” or (as some incorrectly claim) “stolen.” Yet, the evidence suggests that this is rarely, if ever, the case.

Legal issues which relate to Free software and intellectual monopolies that are antithetical to it will soon be soon discussed in a symposium, according to the Chicago Tribune.

New legal developments in free or open-source software licensing and litigation will be addressed at an Open Source Symposium sponsored by Saper Law Offices.

Free software challenges not only a system that contradicts its very right to exist. It also challenges an unethical and dysfunctional framework which even large companies like eBay are protesting against.

“According to Software Magazine, last year we were the 92nd largest software company in the US. My perspective on software patents is simple: stop issuing software patents. Software patents should not exist.” —Jerry Fiddler, Wind River Systems

Red Hat-Microsoft: Take III

Posted in Asia, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NOW that we’ve had more time to debate the facts, we are able to come up with some more analysis — some better, some worse.

We start with the better by quoting one of our regular readers, oiaohm, who insists that “Red Hat’s Virtualistion deal with Microsoft is after something. [Windows] 2008 can run an unlimited number of Windows servers inside the Microsoft hypervisor under 1 licence. Now, if Red Hat can get the same, hello cheap central server running of Windows. Red Hat has been after the deal for 4 years. But would never sign off on patents unless it covered open source. Virtualisation is just a small bit of it. It really shows how weak Microsoft is at moment.”

This does not contradict what we wrote earlier [1, 2], but it makes a nice addition that confirms Microsoft’s fear. In contrast with oiaohm, the Var Guy believe that Red Hat was pressured to negotiate such a deal. He wrote that “this is a significant win for Red Hat and Microsoft’s mutual customers and partners. But The VAR Guy thinks Novell’s close relationship with Microsoft forced Red Hat to the negotiating table.”

GNOME RPMThere were many comments in Slashdot that took account of Novell. One person wrote that “It’s a real kick in the teeth for Novell. This is a perfectly straightforward deal of certifying each other’s systems on their virtual platforms that Novell couldn’t get right. In practice, Microsoft is providing no help whatsoever to Novell in running Windows on their virtual platform (which I don’t think Red Hat is expecting itself really) and they sold themselves down the river by agreeing to some elaborate coupon scheme that saw SLES servers totally surrounded by installations of Windows Server and AD domains. I don’t think they even realised what they’d signed up to. At least Red Hat gets some marketable press out of this without conceding anything.”

A personal stalker who goes by the name harlows_monkey or “Tim Smith” could not help throwing some slime when s/he wrote that “The best part is going to be watching the folks at boycottnovell rant about it. This is going to really pop some throbbing veins on their heads.”

“RHT are not agreeing in any way that Linux owes MSFT any IP rights.”One comment in Slashdot says: “No man, this means microsoft is now on its knees. And Novell is proven to have done it the wrong way and now look like idiots.”

Another reader defends Red Hat: “How does this qualify as “neutralizing?” RHT gave up nothing. F/OSS doesn’t suffer at all. This is no different from making RHEL work with any other third party closed source technology like Oracle or SAP. RHT and MSFT have simply recognized that there is a need for this interoperability, but RHT basically forced MSFT’s hand and MSFT backed down. This is, if anything, a huge victory for F/OSS.”

And another one: “Read TFA. This agreement contains *none* of the bullshit IP limitations Novell agreed to when they sold out. In this case Red Hat and MSFT are only cooperating from a *technical* standpoint. RHT are not agreeing in any way that Linux owes MSFT any IP rights. This is amazing news and sticks a finger in the eye of Novell’s sellout.”

This one highlights the key issue: “What the Novell/Microsoft deal primarily did was to lend credibility in the eyes of some people that to use many FOSS packages, you needed a patent license from Microsoft. The same applies to Linspire, Xandros, and the rest of those that actually signed patent deals with Microsoft over FOSS.”

Mary Jo Foley quotes Microsoft's media mole and also the Microsoft allies from the Burton Group. There is no new information there aside from a statement which refers to Xen and KVM because this sheds some light on yet-undisclosed details.

Heise Online has covered this too and so has Leah Rosin.

Timothy Prickett Morgan, who is very knowledgeable in this area, wrote on behalf of The Register.

The interoperability agreement has been forced on the two companies, which are not exactly natural allies or even particularly friendly even if they are mostly civil, by their respective customer bases, software partners, and resellers, explained Mike Evans, vice president of corporate development at Red Hat, and Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization strategy at Microsoft, in a Wwebcast this morning.

The Red Hat-Microsoft deal is short and sweet, and bears little resemblance to the landmark interoperability, licensing, and patent protection deal that Red Hat rival Novell signed with Microsoft in November 2006.

Lastly, DaniWeb brings back memories of April last year when Novell and Microsoft had entered China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and marketed Ballnux at the expense of local, well-established and Free distributions of GNU/Linux. Novell and Microsoft used lies and spin. They also spat at the likes of Red Hat to enforce “Linux tax”. Here is an hypothetical dialogue:

Almost 10 months ago, I wrote the post, “Dear China, Microsoft Wants to Charge You for Air Too” and now Novell follows up with its own plan to charge China for air. The Chinese assume that since Linux is open source that it means that it is less capitalistic and less money driven.

OK. Now let’s see if you can get them to believe that.

The conversation will go something like this:

Novell: Hi, we’re Novell–we represent the open source operating system, Linux.

China: Great. You did know that Red Hat and Microsoft both have already been here, didn’t you?

Novell: Yes, of course. Our version of Linux is better than Red Hat’s and we have an agreement with Microsoft. [Giggling in the background]

After the deal with with Red Hat, things may change. Red Hat too has an agreement with Microsoft, but it has nothing to do with patent royalties. So who would possibly choose SLES over equivalent but cheaper counterparts?

Novell cloud
Red Hat more likely to dominate the cloud

Microsoft Kills “Windows Mobile” as History’s Lesson Resurfaces

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smashed phone

FOR SEVERAL months now we have been passing testimonies and analyses that were predicting or calling for the death of Windows Mobile. Some of these were voices of prominent Microsoft fans. Believe it or not, it has just been announced that Microsoft took radical action and buried the old identity of Windows Mobile, perhaps admitting that Windows Mobile was on a road to nowhere. The company is therefore presenting superficial UI changes that neglect much of the “Windows familiarly” factor (thus also shattering the myth/perception that the Windows metaphor is naturally “user friendly”).

One reader sent us a pointer to this news article a couple of days ago. It contains memories of a story about Microsoft stabbing a handset partner in the back. Here is one portion of interest:

Iain Thomson: In 2001 things looked good for British firm Sendo.

The company was doing development on mobile platforms and signed a contract with Microsoft to build the first handset for Microsoft’s upcoming smartphone operating system. This looked to be a cash cow.

Microsoft bought a stake in the company and a seat on the board and the two worked on the development of the Stinger’ Z100 smartphone, which was eagerly awaited by press and public. But then deadlines got missed, then missed again and the company announced the deal was off.

Shortly afterwards HTC announced it would produce the first Microsoft smartphones and Windows Mobile was born, albeit with some major revisions along the way.

Microsoft and Sendo got into a legal battle over the ins and outs of the situation and signed a deal ending the affair in 2004 and the Brummie boys and girls were shortly swallowed by Motorola.

A friend of mine still has one of only two Z100 Stringers that ever made it into private hands. It worked perfectly for many years and was a favourite phone of his before being superseded.

I just can’t help feeling that Sendo’s staff might have wanted to bolt the doors when Microsoft came calling.

Shaun Nichols: We could probably build a top ten list just from the names of companies that have been done in by Microsoft. This one is also an example of just how unforgiving the IT industry can be, particularly a fast-growing market such as smartphones.

Sendo is also an example of how some of the coolest products can often be sent to the scrap heap through no fault of their own. Sometimes politics, bean-counting or just plain bad luck can do an otherwise promising technology in.

Let this teach any company which decides to collaborate with Microsoft why it mustn’t. They usually ends up in tears.

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