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02.20.09

SUSE Crisis Watch

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 7:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FURTHER TO this previous post, we find similar coverage. Here are some examples from today.

ITWire: Troubling times for OpenSUSE

The OpenSUSE project, a group that develops a Linux distribution that then feeds into Novell’s SUSE Linux, has been hit recently by the layoffs at Novell.

[...]

Another thing that Bleser and Yunashko have stated is that they look forward to having those who were laid off continue working with the project. It strikes one as a tad insensitive to expect people who are thrown out on the dustheap by a company to still retain interest in a project run by the same company, but maybe there is a greater spirit of altruism among these unfortunate souls than among the masses.

LinuxHaters: Just let it die, please

I don’t think Novell never really gave a shit about openSUSE. They just saw what Redhat did with Fedora, and openSUSE is just a poor “me too” attempt. You know, Linux is about community or something. So let’s just toss our POS distro over the wall, and see if some freetards pick it up. Because, like, that would be totally awesome. The community has infinite free resources, why don’t we harness some? It’s really easy. You just make a wiki page with really tiny fonts, stick an “open” in your name, and call it a day.

Subject: my letter to suse community

Dear Suse Community,
Please get out of there as soon as possible.
Thank you very much,
A Linux user.

No comment.

New Examples of ‘Slackreporting’

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Vista 7 at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Silverlight media

Picture contributed by BN reader

SOME SEEMINGLY-INNOCENT journalists keep reciting and spreading the misconception that Moonlight 1.0 is news. For the third time: it’s not news [1, 2, 3]. And yet, this does not prevent Tim Anderson, who received a Vista 7 laptop as Microsoft 'endowment', from pushing this envelope some more. The very same man, Tim Anderson (pro-Microsoft writer by the way) also admitted that Mono was a problem due to the Novell/Microsoft deal and now he is boosting Silverlight — along with Microsoft DRM — using Novell’s work which Microsoft is assisting (Moonlight needs Novell and vice versa).

Microsoft should get serious on Moonlight

[...]

What about Silverlight and open source? Here, the big announcement last week was the release of Moonlight 1.0, Novell’s open source implementation for Linux.

But it’s not news, so it’s careless to harp about it. Is he trying to make Microsoft a ‘standard’ or does he permit Microsoft to poison GNU/Linux with patents that he considers to be a problem? The SFLC holds a similar position.

This is either negligent reporting or coverage with agenda, in this case Microsoft’s. Given the messenger, this is unsurprising.

“This is either negligent reporting or coverage with agenda, in this case Microsoft’s.”Another separate example would be Dana Blankenhorn, whom we mentioned last month (no offence, Dana). Blankenhorn writes: “I believe the Android is Linux-based, but I know Symbian’s not, and I don’t think LiMo is.” (context here)

How can a guy who is running ‘the’ “Linux and Open Source” blog not know that Li[nux]Mo is using Linux? To quote from the official site, “LiMo Foundation is an industry consortium dedicated to creating the first truly open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices.” Is Blankernhorn also unsure about whether or not Android is Linux based? The above suggests so.

This probably says a lot about the quality of ZDNet more than anything else, but how can this be surprising when the person in charge of ‘the’ “Linux and Open Source” does not even use GNU/Linux and probably not open source, either (he occasionally bashes it)? You cannot properly become a reviewer or steak houses if you are a vegetarian. The practice and insights are not compatible, leading either to misinformation or hostility.

It is getting increasingly difficult to trust the supposedly 'big' sites/press, not just due to bias but also due to serious mistakes and excessive parroting [1, 2].

Novell Buys More Proprietary Software to Add to Its Proprietary Software Portfolio

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Novell at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Excludes GNU/Linux as well

A LEOPARD CAN never change its spots, just as Novell cannot depart from proprietary (non-Free) software and cannot take GNU/Linux seriously. Some months ago we saw Novell releasing Open Office for Windows but not for GNU/Linux and as we showed just hours ago, Novell is not so serious about GNU/Linux anymore. Its main objective at the moment seems to be contamination of this operating system with Microsoft’s software/intellectual monopolies.

Novell advertises a lot in IDG this week (mostly ComputerWorld), but it involves nothing but non-Free software. Novell does not advertise SUSE, which seems to contradict the identity which the company once sought, namely that of an open source and “Linux” vendor.

To make matters worse, despite the company's deep losses, it is wasting money not on advancing Free software but on obtaining more non-Free software — this time technology from Fortefi. Here is the press release.

Novell announces it acquired the technology assets of Fortefi Ltd., a provider of compliance and privileged user management solutions. Novell also acquired a perpetual source code license to ActivIdentity’s industry-leading single sign-on solution, SecureLogin, which had been previously available to customers through an OEM agreement as Novell® SecureLogin. The two deals cement Novell’s leadership position in bringing together identity, access and security management technologies to help customers reduce cost, complexity and risk while proving compliance with industry regulations.

CIOL follows with superficial edits of the press release and a former Noveller comments about this thusly.

Novell primarily gets public credit (or recrimination) for its Linux business, but on Thursday Novell reminded the world that it’s more than just a Linux vendor, acquiring the assets of technology assets of Fortefi Ltd. and a perpetual source code license to ActivIdentity’s single sign-on solution.

There is some more early coverage as follows.

eWeek: Novell Bolsters Identity and Access Management Portfolio with Acquisitions

The first is the acquisition of the technology assets of compliance and user management vendor Fortefi, which Novell plans to use as the basis for the upcoming release of Novell Privileged User Manager in the second quarter of 2009.

Biz Journals: Novell deals boost its product suite

The Waltham, Mass.-based open source IT management software firm (Nasdaq: NOVL) said the deals are designed to raise Novell’s profile in identity, access and security management software.

IDG: Novell aquisition bolsters ID governance portfolio

Novell acquired the technology assets of Somerset, UK-based Fortefi, a provider of compliance and ‘privileged user management solutions’. Essentially, Novell is getting two Fortefi products, namely Command Control and Compliance Auditor.

VNUNet: Novell broadens security portfolio

Although the product has been available until now through an OEM agreement as Novell SecureLogin, the new deal will enable better integration of SecureLogin with Novell’s identity management solutions and faster addition of Novell customer requirements into future iterations of the product, said the firm.

“We’re excited about adding Fortefi’s privileged user management solutions to our portfolio and bringing SecureLogin technology, development, and support in-house,” said Jim Ebzery, senior vice president and general manager of identity and security at Novell.

CBR: Novell to bolster ID controls

Novell Privileged User Manager is due in the first quarter and will include a Compliance Auditor and various Command Control agents. It will provide granular access control and auditing of super-user accounts across HP UNIX, Solaris and Microsoft Windows 2000, 2003 and XP platforms.

That last one is quite a mouthful. What is conspicuously missing?

Novell is supporting just about any platform except GNU/Linux. It’s the same with Novell’s NAC, as Shane pointed out some months ago.

Does anyone still think that Novell is serious about GNU/Linux?

Missing piece in puzzle

Novell Promotes ASP.NET, Demotes OpenSUSE

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE at 2:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell bleeds
“Novell is bleeding to Death”

ABOUT a year and a half ago, Novell told the press that it would increase the hiring of .NET developers. The company seems to have kept its promise because as time goes by, Novell becomes more and more like a reflection of Microsoft, especially in the technical sense. As Microsoft’s Sam Ramji recently admitted, Novell is pretty much Microsoft’s department for GPL material (and other licences that Microsoft does not want to get in direct contact with).

The news is not particularly shocking and two readers sent us some pointers that are worth sharing.

Less than a year ago we saw Novell Web pages requiring the use of Internet Explorer, but to make matters worse, Novell is now investing resources in promoting and spreading ASP.NET. Well done, Miguel, well done.

Improved ASP.NET support

Our ASP.NET story is getting better. web projects are now compatible with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008 SP1.

Our ASP.NET text editor now offers code completion of tag, attributes, attribute values and event handlers is now supported for ASP.NET and various HTML DTDs.

Novell et al are already cheering the insertion of the Microsoft/Novell project called Moonlight into Ubuntu 9.04. What was not known yesterday is that early remarks about it had come from a Novell employee.

As the title says, I have a wonderful new job, working full time at Novell on my favourite open source project, Mono. What more can I say? :D *happy little coder does happy little jiggly dance*

This came just shortly after some massive layoffs at Novell (gist below). What is their strategy then? They hire Mono developers to assist .NET promotion/proliferation.

The layoffs of up to 1,000 people are expected to hit the SUSE Linux and consulting groups particularly hard, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

Over the past week we’ve written quite extensively about all the Moonlight/Moonshine hype that Novell had generated in the press despite the fact that there was no news at all (other than compatibility milestone) [1, 2]. In fact, even Moonshine was not a new release, but its buzz was timed so as to serve as a sidekick with the Moonlight press release, which was followed blindly by reporters who failed to realise that it was very old news.

Sadly, the hype prevails as Mono continues to be covered, having been initially injected into the Microsoft-sponsored Slashdot. Paul Krill’s article for InfoWorld later reached IDG’s MacWorld and David Meyer’s article (also noted before) reached Silicon.com. They are trying to moon everyone, leading to the perception that Moonlight is wonderful and that Silverlight is cross-platform, which it is not. As a result, some additional Web sites unknowingly shut GNU/Linux users out, the latest example being CBSSports. Microsoft uses Novell to pretend that GNU/Linux users are not being excluded (see the comments).

There is a coordinated campaign, as noted before, to hype up Silver Lie using lies, so even Free software initiatives get a slap in the face. The (very old) news about Moonlight 1.0 also sneaked its way into Asian publications.

The Novell-backed Mono project has released its widely anticipated Moonlight 1.0, a plug-in based on Microsoft’s Silverlight 1.0 rich interactive application (RIA) runtime.

Last but not least, from this new TuxRader audiocast it become obvious that Moonlight would make an elegant Trojan horse for bringing Mono into all GNU/Linux desktops, not just GNOME. Big distributions have already become unsuspecting victims.

So why is Novell doing all this?

Looking ahead into the future, is Novell dedicated to technologies other than Microsoft’s?

Is this what Novell’s CEO meant when he said that the partnership with Microsoft was “going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on”?

What is a GNU/Linux developer under Novell’s wing/umbrella supposed to deduce when this company, which employed .NET developers, is shafting its GNU/Linux developers and paid workforce (with more likely to come next week after a strong start)? Is this what Novell acquired S.u.S.E. for? A brand and a userbase, not to mention loyal volunteers?

Novell is at the moment contaminating not only SUSE but it’s doing the same thing to other distributions which share the same codebase. The community is built upon trust, which Novell cannot offer and in the coming fortnight we’ll be posting many videos of Gabriella Coleman, a researcher who explains this point very clearly.

According to a new post, there is already unrest in the OpenSUSE community.

The whole story started by a flame on a mailing list why some of us are not happy with the current state of openSUSE. It turned out there is a lot of different issues. So, we’ve met on a raining winter Friday 3 weeks ago to collect those issues as well as things that people consider to be good about openSUSE

More importantly, a widely-circulated open letter to the openSUSE Community has just been published. Pascal, one of the key people in the OpenSUSE community [1, 2] since the last elections [1, 2] and even beforehand [1, 2, 3] (he also boasts responsibilities in FOSDEM) implicitly endorses the concerns raised within the letter by echoing these words in his personal blog. It reads as follows (fragment only):

As you may know, recently Novell made the decision to reduce the workforce in their organization in the wake of our current economic outlook which is affecting everyone globally in all sectors of life. Unfortunately, this has also impacted some members of the openSUSE Community who were employed by Novell when, earlier this week, they were laid off.

We hear about layoffs every day now. Most of us have been hit by layoffs in recent times, if not personally then friends and family. The sadness we feel for our fellow community members is just as strong and our hearts go out to them in this time.

Some people have approached us publicly and privately and asked us what this means for the future of openSUSE. In fact, openSUSE is a community project driven both by Novell and the Community at large. Within this project, we make no distinction between Novell and non-Novell employees.

A headline found in another very recent article is extremely telling because it states that Novell is “Pushing Beyond SUSE Linux On Feb. 26.” This comes from an author who is in regular touch with John Dragoon (Novell marketing), so he should know. He does not even contradict persistent claims that predictions of gloom are true.

“Novell hardly cares about what used to be in 2004 when SUSE was a new asset.”The actual article that’s going under this headline is promotional and it welcomes Novell’s financial results that are certain to involve some layoffs.

Novell hardly cares about what used to be in 2004 when SUSE was a new asset. Novell’s managers work for their shareholders, to whom they are obliged.

It seems rather likely that Novell’s future direction will incorporate more surrogate Microsoft technologies like Mono and disruption of existing, well-established projects like OpenOffice.org using a Novell/Microsoft-controlled fork, Go-OO [1, 2].

Our private sources indicate with great certainty that Novell is set to announce layoffs next week and that the layoffs will be focused on Germany (but not only Germany). The executives have meanwhile enjoyed their vacation in a prestigious Mexican resort like a bunch of drunken gamblers in some bachelor’s party.

How did Novell end up this way and why does it take pleasure in ruining GNU/Linux in exchange for cash infusions from Microsoft? Well, perhaps it’s because — as one person put it a couple of days ago — “Novell is bleeding to Death”. People are advised to learn about Novell’s finances just before the Microsoft deal [1, 2]. Novell was apparently going out of business prior to the deal with Microsoft and there were problems with the NASDAQ too. The answers are all out there, but people tend to forget or ignore.

Novell’s stock fell sharply today (even tanked) to just $3.25. The latest financial results are only days away.

Novel's stock falls very low

Patents Roundup: Linux, Acacia, Microsoft, Samsung and More

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Samsung at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux

IN some of our previous roundups we looked at Red Hat and Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], whose patent case is reappearing because Red Hat looks for prior art. Someone who goes by the alias “stickster” put it in OSNews and Slashdot:

Didn’t Groklaw garner about 500 comments at the time (towards the end of 2007), some of which suggesting that there was prior art? Readers provided examples. Here is some coverage from around that time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and here is Acacia’s very latest extortion, which it brags about to its investors.

Acacia Subsidiary Enters into Settlement and License Agreement with NetScout

EWPORT BEACH, Calif., Feb 17, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) —-Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTG) announced today that its Diagnostic Systems Corporation subsidiary has entered into a settlement and license agreement with NetScout Systems, Inc. covering a portfolio of patents that apply to rule-based monitoring.

“Enters into Settlement” is an understatement. Those who invest in such a company, which only ever does what’s akin to racketeering with stuff it buys solely for this purpose, should be ashamed of themselves. This is very different from being a company that actually develops a technology or owns its creation, thus making these patents self-derived, e.g. (from the news):

1. CyberLink signs License Agreement for Macrovision’s IPG Patents and TV Guide Data Solutions to Enhance TV on the PC Experience

innovative solutions provider for the connected media lifestyle, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to license Macrovision’s interactive program guide patent portfolio and its TV Guide Data Solutions for use with CyberLink’s TVEnhance and PowerCinema software.

So TV guides are patentable now?

2. IDTELi Announces Agreement with Piedmont Credit Union of Danville VA

IDTELi LLC is an authorized distributor of the GUARDED ID® keystroke encryption software to the financial services industries

That would be keystroke encryption. Patentable? Well, at least they own it.

What’s with this mentality of Acacia then? When will it actually develop something? Or patent something rather than just acquire and coerce?

Need it be said that there is overlap — in terms of staff’s background — between Microsoft and Acacia? Well, they think alike and Microsoft is investing in even bigger 'Acacias'.

Microsoft

Microsoft is a classic hypocrite when it comes to patents. It lies with ‘honesty’ about the need for patents while pretending that dissenters are worthy of labels like “communist”. One person reposts a classic old article from Richard Stallman who rebuts this perception.

Today’s Microsoft is a megacorporation with thousands of patents. Microsoft said in court that the main competition for MS Windows is “Linux,” meaning the free software GNU/Linux operating system. Leaked internal documents say that Microsoft aims to use software patents to stop the development of GNU/Linux.

[...]

Mr. Gates’ secret is out now – he too was a “communist;” he, too, recognized that software patents were harmful – until Microsoft became one of these giants.

A survey of the company’s patenting carries on in Patently-O. It’s part of a series.

However, only about 20% of patents that discuss Microsoft are actually assigned to the company.

In reference to the Brother patent deal (involving Linux), Matt Asay adds that Microsoft intends to force IP into IT talk. He should say “patents” really, not “IP”.

Microsoft convinced Brother recently to license its patents so that Brother can run Linux drivers in some of its devices. Did you catch the oddity in there? Microsoft doesn’t make drivers, Linux-based or otherwise. What intellectual property of Microsoft’s did Brother need to license?

Only Microsoft knows, and it’s not telling, despite repeated requests for Microsoft to open up on the patents it alleges that Linux violates. It’s fine for Gutierrez to claim that intellectual property is the foundation for competition and cooperation, but when Microsoft is only willing to cooperate behind closed doors, it smacks of extortion, not partnership.

That last sentence is key. For prior information about the Brother deal:

  1. Microsoft Distorts the Linux and Virtualisation Markets
  2. Boycott Brother Industries
  3. Microsoft: Deal with Brother Similar to Novell’s
  4. Patents Roundup: Apple, Microsoft Trolls, and Linux

Speaking of extortion, although it’s not directly related to patents, here is an interesting new report.

According to Dilger, Microsoft has orchestrated a behind-the-scenes attack on Android, using its considerable leverage with manufacturers up and down the supply chain to discourage them from promoting Android devices too enthusiastically.

The article above refers to the essay titled “Did Microsoft kill Android at Mobile World Congress 2009?”

Android is clearly a threat to Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile. After all, how does one sell an aging mobile operating system lacking the multitouch sizzle of the iPhone and the addictive messaging savvy of the BlackBerry in a world where Google is butting in with a free, open source alternative that allows manufactures to freely customize it as they like?

We don’t fully agree with Roughly Drafted because many Linux-related announcements — Android included — were made at the event (we assembled them among our daily links in Boycott Novell). But there are other things to ponder.

Does Samsung Pay Microsoft for Android?

And what about LG?

Samsung, like a few other companies including Linux phone maker LG, compromised Linux when it signed a patent deal with Microsoft. It was quite similar but not identical to the Brother deal. The news this week says that Samsung is to unleash 3 Android (Linux) phones.

Reuters reports that Won-Pyo Hong, Samsung’s head of product strategy, confirmed at least three Android smartphones and at least a Linux one, which will all be outed by the end of 2009.

This is also covered here

Samsung’s Android Linux Handsets Coming Soon

[...]

Those who thought Samsung was on a mobile phone spewing spree so far at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), here’s more news for you.

Since Samsung pays Microsoft for Linux, what does this mean to Android/Google? Google recently paid Microsoft for patents on a technology, so it’s worth exploring or at least watching more closely. Speaking of Samsung, also in the news we find that this company, which is corrupt, has resorted to an embargo strategy against Bill Gates' latest darling (Kodak).

Samsung asks U.S. panel to ban Kodak camera imports

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd [...] asked a U.S. trade panel to block imports of Eastman Kodak Co’s digital cameras [...] alleging mobile phones and other wireless devices by Samsung and home rival LG Electronics Inc infringed on patented Kodak technology [...]

How does this promote consumers’ needs?

EU Propaganda Watch

One of our readers turned our attention to this new video of the event where, as we noted a few days ago, a Microsoft employee was among people in the panel. It’s a pro-patents forum and the guy in the video says that “whoever speaks against it speaks against Europe.” There is a lot of cronyism — some from Microsoft — inside Europe, comprising maximalisms of centralised (as in personal) wealth and monopolies. They have hired guns. Here is the latest examples where one of Microsoft’s paid shills, Jonathan Zuck [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], is used to further the agenda of illegalising Free software.

The existing intellectual protection (IP) system – under which companies have to file a patent in every EU member state – is “a telling example” of the Union’s fractured regulatory framework, argues the study presented at an IP Summit in Brussels.

To bypass the EU regulatory framework, many innovative companies and especially SMEs end up skipping the European market by applying for a patent in the US. Jonathan Zuck of the Association for Competitive Technology said: “For the EU to even consider catching up with the US and Japan, a single IP-protection must be put in place.”

USPTO Broken

In light of all this chaos, some people call for the dumping of Intellectual Monopolies, altogether. [via Digital Majority]

Time to rethink intellectual property laws?

[...]

Conversely, there is widespread anecdotal evidence that the act created a mind-set among many researchers that their knowledge represents a potential goldmine not to be shared with potential competitors (i.e. those working in other universities) – at least until it has been protected by a patent application.

Similarly, the 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.

TechDirt shares a couple more embarrassments for this existing system:

1. Nokia, Qualcomm Move Forward With Non-Patent-Fight-Based Relationship

Qualcomm and Nokia have been involved in a long-running series of patent disputes over chips in mobile phones. The two companies settled the bulk of their disputes last summer, with Nokia throwing a chunk of change at Qualcomm and the two making nice.

2. Patent Hoarding Firms Discover The ITC Loophole

We’ve been discussing the ITC loophole, that allows patent holders to get two cracks at charging a company with infringement over the same patent (using different rules) for a while now. Patent holders can sue in court and they can complain to the International Trade Commission, which has the power to issue an injunction, barring the import of any “infringing” products. Even worse, the ITC doesn’t necessarily need to follow the rules set forth by the Supreme Court over what is and what is not infringing.

So Much ‘Innovation’

Looking at the past few days’ news, we truly find a lot of evidence of the glaring problem, so hereby we present some exemplary stuff to be used as ‘ammunition’ against the status quo.

Here is a company that ‘innovates’ noise cancellation and another which ‘innovates’ mapping barcode to a URL (patent here). Delta is sued by a company that ‘innovated’ Wi-Fi on a plane (for background see this).

Theft protection too was ‘innovated’ (not ‘stolen’, to be a tad sarcastic), with details of the embarrassment for the USPTO right there.

Here is another patent hoarder in action:

General Patent Corporation (GPC), a leading patent licensing and patent enforcement firm, announced today on behalf of its client, Renhcol, Inc., that four additional licensing agreements for the “Web-Based Prediction Marketplace” Patent have been finalized as a result of settlements in a patent infringement lawsuits with patent infringement lawsuits with Pregame, LLC (Las Vegas, NV), 1402487 Ontario Limited (Toronto, ON), IGC Entertainment Corporation (Vancouver, BC) and National Sports Services (IGC), Inc. (Las Vegas, NV)”

“A leading patent licensing and patent enforcement firm,” it calls itself. Nice name for an extortion firm. Look at the actual patent. This is ridiculous.

There are other bizarre picks from the news, e.g.:

When will this end? Or rather, when will the USPTO be ended? With stuff like this abound, it’s only reasonable to demand that it’s reformed or shut down. This current, dysfunctional USPTO does not promote any innovation at all. It’s a marketplace so ripe for abuse where both patent examiners and the abusers make a lot of money, not to mention all which is gained by lawyers.

Some of the big advocates of this state of affairs are lawyers, monopolists, and patent trolls, none of whom are scientists or engineers. They are mooching off other people’s hard labour and brains.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 19th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 20/02/2009: Many Linux-powered Phones; KDE 4.2 Stuff

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux 46% Market Share, Windows 43.5% Market Share

    After a study of operating system usage of thousands of people I have discovered that Linux has a 46% market share. Linux now surpasses Windows which is shown to have a 43.5% market share. Overall GNU/Linux distributions have taken the lead from Microsoft based on this study. Honest.

    [...]

    To finish up I will leave you with this. In my office GNU/Linux has an 80% market share and FreeBSD has a 20% market share. That is all that really counts for me. It is all that really counts for anyone that has found GNU/Linux, learned its usefulness and uses it every day.

  • From Vista to Linux (It was a lot easier than I thought)

    All in all I couldn’t be happier with my switch. On top of having a much faster, more stable system I have found that using Open Source apps has been a great benefit over the multiple computers I use (so I’m a little behind on that one, what can I say).

  • Gutenberg books with GNU/Linux – Part 1

    I am a great fan of the Gutenberg project, a noteworthy and honorable effort to digitize copyright-free texts. This project has released into the public domain over 20,000 classic books.

    [...]

    I have explored a number of Debian packages that make reading Gutenberg texts a pleasure. In part two of this article I will explore Gutenberg-related Java-based applications, from speed reading to converting text to other handy formats.

  • Linux Void: Episode 21 – Super Nova

    Episode 21 in which we check out CDlinux, revisit identi.ca and get a phonecall

  • Education

    • Linux, Learning, and Little Kids

      Christopher Dawson has been thinking aloud about Linux in the classroom at his ZDNet Education blog. Dawson, the technology director of a school district in northern Massachusetts, had sixty new Classmate Convertible PCs fall into his hands, and wonders if the Linux-powered machines are a better option for the district.

      [...]

      In order to make the most of the available hardware, and increase the number of computers available in the children’s room at the library, I assembled (and simultaneously lobotomized) a few machines to run K12LTSP. K12LTSP is an offshoot of the Linux Terminal Server Project customized for educational environments. It calls for a desktop computer with reasonable specs, and any number of thin clients (ours consisted of old desktops, sans hard drives, that could boot from the network).

    • To Linux or not to Linux?

      I have yet to test Edubuntu on the Classmate. That will be happening soon and obviously I need to put it through its paces before I make a decision. We know that XP is pretty snappy on the little machines, though, and new firewalls with some pretty heavy duty gateway anti-malware should keep them running safely without performance-sapping client-side anti-virus (we, unfortunately, won’t be able to send them home, meaning that the firewall and weekly scans with ClamWin should do the trick).

    • Rotorua high school seeks Linux server supplier

      St Michaels Catholic School in Rotorua wants to lease and install a Linux server. According to tender documents released this week, the supplier must have experience with installing Linux servers and associated hardware.

  • Enablement

    • Microsoft’s biggest threat: Linux

      Now, here are some questions about these supposedly major-domo competitors to Microsoft, and I’m sure, that you can easily guess the answers:

      1) What was it that made Google such a serious net platform player, with enough power and flexibility to serve the world’s Internet needs?

      2) What was it that made netbooks possible in the first place?

      3) What gives netbook manufacturers enough leverage to screw Microsoft down on OEM licence costs?

      4) What is it that makes products like Amazon’s Kindle and hundreds of other e-book, portable media and mobile Internet gadgets possible, all by eschewing Microsoft’s embedded OSes?

      The answer of course, is Linux.

      Without Linux, there would be no Google. No startup could afford to build a platform on hundreds of thousands of servers which required either proprietary hardware (ie, Sun servers, circa 1998) or proprietary system software (ie, Microsoft’s Windows Server.) Further, how comfortable would Google be in competing with Microsoft in the Internet space, if Microsoft ‘owned’ its server platform, the basis of Google’s ongoing business?

    • Megafreight migration: Open source lightens the load

      My interest in Linux was not all that different to many others, I suppose. I was eager to try and understand what the fuss was all about back in 1996 while I was still at school and it has kept me interested ever since. At the age of 23 I was employed by Megafreight as their systems administrator. For about a year I struggled with corrupt MS Exchange 5.5 database files and temperamental MS Servers before I decided to implement our first Linux server.

      I had been experimenting with Gentoo as my distro of choice mainly because it was said that Gentoo gives one a better insight into the workings of Linux. It is also a very fast distribution as everything is compiled from source. This was demonstrated when I installed Gentoo on a P4 3.0GHz CPU, 4Gig of RAM and a 160GB IDE disk. We had recently lost our entire mail server due to a corrupt Exchange 5.5 database file and had moved our mail hosting to a fairly new Linux management company called Synaq.

    • Interview: Bringing a community together with free software

      CK: This project just couldn’t have happened with Microsoft software. The financial, hardware and time requirements made it very suitable for GNU/Linux.

      * Doing it in GNU/Linux made the learning experience attractive to me and, so far, I’m the only resident maintaining it.
      * There is easily available software to by-pass Microsoft proxy servers and, with kids using the suite, I don’t have the time to monitor them. I need a system that I can lock down and trust in.
      * Even to run the system in Windows XP would have required serious fund-raising and with that would have come the need to quantify the project’s achievements. This is not that type of project; how do you quantify different age and ethnic groups talking to each other? Part of the attraction for some people is just to come, “footle” and natter.

  • Games

  • Thin Clients

    • Canadian Linux firm to supply Brazilian schools with PC-sharing software

      Userful Corp. has won a deal to supply its Linux-based PC-sharing software to 357,000 Linux desktops in schools throughout Brazil.

      Userful’s Multiplier software runs on top of any version of the open-source Linux OS and enables a single desktop PC to be shared by as many as 10 users, all connected by individual monitors, keyboards and mice.

    • I’ve Seen the Future of Computing: It’s a Screen.

      Someday, all these capabilities will be built into every HDTV unit, but the initial Screen will likely be deployed using some sort of carrier-provided thin client box, perhaps based on a low-power Linux thin client running on something like a BeagleBoard with an Android-based session manager UI with some basic local applications for cached data use or direct content streaming (a la Roku) and costing less than $100 to manufacture.

  • SCALE 2009

  • KDE

    • KDE 4.2 on it’s way to sidux

      My brother installed KDE 4.2 on his sidux system over the weekend, using an experimental repo, and the reports he has given me make me very excited to try it on my own computer. It has a lot of eyecandy, such as some of the features from Compiz, but he says it is very customizable and no problem at all to use. KDE 4.2 definitely sounds different and the screenshots he has sent me show it to be so. It handles multiple desktops differently than did KDE 3.5 and it includes several desktop widgets or gadgets that will certainly come in handy in my computer work. As with KDE 3.5, it also appears that it will be easy to set up for my wife, which is a major plus.

    • KDE 4.2 brings the MySQL server to the desktop

      If you’re using Fedora 10, and are a KDE desktop user, you’ll notice that your latest KDE 4.2 update, requires having a local MySQL server installed. This is due to Akonadi, part of the KDE PIM packages, that now rely on MySQL as a default server, for storing PIM data. Just a few months ago, I mentioned the news that Amarok 2 will also use MySQL as a default database.

    • New KWin effect: Sheet

      Currently you don’t want to use the effect if fade effect is enabled as well. The two effects have different durations, so the dialog is completly faded while still being rolled up.

  • Distributions

    • A Review of Damn Small Linux 4.4.10

      For the first time this week I finally had the pleasure of taking Damn Small Linux (hereafter, DSL) for a test drive. One of the companies that I work for required an easy, lightweight and quick solution to salvage an older project. The owner had approached me and demanded that I, ” Get rid of this Compact Windows s*** and get this thing up and running” accomplishing X, Y and Z. A lot of problems had risen as a result of going with Microsoft Windows in the first place. The biggest of which was licensing. Being installed in public areas, this project/solution was to accomplish 1-2 specific task(s) without user interaction and nothing more.

    • Debian

      • Debian Med released with Debian 5.0 (Lenny)

        The recent release of Debian 5.0 (Lenny) contains a lot of medical software which is interesting for several tasks in medical work. The strongest part remains the support of microbiological applications but also medical imaging and the practice management GNUmed are included now. Perhaps an article on The Register might be interesting as well.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0

        The idea of a “universal operating system” that runs on just about any piece of hardware on the planet and is 100% modifiable, redistributable, and free of charge is a good one.

        Perhaps one day in the future there will no longer be a need for proprietary codecs, drivers, or firmware and Debian will be able to power all of the above with no outside help. Until that time I am forced to do more work to get my system running, while offshoots such as Ubuntu go the extra mile to include firmware and drivers for my hardware in the default install.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0: Flexible and (Almost) Free
      • Debian 5.0 With LXDE: It’s Your Grandad On Skates!
      • Debian Lenny Mini Review

        Having always been a Debian person at heart, I eagerly awaited the latest Debian version to hit the mirrors. When Lenny was released, I downloaded the DVD ISO through torrent and installed it.

    • Ubuntu

      • My other OS is Ubuntu

        He may sound innocent, but Leigh Dyer has attempted to get Linux working on an iPod, which means help desk workers everywhere view him as “difficult”. He also knows his stuff. Leigh is a software developer and systems administrator with more than 10 years Linux and Windows experience.

      • Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Customization – Revert Guide

        This tutorial is here because many of you have asked us to publish some instructions on how to revert our “Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Customization Guide.” And, because that guide was quite long, we decided to post a new one.

      • Why the gOS Could Now Hurt Microsoft

        Good OS, the Taipei, Taiwan-based company that launched in 2007, could turn out to be bad news for Microsoft.

        The makers of the gOS, Linux-based desktop operating system may now find themselves at the right place at the right time. With a market that is anxiously sizing up the netbook platform – - driven in large part by Intel’s low-cost Atom processors – - the gOS offers a simple proposition: A simple-to-install, free operating system integrated with Mozilla and Google technology for fun and productivity.

      • Dell Launches Inspiron Mini 10

        Other expected options are Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista operating systems, 120GB and 250GB hard-disk drives, solid-state drives, Bluetooth, wireless WAN, and an internal GPS.

      • Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth Opens Up

        I received a link to this online PDF from Intel earlier today. It is an interesting read from one of the bigger players in the Linux world, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical Ltd and a general Open Source enthusiast, Entrepreneur and socially and ethically responsible “nice guy”. He’s also spent a shade under 10 days in space aboard Soyuz TM-34 and the ISS. OK, *now* I’m jealous!!!

      • HOW TO: Introduce Ubuntu into your workplace

        Congratulations! You now have Ubuntu up and running in your workplace. From here, you can tailor the system to your needs (I installed a few design and web development applications and Firefox extensions, for example).

    • Red Hat/Fedora

      • New installation DVDs for Fedora

        The Fedora Unity project, an independent project with strong links to Fedora, has made new ISO images for the updated Fedora 10 available to download via Jigdo. The ‘re-spins’ contain all updates released for Fedora up to the 10th of February.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SOFTWARE TOOLS: LinuxLink now supports Freescale MPC8313E Processor

      Timesys Factory can base Linux platforms on Freescale-enabled 2.6.23 kernel or the 2.6.28 mainline kernel.

    • LogLogic demos power of embedded Linux

      LogLogic’s Linux-based appliances can mine this huge amount of information for near-instant reports of data breaches or deliver an audit trail on a key document for compliance that allows the audit committee to sign off financial disclosure forms. The company has its own intellectual property tied up in that performance, but it wouldn’t be possible without the flexibility and cost advantages of Linux.

    • Mobile dev platform supports Linux

      Texas Instruments (TI) announced an MDP (mobile development platform) using its OMAP3430 system-on-chip (SoC). Available with a Linux BSP (board support package), the “Zoom OMAP34x-II” includes a 4.1-inch multi-touch display, eight megapixel camera, GPS, HDMI output, and a forthcoming pico projection module, says the company.

    • Networking

      • SATEL launches SATELLAR – The world’s first radio modem with a Linux application platform

        SATEL, a leading manufacturer of radio modems for long range wireless data, announced SATELLAR Digital System, a smart radio modem combining TCP/IP-functionalities, a Linux platform for customer specific applications, and a versatile modular structure.

      • Linux device bridges 3G, WiFi in Spain

        Another option might be to use a modern Linux distribution on a notebook equipped with a supported 3G data card (Web reports suggest Telefonica’s Huawei E270 works under at least some Linux distributions). Starting with Fedora 10, Linux gained a version of NetworkManager supporting the easy creation of ad hoc networks, as shown in the screenshot below…

    • Phones

      • Mozilla’s mobile Fennec open to add-ons

        Mozilla has been working for years on creating a handset version of its successful Firefox desktop browser. In April last year, however, it said it was making a fresh effort at moving Firefox onto phones and other handheld devices, naming the project ‘Fennec’.

      • Garmin-Asus unveil their first new GPS smartphones

        The new Garmin-Asus venture announced its first two smartphone offerings at the GSM Mobile World Congress and true to earlier promises, they each use a different operating systems, one Linux and the other Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

      • Windows Mobile 6.5 Debuts But Is It Too Late?

        “I think that the Windows Mobile operating system will fade and they’ll [Microsoft] build a shell on top of Linux,” Mathias predicted. Why? Because of costs.

        Profit margins on mobile phones are tight and anywhere a device maker can save a dime, it will. Windows Mobile is expensive in comparison to Linux, so he predicts that Linux will win out longer-term.

      • Open-Plug Selects Software Solution from Enea for its Linux Mobile Platform

        Enea® (Nordic Exchange/Small Cap/ENEA) made the agreement with Open-Plug at the end of 2008 to deliver the H.324 protocol stack from its Netbricks line of products to their ELIPS Suite product, a ready-to-use mobile platform for mass market phones, and to their ELIPS Telephony Stack targeting Linux-based devices such as MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices).

      • Google’s Android May Challenge Microsoft in Portables

        Google started Android in 2007 as part of an industry effort to create a free software system for phones. Based on the Linux operating system, Android is open to any programmer who wants to develop features for it. T-Mobile USA Inc., the fourth- biggest wireless carrier in the U.S., offers an Android phone called the G1.

      • WiFi-centric dual-mode Linux phone rev’d

        Malaysian embedded-device firm Gupp Technologies is readying a new version of its Linux-based, dual-mode (WiFi and GSM) “Phreedom” phone. The “Phreedom-Monday” offers improved VoIP quality, according to Trinity Convergence, which is supplying its VeriCall Edge VoIP/multimedia stack for use in the updated phone.

      • JLBE prepped for LiMo

        Tokyo-based Aplix Corp. announced a version of its Java Language Based Environment (JLBE) for the LiMo Platform. JBlend for LiMo enables developers to use existing developer toolkits and IDEs, such as Eclipse, to develop and deploy Java Micro Edition (ME) applications on LiMo (Linux Mobile) Platform phones, says the company.

      • Nine new NTT DoCoMo phones offer Linux, LiMo

        NTT DoCoMo is distributing nine new NEC and Panasonic handsets that comply with the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Platform. Designed for its 46-million user Japanese HDSPA FOMA network, the phones all support up to 7.2Mbps downlinks, and most offer touchscreen, Bluetooth, and GPS.

      • Teardown ESC: Open-source cell phone

        Want to redesign Neo-branded mobile phones to your own vision and the market needs as you see them? Stop in at the teardown of the Openmoko open source cell phone on Tuesday, March 31 between 1:30 to 2:30 pm at the ESC Theater.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google Android: Pushing Ubuntu Off Netbooks?

        Frankly, I’m intrigued by the potential Android-Ubuntu showdowns on netbooks and MIDs. There’s nothing better than healthy, heated competition to drive innovation.

      • Netbooks in the business: Do they make sense?

        Just a year ago, netbook configurations were typically set to 512MB of RAM, 2GB to 4GB of flash storage, and less powerful microprocessors that limited what apps could run on them. They also tended to have small screens and keyboards. Almost all of them ran some flavor of the Linux operating system.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to Evaluate Open Source Projects?

    SCAN has progressed significantly over the past three years, and today’s announcement focuses on architecture diagrams, not defects. The data will be available under the Creative Commons license and is available on Coverity’s SCAN site.

  • An open source to a brighter future?

    Giving your core product away is certainly an unusual business strategy, yet some succesful software companies are doing exactly that

    [...]

    Red Hat, the company which spearheads the development of the Linux operating system, generated revenues of half a billion dollars in the 2008 financial year, the vast proportion of which was profit, while IT company, Sun Microsystems, spent $1 billion in February 2008 to acquire database provider, MySQL.

    The common thread is that both Linux and MySQL are open source systems. So what is open source?

  • RFI for open source software aimed at wrong target

    For example OpenConcept hosted a survey and John Nash, a retired professor of management at the University of Ottawa hosted a Wiki to collect information from the open source community as part of their submissions, McOrmond said these were not considered as submission by the department.

    He also said there are many people in government who are already involved in open source projects. He mentioned organizations such as GOSLING (Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments) and Canada GOOSE (Canada Government Official Open Source Engagement) volunteer and informal learning communities of civil servants involved in open source research.

  • Firmware

    • Why iPod is Rockin’ with Rockbox

      Since Rockbox is constantly being developed, I expect to see more features coming real soon. So, that’s about it. I hope some of you out there will get to try Rockbox after reading this. And, to those who have used or are already using Rockbox, we also want to hear your experiences through comment.

    • Video: Give your old Wi-Fi router new life with open source firmware

      In this Insider Secrets video from CNET.com, Tom Merritt shows you how to give an old Linksys Wi-Fi router new life by replacing it’s factory firmware with an open source version–like Tomato firmware.

  • Business

    • Tiemann: ‘Honeymoon is over’ for software lock-in

      It’s very likely that open-source vendors will increasingly intermingle proprietary code with open-source code in order to improve their top and bottom lines, but I agree with Tiemann: the era of top-to-bottom proprietary lock-in is over. Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says so.

    • Open Source Zarafa Goes After Microsoft Exchange

      This time it’s Zarafa, developer of collaboration software, that has announced it’s adding native support for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to its Linux-based e-mail and calendaring server.

      Zarafa’s server already contains support for several other Microsoft and open source products, including Outlook, SugarCRM, OpenERP, and Alfresco.

    • Business is booming for open source adopters

      In fact, looking under the hood of the big players, you’ll often find open source. Today, many (or is that most?) of the big-ticket security and networking appliances are underpinned by Linux or BSD Unix.

    • Open Source Joins the Mainstream

      “Open Source has joined the mainstream,” chairman Richard Seibt concluded when wrapping up the Open Source Meets Business conference, held at the end of January 2009 in Nuremberg, Germany. “We’re no longer referring to market shares that have grown. Instead, we’re talking about large and small enterprises working successfully with open source software,” said Seibt, who is also chairman of the Open Source Business Foundation.
      Current surveys confirm Richard Seibt’s positive assessment. In 40 percent of all companies that use open source software, it is of mission-critical importance. In a further 43 percent, open source software plays a significant role in the corporate IT environment. This was revealed in a survey presented by Heise Verlag in Nuremberg. Most of the around 1,300 survey participants came from companies that used open source software.

  • Sun

    • Sparcstation 20: Solaris 9 installs and runs … but it’s so Solarisy

      Curiously, when I ran NetBSD on the Sparc, the Firefox PACKAGE wouldn’t install. Not a port that needed to be compiled, but a precompiled package built for the 32-bit Sparc architecture. That didn’t give me a whole lot of hope for pkgsrc, which theoretically can be used to bring NetBSD packages into OpenBSD and other OSes. (DragonFlyBSD uses NetBSD packages, and that’s a great way for the FreeBSD-derived DragonFly to have a huge package repository, and it makes me want to try it on my i386 hardware).

  • Government

    • Dear Mr. President: Buy open source

      Last week, a group of open source execs sent an open letter to the president, asking that he “make the use of open source software a key component of every new technology initiative the United States government enters into.”

      [...]

      Software isn’t a seat belt, but the stakes are equally high. The signers of the letter to Obama had it right: Open source should be on the short list when the government buys software. And modest government investments in software security would have the secondary effect of putting IT workers back on the job.

    • Openness Questions Remain For Obama

      It remains unclear what technologies or standards President Barack Obama will decide to harness to support his open government initiatives. Obama has on numerous occasions pledged that he will make the government as transparent and open as possible – even going as far as to give his administration deadlines on when certain milestones will be reached and state that his administration “will put government data online in universally accessible formats.” Many seem to agree that openness in general is a positive goal, but how to best reach that objective gets foggy.

      “Openness” is a general movement, not just related to open source and standards. That said, openness intersects many areas and it doesn’t take a big leap to go from discussions about open government to procurement policies for IT based on open standards,” wrote IBM Vice President Bob Sutor in a blog post last month. Microsoft CTO Susie Adams agrees there has been a lot of talk about openness as a theme of the new administration and believes Obama “wants to capture an assurance of openness as a way to set direction and vision.” In terms of how the goal of openness relates to technology specifically, she said “a true, open government should rely on a “mixed source” blend of technologies — an approach used around the world.

    • Senior Subjects: Building a 21st-century VA

      The key to the success that VistA has had for many years is the way it was written. As you may know, computer programs are written in special code that translates into instructions for the machines. The code for VistA was what we now think of as “open source” code. Any skilled programmer could use that code to modify existing modules or to create new applications to do new jobs and connect them so that they are an integral part of the whole system. As open source code increases in popularity, we see it used in operating systems (Linux), in Internet browsers (Firefox), and in applications for some new computers like “netbooks.”

  • Applications

    • 6 Resources for the Powerful Drupal Content Management System

      Without a doubt, the open source project Drupal is one of the most robust content management systems (CMS) around. It provides the infrastructure and manages processes for many well-known web sites, including The Onion and OStatic. In our interview with Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, he said that there are 700 core contributors to the project, which he described as on the “same scale as the Linux kernel.” There are also over 2,000 modules for Drupal, making it hugely extensible.

    • Ariba sees goodwill in AribaWeb open source release

      Ariba said today it is releasing its AribaWeb RIA development framework under Version 2.0 of the Apache license.

Leftovers

  • Today’s webtip: Blackouts and Bandits

    You can turn your icon black, send a few links, try to shake up your friends, and maybe educate or at least awake a few other individuals to the issues that are waiting to gobble us all up, but in the end, that’s it. The fight against the European and Canadian DMCA and the various software patent campaigns have shown that in the end, the industry can wait you out. We might be able to hold them off for one round, maybe even score the odd win or two, but they will just keep coming back for more. They have deeper pockets and a more unified front than the end user (I think they used to be called citizens) does.

  • New Zealand copyright protest blockades parliament

    The fight over the controversial amendments to New Zealand’s copyright law is heating up.

    Thursday at noon, some 120 protesters descended upon the parliament in the capital, Wellington, and handed over an e-petition against the amendments with over 12,000 signatories, and a traditional one with 148 names, to the United Future party leader Peter Dunne.

  • Day 3 – The Pirate Bay’s ‘King Kong’ Defense

    The Pirate Bay trial is moving forward rapidly and again the day in court has ended early. On the third day the prosecution presented the amended charges. The defendants all called for acquittal while Carl Lundström’s lawyer scored points with the already legendary ‘King Kong’ defense.

  • Whisper campaigns exposed: pay per lie on YouTube

    One of Australia’s most popular YouTube users has admitted being paid to spruik Ten’s new show Lie To Me surreptitiously in the latest example of marketers invading the popular video sharing site.

  • Is Yelp Manipulating User Reviews?

    Is Yelp.com manipulating user reviews to coerce small businesses to advertise with the site? That’s what some business owners in the San Francisco area are claiming, and they’ve taken those complaints to both the East Bay Express and the student-run newspaper the Daily Californian. Yelp denies these allegations and says its sales staff does not have the power to either move or delete reviews.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist studying the Free Open Source Software movement 01 (2004)

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