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. █
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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]. █
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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? █
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“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? *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. █
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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 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:
- Microsoft Distorts the Linux and Virtualisation Markets
- Boycott Brother Industries
- Microsoft: Deal with Brother Similar to Novell’s
- 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.”
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. █
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