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02.21.09

Don’t Trust Novell, Trust Boycott Novell (on Layoffs)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACCORDING TO THE following short report, Novell was trying to hide its first wave of layoffs, but it just didn’t work out.

Transparency, for example, would have served IBM and Novell well in their recent layoffs. Legally, neither was required to publicly announce the layoffs because the number of employees affected wasn’t material to the business. But “material” is in the eye of the beholder, and by not talking openly (inside or outside the companies) about the layoffs, both Novell and IBM ended up fanning the flames of rumor. It’s unrealistic to expect such events to happen quietly: the Internet is too noisy.

Novell investors should be furious because Novell was trying to keep them in the dark.

It is with great certainty that we say this was only the beginning. Big layoffs will be announced shortly and Novell will not be permitted to keep them secret because of their scale. When it happens, readers will know that Novell lied to the press with a straight face (it still denies the layoffs), as did Microsoft some months ago. Microsoft lied to the press a month or so before it was made official, so it’s important not to let such lies be ‘airbrushed’ from history.

If You Care About Freedom, Don’t Support Apple

Posted in Apple, DRM, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DRM trap
Picture contributed by twitter

“IF you want freedom don’t follow Linus Torvalds,” Stallman was sort of quoted as arguing in a rather sensationalist headline from an IDG interview a year and a half ago. But Torvalds is hardly the problem at all. His views may not be as ‘strong’ as Stallman’s, but Torvalds is not the enemy.

Ideally, as Stallman might put it, we must not remain “helpless and divided” because imposition of such constraints is the condition on which crowd control is hinged, where one dissenter is un/able to attract followers and turn consensus upside down. In pursuing morality, it’s important to collaborate with those who do not view freedom as hostile. The Linux Foundation and the OSI, for example, are not adverse to Freedom, they just emphasise it less.

“Steve was daemonising freedom at the time, turning it into an argument of cost.”It therefore becomes important to identify the real ferocious forces which disseminate tools that separate people. They restrict collaboration/sharing and in some circumstances stir up infighting [1, 2, 3].

So who are these people or forces which compare collaboration to evilness? In reference to “Linux” (meaning GNU/Linux in this context), Steve Ballmer once said that “it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free.” Steve was daemonising freedom at the time, turning it into an argument of cost. Another Steve, Steve Wozniak, was claimed to have slammed Free software last year. A third Steve, Steve Jobs, has never shown much affinity for Free software either, with the exception of use (BSD) where freedom is defined differently. In fact, iPhone engineers wanted to pick Linux for the iPhone but it was Jobs who resisted it* and intercepted the idea because Linux is free as in Freedom (GPL) — the same licence that Gates insists “we disagree with”.

Further to this post from two days ago and the many supportive references, it is essential to remember that Apple is now ruining Linux-based gadgets using patents. In regards to Apple’s behaviour in general, opines one blogger:

These moves suggest to me that Apples fears competition, and I’m wondering why.

Another writer, Sam Varghese, remarked about “The ugly side of Apple.”

Apple Computer has a beautiful side to its operations. That’s the side which comes out with some of the sexiest design in the tech world, the side which crafts those breathtaking interfaces, the side which gives you those applications that a five-year-old finds easy to master in the course of a morning’s exploration.

[...]

The argument runs thus: if I’m doing something that doesn’t cut into my profits, I must be doing the right thing.

But even Apple should realise that people will ultimately come to the conclusion that golden handcuffs are also a means of restricting choice.

The author refers to a couple of new examples where Apple takes away not only its own customers’ freedom; it harms the freedoms of others too, casting them “irrelevant”.

A month ago we explained how Apple had helped Microsoft's OOXML and looking at some newer evidence, as stated in one of the comments about Apple’s office suite, “Whereas the OpenDocument standards are well-documented, xml-based, platform-independent and reasonably mature. So, I’m not sure why Apple wants to reinvent the wheel with their own proprietary document formats (though I have a theory, see below). [...] My personal theory is that Microsoft slipped some kind of document-format stipulation into a contract with Apple, forbidding them from using or promoting OpenDocument. (If you’ve done any reading on the kinds of behind-the-scenes shenanigans Microsoft has pulled over the years, this will sound very plausible.) This would also explain Apple’s otherwise inexplicable support for OOXML during its ISO standardization debacle (where no doubt a lot of other behind-the-scenes shenanigans were going on).

Remember ThinkFree?
___
* This is a revelation that came through the grapevine about a year ago.

Summary of the Red Hat-Microsoft Story

Posted in Deals, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OSI, Red Hat, Virtualisation, Xen at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat-Microsoft page
Does it feel right?

This is the last part in a series of posts which explore this week’s biggest news, namely the Red Hat-Microsoft agreement. Contained in this post is material and insight that we have not already covered in:

  1. Novell the Biggest Loser in New Red Hat-Microsoft Virtual Agreement
  2. Red Hat-Microsoft Agreement Not Malicious, But Was It Smart?
  3. Red Hat-Microsoft: Take III

It would be reasonable to begin with some new developments — news that was broken by SJVN in his personal blog.

In a shot across VMware’s bows, Citrix will announce next week that it will be offering free licenses to its full XenServer virtualization program and new partnering with Microsoft to provide system management, Citrix Essentials, for Hyper-V and, in return, Microsoft’s System Center will support XenServer

[...]

Novell already has a history of working with Microsoft on virtualization and, with Intel, was the first to make it possible to run Windows Server on Xen on Linux. Red Hat, though, has just announced that it was partnering with Microsoft on virtualization. Perhaps both of the major Linux distributors will be using some of the products of this new Citrix/Microsoft relationship.

This is important and it’s bound to happen within a few days, so ZDNet’s editor writes a summary in reference to the above:

In a nutshell, Citrix will work with Microsoft to provide system management, Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V. Microsoft’s System Center will support XenServer.

That Citrix is merely serving Microsoft is hardly a surprise. What Microsoft and Citrix did with Xen is a subject we wrote about quite a lot in the past [1, 2, 3]. Ultimately, the goal is to either exclude GNU/Linux or run it merely as a virtual guest on top of Windows Server. This is very important to Microsoft.

Later on, SJVN wrote a better report on what was happening and he published it in ComputerWorld under the headline “Citrix, Microsoft, and Red Hat or Novell gang up on VMware.”

Citrix is about to put a world of hurt on its virtualization rival, VMware. Next week, Citrix will be announcing that it will no longer charge for its flagship virtualization program XenServer 5, and its new management program, Citrix Essentials, will support both Microsoft’s Hyper-V and XenServer.

Notice how Citrix supports Microsoft and Microsoft’s allies only. This is to be expected [1, 2]. Jose X, one of our readers and contributors, responded to the article above by warning that Red Hat is entering a dangerous relationship whereby it serves the Microsoft “gang”, to borrow the wording of SJVN. Jose also notes:

Lot’s of Novell in the news lately. Was it their birthmonth or something? This reminds me of Microsoft’s attack on competitors to destroy conferences etc and drive them towards the Microsoft centric. [That's just what I am reminded of.] Using Red Hat’s agreement as marketing material to help drive a stake through vmware a little quicker. I see. And as an added “bonus”, we take attention away from the Monopolysoft that is weighing down the industry. Wunderbar.

Adding to all this, Jose draws a comparison that involves OSI, which is led by a Red Hat employee.

Giving today’s Monopolysoft a free pass dilutes Tiemann’s great message. This reminds me of “Shared Source”. It appears to want to leave the door open for Monopolysoft to say the right things but do the wrong things yet continue to win contract after contract.

There is a lot of material to digest when it comes to this latest development, but more details will have arrived by the end of next week, probably after Novell makes its major announcements as well.

There are several things not to like about Red Hat’s new strategy. For example, watch the togetherness of the Red Hat and Microsoft logos. Red Hat will find it hard to complain about Microsoft even when it clearly should (Microsoft need not be treated more kindly) and the OSI’s current head is also a Red Hat employee, so there may be troubling ramifications.

“Any kind of deal with Microsoft that is used as a market distinguisher is a bad deal for free software. Exclusivity is the antithesis of software freedom and even the hint of such exclusivity by approval or certification is evil,” says one of Boycott Novell’s participants.

Moreover, as stressed by Jose X:

Microsoft is happy to play the “give us time to fix things and later on we’ll publish our fixes” game. Not only does this enable them to keep their software ahead of the competition and buy time to make changes to existing software, they can also patent around the changes as much as possible so that if you do discover certain secrets, they can always pull out the patent card (instead of pulling another switcheroo, since a switcheroo is not always practical or desirable). I call this a rat race. We waste time thinking we’ll reach the end.

What does “full interop” mean? When Microsoft controls the entire stack, the apps can pass pieces of the puzzle and trigger signals in odd places and cause other far removed behavior to change. Much of this would arguably fall outside the purvue of something like a workgroups protocol (the EU order for full interop), but it would help thwart any third party that tries to build a drop-in replacement.

O’Grady got it right as well. He realises that interoperability is just a weasel word.

It might seem strange that interoperability – as unsexy a feature as there ever was – would suddenly become the apple of the marketing departments eye, not least because consumers are increasingly gravitating towards products for which a degree of interoperability is assumed; think Apple’s iPod, iPhone, Mac combination. But then consider that, as I told a few media outlets this week, heterogeneity is the rule of the day. And that interoperability is not.

Far from it.

Such was the criticism I heard of this week’s curiously timed Microsoft / Red Hat interoperability announcement. In case you missed it, the news is essentially this: Windows Server guests are welcome on RHEL, and RHEL guests are welcome on Windows Server. Additionally, technical support will be coordinated.

Sticking to open standards means that none of these “interoperability” deals should be needed.

In light of the amicable deal between Red Hat and Microsoft, one might beg for an answer to the question: How does it feel for Red Hat to be bullied by former Microsoft employees and others in Acacia, as we last noted some days/weeks ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]? On the one hand, Microsoft pretends to be friendly while on the other it shows sheer aggression.

There are a couple more articles about this, namely:

Red Hat is taking an unusual course of action in its defence against IP Innovation’s patent infringement claim. While similar lawsuits are usually carried on quietly and often settled out of court, Red Hat has called on the open source community to help find “prior art.” The validity of a patent can be disputed by proving that a patented technology was already in use before the patent was filed (this is called “prior art”).

There is more in the news roundup from ECT:

For those who missed it, earlier this month the Open Invention Network, the Software Freedom Law Center and The Linux Foundation launched the Linux Defenders Network, a group that aims to help the community defend itself against patent trolls.

An article on the launch in Network World was picked up on Slashdot, causing some spirited discussion of the best way to tackle the patent problem.

It was not so long ago that Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez was threatening Red Hat using patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. This was a well-calculated strategic decision, not an out-of-line outburst. And in fact, based on yesterday’s reports, Horacio Gutierrez has just been promoted by Microsoft.

Microsoft said Thursday it had promoted its deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, Horacio Gutierrez, to the rank of corporate vice president. Previously, Gutierrez held the rank of vice president.

Let us remember what this man does:

Microsoft Promotes Gutierrez to Steer IP Policy, Licensing

[...]

[H]e also has been a proponent of controversial cross-patent licensing agreements that Microsoft has struck with companies as a way to derive revenue from its extensive patent portfolio.

So, has Microsoft really changed its strategy? Not likely. Only recently we witnessed the Brother deal, which we covered in:

  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

Returning to the subject of virtualisation, there is plenty of evidence which shows that Microsoft took over Xen’s roadmap/agenda using Citrix, which is a partner. It’s Microsoft’s Partner of the Year for 2008. Microsoft also put some of its own people in charge of VMware (it used EMC as a partner). Is it not trying to coerce Red Hat et al, being the owners of KVM?

“Is it not trying to coerce Red Hat et al, being the owners of KVM?”Could Red Hat be pressured by Microsoft’s Hyper-V SLES exclusivity [1, 2, 3]? Assuming one theory is correct, could this be how/why Red Hat was reluctantly pulled to the negotiations table? It might just be a combination of factors. It’s too hard to tell because different sides will embrace different stories, spin, and self justifications that are reassuring. Novell and Microsoft too had their differences (“we agree to disagree”).

Either way, the latest news was pushed into OSnews by Red Hat’s (Fedora) Rahul, who tells his/their own version of the story.

Jose X says that “it seems we are definitely talking about hypervisors, which I think require OS hooks. I knew there was a hook in there somewhere as mentioned here.” Microsoft leverages these and as PJ puts it, “That last part seems open to difficulties, as usual when there is more than one vendor, but if I were Red Hat, I’d be happy to take over support.” On the other hand, as Jose points out, “there are alternatives where Linux runs underneath and Microsoft cooperation (or Linux tie-ins to Microsoft) is not required. Regardless of this certification deal, Red Hat is in for fighting against unfair competition.”

Among other people who were baffled by the deal we find:

The angle seems to be that Microsoft will use their marketing muscle to encourage the customer to run a Windows Server platform and allow Red Hat as a guest. In other words, Microsoft wants the primary platform to be Microsoft with anything else virtualized. I am surprised to see that Red Hat went along with this, but Red Hat may have seen an opportunity. It also makes Red Hat look a little two-faced, since their reaction to the deal between SUSE and Microsoft was anything but complimentary (as I recall, anyway). At least they did not include IP verbiage in the recent agreement (at least that they reported).

There is also this:

This is one for the “I don’t get it” category, which is my reaction to most of these strategic partnership deals–especially ones struck between Linux companies and Microsoft.

Here’s my problem with it:

If Microsoft has a customer that is running Linux (Pick any flavor) and Hyper-V, wouldn’t they support that customer anyway? They are a customer using Hyper-V after all. The same goes for Red Hat. If someone is a Red Hat customer, would they do the same?
I’m not sure that either Microsoft or Red Hat will benefit one bit from this partnership. I hope Red Hat isn’t paying any money for this “deal” and, supposedly, they aren’t.

Many compare this deal to the one struck between Microsoft and Novell where there was an exchange of money and intellectual property. Industry watchers and critics, myself included, continually throw stones at that deal.

Regardless of such interpretations of this deal, there is one point many people agree on. To quote one person, “I feared when I saw the title that there was an IP deal in the works here. Glad to see that RH managed to do what Novell could not – get interoperability deals WITHOUT IP blackmail.”

Sam Varghese described the Red Hat-Microsoft agreement as “a kick in the guts for Novell,” stressing the following points.

What will hit Novell really hard is the fact that Red Hat has not had to bend over as Novell itself did in 2006; there are no patent clauses in this deal at all, no question of money changing hands.

[...]

Red Hat, on the other hand, has always insisted that interoperability should be based around open standards and that talk about patents is a hurdle.

Red Hat’s commercial success, which has been built up after some initial errors in its business strategy, has enabled the company to wait for a deal on reasonable terms, one that could work to its advantage, not one that makes it a pariah within the community.

More on how it differs from the Novell deal:

That’s a departure from Microsoft’s deal with Novell, the Red Hat rival. The Novell agreement includes a provision in which the companies agreed not to sue each other’s customers for patent violations. Many people in the open-source community see that as Novell implicitly endorsing Microsoft’s contention that Linux and other open-source programs violate the Redmond company’s patents. Novell disputes that viewpoint, but the deal is generally unpopular in the open-source world nonetheless.

From Ars Technica:

Microsoft has made an agreement with Red Hat to collaborate on virtualization interoperability. Unlike the controversial deal between Microsoft and Novell, this one contains no patent pact.

[...]

Shortly after Microsoft and Novell announced their partnership in 2007, Microsoft publicly declared that Linux technologies infringe on hundreds of Microsoft’s patents—a claim that has never been substantiated. Microsoft said that it would not negotiate any interoperability pacts with Linux vendors unless they agreed to also sign Novell-style patent indemnification agreements that are hostile to the kind of downstream redistribution that is inherent in the open source development model.

From IDG:

No doubt Red Hat wanted to be sure to clarify that its deal with Microsoft is not the same as the one Microsoft struck with Linux distributor Novell two years ago, which did include exchange of IP and cash. At the time Red Hat executives said they were not interested in striking such a deal. In addition to ensuring interoperability between Novell SUSE Linux and Windows, the Novell deal also indemnified users of Novell’s Linux against any claims of patent infringement for any Microsoft patents SUSE Linux might include.

IP is a particularly thorny issue between Microsoft and Red Hat, exacerbated not only by the Novell deal but also by claims made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in May 2007 that Linux violates more than 235 patents Microsoft holds.

In response, Red Hat said its customers are protected by any patent claims by its Open Source Assurance Program, and many Linux proponents called Microsoft’s claims an attempt to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) among customers who purchase open-source software in order to promote its own proprietary software.

O’Grady suggested it was probably Red Hat that lobbied hard against including IP-sharing in the deal to maintain its stance against the Novell deal and Microsoft’s patent-infringement claims.

451 Group analyst Jay Lyman explains that it’s about cooperation for customers, but this may miss the point that customers can be manipulated so as to pressure vendors to go into deals which they otherwise would never have considered. To borrow a political analogy, people can be suppressed and ‘punished’ (e.g. economic strangulation) by foreign countries as means of getting the government blamed and thus having it overthrown by a coup. In the 1980s, the United States did a lot of this in central and south America in order to made leaders more obedient.

Jay Lyman, an open source analyst at New York City-based 451 Group, said the agreement was “a little light on the details,” but appeared to be a win for customers, with greater flexibility and interoperability.

“This is truly coming from customers,” Lyman said. “And the agreement is a sign of the times. No one’s winning the whole data center anymore. You have to work with others, even your competitors.”

This may sound like a form of imperialism by coercion, but maybe this hypothesis is too much of a stretch.

Here is a different perspective, which is focused on VMWare despite the fact that VMware is now almost an ally of Microsoft (Tucci overthrew Greene quite viciously).

A LANDMARK technical support agreement announced overnight between Red Hat and Microsoft is squarely aimed at destabilising virtualisation leader VMware.

Here is an article about a new virtualisation tool. The writer seems to be favouring the Novell-Microsoft pair for no apparent reason.

InstallFree Bridge Suite 1.8 makes a stronger argument for application virtualization than do products from more well-known vendors such as Microsoft and Novell. InstallFree’s tool offers simple management capabilities and doesn’t require components to be installed on the server or end-user systems. Still, InstallFree Bridge Suite 1.8 shares the shortcomings of other app virtualization tools.

There was a lot more coverage of this deal which we did not reference before. This includes:

1. Red Hat, Microsoft reach virtualization deal

The clash between those two kinds of programs is nothing new in the computer industry. Microsoft has made claims that Linux violates a number of its patents. Red Hat, for its part, says software patents “generally impede innovation in software development,” though the company does hold some patents.

2. In Software Sector, Dealmaking Now an Imperative

Monday’s news was the clincher on the server side; Red Hat and Microsoft agreed to validate each other’s operating system on their respective virtualization hypervisor technology. Once validated by both parties, customers with valid support agreements will receive cooperative technical support. What was really impressive is that Red Hat pulled this off without patent or financial clauses. I believe this deal was inked, simply put, because customers demanded it. It also shows Red Hat has some serious pull, not surprising given their beat-the-street quarter and posture to gain some new ground as a result of poor economic times.

Plenty more for future reference:

Whatever happens next, future will be the best judge.

Links 21/02/2009: Compiz 0.8.0, Ubuntu 9.10 Called Karmic Koala

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 things you need to know about Linux if you are coming from windows

    What you need to know about Linux if your coming from windows:
    1. There is no registry in Linux

    In windows there is the registry, the registry is a database which keeps all your settings. If you want to change anything not in a menu (or in a menu) you need to use the regedit program. Or a script.
    In Linux there is no such thing as a registry.

    2. In Linux everything is a file

    [...]

  • eBook and Comic Book Reader, Organizer for Linux Hits 1.0

    Radical Breeze announces the immediate availability of RadicalCodex 1.0.

    RadicalCodex 1.0 is an eBook and digital Comic Book organizer and reader specifically built for Linux.

  • Blueman 1.0 Brings Better Bluetooth to Linux

    Linux only: Blueman, the Bluetooth manager for many Linux desktops, has update to provide a friendlier, easier means of connecting your phones, earpieces, and even 3G/EDGE-connected devices to your system.

  • Linux comes to Windows users’ rescue

    I recently got a note out of the blue from another technology journalist. He wrote, “I know I’m often critical of Linux, but I’m SOOOOO GLAD I installed Ubuntu on my laptop. I installed some patches to Vista and now Vista won’t boot, not even in Safe mode. Uggh!”

    He continued, “So now I’ve booted the computer up to Ubuntu and can start figuring out what’s wrong. Meanwhile, I discovered a great tool called Unison and I’ve mounted my Windows drive and I am using Unison to back up everything to a 300-gig external hard drive before I start tearing Windows apart… just in case. I guess I have my afternoon’s plans made.”

  • Events

    • Tour of LinuxFest Northwest 2008

      Near the end of every April Bellingham Washington’s technical college hosts LinuxFest Northwest. This video is some of what we saw last year, with LinuxFest Northwest around the corner we thought it would be a good time to show all what it is about!

    • Nothing on the Agenda? How About an Open Source Weekend?

      Are you interested in open source software? Do you use Ubuntu at all? Will you be passing through the Los Angeles area later today or tomorrow? Think you’ll be spending any time over the next two days near a computer with an internet connection? Are your weekend plans peppered with a few small gaps (or wide open expanses) of free time?

    • Libre Graphics Meeting launches community fundraising campaign

      The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is an annual workshop for developers and users of free software graphics applications to collaborate and advance the cause of high-quality free graphics software. From now until April 22, you can help support this event by making a donation to the LGM 2009 community pledge drive. LGM is free to attend, so your support is critical to making this important event a success.

  • Media Centre

  • Graphics

    • [ANNOUNCE] xf86-video-ati 6.11.0

      xf86-video-ati 6.11.0

      Highlights:
      - – Lots of bug fixes since 6.10.0
      - – Crtc/output/encoder rework
      - – Render repeat mode fixes

      6.12.0 will be soon to follow with accel support for r6xx/r7xx chips

      Alan Coopersmith (2):
      Remove xorgconfig & xorgcfg from See Also list in man page
      Add README with pointers to mailing list, bugzilla & git repos

    • [compiz] [ANNOUNCE] compiz-0.8.0

      New plugin “commands” that handles the bindings for arbitrary commands that previously were handled in core. In addition to the previously present key bindings button and edge bindings were added as well.

  • KDE Plasma

    • PlasMate

      Plasmoids in KDE 4.3 will be a lot easier and nicer to make as a result of these people using it and giving us feedback. Between now and then we’re starting to see the beginnings of some cool little widgets written in Python, Ruby and Javascript.

    • More on Plasma in 4.3

      Coming out of Tokamak, the Plasma team has been setting goals for 4.3, putting together Summer of Code ideas and writing code for 4.3 that generally kicks ass and takes names later. Expect noticeable improvements to extenders, theming, layout flexibility, performance and general I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-ness.

      A few big picture things we’re also starting to focus on in a more serious fashion now that the 4.0->4.2 journey is firmly lodged in the year known as 2008 include (other than content creation tools, which I covered in my last blog entry) the educational desktop, a netbook/MID appropriate interface and a simple media center mode for the traditional desktop set up.

  • Distributions

    • Knoppix: live CD par excellence

      Knoppix is another classic example of the innovation that can come about when good code is avaiable under user-friendly licences like the GPL.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical’s April 2009 Surprise: More Than Ubuntu 9.04

        When Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) arrives in April 2009, Canonical plans to introduce a separate surprise as well — a new version of Landscape (image courtesy of Canonical). Never heard of Landscape? That will change in April 2009.

      • Introducing the Karmic Koala, our mascot for Ubuntu 9.10

        Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the *Karmic Koala*, the newest member of our alliterative menagerie.

        When you are looking for inspiration beyond the looming Jaunty feature freeze, I hope you’ll think of the Koala, our official mascot for Ubuntu 9.10. And if you’ll bear with me for a minute I’ll set the scene for what we hope to achieve in that time.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 is named Karmic Koala, will eat tasty eucalyptus

        Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced plans for Karmic Koala, version 9.10 of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. It will include improved support for cloud computing, better netbook compatibility, and faster boot time.

      • Easy Steps to Rip a DVD to ISO in Ubuntu 8.10

        An ISO file is the easiest and most universal method for backing up a DVD. The file is an archive file specifically for DVD VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS files, and is an exact copy of the disc. ISO files can be quickly burned to a new dvd using standard burning software, making it the optimal choice for storing backups.

        In Windows, third-party software is the only way to backup a DVD. Luckily, Ubuntu Linux has removed this need, and as a result, you can backup your dvds using a standard feature built into the OS –no software or Terminal required.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Chinese thin clients run Linux

      A ShenZhen China-based manufacturer is shipping several thin clients that run embedded Linux and target educational, government, business, taxation, and medical organizations. SZ Bencse Electronic Technology (Bencse) offers the entry level J5200, plus four higher-end H-5800 models, and ships worldwide at affordable prices, it says.

    • Phones

      • Asus has team working on Android netbooks

        ASUSTEK COMPUTER HAS A TEAM WORKING on developing a netbook which will run Google’s buckshee open source Android operating system, according to business publication Bloomberg.

      • Open-source systems battle for market

        Meanwhile, the LiMo Foundation — a consortium of more than 50 companies including operators Vodafone and Telefonica, the applications designer Azingo and systems integrator Wind River committed to the development Linux-based open source software — is preparing to launch new handsets through six of its operators by the end of the year.

      • Access Linux Platform 3.0 live, in person, and oh-so-full of widgets

        We got a quick look at the latest version of the Access Linux Platform (ALP) today, running on an early build of TI’s OMAP 3-based Zoom hardware. Access seems excessively enthused with widgets, and really isn’t doing a bad job at them, featuring transparency galore and even a second home screen for housing a separate set of them (perhaps “work” or “home” or “really great world clocks”).

      • ACCESS Linux Platform 3.0 unveiled

        ACCESS has unveiled the next major version of its Linux-based mobile software platform. The ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP) 3.0 brings a significant user interface overhaul with support for rich visual effects.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Can Cellphones Grow Up to Rival PCs?

        Netbooks have been a rapidly growing category of computers, mainly because they are more portable and typically cost $400 or less. So far they have been mostly based on Intel’s Atom chip, which uses its X86 instruction set and thus can run Windows. Some manufacturers, including ASUS and Hewlett-Packard have also offered versions of their netbooks that run Linux, but these have not yet been popular in the market.

        Some argue this will change as the combination of an ARM processor and Linux may allow netbooks to be sold for $200 or less.

      • HP Mini 1000 Mi Comes With Friendly Linux Distro

        HP has recently announced a sought-after Linux version of its popular Mini 1000 consumer netbook. Basically, much of the internals are similar to the other versions of the Mini 1000. However, the selling point of the Mi version, which stands for Mobile internet, is the Linux OS dressed up in nice clothes by HP.

        On the HP Mini 1000 Mi, the company chose to bundle Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions on the market. Nevertheless, HP listened to netbook costumers regarding their experience with Linux. Hence, average users simply won’t get the awkward feel of using Linux, as they feel on the Linpus Linux on the Aspire One or on the Xandros OS on the EEE PC series. Instead, the company developed a very appealing interface, which gathers all the internet, email and multimedia tasks on its home screen.

      • ARM ‘will beat Intel on power drain and price’

        ARM-based netbooks will beat those using Intel’s next-generation Moorestown platform on price, match it on performance, and enable a new class of device costing as little as $150 (£100), the UK chip designer has predicted.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Getting Lucene Down to Business With Lucid Imagination

    Lucene open source software has provided the building blocks for enterprise search technology for a few years. Now, it has a commercial backer. Lucid Imagination hopes that putting itself out there as the business face of Lucene will convince more enterprises to build software upon it — especially when budgets tighten and open source becomes a more attractive option.

  • Petition – Free and Open Source OS’s In Schools

    Personally for me this is a no brainer however i’m sure someone will disagree with me at some point, if you think that more Free and Open Source OS’s should be in Schools then get your name on the petition.

  • Mozilla: Sometimes govt. is answer to Microsoft

    Despite this success, Baker believes that government, and in the European Commission in particular, has a role to play in further leveling the playing field. As she notes in a recent blog post, government entities would perhaps have less relevance but for the antitrust activity that resulted in Microsoft’s dominant market share in the first place:

    Microsoft did not obtain its (Internet Explorer) hegemony solely through competition on the merits of IE. A number of illegal activities were also involved in creating IE’s market dominance…The idea that Microsoft is an innocent victim (of European Commission intervention) is deeply flawed.

  • Washington Times releases open source projects

    The Washington Times has always focused on content. After careful review, we determined that the best way to have the top tools to produce and publish that content is to release the source code of our in-house tools and encourage collaboration.

  • French VAR Wins Major Open Source ERP Deal

    Do you still doubt the power of the emerging open source IT channel? Consider this: Axilom, a solutions provider based in France, has won a contract to deploy Compiere Inc.’s open source ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for La Poste, a global postal processing organization with 300,000 employees and 45 million customers. Here’s the scoop.

  • Gaming

    • The only thing better than starting small is starting smaller

      Commercial style games are big and complex almost by definition and so they will take a lot of time to implement. We don’t have that much time. We also refuse to make simple games instead (casual… meh). The only other option is to make the games small. Or even smaller. Therefore I would like to propose ultraepisodic games. Ultraepisodic games would work a lot like normal commercial episodic games, for example “Sam & Max”, only more episodic – each episode should be prepared and released within a month or even less, adding perhaps some additional preparation time before new seasons. Because teams working on FOSS games are much smaller than their commercial counterparts the episodes would also be much smaller, on the scale of a single level – hence the term ultraepisodic. I also think it would be benefiting to be able to make the new episodes even more frequently than the commercial games do – with a dedicated team, established world lore and asset repository two week time frame may be possible. To put the long story short, if the commercial episodic games are like comic books, then ultraepisodic games should be like webcomics.

      The idea of episodic gaming is nothing new. The important thing is to analyze how episodic or ultraepisodic release model would benefit the FOSS games and commundos.

    • Game Testing Job for a Free Software Person

      So I was browsing the FSF homepage because I wanted to dig up some info on their PDF priority project – but never mind that – and then I think “Let’s check out them job listing!” and I do and then BAM! Game Test Analysts, (Santa Monica, CA). So I think to myself “Yeah, right! This has a logical explanation to it! Game theory I bet! So I click it and BAM! O_o! It’s a real job offering for beta testing video games and it’s posted on the Free Software Foundation’s home page!

  • Business

    • Finding the right open-source price

      I’m currently working on pricing models for several new open-source companies, and I keep running into a similar set of challenges. The primary issue is that when you shrink a market, as open source does, you must to find a pricing model that solves the equation, meaning that your costs must substantially lower in order for you to make money.

  • Sun

    • Openoffice.org: 7 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do

      Even though OpenOffice.org – which is, yes, an application suite, not just a Web site – can’t do everything Office can, it can do a lot, and it has some of its own tricks that even Office can’t manage. Here are a few that may not be obvious, as well as a few ways to make OpenOffice.org less annoying out of the box.

    • Sun Studio 12 vs. GCC3 vs. GCC4 Benchmarks

      Earlier this month we published an article looking at the Linux versus OpenSolaris performance when using the new AMD Shanghai Opteron CPUs. Ubuntu Linux was faster than OpenSolaris 2008.11 in nearly all of the tests, but as mentioned in that article, OpenSolaris is still dependent upon GCC 3.4 where as Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions are now shipping with the newer and much-improved GCC 4 series.

  • Programming

    • Does Open Source Experience Help in Today’s Job Market?

      I learned the language (it “fits your brain“) and wrote it every chance I could. I made some (very small) contributions to open source projects, wrote Python documentation and started a short-lived magazine. Eventually, I caught the attention of the crew at Linux Magazine and by late-2002 I was running a PHP conference for the company. I’ve been hanging around ever since.

      So, that’s my (extremely linear and abbreviated) tale, from nearly 10 years ago. It leaves out a lot of the long nights spent hunched over a laptop, the bone-shaking worry about the crumbling job market, and downright luck that I fell into the position that I did. But it was a path that followed a trail of open source crumbs. And, in the end, it worked for me.

  • Applications

    • Announcing: Keryx 0.92, the Dubious Dingo!

      Introducing Keryx 0.92, the Dubious Dingo! Do not let the name scare you away from testing this release. Though there have been a very small number of fatal Dingo attacks on humans, they are mostly shy and aloof around us bipeds. We are releasing 0.92, the Dubious Dingo, in honor of our brave geek friends in Australia, on the eve of the even more dubious Great Firewall of Australia. May your internets stay free, and your polititians gain a shread of common sense!

  • Loosely Related

    • Experts work to unlock PCs for African users

      The ANLoc Network is encouraging African language speakers in African and the diaspora to celebrate International Mother Language Day by helping to develop a locale for their language.

    • Getting Girls Into Tech

      Most kids need a lot of encouragement and support to discover and pursue their real dreams. It’s the rare maverick who is born with enough inner strength and stubbornness to persist in the face of continual opposition, and the most difficult kind to resist is the gentle, well-meaning kind from people who think they know what is best for you. The FOSS world is the best playground of all for anyone who is seriously interested in high-tech; I’d like to see it become a lot more child-friendly, and especially girl-friendly.

    • Hercules releases GPL MIDI drivers for Linux & Mixxx 1.6.1+Herc is released.

      On Feb 16, 2009 Hercules released GPL Linux MIDI drivers for their DJ Console / DJ Control series of MIDI input controllers ( Mk2, RMX, MP3 Control, DJ Control Steel ).

Leftovers

  • Yelp Extortion Accusations Ignite a War of Words

    The article goes on to cite a handful of Bay Area business owners, the majority of whom are quoted anonymously, as saying Yelp’s reps tried to coerce them into buying ads by offering to “fix” their bad reviews in exchange. The accusations aren’t pretty, either: One sentence compares Yelp to the Mafia, vaguely citing “several business owners” as having made the claim.

  • Pirate Bay: survey says that 80% of our torrents are legal

    Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi took the stand today at his trial and attacked the notion that The Pirate Bay is stuffed to the crow’s nest with illegal content. Not true, he said; his own survey of 1,000 torrents suggested that most were legal.

  • No Photo Ban in Subways, Yet an Arrest

    Finished with his camera, Mr. Taylor, 30, was about to board the train when a police officer called to him. He stepped back from the train.

    “The cop wanted my ID, and I showed it to him,” Mr. Taylor said. “He told me I couldn’t take the pictures. I told him that’s not true, that the rules permitted it. He said I was wrong. I said, ‘I’m willing to bet your paycheck.’ ”

    Mr. Taylor was right. The officer was enforcing a nonexistent rule. And if recent experience is any guide, one paycheck won’t come close to covering what a wrongful arrest in this kind of case could cost the taxpayers.

  • Et Tu, Lamar?

    That legislators are more than willing to sacrifice your civil liberties at the Altar of Protecting The Children—it’s a political resume builder they can take home to their ‘stitch-ee-unts, listed right there beneath helped fight the war on terror and above took on the fat cats on Wall Street—isn’t even really news anymore. It’s standard fare, really.

    This bill specifically requires ISPs to retain for a period of two years records identifying users assigned dynamic IP addresses at specific times. It’s hard for detractors concerned about privacy, overreaching governmental power and authority, and false accusations to object to providing law enforcement with the necessary tools to track down child porn peddlers and, well, users. (Personally, if we’re absolutely sure of it, I’d just as soon have them tarred, feathered, and shot on sight—but this isn’t about that.)

  • Congress Wants WiFi Owners To Keep Log Files For 2 Years… For The Children

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist studying the Free Open Source Software movement 02 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 20th, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 20th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 20th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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