IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 3rd, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 3rd, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 3rd, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

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Links 03/03/2009: Linux Gets Thumbs-up in Phones, New ARM/Linux Gadget

Posted in News Roundup at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • HMRC is getting the message

    I guess pretty much all businesses in the UK got this today, the HMRC Employer pack. It contains a CD ROM, the CDROM supports Linux.

  • Funny And Fun Wallpapers: Linux And Unix Humor On A Monday

    NOTE: Some of the pictures have been trimmed by my column width. Not so much so that I want to fuss over them all. They’re all available at the site linked to above :)

  • 25 Top 3D Linux Games

    One of CHIP-India’s forum members, Sujith Poojari had posted a link to 25 Top 3D games for Linux. Some of them I’ve already played like Armagetron Advanced, BZFlag, Sauerbraten, Scorched 3D, TORCS while some others unknown to me, such as Racer(been playing it recently, good graphics! controls need refinement though), PlaneShift etc. So enjoy these games and have a blast!

  • Ubuntu usage in Ampang Parliament Office

    Thanks to SweeMeng, I found this blog entry by JomLinux, which featured a YouTube video of Mohd Fahmi walking through some machines he set up for the office of Ampang’s Member of Parliament. What is interesting is that he is the Secretary for the MP and was given the mandate to fix up the IT systems of the office given a rather restrictive budget.

  • Linux gazette March 2009

    # Away Mission – 2008 in Review – part 2, by Howard Dyckoff
    # The Unbearable Lightness of Desktops: IceWM and idesk, by Ben Okopnik
    # Joey’s Notes: Bash shell basics, by Joey Prestia
    Our monthly column of basic Linux advice and education
    # SCaLE 7 Speed-through, by Kat Tanaka Okopnik
    A brief con report for the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE)

  • Virtualization soars on Big Blue Power boxes

    The overall adoption rate for Power6-based servers in the fourth quarter rose a little bit to 66 per cent of all machines, according to Handy, which is up a little bit from the 64 per cent attach rate on new systems in the second quarter of 2008. Overall adoption of the logical partitioning hypervisor came to 21 per cent of machines, for all System p boxes running AIX or Linux back in the second quarter of 2007.

  • Welcome to LinuxLink

    As someone who has used and written about Linux since shortly after its creation in the early nineties, I’m personally very excited to be launching LinuxLink today, and I hope you’ll join us often as we explore and celebrate the massive and ever-growing world of open source. Thank you for being a part of this blog. We’re looking forward to working with you.

  • Linux works out of the box.

    One of good things said about OS X is that OS X works out of the box. But it doesn’t work out of the box on any hardware – it works out of the box *on mac hardware*.

    I believe same can be just as well said about Linux: It works out of the box… on mac-level hardware :-)

    Or, to be exact, Linux generally works out of the box on quality hardware.
    If you stay away from obscure cheap crap (or expensive crap), and get distro that is not too fundamentalist about open source and includes closed source drivers (such as mandriva), everything works “out of the box” (as in you put livecd, boot, and voila).

  • Using Gentoo Linux in K-12 School’s Computer Lab

    GHCA recently updated all their computers to run the Gentoo distribution of the Linux operating system. This video interviews system administrator Michael Surran, exploring the details as to why the school switched to Gentoo and how Gentoo is used to improve productivity and functionality.
    Of particular interest is the use of distributed compiled computing (distcc) among the 20 Athlon computers to greatly speed the software building process.

  • Interview with Liz Danzico – User Experience

    Scott: There’s an interesting sense that some people see Shuttleworth in–sort of the keeper of the hip version of Linux that thinks about UI. He doesn’t always think about the Kernel, but yet I haven’t seen too many people ask themselves, “What more could he do?”

    Liz: Remember the book “Paradox of Choice?” I interviewed Barry Schwartz once, and I recall asking him about what was needed in editorials. His perspective, at least when I interviewed him about a year ago, was that “We’re not coming up with better tools, or better search engines, or better filters for our data. We’re actually going to human editors for the work that we’re doing.”

  • Kernel Space

    • LLVM 2.5 Released, Receives Numerous Improvements

      The LLVM (Low-Level Virtual Machine) still isn’t a big competitor to GCC since the Clang compiler front-end remains unfinished, but the LLVM folks have issued a version 2.5 release. LLVM 2.5 is made up of a bunch of bug fixes, a new XCore back-end, performance improvements (in the compiler and its generated code), new development documentation, and plenty more new work.

    • Linux Foundation has bought Linux.com

      The Linux Foundation has long wanted the Linux.com domain name for obvious reasons. For a long time SourceForge, formerly VA Linux Systems, kept the site, but the company has now sold Linux.com to the Foundation.

      Sources close to the deal say that the deal was made because, — an all too familiar story these days — the company needed the money. SourceForge, had, in addition to its well-known open-source eponymous code Web site, been in the media business. In December 2008, however, the company laid off the bulk of its NewsForge editorial staff. NewsForge was hosted at Linux.com. The Linux.com site then became something of a placeholder site, which held only a discussion forum.

    • Linux Foundation to Build New Linux.com Community
  • Desktop Environments

    • Hands-on: fat-free Xfce 4.6 has nice new features

      Other important enhancements in this release are a new GStreamer-based volume control mixer, an application finder, and better panel plugins. For more information about the new features, check out the project’s official release notes and screenshot tour.

  • Distributions

    • Knoppix – Linux 6.0 review

      A very well thought through distro that’s just the kind of OS you want at hand when problems arise. There’s a lot more to than simple recovery tools, too, and it’s a useful disc to have around when you just want to get some work done without fuss or hassle.

    • 5 Minutes of Knoppix 6.0.1
    • compiz fusion on puppy linux 3.00

      compiz fusion on puppy linux 3.00 www.puppylinux.com the music is from www.ultimateshowdown.org also the panel is provided by xfce 4.4

    • Parted Magic 3.7

      Yet another Slackware-based Linux distro! Parted Magic, aka “The Linux CD Partitioning Tool”, is a Live OS packed with recovery tools that you can use to troubleshoot your system.


      Parted Magic is a lightweight OS that can run as a Live CD/USB. It includes many recovery utilities that can help repairing damaged systems. Additional software tools are available as downloadable modules. It would have been nice to have some of these modules (e.g. ClamAV, F-PROT) inside the OS, but hopefully these features will be added soon.

    • DreamLinux 3.5 Desktop Edition

      DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition was released on March 1st, 2009. The distro has experienced some significant changes recently and it really seemed to do it for me in the past so i thought I’d give it a try and see what it could offer me. The biggest changes to DreamLinux were to the 3.0 version of the Linux OS which featured a complete re-design and a totally independent architecture called Flexiboost, based on overlaid modules. The main things this feature does for users is it allows the co-existence of multiple separate window managers, currently Gnome and XFCE. Both of these working environments share all applications available on the system.

    • Democracy in Action: Electing a Debian Leader

      This year, the campaign phase will be held from March 8 – 28, highlighted by an online IRC debate between the candidates during the last week of the campaign. By the beginning of the campaign period, all nominees will submit their platforms, which contain an introduction of the candidate and the candidate’s major goal. A week into the campaign, candidates will be allowed to attach any rebuttals they might want to add to their platform.

    • Debian Project Leader Elections 2009: Call for nominations
    • First Look: moonOS 2

      If you don’t fancy Enlightenment as your desktop environment and want something more “traditional,” moonOS 2 is also available in an LXDE edition. Both versions of moonOS 2 are a joy to look at and use. I didn’t find any major problems and the system is not a resource-eating monster so in the end whether you’ll use it or not is just a matter of taste.

    • A new Linux distribution erupts.

      Looking at the home page of www.magmalinux.org there is nothing special. Just a big list of all the languages it supports which seems quite impressive. Having come from an Australian speaking background I chose the standard US English version to test. On the next page I was presented with a list of eight different versions I could download.

      These versions are for Office, Home, Developer and Server in both 32 and 64 bit. I decided to download and try the Home version in 32 bit. The ISO is 1.2GB so I started the download and went and had a cup of coffee.

    • Red Hat

    • Ubuntu

      • First 5 minutes impressions Asus Eee Pc 901 and Ubuntu 9.04 alpha 5

        For a small device i always wanted, with long battery life (4,5 to 5 hours) and with an Ubuntu experience I never had before, I think these 305 USD are the best investment I ever made in a computing device. I would not dare calling it a netbook, because i think it can do way more than just browsing the net.

      • Ubuntu now offering mainline kernel builds

        The Ubuntu Kernel Team is pleased to announce the availability of mainline kernel builds for testing [1]. This will allow users to run the unmodified upstream vanilla kernel. This can be useful for verifying fixes upstream, testing for regressions introduced by Ubuntu specific changes, or confirming bugs exist upstream and subsequently help to report bugs upstream.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Free Linux Source Code and 2A Library With Leopard Imaging’s New HD Camera Boards for TI’s TMS320DM365 Evaluation Module

      Leopard Imaging Incorporated today announced the availability of a high-definition (HD) camera kit LI-5M02 based on a Micron/Aptina 5 Mega-pixel CMOS sensor, which can be seamlessly plugged into the new TMS320DM365 digital video evaluation module (DVEVM) from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI). Providing customers with a 720p HD solution, the kit also includes a HD camera board, free Linux driver, application source code, binary files and royalty-free 2A function library (auto-exposure and auto-white balance) for image tuning.

    • Linux stack and tools vendor launches community site

      MontaVista has launched a community website for embedded Linux developers. The new “Meld” site is open to all embedded Linux developers, offering social networking technology like a graphical “People Map” (pictured below) to help developers find each other for collaborative projects, says the company.

    • MontaVista Unveils Meld Embedded Linux Community

      MontaVista® Software, Inc., the leader in embedded Linux® commercialization, today announced Meld, a new community for developers of embedded Linux devices. Meld provides a forum for developers of all skill levels to connect and share information, ideas and software around embedded Linux designs, accelerating their development efforts and delivery of commercial products.

    • New online community launches for embedded Linux developers
    • Linux tools vendor joins Moblin

      MontaVista today announced it was supporting the Intel-sponsored Moblin open-source community, which develops the Linux-based Moblin stack for Intel-Atom-based embedded devices. The announcement appears to be tied to an upcoming release of MontaVista Linux for Intel Atom, which will be available in mid-March, according to the company.

    • Nokia Updates the Alpha SDK for its Next-Generation Internet Tablets

      Nokia and the Maemo Linux community have released a new version of the Maemo 5 Alpha SDK (software developer’s kit). This new version of the Maemo 5 Alpha SDK introduces new user interface APIs and refinements to other core OS features.

    • LynuxWorks’ BlueCat® 5.6 to Accelerate Development of Next-Gen Portable Devices With Intel® AtomTM Processors

      LynuxWorks™, Inc., a world leader in the embedded software market, today announced its BlueCat 5.6 Linux operating system will help accelerate development of next-generation mobile communications devices by supporting the latest versions of the Intel® Atom™ processor Z5xx series platform, which includes industrial temperature range options. These new platform options, combined with the open source Linux flexibility of BlueCat, enables developers to quickly design and manufacture ultra portable, low-power fanless applications deployed in unconstrained thermal environments.

    • Phones

      • Android to take Linux mainstream

        Calvin Huang, an analyst at Daiwa Securities, told ZDNet Asia in an interview, Android is poised to “kill Microsoft” on several fronts: a big vendor-backed OS will likely provide better hardware support, and open source Android’s license is free.

      • OIN: Microsoft lawsuit won’t slow Linux’s lead in mobile market

        He also maintains that the lawsuit wipes away any credibility Microsoft has gained in its efforts to cooperate with the open source community. Microsoft is a Platinum Sponsor of the OSBC 2009 conference scheduled for later this month and has worked with Novell, Red Hat, the Apache Foundation and many other open source projects over the past 18 months.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM-based Linux tablet converts to netbook

        Always Innovating announced an open-source Linux netbook that boasts a detachable touchscreen tablet and 10-15 hour battery life. Running OpenEmbedded/Angstrom Linux and Mozilla’s Fennec browser, the Touch Book weighs less than two pounds, offers WiFi 80211.b/g/n, and uses the Texas Instruments OMAP3-based BeagleBoard design.

      • Podcast: Innovative netbook with removable touch-screen

        The company has adapted a version of Linux to provide an iPhone CoverFlow-like interface for launching programs.

      • DEMO 09: Netbook with Detachable Screen and Half-Day Battery Life

        File this product under “We’ll believe it when we see it.” A Menlo Park company called Always Innovating says its Touch Book will be a netbook that turns into a tablet PC when you pull the screen away from the keyboard. The company also told the audience here at DEMO 09 that the Touch Book’s battery will last 12-15 hours on a charge.

      • Linpus and Insyde® Software Form Partnership to Advance Instant-On Solutions for PC Makers

        Linpus Technologies, Inc., a leader in the field of Linux® solutions for low cost notebooks and netbooks, and Insyde Software, a leading provider of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware, today announced they have entered into a strategic partnership to address the mobile computing industry’s increasing demand for fast-boot and fast-access to practical applications including web browser, email, instant-messaging, media-centric applications and more.

      • Torture-Testing Phoenix HyperSpace, the Linux-Based Instant-On OS

        In the “Linux Rescues Windows From Itself In Yet Another Creative Way” category we have these newfangled Linux-powered instant-on environments. It seems that DeviceVM’s Splashtop has been getting the most attention. Splashtop comes on a ROM chip on certain motherboards, and ASUS says that eventually they want to bundle it on all of their boards.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache FtpServer 1.0.0 released

    The Apache MINA developers have released version 1.0.0 of Apache FtpServer, a pure Java FTP server implementation that can run stand-alone, or be embedded into applications. Apache MINA is a project developing a high performance, high scalability network application framework, and the FtpServer is built using the MINA technology.

  • Qt 4.5 ships, as Qtopia bows out

    Nokia-owned Qt Software is shipping Qt 4.5, a cross-platform library available for the first time under a commerce-friendly LGPL license. Additionally, Qt launched a new cross-platform IDE (integrated development environment) and SDK, and said it would discontinue the Linux-only Qt Extended stack (formerly “Qtopia”).

  • Qt Creator and Qt SDK for more approachable Qt

    Qt Software, a Nokia subsidiary, has released Qt Creator an Integrated Development Environment that makes Qt 4.5 and the Qt tool kit more accessible by providing an IDE customised for Qt development. Rather than having to spend time configuring an IDE to work with Qt, developers can get straight to work with C++ and the Qt tool kit. To make it even simpler, Qt SDK has also been announced, which bundles the Qt 4.5 tool kit with Qt Creator, as a single install package for the Qt newcomer.

  • Mozilla Plans another Beta Before Firefox 3.1 Release

    Mozilla last week confirmed it will add another beta to the Firefox 3 .1 development schedule, a move that will push the browser’s ship date to the second quarter or later.

  • Open Source Web Based Geospatial Processing with OMAR

    The availability of geospatial data sets is exploding. New satellites, aerial platforms, video feeds, global positioning system tagged digital photos, and traditional GIS information are dramatically increasing across the globe. These raw materials need to be dynamically processed, combined and correlated to generate value added information products to answer a wide range of questions.

  • Celtx 2.0 released

    Celtx 2.0, an open source media pre-production and screenwriting application, has been released. Celtx is an XUL application writing tool that includes several built in project templates to help users develop their stories. The application helps users get their ideas from concept to production, using pre-visualisation tools, like storyboards. Version 2.0 includes several new features, changes and bug fixes. Celtx is released under the Celtx Public License Version 1.3 (CePL) which consists of the Mozilla Public License Version 1.2 with additional amendments.

  • Hedging against recession with free and open source software

    Is free and open source software (FOSS) a way to cut business costs? As concern about recession – even depression – deepens, more and more companies are asking this question. However, many have trouble knowing how to begin to find an answer.

    Certainly, many companies have been looking for FOSS solutions in the last six months. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, predicted last December that GNU/Linux and other FOSS technologies would become more attractive in hard economic times. “Lower cost, faster time to market, higher profit margins, better branding — these are all things that are in favor of Linux and not in favor of Windows,” he writes, and his comments seem accurate. According to Business Week, FOSS-based companies like SugarCRM, Digium and Zenoss, all reported record quarters last fall, while Red Hat had over $500 million in revenue over the last twelve months.

  • Open Source Media Center Apps Are Growing Up

    Back in December, MediaPortal 1.0, an open source application that turns a PC/TV into a sophisticated media center and digital video recorder, arrived. Originally based on the XBMC project, version 1.0 was a nearly complete redesign, and has gotten quite a bit of notice, despite a few bugs. On March 15th, the folks behind MediaPortal plan to release a 1.0.1 version with usability improvements

  • Business

    • What do we know about open source pricing?

      My first experience with open source pricing was in 2002, when I was at Red Hat. I was part of team that had to set pricing for Enterprise Linux (or Red Hat Advanced Server, as it was called in those early days). We consciously decided to price it about 20 percent above Microsoft’s equivalent Windows servers, which we viewed as our major competition. Both Red Hat and Microsoft aimed to convert Unix users to the Intel platform, and we felt lower pricing would harm our credibility as a competitor.

      Many will argue that Enterprise Linux succeeded because the cost of the stack of Intel hardware plus Linux OS was lower than the equivalent Sparc/Solaris stack, but even that aggregate cost benefit was not 80 percent or more — nor did it need to be. Today the prices at OS vendors Red Hat, Sun, and Microsoft remain at about the same levels.

    • Martin Schneider, of SugarCRM, On the Open Cloud

      One of the big topics to be discussed at the upcoming Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), March 24th and 25th at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, will be the future of open source. In preparation, OStatic is running a series of guest posts on this theme, featuring thought leaders from top open source projects. Last week, we checked in with Dries Buytaert, founder of the Drupal content management system, and co-founder of Acquia. This week, Martin Schneider, director of product marketing for SugarCRM, weighs in on the open cloud, and how SaaS, open source and dynamic platforms are converging. Here are his thoughts.

    • Open Source Usage Statistics: BitRock Network Service, an interview with Erica Brescia

      GroundWork 5.3 press release says that customers benefit from using the BitRock Network Service to be notified of available patches, and updates, and technical bulletins.

  • Sun

    • Understanding Sun in Three Easy Steps (1 of 4)

      To understand Sun, you have to understand both, you have to see what drives our financial performance, as well as read our financial statements. Absent both perspectives, you’ll miss the bigger picture, the bigger threat, or the bigger opportunity.

  • Government

    • Another letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, but this time a response too

      The Government has displayed its incompetence and complacency in relation to data time and time again – it is no wonder public trust in the ability of the Government to keep our personal details safe is at an all-time low. Last year, HMRC lost the personal data of almost half the population, leaving over 7 million families worried about the security of their bank accounts. More recently, the details of thousands of criminals, held on a memory stick, were lost by a government contractor. Countless other cases of lost data have occurred, including the details of thousands of driving test candidates, prospective military recruits and over 5,000 prison service staff. Now, even the Prime Minister has admitted that he “can’t promise that every single item of information will always be safe.

    • Governments and open source: never the twain shall meet

      Proprietary software companies are thus miles ahead when it comes to making politicians see their point of view. I don’t think the Debian GNU/Linux project is in a position to donate money to the Republicans or Democrats.

      Politicians will say anything that makes for good press and, in the face of a few embarrassing failures due to proprietary software, it is good PR to rub salve on wounds by advocating the use of open source software. The old touchy-feely tactic.

      At this point, there are plenty of rent-a-quote people in the FOSS arena who pull a figure out of the air or out of their arse and declare, with the utmost conviction, that the authorities can save X amount of money (in the recent UK case the figure cited was 600 million pounds a year) by using FOSS.

    • Governments: Starting to Vote For Ubuntu Linux?

      Finally governments are realising that open source has benefits beyond initial cost savings. They are discovering the freedom to share and re-use open source solutions is more cost-efficient in the long run. To quote Richard Stallman (founder of the GNU project and Free Software Foundation), FOSS essentially means “free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”

  • Licensing

    • So How Open is your Open Source Company Anyway?

      Luke Kanies, the creator of Puppet, commented in his last entry about Open Source business models, specifically the idea of an Open Core and what that means. As an Open Source company do you have an open version of your product that’s crippled?

    • OpenCore/Split Licensing: You Can Do It Wrong

      It may be that you have a product which is so generic that you can’t come up with something that satisfies the Cookie requirement. If it is, you shouldn’t be trying Split Licensing at all. Not every business model suits every Open Source project. Choose the right one.

    • The Most Free(tm) Way to Make Money from Open Source

      His model of providing supported binaries, as Red Hat and others do, only works for those who use compiled languages, which means it’s right out for us. Maybe we should stick some C in there, just to make it easier to charge for support?

  • Programming


      By making key contributions early on with its internal resources and using the best selection of open source components and industry standards, CITTIO will make it easy for the open source community to come together on creating broad and deep instrumentation of cloud components. The details on the implementation and benefits of this open source initiative called Project Zeppelin, is covered in a separate release. This effort will allow other management vendors to take advantage of Zeppelin as well to innovate and deliver new management solutions.

    • CollabNet Community Membership Tops 200,000

      CollabNet, the leader in distributed application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions, announced today that more than 200,000 members have now joined openCollabNet, the end-user and developer community for the CollabNet platform and Subversion. More than 20,000 new members join the rapidly growing community each month, and the community’s website delivers more than five million page views per month. CollabNet also announced today that more than 20 products that integrate third-party software, such as Eclipse, NetBeans, and Visual Studio, with the CollabNet platform and Subversion are now available on collabXchange, an online integration marketplace accessible to openCollabNet members. Free openCollabNet memberships are available at www.collab.net/community, and members can download integration products at www.collab.net/collabXchang

  • Events

    • The FOSDEM Diary 2009

      FOSDEM – a geek trip to Brussels. Going abroad to experience different cultures. Or at least, a chance to eat chips, suffer rain, and watch American TV in a different country.

    • SCALE 7x – One Week Later

      The seventh iteration of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 7x) was held the weekend of February 20th 2009 in Los Angeles. SCALE is an annual conference that has several tracks and has special tracks on Friday. Along with the program tracks, there is an extensive vendor Expo Floor, which includes a Org Pavilion containing several free software organizations. The special tracks on Friday were the Open Source Software in Education, Women in Open Source, and SCALE University run by the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA).

    • FSF annual meeting — Libre Planet 2009 conference

      LibrePlanet will cover a range of free software activism topics, with an Open Space style effort to make progress on engineering for Free Network Services and the High Priority Software Projects. The event will be held at the Harvard Science Center, Cambridge, MA on March 21st and 22nd, 2009.


  • ConsultationXML is now Open Source

    We’re terribly, fantastically pleased to announce that after a bit of wrangling, Steph Gray and I are able to release ConsultationXML as open source software under the GNU Affero license. The recent report on open source software in Government hinted that departments ought to try to release source code for the software they commission, and we’re delighted to be (we think!) the first to do so.

  • ODF Spreadsheet Interoperability: Theory and Practice

    This is a follow up to some work we did at the ODF Interoperability Workshop in Beijing last November. We had good participation there: IBM, Sun, Google, Novell and Redflag from the big vendor side, as well as a good number of users. It was a full-day workshop and we covered a number of topics. One of them was spreadsheet formulas. I gave a short presentation on spreadsheet interoperability, specifically on the work we’ve done on OpenFormula for ODF 1.2. We also did a short exercise to look for spreadsheet formula bugs.

  • Transparency and dependability for external partners

    As a consultant, it happens frequently to answer questions about “what makes open source better”. Not only for some adopter, but for companies and integrators that form a large network ecosystem, that (up to now) had only proprietary software vendors as source of software and technology. Many IT projects had to “integrate” and create workarounds for bugs in proprietary components, because no feedback on status was available. Mary Jo Foley writes on the lack of feedback to beta testers from Microsoft…


  • How to Save Investigative Journalism

    At the same time, one of the best sources for investigative journalism, Wikileaks, is a bit short of dosh. Problem, meet solution: newspapers should fund Wikileaks.

  • Defend the Data Protection Act

    One of the most important and earliest pieces of legislation concerning digital information is the Data Protection Act (DPA). Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently before Parliament, would effectively nullify the DPA, since it would allow Ministers to use information gathered for one purpose for another – one of the things the DPA is there to prevent.

  • UK Government Opens Up a Little More…Or Not

    That, too, is a pretty hopeful sign that someone, somewhere, is beginning to get this openness lark. In addition, these pages could become an important resource about the governmental use of open source in the UK. Interesting times.

  • Copyrights

    • Hey, Warner, Leave those Kids Alone

      Last month we reported that Warner Music Group was using YouTube’s Content I.D. (aka Video I.D.) tool to effectively censor myriad fair uses. We asked people to contact us if they needed legal help and put up a YouTube removal primer to give folks information about their options. As a result we’ve seen beautiful film montages set to music, videos to assist the hearing impaired, and many other examples of amazing artistic talent that have been censored by Warner Music.

    • If Piracy Is Destroying The Movie Business, Why Is The Box Office Surging?

      Odd, then, that this weekend the NY Times (without ever referring back to that article from less than a month ago) is noting that attendance at movie theaters is way up since the beginning of 2009. And, no, it’s not just that tickets cost more (though, they do), but in real numbers more people are going to the theaters. The article suggests that it’s because of the recession. More people want to “escape” from reality and not have to think for a few hours, and a movie theater is a cheaper way to do that than many other options.

    • Is Anything In Shepard Fairey’s Image Actually Copyrightable By The AP?

      of copyright infringement over his iconic Barack Obama poster (Fairey initiated the actual lawsuit, asking for a declaratory judgment that his image did not infringe, but that was after the AP publicly stated they were going to go after him for infringement), many are looking over the legal issues, and examining whether or not Fairey’s use is fair use. In our initial post on the subject, it seemed pretty obvious that it was fair use, in large part because the AP didn’t even realize it was an AP photo until someone else pointed it out — suggesting that it was a transformative work, which represents a big part of the “test” for fair use.

    • EU President calls for intellectual property rights rethink

      Pottering told an audience at the Conference Centre here in Hannover that companies should allocate serious thought to the development of new business models to face the changing economic cirumstances.

    • UK Government Fails to Get Web 2.0

      In fact reading the full report is even more depressing, since it constantly harps on “stakeholders” – by which it means content owners – and clearly doesn’t give a toss for the general public’s concerns or needs.

      The UK government is clearly still trapped in the mindset that it’s about telling the little people what they can do with the stuff kindly provided by those magnanimous content corporations.

    • UK opposes copyright exemptions for mash-ups

      There should be no new exemption from copyright law for users’ adaptations of copyright-protected content, the UK Government has said. To create such an exemption for user-generated content would ignore the rights of content creators, it said.

    • John Conyers and Open Access

      The “open access movement” was born to create an alternative to this. Even if restrictive copyright was a necessary evil in the days of dead-tree-based publishing, it was still an evil. High costs restrict access. The business model of the scientist is to spread his or her knowledge as widely as possible. Open access journals, such as, for example, those created by the Public Library of Science, have adopted a different publishing model, to guarantee that all all research is freely accessible online (under the freest Creative Commons license) immediately, to anyone around the world. This guarantee of access, however, is not purchased by any compromise in academic standards. There is still a peer-review process. There is still even a paper-based publication.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 03 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Microsoft Faces Investors’ Backlash, More Quiet Layoffs

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 2:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investments sign

Summary: Unreported crumbling and inner friction; Unless Microsoft reverses course, its investors remain pessimistic

THE Crandrea Group, a lobby of displeased Microsoft shareholders, is organising in attempt to change Microsoft’s ways. Having already made strong accusations against Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, it is able to see that their strategy is headed the wrong way.

“That’s the magic of temporary workforce or contracts: they can be silently dropped without informing investors.”A lot of Microsoft’s chief staff began leaving the company over a year ago and lacking skilled leadership, the company resorted to buybacks, so right about now it’s approaching debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. According to Smithers, the company had already lost $18 billion in 1998 and given a closer look at the facts Microsoft does not want reported, none of this should be particularly surprising. The company had also been accused of running a pyramid scheme and some years ago it was accused by one of its own workers that it had engaged in financial fraud. The accuser was paid $4 million for his silence. He worked inside Microsoft’s financial department at the time.

Cringely, a long-time Microsoft watcher, opines that Microsoft needs to close down many of its divisions and concentrate on fewer areas of business with only half of its current workers [1, 2]. Other Microsoft watchers have just reported that Microsoft is lowering the wages of temporary employees and according to their newer reports from Seattle, more positions are being terminated too, albeit quietly. That’s the magic of temporary workforce or contracts: they can be silently dropped without informing investors.

Microsoft declined to comment on the protest Monday evening.

The contract workers acknowledged that some employees are losing their jobs, but they said they’re nonetheless concerned about the precedent that would be set if they agreed to a revision in their existing contracts. A representative of the WashTech technology labor union, Priyanka Joshi, came to the protest and was planning to help the workers explore their options.

This has also been covered in:

He said he would not agree to the cut and would likely therefore lose his job Tuesday.

What is going on at Microsoft and why is the mainstream press hardly covering this?

Craig from The Crandrea Group is calling for immediate change amid troubling moves that Microsoft has been making in attempt to elevate itself at times of change. His campaign has been rather successful so far. He writes:

The campaign has attracted attention from numerous sites. It is posted on sites in Germany, England and Holland.

Recently, obtained a email from a writer in England requesting a interview concerning Microsoft R&D spending.

The campaign has also recently had a former MSFT employee agree to conduct an analysis of the company problems and relate them to the potential solutions offered through the campaign.

The articles created by Microsoft SubNet are greatly appreciated and have produced attention for the campaign. However, some of the other posts are merely focusing on the R&D component. As mentioned in the article, both Mr. McDonald and Mr. Barnicle agree that Microsoft is required to check the amount deployed annually.

The core of the campaign focus is in regards to the buybacks. The shares have been flat and stagnant since approximately 2000. In 2004, Microsoft announced a $40 billion share buyback plan. However, in 2008 the shares remained flat. Despite this reality the company announced it would engage in another similar strategy of deploying $40 billion over four years. The campaign’s contention is that it will be another waste of $40 billion.

The campaign desires the company to reallocate the $40 billion to acquisition growth. Consumers are moving towards SaaS, netbooks, handhelds and cloud computing.

The campaign now involves Microsoft acquiring RIM to secure market share within the mobile sector. It also involves a ‘search’ deal with Yahoo to secure a position in ‘search’ and cloud computing.

A current Microsoft employee within a Microsoft website indicated that if the campaign included RIM and it reached a vote they would probably vote in favor of the campaign.

We were sent further information, as follows:

The campaign has also edited and modified the blog. Initially, prior to launching the campaign the sites msftextreme., and Ironfire Capital’s site Breakout Performance were viewed. The intention was to provide a site to provide the reader with more analysis and insight. However, MSFT employees complained that it was to long and lacked the reader friendly format. Therefore, a few posts were removed and a few condensed.

The entire Microsoft SubNet interview has been kept on the blog. There are also a few more recent posts ina different format. The recent posts “Microsoft Requires Sprint” and “New Strategy Revised” provide brief details concerning the original intention of MSFT acquiring Sprint and why it now includes RIM.

Essentially, prior to launching the campaign numerous reports were reviewed. The consensus was abandon the buybacks. OS is losing share. Wall Street views MSFT as a utility with limited growth potential. Consumers are moving towards SaaS, cloud computing and handheld. Deal with carrier (Verizon) will not generate desired revenue and is only a share approach by MSFT. (Reference to Mr. Mahaney in Microsoft SubNet article)

The campaign adopted a strategy that intended to address each of these primary issues. Subsequently the strategy was to abandon the $40 billion towards buybacks. The capital would be directed to replacing the potential continued loss in OS.

The campaign focused on adopting acquisitions or strategies that would align with $40 billion in capital. When reviewing mobile companies RIM was considered. However, it was rejected based on the acquisition cost and revenue level. It appeared similar to the ill-fated Yahoo bid. RIM would have cost MSFT a premium and generated only an additional $6 billion annually.

The other problems with RIM were MSFT and its poor brand. The concern was MSFT acquiring RIM would have a negative effect on RIM’s brand. The second problem is MSFT and its R&D and lack of innovation. It was feared MSFT acquiring RIM would hinder RIM from being innovative. Therefore, the final dilemma was if MSFT acquired RIM it would deploy the majority of the $40 billion to acquire a company that would lose its brand awareness and innovation. This would result in MSFT deploying $25-30 billion to secure a failed asset.

However, recently, a MSFT employee addressed the RIM issue. It is within the blog post “Microsoft Requires Sprint” as a recent addition. The employee focused on the campaign concerns are argued the benefits of RIM over Sprint. The same employee also stated that they would potentially support the campaign if it reached a vote.

The campaign also recognised that ‘search’ was an issue along with cloud computing. This was recognised by MSFT and was probably the reason for a $45 billion bid for Yahoo. However, analysts indicated the a search only deal would accomplish the same results as a full acquisition. Therefore, the campaign is pushing for a ‘search’ deal with Yahoo. This will enable MSFT to capture share within this sector.

The “New Strategy” currently involves:
1)Abandon buybacks
2)Acquire RIM. This will provide share and revenue within mobile.
3)Search deal with Yahoo
4) Resignation of Ballmer (Not certain with this issue) Numerous employees have stated Ballmer must ago. Despite eight years of poor decisions, failure to elevate share price and massive spending, employees are also frustrated with the current company environment. (ie. layoffs)

A lot of other people have already called for Steve Ballmer to step down or be fired. We gathered a list of of a dozen references on the subject right here.

Microsoft won’t be able to endure its financial trouble [1, 2] if it competes unfairly and subsequently gets caught. The company’s inappropriate behaviour (possibly illegal too) does nothing good for the brand. It also serves Microsoft investors a bill to pay for antitrust fines.

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly.”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

Portugal Stands Up Against Microsoft Corruption

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Portuguese flag

Summary: ESOP finally files a formal complaint, which gets sent to the European Commission

For context:

Portugal won’t take this injustice and abuse without a challenge. Here is the complaint in English [PDF], which is also available as text below (and in Portuguese).

Serious irregularities in eProcurement

3rd March 2009. ESOP has filed a complaint to the competent authorities regarding serious irregularities in theaccess to one of the major eProcurement platforms in Portugal. The problem lies in the conditioned access tobid at a public tender, allowed solely to users of a specific software brand. The gravity of this situation gaverise to a written statement sent to the European Commission.

ESOP has filed a complaint to the competent authorities regarding the irregular functioning of the “vortalGOV” platform, held by “Vortal -Comércio Electrónico, Consultadoria e Multimédia S.A”. In the age of Web 2.0, when interoperability and innovation make way for digital progress and standards stimulate free competition, the service Vortal offers excludes every company not running Microsoft-based technology from bidding at a public tender.

Even though this is an online platform available on the Web, therefore in theory universally accessible, only Microsoft browsers and operating systems can in fact gain access to it. All this is contrary to what the best practices for web development suggest, practices whose proper application results in perfectly interoperable and technologically neutral solutions. Since the deployment of electronic procurement platforms is currently mandatory, this is a particularlyserious situation. It entails an artificial constraint on the market induced by a private firm while implementing aservice foreseen in “Código dos Contratos Públicos” (Public Procurement Law). As a result, every public request for tender hosted by the Vortal platform must necessarily be accessed using Microsoft technology, a requirement unlike any of the dispositions contained in Decree-law n. 143-A/2008 and European directives, where non-discrimination, interoperability and compatibility are key criteria.

ESOP obviously does not oppose of a private entity such as Vortal using Microsoft, or any other base technology of their choice, and has no legitimacy to comment upon internal software options. But to impose software of a specific brand onto a third party and thus, in clear opposition to several laws, directly hamper competition through a legally required service is indeed a serious matter. This situation gives rise to a direct interference in the software options of endcostumers/enterprises, options which should be based exclusively on regular market functioning, with no restrictions arising from the technical requirements of a public service.

For instance, national companies opting for Linux, Solaris, BSD or Apple-based systems cannot access the platform, and are consequently prevented from bidding at public tenders, unless they acquire Microsoft technology for that purpose. This situation, harmful for both ESOP’s associate companies and their respective customers, has notechnical justification whatsoever in light of current technologies. This is a known fact to any competent IT/web professional; moreover, it is endorsed by the technical opinion of several well-reputed institutions, which has also been provided to the authorities.

ESOP has made numerous contact attempts with Vortal’s development team in order to diplomatically reach a solution for this problem. Only after several failed contact approaches, and the acknowledgment of the company’s patent disinterest to meet, have national and international authorities been informed of this problem.

ESOP’s associate companies may eventually demand compensation for possible client loss and public image damage caused by this situation.

ESOP is undoubtedly in favour of any governmental initiative to dematerialize and improve the awarding ofpublic contracts, but regrets to see the State’s technological neutrality abusively put at stake by a companyrunning outside the regulations. The negative impact of this lack of neutrality in the IT market is proportional to the number of companies actually bidding at public tenders.

About us:

ESOP (Portuguese Open Source Business Association) arises from the common will of its founding associates. With view to the encouragement and growth of the Open Source solution market in Portugal, ESOP serves as platform for the promotion of opportunities and synergies within the market, as well as among its associates and partners.

Established by leading companies and based upon highly driven individuals, ESOP brings together a vast array of skills and has on offer a large variety of professional services. From SMEs to major organizations, from associations to the Public Administration, from servers to workstations, ESOP points out reliable and lasting solutions in IT.

Guided by solid principles of competitiveness,
ESOP stands for and actively promotes
Open Source Software, Interoperability,
Open Standards and Platform Independence.



The above is self explanatory. Microsoft corruption was also identified in its pursuit for OOXML standardisation. For details about the role in Portugal, see:

Other Microsoft irregularities in Portugal can be found in:

Support for ESOP would be greatly appreciated. Help spread the word.

“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

Honor de Balzac

Unruly Media: AstroTurfers

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deception at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Error: wrong address for guerrilla marketing

Hi Roy,

Hope you don’t mind me introducing myself! I’m from Unruly Media, a viral seeding company in London, and we’re currently running a campaign for Barclaycard, which I think would go down really well on Boycott Novell. It’s a spoof ad, promoting Barclaycard’s competition to see who can create the best spoof of their Waterslide ad, and since you liked the Specsavers spoof, I thought this might be up your street!

You can see the spoof video and find out more about the Waterslide competition here: http://www.youtube.com/barclaycardcreate

We’re also looking for interesting sites and blogs to run the clip on a commercial basis. If you’re interested, we can give you a video player to embed and pay you for every US view of the clip. You can pick up the video and see the commercial terms for running the campaign, here: http://console.unrulymedia.com/publisher/video/signup?apid=798&xname=BoycottNovell

(I’ve pre-approved your application, so once you’ve chosen a username and password you’ll have immediate access to the system and be able to put the campaign up straight away if you choose to).

Our videos are clearly marked as commercially sponsored and we adhere to a strict code of ethics, which you can read here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/ethics-code

If you want to check us out, take a look at www.unrulymedia.com and please drop me a line if you have any questions.

I’ve no idea what the “Specsavers spoof” is (maybe it’s made up), but either way, we at Boycott Novell don’t do that spiel. Au contraire — we strive to expose those type of campaigns which Microsoft too is organising behind the scenes, typically using agencies. For details see:

“I’m a huge fan of guerrilla marketing.”

Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Fan

Why Conficker is a Blessing to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Migrate or die

Summary: Windows security menace makes a good reason to make the move

THE Conficker worm is a subject that we’ve already covered in (reverse chronological order):

The bad news is that Conficker causes great harm to the Internet that we all share. In some cases, even DNS goes down as a result. Some companies may be losing business, based on the following new report.

Conficker may bring commercial web sites to their knees


One of the most notorious pieces of recent malware is set to cause collateral damage to commercial web sites.


In practice, security researchers are able to analyse this function as easily as any other. And a coalition of ISPs and other players has been registering the domains Conficker will try to use before the worm’s backers can get hold of them.

The good news is that better reasons are now being given for companies to migrate to GNU/Linux.

As the Conficker worm continues to burrow into more Windows systems, it’s become apparent that not only are many users failing to keep up with their patching, but many others are running older versions of Windows for which patches aren’t available.

Cash-strapped companies are unable to buy new computers and they surely have no interest in the Fiasco of the Year which is saddled onto them. The natural step forward would be to convert existing PCs to a modern, secure operating system. GNU/Linux is a perfect fit.

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