IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 4th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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

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Links 04/03/2009: KDE 4.2.1 Released, More GNU/Linux on Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • VMWare’s filesystem clustering cracked open

    VMWare has also released the modifications to GPL/LGPL-licensed components used in their products, but has fallen short of actually open sourcing their ESX hypervisor, the crown jewel of the VMWare stack.

  • Linux : The cool factor


    I know It’s like kicking in an open door. I think almost every Linux desktop user knows what compiz is and that’s because it’s one of the coolest things you’ll ever see when it comes to desktops.
    But not everybody does, and sometimes I still do impress a Linux user with my desktop. If your not a Linux user there’s a big change you want to become one when you see what you can do with it.

    Compiz provides you with Hardware-accelerated window management and desktop compositing through OpenGL.

    Impressive, aint it? No seriously, I understand if you’re not a technical person the previous sentence says about nothing. But you know youtube don’t you? Compiz is so cool, people even post video’s showing it off on youtube. So go there do a search for compiz and be stunned by the incredible desktop effects you can have when you run Linux. It’s actually the most advanced desktop environment available today. And it runs on Linux!

  • Cedega 7.1 Released

    Cedega 7.1 is here and brings with it substantial improvements to your Linux gaming experience! Enhanced performance, stability and usability are at the core of the 7.1 update, plus Members can now enjoy the Cedega Certified game, Bioshock.

    Increased performance comes in the form of greatly improved VBO graphics and enhancements to take advantage of multi-core CPUs. Cedega 7.1 also offers you better handling of in-game resolution changes and removes a number of those slightly off-putting crashes on quit, thanks to broad changes to underlying reference counting methods.

  • Portuguese open sourcers decry MS-only gov eProcurement

    Portuguese open sourcers are a bit miffed that a government “eProcurement” platform offers “conditioned access to bid at a public tender”, viz: If you’re not running Microsoft software you’re not tendering for anything.

  • The Real Story on Oracle Unbreakable Linux

    · 79% of databases that run on Linux, run Oracle
    · Over 30% of Oracle Applications are deployed on the Linux platform
    · Over 50% of recent Oracle Fusion Middleware deployments are on the Linux platform

  • CANopen Stack supports SocketCAN drivers for Linux

    IXXAT Automation GmbH is pleased to announce that the versatile CANopenRT protocol software now supports the most recent implementation of the SocketCAN drivers for Linux using the Sysfs virtual file system.

    SocketCAN is a set of open source drivers and a network stack that extends the Berkeley sockets API in Linux by introducing a new protocol family PF_CAN. Main components of SocketCAN are the network device drivers for different CAN controllers and the implementation of the CAN protocol family. The SocketCAN framework has become part of vanilla kernel starting with 2.6.25.

  • Tell Them It’s Linux!!

    I found it amusing that most people thought KDE 4 was Windows 7 but hardly that surprising if I’m honest. I wouldn’t expect most people in the general public to know the difference and why should they? This was obviously meant just as a joke and that’s all very well but as I watched one thought screamed louder and louder inside my head, “for god’s sake tell them it’s Linux!!!”. I know this wasn’t a Linux advocacy project and I don’t even know if these guys care at all about open source, it’s up to them but they could have said just one word to these people after showing them the software. A little word beginning with “L” and ending in “x”. As I watched these people looking at Amarok and saying “oh wow, is this included?” I got more and more irate.

  • Rule #3: Divide and conquer

    Deconstructing “GNU/Linux”

    When I tried to compare the size in “source lines of code” (SLOC) between “Debian GNU/Linux ‘Sarge’” and “Windows Vista”, the first problem to arise was that there really is no direct free software analog to the “Windows operating system”. Instead of one single monolithic development project, the free community produces a swarm of smaller projects. By choosing a popular selection of projects, it’s possible to build an “equivalent function” alternative to Windows.


    One thing figure 1 does not show is the range of choice that is also possible. This particular stack (glibc + Linux + GNU utilities + X.org + KDE + Mozilla) is only one popular choice out of many. This choice is made possible by the fact that each layer in the stack adheres closely to published interface standards. With relatively few problems, any of the stack layers can be swapped out with alternative programs providing similar functionality. Figure 2 shows an assortment of the options available. Even considering that this not a complete list of objects, the number of possible combinations (over 2000) is staggering!

  • Linux For Computer Science Majors

    I’ve had Linux installed as my primary OS for about 3 years, and as a computer science major, it’s certainly my environment of choice. Not only does Linux deliver a rich desktop environment, but also the command-line and its vast number of utilities are indespensible for any sort of development. It still suprises me, then, when I see other CS majors at my university who are so unfamiliar with Linux, and who cringe when any programming assignment requires Linux for one reason or another.

  • Legacy

    • Breathing New Life into Old Servers

      For my purposes however I decided to download Ubuntu Linux 8.04 Sparc Edition, although which OS you decide to use is entirely up to you. My reasons for using Ubuntu were that the rest of my Linux platforms all run it, and I have a set of already-running monitoring scripts that work with them, making monitoring much easier.

    • Cleaning Out the Closet: What to Do With Those Worn-Out Legacy Systems

      Many large enterprises still run critical applications on legacy Linux and Unix platforms. Much like the fabled Energizer Bunny, these old computing OSes keep going and going and going. Some of these are not even in production any more.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.29-rc7

      The bulk of the patch is a couple of new drivers (ATL1c network driver and firewire FireDTV DVB receiver). That’s due to the whole “new drivers can’t regress” thing, although obviously if you compile them in, they may give you problems whether you have the hardware or not, as we found with the FireDTV driver ;)

      But apart from the new drivers, it should all be just small fixes. The shortlog (appended) tells the story.

    • Journey to the New Linux.com

      This distinction should be made clear: Linux.com will no longer be a “traditional” online media outlet. While we may offer our take on major news events from time to time, the main goal of the site will be providing information for all Linux users. Someone who wants to write a quick howto on how to get Skype running on a particular distro might not get the chance on a media site. But on Linux.com, we want it, because that’s what our readers will want.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE 4.2.1 Release Announcement

      KDE Community Ships First Translation and Service Release of the 4.2 Free Desktop, Containing Numerous Bugfixes, Performance Improvements and Translation Updates

      March 4th, 2009. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of “Cream”, (a.k.a KDE 4.2.1), another bugfix and maintenance update for the latest generation of the most advanced and powerful free desktop. Cream is a monthly update to KDE 4.2. It ships with desktop workspace and many cross-platform applications such as administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, multimedia software, games, artwork, web development tools and more. KDE’s award-winning tools and applications are available in more than 50 languages.

    • Quick look around XFCE 4.6

      Overall, I’m impressed. I haven’t hit a show-stopper yet. The icon thing is annoying and a bit amateur-ish (the part that’s due to XFCE’s default theme not being ready for 4.6), but it’s easily solved by installing another icon theme. Otherwise, nothing yet. Finger’s crossed.

  • Distributions

    • HOW TO: choose the best version of Linux

      Linux Distribution Chooser – There are several websites that are designed to help you choose the best distribution. You just answer a few questions and then several distributions are recommended to you. Tuxs.org, Desktop Linux At Home, and Zegenie Studios all have helpful distributions choosers. These are some of the best starting points if you know nothing about Linux or if you just need some help narrowing down the list of possibilities.

    • 5 Minutes of SimplyMepis 8.0.00
    • Dream Linux 3.5 – An Excellent New Release

      There are lots of other packages included, of course, some you would expect and some you might not. Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice (2.4), Adobe Reader, gThumb, Inkscape, Rhythmbox, Totem, CD/DVD burner… all installed and ready to go.

      In conclusion, though, I would say again, I am just amazed at how well, and how easily, Dream Linux installed on this Mini-Note, after all the struggles with the other distributions I’ve had. More to come.

    • Ubuntu

      • Memo to Mark Shuttleworth: Don’t Settle for Ubuntu Linux Desktops

        Dear Mark: You’ve made Ubuntu the most popular Linux distribution on desktops. You’ve established a footprint on notebooks and netbooks. But a lot of people wonder why you’re marching Canonical — and Ubuntu — in new directions like the server. Don’t listen to your critics. Keep marching upward.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Release Schedule Is Now Available

        Ubuntu 9.04 will not even be out for another month and a half, but Ubuntu enthusiasts can already start getting excited for its successor, Ubuntu 9.10. Ubuntu 9.10 has been codenamed the Karmic Koala and this release from Canonical will integrate Plymouth to provide a rich kernel mode-setting experience, feature performance improvements, and contain enhancements for Ubuntu cloud computing. In time for Ubuntu 9.10 we may even see some Gallium3D drivers and the latest innovations in the Linux stack as of the Linux 2.6.31 kernel or thereabouts.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Release Schedule
      • Hive Five Winner for Best Home Server Software: Ubuntu Server Edition

        It was certainly a neck and neck race to the finish line for last week’s Hive Five. Competing for the title of best home server software, Ubuntu Server Edition and Windows Home Server nearly tied with just a fraction of a percent giving Ubuntu the edge—only a 29 vote lead! Following in a distant third place was FreeNAS, a rock solid operating system for network attached storage but definitely underpowered in the broader spectrum of home server capabilities.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New Maemo UI framework arrives in Fremantle SDK alpha

      Several pre-alpha releases of the Fremantle SDK have already been made available for download. The second pre-alpha release included the new GObject-based Multimedia Application Framework (MAFW), which we examined in depth. As we noted in that article, the last major missing piece was the user interface framework.

    • Freescale re-purposes automotive chips

      Freescale is sampling a pair of new ARM11-based system-on-chip processors (SoCs) targeting industrial and consumer devices running Linux and other embedded OSes. The i.MX353 and i.MX357 omit the MLB (media local bus) and automotive focus of other i.MX35 parts, and with $12 pricing in volume, target a broader customer base.

    • Linux videophone does HD over WiFi

      Stavanger, Norway-based Pixavi has used embedded Linux to build what it claims is the first wireless videoconferencing camera capable of 720p HD conferencing. The ruggedized, battery-powered Xcaster offers CD-quality audio, 5Mpix stills, collaboration tools, Bluetooth, and 802.11n WiFi.

    • SOM format launches with Linux-ready x86 SoC

      SSV announced a 3.1 x 2.0-inch (80 x 50mm) processor module based on an x86-compatible VortexDX system-on-chip (SoC). The Debian Linux-ready eSOM/2586 is the first in a planned series of processor modules based on the form factor, which SSV is calling “eSOM-200.”

    • Intel and Wind River buddy up on multicore

      The partnership also appears to involve the Wind River Platform for Network Equipment. This Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 4.0-registered networking version of Wind River Linux supports a variety of multicore processors, including the Intel Core 2.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • My bigger concern with Microsoft – netbooks

        I’ve already written about how difficult it was to find a good selection of Linux-based netbooks, and that discussion included some suspicions that Microsoft might be acting like its old self as it tries to stem manufacturer and distributor defections from Windows XP and Vista, particularly on netbooks. I believe CAOS commentator ObiWanKenobi summed up this sentiment well:

        This ‘not wanting to sell Linux’ may be the result of some ‘carrot or stick’ action from Microsoft. M$ (sic) can afford to offer some favorable conditions on Windows to sellers who agree ‘not to want to sell Linux.’ They sustain it for a while, until the competition is strangled. Then they raise the prices. This is a classical case of dumping. Waving a big stick may be even more effective. Intimidating in a subtle way does not cost them anything. Of course, nobody knows about this because it is all done secretly.

        ‘Not wanting to sell Linux’ manifests itself in many ways. Dell hides their Linux PCs on their web site so that you have to look for them by using Google. Netbook producers equip their creations with crippled versions of Linux which can perform only a few basic functions. Linux can be also put on a more expensive hardware version to make them look less attractive than their Windows-equipped cousins.

      • Clarion shows off what an Atom MID should be

        The UI is where the magic happens, and the Mind has an interface literally designed for it, with a lot of emphasis on ease-of-use and linking things together sanely. It starts out with Red Flag Linux, and builds on top of that. Clarion put Firefox in it for a browser, but most functions just work on their own, not in a browser window.

      • The BENQ netbook and EeeBuntu

        I’m really quite impressed with the little device, I can also run the compiz cube, unfortunately with the mouse pad it’s a regular pain to work with, so I don’t bother. As a highly portable laptop, I personally recommend it, or any other 10” net book with Linux.

      • Google boss backs subsidized Linuxbooks

        Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hinted that his company – or at least its partners – will one day subsidize the purchase of extra-low-cost Linux netbooks in an effort to promote the use of its myriad cloud online services.

      • Are retailers hijacking Linux for their own financial gain?

        With many retail outlets in South Africa now selling notebook and netbook computers with Linux pre-installed, I can’t really say that I am at all excited by the notion and find myself feeling very apprehensive about the way Linux is being introduced to the local market.

        My reason for feeling this way stems from the belief that most (if not all) people making the decision to buy these notebook or netbook computers do it based on the price tag, and not because the machine runs Fedora-based Linpus Linux. The salesperson selling this product has no comprehension of the Linux operating system or any of the programs available, and therefore is incapable of influencing the buyer to do it for any other reason.

      • 3MX RC2 Linux released for the Razorbook

        3MX is a very powerful & complete distribution for the Razorbook (or re-badged) netbooks. 3MX replaces the normal Little Linux Laptop OS & is a very user-friendly Operating System that comes with a lot of pre-installed software such as: Firefox 3 web browser, VLC Media Player, Transmission, Medit (HTML editor), Dillo web browser, Wifi Stumbler (for finding of wireless hotspots), Pidgin chat & Xchat.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Software System’s Fans Gather to Talk Code

    Chris Ridder, a residential fellow at the Center for the Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said that there was an ongoing debate about the pros and cons of free and open-source software, but added that such software has recently become more widely used, in part because of its flexibility.

  • Is Open Source a Good Career Bet for Developers?

    With any article whose premise is ensuring the safety of your programming career, it’s tempting to try to hook your attention with fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the state of the economy. I could point at all those layoff statistics. Or I could frighten you by bringing up the spectre of your job going overseas.

    But that’s not the point, really. Our career choices affect us personally no matter what the economy looks like. We all have to find a balance between what we love to do and work that someone else will pay for. (This is why I cannot brag about my remarkable career from consuming chocolate; I’ve never found someone to pay the bills for it, alas.) To make the best career choices, you must become aware of where the market is going. And then you have to fine-tune your expertise so that your skills stay in-demand… or so that you can develop new skills that shortly will be in demand.


    And the good news for open source developers is that comparing “programmer,” “programmer open source,” “programmer .net” and “programmer java” yields a happy chart for open source developers. The overall programmer salary averages $73,000 per year, and the Java and .NET developers earn just over that ($76,000). (Or, to be more rigorous, more jobs are advertised with those salaries.) In contrast, open source developers are offered $83,000–a nice raise.

  • Finding Employment is a Gamble, Open Source Careers Aren’t a Bad Bet
  • Open Source In Public K-12 Schools?

    I’m a computer science major who has been recently getting involved in local grassroots politics in my county and state. I’ve been discussing the idea with some of my state legislatures of submitting a couple of resolutions, opening up to the idea of switching to open source software in our state’s K-12 schools. I’m looking for more information/literature about this topic, open source solutions in public K-12 education, pros and cons, studies that prove or disprove many of the assumptions of open source and linux in public schools.

  • Engineering Group and Ingres Agree to Business Partnership to Strengthen Open Source Offering in Italy

    Engineering Group, Italy’s leading IT services company, and Ingres Corporation, a leading provider of open source database management software and support services, announced today a new business partnership designed to strengthen its joint open source database and business intelligence offering in the region.

  • Have Code, Will Travel – Sabre Chooses Open Source to Power its Business

    Whenever you buy an airline ticket or book a hotel room these days, chances are that a good part of that transaction will run through Sabre’s network. Sabre is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technology solutions for the airline and travel industry. What you may not be aware of, however, is that Sabre has made open-source software a cornerstone of its technology strategy. Sabre already relies on a number of open-source projects to handle thousands of transactions every second, and today, Sabre and Progress FUSE announced a new partnership that will make a number of FUSE’s open-source offerings a cornerstone of Sabre’s technology.

  • Newham CIO sheds light on Microsoft relationship

    With the government promising to use open-source rather than proprietary alternatives (if there is no significant cost difference in products and services), I asked whether there will there be a Socitm/local government pushback against central government policy on open source, if Steel thinks open source is behind?

    However, Steel said that his personal opinions were not Socitm policy.

    “I will quite freely express my views, but they are in no way Socitm policy,” said Steel. “Socitm is interested in promoting and using open source.”

  • Coders urged to take up open source in downturn

    The recession is a good opportunity for out-of-work developers to turn their hand to open-source software, a leader of a free software group suggested on Tuesday.

    In fact, all companies, programmers and other IT professionals would do well to look into free software, Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, said in a speech at the CeBIT technology conference in Hanover, Germany. Predicting that the recession would probably end “sometime this year”, he said the downturn would serve as a “breather” and as an opportunity for companies and individuals to rethink their software strategies.

  • Open Source Digital Music Library SW from IU

    Indiana University has released open source software, called Variations, that allows you to create a digital music library system. College and university libraries may digitize audio and musical scores to provide to their users in an interactive, online environment, including streaming audio and scanned score images.

  • Auto alliance targets open-source platform development

    An automotive electronics industry alliance announced this week will seek to drive adoption of an open-source car infotainment platform by reducing development cost and time.

    The Genivi Alliance unveiled on Monday (March 2) includes auto makers BMW, General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen along with parts suppliers Magneti Marelli and Visteon Corp. along with Intel Corp. and Wind River. The founding members said they will collaborate to create the Genivi platform, which is billed as a common software architecture scalable across different product lines and versions.

  • Volantis updates open-source mobile Web development tools

    Written in Java, Volantis Mobility Server combines a runtime framework, an expanding database of configuration information on thousands of mobile devices, and development tools. It supports other development languages including PHP and Ruby. A servlet container, such as the open source Apache Tomcat server, is needed for runtime support.

  • CMSs

    • Open source identity: Spine CMS creator Hendrik Van Belleghem

      Looking for a Web-based content management system that uses Perl instead of PHP? Want to server dynamic and static content with PostrgeSQL, not MySQL? What started out as a hobby project by Hendrik Van Belleghem, based in Bazel, Belgium, has grown into Spine – a Perl Web content system for Apache on Unix systems. With so many LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) content systems available, Spine offers a refreshing alternative with the tried and tested Perl language and is database independent. Open Source Identity interviews Van Belleghem about Spine, a lesser-known alternative to the popular Web CMSs.

    • Open Source and usability: Joomla vs. WordPress

      Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been in charge of putting up a number of websites for various companies, often as favors for friends. In most cases, I’ve ended up using one out of two solutions: Joomla! and WordPress. While both of these projects have evolved greatly over the last few years, they are vastly different. Joomla! has always been intended as a ‘fit-all-your-possible-needs’-kind of CMS solution, while WordPress was developed as a blog with CMS capabilities. Recently WordPress has opened up to allow its users to set up a site with static-only material (with the option of a blog-page), without having to hack the code. Hence it’s one step closer to being a direct competitor to Joomla!.

  • Audio

    • Open Sources Episode 6: Open source in the enterprise
    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 3

      In this episode: Debian 5 and Xfce 4.6 are released, Microsoft sues TomTom, are the Creative Commons licences working, are there too many Linux distributions and did Mike really play Captain ‘S’ – the remake?

    • Episode 0×08: Selecting a FLOSS License

      Bradley and Karen discuss the issues and considerations for a FLOSS project selecting a license.

    • Take Me Out to Ubuntu

      When I was a kid, sometimes on a hot summer day my grandfather — I called him “pops” — would jump up and ask, “Hey kid. You want to go out to Ubuntu?” When he asked me that, my eyes would light up. There’s nothing more I loved than spending time with pops and Ubuntu. As we walked over to his creaky Pentium III, we both broke out in that classic American song, “Take Me Out to Ubuntu.” (QuickTime version — Ogg version)

  • Video

    • 15 years Linux: past and future

      Open source luminaries reminisce about the early days of Linux, its successes and how it should move forward. Featuring Larry Augustin (VA Software), Dirk Hohndel (Intel), Chris DiBona (Google) Eric Raymond and Jon maddog Hall

  • Healthcare

    • DOHCS 2009 Conference a Hit! Wildly Exceeds Attendance Expectations

      The third appearance of the DOHCS (Demonstrating Open-Source Health Care Solutions) conference showed a stunning demand for open-source healthcare technologies. With the nation in the midst of a healthcare crisis, nearly 300 attendees learned how open-source alternatives to proprietary health technologies can offer the transparency and collaboration necessary for quality patient care.

    • CureTogether, a platform for open-source health research
    • CBO: Health IT Deficit of $17 billion over 10 Years

      Ten years in the ditch is a very long time. The only thing that could turn this around is a ban on federal spending for proprietary Electronic Medical Record software in which only Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3 software can be purchased with federal funds. Current proprietary vendors can change their product licenses to AGPL to receive public money.

    • Midland Memorial Hospital Reduces Patient Deaths, Infection Rates Through Use of OpenVista Electronic Health Record

      Since the implementation of Medsphere’s OpenVista electronic health record (EHR), Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH) has realized a host of improved clinical results, including fewer patient deaths and medical errors and decreased infection rates, an independent case study confirms.

    • Your Money and Your Medical Privacy Gone

      The important exceptions are: The Veterans Affairs VistA software system which is in the public domain, successfully deployed in the private sector and is a remarkable example of a government success. Naturally the government has tried to kill it numerous times. Other Free/Open Source Software Electronic Medical Records that have achieved notable success like Webreach and ClearHealth. The recent ARRA of 2009 as written tips the playing field against FOSS software through hostile certification processes and marketing noise drowning out real solutions.

    • GNUmed 0.4.0 released

      Over last couple of months the GNUmed team has worked hard to bring you a brand new release. We are proud to announce version 0.4 of GNUmed.

    • A Generous, Virtuous Society

      A single sentence law enacted by Congress could change this. That sentence is: ‘All Electronic Medical Record software purchased with federal funds must be licensed under the Affero General Public License version 3.’ Such a sentence would change the picture dramatically for the better.

  • Business

    • Zenoss Kicks Off 2009 with Multiple Industry Honors

      Zenoss Inc., the leading commercial open source network and systems management provider, today announced it has been named a finalist for three awards. Zenoss has been selected as a finalist in the Enterprise Tools category at the 19th Jolt Product Excellence Awards as well as the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) 24th Annual CODiE Awards in the Best Open Source Solution category. In addition, Zenoss is a finalist for the Innovator Award at the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council (CRTC) TechAwards 2009.

    • Obsidian adds Zmanda backup to portfolio

      South African Linux specialist Obsidian Systems has finalised a reseller agreement with open source backup specialists Zmanda. The deal adds Amanda Enterprise, Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL and Zmanda Internet Backup to Obsidian’s growing portfolio of products.

    • Is Open-Source CRM Right for Your Company?

      As the economic downturn lingers, businesses are looking for ways to move forward without making huge investments. One idea is to use open-source CRM software to save the cost of a license fee. But just because you save the money on that part of the application doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cost-free. As with any software-implementation initiative, you need to go through the same process you do with commercial software. Nevertheless, open-source CRM could be a good choice if you’re looking for a more flexible development environment and you have the resources to implement it.

  • Sun

    • Evidence-Based Open Source Adoption

      I mentioned to a friend of mine the other day how I was replacing Word with OpenOffice in the long run. He replied that they use OO exclusively at his place of work (mostly as a security measure, as it turns out). That provoked a question from another, skeptical friend: How do you know this is really going to help?

    • Visit the OpenOffice.org Planet

      The OpenOffice.org Planet is now collecting blogs around OpenOffice.org. This also includes announcements from the OpenOffice.org extensions and template repository, latest news from OpenOffice.org Issuetracker, notices about new features in OpenOffice.org and many blogs more.

  • Programming

    • Hivelocity Announces SourceForge

      Hivelocity, a dedicated hosting provider, announced it will be providing the world’s largest open source software development and distribution environment, SourceForge, with download mirror services.


      Hivelocity also provides mirrors to both Cpanel and CentOS.org.

    • about:mozilla – Thunderbird, Camino, Community Marketing Guide, Labs, Firefox, SUMO, TraceVis, and more…

      In this issue…

      * Thunderbird 3 beta 2 now available
      * Camino 2.0 beta 2 released
      * Mozilla Community Marketing Guide
      * Mozilla Labs February update
      * Firefox 3.1 beta 3 test week, March 2-6
      * Firefox Support: Make someone’s day in 10 minutes!
      * TraceVis: performance visualization for TraceMonkey


  • Thirty years old and still no Tom-Tom…

    ODF 1.2 is well underway. The arrival of a flurry of new members inside the ODF Technical Committee who have illustrated themselves as proponents of OOXML is a bit fun to watch I must say. But I have to command the general serenity of the Committee and its chairs, Rob Weir and Michael Brauer for their quiet and effective management of the proceedings. I think the only thing that is to be hoped for is that we can finish the completion of this ODF sub-version. Also, and of some interest, I can only recommend the reading of the archives of the Committee’s discussions online where interesting concepts on extensions and conformance are being discussed.

  • ODF Alliance offers recommendations to Obama administration

    Following on the heels of yesterday’s set of open standards recommendations to the Obama administration by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, the Open Document Format Alliance has offered its own recommendations in the area of open standards for document formats.

  • Teen winner of computer literacy contest

    Siti Nadia Radhuan, of Kolej Matrikulasi Pahang(KMP), won the Category IV of the 2008 Open Document Format Olympiad, a competition that tested the students’ proficiency in the use of computers.

  • From the Statute of Frauds to WYSIWYS: Document Format Implications

    For editable formats like ODF, I think it points out the need to describe a formal content model that describes the semantic content of a document, aside from its formatting and layout. So text + lists + tables + headers + footers + footnotes + images + captions, etc. Visual appearance is nice to have as well, but it is less robust when rendered on different devices, different operating systems, and is less likely to be robust when rendered on OpenOffice 10.0 in 2015. But the equivalence of the semantic content of an unextended ODF document should provide the same ability to have an accurate and reliable record in an electronic document as we have had traditionally with paper and ink.

  • Low-Fat ODF

    The proper pace to address these points is in the conformance clause of the ODF Standard. To that end, the current draft of ODF 1.2 defines two conformance classes, one for extended documents and one for unextended documents. The aim, in the end, is to give the consumer greater control and allow them to make a more intelligent choice. We can’t force vendors to implement one or the other conformance class. And we can’t force consumers to use one or the other. But we can formally define what an extended document is and let the free market operate based on the additional information made available.


  • Tasty Tuesday Nuggets

    Penguin Pete echoes one of my favorite rants– we’re losing our freedoms by inches every day, and way too many people don’t care. In fact a sizable number of US citizens seem to favor the notion of a corporate police state, and don’t seem to mind suffering rampant corporate abuse of all kinds. I wouldn’t care, except their apathy impacts the people who do care.

  • Did Belkin Really Need Fake User Reviews?

    PC World has written about fake user reviews before. But my question is, did Belkin really need to pay for positive reviews? Are its products so unworthy that without fake endorsements, few people would buy them? As someone who has written and edited PC World articles and reviews about a wide variety of Belkin products over the years, I knew the answer right away: No.

  • Me [Lessig] @ Google RE: CHANGE CONGRESS
  • Rights

    • Why Is The Government Asking Companies To Both Retain And Destroy Data?

      With Congress’ latest attempt to force data retention on anyone who operates a network (including home users), some are realizing that other parts of the government have been equally adamant about getting these same folks to destroy the very same information for the sake of keeping people’s data private

    • EFF creates anti-snooping site

      THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION has opened a web site designed to help you keep the government from get its grubby mitts on your hard-drive today.

  • Copyrights

    • The Pirate Bay – Innocent or Guilty?

      After two weeks of live broadcasted hearings on the Internet, the ‘Spectrial’ is coming to an end. This week both parties presented their closing statements to the court. Time for us to weigh up developments so far and look forward to the verdict.

      king kong defenseYesterday the prosecutor called for jailtime, while the prosecution presented its closing statements. Today the defense had its say and the trial officially ended.

    • Neil Young (And Warner Music) Should Learn To Respect YouTube… And Music Fans

      After Warner Music got greedy and demanded money from YouTube that the company is under no legal obligation to pay (safe harbors, people), Google and YouTube demonstrated to Warner Music how little leverage the record label has by taking down all Warner Music videos. This is making plenty of Warner musicians quite angry with Warner Music for pissing off their fans and in some cases breaking the artists’ own websites.

    • Electronic Books and the Myth of Ownership

      Some details have leaked out about the impending Google book store. Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers identified some of the restrictions publishers are placing on electronic content. One is that all purchases will stay on Google’s servers with bits and pieces transmitted to the reader. Obviously the publishers are a paranoid bunch concerned about piracy. The lesson of the music industry is not lost on them. Access to books will exist as long as Google supports the book store. If Google abandons the market the purchases go bye-bye. That should be a real incentive for the masses to buy electronic books readable on cell phones and portable computers. Google gets something out of this as well. A Google ID is required to access the electronic library. That means opportunities to introduce people to Google Apps, Gmail, Chrome, and other Google services.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Another Company Affiliated with Microsoft Sues Red Hat Using Software Patents

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Red Hat’s latest headache and some other news about Microsoft’s aggressive crusade against Linux

THIS latest lawsuit seems like a combination of the Firestar case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and also the ongoing case of Acacia, whose connections with Microsoft cannot be emphasised strongly enough [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. How much can Red Hat trust Microsoft?

Last month we saw a Microsoft partner, T3, attacking IBM and now we find a company whose partners include Microsoft attacking Red Hat using patents.

A small software company on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against open source distributor Red Hat and several vendors that sell Red Hat products, claiming that Red Hat’s JBoss middleware violates one of its patents.


Software Tree’s partners include Microsoft, IBM, Borland, and Sun, while customers range from Concert Communications to the Los Alamos National Lab and News Corporation’s Kesmai unit.

It is not unusual for Microsoft to attack Linux via any of its partners, allies, or hired guns. There are many examples that we’ve covered over the past couple of years, with victims that include Google. Is it too far fetched in this case? Maybe so, but all possibilities ought to at least be taken into account.

Going Direct

There was a reasonable assumption that Microsoft will only ever attack Linux indirectly, but inclinations to believe this changed about a week or so ago when Microsoft proudly announced to its shareholders that it was suing TomTom. We’ve covered this before, but here is a quote from Keith Bergelt (OIN) which is not worth missing:

When I spoke to Keith Bergelt of the Open Invention Network, he was far more directly critical: “The message that Microsoft has been putting out over the last year to 18 months, thanks to their presence in open source forums and Sam Ramji, is that a lot of that effort is not more than rhetoric, and that their behaviors are the same. The inclusion of patents and the targeting of Linux, whether it’s by design or not, is provocative.

“And it’s unfortunate, because any of the work they were doing to develop a better manner of comportment and integration within the community will be for naught. It also solidifies the resolve of the community to support Linux users and the rights of them to use Lx. Irrespective of whether TomTom has other [patent] issues, this is a separate action. This action, by dragging in those Linux-targeting patents, is just more of Microsoft being Microsoft, and underscores how far they still have to go to be accepted by the open source community.”

Pamela Jones at Groklaw adds: “I can’t resist pointing out that when SCO first sued IBM it told the media that it was not a fight against Linux developers, just a dispute between it and IBM. That proved untrue.

Microsoft: “Come to Haven, Windows”

As we showed earlier today, formal and informal spokespeople of Microsoft (such as Enderle) keep pretending that this is not about Linux, but it is. Microsoft is trying to ‘embrace’ open source while only pretending it has no problems with “Linux”.

Even though some believe that Microsoft’s recent patent lawsuit against TomTom is a prelude to an all-out legal assault on Linux, that doesn’t stop Bob Muglia, the company’s president of Server and Tools Business, to look into the future and state that Microsoft’s products will look more and more to open source software. In fact, he predicts most Microsoft products will have open source in them at some point.

Regarding the above, writes Groklaw in reference to the headline (“Muglia: Open Source To Permeate Microsoft”): “Just not in a good way, I’m guessing. So… is this the embrace part?

Balzac, over at our IRC channel, writes: “Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer want to profit from “open source”, control it, subvert it, marginalize truly free software, never offer a mea culpa or apologize for their years of being belligerent and wrong about everything. All of this in the interest of protecting their egos, because they can’t admit they clung to an archaic business model and licensing approach.

Microsoft Wants to Impose Linux Tax

As asserted by Harald Welte, it’s about cost. Another person makes a similar suggestion, arguing that Microsoft wants to rationalise “Linux tax”.

How can you compete with free ? That’s the question every business publication has been asking to Microsoft lately. Of course priceless software is actractive per-se, so many online journalist and bloggers already foresaw Microsoft’s decline in the OS war.

Well, seems like Microsoft had an answer lately, and a good one.

In the last few days, perhaps taking advantage of me being offline ;-), Microsoft sued TomTom on 8 software patents. Amongst them 3 related to filesystem management. Something as stupid as ‘Common namespace for long and short filenames’.

akf wrote to say that “some already pay”. This point was stressed several days ago and as akf notes, “The really sad thing is, if you read the texts carefully, there seem to be companies, which already do pay Microsoft for Linux! Only TomTom refused to do that.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

(Usually attributed to) Mahatma Gandhi

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Patents Roundup: Reform, Case Against Linux, Microsoft Patent Trolls and More

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reform is ahead, Microsoft plays mental games against Linux, Microsoft-affiliated patent harvesters revisited and studied


A patent reform bill ought to have been introduced as early as yesterday, spurring the beginning of change. This may have been delayed a little as we have not been able to identify any coverage, as yet.

Patent reform could be introduced in Congress as early as Tuesday (March 3), as high tech lobbying groups on both sides of the issue turn up the heat. Sources close to the issue said the new bill will pick up where similar bills that failed to pass in 2008 left off.

On one side, big electronics companies want to curb what they claims is a rise of frivolous patent infringement suits and damages, often from companies whose only business is to acquire and assert patents. On the other side, smaller companies and individual inventors say changes in the patent system would cut incentives to develop new technology.

Thought is also given to the issue of patents-encumbered standards over at WIPO, which is typically hostile towards Free software. Fortunately, the Bilski ruling reportedly helps the weakening of software patents. This could rescue standards and further trivialise interoperability.

In February 2009, the Board of Patent Appeals (BPAI) issued nine decisions that touched on Bilski and patentable subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. In eight of the cases, the BPAI either affirmed an examiner’s Section 101 rejection (five cases) or entered a new ground of rejection under Section 101 (three cases). In the remaining case, the BPAI remanded – asking the examiner to consider wether the claims were patentable under Section 101. All nine cases were related to software or electronics type applications.

Microsoft vs Linux

A few articles that are important have been published since we last summarised the TomTom case. One important post came from Harald Welte, who debunks Microsoft’s claim that its case against TomTom does not affect any generic kernel. Welte makes other valuable remarks, for example:

The underlying strategy is very obvious: Make those patent licenses high enough to reduce the cost advantage of a Linux based OS over Windows CE and thereby demotivate companies from using Linux in the embedded world.

This has so far happened behind closed doors, but if you google you can find a couple of strange press releases of Asian companies buying into those MS patent deals for Linux.


I myself, as well as numerous other people in the Free and Open Source world are asking themselves how this legal action fits into the Microsoft-proclaimed Free Software friendly strategy. As you can see now, that was nothing but vapor.

Bruce Perens, one of the more prominent figures in his area, weighed in on this topic as well. Bruce Perens took shots at the lack of innovation, among other things:

Now, why would anyone want to pay Microsoft for the right to use this lackluster technology? After all, there were better filesystems before MS-DOS came along, and there are much better ones today. It’s not because of the technology, but because of Microsoft’s dominance of the computer business.

FAT was the filesystem provided by Microsoft systems, and thus it was on nearly all floppy disks. Apple implemented FAT to be compatible with Microsoft. Later on, all USB sticks and SD cards had to use it if they were to work with Windows. So, most removable storage came preformatted with FAT out of the box. Others implemented FAT to be compatible with Microsoft, and it became the de facto “standard” for removable media. But a standard with embedded patents, for which Microsoft is now demanding royalties.

Eric Raymond wrote some more about the case, this time with specifics delved into.

Most of the public attention has focused on the two FAT patents. Interestingly, these are not patents on FAT itself. Rather, they have to do with methods for translating between long filenames and the DOS-style 8+3 names that FAT still uses internally. They’ll read on any implementation of FAT that wants to present long names to the user, including open-source ones.

The flash-memory one could be the biggest worry in the bunch. It seems to be claiming things that any flash file system needs to do to manage its hardware. No threat to Linux on its own hardware, but it might be deployable, if upheld, to block anyone from shipping in the U.S. a Linux filesystem that manages flash devices, whether it’s FAT-compatible or not.

From Microsoft Watch:

Microsoft’s lawsuit against TomTom is sure to drum up nothing but trouble.


Microsoft wants to enforce these alleged patents now? Against a Dutch company? TomTom is a problem created by Microsoft, for many reasons, with timing being the most important. The European Union is within months of whack, whack, whacking Microsoft for new antitrust violations. Linux and open source are en vogue on the Continent, where anti-Microsoft sentiments grow with each new EU antitrust investigation. Then there’s TomTom being a European company.

Several useful points sent to us by a reader are:

  1. “The media is spreading this as a Linux case though it looks like the fight is over the patents on the filesystem FAT”
  2. “FAT, of all the filesystems, is particularly unsuited to flash media (e.g. CF) and if there is no major reason to be pulling chips out of TomTom and putting them into a computer, then there is even less of an excuse to be using it. Further, at least older versions of Windows were capable of using ext2 or one or two others.”
  3. “The licensing [...] says that anyone may use FAT. So what we appear to have here is nothing more than a harassment suit, probably for the purpose of FUDing.”

A Microsoft executive is meanwhile attacking the notion that open source is about… well, anything more than just cost. The “Free” in F.O.S.S. is not about cost, though.

“NOT ALL OPEN SOURCE is free” spluttered Microsoft’s Kevin Turner defensively when the INQ asked him what the Vole planned to do to stay competitive in today’s software market.

Forcefully stating that the concept of “free open source” was a fraudulent one, Turner said Microsoft has, “a better value proposition” than the sorcerers, but that the Vole still held the “highest regard for open source”.


He neglected to mention if these “smart ways” involved suing the pants off more Linux distributors in the near future, however.

Microsoft Enderle sings this same tune about the TomTom case not having to do anything with Linux. Other Microsoft employees (or Microsoft-sympathetic bloggers) do the same thing because they want to entice FOSS developers, bringing them over to Windows while attacking Linux ‘kindly’ or “by accident”. Here is another option.

Microsoft still sponsors OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and also OSCON [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. So, the company which sues Linux/open source also wants to share a bed with GNU/Linux advocates, despite it become the next SCO. Microsoft believes such actions can ruin or dilute conferences, such as Apple/Mac events. Similarly, there are reporters who are helping Microsoft ‘hug’ open source developers; for example, Elizabeth Montalbano from IDG/IDC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Her beat includes corporate and competitive coverage of Microsoft Corp., browsers, office productivity suites, Windows and Windows Live. She also covers Linux and general news and events as they happen in New York City.

Be careful what you read and believe. These people sometimes get hired by Microsoft. Caution is advised when sloppy journalism is trying to wed FOSS developers with Windows and Microsoft. It’s being published in Microsoft-funded platforms too (c/f the IDC connection).

(Microsoft) Patent Trolls

One reader has given us information about the patent-trolling business that’s brewing in Washington state. Acacia’s connections with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] may not mean much, but the company continues acquiring very silly patents that should have never been granted in the first place and then uses them to sue.

“It will seek returns for these investments.”Acacia has just acquired a patent on interactive mapping and speaking of interactive maps, here is an interesting map of Acacia Partners, with a similar one for Intellectual Vultures[sic] (a patent troll created/conceived by Microsoft). The founder, Nathan Myhrvold, is associated with DreamWorks, which as we showed recently, is associated with Microsoft's cofounder too. There may be other overlaps to be found there and it may be important because this patent troll keeps growing in terms of scale with further acquisitions (the latest example being Telcordia Technologies). It will seek returns for these investments.

Given the sorts of payments we've been seeing, it’s worth keeping an eye on money flows. An informant tells us that based on a look-up applied to street address, “it’s always interesting seeing what companies occupy the same building.” For example:

  • Mente, LLC is located at “2365 Carillon Point Kirkland”
  • ICO Global Communications is invested in by Mente
  • Cascade Investment, L.L.C. is based in “2365 Carillon Point Kirkland, WA 98033″
  • Teledesic L.L.C. is based in “2365 Carillon Point Kirkland”
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is at the same place (“2365 Carillon Point Kirkland”)
  • Hawkeye Investments LLC is also at the same place (“2365 Carillon Point, Kirkland, WA”)
  • Bill Gates’ house is also in “2365 Carillon Point Kirkland WA”

Additionally, there is Bill Gates’ own patent harvesting firm, which is based around the same area [1, 2]. Things are more interconnected than the public is led to believe.

Microsoft cronies

Other News

Patents — including software patents — can pass considerable costs downstream to consumers. As new and damning evidence of this:

The CUT-FATT petition said that American consumers pay $20 to $30 per television receiver for intellectual property rights that would cost about $1 elsewhere.

Over video playback, a lot more litigation exists. Latest example:

Beeney’s clients claim that Lenovo knowingly violated their patent on a type of compression technology called MPEG-2, which is used in everything from DVDs to satellite television. (MPEG-2 compresses data into a more manageable form. Without it, an analog movie converted to DVD, for instance, would require dozens of disks.)

MPEG-2 is also a known and somewhat controversial issue to GNU/Linux users. It’s really time to insist on Ogg.

Microsoft and Dell are being sued for an address lookup patent; therein, BT as well goes aggressive with patents. The combination of tagging with speech turns out to be a ludicrous patent and it’s earned by Nokia which continues to prove that it’s interested in software patents [1, 2].

Credit card transactions over the telephone have become a patent too, which is now being used against Visa and there is more coverage in TechDirt. Here is a patent on secure domain names — the type of patents which stifle Web security rather than promote it. We wrote about this sensitive subject before [1, 2, 3].

“I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.”

Dean Drako, Barracuda’s CEO

Technical Issues Mostly Resolved

Posted in Site News at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SEVERAL readers have noticed and informed us that we had server issues this morning.

These are almost resolved by now and for those who are interested in the details, they’ll emerge tomorrow in the IRC logs. We are still looking into some technical difficulties (e.g. the site’s Wiki), so please bear with us.

Boycott Novell down

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