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03.06.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 6th, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 6th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 6th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 06/03/2009: Moves to GNU/Linux in Cuba, Google to Enter Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Open source software in Brazil: too many projects to keep up with!

    The Brazilian free software movement is in such high gear that it is almost impossible to keep up on all the new developments and projects that are happening throughout the country. Brazil is larger in size than the continental United States and has a population of almost 200 million people. Given the strong support of free software by the Brazilian government at all levels (federal, state and municipal).

    For example, a new technology being used is the Digital Boards project for the public schools. The board is almost 6-1/2 feet wide and it’s sensitive to the touch of a magnetic pen that is connected to a computer running Vix Linux, a distribution specially customized for educational proposes by the City Hall of Vitória, in the state of Espírito Santo.

  • Linux Gets Faster with Splashtop

    At the time of this writing, Splashtop is preinstalled on laptops from ASUS, VoodooPC and Lenovo, and on all motherboards from ASUS. Every one of them is winning where it counts most with users—by saving time.

  • Driver comparison Linux vs. Vista (Chrome 400/500 Series)

    After two released Linux drivers, I decided to compare those drivers to the current Windows Vista driver. Here are the first results, there are more to come!

    [...]

    Sometimes S3 Graphics really scares me and this is one of those situations: It’s already rather unusual that the performance of a Linux driver is more or less equal to the Windows drivers, but that the Linux drivers offers a far better performance is really scaring. And keep in mind that S3 Graphics doesn’t really care that much about Linux at all!.

  • Programs

    • Shutter 0.70 released!

      This is the first release of Shutter as it is – we’ve just renamed it from GScrot.

    • If you blog, Shutter will rock your socks

      While the screenshot plugin of Compiz allowed me to slice through the gimp burden in some cases, it’s not feature rich as Shutter.

    • Free/Open Source Workout/Fitness Software for Linux

      Since I have a healthy goal for 2009, I’ve been looking for a program that can help me accomplish my objective. I found several workout/fitness desktop applications for my Linux box, but very few have satisfied my needs.

    • So you want to run windows programs on Linux?

      My point of view in this matter is quite simple. If you wish to run windows programs then use windows. If you wish to run Linux and windows programs then either use an emulator, wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) or a virtual machine. If none of those solutions are suitable then stop thinking about using Linux. Stop complaining that you will use Linux if only it could run this program. Either use the operating system the program was designed for or use an alternative program designed for the operating system you wish to use.

      [...]

      Just because windows programs do not work on Linux does not mean that it is not ready for the desktop. Under normal usage Linux has no problems and is much better than windows in many ways. Wanting to run a different operating systems programs under Linux can in no way shape or form be considered normal usage.

  • Multimedia

    • Miro 2: A Review

      Today I downloaded Miro 2.0.1. It’s not yet in the Ubuntu repositories, but the Miro project has set up repositories for the different versions of Ubuntu. Before I start reviewing, I thought it might be best to give a little background on Miro. Miro is a video player, and it has “sites” that can be downloaded as a feed so you can get the latest content. It actually used to be called Democracy Player back in the day, but was renamed in 2007. Miro has changed their content a bit for the second verstion. Videos used to be hosted on “channels” but that appears to have been changed in favor of “sites.” One thing to note, however, that doing a search for the sites does not work on Linux due to a flash player incompatibility. Searching for feeds (which is what I’m after) does work with Linux.

    • Trying out Songbird

      All in all, Rhythmbox could get usurped.

    • MythTV made easy

      In depth: MythTV is an incredibly ambitious suite of applications designed to sit at the heart of your home entertainment centre. It records, pauses and rewinds television, plays music and videos, catalogues your photo and DVD collections, browses the internet, makes phone calls, delivers the news and the weather and plays games – and it does all this thanks to the power of Linux.

  • Gaming

    • Sacred Gold On Linux Has Gone Gold

      Linux Game Publishing believes the game will begin shipping to customers on the 25th of March. The announcement was initially made on the LGP blog. Also being worked on by Linux Game Publishing is Jets ‘n’ Guns as well as a title we have been looking forward to, Shadowgrounds: Survivor.

    • World of Goo

      They say the simplest ideas are the best. Strip most games down to their essence and you’ll be left with either a dull husk of nothingness or a database. But not World of Goo: It’s nigh impossible to pare down any further. Every extraneous idea has been lanced and excised.

      [...]

      Verdict: An absolutely intoxicating masterpiece of gaming ingenuity, beautifully constructed and universally enjoyable by all. You need to own this. 10/10

  • Server

    • Cisco’s PostPath to Linux powered hosted email

      It will be interesting to see how the PostPath technology furthers Cisco’s Linux interest as well since Cisco tends not to do things on a small scale. A large Linux powered hosted email system will no doubt result in scalability and performance improvement that could well extend behind the confines of Cisco itself and benefit the broader open source ecosystem.

    • Cray and ScaleMP Announce Strategic Alliance

      This solution is versatile, able to run a variety of Linux® workloads such as large memory, parallel workloads and high core count shared memory applications, and delivers excellent performance across many programming models ranging from MPI, OpenMP and legacy code.

  • Kernel Space

    • FOSS Debates, Part 1: Kernel Truths

      When Linux version 0.01 was first released more than 17 years ago, it included some 10,000 lines of code; last fall, the kernel surpassed 10 million.

      Though blank lines, comments and text files are included in that count, the kernel’s size has been a source of growing concern among many observers, not a few of whom charge the kernel has become unwieldy and bloated.

    • EXT4 is improving the Linux experience

      In short, the ext4 filesystem made a DE outperform a WM, and that’s something special indeed. I’ve been using Linux for over 5 years now, and never before has a technology appeared which makes that much of a difference, speedwise.

  • Shows

    • Open Sources Episode 7

      In this episode:

      * Enterprise microblogging and the fact that Dave got chumped by the CEO of Yammer (or did he chump them?)
      * SocialText Signals and the one-stop collaboration shop
      * Baseline Magazine seems to be stuck in 2003
      * Twitter is hiding their business model from us
      * We both missed the Open Source Think Tank cause we don’t drink wine and would prefer some kind of Candyland
      * Open source pricing and transparency–people get hung up on numbers
      * Lots of people are going to OSBC, I’ll be offering a bit of open source Shawshank Redemption
      * TheFunded Startup school–good idea if they get the right people

    • WFTL Bytes! for Mar 5, 2009

      This is WFTL Bytes!, your occasiodaily FOSS and Linux news show for Thursday, March 5, 2009, with your host, Marcel Gagné. This is episode 53. On today’s newscast . . . Helios goes mano-a-mano for being a Linux guy, car companies looking to Linux, netbooks again (it’s been a while), bad support, Microsoft spreading FUD, FOSS people spreading FUD, and a Scale wrap-up.

  • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • Astaro Appliances Take the Sting out of Security

      Many well known security vendors sell appliances which run their own proprietary software, but the Astaro Security Gateway appliance is unusual because the device, made by Germany-based Astaro, runs on a Linux kernel and uses a selection of open source security software. This is rounded out using a small number of commercial applications and software developed in-house by Astaro. Plug in an Astaro box and you’re actually using the open-source netfilter/iptables framework for firewall protection, the de-facto standard open-source Snort intrusion protection and detection system, and StrongSWAN (IPSec) OpenVPN (SSL) and PopTop (PPTP) open-source VPN servers.

    • Spring is in the air…

      Along the way, we came up — at long last — with a secondary trademark and guidelines to go with it. I recall many a session concerning remixes at which we bashed heads against available furniture and walls looking for a way to brand remixes in a way that didn’t tie the community’s hands. Now the remix could be complete with brand value and the ability to provide a “hook” back to our own platform and project, to the extent that a community member wants it but without obligating them with a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo. Want to make a Fedora Remix? Have at it. Want to point back to our community? Use the “Fedora Remix” mark to do it. Want something further, like official status in our release cycle? Join the Spins SIG.

    • Introductions

      • PCQ Linux 2009 : Live on your machine

        For organizations that are considering using Open Source Software, the PCQLinux 2009 flavors provide an easy way to use and get used to the open source software world. Pilot groups of users can try out PCQLinux 2009 on their machines without disturbing what they have. Organizations can then get feedback from the users directly on the usage and decide whether they should use OSS (of course with many other considerations as well).

      • Top Five Geek-Style Distros

        1. Slackware—the classic. Main release is very stable. You can use Slackware-Current to keep up with changes.

        2. Arch Linux—possibly the most optimized binary distribution available. Similar to Slackware in structure, but simpler than Slackware in what it comes with—not a whole lot. This is not simple as in newbie simple, it is simple in terms of containing only the basics; you add what you want and put together config files yourself.

      • Distribution of the week: BackTrack — Network Security Suite

        BackTrack is Live distribution for penetration and security tests. This is how its developers describe it. But there are plenty of tools, utilities, programs behind this brief description. Let’s dig into.

    • Reviews

  • Devices/Embedded

    • RISC CPUs get Linux development service

      Timesys Corporation has collaborated with partner and tools developer Lineo Solutions to provide DIY embedded Linux development subscriptions for two Renesas SH4-family RISC processors. Timesys LinuxLink subscriptions for the Renesas SH7751R and SH7785 processors are available now, says Timesys.

    • DaVinci chip boasts 1080p video

      In addition to TI’s MontaVista Linux-equipped Digital Video Evaluation Module (DVEVM), several vendors have already announced hardware support for the new chip, along with open-source Linux installs. These include a camera kit from Leopard Imaging, and a Linux-based processor module from Z3 Technology aimed at surveillance and industrial video applications (see farther below).

    • New online community launches for embedded Linux developers

      It probably won’t be “Facebook for Linux” but a Web site launching Tuesday is intended to create an online community specifically for Linux programmers who focus on embedded applications such as mobile devices, set-top boxes, industrial controls and everything apart from servers and PCs.

      The Web site, dubbed Meld, is organized and supported by MontaVista Software, which markets a Linux software stack, services, support and tools for the embedded market.

    • MSI Winki eyes-on: it’s an instant-on OS, but for desktops

      It’s Linux-based, and looks a heck of a lot more elaborate than the HyperSpace instant-on OS that we toyed with in January.

    • Phones

      • Palm Investor McNamee: Early Adopters Will Flock to Pre

        However, McNamee thinks the Pre is going to pick up the early-adopter market:

        “Think about it–If you bought the first iPhone, you bought it because you wanted the coolest product on the market,” said McNamee, 52. “Your two-year contract has just expired. Look around. Tell me what they’re going to buy.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google CEO hints Google/Linux netbooks may be coming

        We’ve gone from pure speculation, to speculation based on facts, and now Google’s CEO is talking about how much sense this kind of idea makes. I hereby predict that we’ll see the first netbooks with an official Google Linux desktop on them by the second half of this year. It will happen that quickly because Google won’t want to give Microsoft a chance to regroup with Windows 7 from its Vista disaster.

      • Android attack

        In what would be its most direct challenge to Microsoft to date, Google is said to be planning to offer Android, an operating system it developed for smartphones, on a new generation of mini laptop computers. Can Google unseat Windows on PCs?

        The market for netbooks – small, low-powered and low-cost notebook PCs – has mushroomed in the past 24 months. Ever since Taiwan’s Asustek introduced the Linux-based Eee PC in October 2007, all the big PC makers, from Hewlett-Packard to Acer, have introduced their own low-cost laptops. The machines typically cost less than R5 000.

      • math: Windows 7 + netbook = failure – GNU/Linux as remaining winner!

        Windows XP is basically gone, so an OEM license is worth 20 USD for a manufacturer, no problem at all. Windows 7 for Netbooks is the same as all other Windows 7 variants – no lean, light, vlighted, 7lited or whatever. Just a Starter version like in Windows Vista which gives you the “power” to run maximum 3 applications at the same time. Where again is the advantage? Oh yes, now Windows 7 Starter crippled edition costs a bit more than 20 USD for OEM, I would say around 99 USD after discounts, tax not included or did you think MS stops earning money?

      • Demo conference stars 2 gadgets: Touch Book, VUE

        It’s an “open source” Linux machine that can’t run Windows XP or Vista, though you can load either Windows CE (the core behind Windows Mobile) or Android — the operating system Google is pushing on cellphones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Boxee hack restores Hulu (sort of)

    Unfortunately, Linux users will need to be patient for a few weeks while all these enhancements get phased into the Ubuntu version of Boxee, according to a Boxee’s blog post on the new Hulu support.

  • IBM talks smart software and open source

    CeBit 2009 Linux business “worthwhile”

    [...]

    “Middleware is the segment in which we are investing significantly,” said Jette, adding that he believed open source was the key and saying IBM’s “strategy is open systems”. Jette emphasised it was IBM who had given Linux a significant push and noted: “the Linux business case has definitely been worthwhile”.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Names Qpid a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced the graduation of the Qpid project from the Apache Incubator as a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the Project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles.

  • The EOBI Comes of Age with FOSS

    This perhaps was important since there was no predisposition towards a proprietary OS which could have only helped in the adoption Linux Ubuntu. Another cost saving attempt was made by opting for refurbished PCs however in government institutions, there is no practice of refurbished hardware acquisition as a matter of practice.

  • Andy Stein: Open Source Is the Answer for Newport News IT Director

    Cost savings often motivate open source deployments, but Newport News hasn’t yet saved money from the project. Since 2007, they city has spent around $300,000 — roughly the cost of one high-end, off-the-shelf software license — to make its open source CMS software usable government, Stein said.

  • Freeing My Email: Open Source And Industry Standard As A Matter Of Course

    Part of my motivation to ‘jump ship’, I admit, is also a ‘freedom of information’ matter of principle. Microsoft made it hard enough to extract calendar and contacts data from Outlook, as my previous writeups have exemplified, but migrating stored emails elsewhere (heaven forbid, to a standard format like mbox) is darn near impossible without hefty third-party assistance.

  • Mozilla slates overdue Firefox 3.1 beta for March 10

    After several delays, Mozilla Tuesday set a release schedule for Firefox 3.1 Beta 3, the next milestone on the road to the browser’s first major upgrade since June 2008.

  • Business

    • Business Intelligence: Who’s Benefitting From the Boom?

      Still, open source options from Jaspersoft and Pentaho continue to gain momentum.

    • Tightening purse strings will turn many businesses on to Open Source Software

      In January, Adobe announced 600 redundancies, citing weaker-than-expected demand for its Creative Suite 4. While it may be that the credit crunch has stopped existing users upgrading or new users from buying, I think we may be seeing the software bubble about to burst.

      The software bubble occurs when software suppliers that continually introduce new versions find customers choose not to upgrade. Most suppliers are in a similar situation. Microsoft has found that many Windows users are happy to stick with earlier versions of Windows such as XP instead of moving to Vista.

    • Small firms can benefit from open source

      Ahead of the first-ever Open Source Software (OSS) BarCamp event, which will take place on 28 March in Dublin, chief-organiser Laura Czajkowski has said that small-to-medium businesses have much to gain from open source, even if it is just to realise that there are alternatives out there.

      “Most businesses won’t even have heard of open-source software in a context they think applies to them, and think that Microsoft is really all there is.

    • Making money with Free Software

      When people hear about ‘Free Software’ it would be surprising if they wouldn’t wonder how anybody can make money from ‘free’ software. In fact most do and quite a lot of them have asked these questions out loud. It would be a worthwhile exercise to delve into the working of Free Software economics and for that we need to examine the concepts of Free Software itself. In addition to the economics we will also take a brief look at how it changes software development perspectives, how it enhances career opportunities, how it helps the local economy and how it is relevant for a developing country like India.

  • Funding

    • NY Bill Proposes Tax Credit for Open Source Developers

      Assemblymen Jonathan Bing and Micah Kellner, along with a number of co-sponsors, have introduced proposed legislation in New York State which would grant a tax credit to individuals acting as volunteers who develop open source programs. The idea of the credit is to ensure that volunteer developers, who could not otherwise deduct their expenses because they are not part of a ‘business,’ should nevertheless be able to receive a tax benefit for their contribution.

    • New York Moves – Slowly – To Reward Open Source

      The move is certainly a step in the right direction — and one that no doubt will be eagerly supported by Open Source New Yorkers — and we applaud Assemblymen Bing & Kellner, and their “multi-sponsor” colleagues, for their efforts to support Open Source development — and Open Source developers.

    • Open Source — Is it Free?

      As with any engineering product, using software requires more than just having access to the application. To take a more concrete example, let’s consider the task of building a bridge over a stream — it involves more than just having a crew pull up to the river and start building. The environmental impact, the needs and concerns of the surrounding community, how to make a connection to the electric grid and even connecting to the existing roads are all factors that need to be taken into account. And that all occurs before the bridge is built. Once construction is done, it requires ongoing maintenance, inspection, repairs and a means of controlling the traffic on it.

      [...]

      So, though “open source” strictly speaking refers to the widespread availability of original developer work-product, it has come to mean much more as regards the ownership of software and the restrictions (or mandated lack of restrictions) on its distribution.

  • Sun

    • OpenOffice extensions – When good gets better!

      Firefox has extensions – and so does OpenOffice.

      OpenOffice is a highly popular, free, cross-platform office suite that you can install and use alongside or in lieu of Microsoft Office as your software of choice for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

      OpenOffice extensions allow you to … extend the basic functionality of the software and make it more suited to your needs, better looking and more productive. The concept is similar to Firefox addons, one of the main reasons for the great popularity of the Mozilla browser. Today, we will learn how to boost our OpenOffice with fresh looks and new tricks.

  • Licensing

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • RobotCub project builds open-source, humanoid robot baby

      One of the major goals of the iCub project is to make an open-source standard for the design of the humanoid robot. If things work out well, you could imagine in the future there might be one massive, open-source humanoid robot OS that all budding robot-makers will use as a base to build on.

Copyrights

  • Metallica’s Lars Ulrich ‘Pirates’ His Own Album

    It’s been nearly nine years since Lars Ulrich became one of the most vocal opponents of Napster and the generation of file-sharers it spawned. Not one to speak about something he has no experience of, Ulrich has just admitted downloading his own album, Death Magnetic, and it was “bizarre”.

  • France’s anti-piracy fight ‘too costly’

    France’s telcos are protesting the huge price of the Gallic government’s anti-piracy crackdown.

    A draft law that goes before France’s lower house, the National Assembly, next Wednesday requires local Internet service providers to contact online pirates by email and suspend repeat offenders’ Internet connection.

  • Anti-Piracy Action Closes Yet More Fansub Sites

    Once thought to be operating well under the radar, recent months have seen fresh efforts to silence sites that provide fan-created translations of movies and TV shows for their home countries. The latest targets for shutdown – Israel and France.

  • Oh Look… RIAA Still Filing Lawsuits…

    And that seems to continue until this day, as Ray Beckerman is noticing that lawsuits are still being filed against individual file sharers. Realistically, it was a pretty good PR campaign. Lots of people think the RIAA has stopped its lawsuits when it hasn’t.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 05 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Further Cuts at Microsoft: Almost 20% Down in Some Outside Contracts

Posted in Microsoft at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mermaid
From the sinking of one big ship
rises a new freer generation

Summary: The lesser-reported changes among Microsoft’s staff cuts; protests are proving futile

THREE DAYS AGO we wrote about quiet Microsoft layoffs, dissent from Microsoft employees, and dissent from Microsoft investors. For the sake of background, more of the relevant links already appear in this previous analysis of Microsoft’s workforce crumble (affecting subsidiaries, temps, and those who are on contract first, in addition to approximately 5,000 full-time employees). As many more redundancies were expected to hit Microsoft, it’s not particularly shocking to find this further new degradation:

Microsoft cutbacks spreading to bigger population of contractors

[...]

Microsoft’s cutbacks are starting to spread to the larger group of contractors who work on projects for the company through outside vendors — commonly known as “v-dash” workers. It’s not clear how widespread the cuts will be, but some Microsoft vendors have been contacted by internal teams about cutting the budgets for projects currently under way by as much as 15 to 20 percent.

Protests resulting from worker unrest seem to have done no good and they are seemingly over.

I stopped by the main entrance to the Microsoft campus Wednesday evening hoping to catch up with Phil Palios, the Microsoft contract worker who organized the protest of the pay cuts affecting company’s temporary workforce. Palios had said he planned to stand vigil at the site every evening for two weeks. But the corner was empty.

Since then, things have only gotten worse.

All in all, this bodes badly for the company. That’s why it’s attacking GNU/Linux right now.

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008

Patents Roundup: TomTom, Microsoft, Patent Trolls, Red Hat, IBM, Google, Bilski and Reform

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, TomTom at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An accumulation of many important analyses/developments that have occurred over the past couple of days

TomTom Case Revisited

IN PREVIOUS POSTS about Microsoft’s lawsuit against TomTom [1, 2, 3, 4], clear motives were sought after and explanations given with regards to the TomTom choice as a litigation target. One of those explanations was echoed by Linux Magazine a couple of days ago:

I’m not sure if this tactic will stand up in a court of law nor will we be finding out anytime soon. Why? Because TomTom doesn’t have the money to fight MS.

If TomTom had refused to fight and instead just settled (perhaps due to lack of options), that would have a hugely negative effect on Linux. It makes it likely that Microsoft picked on the feeble on purpose. But a more interesting explanation may have actually come from Jeremy Allison, whom we interviewed 2 years ago. Glyn Moody summarised his argument as follows:

The question now is what Microsoft hopes to achieve by bringing this lawsuit. A fascinating explanation is provided as a comment to my original post from Jeremy Allison. He’s one of the leaders of the Samba project, and knows more than most about how Microsoft thinks and operates, since he’s been heavily involved in the EU’s efforts to get interoperability information from the company. Here’s what he wrote:

What people are missing about this is the either/or choice that Microsoft is giving Tom Tom.

It isn’t a case of cross-license and everything is ok. If Tom Tom or any other company cross licenses patents then by section 7 of GPLv2 (for the Linux kernel) they lose the rights to redistribute the kernel *at all*.

Microsoft has been going around and doing these patent cross licensing deals with companies under NDA’s so they never come to light for *years*.

That was the whole point of the Novell deal – Microsoft lawyers finally thought they’d found a way to *publicly* do these cross licensing deals and get around the GPLv2, but the GPLv3 put paid to that.

Tom Tom are the first company to publicly refuse to engage in this ugly little protection racket, and so they got sued. Had Tom Tom silently agreed to violate the GPL, as so many others have, then we’d only hear about a vague “patent cross licensing deal” just like the ones Microsoft announces with other companies.

Make no mistake, this is intended to force Tom Tom to violate the GPL, or change to Microsoft embedded software.

[...]

So it turns out that the TomTom lawsuit goes to the heart of Microsoft’s attacks on Linux, and its effort to stop people using it in embedded systems – an increasingly popular option, and one, therefore, that is increasingly problematic for Microsoft.

It is not particularly surprising that as Microsoft terrorises many companies out there, patent deals are being quietly signed. SJVN dramatises it a little too much using the headline “Linux companies sign Microsoft patent protection pacts.”

I dug this up during an e-mail discussion with Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, Gutierrez said, “We have a history of licensing the patents in this case through patent cross licensing agreements with other leaders in the car navigation space, including Kenwood, Alpine and Pioneer, and through our FAT LFN (File Allocation Table/Long File Name) patent licensing program, where we have 18 licensees to date.” This is being done under Microsoft’s FAT LFN File System Licensing Program.

[...]

The most important reason why the specifics of these deals are under NDA is that any company doing a patent cross license without covering its downstream recipients, i.e. users, is a direct violation of GPLv2 section 7, and is even more explicitly a GPLv3 violation. In other words, if a company admitted to signing such a deal, it could not legally distribute software or hardware using Linux, licensed under the GPLv2, or Samba the file/print server licensed over the GPLv3.

Despite all of this obvious abuse, there are always goons who are trying to bind Microsoft and Free/open source programmers together. They are very dishonest at times.

We mentioned Elizabeth Montalbano the other day, but IDG, which relies on Microsoft as a large revenue source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], also employs others who quite often deceive, e.g. this writer.

Nancy Gohring is an IDG News Service correspondent based in Seattle, WA. She covers mobile phones, Microsoft and technology companies in the Pacific Northwest.

There is rarely sufficient investigation into the side which is not Microsoft, even when the articles are about Microsoft’s competitors or victims.

One of Microsoft’s sympathetic bloggers, Todd Bishop, tries to deflect attention away from Microsoft’s patent misbehaviour using a cartoon. It’s worth keeping track of who serves whose interests because the media is biased against Freedom, which does not pay the bills of publishers (separate from writers and editors, whose interests are likely separate and well intended).

Patent Propaganda

Stepping aside for a moment, it is worth remembering that without promotion of monopolistic values, a lot of this would not be possible and therefore would not happen in the first place. Over the years — for decades in fact — companies have been trying to rewrite laws so as to empower themselves further; by means of coercion and suppression, unions have been weakened to allow this. The media is no exception to this rule (it is, after all, just business), so there is apathy of convenience from that direction too.

As we showed last week, Microsoft is very busy rewriting laws in Europe [1, 2, 3]. It is trying to describe Free software as something “criminal”. Yesterday this led to protests and not even reporters from the Microsoft-influenced ZDNet were impressed by the bash that Microsoft had thrown to brainwash European politicians.

Why does Microsoft call its big EU lobbying-party an Innovation Day? When a big company puts on a show in Brussels to get the ear of government, it seems more like business as usual to us

Today, Microsoft gathers several hundred of the EU elite to an Innovation Day in Brussels. It seems reasonable to ask what innovation there will be there.

Yes, there’s Microsoft’s Surface – aptly satirised on Youtube by SarcasticGamer as “a big-ass table” (and perhaps not the sprightliest answer to the iPhone). But the rest is given over to a crew of Microsoft partners who – from the online brochure, are very worthy, but don’t seem to have a lot new to say (but, non-Microsoft readers, please do tell me if you’re excited by anything there).

The programme has an ironic session on Intellectual Property – ironic because Microsoft is currently using its software patents to threaten the open source world in not-very specific terms. The current lawsuit against TomTom starts to get to specifics, but seems very clearly to be directed at stifling innovation.

It’s also ironic to see EU commissioners on the programme, given the EU’s history in nailing Microsoft as a monopolist.

Transmeta’s imaginary assets were acquired by one of Microsoft's patent trolls and an informant sent us this pointer to the press release [PDF]. Despite it being old news, we are told that it “fits all in the pattern of current litigation news: Red Hat, TomTom, Google.

“And don’t forget that Transmeta employed Linus Torvalds,” says the person whom we spoke to.

Let’s look in turn at some litigation against Google and Red Hat, based on the very latest news.

Patent Trolling Against Google

Microsoft’s constant attacks on Google are very distasteful [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. For a fact, they involve Microsoft urging companies to sue Google.

Google has come to the point of publicly complaining about patent trolls and the patent system in general.

Consider this: Of the 20 patent lawsuits filed against Google since late 2007, all but two have been filed by plaintiffs who don’t make or sell any real product or service — in other words, by non-practicing entities or “patent trolls.” Most of these cases seem to feature the same small set of contingent fee plaintiff’s lawyers asserting patent claims against the same small set of companies. We’ve also noticed a more disturbing trend: in many of these cases, the patents being asserted against us are owned by — and in a surprising number of cases, are even “invented” by — patent lawyers themselves.

The Stop Software Patents initiative summarises some of the key points from the above.

Google has published a statement on their Public Policy Blog stating that 90% of companies suing them for patent infringement were non practicing entities, or patent trolls. Google goes on by clarifying that in lots of cases, the patents are “invented” by the patent lawyers themselves.

According to Google, many of these patents and laws seem to be coming from patent lawyers, not engineers. Moreover, there is a surge of lawsuits against Google, the vast majority of which come from patent trolls. May something or someone be encouraging this?

Red Hat and IBM

A couple of days ago, Red Hat was sued over patents. Yes, again. Ars Technica has some more details preceded by background and IBM too has just become a victim.

Software company SuperSpeed LLC on Monday added a claim of willful infringement to its lawsuit accusing IBM Corp. of infringing five patents related to computer data caching.

One of our readers, tacone, showed us this comment. It begs for the question: what can (or should) IBM do about a torrent of lawsuits, especially those that jeopardise GNU and/or Linux?

MS actually jumps on quite a few patents held by IBM and Novell in the Unix world.

Attempt to sue linux users, and IBM, Novell et al will quickly get the lawyers out.

Can you imagine IBM forcing a “Cease and Desist” order on ALL MS Windows sales, then demanding full source code disclosure so that windows can be ripped apart line by line, so that IBM can then dismantle all code owned by them from the windows platform?

IBM and Novell could destroy the windows platform with ease, where as the worst than can happen to linux is that all current source code is modified to remove/put outside all code that breaks patents in the US, but make it all available outside the US, where none of this matters.

The debate is a little complicated. For starters, IBM cross-licenses with Microsoft, so to sue would be almost impossible unless Microsoft somehow decided to sue IBM, not TomTom (Microsoft targets companies with whom it has no licensing). In addition, IBM is a supporter of software patents, even in the EU.

SFLC Rearms

The SFLC is looking to hire a patent lawyer, which raises some speculations right now.

The Software Freedom Law
, a New York based not-for-profit legal services organization that provides legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), seeks a registered patent attorney passionate about defending software freedom.

 

The Software Freedom Law Center is moving closer to joining the defense of TomTom, having posted a want ad for a patent attorney at its blog yesterday…

At the same time skepticism is growing over whether this is the right legal fight for open source, with Matt Asay all but accusing TomTom of high tech panhandling.

The FSF, much like the SFLC (there is glaring overlap therein), is no friend of Microsoft, but with revisionism [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and posturing Microsoft is trying to lure people in. Matt Lee explains what Microsoft is up to.

Microsoft comes to the Boston area, like a bad uninvited dinner guest in this guest blog by Mark Northfist.

When you visit Microsoft’s web site for New England Research & Development Center you don’t get a sense that it is a part of a 30 year old multinational proprietary corporation with a bad track record when it comes to user freedom and community support. In fact, the site could be called hip and sleek, with an emphasis on small teams, the local community, and innovative research. The site shows pictures of the new office, which features glass walls that don equations painted on them. Almost weekly they are featuring meetups for the tech community at their office, and they are clearly putting money and effort into local collaborations with MIT, museums, and other organizations. And, despite laying off hundreds elsewhere in their organization, they are actively recruiting to their Cambridge office, with an advertisement campaign that takes over multiple subway stations in the Cambridge area.

But, we aren’t fooled. As one local Blogger puts it, Hey Microsoft, welcome! I know you have a history of anti-trust activities and monopolization, so why don’t you go ahead and show us your friendly new image by taking over every square inch of advertising real estate in Harvard Square!

Software Patents May be Invalid

A patent system that is corrupted beyond recognition seems unwilling to mend itself amid the arrival of a disappointing patent reform bill. We have produced an HTML version of this bill (thanks to Tony Manco) and we are at least encouraged to see that the Bilski ruling alone [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] did more good than any ludicrous bill probably ever could.

Glyn Moody notes that software patents are being ruled out with an explicit mention of the Bilski case.

There have been a number of important cases on both sides of the Atlantic concerning the patenting of software recently. In the UK, there were two cases, both initially rejected.

[...]

If you read these, they are both trying to patent pretty obvious ideas: “groups” and a “device profile table”. Both were rejected, and now their appeals have been turned down too. That’s good news, because it re-affirms that there is, at least, a bar for this kind of stuff, and that it’s being enforced.

Judges seem to be thinking along the same lines in the US, too, following the important and by-now famous Bilski case, with a whole series of rejections based on it…

As Mike Masnick puts it, “Bilski Continues To Cause Software Patents To Get Rejected.” There are still those who are in denial:

Right after the Bilski ruling that greatly limited software and business method patents, lawyers who were in favor of such patents held a conference call, where they basically said the ruling wouldn’t change anything.

Moving forward, it seems reasonable to suggest that programming alone is not going to win in a world that is so corruptible. Google, for example, has found out the hard way that having a superior product is not sufficient when a company is scheming to “kill” rivals using lawyers and legalised bribery.

Patent law matters. It’s time to get involved.

“There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes or makes it the official duty of a president to have anything to do with criminal activities.”

Sam(uel) James Ervin, Jr.

20 dollar bill

Signs of Microsoft Corruption in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft cronyism reigns over the UK government, Czech presidency practically sponsored by Microsoft

LAST WEEK we wrote about Richard Steel, who is considered Microsoft’s main ‘gun’ in the UK [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. He is also responsible for subscribing to Microsoft’s potentially illegal — and definitely anti-competitive — procurement deals.

Mark Ballard is one of the few people who have researched and published details about this scam for the past couple of years. Once again he delivers a detailed report which can hopefully shed light on how much manipulation and ill intent is involved here. Here is how it starts:

MICROSOFT HAS FAILED to agree new terms for its Government-wide UK megadeal more than a year since the last one expired. The Government has meanwhile announced a policy promoting Open Source software. But it is not just in the UK public sector that Microsoft is losing its grip on power.

Microsoft’s Memorandum of Understanding to sell its software at mate-rates in the UK public sector expired last January after four years, at a time when authorities were again investigating the software giant’s business practices.

Failing to agree new terms, the convicted monopolist and Government extended the agreement for six months. But negotiations dragged on. They were forced to agree another six month extension in June. And still the negotiations dragged on. Now another extension has expired.

Worrying for Microsoft, challenges to similar agreements have been reported all over Europe. The EC has been investigating a Microsoft licensing contract in Greece. MOUs have been challenged in Italy. Hungary’s largest-ever software contract, a Euro100 million Microsoft deal, was challenged in court. The European Parliament even challenged the European Commission’s own contract with Microsoft reseller, Fujitsu, to supply the software to Eurocrats.

There are weak denials of the misconduct and attempts to characterise Free software as “lagging” despite projects like Firefox and even Apache. From the comments on the latest denial:

People in his position should know to keep their personal opinions to themselves. Whether we like it or not, Richard Steel is an ambassador for Newham and for IT in local government. He should start behaving like one. Ambassadors can’t express a personal opinion without that opinion being interpreted as the view of the country he/she represents. The same hold true for the presidents of publicly-funded quangos.

Also:

Isn’t this an obvious and a serious conflict of interest in the case of someone involved in procuring software from Microsoft for Newham council? This must also surely breach EU competition laws applying to local government procurement.

This is not over yet and there are signs of change.

Another interesting story follows the many reports of OOXML-related corruptions in the Czech Republic, which is one among many victims. Details can be found in:

Now watch what happens:

The Czech Presidency recommends you to buy Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint in other to read what they are publishing.

[...]

No need to say that Microsoft is an official sponsor of the Czech Presidency…

See the picture in there. How can a private tyranny from the United States become a sponsor of the Czech presidency? This smacks of corruption and fits the overall picture that we’ve put together. We suspected, based on and backed by evidence, that Microsoft and the Czech authorities were trading favours that included Microsoft Office/OOXML. Microsoft rewards the country using money, sponsorships, and strategic projects.

Counting money

Links 06/03/2009: Firefox 3.5 Named; Gnash Reaches New Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ubuntu vs. Windows memory, and a backup solution

    349MB of RAM. In other words, a whole gigabyte less than Vista. The discussion veered off even farther when it got to Xubuntu, which can run in 127MB of RAM.

  • MSI Winks at New Operating System

    MSI, the Taiwanese PC company that is known for its Wind netbooks, has created a new instant-on operating system based on the Linux kernel.

    The OS called Winki will feature in an upcoming MSI netbook and could ultimately be extended to a small module that plugs into motherboards.

  • Linux System Administrator Wanted – Send Word Resume’

    Being a curious fellow about the growth of the Linux market, I occasionally browse job lists looking to see what companies are seeking related to Linux skills. More often than not there are several job listings seeking people with “strong Linux administration” and other skills that are specific to or most often found with Linux and Unix “guru” types. Then at the bottom of the employer’s list of requirements one will often see something like, “Qualified candidates should forward their Word formatted resume …” What?! Word? As in Microsoft Word? Are they looking for Linux experts or not?

  • Microsoft and Its Three Biggest Threats

    Microsoft sees Linux as a much more significant competitor, even though its share of the desktop OS market is small. Here’s why: “I think the dynamic with Linux is changing somewhat,” Ballmer said at the meeting. “I assume we’re going to see Android-based, Linux-based laptops, in addition to phones. We’ll see Google more as a competitor in the desktop operating system business than we ever have before.”

  • 10 ways to go green with Linux

    If you’re not beginning to think green, you’re a release behind. In today’s world you have to think green. But how do you do that without installing a roof of solar panels? If you are using (or thinking of using) Linux, you’re one step ahead of the competition.

    In this article, you will find 10 solid ways to start thinking green in your IT department. It’s responsible, it’s smart, and it’ll save you money and time on this great planet.

  • Alcatel-Lucent launches unified communications support for videoconferencing, smartphones

    The support for smartphones and videoconferencing comes in addition to previous support from Alcatel-Lucent for unifying voice, messaging, fax services and Web services, Alcatel said in a statement. The OmniTouch 8400 suite is based on Linux, which Alcatel said will help businesses trying to integrate it with existing business applications.

  • The ‘Linux desktop’ heads for the cloud

    Although it’s true that roughly 30 percent of Dell Inspiron 9s Netbooks run Ubuntu Linux, it’s equally true that about 90 percent of Netbooks run Windows, as Computerworld recently pointed out, while Linux had started with 30 percent of the Netbook market.

  • Multimedia

    • Video Podcasting From Linux

      How do I edit? Found some interesting programs Kino is my favorite so far but it doesn’t seem to work well with a file that’s already in avi format, such as from the Flip. Sounds like it would work great with a raw dv format video though. In researching this article I found Pitivi which seemed simple enough to import avi files but perhaps something was wrong with my Pulse Audio because I couldn’t seem to get sound at all.

    • Linux Outlaws 80 – Pull the FAT Out

      MP3 – 1 hour 28 minutes 05 seconds, 40.5 MB — you can also download all our episodes in both MP3 and Ogg Vorbis format from the Outlaw Archives.

  • Beginners

    • Migrating to Linux in 5 Steps

      Migrating to Linux doesn’t have to be difficult. All you have to do is, get a fresh copy of your favorite distro, backup your data, find out what hardware is compatible, identify essential programs, and have a fresh hard drive or partition ready to go.

    • The Reality of Using Linux Every Day

      My opinion is that the distros aimed at general users and developed to a high level–mainly, Ubuntu–is more than ready for everyday computer users.

      [...]

      The reality of using Linux everyday is that it is not a burden. The reality is that I don’t have to stress over my system. I have no viruses, no trojans. My computer runs extremely fast, and that’s with a heavy system like Ubuntu on it. I have the software I need to do anything and everything 95% of computer users do. It works without issue. It is ‘free’. I can swap distros if I get bored. I can change the menu system to work however I would like. I can enable eye-candy until my head explodes. I can choose what updates to install.

      If you’re tired of Windows, and you can’t afford a Mac, then seriously give Linux a serious try, because it’s not as horrible as you might think.

    • The Argument for Buying Linux Pre-Installed

      One of the things you hear a lot is that Macs “just work.” As nicely described in this article, Linux “just works” just as well if you only run it on hardware it was designed to run on. I would like to take the post one step further, though. I would recommend that new Linux users, perhaps after testing out the Live CD for a bit, should actually buy a computer with Linux pre-installed.

  • GNOME

    • GNOME 2.26.0 Release Candidate (2.25.92) Released!

      My friends, we’re nearly there! 2.26.0 will be out in two weeks. Yes, it will! I tell you so. And it will be a milestone in our history. Sure, it will! You don’t doubt it. Because it’s looking quite good. It definitely does! Ask around you to check. And people will love it. That’s for sure! Make people try it. But we can still work a bit more on polishing GNOME for the prime time.

    • browsing in GNOME

      GNOME’s web browsing applications currently use a Mozilla bridge (epiphany, yelp, devhelp) or the custom gtkhtml library (evolution). However, none of these are actively developed any more, because roughly a year ago we started to switch to Webkit, trying to build the webkit-gtk library. This switch has not been completed. It was originally scheduled to be delivered with GNOME 2.26, but has been postponed to GNOME 2.28.

  • Gaming

  • Distributions

    • Debian Seeks New Fearless Leader

      Yes, it’s that time again: time for the root of all Debian-based distributions — that’d be Debian, of course — to pick a fresh face from its ranks to take on the mantle of the powers-that-be.

    • Finally, Linux Mint 6 with KDE 4.2

      One day after the announcement for Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox CE RC1, Clement Lefebvre and the community behind the Linux Mint project announced today the immediate availability of the first release candidate of Linux Mint 6 (Felicia) KDE Community Edition: “I think I can speak for the team when I say we’re all really excited about this release. It’s new, it looks fantastic and it’s our first ever KDE4 release. I would like to congratulate Boo for the excellent work he’s done on this edition, and I’m proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 KDE RC1.”

    • DIY Linux

      So, you want to install Linux on your new Netbook but just cant find a perfect distro? Don’t have the time, patience or know-how to go digging through repositories for just the software you want after installation? Not even sure what software is available?

      [...]

      So if you are looking for a good Linux distro and are not sure which one will best suit your needs….make one just for you using Custom NimbleX 2.

    • Installing Mepis 8

      I am writing this tutorial because I have received feedback from people I have recommended Mepis 8 to that the step where partitioning is done or partitions are selected during the install is not clear. Also, I have seen questions about upgrading an existing Mepis installation or reinstalling to fix a broken installation. I will address these situations in this tutorial

    • 5 Minutes of Elive 1.9.23
    • New Releases

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat’s Plymouth Sees New Work

        Not a lot of work has gone into Red Hat’s Plymouth project since the release of Fedora 10, but now in the middle of the development cycle of Fedora 11 we are seeing some new work emerge. Plymouth is a boot splash program that leverages kernel mode-setting to provide a rich, flicker-free boot experience. In the past week there have been a fair number of commits to the Plymouth Git repository, which is the first time it has seen new work since early January.

    • Ubuntu

      • Linux Mint 6 Felicia Fluxbox CE, In Depth

        A review of the new Linux Mint 6 Felicia Fluxbox CE

        Find more about Felicia Fluxbox here: http://twitclicks.com/735k

        Enjoy the embedded video, or download this episode is many formats below…

      • Starting the day with Ubuntu 8.10 Linux

        The need for antivirus and anti-malware software is the great curse of Windows. Windows traces its ancestry back to Microsoft’s first operating system, DOS. DOS was built for a client-server model, before the internet and networking were widely used. As such it had no builtin protection. Microsoft’s commitment to providing upwards compatibility, so that each new version of Windows must support all its predecessors, including DOS, means that Microsoft has never been able to correct this fundamental limitation.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Concurrent Targets the Embedded Operating System Market With RedHawk(TM) Embedded Linux

      Concurrent (Nasdaq: CCUR), a worldwide leader in real-time Linux(R)-based computing technologies, today announced general availability of RedHawk(TM) Embedded Linux, a complete software development environment for embedded applications in a wide-range of industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial automation, manufacturing and telecommunications. RedHawk Embedded Linux, built on Concurrent’s field-proven, contemporary open-source Linux technology, features the latest version of Concurrent’s popular NightStar(TM) advanced debugging, analysis and optimization tools. With the release of this new product, Concurrent expands its Linux product offerings to reach the fastest growing segment in the embedded OS market – Linux based operating systems and tools.

    • Who Else Benefits From Intel – TSMC Partnership?

      Apparently, Intel is looking to use Linux as their lightweight operating system on MIDs and the company has been hiring top Linux developers to jump start the programming effort.

      So if the various versions of the Atom processor find their way into popular devices, and that is a big “if” given Intel’s less than stellar performance in the mobile space thus far, the next battle will be over software. Intel is committing to Linux but what about long-time partner Microsoft?

    • Phones

      • Smartphones: they’re all about Linux, baby

        iPhone challengers Palm Pre as well as HTC’s Dream and Magic have one thing in common: Linux-based operating systems. We look at why Linux is so good for smartphones.

      • Mobile-phone Competition Heats up as Sales Slow

        The slower growth is creating an opportunity for new entrants in the smartphone market. In-Stat believes that smartphones with the Linux operating system will see the most growth, though they will be second-best in volume behind Symbian. That means Linux will outpace Windows Mobile, RIM and the iPhone, In-Stat said.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks: proof the tech industry has gone nuts

        Opinion: Why spend £2,000 when a £299 machine does what you want?

        [...]

        The 17″ MacBook Pro is currently £1,949. The Samsung NC-10 is £299. Of course the MacBook Pro is better than a netbook in all kinds of ways, and of course Apple makes cheaper machines. But a MacBook Pro is what I’ve got, and it’s nearly seven times more expensive than the Sammy.

      • Introduction; the World’s First Fully Open Netbook

        The netbook market has become watered down with so many competitors trying to cash in on the new craze, including but not limited to netbooks from companies such as Asus, Acer, Dell, MSI Wind, and Sony. Finally though, one company has decided to release a fully open netbook for those of us who love open stuff. Lemote’s 8.9 inch YeeLoong netbook doesn’t look fantastic by any means, and it sports a processor barely half as powerful as it’s competitors, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

      • Netbook Security: A Problem Or A Put-On?

        That doesn’t mean “better” versus “worse,” although Linux does deliver an advantage in terms of malware vulnerability. Mostly, it simply means that Linux netbook buyers need to ask slightly different security-focused questions than those buying Windows netbooks…

Free Software/Open Source

  • PHP tops new survey for developer satisfaction

    There are some devs out there that don’t like PHP, then there are those that do.
    A new survey from Evans Data of over 500 developers, asked questions in 12 different categories to see which dynamic languages they like best.

    The study asked about Ruby, Python, Perl, Java script, Flex and VB script and the overall crown went to PHP. Ruby placed second followed by Python and then Perl.

  • Rod Johnson On Federal CTO: Promote Open Opportunity

    “Whatever the federal Chief Technology Officer’s agenda, Mr. President, think big.” That was the advice that a group of commercial CIOs, CTOs, and major technology company CEOs offered the president on the task before the soon-to-be-appointed U.S. chief of technology. Open source developer Rod Johnson had another bit of advice: Support open opportunity.

    Like many of his fellow CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs, Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource and lead developer on the Spring project, considered the role of a federal CTO as supplying leadership to achieve better value for the taxpayer’s dollar, greater transparency in government and a national strategy on information that includes national security.

  • Understanding what it is to be open source.

    First and foremost, I think it is best to understand that open source does not mean anti-Microsoft. It also does not mean Linux. Although the latter is licensed under an open source license (GPLv2). If you pay careful attention there are numerous open source projects such as Mozilla Firefox, MySQL, Apache Server, GIMP, etc. that are available on a wide range of operating platforms including Microsoft Windows.

    [...]

    Second, open source does not mean free. Free software is another category and depending on the licenses used can determine how free an open source application is. When it comes to free software there is a saying: “Free as in speech, not as in free beer.” I would delve more deeply into this topic but it is one meant for another posting.

  • Gnash Starts To Shine With Fourth Beta Release

    Gnash, the Free Software Foundation project to create a completely open-source SWF movie player and browser plug-in that aims to be compatible with a majority of Adobe Flash files, has reached version 0.8.5, which is its fourth beta release.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla confirm next Firefox will be version 3.5

      In response to suggestions by developers, the much delayed Firefox 3.1 is to become Firefox 3.5 to reflect the “increased scope” of browser’s next update. The notes from the Firefox developers say that the forthcoming beta 3 will still be shipped as Firefox 3.1 while the developers update their tools to switch to the new version number.

    • Mozilla rethinks the behavior of new browser tabs

      Today Mozilla’s Aza Raskin shared some of the team’s conclusions, based on user feedback. Basically, most of the time when you open a new tab it’s because you’re going to load a web page or conduct a search. The image above shows a screen that tries to help you accomplish these things without getting in your way or requiring much user interaction.

    • Mozilla Cooking Firefox 3.5, Forget Firefox 3.1
    • Questions For: Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Chairman

      Firefox has long been the Burger King to Internet Explorer’s McDonald’s. Mozilla, the Mountain View, Calif., nonprofit behind Firefox, has been supportive of the European Commission’s renewed antitrust probe of Microsoft, saying the way it ties IE to its Windows operating system hampers competition.

  • FSF/GNU

    • FSF adds speakers for LibrePlanet conference on GNU/Linux: March 21st-22nd

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced additions to the speaker lineup for its March 21st-22nd LibrePlanet 2009 conference.

      The conference, to be attended by GNU/Linux users, free software activists, and programmers from around the world, stresses three themes: strengthening global free software activism, addressing the threats posed to free software users by moves toward “cloud computing” and “software as a service,” and advancing the projects on the FSF’s High Priority Projects list.

  • Government

    • Can we build a world with open source?

      Vinay Gupta is a Scottish-Indian engineer who designs low-cost homes for poor parts of the world or disaster zones, and then makes them freely available on the internet so others can do the building. His flagship is the Hexayurt shelter system, which costs around $200 (£142). It uses common building materials, including insulation boards – which, he claims, are a third of the cost of a tent. The business plan is to cut the price of essential goods and services to the point where the poor can afford them. Gupta is just one example of a global movement that offers an alternative to the scandalous tales of banking avarice that have saturated the world’s media.

      [...]

      Open source is on a roll and the interesting thing is that it is now expanding into hardware. The global recession, coinciding with an unprecedented expansion of social networks ought to give it a big boost and turn the new model into a global force. If you fancy an open source mobile phone try Openmoko.com. Want to be part of an open source project building a different kind of car? Look at theoscarproject.org.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • Open Source Cinema is Ready For Its Close-up

      Open Source Cinema If you’ve been to the movie theater lately and thought, “I can do better than that,” now’s your chance. Open Source Cinema is inviting the FOSS community to get involved a project surrounding its first movie, RiP: A Remix Manifesto.

  • Programming

    • The A-Z of Programming Languages: Bourne shell, or sh

      On this occasion we speak to Steve Bourne, creator of the Bourne shell, or sh. In the early 1970s Bourne was at the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge, England working on a compiler for ALGOL68 as part of his PhD work in dynamical astronomy. This work paved the way for him to travel to IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in New York in 1973, in part to undertake research into compilers. Through this work, and a series of connections and circumstance, Bourne got to know people at Bell Labs who then offered him a job in the Unix group in 1975. It was during this time Bourne developed sh.

    • CollabNet Comes Out of the Shadows

      These are serious numbers, and it suggests that while we weren’t looking CollabNet has quietly turned into a front-rank open source company, successfully straddling the enterprise and community worlds. It may not be in quite the business its founders thought it would be when it was launched ten years ago, but that’s more a testament to the flexibility of the management team prepared to adapt than a weakness in itself. Although CollabNet doesn’t release financial statements (it’s privately held), it looks to be in a good position both to weather the current financial problems, and to grow when/if we ever come out of them.

Leftovers

  • Google Docs “Power User” Appointed First US Gov CIO

    Vivek Kundra, long expected to be appointed the first ever CTO of the US Federal Governement, will instead be appointed as the country’s first Chief Information Officer (CIO), according to reporting done by the Washington Post’s Kim Hart.

    Kundra became “web 2.0 famous” last Fall when as D.C. CTO he switched 38,000 District of Colombia government employees off of Microsoft Office and onto Google apps instead. What kinds of crazy moves could he make as the government’s CIO? We can only imagine.

  • Manchester man arrested for alleged sewer-grate photography, held as a terrorist

    Still think that if you’re innocent, you have nothing to fear from surveillance and control laws? Have a look at this news-video about Stephen Clarke, a man who was accused to taking pictures of sewer-gratings in Manchester and arrested. Though the police couldn’t find any photos of sewer-gratings on his phone (and even though “what a sewer grating looks like” isn’t a piece of specialized terrorist intelligence), he was held on suspicion of planning an act of terror, imprisoned for two days while the police searched his home, his phone and his computer.

  • Yelp Controversy Highlights Trouble With Consumer Reviews

    This consumer review thing may need to be rethought. Like just about everything else that came out of the Web 2.0 movement, customer reviews of businesses are huge targets for abuse.

  • Censorship

    • Australian Internet Censorship Plan Hits Roadblock

      The SMH reports that independent Senator Nick Xenophon is going to scuttle the government’s mandatory internet censorship plan – Web censorship plan heads towards a dead end. Please re-elect him South Australians.

    • Telcos throw more wood on EU net neutrality fire

      Telcos are lobbying hard for discriminatory practices in network management to be permited, which threaten the neutrality of the Internet. They are opposed by citizens groups who are calling on MEPs to close the loopholes in the Telecoms Package Second Reading.

      Liberty Global is the latest telco to throw its hat in the anti-net neutrality ring, with a statement in support of its colleagues at AT&T and Verizon. In a statement to run with its European Parliament seminar today, Liberty Global calls for limitations on regulatory intervention in respect of ‘network management practices’. The AT&T amendments are about trying to stop European regulators taking the kind of action that the FCC was able to take in the Comcast case, where a netwwork operator was restricting lawful services on the Internet and the FCC told it to stop.

    • New EU Telecom Rules Face Delay After Talks Break Down

      At a lunch debate Thursday, Reding described the Czech government’s failure to secure an agreement as “catastrophic.”

  • Copyrights

    • MPAA Study Links Piracy to Gangs and Terrorists

      The MPAA funded report report titled ‘Film Piracy, Organized Crime, and Terrorism’ claims that terrorist groups use film piracy to finance their activities, while organized gangs see it as a significant revenue stream. Selling pirated goods is a ‘low-risk, high-profit enterprise’ which attracts criminals of all sorts according to the report. And, as if that is not bad enough, in some areas the influence of these pirating gangs extends into law enforcement and political leaders, who are bought, intimidated, or induced to create “protected spaces” where crime flourishes.

    • MPAA Study Calls For Piracy Patriot Act
    • Uni computer lecturer makes YouTube his classroom

      A computer science lecturer at the University of NSW, who has pioneered the use of YouTube at Australian universities, is offering high school students the chance to get started on their computing degrees early.

    • YouTube Wants to Kill MTV Once and For All

      Universal Music Group and YouTube want to change all that. The two media giants are working on a deal that would launch a YouTube sister site that would be a music video cornucopia, according to sources cited by CNET.

    • No Doubt Gives Its Music Away, Sort Of

      In a further sign that some in the music industry are caving into the file sharing credo “music is free,” No Doubt is giving away its entire music catalog as part of a promotion for its 2009 Summer tour.

      To qualify for the music giveaway, you must spend $15 to become a member of No Doubt’s Tour Club (space is limited). As part of this exclusive club you get the chance to buy up to 4 “prime tickets,” to the summer tour, and as an added bonus, tour club members get to download the band’s entire digital audio catalog once per ticket purchased. The download also includes their new cover version of the Adam and Ants’ “Stand and Deliver”.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 05 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

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