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03.29.09

Links 29/03/2009: GNU/Linux at DreamWorks, Bubba

Posted in News Roundup at 10:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • iGod, the Linux-loving Cyber God

    God: OK Thanks for trying to explain that to me.
    Me: So, do you know what’s the best operating system?
    God: Linux is the best operating system.
    Me: Why is Linux the best operating system?
    God: Some people say it’s because of the developers and their personalities.
    Me: Really?
    God: For real.
    Me: If you really love Linux, who created it?
    God: I think I do.
    Me: I thought it was Linus Torvalds
    God: Is that your opinion?
    Me: No, it’s a fact.
    God: Are you serious? Is it a logical fact or something you know from the senses?
    Me: Then who is Linus Torvalds?
    God: He is the inventor of Linux.
    Me: I see

  • Small Linux a great system for old machines with little space

    You can download your own copy at http://damnsmalllinux.org/. You can burn it to a CD and run it from that, or run it from a USB drive, or install it on your hard drive. Of course, if you have no computer yet, you’ll have to do that at a friend’s. Once you’ve got it running, you can surf the Web, get your e-mail, play music, burn a CD, write a book and a hundred other things.

    Be prepared to take some time to get used to the new way of working. As I always say, using a new operating system is like driving a different car: You still know how to drive; it just takes a while to learn where all the controls are. Give yourself some time, and before you know it, you’ll be zipping around.

    The big benefit, of course, is that you’re running Linux. While you can’t let your guard down, you’ll be much safer from viruses and other problems when you’re wandering around the Internet.

  • Microsoft is cheaper than Apple but it is hard to beat Linux

    If Lauren had been really smart she would have taken the money, purchased a Dell Mini 9 running Ubuntu for $249.00 ($8.00 shipping to California and no taxes) and then went over to Bestbuy for a 42″ flat screen TV to give her that “big screen” she wanted.

  • Monsters vs. Aliens: DreamWorks’ Katzenberg shows DVICE 3D filmmaking has arrived

    Although the DreamWorks Animation artists get their work done on a vast campus that we toured today, the data processing for the film was done in a 3,500-square-foot data center (which they wouldn’t let us photograph), packed with hundreds of blade computers running the Unix-based Linux operating system. Keeping it all cool and running 24/7 is an achievement in itself, for which DreamWorks engineers say the U.S. Department of Energy commended them for their uncanny efficiency.

  • Take a Quiz to Help You Choose a Linux Distribution

    For people who are new to Linux, deciding on what distribution to use their system can be a very confusing affair. There are a large number of distributions available, based on different desktops, system requirements, purpose of installing Linux, etc.

    One way of deciding which version of Linux is right for you is to take a quiz that is designed to find the best match, not only for your computer, but also for your level of skill. One such quiz has been developed by Zegenie Studios.

  • Linux hosting is cheaper than Microsoft

    Linux server hosting is an open source operating system, which is very cheap compared to other servers. IWI Hosting is adopting Linux web hosting, because it is known for its open source community development. Linux hosting can successfully run on popular web technologies, including HTML, DHTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, JAVA, JAVA script, Perl and CGI. Apart from these popular categories, Linux also adds Email, FTP and reporting like many more services.

  • 10 Cool Cursor Themes for Linux

    If you are looking for a beautiful, cool, lovely cursor theme for Linux, I recommend the following cursor themes.

  • The World Beyond Microsoft

    It is hard to say, what would really happen, if Microsoft vanished. It would pose a giant problem, induce a crisis, recession maybe, maybe even deep cleansing – almost alike greek catharsis. Maybe a return to the roots, or total collapse of civilization. Or maybe the life would anyway go on ? The software creators would have to revisit their approach to work they do. There is life beyond Visual Studio, MSDN and DirectX, you know.

  • Old Fools Journal: Geek Stuff or Switching to Linux

    My machine boots in 93 seconds and is fully ready to go. It turns off in about 15 seconds. Machines are starting to come on the market with this system preinstalled.

    Did I mention that it’s free? How do they do that? Probably some kind of communist plot. I’m pretty sure it’s not Satanic as no one has been around asking me to trade my soul but I would think about it if they did.

  • Audio

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Releases R700 Instruction Set Architecture

      Back in January there was the release of the R600/700 3D documentation that is being used along with some open-source code to begin powering up the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 hardware with OpenGL acceleration support in Mesa. Some of this code should be out soon, but this past week AMD has released some more NDA-free documentation. This time the documentation concerns the R700 Instruction Set Architecture (ISA).

    • Kernel Log: Development of 2.6.30 is under way

      Shortly after the release of Linux 2.6.29 last Tuesday, the kernel subsystem developers began to prepare the first changes to be merged into the main development branch for Linux 2.6.30. This is usually done by sending a “Git pull request” – an email which includes the URL to a Git tree with the proposed changes as well as a diffstat and a list of individual patches – not only to Linus Torvalds, but usually also to the LKML (Linux Kernel Mailing List). Often, the maintainer of the subsystem starts the email with a short summary of the proposed changes, highlighting the most important ones, or putting the changes into context.

    • Comparing boot performance of Ext3, Ext4, and XFS on Ubuntu Jaunty

      Boot Time:

      1. Tie between Ext4 and XFS.

      2. Ext3

      3. JFS

      4. ReiserFS (Reiserfsck makes the boot chart look like an EKG…..We’re losing him! CLEAR!!!)

      Disk Throughput:

      1. XFS (by a mile)

      2. ReiserFS

      3. Ext3

      4. Ext4

      5. JFS (Again, ouch!)

  • Applications

    • Desktop Linux: I’m Here for the Apps

      The best and the worst attributes of Linux as a desktop operating system involve acquiring and maintaining software applications. For me, the positives outweigh the negatives, making Linux the best desktop operating system option I’ve encountered, and the one I choose at work and at home.

      If Linux is to pile up more desktop adherents, the vendors and communities that back the open-source platform need to work together to accentuate those positives and shrink down the negative aspects of getting and managing software on Linux.

    • 10 Essential Applications Included in Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

      While I agree that there are applications for KDE 4.2 which still lack several important features (like for example the equalizer and ability to go to the previous/next song using the tag editor in Amarok), I must say that it also improved very much since the last time I had a look at it. It is definitely faster, the desktop looks nicer, it does not seem a beta environment any more.

    • Nixstaller 0.5: Installation Assistant for Linux and Co.

      The new dependency manager establishes the installation configuration and installs said configurations according to the user’s wish. With the new UTF-8 support, the project has expanded software localization. At the user’s specification, Nixstaller is capable of incorporating the user’s given application software language. Among the new additions is the current option to incorporate an autonomous installation process that does not require user interaction.

    • Adobe Reader 9.1 for Linux

      The new version 9.1 of Adobe Reader brings some improvements regarding the command line interface and printing features.

      Adobe now provides its PDF reader in a Linux version for 9.1. The release plugs some security holes and provides a few new features. Among them is tabbed viewing of multiple PDFs and detaching them to separate windows. The software also has a faster launch and performance and more intuitive user interfaces.

    • Scribus and Linux and Comic Strips!

      Enter Scribus! Scribus is a terrific open source desktop publishing program that can do any kind of page layout. Scribus has a nice selection of vector drawing tools (rectangles, circles, etc.) I simply design the comic strip using Scribus’ drawing tools. I use rectangles to create comic panels, text tools to lay in the title and copyright, and other rectangular drawing tools to create light blue lettering guides.

    • I just had an Epiphany

      So yeah, if you’re using Firefox with a dozen extensions, stick with it. But if you don’t, and you wish your favourite browser would boot faster, look better, or use less memory…don’t look any further. You’ll love Epiphany.

    • Games

      • My teenager top 8 Linux games

        His current favorite. Urban Terror is a free FPS, Counter Strike looking, with many different game mods. It has very good 3D rendering and graphics, making it very realistic. They kept the Quake3 3D engine, allowing jumping and running matrix-style. Many servers are available, and he plays on survivor or death match-type servers. The injuries are very well handled.

      • Top 10 Free Linux Games in 2009

        I have seen a lot of gamers who feel that there aren’t good games to play on Linux. It might be that they love to play those pirated games, don’t know why, when there are bounteous open source games available for free. The Linux games are hugely popular and that’s not just because they are free, its also because a developer can take a great game and make it even better. There’s an array of free open source games waiting to run on the Linux platform. So I got the top linux games in 2009. And here I come.

    • Microblogging

      • 5 Linux Identi.ca Clients – Screw Twitter

        At the moment there is a lot of talk on the Internet about the micro-blogging site Twitter, but I see less love for its open source counterpart, Identi.ca.

        The laconi.ca micro-blogging platform, created by Evan Prodromou, is free as in freedom. There is the “original” laconi.ca installation on identi.ca, but you can also download laconi.ca, install it on your own server and your users can talk with every site where a laconi.ca install is present.

      • TwickerTape – new ticker-tape style Twitter client for Windows & Linux released

        New side-scrolling ticker-tape Twitter client scrolls your tweets in a minimal display so you can work and not miss anything at the same time.

        Twitter has become a must-have tool for business and personal use but now, you can enjoy a new way of Twittering with the latest Twitter client called TwickerTape.

      • Linux version of TwickerTape now available

        TwickerTape is a ticker-tape-style side-scrolling Twitter client that sits quietly at the bottom of your screen and scrolls the 20 latest friends tweets. You can set the scroll speed to your choosing and if you see a weblink inside a tweet, just click on that tweet and the weblink will appear in your web browser (Firefox only for now). You can set the auto tweet update time and even set the scroll speed by just swiping your mouse across the tweet scroll at the speed you want it to scroll at.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME vs. KDE: Which Has the Evolutionary Advantage?

      In all the controversies — both the real ones and those imagined by journalists — what has been lost is the exact nature of what KDE has been doing. When the free desktop quietly came to match the functionality of its rivals, the GNOME team decided to be content with maintenance and minor additions. However, the KDE team decided to try to take the lead in desktop development. KDE became a project with vision — a vision that has gone largely unnoticed, but one that GNOME so far has been unable to match.

  • Distributions

    • Linux is about choice (pt 2)

      Could you not forsee that parts of your application may be highly desired, and other parts not so? Given the large “roll your own” background of so many Linux users, why would that mantra not continue as far as possible? Why does Evolution (and Claws and Thunderbird), Firefox, and so on have a plugin framework? Or an external editor option?

      Precisely because different people use Linux in different ways. And this is why Linux is about choice!

    • Lights….A Review of SimplyMEPIS 8.0

      Depressed, and almost giving up, I came across MEPIS and since I didn’t yet know how to burn an iso image to a CD, I simply mailed off $10 and MEPIS sent me a Live CD. Certainly, this cheap ten buck distro couldn’t out perform the hundred dollar super distros. I gave it one more shot….and I was hooked!

    • Some Distros Need and Deserve a Higher Profile …

      I hope that other distributions learn from what Canonical has done. They need to develop the community first and to pay attention to the needs of users. You can be true to your principles and attract new users. In fact, I would think that a distribution such as Debian has more to gain than to lose. People want to hear about free software. It is the notion of freedom that draws people in. They won’t necessarily buy into the whole package right away, but they will be attracted to you. You can be your own worst enemy by prostheletizing. You need to integrate and educate instead.

      I am convinced that there is enough room for growth that we don’t need to raid each other’s base and engage in FUD against our own kind. I think that the place to start is with improving the image of the distribution that you use by ceaselessly promoting it in whatever way that you can. This can only benefit Linux at large and make us all stronger in the end.

    • Dreamlinux 3.5 Review – Desktop Emphasis

      It is a distro well done. There are problems here and there, and some unfinished business. But overall, I like th distro. It is not there to take over my favourite openSUSE, which I still find the most complete Linux of all, but it is not bad.

      Rating: 8/10

    • Wolvix 2 – Hungry like the wolf

      If you’re thinking about starting with Linux with one of Slackware-based distros, if you care about stability and security first and foremost, I can’t think of a better choice than Wolvix.

    • Red Hat

      • Testing Out The Nouveau Driver On Fedora 11

        With the forthcoming release of Fedora 11, Red Hat has made the bold (but wise) decision of replacing xf86-video-nv as the default open-source NVIDIA driver with the Nouveau driver instead. The xf86-video-nv driver is officially maintained by NVIDIA, but it’s their half-assed attempt at being open-source friendly. The X.Org driver’s code is obfuscated, its 2D support is limited, there is no 3D acceleration at all, and it barely receives new features and support these days. Meanwhile, a group of open-source developers have been reverse-engineering NVIDIA’s binary Linux driver to write the Nouveau driver that will offer 2D, 3D, and video acceleration and aims to be feature-complete. The Nouveau project has been around for a few years, but their code is starting to come to maturation with kernel mode-setting and a Gallium3D driver hopefully being stable by year’s end.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Wallpaper: No Jackalope

        The last few Ubuntu Linux released featured background and artwork that depicted the versions codename. For example when Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron was released we enjoyed the abstract bird-like background and then Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex brought us the Ibex background which wasn’t too bad. As Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope Alpha version rolled out users enjoyed new login screen, themes and the new boot splash theme. I was sure we’d be commenting about a new Jackalope background any day now. Now as I preview the release of Ubuntu 9.04 Beta codenamed Jaunty Jackalope, I see no Jackalope background. Instead it looks like Ubuntu has added a stylish background that favors the same theme colors as previous versions but gives off a professional vibe. I’m both excited for the new look but disappointed in the lack of a Jackalope background.

      • Yet another Jaunty beta screenshot

        All in all I give it the same endorsement I give to any other Gnome Ubuntu beta release, which is to say, “Use it if you prefer it.” I’m more interested in Kubuntu really, because I prefer KDE over Gnome if I’m forced to suffer through a heavyweight desktop. Maybe I’ll download that next.

      • Awesome Ubuntu

        Wow! The machine now boots in less than a minute. I have almost everything I had in Vista.. gmail notification, firefox, open office, flash, Java development, oracle, and with vastly improved performance and memory use. Wireless networking works fine. I may need to look around for some replacement for iTunes, but I believe there are reasonable alternatives. No longer is Linux having to catch up with Windows for ease of use and hardware support. It is now the other way around. Windows 7 will have to justify itself as competitive with Ubuntu, for me at least.

      • Mother and Ubuntu

        Most importantly – the quote from Day 2: “This is bloody brilliant. Much faster than that other s**t!”

        One happy mother. Check.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 135

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #135 for the week March 22nd – March 28th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu 9.04 Beta Released, Jaunty Countdown Banners, Ubuntu 7.10 reaches EOL April 18th, Ubuntu Server dedicated course, QA Team Testing Day: Ubuntu Installers, Ubuntu Makassar, Ubuntu Tunisia, Ubuntu New York, Ubuntu LoCo Drupal 6.3.1 released, Launchpad Maintenance April 1st, Linking project releases in Launchpad to Milestones, LinkedIn for Ubuntu Members, Ubuntu 9.04 Free Culture Showcase Winners, The Fridge needs a new theme, LWN subscription for Ubuntu Members, Ubuntu Podcast #23 and an interview with John Pugh(Canonical Technical Partner Mgr.), Full Circle Magazine #23, March 2009 Team Reports, and much, much more!

      • Full Circle Magazine: Issue 23

        This month:
        * Command and Conquer – Troubleshooting.
        * How-To : Program in C – Part 7, Web Development – Part 4, and Spreading Ubuntu – Part 2.
        * My Story – Becoming An Ubuntu User
        * Book Review – How To Be A Geek Goddess
        * MOTU Interview – Steve Stalcup
        * Top 5 – Task Managers
        * PLUS: all the usual goodness…

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hardware Review: Bubba|Two – Return of the Linux-Based Mini Server

      If you have a need for a near silent, massively energy efficient mini server that offers a dizzying amount of functionality and excellent expandability, delivered by a great team of enthusiastic developers, then Bubba|Two needs to be on your radar.

    • AarLogic C10/3 tiny Linux PC with GPS/GPRS

      Super-compact Linux computers will have to step up their game, with the launch of the Round Solutions AarLogic C10/3. Not only does the 104mm x 63mm board have dual ARM processors but a complete communications module with quadband GPRS and SiRF3 GPS.

    • The Year of the Linux-powered Robots

      In the very near future, robots will become an indispensable tool that man can’t live without. Just like computers, it will do complicated and challenging tasks thus making things a lot easier for all of us.

      We all know that majority of personal computers are still running Microsoft Windows operating system and that the year of the Linux desktop is still far from reality. However, many experts believe that in the field of Robotics, it’s going to be a whole different ball game. Soon, Linux-powered robots will dominate the market and will lead the new age of technology.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Branded Netbooks?

        This morning I heard a news blip about a Netbook offering later this year from Verizon. Verizon? The phone company? Yep. I had to do a double-take on it too. There’s talk that the Netbooks will be subsidized and cost about $100. I’m sure that price is a result of main-in rebates or vouchers for Verizon services. Are branded Netbooks the next big thing? Is this how companies will promote their services in the near future?

        Will virtual desktop cloud vendors also offer Netbooks to their customers if they sign a 3-year contract for their services? Could be.

        Will consumers go for this? Maybe.

      • Acer Aspire One D150 running Linux – part 2

        What all of this is leading up to is that I am going to install another Linux distro on this netbook. I downloaded a Jaunty daily from March 24th (I think the Jaunty Beta is out by now so you might want to try that), and proceeded to install it on Aspire One. The first thing I noticed was that the speakers work in the live session when I booted the USB drive, so that was promising. Installation went smoothly much like my earlier Jaunty install. This time too, I decided to reformat everything with ext4. In less than an hour from booting up the live USB, I’m presented with the login screen.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Introducing pointy-haired bosses to FOSS

    The plain truth is that although most managers may have heard of Open Source, they don’t have a clue what it is or how it works. Most of them think it is something like public domain software, stuff you can get for free, without warranty and without support. So the first thing you have to do is to tell them you can get support from reputable parties like Oracle, IBM, Novell and RedHat. If you’re not happy with their support, you can change with more ease than you could with closed source software.

    Some CIOs are completely unaware that these parties provide updates. They think you have to monitor a multitude of websites or CVSes, search for the newest versions, download a tarball and recompile it. I always tell them jokingly: “Well, I don’t know what I’ve been getting all these months, but it seemed like patches”.

  • Building on Richard Stallman’s Greatest Achievement

    What was Richard Stallman’s greatest achievement? Some might say it’s Emacs, one of the most powerful and adaptable pieces of software ever written. Others might plump for gcc, an indispensable tool used by probably millions of hackers to write yet more free software. And then there is the entire GNU project, astonishing in its ambition to create a Unix-like operating system from scratch. But for me, his single most important hack was the creation of the GNU General Public Licence.

    The GNU GPL did several things. First, it provided a kind of written constitution for free software, helping to define what exactly that meant, and providing a benchmark against which it could be measured. Secondly, it provided a legal framework for something quite new: an attempt to give users rights, rather than take them away. And thirdly, it did that in a totally radical way.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nat Friedman 06

Ogg Theora

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

ODF Award Insults the Community, Rewards Proponent of Non-Free Software (Corrected)

Posted in Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Windows at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An ODF award is granted to a man who seems to have harmed Free software and contributed little or nothing to ODF

THE ODF Alliance has just announced the winners of an award for contribution to OpenDocument Format (ODF), but there must have been some horrible mistake. In order to understand why, background and some history are necessary.

For those who are well familiar with the matters in India, skipping to the second part is advised.

Background

One subject that we covered in the past are Free(dom) software proponents in India who get sacked or pressured out for doing their job, which is to advance technology in the interest of the Indian people. Some neo-imperialists or digital colonialists (and locals whom they liaise/conspire with) are not particularly happy about such Free software proponents, obviously. They even frown upon and harass professors who watch their country being looted and offer their humble, technical opinion.

Links to extensive articles with evidence from the press are already there for those who need to catch up, so it would be wasteful to repeat what has happened, even though it’s tempting.

“…Microsoft is ousting ‘problematic’ and charismatic people in India, putting “Trojan horses” in their places.”At the moment, based on what we’ve seen, Microsoft is ousting ‘problematic’ and charismatic people in India, putting “Trojan horses” in their places. It is a typical and familiar maneuver that we’ve seen in other places, Massachusetts included.

Microsoft has not only done the same thing in ISO, which it brutally corrupted. The convicted monopolist is doing it at the moment even inside ODF where it is planting henchmen like Jesper Lund Stocholm and employees like Doug Mahugh [1, 2]. Alex Brown is watching from nearby as well.

What is their purpose?

Obviously, it is to instill more Microsoft influence inside disruptive rivals and then pretend that any opposition to them come from “zealots” or somesuch. It’s a defence mechanism similar to the “hater” label — a form of stigmatisation [1, 2] (“Microsoft hater” is the new “terrorist”, no matter how many crimes Microsoft committed to justify polite criticism and skepticism).

Microsoft always tries to devour the competition by intruding it and then extending and extinguishing it [1, 2, 3]. This time is no exception as Microsoft is invading the ODF scene, trying to make it more of its own, but at the same time advancing OOXML and publicly characterising it as superior. Using its sympathetic figures that gradually get appointed to replace those whom Microsoft expelled, they may try to push Microsoft software under the claim that it 'supports' ODF. They throw away freedom from this debate, too, having already hijacked "open source".

Microsoft is always pretending to be your friend (see the comments), even when they sue you and try to ban you. As Microsoft’s Jim Allchin once said, “We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.” (emphasis is ours)

Who is Anvar Sadath?

Anvar Sadath is among those who received an award from the ODF Alliance and this is bizarre for so many reasons. It has already led to an outage in India and we shall come to it in a moment.

Anvar Sadath is an MSDN user who also worked in a company where he used .NET. He is basically a Windows developer (in 2007 he used Windows 98) and his title is “Senior Software Engineer, .NET COE.”

To quote some more, Anvar Sadath “was part of the .NET COE team and since then there was no looking back as the organization implanted in me focus on innovation and taught me smart business practices.” (correction: this is a different Anvar Sadath, see comments)

He is mentioned in this article about Indian schools which says: “After attaining e-literacy, the individual would be able to use word processing, gaming, and entertainment programs, and use the Internet for e-mail, browsing, chatting, and so on. Those who have achieved basic e-literacy could enrol in advanced programmes such as e-Vidya-Microsoft Office Package, Internet for all, Arabic typing tutor, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Programme, and more.”

This is all classic EDGI — the programme for “addicting” children in India [1, 2], to paraphrase Bill Gates. They want those children stuck with Microsoft, thus helpless, divided and unable to help their local economy, let alone themselves.

How can apologists of a company that constantly fights against ODF and Free software using blackmail, smear campaigns, lawsuits and bribes receive an award from the ODF Alliance? Some people call for it to be retracted. Microsoft’s great zealotry against people’s desire for independence is glaringly obvious, so this is hardly acceptable. “Ask them to contact odf alliance , and protest to get back the award,” said one of our readers from India.

Backlash

Other messages that we found in India are not much better off. Here is the most informative messages among the bunch (from the secretary of FSFI):

Dear Friends,

It was really shocking to see the press release from ODF alliance which has attributed the entire credit for promotion of ODF in the schools of Kerala wrongly to Mr. Anvar Sadath. Giving credits wrongly can be discouraging and painful to those who had done the real work. There are several hundreds of people in Kerala whose painstaking effort and dedication lead to the integration of Free Software and ODF in the schools of Kerala. It has a long history starting from year 2001.

Today we find that ODF alliance has credited the entire work to one person who had no role to play in the process. ODF alliance should have recognised the real individuals who worked for what we see as IT@school today.

You should have recognised Sri V. S Achuthandan, Chief Minister of Kerala ( Opposition leader then), whose political endorsement lead to the introduction of free software and ODF in the schools of Kerala.

You should have recognised hundreds of teachers who took the pain to learn and promote Free Software and ODF. Without their political courage nothing would have happend.

You should have recognised Mr. Biju Prabhakar, the former director of IT @school who initiated the introduction of FS and ODF in Schools of Kerala.

You should have recognised Mr. V K Sasidharan, who was the leading master trainer whose leadership brought together the entire change.

You should have recognised volunteers of Free Software community who communicated the importance of digital freedom in the schools of Kerala.

It’s a shame that a community organisation like ODF alliance could not to recognise the real heroes of this project. This press release can be seen only as a black humor.

“Anvar Sadath has bridged the digital divide in Kerala,” commented the ODF Alliance’s Marcich. “He was among the first to recognize that an open format like ODF means giving students, teachers, and parents alike the flexibility to use a wide range of software than they currently have, including free solutions. Just as importantly, Sadath translated ideas into actions for the benefit of educational development in Kerala.”

I would like to know how this statement can be substantiated. May be I’m missing something here! I would like to hear from you all.

Says one person:

Anwar is a bureaucrat came on top of IT@School project before 2 years. Actual Free Software & Open standards Adoption was done Much before that

Crediting an Individual who tried to Introduce windows and Photoshop in Completely Free Software powered schools (in the name of some e-gov works http://www.gnu.org.in/fsf-india-sends-letter-to-education-minister-of ) is now awarded in the name of a collective effort done by other people..

He was also part of Controversial Information Kerala Mission Project which tried to Computerise all Local self Goverments with Microsoft Technmology.. At that time he wrote a lot of articles defending MIcrosoft when Free Software Foundation Criticized them

These are the Trojan Horses.. Target Them..

Another person adds:

We need to Push ODF Alliance to provide the rationale for Blanket statements like “Anvar Sadath is bridged digital divide in Kerala”

They must explain that.

And another:

As far as I know from my experience with teachers, Freedom was the primary motivation in promoting Free Software. I suspect this is an effort to push proprietary software implementing ODF, using the momentum the community have built up in the past years with their hard work. If people look carefully, they can easily see, who would benefit from such a move.

I tend to think the quote below is true, because he may be first one to see the potential of “the flexibility to use a wide range of software than they currently have, including free solutions”. We adopted OpenOffice.org much before ODF came, in the days of sxw, because it was Free Software.

Lastly:

Crediting a bureaucrat who pushed to Introduce windows and Photoshop in Completely Free Software powered schools using his power position(in the name of some e-gov works http://www.gnu.org.in/fsf-india-sends-letter-to-education-minister-of ) is now awarded in the name of a collective effort done by other people & Departments like SCERT who designed the syllabus. I Dont have a problem if it is awarded to IT@school Project because it worth it.

Having electronic systems at schools is one thing, but if those systems are used as tools of suppression that turn children and their data into hostages for some foreign companies, then this can do more harm than good. It creates a dangerous dependence that cannot be afforded and therefore harms the economy in the long term.

The Latest Yahoo! Lesson

What we find above are Trojan horses that Microsoft can use, just like it did with Yahoo quite recently. We covered a lot of this before and here is the latest development:

Microsoft’s new search team is starting to look a lot like Yahoo’s old one. In just the latest example, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has brought on Jan Pedersen, a Yahoo search veteran, to be chief scientist of Live Search, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. Pedersen, who most recently worked at Amazon.com’s a9.com search subsidiary, spent several years as the chief scientist for the search and advertising technology group at Yahoo, according to his website.

This is also covered here and here. On the one hand, Microsoft ‘steals’ Yahoo’s staff and on the other hand it agitates and empties Yahoo until it becomes dysfunctional and thus can be conquered too.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

                 – George Santayana

Red Hat, Microsoft, EU Lobbyists, and Software Patents

Posted in EFF, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: A roundup summarising important developments pertaining to software patents

A LOT has happened since the last post regarding software patents. Here are some reports and developments to be aware of.

Red Hat Revisited

For some background, see the posts which criticise Red Hat’s attitude towards software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The short story is that Red Hat is not telling the whole truth and it doesn’t do as it preaches. Glyn Moody addresses incognitos at Red Hat, asking for answers to very important questions which, as far as we know, Red Hat has not formally answered yet.

I’d like to direct your attention to a long and interesting piece that has appeared on the Digital Majority site asking a very important question: “Did Red Hat lobby for, or against software patents in Europe?”

The piece is dense and closely argued, drawing on Red Hat’s statements down the years to support its case. The central question it tries to address is whether Red Hat is truly helping to fight software patents in Europe, or whether it simply wants the patent system reformed to something more convenient for its own purposes as a big software house, while retaining the good graces of the free software movement.

Red Hat’s response would be very important at this stage. The former head of the FFII names this “The Conspiracy of Silence” and he rightly lumps in some other companies like Sun Microsystems and IBM. He writes:

For me, the greatest threat to the Abolitionist movement is not the “bad guys” who wear black hats and do stupid things like suing RIM, or TomTom. It is the “good guys”, who silently collect patents, allow the Community to be scared into accepting that these “defensive” patents are necessary, and who keep a blanket of silence over the public discussion of software patent abolition.

And those who allow this, from the best motives, are part of the conspiracy. Those who invest in projects like Peer-to-Patent are part of the conspiracy. Those who write how OIN is a great achievement, how various “promises not to sue” are sufficient to waive all concern… it is these good willed people who are the problem.

Novell’s so-called ‘hackers’ as well are obtaining software patents rather than abolishing them. If they do so at the behest of their employer or shareholders, this is hardly an excuse. Moreover, promises not to sue are useless because they are not legal contracts and thus unexpected takeovers render them obsolete.

Speaking of Red Hat, in spite of the Microsoft connections at Lenovo, this OEM will stock Red Hat Enterprise Linux and no longer just SLES. We spotted this news about the ThinkStations the other day:

ThinkStations are certified from third parties to ensure compatibility with major applications, and the systems are preloaded with Windows Vista with support for RedHat Linux Enterprise 5.2.

Microsoft Attacks Linux with Patents

There are many articles, posts, and good comments about Microsoft’s attempt to befriend open source whilst attacking it viciously in court (moreover targeting the feeble, which is already on the verge of bankruptcy).

Here is yet another article on this subject, which combines Microsoft’s attack on Linux with Red Hat’s unnecessary armament that damages the work of abolitionists.

‘Patents Are FUD’

“It’s sad that Red Hat thinks they need those patents,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack told LinuxInsider.

“The fix is still patent reform, since these patents will only protect Red Hat from companies that actually produce projects, and not patent trolls,” Mack added.

“I hope 2009 will see the death of software patents before the U.S. Supreme Court,” blogger Robert Pogson added. “We need that because the TomTom matter may take years to sort out.

“A decisive victory for freedom of software should reduce the threat of patents to a whisper,” Pogson told LinuxInsider. “Until that day, patents are FUD that delays adoption of GNU/Linux and increases the cost of having to maintain a defense against these evil spirits

A formal document titled “Microsoft Launches Patent Offensive Against Linux” [PDF] was released. Any legal document with the headline “Microsoft Launches Patent Offensive Against Linux” can be seen as directly contradicting Microsoft’s claims that this had nothing to do with Linux. Microsoft wants to sue and to scare without ever being scrutinised. How cheeky. SCO said the same thing when it sued IBM (that it was only a case against IBM and not against Linux).

Sean from Jupitermedia wonders if “Microsoft [is] feeling TomTom Linux patent chill.”

That said, last year at OSCON, Ramji was quite literally mobbed by the audience after his presentation by attendees that were ‘curious’ about Microsoft’s patent stance. The TomTom case potentially represents Microsoft’s first real patent legal attack against Linux and as such, somehow I suspect that eventually that will trigger a chill of some sort.

Microsoft intentionally does not send out its ‘Ballmers’ and 'Horacios'. Instead, it is sending inexperienced people who will be painted as victims and make Microsoft’s real victims looks like “zealots”, like the bad guys.

Last week we wrote about BackWeb's lawsuit against Microsoft. It is an interesting situation because of the nature of the patents and many articles about the case have been published. For future use and reference, here are some more resources about this case against Microsoft.

In an article that IDG has spread all over the place (many of its domains), “open-source” firms are being encouraged to handle a bizarre strategy that only legitimises software patents.

Open-source software companies are missing out on a relatively inexpensive way to fight concerns about patent liability, according to an attorney who spoke at an open-source conference in San Francisco this week.

More open-source companies should be asking the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to re-examine patents that may pose a threat to them, as a cheaper, sometimes more suitable alternative to waging a patent lawsuit, said Van Lindberg, an attorney with Haynes and Boone LLP, who spoke at Infoworld’s Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco.

Wrong approach, sorry. It’s better to eliminate software patents altogether, not pull another EFF. This article was also mentioned in The Inquirer.

LEGAL EAGLES working for Open Sauce collectives have discovered that there is a cheap way of fighting concerns about patent liability.

Those “LEGAL EAGLES” are probably just looking for business. To them, abolishment of software patents — especially globally — would mean financial bankruptcy or immediate career change.

Microsoft for Software Patents in Europe

We are utterly appalled by what Microsoft is doing with its lobbying guns in Europe. Yesterday we wrote about ACT/Jonathan Zuck, to give just one example. He is determined to illegalise and eradicate Free software. It’s not just about patents and Free software by the way. “ACT was also defending Microsoft in the EU antitrust case,” says an informant. “There are video recordings of him on the Audiovisual website of the Commission. Those are hidden on the EC website. You have to obtain a login and search in there.”

“…Microsoft-sponsored presidencies and those which Microsoft helps install are pushing for obstructive change relentlessly.”We provided some evidence of this before. We did collect some press which shows Zuck et al AstroTurfing in defence of Microsoft, as an ‘independent’ body. That’s just their spiel and they stir up trouble in Brussels every week.

According to this report (in German), the EU Parliament has thrown out another attempt to introduce software patents. It figures. But whilst many attempts to change these law are failing, Microsoft-sponsored presidencies and those which Microsoft helps install are pushing for obstructive change relentlessly.

Digital Majority does a spectacular job stalking the so-called “Community” — as in “anti-Free software community” — patent. Here are reports to watch out for:

1. Patent litigation reform to cut costs for SMEs

The European Commission is seeking powers from EU member states to conclude an agreement on a Unified Patent Litigation System (UPLS), which would establish a court with jurisdiction for existing European patents and the future Community patent system.

[...]

Under the UPLS, the ECJ would rule on preliminary questions raised by patent courts regarding the interpretation of EC law and regarding the validity and interpretation of acts from the Community institutions. The Commission will have to ensure that the rules of any draft agreement are consistent with the creation of a Community patentexternal.

2. Patents: EUROCHAMBRES welcomes negotiation mandate for the European Commission

Today, the European Commission requested from the Council a negotiation mandate on the European and Community Patent Court.

3. Patents: Commission sets out next steps for creation of unified patent litigation system

The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation to the Council that would provide the Commission with negotiating directives for the conclusion of an agreement creating a Unified Patent Litigation System (UPLS). The UPLS would increase legal certainty, reduce costs and improve access to patent litigation for businesses, in particular SMEs. The court structure to be established in the framework of the UPLS would have jurisdiction both for existing European patents and for future Community patents. This constitutes a further significant step in the pursuit of the EU’s patent reform agenda.

No attempt to ban Free software is complete without some McCreevyism, either. This is just appalling, yet predictable.

IPJur.com wrote this good article where the unified patent litigation system is labeled “Another Secret Project Of The EU Commission.” Has ACTA taught us nothing?

It looks as if this might well be something different than the European Patent Judiciary envisaged as counterpart to the EU Community Patent, the chances of which to come into life have further deteriorated since Mr Topolanek’s forced demission. In the absence of further facts, the title might be understood as if there has happened some high-level decision to put aside or even abolish the well-known project of a European Patent Judiciary but to launch negotiations aiming at a more radical approach, e.g. merging all national patent courts (also for EP bundle patents and even for national patent?) into a single institution (“Unified” Patent Litigation System). Otherwise, it might also just be merely a technical turn to include EPC Member States not forming part of the EU (e.g. Turkey) into said European Patent Judiciary. I don’t know if any of the readers of this Blog have a particular idea about the meaning of this new EU project.

Digital Majority has also netted a couple of new PDFs, from which it extracted text of interest to those who target the bad system through abolishment, not elimination of one patent or one lawsuit at a time.

Regarding Bilski:

According to the majority of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Re Bilski, inventions directed to so-called `business methods’ and software-implemented inventions may still be patentable but must now overcome an arguably greater obstacle before issuing to patent in the US. In setting out the `machine or transformation test’ in its judgment of 31 October 2008, the CAFC, sitting en banc, appears to be moving towards a more European approach to patentability, and away from the broader tests of previous US decisions such as the well known State Street authority. Bilski could have significant implications for European businesses active in Europe as well as the US, at a time when the European Patent Office (EPO) and other national European patent offices are also reviewing this area. It remains to be seen whether the decision in Bilski will have an impact on these future deliberations.

Here is a submission to the EPO [PDF] (regarding the referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal). We liked this part:

The sequence of execution of a program is the same regardless of whether the program runs on a physical machine, a virtual machine or in the minds of people.

Software patents must be stopped without exceptions. Microsoft will be there to encourage more of them, so Red Hat must join the fight against them. Deeds can be louder than words. Red Hat may be the second-largest open source company (or largest bar Sun, if Sun’s posturing is anything to be believed) and since Sun is a lost cause (Novell likewise), we need Red Hat.

Silence is no good and neither are promises, either written or verbal.

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

Is ZDNet Collapsing?

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO, SUN, UNIX at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: What is it that happens in September?

“WINTEL PRESS” is a problem that we debated many times before. Simply put, Microsoft owns a lot of media companies or has a stake in them, so not even coverage about Microsoft/Novell can be trusted anymore.

Ziff Davis is one of the culprits and it declared bankruptcy quite a long time ago (almost 2 years), but ZDNet lived on and Microsoft had encouraged its employees to go there and spin in favour of the company. As long-time readers are aware, we are not fond of ZDNet, which tends to flood the news with spin, provocation, and flamebait. It also suppresses truth. They have no GNU/Linux bloggers really; those who are seem to be Microsoft partners or people who don’t even use GNU/Linux. They do, on the other hand, have people who favour Microsoft (or work for the company). On the UNIX side, they have spinner who sometimes favours SCO and trolls GNU/Linux, but no more. Pseudonym “Paul Murphy” is ending his affair there.

Starting Monday I’ll be taking a break on blogging – and plan to file commentaries only on Saturdays until September. Why? Well, did you look at that graph above…?

What happens in September? We are aware of some ZDNet bloggers who opened their own Web sites (Mary Jo Foley for example). Could there be an impending announcement from ZDNet, maybe even closure like that of the Seattle P-I, whose site traffic immediately dropped 20% when the paper edition ended?

The news — collectively — would be safer without ZDNet and the world a be better place, so to speak. The selection of writers there is selection of bias and based on our experience, Freedom was never a priority (or even an afterthought).

novell-chair

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 28th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 28th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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