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04.15.09

Quotes of the Day: LinuxToday Readers Explain Why They Avoid SUSE

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 6:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSE
Ballnux

In the words of one person:

The benefits of software freedom apply to businesses too. Businesses like mine.

Which is why SLED, SLES, and OpenSuSE don’t have a place in my company. Why not OpenSuSE? Because it indirectly benefits Novell by growing the SuSE “ecosystem” and potentially attracting ISV interest.

In the words of another:

Many of us business IT Managers do not mind paying money for free software, but we are interested in the long term well being of the free software ecosystem. We want to see it prosper and thrive. Moves such as those by Novell, driven by short sighted, short term profits, at the possible expense of a poisoned free software well, do not merit our support.

Vista 7 Death Watch

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Down for the count before arrival?

Vista 7 starts now

Cautious business IT administrators are more willing to stay with the devil they know, Windows XP, than risk the devil they don’t, even if the latter is the highly touted Windows 7, a research company said Monday.

According to Dimensional Research Inc., which surveyed more than 1,100 IT professionals in March, 72% of those polled said that they are more concerned about the cost and overhead of migrating to Windows 7 than they are about continuing to supporting the eight-year-old Windows XP. Only 28% felt the opposite, that they’re more worried about holding XP’s hand than migrating to Windows 7.

So what are Windows 7’s damning problems?

–Windows usage is on the decline, and while Windows XP was an acceptable OS from the standards of 2001, both the Mac OS X and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu have matured. Microsoft also launched many other business ventures that it had hoped to subsidize entirely as loss leaders using Windows and Office sales to run the other guys out of business, but with sales of those faulting combined with massive XBOX 360 hardware failures, giving up on the Zune 2 years in with 4% of the market, and failing to put a chink in Google’s services, Microsoft is getting desperate.

–They’re not listening to real users, they’re listening to a focus group if that, and the focus group gave us the McLean Deluxe, which was a total disaster for McDonalds. But unlike McDonalds, Microsoft has the advantage of no competitors. If we want to put Windows in the McLean Deluxe analogy, Windows thrives because all restaurants are McDonalds, all grocery stores are closed, and the only thing on the menu is the mystery meat. At least til lately.

–Abusing their OEM partners for years hasn’t won them any friends, and mainline PC vendors such as HP and Dell are marketing Linux systems now with no Microsoft Tax. This isn’t helped by the fact that the only thing Microsoft has that is nimble enough to run on the Netbooks that they totally failed to see coming is 8 years old (XP) and that they are giving Windows away in a massive dumping operation to keep Linux off these things, because Linux is far more capable.

–There’s no way to actually file detailed bugs and communicate with Windows developers or to have any ETA on a patch if one is coming. If you need help it costs $49.99 per incident to get someone that probably knows less than you do on the phone. You can’t just go to an IRC room and talk to the person that wrote it.

–Windows 7 is in short, Vista all over again. It may be masquerading as a huge upgrade but the changes have been trivial, superficial, and usually skin deep at best, and “eat my data” and “fail to even load my program” at worst. Even my dad saw it running on my test system while he was over the other day and thought it was Vista. I had to point to the Windows 7 build number on the desktop because there’s almost no way to tell them apart otherwise.

Microsoft’s Older Crimes Against Web Browsers Return, Microsoft’s New Attacks on JavaScript Revisited

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Java, Microsoft at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

“Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Summary: ECIS joins the Web browser case against Microsoft, whose people are already busy subverting JavaScript

Restoring Web Browser Competition

AT the bottom of this post is an excerpt from the Comes petition, which sheds light on what Microsoft did to Netscape. It appears very clearly in black on white and one day we shall deal with each exhibit in turn.

Today’s big story — at least in certain circles — is ECIS taking on Microsoft. Since The Register is filled with Microsoft puppets these days (e.g. Kelly Fiveash and Gavin Clarke), they insult the ECIS’s reputation and characterise it only as an IBM front. There is this quote however:

“This is an important case to ensure that browsers can compete on the [sic] merits and that consumers have a true choice in the software they use to access the World Wide Web,” said ECIS spokesman Thomas Vinje.

Thomas Vinje is involved in a variety of other cases that we wrote about before. Here is the formal statement from ECIS [PDF].

Support Grows for EU Browser Case against Microsoft

Brussels – 15 April 2009 – The European Commission recognised ECIS as an interested third party in support of the Commission’s preliminary findings (Statement of Objections) that Microsoft is violating EU anti-trust law by tying its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser to its dominant Windows operating system present on over 90% of all personal computers.

To an extent, this case is about the past, but it’s also to do with Microsoft’s future bundling, which is already anti-competitive.

Microsoft Still Breaking JavaScript

Microsoft has already proceeded to new fights that we wrote about before. It’s about JavaScript — a Web ‘middleware’ enabler — which is a great threat to Microsoft and a powerful feature to competitors like Google. Heise wrote about the latest draft.

The publication of the final draft JavaScript standard, ECMA-262, ECMAScript fifth edition, marks the final stage of revision for the ECMAScript standard, which was last updated in 1999. The redevelopment of the standard has been an acrimonious affair.

The Register has a lot more details about what Microsoft is doing.

The debate over ES4 turned at times acrimonious, with Microsoft IE architect Chris Wilson saying that it introduced too many changes and Mozilla architect Brendan Eich accusing Wilson of spreading “falsehoods” about the proposed standard.

If the European Commission is unable to punish Microsoft for crimes it committed (read the details below), then Microsoft will be tempted to redo the same thing, knowing that it can carry on without punishment.

It’s all about the economics of crime (risk, reward, and punishment).


Appendix: Netscape Portions from the Comes vs. Microsoft Petition


Read the rest of this entry »

Over 23 New Microsoft Vulnerabilities and Microsoft Could Not Patch the One Actively Under Attack

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unlocked

Summary: Another massive patch Tuesday is due, but Microsoft customers are still left vulnerable

ACCORDING to a flood of reports, Microsoft claims to have just patched 23 vulnerabilities (the real number is a lot bigger and always a mystery). Quite a few of them are “critical”.

It’s a busy month for Windows administrators, as Microsoft has released eight security bulletins addressing more than 20 vulnerabilities. Five of the bulletins are rated ‘critical’.

But here is the important bit:

Missing from the list is relief for a zero-day vulnerability in PowerPoint, actively targeted by hackers since last month.

This most likely means that for at least another month, all Microsoft Office users will be left exposed to attacks which have already begun, with Microsoft confirming this. Later on, people wonder why Conficker is able to propagate quite so rapidly. Here is the latest report about Conficker.

People have been speculating, waiting and prognosticating, but until now the extremely cleverly programmed Conficker worm has limited itself to mainly defensive measures, such as opening various communications channels (Conficker.C can set up peer-to-peer networks with other infected systems) in order to transform itself with downloaded code, and to actively combating anti-virus software and security analysis tools. Even on 1 April, the known date on which Conficker.C would be looking for updates, virtually nothing happened. Now however, money is involved: computers infected with the Conficker worm are downloading the scareware program “SpywareProtect2009″.

Despite the latest lie from a Microsoft executive (circulating in the press this week), Windows Vista is just as insecure as its predecessors.

With so many of the world’s Windows PCs already enlisted to join a botnet, it is no wonder that — even according to Microsoft’s latest report — 97% of E-mail is SPAM. We have already shown why this is Microsoft's fault, at least in part. The catastrophic damage is not just one of productivity; according to this new report, there is also a severe environmental cost.

That’s what McAfee says in its “Carbon Footprint of Spam” report released Wednesday, which states climate-change researchers from the firm ICF and McAfee’s security staff calculated that the amount of energy needed to transmit, process and filter spam globally is equal to 33 billion kilowatt-hours each year. They say that can also be expressed as the equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes annually or the same green-house gas emissions from 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gas.

The Inquirer, as usual, sensationalised it a bit.

Spam is killing the planet

[...]

Apparently, dealing with spam burns 33 billion kilowatt hours (one KW is about what a single bar electric heater will use) every year, enough to power 2.4 million homes.

There may be simple solutions to this.

Ousted Microsoft Employees Was Right; Microsoft Admits XBox 360 is Still Defective

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 5:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Burn it down

Summary: Microsoft finally confirms serious hardware issues that may lead to billions more in losses

S

EVERAL MONTHS ago, Microsoft fired its employee who had said the truth about the Xbox 360 being seriously defective. Microsoft is now confirming that it’s still true.

Microsoft admits Xbox hardware problems

MICROSOFT has finally admitted that there is a problem with the hardware on its Xbox 360 console which causes it to crash and show a multi-language kill screen.

The E74 failure is getting so bad that Microsoft has amended its three-year warranty to cover the problem.

The Register has more details:

The Xbox 360 “E74 error” has become enough of a problem that Microsoft is now covering it under the console’s extended three-year warranty reserved for RRoD failures. Redmond is also retroactively covering the issue, reimbursing customers who’ve already paid for E74-related repairs.

Isn’t it unfortunate that truthful Microsoft employees lose their job and those who let XBox360 burn down houses are those who stay? No wonder so only unethical people tend to stay in this company. It’s a reverse-Darwinian selection.

“Do you feel like you’re screwing a porcupine and you’re one prick against thousands?” the OSCON audience member asked Ramji. Ramji politely replied: “It takes time to change and I knew that I’d be unpopular when I took this job…”

Microsoft: Not worried about open source patents

Links 15/04/2009: New GCC and Linux RCs

Posted in News Roundup at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Foundation bows to RMS

    It’s more than a bit ironic that the Linux Foundation, an organisation that drips with bizspeak, has chosen as the winner of its Linux promotional campaign an ad that espouses the virtues of freedom.

    The Foundation – which describes itself “a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux” – hardly makes any reference to the freedom aspect of Linux when it issues statements.

    And this same Foundation has such a great devotion to freedom that it keeps journalists away from its conferences!

    But the seeds of this whole movement were planted by Richard Stallman and his ideas won’t die easily.

  • A letter to a Texas Senator

    I read with interest your opposition to upgrading to Vista and instead favor an upgrade to Windows 7.

    My name is Ken Starks and I am one of the most active Free Software advocates in the United States. Senator, the state of Texas is paying tens of millions of dollars a year to Microsoft when they have a free, virus-free and stable alternative at their fingertips, literally. Sir, let me pose a question. Why does the state of Texas insist on purchasing a product that proves to be more expensive to maintain than it does to purchase? Anti-virus software, defrag and registry fixers, malware protection…why? Why are we paying for software that demands we purchase other software in order for it to work? That is a question that I would honestly like answered.

    I will tip my hat to the obvious influence of the powerful Microsoft Lobby. They have been there and gone, and their impact on State software purchases is obvious. I am curious to know if the dollar amounts we taxpayers spend on Microsoft software is available for public consumption. Again, Microsoft has lobbied you successfully. Entire nations, states and municipalities across the globe have switched to GNU/Linux and Free Software, yet the US remains the last bastion of Microsoft strength.

  • Windows 7 distrust spurs Ubuntu for the desktop

    Ubuntu is emerging as an unlikely alternative to deploying Windows 7 or Vista on enterprise desktops as many IT managers express concerns over the upgrade path to the new Windows operating system.

  • Enterprises Chucking Windows Choose Macintosh

    Dimensional Research was right to call out the Macintosh number, But I see Ubuntu gains as being more significant. Mac is down from 28 percent in 2008, while Ubuntu is up from 21 percent last year and 17 percent in 2007.

  • EZblue Software Corporation Releases EZblue Linux Server 3.9, Featuring the iTunes Compatible Firefly Streaming Server Module

    EZblue Software Corp., a leading provider of Linux software products, today announced the release of its EZblue Linux Server software version 3.9 with a built in iTunes compatible streaming server module.

  • Acer’s Festive Offers on Notebooks, PCs in Kerala

    Acer said that the Acer Travelmate 4530 notebook will be available under this offer. The notebook features an AMD Turion RM70 processor, a 2GB DDR II RAM, a 160GB HDD, and a 14.1″ wide screen TFT. It also has a DVD writer, a 5-in-1 card reader, Bluetooth, and runs on Linux-based OS. It also has a gigabit LAN and Disk Antishock Protection (DASP) Technology with Backpack. The Acer Travelmate 4530 comes with a one-year warranty for Rs. 30,385, plus taxes.

  • Dell, Google make things tougher for Sun

    Dell, which sells servers that run open-source Linux on Intel CPU chips, is taking aim at Sun’s existing customers for its own servers, which run Sun’s non-open-source Solaris operating system on Sun’s Sparc processors.

  • Build The Ultimate PC

    Linux has come a long way in terms of hardware compatibility, but you don’t want to be troubleshooting three different network adaptors if you can help it. And it’s the network adaptors that are likely to be the weakest link. Cluster computing is dependent on each machine having access to the same data, and that means that data needs to be shuffled between each of the machines on the network cluster continually.

  • Wine 1.1.19 Makes Noticeable Progress

    Wine is maturing in the bottle: the current version 1.1.19 again offers a multitude of enhancements.

    In the official announcement, Wine growers reveal a slew of enhancements for 1.1.19. These include improved Direct3D support and Esound driver. Winemaker, which makes Windows programs Wine-compatible, now also supports Visual C++ projects.

  • Linux Migration for the Home PC User, Part 2

    0. Mental migration: It’s an old computer geek joke to start a numbered list with zero, but it serves to symbolize the different mindset required for Linux compared to Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux summit surprises

      The Linux Foundation (LF)’s Collaboration Summit last week in San Francisco featured a variety of announcements ranging from the LF’s new role in hosting Moblin to new collaboration tools to the latest kernel changes. Meanwhile, the LF announced the winners of its “We’re Linux” video contest.

    • GCC 4.4.0 Release Candidate Is Now Out There

      If you are into compilers and have not already tried out the latest bits from GCC 4.4, you may want to give the GCC 4.4.0 Release Candidate 1 a whirl. GCC 4.4.0 RC1 was tar’ed up yesterday and is now ready for testing.

      GCC 4.4 has a number of benefits over GCC 4.3 in all areas. One of the GCC 4.4 features that excite us is the merging of the Graphite framework, which will ultimately provide automatic parallelization support. Also on the multi-threaded front, GCC 4.4 supports version 3.0 of OpenMP. While still experimental, in this GNU Compiler Collection update there is also better support for the C++0x language.

    • Linux 2.6.30-rc2

      New ‘microblaze’ architecture, a somewhat late ‘input’ layer merge, a new intel virtual networking driver and some firmware loading updates. And mn10300 and frv moved their header files from include/asm to arch. That accounts for the bulk, but shouldn’t affect anybody.

  • Applications

    • Back In Time Does Full Linux Backups in One Click

      Linux only: Back In Time, a Linux backup app inspired by Macs’ Time Machine and offering the same kind of no-worry, space-saving snapshot protection, is worth adding to your must-install list.

      Why? First off, the user interface and documentation at its home page beat out similarly Time-Machine-inspired backup apps like previously mentioned Flyback, at least for my money. Second, it’s smart about being friendly with non-developer Linux users—it rewrites all the rules of the underlying rsync command in plain English in its settings, installs a “root” launching shortcut for when you want to back up your core system files, and adds itself to your cron automation engine automatically at the intervals you set it to, no crontab -e or other terminal jobs required.

    • 10 Best Audio Editors for Linux

      I’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful Audio applications you can download totally free of charge for Linux.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon 4.1 Gnome Released

      Sabayon Linux is a very full featured DVD sized distribution that is really catching on in the Linux community as of late. The most recent release, Sabayon 4.1 Gnome, includes some very impressive features, and applications. I installed Sabayon 4.1 Gnome this morning and found some great stuff, I really have nothing but good things to say about this up and coming Linux distro. You can buy Sabayon on DVD inside our shopping cart. A portion of each Sabayon DVD sale is donated to the Sabayon project.

    • gNewSense 2.2 released

      This release features the return of 3D acceleration — as free software.

    • Bulgarian distro offers Live CD greatest hits

      A Bulgarian open source project has released a Live CD compilation of five popular boot-and-run Linux distributions. Just released in version 3.0, “Ultilex” can be booted from CD/DVD and USB flash devices, and offers Slax, Puppy Linux, Clonezilla, Parted Magic, and the System Rescue CD, says the Ultilex project.

    • Interview with Ricky Zhou – Fedora Project

      In this interview we talk with Ricky. In specific, we talk about:

      * Identity of the Fedora community and its relationship with Red Hat
      * Relationship between Fedora and other distributions
      * Upstream projects as they relate to Fedora
      * Public opinion about the Fedora project
      * Open source involvement in the software industry and university sphere

    • Mandriva

      • What You Should Expect from Mandriva 2009 Spring

        With the second Release Candidate out and only two weeks until the big launch, we thought it would be a good idea to give you an overall look at what you should expect from Mandriva Linux 2009.1 (Spring). First of all, Mandriva 2009 Spring will boot much faster, through several fixes (including udev), implementation of a new SpeedBoot mode and support for the powerful EXT4 filesystem. What Speedboot basically does is prioritizing boot processes in order to load the graphical system first and then continue with starting the rest of the processes. As for EXT4, though many users are still kind of wary about this new filesystem, its superior performance cannot be contested. Here at Softpedia we’ve been using it on most of our Linux machines and we’ve yet to encounter any problems.

      • Pclinuxos 2009

        So far I am very pleased with this release and think I have switched back to Pclinuxos full time. Good work guys!

      • Faceoff: PCLOS 2009.1 vs LinuxMint KDE CE 6

        In the past few days, I was lucky to be able to test drive two wonderful Linux distributions that both promises to work “out of the box” — PCLinuxOS 2009.1 and LinuxMint KDE Community Edition 6.

    • Debian/Ubuntu

      • Memo to Canonical: Follow Red Hat’s Partner Lead

        So, where’s Canonical? Admittedly, the company has its hands full developing Ubuntu 9.04, Ubuntu 9.10 and Landscape updates. But stay patient. Based on some educated guesses, I think Canonical will show more channel progress by mid-2009. In the meantime, Canonical should take a close look at Red Hat and the Open Source Channel Alliance to see how go-to-market partner strategies are evolving.

      • Here comes the Jackalope

        In a few days, you will see a new version of the popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu. Ubuntu version 9.04, or fondly called by developers as “Jaunty Jackalope,” is already in beta release and will soon see it bumped to “release candidate” status, before we get the full version before the end of the month.

      • 5 Benefits of Ubuntu–Server Edition

        1. You can integrate Ubuntu server edition easily into your existing networks.

        2. Ubuntu server edition gives you low total cost of ownership, which is very crucial to companies and organizations.

        [...]

      • First update for Debian 5.0 “Lenny” released

        The Debian project developers have announced the release of the first update to Debian 5.0 (codename Lenny), initially released in February.

      • Mint 6 “Fluxbox” – Short Review – Desktop Emphasis

        Meet Mint 6 Felicia, the community “Fluxbox” remake. The Fluxbox is a window manager that replaces Gnome’s default window manager. It is lightweight, customizable, and fast.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready MIPS64 SoCs jump to 32 cores

      A Linux SDK and support from MontaVista and Wind River

      The Octeon II Software Development Kit (SDK) is an enhanced version of the existing Octeon SDK, says Cavium. It includes a Linux SMP, GNU Toolchain, and a “Simple Executive” for fast path applications. Other SDK features are said to include performance tools, a simulator, examples, and APIs for hardware acceleration Cavium also offers additional software toolkits and multi-core software architecture and design consulting services.

      Previously the Octeon SDKs have been based on SMP Linux 2.6 distributions from MontaVista or Wind River. Today, both companies announced support for the Octeon II family with their Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 4.0-compliant MontaVista Linux and Wind River Linux 3.0 distributions, respectively.

    • Android army marches into living rooms

      Android, as just another Linux distribution, will be attractive to all sorts of companies. That doesn’t mean those devices will be accessing the Android Marketplace, but it will serve to increase the number of experienced Android developers.

    • Motorola building Android-based cable boxes for Japan’s KDDI?
    • Phones

      • Netbooks, Google Android Look to Thrive Despite the Economy

        While netbooks are becoming more powerful—and are in the throes of evolution, some say—ABI asserts that the more important changes have been at the lower end of the market, and that to create more inexpensive devices, designers are turning to Linux and the Google Android operating system.

        Research firm Strategy Analytics expects to see the Android mobile operating system take 12 percent of global smartphone shipment market share by 2012, as well as show growth in other device segments, which is already in evidence this year.

      • Android army marches into living rooms

        Android, as just another Linux distribution, will be attractive to all sorts of companies. That doesn’t mean those devices will be accessing the Android Marketplace, but it will serve to increase the number of experienced Android developers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Will Linux Overtake Windows XP in Netbooks?

        With cost-cutting pressures expected to continue into the post-recessionary phase, ABI Research predicts that Linux will benefit from the entry into the market of lower-cost netbooks that run ARM-based processors.
        The research firm also predicted that by 2012 Linux and “alternative operating systems” (OSes) will overtake Microsoft’s Windows XP in netbook sales. Apart from low-end netbooks, ABI cited the arrival of mobile stacks such as the Linux-based Android that are suited for these platforms as the main reason.

      • Pupeee 4.2 released

        Pupeee 4.2 is released. This Eee PC optimized Netbook distro is based on Puppy Linux. Puppy Linux (and the Puppeee distro) was written from scratch with 2 goals in mind: speed & ease of use.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How FOSS makes better programmers

    So in the end, yes, FOSS is destroying the traditional programming model. But what is growing up in its place makes what it’s replacing look silly and foolish, a practice and a product that should have been shed ages ago.

  • Globus Looks to the Future

    The open source Globus Project is planning for the future — and is looking to users for help in determining the grid computing group’s direction.

  • Knowmad Technologies Leverages Open Source to Help BabyPips.com Grow

    So they turned to Knowmad Technologies, known for their expertise in Open Source solutions. Knowmad developed and implemented a solution based on Open Source software. Forums, blogs, a wiki and a single sign-on solution were used to make the Web site interactive for its users.

  • Open Source: Channel Opportunity in a New World

    Fortunately, open-source alternatives have matured to the point where they deliver the value and return on investment that customers are demanding. Channel partners who have not investigated and embraced open-source solutions need to.

  • B/OSS World: BT’s Pardee Urges Telcos to Get Behind Open Source

    Now is the time to branch into open source. That was the assertion from Maria Pardee, managing director of global integration for BT in her keynote address Tuesday at the Billing & OSS World Conference & Expo.

  • Election Industry Trade Group Issues Report Examining Open Source Voting

    The report, entitled, “Open Source: Understanding its Application in the Voting Industry” reveals the need for policymakers to continue treating proprietary and open source products as separate and distinct.

  • Open source data integration tools good choice for ‘standard’ ETL jobs

    When Balfour Beatty Construction needed data integration software to connect its ERP and project management systems, the company considered many of the usual commercial data integration vendors.

    But, thanks to advice from colleagues at General Growth, decision makers at the Dallas-based construction firm also included open source data integration vendor Jitterbit in its evaluations.

  • Benefits of Using Open Source: Potential Versus Realizable

    Some definitions of open source explicitly require that open source software be freely available without any limitation or cost (free beer). However, others aren’t as concerned about the “free beer” aspect as they are about the “free speech” aspect of open source. Although most products that are advertised as open source do seem to be available for no cost, this should not be assumed without careful reading of the product’s license.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.5 beta 4 due next week

      Mozilla will release Firefox 3.0.9 as a regular maintenance update for the browser next week, but the company will also roll out the fourth beta version of a much more enhanced version, which will include the TraceMonkey Javascript engine. Previously developed under the Firefox 3.1 name, version 3.5 b4 will be made available in the coming week as well.

    • about:mozilla – Firefox support, Labs, Brazil, Add-ons, Tabs, Taskfox, and more…

      In this issue…

      * Help about:mozilla with a simple click
      * Firefox Support: Writing concise documents
      * Mozilla Labs: On rating mechanisms
      * Mozilla in Brazil update
      * Experimental add-ons and logins
      * Firefox.next: Tabs on the side?
      * Munich Mozilla meetup in May
      * Taskfox prototype: Ubiquity in Firefox

  • Video

    • The Digital Tipping Point: Free film made with free tools

      Christian Einfeldt is producing a documentary movie called the Digital Tipping Point about how free software is changing global culture. He is releasing all of his footage under a free license, and is inviting participants to grab the video and use it to tell stories about how free software has changed their lives. He also wants the film to be produced using only free software tools.

    • Obscure Shadows: New Open Source Linux Viewer With Dynamic Lighting, Projected Textures

      This eye-catching, remarkably vivid demo video shows off a Linux SL viewer built by renowned coder Opensource Obscure, using the “render-pipeline” from Linden Lab’s code branch. It was so impressive, I got in touch with Obscure, for more details.

  • Server

    • A faster, sleeker way to do MySQL?

      The archetypal MySQL database chugs along in the server room of a Web 2.0 start-up, powering a small but promising Web site. In fact, a quarter of the 12 million MySQL installations are data warehouses doing business intelligence and analytics for companies.

    • Large Data Set Analysis in the Cloud: Hadoop gets a boost

      Traditional business intelligence solutions can’t scale to the degree necessary in today’s data environment. One solution getting a lot of attention recently: Hadoop, an open-source product inspired by Google’s search architecture. Twenty years ago, most companies’ data came from fundamental transaction systems: Payroll, ERP, and so on.

    • NEWS: Yahoo! To Advance Cloud Computing Research With Universities

      Yahoo!’s M45 cluster runs Hadoop, an open source distributed file system and parallel execution environment that enables its users to process massive amounts of data. Apache Hadoop is an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation, to which Yahoo! engineers have been the primary contributors to date.

  • CMS

    • Concrete Releases Open-Source CMS to General Availability

      Concrete CMS today announced the general availability of its easy-to-use open source CMS product, Concrete5. The new release builds on Concrete’s foundation offering of a CMS that is as easy to configure as a blog, with the flexibility of a full web development platform. Improvements in Concrete5 include an updated file manager, embedded Picnik image editor, new help system and more. Concrete’s main competitors in the CMS space are Drupal and Joomla, but Silicon Florist says Concrete5 “crushes them in terms of ease-of-use.”

    • Drupal and Joomla to Lose Market Share to concrete5 Web CMS?

      If you were to believe all the hype surrounding concrete5, an open source Web content management system, then a remarkable new system has just gone on General Availability (GA).

    • Hippo Hips Up in the U.S. Market, Gets New Partner

      With its open source CMS — Hippo CMS 7.0 — recently out of the door, Hippo (news, site) has found a partner in the U.S. to help implement the revamped product. CorraTech is an open source software services and consulting shop. The two will work together to deliver web content management solutions to mid-market and enterprise customers.

  • Business

    • Zenoss Joins Industry Leaders in the Open Source Channel Alliance

      Zenoss Inc., a value leader in enterprise network and systems management, today announced that it is a founding member of the Open Source Channel Alliance. Led by Red Hat, the alliance program includes leading commercial open source software vendors including; Alfresco, Enterprise DB, Ingres, Jaspersoft, Likewise, Pentaho, Zmanda, and Zenoss. Through the alliance Zenoss has signed a distribution agreement with SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX) to distribute and market Zenoss’ portfolio of cost-effective, enterprise-proven network and systems monitoring solutions.

    • Citadel 7.5 Groupware Provides ClamAV Integration

      The Citadel project has released version 7.5 of its GPL3-licensed groupware server. The release improves the web interface and countless other details.

    • Why Be a Victim of Vendor Lock-in?

      Herring cites the example of using proprietary products from BEA Systems/Oracle, which are far more expensive to acquire than open-source alternatives and don’t even offer enterprise developers the flexibility to customize to fit their particular business’s changing needs. The strength of the open source community pays off when more than just a few employees of a particular vendor are at work on a solution but rather an entire community. Rollout time is reduced dramatically, Herring notes.

    • Cleversafe Expands Open Source Cloud Storage

      That’s been the promise of open source storage vendor Cleversafe, which this week is unveiling new technology to further streamline delivery — and potentially improving the process of making content available at massive scale.

    • Q&A video with Appcelerator founders

      Appcelerator, founded in 2006, uses an open-source platform designed to help developers more quickly create Web apps.

  • Funding

  • Security

  • Government

    • Venezuela Information Technology Report Q1 2009

      In August 2008 the IT agency CNTI said that nearly 60% of Venezuela’s government offices had switched from proprietary software to open source, compared with its target of 100% migration by yearend 2008. Some ministries stood out for their progress. Venezuela’s Social Development Ministry had reportedly already migrated 93% of its PCs and all of its servers to open source, having started the migration in 2007.

    • OneWorld South Asia: International NGO relies intensively on open source solutions

      OneWorld South Asia (OWSA), the south Asian centre of OneWorld International Foundation, works to facilitate human rights and sustainable development in the region by leveraging a range of media and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). For its IT projects, this international NGO, rely intensively on Plone, an open source Content Management System (CMS) and Zope an open source application server.

  • Licensing

    • Stallman discusses Free Software and GPLv3

      Richard Stallman: I am disappointed that Linux has not moved to GPLv3, since that means the added protections for users’ freedom do not apply to this important component of the GNU/Linux system. I was also somewhat alarmed to discover that Microsoft has procured the continued use of GPLv2 by certain projects by giving them money.

      Nonetheless, GPLv3 is used by many free software projects, and has even convinced some developers to liberate previously proprietary software packages. Overall, I think it is accomplishing its mission.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Digital Standards Organization publishes “standards for standards”

      The COSS lifecycle defines a specification as a contract between designers, implementers, and users. The weight of the contract depends on where the specification is, in its lifecycle: from raw, to draft, to stable, legacy, and through to retired. COSS editor Pieter Hintjens concludes, this model allows for experimentation, and standardization, which are normally opposed to each other.

Leftovers

  • Activist Group Uses DMCA To Take Down Video Exposing Its Fake Concerned Citizens

    That raises all sorts of questions… MSNBC reporting on the videos is almost certainly fair use of NOM’s videos. But, it was someone else who uploaded the MSNBC clip to YouTube. MSNBC is still running the clip on its own site — but, if anyone had any sort of DMCA claim on the video, one would think it would be MSNBC… not NOM. So, then, is NOM abusing the DMCA takedown process, in demanding an entire video (most of which is not its content) be taken down? Seems like you (or, say, the EFF) could make a pretty strong case for that…

  • Boston College Campus Police: “Using Prompt Commands” May Be a Sign of Criminal Activity

    Should Boston College Linux users be looking over their shoulders?

    In his application, the investigating officer asked that he be permitted to seize the student’s computers and other personal effects because they might yield evidence of the crimes of “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” and “Unauthorized access to a computer system.” Aside from the remarkable overreach by campus and state police in trying to paint a student as suspicious in part because he can navigate a non-Windows computer environment, nothing cited in the warrant application could possibly constitute the cited criminal offenses. There are no assertions that a commercial (i.e. for pay) commercial service was defrauded, a necessary element of any “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” allegation. Similarly, the investigating officer doesn’t explain how sending an e-mail to a campus mailing list might constitute “unauthorized access to a computer system.”

  • Homeland Security profiles conservatives, libertarians as “right-wing extremists”

    Did you buy extra ammunition after Barack Obama was elected President, and are you still concerned that he might ban your guns? Are you concerned that the economic crisis could devolve into a depression, or worse? Do you think the federal government has overstepped its authority under the Constitution? If so, the government thinks you’re a right-wing extremist and a potential terrorist threat.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Germany not a hard-line censor after all

      Beasts Associated were suitably unimpressed by this action and issued a statement (pdf) saying: “As a result of Mr. Reppe behaving in a manner that contravened the terms of the contract, notice of termination of his contract was issued as long ago as the start of December 2008, with the contract due to end on 30 March 2009, once the period of notice expired.

      “No objection was submitted in respect of the termination, and no legal action is pending against the termination.”

      They also warned Reppe that he should move his domains to another registrar as his domains would be placed “in transit” after March 31.

    • Time Warner Cable tells FCC to shut up about net neutrality

      “Now is not the time… to engage in a debate about the need for net neutrality obligations,” Time Warner Cable tells the FCC. But why not, other than the fact that TWC is taking a beating over bandwidth caps?

    • Amazon blocks Phorm adverts scan

      Amazon has said it will not allow online advertising system Phorm to scan its web pages to produce targeted ads.

    • Phorm director advises UK.gov broadband minister

      The Commission yesterday began infringement proceedings against the UK over the lack of a regulatory response to BT and Phorm’s secret trials of internet interception and profiling technology in 2006 and 2007. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is coordinating the government’s response, which if unsatisfactory could lead to heavy fines from the European Court of Justice.

    • Britain in the dock over secret tracking of internet accounts

      Fears that Britain is slipping into a surveillance society have been heightened by Brussels initiating legal action after declaring that UK laws guaranteeing data protection were “structurally flawed” and well below the European standard.

  • Copyrights

    • Canadian Recording Industry Puts Out Copyright Law FAQ… Which Gets Almost Everything Wrong

      Does the CRIA actually think anyone believes that P2P file sharing is the reason for this? I don’t do any file sharing at all, but haven’t set foot in a physical “record store” in years — because I buy all my CDs online (and, yes, I still buy CDs). To claim that the end of physical retailing can be blamed on file sharing is simply ridiculous.

    • I got you, babe

      Obama is whistling the music industry’s tune

    • Pirate Bay confident of trial win

      No copyright content is hosted on The Pirate Bay’s web servers; instead the site hosts “torrent” links to TV, film and music files held on its users’ computers.

      The file-sharing program BitTorrent, which is a legal piece of file-sharing software, uses the torrent links to manage the transfer of files online between those who have parts of the data and those who need parts of the data.

    • The Value of Sharing

      Yesterday I wrote about how the media industries abuse language in order to justify their broken business models; today I’d like to complement this by looking at their misuse of numbers.

      One of the weapons in the intellectual monopolists’ armoury is citing the economic damage that sharing puportedly causes. What’s remarkable is that the numbers usually quoted – around $250 billion – have been touted for decades, creating a kind of self-referential justification.

    • Trying to save orphan works from the Authors Guild monopoly control

      The Author’s Guild v Google suit recently produced a settlement agreement. The agreement has been lauded widely, but what hasn’t gotten as much press is what the agreement says about orphan works — copyrighted works whose author cannot be found, or where it is not clear if the copyright is valid.

    • [A2k] Re: [Upd-discuss] Free us from the Swindle

      I sympathize with the feeling behind these protests, but they are directed at the wrong target.

      The protestors rightly condemn the Authors Guild for demanding the removal of the screen reader feature, but the way they are doing it makes Amazon look like a victim. Actually it is the main perpetrator.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nelson Pavlosky, Co-founder of Free Culture.org 09 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Does The Register Call Novell Opposers ‘Idealists’/'Purists’?

Posted in Google, Mandriva, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clarification: If opposition to paying for unspecified software patents per GNU/Linux installation (even in countries that forbid software patents) is an ideal/purity, then The Register still misuses terminology

Scott Gilbertson from The Register has just published a review of SLED 11, but he is mixing together terms and ideas, presumably so as to characterise the Novell problem as one of “purity” or “ideals”. Whether it’s deliberate or not, Gilbertson forgets that very few distributions are considered “pure” in the sense that they comprise truly Free software; the FSF lists less than a dozen such distributions in fact. With Novell, the problem has almost nothing to do with binary versus Free software; it’s mostly about patents, formats, and letting Microsoft inherit (share) partial control of its competition.

Here is the bottom line from Gilbertson’s short review:

The bottom line? We definitely do not recommend SLED for the casual home user or the free-software purists.

The headline states “SLED 11: a distro for businesses, not idealists.”

Adam Williamson (formerly of Mandriva, now of Red Hat) has already corrected Gilbertson in the comments attached to this article. He does not write it on behalf of his employer.

It’s not about idealism. That’s not the point. The idealists run obscure distros because RMS believes the stock kernel is being evil by including binary firmware or whatever the hell he’s on about this week.

The Microsoft / Novell patent deal is fundamentally dangerous to all free software development, because it lends legitimacy to Microsoft’s “we own patents on all this stuff and you can’t touch it” stance. That has nothing whatsoever to do with idealism.

Please get it right.

Yes, it’s about patents. Just a day or so ago, the Utah press announced that Novell had obtained yet another software patent.

Method and apparatus for presenting, searching and viewing directories , patent No. 7,519,575, invented by Michel Shane Simpson and Brett Dee Garrett of Orem, Nathan Blaine Jensen of Spanish Fork and William Donald Peterson III of Provo, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

This is just part of an endless series of software patents which Novell is collecting. Any promises Novell makes with regard to patents are utterly worthless because Novell is likely to be acquired by someone further down the line and its management can change too. Promises are not legal contracts.

Just look how SUSE is being promoted by the Microsoft crowd. Here’s part of a series of posts from Goblin:

In the meantime, he’s blocked Goblin, and I think thats another dubious poster exposed! Ill end on a slightly humorous note, we all know and love Andre Da Costa, another user who decided to block when he couldnt answer questions? It appears even he has had trouble with the Neowin site and its reporters:

“My case was deleted by a Moderator, I have moved on anyway, its in the past. But NeoWin needs to be open to criticism.”

There is a reference there to Andre Da Costa, whom Microsoft bribed with a free laptop because he’s promoting the company all around the Web.

As a side note, and speaking of Microsoft promotion, Miguel de Icaza admires Windows, according to one of our readers (maybe he dual-boots). Also, as we noted before, he created some software that runs on Windows only. “90% of what he shares in his Google Reader thing [is] related to Microsoft technologies,” says our informant whilst we keep seeing articles about Mono that only serve as marketing material for .NET. Mono is also promoting and spreading ASP now.

I know not everything in ASP.Net 2.0 is working in Mono, but its really satisfying to see that the team working on it have implemented the parts that are most interesting to everyday web developers. I’m looking forward to seeing what cool bits the next release of Mono will bring.

Going back to the comments from Gilbertson’s article, we find:

Here’re a few hints:

- GNOME was originally developed by Miguel de Icaza

- Miguel de Icaza then turned into a Microsoft fanboi

- Miguel de Icaza started and spearheaded the MONO project

- The MONO project is sponsored in large part by Novell

And as a bonus:

- Miguel de Icaza worked (at least for a while) at Microsoft.

You put it together. The circle is complete.

As far as we know, Miguel de Icaza never ever worked directly for Microsoft, but his colleague Nat Friedman did, and not just “for a while”. Miguel really wanted to work for Microsoft (he was not able to, but he tried) and he is a fan and acquaintant of LinuxHater.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

CNET Senility of the Day: Sun Buying Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Mono, Novell, SUN at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crazy girl

Summary: Sun can’t buy Novell; a former Novell engineer fights Mono

It’s hard to take CNET seriously. Megatrolls from CNET tend to include people like Don Reisinger, who generate outrageous headlines just to flame and receive attention. It’s sad to see similar nonsense from Matt Asay. His suggestion is so absurd that it’s hardly worth repeating and Savio Rodrigues has already swept it aside. But it’s the same Savio Rodrigues who said that Microsoft should buy Red Hat. Is this an exercise in thinking or an exercise in trolling?

Why would anyone even conceive a Sun acquisition of Novell? Novell competes against Java, competes against Solaris, and competes even against OpenOffice.org with its fork which seemed to just help Microsoft and OOXML [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

In other news, Gnote, which was previously mentioned in [1, 2, 3], has just received some more publicity. The project can assist the eradication of Mono in GNOME.

Ex-Novell developer releases port of Tomboy

A software developer who was sacked by Novell in the first quarter of this year has begun porting Tomboy, one of two Mono-dependent applications which is part of the GNOME desktop, to C++/Gtkmm.

Hubert Figuiere , who is based in Canada, says this has nothing to do with Mono at all, though he is admittedly not a fan of the .NET clone which has been developed by Novell vice-president Miguel de Icaza.

The port of Tomboy is called Gnote.

If widespread adoption of Gnote is a success, this may become a sign of changing tide.

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