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04.17.09

Links 17/04/2009: Red Hat Breaks Record, OpenOffice.org Success Story from Denmark

Posted in News Roundup at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Bringing Light Into The Darkness

    “We’re going to be installing Linux on these machines Ben, is that going to cause you any problems?”

    I finished my sketch in the next two seconds and looked up to see his physical response.

    “No, that’s all I run here.”

    I was just about overwhelmed with relief and I raised my hand in a high-five invitation and couldn’t help but show my delight.

    “Dude!”

    We completed the male ritual with unpracticed awkwardness. It was about 5 minutes into the rapid-fire back and forth about distros, servers, Kernels and networking stuff that I noticed the female portion of our group had left.

  • War Stories and Winners From the World of FOSS

    Enough with the flamewars — let’s look to something a little more positive. Linux continues to make strong first impressions with everyday computer users, and free software has managed to win the hearts and minds of even more governments around the world. In addition, the Linux Foundation has picked its winners in the “We’re Linux” video contest.

  • Kernel Space

  • Games

    • Unigine Working On New Physics, Multiplayer

      Our friends at Unigine Corp have published a 2009 development road-map for the Unigine Engine, their cross-platform gaming engine that is able to deliver stunning graphics on Linux. In 2009 the Unigine Engine is set to receive support for game consoles, improved physics capabilities, multi-monitor support, world layers support, an integrated terrain editor, high-level vehicles support, a new game logic framework, and much more.

    • Nexuiz 2.5 (taking my time)

      Here is the 666 MB heavy download. In case you care about traffic more than graphics and sounds or have a weak system: An Arch Linux user created a ~60MB version for 32-bit Linux systems.

    • Envizions Announces Next Generation 3-D Online-User Open Source Community For EVO Smart Console, Our Universe

      EVO is the first open source convergence system to combine PC, DVR, Gaming Hub, Cloud, and Internet TV in an all-in-one device. Currently beta units are been shipped to customers, partners, and distributors. The suggested retail price for the system is $379.99, and 9 classic Linux games are available April 29, 2009.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Lancelot and Raptor menu – the other way.

      Lancelot and Raptor are alternative menus intended for KDE 4. We are, however, at the frosty point, and we should ask ourselves the most important question here – which one to choose, and are they sufficiently mature and functional at all to compete with the default menu? Let’s look at them closely then to know the answer.

  • Distributions

    • SliTaz GNU/Linux 2.0 Released

      The SliTaz team proudly announced last evening the immediate availability of the SliTaz 2.0, a minimalistic Linux distribution. The new version comes after thirteen months of hard work and includes many bug fixes, as well as significant new features. So, if you’re wondering what’s new in SliTaz 2.0, let us tell you that it can handle various new pieces of hardware (such as Wireless devices), support for Windows drivers, support for web boot, the Openbox window manager and a lot of new system utilities. Not to mention the fact that SliTaz is still one of the smallest and fastest Linux distributions around.

    • Red Hat Sets New Industry Benchmark Performance Records

      The dust is starting to settle around last week’s Intel Xeon 5500 series processor “Nehalem-EP” launch, in which Red Hat was a prominent partner. Intel called it their “most revolutionary server processors since…the Intel Pentium Pro processor 15 years ago.” The proof may be in the large number of new performance records that were established at the launch in which Red Hat and our partners exceeded previous results on eight different industry-standard tests. The results delivered by the applications that we ran reflect the real-world scalability and performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the new quad-core Intel processors.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • PowerQUICC development platform runs Linux

      Micetek announced a PowerPC development platform that includes a processor module, carrier board, and Linux board support package (BSP). The MPC8572PC module and Type-N carrier board provide a development platform for the Freescale dual-core MPC8572 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, and they offer gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

    • 10 things you should look for in a netbook

      To cut costs and enable aggressive pricing, many netbooks are powered by Linux. Stable and reliable, Linux is also less expensive than Windows. With many netbooks selling for $400 or less, and OEM copies of Windows XP still selling for approximately $100 or more, it’s easy to see how many manufacturers are tempted to pad margins by replacing Windows with Linux.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Challenges And Opportunities for Open Source

    After interacting with many software end users in different industry verticals, we found that when it comes to open source there are main two concerns, first is to get required documentation to start with and second is to get proper timely support for training, customization and maintenance. Also as open source product evolves on every day basis from contribution of its large community, some end users afraid of improper code and bugs while using it.

  • The critical need for open-source health care

    One of President Obama’s biggest presidential ambitions is to reform the U.S. health care system. With more than $2 trillion spent each year on health care costs, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of which is administrative waste, one of the best stimuli to the U.S. economy could be to fix our broken health care system.

  • Optaros Gives InfoWorld Relaunch a Boost With Drupal Solutions

    Optaros, providers of custom online applications for clients through the Assembled Web, announces the development of a tailor-made open source CMS solution for InfoWorld, IDG Communications subsidiary and online media outlet for IT decision makers.

  • Network Solutions® Expands Open Source Application Offering through Application Packaging Standard

    Parallels today announced that Network Solutions® has significantly broadened its range of open source hosted application offerings through the Application Packaging Standard (APS), which was developed to enable companies to make applications available in the software-as-a-service model quickly and simply. Network Solutions® is a leading global hosting provider that manages more than 7 million domains, over 1.5 million e-mailboxes, and more than 350,000 websites.

  • Business

    • Open Source MagentoCommerce Review

      I discovered open source ecommerce applications engaging a significant proportion of ecommerce professionals. Open source software are considered as entry level choice for shopping carts by most ecommerce professionals. Although the completeness of open source apps are far from realized, they are increasingly making it to the mainstream markets. Extending my support to the open source aficionados, I delved into the intricacies of the up and coming Magento Commerce.

    • Open-source ad company OpenX launches platform

      OpenX, a software company that makes an open-source ad serving product for online publishers, has launched a platform called OpenX Market to directly connect buyers and sellers.

  • Funding

    • What would the open source community do with $US9.1 billion?

      What would the open source community do with that money? What could it do with that money? What should it do with that money? Those are the questions.

      Before we try to answer those questions, let’s consider how each software delivery model operates.

  • Symbian

    • BOARDS: Open-source OMAP boards target mid-volume apps

      TI’s OMAP processors have a long history of success in mobile phones, but until now they were hard to use in mid-volume apps. Gumstix is solving that problem with an innovative Overo series of computer-on-module boards.

    • Symbian Courts Developers With OMAP Platform

      The Symbian Foundation is looking to bring in more developers for the upcoming open source Symbian, and it has created a new development platform based on Texas Instrument’s OMAP technology.

  • Sun

    • Municipality saves 1 million per year

      Michel van der Linden is head of IT in Municipality of Gribskov in Denmark. In this article he explains how the municipality changed from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice some years ago. Initially they saved about two million Danish Kroner and later one million per year.

Leftovers

  • Undigital Britain: A Vision For An Unconnected Policyscape

    The online planning for today’s Digital Britain Summit was poor even before the conference began – but the web output from the event itself could make a citizen wonder Lord Carter’s advisers are really best placed to make Britain digital…

  • Police delete London tourists’ photos ‘to prevent terrorism’
  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Online proxy users won’t get stiffer sentences after all

      A controversial proposal that would have seen judges directed to consider the use of Internet proxies when handing down sentences for online crimes has been rejected by the US Sentencing Commission. The initial proposal would have directed judges to consider the use of a proxy as an indication of the sophistication and intent of those who have been convicted, but civil liberties groups and technology advocates strongly opposed the matter, given that there are a variety of common and legitimate uses of proxy servers. The arguments put forth by these advocates apparently held the day.

    • Cybercrime and Punishment: Sentencing Panel Discards Proxy Penalty
    • Wikimedia becomes latest to ban Phorm

      The Wikimedia Foundation has asked Phorm to exclude all its domains and websites – including Wikipedia – from Phorm’s BT trials, because it considers such scanning to be an infringement of its users’ privacy.

    • Wikimedia Foundation opting out of Phorm
    • Kindle owners find out about DRM’s ever-present threat

      Some Kindle users are angry because Amazon blocked them from their Kindle accounts, thereby blocking them from accessing their already-purchased media. Even if these stories are exaggerated, they once again highlight the caveats that come with DRMed media. You don’t own your content—Amazon does.

  • Copyrights

    • Norwegian Minister Publishes Book under CC BY-SA

      Today, Norway’s Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Heidi Grande Røys, launched a new book, edited by the Minister, about sharing and the social side of computer networks. The book is titled “Delte meninger” (in Norwegian this has the dual meaning of “shared opinions” and “conflicting opinions”). There is also a website dedicated to open, public debate about the issues raised in the book.

    • Appeals court: no webcast for Joel Tenenbaum

      The Harvard Law professor and students who are defending Joel Tenenbaum from the RIAA lose their bid to have the entire case webcast. The trial judge approved of the idea, but the First Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the RIAA and said it would not be allowed.

    • Court Bars RIAA Trial Webcast
    • Pirate Bay Loses A Lawsuit; Entertainment Industry Loses An Opportunity

      The folks behind The Pirate Bay insist that the site will live on and the verdict means nothing, but it may create an inconvenience for users of the site — especially if other nations use this as yet another excuse to ban the site. The folks this will hurt the most are those content creators who actually do value The Pirate Bay — such as best selling author Paulo Coehlo, who found that “pirating” his own book helped him tremendously, and who recently spoke out about what a useful tool The Pirate Bay has been. It’s a shame that because some big lumbering companies are unable to change their business models that they get to use the legal system to disrupt and annoy those who have figured it out.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 01 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Links 17/04/2009: A Lot More Support for Mobile Linux, New NetworkManager

Posted in News Roundup at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Open-source server distro builds on Ubuntu

    Zaragoza, Spain-based eBox Technologies announced the availability of version 1.0 of its Ubuntu Linux-based eBox server distribution.The open source eBox 1.0 features LDAP, DHCP, NTP, DNS, and email servers, among other features, and provides a new development framework for building add-on modules, says the company.

  • Linux Delivered Your Way

    No more troubleshooting a demo version of your software-no more endless hours of support calls only to find out that your customer is missing a critical dependency — and no more “your mileage may vary” disclaimers because you’ve removed all the variables. It’s your application in an environment that you’ve created. You know it works. All the customer has to do is power it on.

  • Desktop-Linux Can Shape Enterprise Cost

    As enterprises are actively moving their business into remote cloud model, only standard interfaces are required on the desktop to access the data in the cloud. This can potentially open a window (pun not intended) for the IT department to train its employees in free software such as Linux, with the double benefit of adding expertise to its employees and slaying unnecessary IT investments.

  • Linux in Trying Times: Growth Predictions Start to Materialize

    Depending on extraneous factors, one or two hundred dollars might not be a substantial enough difference to opt for a Linux machine, especially if you’ve never used Linux before. Even if half of those sales that make up the 61% revenue increase are attributable solely to a lower price point, it means the other half were spurred by something else.

    Personally, I paid for the convenience and powerful hardware. The fact that the software platform onboard was free and could do everything I needed reliably and quickly? That’s not without value. This is where “cost-effective” steals the limelight from merely “inexpensive,” and where open source has the real edge.

  • Internet

    • You will upgrade to NetworkManager 0.7.1

      This release fixes more than 50 bugs, including 17 from Fedora, 22 from GNOME, 6 from Ubuntu, and 3 from Debian. Packages are already in updates-testing for Fedora. If you don’t use Fedora, and your distro doesn’t have 0.7.1 soon, then you need to harrass them until they get it :)

    • Groupware and bulletin board for Linux

      Version 7.50 of the Citadel open source groupware for Linux has been released.

  • Multimedia

    • Can Open Source Songbird Compete with iTunes?

      The developers promise further tools in the near future. They say they’d like to expand device support, which right now does not include Apple iPhones, iPod Touch, and Microsoft Zune devices.

    • The List: The Top 5 Media Center Programs for Linux

      I though I would share my thoughts on my exploits with the popular Media Center Solutions for Linux. While none of them are perfect some come very close. Please keep in mind these are my opinions and you do not have to agree with me, but I feel my points are pretty spot on as of 4/09 , the current month and year. Some of the points made are with my personal experience with the program while one is based off a review, as I had trouble installing it. Please feel free to comment or use the “Contact Us” page at the top of the site.

  • KDE

    • Kontact: To-do (KOrganizer)

      Welcome again. This is going to be a small overview, since the “To-Do” is in fact part of KOrganizer, which was mostly seen on the last article. It’s just going be fast view at the main interface, the changes to the interface remain the same as on Calendar.

    • fewer magical appearances

      It doesn’t work with QWidget based popups yet, though there’s no reason it couldn’t; Plasma::Dialog just doesn’t have the logic for it yet. That means that things like kickoff or the device notifier still behave a bit magically.

  • Distributions

    • BSD

      • PC-BSD 7.1 Galileo Edition Review

        I love FreeBSD and I tried really hard to like PC-BSD but I’m sorry to say that I don’t. I like the concept of the BSD desktop but I feel its still a few years behind the Linux desktop in hardware support and you’re likely going to have more luck there.

    • Red Hat

      • Fedora 11 Leonidas – King of Spartans

        You may be wondering why I chose the particular title for this article. Well, you will learn soon. Today, we are going to test the latest (beta) release of the RedHat-based Fedora, version 11 named Leonidas, slated for release in mid-May.

    • Ubuntu

      • Jaunty Jackalope release candidate unleashed

        Jaunty Jackalope has sprung a step closer, with the release of final pre-production code for Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop and Server, and Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition.

        The Ubuntu 9.04 release candidate was kicked out Thursday afternoon. The Ubuntu team behind it has reported that the release candidate is “complete, stable, and suitable for testing by any user”, but that it does provide the caveat that there are still a few known bugs.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Release Candidate Is Here

        The Release Candidate version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (codename Jaunty Jackalope) was uploaded a few minutes ago on the official mirrors. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up to date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.04 development.

      • The five best, new things in Ubuntu Linux 9.04

        Overall, I’m sold on this new Ubuntu. Good solid features and better performance makes for a winning package. Try it yourself. I think you’ll agree.

      • PC, Server Makers Prepare for Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.04 Launch

        First, the pure facts: Small Ubuntu proponents — such as PC maker System76 — plan to begin offering Ubuntu 9.04 on systems starting April 23, with shipments beginning the following week. But this is more than a PC push. System76 will preload the new Ubuntu on servers, desktops, notebooks and event a forthcoming netbook, according to System 76 President Carl Richell. Oh, and by the way: System76’s revenues are growing fast thanks to its focus on Ubuntu.

        Meanwhile, Dell continues to test Ubuntu 9.04 on selected desktops, notebooks and netbooks — though it will be a few months before Dell moves its Ubuntu product lineup to the latest operating system release. In the meantime, roughly 30 percent of the company’s netbooks are sold with Ubuntu 8.04 pre-installed, according to one Dell insider.

      • Shuttleworth: Oracle a Litmus test for Linux, Ubuntu

        Shuttleworth added that he expect that Oracle will eventually certify on Oracle, in his view it’s just a matter of time as Ubuntu gains momentum. In my opinion, while certainly Oracle has its own Linux now, they are also a very customer focused organization.

        So simply put, if enterprises want Oracle certified to run on Ubuntu, they should start asking for it.

Devices/Embedded

  • Networking giant switching switches to Linux?

    The switch from Wind River’s VxWorks to an unnamed Linux distribution should come by early next year, says an InternetNews.com story, attributing the comments to Minka Nikolova, senior product manager at Alcatel-Lucent.

  • RP retailer goes for Linux-based system

    Local retailer Puregold is deploying a Linux-based point-of-sale or POS system, as it looks to cutting down costs on security while expanding its network of stores.

    Puregold has ordered more than 2,000 licenses of TPLinux software, according to Paderborn, Germany-based Wincor Nixdorf, which sells niche solutions for banks and retail firms.

  • One of the Philippines Leading Retailers to Use Linux-based System
  • Phones/Portables

    • Panasonic, NEC unveil Linux phones

      NEC and Panasonic will unveil nine new cellphone models running the open source LiMo operating system, wireless Linux foundation LiMo said at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

      The focus of the cellphone market has been shifting to software development since Google and Apple entered the mobile market in the past two years, with phone vendors and operators increasingly looking for open source alternatives like LiMo to cut costs.

    • Japan takes Android beyond phones; Nokia may respond with Maemo

      Android may only be available in one handset, but it could soon appear in a wide range of devices from set-top boxes to netbooks, as the Japanese consumer electronics sector shows rising interest in Google’s Linux-based system. However, it will not have the show to itself – not only is the LiMO Foundation holding on in the mobile space, but Intel is opening up its Moblin Linux platform and Nokia looks increasingly likely to put Linux further towards the center of its strategy, building on its Maemo-based offering.

    • Taiwan’s Asustek to use Linux in new smartphone

      Netbook PC pioneer Asustek (2357.TW) will use a Linux-based operating system in one of its first two smartphones, a senior company official said on Friday, in a boost for the system’s developer.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Death of Linux on netbooks greatly exaggerated

        Initiatives like the Moblin project, which will make it easier for hardware vendors to deploy Linux on netbook devices, can help ensure that the open source operating system remains competitive in the netbook market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • First beta of PostgreSQL 8.4 released for testing

    The first beta of version 8.4 of PostgreSQL, the free object-relational database system, developed under the umbrella of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, has been released. After fourteen months in development, the new release contains hundreds of patches and dozens of new features.

  • Why should schools use open source software?

    Awareness of open source software amongst teachers, technical staff and students is certainly far greater now than even a few years ago, thanks to projects like Moodle, Firefox and Audacity leading their respective fields. For schools, the appeal of open source is that it’s free. But ‘free’ is about freedom at least as much as it’s about price: Liberté rather than gratuite as the French would have it. The free software movement have identified the four freedoms underpinning open source software, and these offer compelling reasons for educators to look seriously at this software.

  • 6 Must-Have Firefox Extensions for Enhancing the Apps You Use Most

    There has been a general trend among Firefox extensions toward extending the way the browser helps you get more out of the applications that you use all the time. In this post, you’ll find six of the best examples of these app-helper extensions, which you can grab and install in minutes.

  • Voting/Security

    • Open Source SSL Acceleration

      Nginx once again has shown that it is a versatile open source project. For the cost of a server and a few hours work, any system administrator can increase the capacity of their existing server farm by building an Open Source SSL Accelerator. Reducing the complexity of certificate management, reducing the number of certificates needed and reducing the overall load per request on the existing server farm, this solution offers a cost-effective way of breathing new life into an existing server farm.

    • On open source vs. disclosed source voting systems

      On Tuesday, the Election Technology Council (a trade association of four major American voting system manufacturers) put out a white paper on open-source and voting systems. It’s nice to see them finally talking about the issue, but there’s a distinctive cluelessness in this paper about what, exactly, open source is and what it means for a system to be secure. For example, in a sidebar titled “Disclosed vs. Open: Clarifying Misconceptions”, the report states:

      … taking a software product that was once proprietary and disclosing its full source code to the general public will result in a complete forfeiture of the software’s security … Although computer scientists chafe at the thought of “security through obscurity,” there remains some underlying truths to the idea that software does maintain a level of security through the lack of available public knowledge of the inner workings of a software program.

      Really? No. Disclosing the source code only results in a complete forfeiture of the software’s security if there was never any security there in the first place. If the product is well-engineered, then disclosing the software will cause no additional security problems. If the product is poorly-engineered, then the lack of disclosure only serves the purpose of delaying the inevitable.

    • Open-source misperceptions live on

      The enterprises, vendors, developers, analysts, and journalists I speak with regularly are mostly pretty savvy about the basics of open source at this point. Even if they’re not licensing geeks or otherwise expert in all the minutiae and subtle implications of open-source development, community, and usage, they generally have the important basics down.

  • Business

    • Open source = market development

      It is such a simple model, and so effective. The only thing preventing more software vendors from changing to the model is years spent cheating customers on an anomalous 20th-century proprietary model. That model is dead: just look at what VCs are funding. The dinosaurs of the proprietary world will be with us for many years to come, but the new companies being born are open-source and SaaS (software as a service). That is the future.

  • FSFE

    • The professionalisation of free software

      The structures described above were among coders, and represent the creation of an organisational chart among them. What we have seen more recently is something rather different: the rise of professional managers who are not generally programmers, to oversee the day-to-day running and future development of the larger projects. The first instance was Mitchell Baker at the Mozilla Corporation in 2003, and Stormy Peters at the GNOME Foundation last year.

  • Government

    • Will the U.S. follow UK into the open source market?

      The ‘Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use: Government Action Plan’ released last month praises the benefits of non-proprietary technologies. In a statement accompanying the report, Tom Watson, Minister for Digital Engagement, said that open source was a great example of how people working together can come up with products to “rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations.”

  • Licensing

Leftovers

  • Impeach Bezos for Amazon’s Kindle Swindle

    We hope he gets the message that he’s swindling his customers and in the process undermining important fundamental freedoms to read and share. Amazon seems to understand this message when it comes to music — why don’t they get it when it comes to the Kindle?

  • Time Warner halts metered billing tests

    Time Warner Cable has put the brakes on a trial that was testing its new “consumption-based billing” system for its broadband service, the company said Thursday.

  • Copyrights

    • TOC 09 “Digital Distribution and the Whip Hand: Don’t Get iTunesed with your eBooks” — Cory Doctorow

      Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net), and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites

    • Shepard Fairey Counterfiles in Associated Press Obama Poster Conflict

      Attorneys for the recently-legally-beleaguered artist Shepard Fairey have filed a countersuit against the Associated Press over claims Fairey violated intellectual property rights in creating the iconic Obama poster. Fairey and his supporters argue that his work falls squarely within the boundaries of transformation and fair use. PDFs of the counterclaim documents below, at the bottom of this blog post.

    • UK dons dunce hat on copyright law

      Copyright reform in the UK has ‘stalled’ as the Government has caved in to the ‘vested interests’ of the content industry, the head of a digital rights activist group has said. The view comes as the UK ‘abjectly fails’ a test of its copyright laws.

      The international umbrella body for consumer rights organisations, Consumers International, has surveyed the copyright laws of 16 countries and has concluded that the UK’s is the worst for protecting users’ rights.

    • Of RMS, Ethical Visions, and Copyright Law

      As RMS emphasises again and again, at the heart of free software lies an ethical vision of sharing and mutual respect. Although open source blurs that vision somewhat thanks to the glasses of pragmatism that it wears, the basic idea is still there. And yet we talk relatively little about that ethical aspect, which is a pity, because it is both important and interesting.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: April 16th, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: April 16th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: April 16th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Latest Patent Comedy from Europe

Posted in Africa, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO sign

Summary: The latest string of developments in Europe, regarding software patents

ATTEMPTS are being made by companies that include Microsoft and its lobbyists to legalise software patents in Europe, without a democracy even. Digital Majority has found a couple of reports from South Africa; this first one talks about plans to introduce the Community patent, which is merely a back door that would harm the Free software community (so the word community in “Community patent” is actually a malicious reversal).

By protecting the intellectual property rights of inventors and innovators, patents promote innovation and creativity, the lifeblood of Europe’s ability to change with the times and remain competitive.

Given the huge importance of patents and the challenges in managing patent rights across an increasingly borderless Europe, it is no surprise that member states are working towards creating an EU-wide patenting system known as the Community Patent.

The article was seemingly written and published by a pro-patents guy, who apparently makes a living out of it. There is also this second new article from the same publication, regarding software patents specifically.

Particularly in the US and Europe, various parties are lobbying for various amendments to the legislation. Some want the scrapping of the relevant restrictive sections in the legislation so that all kinds of business methods and computer software will always be patentable as long as they are new and inventive.

Over in Germany, where protests have just taken place, some firm or umbrella called BIKT claims that software patents may be unconstitutional.

The discussion of the various aspects of copyrights, patent law and other intellectual property rights are of special significance for the BIKT. The association has published on its internet site a statement related to the current appeal proceedings at the European Patent Office (EPO) regarding the issue of patentability of computer programs and takes a clear stand against the granting of software-related patents.

The BIKT statement was prepared by the lawyer Rasmus Keller from Viersen and is based on his legal study which was published recently. He presents clear arguments explaining that the granting of software-related patents represents an encroachment on the exploitation rights of software developers which cannot be reconciled with constitutional law. As a consequence, the granting of such patents is categorically impermissible.

For those who have not heard yet, Nokia’s profits have just sunk 90% (for this quarter) and Nokia's role in advancing software patents is a sin that must be remembered. The British press still uses a controversial Symbian case to pretend software patents are somewhat legitimate. Here is the latest example:

The Court of Appeal decision also supported the 4-step test for patentable subject matter set out in the Aerotel/Macrossan decision, but cautioned against applying such tests blindly.

The practice notice, issued in December 2008, indicates that the UKIPO will continue to apply the Aeroel/Macrossan test in deciding whether computer-related inventions are excluded from patentability. Observers question whether this will really constitute any shift in UK patent law as one would expect following a decision as significant as Symbian. However, the practice notice goes on to suggest that there will be some change in the way in which the UKIPO assesses software implemented inventions in future.

In particular, the practice notice states that an important factor is “what the program does as a matter of practical reality” and provides an example in which ‘improving the operation of a computer by solving a problem arising from the way the computer was programmed – for example, a tendency to crash due to conflicting library program calls – can also be regarded as solving “a technical problem within the computer” if it leads to a more reliable computer’.

Regarding Brimelow’s ambiguous/bizarre questions that I've already sent a response to, some opine that the first question is not even a valid English question. If someone is very proficient with English, maybe consultation would help. Here is the question, which seems like some sort of circular logic:

QUESTION 1: CAN A COMPUTER PROGRAM ONLY BE EXCLUDED AS A COMPUTER PROGRAM AS SUCH IF IT IS EXPLICITLY CLAIMED AS A COMPUTER PROGRAM?

A few years ago, in relation to Microsoft, the EPO board of appeal emitted an equally bizarre response:

1. The claim category of a computer-implemented method is distinguished from that of a computer program. Even though a method, in particular a method of operating a computer, may be put into practice with the help of a computer program, a claim relating to such a method does not claim a computer program in the category of a computer program (point 5.1 of the reasons).

2. A computer-readable medium is a technical product and, thus, has technical character (point 5.3 of the reasons).

This seems like an exercise in confusion; it’s hardly about providing answers but rather about escaping the need.

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