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04.20.09

Good News, Good Site News, and More Microsoft Layoffs Rumoured

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Site News, Vista 7 at 4:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Client software felt the slump in PC sales, and was further harmed by the shift to netbooks; many of these run Linux, which helps Microsoft not at all.”

Ars Technica, 2009

“Microsoft, like much of the IT industry, was caught off-guard by the rapid rise of the netbook category, but moved quickly to offer a netbook-specific version of XP Home to stem the tide of Linux on netbooks. When one considers that getting some revenue is better than getting none, that was a wise move.”

CRN, 2009

“Search engines be da**ed, it’s the OS that generates money – if the world switches to linux, it will switch to OpenOffice too.”

Motley Fool (heavily Microsoft influenced), 2009

Summary: Site changes, Microsoft dumped by Digg, claims of Microsoft layoffs

SOME DAYS ago we explained why GNU/Linux is killing Microsoft via sub-notebooks and also showed that Microsoft’s financial results, which it will be released around the same time as the release of Ubuntu 9.04, will be abysmal. Not even Vista 7 is going to save Microsoft if the following new article is anything to go by:

Windows 7 Starter is a non-starter

[...]

Claims from Microsoft that Windows XP users would be satisfied to “upgrade” to Windows 7 Starter, with its 3 applications limit, because it’s “easier” and “more reliable” are beyond nonsense. They insult the intelligence of Microsoft’s customers.

The inevitable is already happening. From Joe’s report:

Analyst: More Layoffs Coming To Microsoft

McAdams Wright Ragen Analyst Sid Parakh expects more layoffs by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), on top of the 5,000 job cuts announced earlier this year. “Over the last week, we have heard from multiple sources that Microsoft may engage in additional restructuring activities in the near-to-mid term,” he wrote in a report today.

But wait. There’s more. Digg is dumping Microsoft, which paid it dearly to become a poster child of MSN.

Back in the summer of ’07, Digg and Microsoft announced a partnership that would see Microsoft selling and serving ads on Digg, not unlike Microsoft’s deal with Facebook inked the previous year. The deal was to last until the summer of 2010, but Digg has now pulled the plug according to ClickZ.

It’s not quite the same over at Google, which Joe claims is still hiring after positive financial results.

On Thursday, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) announced that the size of its workforce had dropped for the first time in its 11-year history. But during the company’s earnings call, CFO Patrick Pichette said it is still hiring in “critical areas.” So what are those areas?

So what’s that last bit of good news? After a bit of technical struggle we manage to change the front page of Boycott Novell and we hope people like it.

The Positive Thing About Oracle Buying Sun and Its Bundle:

Posted in Microsoft, Oracle, SUN, Videos at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LARRY ELLISON hates Microsoft.

We shall live and see. There is already plenty of coverage and analysis out there.

Related posts:

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, CSIRO, Patent Hawk, and “Corrupt, Malicious” EPO

Posted in Australia, Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation which should not exist.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: The latest news about patents (software in particular) that affect Free software

TT HAS BEEN a very busy week for patents, whose relevance is being questioned quite a lot these days. Mike Masnick took a look back at some of the recent developments when he wrote about the GPL FUD (lies even) from Microsoft's buddy, White & Case (White & Case subsequently intimidated an open source reporter). Masnick also commented on the Patently-O report which shows patent filings on the decline. We wrote about it earlier.

Considering the large number of bad patents that got through over the years, and the resulting flood of applications from others hoping to strike it rich by gaining monopolies on obvious ideas, it should be seen as a good thing that applications are finally dropping. If anything, we should be wondering why they’re not dropping more. Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren’t enough. Somewhere along the way, those who controlled the patent system seemed to forget this and lose their way.

Intellectual Monopolies Versus Microsoft

Microsoft realises that somehow it must elevate the price of its #1 competition (GNU/Linux) because it's going out of control. But by promoting software patents around the world Microsoft is also injuring itself. Consider this report from Bloomberg (same report here):

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, settled a lawsuit with Australia’s science agency over a patent used for wireless local area networks.

Microsoft and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, didn’t disclose terms of the settlement in a filing April 10 in federal court in Tyler, Texas. CSIRO claimed Microsoft had been wrongfully using the patent, while the software maker sought a ruling of noninfringement for its networking wireless technology, which includes an adaptor for the Xbox video-game system.

There is also this slightly older one from Australia: US jury orders Microsoft to pay $500m to Australian inventor

Groklaw drew attention to this essay from Patent Hawk, adding that “it’s a case that could test his theory, but considering Microsoft’s lawyers will presumably argue for Bilski exclusion, it should be interesting.”

Odom invented active tool groups, which Microsoft popularized with its Office 2007 Ribbon. In an ongoing licensing campaign, having previously filed suit against Microsoft and Autodesk, today Odom filed against 28 other infringers.

[...]

As an aside, punters who have commented that Odom’s claims are Bilskied out don’t know what they are talking about. The CAFC has been concerned about overreaching business method patents. Bilski required, for software patents, that claims transform the subject matter, and have tangibility (according to one interpretation), i.e., representational of non-computer existence. Odom’s tool groups are like containers in a toolbox, and his claims alter the condition of those groups….As Patent Prospector readers already know, this entry is first person, written in the third person, as Gary Odom is aka Patent Hawk, patent technical consultant.

For some background about Patent Hawk, see this post from December. Additionally, Law.com has just published the article “Microsoft’s IP Losses Don’t Always Stick.” It’s about Microsoft’s other confrontations.

The software company set the record when a San Diego jury ordered it to pay $1.53 billion for infringing on Alcatel-Lucent’s patents for MP3 digital audio technology. It was hit for $512 million in another case with Alcatel-Lucent. And Eolas Technologies Inc. won a $521 million verdict against it.

But appeals courts have been kinder than juries to the software company. The $1.53 billion award was tossed last year . Microsoft appealed the $521 million verdict and ultimately settled with Eolas for $30.4 million in 2007. The $512 million award is currently on appeal. Fish & Richardson has represented Microsoft against Alcatel-Lucent in both cases, at trial and on appeal.

“Microsoft has certainly seen some large verdicts against it in the last few years,” observed Stephen Akerley, a patent litigator with O’Melveny & Myers who wasn’t involved with this week’s case. “However, there are always appealable issues in these cases. And if you look back, Eolas ultimately settled, Alcatel-Lucent is still going on — it’s impossible to tell where this case will end up.”

Intellectual Monopolies Versus the Internet

IPJur has just dropped some bits of wisdom about how dying monopolies daemonise the Web with “piracy”.

One important cornerstone for the proponents of that ‘ancien regime’ in this context is to promote the notion of piracy in conjunction with the Internet.

It’s worth bearing it in mind after the Pirate Bay ruling. Will Google and Yahoo be sued next (for linking to potentially ‘illegal’ content)?

Richard Stallman: “The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

The animals too will be suffering from Intellectual Monopolies, so the pigs — literally — took it to the streets along with their human representatives.

Stallman’s participation in last week’s protests has finally received some more coverage. We found two more articles:

i. Farmers, Politicians, Free Software Fans Demonstrate Against Patents

Stallman warned against the threat patents pose to free farming and free software engineering, and heavily criticised the EPO for its grant practice. He called it an “evil and malicious organisation” Europeans should try to get rid off and should in the first place try “to stop treating every EU institution as if it was sacred and inscrutable.”

ii. Richard Stallman, Farmers and the German CSU Party Unite Against Patents

Members of the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the Piratenpartei (Pirate Party), Greenpeace, the Misereor Catholic organization, and farmers’ unions against the European Patent Office (EPO) recently assembled at a rally in Munich, Germany. Demonstrators included Richard Stallman, who added his own testimonial to those united against the EPO.

These protests in Germany, which were last mentioned here and whose photos can be found here, will be remembered for quite some time. They were a smashing success.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

“Novell is Killing SuSE Linux” — Claim

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Head over there to read the explanation.

I just can’t hold back anymore. I’ve been running Linux a long, long time, and in the past five years, I have been working more and more with SuSE Linux. About five years ago (roughly), Novell acquired the rights to SuSE Linux in the United States. They created a set of custom distributions (SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server), but there plans beyond that have always been questionable. Personally, I am not sure if Novell is even sure which direction they are heading.

We wrote about this before.

Links 20/04/2009: SliTaz 2.0; Sun and IBM Still Flirt

Posted in News Roundup at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Too Many Choices?

    Just a quick question: have any of the people who argue this ever seen or been in an American supermarket? Have you seen the cereal aisle? The toothpaste section? Seriously, my wife is from Japan and she had some serious culture shock the first time she saw all the choices for things like toothpaste, deodorant, spaghetti sauces, etc, etc.

  • Kernel Space

    • Latest ATI Linux Driver Introduces Support for Ubuntu 9.04

      Yet another stable version of the ATI/AMD Linux display driver was released last night, for both x86 and x86_64 architectures. With version 9.4, ATI Catalyst introduces early support for the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 operating system and full support for the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3. Users of the Release Candidate of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) can install and test this new ATI driver via the “Hardware Drivers” utility in the System -> Administration menu.

    • NVIDIA 180.51 Display Driver Released

      NVIDIA has now managed to make it nearly two weeks before issuing a new Linux driver update. The NVIDIA 185.19 Beta is still the latest in the 185.xx series, but NVIDIA has provided a pre-release of the 180.51 driver.

    • No Minix code in Linux Ever — More Evidence

      I saw an article the other day, repeating the mistaken view that there was Minix code in an early version of Linux. I knew that was not true, because for one thing Linus told us it was not true years ago. And Andrew Tanenbaum confirmed that Linus didn’t use any Minix code, as did Eric Raymond. But here’s some evidence for you cynics out there that I hope will settle that issue once and for all. It will at least make our historical record on Groklaw more complete. Anyway, it’s our policy to provide all the evidence we can find, because I know you’d like to see it for yourself, not just listen to others’ conclusions.

  • Applications

    • The best Linux media players

      Recently I have had a lot of people asking how to play various media files in Linux. Since most users are migrating over from either Mac or Windows, they are either used to one single application handling their media files or at least knowing exactly what apps handle each media type. When they migrate over all of a sudden there is no Windows Media Player or iTunes. And then comes the bombardment of different applications to choose from! All of this combined makes for some difficult usage.

    • Gabob releases Now Boarding 1.2 for Linux

      Indie game developer Gabob is pleased to announce Now Boarding 1.2 for Linux. Now Boarding is an action-tycoon game focused on running an airport. Create calm from chaos in a busy airport. Get your passengers to the correct destination before they freak out.

    • Cross-Platform Open Source Video Game: Nexuiz

      The community has created a full tournament system (The Ladders) where people can enter into competitions of our many game types. Public multiplayer servers usually have about 20 to 100 active players at one time – if not, bots can be placed into the game. Single player has a large amount of levels which get harder with each stage.

    • A Review of Popular Window Navigators for Linux

      After a long time, I really said to myself, can I lose that bottom panel? I really wanted something semi-flashy that had function, giving me access to my favorite shortcuts. I have heard of Avant, and tried that, but I also wanted to give “the other guys” a good try too! I came across Gnome-Do and also Cairo Dock. While each actually has its ups and downs, I’m sure everyone can agree they accomplish the job. Here is The Linux Cauldrons review of Popular Window Navigators.

    • Six Linux softphone’s list

      Most of these projects will involve IP phones or ATAs, but you may use softphones too, which are very convenient for the traveler guy, here we will review some of the soft phones available for Linux.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Xfce 4.6.1 Released

      Thanks to all the people who have been using xfce 4.6 and took the time and effort to submit bugreports for stuff that wasn’t quite working the way it is supposed to. We have been able to fix several issues during the past few weeks.

    • KDE

      • Kontact: Feeds (Akregator)

        Welcome to another issue of the Kontact series, this week we will give a look to Feeds part of Kontact, I used to use this application on KDE 3.5, and it seems like it didn’t change much, but, don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t a bad thing, since Akregator probably have on of the simplest, powerful and easy to use interfaces all around KDE. Let’s go on ;-)

      • ScottK might have something to say …

        I’m quite pleased with the progress made in KDE 4.2. I’m interested to see how the new systray protocol in KDE 4.3 evolves and is integrated with the notification system for the Karmic Koala.

      • Trying KDE again

        So far, KDE seems pretty usable for me now, but then, I’m quite happy to plod along on my Laptop and try things out.

    • GNOME

      • 13 Ubuntu Themes To Personalize Your Experience

        With the release of Jaunty around the corner some of you might be looking for a new theme to personalize the Jackalope. I was searching the web for some themes myself and thought I will put together a list of some of the best one’s I found. After grabbing one of the themes you might ask, now how do I install this? Luckily there is a very good article on the Ubuntu forums that will answer that question.

  • Distributions

    • One week with Debian

      I’ve been using Debian for a week now and other than the surprisingly slow installation and no nice restricted-manager helping you with driver installation, I’m quite comfortable with it. There’s some stuff from Ubuntu which I miss (like command-not-found), but nothing big, and having testing, unstable and experimental to get newer packages from is cool. I still prefer Ubuntu, but it’s good to know that if something ever happens to it (just purely theoretically) I could live with Debian; and, in any case, I’ll keep this installation around (it only takes up 6GB, so there’s no reason to remove it once I get Ubuntu running fine again).

    • Mandriva

      • Switch to KDE 4.2.2

        So, am I happy? In a word, yes. With the Desktop “Folder Containment view”, things behave much like the old KDE, so I can get around fairly well, and do what I need to do. And, as Mandriva is building toward their final Spring release, they are releasing daily scads of bugfixes and updates–resulting in my system now becoming very stable, which is essential for a production machine

      • A quick look at Mandriva 2009.1 RC2

        The Live CD booted much faster than the previous versions. I did not time it but it was definitely faster. The boot screen also revealed new artwork which I like better than the one in Mandriva 2009. Apart from the looks, the system was as stable as any other Mandriva release.

    • Red Hat

      • An open source government

        James Whitehurst became CEO of Red Hat, the Raleigh-based distributor of the Linux computer-operating software, in early 2008. Previously, he was a top executive with Delta Air Lines. This is a recent posting he wrote on Red Hat’s blog.

        President Obama came to office with the promise of change. His administration has pledged to create an environment of openness and participation. Some have already called him the “open source president,” such as consultant and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos.

        There’s no better time than now. Transparency builds trust. Participation solves problems. And we believe that open source provides an answer.

    • Ubuntu

      • FLOSS Weekly 65: Jono Bacon

        Jono Bacon, community manager for the Ubuntu Linux distribution, and rock star.

        Guests: Jono bacon for Ubuntu

      • CrunchBang Linux Review

        This distro happens to be what I’m running right now i went through dozens of other distributions to find one that is easy to use and that suits my multimedia needs. Crunchbang plays all of my music, movies, pdf’s, word documents…. you get the point. I would definatley recommend this distro for any one thats looking for something that has many powerful multimedia tools right out of the box.

      • Ubuntu and Ayatana

        I had never heard the name Ayatana before Mark Shuttleworth mentioned it during the Ubuntu Podcast. Basically, Ayatana is the overall project for improving desktop experience. Part of that is the whole notification system in Ubuntu 9.04.

      • ZaReason Readies Ubuntu 9.04 PCs, Servers

        On the server front, ZaReason launched its first rack-mount Ubuntu servers in March, and Malmrose says ZaReason will be growing that product line throughout 2009. Also, customers are using ZaReason’s UntangleBox as a server, notes Malmrose.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 138

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #138 for the week April 12th – April 18th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Announcing Ubuntu 9.04 RC, Announcing Ubuntu 9.04 RC for ARM, Packaging Training Session Update, Announcing Ubuntu Open Week, New Ubuntu Members, Japanese Team release party, Philippine Ubuntu Release Party, Launchpod #18, Karma: Where did mine go, Ubuntu Forums Interview: Codename, Jorge Castro: Support your LoCo economy, Sayak Banerjee: KDE Brainstorm – 30 Days, 700 ideas, Ubuntu-UK podcast: The Waking Ally, Systerm76: Ubuntu PC Maker’s revenue up 61 Percent, Open-source server distro that builds on Ubuntu, Server Meeting Minutes: April 14th, and much, much more!

      • To Ubuntu bashers: Stop sulking and get a life

        The better side is that Ubuntu and Fedora are giving each other a solid competition, the final winner is no other than the end-users. Constructive criticism is one thing, but being pessimist and hitting Ubuntu for every fact just showcases the lack of rationalism.

    • New Releases

    • SliTaz

      • 16 April 2009 – SliTaz GNU/Linux 2.0 release
      • SliTaz 2.0: Screenshot Tour

        I just noticed that version 2.0 of SliTaz, a light-weight GNU/Linux distribution weighing in at under 30 megabytes, was released a few days ago.

        If you are looking for something small to run on an older computer, SliTaz is definitely a worthy contender to look into. Do not let the small size of the ISO fool you. It contains more than enough software to get you going. If you need something that isn’t installed by default, you have access to their software repositories via the tazpkg package manager.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Garmin nuvifone G60 bringing the Linux-love in June?

      Garmin and ASUS have been hard at work on their nuvifone lineup. The Garmin-ASUS nuvifone M20 was recently launched as a slim GPS-centric smartphone powered by the Windows Mobile platform. But, the duo’s new-found smartphone aspirations don’t stop there. Garming-ASUS are putting the finishing touches on the bigger, and arguably better, nuvifone G60. And, rumor now has the Linux-powered nuvifone G60 launching in June!

    • MontaVista Gears Up with Support for Cavium Networks’ Octeon II Multicore MIPS64 Processor

      MontaVista Software, Inc., a provider of embedded Linux commercialization, announced support for the Octeon II Processors from Cavium Networks.

    • Real-Time Messaging Middleware Integrated with Secure Linux

      Real-Time Innovations’ RTI Data Distribution Service its real-time messaging middleware, has been integrated with Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux).

      According to Karl MacMillan, director of Core Technology at Tresys, this combination provides real-time and high-performance distributed applications with the ability to securely distribute data by combining RTI’s high-performance network communications with the extremely flexible Mandatory Access Control (MAC) facilities of SELinux.

  • Phones

    • Google’s CEO predicts strong year for Android

      Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt on Thursday predicted good times ahead for Android, the company’s mobile phone operating system and software.

      “Overall, it looks like Android is going to have a very strong year,” he said during the company’s first-quarter investors’ conference.

      New announcements of Android-related products and partnerships with mobile phone service providers and device makers will be “quite significant” this year, he said.

Open

  • Sun Said to Be Willing to Talk If IBM Eases on Terms
  • BBC R&DTV – Creative Commons Tech TV

    I thought the “formats” described on the R&DTV website were a bit vague. What does QuickTime format and Matroska format really mean? Sure, I know about QuickTime and Matroska containers, but this doesn’t say anything about the video and audio essence contained therein. The best way to find out about this is to download each video and let FFmpeg take a look.

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 03 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: April 19th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: April 19th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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