04.22.09

Links 22/04/2009: Danish Success Story with Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Proprietary Tax Makes Linux $1000 Less Expensive Than Mac, Windows
  • Hack Your WD MyBook World

    So, if you’re like me and have voided the warranties of all the other electronics in your house, but have yet to sink your teeth into your poor little Western Digital MyBook World – likely cowering in the corner pleading for you to put down the screwdriver – here are some helpful resources on getting the most out this handy little NAS box that just so happens to be running BusyBox linux.

  • Why I Use Linux

    Things move quickly in the world of open source, and I like this. With my particular favorite flavor of Linux, Ubuntu, I get a new release every six months. I don’t have to wait a couple of years. Ubuntu is particularly aggressive in its release cycle, but–with a handful of notable exceptions–it’s rare for other distros to take more than 12 months to make a new release.

    What this means is that I get the latest and greatest software that’s on offer. I can ride the wave of the very latest technology. Because the updates are gradual, rather than step-changes, the actual process of updating is much easier than you might expect it to be.

  • All We Need is an Open Source Linux-based Voting System

    We all know how secure an operating system Linux is when compared to the more widely used Windows. So I think one of the best ways to achieve an extra-reliable hard-to-hack automated polling system is simply to use Linux.

  • The Playdeb project makes Linux gaming more attractive

    Installing games on a Linux distro like Ubuntu can be quite adventurous, regarding dependencies. The Playdeb project tries to simplify this.

  • What the Oracle Acquisition of Sun Means for Linux

    Both Sun and Oracle are members of the Linux Foundation, with Oracle a prominent supporter of the Foundation with its platinum membership. We look forward to working with the combined company to further the growth of open source, open standards, and Linux.

  • Linux Migration for the Home PC User, Part 1

    Try Ubuntu first. There are multiple versions offered at any one time, but for those seeking stability, look for the “LTS” label. Never allow yourself to be tricked into using the most current just because it’s the latest and greatest. Six months from now you’ll have to update, and it will surely break things. If you don’t consider your computer a hobby, stick with the LTS releases, because they are good for a couple of years. Next, join the Ubuntu forums; it’s the best and cheapest support system you’ll ever find for installation and initial setup. Be prepared to explain every time you aren’t a hobbyist and LTS is essential to your purpose. Don’t be drawn into discussions which revolve around why “you just gotta run the latest”. Those who actually can help you the most will understand.

  • Case study: school IT Manager turns to Penguin Power

    Ian Ralph, an IT manager at a private school in Sydney, called Sceggs, became a fan of open source technologies and Linux twelve years ago when he built the school’s first web server using Linux.

  • The Future Of Computing Will Be Good Enough

    Undoubtedly the biggest upset in the world of tech over the last ten years has been the demise of Microsoft. However, the end had been obvious as early as 2009. The corporation narrowly fought off an antitrust judgment under the (first) Clinton and Bush administrations. But it also developed fatal issues with its product line.

    It was the vintage Windows XP operating system that caused the rot to set in that brought down the company. XP had proved a best-seller in its day, but became a significant thorn in Microsoft’s side when it attempted to introduce new products.

  • Have we arrived in the post-Windows era?
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Foxit Software Releases Foxit Reader 1.0 for Desktop Linux

      Foxit Software today is announcing the official Linux version of Foxit Reader 1.0, a freely downloadable PDF viewing application. With this release, it now supports the ability to reliably view and print PDF files across all major operating systems in the enterprise.

    • Utility backs up Linux thin clients to USB

      Wyse Technology released a utility that allows administrators to “instantly restore” their Linux- and Windows-based thin client devices in case of damage or misuse. The “Wyse USB Firmware Tool” (left) saves device configurations to USB memory sticks, which can then be used as needed, says Wyse.

    • Abiword is Awesome

      While it’s true that Abiword doesn’t have all the features of MS Word or OpenOffice.org Writer, it does have all the features I have ever wanted in a word processor, and the small footprint works out really well for my new Dell Mini 9. For an interesting interview with the developers of Abiword, including more on the Collaboration Plugin and ODT support, and more on AbiCollab.net, check out this article from Red Hat Magazine. And if you didn’t know, Abiword is Free Software and it can be downloaded at no cost here.

    • click2try Exhibits Virtual Open Source Apps at LinuxFest Northwest
  • Desktop Environments

    • Aaron Seigo Talks About KDE’s Past and Future

      Seigo is aware of his celebrity (or notoriety) in the free software community, but not altogether comfortable with it. “I’m not a huge believer in the cult of personality,” he said over a large bowl of vegetarian Pho. “You look at Apple: Steve Jobs goes away because of illness and stock prices go down. I don’t think that’s fair to the other people in Apple, who put their hearts and souls and lives into it. And that’s not really in the spirit of KDE. But that’s what you get with the cult of personality.”

      At any rate, such celebrity is often misguided. Seigo insists, for instance, that his role of president is not nearly as important as many people imagine. “To the outside, the role matters,” he says. “But, really, it is just added responsibility, with no ability to dictate or anything of that nature. It’s not so much an empowerment of the individual as the individual serving the community and how to make sure that the community processes that need to be engaged actually do get engaged.”

    • Hackfests, fundraising and the economy

      When I took this job it was agreed that part of my job, but not all of it, would be fundraising. However, because of the economy I find myself thinking about fundraising more often than not these days.

      For example, take hackfests.Hackfests are events where you get all the key developers for a project together in one place and they spend a few days or a week discussing issues, planning future releases and writing code. As most open source work happens virtually, hackfests are great opportunity to meet in person and make a lot of progress on things like planning a new release or a particular issue.

  • Distributions

    • 4 Truly Minimal Linux Desktop Distributions

      I’ve been researching concepts of minimalism as it applies to computing and personal productivity, and I’m convinced that in many cases, a minimal setup can really help you get more done. Trimming the unnecessary applications and eye-candy from your computing setup can help your focus and find the most efficient workflow. I offer four truly minimal Linux distributions here…and to me minimal doesn’t necessarily imply small, and small does not mean minimal. Take PuppyLinux, for instance. Small, yes. Minimal? Hardly. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing (I’m a Puppy fan); it’s just not really minimal. So, not all of these distros are super tiny, but they do all embrace minimalistic principles: simple but pleasing design, just the applications you need, and an emphasis on performance.

    • BOOT CAMP 573 – More Uses For Old PCs and Laptops, part 3

      This is a great way to get to know Linux and it really is very easy to do. All you have to do is download the Linux ‘iso’ Image file and use it to create a bootable CD, pop that into the drive and follow the prompts. As an added bonus Linux usually runs a lot faster than Windows on the same hardware, plus it is virtually bullet-proof, almost immune to viruses and malware. It’s generally more stable than Windows and these days really quite civilised; connecting to networks and the Internet, for example, is usually a lot easier.

      Versions or ‘distributions’ of Linux, such as Mandriva and Ubuntu look and work a lot like Windows so the learning curve is quite gentle, Linux versions of many popular applications are available or there is a free ‘Open Source’ alternative, so who knows, you might even end up liking it so much that you abandon Windows altogether.

    • Puppy

      • Puppy Linux woof!

        I’m an Ubuntu linux user, as it’s widely supported, easy to install, and a breeze to update software using Synaptic. I do admire other distros (I’ve a soft spot for the vehemently Free multi-media dynebolic, the audio-rich pure:dyne (made by goto10), the minimalist ubuntu-based #CrunchBang) and since acquiring the snazzy Acer Aspire One netbook, I’m always on the look out for lean and mean linuxes.

      • Sun Cloud looks beyond Java

        Sun Microystems, which announced Sun Cloud in March, is taking a different tack than the Java clouds from Google, Aptana, and Stax because it wants to be more than just a Java provider. The new cloud will create new clusters of machines from any disk image, including some of the most popular versions of Linux and Solaris. Java, of course, will be found in most of these images, but you don’t need to use it if you want to, say, run some emulated version of Cobol on a version of Puppy Linux. Unless Sun Cloud is interrupted by Oracle’s acquisition, it should be available in a few months.

    • Red Hat

      • CentOS 5.3 Has Keen Focus on Virtualization

        CentOS is based on Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux source packages and shares in recent RHEL virtualization, application development, security and storage improvements. Many of the enhancements in CentOS 5.3 come in the area of virtualization, targeted largely at scalability on large host machines.

        CentOS, the popular community-supported clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, reached Version 5.3 in March, some three months after its parent distribution, RHEL 5.3, began shipping.

      • Linux & Open Source Slideshow: eWEEK Labs Puts CentOS 5.3 Through Its Paces
      • Ex-Red-Hat brains decide to ride cloud

        And to that end, rPath – founded several years back on the promise of open-source appliances and an application packaging environment – is shifting gears with version 5.0 of its rBuilder, to manage software appliances on local virtual machines or remote ones running on clouds.

      • Red Hat maps open source activity. France is #1

        Red Hat today published a new study together with Georgia Tech mapping open source activity across 75 countries. Officially called the Open Source Index (OSI), the final score is made of a number of factors including policies, practices in the Government, Industry, and Community. Topping the list current is France with a score of 1.35. Spain is second at 1.07, Germany third at 1.05.

    • Ubuntu

      • Eva’s useful guide to Ubuntu 9.04
      • Ubuntu Linux gets a comic book

        In case you were concerned that Linux didn’t have enough of a presence in pop culture, you can now read English translations of Ubunchu, a Japanese Manga comic series about three students in a sys admin club who are getting into Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu CEO Sees Shift In Service Models

        “I’m not slowing down just yet,” Shuttleworth told InformationWeek. “We’re seeing a real groundswell with Linux on the desktop, which makes it a pleasure when I talk to other executives about their strategies.”

        Shuttleworth may not need to do much in the way of convincing corporate America (or the rest of the world) that Ubuntu Linux is a stable operating system capable of displacing Microsoft Windows. Announced Monday and available for download on Thursday, April 23, the desktop and server operating system brings with it improvements to network connectivity and user interface, and a quick and easy way to tap into cloud computing services.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Linux STBs star on Amazon HD service

        Amazon announced that it has upgraded its Video on Demand service to HD (high definition) video. The service supports a number of Linux-based IP STBs (set-top boxes), including various TiVo HD DVRs, Sony’s Bravia Internet Video Link, and Roku Netflix Player (pictured), according to eWEEK.

      • Sub-notebooks

        • Intel wants laptops to boot in two seconds

          Intel’s Moblin 2.0 platform could be well-named, with the chipmaker hoping its open source Linux OS will deliver a two second boot time.

        • Easy Peasy 1.1 Is Out, Has a Brand New Look

          This new 1.1 version of Easy Peasy brings a lot of bugfixes and upgrades to most applications. There is also a new icon theme (inspired from the “Victor Castillejos Gnome Colors” one), a new wallpaper to fit the visual style and new splash and login screens.

Free Software/Open Source

  • DK: Municipality uses OpenOffice and saves a million DKK per year

    The Danish municipality of Gribskov has saved two million DKK, about 270,000 euro, over the past two years by switching the public administration and schools to OpenOffice, Michel van den Linden, responsible for IT in the municipality says in an interview with the Danish IT news site Computerworld.

  • Packt Open Source Survey Results

    Over 70% of the people that participated said they had donated time, money, or both to open source. This is encouraging news for most open source projects, especially given the uncertainty of the current economic climate.

  • Open source VS proprietary support.

    There is one big difference between proprietary and open source support. Proprietary support systems are just another, often charged for, service the companies provide to identify and fix problems in their supplied software. Open source support systems are in place because the developers want to fix and improve their programs and are interested in getting feedback directly from the users. In other words proprietary systems have a business interest in support and open source programs have a personal interest. To me this puts open source support ahead of proprietary support. What do you think?

  • Tap In Systems Monitors and Runs in the Cloud

    Open source is key to how Tap In builds its platform, according to Loh.

  • ONStor Commits to Open Source Technology and Launches Unified IP Storage Solutions for the SME Market

    ONStor, Inc., a leading provider of clustered NAS solutions for enterprises and content-rich organizations, today announced a new addition to its Pantera line of integrated storage systems, the Pantera LS 2100 series. The Pantera LS 2100 series is a family of unified IP storage solutions that provides both iSCSI and NAS support in a single system. Targeting small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Pantera LS 2100 packs an impressive array of data management features, self-healing capabilities, and advanced storage management to deliver significant cost savings. Expanding on its track record of deploying open storage technologies, ONStor has incorporated the industry-leading Zettabyte File System (ZFS) and open source technology into the Pantera LS series systems.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces New Version of Leading Software Framework for eCommerce, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Customer Relationship Management Applications

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) – developers, stewards, and incubators of leading community-driven Open Source projects – announced the newest release of Apache Open For Business (OFBiz), a leading non-commercial enterprise software framework.

  • OpenSplice DDS Open Source Goes Live on OpenSplice.org

    OpenSplice.org now hosts the forge supporting the OpenSplice DDS development Community, providing access to the source code repository, pre-built binary distributions for key platforms, such as Linux, Windows etc., and also providing hosting for other Open Source projects related to OpenSplice DDS.

  • BullionVault.com – Gold with an open source soul

    Gold and open source do not normally go together, but at BullionVault, the combination of both has created an innovative way of trading in the precious metal

  • Carbon Mountain challenges Cisco with inVrastructure, an Open Source Unified Computing Platform

    Carbon Mountain LLC today announced a revolutionary new Open Source Platform for building next-generation data center solutions called inVrastructure. The inVrastructure solution provides a true bridge between the traditional data centers of today and the fully virtualized data centers of tomorrow. Based on proven Open Source technologies, inVrastructure runs on any AMD or Intel platform supported by Linux. With today’s announcement, Carbon Mountain is challenging Cisco, VMware and their partners by providing customers with a true Open Source Unified Computing solution.

  • Healthcare

    • Misys Open Source Solutions Announces Business Advisory Board for OpenCarbonWorld.com

      Misys Open Source Solutions, a division of Misys plc (FTSE:MSY.L), today announced the Business Advisory Board members for OpenCarbonWorld.com (OCW), the company’s carbon planning and information portal designed to help organizations establish clear policies towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    • What Obama promised open source health IT

      Proprietary vendors, especially in the health care space, are experts at creating Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) concerning open source. They will offer government “proven solutions” while open source advocates will offer tools the government might build on.

  • Security

    • When to use open source security tools over commercial products

      Updates — Given the fast-changing threat landscape that network administrators have to deal with, any security technology needs constant improvement to remain effective. Well-established open source tools are tested and constantly refined by large, diverse and dedicated development teams, something that commercial vendors may struggle to match, given that they must cope with budget constraints of their own.

    • Can You Cut Information Security in Hard Times and Survive?

      The use of open source software can also be a great place to cut security costs — especially for small and medium-size businesses, says Spire’s Lindstrom. They let businesses get equivalent security tools for less money. “If the product is commoditized enough and your people are skilled enough, it’s not unreasonable at this stage of the game to consider open source applications,” he says.

      For example, the ClamAV anti-virus software and Snort intrusion detection system are two widely used open source anti-virus products, as is the Open Source Security Information Management security event management software.

  • Databases

    • Innobase release free Embedded InnoDB

      This includes an ISAM like API, cursor and transaction management and query-able indexes. Embedded InnoDB is licensed under the GNU General Public Licence Version 2.

    • MySQL Conference Kicks Off, New Versions Announced

      This week in Silicon Valley, the MySQL Conference and Expo is underway, and there are already questions appearing about whether the speakers will have to perform last minute tweaks to their addresses in light of yesterday’s news that Oracle is acquiring MySQL’s parent, Sun Microsystems.

    • MySQL 5.4 Released as Oracle Looms Large

      New MySQL chief calls for more transparency with the community and is optimistic about opportunities within Oracle.

    • Oracle wins ‘Acquirer of the Year’ award at MySQL Conference

      MySQL isn’t the perfect solution for all database problems — and neither is Oracle. The reality is that MySQL and Oracle coexist in many organizations. A study done by the IOUG (International Oracle User Group) highlighted this fact when its study (PDF) showed that a third of Oracle shops had MySQL in production, side-by-side with their Oracle databases. And one great benefit of Oracle acquiring Sun is that the InnoDB and MySQL teams will be together in one organization for the first time ever.

  • Sun

  • Gaming

  • Government

    • Election industry fights open source like it is 1999

      The Election Technology Council, which has given us years of questionable election results with systems that can’t be audited and whose accuracy thus can’t be guaranteed, is out with a white paper saying that, in effect, if code is disclosed only outlaws will have code.

    • Open-source tool available for unclassified work

      The Defense Department’s open-source software development tool Forge.mil may now be used for unclassified work in DOD, the Defense Information Systems Agency announced today.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source: The GPL, Your CMS Project and You

      As the best-known free software and open source license, the GNU General Public License, or GPL, has become both a rallying point for the free software and open source (FLOSS) communities and a focus of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) campaigns for those who fear that these movements will destroy their revenue streams.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

  • Programming

    • Aussies, Kiwis enter Google Summer of Code

      Eight Australians and five Kiwis have made the cut for the 2009 Google Summer of Code, announced today.

      More than 1000 students were accepted into the fifth year of the program from 70 countries and will work on about 150 open source projects with mentor organisations.

    • App developers could make better use of open source

      Jay Lyman, enterprise software analyst with New York-based The 451 Group, agreed that the 10 per cent estimate is conservative because the use of open source in most organizations is typically significantly underestimated, especially among those at the management level. Leadership may conjecture they are using just several open source components, said Lyman, but then “find they have 140 different open source packages in use either in their business or in their products.”

Censorship/Web Abuse

  • Achtung, YouTube: Germany Proposes Federal ID Checks for Online Video Sites

    Registration requirements like these may sound drastic, but they’re not without precedent in Germany. Politicians have instituted even harsher access barriers for porn sites, and the country is in the process of setting up an official Internet censorship list that would require ISPs to deny access to thousands of illegal web sites.

  • UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles

    Each mobile operator will place commercial content classified as 18 behind access controls and only make it available to those customers that it has satisfied itself, through a process of age verification, are 18 or over.

    The mobile operator will also place behind access controls all commercial content chat rooms, unless they are moderated chat rooms.

    [...]

    Mobile operators have no control over the content that is offered on the Internet and are therefore unable to insist that it is classified in accordance with the independent classification framework.

    Mobile operators will therefore offer parents and carers the opportunity to apply a filter to the mobile operator’s Internet access service so that the Internet content thus accessible is restricted. The filter will be set at a level that is intended to filter out content approximately equivalent to commercial content with a classification of 18.

  • Amendment 138 saved – but not the Internet

    Amendment 138 was saved tonight in a surprise European Parliament committee vote. It is another political signal of the European Parliament’s disapproval of graduated response / 3-strikes measures. But the problems with the Telecoms Package remain, and users access to the Internet may still be limited or blocked under other provisions and there may be little that ussers can do about it.

  • Amazon and Wikipedia phactor Phorm out of the privacy equation

    Even if the UK Government are not going to stop Phorm spying on Internet users on privacy grounds, it looks like some of the biggest brands on the Web will.

  • Copyrights

    • CNN makes copyright claim on video critical of reporter’s ‘Tea Party’ interviews; a clear case of fair use?

      CNN has sent YouTube a DMCA takedown notice on a video critical of a CNN reporter for her coverage of a “Tea Party” protest — a video that appears to be a clear case of a non-infringing fair use.

    • TPB

      • Why the War Against File-Sharing is Unwinnable

        Here’s a final, “strategic” point: every time the music industry kills an underground distribution channel, a more efficient one arises in its place. Goodbye mixtapes, hello www. Bye www, hello Napster. Bye Napster, hi BitTorrent. Bye BitTorrent, hi anonymous, ciphered, totally decentralized p2p nets.

        Why? By limiting the supply of interaction, the music industry is only ensuring that each interaction becomes more and more efficient. The endgame is a distribution system where every song in the world in the world can be zapped invisibly and anonymously from me to you in a nanosecond.

      • Entertainment Industry Really Really Really Wants To Believe Pirate Bay Verdict Is A Win

        As was easily predicted when The Pirate Bay verdict came out last Friday, the entertainment industry celebrated it as a big win. Amusingly, Arts+Labs, one of many, many entertainment industry lobbying groups (and run by a guy, Mike McCurry, who thinks that Google doesn’t pay a dime for its bandwidth), was quick to praise the decision, with McCurry claiming that this is a turning point and that people will now realize that file sharing is “something both dangerous, criminal, and unfair.” (I’ll let the grammar nazis figure out which two of three things he meant when he said “both”).

      • Why Google Is The New Pirate Bay

        “Google doesn’t call itself ‘The Pirate Google,’” Garland says. “If the number of queries looking for copyrighted works is massive, that’s only because the number of searches on Google in general is massive.”

      • Copyright Battle Looms for Docs Who ‘Grew Up Google’

        Should Medical Studies Be Posted Free for All to See and Learn From?

      • Pirate Bay says appeal is filed

        Days after four defendants in the high-profile Pirate Bay case were found guilty of violating copyright law, the Web site implored fans to stay calm, not to send donations, and to stay united.

      • Study Finds Pirates Buy 10x More Music Online than Non-Pirates

        A study from the BI Norwegian School of Management has found that those who download free music from services like BitTorrent are also the biggest legitimate consumers of downloadable music.

      • Are Pirates Driving Legal Music Sales?

        To anyone who knows anything about how music fans like to consume music this will be no shock, but to those at the RIAA (who know nothing about music or culture) hopefully this will be a wake up call.

      • Pirate Party plans election raid

        Sweden’s Pirate Party says it has had a surge in membership, giving its leaders hope that anti-corporate feeling will translate into electoral success.

      • BT blocks off Pirate Bay

        BT and other mobile broadband providers are blocking access to The Pirate Bay, as part of a “self-regulation” scheme.

      • BT Blocking Pirate Bay; Claims It’s Part Of A Voluntary Self-Regulation Code
      • BT Blocks Access To Pirate Bay
    • Leadership/Cronyism

      • Copyright debate heats up over Obama appointments

        The president has, in fact, filled out some high-level Justice Department positions with lawyers favored by the copyright industry, including attorneys who have represented the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance. The signatories of the April 2 letter said the Justice Department’s intervention last month in favor of a record label in a file-sharing case heightens their concern.

      • Biden promises ‘right person’ as new U.S. copyright czar

        “It’s pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people as consequence of loss of jobs and as a consequence of loss of income,” Biden said, according to a White House pool report.

      • MPAA reaches out to lawmakers

        The occasion: the second biennial summit sponsored by the industry’s chief lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

  • Trademark

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 06 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

The GNU System versus the Linus System

Posted in BSD, FSF, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU and Linux

Summary: Linus calls Linux “Linus”

IN MY correspondence with Linus last week I attempted to diffuse some friction between GNU/FSF/SFLC and the side which is Linus/OSDL/LF. It is always better to work together where possible, BSD included.

It is rather amusing to find that for the second time in about a month, Linus announced Linux (-rc3) in the mailing lists and calls the kernel “Linus” (in the headline). Here is the latest incident. Surely it’s just a typo or a Freudian slip, not a matter of ego. But to repeat an old joke, Linus said he named two projects after himself (the second one being git, which actually means something in British English). Below we add a video where he makes this statement.

“Surely it’s just a typo or a Freudian slip, not a matter of ego.”Did Miguel de Icaza name his projects after himself too? Right now he conveniently ignores Gnote [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] even when referring to a post which covers it. He also ignored completely (and quite conveniently) the implications of TomTom/FAT for Mono and Moonlight [1, 2].

Direct link

Novell’s Plea for Help

Posted in Finance, Novell at 10:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Give me

Summary: Novell is trying to regroup and make BrainShare possible again

MIKE Morgan from Novell has just unleashed a somewhat pathetic plea following the cancellation of BrainShare 2009 (due to lack of interest).

With the cancelation of Novell BrainShare 2009 comes a unique opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the conference in its entirety. The opportunities to bring BrainShare back in 2010 are endless. With basically a clean slate, the Advisory Board can have a positive effect on the BrainShare conference going forward. Several options exist:

1). Plan and execute BrainShare in 2010 based on its history and success – status quo
2). Plan and execute BrainShare in 2010 based on its history and success, but in a different city
3). Recreate the BrainShare experience – all new event!

Novell is seeking a group of individuals who would like to be a part of the Advisory Board. This group will operate under NDA and on a very tight timeline – decisions must be finalized by June 19, 2009.

It is possible that BrainShare 2008 was the last BrainShare ever (definitely in its prior form). Novell will be reducing its workforce scale pretty soon, based on its CFO (see Q1 transcripts and also [1, 2, 3, 4]). It was preparing to announce layoffs before, but it is still buying some time.

BrainShare 2008 coverage (chronological):

Latest FUD Attack on GNU/Linux-powered Sub-notebooks Comes from Microsoft-influenced Lenovo

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I feel we are much too smug in dealing with Novell. Perhaps they didn’t hurt us in DOS yet — but it’s not because of product or their trying. It’s because we already had the OEMs wrapped up.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft’s offensive against GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks gains a familiar ally

NO MATTER IF Microsoft hires NPD or sends one of its pseudo-journalists to mock GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks, the simple reality that Microsoft shows its investors on a quarterly basis is that GNU/Linux brought Windows margins close to $0*. While this may lead to more Microsoft layoffs, that is not the subject of this one particular post.

“Lenovo put Microsoft employees near its management and not surprisingly it dissed and excluded Red Hat, even from the server side (in places).”We are now dealing with hostile statements and strategies that we have been observing in Lenovo since Microsoft employee made their way into the company [1, 2]. Lenovo put Microsoft employees near its management and not surprisingly it dissed and excluded Red Hat, even from the server side (in places). This is not excusable. It offered the Microsoft-taxed SUSE but not Red Hat, as evidenced by its very own statements and press releases.

What gives?

Lenovo has also been rather hostile towards GNU/Linux in sub-notebooks. Almost no OEM has been this reluctant to offer GNU/Linux (at least in the United States in Lenovo’s case). And off they go again, only to be rebutted at a purely technical level. Carla has already addressed their argument in isolation, based on practical grounds:

This is Why Lenovo Sucks at Linux

[...]

When someone makes such giant mountains out of such tiny molehills it makes me wonder. How is it that ordinary Linux users can download and install Linux on Thinkpads, Ideapads, EeePCs, Mini Notes, and all kinds of computer brands and models without it being a big hairy failure? What special knowledge do they possess that Lenovo is unable to grasp? How can anyone in tech these days get away with not having broad knowledge of multiple operating systems, applications, and trends in development? You don’t have to be a total elite expert in every detail, but I think anyone who isn’t informed enough to avoid spouting pure nonsense should not have a job in tech.

Microsoft has many reasons to fear GNU/Linux in sub-notebooks. Its former employees who are now inside Lenovo might contribute to decisions; it would be naïve to believe otherwise. Google/Android sub-notebooks have just made their first appearance and they hurt Microsoft’s profitability very badly (margins to be compromised for Windows to stay competitive). Microsoft itself has openly admitted great fear of sub-notebooks running Android. Vista 7 may not have any compatibility advantage to offer (it apparently got worse than Vista) and on sub-notebooks it also has the ‘advantage’ of limiting the user to just 3 processes. Pro-GNU/Linux reporters are having a field day over this:

David writes: “The offensive Microsoft anti-Linux netbook offensive”

Ever since the unexpected advent of netbooks – who would have expected low-powered computing to be such a winner – Microsoft has been working to push Linux out. Unlike Vista, Windows 7 will run effectively on a netbook. However, Microsoft have reminded us they’re a proprietary company with the offensive Windows 7 Starter Edition being limited to three apps only. Are they trying to insult us or what?

SJVN writes: “Will Microsoft blow its netbook lead with Windows 7 crippleware?”

When netbooks first came along, they almost all ran Linux. Microsoft, which was stuck with the resource pig known as Windows Vista, simply couldn’t compete. So, reluctantly, Microsoft gave Windows XP Home a new lease on life and sold it below cost to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to kill the Linux desktop at the root. For this cost, Microsoft was successful, but now Microsoft is about to blow it by replacing XP Home with Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is crippleware by any other name.

Microsoft has been selling crippleware, software that’s deliberately had features removed, for some time. The only real difference, for example, between XP Home and XP Pro, besides the price-tag, was that XP Home couldn’t handle business domain or AD (Active Directory) networking. To get this one feature activated, millions of business users paid an average of $80 more per PC.

Microsoft has new failures in other areas too. For an overview which is incomplete, see this new post from Goblin.

Digg is reported to have ended its exclusive advertising partnership with Microsoft over a year before it was due to expire. The deal, which began in 2007 was intended to be one for three years and one which Microsoft was (IMO) very proud of at the time.

“You’ll continue to see us be aggressive in this field,” said Steve Berkowitz at the time.

Well, you can be whatever you want. Difficult to be aggressive if youre not wanted though isnt it?

There are always neat ways to spin bad news as good news.
_______
* GNU/Linux contains office suites too, so not only Windows is negatively affected.

Is Microsoft Paying Russia to Take Schools off GNU/Linux and Halt Antitrust Action?

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Europe, GNU/Linux, Windows at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

House gift

Summary: Microsoft dumps what it claims to be a $300 million investment on Russia amid antitrust pains and massive migrations to GNU/Linux

THE MIGRATION of Russian schools to GNU/Linux is already known to many because it was covered extensively in the press. What is never covered in the press, however, is EDGI, which we previously covered in:

Microsoft is afraid of Russia because its internal intelligence shows GNU/Linux usage figures that are exceptionally high over there.

Now that Russia is moving to GNU/Linux en masse (starting with the young generation), guess what Microsoft is doing, because of (or despite) the fact that Russia intends to act upon Microsoft's monopoly abuse? Microsoft is paying Russia what it claims to be $0.3 billion (software costs nothing to reproduce) in order for the nation to change course.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said the software giant would invest $300 million in Russia projects over the next three years.
[...]

Microsoft intends to expand the Dream Spark program that provides software to Russian university students.

This is more harmful than helpful to these student. For information about DreamSpark (which we covered too many times to be worth repeating):

Microsoft is still up to its old, anti-competitive tactics. There is no “new Microsoft”.

“Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell

Will Tomorrow’s Ubuntu Release be Overshadowed by News of Microsoft Layoffs?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Windows at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zune Mayday

Via OpenBytes

Summary: Talks about further MSFT reductions are now seen as more substantiated and GNU/Linux is a main cause

GNU/Linux is killing Microsoft on sub-notebooks (financially) and this may lead to more Microsoft layoffs. And yes, we are seeing it again, even in the pro-Microsoft press from Seattle.

“Over the last week, we have heard from multiple sources that Microsoft may engage in additional restructuring activities in the near-term,” wrote Sid Parakh, an analyst at the McAdams Wright Ragen brokerage firm, in a note to clients this morning. “While our checks seem to unanimously imply further headcount cuts, there is uncertainty around whether such cuts will be a moderate revision to plans announced in January or is a sizable addition to prior headcount reduction plans.”

By coincidence, the answer may come just hours (or half a day) after the release of Ubuntu 9.04 (officially announced in London). It is an interesting coincidence because GNU/Linux distributions like Ubuntu are the major reason for Microsoft’s huge reduction in prices, which is tearing it apart (margin erosion and devaluation of Microsoft’s products).

Check back Thursday afternoon for detailed coverage of the company’s fiscal third-quarter results. In the meantime, here’s our snapshot showing how the rest of Microsoft’s business units have done over the past few quarters, in revenue and operating profits (in millions). Click to open a larger version in a new window.

Microsoft is attacking GNU/Linux a lot these days, but it passes this responsibility of smearing to others in order to publicly distance itself from bad behaviour and in order to hide how terrified it is of competition from GNU/Linux. The next couple of posts will present the latest examples.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Why Microsoft Already Knows That Vista 7 Will Fail

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proceeding to vapourware after the vapourware

Vista 7

Summary: Microsoft already discusses another piece of vapourware

A VERY recent survey showed that enterprises will not adopt Vista 7, which DaemonFC compares to a Service Pack of Vista (there are more serious technical barriers). Pro-Microsoft writers like Gavin Clarke and Mary Jo Foley are already promoting the next vapourware, which they call “Windows 8″ and it is a positive sign because, to borrow Microsoft’s very own words:

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Microsoft is moving on to advocating future vapourware before the existing vapourware is even released. This means that things must be very depressing for Windows engineers. Bribes might not be enough, not even when analysts are involved.

Patents Roundup: Oracle, Backlash Against Software Patents, and In Re Bilski (Again)

Posted in Europe, OIN, Oracle, Patents, SUN, TomTom at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman at protest

Summary: The latest collection of news about software patents, including Oracle’s role

Oracle

Oracle is buying Sun Microsystems and the press discusses this a lot, but to repeat an issue raised by one of our readers, the question that’s scarcely answered is, “what about Oracle’s patent policy?”

“Will Oracle give money to FFII, like MySQL was doing in the past?”

MySQL’s strong policy against software patents already vanished when Sun acquired it, but Oracle — unlike Sun — is inside the OIN.

“OIN does not work,” told us the president of the FFII. OIN said it would retaliate against Microsoft to defend the use of FAT; its CEO said counter-action would come within weeks* and it has already been 3 weeks and we are still waiting.

Speaking of the OIN, yesterday they unleashed this press release.

Open Invention Network (OIN), a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux, today announced that it has been named one of Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in Intellectual Property 2009.”

It’s worth repeating that Oracle is inside the OIN, but it’s rather disturbing to find the corrupt Gartner Group treated as though it’s an authority. Gartner sells itself to Microsoft on a regular basis and of course it likes software patents, which are OIN’s spiel. Speaking of Oracle (and IBM, which was going to buy Sun but got cold feet), the company have just been sued over database patents.

Oracle, IBM sued over database patents

Redwood Shores (CA) – Giant computer corporations IBM and Oracle have been dragged into a Texas district court over an allegation that their database software breaches existing patents.

What sort of patent protection will MySQL users receive under Oracle’s wing? Here we have yet another lawsuit taking place in a haven to many patent trolls, namely Texas districts. Oracle is based in the US and it possesses tremendous wealth. That matters to patent sharks.

Broken Patent System

The EE Times has this article which urges engineers to revolt against the patent system because it mostly favours patent lawyers (parasites) at this stage. As Richard Stallman put it in last week’s protests [1, 2, 3], if this “corrupt, malicious” organisation stands in our way, we should “get rid of it too.”

Opinion: Engineers should stage a patent strike

[...]

Corporate legal departments tell engineers which patents they can and can’t read. Sometimes engineers are told not to read patents at all, lest they be accused of deliberately infringing someone’s IP.

Meanwhile, businesspeople of all stripes pressure engineers to file patent applications for every idea. That has spawned a business of litigation and licensing that charges for portfolios by the pound. Companies now wield patents strategically to charge others for the freedom to innovate. In this sick world, patents don’t spark innovation, they inhibit it.

Patents are not there for engineers; they are there for patent lawyers, monopolists (patent aggressors), and patent trolls. They are, however, being marketed to engineers as though they defend small inventors and make people rich at no-one’s expense. This is a way to appease critics and enable this massive closed circulation of money to carry on.

There is a large thread in LWN.net, whose headline is “This isn’t validation – but it may be corruption.” It’s about the EPO, which many people — including Stallman and the FFII — protested against last week.

This surprises me somewhat, since the unaccountability of the EPO has been exploited quite effectively by advocates of extended patentability, but maybe most patent attorneys don’t really care about increasing the scope of what can be patented, or maybe they care more about only settling such matters once in a single place. If so, they need to employ more credible spokespeople who actually represent the interests of the majority of their profession’s members.

Look at this article in Hungarian. Apple claims to have just ‘innovated’ videophone (filed initially in 2007). This is absurd. No wonder emerging global powers like China turn their backs on this system and compromise interoperability by creating their own codecs and codec standards/patents. They are evading western patents and the consumer benefits in no way from this.

Over in Techdirt, a discussion continues about how to battle this failed system (citing a decent proposal from Freedom to Tinker).

…Wallach, over at Freedom To Tinker, takes this idea a step further to ask why no one talks about requiring juries in patent trials to be made up of PHOSITAs.

In Re Bilski and Beyond

Matt Asay claims to have composed an outline of the patent problem (particularly for software).

Of course, post-Bilski, we may be entering a period of court-ordered disarmament, which would be fantastic. The Bilski decision puts software patents on the defensive, and it hopefully will help to clear the minefield that currently helps only incumbents–and arguably hurts even them more than it helps them.

Here is an interesting new report [via Digital Majority] about how lawyers avoid complying with rules and manage to patent software anyway (and business methods also).

You may have heard some types of technology are not ‘patentable’. In fact, this is in a fairly limited set of circumstances. For example, you may think software is not ‘patentable’ but it is possible to obtain software patents. We’ll be looking at this in more detail in future. However, to obtain meaningful protection for any invention, it can be crucial that the patent specification is well-written by a skilled patent draftsman and this is especially true for software/computer-related inventions.

You may also think it’s not possible to obtain patents for business methods, another area we’ll look at in future. It may be possible to obtain a patent for a business method depending on the technology implemented and the country you’re trying to obtain the patent in. For instance, patents for ‘business methods’ are alive and well in Singapore today.

Et tu, Singapore? Guess who wrote this? “Michael McLaughlin is a patent attorney with at McLaughlin IP in Singapore.”
_____
* Keith told this to ZDNet’s Paula Rooney, for future reference.

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