04.28.09

Links 28/04/2009: Red Hat Deal, Firefox Reaches Final Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Jilted Sun Snapped Up by Oracle for Application Systems

    Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder and chief executive officer, explained how Solaris Unix is the most popular platform on which Oracle’s eponymous databases are deployed, but quickly added that Linux was number two on the operating system hit parade for Oracle and that the acquisition in no way, shape, or form meant that Oracle was backing off on its support for Linux, particularly its own clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, called Oracle Enterprise Linux. Ellison added that the deal would mean that Oracle could tightly integrate its databases with Solaris, and that this integration would allow Oracle to offer Sun systems that would have lower TCO than alternatives.

  • Make Your Linux Desktop More Productive

    Apple has convinced millions that they can make the switch from Windows to OS X, but those curious about Linux have to see for themselves if they can work or play on a free desktop.

  • Roll Your Own Linux with New Solutions

    When it comes to operating systems, are you tired of taking what’s thrown at you? It’s funny how operating system vendors believe that “one size fits all.” Wouldn’t you rather do it your way? Now you can. Building your own custom Linux distribution (distro) is easy, quick and free. What more could you ask for — support for all major virtual machine types? You got it. You want it to be web-based? You got it. You want it to be easy to use? Got it. Anything else? You also want more than one choice that fits all those criteria? Yep, got that too.

  • Pros and Cons for Using CLI

    In this article I will debate on several major advantages and disadvantages for using the command-line in Linux. When I think it’s ‘better’ to use CLI, when not, and how can this can impact the work speed.

  • Games

    • Game review – Eschalon: Book I

      Eschalon is a turn-based RPG that has been developed by a small game company called Basilisk Games. A few months ago it was announced that Eschalon has been made available for Linux so I decided to give it a try. Keep in mind before moving on that I do not look upon myself as much of a gamer. I’m that type of Linux geek that likes to solve real-life puzzles such “what development libraries am I missing to be able to compile this source code?” So no, I’m not into gaming and spending hours of my life trying to defeat virtual monsters. But something about Eschalon made me put aside all these facts and next thing you know I was slaughtering Tauraxes in the Western side of Blackwater.

    • Globulation 2 Game Review

      Remember that simple circle-and-a-stick game our fathers used to play when they were kids? You took a metal wheel frame from a bicycle and roll it down the road, trying to keep it steady by using a stick. Try and compare that game to – let’s say – Glest or Starcraft. Now hold that image in your head for a second and imagine trying to stabilize that iron circle with nothing but a scarf. You’d have to pull on both ends of the scarf and try to somehow keep the balance of the rolling circle. A stick would be much more handy, but where’s the fun in that?

  • Applications

    • Amarok Playlist Usability Testing

      For a simple activity, creating and saving a playlist in Amarok seemed to be harder than necessary. However, there were only a few key usability issues, which when fixed, will result in a much more efficient and easier to use playlist feature. Usability issues included problems in interaction with the Collections list, poor or no labeling in the UI, and a few other details.

    • Impressed with the PostgreSQL Installer

      BitRock does not appear to have a completely free license but they do seem to give open source projects a “free copy.” Not sure how I feel about this, but I guess if they’re out to make money then it could work for them. Apparentely it doesn’t take much to please me on a mundane Monday morning, I’d have been perfectly fine with a tarball and manual configuration but the GUI has brightened up my day. Thanks BitRock! Does any one else have any encounters or shocking experience with installers? What about BitRock in general?

    • KVM vs. VMware: A Case Study

      After a month of debate and experimentation, my employer has made the decision to use the open-source KVM virtualization infrastructure for migrating IT resources to a virtualized environment. Below, I discuss why we chose KVM over its (mostly proprietary) alternatives.

      [...]

      For IT staff interested in zero-cost, Linux-friendly, feature-rich and resource-efficient virtualization, KVM has become the way to go. If VMware wants to compete, it needs to rise from the laurels of its crumbling monopoly by innovating and lowering costs.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Debian and LXDE

      In any case, the combination Debian (testing) + LXDE is lightning fast. I haven’t timed anything yet, but it feels even faster than my Arch install, even using ext3. Okay, at the moment it doesn’t boot into X yet, I have to start it manually. Wireless hasn’t been configured yet, sound doesn’t work yet, and I have to install most of the applications I need…but man, it’s fast.

    • Experimenting with Alternate Desktop Managers

      There is a lot more to desktops than what I have considered so far here – primarily the look and feel, menus, applets and configurability. Gnome and KDE come with a whole range of utilities and applications, from CD/DVD burners to Office suites, to graphic programs, file managers, web browsers, mail and calendar managers, and much more. These lightweight desktop systems generally don’t include nearly as much, but they can often use programs and utilities from either Gnome or KDE to supplement what they have.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat

      • IBM Clients Build More Integrated, Intelligent, Automated Infrastructures to Reduce Costs, Manage Risk, Improve Service

        Tricon Geophysics,Venezuela’s leading provider of seismic data processing and interpretation services for oil and gas companies is using an IBM iDataPlex system running Red Hat Linux for the seismic data collation, processing and migration needed for oil and gas exploration and production. This highly dynamic infrastructure based on IBM’s iDataPlex enables Tricon to analyze 25 times more seismic data in the same time as compared to existing systems from an area of approximately 2500 square kilometers (close to 1000 square miles) and improve energy efficiency by 40 percent, while also reducing operating and cooling costs. Because the simulation of 3-D seismic data requires several compilations before it can be processed by standard petro-technical applications, the company also implemented an IBM System x3950 server running the Red Hat Linux operating system to pre-process seismic data. This capability gives Tricon a unique competitive advantage to conduct seismic analysis for oil and gas companies covering larger areas in a shorter time, cost effectively aided by energy efficiency and higher computing densities.

      • Brazilian National Institute of Educational Research and Studies Adopts JBoss Solutions to Increase Data Processing Performance

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Brazilian National Institute of Educational Research and Studies (Inep), has migrated its applications to a full suite of JBoss Enterprise Middleware technology, including the JBoss Enterprise Application and Portal Platforms. Since beginning its migration to JBoss solutions, Inep has increased scalability, performance and stability for its mission-critical applications.

      • Red Hat Fedora 11 Focuses on the Linux Desktop

        Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is ramping up for its next community Linux release as Fedora 11, codenamed “Leonidas” hits its preview milestone release today — showing off the future of Linux technologies.

        Fedora 11 includes new open source technologies that accelerate the Linux desktop from a number of different perspectives. Boot time is improved, as is device connectivity, while server-side installations will benefit from a new Linux filesystem and enhanced virtualization capabilities.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical’s Ubuntu reaches for the cloud

        Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, on Thursday announced two major components of its cloud-computing strategy.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 development begins

        Ubuntu 9.10 is expected to focus on server functions related to cloud computing, energy conservation, shorter start up times and a revised login screen. Better hardware support for the growing number of netbooks is also planned. Following the final release of Ubuntu 9.10, a Developer Summit is scheduled for the 19th of November.

      • Ubuntu Karmic development kicks off
      • Has Ubuntu Reached the End Of the Line?

        I admit it. I’m impressed. I might have written a wishy-washy review of the beta of Ubuntu 9.04, but now I’ve had a chance to play with the final release, I like what I’m seeing. I like it a lot. Well done, Ubuntu guys!

      • Ubuntu brings advanced Screen features to the masses

        The latest version of Ubuntu includes some nifty embellishments to the GNU Screen program. These improvements make some of Screen’s more sophisticated features accessible to users.

      • Ubuntu Jaunty Tries to Set the Usability Agenda

        With these perspectives in mind, Shuttleworth set to work with the Canonical team and announced the proposed changes on his blog in February, pointing readers to a description of the new notification standards.

        These standards depend on the exact message being transmitted. If the message does not require any action by a user and can wait, then the message should display within the application it applies to. There is no need, for instance, for a desktop notification when Firefox crashes because Firefox has its own system for displaying messages. However, if no action is needed but the user should read the message immediately — for instance, if a new USB drive has been plugged in — then the message should go in a notification bubble (so-called for its rounded corners) near the system tray.

      • System76 Launches Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook

        So I have to admit: System76 has me intrigued. I had good experience recently testing System76’s Pangolin Performance laptop. And Ubuntu users seem to like System76’s products: The company’s revenues (from Ubuntu-oriented systems, of course) grew 61 percent in 1Q 2009 vs. 1Q 2008.

      • Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu: What Does It All Mean?

        Canonical, Ubuntu’s corporate shepard, maintains several different versions of its popular Linux operating system. The most obvious and best-known varieties are the Ubuntu Linux Desktop Edition and Server Edition.

      • Boot Speed War: Xubuntu 9.04 vs. Fedora 10 vs. PCLinuxOS 2009

        Xubuntu 9.04 won, but only by a slim margin against PCLOS 2009. I was surprised to see Fedora 10 as being the slowest to boot among the three.

      • Super OS 9.04 Is More Than Ubuntu 9.04

        Super OS authors have granted to the users the possibility to perform an upgrade from the currently installed Ubuntu or Super Ubuntu Linux distribution, but a clean installation of Super OS would be a better choice. Super OS is available for free download as Live DVD and Install DVD only for x86 machines (download links are published on the Super OS official website).

      • A Windows user’s first impression of Ubuntu Part 1

        After several years of using Windows I have finally made the step towards Linux by choosing Ubuntu. I can’t say I hated or hate Windows but it was the time to do some cleaning and since Linux had been an attraction for me for a few years I decided to switch. Now I feel like a kid with a new toy. I want to find all the goodies, and explore all the features of this OS.
        Here are my impressions after several hours of using Ubuntu:

      • How much do Canonical job offers tell us about Ubuntu?

        So, I was really thrilled to see that Canonical was now hiring a “Desktop Architect – Network experience” person, and a “Desktop Architect – Sound Experience” person. Add this to the few offers from October which sadly are still there (Gnome developper, OpenGL developper), and it seems to me that Canonical finally decided to pass the second gear.

      • Linux for real people

        Rochelle Derilo, a student at the UP Open University and a Windows user since 1995, began using Ubuntu after her friend, Frederick Bamm Gabriena, an instructor of astronomy at the Rizal Technological University, showed her that Linux was no longer limited to the command line interface.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Intelligent NIC downloads while host PC sleeps

      Developers at the University of San Diego say they will demonstrate massive power savings for desktop PCs from embedding an ARM- and Linux-based Gumstix CPU into a network interface. The “Somniloquy” can handle file-sharing and long downloads independently, and only wakes a host PC when necessary.

    • Hands on with the GP2X Wiz

      There’s also a collection of Flash games which are entirely in Korean so we can’t make head nor tail of them. They are, however, outrageously cute and have the most toe-tappingly catchy soundtracks you will ever, ever hear. Fact.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM netbook with Android undercuts Atom models

        Many manufacturers have now joined the Open Handset Alliance to cooperate on developing Android; an operating system originally tailored to mobile phones, with a practical browser and a lot of applications.

      • Bluetooth 3.0 stack ships for Moblin and Android

        Beijing, China-based IVT Corp. announced the availability of what it claims is the world’s first Bluetooth 3.0+HS commercial stack for the Linux-based Moblin and Android mobile device platforms. Bluetooth 3.0 uses AMP (alternate MAC/PHY) technology, which enables Bluetooth to piggyback on WiFi transmissions when available.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS

    • ReactOS 0.3.9 boasts insanely huge speedups

      Naturally we focus mostly on Linux here at TuxRadar HQ, but we keep tabs on the wider open source world too. For the last few years we’ve been intrigued by the progress of ReactOS, a free software Windows implementation that could one day give Microsoft the chills. Well, ReactOS 0.3.9 is now here, with major performance improvements, initial sound support and the latest WINE DLLs for improved compatibility. Summary after the break.

    • ReactOS 0.3.9 promises speed increase

      The 0.3.9 release includes a “much improved” networking stack and the kernel now supports sound via the new kernel streaming services. A new and faster Hyperspace Mapping Interface is included, improving the overall speed of the OS. The minimum memory requirement has been reduced to 32Mb.

  • Business

    • Zimbra Launching Partner Program

      Zimbra, the open source email provider owned by Yahoo, plans to launch a formalized partner program in the next few weeks or so. More than 700 partners already sell or host Zimbra’s software, which is marching toward 50 million paid customers, The VAR Guy hears. But that’s not all. Here’s where Zimbra is heading next in the channel.

    • Asterisk: Who’s Answering the Call for Training?

      Admittedly, 600 attendees isn’t a “massive” event, but it does represent the start of a broader open source IP PBX movement that’s spilling over into the IT channel.

  • Government

    • Military enlists open source community

      One example of the Defense Department’s new community-based approach to software development is Forge.mil, which was made generally available for unclassified use within the department in April. Forge.mil is powered by CollabNet Team Forge, a commercial lifecycle management platform for distributed software development teams.

  • Programming

  • Applications

Leftovers

  • Fake News Not Quite Dead Yet

    “For reporters covering breaking news, live broadcasts mean there’s no lag time.” In other words, sponsored video provided by PR firms “allows reporters to cover stories while cutting travel expenses.” Videos can also help “companies with budget restraints, or corporate executives who want to deliver a message to employees,” without traveling.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 12 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

[Parody] BN Announces Community Novell Review: Patents Cited in Future Mono-Targeted Litigations to be Placed on BN Defenders Wiki

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Better before than after the act

MANCHESTER, UK — 04/28/09 — Boycott Novell (BN), a collaborative site that enables advocacy of Free software and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around GNU/Linux, today announced that U.S. patents submarine #1, submarine #2 and submarine #3 will be placed for prior art review on the Wiki associated with BN Defenders. These patents will be cited in future litigations that target everyone but Novell, which bought protection for Mono until January 2012.

“These patents will be cited in future litigations that target everyone but Novell, which bought protection for Mono until January 2012.”BN’s mission includes encouraging the GNU/Linux community to destroy packages that may be suspect of Microsoft patents or riddled by questions regarding their real purpose. Accordingly, the patents used in future Mono patent action will be posted by BN for review and elimination of suspect packages by the GNU/Linux community.

“The patent vetting activity offered by the BN Wiki offers a unique opportunity to bring to bear the collective knowledge, passion and ingenuity of the GNU/Linux community to better explore the validity of the patents that are the subject of the future action against GNU/Linux,” said Geeko and a Red ‘N’, virtual effigies of BN. “We encourage active participation from the entire GNU/Linux community so that companies seeking to advance GNU/Linux strategies can be better informed about the dangers of Mono.”

Based on a press release from OIN, modified for comedic purposes and for parallels to be made apparent.

OIN Keeps Its Promise, Strikes Back at Microsoft’s FAT

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, TomTom at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: OIN seeks to invalidate Microsoft’s Linux-related claims against TomTom

THERE is not much to be said which the press release does not already cover (we append it below). The short story is about OIN hoping to defuse and invalidate Microsoft’s extortion tool; it looks for help from the community of volunteers who are aware of prior art (we are aware of some). For a summary of this case, see this last post. Paula Rooney has some coverage referring to OIN’s very latest response.

OIN announced today that three patents in the lawsuit — including those the deal with the creation of long and short file names — have been named for prior art review on the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website linked to the Linux Defenders portal.

It would be better to eliminate software patents altogether, but this is not the approach adopted by OIN to mollify an inherently ill system.


Open Invention Network Announces Community Prior Art Review: Patents Cited in Recent TomTom-Targeted Litigation Placed on Linux Defenders Portal

DURHAM, NC — 04/28/09 — Open Invention Network(SM) (OIN), a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux, today announced that U.S. patents 5579517, 5758352 and 6256642 have been placed for prior art review on the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website associated with the Linux Defenders portal. These patents were recently cited in litigation that targeted TomTom NV.

OIN’s mission includes encouraging the Linux community to review patents-of-interest that may be of suspect quality or riddled by questions regarding prior art. Accordingly, the patents used in the recent TomTom patent action have been posted by OIN for review and submission of prior art by the Linux community. Submissions may be made by visiting http://www.post-issue.org, clicking on the appropriate patent and selecting “Submit Prior Art.”

“The patent vetting activity offered by the Linux Defenders portal offers a unique opportunity to bring to bear the collective knowledge, passion and ingenuity of the Linux community to better explore the validity of the patents that were the subject of the recent action against TomTom,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “I encourage active participation from the entire Linux community so that other companies seeking to advance Linux strategies can be better informed about the quality of these patents.”

About Open Invention Network

Open Invention Network(SM) is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy, and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem. It enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users.

Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, and has received investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. For more information, go to www.openinventionnetwork.com.

Open Invention Network, the Open Invention Network logo, Linux Defenders, Linux Defenders 911 and the Linux Defenders 911 logo are the property of Open Invention Network, LLC. All other names and brand marks are the property of their respective holders.

Meet Obama’s Pick for Technology Advisory Panel

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Quote at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

HERE is what Craig Mundie, whom Obama has just appointed, thinks about Free/open source software:

Never show source code, senior Microsoft man says

Craig Mundie, senior VP at Microsoft, told the conference in São Paulo yesterday, the secret to success in software is “never show the source”.

He said that the FSF [Free Software Foundation] wanted to destroy a business model in which industry standard software had benefited everyone for a long time.

Microsoft’s code sharing offer draws blank

[Craig Mundie] also said Microsoft is going ahead with the source code sharing programme despite the recent virus attacks targeting Microsoft products.

“When we enter into a source code sharing programme we have strict confidentiality clauses. We do not expect it to be leading to security breaches”

Commercial software, sustainable innovation

“The GPL turns our existing concepts of intellectual property rights on their heads. Some of the tension I see between the GPL and strong business models is by design, and some of it is caused simply because there remains a high level of legal uncertainty around the GPL– uncertainty that translates into business risk” [ --Craig Mundie]

Microsoft pays court to Washington

“At the height of the US government’s antitrust pursuit of Microsoft, Bill Gates and his execs were vigorously denouncing rivals Sun Microsystems and Oracle for using the Feds to try to cripple the world’s largest software company [...]

Privately [...] Microsoft lobbyist Paula Boyd met with Jonathan Cody, FCC chairman Michael Powell’s special policy advisor [...] Microsoft strategist Pierre De Vries and Microsoft attorney Scott Blake Harris (the FCC’s former international bureau chief) met with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s senior vice president, has met with Powell personally. And those are just a few examples.

Obama promotes the message about transparency, so why is this guy on his panel? Devil’s advocate?

Patents Roundup: Bad, Destructive System; Microsoft and Apple Revisited

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about patents and patentors that affect GNU/Linux

Broken System

UNREST CAUSED by this broken patent system is beginning to be better realised as bubbles are bursting and real assets get appreciated more than paper. In regard to ownership of areas in mathematics (notably with software patents), SD Time reports that “experts mull changes to [the] software patent process” and Professor Moglen is among those who are quoted on the subject:

“These so-called patents grant ownership rights over ideas that have no reflection in the physical world other than ‘I own the math,’ ” said Eben Moglen, founder of the Software Freedom Law Center and a professor of law at Columbia Law School. “If everyone goes looking for more in a game of phony real estate, hell will follow.”

Moving on and looking elsewhere, we find even broader complaints that public knowledge is gradually being scooped up and privatised.

The phrase ‘or protection through established means’ is the most troubling, because it ignores of the decades old success of FOSS, Free Open Source Software, in the computer industry, and of the history of science itself which regarded knowledge as a commons, until the recent incursion of Thatcherite economics. Both of these are more far more ‘established’ than the recent American fad for software patents.

Destructive System

Like all broken systems (such as the banking industry nowadays), there are victims and it is not pleasant. Here is the end of one pointless never-ending fight where almost a billion dollars will be paid as a result.

The vicious fight between Broadcom and Qualcomm over patents has resulted in peace breaking out, worldwide.

[...]

Qualcomm will shell out $891 million to Broadcom over a four year period and the terms of the agreement are as follows.

It’s becoming more than a national issue if and when, as The Economist suggests, a rising superpower like China mimics the behaviour seen abroad and starts suing companies across the border.

Chinese companies are enforcing patents against foreign firms

FOR over a decade Schneider Electric of France has bombarded a Chinese firm, Chint Group, with lawsuits accusing it of copying its technology. But the tables turned on April 15th when the two companies settled an infringement case—with the French firm forking over $23m to Chint. The rich settlement against a foreign firm is a landmark. It serves as a reminder that Chinese companies are just as eager to defend patents as Western firms, and that China’s intellectual-property regime has been tightened in recent years.

This is not the first time that The Economist warns about patent wars in China.

Microsoft

One of the pro-Microsoft bloggers — one which InformationWeek employs to be precise — is now arguing that Microsoft is falsely claiming “innovation” when in fact it's just a term that Microsoft executives are being tamed to recite.

Microsoft Product Improvement Is Not Innovation

[...]

Wow. To those who say that there are no Microsoft fans, the messages from my last blog entry prove you wrong. One of the complaints was my assertion that Microsoft does not innovate anymore; perhaps the problem is in the definition of that word. To me, slow but steady improvement in existing products and services isn’t innovation, it’s maintenance and support. Those are important things, no doubt, especially to existing customers, but they’re not the same as innovation.

LinuxToday brought back the essay called “InNOTvators.”

Episode one: Whatcha talkin’ about, Vincent?

Vincent David’s lonely quest to protect an innovative world from the clutches of free software.

News Item: Microsoft Platforms Group Vice President Jim Allchin says that Open Source software stifles innovation and threatens Intellectual Property.

The scene: A table for two at Dale’s Dry Donut Deli, No Dunking Allowed, somewhere in lower left middle Montana, early, early morning. Across the table sits Vincent David, former Manager of Wildly Implausible Conspiracy Theories at Microsoft’s Redmond HQ.

Microsoft’s Friends

Not only Microsoft is trying to use software patents against its competition’s right to exist. Blackboard, which was funded by Microsoft, is doing the same type of thing [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], but it has just suffered a setback:

In Preliminary Ruling, Patent Office Rejects Blackboard’s Claims

[...]

Some observers say that even if Blackboard ultimately loses the patent battle, it will have succeeded in distracting and weakening its rival through the lengthy court proceedings.

Another ally of Microsoft is the British Library [1, 2]. A reader has just warned us that they too promote intellectual monopolies and he sent us the following photo to prove it (from 2007).

British Library

Apple

Apple may be portrayed as a “pirate” or even a victim at the moment, but Apple is to a large extent part of this problem. Right now it claims to have ‘innovated’ Web silencing because there is a patent filing.

Apple wants to give you the opportunity to selectively block web-based audio while allowing you to listen to any other audio source of your choosing.

The EFF is meanwhile assaulting Apple for antagonising customers’ rights.

The operator of a wiki website has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Apple of trying to squelch protected speech after it demanded the removal of posts discussing ways hobbyists can make iPods and iPhones work with software other than iTunes.

Apple — like Microsoft — has already used patents offensively against Linux or Linux-powered devices. Intimidation too is a form of aggression.

Charles McCreevy is Still Advancing Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Logo - stop software patents

Summary: Charles McCreevy’s “harmonisation” agenda gets a new name and it is still on

S

OMEONE at Digital Majority has just found this page from the European Union Web site. The page is a month old, but it contains the following revealing statement from Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who is a known nuisance to freedom because of his promotion of self-serving multinationals and software patents [1, 2, 3, 4].

Announcing this breakthrough, the Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy said:

“European businesses find the current patent litigation system complex, slow and costly.”

He predicted that the new unified system, with a dedicated unified patent court, would make patent litigation more predictable, faster and less expensive.

The EPO is already on the verge of selling out (to software patents and Microsoft), so protesters like Richard Stallman label the EPO "malicious" and "corrupt". In addition, as Bosson points out in his response to the EPO (he seems to be affiliated with FFII Sweden):

EPO needs a very clear mandate to grant patents on computer program. The TRIPS “fields of technology” does not exclude limits on what is a patentable invention. It is very questionable if patents make a good incentive for software that contain many thousands of new ideas and easily combines into millions of new ideas on how to organize and calculate information over the Internet.

Here is my personal response.

Should Microsoft Sue Microsoft for Using (and Suing) Linux?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer as penguin

Summary: Microsoft is using Linux again, so what are the implications of such hypocrisy?

MinceR has just pointed out that Microsoft is building products with Linux. Yes, that’s GPL and it’s the program Microsoft accuses of being a patent “pirate” or something.

The prototype works with a Vista host but the hardware comprising the NIC is based on a Linux stack.

Paul Hovnanian P.E writes in USENET, “Of course the production model will have the Linux system and network stack replaced with Windows CE … no matter what the cost. So why not start with CE? Possible answer: They’ve actually got to get this thing to work and the best system to use certainly isn’t Windows.”

This is not the first time that Microsoft uses GNU and/or Linux internally [1, 2] simply because they work better.

“The number of developers working on improving Linux vastly exceeds the number of Microsoft developers working on Windows NT.”

Paul Maritz, Microsoft

Is Microsoft Live Dead Yet?

Posted in Microsoft at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Staff exodus and closures

Jaws ship

Summary: The wind is no longer in Microsoft’s sails because key people are leaving

Microsoft’s online/Web division seems to be in a state of disarray following the killing of "product upload" some days ago. It was a very bad week for Microsoft because of many cancellations and bad results [1, 2]. The online/Web division has fallen by another 17% in the past quarter, so sheer investments simply don’t pay off. Now comes another blow with the departure of a man Microsoft raved about, as well as another:

Linden’s departure is noteworthy because he was a prominent hire at Live Labs.

[...]

Another prominent member of the Live Labs team, design director Don Lindsay, left last month for a new job at Research In Motion.

Employee retention at Microsoft has been rather poor in recent years. But the company is still hiring anti-Linux people.

“The Internet? We are not interested in it.”

Bill Gates, 1993

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