IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 6th, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 6th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 6th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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Don’t Let Novell (and Microsoft) Control GNU/Linux, Licences, and Open Office

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MS Novell

Summary: Dangers of Moonlight seen in a different light (but same angle); OpenOffice.org needs to be kept away from Novell

EARLIER on today we wrote about Microsoft's fanfare over the release of Microsoft Moonlight. The Microsoft-oriented Elizabeth Montalbano (at IDG) covered it promptly just like other reporters who pick the same theme. By contrast, Sean who is actually a GNU/Linux user talked about the problems which make Moonlight quite so controversial (and forbidden in Fedora's case).

Yes there is still a debate about the media codecs themselves which are still proprietary, even though Microsoft is making them freely available via Novell. Questions about Free Software purity aside, Moonlight is about enabling Linux users with the ability to view the same content as Windows users. With Moonlight in play, Microsoft can rightfully claim that Silverlight isn’t just for Windows.

Those who are not careful enough mistakenly call Microsoft Moonlight a “port” of Silverlight. It’s not a port by any stretch of imagination. And in a similar vein, Go-OO from Novell is a fork of OpenOffice.org [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], whose 3.1.0 release is currently being deployed across mirrors. If the following new articles bear truth, then Novell’s fork could spell trouble. The last thing the community needs is a Microsoft ally in virtual charge of Open Office development (whichever variant is dominant).

The setting Sun: responses to the acquisition

Another project with a cloudy future is OpenOffice.org, Sun’s open source office suite. Sun’s stewardship of OpenOffice.org has been mired in controversy. The company often clashed with other major contributors, especially Novell. Many critics of Sun’s conduct have called for OpenOffice.org to be spun off into an independent foundation with vendor-neutral governance so that all interested parties can participate in enhancing the project on even footing. Such advocacy has been renewed in the wake of the acquisition.

Saving OpenOffice From Itself (And Oracle)

The big question is: will Oracle let such a thing happen? If they don’t, the only alternative may be to fork it and let IBM (via the Lotus Symphony project) or Novell (via Go-OO) pick up the pieces. The former brought a great sense of design and integration to the suite; the latter a tenacity to improve the whole in ways that were previously neglected. Maybe the two of them can join forces on this one; they’d both have everything to gain.

The Sun ain’t gonna shine on OpenOffice any more

Everyone who has cheerfully been using OpenOffice for the past seven or eight years must face the prospect that the new owners will drop the project. As it’s open source, this is easily accomplished by “releasing it into the community”, which will make it reliant on Novell and IBM, the only other companies to put significant numbers of programmers into the work.

By all means, do not ever allow Microsoft’s close ally to control the rival of Microsoft’s #1 cash cow. It won’t work. SUSE never worked for Novell because the companies hardly compete, except Microsoft which mostly divides and conquers.

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Novell and Vista

Embrace, Extend, and Microsoft Wants to Toss IBM Out of ODF

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer on ODF

Summary: Microsoft brings the most familiar shills to assist with spin and disinformation; it also wants Rob Weir out

THERE IS unnecessary drama brewing at the moment because — as John Drinkwater puts it — Rob Weir said: “Microsoft [is] calling for my removal as Co-Chair of the ODF TC [technical committee]. Evidently I’ve hurt their feelings.

“And now Microsoft wants to remove Rob Weir.”Hurt their feelings by showing the expected outcome? Let’s face it, Microsoft has attacked ODF right from the start. There is no reason to believe that it changed its ways. On numerous occasions over the past few months we’ve provided evidence to show that Microsoft is still hostile towards ODF.

Microsoft’s attempt to pretend to embrace, extend and extinguish support ODF are made clear by a half-hearted, semi-baked implementation (yes, that too is a Microsoft products ‘standard’). As Balrog says in the IRC channel, “even Microsoft’s sponsored ODF plugin performs better.” And as this man puts it, “Microsoft [is] deliberately subverting ODF universal document format in new Office 2007 release. Flood help lines! Demand proper usability!”

And now Microsoft wants to remove Rob Weir. How dare they?

Heise describes this horrible mistreatment from Microsoft merely as a “dispute” between two vendors.

Microsoft’s release of Open Document Format (ODF) support in Service Pack 2 for Office 2007 has triggered a war of words over the handling of spreadsheet formulas. Rob Weir has posted the results of his interoperability testing of various applications which claim ODF compatibility. Weir’s results show Microsoft ODF support as failing on spreadsheet tests with nearly all other applications.

Microsoft already brings out the shills from the Burton Group, whom it paid handsomely to attack ODF in the form of several jobs (full-time wages) and contracts. Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s no coffee, it’s AstroTurfing in suits. Or as Microsoft calls this:

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

There is some more coverage of this from Eric Lai at IDG, but both him and the publication are Microsoft-oriented. We wrote about this many times before. The same goes for ZDNet, which at least opens with:

Microsoft has come under fire for spreadsheet interoperability issues in its latest release of Office 2007 SP2, but the company said it is an issue inherent in ODF (Open Document Format) 1.1.

The software giant released last week the second service pack for Office 2007, which provides support for documents saved in the ODF 1.1 format.

Charles too is already weighing in.

If we are to believe several reports who all link to Rob Weir’s own thorough review , Microsoft has not only done a poor job implementing ODF, it has also ended up into a quite unique endless loop phenomenon . What this basically means is that in some instances
ODF documents created by Microsoft Office will only be readable and editable in… Microsoft Office. How was this possible? Apparently when you want to mess up something, you always find ways to do so.

While it’s clear that Microsoft uses paid mouthpieces to borrow some lip service and pseudo-support, one must careful of what is said out there. It could, after all, come from the army of hundreds of Waggeners & Edstroms [1, 2]. Microsoft uses PR against objective press. It has always done that.

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“

Microsoft on OOXML

Links 06/05/2009: KDE4 Developments, Internet Censorship Advances

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How many desktop Linux users?

    Web site surveys are all well and good, but they only tell part of the story. And, as the numbers I cite above shows, Web site numbers show an enormous range. Some of that may represent bias. The Boycott Novell Web site, for example, recently proclaims that Net Applications’ operating system numbers are a “Big Lie” and pointed out that Microsoft was one of Net Applications’ biggest customers. My own site focuses a lot on Linux, so it’s no surprise that I have a high percentage of Linux-using visitors.

  • Are there too few people who understand desktop Linux ?

    the Enterprise distributions. And I have nothing against the Fedora/Ubuntu/OpenSUSE/whatnot distributions of today, they are very needed for driving progress and for fostering the Open Source community. But please, not at the expense of the non-technical end-user.

  • Zfone: Secure Cross-Platform Voice Communication for Linux

    A.Lizard recommends Zfone as one way to secure your Internet voice communications. This article provides details on how to get and use Zfone for Ubuntu or Debian Linux.

  • Vertica Adds Speed, Views to Analytic Database

    The Vertica database is Linux based and runs on clusters of commodity servers, rather than requiring a large hunk of specialized hardware. It uses a columnar format and compression, and thereby can reduce database storage requirements.

  • Server

    • IBM Builds Out Express Advantage Line

      Topping the list of the new products are the BladeCenter JS23 and JS43 Express servers, which are based on the Power6 processor technology and run on AIX, IBM i and Linux operating systems. IBM said the servers are ideal for midsize organizations undergoing infrastructure consolidation or
      running applications that require scalable performance and high memory capacity.

    • hi5 Launches Instant Messaging Service

      The social networking site operates on Linux servers and uses Open Social to support development of applications.

    • Ultra-lightweight Server Software Stacks Built With FastScale Stack Manager Now Available for Free Download

      In April, FastScale announced the beta release of FastScale Stack Manager Workstation Edition, a product that enables individual system administrators, developers, and software appliance builders to easily create and manage optimized CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 or 5 server software stacks for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or VMware Infrastructure.

  • Firefox

    • Firefox hits 270 million users, without Linux

      The open source Firefox web browser from Mozilla now has some 270 million users. That’s the figure that Mozilla staffer Aza Dotzler is now claiming, and it’s not an easy number to calculate.

      How do you count users for an open source application that does not require registrations? Downloads aren’t accurate, since downloads include the same users that could have updated and/or downloaded revisions.

    • about:mozilla – Mozilla Service Week, poetry + pragmatics, Spread Firefox, AMO, Creative Collective, Personas, and more…

      In this issue…

      * Mozilla Service Week: Be the difference!
      * John Lilly on poetry and pragmatics
      * A new look for the Spread Firefox project
      * Creative Collective and building social capital
      * Geolocation in Firefox 3.5 and Fennec
      * Improvements to Firefox.com
      * Creative Collective site design: round 1
      * Mozilla.org redesign: round 3

    • Mozilla confirms geolocation for Firefox 3.5 and Fennec

      Mozilla’s Doug Turner has officially announced geolocation as a newly integrated feature in the upcoming Firefox 3.5 and its mobile variant, currently code-named Fennec. The new opt-in feature allows users to share their location with websites through both browsers.

    • Beyond Firefox: 10 Other Great Linux Browsers

      Firefox has been a reliable browser for me for many years and it still continues to be so to a certain extent. However, over the last few releases Firefox has become bloated and slow in performance that same way IE used to be before we switched to Firefox. The only thing that is stopping me from switching to another browser, is the large number of extensions available for Firefox. Specifically firebug. Since I spend most of my time on a Linux system, over the last few days I have been looking for an alternative Linux browser. Here are 10 of the best Linux browsers out there that can be a decent alternative to Firefox…

    • Thinking about Refreshing the Firefox Icon

      As we get closer to releasing Shiretoko (Firefox 3.5) we are considering that this might be a good time to update and evolve the Firefox application icon. We will likely be leveraging some conceptual work created by Jon Hicks during the development of Firefox 3, but otherwise we are just now getting started.

  • Kernel Space

    • Universal BIOS Flash programmer for Linux, BSD and more

      The developers of the CoreBoot project have released version 0.9,0 of FlashROM, which is able to read, delete, rewrite and verify the flash chips which store a systems BIOS. FlashROM runs on Linux and UNIX derivatives such as FreeBSD,

  • Applications

    • Shuttleworth Foundation announces open source school admin app

      The Shuttleworth Foundation has announced the release of SchoolTool 1.0, a web-based open source student information system and calendar server for primary and secondary schools around the world.

    • Songbird in Linux

      If you remember my last media entry, The best Linux media players, you’ll remember I left out one very important entry – Songbird. At the time I really hadn’t given this relatively new entry to the media players a try. But recent “upgrades” to Rhythmbox and Banshee which left either 1) much to be desired or 2) the application unusable made me take a look at Songbird.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE

      • Systray finally in action

        As Aaron noted, the client library for the new system tray specification has finally landed in kdelibs, as “experimental” (i.e. it will probably still see some refactoring for 4.4, assuring is as good as possible)

      • Interview with Kubuntu developer Jonathan Thomas

        Once again kubuntu-de.org interviewed a developer. This time we talked with Jonathan (JontheEchidna) Thomas. The Kubuntu developer and Ninja reported about the development cycle of Kubuntu “Jaunty Jackalope”, which has been released today. Further he gave a little insight on “Karmic Koala”, the future release of Kubuntu, which is announced for this year’s october.

      • KDE 4.3: First Widget for Social Desktop

        A widget has been included in KDE 4.3 as the first implementation of the „Social Desktop“ which allows the user to view other KDE users in his or her city or region.

      • Planet gets boring on feature freeze

        I’ve had a few busy days closing Lancelot bug reports. There is only one left that is relevant for KDE 4.3, that is only one that is confirmed and not a feature request.

    • GNOME

      • 9 Great Gnome Themes with Ubuntu Repositories

        François Vogelweith is the author of zgegblog, a site that maintains a collection of great GNOME themes (you can see screenshots of the themes and some more info but in French, on his website). Balanzan (translated: Balance) is one of its most popular creations, a very comprehensive theme based on Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope, which contains a wallpaper, logon theme, Emerald theme, controls and icons.

      • A Few Of The Changes For GNOME 2.27.1

        The first development release of GNOME 2.28 was supposed to be out at the end of April per its release schedule, but it’s now slowly coming together. There are many bug-fixes and translation updates in the packages checked in so far for this first GNOME 2.28 development release (a.k.a. GNOME 2.27.1), but there are a few items worth pointing out.

  • Distributions

    • Debian changes from GLIBC to EGLIBC

      With a short message on his blog, Debian developer and maintainer Auréllian Jarno has announced a fundamental change in future Debian releases. The EGLIBC (Embedded GNU C Library), originally developed for embedded systems, is to replace GLIBC (GNU C Library).

    • Linux Mint 7 Release Candidate Is Here

      Clement Lefebvre and the community behind the Linux Mint project proudly announced last night on the official blog the immediate availability of the first release candidate of Linux Mint 7 (Gloria) operating system. This first RC is based on the recently released Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) and it is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.28. The good news is that the 7th release of Linux Mint will include a brand new artwork, updated applications and many, many new breathtaking features. Don’t forget to check out, later tonight, our first look at the new Linux Mint 7 operating system.

    • Ubuntu

      • ImageMagick and Ubuntu 9.04

        Using a command line tool like ImageMagick for image processing may sound a really counter-intuitive thing to do but there’s no need to do everything on a case by case interactive basis. Image resizing and format conversion come to mind here. Helper programs are used behind the scenes too with Ghostscript being used to create Postscript files, for example.

      • Literal Ubuntu “Desktop” Wallpaper

        It’s essentially a table top wallpaper with “desk” type accessories for you to place screenlets on.

      • Installing Ubuntu 9.04

        Step-by-step installation guide with screenshots

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux SOHO NAS offers iSCSI

      Qnap Systems announced a network-attached storage (NAS) device, aimed at SMB/SOHO users, that supports two 2TB hard drives. The Linux-based TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS is notable for its iSCSI (Internet SCSI) target service, enabling the NAS to be configured for expansion or backup for other servers.

    • Military-grade workstation braves the elements

      Intergraph announced a Linux-compatible workstation designed to withstand punishing environmental conditions for military, industrial, and marine applications. The sealed, solid-state TD-R 7X11R-S series rack-mount workstation supports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and up to 4GB of DDR2 memory, and offers dual gigabit Ethernet ports.

    • Phones

      • This Android is a chameleon

        Canadian software house Intrinsyc has teamed up with Femtocell developer Ubiquisys to create an Android application that completely changes the user interface when the phone moves from a public mobile network area into a home or other location covered by a femtocell.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu 9.04 UNR on Asus Eee PC 901: good and fast

        At this point I gave up. When you have 10 applications open at the same time and you’re still using less than 50% of the available RAM (994 MB), you know something is going well.

        The final result is a fast booting, good looking Netbook. Thanks Canonical!

Free Software/Open Source

  • Over 35 Free, Essential Open Source Resources and Apps

    Every so often, we here at OStatic like to round up our ongoing collections of open source resources, tutorials, reviews and project tours. These educational tools are a central part of the learning mission we try to preserve at the site. We regularly round up the best Firefox extensions, free online books on open source topics, free tools for developers, resources for working with and enjoying online video and audio, Linux tutorials, and much more. In this post, you’ll find more than 35 collections and resources. Hopefully, you’ll find something to learn from here, and the good news is that everything found in this collection is free.

  • How to be a free software business trainer

    The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa and the Germany-based InWent project have launched a programme to develop trainers in East and Southern Africa capable of teaching others to build free software-based businesses.

    The project aims to both create businesses opportunities for trainers wanting to expand their businesses to include free software training as well as teaching the skills required to run successful FOSS businesses.

  • Libre.fm Is Gathering Speed

    Libre.fm is a free network service aimed at replacing Last.fm initially but also going beyond that to develop unique features of it’s own. The service is still in alpha at the moment but it’s developing really quickly. I’ve been impressed by it’s progress and the developer mailing list is packed with action every day. There seems to be a real appetite for an AGPL web service of this kind.

  • The Open-Source Market – Limitless and Forever expanding?

    In my original post about the practicality of open source business models, I talked about the differences in Kaizen and Kakushin, how they were used, their benefits and disadvantages, and how each could be used to our benefit. In this post, I have decided to go a bit back into basics, take a broader look at things, and actually consider the nature of open-source compared to other models. I left the ending of the last post asking several questions – I will not answer those questions right now, but hopefully the stuff I consider in this post should help understand what solutions are practical and what aren’t.

  • Business

    • Sour Grapes

      At OpenNMS, we are replacing products from HP and IBM at some of the largest companies in the world. We have another client who is going to imbed OpenNMS in their management offering. We’ve been profitable since Day One and we continue to grow year after year. This was due to a lot of hard work on our part, but we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our community. It’s not hype – it’s just a fact.

    • ‘Long Tail’ Guru: ‘Free’ Not a Four-Letter-Word

      Advocates of free content have long rallied around the slogan that “information wants to be free.” But to author and Wired editor Chris Anderson, content is only the tip of the free iceberg.

      “With the Internet, we created the most competitive market the world has ever seen,” he during his keynote here today at the SIIA-sponsored Software Summit. “What it says is that everything on the Internet will be available in a free version. You will compete with free or be free.”

  • Funding

    • FOSS: Project Busking, Funding Software Development

      Instead of busking, I’d like to see projects organise rock concerts. Lots of projects are awesome enough and selling tickets for real development shouldn’t be as hard as we might think. I noticed the Creative Commons project for Peach and “Yo! Franky” were set up like this, perhaps they have some advice when it comes to organising such a project?


  • Bill Would Declare Your Blog a Weapon

    Law prof Eugene Volokh blogs about a US House of Representatives bill proposed by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and 14 others that could make it a federal felony to use your blog, social media like MySpace and Facebook, or any other Web media ‘to cause substantial emotional distress through “severe, repeated, and hostile” speech.’ Rep. Sanchez and colleagues want to make it easier to prosecute any objectionable speech through a breathtakingly broad bill that would criminalize a wide range of speech protected by the First Amendment. The bill is called The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, and if passed into law (and if it survives constitutional challenge) it looks almost certain to be misused.

  • Net neutrality and bandwidth caps don’t matter

    If it isn’t about bandwidth, then what are all these quotas about? Keeping the cable TV monopoly a monopoly. No, really, it is. The set up goes like this. Cable companies whine about bandwidth, then trial all sorts of silly anti-consumer and illegal measures like DPI to fire people up. Angry consumers respond and say that they will not tolerate those measures. Eventually, even paid for politicians will chime in around election season, and these ‘alternate’ measures will be shot down. DPI and packet classification will be effectively outlawed. That is OK though, they were straw men.

    From there, cable companies will keep whining about bandwidth overuse, and the ‘few’ who ‘abuse’ the system. This is also a straw man, but they will claim usage quotas are necessary to keep the ‘abusers’ from hurting others, keep piracy down, keep their routers from melting, allowing them to make enough to pay for upgrades, or whatever is the current problem in the headlines. Think of it like The War on Communism/Drugs/Terror/Free Thought, the enemy is out there and undefinable, so don’t question our motives.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 03 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Vista 7 Gains New Feature: A Trojan (and Other Insecurity News)

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A Trojan inside a Trojan


Summary: Latest security news about Windows

Leaked copies of Windows 7 RC contain Trojan

Windows 7 RC, which Microsoft Corp. will officialy launch tomorrow, leaked two weeks ago, with copies first appearing on BitTorrent tracking sites on April 24.

Some of the pirated builds include a Trojan horse, numerous users said in message forums and in comments on BitTorrent sites such as Mininova.org.

Windows 7 Fail

Windows 7 RC is out today.

This is great news.

Because surely by now they’ve fixed Windows Explorer.

You see, in Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista, Explorer used to Hide extensions for known file types. And virus writers used this “feature” to make people mistake executables for stuff such as document files.

The trick was to rename VIRUS.EXE to VIRUS.TXT.EXE or VIRUS.JPG.EXE, and Windows would hide the .EXE part of the filename.

Conficker hype obscures sneaky botnet growth

Botherders have taken control of 12 million new IP addresses in the first quarter of 2009, a 50 per cent increase since the last quarter of 2008, according to a net security report from McAfee. The infamous Conficker superworm has occupied all the headlines, and makes a big contribution to the overall figure of pwned Windows PCs, but other strains of malware collectively make a big contribution to the number of compromised PCs.

McAfee: New botnets dwarf Conficker threat

The Conficker worm, which has set off many a recent security alarm bell, may just be a small fry, compared to the growing number of botnets, viruses, and worms infecting cyberspace.

Why Did CNET Remove Microsoft’s Attack on Open Source?

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 3:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amnesia or unfortunate accident?

Don't forget

Summary: CNET article on Microsoft’s open source FUD simply vanishes

SOMETHING must be working terribly wrong in CNET if it has selective memory. Balrog has just found this page, whose content was mostly deleted for unspecified reasons.

Microsoft exec calls open source a threat to innovation

A high-level Microsoft executive says that freely distributed software code could stifle innovation and that legislators need to understand the threat.

The story “Microsoft exec calls open source a threat to innovation” published February 15, 2001 at 11:00 AM is no longer available on CNET News.

The Web Archive does not have a copy of the full article, which was widely cited. Google finds nothing similar, either.

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft


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