EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.30.09

Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE 11.2 Milestone 2, Conference Coming, Ambassadors Sought

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anole lizard

Summary: Substantial OpenSUSE news from the past 7 days

THE MAIN news about OpenSUSE this week would probably be this release of the 2nd milestone of OpenSUSE 11.2, which Joe Brockmeier announced just 2 days ago..

Read the rest of this entry »

Patents Roundup: IBM/Dojo, Patent Punishments, and Europe’s Race to Community(-Hostile) Patent

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Law, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dojo: Leave IBM Patents Alone

THE other day we wrote about IBM and Dojo, based on what Slashdot had published. It turns out that Slashdot was wrong and the Dojo community actually appreciates rather than worries about what IBM did.

It’s sad that Slashdot hasn’t, for a decade of coverage of IP issues, learned that licensing is harder than the zealots would have you believe and that malice isn’t always the intent of those who participate in communities with a commercial interest.

The good news here, of course, is that IBM is just as generous today toward the OSS and Dojo communities as they were yesterday. We have the legal documents to prove it.

Solutions That Won’t Work

Steve Lake makes a proposition which he thinks would solve the conundrum of intellectual monopolies.

Another Simple Way to End the Patent Threat: Monetary Punishment and Rewards

This is a simple, yet novel way to end the patent threat to Linux, FOSS and generally anyone that the big corporations want to destroy or mess with. If you look at the patent fee schedule at the USPTO, you’ll see that it’s outrageously expensive to file a patent. This isn’t a problem for the big guys with the big fat bankrolls, but it’s bad for the little guy. For those too lazy to look at the link, the list essentially creates a picture of how badly you get nickeled and dimed to death every time you file a patent.

Interestingly enough, this can be used to the advantage of FOSS and Linux lovers the world over.

[...]

The fine would work something like this. First, the entire fine would be paid to the USPTO upon invalidation of the patent (Total fine should be the cost of the original application +50% extra), of which 5% would go to whoever successfully invalidated the patent, be it an examiner or an individual. In short, if you invalidated a patent that cost a company $100,000 to get approved, the total fine would be $150,000, of which you’d get $7500 for your efforts. (this same fee system could be applied to the first fine as well) Think of it this way, if they start offering bounties like this on invalidated patents, we would see two things. First, we’d see the death of one kind of patent troll, and the rise of another. Namely, a reverse patent troll. And who would these reverse patent trolls be?

There is an assumption here that patent holders deliberately obtain invalid patents, but the matter of fact is that even at Microsoft, employees are actively encouraged not to explore and study prior art, or else the legal consequences would be more severe. In other words, there is a lot of duplication out there because it’s actively encouraged, but to fine for the practice would prove difficult, especially when the fined party is small and impoverished. If the patent system was created to incentivise invention and novelty, then it has lost sight of this purpose, but penalties are hardly the answer. Criminalisation rarely solves much, unlike prevention.

Europe Under Patent Siege

Digital Majority has found a couple of articles that serve as an update and warning about the EPO's lip services to Microsoft and its ilk.

From the Financial Times: Reform of Europe’s patent system moves a step closer

Changes to Europe’s costly and fragmented patent system have edged a step closer after EU industry ministers agreed formally to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on a potential overhaul.

Ministers, meeting in Brussels yesterday, said they would consult Europe’s top court on the legality under EU law of introducing specialist courts to handle patent disputes along with a so-called “community patent”.

The latter – which would be a single intellectual property right that would apply across Europe – has been an elusive goal for decades.

From the Guardian: EU states consult top court on patent litigation

European Union states agreed on Thursday to ask the bloc’s top court whether draft plans to cut the cost of defending patents in a new system of courts would be compatible with EU law.

Suddenly they mind EU law?

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

XML Patents, Microsoft Aggression, and ODF Hostility

Posted in Microsoft, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

msodf

Summary: Microsoft’s threat to XML, hostility towards ODF, and other news of interest

THE recent i4i case [1, 2] had Microsoft essentially fined $200,000,000. The nature of their patent was particularly curious because it was editing of XML. This is a reason for concern for the following reason.

Wait, Editing An XML Document Is Patented And Worth $98 Per Application?

A bunch of folks sent in variations on the story about Microsoft losing a patent infringement lawsuit to the tune of $200 million to a small Toronto firm (the ruling also came right on the heals of another ruling against Microsoft in a patent case, for $388 million).

Microsoft has it share of XML patents too and as this pro-Microsoft blogger insinuates, Microsoft is in the mood for abuse of software patents.

Burning the Ships provides insight into Microsoft’s recent IP moves from an insider’s perspective, but the company’s newfound desire to share doesn’t seem like all good news for the tech industry. The question isn’t whether there should be IP rights, but whether current law strikes the right balance. I have concerns that it doesn’t.

The book this blogger refers to is patent propaganda.

Looking elsewhere for some ODF news, will ODF become a national standard in Indonesia sooner rather than later?

Last year, i wrote about When Will Indonesia Use ODF? Up to now, we still don’t have any standard for document format. Do you think .doc or .docx is a standard? Well, think again, as it’s not an official standard in Indonesia as it hasn’t been approved by the National Standarization Agency of Indonesia. As a de factor standard yes, not not by de jure.

Jason Brooks is still somewhat skeptic when it comes to Microsoft’s relationship with ODF, which keeps moving forward.

The state of file format compatibility across a range of different applications has come a long way in the past few years, as vendors such as Microsoft and OpenOffice.org have made progress toward addressing file format compatibility.

Wouter van Vugt was accused by some people of being an agent of Microsoft. Despite many of yesterday’s ODF-hostile remarks from him in Twitter, he denies having a direct relationship when he writes:

Lol. Paid by Microsoft. NOT! I am payed by my customers, in both the corporate world and in government.

There is more than just direct relationships to consider. The ODF Foundation is a good example of this [1, 2] and nonetheless, its president keeps receiving some attention with which to promote the whole "CDF" malarkey (or equivalents).

Gary Edwards, a Web developer and former president of the OpenDocument Foundation, told me Wave means “the greater web of designers can be designing a new type of document — one that’s multidimensional, highly graphical, highly interactive, and not OS-specific or device specific.”

The implication, Edwards told me, is that Wave is the thin edge of the wedge — or the thin edge of the Web — that could crack Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop. “Once they lose the document model, they might have lost it all,” he said.

Thus the fear of Google, for example.

ASUS Enters the Slog Business

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Putting the ASUS marketing campaign in perspective

A QUICK glance at yesterday’s news was particularly interesting. With a $100,000,000 budget dedicated solely to the purpose, Microsoft has begun not only a media blitz for Bing but it also attacked and trolled Google. Pro-Microsoft blogs were full of it and Walt Mossberg, an old buddy Bill Gates, had a good time with Steve Ballmer who used the podium to promote Bing. But this post is not about the Slog against Google; rather, it is about ASUS joining an anti-Linux marketing campaign.

“Anti-Linux ads will pay ASUS the equivalent of kickbacks for using Windows.”With profit down 94% after joining hands with Microsoft, ASUS could truly use some fast cash. Anti-Linux ads will pay ASUS the equivalent of kickbacks for using Windows. This further reduction in price through marketing means that even negative pricing for Windows becomes possible. What ASUS is doing right now is an issue we wrote about a fortnight ago because it resembles old tactics. They have a new banner that they market. Microsoft used to do this in servers under the slogan “Get the Facts” and now it’s brought to the desktop under the slogan “it’s better with Windows.”

We are well aware of how huge GNU/Linux became on servers. In September 2008 Steve Ballmer said that “forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux.” Microsoft, unlike IDC/Gartner, does not rely on the lies it pays IDC/Gartner to spread publicly. Microsoft instructs (commissions/bribes) IDC to conduct ‘studies’ the way which favours and glorifies Microsoft. Even by these bogus measures, Windows Server revenue is down 29 percent at the moment. Mary-Jo Foley wrote about it yesterday. Add this to an overall alarmingly-sharp decline of 32% in earnings at Microsoft. They can’t be happy

The decline of Microsoft’s earnings was notably attributed to the rise of GNU/Linux through a new form factor, the sub-notebook (or Netbook™). As GreyGeek put it yesterday:

not even Microsoft or Ballmer believe their own PR FUD.
Ballmer puts Linux’s desktop marketshare greater than Mac’s, which is supposed to be 10%
http://www.osnews.com/story/21035/Ballmer_Linux_Bi gger_Competitor_than_Apple

Net Applications is never to be believed by the way. Or, as Carla put it:

I don’t believe that the desktop Linux market share is barely 1%. I think it is a lot higher. I have no good data to share; I base my assessment on experience and knowing the industry. There is something else that is even more persuasive, and that is how Microsoft behaves. If Linux is so insignificant, why do they pay so much attention to it? Like this new ASUS/Windows Eee PC “It’s Better With Windows” ad campaign…

[...]

It’s a direct shot at Linux, so I guess that little bitty one percent is a bigger one percent than it’s given credit for. Some have questioned if these ads are legitimate, and claim they are satire or a hoax. ASUS links to them, so they’re for real.

It’s true that ASUS has joined Microsoft’s marketing blitz against GNU/Linux. As The Inquirer puts it:

ASUSTEK HAS JOINED Microsoft in launching a marketing campaign to get netbook users to use Windows rather than dodgy old Linux.

[...]

The difference, we assume, is that Microsoft has money to spend on promoting its products.

If not many people purchase the Eee PC with GNU/Linux it’s because the company does not make these available in shops (and never with comparable hardware). It does not even develop or properly maintain the distribution after it said that it got “closely tied up with Microsoft.”

Here is another way to put it: “Asus and Microsoft join forces against Linux”

Microsoft and Asus have launched a marketing campaign to encourage netbook users to use Windows rather than Linux.

Watch the counter argument from Glyn Moody, the suggestion that it might be a hoax, and the reality of this situation.

Regardless of the thoughts form the anti-Linux and pro-Linux camps, it appears from the Asus (.co.uk) site that there is a Windows based Eee PC, no where does it say that Asus is replacing the Linux version with Windows (or at least I didn’t see it).

Some people hastily jump to the conclusion that ASUS is now an anti-Linux company rather than just a marketing partner of Microsoft (to earn easy cash). But the matter of fact is that ASUS still plans to use Android (Linux) for phones and it has just released the Asus EeeNAS, which runs GNU/Linux only.

Asustek Computer joined other NAS (network attached storage) device makers such as QNAP and Acer by showing off a new NAS that uses Intel’s low-power, inexpensive Atom N270 microprocessor.

[...]

EeeNAS has a Linux OS.

So, ASUS did not abandon GNU/Linux. It just got seduced by cash that Microsoft offered in order to shun GNU/Linux. “<vendor> recommends Windows” is a similar paid-for advertisement. This just shows how miserable Microsoft has become. This is a Slog.

Microsoft Windows as Matter of National Insecurity

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 2:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lock

Summary: Security news roundup

THE United States military is repeatedly being invaded by crackers (example from December). This is caused by the use of Windows and the latest incident too alludes to the failure of anti-virus software, which gives clues away.

Anti-U.S. Hackers Infiltrate Army Servers

[...]

The hacks are troubling in that they appear to have rendered useless supposedly sophisticated Defense Department tools and procedures designed to prevent such breaches. The department and its branches spend millions of dollars each year on pricey security and antivirus software and employ legions of experts to deploy and manage the tools.

When foreign enemies enter your premises and access your data — especially in an age of modern warfare — this can be critical. As the following new article from The New York Times suggests, choice of software and its maintenance can determine winners or losers in a dispute or even war. Weapons become digital.

The Pentagon plans to create a new military command for cyberspace, administration officials said Thursday, stepping up preparations by the armed forces to conduct both offensive and defensive computer warfare.

[...]

“It’s the domestic spying problem writ large,” one senior intelligence official said recently. “These attacks start in other countries, but they know no borders. So how do you fight them if you can’t act both inside and outside the United States?”

Looking elsewhere in the news, Microsoft now acknowledges that its software is under attack and there is no patch available to fix this. Coverage includes:

The Register: Critical Windows vulnerability under attack, Microsoft warns

Microsoft has warned of a critical security bug in older versions of its Windows operating system that is already being exploited in the wild to remotely execute malware on vulnerable machines.

Heise: Microsoft warns about critical DirectShow vulnerability

Microsoft has found a critical vulnerability in the DirectX library for Quicktime video playback, and it appears that the flaw is now being actively exploited. The software giant has issued a security advisory which contains quite detailed information about the vulnerability.

It is rather surprising that the Obama administration even considers Windows for its operations, especially gives that the army is moving from Windows to GNU/Linux (mostly Red Hat), for security reasons at the very least. Todd Bishop makes the following new claim:

Obama reforming online security

[...]

The government report (PDF) cites Microsoft repeatedly, but not in a bad way. Instead, it refers to testimony and research from the Redmond company to back up its contention that sweeping changes are needed in government coordination.

Given that Microsoft — with help from its front, the BSA — put its staff on top of the Department of Homeland Security [1, 2, 3], such an outcome should not be so shocking. In fact, given the lobbying and pressure Microsoft puts on the Democrats [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], decisions that are driven by favours rather than rationale are only to be expected.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 29th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts