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06.02.09

United States Supreme Court May Call Off Software Patents

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

U.S. Supreme Court hallway
US Supreme Court hallway

Summary: In Re Bilski takes a trip up law’s lane

WHEN the ruling in Re Bilski came out, many assumed it was the end of software patents, but there was no official word on the subject, just continued disputes and disagreements [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. The ruling is now being ascended to the Supreme Court, whose decision may be more explicit on this subject matter [pun intended].

In the ruling, the Court decided unanimously that the Sixth Circuit Court had improperly “derailed” an Ohio state court’s consideration of a claim by a death row inmate that he is mentally retarded, and thus cannot be executed. The Circuit Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in Bobby v. Bies (08-598), was wrong in issuing a habeas ruling that inmate Michael Bies’ retardation had already been established. Bies must pursue that claim in a pending state court case, the Justices concluded.

In an unsigned (”per curiam”) opinion, the Court by a 7-2 vote overturned a $5 million jury verdict in favor of a railroad employee who had work-related brain damage and lung diseases after prolonged exposure to a toxic chemical in the workplace. The Court found that the jury should have been instructed on what the worker must prove to show a genuine fear that he would someday develop cancer. The ruling came in CSX Transportation v. Hensley (08-1034). Justices Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens dissented.

Will there be less ambiguity regarding the impact on software patents this time around? The FFII-affiliated crowd has already responded to the news:

The article gives a brief summary on the case and some implications form a pro-SwPat perspective. Indeed, in the end there’s somewhat surprising summary of the effects of the ruling: “Thankfully, it does not seem as if Bilski has turned out to be the impediment to patentability that many feared, at least insofar as the Untited States Patent and Trademark Office is concerned. In fact, based on what is going on at the USPTO one could make a convincing argument that it is actually getting easier to obtain patents that relate to software and computer related processes.”

Comments can be found in Slashdot and in popular subscribers-only Linux sites where AstroTurfing is hardly existent. More coverage can be found in:

There will be a lot more overage of this in days to come. If software patents are annulled in the United States, then it probably will eliminate them globally, in due time.

Microsoft’s Search Engine Already Banned by Websense and by China

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 6:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ban

Summary: Lock Up Your Daughters, Bing is Back in Town

Microsoft’s renamed search engine [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] is proven unsafe for children due to very explicit pornographic images and videos. “Bing.com was a sex site in 1995,” remarks Oiaohm. And now it’s being blocked:

i. Websense blocks Bing in IM snafu

Websense users were temporarily blocked from enjoying the launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine on Monday.

ii. China shuts down Twitter and Bing in lead up to Tiananmen anniversary

It’s widely known that China runs a pretty tight ship – to put it mildly – on what its citizens get to see online, especially that content which exists outside of China.

Not quite the spectacular launch Microsoft hoped for, eh?

Easy-LTSP Dumps Mono/C#, Rewritten in Python Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, TomTom, Ubuntu at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pyhton jewel
Python is truly a gem

Summary: An exodus away from Mono or just a coincidence? TomTom case still casts a shadow on Mono’s future

THE PREVIOUS post about Gnote showed that an application can be ported from Mono/C# to another programming language in a matter of weeks (depending on scale, developer/s capacity, and complexity).

An anonymous reader has just alerted us about another such migration, but this one is nothing like a fork. From the OpenSUSE Web site (yes, Novell’s own site):

Easy-LTSP was designed to work on any distribution, but unfortunately it is not integrated anywhere other than openSUSE, discussing with the upstream LTSP developers suggested the slight reservation could be due to it being written in C#. We wanted to add new features to the GUI to take care of all the exciting new development we have in KIWI-LTSP so it was felt that the rewrite will be much better option than to extend the current code, as it is anyway being written from scratch why not use something like Python which would be easier to attract more contributors and increase possibility that users of all distributions running LTSP server can benefit from it inclusion in their prefered distro.

There are perfectly valid reasons to steer away from Mono and one of our contributors added to them in his Web site:

One of the common defenses – a “talking point”, if you will – of mono / moonlight apologists goes something like this:

“Software patents are bad, but are not a problem unique to mono. If you worry about patents in mono, you have to worry about patents in general. And, if you do that, you might as well not even develop software at all. So, don’t worry about mono.”

Variations on this theme abound, here’s just one recent example from the Ubuntu Forums:

using mono is the same as using the linux kernel. there is always a risk for patent infringement since it’s the whole patent system is so broken in america.

This defense of mono has been around for a while, Miguel de Icaza uses it back in 2004, with what I guess he thinks is an especially subtle misrepresentation of the concern:

Not using Mono in any shape or form is not a blank waiver against patents.

[...]

Microsoft suing TomTom has made this a bit of a tricky argument for mono apologists – it was once popular to point out how Microsoft only used their patent portfolio defensively – but it still comes up enough to be worth addressing.

I don’t want to go too far afield – I’m trying to stick to one small point per post and this is already too long – but there is a subtler bit of misinformation here: the implication that if there were no patent issues at all, everyone would be welcoming mono with open arms. I guess they think mono is just that fucking awesome. However, there are countless projects that fail to achieve mainstream acceptance for a host of reasons.

I’ll try to deal with some of those reasons later – thanks for reading!

The TomTom debacle is not a done deal yet because OIN stepped in. Regardless, here is where things stand. It seems to be an accurate description.

MS v Linux: Sparks of the Tom Tom Fire stubbornly refuse to die

In course of the last decade, every once in a while Microsoft has been known to have accused Linux of infringing one of its patents or another. Despite the said multiple claims for years that elements of the open-source operating system violate its patents, Microsoft had restricted itself till 2009 to supporting legal action against Linux (for instance, the infamous alleged funneling of money by Microsoft to SCO so as to fuel the latter’s lawsuits against IBM and other Linux-user companies). Simultaneously with such actions, Microsoft has not restricted either its alliances with the said companies, including its partnerships with Novell and Red Hat.

[...]

However, the settlement is far from successful in calming down the much-agitated open-source legal community, with the legal issues involved being still undecided. In effect, this settlement ends one phase of the community’s response to Microsoft patent aggression and begins another.It may be interesting to note that a continuing litigation will have subjected Microsoft’s patent claims to a rigorous ‘prior art’ search to which the company may have been unwilling.

Given the lessons of TomTom (regarding FAT), Mono is an iffy territory, as a few people projected years ago. What is left for Mono’s legacy then? Well, Gnome-Do’s founder has just been hired by one of the companies most receptive to Mono.

Red Hat Replaces Tomboy with Gnote, Removes Mono Dependency

Posted in Debian, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Mono, Red Hat at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red hat

Summary: Fedora 12 will have Gnote, not Tomboy, thereby eliminating that monkey (mono) tail which falls off too

IT HAS finally happened. Red Hat had already removed Mono from the Live CD of Fedora 10 and recently it spoke about substituting Tomboy with Gnote. Red Hat, unlike Debian for example, minds the risk of patents. From talk comes fruition, so Gnote, which has already entered Fedora, will also be there by default in the near future.

I have now changed the default panel configuration in F12 to include gnote instead of tomboy, and changed comps to make gnote default and tomboy optional.

This won’t replace tomboy in existing installations, but new installations will get gnote instead of tomboy.

This also means that gnote should show up on the live cd (where we excluded tomboy previously, due to no space for mono).

Some things are still needed for a 100% smooth experience:
- pick up existing tomboy notes (less urgent now, since we do not replace tomboy…)
- don’t show the ‘start here’ note initially

This means that Fedora rids itself from the Mono dependant in its implementation of GNOME.

Gnote is installed by default in GNOME for this release replacing Tomboy. Gnote is a port of Tomboy from Mono to C++ and consumes less resources. Gnote is both an applet that can sit in your GNOME panel as well as a individual application you can run within other desktop environments. Fedora Desktop Live CD excluded Mono in the last releases due to lack of space. Gnote will be installed by default in the Live CD as well in this release. Tomboy is still available as a optional alternative. If you are upgrading from the previous release you will not be migrated to Gnote and will continue to have Tomboy. It is easy to migrate to Gnote however as it shares the file format. This migration is not automatic. You can copy the notes from Tomboy to Gnote using the following command in your home directory

The developer of Gnote, Hubert, has already moved to Fedora and there is prior coverage of this news right here (the information was shared in Twitter half a day ago).

Redhat/Fedora drops Mono

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I am heartily encouraged by this small snippet of news I picked up via Twitter this afternoon (thanks Roy)

This is a major milestone in the ongoing eradication of Mono as a dependency in GNU/Linux distributions. To put it bluntly, Mono is trouble.

More Suspicious Moves from ASUS

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Windows at 4:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dual CPU motherboard

Summary: ASUS suddenly abandons Android plans, despite developing and displaying a complete product

ASUS joining forces with Microsoft is a subject that we last covered a few days ago. ASUS might already suffer as a consequence of getting "closely tied up with Microsoft." It truly shows. Kickbacks are a short-term investment.

“Pointing to Steve Ballmer, it opined that Microsoft did some work behind the scenes in order to abolish takers of Android.”Now, watch this from today’s news: “A day after an Asustek Eee PC running Google’s Android operating system was shown at Computex Taipei, top executives from the company said the project will be put on the backburner for now.

So why did they display it? Why was it developed? Was this sudden change of heart part of a bribery marketing deal stating that they should abolish Linux-related projects? A few months ago, Roughly Drafted Magazine asked similar questions. Pointing to Steve Ballmer, it opined that Microsoft did some work behind the scenes in order to abolish takers of Android. It sometimes boils down to polite intimidation. As many OEMs are dependent on a level (or volume) of Windows licences, Microsoft wields a lot of power through a form of blackmail. It can manipulate margins and costs based on relationships and thus control the behaviour of hardware makers. This type of power is why so many OEMs are desperate to escape this potentially-abusive reliance on Microsoft. That is a fact they occasionally state openly.

Here are some newer facts about the anti-GNU/Linux campaign from ASUS:

…despite the first flurry of rumors that the campaign was a hoax, Asus has admitted that the campaign is legitimate. In a way, the news is a relief. For those of us who have looked askance at Microsoft’s sponsoring of open source conferences and efforts to create its own open source ecosystem, the It’s Better with Windows site is a return to the familiar. At least when Microsoft is spinning half-truths about free and open source software (FOSS), you can be in no doubt where everybody stands.

The site is very much a classic piece of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), the likes of which we may never see again as Microsoft becomes more subtle in its struggle to survive in a market where FOSS is a player.

There are still plenty of reactions out there. From Alan Lord for example:

This whole thing reminds me of the stupid and cringe-worthy adverts you see in the press where Vendor X says that they “Recommend Proprietary OS Home Premium”. Do they hell. Do you think they really believe that? Or do you think they have been given incentives to say so? I often wonder if there could be a case here with the Trades Description Act (if that still exists). IANAL so don’t really know but it seems as though many vendors’ adverts are not being totally honest when they make these recommendations. It’s bloody obvious they are being paid in some form or another to say that.

Alan is absolutely correct when he says that Microsoft may be “‘buying-off’ Linux netbook vendors.” What he might not know yet is that there is solid proof that “Vendor recommends Windows” is nothing but an advertisement which Microsoft pays a lot of money for. It’s highly likely that the attacks from ASUS fall under the same tactical category.

How KDE Defeated DRM (and What Linux Might Do Next)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, KDE, Kernel, Tivoization at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DRM Apple
Digital Restrictions, Meh

Summary: KDE’s lesson in maintaining Freedom and defending data accessibility at the same time

YESTERDAY WE WROTE about Linux pondering DRM, having already let in TPM or something that's akin to Tivoization. Some of us at Boycott Novell hold the belief that this is counter-productive for users who perceive GNU/Linux as a free (libre) operating system that respects its users by putting rights and trust in the hands of these users.

Aaron Seigo from the KDE project has just dispatched this encouraging post which revealed how they handled the growing plague of document DRM. From the opening paragraphs:

Jonathan Corbet wrote a piece on LWN about Okular and it’s implementation of user permission restrictions in PDFs (sometimes errantly refered to as “DRM”). This is actually something it has done since it was KPDF back in KDE 3. Obviously, permissions in PDFs are a generally misguided attempt at protecting the agenda of a publisher in a demonstrably ineffective way that comes at a cost to things like the concepts of fair use.

So what’s up with Okular having support for permissions? It’s quite simple: not only is permissions in the PDF spec, but there are organizations in the world who, for contractual or legal reasons, require permissions in PDFs be respected.

Do we simply not serve those users needs? Do we “know better” for the user who says “I want to accept the terms of the publisher of this document”? Of course not; that’s rather user unfriendly in itself.

So the strategy adopted was quite simple: make it an option that the user may choose to abide by the permissions flags in a PDF or not.

If a Linux authority ever insists on support for DRM*, then maybe developers can provide people with a similar option to that which KDE offers. Novell’s Go-OO developers take it a step further.

While on this important subject of Linux and Freedom, what is the consequence this new post from Jim Zemlin?

Canola Project’s GPLv3 Permissions are Worth a Look

[...]

The foundation and its members all believe that licensing choice is ultimately up to the developers and owners of a project. We are concerned, however, with whether the language of popular licenses is legally clear, and also with the fact that having too many licenses and license variations can become confusing.

Regardless of where you come down on the debate as to whether these permissions should be granted, it is clear that this language is effective and that its consistent use will be helpful for those projects and developers that DO wish to provide a similar exception to the GPLv3.

IBM is a little scared of Freedom (and by inference the GPLv3). It refuses to talk about elimination of software patents because it favours them and it is also a (or the) major force in the Linux Foundation and OIN, based on the respective portfolio. Under sufficient pressure from users IBM et al will need to readjust (or face negative impact on PR).

The GNU GPLv3 gains acceptance

______
* Linus Torvalds says he likes Tivoization, but he is glad to see music DRM fading at the same time. Some call it a contradiction.

Site Filtering and Ethical Advertising

Posted in FSF, Site News at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell cloud

Summary: Loads of requests have been blocked for the past two weeks and connectivity issues caused due to an overly aggressive firewall (there are still zombies knocking on the Web site every now and then, so it’s better to serve poorly than not to serve anything at all due to downtime); We also adopt ethical means for paying the hosting bills from now on

MANY readers have said that they experienced issues accessing this Web site since the DDoS attacks began. Our Web host has just changed the settings in such a way so that not so many legitimate visitors will be treated as suspect zombie PCs that still hammer on the server. On top of that we also have smear campaigns and mod-bombing campaigns against us, but we won’t draw attention to these. Those who still experience issues can hopefully pop into IRC and let us know about it because if disruption persists, then opposers of this Web site will get their way.

The more important news is that Google ads are gone for good. They were used only to pay the old Web host and Google was assigning proprietary software ads to pages (it’s beyond our control), which did a bit of harm. We now advertise with AdBard, whose official launch has just been announced in the form of an FSF endorsement (as per the press release below).


FSF welcomes AdBard network for free software advertising

The Free Software Community now has an ethical alternative to ad networks that promote proprietary software

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Tuesday June 2, 2009 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today welcomed the launch of AdBard a new advertising network for technology based websites based upon the promotion of Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) friendly products and services.

The AdBard Network has been created by Tag1 Consulting to serve websites dedicated to free software ideals, helping them connect with companies selling products and services targeting a FLOSS audience. AdBard solves the problem that more generic advertising has led to the display of proprietary software products on sites that otherwise promote computer user freedom.

“The Free Software Community now has an ethical alternative to ad networks that promote proprietary software” said Peter Brown, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation. “This is a huge win for many of the sites that serve our community. And we wish AdBard and the websites that display AdBard adverts every success. We also hope this will inspire other ad networks to adopt similar policies.”

“AdBard is a great way for advertisers and publishers in the free software community to come together and help grow the free software services market.” said Jeremy Andrew, CEO of Tag1.

The FSF receives no money from AdBard and has no financial interest in Tag1 Consulting, but is making this announcement to help the advertising-supported web sites in the free software community to stop legitimizing proprietary software by advertising it.

Websites already using AdBard include http://Kerneltrap.org, http://Libre.FM and http://BoycottNovell.com. For a complete list visit http://adbard.net/adbard/websites.

Advertisers can find out more by visiting http://adbard.net/advertise.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Tag1 Consulting, Inc.

Tag1 Consulting, Inc. is a distinguished professional consulting company headquartered in sunny Florida, with an international presence providing computer consulting services worldwide. Tag1 focuses on performance and scalability consulting of GNU/Linux and *BSD, using Apache, PHP, MySQL and PostgreSQL, specializing on Drupal performance. For more information visit www.tag1consulting.com.

Media Contact

Matt Lee Campaigns Manager Free Software Foundation
PHONE +1 (617) 542 5942 x25 campaigns@fsf.org

Links 02/06/2009: More ARMs, Preview of Ubuntu 9.10

Posted in News Roundup at 2:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Myth of the Freeloading User

    As I started to give him directions, I looked down at the package he held, curiosity getting the better of me. Among all of the official print and biohazard warnings, were the words “Live Animals: Leeches.” Given that I was sitting in the lobby of a moden health care facility in the early part of the 21st Century, this was a delivery I certainly wasn’t expecting.

    Since then, I have learned that, indeed, leeches are often used in medical techniques, particularly where surgeons and physicians need a patent’s blood to not clot. They provide a natural, low-impact method to prevent coalguation… so even if the “ick” factor is really high, leeches still have a valued use in today’s medicine.

    It’s with this bit of knowledge that I approach the whole “leeches” in open source meme that’s been floating around of late.

  • Windows 7 vs Linux: Can there be a game now?

    The Linux distros and admirers have made difference in mainly three areas:

    1. Maximum use of all the resources (memory and physical space)
    2. Have kept security tightened with no virus and no considerable security loophole
    3. open source.

  • Fedora 11 Podcast Series #5 – Presto with Jonathan Dieter

    Presto! Wow, what just happened? Was that a magic trick? Well there is no magic trick here today, but what we do have is the latest in the Fedora 11 Podcast Series, an Interview with Fedora Contributor Jonathan Dieter on one of the coolest new features on Fedora 11 – presto!

  • A Huge Update To Phoronix Test Suite 2.0

    It has only been one week since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 Alpha 2, but we happen to be ahead of schedule on the third (and possibly the final) alpha release for 2.0 Sandtorg. In the past eight days there has actually been a very large number of changes to the Phoronix Test Suite, both to pts-core and the included test profiles and suites.

    [...]

    The latest release of the Phoronix Test Suite can be downloaded at Phoronix-Test-Suite.com. While most of the work for this open-source benchmarking software is done on Linux, the Phoronix Test Suite is also compatible with Mac OS X, BSD, and OpenSolaris operating systems.

  • Applications

    • LGP Adds Downloads and Rentals

      The Linux Game Publishing blog was updated today:

      A lot of you asked for the ability to download games.

      We have listened and created the reseller download system.

      From today all resellers will be able to sell downloadable copies of LGP games, and these will be cheaper than boxed copies. LGP is not selling downloadable versions directly, as to do so would seriously damage the ability of the reseller chain to compete meaningfully.

    • Write Your Own Novelties

      Some people has the talent to write good stories. Probably most uses only a paper and a pen for this task. However, if you are searching for a respective tool, I maybe have another solution: Storybook!

  • Distributions/Ubuntu

    • Karmic Desktop UDS run-down!

      Overall it is gearing up to be a pretty radical and exciting release; there are some changes to the default application set as well as some major version upgrades of existing core components. We are trying to be fairly aggressive in terms of new stuff so that if Canonical wants Karmic+1 to be an LTS (Long Term Support) release, we can have fairly stabilized new technologies by then (thanks to 6 months of stabilization in the Karmic cycle) instead of having to wait until after the LTS (Karmic+2) to introduce them. Since many of these changes would be too radical to first appear in an LTS, if we don’t upgrade now we may not be able to for a year, and have to maintain old versions for 3-5 years in the LTS.

    • A slick looking desktop is possible on Ubuntu!

      Looking good is important for an OS — Mac OS would be a lot less cool if it wouldn’t be considered so well designed — and I think that this is where Linux stays behind. There are a lot of terribly awesome pieces of art out there on the Internet, but they aren’t always that easy to find. For example: the place to be for a good wallpaper is of course deviantART, but you have to know about it’s existence. If you want a good looking theme, go to GNOME-Look.org. There are loads and loads of elements, window borders and, the hardest part to make, icons.

    • Ubuntu Server: Lean, mean, cloud-making machine

      Ubuntu Server is a fast, free, no-frills Linux distribution that fills a niche between utilitarian Debian and the GUI-driven and, some would argue, over-featured Novell SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Eee PC running Android seen at Computex

      An ASUS Eee PC prototype with a Snapdragon chip-set and running the open source Android operating system has been sighted at Computex Taipei, the Taiwan trade show. Qualcomm refers to designs using the ARM based Snapdragon chip-set as ‘smartbooks’ and expects to see Snapdragon based smartbook devices available in Autumn 2009. The chip-set/smartbook specification lists 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, 3D graphics, Bluetooth and GPS among its defining features.

    • Is Windows killing the Netbook?

      The biggest help for the true netbooks however will come from ARM and Linux.

    • Via subsidiary unveils ARM SoC

      Via subsidiary WonderMedia Technologies has announced an ARM9-based system-on-chip (SoC) aimed at “smartbooks,” digital picture frames, media players, and other devices. The Prizm 8510 includes an ARM926EJ-S core, a programmable digital signal processor (DSP), gigabit Ethernet, and a wide variety of interfaces, WonderMedia says.

    • Linux development platform supports Atom

      MontaVista Software announced a Market Specific Distribution (MSD) of MontaVista Linux 6 based on the Linux-based, Intel-backed Moblin v2 stack (pictured). The MSD will support development of embedded applications using Moblin on a variety of Intel Atom-based devices, says the company.

    • Acer may be first with Android netbook

      Acer plans to launch a version of its Aspire One netbook with Google’s Android mobile operating system in the third quarter of this year, a top executive at the company said Tuesday.

    • Smartbooks: Blurring The Line Between Smartphone And Netbook

      Some companies like Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) and Nvidia are going one better than netbooks when it comes to power savings and small form factors for mobile computing. These devices will use chips based on the ARM architecture instead of the current chip favored by netbooks, the Intel Atom. ARM should be a name familiar to you as it is the chip that powers most of the smartphones currently available, including those running Android, Windows Mobile and the iPhone.

    • Canonical Delivers Next Generation of Ubuntu for Intel-Powered Classmate PCs

      Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Intel Corporation to deliver Ubuntu as an operating system for the Intel-powered classmate PCs.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Scientific Software Wants To Be Free

    A consequence of this is that as software moves ever-closer to the heart of the scientific process, so the need to release that code under free software licences increases. First, so that others can examine it for flaws and/or reproduce the results it produces. And secondly, so that other scientists can build on that code, just as they build on its results. In other words, it is becoming evident that open source is indispensable for *all* science, and not just the kind that proudly preclaims itself open.

  • Blender’s New Version Has Many 3D Modeling Improvements

    Blender, an open source 3D modeling application so powerful it has been used to create high-quality, full-length animated films, is out in a new version 2.49. The announcement of the new version is here, including details on many significant new improvements. Among other things, it looks like developers are paying a lot more attention to video capabilities, which could make Blender a bigger player in movies and online video offerings.

  • BeyeNETWORK Introduces New Research Focusing on Open Source Business Intelligence Reporting Adoption and Usage

    BeyeNETWORK™ announces the release of its latest research report: An Adoption and Usage Survey: Open Source Business Intelligence and Reporting. Written by internationally known expert Josep Curto Diaz, this paper includes the results of a BeyeNETWORK survey about the different stages of adoption and usage of open source technologies and describes the current stages of implementation of business intelligence, open source and open source business intelligence products and solutions.

  • Hadoop-Centric Cloudera Gets $6 Million in Series B Funding

    As GigaOm reports: “Cloudera, a Burlingame, Calif.-based start-up that is building commercial services around open source software framework Hadoop, has closed $6 million in Series B funding, bringing the total raised by the company to $11 million.

  • Openness

    • OpenStreetMap adds new translations

      The OpenStreentMap Project has announced that it now has translations in German and partially in French on its main OpenStreetMap site. The project, run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, is an open source project that is building free online maps, not based on any copyright or licensed map data. The project was started in August of 2004 and has become increasingly popular.

    • Open data in local education: broader lessons for government, citizens and NGOs

      Last months I remember reading a couple of news stories about a provincial government ministry in Canada that was forced to become less transparent.

      Forced?

      Yes, this was not a voluntary move. A specific group of people pressured the government, wanting it to remove data it had made public as well as make it harder for the public to repurpose and make use of the data. So what happened? And what lessons should governments, NGOs and citizens take away from this incident.

    • Welcome to Speaking of Medicine!

      Welcome to Speaking of Medicine, the community blog run by the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

      Speaking of Medicine is designed to be an inclusive and informal site for anyone interested in a truly global perspective on the challenges to human health, and the ethical issues and debates arising from the conduct, reporting and publishing of medical research. PLoS Medicine sees open access publishing and its creative potential as crucial to addressing these challenges; like all of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals everything we publish is not only freely available for anyone to read, but for anyone to distribute and re-use, to comment on and rate.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • [whatwg] MPEG-1 subset proposal for HTML5 video codec

      preface: IANAL. This post is meant to briefly describe what we are doing, not to give any legal guidance or opinions. It is not meant to be authoritative, please look at the source code if you want to verify these things yourself.
      We are using H.264 in Google Chrome, not in Chromium. We do not have the ffmpeg / h.264 related code in chromium (only the header files for ffmpeg), ffmpeg and h.264 related stuff is a complete external dependency loaded at run time. Chromium is the open source project, Google Chrome is the product we build by taking that open source code [chromium] and adding a few things that we don’t make available in chromium (e.g. our artwork, and in this case a binary for ffmpeg / h.264 related stuff that is loaded at run time).

Leftovers

  • High-Court Nominee Mirrors Industry Copyright Stance — Update

    When it comes to financial damages in copyright infringement cases, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor embraces the content industry’s party line.

    The Recording Industry Association of America, which has sued more than 30,000 individuals for file-sharing copyrighted music, routinely seeks hefty monetary awards well beyond the financial losses associated with the pilfered music in question. The same is true with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Business Software Alliance and others content owners suing for copyright infringement.

  • Napster: 10 today, had it survived

    Because Napster II is the disinterred corpse of the former P2P file sharing application which lurches from financial crisis to financial crisis.

    Napster — the original, that is — was built by Shawn Fanning and, had the corporate music dinosaurs been able to extract their heads from their anal orifices, they and Fanning would be bathing in endless streams of cash, and it would now be 10 years old.

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