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06.21.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 21st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:46 pm 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.

Microsoft Uses Sentimental Blackmail, Kickbacks to Promote IE8, Shoves it Down People’s Throats Regardless

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Search at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Internet exploring

Summary: Ultra-aggressive tactics by Microsoft show true determination to restore browser monoculture

Sentimental blackmail is evidently a recurring theme in Microsoft’s business strategy [1, 2, 3] and so are kickbacks, which Microsoft is now offering to people who ditch rival Web browsers.

This move is not so radical considering Microsoft’s search engine bribes [1, 2]. The company is simply trying to buy some market share. Silverlight is another good example of this costly strategy.

Anyway, Microsoft does not get enough from all the tactics above, so there is also a Twitter AstroTurf for IE8 and even this PR trick:

Users looking to take part can travel to Microsoft’s “Browser for the Better” site, and download IE 8. For each download Microsoft will donate $1.15, up to a total of $1M USD.

This is also covered here and here, but it remains clear that it’s the same old IM (Microsoft Messenger) scam where people were sold a “feel good” value in exchange for ditching or avoiding Microsoft’s competition. In this case, it is also sentimental blackmail.

Aggressive marketing, eh?

Well, that ain’t enough for Microsoft. Regardless of this "PR offensive" -- to borrow Nathan Myhrvold's expression — Microsoft is also “pushing IE8 down people’s throats,” to use the words of IDG.

In its effort to get users onto IE8, Microsoft might end up alienating its intended audience instead. For starters, Microsoft pushed out IE8 as a critical security patch via AutoUpdate, which caused some users to install the browser when they didn’t want it. Plus, the standard settings make IE8 the default browser, as has been Microsoft’s custom, so some users not only ended up with a browser they didn’t want, that browser became their default.

Earlier this month we learned that Microsoft was even steering IE6 users away from Yahoo! and Google — pushing them to use Bing instead. This should become an urgent matter for antitrust regulators to handle. Microsoft is, as always, totally out of control. On the Internet — without a doubt — Microsoft is making itself many enemies; Marc Benioff is more outspoken than most and here is his very latest:

Salesforce CEO jabs at Microsoft cloud moves

[...]

Marc Benioff, a former Oracle Corp (ORCL.O) employee who founded Salesforce.com 10 years ago, rarely misses a chance to bash Microsoft as he spreads his gospel of cutting out software installed on users’ computers and getting companies to use applications over the web.

“We are all about no software and they are all about software,” Benioff said at a lunch in Seattle, when asked about Microsoft. “We are all about creating a whole new movement of cloud computing to move companies away from Microsoft’s proprietary technology and monopolistic business practices.”

“Monopolistic business practices” indeed.

Reports from ODF Plugfest, the Netherlands

Posted in Europe, OpenDocument, Standard at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dutch flag

Summary: Dutch meeting promotes the use of the only interoperable document standard

ODF Plugfest at The Hague

The Dutch government program, Netherlands in Open Connection, and the OpenDoc Society cosponsored the two-day ODF “plugfest” at the Royal Library in The Hague, 15-16 June 2009, where vendors and open source projects were able to test ODF capabilities with each other in real-world, collaborative scenarios. OASIS TC chairs, Bart Hanssens, (ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC), and Rob Weir (co-Chair ODF TC), participated and delivered presentations.

Improving Interoperability ODF in Office Applications

Over more than forty organisations and a total of sixty representatives from businesses, public sector organisations, open source projects and research institutions, came together this Monday and Tuesday to improve the interoperability of their office applications on the implementation of the open standard Open Document Format (ODF) during the ODF Interoperability Workshop . The support for ODF as an open standard is required for Dutch government organisations in accordance with the actionplan Netherland Open in Connection . ODF is a modern and flexible exchange format for word processors, spreadsheet programs and presentation programs and offers an alternative to vendor specific file formats.

New ODF Interoperability Initiatives Launched At Dutch Government Workshop (as PDF)

The Hague, June 17, 2009. New ODF interoperability initiatives were unveiled this week at an international conference organized by the Dutch government, which has mandated ODF for reading, writing, exchange and publication of documents and also initiated a requirement to ask for ODF when issuing or renewing IT contracts. The Dutch government program Netherlands in Open Connection (NOiV) and the OpenDoc Society cosponsored the two-day ODF “plugfest” at the Royal Library in The Hague, where vendors and open source projects were able to test their ODF capabilities with each other in real-world, collaborative scenarios.

ODF and the Art of Interoperability

While OOXML-compliant software seems conspicuous by its absence, ODF goes from strength to strength: there is literally no contest between the rival standards in this respect.

BSI: Got Microsoft

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Got Microsoft

Summary: The BSI’s new link to Microsoft is Datawatch, a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner

GROKLAW has caught this very interesting press release. It says:

Datawatch Corporation (NASDAQ-CM: DWCH), a leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM) and BI, today announced the appointment of its Senior Product Manager, Gareth Horton, to the British Standards Institution (BSI) Technical Committee IST/41. As a co-opted expert member of the committee, he has also been nominated to the Working Group (WG4) of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34, which is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of IS29500 (Office Open XML).

Pamela Jones adds: “Co-opted precisely how?”

For those who are new to the scandals of the BSI, see:

To add icing to this little cake, almost exactly a year ago Datawatch announced that it continued to “Cement Partnership with Microsoft.”.

Chelmsford, Mass.—June 25, 2008—Datawatch Corporation (NASDAQ-CM: DWCH), a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and leading provider of solutions to the Enterprise Information Management market, announces several significant achievements and activities regarding its partnership with Microsoft.

Microsoft Certified Gold Partner. No conflict of interests there, eh? The BSI has been filled with such conflicts all along. What a fiasco.

Please Don’t Replace the GIMP with F-Spot (Mono)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Ubuntu at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What Microsoft has
What Microsoft has

What Microsoft wants
What Microsoft wants

Summary: Addressing a new danger that the GIMP gets replaced by Mono, by default

A few days ago we wrote about the brand new proposition that GIMP should be removed from the default installation of Ubuntu, the most ubiquitous desktop distribution of GNU/Linux. The justification for this was that a Mono-based application can serve as an acceptable replacement. A closer look reveals that this proposal came from a former Microsoft employee. Here’s a fragment:

# Lead Program Manager at Microsoft
# User Experience Manager at Microsoft

[...]

Usability Engineer, Usability Manager
Microsoft

(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; MSFT; Computer Software industry)

March 1998 — May 2005 (7 years 3 months)

Usability engineer, and later usability manager, for Microsoft’s Visual Studio family of products. Lead user centered design efforts across the suite of of developer tools.

“Visual Studio,” eh? A good deal of Mono hype tends to come from Microsoft employees or pro-Microsoft reporters, as we have shown many times before. Interestingly enough, anti-Linux trolls love to extol the virtues of Mono, which is telling. They just try to spread it.

But why replace the GIMP with .NET/Mono in the first place? F-Spot is hardly suitable as an image editor. There is already opposition to this move.

How to I scale an image in f-spot ? If there’s a way, I have not been able to find it (same for red eyes). How do I annotate an image (putting text somewhere) ?

Yet people ask “Gimp is cool but.. should it belong to LiveCD?” I’ll give you a better question: what should belong to the LiveCD ?

Removing GIMP from the LiveCd fully defeats the showing off purpouse of the LiveCd and lives you without any handy tool to perform basic manipulation on images. Now, it can be just me, but I can’t find anything useful in that regard inside Jaunty’s f-spot.

I can’t see how f-spot belongs to the live cd more than the Gimp. And sure the Gimp UI sucks (at least, I hate it. Not that I love f-spot’s though) but it can take burden of tasks that nothing else provides. Should we leave our users without even basic image manipulation, just like OS X users ? Shouldn’t Ubuntu be better than that ?

Another person wants to remove F-Spot (altogether) from the LiveCD.

We all know that it’s as tight on the LiveCD as a metro during rush hour. It’s almost impossible to fit something else on it, most of the times you’ll have to sacrifice something for it.

Unfortunately localisation of the LiveCDs is something that can’t be supported because of a lack of space. It’s one of the many things that can’t be put on the CD because of a lack of space.

Ubuntu would look a lot more professional if it would actually use the language you selected on boot. Looking professional is essential. In my eyes the LiveCD should show the best what we have to offer. F-Spot isn’t exactly the epitome of supreme look & feel and is useless on the LiveCD since there are no photos to use it with.

The threat of Mono is not just perceived or exaggerated, it is very real and sometimes very explicit. Here is another new article which debunks Mono myths. Like anyone who ‘dares’ to criticise Mono, the author of this article is often attacked viciously rather than his message.

Shields makes a claim that Mono is hundreds of times faster than Python – but offers no benchmarks to back up this incredible claim.

He makes no mention of the fact that Microsoft first tried to corrupt the Java standard and then, and then only, came up with C#. a language similar to Java.

And, above all, he avoids mentioning the fact that .NET is wholly Microsoft technology and therefore the chances that it holds patents on the same is much higher than in the case of any other technology on which it claims to have patents.

Mono is good for Windows, so it is hardly surprising that the Microsoft crowd advances it [1, 2, 3]. It’s time to say “No more”, not “Mono”.

No more

Microsoft’s Nathan Myhrvold on How “to Freeze the Market at the OEM and ISV Level”

Posted in Antitrust, Hardware, HP, IBM, Microsoft, SUN, UNIX at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Blast from the past (via Comes vs Microsoft) shows how Microsoft attacked Sun’s SPARC and UNIX

THIS post presents a revealing memo from Nathan Myhrvold — one that we previously looked at very briefly.

Nathan Myhrvold’s explanation of Microsoft vapourware tactics has been seen since then on numerous occasions because Microsoft presently uses this tactic against GNU/Linux and against ODF [1, 2]. We have a prior court exhibit about it.

“We have already amassed quite a few ‘smoking guns’ from Nathan Myhrvold.”The latest court exhibit is a narrative rather than a rundown though the history of Microsoft vapourware. It was written only by Myhrvold, who is currently Microsoft's main patent troll, which is backed financially by Bill Gates. Gates himself has a patent-trolling firm [1, 2. 3], but this is another story for another day.

We have already amassed quite a few ‘smoking guns’ from Nathan Myhrvold. The list will gradually grow. In today’s exhibit he is shown writing to Bill Gates and Brad Silverberg, who once urged Microsoft to “cut those f*ckers [companies that didn't use Microsoft] off”. We showed what else he had done just a few days ago.

Here is the original exhibit, Exhibit plex_0411_a (1990) [PDF], which is extremely hard to read. We include it as plain text at the bottom and we also summarise some key points below, for those who are too impatient to read the whole thing.

As background, here is an expression of fear, due to Sun’s SPARC

Recent events show that we are in more danger than ever losing the key early ground to SPARC,
which Puts our long term systems business in serious doubt. Compaq is considering SPARC, as well as
friendlier options, and now Olivetti is too.

Myhrvold fears that “Sun will mop the floor up.”

They have a great reputation, but at present their plans are NOT in sync with ours – they are on a mission to clean up in the workstation market – and all signs are showing that if any cleaning is done, Sun will mop the floor up with them.

Compaq (now major part of Hewlett-Packard) was actually leaning towards UNIX at the time:

At present we are paralysed because Compaq is reluctant to take the kind of role that is required to push
our software and combat Sun in a reasonable way. They want to push UNIX (they’ll relent to giving us equal billing, but they will expend major effort in making UNIX successful), they are considering SPARC, and they are considering a number of ********* non-SPARC responses.

Here is Microsoft abusing the word “open” — something that Microsoft does to this very date (against “open source”, which did not exist at the time, not under this particular name/banner anyway).

2. The slogan for the hardware design will be “The First Open System”.

A nice mention of SCO in there (in a few places):

3. The MIPS camp, like the UNIX world as a whole, is divided between OSF and AT&T factions. We will not succeed in unifying this as we once thought, and I do not believe that we should even try. If MIPS and/or SCO offer a product – fine, but it is not a big deal to us and we would NOT expend huge effort to ram a MIPS UNIX standard down anybody’s throat. Oddly enough it is not a big deal to the UNIX market players themselves either – they will pursue their present fractured strategies quite happily.

Here is Myhrvold planning to announce vapourware:

- A major part of the message is that your investment in Windows is safe – we are going to address 32 bits, and beyond that we will address RISC. You can go ahead and ignore Sun and that crap because Windows has all bases covered.

Myhrvold says very explicitly “vapourware” and “PR offensive” (like the "NC is dead" offensive).

The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level, In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement. This time we have a lot better development team, so the time between announce and ship will be a lot smaller. Nevertheless we need to get our message out there.

One might worry that this will help Sun because we will just have vapourware, that people will stop buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but not delivered. After thinking about this, I think that this is emphatically NOT the case:

- We answer the charges of “vaporware” by pointing at Windows, (after all, we are porting it). Windows is shipping a zillion copies an hour and that isn’t vaporware at all. Every Win 3 sold and every new Windows app is a nail in Sun’s coffin. We would go on a PR offensive with exactly that mission. The big news is that now that MIPS will have Windows, and gain all of the momentum that is building – how can Sun survive? So, Scott, do you really think you can fight that avalanche?

He adds:

- The “Osborne effect” is not relevant here. A long term announcement for MIPS based Windows in 92 will NOT freeze the end user market. It is just an endorsement that Windows has a future – it is too far off to hurt immediate sales, and in fact it will help. The original Windows announcement did not hurt Dos sales because people decided to wait for it. The only time when you get into an Osborne effect is when you announce something near term that is a viable alternative.

We certainly do need to follow this announcement with a good demo in 6-8 months when the SDK ships, but preannouncement is going to give Sun a real problem.

“PR campaign” includes analysts, just like Microsoft evangelism so often suggests:

6. We would embark on the PR campaign mentioned above to reinforce the notion that Windows was the desktop API for the next 10 years, just as Dos was for the first 10 years. Sun and others that covet the desktop would have to beat Windows – and who can do that? This should be a real push – analysts, ISVs, etc. We would really go on the offensive about how strong Windows is, and how irrelevant Sun and others are as would be challengers.

Another noteworthy tidbit:

7. One potential sop to IBM would be to announce TWO binary standards for RISC for Win 32 and OS/2 3.0 – MIPS and RIOS. I think that the Austin guys would actually do this, and they would not even be mad about MIPS being the other one because it hurts SPARC so much. If we do this, then we would announce that we will not port to any othe architecture for 3 years (obviously non-binding) to really rub it in that SPARC is out. The way to position this to them is that we’ve seen Sun building steam and we need to support the MIPS world as a generic RISC. Ideally we would do this with a short enough lead time that they couldn’t mess around too long. All we would do is announce a long term statement of direction that the technology would be available ** RIOS – this is safe for them, and it makes Sun look bad, so we could probably make it an easy decision for them.

Some occurrence of the F* word in there is omitted, but here is an ugly one to check out:

First, the goal is NOT to make this machine sell zillions of copies in 1991 – it probably won’t even ship then. What we need to do is announce a long term direction for making high end Windows machines – and freeze Sun out of our OEMs, our ISVs, and from industry perceptions at large.

There is lots more in the full text below, including the following statement: “We would also talk about the OS/2 3.0 kernal that is underneath NT Windows, how it is an industrial strength kernal for servers etc and it will serve advanced desktops etc.”


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex_0411_a, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Links 21/06/2009: A Lot of Progress for Free Software, New Threats to the Web

Posted in News Roundup at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • ZHMICRO Releases the New Linux Visual ’09 IDE for the ZHMICRO Software Development Platform

    HMICRO LLC, a leading provider of enterprise software development tools based on the C++ Software Development Language, today announced availability of the new Linux Visual ’09 IDE (Integrated Development Environment). ZHMICRO has created a familiar but easier way for software development organizations to create Mobile, Desktop, and advanced Enterprise Applications that meet todays cost and time sensitive requirements. This Linux version is the only “Complete” IDE available in the market today and has all the same features and functionality as the Z++ Visual ’09 Windows version. Its features include a built-in Text Editor, Debugger, Compiler, Memory Leak Detection, and many other features that focus on simplifying the software development process allowing Developers greater ease in the creation and building of complete end to end solutions.

  • How old does your hardware go?

    You can also run Linux on PowerPC-vintage Macs. Yellow Dog Linux, which is a Red Hat Linux spin-off, is probably the best Linux for giving your Blue and White Power Mac G3 or later a new life as a Linux desktop. You can also run Linux on 68K Macs, but here you really need to know what you’re doing since there’s little support for these processors. Your best shot at running Linux on an early Mac, Atari, or Amiga is to use the Debian port.

    Of course, you don’t have to run Linux to get useful work out of your old PC. I’m still using CP/M-80 on my KayPro. I do find it amazing though just how much you can get out of ancient hardware though with Linux.

  • More about Moblin on the Nettop (Part 3)

    So, there you have it, a somewhat less than brief overview of the Moblin desktop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Mesa 7.4.3 Brings A Handful Of Fixes

      Mesa 7.4.3 is the latest stable release for this open-source 3D graphics stack and officially it just contains eleven bug fixes. These fixes in Mesa 7.4.3 range from addressing build issues to GLSL pre-processor bugs to a frame-buffer memory leak in the Intel i945/i965 DRI drivers. Below is the official change list.

    • State of sound in Linux not so sorry after all

      Sound in Linux really doesn’t have to be that sorry after all, the distributions just have to get their act together, and stop with all the finger pointing, propaganda, and FUD that is going around, which is only relevant to ancient versions of OSS, if not downright irrelevant or untrue. Let’s stop the madness being perpetrated by the likes of Adobe, PulseAudio propaganda machine, and whoever else out there. Let’s be objective and use the best solutions instead of settling for mediocrity or hack upon hack.

  • Applications

    • Clutter 1.0 Reaches RC1 Milestone

      Clutter, the open-source toolkit designed to develop rich user interfaces with OpenGL and OpenGL ES but without the complexity of programming to such APIs, is nearing version 1.0. This toolkit, which was used to create the very impressive Moblin V2 interface, is backed by Intel and continues to gain steam. Version 0.9.4 was released just this morning, which is serving as the Clutter 1.0.0 Release Candidate 1 build.

    • The Wine development release 1.1.24 is now available.

      What’s new in this release (see below for details):
      – Support for freedesktop file associations.
      – Support for exception handling on 64-bit.
      – Improved ARB shaders.
      – Fixes for the FBO mode.
      – Many listview improvements.
      – Various bug fixes.

  • Distributions

    • Debris 1.8.0/1.8.1/1.8.2 BETA

      Please check up on those “fixes”. Hardware releated issues can only be fixed by me in theory, since I usually lack the hardware to actually test them. for this release I can only vouch for the powernow-nx module.

    • Fedora 11 Provides Glimpse of Future for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

      The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc.-sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration project, has announced the availability of Fedora 11, the latest version of its free open source operating system.

      Fedora 11′s feature set provides improvements in virtualization, including an upgraded interactive console, a redesigned virtual machine guest creation wizard and better security with SELinux support for guests. There are also numerous desktop improvements such as automatic font and content handler installation using PackageKit, better fingerprint reader support, and an updated input method system for supporting international language users.

    • Ubuntu Satanic Store issue cleared up

      OK, I checked into it and I have managed to clear this up. Some kind of mistake occured and the Ubuntu Satanic Edition folks should not have got that letter. I spoke with our trademarks folks and they will be sending them an explicit trademark license as their merch is clearly under parody, which we are indeed cool about in the trademark license. Rock on!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MS steps on a Snapdragon

      That brings us back to the Asus and what was billed as the best netbook/smartbook of the show. You have a company that kicked off the netbook craze two years ago with the Eee, an OS that is not only MS free, but Linux based as well, and a chipmaker that actually delivers product. The buzz was growing at Computex, and that would create a PR disaster for MS.

      So it went away. No really, it went *POOF* in the middle of the show. No explanation, no excuses, just that it was there one day, and gone the next. PR disaster averted for Redmond, phew.

    • The Truth Behind the Death of Linux On the Netbook

Free Software/Open Source

  • Making sales and savings with open source-derived software

    Indeed, during Red Hat’s recent EMEA Partner Summit in Malta, the momentum and health of the open source partner community was evident with more than 400 partner delegates from 38 countries, including not only representatives from vendor partners such as HP and IBM, but from 1,700 smaller partners from around Europe.

  • Opennet offers SMB-focussed open source support packages

    Opennet Middle East and Africa, the master distributor and authorised Certified Training Centre of Red Hat Linux products for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has announced the availability of new open source support packages targeted specifically at the SMB sector.

  • Deploying Free or Open Source Software in the SMB

    OpenOffice 3.0 Released to Rave Reviews was written late last year, and OpenOffice 3.1 has since been released. However, the earlier blog does provide some important background for those who have not heard of it. Of course, productivity software is more than just Office suites, and I also suggested a possible replacement for Adobe’s PDF Reader in A Free Alternative to Adobe Reader.

    Finally, folks facing strong resistance towards change in their SMBs might want to consider settling for a partial or gradual switch. Find out more about this idea in Do a Partial Switch to Open Source Solution.

  • RBC Capital Markets Taps Open Source Platform for Fixed Income Applications

    RBC’s project is also another sign that open source technology is gaining traction on Wall Street in the wake of the credit crisis. Cash-strapped investment banks that have slashed their IT staffs can use open source solutions — with their free code and worldwide communities of developers — to build applications with shared components. In fact analysts are beginning to suggest that brokerage firms look beyond the buy-versus-build paradigm or outsourced solutions and consider open source code as a third alternative to reduce software development costs.

  • Healthcare

    • AMA Adopts Policies on EHR Subsidies, Security, Open-Source Systems

      AMA delegates also called for the organization to support policies that increase the availability and affordability of open-source EHR systems (Modern Healthcare, 6/17).

    • Open Source EHRs Set to Grow

      On the surface, open source technology seems questionable — software engineers finagling with code and cobbling together a system that constantly evolves from countless minds. In reality, open source is a viable option for HIT, and its ability to retool and reshape rapidly may prove beneficial as new technologies and health care innovations emerge.

    • CCHIT proposes three certification paths

      Some of the impetus for change stems from the open-source community. Leavitt said feedback from a CCHIT-hosted forum in April showed open-source developers are concerned with the cost of certification. As for meeting all of CCHIT’s criteria, open-source developers run into licensing issues when they attempt to include certain code sets, Leavitt added.

  • Ogg

    • Open Letter to Mozilla Regarding Their Use of HTML5 Video

      Simply put, “Video for everybody” uses the <video> tag if your browser supports it, using OGG video. If your browser does not support it, it falls back to Flash. Is Flash not supported either? QuickTime will be used (which allows playback on the iPhone). Don’t have QuickTime either? Internet Explorer in Windows Vista and up will switch to Windows Media Player.

    • [whatwg] Google’s use of FFmpeg in Chromium and Chrome

      Saving a megabyte here and there is less important than having a video format that is free and open for all to use. Dailymotion.com has understood this and their recent offerings using <video> and Ogg Theora is laudable [1]. This was exactly what I’ve been hoping for, and arguing for, since the <video> element was proposed [2][3].

      [1] http://blog.dailymotion.com/2009/05/27/watch-videowithout-flash/
      [2] http://people.opera.com/howcome/2007/video/
      [3] http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5545573096553082541

      At Google, you have a unique opportunity to be part of this. You have the video clips, the disks, the processing power, and the talent to launch a service that will firmly establish <video> and Ogg Theora as the video solution for the web.

      However, it seems that Google doesn’t care much for having a free and open video format. Most of the bits you put out on the web are in patent-encumbered formats, and this doesn’t seem to bother you. Rather, you promote patent-encumbered formats in your new experimental service [4].

  • Business

    • MySQL Creators Move to Keep MySQL Open

      MySQL originator Monty Widenius and Percona CEO Peter Zaitsev have recently formed the Open Database Alliance (ODA) , a vendor-neutral consortium that aims to become a hub for the MySQL open source database community and its associated eco system. The ODA said it is also seeking to be a forum for derivative code, binaries, training and support.

    • OrangeHRM Releases Version 2.4.2 of Open Source HRM

      In the past, when installing OrangeHRM, its installer creates the required MySQL database. For this, OrangeHRM requires MySQL administrator user details.

    • Zimory Adds to Open Source-Powered Cloud Tools

      The idea of the “cloud” is all about offering distributed computing resources. Yet simply offering resources is not enough — there is a real need for management and control, too.

  • Funding

    • Lucid Imagination scares up funds for open-source search software

      Lucid Imagination, maker of open-source search software tailored to enterprise applications, has added undisclosed funds from In-Q-Tel to its first round of capital. It had previously raised $6 million in the round from Granite Ventures and Walden International, according to VentureWire.

    • In-Q-Tel embraces open-source search

      Lucid, of San Mateo, Calif., will use the funding to develop applications around Lucene and Solr and build the infrastructure to support customers in the intelligence community. The amount of funding from In-Q-Tel was not disclosed. Since September 2008, Lucid has raised $6.2 million in venture capital, including the money from In-Q-Tel.

  • FSF/GNU

    • We speak about Free Software

      Free Software is often referred to as “Open Source.” This is a result of an attempt by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to create a marketing campaign for Free Software.

      The OSI set out to maintain the integrity of the movement and prevent abuse by proprietary vendors by introducing “Open Source” as a trademark for Free Software; but this initiative failed.

  • Releases

    • Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition 5.2 Released

      Liferay, Inc., recently announced the availability of the next major release of Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition (EE), the commercial subscription to its award-winning open source portal software. Enterprise customers are using Liferay Portal EE to build flexible, cost-effective business solutions, leveraging open source innovation with the reliability of a long-term subscription model.

    • OpenSplice DDS: Interoperable and Open Source!

      Following up the successful multi-vendor interoperability demonstration performed at the latest OMG Technical Meeting in March 2009, PrismTech is releasing today, as part of OpenSplice DDS v4.1.1, the first and only Open Source implementation of the OMG DDS Interoperability Wire Protocol.

  • Government

    • Mayor’s keynote calls on city, open sourcers to do more

      Sitting in this morning at Open Source Bridge, one of two new open source conferences in Portland this year. I’ll aim to spend most of the day here, but need to write Sunday’s feature, too, so may duck out at some po

    • Open source information sharing system for mobile devices offers potential for pandemic alert system

      The US-based Academy for Educational Development (AED) is responding to this need with its GATHER system, a technology platform designed to address data collection and information-sharing challenges across all development sectors. GATHER is a collection of software programs that work together in one package on cell phones, PDAs, and other mobile computing devices.

    • Swiss Users Stand Up For Open Source

      The French-speaking Lemanique area around Geneva and Lausanne may seem like a quiet and sleepy backwater, but on 3rd June, open source developers and users gathered there to show, to a much wider audience, some of the interesting solutions open source software has provided within Switzerland.

  • GIS

    • Geomajas.org to Unveil Version 1.4.0 Of Open Source GIS Software

      A team of expert GIS developers from Belgium have released today Geomajas version 1.4.0. This new version is the stable release of version 1.3.0, announced in September 2008. Geomajas is the open source GIS software enabling geographical editing and support for complex relation models in the web browser.

    • The open source geospatial BI components GeoMondrian and Spatialytics are available!

      After the release of a new version of its open source spatial ETL tool, GeoKettle yesterday (please see the announcement for more details), the GeoSOA research group at Laval University, Quebec, Canada is proud to announce the availibility as new open source projects of GeoMondrian, the first implementation of a Spatial OLAP (SOLAP) server and Spatialytics, a lightweight cartographic component which enables navigation in SOLAP data cubes. GeoKettle, GeoMondrian and Spatialytics are components of the complete geospatial BI (Business Intelligence) software stack developed by the GeoSOA research group.

    • Event: ‘Open Source GIS UK Conference’

      First Open Source GIS UK Conference, CGS, University of Nottingham
      The Centre for Geospatial Science of the University of Nottingham, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (UK Chapter), ICA Working Group on Open Source Geospatial Technologies, SOSoRNET and Open Knowledge Foundation are organizing the First Open Source GIS UK Conference on 22nd June (Monday), 2009 at the University of Nottingham.

  • Events

    • OpenSource World Unlocks the Word on Keynote Speakers

      The OpenSource World conference — previously known as LinuxWorld — is fast approaching — it convenes in San Francisco from August 12 – 13, showcasing everything Open Source and more. Conference organizers this week drew back the curtain on one of the conference’s main attractions, its keynote speakers, and the lineup promises to be an interesting listen.

    • Linux Plumbers Conf 2009 proposals

      The Linux Plumbers Conference 2009 is now accepting proposal submissions. Proposals can be edited and created until Monday 22 June 2009 PDT (7 AM Tuesday June 22 2009 GMT).

Leftovers

  • ISP spying begins in UK, as Universal, Virgin ink a deal

    (I would have described “unauthorized downloading” as “piracy,” for the sake of simplicity, but a forthcoming book by William Patry convinces me that words matter, and that “piracy” is the wrong metaphor.)

    [...]

    There’s nothing innovative about making ISPs into police dogs for the copyright industry.

  • Porn-filtering software: It’s up to users

    Computer makers are required to include a government-sponsored porn-filtering software but it is up to buyers to decide whether they want to use it, an official said yesterday.

  • Government Introduces Bill To Require Surveillance Capabilities, Mandated Subscriber Disclosure

    As expected, the Government has taken another shot at lawful access legislation today, introducing a legislative package called the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act that would require mandated surveillance capabilities at Canadian ISPs, force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address, and grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data. Although I can only go on government releases (here, here), the approach appears to be very similar to the Liberal lawful access bill of 2005 that died on the order paper (my comments on that bill here) [update: Bill C-46 and C-47]. It is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing. It represents a reneging of a commitment from the previous Public Safety Minister on court oversight and will embed broad new surveillance capabilities in the Canadian Internet.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 03 (2004)

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

SCO, Microsoft, Novell, and Other News from Utah

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Licence plate from Utah

Summary: A bundle of SCO news with some interpretation

SEVERAL days ago, SCO was temporarily rescued by a entity with connections to Microsoft [1, 2]. SCO may be rescued from immediate liquidation, but it remains to be seen if the plans are followed through. Either way, SCO might not die quite so quickly after all [1, 2]. Here is a quick summary of SCO news that we haven’t covered yet.

The Register gets around to writing about SCO’s rescue. The article comes from one of the publication’s better reporters, who concludes with:

An appointed bankruptcy trustee recently asked permission to dissolve SCO under Chapter 7, saying the company has “no reasonable chance of rehabilitation.” That is, unless it somehow miraculously came up with the cash to pay off its debts. And oh how we scoffed at the very idea.

It seems SCO’s uncanny survival will now be decided at the new hearing set for July 16, or the backup date July 27.

Ken Jennings from LinuxToday calls this whole thing the “Price of FUD”, correctly remarking that:

Wasn’t SCO’s earlier asking price around 5million? Now I see it’s down to 2.4 million. Wake me when it’s 25 cents, so I can put in my bid.

Remember $100 million? A lot has changed since then.

Stephen Norris has come to SCO’s rescue before. Last year, IT Business Edge blogger Lora Bentley reported that a group led by Stephen Norris Capital Partners gave SCO a $100 million infusion to rescue it from Chapter 11.

Groklaw pokes fun at this attempts from SCO to keep its head above water.

Here’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols on ComputerWorld on SCO rising from the dead. We’ll see. I’d describe it more like keeping the patient on life support, while hoping for a cure. The plan hasn’t been approved yet, y’all.

[...]

So is Unix heading to Iraq? Google is your friend. Nothing SCO does surprises me any more, though, not even yesterday’s events. In fact, privately I predicted to several Groklaw folks that this is more or less the kind of thing I thought they’d try. SCO never gives up. The judge seemed surprised, calling it a Perry Mason moment. But that’s because he doesn’t know SCO like we do.

Over in Germany, Heise has more than a single report about the subject, which it summarises thusly:

In yet another bizarre twist in the interminable legal dispute over source code allegedly illegally copied from UNIX System V into Linux, the SCO Group, which claims ownership of the disputed code, has secured a last-gasp reprieve from the threat of liquidation. Immediately before the crucial liquidation hearing in the bankruptcy court, SCO CEO Darl McBride signed an agreement with a company by the name of Gulf Capital Partners, backed by well-known investor Stephen Norris. Caught out by the surprise development, all parties have agreed to postpone the liquidation hearing until the 16th or the 27th of July.

Groklaw shows that SCO Germany has lost its CEO. SCO is actually a very small company at this stage, so overseas branches almost seem like a misfit, a legacy. SCO even gets fined in Germany for slander.

There is an unconfirmed claim that SCO will pass its assets to another company to operate under a different name. The sale of UNIX assets is neither a done deal yet nor is it an escape from Chapter 7, but it sure seems like a good route for procrastination, no matter the eventual outcome. SCO has nothing to lose when it’s all just paperwork.

Only moments before a hearing at which SCO would have faced conversion to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the company signed a deal to sell off its UNIX assets. This last-minute act of desperation could potentially allow SCO to delay its demise.

Groklaw is not even sure who the proposed buyer is. It’s all very opaque, as it has always been [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

There are some media reports on the SCO cliff hanger bankruptcy hearing on Monday. The more information that comes in, the less clear I am on exactly who the actual proposed buyer is. I’ll show you why.

According to this new report, Microsoft makes another little move into Utah.

If you’re in the market for a software development job, you might want to head to Utah County. Microsoft Corp. is hiring. The software giant, based in Redmond, Wash., announced Wednesday that the company will occupy space at Thanksgiving Park in Lehi beginning in August and will eventually hire about 100 information technology professionals.

Microsoft relocated to Utah some months ago (despite layoffs in other areas) while Novell offshores Utah staff. A Novell-centric agenda was suspected at the time of this move from Microsoft, but it is probably much of a stretch and too far fetched. On the other hand, regarding the report above, Pamela Jones writes: “If SCO’s deal doesn’t happen, maybe the 62 employees left at SCO could find work with Microsoft.”

We previously saw how Microsoft rewards people who attack ODF and/or GNU/Linux by offering them jobs [1, 2]. It is a sophisticated form of bribery where action precedes the payment.

In other SCO-related news, some articles about the Psystar case note its similarity to the SCO case. See for example:

i. Apple accuses Psystar of hiding behind bankruptcy

The Cupertino, California firm goes so far as to draw parallels between Psystar and the fate of infamous software house SCO Group. Known for using lawsuits against Linux-dependent companies over UNIX rights disputes as part of its business model in later years, it’s linked to Psystar through its approach to bankruptcy: when it lost its lawsuit against Novell and was ordered to pay money on UNIX licensing, SCO purportedly used bankruptcy and the resulting stay as a defensive measure to fend off the requests for money. Novell eventually had the stay lifted — a precedent which Apple is keen to take advantage of in its own case.

ii. Psystar owes Apple $75,000 while Apple moves to lift stay (Updated)

Apple compared the tactics to those of the SCO Group in its attempts to avoid paying Novell money owed based on UNIX licensing, painting Psystar president Rudy Pedraza as the Darl McBride of Mac cloners. Apple noted that the automatic stay was lifted in that similar situation.

iii. Apple seeks go-ahead for action against Psystar

Interestingly, Apple cites proceedings between Novell and SCO as a precedent. Novell obtained a summary judgement that it was entitled to copyright royalties from SCO, but before the case was tried SCO filed for bankruptcy.

Any more information about SCO would be welcome.

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