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06.23.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 23rd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 23/06/2009: Palm Open Source Portal, StarOffice Gets Arabic

Posted in News Roundup at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Why I Use Linux: Bart’s Story

      I have even convinced 4 co-workers that were fed up with all the viruses and problems into switching and once I got them installed and set up, they just love their new virus free machines. I agree with you 100% that Linux is ready for the desktop but Microsoft has a huge advantage that 95% of the computers sold come with Windows by default and that is hard to battle. We will just have to keep chipping away 1 new user at a time.

    • Easily run Windows apps on Linux with CrossOver Linux 8

      CrossOver Linux 8 is built on top of the open-source project Wine. This is an implementation of the Windows API (application programming interface) on top of the Unix/Linux operating system family. As far as any given program is concerned, it’s running on Windows so you don’t have to tweak the applicaton itself to run on Linux. Wine is a very active project, with 16 years of development behind it. In other words, this program has been better-tested for Windows compatibility than almost any native Windows operating system.

    • Working at the Edge of Reality

      So…giving away computers to kids is easy…fun actually.

  • Server

    • Linux mainframe use grows

      Linux on mainframes is set to increase as enterprises look to deliver more value from existing IT assets during the recession.

    • Linux: It doesn’t get any faster

      Specifically, Linux has increased its already substantial supercomputer market share to 88.6%. Linux is followed by hybrid Unix/Linux systems with 5.8%; Unix, mostly IBM’s AIX, with 4.4%; and running close to last, Windows HPC (high-performance computing) with 1%. Only BSD, with a single representative on the list, trails Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Conversation with Chris Mason on BTRfs

      Chris: Linux has grown a rich infrastructure for filesystems, making it very easy to experiment and innovate with different storage technologies. So, it isn’t surprising that many different filesystem projects have found their way into the kernel.

      One of the reasons we are able to sustain these projects is because Linux is used with so many different workloads and types of storage.

    • Palm Pre WebOS powered by Linux 2.6.24

      At the heart of webOS is the Linux 2.6.24 kernel which originally was released by Linus Torvalds in January of 2008. It’s also got BusyBox — yeah that same busybox that the has been the subject of legal lawsuits — which provides an embedded tool set.

    • Neterion, Inc. Announces Support for its 10GbE Single Root I/O Virtualization Products in Linux Kernel

      Neterion, Inc. today announced that its 10GbE products based on the Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) specification are supported by Neterion vxge Linux kernel driver. The driver is compatible with Linux SR IOV implementation in 2.6.30 and above kernels.

    • New Linux Kernel to Bolster Open Source Momentum

      New versions of the Linux kernel typically come and go without a lot of fanfare except in the communities most affected by the latest bug fixes and other changes. However, with the release of Linux kernel 2.6.30, the broader open source community has reason to smile.

  • Applications

    • Minirok 2.0 – Minimalist Audio Player for KDE4

      Written in Python, Minirok is a minimalist audio player which ships with a simple and intuitive interface, which kind of resembles the Amarok 1.4 interface, except all the major features were removed.

    • Mahjong Zodiac for Linux Released

      Artex Studios, Inc.® is proud to announce the immediate availability of Mahjong Zodiac™ for Linux, a funny and colorful casual skill game. It has a very unique 3-matching and mahjong gameplay.

    • Office suite released in netbook version

      ThinkFree announced the availability of a Linux-compatible office productivity suite designed for netbooks. ThinkFree Mobile Netbook ESD version offers word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications, with “round-trip” Microsoft Office compatibility, synchronization and online document collaboration features, and 1GB of free online storage, says the company.

    • 10 (More) Hacking and Security Software Tools for Linux
    • Linux KDE Web Development Tools – Reviews and Screenshots

      Here’s a simple to use and very useful image map editor. Drop an image or existing HTML file into the app window and draw the part of the image you want to map. You can even define map parts of the image using a polygonal area tool.

      Even more impressive is that you can define all the javascript functions that should occur when the selected part of the image is effected. Onclick, OnMouseOver, etc… Tested and works well in KDE and Gnome.

  • CLI

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon Core Sneak Peak

      Lately I have been quite busy with many different (usually sabayon-related) things. A main focus is trying to come up with a a nice theme for 5.0, which is is proving interesting to say the least.

    • Security distribution BackTrack 4 with CUDA support

      The Remote Exploit Team has released a Pre Final version of the BackTrack 4 (BT4) security distribution (code named ‘pwnsauce’) as a 1.3 GB ISO image file. BackTrack offers a wide range of tools to enable users and administrators to test the security of items ranging from web applications to RFID systems. These include LAN and WLAN sniffers, password crackers, vulnerability scanners, the Metasploit exploit framework and several others.

    • Guadalinex v6 is out!

      I am pleased to announce that the final version of Guadalinex v6 is out :-)
      The official news are at the Guadalinex website. But it’s in Spanish, so I’ve decided to explain a bit (in my poor English) what is all about.
      Before to start I like to thank to all those people who help to develop, test, fix, translate and document all those great projects which Guadalinex is based on. I really do. They make this possible and deserve most of the credits.

    • Red Hat

      • Opennet to offer SMB support for open source solutions

        Red Hat Linux distributor Opennet Middle East and Africa has announced the availability of support packages for the SMB market.

        The master distributor and authorised Certified Training Centre for Red Hat Linux in the MENA region hopes that the new support services will help SMBs to increase their uptake of open source solutions, as a cost effective approach to technology.

      • Another view on Red Hat’s Virtualization Portfolio

        Red Hat just trumpeted that its Virtualization Portfolio was just about cooked and ready to serve. While that announcement (see Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Beta Draws Industry Interest) did gather some industry comment, including that made by my colleage Paula Rooney (see Red Hat’s KVM-based virtualization platform moves into beta testing), it certainly can be seen as a predictable move. Rather than just repeating what has already been said, I’m going to present a different view.

      • Fedora Marketing TNG: Project FooBar

        Just wanted to keep people posted as to what’s going on in Marketing and the outcome of my trip to Westford last week. As many of you know, I’ve been thinking about what the next steps we need to take in Fedora Marketing should be. I feel that we have come along way in terms of improving process and that we can go even further while also putting a fresh spin on things. For some time there has been discussion of a “Fedora Magazine” concept; this goes back a couple of years. I really liked the idea and it sort of stuck in my mind all these years and I was thinking we can centralize things around that format. I had a few rough ideas for kickstarting this, but mainly my motivations were to solidify policies and process for what content Marketing creates, who we create it for, the content creation schedule, and how we distribute it.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix – An Acid Test

        So, all things considered I would say UNR passed this initial Acid Test with flying colors. I’m sure that I will hear plenty more from her about it, and I will be watching to see how she gets along with it.

      • Linux Mint 7 Review

        Linux Mint’s purpose was always to be a very user-friendly, simple, and up to date Linux and GNU desktop distribution. Besides being based on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (and early on, really just a variant of Ubuntu with integrated media codecs, and Linux 2.6.28, it also incorporated the highly popular open source technology of Gnome 2.26, and Xorg 7.4.

      • Migration Assistant to Automatically Install Equivalent Programs

        There’s a new project to locate installed programs on a Windows partition and install the same or similar programs in Ubuntu during the Ubuntu installation process. The project is called Migration Assistant. Right now, the list of programs is short, but that’s likely to get longer:

        * Audacity
        * Pidgin IM
        * Thunderbird
        * VLC
        * Audacious
        * GMail Notifier
        * XChat

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedded Linux: Out of sight, out of mind

      Embedded Linux devices fall into two categories:

      1. Where the Linux OS is anonymous simply because it has been used by engineers as part of the tool set. For example branding of a flight data recorder would be weak. The buyers in a specialist market would buy based on specificaton, price and their own professional evaluation.
      2. Where the Linux OS can do its job but not intrude on the heavy branding of its host device. For example TomTom, Motorola, Palm and Sony would have good market reasons not to compete with Microsoft branding. The don’t wan’t or need any interference from ‘Microsoft Inside’ stickers.

      So what follows this section it is just a list really, thinly disguised by a theme! Apologies, you may know it all already, but hopefully some sections will be as news to you as they were to me. Even with some kind of theme there were still eleven categories. Skip the bits you are familiar with.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Mobile Sales Chart

          AndroidOS is an operating system for mobile phones developed by Google for mobile phones. It is open source, and based off of the Linux operating system for PCs. It was launched in late 2008, and is becoming a very popular operating system behind SymbianOS, RIM, and the iPhone. One of the key points of the AndroidOS is that the marketplace is rather large, boasting ~1,000 applications, and is expanding. Unlike SymbianOS, the app market works for all phones, making it’s future bright as a major player in the $2,000,000,000 mobile gaming industry.

        • T-Mobile’s Next Android Phone: myTouch 3G

          T-Mobile today unveiled key details about the highly anticipated follow-up to the T-Mobile G1 — a new, Android-powered model called the myTouch 3G.

          Like the G1, the myTouch is built by HTC and runs on T-Mobile’s 3G network, while also supporting Wi-Fi connectivity.

      • Palm

Free Software/Open Source

  • Museums Turn to Open Source During Lean Times

    Some of the organizations hardest hit by the sagging U.S. economy are non-profits and industries that rely on donations and public support to stay afloat. Museums and cultural institutions are turning to open source software as one way to deal with declining attendance and lack of funding to cover operational costs.

  • The next big thing is cybersecurity but what does it mean for us?

    Dan acknowledged that some people had a hard time understanding how open source software could be secure. “There is a perceived risk of open source from a security standpoint, people are very concerned about using software and it’s either “I don’t know where it comes from”, or “what backdoors have been put in the software”. I think it is largely a red herring, people don’t know where their proprietary software was written either nor do they know where the backdoors are in that. In open source, there is usually very robust version control, and you can see every line of code where it came from, who put it there and who made changes to it. The ability to do that inspection and do security audits is much greater in open source than in proprietary software”. About the issue of foreign involvement and where the software is written – at least in Defense – with respect to influence and control, Dan pointed out that in most cases we have no idea where proprietary software is written either, and buying from a US company does not mean that it was written here.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • Design Proposal Collection, Lessons Learned

      So what can be concluded now that the Design Proposal Collection is over? After looking at the individual feedback we got during the proposal collection and thereafter, it seems to have worked well. The weakest points seem to be the schedule and some parts of the documentation.

    • Sun launches StarOffice 9 in Arabic

      Sun Microsystems has once again reinforced its commitment to the region with the introduction of its Arabic version of StarOffice 9.

  • Firefox

    • IE is like malaria, says Mozilla VP

      Mozilla’s VIP of engineering has again likened Internet Explorer to malaria, insisting that although a lot of people have it, most of them wouldn’t actively choose it.

      In a lengthy discussion about the forthcoming Firefox 3.5, Mike Shaver explains that he finds a resurgent browser division at Microsoft a compliment, and insists that all he wants is a fair fight – where browser choice is about suitability and choice and not defaults.

    • First results of Electrolysis, multi-process Firefox

      A few weeks ago, Mozilla announced Electrolysis, a new project that aims to make Firefox a multi-process application, with separate processes for the user interface (chrome), each tab, and plugins, in order to provide higher stability as a a problem with a plugin or a certain web page wouldn’t bring down the whole session; higher performace, as today’s multi-core processors can handle multiple tasks at a time; and stronger security, as each could run on different security contexts.

    • Firefox 3.5 RC Review

      With Google’s Chrome 2.0 speeded up after dropping its beta and Opera 10 beta claiming a better browsing speed, all eyes are on Mozilla’s new Firefox version hyped to touch Amazing feats of speed. Last Friday Mozilla issued the new browser’s first release candidate. It seems to be the most stable and polished make after the year-long development process. Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate (RC) was the first milestone following the beta 4 released in late April.

  • Events

    • 2009 Open World Forum

      The 2009 Open World Forum (OWF) will take place on the 1st and 2nd of October at the Eurosite George V convention centre in Paris. The banner for the forum is “FLOSS: AT THE HEART OF THE DIGITAL RECOVERY” and it promotes free, libre and open source software (FLOSS) as a path to economic regrowth.

    • OW2 Consortium Showcases Open Source Enterprise Solutions at LinuxTag 2009

      The OW2 Consortium is hosting the “Enterprise Development” track for the first time at LinuxTag, Europe’s leading conference and exhibition for Linux and open source software. The all-day track is set to demonstrate the maturity of open source software for entreprise information systems.

    • EcoTuesday event, June 23rd The role of “open source” technology in global sustainability

      Scott will talk about ‘The Role of Open Source Technology in Sustainability’ at EcoTuesday, an event which usually draws between 80 and 100 participants each month.

  • Business

    • Corporate IT done ‘lite’: open source, Web 2.0 gain appeal as budgets shrink

      As the ongoing recession continues to choke IT capital spending, buying integrated software from big-name vendors is on the way out — fast. What’s in is “IT lite,” which includes Web 2.0 technologies and services that are cheaper and easier to implement, mix and match. It also includes software from no-name, up-and-coming vendors; open-source tools and applications; and an ever-widening variety of tools for mapping, chat and more that are available for free on the Internet.

    • Untangle shows how to make open source pay in the SMB market

      In a similar manner, Untangle appears to be doing well with SMBs by giving them what they need, and no more, in an easy-to-consume open-source model that respects their time. There is a lesson in this for open-source companies, and really, any company that wants to build products that will appeal to the SMB market.

    • Starting a Business as an Open Source Consultant

      You have to learn to Say No, no matter how hard it is to do so, Jamison says. Say No to offers to work for sweat equity, to scope creep from customers, to lowering your price. And in open source terms: “We have to say No to working with Microsoft technology,” he adds. “We didn’t start this company to work with frickin’ Microsoft technology.”

    • Squiz Offers 24×7 Support For Its Open Source Web CMS

      Squiz, provider of MySource Matrix, the Open Source Content Management System from down under, is all about being supportive. To prove it, the team behind the name announced that it now offers its shoulder to anyone in need, at any time, from any place.

    • Cowen Group’s CIO Focuses on Mobility, As-A-Service, Open Source

      Flax likes open source technologies because he considers them cost-effective and mature. He points out that many open source projects have communities of developers and users that provide ideas for using and leveraging the technology, and fixes and new releases tend to come out more quickly than for commercial software.

  • Funding

    • Reductive Labs, Moving to Portland, Raises $2M for Open Source IT Automation

      Portland, OR, is gaining an interesting new software company—and this one comes with its own venture funding. Reductive Labs, an open-source startup that helps companies automate their IT management, announced today it has raised $2 million in Series A financing led by True Ventures in Palo Alto, CA. True Ventures put in $1.75 million, and private investors pitched in the remaining $250,000. The deal closed earlier this month, according to Reductive Labs co-founder Andrew Shafer.

      [...]

      Puppet is free to use, and Reductive Labs sells support for customers if they want it. “We tend to do business with people with very large operations. They’re the ones who really feel a need for this kind of automation,” says Shafer. “We are classic open source—we have service, training, and support contracts.”

  • Mechanics

    • Willow Garage: The Personal Robot Will Be Open Source

      Want to build a robot? Join the club. Want to improve the way we build robots? Join Willow Garage. This silicon valley based robotics company is not just designing robots, they’re working on how we design robots by building a programming language and a standard research bot. Best of all, their software is open source – able to be viewed by its users so that they can understand and upgrade it as needed. Imagine a future where each robotics developer can share hardware and software components with each other in a modular fashion. You could just build a robot like a plug and play computer. With open source techniques Willow Garage hopes to expand the boundaries of robotics, both in research laboratories and in our daily lives.

    • 300 MPG Riversimple Urban Car Open-Sources Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech

      A hydrogen-powered two-seater unveiled in London this week can seat two, turn in the equivalent of 300 MPG and hit a top speed of 50 mph. Plus, its blueprints are open source. Take that, auto industry

    • The hydrogen car built on open source technology
  • Government

    • UN and EU urges legislators to support open source and open standards

      Times of economic crisis are an opportunity to review our societal models and take advantage of the latest innovation to foster the world economy. This article is an opportunity to remind that EU officials and United Nations share the same vision on the need to favor open source and open standard to foster economic growth and international collaboration.

    • Open-source software would save governments money, advocates say

      Advocates for open-source software are urging governments to embrace the concept, which they argue will save money, offer more flexibility and create better computer programs by encouraging collaboration.

    • New York State Senate goes open source

      The New York State Senate has launched what it’s calling a cutting-edge program to not only release data, “but help empower citizens and give back to the community”.

    • CIA invests in open-source enterprise search

      Last week, In-Q-Tel, the technology arm of the CIA, invested in Lucid Imagination, which provides support, maintenance, and add-on software for Apache Lucene and Solr. According to Lucid, the Lucene/Solr technology is downloaded more than 9,000 times per day, and more than 4,000 organizations are using the software for enterprise search.

    • Open Source Could Cut Costs for Federal, State and Local Government (Opinion)

      Open source technology enables both equal access and the freedom to distribute a technology’s source code — in essence the “language” on which it’s built. It includes an accepted set of standards that allow a business or government the freedom to move its critical data and IT services on, off and in-between products from different companies, whenever it chooses.

    • 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.

      Another issue is that although CCHIT certifies a specific version of a given software product, open-source software, by its nature, is frequently modified.

    • Survey – “Show us the code” says China

      Elsewhere in the world, the survey confirmed the general trend that open source software is now mainstream for enterprises. In North America, 41 per cent were already using open source, with almost another ten per cent planning to adopt or already adopting. France continues to lead the way in Europe, with 67 per cent already using open source, followed by Germany at 60.6 per cent and the UK trailing at 42 per cent. Attitudes to open source adoption repeat the pattern with those who feel benefits outweigh other issues coming in at 47 per cent in the UK, down from 54 per cent in 2008, while in Germany, 62 per cent believed that to be true. Another problem for the UK is that 22.4 per cent of the respondents in the UK say they are still monitoring developments in open source, but have not yet begun evaluating it.

    • President Lula of Brazil receives ITU Award, Open Source Software cited (updated)

      The open source revolution in South America has a very different flavor in South America that in does in North America, Europe, Japan, China, or Australia for that matter. In those regions, open source is treated like just another choice in the marketplace, as if the future matters not at all, only the present. There are certainly plenty of verifiable examples of just how much better open source can be than proprietary software today.

  • Openness

    • The “Doctor Who” Model of Open Source

      “Open source projects are generally fine when there’s a long-term leader like Linus; but what happens when nobody is able or willing to run things for extended periods? Peter Murray-Rust explains how the open chemistry group known as the Blue Obelisk has evolved what he calls the ‘Doctor Who Model of Open Source’: ‘You’ll recall that every few years something fatal happens to the Doctor and you think he is going to die and there will never be another series. Then he regenerates. The new Doctor has a different personality, a different philosophy (though always on the side of good). It is never clear how long any Doctor will remain unregenerated or who will come after him. And this is a common theme in the Blue Obelisk.’ Could other open source projects learn from this experience as long-term leaders start to move on?”

    • Open Source Dendrochronology

      They practice open source data transparency on the net, which means that arguably amateur dendrochronology is at this time more scientific than the professional variety.

    • Open source Water Quality Management System with Zope

      The Water Quality Management System (WQMS) has been developed by South African authorities on the open source application server Zope and will shortly be in use by all 160 South African local governments. This award winning project, which bears the potential of being shared with neighboring nations, is a new example of open source software being an enabler for innovation and social progress.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.2.10 released

      Less than one week after the second release candidate was made available, the PHP developers have announced the final release of version of PHP 5.2.10. Version 5.2.10 of the open source scripting language is a maintenance release for the 5.2 development branch and features over 100 bug fixes, including a fix for a security issue that affected exif_read_data () segfaults on certain corrupted .jpeg files.

    • Nokia’s Qt and the Open Road to Code

      Open Source Magazine talks exclusively to Benoit Schillings, Chief Technologist for Nokia’s Qt Software (originally Trolltech) to get an insight into the strategic development of the company’s open approach to its cross platform application framework.

    • SourceForge Announces Finalists of Fourth Annual Community Choice Awards

      “The open source community submitted more than 47,000 nominations, almost doubling the submissions received in 2008,” said Ross Turk, director of community at SourceForge. “The support and enthusiasm people have shown for these open source projects proves that the spirit of community and collaboration is alive and well.”

  • Applications

    • Serna Free XML Editor Goes Open Source Soon!

      We love Serna and wish to share our passion with anyone who wants to make it better. Our mission is to make XML accessible to everyone, and we believe that open-source Serna could enable much more users and companies to adopt XML technology.

    • Secure Your E-Mail With Thunderbird and GnuPG

      The next step is to find a GPG plug-in for the e-mail client you intend to use: In this article we’ll use the open-source Thunderbird 2 e-mail client, although plug-ins of varying quality are available for many more clients including Eudora and Outlook Express on Windows, Thunderbird, KMail and Evolution on Linux, and Thunderbird and Mail.app on OS X.

    • GroundWork Monitor Adds JBoss Portal

      Open source Monitor 6.0, now available in beta, will soon include a software development kit for adding user interface features.

    • CableLabs releases open source software tools

Leftovers

  • Time To Start Thinking About Infinite Bandwidth

    So, all these arguments over “net neutrality” and “metered billing” are missing the point. Bandwidth is going to increase. Those who attempt to cap it or limit it are only going to make their own pipes significantly less valuable. However, those who recognize how empowering more bandwidth can be, and how approaching “infinite bandwidth” opens up the possibility for new services and apps that we can’t even fathom today, will start to realize that providing ever more bandwidth increases value and clamping down on bandwidth kills value.

  • Lessig and Leveraging FLOSS For Ethical Copyright

    My main concern with his talk, and, indeed, with the whole of the conference, was that there was a presumption that academic criticism of copyright was capable of effecting change in the copyright law. Having witnessed first hand the irrelevance of logical or economic arguments in the face of the immense power that copyright cartels have, this presumption is one in which I have little faith. The problem is not one of law, but one of power – power that is out of control. Prof. Lessig does seem to be aware of this, given his stated intention to work in the future on institutional corruption.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 05 (2004)

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

Bill Gates Mocks Free Software by Substituting “Proprietary” With “Commercial”

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 12:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Airplane
According to Gates, non-Free software is “747″ and Linux is “OpenSource Airplane”

Summary: Same old FUD patterns found in Microsoft’s internal discussions

OUR next Comes vs Microsoft ‘smoking gun’, namely Exhibit PX07191 (2002) [PDF], is an E-mail from Bill Veghte, which contains other messages. Jim Allchin writes to fellow Windows managers like Chris Jones, Will Poole, and Brian Valentine about Longhorn (to be Windows Vista) and passes Bill Gates’ words to a few others.

It is no secret that Microsoft loves schmoozing the press, so Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had a dinner “with about 20 leading editors in Las Vegas.”

Here is a funny one from Bill Gates:

We have to be careful to just say “we are doing the software to allow for this” rather than saying “we are going to make this happen to undermine cable and DSL pricing”

That’s a classic.

There is no mention anywhere of Apple, but GNU/Linux preys on Gates’ mind. We showed this earlier today using another antitrust exhibit. Gates writes:

What is our view of Linux? I point out that Linux like Unix is not a single thing – it is many different systems that are not the same. The point that Linux is diverse is not one we are good at making. People who develop for RedHat Linux need to test for UnitedLinux. When people like SGI or HP enhance Linux you don’t get all those enhancements in one version -in fact just like Unix each company wants to have something that it does better and even though some pieces of source code are there it doesn’t mean that the pieces are integrated and tested together. 1 explain how the commercial model allows for testing and binary upwards compatibility.

What about Linux price? I explain how Linux plus Websphere is more expensive than Windows equivalent and Linux plus Oracle is more expensive than Windows equivalent. I explain how the richness of the platform that we sell for $500 just keeps getting richers – directory, certificates, app server, etc etc. I explain that for most projects the licensed OS is only a few percent of what people spend and getting the right platform can save much more than a few percent on the development, management, richness of the app, hardware flexibility, communications cost etc.. I say that is places where customers are very price sensitive like Education we have had special prices that are 15% of normal and we will keep those prices low enough to get very broad usage in education.

What about platform innovation – doesn’t Linux have more people doing cool stuff?. I gave the analogy of someone saying that the new 747 competitor is being designed by an OpenSource Airplane design group. The interdependencies and need for parallel coordinated innovation requires a commercial model with risk taking. A new 747 can’t be done by a non commercial model. I say that an opensource model could take an old design and have people do cloning and modest improvements on various aspects independently. I give tablet as an example of something that required changes in many aspects on the system -getting Office to do its work and handwriting recognition and new platform capabilities. I say that Linux is not where advances like great games, or tablet or management have come or will come despite the openness. I explain the things like community involvement we have learned from Linux. I go back to the argument above that we are forced in to do big advances or else or installed base will have “share” but there will be no revenue for us. I talk about Stallman’s view that there shouldn’t be jobs doing commercial software and how that would cut off a whole range of innovations that have come from the commercial world.

Notice how he mixes the terms “commercial” and “proprietary”. This is not an accident, he is deliberately confusing them to imply that Free software cannot be used commercially. This is classic FUD and it is valuable to see where it may originate from. We have begun assembling some other examples of GPL FUD that comes out of Gates’ own mouth.

He then goes on to talking about Vista and Xbox Live, but watch this bit about India:

What about Microsoft in india? Lots of discussion about my trip there and how Indian companies like Infosys and Wipro are growing and proving to be effective.

Shortly we will write about Microsoft’s latest cost-cutting plan and neglect of American workforce. It keeps getting more serious and even people in Seattle are nervous.

Another last GNU/Linux gem:

The old chestnut about us not innovating will die. There will still be the edge of “Wow they are big and smart and no one is gaining on them except perhaps the Linux model”.

GNU/Linux is certainly a recurring theme, which confirms that it is Microsoft’s main concern. The full exhibit lies below as plain text.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX07191, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Former Noveller: Novell Should Sell in Parts

Posted in Novell at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Novell would be foolish to do otherwise,” according to him

ACCORDING to Matt Asay, “While [Novell's CFO] Russell is right to dispel public rumors of Novell being sold, the reality is that Novell should be considering the sale of some key assets, and likely is. Novell would be foolish to do otherwise.

As we stated earlier, it is not likely that Novell will sell the entire company (not at this stage anyway), but rumours suggest that it is already selling parts of the company behind the scenes. News reports which we have collected speak about this only prospectively [1, 2, 3].

Rob Weir – From ODF pre-1.2 to ODF 1.2

Posted in IBM, OpenDocument, Videos at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rob Weir – From ODF pre-1.2 to ODF 1.2 from Newwws on Vimeo.

Bill Gates: “Our Most Potent Operating System Competitor is Linux”

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Based on Comes vs Microsoft exhibits, we already know that the company from Redmond is most afraid of GNU/Linux. There is no point in denying it and it is always valuable to see what the company says internally. In today’s exhibit, Exhibit PX08256 (2001) [PDF], a revealing memo from Gates is shown publicly, probably for the first time at least on the Web.

Jim Allchin distributes this in-progress memo from Bill Gates to Brian Valentine, Paul Flessner, Mike Nash, Will Poole, Yuval Neeman, and Dan Neault. Gates expresses concern about developers moving away from Windows:

Our strength comes from the singularity and popularity of the platform. even we can’t afford multiple overlapping messages especially when developers are moving to Linux and Java.

Right now they try pulling developers to Windows, .NET, and Visual Studio, thanks to Novell’s work on Mono.

Regarding quality, Gates concludes:

An ongoing jihad here is critical.

Jihad is a term that Bill Gates uses on occasions.

But here is the most interesting part:

Our most potent Operating System competitor is Linux and the phenomena around Open Source and free software. The same phenomena fuels competitors to all of our products. The ease of picking up Linux to learn it or to modify some piece of it is very attractive. The academic community, start up companies, foreign governments and many other constituencies are putting their best work into Linux.

Another drop of fear:

We need other creative ideas to allow Windows to match the viral nature of Linux.

According to Gates, GNU/Linux may be is easier than Windows (at least in areas that he mentions).

Provisioning and monitoring Windows systems needs to be far easier than Linux systems.

Microsoft understands that it needs to prevent GNU/Linux from becoming a commodity, which it is already becoming regardless of Microsoft’s efforts to prevent it (even with FUD, intimidation, and lawsuits)

The strength of this platform and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.

Wallclimber, who kindly extracted and provided the full text, adds: “One thing that struck me in this one is the mention of Gmail (it’s mentioned under the heading “Asynch Communication”). Yet, the emails attached to the “Software Agenda” document are dated back in 2001.” She is referring to the following part where Bill Gates states:

We will continue to charge for email capability which we need to enhance with Gmail capabilities as discussed in the subscription memo, Unclear is whether Workflow or Portal Servers are separate and what access is paid for by having an up-to-date Office license.

Walt Mossberg and Gates are not exactly as separate as the Wall Street Journal wants readers to believe and here is more potential proof:

The PC has to have all the advantages of being a simple dedicated appliance without giving up the ability to run many applications and support a variety of peripherals and update the system software. Walt Mossberg and our satisfaction data say we haven’t done enough on this.

The full text is below.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX08256, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, Danger in New Zealand, and Rise of Opposition

Posted in America, Australia, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents, XPS at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Zealand flag

Summary: A lot of news about software patents and intellectual monopolies in general

IT HAS been a long time since the last post about patents, so here is a quick summary.

Patents in a Standard and Microsoft

Rambus is an example of a case [1, 2, 3, 4] where so-called standards get contaminated by patents, sometimes secretly. One of the key Samba lawyers (and one who stood up to Microsoft) wrote about patents in standards. He refers to the Rambus case:

We have just heard of a proposed settlement of an EC antitrust action against a private company named Rambus. Rambus has reportedly tabled an undertaking to reduce its royalties for DRAM patents, which would lead, technically, to a decision according to Art. 9 of EC Regulation 1/2003. The Commission has published it for market testing, inviting comments by the middle of July. Although the proposed licenses and royalties still raise questions, it is in the line of successes of EU antitrust activities where USA initiatives have most remarkably failed. But more importantly, it is the first signal to the world of standards that the recent free rides by some players in that field are going to be under vigilant scrutiny of the antitrust authorities.

Law.com wrote about Rambus as well. [via Groklaw]

The move closely follows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection of all 41 claims in seven of the nine patents Rambus asserted against Nvidia and 17 of its customers in the ITC case.

Digital Majority has made the observation that Microsoft may be hiding software patents in XPS. To quote from the XPS licence: “There is a requirement that any XPS implementation that is distributed, licensed or sold contain a notice in the source code of the implementation indicating that Microsoft may have intellectual property associated with the implementation and to provide a link to where the license may be obtained from Microsoft.

“The TomTom case was another example where a Microsoft promise regarding patents was suddenly broken.”In reference to this Patently-O article, Pamela Jones wrote: “What he is saying is that it is harder to push through an obvious patent, and more exactly that if your patent is found to be obvious, the appellate court won’t help you as readily as it used to, due to the ruling in KSR. To patent lawyers, that is a bad thing. To me, thinking of patents like Microsoft’s FAT patents, it’s a good thing.

The TomTom case was another example where a Microsoft promise regarding patents was suddenly broken. It is similar to what Rambus did and some might call it an “ambush”.

ACTA

ACTA is a global problem [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. Fortunately, some good people took it upon themselves to address it and Glyn Moody shares some of the details.

One of the frustrating aspects about the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) is that it is a cosy club of rich and powerful nations plus a few of their equally rich and powerful chums in select industry. Meanwhile, hoi polloi – that’s you and me – don’t get a look in, even though we are the most affected.

The EFF too was involved in fighting ACTA using a lawsuit. Someone in Slashdot called ACTA the “Anti-Internet Freedom Agreement,” adding that:

ACTA will mandate software patents, criminalization of copyright infringements, censorship lists, data retention. States that today resist such measures due to local democratic pressure will be able to cite “Obligations under International Law” as an excuse to move towards eFascism. The goal is to send 4chan, piratebay, and anyone else who offends the powerful to jail.

New Zealand

The most urgent news comes from New Zealand, where Free software folks have noticed some disturbing developments following similar recent attempts to disrupt copyright law.

Software patents are not currently available in New Zealand, although several companies have tried to get “by the back door”, i.e. by tying the software idea they want to patent to some piece of hardware.

A software patent is a state-enforced monopoly on a idea. They exist in the US and some other countries, but not in many places including New Zealand. We don’t need or want them here. If you want some reasons, here are five good ones:

More information can be found here:

The director of the End Software Patents campaign Ciaran O’Riordan writes to warn of an imminent threat of software patents in New Zealand…

This has just reached the press:

Open source activists target software patents

Open-source champions are pushing to eliminate software patents from New Zealand through a Patents Bill now at the select committee stage in Parliament.

Such patents have been accepted by default for many years, but this is damaging to the software industry, which subsists to a great extent on adapting and including the ideas of previous inventors, says New Zealand Open Source Society president Don Christie.

USPTO

Moving way up north to the United States, the big news is a USPTO appointment which we already wrote about. David Kappos [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] may not be the worst (re)placement, but there is usually room for improvement as Kappos does not oppose software patents. There is some punditry about the subject and the FFII rightly gets upset that the USPTO is already blocking access to Bilski’s pending patent application. Whose office is this?

The US Supreme Court will soon hear Bilski on why software and business method patents are so good for the US economy. I was trying to find out where the Bilski’s pending patent application was published, and I ended up writing to the new USPTO President and ex-IBM David Kappos. I finally got an answer from a USPTO official that the Bilski’s pending patent application cannot be seen by the public.

We’ll come back to it in a moment.

Over in South Africa, this article was published regarding the Bilski case, whose absurdity is demonstrated by this older article from IEEE Spectrum.

It is important that the Bilski judgment be understood correctly, and not misinterpreted as meaning the end of software patents in the US. However, there is a lack of clarity as to which kinds of patent claim will satisfy the Bilski test, and it is therefore good news that the US Supreme Court has agreed, on 1 June 2009, to hear arguments in Bilski v Doll to review the Federal Circuit decision. The Supreme Court will deal with two questions: firstly, does the Federal Circuit’s decision conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in Diamond v Diehr where the court held that the only non-patentable subject matter is “laws of nature, physical phenomena and abstract ideas”; and secondly, does the “machine-or-transformation” test conflict with the US Congress’s intent that business methods are patentable?

The Supreme Court may uphold the “machine-or-transformation” test, may alter how the test is administered, or may adopt another test altogether. Oral hearings will commence in October 2009, so it will be some time before a decision is issued.

More information can be found here:

Since the Bilski patent application has never been published, it is hard to determine from the claims if its commodity hedging scheme requires a computer for any practical use. If the hedging scheme requires a computer for any practical use of the invention, then denying the patent just because it does not recite the hardware is absurdly formalistic. If the invention does not require a computer for any practical application of the invention, then it is hard to see how the invention is novel. In this case, the courts should avoid any overly broad pronouncements about business method patents or software patents and rule the invention is not patentable for lack of novelty.

Patent Baristas covered it as well.

Handicapping Bilski

IP Law & Business laments that when the Federal Circuit issued the landmark Bilski decision, some folks were ready to call it the death of (most) business method patents, or even software patents—that view may be a bit premature. Even if Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor joins the court and turn out to be strongly pro-patent, those hoping for stronger limits on what can be patented, there are still a number of way to find a majority. Several justices have, in other cases, dropped hints about what’s in their minds on this subject.

Here is a comment which states the absurdity of patents on sharing of photos.

Patents on “organizing and sharing images online”? Surely these are “business methods”. I hope the Supreme Court (In Re Bilski) can bring some sanity to this ridiculous software patent mess the lawyers have gotten us into.

EFF’s patent-busting project may not be the most effective way to battle this issue at its core, but another little milestone is marked with elimination of the notorious subdomain patent.

San Francisco – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that it will revoke an illegitimate patent on Internet subdomains as a result of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Patent Busting Project campaign.

U.S. Patent No. 6,687,746, now held by Hoshiko, LLC, claimed to cover the method of automatically assigning Internet subdomains, like “action.eff.org” for the parent domain “eff.org.” Previous patent owner Ideaflood used this bogus patent to demand payment from website hosting companies offering personalized domains, such as LiveJournal, a social networking site where each of its three million users may have their own subdomain.

Here are some more discussions on the subject.

EPO

As we noted earlier, the USPTO denies access to Bilski’s pending patent application, but FFII’s president (Benjamin) claims that he “got confirmation that EPO publishes pending patent applications, not like in the US.” There are barriers however:

EPO website and pending patent applications

Does someone has a link to a webpage of the EPO displaying a pending patent application?

Gauss is for the moment down (once again), it is time to move to make mirrors.

As Benjamin puts it, “things go wrong with the web memory: http://noepatents.eu.org, http://gauss.ffii.org, http://wiki.ael.be all gone.”

There seem to be new attempts (by lawyers) to bring software patents to Europe. IP Kitten (a set of lawyers) writes some more about the current situation, mostly by quoting:

The European Patent Office (EPO) does not grant patents for computer programs (“software patents”) or computer-implemented business methods that make no such technical contribution. In this respect the granting practice of the EPO differs significantly from that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). [IPKat comment: Although, after Bilski, it appears that the USPTO is now even more strict than the EPO]

The notion that software patents can magically intrude Europe through unification is further substantiated by this.

Step forward for an EU patent?

[...]

The European Union has moved to address a decisive issue key to the creation of the hotly-contested European community patent. At the end of May, European Industry Ministers agreed to ask the European Court of Justice (EJC) whether draft plans to cut the costs of defending patents in a single European patent court would be compatible with EU law. Because the European Patent Office also grants patents that are valid in non-EU member states – such as Norway and Switzerland – the topic is under debate.

The “community patent” is nothing to do with community in the inventors’ sense. Community of lawyers — maybe.

Green Party and Pirate Party

Not everyone has surrendered to this ludicrous idea that software development deserves monopolies. There are at least two political strands in Europe that explicitly oppose the EPO’s current practices. One of them is the Green Party, whose position is:

Public documents in open formats
Greens want public documents to be written and conserved in an open format, in order to keep public administrations independent from software publishers and patent holders and ensure document accessibility to all citizens, independent of which software he or she uses.

Regarding the EPO:

European Patent Office (EPO)
Greens want EPO to become a Community Institution, accountable to the Commission and the EP. The EPO shall be publically funded, in order to discourage their practice of issuing high numbers of patents in order to secure EPO financing, which is detrimental to the quality of patents. Greens propose that 5% of the renewal fees of patents are transferred to an independent research and innovation fund.

Another opposer of what the EPO is doing would be the Pirate Party, which according to Dailykos will continue to gain momentum. The lawyers at IAM are not entirely happy, obviously.

“The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected.” And as of today, the Pirate Party is represented in the European Parliament, having secured just over 7% of the votes in Sweden in the European elections held over the last few days across the EU.

There are people who go even further.

In it, “Newspapers are elephants in a desert of their own making, desperately wandering from watering hole to watering hole, but the revenue flowing from each tributary of their 18th century monopoly on the sale of copies is drying up,” says Crosbie, adding:

“Neither fencing off the copies nor reinforcing the monopoly will help. Their business model faces absolute drought. So they collect, not to commit suicide, but to assemble their graveyard.

[...]

then i realized, i was an artist, and all the articles on ars, /., techdirt and here reminded me of patent trolls, copyright propoganda, ad nauseum.

Despite all that copyright propaganda, ad nauseum etc. it is opposers of such monopolistic abuse who are often described as the “bad people”, where “bad” just means “less wealthy” or simply the digital majority. It is largely the same when it comes to pure politics.

“It is not the policy of the EPO to require or examine source codes […]. Moreover, given the length and complexity of source code listings, which can often stretch to hundreds of pages, it would be quite impossible to examine them.” —European Patent Office brochure

Open/SUSE and .NET

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Caged

Summary: Microsoft lock-in still enters GNU/Linux, with Novell’s sponsorship

A QUICK look at Planet SUSE always fascinates because decent proportions of the posts there are not about SUSE. But it’s not to do with people who write about banal things in life, either. It is about some people who are employed by Novell to advance .NET and — by inference — Windows as well.

Some of the posts in Planet SUSE are purely about Windows development, with some that combine Mono and Microsoft. For example:

In Visual Studio 2010 they added much better support for targeting multiple frameworks, allowing us to target .NET 2.0 and 4.0 from the same solution, which also gives us the ability to target runtime’s such as Mono.

The examples above are from this guy, whose interests are:

C#, ASP.NET, Mono, .NET

Open/SUSE seems to be losing its focus. A lot of .NET content reaches the project and more examples are not difficult to find.

The debugger integration in MonoDevelop is progressing, lots of work in the past weeks. I’m going to show what is supported right now, altough much work is still left to make everything stable.

Here is a new example of development of MonoDevelop for Windows. The problem is that most Windows developers will use the lesser version of Visual Studio, not MonoDevelop. Regardless of Novell’s intentions, this only promotes .NET. It helps Windows [1, 2, 3]. As Robert Pogson correctly points out:

“We do not need Mono or anything else connected to that other OS,” blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider via email. “Developers love GNU/Linux, which is why they are migrating to it in droves.”

GNU/Linux was “designed and created by developers from all over the planet and over many decades, stemming from UNIX,” Pogson explained. “There is nothing wrong with Mono except that it gives M$ more power over GNU/Linux. Any corporation that threatens litigation over software patents should be avoided like the plague.”

As comments on the article above (titled “Is Linux Suffering From Mono?”), consider Rainer Weikusat who wrote:

In my opinion, .NET is a pretty typical example of ‘Microsoft designed APIs’: It is both weird (for instance, there is a ‘web client’ superclass which has ‘ftp client’ and ‘ http client’ subclasses) and hellishly complicated (at least one person whom I had to work together with during the last couple of months was literally incapable of using .NET CF to accomplish something as simple as transmitting a HTTP POST-request) and those students would be much better of with learning a few other languages and especially, with getting used to the terminology based on ‘the internet standards’ (ie the IETF RFCs) than to some Microsoft-only bastardization of them which only helps to ensure that nobody can talk to a ‘.NET-developer’ about these topics except another .NET-developer and that the .NET-developer will have at least some troubles trying to understand the actual specifications of the protocol he or she is expected to work with.

GreyGeek adds:

LinuxInsider leaving a pro MS slant. In this case, a pro MONO/.NET slant. Kevin Dean is the quoted source taking over for Jo Shields as the point person calling everyone who opposes MONO in Linux as “fanatics”, etc…

[...]

In other words, Canonical CANNOT take Ubuntu commercial and still include MONO.

That last point is indeed a potential issue because “civil disobedience” would not work for a business, which is subjected to sanctions. Here is a person who is moving to Fedora because Fedora is removing Mono.

There’s a lot of hype/war on the “Mono issue” lately but I don’t want to get into all that. My opinion is, yet again, simple: nothing related to Microsoft, please. Microsoft proved themselves to be evil every step of the way. They don’t like free software, they don’t like people using free software, they don’t like companies that bundle their hardware with free software. All of these can be fine until they start bribing judges, pressuring governments (governments for crying out loud!), blackmailing OEM’s, using their licenses against every single computer user they can. We have seen a couple of their trojan horses of licenses (just a quick look at http://www.groklaw.net/ would suffice) which means we cannot and more importantly should not trust anything coming from Microsoft.

“Some people always blame mono,” says this bug report, but the point worth making is that there is no reason to lean on Microsoft. Java is the more mature software for those who require it. Microsoft is lagging in terms of programming, so to imitate it is just plainly absurd. To Novell, it is a matter of repaying Microsoft.

Even people from Microsoft don’t support what Microsoft does to programming. As Fewa showed us last night, there are testimonies too.

If you’ve ever used Microsoft Access or Excel, you have likely used a product that Mike Gunderloy had a hand in developing. The irony is that Gunderloy himself doesn’t use those products anymore. He’s given up Microsoft for open source — and he’s not going back.

Gunderloy, an Evansville, Ind.-based freelance developer for the past quarter century, goes way back with Microsoft. “I was never a full-time employee, but have several times been a contractor with a badge and [Redmond] campus access,” he says.

His contracting work — on the order of half a million dollars, Gunderloy estimates — led to a substantial amount of code contributed to the Access and Excel versions of Microsoft Office 97 and 2000. He’s also worked on other, more obscure parts of the Microsoft software empire, including SQL Server, C#, and ASP.Net.

Fewa explains:

He refused to “contribut[e] to the eventual death of programming.”[7] He states: “Microsoft itself represents a grave threat to the future of software development through its increasing inclination to stifle competition through legal shenanigans.”

Sounds like Mono.

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