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06.27.09

GNU/Linux Does Not Imitate, It Initiates (New Video)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Videos at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link

Novell News Summary – Part III: Novell Videos, Marketing at Twitter, and Few Minor Things

Posted in Mail, Marketing, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Servers, Videos, Virtualisation at 10:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Utah Canyon

Summary: Novell’s non-SUSE news from the past week

THERE is nothing particularly important to see here this week, but here is a report anyway.

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Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE (SLES/SLED), Novell’s in Red Hat’s Shadow, and Xandros

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Novell, Scalix, Servers, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dragon

Summary: A few bits and pieces about SLES, SLED, Novell’s performance, Xandros and Scalix

THERE WAS almost nothing about SLES and SLED in the past week’s news. Here is just a boring Novell attraction which was uploaded to YouTube some days ago, having been captured in Computex not so long ago.

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Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE Factory, Education, Presence in Events

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eternal rest

Summary: Few portions of OpenSUSE news, of which there is little

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Patents Roundup: Novell Still Applying for Software Patents (and Other Patent News)

Posted in Africa, America, Europe, Law, Novell, Patents at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tower of London guard

Summary: More articles on the role of intellectual monopolies in obstructing science

IT WOULD BE USEFUL to be reminded of the fact that Novell uses software patents to advance itself. Here is the very latest addition:

Techniques for dynamically establishing and managing authentication and trust relationships , patent No. 7,552,468, invented by Lloyd Leon Burch of Payson, Douglas G. Earl of Orem, Stephen R. Carter of Spanish Fork, and Robert Mark Ward of Highland, assigned to Novell,Inc. of Provo.

In other news, the Rambus case of patent ambush [1, 2, 3, 4] is mentioned by one who was defending the victims. Updegrove writes:

Most of these suits were brought by Rambus against vendors that refused to pay royalties when they implemented the standard, but these suits almost always resulted in vigorous counterclaims against Rambus, brought by those same implementers. And investigations into Rambus’s conduct were also brought by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, and by the European Commission in Europe. A separate string of cases related to alleged price fixing and other improper conduct by other vendors that participated in the same working group, which ended in record settlement amounts being paid by those vendors to the regulators.

What will the new USPTO director (David Kappos) have to say on the subject? More importantly, how about patent trolls, who are mostly lodged in east Texas? Or how about the abuse of trademarks?

First it was a trademark fight over potatoes, and now lettuce? Eric Goldman points us to a trademark fight over the use of the word “Lettuce” in the name of a restaurant. You see, there’s a restaurant chain called Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, who apparently got the trademark on “LETTUCE” when used in restaurant or catering businesses.

UK-based lawyers are also wary of “trade marks” misuse.

The IPKat urges his British readers to take careful note of this sudden shift, for their own sakes and for the sake of their consumers. Merpel wonders why HMRC is spelling ‘trade mark’ as ‘trademark’. Is this a major policy shift in terms of traditional British spelling, or merely the result of its eagerness to save time when sending important letters by omitting the spaces between words?

Who are these intellectual monopolies good for anyway (other than monopolists and lawyers)? The ACTA keeps coming under fire and quite rightly so [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. it is composed only by large companies.

Glyn sez, “The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement [ed: a secret, non-UN treaty that rich countries are cooking up that will criminalize copyright infringement, sending non-commercial file-sharers to prison; authorize border guards to search your hard-drive and personal electronics for copyright infringements; and require governments to give media giants the power to decide who should and shouldn't have Internet access, without having to prove anything in a court of law] has been making its way in secret for some time, a coalition of consumer groups have now demanded that the text of the directive be made public…”

In the United States, hotspot access is now a patent. Amazing.

Boingo Wireless has been awarded a patent covering the method and apparatus for accessing networks through a mobile device (patent No. 7,483,984).

Over in Europe, FFII’s president managed to get a hold of Bilski’s patent application, saying that it is “included here in the joint appendix” (In re Bilski, Joint Appendix No. 2007-1130). He also warns that Software AG is now lobbying for software patents in Europe.

Regional and national development of industry clusters are a fundamental component of modern strategic economic policy. Although Germany’s Rhine-Main-Neckar cluster has one of the largest global concentration of resources it has not yet developed to the extent of similar clusters in the US, India or Finland. Impediments common to many European clusters include international awareness, access to venture capital, and lack of political support including an underdeveloped European software patent system.

South Africa too makes a mistake by assuming that more intellectual monopolies will advance research. It could not be further from the truth as it is very much the opposite.

[A] proposal in South Africa, that would potentially require patents on certain publicly funded research. While this seems totally backwards for any number of reasons (and many of us believe that publicly funded research should be available to the public since they paid for it), apparently some are concerned that “foreign multinationals” might “misappropriate” the research.

The obvious misconception here is that input will come from abroad and no output will be shared. It not only conflicts with fundamental notions of research but it is also short sighted to assume patents are good use of time. They sting both ways, eventually.

SCO “Wants to Sue Linux Users Some More” After Another Mysterious Cash Injection

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SCO, UNIX at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

20 bucks on the table

Summary: SCO’s business plan is consistent and the main party benefiting from it is still Microsoft

THE PREVIOUS post showed that Microsoft was investing in T3, which currently sues to challenge the dominance of GNU/Linux in mainframes.

The T3 story is similar to SCO's. As Groklaw now puts it, SCO “Wants to Sue Linux Users Some More” if the funding goes through. As Jones points out:

[D]id you catch the part about “other potential defendants” in addition to Novell, IBM, Red Hat and AutoZone? Everybody pretty much goes to unXis, leaving McBride as captain of the Good Ship SCO, and he gets to sue and sue and sue, while the assets have gone to unXis, so if SCO loses all the litigation, then the victors get no spoils and can’t be be made whole by the legal process. But what particularly struck me is SCO saying that they will be able “to move the UNIX business forward with unXis in a very exciting way.” “With unXis”? In what sense? It starts to hint that this is more a renaming, taking in some new management who seem to have financial expertise, and SCO keeps skipping along as unXis, with the dangerous litigation spun off safely into a litigation troll. Is that not what you see?

Ryan Paul wrote about this too:

SCO wants to keep waging legal war after $2.4M asset sale

SCO has secured a deal to sell off its major assets for $2.4 million to an IT consulting firm called Unxis. The agreement, which is still awaiting court approval, specifies that SCO retains the right to continue pursuing its litigation.

It is valuable to remember the Microsoft connection to SCO’s latest funding source [1, 2, 3]. It is some dodgy entity which profited from the invasion of Iraq. From Heise Online:

The information on its new policy, which SCO hopes will achieve a last minute stay of execution from pending bankruptcy proceedings, also includes details of the new investors behind unXis. These include Gulf Cap Partners, backed by known investor Steven Norris, who has been interested in SCO since early 2008. It is joined by London-based investment company Merchant Bridge, which, according to its website, has up to now primarily been involved in Iraqi companies and banks. According to anti-globalisation observers at Corporate Watch, Merchant Bridge is among the top ten companies to profit from reconstruction work in Iraq.

In disclosing this information, SCO Group is clearly seeking to restore trust among businesses still deploying SCO products, such as SCO OpenServer, UnixWare and SCO Mobile Server. Almost all of SCO’s technical support staff, software developers and Unix marketing staff will, according to the website, move to unXis.

According to Groklaw, SCO buys itself more time.

SCO has filed a Notification of Late Filing with the SEC. They’re tied up in bankruptcy court, it appears, so they can only give a ballpark idea of how things are going in the revenue department. Think South. I know. Their prince will come, if they can just drag this out long enough for the appeals court to act in their favor, which intriguingly all the SCO shills seem to think is as fixed in the sky as the Big Dipper.

Red Hat already steps into this scene in order to shoot down SCO’s attempt to escape a ticking clock (here is Red Hat’s complaint as text).

Red Hat is letting the court know that it cares about its litigation, it intends to vigorously pursue it as soon as the bankruptcy stay is lifted, and its claim should not be thrown off a cliff without giving Red Hat notice and an opportunity to be heard.

[...]

Here’s SCO’s Objection to Red Hat’s Claim [PDF], as text. Reading it, I get the picture, I think. SCO wants the bankruptcy judge to handle the Red Hat litigation, and since it filed similar objections to IBM, Novell and SUSE’s claims, it wants to get out from under them too. That way they can go out and sue new people, I suppose, without all those damages slowing them down.

I know. Well, if you were SCO, wouldn’t you want this bankruptcy judge to handle all your affairs? Could this really be the plan? They are the amazings, so why not? Their position is that the appeal of Novell will annoint SCO as the victors after all, and all the other cases will then fail against them, so the claims are worthless. SCOthink.

Groklaw wrote about the unXis APA Motion and later provided the full text.

“But at the end of the day, to Microsoft it was a good turn of events and one which was worth billions.”To what extent is Microsoft involved this time around? It paid SCO at least twice before. The first time it paid millions for a SCO source licence which was not required and the second time it injected investments into SCO by approaching BayStar. It got caught red handed.

Microsoft may pretend that there is a “new Microsoft”, but this “new Microsoft” happens to be more criminal-minded than the “old” one. The TomTom lawsuit was a very good reminder. It completely destroyed the remnants of an illusion that Microsoft is not an aggressor, so people are waking up and feeling disgusted by Microsoft’s new (and short-lived) business model.

SCO’s share price rose when they first sued Linux. Little did the shareholders know what this strategy had in store. But at the end of the day, to Microsoft it was a good turn of events and one which was worth billions. To Microsoft, GNU/Linux is the #1 competitor. SCO-type FUD is the same strategy over and over again.

T3 Receives Millions from “Unnamed Entity” After Microsoft Investment, to Attack GNU/Linux on Mainframes

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, SCO, Servers at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement

Summary: Even stranger questions arise regarding T3′s lawsuit against Linux-powered mainframes

YESTERDAY we wrote about Microsoft's rather obvious role in lawsuits against IBM because IBM deploys GNU/Linux. This strategy has a long-running history and Comes vs Microsoft exhibits (on IBM) might say a lot more.

A reader has just shown us this interesting new analysis.

Microsoft invested in T3 in November of last year. Friedman declined to discuss specifics, though a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from December shows a $1 million investment in T3, alongside a credit facility worth up to $6 million, courtesy of an unnamed entity.

Remember what other company has just received funds from very mysterious places in order to sue Linux? That’s right, SCO [1, 2, 3]. But we’ll get back to it in the next post. Slashdot too has just pointed out Microsoft’s role in the T3 lawsuit.

Microsoft has long claimed that the mainframe is dead, slain by the company’s Windows monopoly. Yet, apparently without any mirror nearby, Microsoft is now complaining through the Microsoft-funded Computer & Communications Industry Association that not only are mainframes not dead, but IBM is so anticompetitive that governments should intervene in the hyper-competitive server market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is worried that the trend toward cloud computing is introducing competition to the Windows franchise, favoring better-positioned companies including IBM and Cisco.

Microsoft doesn’t like the lack of market share in search and in servers. “White Knight” Microsoft shall save humanity from these “evil monopolists” (because you can’t use anything by Google, can you?) using lawsuits by proxy — an art that it masters. Speaking of Google, Microsoft uses politicians against it, as well as a variety of other attack vectors. See for example:

Matt Asay wrote a short assessment to explain why Google will continue to defeat Microsoft.

However painful it might be, Microsoft, like the print media that Ballmer eulogizes, must change. Microsoft must get online, and much faster than is comfortable. Otherwise it stands to lose to Google which has no built-in dependency on on-premise deployments.

It ought to be added that Google — just like IBM — has been sued due to Microsoft’s pressure (in the past and present). Microsoft openly encourages publishers to sue Google. It is likely that because Google is not a community project gardened by volunteers Microsoft need not hide its role quite as carefully.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Reader’s Article: Mono as a One-way Bridge (to Windows)

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu, Windows at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken bridge

Summary: Jose on the Mono stick-and-carrot approach

YESTERDAY we showed that Richard Stallman does not support .NET/Mono in GNU/Linux, not by default anyway. The following is an adaptation of Jose’s comment, which he wanted us to share here. It nicely relates to something that we saw a couple of weeks ago.


Free software developers build up investments in “.NET” (brain cells and applications). This grows the opportunities for Microsoft .NET applications to be created (lowers costs through eventual ports) which would add value to Windows and to Microsoft in general, contributing to Microsoft’s bottom line, strength, and hold on the market.

Mono spreads through Linuxland. There are patent liabilities.

“Killer features were created for Windows, not for GNU/Linux.”Microsoft .NET companies try to move to Mono. Microsoft threatens lawsuit (stick) and offers a sweet deal with short-term savings or fully paid executive vacation trips (carrot) to move to the more capable and less risky Microsoft .NET. Company backs down from a move to the less capable, riskier, and less rewarding Mono platform.

Free software developers port to Windows (.NET/Mono are easy to port to Windows) and more Microsoft-specific hooks get added and recognised as being superior. GNU/Linux or cross-platform apps become Windows applications — applications to keep people from being motivated to give GNU/Linux a real try. Killer features were created for Windows, not for GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux and cross-platform developers or hopefuls end up contributing significantly and/or primarily to Windows.

There are serious opportunity costs for all the time spent in “.NET” investments:

  1. .NET is not a high-performance platform when push comes to shove, so better software was not written.
  2. There are very real patent risks and associated lawsuit threats. This means a healthy bit of rewriting will very well be needed (and not resolvable by just porting to a different language/framework where most of the design is cloned over).
  3. Opportunities to improve GNU/Linux integration and performance are missed while new opportunities were created to support Microsoft. This lowers the attraction to GNU/Linux over what it could have been. The value of anything is mainly always relative to the alternatives.

Tomorrow, .NET patent trolls, who have GNU/Linux hooked, keep a steady assault on GNU/Linux as necessary (low profile perhaps), so that no major paying .NET user moves to (Mono or to) GNU/Linux.

Canonical will compete with Novell for Microsoft’s attention (again, giving Microsoft the upper hand as the jesters fight for a chance to entertain the King). Short-term (maybe 5 years), they will gain something once they license for the use of Mono. Regardless of whether they survive long-term, they will have helped, along with Novell, to screw the wider GNU/Linux community (and companies like Red Hat) — at least this appears to be where Canonical/Ubuntu is headed through their newly-expressed Mono love and adoptions. Related contributions would be getting upstream Debian to make a mess all over itself, as well.

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