To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Summary: Assorted brow-raising items in the news
There has been something fishy about LinuxInsider ever since ECT took over (mentioned here). This is actually pointed out by other independent observers as well because the whole news network gives the impression that GNU/Linux is problematic, either because it serves the advertisers better or because the editor was not even a GNU/Linux user until some time ago (true story). Last week it was claimed that an article sought to give the impression that Mono opposition is irrational and hateful and this week we find an article starts with phrases like “Conspiracy Theories” in the headline (we wrote about this dismissive term before).
It basically seeks to dismiss Groklaw's fundamental claims that Microsoft worked behind the scenes to derail GNU/Linux. Groklaw may have not offered the piles of evidence that we have, but it does put forth a claim which is obvious to those who have been following the saga closely enough.
Groklaw’s reaction: “Mystery solved. Totally blatant… next time you hear Microsoft bragging that people *prefer* their software to Linux on netbooks, you’ll know better. If they really believed that, they’d let the market speak, on a level playing field.”
To discredit Groklaw, the author uses comments from people with names like “hairyfeet” and “drinkypoo”. And since Microsoft has PR folks patrolling Slashdot, to just pick arbitrary quotes like this would be as careless as discrediting valid convictions based on gut feeling or guesswork. To support this whole storyline, the author is again quoting “M$” from the other side, thus discrediting this whole side of the debate. Maybe it is not intentional, but either way, the outcome seems biased.
Elsewhere on the Web, in a news site that we mentioned earlier for its propagation of Microsoft studies, routine guest posts from the Microsoft-funded Rob Enderle (LinuxInsider/ECT allows him to publish too), and other patterns of obvious bias suddenly comes this Google-hostile article, which gently tries to put the “evil” label on Google. Watch who is cited:
Consumer Watchdog managed to get hold of the slides that Google is touting around earlier this month, and it’s clear that Google wants us all to think that it’s just a minnow compared to giants like Microsoft and IBM. Interestingly, it doesn’t include Intel in the figures – Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO is on Google’s board.
Yesterday we wrote about ACT’s report, which was the latest Microsoft-commissioned attack on Free software. IDG gave this some obedient coverage, but Glyn Moody at the UK section of IDG tried adding balance by reminding people what ACT really is.
There you have it: that well-known friend of teensy-weensy companies everywhere, Microsoft, is a “sponsor” of ACT. That would probably explain the fact that ACT’s position, notably in Europe, has been resolutely pro-Microsoft, and anti everything that is anti-Microsoft.
ACT was created to serve as a Microsoft front amid antitrust trouble, just after ATL had been exposed for participating in “letter from dead people” and engaging in corrupt tactics. Jonathan Zuck was behind both fronts. More information about ACT we have already accumulated in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], so it would be wasteful to repeat it.
Zumobi, a Microsoft spin out, has been on a roll lately with a number of high-profile apps for media brands and retailers. It also recently unveiled the iPhone app for the Today show, also a property of NBC.
It all stays in the family. █
Summary: Supporters of Mono answer questions that are not even asked — a pattern which requires simple clarification
ACCORDING to a recent poll, 73% of GNU/Linux users at Tux Machines say “No” to Mono; the number may be greater after Stallman’s statement on this sensitive subject. But from those who defend Mono (a minority that includes the Microsoft and Novell crowd) we keep receiving the same misguided rebuttals that escape the real issues and typically divert the debate to straw men or false premises.
There are two key issues to discuss when it comes to Mono:
It is not about performance, level of use, or even portability, which Java and C++, for example, already cater for. These are hardly the aspects being criticised.
“Our hostile critics wrongly insinuate that Mono skeptics want it abolished, but it could not be further from the truth.”Mono sympathisers are frequently Mono developers* and some suggest a compromise: “My personal final verdict? Mono should be treated by distribution makers as something that is “legally sticky” and should be included much in the sense that audio and video codecs, or flash are “included” in the distribution. For example, the mp3 codec is not distributed in large by most distributions, because its a legally sticky inclusion.”
Our hostile critics wrongly insinuate that Mono skeptics want it abolished, but it could not be further from the truth. It is not an elimination of choice or freedom, thus no intolerance should be implied; it’s about prudence. The crux of the matter is inclusion by default, not inclusion in the repositories. The downside, however, is that the API issue remains. This was never solely a question of software patents. As this one person puts it, “Linux is being tamed.”
Assuming Mono gets shoved into Linux and gains acceptance, then Linux is “tamed.” Even without the patent threat, even if C# is some sort of “standard,” Microsoft still defines .NET and everything about it. From past behavior it’s quite evident that they know how to walk the fine line of bending “standards” to their will and marketplace benefit. Mono gives Microsoft power over a major Linux Desktop API, and the ability to make sure it’s always the “second platform”, always a day late and a dollar short.
The other interesting thing about Mono is that nobody is asking for it.
In a similar vein, Microsoft used Novell to push OOXML into OpenOffice.org. Mistakes need not be repeated. On the legal side, there is more of Stallman.
Stallman says “Don’t depend on Mono”
The debate over Mono has simmered ever since the Mono C# implementation was announced. The suspicion has been that Microsoft have patents that are relevant to C# and are just waiting for Linux developers to become comfortable with Mono so they can pull the rug out from under Linux. Mono’s defenders point out that Mono itself is an implementation of the ECMA standard for C# and that the patents that are usually referred to belong to the higher .Net layers which run on C# based systems, but aren’t implemented as a core part of Mono. Microsoft made a statement in 2003 saying the patents which are relevant to the ECMA/ISO standard are “royalty-free and otherwise RAND”; a somewhat confusing statement without saying which technology falls under the royalty free and which is under RAND terms (Reasonable And Non Discriminatory).
In some ways though, the worries about Mono are of the Mono project’s own making. By having the project implement both the ECMA/ISO covered elements and the more obviously patented ASP.NET, ADO.NET and Windows.Forms components, the lines have been blurred for many as to what is or is not patent safe. Stallman’s statement says that all C# implementations are potentially unsafe from a patent attack from Microsoft.
We wrote some more about this in:
This debate is not an easy one, but the sooner it is resolved, the better. █
* This post is from David Siegel, now a Canonical employee who made GNOME-Do. In his rebuttal he is escaping all the real issues and pretending it’s a matter of supply and demand. To trivialise the issue like this is simply to deceive.
Summary: ODF news which is more or less organised and some other picks from the news
A COUPLE of days ago we wrote about lunch that Microsoft was having with at least one journalist, to whom Microsoft lied. It is hardly surprising that this journalist has just published an article commending Microsoft and reciting the same deception he was spoon-fed. It is a familiar sight.
Interestingly enough, the reporter also ended up talking to Laura DiDio, whom we last wrote about right here. For years she has been slamming Microsoft’s competitors and parroting Microsoft/SCO. She was paid by Microsoft to do this inside the Yankee Group [1, 2], part of that Microsoft mill.
Anyway, the reporter, whose article might be verbally ghostwritten by Microsoft, is also using Novell to embellish Microsoft’s image. Here is just a portion from it:
Paoli also highlighted Microsoft’s work with Novell, including Microsoft Operations Manger 2007 Cross Platform Extensions for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server; sponsoring an open-source Eclipse plug-in for Silverlight development; and nurturing the Mono Silverlight plug-in for Linux.
Microsoft’s motivation for working on these projects is twofold: It wants to be more customer friendly, and it needs to compete in new markets, said Laura DiDio, founder of Information Technology Intelligence Corp., a Boston-based consultancy and research firm.
Microsoft has been “steadily trying to learn from its mistakes” and is trying to “turn the lemons into lemonade” with better licensing, security and interoperability, she said. The company is also entering into new markets that have higher profit margins to spur its growth—beyond its operating system and Office businesses, she added.
So, after lunch with Microsoft (and lies from Microsoft employees) he promotes the Microsoft party line. Why is nobody surprised? And yes, that’s DiDio right there who offers ‘independent’ perspective. Classic!
“[T]hat’s DiDio right there who offers ‘independent’ perspective.”One person in Twitter adds that “Microsofties should really stop trying to slant #Wikipedia articles to smear #ODF. It’s not like we can’t see the page history.”
hAl has been very busy at Wikipedia today, adding anti-ODF contents (about 12 more edits) to Wikipedia’s article on ODF. Here are just two examples among many others. Of course he is also linking to the blogs of Microsoft employees, keeping it where it’s warm and showing how much Microsoft really hates ODF, whose interoperability it knowingly subverts [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. One of our readers writes to say: “I am reminded in this piece by the efforts that Microsoft has gone to in preventing interoperability even with interoperability specifications like ODBC.”
The person in Twitter writes: “If everyone and their dog can properly support #ODF except #Microsoft, then that’s likely either incompetence or malice on their part.”
Microsoft is of course not interested in interoperability. It never was. It is not good (for shareholders) to allow people to choose office suites based on technical merits, as opposed to pure lock-in and preconceptions. That’s where Microsoft’s FUD and perception management [1, 2] helps, as whisper campaigns surely illustrate. Microsoft Office remains one of the few Microsoft products that are really profitable and that too is at great risk as the following new article suggests:
For now, according to the BW article, Microsoft will continue to deliver its core Office package as server-based package while offering a free neutered online version. Some may embrace the free one because they are dealing with a known commodity, but many have likely switched already to another vendor and won’t give it a look. Microsoft could go all the way here and offer a tiered online pricing model and compete directly with Google at something it does well, but it’s afraid of costs spiraling out of control and killing their cash cow.
Moving again to more positive news, Rob Weir concludes the ODF Plugfest.
We had an ODF Plugfest last week in the Hague. Although we’ve had interoperability workshops and camps before that attracted a handful of vendors, this was the first one that had nearly universal participation from ODF vendors. I’m not going to recap the details of the plugfest. Others have done that already. But I will share with you some of my conclusions, based on long discussions with other participants, from whose insights I have greatly benefited.
In the KDE camp, another important milestone for KOffice 2 is being reached and marked.
Today, exactly one month since the release of KOffice 2.0.0, the KOffice team releases the first bugfix release in the 2.0 series. This release contains no new features but lots of bugfixes for almost all of the components in KOffice 2.0. We are planning at least two more bugfix releases of 2.0 before starting the 2.1 series in October this year.
The OpenOffice.org project has this important post about federating its community.
Nevertheless, one still needs the political infrastructure in order to constitute a Foss community that has any chance of sustaining itself. Mere spirit won’t do it in the long run. This means that there must be in place the mechanisms by which any member of the project can communicate to another and freely discuss project matters with the expectation that discussions have effect and are not just politely ignored. As well, it is generally important, though I no longer think it requisite, that members have a sense of “ownership” in the community or at least in what they are doing. It’s a feature more important in some areas than others, and as Foss continues to move away from its origins in the West and find welcome homes in Asia and Africa and India, that model becomes less essential.
All the same, this is just another way of saying that what global participatory communities need is a structure of governance that can accommodate difference within the community itself. Governance means here the guidelines by which authority is coordinated. Given the global nature of, especially, large Foss projects, or even smaller ones (the Internet knows now boundaries), flexibility is crucial―but so are guidelines that ensure impartiality and nullify arbitrariness.
Lastly, having covered Free software that is honestly compatible with ODF, here is another piece of software called Oxygen XML Editor. It has a new release which the ODF aggregator seems to endorse. █
Intel has created a new network management and configuration system for Linux called ConnMan—but not everyone is pleased to see it challenge NetworkManager. Ars looks at the pros and “conns” of the decision to create the new software.
Q: The Windows XP system on my notebook computer is near collapse. I was about to scrub the memory clean and reinstall Windows, when someone suggested that now might be the time to switch to Linux. I use a lot of Windows programs including Photoshop. Am I setting myself up for a world of frustration by trying to break the ties to Windows?
A: Perhaps. I’m a big Linux fan. It’s faster than Windows, and free distributions of it such as Ubuntu (ubuntu.com) and Fedora (fedoraproject.org) boast Windows-like interfaces that make them a breeze to use.
Unfortunately, a lot of mainstream Windows programs, including Photoshop and Microsoft Office, are not available for Linux. Fortunately, there are decent substitutes, including Gimp (photo-editing software from gimp.org) and OpenOffice (an office application suite from openoffice.org). Both are free.
The company works mostly with open-source technology. Open-source software is much like other software but its source code – the actual programming – is accessible to anybody and can be customized on the fly. Many of the basic programs are available free online. Online communities have emerged to build on, improve and debug more popular open-source programs such as the Internet browser Firefox, the OpenOffice suite of productivity software and the operating system Linux.
Here in Europe a full version of Windows home premium would cost €199 (about $280). You can actually purchase a cheap Linux netbook for the same price! Yes, a boxed Edition of Windows can actually cost as much as a full netbook, that’s how expensive it is. If you live in the US you will get some relief though, as your license will only cost $199.
Partly due to the activity at LinuxTag there were two issues of the Kernel Log this week. The Tuesday issue covered the end of further IDE development and included coverage of some of the activities at LinuxTag, while the Thursday issue documented the end of the main development phase of version 2.6.31 of the kernel.
Editorial: Jolicloud, the new operating system for netbooks!
First Look: Ultimate Edition 2.2
Distributions announced last week:
· Available Now: g:Mini 3.0
· R.I.P. Linux 9.2 Has Linux Kernel 22.214.171.124
· Elive 1.9.31 Offers Support for Acer Aspire One
Oracle’s acquisition streak has given the company an enormous breadth of offerings (say what you will about quality of the software) and the attempt at offering it’s own Linux variant gives it an OS that’s passable if not meaningful. But, I don’t know that owning the operating system is important to the growth of sales in applications or databases.
Most often, when someone talks about a filesystem or file system, they’re referring to disk filesystems such as NTFS, FAT, ext2, ext3, ext4, ISO 9660 and many others but can also refer to network file systems such as CIFS (Common Internet File System aka Samba) and NFS. A filesystem is a specially-designed database of files, their disk location, definition and attributes. Everything on a Unix or Linux filesystem is a file: Directories, processes, links, programs, and device references. All files.
The past few Linux kernel releases have brought a number of new file-systems to the Linux world, such as with EXT4 having been stabilized in the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Btrfs being merged into Linux 2.6.29, and most recently the NILFS2 file-system premiering with the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. Other file-systems have been introduced too during the past few Linux kernel release cycles, but these three have been the most talked about and are often looked at as being the next-generation Linux file-systems. Being the benchmarking junkies that we are, we have set out to compare the file-system performance of EXT4, Btrfs, and NILFS2 under Ubuntu using the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. We also looked at how these file-systems compared to EXT3 and XFS.
The Wine project has been going for a long time. Users who want to upgrade their OS to Windows 7 and like the idea of XP mode, should note that firstly XP mode is available only in the more expensive versions (apparently) and it allegedly does not offer DirectX support. Wine on the other hand has great support for software (check the home page for your favorite title) it won’t cost you anything, and its worth considering to try if as an unhappy Vista customer you are looking for an upgrade to your OS.
As far as the BoxeeBox is concerned, I can’t wait to revert to being back using a Linux platform for all my media streaming-media needs.
Personal information managers (PIM) are the major influence on most people’s opinion of a desktop. When you launch an application, the desktop is simply something to move past as quickly as possibly.
Similarly, a desktop’s system administration tools are used only occasionally — and many of us still prefer to use the command line. By contrast, a desktop’s PIM tools are used daily, and switching to new tools can be disconcerting.
This basic fact was rammed home for me when I recently switched from GNOME to KDE on my main computer. I had little trouble learning my way around KDE, and I continued to use many of the same programs, such as Firefox and OpenOffice.org.
Mandriva Linux, one of the most known distributions, it’s preparing the new version and already has an alpha (previous stage for a beta): Mandriva Linux 2010 Alpha 1.
Robert Shingledecker, founder of the Tiny Core Linux project, announced yesterday, June 28th, the release of Tiny Core Linux 2.1, a very small Linux distribution that is only 11 MB in size. This version comes with many updates as well as important features: the new modutils will further improve space efficiency and two added modules, hwmon and rfkill, bring better support for laptops.
Software company Red Hat continued its recession-defying performance by posting an 11 percent increase in quarterly revenue that outpaced analysts’ expectations.
MosChip Semiconductor Technology Ltd., a leading provider of high performance connectivity solutions for consumer, industrial and computing applications, today announced it has entered into a technology partnership with IdealBT Technology Corporation to bring to market a complete system solution for network attached storage (NAS) applications. MosChip’s System-on-a-Chip (SoC) devices cover a myriad of NAS design requirements while IdealBT’s embedded Linux-based software has been designed into numerous functional, versatile, high-performance, and reliable NAS solutions.
Google’s move to let software run natively on Android devices opens the door for a version of Firefox that can run on the operating system.
At present, Android applications are written in Java and run on Google’s Dalvik Java virtual machine. Last week, though, Google announced the Android Native Development Kit version 1.0 that lets software run natively on the Linux layer below, though the company sees it as a way not to run full-fledged applications as much as to run components of ordinary Android applications.
“Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK allows developers to implement parts of these applications using native-code languages such as C and C++,” said Google’s David Turner in a Native Developer Kit blog post.
Varadarajan Narayanan has a vision, a x86-based SoC netbook that is affortable, efficient and easy to repair. This innovative netbook is aimed for the develping countries. Though it is still in a very early phase of development it already shows much promise.
Under the new agreement, Nokia and Intel will coordinate open source efforts by aligning some of the underlying APIs across these platforms. They will also continue to work on several smaller projects such as oFono, ConnMan, Mozilla, X.Org, BlueZ, D-BUS, Tracker, GStreamer, and PulseAudio to provide more commonly-used open source standards across these platforms.
Linux distros that run on pen-drives are nothing new but this one’s specially designed for the little ones.
Sugar Labs has now released version 1 of Sugar on a Stick, a bootable Fedora 11-based OS plus a set of applications that are stored on a USB memory stick. Although pen-drive distros of Linux are not new, this one is targeted for kids, with hundreds of fun-filled activities that can be downloaded form the SugarLabs Activity webpage.
The project has been running ever since Microsoft said it would abandon the operating system when it moved to Windows 95. That was the Vole’s claim at the time, anyway. However, it didn’t really abandon DOS in Windows 95, but just hid it under the covers.
Recently, open source CMS solutions have gained traction with publishers and have taken market share from the enterprise players. In fact, this post on The Huffington Post points to Drupal, an open source CMS, as “the platform for building scalable, community-driven Web sites.” It even recommends another open source tool, WordPress, for blogging applications.
Topics to be covered include installing the binaries or building the source code, introduction to the FUSE shell, setting up the development environment, working with Eclipse and Maven. Cranton and Britton will also explore how you can write and deploy your own OSGi bundles for FUSE Mediation Router routes (based on Apache Camel), and FUSE Services Framework services (based on Apache CXF).
TelcoBridges recently announced its decision to pool resources and join hands with Halo Kwadrat to tap into the high-capacity open source applications, specifically in central Europe and Russia. TelcoBridges is renowned globally as a hardware and software vendor for telecom system integrators, application developers, and service providers. Halo Kwadrat is a prominent European dealer focused in providing open source telephony products.
When can a company that’s still “close to being a startup” compete on a level playing field against the giants in its field? During a recession, that’s when, says Ned Lilly, CEO of open source ERP provider xTuple. Cash-strapped companies that once were drawn to SAP and Oracle are now giving xTuple second looks, he told CRM Buyer.
Instead, Save Mart went with the open-source Ingres database, which competes with the likes of EnterpriseDB and Sun’s MySQL.
Web 2.0 is about mass collaboration and open source is about collaboration also. There absolutely are some synergies there in both directions. The collaborative techniques of web 2.0 and mass collaboration are the same things that have driven open source to be successful. The most successful open source projects are the ones that provide value to people which then encourages those people to become developers, and then they add enhancements and so that same virtual cycle that powers things like wikipedia also powering open source software.
When it comes to IT, there is a multitude of low-cost, creative ways to make resources available. Which ones are worth considering? Is there a more efficient development approach? How can you effectively combine resources with other government districts? The clear need is to evaluate low-cost resources that save money in the short term and provide proven solutions that are advanced and secure enough to avoid long-term pain. This article delves into practical examples you can start using today to save money, speed development and deliver higher-quality solutions.
Geoffrey H. Fletcher at T.H.E. Journal is reporting on recent legislation in Texas encouraging school districts to move to electronic textbooks.
Yesterday I had a chance to meet the lead singer of O Teatro Magico and then see their show. It was amazing! This creative group of musicians were about to “live the dream” by signing with a record company a number of years ago, but after they recorded the songs for their first album, the recording company said “sorry, but you need to change everything so that it sounds more like pop.”
The creation of licenses for information on the web has been hugely simplified by the great people at Creative Commons, who have developed their CC licenses which are simple and offer the type of control over how information is used that meets most peoples needs online.
[N]etBeans, the open source IDE championed by Sun Microsystems, is being fitted with additional capabilities this week for development teams and scripting languages.
On behalf of the KDevelop team I am happy to announce the Beta 4 release of KDevelop 4. This release includes some major new features, such as working sets (only available when building with KDE 4.3), integration of the quickopen functionality into the toolbar and a new perspective switcher (see the upper right corner of the mainwindow). We have of course also fixed again a lot of bugs, for example non-text files such as images will not crash KDevelop anymore when closing them, Valgrind execution is working again, the debugger’s variable view has been fixed and a lot of crash fixes related to parsing and code-completion popups. Altogether we have managed to fix 30 bugs in just 30 days.
Debugging is the process of finding and reducing the number of bugs in computer software and electronic hardware. When a program crashes, the debugger shows the position in the original code. A good debugger plays an essential role in software development.
Debugging can be more difficult when various subsystems are tightly coupled, as changes in one may cause bugs to appear in another.
Back in April, Canadian cable operator Cogeco hoisted metered billing on the back of their customers, applying caps as low as 10GB per month and overages as high as $2.50 a month on top of existing tiers. When customers complained, Cogeco insulted customer intelligence by insisting the move wasn’t about making money. Cogeco then decided to raise monthly rates as well, just for good measure.
Canadian Internet watchers may recall a controversy in late 2007 when Rogers began experimenting with adding its own content to webpages that its subscribers visit. The company used the technology to alert customers about their data usage. Google was one of the targets of the experiments and the company reacted angrily…
Two defendants in a scareware scam case have settled with the FTC after showing that they had no means to pay the organization’s previous $1.9 million order. The scammers now only have to fork over their illegally obtained earnings—unless they somehow manage to find that extra money later, that is.
Copyfraud is everywhere. False copyright notices appear on modern reprints of Shakespeare’s plays, Beethoven’s piano scores, greeting card versions of Monet’s Water Lilies, and even the U.S. Constitution. Archives claim blanket copyright in everything in their collections. Vendors of microfilmed versions of historical newspapers assert copyright ownership. These false copyright claims, which are often accompanied by threatened litigation for reproducing a work without the owner’s permission, result in users seeking licenses and paying fees to reproduce works that are free for everyone to use.
The Pirate Bay team has continued developing its video streaming site – which will open up to the public within 5 years. On The Video Bay users can share video clips without having to worry about getting them taken offline due to copyright violations, true Pirate Bay-style.
Since 2005, a Brazilian senator has been championing new cybercrime legislation which would include tough measures against file-sharing. Yesterday, at the International Free Software Forum, the Brazilian President openly criticized the bill, and then posed for pictures with The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde.
The Conference Board of Canada plagiarism and undue influence story – which with the Board’s report and overdue apology to Curtis Cook will now go on hiatus until new reports are issued in the fall – has obviously attracted considerable interest. Looking back, while plagiarism is rare, it is the public airing of the copyright lobby policy laundering effort that is the far more important development.
The head of UK music trade group BPI says that the major labels made a mistake by not doing a deal with Napster a decade ago. Such a deal was never going to happen, but what kind of world might we be living in now if it had?
The year’s second major P2P trial kicks off in one month, and Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson wants to mount some of the same attacks that failed in the first case. Nesson argues that all of the RIAA’s MediaSentry investigative evidence must be banned from trial, as the company violated wiretap law and private detective licensing law.
Sirius and XM promised the Federal Communications Commission they would not raise rates as a condition of the companies’ merger, but the FCC did allow them to issue rate hikes to account for any increase in royalty costs.
The small Connecticut town of New Milford has gotten the attention of ASCAP. They are being told to pay for a license but the town says no…
Several months ago, the town of New Milford decided not to sign a licensing agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
The MPAA has taken Real to court to try to stop the company from selling RealDVD, a software that enables users to copy DVDs to a hard drive, as well as Facet, a DVD player that can also create digital copies of DVDs and store them as well. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel is due soon to decide whether to continue banning sales of RealDVD until a full trial decides whether the technology violates copyright law.
Kira Alvarez is the Deputy Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property Enforcement, and the chief US negotiator for ACTA. According to her Linkedin bio, as late as October 2008, right before the election, she was the Time Warner Vice President for Global Public Policy, and before that, she was a lobbyist for Ely Lilly, the pharmaceutical company. Alvarez also worked for both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, before her stints for Lilly and Time Warner. Note that she took her current job in December 2008, after the election but before the inauguration. Now she is the lead Obama representative for ACTA, reporting to Stan McCoy and Ambassador Kirk at USTR.
Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 10 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
“I’d like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 – no, version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET.”
Summary: The prophecy of Novell’s Miguel de Icaza is becoming true
GNOME 3.0 may have more Mono apps
The next major version of the GNOME desktop environment, version 3.0, may contain more than the one Mono-dependent application than it currently does, according to GNOME Foundation member Dave Neary.
Red Hat’s community Linux distribution, Fedora, recently decided to throw out Mono altogether from its default install, and replaced Tomboy with Gnote, a recently created port of Tomboy.
“[The Novell/Microsoft package] provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”
–Ian Bruce, Novell’s PR Director
Summary: News that matters, about intellectual monopolies
THIS is another quick rundown through the news. Included below are only reports that have some relevance to Free software in a land of monopolies on thought and applied ideas.
Patent Trolls are an ever-growing threat to global innovation. These IP aggregators purchase low-quality patents and use them as leverage to hijack potential revenue and profits from hardware and software companies, our largest economic driver. This causes entrepreneurs to reconsider launching companies, while CEOs devote more of their time and resources to managing intellectual property. New online and offline tools and services are becoming available to combat Patent Trolls and enable technology companies to focus on their core business.
Also worth a glance are the following new pages, which highlight the impact of patent trolling:
In June 2008, DSC was given the source code to 8 of the accused software products, along with executable copies and operating manuals for the accused products. Despite having this information, DSC did not elaborate further on the PICs.
Ravicher acknowledged that it seems strange for a lawyer affiliated with PubPat—even as a volunteer—to have gone so far as to set up his own patent-holding company and then sued a group of major Internet players.
“Dave, if you were to talk to him, he’d say software patents are good, and they incentivize innovation,” says Ravicher. “Some people can’t be friends with people who disagree with them. But I’m friends with lots of people I have strenuous disagreements with.”
Asked whether he surprised by his friend’s involvement in the business colloquially known as “patent trolling,” Ravicher pauses, and then laughs. “Nothing surprises me these days.”
Microsoft is to pay damages for software patent infringement and Blackboard has just made another pledge, this time to “follow open standards more closely.” Blackboard also made pledges regarding software patents, which it is using to injure its competition.
This week Blackboard’s new head of course-management software, Ray Henderson, sent a letter to customers pledging that the company will do more to follow industry software standards, and to participate more actively in their development.
Over in the UK, IPKat is “Wondering if the questions the EU Council of Ministers want to ask the ECJ about the unified patent litigation system have been made public” and in New Zealand it is a matter of urgency.
URGENT: Unlimited Software Patents In New Zealand. Act Now!
NZ government is about to pass a new Patents Act. In the 8-year review, they seemingly forgot to consider the impacts of patents on computer software! Submissions on the bill are being accepted till 2 July, so we need to move fast.
We wrote about the software patents situation in New Zealand about a week ago.
In the pro-intellectual monopolies Web site known as Law.com there is this rare criticism of software patents, which “hinder innovation,” according to Daniel Ravicher.
But meanwhile, as Mullin notes, the former Ropes & Gray partner is also working closely to spearhead a litigation project with an old friend, Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation–who has publicly proclaimed that software patents hinder innovation. Garrod is helping Public Patent file suits to block products from carrying false patent markings.
Speaking of the Public Patent Foundation, here is a video about it.
Patents other than ones pertaining to software are causing unrest. Some lead to unnecessary deaths [1, 2], whereas others obstruct works of art. It turns out that Michael Jackson has a US patent. It’s a patent on motion and dance moves. Shame on the USPTO for going this far with intellectual monopolies. Here is a patent site that has just called In Re Bilski (business method patents) “a Mess”.
Claim: (Ex Parte Borenstein) A method for providing catalog information for presentation to a user of a store in an electronic commerce system, comprising the steps of . . .
BPAI: while the storage of information in independent claim 1 could arguably be done as a mental process, the recitation of a structured relationship between multiple stores that requires “path information” inherently implies that this information must be stored on a computer or database. This “particular” computer or database is sufficient structure to meet the machine prong of the machine-or-transformation test of In re Bilski. As independent claim 15 recites a computer program product, it is not a method claim that must be analyzed under In re Bilski.
IPWatch has this new report about the ACTA:
EU, US Consumer Groups Issue Resolution On Enforcement; Demand Role In ACTA
An international coalition of consumer groups has issued a resolution calling into question global enforcement policy and offering core principles for policymakers to consider in setting new enforcement standards.
The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue on 18 June issued the resolution on the enforcement of copyright, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights. The TACD is a trade advisory body to the European Union and United States government, and brings together 80 member organisations from those regions, claiming a direct paid-up membership of some 20 million consumers.
As more signs of a system in state of distress (the EPO is already in a limbo [1, 2]), consider the renaissance of patent reexaminations, which are indicative of the granting of patents that should never have been granted in the first place.
Given this, it is certainly no surprise the patent infringement defendants have been using the reexam strategy more and more. The semiconductor field is no different. Two well known patent enforcers in the industry, Tessera and Rambus have seen their patents thrown into reexam by various parties that are the targets of their licensing programs. Furthermore, I have also seen evidence that courts are willing to stay litigation if a quick reexam request is filed in the Patent Office, though obviously this is very judge and district specific.
It speaks about hardware patents, where an ambush harmed the consumer. Nobody wins in this case and the same goes for patent-caused embargoes, such as this latest example:
The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a decision Wednesday that blocks the U.S. import of LCD panels and LCD televisions made by Sharp, ruling that the company violated a patent held by rival Samsung Electronics.
Here is another new example where patents stifle fair competition.
The IEEE is ready to jump into the patent pool game, and it is starting with a call for patents on power over Ethernet.
Via Licensing Corp. will act as administer of the pool. Via announced Monday it will work with the Open Patent Alliance to set up a separate patent pool for WiMax.
Patent pools are a farce and the notion of “call for patents” is ludicrous. What about small companies that have no patents? Can they not participate in the market? █
Summary: An assemblage of new writings that show who is promoting Mono
Yesterday we gave a sample of responses to Richard Stallman’s advice against Mono and C#. The SFLC and FSF are absolutely behind him. It is around the same time that we also find Linux developers scrambling to avoid Microsoft’s VFAT patent. It is a timely reminder of reasons to avoid software from Microsoft. As Bradley Kuhn from the SFLC put it this year, “Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It’s not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion.”
Regarding the FAT situation, LWN reports:
Andrew Tridgell has posted a new patch intended to enable the kernel to work around the VFAT patents. Unlike the previous version (covered on LWN in May), this patch preserves the long filename functionality which is at the core of the patent. There’s an associated FAQ which describes the patch and the approach which has been taken in its development and posting.
The Ubuntu technical board appears to have decided that there is no significant cause for IP concern over Mono, the contentious clone of Microsoft’s .NET development environment.
Varghese adds that Richard Stallman considers Mono to be risky.
The founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Matthew Stallman, has termed Debian’s decision to include Mono as part of its default desktop task a move that “leads the community in a risky direction.”
Red Hat’s community Linux distribution, Fedora, recently decided to throw out Mono altogether from its default install, and replaced Tomboy with Gnote.
While pro-Mono zealots often claim that it is possible to obtain a royalty-free, reasonable and non-discriminatory licence for the use of Microsoft patents which may be part of Mono, in reality, it is extremely difficult to even find out how one can do so.
Another person, who describes himself as an “intern at Microsoft [who is] writing an extension to the MonoDevelop project,” has just written about this. “Fuck you, Richard Stallman,” screams the headline of his blog post where he complains about Stallman’s stance on Mono. It’s interesting to know that Microsoft is helping MonoDevelop, which helps Windows of course [1, 2, 3]. The foul-mouthed rant also links to libel about me (personal attacks) and about this subject in general. Not bad for proponents of Mono who are also working for Microsoft, eh? At least there is a pattern.
In other news, Tomboy may be getting yet another decent replacement called KeepNote.
Best Linux Notetaking Application
I know a lot of people out there like to take notes with Linux, and probably didn’t come across this program yet, as it look me a bit googling to find it again. The program is called KeepNote, and is a fantastic program for taking notes. I use it with Dropbox, and store all of my notes there and that way it is synchronized to all of my systems. The program itself is open source and free, and you can support it by making a donation on the homepage.
We wish to end this with an ongoing discussion about licences. It is based on conversations where it has emerged that when it comes to Mono/Moonlight (to quote Novell), “In addition to the GNU LGPL, [Mono] code is available for relicensing for non-LGPL use, contact Novell for details (firstname.lastname@example.org).”
According to one of our readers, “this basically means that at your option you can acquire a proprietary license instead of using the LGPL. This is similar to e.g. MySQL or Qt.”
The opinion of another reader is very different. “I’m aware of that,” he says, “but it’s wholly irrelevant to my argument. I am not claiming, nor have I ever claimed, this software is not available under different licenses.
“The point I take issue with is Novell’s interpretation of non-LGPL use, which as I indicated, would preclude LGPL distribution on something as innocuous as a LiveCD. There is absolutely nothing in the LGPL which precludes distribution on inherently immutable systems, so this clause is a “further restriction”, as explicitly prohibited under the LGPL. Therefore Moonlight is explicitly non-Free software, regardless of any potential patent threats.
“Distributing LGPL software on inherently immutable systems is not “non-LGPL use”. Period. Novell’s assertion is a lie.”
–Anonymous reader“Non-LGPL use means just that: use under terms other than the LGPL. If you don’t like or don’t want those terms, you can convey those in the LGPL instead.
“Notice they also want to support distribution on tivoized systems, not just inherently immutable ones. But this is not LGPLv3, so such wording is unnecessary. Maybe Novell’s legal department is paranoid, or incompetent (or both).
“Novell need to force, through licensing, distribution of Moonlight in a manner in which they can guarantee it will be updated with a certain specific component that they push to users – something not possible on immutable systems. And on immutable systems, Novell can ensure this mysterious component is either preinstalled, or paid for in lieu anyway (at ISV level), due to their “non-LGPL use” redefinition clause.”
Adds another reader: “Distributing LGPL software on inherently immutable systems is not “non-LGPL use”. Period. Novell’s assertion is a lie.
“The fact than Novell wish to fool people into seeking non-LGPL licensing, where it is totally unnecessary, is quite palpable, but that does not make their assertion true. I don’t care that other licensing is available as an option. I don’t care that I (or others) may distribute and use this software on immutable systems if we/they are fooled into accepting a proprietary license. The fact that “other licenses are available” is completely and utterly irrelevant. Novell is perverting the meaning of the LGPL, and abusing that bastardisation to “sell” the false premise that Moonlight is Free Software, when it clearly is not.
As a last remark, adds one reader: “Guess what that component is, where it comes from, and why Novell “need” Moonlight users to deploy it.
“Yes, that’s right, it’s Miguel de Icaza pushing yet more of their proprietary and encumbered standards down Free Software users’ throats again. Not content with poisoning us with their .NET Silverlight (Moonlight) garbage, they also want to coerce us into accepting their proprietary licensed, patent encumbered media codecs, via a “push” to all Moonlight users to install “MICROSOFT MEDIA PACK 1.0″.
“That is the real reason for all this “we consider non-LGPL use…” nonsense. That is why these systems need to be mutable, so they can install this “media pack” at Microsoft’s behest. De Icaza and friends are simply trying to force people to install proprietary Microsoft codecs. No doubt this is in fact part of the “arrangement” de Icaza has come to with Microsoft, in order that they tolerate this Silverlight “Cloneware” from Novell. Although I deeply suspect that there is little coercion on either side. Novell and Microsoft now have the same agenda.”
Speaking of Silverlight, Microsoft appears to have bought itself another contract for excluding GNU/Linux users from yet another Olympic event [1, 2] (or forcing them to install Mono for inferior and risky experience).
He also points out that the Olympics, which are being held in Vancouver, will be using Microsoft’s (MSFT) Silverlight standard, and its Smooth Streaming technology, which he notes the company worked on with Akamai.
This is another fine example where Microsoft uses Free software stacks (Linux at Akamai) to serve content. Microsoft never succeeded with CDNs, which it tried to pollute with Microsoft patents. █
“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”
–Bob Muglia, Microsoft President
Addendum: the gentleman who insulted Stallman has expressed regret about it and the statements should not be attributed to Microsoft.
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