EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.01.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 1st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Come and join us while the site takes a break around the 4th of July. The IRC channel stays active.

Report: Microsoft’s Patent Racketeering Comes from Myhrvold

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 5:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft rarely assaults directly

“…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

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Microsoft extorts $120 Million out of rival Intuit, using the patent troll it is grooming

ACCORDING TO Glyn Moody, the world’s biggest patent troll — an anti-competitive man [1, 2] who originates in Microsoft — makes his move to make some more money through patent racketeering. Others at Microsoft are still behind him [1, 2], so his firm (essentially a shell) should not be treated an an entity separate from Microsoft. Moody calls it “the Super-Troll” (we called it Übertroll).

As with all patent trolls, the danger is that the more companies accept these proffered licensing deals, the stronger the trolls become. I imagine we’ll see many more such stories leaking out as Intellectual Ventures gains in confidence and ambition.

The big problem is not only that Myhrvold’s an ex-Microsoftie, but that Microsoft is also an investor in the company; this means that we are not going to see Microsoft on the receiving end of Intellectual Venture’s “offers”. But there is a very real danger that at some point the larger supporters of open source will be.

[...]

Expect, then, Mr Myhrvold to emerge as public enemy number one for the free software community; it’s just a matter of time now that the super-troll has awoken from its deep slumbers and started to feed on those that foolishly fail to defend themselves.

Moody links to this article which is titled “Intuit Taxed $120 Million by Intellectual Ventures.” It says: “Its latest deal is a licensing agreement with financial software company Intuit Inc. that will bring in $120 million, according to people who have been told about the transaction.” It is worth reminding that it is not possible to cross-license with a patent troll because it hasn’t actual products which may constitute an infringement.

TechDirt complains that the press does not scrutinise such people for the huge damage they cause to the industry.

Aaron Martin-Colby points us to Good Magazine’s softball interview with Erich Spangenberg, considered by many to be one of the more successful “patent trolls” or “non-practicing entities” out there.

In other news of interest, Novell has just earned yet another software patent.

Network content in dictionary-based (de)compression , patent No. 7,554,467, invented by Kasman E. Thomas of Wilton, Conn., assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.

Yes, Novell is part of the problem. Its exclusive deal with Microsoft is hinged on software patents and it legitimises them.

Poll: 62% Don’t Trust Microsoft on Mono

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pie chart colour

Summary: A lot of news about Mono with special emphasis on key developments

A GREAT DEAL has happened [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] since Richard Stallman spoke his mind about Mono. Coverage in the press was initially scarce because Stallman’s statement had been made public just before the end of the week, but here is ZDNet UK catching up.

GNU project founder Richard Stallman has called on developers to pull back from Mono, arguing that increasing use of the open-source toolset could prompt legal action by Microsoft.

Stallman does not even say much (or anything) about the fact that Mono makes Windows stronger [1, 2, 3]. Novell makes it happen. It is almost Novell’s obligation to do so because as the SCO-faithful Maureen O'Gara put it a couple of days ago, “Of course, without Microsoft propping up its Linux business, Novell would be in the tank.” To say more on the path to Windows, watch how Novell loses to its so-called ‘partner’. From the news:

Sydney Water has decided to migrate its email platform from Novell’s GroupWise to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange and is looking for a contractor to help implement the change.

Is Novell trying to befriend the company which takes away its Netware and GroupWise customers? If so, why? And why does it help Microsoft by promoting and spreading .NET? GreyGeek writes the following in LinuxToday:

De Icaza has been trying for EIGHT YEARS to get a distro to become totally dependent on MONO, and since Novell bought De Icaza, both have increased their propaganda efforts, with the assistance of Microsoft TEs, trolls, astroturfers and fanbois.

IF MONO is what its advocates are saying it is (the best thing since sliced bread and safe to use), it would already be in widespread adoption by now. The fact that you can count dependent programs on the fingers of one hand says VOLUMES about how the Linux community as a whole totally distrusts MONO. They are right to hold that distrust.

Java is open source and is MUCH less susceptible to patent attacks. It has CONSIDERABLY MORE tools and applications built with it and for it than MONO does.

Qt4 is GPL’d and has an excellent API and development tools, bar none. It also has excellent apps built by it and tools available for it.

MONO serves no purpose, except to raise the risk of patent attack or of being left in isolation WHEN Microsoft adds extensions to .NET that patents will prevent being added to MONO. This is backwards from Microsoft’s usual attack mode.

The remainder of this comment is well worth reading.

Perhaps the most interesting finding today is this poll. Based on 557 votes in total, 62% don’t trust Microsoft on Mono (at the time of writing). Compare that to 73% who said "No" to Mono (for whatever reason). Might it be safe to infer from this that the majority of people are with Stallman on this subject?

Debian

Looking at distributions more specifically, Stallman referred to Debian as an example. One of the Debian officials wrote an open letter to Stallman. It concludes as follows:

So, Debian didn’t change “the default installation” (whatever that’s supposed to be) but the dependency of a package which is used by a minority of our users who explicitly wishes to install everything GNOME related (which is to the best of my knowledge in accordance with upstream developers who added tomboy to the default GNOME installation, too).

This is already covered by Heise

Debian – Mono is not in our default installation

[...]

In response to the open letter written by free software guru Richard Stallman about the Mono problem, Alexander Schmehl, Debian developer and spokesperson for the GNU/Linux distribution has pointed out that Debian has no plans to include the controversial programming environment in the default GNOME installation. Stallman, who opened his letter with “Debian’s decision to include Mono in the default installation, for the sake of Tomboy”, had suggested that Debian were including the Mono libraries for anyone using Debian with GNOME.

There are other noteworthy remarks and there are skeptics of Mono inside Debian. How is this for an argument?

I recently came across this very interesting article, written in 1999, which details the tactics used by Microsoft to fight IBM. They obviously saw OS/2 as a threat. Back then, Windows 95 was the trading token. They could have caused IBM a great deal of harm shall they refused to license it to them, but it seems the idea of subjugating IBM was more appealing. This is how Garry Norris (IBM) put it:

“Microsoft repeatedly said we would suffer in terms of prices, terms, conditions and support programs, as long as we were offering competing products.“

“[Microsoft] insisted that IBM sell 300,000 copies of Windows 95 in the first five months or face a 20 percent price increase“

Nice deal, eh? Make your dependancy on Windows 95 stronger, or else we’ll use your existing dependancy on Windows 95 against you. No surprise IBM abandoned the PC market. Are Red Hat and Sun/Oracle set on the same direction?

Why don’t people learn from history? It is an immense loss to ignore all these lessons. Consider what Bill Gates, for example, had to say on this subject.

Ubuntu

Canonical repeatedly insists that it will not change its Mono policy, not even after recommendations from the FSF and SFLC. There is a lot of coverage about it, such as:

  1. As It Stands, Ubuntu Has No Issues With Mono
  2. Ubuntu’s Position on Mono Revealed (Update)
  3. Mono Discussion: Stallman Warns, Ubuntu Dismissive

This comes at a price. From yesterday, for example, there is this:

Our company also takes the potential threat of patents seriously. As such we stand by the position of the SFLC, FSF and RMS in that Mono is just too dangerous.

We are therefore going to look at switching from Ubuntu to Fedora.

The threat is too great to ignore. I wish the UTB would reconsider this as more harm will come to Ubuntu rather than good.

For context, there is more in this address.

Sam Varghese cites the assessment of the SFLC and aligns this with Canonical’s relative apathy.

The Ubuntu technical board has announced that it sees no reason to consider a dependency on Mono as an issue when suggesting applications to be included in the default set included in the GNU/Linux distribution.

[...]

The Software Freedom Law Centre, which provides “legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free, Libre and Open Source Software” has a diametrically different view.

Following the statement made by Free Software Foundation chief Richard M. Stallman against Debian’s inclusion of Mono as a default, SFLC technology director, Bradley Kuhn , has written an essay, backing Stallman’s view about it being better to avoid a language like C#.

And to conclude, popular blogger devnet writes about Ubuntu’s decision: “I think this is pretty bold…they’re inviting someone to throw the first stone so to speak.

“I’m with Stallman on this one….better safe than sorry.”

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Proprietary Software Falters

Posted in Database, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, Windows at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wall Street

Summary: Microsoft demonstrates that non-Free software is simply incapable of handling mission-critical tasks like GNU/Linux does (in Wall Street for example)

BACKED by roughly 20 references, we have already written quite extensively about the recurring issues at the LSE (the stock market, not the school). It is considered to be Microsoft’s poster child that they brag about in commercials all over their Web site. By some people’s assessment, this is considered the case study for Microsoft, never mind the excessive redundancy (cost) and poor track record.

Well, guess what?

The LSE is calling it quits and dumping the platform.

What an unbelievable PR disaster. IDG has the details:

London Stock Exchange reportedly to dump £40m platform

[...]

Dropping TradElect would be a dramatic about-face for the exchange, which had heavily promoted its ability to rival newer, dedicated electronic exchanges, and plumbed millions of pounds into doing so. It runs on HP ProLiant Servers and Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000 systems, and within a Cisco network architecture.

How will Microsoft respond to this PR gaffe, which was probably an expected blunder? Analogous systems running GNU/Linux are true success stories.

In a similar vein, now that the UK abandons this system, who can ever rely on proprietary formats like OOXML, for example? That too will be at risk if Glyn Moody gets his way. He is rallying for support at the moment.

Next week, I’m taking part in a debate with a Microsoft representative about the passage of the OOXML file format through the ISO process last year. Since said Microsoftie can draw on the not inconsiderable resources of his organisation to provide him with a little back-up, I thought I’d try to even the odds by putting out a call for help to the unmatched resource that is the Linux Journal community. Here’s the background to the meeting, and the kind of info I hope people might be able to provide.

Not surprisingly, the meeting is neither for my nor Microsoft’s benefit, but for that of Richard Steel, who is CIO of the London Borough of Newham. Those with good memories may recall that back in 2003 it looked like Newham was going to switch to open source, in what could have been a real breakthrough for free software in the UK, but that it then changed its mind and signed a long-term – and secret – deal with Microsoft. Winning Newham was so important to Microsoft that it helped set up a competitive trial…

The Newham situation is one that we wrote about in:

Indeed, it is rather ugly. Newham’s people are hopefully paying attention to the significant news from LSE. It is also in London.

Web Browser Links

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 4:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IE 8 Get the facts campaign gets it wrong

If Microsoft wants me and others like me, to take IE 8 seriously, I expect them to treat our intelligence with some respect. Anything less, and after a while, we’ll have been taught to discount their bold claims.

Excellent example for the threat to the openness of the internet

Were you ever worried that the internet could be controlled by single vendor technology? That there is certain information that you can only see and get when using one specific browser? That interoperability is at risk?

You are certainly not paranoid if you have such worries. Microsoft Australia now gives an example for what is possible and done by offering the chance to get $10,000 by finding information on some website – WHICH CAN ONLY BE VIEWED USING INTERNET EXPLORER 8 !!

Browser Wars: Get the facts! Sort of…

But… consider the situation in Europe where Windows 7 will be supplied sans browser.

Related posts:

Confirmed: Windows Vista Still Rejected by Customers

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 starts now

Summary: Beyond the hype there is a rather colossal failure that the press actually reports on

HERE IS just a quick pointer to this new article from IDG. It shows that Windows XP (and GNU/Linux) is still keeping Vista out of people’s PCs.

A year ago today, Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP, no longer selling new copies in most venues. The June 30 kill date for XP followed a six-month outcry from users about Windows Vista, with demands that Microsoft keep XP available alongside Vista for the many users who were frustrated by ease-of-use, compatibility, and retraining issues.

The same should be expected from Vista 7, which is just like Windows Vista under its hood. And speaking of Vista 7 pricing, here is an interesting new accusation of price-fixing.

Who in their right mind will purchase Windows 7 at these prices?

The answer is of course is that Windows will not be sold at that price. Instead Microsoft will use its OEM monopoly control to fix prices so that it is priced to undercut competitors in any area they make an inroad by offering low OEM prices with conditions attached such as hardware spec. price etc. and offering rebates so that OEMs effectively are paid by Microsoft to keep competitors off preloaded systems. They are doing exactly this on netbooks and nettops right now, and there is a long suspicion that the reluctance of the likes of Dell and HP to advertise or aggressively sell Linux PCs and laptops that are preloaded with Linux in the past is due to such market manipulation.

See what we published about the scam of Vista 7 only a day ago. It is related to this.

Links 01/07/2009: New Sabayon, New IBM Compiler, Virtualbox 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Schools rebooting with Linux system

    In early 2008, School District No. 33 trustees voted to replace virtually all 1,200-or-so computers Chilliwack elementary school students were using for a cost about $600,000.

    The major challenge, beyond replacing the equipment, has been making sure the students and staff know how to use the new gear–more specifically the new computers’ operating system.

  • Desktop Linux…building the future

    If you fall into the camp that believes that Linux/Free Software is at war with proprietary software for the future, there’s good news…or fairly good news if you are a cynic. Look at what’s being done.

    June 22 through June 27th…2009.

    The HeliOS Project built transported and placed 16 Linux Computers in and around Austin.

  • Linux Outlaws 98 – It’s Business Time

    This time on a very special Linux Outlaws, Dan and Fab are actually in one room together and besides being silly and having a lot of fun talk about shitty beer, Moblin, German Internet censorship, Opera Unite, Valve possibly releasing native Linux games, Nvidia prefering Windows CE to Android and much, much more.

  • Mandriva and Arkeia Software Deliver Seamless Backup for Linux

    Arkeia Software, a worldwide provider of backup and disaster recovery software and Mandriva (EURONEXT: MLMAN) the leading European Linux publisher, today announced the optimized integration of Arkeia Network Backup with Mandriva Enterprise Server and a deepened partnership to bring enterprise backup to Linux environments.

  • Events

    • Florida Linux Show 2009 Orlando Coming to the Resort!

      The Florida Linux Show 2009 Orlando will be held at the lavish Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration in Kissimmee/Orlando Florida on October 24th 2009, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Rooms are a mere $82.00 a night which gives guest the run of the hotel. Genral attendance to the show is $20.

    • Ohio Linux Fest [September 25-26] – Back to the Future of Linux!

      Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio Linux community continues its forward march and is gaining momentum every year. Each year brings a new group of speakers and generates more excitement—2009 will be no exception! The seventh annual Ohio LinuxFest will be on September 25-26, 2009 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

    • FISL 10 is over .. WOW!

      I am on my way back from FISL 10 in Porto Alegre, Brazil and what a great conference it was. The president of Brazil stopped in on Friday and addressed the crowd saying how important free software was and that “Free software prevailed [in Brazil] and we don’t need to buy anymore only what Microsoft wants to sell”. Hopefully Brazil will become even more of an example of how governments can and should adopt open source software.

  • Desktop

    • Do I need to type commands to use Linux?

      Guess what? You don’t

      The command line is a powerful tool. With a few keystrokes (or by using scripts or shortcuts), you can perform tasks in one or two steps that can take multiple sets in a graphical user interface. For some tasks, the command line is just a faster and more efficient way of doing things. If you want more information, check this out.

    • Omatek Unveils World’s Smallest Desktop PC

      The global technological stage received a boost yesterday in Lagos with the launch of Omatek handtop Personal Computer (PC).

      Disclosing that it is the world’s smallest PC, the Group Managing Director of Omatek Computers Limited, Engr. Mrs. Florence Seriki, said it was in continuation of the company’s trail blazing efforts on the global technological stage.

  • Server

    • Ubuntu heads to the clouds

      On July 1, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu in partnership with Eucalyptus Systems, an open-source cloud infrastructure firm, will be launching Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Services.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Miro 2.0 – Watch TV Podcasts and Videos in HD

      Miro is an open-source and cost-free application for watching Internet TV in high definition quality. It’s available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

    • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Lightweight Alternative to Deluge

      Transmission is a lightweight BitTorrent client built in GTK, with a clean and simple interface. Although most people prefer more popular clients like Vuze, Deluge or KTorrent, Transmission incorporates all the major features one needs for downloading torrents and can prove a very good alternative to those, especially if you don’t need all those whistles and bells.

    • Deluge: for All Your Torrent Needs

      Using torrents has become quite an everyday routine for most of us. Though eating up all your bandwidth in one bite, they surely can take the load off traffic-heavy servers. How? Each of us becomes a peer that “seeds” tiny bits of the download, leading to exponentially growing speed and availability. Most of the times, people associate the word “torrent” with piracy, which certainly doesn’t come as a surprise, but there are a lot of other legal uses of this great technology.

    • Control your bandwidth with Trickle
    • 6 Burning Applications for Linux

      There are not many burning tools in the Linux world compared to the Windows world, but what is most important that all burning tools for Linux are free of charge, open-source and work very well. Here are 6 burning tools to make your app search less exhausting:

    • 5 Top of the Line Twitter Desktop Clients for Linux

      If you’ve been using Twitter through its website, I recommend that you use a desktop client instead to further enhance your tweeting experience. Since Twitter has become immensely popular, there are tons and tons of available desktop applications that support this great micro-blogging service. So I’m here to assist you on narrowing down the choices, and hope to somehow give you an idea on picking the one that suits you best.

    • JAG

      JAG, a free software arcade-puzzle 2D game, has been released for Linux. The aim of JAG is to break all of the target pieces on each level before time runs out.

  • KDE4

    • KDE 4.3 RC1 Release Announcement

      KDE Community Ships Release Candidate of KDE 4.3 Free Desktop, Containing Many New Features and Improvements

      July 1st, 2009. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of KDE 4.3 RC1, a release candidate of the 3rd iteration over the KDE 4 desktop, applications and development platform.

    • let’s play a game!

      Let’s a play a game of “Spot the New Feature”! Here’s a screenshot, submitted by our own Helio, that shows a new feature in Plasma that will debut in KDE 4.4…

    • KDE’s Seigo gives sneak peek at version 4.3

      Core KDE developer Aaron Seigo posted a much-anticipated screencast of the upcoming 4.3 release.

      This snapshot is approaching the final release (due in a month) and comes after more than 2300 bugs (including duplicates) were closed.

    • Krusader 2.0 Review – First Stable KDE4 Release

      Krusader is a twin-panel file manager for KDE which has been around for around seven years and was always a good alternative to Konqueror since KDE3 days. Its interface resembles the one of the popular file manager Midnight Commander for the console. Codenamed ‘Mars Pathfinder’, 2.0 is the first KDE4 stable release, bringing lots of new features and coming with the entire interface ported to Qt4 libraries.

  • Distributions

    • Yellow Dog Linux 6.2 released
    • Yellow Dog Linux 6.2 Offers Xfce, USB Install, EPEL Extra Packages, and more than 600 updates

      This release offers an updated kernel v2.6.29 for 64-bit systems, OpenOffice 3.0, Firefox 3.0.6 and IBM Cell SDK v3.1.0.1, as well as the next generation of ps3vram for fast, temporary file storage or swap using PS3 video RAM. With this release, ps3vram is up to 50% faster than in YDL 6.1 and is automatically enabled as swap.

    • Sabayon Linux Gnome 4.2 Released

      Sabayon 4.2 will catch you: just the best of the Out-Of-The-Box, GNOME, multimedia applications and nothing more than what you need for your daily tasks, but what about your free time? We’ve got it. XBMC (formerly known as Xbox Media Center) 9.04 is what you’ve ever wanted to build up a fantastic HTPC or Internet Multimedia Box, so what’s better than having it ready to use? Show off the new Sabayon Linux to your friends, they have no more excuses to not try it!

    • Puppy Linux 4.2 – Super Fast Linux – Quick Review and Screenshots

      We reviewed the June 2009 release v.4.2 of Puppy Linux, which comes in a 110 MB file download from their website, or from accepted mirrors. The iso file is then burnt to CD and runs as a Live CD. After installing the Live CD into RAM, I experienced my HP Laptop (2GB RAM) run faster than I’ve ever seen with any other OS or Linux Distro.

    • 10th Anniversary of Gentoo

      NeddySeagoon and I have been trying to figure out the official 10th anniverary date of Gentoo, and here are the dates I’ve figured out so far…

    • PCLinuxOS

      • Mini Release Explosion!!!

        Just released are two ‘mini’ editions of PCLinuxOS. You will know them by their names MiniMe and Zen Gnome Mini.

      • PCLinuxOS Quarterly ISO updates available.

        There has been an explosion of activity going on over here at PCLinuxOS. The quarterly ISO updates for PCLinuxOS 2009.2 and PCLinuxOS Gnome 2009.2 are now available featuring a fully updated iso with the latest applications from the PCLinuxOS repositories.

    • Red Hat

      • InfoJobs.net Selects Red Hat and JBoss Solutions For Critical Business Platform
      • Red Hat Stories: Don’t call them videos

        It’s not exactly the Sundance Film Festival, but Red Hat’s new Red Hat Stories film series is setting the standard for technology marketing through film.

      • Fog Computing

        • Red Hat Announces Premier Cloud Provider Certification and Partner Program to Enable Wider Enterprise Cloud Adoption

          The Red Hat Premier Cloud Provider Program has been established to address the increased interest in cloud computing from Red Hat customers, both in building virtualized internal infrastructure systems and extending their applications into the clouds.

        • Red Hat inks cloud partnership with Amazon

          As the dominant supplier of commercial Linux operating systems, a key player in middleware, and a wannabe with a pretty good shot at being a force in server virtualization, Red Hat would seem to be a shoo-in as a player in cloud computing. But for the moment, Amazon’s EC2 sets the pace in commercial cloud computing, and that means being Amazon’s friend is particularly important to companies like Red Hat that want to make money from clouds.

        • Red Hat seeks to certify the cloud (Q&A)

          Evans: Red Hat is firmly positioned to take on CIOs’ core concerns with security and interoperability. With JBoss, RHEL, and our virtualization offerings, Red Hat already provides the trusted low-level infrastructure, or “substrate” as I’ve called it, upon which many CIOs depend. Given that we believe most cloud-computing involvement, at least initially, will be in private clouds, it’s important that CIOs feel they can trust their cloud infrastructure. Red Hat delivers that trust.

        • Red Hat and Amazon: Time to Certify Cloud Partners

          Red Hat has launched a cloud partner and certification program, and Amazon is the first to join. The VAR Guy is hardly surprised. This is a sign of things to come from Red Hat — and another indication of Amazon Web Services’ growing influence over next-generation solutions providers. What’s in store for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss open source partners? Here’s the scoop, from The VAR Guy.

      • Fedora

        • Recognize the Real Promise of Hosted Desktop Virtualization

          In the case of Red Hat’s hosted desktop virtualization solution, this is achieved through the use of Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux), sVirt and the KVM hypervisor. This combination of open source technologies provides a level of isolation equivalent to that which exists in physical deployments, and in doing so dramatically increases the security of virtual desktops and the hypervisors on which they reside.

        • Linux virtualisation hypervisor KVM hits release 87

          The native Linux virtualisation hypervisor Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) has reached milestone 87 and now integrates the qemu emulator into a single package.

          Scores of changes have occurred since the 86 release last month, and with the merge of qemu upstream brings better tuning and visibility of the live migration process, the setting of qcow2 (qemu disk image format) cluster size is now allowed, qcow2 optimisations, and networking improvements.

        • Big Thanks To The SELinux Team

          I started using Fedora back in the Fedora 8 days. I’ve always tried to run SELinux in enforcing mode and back in the Fedora 8-9 days that seemed to mean I’d have some SELinux issue every few days. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was annoying and very tempting to turn it off completely.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Super Talent launches line of flash disk modules

      It seems like these would also make an ideal way to embed a Linux OS on a small form factor board for that carputer or NAS appliance you’ve been thinking about building. Super Talent is currently shipping units but didn’t disclose pricing.

    • Myka’s Linux-based BitTorrent box great home theater PC for lazy people

      With as many set-top boxes as there suddenly appear to be in the home video market, as long as any one of them has a strong central feature, it could be the one that becomes a household name. Look at TiVo, Slingbox, and AppleTV: Each of these built a TV-based ecosystem around a single unique feature: TiVo’s was the DVR, Slingbox was the place-shifting concept, and AppleTV was iTunes.

      Now, IPTV startup Myka has designed its own media center STB, focusing on BitTorrent as its winning central feature. And while it doesn’t carry all the functions one would expect in a home theater PC (HTPC), it offers enough power and functionality to be considered a little more than your run-of-the-mill set top box. Like the title says, if you’re a little bit lazy…you could even consider Myka a pre-built HTPC. Betanews got an exclusive look at this new device.

    • Blackmagic Design Releases Linux SDK for DeckLink, Multibridge and Intensity

      Blackmagic Design Inc. has released support for software developers who want to use DeckLink, Intensity and Multibridge products on the Linux platform. Support includes the software driver and an SDK for developers, and can be downloaded now from the Blackmagic Design web site, free of charge.

    • Palm Pre sold 300,000 in June

      THE PALM PRE smartphone seems to be selling very well, according to Charter Equity Research.

      By ringing up a few of its mates in the channel, the analyst outfit has worked out that sales into the channel in June were more than 300,000 units.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The New MySQL Server Release Model

    When I joined MySQL back in June of 2005, one of the first “MySQL Truths” I learned and repeated often when discussing MySQL with others was “release early, release often.” If you’ve been using MySQL for any length of time, you know what that statement means – it meant that MySQL was: (1) dedicated to getting new features and enhancements into the hands of its community so the software’s quality could be validated; (2) eager to take early feedback on those features so the input could rapidly be incorporated back into the product allowing everyone to benefit; (3) committed to very frequent releases of the software so helpful new features and/or external contributions that were ready for action could quickly be put into play and not sit idle on the shelf. And if you’ve been around Open Source for a while now, you know this is the spirit in which most providers of Open Source software operate.

  • Helping corporations leverage the Web, using open source and the cloud

    Open source for our company is also really huge. We release all the source code that we have to the general public and the communities we work in. We make a concerted effort to do that.

    All of what we use is open source. We’re a completely Ruby-on-Rails engineering team. The bigger idea of sharing and collaborating, we push that hard. It’s a distinct quality: are you willing to money into investing money and people’s salaries into something that might not make you money right away?

  • When is Open Source not Enough?

    Because of the fast evolution of Continuous Integration (CI), the first generation of enablement tools proliferated at lightning speed. Open source CI tools became widely used due to the ease in which an engineer could install it and start tackling the initial CI challenges that he faced. Once proven effective, these apps (particularly Cruise Control) spread like wildfire among other build engineers, and in most cases, development shops began ‘sewing’ several instances together.

  • ICANN CEO Affirms Free, Open Internet

    Beckstrom said he has faith the Internet, which has shown resiliency as an open source of information. “The importance of the Internet as a free-flowing source of information is being underscored right now by the events in Iran,” said Beckstrom in a statement after being named to the psotion. “It shows the power of human expression through a free and open Net.”

  • 2009 Blender F1 Challenge Results

    Hello all. The 2009 Blender F1 Challenge has concluded and the results are in…

    ZORDAN defends his Title as the Blender F1 Champion!

  • Daytop Enhances Client Intake Program and Ensures HIPAA Compliance With Open Source ProcessMaker

    Colosa’s open source business process management (BPM) software, ProcessMaker, that enables enterprises and public organizations to automate paper-based workflow processes, has been selected by Daytop-NJ to automate its core workflow processes and ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  • Nuxeo Expands Its Open Source ECM Footprint in EMEA

    The world is not enough. Following the recent opening of its U.S. office, the open source ECM vendor Nuxeo (news, site) keeps expanding its global reach with a new partnership announced today.

  • KnowledgeTree

  • Search

    • Mailspect Adopts Sphinx Index Engine

      After thorough testing of the leading Open Source index engines, Mailspect Inc. has selected Sphinx as the search and retrieval engine for MPP, the Message Processing Platform. Sphinx is an Open Source project founded and maintained by Andrew Aksyonoff of Voronezh, Russia.

    • Acquia Search available commercially

      It’s a big day for us at Acquia. We finally took the beta-wraps off of Acquia Search, and made it available commercially as part of the Acquia Network. Thanks to the 250+ beta testers who helped make our hosted search service fit for use in production environments, including Brightcove, JackBe Developer Community, P-O-P Design, Wide Divots and others.

  • Government

    • DE: Government reinforces open source resource centre

      Germany’s federal Agency for Information Technology (BIT) is increasing its open source support to public administrations, according to representative attending the Linuxtag conference in Berlin last week.

      BIT’s now employs a team of consultants and technicians specialised in open source, that will offer assistance to public administrations. The renewal of the competence centre is one of the measures taken by the federal government to prop up the country’s economy.

      During the conference BIT’s colleagues from the federal Office for IT security (BSI), part of the ministry of the Interior, presented the most recent version of Kolab, an open source collaboration suite for Unix platforms.

    • Are electronic voting machines tamper-proof?

      Is there a possibility of rigging electoral outcomes in a general election to the Lok Sabha? This question has arisen not only because of the unexpected number of seats won or lost by some parties in the recent contest. It is accentuated by the recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering journals and in the popular international press, which raise doubts about the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

    • Will New Certification Criteria Fuel Open Source E-Health Records?

      But moving forward, new certification “paths” recently announced by CCHIT will be a boost for modular software packages, especially those from smaller software vendors and open source developers, as well as their potential customers, including doctor practices that don’t need fancier software tools, as well as health care organizations that have a hybrid mix of health IT systems featuring legacy and best-of-breed applications.

  • Licensing

    • FYI: GPL violation by Scartel/ASUS

      Hello!

      This mail was sent to you, since you are one of copyright holders of software which used in ASUSTeK Computer WMVN25E2+ WiMAX Subscriber Station.

      At current (2009-06-30) time ASUSTeK sells the above device through their Russian exclusive partner “Scartel” Ltd. (trade name “Yota”) with next GPL violations:

      1) They didn’t give any access for customers to source codes of GPLed software, see (possibly not full) list below, on the ground of their “intellectual property” defense.

      2) They sold their product without mentioning Gnu Public License (and without copy of GPL certainly), nor in printed version of “Quick Start Guide”, nor in electronic version of “User Manual”, nor in any other form.

    • GPL, ScummVM and violations

      I am sure you saw the news post item about certain GPL violation.

      Let me present here some more details about the case.

    • Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Released

      The Open Database License (ODbL) is an open license for data and databases which includes explicit attribution and share-alike requirements.

    • Topocad 11.3 with FDO Database Connection

      Chaos systems AB presents a new and open source database connection, which connect to a large number of databases. It uses the open source FDO from Open Source GEO, which has been adapted to Topocad. Many customers have expressed a demanded of a freestanding database.

    • GPLv3 grows as GPL stumbles

      Black Duck reckons there are about 9,500 GPLv3 licensed applications now.

  • Openness

    • It’s Our Data: Time to Open Up

      Last week I wrote about David Cameron’s fine words about cancelling ID cards and generally opening up data. It was full of sound and fury, but I reserve judgement on just how much it really signified.

      But here’s a hopeful sign that things really might change if the Tories win power at the next general election. It’s a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies

    • The Doctor Who Model of Open Source

      How do we sustain Open Source in a distributed world? We are facing this challenge with several of our chemical software creations/packages. People move, institutions change. Open Source does not, of itself, grow and flourish – it needs nurturing. Many packages require a lot of work before they are in a state to be usefully enhanced by the community – “throw it over the wall and it will flourish” does not work.

      Many OS projects have clear governance and (at least implicitly) funded management. Examples are Apache, Eclipse, etc. Many others have the “BDFL” – Benevolent Dictator For Life with characters such as RBS, Linus, Guido Python, Larry Perl, etc. These command worldwide respect and they have income models which are similar to literary giants. These models don’t (yet?) work for chemistry.

    • UNESCO releases new publication on open educational resources

      UNESCO has released its first openly licensed publication. Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace brings together the background papers and reports from the first three years of activities in the UNESCO OER Community. Access the online edition – or buy the book!

    • Why Scientific Publishing Will Never be the Same

      For those of us tracking open access and its wider import, it’s pretty clear that scientific publishing has changed for ever. But for some within the industry, there remains the desperate hope that all this new-fangled open, collaborative stuff will just blow over.

  • Programming

    • IBM unveils open source compiler

      Open Source compiler provides automated advice on software code optimization

    • MilePost Compiler: AI optimises machine code

      As part of the MilePost (Machine Learning for Embedded Programs Optimisation) project funded by Information Society Technologies (IST) of the European Union, the IBM research lab in Haifa, Israel, has released an open source compiler which automatically learns how to translate source code into machine code suitable for the respective hardware used. The compiler uses suggestions made by an ICI (Interactive Compilation Interface) plug-in.

    • IBM offers open source machine learning compiler

      Called Milepost GCC, the compiler is the result of a collaboration between IBM and partners in the European Union-funded Milepost consortium. The project is an extension of the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) effort.

    • Milepost GCC Now Available
  • Applications

    • VirtualBox 3.0 released

      Less than one week after the release of the second beta, Sun Microsystems has announced the release of version 3.0 of its open source VirtualBox desktop virtualisation application for x86 hardware. VirtualBox 3.0 is a major update that, in addition to a number of bug fixes and performance improvements, introduces several major new features.

    • VirtualBox 3.0.0 (released 2009-06-30)
    • Wireshark 1.2 Released With a Bundle of New Features

      Under development since 1998, Wireshark has been lauded as “one of the most important open source apps of all time” for making network and application troubleshooting more accessible to computer users and administrators. Since many businesses and educational institutions rely on Wireshark to optimize and secure their networks, there is even a certification course aimed at IT staffers.

    • Mozilla Adds New Fennec Versions

      In advance of the scheduled release of its Firefox 3.5 browser, Mozilla on Friday also released two new versions of its Fennec mobile browser.

    • Could There Be an AndroidFox?

      Google’s Linux-based mobile operating system — Android — has become a popular choice for phonemakers worldwide. Now, if Firefox developers are getting what they think they are, we may finally see the combination of Google’s power OS with Mozilla’s groundbreaking browser

    • Google development kit could mean Firefox on Android

      Last week’s release of the Android Native Development Kit could spur interest in an Android version of Fennec, the Firefox-based mobile browser.

    • Mozilla Firefox 3.5: Life In The Fast Lane

      Mozilla released a new edition of its popular open-source Web browser, Firefox. The latest edition of the open-source browser, Firefox 3.5, claims to be the fastest version to date.

    • Firefox 3.5 – A Really Impressive Release

      Firefox 3.5 was released just a couple of hours ago and it comes with great new features and a new version of Gecko, the rendering engine.

    • PHP 5.3.0 released

      Two and a half years after the release of PHP 5.2.0 and following a slight delay, the PHP development team have announced the release version 5.3.0 of PHP. Version 5.3.0 of the web programming language includes several fundamental new extensions, as well as a number of other new features and is the one of the biggest revisions in PHP’s history. Many of the functions originally planned for PHP 6 have ended up in the 5.3 development pipeline.

    • PHP 5.3.0 Released!

      The PHP development team is proud to announce the immediate release of PHP 5.3.0. This release is a major improvement in the 5.X series, which includes a large number of new features and bug fixes.

      Some of the key new features include: namespaces, late static binding, closures, optional garbage collection for cyclic references, new extensions (like ext/phar, ext/intl and ext/fileinfo), over 140 bug fixes and much more.

    • Google launches new open source Sputnik for JavaScript

      The Sputnik test suite requires python in order to run – and is already available as a free download. Whether or not Sputnik will become a new standard by which browser vendors will measure themselves is a question yet to be answered.

Leftovers

  • Wait, Wasn’t The Internet Killing Journalism?

    Yet another data point to suggest the predicted “death of journalism” that we keep hearing from the old school newspaper guys is a bit overblown, online news publisher Talking Points Memo has just announced that it’s hiring seven new editorial staff.

  • Q&A: Charles Nesson

    Q: What does that mean for the record companies?

    A: I believe the recording companies have great skills to offer artists, and there may need to be some reshuffling in the way those skills are passed around and the ways in which revenue is returned.

    Q: You want to webcast the proceedings. Why?

    A: We see ourselves as representing the public interest. And what a fantastic opportunity, to tune in on a case being litigated by all this high-powered talent.

  • UK anti-filesharing law proposed for 2009/2010

    The UK government has put an anti-filesharing law on its legislative programme commencing this autumn. The law is based on the Digital Britain report, which includes proposals to make the regulator, Ofcom, oversee protocol and website blocking. Will it contravene the Telecoms Package and how should it be seen in light of the French Conseil Constitutionel decision?

  • Content Online Platform – mind the gap!

    The European Commission has quietly released the Final Report on the Content Online Platform. Does it serve the interests of serious policy-making for online film and music?

    Full of grammatical errors and lacking in substantial understanding of the issues, the Final Report on the Content Online Platform poses a challenge to anyone seeking a serious policy proposition.

  • Winning the Open Web

    It seems an unfair fight. On the one hand, you have some of the biggest, most powerful multinationals, intent on defending their turf and extending their power and profits. On the other, you have a tiny number of ragtag idealists who believe that knowledge belongs to everyone, and that no one should have disproportionately long monopolies on its supply.

    And yet: in the last few years a remarkable series of victories have been one by the latter against the former, to the extent that representatives of the big media industries have warned that they are losing the “battle”.

    Against that background of uneven forces – but not quite in the way the media companies mean it – sharing information about past successes so as to drive future ones is crucially important. And yet it is rarely done, probably because the practitioners are too busy fighting the battles to write about it.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 12 (2004)

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

Government of Portugal Ignores Procurement Rules and Gives Taxpayers’ Money to Microsoft

Posted in Europe, Finance, Microsoft at 10:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lisbon tramway

Summary: Another classic case of illegitimate use of money without public tender

THE GOVERNMENT of Switzerland was recently sued for doing this type of thing, which is a violation of the law. See for example:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements

The Portuguese government appears to be engaging in similar practices. The European Commission-backed Open Source Observatory has some new coverage on that, which is summarises as follows:

Portugal’s National Association for the promotion of Free Software (Ansol) accuses the government Office of Construction and Property (INCI) of having broken procurement rules after it admitted on Monday that it had signed a 268,000 euro contract with Microsoft for the government’s website on Public Expenses, Base, without a public tender.

The full story told by ANSOL is a little long-winded, but here is this longer version:

You may find it quite newsworthy as it is scandalous: people admit what are probably crimes with their best angel faces put on.

Last year the government mandated that public expenses should be online for everybody to see, starting at the end of July 2008, the responsible entity is called INCI (some overview of the law and process can be found here and here).

This led the site called Base, which only listed, sequentially, the expenses (c.f. official Government site).

It quickly led to some people finding absurd software related expenses (the public expenses with software soap opera), but as it was revealing to be quite useful, it was also revealing a fatal flaw of the site: search was, in fact, worse than failure.

The list was composed of 60 items each pages, which you could only navigate in the following way: go to the first page, press next until the end OR go to the last page and press previous until the beginning. It was completely impractical do find anything as more and more public entities registered their expenses, you either had a way to search or the purpose of the site was now to hide expenses while pretending to show them.

The site had a search box, but it didn’t search through the expenses, only through “articles” in that website. Searching for “office” would actually result in adverts to Microsoft Office Server (MS SharePoint). Scandalous!

Many had complained to the official institution and I read at least one blogger who claimed to not even receive an official answer to his inquiries on the matter (I have an extensive list of blog entries and news articles I found about the subject at the time, but right now I can’t find which of then had this article). The government officials from INCI denied to ever receiving any contact prior to January 2009. [news paper article in the main daily newspaper Publico]

ANSOL, a Portuguese association for the promotion of Free Software, saw the need to have search because it would be an useful tool to search for software related expenses which would be helpful to denounce the (mostly) illegal expenses with software in the public administration, so after some development attempts of friends and associates we finally found out how to extract the data from the official site, by web-spidering the unmanageable list.

And with a few man-hours of work and the money necessary to register a domain for two years (both mine, in the name of ANSOL), we created the web-site Transparência na AP (Transparency in the Public Administration) and announced it on January 13th, 2009.

It works “just like google” and it provides many features the official site doesn’t until today.

It generated quite a scandal, Publico put it on the first page, referencing a full page 4 article on the matter, and a positive mention about my person in the last page as an example of citizenship.

People were finding hundreds of dubious expenses. I don’t know if any of them got to courts, but INCI claimed it was just a couple of errors made by the people who submitted the values.

The truth was that there were way too many “mistakes”, and some public entities felt quite insulted because they claimed to have submitted them correctly, and were demanding for correction of the registered values for many months (one of them was the City Hall of Sines).

Anyway, our website was such a success that the day the article showed up at Publico (16th of January), the website broke down due to the sheer number of hits, in a few hours about 200 thousand visits (not page hits, visits!). We had to, in emergency and with the evident technical problems of changing DNS entries, move to a more powerful server.

In the newspaper article (by the way, full copy is available here), INCI claimed it would have search in the next 10 business days. It took over a month!

Later on we had a meeting with INCI where we explained that the site still had many problems, for instance navigating until page 115 and then clicking next would provide a fatal error and navigation was disabled until you start from the beginning again (they quickly corrected it, but it broke our spidering in the meanwhile).

Right now, their website is broken. We fetch LESS expenses than those currently in our database, and we lack the manpower to investigate what’s wrong in over 1000 pages of listing.

And now we reached almost the status quo. I’ll list more facts, some are quite public, some came from our meeting, and some from the recent news:

  • the authors of the website are Microsoft and Brandia Central
  • in the meeting, INCI confirmed Microsoft is the site author and Brandia only designed how it should look
  • in the meeting, INCI claimed it had to use Microsoft (and would continue) due to contractual obligations
  • in recent news, it was revealed that:
    • Microsoft begun work on the site BEFORE it was ordered
    • it was granted to Microsoft without procurement even though the value would demand it
    • it cost about 269 thousand euros
    • adding search cost over 20 thousand euros more
  • in the follow up to the previous news it was revealed that INCI claims:
    • it respected the law
    • claims there was no procurement for lack of time
    • Microsoft was chosen due to Microsoft’s know-how, experience and credibility, also because it was the owner of the software that was going to be used, which is widely tested
    • there was no extra payment for the search (in the meeting I had with INCI they confirmed they were charged for it, but no values were revealed).

Some words on the technology behind the official site:

  • what is it? it’s Microsoft Sharepoint!
    • not scalable
    • not suitable
    • not interoperable
    • widely known for another Microsoft technological failure
  • competition? No competition, no procurement, INCI admits in the same articles total vendor dependence and lock-in on Microsoft
  • no governance! Microsoft owns, Microsoft made, Microsoft is the only option to INCI

For a little bit of background, the links below may also be of use.

Related posts:

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts