Summary: SCO bankruptcy gets a lot more interesting and serves as a reminder of patent trolls
THE MOST recent SCO scandals [1, 2, 3] showed that funds had arrived rather mysteriously and pushed to create a company whose domain names SCO staff had registered.
In the legal procedures, Novell and IBM take the stand and present documents that further complicate things for SCO, at one stage bringing “fraud” into it. Groklaw has a new article about it.
We’re in OMG territory now, y’all. Let’s continue:
14. Of course, the very involvement of Mr. Robbins in introducing Mr. McBride to Mr. Norris calls into question the good faith of the contemplated transaction. In its January 8, 2009, disclosure to the Court, the Debtors represented that Mr. Robbins — Mr. Norris’s “partner” — had “extensive experience in structured finance and private equity as co-founder and managing partner of Peninsula Advisors” and “served as Investment Director and lead negotiator with several leading financial institutions.”… And Mr. Robbins first introduced Mr. Norris to the Debtors, laying the foundation for the PSA…. But both Mr. McBride and Mr. Norris have testified that they believe Mr. Robbins to be involved in fraud. … Mr. Norris “had come to find out and pretty definitively that Robbins had been lying to everyone and misrepresenting essentially everything to everyone and had probably engaged in a whole variety of frauds.”
This proposed deal is dead in the water, methinks. It turns out, according to IBM’s filing, that there is no one actually committed to invest in this deal:
15. Financing for the PSA Transaction. Mr. Norris claimed that he had fairly firm plans to line up capital for the transaction proposed under the PSA, but he did not provide particulars…. He admitted, however, that he has no executed agreements from anyone to invest in this transaction, that there are no written commitments to back up either the Letter of Credit-Balance or the Letter of Credit-Sun and that he has no scheduled meetings over the next two weeks with any potential investors…. He claimed to have a variety of interested bidders, but did not clearly explain his solicitation process and, apparently on the advice of counsel, refused to identify any of the potential bidders
Now that the word “fraud” has entered this bankruptcy, we find ourselves in a new universe. Bankruptcies spin the other way, once there is fraud in the picture. And it’s about time, too, I know you are thinking. If I had to read the judge say one more time that SCO was doing its very best, I was in danger of becoming a cynic. Why doesn’t someone tell this judge what is *really* going on? That was what I was thinking about over the weekend. And now someone has.
Food for thought there, especially considering the proxy battles Microsoft has waged against Linux in the past; $86M to SCO, for one example.
Maybe it’s worth explictly telling those people that say things like: “Microsoft would be suicidal to sue” that that is simply not true. Microsoft could easily sell off one patent to any patent troll company to attack Linux with – then what? It’s not like Microsoft doesn’t spawn patent troll companies.
The SCO case is very relevant to us because there are parallels and future lessons at stake. █
Summary: Another look at notable policies that are still ignored by some
NOW THAT the FSF is more openly a critic of Mono (despite Microsoft’s Community Promise), there are two options for those who strive to characterise Mono criticism as “zealous”; one is to try calling the FSF “zealots” and another is to just come to the realisation that Mono is indeed problematic inside GNU/Linux. Jason has a little new post about this subject and he explains:
FSF on Microsoft’s “Empty Promise”
Now I’ve been preaching this gospel since Day 1. It is pure dishonesty to pretend like every company present the same risk and hostility to Linux, Free Software, or Open Source that Microsoft does. Microsoft’s hostility and desire to destroy Linux is not the fevered imaginations of wild-eyed zealots. It is documented. It is proven. It is inarguable.
Now, you may want to advance the idea that Microsoft has changed. That is a possibility, sure – but it is not documented, proven or inarguable. The safe and sane position towards Microsoft is suspicion and wariness. Microsoft made it so, not wild-eyed zealots. It also becomes on open question on what type of change it is.
The Linux Action Show, which is FSF-hostile [1, 2], is of course ignoring the FSF’s stance and almost accusing Red Hat/Fedora of spreading FUD (or blames those who cite Red Hat’s concern). But why be so close minded? If both the FSF and Red Hat see issues in Mono, it is worth listening to them and judging the allegations based on facts. The labeling of people as “black or white” is not helpful and those who accuse us of it are often hypocritical.
To paraphrase someone from this Web site, “Novell ‘supports’ Red Hat” only in the sense that it is looking to poach Red Hat customers. One reader sent a pointer to this old marketing proposal from Novell:
Choose SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server and get top-ranked Novell support for your Existing Red Hat Environment.
When you transition from your existing Red Hat environment to SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell, you can recognize dramatic cost savings—perhaps as much 50%…
This one has nothing to do with Mono, but can Novell use Mono against Red Hat? Will it ever? █
Summary: Beyond the blatant PR efforts, assessments suggest the patch is a self-serving Trojan horse
MICROSOFT WORKS for Microsoft shareholders. Microsoft depends greatly on its bread and butter, Windows and Office. The purpose of this latest patch has been evident from the very start, but we waited for others to express their opinions and then show that it is not “zealotry” or “prejudice” that lead only us to this conclusion (stated in the title).
“Microsoft depends greatly on its bread and butter, Windows and Office.”Opinions we have gathered so far can be grossly classified as follows: there are those who consider the patch to be a Trojan horse, those who say it is a sign of victory for Linux, those who must be diplomatic due to their role/job and thus cautiously commend Microsoft, and then there are Microsoft employees and their easily-identifiable journalists who play along with the Microsoft press release and tell the world how wonderful and tolerant Microsoft has become (the “new Microsoft”, which is still extorting companies like Melco [1, 2, 3, 4]).
We shall deal with those strands of analyses in turn and allow readers to judge and see if our independent assessment is reasonably backed by present and past evidence, of which there is plenty. Yesterday we echoed our response to the press (after an approach by journalists), but we did not go deep into details.
“Embrace and Extend”
That is the opinion held by quite a few sources, one of which is from IDG:
Embrace and extend: That has been Microsoft’s competitive mantra for as long as I can remember. So it comes as no real surprise to me that the company would choose to release, via the GPL, device driver code that more closely integrates Linux into the Microsoft virtualization ecosystem. After all, it’s not like Linux will be running the show in this relationship. Rather, it’s making the FOSS (free open source software) community’s fair-haired boy feel more comfortable as it settles into the warm, fatal embrace of Hyper-V that is the Redmond giant’s ultimate goal.
Microsoft wants Linux to run on Windows, in short. So remember what comes after the ‘Embrace’ part.
In case you had any doubt about the true motive, please note that the Microsoft announcement offers a link to video of Microsoft’s Tom Hanrahan discussing the move with Sam Ramji. But to view it, you have to have or install Microsoft’s proprietary Silverlight. There is no Microsoft Silverlight for Linux.
Novell and Microsoft have long stated that virtualization is one of the goals they are working together on. Microsoft wants you to use Windows; but, if you must use Linux, at least run it on top of Windows. So, they are releasing this code to help make that happen.
Customers have told us that they would like to standardize on one virtualization platform, and the Linux device drivers will help customers who are running Linux to consolidate their Linux and Windows servers on a single virtualization platform.
Nothing altruistic here – if one must use Linux (or Open Source in general), Microsoft certainly wants it running on Windows. Of course, you can’t have a truly Free system running on top of Windows; but in general corporations are not interested in Freedom (until they are stormed by the BSA), so they aren’t looking at things that way.
Why they used the GPL
Because they had no option. If they hope to get it close to the kernel, it must be GPL. It’s not like Microsoft chose
Microsoft still hopes to make GNU/Linux just a ‘Windows application’ with Microsoft ‘patent tax’. That vision with Novell goes a long way back, but now its applicability is extended beyond SUSE, provided the other vendors take the bait (bar patent extortion).
Sean Michael Kerner reminds his readers that Microsoft is still a foe of Linux, judging by its very own actions.
Microsoft’s relationship with Linux has been a touchy one over the years. In the past, Microsoft has alleged that open source technology infringes on over 200 of its patents.
To date, Microsoft has signed a number of patent licensing agreements with Linux vendors and users including Novell and most recently Buffalo Technology.
Here is Microsoft speaking about the patent question; there is no word on anything other than its own self-serving patch. In other words, Microsoft racketeering against Linux will continue while the company puts code inside it.
The Microsoft Spin Versus Skeptics
How often is it that Microsoft makes such a fuss about writing 20,000 lines of code? Well, this one is a public relations charade, which attempts to control the debate about Microsoft’s true intentions.
Based on what we’ve seen, Microsoft’s move was openly endorsed (not just accepted) by Microsoft employees, a Novell-employed developer, and journalists who are always singing Microsoft’s tune (and some of whom are paid by Microsoft). Check whose interpretation you find and question it. Microsoft is a true master of “perception management” [1, 2]. █
First, because GNU/Linux is well proven, to say the least; it means they can take decades of work and use it straightaway.
Secondly, it’s open, so the Indian government can be sure (a) it doesn’t contain any backdoors that US secret services might have placed in other operating systems and (b) it won’t go away.
These are pretty compelling reasons for adopting GNU/Linux in these circumstances, and I’d be surprised if anything else is ever used. Interestingly, China has already taken this route with its own Loongson chip.
The first half of 2009 is over and after your summer vacation, you might want to start gearing up for the new distro releases. Once again open source proved that developers collaborating all over the world deliver constant platform improvement. Let’s see what they have in store for us this time.
Part I of this series on how openness and Linux are unlocking innovation, outlined the many definitions that can be applied to the term “openness” and examined how Linux is impacting the evolving mobile ecosystem. However, to fully appreciate that impact, a greater understanding of ecosystems, particularly the open mobile ecosystem, is needed.
For openness to successfully generate innovation, it has to create a rich ecosystem that both attracts developers and enables them to thrive and prosper. Currently, various platform providers are vying for the attention of the third-party developers by revealing APIs and providing software marketplaces.
Myself, I don’t think I’d use it either, I’m too much in love with my KDE setup right now. But it was just technically stimulating to try to visualize how the PhDs in Google would strategize something like this.
Just like the international gang summits in Los Angeles, Linux needs a collective, “sit-down” to discuss the future of this now formidable operating system. I’m not talking about a nice little get together with keynote speakers with high-powered, 10,000 foot views of where Linux is and where it’s going. And I’m not talking about vendor booths touting the latest and greatest Linux toys or big blowout parties from a spectacle-making platinum sponsor.
What we need is a nuts and bolts, sound-proofed room, gathering of the minds and Linux thought leaders to discuss Linux, its current state, its legal standing and its future as an operating system.
The Open World Forum, (www.openworldforum.org), the leading global forum for Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) worldwide, aims to bring together all the key players in the open software ecosystem.
The Open World Forum 2009 will feature a number of different tracks where community and technical leaders, CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, legal experts, investors, political leaders, and other senior executives can get involved in group activities, brainstorming sessions, panels, discussions and networking/social events.
The Florida Linux Alliance Group, Inc. (flagroup.org) and the Florida Linux Show (floridalinuxshow.com) are forming a committee to work on putting TUX in the “Spherion Orlando Citrus Parade” (Citrus Bowl Parade held in Orlando, Florida).
Welcome to the 29th issue of DistroWatch Weekly for 2009! Leading the news this past week is Mandriva, who has released several new projects including updated 2009 Spring USB and MLO Live CD editions, as well as Enterprise Server 5. We also take a look at the issues and difficulties involved in making CentOS 5.3 run on a netbook. Elsewhere this past week, Moblin benefits with contributions from HyperSpace, while version 4 of ULTILEX is released – a new distro which ships several other distros on a single live CD or USB stick. We also include interviews with Richard Stallman and Mark Shuttleworth, and finally a case study which looks at the relationship between distributions and upstream projects. Have a great Monday and the rest of the week!
I ran out of money last month quite early (in NL you usually get paid once a month) and I did not understand why. Since Skrooge got imported last month in KDE SVN, I wondered if that could help me determine why. As usual with financial applications I did not get my hopes up very high. Normally they just don’t do what I want, that’s why I wrote my own application for my Office 9 years ago in php/mysql. But to use that for my personal finances was not a very tempting outlook.
Clutter, the free software tool-kit that makes it easier to develop compelling user-interfaces that use OpenGL / OpenGL ES, is now nearing its version 1.0 release. Emmanuele Bassi with the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has announced the release of Clutter 1.0 Release Candidate 3.
Recently, I did a series of articles covering the Claws Mail email client. When I first started writing them, I figured it would be another one of those applications I would use during the writing and then I would put it away and go back to my usual Thunderbird. I was surprised to find out, after I had completed the series, that I didn’t want to go back to Thunderbird. I had found an email client that made Thunderbird look weak, slow, inflexible, and unreliable. In its place was a powerful, flexible, fast, reliable email client that epitomizes what good software should be: Powerful enough to entice power-users, yet easy enough for newbies.
So, the state of the KDE union, as it were. Solid. There is direction for sure, but work still needs to get done. I, for one, will be using the 4.x branch moving forward. I urge you all to not only think about supporting KDE, but to try using KDE. I think you will be impressed.
While PCLOS still is very similar than it was back in 2007 and it doesn’t have the bleeding edge core components, it still has the potential to be a very good Linux desktop environment for new Linux users and especially if your hardware is slightly aged. What the project now needs to do is to rebuild the confidence by showing that they can provide a steady flow of updates to the repositories and that they can stick to their new quarterly schedule, while focusing on quality control and implementation. It will be interesting to see how the year goes for them, and I certainly wish them all the best.
Version 1.2.3.of GeeXboX is released. GeeXboX is a free embedded Linux distribution which aims at turning your computer into a Home Theater PC, or Media Center. Being a standalone LiveCD-based distribution, it’s a ready to boot operating system than works on any Pentium-class x86 computer or PowerPC Macintosh, implying no software requirement. You can even use it on a diskless computer, the whole system being loaded in RAM.
Palm has opened access to its WebOS development kit, Mojo, allowing anyone to develop Pre applications – though no one outside the USA has a Pre as yet.
Not that anyone will be able to distribute developed apps as yet: the Palm Application Catalogue won’t be open for business for a few months yet. Until then Pre users are stuck with the 30 or so applications developed by Palm partners or those who got early access to the SDK.
Wikipedia’s decision to support Ogg Theora for video uploads may be the last chance to break the proprietary video monopoly embodied in H.264.
Microsoft, Google and Apple have all built H.264 support into their products because it readily adapts to Digital Rights Management, without which studios and other video rights owners have been unwilling to make content available online.
To most people, the term “open source” immediately conjures an image of two geeks sitting in a dark room (probably a basement) — curtains drawn, McDonald’s remains strewn across the desk, and 42 oz sodas within arms’ reach — coding away at their computers, listening to Linkin Park or a game soundtrack.
But some entrepreneurs have found ways to build their companies on a shoestring using open source software, and they have figured out how to make money off something generally considered free.
Take Brian Behlendorf, an open source pioneer who recounts those early days. “The term ‘free software’ made it sound like an anti-capitalist movement, yet the reality is we were hardcore capitalists,” he says. “We liked a lot of the attributes of that type of software and felt a rebranding effort was needed. That is when the term ‘open source’ was coined.”
As you can see, the growth in demand for people skilled in open-source CMS platforms, in particular Drupal and Joomla, is huge. Part of the reason these particular platforms are ushering in more jobs for tech workers is that many publishers are switching to free, open-source content management systems from expensive proprietary ones. (In this post over at OStatic, I discussed that shift, and how the first major online publication in the UK is now running completely on Drupal.)
According to this report, existing investors Sigma Partners and North Bridge Partners participated in the second round financing for Acquia, but not O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, which was one of the first round investors. Acquia has a new CEO, Tom Erickson, who joined the company in March.
I sincerely believe that this is the right model at the right time. Hamilton could be a real leader, generating local expertise in city/public collaboration, realizing efficiencies and improving city business, and engaging the public more effectively in developing innovative solutions to the city’s challenges.
The most successful organizations today are those that have embraced the concept of openness: of deriving value from a collaboration platform, of sharing information and resources, of aggregating the contributions of a wide array of participants, and of committing to the kind of continuous improvement that comes from respectful peer review.
The Genome Center at Washington University in St. Louis has been at the forefront of genomics since its formation in 1990. Helping to lead the sequencing and analysis of the first multi-cellular organism, C. elegans, and the Human Genome Project, The Genome Center has long leveraged free/libre/open source software (FLOSS). One hallmark of these sequencing efforts has been the rapid dissemination of sequence data for all to download and use.
“Think of it as an externship,” said Leslie Hawthorn, open source program manager with Google. Basically, students work from home — instead of in an office — on a three-month open source coding project while paired with a mentor from the industry or academia who is well-versed on that particular project.
Taking an open-source approach, Rackspace’s 43,000 cloud-computing customers played a major role in the API specifications, explained Emil Sayegh general manager for The Rackspace Cloud, formerly branded as Mosso cloud hosting. They overwhelmingly preferred the newer lighter-weight REST approach to the older heavy-duty SOAP standard that Amazon uses, he said.
A wide range of different modules were needed for different phases of the Moon mission, from the operating system to the user interface and the programs for each phase of the flight in both the command module computer and the lunar module computer. That meant applications for ascent, orbit, the trans-lunar injection on the way to the Moon, coasting, lunar orbit, trans-Earth injection on the return to Earth and re-entry. The same sorts of applications were needed for the Lunar Module, including descent, surface operations, ascent, rendezvous and descent abort, if it would be needed.
Last week Amazon did something despicable. They violated the privacy of every Kindle user when without warning they remotely deleted copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindle Readers. It seems that Amazon had determined these books had been purchased “illegally.” (The irony of choosing these particular books goes without saying.)
Library groups have joined forces with the EFF and others to demand a seat at the table when it comes to negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Also, they want all Internet regulation stripped from the treaty.
The Postal Service got permission to use the photograph that appears on the stamp, but not the column depicted in it, so the sculptor sued the Postal Service for infringing his copyrights in the sculpture.
With the rise of Web 2.0 which has been sold to us as the next version of the Internet that allows the end user to feedback into content – not to mention that the subsequent content no longer belongs to us. How it is the transfer of ownership seems to take place so liberally in one direction only? What part of the Web that supposedly now belongs to us more than ever actually now belongs to us?
Solo. Religion was singled out here on Sunday as the major reason why city officials were having trouble persuading skilled batik designers to put their names to their creations so they could be registered for copyright.
Welcome to the “ownership” and “entitlement” society, where people feel that you can’t do anything without paying everyone. The latest such example is a lawsuit against the US Postal Service over a recent stamp that is a photo of part of the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.
If you’re an independent musician looking for as many ways to sell and promote your music as possible, and you or a friend has some experience with software development, you’ll want to check out the upcoming Rock Band Network, for which Harmonix and MTV Games plan to begin beta testing in late August.
The music industry will attempt to seize money paid to acquire the Pirate Bay, according to a high-level music industry source and a spokesman for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the trade group representing the music industry worldwide.
I have been rereading the legislative history of the 1909 Copyright Act. I have come to the conclusion that 100 years ago we were smarter about copyright, about disruptive technologies, about intellectual property, monopolies and network effects than we are today. At least, the legislative hearings were much smarter. The hearings I am looking at took place in 1906 — thanks to the wonder of Google books you can read them yourself, if you are really nerdy.