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08.07.09

Novell Responds to SCO Ruling, More News Coverage

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 8:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Goats on a road

Summary: More news about SCO’s latest roadblock

For background, see this post.

Statement from Novell: SCO Group Ruling Update

Novell is pleased with the Court’s ruling and the determination to have a Chapter 11 Trustee administer the SCO estate. Novell believes that the administration of the SCO estate by an independent Trustee will be in the best interests of all creditors and the estate. We also believe this is continuing good news for the open source community.

More news coverage:

SCO Group can’t liquidate assets; Trustee appointed

A bankruptcy judge has refused to liquidate the Lindon-based The SCO Group but also denied the company’s motion to sell off most of its software programs assets and continue its lawsuits against IBM and Novell.

Instead, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross appointed a trustee to supervise the company to help decide what direction to take as SCO battles to stay alive and pursue its high-profile lawsuits.

US court blocks sale of SCO assets

“The court’s decision to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee will enable an independent fiduciary to assess the litigation with the confidence of the court and without the doubts raised by debtors’ adversaries in the litigation.”

SCO gets a bankruptcy trustee

So SCO, the snake in the world of operating systems software, has been scotched.

[...]

SCO, a psychopathic little company that began as the second-tier Linux vendor Caldera. veered to the dark side almost seven years ago, after buying an x86 Unix distribution business from the Santa Cruz Operation.

Caldera wasn’t a very successful Linux distribution and the company saw that its SCO Unix business was slowly declining, partly due to the increasing popularity of Linux.

Rather than embrace the challenge of developing fresh Linux-based technology for its established SCO Unix small- to medium-sized business market, Caldera took a fateful wrong turn by attempting a hostile takeover of Linux instead.

Judge Ousts SCO Management From Chapter 11 Control

A judge has ousted the management of The SCO Group Inc. from control of the company’s bankruptcy, saying SCO has been “waiting for ‘the dough’” from a losing battle with Novell Inc. for too long.

SCO’s return blocked by court

SCO planned to sell off the majority of its Unix business to a company called Unxis for $5.25 million, leaving only its mobile applications business.

Links 07/08/2009: Camp KDE 2010 Planned, ASUS May Return to GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 7:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • IBM: UNIX to Linux Migration Rate Growing

    Inna Kuznetsova, Director, Linux Strategy, led the meeting attended by IT analysts and painted a telling picture of what IBM’s Linux business has been in recent months: in short, strong and growing. To give an idea of this strength, Kuznetsova reported that in the past three years, over 1,800 customers have migrated from competitive platforms to IBM, and nearly 50 percent of those IBM wins included Linux.

  • Windows in Schools, Open Source at Home

    If you think FOSS is for Linux then think again and start Googling (or Binging). I have a Linux box (Mint 7 KDE 4, try it), a Mac and a Vista Dell (my Wife’s, honest). I use the same FOSS on all three.

    xFOSS simply allows all students, schools and teachers to access the same high quality facilities for free.

    The Learn at Home generation may fare well or poorly, either way simple fairness implies that they will use xFOSS at home. My feeling is that separating teaching and learning away from other aspects of schools will be very effective. It will be an interesting experiment.

  • The Value of Linux Job Skills Rises 50%

    Many pundits who have seen this data have postulated that the economy is actually the source for this rapid rise in valuation, as companies are flocking to open source software due to budget constraints. Anecdotally I have seen this as well, and our members tell us they are seeing it too.

  • Desktop

    • Back To School With Linux!

      I just received my first back to school notice in my email box. It came from PCMagazine. They’re touting “Back to School software.” But they also feature a review of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

      I looked it over and I’m not impressed. You can read the review here. If you currently run Windows XP, well, you’ll want to know about “XP Mode.” This is virtualization software that allows XP users to run XP legacy software in Windows 7. Problem is, it doesn’t work very well.

      And other questions about Windows 7 are cropping up. John C. Dvorak’s column details some of the backlash.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Releases OpenCL SDK For Linux Too

      As part of their Stream 2.0 Beta, AMD announced yesterday their OpenCL (Open Computing Language) Software Development Kit designed for multi-core x86 CPUs. They have submitted this SDK to the Khronos Group for certification, but it is available now. This OpenCL SDK, which is part of Stream 2.0, is available for both Windows and Linux. When it comes to AMD’s Linux support, they are currently supporting this new SDK under OpenSuSE 11.0 and Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.

  • Applications

    • A Guide to Configure Urban Terror on Linux
    • BOH lands on Linux

      BOH is an original, retro-flavoured game of exploration and action.
      You move in claustrophobic, traps-packed, mind-boggling battlefields searching for the Evil Masters, who throw countless enemies at you until you discover and face

    • Browser battler fights back

      Mozilla’s Firefox has been my favourite web browser since the first version of the free software download appeared in November 2004. Its arrival triggered a rerun of the 1990s “browser wars” that pitted Microsoft’s then upstart Internet Explorer against the incumbent Netscape Navigator.

    • Chrome

      • Get Your Chrome Experience On Linux

        If you have anything to do with IT or computers you know about the Google Chrome browser. No matter where you stand on your opinion of Google, you can not deny the Chrome browser is fast. In fact, Chrome is setting the standard for browser speed such that the competition is now playing a serious game of catch up. The Chrome browser is so fast (at both startup and page load) that the difference goes well beyond noticeable. Next to all of its competition Google Chrome looks as if it is running in a completely different gear all together.

      • Google Chrome: Meet the New Boss

        Meet the new boss, not quite the same as the old boss. While Google Chrome isn’t likely to unseat Firefox as the browser of choice for most Linux users very soon, recent development builds are showing a great deal of promise.

      • Top 10 Google Chrome Themes

        Just like Firefox, Google Chrome web browser is now theme-able. That is if you have Google Chrome 3.0 Developer Preview or the most recent Chromium build installed.

      • Checking Chrome on Linux

        Chrome for Linux has recently been released in an unstable version. As I have been looking forward to it for a year now, I cannot wait more. So I am going to have a look at that beta version (3.0.196.0).

  • KDE

    • Announcing Camp KDE 2010!

      We are pleased to announce Camp KDE 2010!

      Camp KDE 2010 will take place at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla, California, USA from January 15th until January 22nd, 2010. The event is free to all participants.

    • Tweet From your KDE 4 Desktop

      KDE 4 features a new desktop shell named Plasma. Part of Plasma is support for desktop widgets, known as ‘Plasmoids’, which can include a clock, a notepad and more.

    • Raster Graphics System in KDE 4
  • Distributions

    • Booting Puppy 4.1.2 from a USB stick — it could stand in well for Chrome OS

      I went whole hog and used a 128 MB stick. Yep, that’s it. I have a huge 20 MB left for storage. Now that I know this works (at least on my Dell, the only box to which I have access that also allows booting via USB) I’ll get a bigger stick and actually have some room to, as they say, maneuver.

      Doing the install was easy. I booted Puppy 4.1.2 from a CD I had previously burned (I know Puppy is up to 4.2 … I’ll have to try it). Then I used the menu to install to USB. The only thing I did that wasn’t a default was selecting mbr.bin as the boot method. It works.

    • Progress with Pardusman on Web

      Web-Pardusman has a schedulder queue where each distro build request will be queued according to the server build capacity and at a time specific number of builds will be processed. After the build, next request will be accpeted from the queue.

    • Is there too many versions of Linux? No.

      First off, FOSS (free open source software) thrives on variety. Without it, FOSS wouldn’t truly be FOSS.

      [...]

      So in the end, we really don’t have too many distros. In fact, in some areas we don’t have enough, and in others we have just the right amount. So always remember, when something seems too big or like there’s too many choices, make sure you’re not looking at the case, but rather the box inside that pertains to you.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat’s JBoss road less traveled

        RHEL is all about “selling boxes” (i.e., servers), in other words. It’s tactical, not deeply strategic.

      • rPath to Automate Application Delivery for Sony Pictures Imageworks

        rPath, an innovator in solutions for automating application deployment and maintenance, today announced that Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc., has selected rBuilder and the rPath Lifecycle Management Platform. Using the rPath solutions, Sony Imageworks will automate the packaging, deployment and maintenance of the digital character animation and visual effects applications used to create its award-winning movie projects.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical’s Ubuntu Server Edition Gains ISV Support

        Canonical’s Ubuntu Server Edition is finally showing some ISV (independent software vendor) momentum. The latest two examples involve Openbravo and Alfresco. Here’s the news and a bigger picture look at Canonical’s attempt to compete against Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux on the server.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Rumor: Asus to launch Moblin-powered Eee PC soon

        Asus may have pulled its experimental Google Android-powered netbook from sight after teasing journalists with it at Computex in June. But that doesn’t mean the company is sticking to Windows and Xandros Linux. Sascha at NetbookNews says a reliable source has told him that Asus will launch a netbook with Moblin Linux in October.

      • Linux UI designer working on netbook-optimized calendar, mail

        Linux-powered netbook users that have been missing their doctors’ appointments and kids’ school plays because operating a calendar application on their tiny portable is, at best, clunky and painful, can finally breathe an accurately-scheduled sigh of relief. Srinivasa Ragavan, who is one of the user interface developers for the open-source Evolution personal information manager project, has taken it upon himself to develop netbook-happy frontends for the calendar and mail portions of Evolution.

      • Moblin Linux – The next big operating system

        Mark my words. In 2015, two out of every three netbooks will be running Moblin. Computer users worldwide will be able to enjoy a free, super-fast, super-beautiful, lightweight, secure operating system that will cater to their simple joyful needs, focusing around media, Internet and social life online. Best of all? They will not even know they’re running Linux.

        I have spent the last few days playing with Moblin 2. Boy, it’s something else. It’s such a radical leap from the conventional Linux desktop you will be hard-pressed to believe that you’re using the geekiest operating system in the world.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The open-source imperative for system integrators

    But for a system integrator like Potts’ employer, Optaros, code is critical. Potts is particularly well-suited to call this out, given that prior to Optaros he was a vice president at Hitachi Consulting where he did Documentum and other proprietary software deployments.

  • The Power of Open Source Development

    There are two reasons why Linux and other open source software have demonstrated such explosive growth. One is the growth of the Internet, which is the largest collaborative platform in the history of mankind, connecting 1.4 billion people across the world. The other is the open, participative, distributed development model of open source where users are actually encourage to contribute to the development of the software. This is in sharp contrast to proprietary software that allows very limited rights to users.

  • Databases

    • Monty claims commercial MySQL license is too restrictive

      Monty Widenius, founder of MySQL, has said in a blog posting – “Thoughts on Dual-Licensing Open Source Software” – that he recently became aware that Sun Microsystem’s OEM licence agreement for MySQL would restrict users who had signed up for the commercial licence to the open source database from modifying MySQL or using any forks of MySQL. According to Widenius “The basic idea for our dual-licensing was this: if you bought a license then we waived the GPL restriction that you have to redistribute your code as GPL” and that the current version of the OEM licence goes against that principle to the detriment of customers.

    • Open source’s role in lowering the barriers to data warehousing

      Sun’s internal surveys indicate that data warehousing is the fifth-most-common use case for MySQL, which explains why it is not just Infobright that is looking to build a data warehousing business around MySQL.

    • How Hadoop Revolutionized Data Warehousing at Yahoo and Facebook
    • European Commission queries MySQL companies

      The European Commission is contacting users of MySQL in the run up to the antitrust review of the Sun/Oracle deal. According to the Wall Street Journal The antitrust review is set to report on September 3rd, .

    • XtraDB has been commited to MariaDB

      If you do not follow MariaDB development, I want to head up XtraDB has been commited to MariaDB server and will be included in binary releases of MariaDB (scheduled on end of August – September) as replacement of InnoDB storage engine.

    • EnterpriseDB Announces Bailout Program for Besieged Oracle Customers

      EnterpriseDB, the leading enterprise-class open source database company, today announced an Oracle Migration Assessment Program designed to aid the thousands of companies locked into the Oracle database and related products who face a constant drumbeat of price increases from the vendor.

  • Licensing

    • Moving to the Eclipse Public License

      A few days ago I blogged that we will “most likely” be moving to the Eclipse Public License as our preferred license on code.intuit.com. The “most likely” disclaimer is being removed. We will be moving to the EPL.

  • Openness

    • Open or Closed? Report

      With the current economic downturn placing public finances under significant pressure, local authorities need to prepare for a more challenging future. In a climate of increasing budget constraints, councils are now facing inescapable demands to develop new and innovative ways to transform services, generate cashable efficiencies and deliver more for less. At the same time, local government IT costs are rising: In January this year, Socitm (the professional association for public ICT management) reported ICT spending by UK local authorities would soar by 5% in 2008/09, reaching a record level of £3.2 billion of expenditure. These developments underline the need for councils to drive more value from their IT investments.

    • Open is the New Closed

      Openness is a much-misunderstood word; a kind of good-will moniker to which people attach an impressive variety of definitions; open source code, open standards, open handsets, openness as in transparency, shared roadmaps, open APIs, open route to market… It’s a very forgiving term as far as definitions go.

    • Perl6 Slated for Release by Spring 2010

Leftovers

  • Is Google getting into the Internet TV biz?

    Google quietly announced yesterday that it was buying On2 Technologies. For $106.5 million dollars, Google gets On2, a leading developer of video compression, publishing and encoding technology. Could Google be getting poised to jump into Internet TV?

  • Shameless Front Group Plans More Astroturf

    After its public relations firm was outed for sending fake letters opposing the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill to members of Congress, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is expanding its “grassroots” outreach. The coal industry front group “is launching a $1 million campaign” to secure more concessions for coal in the Senate version of the climate change bill.

  • New ID cards are supposed to be ‘unforgeable’ – but it took our expert 12 minutes to clone one, and programme it with false data
  • UK ID Card Technology Cloned…

    No surprises there, of course; but what’s significant is that it’s the Daily Mail that’s pushing this jolly news out to its assembled readers. This means the message is going out to groups beyond the obvious Guardian greeny-lefties and Telegraph Tories.

  • Government rubbishes ID card hack report
  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Iraq to impose controls on Internet

      The Iraqi government has decided to crack down on Internet service providers and ban sites that incite violence or carry pornography, officials said Tuesday, a move that has been strongly criticized by freedom of speech advocates as a dangerous first step toward political censorship.

    • Fox joins Universal’s war on Redbox DVD rental kiosks

      Fox has ordered distributors to stop providing Redbox with new DVD releases, joining Universal in its attempt to prop up its ailing DVD business. Redbox is awaiting a ruling on its lawsuit against the studios over what the rental firm describes as their anticompetitive practices.

    • Murdoch’s ultimatum to Amazon: Give us Kindle subscriber names or else

      Rupert Murdoch’s mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. High-handed treatment from Amazon, that is.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stallman, The Pirates and Copyright

      A third path would be to find or create some way to enforce the Four Freedoms without relying on copyright law to do so. Is there a different area of law that could be used? I am unaware of any non-copyright-based Free Software ideas. If there were no copyright, could the Four Freedoms be enforced?

    • More Examples Of Newspapers ‘Parasiting’ Blogs

      If Ian Shapira was upset that Gawker “only” gave him three links, I wonder what he feels about a long list of newspapers taking a story from a blog and giving no credit at all (found via Mathew Ingram)

    • Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Dishes on CD Hatred and the Music Industry

      Before that joke, though, he was more specific on his opinions of physical formats that hold digital media: “I mean, I always hated CDs. Me and Stanley [Donwood] always hated CDs. Just a fucking nightmare,” he ranted, adding later, “there’s a process of natural selection going on right now. The music business was waiting to die in its current form about twenty years ago. But then, hallelujah, the CD turned up and kept it going for a bit. But basically, it was dead.”

    • Fox The Latest Studio To Declare War On Redbox

      Either way, this is a story of the movie studios letting their own greed interfere with innovation. These movies are being legally purchased. It’s difficult to see how the studios have any leg to stand on in preventing Redbox from using their movies in its service. Isn’t there a First Sale right somewhere?

Please Sign Petition to Protest Amazon’s Remote Deletion of 1984 and Animal Farm

Posted in Action, DRM, FSF, Petitions at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kindle

SARAH from the Free Software Foundation has called for people to express their dissatisfaction with far-reaching DRM in Amazon’s Kindle. “We have over 1400 signatures already,” she emphasises, “and signers include Lawrence Lessig, Clay Shirky, Cory Doctorow and other notable authors, librarians, and scholars.”

If you know other people who may wish to support the cause, please pass this around as it will be used to persuade Amazon to reverse, not just apologise, and it may also serve as a future lesson to other companies that attempt the same predatory action.

George Orwell

Don’t let Amazon ‘pull an Orwell’ on Orwell

Related post:

Ubuntu Tweaks Patent Policy, Microsoft Has “Intellectual Property Group”, Twitter Faces Lawsuit, and Google Handles Video Patents

Posted in Courtroom, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, Ubuntu at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bald eagle
Intellectual Vultures

Summary: Lots of patent news with direct impact on Free software

IT WAS about a week ago that Canonical said in the mailing lists that it had updated/modified its patent policy. It is only now that a news site found it worthy of coverage. From the summary:

Ubuntu has introduced a new Patent Policy to help developers and rights holders deal with software patent issues.

Of course, it would be most convenient to pretend that Microsoft did not fund SCO, sue TomTom, and sue Melco (all anti-Linux lawsuits). While us at Boycott Novell actually protest against this abusive strategy from Microsoft (akin to racketeering), other Web sites or people (opposers of Freedom fighters [1, 2, 3]) prefer to mock messengers who point this out and try to create or support a coalition against software patents and against Microsoft’s intolerant behaviour.

IDG has this new article about the “Microsoft patent model”.

Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group is building a financial model designed to value and predict prices for technology patents, allowing the company to better forecast and budget for intellectual property-related costs — all inspired by a best-selling book about baseball.

Yes, Microsoft learns from baseball about extortion cycles. All it needs now is a good baseball bat and a compelling Mafia Don. There is some more analysis of this right here.

Last night we wrote about Twitter — a company which uses Free software as its underlying infrastructure (stack) — getting sued for alleged violation of software patents. For future reference (if any is required), this is also covered in:

Twitter is no stranger to such patent lawsuits and TechRadium is a serial aggressor. Here is the press release and a comment which says:

This is why we should not have software patents. I’ve been sending alerts and messages to a distribution list since I was using email. What’s the difference.

As TechDirt points out, the actions of the USPTO show a certain level of incompetence, including the inability to suppress such junk patents and frivolous lawsuits.

While plenty of people are familiar with the fact that NTP got $612.5 million from RIM in a patent dispute a few years back (which drew tremendous scrutiny into the realm of patents), one of the most interesting details that many people didn’t follow was that at the same time as the lawsuit was going on, the US Patent Office was re-examining those same patents, and issuing rejections of the very same patents. Despite the USPTO even rushing to announce its problems with the patents way ahead of schedule, the judge chose not to wait for the final rejections and pressured RIM into paying up.

The most interesting bit of patent news was probably to do with Google’s On2 acquisition. For background, Groklaw has just highlighted the increasing problem with Web video which remains inaccessible to GNU/Linux users, giving the White House as an example.

I go to the url for the White House meeting going on right now, and nothing I own will do the live streaming. I can get the text running at the bottom, but no video. Can you guys figure out if it is possible? If it’s just me, that’s one thing. But if it is everyone who isn’t using Microsoft products, that is something else.

Matt Asay speculates that Google’s acquisition of On2 may have something to do with patents.

Is Google’s open-source advocacy a patent-busting scheme?

[...]

If true, The Register’s question–”Is Google spending $106.5m to open source a codec?”–calls up a different response than the author of that article gives. Maybe $106 million is cheap compared to the cost of getting hit with video compression patent suits (from Microsoft, Apple, and others), if Google open source’s On2′s video compression codecs.

This links to the following report:

As is typical of Googlespeak, this tells us close to nothing. But if you also consider the company’s so far fruitless efforts to push through a video tag for HTML 5 – the still gestating update to the web’s hypertext markup language – the On2 acquisition looks an awful lot like an effort to solve this browser-maker impasse.

Why doesn’t Google just spread Ogg? According to this bit of news, Chrome is gaining <video> support.

Google has released a new Chrome beta that includes a theming engine, faster JavaScript performance, several usability improvements, and support for HTML5 video.

Sam Dean asks himself whether this is “part of [Google's] open Web video standards effort”, but why doesn’t Google just embrace Ogg rather than spend $106 million buying a company? Perhaps it’s best to wait and see.

“Software patents have been nothing but trouble for innovation. We the software engineers know this, yet we actually have full-blown posters in our break-room showcasing the individual engineers who came up with something we were able to push through the USPTO. Individually, we pretty much all consider the software-patent showcase poster to be a colossal joke.” —Kelledin, PLI: State Street Overruled… PERIOD

Microsoft Keeps Trying to Inject Software Patents Into ODF and Other Standards

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, RAND at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[More Open Than Open]: “I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Jason Matusow, Microsoft (for background see [1, 2])

Summary: Behind the scenes, Microsoft is trying to promote RAND (for standards) while acquiring more XML patents

YESTERDAY we made the front page of Slashdot, which wrote about Microsoft’s XML patents. Sadly, the editor did not link directly to any of our recent writings that specifically tackle the patent issue, e.g.:

Slashdot’s summary was as follows:

Embrace. Extend. Patent. On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,571,169 for its ‘invention’ of the Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Presumably developers are protected by Microsoft’s ‘covenant not to sue,’ so the biggest question raised by this patent is: How in the world was it granted in light of the 40-year history of document markup languages? Next thing you know, the USPTO will give Microsoft a patent for Providing Emergency Data in XML format. Oops, too late.”

For those who think that Microsoft has no intention of using such patents, see this E-mail from Bill Gates.

Microsoft tries to redefine “open” (again) such that it's inclusive of RAND clauses, i.e. software patents and royalties. The latest attempt from Matusow has not escaped the attention of Glyn Moody, who dissected it and wrote:

The logic here seems to be that there would be an “imbalance” in open standards if it were insisted that patents were excluded – because balance obviously means having standards with and without patents. While it’s true that creates a “balance”, it’s a purely linguistic one; the fact is that patent-encumbered standards requiring licensing fees cannot, by definition, be open. That’s because they do not create level playing fields: there is always one or more players who occupy a privileged position. So the balance is entirely specious.

[...]

Against that background of a standardisation process being bent to breaking point, complaints about the *balance* of open standards ring rather hollow.

Not to mention Microsoft's intimate relationship with ISO.

A few days ago we mentioned the fact that OOXML has over 800 pages of known defects. The <No>OOXML Web site has just located these for sharing publicly.

800 pages of defect for OOXML, here it is. ISO is such a transparent organisation that they are afraid of the web, and the public light of the blogosphere. Here is the leak for you.

Microsoft has resorted to a new methodology of justifying the existence of this highly-defective proprietary format. Apart from Microsoft spinners like Paul Thurrott, coverage came from IDG, which points out that:

Microsoft did not spell out how the file format “ballot” will appear to users, or what choices, other than ODF (Open Document Format), the open-source word processing, spreadsheet and presentation document standard, will be shown.

The above articles say absolutely nothing about Microsoft’s ODF implementation being defective in the sense that it is not interoperable [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

In better news (about ODF) we have:

ODF Plugfest: Working in Progress

These days a number of organizations and ODF implementors are working together to organize a second ODF Plugfest in parallel with the upcoming OpenOffice.org Con 2009, that will take place in Orvieto (Italy) in November.

Tables Sprint in Copenhagen

Casper also took the plunge on loading and quite quickly got stuff up and working, and with the commit he did right before I left his apartment, most of the features here should now be loading correctly from ODF.

Converting OpenOffice files to/from Microsoft Office files

Whatever your choice, there’s a fair chance you’ll be able to enjoy cross-office, cross-platform integration with a high level of accuracy, saving lots of time and trouble in getting the files to open and look the right way. Instead of working hard, you now have a set of tools that will toil for you.

Office Suites

So what options are available for UNIX/Linux systems? I have found there are six common office/productivity solutions for these platforms with which most of us are already familiar.

Fight The Empire With Open Source

I have recently been in touch with Novell, the Open Document Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), and some of our local Legislators to find out what kind of movement we have here in the state of Utah and if an Open Standard is possible because ideally I would like to see state agencies step away from the proprietary formats used by Microsoft and Corel and use open formats. Many of our state agencies have been restricted from funding for expensive Microsoft products in support of Open Office. I long for a change that will require State and Local Government to use Open standards, but I realize that a change of this magnitude will take time and patience.

Microsoft is still trying to slow down ODF, to the degree that it can get away with. Microsoft is not a friend of ODF.

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“

Microsoft on OOXML

Monopoly and Monocrisy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Property market

Summary: New example of Mono hypocrisy

THERE was a degree of hostility between Tomboy and Gnote. Part of it was to do with licensing issues (one complainer was Jo Shields), but as the following shows nicely, it would be hypocritical for Mono proponents to whine about this from now on.

The announcement that there is now a “line-by-line port of Sqlite to C#” is travelling around all the planets.

[...]

Note that the licensing has changed to from Sqlite as well! Scandalous!

[...]

So, will we be seeing those apologies and corrections for the reaction to Gnote yet? How about a round of good old-fashioned personal attacks and assigning malicious motives for the author of csharp-sqlite? I’ll be right here holding my breath. Good thing I quit smoking, no?

In other Mono news, the Microsoft-friendly Gavin Clarke writes about Novell bringing Mono to iPhone. It’s wonderful news to Microsoft.

Microsoft May Have Found Company to Pass 2,000+ Employees to; Vista 7 Can Finish Microsoft

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 11:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dart failure

Summary: Microsoft carries on shrinking and the product that it’s hinging its hopes on is a dud

THIS FATE of 2,000+ jobs of is not exactly news because we wrote about it back in June, but the news is that Publicis is most likely to absorb 2,000+ jobs, which will be deducted from Microsoft’s headcount. This is part of the ongoing deflation that we find in Microsoft, which is also axing many products and borrowing money.

French advertising company Publicis Groupe is in the lead to buy Microsoft Corp.’s digital ad agency, Razorfish, according to people familiar with the matter.

Steve Ballmer, like Microsoft in general, keeps shouting about Vista 7 as though it is the Second Coming which will rescue Microsoft amid serious trouble. It won't happen.

It is very important to pay attention to Microsoft’s Vista 7 hype. It is not natural hype, as we last pointed out last night because others agree. We call it “Vista 7″ because it is just another Vista. Less than a year ago, Steve Ballmer said: “[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

“Microsoft is trying to associate the next operating system with premium hardware that’s not even new…”Ziff Davis has been hyping up Windows Vista in exchange for payments from Microsoft and ZDNet, which has (or had) a complex relationship with Ziff Davis, published the following article not so long ago: “Windows 7: A better Vista?”

The Ziff Davis publication known as Microsoft Watch is one that we mentioned a few days ago because of bias. In recent days, Microsoft Watch has been participating a great deal in the artificial hype behind Vista 7, with postings such as this one. As it says in the comments, “[S]ince Seven is just “a better Vista” according to Steve Ballmer, it most likely will not work on most of the older computers out there running XP now. So you can save some bucks by not running out and buying this bloatware for the old computer, unless you are already stuck with Vista. Then again one could try out and use Linux for free at distrowatch.com.

There is another brand new buzz-generating posting from Microsoft Watch. It’s one of those very typical attempts to make something out of an operating system that lacks added value, so hardware is used to complement the software side. Microsoft is trying to associate the next operating system with premium hardware that’s not even new — in this case tablet PCs, which failed badly as Origami and Vistagami clearly showed. There is a funny comment there which states the obvious:

Talbet is just another form factor for touchscreen. More marketing.

MS is on the decline, as such eweek needs to rethink its approach to news.

If the operating system is worthless, then trying to make people associate it with expensive and fun hardware is all that remains for marketing. Microsoft only requires some ‘carriers’ in the press who will pass it as “news”.

There is no compelling reason to touch Vista 7, surely not for its ability to virtualise XP just as one can virtualise GNU/Linux. It’s not even pragmatic because virtual machines are resource hungry. This has “disaster” written all over it, but pricey perception management [1, 2, 3] makes it difficult to believe.

A Look at the Microsoft-funded SCO Lawsuit in Light of Newer Anti-Linux Microsoft Lawsuits

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, TomTom, UNIX at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…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

Summary: As the SCO lawsuit falls deeper into oblivion, it is worth relating this to existing new lawsuits (TomTom and Melco, both settled)

YESTERDAY we came across this curious comment about Microsoft, which said: “if/when their revenue get down far enough… i will expect to see more lawsuits being initiated by MS…. when that start to happen.. MS will have officially “jumped the shark” as they say..

Based on Larry Goldfarb’s testimony (under oath), it seems safe to say that Microsoft has at the very least funneled money into SCO. Whether Microsoft is also responsible (in part) for initiating the SCO lawsuit is a separate question which we can only speculate about based on circumstantial evidence.

Apart from that, many reporters seem to have not paid attention to Microsoft’s lawsuits against TomTom and against Melco. Both lawsuits were against Linux and they came directly from Microsoft. They came at a stage when SCO was too deep inside a hole, so its ‘FUD factor’ was pretty much annulled. For those who have not been following the SCO saga as of late, in chronological order we have:

With all these scandals behind, it turns out that unXis will not be allowed to buy SCO’s assets after all. From The Register:

A US judge has blocked SCO’s attempt to sell off part of its business in order to fund its ongoing litigation, and appointed a Chapter 11 trustee to oversee the company’s next moves.

SCO was hoping to sell off some of its assets, in order to fund its court battle against IBM and Novell for claimed Linux licenses. For its part, SCO said it was glad not to be pushed into Chapter 7 – full liquidation of the firm.

[...]

Support from Microsoft added to suspicions that the case was designed to put litigation-wary enterprises off using Linux.

The next stage was this appointment of bankruptcy trustee

In the latest development to emerge from the sordid SCO saga, a bankruptcy judge has blocked SCO’s proposed asset sale while denying Novell’s motion to force the company in to Chapter 7 liquidation. In his decision, the judge says that SCO’s hopes of successful litigation against prominent Linux vendors are like Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.

The SCO Group attempted to stave off liquidation in June by signing a last minute deal with Gulf Capital Partners and a tech firm called unXis. The terms of the agreement, which were finalized only moments before a court hearing, stipulated that SCO would sell its remaining UNIX assets for $2.4 million—a maneuver that could have potentially made it possible for SCO to continue pursuing its bogus litigation against the open source Linux operating system.

Groklaw was the centre of attention regarding this important development.

The judge in the SCO bankruptcy has ruled at last. SCO’s motion to let it sell to unXis is denied. There could be an auction later. The motions to convert to Chapter 7 by IBM, Novell and the US Trustee’s Office are also denied, but alternative relief is granted, and there will be a Chapter 11 trustee appointed. IBM and Novell agreed that a Chapter 11 Trustee was appropriate if he did not convert to Chapter 7, and that is what he has done. That means presumably that SCO management no longer run this show.

There are over 820 comments on that one (which is a rare number by all means) and Heise covered it too, summarising it thusly:

A Chapter 11 trustee has been commissioned to take over the business affairs of the SCO Group, which is threatened by bankruptcy. The trustee will work to guide the company out of the impending bankruptcy according to Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy code, but can also send the company into liquidation according to Chapter 7 and auction individual company assets to the highest bidder. With this order, the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware has removed SCO’s executive board.

Groklaw has a corresponding transcript.

The bankruptcy judge partly bought it, as you know, although he blocked the sale to unXis, questioning their good faith, which is of course why IBM and anyone would care about a sale to them, but for us, who have followed the SCO litigation so closely for six years now and saw SCO’s malice toward Linux with no evidence on the table the public has ever seen, it’s a wonderful laugh. SCO’s “potent claims”, indeed. What IBM and Novell “have done to SCO”. SCO sued them, actually. And Novell prevailed totally against SCO’s allegations of slander of title, which was what SCO sued Novell over, a claim which SCO humiliatingly lost. SCO is not appealing that claim. Just read it for yourself. Page 2 of SCO’s appeal brief lists the issues on appeal, and SCO’s claim of slander of title is not on the list.

Why doesn’t SCO just give up? Is its goal to win this lawsuit or just to prolong the agony and — along with it — the fear, the uncertainty, and the doubt?

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

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