IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 12th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Novell Ignores Microsoft’s Community Promise Limitations

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man keeping it together

Summary: Novell’s development of Mono steps outside the sandbox defined by Microsoft’s Community Promise

AS WE noted 5 days ago, the Mono developers (of which there are not many) are making Sqlite easier for Microsoft to embrace and extend (if Microsoft ever wishes to do so). Miguel de Icaza is just one among several who rave about this and yesterday he wrote about C# 4 and Mono, confirming the worries that Microsoft’s useless Community Promise (MCP) will be rendered “not applicable” as .NET continues to evolve.

“This is why projects such as Banshee are also stepping in areas of .NET which the MCP simply does not cover.”In essence, Novell already knows that Microsoft’s MCP is limited to particular packages/components and versions of C#/.NET (and their Mono equivalents). Novell can totally ignore this because it has a special and exclusionary deal with Microsoft (regarding software patents, to be more specific). This is why projects such as Banshee are also stepping in areas of .NET which the MCP simply does not cover.

For the time being, Novell’s new release of Evolution seems unencumbered by Mono, but this changes as soon as Evolution is put inside distributions and gains plug-ins [1, 2, 3]. The same goes for Novell’s Go-OO, which happens to share the same “go-” prefix as “go-evolution” and “go-mono”. It is almost as though they are all part of the same dynasty.

As another new article puts, “Microsoft [is] wary of [the] Linux threat.” It does not give .NET away as a ‘gift’ — no more than the town of Troy enjoyed the gifting of a large wooden horse.

“The patent danger to Mono comes from patents we know Microsoft has, on libraries which are outside the C# spec and thus not covered by any promise not to sue. In effect, Microsoft has designed in boobytraps for us.

“Indeed, every large program implements lots of ideas that are patented. Indeed, there’s no way to avoid this danger. But that’s no reason to put our head inside Microsoft’s jaws.”

Richard Stallman

Guess Which Software Giant is Promoting Software Patents

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM Netvista

Summary: IBM is still advocating a barrier to Free software

SEVERAL readers have independently notified us of more patent insanity — a system whereby new entrants are denied an opportunity to compete.

In Re Bilski is off to the Supreme Court, which could mean an ultimate elimination of software patents in the United States. But there is (at least) one major company standing in the way of such destruction of software patents. That company is not Microsoft (not in this case anyway); It is IBM, whose amicus brief [PDF] (HTML copy) in the Bilski case is far from helpful to Free software. IBM is truly blowing an opportunity here. FFII’s president argues that “IBM says that [software patenting] has promoted the free sharing of source code and fueled the growth of open source software.”

“IBM have a huge patent portfolio across all kinds of things… but they have a blanket position of not chasing open source projects over them…”
“IBM have a huge patent portfolio across all kinds of things,” writes Ng, “but they have a blanket position of not chasing open source projects over them… maybe it’s not blanket, but they’re part of OIN.” It is not necessarily a good thing because it only legitimises software patents and the OIN is now harvesting more patents.

See the footnote on page 23, which says: “Given the reality that software source code is human readable, and object code can be reverse engineered, it is difficult for software developers to resort to secrecy. Thus, without patent protection, the incentives to innovate in the field of software are significantly reduced. Patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code on a patentee’s terms—which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development.

“Note the lack of a citation supporting the proposition stated in that last sentence,” notes another reader.

In other disappointing news, watch how patents are putting a price on life. The New York Times fails to convey what a travesty it truly is.

Dr. Quake calculates that the most recently sequenced human genome cost $250,000 to decode, and that his machine brings the cost to less than a fifth of that.

How ‘affordable’. Human life is now in private hands.

Also see this new essay titled “Poverty Kills” and remember relationships between the Gates Foundation and the pharmaceutical industry (it is a critique by the way).

How do you even decide what minimal nutritional requirements are? Why three? The answer is simple: just count deaths instead.

To the industry which explores medicine and genome, death usually means business.

“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens, Fosdem07 Interview

Microsoft Accused of “Sabotaging Desktop Virtualisation”

Posted in Apple, IBM, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents, Virtualisation at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rock textures

Summary: Another bit of insight into anti-competitive behaviour from Microsoft and Apple

Microsoft’s attempts to control virtualisation so as to suppress adoption of other platforms or cheapening of Windows were mentioned here a lot in the context of servers. It turns out that on desktops too Microsoft has been pulling similar tricks, which stifle IBM’s attempt to put GNU/Linux on more desktops. Here is an explanation of this from IDG: [via Bob Sutor]

Why Microsoft is sabotaging desktop virtualization

Analysis: Microsoft’s licensing makes VDI unaffordable, to keep its stranglehold on desktop Windows licenses intact


There’s no other way to cut this: It’s simply way more expensive to license a Windows desktop OS for a VDI environment than it is to license one for a physical environment. Even if you upgrade to a new major OS revision during those three years by taking advantage of the Software Assurance plan included in VECD, you’re still paying more than you would if you did the same thing with a desktop client.

That is the text quoted by IBM’s Vice President of Linux and Open Source. As we shall show in a moment, IBM is trouble for Free software, but for other reasons. Apple too is somewhat of a fiend, attacking Linux with deliberate lack of interoperability and with patents also. It is rather amusing to see CNN/Fortune’s Apple-oriented blog casting Apple’s behavioural problems as just a “PR issue”. How arrogant a trivialisation.

To get a feel for how serious a PR problem this has become, check out the tone of New York Times columnist David Pogue’s latest e-mail newsletter.

Apple’s problems are conceit and greed. The only “PR problem” is that Apple is unable to hide an attitudinal issue, regardless of communication about this issue. Some people would argue that Boycott Novell takes a rather divisive approach, but the reality of the matter is that tyrannical entities (by their very nature) which use PR to conceal robbery of freedoms and rights are a long-term divisive issue which leaves people isolated and less capable of organising, demanding change, and restoring vital dignity. It is only ever realised when it’s too late. This issue of morality will be explored in a later post about patents, which are part of a monopolistic system that protects the privileged from peers who are underdogs. That system too relies on an indoctrination system which sells itself to the public using buzzwords like “innovation” and practically bans competition.

No Lessons Learned from Windows-imposed Web Turbulence

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Nothing at all — except debate — has truly changed as a result of Windows botnets running amok

THE INTERNET as we know it may be stranded at a bit of a crossroad. The persistent DDoS attacks against Twitter have stirred up a discussion about Windows zombies and ways of battling them [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Few technologists seem to believe that Windows can ever be secured and the question of liability arose again. Glyn Moody asked whether “Microsoft [should] be liable for its flaws.”

The recent attacks on Twitter and Facebook, probably using Windows botnets, have highlighted an old issue: whether Microsoft should be held responsible for the flaws in its software that cause such costly global downtimes.

At first glance, it’s an attractive option. After all, it could be argued that the company has made billions of dollars of profit from software that has caused billions of dollars of losses for users around the world, and so it would be only fair if some of that unjustly gained dosh were redistributed to those who have suffered at its hands.

Moody is looking for insights and calling for opinions from readers. At the same time, the world learns that Microsoft is patching no less than five “critical” flaws which are remotely exploitable. It never ends.

Microsoft released the expected nine patches – five critical – as part of a busy August Patch Tuesday update that focuses primarily on client-side vulnerabilities.

Here are some more gory details.

The critical holes, which could allow an attacker to remotely run code on a PC and take control of it, affect Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Windows Client for the Mac, Office 2000, XP and 2003, Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, Visual Studio .NET 2003, Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 and 2006, and BizTalk Server 2002, according to a Microsoft security advisory.

Those new remotely-exploitable Microsoft holes include [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Users looking for a secure operating system should have a look at GNU/Linux.

“Anyone wonder why the Microsoft SQL server is called the sequel server? Is that because no matter what version it’s at there’s always going to be a sequel needed to fix the major bugs and security flaws in the last version?”


Links 12/08/2009: Many GNU/Linux Releases, Free Software News

Posted in News Roundup at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2010: The Year of Virtualized Desktops?

    Ultimately, the desktop virtualization market sounds quiet a bit like a next-generation successor to the thin client market. So it’s safe to expect virtualized desktops to surface within settings where thin clients first emerged — health care, retail and so forth.

  • Applications

    • Nathive developer spotlight

      Nathive is a libre software image editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo-Paint or GIMP, but focused on usability, logic and providing a smooth learning curve for everyone. The project run in the Gnome desktop environment and anyone is welcome to collaborate on it with code, translations or ideas.

    • Open source and 3D

      Thus I read with interest the related blog posts “Sweet Home 3D” and “Sweet Home 3D: Open Source, Cross Platform Design Application” which, not surprisely, talk about the Java-based open source program called Sweet Home 3D. This seems similar to the programs I used on Windows years ago, though it is, as I said Java-based and open source. I’ll definitely give it a try.

  • Distributions

    • Run Multiple Debian Versions Simultaneously
    • New Releases

      • PC/OS 2009.3 released

        PC/OS 2009.3 has been released for the general public. This release fixes many of the hardware issues that users had with PC/OS 2009v2 series. With this release we went ahead and and installed all updates so all security updates since PC/OS Maintenance Pack 3 have been applied. The changes to PC/OS 2009.3 application wise are common across all releases except XFCE 4.6 was not included in WebStation due to some issues that are being explored right now on some models of netbooks.

      • Finnix 93.0 released

        Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 93.0 for the x86/AMD64, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.

      • The G:Standard 3.0.rc01 (2.9.90) is Released

        The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the second released of the next G:Standard. The G:Standard 3.0.rc01 (2.9.90) is Released. The G:Standard is the original edition first released in the end of October 2004. In the past it was called as GoblinX and later as GoblinX Standard. In order to dismiss doubt about the releases and follow the same criteria used for all distributions (editions) of the GoblinX Project it became simply G:Standard.

      • kademar 4.9
      • SystemRescueCd 1.2.3
      • Clonezilla 1.2.2-27
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nokia to cull Symbian from smartphones?

      Nokia smartphones may soon be shipped running the phone giant’s Linux-based Maemo operating system instead of Symbian, it has been claimed.

      Maemo – also known as the Internet Tablet OS – has been around since 2005 and was originally designed for Nokia’s family of handheld internet gadgets.

      Now a report by the Financial Times Deutschland has hinted that Nokia is preparing to drop Symbian from its smartphones, in favour of Maemo. The paper’s source is unclear.

    • Nokia: We’re Fully Commited To Symbian
    • How to hack a Sony Reader

      Inside the Linux-based e-book viewer

    • Phones

      • Mobile Marketers Must Look Past The iPhone

        Some experts suggest it’s time to warm up to Android, as the Google-backed, open-source mobile-operating system is set to power a growing numbers of handsets, making it an equally vital, if not bigger, long-term play. And though there are only two Android-based phones available in the U.S. (the second one was only introduced last week), Google said 19 Android-based handsets will launch by year-end worldwide, from the likes of LG, Samsung and Motorola, and folks in the app-development space predict about half a dozen of these will be unveiled stateside. Android’s platform is also open source, meaning that unlike the iPhone, anyone can build a device or create apps for it.

      • Dell to launch China-only mobile phone after all, calls it “Ophone mini3i” (Updated)

        We broke the news on Dell launching a China-only cell phone on Sunday, and today major Chinese news portal 163.com reports the device is on its way: What Dell will be offering in China is an Android-powered “Ophone” called the mini3i.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Moblin v2 to reach netbooks this Oct.?

        The first netbook pre-installed with Moblin v2 operating system technology may reach market in October. A report suggests that Asus will offer Moblin v2 technology preinstalled on its “Seashell” netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Flemish Region to educate citizens on open source

    The Flemish regional Government wants to educate its citizens on “free software (open source)”, it writes in its coalition agreement published on 10 July 2009.

    The open source information is meant to help to increase the region’s use of the Internet, including electronic government services, media, culture, health services and eLearning.

  • The Open Source Desktop Made Easy

    That’s why for some time I’ve been advocating a phased introduction of open source software. This means swapping out programs like Internet Explorer, Outlook and Microsoft Office, and swapping in Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org, but sticking with Windows. Once users are comfortable with these on that platform, it is possible to shift them across to GNU/Linux, using the same apps. Aside from one or two trivial changes of menu structure, the programs work identically across both, which means that users can concentrate on just one aspect of the second move: getting to know GNU/Linux.

  • Bank boosts customer service 60 per cent with open source tool

    A new way of tracking and capturing employee and customer ideas and data using an made-in-house CRM tool has worked wonders for YES Bank. In a short time, this relatively new banking firm has improved customer service by 60 per cent and turnaround time for its processes by almost 70 percent.

  • College Bytes

    Around 400 students from various colleges and experts from the IT industry interacted during the event. The topics included Green IT, Cloud Computing, Entrepreneurship, Open Source Software and Natural Language processing which were delivered by experts from IT companies like TCS, CDAC and Omniscient Technologies.

  • Mod Anti-Malware goes open source for server security

    The other key question that I had for Dasient was how their technology is different than say the mod_security Web Application Firewall (WAF), that is also open source.

  • Open Source Web Anti-Malware Tool Released

    An interesting new piece of security freeware was launched today as Dasient introduced an open source version of its Web server infection remediation technology.


    However, anyone who downloads and installs the freeware version will be granted a limited free trial of the paid services.

  • MySociety.org calls for project proposals

    The group, who use open source to power their sites and release their code under the GPL, are looking for ideas which involve the internet and encompass ideas which have an easy to explain “social, civic or democratic benefit”.

  • CMS

    • Joomla! calls for awards backing

      Open source custom webhosting platform Joomla! is calling on its users to put it forward for entry into an upcoming awards scheme.


      “There are over 3,000 extensions to Joomla 1.5 in the Joomla Extensions Directory,” the developers explained.

    • A big, open idea

      Matt’s WordPress, which I use at interest.co.nz, is one of the best and most used of these consumer open source softwares. Open source software is built through an essentially cooperative process where developers work together to create and debug software before giving it away. It uses a General Public License (GPL). There’s more information on the GPL here.

      Essentially, the free software movement was borne in the early 1980s and led by Richard Stallman, a former MIT student and hacker. See more background here. Other devotees include Linus Torvalds (Linux).

  • Business

    • Forecast: Cost Cutting Will Drive Open Source Growth

      “We’ve seen a tremendous growth in interest from companies who really feel uncomfortable with the price hikes and the pricing practices of the big players in the proprietary world,” said Ingres CEO Roger Burkhardt in an interview. “Now that budgets are being squeezed, we see a tremendous interest in the economic model that we offer.”

    • Career Watch: Job growth could be more robust away from the coasts

      One other area to consider: open source. Having strong knowledge of open-source alternatives to purchased products can give you an edge over competitors that are only offering packaged software. Giving your customers options, especially lower-cost options, should help you get work. Open-source solutions are going to be increasingly viable in the future.

    • xTuple 3.3 open source ERP debuts

      Version 3.3 also allows customers to export to OpenOffice from any screen and the ability to copy one item, row or entire table to the clipbopard. One can export all displays to OpenOffice document formats, as well as HTML and comma-separated text Support for Qt version 4.5, now available under the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL),” according to the release.

  • Funding

    • Open source living on VC time

      The price on the deal, $362 million plus the assumption of debt, is curiously close to what another Java framework outfit, JBOSS, fetched over three years ago.

      This may also make VMWare a more powerful adversary against Red Hat, although I had thought they were competing with Citrix’ Xensource. Silly me.

    • Peter Fenton Has That Magic Open-Source Touch

      Rather than “expensive sales efforts and negotiations with the upper management to get the most money possible,” the people that will be using the software can easily download and try the product. This helps the best products proliferate and weeds out the underperformers.

    • Google gives $300K to OSU Open Source Lab

      In yet another show of support for open source projects, Google has made another $300,000 gift to the Oregon State University Open Source Lab, increasing its cumulative support of academia’s premiere open source development and hosting operation to more than $1 million. The new funds will support OSL efforts to provide hosting services used by many of today’s most recognized open source projects and communities.

  • Government

    • Ghana: Imani Honours Late Guido Sohne

      “He was one of the early founding members of the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa as well as being part of the FOSSFA Council. However, he resigned due to differences over governance and direction of the organization and moved on to establish a new organization called AfricanIntelligence with the purpose of focusing on developing developers rather than promoting open source software.”

      “He was responsible for the first Open Source project in West Africa (and possibly in sub-Saharan Africa as well) and won awards for creating two of Africa’s top fifty websites. He has made minor contributions to OSS projects like the Linux Cross Reference tool, RedHat’s Interchange e-commerce system, Ruby’s Rannotate and JavaScript and Ruby implementations of a 2D barcode system, DataMatrix aka Semacode.”

    • UK

      • Tories call for health computer systems cuts

        Mr O’Brien insisted that “open source” systems could be more secure. We guess he means open source database software run by government offices, not inviting all the world’s under-employed programmers to rewrite the UK’s NHS software systems.

      • Conservatives publish NHS IT policy pledges

        The Conservatives say they “welcome these conclusions” in part because they are “consistent with our plans to free the NHS from Labour’s central control and interference so that it is locally accountable to patients and can focus on improving the results of their treatment”.

      • Archives names expert as new FOIA ombudsman

        Miram Nisbet has been hired to head the Office of Government Information Services, which is housed at the National Archives and Records Administration. The ombudsman’s office was created by the 2007 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act to be an intermediary between government agencies and requesters.

    • US

      • HHS to sponsor open source ‘code-a-thon’ for NHIN

        The project’s initial strategy will be guided by Brian Behlendorf, an open source advocate and contractor to the Administration’s Open Government team.

      • White House tells agencies, think ‘open innovation’

        The White House is telling its agencies, which are set to prepare budgets, to pursue an “open innovation”-approach to government, be visionary in their spending requests, and focus on “transformative” projects that help the climate, energy, life expectancy and the economy.


        The “open innovation” concept is akin to that used in open source circles. But longtime open source advocate Eric S. Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, read the White House memo and said he believed its call for open innovation is largely meaningless.

      • Obama, open source & healthcare

        Linux-based and open-source healthcare software has been around for years. Unless you were in health IT, however, chances are you never even heard of it. It’s time to pay attention, because it may soon be tracking your medical records.

        With the passage of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), $19-billion dollars has been ear-marked for Medicare and Medicaid technology incentives over the next five years. Collectively, this program is known as HITECH. If open-source, medical software advocates have their way, some, if not most, of that money will be going to free software and open standard based EHR (electronic health records).

  • Openness

    • Info-sharing tops DOD’s tech wish list

      Forge.mil, a family of services for developing open-source solution for the DOD, is example of the enterprisewide, on-demand services DISA wants to continue to develop, Mihelcic said.

    • 3-D Printers Make Manufacturing Accessible

      3-D printers can take blobs of plastic and shape them into almost any object you desire. Now, thanks to open source hardware designs and enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers, these printers are increasingly popular and accessible. People are using them to fabricate iPod docks, plastic bracelets, hair clips and miniature teapots at home.

    • Kaupthing’s loan book exposed and an injunction ordered against RÚV

      Yesterday the website WikiLeaks* published TOP SECRET information about loans made by Kaupthing bank just before the Big Meltdown last October. The info is a 209-page inside document containing slides used at a meeting of the bank’s loans committee on September 25 last year.

    • Open Plaques: open data about UK heritage sites

      There are currently over 1700 plaques, which can be browsed by area, by person, by role or by organisation. Though the project is currently in alpha the idea is that anyone will be able to add or edit plaques, and display photos uploaded to Flickr. We hope there will be participation from local history groups, schools and so on!


  • U.S. FCC examining broadcasters in music fee row

    U.S. regulators have launched an inquiry into whether certain broadcasters are refusing to air the music of artists who demand to be paid when their songs are played on the radio.

    The Federal Communications Commission reviewed a June petition by a music coalition that accuses radio stations of skipping songs of artists who support legislation aimed at paying royalties to artists.

    According to an official notice dated on Friday, the agency is seeking public comment on the petition until Sept. 23. The FCC customarily seeks comment on proposals for new or amended rules, but petitions received on a wide variety of subjects are also published for public comment.

  • Why the Internet Will Shape Social Values (and not the other way around)

    If anything, I suspect the internet is going to create a society that is more honest and forgiving. We will be returning to a world of thin anonymity – a world where it is difficult to escape from the choices you’ve made in the past. But the result won’t be a world where fewer people take risks, it will be a world that recognizes those risks were necessary and expected.

  • Nabaztag can’t make RFID cool, has to file for bankruptcy

    We always knew that any company courageous enough to take a technology designed to help mega-corps monitor their inventory levels and make it mainstream would face an uphill battle, but we never envisioned Nabaztag caving entirely to the pressure.

  • Special Report: Is US Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra a Phony?

    This is the sort of question you might ask after trying to actually verify his supposed MS in Information Technology from the University of Maryland, College Park campus. The registrar has no record of it. In fact the current University of Maryland grad department doesn’t even show this degree as being commonly available to anyone. A search of his college records shows no attendance after he received his BS degree in Psychology on 12/20/98. In fact his last day of school 12/19/98 wrapped up the six years it took Kundra to obtain his undergraduate degree.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pirate Party UK Officially Registered

      The UK Pirate Party has been officially registered at the Electoral Commission and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of its successful counterpart in Sweden. With all the recent controversy surrounding anti-piracy legislation and lawyers going after alleged file-sharers, the party has become necessity.

The Patent Trolls and McKool Smith Show Why OOXML and Software Patents Should be Shunned

Posted in Courtroom, Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Red Hat at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spooky statue

Summary: McKool Smith and i4i may take Microsoft Word off the market — claim

THE SHORT story — for those who have not heard yet — is that Microsoft Word is banned — embargoed if you will (deja vu) — based on a court’s decision which will probably be reversed or mitigated by the time it comes into effect. David Gerard says that it “doesn’t take effect for 60 days, MSFT will certainly get it overturned. but amusing nevertheless!” McKool Smith is the shameless law firm and the so-called ‘victim’ is i4i. Microsoft’s patent dispute with i4i is not new, as it was previously mentioned in:

  1. Microsoft Accused of “Willful and Deliberate” infringement and “Discovery Misconduct” in Another Patent Case
  2. XML Patents, Microsoft Aggression, and ODF Hostility
  3. Microsoft is Again Paying the Huge Price for Wanting Anti-Free Software Laws
  4. Reader Explains “Microsoft Innovation”

Things have escalated somewhat now that McKool Smith, a patent troll litigator whom we mentioned when it attacked a Free software project and also when it attacked Microsoft, succeeds in blocking sales of Microsoft Office.

The national law firm of McKool Smith is announcing a permanent injunction and total damages and interest of more than $290 million against software giant Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in a Texas patent infringement lawsuit won by Toronto-based technology provider i4i Inc.

The Order and Permanent Injunction were signed today by Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Today’s ruling follows a May 20, 2009, verdict of $200 million after jurors found that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft willfully infringed an i4i patent covering a document system that relies on the XML custom formatting function.

The patent at hand is an XML patent, of which Microsoft has several, as we previously (and more recently) noted in:

Harry McCracken, whom Microsoft gave a nice laptop, writes about this latest development.

In the latest apparent case of the U.S. patent system run amok, Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction on Tuesday preventing Microsoft from selling versions of Word that handle custom XML in the form of the .DOCX, .DOCM, and .XML file formats. Which would mean that Microsoft is now forbidden from selling Word 2003 or Word 2007. And since it also forbids Microsoft from testing such versions of Word, there would seem to be implications for Office 2010 as well.

The Microsoft PR-ish blog from Seattle goes with the dramatic headline “Judge: Microsoft can’t sell Word anymore.”

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that “prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML,” according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.

Guess which other formats are impacted by this? Sun has an ODF (XML) plug-in for Microsoft Office and Microsoft has XML patents of its own. It is truly becoming a mess and none of those so-called ‘inventions’ are novel at all. As one person puts it, “Another patent problem: #Microsoft patented #XML-based file formats, which effects both #OOXML and #ODF #OpenOffice”

Ironically enough, Microsoft deserves some of the blame for this lawsuit against it. Microsoft was relentlessly lobbying in favour of software patents. As <No>OOXML puts it:

We may add that while Microsoft always pays lip service to patent reform and patent quality, it effectively obstructed even moderate steps of pragmatic reform in the field of software patenting with massive lobbying investment and an ideological agenda. An ideological motivation you don’t find among all the other players which have a real business. The massive lobbying also applies to colonial attitudes towards patent regimes of third nations in which the American company operates, or the European Union, our main area of operations as the FFII e.V. Ironically Microsoft itself is a favourite target of troll challenges and no one knows how much profits Marshall Phelps actually generates by selling their Microsoft FAT patents. In the spectacular case of TomTom we were told it was a very small amount. Some American critics as Brian Kahin speak of a patent bubble of low value patents but how is it going to burst? When you have a licensing business a good patent is one that hurts. Maybe the Encyclopedia Brittannica is an example, it failed commercially and now became an (unsuccesful) patent enforcement agency against actual market players.

In the recent referral G03/08 about software patentability an European Patent Office case named T 424/03 (Microsoft) was center to the debate. Find the Amicus letters here. Currently you also have a pending referral on Bilski in the US Supreme Court which is more far reaching than software. In the US many examination tests were dismantled such as the machine or transformation box test which opened the flood gates and unbalanced the system. It was reintroduced under the Bilski ruling but appealed at the supreme court. The Bilski test does not rule out software or business method patents but provides means to reduce the pressure within the examination system in later stages.

First you wreck the law, then the trolls wreck you.


Right now ISO/IEC 29500 (“OOXML”) is patent encumbered and cannot be called an “open standard” according to conventional definitions and looks unusable for the public sector.

It ought to be added that we found the blog of Microsoft’s Amruta Gulanikar, which bears the tag line “Office Interoperability”. Now, watch who is under “Blog Links”; it’s Microsoft employees and the usual lobbyists for Microsoft and OOXML, notably Jesper Lund Stocholm and Alex Brown. The complete list is:

Brian Jones

Dennis Hamilton

Alex Brown

Erika Ehrli

Gray Knowlton

Jesper Lund Stocholm

Stephen Peront

Doug Mahugh

They fail to even make the illusion that anyone except Microsoft (and partners) is accepting OOXML. There are a few exceptions.

In other patent news, the patent troll known as Acacia is still harassing GNU/Linux, based on this new report.

Red Hat, Novell Still Face Interface Patent Claims

Handing down a claim construction that accommodates the plaintiffs, a federal judge has refused to invalidate one of three user interface patents Linux providers Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. allegedly infringe.

Software patents. It figures. Is anyone (other than patent lawyers and trolls) actually benefiting from them?

“[Y]ou’re creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason.”

David Kappo, Director of the USPTO

Links 12/08/2009: 10 Years Since Red Hat IPO, Scribus 1.3.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Command Line in Linux, Mac OSX and Windows

    This is the first in a series of posts on just what the title says: The command line. The main point will be this: Stop worrying about the command line.

  • Marketing Linux

    If I were Novell, Red Hat, the Linux Foundation, or Canonical, I would be pushing the idea of Linux as a “green” alternative to Microsoft and Macintosh. I would also push the idea that “green” means saving money while saving the environment. This claim is not without merit. There have been many advances in Linux power consumption technologies.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 57

    The weekly starts with a first look at the brand-new KDE 4.3.0 desktop environment, followed by the Linux distributions announced last week: Linux Mint 7 KDE Edition, PTS Desktop Live 2009.3, Slackware 13.0 RC2, Arch Linux 2009.08 and Trisquel 2.2.

  • Events

    • The nitty gritty

      Text versions of the presentations given at the Linux Symposium 2009 are now available as a PDF file. They provide wide-ranging information on current and future Linux kernel-related developments. The spectrum ranges from profiling using Ftrace, through recent changes to the PCI subsystem intended to make suspend and standby more robust, to the latest developments, such as topology patches, in 2.6.31 and the Kernel Shared Memory infrastructure planned for 2.6.32.

    • Linux geeks, New Zealand beckons

      The Ruthvens have been regulars at LCA – as it is better known – since 2006, when it was first held in New Zealand, with Dunedin playing host.

  • Google

    • An Operating System for the Cloud

      Microsoft’s troubles make the company’s OS doubly vulnerable. Vista, its current version, has been roundly criticized, and it has never caught on as widely as the company anticipated; many Microsoft customers continue to use the previous version of Windows, XP. A new version being released this fall, Windows 7, promises to remedy the worst problems of Vista. But even 7 may not address a set of technical issues that both galvanize Microsoft’s critics and stoke the appetites of Brin and Page to create a more pleasing alternative. In their view, the Microsoft OS takes too long to boot up, and it slows down even the newest hardware. It is too prone to viral attacks and too complicated.

    • Server side Android, a Google version of Amazon’s EC2

      While everyone contemplates the place that Android will hold on the mobile device, in home entertainment and on the netbook, there is another interesting use-case for Android that’s not yet been talked about. There’s no reason that Android, as a complete OS, application stack and ecosystem (including the app market), has to be run on the client side. In environments where multiple users might want to use the same client hardware (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc), such as at the office, the thin-client model could be a very useful way to access any given user’s Android session. This way, the Android session can be displayed at any end-point, be it a desktop, notebook, meeting-room projector, or even smartphone device. Using a VPN or even SSL protected web browser session from home, a user could also bring up their work Android session.

  • Desktop

    • System76 Refreshes, Expands Ubuntu Netbook and Desktop Lineup

      Back in July, System76 said it was having trouble keeping up with Ubuntu netbook demand. And more recently, another Ubuntu PC specialist told me they plan to introduce an Ubuntu netbook (potentially in August 2009) to fulfill growing customer inquiries.

  • Server

    • Riken Next-Generation Supercomputer

      This Linux cluster, being interconnected by Infiniband, is one of the largest cluster systems in the world and is the core system of the RIKEN Supercomputer System. In addition, one of the clusters is equipped with accelerator boards designed specifically for molecular dynamics simulation. The cluster provides very unique service to users.

    • Verizon Business, Symark Craft Government Bundle

      PowerSeries focuses on password management and provisioning within heterogeneous UNIX and Linux environments. It also helps extend ActiveDirectory access control into Unix and Linux environments in order to create a single sign-on infrastructure across Windows, Unix and Linux servers.

    • Penguin Offers Cloud Computing for HPC

      Linux cluster vendor Penguin Computing has created a cloud computing environment aimed at the HPC space. Penguin’s POD service is built on the vendor’s Intel-powered Linux clusters, high-speed interconnect technologies like InfiniBand, NetApp SANs, Nvidia graphics chips and Penguin’s Scyld ClusterWare management software, all important technologies for highly parallel, memory-intensive HPC applications. Penguin also is not using virtualization technologies on its server clusters, which officials said will improve server and I/O performance.

    • Penguin puts Linux supercomputer in sky

      Today, the San Francisco-based outfit announced the debut of what it calls Penguin on Demand – POD, for short – a service that offers remote access to high-performance computing (HPC) Linux clusters. The idea is to provide researchers, engineers, and simulation scientists with the sort of number-crunching power they can’t get from something along the lines of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Kernel Mode-Setting Overlay Support

      While the Intel kernel mode-setting graphics driver entered the mainline Linux 2.6.29 kernel, and is beginning to become the default driver in various desktop Linux distributions, the KMS driver does not yet have a feature parity with the traditional DDX xf86-video-intel driver. However, announced on the DRI development list today is one more feature that has now been introduced into the kernel mode-setting driver and generic DRM mode-setting code. This is video overlay support for Intel hardware.

    • When Open Source Is Not Enough

      Linux.com: What are some of the challenges you believe Linux will need to address in the days ahead?

      Bdale Garbee: The biggest challenge for Linux itself may be just that it works so well in so many places that it’s becoming easier to take it for granted and let most of our attention be drawn elsewhere. But Linux itself, the kernel and common core of software packages around it that are at the heart of every distribution, are critical components that we can’t afford to let get lost in the swirl of announcements about new technologies above and around us.

  • Applications

    • Five gui hex editors for ubuntu

      I downloaded several programs (GUI as well as console) and poked around a bit with each. Here are five gui hex editors you can use on ubuntu 9.04.

    • Google Chrome 3.0.197.x fixes Linux plugins

      There still isn’t a stable release of Google’s Chrome browser for either Linux or Mac users, but Google is getting closer with the Chrome 3.0.197.x dev-channel release.

    • Shutter – Powerful Screenshot Tool for Linux

      GNOME has a basic screenshot application called gnome-screenshot, KDE has an advanced one called KSnapshot, which includes options to take screenshots of selected regions, fullscreen, or window under cursor, with or without a time delay (for taking screenshots of menus for example). But neither one of them compares to Shutter, a complex screenshot tool with many features, and the possibility to edit and apply effects directly from within it.

    • Avant Window Navigator for Ubuntu Linux

      Avant Window Navigator (AWN) is an application launcher and dock which would redefine your Linux experience. The good part is it’s highly customizable and hence will fit perfectly well with your Ubuntu theme. Let’s see how to install and customize AWN on your Ubuntu machine.

    • Scribus 1.3.5 desktop publishing application released

      More details about the release can be found in the 1.3.x Roadmap and in the change log. A “Get Started with Scribus” guide is provided. Scribus 1.3.5 requires Qt 4.4.0 or later and is available to download from SourceForge.net. Scribus is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2).

    • The Linux screensaver xscreensaver

      There are over 200 collected screensavers in the collected xscreensaver packages. You will most likely find a screensaver that suites your needs here. No, you can not install that latest piece of work from the SyFy channel or from E! magazine, but you can find plenty to use and they will do their job well.

    • 1 Year Ago: Amarok 1.4.10 Review [Oldies but Goldies]

      Almost one year ago, on August 13, 2008, the last version of Amarok 1.4 for KDE3 was released. Since Amarok 2 for KDE4 was launched, bringing a completely redesigned interface and changing mostly all the major design concepts, users of this great player divided into two groups, the ones who still like 1.4 better and the ones who look forward for a complete Amarok 2.x (which still lacks many features from the old 1.4).

  • Distributions

    • GigaTux offers full Turnkey Linux suite, with half price VPSs

      GigaTux is proud to announce that we now support all versions of Turnkey Linux on our standard Virtual Private Server packages. Automatic installs and reinstalls of any Turnkey Operating System can be performed through the provided web interface, and basic support is provided.

    • Slack*

      • NO SLACKER

        With its novel package manager, Slax makes it simple to install new software and easy to build your own distributions.

      • Slack Mini Server 1.4.5 Released, Turns 2 Years Old

        The Slack Mini Server (SMS) Project team announced yesterday, August 10th, the release of Slack Mini Server 1.4.5, which celebrates 2 full years of activity. The new release is based on Slackware Linux 13.0 RC2 and it brings Asterisk PBX, Samba 3.4.0, PHP 5.3.0 and many updated packages (see below for details).

    • PCLinuxOS

      • REVIEW: PCLinuxOS 2009.2

        This might actually be the very best distro available for new users, and has features that make it a great distro for the rest of us as well. Another distro that is similar to PCLinuxOS, are Mepis even though its Debian based. Really, I can’t say I liked this distro, but I would say I loved it, that it exceeded what I thought possible that a Linux could do. I would recommend PCLinuxOS to anyone, its made me a fan. Now, on a negative note, what did I find that was wrong with PCLinuxOS? You know I have to find something, even if its picky. So don’t take it wrong PCLinuxOS community, but the number one thing I found wrong, is no 64 bit version. Other than that its truly an outstanding job folks, please continue the hard work! The polish and attention to detail in this distro is the best I have ever seen.

      • PCLinuxOS 2009.2 Review

        The only hurdle in mastering this operating system involves you familiarising yourself with the PCLinuxOS Control Center. Fortunately, the menus are organised and lots of practice can be done on the Live CD mode anyway. It is completely easy to setup from the start and all the applications mentioned earlier are all ready for launch. The overall environment makes it very appealing to Windows users that never used Linux before thanks to the friendly environment that the KDE 3.5 brings.

      • SAM Linux 2009, the Last Release Based on PCLinuxOS

        A member of the SAM Linux Team announced a few hours ago the release of SAM Linux 2009. This distribution is based on PCLinuxOS 2009.1 and is fully compatible with its packages, but later releases will be based on another distribution, unspecified at this moment.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nokia

      • Nokia RX-51 Tablet Captured in the Wild

        The N900, as we are calling it now, can be termed an upgrade over the N97. The device features a full QWERTY keyboard and a huge 3.5-inch touch screen capable of WVGA resolution (800×480). It is expected to run the upcoming Maeomo5 OS, the latest version of the Linux based smartphone OS that Nokia uses for its lineup of tablet devices. That, we believe, would be the major difference between this one and the N97 which runs on the more “mass market” Series 60 Fifth Edition OS.

      • Maemo-powered Nokia N900 spotted!
      • Nokia to drop Symbian for Maemo?

        Nokia could be set to ditch Symbian as its main smartphone OS in favour of Maemo Linux. At least that’s the gist of a report in the German edition of the Financial Times (aka the FTD). Read on for all the details.

      • Nokia adjusts Qt brand, website

        Now Qt Software is being renamed as Qt Development Frameworks and the web address will change to http://qt.nokia.com.

    • LiMo

      • Panasonic, NEC unveil 9 Linux phones

        Panasonic Corp and NEC Corp unveiled nine new cellphone models on Tuesday that run the open-source LiMo operating system, wireless Linux group LiMo said.

        The focus of the cellphone market has been shifting to software development since Google Inc and Apple Inc entered the mobile market in the past two years, with phone vendors and operators increasingly looking for open source alternatives such as LiMo to cut costs.

      • Panasonic and NEC announce 9 new Linux phones
      • NEC and Panasonic launch Linux mobile phones

        Limo Foundation, the Linux-based open systems development group for mobile phones, yesterday launched nine new phones from NEC and Panasonic for Japanese telco NTT Docomo, bringing the Limo-compliant range to 42.

    • Android

      • Dell and Motorola Android specs hit the blogs

        The device blogosphere is working overtime ahead of the flurry of handset launches for the holiday season, with its focus firmly on Linux. As well as the Nokia N900, this week has seen newly leaked details of Motorola’s make-or-break Android phones, and Dell is finally expected to unveil the smartphone it has been promising all year.

      • Two Motorola Android Phones Arriving Soon?

        For anyone reading the tea leaves, it should come as no surprise that Motorola will be offering a few Android handsets this year. Om spoke with Moto CEO, Dr. Sanjay Jha, and generally confirmed that the handset maker is focusing on Google’s Android instead of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile for smartphones.

      • iPhone, Android apps development for new R&D centre

        Mobile content retailer, Mobile Streams, today opened a Center of Excellence for smartphone research and development in Hong Kong which it says will work on the development of new applications for the Apple iPhone and Google’s Android.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Sony Ericsson preparing netbook launch?

        Sony Ericsson appears set to launch a netbook. Sorry, smartbook – the phone firm’s micro laptop seems likely to be as much phone as portable PC.

      • My XO For All Oddessey with OLPC – Part 1

        Now I love technology, especially liberating ones, especially for kids (the next generation of humanity), and especially with new GUIs. I love the lost science-art called interface design, and this seems to progress (and sometimes seemingly regress) so slowly that it is wonderful when something new comes along– not to mention it is based on Linux and wholesomely Open Source. It is not difficult to see why one would be so enthusiastic about this project from the get-go.

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix gets an interface overhaul

        The folks at Canonical are in the process of redesigning the user interface for Ubuntu Netbook Remix. UNR is basically a custom version of Ubuntu that includes optimizations for netbooks with Intel Atom processors as well as a desktop environment and program launcher designed for computers with small, low resolution displays.

        The first version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix introduced a few key concepts. By default, all program windows opened up in full screen. And instead of a typical desktop and start menu approach, you had a list of application categories on the right side of the screen, program shortcuts with big icons in the middle, and a list of places on the right side.

Free Software/Open Source

  • PC-BSD 7.1.1 Quick Review

    The default desktop environment is KDE. In Linux/UNIX circles concerning the desktop you’re either a GNOME or KDE type of user (or a super-lightweight environment like Fluxbox). I personally prefer GNOME, but I’m not turned off by the way KDE does things; it’s just a different type of environment compared to GNOME.

  • Digitization’s tectonic shift in software value

    Sure, Microsoft got away with creating two massive businesses (Windows and Office) by copying its competitors and out-executing, but even Microsoft doesn’t get a free pass anymore. Have you seen how its me-too offerings on the Web have fared? Weak.

    This digital upheaval is having a widespread impact beyond software. Record labels, newspapers, health care, and other industries are being overrun by digitization. At some point, we’ll get past this in-between phase and a new era of digital prosperity will ensue. As with Vanderbilt, however, we’ll need to be careful that our exuberance for income doesn’t get carried away into monopoly.

  • U.C. Berkeley Creating Large-Scale Open Source Software Project

    Researchers and developers at the University of California, Berkeley are working on open source software to help distribute audio and video files of classroom lectures to media services like iTunes and YouTube. The university already publishes full-length videos of classroom sessions on YouTube, but recording, editing, and posting these videos is an costly undertaking. Now, new grant money will pay those expenses and help expand video distribution worldwide.

  • British Local Authorities Hesitant on Open Source

    The 15-page report, “Open or Closed? A Survey of Open Source Software in Local Government,” is available from the UKGovOSS.org website, an online network sponsored by Bull and One Point Consulting since April 2009. The project is an initiative of the Public Sector Forums originally dedicated in the U.K. to being a public information source on digital television and its use as an e-Gov channel, but having expanding its reach to Internet and open source activist issues.

  • Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 Blows Version 3.5 Out Of The Water

    Using SunSpider, a JavaScript benchmark, the score for 3.6 Alpha 1 improved significantly over 3.5.; version 3.6 benchmarked at 1107.2 ms vs. the 1517.4 ms Firefox 3.5 benchmarked. SunSpider tests the core JavaScript language, and with this benchmark test, a lower score is better.

  • Business

    • Building a business selling open-source software

      In other words, provided that open-source companies can fill the revenue hole with premium features or some other value-added service that compels payment, then the other advantages of open source trump that of proprietary products.

    • On Open Source, the Services Model, and Long-Term Software Quality

      That’s why I think my conversation with my friend will come full circle in the long run. He doesn’t see open source platforms as all that competitive right now, but he likes the Red Hat model. The catch is, though, that the Red Hat model focused on service and support ends being a rising tide that lifts many boats–where the quality of the software directly benefits.

    • Drupal 7 Targets the Enterprise

      Fresh off a new round of financing, open source content management (CMS) vendor Acquia is putting its new funds to work in taking the Drupal open source CMS to new heights in the enterprise.

  • Government

    • Ideas sought for open government

      A DIY guide to becoming an MP and a database of the connections between the powerful could soon be created online.

      The two ideas are among those being considered by MySociety – a charitable group that helps construct civic tools.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Once Again, Established Businesses Get Angry At ‘Free’ Competition

    It’s no secret that established businesses or organizations get upset when they see any form of “free” competition — even when it’s utilizing a new or different business model or social model.

  • Oprah can relax, $1 trillion lawsuit is dismissed

    Then the National Enquirer reported that a poet named Damon Lloyd Goffe had filed an audacious complaint claiming copyright infringement. Only problem was that Goffe never registered the copyright on his poems, and more than a week before many news outlets were reporting the $1 trillion lawsuit, a judge had already dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Websense yanks censorware from Yemen

      Websense has blocked two ISPs in Yemen from receiving updates after it emerged that they were using its filtering technology in a government-mandated censorship scheme.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Godzilla Takes On Comcast Over Trademark

      Comcast, for its part, denies that the character is Godzilla, though Toho doesn’t buy it. Of course, you might ask where’s the actual “harm” here, as it would seem to only help advertise Godzilla and Godzilla movies — though, Toho would likely argue that the harm is in Comcast not licensing the character (or the potential idea that this makes Godzilla “generic”).

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