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08.14.09

Microsoft Engaged in Misconduct in i4i Trial

Posted in Deception, Law, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Misconduct

Summary: Microsoft fined $40 million for misconduct and Gary Odom misrepresents Oregon

EARLIER today we wrote about ODF FUD which the Microsoft crowd was spreading using the i4i patent case. O’Gara and Sys-Con [1, 2] have unsurprisingly joined this slime parade against ODF and meanwhile we also come to discover that Microsoft was fined an extra $40,000,000 for misconduct at the i4i trial.

The judge who banned Microsoft from selling its Word document program in the U.S. due to a patent violation tacked an additional $40 million onto a jury’s $200 million verdict because the software maker’s lawyers engaged in trial misconduct, court records reveal.

Speaking of misconduct, “Patent Hawk” is back in the news. He used to work on behalf of Microsoft, but later on he sued the company and then sued another 27 companies for patent infringement. We last wrote about him a few months ago and here’s the latest scoop.

Patent Hawk Files Supreme Court Brief On Behalf Of All Oregon; Oregon Officials Say ‘Who?’

You may recall that a guy named Gary Odom, who refers to himself often in the third person as “Patent Hawk,” has been known to stop by here every so often to insult us without ever, you know, backing up a point. His day job is helping companies do patent/prior art searches. Last year, he made a bit of news by suing Microsoft for a patent he held on “editable toolbars” (exciting stuff). Microsoft later accused him of violating a contract, in that Odom (whoops) had worked for Microsoft, and had an agreement about not filing for certain types of patents, or asserting them against Microsoft.

It is a sordid mess caused by the above which puts the patent system as a whole in bad light and popularises the movement for a much-needed reform. This system only protects the private territory of established companies.

Posted sign

Novell Creates OpenSUSE Team But Decreases OpenSUSE Support

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SuSE logoSummary: New OpenSUSE team not likely to elevate the project, but Novell tries it anyway

Novell is not a bad company when it comes to PR. It is only to be expected from a company of that scale. At the moment, Novell is trying to take advantage of that whole “Open Thing”, so it created a new avenue to disseminate the illusion of a company where customers and partners get to determine the directions adopted by decision makers. There is at least one report about it already, such as this one.

Novell has announced that all partners and users will have access to the product development portal. If you’re agitating for an enhancement, here’s your chance to push it through.

There is more of the same “community”/”open” meme elsewhere, also inside the Mono team at Boston (where most of the Microsoft-Novell stuff is done nowadays, to distinguish from OpenSUSE).

“Haeger also said secrecy was a culprit.”An kinder, more open Novell? That would truly be something. After Ted Haeger had left Novell he wrote: “I removed the statement about my departure having nothing to do with the deal. It was a false statement made without consulting me. I did not want to make my departure a statement about the deal, but by using my name in this way on this page, it forces me to state a correction. My departure did have something to do with the Novell-MS deal. I would likely still be at Novell if it had not happened. I prefer to focus on the positive side of why I left, so please do not cite my departure as unrelated to the MS-Novell deal.”

Haeger also said secrecy was a culprit. Earlier today, our reader Marti told us that “most people of SuSE G.M.B.H. ran away when it became part of Novell (read it in interviews).”

Here is a new article from IDG:

We should all be used to seeing open-source companies acquired by now but what is interesting is how many of the bigger deals have been problematic. Look at Novell-Suse where Suse founder Hubert Mantel left within two years of Novell picking up the German Linux distro, reportedly saying “This is no longer the company I founded 13 years ago”.

Those who were more adamant and stubborn probably could not bear the thought of working for a proprietary (or “mixed”) software company like Novell. Some existing SUSE people are even using Macs. New sighting:

From time to time I use Mac OS X and I really like the application management with its dock.

Novell is now forming a new team, arranging what it considers to be full-time staff (paid ‘community’) for OpenSUSE. The Register and Heise have the details.

Novell has created an openSUSE Team within the company with a team of ten experts exclusively dedicated to the openSUSE project; the move is aimed at increasing Novell’s support of the community distribution.

It should not be forgotten that Novell laid off many SUSE employees not so long ago. This seems like a partly PR-motivated step.

Linux distributor Novell is reorganizing: from now on, one developer team will dedicate itself entirely to openSUSE.

Here is the original message from Roland Haidl (also here).

It is no news that the OpenSUSE community is on shaky grounds amid notable departures [1, 2]. The “People of openSUSE” series is still delivered very sporadically, not once a week as it used to prior to a long draught. The OpenSUSE weekly newsletter for this week is also accompanied by a public call for more regular cycles in finalisation.

We publish the Weekly News each Saturday after proofreading.

What serves as another sign of stagnation begins with the following message:

[opensuse-announce] Advance notice of discontinuation of openSUSE 10.3

Dear opensuse-announce subscribers and openSUSE users,

SUSE Security announces that openSUSE 10.3 will be discontinued soon. Having provided security-relevant fixes for two years, we will stop releasing updates after October 31st 2009.

As a consequence, the openSUSE 10.3 distribution directory on our server download.opensuse.org will be removed from /distribution/10.3/ to free space on our mirror sites. The 10.3 directory in the update tree /update/10.3 will follow, as soon as all updates have been published.

The discontinuation of openSUSE 10.3 enables us to focus on the openSUSE distributions of a newer release dates to ensure that our users can continuously take advantage of the quality that they are used to with openSUSE products.

This announcement holds true for openSUSE 10.3 only. As usual, Novell/SUSE will continue to provide update packages for the following products:

openSUSE 11.0 (supported until June 30th 2010)
openSUSE 11.1 (supported until December 31st 2010)
openSUSE 11.2 (currently in development, to be released November 12th 2009) for the next two openSUSE releases plus two months overlap period.

Please note that the maintenance cycles of SUSE Linux Enterprise products and products based on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system are not affected by this announcement and have longer life cycles.

To learn more about SUSE Linux business products, please visit http://www.novell.com/linux/suse/ . For a detailed list of the life cycles of our Enterprise Products please visit http://support.novell.com/lifecycle/ and http://support.novell.com/lifecycle/lcSearchResults.jsp?sl=suse

If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please do not hesitate to contact SUSE Security at <security@suse.de>.

The Register — much like other publicationscovered this too and also mentioned the future release:

This week, the openSUSE project said that it had reached Milestone 5, with openSUSE 11.2 now based on the Linux 2.6.31-rc4 kernel and supporting the Xen 3.4.1 RC10 and VirtualBox 3.0.2 hypervisors, the Gnome 2.27.5 and KDE 4.3 graphical user interfaces, and a slew of updated packages that you can read all about here.

The whole shebang is built using the GNU GCC 4.4.1 compilers. You can download openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 5 here for x86 and x64 machines. This is still beta code, and not intended for production environments, of course.

But buried among all these events was this important observation that the OpenSUSE support window is shrinking rather than expanding.

The issue of how long a Linux distribution will support a release is one that tends to go back and forth. Novell’s openSUSE Linux is now revising its policy.

Starting with the openSUSE 11.2, maintenance support will be approximately 18 months which is a reduction of 6 months from what openSUSE 11.1 and prior releases, offered users.

To make matters worse, releases too have become less frequent (about 8 months apart).

Novell’s so-called ally uses this type of stuff to spread FUD about future prospects.

MS comes out swinging

Microsoft SA yesterday kicked off its annual Partner Summit conference in Durban, with MD Mteto Nyati laying down the gauntlet as far as the company’s goals and competitors are concerned.

[...]

The company is heavily targeting the public sector going forward. “Look at Novell,” Nyati said. “In the public sector space it has a huge install base, and it has publically shared the fact that there is no roadmap for its product beyond 2010. We need to go share that with our customers. They need to move from that platform to something else. Instead of them moving to Lotus Notes or something else, let’s help them move to the right platform.”

With ‘partners’ like these, Novell must really feel proud and confident. How foolish a deal Novell has gotten itself into.

Reason #1 to Avoid Vista 7: Insecurity

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

After war

Summary: Additional new signs and observations regarding security of the next operating system from Microsoft

WE wrote a lot about this subject in the past. Vista 7′s illusion of security is listed by SJVN as reason #1 to avoid Vista 7.

1) Windows 7 still has all the security of a drunken teenager in a sports car. From Windows for Workgroups and NT 3 until today, Windows is a security joke. It used to be that running Windows just put your head into the noose. Now, millions of lazy Windows users are the reason why the Internet is a mess. If you already do all the right things to keep XP running safely, you’re not going to get any safer by buying Windows 7.

That’s just Windows alone, before any malicious software is even installed on it. Here is the latest relevant example:

Digsby takes bundled crapware to a whole different level, however. During the install you are prompted for not one, not two, but six different pieces of junk software, and then for good measure they offer to replace your home page with something terrible and take your search engine down a notch.

Slashdot summarises it as follows:

The money-making distributed computing software is in addition to six “crapware” apps that users must refuse during installation. The terms of service that no one ever reads does describe the CPU- and bandwidth-robbing moneymaker, and its off switch is located behind the “Support Digsby” menu item.

It is junk software like the above which sometimes lowers the apparent cost of preinstalled Windows. But the real cost is sometimes a long-term equation, which makes GNU/Linux a much smarter investment.

Links 14/08/2009: New Unbundling Fight in Denmark, Sneak Peek at Firefox 3.6 (Alpha)

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Three Button Mouse Phenomenon: A cultural trait found in those who love their computers

    Where I come from, we call that a de-lusion. And it is pretty typical of Mac Lovers, to be delusional about their operating system and their hardware. But they should not feel bad. It is also typical of Windows users. They think their system is great, that it works fine, and that they have not been assimilated into the Microsoft Borg.

  • Sharma: Big-Name Distro Disenchantment

    The results are plain to see. All three of the big names – Fedora 11 ‘Leonidas’, Ubuntu ‘Jaunty Jackalope’ and Mandriva 2009.1 ‘Spring’ – have taken different approaches to reducing boot times, and boy has it worked. Booting up is also much cleaner, with service start-up messages hidden behind beautifully crafted splash screens. The desktop itself loads in about 30 seconds, and the remainder continues to load in the background, which is exactly how things should be.

  • Desktop

    • Fighting against the Microsoft Tax (Original: Kamp mod Microsoftskatten)

      I have paid for at least 10 Windows licenses over time, all the machines were purchased to run only FreeBSD.

      We must stop this distortion and Lenovo would not reimburse the Vista license for my new laptop, I have chosen to sue them.

    • Podcast: Why ZDNet AU loves Linux desktops

      In this podcast, ZDNet.com.au staffers Renai LeMay and Chris Duckett discuss why they use Linux full time where they can and what they like and don’t like about it.

    • Desktop Choices: Mac, Linux, Windows, Browser — Browser?

      First up is Always On PC. Sweet and secure, Always On PC presents you with a full Linux GNOME desktop environment with 2GB of storage via a Java-based Virtual Network Computing (VNC) console. It’s a full-blown desktop system, and it’s Linux. If you aren’t a Linux user, you might want to pass on this one. However, if your heart belongs to Linux, you’re set.

  • Server

    • IBM Unwraps Linux-Powered Mainframe Packages

      IBM today announced the System z Solution Edition Series, seven combined packages it says are designed to assist customers migrate off older HP and Sun Unix systems and onto IBM’s mainframes running Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Signs show Linux moving into the driver’s seat

      Kroah-Hartman said Linux has reached mainstream status on the desktop, at least on the enterprise space. “There are very large companies that are well known users of Linux in this manner: all of the movie companies, Ford, Peugeot, all of the Wall Street companies, almost all banks [and] the stock exchanges,” he said.

    • Which operating system is best for SSDs?

      According to Far, Mac OS X runs “a little faster than Vista” with an SSD drive, but Linux is “always faster” than Vista or Mac OS X – to the tune of 1 percent to 2 percent – because like Windows 2000, “it never runs anything in the background.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Overcoming the challenges of embedded Linux product development

      Linux is the OS of choice for an increasing number of embedded devices. Markets for devices such as home automation systems and health monitoring, which previously did not require an OS, are now adopting Linux as a way to provide enhanced product features at low cost.

      [...]

      Maciej Halasz is director of product management at Timesys Corporation, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    • Phones

      • Palm responds to Pre privacy talk

        Palm has responded to the story that its Pre handset was beaming information back to customers – insisting that it offers ways to turn off the collecting ‘services’.

        Joey Hess’ ‘Shy Jo blog showed codes being sent back to Palm, but the company insists that the information only includes information about “potential scenarios in which we might use a customer’s information, all toward a goal of offering a great user experience”.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VistA HTML Note Rendering Now Available

    A whole new era for Veterans Affairs VistA has begun with Kevin Toppenberg, MD’s new TMG-CPRS 1.0.26.76 (TMG v1.1) client. The new tmg-cprs client enables clinical notes to be rendered in html.

  • Mozilla

  • Business

    • KnowledgeTree Takes Root in New ECM Markets

      Entering the ECM market with an open source product gave Chalef a leg up. The ECM world of documents and files has few open source options in it, according to Alan Pelz-Sharpe, analyst at CMS Watch.

    • The patron model of open source commericalisation

      In short, while the company’s web content management software is not open source, Day Software makes use of and contributes to a number of community open source projects, such as Apache Jackrabbit, Apache Sling, and Apache Felix. In fact, as the company notes: “in total, Day Software contributes to over 12 Apache projects and 25 open source projects. www.ohloh.org, an independent website that tracks open source contributions, shows that over 75% of Day engineers are active committers to open source projects.”

    • Talk Slides: The Commercial Open Source Business Model
  • Fog Computing

    • Doug Cutting joins Cloudera

      Back in October, I promised to keep marketing and sales out of this blog. We wanted to concentrate on technical topics and to choose signal over noise. Mostly, that’s meant that I let other people do the writing.

    • Why open source clouds are essential …

      In a world where the standard is provided as such an open source reference model (under GPLv3), then you’ll need the creation of an assurance industry to provide end user assurance that providers still match the standard (despite of any competitive modifications or operational improvements). This is how you create a truly competitive marketplace and by encouraging diversity overcome the most dangerous risk of all which is systemic failure in the cloud.

      We have already staked the ground with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, our intention is to continue to push this and create truly competitive markets in the cloud using the only viable mechanism – open source. Of course, this is at the infrastructure layer of the computing stack. Our attention will shortly turn towards the platform.

  • Licensing

  • Openness

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

  • Legal

    • Recap The Law: Getting Public Legal Data Back To The Public

      There’s been a push by people both inside and outside the government to get public court documents out to the public. As it stands now, most court documents can be found via PACER, the court system’s own online service, which charges $0.08 per page. PACER notes that it’s charging for the documents to cover its own costs of managing its system, but this still bothers many who don’t like the fact that important public domain case law is so costly. There are some private services, like Justia trying to fill the void, and Carl Malamud is pushing hard to get the government to put public documents up for the public to read.

    • Use RECAP To Bypass Court Document PACER Paywall

      If the RIAA can’t stop music sharing, the U.S. government is going to have an even harder time trying to stop the sharing of federal court documents hidden behind a paywall. Those documents aren’t protected by copyright law.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Thomas Batrol, computational neuroscientist for the Salk Institute 04 (2005)

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

Novell’s New Ads Against Red Hat

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ONE of our readers has spotted the following Slashvertisement a few hours ago. He sent us the following screenshot from Slashdot (tip: disable AdBlock it you cannot see it).

Slashdot advert

We wrote about this programme last month because Novell should concentrate on poaching customers from Microsoft/Windows, not from GNU/Linux. But Microsoft wants Red Hat eliminated and VMware+SpringSource (not just Novell) might help.

The Microsoft Crowd Uses the Word Verdict to Throw FUD at ODF, More Spin Comes from Denmark

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Contrary to abundant FUD out there, ODF is not at risk due to the i4i lawsuit

OUR PREVIOUS posts covering i4i vs Microsoft [1, 2, 3] have concentrated solely on OOXML/Office simply because there is unique history to this case. i4i did not specifically target OOXML (or document formats in general) as some people wish for this to seem. For details, have a look at older posts such as:

  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”

Microsoft is now ordered to pay $300 million and the lesson to be learned can also be attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

So, is someone playing tit-for-tat or an-eye-for-an-eye? Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” In the weird, wonderful world of digital technology where greedy corporations can convert standards (that should rightfully belong in the commons) into private property, anything can happen.

As BNET points out, this dispute is not over ODF and other writers agree. This never prevented the Microsoft-funded ‘analysts’ from suggesting otherwise in order to cast a shadow on ODF.

ODF Not Implicated In i4i Suit

[...]

That contradicts assertions by Burton Group analyst Guy Creese, who told Visual Studio Magazine that the patent could spell trouble for the next version of ODF because “ODF 1.2 will move to a similar custom schema that OOXML has.”

Likewise, Gartner analyst Brian Prentice told CNET that the fallout from the lawsuit may “also impact ODF.”

Need it be said that the Burton Group is in Microsoft's pocket and also a prominent opposer of ODF for years? As for the latter, Gartner’s Brian Prentice is a big lobbyist for software patents and apparent promoter of Microsoft, based on his writing history that we documented in recent months [1, 2, 3, 4]. That’s not even to mention Garner in general [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is the source of the FUD and here is IDG linking to Ziff Davis (eWeek), both of which have business relationships with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Here is Kolakowski fueling Gartner’s FUD:

“If the validity of the patent is upheld then the immediate question is whether this will also impact ODF [OpenDocument Format],” Brian Prentice, an analyst with Gartner, wrote in an Aug. 12 blog posting. “If so, then this turns out to be a significantly more important issue and one which will crystallize the fury of the anti-patentistas.”

What may not be known to most readers is that the author, Nick Kolakowski, is also running eWeek’s Microsoft site, where almost every post is an advert for Microsoft, so it’s essentially part of that large network in the mainstream media whose only purpose it to create buzz and increase presence of Microsoft, a marketing company to a great degree. IDG did the same thing in other languages and Matt Asay, who is not too familiar with the matters at hand, took the bait and passed it on via CNET’s wires. He was soon corrected (with the correction appearing only at the bottom).

Update: See Sean Michael Kerner’s post, suggesting that two particulars (i4i is not a patent troll and i4i and Microsoft had a business relationship) suggest that the open-source world has little to fear from this suit.

Why is CNET passing misguided blog opinions as news, even though the writer is hardly familiar with the document formats debate? There is also a good deal of anti-GNU/Linux passing via CNET/Gartner [1, 2]. Then, like in a broken telephone effect, Lora Bentley parroted Asay (before his correction was made). Sooner or later, the whole Web got saturated with disinformation, creating an atmosphere of fear of OpenOffice.org and ODF (one person says: “Indeed, but it makes me worry about ODF and OO.org”).

The fear is substanceless in this case as the real issue is Microsoft’s patent aggression and XML patents. i4i sued Microsoft because Microsoft stabbed them in the back (see links at the top) and in a similar vein, it is Microsoft which suffers from ODF the most, so to grind an axe with ODF is only expected from Microsoft, whose XML patents we wrote about in:

In better news today, OpenOffice 3.1 gets a pretty decent review from PC Pro while OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 Release Candidate 1 is announced.

OpenOffice 3.1 brings some welcome new features and some much needed polish, says Simon Jones

OpenOffice.org has recently released version 3.1 of its eponymous software suite, a minor upgrade that brings some welcome features and some much needed polish to the nearest thing Microsoft Office has to a competitor.

The document debate in Denmark is also heating up (mostly articles in Danish), but Leif Lodahl drops some information in English by stating that the “Danish Competition Authority; Public purchase of office software should also in the future support either OOXML or ODF”

“How does making several mutually-incompatible formats actually beneficial through competition?”Also he added (his English is not so strong): “Danish Competition Authority; to select ODF as the one standard will not increase competition”

There is another conversation there where Christian Lanng is corresponding with a proven Microsoft proponent about the subject. He argues that “The Danish Competition Authority rule that choosing ODF or OOXML alone would be limiting for competition” and that “only by choosing both formats can we INCREASE competition.”

This makes no sense. How does making several mutually-incompatible formats actually beneficial through competition? We saw the same pattern of deception earlier this month in India and last year in Malaysia. It is classic spin where competition between office suites is suddenly recast as a preferred competition between formats, which would be destructive to people’s data and work flow. Here is the article in Danish. One has to wonder whose strings are bring pulled and by whom?

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.


Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.


I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

Another Review of Vista 7 and the Uncertain Future of Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Review, Vista 7, Windows at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7

Summary: Months before the release of Vista 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 there are troubling signs

PARTICIPANTS of this Web site occasionally offer a story about their experiences with Vista 7, which is all about marketing. There is an example from April and also from earlier this month. Another short review comes from a reader whose experiences are reproduced verbatim below:

I installed Vistas 7 RC1 on my Acer Aspire 7220, with these isues:

- 1400×900 flatscreen was recognized as a 800×600 CRT;
- Nvidia Geoforce 7000M GPU was recognized as a standard VGA adapter;
- Nvidia nForce Ethetnet adapter was not recognized at all;
- Atheros PCI WLAN adapter was not recognized at all.

I downloaded the Vista drivers from the Acer website on my Fedora 10 machine (Pleunix) and copied them to a USB thumbdrive. Installed them on Vista 7. However I was still unable to make any connection (neither wired nor wireless) to “the Internet”.

Vista 7 didn’t understood that my Sitecom (Linux) wireless router/firewall/switch/nat only serves as a access point and switch behind another router. That is obviously too complicated for Vista 7.

After 12 hours I gave up and re-installed Ubuntu 9.04 on that machine.

My final conclusion: Vista 7 is even worst that Vista if it’s not preinstalled.

I am wondering if people are stupid enough to pay for that piece of junkware.

The point about poor hardware support is also emphasised in this brand new blog post which starts as follows:

5 Things Microsoft does not want you to know about Windows.

Truth no 1
You are paying way more than you are getting. This is a simple truth that most users of Windows do not seem to appreciate. Why do you have to pay as much as $100 to get a license to use an OS which is bare to the bones? An installation of Windows is just the first in a series of long processes to make your computer useful. Your computer can in virtually all cases not be used to do anything meaningful after a Windows installation until you have installed numerous third party drivers and other utilities most of which you would have to pay for separately. That is very much being short changed to me.

Truth no 2
You are never safe with Windows. The recent DDOS attacks on Twitter and Facebook makes it very clear that if anything at all, Windows is a very big threat to the future of the internet and computing in general.

This second point was also addressed here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

It is interesting to note that the “mobile” version of Windows seems to be on its death throes and this is even covered by a news Web site right now.

Did Microsoft Just Throw WinMo Under A Bus?

[...]

Just don’t act surprised when the next version of Windows Mobile turns out to be the last.

Microsoft bought Danger for a large sum of money and some say that Microsoft was pressured to buy RIM (for BlackBerry). There are still many writeups about Microsoft’s prospects with Palm, but that would be Linux based. Either way, Windows Mobile has been a great financial failure for Microsoft and there is no sign of this trend reversing. Microsoft is now trying to get Symbian (Nokia) to help out. One reader, Patrick McFarland, argues that both Windows and Windows Mobile will be replaced by Microsoft, but we cannot confirm such a claim.

Links 14/08/2009: Linux 2.6.31 RC6, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Linux Box’s Elizabeth Ziph Discusses the Convergence of Customers, Contributions and Code

    It’s obviously working — and working well. The Linux Box is currently at work supporting companies, educational institutions and non-profits in industries ranging from engineering to horticulture. It has survived (and grown) in what’s been a tumultuous decade for the economy — and technology. It’s not just because it works with open source software — it’s because it can bring something more to its clients, and the projects its clients use.

  • Always Look on the Bright Side of FOSS

    For some, however, the ultimate fun is simply the joy of spreading Linux love to others.

    “I have spent the last few years of my life fighting obsolete software and hardware on computer systems in schools,” Pogson said. “I am too tired to have any fun but the next installation of GNU/Linux and the smiles on a user’s face when they find there are better ways to do things with a PC.”

  • Desktop

    • If they do, it’s because they can

      Perhaps it is an unintended side effect of the Windows-esque desktop I use these days, but I noticed something the other day — a behavior that seems to have changed since the days when I was actually using Windows.

      I was having difficulty connecting two machines — my trusty Thinkpad and a relative’s Windows machine on the other side of the planet — and when it became clear that the two things were not going to behave as planned, I did something that I now take for granted: I dove in and tried adjusting things on my side of the fence.

    • What Makes You Keep On Using Linux?

      Others stay because they feel welcome to the Linux community. As some people say, who your friends are make a big difference in staying within any community or organization. Some people who aren’t really into Linux except for work might not feel that the community is an important aspect. But for others, it is. Aside from the fact the community is a rich source of information for sharing and studying, the community is also the place where one can share his/her ideas about the Linux distro he/she uses. It matters especially you’re someone who loves participating in your hobbies then this is something that will encourage you to stay within the community of Linux users.

    • Working With Linux.

      That’s the main concern most folks have when they contemplate switching over to Linux. They wonder if things are going to work the same way as in Windows. The answer is, “Yes!” If you can run Windows, you can run Linux. In fact, in many ways, Linux is even easier to run than Windows. And you won’t have to worry about Windows viruses, trojans and spyware. Linux is immune. So say goodbye to the additional cost of Anti-virus software and other programs that are constantly running in the background slowing down your computer’s (Windows) performance.

      Linux is fast, familiar, friendly, and easy to use.

  • Server

    • IBM gaining Linux customers at Sun’s expense

      Despite all the hype associated with a never-ending Linux versus Windows battle, it’s Unix, and specifically Sun Solaris that has felt the most pressure in the server operating system landscape.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.31-rc6

      Lots of small fixes all over, spread out fairly evenly (50% drivers, and roughly 10% each in arch, fs, kernel, tools/perf, “rest”). And things do seem to be calming down, because outside of some further i915 displayport patches and a couple of perf-counter patches, almost all of them are pretty dang small.

    • I Was at the First LinuxCon

      I expect LinuxCon to turn the page for industry conferences – moving away from “show-n-tell” formats of the past, and towards real technical and business collaboration. I also expect it to represent a time of amazing growth and maturity of Linux and open source software.

    • The Cost of SELinux, Audit, & Kernel Debugging

      Well, the area where SELinux / Audit and the debugging-enabled kernel really impacted the performance was with the disk and database tests (along with Apache). In the other Linux desktop benchmarks, there was a smaller margin, with some being more noticeable than the others. Disabling SELinux and Audit will certainly improve the performance of Fedora, while running a kernel with all of the debugging code enabled will cost you quite a bit in the way of performance. For developers, having this kernel debugging support is important, while for security-oriented users, having Security Enhanced Linux and system-call auditing support is important and worth the low cost, even with Intel Atom hardware.

    • Google File System II: Dawn of the Multiplying Master Nodes

      In an interview with the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), Google’s Sean Quinlan says that nearly a decade after its arrival, the original Google File System (GFS) has done things he never thought it would do.

  • Applications

    • Linux Drop Down Terminals

      Linux has a cool list of applications. Today, I will talk about the most widely used application, the terminal. The terminal is always required whenever we move out of the premises of inbuilt applications and installed softwares. These three terminals have one thing in common. They can be launched with a single click, and they fly-roll out of the top panel just like in Quake, or UT.

    • Games

      • Quake Live Updated to Support Linux and Mac Users

        During the QuakeCon 2009 press conference, id President Todd Hollenshead announced what many non-Windows computer users had been asking about for months. Quake Live, id software’s browser based shooter, would be adding support for Linux and Macintosh operating system users.

      • Game on Linux – GridWars 2

        Grid Wars 2 is a clone of the popular Xbox 360 game, Geometry Wars. It’s an awesome game that plays extremely well on the Mini 9.

  • Desktop Environments

    • How to theme Enlightenment E17

      Before we go on it would be best to point out a couple of outstanding locations to find themes. There are two sites that house plenty of E17 eye candy (there used to be three main sites until Freshmeat dumped themes – BOO HISS!). Those sites are: Get-E and E17 Stuff. The latter has far more themes, but the former’s themes are much more interesting.

    • KDE

      • Seven Great Tips To Make KDE 4.3 More Friendly

        This time I decided to reveal some of my favorite KDE tricks.

      • 2D in KDE

        Qt, and therefore KDE, deals with 3 predominant ways of rendering graphics. I don’t feel like bothering with transitions today, so find your own way from beards and dwarfs to Qt/KDE graphics. Those three ways are:

        * On the CPU with no help from the GPU using the raster engine
        * Using X11/Xrender with the X11 engine
        * Using OpenGL with the OpenGL engine

      • Message Indicator in KDE

        Recently Aurelien Gateau of the Canonical Desktop Experience team implemented the Message Indicator for KDE and Konversation. Now if you get messages when you’re away from your computer or not looking at IRC it’ll put them into the message indicator when you can happily not get distracted by them (unlike popup notifications) but can easily find them when you want to.

      • Some KDE 4 tips you should know

        KDE 4 is definitively my daily desktop environment, although it’s not yet mature like the 3.5.x branch i consider it enough stable and usable, but sometime the default settings and the few time available, don’t help us to appreciate it, so let’s resume some little tip for beginners that feel lost with everything new and don’t want waste their time.

      • Magnatune.com and Amarok: Integration of favorite and recommendation features

        On Magnatune.com, we have recently added a number of features to make the memberships more attractive. One of these features (which has actually been around for a while now) is a personal list of favorite albums for each member. On each album page, there is a small button that adds the album to the list of favorites

  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic 4.4 Adds Dial-Up Networking and Sound Support

      Patrick Verner announced the release of Parted Magic 4.4, a Linux distribution that aids users in hard drive partitioning and data rescue. This version features a special program for dial-up networking, sound support through ALSA, Unionfs compression to reduce RAM usage, SSH server initialization upon boot and, last but not least, Super Grub Disk to take care of bootloader problems.

    • Pardus 2009 firewall, NTP, and openSSH server configuration

      Pardus is a Linux, desktop-oriented distro that was just reviewed here. This post is to help you configure some very important aspects of the operating system that should have been enabled out of the box. Expert knowledge is not required to make these configuration changes, just the ability to point and click.

    • Why Should You Love PCLinuxOS 2009.2?

      What I liked the most in PCLinuxOS 2009.2?

      1.Cosmetics: This point release sports a better look-n-feel than 2009.1.
      2.Updates: It endows tons of updates over 2009.1, making it a must for anyone doing a fresh install.
      3.Stability: I don’t much of the linux internals but this release seems well tested and polished.
      4.CPU management: This release does a great job managing your CPU and power. After installation of 2009.2 when I set out to configure cpu-scaling, I was really surprised to see that pclos had already set proper cpu-scaling for my celeron chip.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Notes on transitioning from Fedora Core to Ubuntu
      • Karmic Alpha 4 released

        Welcome to Karmic Koala Alpha 4, which will in time become Ubuntu 9.10.

      • Linux Mint 7 (XFCE)

        Summary: A great choice for those using older hardware or those who simply prefer a more minimalistic desktop environment.
        Rating: 4/5

      • Fixing a Dell laptop, part 3

        It looks just like it was never broken. The display panel is undamaged. The only physical complaint I have about the machine is that they left a little smudge of some sort of goo at the top of the screen, but that wiped off easily.

        And it did not come back with Vista. My Linux installation was untouched. Yay Dell!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Murphy’s Law: Behold the Open Power of Chumby!

      Contrary to most of the open-source hardware projects I’ve mentioned on Maximum PC, the Chumby is ready for your attention the moment you pop it out of the box. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t tweak and tinker beyond its simplistic exterior. Although cracking open the soft, loveable digital toy will violate your warranty, the official Chumby site is more than happy to give you a listing of the device’s full hardware and accompanying schematics. From there, only your conscience toward ripping open friendly, plush, communication devices stands in your way of complete hardware transcendence.

    • ZaReason Launches Ubuntu Linux Netbook

      It’s official. ZaReason is launching an Ubuntu Linux netbook called the Terra A20, confirms CTO Earl Malmrose.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rubber Stamp Effect Using GIMP
  • Governments Turn to Open Source Tool for Disaster Relief Management and Planning

    “Going the open source way can address [these] concerns and using the open source development model, it is possible to develop this software at a much reduced cost compared to pure commercial development models. Thus if there was a small team which was driving such a project ensuring the quality of the product, then it is possible to get a lot of assistance from the global IT community to make those systems truly exceptional.

  • Open Source Robotics Efforts Going On All Around the World

    RoboCar. ZMP, a Tokyo-based company is working on a Linux-based automotive robotics platform that it says “provides the required tools to study various subjects such as applied robotic technology, autonomous movement, communication between vehicles or interaction between cars and humans.” The model shown at left is built at 1/10th scale, and is intended for researchers to study in preparation for experiments with car robotics.

  • Web Browsers

    • Firefox 3 about to get a major update

      Starting a little later tonight, users with the latest version of Firefox 3 will be getting an offer to update to Firefox 3.5.

    • Adding a little Chromium to my browser diet

      I used to be something of a Web browser junkie. Over the years, I tried just about every new browser that came out. Up until last year, I had five or six browsers installed on my laptop. A bit of overkill, as I came to realize. While I’ve trimmed down my browser consumption, I still check out the occasional one that piques my interest.

    • Opera 10.0 Beta 3 [Proprietary]
  • Business

    • The right and best way to make money from open source

      Fenton tells the WSJ that the real advantage of open source is the distribution model. “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,” notes the WSJ.

    • Boxee raises $6 million, eyes more deals

      Boxee raised its series A round, to the tune of $4 million, last November. With the new financing the company hopes to ink more deals with media companies and set-top box manufacturers, as well as hire more employees to keep building out its technology (which includes a developer platform). Currently in an alpha test phase, Boxee hopes to expand to a beta test in October.

Leftovers

  • I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist campaign for photographers’ rights

    The Photographer Not a Terrorist campaign is a new British organisation devoted to helping photographers whom the authorities have busted or harassed for being potential terrorists, kidnapping innocent photons with deadly light-sensors.

  • California Judge Declares Red Light Camera Program Illegal and Void

    Rather than merely dismissing the case, Schwartz found the motorists involved not guilty. The constitutional protection against double jeopardy prohibits the city from appealing the verdict. It is assumed that the court will continue throwing out every photo ticket filed until the city complies with the law. Baylis is now looking to file challenges on behalf of any motorist who has received and paid a ticket in the past.

    “As a matter of public policy, I think the public is not in favor of this use of technology,” Baylis said. “I think at some point people are going to become tired of the government intrusion in their lives.”

  • Is True Amazon Kindle Killer Not A Device, But A Format?

    But the danger is there, now that e-books are gaining popularity. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Arends even goes so far as to compare Kindle to Betamax, the Sony-developed videotape format that despite a brief spell of popularity in the ’70s faded into kitschy obscurity when VHS tape became the standard. New consumer technology always means format wars; look at what happened to HD DVD, the would-be competitor to Blu-ray.

    The challenge then, is for Amazon’s Kindle competitors to not only embrace ePub but to figure out how to convince would be e-readers that being locked into Amazon — device, format, exclusivity, the whole works — is not what they want.

  • Sony Plans to Adopt Common Format for E-Books
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • My Reply to Ben

      I have not bought any of these because they were copyrighted; indeed most of the sheet music is in the public domain but I am still happy to pay good money for a nice edition. The most respect that we can pay to copyright industries is to think only about buying such products and not copyright. The music industry forgot this.

    • Google Wants Authors to Submit Creative Commons Books

      Google is now offering a way for authors and publishers to offer content for free under the Creative Commons license on Google Books. Rightsholders who want to distribute their books can let users download, use, and share them.

    • Prevent Canada from Becoming a Copyright Police State

      Canada is planning to reform its copyright law and if the entertainment industries have their way, the rights and privacy of consumers will be thrown overboard. It’s time for all Canadian BitTorrent users to stand up against the increasing power of the anti-piracy lobby, before it’s too late.

    • Movie industry wants the right to take your house off the net without full judicial review

      The motion-picture industry has spoken out against a New Zealand proposal to allow them to disconnect entire households from the Internet if one member is accused of copyright infringement; they want to be able to disconnect your Internet connection without giving you a chance to defend yourself in front of a judge because that would be “time consuming.” Instead, they would like to be lord high executioner for your network connection, with the power to shut you out of the benefits of the network (freedom of speech, assembly and the press; access to school, health, family, work and government) without having to prove it in a real court of law.

    • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

      “Stringent intellectual property rules could hamper the spread of technology needed to fight climate change.” Paul David, professor of economics at Stanford University, California

      “If Hollywood could order intellectual property laws for Christmas, what would they look like? This is pretty close.” David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa, after looking at leaked ACTA documents.

      Behind closed doors, the U.S., EU, Japan, Canada and some other countries are negotiating ACTA. No drafts are published. ACTA will contain new rules for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and other exclusive rights. ACTA will also contain a chapter on “Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment”. Other countries will be forced to join later.

    • Snatching Rights On the Playa

      The BMO’s motives here may be more laudable than those of the paranoid doctors. But the collateral damage to our free speech is unacceptable. Using take-it-or-leave-it fine print to assert veto rights over online expression is no way to promote a “society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers.” Burning Man strives to celebrate our individuality, creativity and free spirit. Unfortunately, the fine print on the tickets doesn’t live up to that aspiration.

    • ICBC sues claim-advice website

      Now the retired teacher’s company is being sued by ICBC for what it claims is copyright infringement — a claim that she finds way off base.

      “I’m not selling auto insurance,” she told The Province Thursday.

      “They’re going after me because I get thousands of visits a month.

    • No More Passwords on SitePoint PDFs!

      Effective immediately, all PDF books purchased through our site will be free of password protection..

    • No Free Competition Allowed In Tampa Bay Taxi Business

      Back in June, we wrote about how cab drivers in Tampa Bay were trying to get the city council to outlaw new competitors in the form of free ad-supported transportation from some owners of electric vehicles.

    • Reveal Poor Web Security… Have RSA Threaten You With Trademark Infringement

      However, what’s fascinating is what happened after that. Scott received an angry email from RSA, the well-known security company, who apparently built the NFCU website, claiming trademark infringement and demanding that he take down the post. RSA was upset with the implication that the site was insecure, but rather than either fixing the problem or explaining why the site is actually safe (which they insist), they threaten Scott with a trademark claim because he has a small screenshot of the NFCU website.

    • Gucci sues credit processing cos for sales of fakes

      Gucci America sued several credit card processing companies for trademark infringement on Thursday on grounds those companies facilitated the sale of counterfeit Gucci bags on the Internet.

    • Another Court Deals Major Blow to DVD Copying

      A California appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling that had paved the way for a $10,000 DVD copying system called Kaleidescape and other products from the company with the same name.

    • Radiohead declares it’s done with recording albums

      Open source is the same. Customers subscribe to a series of improvements and services around the software, rather than buying into a big licensing event. The emphasis is on what comes after the initial adoption of the software, not a bunch of marketing and hype to get people to use the software in the first place. The software largely sells itself.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Thomas Bartol, computational neuroscientist for the Salk Institute 03 (2005)

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

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