ODF Workshop in Brazil Reveals Big New Wins

Posted in America, Formats, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brazil flag

Summary: Assemblage of microblogs showing considerable ODF progress

As we noted before, this week is the week of the ODF Workshop (not the same as the ODF Plugfest [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9 10, 11]). The FFII writes: “ODF Workshop in Brasilia, today and tomorrow http://www.odfworkshop.org/

Rob Weir passes on the following message: “Live stream from ODF Workshop: http://bit.ly/HeY8r click on “Salao Nobre Michal Gartenkraut”.

This links to a page written in Portuguese because the event takes place in Brazil. In addition to seemingly repetitive microblogs, there is Jomar Silva claiming that the “Brazilian Army and Navy just signed the Brasilia Protocol. The Airforce signed last year. Now they’re all using ODF !!! Wow :)

Brazil has been an ODF supporter for quite some time. The additional good news comes from some Twitter users located in Brazil and passed on by Rob Weir, then Yoon Kit. Silva also writes: “Arno Webb now starting his presentation about Open Standards and ODF in South Africa.

Later messages from Silva, who takes a key role in this event, say the following:

Estimative from Fabiano is that they have almost a million ODF users on Paraná state. An impressive work on ODF & free software


South Africa has 11 official languages, and they can’t have problems with interoperability when translating & publishing. The solution: ODF.

“Brazilian Army and Navy just signed the Brasilia Protocol. The Airforce signed last year. Now they’re all using ODF !!!”
      –Jomar Silva
And also:

Paulo Maia told us that the Brasilia Protocol involves almost 600.000 ODF users… We’ll reach a 1M soon :)

About participation he writes:

40 participants from 13 countries, 1 and a half days of excellent presentations and discussions and the 3rd ODF Workshop is over.

The following update is wonderful news:

Just signed the Brasilia protocol, representing ODF Alliance Latin America :)

John Drinkwater concludes with:

twitter.com/w3cbrasil/status/3578396616 ← that’s impressive, W3C Brazil signing up to support #ODF documents

South America is apparently more progressive than many other countries. Some Danes, for example, are OK with ignoring Microsoft’s OOXML corruption. One person writes: “The Danish Competition Authority seems to actually LIKE sitting back and watching Microsoft and ODF advocates flame each other. Popcorn?

Watch how IDG pretends that those OOXML crimes are all behind:

It’s not exactly the thawing of the Cold War, but Microsoft’s inclusion in a new group launched by Oasis is a sign that the bitter war over open document formats has been forgotten.

Says who? OASIS was hardly part of this dispute.

Regarding the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], here is another Web site (goodbyemicrosoft.net) which uses it to rationalise a move to ODF and ODF-anchored software.

Fast forward to today, and we learn that a company called i4i has won a lawsuit against Microsoft because Microsoft’s use of XML — including OOXML — infringes an i4i patent. Microsoft has to pay i4i $290 million, and stop selling Word 2003 and Word 2007. Presumably, any product supporting OOXML will need to pay royalties to i4i.

Meanwhile, ODF does not violate the i4i patent. (i4i has “looked at OpenOffice and found it doesn’t infringe on its patents.” OpenOffice uses ODF.)

If you want your documents to be widely accessible, and remain accessible, you should use Open Document Format.

At IBM, employees are apparently encouraged to use Lotus Symphony as their ODF-compliant office suite. Good news all around.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 28th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Novell’s Channel Partner Blasts Novell

Posted in Europe, Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Street fight

Summary: With significant departures of a top manager, channel chief, and more key staff, Novell’s future in the UK does not look promising

AS SHOWN earlier, Novell is doing badly. The stock is down by over 7% today.

In the UK and Ireland, Novell is doing even worse. Rather radical changes are being made because the channel is broken, the Channel Chief has just left, and there are other major losses in this region, mostly staff-wise.

Novell’s former channel partner is now coming out, then publicly swinging. This looks bad for Novell. To quote some portions from The Register:

Computer 2000 has slammed Novell by labelling the software maker as “not channel-friendly”.


He said customers weren’t really chasing the software maker’s products. Reed claimed Novell “lacked resources and marketing funds” and was “vastly over-distributed” even as its business has “repeatedly shrunk over the past decade.”


A spokeswoman at the vendor told us on Wednesday that Novell had in fact reduced its total number of UK distributors by 25 per cent since 1 January 2009, chiming with Reed’s comment that the firm simply had too many disties on its books.

Down under in New Zealand, Inland Revenue may be replacing Novell as well.

This will include creating an infrastructure for Microsoft based file, print and messaging services and migrating from a Windows 2000 desktop system to XP.

It may also include migrating systems from Novell Netware file, print and messaging services to the Windows environment.

This happens to show just how much Vista is being avoided. In New Zealand authorities, they are now ‘upgrading’ to an operating system from 2001. They should really look at modern operating systems other than Windows. About a week ago, Inland Revenue was rumoured to be considering desktop GNU/Linux. What happened to that? This presentation offers some possibilities because therein Microsoft admits using cronies and bribing for contracts/accounts.

“I feel we are much too smug in dealing with Novell. Perhaps they didn’t hurt us in DOS yet — but it’s not because of product or their trying. It’s because we already had the OEMs wrapped up.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Detoxicated from Microsoft Influence, But Regains Microsoft and Apple Presence

Posted in Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Internet address

Summary: The HTML Working Group at the W3C loses a co-chairing Microsoft employee, but gains two who are coming from freedom-hostile firms

IT IS important to accept the fact that people are generally loyal to their employers. That’s what they are paid for. They are merely representative of the policy of their paymaster; otherwise, they simply will not get very far (detrimental to one’s career) and maybe they will even lose their job. This is why we were relieved to see Mozilla parting ways with Microsoft's Snyder, who used her hat at Mozilla to promote Windows and praise Microsoft.

“Microsoft is — after all — very hostile towards Web standards, by choice.”For quite some time now we have brought up the issue of Microsoft’s Chris Wilson sitting in a W3C chair [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft is — after all — very hostile towards Web standards, by choice. We have court evidence to support this argument and we have already seen Chris Wilson playing a role against JavaScript.

The HTML Working Group is now being shuffled a little.

Tim Berners-Lee has announced the strengthening of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML Working Group. Chris Wilson of Microsoft has stepped down as co-chair. The remaining co-chair, Sam Ruby of IBM, will now be joined by new co-chairs; Paul Cotton of Microsoft, and Maciej Stachowiak of Apple.

There is an issue here because Microsoft’s presence persists and Apple has been a lobbyist against Ogg and <video>. Apple also insists on having software patents that directly jeopardise Web standards.

“It is a cyclic trap of captivity.”Tim Berners-Lee denounced Microsoft for refusing to support SVG, so what is he thinking when he puts Microsoft on key chairs? Obviously it’s a group decision, but who gets to vote? And what happens when rigged voters invite more like-minded people who are former colleagues? It is a cyclic trap of captivity. See Yahoo!, ISO, and VMware for example [1, 2].

In better news, Microsoft’s new Web puppet which is called Yahoo! (Bartz sold out very cheaply and tactlessly) is being replaced by Google at the UK’s largest broadband provider, BT.

In a bizarre development Yahoo! has lost its search place on the BT Yahoo! home page to Google.

That’s one site less for Microsoft to attempt to push its lies engine into — an engine which generates hostile messages towards Microsoft’s competitors and mostly marketing messages/material when it comes to Microsoft topics. Regulators have not responded to this revolting behaviour.

Eye on Microsoft, Apple: Security Trouble

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Security at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reminders from news of what Microsoft and Apple customers sometimes must cope with

Trojan zaps banking credentials via IM

The latest entrant is Zeus, a trojan that monitors an infected PC for passwords entered into banking websites and other financial services. Over the past three months, investigators from RSA FraudAction Research Lab have observed the program, which also goes by the name Torpig and Mebroot, using the Jabber IM protocol to make sure the most valuable credentials don’t get lost in the shuffle.

And the best free Anti-Virus program is…

Finally, ahem, “If you were running desktop Linux or using a Mac, you wouldn’t have these problems.” That said, if you’re running Windows on a budget, two out of two experts agree: Avira’s the program for you.

Kaspersky Lab: Spammers Do Their Own Advertising

In its semi-annual spam report, the Russian security experts Kaspersky Lab have concluded the economic crisis has had no bearing on the amount of spam distributed worldwide. However, spammers have had to turn to creating ads for their very own services.

6th SMS Ransomware Variant Offered for Sale

“Your copy of Windows has been blocked! You’re using an unlicensed version of it! In order to continue using it, you must receive the unlock key. All you have to do is follow these steps: You must send a SMS message. You will receive an activation code once you do so. Enter the code and unlock your copy of Windows.”

Anticipating the potential for monetization, cybercriminals are investing more time and resources into coming up with new features for their SMS based ransomware releases. Two of the very latest releases indicate their motivation and long-term ambitions into this newly emerged micro-payment ransomware channel.

French official to talk iPhone troubles with Apple

A senior executive from Apple Inc will meet France’s consumer affairs minister on Friday to discuss a number of incidents in which screens on some of its popular iPhones were reported to have shattered for no obvious reason.

iPhone 3GS Shot with 9mm and Burned [hat tip: MinceR]

Why SUSE Engineers Should Abandon Novell and Start Their Own Company

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chart: Novell 2009 Q3

Summary: Novell is aimless without SUSE (GNU/Linux), but GNU/Linux is not Novell’s property. Novell’s latest results make a solid case for abandonment and a restart of S.u.S.E. under a different name

Yesterday night we wrote about Novell's disappointing results. A more detailed post was promised, so here it is compressed into the set of links that informed and made up overall judgment.

Novell issued a press release to prepare investors and analysts/reporters for the date of the results. The Var Guy had a little countdown which Sam Dean cited.

First up, Novell is scheduled to announce third-quarter results on August 27. The anticipated good news: Novell is expected to deliver a profitable quarter, with results expected to slightly exceed the performance of Novell’s Q3 last year, predicts The Motley Fool.

Here is the article from The Motley Fool (maybe one among several) and here is a prelude to Novell’s results.

Other S&P 500 listed companies Medtronic (MDT), Novell (NOVL), Staples (SPLS) and jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF) will report quarterly earnings this week.

Nearer to that time there was apparently a delay, but previews were quite accurate. The press release (also appearing here) eventually came and then there was the Earnings Call, of which we have a full transcript. Attending for Novell were Ron Hovsepian (CEO), Dana Russell (CFO), and Susan White.

“Fox carries the same message too, but in another Fox page it says clearly that the revenue fell short. They can’t have it both ways.”These results were soon parsed based on the press release and Market Watch revealed the deficiencies (also mentioned in Fox and some aggregated reports like this one and that one).

RTT News had this couple of reports and another source (also in here) called the results “inline” even though expectations were missed. Fox carries the same message too, but in another Fox page it says clearly that the revenue fell short. They can’t have it both ways.

Novell’s overall profit is attributed to lower expenditures (including staff layoffs).

The Wall Street Journal said that shares had fallen due to the revenue fall, whereas Reuters claimed that Wall Street’s expectations were met, which contradicts other reports, but not this one:

Novell Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) 2.3% LOWER; reports Q3 EPS of $0.07, ex-items, in-line with the analyst estimate of $0.07. Revenue for the quarter was $216 million, versus the consensus of $216.64 million.

It probably all depends on whose expectations and whose estimates.

In some subsequent reports it came up that Novell was sliding at a significantly high pace.

Among the companies whose shares are actively trading in the after-hours session are OmniVision Technologies Inc. (OVTI), Netezza Corp. (NZ) and Novell Inc. (NOVL).

More from The Wall Street Journal:

But shares fell about 4.5% in after-hours trading…

Fox Business argued that Novell would be worth watching on Friday and this turned out to be true. Novell slid over 7% in today’s trading. Then there’s Dell compared to Novell.

It may seem as though denouncing Novell is hurting GNU/Linux, but it could not be further from the truth. Well, as the Var Guy puts it, SUSE is doing quite fine, but Novell’s proprietary strategy is not working out.

Novell: Linux Up, Security Down


Now, for Novell’s lingering problem. As the company’s open source business continues to grow the rest of Novell continues to contract.

A prime example: The VAR Guy was particularly surprised to see Novell’s Identity, Access and Compliance Management business fall 16 percent to $28 million for the quarter. Security is a growing market, folks. It’s among the top things businesses continue to invest in during the recession.

This was also the message chosen by Matt Asay and Timothy from The Register. The Inquirer put it like this:

Novell announced that its Linux revenue has made a 22 per cent year-over-year increase, topping $40 million.

Since GNU/Linux is doing exceptionally well in a generally-dysfunctional company, why don’t the engineers there start their own company outside Novell and outside the obligations to Microsoft? Since the fruit of the labour is GPL-licensed, there is no real barrier in principle. This code that they write is not owned by Novell; the only SUSE assets Novell has truly got are the engineers on its payroll. They are not immobilised, unless there is something secret and sinister in their employment contract.

Judges Appointed in SCO Case

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, SCO, UNIX at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weilding the hammer

Summary: Is SCO unlucky at cards?

IT IS not known yet whether Darl et al will be kicked out or not, but looking at the SCO saga in general, its impact is being grossly exaggerated because there is no substantial case to be fought.

The latest development revolves around appointment of judges and it does not seem favourable to SCO. Groklaw explains who one of them is:

Judge Campbell is an Idaho girl, which likely means she knows how to ride a horse and glean potatoes and enjoy a very big sky. She was educated in Arizona, and worked as Assistant U.S. Attorney and then Deputy County Attorney in the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office before entering private practice. So she is a Utah transplant. I must say, I like the sound of this:

A copy of all proposed orders must be directly e-mailed to Judge Campbell’s chambers at the following address: [PJ: email redacted]. Proposed orders e-mailed to chambers must be editable and submitted in either WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format.

At least she knows how to use email, and she’s heard of WordPerfect. That’s a start! I’m just kidding. Utah is one of the most advanced court systems as far as tech is concerned.

Kidding aside, then, she’s not only heard of WordPerfect, she seems to prefer it. If you download her template jury instructions for civil trials or her trial order, they are in WordPerfect format. A lot of lawyers love WordPerfect, actually. I do too. I just love the freedom of GNU/Linux, but WordPerfect is wonderful software, particularly for law offices, because it does footnotes and headers so beautifully and can see who corrected what in all drafts of a document.


If you are curious, here’s Judge Kimball’s bio, and as you can see, it’s incredibly impressive, with many honors and awards and writings and achievements in a long and much admired career. I collected more information in this article way back in 2003, and you’ll see why so many admire him. The way SCOfolk tried to smear him was, to me, one of the lowest points of this nauseatingly low saga, and if you noticed the appellate ruling did not follow their lead. It was respectful of him, although reversing in some respects on a point of law, one that, should anyone bother to appeal, I suspect would affirm Judge Kimball anyway. I admire him myself very much. I only hope he hasn’t received the kinds of threats I get. Judges do get that sometimes.

Among those who publicly disparaged Judge Kimball was SCO and Microsoft friend, Maureen O'Gara.

According to another new report from Sean Michael Kerner, SCO keeps talking about funds it does not have.

SCO had stated in a 2007 SEC filing that the potential of a large payout to Novell had helped to push it into bankruptcy protection.

As to how SCO now expects to be able to pay Novell, Hunsaker said that the company has a plan — but gave away few details.

“We have a proposed business deal waiting in the wings that can solve the judgment if it can be structured in a way to meet the approval of the bankruptcy court,” he said.

Sean Michael Kerner’s addenda indicate that there is no real trouble for Linux.

Further to coverage of this latest ruling [1, 2], we have some more which is not worth reciting for any new information. The Canadian Press (CP) has covered it and so have a variety of legal publications. The Register says that a “new trial means Unix ownership still up for debate” and Geek.com calls it “round two”. The Boston press (where Novell’s headquarters are located) has some coverage from Novell’s angle and SoftPedia offers some interesting new details that Groklaw has already covered.

This decision will also have an impact on SCO’s position in the bankruptcy court, giving the company more chances to have a sale of the Unix business approved, while keeping the rights to pursue the ongoing lawsuits.

Judge Kimball, who presided the copyright case in 2004, recused himself from the IBM and Novell cases, being replaced by Judge Ted Stewart for the SCO – Novell litigation and Judge Tena Campell for the SCO – IBM lawsuit.

Justin Ryan, the person at Linux Journal who has kept track of this case for a long time, believes that “SCO Will Try Again” and Microsoft's acquiescent person at SD Times uses a familiar zombie-themed comparison.

The internet is alive with the sound of screaming this week, as everyone and their brother rushes to announce the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on SCO’s appeal of the U.S. District Court’s decision in its case against Novell. To hear some tell it, SCO has emerged triumphant, Novell is vanquished, darkness shall reign in the whole of the land, and male pattern baldness will engulf us all.

The SCO saga may carry on for a while longer. It never seems to end and it’s obvious who gains the most.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Links 28/08/2009: Slackware 13.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Saving Linux cash on Vista clunkers

      I wish there was an easy-to-use Windows-to-Linux desktop migration program, but the best of that lot, Versora Progression Desktop, has not been available since 2007, when Versora was bought out by Kaseya, an IT Managed Services Automation firm. While Kaseya promised that Versora’s functionality would still be available, I couldn’t find it any of Kaseya’s currently shipping products — and, in any case, Kaseya’s customers are businesses, not individual desktop Linux or Windows users. If there are any programmers out there who want an idea that could make a profitable little product, I think you could do well with a Windows to Linux migration tool.

    • Why Linux and open source matters for small businesses and schools

      Linux is adopted by many corporate companies and government institutions worldwide. Its use and desktop appearance is quite similar to Windows, thus easy to learn and use. Linux provides higher security, is less virus attacked (if at all), and more efficient in its use of hardware resources. Best of all, it is open source software and one can modify or adapt it to any purpose that suits one’s use and environment.

    • The big three operating systems

      Faster boot-up times are also on the agenda with Ubuntu team having said that they hope to achieve boot times of less than 20 seconds with the release of Ubuntu 9.10. And more recently developers laid out plans to reduce that to sub-10 seconds with the release following Karmic in April 2010. With those speeds users can certainly expect faster startup times in Karmic with more improvements to come.

  • Education

    • Ask SIPB

      Most of these workstations run Debathena, a set of MIT extensions on top of the popular Ubuntu operating system. You can access everything provided in Ubuntu, as well as the various Athena services (files, printers, etc.) from any workstation. On these cluster machines, you are able to install any Ubuntu package for the duration of your login session.

    • How to Find Free Linux Ebooks and Courseware

      Like it or not, with Linux comes advocacy. There are a lot of people out there who like to spread the love in whatever ways they can. One nice side effect of this is the abundance of free Linux related information available to anyone. That’s good for us, as we’ll be covering just how to find all this great material.

    • 15 Great Ubuntu Tips For Linux Power Users

      A few days back I wrote about books that beginners can download and read to teach themselves Linux. Today in the Linux section we have something for the power users.

    • Learn Linux, 101: The Linux command line
  • Applications

    • New Skype Linux Beta improves picture and sound quality

      After over a year of silence from Skype’s Linux developers since even a minor update to the Skype Linux client and over two years since the last major update was revealed, a new beta release of Skype for Linux has been made available.

    • qOrganizer: A personal organizer on Linux

      qOrganizer is a utility for Linux that helps you organize your daily stuff like, schedule, reminder, notes, to-dos etc. It has some good features for students to use as well like it provides them yo keep track of their timetable absence etc.

    • Scribus Desktop Publisher’s New Version is Much Improved

      Scribus also includes many improvements when working with PDF documents, including effects, transitions that you can add, and optional embedding of PDF and EPS files. I also appreciated the new Quick Start Guide, and Font Preview features.

  • Kernel Space

    • VGA Arbitration Code Hits The X Server

      The VGA Arbiter is ready to enter the Linux 2.6.32 kernel in early September once the Linux 2.6.31 kernel is out the door and the merge window for 2.6.32 opens.

    • Fake Linux Torvalds Set For Web Vitriol Barrage

      According to Zemlin, Torvalds himself has given the go-ahead for the contest. Starting the week of Sept. 7, the public will be invited to vote for their favorite Fake Linus Torvalds. The identities of all four Fake Linus Torvalds will be revealed at LinuxCon, which will be held in Portland, Ore., from Sept. 21-23, and the top vote-getter will receive a ‘Silver Penguin’ award.

    • Linux 2.6.31 Kernel Is Ready With -RC8 Release

      The Linux 2.6.31 kernel brings ATI kernel mode-setting support for the R500 (Radeon X1000) graphics cards and earlier as a staging driver, TTM GPU memory management support as part of the ATI KMS push, adds support for USB 3.0, a performance counter subsystem, new hardware drivers, and other changes.

    • Kernel Improvements, Controversies Will Be Focus of Roundtable

      I think the next releases of GNOME and KDE are pushing us much farther along towards the leading edge here, and I’m interested to see what actually emerges as viable technology for the next generation of user interfaces.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Quick look at KDE 4.3.0.

      Needless to say that there has been quite some code cleanup. Kwin and KDE 4.3.0 simply feels a lot more responsive and smoother than its predecessors.

    • Sticky Notes Part Deux

      For those interested in my previous post about LibStickyNotes, I made a plasmoid frontend that uses magic to communicate back and forth with a “source” application. The applet needs a bit more UI work but here is small preview.

  • Graphics

  • Distributions

    • Linux Mint 7 “Gloria”: My new dual-boot

      I like Mint. I’ve liked it pretty regularly throughout all its iterations, despite the occasional annoyance (thumbnail loading). Version 7 is a solid distro that takes Ubuntu and improves upon it like a good spin-off should. I look forward to version 8.

      In closing, the best compliment I can give this distribution is that I’m running it. It now has the coveted one spare partition on my laptop. It wasn’t confined to a VM on a host environment and then summarily wiped like so many others. I stuck with it because it worked well for me. Perhaps it will do the same for some of you.

    • Gentoo

    • Slackware

      • [Slackware 13.0 Released]

        Slackware 13.0 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you’ll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 4.2.4, a recent stable release of the new 4.2.x series of the award-winning K Desktop Environment. We continue to make use of HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) which allows the system administrator to grant use of various hardware devices according to users’ group membership so that they will be able to use items such as USB flash sticks, USB cameras that appear like USB storage, portable hard drives, CD and DVD media, MP3 players, and more, all without requiring sudo, the mount or umount command. Just plug and play. Properly set up, Slackware’s desktop should be suitable for any level of Linux experience.

      • Vector Linux – An interesting choice

        Vector is definitely a very interesting choice. It has a long and exhausting installation, but once you get past that stage, you’ll start enjoying a well laid out desktop, provided you login in the default Xfce session. The desktop will offer you a wide range of useful programs across many categories. You’ll also be able to enjoy multimedia without any extra effort. It will also run quite fast. If you like simple eye candy, it can do that, too, rather well.

    • Ubunu

      • 10 New Features/Changes In Karmic You May Not Know About…

        Below is a list of 10 features and changes in Ubuntu 9.10 that you may not already know about… Or even be expecting!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Gets A New Splash Screen, Not Plymouth

        Introduced last year with Fedora 10 was Plymouth, a project to replace the aging Red Hat Graphical Boot (RHGB) software. From the start, Plymouth leveraged kernel mode-setting to provide a flicker-free boot process and a splash screen that would run at the panel’s native resolution. Beyond using KMS, Red Hat designed a nice plug-in architecture for Plymouth to offer different functionality and make it easy to add in new artwork.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sharp’s 5-inch PC-Z1 NetWalker honors Zaurus legacy with touchscreen Ubuntu

      Now Sharp makes it official with the launch of this 5-inch, 1024 x600 TFT LCD touchscreen NetWalker smartbook, aka the PC-Z1. It’s not a Zaurus per se, but the compact 161.4 x 108.7 x 19.7 ~ 24.8mm / 409g device certainly resurrects its ghost. Underpinning the device is an 800MHz Freescale i.MX515 CPU built around the ARM Cortex-A8 architecture, 512MB of memory, 4GB of on-board flash storage (with microSDHC expansion for another 16GB), 802.11b/g WiFi, 2x USB, and QWERTY keyboard going 68 percent of full-size.

    • PC-Z1: Sharp’s Ubuntu-powered, touchscreen “Mobile Internet Tool”
    • Sharp spins Ubuntu-based palmtop
    • Linux POS (Point of Sale) Solutions: Volante POS Systems Exceeds Expectations At The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

      When the AAA four diamond Amway Grand Plaza Hotel decided to upgrade their point of sale system, they tapped Toronto based hospitality software company Volante POS Systems to do the job. The result was an extensive point of sale installation throughout the hotel and adjoining convention center, one that is fully customizable to the Amway Grand’s current and future needs. The entire system runs on a Linux platform, and adds a new market segment to Volante’s growing roster of hospitality POS clients.

    • Linux to Remain in Older Model PS3s

      With Linux install getting the boot from the slimline PS3, you might have been concerned that Sony would pull a fast one and make the functionality disappear from older systems via a firmware update.

    • Phones

      • Why Sprint Should Be Giving Away The Palm Pre For Free

        There was plenty of hype around the launch of the Palm Pre, which by all accounts is a pretty damn good phone (I’ve played around with it, and like it). However, Palm and Sprint made two huge mistakes in marketing it. First, they didn’t have a really well-developed developer community building apps for it, so the app store is pretty weak. Apple did this with the iPhone when it launched (and we dinged them at the time as well), but Apple got away with it for two reasons: Apple is leading the field in such smartphones, and it’s Apple, who seems able to bring developers to the table with cultish enthusiasm and loyalty.

      • Nokia’s First Linux Phone Looks Good

        After several unofficial leaks, Nokia on Thursday officially unveiled the N900, the company’s first Linux phone. It’s a good first step to rejuvenate Nokia’s smartphone line, but will the N900 have what it takes to go head-to-head with the iPhone and Android Phones?

      • Android

        • Mot Android phone(s) may debut on Sept. 10

          Motorola has sent out “save-the-date” notices for an Android-themed press event on Sept. 10 that is likely to see the announcement of the company’s first two Android phones, says eWEEK. The manufacturer is expected to announce a “Sholes” smartphone, destined for Verizon Wireless and/or a “Morrison” model, headed for T-Mobile, says the story.

        • Android demo’d on MIPS-driven 1080p display

          MIPS Technologies announced two more video-oriented system-on-chip vendor partners who will use its MIPS-architecture Android implementation, developed by Embedded Alley. Sigma Designs is demonstrating an Android- and MIPS-based set-top box (STB) prototype displaying 1080p video, and ALi Corp. announced it is also joining MIPS’ Android partner program.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Issue #2 of of Opensourc3 magazine is available [PDF]
  • OpenOffice 3.1.1 Available – Praise, and a Small Gripe

    I know that OpenOffice is a great thing. I use it all the time. My kids use it. I try to get all my customers, not having a current product to do ‘office-like’ things, to download it, or I download it and set it up for them.

  • Open source: More than just a cheap date

    It’s not surprising that enterprise IT would be looking to lighten its software cost burden. Proprietary software vendors derive an ever-growing chunk of their revenue from software maintenance fees, a “boondoggle” for vendors, according to CMS Watch, which fattens vendor coffers while providing minimal value to customers.

  • Closed source isn’t immoral if…

    It’s not so much a problem that people use closed nvidia drivers or flash-nonfree. It’s a problem that people do not understand closed nature limitations and do not have the will or method to support the creation or further development of the free alternatives. We may not be able to have the free alternative right now, but that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for it, but at the same time it doesn’t mean we should stop using the closed solution.

  • OpenWaters: How area businesses and government can profit from open source software

    Please join us on September 18, 2009 for Open Waters. This one-day event will help area business people, government and military leaders, and students better understand the fast-growing phenomenon of open source software.

  • IT, a key business enabler in the downturn

    As a pioneer in the development and use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), we are a strong contributor to the Open Source movement, and have been utilising Open Source widely to provide our clients with more optimal solutions.

    We have a proven track record in contributing to the Open Source R&D, including significant contributions to projects such as Apache Web Services, OpenBRR, and Sahana Disaster Management project. Our support to projects such as Sahana has been part of our sustainability initiatives, which focus on making an impact in humanitarian and educational areas thereby helping to create a more digitally-inclusive society.

    Internally, we have developed solutions based on Open Source software including a custom-built software configuration management solution. We were able to save significant costs on licensing fee and acquisition costs, by adopting the Open Source software for developing the solution.

  • Is forking good for open-source software?

    Forking can be good, and in many cases has allowed projects that were stalled to go on to bigger and better things. In some cases, the new project has actually been eventually folded back into and replaced the original project, the most notable being the GNU C Compiler (gcc), which was forked as the EGCS project and then folded back in.

  • Five years of introducing students to open source

    We’ve just concluded our fifth Google Summer of Code, our flagship global program to introduce college and university students to open source development. Once again, the results this year have been impressive. Nearly 2,000 mentors from 64 countries participated in the program.

  • Broadcast

    • Secure VoIP, GNU SIP Witch, and replacing Skype with free software

      For a number of years I have been working when possible on what is called the GNU Telephony Secure Calling initiative. The GNU Telephony Secure Calling initiative was itself originally formed specifically to make passive voice communication intercept a thing of the past using free software and public standards, and came out of ideas from and work of the New York City civil liberties community and New York Fair Use in the early part of this decade.

    • Dim Dim: Web conferencing turns open source

      Available as an open source software, Dim Dim is flexible. It can be extended and improved freely. Users can change the logo or the user interface if they wish to. Although there are a lot of players in this space, very few provide free and easy to use web conferencing services. Initially the company was called Communiva. The journey from Communiva to Dim Dim was a fraction of a day. Since Communiva was not such an easy to recall name, the founders chose 18,000 domain names and promised themselves that they would not leave the meeting without finalizing on one. To make the task easier, they set five rules, which were: the dotcom domain name must be available, it should be an easy to remember and an international name and the sound and spelling of the name must translate without ambiguity to its spelling and pronunciation, respectively. Dim Dim was the only name that met these rules.

    • GSM to feel the heat from open source project

      The announcement of a new project to attack the A5/1 GSM encryption standard could spell trouble in the mid-term for mobile phone network security. As well as normal telephone conversations, this would also allow text messages to be read, not just by state agencies with specialist equipment (for whom it is already a matter of course), but by anyone with the right equipment, costing just 1,000 euros. This would undermine the whole basis of the mobile banking security structure, which uses GSM to transfer mobile TANs for validating online transfers.

    • Halfway Through A Bad Year

      Open Source gets on the board: Allan concurs with John Malone of Eastern Management Group that open source PBXs, including but not limited to Digium/Asterisk, are becoming a significant element in the market.

  • Mozilla

    • Five Features We Want to See in Firefox

      We know the folks at Mozilla are already working on this one, but when Google introduced Chrome and showed us how it isolated each tab as a separate process so that a bum tab wouldn’t crash the entire browser, and how you can see how much memory each tab is using, they left Firefox (and every other browser) in the dust on this one—meaning we probably won’t see content processes in Firefox for at least a year. Bummer.

    • Getting to Know Snowl: Following Online Discussions

      What does the next-generation feed-reader look like? Probably a lot like Snowl, a project out of Mozilla Labs that bills itself as a tool to follow and participate in online discussions. We take a look at early release of Snowl to see how it’s coming along. It’s not perfect yet, but the long term future for Snowl looks good.

    • fear of the awesomebar overblown

      As of this week, 94% of Firefox active daily users are on Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5.

      (I don’t have absolute user numbers for other browsers, but usage is a reasonable proxy here and if you look at Safari, they still have about 16% of their usage coming from two versions or more behind the current release. If you look at the other browser with a significant number of users, IE, a whopping 37% of that share is two versions or more behind.)

    • Murphy’s Law: Mozilla Crowdsources Open Source

      TestSwarm was developed by one of the Mozilla Foundation’s JavaScript Tool Developers, John Resig, to deal with the scalability issues that factor into JavaScript code testing. To Resig, the proper testing platform includes at least five different browsers split into 12 total versions per operating system. Although he doesn’t go into this length in his example, you should triple that number to factor in the Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating environments.

  • Government

    • Software development course due

      The East African Centre for Open Source (EACOS) is to host the first East African regional training on business and open sourcing in Kampala.

    • Finding government apps in Europe’s open source forges

      Starting on Monday 24 August 2009, the visitors of OSOR.EU, the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations, can search for applications among the 1749 open source development projects that are currently hosted on ten development websites provided by national and regional public administrations in Austria, France, Italy and Spain.

    • Programmers to swarm NHIN code in D.C. meet-up

      Code-a-thons are common among open source communities, letting programmers meet face-to-face to collaborate on high priority goals, according to Fred Trotter, an open source consultant and advocate for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in healthcare. The events let developers partner in person – sometimes for the first time – as they often work in different cities or continents.

  • Operating Systems

    • Living The PC-BSD Lifestyle

      Sitting next to my 47” Westinghouse LCD TV is the iXsystems Apollo Workstation. This workstation is powered by the 5500 series of the Intel® Xeon® processor, an Asus GeForce 9800 GT video card, and 4 gigs of RAM. It came with PC-BSD Galileo Edition (7.1) pre-installed and a handful of applications that immediately increased my quality of life tenfold.

    • Robots to Get Open Source Operating System

      Right now, ROS exists mainly as packages of software code on sourceforge.

  • Openness

    • Hacking the NXT With LEGO’s Blessing

      Fortunately there are still a lot of options to choose from. Many open source, some free but closed source, and a few commercial options await our trials. I won’t go into detail about each, but I’ll summarize what I’ve found so far and save specifics for later posts.

    • Open source revolution at Sony

      The what seems to be an attempt by Sony to regain market share by embracing open source across the board. Anyone ready to root for the Japanese?

    • Research Trove: Patients’ Online Data

      Supporters of this model — sometimes called crowd-sourcing or open-source research — call it democratization of research and say they are pioneering new models that put patients in control of their data and build bridges between researchers, patients and their doctors. They say these methods are far cheaper and faster than traditional research, which has high start-up costs and relies heavily on clinicians.

    • Eco-Curious: Open Source Carmaker to Build Electric Car Inspired By S.F.

      That said, the crowdsourced vehicle provides S.F. with a lot more than just zero emissions. The car would provide local jobs. Unlike an hecho en Mexico Volkswagen, LocalMotors would build and assemble the car right here in S.F.


  • Unchain the Office Computers!

    During a town hall meeting for State Department workers last month, an employee named Jim Finkle asked Hillary Clinton a very important question: “Can you please let the staff use an alternative Web browser called Firefox?” The room erupted in cheers. Finkle explained that he’d previously worked at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, where everyone enjoyed Firefox. “So I don’t understand why State can’t use it,” he said. “It’s a much safer program.”

  • Canucks crack whip on Facebook privacy

    Facebook has vowed to overhaul how personal information is shared with third-party applications after Canada’s privacy Czar scolded the social website for its promiscuous policies.

  • Sun-Oracle

    • Speculation Abounds as Sun-Oracle Wedding Day Nears

      Oracle’s (NASDAQ: ORCL) acquisition of Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) could close soon if the EU signs off on the deal next week — but what happens after that is anyone’s guess.

    • Eating, Smashing, and Mixing

      The Oracle/Sun takeover is in the news. It was reported that the Justice Department gave the acquisition the go ahead. Of course the powers that be must check things over, but most people will tell you when you are up to you chest in water, it might be time to sell the boat. I say this with some sorrow. I hate to see companies that contribute go by the way side. I am not saying Oracle does not contribute, but things will be different without Sun.

  • AstroTurf

    • Faceless Coal

      The Adfero Group states on its website that it specialises in developing strategies for clients to “influence policymakers and shape legislation or regulations at the federal, state and local levels”. An environmental group that watchdogs the coal industry, Appalachian Voices, notes that “all of the “FACES” of coal are actually just istockphotos. They couldn’t even get real photos of their supporters.”

    • BPA industry fights back

      Public relations blitz takes cue from tobacco companies’ past tactics

    • Malawi’s child tobacco labourers suffer nicotine poisoning

      Multinational tobacco companies are coming under pressure today for their policy of buying tobacco from farms that exploit children.

      An international study has revealed that children working in Malawi’s tobacco fields are absorbing up a huge amount of nicotine, the equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day.

      Some of these children are less than five and they work for less than 2 cents an hour in oppressive conditions.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Isohunt judge says MPAA has yet to prove direct infringment

      BitTorrent search engines, The Pirate Bay, was brought up on criminal misconduct charges and TorrentSpy’s case was decided on a discovery sanction. Some of the issues in the Usenet.com case closely resemble Isohunt and TorrentSpy’s, although the company is not a BitTorrent tracker or search engine.

      Usenet.com is a company that enabled users to access the Usenet network and it too lost on a discovery sanction.

    • US Gov’t Briefing For All Employees: All Music Downloads Are Stolen, Risky

      Now, to be fair, it’s rather obvious that the briefing is designed to keep gov’t employees from using file sharing programs and potentially exposing confidential gov’t documents via file sharing. And that’s reasonable. But why not be accurate and honest about it? Lying about it makes no sense.

    • Are rights holders seeding files to sue downloaders?

      A German software developer is alleging that a company hired by rights holders to hunt down file sharers actually helped to seed the file he eventually got sued for, according to a report from heise.de.

    • 10th Cir.: Court reporters do not own a copyright in the transcripts that they prepare

      The City and the court reporter complained to the district court and, after the case settled, the district court ordered the plaintiff’s counsel to pay the reporter a little over four thousand dollars. The attorney for the plaintiffs appealed in his individual capacity.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Kevin Foreman, General Manager at RealNetworks 02 (2004)

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

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