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09.24.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: September 24th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 24/09/2009: Red Hat’s Results Analysed, Gnash Has New Release

Posted in News Roundup at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What Can You Do While You’re Bored?

    Well, if you have your computer I could give you a few things to try. After all, sometimes, watching a tv series could get boring. Or it could be that you’ve seen your videos over and over and over again. You need to do something new. In that case, you might want to try doing these things that I do. It might not be the most adventurous thing at first but who knows what you might be learning along the way.

  • 2009 Show Notes · Going Linux Podcast

    Here you will find links to the topics we cover as well as links to software, websites articles, and other resources mentioned in the episodes of Going Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Free Geek: Donate Old Computers, Volunteer for a Free Computer

      What would an old computer be good for? The refurbished computers are older models but nothing obsolete, and are loaded with open source, minimalist software like the Ubuntu operating system. An older computer running Ubuntu is almost as fast as a modern machine running pretty but heavyweight Windows, and there’s barely a difference between the two when using the internet.

    • Kudos to the Linux guys at the Morris County Library

      A tip of the propeller hat to Bob Murphy, Mike Hanson, Nick Barter and Peter Gilbert, who spent Saturday afternoon preaching the Linux gospel inside the Morris County Library.

    • Linux is now good enough for many end users

      Some things that I think were key to her success:

      * Google
      * The extraordinary tendency of the Ubutnu community to participate in forums and write guides and wikis. There is more of a “culture” of that in open source but I think the Ubuntu user community is a little more affected with the tendency.
      * Vista sucking bad enough to motivate her

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Network Security Toolkit 2.11.0 Is Based on the 2.6.30.5 Linux Kernel

      Paul Blankenbaker announced yesterday the release of Network Security Toolkit 2.11.0, a completely redesigned and engineered version of this Linux distribution that provides tools for system administrators and security experts.

    • H.264 VA-API GPU Video Acceleration For Flash

      Gwenole Beauchesne of Splitted Desktop Systems shares that the H.264 video playback performance has improved significantly thanks to this VA-API support and with 1080p clips it’s working out much better than Adobe’s own proprietary Flash 10 player for Linux.

    • ATI Radeon HD 5850/5870 On Linux?

      Unlike with the ATI RV770 launch where we were able to report on their evolutionary leap in Linux support through providing same-day Catalyst drivers and many other feature improvements and also had out Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 Linux benchmarks. This time around though, we have nothing. We have no Evergreen hardware in hand and have not even received any technical briefings on this new hardware.

    • Linux via the internet with boot.kernel.org

      boot.kernel.org (BKO) offers another possibility for Linux users to boot the free operating system via the internet. Still in its early days, the project allows Linux systems to be started via HTTP. Clients only require a broadband internet connection and the open source gPXE boot loader, which can be provided on a USB flash drive, a CD or – for those who miss the good old days – a floppy disk.

    • Mesa 7.6 Planned For Release Next Week

      Mesa 7.6 provides support for a number of new OpenGL extensions with its software rasterizer and the Intel i965 driver mostly, there is the rewritten Radeon/R200/R300 driver that uses the buffer manager (a.k.a. the Radeon 3D driver re-write), GL_EXT_framebuffer_object support for ATI when using the TTM memory manager, proper OpenGL 1.5 support for the ATI R300 series (and VBO + OQ support), and the assembly shader rework. This in fact is just a small portion of the changes. Mesa 7.6 is quite a huge update compared to Mesa 7.5, which was just released in July.

    • Gallium3D’s Softpipe Driver Now Runs Faster

      The softpipe driver will remain an area that’s used for experimenting with new ideas by developers.

    • VIA’s Improved Framebuffer Driver In Linux 2.6.32

      While VIA’s Chrome 9 DRM has yet to be accepted into the mainline Linux kernel since its mostly used by VIA’s binary-only driver and then recently an updated 2D driver, with the viafb driver outside of X.Org, this frame-buffer driver has picked up many improvements with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel.

    • LinuxCon: Let’s Get Together: Coordinated Software Releases, The Linux Ecosystem and the Impact on the Global Marketplace (liveblog)

      This keynote wraps up the event. I’ve really enjoyed LinuxCon and look forward to attending the event again next year (in Boston). Kudos to the Linux Foundation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment

      • Myriad takes Nokia’s Schillings

        Benoit Schillings, who joined Nokia after its 2008 acquisition of Scandinavian mobile Linux firm Trolltech, is to take up his new role on October 1. Myriad, created from the merger of Esmertec and Purple Labs develops a, er, myriad of mobile software including browsers and Java engines.

      • NLUUG Autumn Conference – The Open Web

        There will be quite some talks related to KDE. Accidental? We don’t think so. It shows that KDE is on the forefront of integrating open web technologies into the desktop. It also means that KDE is exciting and cool.

      • Code Project: create a Qt RSS reader

        We’re going to build a complete application that wouldn’t take too much additional work to qualify for re-distribution as a bona fide open source application. It’s an RSS reader which allows you to add your own feeds, lists the stories on that feed and then lets you read those stories within a browser window attached to the main application.

    • GNOME

      • GNOME 2.28 – the dawn of a new era

        Version 2.28 sees the team behind the GNOME desktop environment for Linux and Unix warming up for version 3.0, scheduled for a March 2010 release. The current release continues the tradition of dotting lots of i’s and crossing plenty of t’s, but also brings a new broom to a few nooks and crannies.

      • Linux garden gets a new GNOME with version 2.28

        GNOME 2.28 represents a moderately compelling incremental improvement. WebKit-based Epiphany is definitely worth a try, and I’m finally starting to warm up to Empathy thanks to the bug fixing and user interface refinements delivered in this release. The enhanced Bluetooth support is also a welcome addition. Version 2.28 is a little bit light on new features relative to some previous GNOME releases, but that’s understandable as a lot of development effort is currently focused on preparing for the next-generation GNOME desktop.

      • First Look: GNOME 2.28.0

        GNOME 2.28.0 is barely out the door and it’s starting to make its way into distributions, but the developers aren’t planning any vacations. They already started work on GNOME 2.30, which, depending on the advancements in the platform, might be crowned as the next major release, labeled with the 3.0 version number. If the developers aren’t happy with the progress made, they might wait until GNOME 2.32 to apply that version bump. Either way, we will know about it by March 2010, when 2.30 will be released. Should they decide that it doesn’t stand up to their expectations, we will probably receive GNOME 3.0 in September 2010.

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux 4.3 -Linux 2u

      It is best for low end computers and perfect for netbooks and sure it is best than windows 98. Now I can say it is a perfect windows killer.

    • Moovida Media Center Development Contest

      Moovida, Fluendo’s latest version of open source media center based on Gstreamer’s framework, was launched 4 months ago. To inaugurate our newly published documentation for developers, Fluendo decided to organize a contest in collaboration with Mandriva.

    • My Love/Hate Relationship

      If you haven’t tried Gentoo, I really do suggest giving it a whirl. It’s time-consuming, but I had always found the end product to be very worthwhile.

    • Zenwalk

      • Zenwalk 6.2 Review

        Zenwalk 6.2 is the latest version of Zenwalk, a Slackware-based, desktop-oriented Linux operating system. The last review of Zenwalk on this site was of Zenwalk 6. That was just six months ago. What changed between Zenwalk 6 and Zenwalk 6.2? Where the changes of a cosmetic or bug-fix variety, or where they much more substantial?

      • Branching Out With Salix OS

        I’m genuinely impressed by Salix, although I have to admit that it doesn’t seem greatly different to Zenwalk in either use or construction.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Rises on Rosy Q2 Results
      • Red Hat Guides Revenue Above Estimates
      • Stocks to Watch (CTAS,ERTS,RIMM,RHT,HERO,PAYX,PPS)

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) rallied $1.17 or 4.70% to $26.05 after The biggest seller of the Linux operating system reported second- quarter sales and profit that beat analysts’ estimates as subscription revenue rose.

      • Market Update: Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC)

        Shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) surged more than 14% in early trading today after the software company reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results. Red Hat shows net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 of $28.9 million, or 15 cents a share. This figure was up from $21.1 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. Additionally, revenue climbed 12% to $183.6 million. -Marketwatch

      • US HOT STOCKS: Red Hat, Rite Aid, Bed Bath & Beyond

        Red Hat’s ($27.95, +$3.07, +12.34%) fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 37% as the company again posted slightly better-than-expected results on growing revenue and higher margins. Competitor Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS, $37.61, +$1.47, +4.07%) was also rising.

      • Upgrades: MTH, RHT, NSM

        After Red Hat (RHT) released earnings last night, Bank of America upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy. The company earned twenty cents per share, easily beating analysts’ estimates of fifteen cents per share. With the upgrade, Bank of America raised its price target from $23.50 to $29 per share.

      • Today’s Morning Top Gainers (BAYN,AM,LBIX,RHT,OSP)

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) soared 13% now trades at $28.11 on an unusual volume of 7.01 million shares after it reported net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 of $28.9 million, or 15 cents a share. That was up from $21.1 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 12% to $183.6 million

      • U.S. Stocks Retreat on Unexpected Decrease in Home Sales

        Red Hat Inc. jumped 12 percent to $27.96 for the largest advance in the S&P 500. The biggest seller of the Linux operating system reported second-quarter sales and profit that beat analysts’ estimates as subscription revenue rose.

      • Red Hat Numbers Show Linux Has Staying Power

        Overall revenue for Red Hat was up double digits, by 12 percent, with subscription revenue up by 15 percent. With other segments of IT, like the PC space, happy to be flat on a year-over-year basis, that’s saying something.

      • Open Source Leader Red Hat Edges Sales, Profit Views In Q2

        Red Hat offers the Linux operating system and JBoss middleware, which lets computers share data. Red Hat makes money by providing technical support and software patches, and by selling premium paid versions of free open source products.

      • Red Hat: Linux Pays Off – And Isn’t Bloated

        The recession is proving to be an opportune time for Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) as it continues to grow revenues and earnings. According to Red Hat executives, the growth is coming at the expense of rivals and as a result of customer confidence in the abilities of Linux and Red Hat’s JBoss middleware platform.

        The growth of Red Hat’s business is not however a sign of bloat. During Red Hat’s second quarter earnings investor call on Wednesday, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst responded to an analyst question about Linux founder Linus Torvalds’ comment earlier this week that Linux was bloated.

        “As Linux has continued to grow and its applicability continues to expand, there’s just more feature functionality that people are looking for to be built into the operating system,” Whitehurst said. “I don’t think of that as bloat.”

        Whitehurst added that in his view, bloat is when vendors add features that people do not want. Linux, he said, is growing but with features that people do want.

    • Debian Family

      • Being the Ubuntu Guy

        Some of what I was explaining was around control. You want to control your technology right? Well if you don’t have access to the code, if you don’t have a license that permits you some freedom with that code. Then you have very little control over all and you certainly can’t find alternative suppliers to develop new functionality into existing products.

      • Will Ubuntu 9.10 Work On Your PC?

        Scores of people completed the USB Thumb Drive test during Atlanta Linux Fest. That’s great. But thousands of additional Ubuntu users would surely like to test their systems for Ubuntu 9.10 compatibility. Stay tuned: I hear Canonical plans to potentially move the USB Thumb Drive diagnostics software online — for anyone to use.

      • Booting up Ubuntu in five seconds flat on an SSD

        Ryan Paul over at Ars Technica tried out the final alpha version of Ubuntu 9.1, which improves on boot performance significantly. Much like Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Windows 7, Ubuntu 9.1 comes with optimization for computers with solid state drives (SSD).

      • Ubuntu 9.10′s New Wallpapers and More

        In April this year, Canonical introduced two new wallpapers and three new themes, along with a revamped boot splash theme and a brand-new login screen, for their Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) release. On October 1st, they will unveil Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Beta and I bet everybody is wondering if Canonical will actually change the user interface (read: skin it) with a breathtaking one. The truth is that we have no idea if they will come with that professional-looking theme everyone was expecting since Jaunty, or they will just offer enough possibilities for users to create their own personalized desktops.

      • Thoughts on Ubuntu One

        I’ve spent the last few weeks testing Ubuntu One, Canonical’s file-storing and sharing service. Below is an outline of my experience, and thoughts on the future of the application.

        Ubuntu One, which will be installed by default in Ubuntu 9.10, allows users to sync files between different Ubuntu computers. The service runs in the background, and can be accessed either through a Web interface in Firefox or via the Nautilus file browser, with which it seamlessly integrates.

      • Kerneloops enabled by default in Karmic

        Hopefully you will never see this improvement, but it’s now going to be there for when those bugs do creep in.

      • 80 showcase products at ICT expo

        Running under the theme “ICTs and Innovations — Strategic Opportunities and Challenges,” the exhibition is set to end today.
        The Ubuntu stand proved popular with its Freedom Toaster which visitors were using to download software free of charge.
        Ubuntu, the organisation, derives its name from a community developed Linux based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers named Ubuntu.
        Whether one uses it at home, at school or at work Ubuntu contains all the applications one will ever need, from word processing and email applications, to web server software and programming tools.

      • LinuxCon: Shuttleworth’s Three Methods to Improve FOSS Development

        Cadence, quality, and design were the core themes of Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s closing keynote talk at LinuxCon.

        Speaking before a combined session of LinuxCon and the co-located Linux Plumber’s Conference, Shuttleworth drilled home the importance of these concepts in the Linux development ecosystem, particularly cadence.

        Shuttleworth has long maintained that if free and open source software projects can begin to sync their development cycles with each other, then both upstream and downstream developers (and, ultimately, users) will benefit. This is large part of the strategy behing Canonical’s strict six-month release for the Ubuntu distribution and the 18-month Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) cycles.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux debugging environment adds Atom support

      Arium announced the release of Linx hardware and software debugging components that now support Intel’s Atom CPU. Version 7.7.1 of the SourcePoint debugging software also adds code trace and flash programming functionality, together with Arium’s now-Linux-ready ECM-XDP3 hardware emulator, says the company.

    • MIPS-based energy monitoring system runs Linux

      RMI Corp. announced a design win for its MIPS-based Au1250 processor in a Linux-based home energy monitoring system. Threshold Corp.’s Au1250-based device monitors and manages energy consumption in real time, and appears to incorporate the company’s NFC-based “BlueSpot” auto-configuration technology.

    • Wireless media player design runs Linux

      AllGo Embedded Systems is shipping a reference design for a wireless multimedia player or home automation device based on Freescale’s ARM9-based i.MX233 SoC. The Linux-ready Stamp i.MX233 Wireless Media Player offers a WVGA touchscreen, WiFi, Ethernet, FM tuner, and Pandora and Flickr support, says the company.

    • SmartDevices SmartV 5 MID latest handheld to offer 1080p

      If you haven’t guessed by now, we’re big fans of ultraportable computers, and even happier when they can cope with 1080p video playback. One such device tickling our fancy is SmartDevices’ SmartV 5 MID, a 5-inch WVGA touchscreen handheld with a 600MHz processor, 2GB of flash storage and a choice of Android, Windows CE 6.0 or Ubuntu as OS.

    • Top 10 embedded reference designs

      Editor’s choice of 10 semiconductor reference designs and starter kits which could offer engineers an out-of-the-box route to their next embedded system development.

    • EmbedOne Linux and EmbedOne EMI speed Linux network development

      Meshcom Technologies, Inc. has announced a new embedded Linux line of business, EmbedOne, as well as a suite of software and services for the embedded Linux community.

    • Phones

      • Palm Pre gets a UK launch date

        O2 HAS NAMED 16 October as the date when UK buyers will be able to purchase Palm’s Pre smartphone, the first device to feature the company’s new WebOS platform and tipped by many as the biggest rival for Apple’s Iphone.

      • O2 confirms UK Pré launch date
      • Finding Maemo

        Maemo was developed in-house by Nokia, and is made up of a number of open and closed source bits and pieces, including Debian Linux. It draws much of its GUI, frameworks, and libraries from the GNOME project. The much anticipated N900 is the flag bearer for the OS, and Nokia is already running a ‘fun’ competition designed to highlight its possibilities.

      • Far EasTone raises Android plans on Gphone anniversary

        On the one-year anniversary of the debut of Google’s Android mobile software on its first handset, the T-Mobile G1, Taiwanese mobile phone service provider Far EasTone raised the number of Android smartphones it plans to launch this year.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sun Surprises At Oracle OpenWorld?

    Alas, The VAR Guy doesn’t expect to hear much about MySQL at OpenWorld. This is, after all, an Oracle event. But some savvy speakers will surely inject MySQL into the OpenWorld conversation. One example involves Alex Gorbachev. He’s scheduled to speak Oct. 12 about “Developing Plug-ins for Oracle Enterprise Manager by Example.” Gorbachev’s example involves a MySQL plug-in.

  • Study: Open source software is improving

    The code analysis tools vendor, Coverity, has released the 2009 edition of the Coverity Scan Open Source Report[icon:pdf]. The survey, which was originally initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2006, examines the integrity and quality of open source software. The results are based on an analysis of 11 billion lines of code from 280 open source projects including Firefox, Linux, PHP, Ruby and Samba over three years. The analysis was carried out using Coverity’s Scan service.

  • Study shows open-source code quality improving
  • Zenoss VP Talks Training, Community, and Crabs

    MH: Sometimes they really surprise us, recently at the Atlanta Linuxfest one of our users, a large hosting company, was very creative in the way they auto-generated reports and emailed PDFs of their user’s hosted account usage. Sometimes our community members extend Zenoss in ways we never thought and even teach us a thing or two.

  • Mozilla cracks on with fourth Thunderbird 3 beta

    The fourth beta of Thunderbird 3, which is the Firefox browser maker’s desktop email client, is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux users.

  • Hands-on: Thunderbird 3 beta 4 hatches with improved search

    Mozilla Messaging design expert Bryan Clark wrote a blog entry a few months ago about one of his experiments with rich mail visualization. He shows how CSS transforms can be used to display a message on an isometric cube. Although this example is somewhat frivolous and isn’t intended for inclusion in Thunderbird, it’s a great demonstration of how emerging Web standards can empower new approaches to presenting mail.

  • Five Resources for Open Source Fonts

    When it comes to fonts, Helvetica or Arial is good enough for some people. Creative types and Web designers, however, love the nuances and subtle differences in a wide variety of digital typefaces.

  • Business

    • Mind Your Own Business (Model)

      Why is there no “open source business model”? Because open source is not a business. It’s the same oxymoronic thinking as the question “how can you make money if you give the software away for free”, which simply can’t be answered without correcting the questioner’s worldview.

      To assert there is “an open source business model” is to lose sight of the nature of open source. It may have been a fair thing to do when open source was a novelty to business minds, but even considering there could be such a thing leads people to misunderstand open source and treat the exceptions – like MySQL – as the rule. Not that it’s wrong to monetise ubiquity at the point of deployment by delivering the value that allows scaling (enabling adoption-led behaviour). It’s just most open source community members don’t do that.

  • FSF/GNU

    • Gnash 0.8.6 Released!

      Gnash is a GPLv3′d SWF movie player and browser plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, and Konqueror. Gnash supports many SWF v7 features and ActionScript 2 & 3 classes. with growing support for SWF versions 8-10. Gnash also runs on many GNU/Linux distributions, embedded GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, non x86 processors, and 64 bit architectures. There are also standalone players for GNOME or KDE based desktops.

    • Is free software major league or minor?

      Since they use their massive economic power to control the marketplace, they create an enormous incentive for manufacturers to ensure their equipment works with Microsoft software. As a result, nearly every consumer device you pick up at the local discount store will work in Windows. You will have to be a lot pickier with GNU/Linux. Unfair? Monopolistic? Absolutely! But it’s still true, and we pay this cost when we opt for free software.

    • Free Software advocate to speak at NZCS event

      At the free event, Richard Stallman, an international Free Software advocate, will argue that software patents obstruct software development.

    • Womenscaucus/9.19.2009

      Attending: Mairin Duffy, Leslie Hawthorn, Adelaida McIntire, Deborah Nicholson, Stormy Peters (via phone), Hillary Rettig, Christine Spang, Hanna Wallach, Marina Zhurakhinskaya

      Opening Statement: Our objective is to increase women’s participation in the free software movement and work to make sexism in person or online unacceptable within our community. Women represent less than 2% of the free software movement, yet our participation is a pre-requisite for the movements success. Having more women in our community advocating freedom will enrich our movement.

  • Licensing

    • GPL wins in French court case

      An appeals court in Paris has upheld the ruling from a lower court, which found that the French firm Edu4 had violated the GNU General Public License (GPL). The plaintiff was the French Organisation Association française pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA), an umbrella organization for adult education.

    • Paris Court of Appeals condemns Edu4 for violating the GNU General Public License
    • OpendTect is Now Completely Free

      Henceforth OpendTect is released under a triple licensing strategy: 1) under the GNU / GPL license, 2) under a commercial license and, 3) under an academic license. Under the GNU / GPL license, OpendTect is completely free-of-charge, including for commercial use. The commercial license enables the user to extend the system with (closed source) commercial plugins that can either be purchased or leased. Under the academic license agreement universities can get free licenses for OpendTect and commercial plugins for R&D and educational purposes.

    • An eye on network security

      Cyberoam iView is available to download from SourceForge and is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Support for additional devices, applications and systems is expected to be added in the next few months.

Leftovers

  • Dell Perot deal sparks insider dealing charges

    A Texas man has been charged with insider trading by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for trousering $8.64m of illegal profit, following Dell’s proposed acquisition of services firm Perot Systems.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lily Allen Distributing Tons Of Copyrighted Music; Blows Way Past Three Strikes

      It appears that she actually qualifies. Quite directly. She’s offering music from, among others, Jay-Z, Jefferson Airplane, The Specials and The Kinks. Admittedly, it’s just a quick look around, but it appears many of the artists whose works she’s distributing for free have no connection with EMI. Even if they did, remember EMI was recently claiming that it’s never authorized MP3s for distribution for publicity purposes. Uh oh.

    • Some Questions For Lily Allen
    • A Teaching Moment For Lily Allen [Update: And *Poof* Goes Her Blog]

      Update: Wow. In the half an hour or so that I took to write this post, Lily erased the blog post where she responded (I’ve got a screenshot if anyone wants to see it), and just added a note to Twitter, saying that she’s shut down the entire blog due to too much abuse. Lily, it’s not abuse if we’re just asking you to rethink your positions that appear to not be particularly well thought out.

    • France passes tough anti-piracy measure

      The legislation would impose fines of up to 300,000 euros — the equivalent of about $440,000 — as well as possible prison terms for the illegal download of films or music.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Jim Hogg teaches GNU Linux to high school kids 13 (2008)


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

World Day Against Software Patent Celebrated in India

Posted in Asia, Patents at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anti software patents

Related posts:

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Patents Customer-hostile DRM, Refuses to Obey Patent Law; Apple and eBay Sued; Patent Troll Tracker Set Free

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, DRM, Microsoft, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As the title suggests, this is yet another roundup of patent news of interest

THERE IS a lot of news to go through today, so here is just a gist of developments in the patent world — in particular issues that affect Free software. The Inquirer was one among several sources that noticed Microsoft’s latest patent that harms people’s rights and freedom. It’s about DRM, which Microsoft almost pioneered and certainty welcomed.

SOFTWARE IMPERIALIST Microsoft has been awarded a patent for a distributed DRM system that works over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

Patent number 7,594,275 is entitled, “Digital rights management system” and uses encrypted public and private keys as the licensing mechanism.

Encryption is for security, not for prevention of access to one’s own files. But this is what Microsoft not only does here but also strives to have a monopoly on. To their defence comes the familiar anti-GNU/Linux brigadier whom we wrote about here. One person at Linux Today responded to him as follows: “No sorry its not “stealing” please cut the crap.”

Sharing cannot be “stealing” where only copying (duplication) is concerned. DRM can never really prevent “stealing”, unless it acts as a deactivation mechanism that reduces desire for theft, e.g. of a cellular phone. But encryption too has been patented, so Apple and eBay get sued. From Heise:

For some time, Vendor TQP (Telequip Corporation) has been filing lawsuits against various US banks over its patent for changing keys during encrypted data transmissions. Now the list of defendants also includes Apple and eBay. The claim is about the alleged violation of a patent which was applied for in 1992 and granted in 1995. It describes a method in which symmetric keys for a sender and a recipient are created using synchronised pseudo-random number generators and may be changed during transmission.

This is a very fundamental idea in cryptology. How can that be a patent? Patenting this only reduces security and acts as a barrier to those who are trying to make the world a safer place.

Microsoft has perhaps realised that deliberate infringement is acceptable [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] because patent laws do not apply to Microsoft. To Microsoft, annulling the ban on Word was not an interim verdict that’s sufficient; the company goes further and attempts to shoot down the entire monetary penalty.

Microsoft protests $290m Word judgment

[...]

A federal judge fundamentally misinterpreted a patent asserted against Microsoft Word, an error that should require a $290m infringement penalty to be overturned, attorneys for the software giant argued Wednesday.

[...]

i4i has claimed that Microsoft deliberately set out to destroy its business while publicly proclaiming the two were allies. Microsoft’s inclusion of custom-XML editing in Word from 2003 usurped its own invention and relegated its patented technology from a mainstay in the mass market to a niche player in the pharmaceutical industry, it has said.

In other news, the USPTO is overflowing with patent applications which cannot be processed in a timely fashion and patent lawyers — rather than acknowledge that there is a fundamental issue with scope of patenting — believe that throwing more people at the problem is the way to go, apparently.

The IPKat thinks that making the system more efficient is all very good, but wonders how far this will go in reducing the backlog.

Over at TechDirt, a warning gets sounded regarding these attempts to popularise the changing of hands on patents, which only elevates patent trolls like Microsoft's Nathan Myhrvold.

The auction will be run by Pluritas, a patent broker based in San Francisco. Robert Aronoff, its managing director, says Zoltar has strong, court-tested patents that apply to a huge industry, at a time when there is an increasingly brisk market for intellectual property. “They are entering into this vastly changed marketplace with a hot property,” he said.

If such auctions become the norm, then patents become ownership of opportunistic lawyers rather than actual inventors with morals. Who is this system really for then?

Some days ago we wrote about Patent Troll Tracker, who has been fighting this rotten system and put at stake his career in the process [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The good news is that the case is now settled.

None of the lawyers involved in the case would comment on the settlement Monday. Cisco issued a statement Tuesday morning in which it said the dispute between the parties “has been resolved to their mutual satisfaction, and Rick Frenkel and Cisco apologize for the statements of Rick Frenkel on the Troll Tracker blog regarding Eric M. Albritton.” Frenkel is now of counsel at the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Sadly, as TechDirt puts it, even with Rick Frenkel set free, Patent Troll Tracker is unlikely to ever come back.

The real question is whether or not this means Frenkel will start blogging again. Some of his statements in the past (and having to go through this entire ridiculous process) suggest that he may not blog again. However, I’m hopeful that he’ll get back to it, though obviously not anonymously any more. His work in highlighting some of the more nefarious actions of patent system abusers is still sorely missed.

Will someone succeed Frenkel’s work? Let’s hope so.

Patent Troll Tracker - Rick

Is Microsoft/Novell’s Moonlight Dead Now?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Moonlight

Summary: Microsoft betrays Moonlight in the sense that suddenly it gives Intel access to Silver Lie, for Moblin

AS WE emphasised last night, Intel is not exactly a friend of Linux; it is forced to embrace Linux in order to guard its oversized hardware franchise. Moblin is still property of Intel, but Intel prefers for it to seem like a product on neutral grounds, notably the Linux Foundation.

Intel is now embracing Silver Lie, which is a betrayal of Web standards. Two Microsoft folks, Tim Anderson and Mary Jo Foley, have just written about this major development. They seem to have gotten some 'scoops'.

Update: Microsoft isn’t offering a whole lot of particulars about how Silverlight is being moved onto Moblin, other than reconfirming the effort uses neither Moonlight nor Mono. From a spokesperson:

“Microsoft plans to make a porting kit available to OEMs that will enable them to port Silverlight to their Moblin-based devices. Microsoft will provide Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites, and Intel will provide Microsoft with an optimized version of Silverlight for Moblin devices that Microsoft can then redistribute to OEMs. So when you get a device with Moblin, it will come with Silverlight.”

Anderson writes:

Intel and Microsoft have announced a new port of Silverlight to Linux, specifically for the Intel-sponsored Moblin operating system running on Atom-powered devices such as netbooks. The port enables Intel to include Silverlight as a supported runtime in the Atom Developer Program, which will feed an iPhone-like App Store.

Microsoft has already provided Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites. Intel will build an optimized Moblin version of Silverlight, which Microsoft will supply to OEMs.

There are a couple of surprising aspects to the announcement. One is that a Linux implementation of Silverlight already exists, the open source Moonlight project. We asked Microsoft’s Brian Goldfarb, director of the Developer Platform Group, why Moonlight was not being used for Atom devices. Goldfarb replied by making a distinction between “broad Linux,” which is targeted by Moonlight, and specific Linux-based devices where Microsoft might support other implementations.

Pamela Jones told me: “So that’s why Intel gave it to the Linux Foundation?”

We previously expressed concerns about the implications of Moblin when it comes to Linux and software patents [1, 2]. There is more to it than meets the eye.

Microsoft insisted that it didn’t bring Silver Lie to GNU/Linux (it lies about it being cross-platform) because of Novell, which was willing to make a poorer version that carries with it patent issues.

Regarding the latest development, Will asks: “Where does this put the “M&M” duo?”

“When that marketshare starts slipping, behavior like that is probably going to hit them hard.”
      –Will
Another reader remarks as follows: “The more I use applications written in .NET, the more I think .NET is a typical Microsoft turd. Avoid at all costs. Silverlight and Mono are second order disasters, dependent on the first larger one. GNU/Linux should want nothing to do with any of it. The originals are bad news. Silverlight, thankfully, is gaining zero traction. I wonder why MJF [Mary Jo Foley] writes about it at all. Do you actually want a cell phone with Silverlight? I don’t.”

Will says that Silverlight is “beginning to gain an impressive list of operations that have dumped it. NBC, NY Times, for starters. I wonder what’s up with Silverlight and Moblin. [...] Silverlight? Just hearing “Windows Mobile” puts it instantly on my “avoid like the black plague” list.”

“Silverlight on Moblin should also send you running for the hills,” adds another person.

Will concludes: “Doesn’t this just confirm that Mono and Moonlight are useless? [...] Sometimes I think Microsoft just spent so much time and energy building walls to keep the competition out that they finally got to a point where they had completely walled themselves in and trapped themselves. They also have a nasty habit of dragging their feet years if not decades about supporting any new technology or format that they don’t control. They rely on their overwhelming marketshare and the network effect to make this work. When that marketshare starts slipping, behavior like that is probably going to hit them hard. You can already see it beginning in the browser area.”

“We could refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight”

Miguel de Icaza

IBM Pressured to Help Advance Desktop GNU/Linux in the West

Posted in Africa, America, GNU/Linux, IBM at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


IBM’s submission for the Linux Foundation’s video site

Summary: Can IBM be persuaded to push desktop GNU/Linux further? Some people think so.

TWO prominent bloggers, Sean Michael Kerner and Kenneth Starks, have just spoken out about IBM’s persistent promise of bringing GNU/Linux to the desktop. IBM makes a lot of noise about it almost every year, but very little materialises because the marketing push is scarce and almost inexistent.

Some would say that since IBM makes billions of dollars from Linux, then it has a certain debt/obligation to repay in terms of goodwill and advocacy. That’s debatable as IBM is already doing quite a lot.

IBM’s stance on software patents is unhelpful to GNU/Linux, but the company is not an enemy of GNU/Linux, not by a long shot. IBM is in the business of making money, not advancing GNU/Linux on the desktop, even though they have just launched such an initiative in Africa, along with Canonical. But as Sean Michael Kerner puts it, “Why not the U.S?”

Personally I think both IBM and Canonical are moving far too slow and aren’t thinking big enough. While I understand that it can take time to develop marketing and support services, the partners have had more than a year to put this together.

While I understand that Africa might be an easier entry point for the Linux notebook, the global recession is affecting every nation. The need for low cost, standards based solutions that IBM and Ubuntu are proposing for Africa is needed in every corner of the world.

One of the best known advocates of GNU/Linux was a little more direct and he specifically addressed a specific person at IBM:

Wake up man…Desktop Linux IS important and viable…you just can’t make any money from it. So a rag-tag bunch of people who care do the work, at least part of it, that you should be doing. In my opinion anyway.

Hey! I have an idea! Why don’t you guys take some of that profit (fully tax deductable of course) and help me get these 500 + computers connected to the Internet so those kids can compete and grow.

Oh never mind…I forgot who I was talking to for a second…

Silly me.

Ken’s position is rightly being defended and it is good to have people like Ken stand up and speak to those who see themselves as untouchable. According to Microsoft’s CEO, GNU/Linux is closer than Apple to dethroning Windows on the desktop.

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

ZDNet Embeds Placements for Anti-Free Software Companies

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet

Summary: ZDNet caught again with its pants down as it lets familiar foes of Free software publish an ‘article’ to advance business agenda

WHEN Jason Perlow defended Miguel de Icaza and attacked Richard Stallman, we gave him the benefit of the doubt. His post was not appreciated by Linux Today’s readership, though. The comments say it all. At ZDNet, where Microsoft employees are commenting anonymously at the request of the employer, comments are rather hostile towards Stallman, whereas in Linux Today the replies vary from blunt to more polite. Kurt, for example, wrote:

Autor is very inflammatory, as well as uniformed. Thinks that Miquel wrote GTK among other things. The article is so anti Stallman it is weird. Then the talkbacks start immediately in support of his position and begin to belittle and slam free software.
I smell a rat. Why bother to link to articles like this? They are of no value.

Here is a ruder response:

As people have been questioning about Jason Perlow a few days ago when he whined about not able to be exclusive with GNU/Linux, he seems more and more to be a newly recruited Microsoft “consultant” (read “shill”), attacking FOSS at every chance.

Rainer Weikusat had his own intereresting take not only on Perlow’s attitude but also about another piece of FUD from ZDNet. It received many people’s attention this week for being obvious FUD and Weikusat argued that it’s not FUD, just lies and marketing. Here is his message in full:

It is ZD-NET UK publishing blatant lies in order
to help the business goals of Nominum, Inc, a
company that is listed as official sponsor of
the development of bind9 at the ISC-page available
here:
.
https://www.isc.org/software/bind/history
.
That’s the ‘freeware DNS implementation’ this guy
is referring to and the very company he is working
for has (also) paid ISC to develop it.

It is not unusual for ZDNet to do this. The other day we mentioned FUD against Free software which came from ZDNet's sister site, silicon.com. This FUD later spread to the various ZDNet sites too, which revealed ZDNet’s real agenda or biases. People who care about news, as opposed to business agenda, should really know better.

novell-chair

Pentagon Recognises the Threat of Windows Botnets

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Washington from above

Summary: Security news from the past couple of days can shed light on the severity of this zombie problem and its cause

WHILST Australia considers banning insecure Windows from the Internet in order to curb Windows botnets, the United States prepares for the worst having seen entire nations besieged by such botnets, even recently. David Gerard has passed a pointer to Wired Magazine, which outlines the Pentagon’s approach (physically bombing the botmaster/s is also a possibility which they consider because life is at stake).

The Pentagon already employs legions of elite hackers trained in cyberwarfare. But they mostly play defense, and that’s what Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla wants to change. He’d like the US military’s coders to team up with network specialists abroad to form a global geek squad. Together, they could launch preemptive online strikes to head off real-world battles.

SJVN has this new article which helps highlight why GNU/Linux is inherently more secure (even the FBI cannot secure Windows, as opposed to back-dooring it). Oiaohm gave us the pointer. “Why items like Ubuntu win on security,” according to Oiaohm, is that they make it “simpler to update everything.” Another new article from SJVN speaks about viruses that are distributed via E-mail and it is worth adding that such E-mail (malicious SPAM) almost always originates from Windows botnets.

In particular, it seems like a day doesn’t go by that I get a Hallmark e-card in my e-mail, and every last one of them has been spam message bearing malware or an attempt to get me to link to a malicious Website. I’m not the only one.

Had people been in control of their PCs, then suppressing any flood of SPAM would be tremendously easier (and trillions of dollars would be saved too).

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