To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Clearly IT, especially those in the desktop space, is looking at, if not an inflection point, then certainly the beginning of sea change. There is no question that the definition of a desktop is undergoing a change as more and more companies rethink the necessity to put a machine under each desk. Data breaches, maintenance costs, changing device preferences and increased connection speeds are making us consider the solutions we are asked to present; as maintenance and installation costs become the long pole in the budget tent, anything that we can do to shorten that pole is good. And a Linux desktop, whatever that means, is certainly going to play a big role providing those solutions.
How do operating systems and breastfeeding figure in the same discussion? One is intuitive and the other isn’t — or neither is, or both ought to be, depending on your point of view (and perhaps how your mother fed you).
Recently Linus Torvalds referred to the Linux Kernel as bloated and scary. So what is next? Does anyone want to go back to the days of spending hours tinkering with your system in order to use your Scanner or Printer or Webcam. Or are you like me and you enjoy the features of the current Linux Kernel, you enjoy the pain free setup. And other features like easily being able to setup accelerated 3d for gaming and Compiz Fusion.
The kernel folks at your favorite distro — Ubuntu, Redhat, Debian, SuSE or whatever — do a great job. Somehow, they come up with a kernel that works with just about machine, from 10-year-old klunkers to brand new 8-core speedsters. When you think about it, it’s amazing your machine boots at all!
There are a few things that set WikiCrowd apart from other wiki engines. Take, for example, its installation procedure. WikiCrowd doesn’t require any database back-end, so you only need a machine with an Apache server and PHP 5.2 for it. WikiCrowd comes as a single install.php file which does the donkey job of installing the wiki on your server.
After getting a lot of feedback from the crowd regarding window managers I’ve decided to try a few out. Initially I’ve tried awesome and wmii, and I’m fairly impressed with both. I do wish I could combine some of the features that I like from each one–and maybe that is possible.
I’m quite conservative with my desktop usually, I like the default Ubuntu configuration and know it well. That said I’m enjoying using gnome-shell and intend to use it for a while at least. I’m looking forward to it evolving, including new concepts and growing more popular. The negatives I’ve noticed I think are mostly down to lack of time. I’m not sure if it’s going to be “ready” for the targeted date of next March and am not sure that it should be – there’s plenty more to prototype.
Here’s an interesting note from Kahel’s project website:
“Kahel OS is not just an Operating System so to speak. IT is not just a Technology Product on a Linux and Open Source Platform added to the thousands of FREE Distros already available in the community. IT does not explicitly want to be different or to be set apart from the rest. However, among others, we simply would like Kahel OS (just like our team) to be the embodiment of our IT Values and Philosophy.
Thanks to experimentations by Prabhu Ramamoorthy and the nice work of Phil Lavigna, everyone can now use Ulteo OVD in the clouds with Amazon EC2.
Today, Mandriva, Europe’s leading Linux editor, released a new version of Mandriva Mini, a product based on Moblin™ version 2 technology, an optimized open source Linux operating system project for rich Internet and media experiences on Intel® Atom™ processor based devices.
Mandriva has proven its ability to succeed in target markets, notably with a Classmate PC design for education.
Given the likelihood that the Software Store will eventually become a channel for selling applications in addition to distributing Free ones, and that that development is in the interests of everyone, I don’t see a reason to worry so much about the implications of the term “store.” Although the application won’t serve as a store in Ubuntu 9.10, it may well become one in future releases. And that’s fine.
A few minutes ago, Canonical uploaded the default wallpaper(s) and artwork for the upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system. The default theme is still Human but the Window Border has a different color and the default icons are Humanity. The big surprise is that there are now 17 new wallpapers, except that compilation of “astronomical” backgrounds we announced a couple of days ago. However, the orange wallpaper you see in the screenshots below is the default one and it’s also set as the background for GDM (the login screen).
The login window that will be greeting all users of Karmic Koala has finally been revealed.
Overall It’s a great improvement, and having ‘active’ and ‘available’ networks separated is a simple but bloody useful idea!
Today is Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala artwork deadline which means all the artwork will remain unchanged from now on, until Karmic is released. There have been a lot of updates today, so let’s take a look at how Ubuntu Kamic Koala will look like.
December 3rd, 2009 – Alpha 1 release;
January 7th, 2010 – Alpha 2 release;
February 4th, 2010 – Alpha 3 release;
March 4th, 2010 – Beta 1 release;
April 1st, 2010 – Beta 2 release;
April 15th, 2010 – Release Candidate;
April 29th, 2010 – Final release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.
In GNOME, the panel takes up enough screen real estate on a netbook to be annoying. A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that I took stock of the few icons I had on the panel and came up with two that I really needed. They’re both panel applets, and I don’t know of any other way of launching them. So I deleted all of the icons I didn’t need and moved the sshMenu and Trash applet icons to the top panel.
We’re kicking off the regular series of LoCo stories with a great one which truly encompasses the spirit of Ubuntu.
I still think Linux is going to gain and keep huge share here – the price is right, many developers know it, the tools are, depending upon edition, there, and it’s open-source, a big plus in embedded apps. But Windows will hold its own here, for at least a while longer. Even Microsoft, I think, will have a Linux offering at some point.
The LiMO Foundation is celebrating Vodafone’s endorsement with two handsets from Samsung, but the news that the Linux-based alternative isn’t dead won’t be received well over at Symbian.
Sean Daly from Sugar Labs, the company that develops the XO’s kid-friendly front-end software, maintains that OLPC is still achieving some great results despite press reports to the contrary. “OLPC is concentrating on getting laptops to kids and not its image in the tech press,” he told us.
While IBM and Canonical are initially aiming only at business users in Africa, I won’t be surprised to see this partnership spread to other similar efforts around the world. There are reports that the software suite the companies are producing is being tested in areas outside Africa. It’s inevitable that computers will make their way into the hands of people around the world who might not have previously been able to afford them. The IBM and Canonical partnership presents solid evidence that existing freeware and open source can be powerful drivers for that trend.
Trinity Audio Group’s awarding winning Indamixx line of portable studio’s partners with Renoise and Create Digital Music to kick off this falls hottest song contest. “Trackers are back” says creative director Ronald Stewart.
The Swiss company Skysoft has made software available to display radar data for air traffic controllers. The application, Albatross Display, and its source code was made public earlier this month.
Open-Xchange, the leading provider of open source groupware, now gives users the ability to consolidate any kind of existing webmail accounts – for example from Google and Yahoo — into a folder in Open-Xchange so they can managed more easily.
Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® Company, and Incendonet, Inc., a leading provider of speech recognition solutions for the enterprise, today announced that companies using Asterisk for their IP-PBX communications needs can now add speech recognition-based solutions in a plug and play manner to improve customer service, reduce operating costs and increase mobile worker productivity with Incendonet’s SpeechBridge®.
Shugar: For startups and small companies, there are public cloud offerings coupled with other commercial cloud vendors that can provide a pay as you go infrastructure minimizing CapEx investments and reducing the risk in deploying new products. For larger or enterprise companies, a hybrid model maintaining existing compute infrastructure while leveraging public cloud offerings for less critical or experimental projects may provide more flexibility at reduced CapEx.
Why throw your money away? In the almost decade I’ve been working in the IT field, I’ve seen companies make some really stupid financial decisions when it comes to technology. Everything I’ve wrote above are things I noticed real companies doing. Buying Windows licenses for associates that don’t do anything Windows-specific, spending money on the Windows Server operating system just to share a measly 5-12GB of files, and buying Outlook licenses for people that probably could do well with Thunderbird or web-mail are just some of the things I’ve seen companies do to flush their money away.
The moral of the story is to think before you act, and buy the things you absolutely need, and to save money where you can. If you can save money within your organization, you can put it in another area, such as purchasing more servers or increasing your allowable bandwidth. If you require Windows servers and applications, that’s absolutely fine as not all businesses can control what the suppliers require. However, use free software wherever it may fit in your organization. You’ll put some money back into your IT budget. So why do IT departments use closed source software when they don’t need it? I have no idea.
The economic malaise currently gripping the globe has claimed many victims, but one area of business that has actually benefited is open source software adoption.
A platform that goes well beyond what was achieved with LAMP and that extends into portal, integration busses, process management and data management. And that is fully supported by open source management tools.
Open source vendors are calling on the UK government to put its money where its mouth is and police its own rules on public sector open source software procurement – which were revised in February this year.
An education organization in France has successfully sued a software vendor for failing to comply with the open source General Public License. The ruling is significant because it demonstrates that software recipients, and not just developers, can launch GPL enforcement cases in France.
It’s the reason why Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer calls Linux viral. But French courts obviously think it has merit because the GNU General Public Licence has been upheld in a court of appeals in France.
The Advisory Opinion held that as long as the IP address of the party downloading the software in Iran (or other sanctioned country) was logged by Mozilla’s server but not otherwise used by Mozilla (say, for example, to serve to the user a web page in Farsi), the company did not have sufficient knowledge of an export of encryption software to Iran to be liable under the regulations.
As a result, recognising that a new approach was needed, Second Life’s founder Philip Linden stepped aside from the day-to-day running of the company, and brought in Mark Kingdon. When I interviewed him earlier this year, he was naturally upbeat about the future of Second Life, so I was glad to have the opportunity to talk to him this morning about how things are going, and to see whether Second Life really has found its second wind.
NYU professor and Internet thinker Clay Shirky gave a talk Tuesday at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, our friends just on the other side of Harvard Square. His subject was the future of accountability journalism in a world of declining newspapers. Even for those of us familiar with his ideas, he brought in a few new wrinkles, which have already been the subject of commentary around the web.
Use the search box on the left to search the European Information Space for Open Access scientific publications. The DRIVER Information Space consists of
* approximately 1,000,000 documents
EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS) is an organisation for universities and research institutions worldwide. The organisation is both an information service and a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities and research institutions, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings.
As local and state operational budgets dwindle, many government agencies are turning to open source software to help manage workflow both internally and with other departments. As part of a Collaboration Initiative, The New York State Department of Labor launched LaborForge, a public repository designed specifically for sharing labor-related source code and design documents.
China will get the biggest increase in voting power at the International Monetary Fund when the global lender completes a long-awaited restructuring in 2011, the head of the IMF said on Tuesday (22 September).
Faced with a shrinking audience of journalists for their press releases, a consortium of universities has launched Futurity, a site that will aggregate edited versions of the best materials produced by university press offices.
Amid an increasingly hostile climate towards secondhand smoke and tobacco advertising, tobacco companies are battling to maintain both their nicotine markets and the ability to use their logos. R.J. Reynolds stopped advertising cigarettes in magazines in 2008, but is once again printing its Camel logo in major magazines like Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and Maxim, in ads for a new form of non-combusted tobacco called “snus” (rhymes with “moose”).
In fact, Scott’s own group had played an integral role in mobilizing the protesters. According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights had been working closely for weeks as a “coalition partner” with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett’s. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry.
A few days ago I was ruminating on the recent on-the-spot conversion of the US FCC’s Chairman to network neutrality. I pointed out there was a new site devoted to preserving the same in Europe, called EU Open Internet, which has now clocked up a respectable 2,700 signatures.
Unfortunately, there is a specific threat to net neutrality in Europe, hidden away in the Telecoms Package.
A judge ordered the government Thursday to release more records about the lobbying campaign to provide immunity to the telecommunications giants that participated in the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered the records be provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by October 9, 2009.
After months of internal review, the Obama Administration today announced a new policy on the use of the state secrets privilege. The state secrets privilege traditionally allows the government to withdraw particular pieces of evidence from a court case on the grounds that the evidence would reveal sensitive classified information. Despite this limited purpose, it’s been repeatedly misused by the Bush and now Obama administrations to try to throw important litigation out of court, and is badly in need of reform.
His last book, The Da Vinci Code, was wildly popular in China and propelled translations of his earlier novels onto bestseller lists as well. The latest thriller, which follows the further adventures of intrepid symbologist Robert Langdon, should sell well over here too.
Once it’s translated, that is. People’s Literature Publishing House expects a Chinese edition to be on shelves sometime in 2010.
Earlier this week TorrentFreak reported that there had been objections over one of the proposed lay judges set for the Pirate Bay appeal. Now there are yet more claims of possible bias, this time with two of the main judges who have both been members of pro-copyright groups.
The major music labels say that they stand to lose £200 million this year in the UK alone thanks to Internet file-sharing. But one of the country’s biggest ISPs is now slinging around some huge numbers of its own, saying it will actually cost ISPs £365 million a year to adopt “three strikes” rules meant to stem piracy.
Nothing really, as it presents a clear picture of IBM’s attitudes in regards to Linux.
Let’s start with a little trip down memory lane. IBM Thinkpads were favorites amongst Linux users for years and years. What did IBM ever do to to show its appreciation for its loyal Linux Thinkpad users? Who paid the Microsoft tax even when they didn’t want to use Windows, and jumped through all kinds of hoops to install Linux and get all the hardware working? Not much, some information pages but never official support. Which shows once again that it is a mistake to support vendors that treats its Linux customers as second-class citizens; the “if we be nice to them they’ll be nice to us!” tactic does not work.
IBM is claiming a series of competitive wins against Microsoft. Big name companies are said to be choosing Lotus products over Microsoft’s collaboration software.
While CentOS and Debian Linuxes have supported the z implementation of the Linux kernel, the mainframe variants of Linux from Red Hat and Novell are what nearly all mainframe shops use, and this code is available for free even if the installation and technical support for it is not.
I attended the first LinuxCon this week and saw firsthand evidence of a growing, thriving Linux community. Notice I did not call it the Linux kernel community nor Linux development community since it’s much more than the kernel that is key to the fate and progress of Linux, with an increasing role for users as well.
Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst disagreed with Linus Torvalds’ contention that Linux has become bloated. Whitehurst said that Linux is growing and becoming more full-featured. The bloat will come when features are added that no one wants.
Earlier this month we shared that X-Video and EXA support were coming to Gallium3D in the form of a state tracker to accelerate these X.Org APIs across any Gallium3D driver.
The SystemTap team has announced the release of SystemTap 1.0; SystemTap is a dynamic tracing tool for Linux.
After featuring some of the best Free and Open Source 3D animation software, it’s time to take a look at some 2D computer graphics program for Linux users who are into creating two-dimensional models. These free 2D animation software is as capable as those that are commercially available so do take time to try them first before emptying your wallet.
I must admit, even though I will be 50 years old next March I still like down time playing games. Over the past several years I have enjoyed playing games that run natively on my Mandriva GNU/Linux system. I wrote an article earlier this year with some of my thoughts on the matter of gaming on GNU/Linux: GNU/Linux and Commercial Game Developers.
Quickly is a new utility to simplify Linux application development by bootstrapping repetitive project setup, user interface, packaging, and release chores. It targets both new application developers and those who simply want to speed up recurring tasks. Quickly is a product of the Ubuntu project, but is flexible enough to be used in other distributions and for other types of tasks — the real power of Quickly lies in the templates that automate different aspects of project configuration and maintenance.
Three brokerages raised their price targets on Red Hat Inc, a day after the world’s biggest provider of Linux software posted better-than-expected results.
Red Hat was one of the few standouts during the day, its shares up 12 percent on better than expected earnings and sales.
The software distributor earned $28.9 million or 15 cents per share. In the same period last year the company earned 10 cents per share
How to achieve that goal is a pretty complex question, and I’m not qualified to give a good answer. A blog post by Elizabeth Krumbach of Ubuntu Women offers some good suggestions for raising the profile of female contributors to Ubuntu, but none of those suggestions has yet been acted upon, as far as I know. Nonetheless, this is an issue that can’t be ignored if bug #1 is truly to be eliminated.
Canonical head and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said over the past weekend that the Lucid Lynx, or Ubuntu 10.04, desktop would still be based on the Gnome 2 desktop environment and that the release following Lucid Lynx would use the Gnome 3.0 desktop.
Although the handheld reader will connect to Windows PCs through the USB port, its underlying platform will be built on Linux for “open development,” he said.
The Emtec Gdium Liberty 1000 netbook is made from a different mold than most of the mini-laptops available today. I mean sure, it has a 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and it’s about the same size and shape as every other 10 inch netbook. But it shuns the usual Intel Atom processor for a 900MHz Loongson CPU and instead of a hard drive the computer has a removable USB key called the G-Key. Not only can you store files on the removable key, but the entire operating system runs off the USB flash drive, making it easy for multiple users to share the same netbook without getting their settings and data crossed.
Moblin 2.1 is expected for release in the fourth quarter of this year, which should place it in time for the next round of new Intel-powered mobile devices to hit the market and ahead of what we will see next January at the Consumer Electronic Show. Moblin 2.1 will hopefully be a nice Linux-based operating system for mobile phones and handheld devices while continuing to excel on Atom-powered netbooks and nettops.
The next GLOW (Greater London Open source Writers) meetup is coming up on Monday September 28th, from 6pm.
Lawyers for Texas Instruments are taking aim at a group of calculator enthusiasts who posted the cryptographic keys used to modify the devices so they run custom-designed software.
Doctors have been agreeing to be named as authors on studies written by employees of the pharmaceutical industry, giving greater credibility to medical research, according to new evidence.
The Guardian has learned that one of Britain’s leading bone specialists is facing disciplinary action over accusations that he was involved in “ghost writing”.
The wider phenomenon has come to light through documents disclosed in the US courts which have revealed a culture in which doctors agree to “author” studies written by employees of drug firms. The doctors may have some input but do not have access to all the evidence from the drug trial on which the paper’s conclusions are based, the documents showed.
The proof is in the role that Whole Foods has played in opposing the two most critical domestic agenda items of the Obama Administration. On the Employee Free Choice Act, the most critical labor law reform in over 50 years, Whole Foods has been in the vanguard of the corporate charge to kill the bill and keep unions on the ground. This is hardly surprising, as Mackey absolutely loathes labor unions:
The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.
Mackey dresses his feelings up a lot prettier than Lee Scott, but he ultimately will do whatever he can to kill unions at Whole Foods and beyond.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it would maintain President George W. Bush’s state secrets position when it came to lawsuits leftover from that administration.
Why does the Obama Administration insist on secrecy of the draft ACTA text?:
Civil law injunctions and damages for infringement are national security hot spots
ACTA negotiators don’t want people asking informed questions about the substance of the agreement
No one in the Administration cares enough about transparency to change the policy set by the Bush Administration.
I don’t know, but there must be a good reason
A fast-growing FBI data-mining system billed as a tool for hunting terrorists is being used in hacker and domestic criminal investigations, and now contains tens of thousands of records from private corporate databases, including car-rental companies, large hotel chains and at least one national department store, declassified documents obtained by Wired.com show.
MI5 has hired 50 computer-savvy hackers – some of them still teenagers – to work in a newly formed top secret Cyber Operations Command.
Poor Kelly Corrigan, first-time author, didn’t get invited to this weekend’s National Book Festival on the Mall to plug her 2008 memoir, “The Middle Place.” She won’t be rubbing shoulders with heavyweight authors such as Sue Monk Kidd, John Grisham or Pulitzer winner Junot Diaz. No major newspaper bothered to review the California mom’s tale about cancer and family and recovery when it was released. Her publisher didn’t send her on tour. All the old-school staples of book promotion — the book festival, the tour, the glowing newspaper review — Corrigan got none of them.
What was a newbie author to do?
She cobbled together a trailer for her book on her home computer, using iMovie software, downloading a free tune off the Web for background music, and stuck it on her Web site.
The term “frugalista,” which is so widely used that even the Oxford English Dictionary defines it, has now been trademarked by Natalie P. McNeal, a Miami Herald blogger, causing a brouhaha in the world of personal finance bloggers. McNeal’s lawyer has been sending letters to other bloggers who call themselves “frugalistas,” informing them that they must immediately stop doing so.
The music industry’s battle to have persistent internet pirates disconnected was dealt a huge blow last night after leading musicians including Lily Allen settled their differences and agreed that plans to suspend internet access were too draconian.
Instead, they released a statement saying persistent offenders should have their bandwidths “squeezed”.
Artists including Allen, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason signed the statement.
Jim Hogg teaches GNU Linux to high school kids 14 (2008)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
Summary: Response to an impulsive decision to reject Ubuntu
THE short story is that Tux Machines made an informal call to boycott Ubuntu because of something that Mark Shuttleworth had said. This is not a final thing, but it is saddening because Tux Machines is my favourite news site.
In my humble assessment, the biggest problem Free software might be facing is software patents; womanisers, resistance to feminism and misogynists are true issues, but they exist in many aspects of computing; they are not exclusive to Free software or specific to particular distributions of software and there is nothing about “closed” or “open” in the software sense which implies openness or closeness when it comes to other religions, sexes, races, and nationalities. Instead of “Mark Shuttleworth”, that remark which rubbed Susan the wrong way could just as well come from “Steve Ballmer” or “Steve Jobs”. Making a tactless remark is not impossible; it happens now and then by accident. Mistakes happen, especially when people have no chance to reread or rethink a spoken word (where there is no opportunity to ‘proofthink’, either). Microsoft, for example, stages in advance so-called 'interviews'. It’s all just theatre, it’s fake. Like the 2008 election, it is conducted by the PR industry with advisors rallying and combing past every single thing that the candidate said or might say; there are secretaries and aides, which Mr. Shuttleworth might not enjoy the company of.
“Making a tactless remark is not impossible; it happens now and then by accident.”To neglect Ubuntu is to lose far too much. We have always been rather supportive of Ubuntu, with the exception of other people putting words in this site’s mouth, i.e. misrepresentation. Where we criticise Ubuntu it is usually opinion or advice, purely factual. We actually defended Ubuntu when it came under attacks from critics inside the GNU/Linux world.
At the end of the day, let us remember that Ubuntu is really fighting for broader acceptance of GNU/Linux on the desktop. Here it it from the latest news:
Shuttleworth: Don’t Give Up the Linux Desktop
Speaking at the LinuxCon conference late Wednesday, the Canonical founder pitched his approach for expanding Linux to provide a better user experience and broadening its appeal. The approach involves having a degree of cadence and coordination between projects and distributions, as well as improving quality and design.
LinuxCon: Shuttleworth’s Three Methods to Improve FOSS Development
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.
IBM is now working with Canonical/Ubuntu to actually advance GNU/Linux on the desktop. That’s more than IBM ever does for the platform on the desktop.
Tux Machines has been critical of Ubuntu for years, so Mark’s remarks were probably a trigger. Mark will hopefully apologise in public.
As for the technical criticisms from Tux Machines, as it showed just hours ago, the looks of Ubuntu can easily be changed. As a blogger who was cited by Tux Machines only hours ago stated in the headline, Ubuntu may be “the most promising Linux distro in the world.” In summary, he writes:
Given the recent spate of expansion of the ecosystem surrounding Ubuntu- from Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu -Dell partnership among others- there is no gainsaying that Ubuntu is sure to be the Linux distro of choice in the future for both individuals and corporate customers.
For these five and possibly more other reasons, i strongly believe that Ubuntu stands among the lot as the most promising OS in the Linux world.
Even a hardcore user of GNU/Linux, Penguin Pete (Trbovich), is now embracing Ubuntu.
So, here I am! I think I am probably the the most die-hard power user to have ever adopted Ubuntu as their main system, not counting the Ubuntu development team itself, so this will be interesting.
I personally have Ubuntu installed on 3 computers, so those who wish to characterise me as “anti-Ubuntu” (as some people tried) are simply delusional or highly misinformed. I even used the first-ever version of Ubuntu.
In conclusion, why throw the baby out with the bathwater? Mark Shuttleworth is not Ubuntu. The millions of Ubuntu users are part of Ubuntu and to throw away a distribution because of a single remark from a single person is hugely different from rejecting a company like Novell for its policies that it was unwilling to change even after strong opposition from its very own community, even its own employees (Samba developers for example).
Don’t boycott Ubuntu. Nothing is perfect, but Ubuntu is not a real threat to Freedom; it’s also the basis for development of gNewSense. █
“[intellectual monopoly is] a neo-colonialist plot to ensure the continuing dominance of Western nations.”
–Glyn Moody, author of Rebel Code
Summary: The European authorities no longer take patenting for granted; the situation is still more complex in the US
AS planned for several weeks now, European technocrats and lesser informed officials are to meet and discuss the effect on intellectual monopolies on the European economy. This is a meeting that started yesterday and carries on at the time of writing. As The Register puts it:
A meeting of members of the European Commission and Council of Ministers will today and tomorrow discuss whether the European Union’s intellectual property laws are holding back the region’s competitiveness.
The meeting coincidentally intersects with the World Day Against Software Patents, which was celebrated in India and in Europe (and maybe in more places). This year's date was not intended to collide with the above meeting as it was simply the same date as last year’s World Day Against Software Patents [1, 2, 3].
In the United States, there is blind insistence that intellectual monopolies are good. Being tools of mere exploitation, it should not be entirely surprising that the US Chamber Of Commerce defends them. Mike Masnick and others refute these claims at the moment:
Chamber Of Commerce Gets Basic Stats Backwards, Calls For Stronger US Patent Protection For No Good Reason
David Levine points us to an analysis by Kevin Smith (not the movie maker) at Duke University of a recent report from the World Economic Forum, placing the US as 19th in how strong our intellectual property laws are. This report caused the US Chamber of Commerce to say it’s evidence that the US needs stronger IP laws. Yet, Smith points out how silly this analysis is. First, being 19th out of 133 is already pretty damn near the top of the list. Second, the way the WEF ranked the strength of IP systems was based entirely on “executive perceptions” of IP laws in certain countries — hardly a definitive measure. But, most important, the report shows nothing of the actual impact on innovation.
Those who are in charge (mostly large businesses or nations) are unlikely to give up their monopolies without resistance from the bottom. Let us wake up and make our voices heard. If they can no longer (legally and diplomatically) control by force, they might as well establish new laws that criminalise particular thoughts and their application; It has nothing to do with innovation and incentives anymore. █
“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”
Summary: Microsoft accuses Google of doing exactly what Microsoft did; WebsiteSpark is introduced as a dumping technique to battle against Web standards
A LOT of people do not remember that Microsoft pushed its .NET extension into Firefox without permission [1, 2]. Microsoft was using Windows Update for competitive reasons alone, which was an abuse of its power, as we mentioned shortly afterwards [1, 2]. But Microsoft is a total hypocrite and this would not be the first time that Microsoft accuses others of doing exactly the same things Microsoft is doing all the time. Microsoft complains about other companies pushing stuff into its Web browser and to make matters worse, Microsoft ignores the benefits (Google wants to force Microsoft to finally embrace SVG as it should) and instead characterises this as a danger. Yes, it’s a danger… to Microsoft’s business prospects.
Microsoft Using Scare Tactics For Google Browser Extension?
Is Microsoft really concerned about the security of its users in this case, or is it just trying to dissuade people from using a competitor’s plug-in? If the latter is the case, perhaps they should get in gear and support the latest technologies. Browsers are one market where Microsoft still dominates over Google. They don’t want to lose that share.
There are many flippant responses to it. Savio Rodrigues, for instance, judges it without trying it and Mary Jo Foley — like many others — fails to express her thoughts about the positive sides of what Google is doing. Microsoft successfully changed the subject of debate and it seems to have no particular issues with other extensions to Internet Explorer, toolbars included. It is only acceptable if it helps the ‘master’, Microsoft.
In other news, Microsoft’s attack on Web standards continues. Korea is already a prisoner of ActiveX and Microsoft is trying to encourage more of the same trap by paying — not charging — Koreans. Now there is this from the BBC about Web-based games:
Games firms in South Korea are getting a funding boost from Microsoft.
South Koreans are also known to be a nation of very heavy Microsoft users and Internet Explorer is used by more than 95% of web users. By contrast in many other nations IE’s market share has dropped below 70%.
The above neglects to mention just why so many Koreans use Internet Explorer. They have no choice because Microsoft attacked Web standards so brutally in this nation that those without Windows and Internet Explorer are unable to access banks and use government sites. To encourage more of the same, Microsoft’s anti-LAMP and anti-Free software initiatives go up a notch with the introduction of another *Spark, among others. We wrote about these initiatives in:
Microsoft now has this thing it calls “WebsiteSpark”, which is about increasing dependency on Microsoft. “WebsiteDump” is a more appropriate name for it. It is a trap, but more docile Web sites — including Mary Jo Foley’s blog — market it as “free”, whereas others realise that there are strings attached.
If accepted into the program, developers get access to various Microsoft Web design and development tools, including three licenses for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses for Microsoft Expression Web 3, and one license for Microsoft Expression Studio 3.
Microsoft tries to spin the open-source LAMP alternative as disjointed, and further argues it is a more expensive development path, and even that Microsoft offers better Web performance than LAMP-based development.
But this isn’t the way the Facebooks of the world see it. They view the open-source LAMP stack as the proven, scalable winner in Web development. Microsoft can’t match that with a price tag.
Web developers should know better. Under the WebsiteSpark programme, Microsoft’s software is free like a free puppy. It does not cost anything initially, but as Bill Gates once put it so epically, “they’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” Microsoft’s software leaves a mess on the carpet (downtime) and costs a lot of money in the long run. Microsoft is not a charity, even when it pretends to be helping startups and the underprivileged; it’s all just part of the business plan. █
Summary: Moblin is a step forward for GNU/Linux, but software patents do not appear to be off the table
As we explained two days ago, Intel is not a friend of GNU/Linux, but it must keep up with the competition, so Linux is not a platform that Intel can afford to ignore. Intel and Novell are quite close, as this very recent video of Guy Lunardi shows. Likewise, Intel is close to Microsoft, whose operating system it is constantly promoting these days; there is even collusion with Microsoft [1, 2, 3].
Dell and Microsoft back Moblin
During her keynote at the show, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group Renee James was joined by Ian Ellison-Taylor, Microsoft’s general manager for Client Platforms and Tools to announce the collaboration.
This partnership is expected to help developers write applications once and have them run across Windows and Moblin devices, expanding the reach of Silverlight from the desktop and into mobile consumer electronic devices.
“We see this as a clear extension of our current efforts with Novell where we are building an open source implementation of Silverlight called Moonlight that is targeted at the broad range of Linux–based PCs,” said Ellison-Taylor.
Heise has some more details and Turbolinux, which also joined Microsoft’s Linux racket, is mentioned in various places. This does not necessarily suggest that there is consistency here when it comes to “Linux tax” in Moblin.
Throughout its lifetime, Moblin swapped desktop environments and distributions several times. After the Ubuntu shuffle came OpenSUSE, but also Fedora was put at the centre about a year ago, before Moblin was passed over to the Linux Foundation. According to this, Fedora is still at the centre, which is somewhat baffling and the information may be out of date.
Atom-based devices can run Windows but also Moblin, an open source custom Fedora-based Linux operating system targeted at netbooks, handhelds, smart phones and car computers. Intel started the Moblin project in 2007 then passed it over to the Linux Foundation.
Sam Dean argues about the effect of Moblin on ‘fragmentation’, further adding or at least showing that Moblin targets device types that are almost dominated by ARM.
If Moblin becomes a serious player in open source mobile operating systems, it will contribute to a great deal of fragmentation. Android is just gaining its stride, and heading beyond just smartphones, while Google is likely to put big marketing dollars behind Chrome OS. It’s already announced that it is talking to hardware partners.
At IDF today, the first edition of Moblin Linux for smartphones were demonstrated. They could lead to Intel chip-based smartphones.
There is more information about the smartphones outreach of Moblin, which confirms that to Intel it is mostly about expanding to more hardware, not necessarily replacing Windows. Intel also intends to offer software shops and there is nothing wrong with that. The most interesting report speaks about Moblin coming to full-blown desktops.
Intel has expanded the scope of Linux-based Moblin by porting the OS from netbooks to mobile devices and desktops, where it could compete with Microsoft’s Windows OS.
In its latest filing, Microsoft told its investors that it worried about Hewlett-Packard and Intel turning to Windows alternatives, namely GNU/Linux in this case. It sure looks like it is happening. So to characterise Intel’s work on Moblin as beneficial to Microsoft would be absurd. But that’s not the point; the question is, will Intel bend GNU/Linux in the direction of becoming Microsoft-taxed, just like SUSE? This is hopefully preventable as that would spell a defeat to the freedom of Free software in the mass market. █
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