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09.26.09

Novell News Summary – Part III: iFolder, Teaming 2, and Other Minor Issues

Posted in Finance, Mail, Marketing, Novell at 9:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A leftover of news about Novell, accumulated over the past week

HERE goes the remainder of Novell’s news for this week. Click2try, a company/site that enables testing of software before installing it, has added Novell’s iFolder and spread the word using a press release. TMCNet, as usual, modified the press release slightly, then pretended it was an article. From the original:

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE Rep Positive About Desktop GNU/Linux, SGI Supports SLES

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Servers, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Viviparous lizard

Summary: SUSE news ranging from a LinuxCon keynote to some vendor support for SUSE

BEING an idle week for SUSE (with staff mostly away), there was not much news to be found. But there are a few exceptions.

First and foremost, there is a new release of Evolution, which is a Novell product.

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE Conference 2009 Reports

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gecko

Summary: OpenSUSE news this week is mostly to do with the conference which ended last week

A LOT has been written about the conference in Nürnberg, but the one person who wrote the most about it was also in part an organiser.

We have several tracks at the conference — two tracks of pre-planned discussions, two rooms for the “unconference” which have been consistently lively and full, and the “hallway” track.

Keysigning and elections were on the agenda. Coverage came mostly from the OpenSUSE community, e.g. the ambassador Sascha Manns [1, 2]. Roger Whittaker flew over from the UK to Germany [1, 2, 3, 4] and so did Benjamin Weber. Bryen Yunashko from the Board also attended alongside core members like Adrian Schröter and
Andreas Jaeger, who collected some links to photos.

Today at the openSUSE Conference I took the notes of the governance session. We will continue the discussion tomorrow but let me just publish the raw notes as I took them at the meeting without much editing.

 

Sunday morning of the openSUSE conference I took part in the Lightning Talks which were short talks on a variety of topics.

More photos can be found here.

Zonker wrote about the event in the company’s PR blog and his final coverage was crossposted (semi-professional and the personal blog). Michael Löffler did a wrap-up, Martin Vidner took notes later in the week, and a female member of the team was disappointed that they had no shirts for females at the conference.

Unfortunately, this year’s openSUSE conference organizing team either assumed that all the conference participants will be male, or (more likely) deliberately chose not to take female minority into account. Ladies tees were sadly not among the conference swag. So I said no, thanks, I already have a shelf full of Linux/opensource/tech conference T-shirts I can hardly wear, because they simply do not fit (those of you who happened to meet me at the conference know that I look drowned even in men’s S size ;-) ). I see no point in handing them to friends/relatives either, after all, it was me, not them, who participated at the event, right?

Some technical work that transpired at the conference is this:

On the outskirts of the OpenSUSE Conference, core developers revealed details on the new openSUSE version 11.2. Although it will have Kernel 2.6.31, browser users will have to wait a bit longer for YaST.

In other news, OpenSUSE Edu Li-f-e is said to have gone “hybrid” (not meaning semi-proprietary).

I am happy to announce that the very first working hybrid iso of openSUSE Education Li-f-e DVD created on openSUSE Build Service is now available for testing.

A few days ago, Zonker canceled the project’s IRC meeting. He explained this decision as follows: “The openSUSE Project meeting for today is canceled as many of the openSUSE team are traveling or in off-site meetings today. The next meeting will be held in two weeks. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please feel free to bring them up on the -project mailing list.” So the IRC meeting was canceled, but SLLUG decided to hold a meeting with an introduction to SUSE Studio.

This month’s Salt Lake Linux Users Group (SLLUG) meeting will be an introduction to SUSE Studio.

On the technical side, Duncan writes about zypper, as usual, Sascha Manns puts another package in OBS and here is a new set of instructions for Avidemux on OpenSUSE. An OpenSUSE/SLE book is being put together as yet another new product gets OpenSUSE preinstalled.

TabletKiosk announced three portable computers running OpenSUSE Linux 11 on Intel Atom processors, two of them seven-inch UMPCs (ultra mobile PCs) with built-in Wacom digitizers. The UMPCs are the Eo a7330D and the ruggedized TufTab a7230XD, joined by the 12.1-inch Sahara NetSlate a230T tablet, according to the company.

On the Moblin/Goblin side of things, mechanisms from OpenSUSE are being converged and the significance of this we last mentioned here. Moblin and OpenSUSE getting together [1, 2] would raise some important questions. More news can probably be found in the OpenSUSE Web site.

Microsoft Abuse with Software Patents Carries on

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol, Samba at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European flags at Europe's parliament

Summary: The latest analyses and moves from Microsoft, which increasingly relies on software patents in its eternal battle against Free software

CARLO Piana, who represents Samba on a legal basis in Europe [1, 2], has just published this long post which explains how Microsoft continues to use software patents and other nefarious means to suppress adoption of Free software. This is particularly important right now because Microsoft has an opportunity to do to the Commission what it did to the US Department of Justice, namely putting its friends in charge (Charlie McCreevy may leave, but the FFII shows that a likely replacement is also a supporter of software patents).

The point is that the current Commission is going to step down in a few weeks, and Commissioner Kroes – who has an incredibly good track record on the Microsoft case – might feel the urgency to close everything behind her, leaving the office empty and her case teams without a case. But at which conditions?

[...]

The single biggest issue is patents. The current WSPP agreement does not contain any meaningful provision or license or promise or non-assertion pledge or anything that is useful to Free Software projects. Without that clearance, once everything is over, who is going to stop the patents to be asserted or, worse, merely threatened (call it FUD, patent rattling, whatever)? Microsoft has been very clear to reserve this right. If it is home free with a broad undertaking, there will not be any real pressure against the assertion of the patents, apart the reaction of some friendlier companies and of the OIN. We have seen just a small preview with the TomTom case.

[...]

And the future will bring Silverlight. And the future will bring OOXML mandated by public authorities as if it was an open standard. And by the way, I am still awaiting the first attempted implementation of ISO/IEC IS 29500 (what the standard is called) because Microsoft Office’s file format is not even close to be that, and it is not even ECMA 376. It is a proprietary, undisclosed file format. To add insult to the damage, I start hearing that even those corrections that were hurried in during the Ballot Resolution Meeting to pass the standard like a square pin into a round hole are now rolled back very quietly in JTC1 SC34 – hijacked by Microsoft – because of lack of interoperability with MS Office. Which incidentally confirms my assessment that the implementation is the standard and the standard is the implementation. The process we underwent to approve or disapprove an international standard was merely a sham.

The Commission falsely promised that it would investigate this, but the complexity of such an investigation (requiring a lot of travel all around the world) is the reason it backed off, leaving Microsoft unpunished for criminal activity such as blackmail and bribery.

We recently showed that Microsoft had attempted to have GNU/Linux vendors sued by patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. That was the allegation made by Red Hat and others, including the OIN, which is now releasing details of the patents in question (there are about 20 software patents in total, so this list is not complete). It’s exclusive to The H (London-based apparently) — part of Heise, which is in Germany where software patents are not valid anyway.

What was in this lot of 22 patents that would specifically worry the Linux community? The OIN supplied The H with a list of the patents:

* Encoding a URL into the playback of a media file (5987509, 6499057, 5774666, 6963906)
* Broadcasting video over distributed networks (6005600, 6792468, 7448062)
* Launching a browser and sending it to a URL by clicking an icon (5737560, 5877767, 6072491, 7032185)
* Launching applications through a movie (5745713)
* Colour space conversions (5946113, 6147772)
* Web page annotations (6081829, 6571295)
* Web publishing hypertext (5890170)
* Web publishing and editing with templates (6026433)
* A Method for painting on a computer (5182548)
* Virtual Address Translation (6205531)
* Dynamically generating graphics for the web on the server (6098092)
* Dynamic information clipping service (5649186)

Going back to Samba in Europe, there is absolutely no reason to assume that Microsoft will accept an exclusion of software patents. According to this post, Microsoft may still be working on it. [the emphasis in red is ours]

Basically, the IM mob are desperately trying to con unions into doing their dirty work by pushing out propaganda on intellectual monopolies. I just love the line “The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and IIPA (International Intellectual Property Association) were both very enthusiastic about this proposal”: you bet they are. Their own ham-fisted efforts have backfired so spectacularly that they are desperate for someone else not tainted by their inept approach of punishing consumers to try.

The following is also significant:

The discussion on future work mostly focus on climate change. General Electric and Microsoft were particularly outspoken in highlighting their fear that some current negotiations over green technology and IPR would weaken IPR. They also denounced the inclusion of proposals that limit patentable subject matter and recommend compulsory licenses or licenses of rights.

As well as Microsoft’s usual bleating about not being allowed to patent software in some jurisdictions, it’s interesting to note that both it and General Electric seem to rate the preservation of intellectual monopolies rather higher than the preservation of our planet. Pure evil.

MS and GE are both in MSNBC delivering their own angle on the news and they also cooperate on legalising software patents in Europe, never mind their realisation that the patent system is inherently broken (GE complains about patent trolls, whereas Microsoft deals with embargo threats due to the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]). Here are some more thoughts about i4i and patents:

Canadian Law Professors Insist Banning The Sale Of Word Is Good For Society & Innovation

[...]

Again, beyond common sense, the historical evidence suggests that these law professors are simply wrong. Countries with no or weak patent protection have seen tremendous innovation over time. And it’s because it’s competition that’s the mother of innovation, not a lack of competition.

In other interesting news, the arguably-unconstitutional ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] is now being criticised even by the UK-IPO, which is surprising. But it’s not ACTA itself which gets the criticism; it’s the secrecy. Glyn Moody writes:

Cracks in the ACTA Wall of Secrecy

[...]

Hitherto, there’s been no suggestion of any dissension within the ACTA ranks; so this comment in a blog post from Jamie Love about a lunch meeting of civil society NGOs held by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office during the WIPO meeting is intriguing:

The UK IP office said it had complained frequently of the secrecy of the ACTA negotiations.

Perhaps if we can get a few more of the insiders moaning about this unnecessary lack of transparency, things will finally start moving.

As pointed out a few months ago, Facebook is flirting with Microsoft's patent troll, Nathan Myhrvold. Now that Facebook is sued for patent infringement (yes, again), one might wonder if Facebook wants the patent troll to act as a shield or an arsenal for counter lawsuits that annul (settle) the originals. It’s only speculation.

Facebook has been sued by a software company in Baltimore that claims the social-networking site is violating a two-year-old patent.

 

WhoGlue Inc., a Canton company with fewer than five employees, filed the lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, where Facebook is incorporated.

[...]

It’s unclear whether the patent infringement case that WhoGlue is trying to make against Facebook can be applied to a host of similar social networking sites that use similar technologies for helping their users manage online interactions.

The company which is suing at least has a product, so it is not a patent troll.

Richard Stallman is Not the Bad Guy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman young
Richard Stallman (younger days)

Summary: Richard Stallman is smeared for pretty much saying it like it is

Miguel de Icaza and his online friend Jason Perlow (they occasionally spoke before) seem to be on some sort of subtle attack on Richard Stallman. Perlow wrote a trollish post for ZDNet [1, 2] and de Icaza now portrays himself as a poor victim who is only looking for love. There is little reference (or none) to what led to Stallman's remarks about de Icaza and the very rational, factual explanation of why Mono means trouble. As Sam Varghese puts it, Stallman merely “comes under attack again”. Apparently, Stallman is not permitted to defend Free software from Microsoft.

It appears to be open season for launching attacks on the head of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Matthew Stallman, the man who is in large measure responsible for the status that free and open source software enjoys today.

The latest attack on Stallman is a lengthy post by ZDNet blogger Jason Perlow and is based on remarks that Stallman is said to have made during the Free Software Day celebrations in Boston.

Other people followed these attacks on Stallman, but some are Freedom-apathetic (power preceding Freedom). A lot of them have always disliked Stallman in the first place. In his new blog, Bruce Byfield puts it politely, but others are obviously trying to dethrone Stallman, calling it dogmatism (missing the whole point about Mono, which is a fundamental risk to Free software, not reason for “dogmatism”), et cetera et cetera.

At Identi.ca, Stallman received the support of people, one of whom writes: “I know what @RMS thinks, because I read the blog post quoting the tweet that quoted a person who was there. And I am outraged!”

Truth be told, here is how another person put it: “#RMS is pretty bad as a diplomatic, alt[h]ough he’s a visionary indeed. I hope people can understand the message by above the way”

Here is another take from a blog post:

RMS tends to call a spade a spade and he does not accept fluff as substance. M$’s posturing as being open to FLOSS is absurd. No matter how many millions they contribute to FLOSS, they are not a friend of FLOSS-loving people. Repeatedy they have shown a willingness to buy out the competition rather than to out-compete. RMS is not a great diplomat but neither is he often wrong.

Free software supporters still do not want Mono. It was never particularly popular, to say the least. The same goes for Moonlight.

Now that Silverlight comes to Linux (Moblin, at least initially [1, 2]), people wonder what Moonlight was made for at all. Microsoft explains it like this:

According to a blog entry from Microsoft’s Silverlight team, the initiative will complement their work with Novell’s open source port of Silverlight for Linux, Moonlight.

Jason from Mono-Nono has another explanation:

Novell shocked to be undermined. Everyone else points and laughs.

So, the news is out that Microsoft is bringing real Silverlight to Moblin. This is not Moonlight, this is the real-deal Silverlight 3 in a joint effort with Intel for Atom-based platforms.

A very interesting development.

[...]

Note Microsoft claims “we” (meaning Novell and Microsoft) are building Moonlight. Microsoft says Moonlight is a Microsoft project.

I whole-heartedly agree that it is a “clear extension” of Microsoft’s current efforts. That is phase 2, after all.

In another new post, Jason explains once again the motivations behind Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation [1, 2, 3]:

Microsoft man Sam Ramji reveals some of the Codeplex Foundation’s motivations.

In responding to the devestating criticism of the Codeplex Foundation’s fundamentally flawed organization and the high skepticism of its motives, Mr. Ramji revealed a bit of the true motives behind the Codeplex Foundation:

Look at projects related to Mono, you also can look at NUnit, NHibernate, we really feel optimistic that the Foundation could help them gain a higher level of credibility in the open source community. They feel they have been lacking that strong moral support.

Break that down and chew on it a bit!

Mr. Ramji is saying you know those Microsoft-approved “Open Source” projects like Mono? And you know how the Open Source community keeps rejecting them? Well Microsoft is going to create our own playing field and support them!

[...]

Microsoft is not new at leveraging its considerable resources into creating a rubber-stamp pre-approved situation, especially when the real and existing community doesn’t want anything to do with Microsoft’s offerings – <cough> OOXML</cough> – and the CodePlex Foundation is just another example of that.

The very idea that Microsoft can even set up an independent Open Source foundation is absolutely ludicrious. Pick any absurd analogy you like: Yankees fans setting up a Red Sox Appreciation Society, the Klan setting up a Civil Rights commission, Nickleback fans setting up a music appreciation group, whatever.

Here is another new report about Sam Ramji and Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation:

Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation leader soaks in stinging critique

In response to criticism from a leading expert on forming consortia, the interim president of Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation, Sam Ramji, says the open source group is in a “beta” phase for its first 100 days and is welcoming all forms of evaluation and critique of its bylaws and governance model.

One KDE developer offers this reminder of why Microsoft’s supposed “openness” is still an unfulfilled promise.

But there are MS Access proprietary file formats (mdb, accdb) that remain to be secret. These are not planned to be replaced by XML formats (what would be overkill in databases). I guess there was no pressure to open the formats, what looks like an overlook in EU and the USA (correct me if there’s another reason like patents). If you google for that, it is hard to find even a single mention of file format specifications in the above meaning, and even explanations from MS employees or backers show that they do not fully realize one thinf: MSA formats are not covered by the process of said “opening of the legacy formats”.

How timely a reminder of how “open” Microsoft truly is.

In conclusion, rather than attacking Stallman, people ought to learn why he reacted as he did. It is a matter of self defense — he is defending our freedom.

“Value your freedom or you will lose it, teaches history. “Don’t bother us with politics,” respond those who don’t want to learn.”

Richard Stallman

Microsoft and O’Reilly Hook Up

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 3:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Name tag
Embrace, Extend…

Summary: Microsoft gets even closer to O’Reilly

THE relationship between OSCON and Microsoft is a rather complex subject that we covered before [1, 2, 3]. It should not be surprising to see O’Reilly kissing Microsoft’s behind, having ignored Microsoft’s abusive intentions all along in recent years. They finally enter an agreement on literature.

This pair will get even closer after this deal, not just the usual sponsorships. Glyn Moody claims that O’Reilly is “a shadow of the *nix publisher it once was…”

How did this come about?

“When people understand what Microsoft is up to, they’re outraged.”

Tim O’Reilly

Analysts Say That Vista 7 Will Fail to Spur Sales

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 2:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7

Summary: Vista 7 — like Windows Vista — is expected to lead to overstocking in the face of low demand

IN RECENT posts about the reality behind Vista 7 we showed that CIOs already reject Vista 7, which they have no intention to deploy. Adding insult to injury, people begin to realise that on technical merits too Vista 7 is simply failing, so it is not just a matter of sales and economics.

According to a new report, Vista 7 will not spur sales as Microsoft would have IDC publicly suggest (by paying IDC a lot of money).

Windows 7 will not kick-start PC sales

[...]

Digitimes, which has been chatting with analysts, found that none of them thought that people will rush to replace their PCs this year.

The original report from Digitimes concludes by saying that “Since Windows 7 may not spur significant demand in the consumer market, over optimistic suppliers may end up suffering from overstocked inventories, the sources warned.”

This also happened with Windows Vista. Shops got channel-stuffed by Microsoft, which called those inventories “sales”. Some of these shops went out of business and blamed Vista.

“Acer and Intel, for example, are already complaining that Windows 7 Starter Edition simply won’t sell.”

Source

Microsoft Employees Caught AstroTurfing Again?

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 2:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chasing shadows - football

Summary: Xbox rivals ‘”trolled” by Microsoft employee and Forrester sells book to explain similar behaviour

Will has just shown us this thread and analysis where a Microsoft employee is said to have been “caught trolling GT5′s delay.” This relates to Xbox, which is one of Microsoft’s worst-performing products overall (amassing billions in losses). From the analysis:

Well ignoring the fact that the poster seems to have conveniently forgotten about GT5 Prologue and GT PSP it seem pretty standard forum posting behavior, doesn’t it? Well, not quite because it was quickly followed up by this post by one of the forum mods, BishopT.

Dude, if you’re going to make posts like this – you shouldn’t sign up for a GAF account with your Microsoft corporate email. Seriously.

I’m not going to suggest that this is marketing tactics where people go online and into forums to generally ‘diss’ the competition, even though that does happen – but it sure is pretty funny that someone would sign up to a website and post comments for the world to see with the purpose of causing friction or even to fuel the flames of the fanboy’s war with a Microsoft account…”

Another person, Slated, has found this book from the Linux-hostile Forrester (Microsoft pays Forrester to slam GNU/Linux and more recently to help promote Vista 7). Slated calls it “Forrester Research’s answer to Microsoft’s ‘Evangelism is WAR!’,” which is an ugly document that exposes Microsoft’s AstroTurfing techniques. It has also an accompanying talk. Here is a description of Forrester’s book:

It’s a bestselling book based on analysis by Forrester Research filled with practical, data-based strategies for companies that want to harness the power of social technologies like blogs, social networks, and YouTube.

Slated writes: “They have their own book on astroturfing, it seems.” Microsoft is no stranger to these tactics because it is paying bloggers to promote Microsoft, it has a large-scale Twitter AstroTurf, and it also has harnessed YouTube for marketing purposes, including viral videos.

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