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10.23.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 23rd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Linus Loves It!

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Eureka in Japan!

Linus Torvalds

With Windows Revenue in Huge Decline, Novell No Longer Needs Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Vista 7, Windows at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer

Ron Hovsepian as Ballmer

Summary: Windows revenue is down almost by half, so why is Novell still relying on Microsoft?

Earlier today we wrote about Microsoft's bad results, which Microsoft and the press are spinning as usual and quite frankly as expected. The Register wrote today: “Windows and Windows Live [revenue] fell from $4.28bn last year to $2.62bn.”

This is the competition of GNU/Linux, the platform which is killing Microsoft's margins, especially in sub-notebooks. Is this really the company Novell wants to rely upon and make favours to?

As another site put it 6 months ago, “Microsoft’s Quarterly Results Disappoint” and “as expected, the company experienced its first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline in its history.” That was 6 months ago, so Microsoft’s sharp drop in revenue this quarter is no longer major news.

New Dilbert Cartoon “Picking on Bill Gates and His Foundation”

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Humour at 2:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates Foundation logo

Summary: Self-serving ‘charitable’ foundations under gentle fire

“DILBERT is picking on Bill Gates and his foundation,” alerts us a reader. For those who have not followed this closely, we last wrote about it yesterday, adding to existing critique of the Gates Foundation.

A lot of people do not know that critics of the Gates Foundation include respectable figures such as the chief of malaria for the World Health Organisation. It’s all driven by facts, not irrational resentment or envy. Those who do their homework also understand the role of Bill's press in the mythology.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Lots of New Vendor/Developer Support for OpenDocument Format

Posted in Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Young generation

Summary: More OpenDocument Format (ODF) wins and an important reminder of people who try to harm it, sometimes while pretending to be “helping”

THE OTHER day we wrote about what Alex Brown had been doing in Wikipedia. For those who do not know Brown’s role in Microsoft’s OOXML fiasco, read [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21]. Regarding Brown’s edits (as we showed them a few days ago), one reader wrote privately to say, “I just wanted to let you know what Alex Brown appears to have done from those wiki edits (as far as I can go on the first page). All the criticism is magically gone. “whoops”.”

Right now he makes minor edits to ODF’s article, which is not as bad as the malicious edits from hAl, who got banned for his obvious warping of the ODF article, making it an ODF-hostile article.

But let’s concentrate on the positives, not the negatives from Microsoft and its known cronies.

The OpenDocument Web site introduces readers to two tools, Office-O-Tron and ODFPy, which Bart Hanssens describes as follows:

Office-o-tron is an online validator for office documents. It understands ODF (1.0, 1.1 and draft 1.2) and OOXML (“Transitional”).

 

Odfpy aims to be a complete API for OpenDocument in Python, essentially an abstraction layer just above the XML format. The main focus is to prevent the programmer from creating invalid documents.

Here is another one about Open Search Server:

Open Search Server is an open source search engine and comes with a suite of full text search algorithms. ODF is one of the supported formats.

There is a new article about this in Linux Magazine (also in German):

Open Search Server 1.1 with Synonym and ODF Support

[...]

The first stable release of the Open Search Server Java software now includes a Web and file crawler and uploaded documents can be searched. The server can handle MS Word and Powerpoint, Open Document Format (ODF), HTML, XML and PDF files.

From one of the European Union’s Web sites we gather that Norway is indeed very serious about ODF.

On 25 September 2009 the Norwegian Government adopted a new regulation on mandatory IT standards applicable to the entire public sector. As of 1 January 2010 open document standards will become mandatory for all public websites.

As the Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Heidi Grande Røys, stated, the new regulation ensures equal accessibility to the content of all public and communal websites. Users of any municipality or state will be able to visit the websites and read the documents regardless the type of software and computer equipment they use. It is a democratic right for all citizens to have equal access to public information and online services.

Some parts of the United States may be equally interested in ODF. Here is a reminder about the state of New York.

IBM’s Rob Weir gathers questions for the “State of ODF” panel, which he will moderate. Some people lend their voices to Weir and Dennis Hamilton continues his good work in this area. Bart Hanssens is also a major contributor, as opposed to those who are only pretending. They know who they are.

Weir and OASIS take ODF a step further into 1.2 while Weir and Hanssens are highlighting this new tool for verification of ODF signatures.

Via this page you can test the eID Applet Signature functionality. This test will demo the creation and verification of ODF signatures. ODF signatures are also supported by OpenOffice.org version 3.1.

KOffice 2 adds a mission statement placeholder to its Wiki while in Wikipedia someone removes the sentence: “The OpenDocument Foundation is not related to any entity doing standardisation work for the Open Document Format.” This is later readded and removed again. Test of patience?

“Ask Google Translate team to support ODF,” says OpenOffice.org and Weir speaks of the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC again. Microsoft and its cronies still try to ruin ODF from the inside or grab control of it. Clear evidence shows this repeatedly.

Nokia Lets Its Inner Patent Monster Go Loose

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 1:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia vampire

Summary: Nokia — facing many new difficulties — unfortunately decides that a litigation strategy is the way to go

LONGTIME readers of Boycott Novell may already know that we have been skeptical about Nokia because of its approach towards software patents. As one of our readers from Finland put it a day ago, “It looks like the press release from Nokia about openness was a feint. It’s now suing Apple. I supposed some of the Microsofters on the inside, maybe even some of the same involved in screwing HTML5, are keen on undermining Apple. You could see indications of the possibility of patent trolling from Nokia when they dropped to LGPL for their newly acquired Qt.” We alluded to the subject in:

It is more or less a giveaway of the fact that Nokia is now going aggressive with patents. Apple is assaulted not just by Nokia because there is also this new case involving Ethernet patents from the nineties.

A Texas company has targeted Apple and a number of other technology companies in a new lawsuit regarding a handful of computer networking patents issued in the 1990s.

Here is information about Nokia’s lawsuit against Apple (from the British press):

The Inquirer: Nokia sues Apple

NOKIA HAS called down upon itself the wrath of Steve Jobs by daring to sue the glorious Iphone religion.

Nokia dares to suggest that Apple’s Iphone technology did not spring virgin from the brow of St Steve of Cappuccino but actually had been previously patented by Nokia.

It seems that the Nokian kings of Espoo claim that the Iphone infringes Nokia’s patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN (WLAN) standards.

BBC: Nokia suing Apple over the iPhone

Nokia, the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, has said that it is suing its US rival Apple for infringing patents on mobile phone technology for the iPhone.

The Register: Nokia sues Apple over iPhone

It claimed all Apple’s iPhone models shipped since the Cupertino-based firm debuted its popular device in 2007 infringed the patents.

Here is IDG’s coverage and TechDirt’s take on it. Basically, this is another case of a company going aggressive with patents amid its downfall. Sounds familiar? Well, Microsoft does the same thing and president of the FFII now writes: “Microsoft says royalties do not conflict with the “free” business model.” He points to this new document [PDF] and argues: ‘You will find the same terms from ACT copy/pasted from the Microsoft letter, such as: “respecting the owner’s IPR, implement clear, transparent and balanced IPR policies which do not discriminate and allow competition among different business models, and which seek to ensure the effectiveness of procedures for IPR disclosures”.’

“Basically, this is another case of a company going aggressive with patents amid its downfall.”Since ACT is a Microsoft front, such a connection between texts would almost be predictable. “It would be nice to draw a table between the two to see how they managed to use the same terms,” tells us the FFII’s president.

Going back to Nokia, its litigation strategy is almost akin to that of SCO, except for the fact that there may be truth in Nokia’s allegations.

This behaviour from Nokia comes at a very bad time just after they hosted an event for Qt developers and around they same time that their “Linux killer” goes open source. There is new coverage about it this week, e.g.:

Ever since the announcement about Symbian going “open source” (not Free software) we have warned about Nokia and patents on numerous occasions. Not so long ago in the past we saw Symbian being used as a Trojan horse to partly legitimise software patents in the United Kingdom, for example. Nokia now owns the whole of Symbian, but it uses the “foundation” to pretend that there is Independence that’s inviting to a ‘community’ (mostly volunteer developers and partners). It ought to be mentioned that Symbian’s main man quit the foundation just a couple of days ago and Nokia reported horrific financial results a few days before that.

As for Apple, in this latest case it would be inappropriate to describe it as a victim. What goes around comes around. Apple uses threats of patent attacks against Linux-based products and now it is reportedly patenting some more customer-hostile ideas:

According to a recent patent application, Apple have applied to be recognized as the creators of “Advertisement in Operating Systems” attributed to the technology’s inventor, Steve Jobs.

As one final side note, CSIRO is an entity that we wrote about the other day because of its patent assault on the entire industry. As we put it at the time, “CSIRO is suing a lot these days [1, 2, 3] following the patent-in-a-standard scam [1, 2, 3].” Here is TechDirt’s good new take on the subject:

CSIRO Taxes Innovators To Fund Innovators?

[...]

A few years back, the Australian tech research agency CSIRO was awarded a patent with several claims over basic concepts used in WiFi. While we have tremendous problems with the idea of any government agency patenting anything, CSIRO wielded this patent and aggressively fought against a bunch of large tech companies, and it recently convinced them to pay a $200 million settlement. At some point, tech firms realize it’s often just cheaper to pay up than to keep fighting a bogus patent claim.

How is this helpful to development and what role does Nokia play in development if Trolltech/Qt developers are ever assigned to write patent applications rather than develop? And what if programmers are fired to give room for more lawyers (either defensive or confrontational)? It is a sad day for Nokia and those in the Free software community who trusted Nokia.

Free Software Foundation Daemonised for Resisting Non-Free(dom) Software

Posted in Apple, DRM, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Virtualisation at 12:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

Summary: Open Core proponent compares the FSF to religion as means of daemonisation and Jason Perlow does this by showing a humourous photo from Linus Torvalds, then throwing in another insult at Richard Stallman

THE OTHER day we wrote about the “Open Core movement”, of which Mono seems to have become a part. James Dixon, the CTO of Pentaho, slams the “Free Software movement”, sometimes by playing the usual card which is to compare them to a “religion” [1, 2, 3]. The Open Core advocates are generally unhappy with the critical views of the SFLC.

“To resist freedom-hostile software is not an intolerant action; it is responsive and defensive…”Jason Perlow, a self-admitted opponent of the FSF’s values [1, 2], is now using a photo of Linus Torvalds (captured in Tokyo the other day) to smear the FSF. He conveniently ‘forgets’ that the FSF has nothing to do with Microsoft and it’s not a response to Microsoft, either. The GNU project was started in the early eighties.

It seems safe to say that pro-GNU/Linux people who are also strongly pro-Apple are those who basically go for “anything but Microsoft” and are therefore the real so-called "Microsoft haters", as opposed to genuine proponents of Free software. They basically view Microsoft — not proprietary software, software patents, and unethical business conduct — as the single problem. It’s like targeting a boogeyman rather than behaviour; like targeting “terrorists” rather than addressing the cause of terrorism.

If it’s a case of just wanting to eradicate Microsoft and not elimination of users’ and developers’ rights as a whole, what gives? And who would then wonder the tendency to accept DRM, TPM and TiVoisation in Linux, for example? To resist freedom-hostile software is not an intolerant action; it is responsive and defensive due to gradual erosion of control. Software used to be free before proprietary ‘zealots’ came along. And it’s getting worse all the time, surveillance-, permission-, and ownership-wise.

“FSF did some anti-Apple campaigns too. Personally I worry more about Apple because they have user loyalty; Microsoft doesn’t.”

Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

Novell’s de Icaza on VMware’s Potential GNU/Linux Distribution

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Virtualisation, VMware, Windows at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Microsoft Linux’ rumours?

“We are going to cut off their air supply. Everything they’re selling, we’re going to give away for free.”

Paul Maritz, former Microsoft Vice President (now VMWare CEO)

Summary: New rumours circulate about Microsoft-dominated VMware’s plans for GNU/Linux

VMware is already filled with former Microsoft employees in its management [1, 2, 3] and earlier this month we showed that VMware was geographically moving closer to Redmond. Novell’s de Icaza has this to say now:

This is a pure rumour, sourced from random tweets. But it comes from Miguel de Icaza, founder of Gnome and Mono, so it has a certain investment of radiance.

His first tweet:

“VMware is creating a new Linux distro, according to the recruiting spam they are sending on Linked In.”

This ought to lead to speculations.

A couple of months ago, Matt Asay published a post which asserted that “VMware puts squeeze on Red Hat with SpringSource buy” and there are other important issues to take into account [1, 2].

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