Links 04/11/2009: Red Hat’s KVM Punch

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Keynote comparison: Linux or Windows

    Mr. Powers advocated using free and open source software like the Linux operating system and OpenOffice. Instead of investing in proprietary software which costs hundreds of dollars per user, Mr. Powers recommended investing in people to support free software. As a professional system administrator and IT director of over 15 years, he is well familiar with the total cost of ownership of large enterprise deployments. At the school district where he works, we has been able to convince the board that savings to the tune of $90K+ of savings that Linux is worth doing, even though this means training adults to use unfamiliar Linux desktop software such Open Office. Children, according to Mr. Powers, do not care what software they use therefore they do not require Linux desktop training. As you are honest about the software’s shortcomings, moving to Linux will be worth it.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 69

    The following Linux distributions were announced last week: Endian Firewall 2.3, Toorox 10.2009, Ubuntu 9.10 and openSUSE 11.2 RC2. In other news: Nvidia releases the new 190.42 video driver for Linux users, now with support for OpenGL 3.2. For this week, we had the pleasure of reviewing the PS3 Media Server 1.10.5 application. We are also proud to announce gedit is the “Application of the Month” for October! The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases.

  • eOn Communications Intros New IP-PBX Built on Linux

    eOn Communications has introduced a new IP-PBX (News – Alert) built on commercial off-the-shelf hardware and the Linux OS.

  • Free Open Source Screencasts for Linux System Administrators and Newbies alike

    There has always been a dearth in quality training material in Linux System Administration. And if there are resources on the Net, they are hard to find. Now here is a new venture by John Yerhot who endevours to provide very well made videos which explain how to use different commands in Linux, useful to people who administer Linux servers.

  • You can’t get there from here: Linux platform hurdles

    From some of the comments to the post, it’s not clear that this problem is, in fact, affecting all Linux users. (And on a side note, one of the workarounds suggested is installing the Firefox User Agent Switcher extension that makes Firefox “look like” IE to sites that don’t allow Firefox).

  • Happenings: LugRadio Live 2009

    This year’s LugRadio Live conference, which took place in Wolverhampton on Saturday the 24th of October, may again like last years, be the last. LugRadio Live 2009 was organised by the Wolves LUG, Wolverhampton’s own Linux User Group (LUG) and included attendees from locations as far away as Russia and New York – Jono Bacon, one of the LugRadio founders even flew in from San Francisco where he now lives.

  • Migrating off the mainframe; part 3: Tuning apps for the new platform

    Let us suppose that you have carried out a full port of a piece of mainframe software, and it runs on the target platform.


    However, it is likely that there will be more challenges in the near future. What if the application needs to be moved to an internal or external cloud in the near future? Get-the-job-done mainframe migration does not guarantee readiness for a cloud. Is there a possibility that the app may need to be moved from Windows to Linux or back? Can you get more out of the migrated app, such as composition with other apps to enhance or integrate business processes? What if you have to combine the app with another from a company you just acquired?

  • The Software Cooperative

    I had the very good pleasure today of meeting with Joe Golden of the old Green Mountain Linux company up in Vermont. He expressed to me a strong desire to help people get in touch with Free and Open Source ideals and importantly get people to recognise the community efforts that go into making all this great software.

  • Linux torrents get a mention in landmark court case

    Downloading GNU Linux software was cited as one of the legal uses of BitTorrent during the landmark court case between internet service provider, iiNet, and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

  • Desktop

    • Soyea MID Z5: For The Serious Nerd Only

      Most MIDs tend to have pretty anemic hardware. Not so with the Soyea MID Z5 (Engadget). This bad boy dual-boots Windows XP and Linux, which should satisfy the hardcore open source geeks among us. In addition to the unique OS combo, the Z5 has some pretty intense hardware.

    • 20 Free Best Linux Wallpapers

      Hey linux guys! Who said I forgot about you? As a linux fan I know you like those awesome Linux wallpapers as they simply show the difference. I had some of those cool Linux wallpapers on my pc and thought about compiling a list. So I went to look for some more cool Linux wallpapers and here is a list of 20 of the best and free Linux wallpapers ever.

    • Bomgar Expands Linux Capability with Release of Version 10.4

      Bomgar (News – Alert) Corporation, specializing in appliance-based remote support software, has announced the expansion of its Linux capability to support the needs of IT systems administrators during a Linux remote support session. The new Bomgar 10.4 offers platform support to technicians for running Bomgar from anUbuntu ( News – Alert), RedHat and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

    • First Look at VMware Fusion 3

      VMware is upping the fight with rival Parallels after it upgraded its Fusion 3 software, which allows the use of Windows, Linux, and Mac virtual machines on a physical Mac system.

    • Triple Boot Mac OS, XP, and Linux on a Mac
  • Server

    • 3Leaf makes big SMPs out of x64 clusters

      At the moment, 3Leaf has two configurations of server clusters it is selling. A base DDC-Server has eight server nodes, with a total of 256 GB of memory, 96 Opteron cores (using the Istanbul chips) running at 2.4 GHz, 4 TB of disk capacity, an InfiniBand switch, the DDC-Pool software, and a Linux license for all the nodes; it sells for $99,000, which is a fraction of the cost of a big RISC/Unix server. (Yeah, that’s the point.)

    • The difference a few years makes to open source

      By 2004, when a group of friends and I founded the Open Source Business Conference, there was significant, growing awareness of open source, but its adoption was still stymied by Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, much of it fomented by Microsoft (Steve Ballmer in 2001: “Linux is a cancer”) and the SCO Group (lawsuit over the provenance of Linux code in 2003).

      Today, SCO Group, once a high-flier, is struggling for existence. Meanwhile, Microsoft has committed another $100,000 to Apache Software Foundation, has started its own open-source foundation, and has embedded significant bits of open-source code within its proprietary programs, among other things.

      Linux, for its part, struggled to get noticed in data centers back in 2003. It has since become essential, mission-critical infrastructure across the Global 2000 ranking of public companies

    • Arkeia Acquires Kadena Systems

      Arkeia, which shipped the industry’s first network backup solution for Linux in 1999, says it plans to integrate Kadena’s technology in its system. Arkeia says Kedena’s chief technology officer, Tamir Ram, also will join Arkeia as chief architect.

    • StartSSL: a Certification Authority with a heart

      Linux Security had the chance to talk with Eddy Nigg, founder of StartSSL, an “alternative” CA, by any meaning. Their business model is quite different then that of other well known CAs, with a pricing policy absolutely counter to current trends: once a customer verified its identity, any number of certificates can be obtained for free, payment is only required for those steps requiring human intervention (usually identification and release of EV certificates).

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.32-rc6

      It’s been over two weeks since -rc5, partly because of a very quiet week there due to lots of kernel people (including me) being in Tokyo for the annual kernel summit, but also partly because we had an annoying problem with ext4 filesystem corruption after unclean shutdowns.

    • The 2009 Linux Kernel Summit

      The 2009 Linux Kernel Summit was held in Tokyo, Japan on October 19 and 20. Jet-lagged developers from all over the world discussed a wide range of topics. LWN’s Jonathan Corbet was there, and has written the following summaries.

    • AMD’s UVD2-based XvBA Finally Does Something On Linux

      Finally, ATI Radeon customers under Linux can use XvBA, but it is not through using XvBA directly. AMD and Splitted Desktop Systems have been collaborating to develop xvba-video, which is an XvBA back-end for VA-API. Splitted Desktop Systems is the company that brought H.264 VA-API GPU video acceleration for Gnash, VA-API support in MPlayer and FFmpeg, and a NVIDIA VDPAU back-end for VA-API.

    • VIA Keeps Trying For Kernel Inclusion Of Its DRM

      Last December the Linux folks at VIA Technologies had released their Chrome 9 series DRM code, which is needed for Linux 3D support with these newer-generation VIA IGPs, but this initial version ended up getting rejected from inclusion into the mainline kernel on the basis of the rest of VIA’s 3D stack for the Chrome 9 being closed-source and some problems with the code itself. The situation was similar to that of Intel’s Poulsbo DRM being rejected from reaching the mainline Linux kernel earlier this year.

    • Mesa 7.7 May Be A Christmas Present

      The Mesa 3D graphics library on Linux has been moving along at a brisk pace lately with a frequent stream of new releases as many features arrive like new Gallium3D state trackers, maturing of new hardware support (particularly with the ATI Radeon graphics), and new OpenGL extension support. Mesa 7.6 was released in September, but now Intel’s lead OpenGL contributor, Ian Romanick, has proposed a release schedule for Mesa 7.7.

    • The State of State Trackers In Gallium3D

      While not very extensive, a bit more information is also available on the X.Org Wiki with regard to the status of Gallium3D. We will have more information soon.

  • Applications

    • Symantec releases Linux version of Backup Exec System Recovery

      Symantec Corp. released a new version of its bare-metal restore software that adds support for Linux servers and tightens integration for centralized management of server backups.

    • VistaCare Picks BakBone Software’s NetVault to Overcome Backup Challenges

      BakBone Software, a provider of Universal Data Management solutions, has announced that its Linux-based data protection solution, “NetVault,” has helped hospice care services provider VistaCare to manage backup files in an easy way.

    • Moovida: A Music Player for the Masses

      If you’re like most computer users, your hard drive is probably stuffed to the gills with movies, pictures, music, and media files you want to hang on to. If you’re trying to figure out a good way to manage them all, have a look at Moovida, an open source media player that’s so snappy you might kick your current player to the curb.

    • Head to Head: Google Chrome 4 Beta vs. Firefox 3.6

      In the last couple of days, both Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox have come out with new betas claiming improved performance. Why not compare these new betas head-to-head?

      To be fair, speed isn’t everything; each of the new browser versions add new capabilities in addition to performance. The new Chrome beta offers bookmark syncing, similar to what Opera has had for over a year with its Opera Link service. Meanwhile, the Firefox 3.6 beta, which was released last Friday night, incorporates Mozilla’s Personas feature, which lets users customize the look of the browser with the click of a button. It also warns users about out-of-date plugins, and adds a number developer-focused capabilities, like more support for open web video, CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies, and the Web Open Font Format.

    • Allmyapps – Your Linux Application Store

      Allmyapps makes software installation a breeze. No matter how many applications you need, 1 click is all you need to have all your favorite applications installed on your PC.Allmyapps also keeps your applications safe! Would you need to reinstall your system, Allmyapps takes care of reinstalling all your favorite applications in the blink of an eye.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME 3.0 May Not Come Until September 2010

      Two of the major components that will be part of the GNOME 3.0 desktop are GNOME Shell and Zeitgeist. The GNOME Shell redefines the GNOME desktop by taking over the responsibilities of the GNOME Panel in GNOME 2.xx along with the role of the window manager (and it also supports Clutter for making a nice, attractive user-experience). Zeitgeist in the simplest form is an event logging framework to help users find files and other user activity events in a structured way. Unfortunately, both Zeitgeist and the GNOME Shell are running behind schedule and will likely not be ready for GNOME 2.30.

    • KDE

      • Quirky Wallpaper Series: KDE Edition

        “plasma-wallpaper-starfield” is a desktop background for KDEthat places an animated starfield over your wallpaper.

      • Walled Gardens, Semantic Data and the Open Web: an Interview with Steven Pemberton

        Well, I use Ubuntu at home, and something linux-y at work, I don’t know what. I’m very much a command line person, having used Unix since version 6, somewhere in the 70s. And in research I’m very much an infrastructure guy. So I’m not well versed in the KDE and Gnome world.

      • KDE 4.3.3 Out Now: Clockwork

        KDE 4.3.3 has a number of improvements that will make your life just a little bit better. Some of KWin’s effects have been smoothed and freed of visual glitches, JuK should now be more stable, KDE PIM has seen its share of improvements while in the back-rooms of KDE, the developers are working hard on porting all applications to the new Akonadi storage and cache. The changelog has more, if not exhaustive, lists of the improvements since KDE 4.3.2.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat pitches x64 virtualization with KVM rollout

        Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat today got its freestanding, bare-metal Enterprise Virtualization hypervisor, a hardened version of the KVM hypervisor it took control of last summer, to market. That makes Red Hat a player as x64 servers the world over are set for a massive wave of virtualization.

      • Open source needs successful champions

        The open source industry needs profitable champions to demonstrate success, and attract funding and participation in open source, according to Red Hat CEO.

        In an interview with ZDNet Asia Wednesday, Jim Whitehurst said revenue models of open source proponents such as Red Hat itself and Google, have brought success to the respective companies and allowed them to contribute back to the open source community. Google relies on ad-based revenue, while Red Hat’s revenue runs on a subscription model.

      • Red Hat Rolls Out Virtualization Platform for Heterogeneous Servers and Clouds
      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Gets Managed

        Red Hat has been talking about its new virtualization strategy for much of 2009. Today, the Linux vendor is making good on that talk with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers, which includes a standalone hypervisor (RHEF-H) as well as a management platform (RHEV-M).

      • Red Hat debuts virtualization management

        With Tuesday’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager (RHEV-M) for servers, the company has completed the first phase of a server virtualization rollout that effectively now puts KVM front and center. Red Hat released KVM commercially for the first time in September as part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4.

      • Red Hat introduces new virtualisation platform

        will allow organisations to better implement and manage server virtualisation setups, and let administrators manage virtualised server deployments based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

      • Red Hat’s Enterprise Virtualisation released
      • Initial Reaction: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers

        I haven’t seen it mentioned on Slashdot or LWN yet… and I even emailed LWN informing them… but Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers and the accompanying Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor products today. There are a slew of press releases and demo videos. They even had a webcast press conference. Oh, and hey, they also released all of the manuals too.

    • Debian Family

      • Centrify takes to the cloud

        Centrify announced last week that it has added Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition to the long list of non-Windows operating systems whose authentication it has integrated with Active Directory. It has supported Ubuntu for quite some time, but what really exited the Centrify folk was the fact that this version of Ubuntu includes an open source cloud computing environment that can be easily integrated with Active Directory through the Centrify Suite for identity, access and privilege management.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 ‘Karmic Koala’ is here: 5 things CIOs must know

        The ability to run Ubuntu on Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure is not new, but Karmic consolidates the direction with supported images for the private Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and EC2.

      • Maybe Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Makes Cloud Computing Too Easy

        The latest version of Ubuntu Server (9.10) includes the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), which is actually powered by Eucalyptus. The ability to deploy a “cloud” on any server running Ubuntu is really quite amazing, especially given the compatibility of Eucalyptus with Amazon and the plethora of application images available for nearly immediate deployment. It supports both a public and private option, and a hybrid model, and comes replete with management tools designed to make building, deploying, and managing your own personal, private cloud a breeze.

      • Ubuntu bets on cloud computing, tie-ups

        Mumbai: UK-based software firm Canonical Ltd is banking on Karmic Koala, the latest version of its free Linux-based operating system (OS) Ubuntu that it launched last week, to penetrate markets such as India where an impending launch of third generation (3G) services is expected to make cloud computing accessible to individual users.

      • Cloud Computing Technology Comparison Matrix

        In one of the following “open-space” session John Willis gave some great insights about the new Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) which is now available in the Ubuntu Karmic release.

      • Is Ubuntu Ready for a Non-tech-savvy Girlfriend?

        All in all, Ubuntu isn’t too hard to use or learn for anyone who doesn’t have much technical knowledge. While some of it will be a challenge, most of it isn’t more difficult than Mac or Windows. The look and feel might take some time to get used to, but that’s the initial buy-in of picking up a new OS. Knowing the names and locations of what you are looking for can be tricky at first, but you learn pretty quickly.

      • 5 Reasons why Ubuntu 9.10 is better than Windows 7

        Want a program that doesn’t come with the operating system? Easy. Use the Ubuntu Software Center, Ubuntu’s new one stop application ‘store.’ I put store in quotes because it’s all free. With Windows, you know the drill. Go to your local store, poke around what’s available on Download.Com and Tucows, etc. etc. Just be sure to have your credit-card ready since a good deal of Windows software isn’t open source or free.

      • Gallery: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala
      • Photo review: Karmic Koala kickstarts new Ubuntu 9.10

        During the install we were also offered an encrypted home folder, protected by username and password. There is no nonsense about needing a premium edition to get such features; Ubuntu users can have it all.

      • Kubuntu Linux 9.10

        I’m please to (mostly) give this release of Kubuntu a thumbs up. Yes, there were some things I didn’t like but overall I think this is a step up from the last release and it’s quite usable. I’d like to see a better software management tool but it is functional as it is (though it leaves much to be desired in some ways) and I don’t think it’s a show-stopper.

        Kubuntu can be used by beginners and more experienced users alike. However, beginners might want to opt for the KDE version of Linux Mint after it is updated to incorporate the latest version of Ubuntu (9.10). It’s not that Kubuntu isn’t worth using, it’s just that Linux Mint is a bit more elegant and includes additional software that makes using it easier and more comfortable right from the start.

        Still, I think that Kubuntu is worth a download and well worth considering if you’re a KDE fan.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 review: Karmic Koala

        Nonetheless, there’s virtually nothing an Ubuntu desktop machine can’t do that a Windows one can, and it’s all for free. For that reason alone it makes a lot of sense to at least consider a roll-out or a feasibility study to assess the costs of staff retraining, should you decide to abandon the Microsoft ship.

      • Review: Ubuntu 9.10 first look

        As Linux matures, it’s becoming more and more of an OS accessible to the average user. KK is another step in that direction. There are still a few foreign concepts for a Windows convert to absorb, but on the whole Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala, is a package that won’t be a horrible stretch for the novice, yet contains enhancements for the Linux guru as well.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MIPS Cores Offer 32-bit Punch at Near 16-bit Code Size

      The M14Kc core builds on the base M14K core with additional features for embedded applications such as home entertainment, home networking and personal mobile entertainment. These applications require a compact footprint but also the ability to execute increasingly complex software algorithms on an RTOS or Linux. Based on the popular MIPS32 4KEc™ micro-architecture, which provides a powerful Linux and Java engine and superior performance for the Android platform, the M14Kc core has a full cache controller and translation lookaside buffer (TLB) memory management unit (MMU).

    • Touch-panel PCs ship with PythonGDK support

      Techsol announced it is now shipping its Linux-ready Medallion Touch Panel Computers (TPCs) with Python-GTK support. The new support enables developers to develop embedded GUIs using Python-GTK on a desktop PC and easily load it onto Techsol’s TPC touch-panel systems, thereby accelerating proof-of-concept design, says the company.

    • MID runs Linux on dual-speed Atom

      Chinese manufacturer Soyea has begun taking orders for a mobile Internet device (MID) that runs Linux or Windows XP on Intel’s dual-speed, MID-oriented Z515 Atom CPU. Soyea’s Z5 is equipped with 1GB RAM, an 8GB SSD, a five-inch touchscreen, plus 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a three-megapixel webcam.

    • E Ink taps second semi firm for Linux-ready SoCs

      Marvell Semiconductor announced a partnership with electronic paper display vendor E Ink, targeting joint development of processors for e-readers. Based on Marvell’s new Armada SoCs (system on chips), the technology forms the basis of Android e-readers from Entourage Systems and Spring Designs and is also said to be available in turnkey platforms.

    • Barnes & Noble nobbled for ‘nicking’ Nook-e Reader notion

      Spring Design is suing Barnes & Noble for allegedly stealing its e-book reader designs.

    • Barnes & Noble sued over e-reader
    • Marvell shows off e-reader partners

      CHIP MAKER MARVELL is planning on cashing in on the expected popularity of e-readers with some new partners.

      Looking at the popularity and hype over readers like Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader, Marvell has seen an opportunity to get in on a growing market.

    • Bookeen Cybook Opus e-book reader

      None of this stops you from downloading DRM-free e-books, and here the news is more promising with the whole Project Gutenberg library and other gratis online sources at your fingertips. The Opus has 1GB of on-board storage which, Bookeen says, is enough for 1000 books. Not enough? There’s a Micro SD card slot in the Opus’ top edge.

    • MIPS32 core optimized for Linux, Android

      MIPS Technologies announced two new MIPS32 cores, including one that’s optimized for Linux. Both the M14K core and the M14Kc — a superset that incorporates Android-ready, Linux/Java microcode — support MIPS’ microMIPS instruction set architecture, enabling 1.5 DMIPS/MHz performance and advanced code compression that can reduce code size by 35 percent, says the company.

    • Cortex-A8 SoC family gains automotive, industrial members

      Freescale added four members to its ARM Cortex-A8 based i.MX51 family of system-on-chips (SoCs), supported with a Linux BSP and evaluation kit.

    • Phones

      • Deals around the state

        Verizon Wireless, in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards, last week unveiled the Droid, its first smartphone to run on Google Inc.’s open-source Android operating system.

      • Android is Sprint-ing ahead

        Can iPhone remain the king of smartphones? Will WebOS win back the Palm faithful? And what will 20+ Android phones on the market mean for the platform? It is going to be an interesting year. I’m looking forward to next year’s conference to see which players are left standing and in what positions.

      • Maemo and Android: Symbian’s open source rivals up the pressure

        While Symbian continues to dominate the smartphone market it could soon be facing increasing competition from a new quarter – Maemo.

        There’s no debating that the Symbian platform remains the daddy of the smartphone world: one in every two sold today carries the Symbian OS.

        But there could be clouds on the horizon. According to the analysts, while the number of Symbian phones sold will continue to increase over the coming years, its years of growth will eventually come to an end with a fall in device shipments in 2014.

      • Android phone sports 8.1-megapixel camera

        Sony Ericsson announced its first Android phone, along with a “UX” user interface targeting social networking. The Xperia X10 offers from 8 to 16GB of flash storage, a four-inch touchscreen, and an 8.1-megapixel camera with face recognition and geo-tagging, plus the usual 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS features.

      • Sony Ericsson announces its first Android handset: the XPERIA X10

        Available in “Luster White” or “Sensuous Black”, the 119mm x 63mm x 13mm device weighs 135g and features a 4in, 480 x 854 capacitive touchscreen display.

      • Sony Ericsson’s first Android phone highlights Microsoft’s shortcomings

        “Microsoft is being squeezed from one end by this open source approach from the likes of Android, Symbian open source, Maemo and LiMo, and squeezed from the other by RIM and Apple, which offer closed environments that users are very happy with,” she said.

      • Teleca joins limo Foundation

        Teleca, a world-leading supplier of solutions and services to the mobile industry today announced that it has joined the limo Foundation

      • Nokia Should Dump U.S. Smartphone Business, Sell Netbooks Instead

        A few things, however, are quite clear. The N900 runs on Nokia’s “other” operating system, Maemo, which is 80% based on Linux and is designed for better applications processing, storage, and browsing than typical smartphone operating systems. Nokia has put a lot of thought and effort into producing a device that integrates modern computing applications, such as the ability to run multiple chats simultaneously, and video capability from video streaming technology vendor Qik.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • US start-up punts family friendly netbook appliance

        Litl hasn’t said what OS the Webbook uses, but it certainly has a Moblin look about it, with its presentation of website bookmarks, contacts, media files, social networking accounts and so on as on-screen widgets. It has true widgets too.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 (karmic Koala) on Netbooks – Part 1 (Overview)

        So, with these changes I have ended up with what I consider to be a very usable netbook desktop for the standard Ubuntu distribution. I think it is good for experienced users, who know their way around and don’t need to have everything spread open in front of them all the time. Next up, I’ll take a look at the Karmic Netbook Remix, and see what has been done to make Ubuntu even more user friendly on netbooks.

      • Negroponte: XO-1.75 goes ARM, XO-2 is canceled

        An ARM based XO-1.75 on the other hand is much more of an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary step into the future. So many people, especially a certain Charbax, had long expected OLPC to move from an x86 to an ARM design.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Closed Source Detour

    You see, non-Free software is a detour on the way to Software Freedom. Sometimes you might have to take a detour to get to where you need to go, sure. But you’d rather not, and no one save perhaps a roadside vendor or two pretends that the detour route is just as good as the desired route.

    One does not choose not Free Software out of desire but one may settle on a not Free solution out of immediate necessity, but that actually a limited-term compromise. It’s not a matter of arguing that not Free software can’t be useful or should never be used; it is recognizing that not Free software is a detour, a distraction, something that increases the time it takes to reach the desired destination.

  • Open Source ‘Napster’ Resurrected After 8-Year Dormancy

    The team says the open source OpenNap 2.0, still under development, will ignore “copyrighted” music files in an attempt to avoid the sort of RIAA scrutiny that shut down the original Napster and its open source clone, the first OpenNap. They don’t seem totally clear on how to do this — only that it’s worth doing because when the first Napster came into being, no licensed online source offered a comprehensive catalog of music. Given today’s legitimate online music marketplace, these guys think it’s time for a non-infringing descendant of Napster.

  • Plone and Drupal: Different Approaches, Different Results

    When you start Plone, you spool up the Zope application server and then Plone on top of it. Zope tends to use quite a bit of RAM so expect very large memory footprints for Plone compared to a system run on LAMP architecture. Plone also spools a large number of content items into RAM as well. This feature is configurable and results in somewhat better performance if you have the RAM to handle it. My own view is that Zope and Plone are built with this large content cache to improve upon marginal performance, perhaps due to the custom object database that comes native to Plone.

  • SaaS as a security investment

    SMEs may not be spending so much on security, and some are turning to open source to reduce capex. Security may be seen as just another tick ­ and open-source products appear a low-cost alternative.

  • Skype open source? Ain’t gonna happen

    The blogosphere was all a-twitter yesterday when rumors surfaced that Skype, the popular internet telephony application, would be released as open source “in the nearest future“. It turns out that Skype’s plans are not so grandiose, and even if they were, questions about who owns the code would prevent it from happening.

  • Blender Game Competition 2010

    Dear diary…ermm readers *hust*… this is my first post on this blog so please be gentle with me! I am sort of helping out now and then since qudobup is busy with other stuff. Beeing a forum regular I had to help out of course, even if I might not have the time to post that often.

  • VIDEO: Open source software battles offer a lesson for business

    RedHat might not have been able to compete with software giants in terms of funding, talent, or even passion – but they did have one thing in their favor.

    In today’s new business TV show, RedHat founder Bob Young tells the story of the company he created, and how open source development revolutionised the software industry.

  • Professor issues proprietary e-health warning

    A health informatics professor from Sydney University today said Australia’s e-health systems should be strictly open source rather than using proprietary software.

  • Open-Source-Based Disaster Mitigation Applied

    The disaster management system has been used earlier by various institutions, NGOs and even individuals to help disaster mitigation including during the recent West Sumatra earthquake.

    Sahana is an integrated information system that was created to take on various disasters. The system enables the government to collaborate with NGOs, social organizations and volunteers to perform integrated steps.

  • With Zapatec Funambol has one stack to rule mobile open source

    Funambol has its developers in Italy, Zapatec in the Ukraine, but both have operations in Silicon Valley that will be consolidated in Redwood City. Zapatec CEO Dror Matalon will become vice president of emerging technologies for the combined company, said Funambol vice president of worldwide marketing Hal Steger.

    The combined company is focused on a tough problem for mobile developers, namely how do you create apps that integrate with native apps, yet don’t have to be completely rewritten for each platform.

  • Suretec Telecom helps holiday dreams come true with open source call recording

    Dreamticket contacted Suretec to discuss possibly installing an open source call recording system, that is, using software that does not entail hefty license fees. Such ‘open source’ software is fast being adopted by companies and local authorities alike, as there is greater choice and flexibility, increased security, greater reliability and stability, lower technology costs – and the use of open standards means vendor independence.

  • IDG

    • 5 open source billing systems to watch

      Collecting money from customers should be the easy part of your business, but an billing system that underperforms can make life unnecessarily difficult for CIOs.

      In this edition of 5 Open Source Products to Watch, we take a look at billing systems. That’s right, there are open source applications available for invoicing and billing customers. They’re open source, Web-based and can be extended and integrated to suit specific needs.

    • The Industry Standard using Drupal and Mollom

      The Industry Standard is a news and analysis site owned by IDG, a large publishing organization that publishes over 300 magazines in 85 countries!

  • Google

    • Google: The open-source savior we deserve

      Until we cross the border into Utopia, we’re going to continue to see the biggest investments in open-source innovation come from Google and its peers: companies with wallets fat with proprietary profits.

    • Google wheels out Chrome, Wave updates

      Google’s developers clearly missed all the Halloween fun, with both the Chrome and Wave teams slinging out updates yesterday.

    • Google Wave Sandbox is Now Open for Federation

      Google just opened the Google Wave developer sandbox for federation. Developers can now begin prototyping tools against WaveSandbox.com. Google tested earlier versions of Wave with a small number of developers on the Wave sandbox and this server will now become the platform for testing interoperability between different Wave servers. Google also released a how-to document that explains how to set up a Java-based Wave server over the weekend. More details about how to implement the Wave Federation Protocol can be found here.

  • Sun

    • Sun Microsystems Showcases Open Source Technologies at Educause 2009

      Showcasing its Open Computing portfolio and partner solutions at the Educause Conference 2009, Sun Microsystems is reinforcing its position as a leader in open source technologies for the education community. It today announced that Columbia University will use an open source Sun solution to run its digital preservation project, and also that the University of Zurich is deploying Project Wonderland projects to advance an ambitious global eLearning initiative.

    • Report: Oracle not yielding to EU with Sun buy

      EU antitrust regulators are concerned that Oracle, which has a large business in proprietary software, won’t be a good home for Sun’s open-source MySQL database business. According to the report, Oracle is unyielding, offering no concessions to deal with the EU’s concerns.

    • Pink Army Cooperative Uses Open Source Principles to Treat Breast Cancer

      One of the greatest things about the open source philosophy is that its principles can be applied to projects that help mankind. Content management systems, media apps, and gaming software all have their place in the FOSS ecosystem, but when projects like the Pink Army Cooperative come along, it reminds people of just how powerful the open source doctrine really is.

      Founded in March of this year, Canadian-based Pink Army Cooperative is using open source synthetic biology to create better drugs to fight breast cancer. The organization is comprised of members who pay $21 CDN to join the cooperative and, in turn, receive a small economic stake in the co-op.

  • Business

    • Open source software could help firms

      Firms could save £400 by using open source office programmes, £615 through free photo-editing software and £40 through free anti-virus protection.

    • ERP and CRM application OpenTaps 1.4 previewed

      The OpenTaps development team has announced the availability of the first preview of version 1.4 of OpenTaps, an open source ERP and CRM suite (Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management). OpenTaps is intended as a complete open source platform covering the areas of ERP, CRM and business intelligence. The software package utilises Apache OFBiz, BI tools Pentaho and JasperReports and Funambol Data Synchronisation Server. Funambol facilitates data synchronisation between mobile devices and for example the Outlook email client.

    • rSmart`s Sakai CLE & Support Solution Chosen by Johns Hopkins University, UC Davis and Other Leading Educational Institutions

      rSmart, the provider of enterprise support for open source application software in education, today announced impressive growth for its rSmart Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) software and support services. Fourteen new academic institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and University of the Pacific, as well as the open source Kuali Foundation, have implemented the rSmart solution this year.

    • Starting an open source business: preliminary thoughts

      The basic principles around revenue, profit, loss, taxes, payroll, overhead, accounting, sales, incorporation, health care, and human resources all apply. You can be a starving open source software entrepreneur as easily as a starving proprietary software entrepreneur. No one will excuse basic business failures and screw-ups just because you use open source. Make sure that you will produce a product that people want and in some way will pay for, no matter how indirectly.

  • Funding

  • Government

    • Michael Moore ignores capitalism’s blessings

      Open source is government-free and self-sustaining

      In fact, many public-domain innovations have developed into their own financially sustainable system. Much of the Internet is run by patent-free “open source” software. Open source permits anyone to modify a program, as long as their modifications are made publicly available.

      As some open-source projects reach millions of individual contributors, financial assistance is needed to pay for websites and data storage. Technology megacorporations, such as Cisco, happily sponsor open-source software; it not only gives them great publicity, but ensures access to software they find more efficient than commercial products.

    • DoD Thumbs Up to Open Source

      Chris heads federal affairs at Sun, Paul is GM of Red Hat’s public sector team, and John’s a Mercury Federal exec. Paul tells us the memo reiterates what early adopters already know: open source saves money, is scalable, secure, and easy to deploy. Paul’s also a member of the board of advisors at OSFA, an open-source coalition. John adds: the memo, along with the White House switching to Drupal, is a boom for business. “We’re already seeing the benefits.”

  • Openness

    • The case for open firmware

      If you’re a gadget junkie like me your house is probably similarly littered with devices that did a job once, and could still do so much more, if only the vendors kept them up with the times. Join with me in lobbying for open source firmware.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Finance

  • AstroTurf

    • House Scrutinizes Fake Letters Sent To Congress

      Over the summer, as the House prepared to consider sweeping climate change legislation, several lawmakers received letters on seemingly official stationery from the NAACP and the American Association of University Women. The letters warned lawmakers that the organizations had serious doubts about the bill Democrats were bringing to the floor.

    • House Panel Calls Out Energy Astroturfers for Corrupting Democratic Process

      Insley said ACCCE head Steve Miller, “You remind me of the guy who hired a hitman and said, ‘Just take care of the problem. Don’t tell me whether you’re using a knife or a gun.’” Inslee and Committee Chair Ed Markey (D-MA) said that when highly-funded lobbying campaigns are willing to spread lies and falsify documents in order to stop a bill, it corrupts…

    • Immaculate Deception: New “Coalition for Chemical Safety” is actually an industry front group

      It’s got pictures of kids and families. People of all colors. Gentle hands cradling our fragile planet. A hard hat resting on a pair of worn work gloves and a hammer. It says the coalition is “people like you.” It bears an uncanny resemblance to the website of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign, of which EDF is a founding member. But dig deeper and you’ll discover that the website of the “Coalition for Chemical Safety” is actually created and run by industry.

    • Chemical Industry Front Group Outed

      A freshly-minted front group, which proclaimed that it promoted “balanced chemical safety reform that protects public health, innovation, and economic growth,” has been outed.

    • U.S. Lobbyists Bypass the Financial Crisis

      The global financial crisis has bypassed the U.S. lobbying industry. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that “the year-to-date total spent on lobbying now stands at $2.5 billion through the end of September, with that sum supporting 13,428 individual active lobbyists.

    • Federal Lobbying Boom Continues, Third Quarter Reports Indicate

      During the third quarter, corporations, unions, trade associations and other special interests spent $849 million on federal lobbying, the Center for Responsive Politics has found. This is the largest single-quarter lobbying expenditure since firms began filing quarterly at the start of 2008 — about $8 million more than was spent during the third quarter of 2008.

    • Stanford Historian Robert Proctor vs. R.J. Reynolds: A Lot on the Line

      History is unkind to tobacco companies, and never more so than since a federal court in 2006 found the industry guilty of perpetrating 50 years of fraud and deceit upon the American people.

    • The PR firm Edelman is handling a crisis management campaign

      The PR firm Edelman is handling a crisis management campaign for Imperial Sugar to “pick apart claims” by a whistleblower about poor safety standards at the Port Wentworth refinery near Savannah, Georgia. Graham H.


      Edelman’s Atlanta crisis and issues management unit is helping Imperial Sugar pick apart claims by a former executive who has questioned safety measures at an Imperial plant in Georgia where 14 people died in a 2008 explosion.

    • Insurance Premiums for Focus Groups, and Shills

      According to columnist Rick Green of the Hartford Courant, Wendell told the crowd, insurance companies “spend enormous amounts of money in focus groups. They pay a lot of premium dollars to gauge public attitudes. It is a careful study of linguistics and knowing what motivates people and how to reach people on an emotional level.”

    • Conservative Transparency for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

      Conservative Transparency is a new website from the Media Matters Action Network of Media Matters for America. Although it is partisan, it serves as an excellent complement to the Front Groups portal and astroturf information on CMD’s SourceWatch website

    • Liberal group eyes conservatives’ connections

      A liberal advocacy group is launching a new Web site Tuesday that aims to document the financial and political ties of conservative groups, many of which have emerged as major political forces this year in fomenting opposition to President Obama’s policies.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Guy Who Helped Mod Cable Modems Arrested By The FBI

      What a world we live in: if you tinker too much with the electronic equipment you buy, you might get charged with a crime. That seems to be what happened to a guy in Oregon who helps mod cable modems. Now, clearly, some people can and do use modded cable modems to access cable service that they haven’t paid for, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons to hack your own hardware or to buy modded hardware.

    • Feds Charge Cable Modem Modder With ‘Aiding Computer Intrusion’

      An Oregon hardware hacker and author has been hit with federal criminal charges arising from his longstanding business of selling unlocked cable modems that can be used to steal extra speed from a broadband provider, or obtain free service.

    • Kentucky in no state to seize domain name

      Says the IPKat, this case does something to clarify the questions which many have asked concerning the fate of domain names the use of which is lawful in some jurisdictions but not in others. It seems that the fate of a domain name — which may be registered as or incorporate a trade mark — will depend on, among other things, the status of the foreign government and the juridical nature of its penal system. Says Merpel, I wonder how many people misread, as I did, fulltiltpoker.com as futilitypoker.com.

    • Feds Can Search Your E-Mail Without Notice, Judge Rules

      No matter how much of our personal lives exist in e-mail services such as Gmail, a U.S. District Court judge says if the government takes a look at your e-mail.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Gershwin Heirs Fight Over Copyright Royalties

      The heirs of George and Ira Gershwin (the famous songwriting brothers) were leaders (right alongside Disney) in the fight for copyright extension a decade ago. They insisted that it wasn’t about the money, but about making sure that their work wasn’t presented in a way of which they disapproved (“Someone could turn ‘Porgy and Bess’ into rap music” was the complaint from Mark Gershwin, conveniently ignoring that much of the Gershwin’s work pulled concepts from African American music). Yet, if it’s not about money, why are the Gershwin heirs suddenly involved in legal battles all about who gets the money?

    • Results From Our CwF+RtB Business Model Experiment

      The quick summary: we consider the experiment to have been a huge success.

      * We brought in approximately $37,000 total due to this experiment, mostly in the course of that first month.

    • Big Content: Using “moral panics” to change copyright law

      One of the top copyright lawyers in the US takes Big Content to the woodshed in his new book, saying that “the Copyright Wars are a fight against our own children and it is a fight that says everything about the adults and very little about the children.”

    • Dear Hulu: Stop Treating Me Like A Criminal

      The problem the industry is facing isn’t due to some guy in Europe catching The Colbert Report from across the sea. It comes from turning off legitimate customers and users who are sick of being treated like crap.

    • Millions of File-Sharers Hide Their Identities Online

      Millions of file-sharers have responded to the entertainment industry lobby by taking measures to hide their identities. A recent survey found that in Sweden alone, half a million Internet subscribers use anonymizing services. The findings further suggest that tougher anti-piracy legislation will boost these numbers significantly.

    • Joss Stone Reveals Why Lily Allen Hates Piracy

      Lily Allen, blah blah, piracy, downloading, It’s Not Alright, etc etc. Cutting through all the nonsense, comes a beautiful ray of light. Joss Stone says Lily hates piracy because she can’t sing.

      “Yeah, I love it. I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why,” Joss Stone said last year, referring to music piracy.

      “Music should be shared. The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music. So, I like it, I think that we should share.”

      “I don’t care how you hear it as long as you hear it,” she added. “As long as you come to my show, and have a great time listening to the live show it’s totally cool. I don’t mind. I’m happy that they hear it.”

    • Leslie Stahl Needs To Get a Clue About P2P

      Leslie Stahl had a piece Sunday night on 60 minutes on the supposed impact of piracy on the movie industry. (You can watch it here.) Her piece was so slanted toward the Motion Picture Association of America, it was almost laughable (if it weren’t so maddening).

    • Australian Radio Program On ‘Piracy’ What 60 Minutes Should Have Done

      The report goes in-depth in other areas as well, including a discussion on fair use/fair dealing, the history of copyright (and how it’s often been abused in the name of artists, when it really had nothing to do with them) and the importance of mashup/remix culture. It’s the sort of report that a program like 60 Minutes could have — and should have — done, but did not. Kudos to ABC radio down in Australia.

    • MPAA Tells The FCC: If We Don’t Stop Piracy, The Internet Will Die

      Never let it be said that the folks in Hollywood aren’t good at coming up with a totally fictional horror story. I just have a problem when they use it not to entertain, but to create a moral panic to push the government to pass laws in their favor.


      And, of course, it pushes for kicking file sharers off the internet (it hides this by calling it “graduated response,” of course, rather than the more common term “three strikes”). The filing also goes on about how the MPAA is just so sure that ISPs can stamp out piracy, and because of that, it thinks the government should force them to get on it.

    • More ACTA Details Leak: It’s An Entertainment Industry Wishlist

      The latest round of “negotiations” over the ACTA treaty continue in secret due to as yet unexplained national security reasons (despite the fact that the entertainment industry lobbyists have had full access to the document) are kicking off in Korea. Once again is becoming clear that the claims by US trade reps that ACTA did not represent any kind of major change in copyright law, and thus didn’t require public scrutiny, are nothing more than a myth. Despite ridiculous efforts to keep the document secret (some countries were given only physical, watermarked, copies of the latest drafts), some of the details are leaking out and it’s not pretty at all.

      The plan is modeled on the ridiculously misnamed “free trade agreement” between the US and South Korea from a few years back. It’s misnamed because it wasn’t about free trade at all, but massive protectionism for the American entertainment industry.

    • The ACTA Internet Chapter: Putting the Pieces Together

      The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotations continue in a few hours as Seoul, Korea plays host to the latest round of talks. The governments have posted the meeting agenda, which unsurprisingly focuses on the issue of Internet enforcement [UPDATE 11/4: Post on discussions for day two of ACTA talks, including the criminal enforcement provisions]. The United States has drafted the chapter under enormous secrecy, with selected groups granted access under strict non-disclosure agreements and other countries (including Canada) given physical, watermarked copies designed to guard against leaks.

    • Leaked ACTA Internet Provisions: Three Strikes and a Global DMCA

      Negotiations on the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement start in a few hours in Seoul, South Korea. This week’s closed negotiations will focus on “enforcement in the digital environment.” Negotiators will be discussing the Internet provisions drafted by the US government. No text has been officially released but as Professor Michael Geist and IDG are reporting, leaks have surfaced. The leaks confirm everything that we feared about the secret ACTA negotiations. The Internet provisions have nothing to do with addressing counterfeit products, but are all about imposing a set of copyright industry demands on the global Internet, including obligations on ISPs to adopt Three Strikes Internet disconnection policies, and a global expansion of DMCA-style TPM laws.

    • Secret copyright treaty leaks. It’s bad. Very bad.

      The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama’s administration refused to disclose due to “national security” concerns, has leaked. It’s bad. It says:

      * * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

Interview with Rafael Wysocki of Novell

Quick Mention: Boycott Novell Was Right About Microsoft Layoffs

Posted in Microsoft, Novell at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laser reaching

Summary: Microsoft lays off at least 800 more workers just days after Vista 7′s launch

LESS THAN a fortnight ago we wrote about layoffs coming on the 4th of November. We were right.

IDG is one among many publications that have the details: “Microsoft lays off another 800 workers”

Microsoft is laying off another 800 people, adding to the 5,000 the company has already let go this year.

Microsoft is already trying to spin this, as usual. There is more that Microsoft does not disclosure publicly because it is not obliged to.

More details will come later. Novell too announced layoffs, as we noted earlier today.

New Problems at Novell: Media Backlash, Layoffs, Pension Takeaways

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Mail, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell bleeds
“Novell is bleeding to Death” –Segedunum

Summary: Novell announces more layoffs, 401K pensions suspended as more business continues to be lost

SEVERAL people turned against Novell after it had insulted a GroupWise customer, the city of Los Angeles [1, 2, 3]. It’s not quite over yet. IDG News Service has this new article which is titled “Novell to Los Angeles: Drop Dead!” In conclusion it remarks:

How many of those CIOs do you think are looking for a graceful way to bail on Novell ASAP, lest they find themselves in the company’s crosshairs when change finally comes? If this is Novell’s idea of public relations, never mind, it’s hopeless.

Novell too is hopeless. Law.com has just published a new case study about a firm that abandons Novell’s GroupWise. Here is the relevant part:

The firm was using an outdated Novell GroupWise installation that was buckling under the massive amount of e-mail going back and forth between attorneys, staff and clients. To make matters worse, it didn’t integrate well with the firm’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Given that most of the firm’s 120 lawyers use BlackBerry devices as a primary means of communication, an outage on that end could mean the difference between getting a 200-page M&A agreement to the client with time to spare and missing the deadline altogether.

The firm decided to migrate from GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange 2007, but Cabreja had several concerns about both the migration and the subsequent management of the new Exchange site.

And finally arrive more Novell layoffs. We wrote about this last week after getting a word about it in IRC. The Register reveals that pensions too are affected, which means that a huge number of people are hurt.

The cuts come across geographies and departments and staff are getting severance packages based on length of service, a spokesman for the firm told CNet.

Novell is also suspending contributions to employees’ 401K pension pots.

The original report (the ‘scoop’) came from a former Novell employee, Matt Asay. He attempts to put some positive spin on it and he also mentions the treasonous patent racket with Microsoft, calling is a “partnership”.

Novell has spent the past few years attempting to reinvent itself as a Linux company, and it has managed to string together several quarters with strong earnings in its Linux business on the back of its controversial partnership with Microsoft. The company has struggled to compete effectively with Linux-leader Red Hat.

The first (and only) comment cheekily says: “Novell is still around?”

According to its latest press release (with a copy in Reuters), Novell has less than a month before the next financial report. It almost mentioned the “L” word (layoffs, not Linux) a couple of quarters ago.

Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL) today announced it will issue a press release providing its fourth fiscal quarter and full fiscal year 2009 financial results on Thursday, December 3, 2009, following the market close.

Watch what is happening at Novell’s board. Common stock transaction involving Novell’s director.

In other news, Rob Enderle congratulates his friend Steve Ballmer (they are secretly mailing each other) and takes a shot at Novell while he’s at it, saying that “Eric Schmidt belly flopped at Novell (granted Novell was on its death bed when he got it)…”

Microsoft’s hatred of both Novell and Google could not be made more obvious. It was just over a decade ago that Eric Schmidt joined Novell and Novell is still around, this time however serving as a Microsoft department, apparently to avoid bankruptcy. Here is the Microsoft CodePlex Foundation's Miguel de Icaza getting some karma points from SD Times for his work to advance .NET. That’s the type of news we find about Novell these days:

Windows & .NET Watch: A touch of Mono

If you track Microsoft technologies, you are probably aware of the Mono Project, an open-source implementation of the .NET development stack that runs on Linux and Mac as well as on Windows. The project is led by Miguel de Icaza and is sponsored by Novell.

Novell has come a long way, but even as a vassal of Microsoft it cannot avoid further layoffs. And now that pensions too are cut, maybe it’s time for remaining Novell employees to look for a different employer.

Miguel de Icaza
via Wikipedia

Joseph Stiglitz on Why TRIPS (Patents) is Like Murder

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents, Videos at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Summary: In a talk about intellectual monopolies, Joseph Stiglitz explains what those trade provisions really are about

THE following talk, just highlighted by our regular contributor Fewa, is described as follows: “Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz speaks about his book, “Making Globalization Work.” This event took place on October 13, 2006, at Google’s Mountain View, CA, headquarters as part of the Authors@Google series.

The part about TRIPS begins 16 minutes into the video, but there are other portions worth learning about. We wrote about TRIPS [1, 2, 3, 4] in relation to ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].

Other than the media, it is often said that the schooling systems are means for preparing the population to accept the point of view of those in power; it includes the patent system. People will hopefully use alternative sources of information like the Internet to learn how things really work and what their purpose is in practice.

“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.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Canada’s National Bureau of Economic Research: Patents Harm Poor People (and Help Rich People)

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Out on the streets

Summary: A new report sheds light on the lesser-known impact of patents on society, and sometimes life or death

BILL Gates and Microsoft happen to be some of the biggest fans (and investors) of pharmaceutical patents, which according to a new study from the Canadian authorities are actually leading to death of the world’s poor while vainly pretending to help (it’s no secret that today's patent system offers protection to the rich class). IP Watch has just a summary of the study:

Canada’s National Bureau of Economic Research today released a report on the relationship between patent protection for pharmaceuticals and investment in development of new drugs since the negotiation of the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The NBER report “Investments in Pharmaceuticals Before and After TRIPS” found that patent protection is associated with increases in research and development in developed countries, but “the introduction of patents in developing countries has not been followed by greater investment.”

We have already shown that the head of the USPTO acknowledges that patents are a “20-year monopoly”. Using the same logic, one blogger adopts a fantastic path of exploration, which goes under the headline “And the monopoly goes to…” (like “the Oscar goes to…”).

I’m not a great fan of patents, not because I’m against innovation, but because I don’t believe the patent system (especially in the United States) has kept up with, or modernized, in a way that actually encourages the widest possible public benefit at the lowest cost in the least amount of time. In other words, what we’ve learned from open source is that different types of competitive pressures in transparent markets can do as much if not more than centrally conferred monopolies over a given idea, implementation, or design.

Indeed, Free software (or “open source” as the author calls it) truly revolutionised development for the betterment of society as a whole, mostly capitalising on the information liberation facilitated by the Internet (and especially the World Wide Web). It is a democratising force that also promotes peer production, as the Linux Foundation proudly calls it. That’s productive capitalism at work.

Based on this news report from Wired, some people are still so selfish and greedy that they want a monopoly on human genes. This practice is fortunately being challenged by a judge now.

A federal judge ruled Monday that a lawsuit can move forward against the Patent and Trademark Office and the research company that was awarded exclusive rights to human genes known to detect early signs of breast and ovarian cancer.

Those who think that patenting life is outrageous ought to look at this new nugget of information.

Pepsi Told To Pay Over A Billion Dollars For ‘Stealing’ The Idea For Bottled Water


First, $1.26 billion? For the “idea” of filtered bottled water? And for a lawsuit filed nearly thirty years after the alleged conversation? Nearly fifteen years after the product came to market? Yeah, that makes sense…

It makes a lot of sense for people who use the patent system as their welfare system.

Bright OpenOffice.org Future, ODF News, and Antagonisers Spotted

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents, RAND, Standard, XPS at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Summary: A lump of news about OpenOffice.org, ODF adoption and events, and the usual resistance from Microsoft (through partners and ecosystem)

OpenOffice.org 3.2 is coming quite soon and Oracle is obliged to support it, which leads to responses like: “It was also good today to see a report on Oracle’s plans for OpenOffice.org. Sun Microsystems is OpenOffice.org’s founding and princip[al] sponsor, so the news that Sun was to be acquired by Oracle had set hearts fluttering in the open-source world.”

Over in India, it appears as though NASSCOM continues to act as a barrier to open standards and Free(dom) software [1, 2]. Here is the latest new article on the subject:

THE information technology (IT) industry in India is bitterly divided over the issue of technological standards to be adopted in e-governance processes. This problem stems from the fact that large, state-funded e-governance projects in the pipeline present the recession-hit IT sector with substantial business opportunities.

With the guidelines for setting these standards being finalised by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) under the National Policy on Open Standards for E-Governance, the debate on the nature of the standards – critical to the effective delivery of public e-services – is hotting up. Intense lobbying is on by those in favour of proprietary standards and by the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement, which is against it.

When the draft policy was tabled at the meeting of the apex committee of standards for e-governance in June, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) pushed for two modifications to it: the replacement of open and free standards with royalty-based ones, and allowing multiple standards in the same technological domain.


The first draft of the policy unambiguously states that the open standard chosen must be royalty-free for its lifetime, but subsequent drafts allowed for RAND terms to be invoked in the absence of an existing open standard. This loophole, FOSS supporters fear, may allow powerful lobbies to hijack these standards in a non-transparent environment inside committee rooms.

If, as the proprietary camp wishes, open standards are redefined as RAND exclusively, a substantial portion of the taxpayers’ money will go towards royalties and software monopolies will be entrenched into this growing segment.

Leading Indian IT companies have supported proprietary software; this was evident from the debate on India’s vote at the International Standards Organisation (ISO) on the Open Document Format versus Microsoft’s OOXML controversy.

“OOXML controversy” is an understatement. Those OOXML corruptions cannot be forgotten, only downplayed by the press. A few days ago we wrote about the OOXML BRM convenor, who was exposed, by no means for the first time [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are some interesting new comments being posted in Silva’s blog where Microsoft partner Jesper Lund Stocholm defends the OOXML corruptions and also his friend, Alex Brown, as always (later pretending that he is neutral. That’s rich!). It’s not a question of taking/choosing sides between vendors; it’s a case of some people choosing corruption of the process over justice, usually for personal gain. Microsoft’s politicisation of the issue (pretending it’s IBM versus Microsoft) was debunked here many times before.

Here is AbiWord 2.8.1, which has just been released with ODF support, as well as several other examples of how pervasive ODF has become, being a standard that is open, free, and one that everybody can implement trivially.

Enter “Solr Cell” (a play on Solr Content Extraction Library, Solr CEL), a Solr 1.4 feature that uses the content-extraction capabilities of Apache Tika to parse common office document formats. With Solr Cell, you can fairly quickly set Solr up to ingest PDF, OpenDocument, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, RTF, ZIP, and other document formats. This is a welcome development indeed.

It was rather upsetting to find this possibility that Microsoft might do with XAML [1, 2] what it did with OOXML and is trying to do with XPS these days. David Coallier wrote: “Just proposed a controversial ODF vs OOXML discussion for the #mswds … and the possibility of opening XAML :D”

We’re fine with (X)HTML+SVG, thank you.

“It was rather upsetting to find this possibility that Microsoft might do with XAML what it did with OOXML and is trying to do with XPS these days.”On the more positive side, Rob Weir is “Working on a demo, showing how to bring ODF data on the web using the ODFDOM Toolkit to generate Atom and JSON,” later adding: “Just finished writing my ODF/Atom/JSON mashups presentation. I am giving 5 presentations in 5 days. Drinking from the firehose.”

Weir refers to the event called by abbreviation “OOoCon”, which is taking place right now (November 3, 2009 – November 6, 2009). The ODF plugfest in Orvieto took place around the weekend (November 2-3, 2009), but there are hardly any reports from it.

Over at Wikipedia, despite the ongoing dispute, hAl is not permanently banned for poisoning the ODF article, as well as other articles that he changes in favour of Microsoft using spin, e.g. adding OOXML promotional links groomed by the Microsoft ecosystem and doing so again when facing resistance. We gave many examples in the past [1, 2].

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it.”

Steve Pepper

Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

George Orwell

Open is close enough

Summary: The manipulation of Europe’s interoperability framework (by Microsoft lobbyists and others) is made more visible; other news of relevance

Yesterday we wrote about the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), which Microsoft front groups were leaning on [1, 2, 3] until “open” almost came to mean “proprietary” and “patent-encumbered”. The original analysis has received a lot of response; for instance, Neko Nata compares this to Microsoft’s corruption of ISO and Bob Robertson quotes Orwell as follows: “Languages evolve, sometimes faster than others.” In ComputerWorld UK, E.T. Anderson compares it to “War is peace”.

Here is new coverage from The Register:

The European Union has long promoted open source software, but it seems that years of expensive lobbying by big software companies has finally worn down the bureaucrats’ resistance.

The latest version of the European Interoperability Framework – which aims to offer governments and businesses guidance on using open source software – has substantially weakened its definition of what open source is. This follows years of lobbying by the BSA, representing multinational, and substantially closed-source, companies.

Ars Technica covers this too:

The EIF’s new definition of openness is also troubling. The text no longer explicitly requires that patents on standards be made available under royalty-free terms. Royalty-free patent grants are important because they ensure that open source implementations of the standard can be created without serious intellectual property impediments. The new draft attempts to address that same issue, but does so poorly—it requires that the standard be possible to implement “under different software development approaches” and indicates that open source software is an example of one such approach.

The ambiguity is potentially problematic. There are some cases where standards are provided under terms that make it technically possible to create open source implementations but with significant impediments that inhibit broad downstream redistribution or make it practically unfeasible. An arrangement like the controversial deal between Microsoft and Novell is arguably an example.

Yes, part of Microsoft’s plan is to use patent deals (like that of Microsoft and Novell) to eliminate the Freedom of free software and to make it expensive. Steve Ballmer said at the beginning of 2007: “The deal that we announced at the end of last year with Novell I consider to be very important. It demonstrated clearly the value of intellectual property even in the Open Source world. I would not anticipate that we make a huge additional revenue stream from our Novell deal, but I do think it clearly establishes that Open Source is not free and Open Source will have to respect intellectual property rights of others just as any other competitor will.

The FSFE’s founder, Georg Greve, became aware of this EIF subversion and he immediately responded. Deep inside he is not a fan of Microsoft’s behaviour; just days ago he wrote: “Unethical, appaling and disgusting: #FamilyGuy corrupted by #Microsoft http://is.gd/4G5QH, a clear violation of http://is.gd/4G5Sh, it seems

One of our readers gave us input by mail, referring specifically to the news about Skype playing similar tricks with “open source” and interoperability (David Gerard compares it to Helix at Real). According to SJVN, Skype is not going Open Source any time soon. Well, not yet anyway.

The basis for this? Some correspondence between Skype technical support and a Mandriva Linux user (Skype supports generally older versions of Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu). In it, the French-speaking Skype technical support rep said that it’s possible that the final version of Skype for Linux will be open source.

That wasn’t much, but it did hint that it might be possible that Skype was going to at least make its Linux client open-source. I decided it was worth my time to look further.

I gave Skype a call in Luxembourg. A Skype public relations spokesperson quickly replied: “We appreciate our user community’s enthusiasm and realize this is something they have been wanting for a while. We realize the potential of the open-source community and believe that making Skype for Linux an open source application will help to speed up its development and enhance its compatibility with different versions of Linux. While it is our goal to make Skype for Linux source code available to the community in the near future, we are not at a point to disclose an exact release date yet.”

Our reader explains: “It seems Skype is joining the effort to mislead the public about openness and to try cash in on the need for FOSS while not actually providing it.” A sort of retraction has just been posted.

Our reader continues as follows: “It would be great if it were true that Skype really released an open source package, but like most things that are too good to be true, it isn’t true. The new Skype will be neither open source nor open standards. It will contain a blob and still use that same tired old insecure, proprietary protocol instead of SIP.”

He then cites the original story about EIF being subverted by Microsoft and its allies. “This comes at a time where the word, and advantages, of ‘open’ are under attack even in the EU,” he explains. He adds some links for perspective:

“You’d think that with recent news

Der Spiegel: Mossad hacked Syrian computer to uncover nuclear site

“…and with not so recent news

US software ‘blew up Russian gas pipeline’
The Farewell Dossier
[ISN] Interview: Theo de Raadt of OpenBSD

“…and with downright old news

David A. Wheeler’s Page on Countering Trusting Trust through Diverse Double-Compiling (DDC) – Countering Trojan Horse attacks on Compilers

“…and with just plain ancient news

Reflections on Trusting Trust

“…that jobs, economies and sometimes lives are at stake.”

This leads to another important issue which is cost/debt, not just death.

We previously wrote about Windows malware at NASA facilities that are located in space [1, 2]. They foolishly relied on Microsoft Windows and another reader of ours wrote about “anti virus software on the ISS” in light of this new interview:

Have you ever had hackers infiltrating the ISS systems?

“The software we use to interface with the ground is just a file transfer back and forth, and it would be a very difficult thing to do. The chances of someone hacking up into the station is pretty much non-existent and it has never happened. Even if they could, the laptops themselves do not have a critical function like life support. There is a set of laptops that do provide the crew with cautions and warnings, but from a daily standpoint the astronauts really don’t use them — the ground monitors everything for them.”

“This is 2009,” says our reader, “we should all be going round in flying cars, yet even NASA can’t protect itself from Microsoft Viruses… From the tone of the questions, it’s even considered normal to get ‘viruses’.”

Even Microsoft is finally admitting the scale of the Windows worms epidemic, soon using “malware” to encourage people to pay more to Microsoft.

Microsoft blames malware on illegally copied software


Jeff Williams, the principal group program manager for the Microsoft Malware Protection Center claims there is a link between use of illegally copied software and malware infection rates.

They are just trying to upsell “licensed” Windows and charge for it in places where Microsoft does not really mind counterfeiting because it is used as a weapon against GNU/Linux adoption.

Our reader Ryan (fourth one mentioned in this post) sent us a pointer to this new Microsoft patch, which he summarises as “new IE patch patches the last patch.” Yes, Microsoft can't even get its patches to work right the first time. It usually means that the code is messy and thus hard to maintain (modify reliably). Ryan also points out that T-Mobile is suffering another major outage following the Sidekick fiasco that we wrote about in:

The next post will look at more distortion of openness, in the context of document formats.

Godwin 2.0

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent smear campaign labels Boycott Novell a “software taliban”

Yesterday I found the following link to an insulting piece about critics of Mono, amongst other controversial elements that may prove harmful to the freedom of Free software. People whom the author disagrees with are being compared to the taliban. To be fair, the post may not be the original source of such strong terminology (it was most likely coined elsewhere based on prior observations where Boycott Novell specifically gets labeled that), but it is still akin to the cheapening of terms like “terrorism” in order to advance goals. Here is the part about Mono:

Whilst the software taliban’s fixation with Mono is unfortunate, their targeting of applications written using Mono is far worse. Many developers have chosen to use C# as their preferred language for application development on Linux. And a number of high quality applications have been the result. Why should the developers’ perfectly reasonable language choice result in the Mono uninstall fest that greets every new version of Ubuntu for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the application itself?

The title of this post is “The talibanisation of software,” where “taliban” is apparently some kind of a dodge/workaround for Godwin’s law.

“By using words like “taliban” they are dodging verboten insults like “Nazi” but coming across as shameless daemonisers nonetheless.”We have already explained how “religion” is used to smear passionate Free software proponents [1, 2, 3]; even “terrorism” is sometimes used as a slur. “It’s becoming more common,” says Glyn Moody, “we need to call it out as being Godwin 2.0″

Many of these tactics come about when the subject of Microsoft is brought up. A lot of people prefer to ignore Microsoft’s constant attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Now that an “open-source” (not really “Open Source”) company agrees to a partnership with Microsoft it is only reasonable to raise doubts, without the opposite side resorting to name-calling, smears, distortions, and so forth. By using words like “taliban” they are dodging verboten insults like “Nazi” but coming across as shameless daemonisers nonetheless.

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