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11.30.09

Links 30/11/2009: KDE 4.4 Preview, VirtualBox 3.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • One More Turkey? ‘Fired for Using Linux’

    It’s still not uncommon to find sites that don’t work with Firefox, Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson told LinuxInsider.

    “My first response is to try with Opera; sometimes it works,” she said. “After that, I boot my laptop into Windows, do the updates that have accumulated in the six months since the last time I booted Windows, then go to the site.”

  • Linux rescues a failing hard drive

    Over Thanksgiving, I had to deal with a Windows XP laptop, belonging to a relative, that blue screened during startup. Normal startup failed, as did safe mode, safe mode with command prompt and Last Known Good.

    The first question that always needs to be answered in these situations is whether the problem is hardware or software. To that end, I booted the computer using my favorite rescue disc, the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4WIN).

    The CD started, from the main menu, I chose to run UBCD4WIN, but it eventually hung on a totally blank screen.

    [...]

    I do travel with a copy of Linux on a USB flash drive, but the computer was too old to boot off a USB connected device.

    So I removed the hard drive from the laptop and took it home. That the hard drive rattled when shaken did not make me optimistic.

  • Google

    • Ubuntu, Google, and the Future of Linux. And rsync too.

      Chrome OS is a cloud-based application delivery platform, built for a very specific purpose, namely those little netbooks. Your data and the heart of the applications in Chrome OS live in Google’s cloud. A lot of people will be very happy with that. There are, however, countless other applications that aren’t suited to the cloud-based model. Applications that can only realistically live on the desktop (at least for the foreseeable future). Desktop Linux, and Ubuntu by extension, will continue to thrive there and to evolve into something even greater than what it is today. Chrome competes with Microsoft where Microsoft is, er, softest. The cloud.

    • Google chart shows which netbooks run Chrome OS best

      The chart details which systems have been “officially” tested by developers and reveals what hardware works and what doesn’t. Several models are listed, but I’ve simplified things a bit. Listed below are models on which everything works – 802.11 wireless, ethernet, touchpad, and suspend/resume.

    • Make my OS Faster

      Google certainly has the clout to market this OS to the masses, and brand recognition that won’t make people run for the hills. It’s still Linux, but people won’t know about it, and therefore won’t be scared of trying it. Could chrome be the first user friendly, mainstream Linux distro tailored towards non-geeks using legacy hardware?

      It’s certainly interesting. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the OS to see if it will follow the same high quality design as most other Google products. I’m also very curious as to how it will be received by mainstream, non-technical population.

    • Chrome OS Gains Open Source Home
  • Kernel Space

    • AMD R600/700 DRM Interrupts Support Pushed

      One of the underlying features that has been lacking from the ATI R600/700 DRM / kernel mode-setting driver on Linux has been support for interrupts, which is needed for the sync-to-vblank operation and other important areas.

  • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME

    • KDE

      • KDE 4.4 dev: What’s new?

        I have managed to find some time to cover the recent changes in the development version of KDE 4.4. The number of changes is not impressive but they are interesting enough to write an article.

        [...]

        To my great surprise, the whole thing works fast and the system is responsive. I haven’t encountered a single crash when playing with KDE 4.4 r1055000. This makes my hope that the next release of my favorite desktop envoronment will be a great success.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva Linux 2010 GNOME – Solid and Sweet

      After running Mandriva Linux 2010 GNOME for a couple of days, I could say, Mandriva Linux 2010 GNOME edition is as stable as its predecessors with newer versions of popular software and makes a great desktop experience.

    • New Releases

      • Release: Debris Linux 2.0 Final

        After a long time of development, we finally present Debris Linux 2.0.

      • Macpup Foxy 3

        Macpup Foxy 3.0 is the latest from the Macpup team. Macpup Foxy 3.0 is based on puppylinux 4.31.1 (k2.6.30.5) a bug fix version by Ttuuxxx. It also includes all the updates from the 4.3.1 servicepack.Fox 3 has all the apps from 4.3 plus Firefox (updated to 3.5.4) and Gimp 2.6.3. Fox 3 also Has Dbus 1.2.16 & Sakura 1.2.3 compiled and installed from source. The Enlightenment e17 window manager version .062 was also compiled and installed from source.You can also use jwm. Use the exit menu to change window managers, In e17 that is the exit icon on the desktop. Please note that not all the options in the e17 system shutdown menu work with puppy linux. That is why the exit menu was added.

      • Musix 2.0
      • PUBLICACIÓN DE MOLINUX-NETBOOK 5.0 “DOROTEA”
    • Red Hat Family

      • 5 Fun things in Fedora 12 (Video)

        I recently got a Kodak zi8 video recorder. It works great in Fedora 12 so I was inspired to create a 15-minute video highlighting five fun things in Fedora 12.

      • RedHawk Linux 5.4 Advances Real-Time Functionality and Performance

        Concurrent (Nasdaq: CCUR), a leading provider of time-critical Linux® operating systems, integrated software and computer solutions for mission-critical applications, today announced RedHawk Linux 5.4, a new version of its popular real-time operating system. RedHawk Linux is widely used in time-critical applications in simulation and training, data acquisition, imaging, financial services and process control. RedHawk guarantees that a user-level application can respond to an external event in less than 15 microseconds on certified platforms.

      • Real-time Linux distro boosts multiprocessor support

        Concurrent has revised its Red Hat-based real-time Linux distribution, adding support for Intel Nehalem and AMD Opteron processors with up to 48 cores, among other enhancements. RedHawk Linux 5.4 also improves NUMA performance and provides enhanced Nvidia drivers that support Nvidia’s “Cuda” parallel computing technology, says the company.

      • rPath Expands Operating System Coverage with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5

        rPath, an innovator in automating application deployment and maintenance, today announced a management solution for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux(R) operating system. The move expands the rPath release automation platform beyond operating systems such as Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise and Ubuntu to include Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5. This provides Red Hat customers a solution for low-overhead, compliant system provisioning and maintenance across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 170

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #170 for the week November 22nd – November 28th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Jono Bacon: Introducing Lernid, Mackenzie Morgan Interview, New Developers, LoCo News: Maryland, Massachusetts, Chile & Nicaragua, Ubuntu Forums Tutorial of the Week, The Planet: Laura Czajkowski, Andres Rodriguez, Amber Graner, & Harald Sitter, Full Circle Magazine #31

      • My 14 Days With Ubuntu

        I can’t believe it has been two weeks already that I’ve used Ubuntu Linux exclusively. If I had to sum up the experience 100x100ubuntuin one word, that word would be “satisfying.” And my regular readers/listeners know that I can’t sum anything up in one word, so I will use this format to provide a complete synopsis of my Ubuntu thoughts.

        [...]

        Will I continue to use Ubuntu? Absolutely, as my primary laptop? Will I give up my Windows PC? Not until all the support that I give lies only in Linux, which unfortunately won’t be any time soon.

      • Linux Mint 8 (Helena) Released

        So far I have only installed Linux Mint 8 on my two HP 2133 Mini-Notes – but they are probably two of the most difficult systems. I will add a short note here once I have it installed on all of the other systems, with notes and comments as necessary.

        By the way, I have already confirmed that Linux Mint 8 does not have the irritating 60-second delay on Logout/Reboot/Shutdown (Hooray!).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • HMI PCs move to the Atom

      Kontron has enhanced its family of thin-client HMI (human-machine interface) devices. The fanless “Micro Client IIA” devices feature touchscreen displays from seven to 15 inches, CompactFlash storage, and 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors, the company says.

    • Phones

      • Google Phone: What’s it gonna be?

        Rumors of a ‘Google phone’ are almost as frequent as those of an Apple iTablet, but the search giant may indeed release some form of hardware platform in January.

        Despite blog speculation, and even ‘leaked photos’, of full-blown Google smartphones, it is unlikely that the company will compete with its own licensees. Instead, we would expect it to release a series of reference designs that can be used, in particular, by low end or white label suppliers, to extend Android’s reach – and that of Google’s web services – beyond the smartphone.

      • Nokia ditching Symbian for Maemo?

        The world’s largest mobile phone maker Nokia is reportedly contemplating of moving all its N-series devices to open source Linux-based Maemo 5 platform from the current Symbian platform by 2012. But is it a good idea?

      • Nokia “not prepared” for smartphone onslaught; could sell its handset business

        In an interview published this morning in the German magazine Wirtschaftwoche, Mr. Vanjoki, who is also Nokia’s head of marketing, admits too that his company needs to work harder to improve its mobile Internet products if it is to to stay in contention with the likes of Apple, Google and Research in Motion – the manufacturer of the increasingly popular Blackberry PDAs.

      • Nokia plans one Linux phone next year -source
    • Sub-notebooks

      • First look at Kubuntu Netbook Edition 9.10 Technology Preview and the KDE Plasma-Netbook 4.4 interface

        By now almost anyone who keeps up with Ubuntu knows about the Ubuntu Netbook Edition (formerly Ubuntu Netbook Remix). What many people are not aware of is that there is now a Kubuntu Netbook Edition and an Ubuntu Moblin Remix in development as well. By the time Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is released next April netbook users will have three Ubuntu variants customized for their smaller systems. Development versions of the forthcoming Kubuntu and Moblin variants were released simultaneously with Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” in September. This week we take a look at the Kubuntu Netbook Edition 9.10 Technology Preview. Since the name of the release is more than a mouthful I’ll refer to it as KNE from here on.

      • Lenovo IdeaPad S12

        Price: 276
        Tech Specs:
        OS: Ubuntu for Netbooks Remix
        CPU: Intel Atom (1.6GHz)
        RAM: 1GB
        HDD: 160GB
        Dimensions: 292mm x 216mm x 22-28.9mm

      • Relaxing the netbook laws

        Meanwhile, Acer has given us a return to Linux on the netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Will We Use on June 30, 2011?

    customer: I upgraded from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate. When I did, Microsoft Mail program disappeared. I called Microsoft who told me to do this and that to bring it back but it still is not there. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    manager: That’s Microsoft for you.

    customer: Is there a separate Microsoft product I can buy to bring back Microsoft Mail?

    manger: No. Sorry. I don’t carry anything like that. Sorry I can not help.

    ble: Mind if I make a suggestion?

    (exit stage left store manager)

    customer: Sure.

    ble: I am writing down a website were you can get a free mail program called “Thunderbird.”

    customer: Yes! I have heard of that. I use Firefox too. I do not know why I never thought to use Thunderbird for my mail.

  • Announcement: VirtualBox 3.1 released

    Today Sun released VirtualBox 3.1, a major update introducing the following major new features:

    * Teleportation (aka live migration); migrate a live VM session from one host to another

    [...]

  • VirtualBox 3.1.0 arrives, adds teleportation support

    More details about the release can be found in the Change Log. VirtualBox 3.1.0 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris. VirtualBox is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2) and VirtualBox binaries are released under the VirtualBox Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL) licence.

  • I am the very model of an open source sensational
  • Latest Open-Xchange Makes Webmail and Social Network Integration Easy

    Open-Xchange, a leading provider of open source groupware, today announced enhancements that simplify the aggregation of e-mail and contact information, giving users access to their data anywhere, anytime and with any device.

  • Orange launches open source NFC application developer toolkit

    Mobile network operator Orange has developed an NFC Application Developer Toolkit and made it available as open source software. IzyNFC is designed to enable the development of mobile NFC applications based on a SIM-centric architecture and Java platform.

  • Terracotta Acquires Quartz Job Scheduler

    Java clustering infrastructure provider Terracotta has acquired the popular Quartz open-source job-scheduling software, filling a gap in its ability to support scaleout in virtualized environments.

  • Open-Source’s HighTower Announces New Hires

    Chicago-based HighTowers, an advisor-owned financial services firm described by company officials as serving “high net worth clients,” reportedly announced that it has “deepened” its open-source platform and services with the addition of new international capabilities and advisory talent.

  • Ten Top Tips For A Successful Website

    The range of options has grown dramatically in recent years, and the relative merits of Software as a Service, Open Source and proprietary solutions can be difficult to understand. While it is tempting – especially in the recession – to buy purely based on cost, businesses should be cautious of low price points and consider the long term implications of an e-commerce solution.

  • Mozilla Sea Monkey

    SeaMonkey is available for free download for all platforms, namely Windows, Mac and Linux. As it is built on the open source Mozilla Gecko rendering engine – the same one as used in Firefox, Camino and other browsers released by the Mozilla team – SeaMonkey renders pages in the same manner in which Firefox does. Let’s take a look at each of the components of SeaMonkey.

  • Management

    • Hosted Version of the Drupal CMS is Taking Shape

      As a hosted version of one of the most popular open source content management systems, Drupal Gardens promises to speed up how quickly content owners can produce useful sites, and more. Many newspapers and other types of sites are switching to Drupal, and a cloud-based Drupal service could also help facilitate workers contributing content from distributed remote locations. According to Rodrigues’ post, Dries Buytaert refers to the project’s promise as “design to online in hours.”

    • Alert: What’s Coming for Open Source CMS in December 2009

      In late November, the Japanese version of Movable Type 5 (news, site) was released. The rest of the world’s Movable Type 5 is expected in early December.

    • rSmart Adds Support for Open Source Kuali Financial System

      rSmart, which develops open source applications for the education sector, has launched a new professional services offering to support the Kuali Financial System (KFS). KFS was launched earlier this year by the Kuali Foundation, with new deployments at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins; the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA; and San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA. The latter two institutions are also the first two customers for the new service offering.

  • VoIP

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Linux: Freedom or Freakdom?

      What I found was a man who is profoundly dedicated to a cause. RMS is the type of person you see on TV, mostly in shows about lawyers and crime-fighting who give the long, inspiring and fictitious* speeches in the courtroom spouting dialog about freedom, what it means to be free and our Founding Fathers’ original purpose.

  • Government

    • Rafael Martín Espada, CIO, Government of Extremadura. Spain Says Open Source Is Critical For Development

      The use of open source software is fundamental to a sustainable and technologically independent development, says Rafael Martín Espada, Director General of ICT, regional government of Extremadura.

      “We have a long list of recommendations that we are willing to share with all administrations that are considering open source”, Espada said last week Thursday at a seminar in Brussels.

      The region for instance advises to take fiscal measures to promote the creation of open source business. “Make its adoption a priority for public administrations. Use open source when you are organising electronic polls, stress its use in your development strategy and build demo centres to increase the trust in this type of software.”

Leftovers

  • Gov targets boozers as Manc ID card scheme launches

    And it does seem odd that the government has been reduced to encouraging youngsters to sign up for the ID card, so that they can continue to binge drink. Then again, this is the same government that brought in round the clock drinking, so they can’t be all bad.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • More ACTA Leaks; Still Looking Really Bad

      Yet again, despite all the secrecy and bogus claims of “national security,” the details behind what’s being proposed in ACTA have leaked, and they don’t look good at all. It’s basically an attempt to force the worst of the DMCA on much of the rest of the world, with a few carefully chosen modifications. While there are lots of issues, it’s worth noting the most basic of all, found in the first paragraph that contains the “general obligations” of participating countries.

    • EU ACTA Analysis Leaks: Confirms Plans For Global DMCA, Encourage 3 Strikes Model

      The European Commission analysis of ACTA’s Internet chapter has leaked, indicating that the U.S. is seeking to push laws that extend beyond the WIPO Internet treaties and beyond current European Union law (the EC posted the existence of the document last week but refused to make it publicly available). The document contains detailed comments on the U.S. proposal, confirming the U.S. desire to promote a three-strikes and you’re out policy, a Global DMCA, harmonized contributory copyright infringement rules, and the establishment of an international notice-and-takedown policy.

    • One Misguided Tweet Is ‘Indisputable’ Evidence That Piracy Harms Movies?

      From this, Captain Kibble alerts us to an accurately described “rant” at ScreenRants.com about how this is “indisputable” evidence that piracy harms movies. The basis of that claim? Reese’s heat of the moment claim that this could impact the making of a sequel. According to the ScreenRants folks, this suggests it’s a fact that movie piracy is harming movies. Of course, there’s no actual evidence that there is any decreased interest in making a Zombieland sequel. In fact, since the highest grossing movies almost always correlate to the most shared movies online, it seems that being a top pirated movie also likely has extremely high correlation with movies that get sequels.

    • Mininova pulls in its shell, but is it down for the count?

      I keep reading about the big brother of copyrighted content going all gun ho on doing whatever it can to shut down torrent web sites. The latest victim is the www.mininova.org torrent site which has been forced to limit itself to content distribution serviced according to a recent court ruling.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 07 (2007)


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

Eye on Microsoft: Black Screen of Death, Anti-virus Uselessness, Windows Botnets

Posted in Security, Windows at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TFT screen close-up

Summary: A group of new links about Microsoft security and reliability going terribly wrong

Prevx blames Microsoft for black screen down (also see: Eye on Microsoft: A Black Screen of Death Ahead of Microsoft’s Results)

Microsoft’s most recent release of security patches is causing some computers to freeze and display a, er, black screen of death.

The glitch is affecting Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems, according to software security firm Prevx.

[...]

Microsoft’s latest modification to ACL registry keys have rendered some installed apps as useless, by preventing them from running and causing a black screen to appear.

New Bios attack renders anti-virus useless

A new form of attack that installs a rootkit directly onto a computer’s Bios system would render anti-virus software useless, researchers have warned.

Jose Nazario on Botnets and the History of DDoS Attacks [via, reader's comment: "no mention of the Microsoft Windows root botnet"]

Over the course of a few days in February 2000, a lone hacker was able to bring some of the Web’s larger sites to their knees, using just a few dozen machines and some relatively primitive software to cripple Yahoo, eBay, E*trade, Amazon, ZDnet and others for hours at a time. No one knew it at the time, but these attacks would come to be seen in later years as some of the earlier outbreaks of what has become a massive online pandemic.

Patent Tax and Microsoft Tax in Europe: An Update

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tax forms

Summary: A look at the Gemstar case, ACTA-EU leak, Microsoft’s second “TV tax”, and an older video reedited

EARLIER today we mentioned the Gemstar case, but the article cited was in German. The president of the FFII passes around a link to this document [PDF], which is a leak. He claims that it “shows they are trying to include patents in the ACTA treaty.”

The EU is “trying to define “non-commercial hyperlink” in leaked ACTA position paper,” he adds later. But more importantly perhaps, he also found this report in English about the Gemstar decision. It opens as follows:

Virgin Media has succeeded in the patent dispute brought against it by Gemstar TV Guide. The London High Court rulings call into question the ability for intellectual property rights holder Rovi to enforce its patents both in the UK and with operators around the world.

Gemstar, now part of Rovi, had claimed the cablenet’s EPG had breached three patents – EP 0969662, EP 1377049 and EP 1613066 – which were involved in the display and transfer of programme information and metadata. BSkyB, Foxtel, Portugal Telecom, Sky Italia and UPC Broadband have all signed up to Rovi’s patent programme.

What will be the final verdict about this patent parasite, which is going after cable companies everywhere? Virgin Media seems safe in the UK. And speaking of which, one of our readers argues that “Microsoft [may want] to charge UK TV License payers twice”

Here is the reasoning in a nutshell:

You may be a UK license payer, but that means nothing to Microsoft. (IMO)

Xbox 360 owners who were hoping for a BBC iPlayer experience may have to hold off a little longer (or maybe even for good).

In my opinion the following comment made allegedly by a source close to the BBC shows exactly how Microsoft likes to operate. How much money can it make out of a product? As much as people will blindly shell out! (IMO)

[...]

It could be said (and its my opinion) that Microsoft never really grasped the online TV market. Since ITV and Channel 4 both dumped Silverlight, that must have been a cutting blow to them, Microsoft didn’t even seem to see the potential in the Bluray, opting instead for the HDvd and then getting burnt when it lost to Bluray. Microsoft mainstay in the home? I don’t think so.

UK taxpayers have already paid hefty bills to Microsoft, for the development of a Windows-only BBC iPlayer.

Going back to FFII’s president, he has also just done some cropping of an older video to show that “Nellie Kroes [is] strengthening Microsoft monopoly with software patents”

We have the full video (as Ogg) right here. Nellie Kroes is now removed from Competition Commissioner chair, so it remains to be seen how Joaquin Almunia succeeds.

Google’s Quick Booting of Microsoft (and Why Google Should Not Hire from Microsoft)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poison pills on the road to domination

Poison pills

Summary: Google is shaping up to become Microsoft’s worst nightmare, but it is also making the mistake of hiring people currently/formerly associated with Microsoft

LAST MONTH we argued that Google is valuable when it comes to eliminating (or removing the teeth of) a company which is attacking GNU/Linux from many directions. Since then, the main development that took place is Google's public demonstration of a GNU/Linux product with which it enters the desktop arena, Microsoft’s bread and butter. Microsoft is by all means worried about this (many supportive links were posted daily over the past week), even if it pretends that it’s not. Microsoft played a similar game of nonchalance against NC.

A few hours ago we linked to an article which explains that Mozilla and Microsoft could be falling behind because of Chrome OS. The operating system boots very fast and performs basic tasks that may not appeal to technology professionals although they fulfill all the needs of the large majority of computer users (Google conducted use case studies). Gigaom has this new article about dual-booting as standard, being quite a disruptive possibility which already materialises even without Google. People may no longer think of Windows as something which is ‘bolted onto’ computers.

The idea that you don’t have to use just one operating system on a single computer is, of course, hardly new. Many people use virtualization software to run multiple OSes concurrently. Manufacturers such as Dell have long offered pre-configured dual-boot systems, and specialize in virtualized systems for data centers. Many people also use lightweight Linux-based instant-on environments such as Splashtop as secondary platforms. For that matter, 20 years ago people ran DOS and Windows on single systems — working in both.

[...]

Hardware makers, as well, are thinking of strategic opportunities involving multiple mobile operating systems, and a notable trend is taking shape as PC makers rapidly warm up to Android. While PC makers such as Dell and Acer favor Android for their smartphones, Acer also sells an Aspire One netbook that runs both Android and Microsoft Windows. The company is pursuing that idea in spite of the fact that Google is positioning its upcoming Chrome OS as a platform for netbooks, while maintaining that Android is targeted at mobile phones.

Speaking of sub-notebooks, earlier today we wrote about what Microsoft had done to limit their appeal. The following new article states that “Netbooks [are] a necessary evil” for Microsoft and Intel. It’s a quote from the following man:

Canalys CEO Steve Brazier went a step further, saying “Netbooks have been a necessary evil for Wintel. They have kept the industry going this year, but have been detrimental to (Microsoft) and Intel.”

There is nothing evil about supplying what customers want. What is evil is a leverage big enough (Microsoft and Intel are both committing crimes for market share and consequently found guilty) to enable manufacturers to tell customer what they want. If that was to occur, it would be indicative of failure when it comes to market forces theory.

Regarding Google and GNU/Linux again, one reader of ours senses what he calls “funky smell”, arguing that “Google bought Maratech, which poses as a distance collaboration company.”

“It can’t be good for Google to have people working against them inside their own company.”
      –Anonymous
Our reader insists that “Luleå is infamous for having Microsoft folks and Microsoft apologists posing as technologists or software developers. Some will even go so far as to us an office at other institutions to pretend that that the remote institution is into Microsoft.”

“It can’t be good for Google,” he argues, “to have people working against them inside their own company. That would lead to weird actions like the strange decision to marginialize Linux by eliminating Gimzmo5 clients from Linux.” How about the recent hiring of Don Dodge? Dodgy decision from Google.

“At a time when Google is adding two more Linux operating systems, Android and ChromeOS, to their offerings, both acquiring Marratech and intentional trouble for Gizmo5 are at odds with Google’s history,” concludes our reader.

Our reader suspects that Marratech might be to blame, but he phrases it more rudely: “Maybe that funky smell is Marratech?”

More on the Hidden Costs of Vista 7

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Vista 7, Windows at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Meh starts now

Summary: Time to upgrade other Microsoft software along with Vista 7, pressures Microsoft

BUSINESSES are avoiding [1, 2] Vista 7 not just because of bugs (many wait for Service Pack) but also because of compatibility issues, which sometimes require buying new hardware and software. Here is the latest such example, courtesy of LifeHacker: “How Microsoft Conspires To Anger Paying Office Customers”

My main reason for writing this post is that Microsoft has managed to conjure up a scenario for new Windows 7 users which makes Outlook all but unusable for Office 2003 users, and which can only be fixed with a bizarre combination of freeware tools, including a Linux boot CD. I spent an inordinate amount of time over the weekend trying to fix the problem on a friend’s new Acer notebook, so I figure it’s worth sharing.

[...]

Fixing the problem is one thing, but the question of why Microsoft wants to force people with perfectly valid software to go through ridiculous hoops on a brand-new system remains. The cynical reaction is to assume that Microsoft would rather you purchased an Office 2007 upgrade, so the company doesn’t care if it wrecks your existing Outlook 2003 install. After all, you’ve already paid for a new copy of Windows 7 (and a new PC) in this case.

Microsoft Windows: when your time has no value and money has no value, either.

Helge Sander Helps Microsoft Again by Blocking ODF in Denmark

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dannebrog

Summary: Danish minister with history of Microsoft affinity is suspending a move to make OpenDocument Format the only national standard

THE saga surrounding Denmark never seems to end. Considering the size of this country, the amount of information about ODF and OOXML that comes from there is staggering. Some of our previous posts covered both the scandals and the wins of ODF. We wrote about OOXML and ODF in Denmark under:

Some of the above information may be required for good understanding of how Denmark reached its current policy and controversy. Its delegation at the OOXML BRM, for example, was stuffed by Microsoft. Its national standards body is internally divided and as more recent posts show (the above is chronologically sorted), the head of this body accused Microsoft of “lying” earlier this month. Tough words, true words.

There is a major new development in Denmark and Josef Assad (Danish) writes: “It looks like the Danish public sector might announce #ODF as the chosen standard later today. http://bit.ly/5noiB8″

“Yes glad someone didn’t fall for M$ propaganda – http://bit.ly/6seZLp (Denmark looks to go for ODF only),” argues another Dane.

Leif Lodahl, who is renowned for his work spreading ODF and Free software (OpenOffice.org) in Denmark, writes: “The Parliament said #ODF only! The Minister of Technology said NO and told his ‘big brother’; Minister of Finance.”

Guess who that would be? Helge Sander. Again.

This has been covered as it developed, primarily by IDG in Denmark. Articles include:

Ebbe Petersen from Denmark writes: “ODF/OOXML standard discussion in The parliament, sigh! In the future, office packages will support each others ISO, so full backing to ITST.”

Later came IDG with this report about Helge Sander’s disruptive role.

For those who cannot recall, the Sander report was rather hostile towards standards (ODF) and neglected to account for Microsoft scandals. Why would Sander be so apologetic towards Microsoft? Many people have just asked the same question. To quote: “I Wonder how much Microsoft pay Helge Sander (http://bit.ly/6Hc88a) to work against Open Document Format (ODF)”

Here is another IDG article about Sander’s blockade. What it may not say is that Sander has history with Microsoft. From Microsoft.com:

“As part of our software strategy, we asked Microsoft to provide us with technology that would help exchange our many millions of documents. We wanted something that would make communication easier, create interoperability and stimulate innovation,” said Helge Sander, minister for Science, Technology and Innovation for the Danish government. “Microsoft has responded with a clear step in the right direction by making its XML technology openly available. This enables our E-Government solutions to utilize standards-based technology while further enabling open and effective tools for our citizens and government.”

He also met Bill Gates under the banner of “openness initiative” (seriously, it’s no joking matter):

Helge Sander has recently talked with Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates about the need for greater openness. The Danish government stresses the importance of open standards, efficient exploitation of software and healthy market competition. For its part Microsoft characterises the Danish government’s focus on standard- based technologies like XML as visionary. The iconic software concern’s initiative in Denmark will soon be followed by similar initiatives in other European countries. The news is reported by Computerworld online.

Leif Lodahl had his own interpretation a couple of years ago. Sander’s unofficial service for Microsoft is not exactly news.

Please tell me why The Prime Minister Ander Fogh Rasmussen and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Helge Sander is so happy about Microsoft?

[...]

In 2002 Microsoft bought the Danish IT-company called ‘Navision’. ERP etc., now called Microsoft Dynamics a company in Vedbæk, just a few miles north of Copenhagen. Today there is about 1.400 employees and Dynamics in Vedbæk is the largest Microsoft development center outside the US. In February 2005 Bill Gates visited Copenhagen and at a meeting with The Prime Minister and The Minister of Science, Bill Gates threatened to take development ‘home’ (to the States), if the Danish government became too hostile to Microsoft. This is about the same time, where Europe began to find out what was going on in State of Massachusetts.
My guess is that some promises was made at the meeting.

So once again Sander is obstructing open standards and instead defending Microsoft’s cash cow, which is of course proprietary and does not support ODF properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It is also rather concerning that almost all the coverage comes from IDG, which does business with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This type of ‘monopoly’ over information that people receive can be misused and often enough we have shown that it does get abused.

Here is an automated translation of one report about Sander’s impact:

IT decision put on hold

Folketing’s IT committee could not convince Helge Sander, of the IT standards of the public to use. The decision is now on standby.

It remains open what file formats the public need. It was otherwise expected that the Folketing’s IT committee Wednesday evening would agree on the so-called open document standards, ie free file formats, public institutions must use in the future. But a majority of the IT committee could not convince Science Minister Helge Sander (V).

With Microsoft cronies seemingly everywhere, it is reasonable to be skeptical.

Peter Krantz writes about the situation in another Scandinavian country. He writes: “Norway evaluating ODF and the two OOXML:s for national generic document standard.”

We wrote about Norway’s struggles against OOXML lock-in under:

On the upside, ODF carries on growing an ecosystem of templates, tools, and developers. One of them asks: “Does anyone know how to manipulate opendocument files with ruby?”

From around the same area comes Bart Hanssens who shares links to Ruby tools for ODF, not all of which are new. There are lots of ODF projects out there which do not receive the recognition they deserve.

The lpOD Project develops a set of multilanguage tools around the OpenDocument Format standard.

* Development of a library implementing the ISO/IEC 26300 OpenDocument Format standard in extenso.
* Development of a set of high-level APIs in the Python, Perl, Ruby languages. The project has some industrial relevance through projects and applications in the fields of Business Intelligence (BI) , CMS applied to museography, ETL, etc.

Here is a new post on “ODF Templating using Appy pod.”

I you ever need to generate ODF documents from Python, do give pod a try!

Bart Hanssens also shares information about YaBS, which we mentioned some days ago.

YaBS, the successor of MP Invoicing, is an Enterprise Resource Planner for managing products and contacts. It can be used to generate offers, orders, invoices, and includes basic book keeping. YaBS can export to ODF and PDF.

Apart from more ODF fanfare (and even literature) from the likes of Jomar Silva, there is also this good new essay on the importance of open standards. ODF is given as an example of an open standard, whereas OOXML is treated as proprietary (as it should be treated).

There are some file formats which are published, open standards. Portable Document Format (PDF) is one you’ve probably heard of. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is another. OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an ISO international standard, and the tools to use that format are free. But there are other file formats which are proprietary, and can only be edited natively in one specific application. The formats used by Microsoft Word (DOC and lately DOCX) come to mind. WordPerfect (WPS) is another program which uses a proprietary file format to store information.

If I receive a PDF or HTML file, I can open it in a wide variety of applications, some of which are both well designed and obtainable for free. But if I’m sent a WPS or DOCX, I need the specific application that was used to create the file to open it reliably. Requiring me to have certain computer software doesn’t seem very inclusive. “But everybody has Microsoft Word!” you might be thinking to yourself. Is that the same “everybody” who celebrates Christmas? Think about that.

In summary, eyes should now be on Denmark because Sander poses as a barrier which needs to be removed. He acts as an agent of monopolisation.

Links 30/11/2009: Another Linux Phone from Nokia Next Year

Posted in News Roundup at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Eixil Group partners with Anustubh Labs

    Eixil Group division Eixil Technosoft Pvt. Ltd. being a Business Development and Online Promotion Company, ventures into high end software development on LINUX Platform by partnering with a new venture Anustubh Labs, launching soon by the Technology Experts.

  • Questions and Answers About the Linux Operating System

    These are some basic answers to questions people ask me when I tell them I use Linux. It still seems strange to most of them that somebody nowadays can use an operating system that neither is Windows nor MacOs.

  • [The Accent]
  • Server

    • Mad Dog 21/21: The Fox in IBM’s Storage Henhouse

      The reason XIV just might be revolutionary, at least by IBM standards, is that it is a disk array that has some of the attractive characteristics of just about every kind of array in the alphabet soup of today’s storage industry. Basically, an XIV box has a front-end based on X64/Linux servers with software and interfaces that let the machine talk over Fibre Channel, Ethernet, iSCSI (which uses Ethernet), and if there were a need, any other fast hookup the market might want.

  • Google

    • Let’s start with Chrome

      Google, after changing the way we look at the Internet, is now working on revolutionising how we see computers. As cloud computing and ‘computing as a service’ set the tech world abuzz, everyone is thinking of moving everything online. Gone are the days where your PC needed an Operating System with a multitude of applications, as most of what you need is already available for use online.

    • Microsoft and Firefox engineering a Chrome web OS rival?

      But we can say that only for self-defense, Redmond giant needs an alternative to Chrome OS to offer its customers.

    • Reducing UI clutter, docking bars removed
  • Kernel Space

    • DRM Change Continues To Cause Debate

      Kristian Høgsberg on the 6th of November had wrote a message on the DRI development list regarding the libdrm repository. With so much of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) work going straight into the Linux kernel — thanks in large part to all of the work on memory management and kernel mode-setting — Kristian proposed that the DRM driver code be removed from the separate DRM Git tree. With this message, Kristian created a new DRM repository that dropped all of the linux-core, bsd-core, and shared-core code. Seems simple and straightforward, right? Well, three weeks later with dozens of replies, this change is continuing to cause debate.

    • GlusterFS performance tuning for small files, replication, distributed, NUFA
    • FreeBSD 8.0 Benchmarked Against Linux, OpenSolaris

      With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE Community Forums Announce the Continuation of Klassroom

      Early on in the lifetime of the KDE Community Forums, the staff launched regularly-held courses for people willing to help KDE called “Klassrooms”. For each of these courses, a mentor (usually a KDE contributor, but not limited to them) guided a group of “students” towards a simple, definite goal that would improve KDE, for example fixing simple bugs in an application. However, the courses were not limited to coding: documentation, promo and other important areas were handled as well.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Archos releases developer edition firmware for Internet Tablets

      Based on the Angstrom Linux distribution, this is by no means a commercial distro (no multimedia software) but since you’re taking it upon yourself to code the next great multimedia / social networking / productivity / time travel app anyways, you don’t really want to be bogged down by such pedestrian fare.

    • Archos 5 & Archos 7 Tablets Get New Developer Firmware [Archos Releases Special Developer Edition Firmware for Its Internet Media Tablets]

      The new special edition firmware is available as a “proof-of-concept” according to the press release and it “does not contain the traditional Archos multimedia software.” Developers interested in building native applications for the Archost 5 and Archos 7 platforms will surely enjoy the release and we’re definitely interested in their upcoming apps.

      In fact if you’re going to use this Angstrom Linux distribution-based firmware to create any fabulous app, then, by all means, let us know about it.

    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 – Part tablet – part cell phone

        The biggest improvement in the Nokia smartphone design is the software – it runs on Nokia’s next-generation, open source operating system called Maemo 5 Linux – a big step forward from the n97’s and all previous Nokia phones which used the tried-and-true Symbian OS.

      • Nokia plans just one Linux phone next year: source

        Nokia’s Linux Maemo operating system is seen as a key for the top cellphone maker in its battle against Apple’s iPhone, and many analysts and industry players have expected the firm to roll out numerous Linux models already next year.

    • Phones

      • Data Collection Where It’s Needed The Most

        The biggest reason we use Android is because it’s open source. It’s not the first open mobile operating system, but it’s the first open and comprehensive system with the wide and viable device support that our users need.

      • Droid does, iPhone doesn’t: The porn app store

        MiKandi’s publicity material naturally avoids this term, referring to the more PC phrase “adult only.” However, there is a little kink in its offering. According to Android fanperson site, Phandroid, the MiKandi Market apps only work with Android phones and not with Apple’s more morally minded handsets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Apache

    I know what most of you are thinking right now, and no it’s not the Apache helicopter. The “Apache” software foundation (ASF) is non-profit organization that has a community of software developers that develop free and open source software.

  • Electronic Voting Machines and a New Era of Fixing Elections

    Perhaps in the future more secure, open source systems may be available to any country (similar to open source operating systems like Linux/Unix) but for the moment, Electronic Voting hardware and software is produced privately, without open access to what is going on in these machines. Should we then trust these private companies just because they say we should? You do the maths.

  • Getting Organized With Tracks

    Tracks is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, which rests on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. This method frees the mind from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and allows it to concentrate on actually performing those tasks.

  • A Doctrine for Change – Lawrence Lessig Again

    Watch the video from Big Thinkers wherein Lessig explains his views on freedom our culture and creativity.

  • How can you benefit from Open Source Software (OSS)?

    Huh? You can benefit from Open Source Software? This question usually paints a confusing scenario in the local IT community and brings about many misconceptions, The answer to this question will be approached from two different angles, from a developers point of view and then a business point of view.

  • IT jobs will be slow to recover – OECD

    It has established an open source software competence centre to support the wider use of open source software within the public sector and has launched a “green IT” initiative to try to reduce energy consumption in the public sector by 40 per cent by 2013.

  • Fracture risk tool built using QResearch

    The tool is available as open source software www.qfracture.org and users are asked to enter details including age, sex, weight, height and illnesses to determine the risk of a fracture.

  • Sun

    • Open-source culture at heart of Oracle deal

      But like most open-source companies, MySQL’s sales, tied to support deals, never matched the astronomical number of downloads for its product, about 60,000 a day. In January 2008, the founders decided to sell the company for $1 billion to Sun Microsystems. And this year, Sun agreed to sell itself to Oracle, which makes database software aimed at larger companies and tougher jobs, for $7.4 billion.

    • Open Source as a Model for Business Is Elusive

      Now, disagreement over the value of MySQL — both as a stand-alone entity and as part of a big company — lies at the heart of a bitter public battle between Oracle and the European Union over the Sun acquisition. The fight illuminates a larger truth about open-source companies: their societal and strategic importance far exceeds their financial value as operating businesses.

    • Are open source programmers fools and suckers?

      Analyst and consultant Josh Greenbaum has criticised the European Commission’s view that Oracle should jettison MySQL. Part of his argument is that MySQL can’t die because it is open source – and, Greenbaum says, this means there is no end of suckers willing to maintain it for free.

      [...]

      In part, open source software isn’t about money. Young Finnish student Linus Torvalds certainly wasn’t thinking “how can I monetise this?” when he posted his now-famous Usenet post that he’d made a rudimentary Linux-like kernel.

  • Openness

    • The Death of Journalism: David Eaves and Vancouver’s Open Source Era (part two)

      I’m not sure if it’s an explicit demand, so much as a behavioural shift. People don’t trust anybody anymore. People don’t see the Vancouver Sun as an authoritative news source that they should implicitly trust. And they certainly don’t see 24hrs or Metro that way. These things are rags that people get bits of information from. People are disappointed when they find out that these news sources have lied to them, but they aren’t shocked. Traditional media is no longer the authority. It’s not so much that people are organizing against the media, but they prefer more transparency. People want the opportunity to know what’s actually going on.

      In terms of the open data portal, there may only be a small percentage of residents who go and look at the data. But the fact that we have the option of knowing…that’s really powerful.

    • Open-source car firm proposes new business model
  • Education

    • Online university of hope

      “The concept is great, and one we’ll see more and more,” says Peter Scott, director of the Knowledge Media Institute at Britain’s Open University, which provides free access to course materials through the OpenLearn website.

    • Contest drives genetic engineering advances

      MIT’s 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition has yielded an open source, Internet-based cellular engineering program to assist in synthetic biology design, and software tools for creation and assembly of DNA-sequence parts.

    • Big advantages in schoolbooks going digital

      Digital textbooks are on the way to Texas public schools, perhaps as soon as next fall. As reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in our Nov. 23 edition, the state Legislature has already passed two bills allowing the Texas Education Agency to create a repository of online textbook content. The agency is seeking bids from both online and traditional publishers and planning to have the first open-source textbooks available to students in the fall of 2010.

Leftovers

  • Budding authors publish own work online and in print

    Self-publishing on the internet has given many budding writers a platform where their work can be shared with the world.

  • Amy Goodman Detained at Canadian Border, Questioned About Speech…and 2010 Olympics

    While traveling to Vancouver, Canada to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her two colleagues were detained by Canadian authorities. Amy was questioned extensively about the speech she intended to give; their car was gone through by armed border guards, and their papers and laptop computers were scoured. The armed interrogators were particularly interested in whether she would be speaking about the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

  • Policy

    • The SWIFT scandal of Lisbon

      The EU-Constitution, later rebranded as the Lisbon Treaty did not get a very warm reception.

      [...]

      Surprisingly the SWIFT debate does not receive much attention in the English news. In Germany it is big news. The Bundesrat, the Chamber of Federal States filed a strong resolution. The Libdems, among them Minister of Justice Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger are very sensitive to the issue. The German banking sector is alerted. In the middle of the month four nations blocked the agreement, among them also France, Finland and Austria. A fierce political battle happens behind the scenes. The current German position is abstention. Ironically Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger gets a lot of critical press now as if she was the driving force, not Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Analysis Mason spectrum report for the EU Commission

      I wonder how this report would take the Toia report from the European Parliament into account. It seems a bit upfront to claim that the Commission report would be based on the consortial study of Analysis-Mason. It makes the report vulnerable to attacks.

    • TACD Resolution on IPR Enforcement

      A colleague informed me that I completely overlooked the TACD recommendations on IPR enforcement (patents, copyright, trademarks etc.) measures. TACD stands for the transatlantic consumer dialogue and they officially represent “consumers” as stakeholders in the ongoing transatlantic Transatlantic Economic Council and ACTA negotiations as a counterpart to TABD, the transatlantic business dialogue.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Copyright Law Changes In India Could Gut Fair Use

      Well, here we go again. Reports are coming out of India about new draconian copyright law changes that were apparently decided on between the government and the recording industry with little to no input from everyone else the new laws would impact. Among the concerns? The new law would significantly strip fair use (fair dealing in India) rights, to the extent that they are effectively useless. This seems to happen over and over again in different countries.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 06 (2007)


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

Patents Roundup: Threat of Software Patents in Mexico, Sweden; Microsoft Still Fights with (and for) Software Patents

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mexican flag

Summary: A collection of news reports and important observations about patent legislation that affects Free software

WITH patents on stage performance (Michael Jackson), it is clear that the USPTO has gone too far. But it wants to go further. FFII’s president says that “Software Patents legislation [is] in preparation in Mexico.” NAFTA, anyone? Let’s remember that Novell’s Miguel de Icaza and his probable idol Bill Gates lobbied for OOXML in Mexico.

Separately, the FFII warns that the Lisbon Treaty [1, 2, 3, 4] which Microsoft lobbies for may be related to ACTA, which is another cornerstone in globalisation that marginalises the majority. There is this ongoing analysis which is still a draft, just like ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. But unlike ACTA, it is actually visible.

On Dec. 1, 2009, the European Union Lisbon Treaty will enter into force. (provisional consolidated text) On this page we present a draft analysis of the EU competence to conclude ACTA and other trade agreements.

Generally speaking, the European Parliament’s role becomes more important, the member states loose some of their veto power.

André Rebentisch has this update about the ACTA’s secrecy.

Let me add that 1st of December Art 15 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU is set into force. In my German language “confirmatory application” for an ACTA document access to the European Council I argued recently that this takes effects for the ACTA document access regime as well.

Rebentisch also wrote about Microsoft's patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, which is funded by Bill Gates. Microsoft views patents as the future of software. To quote Nathan Myhrvold, “Intellectual property is the next software.”

Microsoft has just patented viral gaming.

The concepts are all based around the current party system, with the most basic simply allowing invited friends to invite their own friends, whether they are known to the original party creator or not.

User-created games are also being patented by Microsoft, as few news sites reveal. Insane software patents know no boundaries.

The authoring features allow users to capture screenshots and video clips, and to use a digital pencil to mark them. It also may allow for audio commentary and tags, and developers can submit their own guides that will take precedence over user-created guides.

Here is the latest about the Alcatel-Lucent case [1, 2, 3]:

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) request that it reconsider the way patents are upheld in court cases, as the software maker continues its long legal battle with French telecoms equipment company Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA).

Microsoft, which infringed an Alcatel-Lucent patent, according to a lower court jury last year, asked the appeals court to hear its argument that a patent could be held invalid if evidence is presented in a court case that was not available at the time the patent was granted.

As the i4i case taught [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], Microsoft does not respect other people’s patents. Here is a new update on this case (there are many ongoing cases):

Microsoft’s Struggle With i4i Sheds Light On Software Patent Process

[...]

Microsoft’s recent trials and tribulations with its Word software patent illustrates the difficulty in granting — and defending — software patents. This fall, Microsoft was briefly barred from selling Word because of a dispute over XML code that i4i claimed infringed on one of the Toronto, Ontario-based company’s patents. That trial is ongoing. While some observers questioned why Microsoft didn’t resolve the dispute early on, others are interested to see how the dispute will play out and how patent rights will be determined.

[...]

The Bilski case could provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to resolve the ongoing debate over the wisdom of having software patents in the first place. At issue is whether a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus or transform a particular condition into a different state to be considered as patent-eligible subject matter.

The above speaks of some difficulties associated with software patents enforcement. With Bilski still at the centre of debate, it is bound to get worse. Here is a photo of Mr. Bilski, attached to a new report from the FSF’s executive director, Peter Brown.

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a case that could give the free software community (and software developers everywhere) a huge win in the fight against software patents. Free Software Foundation executive director Peter Brown was on the scene, and reflects on the Bilski case, the oral arguments, and the desperate need for change.

Our reader amd-linux has also informed us of this landmark decision of the British High Court regarding software patents (it’s in German).

Fish & Richardson, whom Patent Troll Tracker wrote about a lot [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], will be cashing in again thanks to frivolous patent lawsuits.

This week: DeepNines collected $25 million when it won an infringement suit against anti-virus software giant McAfee Inc. in the Eastern District of Texas two years ago. But after paying off its Fish & Richardson lawyers and outside investors at Altitude Capital Partners, the small network-security company wound up with less than $800,000 of the $25 million. And now DeepNines is being sued by Altitude, which wants millions more than it’s already gotten. A revealing look at how a leading player in the lawsuit-investment trade does business.

More announcements and news about patents ought to reveal that there are no jackpots here, unless one is a lawyer.

Recently, a jury in a patent infringement case found for the plaintiff, deciding that all three patents-in-suit were “valid” (actually, “not invalid”) and infringed. A happy plaintiff, right? Wrong! The very next day, the Patent Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (the B.P.A.I.) ruled that the defendant was actually the first to invent the subject matter of the patents and that rights to these inventions, therefore, belonged not to the plaintiff, but to the defendant.

So why did the patent office attribute these “inventions” to the wrong party in the first place? What a failure.

Last but not least, FFII’s president warns that the “Swedish Presidency conference [is] about UPLS and software patents via the caselaw of a central patent court next 15 and 16 Dec…”

He also alerts his peers about a piece promoting software patents and, needless to say, it is a self-serving placement.

Since the 1960s I have been a strong advocate of the patenting of inventions implemented in software and in 1968 I received the first US patent for an inventive way of sorting data on a digital computer[1].

A man with software patents is defending software patent? No way! How about an impartial point of view from Patently-O? Vested interests invalidate a point of view, as we last explained a week and a half ago.

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