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12.22.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 22nd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Links 22/12/2009: Tiny Core Linux 2.7 and Amahi 5.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 9:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux and Open Source: Best of 2009

    This year, we saw the new releases of major distributions such as Ubuntu’s Jaunty Jackalope and Karmic Koala; Mandriva 2009 and 2010; Fedora 11 and 12; and openSUSE 11.2. It was also a big year for Google in the open source arena with the release of the Google Chrome OS beta, the new Chrome browser, and the Android 2.0 platform for the Droid smartphone.

  • A good year for desktop Linux

    2010 is going to be a good year for Linux on the desktop.

  • Linux on the desktop: it’s so good it’s boring

    I believe that at this point there no use anymore in asking the question “Is Linux ready for the desktop?”. It is, and it works so well it’s boring.

  • Desktop

    • Of Thunderbolts and Revelations

      At any rate, Daniel was a guest in the home of Mark Van Kingsley. Mark is a long-time Linux Advocate and has his own Linux-based business in New York. He is also a good and treasured friend of The HeliOS Project. He’s one of many who have put their sweat equity and money into doing what we do.

      [...]

      Oh, did I mention that Daniel had figured out how to dual boot his Windows partition with his new Linux one?

      He called Mark the next day too. Not to ask questions but to let him know that he had installed and configured Skype and was talking to his friends in Italy about his new operating system and all the things it could do.

      They did not believe him.

      Not one of them had heard of Linux.

      They have now, I have been so assured.

    • Linux or Windows: Most hardware support plans are worthless

      If you really want real technical support for a Linux system, but one from Dell, system76, or another vendor that sells and supports Linux systems. Expecting support from a chain store or a vendor that doesn’t pre-bundle Linux with their systems is just a waste of your time.

  • Server

  • Google

    • Opinion: All Google, all the time, everywhere

      Think about it: Google has primarily been about computer-based search. You sit at your PC and find what you want on the Web. But if you put those three new features together, where do they shine the best? On mobile devices. With Google’s Android powering phones and Chrome OS on netbooks, I see the company making a preemptive strike to take over mobile computing.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Linux 2.6.33 enters test phase

      With the end of the next kernel version’s main development phase, the most important new features of Linux 2.6.33 have been determined: DRBD, Nouveau, support of the Trim ATA command and a bandwidth controller for block devices. The developers have also improved the Radeon drivers and the support of Intel Wi-Fi chips. New stable kernels also fix a vulnerability in the code of Ext4, but will shortly be superseded by even more current versions.

  • Graphics Stack

    • AMD Publishes Evergreen Shader Documents

      Yesterday some R500+ PowerPlay code was started on (but not yet usable), and now at the same time we have more exciting AMD news to report. AMD has just released their shader instruction set documentation for the R800 “Evergreen” graphics processors!

    • Open ATI Driver To Receive PowerPlay Push?

      AMD’s Alex Deucher just pushed out new power table define statements for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers. Nothing is yet depending upon these new C define statements within the open-source ATI drivers, but it will allow a variety of new PowerPlay information to revealed.

    • Mesa 7.7 Released (Mesa 7.6.1 Too)

      Mesa 7.7 delivers on VMware’s virtual Gallium3D driver (the SVGA driver) that allows for Gallium3D to be used on their virtualization platform, several new OpenGL extensions, major improvements to the ATI R300 Gallium3D driver (named “r300g”), and a new Mesa texture/surface format infrastructure.

    • Nouveau TV-Out Progresses For NV30/40 GPUs

      The Nouveau driver now has TV-Out working and being considered “done” for the NV30 class GPUs (the GeForce 5 / FX series) and is mostly done for NV40 GPUs (the GeForce 6 series). The TV output support for the earlier GPUs and also the newer GPUs is still considered a work in progress.

  • Applications

    • From all of us to all of you

      A few weeks ago when we released Opera 10.20 alpha, many of you were asking for a test version of Opera 10.5. The desktop and core team have been working on 10.5, codename Evenes, for more than 18 months now. As a Christmas present, we’re happy to share all the goodies of Opera 10.5 with Presto 2.5 with you in an early pre-alpha release.

    • Digikam 1.0 on Time for Christmas

      DigiKam main developer Gilles Caulier has released version 1.0 of the KDE photo management software just in time for Christmas 2009.

    • Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha Beats Firefox, Closes Gap To Google Chrome Speedwise

      DigiKam main developer Gilles Caulier has released version 1.0 of the KDE photo management software just in time for Christmas 2009.

  • Instructionals

  • Distributions

    • Does the distro matter?

      But it got me thinking. A few weeks ago, I asked, Is there a best distro?. The question this phone call raised was, does it matter which distribution you are running? For the moment, let us put aside which has a better desktop and focus on the server. Is there really a difference between distributions when it comes to what you run on a server? Is there anything so specific within a distribution that it matters whether you are experienced with Debian or Red Hat? I will admit that in all my years of working in the Windows world, no one has asked me if I have experience with Datacenter instead of Standard. Why, in the Linux world should it matter if I have experience with CentOS instead of Unbreakable?

    • New Releases

      • Amahi 5.0

        Amahi version 5.0 is released. Amahi Linux Home Server is a server targeted for home and home office environments.

      • Tiny Core Linux 2.7 arrives

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has announced the availability of version 2.7 of Tiny Core Linux. Tiny Core is a minimal Linux distribution that’s only about 10 MB in size and is based on the 2.6 Linux kernel. The latest release includes several bug fixes, changes and updates.

      • Available Now: Tiny Core Linux 2.7

        The founder of the Tiny Core Linux project, Robert Shingledecker, announced on December 19th the immediate availability of the Tiny Core Linux 2.7 operating system, a version that brings lots of updated applications and scripts, various improvements and, of course, a couple of bug fixes. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the most important changes brought by the new Tiny Core Linux 2.7 operating system:

        · appbrowser was updated and it now features a single “Install” button, and the “Download Only” button was renamed to “OnDemand;”
        · appsaudit was updated and it now features a new menu option, called “Install Options;”

        [...]

    • Debian Family

      • 26 Ubuntu Wallpapers That Don’t Suck

        The world of Ubuntu wallpapers is a place full of disaster. There are too many wallpapers of Tux vs Windows, Ubuntu logos printed on sexy ladies (which I believe no Linux geek has any chance with), and many which are just plain unoriginal.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Acer to launch 8-10 smartphones in 2010; to adopt ST-Ericsson 3G solutions for Android models

        Acer plans to launch 8-10 new smartphones in 2010 with Android-powered models likely to be slightly more than Windows Mobile-based ones, according to sources at Taiwan handset industry.

        Acer will outsource the production of three Android-based smartphones to Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), using ST-Ericsson PNX6719 3G chipset solutions for the entry-level segment, the sources said. On the other hand, Inventec Appliances will roll out entry-level Windows Mobile-based smartphones for Acer.

      • Acer to ship lots of smartphones, many of them Android, claims mole

        Acer intends to release ten smartphones in 2010. Or possibly only eight. Whatever the total, more of them will run Android than Windows Mobile. Maybe.

        You just can’t get quality rumours these days…

      • HTC Sends Cease & Desist To Developer Who Made Similar Android Widgets

        Tim K alerts us to the news that phone maker HTC has sent a cease & desist nastygram to the developers of an Android widget that certainly had a similar look and feel to HTC’s own Sense UI. Except, many people claim that this newer widget, from LevelUp Studios, was actually better.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ASUS Eee PC 1201N On Linux

        As was alluded to last week, I ended up purchasing the ASUS Eee PC 1201N as soon as it was made available on the Internet. This is now the initial Phoronix rundown on the 1201N for how it works with Ubuntu Linux, including many benchmarks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Given 250,000 tools on the shelf, how do you manage them?

    About 15 years ago I noticed that the explosion of ready to use FOSS tools plus the trend toward general purpose tools and away from custom software was leading to a combinatorial crisis in software maintenance. I saw that it was the systems administrator’s responsibility to address the situation.

    It has become apparent to me that the solution would require use of convention, standards and policy to reduce the complexity of the problem to manageable proportions. I searched for the most “standardized” conventions and policy-enforcing environment that would also provide the most flexible access to the most FOSS tools. The solution I found is Debian/GNU Linux, the universal operating system (although Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives also provide most of these benefits as well).

  • Tech Data’s Open Source Strategy: A Closer Look

    It has been roughly a month since Tech Data launched Open Tech — an open source channel partner initiative. Why is the big distributor interested in the open source market? And how is Open Tech performing so far? I caught up with Tech Data VP Stacy Nethercoat for answers.

  • 10 best free applications

    Software can cost you a fortune but there are also hundreds of applications that are essential to have on your desktop and are free. We look at ten of the best free applications.

  • What Google Really Means by ‘The Meaning of Open’

    Read “The Meaning of Open” by Jonathan Rosenberg, Google senior vice president of product management, because it’s a great read, but read it knowing a few things.

    First, Google open-sources a lot of software; in fact, Rosenberg claims Google is the largest open-source contributor in the world, contributing over 800 projects that total over 20 million lines of code to open source.

  • Google’s Meaning of Open: Is It Yours?

    Google has made some headlines recently about its stance on privacy. This week the company is taliking about what “open” means to Google. Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management for Google, says that “open will win” across the Internet and “then cascade across many walks of life.” It might be a good idea for other businesses in the open business to think about what open means to them as well.

    The impetus for the post was that Rosenberg had been seeing disagreement within Google about what “open,” means to the company in practice. It’s easy to say that a company should be more “open,” but difficult to execute when the people involved don’t agree on what open is.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox for mobile ‘days away’ from launch

      The first mobile phone version of the popular web browser Firefox is “days away” from launch, the head of the project has told the BBC.

      The browser, codenamed Fennec, will initially be available for Nokia’s N900 phone, followed by other handsets.

    • Firefox 3.5 wins top dog browser crown – sort of

      Firefox 3.5 trundled passed Internet Explorer 7 in the past few days to become, temporarily at least, the world’s most popular web browser.

      According to analysis outfit StatCounter, Mozilla’s latest browser just slipped ahead of Microsoft’s surfing tool in the week commencing 7 December by grabbing 21.93 per cent of the global market.

      But it’s of course worth noting that while Firefox might be top dog by version number, it’s important to point out that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 is also pulling in plenty of punters.

    • Firefox 4.0: New Design Changes Revealed [IMAGES]

      The release of Firefox 4.0 may still be nearly a year away, but the excitement for the new version is already growing. In July, we revealed the first images of Firefox 4.0. Now one of the designers behind the browser has shared on his blog updated mock-ups of the new design.

    • Mozilla unveils new Firefox interface ideas for 2010

      Mozilla yesterday said that its planned overhaul of Firefox’s interface will be pushed back to Firefox 4.0, the major release now slated to ship before the end of 2010.

      Previously, Mozilla said it would revamp the look and feel of its open-source browser in a two-step process, with part of the redesign debuting in Firefox 3.7 — a minor refresh scheduled for late in the first quarter of next year — with the rest following in version 4.0.

      Mozilla’s interface plans, particularly those intended for Firefox for Windows, have attracted attention because the company last September said it would “ribbonize” the browser by borrowing graphics concepts from Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Office 2007. Users blasted the idea.

Leftovers

  • Intel Atom Platform: Smaller, More Energy-Efficient

    With its usual focus on optimization, the chip vendor now provides the Atom 45-nanometer processor, with minimal energy consumption and better performance. Intel claims a 20% reduction in power consumption over Atom’s predecessor. Integrated graphics and memory management for the first time in a CPU do the rest and allow for a smaller form factor. Said differently, the memory controller eliminates one of three chips, with only the CPU and chipset remaining. Intel claims this translates to a 60% smaller footprint for netbooks and mobile Internet devices.

  • NEC NP901W Projector

    One of the major benefits to having a wireless network is when a display device has the facility to utilise the connection, therefore removing any copying of content from one drive to another when the devices are several feet away. The NEC NP901W is a rare beast in that it can connect to a network and stream content, making it perfect for either an office or home cinema.

  • Environment

    • Doing the maths on Copenhagen

      They’ve essentially agreed to, um, well, try – and they’ll think a little bit more about what they’re going to try sometime later. And that’s the best result we could have hoped for. We already know what needs to be done, as the economists have worked it out. It is true that economists are not exactly the flavour of the month right now, but they are still the experts here.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Health-care bill wouldn’t bring real reform

      If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers’ monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Ferry giant refuses ID card

      Norman Eastwood, from Salford, and his wife Jeanette had booked a passage from Hull with P&O Ferries on Saturday. The ID card, which has been offered on a voluntary basis to the public in Greater Manchester as part of a limited trial since last month, is meant to allow travel across Europe as an alternative to a passport.

    • China Imposes New Internet Controls

      China’s government censors have taken fresh aim at the Internet, rolling out new measures that limit its citizens’ ability to set up personal Web sites and to view hundreds of Web sites offering films, video games and other forms of entertainment.

    • Point Out A Potential Photoshopping Of A Demi Moore Picture, And She Has Her Lawyers Send Out The Nastygrams

      Apparently Demi Moore and her lawyers missed that whole story. Back in November some folks noticed what appeared to be a photoshopping of Demi Moore’s left hip on the cover of W magazine. There was some debate over it, but either way, people moved on and it was forgotten. Not so fast! While there was some discussion about it — and Moore herself chimed in on Twitter to claim that the photo was not altered — she’s now had her lawyers threaten at least two publications over the original story. Their claim is that the posts are defamatory. Even if there was no retouching of the photo, it’s hard to see what is possibly “defamatory” in the story. Digital retouching happens all the time, and claiming that a photo was retouched, if anything, would implicate the photographers or graphic artists at W, not Moore. There’s simply nothing even close to defamatory in regards to Moore herself.

  • Internet/Web Abuse

    • Beware of Comcast’s Growing Power

      I write a lot of about the battle among large technology corporations in this space and the importance of competitive checks and balances. Yet Comcast seems to be growing into a super power with control over the very pipes that provide many of us with internet access, but without any real competition and often with government support.

      Most places in this country get internet access through one or at most two providers. That kind of concentration of power is increasingly a threat to the very foundation of business and society, as so many of us use the internet on one level or another to do our jobs, get our information and connect to one another.

    • Groundless copyright threats

      Just as the human mind is changeable and inconsistent, so intellectual property law is not without anomalies. For example, while copyright protects even the most banal 2-D images, the Lucasfilm judgment sets the bar for 3-D creations at a daunting height. Another anomaly that has risen to the surface in recent days is the penalty for groundless threats of infringement proceedings. There are stiff penalties for most intellectual property rights – patents, trade marks, registered and unregistered designs – but none for copyright.

      Lord Lucas is seeking to set this right by proposing a new section in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The noble lord, as previously noted, is eager to see some checks and balances in the Digital Economy Bill to rein in heavy-handed right owners, especially top-shelf copyright proprietors.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Big Music: damn the numbers, give us antipiracy laws anyway

      If P2P use is declining or holding steady without new “antipiracy” laws, are those laws still needed? Music trade groups say yes.

      The UK has just started to consider a new Digital Economy bill that could eventually usher in sanctions for illegal P2P use. From a rightsholder perspective, this makes it an inconvenient time for studies showing that P2P use is actually dropping, so the music industry commissioned a new study of its own which shows that other techniques for infringing copyright are picking up the slack. Would you believe that newsgroup usage is soaring?

    • Alternative 2009 Copyright ExpirationsAlternative 2009 Copyright Expirations

      “It’s nearly the end of 2009. If the 1790 copyright maximum term of 28 years was still in effect, everything that had been published by 1981 would be now be in the public domain — so the original Ultima and God Emperor of Dune and would be available for remixing and mashing up. If the 1909 copyright maximum term of 56 years (if renewed) were still in force, everything published by 1953 would now be in the public domain, freeing The City and the Stars and Forbidden Planet. If the 1976 copyright act term of 75* years (* it’s complicated) still applied, everything published by 1934 would now be in the public domain, including Murder on the Orient Express. But thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, nothing in the US will go free until 2018, when 1923 works expire.”

    • Are Music Artists Profiting From iTunes’ Price Increases?

      Most companies realize that lowering prices is their only ploy to stay in business. Some companies are unaware, or simply don’t care – that financial times are tough. As an example, Apple Inc. has recently increased the cost of music downloads on their iTunes music site from $0.99 to a staggering $1.29.

    • Oh Look, People Are Already Looking At Expanding How Selectable Output Control Will Be Abused

      For quite some time we’ve been covering how the MPAA has been pushing to get the FCC to allow them to use “Selectable Output Control” (SOC) to stop you from being able to record certain movies. In theory, the Hollywood studios claim that this will let them put movies out on video-on-demand offerings earlier than they do now. In actuality, there’s nothing stopping them from putting these VoD offerings out now (and some do already).

    • Argentina Extends Copyright Term

      Argentina has extended the term of protection on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 08 (2004)


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

Put the Red Hat on

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, Servers, Steve Ballmer at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat stock

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer with red hats

Summary: Ballmer and Hovsepian are failing once again to obstruct the leader in GNU/Linux servers

RED HAT is up approximately 5% after market close. It delivered its financial results a few hours ago. The stock has reached a very high value, despite Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer (seen above) signing what several Web sites described as an “anti-Red Hat deal” or anti-Red Hat pact.

Novell recently lost more than $200,000,000, Microsoft is shrinking rapidly. and Red Hat is reportedly growing, which means that expenses do too.

Given the recent developments, Novell will carry on going "downhill", whereas its main rival, Red Hat, has good news for investors as its value soars.

To give a sample of news overage, in chronological order:

1. Ahead Of Red Hat Q3 Earnings

Open source solutions provider Red Hat Inc. (RHT: News ) is set to announce its third-quarter results after the market close Tuesday. On average, 21 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect a profit of $0.16 per share for the quarter on sales of $188.29 million. Analysts’ forecast typically excludes one-time items.

2. A Look at the Week Ahead – (BMY, JBL, OSIP, RHT, SQNM, V)

Red Hat Inc. (RHT) reports earnings on Tuesday and is trading right at fresh highs. Thomson Reuters has estimates pegged at $0.16 EPS and $188.49 million in revenues, and while this used to be a takeover target the valuations are now very high and this one almost certainly has to really beat estimates and raise guidance to keep everyone happy.

3. Micron Technology, Tibco Software, Red Hat

Red Hat /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 31.35, +1.48, +4.96%) is estimated to report a profit of 16 cents a share in the third quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

4. Micron Technology, Red Hat shares gain after hours

5. Red Hat profit, revenue beat Street view

Red Hat Inc (RHT.N) reported higher than-expected profit as the business software maker posted strong growth in the sales of its version of the Linux operating system, sending its stock up 3.5 percent.

The bully from Microsoft never got his way.

Microsoft Word Can be Banned Within Weeks for Microsoft Patent Crime (Willful Infringement and Trial Misconduct)

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft above the law

Summary: The i4i lawsuit, which presents strong evidence of Microsoft’s most shameless patent infringement, has an injunction set to January 11th

Microsoft deliberately broke patent law*, as i4i has shown using words that came right from Microsoft’s own mouth [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Throughout the trial, Microsoft was also fined $40,000,000 for “trial misconduct” (another such incident ocurred and got reported earlier this month). There are over 50 patent cases against Microsoft, but it is difficult to show that Microsoft did this knowingly and deliberately. i4i managed to show just that, so punishment is imminent:

• WSJ: Court Affirms Injunction Against Microsoft

A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a $290 million patent infringement judgment against Microsoft Corp. and reinstated an injunction that bars the company from selling current versions of its flagship Word software.

• Patently-O: Appellate Court Enforces Permanent Injunction against Microsoft Word

The i4i district court decision created some turmoil this past summer when the Eastern District of Texas court ordered Microsoft to stop selling versions of its flagship MS Word product that infringe i4i’s patent covering xml editing technology. The injunction was stayed pending appeal, but now the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has affirmed the lower court’s findings of validity and willful infringement and its award of enhanced damages and permanent injunctive relief. The only modification made by the court was to push-back the effective date of the injunction from sixty-days to five months (from the original order). Thus, “[t]he injunction’s effective date is now January 11, 2010.”

• CBS/CNET: Microsoft loses Word patent appeal, will change code

Microsoft has lost an appeal in a patent case that will force it to alter Microsoft Word to avoid an injunction on sales of the product.

Microsoft lost a patent case involving a company called I4i in May, after a jury ruled that Microsoft infringed one of i4i’s patents with a custom XML feature found in Word. In August an injunction was placed on sales of Word pending the appeal, which did not go in Microsoft’s favor Tuesday.

Here is the unofficial Microsoft response and some more official word. [pun]
_____
* Internally, it was revealed that Microsoft advises staff not to ever look at patents, for fear that patent violations would become willful.

“The Moonlight/Mono World Does Not Work That Way Though.”

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spinning wheel

Summary: Microsoft’s Novell’s Miguel de Icaza does not properly explain that GNU/Linux users need to download proprietary software exclusively from Novell in order to make Silverlight content available

THE latest development around Moonlight was rather revealing because it is another case where Novell and Microsoft are spinning and spinning. Moonlight is still a “forbidden item” in Fedora and it is easy to see why. The multimedia codecs, which are essentially the main purpose of Silverlight (same for Flash, which was popularised by Web video), suffer from a restrictive agreements that Free software users simply cannot accept. As the FSF-faithful Sam Varghese and Microsoft-faithful Tim Anderson have independently pointed out (Anderson said so very explicitly, but only about a day after Varghese did), people must go through Microsoft’s Novell to obtain the “missing pieces”, namely everything that’s required to actually access content. Nowadays, RIA is mostly about video.

The facts did not prevent Miguel de Icaza from making remarks that deceive. A reader sent us a pointer to the following:

The development of Moonlight is the result of a 2006 patent and licensing agreement between Microsoft and Novell that included Microsoft’s promise not to sue users of Novell’s SuSe Linux for technologies patented by Redmond. This promise was officially called a “covenant not to sue” and seen as the best way to harmonize patent licensing issues with the GPL. One result was that users were free to use Silverlight technology with Moonlight, but only if they got Moonlight directly from Novell. “This is a model similar to how Flash is distributed: there is a well-known location where you get your plugin,” explained de Icaza on his blog, adding: “The open source world does not work that way though.”

Miguel de Icaza must know that the “open source” [sic] world does not prohibit redistrubution, so how come he implicitly claims that Moonlight does not suffer from a crucial restriction? That would be like calling Skype “open source” because they intend to liberate just the GUI part of the program.

Don’t be mooned by Novell.

Moonlight mooning

GNOME Makes a White Christmas Too

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Videos at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another video to make up for perceived KDE bias (relating to a post from this morning, amid days or low-volume activity)


Direct link (“Karmic Compiz Christmas with Snow Plugin for Ubuntu 9.10″)

Readers’ Response to Microsoft and American Library Association (ALA), Job Cremation

Posted in America, Google, Law, Microsoft at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Literature mix

Summary: Nicolas Sarkozy is not the only pusher against Google who is at the same time mating with Microsoft executives; Microsoft is not unique when it comes to workforce/tax abuse, either

A FEW days ago we wrote about the struggle against Google's book-scanning services, which are exactly the same as Microsoft’s. Based on prior cases that are very well documented and confirmed, we thought that Microsoft may have had something to do with aggravating Google in this case. Microsoft previously helped publishers sue Google over Books and a variety of other services like YouTube.

One of our respected readers, who prefers to remain anonymous, has sent us some interesting details connecting Microsoft to the party which is giving Google a hard time.

“What a coincidence… back in 2003, Microsoft’s own library effort was awarded recognition by the ‘Special Library Association’s (SLA) Business & Finance Division,’ whatever that is.”
      –Anonymous
Regarding the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries, worth watching is this: “Libraries Online!: Microsoft Partnering with American Library Association (ALA)”

Also: “Even James Grimmelmann of New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy [...] insist that Microsoft’s funding of the institute’s research on the book settlement doesn’t influence its conclusions.”

“What a coincidence,” says our reader, “back in 2003, Microsoft’s own library effort was awarded recognition by the ‘Special Library Association’s (SLA) Business & Finance Division,’ whatever that is. Is this anything to do with the current people objecting to the DOJ?”

Another person worth watching is Lee Dirks. “Lee also teaches as adjunct faculty at the iSchool at the University of Washington, and serves on the advisory boards for the University of Washington Libraries,” says his page.

Our reader found that suspicious. In relation to the above he asked, “what’s the name of that special Microsoft effort [in education]?” That would be EDGI.

Another reader responds to yesterday's post about how Microsoft lobbies to cheapen the workforce. “They’re all against jobs,” says this one politician and our reader adds: “You’re probably already aware of this issue, but here is a link which points out the disparity between the interests of American big business and the interests of the American people. After all, it’s already well known that Microsoft lobbies for more visas for cheap labour from overseas rather than strongly push for better educated American workers. Not surprisingly, the bigger picture follows a similar pattern.”

Google is currently making some headlines regarding a related subject, so scepticism about Google does remain justified. The enemy of an enemy can sometimes be both an enemy and a friend.

“We Need ACTA to Send Microsoft and Linus to Jail”

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Swedish pennant

Summary: Europe is losing its intellectual freedom and sovereignty due to treaties for monopolies, surveillance, and artificial limits on programming

THE GREAT REPRESSION that occurs these days (partly owing to intellectual monopolies) has spurred strong — but by all means tongue-in-cheek — remarks from the FFII’s president, who says that “Swedish Patent Trolls were meeting in Stockholm, slides online, we need ACTA to send Microsoft and Linus to jail”

Their site says:

During the last couple of years intellectual property rights has grown in significance. Society has shifted. Intellectual property rights have come into focus in a way that we haven’t seen before.

That’s what they would hope, wouldn’t they? They created a meta-industry that benefits nobody except themselves. In the process, it empowers monopolies and slows down scientific progress.

The FFII has already warned about the Swedish presidency's role in legalising or at least legitimising software patents in Europe. To make matters worse, the Microsoft-EU deal on interoperability [1, 2, 3, 4] is a big disaster because it legitimises Microsoft’s software patents in Europe without any parliamentary veto power (or obedience to the constitution/s). Nellie Kroes’ agency should be brought back to the table and mend the agreement. There is great fury at the FFII at the moment and Scott Fulton admits that “Microsoft’s interoperability pledge not free enough for Free Software” when he writes:

The agreement between the European Commission and Microsoft announced last Wednesday did not mention “Free Software” by name. There is no corporation or partnership by that name, at least not officially, though up until the resolution of the dispute last week, there had been occasional hints from outgoing Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes that any agreement with Microsoft must take “free” into account, almost as though it were “Free Software, Ltd.”

It’s a very serious issue for many European developers, as Free Software had been treated as a worthy-of-all-caps entity in drafts of the European Interoperability Framework from last year. But recent discussions on revising the EIF have included suggestions from many sources, including a controversial one from the Polish government, that strike references to Free Software as a legal entity, especially as one that deserves equal protection as a limited legal body.

Thus the omission of reference to FS or FOSS from last week’s agreement drew a harsh warning from Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), one of the only entities to criticize the agreement for legal, as opposed to technical or operational, reasons.

This needs to be mended as the patent system seems to have been hijacked by a group of bureaucrats who simply do not understand technology and are therefore easy to fool. Multinational corporations lead them to recognising software patents, which are simply not legal under their sovereignty (and for good reasons!).

As TechDirt puts it in this new post about the UK, the patent system is seeking to retard science and technology with even more intellectual monopolies. Lawyers would absolutely love this.

But all such things really do is encourage more patenting, but less actual innovation. That’s because the tax rate on actual innovation — actually bringing these products to market successfully — remains significantly higher. So, if you do any research at all, you have every incentive in the world to try to just gain income from the patents directly (such as by threatening any company that actually does any innovation and demanding licensing fees) rather than doing the work of actually implementing the product yourself. After all, that’s exactly what the government is telling you to do. It’s saying that if you actually produce an innovative product, we’ll tax you at a very high rate.

As we pointed out some days ago, UK-IPO might be breaking the law and it also serves Microsoft by sneakily approving software patents.

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