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12.26.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 26th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 26/12/2009: Linux 2.6.33 Reaches RC2, Xorg-server 1.8 Almost Out

Posted in News Roundup at 6:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ornament for Boycott Novell

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Faces behind Linux – Underappreciated Open Source Youtubers
  • I love Google search results… OS X trails Linux

    I love Suse – 412,000
    I love Fedora – 1,180,000
    I love Uubntu – 4,040,000
    I love OS X – 28,100,000
    I love Linux – 81,600,000

  • Desktop

    • Subject: Re: Re: NO they DONT

      > > Linux should not compete with windows! Linux should compete with itself!
      > > We choose Linux because it is NOT windows. It does things better! To be better means you have to be different, ie not the same as windows.
      > > We should develop our vision and execute on that. Let Microsoft do their thing, and let the people decide which they want to use.
      > > For Linux success!=”world domination” (or even desktop domination).
      > > Success is different for each person, but maybe its something like “it does what I need it to do”.
      > Well said !, I agree as a Linux user being tired of this Windows BS.
      You both got there before me. Windows, as bad as it is, is held up as some sort of Gold Standard, largely by people who are resistant to change – the devil-you-know mentality prevails.
      I see this daily in other projects where the hardware is open source 100%, but the software is a complete mush of bits and pieces that fit only with Windows and where the few of us who are using Linux, the solution is very simple and works. The Windows solution often receive the comments on the niceness of the GUI look after they’ve gone through the hoops to get the bits knitted together.
      I’ve stopped looking at Windows problems for anyone as it’s a pain and I tell anyone who asks, including my daughter, go elsewhere as I just don’t want the hassles.

    • My operating system is better than yours.

      It’s all over the intanut tubes. My system is better than your system. Nyah, nyah, nyah! Usually with a response along the lines of sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. The endless fights between windows and Linux advocates never seem to end. Both factions accuse each other of being FUDmunsters and zealots and both factions defend their own actions aggressively.

  • Server

    • Security in the Ether

      In 2006, when Amazon introduced the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), it was a watershed event in the quest to transform computing into a ubiquitous utility, like electricity. Suddenly, anyone could scroll through an online menu, whip out a credit card, and hire as much computational horsepower as necessary, paying for it at a fixed rate: initially, 10 cents per hour to use Linux (and, starting in 2008, 12.5 cents per hour to use Windows).

    • Domino is Not Dead: Why Now Is a Good Time to Consider a New Value Proposition, Part 1

      Domino dynamo: this 20-year veteran buys you more bang for your buck than ever before. Martin Leon tells you about the virtues of Domino and how much mileage you can get out of this dynamo of an application platform.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.33-rc2 – Merry Christmas …

      .. or wahetever it is you’ll be celebrating today/tomorrow.

      And if you aren’t celebrating anything at all, but instead sitting in your dark basement feeling lonely and bored, you can at least try out the latest -rc kernel. Because it’s better than moping around doing nothing.

    • Multi-Touch Gesture Recognition For Clutter

      Clutter Gesture attempts to identify gestures generated from input events and then where applicable to send off these recognized gestures to the application that has focus. This framework is flexible to allow all sorts of gesture algorithms to be built-in and it can also be extended from the application side as well, but the currently supported set of input gestures include slide up, slide down, slide left, slide right, and touch&hold. Supported from the multi-touch side is the pinch/rotate gestures.

  • Graphics Stack

    • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.7.3.902

      The second (and likely last) release candidate for 1.7.4 is now available. Dave has backported the fb patches to 1.7, as said in the commit it’s multiple commits from master squashed into one to help bisecting. That issue should hopefully be fixed now but if it comes back, I’ll cut another RC before 1.7.4.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE extends Polkit support to polkit-1

      Today, the first version of polkit-qt-1 and polkit-kde-1 have been released to the public. Thanks to these tools, KDE applications now integrate nicely with the new polkit-1 with a native authentication dialog. An authorization manager, the equivalent of the Polkit Authorization System Settings module, will be included in future releases. Find out more about PolicyKit on Freedesktop.org..

    • Proposal for a new Linux distribution

      # Based on one, and only one, desktop environment. I’m seriously thinking of KDE 4 (seriously). There is a strong reason for this, primarily that KDE uses Qt, which will make a good foundation for another choice I have in mind.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Salix OS 13.0.2 Gets 64-bit Edition

        George Vlahavas from the Salix OS development team proudly announced two days before Christmas that Salix 13.0.2 was available for download on mirrors worldwide. The good news for all the fans of this Slackware-based Linux distribution is that it now has a 64-bit edition, which is backwards compatible with the Slackware64 operating system. Salix64 offers an easier way to install the XFCE desktop environment, and a software repository with lots of packages. The Salix developers also prepared a software repository with dependency information for both 32-bit and 64-bit Slackware packages.

      • KahelOS Linux (Desktop Edition) Installer version: 12-25-2009

        We are glad to impart the new KahelOS Linux Installer developed to make it much more simple, easier and refreshing to use.

      • Berry Linux 1.00
    • Red Hat Family

      • Morphing of a marketeer

        Red Hat itself sells a commercial version – complete with technical support – of the Linux operating system. But Linux was created as an open source software and any developer can contribute code to the program. It can be downloaded from the Web, free of a purchase licence.

    • Debian Family

      • What I’ve Enjoyed About Ubuntu

        Along the same lines as the above, I use a much higher percentage of the software that comes pre-installed on Ubuntu. And none of that software has been deliberately crippled in order to convince me to buy a non-crippled version. As I recently experienced with my new Blackberry Tour, there’s nothing that develops an immediately antagonistic relationship between me and my operating system like spending an hour stripping it of a bunch of useless software so I can more easily find the applications I care about.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Joker Racer R/C Server

      This is a real deal Linux server that has been shrunk to a miniscule size, making it small enough to be installed onto radio-controlled cars, where you can then control it from a standard Web browser or using a client program for the iPhone (which is currently under development, seeing action only sometime next year). While the Joker Racer R/C Server is not for sale at the moment, it could have plenty of potential especially in a tie up with Tamiya or other notable R/C car manufacturers.

    • Phones

      • 2009 is the Year of the Linux-powered Smartphones

        But Linux smartphone business is not all about Android. Other phone makers like Nokia and Palm have developed their own Linux-based operating system that has been quite successful. Nokia has Debian-based Maemo, which powers the N900, while Palm created webOS for their multi-featured Palm Pre smartphone.

      • More than 50 percent of Acer handsets for next year will use Android

        A leak claims that more than 50 percent of the 8 or probably 10 smartphones scheduled by Acer to be released next year will not use Windows Mobile, but Android. The company has acknowledged that the mix of operating systems will be more balanced towards Android that has equipped only one phone in 2009.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • This is Larry Lessig…

    The people at the Free Software Foundation asked me to do a short pitch to support the Free Software Foundation, and I’m happy and honored to do that. Indeed here in my office at Harvard Law School you can see one of the posters I most proudly have up is the award I got, the Free Software Foundation’s freedom award, which was an extraordinary honor that I received for ideas that I felt like I was just copying and spreading from Richard Stallman.

  • Open source became big business in 2009

    Open source has long been an important development methodology. The biggest surprise of 2009, however, was just how quickly it took center stage as a business strategy in the larger software economy.

  • Mozilla

    • Browsers of Europe

      The fact that browser distribution is not randomly distributed across European countries, but appears to closely follow traditional regional boundaries is somewhat surprising and suggests that there are significant cultural factors that affect browser choice. Note for example the large gap that StatCounter shows between Germany with ~60% Firefox and ~25% IE (so over 2:1) and its neighbors France with 55~60% IE and 30~35% Firefox and Denmark ~60% IE and ~25% Firefox (basically the opposite).

    • Mozilla Messaging building nest for Thunderbird 3.1

      Mozilla Messaging has published a proposed schedule for Thunderbird 3.1, the next release of the popular e-mail client. The organization is refining its development process and could potentially shift towards shorter release cycles and a more incremental approach to development.

    • Festive Firefox Friday: 2009 review

      Instead of bringing you Firefox-related news from the last seven days, this is an entire recap of Firefox in the year of 2009. It’s been a big year for that cute little red panda and 2010 will be just as exciting if not more so!

    • How to watch Youtube videos (Including HD) without flash in Firefox

      The script should work with Firefox, Safari, Opera, Epiphany and Google Chrome.

    • The 10 best new Firefox add-ons of 2009

      This past year felt like a rebuilding year for Firefox add-ons, with two new frameworks implemented to help guide the future of extensions. Personas gave Firefox on-the-fly theme-switching, and users can expect it to be part of the stable version of Firefox 3.6 when that gets released. Jetpack takes a similarly-minded approach to feature add-ons, allowing programmers to create feature-rich add-ons from little more than HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Expect JetPack to eventually be part of Firefox by default.

    • Firefox vs. Chrome

      The first release of Chrome browser was held in 2008, then a new Google project looked quite weak and very few people saw him as a serious competitor. Nevertheless, for the year the situation has changed dramatically, if not, it is very much in mass Chrome 4.0 implemented improvements and even the opportunity to install extensions. So how Google is developing its own browser, suggests that with each update it looks increasingly to Firefox. Now, these programs do not seem competitive, even according to Net Applications, they do not affect the market share of each other.

    • Thunderbird 3 comes up with new search interface

      The latest version of the popular open-source desktop email client, Thunderbird 3, was finally released a few days ago and it sports a range of new or improved features like better search and a tabbed interface (download site: http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird). It had been in the making for about two years.

      The organisation behind it is Mozilla Messaging, a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that promotes the web browser Firefox. Most heavy email users might find managing the voluminous inflow and outflow of messages a daunting challenge. The latest version of Thunderbird has come up with a new search interface, which includes filtering and timeline tools that help users dig out fast the messages they were looking for.

  • Databases

    • The European Commission and Oracle-Sun

      My view on the role of the GPL in this situation has been strongly contested by my friend Monty Widenius and others who work for Monty or who are otherwise in sympathy with his position. So far as I have seen their expressions of their views, no one has disagreed with my positions on the GPL in general.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Fellowship interview with Simon Josefsson

      SRE: Your Master’s Thesis dealt with the concept of storing personal encryption certificates in DNS. While still not a common practice, you wrote in a recent blogpost that some work has begun to happen in the area. How do you currently regard the promise of this way of distributing keys? Have keyservers in general improved since your thesis was written?

      SJ: The problem is not so much about technology here, but social matters. The person responsible for managing DNS for an organization is typically not the same person responsible for managing user certificates for an organization, and people have been reluctant to change their habits here. After all, DNS is a pretty critical piece of any company’s infrastructure. So I haven’t seen much uptake in this, even if it continues to be a interesting possibility, especially for the OpenPGP world. One part of my thesis was about the privacy issues around the then-current DNSSEC standard, the so called NXT record. I identified and explained that it will lead to problems when people can enumerate entire DNS zones, and even wrote a IETF draft on how to solve the problem using hashing of the names instead of storing the names directly. People in the IETF felt that the threat didn’t exist, and thought they were ready to roll out DNSSEC quite soon anyway (this was in 2001/2002!) so they didn’t want to change DNSSEC. I gave up on the draft, but years later people who were actually deploying this identified the same problem, and ended up re-inventing my solution, which is now standardized (the NSEC3 record). So at least some of it ended up being used, although not in the form or way I anticipated.

  • Openness

    • U.S. research should be open access

      The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has launched a “public consultation on Public Access Policy”, to see if research funded by U.S. grants should be made available as open access results. I think this is important — I believe publicly-funded unclassified research should actually be made available to the public.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash

      In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

      Goldman’s sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation’s premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.

      Only later did investors discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

      Now, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are facing large losses, and a five-month McClatchy investigation has found that Goldman’s failure to disclose that it made secret, exotic bets on an imminent housing crash may have violated securities laws.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 11 (2004)


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

Novell Legal News: SCO and MoFo

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SLES/SLED, UNIX at 10:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Animal and Novell banner

Summary: This week’s bits of analysis and news about Novell’s time in court, including a win in California

IN THE PREVIOUS TWO posts [1, 2] about the SCO case we showed that SCO has no reasonable case and that it keeps pressuring SUSE nonetheless. Groklaw has recited some old facts in order for SCO’s lawyers to digest them and give up the case.

LamLaw has written some more about SCO’s opposition to SUSE’s motion and Groklaw used Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to catch up:

i. SUSE’s Reply, Cahn’s Objection to Motion to Compel, and MORs, MORs, MORs

Lots of bankruptcy filings, including a reply by SUSE in support of its motion for relief from the automatic stay and Chapter 11 Trustee Edward Cahn has filed an Objection to Al Petrofsky’s motion to compel him to comply with reporting requirements. And Ocean Park Advisors has filed an Amended Exhibit A. But that isn’t the big news. The big news is that SCO has filed its Monthly Operating Reports, or MORs, for July through September, 2009. But interestingly, they are filed with a disclaimer that they are filed “consistent with the format and allocations of liabilities as previously adopted by the Debtors,” because Mr. Cahn and his financial advisors simply have not yet had time to “review all of the historical information previously reported by the Debtors”, so Cahn reserves the right to amend them once he has done a more thorough review.

“Historically,” the disclaimer continues, “the Company may not have distinguished between direct liabilities of debtor and non-debtor companies.” That would be the foreign subsidiaries, I expect, like Japan and Germany. “The Trustee with its financial advisors is conducting a thorough analysis of the intercompany arrangement among the debtors and the non-debtor subsidiaries and reserves the right to modify these MORs upon completion of its review.” It cautions the reader not to rely on the information, as they are filing just to fulfill reporting requirements. I would take it that SCO may have more in the way of assets than is reported here, then. September says $1,287,030. And we will have to wait for the real MORs.

ii. SUSE’s Reply in Support of Motion to Lift Stay, as text

Here, as promised, is the SUSE Reply [PDF] about lifting the bankruptcy stay, more properly titled SUSE’s Reply in Support of its Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay to Complete International Arbitration. This document is in response to SCO Chapter 11 Trustee Edward Cahn’s Objection to SUSE’s motion, and they do not hold back. Most interestingly, they highlight the GPL and what it means for SCO’s copyright claims.

Groklaw also carried on showing SCO lawyers that their case is dead to begin with. Latest articles on the subject are:

i. Answering SCO Bit by Bit – Binutils in UnixWare and OpenServer Too

I thought you’d find the slides from a talk given at SCOforum 2004 of interest, because they show that SCO also distributed, under the GPL, binutils in UnixWare and OpenServer. The talk was titled, “Open Source Components in SCO OpenServer and SCO UnixWare”, and the credits list Ron Record at SCO engineering, who we’ve written about before on Groklaw in this context. One of the talk’s slides lists the binutils package in OpenServer as OpenServer gnutools package, which means they had to know, I think, where it came from and that it is GPL’d, and there is a list of ftp sites to get the package.

ii. Answering SCO Bit by Bit – Streams and more GPL’d header files in Caldera OpenLinux 2.2

A reader sends us some more screenshots of Caldera, now SCO Group, distributing header files under the GPL. This time, it’s from OpenLinux 2.2-4, dated from 1999.

Amongst other new posts, there is this one about Novell’s latest motion:

Novell is asking the Utah District Court to set aside the earlier judgment by the Hon. Dale Kimball that Novell is not entitled to any of the SCOsource money from Microsoft or from Linux end users like EV1. That decision was based on his earlier ruling in August of 2007 on summary judgment that Novell owned the copyrights, not SCO, and that since SCO couldn’t offer a release of copyright infringement claims, since it didn’t own the copyrights, the licenses must not be SVRX licenses. I never could see the logic in that, but that is what happened. But since the Tenth Circuit set that summary judgment aside on copyright ownership, the judgment that Novell has no claim on the money must also be set aside, Novell argues.

In effect, if SCO were to be declared the owner of the copyrights, then Novell would like its 95 percent of any royalties. Of course, SCO is broke, so why is Novell asking for money, when it’s so unlikely it will ever get any? I can only guess, but I believe they see that SCO is thinking of gearing up the SCOsource business if it can win the copyrights at trial, and Novell is moving to block. If the licenses are determined to be about SVRX, then SCO would be obligated not only to pay almost everything to Novell, but to ask Novell for permission to sue. Think somewhere between slim to none, the odds of Novell granting SCO permission to sue Linux end users.

This is getting very interesting.

In other legal news, Novell managed to reverse a key judgment that would save it a lot of money.

Judges usually don’t look kindly on discovery lapses. But in a decision last week, an appeals court in California was sympathetic toward the software company Novell, which had been sanctioned for belatedly producing discovery. In a trial over a contract dispute, Novell was ordered to pay $19 million in damages, $4.5 million in interest, and more than $10 million in its opponent’s legal fees.

[...]

During the jury trial in 2006, which lasted six months, Novell produced thousands of documents that had been requested by the plaintiffs earlier but that Novell had been unable to locate. Orange County superior court judge David Velasquez didn’t think it was an accident. He labeled Novell “grossly reckless” in not producing the documents earlier and granted a motion by plaintiffs for sanctions. According to Miriam Vogel of Morrison & Foerster, who represented Novell on appeal, the sanctions were tantamount to a directed verdict.

More here: “Novell Gets New Trial After $35 Million Loss”

Software company Novell Inc. was spared a $35 million jury verdict against it when a California appeal court found last week that an Orange County Superior Court judge’s sanctions against the company went too far.

The 4th District Court of Appeal found that Novell didn’t act intentionally when it failed to present certain documents before the six-month-long trial started, and that Orange County Superior Court Judge David Velasquez was heavy-handed.

This is good news for Novell, but the company continues to jeopardise Free software as long as it acts at the behest of Microsoft, which is one of its biggest sources of income. Novell may be required to extinguish SCO, but Novell too needs to be extinguished along with Microsoft.

Novell News Summary – Part III: Novell Drives Nowhere Special

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Marketing, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Red Hat, Security, SLES/SLED, Videos at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Long road

Summary: Dull week passes by, but we pick up and present some of the minor developments surrounding Novell

IT is a holiday, so this one will be short.

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part II: SLES+Itanium, Xandros, Samsung+Bada

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Samsung, Security, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Iguana

Summary: Distributions from which Microsoft is wielding power to ‘tax’ Linux are tracked on the Web

SUSE

IT has understandably been a quiet week for SUSE, which made the headlines in relation to BankIslami. “BankIslami chooses SUSE Linux enterprise,” says this one headline:

Novell today announced that BankIslami Pakistan Limited, a dedicated Islamic commercial bank headquartered in Karachi, has chosen SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop as its operating platform of choice. With around 1400 users in 102 branches, SUSE Linux Enterprise provides BankIslami Pakistan with a secure, scalable, reliable and easy-to-use operating platform for its IT infrastructure. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the platform for the Bank’s mission-critical application environment, while for desktops; SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is deployed on Sun Ray stateless thin-client terminals from Sun Microsystems.

BankIslami has actually been with SUSE for over 2 years, so it is not as though Novell won something new.

Last week we wrote about SUSE in relation to Itanium. Some more sites speak about it, but this is Red Hat news, not quite Novell/SUSE news.

That leaves Novell as the only major Linux supplier to still back Itanium, for the moment. As the Register points out, Novell has not tipped its hand one way or the other on the Itanium, and could very well extend support as a niche market, the way it does for the System z mainframe. But it seems clear that for most Linux providers, the IBM Power processor will be the high-end platform of choice.

More here:

Red Hat isn’t the only enterprise Linux vendor to support Itanium: Rival Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) is also a supporter, although it has yet to make any future predictions on whether it will support Itanium in its next release.

“Itanium is a fully supported platform for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, just as it was for previous versions,” Michael Applebaum, senior solution marketing manager at Novell, told InternetNews.com. “We’ve worked closely with our processor and server partners — including Intel, HP and others — to deliver an optimized version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the Itanium architecture.”

Novell’s unfair treatment of SUSE developers got mentioned by IDG, which said:

IBM announced that layoffs might reach 16,000 and that Canadian staff would not be spared. Novell took the axe to 100 employees, mostly SUSE Linux developers

Here is a new video that reached YouTube a few days ago:

There are other companies that signed Novell-like deals.

Xandros

Xandros was again mentioned in relation to Freescale. But one of the main functions of Xandros these days seems to be helping Microsoft:

BridgeWays, a division of Xandros, today announced that ProacTIC, a leading provider of IT products and consulting services in the Dominican Republic, will bring BridgeWays multi-platform solutions to banks, retailers, and other businesses throughout the Caribbean.

In relation to the Eee PC, the following couple of posts have appeared:

i. ASUS Eee PC 1005PE review

By our count ASUS has released — at the very least — 20 Eee PC netbooks since 2008. Some had 8.9-inch or 10-inch displays, some ran Xandros Linux or Windows XP, and some packed hard drives instead of flash storage.

ii. ASUS Eee PC 1201N On Linux

ASUS has not been putting too much effort into their Xandros-based Linux operating system lately since Microsoft Windows 7 had launched, and sadly, with the Eee PC 1201N this does not change the game.

Samsung

The arrival of Bada has put Samsung in some Linux spotlights recently. But Samsung is part of Microsoft’s Linux racket. Here are some new screenshots of Bada:

Images showing the user interface Samsung has grafted onto its upcoming Bada smartphone OS have appeared on the web.

Samsung is still working with Android, which contains Linux. It remains a bit of a mystery how Samsung and Microsoft arrange the ‘taxation’ of Linux, but they are definitely doing it.

About the Android-powered phones from Samsung, we have:

i. Samsung’s New Android: It’s Fun to Live in the Moment

The Moment is Samsung’s latest Android handset, available through Sprint. The device maker has loaded the Moment with useful features, and Android is a strong OS in its own right. The slide-out keypad is very comfortable in a tactile sense, though visually its function markings need a little more contrast.

ii. Linux Mobile Powers the Vodafone 360 M1

The Vodafone 360 M1 is a Linux Mobile smart phone with amazing capabilities; this is the product of Samsung’s manufacturing and the Vodafone service. When three major industry giants with different specializations get together for a single device, you know it is going to be amazing. Still, the 360 M1 is the little brother of the even more powerful 360 H1 Linux Mobile smart phone. Frankly speaking, if the H1 is well within your budget, then you should get that phone instead.

The new GNU/Linux push from Foxconn seems promising. Foxconn employs about half a million people, so FoxOS does have a real chance and unlike Bada, it involves no patent deal with Microsoft.

Boycott Novell men

Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE at Texas Linux Fest, Build Service 1.7 Beta 1, and Lots of KDE4

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lizard skin texture

Summary: Novell presence in GNU/Linux events, new release of Linux for Education, a couple of short reviews and other technical essays

EARLY in the week we accumulated some postings that tell the story about OpenSUSE, which still fails to excite as many people as it used to. The association with Novell (and Microsoft) did it no good, but technically it’s a fine distribution, overall.

Events

Geekobuilder was used to celebrate this week’s main event, which is Christmas. But looking ahead at the Texas Linux Fest, they have given a keynote spot to someone from Novell who lies about the Microsoft/Novell deal.

Texas Linux Fest is proud to announce the first annual Linux and open source software event for Texas and the surrounding region, Texas Linux Fest 2010, scheduled for April 10 at the Monarch Event Center in Austin.

Brockmeier to keynote

Novell’s openSUSE Community Manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier will deliver the opening keynote talk. Brockmeier has been an active part of the open source software scene since 1999, for years as a respected journalist, editor, and author in print and on the Web. Brockmeier has worked as openSUSE’s community manager since 2008, advocating on behalf the community to Novell and for openSUSE and Linux itself to the outside world.

Brockmeier also wrote about SCALE, which he will possibly attend. It’s part of his job to inject more SUSE and Novell content into public gatherings. At least he won’t be preaching about Mono and Moonlight, which are putting people off.

Releases

Brockmeier has announced this Li-f-e update:

The openSUSE Education team is proud to announce the availability of the updated Li-f-e hybrid ISO. Unlike the official openSUSE release, the Edu project’s Li-f-e flavor will get updated almost on a monthly basis. These minor releases will contain all the official openSUSE 11.2 updates, some important package version updates and may be addition of new features too. With these gradual improvements we are hoping to make one of the best Education OS even better.

Reviews

Not many people are writing about OpenSUSE, but one person who has just tried it eventually failed and then gave up:

So it seems that I am stalled with OpenSUSE. Rather than spend more time trying to debug this problem, I think I’ll just try a different distribution, Fedora.

Fedora worked OK for him.

On the other hand, here is a good mini-review of OpenSUSE, which is beating Vista 7.

I gave Windows Vista, which came with my hardware (Inspiron 545 MT), and the free Windows 7 upgrade, a fair and honest try. For two weeks I ran Win7. It was certainly better than Vista, but there were things which just did not work for me. You would hardly be surprised it centered mostly on my addiction to certain Open Source tools which are not available, or don’t work properly, on Win7. Bear in mind, the free version I got was 64-bit Home Premium, but the main problem was GNU4Win tools didn’t work at all on the commandline. They aren’t compatible.

There were other issues, mostly reflecting the commercial controls to which Windows users are restricted, limitations which have nothing to do with law or copyright, but inside deals.

We’ve already tested Ubuntu and related distros on this machine, and they are all broken on two main issues: Optical media and X.org. The former didn’t work at all, and the latter crashed and logged me out at the oddest times. Nobody seemed to have a clue, as I searched extensively. Nothing in the logs answered any questions I knew how to ask. But openSUSE 11.2 runs without those glitches. By no means can we call it perfect, but it sucks less, as one Open Source project used to claim for itself.

Technical

Some people are customising their OpenSUSE for Christmas. A couple of days before Christmas, the release candidate of OpenOffice.org 3.2 was made available to OpenSUSE users.

I’m happy to announce OpenOffice.org 3.2 rc1 packages for openSUSE. They are available in the Build Service OpenOffice:org:UNSTABLE project and include many upstream and Go-oo fixes. See also overview of integrated features and enhancements. Please, look for more details about the openSUSE OOo build on the wiki page.

Some news regarding OpenSUSE Build Service (OBS), which reaches another beta:

The openSUSE Build Service (OBS) team just announced the Beta 1 version of the upcomming 1.7 release. Most of the features are already accessable in the Build Service instance which is used by the opensuse.org project.

Ben Kevan wrote quite a lot about KDE4 in his personal blog (running under OpenSUSE 11.2). He has found some issues in the test builds of KDE SC 4.4.

I’ll talk more about installing it on openSUSE 11.2 in one of the following blog postings.

Apart from some minor glitches, the experience in KDE SC 4.4 seems rather pleasant [1, 2, 3, 4] and Kevan does a showcase for desktop/KWin effects:

I decided to check out the different Windows Switching options in KDE 4, and decided I’d give a little preview of the 5 different methods which are:

No Effect
Box Switch
Present Windows
Cover Switch
Flip Switch

There are many nice screenshots in there. Stefan’s rants about KDE4 [1, 2] clearly show that this desktop is not for everyone. But it is still good to know that KDE4 gains some strong support.

Masim Sugianto has published a load of posts about OpenSUSE as a server platform [1 ,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. OpenSUSE Weekly News has been released by Sascha Manns and there is not much more left to say.

Multitouch-enabled KDE Plasma Desktop – Video Demo

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Videos at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: KDE SC 4.4 (Plasma desktop) takes advantage of multitouch features that have been added to Qt 4.6


Direct link

Also see: In-built Linux Multi-touch (New Video)

Novell snow

Reactions to Microsoft’s Novell Software Inside GNU/Linux

Posted in BSD, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This post brings together a variety of thoughts and insights into the impact of Novell’s actions, which promote Microsoft and demote GNU

Microsoft-esque and Microsoft-funded/inspired software (see Wiki pages on Mono and Moonlight) continues to fragment and separate the community of Free software users. Recently we saw hostility towards GNU in GNOME [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It came from the same guy who had started a banner meme to protest against Stallman’s stance on Mono.

Now that the Director of GNOME is a Novell Employee, there are those who believe that if Microsoft decided to buy Novell, it would have even more control over GNOME. From ECT (Linux Insider):

“I [imagine] Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is very pleased with this new direction with Gnome,” wrote Stumbles on Slashdot, for example. “I predict in 5 years, perhaps less, Microsoft will have maneuvered these short sighted individuals to accepting Microsoft to buy Gnome.”

Novell is increasing focus on Mono and its vice president has called developers to program for Microsoft's Silverlight (XAML). He once said that they could “refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight.” He seems to be ignoring the conditions under which access to Moonlight is granted.

Simon Phipps argues that “Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.” Put in context:

There is still a strong thread of thought at Microsoft that imagines open source is purely the domain of solitary programmers of private means. This is yet another “covenant” from them that gives no assurance whatsoever to the average FOSS developer. Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.

These are unacceptable conditions for Free software users. As one person put it:

Moonlight 2 sounds good but they still need the licensed codecs.

Bernard Swiss writes:

“Covenant” appears to be a marketing term that means:

“If you only do what we say we’ll let you do with our stuff, we think we’ll let you use it. For now, anyways. But we can still take it all back if we happen to change our mind.”

This isn’t a “covenant”; it’s an advert for a “free trial offer”.

Steve Stites agrees with Bernard, whose analogy is a valuable one.

derp sarcastically puts it liks this: “thank you for not suing me. MS decided not to persecute #moonlight users.” Later he wrote to me: “best part is that they can break the agreement any time they want. so nothing matters. except for de icaza”

eWEEK spoke to Novell’s de Icaza, who had interesting things to say (also here).

But de Icaza explained to eWEEK that this model was not so “open-source-y.” Yet, he assured readers that “Microsoft’s intention was to expand the reach of Silverlight, but the original covenant was not a good cultural fit.” And, “The new patent covenant ensures that other third-party distributions can distribute Moonlight without their users fearing … getting sued over patent infringement by Microsoft,” he said.

It is possible treat it like freeware, not Free software, but it’s even worse (and there is an expiry date to worry about). Watch this new article bearing the headline “Download New Moonlight For Free!”

They pretend it’s about price. But Microsoft's “promise” to Moonlight has at least 10 holes in it (some are seeing more). We wrote about it just before Christmas kicked in and Slashdot covered one aspect of it shortly afterwards (the part about MonoDevelop licensing).

rysiek writes “A few days ago, Miguel de Icaza wrote on his blog that the whole of MonoDevelop is now ‘free’ of GPL-licensed code. ‘MonoDevelop code is now LGPLv2 and MIT X11 licensed. We have removed all of the GPL code, allowing addins to use Apache, MS-PL code as well as allowing proprietary add-ins to be used with MonoDevelop (like RemObject’s Oxygene).’”

Boycott Novell apparently brought this to light for more people to see. They begin to realise Novell's ambivalent approach when it comes to the GNU GPL. It’s an important wakeup call.

To say that Microsoft and Novell have a muddy history when it comes to open-source projects and the GPL would be an understatement. Things were looking up, with the release of the open-source implementation of Silverlight, Moonlight 2, last week, but today things took a turn for the worse: Novell has just cut all the open source code from MonoDevelop.

Despite warnings from the FSF, Novell continues to promote C# and servers too are being stuffed with it. Not good. From this week’s news:

Novell stacks Linux and Mono for mainframes

[..]

Novell doesn’t just want mainframe shops to put SLES 11 on their boxes and run Linux workloads, it wants them to take the commercially supported Mono clone of the .NET runtime environment and use that to move Windows workloads over to mainframe boxes. So Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Consolidation Suite (SLECS) bundles roll Linux and Mono software together and provide a single support package for the stack.

Kicking Novell out of the mainframes would be a case of reducing Microsoft’s ammunition. Fred Williams writes about another area that Mono and Moonlight have reached:

Along with Mono, I see Ubuntu including this on the live CD as well. Microsoft writes such good software and has such excellent standards that we should all embrace whatever Microsoft wants. Besides they have never done anything that would harm any potential competitor.
So, people in charge of what gets included in Ubuntu, bring it on.

On the same subject:

Microsoft just doesn’t change. No matter what they say.

As always the best course is to avoid them. There is no longer any real need to use any of their technology. You may try to convince yourself otherwise, but you are just wasting your time. Rather, look forward and embrace the new world that is before you.

Jose_X adds:

Subject: And let’s not forget the Microsoft trolls..

Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold own companies that buy many patents. They are not bound by any Microsoft covenants. Both of these individuals serve their interests today by working to Microsoft’s benefit.

And note the covenant doesn’t apply to old versions. This pressures existing users to stay on the treadmill investing in Microsoft standards over and over to avoid patent problems from Microsoft.

Charles Hixson writes:

I’ve read the analyses of the most recent promise, and it’s not good enough. I don’t care how “nifty” people think this new software is, because with that license/promise I’m never going to even look at it.

P.S.: Miguel was, apparently, recently so proud of removing “all GPL components” from MonoDevelop. Makes me quite glad I removed the installation as soon as I noticed it…and all other mono components with it.

Neko Nata concludes with:

Maybe I should say “good riddance” to him… but that’s not ok.
What is better is that Miguel does what he wants and Linux folks do whatever they want. If that means parting ways, I see it as a good thing for both parties.
I really should say to Miguel “goodbye”. And “thanks for all the fish”.
What if Novell starts selling some kind of *BSD? Maybe they can start selling something without the Linux kernel?

That would be highly unlikely, but if Microsoft bought Novell, then it would at least become a possibility. Several other people brought this up in 2007.

Microsoft apprenticeship

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