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Summary: Promotional patents on ideas that are neither new nor particularly revolutionary, courtesy of Microsoft of course
This post is not about "Public Relations" (PR) or the patents that Microsoft's PR department (Waggener Edstrom) obtains on AstroTurfing-related methods. It is about Microsoft 'fan press' hyping up Microsoft’s attempt to monopolise old electromyography-based ideas. As Rupert Goodwins (ZDNet) put it several months ago, Microsoft Research is about marketing/PR. And as Jessica Sterling sarcastically puts it, “let’s patent it to slow any potential innovation!”
Microsoft — like Edison — wants to gain another monopoly on ideas (or small variation of them) that may already exist and no single person claims ownership of (it probably goes back to the nineteens if not the eighties, just like touchscreens). This time it’s the idea that muscular/vascular activity can trigger some action rather than motion that goes beyond pulses. OpenBytes explains why this is problematic without discussing the lack of novelty.
So lets see why some people think like this. Its being reported that Microsoft is pushing a “new” innovation. Now before you all groan or start checking to see if a MS third party has used some of your code, lets have a look at what I think is a truly frightening vision of the future involving Microsoft.
It is not as though Microsoft really honours patents, as the i4i case has hopefully taught everyone [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Software patents just don't apply to Microsoft. Moreover, the i4i case may not be over yet.
…Updegrove suggests two ways this “fight” will come to an end: First, i4i may still be willing to settle “if the offer is high enough.” Or, if the version of Microsoft Word sold on Jan. 11 does not meet i4i’s expectations in terms of non-infringement, the case could be back in court.
Oracle — unlike Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] — does not seem to be using its patents against Free software. This is why Microsoft is so often discussed in the context of patents. It’s not a fixation, and those who ignore the problem with Microsoft’s obsession (with patents) will not magically make this problem go away. █
Summary: The death of the sub-notebook has been greatly exaggerated… by those to whom sub-notebooks are a huge and disruptive business risk
FOR the uninitiated, Intel and Microsoft colluded against sub-notebooks, as evidence we gathered in the following posts ought to show:
Microsoft hates sub-notebooks, but not as much as it hates GNU/Linux (or GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks). The BBC, which accommodates many former Microsoft executives [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], seems to be giving lip service to (what they hope are) self-fulfilling prophecies of the demise of sub-notebooks.
Among the responses to it we have:
And guess who is keeping the prices and specs up? Why are Linux netbooks over specified so that the sale price is the same as Windows netbooks? The answer is market manipulation by Microsoft using OEM incentives and punitive measures written into OEM contracts and marketing and advertising discounts. Effectively Microsoft is running a series of price fixing and specification fixing cartels with PC OEMs. Hopefully Google and the ARM based Smartbooks will blow the PC cartels wide open.
By the way where did you get the idea that Smartbooks will be chained to a contract? Smartbooks are just ARM based netbooks.
So.. we have an article talking about netbook’s doom being close, things about ARM,GNU/Linux running 2 times longer than windows on equipment and then they throw the rumor bomb of Windows 8 or 9 being able to run on ARM. What the heck? Windows 7 is barely out (which hasn’t stopped IE from losing market share, by the way), windows 8 would be easily 2 years away, windows 9 would be 5 years away (both optimistic projections, anyway) and why do they name this in the article? And who is creating such buzz? Steve Ballmer? It sounded so much like vaporware stories created by Microsoft PR for so long. Can’t believe reporters still buy that crap.
Those vapourware tactics are a Microsoft classic which we wrote about many times before. See for example:
Another person hits the nail on the head:
They don’t say it but they are talking about Windows netbooks.
What the author is talking about but doesn’t actually say is Technology changes (ARM based) outstripping (Windows) netbooks, users chafing against (Windows market distorting) restrictions on netbooks, and rising prices (due to Microsoft forcing OEMs to put Windows on netbooks with inducements and punitive conditions) making them too expensive and unappealing.
Hopefully the upcoming Chrome OS netbooks, ARM smartbooks, and resurgence of Linux netbooks will put and end to that.
Pointing out the obvious:
This is yet another line of “logic” no doubt generated by Microsoft, realizing that there is no way it can scale down Windows 7 for netbooks. So let’s declare netbooks dead.
Is it 1984 again?
These pundits forget that machines five years ago and more were and are perfectly capable of every daily task (apart from hi-def video). “We have always been at war with Eurasia!”
With the economy in such poor shape, do they really expect people to keep buying when prices keep rising?
First they disparage netbooks as toys, to discourage people from buying them. Then they wonder why they aren’t selling?
“It is impossible to teach a man something when his income depends on not knowing it.”
This whole routine ought to sound familiar. Microsoft’s attacks on ARM-based sub-notebooks (which it calls “smartbooks” rather than “netbooks”) is a subject that we wrote about in:
Summary: The large-scale migration to LiMux goes pretty well; Microsoft increasingly attempts to derail such migrations
Thanks to open standards and Free software, Munich succeeds in its migration away from Microsoft. To Munich, it’s not a case of Apple versus Microsoft versus Google. Munich’s mayor has protested against OOXML and on they go with ODF. Check out this latest update from the ground:
ODF as standard, OpenOffice.org everywhere
LiMux has achieved one very important goal. The open standard Open Document Format (ODF) is now Munich’s primary used internal document exchange standard, beside of PDF for non-editable documents. Congratulations to all, who made this great success happen! Our standard office workplace consists now of OpenOffice.org (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw), Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird and many other sometimes needed apps like e.g. GIMP.
The whole project will be adapted during the next months for the final big step, the client migration in general. Some improvements and optimizations in the project structure, to learn from the past and be ready for continuing the success story.
Pogson summarises parts of the above.
There is an end-of-2009 article by Floschi that shows the migration has overcome all the obstacles and made good progress:
* 2500 GNU/Linux clients spread over all 12 departments
* 20000 ODF templates produced and ODF is the standard format for documents
* FLOSS apps everywhere in use daily
ODF and OpenOffice.org are clearly a crucial part of this migration.
As we showed a few days ago [1, 2], Microsoft still engages in EDGI and other anti-competitive tactics (which it euphemistically calls “Compete”) to suppress any existing deployment of OpenOffice.org that’s successful. It is not the same as “competition” but rather undermining the competition with back room deals. Linux Today brought this up, leading to some interesting comments.
“It is not the same as “competition” but rather undermining the competition with back room deals.”“Wow. In their own words. MS is will try to engage the OSS community in order to destroy it,” says one person. Another says that “corporations realize linux is past the tipping point. There are areas in which it is deployed that MS products aren’t even considered, nor will they ever be. They won’t “market” their way into those areas, ever.” A more optimistic response says that “this must mean that GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org are doing really well. I knew that all along…”
Microsoft is hiring people to subvert it from the inside, as usual.
Sun’s Simon Phipps writes about Glyn Moody’s analysis: “Fascinating insight gleaned from “Situations Vacant” shows just how much pain OpenOffice.org is really causing Microsoft, despite the effort their spokespeople make to dismiss it. The analysis is backed up by the statements they make about OpenOffice.org in their SEC filings.”
6. Linux Mint goes upscale: Having gotten tired of the minty freshness and looking to appeal to more cosmopolitan tastes, Linux Mint will change over the course of the year to something a little more contemporary. It becomes Linux Merlot, with a bouquet that resonates from the north side of the vineyard slope. The distro will go a lot better with most cheeses.
5. Also, Linux Mint forks into a smaller distro: Linux Mint developers who don’t drink wine, or anything else alcoholic, will fork the distro and make a version that will only run on thin clients, making it . . . say it with me . . . Linux Thin Mint. Monty Python fans continue to roll on the floor at the mere reference.
For quite awhile, I’ve been wanting to install Debian onto my second PC, but I didn’t want to have to “start from scratch” and tweak and configure everything on it. What I really wanted to do was to use rsync to copy the files in debian1’s / and /home partitions onto partitions on debian2, and see if debian2 would boot up and run, already configured the same way as debian1. I was concerned that it might not work, because debian1 and debian2 use different monitor resolutions and completely different CPUs — although I was pretty confident that the different CPUs would not cause a problem because they can both use the type of linux kernel (686) that is already installed on debian1.
The book begins with some simple ideas about the operating system and then leads through the System and Network Administration overview through boot methods and package management to the Bash shell and pattern matching. The latter is something that is an invaluable source of facts for the first time and experienced user. The section on the use of variuos editors is also useful as is the later part of the book which shows CVS and Git management. If you would like to get hold of something tasty in a nutshell rather than talking to the nut the down corridor this book could be for you.
If you would like to be sure that you are doing online banking from a clean system, just run your operating system of choice (Windows/Linux/Mac) everyday and boot from the Puppy CD before going to your banking site. This is a great way to prevent malware keyloggers from stealing your banking credentials.
Anyway, how does it fair with Ubuntu?
I used an Ubuntu 9.10 live USB session to see what was working. I was pleased to discover that it appears to be everything. Wireless, bluetooth, correct resolution, touch pad and keyboard. Battery life is not noticeably different to Windows either.
There are fundamental differences between people who use GNU/Linux and those who use that other OS. The former rarely worry about the speed of their systems. The latter have DRM, malware, WGdisA and bloat constantly in their face.
All these blessing are ours out of the box when we use GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. For purposes of education, we will have a system that the school controls, not some corporate monopoly. We will have a system that works for us and our students, not against us.
Over time I could tell that my message of Linux and Free Software was beginning to put a strain on Digital’s management, since one of Digital’s biggest “partners” was Microsoft, so in 1999 I was offered the opportunity to “do Linux full time”, and I accepted, leaving Digital and my “six figure salary.”
In many ways the ten years since 1999 have been some of the best in my entire life. I have met and talked with many amazing and passionate people. While I had traveled to many counties as part of Digital’s Unix group (both as a trainer and as a marketing person), I often talked only to managers and large groups of people in conferences and conventions.
Linux is a very popular platform. Not just because it is free but also because it is reliable and supports anything you can imagine. A popular setup is a Linux server without any graphical user interface. It can be used for web hosting, as a file server, as a database server, or for anything you need. Most people comfortable with Windows operating system are afraid to start thinking in a different way. In fact, installing and using Linux is pretty simple.
The Linux kernel benchmarks for the past month illustrate many different performance regressions, some of which are bad but others are actually improvements introduced into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. With the EXT4 file-system in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel it represents yet more performance drops, as can be seen from the SQLite numbers, for example.
A month ago we reported on news regarding the X.Org plans to move away from HAL considering the FreeDesktop.org Hardware Abstraction Layer project is no longer being developed. Since then patches have emerged to support a xorg.conf.d directory for storing some device-specific options and some new xorg.conf configuration options have emerged for filling in some of the gaps previously covered by HAL.
Songbrid has gained video playback capabilities in the beta for forthcoming 1.5.0 release “Led Zepplin”.
If you’re so confused about running shell scripts, or worry too much about what command/s to use so that you could change the mode of a script to run, don’t worry now. There’s this tool called “App Runner” which helps us with running different scripts.
Everytime one installs a new operating system there are some tasks needed to be performed before one can start using the system. There are many task which one should do after a fresh install like disabling unwanted services, customizing settings etc but here we would talk about the most important task – Installing essentials. Essentials are those software which are required to make a crude system usable. These includes flash player, add-on plugins, media players, codecs & small utility software’s.
Writing, or rewriting, your musical scores digitally can be a tedious business. It takes a lot longer than doodling with pen and paper, but is infinitely tidier and more accessible – in a way, you’re making it timeless. In this time and age, it’s simply not done to compose your scores on a napkin. Sure, it makes for great storytelling, but you’re up for a redo if you want any credibility.
When we released our pre-alpha version into the wild last week, we told you that a Unix release would follow later. Today, as a new year’s present, we’d like to give you the chance to play with Opera 10.5 on Unix.
The Goblin and the Butterfly, a free 2nd MMORPG, has hit version 126.96.36.199. This alpha version of the game now has a quest engine and the first quests are now used to gain knowledge about the game. Other new features include…
This past Fall semester was pretty busy with the wedding, full-course load, and travel. I didn’t have an opportunity to work on KDE as much as I would like and spent most of my time on board duties and conference planning rather than on the Usability project. Now that my coursework is completed and I’m preparing for Comprehensive Exams, I will have more time this semester to work on the KDE Usability project. Some of the things I would like to get done in the next few months include:
Continue work on Notifications
Last year I began researching desktop notifications as a way to bridge design ideas coming from Canonical’s Ayatana design team with work that was being done in KDE.
Pardus is a really nice distro. I’m surprised it does not have a bigger user base. But it kind of figures out. Few people have heard of Pardus or had the chance to try it and find out just how great it is, myself included. But now that I’ve been exposed to its goodies, it’s time to spread the word.
Pardus wins you over by many great features, starting with a very soft, pleasant installation, followed by a smooth, streamlined desktop setup. Then, you get lots of great programs, cross-platform productivity out of the box, great looks, good performance and solid stability, and a whole lot of tiny details that you don’t normally encounter.
Pardus is truly a unique, refreshing change from the daily routine. The only bad thing I could find was proxy support and nothing else. It behaved phenomenally.
Well, I am genuinely pleased. I warmly recommend you try Pardus and see for yourself. It’s a small distro, so you might not be tempted. But don’t let this distract you. In the worst case, you won’t be won over and you won’t be using it, but I doubt that. If you’re a home user in search after a decent distribution that offers everything, you’re in no mood for command line hacks and you just want to enjoy your desktop out of box, browse, chat with friends or listen to music, Pardus is a great choice.
This Turkish distro is a very smart solution. The best thing you can do is help it grow bigger and gain more popularity. Sometimes, all it takes for a talent to break through is the critical mass of believers. Currently, Pardus is ranked #37 on DistroWatch and it definitely deserves better than that.
Speaking of DistroWatch, you may want to read the review thither. Like most reviews of Pardus 2009, it speaks highly of the distribution. Many good points and some small problematic details I’ve not observed, definitely worth checking out.
Thank you all who suggested Pardus. It’s really great!
* Command and Conquer.
* How-To: Program in Python – Part 6, The Perfect Server – Part 2, Installing Chromium (browser) and Offline Package Install.
* My Story – Classroom Experiences, and How I Became An Ubuntu Woman.
* My Opinion – Time To Review The Release Schedule? and Will Linux Ever Get It Right?
* Review – Music Player Daemon.
* MOTU Interview – Roderick Greening.
* Top 5 – Media Centers.
* Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games and all the usual goodness!
It’s a sad time for Ubuntu users. Canonical has announced that it is removing the GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka GIMP, from the default Ubuntu installation routine.
When I write Linux reviews for my blog, I always harp on distros that don’t include GIMP as part of the default install routine. Without it, there usually isn’t much included in the way of image editing tools, and I consider that category of application to be very important to most desktop Linux users.
I may be wrong, but I don’t buy this. I think it’s software, not the Internet, that has to change. I think either Microsoft solves the problem or open source will solve it and eliminate the need for Microsoft. This tension will be one of the decade’s biggest stories.
This is quite odd. MySQL is FLOSS so it can be forked and MW has done that. What is his problem? Does he want to sell something and then kill its value? Is he trying to keep open a window of opportunity for his new fork to grow? That’s OK but why cause FUD in the huge universe of users of MySQL?
The bottom line is that this guy tried to pass off my work as his, got caught, lied himself into a corner, then tried to bluff his way out. Didn’t work. I’m not surprised at how it went down, in retrospect; after reading some of the things in his online profile, I should have known this was not a man who would ever admit a mistake even if he was walking around with a bucket of shit stuck on his foot. I’ll admit to one, though: it was a mistake for me to offer a compromise. To someone like that, a compromise offer is seen as admission of weakness.
Pulling in external dependencies is a big deal for us – many of our users are on Ubuntu or similar desktops with lots of python packages already installed, but some are not using GNOME or a Linux desktop at all, so we have to be sure that we need a library before we depend on it.
After playing a little with both of the options I came to the conclusion that while they are both really well made and capable, they are far more formal than we need, and the added dependency issues continued to concern me.
Imagine my surprise this week when I learned that National Geographic is selling digital versions of every copy of National Geographic published since 1888 on DVD for $70 . No, there are no typos here. They’ll sell you 120 years of brilliant photography, insight and commentary about our world for essentially the price of taking your family to see “Avatar.” For $200, they’ll even send you the lot on a 160GB hard drive.
As we all know, the public is angry about the big Wall Street bank bailout and they have reason to be. Peter Goodman writes a “fair and balanced” piece quoting both critics and the banks on the government program to protect homeowners from foreclosure that is offering some palliatives but really only delaying the inevitable loss link here. At the same time, the banks seem to be making out very well. Goodman suggests with a few examples, that they are exploiting their superior bargaining position and knowledge to maximize their return.
The public is paying the banks in ways most people don’t realize. They are of course aware that the government–i.e., the taxpayer–is on the hook for the direct payouts which must ultimately be covered by taxes.
WikiLeakS.org has applied for a grant from the Knight Foundation a charitable foundation financed from the former Knight-Ridder US newspaper conglomerate.
Do not confuse this with the recently revived 1980′s fictional Knight Rider TV series featuring a supposedly artificially intelligent car, which starred David Hasselhoff.
So here is a Council draft document in English to the reply to my secondary request for document access related to an ACTA criminal provisions document.
Formally, I could go to Court now or invoke the ombudsman.
In the wake of public outcry against the Transportation Security Administration for serving civil subpoenas on two bloggers, the government agency has canceled the legal action and apologized for the strong-arm tactics agents used.
Travel writer and photographer Steven Frischling, who was served with a subpoena by two TSA agents on Tuesday, told Threat Level that he received a phone call Thursday evening from John Drennan, deputy chief counsel for enforcement at TSA, telling him the administration was withdrawing its subpoena.
Today, DHS’s Napolitano’s response to the crotchbomber: “We’re looking to make sure that this sort of incident cannot recur.” But the TSA’s response to Abdulmutalib’s attempt makes one thing clear: We must stop pretending the TSA is making us safer.
Security expert Bruce Schneier nails the core incompetency: “For years I’ve been saying ‘Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.’”
So what has the TSA done in response to the attempted attack? They’ve told airlines to make passengers stay in their seats during the last hour of flight. They’ve made it verboten for passengers to hold anything in their laps, again only during the last hour of flight. Perhaps most hilariously telling, they’ve forbidden pilots from announcing when a plane is flying over certain cities and landmarks.
The virtual world of online gaming seems like the perfect place to hide. There is plenty of anonymity, and it’s almost impossible for someone to trace activity back to its source, right? Wrong.
Two weeks ago, Howard County Sheriff’s Department deputy Matt Roberson tracked down a wanted fugitive through one of the most popular games on the Internet — World of Warcraft. And he got his man.
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