Summary: A look at voice recognition in Google’s new Android (Linux) phone
Summary: A look at voice recognition in Google’s new Android (Linux) phone
Summary: GenoCAD, Ruckus, ShimBi Labs, and RawTherapee liberate some/all of the code, signaling the changing times
ANOTHER batch of projects ought to be proud; developers have just decided that it’s better to be Free than to be non-Free. Today we have:
This agreement will facilitate the open source development of GenoCAD by the synthetic biology community.
GenoCAD, which can be regarded as one of the first computer assisted design systems for synthetic DNA sequences, provides a sequence builder function that guides users through the process of designing a new genetic construct from a database of standard genetic parts. The open source development of GenoCAD is hosted on SourceForge.
Zap source code is hosted on Google Code and is released under the Simplified BSD License. A black paper from Ruckus Wireless called “Characterizing Wireless Network Performance” is available on request.
And now some GPL:
Although it is Version 1.0 ShimBi Labs has been using beta version of this blog application since 3 years. Since then we work almost every month few hours on development side of it and finally in November 2009 it has been decided that we will release same application as open source application Under GPL license. SeE MyBlog is released as open source application Under GPL license.
I decided to change the license to GPL and thus offer the source code to the open source community.
Over at The Source, Jason writes about the value of Free software and explains why the origins matters:
I want to stress once again that originally back in 1998, the term “Open Source” was intended as a drop-in replacement for the term “Free Software”. I suggest you read that link because it makes 3 beautiful points:
1. The problem was “with the term ‘free software’, itself, not the concept”.
2. It was done in “pragmatic interest”
3. RMS “initially flirted” with the idea, but came to reject the term.
As time has passed and we look back I think it is very telling how things have played out.
The acknowledgment that RMS considered the terminology switch from “Free Software” to “Open Source”, but came to reject it shows remarkable foresight.
It is true indeed that the term “Open Source” may be easier for many business interests to adopt, but it also is much easier to dilute. If “Open Source” was intended to be synonymous with “Free Software”, where does that put “Shared Source”, “Open Core”, “Open Edge” and other such Fauxpen Source pretenders?
I see a fundamental ironic difference between the way RMS considers things and they way his most vocal detractors consider things. RMS sees that user freedom represents a challenge to corporate interests, and so most of them will try to find a loop hole or substitute. This is a sad, but realistic understanding. Contrast this with the loudest anti-Free Software proponents who have a wholly unrealistic expectation: that companies will not twist, distort and undermine user freedom at every turn.
Groklaw has just published this explanation and praise of the GPL:
Some imagine that it’s unthinkable to, as they view it, give away valuable IP for nothing. But, first, it’s not giving it away, and second, it’s not for nothing. Nor does pooling your code put you out of business. The diagram shows a barter process. This is the key word, because such contributions of code are compensated, but the consideration is not money. It is code. You give a little code, and you get back a lot more.
When people receive back a complete Linux, they have the source code. It lets them make changes and adjustments to suit their purposes more exactly, and then they can contribute those modifications back to the project and all the contributions are then able to be integrated into the project. This ball keeps rolling, and getting bigger, and Linux keeps improving. People contribute because they want Linux to be available and to improve.
There’s a fairness to it, which is why it is the most popular FOSS license. And there is a purpose, to make a large body of code available that anyone can improve and enjoy. People build businesses around Linux. Google did. Amazon too. It’s great for startups, as Mark Shuttleworth has explained. He built a profitable business, Thawte, using FOSS code.
The GPL keeps thriving and resistance to it is often an indication of its success, as long as this resistance comes from those who are competing against it (notably Microsoft). █
Summary: Another long batch of denial of service attacks on the site gives room for thought
FOR over a week now, on and off we are being hit by rogue bots that hammer on the server with junk requests to the point where it is unable to serve genuine visitors. It even happened around Christmas.
“Zombie PCs come from all over the place, always sharing one thing in common: they run Windows.”This would not be the first time that we suffer from non-stop or occasional DDOS and downtime. Zombie PCs come from all over the place, always sharing one thing in common: they run Windows.
Australia wants to take such PCs off the Internet, but that would hardly solve the problem at a global scale. As up to about one in two Windows PCs is a zombie PC, the reasonable solution sometimes seems like a worldwide Windows quarantine. Microsoft is only giving people more reasons for resentment, especially people who understand where the problems originate from.
Here at Boycott Novell alone we have been spending many hours in recent weeks merely fighting against these disruptions, also spending hours offline as a result. Who will pay for the damage? Microsoft? Microsoft is only profiteering from its zombies and taxpayers take the bill. Astounding. █
“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Waging war against science
Summary: HP patents very trivial ideas about a century after their “discovery” and it threatens Free software in the process; update on Nokia vs Apple
I Don’t Believe in Imaginary Property writes “The authors of GMP (the GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library) were invited to join Peer-to-Patent to review HP’s recent patent on a very old technique for implementing bignums because their software might infringe. Basically, HP’s patent claims choosing an exponent based on processor word size. If you choose a 4-bit word size and a binary number, you end up working in hexadecimal. Or for a computer with a 16-bit word and a base-10 number, you use base 10,000 so that each digit of the base-10,000 number would fit into a single 16-bit word. The obvious problem with that is that there’s plenty of prior art here. Someone who spent a few minutes Googling found that Knuth describing the idea in TAOCP Vol. 2 and other citations go back to 1912 (which implemented the same algorithm using strips of cardboard and a calculating machine). None of this can be found in the ‘references cited’ section. Even though the patent examiner did add a couple of references, they appear to have cited some old patents. The patent issued a few months ago was filed back in October of 2004, and collected dust at the USPTO for some 834 days.”
Nokia last week asked a federal court to block Apple from importing virtually any of Apple’s current hardware into the U.S., including the iPhone, iPod and Mac lines.
The lawsuit — the second Nokia has filed against Apple in the patent war that broke out last October — is nearly identical to the complaint the Finnish phone manufacturer filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Dec. 29. In that complaint, Nokia also demanded that Apple be barred from bringing “all of Apple’s electronic devices that infringe one or more claims of the Asserted Patents” into the U.S.
As we wrote some days ago, embargo never advances science or innovation. █
I am pleased to announce a new world record for the computation of the digits of Pi. The following number of digits were computed:
2242301460000 hexadecimal digits (base 16)
2699999990000 decimal digits (base 10)
The Linux Operating System was used with the 64 bit Red Hat Fedora 10 distribution. The 7.5 TB disk storage was managed using software RAID-0 and the ext4 filesystem. Files of up to 2.5 TB were manipulated during the computation.
Top Operating Systems
* Windows: 62.1%
* Linux 26.8%
* Mac 9.7%
* Mobile 1.4%
Digital entertainment services firm RealNetworks has acquired Linux-based solutions provider Varia Mobile, which spun out of AOL-owned Tegic Communications three years ago.
For the Linux fans out there, today is a great day! Up until now, blu-ray playback support in Linux has been very complicated and quite an aggravating experience. First you would have to hope you had the right BD-ROM drive and that there was a hacked firmware for you to flash it with. Then you had to hope the correct AACS keys were out on the interwebs for the blu-ray disc you wanted to watch. Once you had the right drive and the right keys, you had to dump the entire blu-ray disc to your hard drive and play it from there.
Clutter 1.2 is expected in time for the release of GNOME 2.30 in March.
We’ll go even further and suggest that the dedicated computer use Linux, FreeBSD, or even Mac OS X, if that suits you better. We’re not trying to start a controversy over which operating system is better or more secure. In fact, this has nothing to do with the security of the operating system itself, but the fact that 99.9% of these trojans were constructed for Windows and will fail to run on anything else.
Intel has just put out its quarterly update to their X.Org DDX driver. This new driver is xf86-video-intel 2.10.0 and it delivers on dropping all support for user-space mode-setting (using kernel mode-setting is now a must),
Many of you are probably curious to see Lernid in action, so tomorrow I will be giving a short presentation (around 20 minutes) to talk about Lernid…using Lernid! I will talk about the project, it’s direction, show off a few features and answer questions.
If you’re planning a re-install of your Linux system that might involve being offline, free utility “Sushi Huh?” (actual name) can grab your software, and all the nagging dependencies, for easy installation without internet access.
Are you a Zelda fan ?
If so then you would be happy to know that a new FOSS project to clone Zelda and fix the “flaws” released it’s first “demo version” .
Mystery of Solarus DX is licensed under the GPL and is available in 4 languages : English, French, German and Dutch !
X-Plane contains subsonic and supersonic flight dynamics, allowing users to predict the flight characteristics of the slowest aircraft to the fastest. X-Plane includes thirty-five aircraft on its master disk, spanning the aviation industry (and its history), sporting aircraft from the Bell 206 JetRanger and Cessna 172 to the supersonic SR-71 and the Space Shuttle.
In February 2009 Debian released version 5.0, “Lenny” with more than 25 000 packages including many security enhancements such as PHP’s Suhosin system.
Everyone was waiting for this, so… we are proud to announce that the upcoming release of the popular Ubuntu operating system, due for launch in late April this year, will come with a comprehensive manual! The manual is created as we speak and it will be ready to accompany the final release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. The Ubuntu manual will be designed for beginners in Linux and Ubuntu (of course) and it will contain essential how-tos, guides, basic information about Linux and its components, and everything one needs to know after installing Ubuntu.
I recently purchased a Kodak Easyshare Wireless Digital Picture Frame off woot for an amazing price of $49.99. Infact, I bought two. The model number is W820, which is an 8″ frame, but there is also a 10 inch version as well. These picture frames have built in WiFi and can grab content off the internet.
AE Linux is a package that is targeted to developers who want a fast and easy solution to run an embedded Linux kernel on their Intel-based platform. This distribution uses the standard Linux build flow and is made from unmodified public distributions so that migration to newer or different Linux components is unencumbered.
It’s hard to differentiate a NAS product with software features because the majority of NAS boxes are Linux-based and so come with features that are largely the same (although executed to varying degrees of success). On the hardware front, though, Thecus makes the N4200 stand out with its 2.8″ OLED display.
Some of our readers will remember the tiny Linux PC, the Marvell SheevaPlug that we featured on the site last year, Marvell has added a new tiny PC their range with the launch of the Marvell Plug Computer 3.0.
IGEL Technology, the world’s largest Linux thin client vendor and the third largest thin client vendor (2008 by revenue, IDC), today announced that all of its Universal Desktop thin clients running Linux and Windows® Embedded Standard will be equipped with the new software client for VMware View™ 4, which includes support for the PCoIP® display protocol.
The devices underpinning today’s communications networks grow increasingly powerful in their speed, throughput, features and supported services. That’s great for users—but it presents a significant challenge for manufacturers.
Emblazed unveiled its Linux OS for mobile phones a couple of months ago in London. Now it will demo the first ELSE device at CES 2010 in Las Vegas. The first ELSE has a 3.5-inch touch screen with tactile feedback running at 854 x 480 resolution, up to 32 gigs flash storage, a 5 megapixel camera and built-in GPS.
That “new-ness” came in the form of a new mobile phone and the new operating system that ran on it: the Palm Pre, a phone that channeled the Zen-like beauty of a smooth black pebble; and webOS, the Linux-based OS with deep hooks to the modern phenomenon of social networking via a technology Palm has dubbed Synergy.
Taiwan-based ODM handset maker Arima Communications may see its handset shipments expand to 20-25 million units in 2010 compared to 12 million units in 2009, thanks to new orders from Motorola, according to industry sources.
The smartphone market it already awash with Android devices from the likes of HTC, Motorola and Samsung, but this moves sees Google take a greater role in the design process. According to a report in the Guardian the firm decided to oversee the development of the phone itself and has been testing it behind closed doors for a number of months.
Ever since the launch of Android, Google’s open-source operating system, rumours of a Google smart-phone have surfaced as quickly as they have been denied by the search engine giant.
The ASTRO File Manager helps you get the most out of your Android-powered phone. The Android operating system is designed to be very open and flexible, giving its users the chance to do more things on their phone than ever before. ASTRO helps your phone reach its full potential by giving you the tools to manage your phone.
Google’s upcoming Tuesday press conference is likely to mark the debut of the Nexus One, the search company’s own Android-based smartphone.
Nexus One should showcase the latest generation of the Linux-based open source Android operating system. It’s also the first phone that is expected to be directly marketed by Google, setting higher expectations for the phone.
CNET has reported that iPhone users and Google Android users have much in common in terms of their usage patterns and demographics. Their developer audiences, however, are increasingly different, and that’s to Apple’s hurt, especially as Android grows in market share.
A few years ago, Asus was one of the first vendors to introduce a netbook, with the launch of its Eee PC Linux-based product. Shortly after, other vendors such as Acer, HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Lenovo, also followed suit.
Lenovo’s Skylight has a customizable user interface (UI) built on a Linux shell. “The gadgets consist of live Web gadgets like Facebook, Gmail and Twitter,” said Ninis Samuel, director of global marketing for Lenovo’s Idea product group. These gadgets are always connected to the Web and update automatically. The gadgets also let users buy and download videos and movies from the Web.
Lenovo has introduced the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, a device which features a notebook base and a detachable tablet. The tablet integrates an LED-backlit 11.6-inch display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ARM CPU running the Skylight Linux interface. Users can easily browse the internet and perform other basic functions with the tablet alone. A 16GB flash drive, 512MB of RAM, and Snapdragon integrated graphics round out the tablet specs.
Skylight could emerge as an alternative in the low-cost laptop space to netbooks, which are mostly powered by Intel’s Atom chips. Atom-based netbooks have a leg up because of support for both Microsoft’s popular Windows operating systems and Linux. Arm-based chips do not support a full Windows OS, so smartbooks usually come with the Linux OS.
It has all the features of PC, including a Linux-based OS and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip.
Lenovo has launched its Skylight smartbook, a mobile device with 10 inch screen and integrated 3G in a clamshell laptop format. Powered by a 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Skylight uses Lenovo’s own “web-optimised” interface. Users are presented with six “web gadgets” in the simplified, gadget-based user interface displayed on the 1280 by 720 resolution display.
We’ve survived 2009 with a couple of solid releases of Moblin–the 2.1 release has 14 languages! Thanks for all your hard work. We are busy trying to get a handle on what’s in the pipeline for the 2.2 release, which is tentatlvely targeted for April
CyberLink Corp. (TSE: 5203), an innovative solutions provider for the connected media lifestyle, today announced that they have developed a Linux version of PowerDVD to support Intel’s Linux-based Moblin 2.1 operating system. Moblin 2.1 operating system is specifically designed to run on the Intel Atom processor delivering minimized boot times and efficient power consumption on netbooks, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded devices.
Scheduled for official release at the end of this month, the Plasma Netbook Interface (PNI) is being developed concurrently with the standard KDE Desktop. However, it is already well-known, thanks to some stable beta releases.
PNI offers a somewhat different experience from the standard KDE desktop. However, there are some obvious analogies. The panel is little changed in PNI, and the button on the upper right is functionally similar to standard KDE’s desktop tool kit. Even the floating favorites and menu bars in the top middle of the screen are less of an innovation than they first appear, since they recall KRunner, the floating command center that many advanced KDE users prefer to the menu.
As I said, it looks to me like Jolicloud has in many ways the kind of “Social” orientation that Moblin has (see Facebook, Twitter etc. in the Apps shot above), but in my opinion they are doing a much better job of integrating it with Linux, keeping the whole thing much more familiar and accessible to experienced Linux users. Even more importantly, they have avoided the juvenile graphics that Moblin is riddled with, and they have actually produced an original and appealing interface. Their blog pomises that the “new UI” will be significantly better than this pre-Beta version, and if that is true it should be magnificent.
Open Source is not necessarily anti-capìtalist. There are many capitalist firms, including very large corporate firms that practice open source. But it is a-capitalist, meaning that Open Source is compatible with different social logics and values. It does not need the incentive of profit to work, and does not rely on the private appropriation of the exclusive right to use and enjoy the product. It is based on a form of social organization that has profound political implications and may affect the way we think about the need to preserve capitalist institutions and hierarchies of production to manage the requirements of a complex world.
The Apache Software Foundation has arguably been the leading force for open-source software over the last 10 years and promises to continue being a force in the new decade.
At its peak, the Second Life economy had more money swilling about than several third-world countries. It had even produced its own millionaire, Anshe Chung, who made a very real fortune from buying and selling property that existed only on Second Life servers.
The LiMux project, which oversees Linux migration in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, has reached another milestone. According to a 2009 development review that the deputy project leader Florian Schießl has posted on his blog, open source OpenDocument Format (ODF) is now the main document exchange standard, with PDF being used for non-editable files. According to Schießl, the city administration’s standard desktops now consist of the free OpenOffice.org office suite, Mozilla’s Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client and several other open source applications, such as the GIMP image editor.
According to Sander Van Hooft, a blogger familiar with the SugarCRM literature, not all books are the right choice for all user types and offers his opinions based on experience with the CRM how-to must reads.
One market area in particular – open source PBX – will experience a complete change in composition. As a speaker at ITEXPO East 2010, Gal plans to show unmatched high-availability open source telephony systems. As for why customers may want Xorcom to provide its telephony solution, Gal promises a unique solution that delivers scalable and flexible with complete integral support both in IP telephony and all common standards of traditional telephony.
In a world of vanishing commercial Java IDEs, JetBrains’ code-centric IntelliJ is something of an anomaly. Among the relatively few such tools to survive intact the advent of the Eclipse juggernaut, IntelliJ continues to innovate, adapt and, among its devoted users, thrive.
Eucalyptus is based on an open source platform which aggregates servers, storage and network infrastructure into a private cloud that allows self-service provisioning of computing resources. Eucalyptus is compatible with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, providing an easy bridge between internal and external cloud resources.
Zenoss Inc., a leading commercial open source provider of Unlegacy enterprise IT management products and VDEL GmbH, the world’s first IT services distribution company, today announced a partnership under which VDEL has become a Master Distributor of Zenoss solutions in the territories of Eastern Europe, Russia, and CIS.
Chad Behling, of open source software company RockBochs, said there will be significant market growth in the VoIP sector over the next few years as bandwidth increases and the use of analogue lines declines.
TV Guide Magazine, the nation’s premier television entertainment magazine with over 20 million readers, has partnered with Kaltura, developer of the first open source online video platform, to power video on www.tvguidemagazine.com.
According to a report on Techcrunch, Philips is to bundle the open source media player Songbird with its portable MP3 players. Reportedly the deal will be be officially announced at CES in Las Vegas this week.
And it’s about to become a whole lot more recognizable: Philips has just agreed to ship branded version of Songbird with millions of GoGear portable media players.
The news is a major win for Songbird and open source software in general. It’s also the kind of distribution deal that you don’t often hear about for a piece of OSS. I’m still waiting for the day when laptops start showing up on retail shelves with Firefox preinstalled…
It’s also a win for Philips, since lower-price MP3 players like theirs are often saddled with substandard software. Songbird gives them a sexy, extensible, and feature-rich application to ship.
RandomStorm has announced the acquisition of the open source vulnerability testing application Damn Vulnerable Web Application (DVWA).
What concerns me in this example is not so much what Oracle or VMWare may do with their asset. It’s what people who have invested time and money in open source communities may now decide to do.
What’s next? Wikipedia bought by the Encyclopedia Brittanica? Firefox gets gobbled by Microsoft?
A quick review of Save MySQL online petition stats shows that the results are still in line with the results I reported previously. Over 90 percent of petition signees would require Oracle to divest MySQL to a “suitable third party.”
When I began using The Vancouver Observer’s new drupal open source software on October 2, I quickly realized that I had a platform at my fingertips that was powerful enough to push the work of hundreds of reporters and bloggers into the world.
Interestingly he says that 90% of intelligence work these days is what he calls “open source”, and quotes a former head of intelligence saying that the job should be more Sherlock Holmes than James Bond.
Much has happened in the Perl 6 land in 2009. Here is my humble attempt to summarize some of it; If you find something that I missed, feel free to contact me, I’ll try to add it.
Remember the format wars? Ars looks back at the heated battles between VHS and Betamax as well as HD DVD and Blu-ray, wondering if, now that the dust has settled, the end of the format wars is nigh.
Opera Software ASA announced Tuesday that co-founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner has stepped down following 15 years at the helm of the Norwegian software developer.
In addition to the introduction of the Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha Build for Linux users, the latest testing version also brings to the table a few enhancements designed to improve the browser’s stability. However, the biggest addition by far to the new testing build is support for the video element.
Collaboration between Adobe, Freescale, and Movial (Helsinki, Finland) is bringing Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to the i.MX platforms, enabling the creation of consumer products running either the Linux or Android operating systems and providing improved video and graphics capabilities.
The government lawyer who wrote memos authorizing the Bush administration to engage in torture and warrantless surveillance says he was just doing his job, according to a recent interview.
Asked by The New York Times if he regretted writing the torture memos, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo replied, “No, I had to write them. It was my job. As a lawyer, I had a client. The client needed a legal question answered.”
Police and Security Intelligence Service agents in New Zealand have been granted new powers to monitor any and all aspects of someone’s online life, according to this news report in the Sunday Star Times:
The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand. In preparation, technicians have been installing specialist spying devices and software inside all telephone exchanges, internet companies and even fibre-optic data networks between cities and towns, providing police and spy agencies with the capability to monitor almost all communications.
Prosecutions linked to CCTV have fallen in parts of Britain, raising questions about the true impact of the security cameras.
Just 33,000 of the 4.9 million crimes committed in Britain each year are solved using the DNA database, it has emerged.
Chief Constable Chris Sims of West Midlands, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (Acpo) lead on the issue, cited the figure as he gave evidence to the Commons’ home affairs committee.
Preparing our children for their future is the most awesome responsibility we can bear. As we discuss global warming, the first thing we can do is listen. It is they who are preparing us – if we choose to hear.
It is really not helpful to ignore or suppress the problem. The only thing we should withhold from children is our anxiety — but not withhold our concern. Sharing our thoughts, and speaking to the issue is an expression of our love and our faith in them and their future. Denying facts, avoiding the issue, and steering them away only makes their lives more difficult. This is an important choice.
The Arab states of the Gulf region have agreed to launch a single currency modelled on the euro, hoping to blaze a trail towards a pan-Arab monetary union swelling to the ancient borders of the Ummayad Caliphate.
MUSIC INDUSTRY MAFIAA WHIPPING BOY Joel Tenebaum has asked for a new trial and remittitur from the same judge who presided over the original trial. A ‘remittitur’ is apparently grey-suitspeak for “we can’t afford the ridiculously dispropportionate damage award… can we have another go please m’lud, or at least reduce the damages?”
What entered the public domain in the US this year? Thanks to several decades of copyright term extensions, not a single major work.
Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 04 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
Summary: The uglier sides of the patent system laid bear for people to see
THE SO-CALLED ‘IP’ industry is a very delusional one at times. It trades imaginary things for money to be derived from non-existent assets like thoughts, which can be replicated infinitely. Our reader Satipera has just shown us this article where an intellectual monopoly firm from Texas compares file sharing to “money laundering”. Here it is:
Rob Holmes, of the Texas law firm IP Cybercrime, which has worked to close down several bulletproof operations, said successful hosts were now starting to get stronger. “Some of the more popular ones have become more strongholds than they were previously,” he said. “It’s an industry and it always will be. When you think about it, bulletproof hosting is just a data version of money laundering.”
Except for attempts to use “child porn” to close down the Web [1, 2], we have often seen the daemonisers of P2P (mostly the copyright cartel) associating file sharing with “terrorism”. A few days ago we wrote about "piracy" (rape and murder) as an outrageous analogy for illegal sharing of books. It really has to stop. This industry has gone out of control with its daemonisation words and the only barrier might be Godwin law at this stage. Will file sharers be compared to the Taliban soon?
We are still seeing the misconception of “innovation as patents”, which is based on the assumption that any smart idea will be followed by a patent application and could never be found independently. From BusinessWeek we have:
So innovation—at least as measured by patents—seems to fading in the U.S. As I wrote here in the current issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, patent applications fell in the year ended Sept. 30, for only the second time in the last 25 years. For the first time, moreover, foreigners obtained more patents than U.S. residents.
So what? Maybe it just means that people do actual development as opposed to paperwork. TechDirt discusses the article as well.
Is this news about innovation?
Seagate may face noise reduction patent payout
Just as Seagate is getting back to health after a year of recovery, it has been accused of destroying evidence pertinent to a 10-year old noise reduction technology lawsuit instigated against it by Convolve and MIT.
Destruction of evidence is a tactic that Microsoft and Intel are familiar with. They are both accused of doing it and Microsoft got caught deliberately infringing patents
Nokia has beefed up its legal challenge to Apple, filing a second patent-infringement lawsuit against Cupertino in US District Court in Delaware. This time around, the Finnish outfit says that Apple stole patents that make Nokia unique, including patents for a camera phone and a touch-screen display.
The president of the FFII has just shared this fascinating claim that Holland has a “patent box”. He argues that Dell and Google are using the same patent box to avoid US taxes.
If true, then the patent systems are increasingly dodgy for lesser-known reasons. This ought to be made public knowledge. █
Summary: Criticism of a new writeup from OSS Watch, which grossly whitewashes some of Microsoft’s behaviour and instead focuses on PR gestures and corporate spin
During our research for this article OSS Watch have been accused, by an OSI board observer and ASF Member, of being “surrogates” for Microsoft, whilst Tony Hey (Corporate Vice President of External Research, Microsoft) privately expressed concern that OSS Watch was “encouraging academics to use the GPL.” Simultaneously, various free software representatives have pointed out how “naive” they believed us to be by even considering the idea that Microsoft may have genuine intentions with respect to engaging with the free and open source community.
Furthermore, whilst Microsoft may be making concessions to open source and are happy to play with open source when it suits their needs they are also willing to use other methods where it best suits their business. For example, on patents Darren Strange (Head of Open Source Engagement, Microsoft UK) says “Patents drive innovation and they drive openness actually.”
Let us politely remind OSS Watch that Microsoft uses a routine known as “embrace and extend” in order to extinguish — not advance — Free/open source software. It’s the same as in history and we wrote hundreds of posts filled with evidence to show this. Even Microsoft sometimes admits this. Microsoft is spending a lot of money deceiving people and OSS Watch might be a victim of Microsoft — not a “surrogate” for Microsoft — as “an OSI board observer and ASF Member” (it’s easy to determine who that is) impolitely put it.
Here is the questionable essay whose provocative title says that Microsoft may end “open hostilities” (increasingly we find hidden hostilities because Microsoft keeps getting caught [1, 2, 3] and then forced to pay the price [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).
The essay includes the following bit:
Indeed, at least as far as IP is concerned, Darren Strange, Head of Open Source Engagement, Microsoft UK, maintains that the company is right to continue to argue strongly for the value of software patents as part of the innovation process and that companies need the protection of intellectual property rights in order to feel secure in their investment in research and development. He says: ‘It is an important area and I think people kind of get it the wrong way around a little bit — patents are a good thing and they help to fuel the industry. Patents drive innovation and they drive openness actually, and they drive an industry where people can then build on those patents in a legal way, everyone mutually respecting the same rules. We need to use patents to drive innovation and we can do that just as well with open source vendors.’ He argues that a mutual respect for such rights will allow everyone, including open source developers, to work and flourish together.
Sadly, much of the rest is conveniently using Microsoft and Microsoft reporters (spinners) as a source.
The one comment from the 451 Group is not impartial either because 451 Group receives funding from Microsoft for all it seems (there are many sources of revenue), so it has to be nice to Microsoft and convince itself that it’s okay. [see comments regarding this omission]
To give examples of ways in which Microsoft continues to attack Free/open source software, see EDGI. Microsoft is increasing its effort on that predatory front [1, 2], it is also trying to sue GNU/Linux using patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and less than a year ago it sued TomTom. In several large shops such as Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples Microsoft also distributed slanderous material about GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
[I]n its press release the Commission indicates that Microsoft revised their proposals on the disclosure of interoperability-related information. Microsoft continues to brandish its software patents, which makes their stance on interoperability considerably less convincing.
The documents clearly show that Microsoft excludes the Free Software ecosystem from accessing its formats and protocols. Most of Microsoft’s formats and protocols are indeed patented, and licensing agreements rely on so-called “reasonable and non-discriminatory” conditions (RAND). These licenses impose royalties for any commercial distribution, which favours monopolies over SMEs and de facto excludes all Free Software developers.
Document “Annex E – Patent Pledge for Open Source Developers” clearly states that any commercial distribution of Free Software will require the acquisition of a patent license in exchange of royalties. These conditions are incompatible with Free Software licenses: Free licenses do not discriminate commercial from non-commercial uses, and thus enable both volunteer communities and companies to contribute together to Free Software projects. Furthermore, patents on software formats and protocols have no legal basis in the European Union and continue to be a grey area in current USA legislation; therefore they should not be part of interoperability agreements.
Microsoft is still scheming to legalise software patents in Europe, but a lot of Free software proponents choose not to pay attention. OSS Watch seems rather apathetic. May some more information about Apache, for instance, be of use [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]? █
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