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02.14.10

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 14th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 14/2/2010: Linux 2.6.33 RC 8, New Android Platform

Posted in News Roundup at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Top 5 top 5s for Linux

    Ubuntu: Although it is not my desktop distribution of choice, it is my “go-to” distribution in just about any situation. And the only reason it is not my desktop distribution is because of the next entry.

    Elive: Elive combines my two favorite desktop tools – Enlightenment and Compiz. Without Elive, these two would not work together.

    Debian: It is that which Ubuntu is based. Need I say more?

    OpenSuSE: The YaST tool alone puts this distro in just about any top ten.

    Fedora: I was a long standing Red Hat user so Fedora is a natural for a top ten distribution. And even though Fedora is “bleeding edge”, it’s still rock solid.

  • Fully Free GNU/Linux Presentation

    As planned, I did my talk about the thriving fully free GNU/Linux distribution movement at yesterday’s FSFE Berlin Fellowship meeting. I started with the basics of the Free Software ideal, moved on to the problematic issues concerning mainstream GNU/Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian and then discussed the solutions to these problems. I also had the chance to share some of my favorite fully free GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Linux vs Windows
  • Microsoft’s MultiPoint Threat — Multiseat Linux Desktop Virtualization

    Userful Corporation, the world leader in multiseat Linux, today announced the release of Userful Multiplier V.3.7, the latest version of their software which turns 1 PC into 10. Demand for its $69 virtual desktops (education pricing, includes the software and multiseat hardware) has accelerated as budget-strapped governments, educational organizations, and businesses turn to Userful to lower costs. The improvements brought with V.3.7 will bring the benefits of Userful’s desktop virtualization to even more users around the world.

  • Events

  • Desktop

    • Wanted: Defense Against Online Bank Fraud

      Accessing your bank account through a computer that isn’t used for anything else—no email or Web surfing—and isn’t connected to the local network offers strong protection, says William Nelson, president of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry group that collects and shares threat data.

      Another option is to use an obscure computer operating system such as Ubuntu or Web browser such as Opera because attackers rarely create malware for them, security experts say.

  • Server

    • High performance for the masses

      The first thing we were concerned with, was what’s out there in terms of technology? As we can see in the figure, the results highlighted the high degree of confidence that traditional enterprise server operating systems hold as high-performance work horses. UNIX, Linux and z/OS are all seen positively for the majority of requirements, high-performance or otherwise.

  • Dell

    • Dell Grabs Systems Management Vendor KACE

      That’s the second purchase this week for Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), which is not normally an acquisitive company. Earlier in the week, it purchased the assets of Exanet, a bankrupt Israeli company that makes Linux-based clustered network-attached storage management software.

    • Dell to buy California software company

      The software is designed for small to mid-sized businesses as well as government, education and health institutions. Its primary software product family is called Kbox and it supports systems that run Windows, Macintosh and Linux software.

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS – A Revolution In OS

      Google’s operating system will use a Linux kernel

      Google Chrome OS will also consider a distribution of Linux, which is based on kernel / kernel of Linux. On this Linux kernel, it will run the windows and web applications from Google Chrome OS. Since Google Chrome an OS kernel using Linux, your video should be released to the public, so everyone who wants can have access to it. Also, Google Chrome OS must also be free, something that surely will encourage many people to use Google’s operating system.

    • Industry is Preparing for Chrome OS – Especially Netbook Makers

      We are getting more and more news about more industry leading Netbook maker planing on releasing Chrome OS featured NetBook. We might have to wait till end of the year. We already have few specification about some of those NetBook. Google Already Released its code base, still no downloadable iso or burnable disk image, but we already have Chromium OS source code so developer could make their own package, but it’s currently limited to Linux only OS.

    • Ask a Geek: A week with Google’s Chromium

      I use Linux as my operating system instead of Windows, specifically Kubuntu (kubuntu.org). Deep down, it is very different from Microsoft’s offering, but in general they run a lot of the same programs. Google’s Chromium browser has been available for some time for Windows, but still is not a stable release for Linux, so I have been waiting to try it out. Finally, I decided it was time. Here are my opinions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.33-rc8

      I think this is going to be the last -rc of the series, so please do test it out. A number of regressions should be fixed, and while the regression list doesn’t make me _happy_, we didn’t have the kind of nasty things that went on before -rc7 and made me worried.

    • Kernel prepatch 2.6.33-rc8

      Linus has released the 2.6.33-rc8 prepatch. “I think this is going to be the last -rc of the series, so please do test it out. A number of regressions should be fixed, and while the regression list doesn’t make me _happy_, we didn’t have the kind of nasty things that went on before -rc7 and made me worried.”

    • Printk is it.
    • Phoromatic Gets Valentine’s Day Improvements

      For Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 (codenamed “Lyngen”) we have back-ported some of the graphing improvements into the current code-base.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Has Gallium3D Support In Fedora 13

        While it’s exciting to have kernel mode-setting, RandR, and EXA / X-Video acceleration for NVIDIA hardware in an open-source driver that is reliable since the mainlining of its DRM code and its adoption in Ubuntu 10.04 and other distributions, Fedora has already employed Nouveau support to various extents in their recent releases.

      • From the ‘freaking awesome’ department – 3D support on nouveau

        That’s Spring. What’s Spring? Well, it’s a fairly neat open source RTS framework that started out as a Total Annihilation clone, but more to the point, it’s a pretty complex 3D game. What’s cool about the picture? Well, it’s in the renderer info in the console (which you probably can’t quite make out, never mind). Yup, that’s Spring…running on Nouveau!

      • X Server 1.8 Release Candidate Is Here

        Keith Packard has just made available the first release candidate of X Server 1.8 and confirms that its release schedule is still on track. Snapshots and the Git code for X Server 1.8 go back to last year, but with a planned release by the end of March, Keith has now started working on release candidates.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE or GNOME?

      This question of KDE versus GNOME is something that is so debatable. It is something flame wars are made of. It is a matter of preference, of course. I’ve been using KDE lately and I am seeing some good things about it and some not so good things, at least for me. But I can’t say that it’s a totally useless desktop environment either. It’s pretty good, I think.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Sysadmin team update

        If you are interested in joining the team, please join the gnome-infrastructure mailing list and introduce yourself, why you want to join and any relevant skills or experience you have. It is helpful if you have been active in other GNOME teams and can have someone vouch for you. (We are talking about giving you root access to GNOME servers, after all!)

        If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email, email the infrastructure list or stop by the #sysadmin IRC channel on GIMPNet IRC.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Chipwrights kit provides Openembedded support

      Openembedded is the build framework designed to create embedded Linux distributions.

      [...]

      Based on the Linux 2.6.29 kernel, this release includes the complete kernel with all necessary device drivers for the Chipwrights hardware development kit, source code for media player, media browser and IP camera applications integrated with the Openembedded build environment.

    • Pervasip Signs Agreement to Cancel All of Lender’s Warrants

      “We plan to use the new capital to pay expenses related to our VoIP operations,” continued Riss. “In addition to the HTC smart phone that utilizes our mobile VoIP service, we are excited about the emergence of Linux-based smart phones that employ session initiation protocol (SIP). We built our VoIP carrier, VoX Communications, to run on a Linux-based SIP product. We believe the new Linux-based mobile devices that use SIP will help our sales growth, as these smart phones are a natural fit for our mobile VoIP product, which runs over the 3G network.”

    • Compatibility

      • Cortex-A8-based HMI kit supports Linux, Android

        TES Electronics is shipping a Linux- and Android-ready hardware/software development kit for home automation, transportation entertainment systems, and industrial displays. The Magik-MX Kit offers a module based on a TI OMAP3530 system-on-chip, an I/O board, a seven-inch multi-touch display, and TES’ Guiliani GUI/HMI framework.

      • NEC Cortex-A9 SoC takes on Tegra in tablet market

        NEC Electronics announced an ARM Cortex-A9 version of its Linux-ready EMMA Mobile series of multimedia system-on-chips, and it’s also shipping a Linux/Android hardware/software kit for its earlier EMMA Mobile 1.

    • Phones

      • Nokia’s N900 is a handful of tech wizardry

        With the N900 Nokia was clearly looking to bridge the gap between laptop and smartphone – and it’s certainly feels like having a mini laptop in your pocket. Aside from the text input issue, it’s more powerful than a basic netbook. It’s inevitably a little awkward to use a phone, but it can be done, and as technology exercise it’s impressive. As such we’d recommend it for geekier gadget hounds, but for the normal – an Android device is a more sensible way to go.

      • Nokia N900 Maemo

        A bit about the Maemo operating system running the Nokia N900 smart phone. Maemo is a sophisticated linux orientated operating system which Nokia have used to power their Nokia N900 smart phone. Most likely we will see this operating system develop into over several different versions on the next generation Nokia’s like Google release new and improved Androids platforms.

        One of the great aspects of the Maemo operating being linux based is that it is open source software. This allows the growing list of developer and the flowing community like with HTC followers. Their commitment for improvements and modifications to the Maemo software to help Maemo users with their user experience. Also to help Nokia to effectively improve its operating system as to the mass user requirement. Giving what people want. Not what you think they might need.

      • Teleca Brings Smart Solutions to Mobile World Congress

        Teleca (STO:TELCB) demonstrates how the mobile world can “Love Smart Solutions” at this year’s MWC. Focusing on three solution areas, Mobile Linux, User Experiences and Mobile Applications, the company will be showing the way to increased profitability.

      • Android

        • Android phone takes a Swype at fast text input

          To enter a word, a user slides a finger or stylus from letter to letter, passing through each required letter as well as others that are “in the way,” and lifting only when the word is completed.

        • New Android Platform Announced

          However, whilst the new version’s name was mentioned, any other given facts seemed to be severely lacking. Working out of the Mountain View based centre for Android’s Linux-based kernel, Mr Swetland released only the name of the new version, and said that because development was moving so swiftly, by the time ‘Gingerbread’ became widely available they would “likely be on (Linux kernel 2.6.).33 or .34.”

        • Droid Hack Adds USB Host Capability to Moto’s Android Handset

          Members of the device tinkering community have managed successfully get a Droid device to connect to USB peripherals. The Linux-based Android OS should be readily extensible, but the hardware that is wrapped around the OS isn’t always conducive to all the possibilities. The trick isn’t quite polished, it involves making your own USB cord and some cable swapping during a hard boot. It’s still a little buggy, but it’s a great step forward.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • HP loads Android onto a netbook

        Branded as a Compaq device, HP’s Airlife 100 netbook is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor that’s found in a number of recently released smartphones including Google’s Nexus One.

      • Bluetooth, a Cell Phone and a Netbook

        With eeeBuntu on the Asus Netbook, this capability is available through the on-board Bluetooth radio. It’s theoretically possible to transfer files and browse the directories on most Bluetooth-equipped phones. Today, we’ll look at how some of the features work and explore some of the quirks of using Bluetooth that might trip you up.

        My tests were carried out running eeeBuntu 3.0 (kernel version 2.6.29-1-netbook) on an Asus eeePC 1000HE with a 130 GB disk and 2 GB of memory. The little machine also had a Logitech Nano notebook mouse and uses the Atom N280 processor.

      • Intel to showcase netbook apps at Mobile World Congress

        The idea is to offer programs for Windows and Linux netbooks that are optimized for devices with small screens and Atom processors.

      • KDE 4.4 Released With Netbooks In Mind

        Since my dad taught me how to dual-boot Mandrake Linux 7 with Windows ME in my early pre-teen years, I have not owned a single computer that hasn’t had a Linux distribution on it. And for many years, KDE was my desktop manager of choice. Sometime around KDE 3.4, I deemed KDE too clunky and left it to experiment with other desktop managers.

        Still, I never forgot about my roots in the Linux world, and indeed KDE 4 brought KDE significantly forward towards modern desktops. Now, KDE seems to be turning towards everyone’s favorite rising PC market: netbooks.

      • Netbook Applications: The Bare Necessities

        When I first began looking at Moblin a while back, people told me that it was nice, but that I’d miss the standard application set of my operating system of choice, Ubuntu. Interestingly, the trend in the space is actually towards even fewer applications than Moblin allows; the Lenovo Skylight, one intriguing option, is preloaded not with a standard application set, but with widgets running on top of a thin Linux film. Chrome OS, of course, goes even further, dispensing with the idea of applications entirely and pushing a browser only experience.

      • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Inkscape is brilliant

    I’m in the midst of creating a local Linux Users Group and I’m cobbling together a quick logo using a Creative Commons photograph, GIMP for making the image properly black and white, and Inkscape for setting the type (FreeSans) and bringing all the elements together.

    Every time I use Inkscape it is a joy and a pleasure. In terms of usability and interface, it is so much nicer than Adobe Illustrator (and I used Illustrator every day for 10 years!). It is also so much cheaper. Like, Free. And it’s available for Windows.

  • CIOs Jumping On The Free Software Bandwagon

    For years, we’ve heard claims that, for all the wonders of “free software,” the “real” CIO would never use free software, as they would need to have a clear monetary relationship with the provider to ensure things wouldn’t go bad. Of course, that’s pretty silly. Lots of IT departments have made use of all sorts of free software such as Linux and Apache, but a new study suggests that CIOs are quite comfortable with using free software, finding that “76% of CIOs surveyed say they use free software at the enterprise level and 88% said they have free software deployed at the department level.”

  • What Is the Outlook for Open Source?

    Phipps continued, adding that, “Ultimately, the choice between packaged, sealed-edge, closed software and open source software, is the choice between viewing your IT as a cost center or a competitive weapon. Companies that see IT as a competitive weapon have tended to pick UNIX and the Java platform among other technologies, because it leaves them in control of their IT architecture.”

  • The five most popular corporate open-source programs

    The top five, in order of importance, were:

    1. JBoss

    2) Tomcat

    3) Apache Web Server

    4) Hibernate

    5) MySQL Database Server

  • IBM Stores Petabytes in Samba

    IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled its entry in the growing market for clustered network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

  • A family’s experience with Free Software, the Internet and autism

    Donatella Both my kids use three operating systems without any problems, in spite of cliches and of Nikko’s autism. They watch YouTube, listen to music and do many other things on Windows, Linux and Mac without noticing any difference, with the exception of the unintelligible error messages that Windows sends every time it crashes. I prefer when they use the other systems because I am the one who has to restart the computer when that happens!

    Stop: Apart from being forced to use an operating system that you really don’t like, did you have other problems while using computers or the Internet?

  • In six weeks from bare hardware to receiving BCCHs

    After six weeks of full-time hacking, with the help of a few friends, we have made it to receiving actual BCCH data from a GSM cell.

    So what does this mean? As I have indicated publicly at the 26C3 conference: Now, that we have managed to create a working GSM network-side implementation (OpenBSC) during the last year, we will proceed to do the same with the phone side.

    [...]

    So, if you want to write Free Software for such a device, you have two options:

    * Reverse engineering the existing hardware and writing your code based on that information
    * Building your own hardware and then writing the software you wanted to write.

  • Is the traditional business world at war with creativity?
  • Telling our stories to the National Academy of Engineering

    The great hope nurtured by many of us who spend our days in the open source software communities is that the fundamental principles upon which open source software is built — The Open Source Way — will permeate other industries and walks of life over time, allowing all sorts of new and exciting problems to be solved using methods that value transparency, collaboration, and a meritocracy of ideas.

  • Vocation

    • Apache Beehive project retired

      Beehive, an Apache Software Foundation open source project providing a Java programming model, has been retired due to inactivity, the foundation said on Wednesday.

    • Oracle revises plan to shut down Project Kenai

      In a revision of what the company had said previously, Oracle now will enable projects hosted on the soon-to-be-shut Project Kenai site to be moved to the java.net site.

  • Office Suites

    • OpenOffice 3.2 – now with less Microsoft envy

      If Oracle can provide a first-rate connect-anywhere, edit-anywhere online office suite, it might have finally found something that can break Microsoft’s stronghold on business productivity tools.

      That’s what I’d be looking for in follow on versions to OpenOffice 3.2.

    • OpenOffice.org 3.2: 10 Years in the Making

      If you look back on the history of OpenOffice.org, it makes the 3.2 release that came out on Thursday the 11th even more impressive. Nearly 10 years in the making, OpenOffice.org has evolved from a clunky proprietary offering that struggled to import Microsoft Office documents to a productivity powerhouse that is faster, supports a fully open document format (ODF) and handles most proprietary formats with grace.

    • Q&A: IBM’s Alistair Rennie on the big picture for Lotus

      IBM is taking Lotus Symphony, a suite built on OpenOffice.org, to the Mac platform and recently launched a next-gen beta for the office suite.

      “Customers are looking for options and choice,” said Rennie. They are looking for options to bring employees and people together and edit, write and change documents in an open standards based way.”

  • Mozilla

    • Making Thunderbird Financially Sustainable: How it Could Work

      As Mozilla Messaging looks to monetize its services, the project should think strongly about providing a top-to-bottom solution. Not just connecting with other services, but providing the mail hosting and services that users want. Mozilla Messaging and Status.net (which provides the popular Identi.ca microblogging service) seem like natural allies, for example. I’m not entirely sure what a successful model would look like — but merely providing a client or add-on for existing services doesn’t seem the surest path to success. And I do want to see Mozilla succeed here, for a couple of reasons.

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Keil and Cypress cooperate on tools for PSoC use

      The Keil CA51 Compiler for PSoC 3 and the GNU GCC-ARM Compiler for PSoC 5 are both bundled with the PSoC Creator distribution. The Keil Vision 4 IDE and debugger are also available for use with the Cypress PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 devices.

  • Releases

  • Programming

    • Cross platform doesn’t exists

      When you write code in Python you can be almost sure your code will run on different operating systems. I say almost sure, not completely sure, because some of the libraries and packages you are using can have different behaviors on different systems.

    • Python for S60 version 2.0 released

      Python for S60 (PyS60) has been in flux for some time, with various project forks, but with the official release of Python S60 v2.0, it appears that time is over.

Leftovers

  • [Lyrics in Notepad]
  • Toshiba invents a tiny 1TB SSD

    JAPANESE ELECTRONICS OUTFIT Toshiba and Keio University in Tokyo have made a technological breakthrough that allows SSDs of up to 1TB capacity to be made the size of a postage stamp.

    That is about a 90 per cent reduction in size compared to a standard 2.5-inch hard disk drive.

  • If You’re A Terrorist, You’re Not Allowed To Use iTunes

    Now wouldn’t that be a great lawsuit? Seeing Apple take those on the US terrorist list to court for breaking their iTunes terms of service?

  • Study links soda, pancreatic cancer

    People who drink two or more sweetened soft drinks a week have a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer, an unusual but deadly cancer, researchers reported on Monday.

    People who drank mostly fruit juice instead of sodas did not have the same risk, the study of 60,000 people in Singapore found.

  • The Smarter You Are, The Less You Click

    If the latest numbers from online ad network Chitika are anything to go by, then we may well be on our way to the world of Idiocracy. According to the study, which compared click through rates to college education, the less educated your audience, the more likely they are to click through on an advertisement.

  • Science

    • Obama’s Space Plan – a Conservative Argument

      The Obama space proposal, which seeks to enable a commercial space industry for transportation to and from low Earth orbit while it cancels space exploration beyond LEO, has sparked a kind of civil war among conservatives.

  • Security

    • Officials seek policy change after tunnel beating

      Three unarmed security guards were following orders last month when they stood by without intervening as a 15-year-old girl was badly beaten in a downtown Seattle bus tunnel. Now the company they work for and government officials say those orders should be revised.

    • EU commissioner warms up for body scanner probe

      The European Commissioner for Transport, vice-presendent Siim Kallas, is preparing a report on body scanners for the European Parliament.

    • Movie Star Claims Heathrow Airport Staff Printed Out, Circulated, His Naked Body Images

      Except… perhaps that’s not always true. Eric points us to the news that Indian movie star Shahrukh Khan (oddly, I just saw one of his movies) is claiming that the staff at London’s Heathrow airport had not just connected his scan to who he was, but also printed it out and circulated it among some staff.

    • UK universities being broken by border control measures

      The law of unintended consequences has arrived in full force on British campuses, as government policies designed to control immigration turn academic staff into state informers and impose draconian surveillance on UK students and academics.

    • US frees Iraqi photographer held for 17 months

      The US military in Iraq freed an Iraqi freelance journalist working for the Thomson Reuters media group on Wednesday after holding him for 17 months without charge, the company said.

    • More airport security won’t do much to stop terrorists. Leaving the Middle East would.

      Thus governments cannot substantially reduce drug use, prostitution, or immigration by raising the penalty (supply costs): If demand is strong, underground markets will accommodate it. Whether policy should attempt to reduce these demands is a different question. Regardless, policies that only address the supply side cost a lot and afford minimal results.

    • Adobe fixes critical vulnerability in Flash – Update

      Security updates 10.0.45.2 for the Adobe Flash Player and 1.5.3.1930 for AIR fix a critical security vulnerability which allows Flash applets to circumvent certain security functions in order to access other websites without obtaining the user’s permission. A specially crafted Flash file on a malicious web page could read data, including banking data or similar, displayed in other open browser windows.

  • Environment

    • Agency Proposes Climate Service to Spur Adaptation

      The proposed entity would provide “user-friendly” information to help governments and businesses adapt to climate change, creating a central federal source of information on everything from projections of sea level rise to maps of the nation’s best sites for wind and solar power.

      “Even with our best efforts, we know that some degree of climate change is inevitable,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department includes NOAA. “American citizens, businesses and governments — from local to federal — must be able to rise to the challenges that lie ahead. And that’s where NOAA’s climate service will prove absolutely invaluable.”

    • China’s fears of rich nation ‘climate conspiracy’ at Copenhagen revealed

      Rich nations furthered their “conspiracy to divide the developing world” at December’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen, while Canada “connived” and the EU acted “to please the United States”, according to an internal document from a Chinese government thinktank obtained by the Guardian.

    • Wish you weren’t here: The devastating effects of the new colonialists

      A new breed of colonialism is rampaging across the world, with rich nations buying up the natural resources of developing countries that can ill afford to sell. Some staggering deals have already been done, says Paul Vallely, but angry locals are now trying to stop the landgrabs

    • Utah delivers vote of no confidence for ‘climate alarmists’

      Carbon dioxide is “essentially harmless” to human beings and good for plants. So now will you stop worrying about global warming?

      Utah’s House of Representatives apparently has at least. Officially the most Republican state in America, its political masters have adopted a resolution condemning “climate alarmists”, and disputing any scientific basis for global warming.

      The measure, which passed by 56-17, has no legal force, though it was predictably claimed by climate change sceptics as a great victory in the wake of the controversy caused by a mistake over Himalayan glaciers in the UN’s landmark report on global warming.

  • Finance

    • Guns and Butter – The New Junk Economics: From Democracy to Neoliberal Oligarchy
    • The gullible gulled to buy auction-rate paper

      Auction rate securities are again in the news, and they are still garbage, but some smell worse than others link here. Some actually have modest value but new ones are not being sold. What went wrong?

      The first problem was that no one bothered to look at the underlying securities. When prospectuses were sought long after the market crashed, they were hard to find. But why bother, as the derivatives were repriced and could be rolled over in monthly auctions. They came with high ratings from S & P or Moody’s or Fitch and they were apparently completely liquid but paid better than other short term securities.

    • EU leaders reach Greek bailout deal

      A deal has been reached to help Greece tackle its debt crisis, after negotiations between Europe’s leaders in Brussels this morning.

    • Wars sending U.S. into ruin

      U.S. President Barack Obama calls the $3.8-trillion US budget he just sent to Congress a major step in restoring America’s economic health.

      In fact, it’s another potent fix given to a sick patient deeply addicted to the dangerous drug — debt.

    • The U.S “Odious Debts” used to Finance Illegal Wars

      There is an established legal principle that people should not have to repay their government’s debt to the extent that it is incurred to launch aggressive wars or to oppress the people.

      These “odious debts” are considered to be the personal debts of the tyrants who incurred them, rather than the country’s debt.

    • Davos Confidential [by Eric E. Schmidt]

      Given China’s success and the way power and wealth are shifting east, Google’s recent announcement on China generated a lot of debate at Davos. It was a decision seen as both courageous and foolish, often at the same time. Weren’t we quitting the Yukon just as gold was found? It’s a good question. But in the end, you have to do what you believe is right.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • One Grand Deal Too Many Costs Lobbyist His Job

      After about two dozen years in Congress, Representative Billy Tauzin of Louisiana was after bigger game — the giant, 200-pound whitetail deer that run through the area of south Texas that hunters call the Golden Triangle.

    • The end of health care reform?

      The longer this goes on and the larger the loss in potential company profits, the less likely any reform seems. Consider now that none of this would be happening if drugs weren’t patented.

    • EMI Tries Fake Word Of Mouth Campaign To Promote Ok Go

      Well, now, instead of allowing a real “word of mouth” viral campaign with the video, it looks like EMI/Capitol has decided to bootstrap a fake viral word of mouth campaign, by sending around emails (and even submitting directly to us) a request to “get a free Ok Go” song if you just Tweet about it. Seriously. So rather than letting people organically share what they wanted to share, EMI is trying to bribe people into promoting something else.

      EMI, you’re doing it wrong.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Racist content on US server ‘within UK jurisdiction’

      The Court of Appeal rejected that claim, saying that according to a precedent set in a previous case domestic law will apply so long as much of the activity in question took place in the UK.

    • Aussie net censorship turning Chinese

      Recent DDoS chaos on the Australian internet may have been great fun for all involved – but behind the good-humoured anarchy lies a growing concern that the government really does have a dark and Big Brotherly vision for the future of politics in the country.

      As reported in The Register this week, groups exasperated by government plans for a mandatory firewall that will censor far more than the child porn material claimed, finally resorted to long-promised direct action, with a short and successful DDoS attack on government sites and offices.

    • Google baulks at Conroy’s call to censor YouTube

      Google says it will not “voluntarily” comply with the government’s request that it censor YouTube videos in accordance with broad “refused classification” (RC) content rules.

      Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally.

    • Conroy calls for piracy code of conduct

      In the wake of iiNet’s recent court win, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has said that he wants the film and internet industries to sit down and try and work out a code of conduct to prevent pirating of copyrighted works rather than working towards legislation changes.

    • Google Says No To Australia’s Request To Censor YouTube Videos
    • Iceland aims to become an offshore haven for journalists and leakers
    • Iceland Wants To Become A Hub For Free Speech Journalism Protection

      I think this is a great idea — and the world needs places where free speech is much more seriously protected, but I do wonder how it will work in practice.

    • Olympics Using Bogus Copyright Claims To Take Down All Videos Of Fatal Luge Crash

      It’s a horrible situation all around, but it looks like the International Olympic Committee is trying to stifle the whole thing by using copyright claims to take down videos on YouTube, saying that only those who paid for broadcast rights can show the video. Now, this could be part of a pre-arranged effort by the Olympics to try to stop any Olympics videos from hitting YouTube, but it shows the problem with such a blanket policy.

    • Olympic luger from Georgia dies after crash

      Flirting with 90 mph on a $100 million track pushing speed to the outer limits, the luger from the republic of Georgia tilted his head slightly forward as his sled climbed the high-banked wall.

    • Multiple crashes at luge track
    • US and EU call for release of well-known Chinese dissident

      Tania Branigan reports from Beijing on the 11-year sentence handed to Liu Xiaobo Link to this video

      The US and European Union today renewed calls for the immediate release of high profile dissident Liu Xiaobo, as a Chinese court upheld his 11-year-sentence.

    • Prop. 8 Defenders Say Plaintiffs Attacked ‘Orthodox Religious Beliefs’

      Now, we’ve got a bit more to throw at you, LBers. One of the lawyers handling the case for the defendants (that is, defending the constitutionality of Prop. 8) sent us a note recently attacking the plaintiffs’ approach in the case. Specifically, Brian Raum, the head of marriage litigation for the Alliance Defense Fund, has accused the plaintiffs and their lead lawyers, David Boies and Ted Olson, of unfairly attacking religion.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Conference Board Of Canada Releases New Report On Copyright That Isn’t Just A Cut And Paste From US Lobbyists

      You may remember last year that the Conference Board of Canada (who, until then, was pretty well respected) released a report on “intellectual property policy” that was blatantly plagiarized from US copyright industry lobbyists.

    • Veoh Closing Down, UMG Lawsuit Blamed

      Online video sharing site Veoh is going out of business. The AllThingsD blog says it cut the entire staff yesterday and a bankruptcy filing is expected soon.

      [...]

      “Veoh is dead. Universal Music lawsuit was the main killer. Veoh won resoundingly but was mortally wounded by the senseless suit.”

    • Video Site Veoh Files For Bankruptcy

      Dmitry Shapiro, CEO and founder of Veoh, said part of the company’s problems were due to a costly legal battle with Universal Music Group over copyright infringement and the challenging economic environment.

    • Veoh Shuts Down; What Happens To The Lawsuit?

      Veoh basically won big in the lawsuit. Time and time again, every trick that Universal Music tried — including suing Veoh’s investors directly, was rejected by the judge, and the final ruling late last year was that Veoh abided by the DMCA and was protected by its safe harbors from Universal Music’s lawsuit. It was a complete victory.

    • Warner Music Shoots Self In Head; Says No More Free Streaming

      You don’t compete with “free” by taking your ball and going home. You don’t compete with “free” by pretending that old artificial scarcities are coming back after the wall has been broken down. You don’t compete with “free” by suing customers. You don’t compete with “free” by shunning those who have business models that work. You compete with free by offering a better product and a better business model. WMG is choosing to go in the other direction.

    • Developer Seems To Think Trademark On ‘Army Builder’ Means No One Can Use It In Conversation

      But apparently Lone Wolf has been sending out cease-and-desists to websites that have nothing to do with Lone Wolf’s Army Builder, and demanding that the phrase be blocked in forums on totally different subjects. Yes, they’re saying that no one can use the term in conversation

      [...]

      Update: As pointed out in the comments — and in a friendly email from Lone Wolf’s lawyers — Lone Wolf has backed down a bit and sorta, but not really, apologized. The guy claims that he’s not a lawyer (though, whoever emailed us said they were a lawyer representing the company), and didn’t quite realize what he was doing (and it showed).

    • Summit Entertainment Sues, Saying Only It Can Make A Documentary About How ‘Twilight’ Impacted Forks, WA

      As for the copyright claim, again, that seems rather weak, as it seems to focus on still images. There may be an issue with the unauthorized documentary makers originally using a cover that was similar to the original cover pitched by Heckelsville, but even then, the makers of the unauthorized documentary have already agreed to change the cover to make it different.

    • Your Rights Online: Australian Judge Rules Facts Cannot Be Copyrighted

      nfarrell writes “Last week, an Australian Judge ruled that copyright laws do not apply to collections of facts, regardless of the amount of effort that was spent collecting them. In this case, the case surrounded the reproduction of entries from the White and Yellow Pages, but the ruling referred to a previous case involving IceTV, which republishes TV guides. Does this mean that other databases of facts, such as financial data, are also legally able to be copied and redistributed?” Here are analyses from a former legal adviser to the directory publisher which prevailed as the defendant in this case, and from Smart Company.

    • Telstra loses copyright case over Yellow Pages and White Pages

      ANYONE can now copy and reuse listings in the Yellow Pages and White Pages, after a court ruled they are not protected by copyright.

    • Australian Court Says You Can’t Copyright Facts; Phone Books Not Protected

      There are some places that do allow copyrights on aggregated facts, but a growing body of research has found that such “database rights” or copyrights on aggregated facts tends to hinder innovation rather than encourage it — and if the purpose of copyright law is to create incentives for new works and for innovation, allowing copyrights on collections of factual information is a bad idea. So, congrats to Australia on another good copyright ruling.

    • Dumb Labels, Laws (Not Google) To Blame for Music Blog Deletions

      Google’s deletion of music blogs accused of distributing music without permission has proven to be a controversial topic this week, as one might expect. Some are calling it “Musicblogocide 2010,” according to The Guardian, whose in-depth article on the topic is titled: “Google shuts down music blogs without warning.”

      Nobody likes to hear that music bloggers — who tend to write with infectious enthusiasm benefiting both fans and copyright holders — lost years of work when they may not so much have broken the law as grazed up against it. It seems especially unfortunate if they enabled an avoidable outcome by ignoring or being ignorant of the stakes of not taking the proper corrective actions when formally warned they were in violation of dreaded (and widely ignored) terms of service. (Deleted blogs include Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, Masala, I Rock Cleveland, To Die By Your Side, It’s a Rap, Ryan’s Smashing Life, and Living Ears.)

    • Entertainment Industry Get Their Own ‘Piracy Police’ In The Justice Department

      Remember back in December when Vice President Joe Biden hosted a one-sided “piracy summit”, ridiculously declaring that “all of the stakeholders” were present (despite there not being a single representative from the technology industry, nor anyone representing consumer interests or ISPs). The “stakeholders” were entirely the entertainment industry. And, even better, despite promises of openness and transparency, the press was kicked out so top execs from most of the major entertainment industry companies could collude talk directly with many of the top administration officials, including Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and others. You knew that this wasn’t just a random meet and greet and that something would come out of it.

      And, indeed, less than two months later, we have Eric Holder announcing a special “IP task force” within the Justice Department designed to take on “the rise in intellectual property crime.”

    • Justice Creates IP Task Force

      The department said the new task force emerged out of a White House meeting hosted by Vice President Biden in December, which included Holder and other members of the president’s Cabinet as well as executives from the movie studios, record companies, book publishers and television networks. Biden said in a statement that the Obama administration “is committed to stronger and stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights, and this new task force is a step in the right direction.”

    • Even If ACTA Doesn’t Include Filtering Or Three Strikes, There Are Things To Worry About

      Indeed, what many people have pointed out is that the really pernicious part of ACTA is in reading between the lines. There are already international agreements on intellectual property that include clear safe harbors and consumer protection. What’s notable in the leaked drafts of ACTA is that such things are missing. So even if it doesn’t force the US to change the law, it could very much hinder attempts by US to come to its senses and fix the broken parts of the law.

    • HL Committee on the Digital Economy Bill

      The Bill provides for the Secretary of State to have the power to require ISPs to take “technical measures” in respect of account holders who have been the subject of copyright infringement reports. The scope of the measures will be defined in secondary legislation and could be wide-ranging.

      We do not believe that such a skeletal approach to powers which engage human rights is appropriate. There is potential for these powers to be applied in a disproportionate manner which could lead to a breach of internet users’ rights to respect for correspondence and freedom of expression.

    • Music Labels Ask Blogs to Post Songs to Promote Artists, Ask Google to Erase Blogs for Posting Songs

      Today’s news that Google shut down music blogs that were accused of copyright infringement is rightfully getting plenty of coverage. Mostly, it is being held up as another in a long line of examples of problems with the DMCA notice-and-takedown system. This is a great example of a problem with the DMCA because, at least according to The Guardian, the notices that Google relied on to delete the blogs were woefully incomplete. Google should not have acted until it had proper notices from rights holders, including the name of the actual work allegedly infringed. Since many of the notices did not even include this information, there was no way for the bloggers to file a DMCA counternotice.

    • Google Music Blog Mess Highlights Why Three Strikes Will Not Work

      They’re based on the false belief that copyright infringement is an easy “yes” or “no” decision that can be determined upon seeing it. But what we’re discovering in both this situation and in the Viacom situation is that even the copyright holders are really bad at figuring out if something is infringing or not. So why should anyone expect third parties to be able to do a better job?

    • Norwegian Appeals Court Dismisses Entertainment Industry’s Attempt To Require ISP Block Of The Pirate Bay
    • Thanks To Hulu, Indie Film ‘Strictly Sexual’ Hits Big

      Film Raked In More Than 10 Times Its Production Cost

      Hulu won’t provide an exact view count for Strictly Sexual, but there are enough people watching to make Long a profit.

    • Author Claims $9.99 Is Not A ‘Real Price’ For Books

      Just because you don’t like what the market decides a book is worth, doesn’t mean that it’s not a real price.

    • Teen Remixes The Works Of Others Into Best Selling Novel… And Critics Love It

      And, really, what’s the problem here? Some might claim that it’s unfair to the original authors whose work she used — but the author of the largest segments, named Airen, is getting a ton of attention for Airen’s own book, which received little actual attention when originally published.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 03 (2004)


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

Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SAP logo for Microsoft business partner

Summary: Many updates about the software patents situation in Europe and some other assorted developments from across the Atlantic

About a week ago we showed that Judge Uwe Scharen could help legalise software patents in the EU. The FFII has him listed as one of the players in Europe’s argument over software patents and according to the following new report, he may soon rule from the throne of the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal:

For the Free Software Foundation Europe and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), 2010 looks like a decisive year given that several interesting decisions will be taken on the patentabilty of software, business processes and conventional seeds. Four questions about computer implemented inventions and their patenting have been referred by Brimelow to the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal and a decision can be expected soon, even if the referral itself is rejected.

[...]

The free and open source software model might be a better alternative to patenting and then “repairing” possible barriers to technology transfers, said Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe. It might be possible to transfer this model to other technology areas like climate technology, he said. In any case, information technology related climate technology would gain through free and open source software.

The FSFE, according to Gerloff, will follow closely the work by the EU Commission on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), which consists of a set of interoperability guideline documents for European Public Services. While the first draft resulting from consultations in 2008 contained solid references to open standards and open source software, according to the FSFE, these had vanished from a second draft leaked last September. Six member states filed objections against this second EIF draft, according to the FSFE.

Ignoring open standards and open source software has a series of disadvantages, according to the free and open source software organisations, from anti-competitive effects against smaller software companies to proprietary formats for public content.

A second focus of the FSFE’s work in 2010 is the relationship between standards and patents. “In our view, patents that are part of standards have to be licensed royalty free,” said Gerloff. While standardisation bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium or the Internet Engineering Task Force this worked well, in other organisations like the International Standards Organisation, reform is necessary, he said. “There is a lot of work to do.”

There are all sorts of troubling issues here. The president of the FFII warns that an “Hungarian MEP [is] pushing for the Community Patent only in English, so that it gets ignored by the non-English EU citizens

Citing this PDF, he also adds that “Liberals [are] pushing more patents, easier and cheaper to obtain”

The following report (also here, but requires subscription) says:

The European Patent Office is considering whether to redefine the criteria for patenting software inventions.

This new article titled “Maximizing protection for software innovations” also requires subscription:

Software innovators can better protect their intellectual property by drafting patent claims with an eye toward how those claims may actually be interpreted in litigation.

Europe’s policy on software patents is always under pressure to change, courtesy of Microsoft and Microsoft allies like SAP (although there are other batsmen for software patents whose interests are not directly tied to Microsoft). The president of the FFII says that “SAP is lobbying the European Commission for UPLS/EUEPLA” (the unified system that can bring software patents) and experience suggests that SAP has always been rather hostile towards Free software [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Despite all this — and rather surprisingly in fact — Matthew Aslett from the 451 Group chose SAP as a “case study for open source engagement” just a couple of days ago. He received a statement from SAP:

Of course some issues remain. On a related issue, one of the most significant for free and open source advocates is the company’s attitude towards software patents. A good explanation as to why this is the case is provided by Glyn Moody.

I asked Claus and Erwin for their perspective on SAP’s stance on software patents and how that impacted the perception of SAP. Part of the response was the expected position that as SAP exists in a world where there are software patents it has no choice but to engage in patenting software itself if it is to retain a strong position against competitors. The other, with specific reference to open source, was as follows:

“SAP actually is a big proponent of strong and concise IPR licensing regimes for all standards and open source initiatives we participate in. Whatever claims of patents and patent applications that essentially need to be infringed to implement a standard or use an open source component should always be licensed in a reasonable and non-discriminatory manner by the individuals and organizations that have contributed to the project (obviously, in open source projects RAND means royalty-free). SAP does participate in open source projects particularly in order to drive adoption of a certain technology. There may be SAP patents in that very domain and they may be essential, but we require ourselves to freely license those patents to everybody. But we expect the same from any other project participant. And that’s actually why we prefer governance models like the one from the Eclipse Foundation (that also comprises contribution analyses in order to minimize unintentional copyright infringements).”

Suffice to say, this is just PR/spin. SAP’s actions have spoken for themselves for many years, ever since SAP’s Shai Agassi went about with his offensive rhetorics against Free software. It’s like they had their own little Steve Ballmer (before he left to do something ethical). Glyn Moody has already responded to the post from Aslett and he fills in some gaps.

Readers with a taste for high comedy may remember my post “Why SAP is Such a Sap over Software Patents”, which rather took to task a certain large German software company over its stance on software patents. Now, to be fair, SAP has done some good things for free software – not many, but some – and Matthew Aslett has produced an excellent summary of these on his 451 CAOS Theory blog, which I urge you to read.

[...]

The other problem is the reference to RAND. As the quotation notes, RAND for open source projects means royalty-free – but not for traditional software companies. In that case, RAND means a “reasonable” licence fee – which may be small, but is, as SAP must know, completely incompatible with free software licences like the GNU GPL.

Over in Europe, SAP is considered one of the worst offenders when it comes to attempting to illegalise Free software (using software patents). So again, it’s funny to see this company listed as “case study for open source engagement”. An “open source divorce” would be a better case study matching SAP.

In other news from Europe, Glyn Moody shows “stacking [of] the deck yet again” by pointing to this report about the IP Observatory:

In the legal affairs committee JURI in the European Parliament, we have been discussing an initiative by the EU Commission to set up an ”IP Observatory” that should monitor and combat all kinds of intellectual property infringements, from commercial goods counterfeiting to kids downloading films and music. Right now, we are in the process of drafting a resolution, known as the Gallo report, on the subject.

[...]

So much for the involvement of the European Parliament on this issue. We have been invited to hold an exchange of views in the JURI committee, and we are currently spending time on drafting a resolution on if and how the IP Observatory should be set up.

These lawyers are interfering with law that is fairly reasonable. Who is running this system anyway? In reference to it, says TechDirt, “Government for the people?”

It is worth adding that, according to the president of the FFII, “CCIA launched a dedicated blog on IP and patents earlier in January” and it says:

The Computer & Communications Industry Association is launching its new intellectual property blog today to serve as a forum for tech policy discussions. With the Obama appointees now in place and Congress looking for ways to help the economy grow, CCIA is optimistic about seeing patent reform this year.

“As we talk about developing an innovation agenda to boost our economic recovery, patent reform and balanced copyright rules should be part of that discussion,” said CCIA President & CEO Ed Black. “Current patent policies favor some business models over others, but after years of discussion it’s time for this Congress to recognize what consensus there is and lead the country toward reforms that would create the most innovation and jobs — and ideally allow for the next generation of innovation.”

The CEO, Ed Black, received millions of dollars in Microsoft money, even personally. Microsoft bought CCIA out of the antitrust case and then attacked GNU/Linux at IBM with CCIA’s help [1, 2, 3]. The president of the FFII connects some more dots by showing this “Interesting blog of CCIA about software patents, patent trolls and al, but their call for reform will keep swpats [software patents] alive”

Money well spent by Microsoft in Europe?

“The IETF came under criticism from the FSF last year after it had allowed patents inside standards.”Well, either way, there are also some important developments outside of Europe. Here, for instance, is an update on the notorious VoIP patent which the EFF is challenging.

Free software can simply ignore software patents in the large majority of the world and moreover, as the president of the FFII puts it by quoting, “Torvalds is the fellow who advised his people not to read patents, setting the public disclosure of patents on its head.”

Microsoft is the same. It made it a policy to discourage staff from reading patents (so as to avoid infringements being willful).

In more minor news, IETF creates a wiki in which to summarise its work. The IETF came under criticism from the FSF last year after it had allowed patents inside standards.

Novell More of a Reflection of Microsoft as Weeks Go By

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Samba at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Moonlight

Summary: Novell promotes Microsoft Silverlight, .NET, and other negative endeavours while demoting the GPL and reducing work on Linux

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is promoting Silverlight once again by stating that his patent-encumbered project might enable access to Olympic content. The real solution is for the Olympics to use standards instead of serving Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. What de Icaza is doing here is simple; he keeps regulators away from Microsoft*. We wrote about this before, particularly when Microsoft came under fire for Silverlight and US regulators stepped up. The Novell/Microsoft patent deal had similar ramifications in Europe (harming Samba’s case). Needless to say, Novell is behind de Icaza, so it is not just his personal infatuation with Microsoft. Novell’s tactless PR Director [1, 2] is endorsing de Icaza’s message:

Can’t get to Vancouver for the Winter Games? The Moonlight Team just made it that much easier to watch all the competition right from your desktop, anytime of day, in any part of the world.

Mono is a prerequisite and as we have shown several times before, Moonlight is still an unacceptable trap [1, 2, 3], so the following news coverage is misleading:

Microsoft also updated its agreement not to pursue patent claims on versions 3.0 and 4.0 of Silverlight. The software giant has also offered protection to third-party distributions of Moonlight, not just those using the Novell-sponsored Moonlight.

No, Moonlight remains suitable just for Novell customers (until January 2012 when the patent deal with Microsoft expires). Why is de Icaza doing all this? A couple of years ago he publicly expressed regrets and used as an excuse the infamous “pay grade” line. Here is what was said about it:

“What’s this about pay-grade? It’s a military term, often misappropriated by civilians who are avoiding an ethical decision. It’s a good excuse in the military: politicians are accountable for the decision to enter a war, while the military are oath-bound to follow orders at pain of court-martial and possibly execution, and are only accountable for the conduct of the war. But Miguel is no soldier. He’s the founder of a company previously merged into Novell, and would not be subject to treason charges or capital punishment over this issue. Others, like Jeremy Allison, chose to leave the company while Miguel stayed.”

Bruce Perens

A few months ago, Groklaw wrote: “Jason Perlow has responded to this article in an audio discussion with Ken Hess. They agree that I do not understand that Miguel has to feed his family and pay his mortgage. I believe that is called the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense. I will quote from Wikipedia:

In the Christopher Buckley novel Thank You for Smoking and its film adaptation, the main character Nick Naylor justifies his career to a reporter by telling her that “Everybody has a mortgage to pay,” and referring to his response as the “Yuppie Nuremberg Defense”.

In other words, de Icaza’s excuses are all very weak. He is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it’s impossible to help both) and deep inside he might actually understand that. But it’s working well for him, personally. He even serves on a board now (even though it is Microsoft’s).

Anti-GPL, Pro-Mono

This latest post from Novell’s Jeffrey Stedfast, who is Miguel de Icaza’s close colleague from back in the days, is also a curious new find. Notice the part at the top which says: “All code posted to this blog is licensed under the MIT/X11 license unless otherwise stated in the post itself.”

“[De Icaza] is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it’s impossible to do both) and deep inside he might actually understand that.”Novell just doesn't like the GPL. A good example of this is the project called Pinta, which we wrote about quite a lot in recent days [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is still being mentioned in some news sites where it is described as a “Paint.NET clone” which is written in Mono by a Novell employee. It’s not GPL licensed.

Another project that’s somewhat of a statement against the GPL is written by Novell employees who use Mono. It’s called Banshee.

Banshee

Even after his departure from Novell, Joe Brockmeier promotes this Mono project that only Novell customers can use. Here is something from the latest post about it:

This means that Banshee 1.5.4 will be GNOME 3.0 ready.

We still worry that GNOME 3.0 might accommodate more Mono than before [1, 2]. Our reader Pawel shows us what he calls “another mono evangelist which is a gnome dev“:

People who know me also know that I think those anti-.NET people are disruptive ignorable people. I also actively and willingly ignore them (and they should know this). I’m actually a big fan of the Mono platform.

Going back to Silverlight, watch how Microsoft uses IronRuby:

IronRuby 1.0 Hits Release Candidate 2 (RC2)

[...]

Just as Novell is building an open source implementation of Silverlight dubbed Moonlight, so Microsoft is hard at work producing an open source implementation of the Ruby programming language for .NET and Silverlight. Charlie Calvert, C# Community program manager revealed that this week the team behind the project announced the availability of the second Release Candidate of IronRuby.

This project is a curse that mostly serves Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s an embrace-and-extend approach of Microsoft inside Ruby.

Priorities

To Novell’s credit, it did participate in some important projects like RadeonHD which Phoronix mentioned some days ago.

Since being let go by Novell last year where he worked on the RadeonHD Linux graphics driver and X.Org support within SuSE Linux, Luc Verhaegen has continued work on his VIA Unichrome DDX driver as well as other X.Org code and he has also become involved with the CoreBoot project that aims to create a free software BIOS for most chipsets and motherboards on the market. Luc has worked on support for flashing the BIOS on ATI graphics cards, native VGA text mode support, and other work to help the CoreBoot project. Today at FOSDEM in Brussels, Luc Verhaegen is about to give a talk on reverse engineering a motherboard BIOS.

Novell seems to be focusing less on kernel space [1, 2] and more on .NET these days. Novell consciously laid off this important developer of RadeonHD. What’s the logic here?

How Novell CEO Changed a Quarter of His Staff

The following piece was published earlier this month and it contains some very interesting parts, such as:

One of the toughest challenges facing public companies in this country is figuring out how to satisfy Wall Street without decimating their loyal but costly workforces. I’ve met no one who has defined this problem more strikingly than Ron Hovsepian, the CEO of Novell.

In an interview a couple of years ago, Hovsepian told me that over the course of the preceding year, he replaced a quarter of his workforce in order to acquire the skills he needed:

One thousand of our 4,000 employees are new to Novell. So the change we’re going through is pretty significant. Candidly, among all the good revenue stories and the profit improving, people don’t realize how much we’ve really gone in and changed our workforce to get the right skills here.

Maybe some of those “changes” in workforce better align the company with Microsoft's objectives. We previously showed that Novell was hiring more .NET developers while generally laying off many people.

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

___
* Miguel de Icaza publicly took Microsoft’s side in the antitrust litigation in Europe.

Novell Market Start is Virtually Dead; Novell’s Meeks Disses JavaFX, OpenSUSE 11.2 is Broken

Posted in GNOME, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE, Oracle, Red Hat, RHX, SUN at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A bunch of bad news for Novell, brought together under one roof

Market Start Ending

Sean Michael Kerner seemingly declares death for Novell Market Start in this new article about a particular business model which failed not only in Red Hat’s case; Novell too never saw it taking off.

In 2007, Red Hat launched an effort called the Red Hat Exchange (RHX), a marketplace for selling open source solutions from Red Hat’s partners. RHX was in part Red Hat’s response to competitive pressure from the Novell Market Start program.

Now in 2010, neither of those sales programs is still operational.

This is okay. Free software is operational and obtainable even without centralisation under another umbrella which is a company. We wrote about Novell Market Start in [1, 2, 3].

Adding Insult to Injury

Novell has already injured Sun’s/Oracle’s OpenOffice.org and now there’s this in the news:

Michael Meeks, the Novell Inc. developer who launched the Go-OO branch of OpenOffice.org, is pessimistic about JavaFX, saying its semi-proprietary licensing is an obstacle for the open-source app, and it poses other technical problems.

That sounds like a better description for Mono and Moonlight.

Meeks puts the demands of his employer before personal responsibility as a GNOME hacker and he is responsible for forking OpenOffice.org, a move which was unhelpful [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. In the next post we will show that Novell aggressively promotes .NET, which competes against Java. We will also show that Novell is a big fan of Silverlight developers, to whom JavaFX is a direct threat.

Locked In

According to this report from Heise/The H, screen lock functionality in OpenSUSE/GNOME is inherently broken and the problem gets confirmed.

The screen lock of openSUSE 11.2 can be bypassed by the simplest of means. A reader’s report prompted The H’s associates at heise Security to investigate. Tests confirmed that a locked desktop session can be unlocked without password by holding down the return key. This causes the GNOME screen saver to crash and unlock the desktop after only a few seconds.

The problem may reside upstream, but this report names OpenSUSE as the problem. Maybe it’s because only tests on this one distribution could be established to confirm the troubling behaviour.

Novell Keeps Being Dumped for Google

Posted in Google, Mail, Microsoft, Novell at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old rusty abandoned truck

Summary: Novell GroupWise is being abandoned and removed from over 70,000 seats

NOVELL got dumped by the city of Los Angeles late last year [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was decided that Novell GroupWise did not deliver and the decision is further defended in this new article.

When the city picked Google’s productivity tools along with its popular e-mail service Gmail, what initially was thought to be a run-of-the-mill IT project quickly morphed into something bigger and more complex. The decision stoked a period of intense lobbying from L.A.’s existing e-mail provider (Novell) and Google’s biggest competitor (Microsoft), rivals who likely saw the city’s decision to adopt Google’s hosted services as something that could potentially crack the state and local government market’s inertia when it comes to cloud computing.

This massive departure from Novell GroupWise could catalyse more of its kind and indeed, based on the following two reports from Australia, this is already happening. ITWire says:

Macquarie is currently in the process of dumping its in-house Novell GroupWise email infrastructure and moving 6,000 staff to Google’s Gmail platform; a move that comes after the university already shifted some 68,000 students into Google’s cloud.

More here:

It’s a perfect storm: Google’s cloud email is reaching reliability and manageability levels that Microsoft, IBM and Novell can’t keep up with, say big Aussie organisations.

What’s funny is that Google is headed by the former CEO of Novell. He is hitting Novell where it hurts these days, but Novell is reciprocating (doing the same thing) by helping Microsoft, the company which is most viciously attacking Google and attacking GNU/Linux. Where does that position Novell as far as GNU/Linux is concerned?

Microsoft Makes it Hard to Buy and Use Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cow says, 'What you looking at?'

Summary: Microsoft shoots its own cash cow and thus promotes exploration with GNU/Linux

A few days ago The Register wrote about the latest blunder in Microsoft’s volume licensing site [1, 2]. It is almost as though Microsoft does not want people to buy its products anymore. Here is an update on the subject (also from The Register):

Microsoft has admitted that its refurbished but hamstrung volume licensing website is still limping along for some customers and partners, who are yet to gain full access to the portal, or worse are logging in and being served the wrong details.

The company told The Register today that it was still struggling to provide some users with access to its Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) months after it relaunched the system.

Yes, Microsoft is driving away people who are willing and determined to make large purchases. Likewise, as we have shown in recent days, Microsoft suspends many Windows machines using bad patches [1, 2] and maybe incorporates a new kill switch. Some people theorise that Microsoft does this deliberately in order to pressure Windows XP users to buy Vista 7. Pogson puts it differently by arguing that “Microsoft Wants You To Use GNU/Linux”. It would make no sense for Microsoft to deliberately break Windows given the effect it would have on the company’s already-injured reputation, let alone the fact that people are able to move to another operating system.

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