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03.04.10

AT&T and Microsoft Grow Closer (a Bong [sic] in Yahoo! Clothing)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 11:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Summary: AT and T to continue tradition of spying by diverting customer traffic to Microsoft datacentres

A FEW months ago, Microsoft sued TiVo with patents in order to support its buddy, AT&T. It is worth adding that AT&T is a lobbyist for more patents, an illegal spy, and unauthorised censor for the United States government [1, 2]. Here is a reminder of this from the news:

Here in the US, AT&T eagerly helped the administration in spying on users with no warrant and no official process (even allowing private info to be passed on with just a post-it note request).

More importantly, however, AT&T made a deal involving Windows Mobile a few weeks ago. AT&T has a close relationship with the patent bully [1, 2, 3, 4] (yes, that would be Apple attacking Linux phones) too.

On the face of it, AT&T ‘pulls a Canonical’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] by diverting its many US customers to Microsoft (via Yahoo!). And let’s not forget the Verizon deal [1, 2], either.

To Microsoft, Yahoo! is a form of brand-washing. People use what they believe to be Yahoo!, but in fact they just use an alternative front end to Microsoft Bong [sic] (supporting an abusive monopolist and receiving ‘cooked’ results without realising it). Microsoft will harvest data and advertise based on its own biased preferences, but users will be presented with deceiving logos after the hijack. We recently found out just how friendly Microsoft is to warrantless spying.

Simon Phipps: “Seems Even With Microsoft’s Support Novell Couldn’t Cut It”

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SUN at 10:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simon Phipps in Stockholm (2007)
Photo by RightOnBrother

Summary: FOSS luminary Simon Phipps comments on the fact that Novell meets a vulture fund of Singer

“T

HE season of change is clearly upon us,” says Simon Phipps, whose employer has been acquired by Oracle. “Seems even with Microsoft’s support Novell couldn’t cut it,” he asserts. Phipps is of course referring to what seems like the imminent sale of Novell (not necessarily to a hedge fund). We have covered the subject in:

  1. Novell May be Going Private, Hedge Fund Has Cash
  2. Analyst Expects Microsoft Bid to Buy Novell
  3. Ron Hovsepian Receives Another Large Lump of Cash as Novell Sale Looms
  4. GNU/Linux-Savvy Writers View Elliot Associates as Bad Neighbourhood
  5. Firm Behind Novell Bid Has Shady Past, Could be Tied to Microsoft (Paul E. Singer’s ‘Vulture Fund’)

There is an interesting new article in The Guardian, which speaks about proposed banning of “vulture funds”, such as the hedge fund which made an unsolicited bid to take over Novell (and also bought debt in developing countries in order to enslave and profit from them).

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is urging MPs to back a bill banning vulture funds from using British courts to prey on poor countries when it comes to a vote on Friday .

Liberia lost a $20m (£13m) case in London last year against two so-called vultures. Such funds buy up the loans of poor governments, wait for them to win debt relief from the international community, and then use courts to pursue the countries for assets.

Sirleaf said: “We’ve been waiting for a parliament or an assembly to take this kind of hard decision. I hope the US Congress and maybe some others in Europe will pick up this gauntlet and will follow the example of Britain.”

An investigation for BBC’s Newsnight, to be broadcast tonight, has uncovered allegations that speculators subverted the international debt relief process for Liberia, in an attempt to gain more money from its government and international donors than 97% of its other creditors accepted.

Liberia received debt relief worth $4bn from the international community in 2007 under the heavily indebted poor countries initiative, including $2bn from private-sector bondholders. Insiders to negotiations allege that two US financiers, Eric Hermann and Michael Straus, allowed other creditors to accept a low payout from Liberia, then quietly transferred their holdings to two other firms, which then sued in Britain for the debt in full.

Here is a good video that explains how it works (previously included here).


Links 4/3/2010: Korea’s “Red Star” (“붉은별”), New OOo Logo

Posted in News Roundup at 9:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • New York Linux Users Group

    For a little over a year now I’ve been attending events and gatherings of the New York Linux Users Group (NYLUG). It’s been an interesting experience, and I’d like to share briefly a little about it.

  • Desktop

    • Oh Linux, how shall I count thy installs?

      So the question here is. If marketing and research companies want accurate statistics (assuming they do) then how can they count the real number of Linux installations? Quite simply they can’t. This means that 93.4% of the statistics recorded only show less than 9.8% of the true number of Linux installations (where did those numbers come from I wonder :) .

    • The Zero Dollar Laptop

      The Zero Dollar Laptop is a recycled computer, running Free Open Source Software (FOSS) that is fast and effective- now and long into the future.

      Clients of St Mungo’s charity for homeless people are recycling hardware, breaking Windows and installing FOSS to build fully customised media laptops and to create music, graphics and video for distribution over the Internet.

  • Kernel Space

    • 2.6.32.9 Release notes

      Stable kernel update announcements posted on LWN have a certain tendency to be followed by complaints about the amount of information which is made available. It seems that there is a desire for a description of the changes which is more accessible than the patches themselves, and for attention to be drawn to the security-relevant fixes. As an exercise in determining what kind of effort is being asked of the kernel maintainers, your editor decided to make a pass through the proposed 2.6.32.9 update and attempt to describe the impact of each of the changes – all 93 of them. The results can be found below.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • My search for the best KDE Linux distribution

      As some of you already know, I am a big fan of the KDE desktop environment (or KDE Workspaces or whatever they’re calling it these days). In my search to reach Linux KDE perfection I have tested out a number of different distributions. First there was Fedora, which I happily ran throughout the length of the experiment. Once that was finished I attempted to install and try both Kubuntu and openSUSE. Unfortunately I was unable to do so after openSUSE decided not to play nice. However my search did not stop there, and once the community edition was ready I jumped over to Linux Mint KDE CE. Finally I decided to once again try openSUSE, this time installing from a USB drive. This somehow resolved all of my installation issues.

    • KDE 4.4.1

      Just updated my laptop at work to kde 4.4.1… and I have to say, that was refreshingly painless.

    • KDE in North Korea

      I just saw an article about North Korean Linux distro, named “붉은별” from Russian blog. Although I don’t know anything about distro’s base, who developed and translated, who packaged, etc. The interesting part is that this distribution is using KDE, release 3.x. Also it is translated in “North” Korean standard, which is different from “South” Korean standard, especially in technological terms. North uses loanwords from Russian language, while South uses them from English. North try to keep pure Korean terms, South widely adopted foreign loanwords. As of linguistic and real world, maybe also political difference(south and north can’t communicate), we can’t mix and match the translation.

    • Report: North Korea Develops Own Linux Distribution

      North Korea has reportedly developed its own version of the Linux operating with a graphical user interface that closely resembles Microsoft Windows.

      A copy of the North Korean Linux distribution, called Red Star, was purchased in Pyongyang for US$5 by a Russian student named Mikhail, who then posted a brief review of it on his blog using the Russian embassy’s Internet connection, according to the English-language Web site of Russia Today, a Russian television news channel.

    • N. Korea develops own OS

      North Korea’s self-developed software operating system named the “Red Star” was brought to light for the first time by a Russian satellite broadcaster yesterday.

  • Distributions

    • The Three Giants of Linux

      The Linux ecosystem is a complex entity. On one hand everyone gets along and benefits from work done by others, while on the other there’s often animosity and conflict between distributions and their communities (remember when Ubuntu came along?).

      People often complain that there is simply too much choice in the Linux world and that we’d all be better off if there was just one, or two. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

    • The perfect linux distribution(for the desktop)

      I recently read a slashdot entry about Why Linux is not yet ready(there has been tons of those i know) and reading the comments i saw a lot of people arguing about different stuff, for example guys comparing the desktop and the server as if they were the same OS, in practicality is not, there are Linux distros for the server and power users and there are distros aimed at the Desktop.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHCS: an Introduction

        RHCS offers a well thought out framework for managing a cluster, especially when it comes to service failover. Using RHCS makes securing your mission-critical systems easy, and makes them highly available with standard hardware.

        The R in RHCS implies that this method only runs on RHEL machines – but this is not the case, as we will demonstrate in one of our upcoming articles.

      • Red Hat announces 2010 innovation awards

        Red Hat Linux has announced that its annual innovations awards will be presented at the company’s 2010 summit and JBoss World conference which will be jointly held in Boston from June 22 to 25.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04: Canonical Makes ISV Push

        And so it begins. As Canonical puts the finishing touches on Ubuntu 10.04 — a long term support (LTS) release — the company also is reaching out to potential Linux server and desktop software partners. In fact, Canonical says there are at least 10 reasons why ISVs should embrace Ubuntu Desktop Edition, and nine reasons why developers should embrace Ubuntu Server Edition. Will partners embrace Canonical’s Ubuntu pitch? Here are some thoughts.

        First, a little background. Canonical views Ubuntu 10.04 (code named Lucid Lynx) a prime opportunity for application developers to build long-term business and customer relationships on Ubuntu Linux.

      • Ubuntu One Music Store vs Amazon

        I have to say I have been very under excited by the news of the Ubuntu One Music store – Im not convinced we need another music store unless they are going to give us something that other stores dont – like flac support or something.

        Ive just been reading Popeys blog about how to use the Ubuntu One Music Store and I have to say, unless Im missing something – what a massive FAF!

      • Canonical betas Ubuntu music store

        According to an Ubuntu wiki FAQ, the Ubuntu One Music Store will offer DRM-free and watermark-free MP3s provided by the London-based online music outfit 7digital. The store will integrate with the existing Ubuntu RhythmBox music player, and at some point, it will also be available as a plug-in for Banshee, Amarok, and “a few other” third-party applications.

      • Ubuntu Desktop in the Cloud

        For the past few releases, Canonical has put quite a bit of energy into making Ubuntu a first-class OS for use in the cloud. Ubuntu now has cloud support for Amazon’s EC2 and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (a “private cloud” system based on Eucalyptus). This means that it’s easy to spin up Ubuntu instances on EC2 or to make your own private cloud with Ubuntu … where you can spin up more instances of Ubuntu … there’s a lot of “cloud” going on here!

      • Getting Ready for Ubuntu One Music Store Beta
      • Bye Bye Brown

        The new style of Ubuntu is driven by the theme “Light”. We’ve developed a comprehensive set of visual guidelines and treatments that reflect that style, and are updating key assets like the logo accordingly. The new theme takes effect in 10.04 LTS and will define our look and feel for several years.

      • Refreshing The Ubuntu Brand

        The new style of Ubuntu is driven by the theme “Light”. We’ve developed a comprehensive set of visual guidelines and treatments that reflect that style, and are updating key assets like the logo accordingly. The new theme takes effect in 10.04 LTS and will define our look and feel for several years.

        Ubuntu has seen a tremendous amount of growth and change since it was conceived in 2004. Back then it was a small project with strong ambitions and a handful of developers passionate about delivering a world class Linux Operating System that can compete on every level with Microsoft and Apple. We adopted a style based on the tagline “Linux for Human Beings”, and called it “Human”. Six years on we have made incredible progress. Ubuntu is a global phenomenon: we have carved out a pervasive culture of quality and design, thoughtful usability and great technology all fused together in a project that maintains the same commitment to community and collaborative development that we embraced back in 2004.

      • New Ubuntu Theme(s), Boot Splash, Logo Revealed (And More!)
      • Ubuntu Gets a New Look: What a Mess
      • Ubuntu’s New Look, a Pale Imitation of Mac OS X?
      • The Ubuntu One Music Store is Over-Engineered and Will Fail
      • Variants

        • Lubuntu Gets a New Look

          Finally, the Lubuntu developers have created a special interface for netbooks. I haven’t had much time to explore it yet, but hope to do so soon. Briefly, though, here’s what it looks like:

        • My New Linux Laptop

          Then, Linux Mint caught my eye. Linux Mint 8 KDE Community Edition, to be precise. Just released, with a 2.6.31 kernel, and KDE 4.3.4. I downloaded the iso, and gave it a spin. It recognized all my hardware, including the Atheros wifi card. A very nice implementation of KDE 4.3.4. I played with it for a couple of hours, and decided to take the plunge.

          Installation was as smooth and easy as it should be. Select the entire windows partition, wipe it clean, and divide it up for Linux. Answer a few simple questions, and very shortly thereafter, it was telling me to remove the DVD and reboot. I spent a little time putting up the plasma widgets I like, and in little over half an hour I had my desktop installed and looking like I wanted. Mint KDE is a very usable system, easy to use (if you like KDE4, like I do), and beautiful to look at. I turned on a bunch of eye candy I don’t usually, just because I could, and the system hardly noticed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Freescale chip built to power sub-$99 e-readers

      Feeding the e-book craze, a new hardware controller chip from Freescale aims to lower the cost of e-readers below the magic $98 price point while extending battery life to weeks.

    • ARM9-based Android tablets to sell for under $200

      Archos announced two low-cost, WiFi-enabled tablets that run Android on a 600MHz ARM9 processor. The Archos 7 Home Tablet offers a seven-inch touchscreen and is designed for mobile use, while the eight-inch Archos 8 Home Tablet is designed for fixed kitchen-computer and digital picture frame (DPF) duties, says the company.

    • Linux-ready ARM SoCs target diverse markets

      STMicroelectronics says it is now shipping four Linux-ready SoCs (system on chips), based on similar ARM926EJ-S cores but targeting different market segments. The SPEAr300, 310, 320, and 600 have single or dual cores, run at up to 400MHz, and sell for as little as $7 in production quantities, the company says.

    • Android comes to landline phones

      At CeBIT this week, Motorola demonstrated an Android-based “HS1001″ cordless IP phone manufactured by Binatone and built around the DSP Group’s DECT-compatible XpandR chipset. Meanwhile, DSP Group showed its own Android-based IP phone reference design based on the XpandR II chipset.

      For much of the last decade, Linux-based landline-based IP phones made regular appearances on LinuxDevices, but with the rise of mobile phones, such announcements have become fewer and farther between. The few IP phones we’ve covered recently are typically multimedia tablet/kitchen-computer designs, such as the already defunct, Linux-based Verizon Hub, built by OpenPeak, OpenPeak’s Linux-based OpenFrame IP phone, or the Android-based Glass reference platform from Cloud Telecomputers. Typically, in these designs, IP telephony is just one feature among many other multimedia and Web browsing capabilities.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Disney Offers Ptex on New Open-Source Site

    “Ptex from Disney Animation is one of those premiere technologies that can only reach its full potential by releasing it as open source,” said Andy Hendrickson, chief technology officer. “It is a revolutionary idea, and though some would characterize it as a Disney competitive advantage, it has more value to the corporation as an industry standard in solving the time-consuming computer graphics problem of assigning textures to geometry. Setting a new standard is best accomplished by giving technology away for free.”

  • Open source, priceless resource

    I was told once about someone called a “cyber hippie.” They dual boot with Linux and Mac OSX or Windows. They use open source browsers, instant messengers and office suites. They write their own code. They essentially live on Slashdot in lieu of professional news sites. The sinking realization that this idea may be true brought a certain horror to my thoughts, as I have a generally low opinion of anyone who claims to be a “hippie,” probably from too much South Park during my formative years.

    It created an interesting dichotomy in my mind: Are the users of open source software the hippies of the Internet underworld and the users of closed-source software (MacOS, Windows) the conservatives?

    [...]

    We’ve ended up with a lot of great things from open source development in forms of freeware clones: Pidgin Instant Messenger, Cinelerra (video editing software), the Ogg Vorbis media format for audio and video, OpenOffice.org and, of course, Mozilla Firefox.

  • Get started with Blender

    You can’t learn Blender overnight, unfortunately, even if you only need to use a sub-set of its tools, such as producing static 3-D images. But that’s because, for most people, thinking in three dimensions is hard, and drawing in three dimensions (on a two-dimensional screen) is even harder. All of the techniques Blender offers to build 3-D models — meshes, skins, NURBs, extrusion — are just shortcuts to help you get from the design you can picture in your head to a concrete, well-defined model inside the computer. They take some getting used to, and more than that, they take practice. But there’s no reason to feel intimidated by them.

  • Five Open Source Feed Readers to Keep You Organized

    If you’re like most Internet-connected people these days, the amount of information you take in from your favorite news sites, tech blogs, and the like is just staggering. The only way to stay on top of everything is with a solid feed reader to help aggregate everything you want to read. Of course, many folks rely on Google Reader to get the job done but if you’re looking for an open source option, here are five of our favorites.

  • Murphy’s Law: This Too Shall Not Pass

    Open source might not be about the money, but the financial interests (and stubbornness) of prevailing content providers have led to the creation of a draconian system for content distribution. This shouldn’t be news to you. What is baffling, however, is that companies are simply unwilling to see the tangible benefits of community-driven development for their assets–a concept that has proven out time and time again in open systems of all kinds. And if they aren’t busy sticking it to themselves, the system too greatly rewards their ill attempts at poisoning others’ livelihoods with their copyright-preservation anxieties.

  • NICTA offers free elefant

    The research organisation has built the system under the Mozilla Public License and hopes some of the 3700 downloads will result in feedback about the software.

  • OSQA.net – Every Question About Open Source Answered

    OSQA is a specialized questions and answers website. It deals with Open Source and its every ramification. The site is absolutely free to join, and it can be entirely used at no cost too.

  • View From The Top: Rivet Logic

    Over the past few years, enterprise-grade, commercially-supported open source content management and portal software has seen an increase in adoption by major enterprises worldwide. As these open source platforms have matured over the years, organizations are beginning to realize the benefits that can be gained, and the demand continues to grow as more organizations are working to achieve an Enterprise 2.0 environment in a cost effective manner.

  • Open source network monitoring tools

    As virtualized infrastructure and cloud computing force businesses to reevaluate the broader issue of acceptable network service levels, open source network monitoring tools are attracting heightened interest.

    Both network administrators and open source advocates say the flexibility these tools promise at a relatively reasonable cost has made them a viable alternative to software offered by some of the largest enterprise technology companies.

  • NexentaStor Adds Primary Deduplication

    Nexenta Systems is updating its NexentaStor open-source storage software with in-line deduplication, which increases the amount of data that can be stored on a server by storing it more efficiently, and support for three popular hypervisors.

  • Technology spending can be saved by ‘open source data integration software’

    Mr Mero said: “Open source data integration software allows you to integrate a company’s legacy system with other applications, enabling businesses coming out of the recession to benefit from efficient and cost effective upgrades as well as greater flexibility to develop data management techniques.”

  • Disaster

  • Events

    • OSBC 2010
    • FOSS4G 2010 Workshops ready for inscriptions

      The Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) is a conference for Open Source Geospatial Software. It will be presented at Barcelona (Spain), from 6th to 9th September 2010 and is an opportunity to unite behind the many successful geospatial products, standards and protocols.

    • CeBIT

      • CeBIT 2010 Prevue: Sparks, Smouldering

        Open Source has an enormous following in the EU, and there’s not only an Open Source Pavilion, but it’s not just a gathering of 10×10 booths with geek-speakers– far more interesting than that.

      • CeBIT 2010: IPFire open source firewall

        The H spoke with IPFire’s Project Leader and Developer Michael Tremer at this year’s CeBIT IT trade show in Hannover, Germany about his open source firewall. IPFire is a Linux distribution that can be booted from a CD or USB drive, or installed to a computer’s hard disk drive.

      • CeBIT 2010: German police to use open source Navit navigation

        According to Martin Schaller, the Navit Project Leader, the German district of Brandenburg is trialling the Navit car navigation system for its Police System. Schaller spoke to The H at CeBIT 2010 about the trial. Navit is an open source, cross-platform car navigation suite that includes a built-in routing engine. Schaller says that, while the system is still considered to be in development, the district will be testing Navit this month with at least three of its cars.

  • Asia

    • First open-source company starts operation

      The Vietnam Open Source Development Joint Stock Company (VINADES., JSC), the first firm operating in the field of open source in the country, made its debut on February 25.

    • Facebook becoming more active for Open Source

      Future of Web Apps (FOWA) event saw major companies like Facebook participating. But what was surprising to see was that Facebook focused a lot on open source this year. Facebook recently hired David Recordon to be more active at the open source side of the business. Recordon, who spearheaded the launch of the Open Web Foundation, is Facebook’s first really prominent open-source guru, and when it comes to Facebook’s marketing pitches, the open-source guys have taken a little more coaxing than the iPhone developers or widget-builders, reports Caroline McCarthy of CNET.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browser Grand Prix: The Top Five, Tested And Ranked
    • ‘Select your browser’ – which browser to choose in Microsoft’s browser ballot?
    • Tech Weekly: Opera on the browser ballot, and open source offices
    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla issues new Firefox test release

        The software is based on version 1.9.3 of the Gecko browser engine that underlies Firefox. The current Firefox 3.6, and an update called Lorentz, are based on 1.9.2.

        The headline feature of the new preview release is the same for Lorentz, though: out-of-process plug-ins, which means that Adobe Systems Flash Player and the like run in a separate memory compartment to protect the browser overall when they crash. Mozilla hopes people will see how well it works on an OOPP testing page.

      • Researchers Develop 3D Graphics Capability for Firefox

        A group of researchers plans to release a version of the Firefox browser that includes the built-in ability to view 3D graphics, a capability that could open the door for more interactive Web pages from developers.

        Some gaming companies have created plug-ins that allow 3D graphics to be viewed, but the latest method does not require one, which potentially would allow the capability to be used by more people, said Philipp Slusallek, a professor at Saarland University, at the Cebit trade show on Wednesday.

      • Chris Blizzard: Life in the Browser

        Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, speaks with Chris Blizzard, director of Developer Relations at Mozilla.

      • UK Government Gives Green Light To Use Of Firefox Across Public Sector

        In the light of the recent phishing attack that compromised Twitter accounts of several prominent politicians, the UK government has announced that all its departments will have the freedom to opt for other web browsers as there is no rule about only using the Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.

      • Government departments allowed to use Firefox

        The government has said its departments are free to consider any browser, and should consider open-source software including Firefox.

        According to a parliamentary written answer from Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith, there is no rule that says government departments must use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, even though it is the browser most widely used within Whitehall.

      • A Public Funded “Microsoft Shop?”

        “I work at a public hospital in the computer / technical department and (amongst others) was recently outraged by an email that was sent around our department: ‘(XXXX) District Health Board — Information Services is strategically a Microsoft shop and when talking to staff / customers we are to support this strategy. I no longer want to see comments promoting other Operating Systems.’ We have also been told to remove Firefox found on anyone’s computer unless they have specific authorisation from management to have it installed under special circumstances. Now, I could somewhat understand this if I was working in a company that sold and promoted the use of Microsoft software for financial gain, but I work in the publicly / government funded health system. Several of the IT big-wigs at the DHB are seemingly blindly pro-Microsoft and seem all too quick to shrug off other, perhaps more efficient alternatives. As a taxpayer, I want nothing more than to see our health systems improve and run more efficiently. I am not foolish enough to say all our problems would be solved overnight by changing away from Microsoft’s infrastructure, but I am convinced that if we took less than half the money we spend on licensing Microsoft’s software alone and invested that in training users for an open source system, we would be far better off in the long run. I would very much like to hear Slashdot’s ideas / opinions on this ‘Strategic Direction’ and the silencing of our technical opinions.”

      • Mozilla orders Jäger shot for Firefox engine
  • Documents

    • A Brand Refresh for OpenOffice.org

      During the last 10 years OpenOffice.org™ has evolved to a quite large project in the FLOSS world and a successful product in the office productivity suite market. Together with our product the OpenOffice.org brand spread over the world. This brand has a tradition of quality and it remains faithful to its origins. Instead of a complete new design we started a refresh. It points out the key components and improves the overall impression to gain even more strength and confidence.

    • Supporting Document Freedom Day

      The details for Document Freedom Day 2010 have been announced – it’s on March 31st and there will be events all over the world. This should be a year of celebration as well as campaigning, as we have made enormous strides in promoting liberty.

    • Working with Graphics Text in OpenOffice.org
  • Health

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL Agenda 2010

      2010 will see PostgreSQL release its first major new version for a long time: version 9.0. The release of version 9.0 is an important milestone in the evolution of PostgreSQL. Integral to this release are new features such as the operation of standby servers in read-only mode (hot standby) and an integrated replication solution.

    • What now for MySQL?

      Some of the biggest names on the web use MySQL, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Google and Twitter as well as other technology giants such as Dell and Cisco. Steve Shine from Ingres was also keen to play up the company’s influence in the banking sector and other mission critical applications. “We have major banks in our installed customer base and about 25% of all financial transactions go through an open source platform. One customer uses Ingres for flight and maintenance scheduling,” he says.

  • CMS/ECM

    • Open source ECM platforms bring mobility to market

      Zia Consulting extends and supports ECM applications and has frequently used Alfresco, an open source ECM product, for client applications. The company keeps its own content in an Alfresco repository as well, and wanted to be able to connect to it via smartphones. “We use an Alfresco solution that’s in the cloud, which is very convenient,” says Mike Mahon, president of Zia Consulting, “but we did not want to rely solely on laptops for connectivity when we were on the road. In addition, we wanted to give something back to the Alfresco community. So we decided to develop an app, Fresh Docs for Alfresco, for mobile platforms so that users could access content in Alfresco repositories.”

    • Alfresco and VDEL GmbH Partner to Deliver Open Source ECM Solutions to Eastern Europe, Russia, and CIS

      Alfresco is the leading open source alternative for ECM.

    • Drupal Founder Critical of SaaS and its Proprietary Nature

      Drupal’s founder is calling for open source in the enterprise and in the cloud. This should be no surprise, coming from someone like Dries Buytaert. But it is still interesting, considering the source and the point he makes about the actual lack of open source in cloud computing.

      [...]

      Dries:

      “….they might allow you to export your data, but they usually don’t allow you to export their underlying code. While a lot of these services might be built on Open Source components, they have a lot more in common with proprietary software vendors than Open Source projects or companies.”

      It’s in Dries view that this model can be disrupted by open source. For example, he says, the Drupal Gardens community improves the overall platform by contributing to it. The goal, as Dries says, is for people to export their Drupal Garden site in their entirety ” the code, the theme and data — and move the platform to any Drupal hosting environment.”

    • Is SaaS a friend or foe of open source?

      Even where SaaS companies let customers take back their data, they often don’t let them take the code underlying it, he wrote in a blog post. Data without software is useless.

    • Cloud and open source delivers the goods for publishing services provider

      A Melbourne-based publishing services company is using open source and honest-to-goodness cloud computing for a custom, core business application.

  • Business

    • Calling All SMEs Who Need Help Understanding Their Business Assets

      Open source software is now much more widely available than ever before, and many of the tools are robust and reliable. Names such as Apache, Protégé and Linux are well known and respected in the industry. There are, however, a couple of points to be aware of before going down the open source route.

      Firstly, open source does not necessarily mean free of charge. Open source means that you are free to use the software and change and redistribute the source code under certain license conditions. So, to coin a phrase often used by the open source community, open source software is free as in speech, not as in beer! However, many open source software packages are also free of charge, but it is worth checking this as some require a fee and some only provide a basic version free of charge, with useful add-ons requiring a fee.

    • The perfect open-source task scheduler

      This last point is where you see the real problem with a cron-based solution. Cron and Task Scheduler were only designed to run regular housekeeping tasks on a single machine, but when you’re providing a service from a collection of machines then every single machine is a single point of failure.

    • Intel and Yahoo! spawn open-source ‘Tashi’ cluster

      Backed by Yahoo!, HP, and Intel, the computer science mavens at Carnegie Mellon University have added a new compute cluster to the worldwide Open Cirrus test bed, a collection of clusters designed to explorer the frontiers of interwebs-scale distributed computing.

  • BSD

    • BSD Magazine (2010-03) available: BSD as a desktop (free)

      Experienced users or administrators responsible for several machines or environments, know the difficult demands and challenges of maintaining such an infrastructure. The article outlines the steps involved in creating an internal FreeBSD Update Server.

    • BSD Mag
  • Licensing

    • A Big, Linuxy ‘Thank You’ to Matthew Katzer

      Matthew Katzer probably didn’t realize that he’d be doing FOSS a favor when he appropriated Robert Jacobsen’s model railroad interface code without attribution. After years of litigation, Katzer agreed to pay $100,000 to settle the case, establishing that free software has actual monetary value.

  • Openness

    • Open-source hardware takes baby steps toward the gadget mainstream

      While there are numerous open-source computer and electronics components available today, only a handful of complete tech gadgets are being developed under an open-source philosophy. However, what exactly defines a hardware project as being open source remains … well, open.

    • Open Source Energy Savings

      Now, following the path of so many other open source projects, companies including Red Hat and Cycle Computing are transforming Condor into a product. Condor allows large numbers of computers, whether servers, desktops or engineering workstations, to be used as a massive high-performance or high-throughput computing facility.

      “Condor enables open and cost-effective high throughput computing to environments scaling up to 30,000 processors,” says Jason Stowe, CEO of Cycle Computing, which offers support and management tools for Condor.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Terror Begins at Home

      Fearmongering politicians are scoring cheap political points at the expense of the American people.

  • Environment

    • Number of bugs in Britain’s soil rises by nearly 50% in 10 years

      Unnoticed by the people of Britain, a transformation has been happening beneath our feet. In the first study of its kind, scientists have analysed the soil the country depends on.

      In just the top 8cm (3in) of dirt, soil scientists estimate there are 12.8 quadrillion (12,800 million million) living organisms, weighing 10m tonnes, and, incredibly, that the number of these invertebrates – some just a hair’s breadth across – which in effect make the soil has increased by nearly 50% in a decade. At the same time, however, the diversity of life in the earth appears to have reduced.

    • Yemen threatens to chew itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat plant

      Most experts predict Sana’a, the fastest-growing capital in the world at 7% a year, will run out of economically viable water supplies by 2017. That is the same year the World Bank says Yemen will cease earning income from its oil, which currently accounts for three-quarters of the state’s revenues.

  • Finance

    • Citi Warns of Withdrawal Gate

      Seen on a recent Citibank (C) statement: “Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”

    • JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Says Buy Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)

      Basing their recommendation on government support being removed from some types of deposits, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) says investors should look at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) options because they should do better than their weaker competitors as a result.

    • Opinion: Former JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) Partner Malcom Calvert Battling Insider Trading Charges

      The battle by Malcolm Calvert over charges he was involved with insider trading at the Cazenove unit of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) continues in London, as his lawyer communicated to a jury in London that there wasn’t any evidence concerning Calvert partaking in insider trading.

    • JPMorgan continues to bite the hand that feeds it

      For the biggest banks, 2009 was a year of humility. In the U.S., top executives and millionaire traders were denounced by the Obama administration, Congress and the media for refusing to give up their bonuses.

    • Striking Greeks fight back against austerity plan

      Tens of thousands of striking Greek workers took to the streets today, some throwing stones at police, in a defiant show of protest against austerity measures aimed at averting the debt-plagued country’s economic collapse.

      Riot police responded with teargas when, in sporadic bursts, masked youths charged them in Athens city centre. The violence coincided with a general strike that shut down public services and closed off Greece to the outside world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DMCA Amendment Proposed For UK

      “During today’s debate in the UK’s House of Lords on the much-criticized Digital Economy Bill, the unpopular Clause 17 (which would have allowed the government to alter copyright law much more easily than it currently can) was voted out in favor of a DMCA-style take-down system for websites and ISPs. The new amendment known as 120A sets up a system whereby a copyright owner could force an ISP to block certain websites who allegedly host or link to infringing material or face being taken before the High Court and made to pay the copyright owner’s legal fees. This amendment was tabled by the Liberal Democrat party, which had so far been seen as the defenders of the internet and with the Conservative party supporting them. The UK’s Pirate Party and Open Rights Group have both strongly criticized this new amendment.”

    • Audiobook DRM versus the patrons of the Cleveland Library

      This installment of the Brads webcomic shows the 22 steps a reader has to take in order to borrow a DRM-crippled audiobook from the public library. A compelling argument for libraries to boycott this stuff.

    • The Brads – Why DRM Doesn’t Work
    • Confirmed: Lib Dems and Conservatives force web blocking into the Digital Economy Bill

      Despite firm warnings from ourselves, Consumer Focus and others, Liberal Democrat and Tory peers Lord Clement Jones and Howard pushed through an amendment allowing the courts to order web blocking for ‘substantially infringing’ websites.

    • The UK’s DMCA; Clause 17 falls, but at what cost?

      During another intense session in the House of Lords this afternoon a vote was finally held on the controversial Clause 17 of the UK’s Digital Economy Bill. This clause would have allowed the Secretary of State to amend the UK’s copyright law with a lot less oversight from parliament than usual. The government did not hide the fact that this provision would be used to clamp down on unlicensed file-sharers in various ways as the industry demanded. However, there was a bright side; the clause would have permitted Lord Mandelson (or more likely his successor) to do as he promised back in October and relax the UK’s copyright law by bringing in the ‘fair use’ exemptions it so desperately needs.

    • Brits: tell the LibDem Peers not to bring web-censorship to Britain!
  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • JASRAC wants to charge YOU for tweeting song lyrics!

      In a completely boneheaded move, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) announced that they want to set up a system to charge people who tweet any part of song lyric.

      As reported (in the Japanese language) on J-cast news, they haven’t decided on the details yet, but JASRAC insists it’s the law and everyone has to obey with their decree.

    • Movie rental kiosks hit with legal threats

      A Southern Indiana prosecutor has threatened criminal charges unless stores with DVD rental kiosks remove R-rated movies and other material considered harmful to children.

    • Dear Macmillan, You Don’t Embrace The New By Trying To Protect The Old

      One of the reasons why economic forces work the way that they do, and the reason why infinite goods with zero marginal cost get pushed in price towards zero, is that buyers implicitly understand the difference between scarce goods and abundant goods. They implicitly recognize the marginal cost of making another good, and they mentally price products accordingly. Pretending that consumers don’t do that is assuming that consumers are stupid. And that’s an even bigger mistake than looking backwards instead of forward.

    • RealNetworks Agrees To Pay $4.5 Million In Legal Fees To Hollywood Over RealDVD; Gives Up

      So what did Hollywood accomplish here? It shut down a software product that allows people to backup the DVDs they legally own — not to distribute them. In the meantime, of course, there are a bunch of DVD ripping programs out there that have no such restrictions. In other words, Hollywood’s brilliant legal strategists just pushed anyone who wants to back up their movies to use solutions that make it easier for them to share those movies with others.

    • ACTA

      • Danish Politicians Questioning Why Denmark Is So Against ACTA Transparency

        One of the really amazing things in witnessing the reactions among various politicians to the ACTA negotiations is realizing how out of the loop they are as well. They’re often just as angry that things are being done in the name of their country that they have no visibility into. Of course, this adds to the impression that this whole process is not about figuring out what’s best for the people of each country, but an end run around the democratic lawmaking process, pushed mainly by big industries (led by the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries).

      • The ACTA Transparency Scorecard
      • By Its Fruit

        When the time comes, the apologists for ACTA will then be able to claim that it is not a wave of new legislation designed to shore up the business models of 20th century corporations at the expense of 21st century innovation and third-world needs. Instead they will claim ACTA merely “harmonises existing law globally”.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Seiya Maeda, open source service provider, Japan 01 (2004)


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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 4th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

GNU/Linux-Savvy Writers View Elliot Associates as Bad Neighbourhood

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vulture

Summary: People who care about GNU/Linux at Novell are not exactly overlooking the reality of Singer’s “vulture fund”

WE have found some analyses that seem to agree with what we wrote earlier today about the bid for Novell [1, 2, 3]. Here is a prominent OpenSUSE user calling Elliott a “Vulture Fund” over in IDG:

The stock market reaction to the offer was predictable: Novell’s stock surged 27 percent right after the news broke, and it should stay strong for a while until the market figures out if this is a Good Thing.

The Linux community hasn’t raised a big fuss, though I suspect they’re still absorbing the news. I know I am, for my part. In particular, I am wondering what will happen to Novell if they accept this unsolicited bid?

Here is what SJVN wrote in IDG:

Some people in the know, like Canonical’s COO Matt Asay think this deal could work for SUSE. In his view, Elliot would do well to sell off Novell’s Linux division.

I wish I could agree with him, but I looked at Elliot Associates’ past history of taking “an activist approach to investing, frequently amassing significant but minority stakes in distressed or under performing companies and attempting to foment change,” and I don’t like what I see.

Elliot Associates is best known as a ‘vulture fund.’ They don’t make investments to turn companies around. They make investments to crush the cash out of them and then leave the picked over bones for someone else to pick up.

Andy Updegrove, a lawyer, calls it a “Game of Cat and Mouse”.

I haven’t seen any article yet, though, that describes in detail how the high stakes game of tender offers is played, and how the usual process maps (and doesn’t) to a high tech company like Novell. So I thought I’d provide an overview for those that haven’t had occasion to follow a tender offer in the past, and also my thoughts on what may happen over the next several months in this particular game of cat and mouse.

So here goes.

The tender offer game: First up, let’s talk about how the standard drama plays out. It starts with the acquiror trying to pick up as much stock as possible on the sly before it comes out of the closet. That’s because once word gets out that the company (referred to as the “target”) is “in play,” the stock will go up. So the acquiror wants to build as big as stake as possible at the cheapest price it can.

But the securities regulators have long realized that this presents two problems: first, the sellers will feel cheated if they later find out they sold at a steep discount to what others get a short while later, and second, the acquiror will vote all the shares it picks up in favor of the acquisition. So the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires any company that acquires more than 5% of the stock in a public company to make a public filing disclosing that ownership and its intentions.

That filing is made on form 14D, and it must be regularly updated as the acquiror’s ownership percentage changes, and as its intentions change. When an acquiror files a 14D, it could affirmatively state that it has no intentions of making a tender offer. Depending on the acquiror, that statement might be credible, or it might be viewed with suspicion. But if it affirmatively states that it intends to make a tender offer, or is keeping its options open, then the word spreads – fast.

Novell’s stock may be rising (the valuation of Novell’s assets is discussed at IDG), but that’s not the point. As Chips B. Malroy explains, “If Singer acquires Novell for 1.8 billion, the causal bid, and Novell has 991 million is cash, Singer is only paying 809 million actually. Singer has lowballed the bid, in hope another company will come in and bid more, so that drives up the price of the 8.5% that Elliot already has, profit, short term, mission accomplished. But if that doesn’t happen, and Novell will surely reject the bid, wait for some minor setback in the SCO case, or the next quarterly results from Novell, something bad, and then, true to form, Elliot will reoffer at a lower bid. That is Singer’s modus operandi. By doing this, he causes the stock to tank, so he can buy more cheaply.”

“Singer has lowballed the bid, in hope another company will come in and bid more, so that drives up the price of the 8.5% that Elliot already has, profit, short term, mission accomplished.”
      –Chips B. Malroy
We have already learned that lesson from Carl Icahn. Malroy comments further on “what Singer will do to Novell, should [he] buy it. He will get rid of almost all top management, and most of middle management. Stop all R&R mostly. Stop and or sell any parts of the company not profitable (and transfer the 991 million to Elliot first).”

Perhaps the only positive side is that Mono junk like Banshee can suffer from a takeover of Novell. As we pointed out last week, Novell no longer contributes much to Linux anyway.

On Microsoft’s Latest Linux Extortion in Japan and Apple’s Linux Extortion in China

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 3:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laos Vientiane Temple

Summary: Microsoft to be paid for Linux-powered products from I-O Data and Apple wants ‘Linux tax’ (from Android) too

SOFTWARE PATENTS are not illegal in Japan (it’s one of the very few countries that accept them rather than except them), but Microsoft continues to refuse to tell what makes its racketeering justified (see the Amazon deal for example [1, 2, 3, 4]).

Sanyo, which is based in Japan, is one of the companies that fell for exFAT, but what patents does I-O Data think that it’s paying Microsoft for? It will not tell. And so Microsoft’s extortion carries on:

This time it says “Linux” in the title of the press release from Microsoft. They get more and more aggressive all the time, deal after deal.

REDMOND, Wash. and KANAZAWA, Japan, March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Microsoft Corp. and I-O Data Device Inc. have entered into an agreement that will provide I-O Data’s customers with patent coverage for their use of I-O Data’s products running Linux and other related open source software.

Here is the coverage so far:

I-O Data takes up Microsoft patent license

Microsoft In Linux Software Patent Deal

Redmond-based Microsoft Corp. said late Wednesday that it is in a deal with Japanese firm I-O Data Device Inc., where it will provide I-O Data’s customers patent coverage for their use of I-O Data’s products running Linux and other open source software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, the firms said that I-O Data is compensating Microsoft for the IP coverage. Microsoft has been inking a number of deals with companies–many of them network attached storage providers like I-O Data–over possible patent violations in Linux.

Microsoft Provides Patent Coverage for Linux-Based Devices from I-O Data

Microsoft embraces another Linux company

Microsoft, I-O Data in patent deal

Microsoft licenses Linux software to Japanese firm

Microsoft’s Linux Patent Scare Trumps SCO

Just this week, Microsoft convinced Japanese hardware vendor I-O Data to sign up for Microsoft patent licensing to protect against Linux patent issues. Over the last three years Microsoft has been successful at getting multiple vendors including Amazon, Novell, Brother International Corp, Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd, Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and TomTom International BV to buy into their argument that they need protection from Linux patent infringement.

SCO was never that successful.

Time and again, people in the open source community have asked that Microsoft lay their patents on the table so that Linux vendors could deal with Microsoft’s concerns. To date Microsoft has not done so.

So why has Microsoft succeeded where SCO failed when it comes to Linux patents?

Microsoft and I-O Data Sign Linux Patent Deal

This is similar to the deal with Melco, which Microsoft reportedly sued in order to extort.

Microsoft seeks to normalise unthinkable extortion and it needs to be stopped. Where are companies like IBM hiding when this extortion is happening? Don’t they see it as a duty to challenge this? Well, some of these companies like IBM and Google quietly support software patents, but with this conspiracy of silence they continue to hurt Linux, and especially Free software.

Microsoft’s attack on Linux is now joined by Apple’s attack on Android [1, 2, 3]. They both use software patents and make a lot of people very angry, including (former) supporters of themselves. Even Apple enthusiasts are left with a bad taste.

There are two aspects surrounding Apple’s patent litigation against HTC that demand further consideration. First, the severe problems with the U.S. patent system as a whole, particularly with regard to software patents. Second, the strategic implications of Apple’s decision to file suit.

Apple is challenging the whole of Android (and to an extent Linux too), as one member of the FFII put it. “Apple is a public danger that use[s] software patents to suppress competition,” says FFII’s president.

Most software and Internet firms have pledged not to sue unless someone first sues them. Sun, Google, Oracle, Cisco and many more think that patents would have an ugly effect on the market otherwise. Apple appears to have left that defensive ideal by waging patent war with Android using HTC as its proxy.

The problem is proprietary software, which usually goes hand-in-hand with software patents (IBM and Google are predominantly proprietary too). Support Free software and call for the abolishment of software patents internationally.

Firm Behind Novell Bid Has Shady Past, Could be Tied to Microsoft (Paul E. Singer’s ‘Vulture Fund’)

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: A detailed analysis of the pseudo-firm (Elliott) that wants to buy Novell and how the bid came about

OVER the past couple of days we have written three posts about the bid to buy Novell, namely:

  1. Novell May be Going Private, Hedge Fund Has Cash
  2. Analyst Expects Microsoft Bid to Buy Novell
  3. Ron Hovsepian Receives Another Large Lump of Cash as Novell Sale Looms

Few people appear to have actually paid attention to the source of the funds. We had a long discussion about this in IRC last night and we append the logs at the bottom (the relevant parts). While Novell’s whitepapers against Red Hat are being bumped up (we mentioned this twice last week and it still happens), there is also a great deal of distraction away from Novell’s trial against SCO. It is almost as though the bid came at a very strategic time, as we shall explain a little later.

Some Background

First of all, where did the bid come from? It’s a man called Paul E. Singer, who has a shady past; he also engages in some outrageous activities, which in some countries might actually land him in jail. Singer is the man behind Elliott and here is the type of things he is doing:

His other activities do not strike me as exactly praiseworthy, either. Buying up debt from poor countries and forcing repayment may make him rich, but it does not help out the masses in those places, people who are hardly to blame for the fecklessness of their leaders.

Men like Singer, operating under the radar, have distorted our national life and international reputation to such a degree that we are really having trouble figuring out what’s causing our current malaise. They simply do what they please and make the rest of us stick it. It seems like the NYT has finally done its job here of informing the public.

To put a long story short (in a nutshell), this guy probably belongs in prison. He is a parasite to entire nations. In the New York Times, Singer’s firm is described as a “vulture fund”. Here is another item about him, titled “Vulture Economics”

Elliott has done this in strapped developing countries such as Peru, Argentina, and the Republic of Congo where local press reports have labeled the company a “vulture investor.”

Peru, Argentina, and the Republic of Congo are all the countries we were able to identify as victims of Singer’s infinite greed. The word “vulture” in the name fits well also with Intellectual Vultures (another common nym for Intellectual Ventures, which we covered in the previous post). Intellectual Ventures is picking up patents from dead/dying companies, whereas Singer does that with national debt. He also preys on dying companies as we will show in a moment.

Novell’s Stake

Groklaw cites an article that says “Linux finally breaks even” [at Novell] and then it says: “So is that indicating that Elliott Management has it exactly backwards?”

“So… would that mean all the dirt on Microsoft or whoever else is behind the SCO attack on Linux that likely surfaced in discovery in SCO v. Novell would disappear from the planet?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Not really. We’ll get to that later. Linking to this article from a Microsoft booster, Groklaw speculates: “Taking profits… is that all this was about, maybe?”

Groklaw explored the background of Singer and his pseudo-firm (they contribute nothing). It links to many reports about Novell’s results and then comes to the realisation that Singer wants to take Novell private. “Private,” asks Groklaw, “They want to take it private? So… would that mean all the dirt on Microsoft or whoever else is behind the SCO attack on Linux that likely surfaced in discovery in SCO v. Novell would disappear from the planet?”

Nice timing, eh?

Here is the press release, which had Groklaw say: “What a coincidence. Just on the eve of trial in SCO v. Novell. Elliott says they own 8.5% of Novell’s common stock.”

The Inquirer links this disruptive news to the SCO trial as well:

JUST BEFORE the trial opens in the SCO v. Novell lawsuit, investment fund Elliott Associates has offered to buy Novell for $2 billion.

[...]

While Novell seems fairly likely to win, SCO seems to have a sympathetic federal judge on its side and will certainly try to sway the jury. Since the issue is over whether Novell actually owns the Unix copyrights then it could get messy.

For Elliott to benefit from its offer to buy Novell, it might be gambling either that the share price might increase dramatically after the trial is over and the inevitable appeals are decided, or that the shares might take a real battering during the judicial process, making the company relatively cheap to acquire, or both, in which case it might stand to make a lot of money.

Regarding this coverage from Boston, Groklaw says: “If this is a Microsoft play, I would imagine the antitrust complaints will be filling the sky in no time.”

Well, guess what? “Novell, Inc. Investor Alert: Offer under investigation,” says this new press release.

An investigation on behalf of current long term shareholders in Novell, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:NOVL) concerning shareholder claims over potential breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law in connection with an alleged unfair takeover was announced.

It’s not too crazy to assume or at least suspect that Microsoft is playing by proxy here. Microsoft did fund SCO in this way, in order to prolong the lawsuit against Linux. As we showed a few days ago, Microsoft is attacking Google by proxy and no longer hides this, either. “So Microsoft admits it is behind the investigations that have been initiated,” wrote Groklaw. “They make it sound like they just answered some questions, but the truth is, I remember very well Microsoft predicting this was going to happen. It *could* be a coincidence, I suppose. Snort. Anyone can lodge a complaint, and when that happens, it has to be investigated to see if it’s legitimate, I suppose, so anyone who wants to harass a competitor certainly can. By the way, would you like to know why more people use Google? I can tell you why I do. Because their algorithms work better and you can find what you are looking for reliably and quickly, and Google Search worked better FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY it was made available to the public, before there was any effect from any numbers of users.”

Watch Steve Ballmer and his buddies being a bunch hypocrites, suggesting that Google did not play by the rules. Who on Earth do they think they are to make such allegations? Wow. Just wow.

Let’s look at Singer again. Groklaw goes back to older articles from months ago. From December it pulls:

“Now the party is truly over,” Paul Singer, founder of the $16 billion hedge fund, wrote in a confidential letter to investors Oct. 15, obtained by MarketWatch. “The current economic and market environment resembles the one for which Elliott was formed.”

To do so, Mr. Singer is looking to to raise money from investors, the report said. Elliott could round up roughly $2 billion next year by inviting existing investors to commit more money, MarketWatch said, citing one investor who’s adding to positions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Here is that magic number again:

Elliott, which Singer started in 1977, is looking to raise money to take advantage of the situation. The firm could take in about $2 billion next year by inviting existing investors to commit more money, according to one investor who’s adding to positions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

[...]

Most investment firms shun large, complicated bankruptcies and other complex situations, but Elliott actively seeks them out. As a former corporate-finance attorney and Harvard Law School graduate, Singer seems to relish the chance to control the outcome of investments through litigation.

The current bankruptcy wave should provide lots of complex situations for Elliott to delve into. Moody’s Investors Service counted 250 defaults by companies it rates, through the end of November. That’s already higher than any previous year.

$2 billion? What an interesting number. Coincidence? It was less than a month later (just after calling for raising of money) that Singer put money in Novell.

Elliott began acquiring Novell stock on Jan. 4 and controls about 8.5 percent of the company.

Almost exactly 2 month later he sent a letter offering to buy the whole of Novell, via someone called Cohn (see details in the log below). From late January we have this:

Hedge Funds Sue Porsche for Billion Lost on VW

A group of hedge funds filed a lawsuit on Monday against Porsche SE and two former executives, accusing the German sports car company of lying and illegally manipulating shares of Volkswagen A.G., thus costing the funds more than $1 billion in trading losses.

The funds — Elliott Management, Glenview Capital Management, Glenhill Capital Management and Perry Partners — say Porsche schemed to secretly corner the market in VW’s stock beginning in early 2008 as part of calculated attempt to eventually take over the company.

“Hedge fund Elliott accuses rival of espionage,” said Reuters on February 26th (less than one week before the Novell bid):

Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp sued Cedar Hill Capital Partners LLC on Tuesday, alleging its rival engaged in corporate espionage by misappropriating its proprietary software used for trading.

In February we find this:

Greenlight and Elliott Said to Help Ross Raise $1.1 Billion

[...]

Ross and his partners in the real estate firm Related Companies, Jeff Blau and Bruce Beal Jr., got the funds in a private placement managed by Deutsche Bank, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Here is some more coverage about the bid which came less than a month later:

Elliott said it would pay $5.75 a share in cash for Novell, a price that is 21 percent higher than Novell’s closing stock price on Tuesday. Wall Street’s initial response to the bid, announced after the stock market closed, was to anticipate the possibility of a higher offer

It’s unsolicited, so it’s somewhat hostile. In the logs below we show the connections between Singer and Icahn, who helped Microsoft take over Yahoo! without paying much at all. “Elliott Associates makes $2 billion unsolicited bid for Novell,” says this article.

New York based Elliott Associates manages more than $16 billion of capital for large institutional investors and wealthy individuals, and already holds 8.5 per cent stake in Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell and has offered to acquire the remaining 91.5 per cent at a premium of 21 per cent over Novell’s Tuesday closing price.

It’s important to remember that Singer only put his tokens in Novell two month ago. The takeover is a recent idea, which dates back to the latest round of SCO-Novell litigation. Here is an interesting new post from Reuters. It’s saying that “Elliot’s Novell buyout [has] approach to making money”.

In fact, Elliott is no stranger to this type of deal, having made similar offers to a handful of small tech companies in the past. Typically, it owns large stakes in the companies it goes after. Last year, it was part of a private equity team that acquired MSC Software for about $360 million.

Elliott also offered to buy Packeteer, another small Nasdaq-listed tech company it owned a large stake in, but it was eventually acquired by Blue Coat Systems in 2008. Another company Elliott went after was Epicor Software, but that bid was unsuccessful.

In 2006, Elliott was part of a group led by tech-focused private equity firm Francisco Partners that took bar-code scanner maker Metrologic private. Two years later, Honeywell acquired Metrologic for $720 million.

Novell and SCO

There is something similar happening in SCO at the moment, amid seemingly-endless litigation. Groklaw has some new articles that include Novell’s objection to Yarro’s proposed loan to SCO. We wrote about it last week. Former SCO executives offer to rescue SCO financially while the company sells whatever it has left, except the lawsuit against Linux. “SCO Proposes Selling its Mobility ‘Business’… to Darl McBride,” reports Groklaw. This is pretty major because SCO fired Darl McBride a while back. Had he not been fired, nothing would be sold to him for a cash infusion to enter SCO’s coffers.

SCO’s Chapter 11 Trustee Edward Cahn not only proposes to let Ralph Yarro “loan” some money to the company at what Novell calls egregiously inequitable terms — inequitable to everyone but Ralph Yarro and the gang, that is — but now he proposes to sell SCO’s “mobility business”, which not long ago SCO said was worth millions, if I recall correctly, to another SCO insider, Darl McBride, for $35,000.

[...]

Update 2: Get a load of the assets going for $35,000. Not only do the copyrights and the source code go to the buyer, but there are 12 servers in the deal, 13 domain names, and 10 developer smartphonees. You find the list in Exhibit C Part 6, which begins with a list of the source code products involved in this transaction, but I notice something else.

This has been covered by the British press [1, 2, 3] and by Slashdot. They all cite Groklaw.

BLUSTERING BAD-BOY SCO is the zombie of the IT industry. The outfit keeps getting pummelled in court but it keeps on coming.

For ages SCO and its lawsuits should have died, serveral times. The company has run out of cash and its claims looks deader than Ramesses III without the bandages.

However, according to Groklaw the outfit’s Chapter 11 Trustee, former federal Judge Edward Cahn, has asked the bankruptcy court to let SCO sell off its “mobility business” for just $35,000.

Groklaw then wrote about “Petrofsky’s objection to SCO’s Yarro ‘loan’ motion”

Novell objected vigorously to SCO’s Motion for PostPetition Financing, the proposed Ralph Yarro “loan” to SCO which also involves granting “security interests and superpriority administrative expense status”, and now there’s a second objection, from Al Petrofsky. This will not surprise us. What would surprise us would be the court granting the motion. To give you a taste of the flavor of this filing, here’s the first paragraph of the introduction:

SCO is running out of money (no money to even pay lawyers) and Novell is blocking a cash infusion to SCO. How timely is that takeover attempt by Singer and his new, unspecified funds that he rallied for?

Novell’s Finances

For completeness, we also wish to remind readers that Novell's financial results actually disappointed investors (Groklaw apparently gets it wrong). Here is a report titled “Novell Sales Fall 6% and Disappoint Investors (NOVL)” (also in Fox and in Trading Markets).

Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) reported fiscal Q1 EPS of $0.07, inline with consensus estimates.

Sales in the quarter fell 6% year-over-year to $202.6 million, and came in short of consensus estimates of $207.6 million.

Here is a video from a financial Web site that covers this and here is the discussion at LWN.

Other coverage of interest:

Trading Update for Novell Inc

Stocks Levitating Above Unchanged Mark In Mid-Afternoon Trading – U.S. Commentary

After the markets closed for trading on Thursday, software solutions provider Novell Inc. (NOVL) reported a higher profit in its first quarter, helped by lower operating expenses. Earnings for the quarter were in line with estimates, but revenues fell short. Looking ahead to the second quarter, Novell expects revenues to be flat sequentially.

Novell Q1 Profit Rises – Quick Facts

Novell, Inc. (NOVL: News ) Thursday reported first quarter GAAP net income of $20 million or $0.06 per share, compared to $11 million or $0.03 per share in the prior year period. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $25 million or $0.07 per share, compared to $24 million or $0.07 per share in last year quarter.

Novell Bids Farewell to NetWare

Novell NOVL reported mixed first-quarter results and our fair value estimate is unchanged. Total revenue fell 6% over the prior-year quarter, as a steady stream of maintenance revenue offset a 25% decline in software licenses.

Novell says Linux now breaking even

Novell profits increase in 2010′s first quarter

Novell reports increase in profit despite sales decline

Options Activity for Novell Inc

Novell Q1 net revenues down 6% to $202m

A lot of people mention Novell’s cash reserves but rarely do they mention Novell's huge debt

Here is Novell India’s Country Head speaking about stimulus:

Sandeep Menon. Country Head, Novell India, said the budget reflects the governments confidence in the Indian economy. “I am particularly please to note that there has been no knee jerk reaction to withdrawing the fiscal stimulus, as I don’t think the time is right yet,” he said.

Last year we wrote about the rumour that Novell was selling at least parts of the company, but Novell probably didn’t see the Singer bid coming. Where did the money come from? To summarise the above, Singer sought $2 billion from investors back in December, then he bought part of Novell’s shares in January. He made the bid ($2 billion) just days before the SCO trial was supposed to resume; the funds he received remain secret because it’s a private firm and if he takes over Novell, then Novell’s secrets (including discovery in the SCO case) will also remain secret, unless they choose another route (which Singer et al can veto).

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft’s Patent Racketeer Intellectual Ventures a Weapons Feeder of Patent Wars

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Financiers of Intellectual Ventures are Microsoft, Bill Gates, and Apple

Khalkhin Gol Soviet offensive - 1939

Summary: How Intellectual Ventures fuels patent wars with its arsenal of patents that it uses to silently extort companies (concealed with NDAs)

FOR those who know nothing about Intellectual Ventures, here is a good place to start. We shall assume that everyone is already familiar with this huge parasite that turns the patent system into a “a combination mob protection packet + Ponzi monetization scheme,” to quote someone who had personal encounters with the firm. Intellectual Ventures is somewhat of a spin-off of Microsoft, created with financial assistance (capital) from Bill Gates, Microsoft, and later on Apple. Intellectual Ventures uses ‘satellite’ companies (over a thousand of them) to do its work/carry out attacks without tarnishing its own name and Intellectual Ventures also influences the government using millions of dollars.

Law.com has this new article which exposes Intellectual Ventures’ involvement in a lawsuit against TiVo, which uses Linux. Microsoft also sued TiVo back in January, using patents.

The Bellevue, Wash., company that owns around 30,000 patents for the first time assigned one of its members a patent to use as ammunition in a lawsuit. Verizon Communications, which agreed to pay IV as much as $350 million in a 2008 deal, is using one of IV’s patents to strike back at TiVo in a patent fight.

Here is TechDirt’s take on it:

Intellectual Ventures Lending Its Patents To Members To Sue Others

We’ve certainly written plenty about Intellectual Ventures, the giant, incredibly secretive, patent hoarding operation that has convinced a bunch of companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in a sort of pyramid scheme protection racket, to avoid getting sued on any of the patents that it holds. But now it’s taken things a step further. Last year, we saw how at least one IV patent had shown up in a patent lawsuit, and now Zusha Elinson is reporting that Intellectual Ventures has effectively loaned out one of its patents to member company Verizon, with which it can sue TiVo, in response to a lawsuit TiVo filed against it.

Several weeks ago we wrote about those ‘satellite’ companies which Intellectual Ventures is using. In the case above, there is something a little different going on. Who benefits from this? The question is rhetorical. “Intellectual Ventures is becoming an arms dealer in patent nuclear war,” wrote the FFII’s president less than an hour ago (he quoted TechDirt).

Now that the patent system is hacked, it is time to reform it or abolish it.

It was only last week that we showed how Microsoft used the patent system to extort Amazon and stifle GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4]. Ken Hess asked, “Is Microsoft the New SCO?”

Earlier this week Microsoft and Amazon signed a patent deal covering Amazon’s Linux-based Kindle and its use of Linux-based server systems. Amazon will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount as a result of this deal. I know it’s just me but what the hell is up with that? I don’t have a lot of details of this deal but why would Amazon have to pay Microsoft anything for the use of Linux on its Kindle or on its use of Linux-based servers? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was created to address such situations. It’s time to use this one law which is actually defensible because it protects the little guy (or girl).

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