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05.06.10

IRC Proceedings: May 6th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs, News Roundup at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 6/5/2010: Quirky 1.0, SystemRescueCd 1.5.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 95

    Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 95

  • Linux Fund UK Business Credit Card Available Today

    Business Credit Card allows UK Businesses to support open source with every purchase

  • OPC UA Software Opens Up Linux Possibilities

    Integrator Kyle Chase has begun to experience first-hand the benefits of OPC Unified Architecture (UA). Designed to allow for cross-platform compatibility, OPC UA delivers on the promise of performance and reliability. Chase explained that, although a fan of Linux, until now he could never use it in automation control systems because OPC relied on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

  • BlueWave Security Chooses Lantronix to Reduce Development Costs, Speed Time to Market and Improve Customer Satisfaction

    BlueWave Security selected XPort Pro, ‘The World’s Smallest Linux Server,’ to future-proof its next-generation security product line with best in class networking capability, and to enable secure, remote access to equipment behind firewalls.

  • Desktop

    • Thurrott, I Live in the Windows Future, and you’re in the Pleistocene.

      The only difference with this change is I’m using Linux with Oracle’s VirtualBox as my hypervisor, which in your own response to my column you agree has a superior security architecture and is less vulnerable to attack than Windows.

    • Wi-Fi Key-cracking Kits Sold in China Mean Free Internet

      Wi-Fi USB adapters bundled with a Linux operating system, key-breaking software and a detailed instruction book are being sold online and at China’s bustling electronics bazaars. The kits, pitched as a way for users to surf the Web for free, have drawn enough buyers and attention that one Chinese auction site, Taobao.com, had to ban their sale last year.

    • Open source challenge for Simply Computers

      Tony and Vicki Houlbrooke are Linux evangelists, but it seems the Whakatane couple’s customers are far from sold on the platform.

      The company claims to use Linux more extensively than other businesses by using it on desktops and servers. “Our heart is very much in open source software,” says Tony, adding he also promotes Gentoo for servers and Ubuntu for desktops.

      [...]

      The bulk of the work comes from repairing problems associated with Windows, but Tony is optimistic about the prospects for Linux growth alongside cloud computing; saying the cloud could free customers from being chained to particular operating systems.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange creates virtual Turquoise access ahead of Linux big-bang

      An “ultra-fast” link between the datacentres of the London Stock Exchange and Turquoise has gone live, gearing the dark pool trading venue for a big-bang Linux migration.

      Traders with hosted systems at the LSE are now able to access Turquoise on the free fast link, ahead of Turquoise’s migration to the Millennium Exchange platform, which is Linux and Sun Solaris Unix-based, with Oracle databases. Turquoise currently runs on the Java-based Tradexpress platform from supplier Cinnober.

    • Cloud.com takes on virty infrastructure
    • Cloud.com software stack goes open source

      Cloud.com describes CloudStack as “an integrated software solution that enables enterprises and service providers to quickly and easily build Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) clouds.”

    • Stacking up the hypervisors

      It was initially offered by many companies including major Linux distributors such as Red Hat and Novel, Virtual Iron (bought by Oracle), Oracle and Citrix but there’s been some consolidation in the market. Red Hat and Novell steered away from Xen and committed to rival open-source KVM while Oracle-Sun-Virtual Iron and Citrix stuck with it.

      The Linux players still have to support their own operating system distros – the main part of their businesses – so that’s what they wanted to focus on. The development effort around Xen didn’t leverage the development of their OS products as much as they liked. Their mainline Linux development diverged from the hypervisor too much and they wanted to bring that back together.

      KVM makes more use of operating system developments than Xen, which is more focused on the hypervisor. So it’s useful for Oracle where the operating system is a secondary business.
      If your interest in a pure hypervisor is more important than Linux per se, Xen is more relevant.

      But if you’re more interested in Linux, that’s where KVM comes to bear.

  • Google

  • IBM

    • IBM Wants Linux’ KVM To Compete With VMware

      One of IBM’s current goals is to “accelerate the maturation of KVM as a world class hypervisor.” That may not sound like much to the uninitiated but IBM has picked its targets well in the past. Of course it’s now ten years ago that it announced its backing for Linux.

      Dan Frye, IBM’s VP of open systems development, commented on IBM’s commitment to help mature KVM during his address to the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco April 14. KVM is the hypervisor first produced by the Israeli company, Qumranet, and added to the Linux kernel in February 2007; Qumranet was acquired by Red Hat in 2008.

  • Kernel Space

    • Jon Corbet QA: Upstream Contributions Influence Direction of Linux Kernel

      Jon Corbet is a highly-recognized contributor to the Linux kernel community. He is a developer and the executive editor of Linux Weekly News (LWN). He is also The Linux Foundation’s chief meteorologist, a role in which he translates kernel-level milestones into an industry outlook for Linux. Corbet has also written extensively on how to work within the Linux kernel development community and has moderated a variety of panels on the topic. Today, he gives us an update on the Linux “weather forecast,” why sharing your code upstream is critical, and the state of virtualization in the kernel.

    • Linux Foundation Announces LinuxCon Keynotes, Mini-Summits
    • LINBIT takes over Heartbeat Code Maintenance

      Philipp Reisner, CTO, LINBIT notes that LINBIT continues to boost its dedication to open source and High-Availability by adopting Heartbeat: “Apart from DRBD, LINBIT now also maintains another important component of the Linux-HA stack. In the past, LINBIT has repeatedly contributed to other parts of Linux-HA including Pacemaker. One can say that if you are relying on Linux-HA, you are also relying upon LINBIT. If you want to achieve High-Availability in Linux, it’s impossible without LINBIT!”

    • Research

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux founder releases Quirky 1.0

      In a post on his blog, Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler has announced the release of version 1.0 of Quirky. Kauler says that, while the Quirky Linux distribution is in the same family as Puppy Linux, it’s a “distinct distro in its own right.”

    • New Releases

      • SystemRescueCd 1.5.3 Is Out

        SystemRescueCd 1.5.3, a live CD/USB Linux distribution based on Gentoo, has been released with updated kernels and a few updated packages. It also includes the NetworkManager GUI network configuration tool to make it easier to set up network connections. This should help a great deal, especially with wireless connections that should be detected automatically and be easier to manage.

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring Beta 2 arrives
    • Red Hat Family

    • Ubuntu

      • Launchpad PPA Upgraded to 2 GB

        Although Launchpad has provided sizes larger than 1 GB on special request earlier, this move ensures that you will get 2 GB from the very beginning. Existing PPAs larger than 2 GB will remain unchanged.

      • Cory Doctorow: Persistence Pays Parasites

        But even armed with this intelligence, I’ve been pretty cavalier about my exposure to net-based security risks. I run an up-to-date version of a very robust flavor of GNU/Linux called Ubuntu, which has a single, easy-to-use interface for keeping all my apps patched with the latest fixes. My browser, Firefox, is far less prone to serious security vulnerabilities than dogs like Internet Explorer. I use good security technology: my hard-drive and backup are encrypted, I surf through Ipredator (a great and secure anonymizer based in Sweden), and I use GRC’s password generator to create new, strong passwords for every site I visit (I keep these passwords in a text file that is separately encrypted).

      • Variants

        • Linux Mint 9 RC arrives

          The Linux Mint development team have announced a release candidate for what will become Linux Mint version 9, code named “Isadora”. Linux Mint aims to be user friendly and to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including support for DVD playback, Java, plug-ins and various media codecs. It is also the third most popular distribution on DistroWatch.com behind Ubuntu and Fedora.

        • DEFT Linux 5.1 Comes with Sleuthkit 3.1.1 and Autopsy 2.24

          DEFT Linux is a highly specialized Linux distribution aimed at forensic computing. It comes with a number of dedicated tools and is a computer investigator’s best friend. The latest release, DEFT Linux 5.1, is a small maintenance update, which brings some newer packages and fixes a couple of bugs. The project’s leader, Stefano Fratepietro, announced the release earlier today and the distro is available for download from the link below.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Iomega releases lower-cost storage array for SMBs

      The array comes with EMC’s LifeLine software, a management utility based on Linux and designed for cross-platform support of Windows, Mac, Linux and UNIX computers and is HCL certified for use with VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.

    • ESC – Sourcery G++ improves embedded application performance

      Granite Bay, Calif. – At ESC San Jose, CodeSourcery announced the release of Sourcery G++ for ARM, ColdFire, IA32, MIPS, Power Architecture, Stellaris and SuperH processors. The latest release features enhancements that boost application performance and make it easier to get started with GNU/Linux application development.

    • Top 10 drivers for embedded Android

      Business requirements, especially in the context of technology available under an open-source license, can be compelling for both technology managers and corporate executives. This list is not meant to reflect all Android drivers but certainly some compelling reasons for choosing embedded Android.

    • Robotics

      • Random Robot Roundup

        While not exactly an embedded processor, the little box can run GNU/Linux and is powered by 12V, making it handy for certain types of robots.

      • RobuBOX-Kompai Now Open to Outside Development

        Robosoft out of Bidart, France is releasing the open source software version for its RobuBOX-Kompaï at-home assistance robot. The mobile platform includes navigation and communication capabilities and is now open to tinkering around by developers trying to extend the potential tasks the robot can perform.

      • Getting robots to do the laundry and the dishes

        Willow Garage will offer 11 research teams free use of its PR2 robots for two years. The robots, built with an open-source software platform, can be programmed to do many tasks.

    • Intel

      • Intel pushes Atom into mobile arena with “Moorestown”

        Despite Intel’s encouraging announcement, devices slated to show off Moorestown are not expected to hit production until the second-half of 2010. One such device will be the recently delayed LG GW990, a smartphone that features the “MeeGo” operating system. Also the foundation for Moblin, MeeGo is a heavily optimized Linux variant built specifically to take advantage of the Atom platform.

      • Atom for smartphones brings 10-day standby battery life

        Moorestown, like all Atom processors, is based on the x86 architecture, and is expected to run MeeGo or some other Linux variant, meaning devices can be more versatile than current smartphones.

        “These devices are handheld computers that can also make calls,” Kedia explained. With a 1.5GHz core speed, they’re fast, too: Intel demonstrated the Linux version of Quake III running unmodified at over 100fps on a Z600-based prototype smartphone. In another demonstration, an animated 3D graphical scene played in one window while a second streamed 1080p video.

      • Intel Atom chip for smartphones unveiled

        The chipset is set to be compatible with Google Android and Nokia’s MeeGo OS, while support for Moblin Linux based systems and other operating systems look likely to follow.

      • “LG GW990″ will not ultimately marketed

        Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas, the first mobile phone based on an Intel chip Moorestown will remain finally at the stage of concept. LG will not commercialize GW990 ,the hybrid terminal halfway between a MID and a telephone.

        Preview at CES in Las Vegas, then at MWC in Barcelona, the GW990 will not ultimately marketed. We hope that LG will reuse this prototype as a basis for the development of future smartphones.

    • Phones

      • Beating Apple, Google and Microsoft: Smaller Companies Team Up

        Thanks to the open sourced nature of Linux, apps created by this major cross-company team up will be made available across various platforms –which means that developers would have a reason to create apps for the systems: because the market is possibly larger than anything else available.

      • Motorola acquires linux OS company Azingo

        Azingo says its next-generation Linux platform and engineering services ‘significantly reduce development costs and shorten delivery schedules for chipset and handset manufacturers, integrators, and operators’.

      • Nokia

      • Android

        • Viewpoint: Top 10 drivers for embedded Android

          2. Source code: Android provides a comprehensive set of source code, specifically created by the Android team, that leverages existing open-source projects to provide a complete and cohesive software stack. There are currently more than 200 separate Git trees in the public Android repository. Not only is there source for the core packages, but many hardware-component vendors have decided to provide source code for specific drivers. This source is also actively managed by a vibrant community. Clearly, this is a benefit for anybody wanting to optimize these components for a specific target.

    • Tablets

      • Intel Releases Smartphone and Tablet Chip

        The Atom chip also delivers impressive performance and is supposed to render web pages faster than other chips do. The Atom chip is also supposed to support different operating systems, including Intel’s Moblin, Nokia’s MeeGo, and Google’s Android. The first two operating systems mentioned are Linux-based.

Free Software/Open Source

  • CONNECT event draws a range of coders

    convened recently at Florida International University in Miami. The Federal Health Architecture’s open source development event drew a range of participants, demonstrating the growing interest in CONNECT.

  • Twiki Inc. Announces OpenID Integration for Seamless Login with Google, Yahoo or AOL OpenID Accounts
  • Hyderabad: The New Training Destination For Open Source Enthusiasts

    Open source is the ‘buzz’ word in the IT fraternity these days. From bigwigs like Google or Yahoo! to SMEs, everyone is embracing open source with open arms. The main stumbling block is a severe talent crunch for most players. Shortage of enterprise-ready professionals who can be put on the job from day one and keeping the current resource pool up-to-date on the latest technologies are the twin issues faced by open source adopters. To tide over this problem, Taashee Linux Services, an open source software and training company, has opened a new Red Hat Training facility at Hyderabad, a city that is poised to become the next IT and electronics hub of India.

  • Liberia will need Open Source Software Solutions instead of costly Proprietary Solutions

    The global financial crisis that began a few years ago has had an impact on every industry, organization, government, etc. ICT departments facing this crisis have had to seek low cost alternatives and solutions to ensure business continuity. Because of its unique model, costs-saving and robustness, Open Source software has become the alternative that ICT executives have turned to. Since it is flexible and provides several capabilities, Open Source software has made way into the enterprise so fast that its impact has been felt significantly on economies, especially during the recent financial crisis. Because of this, it has become ubiquitous in the ICT industry.

    [...]

    Open Source Software provides a multitude of options that can be used in the enterprise. Linux, Apache, MySQL, PostGre, Java, PHP, etc., are a few of the many low cost software options that Open Source provides to enterprises. Proprietary software like Windows, Internet Information Server, SQL, Microsoft.Net are software with prohibitive cost that a nation like Liberia, still struggling to build an ICT sector, should consider implementing after exploring more cost-effective options.

  • Events

  • SaaS

  • CMS

    • WordPress: A Brand to be Managed

      This conference is a cross between a training session and a user community support group, and this year had over 600 attendees. (@technorin tells me 800.)Moreover, it is only one of 45 already scheduled to be held this year all over the world. Last year, there were 48 all year; they’ll pass that number this year for sure. People gather around WordPress

    • TheNation.com Gets Open-Source Overhaul

      The site has also gone open-source with a content management platform called “Drupal”: The Nation explains the far-reaching implications:

      “Open source” software code is published and made freely available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute it without paying or earning royalties or fees. It’s like a song that a musician can sample or remix for free. This creates a community of global web programmers who can share and improve the platform. The idea is rooted in community: One person creates, another person improves, and the knowledge is widely shared. If he understood open source, Glenn Beck might well denounce it as a socialist practice.

      The remaining updates are more conventional. The new site introduces verticals — “Politics,” “World,” “Books & Arts,” etc. — to categorize stories and make them easier to find. The site also features tighter integration with Twitter, enhanced multimedia offerings and an improved mobile user experience.

    • Top 5 CMS Executives – 35 Years Old and Younger

      Buytaert (31) is the main driver behind the wildly successful open source Drupal CMS and the CTO of Acquia.

      Place of Birth

      Antwerp, Belgium

      Education

      I’m a techie. I obtained a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Ghent. Prior to my PhD, I got a Licentiate in Computer Science from the University of Antwerp.

      Professional Highlights (What are You Proud of?)

      Being invited to the White House (which now runs on Drupal).

  • Business

    • Open Source offers more to CIOs

      “Quality. Price. Service. Pick any two,” said a very succinct placard in Damodar’s tailor shop. Back in the days when clothes were tailored, Damodar was one of the best in the business and he definitely knew what he was talking about.

      However, in the software industry, the emergence of open source software (OSS) has turned this dynamic on its head. It is no longer about, “Pick any two,” but “Pick ALL three.”

    • Further Evaluating Commercial Open Source

      As we all know measures of success are subjective. I believe commercial open source is proving to be a viable and successful model based on its ability to deliver real value to both customers and investors.

      [...]

      So we are constantly asked about why we put our software out as open source. The advantages of the commercial open source approach for the vendor, users and business community have become clear and include:

      • Users can try the product before buying, eliminating much of the sales activities of ordinary enterprise software

      • Lower cost of development through use of other open source components and contributions

    • Open-Xchange Intros Simplified SaaS Partner Pricing

      The new OXrate pricing program has five SaaS partner levels based on the providers’ customer base which ranges from less than 1,000 to more than 250,000 customers. Each level offers two options of pricing, flat rate and guaranteed revenue.

    • Panasonic Announces Digium(R) Asterisk(R) Certification for Its New TGP500 Series SIP Cordless Phone System
    • Metasploit’s HD Moore from (almost) rags to (not quite) riches

      Last week, I got on the phone with HD Moore to ask him how things have been going since he sold Metasploit to Rapid7, sending the open source security world into a frenzy some six months ago. Rapid7 had just released the commercial version, dubbed Metasploit Express, of Moore’s much beloved open source penetration testing tool.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Enjoy your participatory panopticon with “SnapScouts”

      “SnapScout and SnapScout Reports are produced and developed by MiniTru, LLC. Created in 2008 by George Parsons and Winston O’Brien, MiniTru LLC leverages modern technology to address the timeless threats to democracy and freedom. Using a transparent, open source approach — all applications will eventually be released under a GNU license, and all content is copyrighted via Creative Commons — we empower real Americans to connect and share the mini-truths we can’t always say out loud, but keep America the greatest country in the world.”

  • Releases

    • OpenDLP aims to detect potential data loss

      A new open source project, OpenDLP, aims to detect data loss in organisations by automated scanning for potentially confidential information. The system consists of a management server, written in Perl, and an agent, written in C, which is deployed to users’ systems to carry out the scanning.

  • Government

    • Election special: Liberal Democrats discuss tech manifesto

      V3.co.uk: How does the Liberal Democrat party plan to increase open-source take-up in the sector?

      John Thurso: The Labour government spends £16bn a year on IT, but has a very poor record on IT procurement and has regularly been criticised by the National Audit Office. The Liberal Democrats will improve government IT procurement, investigating the potential of different approaches such as cloud computing and open-source software.

      Does the party believe that open-source is a better alternative to proprietary software, and if so why?

      Open-source software can be cheaper than proprietary or bespoke software and we believe that government should consider open-source solutions in all IT procurement. The Liberal Democrats will conduct a full review of IT procurement procedures, and work with industry to improve cross-government working practices and save money.

  • Licensing

    • Lower compliance costs with open source tools

      These are just a few of the many open source tools that help with compliance. I also like RANCID for network device configuration management and Nagios for IT infrastructure monitoring. Don’t forget about the many IT policy resources, such as the templates available from SANS.

  • Openness

    • Could open source technologies help us solve climate change?

      The growth of the internet, with all the associated changes it has brought to our lives, has been driven in large part by freely available, non-proprietary technology. The ethos of sharing, formalised by carefully worded open source licenses, has allowed inter-connectedness to flourish in ways that we once never dreamed of. Could adopting a similar approach for carbon-mitigating technologies have the same effect in tackling climate change?

Leftovers

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC will reclassify broadband as a telco service

      ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN RUMOURS that the FCC was going to walk away from reclassifying Internet access as a telecommunications service, it looks like that strategy will go ahead.

      By classifying Internet service providers (ISPs) as telecommunications services, the FCC can make them subject to tougher net neutrality rules. The telcos will go into a spin over this plan and have already been spending shedloads on lobbyists to prevent it from happening. They are terrified that net neutrality rules will stop them from throttling traffic or selling higher quality service to some content providers, and could mean that they will have to spend money to upgrade the bandwidth on their networks. It might also mean that they will not be able to charge people extra to get the bandwidth they promised.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – Crash – Graphs and NASA Langley (1/10/2000)


Eben Moglen on Freedom in The Cloud (Ogg)

Posted in Videos at 1:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A very recent talk from Professor Eben Moglen


Canonical, Ubuntu, and Software Patents

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Patents, Samba, Ubuntu at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How software patents tax comes into Ubuntu (at OEM level)

YESTERDAY we mentioned Canonical’s awkward situation when it comes to MPEG-LA. This whole subject has generally been explored recently in (chronologically ordered):

  1. Microsoft Brings MPEG-LA-LA Land to the Web and Threatens GNU/Linux With Software Patent Lawsuits
  2. Steve Jobs: “A Patent Pool is Being Assembled to Go After Theora and Other “Open Source” Codecs Now.”
  3. Apple’s and Microsoft’s New Motto: Do More Evil, Together
  4. “Behind the Open Codec FUD Attack, W3C Captured by Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and So On?”
  5. Behind the Microsoft Puppetmaster: SCO-Type Libel, Acacia-Type Patent Trolls, and Novell-Type Patent Deals to Make GNU/Linux Not Free (Gratis)
  6. Patents Roundup: Red Hat on Patent Trolls; Apple Antitrust; Microsoft Attacks Theora, Which is Needed to Save Our Video Culture
  7. Apple and Microsoft a Threat to Culture (Data), Not Just Software (Tools)
  8. “The fight has been around a long time, now the target of Microsoft is Theora”

Canonical is based in the UK, where software patents are mostly invalid (bar Nokia’s utter greed [1, 2], which makes no sense).

Gizmodo and Engadget have both just covered the legal minefield which is H.264 and more comments on the latter article can be found in LWN (a GNU/Linux perspective).

The president of the FFII interprets the above by quoting “In order to ship an H.264 decoder with Firefox, Mozilla would have to pay the MPEG-LA something around $5 million a year” and he also cites this item from The Register, which says: “What’s more, Canonical – Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor – is now the only Linux maker to license H.264/AVC, the closed and patented technology used to compress video.”

This is not entirely new to us and it can certainly explain price oddities. The H says that “Canonical clarifies its H.264 licence” and so does The Register.

When purchasing an OEM machine with Ubuntu pre-installed, there is currently no way to tell, without the manufacturer explicitly specifying them, which software and codecs are bundled with the machine. A device may be validated as Ubuntu Compatible, which means the OEM has tested the system and Canonical has verified the test, or as Ubuntu Certified, which means that Canonical have performed the testing. Kenyon points to the Ubuntu Certified list on the Canonical site, which lists systems from Lenovo, ASUSTek, HP, Toshiba, Samsung and Dell. Kenyon added “We have explored setting some minimum requirements for codecs, but this is not something that we presently do”.

So the rule of thumb is that an arbitrary Ubuntu system does not have a H.264 licence via Canonical, unless it’s an OEM system which specifically lists the H.264 licence in its documentation or marketing materials.

H.264 is not the only patent issue in Ubuntu. Last week we wrote about Likewise in Ubuntu and here is someone who is not concerned about it:

It’s funny, but when you talk to Jerry Carter, he doesn’t sound like someone who’s part of a conspiracy to bring down Linux/Windows interoperability and from there enable the downfall of Linux itself. He comes across as far less evil.

Yet last summer, Carter, who is Director of Engineering at Likewise Software, and his co-workers were practically accused of doing exactly that when Likewise CEO Barry Crist detailed the hows and whys of Likewise-CIFS pulling away from the Samba codebase.

In our previous posts about Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4] we explained their role in playing the software patents game. They are former Microsoft staff, hacking on Samba and selling it with patent ‘protection’. Ubuntu should stick with just Samba. As for codecs, people can fetch these themselves (if they are required at all).

After Acacia Case Red Hat is Free, SUSE is Still Not Free

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Xandros at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Peace of mind

Summary: In the aftermath of the Acacia case it is important to point out that SUSE is still encumbered with unjustified patent tax (Microsoft’s racket)

COVERAGE of the Acacia case can be found in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and there is decent coverage from Joab Jackson (also in [1, 2, 3, 4]). We covered the ending of this case in the following posts, so we won’t repeat the same old arguments and analysis.

What we found interesting is that Acacia issued a press release just to announced that it had lost the case.

The jury determined that the patents were invalid and not infringed.

There will not be an appeal.

So, what does that tell us about Red Hat and Novell? Most of the press (see [1]-[3] from the news below) deals with those two companies as peers, but this apparent parity neglects to say that Red Hat remains free, whereas Novell just won’t pay more patent tax in addition to Microsoft’s. This is why we insist on using a label like “Ballnux”, to clearly indicate that a particular distribution of Linux comes with patent tax which is paid to Steve Ballmer and fellow extortionists. Not all distributions of Linux are created equal. Companies or home users in need of a good server should choose Debian, Red Hat, Red Hat clones, or just about anything but SUSE and Xandros.
____
[1] Aberdeen Releases New Research Into Mainframe Technology: Complexity, Sustainability, and Talent

The Aberdeen Group Mainframe Technology Toolkit is made available due in part to the support of Novell.

[2] Cray mimics Ethernet atop SeaStar interconnect

Supercomputer maker Cray doesn’t talk much about the systems software that runs on its massively parallel, midrange, or entry HPC gear, but it probably will start doing so more because of the work it has done to make its non-standard XT boxes look a little less proprietary as far as Linux applications are concerned.

[3] SGI Announces Next-Generation Altix(R) ICE Scale-out Supercomputer

Altix ICE 8400, with its innovative blade design, easily and affordably scales to up to 65,536 compute nodes with integrated single or dual plane InfiniBand backplane interconnect. Open x86 architecture makes it equally simple to deploy commercial, open source or custom applications on completely unmodified Novell(R) SUSE(R) or Red Hat(R) Linux(R) operating systems.

Free Software Foundation Europe Likens Apple/Microsoft Behaviour to Blackmail

Posted in Apple, Europe, FSF, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Georg Greve

Original: Georg C.F. Greve, FSFE Founder

Summary: The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) calls the spade “a spade”; Nokia’s solution to the extortion problem cannot be generalised, so patent reform is urgently needed

BACK in March we wrote about the former CEO of Sun Microsystems revealing that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had extorted him. Yes, Apple is doing this too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but it does this more discreetly.

The head of the FSFE (not Greve) has just issued a relatively strongly-worded statement in his blog. It says:

Software patents and blackmail

From a very practical perspective, it is next to impossible to determine whether a given piece of software violates patents. A typical program consists of dozens if not hundreds of ideas. Any of them could be patented. In practice, making sure you’re not infringing a patent simply takes too long, and is too expensive. So nobody does it.

And I do mean nobody. Even the largest corporations can’t stay clear of each others’ software patents – over the past few months alone, we have seen lawsuits between Apple and HTC , Red Hat vs. IP Innovation LLC (now that’s a name for a patent troll. Well, they went home with a ringing defeat. Congratulations to Michael Cunningham, Rob Tiller and the rest of the Red Hat legal team!), and the Apple vs Nokia sue-fest.

But corporations sue other corporations only as a last resort. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s former CEO, illustrated quite pointedly how large corporations normally deal with this problem: They simply threaten each other with their different patents until both agree that it’s better to stay quiet.

Bill Gates was quite right when he said in 1991:

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete stand-still today. [...] A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high: Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors.”

[Internal Microsoft Memo (1991), quoted in Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars (1994)]

For a company like IBM, Apple or Microsoft, patent lawsuits are a huge problem. For any organisation smaller than that, they’re an existential threat.

All this turns spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about software patents into a marketing strategy. As Jobs has done, you simply have to say “we know your stuff is infringing patents, but we’re not telling you which ones”. This is a callous strategy to make your target’s customers and users think they are under some sort of legal threat.

There’s a word for that. It’s called blackmail.

Indeed.

Don’t Get M.A.D.

Nokia, which has a vast patent portfolio and is based in Europe, said that it intends to fight Microsoft in case Microsoft tries to ‘tax’ MeeGo distribution using extortion tactics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (like those tactics which were apparently used against HTC). Here is what Pogson wrote about it:

Interesting news. While M$ runs amok threatening to sue the world over rumoured patent violations in GNU/Linux, Nokia and Intel are promising to protect customers from such suits.

Needless to say, few companies enjoy the portfolio breath of Nokia and Intel. This is hardly a solution; it’s good enough for Nokia and Intel, but mostly useless to the rest.

What You Can Do About It

As JM Cerqueira Esteves pointed out yesterday, “PATQUAL survey on the quality of the European patent system has been extended to 15th May 2010″ (direct quote below).

European Union. The deadline of the PATQUAL survey on the quality of the European patent system has been extended to 15th May 2010

Tell Europe’s administrative figures to stop accepting software patents from the back door. There ought to be explicit rules to end this by denying access through the loopholes.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, IAM: Microsoft to have 50,000 patents within two years, Phelps reveals

Novell is Still Aping Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chimpanzee

Summary: Novell is still promoting Microsoft software while apparently dropping Linux projects like the RadeonHD driver

WE NO longer cover Novell on a weekly basis; instead, it is likely that we will do this on a daily basis. Novell’s financial results are imminent and since there are no new SUSE deals, there should be no expectation of anything too spectacular. In fact, Microsoft’s patent coupons for SUSE have almost run out (or fully ran out by now). Novell’s only deals to brag about involve proprietary software; meanwhile, Novell seemingly drops RadeonHD driver development (now covered in [1, 2]) but never gives up on Mono and Moonlight, which please the beast from Redmond.

Based on this new blog post, Novell may also be paying Forrester, which is a Microsoft-funded GNU/Linux basher to a certain degree. From the Forrester blog in ZDNet (that ‘news’ site hosts a lot of pro-Microsoft voices).

Consider three IT pros I spoke with last week at a Novell customer panel. They represented a major university, a hospital, and a law enforcement agency.

It should not be surprising that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza and former Microsoft employees who promote Mono are also found together in here:

Miguel de Icaza, vice president of developer platform at Novell (News – Alert) has said that MindTouch’s new feature set will be a welcome addition to maintaining their online presence. They’re very pleased with MindTouch as a platform for all of their new content sites, particularly as they continue to see exponential data increases.

This would be valuable to .NET.

Lawsuits and Proxies: Ohio and Utah

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Kernel, LG, Microsoft, SCO, UNIX at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seal of Utah

Summary: New case in Ohio state shows Microsoft-connected lawyers pushing for Google antitrust; new details emerge in SCO’s Microsoft-backed push for ‘Linux tax’

A FEW months ago Microsoft confirmed that it was behind the push for anti-Google antitrust (complaints through third parties). This is not something that Microsoft is denying. This is why the following antitrust lawsuit is interesting (full filing therein). The lawyers have connections with Microsoft.

Back in February, we highlighted a rather odd antitrust lawsuit brought against Google by a small company. Google had originally brought a lawsuit against the company in the Ohio state court system for failure to pay its advertising bills, and the company suddenly came back with a group of big name (expensive) lawyers (who just happen to have a connection with Microsoft), claiming antitrust violations against Google.

A favourite old case of Microsoft (versus Linux, by proxy) is the SCO case. New evidence surfaces in this case after Caldera.com’s removal of robots.txt (for permission to spiders/indexers). In the words of Groklaw:

In the old days, it seemed every time Groklaw linked to evidence on one of those Caldera pages, it went to the great 404 in the sky within a day or two. Now, it will be possible to fix all those links. I wish they’d sell the sco.com domain name next. Maybe then we could get the complete historical picture.

As we pointed out 3 years ago, Novell too had changed its Web site quite a lot after the Microsoft deal. It essentially removed or modified pages that were hostile towards Microsoft.

Speaking of lawsuits and ‘Linux tax’, watch who is being sued for patent infringement. It’s the same company that already pays Microsoft some ‘Linux tax’. [via]

LG’s patent infringement lawsuit against Taiwan-based AU Optronics took an unexpected turn, as the final ruling not only found no fault against AU but in fact found AU as the victim, and now LG is the guilty party.

It is worth emphasising that this is to do with LCD (hardware).

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