EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.01.10

Links 1/6/2010: Salix Live 13.0 and Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5r0 Are Out

Posted in News Roundup at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Telstra’s Linux-based T-Box to launch mid-June

    Telstra today revealed it would launch its Linux-based T-Box integrated media centre set-top box from mid-June at a stand-alone price point of $299, with a sledload of free and pay-per-view content available and an associated revamp of its broadband plans in the works.

  • Desktop

    • The Big Question

      Rob Pregoraro at the Washington Post asks the question, “How can an operating system with those virtues, the open-source Linux, remain confined to a tiny minority of desktop and laptop computers at home? “. He’s missed the mark. GNU/Linux is not confined to a tiny minority of computers at home. It may be in the USA but globally, GNU/Linux is on about 10% of PCs. We know that because Ballmer told us and that was a while ago. 30% of netbooks run GNU/Linux and almost all ARMed devices do not run that other OS.You can buy “no OS” and GNU/Linux PCs from most OEMs and some retail outfits.

    • Firebird download statistics : Top Country : #Brazil , Top OS: #Linux

      The new download stats interface from sourceforge.net geeknet shows what are the countries from where firebird is most downloaded and what operating system is used to download it and the most unexpected thing is that Linux is in the Top

    • Zonbu Desktop Mini Review

      The $249 Community version is a much easier sell: a low-power PC that could easily run your audio collection into your stereo, has more than enough power for homework or basic image editing, and is unlocked so you can load anything you want on it via Gentoo’s package manager. There are definitely things you won’t want to do on a Zonbu (editing video comes to mind), but for most things, you’ve got more than enough machine here.

    • Crashes and Blue Screens are Normal and a Processor Fan has a Lifetime of 1 year — Everyday Support Hotline Fun and the Intel Dynamic Acceleration Technology

      But I don’t want to bore you any further with a story that probably happens everywhere to everyone and all the time in the daily Windows world… While hardware problems occur in Linux just as well, at least the people you talk to about them don’t treat you like an idiot but really know their stuff.

  • Schools

    • How to Sell Linux to Schools

      In my earlier post ‘How to Sell Linux’ I looked at three different ways how to popularize Linux and make it more mainstream as well as a household name. In the post I will look specifically at how I would sell Linux to schools, examining all the aspects of such a deployment and how I would do it and what distro and software I would use.

      Here is the order I will look at things in this post-:

      1. What Distro would be used?
      2. What Software would be pre-installed?
      3. What would be the Incentive?
      4. How Cost Effective would it be?
      5. How quickly could new users Adapt?
      6. Poll and Conclusion

    • How to Sell Linux to Schools- Part 2

      Building on the last post, I welcome the opportunity to share some of my experiences with deploying Linux in schools. It is a very broad topic however I will stay with the previous outline. First of all, it is a matter of migrating schools to Linux, not selling them. Second, the approach is different based on whether the school in located in a developing country, the EU or North America.

      Before I speak to the suggested list of considerations, which I have reordered based on feedback from my deployments and numerous other sources,I want to say that’ the single most factor for any migration plan to be successful is to is to manage the ‘human factor’ of resistance to change. Effective training and support are critical while technical and functional problems are marginal’ This is where FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) comes into play and is heavily leveraged by proponents of proprietary software.

      1. What would be the Incentive?
      2. How Cost Effective would it be?
      3. How quickly could new users Adapt?
      4. What Software would be pre-installed?
      5. What Distro would be used?

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Free Training Webinar Series – Linux Foundation

      Linux Foundation has launched a series of free Training Webinars to meet Growing Demand for Linux Professionals. These webinars are taught by well-known Linux developers directly building on their own experience.

    • Intel’s X.Org Driver Runs Even Faster Now

      A week ago we reported that Intel’s next X.Org driver (the xf86-video-intel 2.12 DDX) would render text/glyphs faster thanks to optimizations done by Chris Wilson, but this was not all that was in store for this Intel Linux driver that’s updated quarterly. With the most recent Git, there are more performance optimizations.

  • Applications

    • Desktop Facebook Notifier for Ubuntu
    • Lightspark 0.4.0 released

      Just a quick update. I’ve released ver­sion 0.4.0 of Lightspark, a free flash player imple­men­ta­tion. This release was focused on improv­ing sta­bil­ity, so all the crashes found by many testers should be fixed now. Thanks a lot for test­ing, sev­eral issues were related to par­tic­u­lar graph­ics hard­ware and I would have never found them with­out your col­lab­o­ra­tion. Please keep test­ing and report­ing any issue.

    • 9 of the Best Free Linux Terminal Emulators

      Now, let’s explore the 9 terminal emulators at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

    • wisotool 20100530 has been released

      Wisotool currently supports 60 games and/or benchmarks (see list below). Please consider contributing support for your favorite game, its not (too) hard. Im especially interested in recent or beta games; ideally wisotool would support (worthwhile) games on the day they are released.

  • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

    • Icons and the FOSS desktop

      In fact, modern applications, proprietary and FOSS alike, seem to me explicit admissions that icons do not work very well. Many applications provide mouseover help to help users identify the icons. The KDE desktop goes one step further, offering thumbnails to help you see what each icon does or contains. If icons worked the way they are supposed to, then why would these supporting structures even exist?

    • New In KDE Partition Manager 1.1 (IV): Improved Size Dialog

      This concludes part four in a sequence of entries presenting some of the new features of the soon-to-be-finished KDE Partition Manager 1.1. Part one was about Mount Management, part two dealt with SMART Status Reports and part three offered a very technical look behind the scenes on the topic of Support For 4096-Byte Sectors.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Salix Live 13.0

        Salix is a Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast and easy to use. Salix is also fully backwards compatible with Slackware, so Slackware users can benefit from Salix repositories, which they can use as an “extra” quality source of software for their favorite distribution. Like a bonsai, Salix is small, light & the product of infinite care.

    • Red Hat Family

      • On Teaching Open Source Development

        DeKoenigsberg is probably better known–for now–by his last job title: Senior Community Architect at Red Hat. It was more from this experience that he addressed the OSS 2010 audience on Open Source Projects, Educational Opportunities.

        DeKoenigsberg told the attendees of educators, researchers, and students that academic institutions are missing a real opportunity for instruction if they aren’t teaching with open source software. For one thing, working on a 5,000-line senior capstone project nowhere near conveys the sheer scale and complexity of a million-line project. And an open source project is the only kind of project a student developer could even get near something that big.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” Code Freeze In Place, Alpha 1 Coming Thursday

        Barely a few weeks after Canonical released Ubuntu 10.04 aka Lucid Lynx, they already announced plans for Ubuntu 10.10 aka Maverick Meerkat, with a release schedule aimed to launch Meerkat in October 2010.

      • Ubuntu Fun

        So I also installed the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the Toshiba Netbook we have. Used Wubi as before. It was very slow (10+ minutes) on bootup however. Luckily the internet is full of information and a few minutes of googling produced this forum thread that had me change a setting in the BIOS. Now it boots quickly. There’s another page on How-To Geek about doing this install.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #195

        Welcome to The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is Issue #195 for the week of May 23rd -May 29th, 2010 and is available here.

        In this issue we cover:

        * Track the Desktop Team and UNE in Maverick
        * Ubuntu Server update for Maverick Meerkat
        * Ubuntu Foundations and Maverick Meerkat 10.10
        * Maverick Community Team Plans

      • Full Circle Side-Pod #1: Hello World… Where Am I?
      • A Sleek & Easy Way To Administer Ubuntu – Ubuntu Control Center

        As you know, Ubuntu and Linux are hugely configurable. Find some spare time and you can customize anything starting from the boot up messages to the gradients used on the buttons and the scroll bars. While one might not attempt such extreme feats very often, administration and configuration are standard tasks that you might perform every now and then.

      • Ubuntu enchancements expected by 10.10

        In recent Linux related news I have been reading about the Ubuntu Control Center (UCC) and the Ubuntu Application Menu (Global Menu). The projects looked extremely interesting so I decided to install them and give them a try. Note that directions for download and installation are provided in the links above.

      • Variants

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5r0 ‘Frankie’

          Parsix team is proud to announce that the final Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5r0 ISO images are available for immediate download.

          This release provides a stable computing platform for your daily uses and tasks. Package repositories are synchronized with Debian testing repositories as of April 7, 2010. Frankie ISO images will not fit on CD and a DVD is required to burn them. These images are compiled using SquashFS 4.0 with LZMA compression and for the first time GRUB 2 is used as default Live-DVD boot loader. The kernel build system has been modified and improved vastly to produce better kernel packages.

        • Teach your kids Linux from an early age with Qimo linux for kids

          Qimo is a desktop operating system designed for kids. Based on the open source Ubuntu Linux desktop, Qimo comes pre-installed with educational games for children aged 3 and up. So If you want to teach your children to use Linux from an early age, Qimo is the perfect for your kids.

          Qimo’s interface has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use, providing large icons for all installed games, so that even the youngest users have no trouble selecting the activity they want.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ubuntu jewelry
    • Nokia

      • Despite Intel backing, MeeGo Linux to support ARM chips

        MeeGo Linux is being developed as a platform for smartphones, netbooks, internet connected TVs, in-car systems, and other devices where Windows may not always be the best option. The project is backed by chip-maker Intel and smartphone maker Nokia. And so far, every device I’ve seen running MeeGo has had an Intel chip — usually a low power Intel Atom processor.

        But in an interview with The Inquirer, Nokia vice president Alberto Torres explained that MeeGo is an open platform and that it will be available for device makers to use on a wide variety of hardware. In fact, Nokia’s first MeeGo device will have an ARM-based chip rather than an Intel x86 processor.

      • N900 Video Call with Skype

        If you have graced my page before then odds are you know I love my N900. This past Wednesday Nokia released the PR 1.2 update for the N900 and one of the features they added was support for the front facing camera to make video calls via the VOIP services Skype and Google Talk. I made my first video call this evening on my N900 and it works quite well!

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Asus launches netbook app store, drops Linux netbook hints

        The Asus App Store is basically a branded version of the Intel AppUp Center. It’s designed as a place where netbook users can go to find software that’s guaranteed to work well on devices with Intel Atom processors and small screens. Asus will preload the App Store software on all Windows netbooks starting in the second half of 2010.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source marks a new era for African independence

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of 17 African states gaining independence.

    Now, a wave of homegrown programmers, developers and software makers claim to be heralding a new era of African independence.

    Earlier this month, the Idlelo conference, organised by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), brought together the continent’s cleverest coding minds at Accra, in Ghana, to discuss new software opportunities in Africa.

    Unlike the bigger, foreign developers – who have mainly targeted the urban markets – the coders at this event looked at how to reach the rural, relatively poorer communities of Africa.

  • Oracle

    • Will Opensolaris 2010.06 be the next release?

      But wait. Today I just found in [osol-discuss] forums that Opensolaris 2010.06 will be expected to release on June 2010. The release date has not been stated yet but it is expected to be announced shortly after Oracle announces Fiscal Year results, which means in a couple of days or so.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Fellowship interview with David Reyes Samblas Martinez

      David Reyes Samblas Martinez is the founder of Spanish Copyleft Hardware store Tuxbrain, and attended the famous Open University of Catalunya. He’s also the subject of this month’s Fellowship interview, in which he answers questions on hardware manufacturing, e-learning and Free Software politics.

  • Openness

    • Chronicling the open source movement – one person at a time

      Whether open source is a license, a community or more is debatable, but what’s not is that none of it would be possible without the people behind it.

      Anyone who knows Linux knows the name Linus Torvalds. Free Software? Richard Stallman. Open Source Initiative? Eric Steven Raymond.

      There are many, many more names. Some well-known to people in the open source community, others who toil in relative anonymity.

      That’s why I liked the appeal for funding for Signal Boost: A Free/Open Source Narrative, on Kickstarter.

      [...]

      A young woman, M.J. de Blanc, has picked up and moved to Boston to write a book. It’s the story of open source, but as she notes in her explainer video, not about FLOSS – it’s about FLOS, Free Libre Open Source. She left off the second S – software – for a simple reason: She wants to write about the people, not the programs.

  • Open Data

    • Analysis: this government is open to scrutiny

      Yet as new technologies have made it possible for governments to make information more accessible to the public, governments have become increasingly creative in inventing excuses to keep it hidden.

    • Open Data: Fantastic, But Not Enough

      In an unusual move for such a significant news item, the UK government announced over the weekend that they were ordering all government departments to embark on a voyage of transparency.

      There were some very good ideas in the announcement, including a mandate to publish details of all ITC procurements. And there is no doubt that a mandate for open data is a fantastic move.

Leftovers

  • When Google locked the door

    This is the story of how Google, for a period of three years, locked me out of their groups service, how I eventually found my way back in, and what it cost me.

    Yeah, I guess this is a bit off topic regarding to software development. However these days many of us store important data and value in services like Google’s. Services with terms like: “Google may stop providing the Services to you at Google’s sole discretion, without prior notice to you”. I guess I never took it too seriously, as the companies would probably get seriously bad PR, if they did something like that. Deleting emails for billions. My error was forgetting the case where you are the only person being locked out.

    I my case the lock wasn’t from email, but from Google Groups. Not as critical as email would have been, but still, well, rather inconvenient. The lockout meant that I was unable to manage the PyChess mailing list. I was unable to fight the, at that time, increasing spam level; and more importantly I couldn’t reply anybody in my community.

  • Science

    • Solar Scientists Agree That the Sun’s Recent Behavior Is Odd, but the Explanation Remains Elusive

      In very rough terms, the sun’s activity ebbs and flows in an 11-year cycle, with flares, coronal mass ejections and other energetic phenomena peaking at what is called solar maximum and bottoming out at solar minimum. Sunspots, markers of magnetic activity on the sun’s surface, provide a visual proxy to mark the cycle’s evolution, appearing in droves at maximum and all but disappearing at minimum. But the behavior of our host star is not as predictable as all that—the most recent solar minimum was surprisingly deep and long, finally bottoming out around late 2008 or so.

    • Breakthrough in Stem Cell Culturing

      For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been cultured under chemically controlled conditions without the use of animal substances, which is essential for future clinical uses. The method has been developed by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and is presented in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

  • Environment

    • China-India Water Shortage Means Coca-Cola Joins Intel in Fight

      A fight breaks out as student Vikas Dagar jostles with dozens of men, women and children to fill buckets from a truck that brings water twice a week to the village of Jharoda Kalan on the outskirts of New Delhi.

      Three thousand kilometers (1,900 miles) away, near Xi’an in central China, power-plant worker Zhou Jie stands on the mostly dry bed of the Wei River, remembering when he used to fish there before pollution made the catch inedible.

    • Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

      Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

    • ‘Top kill’ operation fails: BP
    • Gulf oil spill is public health risk, environmental scientists warn

      Prolonged exposure to crude oil and chemical dispersants is a public health danger, environmental scientists warned yesterday as BP spent a third day trying to initiate a “top kill” operation to cap the ruptured well on the sea bed.

    • BP’s ‘top kill’ mission halts the oil gush – but is it stable?

      A delicate “top kill” operation by BP appears to have halted the gush of oil and gas from its ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, although experts warned that the underwater leak was still far from being permanently fixed.

    • Gulf Oil Leaks Could Gush for Years

      If efforts fail to cap the leaking Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico (map), oil could gush for years—poisoning coastal habitats for decades, experts say.

    • BP clashes with scientists over deep sea oil pollution

      BP has challenged widespread scientific claims that vast plumes of oil are spreading underwater from its blown-out rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The denial comes as the oil giant prepares for a new operation to put an end to the worst oil spill in US history – which could see the leak get worse before it gets better.

      The company’s challenge to several scientific studies is likely to put it further at odds with an increasingly angry Obama administration, which has accused it of playing down the size of the leak in an effort to limit possible fines.

    • Nuclear arms treaty agreed with hope for deal on Middle East

      The 189 member nations of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) last night struck a deal on a series of small steps towards disarmament, including a 2012 conference to discuss a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

    • Maldives president calls for direct action over climate change

      A 1960s-style campaign of direct action must ignite on the streets as a catalyst for decisive action to combat climate change, according to President Mohamed Nasheed of the imperilled Maldives. Nasheed told the Hay festival that it was the United States, not China, that was the biggest obstacle to a global agreement to check carbon emissions.

      Nasheed, who held an underwater meeting of his cabinet last autumn and is presiding over the relocation of people from some islands because of the effects of warming oceans and rising sea levels, put his hopes in the emergence of “huge” grassroots action after the failure of talks in Copenhagen in December.

  • Finance

    • Feds: Man’s global Ponzi scheme ‘massive,’ mocking

      A Canadian national who the U.S. government says swindled $70 million from 40,000 investors on six continents carried out the same kind of Ponzi scheme the one-time bank robber mocked on his website, federal investigators allege.

    • Can the EU survive Europe’s crisis?

      Forged out of the ashes of World War II and the end of the Cold War, the European Union was meant to create peace and prosperity across the region. But Europe’s debt crisis has laid bare deep financial and cultural divisions within the 27-nation bloc that may never be bridged.

      The fateful decision to make the EU effectively a halfway house – tying its member countries into a joint currency and interest rate decisions, while allowing them to retain control over national budgets and taxes – has left the fractured grouping at a crossroads.

    • Blacks in Memphis Lose Decades of Economic Gains

      A single father, he worked for FedEx and also as a custodian, built a handsome brick home, had a retirement account and put his eldest daughter through college.

      Then the Great Recession rolled in like a fog bank. He refinanced his mortgage at a rate that adjusted sharply upward, and afterward he lost one of his jobs. Now Mr. Banks faces bankruptcy and foreclosure.

    • Debt-induced stress continues for many Americans

      The economy trudges ahead yet debt dogs many Americans, stressing them out even as they firm up their own financial foundations.

      There are new jobs produced but old worries persisting for people despite belt-tightening and boosted savings, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

    • 3,000 Pages of Financial Reform, but Still Not Enough

      FOR decades, until Congress did away with it 11 years ago, a Depression-era law known as Glass-Steagall ably protected bank customers, individual investors and the financial system as a whole from the kind of outright destruction we’ve witnessed over the last few years.

    • Shorting Reform
    • More of Michael Lewis on Bank Reform
    • The Consensus on Big Banks Shifts, But Not at Treasury
    • Cuomo’s HUD career under scrutiny
    • Grandma Lehman Sues Big Bad Wolf JPMorgan

      The complaint begins by explaining the relationships between Lehman and JPMorgan. Lehman was a full-service stock broker. JPMorgan provided clearing services for Lehman’s securities business. JPMorgan was the lead lender and administrator on a $2 billion unsecured revolving line of credit. Lehman also had a large derivatives portfolio with Jamie Dimon’s bank.

    • The SEC and the Python
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • German Publishers Want Censorship Talks With Apple

      While the magazine publishers may rightly be concerned about private control of a platform that many of them are counting on for their long-term salvation, the German state is at the very least ambivalent about the subject of censorship. This is the country that has banned Wikileaks, sought a ban on violent games, and voted to censor child porn (only to have the president kill the ban as unconstituitonal).

    • Bangladesh ‘blocks Facebook’ over political cartoons

      Bangladesh has blocked access to Facebook after satirical images of the prophet Muhammad and the country’s leaders were uploaded, say reports.

    • Pakistan & Facebook are friends again

      Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

  • Copyrights

    • Ofcom unveils anti-piracy policy

      Lists of Britons who infringe copyright are to be drawn up by the UK’s biggest ISPs, under proposals from the regulator Ofcom.

    • Copyright: consumer versus artists

      This week Ottawa will try once again to update Canada’s copyright law that Industry Minister Tony Clement says has holes big enough to “drive a Mack truck through.”

      The Copyright Act of Canada has not had a significant rewrite since 1988, at a time when the Internet was still in its infancy and an iPad was just a twinkle in some inventor’s eye.

      The trick — one the Conservatives and Liberals before them couldn’t master — is to find a balance between right of consumers’ and the rights of the artists or creators to not have their work ripped off.

    • Sneak Peek at Canada’s New Copyright Bill

      Media reports last week indicated that the government plans to introduce its long-awaited copyright reform bill within the next few days. The bill is sure to spark widespread debate since all Canadians — whether consumers, creators, businesses, or educators — have a significant stake in the outcome.

      The internal dynamics that led to the bill are by now fairly well known. Industry Minister Tony Clement, emboldened by last summer’s copyright consultation that generated unprecedented public participation, argued for a forward-looking, technology neutral bill with flexibility as a core principle. Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore advocated for a U.S.-style protectionist approach, with priority given to digital locks that can be used to limit copying, access, and marketplace competition.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – VT – Parallax (3/18/2004)


‘Quit Microsoft’ Day and ‘Quit Apple’ Day?

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apples in basket

Summary: As Google ditches Microsoft Windows and “Quit Facebook Day” is passed, a suggestion is made that a “Quit Microsoft Day” and/or “Quit Apple Day” should be organised to advocate software freedom

AS MANY people have heard by now (several informed us via IRC), Google is ditching Windows. It’s long overdue.

Just as we learn that Internet Explorer keeps losing users, this news bodes badly for Windows as well. Google got attacked after its customers used Internet Explorer, which Microsoft had not patched properly for five months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Here are some more of the many reports about Google quitting Windows:

i. Google: We don’t do Windows

Obviously Google would eventually love its employees to use its own Linux-based desktop OS product, ChromeOS, as soon as its is ready for prime time. For now, Apple’s (AAPL) Macs and to a lesser extent, Linux are the answer.

But ChromeOS is the future and it seems pretty apparent that Google is heading in that direction. A few more Googler quotes:

* “Before the security, there was a directive by the company to try to run things on Google products. It was a long time coming.”
* “A lot of it is an effort to run things on Google product,” the employee said. “They want to run things on Chrome.”

ii. Who Needs Windows? Google Starts Putting Their Computers Where Their Mouth Is

A new report tonight in the Financial Times suggests that Google is steering its employees away from using Microsoft’s dominant operating system in the workplace. In fact, the reports says that, “New hires are now given the option of using Apple’s Mac computers or PCs running the Linux operating system.” And it states that getting a computer running Windows may require permission as high up as Google’s CIO.

iii. Google ditches Windows on security concerns

Google is phasing out the internal use of Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows operating system because of security concerns, according to several Google employees.

The directive to move to other operating systems began in earnest in January, after Google’s Chinese operations were hacked, and could effectively end the use of Windows at Google, which employs more than 10,000 workers internationally.

iv. Google ditching Windows: report

That company is Google. And following the intrusions into its innards in January by network crackers allegedly from China, the search giant is reported to have decided to discontinue the use of Windows internally.

A report in the Financial Times online says this is due to security concerns – and for the first time a mainstream news outlet has this line: “Windows is known for being more vulnerable to attacks by hackers and more susceptible to computer viruses than other operating systems.”

Muktware suggests organising a day similar to “Quit Facebook Day” and calling it “Quit Microsoft Day” and/or “Quit Apple Day”. Nice idea. Mozilla used a similar type of campaigns to break Firefox records and gain new users.

It would be interesting to see a Quit Microsoft Day or Quit Apple Day. A day when people chose to break the shackles of restriction, humiliation and monopoly and choose their freedom.

The world will not stop without proprietary technolog, it will infact become a better place to live in. There are alternatives to Microsoft Windows and Apple Macs, iPad and iPhone.

Gnu/Linux based Ubuntu is one of the most powerful secure and user-friendly operating system. Firefox and Google Chrome are the best alternatives to Microsoft Internet Explorer and Safari. Android based Google phones are the best alternatives to the iPhone. All you need to do is look around.

Microsoft understands that Windows has problems (Vista 7 included) and there are new risks of layoffs*, so it needs to pretend to be doing something (better to appear to react rather than to sit idly). “Microsoft projects aim to rival Chrome OS,” says The Register, which links to a vapourware article we mentioned the other day.

It is worth emphasising that Microsoft’s most used desktop operating system is being phased out and reality suggests that more people will explore other operating systems and watch Google’s judgment from afar. They can now decide whether they want freedom (BSD, GNU/Linux, and other such platforms), or simply an alternate tyranny, which is what Apple offers them.
____
* There is new activity in Microsoft Global Outsourcing (MGO), which is a ‘nice’ catchphrase for sending jobs overseas to pay workers minimally.

More Microsoft Products May be Axed After Microsoft Exodus, Other Trouble

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Memphis

Summary: Microsoft’s spin after an exodus is explained and shown; Microsoft has begun suing Windows users for money and further limiting the available options

Last week we saw another wave of Microsoft exodus [1, 2, 3] (rumours of more layoffs exist too) and Microsoft uses “reorg” is a typical euphemism, as we previously explained in [1, 2]. Whenever large numbers of major departures are announced, the word “reorg” comes up. The term is usually being used by Ina Fried and other such PR folks (same two years ago when the mobile unit was abandoened). Here are more new examples of “reorg”/”reorganize”/”reorganization” in new headlines [1, 2, 3]. The term which Mary Jo Foley uses in her headline is “org[anisation] chart”.

“Shake-Up” is the word Murdoch’s press uses in the headline and the same word is used in the headline of John Carroll from Microsoft (he stopped working there) and an article by Microsoft boosters like Preston Gralla (maybe his editor changed the headline). They are spinning it as through it’s a good piece of news rather than a disaster for Microsoft.

Here is another example of the word “shakeup” being used in the headline:

Microsoft Shakeup Ballmer’s Last Chance?

[...]

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put his credibility, and possibly his career at the software maker, on the line Tuesday with a bold reorganization of the company’s struggling hardware unit.

It’s not just about Ballmer. We’ll come to this in a moment.

When many departures are announced at the same time and the company fears investors’ wrath that’s just the type of reaction one ought to expect. It’s called “damage control” and the above is just a survey of headlines. The side blog of Murdoch’s press calls this a “reboot”, which is a term Ballmer used on various occasions, e.g. to describe post-Longhorn Windows development.

Microsoft’s stock fell some days ago after Barclays had lowered its views on Microsoft.

Microsoft (MSFT) is trending modestly lower in afternoon trading, down 1.08%, after Barclays Capital cut its target price on the stock while maintaining its “buy” rating.

Here are some other negative articles about Microsoft’s stock [1, 2, 3], coming at roughly the same time as when it fell behind Apple in terms of market cap. Some pro-GNU/Linux sites celebrated this. Other sites went further [1, 2, 3], with the headline of a longtime Microsoft watcher saying: “The Windows era is over”.

Here is a chart comparing Apple and Microsoft (MSFT). Apple customers will spend a lot of money on Apple’s stuff, whereas some people won’t pay Microsoft anything and they would pay absolutely nothing if Microsoft forced them to because Free software like GNU/Linux is available (Apple’s customers are people who choose by price tags and labels). In terms of market share, thanks to the less wealthy countries, GNU/Linux might already be ahead of Mac OS X. Here is Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide from last year (referring to desktop):

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux

Let’s go back to the main topic though. More “reorg” reports are appearing. It’s that euphemism again.

Microsoft Ready To Reorg Marketing Big Time, Analyst Says

Evidently, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, has had enough. Maybe that’s why Microsoft in February appointed David Webster chief strategy officer, and Gayle Troberman chief creative officer, — both new roles — after somewhat of a reorganization earlier this year.

Webster was previously general manager, brand and marketing strategy. Troberman serves as general manager of advertising. Both report to Mich Mathews, senior vice president of corporate marketing. The new appointments and strategy will allow marketing team to work across campaigns to unify the message for the Microsoft brand.

Microsoft’s mobile business is a disaster and it’s not entirely clear who will take over and how. There is a big vacuum. Novell had similar problems in the channel before John Dragoon took over it, just like Steve Ballmer does in this case. It’s not just a couple of departures because this chain goes a while back (Enrique Rodriguez [1, 2] for example).

Might Microsoft just cancel some more of its products? It seems possible, based on CRN.

Microsoft has problems in its mobile business, but it’s clearly not afraid of jettisoning the old way of doing things and starting over with an entirely new approach.

Microsoft tried “an entirely new approach” with Sidekick and with “KIN”. It failed miserably. IDG has the following new articles:

Microsoft Admits Windows Phone 7 Slide Was Wrong

Microsoft Risks Becoming Mobile Market Also-Ran

Redmond has its share of problems in the rapidly evolving consumer tech market. While Microsoft continues to dominate in its two core, and highly profitable, software markets with Windows (desktop operating systems) and Office (productivity software), it has failed thus far to match the success of key rivals Apple and Google in the mobile arena.

If You Have Multithreading in Windows Phone 7, Do You Need Multitasking?

Microsoft’s decision to block multitasking for Windows Phone 7, at least in the initial release, unleashed complaints from some developers and pundits. It was a step backward! The Apple-fication of Windows Mobile and so on.

With multitasking lacking, how can Microsoft even compete on technical grounds?

Here is another new report: “Microsoft May Cut Zune Streaming Music Price, Executive Says” (is anyone even using it?)

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, may cut the monthly fee it charges for streaming music on its Zune portable player, senior product manager Terry Farrell said in an interview.

CNET’s corner for Microsoft boosters (“Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft”) has this headline: “What should Ballmer do with Zune?”

“Some sites are trying to personify the problem by naming Ballmer, but it’s not a one-man failure.”Zune too is a dead/dying product, but “KIN” might depend on it now. Looking around at some other devices, Vista 7 keeps failing in tablets [1, 2, 3] and this new article states: “Microsoft: No Windows Phone 7 Tablet Devices Planned”

So how are they going to compete?

Some sites are trying to personify the problem by naming Ballmer, but it’s not a one-man failure. In fact, a lot of people in this team have been shown for their abuses. Getting rid of Ballmer, as some new article suggests, would not solve the behavioural problems of Microsoft. It’s a cultural issue in a changing landscape that injures this monopolist and leads to layoffs.

One author asks, “Why Does Steve Ballmer Still Have a Job?” [via]

Sure, Microsoft still has a dominant market share in PC operating systems and office applications, but it’s managed to take that massive competitive advantage and waste it everywhere else over the past decade.

Ballmer’s mistake is that he is a bully and a liar. He even shows this, unlike Bill Gates who was doing the same things but at least hiding it. Here is Ballmer spreading the counterfeiting lie that Microsoft uses whenever it’s down. Ballmer did this last week (original report here).

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scathing of ongoing, rampant piracy in China in his latest comments, saying: “India is not perfect, but the intellectual property protection in India is far, far better than it would be in China.” He added that “China is a less interesting market to us than India, than Indonesia”.

Ouch.

These comments come on the same day that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are actually in China, which may put pressure on both Governments to address this issue once again, as it potentially loses Microsoft, and numerous other US companies, hundreds of millions of dollars.

There is a lot of poor reporting, which is not analytical and is just echoing Microsoft’s use of words like “piracy”, along with unsupported, un-backed claims about “damages”.

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Extreme sensationalism is being used by InformationWeek (“Microsoft Says China Piracy Killing Thousands Of U.S. Jobs”). Microsoft is just chasing old business models where this notion of counterfeiting still exists. It’s all about artificial limitations:

Microsoft says a Parallels virtualization product, aimed to help users upgrade their systems to Windows 7, will cause users to violate their software licenses in most cases, according to CNET.

Microsoft should sell services, not licences to merely run some binaries. Digital abundance cannot be fought against for much longer. That’s why Microsoft’s Encarta died and Microsoft’s software may be next. Windows is no longer free (gratis) in China and this is probably going to drive China to GNU/Linux even faster. Microsoft was suing Chinese businesses for using Windows, but it’s bouncing back at Microsoft’s face:

Internet café fires back at Microsoft over lawsuit

A Chinese Internet café group being sued by Microsoft for using pirated software is accusing the US firm of attempting to shore up money in its intellectual property lawsuit.

The accusation comes about two weeks after Microsoft said it would nearly triple its compensation claim in regard to the café group’s use of pirated Windows operating systems, bumping the damages sought to 1.58 million yuan ($231,000).

This Internet café is likely to just use GNU/Linux after the incident. The government in China has even begun encouraging this, but it’s claimed that there is in-built surveillance in the distribution/s the Chinese government approves/endorses/enforces. There’s nothing GNU/Linux can do to prevent them from doing this, but users can fetch/compile their own distribution of choice if they are permitted by the totalitarian regime. Microsoft is "enabling tyranny" in China and Ballmer defended this policy last week as well. To Microsoft, it’s still all about money.

Microsoft Has Your Facebook and Twitter Data, Tightens Relationship With Those Companies

Posted in Deception, Formats, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer as a bird

Summary: The access to data in high traffic sites such as Facebook and Twitter enables Microsoft to suppress opposition and inject its points of view, products, formats, etc.

MICROSOFT is an unpopular company. Its bad reputation is well deserved and earned. About a week ago, people complained in Twitter that Microsoft was harassing them even in their own houses. It was causing a lot of noise and there are other recent incidents we could cite (like trashing/polluting the streets with promotional “MSN” butterflies — a case in which the local authorities were also called to intervene).

Office drones around Soho’s Golden Square have complained to the council about the racket caused by Microsoft’s ongoing attempt to attract more users to Hotmail through the medium of dance.

Hotmail is dying, but that’s not today’s subject.

Back in the old days, controlling the press was easy because the number of channels/newspapers was limited and there was an editorial hierarchy for each publisher. Then came the Internet and blogs. Microsoft has realised that taking down other people's blog posts is something it can manage to do in order to guard a reputation, but keeping track of billions of short messages is nearly impossible. That would be microblogging. So Microsoft signed some deals with Twitter and Twitter’s CEO came over to Microsoft a couple of weeks ago. As part of Microsoft’s AstroTurfing efforts, its PR department had developed some tools with which to spy on people and observe trends in Twitter. That was a year ago. Microsoft uses Twitter for its AstroTurfing, as we demonstrated in some of the following posts:

Microsoft Nick says that Microsoft has gone further. It developed more tools for use in Twitter:

Microsoft announced the alpha preview of a social-networking initiative, Project Emporia, being developed through its FUSE Labs. The application gives users the ability to browse information on Twitter most relevant to their needs, and refine their experience through a “like/dislike” recommender system. Since its inception in October 2009, FUSE Labs has pursued the development of social connectivity, real-time experiences and rich media software and services.

Another area where Microsoft wants and needs to control minds would be Facebook.

“Facebook Obliterates Rivals in Google List of Top Sites,” says one headline from IDG and there are other signs that there is still “mindshare” in that site. To quote Microsoft on “mindshare”:

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Microsoft has already attempted to acquire Facebook. At the moment, Facebook and Microsoft seem to be allies and it’s possible that Microsoft will borrow more money and attempt to buy Facebook again.

Zuckerberg already helps Microsoft in many ways (giving them data, Office market share, spreading Silver Lie, etc.) and some days ago we found this new article:

Ballmer on Facebook privacy: Zuckerberg one of ‘good guys’

Google and Facebook are the ones grappling with high-profile security and privacy problems these days, but Microsoft has been there before, many times, and the issues were clearly on Steve Ballmer’s mind during a talk this past week on the company’s Redmond campus.

Of course Microsoft takes Facebook’s side. Microsoft too is in the business of profiling people [1, 2, 3]. Facebook has not really changed anything or even apologised since the controversy began. Microsoft supports Facebook’s position probably because it continues to receive copies of Facebook’s data (the more the merrier — the same data which made people furious). To quote an article from last week, with emphasis added: “CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook fixing privacy tools”

The latest flap came last month, when Facebook announced new features that send user profile information in bulk to companies such as Microsoft, Yelp and Pandora. That prompted four U.S. senators – led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. – to demand Facebook pass along data only if users agree to it.

The original article had the title “Facebook simplifies its privacy controls” (but does not actually resolve the issue).

In the case of Twitter, there is a Bing deal that gives Microsoft the company’s whole data feed. These companies share their databases. See this recently-leaked Microsoft handbook to find out how it facilitates compliance with government requests for personal data (snoops).

Carol Bartz is Acting Like Ballmer #2

Posted in Microsoft, Search at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz tells Michael Arrington to “fuck off!” (out of context)


Yahoo! Blog from Sunnyvale, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Generic license (caption added by us, with Ballmer’s words

Summary: Icahn is busy preying on another victim; Bartz learned from her masters at Redmond and is excited about passing her customers over to Microsoft

THE Yahoo! hijack is work in progress. More executives from Microsoft are being passed into Yahoo! which has become merely an extension of Microsoft and is going nowhere despite its own optimism (all companies are optimistic about themselves; they have to be).

Chris Kanaracus reports on what appears like Icahn’s next proxy battle [1, 2]. Charlatan vultures like that really haven’t a place in civilised society. He communicated with Microsoft while he was expelling opposition to Microsoft inside Yahoo!, eventually putting Microsoft’s partner at the time at the top of the organisation chart of Yahoo!

Yahoo! buys some more assets and its CEO falls for bait from the trashy blogger Michael Arrington (who previously accepted money from Microsoft in order to AstroTurf).

Elsewhere on planet Yahoo!, the firm’s CEO Carol Bartz has been telling TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington to “fuck off!”, which seems reasonable enough to us. The full exchange is here.

For those who want context, watch this video. Arrington is quite rude himself, he is the one who started with the F word, and he provokes and misrepresents (see the comments). Shame on him. Again. But Bartz should have known better and kept her mouth under control. It takes discipline to evade vexing/agitation that’s intended to do exactly that (evocative of statements to be taken out of context or put in the headline, at least in Arrington’s shameless case).

Michael Arrington
Photo by Joi

Anyway, Murdoch’s press has this new article titled: “Yahoo Exec: Microsoft Search Transition Test Results ‘Excellent’”

The article quotes Mark Morrissey, who works for Bartz. Well, that’s her role to do. She was put in place in order to obey Icahn and pass control to Microsoft, whom Icahn apparently worked with. Eventually, she gave Yahoo! to Microsoft without even a buyout. And that’s just corrupt; kind of like Icahn and a pack of other vultures like himself. They are enemies of capitalism.

Proponents of Microsoft Come to Grips With Microsoft’s Sheer Aggression Using Software Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess

Summary: Microsoft’s miserable strategy of bullying is recognised by boosters of Microsoft’s monopoly; some try to excuse Microsoft by painting it as a victim

MICROSOFT is a patent aggressor and Salesforce is angry at Microsoft for this. It ought to be. Eric Knorr from IDG thinks that Google might buy Salesforce (speculation only) and Microsoft Nick cites Marc Benioff as saying that Microsoft are “alley thugs”. Yes, the CEO of Salesforce calls them "thugs" and only compares them to "patent trolls", so it’s nice to see that even Microsoft boosters acknowledge this. They might — just might — even come to realise that the company they promote is abusive.

Microsoft Nick argues that “Microsoft’s Salesforce.com Lawsuit Overshadows Hotmail Update” and other Web sites that cover this incident occasionally quote Benioff’s allegations.

The second Microsoft Nick (“Microsoft Nick” is not intended to be an insult, just as “Linux Steven” or “Open Source Asay” would not be an insult) also quotes Benioff as calling Microsoft “patent trolls”:

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff didn’t hold much back Thursday when, during the company’s Q1 FY2011 earnings call, someone asked him about Microsoft’s new lawsuit against the cloud-computing leader. He went right out and said it, calling Microsoft “patent trolls.”

That’s not entirely true. He made a comparison, he didn’t directly call them that. The above may misrepresent Benioff’s words. Anyway, another one of the Microsoft-oriented writers chose a curious headline, “Is Microsoft A Patent Troll?” He is attacking a straw man.

So at least by the elements of that definition, Microsoft doesn’t meet the patent troll definition at all. The patents that Microsoft is litigating aren’t ones that it has purchased, but ones that were filed based on the research of their own employees. Some of those patents are ones that are already being used in Microsoft products, and others are at at least potentially usable in future products. For the time being, patent royalties are a small part of Microsoft’s revenues. And finally, Microsoft is going after companies that are in its own technology back yard.

Far from being a patent troller themselves, Microsoft has been a patent-troll victim, losing several lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Still, there’s no doubt that Microsoft has increasingly gone after competitors that it believes are using its patented ideas. Just last month, phone-maker HTC cut a deal to license patents that Microsoft said were being used by HTC handsets.

It would be wrong to describe Microsoft as a victim, but the above makes an attempt at that. As for Android, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer says that there is “nothing free about Android” after his patent extortion. We covered this before. It’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Google is a victim.

In other news this week, Microsoft suffers yet another patent setback. Patent WatchTroll writes about it and so do many other publications, for instance:

High court rejects Microsoft Outlook patent appeal

The US Supreme Court has turned down Microsoft’s appeal of a jury verdict that it infringed on another company’s patent.

Supreme Court Rejects Microsoft’s Patent Appeal

The Supreme Court has turned down Microsoft’s appeal of a jury verdict finding the software giant in violation of Alcatel-Lucent’s patented technology.

US high court won’t hear Microsoft, Alcatel case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) appeal in a case that could have reshaped the standards used in court fights to determine if patents have been infringed.

Microsoft patent appeal rejected

THE US Supreme Court has turned down Microsoft Corp’s appeal of a jury verdict that it infringed on Paris-based company’s patent.

US Supreme Court Denies Microsoft Petition In Patent Case

Microsoft rejected by U.S. Supreme Court in Alcatel dispute

For a little bit of background about the Alcatel-Lucent situation, see [1, 2, 3].

A Glimpse Back at Red Hat’s and Novell’s Stance on Software Patents in 2005

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, IBM, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 2:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Piggy bank OIN

Summary: In hindsight, it is claimed that Red Hat too has an ambivalent view on the subject of software patents, at least historically; Novell, as expected, is not against software patents

“Webbink (then Red Hat) [was] in favor of [the European] software patent directive.” We have just learned this from Florian Müller, who is referring to incidents going half a decade back. Could it possibly be true? Let’s look at what we know.

We found the above claim curious if not contradictory because Mark Webbink expressed his opposition to software patents as he was leaving Red Hat a few years later. He made a video on the subject. In many ways, Red Hat follows IBM’s lead and may sometimes inherit the path chosen by IBM, which is of course in favour of software patents. On the subject of software patents at Red Hat we wrote last year:

Here is a video of Mark Webbink speaking about software patents. He doesn’t seem to like them at all.

“Concerning Mark Webbink (then with Red Hat, now involved with SFLC and other organizations), a couple of web pages still contain the text of a post I published on my old “NoLobbyistsAsSuch” blog in 2006,” wrote Florian. Here is the text (no longer at its original address, so we wish to preserve it):

Evidence for Mark Webbink’s pro-patent directive lobbying on July 5, 2005

In my previous blog article, I mentioned the fact that Red Hat’s deputy general counsel, Mark Webbink, lobbied in the European Parliament on July 5, 2005 (the day before the EP’s decisive vote to reject the software patent bill) to keep the software patent directive alive.

I had not anticipated the kind of Internet debate that this statement would trigger, including some insulting emails that were sent to me, and least of all I would have expected Mark Webbink to call into question the “veracity of [my] statements”, which is what he did in the discussion below this LWN.net article. He knows exactly what he did.

The word “motivations” also appears in that posting. It’s really simple: on the occasion of a patent suit having been filed against Red Hat, I thought it was time to tell the truth. Especially the free and open source software (FOSS) community should know where certain key players stand. That will better enable people to take a critical perspective on such initiatives as the OSDL Patent Commons.

Contrary to what Mark Webbink claims, my related statements are not “unverifiable”. What he did on July 5, 2005 is a well-documented fact, and here’s some evidence:

From: [name and address of adviser to Michel Rocard MEP deleted]
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 2:53 AM
To: Florian Mueller
Cc: europarl-help@ffii.org
Subject: Re: Economist article — coordinated response needed

[cut]
Yes. The day before the vote, as I had been considered by them as somewhat connected to Mr Rocard 8^) , I have been quite heavily lobbied by a group comprising Mrs Thornby-Nielsen (Sun), Mrs Moll (Google), Mr Webbink (RedHat) and Mr Cox (IBM). All four had basically the same concerns
[cut]

I have removed parts of the email and in particular the name of the author, further to his request. He would prefer to stay in the background, like many political advisers do. But europarl-help@ffii.org is a key mailing list of European anti-software patent activists, and dozens of people received that email directly. No one will seriously question its authenticity.

And here’s an important excerpt from a follow-up email:

From: [name and address of adviser to Michel Rocard MEP deleted]
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 1:44 PM
To: Florian Mueller
Cc: europarl-help@ffii.org
Subject: Re: Economist article — coordinated response needed

[cut]
> They were against the rejection deal, right? I know that Mark W. and
> Charlotte T.-N. didn’t want rejection.

It seemed so to me. All of them. Basically, it seemed to me they were not likely to have no sotware patents at all. The interpretation I gave Mr Webbink was that it is not culturally acceptable, for most people that come from the legal and patent world, to reject a system from which one can make some money…
[cut]
I believe the above should eliminate all reasonable doubt about what happened that day. While the FFII and I were asking everyone we knew in the European Parliament to reject the proposed software patent directive, Red Hat’s Mark Webbink, along with representatives of IBM, Sun and Google, pushed in the opposite direction.

So what did he really want to achieve? Someone pointed me to an article Mark Webbink wrote and which in its paragraph #20 refers to the EU software patent directive. He asks for a definition of the term “technical contribution” (a key term in patent law) that “will eliminate the vast majority of business method patents and will restore a substantial non-obviousness test to software patents”. If you read that carefully, it means he accepts software patents per se. He’d just like to raise the bar a little bit, and the FFII and I and all others who know how substantive patent law is applied in practice can tell you that defining “technical contribution” properly would not be a sufficient measure. It would just have the desired effect as part of a coherent framework of patentability criteria. Otherwise it’s like a bucket has five holes and you close one: all of the water will still go through the other holes.

In the same article, and in the Red Hat/Sun position paper that Mark Webbink published again on LWN.net, a lot of emphasis is put on an interoperability privilege. That, again, means to accept the patentability of software per se, but to demand a carve-out for certain purposes. To the FFII and myself, interoperability was not even a secondary priority. We focused on the definition of what is patentable and what is not. If software is not patentable at all, there’s no pressing need for an interoperability exception as far as we’re concerned. Interoperability was exactly the area in which the pro-software patent forces were most wiling to make a concession if it allowed them to win the wider battle.

Finally, I’d like to reiterate what I said in my previous post: What Mark Webbink did behind the scenes is not necessarily Red Hat’s position as a company, even though Red Hat has entrusted him with patent lobbying. There are many people at Red Hat who clearly oppose software patents, and who opposed the EU software patent directive, most of all Alan Cox.

People can judge the claims above knowing that they came from someone who pushed for abolition.

We previously wrote about IBM as a key player in OIN, but Florian names six key companies, Novell and Red Hat included. “I’ll also mention some things concerning the positions of its backers on software patents, such as what Novell told EU politicians in 2004,” Florian wrote. Yesterday he posted his analysis of OIN, which is interesting.

Only six companies call the shots

The OIN’s name starts with an utterly misleading term: “open”.

In reality, the organization is owned and run by a closed circle of six companies, some of whom have a terrible background concerning software patents:

* IBM (the world’s largest patent holder and one of the most ruthless ones, recently in the news for betraying its own “patent pledge” by infringement assertions made against open-source startup TurboHercules)

* Philips (a company that once benefited from the temporary abolition of patents in its country but later lobbied extremely aggressively for software patents, left the World Wide Web Consortium because of the latter’s royalty-free patent policy, and threatened politicians with killing software development jobs in Europe if they weren’t going to allow software patents, even though patents are always related to a target market in which they’re valid and 100% independent from where in the world the patented invention is made)

* NEC (a large patent holder)

* Sony (a large patent holder)

* Novell (which never supported any serious push against software patents and instead told EU officials in 2004 that it liked software patents a lot except that a proposed EU law on them appeared to limit “customer choice” a bit too much)

* Red Hat (which lobbied to keep the aforementioned EU bill alive when we had already formed a majority for its rejection, and which partners with IBM on a number of initiatives that appear to protect FOSS but are either ineffectual or even potentially harmful)

[...]

So what is the OIN good for?

The fact of the matter is that today, almost five years after its foundation, the OIN still hasn’t proven its ability to help any Linux (or other FOSS) company in any meaningful way. Totally unsubstantiated and illogical claims by propagandists aren’t a substitute for a single convincing success story. That success story would have to consist in some company potentially hostile to open source (and with a dangerous patent arsenal) accepting the OIN’s licensing terms. That hasn’t happened and I have serious doubt that it ever will.

The OIN continues to buy patents at auctions that might otherwise be acquired by regular trolls. At first sight, that may sound good. But given the intransparent and arbitrary structure of the OIN, it’s not clear whether that’s actually the lesser or the greater evil than a conventional troll. In the end, the OIN is under the control of those six companies who could decide to use some of those patents against competitors, including FOSS competitors. By controlling the definition of what the OIN calls the “Linux System”, they can always ensure that their competitors don’t benefit from it, even if they were or became OIN licensees.

Buying those patents at auctions is really expensive. So far the OIN has spent hundreds of millions of dollars. Given the way businesses operate, that’s not the amount of money that one would spend unselfishly. Instead, that level of investment, intransparency and unbalanced rights suggests ulterior motives, if not a long-term hidden agenda.

The analysis above leaves out players such as Google and Oracle (also in OIN). In the mean time, more patent pools are being created for Linux and there are also entities such as RPX. None of these entities strives to end software patents (certainly not Peer-To-Patent, either); they are only aggregating and/or endorsing them. As Carlo Piana put it last week, “the *only* solution is abolition NOW.”

The bottom line is that Red Hat could do more to end software patents as OIN is not enough. OIN is a symptom of a problematic framework and it’s that framework which needs to be tackled.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts