Summary: How Microsoft continues to pursue elevation of the cost of GNU/Linux (preferably with the added expense going to Microsoft’s coffers) and why it’s time for OpenSUSE to escape this mistreatment
THE WEB SITE “BOYCOTT NOVELL” was created almost four years ago in order to protest and to stop Microsoft’s long attempt to impose “IP” royalties on Linux. It was mainly a campaign of sorts.
Techrights still covers the Novell deal, which is a two-company deal. One of those companies is Microsoft, which signed Novell-like deals with other companies such as Samsung. According to this article, from Samsung’s Wave alone Microsoft has already earned money (royalties) extracted from over one million Linux phones. Yes, Microsoft makes money when people buy specific Linux phones. To repeat an old argument, there are two problems here: (1) Microsoft gets stronger when people buy Linux (Ballnux) and (2) Linux is becoming more expensive (relative to Windows). Suffice to say, no patents were ever named, so Microsoft is just ‘pulling a SCO’ here.
“OpenSUSE has an opportunity to escape the Microsoft deal by simply rebranding and disengaging from Novell.”Prior to Novell’s approach towards Microsoft, the monopolist from Microsoft had invested a lot of money in the SCO lawsuit, which sought to collect Linux “IP” royalties based on copyrights, not patents.
To repeat the names of Ballnux offerings that are still alive, there’s Xandros, Novell, Samsung, LG, HTC, Amazon (server or Kindle), Kyocera Mita, Brother, I-O Data, Melco/Buffalo, and few more (which still seem to have Linux-based products in the market). In addition, The Novell deal left OpenSUSE in a position where its users are sensitive to lawsuits once they make some profitable business with it. Now that OpenSUSE 11.3 is out (covered in [1, 2, 3]) and Novell more or less neglects it (volunteers carry on and mostly remain big fans), it is time for OpenSUSE to dissociate itself from the “Ballnux” bunch. OpenSUSE has an opportunity to escape the Microsoft deal by simply rebranding and disengaging from Novell. Other people too suggest that this should be done. █
GeoHot, or George Hotz to use his real name, has built up quite a following and reputation online. This is mainly due to his antics jailbreaking the iPhone and iPad, and working to re-enable PS3 Linux after Sony removed it with a firmware update.
I know, I know… Linux is a “4 letter word” to all of the Mac/Windows users out there that like their pretty GUI’s (Graphical User Interfaces). But I want to take a minute or two to show you some of the things that you can do with Linux without diving in head first. Basically there are two popular methods to try Linux without having to change your existing OS. They are “CD/DVD Live” or “USB Pen Drive Live”. First, let me begin my discussion by explaining why you should care.
A guy has a nice report of a construction project, a PC he built for $200 and a bit of his time. It uses an AMD64 X2 CPU and 1 gB of fast RAM on a minimal motherboard. He was under budget and if the construction and installation time cost $50/h, this project cost less than $250. He then benchmarked it against a $300 box with “7″ installed in the factory. He got what he paid for and it is faster in every test compared to that other OS on similar hardware.
Since Dell has recently been caught out boycotting AMD and accepting payments for the boycott from Intel, is it not very likely that Dell would boycott Ubuntu upon payments from M$? What do you think?
“Intel made exclusivity payments to Dell in order for Dell to not use CPUs manufactured by its rival — Advance Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD). These exclusivity payments grew from 10 percent of Dell’s operating income in FY 2003 to 38 percent in FY 2006, and peaked at 76 percent in the first quarter of FY 2007. The SEC alleges that Dell Inc., Michael Dell, Rollins, and Schneider failed to disclose the basis for the company’s sharp drop in its operating results in its second quarter of FY 2007 as Intel cut its payments after Dell announced its intention to begin using AMD CPUs. In dollar terms, the reduction in Intel exclusivity payments was equivalent to 75 percent of the decline in Dell’s operating income. Michael Dell, Rollins, and Schneider had been warned in the past that Intel would cut its funding if Dell added AMD as a vendor. Nevertheless, in Dell’s second quarter FY 2007 earnings call, they told investors that the sharp drop in the company’s operating results was attributable to Dell pricing too aggressively in the face of slowing demand and to component costs declining less than expected.”
While the SBR scheme – flagged in the Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration report on public service reform – purports to simplify business-to-government reporting, Linux users have cried foul over the lack of AUSkey compatibility with the platform, while the ATO has told some businesses that the software “doesn’t like Macs”.
“There’s some more discussions we’ve got to have with AUSkey about Linux,” Madden said. “If we get through the Linux process where Linux themselves would like to provide support for some of these facilities, those facilities will get published the same way as the rest of the Linux things do, in an open source way.”
We are announcing some new arrivals today in the Linux.com Store– hats, hats and more hats! To be more specific, we’ve added four new baseball caps, each with a different choice of a Linux-related graphic. My favorite is the “Green Fresh Kernels.”
There’s a new virtual machine on my block, for the purposes of creating crisp and squeaking clean screencasts. And the VM goes by the name of Fedora 13, my chance to dip my toes in alternative Linux distro waters, away from the familiar shores of Ubuntu.
The HawkBoard is available for global shipping today from Farnell. Offering portability and diversity in its small, 9×10-cm form factor, the HawkBoard, based on the OMAP-L138 processor from TI, enables Linux developers to harness the power of floating-point DSP to design unique open source applications. Developers can utilize ARM without DSP with TI’s pin-for-pin compatible AM1808 microprocessor from the Sitara family of processors. This low-power board requires only a five-volt power supply, allowing portability by connecting to a laptop.
Since not everyone may wish to get to grips with Java, the main Android development language, PHP fans have now developed an extension for Android which allows developers to create programs using the PHP scripting language.
The linux.conf.au 2011 organisers now welcome proposals of papers from all areas of the open source community. linux.conf.au is a fun, informal, seriously technical conference. In 2011 it will also cater to a range of end users including those new to the open source community.
New features include support for Oracle Enterprise Linux, an enhanced virtual desktop client, and a Sun Ray connector for VMware View 4, the virtualisation vendor’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) product.
Back when I originally reviewed VP8, I noted that the official decoder, libvpx, was rather slow. While there was no particular reason that it should be much faster than a good H.264 decoder, it shouldn’t have been that much slower either! So, I set out with Ronald Bultje and David Conrad to make a better one in FFmpeg. This one would be community-developed and free from the beginning, rather than the proprietary code-dump that was libvpx. A few weeks ago the decoder was complete enough to be bit-exact with libvpx, making it the first independent free implementation of a VP8 decoder. Now, with the first round of optimizations complete, it should be ready for primetime. I’ll go into some detail about the development process, but first, let’s get to the real meat of this post: the benchmarks.
Whether you’ve heard of Tangent Labs is a way of separating the political geek goats from the sheep, but if you’ve ever been on a Labour Party site you’ve probably come across something they’ve designed and built.
My views about their products are a matter of record. This is from March:
When I commented on the Political Scrapbook story, I referred to Labour’s favourite digital agency, Tangent Labs, who have been responsible for monstrosities such as this (which is vastly improved from its state at launch) and this. If such sites were free, that would be one thing – but Labour paid handsomely for them.
Someone else who’s apparently less than enamoured of their work is Luke Bozier, a Labour supporting communications consultant, who took the time to give a more detailed comment on the subject earlier today, explaining why he felt the Labour party’s relationship with Tangent Labs resulted in an array of very similar, and not very attractive, sites.
How is it possible to stop someone from expressing an opinion? In a society that cherishes free speech as a fundamental principle, there are no legal lengths that a person or organisation can go to by way of imposing such a limit. That’s obvious, isn’t it? Well not exactly…
British libel laws are some of the most abused in the world. Libel reformists have long been campaigning for an end to laws which, amongst their many faults, leave the burden of proof on the defendant. This is a principle that condemns that accused as guilty until such a time as they can prove their innocence.
Summary: Apple’s arrogance is costing it dearly and Apple continues to exclude GPL-licensed software from its store; the Linux-based MeeGo shows early signs of expansion
ACCORDING TO this subscribers-only article from LWN, Apple is again going head-to-head with GPL-licensed software. Linux.com has this snippet from the article:
In light of the recent GPL compliance complaint made by the Free Software Foundation against Apple’s App Store, which sells and distributes software for Apple gadgets, it was probably inevitable that other problem applications would surface. While there are various opinions on whether the App Store can legally distribute GPL-covered binaries…
Apple is infinitely arrogant. It has been like this for a long time, even before its resurgence. Apple could easily allow GPL-licensed software to be put in its “Store” and then actually comply with the licence. It’s not hard. As Bradley Kuhn (SFLC and FSF) put it some days ago, Apple still pretends to be open, whereas Motorola is at least frank and upfront about its hostility towards handset freedom in Android.
Curiously enough, Apple is currently annoying competitors by pointing fingers at them as ‘damage control’ for the hypePhone 4 cockup [1, 2].
Handset world: Don’t speak for us, Steve Jobs
Hui-Meng Cheng, chief financial officer at HTC, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that “the reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones,” and a representative from Samsung said that it “hasn’t received significant customer feedback on any signal reduction issue for the Omnia 2,” one of the phones that Apple singled out as suffering from similar reception issues if held in a way that blocks the antenna.
If Apple’s goal is to alienate people and parts of the industry, then it’s doing pretty well. Let’s wish it the best with this elitist strategy.
Apple’s big competitor in phones at the moment is Android, but as we argued some days ago, there are other Linux-based contenders, including the world’s leader which is Nokia. At Nokia, Android is a forbidden word because they work on MeeGo and this new press release is an encouraging sign of growth for MeeGo, which is less restrictive than Android and thus more worthy of advocacy. Dirk Hohndel spoke about MeeGo at OSCON (keynote).
Today is the first day of the main OSCON event here in lovely Portland, Oregon, and we were fortunate to have a MeeGo presentation during the opening keynotes. Here is a brief summary of what Dirk Hohndel covered during his time on stage.
Sadly, one of MeeGo’s backers is Intel, which is corrupt for reasons we mentioned in the previous post. Intel bribes, lies, obstructs justice, colludes, and even attacks charities like OLPC. Nokia’s main problem is just its policy regarding software patents and DRM (none of which is a crime, just an ethical issue). Let’s keep MeeGo Microsoft-free. █
Summary: Microsoft, Intel, and Dell too are exceptionally corrupt and it pays off for them
A FEW days ago we wrote about Corbis fraud [1, 2]. Corbis is Bill Gates’ company and the scandal was covered in some major publications. And yet, Bill Gates is considered the richest person in the world. Is fraud followed by reputation laundering what it takes to be a winner? That’s the impression an outside observer might get.
Dell and some of its top executives face penalties to close an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) investigation into the company’s accounting disclosures and alleged financial omissions regarding its relationship with Intel.
“The company that allegedly received kickbacks from Microsoft to block GNU/Linux is climbing. ”The SEC almost always settles, even when Microsoft got caught with financial fraud charges and more recently with Goldman Sachs (we covered this a lot in our daily links), to whom the settlement money was almost slush funds given the obscene profits extracted illegally from taxpayers and betrayed customers.
Here’s how tough the public relations environment is for Microsoft right now. On Thursday morning, The Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria speculated, with the help of a bunch of unnamed sources, about a “Brewing Coup Against Microsoft CEO.” Steve Ballmer is in trouble, suggested Lauria, because Microsoft’s stock price has been stagnant for a year and senior executives are getting restless.
Later that day, Microsoft reported its quarterly earnings — $16.04 billion in revenue and $4.52 billion in profit — handily beating the numbers reported earlier this week by Apple (and remember, that was the best quarter ever for Steve Jobs and Co.)
In case of Microsoft something is missing. Microsoft’s operating system comes pre-installed on branded PCs. Every PC sold means another copy of Windows 7 is sold. The picture would become clearer if Microsoft shares the numbers of copies the company directly sold to end customers as compared to the number of mass-licences sold through OEM partners.
Many anti-trust advocates see this pre-installation as an anti-competitive practice. There are many competing operating systems including Gnu/Linux, BSD and OpenSolaris. PC vendors should offer Windows pre-installed as well as no pre-installed OS on their machines for fair competition.
We have already explained how Microsoft twists and warps Vista 7 sales figures. In business, Vista 7 is used by less than 10% of people, according to Dell, which received billions in kickbacks from Intel.
Intel has already publicly declared that Meego was launched because the company was frustrated by the lack of support from Microsoft for the Atom platform and it remains a mystery as to why Microsoft did not adapt Windows 7 to suit Intel’s requirements.
A computer that monitored drilling operations on the Deepwater Horizon had been freezing with a “blue screen of death” prior to the explosion that sank the oil rig last April, the chief electronics technician aboard testified Friday at a federal hearing.
“Blue screen of death,” or BSOD, is a term most often used to describe the display shown by Microsoft Windows after a serious crash that has incapacitated a PC.
This one case of blue screen of death may have cost the lives of millions of animals and harmed the health of several human generations to come, not to mention this planet, which is the only planet we have.
Coincidentally, the investigation done by Karen Sandler and a colleague of hers for several months now (Sandler has a heart condition) produced a long report from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) (direct link given earlier). Glyn Moody writes about it now. It’s titled “Why Free Software is a Matter of Life and Death” and it starts as follows:
As regular readers of this blog will know, free software has an importance that extends way beyond the world of software. But for most people, it’s hard to understand why software freedom is really that important. So this new report “Killed by Code: Software Transparency in Implantable Medical Devices” from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) provides a handy opportunity to get the message across:
Software is an integral component of a range of devices that perform critical, lifesaving functions and basic daily tasks. As patients grow more reliant on computerized devices, the dependability of software is a life-or-death issue. The need to address software vulnerability is especially pressing for Implantable Medical Devices (IMDs), which are commonly used by millions of patients to treat chronic heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, and even depression.
Secret code (or proprietary software) is a recipe for disaster that should be measurable not just in terms of financial damage; human toll too should start being taken into consideration. Proprietary software is usually all about money, not quality. It shows. █
“Ballmer’s modus operandi for dealing with technical issues was to pound on the developers until they caved in to his own unrealistic expectations of what the ship date should be.”
–Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul
Map representing the scale (number) of Microsoft patents in the US and the EU (more...)
Summary: Microsoft’s expansion of the software patents push pays off in the sense that EU-style loopholes are introduced in more places and Amazon now offers Ballnux in HPC
Florian Müller, whom we generally distrust for reasons we covered before [1, 2], correctly points out (as did we) that New Zealand still has the “device” trick in place. “There’ll be patents on devices w/ ‘embedded’ software,” he writes.
The New Zealand Herald interpreted Minister Power as saying that “[g]uidelines rather than a law change will be used to allow inventions that contain embedded software to be patented.”
In other words, the law will contain an exclusion of software patents, but the national patent office will draw up guidelines that will allow patents on inventions containing embedded software.
This is a partial win for NZICT, which is a lobby for multinationals who love software patents [1, 2, 3, 4].
The New York Times has a good short article on the growth of patent trolls…
It then describes the basic patent troll model: “The basic idea is that an investment firm buys a pre-existing patent for, say, $2 million. It then sues perhaps a dozen companies that use technology potentially overlapping the patent. Each firm that fights may end up paying $500,000 or more to defend itself and could also face penalties. The alternative is to settle for, say, $1 million or so. If just three firms pay up to avoid a battle, the patent owner makes big money.”
Microsoft loves using or feeding patent trolls (or equivalents) that attack Linux. Microsoft also establishes a bunch of deals whereby Microsoft itself is mooching Linux for patent royalties.
“Microsoft also establishes a bunch of deals whereby Microsoft itself is mooching Linux for patent royalties.”One of the companies that agreed to do this with Microsoft is also filled with former Microsoft executives (this wasn’t the case some years ago). That would be Amazon. Amazon’s Microsoft ‘patent tax’ on Linux is a subject that we wrote a lot about in the past and based on the latest news, HPC (supercomputing) is now available with Microsoft patent tax on GNU/Linux, courtesy of Amazon [1, 2, 3]. Based on this CNET article, only GNU/Linux is available (or mentioned), but it’s Ballnux, i.e. it’s paying Microsoft.
We generally encourage people to boycott services from Amazon, which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux, even for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The company went rogue when many of its new managers were appointed from Microsoft. Likewise, there is VMware, whose story is eerily similar. According to the news from IDG:
VMware CEO Paul Maritz, a former Microsoft Windows executive, recently argued that operating systems are having their jobs stolen by virtualization and open development frameworks.
Essentially, VMware believes that Windows and other operating systems are no longer necessary to directly manage hardware because of virtualization, and the proliferation of cloud computing is lessening the importance of the operating system’s interaction with applications. But the OS still has a long future because many applications depend upon it and are unlikely to be re-written anytime soon, Bogomil Balkansky, VMware’s vice president of product marketing, said in an interview that expands upon Maritz’s comments.
VMware helps promote Ballnux these days [1, 2, 3] and it competes against real GNU/Linux such as Red Hat. Just don’t expect Microsoft apologists like Müller to have a problem with this. █
“People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”
Although GIMP is often compared to Adobe Photoshop, the people in charge of the project do not consider their graphic manipulation tool to be a replacement for Photoshop. There is a great deal of controversy about whether or not the GIMP is a truly professional-quality image manipulation tool, at or exceeding the quality level of Photoshop. It is generally held that it is not, although it is usually recognized as the best free alternative to Photoshop, which is usually considered to be the ultimate professional tool of the trade.
Available immediately for download under the Open Source GPL (GNU General Public License) version 2, Suricata includes new features that will enable it to identify and prevent more of the pressing security concerns faced by organizations.
Conclusions: MZmine 2 is freely available under a GNU GPL license and can be obtained from the project website at: http://mzmine.sourceforge.net/. The current version of MZmine 2 is suitable for processing large batches of data and has been applied to both targeted and non-targeted metabolomic analyses.
OSCON is worth attending, or at least watching from a distance, if for no other reason than it gives a pretty clear picture of what the developer community and industry around open source is thinking about. To sum up OSCON 2010 in three words, it’s community, cash, and clouds.
Firefox Tab Candy is a new tab management feature for Firefox that organizes tabs into groups to help you keep your tabs grouped by task. Not only does it offer incredibly handy features, but it looks beautiful.
The new OpenStack project will power NASA’s own Nebula cloud and puts new pressure on Eucalyptus, as well as Amazon’s EC2 and the whole Hadoop ecosystem. The system is being released under an Apache 2 license.
Global sales of software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the enterprise application segment will jump more than 14 percent to $8.5 billion this year when compared with the $7.5 billion generated in 2009, a spike attributed largely to the business community’s growing endorsement of cloud computing, according to data compiled by researcher Gartner Inc.
As Oracle continues to consolidate the assets of Sun Microsystems, questions about which technologies will go and which ones will stay are still being asked. One such technology that could be at risk is the open source NetBeans IDE , which competes against the Eclipse IDE and its ecosystem, which Oracle also supports.
Discussing the announcement, ForgeRock chief strategy officer and former Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems Simon Phipps said, “This is an important milestone for the OpenAM community”, adding that, “This achievement marks the first fully community-sourced release of OpenAM. We’re very pleased that users of OpenSSO Enterprise 8 can easily and freely migrate to OpenAM 9.5 now that the updates have been made.”
This leaves Drupal and Acquia, the company Buytaert founded to offer Drupal support, caught between the Moon and New York City. WordPress is hammering it in the mass market, among people who just want to build blog sites, and Acquia’s enterprise footprint remains minimal.
The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.53 Beta. This release is the first official beta release of the Blender 2.5 series, representing the culmination of many years of redesign and development work.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to open source or a long-time user, there is always more to learn about. We scoured the Web for the best open source books. All of these are free books that can be downloaded and shared.
Online video service Vimeo started allowing its users to release videos under a Creative Commons licence. The company says that the feature was introduced because a number of users specifically asked for it. The settings dialogue of each video now contains an added “Licence” section in which users can choose from one of six Creative Commons licences. This allows users to determine the sharing conditions for their videos. While searching specifically for videos released under CC licences is not yet possible, Vimeo says it’s working to provide this functionality.
I owe a whole lot to Perl. So does the practice of computing in general, and the construction of the Web in particular. Perl’s situation is not terribly happy; I wouldn’t go so far as to say “desperate”, but certainly these are not its glory days.
Did you know that nearly every video produced for Web viewing has been, at one point or another, in MPEG format no matter in what format the video is ultimately saved?
According to Chris “Monty” Montgomery, nearly every consumer device outputs video in MPEG format. Which means that every software video decoder has to have MPEG-licensed technology in order to process/edit video.
Which circles us back to where Montgomery is today: preparing that army of mages. Looking forward to a landscape where MPEG-LA is not quite so powerful, Montgomery anticipates that video, now that it’s no longer as expensive, could become a real source of innovation in the FOSS community.
It seems like every few days or so we’re seeing lawsuits attempting to stretch the hot news doctrine further and further. News organizations who support hot news as a concept really have no idea what sort of can of worms they’ve opened up. Since the infamous (and ongoing) theflyonthewall case, we’re seeing hot news pop up in all sorts of weird places. The latest, as sent over by Eric Goldman, is that Costco is being sued by “Banxcorp” for hot news violations (along with copyright violations and a bunch of other things) for republishing Banxcorp’s data showing national average money market and CD rates.
One problem with positing that a high-end Unix system will be used for a single transaction-processing application is that it leads to some pretty silly results. Take the leading TPC-C result on the Transaction Processing Council’s Web site, for example. Consider what this 6 million transactions-per-minute figure means in the context of the TPC-C benchmark, a widely used metric for comparing system performance.
Somewhere in the Milky Way, astronomers have found a world that sports crucial ingredients for life. When they trained a high-resolution spectrograph on starlight reflected from the planet’s moon, they picked up traces of ozone, oxygen, sodium, and nitrogen. Alas, the planet is Earth. But the researchers say a similar technique could be used to find signatures of life on planets orbiting other stars.