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08.16.10

Oracle’s Java Aggression Spills to Other Sun Projects

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, OpenOffice, Oracle, Patents, SUN, Ubuntu at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee bubbles

Summary: An accumulation of news about Oracle’s software patents offence

SOFTWARE PATENTS are a good thing for those who are already dominant in one area of computing or those who make a living suing/defending companies.

Vivek Wadhwa, a co-author of software patents who recently protested against software patents [1, 2], claims that startups — not mega-corporations which love patents for obvious reasons — should be considered a priority. Oracle and Microsoft too get a mention. From the opening paragraph:

The big companies’ executives argued that abolishing patents would hurt their ability to innovate and thus hamper the nation’s economic growth. (They believe that companies like theirs create the majority of jobs and innovations, and they claim that without patents they cannot defend their innovations.) I am not convinced that software patents give Google any advantage over Microsoft and Yahoo, or make IBM’s databases any better than Oracle’s. But I do know one thing for sure: it isn’t the big companies that create the jobs or the revolutionary technology innovations: it is startups. So if we need to pick sides, I vote for the startups.

This leads us to the main story (still) in the technology press, namely the Oracle lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Here is another cartoon about it; there’s nothing funny about the lawsuit. “In this case,” Asay told me, “it’s not what I’d like (I hate biz via lawyers), but I do think it’s Oracle’s purpose”

I have attempted to defend Asay’s position on this, but others disagree with me. Our participant FurnaceBoy was exceptionally dissatisfied with Matt Asay’s take on it, calling him rude names in the process. “This smells,” he wrote, “as expected from Asay. This article is FUD…”

“Well, cult of Mono has already overtaken Ubuntu Forums which is biggest meeting place, so prospects are bleak.”
      –gnufreex
Another reader wrestled with the question about Google’s relationship with Canonical (a relationship Asay did not know about until quite recently when I told him about it). “[A]pparently google isn’t as important to them (or to Asay) now,” said one of our readers. “He’s a lawyer,” I explained to him, to which the response was: “that explains so much… complete cluelessness on technical terms… the crApple cultism stemming from it… lack of morals and ethics… resulting hatred of free software”

“He even recommends .NET like de Icaza,” wrote gnufreex. “Well, Canonical is pushing .net/mono,” responded to him that previous person and gnufreex wrote that “Oracle should sue Novell over Mono. It is same as Dalvik. It is incompatible with Java and competes with it. Well, cult of Mono has already overtaken Ubuntu Forums which is biggest meeting place, so prospects are bleak. That’s why I hope Oracle destroys Mono.” The full IRC logs contain the rest of this discussion.

FurnaceBoy then asked, ‘is anybody going to let Asay state unchallenged that Oracle-v-Google “might actually give Microsoft a chance in mobile, not to mention make .Net an even better alternative for Java developers, as Novell developer Miguel de Icaza postulates.”‘

“[T]his is disgusting,” said FurnaceBoy in response to sentences like “No one would casually borrow SAP’s proprietary software and expect to get away with it. In similar manner, no one should cavalierly take open-source code without inquiring into its provenance, ownership, etc.”

Asay’s opinions are his own, but as Canonical’s COO these can be seen as somewhat troubling. Shuttleworth, who understands engineering a little better due to his background, is a lot harsher on Oracle:

“This will complicate the relationships Oracle has with a very important audience, which is the broader open source community,” Shuttleworth said. “It will significantly undermine their efforts to establish many of their major products like Java, Solaris and Oracle Unbreakable Linux, and in due course, I’ll imagine that they’ll quietly wish they hadn’t taken this approach.”

“I certainly respect their right to take whatever approach they want to take with what they consider to be their property, but I cannot see any way in which this ultimately ends in a constructive outcome for them,” he added.

Compare that to Asay’s original post:

Oracle’s Java Lawsuit: Free Markets, Not Free Software

In this particular case, Google almost certainly took care to protect itself against IP infringement, which makes the lawsuit no easy slam-dunk for Oracle. But even an open-source luminary like Bruce Perens is quick to point out that Google’s replacement of Java ME’s Swing widget toolkit and AWT graphical user interface class in favor of its own GUI may have violated its license. This wasn’t a big deal when Sun was the owner because, as Gosling noted, lawsuits weren’t in Sun’s genetic DNA.

But Oracle, not Sun, now owns Java, and it has a very different genetic makeup. Hence, this lawsuit, while not a sign of Armageddon for open source, serves as a clear warning to Google and everyone else to take the same level of care when using open source as when using proprietary software.

We first learned about this post via “agentsmith”, who wrote: “What does Matt Asay want to tell us with this post http://bit.ly/drE3JD ? I’m puzzled… what’s his point? At least Glyn Moody, in a recent article, suggests to FORK everything. Mr.Asay leaves in the air.”

Pogson calls Oracle “Software-Patent Troll”:

Now We Know. Oracle is a Software-Patent Troll

Here is one person who thinks that the threat is exaggerated although Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer disagrees with him:

Why Oracle vs Google won’t harm Android

So what will be the outcome of the case? Baseless or not, Google hasn’t really (yet) clarified its stance and has only released a rather meek statement, expressing its disappointment at Oracle for attacking the open source Java community.

There’s also talk of this lawsuit killing Android. That’s just plain rubbish. If anything, Oracle wants Android to flourish. It would just heart it more if Android uses Java under Sun’s commercial license. And that’s what this lawsuit is about. License fees.

Leave the technical details for the engineers of the companies to fight over, in court. That is if this case ever escalates to that level.

One of the negative side effects of this whole action is that other Oracle projects lose some credence or legitimacy. OpenSolaris is already being made independent:

The Hand May Be Forced

Illumos has garnered the support of some of the top minds in the industry; already the list of names of Solaris contributors and potential contributors that have already publicly committed to supporting this project is extensive. Many of the names are famous, people like Bryan Cantrill. Oracle’s actions and inaction have actually made this possible.

Brian writes about the Java situation and suggests making OpenOffice.org more independent too:

Time for an OpenOffice.org Foundation

OpenOffice.org’s problem involves some history: when Sun ran the project, non-Sun developers often complained that Sun’s insistence copyright assignment discouraged external contributions, and that Sun’s (and now Oracle’s) tight control of the project inhibits developer initiative. So third-party developers already have a problem with Oracle, as more than one developer involved in OpenOffice.org has privately indicated to me in just the past few weeks.

Now, along comes Oracle with lawsuits and lock-downs that could adversely effect existing open source projects. Even if you can make an argument that right now, the OpenOffice.org community and project is doing just fine, just exactly how long would you expect this to be the case?

If I were an OpenOffice.org contributor, especially one not employed by Oracle, I would start to be very worried about the future of the project, at least until I heard Oracle publicly state what their plans were.

Novell’s Meeks has been trying to take control of OpenOffice.org and now he writes about copyrights in Java only to be heckled by Wildeboer who quotes Meeks as saying: “try not to fall in love [with a technology], if a single company owns, and controls it.”

Wildeboer evokes thoughts about the situation with Mono.

Gosling carries on commenting about the situation (“Quite the firestorm”) while prior art is being sought/collected to weaken Oracle’s case and help Java/Android.

Surprisingly enough, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) has been doing a lot of scare-mongering about Java/Oracle/other, especially in Twitter. Dana Blankenhorn makes it more personal:

After pretending to kindness for many months, Larry Ellison has stepped up to be that villain. (I’m certain this costume would fit him nicely, just $799.95 from Buycostumes.com.)

Wayne Rash also makes it somewhat personal:

While Oracle’s love of domination hasn’t made the news so much lately, there is certainly a long history of the company’s activities in this area. James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, pointed out in his blog that Ellison is frequently referred to as, “Larry, the Prince of Darkness” or “LPOD”. Gosling also notes in his blog that the Oracle’s CEO’s approach to industry competition is best described by a saying attributed to Genghis Kahn that is a favorite of Ellison’s: “It’s not enough that we win, all others must lose.”

Ellison has had a long history of suing other companies, hostile takeovers, and harsh treatment of employees. Over the years he’s had a long line of respected senior executives quit because they simply can’t take his aggressive style and hostile culture.

Matthew Aslett from the 451 Group cites many items including Matt Asay’s and Susan Linton summarises too:

Oracle Delivers Friday the 13th Bad Luck to FOSS

No one is really surprised. Oracle has always been a proprietary company. But Oracle’s actions of Friday the 13th come only days after offering up a keynote at LinuxCon. This hits after last year’s promises of no major changes in Sun’s open source community assets. Those hoping for a new soft and fuzzy Oracle are no doubt sorely disappointed. Experts have already stated Oracle could turn out to be more of threat to Linux and Open Source than either Microsoft or SCO ever was.

We’ll continue to watch this and especially to report FUD.

IRC Proceedings: August 16th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

#techrights log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft is Chucking Apple After Using Apple to Promote OOXML

Posted in Apple, Deception, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 4:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rubbish dump - OOXML

Summary: The defective format (OOXML) which was derived from Microsoft Office is now being used by Microsoft to slam Apple’s products, after Apple helped OOXML

FOR at least a couple of years we covered very closely the corrupt ways in which Microsoft sought to label OOXML a “standard”. IBM’s Rob Weir was among the key characters fighting against this abuse.

“Ironically,” says Weir today, “when pushing for OOXML approval MS touted Apple software as proving that OOXML was not tied to Windows.” Watch this article which says that “Microsoft’s new Mac vs. PC site pretends Mac Office doesn’t exist” and quotes:

“If you use Apple’s productivity suite, sharing files with PC users can be tricky,” the site says. “Your documents might not look right and your spreadsheets might not calculate correctly.”

Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer responds to Weir by saying/recycling the same thing and the FFII says: “Your source does not refer to #ooxml or a specific format but mentions inter-plattform interoperability / rendering challenges” (we covered this before, it's true).

Weir rectifies this by saying that the “[h]istory is that Microsoft used Apple as poster boy in their OOXML interop demos, but now they are dropping them in the river.” We wrote about this too and gnufreex says that “Mac might spoil your fun” but “Microsoft will spoil your fun for sure.” (this is said in reference to Microsoft’s claim that “Macs might spoil your fun”).

Links 16/8/2010: ARM-based Servers Project, MeeGo Status

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Yet Another ARMed Server Project

      That other OS doesn’t work on them so this is another growth opportunity for GNU/Linux. This all comes together when folks are looking at virtual desktops, too. These things could compete very well with blade servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Main development phase for Linux kernel 2.6.36 concluded

        Linus Torvalds has released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.36 and closed the merge window – the first phase in the development cycle, during which the bulk of changes for a new kernel version are merged into the main development tree. The usual announcement mail for the new kernel is currently nowhere to be found, but the RC1 is tagged in the Kernel Git tree and available for download on Kernel.org.

  • Applications

    • Using Some Imagination
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gaming Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

        The results from this OpenGL game testing are similar to that of our workstation results earlier this month: for the most part, there is not a huge difference in performance between Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. With Lightsmark and Nexuiz when more taxing on the graphics card the NVIDIA graphics driver under Windows moved forward, but with the most demanding Unigine tests the performance was about the same. Of course, these results are just representative with regard to NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on both platforms, with the results likely to be different when using the ATI Catalyst driver or if comparing the performance to the Linux Mesa/Gallium3D driver stack, in which case the Linux performance would be abysmal.

  • Distributions

    • My first pocket Operating System – Slax

      I never owned a USB flash drive, until recently. I needed one not just for data transfer requirements but because I always wanted to carry an operating system with me. While trying out differnet OSs with various installation methods, my system sometimes had tremendous breakdowns and the only way to access & backup the data was to boot into a LIVE session. Luckily, I came across this really small pocket operating system, Slax. Its just 200 mb and the method to get it bootable on a flash drive is probably the quickest and most effortless of all I have ever used.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Community Simple – PCLinuxOS in Action

        I have mentioned PCLinuxOS in my other Linux posts because it is a good solid distribution, and works well with any computer I have installed it on. I downloaded the latest PCLinuxOS iso using Gnome desktop, and copied it to CD. It booted up and ran as it always does, perfectly. The real test was the wireless connection. I set up the wireless, and the network was waiting as it should be. The biggest hurdle was solved.

        I proceeded to install PCLinuxOS on all the laptops, and for the most part they all work identically with the exception of two. One of the Laptops occasionally drops the wireless in Windows, and another occasionally drops it in Linux. I do not think that is a fault of the operating systems, but rather the nature of the network itself.

        If you read some of what various Linux Guru’s write, they will tell you Linux is Linux. It is the Kernel that makes Linux unique and everything else is programming to support the Kernel functions. While there is no doubt this is true, it is PCLinuxOS going the extra step to include an older wireless driver in the right rev that made it possible for those Laptops to use Linux, and enjoy a solid eight month uptime as of this writing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Comments on Fedora 13

          I installed Fedora 13 on Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th as unlucky day may be a myth, but my experience with Fedora 13 was not.

          The first problem ws the install DVD boot menu. If I touched any key, including the cursor keys, the boot menu would hang. The only option was to let the clock run down to perform an install. It acted like the GRUB 2 menu problem that I encounter with Linux Mint 8. After the boot menu, there were no problems with the install.

          I installed Fedora on an HP Pavilion ze4300 laptop that only has 512 megabytes of memory. Since Fedora 13 includes XFCE as a graphical desktop, I decided to try it, instead of Gnome. Alas, the venture with XFCE came to a quick end.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Linux to go multi-touch

          This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu is heading toward making a Linux for tablets ala Android or MeeGo.

        • Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick

          Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined |a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

        • Ubuntu Linux: I like it, but it doesn’t like me
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu 10.10: Becoming More Unique

            The upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10 promises a variety of new features for Ubuntu’s desktop and server editions. But it will also bring significant changes for Ubuntu’s lightweight cousin, Xubuntu. Here’s a look at some of the most important updates for the Xfce-based Ubuntu variant, including several that will increase its independence from standard Ubuntu.

            Admittedly, until I downloaded the Xubuntu alpha 3 release, it had been a while since I tried the distribution. I used to run it on some lower-end machines, but I gave it up a couple years ago because the performance improvement over Gnome-based Ubuntu was not drastic enough to justify the features missing in Xfce, at least for me.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo: Where Are We Now?

          We established a robust governance structure led by our Technical Steering Group with people leading all of the various aspects of the project: program management, architecture, maintainers, community and more. While we have quite a few of the people identified for key areas, we are still in the process of continuing to add more details and beginning to define how the working groups and compliance efforts will be structured.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Evolution of Sharing

      Sharing is an invaluable and valueless transaction fundamental to our daily lives. We are social animals all invested in a massive species-wide collaboration to survive and thrive. We share for mutual benefit, for altruism, for deferred returns, and, increasingly, because we are compelled to contribute to the global brain. Facebook & Twitter are perhaps the latest apotheosis of this shift towards the compulsive sharing of everything in our lives. And it is this condition that seems to represent something uniquely spiritual, or at least inchoate and just beyond rational apprehension, about our progression into the 21st century: the boundaries around the Other and shadows held within are falling to the illumination of the global consciousness.

    • Open Data/Government Transparency

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJ Open: accessible medical research

        BMJ Open is an open access journal for general medical research. Using a continuous publication model the journal will provide rapid publication for research from any medical discipline or therapeutic area.

Leftovers

  • Health

    • Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people

      This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. More than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) can cause diabetes. So why do companies pay out money before cases get to court?

      An interesting feature of litigation is that various documents enter the public domain. This is how we know about the tobacco industry’s evil plans to target children, the fake academic journal that Elsevier created for Merck’s marketing department, and so on.

      One of the most revealing documents ever to come out of a drug company emerged from an earlier quetiapine case: an email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca. In it, he helpfully admits that they do everything I say drug companies do.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Russia launches inquiry into Pavlovsk seed bank after Twitter campaign

      The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate inquiry into the potential destruction of the world’s oldest seed bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian readers and others.

      The fate of the station appeared to be sealed last week when a court ruled in favour of the Pavlovsk research station and its surrounding farmland being turned into private housing. It holds the world’s largest fruit collections and was protected by 12 Russian scientists during the second world war who chose to starve to death rather than eat the unique collection of seeds and plants which they were guarding during the 900-day siege of Leningrad.

    • Pakistan flood response prompts rising anti-government resentment

      The agricultural heartland has been wiped out, which will cause spiralling food prices and shortages. Many roads and irrigation canals have been destroyed, along with electricity supply infrastructure.

    • BP to pay $50m fine for safety violations after Texas City explosion

      Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6m (£32.5m) fine for failing to fix hazards at its Texas City oil refinery in the wake of a disastrous explosion that killed 15 people five years ago.

      The fine imposed by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the largest penalty ever issued by the watchdog, although it is dwarfed by the billions that BP is set to pay out for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Fishing legacy fades from some New England ports

      Tourists swarmed the town pier in the 1970s and ’80s, snapping pictures and bantering with commercial fishermen as they unloaded another shimmering haul for Secondo’s company, Reliable Fish, to truck to points south.

  • Finance

    • China overtakes Japan as world’s second-largest economy

      Japan lost its place as the world’s second-largest economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.

      Gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of just 0.4%, the Japanese government said today, far below the annualised 4.4% expansion in the first quarter. The news added to evidence that the global recovery is facing strong headwinds.

    • Pensions and the Public

      One of the conservative causes du jour is the parlous state of public employee pensions these days. And there’s no question that this really is a problem. Thanks to years of overoptimistic economic projections and the habit of politicians to prefer future cost increases to current cost increases, public pension funds are pretty seriously underfunded right now. That means taxpayers are going to have to come up with many billions of additional dollars to fund pensions at the levels that have been promised to public workers.

    • Attacking Social Security

      Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

    • Obama claims GOP trying to destroy Social Security

      President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.

    • Construction Workers’ Union to Rejoin A.F.L.-C.I.O.

      A spokesman for the laborers, David Miller, declined to confirm the decision. But he said that leaders of his union, which has 800,000 members and represents construction workers, would have more to say after a meeting on Sunday. Mr. Trumka told the federation’s executive council last week that the move would become final in October.

    • Destroying Social Security to ‘Save’ It: the Arithmetic of Benefit Cuts

      We know what the Trustees say: 100% of scheduled benefits payable through 2037 and 78% after that declining to 75% at the end of the projection period. Meaning that any proposal based on a crisis defined by “threatened future benefits” that produces a worse result in 2037 and after is some mixture of ineffectiveness and bait and switch, particularly if if also cuts benefits BEFORE 2037, from the perspective of the future retiree no matter what the age that proposal represents a dead loss. For workers the simplest benchmark is ’22%’, any ‘fix’ in excess of that is just theft from workers serving to advance some other purpose. Those purposes might be worthwhile on their own, but it is up to proponents to make the case to a democratic majority why the tradeoff is actually either in the interest of the nation and/or the vast majority of that nation that participates in Social Security.

    • Don’t like your banking fees? Tell the FDIC.

      In the financial world, we’re fed up with a lot of things. For example, it’s time for a Slater Slide for offensively high overdraft fees and bank check-cashing policies that can boost those fees.

    • New Rules on Finance to Be Done in the Open

      The Federal Reserve, which was given expanded responsibilities to protect the financial system, plans to require all staff members, not just senior officials, to keep track of every meeting with private sector representatives about the rule-writing required under the new law, including who was present and what was discussed. Summaries of the meetings will be routinely released on the Fed’s Web site.

    • Rising Profits Are Good, but There’s a Catch

      While higher profits are normally deemed good news, it matters why they are rising. “The same thing that caused the profit gains is squeezing now,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P., said. “It is the lack of jobs.”

    • ‘Good ol’ boys’ in Warren’s way?

      She can’t get 60 votes in the Senate, some say — too polarizing. Others say Warren’s outspoken public persona and left-leaning impulses are an uncomfortable fit for the new post riding herd on Wall Street, where she has few backers.

    • Techno-Thriller: Why Was Goldman Sachs So Worried About One Nerdy Sentence?

      It sounds like the plot to a dozen movies: Picture a corporation so powerful that its tentacles circle the globe and reach into the highest corridors of power. Yet a single sentence on an ex-employee’s obscure website forces it to move into action. That sentence is so important that it leaves the corporation with no choice but to make that employee …

      No, not disappear. They just made him delete it. (This is where the movie comparisons end.) But the question is, why? The sentence described the Goldman Sachs risk system, SecDB (which stands for securities database). It read: “Unbeknownst to most of the non-strategists, you could see basically every position and holding across the company, whether you were supposed to or not.”

    • In This Play, One Role Is Enough

      These companies — the biggest are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank — operate as the back office for the mortgage lending industry. In good times, their tasks are fairly simple: they take in monthly mortgage payments and distribute them to whoever owns the loans. In many cases, large institutions like pension funds or mutual funds own the mortgages, and servicers are obligated to act in their interests at all times.

      When borrowers are defaulting in droves, as they are now, loan servicing becomes much more complex and laborious. Servicers must chase delinquent borrowers for payments and otherwise manage these uneasy relationships, possibly into foreclosure.

    • Why Girly Jobs Don’t Pay Well

      More than 97 percent of employees in kindergarten and preschool teaching are women. Though women now average higher levels of educational attainment than men, many continue to enter occupations dominated by women where wages are relatively low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a great way of making public statements that are at once frank, unorthodox, thought provoking – and a little frightening. This weekend The Wall St. Journal ran an interview with Schmidt that offered tidbits like that on a wide range of topics. One statement in particular, that Schmidt thinks teenagers should be entitled to change their names upon reaching adulthood in order to separate themselves from the Google record of their youthful indiscretions, is something worth stopping to take note of.

    • South African journalists condemn efforts to silence them

      Royal sex scandals rarely come riper. A government minister is caught in bed with the king’s wife – in fact, one of the king’s 14 wives. Ndumiso Mamba, justice minister in Swaziland, is forced to resign and could yet face much worse from King Mswati III.

      But just about the last people to read this story were those in Swaziland itself. The censorious atmosphere in the tiny, impoverished kingdom contrasts with South Africa, where newspapers had a field day.

    • Clueless Commentators Think That It’s Possible To Stop Wikileaks

      Marc Thiessen is a former Bush speechwriter, who seems to have tried to make a second career out of saying really clueless things as loudly as possible. Lately he’s been on a rampage against Wikileaks, first suggesting that it somehow made sense to use US military power to track down and capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This resulted in a reporter pointing out that Thiessen’s response to Wikileaks is like the RIAA’s response to Napster: destined to backfire due to a basic misunderstanding of the internet.

      Apparently Thiessen either didn’t read or understand that response. Or, perhaps in the business of being loud and wrong, he just doesn’t care. He’s since written a few more pieces attacking Wikileaks, including directly blaming it for an Afghan tribal leader being killed… though in the very next sentence he admits he doesn’t know if that had anything to do with Wikileaks. Accuse first, find out the truth later, huh?

    • A war on drugs? No, this is a war on the Mexican people
    • Russian police arrest 35 to prevent protest at Moscow mayor’s office
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: what does the Google Verizon proposal mean for GNU Linux?

      With GNU/Linux on the desktop and the server, costs can be reduced considerably. what a pity it would be to see those savings frittered away by having to purchase premium access in a net un-neutral world. The irony is that if the internet loses net neutrality where will the next Google or Napster, dreamed up in a suburban garage by citizen programmers, come from? If Microsoft Windows had been the only platform available when Google was starting up, the cost of Windows licences for their first server farm might have sunk them before they got off the ground; but they had free and open source software, and they should remember that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Radio, RIAA: mandatory FM radio in cell phones is the future

        Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much, including whether radio should be forced to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for the music it plays. But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics.

        The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. “The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is “not in our national interest.”

        “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

      • The Insanity Of Music Licensing: In One Single Graphic

        What you see there is basically the result of a century or so of “bolting on” new licenses due to changes in the market, rather than any concerted effort to look at whether or not the underlying laws or licenses make sense. It’s the result of massive regulatory capture, as industries unwilling to change just run to the gov’t and demand to be compensated even as their old business models are going away. At what point do people say it’s time to scrap this mess and start from scratch?

      • Freakonomics Flips The Window: Releasing Movie Online Before In Theaters

        We’ve talked numerous times about the movie industry’s love affair with release windows, where they basically try to get people to pay for things multiple times by releasing them in different formats at different times. The first window, normally, is the theatrical release — and the theaters go absolutely livid if anyone suggests shortening the theatrical release window. Heaven forbid anyone go so far as to suggest something as “radical” as a so-called day and date release, where it’s released in all formats at the same time, and watch the theaters go ballistic and boycott the film, as a startling admission that they don’t think they can compete with home theaters.

        So, it’s quite interesting to see that the Freakonomics movie that’s coming out in the fall is apparently going to flip the windows over.

      • Hollywood Targets 8.2 Million Torrents at Bitsnoop

        While Bitsnoop may not have the profile of The Pirate Bay, make no mistake, this site is a major BitTorrent player. The site indexes more than 8 million torrents linking to roughly 9 petabytes of data. In the last few days Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN began threatening the site with the clear aim of bringing its activities to an end.

Clip of the Day

Compiz Fusion


Links 16/8/2010: Birthday of Debian, KDE SC 4.5.0 Coverage, Gestures With Multitouch

Posted in News Roundup at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • TV

    • The Netflix Linux Conjecture: How Netflix snubs the Linux comunity

      Conjecture: A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven but appears correct and has not been disproved. If that statement confuses you (and it may if you’re not a student of math), then you understand exactly how I felt during a discussion with Netflix’ Steve Swasey (VP of Corporate Communications – aka “Spin Doctor”). Quite frankly, the man didn’t spin the discussion in such a way to make Netflix anything but a tiny bit ignorant of the topic at hand.

      Before I go any further, I should probably tell you what this is all about. Netflix has a feature that allows members to stream movies directly to their PCs. To accomplish this, they use Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. Silverlight is basically a web-application framework that provides functions similar to that of Adobe Flash.

      Now, with that out of the way, let me give you the gist of the conversation between myself and Mr. Swasey:

      ME: Hello, I am a freelance writer for Techrepublic (CNET), Linux.com, and Ghacks.net and I get a LOT of readers asking why Netflix does not support Linux. I plan on doing an article on this very subject and was wondering if I could get your official statement on this very subject.

      Steve: Jack, Netflix wants to be ubiquitous on any screen you want to watch TV shows and movies on and we’re working to get on as many platforms as we can. However, Linux currently does not have a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in that’s comparable with Netflix playback. Please let me know if you have other questions.

    • CWTV adds Support for Streaming to Linux

      Back in March I had mentioned that one of the only issues I had to deal with when converting my girlfriend’s laptop to Linux Mint was that her favourite TV show would not stream to Linux. The reason for this is that CWTV, instead of using Adobe Flash, uses Move Media player to stream to Windows and OSX (Move does not support Linux). Because of this if you are on a Linux system you would simply receive an “operating system not supported” message when browsing the page with the stream.

  • Versus Windows

    • The Fanboi Stops Here

      My company computers were hacked in 2005…a three city network went down due to the Bagle virus, specifically referred to as W32/Bagle.J@MM

      It was fast, it was tenacious, it spread through Outlook and it was devastating.

      That was when I migrated my company computers and network to Linux. Of course I had help and without a good friend who knew what he was doing, it would have never happened…

      But it did and it worked for us….Professionally

    • Windesperation

      In Linux, the ritual of rebooting after an install becomes a hazy memory buried in the back of your brain. But this WAS Windows, not Mandriva Linux. With full lungs, XP said to me, “I don’t care what you do in Sparta, but THIS-IS- BOOTLAND!!!” and I had to reboot to try the program… After almost an hour, I was getting closer to getting things done at last.

      But then the firewall blocked the anti-Malware program. When I was trying to solve the problem, the firewall showed an alert of a high-rate attempt to access my computer from the outside. And then, it flashed a warning: “the Win32 Sality Virus that disables antivirus programs is becoming too common. Your version of the firewall cannot stop it, but an upgrade of the program can. Do you want to upgrade for free?” A year ago, I would have clicked YES immediately. However, more than an hour and 15 minutes had elapsed and I had not accomplished anything. The missing installation required me to knock off the firewall, but the firewall was asking me to update! This was too much. I felt completely unproductive in front of the computer. I was mad while I thought that this was XP, the most popular OS today. From what I have seen happening to happy users, Windows 7 performs pretty much in the same fashion, except that it requires more computer resources to run properly. That, in itself, is a funny paradox. I buy clothes that fit me; I do not buy shoes too wide for my feet hoping to fatten until the shoes fit. However, Microsoft expects you to drop XP and buy Windows 7 and to buy new hardware if your PC does not fulfill the requirements for 7. So, Windows is an OS to which the computer has to accommodate! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 162 – Neckbeards Unite!

      This week on the show: The Google/Verizon deal, the SFLC defends the GPL again, Canonical tracking Ubuntu installations, Google kills Wave, the Illumos Project revealed and of course lots of neckbeard action.

    • Episode 29 – How to get a job as a Linux Admin….

      1) Introduction

      We talk about an E-Mail from Matt. Matt wants to know how to get a job as a Jr. Linux Admin. We discuss some things we think anyone looking to make this career choice should do.

      [...]

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • A Common Compositing Window Manager Specification

      Martin Gräßlin, one of the KDE developers that works on the KWin window manager, when not working towards OpenGL 3.0 support for KWin in KDE SC 4.7 has been writing a draft specification for what he proposes as a unified specification for compositing window managers. Martin hopes for this to become a FreeDesktop.org specification and that KWin/Plasma, Compiz, and other compositing window managers would implement this common specification.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • How much of an Open Source Gypsy are you?

      On the next step down, we have desktop gypsies. These folks might well stay in a distro they know well, but might switch between KDE, Gnome, Xfce, LXDE, and others as their mood strikes. Again, I think it can only help everyone if we try and help these folks make the easiest and smoothest transition between them. Some will stick with a desktop, and some won’t, but making it easier for them to do so helps everyone who switches to that desktop.

    • Reviews

      • Puppy 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” Review

        The most recent release of Puppy Linux, version 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” has some huge changes which include binary compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 packages, easier package installation with Quickpet and in the Puppy Package Manager, a new Simple Network Setup utility and more. The official release announcement is here.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLINUXOS

        I have been using linux for about 4 years. I am by no means an expert but I would consider myself a little bit above average. I don’t usually write on my blog but something urged me to do it this time just so I can spread the word about Linux and this wonderful distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Happy Birthday, Debian!
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gestures with multitouch in Ubuntu 10.10

          Multitouch is just as useful on a desktop as it is on a phone or tablet, so I’m delighted that the first cut of Canonical’s UTouch framework has landed in Maverick and will be there for its release on 10.10.10.

          You’ll need 4-finger touch or better to get the most out of it, and we’re currently targeting the Dell XT2 as a development environment so the lucky folks with that machine will get the best results today. By release, we expect you’ll be able to use it with a range of devices from major manufacturers, and with addons like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

          The design team has lead the way, developing a “touch language” which goes beyond the work that we’ve seen elsewhere. Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated “sentences”.

        • Stunning New Gnome Shell Motion Design Mock Up[Video]
        • 10 Beautiful Wallpapers For Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’ From Official Ubuntu Artwork Pool

          Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr is buzzing with activity once again. With the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick getting nearer everyday, the submissions onto Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr keeps piling on. Here are a few of those wallpapers that I think, are worth mentioning. Click on the links provided to get wallpapers with different resolutions.

        • Maverick Ubuntu

          No Gnome 3.0

          One of the big changes that most users have been waiting for is the Gnome 3.0 desktop. The brand new desktop interface won’t be making it into this release however. Originally Gnome 3.0 was scheduled for release in early October which was already cutting it fine for Ubuntu developers to include it. However, the Gnome developers have pushed back the release of Gnome 3.0 by another six months which means that the new desktop may not in fact reach Ubuntu until October 2011.

        • Trying Out The New Ubuntu 10.10 Installer

          Following last week’s Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 release but landing before the Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” feature freeze this week were a number of last-minute features like X Server 1.9 integration and other updated packages along with the committing of the revamped Ubuntu desktop installer to Maverick. Via this revamped Ubuntu installer it’s possible to install proprietary bits directly like support for MP3 audio files and proprietary graphics drivers.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 1 – Lubuntu

            Our candidate? Lubuntu, a Ubuntu flavor that uses LXDE as its desktop environment. I has everything that Ubuntu has going for it; large community support, tons of packages in the repositories and years of Ubuntu legacy and know-how.

          • Ubuntu Studio Sound Theme is Old But Still Really Good

            Ubuntu Studio is a multimedia enhanced Ubuntu variant packed with custom wallpapers, themes, screensavers, system sounds and more. With Canonical in the lookout for a new System Sounds theme for upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, all those who want to contribute may want to check out the original Ubuntu Studio sound theme for inspiration. They are pretty darn good IMO.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • We should all be using free software

    By free software, they do not mean software that is given away at no cost. Lifelong free software activist Richard Stallman uses the French word “libre” to describe his ideal software; it’s free as in freedom, not as in free beer. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) defines four criteria for this freedom: the freedom to run the software for any purpose; to study how it works (to have access to its source code); to redistribute copies; and to publish modified and improved versions.

  • Top tips for a successful open source project
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TabCandy becomes tab sets for Firefox 4

        Latest Firefox 4 nightly builds now feature Tab Sets, the ability to organize your tabs by visually grouping them to match your browsing style, introduced a few weeks ago as TabCandy.

        If you have tried the experimental build released at that time, you won’t notice much change except some important bug fixing for improved stability.

  • Oracle

    • Considerations For FLOSS Hackers About Oracle vs. Google

      James Gosling is usually pretty cryptic in his non-technical writing, but I think if you read carefully, it seems to me that Gosling regrets that Oracle now holds his patents on Java. I know developers get nice bonuses if they let their company apply for patents on their work. I also know there’s pressure in most large companies to get more patents. We, as developers, must simply refuse this. We invent this stuff, not the suits and the lawyers who want to exploit our work for larger and larger profits. As a community of developers and computer scientists, we must simply refuse to ever let someone patent our work. In a phrase: just say no.

    • Oracle Scorns Open Source: How to Respond?

      This was bound to happen, of course. Things were going too well. At a time when Google is activating 200,000 Android phones a day, and Android has overtaken the iPhone in terms of US market share, Oracle decided to drop the bomb…

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m4) available
    • Defending Free Software against Oracle’s attack

      I don’t think Google developed Dalvik to work round licensing and patent problems with Java, they developed it simply because Sun’s Java technology wasn’t good enough for what they wanted to do. If you watch Dan Bornstein’s presentation that is abundantly clear. Designing a new virtual machine runtime is hard, but not that hard. The JVM was influenced was influenced by the Pascal pcode system, and the Smalltalk virtual machine architecture from the 1970s has also been very influential. Recently there have been a pile of virtual machines for JavaScript being developed. Thirty years later after Smalltalk-80 the technology of virtual machines and JIT compilation is really mainstream.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Wondermedia WM8505 Linux + u-boot source code

      In recent months, a number of alleged GPL-violation reports regarding products (tablet computers, mini netbooks and the like) using the Wondermedia WM850x line of ARM SoCs. People have been contacting me, as I was working as VIA Open Source Liaison, and there is the general belief that VIA and Wondermedia Technology (WMT) are one company.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Truth-o-Meter, 2G: Andrew Lih wants to wikify fact-checking

      At the same time, though, “I welcome die-hard Fox viewers,” Lih says. “I welcome people who think Accuracy in Media is the last word. Because if you can cite from a reliable source — from a congressional record, from the Census Bureau, from the Geological Survey, from CIA Factbook, from something — then by all means, I don’t really care what your political stripes are. Because the facts should win out in the end.”

Leftovers

  • Grope Claim Against Donald Duck

    While visiting Epcot Center in Florida, a Pennsylvania woman alleges that a Disney employee dressed as Donald Duck grabbed her breast and molested her after she sought an autograph.

  • Health

    • Christopher Hitchens: Topic of Cancer

      One fine June day, the author is launching his best-selling memoir, Hitch-22. The next, he’s throwing up backstage at The Daily Show, in a brief bout of denial, before entering the unfamiliar country—with its egalitarian spirit, martial metaphors, and hard bargains of people who have cancer.

      [...]

      These are my first raw reactions to being stricken. I am quietly resolved to resist bodily as best I can, even if only passively, and to seek the most advanced advice. My heart and blood pressure and many other registers are now strong again: indeed, it occurs to me that if I didn’t have such a stout constitution I might have led a much healthier life thus far. Against me is the blind, emotionless alien, cheered on by some who have long wished me ill. But on the side of my continued life is a group of brilliant and selfless physicians plus an astonishing number of prayer groups. On both of these I hope to write next time if—as my father invariably said—I am spared.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fla. developer sues Halliburton over Gulf spill

      Florida real estate developer St. Joe Co. is suing Halliburton Co. over its role in the rig explosion that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Confessions of a recovering environmentalist

      I generalise, of course. Environmentalism’s chancel is as accommodating as that of socialism, anarchism or conservatism, and just as capable of generating poisonous internal bickering that will last until the death of the sun. Many who call themselves green have little time for the mainstream line I am attacking here. But it is the mainstream line. It is how most people see environmentalism today, even if it is not how all environmentalists intend it to be seen. These are the arguments and the positions that popular environmentalism – now a global force – offers up in its quest for redemption. There are reasons; there are always reasons. But whatever they are, they have led the greens down a dark, litter-strewn dead end street, where the bins overflow, the lightbulbs have blown and the stray dogs are very hungry indeed.

      What is to be done about this? Probably nothing. It was perhaps inevitable that a utilitarian society would generate a utilitarian environmentalism, and inevitable too that the greens would not be able to last for long outside the established political bunkers. But for me, now – well, this is no longer mine, that’s all. I can’t make my peace with people who cannibalise the land in the name of saving it. I can’t speak the language of science without a corresponding poetry. I can’t speak with a straight face about saving the planet when what I really mean is saving myself from what is coming.

    • Huge ice island could pose threat to oil, shipping

      An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

      Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912.

  • Finance

    • IT Hiring Continues to Improve, According to Surveys

      Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

    • IMF document illustrates plan to raise global currency

      It’s no secret that many of the world’s largest industrialized nations are somewhat eager to ease their reliance on the U.S. dollar. For months China and Russia have pushed ever subtly, for a new “global reserve currency,” to give governments around the world enhanced economic stability in the event of greater fluctuations in the dollar’s value.

    • Financial Fallout: The Surprising Effects of a Recession

      In March 2010, ScienceDaily published a story about an intriguing report investigating the connection between stock-market activity and the frequency of heart attacks.

      The researchers, a team from Duke University Medical Center, discovered an increased incidence of cardiac arrest in the United States between January 2008 and July 2009, precisely when the stock market showed a clear decline in the midst of a massive economic crisis.

      Although the scientists determined in subsequent tests that this inverse relationship wasn’t quite as pronounced as they believed initially (due to seasonal fluctuations in heart attack rates), their study remains groundbreaking in terms of its efforts to explore a rarely covered topic: the impact of economic patterns on cardiovascular events.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality is foremost free speech issue of our time

      If we learned that the government was planning to limit our First Amendment rights, we’d be outraged. After all, our right to be heard is fundamental to our democracy.

      Well, our free speech rights are under assault — not from the government but from corporations seeking to control the flow of information in America.

      If that scares you as much as it scares me, then you need to care about net neutrality.

    • Who Will Kill Net Neutrality?
    • eBooks, Open and Closed

      This means that I can’t buy an book in EPUB format and read it on my hardware or software EPUB reader of choice. Or rather, I can do so only under limited circumstances. For example, I can read a Sony B&N ebook on a Nook, but I can’t read a B&N ebook on a Sony reader. Or, when I Google anything to do with EPUB and DRM, I get a lot of links that seem to lead to instructions for stripping DRM.

    • Simple Coloured Bash Prompts
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Jay-Z spoof Newport State Of Mind removed from YouTube

        The hit internet spoof video Newport State Of Mind which parodies Jay-Z has been removed from YouTube due to a “copyright claim” by EMI Publishing.

      • Once More (With Feeling): There’s Still A Role For Record Labels… But It’s Changing

        But we’ve regularly highlighted smart labels doing cool things, and others are noticing that as well. The New Yorker has a nice article pointing out that there’s still a role for record labels to help a band do all the stuff it doesn’t want to do itself, and that many indie labels have done a good job figuring this out. The article focuses mainly on the band Arcade Fire, and the success it’s had, despite being on a small “indie label.” It mentions the band Vampire Weekend, which has also had similar success.

        There’s nothing revolutionary about what their labels are doing. It’s just that the bands generally have a bit more control and are less a cog in a giant machine, allowing them to stay a bit more true to their musical roots. As the article notes, this is “not a radical change so much as a scaling back, a return to a business model that involves fewer people, and concentrates on the product.” Indeed, it notes that the major record labels are still where bands may go to play the lottery — to try to get that one big check. But these more innovative and nimble indie labels are where a band is likely to go if it actually wants to make a career.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Talks Resume: Round Ten Opens Today in Washington

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks resume today as Round Ten opens in Washington, DC. The full agenda indicates that all the issues will be addressed along with discussions of many smaller matters that have been left until the end. Following the last round in Lucerne, Switzerland (which only concluded 47 days ago), I had several posts on the leaked draft that tried to identify the primary areas of disagreement, the Canadian positions, the U.S. decision to cave on anti-circumvention, the importance of geographical indications in the talks, and speculation on the prospect of the EU walking away from ACTA.

Clip of the Day

Qt 4.6 Mobile Demos on Maemo & Symbian


Lady Java

Posted in Java, Oracle, Videos at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New promotional Java video from JavaZone

Direct link


Robert X. Cringely Shreds Microsoft to Pieces While Fraud/Kickbacks Surface at HP, Dell, and Intel

Posted in Apple, Dell, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Hardware, HP, Microsoft, Windows at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mark Hurd
Photo by JD Lasica

Summary: Microsoft loses its power struggle in the Free/open source community and the OEM channel; One of our readers opines that Microsoft may have been responsible for Hurd’s departure from HP

MICROSOFT is going through some tough times (unless one minds the PR). Fortunately, Microsoft is collapsing as even attempts to “embrace and extend” the free/libre competition bite the dust [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft Gavin spins it too weakly for Microsoft. “Microsoft has reportedly refused to comment officially on the changes,” he writes and “[r]eading between the lines, it would seem that Microsoft’s push for Microsoft-versions of dynamic languages has fallen victim to overall budget cuts and changing priorities.”

Jason Perlow suggests breaking up the company and famous columnist Robert X. Cringley is having a go at Microsoft as well (he “seems to sort of use Mac, not sure that’s true,” says a reader of ours. “But the same points could be used for switching to Linux as well.”):

It’s kind of pathetic, really. Most of these arguments are premised on the notion that if you’ve already wasted most of your adult life using Windows, you’ll be more familiar with it than the Mac, so you might as well waste the rest of your adult life. Which is really the only reason why Microsoft continues to dominate desktop market share: It’s harder to switch than to stick with what you got, even if what you got sucks eggs.

Cringely (over at IDG/InfoWorld, so maybe not the original pseudonym’s owner, Mark Stephens) also says that “Microsoft needs more than a new slogan” and in IRC we’ve been having an interesting discussion with an employee of HP. We have already mentioned that at least one possible replacement for Hurd is from Microsoft. Two articles pointed this out and someone who claims to be from HP (nadege) told us: “Hurd was not a Microsoft Monkey. We should know the new CEO within 2 weeks”

HP's new software head was hired from Microsoft a few months ago, which means that he sits on the desk in executive meetings of HP. gnufreex writes: “I have theory about canning Hurd

“Yahoo was too independent company and they put Bartz. And SGI too. And HP of 90′.”
      –gnufreex
nadege says: “Not sure Hurd was fired due to Microsoft Retaliation : HP & Microsoft are partners, and HP promote a lot the Microsoft products”

“HP does promote Microsoft, but Microsoft doesn’t forgive competition,” gnufreex tells nadege. “Palm is competition”

nadege responds with: “HP promotes Microsoft due to a special relationship. However, HP is still an independent company. So I don’t think Microsoft will put its own CEO at HP”

“Yahoo was too independent company,” gnufreex tells nadege, “and they put Bartz. And SGI too. And HP of 90′. Read this http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=belluzzo&defid=3861632

Someone seems to have coined the term “belluzzo” for Microsoft mole. To quote from Urban Dictionary:

Someone who acts against the interests of the organization he’s with, often in favor of some other organization he may be secretly working for instead – a mole.

[...]

Those acts – along with the reward from Microsfot – got him the nickname “the microsoft mole” (google “microsoft mole Belluzzo”) in those companies, and occaionally the term “a belluzzo” is used to describe someone who seems to be acting in the interest of a different company than the one he works for.

For details about Yahoo! entryism, see our Wiki. Earlier today we showed that Newsweek‘s outgoing Managing Editor now works for Microsoft (MSN). Bartz could be just another Belluzzo.

“Also note what they did to IBM’s OS/2, IBM was special partner too,” gnufreex adds. “When you are Microsoft competitor, you are on their hit list [...] That is exactly why they are firing him [...] I mean, not they are not firing him, they are setting the harassment case”

“HP has to be close to Microsoft,” nadege confesses, “otherwise Microsoft will favour Acer or Dell, and HP will lose its leadership. It’s tough to be a Microsoft Partner [...] And believe me : Customers (Companies and end users) want Microsoft products. They won’t accept any huge replacement of Windows.”

Chips B Malroy says: “they will on tablets [...] just look at the iPad”

nadege responds with: “Tablets, OK. Android will perform well” and gnufreex adds: “Yeah, and that is why Microsoft’s want Palm dead, and they need CEO who will kill it. [...] When I said they need CEO to kill Palm, I mean new HP CEO. Hurd didn’t want to kill his product just to please Microsoft, and now has to go. But then again, he is maybe just a rapist and deserves to be fired, and Microsoft has nothing to do with it”

IDG has a new article titled “Did HP Board Have Hidden Agenda in Removing Hurd?”

“New theories on why HP’s Mark Hurd was forced out,” says another headline.

HP has just been sued by a shareholder [1, 2] (shades of Yahoo!) and an aide is leaving along with Hurd. Well, guess who else is leaving? “Palm Prē design lead ejects from HP,” says this report from The Register.

Demi-disgraced HP chief exec Mark Hurd may have been the most-recent high-level exec to exit that company’s Palo Alto headquarters, but he’s not alone in his good-bye drive down US Highway 101.

Thanks to TechCrunch, we now learn that Peter Skillman, Palm’s now-former vice president of design — and the man who shepherded the design of the Palm Prē — has also bailed. An HP spokeswoman tells The Reg that his resignation came “about a month ago.”

Skillman’s departure is no small loss to HP. As the company expands beyond the security of the staid PC ‘n’ server ‘n’ printer markets and dips its toe into the turbulent ‘n’ trendy consumer products free-for-all, it’s going to need all the vision and design expertise it can get.

That cannot be good, can it? Hurd’s ‘Delilah’ says she is sorry and gnufreex writes: “I think Microsoft set him up [...] Because of his Linux related acquisitions [...] I think Microsoft want HP to kill Palm [...] some new Beluzzo might replace him [...] HP Enterpirse Software division (HP-UX and VMS) already got Microsoftie at helm”

The full IRC logs are available to see these claims in sequence. This theory says that they ‘pull a Bartz’ on HP, but evidence is not sufficient.

It was only weeks ago (before Hurd left, followed by the Palm Prē design lead) that HP had filed for a WebOS tablet trademark. It has real potential, but after Hurd officially dumped Vista 7 in favour of WebOS we now learn that Vista 7 is back, almost at the same time that HP put a Microsoft executive (Veghte) in charge of software at HP. Could HP be putting back Windows after dumping Vista 7 from “Slate”? How come?

Last week we showed that there was crime at HP and additional coverage includes:

i. HP settles kickback complaint

ii. HP Takes Charge to Settle DOJ Kickbacks Case

HP allegedly paid more than $3 million to systems integrators between 2001 and 2006 in exchange for favorable treatment on government contracts, according to DOJ filings.

iii. HP pays to end kickback probe

HP is taking a two cents per share charge to end a Department of Justice investigation into bribery allegations.

Here’s more (not about the fraud/kickbacks):

  • Next to exit HP: Top aide to Hurd

    As the many questions around Mark Hurd’s departure continue to go unanswered, a key aide to the former CEO has also abruptly resigned this week.

    The mystery deepens. Caprice Fimbres McIlvaine, formerly head of internal communications at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and a top aide to ex-CEO Mark Hurd, has left the company, following her boss out the door three days after his departure. Her exit is significant because, according to two people with knowledge of her former role, McIlvaine was the key conduit in hiring Jodie Fisher, the actress-turned-corporate hostess/”marketing contractor” who later filed a sexual harassment suit against Hurd, setting in motion the chain of events that resulted in the CEO’s resignation on Aug. 6. McIlvaine resigned effective Aug. 9, HP confirmed Wednesday.

  • Andreessen: Valley statesman, HP’s front man

    Why HP was wise to put director Marc Andreessen forward as the board’s spokesman on the Mark Hurd crisis.

    The delightfully jarring aspect to Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) bombshell news and investor conference calls last Friday was the board member the venerable company put forward as its public face: Marc Andreessen, not so very long ago the enfant terrible of Silicon Valley.

  • Mark Hurd is Irrelevant – The Challenge Ahead for HP

    Mark Hurd’s silly exit has little to do with HP’s real problems. As an executive there about a decade ago, I saw a company that was giving up its differentiating value in the name of operational savings, not realizing that by now the Golden Goose of creativity would find greener pastures. But surprisingly, the classic HP tradition of building a great place to do engineering that results in a flood of excellent creative products is being followed…

Back we go to Cringely (the original one) who wrote about “Stupid CEO Tricks” — a post wherein he mentioned Intel for showing that “to a certain extent crime does pay. ”

This week brought two other news events worthy of comment — Intel’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and Mark Hurd’s sudden departure as CEO from giant Hewlett-Packard.

The Intel story is almost as it is being presented in the trade and general press. Yes, Intel has promised in very specific ways to no longer be evil. No, Intel isn’t being made to give back the money it made as a result of being evil, so to a certain extent crime does pay. Of course some will say the money damages were in part covered by Intel’s recent $1.25 billion settlement with AMD, but the FTC also doesn’t generally impose fines. So if you happen to be guilty of anti-trust I guess it is better to be sued by the FTC than by the DoJ, which does impose fines.

Either way, Intel got away with something and the graphics chip makers in particular should be pissed.

We have already explained how Intel and Dell are teaching our kids that crime pays off. Here is more coverage about that, starting with older articles:

i. FTC gives itself an anti-trust extension as Intel deal eludes it

AN APPARENT FAILURE TO FIND agreement has led to the US Federal Trade Commission extending by two weeks the time it has to find a settlement with Intel.

ii. Red faced Dell fined for cooking the books

iii. Dell Settles with SEC for $100 Million

iv. Dell pays $100m to settle accounting fraud charges

v. Dell to Pay $100 Million to Settle SEC Case

vi. Dell proposes settlement in SEC investigation

vii. AMD gets an order from Dell

The relationship between Dell and AMD has been getting closer lately. Certainly in the days when Dell was an Intel-only shop this sort of deal would have been unthinkable.

viii. Chipmaker Intel settles FTC antitrust lawsuit

ix. FTC Settles Antitrust Complaint Against Intel

x. FTC settles anti-competition case with Intel

xi. FTC settles Intel lawsuit to ‘help consumers’

What is this case teaching our children? That a slap on the wrist is all one gets for abusing the market? Earlier today we showed that Apple too had been caught using kickbacks, so an Apple manager goes to jail (which is rare, they are usually just fined).

The original Cringely has one last post on the subject. “Too Big to Fail” is the title.

Everything about the Intel/FTC settlement screams of one thing — Microsoft. Redmond’s multi-year nightmare with the FTC, DoJ, and the attorneys-general of several dozen states wasn’t lost on Intel, which is a more rational company and doesn’t want a Microsoft-like anti-trust experience. Both companies are guilty and both are paying something for that guilt, but Intel clearly wants to avoid the decade of pain and distraction suffered by Microsoft.

[...]

Microsoft was paralyzed with the FTC breathing down its neck. Intel is not paralyzed.

Roughly $2 billion in payouts and Intel is a free bird — a rich free bird at that — having proved that crime does pay.

These settlements will effectively pay for themselves in two months at current Intel profit levels.

Had Microsoft been “paralyzed”, then its abuses would not carry on; but they do.

“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”

Bill Gates

“That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve heard since I’ve been at Microsoft.”

Bill Gates

“Microsoft is Cashing Innovation Tax (aka Patent License Money) for Android, Now Oracle Joins the Scheme.”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SCOracle logo

Summary: The attack on Android from multiple directions (Microsoft and Apple against phone makers, as well as Oracle against Google) shows why software patents are an abomination

IN the previous post about the “SCOracle” case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] we attempted to find an explanation for Oracle harming its own asset, or at least looking to reduce fragmentation. Oracle has a history of opposing software patents (based on a statement pulled from many years ago) and its recently inherited product, ZFS, is still under attack by software patents.

One company which clearly suffers from software patents is eBay, which is under another attack this summer [1, 2]. Red Hat’s outspoken employee Jan Wildeboer says that “MSFT is cashing innovation tax (aka patent license money) for Android, now ORCL joins the scheme. And you still ask why #swpat [software patents] are wrong?”

Carlo Piana writes today: “I repeat that: #swpats must go away!” (it has always been his position on the face of it).

Dan Ravicher from the SFLC is still trying to invalidate patents on two genes which relate to breast cancer, not just software patents. From The Prior Art blog:

In a motion filed quietly in late June, Christopher Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union and Daniel Ravicher claim that remarks made by Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader at a biotechnology industry event show he may have a biased view of the case in question, Association of Molecular Pathology et. al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office et. al, and should not be one of the three judges to decide the appeal.

Questioning Rader’s objectivity is an unusual move that underscores just how high the stakes are in the case at issue, in which several doctors’ groups have joined the ACLU and PubPat in seeking to invalidate patents on two genes related to breast cancer that are owned by Utah-based Myriad Genetics–and, more broadly, to challenge the legality of the thousands of genetic patents already in existence.

We wrote about gene patents before [1, 2]. They too are a ludicrous (mis)use of patent law — an attempt to own nature, not just mathematics.

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