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08.19.10

Microsoft is Already Down-Speccing KINect, Loses an Exclusive

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 7:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Statue

Summary: Microsoft’s “Kinect” is not wanted and adding insult to injury, Microsoft makes it even worse, technically

BASED on recent coverage [1, 2], Microsoft’s KINect is likely to become somewhat of a failure, maybe as much of a failure as KIN although that’s hard to beat.

Microsoft is already downgrading KINect (hat tip to Chips for this pointer) and we will hopefully expand on that over the weekend (news lag).

It looks like the initial version of Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing add-on for their Xbox 360 console isn’t going to be quite the device everyone had initially anticipated.

[...]

The original Kinect patent filed by Microsoft suggested that the device would be equipped with a 640×480 camera with the ability to understand American Sign Language. The final production model replaces a pricey hardware chip with a software solution which, in addition to saving Microsoft money, reduces the performance of the device.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has also just lost an “exclusive”:

The official press release for the PS3 edition includes the line: “The PlayStation 3 edition will include the full Mass Effect 2 game and hours of bonus content.”

Mass Effect 2 was supposed to be Microsoft’s “exclusive”, but the only exclusive it gets these days is exclusive control of Yahoo!, which sends American customers over to Microsoft.

Larry Ellison: “We Have to Exploit Open Source.”

Posted in Oracle, Patents, SUN at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Larry Elllison on stage
Photo from Oracle Corporate Communications

Summary: Good new find from SJVN and further explanation about comedy regarding software patents at Sun Microsystems

“IF an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it,” said Oracle's CEO on one occasion. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) has found another memorable quote that he mentions in relation to this article:

So why would Oracle, a Linux-supporter in its own right, introduce the evil of software patents into open-source programming? My answer: Because Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, thinks the company can profit from it.

You see there are two ways of looking at open source, as Eben Moglen, founder of the SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center), explained recently at LinuxCon. Moglen said, “The patent crisis is not going to go away. We’re now in a situation — after the Bilski decision — where clarity on the patent situation is not coming anytime soon.” And, “The patent system is built for secrecy and for trouble-making — it’s not a pro-innovation system.”

Because of this, Oracle decided to make hay while they could with its aging Sun Java patents. But, why did they choose this way? Well, Moglen answered that question as well even before anyone knew that Oracle was going to sue anyone.

Meanwhile we continue to gather more stories about the SUN/Java patents being part of a joke [1, 2]. Here is a new cartoon about those patent jokes and also a new article.

Sun engineers once ran an unofficial competition to see who could get the “goofiest” invention past the US patent office, according to former Sun man and Java founder James Gosling.

In suing Google over its use of Java on Android, Oracle is waving seven Sun patents, and one of them carries Gosling’s name. In a blog post sparked by the suit, Gosling says Sun didn’t pay patents much heed until the company was successfully sued by IBM for infringing on its so-called RISC patent. Then Sun went on a “patent binge”, and yes, this included some less-than-serious filings.

In later posts we are going to show that the Oracle case is technically weak [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13].

Links 19/8/2010: Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS, Many New Events

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Innocuous Network Solutions Web Widget Served Malware

      Growsmartbusiness.com is running a standard LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) stack and was hit with the Trojan Horse/PHP backdoor attack r57shell.

    • Windows in the cloud: long boot times, other difficulties not seen with Linux

      Running Windows servers in the Amazon cloud may have just gotten a lot easier, but a project by the management vendor RightScale to improve Windows support shows that people who use the Microsoft operating system in cloud networks face difficulties not seen in the Linux world.

    • The right to know – and to condemn to death

      Some news stories can be misleading, such as a recent one about the next version of Linux. It was reported that the “next Linux kernel has been released with a tidy little warning from Linus Torvalds for code committers to pay more attention and be more careful”.

      Many read this to mean that the next Linux version has problems. The actual story and comments from Torvalds was concerning the way people are dropping items into the Linux-next bucket which is for the next version(s) after the latest release. He and Andrew Morton have been annoyed that some of the items are not very stable and when it sits in that pile, people expect to see it in the next release. Linux-next is supposed to be for items ready for the next merge, not items that still need a lot of work before they can be. It pays to read a little deeper into some news stories.

    • Kernel Progress Entering New Era of Innovation

      The last 12 months in Linux kernel development may have been less than exciting, but that may be just a breather before what’s coming up next, according to kernel developer and Linux Weekly News editor Jon Corbet.

      Last week at LinuxCon, Corbet delivered what has become a ubiquitous fixture in many Linux gatherings: The Kernel Report, a highly detailed and informative look at the current state of the Linux kernel, and what’s on the way. Corbet’s unique position as journalist and kernel developer lends the Kernel Report a sweeping scope over many facets of kernel development.

      Corbet is in strong company. 2,800 developers worked on the last five kernel releases, 16.6 percent of them volunteers. Red Hat, Intel, Novell, and IBM filled the remaining top five contributors’ slots, respectively.

  • Instructionals/Technical

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Accenture predicts open source adoption, but does it “join in” too?

        Technology consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture used its appearance at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World in Boston earlier this summer to talk about mainstream adoption of open source. As such, the company says it is continuing its own investment in open source solutions and that it predicts the systems integration services around open source is a £4 billion market.

        [...]

        According to the Red Hat corporate blog channel, “Accenture is already investing in open source solutions like AMOS, which is built on Red Hat solutions. Accenture continues to invest in open source through its Innovation Centre for Open Source, which leverages Red Hat Solution Stacks, including JBoss Enterprise Middleware. Red Hat has worked with Accenture to create the Accenture SOA Reference Architecture, Accenture Foundation Platform for Java, Accenture Mobility Operated Services, and the Accenture Public Service Platform.”

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS Is Available for Download

          This first maintenance release brings to its dedicated users a lot of security updates and corrections, all with a single goal: to keep Ubuntu 10.04 LTS a stable and reliable Linux distribution!

          Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS fixes some installation bugs, various upgrade issues, improves support for many hardware components, and fixes annoying desktop bugs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Taking the Android plunge

          The technology in question is the T-Mobile Pulse Mini smart (sic) phone, which runs the Android operating system. A smart phone with an Open Source operating system, that has a Remember The Milk app which means I can Get Things Done, all for under four ponies? What could possibly go wrong?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software Soaring to Success

    Linux server operating system vendors like Red Hat and even Novell could be heading for bumper sales over the next 12 months. Almost 40 percent of organizations are planning on migrating mission-critical workloads to open source software in that time frame.

    That’s Accenture’s line anyway, and perhaps the mega-consulting firm has good reason for saying so: It asked 300 private and public sector organizations with annual revenues in excess of $500 million about their plans for open source software, and announced the results earlier this month. “What we are seeing is a coming of age of open source, ” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology architect chappie.

  • Keep it simple, stupid

    Koroth says that their company firmly believes in the power and strength of Open Source. Worldwide inventions have taken place because of the Open Source movement, he says. Further, it is simply because of Open Source technologies that people like him can start a company, and now be able to break even. “We will give back to that technology. People ask us if it isn’t an issue that people may be downloading Fedena and using it in their own name. But I believe that if the technology is good, they will come back, they will return to the source for more!”

  • Events

    • Linux Security Summit 2010 – Wrapup

      The first Linux Security Summit (LSS) was held last Monday, 9th August in Boston, in conjunction with LinuxCon 2010 North America.

      This event has its roots in the Linux security development community which emerged in the early 2000s, following the development of LSM and with the incorporation of a wide range of new security features into Linux. We’d previously met, as a community, in OLS BoF sessions, various conference hallway tracks, and at project-specific events such as the SELinux Symposium. There have also been very successful security mini-summits at LCA in 2008 and 2009, and a double security track at the 2009 Plumbers Conference.

    • New Zealand Open Source Awards open for nominations and judges announced

      The panel includes two New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) Presidents, current President Rachel Hamilton-Williams and past-President Don Christie; Foo Camp founder & author Nat Torkington; WebFund Chairman and tohunga rorohiko, Dave Moskovitz; Richard Wyles, Director of Flexible Learning Network/Mahara; and Telecom Mobile Engineer and gadgets and geeks evangelist Amber Craig.

    • David Farrar joins Open Source Awards judging panel
    • OpenOffice.org Celebrates Tenth Anniversary at OOoCon in Budapest
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome Dev 6.0.495.0 Released, Chrome 7.0 Coming Right Up
    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla eases fears over phishy URL alert

        Developers of the open-source browser have known of the URL warning bypass since at least June, when it was reported here. Under most circumstances, Firefox will display a warning when users click on links that contain addresses that have been obfuscated to hide their true destination. But when users encounter encoded URLs in inline frames embedded in a webpage, no such alert is delivered.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle sticks a fork in Illumos, OpenSolaris community

      The problem the OpenSolaris open source community has faced in the last several years is that important parts of the code distributed with OpenSolaris is closed sourced. But when he launched Illumos, D’Amore said progress has been made in some key areas of the Solaris closed source code. However, critical work in certain closed areas still needs to be done, such as the NFS/CIFS lock manager, full kdf module/daemon, trusted extensions and other drivers.

    • Shuttleworth: Oracle dooms its prospects in open source business

      Oracle’s ill-advised patent infringement case against Google will backfire, and hurt its prospects in the growing open source business market.

      That, according to Ubuntu creator and Linux giant Mark Shuttleworth, is the natural outcome of Oracle’s case against the Linux-based Android operating system.

    • Larry Ellison Goes Postal On Fortune Writer

      Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is on a feisty emailing tear, in the wake of his pal Mark Hurd’s ouster as CEO of HP.

      First, Ellison emailed the New York Times to tell them that HP’s decision to kneecap Hurd after a sex scandal was the worst HR move since “idiots” on Apple’s board fired Steve Jobs long ago.

      That prompted Fortune writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt to point out that Oracle seemingly had different ethical standards than HP, noting that Ellison had “a long history of office dalliances and at least one sexual harassment lawsuit (decided in his favor).”

  • Healthcare

    • VA moves toward open source for electronic health record system

      The Veterans Affairs Department asked industry, government agencies and academic researchers last week for insights on using open source software as a key component of a modernized electronic heath record system, a move that could have serious implications for the Obama administration’s initiative for adoption of digital medical files nationwide.

    • Open VistA for AHLTA?

      Last week the Military Health System detailed plans to replace its AHLTA electronic health record system — loathed by its clinicians — with a new system based on commercial products.

      At about the same time, the Veterans Affairs Department issued a request for information seeking comments on developing a new version of its VistA electronic health record system based on open source software and asked, “How would other federal agencies participate or benefit from an open source approach to VistA EHR?”

  • Government

    • WhiteHouse.gov Expands Open Source Efforts

      The White House has jumped aboard the open source bandwagon. And we’re not talking about some cleverly named Silicon Valley upstart. This is the real deal.

      In late April, White House blogger Dave Cole announced plans to release some of the custom code the White House has developed.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Web Could Be Stylized by New W3C Font Platform

      The World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Fonts Working Group has launched version 1.0 of the The Web Open File Format (WOFF). This format will provide a platform for open source and commercial providers of fonts to make their creations easily available across the Web, according to W3C fonts activity lead Chris Lilley.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Investors Chide Michael Dell

      Dell’s shareholders delivered a sharp rebuke of Michael S. Dell, the company’s founder and chief executive, when a fourth of the investors withheld support of Mr. Dell in a recent vote.

      In a regulatory filing released Tuesday, Dell disclosed that about 378 million of 1.5 billion votes opposed Mr. Dell’s continued presence on the company’s board. Dell held its annual meeting with shareholders earlier in the month.

    • Michael Dell given an unsubtle hint by displeased shareholders
    • How Two Former Ringtone Giants Are Faring As That Market Crumbles

      Last week, on the eve of Jamba’s party, News Corp. confirmed rumors of its intentions to sell off the mobile division, and Fox Mobile, like other ringtone providers, are left scrambling to find new business models as the clock runs down out their traditional revenue streams.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Your fears confirmed: “up to” broadband speeds are bogus

      Broadband providers in the US have long hawked their wares in “up to” terms. You know—”up to” 10Mbps, where “up to” sits like a tiny pebble beside the huge font size of the raw number.

      In reality, no one gets these speeds. That’s not news to the techno-literate, of course, but a new Federal Communications Commission report (PDF) shines a probing flashlight on the issue and makes a sharp conclusion: broadband users get, on average, a mere 50 percent of that “up to” speed they had hoped to achieve.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Negotiators confirm ACTA not really a “counterfeiting” treaty

          What’s in a name? Not much, when it comes to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. As Luc Devigne, the top EU negotiator on ACTA made clear today, he has no intention of limiting ACTA to, you know, its name.

          ACTA negotiators gathered today for an informal luncheon at which some outsiders were invited, including several civil society folks. According to American University’s Mike Palmedo, who attended the DC event and took notes later sent to Ars, “[Devine] asked more than once how you could have an ‘IP Enforcement’ treaty and not include patents—and dismissed suggestions that ACTA was specifically an ‘Anti-Counterfeiting’ treaty rather than a broader enforcement treaty.” (Australia still objects strongly to including patents in ACTA, but the EU wants them included.)

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