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10.12.10

Links 12/10/2010: KDE-GNOME Comparisons, Mandriva Activity

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • New Linux Foundation User Survey Shows Enterprise Linux to Achieve Significant Gains

    The survey was conducted by The Linux Foundation in partnership with Yeoman Technology Group during August and September 2010 and received responses from more than 1900 individuals.

  • 10 Reasons Not to Use Linux (Reflexion)
  • Using Youtube to Promote Linux and Free Software

    It is very clear to me that Linux, GNU, and free software are more popular than ever. It is also very clear that this makes a lot of people in high places very afraid. Patent lawsuits and propaganda seem to be the customary responses to Linux’s ever increasing popularity. However, there is a great infrastructure that has been built that provides a powerful platform to combat the Linux-naysayers: Youtube. With billions (perhaps trillions) of video views, it is very clear that Youtube has become the dominant force for spreading information freely. I recently produced a 3 part video series on C++ programming that I posted onto Youtube. I produced the entire video series on my Fedora 13 Linux laptop using free software. What more powerful demonstration could I have come up with to prove that Linux is indeed ready for the prime time? In fact, the only problem that I ran into along the way was Youtube’s inability to process my Ogg Theora videos, the default file format on my system. In this article, I will talk about my experience, and what it means for the future of Linux on the desktop.

  • Desktop

    • A Linux that works

      With Ubuntu 10.10, I’m well along my migration to Linux as my main operating system

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 138: Cappuccino

      Cappuccino is an open source framework that makes it easy to build desktop-caliber applications that run in a web browser.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Needs Help With Timing Management

        For those owners of NVIDIA graphics hardware that are already using — or interested in using — the open-source Nouveau driver that is developed by the community as an alternative to NVIDIA’s proprietary driver, the developers could use some help. Martin Peres has issued a testing request for people to try out new code for the Nouveau driver that deals with memory timing management.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME 3, Activites, and KDE 4

      The thing is, GNOME Activities has essentially the same concept (and even the same name) as KDE 4 Activities. So I was thinking for quite a while: how can this be called “revolutionary” with a straight face? Today it hit me: while KDE may have had the idea first, GNOME presents a far superior execution of this idea; GNOME Activities in the alpha and beta versions of GNOME 3 was very usable and improved with each iteration, while KDE Activities remained very slow, very buggy, and nearly unusable until the release of KDE 4.5.

    • KDE 4 vs. GNOME 3: An Early Comparison

      How will GNOME 3 compare to KDE 4? The picture is still emerging, since GNOME 3′s official release is still months away. However, with GNOME Shell available as a preview in the latest GNOME releases, a general outline is starting to be visible.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The King is dead, long live the king!

        Have you ever wondered what became out of KSensors? I did. Many times. Well the sad but inevitable fact is: its dead :-( . And as far as I can tell there are no real successors standing in the doorstep. All the sensor apps available for KDE4 are hardly replacements. Most of them are plasmoids and I’d rather consider them toys then the real deal.

      • A slides sorter in KPresenter

        As you may know, KOffice is on the way to release its 2.3 version. The presentation application of the suite, KPresenter, will embbed a really necessary feature for an end user application which is the slides sorter. A slides sorter view is a window that displays thumbnail versions of all your slides, arranged in horizontal rows. This view is useful to make global changes to several slides at one time. Rearranging slides is easy to do in Slides Sorter view.

      • Plasma Mobile Technology Preview Features in Kubuntu 10.10

        Yesterday’s Kubuntu 10.10 release features new KDE software for your phone. Working with KDE’s Plasma Mobile team, Kubuntu have created Kubuntu Mobile, suitable for smart phones and available for i386 and ARM platforms. This is a technology preview of the upcoming Plasma Mobile workspace and is not ready for day to day use.

  • Distributions

    • Larry and Me

      I want to thank Steve Dibb for all the effort he has put into building and running Planet Larry over the years, and for entrusting me to continue running it on behalf of the Gentoo community.

    • Reviews

      • Experiencing Arch Linux with the Archbang Live CD

        So I got my new laptop ready for a hardcore multi-boot install, and one of the distributions I’ve always wanted to test is Archbang. I’ve tried Arch before and installed it a couple of times just for fun, both in a virtual environment and on disk, but haven’t been serious about it. It was just to practice the installation and play around.

      • ArchBang Linux 2010.10 Review

        Released Oct. 7th, ArchBang 2010.10 is a ARCH linux based OS targeted at new and experienced linux users. The developer’s describe it as a simple, light-weight distro featuring the Openbox Window Manager and many small but useful apps.

        The “Bang” suffix is a clue to the original idea of a light Openbox desktop presented first in CrunchBang linux, a Ubuntu/Debian distro already established as a awesome Linux distribution targeted at laptops, netbooks, and older PC’s that I have used previously. I have followed the early development of this distro and thought I’d install the new version for x86 and see what’s changed.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Know thy packagers..

        So, in April, Funda Wang managed an impressive number of 600+ commits. He was followed by jquelin and goetz, with almost 200 commits each, then neoclust and cfergeau (I’ll mark Mandriva current/former employees with bold marks for the sake of clarity) with a bit more than 100 commits, and then by many others.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • PlayDeb Makes Getting the Latest Games on Ubuntu Easy

        Many games for Ubuntu are nicely packaged into an installable .deb file, which is great because it makes installing and running the game a piece of cake. But sometimes you’ll find a game that looks awesome, but it involves some command line incantations to get it to compile. Or perhaps, you installed version 1.0 some time ago, but version 2.0 came out last week and Ubuntu’s update-manager didn’t know about it.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Upgrade to the Latest Ubuntu the Easy Way

          Ready to jump on the latest Ubuntu, but don’t want to mess up your current Ubuntu installation? Here’s how you can painlessly upgrade to Ubuntu 10.10, or any later normal release of Ubuntu, directly from the Update Manager.

        • Re: The Register Maverick Review

          The first app and possibly others will be proprietary as well as commercial; but we are hoping for the sale and economic viability of Free and Open Source software in order to ensure that we don’t end up with proprietary people being rewarded and enabled while Free Software developers are punished and disabled.

          Canonical could have bee stronger message too, in my opinion. Not quite telling journalists if they’ll be selling FOSS software or just proprietary software. We need strong leadership and the best people to deliver a strong leadership on economic viability are platform providers who can communicate and provide the avenues built in to the platform.

        • 9 Things I Did After Installing Brand New Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”

          The final release of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat is here with a ton of improvements. I think, it’s time to stop talking about the great strides Ubuntu 10.10 has made on the usability fronts and lets just concentrate on the things you need to do and you could do with the new Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Screenshot Tour Of Kubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”

            Yesterday we published screenshots of the changes in Ubuntu 10.10. Today, we take a look at KDE-based Ubuntu derivative Kubuntu.

          • Linux Mint Fail
          • Xubuntu 10.10 – Xfce

            Another Ubuntu “Community” distribution, Xubuntu is basically the main Ubuntu distribution with an Xfce desktop. This makes it somewhat smaller and lighter than the standard Ubuntu Gnome distribution. I particularly like it for netbooks and sub-notebooks.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Fascism

        Every one has complied with the dictator’s wishes that a phoney “7″ should run on such-and-such a platform.

        [...]

        We shall see. One of the beauties of GNU/Linux is that being a well-designed OS it will run on anything.

      • Android

        • All myTouch 3G Series Phones to See Android 2.2

          An internal screen shot is being passed around showing T-Mobile’s Cole Brodman pledge of “no phones left behind” when it comes to the latest Android release and their flagship phones. It appears the carrier isn’t going to be pushing out vanilla Android updates but rather something along the lines of their Espresso build for the myTouch 3G Slide. Features include the Genius Button and MyFaves Gallery, both of which are new and custom for their phones. So all of you guys and gals with Fender edition phones, get ready. It’s “coming soon”.

        • Rumor: Android Gingerbread SDK To Drop Next Week

          Take this with a large grain of salt as it’s just a rumor at this point, but one of our sources very close to the Android core who has been testing and working with Gingerbread for quite a while recently shared a little tidbit of info. According to the source, we won’t have to wonder what exactly Gingerbread, the next Android OS, is going to bring to the table for too long because the Gingerbread SDK is going to go public next week.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Cloud Computing: Is there a threat?

      Perhaps the most sensitive aspect in the issue of cloud computing is the issue of privacy and personal security. Personally, I have no idea how storing all my personal data and personal files (images, documents, audio and video stuff) can be even remotely as private, safe and secure as storing them on my personal machine and then sharing them with the world as I wish. The irony is that when I tried to tell Noha that there will be many people who will refuse to place all the personal stuff on the cloud, her only response was something like: “Oh, of course there will be a great consideration for personal preference!”. But then, how is there going to be any kind “relevant” personal preference when the ability to store files and data on a completely isolated machine will not be available anymore? In my opinion (please correct me if I’m wrong), cloud-hosting service providers can brag all they want about the levels of privacy and security they provide, but the fact remains that the cloud will never be even half as trustworthy, when it comes privacy and security, as the desktop.

  • Oracle

    • Which OOo bugs are fixed in LibreOffice?

      Laurent asked me quite a good question this afternoon: should we add some comment in IssueZilla to indicate that a bug has been fixed in LibreOffice? It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s politically incorrect to do that… but we can extract the bug numbers from the LibreOffice git logs. First I started with some simple shell script to generate the list of the bug numbers, then I created my first GreaseMonkey script to change the IZ page for these bugs.

    • IBM joins the OpenJDK community, will help unify open source Java efforts

      When people talk about open source, the notion of “forking” often comes up. The idea is that some folks are not happy with the direction in which a project is going, so they take a copy of the source code, come up with a new name, and set up shop elsewhere. This is no guarantee that the newly forked project will be successful, but it functions as an important escape valve for those who have donated time and effort to a community project and want to see the work done in what they believe is the right manner.

  • Business

    • Freemium: The Web’s Counter-Intuitive Business Model

      It’s not a simple way to go, though, because as Aaron Levie, CEO at online collaboration vendor Box.net, pointed out at a recent talk called “6 Reasons You Would Be Crazy Not to Give Away Your Software For Free,” presented at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City last month, it’s not easy to convince people to pay for something they are getting for free.

      In fact, Levie admitted that Box.net didn’t start out freemium. They charged for their services the old-fashioned way, and they actually made money — more money than they have since on a month-by-month, per-user basis. It seemed there was no reason to change.

      [...]

      By giving away storage and sharing services, Box.net was able to get inside organizations it might not otherwise have been able to penetrate. Freemium, it seems, is the Trojan Horse of business. You sneak inside an organization with freebies, then use your presence as a way to leverage sales of the pay version of your product.

Leftovers

  • Competition

    The latest campaign to compete head to head with Apple may be one of the costliest. This is good. It means they perceive the threat to their monopoly is real.

  • FULL DISCLOSURE: The Letters That Caused All This Drama
  • Thank a software developer today

    I think writing software—or just about any act of creation, really—is accompanied by the hope that others will find that what you’ve created is useful/beautiful/good. That’s true for commercial software, too, but I think it’s especially true for free and open source software.

  • Pay Per Patch: A Free Software Market Model

    If programmers are paid for work whose end product is released as free software, it follows that complete applications can be viewed as sort of a public good — virtually everyone can benefit from them. That being the case, there is no need for buyers to pay for applications. Instead of paying for complete software solutions, buyers may wish to pay only for specific program elements they want, which the software lacks. All such elements, regardless of whether they be basic functionality or new features, can be submitted in the form of patches. Paying for patches costs the buyer less than it would cost to pay for the whole application, and it ensures further development of the software they are using.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Protect police from lawsuits, says Met chief

      Sir Paul Stephenson, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, has privately lobbied the home secretary to make it harder for people to take legal action against his force, the Guardian has learned.

  • Finance

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Waxman, Boucher Release GAO Report on Global Broadband Deployment and Adoption

      Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Rep. Rick Boucher released a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), examining the deployment and adoption of broadband in developed nations.

      At the request of Chairmen Waxman and Boucher, GAO conducted a case study of broadband initiatives in seven countries identified as being particularly successful in increasing broadband deployment or adoption. It found that all seven countries had achieved higher levels of either broadband deployment or broadband adoption than the United States as of the fourth quarter of 2009.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Areas where the Oct 2, 2010 ACTA text is inconsistent with U.S. law

          As an agreement, ACTA provides for a number of obligations for Parties to the agreement regarding the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The agreement either does or does not provide guidance as to the availability of exceptions to those obligations. Given that several exceptions are written into the agreement, for example the 2nd paragraph of the injunctions article, and footnotes 4, 5 an 6 in the border measures section, footnote 13 in Article 2.18, and the several areas of disputed text, one could reasonably ask, are the enumerated exceptions to remedies the only ones allowed by the agreement, or is there a different understanding that these norms are not to be taken literally. Are the dozens of cases where ACTA conflicts with current laws in the countries negotiating ACTA implicitly allowed by the new agreement? Or are have negotiators, wittingly or unwittingly, proposed changes in these law?

        • Senator Wyden asks for legal review of ACTA

          Noting the ACTA is being negotiated as an “executive agreement” because “it is not intended to impact U.S. law, but that “some experts outside of government are raising concerns that the ACTA text is contrary to U.S. law and its application or would present a barrier to changes in U.S. law in the area of reform to damages for patents, or access to orphaned copyrighted works,” Senator Wyden has asked in an October 8, 2010 letter (link here) that the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress undertake and provide to Congress…

        • S’pore could be among the first to sign intellectual property agreement

          The 24-page finalised draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) was released last Wednesday, with some provisions that had earlier raised eyebrows scrubbed out.

        • Brasil ataca acordo de ricos contra falsificação [Brazil says it does not recognize the legitimacy of ACTA]
        • Article 29 Working Party assessment of ACTA
        • ACTA Conclusion Leaves Flexibility for Made-in-Canada Approach

          Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement concluded earlier this month, with Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries releasing the text of a near-complete agreement. While several key issues are still unresolved, no further negotiation rounds are planned as participants plan to use the coming weeks to iron out the remaining differences.

Clip of the Day

Google Chrome OS Demo


Credit: TinyOgg

OpenSUSE News Roundup: OSC 2010, Appeal for Strategy, FrOSCamp

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wide angle bridge

Summary: Crossing the chasm still with Novell’s help; news items from OpenSUSE Conference 2010, the overhauled OpenSUSE Web site, and few other areas

IT HAS BEEN a long time since we last covered OpenSUSE. There is simply not much news over there (OpenSUSE 11.4 moves a step further, but that’s about it). At TechRepublic, Sonja Thompson was seen provoking (again!) just a few weeks ago by unfairly blaming OpenSUSE. Install new OS, make no backup, blame Linux? Are these people serious? See the comments.

As for the OpenSUSE community, well… the OpenSUSE Conference 2010 took the spotlight a while ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] (even Ubuntu folks and Mark Shuttleworth were personally invited after he tried to poach people from OpenSUSE back in 2006). Except for some OpenSUSE-specific technical articles and alerts there was this announcement of a Wiki upgrade (which impacts Weekly News, the latest parts of which are 142, 143, and 144). OpenSUSE also enjoys a new site design (much cleaner than before and pages in opensuse.org say “© 2010 Novell, Inc. All rights reserved.”).

Some people who tried OpenSUSE were fairly pleased, e.g. [1, 2]. One of them said as he moved away from Fedora:

Here we have it folks. After a little bit of distro hopping I found one of my solutions, at least as far as a desktop system goes. openSUSE 11.3 KDE Edition is my choice of distro and 11.4 is going to demolish Fedora’s offering.

Fedora 13 is still using KDE 4.4.x and this is a crying shame. There are blocker bugs keeping KDE SC 4.5 from being included but they are not being fixed. Two of the blockers are being ignored because 4.5.2 will have solved them. May I remind you ladies and gentlemen that Fedora 14 is due next month. This is a sad state of affairs for Fedora on this front. Might as well wait for Fedora 14 to get the latest KDE, however this is the end of the road for Fedora leading the cutting edge.

But not everyone agreed. Here is someone who announces leaving OpenSUSE for Fedora, arguing: “After using SuSE and later OpenSuse since 1994 it was time for a change. I was stuck at OpenSuse because of its excellent multimedia support trough 3rd party repostitories from packman. Last evening another update brought the system down once again. Time for change.

“Since a long time Fedora does not ship software any more which are problematic because of software patents, such as mp3, different video codecs etc. Since then Fedora was more or less a no-go for home-usage. In meantime there is a 3rd party repository available called RPM Fusion. RPM Fusion is as good as packman, this made the decision to switch easier.”

OpenSUSE is trying to work out its strategy. From the OMG!SUSE! Web site: “Besides the expected need for grammatical tightening, I have a few problems with the current draft. First, I think using the term “professional” is limiting, as I am currently a student, and I’ve known of many power users who won’t be of age to become professionals for quite a few years. At the same time, I think people who don’t care much about computers would find using openSUSE Plasma Desktop to be much easier than using Plasma Netbook (which I wouldn’t say is very intuitive, even for the more computer savvy among us) or MeeGo (which is just different).”

So again, one area where OpenSUSE has been trying to improve is strategy. Here are five posts on the subject:

1. openSUSE Strategy: the third and fourth part of the trilogy!

And now, the third piece of text has been added: What does openSUSE not do? Besides this, we added some ‘background information’ to the strategy, including ideas on our competition, what openSUSE might gain and loose from this strategy and how openSUSE should look like in 2 years from now.

2. strategy, helping SUSE…

3. openSUSE strategy is moving on

openSUSE strategy is evolving. The strategy team is working very hard to integrate all the input they get. We got some great ideas from our contributors as well as from users and even non-users.
I would be interested in further input from the upstream projects.

4. Strategy is mighty!

5. Fortune favors the bold!

The Community Manager Jos Poortvliet wrote some of the above and he wants more marketing (like he did in KDE):

The work the marketeers do needs to be spread.

OpenSUSE Boosters and OpenSUSE Ambassadors may fit here:

Last week our Ambassadors did what they do every week: promote openSUSE. They went to meetings, conferences and tradeshows for a talk or staffing a booth. And they organized meetings, gave students lessons in using openSUSE, handed out DVD’s and valuable knowledge.

People still realise OpenSUSE is a Novell product, so the Board Election needs change:

A month ago I presented my first draft for the new openSUSE board election rules and received some good feedback, especially on the opensuse-project mailing list. Since the last version presented on the mailing list I reworked the draft some more taking into account the proposal by Henne to remove the split of the elected seats into Novell and non-Novell employees.

Andreas Jaeger and others wrote about OpenSUSE Build Service (OBS) [1, 2, 3] even though there was nothing especially new there. GNOME 2.32.0 was packaged for the latest release of OpenSUSE.

After having GNOME 2.32 prepared for openSUSE:Factory we decided to branch this off to also have our openSUSE 11.3 users profit from it. It showed that all in all the release was a rther simple one to offer. So no reason to not to!

There are also posts about the KDE side, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. And let’s not forget LXDE: “Those changes are in git only repo, not tarball has been released yet, so if you want to test it you’ll not find it on the usual X11:lxde repo.”

Here is a fairly new article in praise of YaST

A few weeks ago, I posted a bit of advice for VMware amid speculation that the leading virtualization company might purchase Suse Linux from Novell. (As in: Don’t do it.) Since then, I’ve taken hits in comments and in email, mostly in reponse to my criticism of the YaST tool that serves as Suse’s central management console.

Plenty of people commented that if you don’t like YaST, you don’t have to use it, which, while technically true, doesn’t accurately reflect the problems you may encounter if you use YaST alongside traditional shell management

Some OpenSUSE folks went to FrOSCamp [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and SUSE Studio is said to have appeared Oracle’s OpenWorld.

OpenSUSE is just a shadow of its former self. Hopefully the developers will become less Novell-dependent. This might be necessary soon.

Novell is Very Focused on Fog Computing So Far This Month

Posted in Novell, Servers at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chillon castle

Summary: Today we take a rather exhaustive look at Novell videos and headlines from the past week and a half in order to help show its real strategic focus

TECHRIGHTS no longer focuses much on Novell, whose days appear to be numbered and emphasis on Free/open source software apparently decreases over time. Here we have a new video where Novell promotes a functionality of GroupWise and here is another very recent video about the expectation that Novell will be sold:

We have found several more new videos about Novell (e.g. [1, 2]), none of which covers SUSE or Linux. It’s just not much of a focus anymore, at least not at Novell which wants to sell proprietary addons to it. Jeremy Allison, who quit Novell in protest after it had signed a patent deal with Microsoft, spoke to Novell’s James Bottomley and published this video interview with him. Bottomley is employed by Novell to work on Linux.

Here is a new example of Novell promoting SUSE within a Fog Computing context, as further evidenced by this new press release and accompanying coverage derived from it [1, 2]. It’s Fog Computing strategy at Novell and this new promotional video only helps prove this:

The title “Business Service Management Clears the Fog of Private Clouds” (Novell PR) is amusing because they put “Fog” in there next to ‘private’ cloud, which is a combination of two marketing terms (“private” and “cloud”). Novell takes this very seriously and even issues a press release to hype up ‘private’ cloud. It is self-serving marketing nonsense — a survey designed to to sell products by generating seemingly-independent coverage, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

NovellFrance has some more new videos about Novell’s Fog Computing direction (but it’s in French):

i. Formation NOVELL : Administrateur Novell Netware 6.5 certifié CNA – EGILIA

ii. Novell Cloud Manager.mp4

From Novell in Germany too comes this new video about Fog Computing management. Dister is often used as a promoter of Fog Computing (creating one’s own ‘cloud’ distro) and his account is doing it again, this time in Novell’s PR blog which also accommodates IDG staff (e.g. guest post by Brett Waldman from IDG’s IDC). It has become somewhat of a habit.

Here is Novell in another Fog Computing-centered article:

Part of Rixon’s headaches included finding power and cooling, but outsourcing the physical infrastructure meant finding a new way to manage it. He started with Novell’s Platespin orchestration tools and is now experimenting with Novell’s new Cloud Manager product. “So yeah, it’s all based on scripts now,” he said.

Here is an example of Novell losing business due to falling behind Fog Computing giant Google:

Many users city-wide are complaining about lack of functionality and missing features as compared with the Novell system they’re used to. Google says this is mostly attributable to lack of familiarity with the system, and that users have the same capabilities they had with Novell. LAPD’s concerns lie more with security.

Security? Look not for Novell then. On the other hand, Novell does provide some auditing/authentication/identity management products whoze role was brought up in this recently-uploaded video (“Comments on Logging, Event Management and Certification on Novell products”):

Novell identity manager has just gotten into this federal contract.

*** $127,988 Federal Contract Awarded to Software House International WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 — Software House International Inc., Somerset, N.J., won a $127,988.05 federal contract from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for Novell identity manager plus support.

What will happen when Novell is sold? Here is Novell quoted regarding identity management:

Many companies that aren’t subject to government regulation are unable to successfully implement and enforce policies for user storage partly because they rely on users to follow policies, and users don’t put IT policies at the top of their priority lists. Sophia rmanides, a product marketing manager at Novell (www.novell.com), says the right strategy for data governance is based on user identity, because it’s a person’s role or identity that makes his files relevant to an organization.

Looking at history a little, the news talks about this person who became an CNE when NOVL mattered:

I became a certified Novell engineer in 1992 and never looked back.

The local (Utah) press also wrote about Novell as a formerly formidable software company in the area. Well, those who write this try to portray Novell as a positive example, but they mention dead/dying companies like Novell and WordPerfect:

Firms like Novell and WordPerfect were making noise in their respective fields. Today, the state could be on the verge of another breakthrough, according to a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Ron Hovsepian, the President and CEO of Novell, invites people, but will anyone come? The company’s appearance in the press these days provides a depiction of a schizophrenic company fighting while also embracing Fog Computing (depending whose fog it is). It also seems to have conflicting views on free/open source and proprietary, but that’s not exactly new. Renaming products won’t help much (Operations Center).

Microsoft-funded and Microsoft CTO-Founded Intellectual Ventures is Feeding Patent Trolls, USPTO Ridiculed

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: A nice investigation into the modus operandi of the world’s biggest patent troll and new examples of the embarrassments over at the USPTO, which just lets it all be as it’s profitable to patent examiners and lawyers

Intellectual Ventures claims not to sue companies, but reports suggest that it is surrounded by 1,000+ ‘sibling’ companies which sometimes do the lawsuits without bringing Intellectual Ventures into the courtroom. Intellectual Ventures is essentially like the Mafia Don, extorting companies and ‘punishing’/retaliating against (suing) them via third parties if they do not comply. MPEG-LA has a similar mechanism going on.

Here is the latest example of Intellectual Ventures feeding a Troll Du Jour LLC, who in turn uses this feed to sue real companies with real products and value to society:

That’s the proposition Webvention LLC—which acquired U.S. Patent No. 5,251,294 from patent-hoarding giant Intellectual Ventures last year—has been making to scores of companies in a bid to license its little piece of IV, according to a pair of declaratory judgment lawsuits filed recently in federal district court in Delaware.

[...]

What makes the suits by Tenneco and Novartis particularly intriguing is that they offer the opportunity to read Webvention’s demand letters, which are attached as exhibits in both instances.

[...]

It’s unclear whether any of the licensing revenue Webvention is generating will go to Intellectual Ventures. The Seattle-area company began selling off some of its tens of thousands of patents last year, and under the terms of some of those deals gets a cut of whatever revenue the patents bring in. The measures that Webvention’s owners have taken to shield their identities—setting up shell companies in both Delaware and East Texas—suggest that IV may well have a piece of the action. It’s also worth noting that some of the companies that Webvention claims have taken licenses—including Google and Nokia—are known to have licensing deals with or be “investors” in Intellectual Ventures, meaning they may have licenses to many patents that held by IV now or in the past.

“The article informs us that Webvention got this patent from Intellectual Ventures last year,” says Groklaw. Is this the future of the US patent system? That’s just sad. Dennis Crouch from a patent lawyers’ blog rejects the claims of reduced standards at the USPTO (surprise, surprise). For context:

Earlier this week, I wrote about the dramatic increase in the number of patents being granted in calendar year 2010 as compared with prior years. [Link] Several outlets expanded upon my report and condemned the USPTO based on a conclusion that the higher issuance numbers must have resulted from reduced examination standards.

Microsoft’s to-do list patent, which we mentioned here a few days ago, got Groklaw’s attention and Pamela Jones responded by writing: “Excuse me, but is that a specific machine? Is it abstract? Is it math? A to-do list? I mean, come on, USPTO. It’s an invention because it’s on a general use computer, a to-do list? You do realize they will now go around trying to get money from anyone with a to-do list? What were you thinking?”

There may still be an opportunity to change all of this:

Bilski and the US Software Patent Threat: The ball is back in the court of the US Congress: http://t.co/dEc4tmn @jordanhatcher

As pointed out in the previous post, Europe is not without its rogue patent elements (often patent lawyers or other representatives of monopolists). James Love, the Director of Knowledge Ecology International, says:

Europe fought to include patents in ACTA. Now patent damages must consider suggested retail price of infringed patented good.

Love has also been commenting on ACTA effects on life and death — a subject that Dana Blankenhorn alludes to in this new post where he contrasts deadly patents with software patents.

But pharma patents and copyrights, unlike software patents and copyrights, carry risks which the Meredia case illustrates. Drugs can be found to be dangerous years after their introduction, creating unexpected liabilities.

Actually, software patents too may lead to unexpected liabilities, albeit of a different kind.

Belgian EU Presidency and BSA Threaten Europe’s Digital Future With Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents, RAND, Standard at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vincent Van Quickenborne

Summary: Links and succinct analysis of forces in Europe which promote or help promote software patents, impeding its original agenda in the process (sometimes for multinationals to capitalise on)

PROPONENTS of software patents in Europe rear their heads again and in order for their influence to be diffused/defused (generally dismantled) we will show who they are and what ideas they are promoting. First of all, up goes the Belgian EU Presidency again. We wrote about its positions very recently, under the assumption that Quickenborne plays a key role [1, 2]. According to this report, the Presidency is still pushing for the European Patent, which may enable software patenting through the back door.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the current Belgian EU Presidency seeks a break-trough in the negotiations for the EU patent and the unified European Patent Court by a non-paper put on the table at the informal Competitiveness Council of 29 September 2010.

The non-paper suggests an alternative language regime to overcome the opposition of especially Spain and Italy, which are the most vocal critics of the Commission’s latest proposal. According to the compromise of the Belgian Presidency, English French and German would remain the official languages for filing EU patents, while English would be the only language into which patents are translated, however, only for a transitional period until the performances of translation machines have reached a sufficient level.

Alexander Spuntz says:

EU Commission presents “Innovation Union” Initiative as Belgian Presidency seeks Break-Through in EEUPC Language Issue: http://bit.ly/dv4kf1

Now we come to the reaction of the FSFE, whose opinions on matters of patenting are similar to the FFII’s (both are based around Germany). The head of the FSFE writes:

Asked #WIPO #SCP15 why study http://ur1.ca/215on discusses EPO’s granting of #swpat, but doesn’t mention this is illegal under EPC Art 52

Separately, said the head of the FSFE, “BSA Mueller [claims that] standardisation policy shouldn’t take sides re business models. I agree – standards should be implementable OS/FS”

This goes back to what the BSA did in London last month. BSA lobbying for software patents (through RAND) in Europe goes years back and we have a wiki index documenting some incidents. According to this, there is some good news though; the European Union nearly chooses to ban RAND/FRAND, so lobbyists like BSA use the “red” smear which the FFII is already laughing about. It’s like they try to compare API access to communism. What pathetic and disrespectful tactics.

The European Union is on the cusp of writing public procurement rules which favour patent- and royalty-free technologies, according to software giants who argue that the rules echo Chinese public procurement laws.

[...]

As the FFII puts it:

#BSA worried #EIF would “give technologies that have open specifications an advantage in public sector bids.” #lol http://bit.ly/bFyV29

Glyn Moody has responded with the article “Whatever the BSA Says, FRAND is no Friend of Europe”. He compares this to the World Wide Web.

The European Commission is therefore quite right to follow the W3C when drawing up modern standards for the 21st century, rather than being held back by older approaches that were drawn up for quite a different world. Let’s hope the Commission is not led astray by the BSA’s special pleading for the unfair and inefficient FRAND, which is most certainly not a friend of Europe in this case.

One ought to remember that Microsoft funds the BSA. So does Novell.

Microsoft Loses Directions, Interactive Entertainment Business Wobbles, and Brad Lovering Quits

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, SCO at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Street signs

Summary: Matt Rosoff leaves Directions on Microsoft and a 22-year veteran (Brad Lovering) also abandons the sinking ship, which now suffers turbulence in the Interactive Entertainment Business and renames things as a miserable last resort (seven-washing and the like)

Microsoft is like SCO some time around 2004. It has already sued companies over Linux (since last year) and this was not properly challenged in court. Its own products are a hard sale and increasingly fewer (many get cancelled due to budgetary constraints) while competition leapfrogs it technically, although it still has some momentum remaining due to existing deployments, as well as size which decreases.

According to two Microsoft boosters [1, 2], the Technical Fellow Brad Lovering is quitting and a peripheral Microsoft booster called "Directions on Microsoft" has just lost a key person (it’s a small company) whom we wrote about before since he promotes Microsoft at CNET. That would be Matt Rosoff.

“Microsoft should rename itself “Microsoft 7″ and see if that works.”In addition to this, Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business gets “re-orged” (euphemism to use when many people quit or get laid off) and its failed attempt to undermine the Free software community gets renamed [1, 2, 3] to “Outercurve”. None of these are good signs in a company that lost direction. “A rose by any other name,” writes Groklaw, “but I wonder if Microsoft and curve in the same thought is helpful?”

Microsoft should rename itself “Microsoft 7″ and see if that works. Sometimes it does. As stated on Sunday, we no longer track Microsoft as closely as we once did for the same reasons we are no longer called “Boycott Novell” and Groklaw is no longer just about SCO. Threats to software freedom change all the time and Techrights is not fixated on any particular company, unless that company really does a lot to attack software freedom. Microsoft’s attacks are becoming as pathetic as SCO's due to inability to compete technically.

Vista Phone 7 [sic] is Where Microsoft Partners Come to Die

Posted in Windows at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amnesty bin
What goes around comes around. Microsoft
needs its own amnesty bin now [photo from fimoculous]

Summary: The heavily-marketed joke which is Vista Phone 7 [sic] and how it leads Microsoft into the past, not the future

Windows Mobile has been a disaster for Microsoft, both technically and financially. The ‘new’ operating system from Microsoft is worse than its predecessors in some ways, but the impact of $400,000,000 in marketing is unimaginable. Techrights chooses not to be too distracted by Microsoft hype anymore (just writing about it contributes to the hype), but here are just some key stories which ought to put things in perspective.

First of all, as sign that Vista Phone 7 [sic] is released before it’s ready, consider the lack of basic functionality like copy and paste (we knew this in March):

So, maybe Microsoft meant “people don’t do that in 2010.” At the mega-corp’s UK-based Windows Phone 7 launch event, we were just informed that its hot-off-the-presses mobile OS will be blessed with a software update that’ll add copy and paste functionality in “early 2011.”

Everything that Microsoft says about Vista Phone 7 [sic] should be taken with a grain of salt because in this marketing frenzy Microsoft gets caught lying. For example:

i. Microsoft getting desperate for Mobile 7 app support?

It appears as though Microsoft either assumes that everyone wants to create for its Windows 7 Mobile platform, or that they can push a few more units by including the logo on their site. This would be fine if the Angry Birds devs hadn’t noticed. Unfortunately for Microsoft they have and an apparent “Angry Dev” has said:

we have NOT committed to doing a Windows Phone 7 version, at least not yet. Icon on MS site is unauthorized.

and

We have NOT committed to doing a Windows Phone 7 version. Microsoft put the Angry Birds icon on their site without our permission.

OpenBytes actually quoted the developers and Microsoft sympathisers did this too (so they must find this equally disturbing):

ii. Feathers fly over ‘Angry Birds’ teaser on Windows Phone site

The company caused a stir this morning when an icon for the popular mobile game was spotted in a remote corner of its Windows Phone site, hinting that it would be available for the company’s new mobile platform, set to be unveiled in New York tomorrow morning.

But Rovio Mobile, the maker of the game, quickly responded with a tweet: “We have NOT committed to doing a Windows Phone 7 version,” it said. “Microsoft put the Angry Birds icon on their site without our permission.”

In a follow-up tweet, the company noted that its response had “nothing to do with if we do or don’t, it’s just that we decide that ourselves.”

For Microsoft to stoop so low ought to seem pathetic. It means that it cannot find genuine support from developers (maybe except those whom it pays).

Those who were foolish enough to put their weight behind Vista Phone 7 [sic] are already receiving bad press and Pogson blames queezed OEMs. SJVN too is very pessimistic and the list of people with a similar opinion goes on and on. “There is nothing to see here, move along” is the sort of message they have.

The situation for Microsoft becomes grimmer as people mock their latest attempt (among several) to enter the smartphones market. Lance Ulanoff, one of the key people at an IDG publication, says that “Windows Phone 7 is Do or Die for Microsoft” because “Today’s [yesterday's] launch is not just about mobile phones, it’s about the future of Microsoft as a business in the 21st century.”

The good news is that despite entryism at HP [1, 2] and at Nokia, there is no defection yet to Vista Phone 7 [sic]. In fact, WebOS and MeeGo are coming next year:

An Intel exec said that MeeGo-based smartphones and tablets won’t hit the market until the first half of 2011, according to an eWEEK report. Meanwhile, HP’s newly acquired Linux-based mobile OS — WebOS — will arrive in new smartphones in early 2011, says another eWEEK report.

Vista Phone 7 [sic] is not going to succeed, but Microsoft must show that it is at least trying to evolve. There are rumours only about an acquisition which may require more debt, but these have dried up as they had no solid basis (just the knowledge that two CEOs met for unknown reasons). Meanwhile at the helm, Mini-Microsoft takes stock of the terrible week preceding the release of Vista Phone 7 [sic]. Most of the items below we have already covered:

Wow, what got in the corporate water for this week? Coming off the glow of last week’s Company Meeting Koolaid we first got hit by the Goldman Sachs downgrade hang-over, then, to channel Mr. Ballmer, “Boom-Boom-Boom!”

* Health care changes on the way.
* Live Labs gets shut down.
* Technical Fellow Gary Flake, one of Microsoft few-TED stars, resigns.
* Technical Fellow Brad Lovering leaves.
* A glassdor.com survey that shows a lowly 50% approval rating for Mr. Ballmer.
* IEB gets re-orged.
* Massive gets shuttered (like we were all looking forward to billboard ads while blowing crap up in Xbox).
* Adobe acquisition rumors.
* Matt Rosoff leaves Directions on Microsoft.

All this right on the eve of Windows Phone 7 being launched. Feels like one big… purge.

We’ve already covered at least 3 more of the above [1, 2, 3]. The rest we’ll cover in the next post.

Bill Gates Buys ABC (News/TV), Schools

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ABC blocks

Summary: To Mr. Gates, consensual monopolisation is as easy as A-B-C because the mainstream press bends over and schools are traumatised enough that they would do anything for money

THE Gates Foundation is quite a propaganda machine, propagating praises of its own works by paying many journalists to do so. Gates recently paid The Guardian to do this [1, 2, 3] and it is the same with NPR, as we last noted in this recent post. There are many other examples and a new addition to the list is ABC News:

ABC News’ highly unusual arrangement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help fund its coverage of health crises in the Third World has raised red flags among journo watchdogs. But others suggest the pact may be a portent of things to come for news orgs even at for-profit congloms like Disney.

ABC News said Wednesday it had reached an agreement for the Gates Foundation to pay the net a $1.5 million subsidy for a yearlong series of reports on international health, with particular emphasis on conditions that disproportionately affect the poorest countries.

Over at Groklaw, the editor remarked: “So now, if you’re rich enough, you can buy all the news just the way you like it? Blech.”

One of our readers, FurnaceBoy, says that the Huff & Puff is doing it again with Gates (we wrote many posts about Huffington and Gates). The Huff & Puff helps the Gates family occupy the US schools system [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which the copyright community is affected by and FurnaceBoy is disgusted by.

Even after Microsoft matters a lot less, its co-founder continues looking for new monopolies. The costs include children, farmers, and the media which gets betrayed because somebody wants more power and believes he can do good while gaining this kind of power. People must learn from history.

“Microsoft does not hesitate to use its operating system monopoly power and application program dominance to try to eliminate competition.”

Apple Computer Senior VP Avadis Tevanian Jr.

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