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10.14.10

Links 14/10/2010: Mozilla’s New CEO, More on IBM Joining OpenJDK

Posted in News Roundup at 2:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Digital Media: Achilles heal or new cash crop?
  • Should Linux focus on the desktop?

    Linux has been far more successful at just about every application for one simple reason. Linux has the flexibility and ability to easily fill, without overflowing, any container it is poured into and it is not surprising either. It is all due to the real focus of Linux which should not be split.

  • CLI

    • The Trouble With GUIs

      “Like everything else in life, it boils down to having the right tool for the right job … and the command line is like that all-purpose screwdriver that we all have,” said Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson. “It opens paint cans, makes a handy chisel, pry bar and wedge — we grab it, get the job done, and move on.”

    • The Command Line: Nothing to be scared of

      It’s getting close to Halloween but the Command Line shouldn’t be something that you are spooked about. The good old command line has been around for ages. And it’s still around today and as popular as ever. Why? Because it’s extremely powerful, and allows you to get to the root of most operating systems. Sure, the nice GUI-based applications are great and all, but the command line can greatly simplify some tasks.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 139: Alfresco

      Alfresco is a leading open source alternative for enterprise content management (ECM).

      Guests: Luis Sala, Chief Community Officer and John Newton, CTO for alfresco.com.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel To Have Sandybridge 3D In Mesa Done By Q4

        Intel’s Ian Romanick has just written an e-mail message entitled What I’m working on to the Mesa development list. With Intel’s new GLSL compiler being used by Mesa and can be found within the Mesa 7.9 release, Intel’s open-source graphics developers have worked onto working on some other areas of their 3D driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE’s Plasma To Be Reworked, Use More OpenGL

        While we already know that by the time KDE Software Compilation 4.7 rolls around it may optionally support OpenGL 3.0 within the KWin compositing manager, but with time KDE’s Plasma may begin using more OpenGL too. Aaron Seigo has written a lengthy blog post about what he hopes to achieve with Plasma and its library going a few releases out into the future. This includes a rather extensive rework of Plasma and its drawing, which would include the use of more OpenGL to allow for greater hardware acceleration.

      • OpenCycleMap server changed – don’t forget to update

        As you probably know, you can download a lot of additional Marble maps with the “Get hot new stuff” framework. The reason for this entry is that OpenCycleMap is now using a different server for their map storage. For all users of the OpenCycleMap in Marble it means that they will have to update their map configuration if they want to see updated maps.

      • Fourteen Reasons to be KDE

        In case you’re sleeping under a rock today, KDE is celebrating its 14th birthday.

      • KWatchman – An Idea given Birth

        First of all: Thank you everyone for you comments and suggestions. They really got me on the road and showed my that there indeed is interest enough to do some more serious work. So I sat down and made myself a little planing and even some (small) coding today.

      • Faenza-Cupertino icons available for KDE

        That Faenza icon set. It gets everywhere. Not content with being one of the most popular icon sets of the year Faenza’s success has spawned an enviable army of ‘spins’ and derivatives including a ‘green’ Faenza-Mint version and the following Mac OS X inspired ‘Faenza-Cupertino’ set.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Arch Linux review

        If after reading this, you want to try Arch Linux, it is a great idea, but it might not be as good as you think if you are beginning with Linux, if you are a newbie, start with Linux Mint, Ubuntu, or Fedora.

        Once you know more about Linux, switch to Arch Linux, you will never miss any other distribution. Arch Linux gives you almost the same control you may find in Gentoo, but it is a lot easier to run.

        The more user friendly distributions, make a lot of things for you, but then, maybe that is not what you need. I mean not always the same configuration is good for everybody, you need to tweak your configuration to fit your needs, and your likes.

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 5.6 adds System Stability Tester

        The Parted Magic developers have released version 5.6 of their open source, multi-platform partitioning tool. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with as little as 64MB of RAM. File systems supported include NTFS, FAT, ReiserFS, Reiser4 and HFS+. LVM and RAID are also supported.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Summit and JBoss World Call For Papers Now Open

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the call for papers is now open for the seventh annual Red Hat Summit and JBoss World. These premier open source events will take place May 3-6, 2011 in Boston at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center.

      • Business-critical logistics systems migrated by Jeppesen to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation

        Already a long-time user of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Network Satellite Jeppesen has migrated business-critical systems to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 Might Be Dubbed Malmstrom, Woody

          Rather than coming up with the codename for the next Fedora release deep within Red Hat, the community is leveraged with anyone being allowed to propose a potential name prior to these names being reviewed by Red Hat’s legal department and the voting on the final name then commencing by Fedora contributors. With this open process, there’s also more than a few interesting name proposals with each release. Case in point, Fedora 14 could have been called Fytnargin. With the release of Fedora 14 now being just a month out, name proposals for Fedora 15 have started.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMepis 8.5 Challenge: Conclusions

        Even though both distributions work with KDE very well, they both have certain issues:
        MEPIS: When opening kmplayer, KDE crashes. I think that it is because of the mess I made with codecs trying to install VLC. Sometimes MEPIS suspends the composition and the effects are therefore disabled temporarily.
        MANDRIVA: The clock sometimes freezes (only in the netbook). This is corrected by enabling the display of seconds in the clock options.

        Concerning performance and ease of use, both distributions can satisfy the needs of users who lack technical computer knowledge or formal Linux training. I feel that SimplyMepis might be a better choice for users who want a simple system and do not really care much for eye candy. In addition, Mepis comes with Java pre-installed, whereas you must install it in Mandriva.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Is Ubuntu 10.10 Worth the Upgrade?

          I’ve been running 10.10 betas and the RC for weeks, and had been running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on a few machines before that. Honestly, it’s hard to see much difference between the two. Plus several points for consistency, but that doesn’t add up to rushing to upgrade at the first opportunity.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Palm Gives WebOS Homebrew Hackers a Little Love

        Up until recently, if you wanted to hack your Palm Pre, you hopped over to the Pre-Central forums for all of your hacking needs, where you could find concise and usually simple explanations from the experts of WebOS Internals and the like. It was all at your own risk, of course, but you were treading a path that someone who knew more than you had already trail blazed (and uploaded screenshots in a how-to form). Well, those days seem to be over–and for the better. Palm has made Rod Whitby’s Preware Homebrew Documentation available for download, and with it they’ve put the knowledge, tools, and know-how of a few years worth of hacking into every WebOS users hands. Now everyone can have thousands of well-made and free applications, patches, themes, and assorted customizations all rolled into one package by a supportive community.

      • Android

        • Motorola to start rolling out Froyo update to European Milestones

          In a post on its Facebook page, Motorola has confirmed that, from next week, it will start user trials of an over-the-air (OTA) upgrade for its European Milestone smartphones that will upgrade the onboard version of Google’s open source Android mobile operating system to version 2.2, code named “Froyo”. The company says that, once the trails are completed, it will go into the approval stage and a roll out to all users is expected by the end of the year.

        • 35 Amazing Android Apps: Inform, Update, Manage

          Have Android app, will travel. In the digital age, managing the steady deluge of information that confronts you every day can be a challenge. But with the right apps, the Android can be a powerful tool to help you stay on top of that deluge.

          There are Android apps to manage your news feeds, gather the weather, find the scores of your favorite sports teams, track your finances and keep up-to-date with your appointments and updates of all kinds.

          To help you find the cream of the crop, here’s a list of 35 of the best Android apps for tracking, managing and updating your information.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Released: Netbook Review

        Its been a little while since my last post and some might be wondering whats been going on in technology here at the PMC, especially since the last post promised insight into some of our production software.

        Well, thats all still coming. We DID get in our new desktop for our Media Center, and I am working on compiling a few videos showing its construction. I’ve also been working on updating and testing the production software to give everyone a better picture of what can be done with our Open Source resources. All that is coming, and you can now receive shorter updates and info through the PMC Tech Blog Twitter and Identi.ca feed (For those of you unaware, Identi.ca is an Open Source microblogging service, similar to twitter). Follow me and get much more frequent updates about things going on here at the PMC and in the Open Source world in general.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Shindig Gets Social

    For developers, including social networking technologies into modern Web applications is often a key priority. The OpenSocial standard, originally developed by Google, is one mechanism that developers can leverage for social networking applications.

    But standards are one thing, and implementation is another. That’s where the Apache Shindig project comes into play. Apache Shindig is an OpenSocial container that enables developers to handle OpenSocial application content and gadgets. The project recently hit its 2.0 milestone as it continues to track the latest OpenSocial standardization efforts.

  • Zimbra Desktop 2.0 integrates Web 2.0 services

    Open source groupware provider Zimbra has announced the arrival of version 2.0 of its Zimbra Desktop client. The new version of the open source, web-based mail and calendaring solution includes significant performance upgrades and introduces a number of new features.

  • 10 Young Open Source Projects to Watch

    New open source projects launch all the time and there’s so many great ones out there it’s hard to find the diamonds in the rough. Here are 10 promising young FOSS projects to keep an eye on as their development grows. Download or use them in the meantime as they develop, they are awesome!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Introducing Gary, Mozilla’s New CEO

        I’m very happy to introduce Gary Kovacs as our new CEO for the Mozilla Corporation. I think he’s going to be great for Mozilla, and that our broad community will like him and be well served by him.

      • Introducing our new CEO: Gary Kovacs

        Prior to joining Mozilla, Gary held senior leadership roles as Senior VP of Markets, Solutions & Products at Sybase (through its acquisition by SAP earlier this year), as General Manager and VP of Mobile & Devices at Adobe and as VP of Product Marketing at Macromedia (through its acquisition by Adobe).

      • Mozilla foot soldiers unleash ‘Army of Awesome’ on Twitter

        Mozilla has hooked itself up to Twitter and created an “Army of Awesome” for Firefox users needing help with the browser.

        In other words, those surfers with a short attention span can now find out all they need to know via 140-character bursts.

  • Oracle

    • An Unexpected Pleasure

      Today’s announcement that IBM is going to join forces and work with Oracle on OpenJDK is good news for Java, and by extension for Eclipse. All of us who live within the Java ecosystem need to recognize that this fundamentally strengthens the platform, enhances the business value of Java and offers the hope of an increased pace of innovation.

    • IBM and OpenJDK

      IBM and Oracle are going to bring their combined resources together to collaborate in OpenJDK. The natural question arises about what this means for the Apache Harmony project.

    • IBM joining OpenJDK – repeat after me “pragmatic”, “pragmatic”, “pragmatic”
    • IBM to join OpenJDK
    • Good For Java?

      List of the people working on Harmony. Not only is the list apparently out of date, it has such a strong IBM contingent (I wonder how many of those “independents” are actually IBM or Intel contractors) that I am amazed it has escaped Apache Board scrutiny for so long.

    • IBM joins Oracle on OpenJDK

      The basic announcement today was that IBM would join with Oracle to work on the OpenJDK. The reciprocal IBM announcement said the same thing.

    • Microsoft posts video of customers criticizing OpenOffice
    • Oracle and IBM Collaborate to Accelerate Java Innovation Through OpenJDK

      Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and IBM today announced that the companies will collaborate to allow developers and customers to build and innovate based on existing Java investments and the OpenJDK reference implementation. Specifically, the companies will collaborate in the OpenJDK community to develop the leading open source Java environment.

    • Microsoft slags off Open Office

      Apparently it can even affect the grades of students although it did not mention anything about causing kittens to die. The quotes appear to have come from case studies and press articles from the last four years, most of which are hosted on Microsoft.com.

    • Microsoft running scared from OpenOffice.org

      Open-source office suite OpenOffice.org is apparently getting under software giant Microsoft’s skin – so much so, in fact, that it appears to be starting a propaganda campaign to protect its revenue stream.

      Microsoft Office is one of the company’s biggest selling products. It’s near-ubiquitous in the world of business computing, to the point where its file formats have become the norm for sharing content – at the expense of locking out cross-platform, open standards.

    • OOo’s put the willies up Microsoft
    • Oracle Confirms Committment to OpenOffice.org

      As ODF celebrates its fifth anniversary, Oracle said they applaud its efforts and renewed their committment to OpenOffice.org. “Oracle’s growing team of developers, QA engineers, and user experience personnel will continue developing, improving, and supporting OpenOffice.org as open source, building on the 7.5 million lines of code already contributed to the community.” This might be seen in the continuing efforts of developers to release 3.3.x snapshots as well as previews into some of the new features and tools. For example, Ingrid Halama recently posted of some of the new features coming to Chart, (part 1, part 2). Niklas Nebel also shared some improvements in DataPilot.

      This all comes a month after the formation of The Document Foundation and the announcement of LibreOffice. Charles-H. Schulz recently reported that LibreOffice was downloaded 80,000 times its first week and a new user forum quickly followed. A second beta emerged on October 11.

  • CMS

    • Commonwealth Games using Drupal

      Though the games have only one more day to go (they were from October 3rd to October 14th this month), the XIX Commonwealth Games website runs on Drupal, and looks great. This 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in Delhi, and is the largest multi-sport event conducted to date in Delhi and India. Certainly a big win for Drupal!

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Hardware we all want: FSF announces criteria for hardware endorsement program “Respects Your Freedom”

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced today that it has published an initial set of criteria for endorsing computers and other devices. The FSF seeks both to obtain feedback on the criteria, and raise interest in the program among hardware manufacturers. Ultimately, the FSF plans to promote an endorsement mark to be carried on products that meet the criteria: respects your freedom.

      “The desire to own a computer or device and have full control over it, to know that you are not being spied on or tracked, to run any software you wish without asking permission, and to share with friends without worrying about Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)—these are the desires of millions of people who care about the future of technology and our society. Unfortunately, hardware manufacturers have until now relied on close cooperation with proprietary software companies that demanded control over their users. As citizens and their customers, we need to promote our desires for a new class of hardware—hardware that anyone can support because it respects your freedom,” said Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF.

  • Government

    • GOSCON Highlights Benefits of OSS in Public Sector

      With the US mid-term elections coming up, the direction of the US government may be set to maintain its current direction, or change significantly, depending on who wins what election on Nov. 2.

      Whether you think a change (or lack thereof) is a good thing or a bad thing, one direction many governments are trending towards in this economy is the use of open source.

      Faced with budget tightening and cost-control measures that threaten to deplete government services to beyond the bare minimum, local, state, and Federal organizations are taking a very hard look at the cost and performance benefits of open source software–to the point where it’s not a question of if governments will widely adopt open source technologies, but when.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How Crowdsourced Data Can Predict Crisis Impact: Findings from Empirical Study on Haiti

      One of the inherent concerns about crowdsourced crisis information is that the data is not statistically representative and hence “useless” for any serious kind of statistical analysis. But my colleague Christina Corbane and her team at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) have come up with some interesting findings that prove otherwise. They used the reports mapped on the Ushahidi-Haiti platform to show that this crowdsourced data can help predict the spatial distribution of structural damage in Port-au-Prince. The results were presented at this year’s Crisis Mapping Conference (ICCM 2010).

Leftovers

  • Dell settlement approved

    A federal judge on Wednesday approved Dell Inc.’s $100 million settlement with the government of civil fraud charges.

    Approval of the settlement by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon came after company Chairman and CEO Michael Dell assured Leon in a hearing that the computer maker will carry through the reforms it promised.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission had said that Dell improperly used payments from Intel to pump up its profits to meet Wall Street targets over five years.

  • Austin Man Sues Entrepreneur Media, Claims Reverse Domain Hijacking

    An Austin businessman has sued Entrepreneur Media, publisher of Entrepreneur Magazine, after the publication sent a cease and desist to him for registering EntrepreneurOlogy.com.

  • Processor Whispers – About MIPS and MIPS

    When two quarrel, the third rejoices: while ARM and Atom were slinging mud at each other, MIPS could advance unhurriedly. And the abbreviation MIPS – with a different meaning – plays an important role in chip manufacturing, too.

  • Science

    • SpaceShipTwo First Glide Flight Details From The Pilot

      After Sunday’s first glide flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, one of the first thoughts going through the head of test pilot Peter Siebold after coming to a stop on the runway was that it all went by too quickly. He and co-pilot Mike Alsbury had been released from the mother ship, Eve, just 13 minutes earlier at 45,000 feet.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The FBI is Tracking Whom?

      They’re tracking a college student in Silicon Valley. He’s 20, partially Egyptian, and studying marketing at Mission College. He found the tracking device attached to his car. Near as he could tell, what he did to warrant the FBI’s attention is be the friend of someone who did something to warrant the FBI’s attention.

  • Finance

    • David Faber’s CNBC Program: Goldman Sachs: Power and Peril

      That said, Goldman is potentially everywhere in the financial markets, potentially on any side of a particular risk situation. That’s what being, in effect, as one guest pundit echoed, a publicly-traded hedge fund means. Which is what Goldman Sachs currently is.

      Again, this is hardly news. Entertainment, when packaged sensationally in an hour-long format? Probably for the less-informed viewers.

      But certainly not news. Not really fair….and incredibly biased.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Public to vote for ‘worst EU lobbyists’

      The ‘Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2010′, organised by Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, LobbyControl and Spinwatch, seek to “clean up the lobbying scene in Brussels, discourage controversial lobbying practices by publicly exposing the worst offenders, and discredit the big business lobby among EU decision-making circles”.

      This year’s nominees were chosen for their attempts to influence EU financial regulation and climate change legislation, because “these two categories best show how EU policymaking has been captured by the corporate world,” according to Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe, who launched the awards at a ceremony in Brussels yesterday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Red Bull Won’t Be Skydiving From Space

      Red Bull has pulled the plug on its plan to have daredevil Felix Baumgartner skydive from the edge of space, because it is being sued by a California promoter who says Red Bull stole his idea.

    • Canon blocks copy jobs by keyword

      Canon has demonstrated Uniflow 5, the latest version of its document management system that can prevent users from printing or copying documents containing specific words.

      Uniflow allows printers, scanners, copiers and multifunction devices to be managed centrally.

    • A community-building perspective on the Gap logo controversy
    • What Monsanto’s fall from grace reveals about the GMO seed industry

      According to The Times’ Pollack, Monsanto’s troubles are two-fold: 1) the patent on Roundup, Monsanto’s market-dominating herbicide, has run out, exposing the company to competition from cheap Chinese imports; and 2) its target audience — large-scale commodity farmers in the south and Midwest — are turning against its core offerings in genetically modified corn, soy, and cotton seed traits.

      I agree with Pollack’s diagnosis, but I want to add a third and even more fundamental problem to the mix: Monsanto’s once-celebrated product pipeline is looking empty. As I’ll show below, its current whiz-bang seeds offer just tarted-up versions of the same old traits it has been peddling for more than a decade: herbicide tolerance and pest resistance. Meanwhile, judging from the company’s recent report on its latest quarterly earnings, the “blockbuster” traits it has been promising for years — drought resistance and nitrogen-use efficiency — don’t seem to be coming along very well.

    • Copyrights

      • Lawyer: BREIN Anti-Piracy Spy Uploaded Pirated Movie To Usenet

        In the legal battle between Usenet community FTD and Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, some controversial allegations have been made. There are claims that not only did BREIN have as many as 15 undercover investigators working at FTD masquerading as regular users, but one of them – allegedly a direct BREIN employee – actually uploaded a ‘pirate’ movie to Usenet and posted its whereabouts on the site.

      • Pirate radio: a revolt that just won’t die (even with $30,000 fines)

        Until a few days ago, Datz Hitz was broadcasting gospel and Caribbean music to Boston neighborhoods Mattapan and Dorchester—plus news and live discussion about local cultural and neighborhood events. Its 99.7 FM signal had a range of a few city blocks—maybe a mile on good days. One of the staffers, with whom we briefly spoke, described the operation as a community radio station.

      • Inflatable Giant Gorilla Attacks Google (for Copyright Infringement)–Scherba v. Google

        Scherba makes giant inflatable gorillas. See an example. A little improbably, it has a copyright registration for a 3D sculptural work called “Gorilla Inflatable”–the work being its inflatable product blown up.

        [...]

        So Scherba sued Google for copyright infringement for showing the picture of an inflated gorilla in its ad copy. All morning, I’ve been scratching my head trying to puzzle through the issues.

      • Details In Mulve Arrest Highlight How Weak The Case Is

        Last week, in talking about how one of the guys behind Mulve was arrested by UK police, we noted the similarities to the arrest a few years ago of OiNK administrator Alan Ellis on “conspiracy to defraud” charges that were eventually thrown out as Ellis didn’t actually break the law.

        TorrentFreak now has the details of the Mulve arrest, where police are using the exact same charges, even with a failure to get those charges to stick against Ellis. And, the article details why such charges are even weaker against the Mulve guy they arrested. First of all, he had nothing to do with the software itself, but merely registered the domain and created the video highlighting how to use the software. But, much more interesting are the details behind Mulve. It’s not even a search engine by itself. It’s simply an interface for an existing search engine on a Russian social network, which anyone could sign up for and get access to already. In other words, going after Mulve totally misses the point, and it’s difficult to see how Mulve itself actually violates UK law.

      • French Subsidy For Music Downloads Gets EU Nod

        France’s strategy to combat illegal music downloads by contributing to the amount young people pay for them won European Union approval and praise for promoting cultural diversity.

        Under the scheme, French residents who purchase a card – the Carte musique – to download music from subscription-based website platforms, will only pay half the cost of a €50 ($70) credit included in the card, with the French government paying the rest.

      • Creative Commons launches Public Domain Mark; Europeana and Cultural Heritage Institutions lead early adoption

        Today, Creative Commons announces the release of the Public Domain Mark, a tool that enables works free of known copyright restrictions to be labeled in a way that clearly communicates that status to the public, and allows the works to be easily discovered over the Internet. The Public Domain Mark effectively increases the value of the public domain by making works that are already free of copyright readily accessible to the public. The Mark makes it clear to teachers and students, artists and scientists, that they are free to re-use material. Its release benefits everyone who wishes to build upon the rich and vast resources that are part of the shared public domain.

      • ACTA

        • “Final” Version of ACTA Must be Rejected as a Whole

          ACTA AS A BULLYING WEAPON FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES

          By putting legal and monetary pressure on Internet service providers (in a most subtler way than in previous versions of the text), ACTA will give the music and movie industries a weapon to force them to police their networks and users themselves. Such a private police and justice of the Net is incompatible with democratic imperatives and represent a real threat for fundamental freedoms.

Clip of the Day

It’s not easy being Green (in South Carolina)


Credit: TinyOgg

BSA, ACT, and Other Microsoft Front Groups Still Try to Shoot Down EIF in Europe While Promoting Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Hammerstein
“SOS,” writes former MEP David Hammerstein, “European Interoperability Framework proposal under fierce attack by MS and M. Barnier Int. Market Commissioner vs. Kroes and citizens.” [Photo by Mara]

Summary: Some real drama is seen in Europe as Microsoft lobbyists have a face-off with representatives of Europe’s real interests, including royalty-free standards

THINGS are getting hot in Europe. As Andy Updegrove has just put it, “If IT Policy is Your Thing, Keep an Eye on Europe”:

[L]et’s take a look at a kerfuffle that emerged yesterday when two lobbying associations reacted to a pre-release copy of the latest version of that extremely interesting and much battered document called the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), version 2.0.

Now, the EIF is a very interesting document, with a long history (you can read more about it here). It’s been around for awhile in version 1.0, and the direction that its next version would take has been hotly debated by large software companies.

At issue, as you might have already guessed, is what EIF does, and does not, say about patents, and more specifically, patents in the context of interoperability standards. Why does it matter? Because the EIF is part of a master plan that will influence how the EU ultimately spends up to the equivalent of $50 billion a year in public IT procurement funds.
This being politics, perhaps it should be no surprise that one of the groups is engaging in over-generalization and misrepresentation, not to mention inaccurate labeling (saying the approach taken in the new EIF draft “echoes” Chinese procurement policy – which in fact has been turning towards more traditional approaches of late).

We already wrote quite extensively about EIFv2. See for example:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  16. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source

There is a big lobbying battle doing on in Brussels, which is the heart of European politics in many ways. Belgium’s Quickenborne plays a role in the ‘community’ patent (bad for the free/open source software community) and we wrote about this in [1, 2, 3]. There’s more in here:

In this situation the compromise proposed by the Belgian Presidency was “not considered sufficient to remove the deadlock”, since it apparenty does not meet any of the above-skeched national interest.

However, the Belgian Presidency is still confident that the next Competitiveness Council in November can find a fair compromise on the EUpatent, as expressed by the Belgian minister in charge of the dossier, Vincent Van Quickenborne, underlining that a compromise is still possible.

This is just one part of the problem which we’ll deal with separately on another occasion. What matters is that Microsoft pressure group Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), which is faking SMB positions as usual, is also pushing for the ‘community’ patent, aka EU patent, aka harmonisation, unification, etc. It’s a trap. Some people fall for it, thinking that the ‘community’ patent is a beneficial thing because they were deceived. And when it comes to EIF, there’s an ongoing conversation and it’s going on at Twitter/Identi.ca, where Carlo Piana (Samba lawyer) says to Karsten Gerloff from the FSFE:

@karsten true #swpats ‘r analized with the eyes of holders (“property”), but economy sh’d research their huge #externality costs

Gerloff responds:

@carlopiana …and for software, patent system’s cost/benefit calculation gives negative result #FSFE

Zuck was there too by the way, according to Gerloff. Have lobbyists not been banned yet?

@carlopiana I confirm. Yesterday at #WIPO, Thomas vs Benoit Mueller and Jonathan Zuck was a treat.

The BSA too is a Microsoft-funded lobbyist and not a representative of European interests. Microsoft has been using the BSA to lobby for RAND in Europe for at least a couple of years. CompTIA has been absent from Microsoft’s ranks of lobbyists in Europe recently, but it was there before (pushing Microsoft’s side in EIF drafts).

David Hammerstein, a former member of parliament who occasionally shares information about Microsoft’s lobbying inside the Commission [1, 2], is now saying: “SOS: European Interoperability Framework proposal under fierce attack by MS and M. Barnier Int. Market Commissioner vs. Kroes and citizens.”

Microsoft is betting on patents as its weapon against software freedom and here’s another new footstep which we mentioned yesterday. Patents seem like this company’s last resort.

For those who want to know more about Microsoft’s ‘RAND fight’ against competition, there’s a new transcript from the FSFE’s Gerloff. “Delivered FSFE statement on #swpat at #WIPO #SCP15, will post shortly. Very good reactions from some states. EPO not so happy,” wrote Gerloff. Quoting a portion of it:

Some argue that the inclusion of standards in patents on RAND terms is a necessary incentive for companies to innovate. Free Software Foundation Europe begs to differ. We join the Development Agenda Group in highlighting that the monopoly power conferred by a patent is exponentially increased when the patent is included in a standard.

If a company has been awarded a patent, it has already received a strong incentive to innovate, in the form of a 20-year monopoly on the use of the invention, to the exclusion of all others. Why should society incur a further, even more substantial cost by handing this patent holder a means to effectively control competition in the marketplace, by letting it control the price of a patent license?

Today’s software market is already rife with monopolies and dominant companies in several domains. It should be the goal of norm-setting efforts to reduce the obstacles to competition in the software market, rather than increasing them.

FSFE believes that it would be most useful for the SCP to analyse the various approaches on the grounds of their inclusiveness of the entire IT industry and all innovators, and identify the minimum requirements that are necessary to uphold standards as drivers of competition, innovation and economies of scale.

We also recommend that in its deliberations, this committee should be careful to distinguish between different areas for standardisation, as the requirements in each area are quite diverse.

Let’s keep shining a light in the face of lobbyists. They don’t like it when people find out who’s paying their bill; it delegitimises them and they deserve it. Europe deserves it.

Legitimisers of Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FOSS stamp

Summary: News about initiatives and companies that under the guise or true intention of promoting Free software actually promote proprietary software and software patents (with Microsoft “patent tax”)

EVERY NOW AND THEN we politely name those players in the industry whose actions contribute to software patent entanglements and thus barriers to software freedom. The intention is not to provoke but rather to inform. So today we’ll start by naming Peer-To-Patent again. It’s hard to criticise the project, which takes a ‘pragmatic’ approach and has some inter-personal roots in Linux-friendly companies; we — as well as others whose approach is similar — have been critics of Peer-To-Patent because it is promoting “good” software patents, albeit passively. Groklaw seems to like Peer-To-Patent and their staff is always sending us E-mail, however we — along with others like FFII and TechDirt — are rather sceptical because valuable time of volunteers is being spent gardening the work of people who applied for patent monopolies on software. TechDirt says that Peer-To-Patent may be coming back; it’s better than nothing at all, but there may be better ways (also better than OIN) to eliminate the problem. TechDirt starts by stating:

We’ve been a bit critical of the Peer-to-Patent program that was tested in the US a couple years ago. The idea — which I appreciate — was that certain patent applications would be opened up in a “crowdsourcing”-style, for the wider community to provide evidence of prior art. My problem with it wasn’t the concept of involving others, but the idea that prior review during the application process would really be all that meaningful or useful in the long run. That’s because it’s often tough to get the necessary people to care about a bad patent or bad patent application until it’s being used against them. So the incentives to keep swatting down bad patents just isn’t that exciting. Second, the worst of the bad patents are ones that are asserted later, for something that seems completely different or unexpected, but which the patent holder claims violates their patent. It’s tough to predict that ahead of time. Finally, the program only focused on prior art, not obviousness, which is an even bigger issue.

Yes, you could argue that such a peer review system wouldn’t hurt, but it often felt like the program’s backers thought it would solve most of the problems of the patent system, where I can only see it maybe helping out at the margins. That’s why we weren’t surprised at all to find out that the program had quitely shut down last year and almost no one had noticed.

Another player which is hard for us to criticise is Tuxera, which actually did bring some invaluable software to Linux (NTFS) before it signed a deal with Microsoft and started selling software patent licences rather than just software. Well, Tuxera’s NTFS is coming to Macs now. It’s not entirely clear what role Microsoft plays in it (if any) now that these companies are together in a patent bed.

There is another company called Likewise which helps sell Microsoft UNIX/Linux patent licences (Active Directory and the likes of it). Likewise uses the latest release of Ubuntu to sell its patent ploy again [1, 2], taking advantage of users who are not already familiar with Samba. “Likewise Integrates Alien Systems with Microsoft Active Directory” says this resultant article. For those who do not know, Likewise has roots in Microsoft and so does Black Duck, whose CEO will become part of an “open source” think tank (even though Black Duck is a proprietary software company). Black Duck is located next to Novell’s headquarters and not far from Microsoft’s other attempts to harm GNU/Linux from the inside (Cambridge labs), by means of fusion with software patents. To quote a new article:

Black Duck CEO Yeaton joins China open-source think tank

Waltham-based Black Duck Software announced last week that it had acquired open-source online resource Ohloh.net, an online directory of open-source-related software and people.

Ohloh is not open source, either. Like Black Duck, it only takes advantage of open source, just in the data sense. The products themselves are proprietary, but the data they get applied to is free/open source software source code.

“Apple is now devising software patents as path to an exclusive censorship mechanism.”Another company which loves to pretend that it is an “open source” player is Apple, even though software patents are a high priority at Apple and the latest outrageous patent raises a brow and makes many headlines (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]). To quote one article: “Apple has just been awarded a patent for what people are already calling ‘anti-sexting’ software.”

It’s still about restrictions at Apple because Apple knows best and it wishes to impose its beliefs/preferences on customers. Jobs has already spoken about “freedom from porn” and that’s a classic example of where freedom comes to mean the exact opposite. Orwell once warned: “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

Apple is now devising software patents as path to an exclusive censorship mechanism. Does society need restraint to be imposed by gadgets? Need it be a monopoly, too?

Microsoft Attacks Open Source by Comparing Today’s Products to Open Source Rivals From Windows 2003 Era

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Videos, Windows at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like the scorpion and the tortoise

Dead scorpions

Summary: Additional proof that the “Open Source” policy at Microsoft is still something along the lines of “We are not allowed to be seen as attacking Free software but quietly we have to”

THE RECENT REMARK from Hernán Rincón (insulting “Open Source” [1, 2, 3], which gets adopted widely where he works for Microsoft around Brazil) have helped a lot of people see that Microsoft it no friend of “Open Source”, but this does not prevent Microsoft from carrying on with this PR charade. Microsoft’s booster Marius Oiaga is helping them right now:

Microsoft, once the anti-open source poster child, says that the company has evolved as the world changed and that it is now committed to openness.

Watch them use their beloved Novell to spread this lie:

Microsoft made a critical move in 2006, when it inked a Windows and Linux interoperability alliance with open source vendor Novell.

Since then, both Microsoft and Novell have made investments into making sure that Windows Server and SUSE Linux can play nice together for customers that need to run both platforms in their heterogeneous environments.

Let’s face it, Microsoft’s biggest cash cow is suffering (that’s Office) and while Microsoft keeps pretending to harbour “open source” on Windows it is actually attacking OpenOffice.org for Windows, even though it’s “open source” and for Windows. What does that say about Microsoft’s attitude towards “open source” on any platform at all?

Microsoft’s hiring of people specifically to fight OpenOffice.org (and LibreOffice or Lotus, by extension) is something that we covered before [1, 2]. It has turned rather pathetic. Microsoft is now blatantly lying in new videos. “Source of one of the quotes in #MSFTvOOo video,” says Jan from Red Hat, is a case “from 2006(!) about Windows 2003(!)” (he also gave a pointer to Microsoft.com). Someone who prefers to remain anonymous has chosen to study Microsoft’s ‘beef’ in this latest FUD campaign and here is what he or she found, based on this video:

The people quoted in the spot against OpenOffice:

James Fleming, Infrastructure and Support Manager, Speedy Hire
Jeff Cimmerer, Director of Technology for the Pittsford School District
David Sterling, ICT Manager, Central Scotland Police
Bülent Türker, Product Manager, Scarves Department, SARAR Group
Eugene Mariotto, ICT Director, Cobra Automotive Technologies
Eros Borgogelli, Information Systems Coordinator, Ciar
Randall C Kennedy, InfoWorld
Tisome Nugent, Educator, Orange County Public Schools
Sergey Sakharov, Business Process Optimization Manager, Art of Transport Logistics
Darek Muraszko, Information Systems Admninistrator, Kaczmarski Inkasso
Igor Gentosh, Head of System Integration Department, Kredobank JSC
Tiziano Battilana, Information Systems Coordinator, Euromobil Group
Joerg Lenze, System Administrator, Heinrich Berndes Haushaltstechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Leonid Medvediev, Head of IT Department, CJSC SPC, BorschagivskiyChemical and Pharmaceutical Plant
Bailey Mitchell, Chief Information Officer, Forsyth County Schools

I am in the process of checking the quotes and I have noticed they are effectively taken from quite old “success” stories, here some examples:

David Sterling, ICT Manager, Central Scotland Police
Source of the quotes:

http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Microsoft-Office-2003/Central-Scotland-Police/Central-Scotland-Police-Cuts-Maintenance-Costs-30-Percent-By-Replacing-Linux-Desktop/49609

This is a “success” story of 2006 about a migration to Office 2003/Windows 2003. Linux desktops in 2003 and OpenOffice in 2003 are ancient IMHO, not really a good way to convince customers NOW :-)

You can find more, for example:

Tisome Nugent, Educator, Orange County Public Schools

http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid=4000005095

Joerg Lenze, System Administrator, Heinrich Berndes Haushaltstechnik GmbH & Co. KG

http://65.55.21.250/caseStudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid=4000006523

Etc. etc.

All you will find are arguments on how the lock-in of Microsoft Office makes sure noone can switch to alternatives.

Decide for yourself :-)

Here is some coverage about Microsoft’s latest steps (the video is said to have been removed/gone private, probably for PR/damage control reasons):

  • Microsoft launches attack on OpenOffice

    Microsoft has a long-established practice of disarming competition by not acknowledging it, because acknowledging the competition gives it power. Well, the Redmond giant has changed stance when it comes to OpenOffice and launched a video attack on the free alternative to the Office software suite.

  • Microsoft posts video of customers criticizing OpenOffice

    A few hours after this story was published, Microsoft set the video as “private,” meaning it can no longer be viewed by the public. We found it hosted on Microsoft.com, however, so if you have Silverlight, go watch it there.

  • Get the FUD is Back…

    Educational organizations get locked-in and so do students. What happens if a student goes to work at a place that uses OpenOffice.org on GNU/Linux? Are they doomed? Nonsense. It’s a GUI and they point, click and type. For a school district to spend $millions annually on software they can do without should be a crime or at least a breach of fiduciary responsibility to use the tax payers’ money wisely. What does it teach a kid that his school spends more on software that they don’t need when the system has to be cut back somewhere else because the premise of the whole situation was that the budget was tight? Do you think they might have to cut something that does educate students, Homer?

    Oh! The Horror! The Horror of educational systems that cannot do the maths. There are thousands of systems that have deployed OpenOffice.org and GNU/Linux with no problems except what to do with the savings.

  • Microsoft Gives its Blessing to OpenOffice.org

    In due course, more details emerged of how Mindcraft had been able to draw directly on support from Microsoft when tuning the system, but had not involved Red Hat, whose distribution was being used for the tests, in the same way. This meant that several important tweaks that would have improved the latter’s performance were lacking. Indeed, it later turned out that the tests had actually been conducted in a Microsoft laboratory.

    [...]

    It seems that Microsoft has forgotten this important lesson. For it has put together a three-minute video of customers explaining why they switched from OpenOffice.org to Microsoft Office.

    The criticisms made in the video are not really the point – they are mostly about OpenOffice.org not being a 100% clone of Microsoft Office, and compatibility problems with Microsoft’s proprietary formats. The key issue is the exactly the same as it was for the Mindcraft benchmarks. You don’t compare a rival’s product with your own if it is not comparable. And you don’t make this kind of attack video unless you are really, really worried about the growing success of a competitor.

    Just as it did in 1999 for GNU/Linux, Apache and Samba, the company has now clearly announced that OpenOffice.org is a serious rival to Microsoft Office, and should be seriously considered by anyone using the latter.

    Thanks Microsoft.

  • Alternatives to Microsoft Office 2010

    OpenOffice

    The most popular open source office solution is OpenOffice, original released as an office suite for Linux but later released for Windows.

    OpenOffice features the Writer, Calc, Impress and Base applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and database management, all free, while technical support is provided in the form of help documents on the website and a directory of consultants, although this last option is intended only for businesses. OpenOffice is available from download.openoffice.org.

    Note that in the near future, OpenOffice will be available as LibreOffice.

    Oracle Open Office

    If Open Office appeals to you but you require online support, then Oracle Open Office might be your best choice. Offering the same functionality as OpenOffice, Oracle Open Office is available to purchase from www.oracle.com as an enterprise-class office suite based on the same open standards as OpenOffice.

  • Oracle Demonstrates Continued Support for OpenOffice.org

Regarding that last one (a press release), the Microsoft booster just had to say something negative:

Oracle is spinning its participation in a forthcoming Open Document Format (ODF) event as proof of its continued commitment to the OpenOffice.org community.

Gavin seems to be the one spinning, not Oracle. He too seems interested in hurting OpenOffice.org, so it’s not just Microsoft which does it very publicly right now. If it hurts Microsoft, it means we need more of the same. It’s an indication of weakness.

“Novell is UNIX” But Who Buys Novell?

Posted in Novell, SCO, UNIX, Videos at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An old video gets pulled from the days of UnixWare and the vocation of Novell’s UNIX is pondered in light of asset sales at Novell and SCO

LAST WEEK someone from the United States (ked) uploaded this old UnixWare video from Novell:


The video is from 94 and it says “Novell is UNIX” at the end. That’s still true, even though SCO wishes to dispute it.

Groklaw is still catching up with missing (undocumented) parts of the SCO case, gradually exposing more parts of the March trial. Here’s some of the latest:

Let’s continue with the second part of the events of Day 9 at the second SCO v. Novell trial, before the Hon. Ted Stewart, a continuation of this article, part 1, where you’ll find the complete transcript as text. We ran out of space, so you may want to open up the previous article alongside this one, so you can follow along with the transcript.

So we’re still talking about the events on March 18, 2010. When we left off, Dr. Christine Botosan was on the stand, enduring cross examination by Novell’s lawyer, Sterling Brennan. I do mean enduring, because she was very much on the defensive, and as you will see, it gets worse for her.

SCO's software assets are up for sale now and so are Novell's. So what about UNIX?

“Another SCO Creditor Sells Its Claim to Argo,” Groklaw says:

Tech Marketing Ink of Orem, Utah, a creditor in the SCO bankruptcy, has sold its claim to Argo Partners. I guess it figured a bird in the hand and all that. At this point, the company may feel that there’s no getting blood from a stone and the likelihood of getting paid by SCO in bankruptcy court is slim. You can sell your claim if anyone will buy it, usually for a price that may be less than you are owed, but at least you have something. In real money. In a real world.

Novell’s sale is very important not just because of SUSE (with liabilities from the notorious Microsoft deal) and Novell’s many software patents; it’s also important because of UNIX, which needs to be put in safe hands such as IBM’s. A dead Novell is in some ways more menacing than a Novell that’s alive and helping Microsoft.

Novell’s CEO Criticised for Unjustified Wage/Bonus

Posted in Finance, Novell at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hovsepian smiles

Summary: The absurd bonus of Ron Hovsepian grabs the attention of news sites other than Techrights

NOVELL’S CEO Ron Hovsepian is currently overpaid, as we argued just one week ago. This is now being noted by PC Pro, which has the article “Top tech execs paid millions for failure”. It says:

Ronald Hovespian of Novell, for example was the lowest-paid CEO on the 25 Overpaid list, receiving a paltry $5.2 million in total compensation last year.

Although the pay level is considered “quite reasonable” compared to other executives, it came during a year in which Novell’s stock dropped 12% and the company reported a negative return on equity of 21%.

There is more about it here and in a new article from India the author says that “Eric Schmidt stepped out of the comfort of being in large companies like Sun and Novell with thousands of customers, to join what was then a virtually unknown start-up, Google. That too as a part of the three-member management team with the founders who were actively involved in running the company with him. His compensation was $250K+bonus, far less than the $600K base he had at Novell and, perhaps, even Sun before that.”

How does Hovsepian justify getting paid more than 100 times what some of his workers are paid (including those who got laid off)? And in bonuses alone???

Going back in time, it will be interesting to see what sort of bonuses were unfairly distributed by Novell. Here is one man with background at Novell making this week’s news:

Plymouth, MI-based Stardock today announced the hiring of a new senior producer who was recruited from outside of the games industry for his project management background at infrastructure software company Novell.

When exactly did he leave Novell? Is this another project manager who ended up leaving Novell?

Mono as a Whole Appears to be a Patent Trap

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cigarette
Safe like tobacco

Summary: ECMA-compliant Mono is not easy to identify, which puts it at odds with Microsoft’s MCP (Microsoft Community Promise)

MANY things can be said about Mono 2.8, none of which is that it’s popular. It barely received coverage this time around, except perhaps from a couple of notable places. Additionally, Mono applications were sort of promoted by OpenSUSE folks (community managers) some days ago, bearing in mind that Mono promotes .NET and Novell, not GNU/Linux. Some Mono-based programs are already outside the boundaries marked by Microsoft's MCP and this new article suggests that Mono as a whole may be in no compliance with the MCP and therefore the whole of Mono is a patent minefield, based on Microsoft’s statement. Consider this:

There have been fears among free and open source software community members that Mono could prove to be a patent trap and this statement from De Icaza confirmed that people were right to entertain such fears – after all if he had boldly gone beyond the ECMA specs, he could well have incorporated code that violated patents belonging to Microsoft.

[...]

Blogger Jason Melton, who follows the progress of Mono much more closely than I do, said that at least one vocal Mono supporter “has said that they will not separate the portions and have abandoned plans to do so, because ‘people would just complain anyway’.”

[...]

I haven’t asked either De Icaza or Novell about the release of the ECMA-compliant Mono source – neither will respond, of that I’m sure. De Icaza only deals with journalists who are willing to swallow his spin. The same applies to Novell.

Will Novell and Microsoft step up and clarify? If all the above is true, then Mono is a patent trap as a whole, not just parts of it. Mono, Novell and Microsoft apologists love to just mock, daemonise, intimidate or at best ignore those who point out the obvious.

Links 14/10/2010: LSE GNU/Linux On Line, Linux Tablets Domination Expected

Posted in News Roundup at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Top 5 Mistakes Made by Linux First-Timers

      1. Expecting Windows

      Humans are creatures of habit, so after years of using Windows–or Mac, if that’s the case–it’s hard not to expect what you’re used to every time you use a computer.

      Ubuntu and recent Linux distributions have incorporated many user-friendliness features from their Windows and Mac competitors in recent years, so there is actually going to be quite a bit of similarity these days–much more than there used to be. When it comes right down to it, though, even consumer-ready Maverick Meerkat isn’t Windows, and you shouldn’t expect it to be.

      This is not–I repeat, NOT–to say that things are harder. Linux is not more difficult to use, especially if you’re on a modern distro like Ubuntu. It is, however, different. It might take you a little bit of time to get used to its slightly different way of doing things. Don’t let that put you off–a small learning curve will gain you a lifetime of advantages.

  • Server

    • Faulty Reasoning

      Many banks use UNIX or GNU/Linux for servers because they want performance and reliability. Why do these guys settle for less? I would guess they have been working on false assumptions for a while to get so locked-in.

    • LSE Switchover to GNU/Linux Imminent

      Talk about price/performance. The software they will be using cost so little, the LSE bought the company and will be selling the product. They expect to get 8 transactions to the millisecond.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Notebook Hybrid Graphics On Linux Still Sucks

        For those of you that have been wondering about the state of hybrid graphics support for notebooks running Linux, sadly the situation has yet to improve, which still puts it in shambles.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Marble: configurable routing profiles

        The thing that needs improvement is bicycle routing. I mean in general it works, but when using it in practice it matters a lot (a) what bike you use and (b) what kind of driver you are. So it’s nonsense to have a single bicycle routing profile. I want:

        * MTB offroad
        * MTB shortest route
        * racing using the shortest route (traffic doesn’t matter)
        * racing using the “nicest” route (cycleways, not too much traffic)
        * family (cycleways only if possible)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • On GNOME Shell

        So I started using the GNOME Desktop last millennium, and over the last more than a decade have overall been quite impressed with the level of polish. It made a nice change in some ways from Enlightenment, and CDE, which were my previous desktop environments, and I coul live with the RAM footprint (after all, enlightenment is using 1.3GB of RAM now).

        The last few years in particular have seen a growing trend to be more (but not quite) Mac-like, with lots of advanced features being buried over time, and over-simplification (for example, with sound controls). These are minor frustrations, but they can typically be worked around without much hassle and the experience remains overall quite good on GNOME 2.0. Things that used to be a hassle – like notifications, events, etc. and lot of plumbing have been worked out nicely by now. I love the work David Zeuthen and co. have done in particular, but many others have done good things.

        [...]

        For now, my advice is to run “desktop-effects” and switch back to regular panels…

      • GNOME Commit-Digest: Issue 105

        This week… 1988 commits, in 187 projects, by 228 happy hackers (and 349 were translation commits).

  • Distributions

    • Cloudera Announces Major Update to Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop Beta 3

      Cloudera, a leading provider of Hadoop-based data management software and services, today announced its final major update to Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop version 3 beta release. Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop (CDH) is the most comprehensive Hadoop-based data management platform available, comprised of an integrated set of the eleven leading Hadoop projects, all available under an Apache license.

    • Cloudera and NTT DATA Partner to Accelerate Hadoop Adoption in APAC Region
    • Why Major Non-Ubuntu Distributions Need to Step up their Game

      Listening to a review of the new Ubuntu release I could not help but notice the amount of hype Shuttleworth’s little distribution can generate. Can you feel it? The buzz is orders of magnitude greater than with any new major distro release. I’ve criticized Ubuntu in the past, but there is no denying that Ubuntu is a milestone in desktop Linux and has done a great deal of good by making Linux adoption easier for the masses.

      I decided to once again examine the Distrowatch distribution rankings. While these are just a very rough estimates based on site analytics, they give us a relatively good picture of the current state in GNU/Linux land. In this article I would like to highlight a few distributions that have, to put it bluntly, left me completely confused as to where the projects are heading.

    • Debian Family

      • About ZFS in Squeeze

        The bad news is that you won’t be able to use ZFS as your root filesystem in Debian Squeeze with the official installer. The blocker is missing support in GNU Parted. Unfortunately the patch I sent in August wasn’t integrated in time for the freeze (and still isn’t, but there’s no hurry now, it’ll hopefully be there for Wheezy).

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 84
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • 10 Slick Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Wallpapers

          Ubuntu 10.10 final is released and we already had a massive post describing the different customizations possible with Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. Now it’s time for some wallpapers. Here is a quick collection of wallpapers for Ubuntu 10.10, mostly branded ones.

        • Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat 10.10 Review

          By far the most popular Linux distribution ever, Ubuntu has been the forerunner in terms of development and use aimed at new linux users coming from Windows or Mac. This is “the” distro when new Linux users want to experiment and eventually migrate from Windows to the free alternative; Linux.

        • Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 Mockup Looks Impressive, Work On The New UI Already Started

          Ubuntu Tweak is every newbie Ubuntu user’s closest companion and we have already seen how Ubuntu Tweak is slowly evolving into one among the must have installation candidates for Ubuntu in our Ubuntu Tweak review. And with the new mockup UI, the next phase of development for Ubuntu Tweak has only started.

        • Askubuntu.com- Get help with your Ubuntu Problems

          Askubuntu.com- Get help with your Ubuntu Problems

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu and package managers

            KPK arrives in Kubuntu 10.10 dressed for success. With an application-centric interface, new features, tools, and improvements, we finally have a default package manager to be proud of. I sure am floored by it.

          • Kubuntu 10.10

            Summary: Kubuntu 10.10 sets a new standard for this distro; it’s almost (but not quite) as polished as Ubuntu itself.

            Rating: 4/5

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SODIMM-sized module uses Freescale’s i.MX28

      Direct Insight announced a SODIMM-sized computer-on-module (COM) based on Freescale’s ARM9-based i.MX28 system-on-chip. The 455MHz, 2.7 x 1.0-inch Triton-TX28 module offers extensive I/O, including Ethernet and USB 2.0 On-The-Go and host, plus an available “StarterKit-5″ baseboard with a Linux board support package, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Palm Pre 2: HP’s first WebOS smartphone?

        French carrier SFR briefly advertised a “Palm Pre 2″ on its website, raising speculation that the Pre 2 is the WebOS-running device HP has slated for early 2011. The Palm Pre 2 has a faster 1GHz processor, improved battery life, faster boot time, and a WebOS 2.0 release that offers push integration, according to the advertisement.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo Is Starting To Be Usable On The Nokia N900

          The Nokia N900 mobile-phone was released nearly one year ago with the Linux-based Maemo 5 operating system, but earlier this year is when Nokia and Intel decided to combine their Linux-based Maemo and Moblin operating systems, respectively, to form MeeGo. The MeeGo Linux distribution is now running well on Intel Atom netbooks and other devices and there is is even MeeGo IVI for your car and a MeeGo handset preview. However, support for the N900 within MeeGo hasn’t been up to speed compared to the level of Maemo support or that of other devices playing well with MeeGo. The support though is slowly but surely catching up for the Nokia N900.

        • Nokia introduces the Qt roadmap

          Better modularisation is also on the agenda. For example, as the QtWebkit component for rendering HTML is seeing rapid enhancement, the developers want to be able to easily update that component without updating the entire framework. Another focus of the development work is the full integration of gestures and tactile feedback into the Qt framework.

      • Android

        • First look at Acer Aspire One D255 with Android

          The Android implementation on Acer’s recently launched dual-boot netbooks feels more like a technology preview than a usable product. It is buggy and inextensible, with no possibility to install extra applications from the Android Market or any other repository. As such, it is limited to basic tasks, such as Internet browsing, web interaction, image viewing and media playback. It’s hard to say who the product is intended for – the Windows crowd will take one quick look and never boot into it again, while any Linux geek will surely prefer a proper Linux distribution or one of the netbook-oriented variants. Perhaps the only positive point is that by providing a Linux-based alternative on its netbooks, Acer was forced to build these computers from Linux-friendly hardware components, so there are no unwelcome surprises when it comes to hardware support.

        • Sony Announces World’s First Google TV

          Sony just made the first actual Google TV official with their new 46-inch GT1 Sony Internet TV. Billed as the first television with the ability to enjoy apps, watch HDTV, and browse the internet on one device, it runs $1,399 and comes with an RF QWERTY keypad remote with integrated optical mouse.

        • Sony offers Google TV on four HDTVs, one Blu-Ray player

          Sony unveiled four Sony Internet TVs and an Internet TV Blu-Ray Disc Player, all running Android-based Google TV software. Employing an Intel Atom-based CE4100 SoC, the new Internet TV devices range from 24-inch to 46-inch HDTVs, ship with a QWERTY-enabled remote, and offer Wi-Fi, HDMI, and USB connectivity.

        • Android key to HTC, Motorola, and Samsung success, says iSuppli

          Android is behind the second-quarter successes of HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, reports iSuppli. Meanwhile, global smartphone sales during the quarter reached 60.4 million units, up from 55.8 million units during the first quarter, representing a growth of 8.2 percent, says the research firm.

        • The Android opportunity is an open source challenge
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Acer netbook happily dual-boots Android and Windows 7

        Acer announced a dual-boot Windows 7/Android netbook, featuring Intel’s dual-core Atom D550 or single-core Atom N450 processors. The Acer Aspire One Happy offers a 10.1-inch, WSVGA display, up to 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard disk drive (HDD), plus 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, Ethernet, three USB ports, and eight hours of battery life, says the company.

    • Tablets

      • Gene Munster: Android-Based Tablets Will Be More Popular Than Apple’s iPad

        I think it will play very much like the iPhone played out. I think for the first year or so, it’s going to be advantage, Apple. But I think that as more of the Android tables come out and get optimized, you’re going to see some very stiff competition.

        As a category, the tablet is undeniably going to be the winning category in mobile computing in the next decade, but as far as the market share win, ultimately we think that Apple won’t have the majority of the market share. It will probably be with Android-based tablets.

        [...]

        Microsoft is coming from a standing start. Unfortunately, for Microsoft, they’ve got a lot of work to do if they want to be relevant.

      • Android tablets will surpass Apple’s iPad, analyst projects

        Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has projected that Android is likely to surpass Apple in a fast-growing tablet market that he says is “fundamentally shaking” the PC industry. The battle between Android tablets and Apple’s iPad will be close, said Munster on BusinessInsider, with the iPad coming up big in a place where you’d least expect it — the enterprise.

      • Android Tablets – a developer’s view

        While Android 3.0 will bring a lot of nifty improvements, for users as well as developers, tablets running earlier versions of the operating system will be perfectly capable devices in their own right. And when we do get 3.0, we’ll be lusting after 3.1 and 4.0 instead – and the circle begins anew…

      • ZTE joins tablet PC bandwagon with Android offering

        ZTE Corp, China’s No.2 telecommunications equipment maker, on Tuesday launched its first tablet PC, the latest entrant to a market that has received a new lease on life with Apple Inc’s iPad launch.

      • Chinese handset giant spins Android tablet

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Inertia, a force to be reckoned with.

    You may have noticed the percentage figure I used before when I said that the computing world is more than ninety percent run on inertia. I chose that figure for a particular reason. Not only is a certain software platform installed on more than ninety percent of computers it is also a fact that more than ninety percent of the users of this platform use it purely because it comes preloaded and not because they choose to use it. They have no real understanding of this operating system and to them a computer is no different to a television or toaster. Much to the delight of spam, virus and botnet maintainers.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jack Black, America Ferrera Take on “Liars for Hire” in New HCAN Video

      Health insurance industry front groups and their allies are flooding the airwaves with political ads presenting false information about health reform and its supporters, so Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is using laughter to fight back. HCAN, the coalition that led the successful fight for health reform, collaborated with celebrated actors Jack Black and America Ferrera to create a hilarious video lampooning corporate liars for hire—front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads and 60 Plus Association. These kinds of groups are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political propaganda to mislead voters in advance of the November election. On the most important questions facing the country’s future—the economy, energy, financial reform and health care—the anti-progressive myth-making machine is going at full tilt, fueled by mountains of campaign cash from unidentified sources.

    • Jack Black Takes on Liars for Hire

      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the health insurance industry and a slew of new front groups that refuse to reveal their funding sources (like the 60 Plus Association and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads), have been pouring millions of dollars into advertising campaigns that present false information about health reform, financial reform and the economy.

    • How to brand a disease — and sell a cure

      If you want to understand the way prescription drugs are marketed today, have a look at the 1928 book, “Propaganda,” by Edward Bernays, the father of public relations in America.

      For Bernays, the public relations business was less about selling things than about creating the conditions for things to sell themselves. When Bernays was working as a salesman for Mozart pianos, for example, he did not simply place advertisements for pianos in newspapers. That would have been too obvious.

      Instead, Bernays persuaded reporters to write about a new trend: Sophisticated people were putting aside a special room in the home for playing music. Once a person had a music room, Bernays believed, he would naturally think of buying a piano. As Bernays wrote, “It will come to him as his own idea.”

      Just as Bernays sold pianos by selling the music room, pharmaceutical marketers now sell drugs by selling the diseases that they treat. The buzzword is “disease branding.”

      To brand a disease is to shape its public perception in order to make it more palatable to potential patients. Panic disorder, reflux disease, erectile dysfunction, restless legs syndrome, bipolar disorder, overactive bladder, ADHD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, even clinical depression: All these conditions were once regarded as rare until a marketing campaign transformed the brand.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Judge Allows Trial of CFAA Claim Against Wiseguys

      While noting that it took seriously the concerns raised by EFF and others in an amicus brief, a federal judge in New Jersey in the case of U.S. v. Lowson yesterday decided to delay a decision on the thorny question of whether the government can use the Ticketmaster website’s terms of use to smack ticket resellers with criminal charges. The Court allowed a federal indictment under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of online ticket vendors to go to trial in order to develop a more complete factual record.

    • Mohammad Reza Shajarian: Protest Through Poetry
    • Opinions Vary Over Billboard

      A new billboard on I-70B between Grand Junction and Clifton is creating quite a stir.

      It is a political cartoon of President Barack Obama. The billboard is being paid for by a local man who wants to remain anonymous. But, the artist he hired met with KJCT News 8 to talk about his work.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • New Democrats lead way on net neutrality

      A new report by the SaveOurNet coalition gives the New Democrats top marks for its political leadership on net neutrality. The coalition – comprised of citizens, businesses, and public interest groups – advocates for clear rules on Net Neutrality and the protection of the Internet’s level playing field.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What is Piracy, Really?

      Piracy is stealing, piracy is a crime, piracy is (fill in the blank). We’ve all heard what piracy is as per RIAA, MPAA among others. But what really is piracy from a consumer point of view?

    • Copyrights

      • Locking Out Lawful Users

        Michael Geist’s edited collection of essays on copyright reform is being released on October 14th, and you are welcome to attend its launch. This exciting and timely publication, entitled ‘From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda’, contains twenty chapters written by copyright scholars from across Canada. It is to Geist’s credit that he was able to pull this book together on a tight timeline over the summer so that the views expressed therein can have a bearing on the reform process as it continues to unfold. Of course, the speed of this process also reflects a keen sense amongst Canadian copyright scholars that something important needs to be said (and heard) sooner rather than later.

        I was honoured to be included as a contributor, and to have this opportunity to add my voice to the chorus of voices expressing concern about latest copyright reform bill, Bill C-32 (the Copyright Modernization Act. My contribution, ‘Locking Out Lawful Users’, explores the proposed fair dealing and other user exceptions, both in their own right and in relation to the proposed anti-circumvention provisions.

      • Launch: From “Radical Extremism” to” Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda

        This book responds to the need for non-partisan, informed analysis of Bill C-32. An exceptional group of Canadian scholars from coast-to-coast have come together to assess Canada’s plans for copyright reform and the digital agenda in this timely volume that features context for the reforms, analysis of its impact on technology, business, education, and creators, as well as a look ahead to future copyright and digital issues.

      • Why the CBC banned Creative Commons music from its shows

        Not a lot of happy Canadians over on the comments page for CBC Radio’s program Spark. The producers for the radio show, blog, and podcast on technology issues have disclosed that the program won’t be using Creative Commons licensed materials any more.

      • ACTA

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