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11.15.10

TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb)

Posted in TechBytes at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes

Direct download as Ogg (1:23:15, 25.1 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (38.1 MB)

Summary: Another fun show includes our guest Gordon Sinclair, who helps us learn about the value of Mint and discusses a plethora of other topics

THIS is our eighth episode. Gordon, Tim, and Roy speak about a range of issues with special focus on Linux Mint upon its new release, called/dubbed “Julia”. While not talking about Mint we also go through the differences between Windows and GNU/Linux in general. At the end we discuss some of the latest bad news that Windows Phone 7 needs to cope with (storage problems). Tim’s site, OpenBytes, will soon share some links about the topics we cover. Gordon’s good site can be used to keep track of his work, including some projects he tells us about in advance (it is at the very end of the show).

RSS 64x64Today’s show ends with our theme song from Tom Smith. We hope you will join us for future shows and spread the word if you enjoy this show. Also consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date. We have begun listing past shows at the bottom of each post, based on listeners’ feedback that suggested this.

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(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010

IRC Proceedings: November 15th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: November 14th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 15/11/2010: Avaya Dumps Microsoft for GNU/Linux, Pelagicore Joins the Linux Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Avaya drops Microsoft with IP Office 6.1 update

    Communication platform switches to Linux

  • Desktop

    • Open Source Desktops May Not Happen for Small Biz

      For all the talk of how open source software is kicking butt and taking names in the cloud space (see: Red Hat, Ubuntu, Novell) and in embedded space (see Android, MeeGo), there’s one area where open source has consistently fallen woefully short: providing solutions for small businesses.

      This is a weird sort of failure, too, because on the surface it seems like open source software products–with their collective low price tag, solid support, and better security–would be a perfect fit for the needs of smaller businesses, which often need superlative computing capabilities but can only afford the least-expensive hardware and software due to budget constraints.

  • Server

    • Marvell spins quad-core ARM SoC for servers

      Marvell says it is now sampling a quad-core, ARM-based processor aimed at “enterprise class cloud computing.” The Armada XP runs at 1.6Hz, has a 2MB second-level cache, supports 64-bit DDR3 memory, includes four gigabit Ethernet ports and other interfaces, and uses fewer than ten Watts, according to the company.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab now available on T-Mobile

      Samsung’s seven-inch, Android 2.2 Galaxy Tab tablet is now available on T-Mobile for $399 with a two-year plan or $599 without, says the carrier. Meanwhile, a 10.1-inch Samsung tablet has been spotted at a Chinese trade show.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Automotive Infotainment Development Company Pelagicore Joins Linux Foundation

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Pelagicore is its newest member. Pelagicore develops products and technologies that serve the growing demand for open source infotainment systems from the automotive industry. The company is joining The Linux Foundation to collaborate specifically on MeeGo and its In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) reference design.

  • Applications

    • Easy graphical BURG boot-loader tool ‘BURG Manager’ has been updated to version 1.0.

      Burg manager app updated with new themes, new features

    • Release of KGraphViewer, version 2.1.1

      Release of KGraphViewer, version 2.1.1. This is a bugfix only release that makes the kgraphviewer library cleaner: all necessary headers (and only them) are installed with a proper d-pointer in its sole exported class.

    • VLC v1.1.5 released

      VideoLAN have released an update to their popular media player. This is a minor update mainly containing bug fixes from v1.1.4 and a few new features. Support has been added for RTP access for H264 streams. Multiple language translations has also been updated within VLC, a new Austrian has also been added. You can find the full changelog below.

    • 5 Best Free Linux / Ubuntu Firewalls

      Linux OS is actually considered as a robust platform. It is not easily attacked by virus and other unwanted Internet junk. Yet it is better to keep your system protected as a wiseman said, “Prevention is better than cure”. So, this would make you protect your Linux / Ubuntu system, so we compile a list of 5 best free Ubuntu / Linux firewalls.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Test-driving Bordeaux 2.0.8

        I’ve been using Bordeaux for about a week now and, though it has some rough edges, I’m enjoying the experience. Once I got the hang of the suite’s little quirks, I found it to be powerful and it makes working with Windows software on PC-BSD a more pleasant experience. Having a list of supported software takes some of the guesswork out of running applications on Wine. Having separate cellars is also nice in that it gets around the problem of different programs having special (or conflicting) dependencies. Right now the software feels like it’s aimed at system administrators who want to install and manage multiple Windows applications. Bordeaux is not quite to the point where I would suggest it for end-users, but with a few more progress bars, tool tips and (especially) documentation it can easily get there. The functionality is in place and just needs some friendly touches. This is definitely a product to keep in mind if you’re trying to transition between the Windows world and the Linux/BSD community.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Attends Relaunched SoLiSC Event in Brazil

        KDE recently attended SoLiSC (website in Portuguese), a local free software meeting based in Florianópolis, Brazil. SoLiSC had been inactive since 2005, but in 2009 the Free Software Association of Santa Catarina (Associação Software Livre Santa Catarina) was created to revive it and succeeded in doing so in October this year. The aim of the Association is to create a permanent forum for the discussion of free software in the state of Santa Catarina.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Quick and easy printer sharing in GNOME

        Printer sharing was once a big challenge for Linux. It almost always involved manually configuring Samba to share out your printers. That is not so now. With the latest releases of the GNOME desktop, printer sharing is as easy as it is in any other operating system. So longer will you need to open up that /etc/smb.conf file and spend hours or days trying to figure out the challenging configuration. Now it’s point and click.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Ubuntu vs Fedora: which is best?

          So, who is right? Maybe they both are. It’s completely understandable that, for example, some Debian contributor feels that Ubuntu is in some way getting credit for their work. It is also true that, before Ubuntu, Linux was perceived as difficult to use and unsuitable for anyone but the most hardened geek.

          Ultimately, all the open source projects and people that work in or around them make contributions to Linux, and because all the Linux distros are part of a shared community, they all contribute too. Which one you choose is really down to what you want to use Linux for.

          What is certain is that there is a lot to discover in virtually every different flavour of Linux, so be adventurous – don’t just install one and stick with it. With virtual machine technology and a huge range of live distributions, it’s easier than ever to take a new version of Linux for a spin.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze beta- a first look

        OK, this is still a beta, so any nits found here may be fixed before release, but these are my first impressions of Debian Squeeze Beta.

        [...]

        Overall impression: Good. There’s far less messing around required to get things working than was the case with Lenny. Applications are up to date and work as expected. With any luck the bugs I noticed will get fixed before release.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Speed Limit: 75MPH. Ubuntu: 110MPH.

          In recent days, it was announced that Ubuntu is going to make the switch to using Wayland as a replacement for X as a windowing system and Unity for the desktop environment. I dislike both of these changes for one specific reason: Both codebases for both projects are too new.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 for the O2 Joggler

          I’ve been trying a new Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) image out on my O2 Joggler this week and it is a big improvement over the 9.04 images I’ve been using previously and everything works out of the box without any fiddling.

        • Ubuntu’s Great Graphical Gambit: X Won’t Mark the Spot

          Reaction in the Linux community to news that Ubuntu will be getting a new graphics system — replacing X.org with Wayland — has been mixed, but the worriers seem seriously worried. “I really think they may have gone too far with this change,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger opined. “There are still plenty of ways to get better speed out of the existing system without a wholesale change like this.”

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 New Menu Features

            The Linux Mint main menu has received even more changes in the recent release of Linux Mint 10. Users can now see new menu items highlighted, search for and install software, and search the web from inside of the menu. The main menu also supports GTK bookmarks and its own GTK theme independent from the rest of the desktop.

          • More Thoughts On Fedora 14

            In the most recent episode of the Acrossad GNU/Linux Oggcast, I stated that I was going to try Fedora 14 on a new laptop. I recently got my chance. I was able to test out Fedora 14 on a borrowed Toshiba Satellite L675 laptop.Fedora performed very nicely indeed. The built-in wifi does not work because Linux drivers for the installed Realtek wifi radio card do not yet exist.

          • Linux Mint 10 gains new theme, menu system

            The Linux Mint team released the final Linux Mint 10 (“Julia”), based on Ubuntu 10.10. the popular desktop Linux distribution adds one-click upgrades to the DVD edition, as well as a new Mint-X theme, performance improvements, improved software and update managers, GTK support, and revised menus that highlight new apps.

          • A newly minted Linux a must for the desktop

            One reader commented that Linux already has a higher install base than Mac OS X.

            While that might be true (with Linux being free to distribute it’s always going to be impossible to know exactly), it doesn’t mean Linux is living up to its full potential on the desktop.

            My argument is not that Linux distributions should try to be like Windows or Mac OS X, my argument is they should care more about the end-user experience. And shipping stable, integrated software is key to that.

            Windows and Mac OS X both appeal to non-technical people because a lot of administration tasks are either automated or only involve pointing and clicking.

            Of course, that doesn’t mean Linux is difficult to use. But the lack of integration can be off-putting for someone who has never used it before.

            In fact, there’s absolutely no reason why a free operating system can’t exceed the user experience of a commercial one.

          • Linux Mint 10 (Julia), First Impressions

            Probably the most difficult thing a user is going to run into with Linux Mint 10 (Julia) at this point is simply downloading it. Demand for the new release has obviously been far greater than anything they have seen before, and their servers have not been able to keep up with the load. As of this morning, Monday 15/11/2010 at 9:00 Swiss time, getting a response from their main web page is still inconsistent, so if you know of a mirror nearby, you would be well advised to go directly to it.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Automotive infotainment middleware debuts

      Jungo Ltd. announced a Linux-ready middleware stack for automotive infotainment applications. The Automotive Connectivity Middleware offers a complete media and networking infrastructure, including wireless connectivity, phone management, and integration with mapping and telematics functionality, says the company.

    • Linux development board and BSP ships for multicore MIPS SoC

      NetLogic Microsystems has released a Linux development kit and board support package (BSP) for its MIPS-based eight-core XLP system-on-chip (SoC). The XLP Multi-Core Processor Development Kit includes a development board, software tools, libraries, drivers, and reference solutions, says the chipmaker.

    • 3U cPCI board offers I/O expansion option

      The SBCs also offer identical ruggedization levels and operating system support. The latter includes board support packages (BSPs) for Linux, VxWorks, QNX Neutrino, and Integrity. Windows drivers are also available, says the company.

    • Linux/Android HMI kit upgrades to 1GHz Cortex-A8 SoC

      TES Electronic Solutions announced a new member of its Linux- and Android-ready “Magik” computer-on-module (COM) and HMI development kit family, this time with TI’s DaVinci DM3730 system-on-chip. The Magik-MX-37 COM has 512MB RAM and up to 1GB of flash storage, and the compete kit offers a seven-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive touchscreen plus I/O including Ethernet, USB, and HDMI.

    • Music production tablet runs MeeGo on an Intel Atom

      Trinity Audio Group demonstrated a prototype of a tablet running a MeeGo-based version 5.0 of its Transmission audio platform for musicians. Now open for beta testing, the Indamixx 2 tablet runs on an Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, and offers a multitouch display, 160GB of storage, and the Renoise tracking and sampling application.

    • Android tablets touted for advanced audio

      Creative Technology announced 10-inch and seven-inch tablet computers along with a 3.2-inch portable media player (PMP) — all offering Android 2.1, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and “Pure Wireless Entertainment” branding. The Creative Ziio 10″ and Ziio 7″ each offer Creative’s 1GHz, Cortex-A8-based ZMS-08 processor, while the Zen Touch 2 Wireless Entertainment Device features a two-megapixel camera.

    • Eight-core DSP claimed to be fastest ever

      With TI’s recent Linux port to the C64x DSPs, system designers developing signal-intensive equipment can take full advantage of the DSP cores directly with Linux, without requiring a SoC that also includes an ARM core. These would include the recently announced TMS320DM8168 as well as many other TI OMAP, Sitara, and DaVinci SoCs such as the DaVinci DM3730.

      Presumably, similar streamlined access to Linux developers is being provided for the C66x family as well. TI has recently been making a major push to open up its DSP architectures to ARM Linux developers. These efforts include the release of two free Linux development tools to ease programming of the TMS320C6000 DSP. The C6EZRun tool partitions code between the DSP and ARM cores, while C6EZAccel offers an ARM-side API library of over 130 optimized DSP kernels.

    • QorIQ SoC offers FlexCAN controllers, runs on 1.1 Watts

      A P1010RDB reference design board incorporating the P1010 is planned for availability in Q1 2011, says Freescale. The company did not list OS support, but previous QorIQ SoCs have been supported with Linux support packages.

      The new QorIQ parts will also be supported by Enea, Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics, and Wind River, all of which offered testimonial quotes. Mentor Graphics and Wind River specifically mentioned Linux support.

      Stated Brett Butler, general manager and vice president of Freescale’s Networking Processor Division, “The P1010 is the newest member of the broad QorIQ product family, which scales from single-core offerings at 500MHz to multicore processors that deliver 2GHz.”

    • E Ink launches displays for color e-readers

      Electrophorescent (EPD) displays sourced from E Ink have been used in the majority of e-readers to date. Examples include Amazon’s market-leading, Linux-based Kindle — reecently updated to become smaller and lighter.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • $150 Android tablet focuses on e-reader apps

        PocketBook USA has launched both a $150 color e-reader tablet based on Android 2.0 and a $180, Linux-based monochrome e-reader tablet. The PocketBook IQ is a seven-inch, 800 x 600 tablet with Wi-Fi and 2GB of memory, while the PocketBook Pro 602 is a six-inch E Ink e-reader with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache knights at round tables

    Into this world comes Apache. They are programmers, they have jobs, but within Apache they also have a moral code, a sense of belonging, a common purpose, and important work that feeds the common good. They spin what in our time looks like wealth, then give it away free to anyone who wants it.

  • The Enterprise’s Open Storage Quandary

    Further, open source storage solutions are becoming more sophisticated as third-party add-ons that offer high-end features evolve. For example, OpendedUp, an open source deduplication file system for Linux that’s also known as “SDFS,” emerged in March. This is designed for enterprises with virtual environments looking for a high-performance, scalable deduplication system that’s not too costly.

  • SaaS

    • DimDim’s Acquisition Would Pitch Another FOSS Leader Into Proprietary Hands

      As Canonical COO Matt Asay notes on The Register, and as VCCircle has noted, there are strong signs that Salesforce.com is close to acquiring open source web conferencing company DImDim. Salesforce has been on a tear, with its stock hitting stratospheric heights, and is one of the primary companies illustrating how much promise the cloud holds for business technology users. It’s certainly believable that Salesforce might like to acquire DimDim, but do we want to see another celebrated open source-focused company swallowed up by a proprietary one?

  • Databases

    • Can Firebird gain against MySQL?

      MySQL is now really an Oracle product, price included. Which is a big chance for all other “really free” database servers, like Firebird and PostgreSQL.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.0 Beta 3 released

      Today marks reaching Drupal 7′s 0 critical bug milestone! We’ve rolled one final beta release to shake out any last minute problems and fix strings.

  • BSD

    • 2.8.2 Released, 30-Oct-2010!

      The DragonFly 2.8.2 release is now available! A great deal of stability and MP-related work has gone into this release relative to 2.6, as well as many new features, pkgsrc-2010Q3, and the return of the GUI release image for 4G USB sticks.

    • OpenBSD 4.8

      The current release is OpenBSD 4.8 which was released November 1, 2010.

    • PC-BSD 9.0-snapshot
    • FreeNAS 0.7.2

      2010-11-06: Security Alert, all users need to upgrade their FreeNAS to the latest stable (0.7.2.5543). If you can’t upgrade: Restrict WebGUI access from trusted IP addresses. Thanks to Brian Adeloye from Tenable Network Security for reporting this vulnerability.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Boss Complains About ‘Only’ Making $9 Million — If Only We Had Problems Like That

      I’ve seen some truly amazing feats of magic, but here’s one that beats them all. Right before your eyes, this thing rises into the air on its own, with no wires or mechanical devices giving it lift. And it hovers there effortlessly.

    • Would Henry I Have Castrated Goldman Sachs?

      2. Money doesn’t do you any good if you don’t use it at some point. An old workmate of mine used to have a colorful turn of phrase to describe the possession of something that is ostensibly praiseworthy but practically useless: “That’s like tits on a boar hog.” Economists have a more formal way to discuss the extent to which nominal money may actually be like “tits on a boar hog”: The Velocity of Money. The Velocity of Money is a measure of just how often a particular dollar gets spent during the year, and the more often the better.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • India The Latest To Think About Kicking People Off The Internet Based On Accusations Of File Sharing

        A few months back, we pointed to a discussion looking at how three countries with some of the biggest movie industries outside of the US — Nigeria, China and India — all were thriving, despite massive “piracy.” As you looked at the details of each, it showed how each industry had been adapting to a marketplace in which some of the content was widely available, but were still figuring out ways to make money (i.e., you can compete with free). However, because competing with free actually involves work, it should come as no surprise that some are seeking to implement government protectionist policies.

Clip of the Day

IBM on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6


Murdoch’s Press Says Microsoft Wants to Spy on People’s Houses With Cameras

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Room 101 in your living room?

1984 and room scene

Summary: The Wall Street Journal says that Microsoft wants to have KINect spy on people for advertisers

MICROSOFT has been patenting some camera-related ‘ideas’ very recently (allegedly simple things like the "record" button) and going further back a few years we also wrote about one patent which specifies a method for webcam or a camera placed next to a television set spying on the viewer and sending information to advertisers, broadcasters, and so on. It’s a very Orwellian vision where people are being spied on inside their own house. According to this new report just sent to us by a reader, KINect might be the embodiment of these Orwellian ideas. From the opening:

Microsoft Corp. officials are considering using the camera on their new Kinect videogame system to target ads to people watching the games.

Microsoft denies it, but given that the article says “officials are considering” and not implementing Microsoft could say just about anything and not be called a liar. The hilarious thing is that Microsoft tells the author that it respects privacy. Like this? Or this? How about this?

Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison Get Even Closer After Attacking the Linux-based Android Using Patents, Google Becomes Software Patents Foe

Posted in Apple, Europe, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

God is Google

Summary: Google starts arguing against patenting of software having had its flagship operating system attacked by the Oracle and Apple patent portfolios

THE PREVIOUS post was yet another discussion about the harms of patents, especially when they get used offensively. Oracle and Apple are both large companies, so patents (monopolies) work well for them. Java’s founder recently said that Steve Jobs is a liar (not exact quote). It happened right after Java was harmed by Apple which had indicated no real commitment to it. Now, let us bear in mind the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. Why would Apple want to harm an Oracle product? Well, the answer turns out to be that it’s not so simple because “Apple Joins Oracle For Java Development” and this means “Android Trouble” (and thus good news for Apple’s hypePhone). As one insightful blogger put it:

Bad news for Google Android. Oracle and Apple have announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X.

Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.

Oracle chief and Steve Jobs are close friends and Oracle recently sued Google over Java use in Android. Since then Oracle has intensified efforts to marginalise Google by taking IBM off the development of Harmony Project which Google’s Android relied on. Now, getting Apple involved with OpenJDK means added troubles for Google.

IBM was at one point accused by some for similar reasons (upon its recent announcement). We mostly cover Java news in our daily links, but this time we make the exception to also show the following aftermath:

Suffice to say, adding to this we have Microsoft MVPs like de Icaza and some other longtime .NET boosters like Tim Anderson flinging FUD at Java (we choose not to add links here, especially so as not to feed their FUD). Groklaw, on the other hand and despite smears from Microsoft mobbyists (again, we choose to exclude links or name names), helps show that Google’s tactless stance on patents may be changing now that it’s a common litigation target (even Google's free/libre software gets sued for patent violations, which can complicate distribution and redistribution). Not only Groklaw pointed this out in an analysis we cited over the weekend; patent boosters too are starting to feel rather baffled by Google’s 180:

Google Says Oracle’s Patents Are Invalid Abstract Ideas, But Why?

[...]

Granted, its fairly common to “throw in the kitchen sink” when raising claims and defenses, and time will only tell whether this Bilski defense is just posturing, or whether Google will use this case as a platform to campaign against issued patents (recall the Bilski decision itself deals with a patent application).

Jonas from the FFII enthusiastically asks, “Google ready to kill software patents?”

Google on Oracle vs Google:
“Each of the Patents-in-Suit is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because one or more claims are directed to abstract ideas or other non-statutory subject matter.”

CUDOS Google! Refusing software patents like this the right thing to do for innovation!

An article written by the brilliant Mark Ballard may therefore require some updating; Google is said to be involved in reforming UK copyright/patent law. How so? We shall see. Based on the above, Ballard may be off target this time around when he states in the beginning (alongside a famous image):

British coders have awoken with a fright after a two-year sleep of reason to find the software patent threat looming.

The bells have been ringing in Blissville ever since the Guardian reported that David Willetts, the science and universities minister, was reopening the software patent question with a review of UK intellectual property laws. And that Google was behind it.

The mail list of the UK chapter of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure sprang into life on the news, and after displaying barely a hint of life for a year, and not much more than rapid eye movement for long before that.

The UK hasn’t looked so perky for two and a half years, having slept even through all the jitter in the US over the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision on business method patents.

Google’s priorities appear to have changed and all those lawsuits against Android have hopefully helped Google understand that it does not really need software patents. It’s the cost and complication (e.g. distribution and redistribution) which make it so. Java too gradually became Free software, so it’s time for its patents to go “poof!”

If one wants to really have patent trouble (with Microsoft even), there are some new instruction on how to install the Mono Trojan called Banshee:

Banshee team has announced the release of version 1.9.0, which is a development release. The new Banshee has a neat option called ‘Play After’, which inserts a track into the queue right after the track, album, or artist currently playing thus giving more control to the listener.

Mono is also required by an application which is being promoted in YouTube this month.

One must pay attention to the anti-Java FUD that comes from Mono boosters these days. Google on the other hand seems to be softening and hopefully it will decide to help abolish software patents altogether. The productive approach to take here is to give Google the benefit of the doubt because never before did Google use patents offensively (it did use them defensively). Google recently took a major shot at MPEG-LA — a move not quite foreseen by anyone (freeing videos from codec patents), so maybe there is genuine change brewing.

Litigation is Ruining Science, Technology

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, Law, Linspire, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Christopher Hitchens with a twist

Summary: Linspire case ends up with very high legal expenses and this leads to a discussion which can be generalised to account for patent litigation

SWEEPING statements are risky as they contribute towards alienation and sometimes elimination of friends (or potential friends) and controversial topics are rarely brought up as they too are divisive. But for readers of this site who are patent lawyers and have stayed with us thus far, the twist above (around Christopher Hitchens’s book) will probably not be a shocker.

Techrights has claimed on nearly thousands of occasions and in about 100 posts that inertia for the broken (overburdened) patent system comes from patent lawyers, who benefit directly from increased bureaucracy and “lawyer time” (pay is usually clocked). The more messy the system, the more such lawyers (patent lawyers in particular) will be required and the more money they will extract from people who actually create things of value to society.

The reason we bring this up again is that there’s news from Linspire and it’s another episode in the drama of litigation [1, 2, 3], where Michael Robertson (head of Linspire/Lindows) is forced to pay $300,000+ to a former employee. Now, watch where most of this money is going:

For those of you following the case of Michael Robertson’s insane attacks on former Linspire employees, you will be interested in the latest development from the court today…

One of the former Linspire employees that Robertson attacked was the Controller. This employee (along with several others) was vindicated of all counts in September. Because the Controller had a contract dispute with Robertson, attorney fees are usually awarded, but of course Robertson fought paying. Today, the court awarded the Controller and his lawyer $215,000 in legal fees and $22,958 in prejudgement interest. The Judge also affirmed the jury’s damages judgement of $72,500, to be paid by Robertson (Linspire) to the Controller. This means that Robertson will have to pay over $300,000 to just this one employee for his failed attempts in attacking him in the courts. You can read the ruling here. (This is the tentative ruling which was affirmed in court today by Judge Taylor.)

We thought it was a good example of how this sick legal system operates. It’s a system which puts financial burden on those involved, including companies that are accused of patent litigation. In this case, Linspire helps make lawyers richer and thus stronger (e.g. in lobbying). In such cases, the lawyers have nothing to lose, only their clients do. Someone should pass this message/memo to the likes of Judge Rader, who still fails to acknowledge that this is a major problem when it comes to patents too. Let’s work on improving science and expanding the scope of knowledge rather than suing each other. Many disputes can be resolved outside the courts and elimination of weaponry like patents would help increase productivity. Just watch what the Cold War did to the Soviets (and to a lesser degree to the United States). They could produce a lot of warheads (enriching the Military Industrial Complex, analogous to houndish — trigger-happy lawyers), but could not take good care of their own population.

“In the 20th century, the pace of technological developments increasingly became tied into a complex set of interactions between Congress, the industrial manufacturers, university research, and the military establishment. This set of relations, known more popularly as the “military-industrial complex,” emerged because the military’s unique technological demands, concentration of funding, large scale application, and highly centralized control played a dominant role in driving technological innovation. Fundamental advances in medicine, physics, chemistry, computing, aviation, material science, naval architecture, and meteorology, among other fields, can be traced back to basic and applied research for military applications.”Wikipedia

Why Sites Like Groklaw Are Important

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, SCO at 12:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In the United States, for example, about one sixth of the gross national product, over a trillion dollars per year, is devoted to marketing. Marketing is manipulation and deceit. It tries to turn people into something they aren’t — individuals focused solely on themselves, maximising their consumption of goods that they don’t need.”

Noam Chomsky

Summary: Contrarian sites whose analysis deviates from that of marketing personnel is valuable, as proven by Groklaw (and hopefully Techrights too)

LATER THIS week we will publish details about Novell’s latest moves, which do not yet include naming a buyer of Novell assets, including UNIX. It seems inevitable and just because this view may not make people comfortable does not make it any less true. Truth is not a matter of preference, convenience, or faith.

“Truth is not a matter of preference, convenience, or faith.”For those who do not know, the SCO case is hardly producing any news anymore and nonetheless, Novell is still being challenged by SCO. Groklaw, which has just received an EFF award, is there to reiterate the facts. Techrights wishes to congratulate Groklaw on this EFF-granted achievement. It’s well deserved! The topics covered by Groklaw have always been similar to ours (same with Bruce Perens, but he rarely writes anymore), mainly because they explore the interaction with opposition, particularly attacks on software freedom. Even though Groklaw is hardly as active as it used to be (moving back to a pace of about one article per day rather than 3 or so), the output it gathered over the years is there to stay (the Internet extends ‘shelf life’ of news) and to serve those who are interested in exploration which goes deeper than press releases, lobbyists, and ‘general-purpose’ journalists who merely ‘redress’ those press releases, taking the claims at face value, hardly ever challenging them, and then reprinting to deceive generations to come. In fact, just to give a new example, Groklaw is now addressing an old press release from 15 years ago, helping to show why it falsely claims SCO to be the owner of UNIX. The courts ruled otherwise, more than once in fact. It’s unfortunate the process can take years to complete, so justice is slow and expensive (more on that in the next post).

It’s a 1995 joint press release by HP, Santa Cruz and Novell dated September 20, 1995, one day after the APA was signed by Santa Cruz and Novell. That makes it Santa Cruz telling the world *at the time* what it thought it had purchased, and what it says it bought is … the UnixWare business. At the trial, Alok Mohan, a SCO witness, was asked if the press release accurately reflected the deal, and he said yes. What could he say? He’s quoted in the release. He was then Santa Cruz’s President and CEO.

Suffice to say, there is spin to be combated here, as in many cases (one of the biggest spin machines is actually operated by the Gates Foundation). Few people may be able to reach Groklaw (rather than their local newspaper) and appreciate the fact that truth always deviates quite wildly from claims that are made in press releases and the corporate press. Wikileaks is another example of a site that has had major impact not so much because of Wikileaks staff but because of the incognito hero who leaked piles of military memos (last year we had a lot of fun with Comes vs Microsoft memos). These two sides at Wikileaks have helped the world see that the mainstream press can be distrusted and that the Internet can be used to eliminate deception, not just to spread disinformation as many others do.

One of Groklaw’s latest posts deals with SCO’s bankruptcy and those who paid close attention may also know that SCO possibly faked back in 2007 when it filed for bankruptcy protection (emphasis on “protection”). As Pamela Jones puts it:

Another bill from Ocean Park Advisors, its 12th monthly bill. This one is for September. So… when does its advice pay off for SCO, one wonders? How many years does it take for this company to get on its feet and exit Chapter 11 or alternatively to see the wisdom of throwing in the towel?

This year and in the later part of 2009 we saw a lot of dodgy financial activity at SCO. To say that SCO is not just trying to cause damage to Linux (as opposed to bring about a SCO Renaissance) is to ignore evidence which the commercial press has chosen to ignore while Groklaw repeated it over and over again.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

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